Monday, June 25, 2007

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh

I was recently in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) for a couple of days, surprisingly all flights (Malaysia airlines at least) were full. Hotels were fully booked too. Initially we were supposed to stay at the Park Hyatt which would have set me back about USD250 a night, but since it was fully booked our partners recommended Majestic Saigon

The Majestic is one of the oldest hotels in HCMC and was established in 1922. Staying at the Majestic, brought back fond memories of E&O Hotel in Penang.

I was pretty impressed with the lobby and was amazed by its tall ceilings.

Nothing to shout about, as far as the room goes, but when I entered the washroom I was greeted by the largest sink I have ever seen!!! Its seriously big, I mean I could use it as a bathtub for Anthony!!

The hotel roof top bar has a wonderful view of the Saigon River...

One thing that never ceased to amazed me was the amount of motorcycles on the road!!!

On my first day, I tried to cross a busy took me more than 10 minutes. According to locals, "just walk confidently across the not stop in the middle...walk with a consistent speed...the motorcycles will avoid you!!" true enough, they did! what a scary experience.

My co-workers and I could not help but make a pilgrimage to "Parkson" a Malaysian chain store. Price wise it is similar to Malaysia.

While waiting for our cab (its only RM50 for one day...really cheap) outside of Parkson, I noticed that Vietnamese do not have an inkling of what "side walks" are meant in point is the above pic. In a short span of 10 minutes I saw 5 cars driving along the side walk to avoid the traffic!!!

Anyway, I am due back in HCMC in about 3 weeks, will post a more comprehensive report...till then, how do you pronounce pepper in Vietnamese? Its sounds really obscene in cantonese!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bragging Rights!!!

On Sunday June 17th I participated in HeiTech's Annual Golf Tournament. Two medals were being offered, namely the Chairman's Cup (handicap 15 and below) and the President's cup (handicap 24 - 16).

Initially I was reluctant to play, as I have not had the time to practice and the last time I played on the greens was just after Chinese New Year. Anyway my co-workers finally convinced me that I should join just for fun.

Anyway, I only managed to get in 4 sessions at the driving range prior to the tournament...

unexpectedly I came in second!!!...I scored a total of 20 points according to the Stableford scoring system. The winner of the President's cup scored a total of 17 points. Surprisingly I only lost 2 balls compared to the usual 10!!! haha...

I won RM250 worth of ISETAN shopping vouchers...looks like I have to take the missus for a spot of shopping this weekend.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Toronto: Woofstock

Some of you are pretty well aware that the "Ang-Mo" really pamper their pets. Dogs don't just eat scraps from the kitchen but get doctor prescribed diets, presents at Christmas, spa treatments, and even get pushed around in strollers.
Now they have Woofstock, a Festival for Dogs. What happens at Woofstock? Just about anything that goes on for humans, just replace it for dogs. So where there would be high tea, contests, free food for humans... there would be all of the above for dogs. It brings loving your pet to another level... a bit much don't you think?

Toronto: Naked Bike Ride
No we didn't bike around naked! But a group of people bared all (except for footwear) as they cycled down the streets of downtown Toronto. Their aim is to bring awareness to pollution caused by vehicles.

We found it quite amusing, since we weren't sure whether they were a bunch of loonie-bins... until we saw that they were escorted by fully clothed policemen on bicycles.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Toronto: Nangka Drop

Those of you who have spent my school holidays with me in Kuantan will remember that I sometimes sing this annoying song that has no particular tune... just the words:"Nangka drop!" You see, my uncle has a Nangka (Jackfruit) tree in his yard. I loooovve eating jackfruit. So I used to look forward to one dropping from his tree.

Once when I kept whining for the Nangka to drop, IT DID! So whenever I fancy I would "sing" this song to "induce" the fruit to ripen and drop from the tree.

Well, the Nangkas are sure dropping in Chinatown. It was selling for $5/lb. I couldn't resist and we bought some home :)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Toronto: Baby Shower for Louise
I went to my first baby shower on April 14th, 2007. This is a tradition that people have here. It is a celebration for the mother-to-be and to "shower" her with gifts. The gifts are usually baby-stuff like teeny-tiny clothes, toys, playpens, etc.... things the new mum and baby can use. The party is usually for women-only.

