Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rendezvous with Desy in Kuala Lumpur

On this super rainy morning, my husband and I drove all the way to Kuala Lumpur to see someone special. Before we hit the highway to KL, we made some time to shop some infamous Seremban Siew Pao for her to bring back home tonight. Like my husband said, we got to see her no matter what since we got not much chance to see each other.

A hot green tea latte whilst waiting for her.

Waiting and waiting.

God! It's been more than a year since I met my ex-Serangoon housemate and best friend, Desy. She was in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur this week for a company trip with her parents. We planned to meet up earlier this week in Singapore but she was too busy to spare a time to see me then. Finally, today I could see and catch up with her again, here in Malaysia.

Desy and Me: Reunited!

My husband, Desy and I had a long chat in Starbuck's Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. We talked about our future plan, wedding, her current job, her dad's chicken farming business, shipping business, good old times in Serangoon as housemates, my famous short temper and sensitivity, her 'Babi Kecap', some gossips on mutual friends, etc. It's just weird that the four of us - ex-housemates in Serangoon - will be getting married in 2011.

I really miss Desy. I miss her cracking jokes. I miss her chirpy and laid-back characters. I miss her babbles. I miss her advice on relationship. I miss shopping with her. I miss her everything. So much.


We took a quick snap at the Pavilion before we bid farewell.

 
Another goodbye this week. Hiks.

It was really too bad that I could only see her and had a real chat for a little over than an hour since she had to go back to her hotel and catch her flight back to Surabaya.

If only she only stayed in Malaysia...... Life couldn't be better. I can't wait to see her again.

Farewell, Farewell and Another Farewell

It was only last weekend when my husband and I met my good pals in Singapore, Iris and Rej, for some Indonesian dinner, long (diabetic) supper 'til midnight and shared a cab home in Singapore. And now here I am, already in Malaysia. Already more than half way to the plan of permanently staying here with husband.

 
Last Saturday night: The trio at Coffee Club, Somerset.

 The Coffee Club's Mud Pie. 
We, Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian and Filipino loved this.

 The Coffee Club's Carrot Cake.

On last Wednesday, I had a farewell lunch with my Bishan ex-housemate and one and only Indonesian lunch buddy in Nicoll Highway area, Liza. We had it at the Aston's Restaurant which is next to my office building. Liza said, my colleagues took me to this restaurant on my first working day there back in November, so she wanted me to dine at the same venue before I leave too. So sweet of her. I am so gonna miss her - chatting with her and listening to her big-sister-advice over lunch. I really hope I could cross path with her again in the near future, be it in Singapore, Indonesia or Malaysia. Too bad, I never took a photo with her. Shame, shame.

Aston's Grilled Fish with Herb Sauce for Wednesday lunch.

As time goes by, too fast as usual, last week was my last working day in Singapore. After explaining my current personal situation to my line manager, I officially resigned on last Monday and served the week out since I was still in probation. It was a shame to be able to extend my service to my new company for mere two and half months, two weeks before I was about to be confirmed. I just had my new business cards printed just on the day before my last day there.

On Friday itself, I had my farewell lunch with my Filipino colleagues, Joel and Bella. We had a long chat on my future plan in Malaysia, housing in Singapore and Bella's pregnancy journey. After lunch, my colleague, Christopher surprised me with a nicely wrapped present, which he did himself. Right after he came back from lunch, he came to my desk and threw a small box to me, just like that. I was so shocked and embarrassed accepting his farewell present since I didn't stay long in the company. Chris and I happened to bump into each other on our way in and back to work, we chatted a lot during our commuting times, quite frequently. I was touched by his friendliness and concern. He is indeed a nice and hardworking young chap whose strength and determination I really admire. He works full time and studies part time almost every day.

Later on, Victor gave me a cute rabbit cupcake he got from a sponsor's event he attended earlier.

Farewell present from Chris and a Rabbit Cupcake from Victor.

What's inside Chris's gift.

I blasted my farewell note email to all my colleagues in Singapore and Hong Kong office at around 4pm and was pretty touched to read their immediate responses over my sudden departure and relocation to different country.

