Archive for the ‘Kindred Spirits’ Category

Growing Mature

April 9, 2014

I went back to Penang and Taiping for Ching Ming over the last weekend. My mom’s side is in Taiping whereas my dad’s in Penang.
When I was younger, I used to loathe Ching Ming. It didn’t make sense to me the significance. I was just grumpy because of the long journey from KL and then, having to bask in the sun to clear graves and cemetery. Why can’t everybody just get cremated and get over with it?? Haha! Yes.. I was that moronically obnoxious! So, most of the time, I would just avoid going to Ching Ming. Afterall, if I were to go, there won’t be enough space in the car either. So, I stayed out of Ching Ming most of my initial working years.

As I grew older, I learned the significance of Ching Ming. It’s just once a year event for us to cultivate filial piety to our ancestors. I think, as a Chinese custom, this is considered one of the most significant events to foster filial piety. I know, I always argue that, it’s even more important for us to be filial to our parents and elderly when they are still alive and not wait till they are dead – to put up a show that we are filial.

Ching Ming is also a time for other living members of the family to gather together, after Chinese New Year event. Since we no more going back to Penang for Chinese New Year as both of our grandparents are gone, and the only uncle has passed away a few years back, we spent CNY within our own families in KL and Taiping. So Ching Ming is the only time we get to meet other relatives in Penang.

This time, we didn’t see one of our nieces as she has to work. Also, my cousin in law (her mom) lamented that she’s now 21 and she would spend most of her time with her friends. She would always go traveling with her friends and not her parents. Ah Ching is a quiet girl and she rarely speaks to her parents. But would be very animated with her friends. Well, I told my cousin in law that, this is her rebellious young adult years. Soon, when she starts a family of her own, she would remember how important her mother was to her before and she would miss her mom… and she would be crawling back for attention!

This is from my own personal experience. I used to be this young lady who refused to sit at home and preferred to spend more time hanging out with friends or simply going out. Now, as I grew much older and hopefully mature too, I rather spend more time at home.

Since the past 8 years, I could see my mom growing older faster by the day. She seems to repeat more times of what she say and would forget easily what we told her. She would fall asleep easily while watching tv and remained wide awake at night. She would nag and nag and nag with even more gusto! I am growing impatient but then, I keep on reminding myself that, I would someday grow old too and probably Ern Ern would be fed up with me. Haha.

Well, kids, appreciate your parents when they are still alive and well. It’s too late to say anything once they are gone.

Langkawi Island

March 19, 2014

We decided to go on an impromptu trip to Langkawi after we had yearly dim sum session at Mandarin Oriental in December. We went there 11 years ago! In fact, this was the first time I flew from Langkawi to KL! Thanks to AirAsia! We took the 8-hours back breaking bus rides to Kuala Muda, Kedah to catch a ferry to the island. This was where I slapped a man’s head really hard as I mistaken him for the girls. They were sitting in front of me in the ferry before I dozed off and decided to change their seats after the air conditioner above them was leaking. Yes! It was a hilarious moment and till today, the girls are laughing at me!

These bunch of girls were my main hang when I first started working. I was poor because I just started working and didn’t have much money to spend, so we usually would go on local weekend getaways. I am blessed to have known these girls. They are truly good friends I met from work.

I actually wrote a long post earlier in my gmail but couldn’t seem to locate it! So, this shall be a short post.

Just a few pointers on what to do in Langkawi.

1. We stayed in Resorts World Langkawi at Tanjung Malai. It doesn’t have its own beach but close enough to the waters to have nice view of the sea and a small jetty, for island hopping purposes.

DSC_8804aResorts World Langkawi

2. Resorts World Langkawi has a special package – Chillax package at RM296nett per person for 3D2N stay (Garden view), and comes with 3 options of freebies – RM100 dining voucher at Yellow Cafe/Sagar restaurant/The Cliff or island drop at Beras Basah Island with packed lunch (towel provided as well) or free flow drinks throughout your stay at the hotel (alcoholic and non alcoholic). We decided to choose the dining voucher at the Cliff, which the reception graciously assist us to make a booking for us for dinner and the island drop the next day! Value for money! This package is valid till end of this year.

