Let’s dance…

Well, the Borneo Cultural Festival is here again. I did not go at all last year…and I don’t think I will be going again this year. I dropped by a couple of times before but that was just to buy some of the local delicacies on sale at some of the stalls e.g. the ayam pansoh (chicken cooked in bamboo).

My ex-student cum blogger-friend, Victor, was there and he took a lot of very beautiful photographs which he shared on Facebook. I don’t know why his blog has been inactive since the middle of March, so I guess if you’re not connected with him on FB, you will not get to see these…

BCF 1

BCF 2

BCF 3

Thanks a lot, Victor, for giving me your blessings to post a few of your photographs here. I’m sure everyone will agree that they are really very nice and will entice anybody to come to Sibu and be part of the festival. Sorry, no photos of the food though…but I guess if you go blog-hopping, there will be some Sibu bloggers who would have posted some of those in their blogs.

For one thing, I can’t stand the heat…and I hate walking around especially in crowded places and with the current piggy flu pandemic, I guess it’s best to be careful.  So wearing a mask when going to the venue of the festival may be a pretty good idea and be sure to make a run for it should you happen to see somebody looking like this…

HINI
(Pic from Gundot via email; original source unknown)

As “that fella” said in yesterday’s BP, it is better to be safe than sorry… LOL!!!

She’s leaving home…

I love this song by the Beatles…and I’ve used it before in my English Language lessons to teach social issues…

It’s about this girl running away from home…and these were the things the parents said:

We gave her most of our lives
Sacrificed most of our lives
We gave her everything money could buy…

…Daddy our baby’s gone
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly?
How could she do this to me?

We never thought of ourselves
Never a thought for ourselves
We struggled hard all our lives to get by…

Well, the answer lies in this line: “She’s leaving home after living alone for so many years. Bye, bye!” I love the message in the song – that parents in their selfish daily pursuit of material wealth should always remember that their child needs more than that – they need love, especially in their formative growing up years.

My daughter is leaving home today but not in the way as portrayed in the song. After three weeks at home – spending quality time together and bonding, eating or just going for a walk or a drive together, it is time for her to go back to the institute in Sungai Petani, Kedah for the final semester in her 1st year. Next year, she’ll be going even further away – to Wellington in New Zealand. Sigh!

Everytime I look at my wife’s potted plant at my house, another favourite song of mine comes to mind – Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly kisses”

Butterfly kisses 1

I remember I bought the cassette tape with that song at Mahkota Parade in Malacca many many years ago when I was there for a meeting and staying at the hotel next door.  I am sure most of you know the song which is about a father bringing up a daughter – from childhood to adulthood up till the day she got married but anyway, here’s the video clip for the benefit of those who have never heard the song before…

My daughter does not like this song though. As a matter of fact, she does not like any of those parent-child songs where the child gets married in the end as she wants to stay and take care of her parents forever. Well, time passes, things change, so we’ll never really know…

Butterfly kisses 2

As in the closing lines of the song:
I couldn’t ask God for more than this is what love is
I know I’ve got to let her go but I’ll always remember
Every hug in the mornin’ and butterfly kisses…

In this life…

It has bloomed again – just a month since the last time

Desert Rose 3/1

…late in the night – the third time this year, eight of them altogether…

Desert Rose 3/2

…seven on the 7th of June and one the following night…

Desert Rose 3/3

…even though people say that it will only bloom once a year. So I went and bought 7718…

Desert Rose 3/4

…but unfortunately, it was not meant to be…

Desert Rose 3/5

…and it doesn’t really matter…

…considering all that I’ve been blessed with in this life…and that the only dream that matters has come true…for in this life, I am loved by You.

Let’s put it all together…

The other day, my daughter said that she wanted to have steamboat but in this heat, I wouldn’t want to have that outside and so I decided to throw a steamboat dinner at my house which thankfully, is air-conditioned.

Considering that there would not be much point getting everything ready for just the three of us, I invited a good friend of mine and his family to join us…

STP's steamboat dinner 1

…and this was my simple individual table setting…

STP's steamboat dinner 2

My friend’s wife was impressed by how I folded the serviette so that I could stick the spoon and the chopsticks nicely in it.

