I was at a closed door media preview recently when I asked a rather embarrassing question.
It was for the Microsoft Surface 3 and the Q&A was going on when I asked when the Surface Pro 3 was going to be released. There was a short moment of silence from the panel of speakers before two simultaneously told me – “It has already been released at the end of last year” – with a look that vaguely suggested that I was reaching new heights (or lows) of stupidity.
The Surface Pro 3 is the more powerful and expensive brother to the Surface 3 and packs a beast of an i3/i5/i7 processor inside. I’ve been thinking which one to get and hadn’t decided yet at the time.
It got me thinking though…
The truth of the matter is, people don’t actually follow gadget releases with religious fervour. Unless you’re a hardcore tech nerd, you probably wouldn’t be able to recite the latest hardware specifications. Most people only search for and read up on the latest news, releases and reviews when they’re about to make a purchase.
This is where I come in. I’ve had hands-on experience with the Microsoft Surface 3 and I’ve been very impressed so far. I’ll be picking up a loan unit tomorrow for review but let me just tell you about the Surface 3 and what it’s all about first.
The Microsoft Surface 3 is a laptop replacement tablet that’s going to be released in the market soon. It’s a more affordable and mainstream offering compared to the Surface Pro 3 (which is more for power users) and it looks like it’s set to appeal to a wide range of users.
There are a couple of new features in the latest Surface – the Surface 3 is the thinnest and lightest Surface ever! It just weighs a mere 622 grams. I was surprised when I picked it up, this is definitely lighter than I thought a tablet that works like a laptop would be.
Most importantly, it has a full-size USB 3.0! This allows you to connect a wide range of accessories and it’s what (for me) makes a tablet transcend into laptop functionality. You can plug in stuff like external hard disk drives for increased storage, your smartphone to transfer files (if you’re not using your own WiFi to sync), or even something as essential as a mouse!
(although I would highly recommend using a Bluetooth mouse instead of taking up the USB 3.0 slot, unless you plan on getting the docking station or a USB extender)
Also, Surface 3 runs all your Windows desktop software so you can use it just like a PC or notebook! That means you can use Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and all other desktop programs instead of relying on apps alone. That’s the beauty of the Surface 3 – you can run the app versions when you’re using it as a tablet, but for some essential software, you have the capability to install and execute it like you would on a normal computer.
The stylus is a thing of magic too – you can click it once to wake the tablet from sleep and double click it to automatically screencap what’s running and open it in OneNote (a feature I’ve found immensely useful in blogging and writing reviews).
There’s also an 8 MP 1080p rear-facing camera with auto-focus and a 3.5 MP 1080p front-facing camera.
Here are the specs for the Surface 3:
This is one tablet-laptop hybrid that looks poised to take the world by storm.
It’s the first Surface to have an Intel processor so you can run all Windows software, it’s the first to forgo the proprietary charging system in favor for a widely compatible micro-USB port so you can use it with your existing car and portable chargers, and it comes with an optional docking station to complete the PC experience.
Head over to the Microsoft Surface 3 microsite to pre-order your Surface 3 now! If you’re looking for a new tablet that has the functionality of a laptop, look no further – you know you want it. I’m really excited about this – the Microsoft Surface 3 has been hailed as a revolutionary change and it really lives up to the hype.
The implementation of GST effectively means that we’ve all taken a 6% cut to our paychecks. It’s actually slightly more than that, but for the sake of argument, let’s put it at 6%. Your purchasing power is also down by 6% so you’ve either got to tighten your belts or find an alternate source of income.
Just think about it, everyone in Malaysia got a 6% salary cut effective April 2015.
I prefer to be more proactive so I’m not thinking of ways to cut down on my consumption and lifestyle BUT to find new sources of income to negate the 6% cut in my salary. I’m even thinking about *overcoming* it e.g. get more than 6% so that the my net earnings are actually MORE post GST.
This means that I have to do something, and I decided to start up a new company to earn active income to supplement my current income.
I’ve seen people take various steps post GST to increase their income.
This is just one of them. It’s not that hard to register a new company, you just need to take some (archaic) steps in my case – different councils will have different procedures but mine involves getting a chop (stamp) before you can take the official form.
