Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fluffy & I

This evening with
Husband: away in Msia
eldest     : working
son         : Pulau Tekong
youngest: Penang
Will be spending a quiet evening with old faithful Fluffy, the rabbit, munching his hay on the eve of the winter solstice, 21st December.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


There are those who embraces changes readily with great enthusiasm while others resist vehemently. I'm the latter.
In the age of telecommunication and internet, purchasing is no longer about the joy of physically touching, examining and finally counting your hard earned notes for a long awaited item.

Horrors when I heard brother, after a few phone calls. comfirmed the purchase of his dream car. And to deliver to him 'on the road' condition.

Then, for the last 2 years, frequently, the post lady has been dropping by with packages of sorts.
It's cheaper,convenient and the goods received were as described, was the reason given. However, I'm sure, there have been some bad purchases, esp clothing,  that were conveniently put away and never to be mentioned again. As in all things, you pay to learn.
Yesterday, after much searching over the web, we decided to purchase an iMac online. Eldest was surprised, so was I. Reason, cheaper and delivered right to the doorstep.
Is this going to be a new way of shopping for me?
Still need to try that blouse or dress on myself to know if I look good in it and not how good it looks on the model pictured.
Like everything else, it's a matter of time we yield to changes or get left behind on the byway.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Note from training field

He lost 5kg after one week at field camp. So tired he slept on rain soak floor mat amidst jumping grasshoppers and a cacophony of croaking frogs. Ration paste of Siew Mai & chicken rice were just too hard to swallow. For 5 days he did not
Brush his teeth
Bathe (only powder down)
Take off his soaking socks & boots
And answer nature's call

Was relieved to receive his Sms on his return from his field camp.
My ah boy is turning to man.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Training in progress

It should have been in camp for the first 3 weeks but was out for a day on Deepavali. In full attire with cap and boots. My son. Tanned and leaner. "No chinese please"  After 2 weeks of "a veg, a drumstick with thick gravy atop his rice,  a soup and an apple, he just wants his sushi. My nourishing soup has to wait.
His dry cough confirmed that there was indeed such an ailment known as the" Tekong cough"  when many in his platoon too was down with sore throat, lost of voice and dry cough.
In keeping the recruits hydrated, drinking half a litre in one go is a must and constantly before and during training and exercise.
Strict discpline observed at all times. And yes, after the parents left, the polite language left with them.

Friday, November 09, 2012

First two weeks

Since last tuesday, the weather has been unpredictable. A hot sunny morning that can suddenly have dark clouds loom over followed by thunder and lightning. Next moment it's torrential rain. From such a hot day to sudden flash flood. This is the tropic monsoon season. If I'm obsessed with the weather, it's because, I'm thinking of my son. Going through his training in this hot and wet day. Can see him running in the rain, in the sun.
Been communicating with him via sms nearly every night. Two nights ago he msg to say he had been down with fever, headache and sore throat. Lost his voice in the process. Been to see the medical office and was given some medication. Not surprised as he hardly goes out in the hot sun let alone jog a mile. He jogs in the bright moonlight. He will have to acclimatise.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Basic Military Training

A tour around the facilities followed by visit to the bunks. Checked out his comfy bed, the cupboard, his attires, witness the pledge and finally a family lunch of what he'll be eating for the next 9 weeks. Then we bade adieu to him this afternoon. Going to be a tough 2 weeks of physical training with this blistering heat before I next see him on the 12th Nov. His first book out.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Pew memory

This pew reminded me of the chapel  in convent school,  Penang. However, if not mistaken the pew we had came with a knee and hand rest too.  A row of these pews can be seen by the canteen for the students to sit while they wait for their ride home.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Mum's Roti John

Cold, week old bread in the fridge. Mum would crack an egg on a flour mound, slowly stirring, adding milk until just the right consistency. A tablespoon sugar added.
Heat up the non-stick pan, lightly butter the bread before dipping it into the batter. Pan fry both side.
Just before serving, drizzle with honey.
For breakfast this morning, mum's version of pancake. Waste not want not.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Ah......those were the days.

