31 May 2018

The Passing of a Friend

Youth made everything seem possible.

Youth gave strength, energy, good health, optimism, fearlessness, courage, and an endless timeline to fool around and also to achieve dreams, for those who had tangible dreams.

Science and medicine have given so many people a longer life span.

The risk of dying from disease or childbirth in places with good medical facilities and access to jobs, clean water and food, has fallen greatly from the era of my grandparents in the early 1900s.

My maternal grandma died shortly after giving birth to my aunt and my paternal grandpa died while still in his prime. I never met them.

That was in the past.

It is with great sadness that I write this in remembrance of my friend William Gan, who was called to be with the Lord on the weekend of 27 May 2018. His passing was sudden and  unexpected. He was far too young to go. Friends and family alike are in shock and disbelief.

I met William in Monash University, Melbourne. He was my senior. We both stayed at the Halls of Residences. The Halls is a place students call home during their time at university and is also a place where friendships are forged and lasting memories are made.

William was always kind and cheerful. He was encouraging if you were down, and reassuring when you were in doubt. He was at once a friend and an older brother. Always calm and sensible.

I remember William was one who took health and exercise seriously. He worked out at the gym diligently, and had a good physique to show for his hours of exercise.

Upon our respective graduations, we returned home to our motherland, Malaysia. Life began. Work. Earning your keep. Growing your career. Family life.

I caught up with William several times over the years but have not seen him for the last 10 years. Not since my family relocated to Ipoh. Thanks to FB, our friendship continued online.

Rest in peace, William. You have left so suddenly and too soon.

You are cherished, as so many friends have expressed their heartfelt memories of you.

May your parents and siblings and other family members draw strength from, and be comforted by, God and each other in this difficult time when they will have to say goodbye to you.

Goodbye, my friend.

11 May 2018

Another Malaysian in Australia talking about Malaysia

I am on a roll about Malaysians residing in Australia.

Forgive me but one must write when the muse visits.

I find it amusing and hypocritical of Malaysians residing abroad commenting passionately and criticizing whatever developments that take place back here in beautiful Malaysia, their former homeland.

More disturbing are those Malaysians living abroad who talk a lot about Malaysian politics and happenings but do not vote!

That is a unique breed. don't you think?

Just today, a Malaysian friend residing Down Under (let's call him Dun) criticized the newly elected government of Pakatan Harapan for focusing only on the country's budget and fiscal concerns in its first 100 days fiscal reforms.

The criticism

"It's all about the money money money! I'm not sure that that is really the only area that the 100 days should be focused upon. But then, it's all about the money. I think that that was BN's priority also. This only fuels my skepticism and my fears. I so so so hope that I'm wrong.
No one is saying that they are not important. They are. But if 100 days is all about money ....This is what BN was about. That's not the Malaysia that so many people are looking for.I'm just not celebrating yet about who they are especially when they talk about all that we were against. Society is not all about money. I'm saying that we need to press and maintain the goal of what we want."

Freedom to express

Sure, of course.

Even when you are not IN Malaysia. Even IF you might not have even voted in the Mother and Father of All Malaysian Elections that finally brought the CHANGE that Malaysians wanted.

Sure, go ahead. Express yourself, Dun. Give us your criticism and counsel. Dun.

I am free to express what I think too. I have no political or economic or fiscal counsel to give.

All I can and wish to say is that I am PROUD change has come to Malaysia. It has been a long 6 decades of single-party rule in Malaysia. Leaders had become complacent and comfortable. A very dangerous combination.

Living costs have sky rocketed. The Ringgit is dismal. Petrol pump prices fluctuate every week. The GST was introduced at 6%. More jobs are needed but not generated. Affordable housing is needed, was promised but not delivered by the now defeated BN ruling coalition.Graduates drive GRAB on weekends.

Who knows the true situation of the country's coffers except the newly elected government? It must not be in a very good state given the shocking excesses of the fallen National Front and the still unresolved 1MDB mega scandal and other financial scandals in the last decade.

I am willing to give our newly elected government time to fix stuff. And there's a lot of stuff to fix. 60 years' worth.

I say to Dun.... a country runs on money and not just patriotism and fresh air, essential as they are.

I'm not even sure of your nationality anymore.

Dun, reserve your comments will you? Maybe until day 101 of the new administration, at the soonest.

Australia is lucky to have you.

