Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Violin exams

Here I am practising the violin. No, not really, I'm posing for this shot. It's not possible to play and take this shot unless I have three limbs which I don't. An octopus I am not. My violin is a beauty it has a nice warm tone. And when I've practiced enough the violin can produce some lovely tunes making me and my neighbours very happy. ( Okay I'm not sure about the neighbours I'm assuming ).

My violin and I have been together for some years. It was bought after I dropped my first violin. I've changed the strings recently.....bought my current strings from the Royal Academy Of Medicine in London. Wow! What a place to visit. I walked passed Madame Tussauds stopping only long enough to admire some potential knick knacks to buy and also entering one shop to browse, in search of this academy.

So this post it to rant a bit about how ill prepared I am for my grade 8 ABRSM exams in violin in 4 months from now. I think it's easier to do ward rounds daily and icu rounds and 5 scopes for a month than get ready in time for the exams. Then again, that's exactly why taking such an exam is good for the soul. It teaches me to be patient. Difficult to be on the other end of the teaching session. To be taught rather than teach. To be a student rather than a teacher. I hope it has taught me to be not only more patient, but also to give positive criticism to my own students during tutorials.

Notebook obsession

Moleskin notebooks
I love notebooks. Moleskine notebooks are nice. They are pricey so I've only about 4 to date. Only two have been used. The rest are kept and admired from time to time. I know, not the best way to use your Moleskine notebooks. I will eventually use them.

They are two types which I love, the blank notebooks and the square-lined ones. Both great to make notes in and handy to carry about during conferences. On a normal working day, I make notes on a simple exercise book which costs a mere RM 1:50 ( bought from Big bookstore).

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lovely cotton with songket print

I love these two pieces of cloth. Managed to catch the last bit of good natural sunlight for this shot. It's turquoise for a bit of bright and dark brown which makes the songket print pop and appear like the real thing. And what's important is, they're both cotton. Yay. Cotton feels good when you wear it. And if chosen properly it does hang well but not all. The thinner varieties have a tendency to cling. So that's not good. I can't wait to send these two to the tailor.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Covering your greys

 This was recommended by a friend who claims its 'easy peasy" And so we went on a hunt for it. Found at Guardian pharmacy and they  were having a sale so I got this cheaper than the original price. I then got cold feet and called the mummy to ask whether she would do it for me rather than I do it all on my own. Due to past experience, of me being terrifically fussy she said no...but was persuaded to agree eventually because I flat out refused to spend one hour at the salon having the hair dyed.
 This is the mixture so when you press it, the two different sauces come out together. ( See picture below)
When I saw this, I immediately thought of cheesy wedges from KFC. It does look like the sauce doesn't it? That made me a bit hungry. This box comes with everything, the comb, the nozzle, the cleaner for the nozzle and gloves. ( So handy I love it already)

I hope my greys are covered. Wasn't bothered before this. But last Thursday I had a hair cut and it was very much shorter at the back....so I looked like a grey porcupine from the back in the sunlight. During the evenings it wasn't obvious. But I was so conscious of it the whole of Saturday I felt everyone was staring at the back of my head.

Happy Birthday Daddy ( early on purpose)

Happy Birthday Daddy. He doesn't read my blog. But he'll know I wish him all the lovely things for his birthday. This year, we got him a few presents. As you can clearly see from the picture above. And we got him coffee-flavoured cake. ( The boy who was at the cake counter claimed this wasn't too sweet. He lied. Its very sweet) I should have gone with the original plan of a plan butter cake.

He was most pleased with the psychedelic lights I got some weeks back which rotates giving a disco-like effect. The bulb comes with a separate plug and extension which you can twist into any angle. As it rotates once its plugged in, you get a myriad of colours on the walls and ceiling.

We also got him a hedgehog cut-away from Publika. He wasn't as excited about it as I was when I first saw it.

Restaurant Sin Kee.

