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Friday, April 27, 2018

Huh? What Happened?

I thought everything that went on broadcast had to be accurate. Apparently not. I was watching TVN this evening, and this Earth Day campaign ad came on ... and I found my eyes grow large as I noted the language errors that flashed before me!

Oh dear! Wrong spelling of "awareness" ... 

Here are "a" few tips to save planet earth ...
Use "recycled" items, isn't it? 

Darn! Switch of lights?  

OMG! Lets make different today! 

I know it's occupational disease when it irritated me to see the errors. I almost grabbed a red marker and underlined the errors like I would have done with my students' work! Heh ... I'd just sent a feedback via email to Unifi TV. I hope they take note and correct the errors ......

Monday, April 23, 2018

Angst at Live

Well, I've been watching Live week after week on Saturday and Sunday nights. I stream the show online, and sit through it even though I do not understand what the characters are talking about. Then, I found out that there was a website called Drama Milk, where there were live recaps. So while watching Live live, heh .... I'd read the recaps on Drama Milk and get a gist of what's going on. Then, I will wait till the following Friday night for the subtitles to be ready, and thereafter, I rewatch the episodes.

I started watching because of the lovely actress Jung Yu Mi, but no matter how I liked an actor or actress, I would not be watching if the story itself did not interest me. Like KRW's Black Knight. Loved KRW. But I just couldn't stomach Black Knight.

Live was as it promised - real. Indeed, the writer Noh Hee Kyung was known to be very realistic, and this drama definitely simulated real life. It can be difficult to watch, as every character seemed to be struggling with one thing or another - unemployment, divorce, impending retirement. I was thinking to myself whether life was really so tough in South Korea? Or was the drama just depicting the worst of scenarios?

In the first few episodes, I was actually drawn to issues of morality - do you report your colleagues if they neglect their duties? do you let a person off because he is a congressman? or do you go by the procedure and arrest him? Often in life, we find ourselves in situations like this. Say, my best student brought a mobile phone to school. Do I confiscate it right away? Or do I let him off with a warning?

No doubt it was the lead actress who got me into the show. But after a few episodes, I found myself drawn to actor, Shin Dong Wook. He's easily the best-looking cop at the patrol station. Not only that, he is depicted as a very wise, trustworthy, reliable, efficient, and a very likeable colleague. Just the perfect sort of guy. Judging from comments I read online, I think many were won over by his character as well.

I myself wanted to watch more of him, and to get to know him more, especially of his life outside of the patrol station, for example. Alas, Shin Dong Wook was a supporting actor. His role was limited to that of a very calm, level-headed cop. With only 16 episodes to tell the story of the 4 main leads, there is hardly any time to develop his character.

Because of Shin Dong Wook, I'm suffering from the Second Lead Syndrome - heh ... I much preferred to watch him than the two male leads. Heh. Don't get me wrong, I'm full of admiration for Lee Kwang Soo's acting. I don't mind his character either. And Bae Seung Woo himself is a very distinguished actor. I really loved his emotional scenes too.

But Shin Dong Wook, with his perfect visuals and perfect characteristics left me wanting more. Which leads me to believe that he is recruited for this drama, precisely to break our ideals of the world. The writer, in wanting to portray reality, tells us that the world is less than perfect. How often do we wish to do the right job, to marry the perfect man, to have a wonderful family. Ideally, we want our heroine and our dashing second lead actor to hook up. They did not because in reality, that rarely occurred as well.

I did not watch Live to expect it to be a romantic series, but having that suggested to me was delightful. From episode 3 onwards, there were a few scenes which hinted attraction between the lead actress and the second lead ... and I think those scenes were effective reliefs against the heavy plots of murders and vices.  A very beautiful scene by the lake was shot for episodes 8 and 9, and I thought the sweet atmosphere was such a welcome. Such scenes were short-lived though, and what followed was a longer and darker plot that dealt with sexual violence. Very difficult to watch.

