It sure took a long long time…

Sometime ago, on 1st August to be exact, I posted something on my rambutan tree behind my house. At the time, it had flowered and tiny green fruits were starting to appear. I was thinking that they might ripen the following month in time for Stella to enjoy when she came home from Down Under but unfortunately, no. Finally, some two months later, they are ready for the plucking…

STP's rambutans 1

It sure took a long long time, I must say…but despite the fact that I never bother about the tree, it will bear a lot of fruits each time and what’s special about it is its thick, crunchy and juicy flesh…

STP's rambutans 2

Personally, I am not that crazy over rambutans; I would very much prefer dabai, provided they’re good ones. So most of the time, I would go and pluck and battle with the ants in the process, and give to friends and family.

Now, since we’re talking about time, this will not take long to prepare – steamed meat with cincaluk (fermented shrimps).

STP's steamed meat with cincaluk

It is best with pork belly or chicken but I had neither, so I just used the pork bones in the fridge that my wife had bought for cooking the stock for soups. So what you do is to cut the meat into bite-size pieces, put in 4-6 slices of ginger (You can cut them into thin strips if you do not mind eating the ginger), two tablespoons of cincaluk, half a teaspoon of msg and half a cup of water. Mix thoroughly and steam for 20-30 minutes.

STP's steamed meat with cincaluk 2

There you have it, a delicious dish for the family with hardly any hassle at all! As for those who have this adversion for the “stench” of cincaluk, you can add two tablespoons of Chinese/Foochow red wine and that will drown out the cincaluk smell. I did it the other day but I think I would prefer to do without the wine. Love that “stench”!

And still on the topic of food, a popular Foochow dish is pek ting eyok duck or chicken. This pek ting eyok is a combination of herbs (Don’t ask me what they comprise!) available in packets at all Chinese drug stores here. My missus doesn’t take duck so I had to cook that with chicken…and since I had some leftover, I cooked this pek ting eyok chicken mee sua for myself yesterday morning for breakfast…

STP's pek ting eyok chicken mee sua

Care to join me, anyone? ROTFLMAO!!!

This is why I’m hot…

…hot as in angry or mad, that is! And so is Clare, if you care to go and read a recent post in her blog.

I have explained again and again but it seems that the message does not get through to some individuals. Some nuts are pretty hard to crack, I guess. Or maybe they did not bother to read my replies to other people’s comments or perhaps they just drop by once in a blue moon, so they must have missed those.

The perennial complaint – that my photos are so small – will crop up again and again. Now, let us take a look at what it is like on MY monitor…

STP's blog page 1

The person, whoever it was, who set up the blog for me, chose this 3-column theme and when I post the medium-sized photos, everything falls into the columns nicely. I hope all of you can see that! And on my monitor, they are big enough…or at least, that is what I would think!

Now, if I were to use the large-sized photos, they would stretch into TWO columns. The other two on the right would be pushed out of the screen but in the meantime, the text would remain in its one-column size. So if you take a look at the photo below, you will see that there are a lot of white blank spaces and in MY point of view, that would upset the balance in the layout.

STP's blog page 2

I think I’m slightly autistic in nature and I prefer everything to be neatly aligned. Anyway, do YOU go to people’s houses and say, “Aiyor…why is your TV so small?” or “Humph! Queen-size only kah! How to sleep like that? Why don’t you get a king-size one?” I certainly hope your mothers taught you that it is ill-mannered to do something like that!!!

Then there are people who will drop in once in a while and complain that I always post on food. Not really! The last one wasn’t about food! This one isn’t about food! Like everything else, I will only post about food when I have things to share which, I must admit, is somewhat frequent but looking at my shape and size, you should expect that! Now let me show you what happens when I do NOT post about food…  

STP's blog stats

That’s not the stock market, my dear! That’s the graph showing my blog statistics. See the plunge yesterday when I posted on my dancing days? The two days before that were quite high – for the posts on my sambal kway teow and that SHS annual dinner and before that, I had a post on life and another one on Quachee’s book…and that would explain the drop in the graph for those two days.

Well, whatever it is, it’s MY blog and I do what I want! If you do not like what you see, get lost! Go back to your own blog and get your own things in order! After all, your page ranking is A LOT LOWER than mine! Hahahahahaha!!!! (*evil laugh in your face)

P.S.
Omigawd! What has blogging done to me? Now who was it who told me that it is therapeutic, good for relieving stress and depression? I never used to be like this. I’ve always been so nice and charming, calm and controlled, pleasant to one and all…..ROTFLMAO!!!

