Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Klinik 1Malaysia: Lagi Best

One small mistake I made this morning caused me heck lots of suffering this whole day. And that mistake I made was eating late breakfast. Yep, I have a terrible gastric history for the longest time of my life and my gastric is very sensitive with irregular food intake schedule. Whenever I feed my stomach late, seemingly my gastric has a very strict alarm that surely would punish me with horrific pains in the middle of my stomach.

Therefore, today I was really, really suffering with gastric pains since afternoon. I spent my entire afternoon by curling in fetal position in my bed and rubbing medical oil on my tummy several times to ease the pains. I could not eat much but I had to eat. I made fish(y) porridge for my lunch and my husband fed me with frog leg porridge for dinner. However, I barely ate my dinner because my stomach still hurt so badly tonight. My husband, who's been a real caring darling today, could not stand me looking so awful because of my gastric problem and he insisted on finding me a doctor right after our dinner. No matter what.

After dinner, we circled around our neighborhood to find a nearby clinic that opened as today is Hari Raya and most people in Malaysia take a day off. On our way to find our usual private clinics, we passed by the Klinik 1Malaysia, a public clinic that only charges RM 1 (equivalent to SG$ 0.41 or US$ 0.33 or Rp. 2,800) for the (low income) Malaysian patients regardless of their (light) diseases. I think by now there are about 50 available Klinik 1Malaysia already in operation nation-wide.

Although we learned that this Klinik 1Malaysia was open today (and amazingly it's empty too! Seems like people don't really fall sick on Hari Raya), my husband told me that this government-sponsored clinic would be our last resort tonight.

The Klinik 1Malaysia in my neighborhood.

Then we continued our journey to find the private clinics that we usually go but unfortunately, both regular clinics that we visit were closed today. So, as a result, somehow we were made to go to Klinik 1Malaysia tonight.

 Inside the Clinic: Merrily decorated to celebrate today's Hari Raya.

My husband reckoned that since I am not a Malaysian, the RM 1 policy of Klinik 1Malaysia might not work its magic on me. But he was wrong. After the nurse (whom I think was so interested with me being an Indonesian in Seremban by joking and asking so many personal questions to us) filed my details in the registration card; we discovered that I was apparently also eligible for the RM 1 policy as a Malaysian's wife. However, she did ask us to show our marriage certificate but we, of course, don't carry this kind of certificate around for doctor visits in Malaysia. Thus, as usual, for registration we only showed her my passport in place of the Malaysian identity card, which I don't have one.

This RM 1 policy was very interesting to me. A mere RM 1 for the doctor's consultation fee and medicines. I was honestly still in awe (read: mouth wide opened) when my husband took that RM 1 note out of his wallet for advanced payment in the registration counter.

My RM 1 Medical Bill from Klinik 1Malaysia.

Further, my husband also mentioned that as compared to private clinics, usually public clinics in Malaysia would only release higher quality controlled medicines to their patients. I say, two birds with one stone and no wonder, this place is insanely full on normal days.

The doctor who examined my gastric problem tonight was quite good and very thorough. He carefully checked my health history by bombarding me with lots of questions. He even demanded my explanation of my late breakfast this morning as he knew that I am very aware that I cannot afford to eat late due to my gastric issues. I was speechless. Then he asked me again, "Why?", now with his dagger eyes directly looking into my eyes. I went, "Umm... Err... Umm... Err..." *scratching head and exposing a silly smile* In the end, my husband saved me from this doctor's burning question by saying that today we woke up late because of the public holiday and that's why we also had our breakfast pretty late.

After he checked my stomach and my health history, he gave me some prescribed gastric medicines. The best part was he gave me not just one but THREE of identical gastric medicines. A bottle of liquid gastric medicine for immediate consumption after I get home tonight and another extra bottle for stock at home plus a pack of (on-the-go) gastric tablets to keep in my handbag since he understands that I often get gastric attacks. How good was that!? I am so humbled and deeply moved by this kind and big-hearted treatment with only RM 1!

The generous stock of gastric medicines I received from the Klinik 1Malaysia's doctor today.

Oh Lord! I know now I sound like someone from a third world country (in fact, I am) who never enjoyed proper health services from my government before. But seriously, I am quite impressed with the health (clinic) facilities in Malaysia. In Malaysia, I usually have to pay about RM 20 - RM 30 in private clinics for doctor's consultation fee and medicines and this price is still cheaper by half from the medical fee charged by private doctors in Indonesia. Better still, this Klinik 1Malaysia's RM 1 fee is really awesomely bizarre to me! I think this is the cheapest medical expense that I my husband ever paid in my whole life.

