Something different…

Lately I’ve noticed a change in my regular kuih-muih stall at Bandong. They seem to be selling more and more cakes of various varieties e.g. this one that they call “cheese batik cake”…

Bandong cheese batik cake

It is really very nice with the cheese cream and the grated cheese on top of the rich batik cake. I can’t remember exactly now but I think they were selling that for RM3.00…and I thought that was a bit too expensive. But then again, the sliced cakes at the bakeries are not much cheaper, possibly a lot more expensive even, and they do not even taste good.

I love this Horlicks cake selling at 50 sen per piece…

Bandong Horlicks cake

You can actually taste the Horlicks…like when there is some undissolved Horlicks stuck to the bottom of your mug and you scrape it with a spoon and put that in your mouth. Ooooo…nice! LOL!!!

But considering that you only get two pieces of a ringgit, I would rather stick to the local delights like this kuih deram, for instance.

Bandong kuih deram

For RM1, you can get four of those…and Sarawak laksa is selling for only RM2.50 a packet, 50 sen cheaper than the cheese batik cake and a lot more filling…

Bandong Sarawak laksa

Of course, there are no shrimps or prawns. Surely you do not expect that for RM2.50! Even at Thomson Corner, if you ask for the normal ones at around RM4.00 a bowl, you only get three miserably tiny shrimps.

This one tasted good…but I was not too sure about the sambal. Instead of the usual sambal belacan that we would get with our Sarawak laksa, they gave something like the sambal for nasi lemak

Bandong Sarawak laksa 2

Somehow or other, when I mixed it with the gravy, it tasted different. Nice, but different…

The 7 Lontong Song…

Have you heard the 7 Lontong Song before? I’m sure you have but if you insist that you haven’t, then just click and watch this video clip…

Hahahahaha!!! I told you that you’ve heard it before but you would not believe me! Anyway, it’s not the season yet – still a long way to go! But seriously, this post is about lontong. Well, this is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:

Lontong is an Asian dish made of compressed rice that is then cut into small cakes. Popular in Indonesia and Malaysia, the dish is usually served cold or at room temperature with sauce-based dishes such as gado-gado and salads, although it can be eaten as an accompaniment to other dishes such as satay and curries. It is also used in soto as an alternative to vermicelli noodles.

Lontong is traditionally made by partly cooking the rice and packing it tightly into a rolled-up banana leaf. The leaf is then secured and cooked in boiling water for about 90 minutes. Once it is cooled, the rice compacts and can be cut up into bite-sized pieces.

Well, if you have never tried lontong before, there is a West Malaysian lady from Negeri Sembilan selling that at Bandong here in Sibu in the morning. Her stall is right next to the surau opposite the primary school. For RM3.00, you get the rice cut into cubes…

Lontong 1

…plus the ikan bilis (anchovies) sambal and half an egg. Other than that, you will also be given the gravy…

Lontong 2

I remember eating lontong for the very first time (and probably the last as I don’t recall ever eating it again) in 1973 at the Lontong House in Singapore along one of the lanes in the vicinity of Orchard Road and my reaction was that it was ketupat served in sayur masak lemak (vegetables cooked in santan/coconut milk). Well, that is exactly what it is – cabbage and long beans cooked with a bit of santan. You put the rice cubes in a bowl and pour in the gravy…

Lontong 3

…and then you mix in the sambal and eat it. I found that it was not lemak enough (not enough santan) and for RM3.00, it could do with a little bit more ingredients – maybe a few thin slices of fish cake or some fish balls or shrimps…and I think a bit of tung hoon (glass noodles) would be nice too.

Lontong 4

Well, if you have never eaten lontong before, you can just pop over to Bandong one morning and get a packet…and you can add the extra ingredients yourself! LOL!!!

