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Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Simba was a feral cat that strayed into the condo where we live. Late one evening when my son Josh was getting out of his car after returning home from college, a bright orange kitty sprang out from behind the bushes and started to rub his body against Josh's legs. Josh said it was love at first sight.

For the next couple of weeks, the moggie would wait for Josh at the car park at the same time every day and greet him with a leg rub and headbutt when Josh returned home from college. And Josh would reciprocate with kitty treats and a belly rub. Josh named him Simba because it reminded him of Simba the lion from the movie The Lion King.

Long story but sadly, at this point of my life, we can't adopt a pet.

Josh would frequently bring Simba up to our unit and we would first give Simba a bath and then fuss over him. But Simba would only humour us for just a little while before he headed for the door, purring very loudly, demanding to go back down to the ground floor where he would wander off to God knows where. You can't find him, he finds you!

Then one day, when Josh returned home at the usual hour, there was no stripy orange cat to greet him. No Simba the next day. Nor the days after. Josh was heartbroken. He combed the entire condo grounds looking for the kitty but he was nowhere to be found. As mysteriously as he appeared, he vanished.
Simba - The feral kitty that strayed into our hearts
Perhaps he would find Josh again someday.

A sweet cat video to share.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Halloween Cookies 2018

I woke up this morning and felt like baking, something I haven't done in a while.

When inspiration strikes....


Chinese folklore dictates that if a pregnant black cat jumps over a coffin, it will pass on one of its 9 lives to the corpse and bring him/her back to life as a vampire!

Like my Halloween cookies?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Of Ghosts and Bananas

Know what this is?
It's a banana heart!

Also known as banana blossom, this purplish flower of the banana plant hangs at the end of the stem holding a cluster of bananas.

The flower is edible and common in Southeast Asian cuisines.

When we were little, we were forbidden to hang around banana trees as our elders believed that these trees harboured ghosts!

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the banana ghost folktales I grew up on.

Hantu Pisang (Malaysian)
According to the Mah Meri (an indigenous tribe of Peninsular Malaysia), the banana heart transforms into a beautiful young woman when it is pierced with a nail attached to a thread. She seduces men and then takes away their souls!

Ba Jiao Jing (Chinese)
A wailing female spirit who appears under a banana tree at night, sometimes carrying a baby.  It is believed that gamblers can summon the spirit to ask for “lucky numbers” in the hope of striking the lottery.
A red string is tied to the banana heart and the other end of the string is tied to the bed of the person invoking the spirit. At night, the banana spirit will visit  her captor and begs to be freed. In return, she will bestow them a set of winning numbers. A horrible fate awaits those who fail to release the spirit after winning!

Nang Tani (Thai)
A lady ghost who dwells in wild banana tree groves. She is supposedly very beautiful and wears a green traditional Thai costume. Hiding in the day, she will only appear at night when the moon is full. Generally, the Nang Tani is not malevolent and will only harm bad men who mistreat women.

Men who cheat on their wives, BEWARE!

In Thailand, it is not uncommon to see banana trees tied with colorful satin cloths — an indication that the trees are inhabited by Nang Tani. Cutting down these trees will incur her wrath.
A clump of wild banana trees tied with colorful cloths
 image source -

A late cousin of mine  was told that if she smeared her blood onto a banana heart, she would be able to see a banana ghost/spirit. A very curious teenager then, she conducted the experiment. Nope, she did not see the banana ghost/spirit but she was never the same again after the incident. She fell into a deep depression, turned to drugs and alcohol and attempted suicide a couple of times. She died of cancer at the age of 43. She was diagnosed with bipolar by several doctors but our elders believed that she was cursed by the banana ghost/spirit she invoked. Really, who's to say?

When I was in college, I stayed in a rented house with 3 other tenants. And yes, there was a banana tree in the yard. One of the tenants claimed  he heard a female voice singing at ungodly hours on several occasions. Yes, the sound came from the direction of the banana tree! The rest of us didn't hear anything though.

We never knew for sure if he was just pulling our leg but he did move out in a hurry!


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Happy Hour

Reminding you to spend at least an hour each day doing something that makes you happy.

My Happy Hour today — cupcake and English breakfast tea.

What is yours?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Question: What is a huge flock of starlings called?

Answer: A murmuration.

I was fascinated by this cool hanging sculpture inspired by starlings in murmuration at a community mall aptly named The Starling.

365 individually crafted birds were used in the installation to represent each day of the year.

An extra special 366th bird was added to symbolize the leap year the mall was constructed in.

A murmuration video to share. Uncanny. Almost extraterrestrial, don't you agree?

God's screensaver!
image credit - Daniel Biber

When starlings flock together before dusk to roost, they often swoop in murmuration — a  phenomenon that results when the birds shape shift in the sky as if  they were a single ginormous, gyrating entity.

But the spectacular aerial display isn't for fun.The presence of a predator like a hawk or peregrine falcon often triggers the behavior and the flock's synchronized motion is based on evasive maneuvers. The swarming and complex twisting movements are a defense mechanism to help protect the flock by confusing the predator. He can't lock on to a single target. Safety in numbers!!

I've always wondered about the science behind the murmuration and a recent video I watched hypothesizes that a starling in the flock just has to follow 3 simple rules!

1. As you fly, stay towards each other
2. If any of your seven neighbours turn, you turn
3. Don't crowd each other

When millions of birds do it in unison and at a speed that's 10 times faster than any human pilot, the results are astounding!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday