Sunday, December 27, 2015

The best gift of all

What could be better than the gift of love on Christmas? Pure, unadulterated, unconditional love that's poured out onto you at any time of the day, whether you're feeling happy or down. Wondering what date site to go on to find such love? No need, just adopt a pet.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Investing time and money in what's important

A friend's birthday came up recently and she showed off a piece of jewelry that her husband had bought her. The bling was blindingly impressive, and once, long ago, would have had me salivating in envy. But while I was happy for her, I no longer hanker after jewelry, designer bags, clothes … the list goes on. Perhaps my penchant for acquiring stuff has finally quietened down.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Poopsy Daisy

I used to go like clockwork. I never had a problem with pooping regularly. I would go right after having my breakfast, and proceed with the rest of the day without having to worry about when and where I had to go. I couldn't understand why some of my friends had so many problems with their bowel movements, moaning and groaning about how difficult the whole process was. But now I find myself in the same predicament and it's really infuriating.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My perfect travel handbag

I've just been in touch with a friend who was pick-pocketed recently in Hanoi. She was carrying a backpack which, of course, was just inviting someone to sneak up behind her in a crowded street, reach in and take her wallet. In it were all her cash, credit cards, and more importantly, passport. She had to extend her stay to wait for her embassy to issue special travel documents, incurring extra costs which she didn't have the means to pay. All in all, a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Is dying such a terrible thing?

Of course it is, when young people are cut down in the prime of their life, by disease, accidents and acts of war and terror. But for the rest of us heading into old age, there seems to be a growing culture of trying to postpone the inevitable, with supplements, growth hormones, stem cell treatments … there seems to be a new elixir of youth touted every day that promise longer life. But isn't death a natural part of life?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mum-in-law's chicken soup

There's nothing quite like a hot, steaming bowl of chicken soup when you have the sniffles, are feeling a little under the weather, or just want some TLC. Everyone has their own version, from western-style soup made together with carrots, celery and other veggies, to Chinese herbal soups that are full of nourishing goodness. My favorite is a recipe I learned from my mother-in-law years ago. I've forgotten exactly what went into the soup but I think what I make today maintains the integrity of it, and more importantly, tastes delicious.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Is technology really causing social isolation?

Of course there are many people on both sides of the divide. There are those who long for the good old days when people actually took the time to sit down and talk to those around them, instead of being glued to their devices. And there are those who maintain that those same devices are actually instruments of communication. Me? I love these devices, but I also think they're being used as crutches in awkward social situations where you don't want to interact with people around you. I'm guilty of that as anyone else.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Why am I so digitally challenged?

Practically every day there's new software that 's asking to be updated, new apps to install, new internet terms to learn. It's hard enough to keep track of all that's going on online and I always struggle to keep up with all the new technology, but I have a more pressing problem. Being accident-prone, I'm always having to  deal with injuries to my fingers and toes that these digits of mine are constantly in peril!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Making my bed is a bad idea - now science backs me up!

My mother did raise me right. Right up till the time I left home, I would diligently make my bed every morning. I suppose it was meant to signal that I would start the day off well, in a neat and tidy way. But once I was on my own, I happily left my bed as it was, pillows and comforter thrown every which way. Lazy? I suppose, but I didn't really see the point of making my bed only to fall into it again in a matter of hours. Some, upon finding out, have tsk-tsked my tardiness. My son, B, has also taken after me, because I never nagged him about making his bed.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Aye aye brows!

I've always envied those people who could carry off that sardonic look with one raised eyebrow. I even practiced achieving it when I was younger, pushing up one brow with my fingers and hoping it would remain there. There's been a fascination with lush eyebrows lately. I mean, who doesn't want Cara Delevingne's arches? In my day, it was Brooke Shields'. If we're not blessed with them, then we're trying to make do with brow tints and tattoo jobs. Now I read there are even growth-stimulating serums and hair transplant procedures.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rice is nice!

