What a difference a day makes…

All throughout my school days, school would always reopen on the first Monday in January every year. I do not remember when they changed that and fixed it on the 2nd of January, right after New Year’s Day. To be honest, I do not see what difference those few days would make, not that it would miraculously turn the pupils/students into geniuses.

The way it is, teachers would have to go back to their schools way ahead of time – many in the jungle or in the other states, far away from their home sweet home, away from the warmth and love of their respective families. They would hold their staff meeting right after Christmas, some before…and set aside a date for the kids to report…and on the 2nd of January, they would start teaching right away, no dilly-dallying. Obviously, that would mean that there would be no celebration of any kind for those poor teachers concerned to usher in the new year, none at all. After all that talk about family values, it is sad, isn’t it?

Well, we can console ourselves to some extent as it isn’t as bad as one year when some smart fella, the Minister of Education at the time, thought he could beat God at his game and started the academic year in December…to push the public examinations earlier to avoid the perennial floods in the east coast of the peninsula. Unfortunately, time and tide waits for no man and the floods came earlier so the problem remained and there were a lot of unhappy people at the time. Thankfully, they did away with that silly idea and switched back to January.

I mentioned in my previous post that we sent our girl back to her school in the jungle on New Year’s Eve for their staff meeting and she had to stay back there to register the kids in her class the following day, New Year’s Day and that was why she did not want to come back after the meeting (which dragged on till late, around 1.00 p.m.)…and that was why we had nothing planned, nothing on New Year’s Eve, nothing on New Year’s Day.

I had a pleasant surprise that afternoon, New Year’s Day, when Peter and Andy contacted me and invited me and my missus out to dinner…

New Year's Day 2019 dinner with Peter & Andy

here. They close every year on New Year’s Day and on Labour Day, May the 1st – just two days in a year so they were free that day. We went very early, at around 5 something to make sure that we did not have to queue and wait for a table.

I ordered this so-called munchy platter…

Munchy platter

…that I had seen people enjoying before. However, we could not order that even though my girl would love the fried calamari…

Fried calamari

…and the chicken popcorn…

Chicken popcorn

…as being coated with batter, they would not be gluten-free.

I thought both the aforementioned were really very good and went well with the special chili dip that came in the platter but this…

Skewers

…stole the show. We could not figure out what it was – it looked like sausage cut into bite-size bits, pierced through with a skewer and grilled. I did ask one of the waiting staff members but she said she did not know and I did not bother to pursue the matter after that. It tasted something like ham or bacon and we all loved it!

The mixed grill platter did not look very big in the menu, served on something like one of those regular round dinner plates so I ordered that as well and when it was served, we were stunned by the size…

Mixed grill platter

There was another one of that sausage-like thing on a  skewer and we liked the beef…

Beef

…very much, very tender and very tastily done. The lamb was all right – I sure did not get all excited over it and the grilled chicken chop was nice too.

I wished they would not use those canned sweet corn for the sides though – it made the dish look kind of cheap. I imagine that with one can, there would be enough corn kernels for 10 plates, at least. If they had used corn-on-the-cob instead, that certainly would push up the dish to a whole new level and give it a lot more class.

Andy wanted the cheesey chicken…

Cheesey chicken

…which turned out to be just the grilled chicken like the one in the mixed grill platter with a layer of cheese on top. I would prefer this, I think – the added cheese on top sure helped make it taste a lot better. Perhaps my girl would like to give it a try for a change on our next visit instead of going for the grilled lamb everytime.

We also had their Hawaiian pizza…

Pizza

…thin crust and what we got sure was different from what all of us would be more familiar with. Yes, there were pineapples but instead of the ham or bacon, they had bits of freshly grilled chicken instead…and besides, I thought it could do with a  lot more cheese. Personally, I would prefer their pepperoni that I had once on an earlier visit.

We all agreed that the food was really very nice but there is just so much of western cuisine that one can have especially when the servings are so huge so after a while, the law of diminishing returns started to set in and we all felt that we had had enough. Of course we could not finish everything, the four of us, so we got them to pack the leftovers for us to take home.

Thank you so much, Peter and Andy, for the invitation and for the delightful New Year dinner treat. We certainly had a lovely New Year’s Day, after all. Once again, a Happy and Prosperous New Year and may you all enjoy yet another successful one in the year ahead, 2019. Cheers!!!

WOW WOW WEST Sibu (2.296407, 111.885216) is 24 & 26, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman – on your left along the road leading to the Sibu Airport, past the traffic lights junction where you would turn left to go to the Sibu General Hospital but before the next junction where you would turn right to go into Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce.

