Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Just a gallimaufry of AI-generated photos, real photos and ramblings ๐Ÿ“ธ


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!๐Ÿ….

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! ๐Ÿ˜‹
 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. ๐Ÿข
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!” ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸฅŸ๐ŸŒ


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


  1. I would really like to taste a jot pot. I love soups and broth...
    Enjoy the monsoon time, with ease.

  2. I enjoyed your story about the turtle very much. I agree with you, a hot pot is very nice to eat when it's cokd og bad weather. I make it often during the winter time here.
    Enjoy the monsoon time!

  3. Your mother's memories and yours are so poignant here, Veronica. Dementia is such a tough disease on the person affected personally and all who love them. I did enjoy the AI photos you shared here delightful!

  4. Penyu was so cute as a wee one. So nice that you adopted and took care of her for awhile before releasing her back into the wild. I agree with your mother, I think that turtles have tears from sorrow, just like any other animal. That's just what I believe. What a dear story your mother shared with you. I really like that picture of the family preparing food together. It looks like a table of gratitude. I'm so sorry that your mom has dementia. That must be so hard on her and the family that she loves. What a nice memory of you sitting on the stone turtle at the park when you were little.

    Have a blessed rest of the week.


  5. Lots of good memories. Sorry about your mother. Now I know Italian means tomato in your corner of the world. Good info.

  6. OH I am just loving those photos and your memories of the turtle release; that must have been so special! I just love turtles (as long as they aren't fresh water snapping turtles; those I'm a bit afraid of).

  7. Oops my comment went into yesterday's post. Gorgeous food and travel photos. Love the turtle photos.

  8. There are some resultants here that include a hot pot menu item, notably a Japanese bistro that we frequent, but I'm sure it differs from the one you mentioned, Veronica Lee. I can imagine that the monsoon season is a good time to stay in and enjoy this dish as you said. I hope that your turtle, Penyu, Did have a good marine life after its release. Sorry to read about your mother and her struggles with dementia. It is such a cruel disease in so many ways.

  9. The monk scene really appeals to me

  10. Those hot pots look amazing and I think I'd probably enjoy them. The turtles were amazing and so was all of your art.

  11. I think the hot pots look good, although I'm with your son in not wanting sea food in them.
    I love the turtles and your AI photos too!

  12. L aimagen de la tortuga me conmoviรณ. Te mando un beso.

  13. I know it's AI but I don't think children should be riding turtles. I love to see them heading out to the ocean though, that's something I've never seen before and that dragon is so cool.

  14. Wonderful photos and love the AI especially the mice, they made me smile.
    I'm with your son re food, don't mix fish etc.
    The turtles, love them and went to your link - thank you for that.
    The AI, the last one is cute๐Ÿ˜Š

  15. Beautiful series of photos made with AI.
    I love the turtle.
    The food looks delicious.
    Greetings Irma

  16. Hello Veronica,
    Nice post with funny details as the dragon from balloons.
    And nice to see the small turtles along the coast in the sand. Funny images of the 4 mouses ready for them meal.

    Many greetings,

  17. Thank for helping a turtle. I hope that one day she will come ashore and lay eggs.

  18. hot pots, turtle releases, and other joys of life. thank you for capturing them, for enlarging my borders, for letting us come along for the ride. happy weekend to you, friend.

  19. What delicious food you showed again but that story of your adopted little turtle was really endearing. All the pictures were beautiful again and I greet you now from my other website Gedichten and stories from life that may also give you perhaps to gives beautiful words and images. It is not really spring weather here yet as we are receiving a lot of rain. Sad that your mother suffers from dementia but you certainly keep the memories alive here. That girl on the turtle was very beautiful although I think the turtle might not have liked it so much. I don't know you as a small child but I'm sure your sister is right. many greetings again from me, Tine NL

  20. What impressive stories you have here, dear Veronica.I like turtles and your experience with them is awesome.
    Hugs and a fine weekend, dear friend! ❤️๐Ÿ˜˜

  21. Those turtles are adorable creatures!

  22. That was a lovely story about your mother, that's an image I will keep in my heart, it touched a soft spot by me! Thanks for sharing the photos and tales. The couple you discovered on the beach intead of the turtle must have been more than surprised! Hugs, Valerie

  23. Your photos are stunning... both the real ones and the AI generated ones. I like the turtle under the full moon photos. I've never tried hot pot. Something else I need to add to my list!!

  24. I wish you to take part in the most pleasant indoor activities during the monsoon! and hot pot spot at every turn ☺

  25. The mice pictures you keep sharing are just too cute. I love the food photos.

  26. I have never had hotpot, can you believe that?! I do need to rectify that. What a wonderful story of adopting and releasing Penyu!


  27. Oh my all the food looks SO good. Individual pots make sense. I have said this before but you so have to do tutorial on the AI paintings. Love these! The turtle release, wow so cool, what a great day to look back on.

