Chinese New Year 2013, best one yet!

It was a good, loooooong Chinese New Year break. Guess I was more mentally burned-out than thought! I spent most of it in Batu Pahat, did nothing much but shut down, chill and refocus.

Well that’s the grown-up stuff. Let’s go back to the simple joy of posting photos and commenting on them.

Like most festivals, the Lunar New Year celebrations focuses on strengthening family ties. One of the most important traditions is the tuan nian fan, translated as reunion meal. This year we had our favourite braised cabbage dish, steamed pomfret and pig’s stomach soup. She bought two dishes from a restaurant but I prefer the homecooked stuff ;)

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - reunion dinner
Served with warm white rice, mmmm

I spent a lot of time with the kid; rather inevitable as we had her this CNY. Many hours went into annoying the s- out of her, making her imitate silly actions and edging her to do sillier stunts. It was fun to get her reaction, I suppose. She wasn’t very pleased but I take comfort in that she’ll not remember any of this when she grows up.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - the kid
Look ma, I’m almost camwhoring!

First day of CNY is always at my grandparents’ for lunch and to receive the odd angpau. This year I only had one of those ‘get married, don’t have to give you angpau‘ remarks. Being older, it doesn’t bother me; bring it on even if it really makes you happy!

Having said that, I’m happy that my family on both sides are really cool about these sort of things. Some gave, some didn’t. I’m good with both – after all if you wanted to give me angpau, I’d be extremely stupid not to accept, right?? Heh…

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - with grandparents
My grandparents!

Oh look, I have permed hair again. You know why? So I don’t have to comb my hair for 1.5 years, yay!

Not sure why but my grandparents always cater for nasi beriani with ayam masak merah or rendang for our CNY lunch. It’s becoming our tradition.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - first day lunch

On the 2nd day of CNY, we always eat with my Dad’s side of the family. This year was our family’s turn to host, and we had:

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - feast
Spot the pig

Batu Pahat has changed quite a fair bit. I don’t go back much and everytime I do, there’s something different at every corner. Back in my days, young people would leave for KL, JB or Singapore to study, work and eventually stay there. From what I see, a lot more younger folks are staying in Batu Pahat, making their mark.

Like this one in Taman Bukit Pasir, I think it’s friggin’ awesome!

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - spotted Facebook's new venture
Say what you will about creativity…

We went to Kluang for my Dad’s annual CNY get-together with his friends. This year it was subdued as a family friend was not feeling all that super. Still there was food, drinks, talk, laughter and the best homemade yee sang.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - lou yee sang
Toss toss toss for health and prosperity!

We had dim sum with grandparents before my sister left for KL. Batu Pahat’s dim sum isn’t all that great but a nice change from our usual lontong, nasi lemak, economy noodles etc.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - breakfast with grandparents

After reading that Huai Bin’s grandmother’s house was robbed, I took my grandma to the bank to deposit her CNY gains. Even spooked her a bit to be more aware of her surroundings, crime is everywhere!

Then we went to the Kuan Yin temple as she’s the praying type.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - lanterns at temple
Lanterns at the temple

Sometimes I wonder if people really pray when they seem to be praying, or do it for the sake of doing it. I wonder what they’re thinking. What are they wishing for?

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - praying kid

If you believe in some Chinese astrology, your year of birth might say that you are fan Tai Sui – literally translated as ‘offending the Grand Duke of Jupiter’ for this year of the Snake. If you’re one of the unlucky sods to fan Tai Sui this year, the stars and universe says that you should expect a rough year ahead.

Now, I don’t believe in it (odd, seeing where I used to work) but a lot of people do. So they do all sorts of things to try appease the Tai Sui, which to me is funny because Jupiter is a planet.

But they do it all in the name of wanting to protect their loved ones, and we should be grateful for keepers of tradition.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - keepers of tradition
Donating to appease the Tai Sui

I didn’t see a lot of friends this time round, only Melissa and friends from YBF. We visited Bhante Sumana as we do every CNY and this year, finally had a group photo taken.

