Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good golly, Miss Molly

You know what? I just realised when I logged in just now that my last post was actually my 100th post! Woohoo! That's certainly a milestone for me. I've certainly surprised myself with my persistence in this whole blogging thing considering my previously aborted attempt after less than 10 posts. So, a pat on my back for myself on that point.

Another thing that I've realised is that as I'm typing this post out, I'm feeling all icky and sticky. There's a heatwave of some sort that we are going through right now. It's scorching dry! There hasn't been a single drop of rain for at least a week now. And the sun's relentless beating on the poor denizens of Kota Kinabalu during the day doesn't make things any more bearable either. I'm convinced that even if I just sat still, and do absolutely nothing, not even twitch a finger, I'd still start to perspire in a short while. It's that hot.

And just yesterday, I read in the papers that the Malaysian Meteorological Department expects this current spell to last till July! Some even predict that it'll last till August! Gasp!!! I'd expect we'd all turn into dried-up fossils by then.

I wonder if the weather is the thing that has been causing me to be a bit short on my fuse lately. Hmmm....

Stay hydrated people.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another one of those days

Remember the incident where I locked myself out? Well, it happened again today. The whole situation wasn't exactly the same as the last time, different place, different door, different circumstances, but the bottom line is that I was just that: locked out again.

Well, it all started when Adelle and I decided to leave the bedroom after having an afternoon nap (more me rather than Adelle, actually), and Adelle was first at the door. I asked her to wait for me and I followed and holding the door knob, I closed it. Come to think of it, I don't quite remember whether it was me or Adelle who closed the door, but in any case, the bedroom door was closed and we both went downstairs. We said hi to my wife who was downstairs just finishing her noodles. Not long after that, my wife decided to go upstairs for a shower (it had been a very hot day) and it was then that we realised that the unthinkable had happened: the bedroom door was locked and we were locked out of it!

My immediate thoughts were: here we go again.

Since it is generally the responsibility of the man to get such things sorted out, I was in charge of finding the means to get that door open. No problem, right? With the availability of the World Wide Web, you can find and learn just about anything there is to learn right? So, I googled how to pick a lock, and I was rubbing my hands in glee when there were so many hits! With video tutorials even! What luck, I thought.

Since I had neither the tools nor the expertise to pick locks, I searched for videos that specifically used home items, and with clear instructions. It seems that, minus the actually lock-picking tools, the tool of choice for picking locks is the paper clip. Then, as I watched each video, one thing especially became awfully clear: that many of the people giving the tutorials were children! These 10-15 year olds were picking locks like a fish swims in water. I watched in utter amazement as these young people dazzled me with their lock-picking skills on just about anything: padlocks, doors, and even deadbolts! (Scary stuff!)

Ha, I thought, it's kid's play then, child stuff. I'm an adult, and so therefore am more than capable to do something even children can do. No problem. I'll get that door opened in no time.

Or so I thought.

I earnestly started my quest to unlock the bedroom door at about 7.30 pm. After numerous attempts (and more than a few mangled paper clips), I finally got the door opened slightly past 9 pm. And just in case you want to contact me and ask how I did I do it with just paper clips, well, don't bother. Because they never did work.

I used a shoe.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've seen the following on more than one occasion: a single adult driver in front driving the car. There's nothing unusual about that. We see lots of single occupancy vehicles on the road, in spite of the government's efforts to get the nation to carpool many years back.

But, the single adult driver is not my concern here. Too many times, it's the other person I see that makes me shake my head in amazement and wonder, "What is it about these people?". What am I talking about? It's that two or three year old kid who's standing on the front passenger seat beside the driver - that child who's not restrained in any sort of way. That child may as well be standing or sitting on the bonnet of the car for the kind of protection that he or she is getting in that manner.

For the life of me I can't seem to understand how parents can go round driving their vehicles all safe and buckled up while their children are standing beside them! Reminds me as well of the many times that I see motorcyclists (some of whom are parents as well, no doubt) who ride their bikes with their helmets on but the children who ride pillion go without any such protection!

What gives?

The first impression I get when I see something like this is that these parents obviously value their lives more than their children. How else do you explain such phenomena? The second is that such parents are probably ignorant, or just callous in matters of child safety in vehicles. Don't they know that if they only applied just a slight sudden pressure on those brakes and their child (or children) will go flying, smacking their fragile heads against the windscreen?

