The other man’s grass…

The other man’s grass is always greener, the sun shines brighter on the other side.

The first time I had to fly to Langkawi on a working trip, a friend said to me, “You must buy the Kit Kat there!”

“Oh?” I responded. “Don’t we have lots of Kit Kat in our shops and supermarkets?”

“Theirs are imported,” she explained, “from Australia. They are creamier and very much nicer.”

Of course, I had to buy some but blame it on my retarded taste buds, I could not tell the difference and I would say that like our own locally manufactured products, not all imported stuff is necessarily good or better. For instance, the other day, my girl bought two packs of the imported Nice biscuits and two of the Teddy bear ones (that looked more like a lion to me) for me to enjoy. The expiry dates were drawing near so they were going for around RM4 something instead of the usual over RM7.00-8.00 each. They were all right but I do think our own Tiger biscuits are nicer though looking at the prices these days, they may not necessarily be cheaper than these discounted prices.

Of course, many have tried coming out with their own – here or in other countries overseas but none would come near those Kjeldsens Danish butter cookies and I do love those Scottish shortbread so much but unfortunately, I can’t afford to buy those to enjoy anymore these days. My eyes almost popped out at one supermarket that day – a regular-sized pack was going for over RM30.00! *faints*

It’s the same with these digestives…

Digestives

– this particular brand. I’ve tried others but somehow, they are simply not quite there. Not too long ago, I bought what looked quite the same, a bigger pack, but they were really horrible like they had gone all limp and the original taste was not there at all. I did not check to see where they were made but my girl could recall there were some Mandarin characters on the pack. But these came all the way from the UK and they are good and even at over RM9.00, I would buy once in a long while to enjoy.

They are only £1 in the UK…

One pound special

When I was there long ago, I used to look for these special offers – the ones selling at the regular prices were not quite within my budget, especially after converting them into our miserable ringgit. That should be over RM5.00 here but I guess those people would need to make a bit of profit after deducting the shipping charges, the overheads and all.

I am not a fan of ginger cookies but I do enjoy these…

Ginger nuts

…also from the UK…

From the UK

…going for around RM4.00 only so I would buy them sometimes to enjoy.

Then, the other day, I saw these…

Ovaltine biscuits

…and I decided to buy a pack to try, just over RM3.00 each!

I can recall during the British colonial days, people used to argue as to which one was better – Milo or Ovaltine. I don’t think I’ve seen the latter anywhere these days, just Milo…and I hear many complaining that it is not so nice anymore, nothing like what it was like in the good ol’ days when it was imported from England.

I checked the pack and found that it was not made in Malaysia…

Made in Thailand

…but in our neighbouring country.

I am not fond of biscuits with cream filling including those overly-sweet black ones with white filling, though I would not mind our Malaysian-made cheese crackers with peanut butter cream inside. To my delight, the filling in this one…

Ovaltine biscuits 1

…was so very nice. I absolutely love it! I wonder if that was the same as what I got from my Singapore friend sometime ago. I did try the other one and it was very nice and in the meantime, my sister saw something shared by somebody on Instagram or somewhere and he insisted it was nicer than Nutella so she asked me for it to try. Well, if it is the same, I would say it is really nice.

No, I will not be rushing out to grab a bottle – it is not available here, anyway but I sure wouldn’t mind buying some more of the biscuits…

Ovaltine biscuits 2

…but not that often. They are not really sweet but still, they are sweet and people my age should not be eating too much of those, everything in moderation.

I guess it’s like going some place to eat – not everywhere here or overseas will be good, we just need to know where to go and it’s the same with these biscuits/cookies. Most of the imported ones are a lot more expensive, of that we can be sure, but they are not necessarily nice(r) and on the other hand, we do have some usually more affordable and very nice local-made ones.

As the remaining lines of the chorus of that song in the above link go:
The other man’s grass is always greener
Some are lucky, some are not
But just be thankful for what you’ve got !

The day…

I did mention a couple of posts back that Facebook has this special feature where it will allow you to look at something you shared a year or more back and one of them the other day reminded me that it has been four years since the first time I drove my girl to Selangau to report for duty at the District Education Office there. That means that I’ve been driving along this road…

Sibu-Selangau road
*Archive photo*

…to her school, 99 km. from Sibu town, every Sunday, excluding school holidays, and at times, on other days as well, for not one or two or three but four long years now. It’s not a highway, just a trunk road linking some main towns in the  huge state of Sarawak, with just two lanes, one lane going and another lane coming back.

