To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia…

In conjunction with our country’s National Day 2008 celebration, is hosting a competition in which 100 bloggers will stand a chance to win a copy of the 50+1 Malaysia (See cover above) book worth RM51.00. All you have to do is to write about what you love about Malaysia. For details, you can log in to

Well, I think it was in 2006 when I wrote this poem for my students to recite during the school-level National Day celebration, so here I would like to post it as my entry for the aforementioned contest…



I took a piece of paper

It was white…..

White – reflecting the purity

Deep within our hearts,

The heart of each and every Malaysian


In one corner, I drew a rectangle

And then, I coloured it blue

‘Cause blue symbolises dignity

And it was with dignity that Malaysia broke away

From the clutches of colonialism


Next, in the rectangle, I included a new moon

A crescent representing the National religion, Islam

And also to signify light and hope

Light for all Malaysians, whatever colour or creed

Hope that peace and harmony may forever prevail.


Beside the crescent is a star

A star with fourteen points

Representing the different states, their people

Converging in the middle

Reflecting the bond, the unity in our nation


The crescent and the star are coloured yellow

Yellow – the colour of royalty

Pledging my unfailing loyalty to King and country

The symbol of the sovereignty

of this my homeland, the land that I live in and love


Finally, I added the horizontal stripes

Again, fourteen – for the fourteen states

I painted seven of them red

And left the other seven white

Different, divergent but united we stand,

side by side.


Red is the colour of love

The love I have for my country

The love I have for my fellowmen

Together let us stand hand in hand

United and strong, as one people, one nation,

one Malaysia.


So there you have it-my own original poem! Come on, everybody! Post your comments to wish me lots and lots of luck!!! Thanks and muuuuaaaaahh!!!!

Come on over…

Borneo Cultural Festival poster

Well, that’s the slogan for this year’s Borneo Cultural Festival – “Beauty in Ethnic Diversity”…and here’s the promo from


Get a taste of the indigenous arts at the Borneo Cultural Festival which takes place from June 27 to July 5 at Sibu Town Square, Sarawak. This annual Sibu signature event will entrance you with a blend of dance, songs, poetry and dramas from various ethnic groups in Borneo.

Be prepared to see lively performances that incorporate aboriginal musical instruments like drums and gongs, and even sprightly martial arts moves. Apart from the cultural extravaganza, your palates will also be tempted by the local cuisine at the Borneo Food Fair. An amazing variety of traditional food from the different clans in Sibu will be there for your picking.

Last year’s performances received overwhelming response both locally and internationally, and this year you can expect an equal or even better line-up of activities and shows. Be sure to also explore the local attractions like the Lembangan night market, Sibu Civic Centre Museum, Rejang Esplanade, the beautiful Seven-Storey Pagoda which offers a panoramic view of Sibu town, and the Iban longhouse where the dwellers will welcome you with their warm hospitality.

Come June 27, make your way to the Borneo Cultural Festival 2008 to witness the celebration of traditional arts, food and dance.

I’ve browsed through some of the photographs on the internet, taken during the festival last year and these two from are my favourite…

Monkeywong's photo 1/Borneo Cultural Festival

Monkeywong's photo 2/Borneo Cultural Festival

And I have another nice photo here from

Leaf Dance/Borneo Cultural Festival

On my part, I look forward to the festival every year because I will be able to enjoy the delicacies from the different dialect groups among the Chinese…and also from the ethnic communities like the Ibans and the Melanaus! You can bet your bottom ringgit that I will be making my way there to buy the ayam pansuh, the umai….. Drool! Drool! See you there!!!

The end of the road…

I first heard Pat on some retro show on TraxxFm on Sunday afternoons and I liked his selections…but I could only listen till 5.00 p.m. as I had to go to church after that. I remember the first song ever that he played for me on air was John Waite’s “Missing You” and then, England Dan & John Ford Coley’s “Just tell me you love me”. Then he moved to the 6.00-9.00 p.m. slot on weekdays which was just nice for me as I would be asking him to play my songs as I marked my students’ work! One song that was hardly ever played was given a new lease of life when I asked for it and he played it on the show and it caught on with everybody else – Joe Dolce’s “Shaddap yer face”! And then he teamed up with Mag for the 1.00-4.00 p.m. slot with “Pat and Mag in the afternoon”.

