You’re welcome anytime…

In view of the circumstances at that point in time, I did not really have an open house for Chinese New Year this year.

A few did drop by and yes, they managed to catch me at home at the time. In fact, we were either at home or at the medical centre and anyway, we could go home anytime should anybody want to come and visit. Sibu is a very small place, not at all difficult to get around.

There was this group of ex-students…

Ex-Chung Hua students
*Sze Nee’s photo*

…who invited me to their school’s centenary dinner not too long ago and I sure was glad to see another ex-student of mine whom I had not seen for a long long time. Now, a renowned gynaecologist in Bintulu, blessed with three girls and a boy, he dropped by with his wife and kids and his parents – it was so sweet of him to remember this old teacher of his and yes, it certainly was great to see him again after all these years.

My good friends, Lim & Mrs and the children made it a point to come over to extend their Happy Chinese New Year greetings that very night as soon as they got back from Kuching after driving all the way the whole day – they went home for the holidays and Melissa’s coursemate, teaching at a school in Sibu, now happily married, did drop by with his wife too…

Bubu and missus
*Farid’s photo on Facebook*

The nice boy would make it a point to drop by and extend his festive greetings without fail but of course, this year, he is not qualified to receive an ang pao anymore. LOL!!!

Then there were Bongkerz and Mary and their families…

Mary & Bongkerz & families
*Mary’s photo on Facebook*

– they would definitely drop by each year but last year, they did not as it coincided with Ash Wednesday and I did not have an open house on that particular day and they had to go back to their respective towns right after that. It sure was nice to see them again – this was way back in 2011 when they did not have any children yet – and I do hope I will get to see them again and again in the years to come.

Well, with my girl and the mum presently on a gluten-free diet, my missus did not do any baking at all and just went to buy some stuff from the shops instead and when I saw on Facebook that my ex-student’s wife, Juliet, was making some of those local steamed and layered delights, I quickly placed an order for  a few of those.

There was this kek lumut (moss cake)…

Kek lumut

…and kek belacan (dried prawn paste cake)…

Kek belacan

– both very nice despite the not-so-flattering names, one obviously because of the green colour and no, the latter did not have any belacan in it.

This one had a nicer name – Evergreen…


…and yes, it was very good too. What I liked most was the fact that all the cakes had reduced sugar so they were not as sweet as those sold commercially and she did not scrimp on the ingredients so that was why all the cakes were very rich and very very nice. The sad thing is that Jimmy, the hubby, said that he would not let her make anymore next year – I guess he saw all that she had to go through, all the hours of preparation and steaming and baking. It was no easy task, that’s for sure.

We also had the fruit pudding…

Auntie Irene's fruit pudding

…that my aunt in Kuching made and they gave it to me when they were here in December last year and I had been saving it since. It did not turn out so well this time around – the fruit sank! Nonetheless, it tasted as good as ever, lots of rum in it, that’s for sure!

Thank you, all, for dropping by – that was so sweet of all of you to take the time and the trouble to do so. A Blessed & Happy Chinese New Year again to all of you, may God bless everyone abundantly in the year ahead. Cheers!!!