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Sometime ago…

This was two Saturdays ago when we had a dinner here to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 81st birthday…

Birthday cake

…12 of us altogether – her, my missus, Melissa and I, my brother-in-law and his wife and their daughter, back from Singapore and their son, home from KL and then, there was also my brother-in-law from Bintulu and his wife and one of their sons plus my niece’s good friend.

Luckily, we had made a reservation before hand as the place was packed to the brim (and parking can be such a pain in that part of town) so we had to wait for quite a while before the food was served. As what they would usually do, we were served these Mukah keropok as starters…

Mukah keropok

…which were great, and dipped in the chili sauce provided, they were even nicer.

This restaurant claims to be the only one in Malaysia serving lokan

Lokan

…and everyone loved it!

Some of my in-laws tried umai

Umai

…for the first time and they enjoyed it. I’ve heard people calling this the Melanau sashimi but I don’t think it is the same – the raw fish in this dish would have been “cooked” already by the calamansi lime juice added (some use vinegar but I think it is not as nice).

We ordered another specialty of the house – the paku in santan (coconut milk) but when we were served, it turned out to be midin instead…

midin in santan

Well, it was perfectly all right as it tasted great. In fact, personally I felt it was a lot nicer than paku which I had had many times already on my previous visits.

Another specialty of the house would be their roast lamb…

Roast lamb

…which Melissa enjoyed so very much. I would have to take her back there again sometime for more.

We also ordered their sea cucumber soup…

Sea cucumber soup

…and their creamy butter prawns…

Creamy butter udang galah

…using the very expensive freshwater udang galah, were really good too.

Everybody sang praises of their fried chicken with onion rings…

Fried chicken with onion rings

…though I was not too thrilled by it. When I said that, Melissa remarked that it was definitely much nicer than the colonel’s, case closed.

On the other hand, I absolutely loved the sweet and sour fish…

Sweet and sour fish

…so so so much. My Bintulu brother-in-law brought a huge one over, I think it  was a red snapper, and got them to cook it for us. I really feasted on it from head to tail.

People always say that the prices here can be quite steep but ours that night, inclusive of drinks (some had more than one) and rice (quite a lot of it, really), came up to RM325.00 for 12 persons which I thought was very reasonable. That prawn dish alone would have cost quite a bit already. To me, that was, without doubt, a truly awesome dinner – a delightful change that was so much nicer than the ones we had before and I certainly would love to go back there again and again.

Let’s go together…

When my daughter came back to town for the weekend, I just had to bring her to the Ramadhan Bazaar at Bandong here so she would be able to pick the things she would like and could enjoy them to the max.

It was very crowded…

The crowd

…even though we went quite early, probably because it was a Saturday and everybody was not stuck in the office at that time of day. I met a friend, a teacher like I was, who said that she saw my post on this but what I do know is that she has been patronising those stalls for a while now after I had blogged about them on those earlier occasions. The stall-owner, when she saw me, told me delightfully that there was a lady the day before, home from Australia, who mentioned that she saw the post too – I wonder who that was.

Durian is in season right now and I noticed a couple of stalls selling tempoyak (fermented durian) and we grabbed a tub at only RM5.00 each…

Tempoyak

…at my regular Malay food stall since I know them very well by now and vice versa. That was pretty cheap – in fact, my missus made her own once and after spending so much on the durians, she had to toil for hours getting the flesh of the fruit off the seeds and all in all, she only managed to make just a little bit. It is so much easier to buy…and the one here is quite good – good but a little bit salty. They say it will be less salty when it has fermented more.

We bought the bubur pedas (top) for Melissa to take back and enjoy in the course of the week but we decided to give the umai (bottom left) – the raw fish, a Melanau delicacy, a miss this time around. Hey!!! What’s that to the right of the tempoyak? I did not notice it when I was there…and it sure looked like something really nice. Hmmmm….gotta check that out the next time I drop by the bazaar.