On a long haul flight recently from Europe to Asia, I was contemplating my options for meals. Airline food generally sucks, but after weeks of dining out on European cuisine, no matter how delicious, I was dying for something that spoke of home. I was intrigued to find out that rice was on the breakfast menu, in the form of chicken congee. That, to me, spells comfort food. Something to soothe and savor when I'm feeling poorly. But wait a minute. Congee on a western airline, from a western destination, prepared in a western airport kitchen? How authentic could it be?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Yummy Yam Cake

This is another taste of home when I was growing up. My mother made all kinds of Hakka dishes with yam, and always insisted that how the dishes turned out all depended on the quality of the yam. I actually learned how to make yam cake in school when they still had domestic science classes, but I haven't made this particular dish in years. So I was quite pleased when I attempted this recently and it turned out really yammy and yummy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Raising kids the Japanese way

My impression of the Japanese, with my limited exposure to their people and culture, is that they are unfailingly polite, spotlessly clean and oh, so law-abiding. You would think that with an aging population, their kids would be coddled and pampered, but I found out is quite the opposite. Japanese children are encouraged from an early age to be independent and fend for themselves in every situation.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Travel smart

I know I seem to be talking a lot about travel lately, but that’s because my mind is preoccupied with planning a few trips towards the latter part of the year. I keep making notes to myself, reminding myself of the things I need to do, arrange or bring. In my mind, there’s nothing worse than being unprepared when embarking on a trip. And I’ve made enough mistakes to know what I need to plan for and what I could have done better. So here are some of my tips to travel smart.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I tweet, therefore I am?

We've quoted Descartes often enough, but perhaps we're doing a lot online that we're not even thinking really hard enough about. Younger folk might find it hard to imagine, but there was a time, not too long ago, when people didn't share their every waking moment with literally millions of complete strangers. Do I feel the need to post what I did at the gym, a new pair of shoes or every meal that comes my way in a restaurant, together with the ubiquitous pictures? To put out there in the cybersphere for all eternity?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

OIl-free roasted nuts

I love nuts. All kinds of nuts, from almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts to even the simple peanut. Store- bought salted, roasted nuts are a favorite of mine, especially as a snack with a cold beer, but they can be expensive. So I've learned a way to make my own roasted nuts that's idiot-proof. The best thing about making it on my own is that I can add whatever seasoning I want to it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Stay safe while traveling

As I'm writing this, Bangkok is reeling from a bomb attack at the Erawan shrine, killing 20 innocent people. Friends who were planning a trip there are now canceling their flight and hotel bookings. The truth is, anything can happen anywhere. Air crashes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks are sadly becoming more commonplace but it doesn't mean we should just stay at home. For New Yorkers in 2011, the most unimaginable horror happened right in their own backyard. As they say, if you stop traveling, the terrorists win.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Amazing sensations that don't involve sex!

Who doesn't think that sex is amazing? Just ask any teen with raging hormones, or 20-something chasing down the next hook-up on Tinder, Bumble or Hinge. But talk to 50-somethings and they'll laugh and say that there's a whole lot more to life than sex that'll put a smile on their faces.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Forget about it!

All my working life, I've dealt with words, whether writing them down, interacting with colleagues and clients, or giving presentations. I revel in the richness of the English language and enjoy exercising and expanding my vocabulary. So it's particularly frustrating when more and more, I can't come out with a word, whether it's a person's name or place or phrase, that's on the tip of my tongue. My friends and I joke about how we're losing our memories along with our teeth and hair, but it's something I really dread.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Feeling crabby and loving it!

Barbecue crab at Newton Circus, Singapore

I'm a huge fan of crabs, in any form. When I was pregnant with my son, B, I ate huge amounts of it, having been told that it was full of nutrients good for the baby. That was probably why he was all over the place like a crab, arms and legs going every which way when he was little! For many years, I felt guilty every time I ate crabs (as often as once a week!) believing it was raising my cholesterol levels. Now that the FDA has officially announced that the food we eat doesn't really affect our levels of LDL, I can merrily continue eating these and other crustaceans. You know how some people want their favorite things placed in their coffin during their funeral? I've told my friends that I want a crab claw sticking out of mine!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Staying healthy while traveling

I love to travel. Nothing beats going somewhere new and totally different from my own environment, meeting people and experiencing new cultures, food and so much more. But you know what I don't love? Feeling under the weather when I'm in these new places, because then instead of being out and about, I'm lying in bed and feeling miserable. Fortunately, I don't often fall sick during my travels, and I've learned a few things over the years to avoid illness while away from home.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Don't worry about old age - it won't last that long!

