Happy 40th Popiah!

I was writing a note to my colleague when I scribbled the date today. 10/01/2014.

It’s Popiah’s birthday! Since she’s born in 1974, today is her 40th birthday… I will follow suit in 2 years’ time to reach the 40th year milestones. Jesus! I can’t believe she’s already 40.. and I can’t believe I will be reaching 40 soon!

It was just like yesterday, we met in college. Her long bushy and curly hair crowned her face filled with acne scars. She always wore flowy dresses or skirts.Very lady like.. until she mounted her bike to get to work. She was already working right after Form 6 in TARC and the first one among us – we pursued other courses after Form 6, for me, A Levels.

She used to be this moody person, frustrated with the world, filled with young adult’s angst. Who didn’t? I think most of us are moody, frustrated and angry all the time when we were young adults! How much we have grown! From angst-filled teenagers that we were to the level headed adults that we are today. Haha.

She has became this very nice career lady. She has been taking yoga classes for many years and even participated in educating the public on the benefits of yoga. Seriously, she looks really good, heck.. even better than she was back in college! Now spotting a spunky short dyed curly hair, stylist glasses and fashion sense that made Carrie Bradshaw looked amateurish, she’s at her top form!

At 40, next chapter of life has just begun for her and I wish her all the love, success and luck in the world!

Happy birthday, Popiah! May our friendship survived this life’s treachery and challenges!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Just finished making some fatt gous or huat ge, if you prefer. Still using the same old pumpkin recipe! I wish I had gotten a bigger paper cup so that, the huat ge will look more “prosperous”. Haha.

I had a bad attempt in making nin gous on Wednesday night. Perhaps, I was just over confident? The caramelized sugar isn’t up to expectations, sort of dampen the mood to make proper nin gou. So, ended throwing 3 pairs of fish into the dustbin. I find, it’s not because of the “pantang larang” in making nin gou – like, nobody supposed to make noise, there shouldn’t be any disruption when you are making nin gou – even if somebody ring your door bell, you’re screwed… that sort of thing.. but I think it’s more towards your own mood. If you are in a good mood, your nin gous would turn up ok.. otherwise, better not make anything, if you are in a foul mood. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, so probably that’s why it affected my mood. Anyway, never say die! So, I calmed down on Thursday night, laid down on my bed for a few minutes before I went downstairs to start making nin gou. It worked! So… it’s good to keep calm at all times! And also, I discover, it’s best to use the correct proportion of flour to sugar – they must be equal. Then, you would get a good nin gou!

Things were not that smooth in office either. For some reason, my boss mistaken the questions I asked were from me. Actually, most staff wanted to know the affirmative answer to an issue but somehow, the management couldn’t give them black and white answer. So, I was merely conveying a message from the staff but got scolded instead. This is not good! This is probably the first time, I’ve seen my boss this mad – at me. In so many years of working here, he never once chided me for anything. So lesson learned. If colleagues wanted to know anything in future, they can all ask him themselves. Am not going to get myself entangled in this senseless mess! It sort of made me fucking pissed the whole day today but then, I got home.. and I calm myself down. It’s good to keep yourself out of shit which do not stink you!

Hopefully, this is the end of my series of bad luck this week.. and also end of the Dragon year. It wasn’t that smooth sailing year but I guess it’s good that, I am still healthy (I think!) and despite all the arguments, the family is still here for me. I hope to improve on my communication skills though. Also, it breaks my heart a very good friend of mine lost two of the most important persons in her life – her mom and her elder brother. My heart goes out to her in this time of loss. I could only imagine the magnitude of grief. I wish and hope she would stay strong and carry on this precious life. Am sure both her mom and brother are reunited in heaven, and looking down lovingly at her and would guide her through the thick and thin of life.

Well, Chinese new year is just about 24 hours away, so here’s dropping you guys a line to wish you, “Gong Xi Fa Cai! May the year of Snake brings you much to laugh about, more to eat and devour, more people and animals to love, more passion in achieving your life’s goals and most importantly, solid good health to enjoy all those things!” Thank you, dear readers for staying this long, to read my blog after all these years!

Chinese New Year Shopping

I guess the few days off, and a long weekend is good for some serious CNY shopping. Didn’t want to be so disorganized like last year, I actually wrote down a list of things to buy this time. Last year, ever since I learn how to make nian gao (sticky rice cake) from scratch, I had to drive to the bakery shop like 5x to add on ingredients and also packaging.. because one after another, my relatives kept asking me to make them a nice pair of fish! I guess not this year. They must pay! Nothing comes free now! Times are bad! Haha!

Was at Tesco Kepong last Thursday for some CNY shopping. The beeline was unbelievable! And this is probably the first time I see a hypermarket ran out of trolleys. I guess it’s good to just take whatever trolley you might get from the parking lot on your way to the shopping mall because you definitely won’t get any trolleys, standing at the trolley counter! I guess it wasn’t so bad the last time. Even on normal weekends, hypermarkets won’t run out of trolleys.

