Monday, September 25, 2017

Veg

Dance

At the very last minute, mum received a call from her friend, looking for kakis to attend a charity lunch. Her friend had bought a whole table at MYR1,000. Managed to get SK, KH, and the Tribe to go. Since it was on a Sunday, we attended morning mass and killed some time at One Utama. The venue was at Palm Springs, Kota Damansara, so we didn't need to rush over.

Appetizer Platter

The event was organized by Persatuan Penganut Guang Shou Jin She, Kepong, a Buddhist organization in Kepong. In my opinion, the whole event wasn't very well-organized as the audience seemed quite disjointed with what was happening on stage. Basically, they were raising funds for a construction project, so they were selling biscuits and tea, and even had an auction of 'genuine' Qing dynasty pottery. A tea cup went to the highest bidder for MYR20,888. In between all that, there was some singing and a drumming performance by a school troupe. The kids weren't that good. The energy wasn't there and the ebb and flow of the drumming just seemed awkward at times. Accompanying the drumming was a lion dance of sorts, as that lion seemed to have much mixed parentage. And now to the food. The kids hated it, not even wanting to eat the fried stuff. Must be some stigma attached to vegetarian food. Most of the dishes were fried (a lack of imagination in the kitchen), and the more 'normal' vegetables only made an appearance after the second half. The caterer was also quite hopeless. There were no extra cups, and even if you wanted extra chili sauce, they had none to offer. Talk about ngam ngam hou.

Sutra

Lion or Dragon?

Namo Buddhaya

In the evening, SK came over for dinner. Mum suggested we try a new shop in our neighbourhood. Most of the stuff on their menu was ready-made. To balance out our vegetarian lunch, we picked out a lot of meat dishes. LOL. Ate soy sauce chicken, braised lamb belly with fuzuk, vinegar pork trotters, old cucumber soup, and a plate of blanched yau mak. None of the dishes evoked a single complaint from me. Thumbs up! Will be back again to try some of their other stuff.

Yau Mak

Soya Sauce Chicken

Braised Lamb

Vinegar Pork Trotters

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Uniquely UTC

Been flying around a lot lately so it didn't escape me that my passport was expiring in six months. KH told me that there is an online renewal, but I wasn't confident with the photo submission. I didn't want to be rejected due to some technicality on that and end up needing to turn up at the immigration office anyway. Since I only had the weekends free, my only choice was UTC. Read some online reviews and finally decided on UTC Sentul.

I woke up at 6:00 AM and left the house thirty minutes later. Still took me forty minutes to get there in the early morning traffic. The downside of UTC Sentul is the lack of parking. The basement parking is the domain of the government servants and the wet market operators. So, I had to make a few turns around the block to find available parking. And since I was so early, many lots were taken up by people who lived above the shop lots or at the nearby low cost housing. But lucky for me, I found a spot on my second try.

Fearing that there would be a queue already, just scrambled upstairs. I looked hither and yonder but couldn't exactly find the immigration office. Then I noticed a bunch of people loitering at one of the food court tables. One of the ladies had something that looked like a passport in her hands.

"The immigration office is there, behind the shutters. The last I came, there was a long queue, but it's so quiet today. I wonder if they're still operating."

Lining Up for Passport

Guess I came to the correct place then. I took a seat too and started reading Tater's book. At 7:30 AM, a young lady rolled up the shutters revealing the Malaysian Immigration logo. Everyone shuffled forward and formed a queue in front of the glass doors. Turns out that the water bottle I saw in front of the shutters earlier was actually a woman's attempt to 'chop' her place at the head of the queue. Lol.

Imigresen

Waited an hour for the office to be opened at 8:30 AM. I was the ninth in line. Not bad. By 9:06 AM, they had processed my application, taken my photo, and accepted payment. The last time I renewed my passport it was MYR300, now it's MYR100 cheaper. Yay. Since I had to wait an hour, I made my way up to the National Registration Department to replace my NRIC. Been meaning to update my address. No need to furnish any proof to change one's address, but you show some proof to charge the religion. I left mine as "Tiada Agama". Paid the MYR10, got my photo taken, received a temporary NRIC, and was told that I could get my NRIC at 11:45 AM. So surprised that it only takes half the time to renew one's passport.

JPN

By that time, I was hungry as heck, so I went back down to the food court to have breakfast. Spied a stall that sold Nasi Dagang Terengganu, which is such a rarity in KL. Immediately went for that and I was not disappointed. With nothing else to do, I went downstairs to explore the wet market. Didn't take me long because it was quite small really. Before long, I was back upstairs to collect my passport and NRIC.

