Mary had a little lamb…

Well, I wouldn’t know if Mary did…but I most certainly had some.  A friend from Bintulu was in town and no prize for guessing what we did.  What else would people do when they’re in Sibu? Eat, of course!  And I took him to this restaurant that seems pretty popular and is usually very crowded.  I’ve been there once but I didn’t think it was anything to shout about.  Anyway, I heard they serve this there…

It came out so piping hot…you could actually see the steam rising from the meat. But it was just so-so and in a way, somewhat disappointing.  Rather overdone, I must say, as a result of which, the meat was too soft. Old folks would love it, I’m sure! (Hey! I’m not old, meh? LOL!!!!) The gravy was plain;I would think it could do with some richer and thicker gravy like the Lamb Shank(S) I have had at Junk in Kuching…and I missed the bed of mashed potatoes beneath it. Anyway, beggars can’t be choosers so if you’re dying for a bite of lamb, you can go to…

I must give them due credit for getting the punctuation correct. With the dropping standard of English these days, I would cringe in embarassment to see those glaring spelling and grammatical errors in shop and other signs!!! Oops…sorry, but anyway, to get back to our topic of discussion, of course, we had other dishes as well…

The pork fried with salted fish came out steaming too…in the kuali/wok! It was very nice…but I thought the one I had at Stall No. 7 at Taman Selera Muhibbah was much nicer. We did not have much choice for the veg…because the waitress just rattled on and on in a language that was Greek to me, so we opted for…

We had midin with belacan…and it was well done.  The ferns were still crunchy and they had good belacan. Nice, it was VERY nice!!! We also had Tofu soup-Foochow style…but the waitress started distributing it into individual bowls before I could take any photograph of it.

On the whole, it was o.k. Then followed the usual after-dinner “ritual” here – the rush to the cashier’s counter! We, however, did not actually make a dash for it. When I went out to take a picture of the restaurant’s signboard (as it was getting dark…and it had not occured to me then to take it before we went in – still not so much into that blogger’s habit yet, you see!), my friend had already sneaked over to pay the bill. Duh!!! I coaxed the amount out of him and he said it was just 40-plus!!!

Well, what do you think? RM40-plus for a dinner for three, inclusive of rice and drinks!  Eating in Sibu, cheap or not????

Ka-ching…

When I first heard Shania Twain singing this song, I thought she was doing a Hokkien number about somebody’s butt…but actually, it is about shopping and spending money and “ka-ching” is supposed to be the sound of the cash register. Well, there has been much groaning and moaning about the current rising prices of food and everything else, not that it is going to help one bit.  I guess we’ll just have to set our own priorities when it comes to spending… That plasma screen TV will have to wait…no point getting that new outfit, no matter how irresistable it may seem (especially when your wardrobe is already bursting at the seams with all the clothes you hardly ever use)…don’t go to the hair salon when you can get a decent haircut at the corner barber shop for 10% of the price…the house doesn’t really need a new coat of paint…and watch those credit cards! Remember you’ll have to pay them sooner or later.  Well, I can go on and on and I’m sure everybody has their own ways to cope with the pinch of this economic crisis.

However, even in the face of such pressing circumstances, I don’t see any reason why we should deprive ourselves completely. Personally, I would think that time and again, if we can spare the dough, we should pamper ourselves… After all, don’t we deserve it?  We can still go on a holiday to some affordable place.  The rest and relaxation can do wonders to rejuvenate the body and soul. Instead of going some place where we will be bugged by the huge difference in the exchange rates, go somewhere cheaper, be it in our own country. I was in Penang recently and just sitting at the window in the hotel and looking out could bring so much pleasure…

I took that photo from my hotel room…and just round the corner down the road, at that white building on the right is Salsas. You can google to see the many posts (and the pics of the mouth-watering fare that they serve there) in various blogs that have featured the place. Fine dining once in a while seems to give my spirit that much-needed boost…and it does not have to be expensive! One set 4-course dinner there costs around RM30, if I can remember correctly…but remember, only if you think it’s worth it.  Otherwise, before that building is a food place with lots and lots of hawker stalls selling cheap delicious food!!! The locals will tell you this is better here and that is better there…but think of the taxi fare! Going anywhere around the city centre is about RM10 per trip, mind you!!! So forget about taxis…and walk! The exercise will do you good!