Traces…

This has been one of my favourite songs for a long time now, and the lyrics go something like this, “Faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases…memories in bits and pieces…”

Old photographs

…and indeed, some days, I would browse through my photo albums and look at the old photographs and the memories would come flooding back to my mind. There are those, for example, that would remind me of my dancing days at the Sibu Recreation Club…

Sibu Recreation Club 1

There was a dance hall on the upper floor and on Saturday nights, clubs and societies like the Jaycees, the Medical Club and others would organise fund-raising balls. My friends and I loved dancing but with my meagre pocket money of 20 sen a day, I had to scrimp and save to buy the ticket – usually ranging from RM2.00 to RM5.00, and we would have to buy the drinks coupons as well on the night concerned. Ladies could go in free and at times, my friends would chip in to make up the amount needed for my ticket and we would not drink the whole night through. We just wanted to go and dance… 

Sibu Recreation Club 2

Well, the Sibu Recreation Club or SRC as it was called, is no more. They have demolished the whole building and today, the towering Wisma Sanyan stands where it once stood.

The first photograph shows a dinner cum dance at the Sarawak Club in Kuching. This would be the original Sarawak Club before it got burnt down not too long ago in a fire that razed it to the ground…

Kuching Sarawak Club 1

I cannot remember the occasion now but it probably was New Year’s Eve. Sophia’s parents invited me to join them together with the three daughters (I think they were there but not the youngest one who was still a toddler at the time) and also Gerrie’s parents and Lindy Sister…

Kuching Sarawak Club 2

It is kind of sad that those dances or balls are now things of the past. I drop by clubs and discos sometimes but it is all so different now. Once, I went to Hard Rock Cafe KL to check out the scene there. No, I did not have to queue; I had privileged entry (plus no cover charge) as I was staying at the hotel. Gosh! It was so crowded and the people were like sardines in a can, with hardly any space to move…and when the band played Nirvana’s “The man who sold the world”, everybody started moving vertically (not that they had a choice) like they were jumping on imaginary pogo sticks. I just sighed, and I turned and left. It just wasn’t the same…anymore.

Could it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again,
tell me…would we?…Could we?
(The way we were)

Anything you can do…

…I can do as well, or perhaps even better!

My daughter loved the sambal kway teow at Lok Ming Yuen, the coffee shop across the road from Mitsu Tea House, and I used to go there for the beef noodles, but the other day, I decided to have the kway teow for a change. When it was served, I had the shock of my life! The portion was so small that they actually served it in a saucer.

Sibu's sambal kway teow

And it did not come cheap either. I cannot remember exactly but I think it was around RM3.00. Feeling disgusted, I decided to buy some kway teow (RM1.60 a kilo) and fry my own.

STP's samba; kway teow

I did not go to the market so I did not have any ku chai (Chinese chives) or taugeh (bean sprouts) but what I cooked up in the end could make up at least 10 plates. Even with the prawns, the eggs, the udang kering (dried prawns) and other ingredients, it would not possibly come up to RM30-35.00. These business people are really having a field day jacking up the prices of everything and reducing the amount drastically. And mine was much more fragrant and much more delicious…

STP's sambal kway teow 2

The way things are going, you can bet that from now on, I would just cook my own…and see how long those cut-throats, those daylight robbers would last!

Anyway, to move on from that, I dropped by faisaladmar’s blog and he had a post on a function that he attended wearing a green Indian outfit with a matching sash. Well, in his reply to one of my comments, he asked whether I had an Indian outfit. After all, it was Deepavali yesterday.

The answer, Faisal, is YES!!!

@ SHS Annual Dinner 2007 1
From http://shssibu.edu.my

I have TWO black ones and this one has brown trimmings…

@ SHS Annual Dinner 2007 2
From http://shssibu.edu.my

…while the other one has cylindrical bamboo-like buttons. No, I do not have a sash to go with them, thank you!

Coincidentally, Clare was also into the mood of the festive season and she posted a photo of herself in a blue saree. You can hop over to have a look. Nope! Sorry, nothing peeking out from under her mid-riff blouse! Hahahahaha!!! Well, Deepavali’s over. Those of you across the South China Sea will be back in the office today (to go blog-hopping). Next stop – Christmas!!! Planning anything yet?