    Allie of

  28. Although I didn't understand a word, I enjoyed watching the video of Rose and her husband making the zongzi.
    So much interesting info about turtles. I remember when you released the turtle you had adopted, and went back to the link to re-read about it.
    I never knew you could watch turtles laying their eggs. I would have thought they would hide themselves somewhere away from prying eyes, and having a guide shouting and flashlights being shined on them would be very traumatic and scare them off, except that turtles are very slow and can't run off, especially in the middle of laying an egg. It sounds like a very funny excursion though, especially the part about the couple lost in a romantic moment.
    Sweet picture at the bottom of your post of the little girl seated on the stone turtle.
    I'm so sorry to read that your mom has dementia. Mine did too. It is so devastating watching your loved one be deprived of their memories.

  29. Hot pot sounds like a delicious way to share a meal with friends and family. I like the idea of individual pots.
    Turtles are fascinating creatures. My daughter had a land tortoise as a pet for a number of years. It was an endearing little thing.
    I laughed at your story on the beach with the mosquitoes, motorcycle and that couple interrupted in their romance. Lots of fun memories.

  30. Lovely photos and those turtles are soooo cute :-)
    The Art Diary

  31. Hello Veronica,
    I would love to see the turtles laying their eggs on the beach.
    You have sweet memories of your childhood, I loved the turtle released story.
    The food looks delicious, I would like to try the individual hot pot. The last photo is adorable. Thank you for linking up and sharing your critter post. Take care, have a great day and happy weekend. PS, thanks so much for leaving me a comment.

  32. Thank you for sharing this fun post. I loved reading the turtle story and the mice eating Chinese hot pot images are adorable! One of my most cherished memories is seeing the endangered sea turtles nesting on the beach ready to give birth to their young.

  33. We love seeing turtles here in Florida and it's a treat to watch them. Thanks for sharing your memories. Enjoy your day!

  34. Oh those turtles!! Love the balloon dragon as well.

  35. What a post with such deep memories of your mum and your childhood, I was touched by them! I hope your tortoise is happy wherever he is! I loved the AI photos, which are your images of a past that you haven't recorded in photos, but that through your words you can relive again! I've never heard of that hot pot food, it must be delicious. Thanks for this post!

  36. I remember hot pot from the time I lived in Taiwan. It was delicious in the colder winter months. Your telling about the turtle is so moving. I saw Green Sea Turtles in Hawai'i and they such magnificent animals. It is hard to forget them, so I can easliy imagine that you often think of Penyu (which reminds me of the Chinese word "pengyou", friend). Hugs - Carola

  37. Dear Veronica, with your descriptions and (AI or photographed) images, you have created many interesting stories and images in my mind's eye. The loving family meals and the turtle story were brought to life. I remember my own baby turtle experience in Costa Rica and, like you, I hope that this (nameless) turtle lives a good turtle life. I enjoyed traveling through time and stories with you - thank you for sharing!
    All the best and a good start into the new week, Traude

  38. A wonderful post. Love the turtle egg laying and making dumplings stories. The calico in the temple is precious. Reminds me how my calico was.

  39. Your turtle experience just takes my breath away. What a moving event. I can only begin to imagine. And the food looks wonderful. We haven't used our hot pot in a long while, and never with the grands. I think we'll have to try that!

  40. Thank you for sharing at

  41. I sure enjoyed reading your words. The turtle stories were hilarious, the couple especially :)
    I would like to extend an invitation to join Gma'sPhoto link parties.
    Take care and best wishes.

  42. Wonderful photos and narration about the turtles and food.

  43. The food looks so delicious and those turtles are adorable.
    Fine Art and You

  44. What a lovely post interesting, I liked the AI ones too ๐Ÿ‘
    Have a gallimaufrytastic week ๐Ÿ‘

  45. So much to enjoy reading and viewing your delightful post. I'm now craving some hot pot!

  46. Love the image of that little girl sitting on the turtle.
    Enjoy the rest of this week!

  47. We like that balloon design, it is fun. Turtles are not our thing although as far as reptiles go, they are probably the best of them.

  48. ...a lovely gallimaufry, I like the balloon sculpture the best. Have a wonderful day.

  49. We have hot pot here too. Very different to yours, but still a much loved comfort food.

  50. You AI images are amazing. Wow.

    You know how much I love your food. I ate some of everything. Yummy.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

  51. Hi Veronica,
    You have a knack for story telling. I enjoyed reading your posts.

    Friends took me to a hot pot restaurant in KL years ago. We sat outside, and it was so hot. It was much better when we had it in Cameron Highlands. In the States, we usually do hot pots in the winter months. Restaurants do individual pots too as people are into plant-based food and/or are vegans.

    As for zongzi, my family love my mom's. I never learned to make it, but luckily, my sister did, so we get to savor it from time to time and keep those memories alive.

  52. I am sure I will enjoy a hot pot as long as they do not add tomato to it.
    Thanks so much for participating and sharing at #29 #WW (Words welcome). See you tomorrow

  53. Today I'm doing blogwalking. Warm greetings from the beautiful islands. beautiful