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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Weird Sky

The sky has never quite looked like this before.

It was a  little past 10.00 pm when I took these photos.





Sunday, July 26, 2020

Chow Chow

The hubs and I were passing a parking lot when we spotted this friendly chow chow in a pickup truck.

The owner was nowhere to be seen.
We hopped into a pharmacy nearby to pick up some meds and according to the pharmacist who was attending to us, the dog in the truck is a familiar sight in this part of the neighbourhood.

Apparently, the owner stops by regularly to run an errand while the dog waits patiently in the truck!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Taiwanese Braised Pork

Turns out, many of us were channelizing our inner master chefs during the lockdown and I must say my recipe repertoire has certainly expanded, thanks to the myriad Youtube videos that kept popping up in my feed.

It took a pandemic to help me rediscover the joys of home cooking!

I found my zen garden in the kitchen.
Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly

A recipe to share


There you go  an amazing rice bowl that is topped with aromatic, toothsome, caramelized, melt-in-your-mouth pork morsels and a braised hard-boiled egg!

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Moonbow

Last night, I was over the moon when I had the amazing opportunity to witness a moonbow for the first time in my 58 years of life!

There are some things you just can't capture in a photo. This shot on my phone  couldn't possibly do justice to what I had witnessed.

I was bewitched by the spectral sighting.

Never had I ever seen a rainbow haloing a moon!

Ghostly and alluring, it was like gazing at a portal into another realm!
Several conditions have to be just right for a moonbow to occur

Upon googling, I learned that a moonbow also known as a lunar halo or lunar rainbow, is a rare natural atmospheric phenomenon that occurs when the moon's light is reflected and refracted off water droplets in the air.

In other words, it is a rainbow produced by moonlight rather than sunlight.

It is believed that a moonbow brings good luck to the localized area it is viewed in.

In these strange and uncertain times, I have been looking up at the heavens a lot lately for signs of good things to come.

Perhaps this is a harbinger of something great on its way?

linking up with Creative in retirement

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Rice Dumpling Day

Last Thursday, 25th June, was Rice Dumpling Day aka Dragon Boat Festival.

More info about the festival here.

Pre Covid-19, we would be practising the tradition of dumpling exchange with our neighbours, friends and relatives. All the cousins would gather at my elderly aunt's house for a dumpling feast to savour the different versions of our fruits of labour.

For the first time this year, we decided to give the custom a miss. Instead, we stayed home to enjoy our store-bought dumplings.
The tradition of making these dumplings dates back more than 2000 years!

I can never get used to the element of surprise in uncovering these bamboo leaf-wrapped treats. You never know what 'gems' are buried in each parcel as the fillings vary from cook to cook.
Sweet, savoury, spicy, pillow-shaped or triangular, cream-colored and yes, blue(!), the dumplings are made of glutinous rice and packed with an assortment of fillings, from oysters to abalones to durians!

The *Peranakan blue ones are tinted with a natural dye that comes from the butterfly pea flower.

*Peranakan - A sub-ethnic community of Malay-Chinese ancestry.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The New Normal

Finally, after being holed up in my own house for 90 days, I stepped outside and into our car for the first time!

At last, we were able to make that long awaited road trip back to my hometown to visit my parents whom I hadn't seen since lockdown.

Thankfully, my parents are fine. Angels had been looking out for them during the curfew. Strangers left food and essentials on their doorstep. A neighbour who fell out with them years ago even sent food over!

I guess you can say it took a pandemic to mend their feud of more than 10 years and over some silly tree if my memory serves me correctly!

The pandemic is not only healing the earth but it is also patching up broken relationships.

It has brought out the worst and best in people.

Navigating this new normal was initially awkward but I am adapting.

Masking in public is the law.

A masked society is somewhat freaky.

It's like living in a world without smiles.

Dining out and shopping are no longer what they used to be. At the entrance of every business premise, temperatures are taken and customers are required to leave their names, contact numbers and temperature readings either by scanning the QR code on their phones or by filling up a log book. Those who don't abide by the rules are denied entry.

I accept that these procedures are necessary for contact tracing but I am not at ease with the privacy trade-off.  I dread the thought of a security breach.

Dining out and indulging in the foods we had been craving since lockdown
Hubby's favourite meal of Ayam Goreng Berempah

Sambal Stuffed Fish

Hakka Noodles


Celebrating Father's Day in our favourite restaurant that has just reopened for dine-ins
X marks the spot where you can't sit



Yes, it was a bit strange walking into my favourite noodle shop  half of the tables in the shop had disappeared!

And it felt odd and absurd sitting with my family with empty chairs between us at a table marked with red Xs. When a fellow diner glanced in our direction, I flashed a smile at her. It was kinda sad that she couldn't read my facial expressions behind the mask 'cos a smile always makes two. And I'm accustomed to smiling at folks most of the time.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

RMCO

This is what I woke up to this morning.