My husband could not stop laughing at and teasing me since I was jumping with joy and became so crazily happy after being charged of RM 1 for doctor today. *wonder what I would feel when I get zero medical fee from the government one day*

By the way, my gastric problem is now already gone as I type this post.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The White Aster

Before today, I never really paid attention to my Mom-in-Law's shrubby perennial plants with small white flowers in our garden. Albeit I water the plants almost every other day, I took these particular plants for granted for the longest time. Unlike the undisputed champions in the world of flowers, the Orchids, these plants' flowers are indeed often forsaken.

I always thought they were just some wild small flowers from anonymous low maintenance plants that grow and bloom without much attention. Now that we enjoy rainy season and I get to indulge myself with the view of blooming flowers everywhere in our garden, I began to notice that they are not merely small white flowers.

They are very pretty little white flowers.

Flowers of the Day: White Aster in our garden.

And they have a name.

The White Aster.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Making Chocolate Orange Muffins

I have been quite obsessed with baking muffins these days. I believe it's due to the fact that baking muffins, by right, should be easy, simple and fast; yet, out of so many attempts, I only passed the 'successful muffins' category once or twice (judging from the muffins' exterior look and taste). Previously, I was always really skeptical in incorporating the muffin batter with a wooden spoon. I always thought that electronic mixer is irreplaceable in making cake batter but turned out that is not the case for making muffins. The keys for successfully baking muffins are indeed correct measurement of the ingredients, mixing techniques and precise oven temperature.

To break my serial muffin baking failures in the past few weeks, I determined to invest on a real cook book especially dedicated for muffins. Earlier this month, my choice fell upon EASY MUFFINS book by LOVE FOOD because it has various simple muffin recipes and looks easy enough for me to follow. The book says, I won't go wrong in making all the muffins featured in the recipes, provided I follow them carefully. And I did read the book's introduction, foreword and tips in making great and delicious batch of muffins before I started baking any recipe from it.

This afternoon, with some cream cheese leftover and fresh orange my Mom-in-Law bought, I decided to give this Muffin book a try by making Chocolate Orange Muffins.

Once I finished baking my muffins today, I asked opinions from my ex-colleague/virtual baking buddy in Manila, Joan, on my muffins' final look and she commented that from the photo, they looked yummy. *Phew* After she said that, I now have the confidence to post my muffins' picture and share the recipe here as well.

Chocolate Orange Muffins.

Here's the muffin recipe that I used today. I slightly modified it from the original recipe since I didn't have all the ingredients stated in the book but everything went just fine. Also, I only made half of the recipe, just in case I didn't make it (again) today. But hey, I think I finally made it today!

Chocolate Orange Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 125 gr Self-raising flour, sifted
  • 15 gr Ground Almonds
  • 30 gr Soft Brown Sugar
  • Rind and Juice of 1/2 (Large) Orange
  • 90 gr Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (Large) Egg
  • 30 gr Chocolate Chips, coated with a little bit of flour
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • Muffin paper cases

Tutorial:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degree celcius.
  2. Line the muffin tin with paper cases.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients: In a large and dry bowl, mix the flour, ground almond and brown sugar together. Set aside.
  4. Combine the liquid ingredients: In another large bowl, beat together the orange rind, juice, cream cheese, egg and vanilla essence until well combined. I used wooden spoon to do this.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the beaten liquid ingredients.
  6. Add in the chocolate chips into the batter. Stir gently until everything is just combined and do not over mix. 
  7. Spoon the mixture evenly to the muffin tins. Best to use ice cream scoop to do this.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the muffins are well risen, golden brown and firm to touch.
  9. Cool the muffins in the tin for about 5 minutes and serve warm.
*This recipe makes 5 muffins.

By the way, frankly, I panicked when I discovered that the cream cheese was pretty hard to combine with the rest of the liquid ingredients. I was that close to turning to electronic mixer to combine the cream cheese with the liquid ingredients. However, I was too lazy to take it out and the thought of having flat muffins haunted me. Nevertheless, after beating it lightly and gently, ultimately the cream cheese was kind of well blended in the liquid ingredients. Then, things went just okay after this part.

I love the citrusy aroma of the muffins when baked in the hot oven. The muffins' final results tasted tangy with a tad of chocolate sensation and they were absolutely nice companions for afternoon tea, especially in a rainy lazy Saturday like today. In addition, I am very happy with the tall round muffins I had today, not muffins with overflowed flat wide tops that I often produced.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shopping for the Wedding in Malaysia: Part 2

I find some of the parts of planning my wedding in Malaysia are quite interesting because of the bits and pieces of Chinese wedding customs and traditions that my husband and I have to go through during our wedding ceremony. They are personally unique for me because I think Chinese Indonesians don't strictly practice some of these any longer in Indonesia (or in my hometown particularly or in my family at least). Err... Actually, after checking with my Dad, Chinese Indonesians did all these wedding customs and traditions too during my parents' generation. 

