Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More than just eggs.

Unlike my other fellow Malaysians who were celebrating patriotism on Merdeka Day, I decided to take a short road trip south to Seremban town, hometown of my late stepdad. They say death brings people closer together. Perhaps it is true. His brother, my uncle, lives there and we only ever made visits to Seremban on Chinese New Year. This would be the first time I visited on a non-occasion, together with my mom and Jimmy.

We left after lunch, reaching in time for tea. My uncle's house is one where bananas grow free and in abundance, so there's always some kinda banana cake/bread available. This time, we were greeted with gluten-free banana cake. It's really not as pretentious as it sounds. It's just that my uncle and his wife are food and health conscious. And especially after my stepdad's cancer, I try to be as conscious as I can, when I can afford to be.

Speaking of affordability, here's why I like small towns. We had lunch in KL at a cafe in one of the suburbs. We had a pasta dish, a sandwich, pork chops, calamari rings, and coffee for three of us. Jimmy forked out RM109.60. Not too bad, he thought. Then we had dinner in Seremban at a Chinese restaurant, seven different dishes for six people. Dinner cost me RM109.50. Very not bad at all, I thought.

I don't know much about Seremban except that it's the home of siew paus and its name in Chinese is 'Fu Yong'. Yes, like Eggs Fu Yong. Incidentally, my stepdad's family were egg traders in Seremban back in the day. I never did see where their shop was located until this trip. It is now an electrical goods store.

The filling has lessen and the skin, thickened. 
I don't know what about the siew pau I love...maybe nostalgia. 

The Seremban wet market is another must-go stop for me. It is home to cuttlefish bee hoon, beef noodles, and Hakka mee. I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to eat there (and in Seremban) but it's the only three things I default to each time I'm in town. Although this time, I skipped out on the Hakka mee. Age has limited my ability to stuff my face.

When the old goes, so will these places. 

Jimmy's.

Mine.

My aunt told me of the Indian spice shop in the market, run by a lady and her son. You tell them what you want to make and they pinch the spices and pastes to make a mix for you. I'm happy to note that my mom has decided on a chicken and fish curry respectively sometime in this next couple of weeks' menu. 

 His spice rack > your spice rack. 

A bit of this, a bit of that.

Some other things we did at the market - buy a lot of beetroot and buy a whole tray of kampung eggs. It's a lot cheaper here than in KL. After that, we went to the Siew Pau Empire (yes it's a whole building dedicated to the making, baking, and selling of golden siew paus), which you can see on the highway to and from Seremban. And then we had ourselves some chendol before heading back to KL, where eggs are a lot more expensive. 

The end. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia.

Recently, Malaysia celebrated it's 57th Independence Day. We learned about the country's independence in school, but I don't remember anything about it except the date - 31 August 1957 - and from whom we got our independence - the British. The education system ingrains it in your head that it is a very important event in Malaysia's history. I get that; however, Independence Day means nothing more to me than a national holiday. I don't pretend to be more patriotic on this day, nor do I feel much pride about it, mainly because I did not fight for my country's independence and I was not there when it happened. That's not to say I'm ungrateful of all that has been done for us to be a nation of our own. But the truth is, I merely inherited the knowledge of what happened on that fateful day.

Then again, what do I know about the real Malaysia today? I do not volunteer my time for the less fortunate in my country. I do not give to Malaysian charities. I do not stand up to injustices that happen. I do not fight for any policies to make even my neighborhood a better place. I do not care about politics. I do not waste my time at rallies for freedom of what have yous for Malaysians. I do not stand in solidarity with the rest. I do not contribute my stories. I do not make any effort to [...insert whatever it is that people do these days to instil and encourage a more Malaysian Malaysia]. And what's worse...I ditched this joint for a bit to greener pastures across the causeway. Shame on me.

I think being Malaysian is completely lost on me. But hey, there is hope for me yet. Every once in a while, and especially on 31 August of each year, I am reminded about how I come from a wonderfully diverse nation - the language, the food, the geography, the weather, the culture, the whatever-else feel-good-factor that makes me 'uniquely' Malaysian. There are exhibitions in urban Malaysia that I can go to to check out other Malaysians' stories about being Malaysian. And if I'm feeling particularly lazy to even budge from the comforts of my bed on a public holiday, I need only look to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, on my smartphone for an outpouring of positive Malaysian vibes. Because, you know...like very many things in this world, day, and age, I only really had time and capacity to digest and accept the nice bits about Malaysia.

