Answered prayer…

This was sometime ago when we got wind of the news that my girl had been successful in her application for a transfer from her school in the jungle to one right here in town. Because of that, we decided to offer some flowers at the church that we frequent as a gesture of thanksgiving that our prayers at the weekly novena on Saturdays had been answered.

That was why I dropped by the florist I usually went to and I asked for five white lilies to signify the five decades of the Holy Rosary and ten red roses for the ten Hail Mary’s in each decade. What I did not know was that to her (the florist), five lilies meant five stalks and actually, on each stalk, there would be three or more lilies. In the end, I just let her do as she liked though I was not all that pleased with the end result…

Flowers 1

…and furthermore, the newly-arrived lilies had not bloomed yet. When I got home, I added some wild non-edible ferns from my garden and I felt that it looked a little better after that. That was on Ascension Thursday and by Saturday, a few days later, all the lilies had fully bloomed…

Flowers 2

…and yes, in my opinion, it did look much nicer after that.

Talking about those ferns, they sprout out of nowhere, here, there and everywhere, all along the fence at the back of my garden. This…

Fern 1

…is a different variety that I do not quite like so I would just pull them out and throw away whenever I do the weeding.

I prefer this one…

Fern 2

– the leaves have a nicer pattern so they look more attractive…or to me, at least. When I spot any, I would pull them out by the roots and transplant them in my pot of ferns…

Pot of ferns

…and they do seem to grow pretty well there.

There was another variety, the creeping kind that actually looked very nice, dangling from the pot but I hated how the tendrils would reach out to the neighbouring plants and start strangling them. In the end, I had no choice – I pulled them all out and threw them away.

Papa…

For so many years now, we would celebrate Father’s Day a day earlier as on Sundays, we would have to make our way to my girl’s school in the jungle but of course, this year, it was different and we could celebrate the special occasion on the actual day itself.

My girl went and got me this lovely black forest cake…

Cake

…from this bakery round the corner from my house and she got me to cut it first thing in the morning and we had that for breakfast. 

After that, we went to pick my sister and we all went to our parents’ resting place…

Flowers and prayers for Father's Day

…to offer flowers and prayers to my dad especially, in conjunction with Father’s Day.

We got back into town at around 11.00 a.m. and we went for lunch at this Korean place here that we do like a lot – my girl’s special treat. Most places open at 12.00 noon and close at 2.00 p.m. and will reopen at 6.00 p.m. for dinner which makes me wonder why they bother to open for those two hours only. At least, they should open a bit early, at around 11.00 a.m. like this one and if they have to, they can close at 3.00 p.m.

We just ordered our favourites that day, dishes that we had had before and enjoyed a lot so of course, I insisted on having the galbi tang (갈비탕)…

Galbi tang

…the Korean beef short ribs soup.

As usual, we were served the complimentary refillable ban chan (반찬)…

Ban chan

…and my girl wanted the gun mandu (군만두)…

Gun mandu

…again and needless to say, the dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥)…

Bibimbap

…too.

We also had the moksal or neck meat…

Moksal

…and ate that wrapped in lettuce with garlic slices, Bombay onion, strips of spring onion with some special sauce and the spicy Korean tau cheo sauce…

Eat it this way

…and we also had this pork belly marinated with Korean red chili paste, the gochujang (고추장)…

Gochujang pork belly

…and ate it that same way too. I would say that it was just as nice and we sure would not mind ordering that again the next time we drop by here.

My girl insisted on picking up the tab and had to fork out over RM140.00, inclusive of drinks, for all that we had for 4 persons. If I remember correctly, the beef soup is already over RM40.00 and the two pork dishes add up to around RM50.00 but considering how much we enjoyed everything, value for money, we certainly would look forward to coming back here again. 

KIMCHEE KOREAN BAR.BQ (2.296883,111.825859) is located on the first floor in the block of shops to the right of the Old Sing Kwong Supermarket (Kin Orient Plaza) along Jalan Tun Abang Hj Openg.

It doesn’t matter anymore…

In the late 70’s, I was posted to teach in a school in Kanowit. I stayed in a small rented room above one of the shops with nothing else other than a bed and a writing table…and a small table fan. I was literally living out of a suitcase and no, I did not have a tv.

Those were the days of black and white tv and being musically-inclined, there was a weekly programme that I particularly liked at around 5.30 p.m. on Sundays, Ready To Roll, a top hits chart show from New Zealand, if I am not wrong, and I do recall that this song, the cover by some girly singer, was Number 1 for a few weeks.

