Snacks and Food of Kuching

It’s much easier for me to see the differences in food when I am in Kuching. I go with my Penang eyes anyway. Sightseeing aside, the local food in Kuching is quite different from Penang because they’re still quite traditional in many ways (read: not as polished commercialised as we Semenanjung people are). Each community has its own special food, either for celebrations or for regular consumption.
Below are some interesting snacks and food you might want to try the next time you are in Cat City!
“Bee phang” or rice cakes
According to my mom-in-law, these are eaten by the Hakka during CNY. They have various types: with sesame seeds, with peanuts, etc. I never knew this existed until Lisa (from KL!) told me she loved the bee phang from Kuching.
Bee Thor
I first tasted bee thor when my mom-in-law bought it from the local market. It is shaped like a teardrop, the size of a hand. Think of it as a flattened steamed pau – the ingredients inside can be savoury or sweet. Sweet ones have peanuts and sugar while the savoury ones include minced meat. I love the savoury versions. I can’t remember if it is a Hakka or Hainan snack!
Tebaloi or crispy sago biscuits
Tebaloi is a famous native (Melanau) food in Sarawak. It is made from sago flour and tastes nice and crispy like a thicker version of kuih kapit (which in Sarawak is called kuih sepit). It is a snack which locals don’t eat at all just like we Penang people don’t eat tambun biscuits or nutmeg unless we buy them for visiting or out-of-town friends!
Kek lapis or Indonesian layer cake
Visit any open house during CNY in Kuching and you will taste fantastic kek lapis. The beauty of this cake is not in the cake but the various designs and patterns which are revealed when the cake is sliced, eliciting awed oohs and aahs. In this regard, Sarawak Malays are creative in making kek lapis in different colours, layers and yes, designs! I have seen a whole recipe book dedicated to the making of this beautiful edible work of art. Never leave Sarawak without getting this cake. Yes, there are halal and non-halal versions. The halal version can be bought in Satok. The non-halal versions can be bought at any good bakery in Kuching.
Keropok udang with vegetable acar
It is a given that you will be served keropok udang or ikan in any Sarawakian’s house. The way to eat this is with the local vegetable acar or pickle made with julienned carrot and cucumber in a tangy base of spices. It sounds odd (that’s what I thought too the first time I heard about it) but the combination works really well. You put a teaspoon of pickle (usually served chilled) on the keropok. When you bite into the crispy keropok, you get a burst of tastes and sensations on your tongue: savoury and sweet and salty all at once. It works only with acar from Sarawak so get a bottle if you’re in any local market there. (Quick sidenote: Learn how to make instant acar from a Sarawakian friend of mine in the US.)
Kuching siew pau
Unlike the Seremban siew pau which we get here in the Semenanjung, the Kuchingites have their own famous siew pau. It is less polished, unlike its Seremban cousin, and looks ‘whitish beige’. The taste is more traditional too. But yummy nonetheless. Imagine it’s a siew pau that your grandma made – looks and tastes like that. Try the yam puff and curry puff too when you buy the siew pau. Legend has it that the two feuding siew pau makers along Carpenter Street in downtown Kuching (near Chinatown) make the same pau because one learnt from the other and then decided to open a shop next to her mentor! Of course everyone says the original pau from the original shop tastes better! You don’t have to visit the shop to buy the pau – you can get it just as easily from any coffee shop around Kuching.
“Umai” or raw fish salad
Umai is a native food made from raw fish. I first tasted this during the Rainforest World Music Festival many years ago at the Sarawak Cultural Village. I’m quite all right with raw fish since I do love my sashimi with a vengeance. According to a Kuchingite friend who works in Mukah (famous for its sago by the way and of course fat juicy sago worms!), any type of fresh fish can be used to make umai. Also, you can have two types of umai – one is shredded raw fish mixed with sliced onions, lime juice, salt, sugar and chillies or the other type which is plain sliced raw fish (akin to sashimi) eaten with a spicy chili dip. Both taste equally good, he says. This same person has also taken grilled sago worms. We asked if it tastes like chicken. He smiles and says that he can’t describe it – one must take it to know how it tastes like!
Sarawak laksa
Of course you must taste this when you are in Kuching. How can you not? The one I like is located at the 3rd Mile market, in a coffee shop which sells kolo mee too. It’s pretty addictive, this Sarawak laksa. If you start getting withdrawal symptoms, go to any Everise supermarket and grab a few packets of laksa paste. I’ve tried looking for the original brand – Swallow brand – but cannot seem to find it. I did find other unknown brands like Cap Helang, Cap Burung Bayan etc. Not tested so do not know if they’re any good. Or try getting Barrett’s laksa paste from their coffee shop at Bormill Estate if all fails. Barrett’s is the offshoot of the original Swallow brand. Don’t forget to get their sambal belacan too. Otherwise your sarawak laksa will not taste like sarawak laksa without the sambal belacan!
If you don’t know that Sarawak is famous for pepper, you shouldn’t read further. LOL. Sarawak is the world’s biggest producer of quality pepper, for your info. Pepper is the king of spices and your black pepper steak will be awful without this spice. Get peppercorns for your friends and family because nothing tastes better than freshly ground pepper from fresh peppercorns (Especially ‘too thor thng’! Yum) Anyway, if you don’t cook but would like something peppery, try pepper sweets (which taste like mints so don’t worry). Or buy pepper perfume! Or buy pepper sauces in bottles. Where to get? Any supermarket in Kuching or any Sarakraf or tourist souvenir shop.
Salted terubuk fish
I love eating terubuk fish (American Shad) which my grandma cooks although the fish has so many bones that it’s terrifying! But the fish is lemak and lovely when braised with bitter gourd and black beans. However in Sarawak, they do the salted fish version. Sold in the Satok market, this fish is a must-buy. I have not tasted this salted terubuk though but I guess it would be like any other salted fish. Anyone tasted this and know how to eat it?
Midin or young fern shoots
Only in Sarawak you will get this at your local ‘tai chow’ or ‘chu char’ eating place. It is crispy and yummy when stirfried with garlic and out of this world when fried with belacan! Midin is a jungle fern eaten by locals. Nic says the pucuk pakis (like the ones you find in Tesco) over here is similar but NOT the real thing.
Kolok Mee
It’s a sin if I leave this out. Kolok Mee or Kolo Mee is a simple dish of springy noodles (very “Q” – a Hokkien term for extreme springiness!) with seasonings, lashings of char siew oil and slices of char siew. That’s it. So simple, so delicious! Unlike our wantan mee, it has no black soya sauce, it is not soggy, and it is not full of ingredients. It can be served dry or in a soup. Either way, the kolo mee is good because it has bite and the flavourful char siew oil gives it the added ooomph. You can get kolo mee anywhere, anytime in Kuching. I’ve become as much of a kolo mee fan as my husband. You have not been to Sarawak if you have not tasted this local dish. Yes, there are halal versions too sold by Muslims – it is topped with beef slices instead of porky char siew.
OK, this post is making me really hungry. I must stop or I’ll drool all over this PC!
Do you have any favourite food/snacks from your hometown to share?
Granted, Kuching isn’t my hometown (it is my husband’s) but I feel I know the place after so many trips there! Any Sarawakians want to add on to my list of snacks and food of Kuching?

