Words of Wisdom

In life, we have to choose between the jeans and the cookie jar. Liz Hurley chose the jeans and I chose the cookie jar

~ Nigella Lawson....(on women's body image and her own voluptuous body)

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Halloween!!!! I deserve my treats...yummy

It's my most highly anticipated day of October.

Halloween is HERE!

Well, not that I'm celebrating it. No, I have never celebrated it but the sight of pumpkins, kids in costumes and candies has always excited me since I was a kid. myspace graphic comments

So, tonight, I got myself these precious ones from Reese's for my treats after yet another day slogging myself at work.

Reese's on Halloween 4

I love Reese's!

Reminds me of my student days in Sheffield when the only place that I could find the Reese's Peanut Butter Choc Cups was in my university's Student Union shop. How strange! I couldn't find them in huge supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrison or drugstore like Boots. Yet, the tiny shop in the Student Union carried these cups.

I encountered similar things in Malaysia at first. They were not even in the prestigious KLCC Suria. I managed to find them at last at the KLIA, one of our International Airports.

So, tonight I was pleasantly surprised to find them at Jusco. Threw in the kisses and the candy bar as well for that extra luxury.

I hope I could make my own version of peanut butter choc cups someday. After all, they're essentially peanut butter and melted chocolate, aren't they?

I deserve this treat after all the tricks the management has been playing on me.

p/s: Happy Halloween to the drummer who named his band Helloween too. The young Ingo suggested the name to his bandmates after watching the movie Halloween.

Ingo with Pumpkin background 2

♥Ich liebe dich Ingo............. like you have never left♥

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My first rock star crush's latest wedding............Ritchie Blackmore married again!

It's October and an event that certainly caught my attention this month other than Halloween is the legendary band Deep Purple's founder Ritchie Blackmore's wedding to his longtime girlfriend Candice Night, singer of Blackmore's Night.

In my book, this man named Ritchie Blackmore is forever etched as my First Rock Star Crush.

As noticed by some who read my blog, it's obvious how I have this love for hard rock and heavy metal music. Deep Purple was the band that first got me into it. Ritchie was already in Rainbow at the time. It was around 1979-1980. Then, I got to know other bands most notably the Scorpions who beautifully combined catchy melodies, twin guitar attacks and naughty lyrics (I didn't know they were naughty words back then). I was just a little child who quit kindergarten because I found that "boys were evil".

There was a cassette of Rainbow (I do not remember what album) my cousin displayed by the windowsill of our playroom. Somehow he managed to find a photo of Ritchie in a newspaper article and he cut it out to be placed in the cassette sleeve.

So, there was this picture of a man with his big mass of dark hair, hairy chest and a pair of very intense eyes that seemed to stare out of the picture directly into my inner sanctum. I would sit staring at the picture as I listened to his songs Smoke on the Water, Woman From Tokyo, Soldier of Fortune, Gates of Babylon, Temple of the King etc. There was something about him that mesmerized me.

Ritchie Blackmore rainboweyes
Ritchie and Rainbow

Needless to say, I didn't understand any of the lyrics back then. Hey, even now I still don't understand some of the lyrics. One element I really enjoy about Ritchie's music is his fascination with fantasy, legends, folklore and medieval life. When I listened to the his music, I would always imagine a world with castles, horses, people in elaborate clothes, ancient musical instruments, knights in armours, lush green fields and forests and magicians.

Ritchie Blackmore's rainbow with Joe Lynn Turner
Rainbow with one of my favourite male singers Joe Lynn Turner

Therefore, it is befitting that this time Ritchie got married in the medieval theme complete with a castle of course!

Ritchie Blackmore's Wedding 1
It's a rarity finding pictures of Ritchie smiling you know

Ritchie Blackmore's Wedding 2
The medieval theme suit them like gloves

Now, checking their ages. Ritchie was born in 1945 and Candice in 1971 which makes Ritchie a few years younger than my dad and Candice a few years older than me. He's 63 and she's 37. Oh, would you believe that? She claims they have been together since 1989 which makes her 18 at the time they met. Whoa.....this man really does have a taste for younger (young enough to be his daughter) women.

Anyway, may this be your last marriage Mr. Blackmore. I'm so over you.....he...he...! dustbin got stolen! It's Murphy's Law again!

Asked my father to help me with a teeny weeny property I have in a neighbourhood where a colleague of mine lives. It's been mine for a little over a year and I hope to be able to rent it out to young guys living in the area by next year.

Look at the interior of this dollhouse.
Hmm........this serves as a good example of the floor space I have in that teeny weeny property.

I read in a Homes & Garden magazine that a 800sqf house is considered a cottage in America. My tiny property is a few square feet shy of 500sqf. So, by American standard, mine probably qualifies as a closet. I believe celebs in Hollywood can easily give their children playhouses that size.

