I’m 32 today!

birthday present
Best birthday present ever!

It appears that I was born on this very date, 32 years ago. 1981 to be exact. I’m not big on birthdays coz I’ve never really had positive experiences with them. However, certain things have changed. I’m totally clean now (except for the cancer sticks) and I’m in a very happy relationship.

ling hb
Photo taken by the big one

That’s the best thing that happened to me. You’re the best thing that happened to me. :)

dinner

I just came back from dinner at McDonald’s (it’s the place we had our first date – the Kota Damansara branch) but I didn’t have the food there. I ordered an iced caramel latte from McCafe and the little ones had sundaes and chicken nuggets.

roasted chicken dinner

I ate a very nice home-cooked dinner made by my girlfriend instead. It’s roasted chicken (there are 2 drums and a thigh inside) with potato salad and rice, all packed into a large Tupperware the size of a large pizza.

huge dinner

I’m not kidding, it’s huge!

I’m surprised no one told me that I shouldn’t be eating outside food. Haha!

cupcakes

I know you spent a long time in the kitchen making this and I’m thankful for the food and the chocolate chip cupcakes.

They’re delicious! I appreciate the effort you put into making all this. <3 eating birthday dinner

I also like hanging with the kids, it makes me happy to see them happy and I like talking to the big one and taking care of the little one. I brought a round of Ramune (the Japanese drink with the glass ball) coz no one seems to have heard of it before and I wanted everyone to try it.

glenfiddich 125 anniversary edition

She also got me a Glenfiddich 125 Year Anniversary Edition box for my birthday. I was looking at it on the trip back from Melbourne but didn’t want to get it coz I still have a lot of single malt whisky.

birthday gift

…but while I was in the toilet, she *ran* back to the duty free shop in Tullamarine and bought the damn thing! She said it’s coz I wanted it and also coz the “25” in 125 years is our anniversary date. I thought that was really sweet of her.

present

I’ll be off tomorrow for a surprise weekend birthday trip that Ling has arranged. I don’t know exactly where we’re going but I’ll update after my birthday trip. :)

Thanks for everything dear!

32 birthday

I don’t think I can be with anyone else but you. You’re everything that I’ve been looking for, someone who loves me for who I am, who accepts that the past is the past and who can tolerate this emu cassowary. I always say I’m lucky to have you and I always mean it. I love you Yee Ling! *hugs*

P/S – Cheers for all the birthday wishes, everyone! :D

Father’s Day @ Payung Cafe (and the best Father’s Day present)

fathers day dinner

17th of June is Father’s Day for most of the world with some notable exceptions, namely Australia and New Zealand. I guess that’s why my sister was a bit puzzled when I told her that we’re heading out during her usual Skype session with my parents.

payung cafe sibu

I asked my dad where he wanted to go, giving him a couple of suggestions like Tom’s Too. Arthur, being the resident food expert also contributed to the list. My dad wanted to go to an al fresco dining area where people doesn’t smoke and he hasn’t been to Payung Cafe yet so I brought him and my mom there.

payung sibu

Payung Cafe is one of the little known eateries in Sibu – the owners are friendly and the ambiance is great, with little touches like freshly cut flowers on the table and off-the-menu specials written on a chalkboard every single day.

payung cafe

It doesn’t have a large menu but they have an admirable aim of having cuisine from all over the world, with a focus on Asian countries.

myanmar vegetables

Myanmar Sayur (RM 8)
Sayur means vegetable and this dish is a kind of salad that contains an assortment of raw and cooked vegetables mixed together rojak style. The sprinkling of sesame seeds and the raw vegetables provides a nice texture that goes very well with the gravy.

payung jelly pisang

Jelly Pisang (RM 7)
Jelly Pisang is a dessert that used to be very popular in Sibu back in the days. It went the way of dinosaurs when I was born and to the best of my knowledge this is only one of two places that still serves it in Sibu. The other one is at a hotel (see link). Payung Cafe’s interpretation comes with loads of jelly and thinly sliced bananas.