Well, what if sweating it out at some hawker place is not your cup of tea and you have your mind set on fine dining? You are dying to try that irresistable plate of pasta with lobster that somebody has been so kind as to send to you via MMS to drool over…

 

Well, maybe you can persuade a generous friend to take you there! If I’m not mistaken, that’s from Little Italy in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, so Melbie!!! Congratulations!! You’ve just got yourself a date with STP when he’s going over and you’re treating him to that…!!! Mamma mia!!! ROTFLMAO!

 

Photographs and memories…

In the good ol’ days, people would have a stack of photo albums under the coffee table in the living room of their houses.  Anyone who dropped in was welcomed to browse through the photographs inside…and those would make up their topics of conversation.

For instance, flipping through my photo albums, you may come across this one…

(Footnote: The photo has been blurred to protect the innocent! Hehehehehe!!! Good excuse, eh?)

You: Gosh! What short skirts!!!

Me: Mini-skirts were in fashion then.

You: Ooo…that one’s got nice, sexy legs!

Me: That’s Teresa! We used to call her “Thui Sa” (strip)! LOL!!!

…or this one!!!

You: Omigawd!!! Is that you?

Me: Yes! I was on my way to Santubong on a picnic.  Those days where got such nice roads like today. It wasn’t so easily accessible then!

You: Gosh! You were so slim then! What happened?

Me: Haiz…time has been so cruel to me…. (Hahahahahaha!!!!!)

Then, you spot this one…

You: And who were those girls with you?

Me: That’s Sophia and her sis.

You: Sophia? Which one?

Me: Haiya!!! You see her lips like Sophia Loren, u know already lah!!!

You:  That one kah? But she looks more glamorous today leh?

Me: Those days where got like today! At best, they had Hazeline Snow or Oil of Ulan.

You: Huh? U what Lan?

Me: Today, it’s called Oil of Ulay lah! Dunno why they changed the name. Still got people use kah? These days, they have all those stuff like Estee Lauder, SKII…

Ah…photographs and all those memories that each of them may bring!!! Sadly, in this present day and age of digital cameras, most people don’t bother to develop their photos anymore…well, definitely not as much as before! If you want to see one, they”ll let you have a glimpse on their PC or laptop…or maybe if they’ve converted it to vcd, then they can play it on their dvd player and show you the slideshow on their plasma TV screen, the background music blaring in your ears! Sigh! Somehow, it’s just not the same anymore…..

Out of this world…

I gave my aunt in the so-called Jackfruit Village the remaining two packets I had of the very famous “Swallow Brand” Sarawak Laksa sambal, and when she cooked it the other day, she gave me some…umm…ok lah! She gave me quite a lot, enough for lunch AND dinner! However, I was too lazy to pound some belacan to go with it…so I tried cincaluk instead. Boy! It was Heaven, I tell you!

The aftermath…! Look at how I had licked the bowl of laksa clean!!! It’s the bubuk season right now so it’s easy to get freshly-made cincaluk!!! I’ve stocked up my supply in the fridge for the rest of the year till the next season… Well, it’s easy to prepare! Just chop some chilli – use cili padi, if u want some kick…and squeeze some lime!!! U’ve got the perfect dip to go with your cucumber slices…or as in my case, with the laksa!!!

