Wednesday, February 22, 2017

iPhone Ordeal 2017

I had just resumed my Zumba workout at my regular haunt. Last Monday - 13.02.2017 - was my third class after CNY. I had gone there about 20 minutes early. The Aerobics class was still in full swing, the upbeat music blasting so loudly.

None of my Zumba mates were in sight yet. So, I proceeded to register myself and then sat down at the lounge to wait. I tinkered with my phone while waiting. Gradually, my Zumba mates arrived, and then some of us got talking. A while later, the Aerobics class ended, and the ladies came up huffing and puffing, their faces red with all that physical exertion, soaked with their own sweat.

As they came out, we got ready to go into the studio. I put my phone into my carrier bag and trailed after the my Zumba mates, and our session began. An hour later, we were done. I was sweaty and tired and wanted to go off quickly. I called out my goodbyes and went out of the door. My hands searched my carrier bag for my car keys ... and somehow, it kind of felt empty. So I went back into the studio, emptied my bag at the counter - my purse was there, my car key was there ... but my phone was missing.

My friend, A, helped by calling my number - but the phone was turned off already. Then, a few of us searched the entire studio, but we could not find my phone. So we called the owner of the studio and also the Aerobics instructor to ask whether they had seen my phone earlier. The answers came back negative.

I myself had no idea when and how my phone disappeared. Had I dropped it while I was putting it in my bag, without realising it? Did I leave it on the table, thinking that I had put it in my bag? Nonetheless, if I had dropped it or left it on the table and people had seen it, wouldn't the right thing to do be to pick it up and return it to me? I mean, these were people I see at least twice a week ... familiar people. I couldn't believe that they would just take my phone away?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 
I was surprisingly calm. Perhaps it was because I had been through it before. Back in December 2013, my purse was snatched and I lost more than just my phone - my iPhone 4. Because I lost that phone, I replaced it with an iPhone 5S. It cost me RM2499 at that time. Three years on, I was still using it. The phone was still in good condition - good screen resolution, good speed, and just to cut the story short, it served me well. It could easily serve me well for another year or two. 

Back at home, the first thing I did was to call my service provider to have my line barred. Next, I went to iCloud. I had 3 devices linked to my Apple ID. My iPad Air, my stolen iPhone 4 - its data had been erased on 23 December 2013, but I still keep the phone linked to my ID, and also my missing iPhone 5S. Its status was offline. So I set for it to be erased remotely. Though the phone was locked, just in case if the thief managed to get it unlocked, the data I had stored in the phone would get erased once the phone went online. 

I was quite confident with the security that iPhone provided. I was quite sure that the thief would not be able to get it unlocked without a passcode. And even if she did, she would not be able to use my phone as long as it was linked to my Apple ID. So why would they take a phone that they would not be able to use? Sell its spare parts? 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
14th February 2017. Valentine's Day. I spent the afternoon shopping at The Spring. I visited my service provider, and got my replacement SIM. Then I went to Urban Republic to enquire about iPhone 7. They assured me they had all the colours in the model and the size I wanted. I also went to Switch, and they too said the same thing. I spent over an hour at Switch and there was this Malay boy there who was really nice. He attended to me for the longest time and answered all my questions ever so politely ... and finally, I decided to buy iPhone 7 in silver and 128GB. He went inside but came out with the bad news. There wasn't any of that in silver and I had to settle for the other colours. I hesitated because I had liked the silver one the most. So I ended up NOT buying an iPhone on that day though I had really, really wanted to buy from that nice boy. That model and colour and size sold out in the entire of Kuching, he said. Wow ... I thought times were bad and people were tightening their purse strings .... apparently not, huh? 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
15th February 2017. I had been contemplating since the day before about iPhone 7 - should I have just gotten iPhone 7+ in silver? Should I have just bought iPhone 7 in jet black or gold? The thoughts just went round and round my head .... so finally, I went online that afternoon and made my purchase from the Apple Store. 128GB iPhone 7 in silver. Shopping on Apple Store was a breeze. A confirmation email sealed the deal ... and on the same day the phone was shipped. It would take a week. 

That evening at about 7.00 p.m., A called me. She said that the Aerobics instructor had found my phone, behind the sofa seat at the studio. What?? I had never sat there. How did the phone end up there? Nonetheless, I was thankful that whoever had taken the phone had decided to return it to me. She could have just kept it or sold it for scraps. 