I came across this list the other day and it made me burst out laughing. Each point is so true, some poignantly so. We can agonize over our health, worry about what foods to eat, what supplements to take, what exercise routines to follow, just to stave off the inevitable. All good health does is slow it down. Health freaks will end up in the hospital, feeling stupid and dying of nothing. Does that mean I'm going to stop exercising and eat whatever I want? Heck no, I want to enjoy whatever's left of my time, whether weeks, months or years, on the Internet!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Why I love cooking shows

Other people I know may be addicted to the latest Chinese or Korean TV dramas, getting their fix daily (it's amazing how these dramas can be churned out in hundreds of daily episodes) or buying DVDs and then binge-watching them. I'm sure I would be hooked, too, once I started watching them but my skills at these languages are pretty dismal and I'm usually put off by sub-titles in bad English. I confess, though, that my guilty pleasure, when it comes to watching TV, is cooking shows.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Movies for the mind, soul and spirit

The last few days have passed in a blur for me. Having been laid up with the flu, all I could do, between dosing myself with meds and soup, was lie in bed and watch movies. I couldn't bear anything too serious that required much brain activity, so I was pleased to come across a few light gems.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Life-saving coconut oil

When I was growing up, a favorite sweet treat we used to make was coconut candy, a mixture of grated coconut and condensed milk that, when nibbled on, was as delicious as it was cloyingly sweet. Nowadays, when I take my two tablespoons of coconut oil in the morning as part of my health regimen, I'm always reminded of coconut candy, not a bad thing at all. I know many people aren't crazy about the taste of the oil but I like it, and love what it's done for me health wise even more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hainanese chicken chop

I remember going to some old coffeeshops in KL with my parents when I was little and tucking into some Hainanese favorites including roast pork and chicken chop. We also stayed at a holiday bungalow in Fraser’s Hill which had a wonderful Hainanese caretaker who served up fabulous meals and desserts including, of course, chicken chop.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Living a simplified, uncluttered life.

The idea of living with less stuff sounds really appealing to me. By owning fewer possessions, I have less to clean, less to store, less stress. but I swear the stuff in my home has a life of its own. I do try to keep my apartment mess-free, but no sooner than I give away or throw out some possessions, they all start piling up again. Every time that happens, the thought of decluttering feels overwhelming and I feel defeated even before I start to clean out stuff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Colonoscopy - pain in the ass or lifesaver?

I was lying on a hospital bed, coming out of my groggy state when my gastroenterologist stopped by and said that the procedure went without a hitch. He had discovered a polyp in his journey through my colon and had lasered it off. I was to call him in a few days to find out if it was the cancerous kind.  Bummer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Paring down my skincare routine

I've been told on many occasions that I look younger than my age. I have my parents to thank for youthful genes. I think that having a round face and chubby cheeks rather than a high cheek-boned, angular look also helps. (That's why Jennifer Aniston will look younger than Angelina Jolie in time to come!) Even so, I am always on the lookout for anti-aging tips and beauty aids. Who isn't? Even though I have no looks to speak of, I do want to preserve what I have for as long as I can. But in my older, hopefully wiser years, I have learned that the genie of youth and beauty doesn't reside in a bottle.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A slice of Singapore

Burrough Market? No, Pasarbella.
On a recent visit to Singapore, I was all ready to suss out the parks rather than just shop along Orchard Road. I had packed my sneakers and shorts, and was even contemplating renting a bicycle and checking out the very popular bicycle paths. But stumbling in the middle of the night to the bathroom in my son, B's apartment, I snagged my big toe in the door and ripped half of the toenail off. Hobbling back from the doctor's the next door, I knew that all physical activity precluding slow strolls were out, so what else was there to do? Well, stuff my face, of course.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cringeworthy catastrophes

