People…

One thing that I like most about travelling is that I get to meet people. While flying from Sibu to Penang, I made friends with this young guy, Kennedy. He was an ex-SMK Sedaya student and completed Form 6 in SMK Jalan Oya in Sibu. Now a new police recruit, he was on his way to Penang for training and incidentally, he’s in the narcotics division! Hmmm…somebody had better watch out eh? LOL!!! Too bad he was shy and did not want me to take his photograph. Other than this new friend, while I was at LCCT, KL, I also met my former students, Allen and Doris…

Allen and Doris

Allen was going for his convocation at USM, architecture and is now working in Penang while Doris is in interior design. Now, aren’t they just compatible? Hahahahaha!!! And while on transit, it so happened that there were a group of Indonesian artistes who had just arrived…and as the entourage walked past me, I managed to snap a couple of photographs…

Indonesian band

I did not know who they were but I gathered that among them were Samsons and Peter Pan. I thought this guy looked like Ariel…

Ariel of Peter Pan

…but he did not look as thin and appeared very much older than in his “Mungkin Nanti” video clip. Well, I was in Sungai Petani to see my daughter,

Melissa in Sungai Petani

…always the same little girl in her papa’s eyes.

Then, when I went to mass on the Feast of Assumption, I bumped into Arthur – one of the very very nice students I had in Form 5 last year in my former school, prior to my retirement.

Arthur in Sg Petani

He is presently going for a degree in medicine in AIMST here – the Asian Institute for Medicine, Science and Technology. There are two others from Sarawak doing the same course as him, and he was telling me about how one of them (from another school in Sibu) could only smile when somebody spoke to him in English. I will not bother to comment on that but I think that speaks volumes to some parents out there (who probably will not be reading this anyway, even if they can!).

I also had the opportunity to meet once again a fellow-blogger, the very nice and pleasant Dr. Bernard Chan of bernardchan.net and his equally nice and pleasant wife when they came to take us out for lunch yesterday…

SP Dr Bernard Chan

I have met him before when I was in Penang around the Chinese New Year period this year and he dropped by the hotel to see me (I was down with shingles at the time!). He and his missus are so amiable that even though it may be your first time meeting them, it will seem like you’ve known them for years. They took us out for Sungai Petani char kway teow (Will be posting on this separately) and they are coming AGAIN to take us out to lunch today.

And have you ever met someone and somehow or other, the two of you just clicked? Eng’s from Penang and right now, he’s lecturing at a teacher-training institute in Bukit Mertajam. We first met many years ago in Port Dickson when we were roped in to work on the modules for the implementation of the Literature Component in English Language for secondary schools..and we met again once or twice in KL to finish off what we had started in PD. We got along really well even though we are as different as night and day…and over the years, we have always kept in touch. We got to meet again when we were marking examination papers and we would get to meet once a year in KL then…and there was also a Literature conference at Sheraton Subang where our paths crossed as well.

Penang friend Eng

Despite the sporadic occasions when we managed to get together, it’s like we’ve always been together all these years. Eng has been so helpful since my daughter got accepted into the institute in Sungai Petani. He met us at the airport on Penang island, drove us all here and even took us around, otherwise we would have been quite lost…and since then, we have met a couple more times already. This trip, he was away in Perlis on a lifesaver upgrading course and on the way home last night, he went through all the trouble to stop by Sungai Petani just to take my daughter and me out to dinner (This post coming up pretty soon!) even though he must be pretty tired from the gruelling course and the long drive. When I consider the fact that I have friends like that, I really feel that I am truly blessed…..

Give a little bit…

So there I was, giving a talk to the Form 5 students from SMK Lundu and SMK Sematan at this seminar held on Saturday…

Lundu Seminar 1

This is the third time I am doing it for the company concerned, the first at the Kuching Hilton for the students from a few schools in Kuching and the second time at a rural school somewhere between Miri and Bintulu. I just can’t recall the name off hand. After that, we proceeded to Bintulu and there, I talked to the students from the various schools at the Parkcity Everly Hotel.