Following are the things that my husband and his Mom purchased in preparation of our upcoming wedding in Malaysia next month:

8. A brand new set of bed linen to be installed in the bridal bed. 

From my reading in the internet, apparently the bed linen for the bridal bed traditionally should be in red if the Bride is married for the first time and in pink or peach color for her second or next marriage. 

New set of bed sheet for the wedding room.

Obviously, we skip this specific tradition since we purposely did not buy the striking red bed linen and it's going to be my first marriage. I am still not sure how my Mom-in-Law will decorate the wedding room later on. There will be lots and lots of red ribbons for the bedding perhaps?

9. 拜拜 (Bai bai) stuff.

拜拜 stuff for our wedding day in Malaysia.

My husband and his family practice Buddhism, hence they will have to pray to the Gods and ancestors during our wedding ceremony. As for me, I might have to skip this part since I am a Christian. No pun intended though. Let see how this wedding ceremony goes.

BETROTHAL ITEMS

In Chinese custom, the Groom sends betrothal items to the Bride before the wedding day. Each of the betrothal items is symbolic and has significant meanings. I am not sure if there would be special ceremony to pass all the betrothal items for me but I am guessing no. All the betrothal items that my husband and Mom-in-Law bought are actually already sitting nicely under my working table in my room now.

10. Betrothal item no. 1: Red umbrella.

Not an ordinary red umbrella I have here.

My husband and his Mom bought a symbolic red umbrella for me. To my understanding, this red umbrella will be used by my Dad on my wedding day when he sends me to the wedding car when I leave the wedding house. My Dad will have to use the umbrella to protect me, the Bride, from the sun and other evil spirits from above.

11. Betrothal item no. 2: A pair of lamps.

A pair of lamps that we bought.

Lamps in Chinese (deng) has a similar sound to sons ( = ding). Therefore, a pair of lamps symbolizes the wish that the Bride will give birth to sons to the family after she gets married. Also, the lamps will be placed in the wedding room (next to or in between of the bridal bed) and lighted for three days in a row. This denotes long and bright future ahead for the couple. Actually it's best if we bought a pair of red lamps for the wedding purpose. However, since we thought that red lamps have less functionality in the long run, we decided to just buy more normal table lamps that we can use again after the wedding.

12. Betrothal item no. 3: A set of baby bath tub, basin and potty.

A set of baby bath tub, basin and potty to pressure the Bride. *joking*

I think the message behind presenting the Bride with a set of baby stuff is crystal clear: "Go make a baby quickly!" But really, this is true. These stuff is given to the Bride as a hope for a baby soon to the newly married couple. Usually, all the baby stuff for the betrothal item should also be in red color. Unfortunately, my husband could not find a good quality of red baby bath tub so he went ahead with the pink one (which is much better, I think)!

That's all for the shopping updates for the upcoming wedding in Malaysia thus far. Maybe there will be more shopping spree to come, especially for the betrothal items, but I myself am not too certain on this. Let's watch and see.

25 Days to Go Before the Wedding in Malaysia

It's almost been a month since our wedding celebration in Indonesia on last July and honestly, both my husband and I pretty much have less energy and mood to organize another one in Malaysia. When we hosted our wedding reception in my hometown, Malang, both of us could not believe that we were supposed to do all the wedding preparations, ceremony and celebration one more time for the September wedding in Malaysia. BUT, we have to do it, no matter what.

In the past month, we've been kind of busy yet relax (ironic, I know!) in preparing our wedding reception in Malaysia. There are still arguments between the two of us in preparing the wedding but they are just so inevitable. Although we have booked some major things for the wedding in Malaysia like the venue, bridal house and florist as well as printed the wedding invitation cards long time ago but there are still lots of details that we need to take care of. Believe it or not, since wedding reception in Malaysia is way much simpler than the one in Indonesia, my husband, his Mom and I only started getting busy in only less than two months before the D-Day.



Here are some wedding preparation progresses that we have done thus far, considering that now we are only less than a month away from our final wedding day in Malaysia.

1. Booked the Wedding Cake

My husband and I booked our wedding cake only a couple weeks ago. Since it's kind of uncommon in Seremban to have 6 or 7 layers of grandeur (dummy) wedding cake, I really hit the wall when choosing the local bakery and cake house which is able to customize the wedding cake in the way that I wanted since I cannot accept the complimentary plain dummy wedding cake from the restaurant. In Malaysia, or in Seremban rather, the maximum wedding cake that the local cake houses can do is cake with 3 layers only and the logistical policy for the cake on the actual day is self-collection. It's all real edible cake though. They count the cake cost by the cake's total weight and icing we use. Since we had to use the expensive royal icing for the 6 kg cake that we booked, we ended up forking RM 600 out just for the cake. Such a bummer as this was the price I paid for my seven-layer wedding cake in Indonesia and the cake house delivered it right to the hotel where we held our wedding reception. Oh well, when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

2. Chose and Fitted the Wedding Gowns 

I selected two wedding gowns for my wedding day in Malaysia from the Bridal House that I previously engaged for our pre-wedding photos. One is a white wedding dress with long tail for the morning ceremony and another one is a much simpler white gown as I think I am required to walk around pretty often during the toasts at the wedding reception. Next month, my make-up and hair do sessions start as early as 6.30am! I am so going to need my beauty sleep on the night before the D-Day, or else I'd have the panda eyes in the morning.