I may have mentioned in my earlier post (Or was it in elegant coral’s blog?) that you can use cincaluk to cook tapioca leaves – soup or dry, that’s up to you…and if you have any leftover rice (Accumulate whatever little u have left every day! With the rising prices, it pays to scrimp and save! After a few days, u’ll have enough!), you can also use cincaluk to prepare some kampung fried rice…

Two shallots (peeled and sliced), 2-4 cloves of garlic (peeled and chopped), and a handful of ikan bilis…heat a bit of oil in the wok, add those ingredients and stir till brown, then add two tablespoons of cincaluk and chilli cut into thin strips, then stir some more…and finally, add the rice and fry! Don’t add salt! It’s salty enough! You may want to throw in an egg or two for additional protein though; serve with sliced cucumber and you have an ideal  balanced meal for the busy housewife/husband!….. That certainly will save you the trouble of having to soak and pound those dried prawns/udang kering for your fried rice. I’ve tried it with dried bubuk…but it’s much nicer with cincaluk, take my word for it!!!

Now, anybody interested in the recipe for cooking steamed pork/chicken with cincaluk? Ooooo…out of this world!!!

I don’t love you…

While I was looking through the stuff in my old thumb drive for the photographs I used in yesterday’s post, I came across this…and I thought I’d like to share it with all of you…

One day, a guy received this letter from his wife…

Dear Husband,

          I’m writing you this letter to tell you that I’m leaving you for good.  I’ve been a good woman to you for seven years and I have nothing to show for it. These last two weeks have been hell.  Your boss called to tell me that you had quit your job today and that was the last straw. 

          Last week, you came home and didn’t notice that I had gotten my hair and nails done, cooked your favorite meal and even wore a brand new negligee.  You came home and ate in two minutes, and went straight to sleep after watching the game.

         You don’t tell me you love me anymore, you don’t touch me or anything. Either you’re cheating or you don’t love me anymore. Whatever the case is, I’m gone.

Your Ex-Wife

P.S.  If you’re trying to find me, don’t.  Your BROTHER and I are moving away to West Virginia together!  Have a great life!

So the guy sat down and wrote her this reply…

Dear Ex-wife,

          Nothing has made my day happier than receiving your letter.  It’s true that you and I have been married for seven years although a good woman is a far cry from what you’ve been. 

          I watched sports so much to try to drown out your constant nagging.  Too bad that didn’t work.  I did notice when you cut off all of your hair last week; the first thing that came to mind was, “You look just like a man!”  My mother raised me not to say anything if you can’t say anything nice.  When you cooked my favorite meal, you must have gotten me confused with MY BROTHER because I stopped eating pork seven years ago. I went to sleep on you when you had on that new negligee because the price tag was still on it.  I prayed that it was a coincidence that my brother had just borrowed fifty dollars from me that morning and your negligee was $49.99.

          After all of this, I still loved you and felt that we could work it out.  So when I discovered that I had hit the lotto for ten million dollars, I quit my job and bought us two tickets to Jamaica.  But when I got home, you were gone. Everything happens for a reason, I guess.  I hope you have the fulfilling life you’ve always wanted. 

          My lawyer said with your letter that you wrote, you won’t get a dime from me.  So take care.

Signed

Rich As Hell and Free!

P.S.      I don’t know if I ever told you this but Carl, my brother, was born Carla. I hope that’s not a problem.

I had used this during a course on team building and management.  Usually, instead of using the dry academic stuff in the books or on the internet which everybody would have access to, I would look for everyday things like this to drive my messages home.  The message here, of course, is the importance of communication.  There are always two sides to a story and instead of jumping into conclusions based on our assumptions and suspicions and doing things we may regret later, we should keep our communication lines open and talk it out with the party/parties concerned to try and sort things out together….. 

The name of the game…

I dropped in at zewt’s earlier and he had something like this. You can just hop over to check it out! (Hey, Zewt! You owe me one there!!!) Well, I have always loved pop quizzes! Sometimes, when listening to the radio, I would bet with the others;the first one to guess the title of the song would win a mark. The one I have here is based on a series of pictures and you will have to guess the titles AND the singers/groups that sang them.  The pictures are part of a series in a power point presentation that I used a few years ago when I was running a course for teachers, probably just for ice-breaking…and there was this Mat Salleh consultant who could get all the answers in a jiffy and spoilt all the fun! Darn! Anyway, wanna give it a try?