Lundu seminar 2

Hopefully, the tips given may help them do better in the coming SPM Examination. I walked around the school and saw this…

Lundu school

Wow, I thought! The gratitude of the students to the teachers is engraved in stone! Isn’t that just great? LOL!!! I met two of my friends who are teaching in that school – Lily and Colin. See! Didn’t I tell you all that I’ve got friends everywhere? Hahahahaha!!! And I also saw the students practising their cultural dances…

Lundu dancers

They were the dancers from the Anak Dalam Gading (SMK Lundu) dance troupe that won the competition at national level recently in Perak. Before I went, I was googling for photographs of Lundu when I chanced upon some snapshots of them and also Fred, their trainer and choreographer…

Fred, dance trainer

So I made another new friend that day. It certainly was my pleasure to make the acquaintance, Fred. As a matter of fact, I made several friends, not just one, including those officers from the company. I also met a teacher from Gundot’s school, a Mr Tan or something, who was there on a separate arrangement to talk to students on Principles of Accounts.

Tea and lunch were provided but I was a bit too full from breakfast so I only had a bit of the beef curry…

beef curry

and the ayam masak merah (red-cooked chicken)…

ayam masak merah

and the ikan terubok masin (Salted terubok fish)…

ikan terubok masin

There were some other dishes but everybody must be puzzled as to why I was taking photographs of everything so I just stopped there.

The whole thing ended at around 5…and I was chauffeured back to Kuching in this…

Lundu to Kuching

As for what transpired in Kuching, you will have to wait till the next post. Do drop by again, ya!

Stop stop stop…

I left Sandakan at 8.50 a.m. and my first STOP was at Kota Kinabalu, landing on the dot at 9.30 a.m. Kpenyu was there waiting and upon my request, we proceeded to my next STOP and headed straight to…

Foo Phing Dimsum@Kota Kinabalu

Ok! Ok! I just had breakfast in Sandakan…so this is lunch, alright? ROTFLMAO!!! This place is at Hillview or something, somewhere around Bukit Padang…or is it Padang Bukit? Never mind!!! I had the char siew pau and they looked kind of different and small…but they were nice!

Char siew pau 1

I decided to tapau some back to Sibu…but when I arrived home, I found that what I got were different – they were bigger and had tits! LOL!!!

Char siew pau 2

It didn’t matter as they were nice too except that there were fewer to go around! Then I had the siew mai from the trolley…

Siew mai 1

as well as those on special order…

Siew mai 2

but they all tasted pretty much the same. Of course, I must have the har kau – huge ones with lots of prawns inside but to my bitter disappointment, they had shrunk…

Har kau 1

and inside, there were only two miserable prawns.

Har kau 2

The last time I ate there, they had at least half a dozen, all stuck together in a ball! Humph!!! And while we were there, Kpenyu insisted that I tried the beef noodles from one of the shops nearby…

KK beef noodles

Omigawd! It took my breath away, honestly! The soup was so thick with the flavour of beef…unlike the very diluted watered-down ones that we have here, and look at those giant chunks of beef…

KK beef noodles 2

Next time, I’ll go for the beef noodles (TWO bowls!) and give the dim sum a miss! So after that “lunch”, our next STOP was at a church. I did not get the name, but I had to attend a funeral. My mother’s cousin passed away on Sunday and the funeral was at 11.00 a.m. I was glad that I was going home on transit that same day and was able to stop by to pay my last respects.

When we got there, I met two old friends of mine – Gertrude…

Gertrude

and her sister, Julia. Coincidentally, one has my mother’s name and the other the name of my mother’s sister. Both sisters are now principals of schools in KK. They’re related to my auntie’s late husband…so in a way, we are distant relatives but I got to know them at those courses and seminars that I used to attend a lot. See! Didn’t I mention in one of my earlier posts that by getting involved in all those, I was able to get to know a lot of people far and wide? Anyway, here is a photograph of my auntie’s children…..

