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Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Was Unethical

Just yesterday, I read this message on the Joyce Meyer Ministries website :

Joyful in Every Circumstance
by Joyce Meyer - posted January 30, 2015

[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
—Romans 14:17

A wise person does not allow the moods of other people to alter theirs.

There is a story of a Quaker man who was walking down the street with a friend when he stopped at a newsstand to purchase a newspaper. The storekeeper was very rude and unfriendly. The Quaker man responded respectfully and was quite kind in his dealing with him. After paying for his paper and continuing to walk down the street, his friend asked, “How could you be so cordial to that man considering the terrible way he was treating you?” The Quaker man replied, “Oh, he is always that way; why should I let him determine how I am going to act?”

This is one of the amazing traits we see in Jesus—He changed people, they did not change Him. I encourage you to follow the example of Jesus. Do what God expects you to do and don’t live under the tyranny of other people’s moods and attitudes.

Prayer of Thanks Father, I thank You that I can be joyful in every circumstance. Today, I choose not to let other people determine how I am going to live. With Your help, I am going to live in joy regardless of the circumstances around me.

***

This morning, my faith was tested when I got scolded by an old man. At that time, I did not answer him back. I just listened to what he had to say, nodded a few times to acknowledge what he said, and then explaining to him what I (and the rest of the people) were doing there ... and then quickly went out of his way.

At the time, I was not thinking about Joyce Meyer's message at all. In fact, it did not even come across my mind ... Perhaps I did not respond harshly or rudely to the old man because I was slow in digesting what the old  man said. It had not hit home.

My colleagues, who saw the man scolding me, approached to ask me what happened ... and the more I related the incident to them, the angrier I felt. And the more I thought about it ... the more upset I got.

I let the old man ruin my mood. I am under the "tyranny of other people's moods and attitudes". I am so weak ......

***

Our school was having our annual inter sports house cross-country race this morning. The venue of the race was Resevoir Park. It was pouring the whole morning, even as we reached the venue. Because of that, we seeked shelter at one of the kiosks. I was there, waiting for my athletes to arrive, and when they did, I helped to pin the numbers on their shirts. 

At the kiosks were a group of people exercising. Despite us crowding the area, they carried on without distraction. 

Suddenly, the old man came hovering over me and spoke in an angry tone. 

"Stand clear!" he barked in Mandarin. 

"We have applied for permit to use this place! Have you applied for yours?" he continued.

"You don't have ethics at all!" he said harshly. "Stand clear a little, ok!!!" He used the phrase "道德" dao de, which means "moral" or "ethics". 

"It's raining," I explained .... "if now, we won't be using this place as well ..."  I quickly opened up my umbrella and went away from the kiosk. 

Wow! I was really caught unaware. 

The angry old man seated down .... surrounded by the staff and students from my school

***

Why me? Why was I subjected to his scorn? There were many others standing near by. Did I look gullible? Or did I look innocent? Or did  he need someone who could understand Mandarin to whom he could vent his frustrations? Or I was conveniently in front of him and he could just get up and come over and scold me? Or was it my action of pinning the numbers on my athletes which made me look like I was in-charge ... and therefore scold the person-in-charge? 

Whatever the reason, I was rather upset to be scolded so early in the morning. Who was he to judge my morality? I'd not used the word "morality" as it was totally inappropriate. But I would accept it if he had said that I lacked civic-mindedness for encroaching into his space. 

But then, who needed a permit to use a public recreational park? Perhaps I could scold him back for lacking compassion .... would he rather we get soaked in the rain by refusing to share the shelter with us? 

People often say, "take the bitter with the sweet". Despite this ugly incident, I was really happy about two things. One - all my athletes turned up for the event! My colleague was complaining about how her athletes were absent. Let's just say that I had my way of convincing them to turn up ... Two - all of my athletes completed the race successfully. We won the Junior category, my Senior boys came in the seventh and eighth position, and my girl came in fourth. I was very pleased with them. :))

As for the incident of the old man ..... I feel that God is teaching me something and I really need to stay strong in faith. "... If God is for us, who can be against us?" Rom 8:31.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bounty At Work

Well, recently, there were lots of food to eat in the staffroom. It was such a blessing to have colleagues sharing food willingly. J gave me a wild rambutan named pulasan ...

Pulasan

Looking very much like rambutan, but with a crunchier fruit. I loved its juicy sweetness. Yummy.