As for Mag, I had heard her on air here and there but the most memorable event was when I won a Hari Kebangsaan poetry writing competition on her Saturday morning show. The prize included free stay and dinner at Melia, Kuala Lumpur. I never got to meet her personally though, but I certainly hope to do so someday…but I met Pat when he came to Sibu and again in KL when we met up and he took me out for banana leaf lunch.

Pan & Mag in the afternoon

It was in the afternoon show that something beautiful evolved – a family comprising Jerry, Zee, Zul, Pam, Cash, Deb, Mandy…and then came Dharma, Devonshire, Regina C, Lin, Kecik and even Martin from the UK (who set up the fansite: and the family kept getting bigger and bigger. Alongside all of us, there was Grandma Kruzer and her “usual suspects”. We never had the chance to meet; other than the ones in Sibu, I only got to see Cash personally who took me all the way to Kajang to treat me to the satay there. But the family had always been there through thick and thin, through good times and bad times. When my daughter celebrated her birthday alone in Sungai Petani, Kedah last year, Jerry and Zee bought a cake…and Jerry drove all the way to SP to give my daughter the cake personally on behalf of the radio family. That was priceless!!! I couldn’t ask for more and for that, I will be eternally grateful!

And there was more! My retirement, my birthdays were celebrated on air with the family…and little Arumi even called the station to specially sing the birthday song for me. To say that I was touched by all that would be an understatement. 

Cikgu Arthur Avatar My avatar on the fansite,

Every day, the family will be on air, asking for their favourite songs, taunting one another and having a lot of fun…and the ratings of the programme probably shot up like nobody’s business. Everywhere I went, people asked me whether I was THE cikgu on radio!! Gee! I was quite a celebrity nationwide! Well, lately, more and more younger listeners came into the picture including bloggers Cibol, Melbie, Mar and Lola…and the old family faded into the background though we might pop in once in a while to ask for a song or two. Cibol and Bongkersz met the two radio presenters once and won tickets to watch the F1 Grand Prix at Sepang…

Pat and Mag with bongkersz and cibol
Pat & Mag with Bongkersz & Cibol
Photo from

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end…and we have come to the end of the road, the end of music and fun and laughter each and every afternoon…but even though the show has come to an end, the special bond will always remain – the unique bond between individuals that are now more than family, more than friends. Thanks, Pat and Mag…and everybody in the family on the show. I wish one and all the very best and hope that we’ll keep in touch with one another. Do let me know when you’re coming next year, Martin; I do hope to hop over there to meet you in person. I shall not say goodbye for in the words of Pat’s and my personal song choice on more than one occasion…

How do you keep the music playing?
How do you make it last?
How do you keep the song from fading too fast?
How do you lose yourself to someone
and never lose your way?
How do you not run out of new things to say?
And since we’re always changing,
how can it be the same?…

…If we can be the best of lovers,
yet be the best of friends
If we can try with everyday to make it better as it grows,
with any luck, then I suppose,
the music never ends…..


Be patient…

when my legs are weak and wobbly.

Hold my hand

the way I held yours

as you took your first steps.


Be patient…

when I make a mess when I eat.

Remember that

you used to do that too

those times when I tried to feed you.


Be patient…

when you can’t understand what I say.

I had to try to figure out

what you were babbling about

when you first started to speak.

Holding hands

Be patient…

when I keep repeating the same things.

I had to repeat the same stories

to you night after night

until you fall asleep.


Be patient…

when I can’t put on my own clothes.

I spent hours, remember,

teaching you how to do that

when you were small.

Dressing up

Be patient…

even when I get impatient.

You too were frustrated

when nobody seemed to understand

what exactly it was that you wanted.


Be patient…

and sit awhile with me when you can.

You always wanted me to be around

for it gave you the reassurance

that someone is always there.

Holding hands 2

Be patient.

Images from


Thanks to everybody for your Father’s Day greetings. You may have heard this song on the radio even though comparatively, it does not get very much airplay – Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman. You can click on this link to listen to it if you have not had the opportunity before.

It was my daughter who first drew my attention to it; she said that she would hear it quite a lot on one of those radio stations that we cannot receive in our little Sibu town…so I texted TraxxFm and requested for it. I liked it a lot and I was particularly touched by the lyrics. It certainly got me thinking…that as parents, we would carry out our responsibility in bringing up our kids the best we could, showering them with all our love but perhaps someday, we would need to let go…..

