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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate Overload!

What more can a chocolate craving mad guy ask for? Imagine a full fudge chocolate cake with Kit Kat around its side and M&M as toppings. It's enough to make a grown man weep!

And I gonna weep cos it was in my house and I didn't even get to touch it:(. The Princess made this absolutely beautiful looking cake for a friend's birthday and I got no share in it! What the *^$$)))&%. Excuse me while I go comfort myself with my Kinder Buenos.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Life and Death

2 recent posts on 2 blogs that I followed caught my attention.

The first one was a speech to a group of graduates about living.
The other was an article by a doctor reflecting on death.

One living one death but reading the 2 posts, both of them were essentially talking about the same thing just that the former from the standpoint of somebody exhorting the young with many years to go in their life to live life the way it should be live without regret and the latter - from the dying talking about the regrets in their life for not living life the way it should be. Confused?

Read the 2 posts here:

Adrian Tan's speech to undergraduates 
Five Regrets of Dying by Bronnie Ware

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gangster and Triads

Over the weekend, the Mrs and the Kid went to separate functions at Downtown East. Before they went, I reminded them not to bring any parang or knife just in case kena spot check and scully later kena get invited to eat black bean rice. Mum got a fit when she found out later they had gone there and I was at home. “How can they go there? Don’t you know it’s a dangerous place? All the gangsters!” Yah I knew it was a dangerous place, that’s why only they went and I was safe at home watching boring reruns.

Actually this gangster thingy has always been around since mata wear shorts. I guess it needs a death or two and nothing else interesting in the rest of the civilisation to write about in the papers for the reporters and journalists to go to town with all the big bold headlines. That is after all what sells – blood sex and gore. Except this one got no sex. But then now got this Jonathan guy so I guess the papers going to have another field day with all the pedophile thingy.

Anyway I digress. Back to the pie-kia. A long time ago when I was a skinny little kid, we stayed close to areas that were well known for gangsterism and by that, I don’t mean silly teenagers who hacked each other over a stare but real live gangster or to use the more refined term, secret society member! Old fogeys like me will know to avoid turfs like Rumah Tinggi, Bukit Ho Swee, Redhill and the likes. Those days settlement got class – not anyhow just humtum but first go coffeeshop sit down drink tea machiam like Chinese scholars and then whack each other after the tea is finish. Come to think of it, today also not much different – go MacDonald, drink Coke and then whack each other.

Seriously, I think the kids of today are too free and watch too many Hongkong, Japanese and Korean triad movies. In these movies, the hero will get whacked left right centre, with crowbar, metal bar, parangs whatever and it will be one against many and he will survive with barely a scratch. And if he does get any injuries, there will be a girlfriend to kiss him and make love to him and and volia, the next morning all the injuries and wounds are gone!

So maybe our kids are trying to emulate the hero in these movies and they are so stupid that they think like the hero, they will not get injured or killed. Maybe the gahmen should just ban all these sort of movies. After all, the gahmen did ban dialect shows so what is one more ban? 

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Grandfather's Funeral

One day back just back from school, we were dragged down to Chinatown. It turned out my paternal grandfather had passed away!
The first thing we saw when we reached my grandfather’s place was a street barber outside the premises. All of us males in the household had to have our hair cut there and then because apparently we were not supposed to cut our hairs for the next 100 days!

Ladies mourner in traditional sack cloth.
Photo from the National Archive
Next was the terrifying sight of my deceased grandfather lying in the shopfront on a canopy bed feet pointing towards the main door. He was dressed in traditional Chinese attire (the skull cap and Chinese robe). Then the ladies in the houses had to perform a “feeding the dead” by placing some rice using a chop stick in his mouth. To us young kids, it was most scary!

The funeral lasted 7 days or so and much of what goes on is still practiced nowadays although some practices has been modified like nowadays very few wear sack clothes but back then, everybody had to put on itchy sack cloth over the very rough vanilla mourning clothes. The ladies had a head piece covering the hair while the guys had a comical sort of hat. 