I asked my dad if this seemed authentic enough and he mentioned that back in the days it wasn’t really served like this but…

close enough

Heh.

lamb masala

Lamb Masala (RM 17)
It doesn’t look like much but this one was the first dish to go – the lamb is flavorful and tender with none of the gamey taste usually associated with this particular animal. It was a hit with both my mom and dad. The portion is a bit small and I only had one piece but other than that it’s highly recommended.

payung otak otak

Otak-otak Fish with Rice (RM 13)
This is the most popular dish in Payung Cafe, bar none. It’s one of their signature menu items and it’s hand made otak-otak! One of the proprietors actually does this each evening and it’s fresh and very different from the usual mass produced otak-otak. People with a sensitive palate beware! This is not for the faint-hearted for it’s quite spicy.

turkish milkshake

Turkish Milkshake (RM 8)
It came highly recommended from the proprietor and I have to agree – it’s quite good. It’s one of the specials on the chalkboard so this is a limited time menu item. What is a Turkish milkshake? Well, it’s based on the drink called Salep in Turkey. It has ground dried tubers of the orchid flower (!) with spices topped with cream and chocolate flakes. The owners travel around to add new stuff to the menu.

indian red beef

Indian Red Beef (RM 17)
This is a rather spicy affair which was the special of the day. It was quite spicy and I ended up eating most of it. I didn’t like it as much as the lamb masala.

pineapple ginger soda

Pineapple Ginger Soda (RM 5)
I wanted the Durian Milkshake I had last time I was here but they ran out of durians (it’s not the season anyway). I asked for a recommendation and got this one – it’s apparently one of the most popular drinks and the combination of pineapple and ginger works surprisingly well. I like the sediments at the bottom, which contains a bit of both ingredients. Lovely.

belimbing pasta

Belimbing Prawn with Spaghetti (RM 16)
I also had this dish last time and was quite enthralled by it. Belimbing is starfruit (or carambola) in English and it’s a fusion dish that works very well. The type of starfruit they use is known locally as belimbing asam and it’s a very sour variant of the fruit used in cooking. It’s served with prawns and I wanted everyone to try this. It’s a very different dish that works very well. :D

The total bill came out to RM 99 which is very reasonable for a dinner for three that had us struggling to finish the dishes.

fathers day

However, the best Father’s Day present that I gave my dad (and mom) happened to be a totally random act while I was talking to them the night I came back in the living room. I was showing how swipe typing works on my Android phone and my dad casually asked what app I was using. I didn’t know he’s unfamiliar with Whatsapp since my parents are pretty IT savvy, navigating the maze of social media pretty well.

whatsapp

Anyway, I found out that my sister is on it (coz she was on Skype with my parents at the time) and I gifted the app to my dad’s cell using my iTunes account. I added myself and my sister to the contacts list and showed my parents how to use it. They didn’t know there’s an option for free texting (although they use Viber) with quick photo, video and audio file sharing.

fathers day 2012

The look on my mom’s face when my sister snapped a photo of my newborn nephew and instantly sent it over followed by the smiles on my parents faces was worth the USD 0.99 I used to gift the app a gazillion times over. :)

HB to HB

birthday 2012

It’s my birthday today! Well, it’s technically yesterday, on the 5th of April but what the heck. You can only write about something after it’s happened right? ;) I got inspired by someone who wished me happy birthday with a simple “HB”. Happy Birthday (to) Huai Bin, geddit? Heh.

Anyway, I was out at a “surprise” birthday house party the previous night and was just chilling last night when Masako asked me if I was free for dinner. I don’t celebrate my birthdays per se, at least not in the traditional sense – look through the archives – I was either messed up or in rehab. ;)

masako lee

I didn’t expect you to actually buy me dinner so cheers for the wonderful Japanese food Masako!

A big thank you goes out to each and every one of you who sent me cards, gifts, Facebook and Twitter birthday wishes! It’s much appreciated! :D

I’ve turned 31 but there’s still plenty to do in the road ahead. As Ji San put it – Life is LIFE! :)

Birthday card from Nuffnang!