The official form is a huge piece of paper that looks like it belongs in the 1980’s (probably was from then) and it specifically states that it must be filled using a typewriting. It can’t be filled by hand or by computer and no one I knew even owns a typewriter anymore (not even two large companies I asked) so I engaged the services of a shop in town that specializes in this kind of thing.
It was RM 10 to type up the document but it’s worth the money I spent coz now I have a new company to engage in various specialized writing and creative services.
It’s called Pulse Consulting and it does everything you think it does, and more.
That’s my unofficial tagline anyway.
Seriously, though, if you want to ask me what I do, just email me.
However, there’s still many other ways to combat post-GST income stresses – one of them is through property investment. But property prices in Malaysia can be very high, so why not invest in property overseas! There’s one coming up that I think is rather promising. It’s located in the resort island of Phuket!
I’ve been to Phuket many times and hotels there can be quite expensive – if you calculate a night’s stay in Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort or Club Med Phuket you’ll find that owning your own property can be cheaper in the long run, especially if you get benefits like golf, spa and boating benefits in Phuket.
Plus, this particular one offers 7% Rental Guarantee for the first year so you won’t have to worry about finding your own!
dCondo Mine is a fully furnished freehold condominium by Sansiri, one of Thailand’s leading property developers.
The best part is the price, it starts from – wait for it – RM 250,000 with 50% deferred payment. That’s affordable even for first time property buyers and I’m really keen to find out more about this luxurious lifestyle investment opportunity. You should check it out if you’re interested in expanding or diversifying your investment portfolio with a Phuket based condominium. The property showcase organised by Golden Emperor, a Hong Kong based company will be held:
Seats are limited so hurry, RSVP in the form below and start investing overseas now to supplement your income post GST! It’s such an exciting opportunity that I’ll turn up just to see what it’s all about.
It’s my lucky 13th blog anniversary! sixthseal.com started 13 years ago on 19th April 2002. It has gone though a lot since then. I’ve actually spent more than 1/3 of my entire life blogging and the number is only going to rise as I get older.
I’ve done one blog anniversary post wrapping up the best of the previous year each and every year except 2007. I was in drug rehab at the time and Internet privileges are something that only exists for rich celebrity rehabs in the US, not real ones in a third world country. I was locked up in a cell in shackles and handcuffs for the first 3 months!
I couldn’t even type if there was a device (and there was none, but plenty of manual labor). You wouldn’t think someone would be able to pluck grass while in restraints and stripped of everything except a sarong (wraparound cloth – it’s meant as punishment) but I can tell you it’s possible, and I’ve done it in the sweltering afternoon heat.
[Title translates to “Evil Website – Computer Graduate Shows How (to be an) Expert Drug User” – this is an article about me with all the photos taken from sixthseal.com by Harian Metro Ahad]
Lots of things have changed since then – I nearly lost ALL my blog archives prior to 2007 (coz I couldn’t renew my hosting from rehab) if not for the efforts of a kind reader called David from Australia who backed up my blog in HTML. I managed to recover my archives thanks to him but lost *all my comments* since the HTML files were of the posts only. I’m still glad I have them though, even though all the comments are missing prior to 2007.
I came out in 2008 and never looked back.
In the past year, I have also started up tumblingminis.com – a site I manage with my better half to share our passion for LEGOs. That’s why the feature image I put for this post is done with 13 LEGO minifigures, it symbolizes my 13 years running sixthseal.com. The two LEGOs in front represent me and my better half. I guess that makes the cameraman YOU, dear reader. :)
That done, let’s do the the best of the previous year’s posts, in chronological order:
Our 2 Michelin star lunch at Le Relais LOUIS XIII
25 April 2014
I travel to Germany and France with my better half for our annual overseas trip. It just happens to be our birthdays at the time and I wanted to surprise my dear with a fine dining experience at a classic French Michelin star restaurant – Le Relais LOUIS XIII in the heart of the 6th arrondissement of Paris.