So here's hoping you had a wonderful public holiday! I sure enjoyed the extra day off :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This may cause drowsiness.

What shall we talk about today? What shall we indeed?

Well, we can talk about how this cough I've been having is persistent and refuses to leave after a week and two prescriptions of cough and sorethroat medication plus a bajillion lozenges. My mouth, tongue, and throat now has this icky metallic rawness to it and everything else I eat tastes medicinal. It's an annoying cough, the kind that bugs you throughout the day in small doses and then when sleep comes, BAM! You're suddenly coughing non-stop, and violently, at about 4am.

Funny story at the doctor's. I described what I was going through and he nodded in agreement to all my symptoms. When I was done, he asked what medicine I would like. Erm. Aren't you the doctor? "Well, people these days do their own research and have certain medication they believe will be better for them. Sometimes, it's better to let them decide." He says in a forlorn jest in what I think is a reference to the pervasive self-diagnostics and self-medication that happens today thanks to Dr Google. That said, I do know this cough a bit too much - the last time I had one this persistent, I was given some kinda pills that immediately stopped it after two pops, once a day for two days. It's a scary thought - pill the size of two rice grains stopping a cough that lasted weeks. Ever thought about the kinds of chemical reaction and the 'power' of that reaction from that small a size to your body? Anyway, I no longer remember the name of that pill and I didn't have a preference for it. I just know I don't want antibiotics.

Speaking about antibiotics, have you read about how we're now entering a post-antibiotic era? The WHO issued a 200-some page warning "about increasingly unbeatable pervasive infection agents." It's worth a read, but if you're too lazy, look up commentaries and summaries of the report. I don't know about you, but it's gotten me a little worried. Imagine dying from a scrapped knee. Or worse, death by paper cut. The horror. I'm serious. Just think about what it means and how much we've taken a simple discovery - penicillin - very much forgotten by today's generation, for granted.

Sometimes I think it's the world resetting itself. It has to somehow, what with all our plundering, over-producing, and abusing of its resources. Sometimes I think the theory of evolution is flawed. We've not evolved to be more enhanced. We've evolved to be useless sacks of carbon-based humanoids dependent on everything around us to help us function and survive. How does this make us a more successive generation than the last? Imagine all of humanity wiped out by a microbe the naked eye can't see.

"Are you tired of all that coughing yet?" asks my manager sitting across from me.
"Yes, I am." I replied.
"You should go see the doctor. Again." he says.
"I'll be fine." I said. "It's not the end of the world. Yet". I hoped.

Monday, August 25, 2014

We live to dance another day.

I would recap the weekend, just to fill space here. But then it was mostly uneventful.

How about a haiku for the week ahead? Sure, why not.

Monday to Friday.
Work, work, work, work, work, work, work.
Weekend. Dance, dance, dance.

I think people hate on Monday too much. Mondays for me means I still have a job. I may not like it at times, but it pays the bills.

The average person with a lifespan of 75 years will have about 3,600 Mondays in his/her lifetime. That's almost 10 years of anyone's life! Geez louis.

So let's be practical people. Don't hate on Monday no more. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

A passing.

They say the people you've lost will always be in your heart, a part of your life, your memory. They say time will heal. They say things happen for a reason. It's all just what 'they say'. But do they know what it really means? For the most part - and I mean no disrespect to you when I say this, nor do I belittle anyone's capacity to logically emote - what we really only understand is the fact that someone has died. And that is a sad fact. 

People I know have lost someone they love for a variety of reasons. I was always awkward when it's news about someone's passing. Because I understand the situation, I didn't understand the gravity of grief. Not until I lost my stepdad to cancer in March 2013. 

My heart now understands what it means to lose a loved one when you think it's not their time to go yet. It understands loss. It understands anger towards God. It understands unfairness. It understands the emptiness that is now there, where a loved one used to be - in the home, on a couch, in the kitchen, at meal time, on a holiday, in a day's routine. In my life. In my future. 

And I hope it is an understanding that no one has to deal with before it is their time to do so. 

My heart goes out to the families of the MH17, and MH370, tragedy. I understand your sadness and I am truly sorry for your loss. You will always grieve, but the time in between grieving will eventually get longer and it will get better. For the moments that you grieve, these too shall pass. May you find comfort, peace, and strength to believe that. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The world is a funny place.

In some parts of the world, the people have no access to clean water. They walk miles for a bucket or two, careful not to spill even a drop. 

In the third worlds, some people have some access to clean water. They hope it's good enough to not make them sick.

In the second worlds, most people have access to clean water. They are careful not to waste it. 

In the first worlds, all people have more than enough access to clean water. They pour it over their heads in the name of charity. 

Diseases, disabilities, depreciating health and death is no laughing matter. Waste also shouldn't be one. 

I know more about ALS now, but I'll be donating to this instead if it's okay with you. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My salad bowl is empty.

To the uninitiated, this blogspace has seen two resurrections, therefore making this lucky #3. Or maybe not so lucky, depending on how I go with this last attempt at the fine craft of blogging. Hah. I figured at 32 years old, if I'm going to blog again and still not succeed at keeping even myself interested in the act, then I might as well fold and call it a day on the world wide web.

Like a long tumultuous relationship with an emotionally unavailable lover, it keeps happening and then not. It goes high and then low. It is there and then it's not. It gets hot and heavy and then disinterested, uninteresting. And on and on it went for 12 years.

It started way back when I was a wee 20-year old. Young, restless and out to prove to the world whatever. Studying in New Zealand, experiencing independence for the first time. No curfew woo hoooooo! Life was about detailing every single thing. Back then there was no Instagram. Facebook was just starting. The blog, YOUR blog was all there was to it.

Then came my mid-20s. Graduation. First job. What a bummer. No freedom. No time. No money. No idea what I wanna be. Blablabla...all that boring self-inflicted existential drama thinking people actually gave a damn about your bleeding heart and the injustices of social expectations upon you. Young adulthood was the bane of my then existence. Hindsight is always 20/20 and so, on hindsight, I wouldn't change one bit of it.

December 2010 - the year I relocated to Singapore. Ah...new life, new adventures, new everything with a bit more focus and maturity. I grew up, grew older, grew my waist size, grew my bank account, grew my life experiences, grew my hair to new lengths, grew in my world view...I just grew. And I decided life isn't going to be bad from here on out. At which point, the writing stopped.

Because I got bored of writing about myself. It was tedious. Self-indulgent. A waste of time. Because Facebook was what you documented your life on now. Rants. Raves. What you like. What you don't like. We revel in the 'Likes' and 'comments'. Nobody had time to read about your day in great lengths - time is money and anything more than 140 characters is not really that important, especially if you're going to let the world (more specifically your idea of your world) know you just had lunch and what you had. It was a tussle to decide what would be more important - the action or the object. And speaking of objects...the objects of your/my/our perfect life - behold Instagram. Dear Lord I love Instagram and all its filtered glory. It gave you a sense of what life should really be like - tinted and cropped to only reflect the best parts of it. No one wants to see the nasties that came with your perfect cup of coffee, your perfect gym routine, the perfect salad/cake/meal/holiday/outfit/thing... all the perfection, it had to be documented. And I am not ashamed to admit I subscribe to that perfection too.

Because God knows, I'm imperfect. And this is where there will be an account of it (among other things, of course. No more drama kthxbai. Ok, maybe a smidge of hulk rage and whinery). With that, and at 500 words too many, I present to you the first imperfect object of my day. My empty lunch bowl. Well, it's really a tupperware. Imagine a heaping mound of coral lettuce, pea sprouts, corn, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, julienne carrots, a roughly cut hard boiled egg, some spiral pasta (need my carbs yo!), all mixed in a creamy Goma dressing. Imagine...to my horror...the clothes that no longer fit me well, hence the rabbit food. Imagine...all the people...living in harmonyyyyy......

Ok. Work day resumes. Thanks for reading.