Personally, I thought the loveline should not be there, if the writer did not intend for the couple to end up happily ever after. For one, the loveline was not developed at all - they met, he liked and supported her, she reciprocated ... but as viewers, we did not get the satisfaction of watching these two grow as a couple. I also thought the loveline was badly executed - because in one scene, he stared at her fondly ... and in the next scene, he suddenly had a love token from his past relationship in his pocket. Huh? Where is that logic?

While I know that the writer meant to portray the message that love did not necessarily result in happy endings, my rationale told me that the second lead was a second lead and he would never get the girl. That made me even more angsty because I felt so cheated. The writer had used the second lead as a bait - to lure and engage audience's interest in the show. She did it successfully, as evidenced by that scene by the lake in Episode 8 which attracted about 280K views and 3.8K likes on Naver. The break up scene in the latest episode yielded 57K views and 350 likes so far.

That's my greatest regret about this show. Other than that, I loved all the cops at the patrol station. I loved their friendships. I loved their warmth. I loved how they have each other's backs. 4 more episodes to go. Fighting!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wrong Booking

My friends and I are going on a trip this June. Our travel arrangements have been made, and all it's left is for me to help them purchase their return ticket from KL to Kuching. Yesterday morning, YC and I did that. We booked a flight on Malindo Air. Whilst checking the names and birth dates so meticulously, we somehow failed to check the time of the flight. As a result, we booked the wrong flight for four pax! What's more, we did not even realise that we had booked the wrong flight!

So we posted the details of our booking in our group chat, informing our friends that we'd settled the bookings and all. Then one observant SL noticed that we'd bought the morning flight instead of the evening flight like we said we wanted to. She alerted us.

I could not believe it! YC and I both were so adamant not to make mistakes! That's why we did the booking together yesterday morning. Two pairs of eyes to check the details before we purchased our tickets. Yet a mistake was made. A serious one too! 4 tickets for four pax! All wrongly booked!

I literally jumped out of my bed where I was resting, and immediately went to the Malindo Air website. I checked the terms of my booking and was satisfied to know that I would be able to change my flight with a penalty of RM50 per ticket and to top up the fare difference.

I tried to call the Malindo Air hotline to enquire, and possibly to make that change on the phone. But the wait was long and I could not speak to an agent. So I immediately headed to the airport where the sales office was.

I explained the problem to the ticketing officer ... and he amended the booking for me upon payment of the penalty of RM200. I think it took only 5 minutes to do make that change, and phew ... the booking was correct again.

I'm thankful that:
a) It had been Malindo Air. If it were Airasia, our wrongly-booked flight would have been done for. It was more expensive to amend a wrongly-booked flight on Airasia. Normally, people would just purchase another ticket instead of paying more to amend the wrongly-booked flight.

b) We'd booked the Economy Flexi fare - because the penalty was only RM50, compared to RM100 if we had booked the Economy Promo fare.

c) The fare for the evening flight was exactly the same as the one in the morning, so we did not have to top up the fare difference.

I managed to help my friends amend the wrongly-booked flight within 40 minutes of the alert. So while YC was jumping up and about, I'm glad I was calm enough to take the appropriate measures to amend the wrong booking.

Most of all, I'm grateful for my friends for understanding. Not a single one of them complaint about having to pay the penalty of RM50, understanding that all mistakes were inevitable even when people were careful.

Gosh. What a huge lesson learnt. Having bought the tickets for four of my friends, I'd yet to purchase my own ticket. I'd really have to open my eyes wide when I do the booking for myself later on.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Kuching-style Char Kueh Tiaw

Kueh Tiaw. Kway Teow. I'm not sure how to spell it in English, actually. But Fried Kueh Tiaw or Char Kueh Tiaw has many variations, and is well-loved by many. In Kuching, I do think it's not easy to find a good plate of Char Kueh Tiaw. So what constitues a good plate of Char Kueh Tiaw? To me, the noodles must be well-fried yet moist, with a smoky aroma imbued, and taste rich of garlic and lard. To achieve all these is no easy feat, and a single missing component would result in a less-than-perfect platter.

