Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Didn't Really Want It Anyway

Disappointment is a tough pill to swallow, isn't it?


All of us have experienced disappointment, one way or another. So we all get what it feels like. How painful it is. How much it sucks.


The worst part is, we blame ourselves for getting disappointed in the first place. Why? Because we worked ourselves up, let hope creep in, possibly even let ourselves feel a little excitement at the thought of whatever it is that got you worked up.


And then you hate yourself, cos you think it's your fault. Who else's could it be that you had such high expectations about the matter? You expected too much, you hoped too much, and so you have no one to blame but yourself.


This isn't the first time you've experienced disappointment. So you should know better than to let yourself hope.


Hope in uncertainty is, frankly, stupid.


Yes, you thought it was already for certain, but nothing is written in stone. Stupid, stupid, stupid.




Yes, sometimes, it's the little things that made you believe things were for real. The words that were exchanged, the manner in which someone spoke. Fooled you into believing this was really going to happen.


Five years ago: Yes, Lisa. We are very impressed and pleased with you.


Three years ago: Lisa, you are certainly a very interesting and unique person. I look forward to getting to know you. I'm sure you will make a good teacher some day.


Last week: Yes, I know you may lack the teaching experience, but I have seen your microteaching--I really believe you can do it.




And then it doesn't happen like you thought it would.


And you get sorely disappointed.


Whose fault is that?




Then the self-defense mechanism kicks in. Maybe we all have it in-built within us. To lessen the pain, reduce the hurt. We brush it off with a cold hand and a stoic face. It doesn't mean anything to me, you tell yourself. It's nothing.


Five years ago: I guess it's a good thing. I am not obligated to anyone, or bonded to them. I am free to do what I want, go where I want to go in the future. This is still good. I didn't really want it anyway.


Three years ago: Of course she won't remember me. She is so busy and has so many other students under her care. It doesn't mean that I'm insignificant. It doesn't mean I'm not worth it. So who cares if I don't have a mentor? I didn't really want it anyway.


Last week: Well, at least I get to keep the rest of my holidays. I won't have to die working. I get to spend more time with my boyfriend after he gets back. Yeah, it would have been a great experience, but it's okay. I didn't really want it anyway.




I didn't really want it anyway.


I didn't.


Not really.




Right?

Nice Guys Finish Last

Have you ever heard the saying: "Nice guys finish last"?

Have you ever thought about what that meant?

I was chilling out, watching one of the videos of a channel I subscribe to: KevJumba. You should watch his videos. They're funny. Especially the ones with his dad. I also think his dad is funnier than he is ! xD

Ahem, anyways, the video I was watching was called: Nice Guys. It's actually a short music video he did in collaboration with NigaHiga and Chester See.


Anyhoo, the chorus goes like this:

Nice guys finish last
That's why I'll treat you like trash
It's not what I really wanna do
But you only date bad guys
So I'll give it my best try
To treat you the way you want me to

In this video, they are talking about "nice guys" in relation to love. How often have we seen that exact case? Girls who never seem to notice the nice guys around them, but go out with a never-ending string of bad boys. What is it that is so attractive about these "bad boys"?

Reminds me of Vampire Diaries, all of a sudden. (I recently finished watching Season One.) (Yes, I know I'm slow @.@)

Stefan and Damon Salvatore.
Gosh, I always get distracted by how hot they both are >.<

In the series, Stefan Salvatore is the designated "good vampire" who makes the choice to not kill for human blood and settles for sustenance on only animal blood. Damon Salvatore on the other hand, mercilessly kills and murders innocent people in cold blood (ooh, was that a pun? :P) just for the adrenaline rush. And of course, for their blood. 

While Elena and Stefan are the star-crossed lovers that keep the story alive, there is also an undeniable chemistry between Elena and Damon.

Stefan + Elena

Elena + Damon
Which couple is better? 

Seriously, what is it about bad boys that girls just cannot resist? Smoking sexy good looks aside, of course.

Girls never choose the guys who treat them well. They always fall for the ones that are not even worth their time. We deserve better than that. Why do we put ourselves through it?


Love matters aside, "nice guys finish last", to me, implies that playing nice will never secure you a win. Playing fair will never get you ahead. Being the good guy is being foolish.

I guess that really is the culture in which we live. If getting ahead means having to backstab others and betray trusts and break promises, then so be it.

Another saying comes to mind: "The end justifies the means." People don't care what they do, who they step on, who gets hurt, as long as they win.

I don't know about you, but that makes me shudder. In fear and disgust, not delight.

What can control a person to the point that they throw away all good intentions, principles, integrity, honesty, righteousness and purity?

Many things I guess. Money, power, revenge, lust, ambition, even love.


But let me tell you this, bad boys (or girls; don't wanna be sexist now), what goes around really comes around. And though you think nobody may know what you do, God does. And He will judge accordingly.