I remember it was not a very smooth drive at the beginning but with some upgrading works time and again…

Sibu-Selangau road, upgrading
*Archive photo*

…it became a lot nicer but of late, it seems that it is getting quite bad – potholes everywhere and shoddy patching jobs that do not last very long and with the construction of the pan-Borneo highway, a lot has been going on for sometime now. Hills are being levelled, people have been resettled and their (long)houses have been shifted or demolished. They have not started work on the highway proper but with the soil exposed, the rain would wash it all onto the road and it did not help one bit that there are people who will not slow down, rain or shine.

Last Sunday, there was a terrible storm and of course, my car was splashed all over each and every time those hell-raisers drove past. I do not understand why these recalcitrant characters do not seem to value their own lives nor do they have any respect for others. By the time I got back home, the whole vehicle was a terrible mess so I had to send it to the car wash right away.

My mechanic told me not to ask those people to clean my engine but he never explained why – he just said it would not be good. That was why I had to do it myself, wiping away till it was clean enough…

Car engine, cleaned

Well, the week-long school holidays are here which means that I would not need to drive down that road this Sunday so it should stay this clean for a while, at least.

With my girl home, she will be able to spend sometime with her grandparents – on working days, she is only able to drop by to see them once a week, on Saturdays. I don’t know if my father will want us to take him out or not. We just did that the other day – it was time once again for his fortnightly haircut.

While he was at his regular old-school barber shop, I browsed around the coffee shop next door and I saw this…

Pig's blood with chives

Gosh!!! The last time I had any was coincidentally four years ago as well, way back in 2013 at that coffee shop/food court in Sungai Merah that has since closed down for reasons unknown. I did not want to buy any as I knew my missus would not touch the stuff but she went and bought some home for dinner – it was very nice and she had the chives while I had the coagulated blood. Yum yummm!!!

Of course, after the haircut, we had to take my father to his favourite place in town for his Foochow fried noodles with added char siew (RM5.00)…

Y2K Cafe Foochow fried noodles with added char siew

…and I also had the same. He also tapao-ed a plate home for my mum and my missus had this so-called Singapore fried bihun (RM5.00)…

Y2K Cafe Singapore fried bihun

…which was nice with its pleasant wok hei fragrance but it was just fried bihun with curry powder added and other than some bits of char siew and some taugeh (bean sprouts) and egg in it, there wasn’t much of anything else so personally, I would not want to go for that, not at RM5.00 a plate.

I had gone to get the car when my father picked up the tab and on our way home, my missus told me that he had to fork out RM25.00 for the four plates of noodles and our two glasses of kopi-o-peng (my father did not want anything to drink). So does that mean that the coffee here is RM2.50 a glass, a lot more than at the regular coffee shops? I will want to find out next time but of course, this place is air-conditioned and I often saw people sitting around having some drinks, not eating, and chatting away the whole time we were there – maybe that is why, I wouldn’t know.

WU ZHAO PAI (2.289093, 111.827338) is located opposite Standard Chartered Bank at the bend turning into Ramin Way from Central Road and Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753) is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located. The back entrance actually faces the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

Sick…

Oh dear!!! Oh dear!!! Time is running out and there are a thousand and one things that have yet to be done, the cleaning and the washing of every nook and cranny in the house, the weeding and trimming in the garden and the putting up of the decorations…and the cooking and so on and so forth. Everything was going well until I fell sick, so so so sick!

I think it was the dabai! In the old days, the fruit season would be around the end of the year, all kinds of fruits – durians, dabai, lenggeng

Lenggeng
*Archive photo*

…mangosteens, rambutans, langsat…and everyone would feast on these and they say that this would be the time when doctors would be laughing all the way to the bank. These fruits are all very heaty and should be consumed in moderation or one will end up with a bad cough and other kinds of ailments.

These days, you may find these fruits at odd times in the year but the end of the year is still the time when they will come out in abundance. Dabai and durians have been out for a few months now – it did not use to last this long – and are cheaper. I guess people are getting tired of the fruits so not many are buying them anymore…but we did buy some dabai last weekend at RM16.00 a kg, very good ones that would probably fetch around RM25.00-30.00 a kg earlier in the season. Despite the drop in prices, I do not usually buy any to eat – even at the lower prices, I still think it is expensive but I would buy on weekends as my girl enjoys eating them.