The ingredients accompanying the noodles vary, from place to place, from vendor to vendor. If a stall markets theirs as Penang Char Kueh Tiaw, I would expect cockles, prawns, Chinese sausage, egg, chives and beansprouts to say the least. Anything less and I'd call them fakes.

Kuching-style Char Kueh Tiaw is slightly different from the Penang-style Char Kueh Tiaw. The noodles come out drier, smokier - sometimes even a tad bitter, aromatic of course, and the ingredients need to include pork slices for flavour and texture, char siew to add a little sweetness to the dish, egg for the aroma, beansprouts and mustard greens for crunch. Some vendors would add fishcake slices to it. And one must eat it with pickled red chillies for the tang, and to neutralise the flavour of the lard and grease. Anything less and they're not authentic.

So these three plates here, eaten at different locations in Kuching, certainly did not meet my criteria and certainly isn't authentic Kuching-style Char Kueh Tiaw. And for sure, they could not satisfy my palate totally.

Not dry - this one is moist
Smoky, not bitter
Aroma of garlic
No pork slices
No char siew
Has egg
Beansprouts
Mustard greens
Cut chillies in soy sauce instead of pickled red chillies 

 Not dry, moist
Smoky, not bitter
No pork slices
No char siew
Has egg
Beansprouts
Crinkled mustard instead of mustard greens
Cut chillies in soy sauce instead of pickled red chillies 

Not too moist
 Bitter
Not aromatic at all
Has pork slices
No char siew
Has egg
Beansprouts
Crinkled mustard stems? Instead of mustard greens
Chilli sauce (OMG!! Atrocious!!) instead of pickled red chillies 

HOWEVER, a better plate would be this :

Moist
Aromatic
Has pork slices and chinese sausages
No char siew
Has egg
Beansprouts
Mustard greens
Cut chilli in soy sauce instead of pickle chilli 

This was from Lee Coffeeshop at Ban Hock Road. Highly recommended if you are at the vicinity. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Live

I started watching because I liked the lead actress, Jung Yumi. She was in the movie Train to Busan together with one of my fav actors, Gong Yoo. She did not really stand out to me at that time. But it was only after watching the reality shows Youn's Kitchen and Youn's Kitchen 2 that I grew to like her more. She is this very down-to-earth and loveable young lady, who has this very sincere aura about her. So I was really excited to find out that she has a drama going on this year. Of course I'd want to watch it!

Poster of the main leads;
From top, clockwise : Bae Sung Woo, Bae Jung Ok, Jung Yumi and Lee Kwang Soo
Source: https://forums.soompi.com/en/topic/406850-current-drama-2018-live-%EC%82%B4%EB%8B%A4-sat-sun-2100-pm-kst/

Then, I thought the drama would be worth watching because of writer Noh Hee Kyung, who is famed to produce very good dramas. Indeed, after the first two episodes of Live, I was drawn by the fast pace, and also the realism of the show in portraying the extraordinary lives of ordinary people, specifically, the police officers who are working hard to preserve justice. Particularly engaging for me was the issue of ethics and morality - and how corruption occurs at every level of the society, and even among the police officials. For example, should they turn a blind eye when congressmen committed vice? Some commentaries mentioned that this drama felt more like documentary than fiction. Heh.

Lee Kwang Soo is casted as the lead actor here. Heh, I associate Kwang Soo with Running Man, where he is forever funny and awkward and unlucky. Seriously, he does act well ... it's just quite difficult to disassociate him with his comical self in the variety genre. Heh.

He was not seen in all the promotional works for this drama at all. He wasn't in the teasers nor posters. He is in the background in Episode 1, and we only see him starting from Episode 2 ... and he just commands attention. By Episode 4, I have fallen in love with his character. Judging from what I read on social media, a lot of people feel the same way, and are starting to look out for this dashing actor, Shin Dong Wook.