We've all had those moments, I'm sure, when after we've said or done something, all we want is for the earth to swallow us up. Being a klutz, I've had more than my share of stumbling and falling when I wanted to make an elegant entrance in high heels. Or being caught with my pants down. Literally. I used to mind making a fool of myself. A lot. Even when the damage done was more to my ego than to my physical self. Now that I'm getting older and falling down, literally and figuratively, even more, I've resigned myself to just giving into the moment.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Panacotta with an Asian twist

I'm totally hopeless at making desserts. I love eating them, but baking usually defeats me. I'm a total klutz at getting the measurements right, or the oven temperatures correctly. I don't have all the necessary equipment, and making do never works. But when I came across this recipe for a panacotta with an Asian twist, it sounded so yummy and refreshing, and well, quite doable. And so I tried it. And it worked. Every time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A rib-tickling so not a cooking show

I don't know about everybody else but I feel besieged by cooking shows on TV. It's all about celebrity chefs, gourmet meals, ethnic cuisine, meals on wheels and other far-flung places and cooking competitions. Then there's desserts, cakes, pies and even doughnuts. I mean, how do you dedicate a whole TV series entirely to doughnuts? There's an entire network that only features, you guessed it, food. It's like food TV producers are scraping the barrel to come up with a new spin on food.

So I was delighted by the entry of a wholly different type of food show, one that takes the mickey out of all these food programs, mocking some of these much-touted wonder foods and gadgets.

The Katering Show is so named after two Australians, Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, the self-proclaimed food intolerant and intolerable foodie who are featured in a web series of 10-minute segments. Launched recently, they have already garnered a huge following. It's not surprising because these two women, more comediennes than chefs, try to demonstrate some cooking techniques that always backfire, driving them both usually to drink. Foul-mouthed and irreverent, they get up to some hilarious shenanigans that are surprisingly quite endearing.

I've caught most of their segments on YouTube and can't wait for more!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

No matter what, mum's the word.

I was going to write something sappy and sweet for Mother's Day, as everyone's rushing to buy flowers and candy, and making reservations for lunch and dinner. My own mother is gone, but if I could tell her how she influenced me, I would say, "Aauurrrghh, I'm turning into you!"

Friday, May 1, 2015

Traveling light - what to pack for a long trip

Setting out on trip is always an exciting endeavor - booking flights,  planning itineraries, getting the necessary paperwork and sorting out currencies. But for me, the biggest undertaking is always figuring out what to pack. After decades of traveling, to world capitals as well as remote hamlets, I've realized that it's wiser to leave the hairdryer at home and no, I don't need all those dresses.Trying to squeeze all of life's essentials into one bag is not without its sacrifice, but I've almost got it down to a science. Here's a peek at what I normally pack for trips of up to a month in duration.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Many shades of grey

Many years ago, I heard a personality (I can't remember who) say that as you age, white hair is better than no hair! As someone who's been prematurely grey since my thirties and is also battling rapidly thinning hair, I couldn't agree more. There seems to be a trend, albeit more in Western countries, for women to go completely grey or silver and stop coloring their hair. I've been coloring my hair for more than twenty years. Do I want to follow suit?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hail kale!

I was first introduced to this dark green vegetable when I was visiting friends in Washington D.C. a couple of years ago. I had it mostly in salads, chopped really finely and taking to almost any kind of dressing. Slowly making its appearance in Asia, it's not readily found in supermarkets yet and is still premium priced, but I figure as it grows in popularity, it'll become a ubiquitous item in the fresh produce section. Kale is truly the super food with staying power.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rankled by wrinkles?