Which Village Are You From?

I was in Kuching last week but now I’m back, though I haven’t really gotten into the work mode. Not yet anyway. Still a bit lethargic. Maybe it was all the CNY festivities and going about visiting my in-laws’ friends and Nic’s relatives!
Visiting and reciprocal visits is a big must in Kuching. Kuching is still a very community-minded place whereby everyone seems to know everyone and someone is always related to someone one knows! It’s even “smaller” than Penang. I thought Penang was bad enough – often I know someone who is someone’s cousin, uncle, friend, sister or what-not. Soon enough, I can trace their family tree back to one or two generations who may be some far off relatives of mine.
But Kuching… it can be a good and a bad thing. Like we were introduced to a guy who worked for a Kuching business magazine last week by a client of ours. Next thing we knew, Nic starts looking at the namecard and tells me, “Eh, the address looks familiar. I think I know who the boss of this outfit is.”
Sure enough, the “boss” of this magazine turns out to be Nic’s relative! In Kuching, there are many people with the surname Sim and this particular Sim is of the same clan as Nic.
Apparently these Sim people go way back – they can trace their roots to some kampung in China, a district or province (don’t know which) called Chao An! So these Chao An folks came by ship to Sarawak years and years ago (Nic is the 2nd generation Sim in Kuching – his paternal grandpa really came on a slow boat from China! In terms of lineage, he proudly proclaims that he is generation number 29 if he counts the starting generation from China).
I am ashamed to say I don’t know which generation I am although I do know my paternal grandmother came to Malaya at the age of 9. I do know that I am Toi Shan Cantonese and this dialect is only now spoken by geriatrics. Not many young people know this dialect anymore (damn, I am proud to be part of the ‘dinosaurs’).
Even in my family, only my dad, my younger sis and I speak this; it’s a convenient secret language between my sis and I whenever we want to bitch about people in public! My youngest sis has never picked up the dialect though she understands it well. She plain refuses to speak to me in that dialect, turning instead to regular Cantonese. My cousins don’t speak it either. But the funny thing is, it is such a beautiful familiar dialect but it’s dying out because no one bothers to teach their children. My uncles are guilty of this crime. They speak to their kids in English and Mandarin with smattering of Hokkien but no Toi Shan! A bigger shame!
My late maternal grandpa came from China too – I used to gawk at his red IC when I was a child and wondered why he never had blue ICs like us. Like most Cantonese, my maternal grandpa was a goldsmith in Penang for a number of years before he stopped working. My paternal grandpa (also deceased) is also Cantonese and was a tailor of fine suits at Leith Street. But that is all I know.
Which brings me to another issue: family roots. I’ve recently begun to ask more questions of my 88-year-old paternal grandma, or at least trying to ask her when she is in her more lucid moments. She floats in and out of senility but she is one happy senile woman. So most times I am left putting pieces of stories together, culled from recollections of my aunts and uncles, like a badly made jigsaw puzzle.
My aunts and uncles are all in their 50s and beyond so I had better ask them more before they start turning senile too. Many stories are stories of childhood years, in those days before TVs, handphones and the Internet. Many are stories of the early post-war Malaya, when people did not worry about locking their doors at night. I remembered one story where my 4th uncle as a child often sleptwalked! He’d walk right out of the double-storey house, but not before opening the grille door. He’ll sit himself down at the metal swing in the garden! Amazing.
But is it me or that the older I grow, the more I need to find out where I came from? It seems that way. Especially when I see 4 generations under one roof in my grandma’s home, and I think to myself, hey, I don’t REALLY know all their stories. I must start documenting them. I must.
So, do you know which village you are from?

True Love…Or Did You Pay to Be Slaughtered?