Nasi Dagang

Pasar

Got home at noon and had lunch with mum at home. She had a massage appointment at 2:00 PM, so obviously KH and I made the best of that. After our Happy Hour, we went to Wave Cafe, Puchong Jaya where we met up with SK and Dan. Wave Cafe is a nice place to have waffles and soft serve ice cream, but if you're a vampire, do avoid the place because it's super bright. Advisable to bring along a pair of sunnies. The signature Belgian waffles are fluffy and crisp, but I wasn't very impressed with the soft serve ice cream (tried Honey Lavender). FYI, they open late, from 3:00 PM till midnight. Dan was telling us about his gastric problems. His gastroenterologist put him on a strict diet, so he just sat there with a glass of water. Poor thing.

Cozy

Signature Belgian Waffles

SK wanted late lunch, so we went to Fu Wah after that. Craved for their baked char siew bun so I ordered a piece. When it came, I thought they had put it through a shrink ray. Inflation! SK had their Swiss chicken wings (I think they use premium soy sauce for that, excellent) and salt-chili pork chop. One last event before I called it a day-- a wake, but I'll leave that for another post.

Macau Chicken Wings

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

BoCo Rahsia

Latte

Every now and then, I find mum a new place have lunch after Sunday mass. On the fourth Sunday of July (gosh, I'm really lagging behind), we went to Botanica + Co. at Bangsar South.  Mum liked the interior. Taking into consideration mum's ketogenic diet, we just shared a pan of baked eggs. It was quite good really. Didn't expect to see my ex-law lecturer having brunch there with a couple of friends. Love the fact that he ordered red wine tanpa segan-silu although he's a Malay muslim.

Baked Eggs

On the way home, we pumped petrol at Shell Bukit Jalil. Mum pointed out that the place had an uncharacteristically carnival-like atmosphere. Weird! The petrol station staff invited us to have some free nasi lemak and bihun goreng. They even had freebies at a dart-throwing station. The poor staff also had to serenade customers with an outdoor KTV. Surprised that petrol stations actually have Hari Raya open house sessions.

Shell Bukit Jalil Raya Open House

Later that afternoon, SK came over with some nasi dagang from Kuantan, and kaya roll from Seri Jaya. Yes, she was back in the East Coast to visit her grandmother again. Good food is always available when you have good friends.

Kaya Roll

Nasi Dagang

Monday, September 18, 2017

Job at Jo's

Pan-seared Scallops

Slept a bit late due to the MH debacle the night before, but I still managed to wake up early to accompany mum to the OUG morning market. KH was also there in his skanky pants. Caught hold of him so that I could recount my misadventure.

At noon, I dropped mum off at her meeting and headed home. Lebuhraya Bukit Jalil was such a mess due to the road works. The contractor had missed their deadline twice and the final deadline was the SEA Games. If not for the fact that the Federal Territories Minister was to officiate the opening of the new highway expansion, I'm sure they would continue to take their sweet time. When the ramps open, hopefully the traffic be as smooth as a fist through a Crisco cave.

In the evening, I left the house to meet KH for dinner. Not 3 minutes after I drove out my missing luggage from the night before had arrived at my doorstep by the services of a taxi driver. So I turned back in and out again to meet KH at Jo's Fish Market. The experience there was pretty frustrating as many things weren't available. One of the warning signs of an early demise. We had grilled Amberjack head and some pan-seared scallops.

Grilled Amberjack Head

Bored of our usual haunts in Kuchai Lama, we found Penthouse Cafe just a few doors away. When we walked in, the waiter exclaimed, "The kitchen is closed.". Told him that we were there for drinks, but he repeated the same thing which pissed me off. Had to raise my voice before he understood that we were there for coffee. When the waitress took our order turns out the kitchen wasn't closed, just that they were swamped. So much for the gweilo chef from Burgundy.

After coffee, we spent a little private time in the car. Not exactly the preferred way to connect on a physical level, but beggars can't be choosy. :D.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

MH731

MH731

Air travel is a complex system dependent on many complex things that go wrong. People, schedules, planes, and weather, just to name a few. Technical problems are the scariest of all. When your car breaks down, you just stop it by the side of the road. When your breaks down, you might have 38,000 feet before you hit the ground or sea! Not very good chances at all. Thankfully, my flight back to KL from Bandar Seri Begawan (MH731) encountered technical problems before the flight. It arrived on time, but they announced a delay for our boarding. After one hour had passed, the delay turned into an outright cancellation. Wah, never encountered that before!

