Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Night Light

Home feeling beat after gym, I wanted something quick and simple. So I whipped up some mushroom soup, with a little twist.

Sweat half a chopped onion and a couple crushed garlic cloves and some sliced mushrooms in butter. For extra kick, I sauteed them with glugs of sake. Well that was the only booze available in the kitchen. Throw in some thinly sliced ham for additional bite. Then empty up a can of cream of mushroom soup into the pot followed by a can full of milk. Bring it to a boil and whisk it occasionally till the soup turns silky creamy smooth. Serve with a slice of toasted whole wheat bread.

Yum yum!

I love soup.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jump Start

Felt like this all week back at work after the short hiking trip. The good ol' engine needs a jump start.

It's true you know, you think you go away on a vacation to take a breather from work, but you actually rest and recuperate well by going back to work after the vacation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The first three numbers refer to the weight the load, in kilograms of the 'backpacks', from left to right. The number 14 is the age of the kid in the picture. He too, is a porter, carrying supply up the mountain trail of Gunung Kinabalu.

They are paid RM3.50 per kg!

Three fucking ringgit and fifty fucking cents per kg!

I could not believe what I had heard. I felt like crying. I felt like they really got the shitty end of the bargain, such measly pay for such back breaking work. I was really really sad. I wanted to give them a hug. But I supposed we were too macho for that. Instead, I shook their hands. 

We talked a bit more. They told us they used to get only three rnggit per kg. The wage got increased not long ago. They told us they carried rubbish on the way down. They told us they work six days a week, up and down the mountain. Though their accounts were cheerful and high spirited, my heart still sank deeper and deeper listening to them. Then seeing them snacking on cucumber, which was part of their load, my friend gave them our homemade trail mix of nuts and dried fruits. They thanked us profusely.

Later, we met them again at Laban Rata, the base camp where climbers spend a night before attempting the summit. I gave them my sweets, the least that I could do, at that time.

And now I want to share their stories here. 

Monday, July 27, 2009


I'm back from a long walk in the bush. Now my calves are killing me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Best Friends

Friends go hiking with you.

Good friends go hiking with you, and wait for you while you take a leak or take a pix.

Best friends? Best friends go hiking with you, stop and wait when you ask them to because you want to take pictures of the wild ginger flowers along the trail, and they rush you to get it done quick because it's hot and humid and they are sweaty and the mosquitoes are feasting on them, and when you tell them to shut up and fuck off, they tell you the fuck off too and suck their cocks, and then they remain there, continue to wait for you until you are done, then they carry on hiking with you, yakking and laughing away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chow Fest with Friends

Friends came to town for the weekend. These are my old chums from secondary school days. With good friends ready, all needed were some good food to make some good times. So last weekend would be best documented with the food, the copious amount of food we shoved down our throat. We basically went rampant stuffing ourselves silly.

After my Sign language class on Saturday, I rushed over to meet them at Chinatown, just to find them started the chow fest already. Spread on the table was a remnant of a salty roasted duck while everyone else was slurping their porky parts (liver, intestines, kidney etc) porridge. I opted for a bowl of fish porridge instead, as the porky stuff wasn’t my thing. Oh the duck, juicy succulent meat with a layer of crispy skin. Oh the duck!

As the sky turned gray and threatening, we dashed off to our car. Considering the cars were parked a couple of street away and the sky wasn’t that threatening, we made a pit stop at a bao (Chinese steam buns) stall to get some dou sha baos (sweet red bean paste filling) and char siu baos (savory roasted pork filling). According to a friend, the dough was hand knead to the perfect consistency for a light soft and fluffy bun. It was indeed. Yummy! Not forgetting, I also picked up some sweet jackfruits for the lot, as gifts for me being late. Everything was gone while we dashed to the cars.

We were on our way to Klang to visit another friend and spend the night there. It was hot when we got there and meet up the friend. The afternoon heat was suffocating and rendered us sweating ridiculously. The debate was to head out for some special beers (more on that later) or cendol. Cendol won, since the beers place did not open during the day. I had two bowls of those icy cooling sweat tasty dessert, first with a good dollop of ice cream topping, another one with jelly and cream corn topping. We also ordered two plates of rojak mamak to share.

We were all sleepy and lazy like a snake with a full belly in the afternoon heat. Finally we checked into the hotel, snoozing away enjoying the AC.

After a quick wash, we were joined by another friend. The eight of us headed out for a pre-dinner meal. The star of the pre-dinner meal was clay pot chicken rice, which was a dinner meal by itself. It was pretty standard affair, nothing to write home about, except that the ingredients were abundant, big chunks of chicken, slices of Chinese sausage, and diced salted fish. I was not sure about the rest, I was pretty full after that.

To allow our body to make more room for the real dinner, we went to visit a nature’s wonder, the fireflies at Kuala Selangor. We were rowed off into the darkness of the night along the river. Then we came to see hundreds, used to be thousands, of fireflies blinking on the trees along the banks. It was very pretty, like the starry night high above was now within reach, and the twinkling stars could be plucked from the sky. By the way no one should pluck these stars and take them home. The number of the fireflies has been dwindling tremendously over the years due to lousily planned development and mangroves deforestation and some idiot bastardy tourists who think it’s fun to catch a few of the fireflies home.

After the fireflies show, we felt the urge to eat again, the real dinner. This time around it was seafood dinner. We had on the table scallops, fishes, crabs, prawns, lala clams, squids, and some vegetable to dial it down a tiny notch on the high cholesterol level of the whole meal. We ordered tea for drinks, to wash off the oiliness of the food, but later added 4 big bottles of beer.