Yes, I am in Kuching now. The weather has been cool and rainy at night making sleep much more enjoyable! Other than that, did you celebrate Valentine’s day yesterday?
Nic and I detest anything that’s crass and smacks of commercialism. Valentine’s Day is one of them. Not because LOVE is trite or should not be celebrated. I think you should celebrate love everyday and not just romantic love. Love among siblings, love for your pets (yes, I can think of a whole list of my past pets which I positively adored!), love for your friends, parents, and yes, love for your partner, husband, wife, etc.
How about love for your environment too? That’s one of our fave loves anyway – we try to minimise use of plastic products, we carry our own shopping bag whenever we go out and we recycle paper, glass and aluminum as much as we can.
So really there are dozens of ways you can love. I find it utterly distasteful that most people have this narrow concept of love. Like some friends of mine who will pay and be happily ‘slaughtered’ by restaurants, florists, gift shops come St V Day. They MUST go all out – they must have roses, they must have a romantic dinner for two, they must have gifts. Despite the fact they could just do these things and more on any other day!
Anyway, whatever floats their boat. And heck, it’s their money.
I don’t want run-of-the-mill roses. Nor a fancy dinner. I am just as happy with a homecooked meal (the both of us are quite adept in the kitchen with our wok!) and a nice cosy down at home. I’d rather have a good massage than be battling crowds and traffic to reach a restaurant only to tuck in to substandard food cooked by some poor third-rate cook.
Nic and I had a different sort of Valentine’s Day last night – we took his parents out for a ‘chu char’ dinner nearby. It was memorable because the food was quite delicious (surprisingly as I thought the cook didn’t look too much of an expert). We opted for ‘chu char’ because his parents are more of the rice-type of people; they wouldn’t be happy in a western restaurant anyway. After dinner, we strolled over to the local supermarket because his parents had yet to buy all they needed for Chinese New Year.
So what’s this thing about declaring your love on Feb 14 and not any other day? You should celebrate your love every day and be grateful for each day you get to see your favourite people, friends, family and pets.
I chanced upon this article today and felt it appropriate to share with everyone about what happy couples and real relationships are really about. Not about gifts or trips or diamonds.
10 Habits of Happy Couples by Dr. Mark Goulston
Happy couples know that the real relationship begins when the honeymoon is over. Unless you maintain a garden of love, it will grow weeds and its beauty will wither and die. So let’s explore 10 habits of highly happy couples:
1. Go to bed at the same time. Remember the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn’t wait to go to bed with each other to make love? Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times. They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakes up later to do things while their partner sleeps.
2. Cultivate common interests. After the passion settles down, it’s common to realize that you have few interests in common. But don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. If common interests are not present, happy couples develop them. At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting to your mate and prevent you from appearing too dependent.
3. Walk hand in hand or side by side. Rather than one partner lagging or dragging behind the other, happy couples walk comfortably hand in hand or side by side. They know it’s more important to be with their partner than to see the sights along the way.
4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode. If and when they have a disagreement or argument, and if they can’t resolve it, happy couples default to trusting and forgiving rather than distrusting and begrudging.
5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. If you look for things your partner does wrong, you can always find something. If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something, too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.
6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work. Our skin has a memory of “good touch” (loved), “bad touch” (abused), and “no touch” (neglected). Couples who say hello with a hug keep their skin bathed in the “good touch,” which can inoculate your spirit against anonymity in the world.
7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning. This is a great way to buy some patience and tolerance as each partner sets out each day to battle traffic jams, long lines and other annoyances.