It was tough trying to decide but we did manage to get all that we wanted…and on the way back to the car, we stopped by this cafe (next to the 1Malaysia Clinic) to have a look at what they had…

At the cafe

…and boy, everything looked very nice! I did not notice they had anything up for sale on my previous visit and of course, I was delighted that every tray was covered with cling film. They would only open to take whatever you want when you ask for it, a far cry from what I saw up north in the mainland where the flies would line up along the rim of the trays like birds on the telephone line. That was so disgusting! Absolutely shocking!

There was this handsome little boy barbecuing some stuff…

Young boy at work

…but we had already bought all that we wanted, much more than what we could handle, in fact, or else I certainly would buy something from him, never mind even if it was not really nice, to give him a bit of moral support. I love seeing kids helping out like this – how many these days would want to do that? Most, I am sure, would be too spoilt-rotten to even lift a finger to help and would rather while the time away playing online games on their smartphones or ipads, right or not?

We went home with our loot and enjoyed our early dinner which included this nasi kerabu

Nasi kerabu

…and laksam

Laksam

…before going for the sunset service at a church here.

My missus bought this bingka durian (3 for RM1)…

Bingka durian

…to try and it was so good – so very lemak (rich) and so fragrant with the durian in it. Gee! If we had known it would be this good, we would have bought a lot more. I will just have to wait till the next time I drop by, I guess…probably this coming weekend when my daughter will be home again.

You’re the one that I want…

The month of Ramadhan is here – in fact, they have been fasting for a week now…and I did drop by the bazaar at Bandong here the other day. This one is smaller than the main one at the town square but I don’t bother to go to that one anymore since that time I went many years ago and bought a few items only to end up throwing them away – they were not even decently edible. I do think it is good to cash in on the occasion and make some money for the forthcoming festival but it certainly does not mean that everybody should set up a stall…especially when they can’t really cook.

Of course there are good ones there too…just that I would not know exactly which those would be and besides, my head would start spinning at the sight of so many stalls and so many people and the current hot weather that we’re experiencing certainly is not helping one bit. Here at Bandong, I would go to my regular ones…

Mak Met's stall @ Bandong

…where I would be familiar with what they sell or they would tell me what is good and worth giving a try.

They have a lot more to offer than what one would be able to buy on their usual days so other than the nasi lemak and mee mamak and stuff, there is also the nasi kerabu

Bandong nasi kerabu

…and Penang laksa or our local version of the rojak – the cross between the Indonesian gado-gado and the Indian pasembur…which we may get at times but not really on a regular basis. What I like is how they make an effort to ensure the cleanliness of what they sell by covering their displays with cling film or put the kuihs (cakes) in plastic…

Bandong kuihs

…so they will not be exposed and the prices of everything are indicated clearly. I saw a friend’s photograph of one of these stalls at a bazaar in Kuching. Yes, they have a lot there too but I was put off by the sight of all the uncovered food. The kuihs are all placed in trays so other than the exposure, you will need to ask how much each would be…and then you would need to wait VERY patiently for them to count (and count again and again) and pick each one gingerly to place in plastic bags to sell to you.

Here at this stall, I saw that they were selling lontong as well and these packets of the Kelantanese laksam

Bandong laksam

…and all these tempeh and kerabus and what not…

Bandong kerabus

Gosh!!! Just here alone, there are so many things you would want to buy that you simply can’t make up your mind which to choose. Never mind! This is going to go on for a month so do keep a check on yourself and buy only a few items at one time…and spread it out over the whole month of Ramadhan.

I was there that day to grab hold of some of the much-coveted Kate’s panggang

Kate's panggang

…which are not easy to come by on normal days. I hear that the old folks are old now and cannot make them themselves so they can only supervise the young ones who, unfortunately, are not all that keen on the business. They’ve shrunk now – by at least 25%…but the price is still the same, RM1.00 which is more expensive than the rest in town but it is worth it as it is absolutely the best! For one thing, I was told that they do not make much each time, less than 100 at times so if they make 50% profit out of each panggang, that means they can only make a profit of RM50.00 each time. I do feel they deserve that little bit for all the hard work…plus the exclusive quality of their panggang.

