AirAsia – The perils of mis-clicking

air-asia-mishap

I booked a return air ticket from Sibu to KL just now and mis-clicked on the departure date. I didn’t really notice the erratum until I checked the itinerary in my email. I went back and made amendments to the chronological discrepancy and was charged RM 150 for the “Change fee” (blue arrow).

It came up to a total of RM 165 for the clicking malfunction (green arrow) which is fair enough, considering Air Asia’s status as a no-frills airline and it was my mistake anyway.

However, it would be great if AirAsia allows for changes to the arrival/departure date and time for a certain period of time after the initial booking – a grace period, if you will. I suggest allowing changes 15-30 minutes after the initial booking gratis before the “Change fee” is levied.

This will allow genuine mistakes to be resolved without the fiscal penalty while avoiding last minute changes from indecisive travelers due to the short grace period for changes.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on the matter. I’ll be going to KL to attend my sister’s wedding reception in PJ. She’s already married – the ceremony was held yesterday at Auckland, New Zealand and she’s coming back with her husband and my parents for the KL reception before heading home to Sibu for the reception over here.

I’ll see you all in KL! :)

Project Monsary – Pasta with roast beef and razor clams

ingredients

Project Monsary
was initiated yesterday afternoon to commemorate my monsary with Melody. I cooked pasta with roast beef and razor clams for our lunner (lunch/dinner as opposed to brunch). Razor Roast Fusilli is the official designation I gave the dish – not very romantic, but it kinda rhymes. ;)

You will need:

Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara Pasta and Sauce
Fortune Razor Clams
Libby’s Roast Beef (“Great for Burritos”)
Absolut Vanilia
Wall’s Viennetta Kurma (dates) ice cream

alcohol

New readers of sixthseal.com might be wondering why there’s always alcohol involved in my cooking posts – the rational is simple, it’s better to drink and cook than drink and drive. ;)

You might need to get a mixer as well, I forgot that not everyone is an alcoholic and drinks it neat and straight from the bottle like me. ;)

butter

The Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara is a ready mix packet of pasta with the fusilli and (powdered) sauce in the packet. It’s kinda like the Italian version of ramen (our instant noodles) – just add water (and milk). I also forgot about getting milk and butter for the pasta, so it’s a good thing I manage to scavenge some from the fridge at home.

open

I also couldn’t find the automatic can opener so I had to use a manual one. We started up by opening the can of Libby’s Roast Beef, which comes parboiled and steam roasted in gravy.

exhibit a

I have to admit that Melody’s skillz in using a manual can opener is much better than mine. Exhibit A above shows the can she opened.

exhibit b

Exhibit B here shows the one I did. I’m a “shortest distance between two points is a straight line” kind of guy and I guess it manifests itself in all aspects of my life…including opening tinned food. ;)

razor clams

The razor clams were drained from the brine in the can and placed in an appropriate receptacle. You don’t need to cook the tinned razor clams, it’s ready to eat.

roast beef

This is Libby’s Roast Beef, which comes in nice, huge chunks complete with gravy. You have to heat it over a saucepan before serving, but it’s best to do it when the pasta is almost cooked so it’ll still be warm when served.

melody

I also didn’t have a measuring cup and this is where Melody’s pragmatic brain comes into play – she counted the columns on a standard 500 ml bottle of mineral water and told me where I should pour up to.

milk

The recipe calls for 125 ml of reduced fat milk (it’s a good thing I have low fat milk in the fridge since I neglected to RTFM while shopping for the cooking project)…

water

…and 310 ml of water. I just mixed the two together in the mineral water bottle (which doubles as a not-very-accurate measuring cup) for easier handling.

milk water

The land of milk and honey, I mean, water. I added more milk and less water since I want it to be creamier and also coz I’m not sure “reduced fat milk” is a synonym for “low fat milk”. ;)

polyblah

The recipe also calls for “salt reduced polyunsaturated table spread”. Jesus Christ, why can’t you just say BUTTER! ;)

teaspoon

It requires a teaspoon of the “salt reduced polyunsaturated table spread” (Continental must have very high regards for the English comprehension standard of their consumers) and I could not for the life of me find a teaspoon in the entire house. It’s nowhere to be found. There is no (tea)spoon.

agaration

Melody teaches me agaration.