DSC_8872aBeras Basah Island

3. Since we have been to most places in Langkawi during our first trip 11 years ago, we decided to skip Mahsuri’s tomb and Burnt Rice area (which to me are nothing much to see). This time round we wanted to go to the expansion bridge and cable car but unfortunately, I heard it has been closed for 22 months! A quick check on the internet though – it seemed somebody went there 2 weeks before us. Ah well.. forget it! Places of interests normally closed by 6 pm so be early if you want to visit places of interests.

4. Since it was off peak season this time, we managed to rent a Suzuki SX4 at Rm150 for 3 days. MyVi was priced at Rm140 for 3 days. You can get your cars at the arrival hall before going out of the airport.

DSC_8922aBlack Sand Beach/Pantai Pasir Hitam

DSC_8932aPantai Pasir Hitam

5. I really like the Black Sand Beach. I wish I had more time to lurk around snap photos here. It seems, when it rains, you will get to see the black sand. Otherwise, Langkawi was in a hot spell like KL the past one month and there wasn’t much black sand. We were lucky because it rained the two days when we were there.. so we managed to have a closer look at the black sand beach! The old jetty at the end of the shore has character and good for photo-op. This is where you buy fresh ikan bilis (anchovies) from the sea. Apparently, the fishermen would get a bulk of ikan bilis from the sea, placed them in a hot steamer in their fishing boats to cook them. When they arrived at the shore, the ikan bilis would be placed in oven to dry them up. You can either purchase ungutted ikan bilis without cleaning or if you have no time – you can purchase a pack of gutted ikan bilis  at higher price.

6. Langkawi Saga Shopping centre sells the cheapest chocolates!

7. We were introduced to myriads of beer brands from all over the world and spoil for choice! We ended buying Pelican vodka, Corona, Hoegaarden and Chang beer. Also, we bought some Taiwanese fruity beers which are rather good as well – lychee and grape flavor!

DSC_8864aGrilled seafood platter

8. Most restaurants we went didn’t serve really good food. Probably we have too high anticipation. The only place that did not disappoint us is the Cliff. The grilled seafood platter is really delicious! Also, our hotel serves really good spread of breakfast as well! And I simply love the packed lunch of turkey ham sandwich and grilled drummets for our island escapade! Not to mention the first lunch we had when we landed. We had some nasi goreng ayam paprik, mee goreng, mee bandung and nasi goreng kampong at Bella Restaurant along Cenang road.

9. Langkawi has changed so much since. It was a rather dead place with basically nothing much to eat but now, there’s plenty of shops along the busy Pantai Cenang road. It looked like Phuket really – with less crowd, cars and of course, dingy massage parlour!

DSC_8846aView from the Cliff restaurant

10. I wish I could spend more time on the beach! Other than Beras Basah Island, there’s actually a small stretch of beach right at the junction from Resorts World Langkawi before turning into Pantai Cenang road. We managed to take a look at it on the last day of our stay. Unfortunately, it was too hot to even get out from the car, so we simply stare at the beach in our air conditioned car! Haha!

11. There’s a new hang out place named Harbour Port, near Pantai Kok. The place is rather dead too… but there’s the famous bakery there – The Loaf where they also served food like pastas and sandwiches.

DSC_8993Idyllic life at Kuala Cenang

12. We chanced upon Tubotel hotel along Kuala Cenang during our aimless driving before going to the airport. I think it was a rather unique hotel, despite the rather secluded place! The water there is crystal clear! I don’t think I would stay here as I couldn’t stand the heat! I think it’s a place for young people to mingle.. and am too old for this!

Lost Home

March 3, 2014

My sister used to assist to set up site offices all around Malaysia whenever our company started a new construction project. A few years ago, she was sent to Brunei to do the same.

The company hired foreign workers to assist in clearing up project site, as well as setting up cabins for foreign workers to live in. Here, she met a hardworking and industrious Vietnamese worker named Dinh Xuan Tu. Throughout the few months working with him, he is conscientious and would take initiative to do things without being told.

My sister also returned favours by being nice to him and his fellow Vietnamese workers. Buy them some food and snacks as and when they completed back breaking tasks. We know they are paid to do what was needed to be done, but hey! Nobody says we cannot be nice to them! After all, a foreign worker took a leap of faith when they left their families and loved ones in their home country to work in another country. They don’t know what to expect except to make money to be sent home to their families to ease their burdens.

It was most unfortunate that, the agency which supplied him for our office was unscrupulous. Apparently, they refused to pay him his last salary as he is scheduled to go back to Vietnam after his work permit expires. Tu was adamant that they pay him his last salary otherwise he refused to fly back to Vietnam. After some ruckus, he managed to get his last salary and flew back to Hanoi feeling dejected.We reported this matter to management and gotten ourselves a new agent.