Now, I had an Iphone 7 on its way, and my iPhone 5S back. Sigh. From having 1 phone to having no phone to having 2 phones, all within a week! So, I decided to give the 5S to Dad. It's a better phone compared to Dad's current Redmi.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

17th February 2017. I got my iPhone 5S back that evening. Phew. I turned it on immediately, keyed in my password and had it unlocked right away. So glad to have it back. I thanked the studio owner for returning it. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

21st February 2017. My iPhone 7 finally arrived. It took me a while to set it up .... and then I erased my iPhone 5S and set it up for Dad to use. iPhone 7 was slightly bigger, but it's a powerful phone - clear and fast and I know I will look forward to using it. I must also make it a point to take good care of it since I now know that iPhones are attractive items to steal. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Goodbye Mr. R

In the staffroom, he sat 2 tables away, in front of me. When he was free, he would turn and talk to me. I was a new teacher. I did not know many people. I did not really have anyone to talk to. So I appreciated it when someone did want to chat sometimes.

It did not take long before the ice thawed and we could talk about anything and everything. He always seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, and I found it easy to open up about myself, my work, my family, my friends. He too, did not hesitate to share about himself, his wife and children, his siblings, about God and religion, about work - the students and school. He was an older and wiser friend, a mentor.

Perhaps we were able to forge a friendship easily because he knew many of my family members. Second Aunt was once his colleague for many years before she retired. Second Uncle was actually responsible for his S&P agreement when he bought a house. Fifth Aunt went to his church. He knew my Youngest Uncle. And he must have taught my brother and cousins in his 38 years of teaching career.

At school, there were a few older teachers who called him "The Saint". He was a man of God. He served an elder at his church. He regularly preached during Sunday service. Sometimes, he invited me to attend his sermons, but I never did go. He also led a Bible Study group at his house - what he called "house group". Even at school, he would be the one to recite prayers at any official school functions. Every month, during our prayer service sessions, he would be the one teaching and preaching and sharing. One time, he taught the students to sing the song "Holy of Holies". Now, the song is sung at our prayer service sessions from time and time. And every time I hear this song, I would remember him.

Not long after I was transferred to the school, a few Christian teachers decided to do a Bible Study at school. So during a free period on a particular day of the week, we would gather to discuss the book of John. He would be the one teaching us. Indeed, he was an anointed teacher. Later on, a group of us decided to gather together outside of school, and for a whole year, we would meet up to study the book of Revelation. He was our teacher, he led us in our study.

He retired late in 2015. He fretted about no one organising a proper farewell for him. So, I did a small one for him. A few colleagues joined me and we bought him lunch at Hoi Tin Lau. Eventually, there were 2 more farewell makans organised ... and I attended all of them. Heh. Though he was not in school anymore, I got to see him from time to time as he was teaching at the private secondary school behind our school. Of course, I also got to see him during our Bible study sessions. I always looked forward catching up with him every time. Sometimes, I would send him home after our study ... and he was terrified of my driving skills! Lol!

In April 2016, we happened to be at another retirement dinner. There were many retired teachers at the dinner, including him and also my Second Aunt. In fact, because he lived near Second Aunt, she had asked him for a lift, for which he obliged. When I greeted my Second Aunt, she asked me if I missed him. "Yes," I answered. I genuinely missed his presence at school, in the staffroom.

Late in 2016, we celebrated his birthday. A few of us got together and had a hi-tea at Madeleine's ... and at this time, we got to meet his cutesy newly-born grandson. It was approaching year end, and we got busy .... and though we meant to give him a treat before our trip to Japan, somehow we never got to do it.

We met up for our study on 14 Jan 2017. Both of us reached there at the same time, and while waiting for the others to arrive, we chatted - about my trip, about our schools, about our colleagues, about his grandson, about the upcoming CNY ..... And that was the last time I spoke to him.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

10 February 2017. It was Friday. I got to school early as usual. There were only 4 of us early birds there at the time. I was unpacking my bag at my table when my colleague, S walked in. "R passed away."

"Who?" My first reaction.

"R." she said, tearing.

"Who?" I asked again, unable to register the name.

"R. Our R," she said.

