23 October 2013

Malaysian Teenager Found Dead in Suitcase

It is a parent's worst nightmare.

To find your missing teenager dead, and that was the headline in the Star today.

I truly feel for the mother and the rest of the family, and hope no other teenager suffers the same fate and no other family needs to go through this torment.

But how do we keep our children safe in this age of Facebook and Twitter and smartphones?

This generation of children are net savvy, way more mature at their age than we were at the same age and do not take kindly to parental advice/ control. Violence and sex are plastered all over TV shows and movies.

When I forbade my son from opening an FB account under his own name, he did it anyway. I found out, and we had a long serious "discussion". He added me as a friend and I check in on his account.

When his friends wanted to spend an afternoon together at one of the boy's house, I gave him permission to go but I accompanied him to the meeting point, saw that he and his friends were picked up as arranged. Later that day, I drove to the friend's house, earlier than the appointed time, to bring him home. Needless to say, my boy was not happy to see me an hour before the official end of play day.

Well, that's too bad. Whether he likes it or not, my priority is to make sure he is safe. And that he is where he said he would be. That's why I went earlier to pick him up.

I foresee it is going to get more difficult to keep track of my boy. And I can't keep saying "no" to his requests to join his friends for outings. He is only 12. Heck, I didn't go for outings with friends till I was in college!

This poor girl, Ng Yuk Tim, who suffered such a tragic untimely death is a stark reminder to all of us of the dangers of making friends on the net. When and how do we really know a person? Even if you befriended a person physically, not virtually, there is no way to tell if he or she is a pervert, murderer or just plain dishonest. 

But there are questions to be answered in Ng Yuk Tim's death and I hope justice will prevail.

I am worried.

22 October 2013

Rescuing stray dogs and cats

Unlike developed nations in the west, Malaysia's stray population of cats and dogs is large.

You can see them everywhere on the streets, near food stalls, at the market. If you come from a country where there are no or very few stray animals on the streets, you will probably be very surprised.

The answer in reducing the stray population lies in changing the mindset and attitude of Malaysian pet owners.

If you cannot maintain a pet responsibly, then don't have one. Do not buy or adopt a pet only to release it later because you find it too troublesome to care for another living thing.

Neuter your pets, as there are enough backyard breeders in Malaysia.

I recently became aware of  Noah's Ark Ipoh Animal Welfare. Founded by a local vet, Dr. Ranjit, this body attracts volunteers with the same love for animals and the heart to rescue strays. These strays are taken off the streets or rescued from the council pound death rows and treated, fed, neutered and put up for adoption.

Emaciated stray dog rescued

The lengths that Noah's Ark volunteers go to for these strays is touching and amazing. Through rain or shine, night or day, they lovingly approach stray dogs and cats and bring them home to be treated. The lucky ones find new homes and new owners.

A stray kitty

Noah's Ark has rescued and neutered over 2000 strays since its inception in September 2009.

Well done, and Ipoh is lucky to have Noah's Ark.

18 October 2013

Ah Oh Thai Food

After that disastrous meal at Koh Sa Mui Thai restaurant on Cowan Street, we were a little leery about trying another Thai restaurant in Ipoh. But this one came well recommended, so we took the bite.

And it wasn't bad. Much, much better than Koh Sa Mui.

This place is just behind Kok Tai Restaurant in Ipoh Garden East, close to Kinta City.

We got there well before 7pm and were the first customers. The lady owner- (I presumed) cum-chef was sitting at one of the tables outside chatting on her mobile until we walked into the restaurant. She followed us in and took our order, then disappeared into the kitchen to wok-up her food (sorry, couldn't resist that!)

Mango salad was tangy and appetizing, maybe a bit too tangy, but I don't mind sour notes (just sour people).

Fried squid was nice and crispy.

Ahhh, and the tom yam kung was flavourful, spicy and sour. Mmmm...

We had salted fish and kai lan for our greens, green chicken curry and sweet and sour pork for the kids. We enjoyed all the dishes except maybe for the S&S Pork - the Thai style differs from our Chinese S&S Pork, as the pork is sliced and just stir fried in the tomato sauce unlike the Chinese style which batters the pork pieces, deep fries them then have the tomato sauce poured over it. Just a difference in style I guess.

The bill came to RM90.50, for 6 dishes feeding 5 and 2 coconuts and a large bottle of mineral water.

We'll go back there again.

13 October 2013

Chee Cheong Fun and Curry Noodles at Keng Nam

It is wet and rainy this morning.

It has been wet and rainy in Ipoh all week, coinciding with the Chinese Nine Emperor Gods Festival which is celebrated for nine days. It usually rains during this festival in Malaysia. I guess there are certain associations we make, like hot and dry for Chinese New Year.