I just got a birthday card signed by the Nuffies in the mail! :)

nuffnang birthday card

It was actually sent more than a month ago and since I move around quite a bit, I’ve always put my mailing address as my home in Sibu. My dad sends all my correspondence over in bulk about once a month so I just got it this morning when I went to check the mailbox downstairs.

My birthday is actually on the 5th of April. Heh!

Thanks to everyone at Nuffnang Malaysia for the personalized birthday card! I love it, appreciate you all taking the time to write the birthday wishes and mail it over. Nothing beats a good ‘ol birthday card – it’s all about the human touch. Cheers! :)

My 30th birthday

colmar tropicale

Yes, I have hit the big 3-0! It happened on the 5th of April and I went up to Colmar Tropicale to celebrate the start of having to write my age with the numeral 3 in relative peace and quiet (as is appropriate for people in their 30s ;)).

bukit tinggi

Colmar Tropicale is a French medieval themed resort in Bukit Tinggi (also called Berjaya Hills) and I secured a 1 bedroom suite there for about RM 300. I woke up late but we managed to reach there at around 12 pm and checked in. It’s about 3,500 feet above sea level and can be cool when the air is blowing but it’s not as cold as the other highlands.

japanese garden

Anyway, after a bit of exploring – I’ll write about the resort in another post – it was time for dinner. My girlfriend bought me dinner at La Cigogne – the best fine dining French restaurant at Colmar Tropicale. The food was good but I don’t think it’s authentic – more fusion cuisine than French. I had some wine and we also got a slice of cake to await the stroke of midnight.

I celebrated my 30th birthday at the balcony of a French themed resort in the highlands. Heh! We were full from dinner and I had to eat the entire slice of baked cheesecake sourced from a (you, guessed it) French bakery in the resort. It was adorned with three large candles. -_-

My girlfriend sang a birthday song and asked me to search the drawers of the suite for my present.

30th presents

I didn’t know she brought me a present! I realized later that when I switched rooms (preferred one with a balcony) she had to scramble to pack the presents back when I wasn’t looking. She had bought me a Braun Buffel wallet and handmade a birthday card with twists of tiny paper – it took her three whole weeks to do the latter.

Thanks dear! I love you Jeanie. <3 pork mee sua

We got home later the next day and she cooked mee sua for me – longevity noodles is a traditional dish in Chinese birthdays. What isn’t so traditional was that it wasn’t served with chicken soup but stewed pork leg – my favorite. Heh!

30th birthday

I had a great 30th birthday. It was relaxing and to be honest, I still don’t feel a month over 25. smirk

My niece’s 1st birthday!

niece

I’m a proud uncle of a 1 year old bundle of joy. :D

sister

My sister’s daughter just turned a year old and the entire Poh clan went out to celebrate her birthday. I’m really fond of her, she’s soft and adorable and it’s really touching when she takes to me and asks for a hug. *melts

dinner

We all went for dinner at this Chinese restaurant called Home Cook Corner (favored by my dad coz of the relatively low MSG content) and ordered:

pork
Claypot pork leg
This is nicely done and came out tender and sweet – just as it should be.

veggie
Unidentified veggies with egg
I don’t know what vegetable this is but I love how it’s cooked with egg. Eggs = awesome.

fish
Curry fish head
I like how this came out.

curry

It can’t compare to the legendary Sheraton curry fish head in Sibu but it comes pretty close.

midin
Midin
This is a local fern that’s only available in Sarawak. It’s cooked in a spicy and sour style which actually works pretty well.

century egg
Century eggs
Erm…this is actually mine, I always tend to order this when I’m eating in Sibu.

chicken
Kung pow chicken
I found this a little bland and disappointing since I’m used to very spicy dishes.

tofu
House specialty tofu
I’m not particularly fond of tofu so this doesn’t really appeal to me.