Molecular Gastronomy Experiments: Silkie Black Chicken “Soup” Jelly
29 May 2014
This is one of my experiments with molecular gastronomy. I wanted to create a jelly with chicken soup – specifically black chicken soup – and intended for the jelly to be crystal clear so you can see the black Silkie chicken and red goji berries inside. It didn’t turn out as well as I imagine it would but it was a good first attempt.
Sandboarding in Port Stephens, Australia
13 June 2014
This is one of the best things I’ve ever done. We took an ATV over sand dunes in what looks like a desert (but it’s actually just beach sand claiming landmass) and I sandboarded down a sand dune. You use a skateboard-like device and basically hold on while gravity does the rest.
Zumbarons @ Adriano Zumbo Patisserie
15 July 2014
Adriano Zumbo makes the best macarons in this part of the world and I went to his signature outlet in Sydney to grab some to bring back. I wanted my better half to try them and see how they compare to Pierre Hermé (below) and the Ladurée macarons at Champs-Élysées, Paris. Macarons don’t travel well but it still tastes awesome when I got them back!
Dinner by Michelin Star Le Gavroche’s Chef Alexy Fuchs Malaysian visit
18 August 2014
I brought my better half out to a RM 711.10 dinner for two when a Michelin 1 star chef came to KL to cook a limited dinner series for a couple of days. It was the best dinner we had in Malaysia, the chef hails from France so it was a good throwback to our time in Paris earlier in the year.
Adriano Zumbo limited edition Tim Tams
4 September 2014
Adriano Zumbo partnered up with Arnott’s to release a series of three limited edition Tim Tams – Salted Caramel, Choc Brownie and Raspberry White Choc and I lugged heaps of them back to KL for my better half. I was in Australia at the time and he came out with the new Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams after I left so I got them mailed all the way from Australia for RM 144. It makes for good reading, how I micromanaged the delivery. Haha.
My experience with dengue fever
17 November 2014
I come down with dengue fever. It wasn’t fun – this is my report on the experience from the moment I fell ill to the recovery phases. It’s not that bad either, but it’s certainly not a walk in the park.
Our Pandoro Party!
30 December 2014
We had panettone the previous year and this year, we had pandoro! It’s a different Christmas cake from the Verona region of Italy and the kids loved it coz it doesn’t have the fruits in panettone but contains heaps of sugar (to look like an ice capped mountain).
Our annual poon choy dinner with whole baby abalone @ Hakka Siu Poon Choy
8 February 2015
Yup, it’s our poon choy tradition going on for the second year! I got our awesome big bowl feast from a smaller shop this time so more care was taken into making it – it was so much more delicious than the previous year’s. My better half’s parents also came over and I got some craft beer for her dad and myself to go with the feast.
The 2015 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup!
6 March 2015
This is the bigger and better fireworks roundup, the one from Sibu. I purchase the largest fireworks cake I have to date – a 27 kg 333-shot monster that takes 2 people to carry.
Greetings from Legoland Malaysia!
22 March 2015
We bring the kids to Legoland! The hotels and entrance made it even more expensive than an overseas trip but the kids loved it and that’s all that matters. I enjoyed it too, we managed to catch LEGO Friends Live! – a musical with real people!
My late mom’s first Ching Ming (Tomb Sweeping Day)
31 March 2015
We all flew back for my mom’s first Ching Ming and took care of her tomb, sung some hymns and said a prayer for her. It was good to have the whole family together, I’ve always thought it was more for the living than the dead.
It’s been 13 years since I started this blog and I’m going to be doing a few changes around here. The first thing is to commit to a 24 hour schedule as I originally intended – *one post per day* and the second is to do a complete makeover. The categories are hard to find and the archives even messier and I want the experience to be smooth for everyone who comes here.
Here’s a big THANK YOU to everyone who has passed by, commented or followed me since 13 years ago. I couldn’t have done it without you – thanks for reading everyone! :)
The title might seem a little odd, considering that I just wrote about my 11th blog anniversary yesterday. However, these are events that happened one (and two, respectively) years ago. My blog is actually celebrating it’s 13th anniversary this year and I’m doing a quick spot of catching up!