Potato leaves (really?) 
We celebrated the daddy's birthday today by having a cake ( coffee flavour), presents and dinner. Tradition dictates the birthday person gets to choose the dinner venue no questions asked. And this is how we ended here. Recommended by an article in the newspapers. We drive towards Batu Caves and found the place with the help of Waze. Anywhere new is exciting especially since the weather cleared for us and it was a nice cool evening. We found this restaurant easily. And got a place to park less than 100 metres away. The orders were made and we sat waiting. Quite a nice restaurant. There was a satay stall just outside and quite a few people ordered that to be brought into the restaurant. Smelled very nice.
Deep fried tofu
We ordered a few dishes. Their specially made noodles which I don't have a picture of because I forgot. and these other two dishes shown here. The tofu was super. I would have that again, the vegetables mediocre. The price was more than what I expected to pay. Rm72. So no I don't believe we will be returning to this restaurant anytime soon.


Akok, a curry puff and noodles ( Tea time food!)
I had this dessert for the first time. The name is "Akok". I believe it's a kelantanese dessert. Its a flat looking thing which is soft and I think it has a filling inside. I couldn't decipher what was it though. My taste buds aren't that sensitive. Its soft and sweet and you ( or rather I) just wanted to eat more and more of it. Had to restrain self. Wasn't hard because the baju kurung I wore on that day was snug at the waist. ( I think the tailor messed up the measurements this time I couldn't have out on weight in one day)

What makes Kota Baru unique

Same language different pronunciation.
 The language is the first thing you may notice when you land and get out of the airport. The taxi man speaks and you may find it difficult to make out what he wants. They do tone down their accent for us non- kelantanese. But everywhere else when you walk either in the market or at the hotel, you hear Malay spoken in the kelantanese dialect. It's more than speaking it in a different accent. The words used are different as well. Almost as if you're in a different country.
Batik galore. ( Only cotton for me thanks)
 I love cotton. And these kelantanese print batik on nice soft cotton cloth. They also stick bling bling stones on the cloth. Difficult to wear this for work on a normal day without looking a bit out of place. Although life is short and whats a little bling at work going to do for you.
In search of pulut durian.( Found this too late )
Pulut durian is nice. Had it for the first time a few visits back. Its served with glutinous rice and coconut milk and a dash of salt and durian. When you eat it, its a cacophony of taste bursting in the mouth giving your palate some work to decipher it. But the brain will have no problem telling you its likes it and you should too.
Not sure what this is. But it comes with the condiment. Handy
I saw this bundled it during this visit to the market. I'm guessing its some fruit and the little packet is the designated condiment you should eat it with.
Pulut Mangga. 
We had pulut manga instead of durian. Also nice. Mangoes aren't as soft and goey as durians are so the obvious difference is the mushiness which is lacking in this. Taste-wise I have no complains at all. It still gives me a nice kick to my palate so I ate quite a lot of it despite being and complaining I was too full to eat anything else.
Laksam is nothing like laksa although it sounds similar. The gravy is fish based and thick and creamy but savoury. Its a nice dish. I've had this before during one of the ward meetings. The nurses in the warm hail from Kelantan and when its their turn to bring home cooked food, we get to sample authentic kelantanese cuisine right smack in KL.
Nasi kerabu
Nasi kerabu was a little dry for me but again the taste is amazing. When you mix and mash all together you get a weird consistency of rice but a gorgeous taste when you chew.
Kerabu maggi
This is a new thing to me. Kerabu Maggi. And I think I like it a lot. I don't think I'll be able to find it easily in KL but I'll start looking soon.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kota Bharu 2017

The pool at Hotel Perdana KB
 What a wonderful opportunity to visit Kota Bharu yet again. This time as an invited speaker. The invitation came from a fellow colleague and dear friend. Certainly a big yes from me when she asked whether I was available to give the talks. And so here I am yet again in this lovely city KB where everyone appears to know everyone else. There is a small town feeling to this place which I like very much. It reminds me of home. Everyone smiles. Their smiles are genuine. And they allow you to pass through when they see you. Everyone wants you to be happy.

And of course there is the obvious other attraction which is the lovely shopping for cloth which I usually do. And the yield is usually good with a full bag  on my return trip to KL.