I'm no expert but any educated person can tell you the simple law of physics that an object will continue to be in motion unless there is a force in the opposite direction that stops it. That's why we buckle in front, and recently, buckle at the back as well - so we're not propelled and become paste in front of the car.

Children should be in restraints as well. But since, it will take some years for them to grow into the standard belts in the cars, baby carseats are the way to go to keep them safe while you're driving.

But, having said that, some of them can be quite unwieldy. Since Adelle was born, we've gone through two now. The first was a combination of a baby carrier and carseat for infants, the second was a proper carseat for when she was about a year old until about two. She has a third now, a booster seat which should last her till she's able to use the standard seat belts.

While the first two took less than 5 minutes to anchor to the backseat of the car (of course, the first time took longer) this current one is a real time-hogger. The first time I installed it in the backseat of my wife's car, it took me at least half an hour. By the end of it all, I was all sweaty. And since my wife recently sent her car in to install the middle lap belt in the backseat, that meant that the booster seat had to be taken away.

Just this evening, I attempted to reinstall the booster seat. To do it, you have to loop the car belt round the seat so that it is secure. I had trouble with this the first time I did, but this time it was not the same. It was worse!

The car seatbelt wouldn't give me enough leeway to loop round the booster seat, and try as I might, it just could be done. I enlisted my wife's help and we finally managed to secure everything after one hour! Just to install the seat!

Phew! I hope that seat doesn't need to be unsecured in a long while.

Stay safe.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Freedom of Entry to the City

I wanted to write about this event the day it happened but some things prevented me from doing it which I'll tell you a bit later.

If memory serves me correctly, this would be the second year that this event took place, and since I didn't witness it last year, my wife and I thought why not this year. It was actually by accident as well that we attended this event. My wife wanted to buy some fish at the main market in town and so we had decided to go there early so that the fish were still quite fresh. The market was crowded as usual, so I double-parked somewhere and waited in the car with Adelle while my wife went about doing the shopping. She was to call me when she was done, and I'd go and pick her up.

So, I received the phone call and instead of just telling me to pick her up, she told me that the stretch of road in front of the main market (I was parked at the back) was closed, and she was wondering why. So I went to pick her up, reversed into one of the parking spaces on the empty street, and we all got out and walked ahead to see what was going on at the marquees that we saw had been put up. It was then that it occured me that it the day of the Freedom of Entry to the City. My wife enquired from one of the navy officers what the programme was like and he gave us a programme sheet, we looked at it and it sounded interesting. We decided to go home first to keep the fish in the freezer and also to get my camera. We still had time because the opening event, the parade, was only going to start at 10 am, and it only about 8.30 then.

So, went home, got ourselves ready, picked up a friend whom we called, and went to the event. I parked the car slightly further away just in case we'd have a hard time coming out of the place because of the crowd the whole event was going to generate. By the time we reached there, the parade was just about to start. The different contingents were already in line, waiting for the start. I, of course, started clicking away. Here are a few photos to share.

The Indian Navy doing their thang!

The US Navy strutting their stuff

Malaysia's very own Terminators in white!

The Indonesian Navy marching band - the most animated among all

A sharky member of the Indonesian band (you see the walrus in the background?)

The might of our fast attack ships

Head on collision! Not!

After the whole parade and some naval demonstrations, and numerous cups of free milo later, we boarded a free shuttle service to go on board a naval ship, the KD Kedah, which according to the guide on our ride, is the most advanced warship in the southeast asian region. The ship was quite impressive and the officers onboard were ever ready to explain the workings of the ship. We then went to visit the another ship next to the KD Kedah which belonged to the Brunei Navy, called the KDB Pejuang.

All hands on deck. Captain on the bridge!

The KD Kedah

There were other ships docked at the port but they were a bit far away, and we were quite tired then plus the weather was extremely hot and sunny. And it just happened that the coach back to the city came at that moment when we were done with our visitation of the two ships. So, back to town it was. And then to lunch, then then back home to the sweet comfort of the air-conditioning after a nice, cool shower.

