Friday, November 10, 2006

C'est la vie!

Yes! I know! I've been terribly lazy in updating my blog!
I'm sure you're wondering where's the write up on Thailand. It'll come. At some point.

I've been working at Le bistrot for the past 3 weeks or so, and I've been keeping myself busy with thought; thinking and planning about the present and future. I sometimes wonder if I put to much thought into it, and if things dont't work out, man... it's gonna be a bummer. Nevertheless, life goes on, whatever happens eh? I mean, to know that God loves me (and you!) is enough for me to keep on going.

Mean while, here's some old pictures I took with my Nikon D70s that my dad has generously bleesed me with for my birthday.
I finally found a lazy sunday afternoon to pop open the Classic Rutherglen Tokay with someone!
I really enjoyed that day. Away from the crowded streets of town. To just sit down, and enjoy a bottle of sweet dessert wine with a friend, and to discuss and ponder about life and what not. It's a day to be remembered. And I look forward to more days like that.I love how Clayton's expression described the entire affair. A lazy sunday afternoon.
Here's a picture of my mom's Thai Laksa. It's not like any other laksa I've had in Singapore. Three reasons: One, it has no coconut milk in it, which allows the flavours of the chilli paste to come through strongly. Two, I have it with salted vegetables, chives, parsley and lime, a delicious combination which my mom serves it with. Three, it's made by my mom.
This is also my first attempt at framing a picture.

A day out with a friend...
... is complete with a pint of Hoegaarden. In the afternoon, mind you.
Well, that's it for now.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


The land of the free. It makes me warm and fuzzy inside, knowing that I'll be in arriving in Bangkok in 10 hours time. It's been such a long time since I've been there. You see, my mom's Thai, and we used to take short trips to Thailand when I was alot younger. I have fond memories of that place. The best memory I had of Thailand was when I visited my grandmother's place. It was the first time I ever saw her. She was seated down naked, and someone was helping her shower. My mom pointed towards the old naked women and said :" That's your grandmother". And I thought: " That's my grandma?" Not the best way to see my grandma for the first time, but that was life in a Kampung. The wooden kampung was built alongside a river, and instead of cars parked in a garage, there were boats docked under a wooden shack. I remember being taken for a ride on the boat, and I saw how the locals lived. I remember peeing into the river. The very same river where we caught some fish for dinner. We spent a night there and I remember staring out of my green mosquito net bubble, looking up into the sky, and listening to the crickets sing.
All that is gone now because they've sold the place, and all of my family has moved to various places. What a shame.
Anyways, I'll be spending the next 11 days there. I believe I'll have alot of fun, just seeing my family there and getting to know them. I can't speak a word of Thai right now, but just maybe, I might come back with a handful of phrases.

I've been thinking alot lately about the present time, the future and everything in between. I'm happy about alot of things, and at the same time, I'm bummed that I'm not seeing some things go my way, but that's life eh? And to think that I can actually bake a cake and have all of it. But it just dosen't work that way.
I can't wait to get out of Singapore and spend some time away from everything. It's gonna be a much needed break. Laters!

Indonesia: Epilogue

So I've finally traveled out of Singapore and into another country. I've always been talking about travelling, but I've never had the money, time, opportunity, travelling mates, or a combination of factors. Ugh, how I wish I had all of those.

I found a piece of writing that I wrote sometime in my polytechnic days, about 2 years ago:

As a traveller, I would love to immense myself into the culture. Lose myself in the streets, you know? I don't want to be following a flag that says "Joyful Tours", eat tourist food and stuff. I want to feel what the locals feel, eat what they eat, experience their culture. Travel. God, I love this earth of yours. The continents, the foreign languages are yours, Creator of all things. How nice it would be to watch the sun set in another country while the sun rises in yours.

