Sunday, February 24, 2008


In Loving Memory of Benjy, our beloved fur-kid (11th July 1996 – 24th February 2008)

Benjy (I call her ‘Molleh’ all the time) has been there during my happiest and saddest moments. She is like my child. She has always been there listening to me. I still remember the day she came into my life – it was magical – and my life was never the same again – she is the most precious gift I have received. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her; she is the prettiest little thing I have ever seen. After she came into our life, everyday was a gift, she made a difference in our lives. She was there with me during my worse break-ups; consoling me when I was crying my heart out – when I feel my whole world tumbling down, she was right next to me sharing my grief and as if telling ‘I am here and I love you’; she would be so sad seeing me crying and immediately I’d feel better after pouring out to her; she listens and empathizes and as if she could feel every emotion in me; she is special in that way; she always brings out the best in me. I remember those days when I was slogging to finish my Masters thesis and I couldn’t come back home for a few months; I missed her the most; she inspired me to complete my thesis in time and I couldn’t wait to dedicate my thesis to her.

Nothing in my life could replace her. I thought she’d be there to share the happy moments during my wedding; like she has always been there for me. She will be, as she is very much alive in my heart. She will continue to live on in my memories of her. And for every accomplishments and journey that I am about to embark, she will always have a special place in my heart and she will be there with me. She will be a part of everything I do. Her spirit lives on in every joyous moments and occasions in our lives.

No amount of consolation can match what she has given me. No amount of joy can match what she has showered on us. No memory is as precious as what she left us with. It’s all coming back to me now; her antics (the way she jumps and spins round and round and round when she gets excited), the way she greets us with her sweet barks when we come back home, her 4 most favorite food (which is: corn, BBQ-ed meat - which is Bakwa, cheese, and fish), her friendly nature (she loves to greet personally each and every visitors who comes to the house), her excitement when we want to bring her for a walk, her impatience (she will bundle up the bathroom rug when she gets impatient if we don’t place water outside the bathroom – she only loves to drink water in that particular bathroom), the way she gazes into my eyes with her beautiful black round eyes, the way she seems to connect with me through her gazes, the way she rushes to drink her favorite milk every night, the way she carries the chicken feet from the backyard to the porch to enjoy her meal in privacy where the other dogs are not around, the way she eats her treats very slowly and steadily making the other dogs wait on her to see if she leaves anything behind for them, the way she squeezes herself in through the grill spacing of the gate to come inside the house, the part where she hates to bathe (she is the most difficult to give a bath to), how she loves her personal space away from the other dogs, and how she loves bigger size male dogs when she wants to mate :-) , and most of all the way she loves us unconditionally.

Today morning, I found my Benjy girl dead at our porch. The sight of her still body is still vivid on my mind. Right now, I am blaming myself for not being right next to her during her final moments. She always sleeps with me every night and I wake up with her every morning, thanking God that she is getting better from her cough. Yesterday was one night when I slept with my sister; and I can still picture Benjy looking at me and waiting for me to go to bed with her that night. She won’t sleep alone. It has become like a ritual for her to wait for me to go to bed and come to sleep with me in my room. Only yesterday was different. I am blaming myself for breaking the routine and for not being there for her during that moment. She might have died due to breathing difficulties. She has been having this cough for quite some time, but I thought she was getting better and prayed that the cough will stop. The night before she was acting strangely and was looking at us trying to say something. But she was fine; she drank milk as usual at night and she has been eating well. Oh God, why wasn’t I there for her. That thought is haunting me; could I have done something to save her? She must have been so afraid and must have wanted us to be near her. Even during her labor pain, she wanted us to be there near her all the time; she hates to be left alone. Oh God, she was alone that night :-( It was my fault. I should have been there for her.

When I was draping her body with a cloth, Dolly reacted very restlessly, wondering why I am covering Benjy with a cloth. We and the dogs (Dolly, Casper, and Prince) bid farewell to our dearest Benjy with a heavy heart. When I laid Benjy in the burial space, Dolly was so restless; it broke our heart even more seeing Dolly. She has been very close to Benjy, being very concerned each time Benjy coughs and has always been there for her. Dolly was sitting right next to the burial space when Benjy was being buried; she was watching every single act. After that, she sat near the burial looking very sadly and also puzzled at the same time on why we left Benjy inside there. Dolly started looking for Benjy all over the house, being so restless. It was a very sad moment.

Benjy left 3 of her offsprings: Dolly, Casper, and Prince; it is consoling to think that they are all part of her. This is my consolation, in writing this blog about my dearest girl; remembering her in every way I can.

