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Friday, May 31, 2024


Just a gallimaufry of AI-generated photos, real photos and ramblings 📸
Dubai Airport 2023

Whenever I am in an airport, my mind always wanders back to a cherished memory from 22 years ago, involving my then-kindergartener son and his beloved hedgehog, Han-Han.

For days leading up to our trip to Singapore, Son#1, inseparable from his beloved Han-Han, had been relentless in his pleas to bring his tiny companion along.

Despite my attempts to reason with him, he remained adamant, insisting on Han-Han's presence. As we stood in line at the immigration department, waiting to get our passports made, with the pressure mounting, I found myself at wit's end.

It was then, in a moment of frustration, that I blurted out, "Han-Han can't come along because he has no passport." Surprisingly, this simple explanation worked like a charm, putting an end to the relentless pestering. With Han-Han comfortably settled in a pet hotel, we embarked on our journey with a very relieved and happy boy.

AI-generated images inspired by Han-Han

Drunken La La - clams cooked in a flavorful sauce with Chinese rice wine
The "la la" clam, commonly known in Malaysia by its local name, is referred to as the Asiatic hard clam or simply hard clam in English. The scientific name for this species is Meretrix meretrix. These clams are known for their hard shells and are a popular choice in various seafood dishes across Southeast Asia.

If you've seen Me Before You or read the novel by Jojo Moyes, you know what the bumblebee tights are all about, right? In the book and film, the bumblebee tights symbolize Louisa's independence—and her vivacious spirit—that which Will encourages her to fully embrace and to, in his words, “live boldly.” 
I read the book twice, watched the movie for the umpteenth time and yet, I still find myself reaching out for the tissue every single time!

Inspired by the ending cafe scene from the movie "Me Before You".
Louisa wears the bumblebee stockings as she sits at a cafe in Paris, reading Will's letter.

"Wear those stripy legs with pride...."


Back in 2009, rumours of a mermaid that was washed ashore on a Malaysian island spread like wildfire across the nation. There was even a short video clip of the mermaid lying dead on a beach. 

Turned out, the purported mermaid was a sculpture by artist Juan Cabana. Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed. I had wanted to believe that mermaids were real and that one was discovered at long last. 

And why not? The existence of merpeople really is quite plausible for 2 reasons:

1. Mermaid tales have existed across all cultures since time immemorial, long before the different cultures interacted with one another. Paintings, poems and sculptures of these amphibious maidens sometimes found in Indian temples are evident that such creatures are more than just a figment of the imagination.

2.The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contains 97 percent of the planet's water, yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored. Who really knows what's down there in those bottomless mid-ocean trenches? After all, two new whale species were discovered only in recent years.

Growing up, my first mermaid tale was the one Grandma used to tell before tucking us to bed. According to Chinese mythology, sailors loved to trap mermaids to sniff out their tails. Simple minded though beautiful, they were easy to snare. Their tails were naturally purple and smelled of happiness but would turn to red and smell of sadness when they were unhappy. Mermaids in Chinese literally translates as 'beautiful human fish'.
AI generated
If mermaids were real, I believe they aren't the alluring beautiful creatures we grew up imagining and would probably look more like monsters than Ariel.

Baby boomers, remember the black and white photograph of a 'reverse mermaid' that made quite a splash circa 1973? I was in fifth grade when a classmate brought the picture to school. The creature in the photo had a fish’s head and the hips and legs of a fully-developed woman.
For a very long time, I never knew for sure if the mysterious entity was fake. It did look kinda fishy! It was only until recently that I googled and learned the reverse mermaid was indeed a hoax that originated in or around Yemen during the early 1970s. The story behind the hoax until today is still undisclosed.

The whimsy in me wants to believe that mermaids along with dragons, unicorns, werewolves, vampires, fairies.... exist simply because they represent the unknown, the mystical, the supernatural. Maybe they are not what we have in mind but they are definitely out there, elusive, lurking in the twilight place between land and sea.
Do you believe in mermaids?
My Corner of the World

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Just a gallimaufry of AI-generated photos, real photos and ramblings 📸


It's the monsoon season over here in my corner of the world, and it's the perfect time to indulge in hot pot. Nothing beats the warmth, comfort, and camaraderie found in gathering around a bubbling hot pot.