Footnote:
She also sells other things like nasi lemak and chicken rice but her stall as well as the one selling murtabak (The guy’s from Penang, somewhere near the Penang/Kedah border) are not open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Garden Party…

In my previous post, I touched on the Journalist Day gathering hosted by the people from a local daily here. It was held at the Garden Hotel Coffee House. The curry was nice…

Garden party 1

…and it went really well with the special rice they had, some kind of nasi minyak or something like that. The fried mihun and char kway teow tasted a bit burnt though. They had a really very wide selection in the buffet spread including this dish of sotong (squids)…

Garden Party 2

…and tofu…

Garden Party 3

…and even paku (wild jungle fern)…

Garden Party 4

There were a lot of other choices and I was beginning to think that the theme was probably “Malaysian delights” or something along that line…until I saw the pasta dish…

Garden Party 5

There was even the celebrated Sibu kompia

Garden Party 6

…and do-it-yourself fruit rojak

Garden Party 7

…and this was the dessert spread…

Garden Party 8

There were many other dishes but I did not take any photographs of the rest…and I did not eat most of them as well. I just had one helping and was not too impressed so I decided to just go for the dessert which wasn’t that great either.

I heard that the buffet dinner was RM30.00 per head, so I had expected something better than that. I think their regular weekend barbecue buffet dinner does not cost as much. For one thing, they did not need to have so many items on the menu. After all, nobody can eat all that – just a few selected dishes would suffice…and they can give something special like (freshwater) prawns and fish. I don’t think I saw any that night.

Prior to my retirement, I used to organise functions at the Li Hua Hotel Restaurant – the buffet dinners there were a lot cheaper. I don’t know the current prices but at the time, we could get some very delicious fare at RM10-12.00 per head, enough for everybody to eat to his or her heart’s content…and they had a very good P.A. system (and a stage) unlike what we had that night. The echo was annoying and the constant feedback was equally irritating. The equipment looked brand new…so probably that was the first time they were holding a function like that in their premises. Hopefully, they will learn from the experience and improve.

All in all, I had a good time that evening mingling with my fellow-bloggers and friends. So, thank you once again, Yan, for the invitation…

Getting together…

On Monday night, I was invited by Yan to a gathering hosted by a local daily in conjunction with “Journalists’ Day”. The guest-of-honour was YB Datuk Wong…

BP Journalists' Day gathering 1

…who was my History teacher in Form 6 1970/1971 and when I was posted to a school in Sibu in 1983, he was the principal there…but only for a year as he left the education service at the end of that year. Gee! In his speech, he mentioned me specifically and said that we were “ex-colleagues”…instead of saying that he was actually my superior.  LOL!!! Politicians certainly have a way with words.

We were all given a special t-shirt to wear that evening and luckily, I could squeeze into my XXXL one. In case you’re wondering why I was invited, it was because Yan extended the invitation to some of her blogger-friends and those that we know around Sibu. Her newspaper had featured some of our posts in the column: “From the blogging world”.

So, there were some other fellow-bloggers around that night – some VERY young ones, including Victor

Victor of victorkiu.com

…who very kindly gave me a lift as parking could be a pain at the venue owing to the limited parking spaces available there. Then I also met this handsome blogger…

BP Journalists' Day gathering 2

…who would prefer not to be named. He comments regularly on all of my posts and turns out to be my neighbour’s nephew! What a pleasant surprise! His younger aunties, four of them, were my friends from our “requesting” days. Small world, isn’t it?

Then, there was this ex-student of mine, Raphael

BP Journalists' Day gathering 3

…who seems to be more active on Facebook these days than in his blogs. As you can see, I have “borrowed” the photo from Victor…but hey! Why on earth is my hair that colour? I definitely did NOT dye it!!! LOL!!!

Then, besides me, there were other not-so-young bloggers including rubberseeds, Bengbeng and Abana.

The food wasn’t that great. I had ONE helping…

BP Journalists' Day gathering 4

…and after that, I went straight for the fruits and dessert…

BP Journalists' Day gathering 5

I may put up another post on the food and stuff at a later date…but it certainly was nice to be part of that special evening for Yan and her colleagues and I had a great time socialising with my blogger-friends, old and new.

I wonder when we will have another opportunity to get together like this again…

Nice to be with you…

I went back to the Nice House Restaurant for dinner on Saturday night and we had the fish maw soup…

Nice House 1

…with lots of fish maw in it…

Nice House 2

It was very nice but in my opinion, not thick enough for what they called the thick version of the soup. It did not really matter though as long as it tasted good. After all, it’s just cornflour that makes such soups thick.