I had a lot of fun with the other gals. The baby is due on May 2nd, and we are all eagerly waiting for he or she to make its entrance into this world.
I guess the gift-giving is not so different from Chinese tradition where we give ang-pow when we visit the newborn during the confinement period. The ang-pow money will help the new parents in setting up their new life with the little one, just as the gifts will :)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Toronto: Easter Weekend

Friday (Good Friday) was a public holiday for us. It's the first long weekend since Christmas and a much needed break. Primary and Secondary schools are also closed on Monday for Easter Monday so teachers and students get and extra day off. Unfortunately, the rest of us will have to work :P

When one thinks of Easter, usually chocolate (see golden chocolate bunny in pic!), the Easter Bunny, multi-pastel coloured eggs and Spring comes to mind. While the chocolate and eggs made their appearances, Spring was no where to be found. In fact, it was so cold that it snowed!!!

Many people gathered with their families during this season. Some for the Catholic celebration of Jesus's resurrection, some for the Jewish celebration of passover. Anand went to Chicago for a friend's wedding. I didn't have a US visa so I couldn't go. But I had great fun catching up with my friend Fai. We rented a movie called Mona Lisa Smile and I slept over at her place. Next day (Saturday) I went to the Roach's to spend my weekend there. Anand came back from Chicago on Sunday just in time to join us for Easter Dinner. We had lots of good food and great fun, as always :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Kelantan: Gastronomic Adventure
Khai Yee decided to follow me back to for Cheng Beng. His mission? eat

Khai Yee started his eating adventure at the airport. He wolfed down a tuna baguette before the flight. Upon touchdown, my dad brought us to eat "Nasi Dagang" a Kelantanese delicacy. Khai Yee ate a plate of "Nasi Dagang" with two pieces of chicken. After polishing off the plate of nasi, he proceeded to consume "tupai" compressed rice with chilli and prawns.

Morning tea was served at Temangan. Banana pancakes... Lunch was at Kelantan's oldest Chinese restaurant, which roughly 80 years old... Khai Yee consumed a bowl of rice and plenty of pork and rice dumplings...

Dinner was at the Thai village where the main dish was a plate of sago worms and bee larvae. Khai Yee insisted that he wanted to try the two he can brag to his "big city" friends that he can so compete in Fear Factor.

This is the result of eating the bees...Khai Yee developed an allergic reaction to the bees. Notice the swollen eyes, actually he looks worse off in real life. He was red all over !!! Had to take him to the doctors...hehehe...
Kelantan: Cheng Beng

Went back to Kelantan for the annual "Cheng Beng" festival. Notice the miniature flags on the grave? Guess my "uncles and aunty" beat me to it this year. Don't get me wrong, its not a competition to see who performs the ancestral prayers first, the point is we are supposed to do it together!!

Mom and dad cleaning my grand-parent's grave.

Notice the yellow boxes? It contains paper clothing, shoes and other necessities. Basically items that you would need if you were alive. Oh ya, not to forget the bags of "hell" money.

Stacking the boxes on "hell" money to be burned...

The entire process took roughly 3 was so hot that my shirt was soaked!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Anthony's Birthday Party

We invited a whole lot of relatives, including 3 other kids. Mom in law is carrying Erica, Joanne is the baby in yellow and the little girl in red is Elewen.

Ma and Mom in law cooked a whole lot of food, my contribution is a big pot of pasta. Apparently it was so good that it was polished off in no time. Secret ingredient? Cheese...loads of cheese.

1.5kg birthday cake...

Fong Fong was so curious about the cake, he kept on wanting to grab the cake...Cleo had to physically restrain him.

Other kids getting into the act...

Cutting of the cake...

Ma proceeding to "knock" Fong Fong's head with a boiled egg. This ritual is to "ensure" that he grows up to be a good kid.

Ma, feeding Fong Fong some egg...

All in all it was a good party, lots of food, fantastic company...only thing missing was a good bottle of wine haha

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Anthony and Joanne

My niece (Cleo's sister's daughter) is currently staying with us, while my sis in law looks for a new maid to help out.

Fong Fong now has a new playmate...

Fong Fong has not gotten used to the idea that he has to share his toys...

Get off my toy!!!!

Fong Fong has also decided that sitting in the basket is more comfortable...

Lately he has taken to climbing and sitting on the basket...

Fong Fong tends to like to push Joanne around when she is in the stroller...

Fong Fong to chasing after Joanne...

But ultimately they get along long as Fong Fong is the one holding on to the toy!!!
Barbecue at Beh Deh's House
We decided to have a bbq at Beh Deh's house over the CNY holidays. Initially Khai Yee and me were supposed to foot the cost of the bbq, but Beh Deh was kind enough to "belanja"

The boss and host for the BBQ making sure that the table is setup...

The host and his "kuli" adding more charcoal to the BBQ pit...

No time to talk...just eat...

Only Fong Fong has the time to look around...

Fong Fong enjoying the company of 2 lovely ladies...