If I’m not mistaken, this was one of the great works, probably the first, of the late Yasmin Ahmad – undoubtedly a true Malaysian at heart. I saw it on television then and was so impressed and inspired…

…that I sat down and wrote this story to use as one of the reading passages in my English Language lessons so that I could share this same message with my students and etch these same sentiments in their hearts…

“Huh?” I awoke with a start.

I opened my eyes. It was papa, gently rocking me up from my deep slumber. “It’s time to get up, son,” he whispered gently in his soothing, loving voice. “We’re going to Kuala Lumpur. It’s a special day today.” In the dim light of the kerosene lamp that he held in one hand, I could see that he was smiling. I sat up, still feeling drowsy, and rubbed the sleep from my eyes while papa walked over to my younger brother’s bed.

The next thing I knew, we were staggering to the well, a stone’s throw away from our house. “Take your bath first, and then you must put on your best clothes. Put on the ones you had for Deepavali last year,” papa instructed. “It’s a special day today,” he reiterated. It was barely dawn yet and from the midst of the darkness that engulfed the rubber plantation, I could hear the sound of crickets and frogs croaking.

I inadvertently let a yawn escape and at that very moment, my father poured over us a pail of water that he had drawn from the well. I jumped up when the icy water came into contact with my bare skin. It was freezing but refreshing and we were wide awake after that. After brushing our teeth, we paraded back to our room and put on our best clothes as instructed, before we headed to the kitchen for our breakfast.
Soon we were on our way.

There I was, perched on the horizontal bar of my father’s bicycle holding on tightly to the handlebars, my younger brother seated comfortably on the saddle and hanging on to my shoulders while my papa walked alongside, pushing the rusty and rickety vehicle along. My mother, dressed in her dazzling red and gold sari which she reserved for special occasions such as this, trotted closely behind trying to keep up with us.

It was not very long before the break of dawn and Kuala Lumpur came into view with the golden rays of the morning sun seeping over the horizon beyond the skyline of the city. “A new day, a new nation, a new beginning,” papa proclaimed, beaming with pride.

The stadium was crowded with people scurrying around like a crawling army of ants, and it was after much difficulty that we were able to locate some vacant seats. Never before in my life had I seen such a large congregation assembled at one place. After some time, the pageantry commenced. Some important-looking people mounted the elevated platform in the field right in the middle of the stadium. The ceremony dragged on and I was about to doze off when suddenly everyone was standing up and shouting, echoing in unison after the man on the platform.

I turned to look at my father. He and my mother were on their feet too, raising their hands and letting out cries of “Merdeka! Merdeka!” I could see the tears in their eyes, but from the radiant smiles on their faces and those of everyone else around me, I knew for sure that they were tears of joy.

Being merely a child then, I could not understand what it was all about. Today, as I reminisce on that significant day in my life, I can feel the sheer ecstasy that must have surged in my parents at that point in time when our country was liberated from the clutches of colonialism, free to soar to new heights to become what it is today. Today I look around and see this beautiful country of ours – its peace and tranquillity, the harmony among the people and the progress that we have achieved over the years and I feel within me the same pride that must have glowed in them then, and I can truly say, without any reservations whatsoever, that I am proud to be Malaysian.


I’m not too sure whether it was Confucius who said, “If you have nothing nice to say, then it is time to remain silent.”
Harap maklum; sekian, terima kasih.

The young ones…

Well, I went out with the young ones, Ryan and Julia, again…and this time, it was for breakfast. Julia would have left by the time this post gets published and Ryan by this coming weekend, so why not? It will be quite sometime before they will be back and I will get to see them again. Alfie was home for the Hari Raya holidays so they dragged him out of bed to join us as well.

We went to the Thomson Corner which everybody should be quite familiar with by now as I had posted on the stuff they serve there many times already.

Julia and Alfie had the seafood laksa

ThomsonCorner seafood laksa

…that I quite like myself and Ryan had the seafood kampua noodles…

ThomsonCorner seafood kampua
*recycled pic*

…which is one of my regular options every time I drop by the place.