Ahhh -
Gonna miss you my dear - But
NS.

All the best, Christine!
Regards,
JPC.

All the best in your future endeavours!
Keep in touch.
RY.


Hi Christine,
It has been a pleasure working with you.
All the best for the future.
CR xx

Hi Christine, 
You take care!!
And hopefully you will enjoy the next adventure of your life! 
I can't find you on facebook. Add me.
Best regards,
JA.


Christine,
Q, will be missing one more of the 'good people'. What can I say.
Be careful in M'sia (not everyone can be trusted - not like Singapore). There are crooks over there, blah, blah, blah...
By the way - told my old schoolmate u were 'taken'. He said he'd stay away... didn't want to have his face punched. Ha! Ha!
All the best! Keep in touch (if you can) and Adios Amigos!
JR.


Hi Christine,
This is very sudden news indeed. I do wish you all the best with your relocation and new endeavors (at least you won't have to put up with your cranky tenant).
Take care and do keep in touch!
NSP.

Wow! Quite the surprise... Hope you're excited about the change of environment. Thanks for your effort and good luck.
JS.

Hi Christine,
Sad to know you are leaving. But I am sure you have made the best choice amongst all options for the best outcome. Thanks for helping me out with ICCM. I wish you the best in 2011 and beyond. Take care.
AMS.


And there was a speaker in Singapore who congratulated me on my relocation. His advice was change is the touchstone of progress. I couldn't agree more.

That was it. Another last day at work. After work, I met up with my husband and we had our dinner at Junction 8, our favorite mall in Bishan. We ate the rabbit cupcake as our dessert after we had our Japanese dinner there. Apparently it was a carrot cupcake. My husband's favorite.

This could be our last time scouting our favorite mall, Bishan's Junction 8.

Me and the cute rabbit decoration at Junction 8.

Fret not, after this coming Chinese New Year, I will still be coming to Singapore to finish packing and do some more proper farewells with all my friends in Singapore.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Alighting at The Chijmes, Singapore

After attending the Sunday Service and having lunch with church pals (plus breaking the 'relocation' news to some of them) somewhere in Clarke Quay area, my husband and I had a long afternoon stroll up to City Hall. He wanted to check something up in one of the shopping malls in City Hall so after we had it done, I dragged him to go somewhere else whilst we were in City Hall. I always wanted to show him The Chijmes.

 
In front of the Chijmes Complex.

The first time I visited this place was back in 2005 during the Singapore Excursion Study with my university friends and I fell in love with this place at the first sight - the architecture, the ambiance, the scene, etc. I personally had been there for some high-end dining twice. Food wise, it's nice but can't say it's that fantastic. We all just buy the environment.

 Taken in 2005: I never thought that I would see this kind of place in Asia.

The Chijmes is one of Singapore's historic buildings - once a Catholic convent, after the restorations, this place has become Singapore's high-end entertainment center for dining, shopping, art gallery and hosting performances and weddings. This complex is open for pedestrians and tourists to walk around and take pictures outside the building.

The Chijmes Hall as our background.

We looked down and found a nice open area somewhere in the middle of the complex that accommodates visitors' dining or drinking at the surrounding cafes, restaurants and pubs. Then, I discovered a beautiful small fountain in the background of that open dining area, one of similar concept to the fountains in Italy and loved it. I was personally a bit lazy to went down to see it but just could not resist the temptation of snapping some pictures with the fountain as the backdrop.

On the way to the Fountain Court.

I love this spot!

We should have done pre-wedding photo shoot here.

This is how the ethnic shops around the Chijmes complex look like: quiet, unusual and antique.

I guess I won't find anything to shop here.

Aah, I will never be able to shop here. Not my cup of tea. But, I will always love the chapel, that fountain court and open cafe scenery outside.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

About Fears

I just stumbled into a church fellow's blog and bumped into his post about worry and fears in life. A simple thing that he learned from pigeons he came across in the street.