This is the part where I collect all the noteworthy posts of the previous (in relation to this post) year, which means 19th April 2013 to 19th April 2014.
Just think of the date today as 19th April 2014 and it’ll make more sense.
Come and jump back one year with me while I go through some of the most interesting posts of the “previous” year, in chronological order:
How to cook kangaroo meat: A kangaroo roast dinner!
20 April 2013
I cook a 5-course meal with kangaroo roast as the highlight with the limited kitchen in our Melbourne serviced apartment. We were at our first overseas trip together and I managed to cobble together a more-than-passable dinner for my dear with a dessert of kiwiberries in white chocolate and caramel during our last night in Australia.
My girlfriend’s two birthdays!
25 April 2013
I surprise my better half by planning a trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia without her knowledge. I just told her to bring her passport. :) The boutique hotel we stayed in was awesome – they made a “Happy Honeymoon” sign with leaves on our bed and spread rose petals, had champagne on ice, and even agreed to spring a surprise birthday cake while I got my dear to wait at the swimming pool!
Eating pong tia koon – Cambodian balut!
30 April 2013
There was a balut post last year and there will be one this year! We went to Cambodia to try out their version of fertilized duck embryo. They call it pong tia koon and the Khmer style is a lot more delicious than Philippines preparation. They add a lot of lime, chilli and herbs, making this a truly delectable street eat.
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Scam
22 May 2013
I’m very proud of this entry. It was an adventure in hindsight (even though I was quite pissed off at the time) and the best thing that came out of this was random strangers thanking me via the comments and email for letting them know. There were many cases where they were literally inside the taxi when they read my post and aborted their trip. It feels good to write stuff like this and get appreciative notes from people who managed to avoid the scam via my blog post.
Home made deep-fried Mars bar
26 May 2013
I’m quite chuffed to have made this at home…with EVOO to boot! I also deep fried Twix, Snickers, Kit Kat Chunky and Cadbury Crunchie.
The infamous RM 35 bowl of noodles in Sibu!
16 October 2013
My dear came back to Sibu with me for the first time! She met my mom and dad, and they both loved her, which was a good thing since my mom passed on not long after this. It’s shocking to think that in the span of a few months, my mom went from fine, to assisted walking (with her stick), to wheelchair, to bed-ridden before she finally left us. I’m glad my mom knows I am in good hands before she went.
Our weekend trip to Gold Coast Morib Resort!
23 October 2013
This is another trip we took with the kids just a month after our Langkawi trip – the smallest one is about to start school so we’re making the most of the time while she still can go. Now both of them are in school so we can only do trips on school holidays.
Poon Choi @ Restaurant Lee Hong Kee
15 February 2014
This is another great family tradition that we started this year – having poon choy (big bowl feast) together with her mom and dad. The kids enjoyed our two traditions so much that they’ve requested for turkey this year again. I love cooking turkey for Christmas and hunting for a good poon choy during Chinese New Year.
10 things we did during our weekend staycation
25 February 2014
I love taking the time out to spend quality time with my soul mate, even if it’s just a staycation at a hotel in the middle of KL, it still feels like a holiday! It’s not about where you go, but who you go with.
My mom’s funeral
25 March 2014
My dear came down to be with me in this time of need. My mom passed on earlier in the month – it’s a good thing all of us were beside her at the time. We had her wake a few days later. I didn’t post much this month – only 5, the lowest ever recorded in sixthseal.com history, except for the time I restarted blogging after losing everything when coming out of drug rehab (a story I will share in my proper 13th anniversary post tomorrow).
This is actually a very late post – 3 years late, to be exact. Haha! I haven’t done a proper blog anniversary post since April 19th 2012, the year sixthseal.com turned 10. Thus, I’m going catch up by doing *one blog anniversary post per day* until my actual 13th blog birthday on April 19th 2015! It’ll be the 11th anniversary post today and the 12th tomorrow, just in time for this year’s (lucky) 13th anniversary on Sunday!
I’ll do it in the classic sixthseal.com way – a roundup of interesting posts for the “previous” year. For this post, this will mean everything from 19th April 2012 to 19th April 2013 since my blog was created on 19th April 2002.