The results of camwhoring while estimating a teaspoon of butter:

camwhore

1. Butter starts slipping from knife
2. Cell phone falls into butter when mouth opens to communicate
3. Cell phone gets sticky
4. Butter drops to the floor

mixture

Anyway, after the mess was cleaned up, the bottle with the water and milk is poured into a saucepan and the butter (margarine, actually) added into the mixture.

timer

I set my timer for 8 minutes…

p<br />
asta in

…and poured the Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara mix into the saucepan. The saucepan was put on low heat and stirred occasionally.

heat beef

The roast beef should be stir fried in a wok at the 5-minute point to ensure the chunks are nicely heated up before the pasta is al dente.

matching plates

This is Melody with matching Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse plates for our pasta extravaganza.

pasta done

The pasta was done at the 9-minute mark – apparently I put in too much liquid and it needed more time to coagulate with the low heat that I was putting it on.

razor clams in

The pasta was heaped onto the plate and the roast beef chunks added in on the side before the razor clams is mixed into the pasta. The packaging states that it serves four (4) but Melody and I didn’t even find it filling for two!

final dish

This is what the dish looks like when it’s done. The hot pasta will heat up the razor clams so it will be warm and appetizing. :)

final dish macro

Here is a macro shot of Razor Roast Fusilli – it tastes more tempting that it sounds. Melody loved it and so did I.

walls kurma

This is what we had for dessert – it’s the limited edition Wall’s Viennetta Kurma (dates) ice cream. It’s only available during Hari Raya Puasa since dates are traditionally eaten during the breaking of fast.

kurma ice cream

It tasted delicious and rounded up a great meal. We shared the ice cream and finished it in one sitting. There are dates in the dessert ice cream and it tastes great with Absolut Vanilia.

kurma macro

I love cooking together with Melody and it was a great Monthsary together.

monsary

Muaks! I love you dear! =D

Happy Monthsary!

monsary

The 28th of September, 2008 marks our first monsaryHappy Monsary, Melody! :)

The etymology of monsary from an amateur etymologist:

Monsary is a concatenation of the words “month” and “anniversary” and it has entered my vocabulary through a friend. A quick Google search revealed the usage of this term amongst certain demographics in the Philippines. It’s the first time I’ve heard about it and perhaps a social indicator that our relationships don’t last very long anymore in today’s fast paced, WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) world. Relationship anniversaries have gradually shifted over time from annual to monthly, and I’m not sure that’s a good indicator.

Daysary anyone? ;)

Zuiho Daiko performance @ Sibu Gateway

zuiho daiko header

Zuiho Daiko is a professional taiko (Japanese drum) group with intellectual disabilities from Nagasaki, Japan. The Rajang Community Service in conjunction with the Sibu Community Services Association (of which the Agape umbrella falls under – the SCSA is apparently the jumbrella) organized the event for the Kanowit, Sibu and Kuching leg of their tour.

The performers were amazing – as event organizers, we were concerned about the acoustics of the venue since it’s an open space, and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist (or the modern cellular biologist/nano physicist equivalent) to know that sound waves attenuates in such conditions.

enthusiastic

However, the taiko drums were really loud and it was an amazing experience to watch them perform.

The show started out with an enthusiastic sonic assault from the taiko drums. Taiko drums are traditional Japanese percussion instruments that were used in feudal warfare. The taiko drums beats signals the troops to advance, retreat or call on allies to jump in.

zuiho players

I love the speech by the Japanese representative that stresses how Japan is now a peaceful country and offers an olive branch to all nations. I guess that strikes a note with the older generation since there was thunderous applause after that statement. Historically, Japan invaded, I mean, occupied, Malaysia (and other Asian countries) during World War II.