That morning, I decided to have the regular kampua noodles…

ThomsonCorner kampua, regular

…which was as good as most other places in town and better than many and I also ordered the pian sip, the dry version…

ThomsonCorner pian sip, dry

I was impressed by how thin and translucent the skin was and how much meat there was compared to elsewhere where the skin may be a bit too thick at times and there would be so little meat that you get the feeling that you’re eating nothing but skin. My daughter would eat those teeny weeny bits with the meat and leave the rest of the skin behind so at the end of it all, there would be at least half a bowlful of pian sip skin.

All in all, the food was pretty good and come to think of it, this would be a good place to bring my NZ friend when she comes to town as we would be able to order a few things on the menu and she could try a bit of each. At most places, there would probably be one thing worth having at one place…and everyone would have to eat that same thing. Hmmmm…I must keep that in mind.

Well, back to our breakfast, the food was good and as always, the company was great. All the best to all of you, my very young friends, in your undertakings, till the next time you all come back home to Sibu. I certainly would be looking forward to going out and eating with you all again sometime…


I am sure everybody can remember from this post that I received these Marks & Spencer’s goodies from coffeencookies via Annie-Q when she came to town…

Marks & Spencer's goodies
*recycled pic*

The puffs weren’t too bad. I liked the pastry a lot – very thin and crispy layers and there wasn’t too much blueberry so it was just right. If there had been more of that, then it would be too sweet and I would not like it so much.

That, unfortunately, was the case with the chocolate chip Scottish shortbread. There was too much chocolate and as a result, it was very sweet and what was worse was the fact that it drowned out the Scottish shortbread taste that I love so much. I honestly feel that they should not come together – I wouldn’t mind choc chip cookies on their own…and everybody knows that I love Scottish shortbread but to me, the combination is disastrous, a complete mismatch.

But ooooo…..the All Butter Viennese left me absolutely speechless!

Marks&Spencer's All Butter Viennese 1

They are so very nice – simply out of this world…

Marks&Spencer's All Butter Viennese 2

You can taste the fragrance of the butter and it is not hard, just right…not sweet, slightly salty probably from the butter and in one word – perfect!

Marks&Spencer's All Butter Viennese 3

I was given two tubes of these so my missus and I ate one…and I gave the other one to my mum. We should always share any nice things that we may have with others – especially the ones that we love, don’t you all agree?

It was so sweet of you, coffeencookies, to send those to me. Thank you so very much once again…

The other side…

I am sure everybody can remember the nice noodles that I had at this place recently. Well, I went back to the vicinity a few days later but I did not have those noodles again. Instead I decided to try what they have at this coffee shop on the other side…

HonHin Sibu

This particular one is usually very crowded – probably because it is the one nearest to the government offices right next door making it the most convenient for the officers to drop by for breakfast or brunch and besides, the stall in this particular shop serves halal food so it would be a good place to go with one’s colleagues should there be any of a different colour or creed.

I tried the kolo mee special…

HonHin halal kolo mee special 1

…which again is nothing like the authentic stuff that we can get in Kuching but it was pretty good – except that I prefer my kampua noodles or kolo mee white – without the dark soy sauce, that is. Usually if you have the same at some other Malay stall in town, they would replace the char siew with some miserable bits of shredded (boiled) chicken but this one had stewed beef instead…

HonHin halal kolo mee special 2

Nice! Another thing is that if you eat at the Chinese stalls, their complimentary soup is usually some tasteless ultra-diluted pork bone soup with msg and light soy sauce and a sprinkling of chopped spring onions. Here, they give you a bowl of nice beef soup…

HonHin complimentary soup

…though I do wish they do not add those spices that they usually throw into the pot when cooking sup tulang or sup kambing. Other than that, I also appreciate the fact that they give you chopsticks – most of the other Malay stalls would just give you a fork and a spoon to eat your noodles with.

This bowl of kolo mee special costs RM3.50 and I guess the special is just that extra (somewhat overcooked) fried egg that you will get. Comparing the two, although this one is nice, I would probably go back to the old lady in the opposite block of shops as her kolo mee is 20 sen cheaper and has that special kick – the taste and fragrance of lard…but I may drop by this one again sometime as they seem to have a lot of things on their menu and I’m sure there must be something that keeps all those people coming back for more and I’ve yet to discover that yet.