Unlike the coffin of today, the coffin of the past was a gigantic monstrous size thing. Passing by it gives all of us the jeepers but it was worse for the ladies as all of them had to sit beside the coffin and burn paper money. They were not allowed to leave except to go to the toilet or to sleep. No such things as wandering around attending to the many guests. Talking about guests, whenever one person turns up to pay his respect, the males had to kneel by the side and bow whilst the ladies had to let out the loudest wail possible. And loud it was as my grandfather had 6 daughters and 3 daughters in law and they certainly know how to make a good wail. No need to engage professional wailers. Yes apparently in those days, rich people could engage professional wailers to ‘cry’ as they believe the louder the wail, the better the standing of the deceased.

The towing of the hearse.
Photo from the National Archives
Funeral those days was more grand. On the day of the funeral, there was a huge procession. The hearse would be towed by many people for up to 2 km and then there will be a group photo before everybody gets into the transport to the cemetery.
A group photo at a funeral procession.
Photo from the National Archives

Lowering of the Coffin.
Photo from 
At the cemetery, the coffin was carefully lowered by many many people. The weight of the coffin coupled with the uneven ground around the plot makes it a very dangerous undertaking. I remembered I helped out once during the lowering of the coffin at a classmate’s grandfather’s funeral and unable to take the weight of the coffin, I let go and the guys behind cursed and swear at me no end.

Anyway, after the coffin was lowered, each one of us had to take a small lump of soil and throw it down on the coffin before the undertaker covers up the hole. And then the guys had to strip! Yah right in the broad day light, we had to change into coloured shirt from the mourning shirt and the guys just stood there and strip to their brief. I was so uncomfortable doing that but no choice, the covered tent was for the ladies and I couldn’t jolly well go there.

Unfortunately, that’s all that I can remember of the funeral. I think I was around 10 years old then. I do wish there were real photos but there isn’t. Those featured here are the closest to the real happening at my grandfather’s funeral.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pullman Bakery

Cream Curry Bread (photo from Pullman Bakery's FB)
Another 'Japanese' bakery has hit our shore. Sick of Barcook, Provence or Oishii? Try the original Japanese bakery all the way from Hokkaido, Japan.

The famous Pullman bakery has opened an outlet at Millenia Walk though I wonder why there of all places. But then again because it is there, there wasn't such a long queue as compared to say Barcook with its perpetual queue.

Mini Croissant (photo from Pullman Bakery's FB)
So what is nice? Like all Japanese bakery, it has the cream cheese bun but it specialty is the Curry Bread. So I bought that and the red bean bun which looks good too. How did they taste? Not too bad. But what I like best was the mini croissant. At $0.40 a pop, it wasn't really cheap but damn, it went in damn well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Kiwifruit

Following in the foot step of the peaches and plum, the kiwifruit grower in New Zealand has come up with a new variant to the green kiwifruit - the red kiwifruit.

The trend of fruit growers to mix and grow is growing intensity. There was the yellow dragon fruit, (a cross between the lemon and dragon fruit I think), the pluot (a cross between plum apricot), and something that I have yet to see here a grapple which is supposed to look like an apple and taste like a grape.

So anyway was at the supermarket and saw this red kiwifruit for sale and had absolutely had to try it.

Cut it open and it was such a big letdown. No red flesh just some reddish hue around the seed. What about the taste? This one was soft to the touch so it should have been ripe but it tasted too tangy and was a bit too hard for my liking. Not like the soft sweet juicy gold kiwi. So I guess this mutant fails.

But what else will they come up with next? A banana & strawberry? Or how about a watermelon with a pineapple?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kua Si Mi?

I loves to stare. I stared at heaving bosoms; the food at the next table; the couple tonguing each other at the park; the old lady crossing the road; the hawker cutting up slabs of meat; the gamblers at void deck; the young adults hogging the children playground; the driver picking his nose in the next car and so on and on. I also stares at people who makes a nuisance of themselves in public - people who shout loudly on the street, in the train; people who smoke and drinks at HDB void decks or public parks.

I guess it is normal for old people to stare. But my kids will always tell me not to stare. Staring can be quite deadly here in Singapore. As this poor kid found out too late. So maybe it is a good thing that I am into running. All the better to run away when the subjects of my staring chase after me with parangs and choppers.

And by the way, for my foreign readers, the header means  'see what? (said in a menacing manner)' in Hokkien, a local dialect.