Grease…

I saw the movie in KL many many years ago. I think it was 1978 and an embarrassing thing happened.  I managed to find my way to Bukit Bintang and there I went looking for the Cathay Cinema. I walked and walked but there was no sign of the place and I decided to stop a young Indian girl to ask where the cinema was. She stared at me with that strange look on her face, turned and walked away. “Gee!” I thought, “KL girls sure are unfriendly!”

I continued walking and just a few steps away, there it was! The cinema that I was searching for. No wonder the girl reacted that way. She probably thought I was trying to be fresh or something as the cinema was right round the corner. Well, I got to watch the movie for the first time there…and yes, I watched it again when it came to Sibu and a lot more times after that…and never failed to enjoy it again and again.

Fast forward to 1994, I managed to get to watch the stage musical at the Dominion Theatre at West End, London…

Grease at West End, London 1

It was truly an unforgettable experience. Everyone knew the words to the songs and were singing along and many even got up and danced…

Grease at West End London 2

Debbie Gibson was Sandy in that one – those of you who are older (though not as old as I am) would remember her in “Lost in your eyes” that was a hit around here in the 80’s.

Well, Fox did a remake of the musical on Sunday, January 31st (Monday, 1st February here) and the live telecast certainly was very well-received with a whole lot of raving reviews in the mass media. I have not seen the whole thing but as far as the songs go, I personally feel that there are a few hits like this one…

…and this one that made me want to get up and dance (…as if I still could! Sobsss!!!) and this was very good too…

Unfortunately, when it was time for the song that I liked best in the show (one of my regular karaoke favourites)…

…the sound was a little off but I still enjoyed it a lot.

On the down side, I like Frankie Valli’s rendition of the theme song a lot more than Jessis J’s and I did not think Boyz II Men did a better job than Frankie Avalon while this, in my opinion, paled in comparison to Sha Na Na’s livelier rendition of the song…and I prefer Travolta and Olivia’s to this one…

…plus the fact that the lips were totally out of sync with the lyrics of the song sure did not help one bit but I would say that Julianne Hough sure made a really pretty Sandy, as pretty or maybe even more so than Olivia…and by the way, fans of Mario Lopez would be delighted to see him in the show as Vince Fontaine. I wonder if he would make a better Danny Zuko.

We do have a couple of Fox channels on our satelite tv here but I don’t think we could get to watch this here. Well, if they ever get to show it anytime soon, I sure wouldn’t want to miss it. What about you?

Make me a channel of your peace…

It’s past midnight…

Clock

…which means that it’s New Year’s Day, 2016. So what are the resolutions that you have made?

On my part, I resolve to live one day at a time and for these, I humbly pray…

Make me a channel of Your peace
Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love
Where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in You

Make me a channel of Your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy

Love

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of Your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive

Giving...
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life…

Happy New Year to one and all…

Longevity mee sua for 2016

…God’s abundant Blessings be upon us all on this day and every day in the year ahead.

Thank you very much…

Some days, we forget to look around us
Some days, we can’t see the joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves, we take when we should give.

So for tonight, we pray for what we know can be.
And on this day, we hope for what we still can’t see.
It’s up to us to be the change and even though we all can still do more,
there’s so much to be thankful for…

I am 63 today…

Me in a bauble

…and I am indeed so very thankful for all His many blessings throughout this past year, His protection and guidance in all that I did each passing day, all the joy, all the happiness and of course, I am thankful to all family and friends for everything and especially to those special people who cared enough to drop by here every day or whenever they could, thank you so much for your company – I do appreciate it so much…and I pray for another great year ahead, Cheers!!!

Specially for my 63rd
*My girl’s labour of love specially for my special day today*

What a shame!…

My girl was so looking forward to having lasagna for lunch that day when we made our way here (2.307624,111.848184) specially for that – the only place in town serving that Garfield’s favourite food, other than the miserable seafood one with imitation crab sticks at that franchise pizza place. Unfortunately, we were told that they were out of whatever ingredients so it would not be available that day. What a shame!

Well, since we were already there, we thought that we might as well order whatever that they had and of course, we just had to pick their very nice spinach egg pizza aka the Bracio di Ferro (RM28.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro Bracio di Ferro 1

…our favourite among all that they have on their menu. The egg was not all that well done that day, a little on the raw side, a bit runny…

Bistecca & Bistro Bracio di Ferro 2

…but it did not matter really as it was, as always, very very nice and we sure enjoyed it heaps.

We have never ordered their spaghetti carbonara (RM16.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro spaghetti carbonara

…before as we aren’t all that crazy about the creamy sauce but that day, we decided to give it a try. It turned out pretty good, not as ultra-rich as some, so creamy that one would hardly want anymore after a spoonful or two…and my girl loved the bits of ham in it a lot. Still, we thought we would prefer their aglio olio that we would order usually.