But, that didn't help the sunburn that all of us got, especially Adelle and me. We had forgotten all about putting on sunscreen (probably due to the excitement of the whole thing). And this daddy fell sick yesterday, partly due to the heat as well.

Hence, this late entry. But, I've recovered...mostly.

p.s Oh, did I say that my wife and Adelle appeared in a local paper as part of photo coverage of the event? No, well they did!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Today, the pest control people came. Yep, this house has a pest problem: ants, cockroaches, and mice. After months of putting up with our nocturnal guests (and sometimes swiftly sending them to meet their maker - for the cockroaches, of course), we finally decided to call for some professional help.

Ants is a major problem. They are the black ones, and they seem to be coming from outside from the garden. Actually, the black ones are not the only ones. We used to get rather big red ones as well. I notice that they are seasonal: over the course of a few months, the type of ants that we see in the house changes - black ones, big red ones, small red ones, and then it starts over again. But recently, it's these black ones that are a nuisance. You kill them, more come. Kill some more, and even more come.

Cockroaches (eeeuuuuuwww!) are the next thing. Although they don't show themselves pretty often, we know they're there from the droppings that we sometimes see. They are not quite a problem unlike the ants but they're absolutely disgusting! I can't stand the sight of them, and I actually have a slight fear of them (blame it on some forever-scarred childhood experience that involved a certain "brushing" incident with a cockroach's legs....shivers!). But, my hate for them is far greater and so there's always my trusted slipper to swat them putrid creatures.

And finally, mice. This has been a rather recent phenomena. Almost on a daily basis, we hear the sound of scurrying feet above our heads. And if we're lucky, we even get to listen to their excited squeakings. Mice running between the roof and the ceiling above us is not too bad. But, seeing one running about in your kitchen is!

So, control was the only answer. The technicians came, sprayed some stuff along the corners of the whole house, which were to repel and kill ants and cockroaches. They then threw some poisoned pills randomly outside at the back of the house - this was for the mice. They had wanted to leave it at that, but my wife asked whether they could set a trap as well, and they did.

So, the whole of this evening was spent cleaning the whole house hence this late post. I also repositioned the trap. At first it was in one of the kitchen cabinets, but I put it out on the kitchen floor. And as I was writing this post, I head a snap!

My wife and I checked, and there inside the cage was a mouse - rather small, maybe still quite young, and quite scared. The mouse in the cage is now outside the house, perhaps still eating the bait that we put (pumpkin bread, you know!). In the morning, we're going to call the experts to take it away.

Problem's not solved yet though. Just heard some more scurrying in the roof. But, we'll rid them soon enough.

You'll see.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A good day

Mommy: Did you have a good day today?
Adelle: Yes.
Mommy: Why do you say you had a good day?
Adelle: Because it's Good Friday.

That was part of the conversation my wife had with Adelle just as we were putting her to sleep just this evening. Such an innocent, almost simplistic answer, but once I thought about it, how much truth there is to it. Indeed, today is a good day for the simple reason it's Good Friday. It's a day of remembrance of the greatest act of courage, and love ever demonstrated. I've always wondered what it was that made someone call this day Good Friday. But, no one (I've checked) seems to know exactly. Anyway, just to share something I've been thinking about and have learned more about.

"And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. "
Matthew 27:51

This event occured as soon as Jesus died.

If you've ever gone through any of the clauses in an insurance policy, then you would proabably have come across the phrase "acts of God". I'm not entirely sure what exactly these "acts of God" encompass, but I suppose they refer to something totally beyond the control of human actions, like natural disasters and the like. And they are usually something the insurance company isn't willing to cover, unless of course, you're willing to pay a substantially large premium for it.

But, I digress.

As far as acts of God are concerned, the happening in the quote above is clearly one. Why?

Just a bit of background information first. The temple refers to the Jewish temple, a place where the Jews go to offer prayers and sacrifices. There are different parts to the Jewish temple, but the only part that is separated by a curtain (or veil) is between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies (or some would say The Most Holy Place) is the most innermost sanctum. It was where the Ark of the Covenant (which contained the two stone tablets of the Law and was a symbol of God's divine presence) was originally was placed and the place where only the High Priest could enter but once a year to make an offering to God for the forgiveness of the sins of the entire Jewish population.

