Thursday, April 30, 2009

Balok Beach

Right now, I am lazing on a chair facing the Balok Beach, listening to the waves crashing down the shore, and enjoying the sea-breeze - a perfect day to laze around - chill out, relax and enjoy. Yesterday I was so proud of myself - finally, I managed to swim in the sea (upgraded from the pool-swimmer to a beach-swimmer, hehe). Tomorrow I might learn something new - kite-surfing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Crab Fare

Last night, I missed my bus back to Melaka because I was lured into 'crab-trap' by Alfred and Aaron - and since it has been a darn long time since I last indulged in crab, I was game for it. Aaron recommended a shop near Ampang for its famous salted egg crab - according to him, that's the best he've tasted. Unfortunately for us, they didn't have crab on that day. And off we went to another shop - it wasn't that good, though.

We then retreated to the apartment where John was waiting for us, and ended up watching Russell Peters - a Canadian Anglo-Indian comedian whose jokes can be described as crude, raw, racist, and offensive - depending on how you choose to look at it. For me, in the name of humour, it was worth a watch - we definitely laughed our heart out (Warning: suitable for 18 and above) - one of the audiences brought his young son to the program - I was like "What is that guy thinking? - I wonder how his kid is going to 'store' all these 'information' in his growing 'database' - kids nowadays are darn smart - never underestimate them!).

All in all, it was a great weekend with great company :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Potluck Party

I always look forward to potluck parties - the food spread, the excellent company, and the sharing - just too good to resist. No matter what I am doing, I just set everything aside for potluck parties, haha - chronic right? Once, I was just after the dentist, with the entire one side of my face numb from the anaesthetic - and I rushed back to office to make it on time for the potluck party. And I remembered having trouble smiling and eating - but what the heck - I still enjoyed myself.
This time our famous baker, Poh Wing was not around - so it wasn't as much fun without him and his cakes, hehe. Nevertheless, we had awesome spread of food - homemade macaroni & cheese, English trifle, layer cake, tarts, vegetarian mee hoon, potato salad, cheesecake (my small cute cheesecake - sliced in 20 small slices - I need to get a bigger oven!), ayamas, pizza, fruits, glutionous rice and nuggets.

My late-night baking endeavour - blueberry cheesecake

Childhood Memories

My sister, Tharsani posted some of our childhood photos on Facebook recently. Gosh, when I look at our photos back then, I feel like it was dinasour-ages ago. Reminds me of the ol' happy-go-lucky days - no worries, no responsibilities, and the best part, we can do anything and get away with that innocent look, hehe. And everyday was a joyous occasion. Our favorite was the pool-time - I remembered feeling ecstatic when we heard of the new make-shift pool in my grandma's house. And it became the reason for us to behave in order to be given the 'extra time' in the pool.
Uncle John and us in our portable pool :)

I simply love pictures! It's always there for you to pull out and travel back in time - you'd never get bored no matter how many times you look at it. And after walking down the memory picture-lane, I feel so ecstatic, refreshed and contented and thankful for all the amazing experiences and fun I'd had over the years.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This morning I was feeling a little bit under the weather until I was hit by a wave of happy pandemonium when I spotted a rainbow painted across the sky. A beautiful morning - reminds me to be thankful for all the things that I have - and now I feel that I am ready to make an important decision - some sort of a turning point in my life - and I can't help but to feel so excited about it!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Lately, I have been asking myself what is it that I really want to do in my life. Deep down, I know the answer. What I need to do now is to concentrate on my studies full time and complete it. During that period, I’d be able to do some soul-searching and move closer towards my goals – one of it is to work with animals. And I can feel the answer is becoming clearer to me – what I need is to take the bold step forward and go along the flow.

I am not afraid of making any decisions relating to my career because I feel it’s time for a change. Right now, I intend to complete my studies – which I have trouble concentrating on with so many things happening now. Sometimes I feel everything is at a mess – at times, I pick myself up and be motivated to get back on track in terms of my work and studies – but along the way, I get lost again and then find my way back – the same process repeats. I am not as motivated in my job as I was before and I can feel my energy draining day by day at work – but I always made sure that I give my 100% when I am teaching my students – that I always made sure - but other than that, it's a drag.