In order that I could watch the show, I had to go to a coffee shop in that little town to join many others there and because this song was not the favourite of everybody else except me and it was very long, they would all moan and groan and declare that when the song came on, it would be a good time to go to the washroom.

Anyway, the title of the song that I have used for this post makes me think of what we had to go through week after week after week picking my girl from her school in the jungle and bringing her home on Fridays and sending her back on Sundays and to say that driving on the still-under-construction Pan-Borneo Highway, otherwise known as the Pain-Borneo Hellway, was a nightmare would be an understatement. Well, the good news is, as the song goes, it doesn’t matter anymore!

The official letter was released on Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 and my girl was supposed to report in her new school on that day itself. However, it so happened that even though a copy of the letter had arrived at the office in Selangau, there was nobody dropping by that day to collect the mail so she could not leave her station just yet.

That was why on Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, my missus and I made our way to the school, stopping by the office along the way to get the official copy of the letter, duly endorsed by the officer…and before school was dismissed that very day, there was a special assembly to bid farewell to their teacher and she would be walking along that wooden bridge from her quarters…

SK Sg Sepiring

…to the car one last time after over 6 years since the day she reported for duty in March 2013.

I did notice when we sent her back to her school on Monday, after the two-week mid-year break, that the road had greatly improved…

PBH 1

…unlike the horrendous conditions in the first half of the year and it was getting worse by the day.

Now, many parts have been completed…

PBH 2

…and are open for use…

PBH 3

…already and even though there are still those sections that are in a rather deplorable state, these good stretches…

PBH 4

…are indeed a welcome relief.

I don’t know if these are going to be part of THE highway eventually or only temporary but whatever it is, I will no longer be going that way again, praise the Lord, and I’ve said it already and I’ll say it again – it doesn’t matter anymore!

Waiting for your letter…

Well, my girl got a transfer to her alma mater

SK St Rita

– she studied here for 6 years from Year/Primary One till Year/Primary Six and emerged as one of the top students in the UPSR Examination, straight A’s no less.

This time around, she would be going back there as a teacher – as a matter of fact, she would be taking the place of HER teacher who had just retired. However, she would not be able to leave the old station until she had received the official letter that would state in no uncertain terms in black and white that she had been successful in her application for a transfer and would move from there to here plus for reasons unknown, there seemed to be some degree of confidentiality surrounding the whole thing until the letter had come.

For inter-state transfers, they will only tell you via their website whether you are successful or not in your application and if you are, which state you are going to. Other than that, you will have to wait for the letter for further details. In the case of those within the state, for successful applicants, they will state the name of the school so I asked my girl to print screen the web page quickly so she would have on record the official result…just in case.

The school shares the same compound as the cathedral…

Sacred Heart Cathedral

…and also the Catholic Centre…

Catholic Centre

…where this church-run eatery is – I’ve been there twice, here and here and the food is decent and very cheap. I guess in time to come, my girl can hop over when she is free for a quick breakfast or on days when she has something on in the afternoon, she can go there for lunch.

That day, she dropped by the school to make an informal courtesy call on the headmistress – it was the school holidays then so there wasn’t anybody else around, other than her and the clerk in the office, and yes, they did have a very long chat.

After my girl came out, we went for brunch and perhaps, with all that excitement and everything, she just wanted porridge (RM5.50 with century egg)…

Porridge

…so we stopped by here, the stall where I had the very nice pork ribs noodles, for that.

The mum had the Foochow fried noodles (RM4.00)…

Foochow fried noodles

…from the very popular chu-char (cook and fry) place at the back and it sure took a very long time because they were busy cooking the orders for customers to take home and enjoy with their families in conjunction with the Duanwu or Dumpling Festival that day.

I decided to try the kampua noodles – they have some new people running the stall there now and I asked for the set with fish balls soup (RM6.00)…

Set

The noodles were great…

Kampua mee

…and so was the soup…

Soup

…with their own-made bay kar/ikan tenggiri (mackerel) fish balls though it was pretty obvious they would need to polish up their skill of making round fish balls. LOL!!!

Yes, I would give them a double thumbs up for not using those plastic plates and bowls but on the whole, I would not mind a little less msg.

MEI LE CAFE (2.313147, 111.846968) is located along Jalan Gambir, a stone’s throw away from the Delta Mall, straight ahead from the first turning to your left as soon as you turn into that road from Jalan Pedada, now Jalan Datuk Wong Soon Kai.