Also as a tribute to Sesame Street (and also coz I took out a photo in the My Birthday Conspiracy post) our letter today is K.
(It’s the 11th letter of the alphabet, yo)
That photo was actually from this year (2012) and it’s real. This is also the year which I quit all opiates, read on to find out more. It’s actually a very instrumental year in my life.
Here’s my favorite posts of the previous (relative to this post) year in chronological order:
Steyr M9 semi-auto 9mm handgun
6th May 2012
This is a semi-automatic firearm review. I actually have a Category H firearms licence in Melbourne when I was studying there. I wrote about one of my trips to the local shooting range in 2002. I realize it’s a bit dubious having a photo of a loaded handgun so close to the picture above, but oh well, I mean well. Haha.
Couchsurfing in Jakarta – don’t forget your towel
10 June 2012
This was an impromptu trip to Jakarta, which I still haven’t finished writing about. My resolution this year is to stop procrastinating so after my real blog anniversary on Sunday, you’ll see daily updates and more interaction as well as a facelift.
My mom’s battle with lung cancer
14 June 2012
My mom was still alive three years ago…I just came back from her first Ching Ming after she moved on last year. It’s a blessing that we’re with her during her final moments in Singapore, it was hard to see her suffer from end-stage lung cancer and the pain and immobility that came in the end was terrible. She’s in a much better place now.
Only in Germany – beer and bubble tea at McDonald’s!
26 June 2012
A quick post I wrote while I was travelling in Germany. I was in Dresden at the time and they really serve beer in McDonald’s in Germany! There’s no age checks either, but then again I’m no spring chicken. I know they serve beer in other McDonald’s too but Deutschland is the most famously quoted place. You can read the rest of my Germany travel posts but the most recent one is the trip I took with my better half last year, this trip was the trip before that. I’ve actually been to Europe five times within the past 8 years.
Seize the day!
22 July 2012
This was the day I quit OxyContin (oxycodone) which was what I meant by tattooing the date in the post. I went on the government Suboxone opiate maintenance program after that and eventually kicked that too. I had a really serious opiate habit but it turned out that Suboxone was worse in a lot of ways (and more expensive too).
Timothy and Audrey’s Up Themed Wedding in Penang
30 July 2012
This is one of the cutest weddings I’ve ever attended. I had that suit made in Phuket and lost it two years ago while buying chocolates for my dear. It’s a funny story, I was trying to surprise my better half by getting her Patchi chocolates and left my car at the mall’s underground car park, which had a car wash. I took my dry cleaned suit out to put in their lockers…and forgot all about it until several MONTHS later! -_-
11 photos from the Fraser’s Hill trip
19 September 2012
I told you I was travelling a lot during these few months. Hey, I had to do something to combat the withdrawals after quitting opiates, you have to go cold turkey before you can go on the government’s NDST (National Drug Substitution Therapy) program for Suboxone due to the way buprenorphine works.
Helmet diving in Boracay
26 September 2012
This is a fun way to experience the sea if you don’t have a SCUBA diving licence. I did but my travel partner didn’t so we went on this instead, which is my first time!
The Prodigal Son
17 November 2012
The About Me behind the About Me, the one you wouldn’t know unless you’ve been following the blog since it’s inception. I had lead quite a chaotic life. Interesting, yes; and the less travelled path, most definitely; but you pay for the life experiences you get. One way or another, you pay.
The firecracker and the cat
17th February 2013
A funny story about a firecracker and a feline. No, nothing that would cause PETA to come after me, this is actually a rather tame story. Pardon the pun.
Daytime fireworks colored smoke salute cakes!
21 February 2013
Amazing smoke bombettes that flies up and bursts in the air in the form of a fireworks cake. It was the first commercially available daytime fireworks and my only regret was not setting the exposure correctly in the video, coz lighting and seeing the smoke bursts in real life was amazing!
Like I said, this was the best year of my life. I met my soul mate, who kept me on the straight and narrow and I’ve been very lucky to have her in my life. I love the kids and I love my dear and everything I do from this year onwards is reflective of that so that’s the end of shenanigans like ketamine…and the start of being a better person.