Gee, I guess I have been skipping church for way too long so that I totally forgot of the existence of the book of life. I forgot that I should be able to find solace there and shall not fear nor worry about things.

The book has all the answers for life's FAQs.


Luke 12: 24-34

24. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25. And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26. If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27. Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29. And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Cross verse reference found: 


Matthew 6:25 -34


25. Therefore, I say unto you, take no thought for your life. What ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body; what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat and the body than raiment? 26. Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28. And why ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin 29. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is and tomorrow is cast into oven, [shall He] not much more [cloth] you, O ye of little faith? 31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32. (For all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.

The latter words of wisdom are my front-runner Bible verses yet commonly forsaken. I am a Christian by faith but don't really practice religiously Christianity. I tend to seek when I need only. Don't follow me on this. Not a good example. You should find God every time, not only when you need Him. Anyway, I think no need to be one to appreciate the good gist from the book of life and other life lessons from other beliefs. Some things are just good to know as it holds true in life.

*Photos are randomly taken from the internet source.

I Say Bu-bye to Singapore!

I guess my time in Singapore is up. The bunny really brings change to me. The big decision had been mutually made. Instead of having the hassles of moving to a new house in few weeks time, my husband and I opted to permanently move to Malaysia some time after the Spring Festival is over. Shocking and abrupt news but true it is. Yep, now I really will have to say good bye to Singapore who has been so kind in hosting me for about four years and bid farewell to all my friends and business acquaintances who crossed paths with me during my tenure in Singapore.

Singapore's typical building blocks' view that I am going to miss.

Do I feel sad? Of course. I am so attached to Singapore and I called this city-state 'home' for the past few years. I had four Christmases, four Roman new years, four birthdays and am about to celebrate my fourth Lunar new year here. Am I worried with my new journey in another foreign country? Super! Do I freak out about everything? Heck, yes. A lot. You tell me about it. Whenever I think about my future, I really freak out. I will (probably temporarily) be jobless, almost friend-less, facing the language barriers, having some tough times adapting to the new place, dreading the upcoming and unavoidable driving lessons, having lesser independence and the list goes on. But the good thing is I will have my husband to entirely rely on there, so I guess I will be alright.

I understand that I am now acting like an utter bitch. Complaining and whining about the new big changes I am about to face but I try to think that what I feel now as normality, especially since now I am the one who is about to leave my comfort zones here. Well, at least some people whom I shared my feeling with, said so. Hence, I guess it's very normal to encounter these emotions. But yeah, I have told myself to end the complaining and whining series by this weekend and start thinking positively about the next life-turning transitions since we had made up our minds. I am a brave trooper. I had conquered the Netherlands and Singapore, why should I fret much about Malaysia? It's just another battle field.

But really, what's the point of forcing the one you love to stay in a place where he doesn't belong to? It's selfishness. He gave his shot in Singapore, didn't quite like it and now it's my turn to give my best shot in his territory. No harm and this is what I should do to make the marriage works. I mean we have a dream of having our small family sooner or later thus we really need to settle down in a place where nobody would chase us out from the house after every few months.

Humanity lesson learned since million years ago has proven to be correct again, at least for now. Human beings can only plan, but the big guy up there decides. I mean, my husband and I had a real solid plan laid out before he moved to Singapore. We planned to stay here for a couple of years, earn few Singapore dollars and cents for future saving then go back to Malaysia and settle down there. Who knew that the house issue cropped out and he turned out really didn't like his life here? Hence, what best for us now is just to accelerate the settling-down-in-Malaysia part and hopefully it's a wise thing to do, given our current circumstances.

To conclude my speech here, all I could say is that I will miss everything about Singapore soon enough. I will miss my friends here and would like to express my deepest gratitude to all of them for accompanying me throughout these years. You guys are great. It's been a smooth and enjoyable ride in Singapore. Hopefully, we will see each other again pretty soon, though not as often and easy as of now.

Now I know how all the women who blog about their life after marriage felt when they quit their stable job and followed their husbands to some other foreign lands or became a full-time house wife. It's not an easy thing to do and I salute all of them.