You asked for it…

I mentioned in an earlier post that I did not have any photos to share as I did not take any when Annie-Q was in town but Facebook friends of hers would be able to see the ones she took as she had shared a whole lot of them there.

Ok…ok…just for those of you who are not her friends, I will pinch her photographs of the things we had when we went out together for dinner and post them here. I wanted to take her here…but it was closed so we ended up here instead. Well, being so deprived of all her local favourites over there in KL, we just had to order the fried midin (wild fern)…

NewCapitol fried midin

Just look at Annie’s son, Fearles, enjoying eating that…

Fearles eating midin

LOL!!! We also ordered the must-have cangkuk manis fried with egg…

NewCapitol fried cangkuk manis

I would think that both the veggie dishes were all right.

Actually, this  place is so very popular for its kampua noodles…

NewCapitol kampua

A lot of people love it and are always praising it to the skies but I think it is somewhat overrated. It is very nice, no doubt, but there are others just as nice or even nicer elsewhere.

It is the same with its chicken rice…

NewCapitol chicken rice

I went to eat it once but it did not get me jumping up and down with delight. Well, that night, we ordered the rice, in place of plain white rice, to eat with the dishes we were having and instead of the chicken, we ordered their very famous original-style roast duck…

NewCapitol roast duck

…which was all right and again, it wasn’t anything to shout about. Annie thought it was rather dry and would prefer the Hongkong-style ones and I must say that I quite agree with her.

I enjoyed their sweet and sour pork ribs though…

NewCapitol sweet sour pork ribs

I thought they were very nicely done…and to wash all that down, we had the Foochow-style tofu soup…

NewCapitol Foochow tofu soup

All things considered, we did enjoy the dinner and it would be a worthwhile place to drop by for a bite. For one thing, business was really good and the place was quite crowded…so to be on the safe side, it would be best to make a booking earlier. But personally, I would think that if you only have a few days here and would need to set priorities, there are some other places that may give you a more lasting impression, if you get what I mean.

From Russia with love…

These came from Russia with love…

From Ryan

…or one of them, at least – the red box of creamy wafers with Russian words that are Greek to me. The packet of choco minis is German-made.

They were given to me by an ex-student, Ryan, who is currently home from Russia for the summer holidays. We met for tea the other day together with Julia, the ex-student with whom I had lunch not very long ago.

Julia brought me this lovely carrot cake that she made herself…

Julia's carrot cake

…and I said it was exactly like her – gorgeous, sweet and nice.

She also gave me this loaf of homemade bread that her mum made…

Julia's mum's homemade bread

– cinnamon with raisins. My missus loved it and thought it was very nice with the fragrance of cinnamon. On my part, I am not really a bread person but I was o.k. with it.

Ryan said he wanted burgers so we went to this place

SG Grill menu

…where they make their own patties. I certainly wouldn’t want to go any place where they use the frozen ones – if that is the case, I might as well stop by some roadside stalls or make my own at home.

Unfortunately, we sat inside where it was a bit too dark and the photographs came out all yellow because of the light. I had this drink – the Beach Boy (RM6.50), they call it…

SG Beach Boy

…which reminded me of that sensational singing group from the U.S. in the 60s.

Ryan had the special double cheese beef burger (RM16.90), of course…

SG double cheese beef burger

…but I think I would prefer Julia’s beef burger (RM14.90)…

SG beef burger

…which seemed to have an extra-thick patty and came topped with an egg. I love eggs!

I spotted this on the menu – baked macaroni and cheese (RM13.90)…

SG baked macaroni and cheese

…and decided to give it a try because my daughter would love that. We used to go to another “garden” where she would enjoy eating that but unfortunately, for reasons known only to them, it is no longer on their menu.

It was really nice – perhaps, the first mouthful might take a little time to sink it because of the strong flavours of the herbs used but from the second mouthful onwards, it seemed to get better and better. I would bring my daughter here to eat when she comes home from New Zealand…but we probably would have to share as the portion was rather large for one person to handle.