We did not order anything else as my girl had something on that evening and she did not want a very heavy lunch so we just finsihed off with dessert – their very nice panna cotta (RM8.00)…

Bistecca & Bistro panna cotta

…which, needless to say, everybody enjoyed.

Well, that was a very nice lunch despite the fact that my girl did not get to enjoy her lasagna. We do hope they would get the ingredients and will be serving that again soon and we certainly would be back…for that!

Service was great as usual – the very sweet girl who served us the last time I was there with the guys from Kuching and I loved the lovely songs they were playing that day, including this one…

That’s really very nice, don’t you think?

Better without you…

Somebody commented once that it seemed some cafés here liked to serve their dishes, western joints inclusive, with keropok (prawn crackers) by the side…

Keropok by the side

…and she asked me why. Frankly, I don’t know! For one thing, they do not even taste nice. They’re bland, no taste of fish or prawn in them and in some, just lots of msg and there are worse ones, those very white ones with various colours, red, blue or green along the rim and more often than not, they have all gone limp and are hardly edible, not that I would want to eat them. Maybe there are people who enjoy eating those or perhaps, it is just for the colour and if it is the latter, then, they might as well not bother and just do without them. It would not make any difference and I, for one, would usually leave them untouched and that is such a waste as I guess they will all get thrown away eventually.

Of course it is a different story altogether if the keropok is part and parcel of a dish like nasi kerabu

Keropok and nasi kerabu

…the same way that nasi bryani would always have a piece of papadum

Papadum and nasi bryani

…to go with it.

Indeed, I do not think I have seen keropok served with western fare anywhere else and not that I can remember, in any of the food blogs that I frequent.

Another one of my pet peeves would be the use of fake or plastic flowers…

Plastic flowers

If they cannot have fresh, natural flowers, not even those common ones that we get to see all the time…

Fresh flowers

…then it would be better to do without and not have any at all. Throw in one of those gaudily colourful plastic tablecloth and they will look like one of those gaily-decorated coffee shops around town.

One thing that I cannot stand as well is how some people like to play loud music at their joints like it is a club or pub or something and everyone would have to shout to be heard making the place no better than a market place or a coffee shop. I don’t mind a little light music…

…in the background, something that will complement the ambiance of a place like the keroncong they play here and once, they had some lovely Italian songs here but of late, I have not heard them playing them again and I wonder why. I am no fan of jazz – they do play that at a number of places here but if it is not too loud, then it is  perfectly all right by me…and I do not mind the played-to-death Kenny G either, softly, of course! Especially when everyone is talking and nobody is listening, I’m sure it would be better to do without it – I sure wouldn’t mind a little peace and quiet around such places and incidentally, if I am not wrong, they have to pay some kind of royalty to play music and songs at their premises. I wonder how many of them actually do that.

But of course, at the end of the day, the bottom line is the food must be really good and value for money, the ambiance great and the service excellent. With all these, one would hardly notice all the rest and even if one does, I guess all would be forgiven.

Mixed up…

Lately, I have been reading in some friends’ blogs about how the service even at those classy joints is sadly less than satisfactory.

Well, I guess I have had my share of that here especially those mono-lingual ones at the upscale western restaurants or those who do not seem to know anything other than taking your orders and serving. You ask what is nice, they say they do not know…or they say all are nice. Then you ask what the favourites are and they say, all are…and you ask what an unfamiliar dish or what fish or meat they use, they say they do not know. At places such as these, I would just order and if the food is really very nice and not too expensive, I probably would want to come again, otherwise, I would much sooner go some place else.

That day, when my girl was home for the weekend, I asked her if she wanted to go for a nasi kerabu lunch because I saw that in Rose’s blog and was feeling like having that but unfortunately she said no and she wanted some nasi bryani instead so we made our way to our usual place with the true blue North Indian chef. The very nice and friendly waitress was nowhere to be seen and in her place, there was a sweet young girl who took our orders. She was very well-versed with what was on the menu and noted everything that we wanted…and she even repeated our orders to confirm that she had got everything right.

Our iced water, mine and my missus, came promptly but my daughter’s order for one iced ginger tea took quite a while to appear…and it was served hot! We said that we wanted it cold so they had to take back the drink…and I guess they just poured it into a tall glass filled with iced cubes and took it out again. It was all right with us as long as it was ginger tea, iced (RM6.50).

My girl wanted the butter chicken curry set but asked for the pilau rice to be substituted with bryani as that was what she wanted and that was what we went there for but this was served…

Cafe Ind butter chicken curry with basmati rice

…and of course, we protested and sent it back to the kitchen. Again, it was all right as it came out almost immediately with the bryani rice (RM18.00)…

Cafe Ind butter chicken curry with bryani rice

…the way we wanted it.