Since then, Tu been calling my sister to ask about her well being. All these years, the once in a blue moon chats were mainly about my sister’s family and his family. We learned that his mom passed away not long after he reached Hanoi. It was a good thing that he was back in Hanoi to take care of things. Since there weren’t many jobs in Hanoi, Tu went to Phnom Penh to work in a hotel.

Then, the Haiyan typhoon struck. It traveled from the Philippines to Vietnam. It hit Quang Ninh, where Tu’s family lives. When he got back to his home after the typhoon, he was shocked to discover his entire home was wiped out. He was left with nothing. Now, his wife and himself are taking refuge at a friend’s house nearby while searching for a new place to stay, which is rather difficult.

We simply do not know how to help him, except to send him some forms of cash relief. All these years, he never once ask for money and always ask us to visit him in Hanoi or Phnom Penh. So this time, he must be desperate.

He didn’t ask us for money but we know he would need some. Fortunately a friend went to Hanoi last Saturday so we just gave her some money to be handed to Tu. He has to travel at least a day and night, on a train just to get to Hanoi. Initially, we told him we would bank in money for him – he needs to give us his bank account number but he said it’s too complicated for him. He would make the trip to Hanoi. He was grateful and thanked my sister profusely over the 1 minute phone call.

We wish to thank our previous Hanoi tour agent as well, Mr Nguyen Truong who helped us to translate to Tu – where and when to meet in Vietnamese and helped us to communicate more effectively. We are grateful to friends who assist us to raise money for Tu. A friend in need is truly a friend indeed.

The Man in Black Mesh Top

February 19, 2014

Been thinking of a man of the past. The man in black mesh top.

Had two dreams in two consecutive nights – not related.. and nothing dirty! Couldn’t really recall the dreams but they were pleasant. He is still his young self in my dreams – tall, dark and athletic. In both dreams, what I remember was his megawatt smile. His perfectly aligned teeth in his soft supple lips. How do I know his lips are supple? Well, I don’t. I just imagine they were. His eyes turned into two long slits because he was grinning ear to ear as he was teasing me incessantly.

When I woke up, the memories of yesteryears flooded my mind. They were all bittersweet memories. Weird thing was, the brain somehow selectively chose the good memories, amplify them and discarding bad ones. The neurons just happened to sweep away the bitter memories. Perhaps signs of old age… forget the past, keep the good ones, live in the present and bring on the future?

So, what’s with this black mesh top?

I was watching Girls HBO’s episode where Hannah was trading her skimpy top to a even skimpier yellow mesh tank top while high on drugs. The sight of the yellow mesh top just triggered some cells in my brain.

I remember him telling me he once wore a black mesh top and went out with his friends to Sg. Wang. Well, he has a nice body and has every right to flaunt it if you ask me. Further it was such an 80s thing.. maybe he went for some costume party? I am not sure but he sure has his own peculiar style of dressing.

He was having teh tarik with his friends when suddenly an old woman came from behind him, hugged him and grabbed his chest. She ran away after that. He was confused and shocked at the same time. Probably all his friends laughed till they fell off their chairs. I would if I were there! I think it was a pretty hilarious moment!

There you have it.. seriously funny incident of the man in black mesh top.

Port Weld aka Kuala Sepetang

January 28, 2014

As you know, I was back in Port Weld last weekend. So, I went around snapping a little bit of photos, which had been shared on my instagram. For the benefits of people who didn’t have time to look at my instagram, here are some shots taken in Port Weld.

Ever since the bridge was built to the other side of the river, which could only be reached via sampan earlier years, I finally had the chance to cross the river to the other side of the fishing village. I went a little to every nook and cranny. It was fun.

Hawker Stall

My aunt and uncle’s hawker stall selling refreshments

Hot Afternoon

View in front of my late grandma’s house – it was a hot afternoon!

All in a day's work

A carpenter dropped by to fix my uncle’s wooden cloth bed

The vast river

View from the newly built bridge of the river

Hello kitties!

Cute little kittens

Way to home

A villager’s home front yard

You jump, I jump!

You jump, I jump!

Guardians of homes

Guardians of the homes

Relaxing

A villager hanging out in front of her porch

Lady with an old storyHaving a chat with my aunt’s hair salon 80 year old customer


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