Bu-bye, Singapore!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bunny Brings Change

To celebrate the upcoming Rabbit Year, my husband and I thought of going all rabbit-y too. We bought these S$ 0.80 worth rabbit wall decorations from the market behind our block two weeks ago. Only last week, we finally pasted them on the wall above our TV. Whenever I see these two bunnies throwing their cute little smiles at us from the wall up there, I feel more or less at home.

Bunnies of Abundance bred at home.

Who knew that right after Chinese New Year, we got to vacant the current room we stay in since the landlord seemingly plans to sell her HDB unit right after the Spring Festival is over. We were bewildered and not all set for this since both of us just recently killed the idea to move to a better house after weighing all the costs and troubles involved if we were to move to another place in short span of time. Our main determinant to find a better shelter, then, was the auntie's being quite weird and funny since Day One we set our feet here.

The landlord returned this month's rent to my husband before he went off to work this early morning and I thought I was still dreaming when I read my husband's text about that. Since then, we have been engrossed browsing for rooms and connecting with agents in Singapore. On my second thought, this leave-the-house-after-the-new-year declaration could possibly be one of our landlord's spring cleaning measures. Just joking.

Nevertheless, akin to any other Chinese, we do plant some hopes on the positive things that the Rabbit Year would extend to us. We have a little confidence for the Bunny of Abundance to cater us happiness, health and prosperity throughout the year of 2011.

For that reason, I stipulate this accommodation issue as a blessing in disguise. A kick-off for all the good things and better big and/or small life transitions that may befall this year. I mean I try to see that change is perpetually good. Leaving comfort zones, in most cases, somehow leads us greener pasture. Distress signifies alpha and solace indicates omega.

Now I am pleased to announce that the room hunt has officially begun since this 9.15am, again. For the second time in just four months time. Come hell or high water, I will be, once more, really busy packing and unpacking heck lots of stuff here.

Alright, let the search begin first and then followed by the real move out/in - all over again. What the heck.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scarce Chinese Traditional Candy

I was waiting for my husband queuing for the famous AMK Laksa in the nearby food court this morning when I heard a rather unusual noise in the market background. I mean since this food court is co-located with the wet market in AMK, it is generally noisy as it should be. However, this morning I heard a pretty loud "THUNG. THUNG. THUNG. THUNG." over and over again. Somebody has been constantly banging some metal stuff and made a real noisy sound. I looked around and about 2 meters away from me, there was this old Chinese man standing behind a small metal box. I was not sure that he was the one who made the noisy sound because I didn't know what he was doing behind the box, but I guessed he was the one.

When we were eating, I pointed the old man with the metal box standing behind to my husband and asked him whether he knew what the man was doing and why he was making so much noise. He said, "Oh, he is selling a home-made rock candy. Maybe the 'thung' sound came from the noise when he crushes the hard candy into small pieces. Usually, it's peppermint candy." When I heard my husband's presumption on this, I got so interested to see the traditional Chinese candies in today's modern era.

After eating, I forced my husband to come by the old man and see the traditional sweets that he was making. Apparently he was not making any candy. The candy was already done.

The giant square candy inside the metal box.

 
The sliced candies in the plastic pack.

The candy was already square molded in the metal box and he was chiseling the candy, breaking it into slices bit by bit and put them in small packs. Apparently the 'thung' sound came from some two metal sticks that he banged to each other to attract people. We asked how much he sold the candy per pack. It cost only S$ 0.50 per one small pack and out of curiosity, we decided to bring one pack home. The candy came in two colors - yellowish white and brown. The type of candy that he sold was a very hard chewy candy and had no peppermint taste at all. It was a very sweet candy with mere sugary taste and slightly covered in flour but for someone who possesses a strong sweet tooth component like my kind self, they're still edible and enjoyable for me.

I truly appreciate the fact that in 2011, to welcome Chinese New Year, there's somebody who brings back good stuff from the past to the present days. The seller has taken us back to the olden days and introduced us the rich Chinese traditions they carried. It was very interesting to know typical sweets that people in the previous time used to consume especially since I believe sweets were categorized as luxury comfort food to some people then. My husband and I didn't know the exact name of this traditional candy and when I tried to search it in the internet, I could not find any either.

