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Got Pok?


And this was lunch today. It was quite the resounding success, which rather surprised me, considering the fact that Miss Dot (as well as the rest of my family) do not really favour very hearty, meaty meals like this one. Had to reduce the amount of blue cheese used as well, to just a modest little smear on each patty, as my family members are quite averse to that.

Next cooking project will be done during my two-week stay in Perth. I'm very excited at the idea of all the very fresh beef, cheap mushrooms and wide selection of cheeses I'll be able to get my hands on there!

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Just Because I Haven't Done This For Awhile

Guess what's for lunch tomorrow?



Burgers for each member of my family and then a couple to spare the burger-loving male friend.

While busying myself with mixing up the burger meat, a friend messaged me to ask me out. Told him I couldn't make it as I was busy preparing tomorrow's meals, and then decided to taunt the fellow food lover.

Me: I'd offer you a home-made burger, but it's not halal.
Him: It's OK...
Me: (ignoring him) Well actually it's 2/3 not halal. I used a pork to beef ratio of 2:1.
Him: ...
Me: (still rambling on) But then after adding the eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs and seasoning, it's maybe only 1/2 not halal. How about that?
Him: ...

Top it off with blue cheese, wine-cooked onions, and some buttered buns and you've got you a literally heart-stopping meal. =)

Flight

So why do you fill my sorrow 
With the words you've borrowed 
From the only place you've known 
And why do you sing Hallelujah 
If it means nothing to you 
Why do you sing with me at all?


- Delicate by Damien Rice

I don't want the things you think I want from you. I don't want anything from you, just the sort of freedom you never could afford me, and maybe the sort of peace you can no longer give me.

I'm sorry for turning away from you, when you opened your heart, and bled on me.

I need so very much to be a separate entity from this unpolished diamond husk you made me. That chrysalis doesn't fit my wings any more.

And you, you lost your power of flight, a long time ago, when you fell to earth in a flurry of feathers and saw me, and sought to possess me.

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Heart-Strings

I rarely speak directly of the mess that is my troubled relationship with my mother, or my family's volatile interaction with her, but things got really fucked up today and I'm tired and hurt, and just want to put an end to all this meaningless drama.

An excerpt from the email I plan to send to her:

"Do you remember how you used to be? I loved you, adored you, thought you were the most amazing person in the world, with the most awesome things in your head. you were this laughing, energetic person who baked this humpty dumpty cake with real eggshells, made soy milk with me, dug up earthworms and let me play with them, gave me a handful of mung beans to germinate, came up with the coolest art projects to occupy us during school holidays, and always had really fun activities that were both educational and exciting. You had your foul moods and your dark days then, but the sunny side of you showed more often, and you had a big, big heart. These days, you're just defensive and angry and sullen... I only got a brief glance of the old you when you saved that bird, few days ago. I miss that person you used to be."

I wasted a shit-load of tears, as I drafted that paragraph. I thought I was past feeling anything anymore, but I keep coming back to this realisation that I still love her, and miss the happier version of her very much. Miss Dot read that one with me, and the both of us, being the sentimental fools we are, shared stories of the innovative things she got us to do, and cried together about the mother we used to have, the one who smiled a lot more, and was less quick to cause hurt.

Don't know if it means anything to her anymore, but I hope she will read, and remember, and put down all the bitterness and resentment, if just for a moment, to listen to the things we've been trying to say to her, for so long.

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Snake Oil

"If I told you there is a means whereby you may gain the attentions of the object of your desire, via a little superstitious magic, would you try it out?" 

It was another of those humid tropical afternoons, and the both of them were trying to fight the lethargy brought on by the oppressive warmth, by bringing up random topics of conversation, which were as disjointed as they were interesting insights into the other's mind.

"Hmm. Superstitious magic?" he asked while looking over at her quizzically.

"Yeah. You know of our local black magic practitioners, right? Now, most of them are just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, but let's just say I have a friend of a friend who actually found one that was the real deal."

"Real deal? You mean like a love potion, or more of the voodoo stuff you see on TV?"

