Monday, March 31, 2008

Four-Winged Beans N 2 Kinds of Prawns


Unless there are other more unusually-shaped beans that I don't know of, I'd say the four-winged bean is one unique bean. About 15 cm at their tenderest, with 4 edges that fan out like a 4-angled star, this bean is grown mostly in the backyard (I have them on my fence) and is considered so common and cheap that you won't find them in restaurants. These beans grow like weeds in our tropical weather and at their peak, you can get a small handful of beans every 2 to 3 days from one plant, that's how fast they grow. I like them for their sweet and crunchy taste (no particular flavor, except for a delightful green veg taste) and for the fact that these beans are usually not grown commercially so that when you do find them in the market, you can be sure they are from somebody's garden. The beans oxidise and turn black along the wings quickly, within a day of picking, so that if they are green, you can be sure they were picked that morning.

My mom cooked four-winged beans with a splash of white vinegar. The vinegar turns them an unattractive olive green and makes them taste sour-crunchy. Most of my friends tell me they cook 4-winged beans with dried shrimps or with blacan (fermented prawn paste) and nobody cooked them the way my mom did. I couldn't figure out why mom cooked them that way, and she doesn't even remember that's how she used to cook them. And then I went to Quilin, China, where mom was sent to study as a young girl, and that's when I understood her love for everything sour, even now. In Quilin, you'll find all sorts of pickled fruits and veggies, some of them truly bizarre to me.
I usually fry 4-winged beans with garlic and dried shrimps, very rarely with blacan as most people do because my youngest doesn't like blacan. The Thais do a nice winged bean salad but there's too many ingredients to pick up for that so I've fried a simple home-style dish with both dried and fresh prawns.


Four-Winged Beans N 2 kinds Of Prawns
200g (about 2 bunches) four-winged beans
12 medium fresh prawns*
1 T dried shrimps
1 to 2 cm cube toasted blacan (optional)
1 T minced garlic
some chili strips for garnish
1/4 cup chicken stock
salt, pepper, cornstarch, oil

* omit if you want a simpler dish

1. Cut the beans into thin slices. Shell the prawns and remove the dirt vein. Marinade prawns with 1/4 t salt, 1/4 t sugar, a shake of white pepper, 1/2 t cornstarch and 1/2 T shao xin wine for at lteast 15 minutes. Wash the dried shrimps twice, drain well.

2. Heat the wok and add 1 T oil. Fry the prawns quickly for 1/2 minute, remove. Add 1 to 2 T oil into same wok, put the garlic and the dried shrimps into the hot wok and fry over medium low heat until very fragrant and golden but not burnt (45 seconds). Add blacan if using, fry until fragrant. Throw in the beans. Add 1/3 t salt and fry. Sprinkle some of the chicken stock now and then as you fry to keep the veg moist and prevent it from burning. Add the chili strips. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Dish out when beans are still green; do not overcook. Goes with rice.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

11 People On A Rope

Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter, ten men and
one woman. The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they
decided that one had to leave, because otherwise they were all going
to fall.

They weren't able to designate a person, until the woman gave a very
touching speech. She said that she would voluntarily let go of the
rope,because as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her
husband and kids, or for men in general, and she was used to always
making sacrifices, with little in return. As soon as she finished her
speech, all the men started clapping.

p.s. Thanks, Yi. Somehow I think this woman is Hilary. Not Duff.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tub Tim Grob


Wey came into the kitchen yesterday and pointed an accusing finger at the bowl of colorful jewels I was stirring, and said: "So, you are using artificial colors! Didn't you say not to eat anything with articifial colors??" Guilty as charged, son, but the colors mainly were for the photos. I abhor anything colored unnaturally, and at the wet market, the ladies who sell fresh 'oily' noodles know that I would only buy the light-color noodles. It is a very Asian thing to color most desserts, and colors can range from bright pastel pink (as in air bandung, which I'd sip with a lot of fear) to green-colored unripe mangoes to red sticky kueh kosuie). Most of these colors are not approved by the health authorities but are used rampantly.

Tub tim grob means red rubies in coconut milk, but I find the tapioca-covered water chestnuts to look very much like pomegranate seeds. This is a Thai dessert that my friend K of Ohio loves, and it's been years since I last made it. My jackfruit tree, given to me by K, has been producing a lot of fruits recently and so I decided to make this simple but very refreshing and addictive dessert. Tub tim grob is fantastic after a big barbie meal because the water chestnuts, shaved ice and coconut milk will cool your body. I think tub tim grob is a variation of the most famous (and yummy) Malaysian dessert, ais batu campur (acronym being ABC). Now ABC, that's another thing to blog about, another day.

Tub Tim Grob (6 servings)
300g peeled fresh water chestnuts
1 1/2 cups (approx) tapioca flour
4 pieces fresh pandan leaves
6 large red dates (optional)
150g palm sugar (gula melaka) or white sugar
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh thick coconut milk (no substitute please)
1/2 t salt
3 to 4 cups shaved or crushed ice
A large bowl of ice water
2 cups jackfruit, sliced finely

1. Cut the water chestnuts into small cubes, about 0.5 mm square or slightly larger. Use liquid color if like. If you are like me, omit the colors or use natural plant colors like the pandan leaves. Toss the colored water chestnuts in lots of tapioca flour, the more flour sticking to the water chestnuts the better.


2. Put the thick coconut milk and salt into a small pot and heat it until just before it boils. Let cool completely and chill.

3. Boil about 3 litres of water in a medium-sized pot. Using a coarse sieve, shake off the excess flour and drop half the coated water chestnuts into the boiling water, using a fork to stir the water well so that the water chestnuts will not stick together. After about a minute, the water chestnuts will rise to the top. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the water chestnuts and put them into the bowl of ice water (so they won't stick and also maintain a good bite), stirring again so they won't stick together. Put into fridge. Repeat with the remaining water chestnuts.

For home consumption, do not color the water chestnuts (back).

4. Put the 1 1/2 cup water, the pandan leaves, red dates and sugar into a small pot and boil until the syrup is thickened, but not too thick because upon cooling the syrup will thicken further. The syrup should just coat the back of a metal spoon and run off immediately. Throw away the pandan leaves. Pour the syrup through a fine sieve to remove any residue if using palm sugar.

Remember to strain if using gula melaka.