I stayed in Hotel Perdana this time. It's my second visit. And I like this hotel because it clean and the food is good. The buffet breakfast didn't disappoint neither did the sit-down lunch nor the lovely tea we were served in between the lectures.  I arrived one day before the talk and managed to browse at the local night market called Wakaf Che Yah which was bustling even at 11am when I was almost falling asleep walking from stall to stall. This time I got a lovely view of the pool from my room and I remembered to take a shot before rushing down to breakfast. ( The talks went okay am glad that's over for now)
Just to the left as you enter the hotel
 Isn't this lovely? The images are like a painting but its actually many windows seen from one point with the images getting smaller as they get further away from you. A good shot to teach students about perspective.
Handy stairs
 I stayed on the 1st floor which was great. Didn't have to use the lift so getting up and down the room was a breeze. I used these stairs. And so did everyone else staying on the 1st floor.
Gorgeous colorful umbrellas apparently floating in the sky

A got a lovely view of this at breakfast when I went out to get a closer look at the pool. These lovely multicolored umbrellas waving ever so gently in the morning breeze. And below them, nice wooden chairs and tables where most folks were having their breakfast while keeping one eye on their kids in the pool. A holiday atmosphere definitely.
A lovely painting.  
 I fell in love with this painting when I stayed here for the first time. And I'm still loving it very much. I think the vibrant colors are what makes it nice to me. If I could find a similar but smaller painting I'ld buy it and hang it in the apartment .
This is the reason for the visit to KB. Respiratory updates for Kota Bharu organized by the Chest physicians in KB. A very strong team who work hard and get loads done in this corner of the world.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My new phone cover

I'm satisfied with this phone cover. I got it from the night market on Monday. Found by chance when we headed to the porridge place and found the bustling night market in front of the shop, and the porridge shop closed for rest on a Monday.

A day before  we had a futile trip to Brem Mall for a phone cover. Was disappointed because I couldn't find one with a potential stand. They had a poor selection of ugly phone covers done shoddily and in a horrendous cheap red.

Well now here I have one. The clear cover has a silver edge. Which makes it very nice and classy. The snoopy stand was optional, we had a great many of choices and it was between snoopy or the pink cupcake. Snoopy won the day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Food for the day

Pastry and coffee
 Righto, quick update before I head to violin class. 4 months to the exam. Oh boy am quite unprepared. Loads of furious practising ahead before I reach a passable standard. Who says music is easy is a liar. Currently I sound terrible on all my three pieces. Help help help.
Rushing though this corn ( and blog entry) before I dash off for class. More update on yesterday's activity when I get home after class. Wish me luck

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Restaurant Wong Kim

I love porridge. For a short while I used to love teochew porridge; watery variety with a whole lot of condiments including fried dace ( my favourite) but now I'm settling for porridge with decent amount of meat , eggs  and some ginger bits inside. This was dinner yesterday at Restaurant Wong Kim. found by chance as we drove pass Jalan Ipoh in search of another porridge place we'd been to once before. So it shows, its important to keep your eyes open for any other shops along the way.

This restaurant is clean and brightly lit. A plus point. The porridge did take its time coming to the table. And we were the only customers for porridge so I'm thinking on a normal day, the lady would have to either speed up the cooking process or warn customers it'll be a long wait. Was it worth the wait? Yes. It didn't disappoint. And I'll be returning to this place for porridge very soon.

Kenny Hills baker

The post box with tables and chairs around it. 
 After church, we headed to Kenny Hills baker. En route, there was a discussion on what to eat. From previous experience, we tend to over order and end up feeling full and sleepy after breakfast. So the pact was not to over order no matter how hungry you are. I like the environment of easy parking and old buildings and greenery. It reminds me of visiting an old family friend we called "Por Por" who was no blood relation but whom we were close to. She lived in a block of old apartments just beside the Botanical Gardens in Singapore. I get the same sense of nostalgia when I eat here today.
Mushroom puff pastry.
I stuck to the tried and tested mushroom puff pastry. The flakes were gorgeous as it melted in the mouth and the butter mushrooms had a bursts of something nice as I chewed it. No regrets ordering this. My original order was the Vietnamese bread but decided it was too much at the last minute and switched to this. In the background, you can see my red cup of latte.
Chicken and avocado croissant
This is new. After some internet research we decided grilled chicken avocado croissant would also be on the menu for this morning's breakfast. The taste wasn't as rich as the mushroom pastry. Croissant was nice a butter and the avocado and chicken fresh and light.  It was a quick meal. We didn't get out usual seat. Instead we got a bigger table in another corner but still inside the shop. The shop itself is small and cosy. And it has only 5 tables inside. Two very small ones which can seat two per table. three which can seat 4 persons and one rather large one for a bigger group. The rest of the seating are outdoors.