He is casted in a supporting role in the drama, but he's not your regular supporting actor. He has the visuals and the charisma of an A-list actor. I started to read up about Shin Dong Wook after that. There is not information on him as he had been out of the limelight for years. Apparently, he had debuted way back in 2004, and had a very successful drama called Soulmate. Later on, he suffered from a complex illness during his military enlistment days back in 2011, and had been out of the entertainment circuit since then. He had only commenced acting again last year, taking a small but significant role in the drama Lookout.

Actor Shin Dong Wook as the eye-candy Corporal Choi Myung Ho
Source: https://forums.soompi.com/en/topic/406850-current-drama-2018-live-%EC%82%B4%EB%8B%A4-sat-sun-2100-pm-kst/?page=10

Corporal Choi Myung Ho is portrayed as a kind and understanding police officer, who values loyalty and duty above promotions and results. His scenes portray him as a really cool guy. He is smart and sensible in dealing with his colleagues, efficient and dependable when handling cases. He looks pretty dashing in his police uniform, and equally swoony in fashionable outfits. Corporal Choi Myung Ho's character, however, is developed mainly through the other characters - we learn that he probably comes from a good family, has a good education, and has an ex-girlfriend who died on duty. He is currently chummy with Jung Yumi's character - and I'm actually rooting for this onscreen couple!

Of course, the veteran actors Bae Sung Woo and Bae Jong Ok who play the eccentric Oh Yang Chon and wife Ahn Jang Mi are interesting to watch. Both are dedicated police officers, and their marriage is currently hitting some bumps. They both still have feelings for each other, so I firmly believe that things are not yet over for this couple yet.

Aside from that I loved the camaraderie of the police officers at the station - both the senior officers and junior officers are fun to watch. They bicker and banter, but in the end, I believe they are good friends who watch over each other's backs.

I watch this drama at real time, streaming it online from 8.00 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. It's exactly halfway through now, yet I feel that some of the characters are not developed enough. I have invested a lot of emotions into this drama. Sometimes I get a bit worked up and can hardly sleep after that. Heh. So, I really hope the rest of the episodes will be worth it. Looking forward!

Friday, February 23, 2018

CNY Day 7 Lei Cha

The 7th day of the Lunar New Year is a celebration of everyone's birthday. And it is customary for the Hakkas to eat Lei Cha or Lui Cha on this day. I'm not Hakka, but I thought it would be good fun to eat Lei Cha on this auspicious day. And so I ordered 2 packets of Lei Cha from my colleauge, to be delivered on Day 7 of CNY this year. I also intended for SIL to try our Sarawakian version of Lei Cha.

As soon as we got our order the other day though, our whole staffroom was shocked and disappointed with the portion of the Lei Cha. It seemed that the portion did not match the price of RM7.00. A few of my colleagues weren't even full after they'd finished the entire packet of the rice! Some were also disappointed with the amount of soup that came with the rice.

My portion of Lei Cha

Well, my packet of rice felt very light. But when I emptied it into a bowl, I did get a sufficient amount of rice. My complaint was the vegetables - we were led to believe that there were 7 types of vegetables or ingredients to go with the rice. But because the vegetables were all mixed together, we couldn't tell whether there were really 7 different types at all! 

2 days on, we were still talking our disappointment with the Lei Cha - mainly about the shrunken portion and the number or types of vegetables used. Well, I just thought they weren't very creative with their ingredients. Sure, local veggies may be expensive and in limited supply during the CNY season. But there could be other substitutes .... i.e. imported cabbages and carrots and leeks were in abundance in the market. So were there tofu and anchovies. Really a far cry from what it used to be when I last ordered it at the end of last year ... 

The ingredients used to be so generous when I first ordered Lei Cha from this colleague! 