Friends meet up to shoot shit and talk crap, over beers of course. So beers were on next. But hold the horses, it was not any ordinary beer. We were going for snow beers! Well basically, it was just some nicely chilled ordinary beer poured into well chilled glasses with a thin layer of ice. The beer melted the ice droplets and they floated in the head. It was like drinking ice blended beer. Super chilled. Brain freeze! By the end of the night, we talked a lot of shit and shot a lot of crap. Happy times!

It was close to 1 am when we done with the shitting and crapping. True to the Malaysians-out-for-a-night-party tradition, our last stop was at a mamak shop. Nasi lemak, fried Maggi (instant noodles) and roti canai were all on the table, along with the tarik, the perfect night cap.

The breakfast, more like brunch by the time we got out, for Sunday morning was of course the staple diet for the Klang Chinese community, bak kut teh. It’s a pot of different cuts of pork (bak, the meat part), along with all the bones (kut the bones) and porky parts, boiled and simmered in a dark stock with whole garlic and a variety of Chinese herbs. It’s eaten along with rice and Chinese tea (teh). Klang is really famous for this and apparently there are more than 400 BKT restaurants in Klang. The one we tried was quite strong in the fragrance and slightly thick on the soup. Nonetheless, the two pots we ordered were well cleaned up when we left the table.

It was time to go. We headed back to Chinatown again, for friends to do some last minute shopping. We ended up in a tea shop doing some tea tasting and getting crash course on Tea Drinking 101.

I really had to rush. I left them at the tea shop. Later that Sunday night I realized I had skipped lunch that day. But I was pretty sure they did not. They were in Chinatown, they probably found some hidden food spots tugged away in some obscure corner, eating and yakking away.

It was a fun and full weekend. Good friends + good food = good times. Happy days!

P/s.: Apparently I missed two meals. The Friday (when the out-of-towners arrived) night supper of Hokkien style fried noodles, thick noodles fried in black soy sauce and top with pork fat bits and the Saturday breakfast of roasted pork and noodle soup. Damn!

P/P/s.: Sorry no pix, too busy eating.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Here!

It's here! Finally!

My super duper late (thanks to the custom people) birthday present is here. It took 79 days! Now that does not matter even the slightest bit. It's here, that's all that matter now.

The sky was gloomy and gray, but my heart was bright and sunny. I wanted to run around the office singing my happy song and doing my happy dance.

OK, maybe not. I'll do it just in my head then.

Thank you. Muack.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses, or Durians

These were some suprised finds during a recent hike. We walked past a orang asli (natives) make shift shed. An old man weaving bamboo baskets (for durians collection), a few half naked (top half you perverts!) kids running around hollering, an old woman cooking, a young woman washing and a young man sorting out these thorny babies.

We went ahead and asked were they for sale. The reply was affirmative, but going by longgok (pile). He went on and told us that these were from the jungle around us, wild durians, the flesh was not as thick like the farm stuff but still meaty. No pesticide, no chemical fertilizer. Hmmmm organic durians.

"How many in a longgok?" The young man piled up 3 to 4 durians in front of us.

There were one and a half durian eaters in the group of three of us, one fanatic, one indifferent, one fanatically swear off it. So a longgok was definitely too much.

"We just want to try, can we get just one?" The young picked up a machete and we were ready to bolt.

Oh wait, he also picked up a durian and hacked it open, telling us that that particular one jus dropped from the tree that very morning. He then presented us the shinny smooth yellow flesh of durian within the thorny shell. The humid jungle air was instantly infused with the wonderfully pungent and distinctive sweet scent of the fruit. (Well depend on who you talk to, some said it smells like moldy blue cheese in old sweaty gym socks, stinky to high heaven!)

The fanatic gorged them down like a pirhanna feeding on meat. He was in ecstacy. The indifferent got one, felt the firmness of the mustardy yellow flesh, took a whiff of that intoxicating aroma and sank his teeth to it. The fanatically swear off it stood quite far away aside.

Oh my, the sweetness was perfect, not overpowering and the silky smooth creaminess was to die for, melting away slowly, permeating deep into the mouth, waking up all the tastebuds from their deep slumber with an orgasmic jolt.

"It was so gooooooooood!" The indifferent exclaimed. The fanatic continued shoving them down. The fanatically swear off it inched closer, towards the fruit. He took one and put in his mouth in a dash and then acted as if nothing happened, as if the other two did not see it. The other two played along, pretending nothing happened.

Time to pay up.

"How much?" The young man turned to the old man and talking softly for a bit. He turned towards us with an awkward smile and looked at the old man.

The old man stood up. "1 ringgit lah. We also don't know how much to charge you." The old man said.

We looked at each other in absolute awe, eyes so wide opened that the eye balls almost fell of the socket. We gave him 5. We couldn't do it, paying so little for something sooooooooo goooooooooood.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Candle in the Wind

My tai kow foo (oldest uncle) from mom's side passed away on Monday. He lost his battle to liver cancer. I was home last weekend fetching mom and dad to town, as mom was planning trip to visit him on Tuesday. She was too late.

He fought on, down but he was not out, till the very end. Perhaps that was a release and relief, for him, no more pain, no more struggle. Though this is inevitable, how do you, and how can you prepare yourself to see the passing of a family? How do you, and how can you just let him go?

The last time I saw uncle, it was probably during my sister's R wedding. That was more than 10 years ago.

How fragile and vulnerable life is, just a candle flickering in the wind. Time is running out, a lot faster than you know. Cherish your loved ones and treasure every moment you share. Before you turn off the light and turn in for the night, hug them and kiss them, tell them you love them.

Life is short, live, love.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


The most precious find during my Bali weekend getaway: vanilla pods. These would cost a bomb here at home! I’ll be baking this weekend.