A good year…

On the eve of New Year’s Eve, Melissa’s coursemate and his family dropped by my house to pass me this really awesome serunding daging (beef floss)…

Beef floss

…that he had just brought back from Terengganu after the long school holidays back home. Yes, it was very nice and very spicy too which made us love it all the more, thank you so much, Bubu. It is always so nice and thoughtful of you to bring us a little something whenever you go back home.

These came in on New Year’s Eve…

Greeting cards

…just in time for the New Year, bringing my total for the year to 5, thank you so much to Merryn and family and also to Ozzie, my friend in Singapore, who sent hers all the way from Hokkaido in Japan while on holiday there.

That morning, we left the house at dawn to go to my girl’s school in the jungle. The road was pretty much the same, for better or for worse – some parts were a bit better, other parts were worse than the condition they were in over a month ago. When we got there, my girl had to go for their staff meeting so the mum and I spent the time cleaning her quarters from top to bottom. In keeping with our Chinese/Foochow custom, I cooked our traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup to bring along and eat with mee sua (longevity noodles) for lunch – my girl had it with bihun (rice vermicelli) instead.

We left around mid-afternoon and had the misfortune of having to go through torrential rain all the way on the horrendous Pain-Borneo Highway. We got home rather late and I had to rush to the car wash…and wash the engine when I got back so I did not get the chance to rest or have my forty-winks. That was why I did not go for the Thanksgiving Service and Fellowship/Pot Luck Gathering at our regular church that night – I might dose off halfway and I went to the one in the morning instead…and they had a little ceremony after the service to usher in the New Year 2019…

Welcome 2019 at St Mary's

After that, I decided to go in search of some very nice mee sua in town even though I already had that the day before. I did not bother to go back here as my favourite is no longer available and the substitute is not all that great and I don’t know if this one has moved some place or not after that coffee shop closed down. The one here was a tad too sour for my liking the last time I had it so I went here…

Uncle Bakery

…in the end as I could remember I did have some nice mee sua here a long time ago – I forgot that the last time I had it, I was somewhat disappointed.

Well, the kopi-o-peng (RM1.80)…

Coffee

…wasn’t great – it was just so-so. There are a lot of places in town that serve very much nicer coffee at that same price or less.

The mee sua (RM7.00)…

Mee sua 1

…has gone up in price by a ringgit and the instant it was served, I knew right away that it would not be to my liking.

The soup was what we say in Hokkien, lor-lor (murky) and yes, there was enough red wine in it just that it wasn’t the top quality kind that we would get to enjoy here. The chicken was well-marinated and tender enough and there was one whole hard-boiled egg and a shitake mushroom…

Mee sua 2

I keep telling my friend, Peter, the boss of Payung to serve it as a special…say, for lunch on Saturdays, like their lei cha on Fridays and because their red wine is absolutely the best, made by his sister, approved by his mum – the matriarch in the family and since they use the more expensive pua-chai kay (I bought one for our mee sua that day, RM60 a bird), they can give two pieces of the meat and more noodles and soup in a  bigger bowl and charge double, RM15.00 perhaps. Because it is so very nice, I, for one, would keep going for it and there will be others, I’m sure…and their friends who may not be thus inclined can always order something else from their regular menu. How about that for a business proposal, eh?

As for this one that I had, at best, I would say it was all right…and at least, I had mee sua on New Year’s Eve and also on New Year’s Day in the hope that I would be blessed with longevity and a good year ahead. I must say, however, that despite what I felt about it, it certainly seemed very popular as there was quite a crowd and many were having this same thing. It would be such a shame if there isn’t a place right here in Sibu, basically a Foochow town, where one can get really very good Foochow longevity noodles or mee sua.

UNCLE BAKERY (2.304785, 111.849142) is located along Lorong Pahlawan 7B/3, directly facing the Sibu Bus Terminal, a few doors to the right of Medan Hotel/Bus Terminal Food Court.

Hoping…

It’s the 1st of January today, New Year’s Day, 2019…so let me start off by wishing everybody all the best in the coming year, may God bless us all abundantly with blue skies and everything nice.

And talking about the start of something new, we have this new Japanese franchise place in town

Suchi Mentai

– it just opened its doors on Christmas Eve and is drawing folks by the droves.