I dragged my friend, Philip, home from the US, along as I was sure he would love the experience and I was telling him how nice the bread pudding was…

Bandong bread pudding

- the lady boss made this herself and hers was different as it seemed she blended the bread with the batter so you would not see the bits of bread in it. Personally, I quite enjoy that and would buy it once in a while when it is available. Unfortunately, Philip was not all that interested and while we were talking, the next thing I knew, the lady boss had given me one and put it in my bag of purchases…on the house. They’re really so very nice and generous here. In the end, Philip just bought a (small) packet of nasi lemak which he said he enjoyed very much (even though it wasn’t actually the nicer ones that I would very much prefer…and he also bought some satay as well from this stall

Bandong satay 1

It seems that the prices have gone up now from 50 to 60 sen…

Bandong satay 2

…but it was no matter as Philip said that it was really good – much nicer than those at one other place that he liked a lot.

We walked around the bazaar and this was the scene at my regular Malay food stall here…

Bandong Malay food stall

…where I would tapao some food home sometimes when we do not feel like cooking. It is quite easy to tell where the good ones are really – you just look at where the crowd is. There weren’t that many people at the other stalls, it seemed…

Bandong Ramadhan stalls

…even at their stall selling all the barbecued stuff…

Bandong BBQ stuff

Maybe it was because of the heat so most people would prefer to keep their distance but their ayam percik sure looked good…

Bandong ayam percik

I didn’t buy any that day but I’d probably go back again and get some to try…eventually.

I did buy these…

Kelupis 1

…from one of the less crowded stalls though, the only one there that was selling them. They’re called kelupis and they are a variation of the panggang, wrapped in a different kind of leaf and either boiled or steamed, not barbecued over a hot charcoal fire. They did not come cheap though – RM3.00 for one ikat (bundle) of three and I was kind of disappointed that they used nylon strings not the dried grass ones that they use to tie changs (dumplings)…and I positively remember them being a lot “fatter”…

Kelupis 2

…but it was no matter really as I had not had it for a long time and it tasted great and was so very nice dipped in kaya or condensed milk. It’s so hard to get hold of such things these days probably as in the case of the panggang, the old ones have died or are not in the position to make anymore and the young ones are just not interested.

So, have you been to any Ramadhan bazaar in your area? Bought anything that you enjoyed a lot?

You are invited…

Yes, we were invited to my friends’ eldest son’s wedding last Saturday…

Wedding rings

…and of course, we all made an effort to attend the wedding service at the cathedral here in the morning. As I have said many times before, to me, that is the most significantly important part of any wedding and I would make it a point to attend any that I am invited to.

That night, we went to the grand reception in one of the ballrooms at a hotel in town…

Kingwood ballroom

We went very early (as you can see in the photograph) as with 4 ballrooms in one hotel and all were being used that night, we wanted to avoid the jam. I guess not everyone was thinking along that same line and that was why the dinner stared at least an hour after the time stated in the  invitation card. Thankfully, it isn’t quite as bad here as in KL…yet.

As usual, there was the more-than-Four Seasons…

Four Seasons

…to kick off the dinner followed by this very nice black chicken & fish maw soup…

Black chickn & fish maw soup

Yes, many here have opted not to serve the offensive not-to-be-named soup, the main ingredient of which is actually completely tasteless and other than its snob appeal among some communities, I really do not see why anyone should insist on having that.

We were kind of disappointed that the specialty of the house, the duck stuffed with glutinous rice…

Duck with glutinous rice

…was not all that nice that night – it certainly was a lot better the last time we had it. I guess that is the problem when there are too many functions at one venue and the kitchens would have to cope with the crowd. I was telling somebody at the table that it probably would be best to get married during the Chinese 7th Month as the restaurants would be deserted and they may even give a special discount. The colour is probably due to the lightning though – not that it was purple or anything like that but yes, there was a part inside where the rice was not really cooked and I thought the chestnuts were on the hard side as well.

The steamed fish…

Steamed fish

…and in fact, everything else, was fine.