Hot pot restaurants are ubiquitous in Malaysia, with one often just a few doors away from another—you're bound to stumble upon a tempting hot pot spot at every turn.

From Malaysian to Taiwanese, Chinese to Thai, Japanese to Korean, the hot pot options are as diverse as they are delicious.

Haha! And even Italian, as you can see from the following signboard!

In Malaysia, Italian is synonymous with tomato. So, save for an authentic Italian restaurant, anything that says Italian is probably something that tastes very tomatoey!🍅.

I ordered the Italian Tomato Pot. Mamma mia! The broth literally came in a tomato pot!
It didn't taste Italian but it was delizioso! 😋
 AI-generated images of mice enjoying a traditional Chinese hot pot, also known as steamboat.

Due to hygiene reasons, hot pot these days often comes in individual pots instead of a communal pot. This way, you can choose your own broth and cook ingredients of your choice. My son doesn't take seafood and won't touch anything that comes in contact with seafood, so this individual pot style is perfect for us.


Turtle-release 2018
Each grain of sand holds a story of hope, as the sea whispers secrets of the ones we set free.
Six years ago, a remarkable journey began. A tiny turtle named Penyu, whom I had the privilege of adopting, was released back into the wild in a heartwarming turtle-release excursion. The story of our time together, along with photos capturing those precious moments, can be found here

Even now, my thoughts often drift to Penyu. As I gaze out at the vast expanse of the sea, I can’t help but wonder about its journey. I would like to believe it's female. Did she navigate the currents successfully? Did  she find her place in the grand tapestry of marine life? The sea may hold these answers, but its whispers are too faint for me to hear. Yet, in my heart, I like to believe that Penyu is out there, living her best turtle life.

I like to imagine that Penyu, my little marine buddy, has returned to the very beach where her journey began. There, under the moonlit sky, she would have found a safe spot to nest, continuing the circle of life. In my heart, this is the story I hold onto. 🐢
In college, I embarked on an expedition to witness turtle egg-laying on a secluded beach. It was a moonless night. Dim torchlights guided our way through pitch-black darkness, as cellphones weren't ubiquitous back then. Led by our  guide, we trudged along the sandy shore, eager for the sight of nesting turtles.

Suddenly, the guide's voice pierced the darkness, shouting, "Over there, over there!" Excitedly, we rushed towards where his torchlight pointed. In the distance, we could make out a dark shape resembling a turtle. But as we converged our torches on it, to our amusement, it turned out to be a motorcycle lying on its side in the sand! Laughter echoed along the beach as we continued our search.

The night was heavy with humidity, and mosquitoes swarmed around us, leaving itchy reminders of their presence. Then, in another comical twist, the guide sprinted ahead, urgently calling out "Sini, sini!" - "over here" in Malay. We aimed our torches at the looming shadows ahead, expecting to find our elusive turtles. To our surprise, the 'turtle' turned out to be a couple lost in a romantic moment on the beach! The expressions on their faces when they found themselves in the spotlight of our converging torchlights were absolutely priceless!

By then, the mosquitoes were relentless, and our enthusiasm was waning. We decided to call it a night, bidding farewell to our adventurous, albeit unconventional, turtle watching expedition.

While I haven't had the chance to witness turtle-watching again, my mom, before dementia claimed her memories, often fondly recalled her own adventures with it. Her story was poignant, filled with the enchantment of moonlit beaches and the heartrending sight of the turtle crying while laying her eggs.
AI generated
In the depths of her heart, my mother held a belief that was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. She saw the tears of the turtle as a poignant testament to a mother’s love and sacrifice, a manifestation of physical pain and profound sorrow, born from the understanding that she would never gaze upon her offspring again. This belief painted a picture of a world where even the creatures of the sea were capable of such deep emotions. However, the harsh light of reality paints a different picture. Turtles, contrary to my mother’s belief, do not shed tears borne of emotional distress. The tears that glisten on their faces as they lay their eggs in the sandy, salty environments are not symbols of sorrow, but rather, they serve a crucial biological function. These tears are nature’s way of helping them flush out the excess salt from their bodies, a testament to the relentless survival instinct that drives all life on this planet.