But, hey, today I discovered that somebody passed by my blog and dropped a comment saying that this candy is known as Deuk Deuk Tong! So happy to know the name. Whoever you are, you have my thanks for ending my curiosity about the candy's name.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday Night Stroll at Chinatown, Singapore

Being new in Singapore, my husband's colleagues advised him to check Singapore's Chinatown out, especially since Chinese New Year is coming next month. Singapore's Chinatown offers massive Chinese New Year's decorations and goodies, so it would be quite an interesting scene to witness.

Last night, we decided to come down to Chinatown, have a look and get some nice Chinese dinner there. Chinatown is indeed one of Singapore's vibrant spots poised with strong Chinese cultural elements, eminently at night. The long stretch of shops at the night market, loud Chinese music, street singers singing some Mandarin evergreen oldies, flooding crowds along the street, people selling Chinese paintings, red lampions, Chinese red decorations, etc. This place is just so happening. It's definitely also a favorite hang-out spot for foreigners too. Non-Chinese would, beyond any doubt, also love to check Chinatown and enjoy the nightlife there.

About to start cruising Singapore's Chinatown.

We came there wearing a hungry bear's hat. We just sat down at the nearest Chinese restaurant we could get from the Chinatown MRT Station and after few light regular arguments at restaurants, we finally started ordering food. The food was a bit pricey for our taste but I guess everywhere in Chinatown would charge Chinese food with this kind of pricing.

The Chinese Restaurant we picked.
Almost every visitor was drinking lots of beers.

Fried Pork with Honey Sauce.

Ma Lai Feng Guang.

Hong Kong Fried Noodles.

Strawberry (Ice Cream) Milk Shake.

After dinner, we made a circle around the Chinatown's night market. Checked some shops and took pictures here and there but didn't buy anything. We were just enjoying the atmosphere. It very much reminded me of the night market at Hong Kong's Lady Street (Nu Ren Jie), especially the way they arrange the street sellers and the Chinese restaurant in the junction. Both Singapore's and Hong Kong's (Chinatown) night market have a very crowded Chinese restaurant in a junction's corner somewhere along the busy street. On many fronts, both night markets are quite similar, except the sellers in Hong Kong speak Cantonese and a slight of Mandarin while the ones in Singapore speak Mandarin or English.

Checking out the busy street at Chinatown's night market.

Welcoming the Rabbit Year: Bunny of abundance is now everywhere.

Pretty Cherry Blossoms decorations.

Flowers, flowers and flowers. All fake.

Cherry Blossom street lamps.

On top of the balcony above Chinatown's Pagoda Street.

That was it. We spent our Saturday night yesterday with a pretty short stroll at Chinatown. Didn't buy much but the dinner, however, at least we got to explore one more of Singapore's most visit place and enjoyed the nightlife offered there.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Malang-Surabaya's Food Parade

Despite my family, do you know one of the reasons why I am so patriotic to be an Indonesian? The food. I just can't live without Indonesian food. Period.

I've gone to many countries and train myself to eat international food as my daily diet, not merely Indonesian dishes as before. However, nothing beats the feeling of being home by eating my own national food. The food I ate as I grew up. I crave for real Indonesian food at least once a week, and probably my craving could last for once a month, the longest. Sometimes, it is not that handy to find Indonesian cuisine in Singapore, so the closest I can get to it to satisfy my taste bud is by consuming Malay food. To me, Malay food is still pale in comparison to real Indonesian food. No pun intended, this is just some two-cent thought from a true-blue Indonesian food fan.

Here are a compilation of some good food that I happily gorged into my mouth during my last visit in Malang. Some of them are my "must-eat" kind of food when I go home. I am so proud for being someone who come from Malang, a food heaven when many people deliberately visit for its famous local cuisines in East Java.