We had a very good Japanese restaurant here once and we would go there quite frequently but the owners closed down the place eventually to concentrate on their other ventures here and also in Kuching. Since then, I had not been to any place Japanese even though there is another Japanese franchise (with two outlets now) here but after a couple of disappointments, I never went back again. We also have our own local one which is quite nice and has been around for a long long time now but somehow, I do not feel inclined to go there. My girl goes to one of their outlets quite often though, not me.

In the meantime, the only Japanese delight that I would get to enjoy would be our own homemade sushi – my girl and the mum would make it quite regularly and yes, with all the special ingredients used, I must say that i rather enjoyed those they have made so far.

Well, we did manage to check out this new one the other day – its opening hours on weekdays was supposed to be from 12 noon onwards and we got there at 11.30 a.m. but it was in full swing…

The carousel

…and already full except for one small table for 4 by the side, just nice for the 3 of us…so in we went, hoping that this would be very much to our liking and there would, at least, be one really good Japanese joint here for us to frequent.

Here, if it is full, you will have to go to the cashier’s counter to register your name and go and wait outside – there are seats provided but if all of them are filled, you will just have to stand in a queue…and yes, by the time we were leaving, there was quite a crowd outside. One thing’s for sure, you would never catch me doing anything of the sort.

The carousel went round and round non-stop with all the plates of sushi and yes, there was a very wide variety unlike at the other franchise place where when I went there, I noticed that they had all the plates of the same things circulating the whole time we were there.

We took a few of the blue ones (RM3.70 a plate), the raw salmon…

Sushi 1

…and the unagi

Sushi 2

…and the red plates (RM2.80 a plate), this one wrapped in seaweed…

Sushi 3

…and this one in the tofu pouch…

Sushi 4

…and we also had this…

Sushi 5

…and this…

Sushi 6

…and this…

Sushi 7

…and one of the yellow plates (RM1.80 each)…

Sushi 8

All in all, they were all right, none that got me all excited – honestly, I do think the ones we make  at home are nicer but my girl enjoyed herself very much. This would be a very convenient stop for her when she comes back from her school in the jungle on Fridays for the weekend as if I am not wrong, they are not so busy at those odd hours, around 2-3.00 p.m. in the afternoon.

We also ordered à la carte from their menu…

Menu

…their chawanmushi (RM3.80)…

Chawanmushi

…which was nice and so was their salmon mentaiyaki (RM15.45)…

Salmon

…but the chicken teriyaki (RM10.00)…

Chicken

…did not really impress – it was nice but the thought of easily cooking our own at home, and probably do a much better job of it, kept running through my head.

Everyone I asked on Facebook said the soft shell crabs were good so I ordered the spider tempura (RM15.80)…

Tempura

…but no, the crustacean was bland, quite tasteless and the batter too. The only think I liked in the basket was the pumpkin simply because the vegetable in itself is sweet so that saved the day.

All in all, inclusive of our drinks, the total came up to RM77.50 but with the 10% service tax, it was RM85.00 altogether.

SUSHI MENTAI, Sibu (2.303279, 111.843161) is located at Wisma Sri Minyak, Lot 3065, S/L4, No. 23&25, Ground Floor, Pedada Lane 7 (Now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

This Christmas day…

We did not have any plans for Christmas this year, other than going for the church service on the night of Christmas Eve. See if you can spot me in this video clip! LOL!!!

My girl made this gluten-free chocolate brownie with chocolate icing…

Gluten-free chocolate brownie with icing

…using the cake mix that my cousin from Brisbane, Australia gave her earlier this year. Yes, it was very nice – the cake was rich and moist but like most/all cakes in western countries, it was very sweet. I had to refrain from having more than one or to the most, two slices in one sitting.

We got an invitation from my cousin to join her family and some of our other relatives here for lunch…

At my cousin's Christmas open house

…on Christmas day so of course, we did not not want to miss it, not at all! Hmmm…that cushion sure came in handy, don’t you think? LOL!!!

Her daughter, Jessica, and Conelius got married at the end of 2014 and are blessed with two kids now, a boy and a girl which, of course, means that my cousin and her hubby are proud and happy grandparents now. The photographs that I took of the dishes in the buffet spread did not turn out too well so all I’ve got to share is this one of the celebrated Sarawak kek lapis (layer cake)…

Kek lapis Sarawak

That night, I suggested going for a western dinner and when we were here not too long ago, I did say that I would be looking out for their Christmas menu and would drop by if we thought it would be worth the while and that was why we went back there again that evening.

