Feb 28, 2013

0 Through the gloom..

If we can find the beauty in everything
Then through the gloom we will see that silver lining
Above despair we  will rise
It will lead us out into sunshine and blue skies
And we will fall in love with life again
Overcoming our heart's pain…

~ Sharon Das, 28 Feb 2013

Taman Tasik Titiwangsa ~ Where the "Eye on Malaysia" was.

Feb 25, 2013

0 Art : Hair Piece

I admire artistic people. They create beautiful things out of ordinary items, produce life-like portraits using any material and so forth.....me? I have trouble just trying to pencil-draw the stick-man.

But there are days that I actually squeeze something out of my right brain like this hair piece I did some years ago. Not only did I amuse myself, I actually felt I had 'a lot' of creative potential.

That's my hair and hub's, curled in a frame. Creative, isn't it? Did I hear a snicker? I used hub's white hair to contrast it against the black paper on the left side of the frame and did the opposite for mine.

What inspired me? A need for something that said, us together hairpily ever after, in frizzy moments and smooth times, he is my silver lining and I, the highlight of his life.

Hair Piece

Feb 22, 2013

0 Instant Noodle Day - UFO Big Yakisoba

Instant noodle days are usually a sign that I'm unwell or just not in the mood. I'm sadly that easy to read.

One not-in-the-mood day, I tried something fairly expensive out of curiosity...also because I was naively attracted to the word "UFO" ~ really! I wish I could say, "RrRRrewrrr...it flew into my arms, babe. I was zapped into compliance. No fault of mine."

Take a look at this - UFO Big Yakisoba (Instant Fried Noodle), which I purchased from a Japanese Fair. In all honesty, would you not have added this into your shopping basket? Wouldn't you? ...huh?....huh?

UFO identified ~ springy noodles.
It comes with some pretty fancy packaging. Peel one corner to fill hot water in. Peel the other corner to drain.

Simple instructions.
 What's inside? Some seasoning and dried vegetables.

After pouring in the hot water and waiting some minutes, I peeled off the black sticker to drain the water.

Neat idea!
A convenient way to drain the water.
Added the seasoning. It's ready for a good chopstick stir.
I rarely have my instant noodles out of the box, per instruction. I had some leftover chicken and carrot from the night before. So, I added these in and even garnished it with some roughly chopped coriander.

What I thought of it? It was okay in a soy sauce kind of way ~ Just not my cup of tea. I like my noodles with a lil spice for that oomph.

Feb 18, 2013

0 Getting old and into handicrafts

Sometimes I wonder how my twilight years will be.

Will I be on that rocking chair smiling peacefully out into the horizon, holding on to a pair of knitting needles trying to finish that "Panas Gila" (Crazy Hot) long -sleeved sweater for my favourite person or will I be like Aunt Deb, that cute crafty old lady who still dresses her hair with ribbons, is active in church, adept in the kitchen and an ace at making handicrafts..?

I'm posting some of Aunt Deb's work of art below. It's so beautiful to look at. I wish I could show you more but there's just so many.

If growing old was as easy as picking a character out of a magic hat, I'd love to pick one with a bit of Aunt Deb's feisty spirit, Johnny Depp's cuckooness, Mother Teresa's kindness and Gandhi's patience.

Gosh, I know I'll need a lot of patience and this will largely be for my own benefit. If it's going to take fifteen minutes for "lil old frail me' to get out of the car, I'd be hard-pressed not to lecture myself ~ "Move legs! Move! C'mon already, I don't have all day!!".

Chinese New Year decoration ~ Spot the knitted snake!
A knitted mermaid
A pooch made out of beads
Dolls made out of a pair of socks

Feb 14, 2013

0 Mee Suah on the 1st Day of Chinese New Year

Long Life Brand
Mee suah for breakfast on the first day of Chinese New Year (CNY) has been a tradition for the Hokkien side of my family for generations.

In case you don't know, mee suah is noodle made from wheat flour. For the Chinese, it is usually served long and uncut as a symbol of longevity.

I always look forward to having this bowl of "long life" noodles which is specially cooked by my mother-in-law (mama). I get this warm tingly feeling with every slurp because I know a lot of love and laughter went into making this dish of soupy goodness.