Well, the food was good and the company was great. Thanks, Ryan and Julia, for taking this old man out to tea…and for all the stuff that you both gave me.

She’s back…

Well, she was. Annie-Q was back in town – I guess everybody would know it by now as I did mention this in an earlier post. She’s gone back to KL now after an eating frenzy during the few days she was in town. Those of you who are her friends on Facebook would have seen the many photos of what she had been eating while she was home.

She arrived on Thursday and the next morning, we met for breakfast at that coffee shop in Sg Merah with the very nice coffee. I had the pork porridge special…

ChoonSeng pork porridge special

…which I like a lot and I’ve featured it before quite sometime ago.

Believe it or not, we were so busy trying to catch up with one another that I did not take the photographs of the things that Annie and her family had…and that’s not all! We went out for dinner that night and I forgot to bring along my camera so all of you will not get to see what we had, lucky you! LOL!!!

I think we’ll just wait and see whether she will post them in her own blog or not. No point having the two of us posting on the same things – like those bloggers attending the same event and sharing more or less the same details and photographs.

In the meantime, my missus and I had something else on our own. We went back to one of the stalls at this coffee shop that I used to frequent until one time when we were not too pleased with what we had. This time around, my missus had the chao chai hung ngang (preserved vegeatbles with big mihun)…

MeiLe chao chai hung ngang

Annie would love this, I’m sure. I wonder if she had any when she was in town. Well, my missus like the one here – she said it was sour enough.

I had the mihun in clear soup…

MeiLe mihun soup 1

…which had minced pork, liver, egg and a whole lot of things inside and of course, there was mihun as well.

MeiLe mihun soup 2

I would very much prefer kway teow (flat rice noodles) though but this was good too and I would love it even more if they could cut down on the msg just a little bit. Other than that, it was just perfect…but I’m afraid it was not exactly cheap. I paid RM10.00 for the two so that works out to RM5.00 each, I guess – and looking at my old post on this, it was only RM4.00 when I first had it in 2008. Ah well…what is cheap these days? That’s the way it is these days and no matter what, things are never gonna change – we’ll just have to learn to put up with it and live within our means… Sigh!!!

Easy peasy…

There were some noodles left in the house the other day – probably half a kg of it. Usually, they will sell the noodles in 1-kg packs but my missus had already cooked half of it several days earlier and stuffed the rest in the fridge. Now, I don’t know if it’s a woman thing or what but she does seem to take a very long time to cook something for breakfast in the morning, be it fried rice or noodles – fried or in whichever way she fancies.

I would hear her in the kitchen, cutting this and that, taking this and that…and even  the cooking process seems awfully long. Maybe she cooks with a passion, cutting everything slowly and carefully, adding all kinds of ingredients and sauces and taking care of every minute detail. Well, I’m certainly not like that – when I cook, I would opt for the easy peasy way out. If you ask me to do all that, cooking would seem to me to be such a chore…and nobody likes chores, I’m sure.

Now, how did I fry the noodles that day?

STP's fried noodles 1

The ingredients I used included the following:
Half a kg yellow noodles
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
Half a tablespoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly or chopped
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
2 red chilies, seeds removed and sliced thinly
12 prawns, shelled
2 eggs
A handful of taugeh (bean sprouts)
3 tablespoons cooking oil

First, I added the soy sauce and the sugar to the noodles and tossed them together thoroughly until the noodles became an evenly dark colour. Then, I heated the oil in the wok and threw in the garlic, shallot and fried till they turned brown. Next, I added chilies and the prawns and once they were cooked, I added the noodles and kept stirring for  a few minutes. After that, I pushed the noodles aside and added the eggs, breaking the yolks and mixing them with the whites and when they were more or less cooked, I blended them in together with the noodles. Finally, I put in the taugeh (bean sprouts) and after stirring it for a while, I turned off the heat and scooped the noodles out to be served…

STP's fried noodles 2

As you can see, I do not like my taugeh overcooked – I prefer them a little bit raw and still very crunchy. I did sprinkle a bit of chopped spring onions over the noodles prior to serving but that is optional and you may want to add some sliced fresh chillies too so as to give the dish a bit of colour and make it look more attractive.