Well, we had the last batch of Kpenyu’s giant prawns – these were not as huge as the ones in the previous two ice packs…

STP's steamboat dinner 3

…along with some fish balls and crab sticks. My friend does not eat beef, so that was out and my daughter does not like steamed fish, much less boiled ones, so the white pomfret (ikan bawal putih) that I had in the freezer was spared till another day. I bought some minced meat and made some meat balls which my daughter love a lot…

STP's steamboat dinner 4

She also likes those factory-made meat balls but I just can’t stand the peculiar smell that they seem to have.

We also had some pacific clams, hard-boiled quail eggs and straw mushrooms cut in halves (which for some reason, my daughter prefers to button mushrooms)…

STP's steamboat dinner 5

…and some pre-softened glass noodles and bean curd sticks, cherry tomatoes from my garden and some baby carrots…

STP's steamboat 6

…and some green vegetables…

STP's steamboat dinner 7

I also bought some baby corn, fresh shitake mushrooms and another type of Japanese mushrooms, canned button mushrooms and Chinese cabbage but I felt that there was already too much for the few of us, so I did not get serve those in the end.

STP's steamboat dinner 8

This was what it looked like when we put it all together…

STP's steamboat dinner 9

…and true enough, as I had expected, everybody ate to his/her heart’s content…with just a little bit left over that could be thrown away without any feeling of guilt that the food was wasted. I bought some Foochow fried noodles (RM10.00) to go with the steamboat and there was a fair amount of that left, so I put that in the fridge to heat up and have for breakfast the following morning.

All in all, it was a delightful dinner and I do love having friends around. What about you?

Send me the pillow that you dream on…

In my younger days, we only had the cone-shaped changs (dumplings) but I did hear at the time, that the Cantonese had big ones that looked like pillows. Lately, these are available here too and I have had a few before this. Somebody was saying the other day that it seems the other dialects also have changs in this shape e.g. the Hakkas.

Well, it was the Duanwu Jie or the Chang Festival aka the Dragon Boat Festival last Thursday, but we did not bother to have anything fancy for the occasion. After all, my daughter would not be home for the holidays till the following day – Friday. So, in keeping with the tradition of the festival,  I went out and bought two pillow changs – one for myself and one for my missus…

Pillow chang 1

They were RM5.00 each but they were huge – 2 or 3 times bigger than the normal changs and there were a lot of things inside…

Pillow chang 2

…meat, slices of lap cheong (Chinese sausage), peanuts, yam, shitake, chestnuts and so on…

Pillow chang 3

It was very delicious and there was so much of it that my missus could not finish the whole thing.

My daughter came back the next day, so I cooked the giant prawns from Kpenyu for her, the same way I cooked them the last time – baked with garlic, butter and milk sauce…

STP's baked cheese & butter prawns 1

Those of you who have not seen my earlier post would probably be unaware as to how huge those prawns actually were…

STP's baked cheese & butter prwans 2

They were so big that my daughter was already full after eating…just one!

STP's cheese & butter prawns

These were the XL-sized ones – 4 or 5 in one ice pack. I still have some more in the freezer – L-sized ones, smaller but 10 in one pack. I think I will cook those before my daughter goes back to that God-forsaken place once her holidays come to an end in three weeks’ time. Perhaps I should try a different recipe – tom yam or curry. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Incidentally, I was caught in this massive traffic jam on my way to the airport that morning to pick my daughter. There was some kind of Road Safety Awareness Campaign going on and guess what I saw in the local English daily the following day…

Three-on-one

Good grief! Were they blind or what? There were THREE on the motorcycle…and they just nonchalantly and routinely gave out the free gifts and did not even notice that a traffic offence had been commited. Such recalcitrant offenders should be nabbed on the spot!!! I really wonder why they bothered to hold such campaigns – all for the sake of doing something, a mere formality, when something like this was happening right under their very noses! A sheer total waste of time and money, I must say! Tsk!! Tsk!!!