I am now staring at the backyard where we buried Benjy. She will be here, as she has always been…

We will miss you, my dear Benjy and we love you very much, always…

Rest in peace, Molleh...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Interesting Read

Today's email from MyDaily Insights with a heart-warming story:

The Seven Wonders of the World
by Author Unknown
Junior high school students in Chicago were studying the Seven Wonders of the World . At the end of the lesson, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World . Though there was some disagreement, the following received the most votes:
1. Egypt 's Great Pyramids
2. The Taj Mahal in India
3. The Grand Canyon in Arizona
4. The Panama Canal
5. The Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China 's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help."

The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

1. to touch...
2. to taste...
3. to see...
4. to hear... (She hesitated a little, and then added...)
5. to feel...
6. to laugh...
7. and to love.
The room was so quiet; you could have heard a pin drop.

May this story serve as a gentle reminder to all of us that the things we overlook as simple and ordinary are often the most wonderful. Enjoy your gifts!

Freewares to download

Found this interesting links to back-up data, bookmarks and email online (all these are freewares) in the Tech column of TheStar:

To back-up your storage data online:

Email back-up online:

Store bookmarks online:

A colleague of mine recommended another interesting site where you can download freewares at:

Uni Days

A picture taken during our Labor Law (forgot the subject!) class with our beloved Prof Anantharaman. We remember him as the 'Winking Prof' because each time he tells a joke, he will wink at us and laugh; we totally adore him. My friend, Indra used to imitate his 'styles' and we will burst out laughing. The bestest, craziest, and more memorable days - schooling and uni days!

Pictures taken during schooling and uni days are priceless - it 'refreshes' the memory of THE moments. One of my best-est uni friends, Jeeva, just commented that we all looked stupid during uni days when he sees all the pictures we took, haha; I can't agree more to that ;)

Some Common Cooking Terms

Glaze - To give food a shiny surface by brushing it with sauce, aspic, icing, or another appariel. For meat, to coat with sauce and then brown in an oven.

Deglaze - To add liquid (few tablespoons of flavorful liquid, such as wine, broth, or, in a pinch, water) to a pan in which foods have been sautéed or roasted in order to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom of the pan. The purpose of deglazing is to make a quick sauce or gravy for a roast, steak, chop, or a piece of seafood fillet or steak.

Blanch - foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds, removed from the water and refreshed under cold water, which stops the cooking process. Used to heighten color and flavor, to firm flesh and to loosen skins.

Broil - cooking food in an oven with an intense heat source above the food. Broiling pans are usually used to hold the food, allowing the fat to be collected in the pan under the grate so that flare ups don't occur. Foods commonly broiled are steaks, poultry, fish fillets, and vegetables.

Braise - cooking food long and slow in a few inches of liquid. The food is not quite covered by the liquid, producing both a steaming and stewing effect. This long, slow cooking method allows you to use less expensive cuts of meat because the fibers break down, making it tender. Foods commonly braised are large, tough cuts of meat such as chuck steak. Vegetables and broth are usually added to produce a tasty mixture of flavors.

Grill - cooking food over an intense source of heat.

Parboil - partially cooking foods by plunging them briefly into boiling water. Foods commonly parboiled are potatoes, carrots, and rice.

Poach - cooking foods in simmering, but not boiling liquid. Liquids could be water or vegetable stock. Foods commonly poached are eggs and fish.

Saute - cooking food in a hot pan, and is sometimes referred to as pan-frying.

Scald - heating milk over medium-low heat until it foams, but doesn't boil. This is primarily done to shorten cooking times when making sauces and custards.

Sear - subjecting the food to high heat in a pan, under a broiler or in the oven to quickly brown it. Searing helps to lock in the juices in foods such as steaks before completing the cooking process.

Stew - cooking food long and slow, completely covered in liquid. Stews consist of vegetables, broth, and stew meat simmered for a long time to combine the flavors.

The Mark of a Teacher

Recently I read an article on what is expected from a teacher and the article on TheStar was interesting as I could relate myself with the situation that the author was trying to explain. Thank God though that I don't have the 'teacher look' on me inasmuch as people can relate to someone's occupation by just looking at them. Don't get me wrong; I am proud to be a teacher, but I do value my privacy in a sense that i don't wanna be a role model all the time according to the standards set on how a teacher should behave.