How did it taste? VERY nice, I must say…and it’s not that I want to sing my own praises. My missus loves to add soy sauce, Kikkoman sauce, red wine and so on and so forth and even though it maybe nice,  sometimes, it may taste kind of peculiar. I honestly believe that simplicity is best…and I would be spared the torture of having to wait so very long just to eat something that is not necessarily nicer than this.

If not for you…

If not for those of you who sent me some last year here and here, I would not have had any…for the simple reason that they were way too expensive and I would not want to spend my money buying those extravagantly-expensive mooncakes to eat. After all, I am not really crazy about those and I really do not think it would be worth it at all.

Well, we are into the 2nd half of the 7th month and the Mooncake or Lantern or Mid-Autumn Festival will be here soon – on the 12th of September, to be exact. I have seen some blog posts such as this one on those available this year and horror of horrors! The prices range from around RM70 to RM100 or more per box of 4. Good grief! With that kind of money, I can go out with my missus and even bring a couple of friends along for a sumptuous dinner at a restaurant in town and that would definitely be a whole lot more to everyone’s satisfaction. Even this American branded-coffee franchise is jumping on the bandwagon.

Well, I don’t know if any of you are going out to buy any of those or not but I, for one, will definitely not be doing any such thing. Incidentally, whoever may be thinking of giving me any this year, for heaven’s sake, please don’t. Better save the money to buy me dinner when we get to meet one another.

Actually, we have some pretty nice local-made ones at some of the bakeries here like these, for instance…

Chung's pandan salted egg mooncake 1

The guy used to work at a hotel here before he ventured out to open his own bakery and for RM8.50, I can get 6 of these…

Chung's pandan salted egg mooncake 2

…with some very nice pandan paste and salted egg inside…

Chung's pandan salted egg mooncake 3

The skin is also pretty well-done and one thing’s for sure, these are a whole lot more affordable.

These are cheaper…

Chungs white bean paste mooncake 1

…at only RM5.00 for 6 with white bean-paste filling…

Chung's white bean paste mooncake 2

…but personally, I feel the skin is a bit too thick and not as great and the bean paste (which looks a lot darker than usual) is too sweet and not to my liking. I think I would just stick to the former…mainly with the sole objective of keeping our culture and tradition alive, more than anything else.

If I remember correctly, I’ve seen those “imported” from the peninsula in the shops and supermarkets as early as the beginning of this month, if not sometime last month. By the time, the festival comes around, they would be some two to three months old already…and I really wonder how much preservative would be needed to keep them from going bad in the meantime. It certainly makes more sense to buy our local-made ones even though they may not be so exquisite, so exceptionally nice…but at least, they’ve just come out fresh from the oven…and they’re cheap. What do you all think?

So I’ve been told…

When I was grumbling about the kolo mee I had the other day, an ex-student told me via Facebook about this place…

KLH Sibu

…among the shops at the beginning of Jalan Kampong Datu near the Land & Survey building here. He said the the noodles there were very nice – definitely not like kampua nor like Kuching kolo mee as we would know it but it was nice.

So I dropped by the place to check it out. There was a nice old couple running the coffee shop and the noodle stall and even though it was quite early in the morning, there were a few customers already having their breakfast at that shop.

There were no signs, no menu…nothing but I noticed that everyone was having kampua noodles. Then I saw some minced meat at the stall and I asked the old man what that was for and he said kolo mee. So kolo mee it was and this was what I got for RM3.30 a bowl…

KLH Sibu kolo mee 1

I tasted it and it certainly was as what I had been told – not like kampua, not like kolo mee but it was nice. I added a little bit of chili sauce…

KLH Sibu kolo mee 2

…and that did make it taste even better. I tapaoed two packets for my parents and sis as I was going to their house right after that for my daily routine of babysitting my bedridden mum and they all said it was good.

Well, thanks, Philip (not the guitar man…even though this Philip also plays the guitar), for the information. Any other nice place in town where I should drop by and give it a try?