I'm a sucker for all the magazine ads and TV commercials that sell this cream and that serum, all promising to reverse the effects of aging, plump up the skin, erase the lines and whatnot. I've bought countless number of jars, tubes and bottles, filled with breakthrough vitamins, minerals, collagen, fruit acids, you name it. Have I found one that works yet? Is it a lost cause? Aging is a fact of life. It's a given that our bodies will grow old and wither, our skin will dry up and wrinkle like parchment. So why do we bother?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A majestic response to my cracked tooth

After my experience biting down on a staple in my salad at the Contango restaurant in the six-star Majestic Hotel, I did feel a twinge in my tooth and had to go see my dentist. It was a cracked filling and I sent the bill for it in an email I wrote to the hotel. Here was the response I received within a couple of hours:

Thank you for your feedback.  Once again, please accept our humble apologies for your experience at our restaurant, which is certainly not acceptable.  Be assured that I have shared this with the team to ensure that this does not happen in future.
As a genuine recovery of this experience, we will uptake your dental bill. Kindly  share your bank details and we will action accordingly.
In the meantime, please let me know if there is anything I can assist you with. We thank you once again for sharing with us the experienced as we strive to improve our service level constantly in order to serve our guests better. 

Kind regards
Alvin Khoo
Executive Assistant Manager - Food & Beverage | The Majestic Hotel KL
5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I think such a response has demonstrated why the Majestic is an award-winning hotel and it has restored my faith in it!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Waiter, there's a staple in my salad!

I was so looking forward to dinner at Contango, served buffet style, at the Majestic Kuala Lumpur. It was a joint birthday celebration for three friends in our group. Unfortunately, when I took a mouthful of my salad, I bit down into something hard and fished out a staple. That, essentially, spoilt the entire dinner for me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A bird's eye view

Family members were over for dinner a a few weeks' ago. We were out on my balcony when I pointed out the beginnings of a nest that a pair of bulbuls were building. They were incredulous that different kinds of birds have built nests among my plants the past few months, so I thought I'd share some pictures of my feathered friends and insights I have gained from them.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easy Peasy Summer Pasta

I'm no chef, but I can usually whip something up in a jiffy when hungry hordes descend upon me. One fail-safe recipe that I've relied on time and time again calls for a few ingredients I generally have lying around in the fridge and involves a minimum of cooking (only boiling up the spaghetti). If you don't want to read my long-winded story about how I came upon this dish, then just scroll down to the actual recipe itself!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Personal first aid kit, all in a bottle

I was cooking up a storm just before Christmas and firing up all the hobs on my stove, trying to do too many things at one time. Before I knew it, a shot of steam from the steamer had seared three fingers on my left hand, causing me to drop everything and go running to my bathroom cabinet. I liberally doused my fingers with the 100% pure lavender oil I keep there at all times, and kept doing it for the next few hours. Although my fingers were still throbbing, the pain slowly dissipated along with the redness. Over the next few days, the skin managed to heal without scarring.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Silent thanks

I am truly and completely silenced. The flu that I've suffered for more than a week, coupled with shingles, has resulted in my totally losing my voice. What comes out of my mouth are some hisses, croaks and squeaks. I wasn't sure if I even wanted to post this, but it's too hilarious a story not to share, and there are some lessons I've certainly learnt from the experience.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Yearning for yong tow foo

I’m a true-blue Hakka, 100% Taipu on both my father’s and mother’s sides, so I do consider myself somewhat of an authority on Hakka yong tow foo. Literally translated, it’s beancurd stuffed with a bit of ground pork and fish paste. I’m sure its beginnings were humble, as Hakka cuisine is typically hearty peasant fare, featuring lots of belly pork and preserved vegetables. But for those in the know (ahem, me) there’s a world of difference between what passes for excellent yong tow foo and the mediocre stuff sold in food courts.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Say goodbye to wrinkles!

If you thought this was a post on how to get rid of all those crow's feet that are creeping up, sorry. But I did chance upon this wonderful quick-fix for wrinkly shirts. Some of my friends say that ironing a big load of laundry is very therapeutic. It gives them time to ruminate and contemplate. Me, I'd rather be lying down, reading, or gardening, or even washing dishes. If, like me, you'd much prefer doing almost anything else than be stuck ironing, try this trick. It'll save you time and a sore back!