And I am also reminded of faithfulness. Mama has been making this CNY dish for the clan for decades, never failing even when the year was tough! This fighting spirit is rarely seen these days.

Many of us have stopped carrying on a lot of traditional practices not so much out of disinterest but because it's mafan (trouble) to do and we're inclined towards "I, me, my, mine, myself".

I hope I don't fall into this modern time trap  because I love a life enriched with tradition and history ~ the lessons, the frequent gatherings, the camaraderie it invokes, the colourful decorations, the meaning that it brings to each one of us.  With tradition, it is always a ton of fun family activities. We learn something about one another, we bond, we create fond memories.

But enough with my personal thoughts already.

Here are some photos I took of our mee suah breakfast on the first day of the Snake Year. Oolala! ... or ular-la, as our local Chinese radio station has coined it. (Ular, meaning snake in Malay)

Mee Suah (Wheat flour noodles)
Herbal chicken soup with Wolfberries and Solomon's Seal Rhizome (Yuzhu)
Boil noodles in water separately for a couple of minutes. Discard water when done.
Serve cooked noodles with herbal chicken soup and add one boiled egg. Tadaaa...slurrp!

Feb 9, 2013

0 The "BIG" Curry Bun at Restoran Tin Hoe Hweeh

We had just finished our breakfast of wonton noodles when a lady walked passed us - with a hUuuge(!) bun on her tray.

Excitement was written all over our face. We followed her to the glass display cabinet lined with local made cakes, pastries and bread.

"What is this, arh?"  We asked.

"Curry bun. RM16."

"Huaaa...want or not?" 
Machoman looked at me.

"Wantlahhh..once in a lifetime!"
  Such an eager beaver I am. We tapao-ed (packed) one home.

There you have it. One expensive bun in the bag .. but well worth the experience and a warm way to share food. I imagine bringing this along to a picnic or having it at small cosy parties.

At home, I started to admire it even more, gently moving it about for photos (wait..does that look like the tip of... *smack!* ), poking at it to test its softness, sniffing at the fresh smell of baked bread.

Poke. Soft.

Although I was reluctant, it was time to eat it. I got the knife out, slicing as I would a cake. Well, it did come in a cake box!  Seconds later, I was frantically going,"Oh! oh! the gravy's leaking all out!!!"  We grabbed another plate to raise the affected area to stop the flow.

When it comes to large curry buns, it is safer to tear or slice open from top across - lesson learnt.

This bun contains curry chicken covered in grease proof paper. Such a neat idea that makes perfect sense because this way, we can tear bread off the sides and dip it into the gravy at the center.

Without the greaseproof paper, the gravy would have soaked into the bread and it'd be the usual dry curry buns we're used to.

How did I find this taste-wise? YummMmmYYyy!!

Comes in a standard sized cake box. A treat for 4 people - 2.5 times the width of my arm!

Slice open from top across

Warm soft bread and rich flavoured curry chicken

Corner lot located along Jalan Ipoh

Feb 8, 2013

0 Passion..it says a lot about dreams

What's in a dream? Everyone seems to have one but do you know what drives it? Passion, I say! Just a blog post out of a "pep talk" I gave myself earlier and "think" I have been enlightened.

I am often inspired by good hearted ordinary people whose lives revolve around laughter and a deep appreciation for the things they do. I ponder, assess ~ "What makes them different? How is it that they seem to "live" their dream without really saying that they are. You know their passion by their actions! And this, I think, makes a lot of sense. 

You hear of their activities in their daily conversations, they are full of energy about it, you see them doing it often and many times with little expectation of returns or with great patience that things will bear fruit sooner or later.

I know one person who runs a cabinet business and he talks about it all the time as though it's family. So much so, I feel for the cabinets. ..sorry, my point is, without having to put it out in an obvious statement, we all know where his heart lies. The company has flourished so quickly that when you think of the brand, it is automatically linked to his name. That's passion.

My girlfriend loves animals. You don't have to ask her how much. She's constantly on the topic talk-wise, photo-wise and action-wise...Facebook-wise too.

"Uncle, could you tapao these bones, please?"
  For the strays.
"Hello, MPPJ? The owner of home ABC has neglected their dogs." She's observant when it comes to animal welfare.
"I'm going to the animal sanctuary, SPCA and .." To volunteer.