My sister (of all people) introduced me to this book by Gary Chapman. It’s called “The 5 Love Languages” and basically it talks about how different people have different preferred methods of communication. This doesn’t just apply to relationships and it’s a great book. I realized that I’m very big on talking (and listening) as my mode of communication. It’s what I find comforting but not everyone is like that.
I have seen others who prefer to write (or use social messaging) to express their feelings. It’s their preferred method of communication. There’s no wrong or right to this, we’re all born differently and along the way, we have acquired the methods in which we prefer to communicate. The book goes about how to bridge that gap and understand why others operate in a different way and I found it rather illuminating.
You may not consciously choose how you’ve grown up communicating, but Digi has something for everyone with their new Digi SmartPlan! It’s a new postpaid plan that allows you to choose which method of communication you’re most comfortable with – talking or social messaging. Thus, you can either go:
I thought this made a lot of sense, especially since people use their smartphones differently. Believe it or not, there are still people who prefer to talk and use voice to communicate (like me – even though I was born right during the PC revolution and has grown up with IRC, ICQ and now to Facebook). There are also people who’re the opposite, who prefer to use Instagram and are high data consumers.
With the new Digi SmartPlan, this really gives the power to choose right back to you – you can either opt for High Voice (unlimited calls and SMS) or High Data (up to 6 GB). If you’re a traditionalist (like me) who just wants to pick up the phone and dial up a loved one, the former would suit you very well.
However, if you use a lot of FaceTime, Skype and LINE/Viber then the latter plan would make much more sense. It’s all about giving choices back to the consumer.
I think it’s great and as a Digi user, I’m going to switch to the High Voice – the Digi SmartPlan really is versatile. I already have a fast fibre based Internet connection at home so I don’t need to use a lot of data. Plus, with the Digi SmartPlan 78 and above, I’ll get unlimited Whatsapp/WeChat even with High Voice! I used to be the opposite – no Internet connection at home and constantly using up my 3 GB of data per month just from surfing and updating my blog.
On top of Unlimited Whatsapp, WeChat (from SmartPlan 78 and above) and Facebook (with selected plans), Digi has recently launched their music app – Digi Music Freedom where you can stream music with zero data charges – this means that you can enjoy free music from Spotify, Deezer, KKBox and more! It’s a very good initiative from Digi for their clients, especially those who cannot live without music, and also it is a very positive initiative by Digi in helping to minimize the problem in illegal music downloads.
Thus, wherever you are in life, and whatever you like to do, with the new Digi SmartPlan, the choice is really up to you – High Voice or High Data! Choose which one you want here.
“Don’t you want to go to some other place?” I asked my better half. She’s been eating at the exact same two places last time she was here – Aloha Cafe for lunch and Payung Cafe for dinner, so I suggested Baba & Siam but she really liked the durian ice cream we had last time at Payung Cafe so we ended up here for dinner, three days after we had another huge dinner with my sister and her family (who also loves Payung).
This is our starter. Payung Cafe has a range of salads and most of them are great. I especially recommend the Herbs Salad (RM 8) but since it was a hot day, we went for the Guava Salad. It’s a lovely dish of guava with calamansi lime, crushed nuts and other herbs. It’s extremely refreshing!
Mushroom Roll (RM 8)
This is a dish that has gone through many, many recipe tweaks since it was first introduced 8 years ago. I was among the first people in Sibu who first came when Payung Cafe opened in 2008 and spread the word that it was a great al fresco dining place offering the best of South East Asian (and a couple of Western) dishes.
Starfruit Prawns (RM 16)
I love this stuff – it’s starfruit (carambola) cooked with large prawns. There are three inside and the rest is cut up starfruits and other vegetables. It makes for a good combination. My dad ordered this one.
Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM 19)
My better half’s order – she didn’t even have to think twice. Thai green curry is usually very spicy (at least if you eat the original from Thailand) but this is a much more muted interpretation meant for sensitive local palates.