Then came C with Cai Kueh which she had bought for us .... not sure where from. I'd ask a few times but no one seemed to be answering me .... perhaps I'd asked the wrong people. Lol. I know for sure that these weren't from the famous Ted Shin @ Siburan. Read here

Yummy triangular Cai Kueh ....
The skin was really springy and chewy, and each was filled compactly with shredded vegetables .. 

Next came JL with brownies .... 

Homemade brownies
These were a little dry, but tasty nonetheless .... 

By lunch time, I was very full. D and I met at 626 Cafe at Wisma Nation Horizon, but I was unable to eat anything else .. 

D had himself a plate of economic rice - 2 vegetables and 1 meat for RM4.00; which I felt was really reasonably priced. 

And then D ordered prawn fritters and sweet potato fritters from another stall in the shop. Hmn ..... this would be one of the few occasions where I see D snack .... he hardly ever did! Usually I would be the one ordering extra side dishes ... hmn .... 

 Fritters

The prawn fritters were flat, but a large piece. Each sold at RM3.00. The vendor had them cut into bite-sized pieces. The sweet potato fritters were RM1.00 for 3 pieces, which was very cheap. I had some of the fritters .... and I found that they were alright, except that they were already cold ... though they were not too soggy. 

At this shop was a stall selling Mee Jawa and nasi lemak, and a stall selling kolo mee. And in the main kitchen, an operation named Wrap and Go, served Western meals. I was interested in trying their sandwiches ..... but I would have to wait till my next visit here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rising Ramen

Rising Ramen, situated at Precinct 88 at Jalan Song, is known to serve Osaka-style pork broth ramen. D and I was there for lunch .... I opted to sit outside as it seemed rather dark indoors.

 Hot Green Tea, RM2.50 a cup
The tea was thick and pleasant, not too astringent; loved the hot brew on a cold day like today 

 Rising Ramen Special, RM15.00

Aka Ramen, RM16.00 

D had the original ramen, while I had the one with the spicy red broth. Well, I must say that I loved the texture of the noodles - it wasn't that springy, yet it was not too soft and mushy. It was just right. The portion was also reasonable - not too much and not too little, just nice for one person.

A very important part of the noodles is the broth. It was rich in taste, and with a slightly tangy aftertaste, probably from the use of spicy fermented soy beans to flavour the broth. However, I couldn't help but notice that the broth did not give off any aroma, like Santouka ramen did. It was also not hot enough for me (though I wondered if there was a reason for that??) ... I like my broth to burn my lips and tongue ... lol ....

The thinly sliced charshu was very nice - soft and melted in the mouth, while the crunch from the thinly shredded black fungus added texture to the whole dish.

Overall, not bad a dining experience here .... both D and I tucked into our noodles happily .... :))

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Old Time Cafe @ Jalan Petanak

D and I headed to Old Time Cafe for lunch.

 Mee Jawa, RM5.80

I ordered the Mee Jawa, but I did not like it. The gravy was too starchy although the taste was alright. The ingredients garnishing the noodles weren't very interesting as well .... a bit of blanched beansprouts, shredded chicken, tofu slices and half an egg. I'd say that it wasn't worth it. I left nearly the entire plate uneaten ..... D said I was being too wasteful. Yeah, he was right.  

Nasi Lemak with Chicken Curry

D's meal was served in a basket .... so that was indeed more interesting. D found the nasi lemak too spicy .... and it prompted me to try the sambal .... which I found to be very yummy. I'd order nasi lemak too when I come here next. :)) 


Thick toast with peanut butter 

I liked the toast,though. What could go wrong with peanut butter toast drenched with condensed milk, right? 

I quite liked this cafe, though .... not as crowded and thus, not was noisy and with nice songs playing in the background ..... I'll be back for sure. ))

Monday, January 19, 2015

Awesome Value For Money Pizzas

Pizza Hut is having this awesome promotion till 27 January. It's RM5.00 for a personal pan pizza, RM10.00 for a regular 9-inch pizza. I bought 2 pieces ....

Chicken Supreme Pizza ... 

And it was really value-for-money. Worth buying! I'm already planning to buy some more soon ...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Lunch @ Gather Cafe

I've been depressed. So I'm thankful for my friend S. She accompanied me the whole afternoon. We went to Gather Cafe, at CityOne for lunch and thereafter for a movie. I've been wanting to try the food at this cafe since it'd opened last year, but never got a chance to. Like me, S hadn't been here as well. She'd never even noticed this cafe. Lol.

Well, yeah, that's because the cafe is not inside the mall. To access it, one has to exit the mall .... it's located right opposite Chatime and Baskin Robbins.