I did not manage to take a photograph of the broccoli and mushroom dish as it was served when I went out to have some fresh air and by the time I came back, they were already halfway through. Hehehehehe!!!! The prawn dish…

Prawns

…came right before the deep-fried Chinese pancakes with bean paste filling and the honeydew melon dessert and despite the not-very-satisfactorily-done duck, all in all, it was an enjoyable dinner.

My friends were my colleague/fellow-teachers so it sure felt like some kind of a reunion that night – getting to see all the familiar faces from the various schools once again…and that certainly made the evening all the more delightful, I must say.

Congratulations once again to the newly-weds, Daniel and Natalie…

The happy couple

All good wishes and may God bless you two abundantly in the years ahead…and thank you so much, Catherine and Stephen, for the invitation to share the joy on this very happy and auspicious occasion in your lives.

Family ties…

We were invited to the wedding banquet of my nephew, my maternal cousin’s son…

Invitation card

…last Saturday evening at the grand ballroom…

Ballroom

…of a hotel here in town…

Wedding cake & dais

This was the menu and other than the wedding cake…

Menu & cake

…we also got this very elegantly-packed door gift…

Door gift

It certainly was a really grand affair and look at who was the master of ceremony for the evening…

Mahathir Lokman

- our very own Malaysian TV personality, Datuk Mahathir Lokman, no less.

After the ceremony was over, the bride and groom proceeded to the main table…

Bride & groom

Yes, my nephew was in the armed forces before like his father before him but now, they are both engaged in their own private enterprises.

Once the newly-weds are seated, dinner was served…

Food 1

The food was good…

Food 2

…but I did not take a photograph of each and every dish…

Food 3

…because the changing colours of the spotlights in the ballroom were not too complimentary as far as the photos were concerned – the chicken literally turned out green!

There was a band in attendance that night, a really good one…

Music

…and I loved their rendition of one of my all-time favourites, Endless Love.

There was also the throwing of the bouquet by the bride to all the single ladies around…

Throwing of bouquet

…as well but no, Melissa did not get it so it certainly looks like it is not going to be her turn just yet.

I certainly had a delightful time – everything  was so pleasantly nice, the food was fine and the music and songs were great but I would say the best part was to get to meet family and friends (and ex-students) from near and far, some of whom I had not met for a very long time – the last time I saw them, they were very small…but they were still able to recognise me and came over to say hello. Hmmmm…I guess I have not changed one bit, eh? Hehehehehe!!!!

Well, congratulations once again, Izkandar & Mazwina, may the two of you be blessed abundantly in the years ahead, and congratulations also to the happy parents. Cheers!

That’s what they like…

On Saturday evening, the weekend after we got back from Miri, my brother-in-law asked us out to dinner on the occasion of his birthday…

BIL's 61st birthday cake

…so  there we were here again – they do like the food here so that is why they would pick this place as and when the need arises.

Of course, it being a birthday celebration, the dinner had to start with the mee sua, our traditional Foochow longevity noodles – the fried version with the “golden eggs”…

Ruby's birthday mee sua with golden eggs

It was very nicely done that night and I would say that I enjoyed it a lot.

We had one of the specialties of the house – their pandan chicken…

Ruby's pandan chciken

…which was, as usual, very good….but personally, I did not think their sweet and sour fish…

Ruby's sweet & sour fish

…was all that great. The batter coating was soft and soggy like it had been cooked for a while already – I like this dish best when served as soon as the sauce has been poured over the fish and not a moment too soon.

Everybody thought this was too salty and overcooked…

Ruby's Four Heavenly Kings

…but it was fine by me. I didn’t mind it being less crunchy as long as it was not cooked till really really soft.

On the other hand, I was of the opinion that this prawn dish was rather salty…

Ruby's salty & crusty prawns

…but nobody else seemed to share the same sentiments.

The tofu was all right, the same as usual…

Ruby's salad tofu

…but after the one we had in Miri, this one would just have to take a back seat, I’m afraid.