The Willies

and their friends who had come for the funeral. Now if you scrutinise the photograph carefully, you may catch a glimpse of Kpenyu (though I don’t see why anyone would bother as it sure isn’t worth squinting and straining your eyes for!!! LOL!!!) After the service, I rushed back to the airport and got on the 1.20 p.m. flight.

By the way, should anybody be planning to come to Sibu, do not, for heaven’s sake, take that flight. Get on the one at 1.45 p.m. which flies direct to Sibu. The office people in Sandakan booked the ticket for me and as a result, I had to STOP at Miri where I had to disembark for immigration clearance and return to the aircraft immediately…and then I had to STOP at Bintulu but we were not allowed to get off, so the transit passengers to Sibu had to remain on board, sweating away…and it did not help one bit that a woman close by was pouring hong eyew (Axe Brand oil) all over her face!

I only reached Sibu by 4.20 p.m. Just imagine that! Three hours to fly from Kota Kinabalu to Sibu and more than SEVEN hours from the time I started the journey in the morning at Sandakan!!! But all in all, everything considered, it was definitely worth it…and I wouldn’t mind going again, should I get another chance!

Listen…

I must say in no uncertain terms that I was extremely impressed by the positve attitude of the English Language teachers in Sandakan or at least, the 70 over who attended the talk that I gave on how to help students do well in the English Language 1119 papers in the SPM Examination. They actually signed up on their own accord and paid RM30 per head, and they were punctual and attentive throughout…

Sandakan Seminar 1

Here, the department would organise such courses or workshops for teachers and they would go grudgingly (forced by the school authorities) even though it was free of charge and they could claim this and that (Of course, this was what many would be most interested in!). I had on many occasions seen teachers who would appear around 8.00 a.m. to go for breakfast when the thing was supposed to start at 8.00 a.m. sharp, or teachers who would drag themselves in and the first thing they would ask you was, “At what time is this thing going to finish?”, or teachers who would sulk all day or spend their time talking in their group or outside the room on their handphones. Some would grumble to you blatantly that in school, they would only teach (I wonder how much of that they would actually do!) half a day but when they had to attend a course, they would have to stay till 4 or 5.00 p.m. Sometimes I really wondered why the people concerned would even bother to “cast pearls before swines”! Well, to be fair, there are some good ones here too, but sadly, they are outnumbered…especially when it comes to paying money to attend something that may be of benefit to them!

But the Sandakan teachers were not in any way like that. There were some who had attended a similar talk that I had given a few years ago and yet they wanted to come again. It felt good when they told me that they had tried out my suggestions and it had helped their students and the school examination results had improved, for instance the lady in white in the photograph below…and there was this Mr Lim from SM Sung Siew who was at my previous talk and he came again even though he would retire in 2 years’ time (He would have retired this year but he has opted for 58!). Even during the afternoon slot, they were all ears, participating actively by asking questions and giving opinions and laughing at my jokes…and when it was all over, so many of them took the trouble and time to come up front to say “thank you”. Thumbs up to everybody who was at the talk that day! Keep up the spirit and I am sure things can only be better in the days ahead…

Sandakan Seminar 2

There were two tea breaks – one in the morning and one on the afternoon and lunch was provided…

Sandakan Seminar Lunch Break

(Actually, I am including the above photograph because I thought that guy resembles Gundot’s handsome hubby aka Tom Selleck! LOL!!!) It was nothing fanciful…just the usual stuff like curry chicken…

Sandakan Seminar Lunch 2

…and a fish dish as well…

Sandakan Seminar Lunch 3

and also a vegetable dish (bean sprouts) plus fruits (watermelon) for dessert. It wasn’t much but I did not hear a word of complaint…unlike when we had courses here and meals were provided by the hotels used as venues; there were nothing but complaints…complaints…and complaints! I would blush each time I went through their feedback forms and saw where their priorities lay. One would really wonder how pathetic they could get!