Wong Peng Soon was our favorite badminton player. Rose Chan was our favourite performer.
Because we reared Siamese fighting fishes, the seller was our idol.
Driving license renewal was by pasting an additional slip at the back of a small red booklet
Susu lembu was house delivered by our big friendly and strong Bahiii ............. on his bicycle in a stainless steel container. The container cap served as a funnel.
Kacang puteh man came a peddling , walking and balancing on his head 6 compartments of different type of murukus ...and we barter our old exercise books for a paper cone of kacang putih
F&N orange was served in wooden crates and displayed on table during Chinese New Year .
M&M 's was called Treets ..
Eating chicken was a treat that happened only once on Chinese New Year and once on "Chap Goh Meh"
 We always carried in our pocket a packet of fire crackers during the Chinese New Year
 We always carry a one ringgit note at night in case we are stopped by mata mata for not having tail lights on our bicycles.
One noodle 'chow kway teow' cost 30 sen and we bring our own egg.
 One 'roti canai' cost 15 sen and one banana for 5 sen.
 We bought bangkali bread from the Indian roti man who paddled his bicycle around the neighbourhood with the familiar ringing sound.
Sometimes we bought cold storage bread wrapped in wax paper. Spread the bread with butter and kaya wrap with the wax paper and take to school.
Crop crew cut by the travelling Indian and Hockchew barber; 30 sen a haircut; all the way to the top. Reason easy to dry when curi swimming.
During weekends went swimming in the river, no swimming trunks, only birthday suit. No one laugh at you whether your "kuku" is small, crooked, etc.
On Sunday morning listen to "Kee Huat" fantastic facts and fancies and Saturday night "top of the pops" DJ was Patrick Teoh.
Saturday go for cheap matinee usually cowboy shows or Greek mythology like Hercules.
Father gave 70 sen for Cheap Matinee screening at 10.30am on Saturday/Sunday; 50 sen for ticket, 20 sen for return bus fare. Nobody pays 1 ringgit for the 'reserve seat'.
 5 sen for kacang putih and 10 sen for ice "angtau". Sometimes ice ball only 5 sen "pau angtau" and half red sugar the other half black sugar or sarsee.
 Never, never, never talk or mixed with girls until Form 5.
Learned the waltz, cha-cha, rhumba, foxtrot and offbeat cha cha from a classmate's sister.
First time dancing with a girl nearly freezed; heart went "botobom, botobom"...  
We survived with mothers who had no maids. They cooked /cleaned while taking care of us at the same time.

We took aspirin, candy floss, fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrups and diabetes were rare. Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was remedy for fever. Tonic water was taken at the first hint of malaria.
As children, we would ride with our parents on bicycles/ motorcycles for 2 or 3. Richer ones in cars with no seat belts or air bags. The first time I used a modern toilet I squatted on it for I only know the bucket toilet. Our children will not know the danger of visiting the outdoor toilet at night nor jumping in fright when the man collect the bucket when you are doing your business.
Toilet paper is torn up newspaper on a hook which you have to crumble first. White toilet paper is an unknown luxury until I left home.
Riding in the back of a taxi was a special treat.
We went to the jungle to catch spiders without worries of Aedes mosquitoes.
 The worst disease you could get as a child is 'lock jaw' which every child knows is caused by rusty nails.
With mere 5 pebbles (stones) would be a endless game. With a ball (tennis ball best) we boys would run like crazy for hours.
We caught guppies in drains / canals and when it rained, we swam there.
We ate salty, very sweet & oily food, candies, bread and real butter and drank condensed milk in coffee/ tea, ice kacang, but we weren't overweight because we ran and cycled all day.
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued the stunts.
We never had birthdays parties till we were 21
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and just yelled for them!
We don't know what is "Bumiputra"......
When parents found out we were caned in school, it's certain we would get another round. Parents always sided with the teachers.

We fly kites with string coated with pounded glass powder and horse glue and we cut our hands on the string. Happiness is winning a kite fight with a local samsing. I forgot, we also have to make our own kites to suit our 'fighting style'.
We are the last generation to know how to use logarithm tables and slide rulers.