Next to-do-list:

  • Set 5.45am alarm on the wedding day for early make-up and hair do sessions
  • Take the wedding gowns from the Bridal House two days before the D-Day and do not forget to return them on the next day after the wedding reception
  • Bring the make-up effect ampoule and fake eyelashes for the make-up sessions as the Bridal House in Malaysia don't provide these for free

3.  Confirmed the Car Decoration and Hand Bouquet

Wedding car decoration and hand bouquet are part of the parcel we got from the Bridal House in Malaysia. Based on the colour of the wedding car that we are going to use on the wedding day, a couple months ago, my husband and I selected the colour theme that we want for the wedding car decoration. We also purchased some additional fake flowers to decorate the car (I'm a fussy customer and tend to have high expectation when it comes to my wedding!). We have also chosen the type and colour of the flowers for the bride's hand bouquet sometime last month.

Next to-do-list:

  • Send the wedding car to the Bridal House one day before the D-Day
  • Pick the hand-bouquet from the Bridal House one day before the D-Day

4. Tasted the Food

Last Friday, my husband, his core family members and I tasted and critiqued the food that we plan to serve on our wedding reception. The food tasting in Malaysia seemingly is not a complimentary treat from the restaurant that we booked for our wedding reception. We had to pay for the food that we tasted, though we were given special 20% discount from the bill that night. I was actually quite surprised with this as we were not supposed to pay a dime for the full-course food tasting for my wedding reception in Indonesia. 

5. Shopped Traditional Chinese Wedding Stuff 

My husband and his Mom did quite a lot of traditional Chinese wedding stuff two weeks ago. I am going to elaborate more on what they purchased in a separate post because what they shopped are quite unique for me.

6. Printed Souvenir Photos

As I mentioned in my previous post, my Brother-in-law and his wife once advised us to print post-card sized pre-wedding photos and distribute them some relatives and friends on the wedding day itself. This is because some people in Malaysia apparently do keep an album consisting of their friends' or relatives' wedding photos, which my husband and I never thought of before. Knowing this, my husband asked his photographer/designer friends to watermark some of our pre-wedding photos with our names and wedding date. We printed about 100 photos on last weekend, just in case some guests want to keep our wedding photos like my Brother-in-Law said. Hopefully those who take our photo souvenirs don't make scribbles on our faces in the photo and then, throw our pictures away onto the garbage bin.

7. Distributed the Wedding Invitation Cards.

My husband made his friends' invitee list quite a long time ago but only started distributing our wedding invitation cards since last weekend. At the moment, we are not 100% done in doing this. Whenever his time permits, he drops some wedding invitation cards to his friends' houses or calls a group of his invited friends out for Yam Cha and pass the cards to them at one go. Actually, at this opportunity, my husband also assigns some tasks that he wants his friends to help during our wedding day like picking up the bridesmaids from the hotel, decorating the wedding house, picking up the cake from the cake house, etc.

His parents settle the relatives' and other guests' wedding invitation cards distribution. Before this, I didn't know how tiring distributing wedding cards could be as I didn't really go through this process for my wedding in Indonesia. My parents helped me distribute the wedding invitation cards to some of my friends' houses in Malang and I also utilized email and snail mail to send my wedding cards to my friends who don't live in the same city as me. Anyway, we still have about three weeks to go to finish distributing the cards. We should be fine.

8. Compiled Wedding Songs.

Since my Mom-in-Law was so firm with her mind on not having a Karaoke-style wedding lunch, my husband ought to prepare some wedding or love songs for three-hours run time, to be played during the reception. Our wedding or love songs collection were not enough for three hours run time, so my husband asked his musician friend to share with him some nice songs for our wedding reception.

Next to-do-list:

  • Finalize the songs that we really want to play during the wedding reception. We should select about 30 songs or so for three-hour run time.

9. Created Sample of Inspirational Wedding Photos for the Photographer

We don't hire the same photographer that shot our pre-wedding photos for our actual wedding day's photography. Therefore, to give the newly hired photographer some head ups on the style and feel of the wedding photos that we want to have during the D-Day, last night my husband did some research on wedding photos in the internet, chose about 20 of them and sent them across to the photographer for him to study.