Most of the time, I am mistaken as a student, hehe; so that gives me the privilege to enjoy certain 'bargained' discounts when shopping. The thing is that (not because of the discounts, though), I tend to just keep quiet when I am assumed as a student because it feels good to step outside of your 'lecturer' mode now and then. It's like, I always think twice before wearing a certain outfit on how would I feel if I bump into my students wearing this outfit? These thoughts are at the back of my mind; sometimes it feels like I have no privacy. What causes these thoughts, I think is because of certain 'standards' that is expected from a lecturer; a supposedly role model in the student's life. It's like, it matters to me what my students will think seeing me in a certain outfit (like an ultra mini-skirt) or hairdo, or body-piercing, or getting a tattoo. I remember wanting to color my hair red after graduating; I did color my hair though not the bright red :) After being a lecturer, I just don't have the 'mood' to do all the crazy things to my hair or myself. It might be because wherever I go here, I bump into my students all the time (because I normally lecture for large classes).

A good friend of mine sent a link from Oprah's video about a dying lecturer's inspirational "last lecture" ( : it's under the column "spirit") and I understood the importance of having fun along the way; be it during teaching or learning. I have certain goals to meet and I tell myself to stop complaining when the going gets tough and instead just focus on achieving it rather than whine about it. And the role of an educator is immense in teaching and imparting life's valuable lessons to students. And I tell myself, whatever values that I have in myself only becomes meaningful if it is shared to my students. And that is certainly something to look forward to - to make a difference in someone's life - by sharing with them the mistakes you made along the way; not because they won't make the same mistakes as you did; but instead making them realise that of all the mistakes made, you became who you are today.

One of my dreams is to teach pre-school children and have as much fun as I can with them... soon

Monday, February 18, 2008

So Sweet

I have been sitting the whole day 'digesting' journal papers and the economic theories and models when my dearest ex-student, Nicole dropped by (with her bubbly smiles) bringing me home-made soy bean with ginko and tofu sheets (freshly made by Nicole). I was so happy and touched with her sweet gestures; definitely something you need when you are bogged down with work and research (and the sensation of the warm fresh soy bean soup passing down your throat is therapeutical and heavenly; just what you need after a long day's work; the best part - it is delivered directly to you without you expecting). Thanks, Nicole - and she said gingko is good for the brain, which is exactly what I need now!

She is the sweetest person I have met (and I am not saying this because she brought me soy bean). She has always some exciting news to share and never ceases to smile - which can melt away all your troubles and worry; and she has a big heart. People like her definitely make life a wonderful journey. And Nicole, yeah I still owe you the cheesecake :) on the way...

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Alfred came down on Friday afternoon and we went to Gunung Ledang for a mini-picnic; i call it mini picnic coz we had limited food; just because it was only the two of us. He prepared tuna sandwich and we bought goreng pisang on the way there; and of course Dunkin Donuts! It was nice to be sitting near the waterfall listening to the rush of water hitting the hard stones; totally relaxing. It was also a good workout climbing up and then down.

On the way back, bought some durian; it was fresh from the orchard and it was good. Later at night, we went for a fantastic dinner at Taro Restaurant near the Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. The ambience is perfect accompanied by the live band and the cool breeze; it was a great dining experience; totally romantic. I loved the cutlery sets that they have; unique and simple. I also totally enjoyed the live band sung by the guys from the Portuguese Settlement. We ordered fresh cream of mushroom soup and pumpkin soup as starters and it was so good. For the main course, we ordered salmon and for dessert we had a pulut dessert filled with green tea flavored paste drizzled with gula melaka. Although the food is not so much to shout about, but the ambience and the fantastic live band made it an unforgettable dining experience; should go there on weekends. I'd certainly dine here the next time :)

Details on Taro Restaurant:
Restoran Taro D’ Melting Pot
Lot A3, Dataran Pahlawan,
Jalan Merdeka, Bandar Hilir,
75000 Melaka.
Tel: 06- 283 2633

On Saturday, we had our lunch at a shop known for its famous Nasi Briyani Dam (briyani rice cooked together with pieces of chicken); it was good especially the pickles. Had a great time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Karen's Wedding- Pics

The pics of Karen's wedding ceremony and dinner - as promised. These pictures were taken by professional photographer, Andy Lim.

Pre-wedding session - At the bride's house : 12/1/08 morning

Chee-Mui session: 12/1/08 morning

Tea ceremony at the bride's house : 12/1/08 morning

Makan-makan at the groom's house: 12/1/08 afternoon

Dinner at City Bayview Hotel: 12/1/08

A memorable wedding, indeed. Kelvin and Karen : Wishing you happiness, prosperity and abundance throughout your journey!