And so I began hunting for the recipe for the Lei Cha broth ... and I think the best recipe was this one from Malaysian Vegetarian Food. There are pictures of the herbs on the blog and I think it would be a good guide should I ever want to experiment making my own. I'd like to keep a copy of the recipe here for my own reference.

Ingredients
Use a pair of sharp scissors,snip off the young leaves of the following herbs:

50 g    Mugwort
20 g    Sawtooth coriander(cut into 1 ” Strips,using scissors)
20 g     Thai Basil
5  g     Perilla
5  g     Elephant foot grass( cut into 1″ strips,using scissors
1 tbs of green tea leaves(dry toasted) or Japanese green tea powder
1/2 tsp mushroom powder(optional)

Notice the total weight of the picked herbs is 100 g.
Do not cut or chop the herbs using knife as action like this will result in bruises on the leaves.
Wash the herbs thoroughly and proceed to the next step immediately.

Method
Prepare 1 cup of boiling water in the wok.

Plunge the herbs into the boiling water and bring to boil for 2 minutes.This is to prevent the leaves from turning black due to oxidation when the cut surface gets in contact with the oxygen in the air.
Add another 1/2 – 1 cup of  bottled water and allow it to cool.
Blend the herbs with 1/4 cup of groundnuts and 1/2 tbs of toasted green tea leaves.Do not add too much tea leaves which will make the soup looks black.
A jade green herbal paste is now ready for the lei cha soup.
To prepare the lei cha soup,just add 3 tbs of jade green lei cha paste to 1 cup of hot tea.The concentration of the tea is up to individual.

Preparing the bitter paste
Ingredients
10 g Kulixin
5 g Daun Capa(optional)
5 g Pegaga(Optional)

Method
Steps for preparing bitter paste is the same as above except water to be added is 1/4 cup of water.
Do not add groundnuts to this bitter paste.
Add the bitter paste according to personal flavour.

*****

One of these days, I really have to try making my own lei cha.

Anyway, back home on that day, I heated up the soup for SIL; and she poured it onto her rice and ate it drenched. Well, thankfully she liked the rice and the soup. :)) 


Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy CNY 2018!

Happy CNY of the Dog! This year, I wasn't really in the mood to bake, and yet I did force myself to make something .... so due to my half-hearted efforts, the cookies did not turn out as nice.


My bakes

On the top was green tea marble cookies. I think the shade of the green section of the cookie was too light, and the cookie was generally overbaked. I'd reduce some more sugar as I found it too sweet. I used this recipe here

Below that was the Parmesan Cheese Cookie - which I quite liked. I used this recipe, and was generally quite happy with the texture of the dough and also how it turned out after baking. Quite yum and would make this again. 

I used this recipe to make the nastar pineapple rolls, which I'd used for the past 2 years. This year, I ran out of condensed milk and substituted it with sugar. I don't know whether that affected the dough or not, but I found that this year, the dough seemed softer than ever ... and it was difficult to manage. As a result, the shape of the pineapple rolls were not so nice, and the pastry was crumbly after the bake. 

In fact it was so difficult to manage that I gave up halfway through. To the remaining dough, I added some chopped cranberries, mini chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts, shaped them into balls and baked them ... heh ... tasted much like shortbread. :)) 

Snacks

The other thing I liked was the baked peanuts with brown sugar. Just sprinkle brown sugar on the peanuts and bake them over low temperature till browned ... sweet and crunchy and yum. :)) 

My aunts came over for dinner on CNY eve ... and well, they were looking forward to my "special" dishes. Heh. But there were none. I'd only bought the satay and made the durian cheesecake.

 Our reunion dinner spread ... all homecooked except for the satay which I'd bought ... 

My favourite dishes this year were the steamed garoupa and the garlic scapes stirfry. My durian cheesecake also did not turn out as well this year .... I did not follow the exact measurements and did not put in enough gelatin .... so cheese layer was too soft to handle as well. 

Pretty quiet meal for us .... pretty quiet day today as well. Looking forward to playing with my nephew tomorrow evening, when they come home. :)) 

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