Still the funniest, wittiest, sharpest, most logical, down-to-earth monk I know.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - with Bhante Sumana

It seemed that on my long CNY break, everyone else was on break as well. I didn’t manage to eat some of my favourite Batu Pahat food, no one wanted to work!

The night before I came back to KL, we had dinner at the Batu Pahat riverside hawker centre. I’ve been eating there since I was a kid, it’s my must-go whenever I return to BP.

I love the big main road, Jalan Rahmat that leads to the riverside. The hill in the background, the old shophouses and dusk make it so picturesque.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - Jalan Rahmat in Batu Pahat

We are Fuzhou lang so we eat Fuzhou noodles! If you don’t know what it is, basically it’s like Hokkien noodles plus a touch of vinegar. At least that’s how it’s done in Batu Pahat, not sure about other Fuzhou populated areas in Malaysia. I think this guy make his own noodles, it has a tad more bite than the usual fat yellow noodles for Hokkien mee.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - Batu Pahat Fuzhou noodles
Batu Pahat Fuzhou noodles

Not forgetting one of my favourite Batu Pahat to-eat, grilled stingray! The way we have it here is to grill it and drown the fish with ‘cili boh’ (chilli paste). If you know where I can get this type of grilled stingray in KL, please let me know!

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - Batu Pahat grilled stingray
Mmm stingray is so good!

I also got to eat some lontong before I came back. This was at our favourite in Taman Maju (I think). We stopped going to the one at the roundabout near TIGS because it was too chaotic and inconsistent, even though it was touted the best in town.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - lontong
Lontong in Taman Maju

While having breakfast at Sri Gading with my grandparents, I spent about 2 minutes wondering why the rust on roofs have different patterns…

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - rusty roofs in Sri Gading
So, why?

A couple doors from my aunt’s sundry shop is this old-style barber. At first I was fascinated by the DIY A4 self-written sign, so I took this photo. I wanted to take another one but the barber turned around and saw me.

So I scurried back to the car.

Suanie's Chinese New Year 2013 - old style barber in Sri Gading

That was my CNY in Batu Pahat in a blog post. Almost wished I didn’t have to come back, but remembered the two bottles of pinot gris in my fridge waiting for my return, heh. I hope you have had a most enjoyable holiday too!

My Mom + birthday + Groupon = happiness

Short version: Had surprise birthday parties for Mom two years in a row with Groupons.

Long version: I’m not sure why (maybe it’s a psychological thing that no one is interested in) but I go on a group buying spree come every December and January. It so happens they lay out the good stuff in these two months. Or at least the deals that I find useful anyway.

It also so happens that with the help of my family members, we managed to organise surprise birthday dos for my mom two years in a row now, all thanks to Groupon.

How? As aforementioned, they have the good deals come end/beginning of the year and I can’t help but to buy them. Only then I think of a use for them.

Last year, it was a good deal for the then newly opened Trattoria Il Porcellino at Menara Hap Seng. I had a lovely dining experience at its pork-free counterpart, the Trattoria Cucina Italiana at Rohas Perkasa, so decided to check out this pork-friendly version.

Great choice! Good food, wine and service – my mom was duly and pleasantly surprised, fantastic!

Mom's surprise birthday do 2012
My mom’s surprise birthday do in 2012

By the way, do check out Trattoria Il Porcellino at Menara Hap Seng for good ol’ comforting Italian food at decent prices. The last time I was there, they still dish out the complimentary chocolate vodka at the end of the meal.

This year, it was Ayamas’ xth anniversary and the deal was 2 roasted chicken for almost half the price.

I know, I know… from delectable Italian cuisine to mass roasted chicken… how the mighty seems to have fallen…

But not quite! We decided to make a home party out of it, and we had the pleasure of relatives to join us in this surprise do.

So I contributed the 2 roasted chickens and creamy mashed potatoes, recipe from The Pioneer Woman. That means butter, cream, butter, butter, milk, cream and more butter. If you’re wondering why your arse seemed bigger after eating it, well that’s why… and a whole block of cream cheese.