P.S.
By the way, anybody recognises the couple in front? Huai Bin? LOL!!!

Together again…

Gee! How time flies! Last year around this time, I attended the annual dinner of my school, SMK Sacred Heart here in Sibu, during which I was a guest-of-honour as I was retiring. In a blink of an eye, a year has come and gone so fast.

I am indeed glad that though I have left the school for a year, I have not been forgotten. They have graciously invited me to this year’s event which was a grand affair as it was a combined effort with the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association), with around 40 tables (including the invited guests, parents and students) compared to the usual 10 tables  or so (guests and staff only). The function was held at the Phoenix Court at the Paramount Hotel here…

Paramount Hotel, Sibu

Here, you can see a section of the crowd…

SHS Annual Dinner 2008

which included my two godsons, Elias (also my ex-student) and his brother, Kevin…

STP's godsons

Those days, I often had students asking me to be their godfather for their sacrament of Confirmation though personally, I would think I make a rather poor spiritual role model. LOL!!! The food was quite nice, starting with the assorted dish – the Four Seasons…

SHS Annual Dinner 1

followed by the soup dish…

SHS Annual Dinner 2

Hold your horses, Daniel Thong! It looked like sharks’ fins soup, it tasted like sharks’ fins soup but it wasn’t sharks’ fins soup! LOL!!! They had fish maw in the soup instead. Then there was the fish head curry…

SHS Annual Dinner 3

It was quite well done compared to the time when I was here with Huai Bin. The gravy was very nice but I did not like the strong fishy smell of the fish. I guess they used a better type of fish the other day when I had it at Sheraton. Next came the honey fried chicken…

SHS Annual Dinner 4

…and the vegetable/mushroom dish…

SHS Annual Dinner 5

After that, I had to go off somewhere (Again…ask no questions and I’ll tell no lies!) and in the meantime, they served this black pepper lamb dish…

SHS Annual Dinner 6

Nobody waited for me to come back to take the photo; they just dug in! Anyway, I do not quite care for black pepper, so I just had a bit of that. It wasn’t that great but then I might be biased! The sweet yam dessert followed…

SHS Annual Dinner 7

and along with it came the agar-agar (jelly) and fruits…

SHS Annual Dinner 8

Come to think of it, I don’t know why they call it an 8-course dinner when the last two dishes should be counted as one – dessert! On the whole, it was pretty nice…not great, just pretty nice. I did not find out how much it was per table but considering the rising prices of things, that should be around RM300-350. We used to have something like that for RM250…but those were the days.

There were speeches and lots and lots of lucky draws – table and individual. For the table draws, they would pull out a number and everybody at that table would get a prize. I was asked to sit at the SHOSA (Sacred Heart Old Students’ Association, Sibu) table but I went and sat with my ex-colleagues instead…and the SHOSA table won! What rotten luck! LOL!!!

SHOSA - lucky draw winners

I did not get the individual prizes either. My number was 4343 and they drew 4342 instead. Drats! LOL!!! Neither did I get to sing as there wasn’t much time left for that but I would say that was a blessing in disguise especially with Allan around, an ex-student who was formerly attached to a publishing firm and now to a bookstore here. He had won a number of singing competitions even at state-level and those at the Malay kampung here. He did Search’s “Isabella” flawlessly, hitting all the high notes with perfect pitching…

Allan rendering

I remember my karaoke days at the Spice Bazaar here when this song was a hit and how I suffered, with all the agonising screeching like dicekik hantu (strangled by a ghost) by all the Amy-wannabes. With singing like Allan’s, my half-past-six effort would surely pale in comparison. Whew!

Then, to keep to the mood of the recent festive season, they ended the evening with a Hari Raya song by a group of sweet and young Malay lady-teachers who invited the very dynamic, very sporting and very handsome principal, Mr. Vincent Liong to join them…

SHS principal in action

Ok, Mr. Liong, since I did not get the chance to sing this year, you will have to invite me again next year. LOL!!!

And just when I thought that would be the last of the dinners for the year, I received this…

Jude's wedding invitation

Jude (blogger Clement’s brother) passed me an invitation to his wedding next month, so it certainly looks like “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings” or in this case, the fat guy! ROTFLMAO!!!

P.S.
Happy Deepavali to anyone celebrating the Festival of Lights today.