I guess it was the chef’s fault as it was not even pilau rice that was served originally but basmati rice which, according to the menu, would come in the fish curry set (RM16.50)…

Cafe Ind fish curry with basmati rice

…that I ordered so all he had to do was to swap the two – no harm done, no problem at all.

I had never had the fish curry before so that day, I thought I wanted to give it a try and yes, it was very nice but no, it did not taste like any fish curry that I had had before. I guess this was cooked, Indian style…

Cafe Ind fish curry with basmati rice

…probably using yogurt in place of the santan (coconut milk) or evaporated milk in the regular ones. There was just a slice of ikan tenggiri (mackerel) inside and a few bits of lady’s fingers, three altogether and a couple of curry leaves. I would not expect a lot more fish as it is indeed very expensive these days but I was wishing that there could be a little bit more of the vegetable or maybe the chef could add some brinjal as well…unless doing that would change and ruin the whole taste of the dish, that I would not know.

My missus had the kalio ayam (RM14.50)…

Cafe Ind kalio ayam 1

…from the Indonesian menu that we had a few times before and it was consistently good, plus this time around, they seemed to be very generous with the chicken curry and the mixed vegetables by the side but they could have been more careful with the gravy and if it had spilled onto the side of the banana leaf “basket”…

Cafe Ind kalio ayam 2

…they could have easily grabbed a kitchen towel and wiped that away before serving. I know something like this would be no big deal had it been in some coffee shop or food stall but for a place like this…

Cafe Ind Indonesian decor

…and at those prices, these little things may make a difference and leave a lasting not-too-favourable impression.

We have been here many times and the previous occasions had been good, no “bumps” along the way like this time around so hopefully, this is just what one would brush off as “one of those days” and not a recurring problem. Thankfully, the food was good, as always, and that, to me, was the most important thing. After all, these little hitches weren’t anything serious – not anything to really get all upset about and I sure would not mind going back there for more…unlike those places where the people are snooty and downright rude and will not think twice about snapping at you as and when it pleases them, places where they ill-treat you and show you no respect at all – like the ones where you have to stand in line and wait…or where you would have to go in and register your name and then shoo..shoo…you cannot sit at the vacant tables to wait, you go and queue outside in the sun – and also places where the service sucks big time – I’d rather go elsewhere and settle for what’s second best or something else.

Incidentally, the boss gave us three complimentary pieces of papadums (I was charged RM1.00 each at a nasi kandar shop in Sungai Petani, Kedah, believe it or not) and talking about those, I wonder if you all have seen this hilarious video clip before…

…and that wasn’t all. The two glasses of iced water that we had were on the house and the extra 50 sen was written off so when I gave RM60.00 to pay the overall total of RM59.50, the boss gave me RM5.00 change, hapus kira. Ain’t that nice?

Dance for you…

The other day, we went to the Esplanade…

The Rejang Esplanade, Sibu

…beside the mighty Rajang…

The Rajang

…for the outdoor performances of the Sibu International Dance Festival 2015.

Here, you can see some of the dancers on their way to present their dance with the Rajang River in the background…

On the way

There were dancers from several different countries such as these from Singapore…

From Singapore 1

…that started off the evening’s programme with their jazzy a la Broadway number…

From Singapore 2

…and they were followed by the ones from Sri Lanka…

From Sri Lanka 1

…including this guy…

From Sri Lanka 2

…who danced while doing some acrobatic acts with the bowls he had with him – something like the Chinese one using plates on sticks.

I really enjoyed the one by these Filipinos…

From the Philippines

…from the University of the Philippines Dance Company with their very lively and entertaining presentation called Tagu-taguan (Hide and seek). I’ve seen performances by their internationally-acclaimed choir on youtube like this one, for instance…

…and I really must say these people from our neighbouring country are absolutely super multi-talented!!!

This group from Taiwan got some volunteers from the audience…

From Taiwan

…to join in and they obviously had a whole lot of fun!

I did not bother to take any more photographs after that as it was very difficult to take nice shots of people in motion, not with my small and cheap digicam but if you are interested, you can always check out the official Facebook page – they do have very much nicer ones there, taken by professionals, I guess.

Spearheaded by the Hornland Dance Theatre here, this event has been going on for the fourth year running now and it certainly has been very well-received. This year, the participants came from the aforementioned countries and also Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and of course, Malaysia and there was even somebody from the US! Other than this outdoor event, there were also performances for two or three consecutive nights at the Dewan Suarah (Civic Centre) here in Sibu as well as dance-related conferences and workshops at selected venues (hotels) in the town. If you are thus inclined, this would be a good time to come to Sibu and you can get to enjoy the dances and everything, both cultural and contemporary.