And let me tell you this, nice guys (and girls; again), just as you may think nobody knows or notices what you do, God does. And He will reward accordingly :)

With regards to love, maybe I just want to say, to all the nice guys out there, don't give up. Even if it seems that you're always the last pick, she'll come around eventually.

Nice guys may finish last, but trust me, they always win this race. :D

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hair Keys

I am going to tell you something.


Something that you CANNOT tell anyone else.


I mean it.


Nobody.


I'm trusting you to keep it a secret. So don't you go betraying me now. It took a lot of me to even tell you this, aite? So. Yeah.


*deep breath*




The other day, I had my Praise Exercise in the morning (it's exercise routines accompanied by Chinese Christian music--not as vigorous as aerobics, but not as relaxed as tai chi).


Praise exercise was just over, so all the aunties were sitting around cooling off. Some were milling about, some were just chatting, gossiping. After a good one hour plus of stretching and jumping and running around, I was all hot and sweaty. I was wiping my sweat off my brow with the back of my hand.


Then I noticed my glasses had this print of something. A fingerprint, or whatever. A print of something, smudged on the lens. So I took them off with the intention of wiping off whatever print that was with the edge of my blouse. (Don't we all do that? Even though the optometrist ALWAYS provides us with those special lens-cleaning hankies to go with our spectacles case =.=)


As I was wiping them, I looked up at some of the aunties who were sitting down on the tiled seats opposite me.


I noticed something just by the foot of one of the aunties.


Oh, no. Are those keys? My goodness, don't tell me those are someone's car keys, or house keys!




I walked towards the keys, urgently turning to one of the aunties sitting nearest to them. "Aunty Cilla, whose keys are those? Did someone drop them?" I pointed to the keys by her foot.


She looked down at the keys, and then up at me, confused.




And only at that moment, I decide to put on my glasses which I had been cleaning.


Oh no. Oh noo.




"Keys? What keys?" Aunty Cilla asked, high-pitched.


Those weren't keys at all. Not by a long-shot.




It was a leaf (which I thought was the keychain) and..........a clump of hair.


I'm totally serious.


A leaf. And a clump of hair. Goodness knows whose. With bits of dust entangled in the strands too. >.<


OH. MY. GOD.




Aunty Cilla looked down at the "keys" and said, "Keys? That's HAIR."




How on earth do you respond to such an embarrassing situation like that?????? @.@






Super malu right? Now, do you understand why I said you can tell no one? You can't. You just can't. =.=

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Alternative Career?

I was itching to paint my nails.

Although sometimes (very rarely) I like seeing my bare *gasp* naked nails in their original colour, I do prefer them in PRETTY COLOURS--other than nude, of course :D

Which is why I even have posts dedicated just to the updates on my current nail colour :)

So.

Here's the latest ! :D


On my left hand:


 Purple tips on silver

And on my right:



Silver tips on purple

How do you like them? Different hand, different colour some more ar.
Chun lerrrr~ xD

My friend complimented me on them just a few days ago ! Said they were awesome (although she liked the silver tips on purple better--more striking !!! :D) !!

Hm, what do you think of me opening a manicure/pedicure and nail parlour in the future? You know, just in case the teaching thing doesn't work out? haha~ :P

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rich Chocolate-y Goodness

I had been meaning to try this recipe out for a longgggg time, but never seemed to have the time. Or had some reason or other (like, "I'm lazy." >.<)


This holiday though, I resolved myself to make it. It looked absolutely yummy in XinHui's blog when I first saw it, and I was seriously drooling over how moist it looked even in the photos.


Which makes the name of this cake very, very apt:




STEAMED MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE


It is reallyyyyy easy to make. If an amateur like me can make it and it turns out great, it's really a no-brainer ! :D


Here goes:


(A) 180 g butter
       200 g caster sugar (I used only 160 g, and it was sweet enough :P)
       200 g full cream evaporated milk
       1/2 tsp vanilla extract
       2 tbsp rum (Optional in the recipe, but I didn't use any)


(B) 2 eggs, lightly beaten with fork


(C) 100 g plain flour
       50 g cocoa powder
       1/2 tsp baking powder
       1/2 tsp baking soda
(Make sure that C is all sieved)


Directions:
1. Combine (A) in a saucepan. Stir it over low heat till sugar and butter is melted and dissolved. Then turn off the fire and keep warm.
2. Add (B) into (1) and stir till well-mixed.


(B): 2 eggs, lightly beaten with fork
(I forgot to take a photo of #1 >.<)


(C): flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, sieved
It actually looks kinda pretty somehow :P

3. Sift (C) into a large mixing bowl, then pour the mixture in the saucepan (2) over your flour and still again till well-mixed. The cake batter should be runny. Don't worry if it's a lil lumpy. Just keep stirring, it will smoothen out. :)


My cake batter was a lil lumpy. But when I kept stirring it got less lumpy. 
And the cake still turned out really well. So no worries ! :D


4. Heat up the steamer. (I used a metal rack over boiling water in a wok, covered)
5. Line an 8" round baking pan with greased baking paper.
6. Pour batter into pan and place into the steamer.