Be one…

It was Pentecost Sunday…

Pentecost at St Mary's

…and in an effort to bring the members of the church closer to one another, the parish priest announced the declaration of the 10th of June, the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of The Church, the following day, Monday, as our Parish Day beginning this year and there was a little celebration

Come Holy Spirit

…that day including a pot luck breakfast in the parish hall after the Sunday service that morning.

There was a big cake, a very nice one with the fragrance of coffee and chocolate but they had already started cutting it up before I could take  a photograph of it and because it would be the parish priest’s birthday the following Sunday, they got him another cake, a smaller one…

Birthday

…specially for the occasion.

There were lots of cakes, swiss rolls…

Swiss roll

…fruit cakes…

Fruit cake

…curry and sardine puffs…

Puffs

…egg tarts…

Egg tarts

…and Portuguese egg tarts…

Portuguese egg tarts

…and I enjoyed the beef satay that somebody cooked, eaten with bread.

I brought these Jakar sio bee (meat dumplings)…

Jakar sio bee

…as my contribution to the party – two whole trays like the one in the photograph and they were gone in no time at all. Everybody loved them, it seemed and the good thing is these days, we can get them very easily from this shop round the corner from my house. My missus made cups of fruit jelly (dadih) and they were a hot favorite as well.

We certainly had a great time at the gathering, enjoying what everyone had brought along to share and chit-chatting and getting to know one another better, a step forward from the usual hello and goodbye each time we meet when we go for the weekly Sunday service in the church.

Come visit me…

Hari Raya Aidilfitri came and went and of course, there was that traditional practice of holding open houses to welcome family members and friends to share the joy.

We did not go “visiting”, that’s the usual word used to refer to the practice of dropping by houses of relatives and friends on such auspicious occasions, till mid-afternoon at around 3.00 p.m.

We went to my girl’s good friend’s house first and we stayed for quite a long while, chit-chatting and enjoying the cakes and the biscuits. We were also served the fragrant nasi

Nasi

…cooked using the long-grained basmati rice and it went so well with the very nice curry…

Curry

…and the acar (pickles)…

Acar

…and there was this kelupis

Kelupis

…too – I sure enjoyed that with the daging masak hitam (beef)…

Masak hitam

After that, we adjourned to my girl’s colleagues house and as soon as we got there, a storm blew up and it poured cats and dogs so we just stayed there till the rain eased a little.

In the meantime, we sat and enjoyed the biscuits and the cakes and also the food served…and chatted away happily. It was getting late by the time we could make a move so we decided to call it a day and did not go to any more houses in the end.

Triangles…

The Duanwu Festival or the Dragon Boat Festival, commonly called the (Bak) Chang Festival, falls on Friday, the 7th of June this year which is today. The Chinese eat zongzi or chang on this special day because they are considered a symbol of luck, as the pronunciation of zong is very similar to the pronunciation of zhong (中). This character has a positive connotation, used in words such as 中奖 (winning a prize).

Every year, without fail, my dear friend, Richard, would give me his exclusive home-made nyonya chang

Nyonya chang from Richard

…I guess if you are a regular follower of my blog, you would know that there is no way we can buy these here.

We can go out and buy the not-so-nice (the ones here, that is) Hokkien chang or the pillow-shaped Cantonese chang but one just can’t expect too much from those commercially made ones plus they do not come cheap. Often, I would buy some home and end up rather disappointed and I get really put off to see them tying the dumplings with nylon string and boiling it in the water for so long until the rice is cooked.

Richard, on the other hand, does not scrimp on the ingredients like that so you can see a lot of meat in his changs…

Filling

…and if you are observant enough, you will notice that he does not use pre-minced meat from the butcher or the shop – he will painstakingly cut the meat into tiny little cubes for the filling, the way it should be. More often than not, when eating the ones outside, you may be hard pressed to find some meat inside. These days, you may find a teeny-weeny piece, mostly fat or traces of minced meat, barely visible to the naked eye.

Rest assured that if it is Richard’s chang, you can bet that it is as perfect as it looks – see how symmetrical it is on the outside…

Richard's chang outside

…and also on the inside…

Richard's chang inside

Thank you so much, Richard, for remembering me again this year. Truly, yours are second to none…and a Happy Duanwu Festival to you and all your loved ones. Hopefully, we will all 中奖 after feasting on your lovely changs and here’s wishing everyone the same as well.