Monday 16 January 2012

For Love of Lely

Tomorrow we will depart for Singapore because this beautiful young woman, this loving girl we regard as the daughter we never had, suffered a stroke on Monday morning.  An operation removed the blood clot in her brain and she's now in an induced coma.

Lely, this lively, cheerful ray of light took these photographs  of the yellow bittern ......

........ in her latest posting of 13 Jan in her Photoblog :

Lely or Aminah could never turn her back on the helpless and needy, especially animals and birds.

Iain and I and all of God's creatures that she saved and loved pray that Allah will restore her to us - to her mother and brother  and to all those who love and have been loved by Lely.

Finally, thank you Oi Bek for making all our travel arrangements and the rest of the Rainbow Band for being there.

  Hang on kid. We shall share these days again Lely, InsyaAllah.  You have promises to keep.

Friday 13 January 2012

Datin Kicap

That's my latest title from Lely just because I did not do a good job of wrapping up two bottles of Habhal's Kicap Cap Kipas Udang.  They broke inside the suitcase and made a trail of thick inky liquid dripping from the suitcase as Iain picked it up from the carousel.  Intermittent little drips persisted all the way from Terminal 4 to the Central Bus Station at Terminal 3.

I managed to clean up the kicap spill on the outside but the mess inside the case was too much to bear.  Here's a teeny sample of what it did to my CD jackets.

But there's no point in crying over spilt kicap.  As Oi Bek suggested,  Lely will have to cart 2 more bottles of the precious stuff when she comes over in Spring!!

Hidayah my niece was just as sympathetic as Lely.  She asked if my belacan and chili got drowned in the kicap!

As for Hidayah's brother Mahzan, when he read my previous posting  KUL to LHR  he was  "secretly hoping" that he would get an e-mail from me  "from Lahore".  You see we have a dark travel track record.  We presented the previous year's bus ticket on the Nasional Ekspres from KL to Batu Pahat and  got uppity when the ticket clerk refused to accept it - but we received an indulgent smile later when we apologised and  realised  how idiotic we had been.  Then we went to KLIA to fly to New Zealand not realising it was one day too early! 

Some years ago the Hasry Bus from Singapore to Batu Pahat failed to pick us up after the Immigration check at JB.  We wrote such a stinking letter and got them to pay compensation to a local (BP) orphanage.  Besides, they also nicked my CPF umbrella which was left in the bus; a free gift from the Singapore garmen, so good one what.  This time, Mahzan and the others were hoping we would lose our direction or be abandoned again,  and end up in Lahore instead.

Well , all of the above, except Oi Bek, will be struck off my list of Sayang di Sayang  and henceforth will only be offered a meal of rice and kicap when they turn up under my roof.  As for the kicap, they will have to BYO  (Bring Your Own), like wine.  So there!!

It's 1400 hours now and my body clock is recording  2200 hours - made worse by the pangs of pain from the  loss of my kicap.

Before I huddle under the duvet on this bright and sunny and cold afternoon, here's an image of what two English young male neanderthals left behind on the MAS seat after they pushed their way to be first off the plane at LHR  (London Heathrow - for the benefit of nerdy nephew).

I hate to think what London will look like after the Olympics.  But they will of course blame it on the foreigners.

Halfway through the journey, the spouse had to tell them to quieten down as this was a night flight and people were trying to sleep.  One of them boasted  about how he finished off  two tumblers of beer, one of wine and two orange juice during one meal.  And at each meal he would be regurgitating his insides with 3-4 vile burps. Ugghh!!

And down in cargo, my two bottles of kicap were sloshing about in my suitcase.

Still, it's wonderful to be home.   The temperature here is 4C.

Monday 9 January 2012

MH 002 - KUL to LHR

These condiments will be going to the other home on Tuesday 10 January.

We made the same journey exactly a year ago  - back to the bracing cold.

At our age, we do not know  how much longer can we pursue this nomadic lifestyle.

Robert Frost in his poem -The Road Not Taken -  had to decide between two diverging roads  but of course AsH had to make her life more difficult by having to pick on three.

One road marks the depth of one's  soul - which points to Semenanjung Tanah Melayu .......