Absolutely Sinful Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Before covering the top with butter and more butter

But we only live once, and getting older with fears of clotted arteries means that I’ll never make creamy mashed potatoes that way again, even though it was possibly the most delicious creamy mashed potatoes I’d ever had.

I think I used up 3/4 block of butter for it.

So I got ready the chicken, potatoes and ready-to-mix salad, and my sister the domestic goddess came up with everything else.

Mostly homecooked goodies

… pasta salad, pasta in bolognese sauce, tuna sushi, chicken liver pate with toasted French bread, pumpkin soup, konyaku jelly with fruits. Everything homemade, all done in one night.

Sometimes I don’t think we came from the same mother.

Mom was again surprised and happy, yay! I asked if she was pretending to be surprised just to layan us but she denied it. In civilised societies, you don’t ask your mom if she was lying through her teeth just so you can prove a non-valid point. So I didn’t.

Mom's surprise birthday do 2013
Surprise birthday do 2013

I wonder what next year’s Groupon deal will be. That magic unicorn ride would have been really awesome #justsaying

Day 6 of Chinese New Year 2013

Ohai! I can’t adequately describe how awesome it is to be on a long-ish break and not working. Let’s look at today’s timeline:

7am: Alarm rings. Hits snooze button.

7.45am: Woke up ‘cos suddenly realised that I might be late for breakfast with my grandparents. Wake the rest of the family up. Get ready to go out.

9am: Breakfast with grandparents, yay!

10.30am: Got home, YouTubed Teletubbies for the kid.

11am: Sudden toothache, writhe in pain. Downed 2 Neurofen.

11.30am: Roll around in bed in pain.

12pm: Asked Dad to help buy me more Neurofen.

12.10pm: Dad came back with more Neurofen. Downed another 2.

12.30pm: Entertained the kid with more Teletubbies.

1pm: Massive toothache pain eases, yay! Rolls around in bed some more.

2pm: Half-heartedly edits photos from CNY celebrations while watching a Taiwanese concert thingy with Dad.

2.30pm: Feeling generous and decided to reload Mom’s mobile prepaid. Spent the next 30 mins learning how the M2U and Maxis instant reload thingy work.

3pm: Feeling damn awesome for not having to work today.

3.10pm: Decided to write this blog post.

So far so superb. I suspect the rest of the day will be better!! :D

Okay going back to really doing nothing much now. Bye!

Help find missing 6 year old kid, William Yau

Update 29 Jan 2013: William Yau’s body was recovered.

Find missing boy William Yau - 21 Jan 2013
Leaflet from The Star

Another missing child in our midst, true to The Star’s headline, an entire nation searches for him. I only found out about the news today, being otherwise occupied with life, head buried in sand so to speak.

If you don’t already know… 32 y/o father + 26 y/o mother with 3 kids aged 7, 6 and 1 went out for dinner on 16th January 2013. On the way home, they stopped by a shop in Putra Heights to check out an electrical item that they needed replacing.

Who really knows why? Could be temporary negligence, could be overconfidence, could be lack of legitimate parking, could be anything… but the parents made the decision to leave their kids locked in the car while they went into the shop for a bit. The 1 y/o was crying and 6 y/o William got out of the car to look for his parents. He never found them, they have not found him.

I do not know the ending to this story, but I sincerely hope it will be a good one.

I do have something to say though. This pretty much confirms my long-held suspicions that most Malaysians on-line are inconsiderate, unfeeling dumbasses.

Give them a computer and Internet access and they go wild in the delusion that the sun shines out of their arses.

How else would you explain the onslaught of abuse hurled at the couple for negligence?

Of course it’s their fault. Of course you should never leave your kids (or anyone incapable of being responsible for themselves, really) unattended in vehicles, locked or otherwise. But hold on, you really don’t need to be the 2329032th person to call/ text/ Facebook/ leave angry comments everywhere on-line telling them that.

I saw a few of the comments earlier today which made me think about some things. But damn, people are nasty beyond belief towards people they do not personally know. And it’s really back to, just because they can, hiding behind Internet’s (perceived) anonymity.