AND I believe this generation produces the best parents because we remember the hard times.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Must be missing mum's beehoon soup. The seafood beehoon soup from Dian Xiao Er was simply yummylicious. Equivalent to the singapore prawn noodle except this rich broth has a wiff of chinese wine. Most satisfying on a cool day like today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


With secretary, there was never a need to do any filing and clearing of paperworks. Monthly utility bills, financial statements of all sorts, newsletters from clubs and societies. Invoices and receipts of purchases, he kept them all. A programme analyst by profession, programmes he ever wrote for billing systems around asia, he kept.
A passionate DIY man, all electrical equipments redundant or obsolete, beyond repair, he kept, odds and ends together with huge collection of tools. Hoping to one day dissect and maybe salvage parts for other uses. All For the last 20 odd years.

With heavy heart and reluctance, spent the last 3 days spring cleaning.
First, The wardrobe. Clothes that was his favourite, so worn and washed, clothes, forgotten, neatly pressed, and clothes yet to wear, still tagged. Sorted kept a few, the rest, to the recycle containers.
Then, his study table and cabinets. Stacks of papers systematically glance through and torn up.

Next trip back, the storeroom. All things stored away, to keep him busy tinkering in his retirement years.

Monday, September 17, 2012


SMS received by youngest at 6.45am: "Excited to go to sch - for the first time"
Today, the whole secondary school is going to Universal Studio Sentosa. Celebration for winning the School Excellance Award. Conferred by the MOE.
Aghast when excited youngest text me upon hearing the news one week ago. At SD68 4 levels of 400+ students & the staff, admin and all helpers,  it's quite a generous reward. Not forgetting one week from the year end exam. I can hear the screaming and laughters already.
Thank you Ms Pamela Yoong. I'm sure the girls will remember this for a long time to come. The day they spent screaming with their friends on the battlestar galactica

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Glimpse of the Past

I look forward to this book . Featured in the papers today. His book is on the shortlist for the renowned Man Booker Prize. Of late more and more local authors are coming into the scene. Have read books from Bernice Chauly, Peggy Tan Pek Tao and now hoping to get hold of this book by author Tan Twan Eng. Recently, have been searching for local writers, writing on days of yester years in then Malaya. Days when life was harder but enriching and far more appreciative to simple things in life.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Home cooked

Up at the crack of dawn, prepares breakfast, hurries children into the waiting school bus. The day's meal is next on her schedule. A nutrious pot of soup in the slow cooker timed to be ready for lunch. Marinate and prepares the ingredients for dinner. A quick shower and she's off to work. She is my neighbour in Penang.

That was yester year when fast food and food centres were not readily available everywhere.
Working mums had to plan everything. Upon reaching home, turn on the stove, get the marinated meat out of the fridge, cook. Dinner is ready in less than an hour with 3 dishes and a pipping hot soup. Simple and easy fare of stir fry, steam or oven grill.
Now, most would pick up dinner on the way home. Colleague of mine(DIL) have been buying dinner for the past 35 days. Counting the days when her mum in law(MIL) will be home from a long vacation. MIL has been cooking dinners for the family for the last 20 years. A perfect arrangement. DIL takes care of the rest. It's a chore now, to think of, not what to cook, but what to eat.
She has never held a spatula and have no intention to start anytime soon. She is not alone, many now considers the kitchen a redundant space. I beg to differ. I like to take charge what goes into my tummy. Somehow, food prepared in the kitchen has a homely feeling.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Battle of the HeongPeah

Once awhile on the way home, dad would stop infront of a row of shops along Beach Street to buy a roll or two of heong peah. Sweet lotus paste for mum while dad, the saltish bean paste filling. Just a hint of fried shallots in the saltish variety gives it that piquant taste.
Remembered looking into the shop from outside the car. Nothing showing to give hint of the product except for the name. Just a high top wooden counter with a serious looking man presiding over it. As production of the biscuits were limited, it was a disspointment most of the time.  Reason being to maintain freshness. Then in the early 80s through word of mouth, we heard of another, just as good heong peah shop. Rumour has it that the baker was a former employee of the shop at Beach street. Indeed it was good.  Making sure there's enough to meet the daily unpredictable demand. The rest is history.
Today Ghee hiang has stopped producing the traditionally paper rolled type. Him Heang is still keeping this tradition alive.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