There was another great publicity stunt by the leader of the taiko drum troupe when he jumped out from backstage with our local Sarawak drum to perform.

sarawak

The Sarawak drum was given as a souvenir to the drum troupe and this scene was totally unrehearsed and impromptu – the Japanese delegation did not even know about the souvenir until just before the performance when it was handed over.

…beats from the Land of the Rising Sun
(this was one of my press release titles that was rejected and I just wanted to publish it on my blog ;))

zuiho ending

The Zuiho Daiko ensemble performed for 40 minutes before the show ended. The area was packed, the crowd was happy, and overall the event was a success. It was tiring to be a volunteer for charity work, but strangely rewarding as well.

zuiho pose

The full postmortem of the event organization will be up soon. Cheers!

Zuiho Daiko taiko drum performance preview

preview

The Zuiho Daiko drum troupe from Japan performed in front of an enormous crowd last night. The drummers with intellectual disabilities were amazing! We were concerned about the acoustics due to the event being held in an open space, but the taiko drums were more than loud enough and the performers were giving it their best despite their grueling schedule. They had performed at a private function in Kanowit just 3 hours prior to this and taken the 1 hour journey back to play straight at the main Sibu Gateway function.

Zuiho Daiko is a professional taiko drum group with intellectual disabilities and this is their rendition with a flute playing a tune similar to Home on the Range before the taiko drums jumped in and the sonic assault begins. It’s spectacular, spectacular! =D

I’ll have the full writeup done later, they are heading to the airport now for the flight to Kuching for this afternoon’s performance at 3 pm at tHe Spring. Zuiho Daiko is also heading to Penang to perform but I don’t know their schedule over there since it’s handled by a different charity organization.

Zuiho Daiko drum troupe from Nagasaki, Japan

zuiho daiko

The Zuiho Daiko drum troupe is a team of five people with intellectual disabilities hailing from Nagasaki, Japan. The Japanese drummers (together with 17 family and other support staff) arrived on Thursday night and will be performing later this evening at 6:30 pm at the Sibu Gateway.

zuiho drummer

This is the actual Japanese Taiko drummer that we used for the massive billboard promoting the event. He was ecstatic at seeing himself featured in the billboard and immediately posed for a photo in front of it. Heh!

salad

The organizing committee brought them on a city tour yesterday morning and introduced them to several local delicacies – this is the salad fruit, which they found oishii (delicious) – whether out of politeness or genuine ardor, I could not be certain. ;)

chicken

They were also very interested in the way we sell our chickens at the central market – alive, and bundled in newspaper wrappings with nylon for easy carrying for slaughter at the privacy of the purchaser’s own home. I told them it’s easier for the sellers too, since live chickens tend to run around.

pagoda

We brought them to the famous seven storey pagoda as well. One episode I found interesting was the level of amazement they experienced when they chanced upon a cluster of mimosa. Mimosa pudica is a herb that grows in the wild over here and it’s very sensitive to touch. It closes its leaves under any stimuli and they found it sugoi (amazing).

fat

The city tour ended at the Agape Center, our local facility for people with disabilities which includes Methodist Care Center, Sibu Autistic Association, Special Olympics Sibu and other organizations under the umbrella group. I know I look obese in the photo, it’s due to the double shirt I was wearing, tucked in some more.

press release

I am a volunteer in organizing this event and have been doing press releases for the local newspapers for the past week. The performance will be held at 6:30 pm this evening at the Sibu Gateway followed by another performance in Kuching at 3 pm tomorrow (Sunday) at tHe Spring.

OMG! I have been writing so many press releases that I’m starting to repetitively drive in the dates and times of the performances. ;)

rtm interview

I’ve also been involved in radio interviews to promote the event (which also ends up as an excuse for a press release for our week-long publicity blitz ;)) and it’s been a very long and tiring week, but it’s for a good cause.

pk

It’s a good chance for everyone to catch the performance of the Zuiho Daiko troupe, which has performed in two Paralympic Games and a UN function. The event will hopefully foster better understanding between the public and people with intellectual disabilities to promote awareness and tolerance.