.........Arwah Pa'Tua Haji Majid wrote this letter to his brother Hamid three days before my father passed away.  The bond that held two brothers together  is replicated in my bond to the Semenanjung.

The other road leads to Singapore which still holds the heart's joy .........

...........especially the house that my father built at Pasir Panjang.

 And tomorrow  AsH  will be taking the third road for England, where the mind  thrives and blooms like these daffodils at Victoria Park in March.

But I'm not complaining.  I believe very much in R. Frost's  Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening  where ..........

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.

And so ta ra me duck !  ........ see you later next week, InsyaAllah. 

Orang jauh tak lupa dari kenangan  - to all my sayang di sayang.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Culinary Cusp of 2011 and 2012

When the Buchanans meet the Rainbow Band, they always travel on their stomachs.  We were informed of Singaporeans'  three major interests;  eating, shopping and surfing on the net.  And during that week in Singapore we put the first  SIN into action.

On our last trip into Singapore, our foray for mee rebus turned out to be a failure.   The gravy was either too stodgy or too insipid.

But Lely compensated for that distress.  With  her own hands, the hands that rocked the camera for  fantastic nature photographs...... 
( )
she cooked us two fabulous meals.  There was asam pedas ikan merah, crunchy fried French beans, crispy fried ikan selar kuning and her oommphy  sambal blacan.  On another day the menu consisted of  curry ikan tenggiri, a repeat hot favourite of sambal blacan and French beans and a special succulent omelette padded with lots of onions and red/green chillies.  I always knew this maknyonya had brains  ....... where food is concerned.  There was one snag.  First thing in the morning she made us take a health drink of cider vinegar and honey - yecchh!

Ruqxana brought with her to Lely's flat, three durians. She was diddled into paying too much for the 'king of fruits' by a couple of rogue durian traders from Johor.  After a solid meal ( cooked by Ruq) of homemade roti canai, dhal and fish curry,  we decided to call it a night, especially Irene who was ready to get  home to her bed.  As for the durians: oh no, the stomachs could not handle it, especially at 2200 hours!
It ended this way:
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Saturday  New Year's Eve 

Lely, the health-conscious one, who demolished almost a whole durian the night before, had arranged a visit to her acupuncturist ....... help the spouse with his back problem and her own arthriticky right arm.  It worked for both of them - as usual - because Mr Lim Tong Hong is a a competent acupuncturist.  With that kind of backup they had sufficiently strong (and hungry) guts to attend Oi Bek's special New Year's Eve  belanja   of lunch.

This was our reply to her gracious invitation from 12 December

Dear Miss Soh,

Mr and Mrs D.I. Buchanan thank you for the very kind invitation.  Now that our ticket to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur has been confirmed we do not envisage any problem in getting to Royal Plaza Hotel at Scotts.   Certainly we shall try our best to look presentable.  Uncle shall have a haircut and I'll buy him a new sarong.  Teech shall dig up her slinky black dress in the suitcase under the bed.

There'a a little query - do you have to invite all the others?  They might misbehave and hence tarnish our reputation?

Love from us both.

P.S Thank you Bek for everything.  

On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM, Bek Soh wrote:

Hi Everyone,

You are invited to lunch on New Year’s eve at Royal Plaza Hotel at Scotts – Carousel coffee shop (Former Holiday Inn Hotel at Scotts – Halal certified)

We were all very well-behaved, ate only what we could handle - just a teeny-weeny bit of most of the delicacies and left with a happy tummy and a grateful thank you  to Oi Bek and her Rishad.

Sunday January 1, 2012

Jai picked us up at 0900 hours for a tosay breakfast at  Pasar Tek Kah next to Kandang Kerbau Hospital.

The spouse looked a little ragged - just a bit too much of la dolce vita. The other three are beaming with smiles.  They get that way when lovely food is placed in front of them.

But there was an attempt at a little scam prior to this.

What are they up to in front of that quadrilingual pawn shop and who is Lely pointing at?  I was on the other side of the road.  Were they scheming to pawn my little gold ring or Jai's VW Golf?  But they backed off when I threatened  to post some of their nerdy photos on my blog.

That was a great 2011/2012 celebration. 

Thank goodness we found this at Jai's block - a fitness corner for the elderly.

However there's still the search for the best mee rebus south of the Causeway.  That will be another story.