My cousin has a great love for music and she has been actively involved in it since young. Her passion is displayed all over her room ~ organ, drums, mics, music sheets.  It takes centre stage in her after-work pursuits ~ jamming at pubs, organising music practice, leading group choirs. Her song recently topped the charts on the local radio. The thing is she has earned a paper in culinary arts and it would be easy to assume that this is where her interests are. However, everyone who knows her, knows what turns her on. And it ain't written on that paper. No paper qualification reflects one's true calling.

That's the key ~ Passion. Most people say they have dreams but it remains just that, a dream, until passion comes into play. A good question to ask ourselves if we're wondering whether we're really working towards our dream (as we usually "say" we are), is to look at our daily conversation and activities. It will answer our question. ..perhaps if we're so dispassionate about something, it isn't our dream after all and it's good to ask ourselves honestly what we really like doing.

But please do yourself a favour and don't go living other people's dream just because you feel a need to fit in with the fun crowd. It often begins by mistaking short term excitement for lifelong passion.

And sometimes you get caught in a web of "I can do this also lah and better, and make money too!".

Understand that passion has nothing to do with being the smarter or better performer. It is about loving what you do. None of my passionate friends are number one in the world. They are, however, in love with what they do. Are you? Am I? And for how long?

If you know what your dream is, then live it. If not, find it.

Just don't do something because you think "it could work for you" when you don't spend half the time breathing life into it, except occasionally. That is simply a rush you feel much like riding that roller coaster - up at times, down again and finally, it stops and amounts to nothing. That is not a dream. That is foolishness and a silly pride to conquer.

That is this....hahaha :

A Five-Hundred Ringgit Yamaha guitar ... sorely neglected.... in my dusty storeroom...for more than a decade. You don't sayyYy..

Feb 6, 2013

0 Sabah - State Museum and Heritage Village

If you're on a shoestring budget and find Sabah's guided cultural tours a little too expensive, then the State Museum is the place to go. I got to know a little about the historical background of the Land Below The Wind and the ethnicity of the locals for just RM2.

The museum is a short taxi ride away from Kota Kinabalu town. There are taxis for hire at the museum itself so we didn't have to make prior arrangements for transport back.

Lovely fountain beside the museum
RM2 per entry (for locals)
Vintage cars outside the museum

Photo-taking is prohibited inside the museum *sob* but I've plenty of nice shots of the heritage village which is just adjacent.

The museum experience was a little too dry for my inner child to spring out into wide-eyed awe. It was traditional and requires a lot of mental engagement. I'm not a history buff but I did "try" to concentrate and pay attention to the mundane details that were written on every exhibit! I shamelessly feigned some curiosity.

My interest however piqued when I reached the Heritage Village because it required more hand and legwork, climbing up and down, trying things out...and being that ulu (backward)  person who felt a need to touch everything she passes.

There are ten (I think) houses to explore, some pretty scary to walk into because I was worried about falling through the flimsy rattan floors! I don't want to be a Youtube sensation for the wrong reasons..seeing that my sister-in-law was videotaping the surroundings.

To summarise, I thought the museum was well worth the trip up.

Here are some photos I took of the Heritage Village:

This way to the village (downstairs)
I wouldn't miss the experience of crossing an old rickety hanging bridge!
There are stairs, if you prefer.

Rumah Suluk (Suluk House)
Rumah Iranun (Iranun House)
Rumah Brunei (Brunei House)
The interior of a typical Sabah native home
The interior of the Brunei house
A small lake between the heritage houses
The main entrance of the muzium

Feb 1, 2013

0 Inspired to 'rock' my garden

Revamping the garden ~ a necessary ...joy.

And all because I stumbled across two lovely decorative rocks while shopping the other day. Engraved on it were words of wisdom that affirms some of my spiritual beliefs.

"Bloom where God plants you". Anywhere. Whether you're a homemaker, an office employee, in school or a bus driver, be the best you can be in your field, do good and take pride in your work.

God said to do good wherever we are. He never said one role was better or more important than the other. 

"On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand". In God I trust, for He will never forsake me nor crumble under pressure like all men do.

Interpretations for myself.


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