Circle of life…

I received this via email and I thought I would like to share it with everybody today…

Wheels of life
Original source unknown

The first time I saw it, it brings to mind the biblical quotation that says: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19) This is the circle of our life.

Whether we like it or not, we are born into this world and need others to nurture and take care of us and then we go to school… 

STP as a boy

…and join the insane paper chase. Once we are done with that, we will go out into the world. We toil day and night to put food on the table and to make ends meet…trying desperately to find the meaning of our being here. We plod on each passing day and at times, we may stumble and fall but we will get up again and continue our journey along life’s long and winding road. At times, we may feel unappreciated, unable to see the purpose in what we do but at other times, we may feel consoled by any recognition that we may get along the way for our blood, sweat and tears…

STP's souvenirs from LPM Malaysia

…but at the end of the day, when we have reached our golden years, we stop working to reap the harvest of what we have sowed over the years. As the saying goes, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that he shalt reap.” 

In the words of Mother Teresa:
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is bliss, taste it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.

Have a nice Sunday, everyone!

Please Mr Postman…

The postman came on Saturday morning (the 11th, if I remember correctly) but I was not home at the time, so he left a slip of paper in my letter box asking me to go and collect something at the Sibu General Post Office. It rained that day and by the time my missus noticed it that night, it was already soaking wet so I had to leave it to dry. I went during lunchtime on Monday…but the guy who was supposed to be at the counter had gone off for lunch. Anyway, he came back in a bit and handed over to me my “prize”.

It was my complimentary copy of Quachee’s 50+1 Malaysia book. I have put the word “prize” in quotation marks because everyone who submitted something got a copy, so it would not be a prize in the true sense of the word. As a matter of fact, it was not really a competition per se in the end since everybody got something. Well, actually I had bought a copy of my own already at MPH when I was in Sungai Petani a few months ago at the promotional price of RM19.90, but never mind! Consider it as a small contribution on my part in support of a fellow-blogger. Thanks a lot, Quachee, for the book.

Well, there was a signed letter inside, so a pat on the back for Quachee…

50+1 Malaysia 1

I hate those “computer-generated letters” that make one feel so insignificant. What’s even better than that is he personally autographed each individual copy of the book…

50+1 Malaysia 2

…even though his handwriting reminds me of a doctor’s prescription! LOL!!! The book has been reviewed by some newspapers and magazines and it seems to be pretty well-received. Well, I will be very frank and anyway, I have already passed these comments somewhere and Guachee has been gracious enough to accept them and responded very positively that he would take note of them in his future publications.

My first reaction when I saw the book on the shelf at MPH was, “It’s SO small!!!”

50+1 Malaysia 3

I bought the “Sibu in the making” book a few years ago and I think it was sold at RM50.00. I guess it must have been sponsored by some big shots in town and it was in a way a politically-motivated book and therefore, profit from the sale of the book would not be a top priority. But I think I read somewhere that Quachee’s book will be sold eventually for RM51.00. No doubt the prices of things have escalated like nobody’s business but I feel that is a bit too steep for a small book like that and it’s paperback some more, not hard cover like the Sibu book. After all, there are a number of advertisements in the book, so that should help cover the printing costs.

Now, the book being pocket-size, the photographs inside are very small – some stamp-sized, in fact!

50+1 Malaysia 4

And the font-size of the print is so small that I found it hard to read it in the hotel where I was staying in Sungai Patani.

50+1 Malaysia 5

I was only able to browse through it with ease in the aeroplane on my flight home and I noticed something else about the book then. I am not going to elaborate on this as I have mentioned it to Quachee already somewhere that in his future publications, he should get a good English language editor. (I’m available…cheap! Just pay for my air ticket, hotel and meals! LOL!!!)

On the whole, it is a nice and handy book with a whole lot of information about Malaysia and some very nice photographs, small though they may be. For one thing, it contributes towards putting our country in a favourable perspective which is more than what I can say about certain parties around. Good job, Quachee! Do keep it up…and thanks again!

P.S.
Actually I wanted to give the copy of the book that I had bought to Stella when she was home from Down Under but when the time came, it just slipped my mind so now, I have two copies of the book. Anybody’s birthday coming up? Or perhaps that can be one of my Christmas presents this year. Too bad Kpg Nangka Boy’s already too old to get X’mas presents! ROTFLMAO!!!