This one is from the 50’s…

What about this one from the 70’s ? Many people have recorded covers of this song, so just the original singers will do…

The next one’s from the 70’s too or was it the 80s…but some rock group revived it later, maybe in the 90’s… The names of both, please! LOL!

And these two are from the 80’s…

What’s the prize? Anyone who gets it all correct, if he/she comes to Sibu, will get free food and lodging provided at Hotel California Suituapui…plus some karaoke sessions thrown in for good measure too!!! Sounds good? LOL!!!!

Sing…

When I was young, I’d listen to the radio, waiting for my favourite songs. When they played, I’d sing along…;it made me smile… Indeed, music and songs have been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have been listening to songs and singing them since I was young, and never mind that I don’t sing so well. As Rhett Butler would say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

…..I can still remember my first Karaoke experience like it was yesterday. Stella’s brother had a pub, some kind of a joint venture with his friends…and she kept pestering me to go! Ka-la-o-kay? (Overseas, they would pronounce it as “kay-ray-o-key”) No, thanks!!! Wild horses wouldn’t be able to drag me anywhere near the place. But her persistence paid off, and finally, I relented…

Footnote: The photo has been blurred to protect the innocent! LOL!

I would not say that it was the greatest mistake of my life but it was disastrous, to say the least! I sat there the whole night, declining every invitation to sing…and Stella certainly wasn’t one to take “No!” for an answer…so again, I was persuaded and gave in! I chose one of my evergreen favourites, “The way we were” by Barbara Streisand…and when my turn came, I went on stage… Good grief! It was not the right key (I think they had the Andy Williams’ version!)…and I struggled on…and the deejay changed the key in a desperate attempt to get it right for me…but it was all in vain!! Being one heck of a greenhorn at this thing, I ended up even more confused!!! I did not know how I managed to squeal through the whole song without getting a single note right. I was positive there were smirks on everybody’s faces and I could imagine the thought running through their heads, “Where did this constipating cow (…or bull? Cow is female, right?) come from?”

Well, the word “defeat” has no place in my vocabulary…so I had to go back there to redeem my reputation.  After the horrendous debut performance, I was very much wiser…and chose to sing the “safe” songs like those by the Carpenters (Yes, I did!!!) and the rest is History!!! For one thing, I really hated it when I was singing on stage and everyone in the pub would croak along…so loudly that they would drown my singing!!! Anyway, eventually, I progressed to more challenging songs…and one fella commented, “Why do you keep singing those songs that people don’t know?” I just smiled and thought to myself, “That’s the whole idea! Now at least I can hear myself sing…and all of you will have to sit there and listen, like it or not!!!”

These days, my usual repertoire comprises Joshua Kadison’s “Beautiful in my eyes“, Kenny Rogers’ “She believes in me“, Rod Stewart’s “Have I told you lately that I love you?”, Willie Nelson’s “Always on my mind“, Jim Brickman/Martina McBride’s “Valentine“, just to name a few…and for obvious reasons, I would be careful to steer clear of songs like “I believe I can fly” and “Flying without wings” (Imagine everyone thinking in their heads, “Gosh! Even with wings, he can’t posssibly fly!!!” LOL!)…..Well, for one thing, after all that “public show of talent on stage”, I became more confident…when I had to speak in public, emceeing at grand functions, presenting papers at seminars and singing – anytime, any place!!!

I guess there’s a lesson to learn from all this – Don’t give up! If at first, you fail, try and try again!!! And do remember…never try to bite off more than you can chew!!!…..So anyone for Karaoke? As in the words of another Carpenters’ song, “Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing…sing a song!”