Charity work is surprisingly fulfilling and I’ve learnt a lot in volunteering for the Zuiho Daiko event. See ya all tonight!

DIY handphone repair

zhng phone

I don’t quite understand why a monkey wrench would be required to repair such delicate items like cell phones. It truly boggles the mind.

The text literally reads “Cell phone broken, can fix here” with a huge Phillips screwdriver and a monkey wrench (of all things) beside a Sony Ericsson cell phone.

I, for one, am certainly not sending my cell phone for repairs there…

I don’t know what it would look like after the specialists in this epicenter of forefront, cutting edge cellular technology zhng the mobile with a monkey wrench. ;)

Penang BBQ Pork Noodles @ Sing Long

sl bbq stall

I have been told that there’s a really good BBQ pork noodle stall at a coffee shop called Sing Long (Tian Long in Chinese) and the three of us headed down for breakfast to check it out. The stall has an impressive repertoire of BBQ pork products displayed at the see-through stall casement.

sl chef

The chef hails from Penang and serves authentic Penang BBQ pork noodles. The noodles are hand made and not the regular ones we get over here, but the ones from Penang/KL. The texture and diameter of the noodle is much thicker – it’s akin to Hokkien noodles.

sl breakfast

The stall doesn’t just serve BBQ pork noodles but also BBQ rice. However, their forte is definitely the pork noodles. It’s their signature dish and it would be heresy to order BBQ rice instead of noodles, which one of my coworkers did. A lot of people throng the coffee shop before office hours to eat breakfast so you have to go quite early to avoid the crowds.

sl bbq pork noodles

This is their famous Penang BBQ pork noodles (RM 4.50). I have seldom sung praises about coffee shop stalls, but I am yodeling now. It just has to be experienced – the sinful crunch of the crispy pork, the tender juiciness of the meat and the sprinkling of spring onions on top creates a dish that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Best place for BBQ pork noodles in Sibu. Hands down.

sl bbq pork noodle

Got pork?

Ferry Kebab – The quest for meat

ferry kebab meat

…one Saturday evening

kebab autumn

16:20 – Autumn does some mental arithmetic in her mind collaborating her menstrual cycle to evaluate the safety of a bout of carnal gymnastics at the back seat of my car without prophylactics.

16:23 – I storm the pearly gates with the purple-headed devil. She gave me the mark of the beast.

kebab lovebite

16:42 – Play hide the hot dog while pondering on what to have for a snack after skipping lunch. Making grass sandwiches (+6 bonus points if you get this euphemism) made us think of kebabs so off we went.

ferry kebab

16:50Ferry Kebab is a popular kebab stall in Sibu that is renowned for its delicious kebabs.

kebab meat

16:51 – Kebabs over here are not chunks of meat on skewers but a huge mass of meat which is sliced off into a hotdog bun.

kebab mix

16:52 – The meat slices (you can opt for chicken, beef or a combination of both) are mixed with onions and cucumbers (both finely diced) as the filler for the bun.

kebab squirt

16:53 – Generous squirting (of the chilli sauce bottle) is applied on the bun and it is wrapped in a plastic wrap.

autumn kebab

16:56 – Autumn with her chicken kebab. She’s not a big fan of beef.

kebab naked

16:59 – A closer peek at the resplendent folds of Autumn’s luscious wet, pink…kebab. ;)

kebab feed 

17:06 – Ferry Kebab is delicious! It makes for really messy eating, but it’s fun to eat it at the roadside in the car for the authentic experience.

ferry kebab stall

17:13 – I drove back to take a photo of the stall coz I forgot to take the entire Ferry Kebab stall setup.

…a different kind of food review. Kaizen! ;)

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