Wooing Days - Valentines Day & Election Fever

It's 14th of February - the time of the year when many people will be up for surprises. On the downside, it may lead to dissapointments if your expectations are not met. But it's nice in a way that the extra effort is put in to impress our loved ones and spending quality time with the person we love. It is the time of the year when prices will be sky-rocketing and the guys will have to dig deep into their pockets to 'live up' to the gal's expectations; after all it's once a year (not really, since there will be other gift-giving celebrations as well - birthdays, annivesaries, the-day-we-met-day, the-day-we-kissed-day, and the list goes on, hehe). Guys, no matter what, you wouldn't want to go empty-handed when you go for a date with your girlfriend on V Day - a simple act of giving a stalk of rose goes a long way in saying 'I love you'. As for me, the quality time spent with the person I love equally matters as the gift-giving rituals. The gift-giving rituals are important to reinforce all that is being said and to have an element of surprise in the relationship. It is something that sparks a relationship - but then again it all depends on the intention of giving - what matters is the true intention to surprise and delight the person we love.

My plans for today (after work) - go for a nice long dip and swim ; in the evening - so far no plans yet. Alfred will be coming down to Melaka tomorrow and I don't know what is the plan yet :) I am certainly up for surprises.

As for the election fever - the date of the election coincides with the V Day. So, the wooing days are here - for both the lovers and the leaders :D Looking at the string of events that have been happening lately in the political arena (the V.K. Lingam's controversial video inquiry - alleged brokering in the appointment of chief judge; the ACA probe - alleged involvement of people from top positions in the government; the Hindraf and BERSIH demonstrations), this is going to be an election to look forward to - basically, a suspense. Let's wait and see.

Happy Valentines Day, people! Have great fun-loving adventures today, as well as for the rest of this beautiful life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I have just finished finalizing and submitted the proposal presentation slides to the board of ‘critiques’. Actually, it is way overdue for me to present – since I registered for PhD in April 2006, and supposed to have presented my proposal defense within 9 months from the date of registration (for the board of ‘critiques’ to ‘attack’ potential candidates during the proposal defense presentation and remind them that PhD is not for the faint-hearted – so that by the end of the presentation, you might have a second doubt on why on earth you are doing this!; that’s what I observed for every candidate during and after their presentation – which explains why I faithfully delayed for this ‘event’).

If it wasn’t for my supervisor, I’d probably be still delaying on the presentation. Okay la, I tell myself, just get done with the formalities – and it’d be good to receive some constructive feedback (hopefully not too constructive as to alter my constructs!). The presentation is in 2 weeks time – I still have some time to ‘comprehend’ all the economic models that I’d be using for my study. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Traditional Choc Cake with Ganache Recipe

The following is the recipe as the result of the mix and match of my previous experiments with chocolate cake:

For the Cake:

- 200 g plain flour

- 200 g caster sugar

- 1 tsp baking powder

- 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

- 40 g best-quality cocoa

- 175 g soft unsalted butter

- 2 eggs- 2 tsp vanilla extract

- 150 ml sour cream

For the Ganache:

- 140 ml dairy whipping cream

- 200 g dark choc

For Decor:

- Halved/quartered fresh strawberries (depending on the size)

- sour cream or you may want to use whipping cream


1) Preheat the oven to gas mark 180 degrees Celcius and line and butter two 20 cm sandwich tins.

2) Put all the cake ingredients into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter.

3) Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula, into the prepared tins.

4) Bake - about 30 to 35 minutes.

5) Let the cake cool for about 20 mins before spreading the ganache.

6) To make the ganache: Heat the dairy whipping cream until it becomes to just under boil, and switch off the fire. Add in the chopped dark choc and mix well, until a smooth mixture is formed.

7) Spread the ganache over the 1st layer of cake and cover with another layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with ganache.

8) Pipe the sour cream or whipped cream (whichever that you prefer) on the cake and put halved/quartered strawberries on it.

9) Best to refrigerate overnight.

10) Indulge!

I remember once that the chocolate cake that I baked turned out too soft and creamy (a different recipe; not this one); I baked the cake for my grandpa’s birthday and we had a BBQ on that day too. I being the perfectionist was disappointed on how the cake turned out. My grandpa commented on why the cake’s texture is too soft and falls apart when sliced, haha. Well, most importantly, it tasted good and there were no leftovers; who cares about texture right (yeah right! Am just covering up, hehe).

You will notice that most of the cakes I bake has icing/ganache/frosting on it. This is to cover up any imperfections on the cake’s surface, hehe; a covering up act, basically.

My next experiment: I’d love to bake muffins; will see how it turns out. Cooking and baking is truly an art, and I love it to the max! It certainly keeps me going.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Some pics taken last week:

My sisters and I

Casper and I

Mi Casper

Prince boy

Casper (pampered to the max!)

Benjy and I