Otak-Otak Fish (RM 12)
This is a Payung Cafe staple that we all ordered to share. It’s homemade and all of their dishes comes with rice (RM 2) and we also wanted to have otak otak so the owners were kind enough to deduct RM 1 from our fourth dish – we ordered four in total for a party of 3 so we didn’t need the extra. It’s usually RM 13.
Sour Chicken (RM 18)
This is one of their daily specials. I’ve had the duck version and I like how they use Cambodian spices and herbs to make this dish – it’s quite nice. Payung Cafe also uses chicken legs only in their dishes so you’ll get cuts of drums and thighs.
Mulu Ice Cream (RM 10)
We ordered one dessert for each person – this is mine, the ever-changing Mulu Ice Cream. This too has gone through several revisions, it used to be round, then a square slice, then a rectangular slice. It’s not cake – this is a sandwich of two chocolate ice cream layers with muesli in between, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream. I really like this coz of the textural aspects, there’s muesli sprinkled on top too.
Durian Ice Cream (RM 8)
This is a delicious concoction of homemade vanilla ice cream with durian paste. It’s delicious when they’ve just made it and it tastes like real durians instead of dodol (a local confection made with durians). It’s the reason my better half loves this place.
Jelly Pisang (RM 8)
This is a classic Sibu dessert – it used to be served with shaved ice and bananas and Jello. Nowadays, it’s almost extinct. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only two places who still serves this – Peppers Cafe @ Tanahmas Hotel and here. This is the higher end version with homemade ice cream. It’s pictured next to Roselle Juice (RM 6) – a refreshing drink made from the roselle plant. It’s misspelled as Roxelle Juice in the menu.
It’s a wonderful dinner, made even better with the awesome company – my dad and my better half. My dad insisted of picking up the bill and treating us to the meal since it’s my birthday. The total for the three of us came up to RM 132 which is very reasonable for the amount we ordered and true to this word, the owner took RM 1 off the bill. :)
It’s times like these that I think there’s a higher power somewhere looking out for me. It just so happened that I was back in my home town during my birthday (which coincides with Ching Ming) so I didn’t have much to do on Saturday night. I thought I’ll give a friend of mine a call and get some ketamine and treat myself to a nice k-hole for my birthday.
He didn’t pick up when I called him.
(I learned later this was a blessing in disguise)
Right after that, I went down and my dad asked me to pick someone up from the airport. That’s highly unusual, especially since he didn’t say who (my sister and her family had already gone back).
I pressed him for details and it turns out that my better half (whom I love to death) is coming to Sibu to celebrate my birthday with me. My dad had known since Tuesday (!!!) when she contacted him to arrange this conspiracy surprise.
The phone rang right after he told me – it was my friend, calling back. He said he missed my call since he took his daughter out and asked me what was up. I said nothing much and hung up.
If you have skipped the beginning of this tale, this is the same friend whom I was about to arrange to get some ketamine for a personal birthday treat to myself.
What would have happened if my dear had arrived smack dab while I was in a dissociative state where I was thinking more about 4th and 10th dimensional beings and pondering the reality of our existence?
(or maybe that she was some kind of ketamine induced visual and auditory hallucination)
Like I said, there is a God.
I’m kidding. That’s a heavily Photoshopped picture of salt (sodium hydrochloride) crystals packed in baggies to look like the real thing. It was pink Himalayan salt to boot, which had me adjusting all the contrast and levels and RGB details to make it look white and similar to ketamine crystals.
(either that, or I really digged out the real thing from my photo archives from years and years back )
This is a highly elaborate running inside joke that I have with my dear, I seriously have quit all recreational substances, pharmaceuticals and anything that might even remotely alter my state of mind. No wink wink, nudge nudge stuff, this is for realz yo. I don’t even drink much anymore.
There’s no ketamine.
I love my dear to bits and she’s everything to me – I have always been true to her and haven’t touched anything mind-altering for almost three (3) years, ever since I have been with her.
The three of us also had a very nice dinner at Payung Cafe at night.
She came bearing gifts too – a Braun Buffel wallet and a UNIQLO shirt.
My wallet has been a sad specimen for a long time and I think she noticed that and got me a really expensive and nice grey one from the German premium leather designer.