I guess I need to take a break to put things in perspective again – and to focus and concentrate on one thing at a time – and also to rethink my priorities in my life – life is too short for me to spend time on things that don’t really matter as much to me – I want to work for passion – and soon I am going to be doing just that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A sneak view of the penthouse in Idaman Residence

Yesterday, we climbed the staircase from the 18th floor to the 34th floor of the condominium to have a 'sneak' view of the unsold penthouse units and also just for the fun of it. The units were all locked - so, we went to the top most floor of the penthouse - the garden area (which was not locked) - a 3-floor penthouse (there are 4 units) overlooking various parts of KL - it is so cool. But I can't imagine living there - I'd prefer to live on a landed property with lots of space and garden. My dream - is to live in a ranch - with lots of sheep, horses, cows, and dogs running around - or live on an island in a house overlooking the sea - listening to the sound of the waves crashing - how cool is that!

Penthouse garden

View from the penthouse garden

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Week that Was

We lost Aunty Veni (Alfred’s aunt) to cancer on Tuesday, 14th of April. Aunty Veni and Uncle Bala have always been there for us throughout this tough period that we are going through – and she has been my source of comfort – she has been there to console and comfort me. She has been the one that understood what Alfred and I are going through. She striked to me as a very strong person - she and Uncle Bala gave us strength and constantly reminded me that I am the pillar of strength for Alfred and to keep having faith. From the first day I've met her, I've grown fond of her. Her presence in my life is something that I would remember for the rest of my life for she has definitely inspired me to be strong. She will be greatly missed and cherished for the ways she has touched our lives.

The next day, I received another sad news – a 3-year old girl passed away from brain tumor – I sat and cried as much as I felt like – wondered how to explain all these – there is no explanation – it simply is – it’s difficult to explain death. My deepest sympathy went to her parents and grandmother for what they are going through now cannot be described in words – to watch a little girl suffer and pass away – it’s heart-wrenching.

I realise that life is fleeting and it’s important to cherish every moment – to live fully and appreciate every moment that we have and to say thanks for the little things. I’ve come to realize that there is no point in rushing and getting stressed. Whatever happens, life goes on. It dawned upon me that the lives that we touch when we live is what that makes the difference - the purpose of living.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chinese Pau recipe

This attempt was much better than the last time I made pau - this time, the pau skin was softer and more supple - and the dough was easier to handle. Most of the pau skin recipes that I googled used vegetable shortening as one of the ingredients - the ingredient which I wanted to avoid due to its trans-fat content (hydrogenated vegetable oil) which have been linked to a number of adverse health effects (yes, I am turning into a health freak - although I still find it hard to avoid sweet stuff :)). So, this time I have substituted olive oil for the vegetable shortening which I used in my previous recipe for pau skin. And the result was great - a softer pau skin. The recipe for pau skin as follows:

Ingredients (makes about 15 medium-sized paus):
- 250 gm warm water
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast
- 500 gm superfine flour
- 2 tsp double action baking powder
- 100 gm sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil

1. Mix warm water with yeast and let it rest for 5 minutes.
2. Sieve flour and baking powder together into a mixing bowl and stir in sugar till well mixed.
3. Stir in salt to the flour mixture.
4. Pour yeast solution into flour mixture and knead to form a smooth dough. Ensure that there are no holes in the dough.
5. Divide dough into 15 equal portions.
6. Shape into rounds and cover dough with damp cloth and allow it to proof (to increase in volume) for 15 minutes at room temperature.
7. After 15 minutes, use a rolling pin to roll out a portion of dough such that the edges are thinner than the center part.
8. Place some filling in the center and wrap and pleat to form a pau.
9. Place pau on a piece of greaseproof paper and let it proof for 20 minutes at room temperature.
10. Steam pau over rapidly boiling water for 10 minutes (I read from somewhere that if you add 2 tbsp of white vinegar to the boiling water before steaming the pau, the pau will be white in colour; I didn't try it out this time, though).

I made 2 types of fillings for the pau. For one of the fillings, I stir-fried some sardines with onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and some dry chillies. For the other filling, I stir-fried green peas with baby potatoes and dried garlic in oyster and dark and light soy sauce.