5. To serve, put a bit of shaved ice into a bowl, add some water chestnuts, a red date, some jackfruit, lots of coconut milk and some syrup. Enjoy, and forget about the coconut oil that's running into your blood vessels.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Roti Jala (Net Pancakes)

Edit 17/8/08: I've changed the recipe after a 4th attempt on making these pancakes. If no santan or any form of oil is used, the pancakes will turn out brittle and dry. Also different flours have different absorption capacity, so you need to add more water/santan or flour accordingly. Just test by doing a pancake and tweak (there, I've finally used that over-used word that's all over the food cyberworld) from there.


Wey said he'd never eaten roti jala (literally bread or pancakes net) before and I've always wanted to make some. I have only seen these lacy, delicate pancakes at Bits and Bites in Wisma Merdeka and I think whoever first made them was so clever and artsy. Roti jala looks much prettier than pancakes/flapjacks and crepes, don't you think?

I was in despair with the first few pancakes I made. The batter wouldn't come through, so I thinned it. When it still didn't come through, I cut the tips of the jala cup with kitchen scissors, and whatever dripped out didn't connect because they were blobs and dots:


I nearly gave up, disappointed that something that looked so easy can be so difficult. I had tried making taro ring the day before and although it tasted great, the texture was too solid. I was beginning to doubt my culinary capabilities. Thinned the batter further and slowly, the pancakes got better and better. However, when I ate one, I was disappointed. The pancake was very soft but I wanted a slight el dente bite. Made another batch of batter and this time I used tapioca flour instead. The result was very el dente pancakes that went perfect with my curry! Wow, I felt like I'm an iron chef.

Maybe that's why last night I actually dreamt of roti jala. There were two types, yellow and green. I remember dreaming that the green pancakes must be made using pandan leaves (fragrant leaves that is to Asian desserts as vanilla is to western) so the pancakes can be served as a dessert too (roti jala is traditionally eaten with savory dishes like curries). There was a vision of ice-cream with a green net pancake over it. Would you understand my excitement, that I actually dreamt a recipe, something I've never done before? And it was in technicolor. Do any of you dream recipes? Or dream in color? I'm looking forward to more of these dreams!

This was the first batch. You can see that the lace wasn't as fine. I colored my pancakes with tumeric (an orangy ginger) powder.

You can see the net's broken in many places because the batter was too thick, and the concentric circles didn't hold the net together.

Better now. The secret is to make small tight rings of batter that overlap so that they form a sturdy net. A bit of structural engineering huh. The engineer came home for lunch but wouldn't help me figure out how to strenghten my pancakes which were falling apart. I made many before I got it right.

And for the first time I cooked a delicious curry from scratch. Even Wey was impressed. What a nice day.

Roti Jala (Net Pancakes)
150g (1 cup) ordinary flour*
1/3 cup (50g) tapioca flour*
1 cup thick coconut milk**
1 to 1 1/4 cups water
1 egg
1/2 t salt
1 t tumeric powder (optional)
1/2 T veg oil or melted butter (optional)

*or use 200g ordinary flour but pancakes will not have a slight bite or el dente feel.
** or use thin santan if you are concerned about the saturated oil in coconut milk.

1. Mix everything together in a bowl, whisking until batter is very smooth. Let batter stand 5 min. Batter should be quite thin, and flow easily but not too thin or it will pool together instead of forming strands. Too thick or if you drizzle too fast, only beads or dots will form. Adjust with more flour or water till you get it right. Be patient. Drizzle at a medium speed to get lacier pancakes.

2. Grease a frying pan or a flat griddle. Using a jala cup, drizzle rings of batter in small circles until a net-like pancake is formed. If batter is too thick for your jala cup, thin it out a bit or cut the tips of the cup. Do not turn over, and do not let pancake brown. The pancake is done when the color changes completely, from whitish yellow to yellow, and at that point, roll up or fold into triangles while still in the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with a curry.

Le Meridien

Le Blah, that's how I'd describe the food at Le Meridien. I wanted to dine at The Coast but Hub collapsed into his chair, stuck out his tongue and said, "One hour's drive?!" So a quick round of nos--Hyatt, TABH, Magellan--led us finally to Le Meridien where we attended a bank function 2 months ago and the food seemed okay. The thing about KK is, western food in small restaurants is mostly Italian and we (mainly I) didn't want to go to the same old places.

Hub, as you would guess, went for the buffet while I had the a la carte salmon with walnuts and apple. Let's just say that when we were eating, we were talking about where we should've eaten instead, and that is so pathetic for two food lovers. The only thing good was the hot and custardy bread and butter pudding, his glass of sauvignon from Argentina and my excellent chardonnay from Chile. What a bummer.





Monday, March 24, 2008

23 Years

A wedding anniversary cake with sugar fondant roses that I made for my MIL some time ago.
We were among the first few couples to have a morning wedding reception at the newly opened Tanjung Aru Beach and Hotel Resort 23 years ago. I wore a tulle gown from England (my second one, the first being a disastrous gown made in Singapore which I gave away), my gorgeous bridesmaid wore a simple, elegant pink number from Australia, the two little flower girls, daughters of my mom's friend, wore something I had designed. My make-up was done by none other than Jo of A Feast, Everyday because I hated the parrot colors professional beauticians slapped on brides in those days and I trusted Jo to do it right (and she did, perfectly). The groom, would you believe it, wore his brother's too-small suit. Until today it upsets me.

What can I say? It's been a long time, yet it hasn't been. I still love his voice, but hate his sloppiness. Love that we both enjoy almost the same things: eating, travelling, checking out supermarkets, bookstores and new houses, love animals, root for the same politicians (Obama), enjoy discussing topics from God to science to history to disagreeing on Tibet (he's against their independence, I'm for). In terms of personality, he's a steady-compliant on the DISC test and I'm influence-dominant, so we seem very different. One of the things I admire about him is his steadiness and self-control. After winning a bag of coins at a casino in the US, he was able to walk away. I had lost all my money. When we got to the airport, I grabbed his bag of winnings and blew them all away at the airport one-arm machines. Yes, they even have them at the airport for people like me. I think if I had married someone like me, we'd be living on the streets. On the other hand, I find him annoyingly too steady. I'd say, "Let's fly to Penang for laksa this weekend!" and he'd say "Just like that? No..." He used to drive to Tamparuli, Tuaran, and all those faraway places when we were courting, just so he could have more time with me, he said (KK was very small; there were no places to go to for courting couples). That really made me felt so loved. Now I suggest "Let's drive to Tamparuli!!" and he'd say "What?? It's so far away. There's nothing there." (There's me in the car with you, dude!) Girls, guys are nicest before they get you.