Quite some progress we made in about one month time, huh? Quite rush but everything is still manageable so far. Moving forward, my next targets are to train my flower girls and be in touch with my Bridesmaids to confirm some 'challenges' arrangements for my husband and his entourage on our wedding day. I can't wait to see my family and Bridesmaids next month. Wohoo!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Bittersweet of Marriage Life

It's been a little over a year since my husband and I were technically married. Yes, time flies like an arrow and my husband and I just had our first anniversary since we registered our marriage (ROM) in Singapore last year. We have lived together under the same roof for almost a year by now and this being said, there are indeed lots of things to reflect upon to improve my marriage and personal lives.

Marriage life treats me pretty sweet thus far since my better half and I are no longer separated by considerable distance for a long time again (like when we were dating). For this, I am really blissful and forever grateful. However, one thing I learned thus far about my new life is that marriage isn't all about sugar. Marriage ain't bed of roses. A lot of work are constantly required for two individuals with two different thinking, upbringings, characteristics and habits to live a peaceful, loving, sound marriage life. My husband and I battle with each others' differences, lapses and shortcomings every other day. On top of that, my husband and I are also challenged with our different nationalities, cultures and languages. Live happily ever after post marriage is not as an easy project, my friends.

Life is just bittersweet.

During my courtship period, I faced difficult times with my then boyfriend (read: now husband) because I didn't plant enough trust on him. I had excessive jealousy of him, which corrupted him and our relationship slowly, and I was also very often perturbed with our future. My biggest question then was whether two of us would be be able to live together one day. Now that we have past those periods and I have grown more trust on him (I think), our daily arguments and fights have gone to another level.

Nowadays, my husband and I argue on small little details on our daily life like switching off the lights, closing water tap and windows tightly, deciding the breakfast/lunch/dinner menu, etc. We fight and scream to each other on bigger issues. We give silent treatment when we are fed up with each other. Luckily, our fights these days don't last any longer than 24 hours. We try to resolve our issues before 24 hours. One of us gives in and finds a solution before we sleep. We try not to cherish anger and sleep upon it.

Nonetheless, every time we are filled with regret and guilt after our fight rounds; we still argue and fight again at some other time. I figure that husband and wife's fights are indeed inevitable but I personally assume that occasional fights are tolerable. Should we be able to properly handle anger and conflict with our partner, these two might bring us closer together instead. Healthy and fair dose of fights in marriage life probably are necessary as learning process to better understand our partner, but we're not supposed to carry the fights too frequent and too far. Stop the fight when it has to stop and don't pick the fight when it is not necessary. Try to overlook some small things that are not worth fighting or arguing.

Whenever I stumble into anger and conflicts in my marital life, I am actually the one who is more emotional in handling them. I, in fact, have the tendency to pick the fight with my husband. *Is this because I am a woman?* However, I am trying to better myself and think of some ways to manage my emotions and selfishness in my marriage life so I won't distress my husband that much. Here are some of the things that I think are important to remember and apply in keeping the pieces of any marriage life together, especially for newlyweds like myself. I admit, these food for thought are better grasped theoretically but not easy in practice. I still fail to do so too, most of the times.

1. Listen, Talk and Understand.

I often form prejudices when I hear slight negative things or ideas that don't exactly go like my thinking. I quickly get burnt with fire when I hear unpleasant things. I intentionally apply this bad habit too in my marriage life and I know it is wrong. I think we need to listen to our partner's explanation before anything. Listen to his or her side of story before cracking any (negative) comments, much less perform further actions. Talk through all the things that cause the potential arguments and fights. Calm and mature talks between husband and wife will sort the marriage problems out better, faster and less painful. It is also important to always put our position in his or her shoes before making remarks or demanding something from our partner.

2. Be Patient. Avoid Blowouts.

Patience is probably my biggest problem. I tend to be very emotional and overreact in handling issues in my marital life and end up creating superfluous drama than it should be. Small disappointments in my daily life may turn to a day-long war between me and my husband. It's no good. Like my friend, Astrid, mentioned, either one has to hold his or her temper when handling marital conflicts. She said "Husband and wife are not enemies and more like crew mates in a boat. If they fight means they are destroying their own boat. What's the point of of hurting own crew member, hence, sink the boat?" When the husband shows a bad temper, the wife should control her temper and try to bring peace back into the marriage life; and vice versa. We can't really fight fire with fire.

3. Stop Hurting Each Other.

Throwing barbs of criticism, cynicism, whines, attacks and angry words definitely do no justice to any marriage. These negative behaviors hurt our spouse and push each others away. When my husband criticizes me, I naturally feel hurt, offended and angry. I get defensive and find it very vexing to not take his criticisms personally. Whenever he does that, I give him the "Here we go again, the same old song" kind of attitude. Honestly, until now, I am still not at ease dealing with his constant criticism and cynicism but the more I think about it, maybe it's not entirely his fault. I indeed have done something that prompts him to do so. He perhaps has valid points that I need to look at. True enough, I realize that he only criticizes my bad habits. I do and repeat the things that he thinks are bad for me and for everybody else. Only when I consistently desert his warnings, his criticism grows into cynicism. In this case, probably I should make the change first. So, I guess reflections and making good changes are the keys to stop hurting each other here. Once we are changed to a better person, our partner will sure follow too.