It was one of those days when a craving for something nostalgic hit me hard. I couldn't shake off the yearning for zongzi, those sticky rice parcels wrapped in bamboo leaves that I used to enjoy only once a year during the Dragon Boat Festival in my childhood.

 I headed straight to the hawker center in my neck of the woods, knowing that these days, the rice dumplings are readily available any time of the year.  I unwrapped my dumpling and anticipated the surprise it held for me. You never know what 'treasures' are buried in each parcel as the fillings vary from cook to cook. Taking that first bite, I realized that the store-bought ones might satisfy the craving, but they lack the magic ingredient - the labour of love of Grandma and my aunts. 

Cherished memories
Each bite was a journey through time, a portal to my Grandma’s humble wooden kitchen, the heart of our family gatherings.

I could almost hear the lively chatter, smell the aroma of boiling bamboo leaves, and feel the warmth of shared laughter as we wrapped the dumplings together.
While searching for a zongzi-making video, I came across this captivating inter-racial couple. Rose, originally from Uganda, not only speaks impeccable Mandarin but also prepares flawless traditional Chinese cuisine. Her husband, who is Chinese, shares their life together in China. 

Rose’s culinary and Mandarin prowess put me to shame—I can’t speak Mandarin, and making zongzi from scratch feels like an impossible feat! Hats off to this remarkable couple!” 🌟🥟🌍


Phuket 1991


In the recesses of my mind, there's a vivid memory from my childhood—me sitting on a big stone turtle in a park. But I can't remember where that park was. A black-and-white photo once bore witness to that moment, but it, along with other old photos, fell victim to a termite infestation in our childhood home, erasing many such treasured fragments of our family history. My mother, now in the grips of dementia, can no longer serve as the custodian of our shared past. My siblings, too, draw a blank when asked about the park. Yet, the memory of that stone turtle and the child who sat upon it lives on, undiminished by time or circumstance
 My sister remarked that the resemblance between me and the child on the turtle was uncanny.
My Corner of the World

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


Just a gallimaufry of AI-generated photos, real photos and ramblings 📸

Kuih Loyang
Kuih Ros aka  Kuih Loyang is a  traditional Malaysian snack that is popular during festive seasons like Eid al-Fitr and Chinese New Year. Delicate and crispy, it is  made from a simple batter of rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt.


Ever stopped to peer into a pet store window and felt a pang of sadness seeing those animals looking so forlorn?

What if, just for a moment, the roles were reversed? Picture this: we're the ones behind the glass, on display for all the pets passing by to see. How would we feel, confined to such a small space, longing for freedom and connection?


Dubai's pink taxis 
Dubai's Pink Taxi service operates a fleet of 115 vehicles driven exclusively by female drivers from various nationalities. In 2023 alone, the dedicated women-driven taxis recorded over 674,419 trips – underscoring strong demand. These taxis primarily serve family and female passengers, offering a safe and comfortable transportation option in Dubai. This initiative aims to provide a sense of security and privacy, catering to the needs of women and families in the city.

Dinner - Korean

Korean seafood pancake, or pajeon, is a savory treat filled with seafood like shrimp or squid, mixed with green onions and veggies in a crispy batter. It's popular as both street food and homemade dish, served with a soy-based dipping sauce.

I had the 'UFO Fried Rice.' I wouldn't say it was 🛸 out-of-this-world delicious. 😞

The Story Behind 'OF MICE AND raMEN'

I've been blogging for 16 years, and every now and then, curious bloggy buddies ask about the meaning of the name behind my blog, 'OF MICE AND raMEN'. Note the uppercase letters except for 'ra'. You probably didn't notice that in my blog header.

I am a big fan of John Steinbeck, and his timeless classic “Of Mice and Men,” my favorite read, served as the muse for my blog’s name. 
One day, while slurping ramen and contemplating a name for my blog, I noticed the book of the same title on my bookcase and thought, 'Why not?' I decided to change 'men' to 'ramen' because I thought it had a playful twist, even though there's no direct connection to the novella.

My muse
Note - Every AI-generated photo you see here is a product of artificial intelligence, meticulously and painstakingly crafted through textual descriptions alone. No actual photographs were utilized or manipulated in the creation of these images.

My Corner of the World