We've had our bad times. Most women I've spoken to have run away from their hubs at least once in their marriage! If you had watched Kramer vs Kramer, you'd know what I mean. When Meryl Streep's character stood at the elevator with her suitcase as she prepared to leave her husband and son, Dustin Hoffman's character was totally stunned. He had no idea she was unhappy. And therein lies the most fundamental truth of all marriages: men and women are wired totally differently. Men are happy as long as they get their meals and their bed exercise. Women are deeper. They need love, care and friendship and the occasional sprinkle of Stuart Weitzman, Prada, Bulgari plus obedient kids and stay-away in-laws.

We'd had our good times when we feel we are the luckiest people in the world, and we wonder sometimes at how wonderful our life has been together. I honestly think that things got better after he became a Christian, 13 years ago when Wey was born. Now when we have a fight, I'm more aware that it isn't just the two of us, but there's God in our marriage and God is a God of love and we must be God-fearing enough to humble ourselves and work things out. I've always told my kids this: choose a partner who is reasonable, responsible, loves his/her parents/siblings (not beyond the horizon as some of you know what I mean) and is not bad-tempered. And make sure he/she can stand up to possessive in-laws. Apart from that, be faithful to each other and love each other for better or for worse.
So on the occasion of our 23rd wedding anniversary, I thank God for putting me with you, and I love you, W.

*我聽見你的聲音wo ting jian ni de sheng yin
有種特別的感覺 you zhong te bie de gan jue
讓我不斷想不敢再忘記你 rang wo bu duan xiang bu gan zai wang ji ni
我記得有一個人wo ji de you yi ge ren
永遠留在我心中 yong yuan liu zai wo xin zhong
哪怕只能夠這樣的想你 Na pa zhi neng gou zhe yang de xiang ni
如果真的有一天 ru guo zhen de you yi tian
愛情理想會實現 ai qing li xiang hui shi xian
我會加倍努力好好對你永遠不改變 wo hui jia bei nu li hao hao dui ni yong yuan bu gai bian
不管路有多麼遠 bu guan lu you duo ma yuan
一定會讓它實現yi ding hui rang ta shi xian
我會親親在你耳邊對你說(對你說) wo hui qin qin zai ni er bian dui ni shuo (dui ni shuo)
我愛你愛著你 wo ai ni ai zhe ni
就像老鼠愛大米 jiu xiang lao shu ai da mi
不管有多少風雨我都會依然陪著你 bu guan you duo shao feng yu wo dou hui yi ran pei zhe ni
我想你想著你 wo xiang ni xiang zhe ni
不管有多麼的苦 bu guan you duo ma de ku
只要能讓你開心我什麼都願意 zhi yao neng rang ni kai xin she ma dou yuan yi
這樣愛你 *zhe yang ai ni *
我愛你愛著你 wo ai ni ai zhe ni
就像老鼠愛大米 jiu xiang lao shu ai da mi
不管有多少風雨我都會依然陪著你 bu guan you duo shao feng yu wo dou hui yi ran pei zhe ni
我想你想著你 wo xiang ni xiang zhe ni
不管有多麼的苦 bu guan you duo ma de ku
只要能讓你開心我什麼都願意 zhi yao neng rang ni kai xin she ma dou yuan yi
這樣愛你zhe yang ai ni

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Chicken N Leek Pie


Baked a chicken last week and had lots of leftover white meat. I saw this recipe in Good Taste magazine and liked the way they overlap the excess pie crust over the top of the pie. I prefer short crust pastry to puff pastry because there's so much less pastry to eat. Also, I learnt pastry making from a local baker years ago and ever since then I avoid commercial pastries. The reason is they use pastry margarine, which is a creamy-colored solid margarine that doesn't melt even in tropical 33 degrees heat so that the dough is never sticky or hard to handle. I figured that to get it to that stage the margarine must've been hydrogenated to the max. And that was before transfat was an issue. Just imagine pastry margarine as a piece of solid cholesterol plaque that sticks to the walls of your arteries. And you wouldn't believe the tons of pastry margarine used to make puff pastry. So please, indulge in that croissant only once in a green moon.

The Good Taste pastry only needs an easy whiz in the food processor but I think because the butter is melted and our humidity level is high, the pastry didn't stay crisp. I have instead changed the recipe by using cold butter, but you can always use your preferred pastry recipe. You can also make the pastry more 'short' by increasing the butter and reducing the milk, if you are extremely underweight/well-insured/have an optimistic personality.



Chicken N Leek Pie

4 cups cooked chicken meat, in short shreds
1 large stalk leek, sliced thinly (about 2 cups packed loosely)
1/2 cup thickened/double dairy cream
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 T plain flour
40g butter
1/2 t salt (omit if chicken is salted)
1/4 t white pepper
1/2 T oil
1 t tarragon or rosemary or thyme or sage or marjoram*

The Pastry
2 cups plain flour, sifted
100g cold unsalted butter, in small cubes
1/2 cup low-fat or whole milk
1/4 t salt
1 egg yolk for glazing

* the original recipe uses tarragon but do use an herb you like.

1. In a small pot, add 1/2 T of oil or butter and fry the leeks for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove leeks to a bowl. Melt the butter in the same pot over low heat and add the flour, stirring well (the mixture will bubble and then thicken; make sure do not brown) for about 3 to 4 minutes and switch off heat. Using a small whisk, slowly whisk in the stock, then the cream and milk, the chicken, leeks and finally the seasoning (taste and adjust). Let filling cool completely.

2.Add salt to the flour in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until mixture is crumbly. Add the milk and gather the dough, kneading a couple of times until it comes together. Cover and let it chill in fridge about 20 minutes.

3. Switch oven to 200 C.

4. Get hold of a 22 cm springform pan. Divide the dough into three portions. Put two portions together and knead two or three times, then roll out into a large circle (27 to 28 cm) of 4 mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Roll another circle of about 18 to 19 cm (I've decided to give metric measurements only; it's high time Americans catch up with the rest of the world), cutting out a bit of pastry to make a couple of leaves. Line the pan with the larger circle of pastry, letting the sides overhang. Trim or press the overhanging edges so that the overhang (about 3 cm) is the same width all around. Spoon the filling into the pie, place the smaller circle of pastry over the chicken filling and fold the overhanging pie pastry of the larger circle over the top. Cut 3 to 4 small slits on the pie top with sharp scissors, decorate with the pastry leaves and brush a beaten egg yolk all over the top.