When the couple had their first kid, he was 25 and she was 19. Their 2nd kid (William) came a year later.

When I was 19, I had the luxury of not having to be responsible for a baby or my own family. When I was 25, I learned how difficult it was to help take care of a kid. Not easy is oversimplifying it. And I didn’t even had to do it all the time!

So yes, must have not been easy. Maybe that led to temporary negligence. Not diverting the fact that it was their fault. Believe you me, they know. And they are paying the price for it.

Their 6 year old son, William has been missing for a week now.

If you’re still reading, I hope you can help in focusing your positive energy to helping William’s parents find their kid. Never mind everything else for now.

How hard can it be to get a roti kosong at lunchtime??

At about 12.45pm today, I was overcome with strong emotions of missing my old workplace.

I had a craving for good ol’ roti kosong tsunami-ed in dhal and kari ayam. What do you do when you really want something? You reach out for it, right? Or in my case, drive out to the nearest mamak restaurant in hopes of satisfying my craving.

Or in my case today, 3 mamak restaurants. Guess what? Nobody wanted to make me roti kosong at lunchtime!!

Gier had warned me before, that they do not serve roti of any sorts for midday meals. Very likely so they could quickly sell off their nasi campur which of course brings in more revenue.

“That is ridiculous,” I replied, “mamak restaurants have GOT to sell roti kosong, that’s what they are supposed to do!! You wait and see.”
“All right, just saying,” he shrugged.

Turned out, the founding member of MILF-PRON was once again right. Luckily for me he detected my immense disappointment and having gone through dark periods in his life dealing with menstruating women, wisely decided to forgo the ‘I told you so’.

Where I used to work, there’s a mamak restaurant with obliging workers who’d make me roti kosong at any time of the day. I hardly believe I alone get preferential treatment because I’ve walked by at lunchtime to see customers happily tucking into their humble roti kosong, roti telur, roti bawang, roti sardin and what-not.

That’s how you make your customers happy, right?? By giving them what they want!!!

Screw you, I was going to order a Nescafe ais to go with my roti kosong. Guess you missed out on the RM2 boo f- hoo.


Of pizza delivery and racist dogs

So I ordered pizza for delivery because the result of a last minute culinary attempt turned out inedible.

By the way there’s a current promotion on Pizza Hut where you get a free pizza if you order on-line via their website. Having gone through their on-line ordering process, I honestly feel that I deserved the free pizza, whether or not I end up ordering on-line. In summary I had to sign up for TWO accounts just to place an order. It might have been almost acceptable in say, 2002. But not really because at that time, I worked for an e-commerce site. Want to buy something from our site? Certainly, sign up for an account and click click click to add items to your cart. So I do know how it works. This completely boggles the mind.

The pizza delivery boy came. As he was leaving, I heard the neighbour’s dog bark at him. Side track: I live in an apartment type of building and you’re not supposed to have dogs as pets living in your apartment. Some of the people living here do. I don’t give a shit as long as they don’t bark the place down (yappy dogs are the worst) or poo everywhere. Live and let live, within reason of course.

So the yappy dog barked at the delivery boy, who is of Malay ethnicity. Driven by hunger, my mind started wondering: if dogs kept by Chinese bark at Malays and Indians, then dogs kept by Malays (no, it’s not haram) and Indians bark at who?

Think about it.


Going to be away for more than a week. Will be in my late grandfather’s motherland.

Lots of things have happened, some good some bad some great some not.

But part of growing up means learning to appreciate the better side of unfortunate luck.

For example, my car battery died as I was about to go run errands. But luckily for me, the next day was a Saturday and not a Sunday when most mechanics would be closed.

Last night, my notebook died. Really sucks BUT luckily for me, it happened last night so I could send it to the ‘hospital’ where it’d take at least a week for them to look into it. As I won’t be needing it until I return, what a good stroke of luck for me, eh?

Other things to be appreciative of: having a free ebook reader from KY which I’ve loaded with lots of free books for the almost daily 4 hour journeys in China.

See you when I see you.