Wedding dinner

The entrance to the restaurant
 So it looks like the wedding season has started. We headed to Brem Mall in Kepong. A lesser known mall rather run-down with free parking. Main purpose was to get a decent and cheap phone cover for the iPhone. No luck there. I specifically wanted one with a extendible arm for the phone to lean upright on its own. Apparently that's not in fashion now. We saw a few but there were ugly.

We walked pass this Chinese restaurant and saw the crowd inside and the decoration like so. Earlier at the parking, we had seen the wedding car. So this wasn't a surprise. Brem Mall only has one decent Chinese restaurant so this must be the wedding dinner celebration. We didn't see the bride or groom. But we did get a glimpse of what they look like, the photographers put a box of pictures outside the restaurant presumably this is free advertising for them and a chance for the guests to take a moment each to remember this day.

Table decoration outside the restaurant
If you look carefully, you may be able to make out the small box of pictures on the table. Not a bad effort. I'm a believer of thrift when it comes to celebrating weddings. My experience as a guest is, you hardly keep any momento from the wedding. Pictures especially have a high risk of being thrown out. Mugs are useful. I still have one wedding mug. Tea strainers not so useful. Sweets and chocolates are useful.

Voter registration

Voter registration booth
Are you a registered voter? My father passionately believes we have to exercise our right as voters during each election. As a result, I am registered and have voted a few times in a life. My place of voting is my hometown where voting is a big deal. It also works as a social event. We have folks coming out with their elderly to vote, we have cars parked along the road and hands waving to each other when we meet earlier folks who have voted heading back to their cars. Everyone is eager to play role in forming the new government. It's s nice feeling.

For us voting involves two separate venues, the first is for the parents ( after they are done...usually there isn't a queue because we are out early) and then we drive a short distance to another school for me to vote. ( voting venues are schools in my hometown and most other towns as well I believe)My venue is usually full of people. There's a big of queuing involved but things usually move along smoothly and we're back in a little over an hour to rest and be proud we have done our bit.

Today, the Church of the Risen Christ organised a booth to register for voting and it was opened after the morning mass today and closes at 11am. A very good idea. Now there isn't any excuse not to be registered and not to vote.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Breakfast in Kepong

Clean floors. 
 I've heard it enough times ; "Kepong is a food haven". We have decided to explore this haven slowly. Taking little baby steps because we're by nature not very adventurous and more importantly we're creature of habits. Despite our best intentions to explore a new bakery in KL, we ended up here; Restaurant Ulu Yam, keeping. I like the feng shui of this shop. It looks oldish and feels clean. And the person who took our orders was a little pass middle age and he looked like he knew what he was doing.
 We had greens. For the healthy living mode to kick in to avoid guilt later in the day. This was done nicely. I would have liked a little bit more garlic but the vegetable was crunchy and had enough sauce coating it. And every bite had a tinge of garlic so yes I think I'm going to give this dish a 4/5.
Fried Fish Cake
 This was nice. Piping hot on arrival lest you think it was just reheated. It was fresh it tasted nice and we finished it quite fast. They could invest in some Kampong Koh chili sauce. I think that is the perfect sauce to complement this dish.
 This was a big potion. Much bigger than the one we're used to at the Teochew restaurant. Again, it was obviously just fried and been fresh, there is nothing not to like about it really.
Loh mee
These noodles are smooth and thick. The accompanying sauce is thick and warm and has a tinge of vinegar in it. Perfect for a rainy day. After all these food, we were sleepy and lazy.