To me, the cafe was cheerful, with nice music albeit a bit too loud .... I'd prefer it to be softer so I could talk to my friend without any strain. The staff was polite and service was rather prompt too.

 A cute little bucket on my table ...

 Hot coffee for me, RM3.00
Pleasantly nice to drink .... 

 Teh C Special for S, RM5.00
S drank only a little bit ..... but it was not because she did not find the drink palatable. She was having some discomfort in her throat. 

 Nasi Lemak with Grilled Chicken, RM7.80
Good presentation, so it made a good impression. Let me dissect it. The rice, was very compact, a bit too moist for me ... and lacking the flavour and fragrance of coconut cream. The sambal wasn't too great either ... it did not quite make the kick. I did not even finish it. The grilled chicken was also lacking in taste, for some reason ..... but the rest of the items were alright. There's this piece of fritter which I could not identify ... lol .... but I liked its chewy texture. 

Aglio Olio with Mushrooms, RM12.00
S said the pasta was quite yummy .... but I did not try it so I couldn't comment. 

Would I come back? Yeah I would, actually. the menu is quite extensive and I would like to try the other items like the club sandwich and pasta and stuff ..... so till next time, then.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Wonderful Lunch @ Tarot Cafe Kuching

After last Sunday's infuriating experience at Flinders Station Kuching, I was a bit apprehensive about redeeming my Supermain voucher at Tarot Cafe today. D assured me that things would be alright.

There wasn't any patrons in the shop when we arrived, and we were greeted by a young, friendly-looking waiter. I presented my voucher, and was told that I would have to wait a while till they got the voucher verified.

D and I sat down and ordered our drinks ....

White Coffee
We asked for less sugar in our coffee, and thus was not too sweet. D thought it wasn't served hot enough. But then I often read that good coffee was brewed at between 90 to 95 degrees centigrade, just below the boiling point. So that was why it probably wasn't hot enough for D's liking ... 

Our voucher was then quickly verified, and the young boy came back to inform us what we could order. D and I made our choices, which he dutifully wrote down. Our meals were served quite quickly! And they tasted good too. So overall, I was delighted with today's food and service. 

We both ordered nasi lemak. The portion was very generous .... 

Nasi Lemak with Ayam Masak Merah, RM7.90

Nasi lemak with fried chicken thigh, RM8.90

The rice was very fragrant, fluffy and the sambal was delicious .... only that I could do with more of it. I loved the crispy fried chicken, and the faint coriander powder served over it .... very tasty, and much better than those I'd eaten at a few places too! The ayam masak merah tasted good too - very flavourful indeed. 

We got 2 side dishes with our mains ... 

Fried Hotate, RM5.00

Tako Balls, RM5.00

Both made great finger snacks. D and I took our time to finish our food - which was a lot! The environment here was quiet, and we could talk comfortably without any strain ..... So to sum up, I was happy with today's redemption. It was a good deal, and it made up for all the anguish I experienced last week. :P

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chili Con Carne

My first lunch at the student hall when I was studying overseas was chili con carne, served with corn chips. I vividly recall my friends exclaim. What? Junk food for lunch? Lol. This was about 18 years ago.

But then, over the year that we had stayed in the hall, we'd grown to love the meal, and looked forward to having it for lunch or dinner. In fact, I've loved it so much, that I quickly learned to make it on my own. Now, once in a while, I'd still make it for my own consumption, and for my family too, of course.

I've not cooked for a long time, usually leaving the laborious task to Mom. But today, I had felt it. So I stewed a large pot of chili, using minced beef, tomatoes and spices. Then I served it with a bag of corn chips ...

 I dished the chili into a ramekin, topped with cheese and baked it in the airfryer, then served it with the chips .... Kinda trying to emulate those served at Chicago Ribs. Read here

Crunchy chips, spiced meat sauce and the rich flavour of the cheese ..... it was a perfect combination indeed.


Yumms ....

It was a yummy lunch for me today. Chili con carne, anyone? :P

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Favourite Lui Cha In Kuching

I woke up in the middle of the night, craving for Lui Cha. Strange or not? Not sure .... but it kept me awake for two hours. Hence, today's top priority was getting that bowl of Lui Cha at my favourite house cum stall at Jalan Intan.

From Green Road, turn into Jalan Pisang Barat. Go straight till you reach a cross road. Here, turn right into Jalan Tengah. Immediately after that, there is a road on the left and that is Jalan Intan. The Lui Cha house is the first house on your left.

Business starts from 10.00 a.m. onwards. I was there bright and early at 10.30 a.m. First, state whether you wanted a large or a small bowl of rice. Small was RM5.00 and large was RM6.00.