She spins and she sways
to whatever song plays,
Without a care in the world.
And I’m sittin’ here
wearin’ the weight of the world
on my shoulders.
It’s been a long day
and there’s still work to do,
She’s pulling at me
saying, “Dad. I need you!
There’s a ball at the castle
and I’ve been invited
and I need to practise my dancing.
Oh please, daddy, please!”

My Cinderella

She says he’s a nice guy
and I’d be impressed
She wants to know
if I approve of the dress
She says “Dad, the prom
is just one week away,
And I need to practise my dancing.
Oh please, daddy, please!”

Well, she came home today
with a ring on her hand
just glowing and telling us
all they had planned
She says, “Dad,
the wedding’s still six months away
but I need to practise my dancing.
Oh please, daddy please!”

So I will dance with Cinderella
while she is here in my arms
’cause I know something
the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t wanna miss even one song
’cause all too soon
the clock will strike midnight
and she’ll be gone

 Steven Curtis Chapman
Extracted from the lyrics of the song
CINDERELLA by Steven Curtis Chapman

To all fathers reading this, a Happy Father’s Day to you…

To each his own…

In Malaysia, we have all kinds of cuisines to choose from…but being from a Chinese family, on special occasions, we will have the typical banquet with at least 8 to 10 courses, starting with this hot combination dish perhaps… 

Hot combination dish

This was what we had the other day for the Dragon Boat Festival (Tuan Wu Chieh)…and this was followed by the soup that shall not be named. After that, we had a plate of chicken, done in two different ways – roast on one side and chicken with Thai sauce on the other…

Two-style chicken

and then we had fried snowfish with its special sauce and baked cheese prawns…

fish and prawn

There was delicious roast duck too, served with baked man tao and its special sauce…

roast duck Baked mantao

and after that, we had a plate of Foochow fried mee for the benefit of my deprived sibling, home for a few days from Auckland, New Zealand with his kids…and lastly, we had dessert. All that came up to RM350 for 10 persons, that is over AUS$100 and around NZ$150…

I guess if we opt for some Western cuisine, it may be more expensive but it is definitely not as heavy and once in a while, it may be nice to go for something different . Well, we had a lot of Western fare when we were in Kuching recently and around that same time, Gerrie had this beef tenderloin with shitake mushrooms at Grazie in KK…

beef tenderloin with mushrooms

and also this plate of pasta…

Grazie's pasta

But personally, after all that rich and heavy stuff, I would yearn for some plain porridge with omelette or salted/century eggs with salted fish and preserved vegetables…or those simple kampung dishes that my grandma and my mother used to cook and one thing’s for sure, this plate of umai (Melanau-style raw fish) that Gundot made would definitely be a welcome change…

Melanau umai

Well, you may not agree with my point of view. After all, one man’s meat is another man’s poison…so as the song title for this post goes, to each his own!!!

Descendants of the Dragon…

In case you do not know, Tuan Wu Chieh or the Dragon Boat Festival falls on this coming Sunday, the 8th of June which is actually the 5th Day of the 5th Month according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. I am not going to delve into the stories or legends related to this festival but for the uninitiated, during this festival, the Chinese will eat those bak chang or meat dumplings…

Bak Chang 1

Personally, I prefer the nyonya ones which are wrapped in pandan (screwpine) leaves and they use minced meat and shitake mushroom for the filling with a tinge of ketumbar and there may be kau lak (chestnuts) or even or nee (sweet yam paste) as well. Yummy!!!

Bak Chang 2

Well, there is something I must confess…..The real reason for this post is simply because I got the photos via email and I thought I’d just share two of the many I received…so that all of you can drool too!!! ROTFLMAO!!!

(Source of photos unknown)

UPDATE: As promised, Richard came with the nyonya chang that he had made himself. He was formerly my colleague in Sacred Heart and those days, he would always spare me at least one or two every year around this time. Gee! After all this while, it was a surprise when he commented in my blog this morning…and of course, the best part is he has given me SO MANY!!! Yummy! Yummy! Yummy! Thank you so much, Richard (and do remember me again this time next year! ROTFLMAO!!!). Ooo…I could not wait and quickly gobbled up one as soon as he left…

Nyonya Chang

…and only after I had finished did I realise…it’s Friday today!!!! Never mind! Forgive me Father for I have sinned…!!! LOL!!!! (I can imagine profhiggins giving me one of his classic frowns now….Hahahahaha!!!!)