Crash! Boom! Bang!…

Towards the end of last year, around October or November, my friend in Bintulu bought a new car – one of those popular Japanese brands, not our own Malaysian-made ones. The other day, I had the shock of my life when he sent me some photographs via mms…

Going round the bendBroken wheel

He said he had just come from around the bend along that road, so he was not driving very fast…and suddenly, his tyre “patah” (broke). I did not know what he meant by that, so I asked him whether his axle broke but he did not reply.

The car 1

He just said that his car turned two times. Again, I was puzzled as to what exactly he was trying to tell me – whether it spun round and round or whether it rolled over…

The car 2

…but judging from the photographs, it probably somersaulted with him inside…

The car 3

…and luckily, he managed to escape unscathed. Since the accident, he has not had a car to use. It seems that the vehicle has to undergo some major repairs. I asked him why he did not demand for a brand new car since this one was still under warranty and told him that he should sue them if they refused. He just sent me a sad-faced smiley!

Well, with all the festivities in the next few days, remember NOT to drink and drive and do be careful when you are on the road! Drive safely!

Love will keep us together…

Oh dear! I accidentally deleted the original post, so my apologies to those who have commented earlier…but it was about the reunion gathering of the family members on the “Pat and Mag in the afternoon” show which used to be aired on national radio 1.00 to 4.00 p.m. Monday to Friday but unfortunately, the people at the top saw it fitting to end the show.

Anyway, this is Pat…

Pat

…and this is Mag…

Mag

…and this is Martin from the UK…

Martin

…who was a regular on the show despite the fact that he had to wake up at 5.30 a.m. UK time to catch the show online…and this is part of the family – those who came together on Saturday night, 16th May at this place called “Baywatch” in Kelana Jaya…

Family reunion 1

That’s Cibol, Pat and Zul in front while standing in the front row, you can see yours truly, Christie, Azreen, Marie (Martin’s missus who incidentally is Pat’s sister), Zee, Shiranie, Mag and Mandy and at the back are Pat’s friends – Grace and Terence, Cash, Martin, Mubarak…and my blogger-friend, JL aka Jim Long. It was Cash’s birthday on Sunday and Azreen’s was a few days before that, so we grabbed the opportunity to celebrate the occasion with them.

Cash...

Mag’s hubby, Steve (of FlyFm, I think) was there…

Steve the hubby

…to record Webisode 10…

Webisode 10 shooting

…which if anyone’s interested, will be posted on the family forum or website at http://www.magandpat.com or on youtube. There are more photographs on that website, so everybody can just click the link to go and have a look. Click PHOTO ALBUM and click on the thumbnail. By the way, Mar and Pam, Mag read your dedications, so make sure you catch the webisode when it finally appears on the website.

Family reunion 2

Well, it certainly was a pleasure meeting everybody in person after all this time…and I look forward to more gatherings like this in the near future. Somebody suggested in a comment in the original post that we could all come together again on my 60th birthday. That will be in December 2012, so let’s just KIV that in the meantime…and start saving up for a BIG present for me! LOL!!!

Bon voyage to Martin and Marie on their flight back to the UK this coming weekend…and to the rest, cheers! As Pat would always say at the end of the show, keep the peace and spread the love!

I’ll be there…

If you’re wondering where I’ll be in the next two days, I’ll be in Kuala Lumpur for the TraxxFm Family reunion. Before I started blogging, I was very active on the radio on the “Pat & Mag in the afternoon” show Mondays to Fridays from 1.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. In fact, I was such a regular on the show – sending messages to ask for songs, share comments and opinions on matters arising and so on that Pat once said that I was like part of the furniture in the studio or in other words, an integral part of the programme.

Pat and Mag
Pat & Mag with bloggers Cibol and Bongkersz

I made a lot of friends through the show but so far, I have only met one of those in West Malaysia – Cash, the friendly cabbie, who will be picking me up at KLIA later. Martin who listened to the show all the way from the UK will be in town, so this Saturday, the members of this “family” are getting together and meet one another face to face. That is why I’ll be flying over to KL later this morning.

Of course, I will be taking this opportunity to meet some of the blogger friends. Cibol will be expecting me…

Blogger Cibol

…as there are certain businesses that we would need to settle, and I understand from him that DanielCoolku, Drumsticks, Jing etc… will be around as well. Jim Long aka JL will be in KL around the same time, so I’m hoping to meet him and he may bring foongpc along with him.