RM5.00 bowl of vegetable goodness & soup 

In my rice bowl was brown rice - soft but not mushy, And topping the rice were diced french beans, chopped cangkuk manis, finely shredded leek, minced tofu, and chopped preserved radish. All the vegetables were separately and lightly stir-fried in garlic and very mild seasoning, hence, retaining their original taste and flavour. In a small saucer was the mandatory roasted peanuts. Mix everything up before you tuck in. Very textural and delicious.

Next, specify whether you wanted the green herbal broth (looking so much like matcha, huh?) to be bitter or sweet. I've always preferred the bitter version for a more full-bodied flavour. So I would recommend that. The broth is quite thick in consistency, but it's not really that bitter .... but a bit minty and pleasantly astringent, what the Chinese would call as "gan". What I like about the soup is that it's served boiling hot .... so it soothed my stomach right away as I sipped it from my spoon.

This very enjoyable Lui Cha was what kept me awake last night. In fact, it's the only Lui Cha that I had eaten in Kuching ... many stalls at many coffee shops sell it, and different people have their own favourites. D's friend DS had once recommended me a stall at Jalan Ang Cheng Ho. I've yet to try it. Maybe soon. :))

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bad Experience @ Flinders Station Kuching

I've had an unpleasant experience at Flinders Station Kuching today (04 Jan). What happened was that a couple of days ago, I had purchased a voucher from a website called Supermain. In fact, it is still selling at this moment when I am typing this up. You can see the voucher below which I had captured from the website :

The voucher (as of 04 Jan)
RM26.00 for 2 soups or ice-cream, and a 10-inch pizza. 

Today after church, D and I went over for lunch. The shop was totally empty, void of customers. We climbed to the first floor to sit by the window so that we could look at the view outside. Not long after that, another couple came to join us upstairs ..... but from the moment we were there till we left at about 2.30 p.m., no one else was eating at this shop. 

That was not what was unpleasant. It was the poor contingency plan the shop had that annoyed me so. The staff was ill-prepared to deal with this. 

When I produced my voucher upon being seated, the lady waitress told me that there was no pizza because the oven had "broken down". Duh. So why were they still selling the voucher online now when they had no pizzas to deliver?? 

So how? I asked.
Cannot use, came her reply.
Fine. Refund me my money. 
Cannot, she replied. 

That was when I got mad. What an irresponsible answer!! Here I had spent money to buy a voucher for a meal at YOUR restaurant and you CANNOT offer me any pizzas nor any refund nor any reasonable solution? Am I supposed to walk out because YOU cannot fulfill YOUR end of the deal?

I raised my voice immediately. Who's in charge? I asked. Do I need to call a lawyer? I asked only half-jokingly. 

You see, I had met all the criteria stated in the voucher .... 
  • Redemption can be made on 5th November 2014 – 5th January 2015
  • No reservation is required but customers (4persons & above) must call for reservation
  • Limit 1 voucher per person
  • Valid on Monday – Sunday (11:00 am – 11:00pm), excluding Public Holidays & Public Holiday Eve
  • Valid for dine-in only

It was the vendor who could not fulfill .... so how now? Was a lawyer needed to help to settle this?

The poor lady disappeared for a while ...... and then came back and told me I could replace my pizza with one burger meal. 

That angered me too. D and I could have shared the 10-inch pizza which were meant for two, and we would not have to pay extra for food. Now since we only got one burger, it meant that we had to purchase another one. Urgh. 

However mad I was at the shop, I was left with no choice. I could not go back another time to redeem my voucher because the due date was the next day (05 Jan). And I could not get my money back. And so, it was 2 mushroom soups for us (RM8.90 each), 1 burger called Beef Works (RM20.90) and D purchased a cheese burger (RM14.80). 

We waited for a long time for our food .... at least 15 minutes. D commented that there weren't many customers and yet it took so long. But D liked the selection of music they played in the shop ... the oldies! 

 Mushroom soup and garlic bread 

Beef Works and Cheeseburger in the distant 

I think the shop could have handled this in a more professional manner (unless they could not care less about their reputation, of course). I bought a deal for a pizza. If the vendor cannot deliver the pizza, then the deal is already by itself invalid. What they can do is :
1) Offer an alternative date for me to redeem the my deal. The last day to redeem is 05 Jan. But if the oven isn't fixed by then, perhaps they can suggest that I redeem in the following week, even after the redemption date? 
2) They can refund me my RM26.00 and I will be happily eating my lunch elsewhere. 