Taking this opportunity to wish all friends and readers celebrating the auspicious festival SELAMAT HARI GAWAI and all good wishes for the year ahead….

Iban ngajat
(Photo taken from MaryannPteo’s Virtual Tourist Home Page)

And to all those celebrating the Harvest Festival, Selamat Hari Kaamatan and showers of blessings on you and your families…

 Harvest Queen contest
(caB.jim’s photo from

…and to the rest, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, blue skies and everything nice!

Relaxing by the pool
(Man about Tao’s photo from

STP will be away for a few days and anyway, most of you will be too busy celebrating and enjoying yourselves to drop by and post comments but do make sure you’ll all be back soon…. Cheers!!!

I will survive…

As far as I can remember, when I was little, there were only three main restaurants in Sibu – Yien Kien, Hock Chiu Leu and New Capitol. The first one had since closed down (Didn’t this one belong to your family, Alex? Andrew?) while the second one is still in business, I think…though I’m not sure who goes there these days;I haven’t been there for ages. The New Capitol Restaurant, however, is enjoying a thriving business in the face of stiff competition from the newer establishments, and it’s best known for its kampua (the authentic stuff…with lard) and Hainan Chicken Rice, the proprietress being Hailam.

I was there a few days ago on Monday (Wesak Day, so it was a public holiday here) for a Teachers’ Day lunch reception hosted by the tuition centre where I’m presently moonlighting to make ends meet. It started off with the hot combination dish…..

Hot combination dish

Ooo…just look at those slices of ham (over RM10 for around 4 slices here!!!)! And the stewed beef was absolutely tender and delicious…and there were abalone and prawns!!! I really feasted on the selections like there was no tomorrow. (How come nobody’s surprised? LOL!!!) After this came the soup dish that I shall not name…and anyway, it was just the usual stuff, nothing to shout about, but the dish that came after that was really worth dying for…

Grilled ikan terubok 

One of the teachers managed to get fresh ikan terubok from Mukah…and the restaurant really did it superbly, with the special sambal seasoning and grilled to perfection – the fish was still juicy and sweet!!!! I went to see the proprietress to see if I could tapau one home…but she said it would only be available upon special order!!! I ate and ate and ate…and still yearned for more!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!! Yes, it was THAT nice, I tell you! Anyway, the poultry dish was served next…

Poultry dish

They had deep-fried honey-coated sesame chicken on one side and on the other, some yam thingy stuffed with duck. The latter was a bit dry but was not too bad with the special sauce provided.  Personally, I do not eat anything with sauce unless the taste leaves much to be desired. Then there was this broccoli and mushroom dish… 

Broccoli mushroom

My friend with me whispered to me that mine was nicer.  I had cooked it once when he dropped by my place for lunch, so either he was hoping for another free meal…or I really am a good cook!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!! Then there was this sea cucumber dish which they served in individual bowls so I could not snap a picture of it, but I didn’t like it. I thought it had a bit too much ginger…and I hate getting the thinly-sliced strips of the root in my mouth.

After that came the dessert…

Sio bee and pancake

In the past, people had to travel long distances to attend such feasts, so to ensure that they would not go hungry on the way home…the banquet would end with very heavy stuff like sio bee (siew mai) and Foochow fried noodles. So in line with the tradition, we had, together with the fried pancakes with red bean paste, sio bee – the way we knew them to be. They’re different from what we have at dim sum places today and needless to say, they taste as nice as they used to when we were little children, fighting to eat as many we could before all of them were gone.

Well, it was different from what we can get in the newer restaurants but if that’s what diners can expect at New Capitol, I’m pretty certain it will survive…..


AMERICAN IDOL UPDATE: David Archuleta was in perfect form tonight PLUS his perfect choice of songs especially his trump card – “Imagine”.  Throughout all three rounds, it was clearly a clean sweep over David Cook who was tense and looked as if he had not slept the whole night and his choice of songs did not allow him to actually shine in any way.  As the Cow put it, “It was a knockout!!!” Being a reality show, I only hope the voters will not turn the tables on Ar…chu! Ar…chu! Ar…chu! God bless you!!! LOL!