The front page of our local newspaper.
Our MCO (Movement Control Order) that was implemented on the 18th of March became the CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order) when certain restrictions were lifted and now we have the RMCO (Relaxed Movement Control Order).

We are on the road to recovery!

I don't want to jinx it but I think we might have flattened the curve.

Our borders are still not open for travel but meanwhile, I'd like to share with you this award-winning video and let you take a peek into my corner of the world.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Missing The Beach

Last night, I was at the beach.

I could breathe in that balmy, salty air.

My feet sank and squished into the warm, wet sand at the edge of the waves.

I never felt more serene and peaceful...

But alas, I woke up from that vivid dream and sadly realized that we're still under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). The ban on interstate travel has not been lifted.

We have been under partial lockdown since March 18th.

My nearest weekend beach is just an hour's drive away but it is in another state.

It will be some time before I can hear the soothing sound of waves again.

From the archives
Port Dickson 2011

I miss the beach..


"A day at the beach restores the soul." - author unknown 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sign Of The Times

Would you have guessed that before lockdown, this was once a very crowded skating rink in a busy shopping mall?
image source - Instagram

Before lockdown
Over here in our corner of the world where it is perpetually summer, an indoor ice skating rink is a huge deal.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Day 62

Remember Penyu, the baby turtle I adopted and released back into the wild on a turtle-release excursion 2 years ago?  Story and photos here.

Oftentimes, I still wonder if my little buddy ever made it after we sent him off into the sea.

It is  estimated that only 1 in 1,000 turtle hatchlings survives to adulthood. Along with fishing gear and climate change, there are numerous human activity threats to sea turtles.

But for now, the fate of turtles may change and the Covid-19 pandemic could be playing a role.

Endangered turtles are thriving as global lockdowns vacate beaches across the world.

In Thailand and India's eastern coast, millions of endangered baby turtles were seen making their way on empty beaches to the sea!

From the archives
Penyu

Endangered sea turtles are  nesting in peace  at least for now.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Day 56

Bing! Bang! Boom! Boom! CLANG!

Of all the skills my son chose to take up during lockdown!

Haha!  Right back at ya, tone-deaf karaoke neighbour on the third floor!


Nah, I was merely joking. It's a digital drum set so all you really hear is the sound of the drumsticks tapping on the e-pads.

But it still is a tad annoying!

Linking with https://myworldthrumycameralens.blogspot.com/
                      https://natashamusing.com/

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Day 48

We were supposed to arrive in Milan for our Italian vacation on the 9th of March.

Just two days before our departure, our travel agent called to inform us that the trip was cancelled.

On March 9th,  the government of Italy announced a national lockdown.

There is no refund for the trip, only a deferment . No date has been given.

We are still waiting for a response from our travel agent who is waiting for a response from the tour operator who is waiting for the airline who has suspended all flights until further notice.

It's a long waiting game...

It's a no-win situation for any party and everyone is a loser.

I'm not even angry,  just frustrated.

Our Italian vacation is in limbo.

It's a torturous wait  and at 58, I feel my life seconds numbering.

The corona virus has hit the pause button on my bucket list.

So many places yet to visit, so little time.



From the archives.
London 2011

According to Lonely Planet, international travel might not return until 2021.

I miss traveling!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Day 34

Shuttered restaurants ...

Upturned chairs on tables in empty restaurants...

Open for take-outs and delivery only...

Dine-ins are prohibited.

Restaurant operators and diners found guilty of ignoring the order could face a maximum jail term of two years or a fine, or both.

Sad and heartbreaking but sacrifices have to be made.


Linking with - http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/
                        https://thejeshstudio.wordpress.com/
                        https://myworldthrumycameralens.blogspot.com/
                        https://natashamusing.com/
                        https://comedy-plus.com/

Sunday, April 12, 2020

DIY Mask

Strange times call for strange moves!
And yes, she did plug up the hole in the funnel!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Through Music We Are Connected

A Malaysian classical group and global friends comprising 25 vocalists and 19 instrumentalists, performing on the flute, cello, piano, violin, etc  from all over Malaysia and seven countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Sweden and the United States met online to record this uplifting Bach hymn on their cellphones.

Watching this video keeps my spirit up, knowing that although we are isolated and worlds apart, we are still connected.

Stay home and stay safe!


Sunday, March 29, 2020

No Exceptions!

A friend shared this photo on FB.

Hope this will bring a smile to your face in these grim times.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Reboot



Lockdowns, hospitals and morgues overwhelmed. empty shelves, xenophobia, a masked society, world chaos...

Our lives are thrown out of whack...

Surreal...

It's like waking  up in the middle of the movie "Contagion"...