Seeing that his interest is now piqued, she takes her time to take a deep drag on her cigarette before answering.

"Friend's friend acquired a bottle of ointment from a bomoh who has since gone into retirement, or gone missing, or whatever, who knows. The bottle of ointment's still around though. Just a tiny drop's enough to do the job, and she's not used it since the first time she tried it out."

"And it works?" he asks, a note of scepticism entering his voice.

"Oh yeah, it does. The man she'd desired for, pined over, obsessed about - he became hers."

And because he is a little more perceptive than your average man, and familiar enough with her to recognise the subtle shifts in her demeanour, he turns to look at her, really look at her.

Now he sees what he missed earlier on: Her shoulders are almost imperceptibly slumped, and despite her carefully maintained non-chalant demeanour, he senses a subdued air about her.

No longer as curious as he is concerned, he gently asks her, "So... What happened after that? Did they get married? Do the whole happily ever after thing?"

He senses that last attempt at a crack was horribly inappropriate, because she turns away from him and answers so softly he has to strain to catch what she has to say.

"No, they didn't. She realised that he wasn't really what she wanted, and that she only desired him because he was unattainable. He was a fantasy. And when that fantasy became a reality, she realised that it was a mistake."

That sounds reasonable enough to him, but she doesn't look at him, and the resignation in her posture, the joylessness in her voice that tells him that she has not reached anywhere near the end of her story. He waits, knowing she will continue where she left off, eventually.

He watches her back, as she lights another cigarette, watches as she silently takes a pull on it. It has begun to rain again, but there is no respite from the clammy heat, which caresses them like a million moist palms, the moisture mixing in with the sweat oozing from their pores, making their shirts stick uncomfortably to their skin.

He almost starts when she suddenly speaks again, so seemingly unceasing is the silence between them.

"He never loved her. It was the ointment, the magic, the enchantment that compelled him to go to her. And after awhile, it became apparent that his devotion to her was an empty obsession that he himself couldn't understand."

She's shuddering imperceptibly now, as she drags the words painfully out of herself, like pulling violently clawing spiders out of their lair.

"She tried to make it right. Broke up with him. Tried to set him free. Told him, she didn't love him anymore, and that he was to leave her alone and never come back."

The light shower has built up to a torrential downpour now. The both of them watch as a nearby drain swells with water threatening to overflow, and he watches her quietly now, as she fights some internal battle within herself to reach to the conclusion of her story.

"He wouldn't leave. He probably couldn't."

She stops speaking.

Long moments later, he senses that is all she can and will tell him, that the overwhelming need to unload the story to him had been forcefully squashed by an opposing will inside of her.

Disappointed, and slightly disturbed now by the turn the afternoon has taken, he shifts uncomfortably in his seat, and waits for her to pick up the stalling conversation.

She turns to him, with a wry smile on her face, and asks him, "So what do you think? Would you give in to your desires anyway, and use the ointment if you had it?"

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Chinese New Year Buffet @ BCCK

Celebrating Chinese New Year? And you're sick of the same old locations for Chinese New Year feasting and want something new, something fresh, something a little more than what you've been having for the past few years?

Here's a suggestion: Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, which has been very much promoting their Raintree Cafe, coming up with lovely themed offerings in keeping with the season. I managed to attend the food tasting for their Chinese New Year buffet recently, after missing their Chinese New Year set meal (check out Eve's and Chris' posts on that), and as much as not being that much a fan of the cuisine commonly served at Chinese New Year (I blame jaded palate syndrome), this one actually gave me sufficient reason to get excited at some of the offerings.


First off, we started off with a messy beginning, together tossing one of the most uh... vigorous dishes I know - the multi-coloured Yee Sang offering. Supposedly the higher you toss the ingredients, the better your fortune in the coming year.