8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel. This tells your partner that, regardless of how upset you are with him or her, you still want to be in the relationship. It says that what you and your partner have is bigger than any single upsetting incident.
9. Do a “weather” check during the day. Call your partner at home or at work to see how his or her day is going. This is a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work. For instance, if your partner is having an awful day, it might be unreasonable to expect him or her to be enthusiastic about something good that happened to you.
10. Be proud to be seen with your partner. Happy couples are pleased to be seen together and are often in some kind of affectionate contact — hand on hand or hand on shoulder or knee or back of neck. They are not showing off but rather just saying that they belong with each other.
Even if these actions don’t come naturally, happy couples stick with them until they do become a part of their relationship. They know that it takes 30 days for a change in behavior to become a habit, and a minimum of six months for a habit to become a way of life and love.
You can subscribe to Dr. Mark Goulston’s Usable Insights at

Hello Cat City!

I’ll be taking off for Kuching tomorrow…yes, for the CNY hols. Yes, the bane of married people. We go back to our husband’s hometown. Well, I go back for a while but scoot home to Penang as soon as I can – that’s because in Penang, I get to do the usual Chinese-y routines of CNY – M&M that stands for mahjong and makan.
What a potent combination right? Yes, didn’t you know? I’m Cantonese and CNY is nothing but the M&Ms. Of course in my husband’s rather (ahem) proper family back in Kuching, they’ll keel over if they see me cursing my way through rounds and rounds of noisy mahjong.
So in the spirit of CNY, and while I am travessing Peninsular Malaysia on the AirAsia flights (Pg-KL, KL-Kuching – ye gawd – while carrying tubs and tubs of festive cookies!) here’s one quirky piece on Kuching otherwise known as Cat City for everyone who has never been to that town in East Malaysia. And ya, now no need passport to enter Sarawak. Yes, very sure. I used to feel like an absolute dork with my passport at the Kuching Airport (passport in intra-Malaysia travel!) but now you don’t need a passport anymore. Yes, yes, believe me.
Here are some observations about Kuching and its people which I’ve been puzzled about for the past few years that I’ve been there.
1. It’s a fashion parade at the cineplexes of Kuching. People dress up for the movies. In Penang, we just go in comfy shorts and t-shirts.
2. Kolo mee and Sarawak laksa are breakfast favourites. Every local person will have his or her favourite stall to go to. Don’t even think of roti canai. You’ll need to hunt for it if you crave it. If you find it, it probably sucks big time.
3. Three-coloured tea is another copycat fave. The regular teh comes in a glass with three different layers. It’s hot because it’s a novelty. Every kopi tiam seems to serve it.
4. Kuching people like to park haphazardly, without consideration for others. They’ll doublepark without batting an eye. Told you the place was law-less!
5. Don’t like green-haired folks and blondes who aren’t Caucasians? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Certain young folks in Kuching like to look plain weird. Green hair. Gold hair. Maybe it’s fengshui. Maybe they’re lost, or try too hard to copy other people. Maybe they’re just plain Ah Beng and Ah Lian.
6. Sarawak people don’t have politics like we Semenanjung people. They’re rarely talking politics. I suspect they don’t really care unless the policies affect them. Does that mean they’re docile? I think they’re comfortable with what they have. Not rocking the boat is the main thing.
7. Sarawakians call us Semenanjung people ‘roaches’ as in cockroaches. Don’t believe me? Go ask your Kuching pals.
8. You cannot find a decent shopping mall in Kuching. With all that land, one would have thought that they could build the biggest shopping mall ever. Nope, they like building 4-storey shophouses which are ugly as hell. That’s why the locals themselves fly to Singapore to shop. You get supermarkets like Ngiu Kee and Everise which are hardly vogue places to shop.
9. In Kuching, the locals have a quirky habit of eating siew mai with soya bean drink. How does a savoury meat dumpling go with a sweet, milky soya bean? I don’t know but it seems it is a standard of sorts there. Go to the open air market for this odd pairing.
10. Sarawakians are damn proud to be Sarawakians. No kidding. They get manic about their roots. When one Sarawakian meets another in a place other than Sarawak, they start going on and on in their own Bahasa Sarawak, much to the annoyance of non-Sarawakians. Patriotic, maybe. Maniacal, definitely.
More Sarawak stories to come once I get all settled in!