Peteformation responded to my email and has asked me to go out for breakfast tomorrow morning at 8.00 a.m. Well, I will confirm with you, Pete, once I get to KL and have a rough idea of whatever arrangements there may be.

I also managed to get in touch with some via Facebook and got their contact numbers. I gave them mine as well and some of them took the trouble to get in touch with me. Chriso, for instance…

Blogger Chriso

…sent me an sms saying that he would like to go out with me for a makan. I also got a message on Facebook from eiling who suggested that we met for tea…and I hope to meet the first person to post a comment in my blog – zewt (but has stayed away lately for reasons known only to him himself).

Gosh! So many people and I only have one full day there. That reminds me of a waitress I saw in a coffee shop once. She was wearing a t-shirt and on it these words: “So many men, so little time!” I wonder if she knows what it means! ROTFLMAO! In view of the fact that I will not be around, therefore, I will not be posting anything for the next one or two days.

Do have a blast this weekend! Cheers to one and all! 

Who can it be now…

Who will be in the grand finale next week? Who will be going home? We’ll find out the answer soon enough in just a few hours from the time this post is published.

I thought Danny had slimmed down a bit and his 4 o’ clock shadow somewhat helped a bit to enhance his appearance. I did not really pay attention to his first song but I thought he sounded pretty okay. The judges were fine with his singing but did not like the dancing. As for his second song…

Top 3 DG

…contrary to the judges’ favourable comments, I thought he did a great injustice to one of my favourite songs of all time – “You are so beautiful”. His rendition lacked the soul and deep emotions one gets to hear in gravel-voiced Joe Cocker’s incomparable performance of the song and frankly, I felt he didn’t even do as well as Kenny Rogers or that boy band Westlife in their watered-down version of that beautiful classic.

I didn’t hear Kris doing “Apologise” which David Archuleta did really well in his duet with One Republic in last year’s most disappointing grand finale. His second song was good…

Top 3 KA

…and as I’m not familiar with it, I can only based my opinion on the way it was as Kris sang it. If we take the second songs of the two guys alone into consideration, I think Kris should be the one going into grand finale against the formidable Adam…

Top 3 AL

I wish he had not turned U2’s “One” into a rock song though – give me Mary J Blige & U2’s rendition anytime! But then, of course, that was his trademark – all that screeching and hitting the extremely high notes in perfect pitching.  His second song must be peanuts for him, rock being his genre, and there was no doubt whatsoever that it was way better than Danny’s horrifying scream in another Aerosmith’s song last week.

It was obvious that Simon was worried about how the viewers would vote and that Adam might not make it through. Well, over the years, such unthinkable upsets had happened, so let’s just wait and see. All things considered, it should be Kris and Adam in the grand finale. Watch out for the update…..

Desert Rose…

It has bloomed again – our Desert Rose or as  some may call it, the Queen of the Night, Moonlight Flower or even The Star of Bethlehem – 1 on Saturday night, the 8th of May and 3 last night, the 9th of May, so all of you punters out there can go and buy 1839 pao. LOL!!! Its real name, I think, is Night Cereus, and it is a plant found in the desert in the USA. I had a post on it when it first bloomed this year on the 2nd of January.

This is the yet-to-blossom bud… 

Desert Rose 1

It is said that it only blooms once a year, but in our case, this is the second time already. There were four buds altogether, so I kept vigil waiting for them to open…

Desert Rose 2

Finally, at around 10 something – at night, that is – two started to bloom, one a bit sooner than the other. They only blossom at night and by morning, they would have closed and gone limp, all withered away.

Desert Rose 3

By 11 something, only one was in full bloom, blossoming in all its glory…

Desert Rose 4

Some people claim that it brings good luck/fortune, but I guess I’ve been blessed in so many ways already. My only prayer is that things will stay this way, or perhaps get even better.

Desert Rose 5

However, often has it been said that Man proposes, God disposes, there is no question about that. A line in the Lord’s Prayer goes, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” and to that, I humbly say, “Amen.”

P.S.:
In view of the speculations as to what the plant is or what the plant looks like, here is a photo of it:

Desert Rose 6