So .... I wasn't in the mood to enjoy the meal after the whole incident, so I could have been eating sawdust for all I know. What a terrible experience. I've sinced feedbacked Supermain ... let's wait for their reply. 

I still think a portable oven could have and would have solved all the problems. How dumb. Again, no contingency plan. I do not think I will be visiting nor recommending this restaurant to anyone.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

EG Mall, Kuching

Servay Hypermarket had just opened recently in Kuching, and is located at EG Mall. That's at King's Centre here. Today, after D's hair cut at his usual salon in the vicinity, we dropped by the hypermarket to have a look. Well ... there were 3 levels ..... and its set up kind of reminded me of the hypermarket in Miri. It sold medium to low end products, which I think would be more affordable for everyone.

I merely bought only a little bar of chocolate. But D bought some household items - floor mats and towels and light bulbs. And then for the amount that he spent, he received a free gift and a lucky draw entry. He could redeem either a cup or a dustbin .... so I wanted a dustbin. D indulged me and gave me the free dustbin. Yay. It was just what I needed.

I'd recently shifted to a vacant workstation the back of the staffroom in my school, where it was more private and I had more space, and I had wanted a dustbin near me. So well, the gift came in timely, and useful too!

As we exited the mall building, there's a food court right across the road .... and we had our lunch there. D had rice with roasted meats .... while I opted to have kueh chap.

Kueh Chap, RM5.00

The kueh chap tasted alright, I suppose .... the sheets of kueh were rather thin and smooth; the meat was lean as per requested, and there were braised intestines which did not smell, half an egg and tofu. The soup was clear and quite tasty.

As for EG Mall, I guess it would be alright to visit once in a while,

Friday, January 2, 2015

Lunch @ ABC Food Court

Today, we went to ABC Food Court for lunch. Why, this food court was packed with office workers from offices nearby! They came in by the droves after 12.00 p.m. What's to eat here? Well, there was economic rice, chicken rice, pork leg rice, stir-fried dishes, fishball noodles, and foochow delicacies like kampua and mee suah.

At 12.30 p.m., most of the food were sold out already, and we were left with no choice.  So, D and I both ordered from the stir-fry noodles stall. D had the Cantonese Stir-fry while I had the Zao Cai Fen Gan.



Both were RM5.00; I think I preferred the looks of D's noodles which looked more appetising .... my Zao Cai Fen Gan ... hmn .... was merely so-so. Not recommended.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bye 2014, Hello 2015

2014 has gone by. 2014 has been quite significant for me with so many major events which had occurred .... Now, let's see .... What happened?

1) Met D at the start of the year and we became fast friends ...
2) Ended my 14 year stint in Miri and moved back to Kuching ...
3) Had a short, totally unexpected, whirlwind romance with AT which had since ended ...
4) Joining a gym and starting my workout
5) Got involved in a car accident and was car-less for 2 months ...
6) Got deaf in one ear for 2 weeks ...
7) Bought an apartment ... huh! and amassing a huge debt in the process .....
8) Returned to worship God in church after many years ... and looking forward to continue worshipping Him ...

In 2015, I hope to grow closer in my faith journey, to trust God in many areas in my life, to be more filial to my parents, to be more healthy, to be more sociable and make more friends ...

D said this morning that we would go to Choon Ann for breakfast. I'd been asking him for ages where Choon Ann was ..... and it turned out that the Choon Ann he meant was in fact, the legendary Chong Choon Cafe at Abell Road. Duh. Roll eyes. How could D even read wrong .....

Poh Lam Laksa for Breakfast, small bowl for RM5.00

This place is quite popular for its laksa; On New Year's day, it was really very packed. Lots of people were standing around, waiting for vacant tables. D and I did not have a place to sit as well; but instead of waiting, we decided to share a table with a group of tourist ladies from Indonesia ... 

I had the laksa which I found to be very delicious. The gravy was very well-balanced in flavour, the consistency was good and it was not too salty. There were 4 reasonably large and succulent prawns in the laksa, some shredded chicken and beansprouts too. The bowl was garnished with some coriander sprouts. Not bad .... but I would loved it even more had it been spicier. Lol. 

D had eaten, actually, with his uncle .... so he merely snacked on chwee kueh ..... he did reserve one for me to try .... 

Chwee Kueh
The cake was soft and the topping made up of dried radish and dried prawns were yum.

Oh, by the way, Poh Lam Laksa is closed on Tuesdays. 

Happy New Year 2015 to everyone!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.
- Proverbs 3 : 5 - 6

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