We had a few on Saturday night for dinner but my missus “forgot” to prepare any for lunch the following day before we sent our girl back to her school in the jungle. She did not want to bring along any with her to eat there so there we were, stuck with the rest of the fruit. That evening, my missus “forgot” AGAIN…so I took the whole lot and prepared all of them to finish them off at one go. We cannot keep this fruit for long as the skin will become wrinkled and thick so it will not be nice anymore. I guess I lived to face the consequence and the very next day, I came down with a terrible cough.

I woke up with a bad cough the next morning but that did not stop me from doing the spring cleaning that had to be done and my t-shirt was a little wet with my sweat, just a little, so I did not bother to change it when I went and had my nap that afternoon…and later that day, I did get caught in a slight drizzle and that did it! I came down with a fever and started sneezing and had a running nose…and I was up all night, every half an hour, to go to the toilet and I was shivering away the whole time. By morning, I was already half dead! I stayed in bed all day the next day, slept a lot and was better the day after, still very weak but no, life goes on – there are things that need to be done. I guess with the little time I have left and since I am not in top form, I would just have to be happy with what I can do…and leave out the rest.

In the meantime, my god-son/ex-student, Andrew and family are home from New Zealand for Chinese New Year and they brought me these…

From Andrew

I guess I’m the only one in the house who can eat the Tim Tams now as it has wheat in its ingredients but I really wonder what this is supposed to mean…

Warning

I see this at the back of boxes and packets of a lot of products. Is this just a precautionary warning just in case someone eats it and comes out with some adverse reactions and the company ends up getting sued for it? I am pretty sure they do clean all the machines and their premises as well. I suppose this boils down to one thing – eat at your own risk?

I’ve tried the new Tim Tam, mango flavour…

New Tim Tam mango flavour

…but I could hardly detect the mango flavour, maybe just a bit as it was almost completely drowned out by the overwhelming taste of the chocolate. It did come across like fresh mango though, not the horrible mango essence flavour that we may find sometimes in the cream in some of our local-made biscuits.

Nonetheless, it was nice…but like all Tim Tams, it was very sweet so I would have to confine myself to maybe just one a day which obviously means that it would be quite a while before I can get to try the pineapple…or maybe I’ll just keep that to serve to the people who drop by for Chinese New year on a first come, first serve basis – pineapples, very auspicious…ONG LAI!!!

7 years…

It has been 7 years.

It first bloomed in January, 2009 and again in May that same year and June as well but after the last time a year later in June, 2010, it never did bloom again.

It was my missus who planted it…in the ground and it grew well at the time. There was only a little bit of what was left of the dwindling, struggling-to-survive old plant when she transplanted it in a big pot and since I took up gardening, I have been able to take good care of it – all the weeding, replenishing the  soil, adding the fertilisers and of course, the daily watering and eventually, it started looking a whole lot better again…

Desert Rose 2017 1

In one moment of carelessness as I was watering the plants in my garden one morning, I caused some damage to this leaf…

Desert Rose 2017 2

…when it got caught in the hose I was using. It did not wither away and die though – obviously, this plant is a very sturdy one that can survive even in adverse conditions.

For one thing, that leaf did not look so nice and I was thinking of trimming it and throwing it away and thankfully, I never did that for out of that one leaf, I spotted these…

Desert Rose 2017 3

…and they grew and grew…

Desert Rose 2017 4

…and last Saturday, it sure looked like it was going to bloom…

Desert Rose 2017 5

…that night and it did…

Desert Rose 2017 6

…two blooms only on the 14th of January, 2017…

Desert Rose 2017 7

I have no idea whether there will be any more after this and one thing’s for sure, I most certainly hope so. Let’s just wait and see…

Go away…

I missed their Christmas sale – by the time I went to their shop, everything was sold out but I did manage to catch their end-of-year sale with selected items going for RM5.00 only and I grabbed this mother-in-law tongue…

From The Green House mother-in-law tongue

…at that price, nice pot not included though. I have read posts shared by people on Facebook on how it is good to have this plant in the house to improve the indoor air quality so I wouldn’t mind having one in mine too.

My friend, Victor, was there and I did get quite a bit of discount for my purchases and on top of that, he gave me this natural pesticide…

From the Green House natural pesticide

…free of charge to try.

I think it is organic, not harmful to the environment…

Non-pollution pesticide

…so it is safe for use.

I guess everyone knows by now that something has been feasting on the leaves of my ladies’ fingers plants…

All that is left of the leaves

…leaving behind just the skeleton. All this while, I have not bothered about it as despite the absence of those big whole leaves, the ladies’ fingers continue to appear…

Ladies fingers

…so as long as there is enough for me to harvest and enjoy, I have no objection to whatever it is that has been eating the leaves.