fishball
Homemade fishball soup
The fishball is the size of an egg (!!!). I quite liked it even though the others found it too soft.

family

We adjoined back home after dinner with all the relatives in tow for the obligatory cake cutting ceremony. This is a durian cake from Secret Recipe. Yes, we have one in Sibu. -_-

cake

I don’t know if she made a wish (probably not, considering her age) but I made one for her. May you grow up to be happy and here’s to life treating you well!

wish

Happy birthday little one. Much love from your uncle. <3 "…and I hope, life treats you kind. And I hope, you have all you dreamed of. I wish you joy, and happiness. And above all this, I wish you…love.

My belated 28th birthday

penyet

I went for lunch with Eiling at The Curve this afternoon – it was supposed to be last week but we were both kinda busy so we postponed it to this week. Eiling told me about this place called Waroeng Penyet which serves authentic Indonesian food so we headed there for our midday sustenance.

penyet interior

You can tell it’s authentic by the teh botol (except this is teh peket) that they serve. My Indonesian friends in Melbourne had this thing about teh botol – literally “bottled tea” – it’s practically an institution in Indonesia.

penyet food

The ayam penyet (their flagship dish – translated as flattened chicken) was awesome as well.

penyet 32

The new answer to life, the universe and everything is not 42…but 32. Economic recession la…10 people retrenched. :p

penyet cig

Yiling passed me some cigarettes by proxy from her recent trip to Perth – these are premium Dunhill tobacco products which I swear I’m not gonna smoke and collect instead. Then again, I’ve said that about a lot of things as well and I always end up smoking/drinking/consuming them anyway. :(

penyet wallet

Eiling gave me the best present ever – a wallet! I have been (not so subtly) hinting about being relieved of my wallet in Bangsar when I was mugged and I’ve never gotten a wallet since then. Eiling kinda picked up the overt hints and got me…

penyet present

…a HIDESIGN natural leather wallet. Awesome! Thanks Eiling! You the best. :)

penyet us

I’m glad I’m fortunate enough to have friends like these. Cheers EZY (Ziling included or she’s gonna say you guys make her look bad again :p).

Thanks for making time for lunch with a commoner instead of the usual Tan Sri, Datuk and Datin company you keep Eiling.

Honored la, I. ;)

One year older, one year wiser?

bday cutting

I turn 28 today. My birthday is on the 5th of April 1981 (it’s always Cheng Beng except for leap years) but I don’t make it a habit of celebrating my birthdays.

bday me

I remember less-than-optimal serotonin levels during my birthday, being in rehab during my birthday, and being so totally messed up that I forgot it was even my birthday! Birthdays are not exactly my favorite day of the year.

bday heli

Anyway, I had an office birthday this year, thanks to SH (less than 3 you, always). She was kind enough to go out of her way to get a cake and a miniature helicopter (to commemorate my helicopter ride) for me. Thanks SH! :)

bday cake

It’s a nice feeling to have people remember your birthday and the people at work set up a diversion and got the conference room ready for the cake cutting ceremony. Thanks to Mimi, Vei Teck and all the others for showing up (and the ones who were there in spirit – thanks Joyce). Cheers! I appreciate the gesture.

You the best SH. I know what you did and I’m touched. My eternal gratitude for the office birthday on Friday. :)

Cheers to Eiling and Yiling who were the first to wish me a happy birthday and the lunch invite next week.

Doris, thanks for the birthday wishes. I’m glad you remembered.

Cynthia, Zoe, Mel, Sze, appreciate the birthday wishes. :)

Cheers Teng Loo for the birthday wishes. You didn’t forget the article that Karen sent us. ;)

Abby, my real estate agent, I suspect you read this blog from your text and I’m surprised you let me rent the place despite all that you know. Thank you for your birthday wishes. :)

bday cherie

Thanks Cherie for the…erm, *cough* birthday gift, the single malt whiskey and the kolo mee all the way from Kuching.