Floor-area-wise, my property is just a little bigger than this expensive playhouse but totally at the other end of the spectrum in the prettiness stake.....haha.

Then, the can of earthworms opened wide....!

I was shocked when I saw that my dustbin was NOT at the front of the gates. I thought it wouldn't happen to me in Malaysia. I got my dustbins stolen many times in the UK (apparently some people needed to use 3 dustbins per household). I marked the black dustbins with my property number so big you could see it from 100m away.

Why would anybody steal this black dustbin from me?

The most annoying thing was not only the dustbin got stolen, a moron even left his/her broken badly mangled old chair at the place where the dustbin used to be. Now, I certainly don't get this. If one needs an extra dustbin, that surely because that person doesn't have enough space in the existing dustbin. Now after stealing someone else's dustbin, there still isn't enough space for your trash?

I don't see the logic of stealing dustbins or dumping trash at another person's property at all as the City Hall workers come to pick up the trash on schedule. So, I don't see any reason why a household (of a very tiny house) would need more than one dustbin. The City Hall guys will pick anything you leave in your dustbins or any of those black plastic bags in front of your house as long as you place them properly around the bin. That's another reason why I don't understand the act of stealing another person's dustbin. I mean, if your bin is full, you can put your trash into those black bags and place them by the bin side. The City Hall guys will take them. I know this because I had done that before.

Also, the dustbin is actually a gift from the property developer for EVERY house owner when they hand over the house keys. So, why is there a need to steal from another house owner? I think next time, I will graffiti my dustbin in multicolours so that people can't easily remove the paints or markings I have made on it.

To end my already crappy day, my car wouldn't start and we had to leave it in the neighbourhood and call the repair guy tomorrow.

My Deepavali overtime plan may have to be scrapped due to this sickening turn of event. I need to finish that 'inspection work instruction' by Thursday. This is not fair!

Well, that's Murphy's Law in full swing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I miss blogging, Maruku recipe and bye bye Deepavali holidays!

OMG.....I feel ashamed looking at the number of posts I have made this month.

At one glance, it looks like I have run out of steam like I have given up on documenting the important moments of my life in the cyber world.

No, I haven't given up. It's just my work hours have taken over my life this month. We have new products starting this month. I lost a member and have to train TWO new ones who may not stay very long because our HR give them really crappy pay. Not to mention Mr.B handing me another letter from the doctor asking to assign him to a dust-free environment. Hello...knock...knock. This is Incoming QC Department where deliveries from our Suppliers arrive. What do you mean dust-free? Maybe he should work in the HR office making tea for the big bosses.

I can't believe I actually had to do OT today and possibly have to work on Deepavali holidays. For the last TWO weeks I was thinking about getting a good rest during the 4-day holidays but it's not meant to be. Hwaaahh!!!

An example of Maruku. This is just one of the many types of shapes.
View photo in its original context here at

The recipe:

Ingredients A

250gm muruku flour (You may get it from Indian specialty store. Some people use 'rice flour' instead and some others use 'chickpea flour')
250gm glutinous flour
3 tsp sesame seeds (more for decorating purpose rather than taste)
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp curry powder

1 1/2 tsp 'jemuju' (A type of herb apparently. The scientific name is Plectranthus amboinicus. Other names I found from the net are Caraway powder, Mexican mint, Indian borage and Cuban oregano. I think it can easily be found at any Indian/Asian specialty shop like this here. Hey, my mother uses chopped curry leaves instead!)

1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (coarsely ground)
2 tbs margarine / butter

Ingredients B (mixed together)

350 ml coconut milk (Some recipes use only water instead. Coconut milk, I believe, will give a richer taste)
1 egg
2 tsp salt
a bit of sugar (optional if you like a bit of sweetness to counterbalance the spices)


1. Mix all ingredients A in a mixer.

2. Slowly add in Ingredients B.

3. Put the very soft dough into the 'maruku' pipe (one of those multi-attachment cookie makers will do).

4. Squeeze it out into swirls and fry them until golden.

Note : Sometimes, you can also use some tapioca flour just for that variety of taste. However, if using tapioca, coconut milk needs to be added more so that the 'dough' will stay 'pipeable'.

Deepavali always reminds me of my childhood days visiting my uncle in an estate community about 2-hrs drive away. He has an Indian family living next door and the wife would send to his house a HUGE tray of Indian delicacies especially 'maruku'. They were friendly and kind. I remember how life was simpler back then and we were never divided by the colours of our skins or our faiths.

Talking about Deepavali, which is the celebration of the festival of lights for the Hindus, I have always been fascinated by this Art called 'kolam' or 'rangoli' or 'alpana'. Normally made with coloured rice, it never fails to blow me away every time I see one.