Absolute Thai

I think this is called belacan fried rice. ( No fancy name)
You're meant to mix all the condiments up thoroughly with the rice. I refuse to. My way is to take little bits of each and dig a spoon of rice and eat it like that. Absolute Thai is a nice restaurant to eat. They have many branches; The Gardens ( same level as Borders I believe), One Utama between the old and new wing where they have many nice shops to browse and Sunway Putra.

Family ties

I envy big families. And the big family reunions I see either on blogs ( not so common) or on Facebook. This year, thanks to my second cousin (LK )on my dad's side, we had our own family reunion.

We had good food ( see picture as proof) and good company. Some were meeting for the first time but have heard of each other before through my late grandmother. We also FaceTime my other aunt in Singapore who insisted she wanted to see us all too. I think one of the good things coming out of Facebook is getting people to be in touch. Seeing posts and updates and pictures are important. When we did meet up, we just got on with the talking with no fuss.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Like the sign
Why is this place called wondermilk? Is it because their serve wonderful milk? They sell cupcakes  I heard a lady sounding very disappointed this evening when she came into the shop with a few children and found out some of the flavours had finished. Ahem ahem! And when she managed to choose the remaining  cupcakes....there was a disappointed " aaaah I don't have enough money". Followed a minute later by " I have enough money" ( Presumably after she dug into her purse for some spare cash)

Lesson learnt: always keep spare cash in your purse. Also don't buy too many cupcakes. It's bad for health

Thursday, March 16, 2017


I feel like a fool. I told almost everyone I was flying to Kota Baru this weekend for a talk. I cancelled my violin class. I stayed up late working furiously to prepare for the two talks. I got crabby and worried during my illness last weekend whether I would recover in time to fly and walk. Only to find out today that I got the dates wrong. I'll be flying next Friday and not tomorrow. For some reason, my mind was convinced it was this weekend. I checked the air ticket two nights back but checked the flying out times and flying back times rather than the date.

What a silly billy.

Go Noodle House

Dry pan mee
Have you eaten here before? Its tasty and cheap and the service is fast. There are at least two branches which I know of, the first one is at Publika and the second is at Midvalley Megamall. Both have long queues during peak period. ( By that I mean the usual lunch and dinner time).

We have tried this ( dry pan mee) where you can pick the thickness of the noodles ( I like that we have this option), the soup pan mee, which is a big potion but I remember struggling to finish it, the trio platter which is a firm favourite.

The platter comes with three different things, gold coins, fried fucuk and lobak. The fried fucuk and the gold coins are what I like best. The lobak isn't so nice. A bit chewy in the middle and not enough meat inside.  This branch in publika is located above Thai Tuk Tuk, at the exit nearer Chawan.

Puff Pastry Pizza

Now, I wonder what Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would make out of this; Domino's new pizza. It's made out of puff pastry. Multiple flaky layers of pastry with pizza topping. I had to try it. And I did. Not sure whether I actually like it enough to order it again but on day one, it was nice. And today I had the left-over pieces in the fridge so I can vouch that puff pastry is best fresh. Otherwise it tastes flat and non-flaky and sticks to your tongue and cheek and is a little bit like chewing tissue paper.

I'm going to stick to my usual order of spicy sambal with crunchy think crust. No additional cheese or any other topping. And the other one on the menu which is a favourite in the family is classified chicken. (drool)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nice not to be sick

Tuesday's dinner at home
Health is wealth. And I am feeling pretty wealthy this evening thanks to my parting with the horrible thing called the flu bug. Bye bye bug please don't visit any more. I don't like you. At all. Symptoms of the bug ( I can't decide whether it was the flu bug or food poisoning having also had the awful luck of eating something that was off leading to multiple toilet visits and a general feeling of malaise) are:

1. a nauseous sensation with a slight bitter after-taste when you eat. Puts you off food. Making you miserable during the duration of symptoms.
2. General body aches involving every part of the body. Lying down doesn't make you feel better. What helped was a piping hot shower which distracted from the aches.
3. You may get some chills but its transient and there are other things which linger which will take your mind off the chills completely.
4. Every step is an effort. Walking a short distance is difficult. You'd rather not walk at all.
5. Toilet visits come and go. The frequency varies. And the lag time also varies making it difficult to time your talks and work.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cathy Woodman