Nonetheless, since I have this pesticide to try, I sprayed all the leaves especially the new ones…

Ladies' fingers new leaves

…that have not been as severely destroyed yet and it has been a few days now and yes, it sure looks like those pests have kept their distance.

Thank you so much, Victor, for the pesticide, and for the special discounts and everything. Here’s hoping that you will enjoy continued success in your business undertakings in the year ahead, cheers!!!

That spirit of Christmas…

I dropped by the mall near my house again the other day, the one with the somewhat minimal Christmas decoration but this time around, I was pleasantly surprised to see this house…

Delta Mall Christmas House

…there and this was what it looked like inside…

Delta Mall, Christmas House, inside 1

That sure was a welcome addition to the solitary Christmas tree, the cardboard cut-out snowmen and the rest

Delta Mall Christmas House, inside 2

…and I did see some people happily taking selfies and wefies of themselves with this in the background.

It was that very same day that the poslaju van stopped outside my house to deliver this…

From Phong Hong 1

…from my blogger friend, Phong Hong.

I certainly would agree with this…

The best people

people who love 2 eat are always the best people. Aren’t we all? Wink! Wink!

Inside, she had gone through all that trouble to so very generously send me these awesome bacon products…

From Phong Hong 2

…and a very lovely Christmas card. Yes, that’s right! Bacon! I have yet to try any of the three but if it’s bacon, I am pretty sure that they’re going to be good!

Thank you so very much, Phong Hong. Sorry, I didn’t send you anything but no worries, should I happen to come across anything here that can be sent and is worth sending, I will most certainly do that. A Blessed Christmas to you and all your loved ones. Cheers!!!

Wait no more…

I had not been to a movie since December, 2014 and before that, the previous one was in June 2012 but I had been waiting for this one…

…all this time ever since I first saw the trailer early in the year. It was scheduled to open at Christmas and I thought, “Oh dear!!! That is going to be a really long wait!”

Then, I saw in the promo on satellite TV that it would premiere nationwide in Malaysia on the 8th of December…and yes, that’s right!!! I went to see it on that very day itself, the 2 o’clock matinee at the trioplex (thus named as there are three halls showing three movies simultaneously) to the left…

Jalan Kampung Nyabor Sibu

I couldn’t wait another day!

My girl went to get the tickets for us and came back with three RM10.00 ones. Oh? They had a special concession for the 10.00 a.m. show but for other shows in the day, it would be RM12.00 for adults and RM10.00 for children. More on this later!

In the meantime, I went around taking photographs of the pictures in the wall…

Movie audience

…including this one of popcorn…

Popcorn

…though I did not see any popcorn booth that one would see at cinemas elsewhere, just a stall selling all kinds of snacks and tidbits.

I loved the display they had for the movie…

SING

…with these cute pokes at well-known stars like Seal

Seal

…or Rihanna

Rihanna

…or Maroon 5

Maroon 5

LOL!!!

Going back to the tickets, we were about to enter the hall when the usher directed us back to the ticketing booth and passed them to the young and handsome boy there…without any explanation. Of course I knew the reason for it so as the boy re-issued new tickets for us, I commented, “Itu untuk budak kecik saja, ya?” (That’s for little children only) and he replied, “Ya!” and I added, “Kami kecik pun bah!” (We are also small) That little joke sure tickled his funny bone and he laughed out loud. I guess that was a welcome relief for him in his dreary mundane job day in and day out, nothing much to smile or laugh about.

As for the movie, from the opening scene with Jennifer Hudson as the young Nana Noodleman singing one of my all-time Beatles favourites, I knew I was going to enjoy it. It was like a pop quiz, “60 pops in 60 minutes” – the songs came fast and furious, some so short that even before I could guess the title, they had moved on to the next one. Well, if you are so into songs…

…like me, you would enjoy the movie to the max. The soundtrack includes some really old oldies ranging from Frankie’s “The girl from Ipanema” and “My Way” to the newer ones from the likes of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

There are a lot of subtle messages pertaining to wife and husband/family, father and son, boy and girl relationship…and some very lovely and meaningful  quotations as well. I felt the finale was a let down though as the song they picked is not one of my favourites but on the whole, I would say it was very entertaining and I sure enjoyed myself…not quite the same way as how I enjoyed the classics like this one or this one but yes, I had a great time!