So, the veil or curtain that separates the two places rips. Nothing unusual about a ripping curtain, but the thing is, it rips from the top to the bottom. A human act would be the opposite: from bottom up.

The curtain was almost 20 metres long, and about 10 metres wide, and apparently made of seriously thick fabric (I can't even begin to imagine how thick is seventy-two twisted plaits of twenty-four threads each that are made of linen and wool). I've just learned about these bits of information as I was studying the verse, and I say, it's made the whole event even more amazing.

But all that still falls short of the significance of this act of God. With the curtain now torn into, there is no more hindrance nor limitation nor restriction to the forgiveness of sins. There is no more a need for a high priest to give an offering on our behalf. Jesus has become the High Priest, offering His own blood as the sin offering. The way has been made clear, opened and made free for every one to come into the very presence of God and ask God Himself for forgiveness and receive it.

Thank God for Good Friday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A round belly

It's been a long while since I've written something about one of my favourite activities eating. And since I'm actually feeling a bit peckish at the moment, I guess that this is the perfect reason for me to write something about food...just to build my appetite that much more (and maybe get your own mouth salivating in the process, hehe).

I've actually been wanting to write about one of my more interesting dining experiences at one of the local restaurants here in Kota Kinabalu but I've been putting it off till now. Sometime last month, we decided to try out some provincial Chinese cooking at a restaurant called Moon Bell. It's not exactly new; it's been in operation for at least two years now and that's what piqued my wife's and my interest. You see, the few times we walked past this particular restaurant, we always saw the empty tables inside. The restaurant was open, there were just no customers. You and I know very well what happens to empty restaurants, right? Be empty long enough and the owners will have no choice but to go out of business. Unless of course they are rolling in money.

Anyway, so this restaurant was quite empty every time we passed it, yet it had survived all this time. The restaurant two doors away which opened about the same time as this particular one is already into its third owner! So, my wife and I figured maybe people do come just that we don't see them at the times we actually pass by. So, we decided to try out the food.

Their speciality is this deep fried (or was it roast) lamb with a dip. I remember it being quite delicious though the portion was fairly small for the price: only four smallish pieces, I think, for about RM20. Then we ordered another of their speciality, some stuffed brinjal. This had a rather sweetish taste to it, but it was something we had never tried before and it tasted quite good as well. The price was in the teens, I think, and the portion, like the lamb wasn't very big as well. Anyway, I had rice to go with the dishes while my wife ordered plain (as in empty) soup noodles. The lady owner said that they made their own noodles so it was supposed to be better. We found it to be nothing special, and the price of RM4 for just a bowl of noodles with some flavoured soup didn't justify the cost, I think. And again, the portion was not up to expectations.

The lamb...small portion, but yummy!

A different kind of dish: the stuffed brinjal

Despite all this, we enjoyed the meal tremendously (what little there was of it, anyway!) and thought that maybe we'd come back again, minus an order for the noodles, of course.

Now, that was the Chinese restaurant. Just last Thursday, we went Japanese. It was at Hana, at one of the shopping complexes here in Kota Kinabalu. The food here is quite good, and the portions are reasonable. So, my wife ordered Chicken Teriyaki, which she shared (or rather, traded) with me; I ordered some beef thingy, and we oredered Adelle a kid's bento set. Adelle enjoys coming here as she can eat and be entertained by the train that goes round and round the track bringing plates of sashimi on its carriages. This translates to needing less attention by the parents, and hence, allowing the parents to get some decent enjoyment of the food before them. :)

Chicken Teriyaki

This is my beef dish. Don't remember the name, though.

There was a spot of trouble with our order, however. The picture in the menu for the kid's bento set showed a yakitori, but when the order came, they gave deep fried chicken instead. My wife didn't want Adelle to eat too much oily stuff so she queried the staff about it. They said that the menu was old and that they had replaced the yakitori with the chicken a long while now, Wife said they should have informed us when we placed the order, and asked for the chicken to be changed. The staff (a more senior one) refused. So my wife asked to cancel the order, and she also refused! Threatening to report this to the hotline made the staff to consult her superior (I'm assuming) and it was only then that they'd change the chicken with the yakitori.

This is the kid's bento set. That's the deep fried chicken on the right.

All this for a stick of chicken pieces.

But, we enjoyed our meal nevertheless, and this father was full at the end.