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's just plane manners

I dread flying. Any flight more than four hours is pure agony for me. My eyes get tired and scratchy from watching movies or reading but I can't sleep, no matter what I do. There's only so much I can eat and drink, and my entire body aches from being cramped in a narrow seat. The couple of times I've flown Business and even First Class were wonderful, but I'm usually herded in with 98% of the passengers on the plane and have to make the best of the situation I'm in. We all do, so I'm amazed that many passengers are so clueless about what's proper behavior when flying. Isn't it just common sense and plain courtesy?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Looking forward to a baa-d-ass new year

Chinese New Year is upon us, and this year in particular, the Year of the Goat or Sheep, seems extra festive to me. Perhaps it's because my son, B, is working in Singapore and will be back for a few days. Maybe it's a sense that I won't be celebrating too many more years of the Sheep, in the twelve-year cycle of the Chinese years. For whatever reason, I'm looking forward to a number of days of festivities, all of which revolve around my all-time favorite thing, food!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kindle offer from Groupon

If you've read my previous post on how wonderful my Kindle is, you may want to check out this offer from Groupon. The 2014 edition of the Kindle Paperwhite (the one I have) is only RM295 which is a really good deal. Hurry, there's only a limited time remaining! Just go to

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Walking above the clouds in Tuscany

Magical misty mornings
When the opportunity to go on a walking tour of some Tuscan hill towns presented itself, I thought to myself, "Sure, why not? I've always wanted to go there. And walking? That's the best way to really get to know a place, right? How hard can it be?" Well, for me, it was some of the hardest physical exertions I have ever endured. There were times when I wanted to lie down on the dirt path between vineyards, weeping, and just give up. But in the end, the experiences, the people, the food, the view, ohh the views, more than made up for aching legs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How much does love cost?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and young people are probably getting frantic. While guys are agonizing over how many roses they can get away with giving without having to pay an arm and a leg, not to mention the exorbitant dinner that is mandatory, young ladies are probably in a flutter what they'll get and if it involves something small and sparkly. Seriously though, shouldn't this day be more about showing we care, to all our loved ones and not just our sweethearts?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Do manners matter?

I was having an early dinner the other night at a fairly upscale restaurant. At the next table were two young mothers, one of whom had two children, aged maybe six and four, and accompanied by a maid. They had all finished their dinner and the mothers were having a good gossip session, leaving the kids to the ministrations of the maid. The youngsters were obviously bored and started fighting, while the maid was having a hard time pacifying time. Their mother, busy talking to her friend, was either oblivious to the noise they were creating or chose not to do anything about them disrupting the nice ambience around them with piercing shrieks and shouts.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Help, I'm turning into my mother!

I caught a video today put out by the Singapore government. It's the usual cheesy spot about how well Singapore takes care of its seniors or "pioneer generation" but there were a couple of scenes with old ladies that had me going "uh-huh".

I always thought I was different from my mother and swore to myself that I wouldn't be like her. She was a hoarder. For her, it was never enough to have just one of everything. She had to have at least two, "just in case" she said. So she would have a spare wok, a couple of spare kettles, innumerable sets of dishes and tea sets. If she found a pair of pants that she liked in Marks & Spencer's, she would buy them in all the colors available. After her death, we unearthed bales of cloth, all kinds of material that she had accumulated through the years, whether to sew outfits or do craft work with.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

All I want for shopping is you

I'm not a great fan of shopping. While I do enjoy half a day out at the mall, trawling through favorite stores to see what's new and happening, I'm generally the "buy what I need and let's have coffee" kind of shopper. It must be age. In my youth, I used to have the energy to walk up and down Orchard Road in Singapore the whole day and into the night. Not anymore. But now I've literally found a shopping haven at my fingertips. Literally. Online shopping!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Going bananas over curry

Side vegetables change daily
There's nothing I love more for lunch than a meal of banana leaf curry. I do enjoy nasi kandar or Malay food, but there's something quite endearing and utterly delicious about this humble offering that's originally from India but probably totally Malaysianized.