5. Bake in lower oven for 30 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Friday, March 21, 2008


And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19



Jesus predicted his own death, and willingly went through his suffering instead of performing a miracle to save his own life. He had done so because he was obedient to God's plans, that his death would be his sacrifice as a form of punishment for the sins of man. It is like you have committed a crime (as we all are sinners) and have been sentenced but someone else who loves you came and said he would take the punishment for you so that you may start all over again, free. Jesus' message over and over again was a message of love. He said the greatest commandment is to love God, the second to "love your neighbors as yourself."

Good Friday is good because while Jesus died a horrific death, his sacrifice is a proof of hope and his love for us. And when he rose again three days later, it was a fufillment of his prophecy that he would rise again. Which prophet or founder of other great religions claimed that link to diety? They have all remained dead. Proof of Jesus' resurrection: the massive stone that covered the opening of his tomb was rolled away despite the presence of Roman guards. His tomb is still there, maintained beautifully. Another: All his disciples (except John) ran away and forsook him during his cruxification. Yet after Jesus' death, why did they start preaching, travelling to faraway lands, willingly enduring persecution until one by one they were all tortured to death? The answer is that all their disbelief and fear went away when they witnessed Jesus as he appeared again to them after his death. He is resurrected as he said he would be.


Every Friday at sundown, the Jews would get together in their homes for their Shabbat (Shabbath) meal. All activities would cease; it is a day of total rest. The streets would be empty. The Sabbath lasts until Saturday sundown. The challah, a braided bread, would be broken and eaten. This bread for the Jews remind them of the unleavened bread they ate hastily the night they ran away from Egypt and of the manna bread God had provided for them daily ("Give us this day our daily bread...") while they were in exile for 40 years in the desert after they escaped from Egypt.

We had a Shabbat meal this Good Friday, with challah from the Magellan Sutera Hotel. For Christians, the breaking of the bread symbolises Jesus' body being broken which was as predicted by him during the last supper he had with his followers. The wine symbolises his blood which was sacrificed to clean away our sins, while the two candles (lit by the female of the house; me) symbolises Jesus being 'the light of the world'.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cherry-Choc Fresh Cream Cake

Happy birthday Beauty!

This cake was made for my friend Yolanda's daughter's birthday on 10 Dec last year. The lovely and graceful Athena turned 13. I shelved the post when Yolanda couldn't give me a clear enough photo of the birthday girl with the cake (look what a bit of color balance by Microsoft can do) and since I'm dieting/fasting (my pastor says the difference is fasting involves lots of praying, dieting is just abstinence from food) this week, food is kinda low-key at home until this weekend when we break our fast/diet. And so I'm falling back on my archive photos, like these:


This is a choc supermoist cake with raspberry-flavored fresh cream topped with fresh cherries. Not difficult to make so I'm not posting the recipe here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cola Chicken Wings


I had a comment from Rei and so I checked out her blog. Rei's latest post was cola chicken which reads very delicious, and I was reminded of a post I prepared 2 months ago. I usually have 3 to 4 standby posts for those days when I don't have time to cook. These are posts where the pics didn't turn out well because they were taken at night so I don't post them unless I'm desperate.

The recipe for this unusual dish is by courtesy of Lily, who's from China. I think the dish would also work with root beer, ginger ale and other fizzy drinks. Most people can't tell there's Cola but if you have a discerning tongue you would. Otherwise, according to a friend, it tastes like 'honey chicken'. Kids like it because it's sweet.

(Edit: My friend Ai Meng has informed me that she tried this recipe and her chicken wings turned out unbearably sweet. Instead of 1kg of wings, the recipe should say 2 kgs. I seldom ever use frozen wings and assumed them to be in 1 kg packing. I've amended the recipe immediately before somebody else makes my mistake. So sorry.Thank you Ai Meng for telling me!~)

Cola Chicken Wings
2 kgs chicken wings, jointed
2 cans Coca Cola
1/2 T ginger, smashed & minced*
1/2 T garlic, smashed & minced
3 T light soy sauce
a splash of dark soy sauce for color

*Vero had julienned my ginger but do mince it for better flavor.

1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the wings. When water boils again, stir the wings for 2 minutes and then scoop the wings out. (You can reserve 1 cup of stock to add to the chicken if you like it more saucy. I prefer the wings sticky so I'd leave the stock out although in the pic above the wings are cooked more saucy than sticky.)

2. Put 3 T oil in a wok and fry the ginger and garlic. Add the blanched wings, fry a minute or so and then add the coke and ight soy sauce. Cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes. Season to taste. Add a drizzle of dark soy sauce if you like the wings darker.

3. If you like the wings real sticky, increase the heat and let the dish boil uncovered until the sauce is thick and almost all gone.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sweet N Sour Pork


Sweet and sour pork (gu lao rou) was, and probably still is, the dish that represented all Cantonese food for most westerners. If I see a westerner eat sweet and sour pork, I know that person is not much of a Chinese food gourmet. This was especially evident in North America although it may be different now (Mandy? Bee?). I've noticed that the westerners in Australia eat very authentic Chinese food and they hold their chopsticks better than my kids (for those who don't know, that means controlling the movement of the upper chopstick with your thumb, forefinger and middle finger while the bottom chopstick rests immoveable on your forth finger). I wonder if this dish was a creation by some Chinese chef on some foreign land far from China, you know the pen gui lao (cheat the westerners) kind of food.

Whatever the origin, sweet and sour pork is one delicious dish that is enjoyed here in casual, coffee-type restaurants and not in the larger establishments. Some good restaurants for this dish are Diamond Restaurant, the restaurant below Ang's Hotel, all those Beaufort-type restaurants including Man Tai and so on.

This is a dish that is so taken for granted that nobody (that means me) cooks it at home. I don't know why. For me, I'd not eat it often since the sauce has quite a bit of sugar although if I really am concerned about that, then I should first cut out all cakes. But, on to the recipe. My sons tell me this dish tasted just like the restaurants'. Impress your little ones with this colorful dish which makes use of any non-leaf veggies as long as they are colorful. I've used cucumbers (which are cheaper than bell peppers. Why are bell peppers so expensive here?), leftover pineapple, tomatoes and brown onions but for those of you who can easily get strawberries and kiwis, and even apples, those would be wonderful too.