After seeing a post by vagus I realised, that yes, I missed my chee cheong fun. Steaming rolled rice crepe with a drizzle of savoury sauce. Not just any sauce but the sauce with femented prawn paste. A drizzle of sesame oil followed by sprinkling of more sesame and fried shallots and it's ready.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

ChickenRice sans chicken

Attended a farewell ceremony yesterday. A father of 7. Single-handedly managed the family when wife went suddenly 34 years ago. An odd job man. Any job to keep the family going. With eldest girl, then 18 taking charge of cooking and cleaning. The rest of 5 boys and a girl had to lookout for one another. Youngest being only 10 recalled how one late night mum was sent to the hospital and never came back. A weak heart.
He recalled the times when after school the boys would look for coins under drain covers near bus stops. Thus affording a packet of snack from the windfall. Times when he had enough to buy chicken rice sans chicken. The fragrance, flavoured rice with a drizzle of dark sauce and chilli was just as scrumptious. Aunties and uncles helped out whenever possible. Sewing clothes and inviting them over during festivals.
Today all of them have done well with families of their own. A parting words given by the pastor reminded them about being a family. Maintaining the close family relationship. More so now. The father would have wanted it. Just what the father had done all these while.

Thursday, September 06, 2012


At the begining of youngest's sec 2 school term, the girls were allowed to choose their own seating in class. Naturally many sat with friends. However, when the mid year exam results came out, the form teacher was not pleased and thought there should be a reshuffle in the seating arrangement. Meaning separating noisy groups. Putting inattentive infront or putting a student in between two friends.  Mr L, the form teacher only teaches them one subject. Meaning he sees the girls only 3 times a week in class.
The girls were not at all happy with this and came up with a solution after a class discussion. When Mr L walks out of the class after each lesson, they will go back to their original seating position. This entails swift running around  with bags and all, before the next subject teacher comes in. Surprisingly  everyone went along with this. Even the class rep and assistant did not squel.
This arrangment went on for the next 2 months. The girls would hold their breathe and wonder each time Mr L walks pass the class or comes to the class looking for someone. If he had noticed, he probably thought he was mistaken. Soon girls from other classes came to know about this. All good things must come to an end. Mr L walks into class one morning looking very serious. Dissapointed, he lectured and ranted. Finally he let the girls keep to the old seating arrangement but insisted that they be serious with their studies.
Had a good laugh when youngest told me and I thought the class had such strong bonding to unite to this cause. All 40 of them.  I'm sure the Mr L had to agree on this. No need class outing or class party. I'm not sure how Mr L found out. Probably was informed by someone. Will ask  him one day.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Beauty In Weeds

The garden weeds. Seen in a different angle,  a different light and from a different perspective, there is something special to be found. Enviroment, social interaction and experience makes us.   There is goodness in each and everyone of us.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fatal rupture

She complained of stomach cramp. As it was the second time in the last few weeks, husband took her to the nearby GP. GP examined and comfined it was just a stomach cramp. Gave her some medication. However, by noon the next day,as she was still in excruciating pain. he took her to the nearest hospital ED. A private hospital in the east. Warded for observation. By morning, doctor comfirmed, a ruptured appendicitis. Immediately an operation was done. As the area was still swollen, the wound was left unstitched. She was sent to the ICU. One look and Husband was appalled by the condition on the ICU. Under renovation and the air-conditioning was not working. Workers were seen walking in and out of the room. Wife died 5 days later. Husband broken and griefing. He is now seeking an answer.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Youngest keeping busy over the long weekend.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Once again, it's back to the faithful canon IXUS. Still have not gotten the hang of using the camera on the iphone. It's donut peach season here. Delicious juicy peach thanks to the growers in Spain.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sweet N Alcoholic

There is an explosion of ice cream parlours here. Used to frequent Island Creamery for their so Singaporean flavours of tea tarik and pulut hitam, ice kacang but my favourite was apple crumble! Now it's Udders@Serangoon for a liqueur scoop of rum & raisin. Tiramissu flavour for those looking for a dash of brandy cognac. Bailey & bourbon after dinner a must for those coffee lovers. Even MSW durian ice cream is on the list. Local ice cream is getting very exciting to the palate with endless local flavours. Chilli crab ice cream maybe.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Silly little rumour.