At this particular restaurant, their own homemade tofu is a must…

Nice House 3

The tofu is really light, fine and smooth unlike what you can get at the market in town. We tried it in a different style of cooking and it was pretty good but I prefer the way we had it on our previous visit – tofu on a sizzling plate topped with minced meat and salted fish…but then, we wanted their beef in a sizzling plate…

Nice House 4

This is my daughter’s favourite and as always, it tasted great! We also had their bitter gourd with fermented beans…

Nice House 5

…which was good too but I prefer Ruby’s where they fry it with salted eggs and the veg somehow seems to be less bitter. I ordered this pork dish so as to try something new/different for a change…

Nice House 6

This was supposed to be pork belly with salted fish and dried chilli but there was no hint whatsoever of any salted fish in it…and I would prefer it darker – with more soy sauce. What I had at Stall No. 7 at Taman Muhibbah Food Centre near my house was so much nicer. The saving grace was the taste was good, just different…

Nice House 7

Now, here comes the best part. The whole lot plus three drinks and four rice (somebody had an extra serving) came up to only RM42.00 which is considerably cheap…especially when compared to the other restaurant!

Well, if anybody’s thinking of dropping by, have a NICE time there!

The wind blows…

These came from Kpenyu all the way from the Land below the Wind. Bukitassek came back to Sibu for a night for All Souls’ Day (in advance) and so Kenyu grabbed the chance to send me some dim sum from one of the popular places in town – Wong Kwok .

I used to love the dim sum at this place in KK called Foo Phing but the last time I went there, I was quite disappointed as the quality had gone down a great deal. Anyway, Kpenyu sent me these steamed paos (buns)…

KK dimsum 1

They’re something like those at the Mitsu Tea House here – the nice steamed buns with butter custard filling that I love a lot but they’re not quite the same. These are very nice too.

The lor mai kai, however, were quite disappointing…

KK dimsum 2

They were very small, the sticky rice was not really sticky and I could not find any hay bee (dried prawns) or hio kor (dried shitake mushroom) inside…

KK dimsum 3

The taste was all right but a far cry from what I have had elsewhere.

But these were ABSOLUTELY heavenly…

KK dimsum 4

I don’t know what they’re called but there was this piece of scallop on top and inside, there were prawns…

KK dimsum 5

…and the translucent skin was just perfect. I don’t know how many he sent – at least 20, if I’m not mistaken…and we finished the whole lot in one sitting! No prize for guessing who ate most of them! Yum! Yum! ROTFLMAO!!!

Thanks a lot, Kpenyu…and thanks to you too, Bukitassek, for going through the trouble of carrying all that all the way from Kota Kinabalu. Anybody coming to Sibu for Christmas? Hahahahaha!!!!

Comfortable…

Anybody dropping by Sibu is most warmly welcomed to put up at my place. There is a spare room…

STP's guest room

…with a queen-size double bed. Put in an additional single bed/mattress, it should be comfortable enough for three persons. Other arrangements may be made in the event of there being more than that coming…but you will have to book early to avoid disappointment.

And if you are bringing along your kids, you will have to make sure they are not attracted by this doggie and start playing with it…

Potty 1

…but they can use it if they have to as it is actually a potty…

Potty 2

LOL!!! That was my daughter’s…and we’ve kept it all these years. Cute, don’t you think?

Have a beautiful Sunday, everybody!

Good for you…

I got the following information from this website:

As for health benefits, the unsaturated fat content in peanut butter helps reduce the risk of heart disease by 25% (if you eat 1oz per day), its rich folate and niacin (vitamin B3) content helps increase the HDL (good cholesterol) level by as much as 30%, all while being a very good source of proteins (up to 25% of peanuts consists of proteins) and dietary fiber; the most unique property of peanut butter, though, is its high content in Resveratrol, a substance that’s been shown to have very strong anti-cancer properties.

So, do you take peanut butter? Not me! I don’t usually buy them as they’re way too expensive…especially the imported ones that can go up to over RM10.00 a bottle. But the other day, I spotted two at a supermarket here that were on offer – around RM6.oo for one brand and RM3.95 for this one…

Peanut butter 1

These are due to expire in November but as far as I know, there isn’t much one can do with peanut butter other than to eat it with bread or with cream crackers. I love putting margarine or butter on one slice and peanut butter on the other…

Peanut butter 2

Then I sandwich them together, dunk it in my coffee…

Peanut butter 3

…and eat it. Yum! Yum!

I guess it is ok with big families. The bottle of peanut butter will disappear in a jiffy…but most of the time, I’m the only one in the house eating that, so I doubt I can finish the whole lot by the time November ends.