My Mom always buys Cakwe Peneleh (Cakwe/You Tiao) from Pasar Atum, Surabaya whenever she has the chance to go there. My family has been buying this since more than twenty years ago. You can't find an exquisite and unique Cakwe topped with shrimp fillings like this in other part of the world.


Originally from Surabaya, the infamous Ayam Penyet Bu Kris restaurant had built its several branches in Surabaya and Malang, for what I know. They serve slightly different style of ayam penyet (smashed chicken) in Singapore's Indonesian restaurant but Bu Kris's ayam penyet is one of the food icon of East Java.


These are some pictures of local Nasi Bungkus (packaged rice) that my Dad bought from nearby stalls, usually for our breakfast. They are simply cheap yet delicious by default. Cenil and Lupis are traditional Javanese delicaces made from starch, sticky rice, coconut and palm sugar. They are usually bought from stalls in traditional wet market or a door-to-door seller in residential area. These days, on average they cost about Rp. 5000 (around S$ 0.80)/pack. Surprisingly, my husband loved this sweet dessert when my Mom bought some for him.


For one dinner, we went to Depot Ayam Goreng Tenes, which is always full house. Their ayam goreng (fried chicken) is a local legend. The herbs were perfectly absorbed in the chicken meat and when you finally eat the fried chicken, you could really appreciate the tasty melt-in-the-mouth chicken. I could not resist eating their fried chicken's skin too, which I usually discard. When we had our dinner there, the fried chicken came last. Before then, my husband commented that the food we had there was more like a camping food i.e. plain fried rice and a bit of fried sea food and sauteed vegetables. Frankly, I was a bit offended with his remark but it was all gone when he said "Wow! This is super good!" once the fried chicken came to our table and my husband had a small bite of it. He ended eating one chicken breast and one chicken thigh.


I was craving Rujak Cingur for the longest time but we didn't have the chance to buy a tasty one from the neighborhood. That day, my Mom brought my husband and I to a small eatery near the bridal salon where I fit my wedding dress. They happened to sell Rujak Cingur, a traditional fruits and vegetables salad topped with peanut and shrimp paste sauce, but apparently this food didn't give good impression to my husband. He didn't quite like the taste of Lontong Cap Go Mek either and still preferred the Lontong Sayur of Malaysia. He ended ordering Nasi Ayam Betutu, which was acceptable for his palate. I guess Rujak Cingur can only be fully enjoyed strictly by locals.


My auntie personally made her specialty Pastel Tutup (Closed Pie), a quintessential Dutch-Indonesian-Chinese dish so my husband could taste this. She occasionally bakes this upon requests and sells this to her friends. It contains diced ham and chicken meat, mushroom, cubed carrots, vermicelli in sweet milk soup wrap with baked mashed potato and cheddar cheese. It's a very tricky dish to make since you need a very good consistency in the mashed potatoes for the cover.

 

On one late afternoon after shopping some snacks and visited a small Mall in Malang, my sister took us to Bakso Bakar Trowulan, few minutes driving from my house. This place sells grilled meat balls that you can't find in other place in Indonesia, at least with their standard of cooking. We tried to eat similar Bakso Bakar restaurants in Malang, but nothing championed this place yet. Once, this small restaurant was reviewed in national TV too. They charge Rp. 1,500 (about S$ 0.20) /meat ball and free of charge free-flow vermicelli. It was 3pm then, but people flooded their place and fought for their grilled meat balls and vermicelli.


On my second last day in Malang, after we put my Mom's old broken guitar to service, my parents offered my husband, Baby Jennifer and me a Rawon lunch at the most popular Rawon restaurant in town. I said yes, yes, yes! I dare to claim that nobody could cook beef black soup like this place does. Theirs is just extraordinary. I have been eating this since I was a small kid. Then, my parents often brought all their kids to eat there on some mornings on weekend or school holidays or buy some of the soup back to enjoy at home. This was my last lunch we ate out with my parents before we left Malang.