But....

I  am inclined to believe that there is a silver lining when adversity knocks on the door. Things always happen for a reason.

I believe too, that God allowed this pandemic to return us to our true priorities — to the God who loves us, our families and the friends He has given us.

Mother Earth is given a chance to reboot  — to purge off  human pollution, to heal and  to rejuvenate.

"Since the lockdown: Venice's canals have become crystal clear. Italy coasts have dolphins coming nearer and nearer. Japan now has deer roaming free in the streets, and Thailand: the same with monkeys. China has record breaking pollution cuts. The Earth has already began showing signs of amazing things that are happening from the absence of human pollution. What if- and hear me out..- what if the entire human population used this as an opportunity to restart society on a greener, more environment conscious foot. What we're seeing in the span of a couple of days is amazing. A pipe dream "    - Gina Mayer

Swans have returned to the canals and dolphins have been spotted in the port.


In the meantime, sometimes the only things that can get you through these uncertain and  tumultuous times are a little laughter and a whole lot of friendship.

Fortunately, here in blogosphere, we needn't adhere to social distancing rules —  we can send virtual hugs and kisses as much as we'd like!


Sharing my go-to hymn whenever my head is in turmoil.

The words and melody never fail to sooth me.



Let's get through this together. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Awww Monday!

Guess whom I met this evening when I was on my way down to my sanctum to spend my quiet hour with the Lord?

This adorable poodle was waiting patiently for his owner who was chatting with a neighbour.

Awww Monday is hosted by Sandee at Comedy Plus.

Sharing my go-to prayer  when I want a full hour of deep prayer  – https://stpatcc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Miracle-Hour-handout-resource.pdf


Sunday, March 8, 2020

My Sanctum

It's hard to find solitude when you share a home with 3 other family members in a cluttered 1208 sq ft condominium.

So, whenever I feel like I'm snowed under by life's demands, I would head on over to the poolside on the ground floor late in the evening.

The pool is always deserted at this time.

My sanctum  where I spend my quiet time with the Lord.

Where is your sanctum?

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Onde Onde

Q. What is  green and furry and literally bursts in your mouth in a sweet liquid explosion of flavors and textures when you take a bite?

A. Onde-Onde!


My all-time favourite dessert – traditional Nyonya (Malay-Chinese) green-coloured rice cakes filled with liquid palm sugar and coated in grated coconut.

What is your favourite dessert?

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Cobbler

Armed with a bag of tools, a mat and a stool, this street cobbler plies his trade in front of a 7-eleven outlet in my neck of the woods.
Do old-school cobblers still exist in your corner of the world?

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Covid-19

Face masks are flying off the shelves in my corner of the world and every pharmacy I hopped into was short in supply of the coveted item.

This morning, after queuing for half an hour, I finally found a pharmacy that ended my quest.



The queue for masks.

Each customer is limited to only 1 packet which contains 5 pieces.

As of yesterday, three more Covid-19 cases have been identified in Malaysia, bringing the total number to 22.

Are you worried?  Are you keeping calm in your corner of the world?

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Datok Gong


Over here in my corner of the world, chances are you would stumble upon little red "houses" wherever you go – in the city, the countryside, your neck of the woods and even on golf courses!

These ubiquitous little red houses are actually shrines and are located by the roadside and usually under a shady tree. The shrines are worshiped by the residents living in the neighbourhood.


Take a peek inside and you would find the statue of a Malay deity, food offerings, joss sticks and a little cup of tea! However, no pork or alcohol is served – only halal offerings!

The deity (Datok Gong) is dressed in a traditional Malay costume with Islamic elements.  Datok means grandfather in Malay and Gong is the Chinese equivalent. Thus, Datok Gong is a fusion of  synonymous Malay and Chinese honorifics. The Datok Gong is a guardian spirit who looks after the peace, health, wealth and well-being of the people on the property/land he is protecting.

In Malaysia, every Malay is Muslim by law, so what is a Malay-Muslim deity doing in a Taoist shrine?!

First, a little history to share.

During the 19th century, Chinese immigrants to the Malay archipelago brought along their culture of worshiping Taoist deities (earth spirits) to these lands. Away from their homeland and in foreign soil, the immigrants sought the protection and help from local guardian spirits.

Back then, before the arrival of Islam, the local Malays also practiced similar guardian spirit (penunggu) worship. Both practices intertwined and a fusion belief was born.


Unlike other Taoist idols, Datok Gong is uniquely dressed in a sarong, wears a  songkok, and brandishes a keris. He is after all, a Malay-Muslim deity!
A Datok Gong idol

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Tory and Belle

Meet Tory and Belle,  my cousin's fur babies.

Aren't they adorable!


Tory (left) is Samoyed and Belle is Japanese Spitz.

Tory