Kolam at Jusco Melaka 2008 1

I just LOVE the vibrant colours the designer uses here.

For this year, the nearby Jusco shopping centre has this one which uses 'fluorescent' colours such as shocking pink and lime green. Wow! This is just a small one here in the humble tiny city of Melaka. I wonder how are the 'kolam' displays over in Malaysia's capital city shopping malls.

Kolam at Jusco Melaka 2008 2

Can I have this pretty screen for my home?

Kolam at Jusco Melaka 2008 3

The whole design is based on the peacock.

Kolam at Jusco Melaka 2008 4

A closer look at the peacock in the 'kolam'.

Thinking back, coming to work during the holidays mean I can finish my assignments peacefully because the bosses will be missing from the office.

So, this may be a blessing in disguise.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another farewell........another welcome.......another 'U still here?'

Today is the last working day here for my subordinate Ms.F (the one I talked about here).

She got a good offer for a government-funded management course in the capital city which is great as she's a smart and diligent diploma-holder. Not to mention very down-to-earth.

I am SO going to miss Ms.F. She's like a cool and relaxed little sister to me. She's a talented artist too. I admire the way she keeps her cool about Mr.B.

Wow.....I have lost tracked of the number of people who have 'passed through' my Section ever since I joined this factory as a nobody several years ago.

After lots of arguments with the HR Manager, I managed to secure for us TWO new members (I asked for THREE but my new Japanese boss only allowed two) to replace Ms.F and (hopefully) Mr.B.

Mr.B handed me a letter from his doctor requesting that he be assigned to 'dust-free' working environment. Hmm......let's see. We are factory workers and we do Quality Control job. Where on earth can we find dust-free area in a factory?! A-ha! 'The HR office!' I jokingly told my Manager.

It's been an unforgettable week for me as I made the morning speech I had longed to make on Tuesday. Getting everyone to turn up for work on the same day has been a challenge ever since Mr.B joined us. I had even stopped keeping track of his attendance in a secret diary I made.

I said all the things that a tired Section Head who had had enough would want to say about the inner turmoil of the group.

Among them:

1. I highlighted how in all the years I'd been with this Section, every time a new member joined, there would be some sort of fighting or arguments due to clashing of personalities. Told them I had had it with this kind of behaviour. "Honestly, I'm sick of it" were my exact words.

2. I said how I could tolerate arguments and fighting among people aged 25 and below because presumably this age group are hot-blooded, hungrier, inexperienced and still finding their own identities.

3. I bluntly told my members that I had no respect nor patience for people over that 25-year threshold who are still fighting over the simplest thing just like kindergarten kids.

4. I urged everyone in the Section especially the older ones to cast aside their emotions and use their maturity and wisdom (which should come with older age) to settle things down with each other.

5. I asked them 'What's the point of making a mountain out of a mole hill?' describing how the inner problems in the Section actually stemmed from small and trivial matters which could be settled easily (had anybody used brains and zero ego that is!).

6. I made it clear that I put priority on us finishing our assigned tasks on time and any childish behaviour or personal spats affecting the way the Section functioned would not be entertained.

7. Told them again that 25 years are equivalent to a Quarter of a Century which should be an important turning point for anyone who should have accumulated decent enough wisdom and intelligence to be a better person.

8. Personally, I do not like immaturity among people who are already married or over 30 or having already become parents. If marriage, kids and age couldn't knock senses into your head, I don't know what else could.

I wouldn't care less had I offended anybody with the things I said that morning as I had been carrying the burden of watching my Section become the butt of people's joke when any of the members engaged themselves in silly childish arguments.

So, 'auf wiedersehen' Ms.F.........good luck!

"Remember, 25 years of age should be the age you decide who you want to be for the rest of your life. Let your Quarter of a Century 'silver jubilee' celebrates the starting of that rest of your life."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My lovely neighbours are moving away
Why do good people always leave?

Learned from my mother these past few days that our next door neighbouring family are moving away to another state.

Actually, I kept on wishing that it was only a temporary thing and that they'd settle here in this village eventually. However, today, they invited us to an 'open house' dinner at their home in the spirit of Eid Mubarak and it finally struck on me that they really are moving away for good.

I feel sad as they (husband, wife and a kid) are among the best people you can have as your neighbours. How many, in these day and age, can claim to having great neighbours anymore?

My reasons for missing them:

1. Both husband and wife are hardworking and friendly people.
2. The husband is very handy when it comes to carpentry and domestic construction work
3. The wife is a great cook and always let us have some of the dishes or delicacies she makes to sell in front of their house. She gives them free for us of course.
4. My nephews will lose having a 'big brother' role in their young son who is very well-behaved and has the knack of remembering the name of every elderly man or woman in our village.
5. Their chatty banters with my parents. This couple are hilarious.
6. Their yearly Eid Mubarak 'open house'.
7. Their generosity.
8. Their readiness and willingness to help looking after our home when we're away.
9. Their sincerity.
10. Their positive attitude towards life in times of hardship and family ordeals.

Why are they leaving?

1. The hubby has a new project of rearing deers on a piece of land in the forest of the state of Pahang (the biggest state in Peninsula Malaysia).
2. Their greedy immediate relatives are chasing after their beautiful house and the land it sits on.


Yes, you read that right.

The wife is an adopted daughter of a not-so-distant uncle of mine. Before his death, he changed the ownership of the land next to my parents' home to her because she was the dutiful daughter who had taken good care of her adoptive parents and their two disabled children. The immediate family apparently aren't too happy because she's an 'outsider'. So, not wanting to cause further commotion, she and hubby choose to move away despite the properties being rightfully and legally hers.

How sad is that?

My lovely neighbours are leaving because of a bunch of greedy old people. In fact, just the word 'old' is an understatement. It's more like 'the-graves-are-already-calling-out-your-names' kind of old! Yet, these people still are lusting after material things which they can't bring into the graves with them anyway.

The family may be packing their final suitcase in November.

To sister M, brother S and little bro D, hope to see you guys again. This is not goodbye. myspace graphic comments

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Eid Mubarak !

The month of Ramadhan is officially over today with the celebration of Eid Mubarak in Malaysia.

We are experiencing the heat of the current worldwide economic downturn with the American markets underperforming and the TV news last night reporting how the share market in Europe is consistently not making any profits. Newspapers in Malaysia are reposting the laments of shop owners not getting as many customers as they used to even with 50-70% price cut. Banks just raised interest rates for car hire purchase loans recently.

Sadly, money doesn't just fall from the sky and neither does it grow on trees!

The prices of petrol and rice especially cause a huge dent in the budget of an average Malaysian like me. I told people that my standard of living still remains the same as it was 7 years ago despite the few hundreds difference in my salary. Since recession happens about once in every decade, it is expected that after the painful 1998 economy, 2008 will be another challenge for us and the rest of the world.

Finally, I can experience my family celebrating in very modest preparation. Modest by our standard anyway. FOUR family potfuls of special dishes in the kitchen to feed at least 50 people that is. That's the way our family are. Good food tastes better when you share it with your loved ones.

Relatives used to come in droves when my paternal grandmother, who lived with us, was still alive. It's an old tradition in our family. We shall make it our priority to visit houses where the oldest of the elderly live.

Eid Fitri Ang Pau

My morning started by giving out money in paper pockets to my nephews.
Not without a strict instruction that they must hand those over to their mother for safekeeping.

The practice of giving out money in these pockets was adopted from the Chinese tradition of giving out 'angpau' to young and unmarried members of the family. That's the way Malaysians are. We infuse each others' culture into each and make them our own.

Too bad they only adopted half of the Chinese tradition. So, only the kiddos get the 'pockets'. Unmarried old maids like me are left in the cold. Duh!

Nephews & Eid Fitri treats

The nephews with a modest array of delicacies and cookies on one of the coffee tables in my parents' living room.
Not as many as we used to have.

That's the only table with these delicacies whereas in previous years, we used to have at least THREE tables with those. When grandma was still around, I'm sure we had about FIVE coffee tables of those for visiting relatives.

Then off to my maternal grandparents' house.

Hey! Look at what my cousin brought back to the village this year!

Sarawak Layer Cakes 1

Sarawak Layer Cakes exquisitely designed by a cakemaker for whom my cousin acts as an 'agent' to.

Sarawak Layer Cakes 2

Look at the geometric patterns the cakemaker painstakingly put together here.
These are TWO of the several patterns available.

Sarawak Layer Cakes 3

They taste as good as they look too!

Delicate. Moist. With a bit of soft cheese in the batter, the cakes are a good fusion of East and West. Looking like a much denser version of our traditional 'bahulu', the cheese in the batter and the fruit jam that is used to 'glue' the patterns together provide the Western touch. The softness level of the layer is something like a thin but very dense version of Swiss rolls.

I do not know the recipe this cakemakers uses and it was my cousin who said there is cheese in it (they sure taste like there is soft cheese in there!). As for fruit jams, normally the layer cakes recipes I have encountered so far use them for 'gluing'.

Economic downturn or not, sometimes we do deserve a little bit of luxury at the right times and what more can be more appropriate for gastronomic luxury than the celebration of the end of the fasting month with this work of Art called the Sarawak Layer Cake?