My brother-in-law’s daughter, my niece, flew home for the sole purpose of celebrating her dad’s birthday and she had been to Thailand recently and brought back a whole lot of clothes and stuff for my missus and daughter – none for me, I’m afraid…for the obvious reason that it is virtually impossible to find anything my size. She also gave us these goodies…

Goodies from niece

…for us to enjoy.

Thanks a lot, Mary, and thank you also to my brother-in-law for the birthday treat. Happy birthday once again, God bless always and all good wishes in the year ahead.

Just looking…

I have a maternal cousin living in Miri and his missus met us at the airport upon arrival in the city and later she took us around sightseeing before sending my girl to the venue of the course she had to attend. Another maternal cousin and her hubby from Bintulu were in town too so they came along with us as well.

This is the view of another section of the city…

Miri city

…from the hotel where I was staying and that’s the first shopping  complex in Miri but I suppose it has long been overshadowed by all the new ones, all a whole lot bigger and very much more impressive.

First stop, Canada Hill…

Grand Old Lady

I vaguely remember going all the way up to see the Grand Old Lady, the first oil rig in Miri, once but that was so many years ago, probably somewhere in the 80’s. From the top, you can see the bird’s eye view of the city centre…

From Cananda Hill

Yes, it was a hot afternoon. I thought Kuching was hotter than Sibu but I found Miri to be even hotter than Kuching. They say that has got something to do with it being right by the sea.

We drove to Luak Bay and stopped by the beach there…

eLuak Bay beach

…and as it was so hot, we quickly snapped a few photographs and dashed right back into the car. Along the way, we saw some incredibly gigantic mansions – ummm…no, I don’t think they should be called mansions and for want of a better word, let’s just call them palaces. You’ll just have to see the grossly ostentatious display of opulence to believe.

Then, it was time to send my girl to the “golf and country club resort”…

G&CCR 1

…which was to be the venue of her course for the next few days…

G&CCR 2

It  certainly looks very nice, doesn’t it?

G&CCR 3

My cousin’s wife had to go and pick the son so she dropped us there to settle everything and she would come back later. We tried to register and check in but the hotel staff told us we had to go to the Mahogany Hall to do that, adding that it was very far from the resort’s lobby and she gave us a map to tell us the way. My Bintulu cousin quickly phoned my cousin’s wife and she had to make a u-turn to come to the rescue.

We got to the hall (which was mis-spelt as “Mahongany Hall” on the sign there) but there was not a living soul around. The participants were told  to report between 2.30-4.30 p,m, and it was well past 4 by then. The hall was ready, tea was ready…just that there wasn’t anybody around. In the past when I had to go for things like this, there would be the urusetia (secretariat) on standby to see to everything. Well, since there was tea and  there wasn’t anybody, we helped ourselves and waited. Eventually, some ladies appeared and they told us that they had checked in at the lobby where we were earlier and they were given their rooms…and no, there was no sign of anybody from the ministry, the organisers.

Luckily, my cousin’s wife had come back by then and we took her car back to where we started. My girl was given her room this time around and while she was going through the process, I saw the ministry people dressed up to the nines, overcoats and all…and also the facilitators. They had just arrived! Once my girl had got the key, we went to look for her place of stay in that sprawling resort…

Mel's chalet

Good grief! It certainly looked shabby inside and badly needed a lot of sprucing up and it was so very dim – I wonder how anyone could do any work in the chalet if they wished to do so. The air conditioner was not cold at all and while I was outside, I saw some of the outdoor units behind some of the other chalets. They were rusty and one was covered with some green moss-like coating. Good grief!!! I wonder when the last time was when they cleaned and serviced their air-conditioners. Actually, I saw their room promotion – only RM90++ for a standard double and I was thinking of staying there…but they were full. Thank God for small mercies!!!

While I was outside, I spotted the ministry people and the rest coming in the hotel coaster to look at the hall/function room. I asked one of them about the reporting and registration but she said there wouldn’t be any – the participants would just have  to show up that night at 8.30 p.m. for the first session. Now, that was not what they said in the calling letter. I was involved in a lot of such official things prior to my retirement and though at times, things might  not have been all that satisfactory, it was never as terribly messy as this. With the likes of these up there, no wonder everything is in such shambles these days.