When we entered, we caught a whiff of the very delightful coffee fragrance, whatever they were brewing at that point in time and being unable to resist, my missus ordered their flat white (RM10.90)…

Ladoree flat white

…and my girl had their latte (RM10.90)…

Ladoree latte

…and yes, they loved their picks though my missus insisted that hers was nicer. As for me, I stuck faithfully to my glass of plain water.

We had their classic Australian rib eye (RM79.90)…

Ladoree classic Australian rib eye

…which was, at best, quite all right to us but then again, we are not really fans of beef – we prefer lamb. It was not tender enough but went very well with the special sauce/gravy that came with it.

They probably had quite a crowd the night before for they were out of their rack of lamb that we wanted. No, we did not want their curry lamb shank as we wanted to go entirely western and that spicy dish did not fit the bill and we could not order their hot and crispy lamb shoulder as it would not be gluten-free with the coating of bread crumbs. In the end, we just ordered their roasted chicken whole leg (RM25.90)…

Ladoree roasted chicken whole leg

…and that turned out to be a really wise choice on our part. It was so very nice and we loved the orange sauce in the dish. That certainly was a consolation for the fact that we did not get to enjoy any turkey this year. Sobsss!!!

They were out of Ceasar salad too so they suggested a replacement instead – potato salad (RM13.90)…

Ladoree potato salad

…and of course, we jumped at it – we certainly would prefer that but it was not on the Christmas menu and for reasons unknown, the sesame salad dressing was served separately…

Ladoree potato salad and dressing

…which was a good thing as that particular range of Kewpie salad dressing is  not gluten-free and my girl did not mind it one bit as she enjoyed the lightly-fried potato cubes and bits of bacon and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on their own.

She also wanted the mushroom soup (RM10.90)…

Ladoree mushroom soup
*Archive photo*

…that we had on our last visit again as she did enjoy it very much.

We certainly were caught by surprise when this King prawn aglio-olio spaghetti…

Ladoree king prawn aglio-olio spaghetti

…was served to our table, a special Christmas treat from my ex-student, John, whose sister and brother-in-law run the place. Goodness gracious me!!! I don’t know how much that costs but if you go for a bowl/plate of noodles with those three gigantic prawns at a coffee shop outside, it would set you back by around RM60-100, I’m sure. I asked John to put it on the bill – after all, he already gave me a treat on our last visit here but no, he insisted that it would be on him, that sweet boy!

My girl could not eat the pasta as it was not gluten-free but it was really very nice – I absolutely loved it…and the prawns were awesome too – we had one each and we sure enjoyed it to the max.

I went to pay the bill and the total, not including the prawn pasta dish, came up to RM152.90 and I got a further discount – I think it was 5% so the nett total was RM145.25 and John waived the 25 sen and collected RM145.00 only from me. My! My! With this kind of privileged treatment, no price for guessing whether I would be coming back again especially when we like the food plus the service is great, prompt and efficient and everybody is very nice and friendly…and yes, they speak English very fluently here too.

My girl was immensely pleased with that most delightful dinner and could not contain her happiness and of course, when she is happy, the father would be very happy too! Though unplanned, it sure turned out that we had a very lovely and joyous Christmas celebration, after all.

LADOREE CAFE & EVENTS (2.302891, 111.842997) is located at Wisma Liberty, Lot 4047, Block 3, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

You are the reason…

This beautiful song was the choice for the grand entrance of the bride and groom…

Grand entrance

…my paternal cousin’s daughter and her hubby, at their wedding reception…

Backdrop

…at one of the leading hotels in town last Sunday evening…

Sunset at Twin Towers

…the 23rd of December. Of course, many of my next-of-kin from my father’s side of the family were there to share the joy on this auspicious occasion.

Dinner started with the sio pua (hot plate), our more-than-four Four Seasons…

Sio pua

…and the dishes served that evening included this fish…

Fish

– I believe it was cod and chicken…

Chicken

– roast and served with Thai chili sauce. I did not take snapshots of all the dishes but yes, there were prawns…

Prawns

…too and the fried Chinese pancake…

Chinese pancake

…and a fruit platter for dessert.

The food was good but the Chinese pancake paled in comparison to the one here or here. However, I must say that the service would beat all the rest hands down. The waiting staff would go round and round the whole night, filling the glasses of drinks non-stop and of course, I was pleased that the one assigned to our table did not forget that I was having plain water and not 7-Up or Sprite. I thought the one here was quite good, better than the other two but this one was definitely a cut above all of them. They should come here and have a look so they would be able to improve the service at their banquets in future, all those wallflowers that they hire part-time.