Anyway, we had a long lunch break from 12 noon to 2.00 p.m. so my lady friends suggested that we went to 7-Heaven…

7-Heaven Sandakan 1

7-Heaven Sandakan 2 

Now, now! Wait a minute!…..I hope the name did not conjure all kinds of wild imaginings in your head for actually, it was just a dessert palour as you can see from the above pictures. LOL!!! We had this Yo Mango Supreme which is 99% fat-free…

Yo Mango Supreme

and this 99% fat Banana Boat…

Banana Boat

Which one do you think I had? ROTFLMAO!!!…..At 2, it was back to the grind and I wrapped up the whole thing at 4.00 p.m. on the dot. I would always start punctually and never believe in keeping people any longer than the time stated. To close this post, I wish to dedicate to all the Sandakan teachers who were present that day these lines from one of my favourite songs…
“…I hope life treats you kind,
and I hope you have all you dream of,
and I’m wishing you joy and happiness,
and above all this, I’m wishing you…love!!!” 

Till we meet again, God bless you all in your true devotion to your vocation.

Good to be back…

It was good to be back in Sandakan again and to see my friends, Lily and Santhi…

Lily and Santhi

and Param and Monica…

Param and Monica

This is one of the perks that I derive from going here and there giving talks to teachers and students, paticipating in conferences, seminars, workshops and what have you. I get to meet all the very nice people throughout the whole country and we end up being such great friends. Param has retired but despite being from Malacca originally, he has settled in Sandakan permanently…and Santhi is from Kedah and it certainly looks like she’ll stay in Sandakan for good as well. Yes, Sabah IS a very nice place…

Well, after our drinks at the English Tea House, we went to this Pasir Putih place for seafood. They also brought me there when I was in Sandakan on one of my earlier visits. I did not want fish…and I did not fancy getting my hands all dirty eating crabs…so we had siput glasui

Sandakan seafood siput glasui

and fresh oysters…

Sandakan seafood fresh oysters

and prawns, of course…

Sandakan Seafood Butter Prawns

Gosh! The prawns were so fresh you could actually savour the sweetness in them, unlike the bland crustaceans we pay through our noses for back here! We also had homemade seafood tofu…

Sandakan homemade seafood tofu

and fried Sabah sayur manis

Sabah sayur manis

That is something like the cangkuk manis in Sarawak…but the plants are smaller and while we eat the leaves, they only take the young shoots. For dessert, we had fruits and fried ice cream…

Sandakan dessert Fried icecream

That was, in fact, ice cream wrapped in bread and deep-fried.

Sandakan dessert Fried icecream inside

It was nice and definitely unique…or to me at least, as I had never had anything like that before. All in all, I found the dinner most delightful and satisfying. Thanks so much, Lily, Shanti, Monica and Param, for the treat! I certainly look forward to doing that with everybody again sometime. In Sibu perhaps? And it will be my treat this time! Meanwhile, take care and wishing you all nothing but the best in the days ahead!

Hello goodbye…

Well, sort of…for we just met up for a while on Thursday night. Sarikei blogger, willchua, was in town and wanted to meet everybody so it was arranged that we would meet at Kokoberry which is slowly but surely becoming the bloggers’ HQ, it seems. Here, you can see the very generous towkayneo-who-would-not-want-to-be-called-towkayneo promoting her products to willchua…

willchua at Kokoberry

Kuching blogger, kongkay ,was also there…and it turned out that he was someone I had known since a long, long time ago! Oh dear! That was a dead giveaway, wasn’t it? Now you all know he’s no spring chicken…like me! LOL!!! But he’s much younger than me though, if that’s any consolation!!! By the way, all you food lovers should visit his blog as he has a lot of that, and recipes too!!! Poor kongkay! It seemed goolooloo was pre-occupied with the cappucino she was serving willchua at the time…

Kongkay at Kokoberry

Too bad, ladies! Both the guys are camera shy…so you’ll have to be satisfied with their backsides. Oops! What I mean is you can only see their backs in the photographs! LOL!!!!! And that leaves you all with not much choice other than to feast your eyes on this eye candy