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me

Hmm, I got tagged by cat-lover UnkaLeong and I guess it is good manners to write something, right?
But I’ve written much about myself in this blog of mine so I was thinking, what else don’t you (you refers to all my good friends, blog readers, occasional drop-bys, and family members) all know about me, MayaKirana?
But digging deep into my brain is a good exercise, particularly on a Wednesday morning after a breakfast of nasi lemak and teh tarik!
OK (takes big deep breath), here goes!
1. I’m 5 feet 7, weigh about 56 kg and yes, despite the leanness, I HAVE been trying to get the ‘spare tyre’ off me for the longest time. Doesn’t help that I’m glued to the laptop all the time. But, I bought 2 VCDs to help me – one on bellydancing and one on salsaxercise. And I promised to do at least 10 sets of agonising sit-ups each day. Yes, I am bloody vain too. I want those lean and trim tummy muscles!
2. I was once approached to be a model (OK, OK, stop sniggering you people!) when I was 18. I think it’s my height more than looks! I was in Petaling Street with my best friend one sunny afternoon and we were looking for STPM revision books (in Popular Bookstore) when a middle-aged Chinese guy stopped me and asked if I was willing to be a model. I was more shocked than pleased! No, no, no. I’m quite suspicious you see so I thought he was a pimp or something. And I knew what it meant to be a model – I had a friend who was one and it’s not glamorous if you’re not Heidi Klum or Naomi Campbell!
3.I used to wear really awful spectacles when I was young (started getting short-sighted in Standard Five and had to squint at the blackboard so much that my Dad got fed-up and took me to the optimetrist’s to get my eyes checked). I was so self-conscious about wearing glasses in school. When I had the chance and money, I got myself contact lenses. Never looked back since. But not keen on LASIK, no matter what my friends say. I won’t ‘slice’ my corneas!
4. I eat almost everything (duck tongues, phoenix claws, pig blood, chicken intestines etc) but I never eat bamboo shoots, canned or fresh! Yuck! The smell of bamboo shoots in any dish makes me want to faint/puke/die. Yes, strong reaction to one humble thing. Don’t ask why. On the other end, Nic adores them.
5. I used to play hockey and represented my school during my secondary school days! I think I like the viciousness of the game. I used to be so stressed out before the player selections each time the coach (by the way, why is it only Indian students take to hockey like ducks to water? Or why is it that Chinese students only play handball and basketball?) needed to choose the players to represent the school. I have a big fat ego and NOT making the team would kill me. Then again, I was (and I guess I still am) a highly competitive person, both academically and on the sports field. I hated being second best. If I can’t be number one, I’d get major stressed. It’s just in me I guess. All firstborns are like that.
OK, there you go. Five things you never knew about me, MayaKirana or since so many of you know me, OK, about Krista.
Now’s my turn to go and ruffle some people’s feathers and force them to go down memory lane or dig up some dirt.
1. Vern
2. Lydia
3. Marsha
4. Keatix
5. Hoyoyi
Off you go people!