Anybody with any wise ideas as to what I can cook or make with peanut butter, by any chance?

Little things mean a lot…

An ex-student posted this video clip on Facebook the other day and I reposted the link there as well. Actually, I had stumbled upon a copy of the story sometime ago and I had used it in my English language lessons. I can’t remember but I might have adapted it and changed it to a local setting. I usually do that with nice stories that I find as the Cambridge examiners seem to prefer tales with local flavours.

Maybe I’m a softie at heart but as I watched the video, even though the story’s nothing new to me, tears started welling in my eyes and came flowing down. Or maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, so it touched me tremendously. Perhaps you should all watch too and see how it affects you. I don’t know how to post it here, so you can either go to my profile on Facebook and watch it there or you can CLICK THIS LINK to go the website and watch the clip full screen.

People often say that students do not learn what you teach…and they learn what you do not teach. If you’re a teacher, you will be surprised as to the number of hearts you have touched in the course of your career without you realising it, through something that seemed so insignificant to you…something you said or did in passing without even giving it a thought.

Retirement 2007

…but on the other hand, there may be some who will have a perpetual grudge against you for some action of yours without you realising it…, something that seemed so insignificant to you…something you said or did in passing without even giving it a thought…or perhaps, it was because of something you did NOT do.

They will remember, believe you me. They will remember it all each time you reach out and touch their hearts…and always bear in mind that little things do mean a lot…

Insensitive…

Actually, it was Clare who linked the following report to my profile on Facebook yesterday. It had been taken from NST Online

You’re too fat to be a teacher, woman told
2009/10/21

KUCHING: When Joanna Gilbert Asson was accepted for a postgraduate course at the Teachers Training College Rajang, she was beside herself with joy. But that joy was scuppered thanks to an insensitive senior official at the college.

Joanna, 29, claimed she was discriminated against when the man told her that she was too fat to become a teacher. She wants the Education Ministry to do something about it. Joanna claimed the man told her: “You’re fat. You can’t possibly be a teacher. You look unhealthy, come back next year after you’ve slimmed down.”

A business administration graduate from Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Joanna sat for an examination and was interviewed by a panel from the college on May 19. After being told that she was successful, she reported to the college on June 22, accompanied by her parents. She paid the RM300 registration fee, collected additional forms, including those for a medical test and waited for her turn. It was then that the senior official called her into his office and told her she was fat.

“How can he judge me by my appearance alone? I have not undergone a government medical test but he was confident that I am sick.”

Joanna said she went for a medical test at a private hospital before registering, but the college rejected the result because it was not from a government clinic. In frustration, Joanna wrote to the ministry to withdraw from the course and for a refund of the registration fee.

“During the interview, nothing was said about my weight. They can see from the form that I am 110kg.”

State Education director Dr Julaihi Bujang said the college official should not have acted that way but declined to comment further. The Education Ministry’s Teacher Education Division in Putrajaya could not be contacted for comment.

FAT

I am fat, there’s no denying that and everybody knows that…and I served in the Education service for 30 years before I retired. I would not say that I was the best teacher but I can safely say that I was definitely better than many of the skinny ones around.

I headed a team of examiners marking the SPM English Language 1119 papers until I retired and one of the best I had was Madam Neigne from Sarikei High School. Like me, she has retired from the service having served much longer than I did. She was fat…and she still is. I am sure all her ex-students would say that she was a dedicated and hardworking teacher and despite her shape and size, she was the state MSSM (Majlis Sukan Sekolah-sekolah Malaysia) netball coach.

Graduates from the English Faculty, Universiti Malaya would definitely have nothing but praises and profound gratitude for the lecturer whom they fondly call “Rolly Polly”. I have met her a few times at seminars and workshops but we never got acquainted personally. And she was fat…and I’m sure she still is.

I wonder who that “insensitive senior official” at the Rejang Teacher’s Training Institute is. Is he thin? Was he ever a teacher? Perhaps we should ask HIS students whether he was a good teacher. Is he a lecturer? Perhaps HIS trainees would like to share their opinions about him. Imagine THIS kind of INSENSITIVE people in the institute training the teachers-to-be! (And for the record, I know that there is MORE than just one of them!) What kind of teachers would he be capable of producing? INSENSITIVE ones, EXACTLY like him?