I also heard that the food they were served was not good and one of the facilitators was overheard passing a remark that they would never want to come to Sarawak again…and I must say that I am not in the least surprised! Tsk! Tsk!

Once-a-year day…

Gosh!!! Time does seem to fly, really…and it seemed like only yesterday when we had our reunion bash and before we knew it, it was time to get together yet once again.

My school’s alumni’s annual reunion dinner was held at the same venue on Saturday, 5th April…to coincide with the Ching Ming festival so that those ex-students coming home to perform their filial duties would be able to join. This year, the festival did not coincide with Good Friday so they did not have the luxury of a long weekend at their disposal – some had already got everything done the previous weekend or earlier during the week-long mid-semester school break. Probably that was why there were only 80 tables, or so I was told, as opposed to 100 last year…

SHOSA SEOSA annual reunion dinner 2014

There was a sape band in attendance…

The Etnik Revolution

- winners of the Borneo Talent Award, the Etnik Revolution, 3 of whom were former students of my school, playing some of the popular hits of today and also those from days gone by, in their unique traditionally and exotically-Sarawak style. I think I heard “I’m yours“. “The Final Countdown“, the very popular “Anak kampung” and a very familiar Mandarin oldie – if I’m not mistaken, it was this one.

There was also some entertainment such as this dance by our counterparts from our sister school…

Cha cha cha

…and of course, there was the food.

It was RM450.00 a table this year – if I remember correctly, it was less last year but I’m not very sure as I can’t really remember now. I do not know exactly how much a table was. Perhaps, the associations would use part of the money for their funds for their various activities, I wouldn’t know, but it did not matter really as I would say the food was good and we enjoyed what was served very much.

The first dish was our more-than-Four Seasons…

more-than Four Seasons

- the hot version with the gravy, kept constantly warm with the fire down below.

The soup followed and thankfully. I could not find any trace of the unmentionable in it so it was more like an egg and shredded chicken soup thickened with corn starch. It was very nice though – which goes to show very obviously that whether there is any of the offensive stuff in the soup or not, it does not make any difference as it is completely tasteless and more for some people to flaunt their wealth than for anything else.

Personally, I feel that the stuffed duck here…

Stuffed duck 1

…is the best in town and it did not matter one bit that they did not bother about the presentation for after the waiter had cut it up…

Stuffed duck 2

…it looked a whole lot better than when it was served…

Stuffed duck 3

…and it tasted really good too! We all loved the glutinous rice in it as well and in fact, Melissa had two huge servings of this!

Ken, my ex-classmate back from Brisbane, Australia, was swept off his feet by the fish curry…

Fish curry

…served with the very fragrant Sarawak’s own Bario rice. He said it was absolutely beautiful and I would say it was pretty good though I do know of a place in town that does it a lot better.

This vegetable and mushroom dish followed…

Vegetable & mushroom

…and then, there was the black pepper lamb…

Black pepper lamb

…which was nice too but I thought having had our fill with all that came before, it was kind of heavy and I would very much prefer a prawn dish instead…and lastly, we had the fruit platter.

I really must thank my ex-classmate and good friend, Robert, for making the arrangements and booking two tables for all of us – the Class of ’69/’71 from our school and the girls’ school next door…and the kind and generous guy insisted that it was his treat and simply refused to accept any payment of our share. Oh dear! Oh dear! And I even brought my family along – so shy lah, really!

Nope! I did not sing this year. We were all very good and behaved ourselves but I did go on stage to receive our lucky draw prize – they did it table by table and both our tables won something! This was what we got inside the boxes…

Lucky draw prize

They say they’re very good but I wouldn’t know as I would usually use some old towels or t-shirts as and when necessary and most of the time, I would just send my car to the car wash. I’m too old to wash it myself now, I’m afraid. Sigh!!!!