I love that she has a passport stamp of last year, when we flew to Germany and France – it’s dated 5th of April 2014, my birthday.
This year, she has a stamp on 5th of April 2015 but this time in Sibu. It’s small things like this that means a lot to her and a lot to me too coz it shows how much she cares that she spends every birthday with me (despite telling me she will not this year coz she’s busy with GST to make the surprise better).
I love you dear. I’m glad you flew down all the way to surprise me and planned it with my dad. Thanks for all the gifts and most of all for gracing my birthday with your presence, even if it was just one day.
It’s the best birthday ever! You make my life better and you make me a better man by just being in it. <3
I have been lusting after this delectable dish since I saw it during Chinese New Year – the last time I was back. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to eat it then. I just came back for my mom’s first Ching Ming and was determined to taste the RM 19.50 bowl of big prawn Sarawak Laksa for myself.
The friendly tau keh nio (lady proprietor) had shown me how big the prawns were and I was quite impressed. There are different sized prawns for their RM 6/9.50/19.50 bowls of laksa. They also have fish laksa and fish/prawn combinations. It’s not the price of the bowl of laksa that’s unusual – we have RM 33 bowls of big head prawn noodles too, but that being said, this is the most expensive bowl of Sarawak Laksa I’ve seen.
This is the size of the prawns for the almost RM 20 bowl of Sarawak Laksa. These are big white prawns (Litopenaeus vannamei/大白虾) not big head prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii/大头虾) but it’s still unusual to have such large and (relatively) expensive prawns in a commercial bowl of Sarawak Laksa. Golden Arch in Kuching used to have huge tiger prawns too, but it’s a different species (Penaeus monodon) of prawn, which tastes different.
The prawns are frozen and it took a while to prepare this dish as they had to blanch the peeled shrimp in hot water before serving them.
I was given four (4) big white prawns instead of the usual 3 and the proprietor actually remembered me from CNY – she asked where I was from since it has been a while during the gap when I expressed interest and actually came back. The previous time was when I came to eat kampua mee and happened to stumble across the signage on this stall when I was walking back to my table.
I thought it tasted quite good. It’s not as good as our favorite place in Aloha – the composition of the laksa broth is less prawn-y and intense here but it does the job for a Sarawak Laksa craving and I’ve been curious about this dish for a long time. You can find this stall at Chopsticks in Pedada, Sibu.
I was holding the nice arrangement of flowers awkwardly as we loaded the car, before deciding to put it on someone’s lap instead of inside the boot. We were headed for my mom’s burial ground (technically it’s a tomb since it’s aboveground) to pay our respects during the Chinese festival of Ching Ming (similar to All Saints Day).
It was then that my aunt told us we’ll be better off getting a new mop since having it makes it easier to clean those really hard-to-reach nooks and crannies so we all packed into the car (my sister came back with her husband in tow) and I drove to a nearby grocery store to pick out an appropriate one. I was quite surprised to find them retailing for RM 17.50 each!
I guess it’s a temporary price increase, just like flowers, to rake (mop?) in the profits during Ching Ming.
The actual date is next week on the 5th of April, which happens to be my birthday, but our family has always done it one week in advance, as most people do nowadays since the day itself is really packed with people and it can take hours just to *reach* the burial grounds. It was also close to the exact date when my mom was called home last year.
I helped clean the tombstone (said I was wiping mom’s face, to a few quiet twitters) and everyone pitched in as well. The mop turned out to be an AWESOME idea as it allowed us to clean the top and sides easily.
These new tombs are meant to be easy-to-clean – unlike my late grandfather’s where you have to pluck grass growing in the cracks. The hardest thing I had to do was to borrow a bucket of water from a nearby construction crew, which they were happy to give, knowing what we were there for.
My sister had printed out Amazing Grace and another hymn from the United Methodist Hymnal (my mom loved to sing during church on Sundays) and the entire family sang both before my dad lead us in prayer. He gave a very touching dedication and I could see how so many decades of marriage has cemented these two lives together, making the parting hard even after one year and my heart went out to my dad.