Sweet N Sour Pork

300g pork shoulder (with a bit of fat)
1 medium brown onion
1 large tomato
1 cuke, or green bell pepper
1 red chili

8 T water
1 heaped T cornflour
2 T tomato ketchup
2 T fine sugar
1 t worchestershire sauce (optional)
1 T vinegar
1/2 t salt
a shake of msg/chicken stock powder

1. Lightly and randomly score the surface of the pork all over (to tenderize) and cut into 2 cm cubes. Add 1/2 t salt, some white pepper, 1 T cornflor, 1 egg white and 1/2 t sesame oil (optional) and mix well (using your hands to mix better) and leave 1/2 hour. Note: add 1/2 t 5-spice powder if like.

2. Cut all the veg into 1 1/2 cm cubes/slices. Mix all the sauce ingredients together, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Taste and season it if necesssary.

3. Heat 2 to 3 cups of oil until very hot. Coat each piece of pork with cornflour and drop into oil in 3 batches. Move the pork around so they don't stick together. Fry until light to medium brown and very crispy, and drain on paper towels. Place pork on serving plate.

4. Pour the oil away leaving about 1 T in the wok and add all the veg into the same wok (there'll be enough oil coating the wok but in restaurants, oil is added so the sauce will have a sheen). Fry until veg are half-done. Now add the sauce ingredients (give it a stir before adding into wok) and stir until sauce thickens. Pour the sauce over the pork, or you can add the pork in and then dish out.


My little ba be goong (fussy guy) does not like crispy meat coated with sauce, so I had to serve the pork and sauce separately. The crispy pork is very good too without the sauce. In Jap restaurants, you'd be charged a bomb for the same thing which they call karaage.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

But I wanted A Katie!

I know guys don't have this problem but it is a serious problem with women no matter what age. I mean, look at my mom, the simplest of all old ladies. Yet if she got a bad haircut, she'd stay home because "Ng hoe ye se, gom chou". Haven't you wanted to cry after a bad haircut?

When I look at photos of myself at 8 or 9, I cringe. My mom, being from Hong Kong, was considered fashionable in her days. And in those days, fashion and trends travel very slowly to Borneo. Even movies came more than a year after they were released. Anyway, although she didn't watch western movies, mom seemed to know Shirley Temple was The New Black and my sister and I were often dragged to the hair saloon for perms. Going to school the next day was truly terrifying. I will never forget being called a "gollywog" by Dorothy T. (yoo hoo, Dottie, where are you?), one of those girls who considered themselves more western than eastern and so spoke English only. Deep inside I was more hurt because I knew I looked like a gollywog (a word Enid Blyton used to refer to blacks) with my afro and my dark skin. It didn't help when my front teeth went through its baby-to-adult change at a later age than others. Or that I was stick-thin too. The one thing those hair perms did was made me avoid hair salons. I don't go to hair saloons until my hair makes me unrecognisible, so that means 2 times a year. I used to cut my bangs myself, until W asked me who chewed on it.

So imagine how it was for me last month when I went to KK's most popular hair salon in Centre Point and asked for a "Katie", as in Holmes. An hour later I came out with a Paris, and it was CNY and I paid CNY price for a haircut that made me want to hibernate. A Paris is not too bad because it is about shoulder length. After a month, my hair has grown and yesterday, I decided it's time to get that Katie cut, but at a different salon.

Why is it that they never know what you want even when you are emphatic and assertive about your preferred hairstyle? This cut isn't so bad from the front but to my horrors, from the side and back, my hair looked like a ball (I went back to trim down the ball effect this morning; Julie was very nice about it). You know the cut that's in now, the one with short back and long sides, the stupid look that I hate? I'm wearing it now. And I just want to cry because instead of looking like Katie, I look more like that sour-face Posh. Now I just have to go get some silicon boobs and somehow make Hub look more David.

p.s. Lesson is: bring a picture of what you want. People think Katie and Posh and Paris are the same person.

Chicken a la King


There may be some of you who remember when Kampung Air (water village) had water and houses stood on stilts over the water. How many remember that? Kg Air was where Asia City is located now. When my hub and his primary school friends come over for wine, they sometimes talk of the old days when they were skinny young teens who roamed the Kampung Air area, swimming, fishing and crabbing in the sea. That was a big surprise to me because that's where I used to hang out too but I never noticed those scrawny boys. Or they me I suppose. I was just as scrawny. And when they start reminiscing about the one and only coffee house in KK called Max Coffee House, located at Kg Air just opposite those wooden stilt houses, I'd be so excited nobody can have a word in but me .

Max Coffee House, remember it? That was where we went to celebrate our academic achievements or special birthdays because that's the only place where western food was available. It was such a special treat to even walk into Max because it was hip and western, and it was the only eatery that had air-con. And we had to give our orders in English, an act of courage in those days. The fun was seeing how your friends struggle with their English and how we all try not to act too rural. The most memorable item for me at Max was their chicken and beef pies, which was about the size of a dessert plate. To eat it, you'd use a fork and a knife (how you handle your cutlery was the ultimate proof of how western you were), and slather Lingham's sweet chili sauce on top. Max's pies were just the most delicious thing I'd ever tasted then.

As KK had been under British rule, Max's served Brit-influenced food such as pies, sandwiches, steaks, chicken chops, banana splits and that's all I can remember. I don't quite remember if I first ate Chicken a la King at Max's but this dish just reminds me of those old days before the world globalized and food became international. I found an interesting site that gives some background info on chicken a la King. The dish very likely originated from New York, USA about 100 years ago.

Wey had a week's break from school this week and had a couple of friends stay over one night. The herd behavior among boys this age (or any age actually) is such that they need to eat every four hours or so, during their toilet breaks while playing computer games. I cooked mac and cheese, then pasta and tuna bake, even plain pasta with butter and Bovril (Ming's creation, and it's really yum) and finally, raked up chicken a la King which was a hit with them, so I'm sharing the recipe here. Skip it if it's too elementary for you, but do consider cooking it if you need to whip something up quickly especially for kids. I used raw chicken but you can use cooked chicken too.