Ah yes!!! One more thing! There was this pretty lady that night who stopped by my table to say hello and she added, “I like your blog!!!” Ooooooo….that certainly made my day! It sure is nice to know that there are people out there who actually appreciate what I’m doing and enjoy my daily sharing. Now, who says old people are boring? Tsk! Tsk! LOL!!!

So, there you have it! Our annual reunion dinner for this year, 2014…and if anyone is interested, it has been announced that next year, it will be held on the 4th of April (Saturday) so those abroad especially can start planning their trip home right away…

More than anything……

It’s my blog’s 6th anniversary today. Yes, it has been six years since my first post on the 7th of March, 2008.

Dining in the dark
*Still eating after all these years…*

Many came and many went – I don’t think any who used to drop by and comment are still doing that these days anymore. If you care to look at the people who commented on that inaugural post, all the unfamiliar names that you will see would bear testament to that. Some were bloggers then though I don’t know if any of them are still doing that but some do keep in touch like the ones who would take the trouble to come and visit me during Chinese New Year, for instance…

Ex-blogger friends
*Archive photo*

I certainly am thankful and appreciate that very much even though I am not too sure whether they still drop by my blog anymore to see what I’ve been up to lately. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t…but it doesn’t really matter as it doesn’t change the fact that through my blog (and theirs) at one point in time, we became friends and have remained so to this very day.

Indeed, what I am most grateful for, after all these years of blogging, is the priceless friendships that I have made with all the wonderful people that otherwise, I would never have got to know. That alone is enough to keep me blogging and I certainly look forward to make lots and lots more friends in the years to come. As we would write in our autograph books in our younger days…
Make new friends, keep the old
One is silver, the other is gold
.

Six years. Six years of warmth, love and affection from you, you and you. Who could ask for more?

I have nothing, nothing at all, to give in return other than my friendship and all that you will get to see each passing day in this simple blog of mine which, I hope,will serve as a permanent record of everything especially all the happiness, all the joy that we have shared and will share over the years, precious times, precious moments to be cherished forever.

Thank you…from the bottom of my heart.

The last farewell…

It has been a week now since that fateful morning when, at the break of dawn, I received the devastating news of the tragic accident that took the life of one loved so dearly.

His father called me that afternoon and in between sobs, he thanked me and my family for our love and for always taking good care of his son. I told him that I would be at the funeral but he insisted that I should not go as it would be troublesome but nonetheless, there was no question about it. I just had to go. I just had to be there to bid him one last farewell…

It was held at the St Theresa’s Church…

F1

…in his hometown, Serian…

F2

It was a sad sad day for all – those who were not able to be present and all that thronged the parish hall that morning to say goodbye…

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He looked very good – like he was sleeping peacefully but the fact remained that we had lost someone so close to our hearts, leaving behind an emptiness that would be impossible to fill ever again.

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The school band, of which he was the teacher-in-charge, was there…

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…and when they played Amazing Grace, there was not a dry eye in the hall…

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…as everyone, even his students, wept uncontrollably. He passed away on Sunday and I heard that all day Monday, his students were lining up at the staff room in his school to leave flowers and messages on his table – they must have loved him so much too…just like me and my family and all his friends.

I flew to Kuching and got a ride to Serian for his funeral but I was not the only one who came from afar. Mohan, who was formerly his colleague in Bintulu and a very close friend, came all the way from Ipoh…and I met someone from Sungai Petani who said that she flew from Penang to KL to Kuching and made her way to the little town. There were many others from all over Sarawak as well and I felt very thankful to those who stopped by to say a few comforting words to me, those who knew us and how we were such great friends – I certainly appreciated that.

It has been a week now – the tears have yet to run dry, the hurt and the pain still remain…and deep in my heart, I know, for sure, that the memory of you, Jimmy, and all the happy moments we shared would live on and on forever in our hearts.

It has been a week now and to this day, I still ask WHY…why, Jimmy, why?

FOOTNOTE:
There will be a special Requiem Mass for Jimmy tomorrow, Monday, the 24th Of February, 2014 at 5.30 p.m. at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Kuching. Those friends and loved ones in the city, do try to show up and pray for the repose of his soul, may he rest in peace.
Thanks.