We bought the usual stuffs for CNY – some groundnuts, butter, flour, sugar, canned food, drinks, etc. We don’t have to  buy nian gao and cookies anymore because I will be baking them. In fact, I took opportunity this long weekend to test run to bake some cookies before CNY – to make sure they are edible! Luckily, Quan Quan, Lok Lok, Sasha and Ern Ern enjoyed the cookies and they even give a few comments to improvise it! Actually, they are very diplomatic.. everything also say very nice. Haha! And the kids enjoy the heart shaped butter cookies the most.. and it’s probably the most difficult to make. It’s difficult to make sure the dough is chill enough for the cookie cutter to slice through. In our tropical climate, I find, we could only slice maximum 10 cookies and we had to put the dough back to the fridge to harden it again! So, I won’t be making butter cookies anymore because of this! The cookie custard taste more or less the same and is much more easier to make. Mom already made her order for salted chocolate cookies. She said, they smell really good and nice to eat. For someone who dislike eating chocolates, I am surprised she said the salted chocolate cookie is nice!

Another 2 weeks to go before we welcome the year of Snake.. I’ve made some plans – when to start making nian gao, fatt gou and cookies.. we are very glad that, this year, we don’t have to clean the house too much because we already did during the renovation and painting of our house. We will just need a few hours to spruce things up before CNY. Hmmph… perhaps it’s time to use some credit card points to redeem the electric cooker to be used as steamboat this CNY…

So, how is your preparation for CNY?

Happy and Blessed New Year 2013

Hello fellas!

Just came back from having late dinner at Nelson Tan Cafe in Kepong. Managed to try out new dishes dished out by the cook personally! It was such a great place to hang out for a good, wholesome meal! Had great company with sister and husband, together with two other colleagues. We didn’t plan to usher the new year anywhere in KL because we simply didn’t want to get caught in massive jam.. and also, we are all too old now to even get ourselves jostling around with younger people! Might even break a hip if we are not careful! Haha!

What is there to highlight for the year 2012? I think generally, it has been a rather challenging year. With two nephews having to undergo heart surgeries due to congenital heart disease, the incidents simply set us back. One thing good came out of it though. I guess my cousin finally realized that, our families are always ever supporting and caring. We would render help without being asked and would help you without condition. Am glad that he is now spending more time with his mom, appreciating all the things she has done and sacrificed for him, in order to have a better life. After he has become a parent himself, I guess he knew and understand, a parent’s love knows no boundaries. You would do anything for a child.. and we, as a family unit would do anything for you when you need help. I thank God everyday for putting me in this family who tirelessly love me unconditionally.

Am glad that, this year, I found myself to be in God’s embrace again. I guess that is probably why I cried so hard while watching Les Miserables at the cinema, especially the part where Jean Valjean knelt before God and found himself anointed by the grace of God who is ever merciful and forgiving. God simply provides all the answers whenever you ran out of wits, trying to get yourself unstuck from going down a quicksand of troubles. God is the answer.. all you need to do is reach out to Him and He is always there to receive you with open arms.

We ran into a couple of bad luck this year with the contractors. I guess that is the problem for everybody.. irresponsible contractors but I guess I wouldn’t let this dampen our spirit. I will try my best to look for the best in people and try to give everybody benefit of a doubt.

I am blessed to be able to travel to several beautiful islands this year – namely Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai, Krabi and Phuket! As well as attended a beautiful wedding in Bali! Get to know new and wonderful friends which would further add spice to my life. I am thankful to have met such wonderful souls in my life’s journey in 2012! I pray and hope that, everyone of you would also be blessed with good friends and more good things to come in 2013!

Another 30 minutes to go to say good bye to 2012 and saying hello to 2013! I wish all of you, a very happy and blessed new year 2013! May love, happiness, good health and all things good and great follow you wherever you go!

Chinese New Year 2011

Pics taken at friend’s open house, Rawang

This year, we didn’t go back to Port Weld, Taiping to celebrate the Chinese new year. Ever since both paternal and maternal grandmothers passed on 10 and 12 years ago, we hardly made an effort to go visit our relatives in Penang. We will visit them on normal days instead of joining the maddening crowd and hogging the Penang bridge!

We had our 9th day Hokkien version of celebrating the Chinese new year in Kuala Lumpur. Unlike two years ago, I find the fireworks had somehow reduced substantially. I guess the new generation of youngsters no more believing in getting “ong” by offering firecrackers and lavish food.

I remember when I was little, we used to have a whole pig – roasted to perfection as offering to the Jade Emperor decorating the table, together with at least 5 types of fruits, sweet cakes, huat kueh, and other dishes and of course, two stalks of sugarcanes.

Since my uncle passed away due to kidney failure, my late grandmother decided to offer vegetarian food for the Jade emperor. I am not too sure the reason behind this and didn’t find out either.

It’s good to keep the tradition going. Since my old folks are still around, it’s good to spend some time, praying to the gods with them. I pray that they will be granted good health till the end of days, and enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the Chinese new year for 2011. Nevertheless, I wish you happiness, love and prosperity.