We watch with an almost predatory air, as the nice lady adds the salmon to the yee sang for us...
Preparing to toss it as dramatically as possible...
Here's how our table looked after we were done:


Yep, we're definitely going to be on the receiving end of some REALLY good fortune this year. =)

I have to confess here that I *gasp!* am not a big fan of Yee Sang. I generally found the flavours rather uninteresting and the general texture of the dish somewhat like a rather dry salad. I actually heaped on an extra serving of this version though - I rather enjoyed how wonderfully zesty and tangy it was, because the chef had made sure to add a little more dried oranges and pickled ginger in it, to make it taste really refreshing on the palate. The salmon was really fresh... and yes, this one wasn't anywhere near being too dry. I wouldn't mind a few extra portions of this!

Next up was the Chinese Popiah Roll, which is a little bit like a burrito thingy but with mostly shredded yam bean (jicama) and other vegetables, and definitely more sweet than savoury. I have this one occasionally as a bit of a lazy-day breakfast-on-the-go, so being served this at a dinner was a bit strange, for me. And then I dipped it in the sauce that was served together with it, and put it in my mouth...


OK, I'll grant this one as much - it is NOT your standard popiah. This one is extremely flavoursome, with plenty of ground dried shrimp in it. And the sauce was pretty amazing on its own, with belacan added to it for an extra dimension to it. I liked it, but I probably wouldn't binge on this one, as the intensity of flavours might be too overwhelming for me.

Next up, we were served a Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup:




I remain rather undecided on this one. On one hand, this dish really did make quite an impact on the taste-buds. Then again, I found it a tad too spicy, and maybe slightly too salty. I'm not a fan of bland food, but a overwhelming gustatory experience isn't really all that pleasant either. Or maybe after the intense tastes of the previous dish, this was a bit too much. That said, this soup would taste really good if it was tuned down by a notch. Spoke to the chef and was informed that they use Szechuan sauce in this for authenticity.

And then we move on to a sampling of four of of the main courses available over the course of this buffet.


The Baked Snapper in Lemon Sauce was nice enough, with a tangy, buttery sauce to counteract the fishy flavour, but paled in comparison to my two favourites of the night: the Braised Three Mushroom with Garden Green Vegetables and the Chicken with Golden Mushrooms (金针 or golden needles actually, a form of dried edible lily).


These two dishes were cooked to perfection, with the mushrooms and chicken being thoroughly infused with the salty and umami flavours of the gravy.

However, I particularly favour the three mushroom dish (no pictures of that one because I stupidly deleted all copies of the pictures I took of it), possibly because I enjoy varying textures in my mouth, and the chewiness of the shiitake mushroom and the meaty texture of the abalone mushroom really appealed to me. Personal preference, I reckon.

The Home-Made Beancurd (actually fish cake) was made with squid paste, which was alright but got eclipsed by the other dishes.


However I'd give props to the chef just for trying out something different with this one...

 Finally we were given a sampling of the dessert platter, which consisted of fresh fruits, French pastries (your standard Black Forest cake and cheese cake - the former which I really enjoyed), and the true star of the show: Deep-Fried Nian Gao.



OK, My mother makes this every year, around Chinese New Year... she fries up the traditional sticky nian gao or New Year cake in batter, and serves it as a snack. But the chef took this to a whole new level by sandwiching the nian gao between a slice of yam and a slice of sweet potato before frying it up, and then topping off the entire thing with a light vanilla sauce. We were all extremely impressed by this particular creation! =)

These are just a fraction of the items available for the Chinese New Year buffet, which runs from Chinese New Year eve to the 6th of February for a value-for-money price of RM68. Bloody worth it! Do call 082-392988 to make reservations... and do make haste, as I hear that it's getting pretty fully-booked for the up-coming festive season.

 Happy Chinese New Year all! Just eat all you want to first, and think about your exercise regime after it's over. It's the season to indulge in gluttony!

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Dis/Order

I've been sleeping roughly three hours a day, for every day of the past week or so. It's been frustrating, for my eyes to snap wide open every morning while everyone else are still comfortably slumbering in their own beds, and lie there staring at my ceiling or my bedroom wall, wondering what the fuck is wrong with me as I struggle in vain to go back to sleep.


I'm updating this at 730am right now, which is a rather rare occurrence, if not for the need to DO something, as I try my very best not to scream and yell at yet another of brief  and rather insufficient respite from consciousness.