Chicken a la King (serves 3-4)
500g uncooked skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 green bell pepper or peas
1 carrot
1 can button mushrooms
1 medium brown onion
3 T plain flour
2 T butter
2 T oil
2 cups chicken stock (Swanson's)
1 can Nestle reduced cream or use thickened cream
1 T sherry
salt n pepper to taste

1. Cut the veggies into 2 cm cubes/pieces.

2. Heat up a pot, add 1 T oil and fry the onions for a minute. Add the chicken and the carrots, season with salt and pepper, add 1 cup stock and cover and let it simmer about 10 minutes until the carrots are half-tender. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper, let it boil 2 minutes or so. Switch off fire.

3. To make the white sauce, heat up another pot, add the butter and 1 T oil and melt the butter over low fire. Add the flour and stir quickly. The mixture will bubble and thicken. Make sure fire is not high. After about 30 sec, slowly whisk in the 1 cup stock and cream, stirring with a small whisk all the time. When the cream boils, add the chicken and veg, taste and season if necessary. Add a little bit of water if sauce is too thick. Add the sherry and let mixture heat through, and remove.

4. Serve chicken a la king over plain white rice.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cheese N Onion Bread



Safeway (yes, Safeway) in Canada used to sell very good cheese and onion bread, all soft, aromatic and --sinfully buttery and greasy. But that was way back then and now everybody is into healthy multi-grain or wholemeal bread although I've noticed most people here still prefer white bread because that is the most common bread sold in our bakeries.

Instead of a loaf, I decided to just make large rolls (no tins to wash) and used my basic white bread recipe with a handful of multi-grains and a very minimal amount of butter. This savory bread is so good, you can eat it plain, or with a bowl of soup and a salad. When the bread was baking, Wey came into the kitchen and asked, "What's that heavenly smell??"


(The sun was setting and my camera was on warm mode for this picture. Do any of you have problems with flies when you are taking food pictures? I take most of my pics out in my back patio where the lighting is better. I find it quite a feat sometimes, to be the cook, food stylist, photographer and fly-swoosher.)

Cheese N Onion Bread
500g bread/hi-protein flour
2 handful of multi-grains plus 3 T sesame seeds*
2 t dry yeast
50g butter
1 t salt**
2 T fine sugar
280 ml cold water
250g mature cheddar#, grated
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup spring onions, in 2 cm lengths

*Optional. Omit if you prefer plain white bread.
** We are on a low-salt diet but you can add 1/2 t more for a tastier bread.
# Add other cheese like parmesan for extra flavor

1. Put flour, multi-grains, sesame seeds, yeast (make sure it is active), butter, salt, sugar, water and chopped onions into your (Kenwood Major) mixing bowl and, using the dough hook, knead 8 to 10 minutes, stopping in between to scrape dough together and to allow machine to cool down.

If dough is too sticky, add one or two tablespoonful of bread flour but if it's just a little sticky, it is okay. If too dry, add water by the tablespoon.

2. Leave dough in the mixer bowl, punch it down nicely and cover with a tea towel and leave it in a warm place (like the oven) for 1/2 hour.

3. Flour your hands, divide dough into half, knead a couple of times, roll each half out into a large disk (size of a dinner plate) on a floured surface and sprinkle the grated cheese and spring onions all over. Roll up the dough swissroll-like and press the edges to seal, tuck both sides in a bit to puff the roll a bit, lay it on a well-greased tray, cut a couple of slashes on the top using a sharp pair of scissors, and let dough proof for 1 hour or until 2 1/2 times the original size. Carefully brush beaten egg (remove half the whites to give a more golden color) because if you are rough the air will escape and bread will be hard.

4. Heat oven to 200 C (180 C if you don't want a hard crust) and bake 25 minutes (35 to 40 minutes for 180 C), covering the bread halfway with foil if it gets too brown.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Zuppa De Mare

I haven't diluted the soup here yet, for photographic effect (another way of saying soup was too thick).

My son Ming's favorite item at Little Italy is zuppa de mare( Italian seafood soup). At RM22/US$7 per bowl (before tax too), this is one expensive soup especially when the restaurant is just a family restaurant, not one of those 4 or 5-star places. So to the kitchen I go. The first try was not bad, but Ming thought it wasn't sour enough so on the second try I used fresh tomatoes rather than canned puree. I'm not sure how it compares with Little It's but Ming seemed to like it; he refilled twice. (I didn't ask. We are taking a breather from each other. Again.)

The seafood used must be very fresh and not frozen or the soup'll have that refrigerated food taste. Yes, I learnt my mistake.


Zuppa De Mare(6 big helpings)
600g very ripe tomatoes
2 cans (4 cups) chicken or fish stock
2 cups water
10 medium-sized prawns, shells on but dirt veins removed
8 cooked mussels and/or 1/2 cup cooked or uncooked clams
1/2 cup fresh squid rings and/or fresh scallops
1/2 cup firm boneless white fish, in 2 cm cubes
1 T finely chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 T tomato paste
4 T olive oil
2 dried bay leaves
1 t dried oregano
1 t salt + 1/4 t black pepper
parsley for garnish

1. Boil a small pot of water, switch off, put in the tomatoes and cover. After 1 minute, drain and peel the skins off tomatoes. Return tomatoes to pot. If you are using plum tomatoes, you don't have to remove the seeds because there usually aren't many seeds. With round tomatoes, remove seeds if you mind them. I don't. Use a potato masher and mash the tomatoes into a pulp.

2. Heat up a pot and add the olive oil. Fry the garlic and onions until soft, then add the water, stock, bay leaves, oregano and mashed tomatoes. Let soup simmer for about 20 minutes.

3. Whisk in the tomato paste, add the salt and pepper and now add the seafood except for the fish. When soup boils, add the fish. If you like the soup thinner, add some water. Season to taste. Garnish with small sprigs of parsley.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Making Kimchi

"We Korean men can do without our wives but we cannot live a day without kimchi," said a Korean expatriate to my friend. I would've told him: "Your wife can do without you and kimchi but not money and that's why you are slogging it out here."


Kimchi is like durian or cheese or anything strong-smelling or tasting: you either hate it or love it . Kim chi has a complex taste of sour, hot, salty, savory-sweet and a punch-to-the-nose pungency from the garlic and shrimp sauce. Best of all, I'm told by Young Sook, my previous neighbor who was from Seoul, kimchi is like yogurt, it keeps you slim and your digestive system healthy. I don't quite know how that works because she spoke in limited Malay and I spoke to her in English but I like the "keeps you slim" part. Young Sook is very slim and pretty.

