Thursday, January 22, 2009

Old Guy

Old Guy

While waiting for my car to be repaired, I decided to take a quick breakfast at a Mamak Stall. When I got there, a little Chinese old man gestured to me to sit in front of him, and so I did. I have no idea why I did that, thought at the time I thought what harm could it do?

From what little conversation we had, it turns out that this Uncle lives in Jalan Ipoh, and every morning he'd hitch a ride all the way to Jalan Chan Sow Lin. It wasn't much of a conversation, since he didn't answer most of what I asked him but instead offered random bits of information. Like how Chinese New Year was 5 days away. Or how everyone should carry their IDs with them or risk getting arrested.

He also gave me the low down on public transportation fares. RM4.70 gets you on a bus to Seremban. RM70 is you take a cab. RM30 used to take him to Singapore where he used to work. But that was pretty much all the conversation we had, which he kept repeating, like how old folks are wont to do.

A hard-boiled egg cost 70sen at this mamak, so my new friend tells me. He then asks if I would treat him to one, to go with his Roti Canai and Kopi-O Ais. I obliged, of course. After all, how could you refuse a face like this. I did, however, evade when he casually hinted that no one had given him any Angpows for the Chinese New Year. I also took evasive action when he mentioned that he'd like a Chicken Rice lunch later. I thought that perhaps Uncle had identified me as his sucker of the day, for the day. (What can I say, I'm both cheap and cynical!)

When I got up to leave, I decided that I would pay for his whole breakfast and so I gestured the Mamak Guy over and asked him to charge me for Uncle's breakfast as well. But Mamak Guy would have none of it. Turns out that Uncle gets his complimentary Roti Canai and Kopi-O Ais from this Mamak Stall. Every single morning.

It humbled me. And completely restored my faith in mankind. Also made me feel pretty shitty about not buying him a Chicken Rice meal and an Angpow. (Although I rationalised that it was not CNY yet! Heh!)

Perhaps I'll try and bump into him this New Year and maybe give him an Angpow. And if conditions permit, a Chicken Rice meal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reunion Again

Last year, while choking down a totally soul-less reunion dinner at a Chinese Restaurant somewhere in Kepong, I pledged that never again will we submit to the commercialisation of the Lunar New Year. And cut to a year later, Mae and I are in the midst of preparing to host this year's Reunion.

And for the last couple of weeks, all we have been doing is shop, shop and shop. Mini-markets, wet markets, supermarkets and hypermarkets. If there were such a thing as Ultramarkets, we'd have been there too. I have a newfound respect for my Mom who's been doing this year after year after year.

It's crowded everywhere. Everyone's buying stuff and the market folks are making a killing.

Large prawns are RM76 per kilo. That was last week. This week, I'm sure we'll by paying close to RM90. My colleague, Evelyne, buys her prawns 2 months in advance. She cuts them, cleans them, puts them in a container immersed in water and sprinkled with a pinch of sugar and freezes the whole ensemble. That apparently keeps the damned things fresh and springy come New Year's Eve. And she should know, since her family's in the F&B business. But Evil Evelyne decides to share this knowledge only now. So yeah. Evelyne sucks. Heh. Anyway, I'm getting my prawns from Tesco or Giant where it'll be half that price.

Arrowheads, or Nga Ku, is being sold at 36 sen per 100 gms (I think) at the Tmn Megah Market. Giant sells it at 26 sen. And if anyone tells you, "Nah, Giant's arrowheads are not fresh," slap them in the face. Cos it's the same thing. They even come in the same white cardboard boxes. And with that, I've officially joined the Auntie Club of Wet Marketing. You'll know you're a bona-fide member of the club, when you find yourself hanging around and joining in the banter between the likes of the fish guy, the veggie lady and auntie from SS2.

As for the Reunion Dinner, I'm trying to get everyone to hang out at the house from afternoon onwards - to help prepare the food, cos that's half the fun. But knowing the lazy people that I grew up with, they'll probably arrive just in time for dinner.

Maybe I'll spike the dinner. Heh.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kickin' It Baby Style

Little Tyke's been at it all night, kicking away at Mommy's belly. By now, she's developed a hearing so we're talking to her every now and then.

We also get Jesse in on the action. But he's not awfully clear of the concept, so he'll bring along his toys to "show" Baby. "Look Baby, this is my Iron Man toy," he'd tell her in his most educational tone, "boys like Iron Man!" It's the cutest thing ever to see him slowly slipping into his big-brother role. He's already decided that he'd wanna carry Baby and bathe her. :)

One night we asked the boy to put his face on Mommy's tummy to speak to Baby. "Go on Jesse," Mae advised, "ask Baby to kick for you."

"Give Korkor a kick-kick, Baby," he cooed in his baby voice. However, Baby wasn't quite ready to do that and so Mommy had to intervene. Mae tensed her stomach muscles to "fake" a baby kick and the boy was all ecstatic, his face glowing in wonderment of getting a response from his little sister.

Yeah, we cheated the little guy. But he was far too thrilled to notice. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


'Twas a Tuesday 'fore Christmas, when all through the house,
The wife was moaning, groaning, "Oh, why do I feel louse?"
"In all the merriment, preparing for the season";
"Perhaps you're merely exhausted," I reasoned.

I led her to the room, and tucked her to bed,
And made sure she would get some rest instead;
"In the morning," I said, "You'll be feeling much better"
But as it turns out this was beyond mind over matter.

Came the night before Christmas, we propped Mommy at the table,
And served her a cooking of which we were able,
A dinner of Turkey and sausage and some baked potatoes,
And for colour, we even threw in some tomatoes.

The turkey was dry, and the dinner was quite crappy,
But there was still Christmas morn to make us feel happy;
But unfortunately, even that wasn't to be,
For the next morning her fever shot up a degree.

So we bundled Mommy off to the infirmary,
(But not before we opened some gifts for Jesse);
To the clinic she went and the doctor did gaze,
Upon the sickness that was written all over her face;

"I'm afraid, dear young lady, there will be no respite,"
Doc said, "when an Aedes Mosquito has taken a bite";
So she drew out some blood to quickly confirm it,
And it turned out to be Dengue! Confound it!

We sat there dumbfounded, but the doctor was quick,
To know that it was of our baby, we were worried sick;
"The baby is fine," said the Doc, "Just take care of your wife"
"Feed her 100 Plus and for God's sake, keep her alive!"

So we went home to rest, and I got round to thinking,
Of the doctor's statement, there can be no mistaking;
When I tell you my theory, in me you must trust,
That doctors must be getting commission from 100 Plus.

Yeah, we spent most of our Christmas holidays going in and out of the hospital but it's all good. Both Mae and Baby are fine. Thanks to crates of 100 Plus, coconut water and papaya leaves. And tender loving care, of course.