Island Glades – Penang Curry Mee Secret

I am going to tell you about our favourite Penang curry mee stall because all other curry mee I’ve tasted out there really cannot compare to Auntie’s. Also I think it’s time Auntie got recognition for her absolutely fair value curry noodles. Very fair value as you will see.
Oh sure, someone we know will tell us about this amazing curry mee or that curry mee here and there. But wait till you taste THIS curry mee. It’ll blow your socks off. Or pantyhoses.

Chockfull of ingredients…where can you find ingredients piled so high that you can’t even see the noodles?
Nic and I have been her fans for the past five years now. Yes, it’s been OUR secret for the past five years. My ex-colleagues also wax lyrical over this 70-something-year-old’s curry mee.
Of course it’s not healthy to eat curry mee all the time (especially curry mee with so much of evil stuff like santan, blood cockles and pig blood). But there’s something about this curry mee that lures us again and again. Or it could be these 3 reasons:
1. It is the cheapest ever – RM2 for small, RM2.50 for big. Small is big so be warned.
2. Packed with lots of good stuffs – cockles (‘see hum’), prawns, pig blood, tau pok, cuttlefish, mint leaves, lots of mee and meehoon and of course, kickass sambal.
3. Her curry soup is so good that you’ll want to slurp it all down till the last drop.
In other places, you get a miserly portion of curry mee with no ‘liao’. No prawns at all. Sometimes all you get is tau pok and some fish cake slices. Want prawns? Have to add extra RM1.
Auntie gives you hearty portions even if you order small. Her big curry mee can be shared between 2 small eaters. But then again, one taste of her curry mee will make you a true blue fan. How to share?
Anyway, you can take-away or eat there. It’s a house porch so seating is limited unless you go early. It’s best to eat there because she’s also quite friendly and will regale you with stories of her travels (an adventurous soul she is! This woman has been to places, I tell you!).

Go say hello to Auntie for us if you eat there!
How to get there:
Her address is Number 9, Lorong Delima, Island Glades. It is a blue house on your left as you drive down the hilly area to the traffic lights of Jln Yeap Chor Ee intersection (where you see Mutiara Court apartments on your right). If you see cars parked along the road, most likely they are customers. She opens only for breakfast.
She opens most days but runs out of curry mee around 10-ish in the morning. So go early and grab a bowl! During festive seasons or school holidays, she goes off for a break with her grandchildren and children.