It brings back memories for me of meeting my Dad at his office downtown when I was in my teens. He would bring me to his favorite banana leaf curry shop and we'd tuck in. I don't remember what we talked about (we weren't great conversationalists) but we did both make appreciative noises about the food.

Current movie/TV favorites

My all-time love is reading, but I do enjoy being a couch potato as well and catching some great movies or shows on TV. I haven't been to the cinema in a while. Not only does it cost an arm and a leg, especially with snacks and drinks, but I have to sit through the entire movie without a break. At home, I get to pause, refill my drink, take a bathroom break, or make my favorite popcorn before getting back to the show. Here are some of the shows that have piqued my interest recently.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dining solo

I love dining with friends, whether going out for a nice meal, or having a potluck together. When I’m cooking for family and friends, I think the more the merrier. I tend to cook more than necessary, a trait I’ve inherited from my mother. There’s nothing worse than not having enough food for everyone!

By circumstance, I tend to dine alone more often than not. Ever since my son, B, moved out, it’s been just me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And while I love the company of others at mealtimes, I think basically I’m a loner and oftentimes prefer to dine alone.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's time I apologized to my son

Wow, my son, B, turns 30 today. While I’m extremely happy to see him at this milestone, it also makes me feel positively ancient. I still remember the day he was born as though it was just yesterday, and am bursting with pride that he’s become a fine, young man – smart and strong, yet possessing a kind, sweet spirit.

I just read a blog where a young mother posts apologies to her young child for the many times (and all mothers can relate) when she wishes the child would eat faster or go to bed earlier just so that she can have a little me time. She would check the diaper and close it back up when it’s only pee. Or let her child go to bed with avocado in her hair. I think it’s struck a chord among mothers who can relate to all the times when they are less than perfect mums.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rounding up to the nearest 5 or 10 sen, or daylight robbery?

Is it only me, or does anyone else notice what is being done at cash registers in supermarkets?  When an item costing, say RM1.83, is scanned, the amount automatically registers as RM1.85, because the system is programmed to register amounts that are rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 sen. So if an item costs RM3.56, it will register as RM3.55, but items that cost RM2.53 or RM4.68 will register as RM2.55 and RM4.70 respectively.

Now, you may say that these amounts are miniscule, and nobody bothers about the 1 or 2 sen difference. But they are keyed in for every single item that’s scanned, BEFORE the final total. My point is, doesn’t it make more sense for the individual items be scanned in with their actual price, and then the total amount rounded up? That way, the consumer (or alternatively the supermarket) doesn’t have to lose out on every single item scanned.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

TP blues

Like many, I have my moments of inspiration when sitting on the throne. When an idea hits, I just want to finish up quickly and get on with things. So when the roll of toilet paper refuses to cooperate, it bugs me. And it really starts to irk when I’m sitting down at another time and realize that the whole roll of toilet paper is similarly afflicted.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Little Leica

My Leica V-Lux 40 – the ever-faithful travel companion.

For the longest time, I was travelling without a camera, believing that  all my experiences were of the moment, to be tucked away in my memory and savoured. But as I grew older, I realised that it would be great to record some of these images to be re-visited one day when I am no longer so mobile.

I figured all I needed was a tiny point-and-shoot, something I could just put into my bag or pocket, which I could whip out quickly and discreetly capture some images. While landscapes and scenery are great, my favourite pictures are of people. I don’t mean posed group shots of people I’m travelling with in front of some landmark. Thank goodness my fellow travellers are mostly averse to having their picture taken, and yes, shoot me if you ever see me take a selfie!

Friday, January 2, 2015

New year, new resolve

It’s been a somber start to the 2015. Many year-end celebrations were cancelled in light of recent tragedies including the Air Asia crash, nationwide flooding and stampeding in Shanghai. Lives were lost and thousands lost their homes and possessions.

Many have rallied to come up with aid for flood victims in the country, with organizations taking the lead in collecting donations in the form of cash, blankets, food items and more. What I’ve discovered is, perhaps not surprisingly, that those with seemingly little are willing to give more. Those who are already feeling the pinch of rising prices have generously opened their wallets to give more than what they can afford, to help those who have lost everything.