Congratulations once again, Michelle & Kim Seng, may God bless the two of you with abundant love and joy in the years ahead and congratulations also to the proud and happy parents, cousin Jimmy and Lily…

Cousin Jimmy & wife

Thank you so much for the invitation. Cheers!!!

Our own way…

Last Saturday was the Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (冬節).

All through my growing up years, we never did have a grand celebration. For the Chang or the Mooncake Festivals, we would just eat those changs (dumplings) or mooncakes respectively and for this one, my mum would prepare the glutinous rice balls or tang yuan (湯圓) as they are called and we had to eat them. The only one we would go all out to celebrate would be the Chinese New Year Festival. These days, it seems that any festival or chek, as we call it in Hokkien, everyone would be celebrating and go out for dinner in the evening and here, shops would close by mid-day.

I never did like those balls – I found them rubbery and hard to swallow and the sweet pandan-flavoured sugar syrup sure did not help much to enhance the bland taste of the thing. Later, there was the dry crushed peanut and sugar coated version and I sure liked them a little bit more.

I did see any forthcoming in the kitchen last Saturday morning so I went to the shop round the corner from my house and yes, they had the flour and two types of coating – peanut and mung bean so I bought the orange-coloured one with sweet potato and headed home. The ladies got down to making the tang yuan

Tang yuan

…and yes, we did get to eat them, after all, to preserve the age-old Chinese tradition.

When my mum was bedridden, my sister would buy them from the market and when we went over to their house, we would eat, usually one each since we were not all that fond of them. I guessed she would not be having any this year so we gave her some and arranged to meet for lunch here for a little family celebration of our own in our own way and to pass them to her.

My missus had the chicken vindaloo

Cafe Ind chicken vindaloo

…but she still thinks her kalio ayam is a lot more to her liking. I had the fish curry with basmati rice…

Cafe Ind fish curry with basmati rice

…and I quite enjoyed that even though it was rather over-sourish that day but it went really well with the rice.

My girl and my sister both had the mutton biryani

Cafe Ind mutton biryani

That girl of mine would stick faithfully to that everytime we drop by here. The total, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM89.00 and yes, the generous boss gave me a discount and rounded it up to RM85.00 only for me.

Well, it so happened that my friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, made some tang yuan as well and he wanted to send them over to my house that evening. However, we would be going for our weekly Novena and sunset service in church so I said we would drop by once we were done, around 8 something. We were still very full after our lunch so we thought we could have supper there that night.

When we got there, our attention was drawn to this very lovely Christmas tree…

Payung Cafe Christmas tree 1

…by the side and we were amazed to find out that it was actually a quilt-like curtain with a 3-D image of the tree and the ever so creative and innovative Peter painstakingly sewed all the ornaments…

Payung Cafe Christmas tree 2

…onto it. I must say that it sure looked like there was a real Christmas tree standing there. They were still working on the decorations at the time so if one drops by around Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, one would be able to see a lot more…which is more than what I would say about a lot of places here this year – Christmas sure seems a whole lot laid-back, not much decoration, probably because of the flagging Malaysian economy. These are hard times, they say.

For our supper, I had their beef spaghetti (RM17.00)…

Payung Cafe beef spaghetti

…and my girl had their chicken chop (RM25.00)…

Payung Cafe chicken chop

…and no, this time around, we did not request for the two slices of garlic bread…

Payung Cafe garlic bread

…to be left out – I ate those…and replaced with mashed potatoes (RM8.00)…

Payung Cafe mashed potatoes

…as comparing the prices, that would not be a fair exchange and I would not want to take advantage of the nice people here. Business is business so we ordered that separately.

My missus had their tom yam prawns (RM17.00 with rice)…

Payung Cafe tom yam prawns 1

…and with her special request for it to be extra spicy (which got everyone at the place sneezing away), it was very much to her liking.

There was a Malay lady (and her hubby) who commented in no uncertain terms on their Facebook page recently that there was no soup in their tom yam

Payung Cafe tom yam prawns 2

…and tom yam is supposed to be a soup dish. Well, tom yam fried rice or bihun is not soupy and it is stated as tom yam prawns in the menu, not like at some places, seafood tom yam soup. Well, there was soup in the dish as anyone can see from the photographs, more than enough for my missus, at least, so much so that she could not finish all of it as she was very full already and she even enlisted our help with the prawns – they always give me extra here.

Yes, we did get to enjoy the glutinous rice balls…

Peter's tang yuan

…that Peter prepared in his own way – with sago pearls in gula Melaka (palm sugar) and santan (coconut milk) soup. This is a little bit like the ginataang bilo-bilò in the Philippines, thank you so much, Peter, for the special treat.