A Blessed Honour

First of all, a huge thank you and shout-out to my wise old lady friend, Vern! Thanks for making me numero uno on your list – this is the second list I am honoured to be on, what with Dean Hua’s 2007 kickoff list (I promised him I’d start my own and I will, Dean, I will!).
I have been truly blessed with so many amazing friends, blogger pals, business mentors and great clients over the years that I’ve been online (since starting my blog in 2002!). I’ve met some amazing people online who have turned out to be even better in person.
I’m grateful for your friendships and care.
I mean, where in the world do you get pals who ring me up to ask me if I am OK when I go MIA from my own blog? Rona dear, thank you for the years of being with me online and off. Thanks for your craziness too. It keeps me sane! LOL.
Vern, you have been someone I wished I was when I was your age. Confident, full of life and yet, so utterly practical and level-headed. Plus I know Georgetown will be a better place with you heritage youths around. I know it.
Marsha, the friend of my friend but who ended up an online friend. You knew me from my i-asianwomen days (what, has it been so long! Man I feel old!). She’s another madhatter like moi truly. I can’t believe she’s a mom of two. She has enough sassiness to last her a lifetime!
Lydia! You are my writing inspiration. You encourage me to strive for the impossible because you are living proof that writers can make a living in Malaysia.
Dean is someone who I met in 2004 when I was socially networking my way through cyberspace. He’s witty and honest and won’t beat around the bush. He’s also the person whom I am always learning from be it his specialty, networking, or just exchanging cross-cultural ideas with.
Josephine, my partner in crime for WomenBizSENSE, the networking group we both started last year. I’ve also known her for so many years now and each time, the friendship gets sweeter and better. And we get wicked-er! (Er, is there such a word ah?)
Lisa, you are my foodie friend. I’m grateful for the many eating sessions we have had the past year and the personal sharing we’ve had. I hope you won’t leave Penang so soon but if your destiny calls for it, I hope you will come back to the Pearl of the Orient and we can do more eating!
Karen, my ex-colleague, my good friend, my little ‘sister’ of sorts. You made this list because I’ve groused and moaned and groaned with you throughout our last stint together. We’ve seen the good and the bad (haha) and we’re still friends. Remember those 5 am flights we took together? And those bitching sessions?
Fabian, you have been my source of Catholic inspiration and info. I am so glad we met when we did and I think you’re one of the most down to earth people I know. Through you. I understand theology more (and how to recognise a good whisky and what good coffee is!) and have a keener sense of appreciation of all faiths. I may not be a Christian or Catholic but our friendship transcends religion, yes? That’s the beauty of it my friend.
Dada Laliteshnanda, my yoga teacher, my good friend, my movie/book guru. You have taught me more than just yoga asanas, you have taught me how to see the world and how to appreciate each day. You’ve taught me that there are no absolutes in life, and how we are greater than we think we are.
Sunny, mabuhay! I have not known you for long but it feels like you have been my soul sista for ages. And love your business and marketing sense! Admire your energy and wise words and the insightful blogging you do regularly. And yes, darling, we are stars on Colin’s Mentors 4 Startups forum! A bit of glamour in our lives eh?
Auntie Regina Diaz and Uncle Mike (Annyeong haseyo!), thank you both for your love and care during my turbulent times. You both have been my pillars of strength and I’ve grown to appreciate our lovely relationship the older I grow. And yes, for introducing me to Fatty Loh Chicken Rice at Fettes Park too!
Li Jin, you have been my nuttiest friend for so long – we’ve bickered, we’ve had cold wars, we’ve made up and yet, we’re stronger than ever. I admire your never-say-die attitude and you should blog, you know since you are a writer.
Dr Gitu, you were my fiercest supporter and also my biggest critic during my agonizing thesis-writing days. But the lessons I learnt from you improved my writing, my logic and my way of life. I write with more clarity, I write with a sense of responsibility and I write from the heart. And no regrets about taking my Masters, for sure.
I can go on and on and on but I shall not bore you to tears. These people (and lots more actually) have made my life more colourful and extremely meaningful.
Thank you for enriching my life.

Anne, This is for You

I’ve been missing from this blog for sometime, well, in the blog world – sometime is a long time! As usual, the web business takes me away from blogging quite a bit these days, what with proposals, meeting clients and rushing projects (I need to finish these up before Nic and I fly off to Kuching for our annual Chinese New Year break). I always despise this pre-CNY rush, rush, rush mode. Everyone seems to be in a mad rush or another.
And of course, dear old Margaret has gone off for her jaunts again. Like UnkaLeong says, cats have this annoying habit (well, annoying to their owners mostly) of zipping off for a few days. The first time it happened, Nic and I were worried sick. We thought someone catnapped her. Turns out that Margaret decided to take some fresh air somewhere. Yes, she’s gone missing again. I’m not so worried now. I learnt my lesson, UnkaLeong!

But this is also a belated thank you post to a dear friend, Anneliza for her lovely Christmas gift. Anne, if you are reading this, a million thanks from the heart. You are so thoughtful! Anne got me a gift from another friend of mine, Ai Lee, who by the way, sells absolutely one-of-a-kind bags from home.

Ai Lee is a stay-at-home mommy of a two-year-old boy and she took up selling these bags because she herself enjoyed them. (She’s also a KLite who got transported to Penang because of her husband’s work). Yes, marry your business and passion – always a good thing to start. At the moment, Ai Lee sells to close friends in Penang and KL. You can see more of her offerings at (You can order and pick up the bags from her – they’re lovely as last-minute gifts because no woman can say no to a cheery bag!)
I got two bags from her collection – the bigger one is from Anneliza while the small, cute one is from Ai Lee herself (since I visited her and drooled over her bags… it’s great for those days when you just need to carry some change and lipstick!).

So heaps of grateful thanks dear Anne and yes, to you too, Ai Lee!