"No!" I was shocked. I did not believe it. My friend, R. What happened?

It happened at 2 a.m. that morning. S had received a text message from R's wife who had asked her to inform our colleagues. S insisted that she had called and talked to R's wife, and that the news was true.

I was shocked. So was everyone else. The whole day, we were sombre ... and very soon, news arrived of the wake and funeral arrangements.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

S, ME and I went to see him at the wake. My hands were trembling as I signed the condolence book. His wife wasn't there. I'd imagine she must have been so shocked and so sad and so exhausted by the recent events. I spoke briefly to his eldest daughter and his sister, and proceeded to pay my last respects.

At the wake, we learnt of what had actually happened. Apparently, he had complaint of having chest pains a few days prior to the incident. Somehow, he did not think to get himself a check up. That night when it happened, he did tell his wife of his discomfort. Then, he vomitted. After that, he felt better and thought he'd go to bed. And he never woke up again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

The funeral just concluded. The many people who filled up the church was a testament of how his life had touched others, just like how he touched mine. I was certain that he had been a blessing to many people, including myself. I was also touched by the presence of many of his students there. I think they took up nearly half of the hall. The funeral service was short and simple, but profoundly meaningful. His daughters shared about their papa, and drove many to tears. The pastor spoke of hope in times of grief.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Sometime last year, ME and I had been meaning to treat R to chicken rice. Roasted chicken rice, to be precise. Somehow, we never got to do it. Sigh. Now we won't be able to buy it for him anymore.

Source :

Goodbye, Mr. R. Until we meet again. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Laksa Feast

At times, Mom craves for laksa - Sarawak Laksa, that is - she decides to cook it. Heh. It so happens that I crave it too today.

Early in the morning, I helped Mom to pluck the tails off the beansprouts - which I enjoyed doing because I found it therapeutic. Lol. Next, I fried the egg omelette and cut them into strips. I also shredded the steamed chicken. Mom cooked the rest - the prawns, the noodles, the broth.

Every time Mom cooks laksa, I help myself to a big bowl .....

With those juicy plump prawns and the other fresh condiments available for my laksa, I couldn't help but get greedy and serve myself a large helping.

My bowl of laksa 

And so ... after today's laksa feast, I would have enough of it to last me a few weeks. Happy CNY Day 9.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Reunion Dinner 2017

This CNY, I contributed 3 dishes to our reunion dinner, and all the dishes turned out very well. I made ....

This is my second attempt at this dish. The last time I made it, the noodles got a bit soggy, and the flavours did not come through. This time, I repeated Maangchi's recipe, and took more care in preparing the dish. And well, it paid off as it turned out really yummy.  The noodles cooked just right, and all the condiments were balanced in flavour. My Fifth Aunt liked the noodles so much that she asked for the recipe. Heh. 

Corn and Cucumber Salad
Well, this one was from Hot Thai Kitchen; I first at this at my friend C's house, and have loved it so much that I've made it myself for a couple of times already. So, I decided to make it for the family for our Reunion Dinner. Bro liked this tangy and refreshing salad, which was punctured with the rich yet slightly pungent flavour of the salted egg. 

Deep-fried Chicken Wings
Well, this one was a cheat. All I did was to marinate it with ginger juice. Then, I dipped the wings into the Kentucky flour batter. After that, I coated it with more Kentucky flour before deep-frying it. I guess it's not customary for us to have deep-fried chicken wings during our Reunion Dinner. Fourth Aunt seemed perplexed and asked me why I wanted to cook this as there were already many meat dishes. Anyway, she ate 1 piece and said that it tasted good. Hehe. 

Here was what we had ..... 

Left : Thai Cucumber and Corn Salad, Radish pickles, Cucumber Pickles, Rojak, Deep-fried prawns, Steamed fish, Deep-fried chicken wings, Midin salad, Meat rolls, BBQ meat and braised meat platter, Homemade braised duck, Mixed mushrooms and vegetables, Beef Rendang and Japchae.

Rojak and Midin were made by Fourth Aunt. Fifth Aunt brought the Beef Rendang. Mom cooked the rest. There was also Fish Maw soup, which Mom hadn't dished out when I took this photo. An abundance of food to kickstart the Year of the Fire Rooster! Let the celebrations begin! Happy CNY! 


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