The Koi Pond

Last week was Alfred's final 8th cycle of chemo. We were talking about how to celebrate the occassion once it's all over a couple of months back. But when the actual moment came, we just said thanks to God and were grateful that we are able to start a new life soon and continue praying for good health. On the last day when we were packing our things to go back, we were acting on an auto-pilot mode - it's like everything is familiar yet we pray that it's going to be a distant memory. We took the time to reflect on things for the past 8 months and continue praying for the best.

On the last day in the hospital, we went for our usual walk while waiting for the hospital bill. This time round, we discovered a perfect hide-out (actually, Alfred discovered it :)) - a beautiful koi pond at the far end of the hospital building. The place is so quiet, superbly clean and serene. We just sat there for a while enjoying the therapeutic sound of water and the colorful kois swimming gracefully - and just sat there quietly enjoying the moment. There were so many of them. We promised to come back after sorting out the bills to feed the kois some leftover bread. But thanks to me losing the parking ticket and the ensuing frenzy, we ended up not going. But at least we found somewhere nice and quiet and be thankful, right (although the kois didn't get to eat the bread because of me, tsk tsk tsk).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My friend posted an interesting video on how the world has changed in terms of life expectancy and economic growth over the past 200 years. Hans Rosling explained few key aspects in Economics using an interesting tool - the Gapminder World - a visually appealing graph to illustrate the key concepts in Economics and their inter-relationships - and illustrates clearly on the widening gap between the richest and the poorest nations. It's interesting to note that although life expectancy in most countries have increased tremendously over the years, the economic growth gap between the developed and the less developing countries had grown bigger.

This presentation is a great way to simplify complex economic terms to students. Economics can be interesting, after all - it all depends on how it is explained and taught - not just rich with jargon; but if we start relating the concepts to our everyday living, we can see the bigger picture.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April Read: The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

It has been quite some time since I last read fiction, with the exception of Paulo Coelho's writings. Most of the non-fictions that I read require some contemplation and some time to appreciate the phrases - that's why I find non-fictions give different insights each time I read it, over and over again. This book is a different genre altogether from my usual reading. A book on romance - an easy and entertaining read - laced with some humor - a heart-warming love story. I was hooked to the book till the end. I guess this is the first book that I finished reading so fast. For some light reading, I'd definitely look forward to reading Nicholas Sparks' other books.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Prince and our road-trip to the vet

Last week, Prince and us went on a road trip - we went to the vet at the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) Veterinary Clinic. Unlike Casper, Prince is a little cowardly when it comes to a visit to the vet (actually, 'coward' is an understatement of the way he behaves everytime we step into a vet clinic - he starts shivering down to his bones - it's a hilarious and embarrassing sight).

We brought him there to seek advice on his cataract problem which now has affected both his eyes. Poor Prince, he is only 4 years old and his vision is deteriorating day by day due to the cataract. UPM vet clinic is the only place in Malaysia that has the facility for cataract treatment and it's costly. After examining him, the doctor said he has to run a series of test before making sure whether Prince will be fit for the cataract surgery - and the blood test came out positive for heartworm. Prince is now on medication for heartworm and after a month, we will be bringing him back there to be admitted for them to administer injections for the heartworm.

We were surprised to see how well Prince was 'handled' by the staff and the vet. They are so good at what they are doing that Prince started getting comfortable around them and his anxiety-attack-symptoms vanished. I was very satisfied with the service and the treatment at the vet clinic. I am generally dissatisfied with the animal care service industry in Malaysia - and sometimes wished that I was in other countries where animals are treated more fairly and equally. I must say that the service in the UPM vet clinic far superseded my judgment. They took great care of Prince - never have I seen a vet and the staff and also the students showing so much of care and love in attending to an animal - I don't mind driving from Melaka to Serdang at all - I am comforted with the thought that my fur-kids will be in the best care when I bring them here.

When I saw how much Prince is loved by all the students and the vet, I love him more now :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Know...

I might not be a good swimmer (I know how to swim, though, hehe); I might not have a good sense of direction; and I might not know how to do some of the simplest tasks - but I know how to love - and to give all that I have for love...