4. Quit Blaming Each Other.

Blame games damage relationships. For sure. This is probably the next serious issue that my husband and I need to fix the soonest. I feel that we both love and take the joy in blaming each other for every small thing that goes wrong in this world. We specifically place responsibility to each other when something unwanted or bad comes to the surface. I guess the only solution in handling this is to control the blame game by thinking clearly and communicate our problem calmly and thoroughly before pointing finger at each other. Being less emotional is also helpful here as during the period we feel emotional in an argument, we hear blame when it's actually not there. If we are not sure what the real issue is, perhaps seeking advice from a trusted third party would help clear the water.

5. Forgive and Forget.

When our spouse lets us down, we should forgive and forget for infinite times. Let bygones be bygones. Forgiving is definitely not an easy business here as not of all of us possess humility and the forgiving heart to do so, especially for our spouse's serious crimes. Forgetting is probably another difficult thing to deal with in any relationship, especially those who are blessed with photographic memory and revenge competency. I have lived a terrible life when I could not forgive and forget my husband's past. In the end, this only created more hardened situations in our relationship and hurt both of us. My inability to forgive him and move on was really eating me up alive. Therefore, I think the ability to forgive and forget the past are essential in surviving relationship or marriage life, otherwise failure to do so will just eat the relationship/marriage up. Trying to get the trophy by winning the fights or taking revenge on our partner is also senseless commotion in any marriage. Furthermore, perhaps answering the very basic questions like why we love our spouse and/or can we live without him/her in the first place would help us to find ways in forgiving and forgetting our partner's flaws and live a better quality of marital life.

I have had my fair share in tasting the sweetness of marriage life in my first year of my marital life. Although there are days when things get sour and bitter but I believe if I could remember and really put into practice some or all of the above five guidelines into my marriage life, my husband and I will be okay. All the more, we might even be able to taste sweeter parts of our marriage life which have yet to come - as long as we stay mature, happy, cool and calm in rowing our boat. I mean, we both had weathered big storms before thus I am guessing we can endure other hardships. Hopefully.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Very, Very Old Photos

I happened to open the drawer where my Mom keeps our old family photo albums during my last visit to my parents' house in Indonesia a couple weeks ago. I discovered the album which contains my photos when I was still a baby. I think my Mom was pretty good in organizing her children's baby photos in the albums as she put dates on top of each photo. Too bad, the pages of that album now are kind of scattered as the rings that held the album together were long gone. Each page also possesses the old smell and has turned yellowish in color.

I was pretty sure that my Mom has lost all the photo negatives so I wanted to bring the album over to Malaysia and scan them to preserve those priceless ancient pictures of mine until the next century. However, I found it was way too troublesome to remove each photo stuck to pages of the so-called magnetic photo album. I also pictured the possibilities that I might tear the photo when removing them from the album and lose one or two of them too if I wasn't so careful enough in digging them. All the more, my Mom might have objected me borrowing her album to Malaysia for a few months. Hence, my husband helped me to snap some pictures of my old photos by using his camera instead. As a result, the soft copies of my baby photos that I have now are not so fantastic but again, it's still better than nothing.

So, do you want to see me back in some twenty six years ago, when I was still cute and innocent?

Sad face and I was obviously not ready to pose for photos.
*Photo credit by Lidya*

8 months old: Fatty.

Showing two rabbit teeth: Can't remember why I gave this wide smile back then.

My birthday cake and mountains of birthday presents when I turned 1 year old.

 Me and my sister posing in our regular photo studio near parents' old house.
*Photo credit by Lidya*

Thinking back, I think I had a happy childhood and my parents indeed showered me with lots and lots of unconditional love. Until now, actually.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Making Pineapple Rolls

My husband was out-stationed and my plan to do my work was shattered when the internet connection at home suddenly cut off at about lunch time yesterday. No internet connection. No husband around. Not much work could be done without internet. Simply f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g. I don't mean to be an utter bitch because of the internet problem I had since yesterday, but I really, really cannot live peacefully without internet these days. I feel disabled without internet connection on my normal working week days.

After calling the in-charge telecom provider several times in a day to resolve the internet connection in my house, NOTHING happened, until now. Oh, that said, I am temporarily borrowing my husband's office to do some work as his office's internet connection seems to work just fine and he is not in town. *Good thing that the office belongs to Dad-in-Law* In addition, during this lunch hour, I would like to quickly blog a bit as well (while I can enjoy the precious internet connection here)!