My Runaway Malaysian Friend

In my vocabulary, a runaway is someone who runs away from a place to seek love, or refuge or simply a change of scenery. Usually, it is associated with teenagers running away from home, or lovers being denied their right to be with the beloved of their choice.

I am thinking of a dear friend as I write this. And this is written for and about her.


Malaysia has just completed her 14th General Elections with stunning results.

The ruling coaltion, The National Front, that has had an iron grip rule over the country for 6 decades was voted out of power by the rakyat.

My friend

She is a dear friend and former colleague. She emigrated to Australia with her 2 sons and husband just over 1 year ago to seek a better life.

She said that life in Malaysia was getting more difficult.

Things were getting expensive. Education was of inferior quality, which is why she chose to pay hefty private school fees for her sons. The ruling coalition was not governing the country right, government leaders were corrupt and ineffective.

All common complaints of the rakyat.

Before she emigrated, and when I first met her, she had never voted in her life. Hearing her complaints during one of our lunch conversations, I asked if she was a registered voter. She shyly said that she was not. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted and urged her to register to vote.

"If you want to complain about your government, then you should vote to change it."

She voted once before she chose to emigrate.

May 5. 2018

My friend and I were chatting online. Elections were days away.

I asked if she had voted via postal ballot as she now lives in Australia. She said, "No, because the government was making it difficult to vote via postal ballot."

She added, "Hope the best for our country"

I lost it! I told her, "Sometimes hoping is not enough." I had a few more choice words for her.

I was completely disappointed in her. For all her educational and professional background, she failed to see the importance of her right to vote. She complains about the Malaysian government and how her homeland is rotting away.

Yet she does not even vote to bring change. Or attempt to bring change. She is not a citizen of Australia yet. She is merely a PR.

Choose to run away

And she plays no role in nation building.

What has she done? She has chosen to run away to another country that is willing to take her and her family in, a country she deems better than Malaysia.

Sure, it's a free world. And it is almost borderless today. She has every right to move away and make another country her homeland.

After the National Front defeat in the elections, she happily messages me on May 10 to declare that "The Opposition has won!"

My dear friend, you are a Runaway Malaysian. Remiss in your duty as a rakyat of our beautiful, sunny and prosperous nation.

I wish you well in your adopted homeland.

And do teach your sons to vote.


Malaysia, A New Beginning

May 9, 2018.

A date that will go down in Malaysia's history as the day her rakyat went to the polls for the 14th General Elections and voted overwhelmingly to remove the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional from helming the nation.

BN has ruled Malaysia since independence - for 6 long decades.

This achievement by the rakyat is spectacular given Malaysia's colorful multi-ethnic and multi-religion population.

There is so much euphoria and so much news coverage and articles being written and disseminated even as I type this.

There is no need for me to write more.

I only want to write this short piece here, on my blog, for me to look back on and for my children to look back on many years from now.

So that we will always remember that power, in a democratic country, lies in the rakyat, not in the politicians and definitely not in an ineffective, arrogant, disconnected and increasingly corrupt government. 

I am Malaysian. And I am proud.

May God bless Tun Mahathir, the oldest Prime Minister in the world, and Malaysia.

27 April 2018

2018 Malaysia's 14th General Elections

Election fever is upon the nation again.

Well....perhaps not upon the nation. But upon the citizens who understand and appreciate the significance, importance and privilege of having the right to vote.

Democracy and the right to a fair government is fundamental to all progressive countries. And all elected governments, in theory, are elected to serve the people. Not the other way round.....the people do not serve its government.

The civil service serves the people.

The armed forces serve the country and its people.

The people's taxes pay for everything in a well-run country.

Yes, the people's taxes pay the salaries of the Prime Minister and ministers who sit comfortably in office making laws and policies that affect the lives of millions of rakyat - YOU.

And how that tax money and GST money is used is to be accounted for, to the people.

It is mind boggling to hear people voice strong opinions about politics, news, government policy and politicians only to answer a simple question of "have you voted?" with a stunning answer of "No, I'm not a registered voter. My vote won't make a difference anyway".

OMG! Seriously?

As a citizen, of any country, exercise your right to vote. If you don't vote, someone will vote for you.

If you do not choose, someone will choose for you.

God bless Malaysia.

03 April 2018

Malay Proverb "Buruk Siku"

Malaysians who studied in national schools would probably have heard of the proverb "buruk siku".

Literally, the proverb may be translated into "bad elbow". It refers to someone who gives something to someone, then asks for the item to be returned.

Extending your elbow, then retracting it. Bad elbow. Get it?