On our way out to breakfast this morning, we came across the grand send-off procession for the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in town. Of course we didn't know about it, and wondered why there would be such a snarl in Ipoh on a Sunday morning and why there were so many people lining up alongside the covered walkways of the shops as it had begun to drizzle.

Using alternative roads, we arrived at a coffee shop called Keng Nam on Cowan Street. It is an old favourite with my grandmother-in-law (who is now in her 90s), though we don't frequent it much. When we got there, the shop was packed out. Looks like it's still popular!

I was thankful we managed to secure a table pretty quick. The kids saw a chee cheong fun stall and went for that, while hubs and I had the soupy curry with a mix of yellow noodles and vermicelli. I noticed people having kaya rice, so we had that as well.

The kids' assessment of the chee cheong fun was that it is almost as good as our favourite chee cheong fun stall at Yei Lock. After his curry mee, hubs had a small serve of the chee cheong fun and said that the kids are right. 

As for the curry noodles, it was not bad. The curry gravy was well done and satisfying.

Here's the kaya served on top of glutinous rice - sticky and sweet. Children love it.

10 October 2013

Lunch just out of Ipoh

Hubby suddenly said he wanted to go to Lawan Kuda to look at something. Why not have lunch there?

Lawan Kuda is a little town about 1/2 hour's drive from Ipoh. It's just after Gopeng, another small town on the fringes of Ipoh.

We had a pleasant drive and met some buffaloes. Although we were quite a distance from them, they started getting to their feet and shuffled slowly away, with the male who was obviously the patriarch, assessing us just as we were delighting in watching them in their mud bath.

We had lunch in a restaurant called Ho Ho Chak on Jalan Besar, Lawan Kuda Baru. In Hokkien, the name simply means very delicious. We ordered their specialty, the snakehead fish or ikan haruan, a fresh water fish. We asked for the fillets to be cooked in ginger and spring onions, while the rest of the fish was made into ham choy (salted mustard vegetable) soup. We had a stirfried leafy vegetable, and finally, sweet and sour pork, which the children absolutely loved. All in, it was a very enjoyable lunch. And the place was also full of locals, a good sign that the food is good.

On the way home, we dropped by Gopeng. Suddenly (again), hubby asked if I needed to buy any soya sauce as he remembered from his childhood how his parents used to drive to a home-based soya sauce maker there. Why not, I said. If he could find it. And he did.

So the kids had the opportunity to see how soy beans were left in large clay pots for them to ferment and transform into soya sauce. The name of the maker is Hup Teck, and they said they only sell from their home. I bought a couple of bottles of soya sauce and meen-see (fermented bean paste), and a bottle of caramelized dark sauce.

A little jaunt outside of Ipoh where the kids saw some nature, and a traditional trade.

03 October 2013

Good Ipoh food - list

Sometimes, one just needs a quick list for stuff you're looking for.
I saw a request on FB by someone who wanted a list of Ipoh food he could quickly refer to. Here's a list of some of my family's favourite dining places. Hope it's useful.

Hawker food

  • Kong Heng and Tin Chun in Old Town
  • Jen Jen on Jalan Tokong (off Jalan Kampar) near the big Kow Wong Ye temple 
  • Lo Wong, Ong Kee and Onn Kee famous Ipoh chicken, horfun and bean sprouts
  • Woolie food court and Tungku Theng (just next door) in Ipoh Garden
  • Yat Yat Seng in Ipoh Garden, same row as Hong Leong Bank
  • Hollywood in Canning Garden
  • Wah Nam in town (at the corner of Jalan Raja Ekran and Jalan Leong Sin Nam)
  • Cafe Central (opposite Wah Nam)
  • Kedai Kopi Taman Ipoh Timur in Ipoh Garden East just after the highway overhead bridge

Dim Sum street on Jalan Leong Sin Nam (3 big ones there: Foh San, Ming Court, Yook Fook Mun)

Indian Food

  • Pakeeza
  • The Old Andersonian Club (take 2  o'clock at the roundabout near Taman DR if you are coming from Ipoh Hospital)  (sorry I wouldn't really recommend Tandoor Grill: too expensive, too much gravy and too little meat)
Rice and noodles
  • Hoong Tho in Old Town ( row of shop houses opposite the famous Sin Yoon Loong white coffee place)
  • Ko Kee (in an alley called Yee Lai Hong,just opposite Kong Heng in  Old Town)
  • Mun Choong restaurant
  • Tuck Kee restaurant
  • Oversea restaurant (at the corner, opposite Excelsior Hotel)
  • 1919 restaurant (opposite Tesco in Ipoh Garden East)
  • Sun Marpoh in Ipoh Garden (same row as Maybank)

Western food

  • Citrus restaurant on Laluan Ipoh Perdana, Taman Ipoh Perdana
  • Secret Garden on Jalan Cheah Cheang Lim (across the road from Heritage Hotel)