The best birthday wish goes to Arthur, who sent me a text which goes “May you be as handsome as you think, as rich as your friends believe and may you have as many women as everyone suspects! Happy birthday!” LOL! I still can’t stop laughing. Cheers buddy.

To anyone I missed out, my apologies, here is a catchall – thank you everyone for wishing me a happy birthday!

Alright, this “Thank You” post has gone way too long so let’s go through what I did during my birthday. I went to the Nuffnang Music Bash on Saturday, dropped by Cherie’s condo after that to chill, and went to the F1 race in Sepang on Sunday. I just got home and I’m coloring my hair back to black now before heading to bed. My apologies for the disjointed post – I’m sleep deprived and I need to catch up on zzz.

…and finally, thank you all for peppering my Facebook wall with birthday wishes. You made my day. :)

Oh, and if you want to give me a birthday present, I really need a wallet. I suggest Mudah.my – get it delivered to my office. ;)

Happy Birthday Teng Loo, Cup-bearer to the Gods!

ttl birthday

I hardly ever get close to people at work, due to a personal necessity to separate the two identities (work Huai Bin and play Huai Bin), but one of the people I got close to was Teng Loo.

ttl cake

I think of her as my older sister in a way, she’s the same age as my biological sister, and she’s my mentor of sorts. Thus, it is only befitting that I got her a cake for her birthday. :)

tll knife

The cake reads “Happy Birthday Teng Loo, Cup-bearer to the Gods!” coz she’s Aquarius. We share the same affinity for horoscopes. It’s like Lucifer’s sauna at our workplace coz the A/C broke down so we moved to the conference room for the cake cutting ceremony.

ttl blow

I hope you get your birthday wish TTL. You deserve it more than anyone else. You have been a friend, and more importantly, a confidant. You know more about me than anyone else save my parents, and perhaps not even them. :)

ttl cut

Teng Loo’s birthday falls on Valentine’s Day – the 14th of February but Secret Recipe doesn’t do deliveries anywhere close that date so I’m doing an early one for her.

Live long and prosper, TTL. May the best of last year be the worst of this year. :)

5th of April, 2006 is my birthday

birthday 2006

I celebrated my birthday yesterday (5th of April, 2006) by sleeping
the whole day. I wasn’t on anything…I was just depressed in general.
I’m 25 this year. I think my birthdays are not meant to be celebrated,
as is the trend as of late, if last year’s birthday [sixthseal.com] is of any indication.

birthday box 2006

Louisa sent me a huge box filled with stuff from Sibu and a card
(sent separately) which says “Our lives have taken different paths, but
I still remember the days gone by…I think of you often and reminisce
over the special times we shared. I will treasure those memories, but
time goes on and things do change, the one thing that will never change
is the warm feelings I have for you.”

birthday box blanket 2006

There is a blanket inside for me to use when I’m cold from opiate withdrawals…

birthday box toy 2006

There is a soft toy that sings “Happy Birthday” coz she’s not here to sing it for me…

birthday box others 2006

There is a box of apple juice (for my nutritional use, or for
acidifying my stomach so oral opioids do not work so well, I would
never know ;)), socks (You can never run out of socks. Ever.), a couple
of DVD’s to watch when insomnia hits me and large, black thrash bags
(it’s a bit of an inside joke, I can count the people who gets this
with one hand).

Thanks Louisa! Much love, always and forever…

Thanks to my coworkers Penny and Siaw Chin for buying me a tub of Sunny Hill ice cream for my birthday on the 4th.

Thanks to the multitude of people who sent me SMS birthday wishes!
My apologies for not being able to reply, my cell phone service has
been barred due to a lack of prompt payment.

…and finally, thanks to my parents for never failing to send me a
birthday card every year, for bailing me out of jail and the first
thing that comes out of your mouth is “Did you have access to your
medication during your time in jail?” with a look of pure concern, for
never admonishing me or condescending me with a “I told you so” look
after I was arrested after many years of using drugs, blogging about
drugs, and fucking up in general, and for loving me for who I am.

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