Back to yesterday's late afternoon story - I waited and waited, but the internet problem at home still persisted. At about 4pm I decided to keep myself busy, or I'd get crazy by doing nothing.

Although Chinese New Year and Christmas are still far away from August, I chose to test myself in making some cookies that are more complex than butter cookies. I went ahead with making Pineapple Rolls, a popular small and bite-sized pastries with pineapple jam.

My pineapple rolls before I glazed with beaten egg yolk and put them in the oven.

Pineapple Rolls

Ingredients:
  • 135gr Unsalted Butter/Margarine
  • 30gr Icing Sugar
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 180 gr Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Corn Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Milk Powder
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 400 gr Pineapple Filling
  • 1 Beaten Egg Yolk, for glaze

Tutorials:
  1. Combine the flour, corn flour and milk powder in a dry container. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence with high-speed electric mixer.
  3. Add in the egg yolks one by one to to the butter mixture whilst still mixing
  4. Stop the mixer and pour the flour mixture into the butter and egg yolk mixture slowly by using spatula or wooden spoon. Don't fold the dough with our hands or the dough gets wet.
  5. Put the crust pastry into pineapple tart molder cutter. Cut the pastry for about 4-5 cm in length. Place the pineapple filling on top of the cut pineapple crust pastry and roll carefully.
  6. Glaze the pineapple rolls with the beaten egg yolk to create the shiny and smooth effect.
  7. Bake until the rolls are light brown for about 15 minutes on a preheated oven (160-170 degree Celcius).
  8. Serve cool.

Here is an important tip in creating the pretty looking pineapple rolls which I missed out yesterday. I figure that it is important to have the correct proportion of pineapple filling and pastry when rolling the pineapple rolls. If there is leftover pastry after rolling each pineapple roll, cut it out. Roll each of them to a just nice shape.

To conclude, my pineapple rolls yesterday were yummy and sweet! The final products tasted so good when munched in the mouth.

Can't wait to let my husband taste them tonight. Hope he likes them!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Attending Proton Inspira VIP Test Drive 2011 in Malacca

I am never an automotive aficionado. But my husband is. In fact, a real big one. He reads automotive news, blogs and articles not just one time in a day but several times in a day, whenever he has the time. He also loves visiting various car showrooms, checking out the latest cars in the market and doing some test drive with the cars, if he has the chance (and permission from me, of course). *coughing* Okay, so the biblical truth is, I hate test drives. Most of the time, it bores me to sleep so I tend to refuse his invitations for car test drive.

A couple months ago, I saw a blog advertisement from Nuffnang Malaysia on Proton Exora VIP Test Drive 2011, so as a supporting (and loving) wife, I casually signed up our names for this event. Weeks later, my husband actually did get the call to attend the VIP Test Drive in Malacca. We both confirmed our attendance.

My husband was pretty excited in attending this complimentary event plus with this opportunity, he wanted to entertain his wife who often whines about boring weekend. Yep, we both could explore new things and meet people during the event plus have a brief weekend getaway in Malacca afterwards.

We reached Philea Resort and Spa, Malacca where the event was held at about 9am yesterday. When my husband discovered that there was New Proton Inspira VIP Test Drive going on at the same venue, he immediately proposed to the event organizer to move our names from Exora event to the Inspira Event. Young couple like ourselves are more interested in driving saloon cars than MPVs like Exora. In short, the organizers granted our wish to join the half-day Proton Inspira VIP Test Drive 2011!

The Ballroom where the event is held.

The event was about to start.

The organizer gathered all the 41 selected participants in the Philea Ballroom for event introduction, product features' introduction and pre-safety briefing before the actual test drive in Hang Jebat Stadium, Malacca. The event briefing was all the way led by Proton's Senior Race and Rally Driver, Mr. Ivan Khong. I didn't know that there's actually a Professional Driver job title in automotive industry whereby few of his daily tasks are to test the cars and review certain cars' performance.

About 30 minutes post the pre-briefing session, the participants were instructed to split into groups of four and pick one of the numbered Proton Inspira cars in the resort's parking lot. Then, each car, led by the  Leader Car, was supposed to drive to Hang Jebat Stadium. When heading to the Stadium, the rules of thumb were to drive the car in order (according to the number pasted in the car) and not to overtake the other participant's car, let alone the Leader's Car.

Our leader, Julian, giving instruction to each car through walkie-talkie.

 My husband chose a Black Proton Inspira. 
Our car was number 6.

Us, inside the Proton's Inspira, ready to move to Hang Jebat Stadium.
Behind us was a participant who actually works in a factory producing 
the leather products for the Proton car's interior.

Proton Inspira's interior look.

Walkie-talkie, the leader's one way communication tool, inside each participant's car.

Minutes later, all of us arrived at Hang Jebat Stadium's reserved parking lot and convened for another Test Drive briefing.