So it isn't exactly a piece of writing, but more of random brain vomit during some engineering class, I'm sure. But yea, that pretty much sums up how I've felt and feel about travelling. Travelling with a group, that includes your pastor has taught me alot. Namely, travelling in team. You can't just walk off whenever you want. And this paticular trip wasn't a holiday or sight seeing one. It has taught me alot about accountability.
I did have a window of opportunity, and I took it to visit a local traditional market in Semarang. I climbed into a angkot (it's public transport in a form of a van) and asked the driver if he was headed to Pasar Johar. Without even looking at me, he nodded and started chugging down the busy street. He finally stopped and told me we've arrived. After a show of fingers by the driver, I paid six thousand rupiah for the trip. That's about $1.20 singapore dollars. I spent the next two hours navigating the narrow paths of the market. It's nothing like your supermarkets that many of us are familiar with. Here you have seafood, lying in a pool of stale water, cows head and organs laying all over the table. Flies resting on anything fleshy. It was more of a cesspit. But this is it. This is how the locals lived.
I had a blast hanging out with some of the people and I've made many friends. I can't wait till Novemeber, where I'll see some of them in Johor Bahru at a Leadership Training Time and more of them back in Indonesia in December, where I hope to go again for another LTT. That is of course, if I haven't been called up for National Service.

Indonesia in Pictures!

First night in Semarang. A food stand selling Bakso, a noodle dish with beef balls.
Semarang, City Center
Riding Pillion in Semarang is a very scary but thrilling affair! Note the nervous smile as I take a picture of myself.
Zipping past a road side food stall.
Modus Operandi for road side food stalls.
A simple meal of Pecil, with cows lungs, heart and stomach.
The heart and lungs were nice. As for the stomach, I almost hurled when I tried eating it. It's like gnawing on leather.
That's Pecil, a sweet peanut sauce.
Pasar Johar
I would imagine this to be a typical day in Pasar Johar.Es teh, essential thirst quencher.

Sate Kambing! The guy was too shy to smile for the camera when I asked him to.
Sate Kambing, is delicious.Heading back to the hotel in a Pedi Cab.
That was my ride.
I forgot was this drink was called. But it'd nasty. It's a femented rice drink.
Fried spniach leaf. Makes for great snacking.Mee Soto, Indonesian style.
We stopped for awhile when the car overheated. Cloves drying by the road side.
Entering Aman Jiwo
They take their salt and pepper seriously. Points.

Their take on local food.
No hotel menu is complete without a "western" selection.
The dessert that I ordered: Coconut vanilla sorbet with papaya and tamarind jelly. Mignardises!Umbrellas come in handy under the relentless Indonesian Sun.Taking a tour of Aman Jiwo.
This place, is totally built for couples. There's two of everything. Save for one king sized bed and one bath tub. Go figure.I love how the light comes into the room.
Deep Fried Gourami that was swimming just an hour ago!
A Carp ended up on the lunch menu too.Eating Deep Fried Fish, Rice, Vegetables, Sambal with hands. Not a first for me, being half Thai.
The Simple Life in the "Suburbs" of Semarang.Heru, the drummer I played with. I love how his shirt matches the drums.A regular night for prayer meeting.
This is how your face would look like when presented with a menu in a foreign language.
Alpokat. Avocado Juice. With chocolate. Absolutely divine. This is one ingredient I've taken a liking to.Chilli sambal in a mortar.This is the young lad who cooked our lunch.
Bunking in at Elika Retreat center in Bangdunan.Dave Haggar: "Hallelujah!"The Indonesians playing a game called "truth". They tried teaching me the game, and I even played several rounds. But, I'm still totally clueless about the game.Road trip! The scenary, on our way to The Land of Nine Temples.The guys that I went with.Alam and BenThe 4th temple.Some wooded area. It made me feel like Alice in wonderland. Although I should be feeling more like Little Red Riding Hood.We were in a sulphur pit, and this pool of water was about 70 degrees celcius!Heading back to the center.A game of soccer before dinner.I decided to walk around town, and saw this little darling.Bakso!
Dinner time.The food was more enjoyable, eating it sans table. At least I thought so.
We headed out in search for supper after the meeting. This is Dedi on the phone with his Sayang (darling). He was making kissy noises as he navigated the winding roads with one hand on the handle. We weren't wearing any helmets and I was for a moment, afraid.
The magic that is of Kue Bandung.
Step 1: Make a crepe like base, add sugar and chocolate. Cover with a lid to let it melt.
Step 2: Remove from heating element and pour condensed milk. He wasn't shy with the amount.
Step 3: Grate a generous amount of parmesan cheese over it.
Step 4: Fold in half, and slather it with butter.Step 5: Portion it and enjoy.
I would imagine the local nick name for it would be "Heart Attack Pancake".
But I tell you, it is sooooooo good!
My last meal in Bangunan in a roadside store just before midnight.