Huai Bin at Kokoberry

Hahahahahahaha!!! Being quite a regular in my blog lately, he certainly needs no introduction and wow! Just look at him doing what he does best!!! ROTFLMAO!!! He was having “Traffic Light”, one of the drinks available at Kokoberry. It is actually their version of the angtau cendol and I was the one who ordered it first. This was what I got…

Traffic Light at Kokoberry

Notice the difference? What traffic light is that? No colour at all! And look at Huai Bin’s! His was so nice and colourful!!! Humph!!! Unfair!!! Discrimination!!! When you’re not young and handsome, you do not get the same treatment from the sweet young things at the counter, it seems! Hahahahaha!!! Anyway, what’s my verdict? Well, it was very nice and I think I liked it more than the cappucino that I had the last time goolooloo gave us a treat…just that it was not colourful! Humph! Humph! Humph! Good grief! Am I turning into a grumpy old man? LOL!!!

Well, we stayed around there until the mall was about to close, chatting with the two visiting bloggers and getting to know one another, and bengbeng of mylongkang.com was there for a while too but had to leave earlier owing to prior commitments. In the course of the conversation, goolooloo asked Huai Bin why his bedsheet was so cartoonish for a 27-year old. Well, how do you like mine, goolooloo?…..

Bedsheet for insomniacs

That would be the perfect bed linen for insomniacs, don’t you think?…..They can spend their time counting sheep!!! LOL!!! It was nice meeting the two…and I certainly hope it will not be one of those “hello goodbye” kind of thing. Till we meet again…..

Hello again…

Hello, my friend, hello…! Well, it was good to see you again, Bongkersz, even though it was just a fleeting visit.

That’s right! He was in town for a while on Sunday, reaching here at around 8.30 a.m. and I took him for breakfast at Grace Cafe in the Dewan Suarah area to appease his craving for dianpianngu. Here’s a photo of him saying grace before he licked the bowl clean…(Don’t let your imagination run wild now eh? LOL!!!)

Good grief! Just a couple of weeks in Kuching and don’t you think he has put on weight? Somebody must be feeding him very well! Look at those cute, chubby cheeks!!! Like a fat baby’s that people love to cubit-cubit!!! ROTFLMAO!!

Bongkersz saying grace

The following mylongkang’s photo was uploaded onto flickr by cibol; it was taken when they were in Sibu earlier this year around Chinese New Year. Don’t you think Bongkersz was slimmer and younger then…..and he looked much better with hair? Hahahahahahaha!!!!

bernard.archibald's photo@www.flickr.com

Anyway, to get back to what I was talking about, Huai Bin (sixthseal.com) and Mary (goolooloo.com) joined us later. Umm…actually Huai Bin came first because the towkay-neo (lady boss) had some business to attend to…and then, instead of heading to where we were, she went to the original dianpianngu place in the town centre and since it was already past 11 then, we decided to meet at Ruby Restaurant instead.

Since his last trip, Bongkersz had been yearning for the butter scotch prawns at the Ruby Restaurant here in Sibu;all his efforts to find a place in KL or Kuching that cooks prawns that same way have been in vain…so I decided to let him have another go at it.

Ruby's butter scotch prawns again

I also ordered his favourite cangkuk manis

Ruby's cangkuk manis again

Huai Bin loves the butter cheese baby kai lan there so we had that too…

Ruby's butter cheese baby kailan again

I wanted to try something different, so I ordered pork belly with dried chillies and salted fish. Goolooloo loved it…but although it was very nice, I think what I had once at stall no. 7 at Taman Selera Muhibbah was nicer. Perhaps they should add more salted fish…and use the “long” type instead for extra “fragrance”.

Ruby's pork belly with dried chilli and salted fish

You can find some more photographs if you bother to click the links to the other blogs but without doubt, it was a delightful lunch, considering particularly the company one was with…and I was pretty sure Bongkersz had a good time too before he left to return to Kuching via Sarikei. I hope you found your trip worthwhile, my friend, and do come again sometime…