As anyone with grace and manners would know, you do not give something and then ask for it back. Perhaps young lovers who break up might do it. One enraged and temporarily insane ex partner would demand that every gift he or she had ever given to the other partner be returned once the relationship ended.

But a normal, well brought up person with a grain of intelligence and dignity would not do such a thing.

I am sad that a family member  personifies "buruk siku" . Actually, let's be more precise. It's an in-law.

I was flabbergasted, gobsmacked, even furious that she could ask for something back. But I shouldn't be.

She has a penchant for keeping things - until they rot, disintegrate and fall apart from neglect and disuse. But if you ask for the item as it would be put to good use, you either get the item then have to return it because she suddenly develops a passion to use it, or be rejected outright. The latter would be more gracious.

It simply demonstrates a mean spirit: that she would rather the item sit and rot in her house than to benefit others. But yet she preaches about charity and compassion. And she seeks spiritual enlightenment and is a vegetarian. What's that word? Oh, yes. HYPOCRITE.

I do apologise for going AWOL only to post my first entry in years and a rant, at that.

Thank goodness for blogs. I feel better already.

I'll be back with a better post. I promise.

30 June 2016

Homemade Chicken Stock Powder Recipe

Wow! This is amazing.. I never thought I could do it.

But I did, and this recipe works.

Main ingredients
800 g raw boneless chicken
200g salt (you may want to increase this amount for greater taste if you want it to taste like the Maggi chicken stock cubes)
1 bunch fresh coriander
2 tbsp Parsley flakes
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp white pepper corns
2 sticks carrot
2 sticks celery
5 big yellow onions
20 cloves garlic

2 tbsp oil

Place all ingredients in to food processor and blitz till fine or pasty (I used my meat grinder). (or place into TMX 10 sec speed 7)
Heat up wok and stir fry minced ingredients until dry. (I took 1 hour 15 minutes!)
(Much easier in a TMX - MC/25 mins/VC/Spd7)
You can spread the cooked mixture onto a lined oven tray and bake at 160 C until it's completely dried out (but I did not do this. I felt the frying was sufficient)
Place mixture back into blender for a finer texture.

Delicious Penang Acar Recipe (nyonya spicy mixed vegetable pickles)

I only post recipes that work, and taste like the real thing. Because this blog is for my own reference as well as for yours.

And for my kids, too. When they grow up.

My son said, "Mom if I wanna eat the dishes you cook for me as a kid, I'll ask my wife to go to you for lessons."

I said, "Son, just ask your wife to read my blog." Isn't that simpler, and far more pleasant without the potential for any conflict?

600g cucumber, keep the skin on and slice length-wise into inch-long pieces
300 g cabbage, cut into large pieces
100g carrot, skin peeled and cut lengthwise like the cucumber
200 g long beans, cut lengthwise
A handful finely chopped kefir lime leaves (daun limau purut)
Salt and sugar to taste
100g ground, roasted peanuts
5 tbsps roasted sesame seeds (as much or as little as you like)

Spice paste (to blend)
10 shallots
18-20 fresh red chillies (discard seeds) (adjust to your spice level)
1 inch fresh turmeric or turmeric powder
5 candlenuts

To add into the work when frying 
5 tbsp oil
2 stalks lemon grass (you can add this whole, and bruised into the wok. Need not blend)
80ml rice vinegar or tamarind juice (large ball of tamarind pulp, soak in water then squeeze out the juice)

Prepare the vegetables.
Blend the spice paste.
Heat up the wok with oil and fry the spice paste and lemon grass till aromatic.

Add vinegar or tamarind juice. Let boil, then add salt and sugar to taste.
Add all vegetables into the wok and turn off fire immediately. Add ground peanuts and stir everything well.
Top with sesame seeds when serving. 
Dish out, let cool and serve.
Or, keep in refrigerator and serve the next day.
Keeps well in fridge for several days.

17 June 2016

Snatch thefts and muggings... in Malaysia

Every Malaysian has read, heard about or even experienced a snatch theft, or worse, a mugging.

Sure, such crime could happen in any country. But I live here. In Malaysia.

How do you protect yourself from falling victim to such a crime?

My experience # 1

This happened  20 years ago when I was still a Chambering Student fresh out of university and undergoing my pupillage with a law firm in Kuala Lumpur.

It was a Saturday morning and I was going to the office. I had parked my car and was walking along the road towards the office building. Handbag was on my shoulder facing out towards the street.