Initially, we did not plan to celebrate the festival in any way but we certainly did have a great day…in our own way.

CAFE IND(2.290813, 111.829294) is located along Laichee Lane, right behind one block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch (2.290561, 111.829071), is and PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

The spirit of Christmas past…

In my younger days, my dad would receive a lot of Christmas cards from his business associates and I think we did get some from family and friends as well. I would stick them onto the walls of our wooden house using cellophane tape, arranging them in the shape of a Christmas tree…and sometimes, I would hang them up on strings tied up using thumb tacks, one thing one would not be able to do today in our concrete homes.

Yes, we had a Christmas tree too, an odd looking thing with branches that resembled those brushes used for cleaning milk bottles…or worse, toilet brushes…but it was a Christmas tree and I found immense joy in taking it out year after year and decorating it…and of course, putting the presents at the foot of the tree, waiting for Christmas to come so I would be able to open them to see what was inside each of them.

Anyway, back to those Christmas cards, I got 3 from the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists (and of course, I sent them a cheque for what I received from them) and I quickly sent them to family and friends residing overseas in the hope that they would receive them in time. At the time of writing, I only know that my friend in Adelaide got hers while a cousin in Melbourne is on holiday in Las Vegas so she would probably get hers after that, and I have yet to get any news of the rest.

In the meantime, I went round the shops in town in search of Christmas cards to send to those within the country, only to be laughed at. “Nobody sends Christmas cards anymore!” they all said. Well, I was quite determined and would not give up and finally, I found these…

Christmas cards

…at the Religious Articles Shop at the Catholic cathedral here, only RM3.60 for 12 – so very cheap, only 30 sen each and they were all so beautiful and I loved the words inside some of them. I remember how my Dad was very particular in choosing his Christmas cards to send to people and they must mention Christmas specifically. No, those with only “Season’s Greetings” would not do, not at all.

It used to cost only 10 sen to send a card within the country, unsealed, 15 sen for a letter but when I went to send them, the guy at the counter said it would be 50 sen each and if I am not wrong, that would be the special for Christmas thing. Letters these days cost 80 sen…or more, depending on the weight. Ah well!!! It’s only once a year…and yes, I did buy a lot to keep for next year and the years to come. My sister remarked that the envelopes would turn yellow but no, that did not deter me. It’s the thought that counts, that’s my fervent belief.

I was thinking I would not be getting any this year as there were none forthcoming when just the other day, out of the blue, the Poslaju van stopped by my gate and I got this lovely Christmas card…

From Uncle Paul and family

…from my dear uncle (my mum’s youngest brother) and auntie and my cousins in Kuching. They had sent it by courier service for fear that it would not reach me in time – isn’t that so sweet and thoughtful of them?

This one came from another auntie in Kuching, my mum’s late brother’s wife, and my cousin and hubby…

From Ah Kim, Tina and Mapphy

…and believe it or not, they got the card…

From Perth

…all the way from Perth, Australia – the children & their families are there! It seemed that they too had difficulty getting hold of Christmas cards in Kuching.

And talking about Perth, this beautiful one…

From cousin Yvette in Perth

…came from my cousin there. I loved the golden reindeer sticker seal…

Sticker

…on the envelope and inside, she wrote this…

P.S.

Indeed, in the good ol’ days, at this time of the year, we would be looking forward the the Christmas Eve dance at the Sibu Recreation Club (SRC) and there would be one on New Year’s Eve too…and another one on Chinese New Year’s Eve and no, we would not miss a single one. We all loved dancing so much, dancing for the sheer fun of it and we sure had a great time when these festive seasons came around.

Well, time sure has changed. For one thing, I am getting fewer and fewer Christmas cards each passing year – I did get quite a few in 2015 but the number dwindled in 2016…and in 2017. I guess the time will come when I will not be getting any anymore and in the event of that happening, I certainly would feel that something has gone missing from the spirit of Christmas, something like in the words in this song
“You know, I don’t know why
I get to feeling sentimental
About this time, every year.
But every time I see a Christmas card,
I somehow can’t help reminiscing…
…I thrill with every word, every line
Guess I’m always sentimental ’round this time
Pardon me if a tear falls among my Christmas cheer
It’s the mem’ry of an old Christmas card…”

Anyway, card or no card, let us give thanks and praise to the Lord above that we are blessed with this opportunity to wish one and all a Holy and Joyous Christmas…

Merry Christmas

…in whichever way we choose. Happy Christmas!