Picture from Amazon
I have the Big Bad Wolf book sale to thank for this book. For rm10, I had the pleasure of being introduced to yet another author. This is Woodman's 8th book. And It's my first book of hers. I finished the book in two days. Because I was too sick to get out of the house, I was left to reading what was on my bookshelf and I picked this and liked the start of it. The flow of the story opens like a nice movie, with a scene of delivery and a few characters coming into play. You don't see the obvious relationship until a few paragraphs in and that too, it's written in very subtly.

I was a big sad when I finished the book. It's always a bit sad when you're done with a good book. There's this irrational ( is it really?) fear you won't find another book you'll enjoy just as much. I'm giving this book a 8/10. And I'll be on the look out for more of her books in the next book sale at the end of the year.

The benefits of ginger

I like ginger, especially tired ginger with some sugar which you suck on and it has a fiery unique taste only ginger can give you. The heat goes through your body quite nicely leaving you feeling warm and gingery.  Ginger tea and ginger anything else is a bonus. I was tempted to get this a few weeks back. Saw this at Villar Grocer at One Kiara. If you are looking for interesting things to purchase this is the place to spend time and wander. It's bigger than BIG and to me has a bigger variety of stuff.

Just finished reading this

Yes this was a good book. Its what we call chic lit. Its about a family holiday and what happens there. A bit unfortunate they also had a food poisoning episode which was written in great detail in one of the chapters. I read what I myself was experiencing. And I felt great empathy for the characters. I read the words, completely lethargic and unable to stand up and thought yes thats what I'm feeling now. There was a scene where Ronnie ( one of the characters) rushed to the toilet to vomit and found her husband there first and then he started having diarrhoea and she was thankful at least she didnt have it, only to start having the symptoms a bit later.

The creamy buffet food possibly recycled with salmonella swimming in it was not a good image. It nearly put me off my sausages for breakfast.

I'm hoping for total recovery by Monday morning. Healthy enough to head out and face the working world once more.

Being sick...

Its terrible being sick. And whats worse is being sick and still having to go on with normal every day activities. So this weekend was needed to recuperate. I spent a large part of yesterday lying down. When I eventually got up, and headed out I actually found myself feeling a bit wobbly. I wonder how patients feel after being in bed for a whole week whilst in hospital and then told okay you're well enough go off home and do whatever it is you like. Not such good advice after all.

The other downside of being sick is not having an appetite. Or in my case not being able to eat. Totally different from not being able to think about food. The first stage of my bug was both not being able to both eat nor think about food. I progressed to being able to think about food yesterday. Which created a whirlwind in my head about all the food I would like to eat and then having to actually decide whether I could stomach all that oily creamy, soupy, spicy food. And also picking a place with clean toilet access. For the very obvious bug-related toilet visits.

I eventually settled for the breakfast shown above. San Francisco big breakfast at Publika. At 0930 there was hardly anyone around. And the public toilet was just an escalator away either way. Both above me and below me. It was a cold morning. ( I guess I was still sick ) so we sat outside in what is actually the smoking area. Thank goodness smokers get out of bed much later for their breakfast because we had the luxury of quite nice fresh air during the meal. We were joined by 5 other people. One couple decided privacy was important never mind the cold air condition, so they say inside. One other couple say outside like us and chatted away. One man who had the same big breakfast say slight away read a book and demolished his breakfast in hardly any time. He must have been angry. Towards the end of the meal, we were joined by a man who puffed away. He was kin enough to pick a table the furthest away from all of us.

I'm much better today. The diarrhoea is less frequent. And I can eat and keep myh good down. The ever has gone away and the aching body is bearable and I can have a cold shower now which makes me happy. I hate warm showers they make me feel sleepy and tired instead of fresh and upbeat.

And now let's talk about the possible culprits. I blame either the fried kuey teow which was served with cockles and prawns or the paiti from the local food court. 7 hours following this meal, I wake up with tummy cramps and torrential diarrhoea and feeling miserable.