So life hasn't been a bloody bed of roses lately, and that's quite the understatement in itself. I won't go into details, but I'll tell you that for most of last week I've been walking around in this apathetic numbness, but even that has come to past. Last night, I found myself overwhelmed by the flood of emotions at the reality of all the shit finally sinking in, and did something I've not done in years - break down into a very public display of water-works. There's this pervasive loneliness that's been a constant companion, but never quite as keenly as right now.

Human relationships are strange. The very same people you love the most, are the same ones who are capable of twisting that metaphorical knife in your heart, even when they do not mean to do that. I'm watching two of the people who I care the most about grapple with their flawed understanding of each other, struggling hard to find a common ground for compromise, and I find myself shaken in that utter helplessness of not being able to do anything to fix things.

I wish... hell, I don't know what I really wish for anymore.

I just want to reach out sometimes, and shake them both out of their respective self-absorbed revelry, silence their illogical justifications, and point out the most obvious matter of all...

Why can't you both just talk, really talk, and listen to what the other has to say?

But people are never the most reasonable of creatures, and as much as I myself am testament enough to that fact... I can only hope. 

Hell-Raiser

It's not as much what you did that pissed me off as the disappointment of watching you, for the very first time, betray the trust and the respect the both of us worked so hard to maintain between the both of us.

I know as per the policy of honesty we both have agreed on, I really should tell you straight to the face when you have overstepped your boundaries. But I just don't feel like it. This crushing sense of disappointment just doesn't quite inspire any discussion that would most likely end with me feeling like I've wasted pointless effort on verbalising all this bullshit anyway.

So here goes. I say, fuck it. Until you have learnt to respect me and regain my trust, I am steering clear of you. I would like to keep this year as drama- and aggravation-free as possible, while trying very hard not to be unnecessarily caustic to anyone, so what I will do now is give you a wide berth, until this resolves itself.

I know I have major trust issues. You know that well enough yourself; you pride yourself on being someone I feel secure around to not ever feel threatened. It's just a damn shame you've got to go and shatter that, just because you weren't a big enough person, just one ruled by such foolish, foolish desires.

For all it's worth, I'm really, really sorry for you. But I am not your friend, and refuse to be your confidant any longer.

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[2012]

So. It's 2012 already. Supposedly the year where end of days happens. Sure feels like that, here in Kuching, what with the really dreary weather and the flooding.

That aside though, I've been feeling pretty blessed, but I'll not bore you with here disgustingly sappy gushing over the amazing people I've met in 2011, and the old friends I've had the chance to reconnect with.

I know I've said before, I don't really do new year resolutions. And I won't, meaning I won't list down a heap of shit I kind of want to do that I'll promptly forget by next month. The only thing I really want to achieve this year, apocalypse or whatever, is this:

I just want to be a better person this year. 

And that means to empathise more, love more, care more, do more little kindnesses, and try harder not to do shit to others. No back-stabbing, no gossip, less negative thoughts about others... All those sneaky shit we sometimes seem to unthinkingly do sometimes. There has to be more of a conscious effort to be a nicer individual overall, even if nobody but me will notice it.

I reckon it'd be hard enough to stay on track and stick with this "be a better person" thingy, so all those healthy lifestyle, weight-loss resolutions of the past?

All very commendable, but let's be a bit more realistic this year, won't we? =)

Oh yeah, to make this post a less boring one, let me entertain you with this picture of my eye with a very colourful example of five-day-old bruising:


I got this injury on the last day of the year - specifically around 2am on the 31st of December, 2011. Felt like taking a shower, and being the klutz I am, managed to yank the shower-head so hard out of its holder, I pretty much sucker-punched myself in the brow-bone with it.

Attended the New Year's Eve party, hours later, with a fresh injury on my face and a swollen eye-lid - it just figures that I'd end (and begin) the year with a dramatic wound on such an obvious place.

My life is such a comic tragedy even when I try my best to remain drama-free LOL. I guess at least I'm never short of self-deprecating humour when I need a good laugh! =)