Once in a few months, Young Sook and a couple of her countrywomen would get together to make kimchi. They would come with sacks of cabbage and sit on the floor, cutting and kneading the pickles in large tubs and basins and at the end of the day, each would take home a share. I get a tupperware of it too, lucky me. The Koreans really take their pickled veg seriously. No meal would be without some sort of kimchi. I don't know if it's because of this, and I could be wrong, but I've found Koreans, especially the older ones, to be very ethnocentric about their food, and not venturous with other cuisine except for hamburgers.

Other than chinese cabbage kimchi, almost all other veg can be pickled too. Young Sook sometimes made instant kimchi using chinese mustard greens or choysum because this veg can be pickled and eaten immediately. Years ago, I lived in Seoul for 3 weeks under a training program sponsored by The Korean Development Bank and ate in the bank's cafeteria everyday. Lunch was very simple, with a lot of simple veg pickles (hardly any meat) and many people from other Asian countries hated the food. Most of my coursemates lived on instant noodles in their hotel rooms. What a pity, because Korean food is one of the best and least appreciated cuisine. The Koreans just don't bother to dress up their dishes like the Japanese. I sometimes find Japanese food very pretentious. A coddled egg in a pretty ceramic bowl with a sprinkle of black sesame is considered delicious and exquisite. Serve the same thing in a Chinese or Korean restaurant and risk being beaten up. Try this: if they serve kimchi cut into small slivers on some fancy hand-made ceramic plate in a Jap resaturant, you'd go; "Ah so, can I have some more?" But, I'm a sucker for pretty pretentious things too so I do love Jap food, just in case any of you want to take me out for a meal.

Don't just eat kimchi as a side dish. You can fry it with pork, or rice, or make a quick soup by adding canned tuna, tofu and egg.


2 Chinese cabbage, about 2 kg each, quartered lengthwise
1 large (500g) chinese radish (daikon), in thin juliene strips
6 to 8 large chilies, sliced thinly
1 cup spring onions or garlic chives, in 3 cm lengths
2 bulbs garlic, peeled
1 large brown onion, sliced
5 cm piece of ginger, peeled
1 1/2 cups coarse salt
1 1/2 cups gochugaru #(Korean ground chili pepper)
1/2 cup fish sauce*
1/2 cup fermented shrimps (use cincaluk)*
2 T glutinous rice flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup fine sugar
msg (optional)
# reduce to 1 cup if you don't want it too hot.
* for a less pungent kimchi, use 1 cup fish sauce and omit the fermented shrimps. I prefer to use Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce. The Korean ones are too salty and are usually in plastic bottles and sometimes give the kimchi a plastic smell. You may have to add some salt to the kimchi if you use the Thai or Viet fish sauce.


1. Put cabbage into a large tub (I put them into my kitchen sink) and add the coarse salt, rubbing it into the leaves. Put a heavy weight (such as a wooden cutting board) over the cabbage and leave 4 to 5 hours.


2. Put the garlic, ginger, chillies and onion (leave some garlic and chillies unchopped if like) into a food processor and whizz into a fine paste.

3. Mix the chili paste (2) with the chinese radish, chives/spring onions, the unprocessed chilies and garlic in a bowl.

4. Mix the chili powder, glutinus rice flour, sugar and 1 cup water into a watery paste, add the fish sauce and shrimp paste and add this into the radish mixture (3), mixing well. Add 1/2 to 1 t msg if using (I don't).

5. After 5 hours, the cabbbage would have wilted. Wash 3x and squeeze out the water.

6. Spoon the chili-radish mixture in between the leaves of the cabbage and place into a clean dry glass container (use a clean plastic bag to protect your hands from the hot chilies). Put a plate over it to weigh it down, and cover. Leave for 1/2 day and then put into the fridge for 4 to 5 days before eating.



NST Online » NewsBreak

Chong Eng gets bigger majority after EC makes correction
By : Melissa Darlyne Chow

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The Penang Election Commission today rectified an error in the counting of votes for the Bukit Mertajam parliamentary seat.

Chong Eng, who had initially garnered a majority of 5,767 votes on Saturday night, has now won by a majority of 25,897.

When asked about the discrepancy, Chong, who defeated MCA's Ong Tang Chuan, said the EC committed the error by switching her results with that of Ong.

The results of seven polling centres, which were supposed to be in her favour, were instead put in Ong's favour.

Chong had received a total of 37,882 votes compared to Ong's 11,985. The results were handed to her by the state EC.

When contacted, State EC director Ahmad Shafee declined comment on the matter.

It was earlier reported that Chong Eng had retained her seat with 27,817 votes while Ong received 22,050.


The Hard Figures

Apparently an analysis of the election results has shown that BN has fared even worst than it looks. Based on the number of votes casted, not on the number of seats won, only 51% of the 7.9 million votes went to BN. If Sabah and Sarawak's votes are taken away, the votes garnered by BN was only 49.8%, and BN would not have formed the government! If votes due to dirty, unfair election tactics and fear, especially among the less informed, are taken away, BN would have to CLOSE SHOP. And as the joke goes, somebody would be shipped to Ulan Bator.

Monday, March 10, 2008

We, the Stupid

By 2:30 am, it was confirmed that the urban constituencies of Api-api, Luyang, Sandakan and Tawau were won by BN candidates. Those few of us who were still in my house at that hour were foaming at our mouths in disbelief, frustration, shock and anger even though we were surprised and happy with the results of the West Malaysian states. The question that everyone has been asking since then is: Why are Sabahans so stupid?? How can we still give 95% support (correction: BN won 59 out of 60 state seats so it is 98.3%. 95% is the figure for parlimentary seats won by BN in Sabah) to the BN party while other states have broken free of their grip?? How can we be blind to state issues such as these:

1. Sabah went from being the richest to the poorest state in Malaysia in the last thirty years.

2. Sabah only gets a pittance of 5% from its oil and gas revenues, the 95% taken by the Federal Government to develop other states.

3. The island of Labuan was given away free to the Federal Govt. Thousands of acres of land on the mainland are now owned by West Malaysian oil palm companies and politicians.

4. Our Chief Ministers and politicians have one by one become multi millionaires/billionaires. The poor in the interiors have no schools, no hospitals, no electricity and no food.

5. Illegals are all over the state, bursting our hospitals and jacking up the crime rate. Some reports state that over 500,000 people in Sabah are illegals, but the figure could be underestimated.