The ground staff announced that we would be sent to a hotel and provided with meals. As if on cue, a senior flight attendant pushed a cart of in-flight meals to the gate. One guy with a constipated face (Mr. Sembelit) immediately rushed to the counter and protested.

"I don't want your hotel and I don't want your food. I wanna go home!"

Basically, details were sketchy. They told us to meekly check in to the hotel and await further updates. No details at all. Many of the passengers joined the protest because they had connecting flights to catch. One other guy (Mr. Speedy) just immediately walked off to purchase a ticket on the next code share flight operated by Royal Brunei. After much chaos, it seems that they were actually putting people on the next code share flight (while most Bruneians went home to wait). My colleague and I quickly joined the queue as there were limited seats and limited time.

Have to thank our lucky stars that we manged to change our flight and not waste a day in Brunei. Because of the last minute change, we delayed the Royal Brunei flight by about half an hour. When I boarded, I spied Mr. Speedy sitting in business class. Orang kaya, no wonder. But anyway, he could still get reimbursement from MAS.

I got a seat at the last row, which was also a first for me. The pilot seemed to be stepping on it because we made it back in KL in just under 2 hours. It was bumpy the whole way but never once was the seat belt sign switched on. Haha.

We were already tired from the ordeal, and still MAS wasn't done with us-- our luggage didn't arrive. WTF. Mr. Sembelit got his, but Mr. Speedy didn't. Another first for me making a report at baggage claim. My silly colleague also didn't get his bag. The guy at baggage claim laughed at him for not carrying his 3.7 KG duffel bag into the cabin. That earned him a Property Irregularity Report for no good reason. By the time I got home, it was already midnight. Boy, what a day!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Walk in the Park

Bazaar

During a work trip in Brunei, both my GM and CEO were both in the country. However, my GM left a day earlier, leaving me to entertain my CEO. His Friday was pretty much occupied with meetings with my client's MD, but I had to bring him out to dinner. By his choice, dinner was at Tamu Selera that night. Really a place for the locals where you get rickety wooden furniture covered with sticky vinyl covers. At first, it was kind of awkward. We didn't know what to say to each other. As we started tucking into the ayam penyet, he suddenly found that he could talk about his family with me. Just between us, we polished off three ayam penyet and one pecel lele, with three small bowls of fiery sambal. No wonder the grumpy lady forced me to buy a huge bottle iced lemon tea-- we really drank it till the last drop.



When we stood up, we could really feel the oily, deep-fried stuff weighing heavily in our tummies. My CEO immediately informed the driver that we would be walking back to the hotel. A manageable distance really. We took the scenic route, weaving into the bazaar that was going on in conjunction with the festivities of the Sultan's 71st birthday. Basically a night market of sorts with lots of food and shopping. There was even a stage where a religious quiz was going on. That's stressful entertainment in my opinion. From there we walked to Taman Omar Ali Saifuddin where they had allowed access into the field. Families loitered there, letting their kids run around and kick some ball. Truth be told, I had never seen so many people and cars congregate at one place in this sleepy town. Must be quite a major event for them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Park At Your Own Risk

Car Park

Traffic warden duty at church is really no walk in the park. Parishioners are all angelic when they enter the church, but when they get behind the wheel, whatever "faith, hope, and charity" is thrown into the river at the back of the church. The church management does its best to arrange for smooth traffic flow and maximizing of parking space (no choice but to allow double parking and tandem parking). Not an easy feat when you have two big masses on Sunday mornings, with parents hanging around due to Sunday school and other activities. Everyone wants to have things their way, and to their convenience. Everyone else is a stumbling block and an idiot there to thwart their plans. The traffic wardens just work according to the plan and try to ease things so that traffic goes smoothly. But every week, there would bound to be someone whose car is blocked or do not want to follow instructions, and would start throwing tantrums. In addition to putting up announcements in the church, the wardens (bless their hearts) would go to the extent of asking around to see if they can find the owner of the car at the cafeteria or other areas in the church compound. As if standing in the heat is not enough, they have to take the heat from irate parishioners who can only think about themselves. When I'm on duty, I try to ignore those people. I just tell them that I myself would park at areas with much less risk of causing trouble to myself and others, and walk away. A thankless job, but somebody has got to do it.