I was walking in the same direction as the traffic flow.


A motorbiker came noiselessly behind me, and smoothly grabbed my handbag by its sling. I didn't scream. (I'm not the screaming type) . I probably jerked my handbag strap towards me more out of reflex than a conscious effort to save it.

Fortunately for me, my cheap handbag (hey, I was only a poorly paid chambering student then) strap snapped and the snatch thief rode away. All in about 5 seconds.

God's grace.


  • Always walk against traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles.
  • Walk as far into the sidewalk as you possibly can.
  • Sling your handbag on your other shoulder, facing inwards away from and not outwards to traffic
  • Be alert, and listen listen listen.
  • Never pull or fight to save your handbag. You might fall and be dragged on the road by these thugs who care nought about your life.

My experience #2

I had arrived at my parents' house at 830pm after work, to pick up my kids. This was 10 years ago.

My parents, brother, kids and maid were in the house. My brother's car was parked in the driveway and I pulled up behind.

I wasn't sure whether the gate could close with 2 cars parked nose to back in the driveway. So I did something uncharacteristic of me.

I got out of my car with the car engine running and the gate opened.The gate was open!

One big mistake.

As I surveyed the distance between my car and the gate, deciding that yes the gate could close, a motorbike with 2 helmeted men rode by just outside the gate. I felt alarm almost immediately.

Good reaction.

In a second, the motorbike did a U-turn and came back towards my parents' gate. I KNEW I was in trouble. The pillion guy jumped off the bike and moved towards me. The gate was still open.


In that few seconds as the guy was coming close to the gate, and as I stood and watched him, I frantically thought:
  • Do I shut the gate with the remote in my hand? Of course!
  • Will it close in time? I don't know, but do it!
  • If it doesn't close in time, do I run towards the house? I didn't have the house keys in my hand, they were in the car. So, no! Don't run to the house.

I was more worried for my family than myself. I didn't want the muggers to hold me hostage with a knife to my throat and use me to force their entry into my parents' house. To rob my parents and brother. To possibly hurt my kids. That possibility spurred me into speedy action to get back into my car! It's nearer. Go, now!

So I did. I pressed the gate control, turned in my high heels and ran back to my car, jumped in, slammed the door shut and locked it. I could see in the rear view mirror that the gate had not shut in time and the biker criminal had come through. I saw his helmeted head bobbing on the left side of my car (we are right hand drivers in Malaysia).

I wanted to reverse my car into him, but he was at the side, not the back, of my car. Damn!

I heard him trying to open the passenger door on the left. I pressed down hard on my car horn and it blared. I saw my dad and brother come to the front door of the house. I hoped they would NOT come out. I didn't want them in danger.

Thankfully, with me holed up in the car and my family safe in the house, and my car horn blaring, the 2 biker-would-be-robbers decided to leave. Bastards.


  • Never get out of your car before you shut the gate.
  • Make sure you are not followed before you get out of your car
  • Stay calm and think
  • Play out different scenarios in your head to prepare for an emergency. I consider this experience an emergency
  • Consider running over would-be attackers with your car if you have the chance to

I attribute the safe outcome of experience #2 to calmness and a certain measure of mental preparedness. And God's grace. Always God's grace.

Be safe, everyone.

03 May 2016

Easy butter cake recipe

I never thought I would say this... but after 2 stressful weeks, I actually felt like baking something for the kids' school break time tomorrow.
Pretty butter cake

Me, bake??? I am not a good cook, nor am I a good baker.

But I have been getting better over the years (ahem).

So, I searched the net for a recipe and found one that appeared simple enough for a noob like me. I am sorry I can't find the original recipe site to give it its due credit.

250g butter
230g castor sugar (I reduced it to 219g but it was still rather sweet - depends on your sweet tooth)
4 large eggs (or 5 small ones)
250 g self raising flour
2 tsp vanilla essence
6 tbsp UHT milk
(I added half a tsp of baking powder and baking soda, also half a tsp of salt)

Preheat the oven to 180 Celcius.
Line an 8 inch cake tin with baking paper
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy
Add the eggs 1 at a time, alternating with the flour and beat
Add in the vanilla essence. Beat just a little more
Gradually add in the milk and fold the mixture with a spatula
The batter should have a soft, dropping consistency
Pour batter into baking tin
Bake for 50 minutes until done.

I was pleased with the result. I have not baked a butter cake from scratch in quite a long time.

This recipe is a keeper.