 Hang Jebat Stadium in Mallaca.

Another briefing by Mr. Ivan Khong of what to do during the Test Drive.

It never came into my mind that all the participants were supposed to test two major things with the cars during this VIP Test Drive. Unlike a usual test drive from a car showroom where the cars are taken to a straight smooth road for test drive, the main agenda of yesterday's test drive was to practice Emergency Brake and Accident Avoidance with Proton's Inspira. Mr. Ivan Khong emphasized many times for each participant to drive hard and brake hard. If we drove the car not fast enough or pressed the brake not hard enough, he wouldn't hesitate to scold us. He said he is not a sales guy but a professional car driver/tester, so it's his job to scold those who didn't test the cars properly. Also, for product comparisons, the participants were supposed to test several competitor cars and Inspira cars on the two things mentioned above.

My husband's next pick for test drive was Honda Civic.

The Honda Civic victim that my husband chose yesterday.

My first ride in the Honda Civic. 
Not knowing what would happen next, just yet.

Honda Civic's interior look.

Everything was still pretty much theoretical in my brain until I sat and buckled up in the passenger seat of that Honda Civic, waiting for my husband to practice the Emergency Brake. Only when my husband was about to drive that car at full throttle in the first traffic cone marking and press the brake as hard and sudden as he could in the next traffic cone, about 100m in front of the first marking; I came to realize what was going to happen to me. H.E.L.L. Not an adrenaline junkie, I never liked riding roller coaster nor speeding. Therefore, me experiencing emergency brakes over and over again, on purpose, I must have been insane.

After the first Emergency Brake, I almost died instantly. Apparently, there were some more to go. I demanded my husband in full force to let me get out from the car after two emergency brakes he performed. That's it. I could take any of it no more. He walked me to the resting area to join some of the Proton's crew. When the crew saw me joining them resting they all were bombarding me with questions like "Are you okay?" "Would you like something to drink?" "You look so stressed" "You could not stand the emergency brake, did you?"

Very kind of them! I smiled, nodded then kept mum.

For the next half an hour or so, I just sat there watching my husband and other participants from afar alternately enjoyed the endless emergency brake and accident avoidance practices with various cars. *wondering what's the fun of it* I had no regret being a real bench warmer yesterday. However, deep in my heart, I was really happy to see my husband looking so excited and savoring every moment he had when testing the cars yesterday. He was indeed doing his thing. After yesterday's event, I always think that if my husband ever got the job to do a professional driver like Mr. Ivan Khong and his driver staff, he might never have to work for a day anymore. He'd be just doing his passion day by day whilst earning a living.

That test drives were not the end of the event yet. Before Proton Team concluded the VIP Test Drive event, Mr. Ivan Khong offered some lucky participants (or rather, victims I say) to have a Taxi Ride with one of his professional drivers. I almost raised my hand up so he'd select me. I thought it was a literal taxi ride with one of his drivers for going back to the Philea Resort and Spa, where we parked our car there. After further learning on the Taxi Ride that Mr. Ivan Khong talked about, I felt so fortunate for doing nothing but watching during this Taxi Ride show. Never in my life I witnessed a live driving stunt like yesterday. My husband did queue for the ride though but he didn't get selected.

Enjoy the Taxi Ride video here:

Taxi Ride a.k.a Driving Stunt in Proton's new Inspira Car.

One lucky participant who rode the Taxi Ride remarked that the ride was such an adrenaline rush. He wanted to say something during the ride but his mouth just could not spit any words then.

Now let's talk about the car under the spotlight yesterday, the new Proton Inspira. I have no capacity at all in judging the car after the Test Drive event. Reason being, firstly, it's because I don't really drive (read: cannot drive properly as yet) and secondly, I didn't do the test drive personally. But here are some information I gathered during the briefing on positive features that the new Proton Inspira offers:

  • 1.8L and 2.0L engine capacity options
  • 7 Gears
  • Isofix certified, which means that this car has international standard certification for child safety seats in passenger cars
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Powerful engine - The 1.8L new Proton Inspira has about 30 horsepower more than Honda City and Vios

    The freebies we got from Proton during the event yesterday.
    A shirt, towel, pack of tissue and RM 50 worth of Petronas Gift Card.

    As a real driver and someone who is well conversant with automotive world, my husband thinks that the new Proton Inspira is really powerful and sporty car. He also deems Proton Inspira's Hari Raya promotion on 5 years of warranty and free service are to die for.

    Last but not least, here are the best parts I got to enjoy after attending the fruitful event yesterday. My husband took me to Malacca city center for a walk and we had a spicy lunch at a Nyonya Restaurant.

     Our Nyonya Lunch in Malacca.

     Taking a brief afternoon stroll at the Jonker Walk, Malacca.

    OK, OK. Happening Sunday.