On my last night in Malang, my sister and her fiance brought us to eat grilled corn nearby for supper. It is also one of the icons in Malang. The grilled corn is generally sweet, salty and buttery. If your stomach and tongue can't take hot stuff, don't event think of ordering their hot grilled corn. It could burn your tongue. One of my distant relatives, once tasted the grilled corns in this place, was inspired by this local business and opened his own Jagung Bakar (grilled corn) in Surabaya. I heard his first outlet was so successful and prompted him to open few branches more in the city.


Right before we headed to Surabaya Airport on our last day in Indonesia, we had our lunch in Pasar Atum in Surabaya. I spotted this familiar restaurant when I was accompanying my Dad looking for a suit tailor there. I remember I ate their delicious Sayur Asam (Sour Vegetable Soup) long time ago so I was so keen to try it for one more time. My instinct was correct, I was in the right restaurant I visited many years ago. All of us agreed, their Sayur Asam was very nice.


This is why I love Indonesia, especially Malang! Bless you who stay there or nearby there, at least. Thee shall never run out of good food. By the way, you'd need some local guidance to get you all these food galore in Malang and Surabaya.

Fishing: Revisited

Once upon a time, my father often took his small family for freshwater fishing in some nearby fishing ponds in my hometown's suburbs. This was dated probably back in fifteen years ago. As a small kid, I recalled it was such a fun activity and I enjoyed the natural village scenery surrounding the fishing ponds. I could still tasted the thrill when the fish caught the bait. It was such an adrenaline rush.

I am not quite sure what happened then, but we just never went for fishing with my parents again. The next information I got few years ago was that the fishing ponds that my family used to visit was already closed down since the old man who ran the venue has passed away. My father didn't bother to ask us for fishing again ever since. Ever.

Meanwhile, I now have a would-be brother in law who is an avid freshwater and sea fisher. He goes to fishing in rain and shine. His whole family considers fishing as a family recreation activity that they do several times a year. They would even sail to some oceans in different island for fishing. Surely, they have all the complete fishing equipments. I thought of revisited the idea of fishing again last December. I was very happy to have the opportunity to do some fishing again, now with my husband, sister and her fiancee. My parents were not keen in the fishing process but eager to know how many fish we caught at the end of the day. Big deal.

My Mom introduced us a newly built fishing pond in Karanglo, Malang. We went there on one cloudy afternoon and four of us had some light freshwater fishing session there. Although the weather didn't really treat us kind enough but we still manage to do what we plan. My sister's fiance brought all the fishing rods, bait and other fishing equipment from Surabaya. Hence, we saved the problem and cost in renting the fishing rods.

 
Pondok Desa, Kampoeng Telaga. 
A Seafood Restaurant cum Commercial Fishing Pond.

The gentlemen preparing the fishing equipments.

 
 Fooling around first.

 
Me and my sister. 
Acting to be sirens of the pond who didn't do much but posing. Lousy.

Me and my husband. Virgin freshwater fishing experience.

 
 I got the first fish!

Keeping the caught fish alive before taking them home.

 
The two gentlemen showing off all the hard-work. 

 
What we took home that day.

The price that we had to pay.

 
Releasing all the fish from the net.

 Weigh and Pay.

In the end, we took home six fairly small fish weighing exactly one kg. The whole process and results cost us just about Rp. 22,000 (around S$3!). My Mom proclaimed that she was lazy cleaning the fish's contents so she gave all the fish to my Aunt. We didn't mind at all.

I feel that fishing is a really patience training and hobby. We were forced to just sit by the pond for quite some time, did pretty much nothing but waiting and firmly holding the fishing rod. After so long, we then only realized that either the fish caught the bait or a group of fish had finished nibbling all the bait down there thus we just rolled the empty fishing rod up and started the whole process again. It went on and on like this for a couple of hours. Furthermore, as an amateur fisher, learning to throw the fishing rod into the water in a proper manner to reach acceptable distance is really something that need to be frequently practiced.

Albeit all these challenges and occasional grumbles, nothing could beat the feeling when the fish caught the bait and you got a moving fish on your hand. This what makes people so addicted to fishing. The results after waiting and trying for damn long.

Still want to do some fishing again say in some other time? You bet, I would.