Shame on those rumour mongers.  Heard that 'the' rumour went as far as Australia & China. One girlfriend on mine broke down when she saw the SMS. Even friends that love to criticise were upset that there was a news blackout. All eyes were glued to the National Day parade yesterday. Many believed that it was the most viewed National Day Parade. I'm relieved.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A blast from the past

Seems so long ago. Taken in the early70s at my paternal grandparent's house in Victoria Street, Penang. Never forgot the shock I had when grandma came back one day with all her teeth gone! For reason unknown to me, the dentist had all her teeth removed and weeks later, had dentures fitted for her. She spent her afternoon laying on her favourite chair listening to the rediffusion on days when there is no mahjong session. Seen here my cousins and I, fourth from the back left.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Being Women

A delightful book that I can so connect with. By a NewYorker Cartoonist Liza Donnelly. This book is full of quirks and idoisyncrasies women had to put with going through the ages and beyond. Women all over maybe of different colour, beliefs and diet. But we fret over the same thing

Monday, August 06, 2012


Knowledge on your palm. Literally. This is how youngest keeps herself
 occupied. First she trawl the youtube on how to. Plug her ears, so as to hear better, the instruction. In this case making little clay trinkets. She spent hours following the instructions from fixing the rubic cubes to baking. Then I had reservation on getting a smart phone for a 13 year old. Just too young and moreover, they might end up spending hours banging, tapping, swiping and shaking. Yes, she does that too. Just like any normal teenager destressing sometimes. But I'm glad she is also seeking knowledge from it.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

A gold at last

I wait in anticipation for the match. Many times these two have clashed but will tonight be the night? A gold medal for all his perseverance and determination. And of course making many oh so proud. The badminton finals tonight at the 2012 Olympics.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


Ultimately one has to exist. Unfortunately we do not have the privilege to decide how we wish to go.  Into an oblivion departure. The mind slowly slips away from sanity leaving an empty vessal for loved one to care for?  To bade adieu sadness and pain. The mind painfully alert to the surrounding as the body battle with insufferable pain.  Cousin called yesterday sounding distraught. Her mum has been diagnosed with Alzheimer.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Flower Power

Fancy wearing this for dinner. Was at this year's garden festival at the Suntec city.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seeing the Doctor

When seeing the doctor especially a sought after specialist, be prepared for at least an hour's wait. Not withstanding the fact that you have made the appointments weeks before. And when finally you go into the consultation room, sits down, a few questions, a physical check and it's done. All in less than 10 mins. Was with mum at the cardiologist clinic this morning.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Was with dad during his last few days in the hospital. He was drifting in and out of consciousness. Intubated with IV lines running around his arms and neck, it was a painful sight. When conscious, he would open his eyes. Looking yet unable to speak. The Indian family from the next bed came over to comfort me and sought my permission to say a prayer for dad. They chatted with dad just days before and was shock to see the turn of event. I was touched. Never knew what happened to his father who was unconscious after a rupture aneurysm. 

Monday, April 30, 2012


As one prepares to serve at the tennis court, another was busy checking his guest list to his second marriage banquet,  my dad was battling with pneumonia. All in their early 70s yet such different lives they lead. Struck by myasthenia gravis in his 50s but kept under control for the last 18 years by steriod. A sudden collapse from MG crisis last sept changed his life. Weaken and unable to walk, he was confined to a wheelchair. Kept his spirit and morale up by being independant where possible. Utterly ashamed and embarrassed when accidently soiled or leaked in his pants.
However, a weaken body was no match for the minute bacteria that invaded his body thereafter. Finally, he succumbed to septic shock.
It's been more than a month and yet the incident, the rituals seemed surreal. His sleeping face calm and compose. No more pills, pills and more medication. No more pain.