6. Our oil revenues are being robbed by the Feds, the timber from our jungles gone, the corals and fish bombed by Filipino fishermen. No viable industries or projects have been set up, forcing our young people to work in West Malaysia and Singapore.

7.We have always had the highest cost of living and probably lowest salaries, with university graduates getting RM600 to RM1000 per month now (if they do get a job), lower than my pay of RM1,350 per month when I first started working over 20 years ago.

In my opinion, Sabahans only look at the small picture. Our roads have been widened. The drains are cleared, the streetlights fixed, the (empty) malls are mushrooming everywhere. I can accept that that's why they voted in the same party at the state level. But at the national or parlimentary level, it is incomprehensible why our protest was hardly a whimper, giving the opposition only 1 seat out of 25. While our more educated and informed West Malaysians countrymen are infuriated with issues that threaten the country's future, we in Sabah are continuing the Bornean complacency of "Enough to eat, enough to wear, who cares about democracy. Never mind if the state ministers are multi billionaires, after all if one is replaced, the new one will be corrupted anyway." I think it was the PBS government that disillusioned the people of Sabah to this extent of cynicism and fatalism because when we voted them in twenty years ago (because we had enough of the Harris government), the PBS leaders betrayed us and jumped to BN when the going got tough.

The people of Sarawak are even more stupid/backward than those in Sabah. At least we have had several changes of Chief Ministers while Sarawak faithfully uphold their CM who has been around for over 25 years like he owned the state. And despite my utter dislike of Dr M, I must thank him for setting the ball rolling by incarcerating Anwar. If not for that, Anwar would still be arrogant like the other BN leaders, and BN would still be running the show. One up on Singapore, Malaysia. At least we can vote against our leadership.

On the bright side, I am proud that Malaysians have matured and risen up to smack the leaders in their faces and shown them that the govenment should be for and by the people. I would be happy if the opposition parties can force the ruling party into a more tranparent and clean governance. I would be happy to see younger righteous leaders who mean it when they talk of racial harmony and religious freedom. I dream of the day when we can have a Prime Minister who is fair to all the races, and of the day when all Malaysians, whether minorities or majority races, are truly treated like Malaysians. The weakening of the rule-and-divide BN Party was something most of us never expected to see in our lifetime and now it has happened. Not only that, there has been no violence. Let us celebrate and pray that this is the beginning of a better Malaysia, a Malaysia we have all been praying for.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


So many young people I spoke to have not registered to vote. Of course, with the election called so suddenly, many just couldn't register in time. A disturbing estimated 80% of the 4.9 million people who haven't yet registered to vote are between the ages of 21 to 30. I just can't understand why people can't do their duty as a concerned citizen once every 4 years, especially when the country is in such a mess. It is no longer a question of better drains outside your house, or better roads. We are worried about injustice, corruption, nepotism, religious freedom and racial rights.

So imagine my joy when my bro who works in Singapore suddenly arrived home last night just to vote! He didn't come back for mom's birthday and CNY but he's back for the weekend to cast one vote. I was also impressed with my friend Y who, despite just arriving in Hong Kong the day before from New York, hopped on the next flight home just to vote also.

And so this morning we met at my mom's house, had a short discussion and agreed on our family's voting modus operandi and started out to our respective polling stations, me and mom to vote for the Api-api seat and my bros to vote for the Luyang seat, both of which are predominantly Chinese areas. At the polling station, I asked mom, "Now where do you put your vote?" "The eye." "Cross or tick?" "Cross." "Okay, let's do it!" Wow. I felt like I was performing national service.

If you have a copy of today's papers, there are pages of info on the candidates and the seats they are vying for. I noticed that nearly all the rural areas had only two candidates, one from the ruling party and one from the opposition. That is good in that opposition votes won't be split, bad in that there will be scumbags who jump to the other party after winning a seat. In more developed and urban areas, the contest is usually 3 or 4-cornered, which sucks because this means voters will be split among the opposition candidates. I read Malaysia Needs A Strong Opposition, by Michael Backman, an Aussie journalist for The Age (as informed by Ah Beng in his blog), and again it is very frustrating to accept the fraudulent practices in our elections. Based on Michael Backman's article, in the 2004 elections, 64% of votes were for BN and that garnered 198 seats/representatives in parliament. Opposition voters made up 36% but they only got 21 seats. Proportionately, the opposition should get about 79 seats, so why is this not the case? Well, back to the same dirty practice of having large urban areas allocated one seat and interior or undeveloped areas getting many more seats. Which means that one vote in the kampung/village equals upto 5 votes in the towns! In urban areas with large populations of over 40,000 only one state/parlimentary seat is given while areas as small as 8000 in the interior are also given one seat, so that urban people being more knowledgeable about what's going on will have less say while the rural people being simpler, less educated and thus easier to influence (gifts of milk powder and even water tanks were used in the previous elections) will actually have more voting power.

Compounding all that, there's the question of the neutrality of the Election Committee, the rumors of illegals being ferried by the busloads to polling stations...It is just so...dirty.

But, it is now 5 pm and the polling stations have closed. It is raining inccessantly. I noticed voters turn-out was very low in the few stations that I passed by. Whatever, I'm praying for the best. Some of my friends are coming over to my house tonight for 'election results watch'. I'm baking cheese and onion bread, an apple sponge and some other tidbits. If anyone wants to come, please do so. But if you aren't opposition, you are kindly requested to stay away.

The biggest billboards belong to the ruling party. And guess who's paying?

Even in the rural areas, the ruling party dominates.

"Your iron chairs along Foh Sang were good, Dr Yee. The best thing you did for the people, those chairs, yeah."

We can be horizontal...

...or vertical. Either way, we'll have the biggest billboard and guess who's paying the costs again?

Once in a while you get the opposition. I was so dumb, I told mom that this is "The Eye" but this morning when I read the papers and saw all the symbols, I was alarmed to see this is double crescents.Is this a religious or political party?

The BN has the most decent-looking symbol although by now the balance is heavily loop-sided.

Now I vote this affable guy as "The Happiest Candidate" with "The Best Grin". Is he a dentist btw? Independents (see the keys symbol) have in the past turned out to be the worst of the lot. They are potential frogs. If they win, they usually jump to the ruling party. No price for guessing why.

Hmm. This is the other opposition party. While Double Crescents send shivers down non-Muslims' spines, DAP's phallic symbol--with a big 'O'-- should send shivers down BN's spine--blue being BN's color...

RIP, until 2012.
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