I wasn’t there…

One of the three schools where I taught – the one where I retired in 2007 after teaching there for 15 years, celebrated her 120th Anniversary last Saturday night. I was invited but I decided not to go.

I cannot imagine parking my car in the multi-storey car park and then walking all the way to the lifts on a certain floor and taking one to the floor where the event was being held and walking all the way to the ballroom…and everytime I had to go to the washroom, I would have to walk so far from one end of the building to the other – usually, the ballroom and the washroom on any particular floor are located far apart.

A lot of people were taken by surprise – I suppose they do not read my blog or they would have come across all the hints about my condition for quite sometime now…and the nasty fall that I had so I am not all that keen on venturing very far all that much these days. My sister was there – she studied Form 6 in that school and she accepted the ang pao from the School Board of Directors for retired teachers and staff members over the years…

…on my behalf. It sure is nice to know that I have not been forgotten, not a case of out of sight, out of mind…after all the blood, sweat and tears that I put into the years of service in that school, thank you all so much!

I guess now, I can afford to go and buy a few kilos of the buah dabai (black olives)…

…to enjoy. LOL!!! The ones from Durin that I bought the other day from the nearby shop round the corner from my house were really good but I only grabbed half a kilo, enough for a day – two meals.

I was telling some people about how difficult it is to bring the fruit over to West Malaysia even when you are carrying it in an open bag by hand all the way. You have to wrap it in newspapers (they seem to work wonders in preserving the fruit, don’t ask me how or why) and you cannot simply throw it in your suitcase or box, hand carried or checked-in. Needless to say, wrapping it up and sending it by courier service is totally out of the question.

Long, long ago, the fruit was available in Central Sarawak only (amazing how so many things were found here only and not in other parts of the state) but these days, they have planted the trees here, there and everywhere so it is now sold in the other towns and cities. Recently, word had it that the fruits from trees around Kapit and Song had come out. I saw on Facebook people selling the dabai from Song at RM40.00, RM45.00 or RM50.00 a kilo. Theirs are reputed to be nicer, the best of the best, so to speak. The ones I bought that day came from Durin, lower down the river, nearer to Sibu and they were only RM38.00 a kilo.

We loved it a lot, my girl especially, so I went back to the shop in the hope of getting some more. “Come tomorrow!” they told me. “None today!” The next day, it was the same ol’ story and the next and the next… Somebody told me to go and get those from the Sibu Central Market where they were selling them at that same price. In the end, after so many futile attempts to get them at the shop, we made our way to the market.

My missus managed to buy half a kilo from an ex-student of mine in Chung Hua, Ing Hua, who has been selling fruits at the market all these years. I would buy dabai from him only, nobody else and he knew if what he was selling was good or otherwise. If what he had for a certain day was not that great, he would go and get from the others selling dabai at the market as well.

That day, my missus said that he took out some hidden somewhere underneath all the baskets and boxes and he gave all of them to her, more than half a kilo, he said but he took only RM25.00 in payment – it was RM50.00 a kilo. She never asked him whether they came from Song or elsewhere.

Of course, we could not wait to prepare a handful…

…for dinner that evening, tossed in a bit of soy sauce and brown sugar like what I did the other day. They turned out to be so very good, almost like the Durin ones that day – very rich (lemak), the flesh yellowish in colour and the skin, very thin…

It would have been even better if the flesh had been a bit thicker but on the whole, if these were nicer, the difference would be so minimal that it would be very difficult to tell.

My missus managed to buy a bundle of daun empasa (tapioca/cassava leaves) or what we call daun bandong, or daun ubi as they call it in the peninsula and cooked that to enjoy with the buah dabai

…and yes, it was so good, a whole lot nicer than what they serve at a few places serving such local ethnic dishes here in town. Frankly, this is my kind of food, what I truly enjoy having for our meals and it would take quite a bit of self control to refrain from going for a second plate of rice!