Here's the batter in a greased baking pan, placed in the steamer. 
As long as there's steam and it's covered, it can work :)

7. Cover pan loosely with aluminium foil.
8. Steam over medium heat for 45 minutes. (That's what the recipe says, but I spent almost one and a half hours steaming it instead. I hypothesize that possibly, my fire was on a bit too low. So make sure it's medium heat, ya?)
9. Serve warm. (It is extra yummy then ! No kidding !!! :D)


(Recipe obtained here.)

Fresh out of the steamer ! AWESOME !! :D
Doesn't it look absolutely gorgeous??!!! :P

The cake is realllyyyyy moist and rich. Especially when it is still warm. Simply wonderful ! It is soft, and warm, and almost melts in your mouth as it crumbles in rich chocolate-y goodness, and, as the cake makes contact with your palate, it almost nearly oozes juicy chocolate-y yummyness !!!!


(Does that not make you salivate?????!!!!! xD)




My entire family loved it and gave it a 10 out of 10 !!! :D I didn't expect the cake to turn out this well, since this is my first time making this. But the cake really turned out great. I doubt you can mess up making it, cos it is really quite simple to make. :P


If you are interested in making a sweet, rich dessert for your family/friends, I must insist that you try this ! Oh, and if you're thinking of impressing an *ahem* "important person" (be it boyfriend, girlfriend, or prospective parent-in-law) this is the perfect recipe for you ! It's easy to make and the results are just spectacular ! You won't even believe that you  made it !!! xD


Really, really try this ! :D




And gosh, writing this post has given me a craving for it right now. Hm, wonder if I can make this some time soon? Aheh. :P

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dear Gu Phor

When I was younger, a baby of 11 months, when both my parents were still working as teachers, they sent me to be taken care of by a baby sitter who lived just opposite us in the Rasah Jaya flats.

She was a sweet little old lady of 50+ then, who was happy to take in another fat baby (me!) into her extended family of babies and kids :)


One of my earliest memories was of me being carried in my father's arms up the steps of the flats to the first floor. It would be pitch black cos it was super early in the morning. I know that because I would be half-awake, but I would pretend to be asleep so my father would carry me upstairs. *confession* (Aheh. :P) Gu Phor would be waiting for us with the gate wide open, and the mattress laid out on the floor for me to continue sleeping on.

I'd successfully go back to sleep with no fuss at all. Later, Gu Phor would wake me up by calling, "Su Li, hong sin hong sin! Moi soi mok lor~" (Su Li, wake up wake up! Don't sleep lor~)

She'd feed me, dress me and then take my hand and walk me to the kindergarten I attended, Tadika Kiddyhouse, which was opposite the flats as well--a mere 3 minute walk :)

I actually have visual memories of Gu Phor holding my hand walking to and from the kindergarten, guiding me across the road. :)

My kindergarten graduation. I noticed that my ponytails were imbalanced @.@ One had a red rubber band, the other was tied with, like, the normal one which people normally use to tie packets of chilli sauce when you dabao chicken rice =.=
I remember Gu Phor tying my hair for me.
I must have lost the other red rubber band >.<


Eventually, of course, when Ming was born, and then Kit, Gu Phor took care of them too. The Three Mouseketeers (as my dad used to call us :P) was born ! :D

Ming, Kit and myself :)
Weren't we just the most adorable little things you'd ever seen? xD
As you can see, I was sporting my favourite hairstyle (according to my mum) -- the 'coconut tree' !! :P

The adventures of the Three Mouseketeers began. :)


With the three of us, I bet we were a handful to take care of. Poor Gu Phor >.<


You'd never think it when you see my brother now, but Ming used to be a big crybaby when he was still a toddler (Man, I hope he doesn't kill me! @.@). He'd wail and cry when he didn't get what he wanted. He'd go, "Ngo oi lek geh! Ngo oi lek geh!" (I want this! I want this!) and poor Gu Phor rarely knew what it was he actually wanted, since that was all the little Hakka we knew then =.=


Gu Phor didn't have much choice but to lock him outside the flat. He'd scream and wail even louder then. But Gu Phor would let him in eventually, when he got tired and hiccup-y. You won't believe that some of the neighbours actually remember him for his crying! "Oh, so this is the hambao ar? So big already ar!" (Oh, so this is the crybaby ar?) @.@

 Clockwise from L-R: Ah Tse jiejie (who passed away from cancer a long time ago), me, Ming, Ah Mei jiejie, Kit and Ah Wei

I was pretty naughty myself. I must have been quite the artist cos I used to draw tiny little ants allllllllll along the wall of Gu Phor's house. And when Gu Phor gave me the yucky goat's milk tablets my mum asked her to make sure we took, I'd actually hide the tablets under the cushions of her sofa ! (And they were really expensive too !! =.= haha~)


Kit would always get his syllables mixed up. I remember standing in front of Kit by Gu Phor's TV and pronouncing, veryyyyy slowly, "Pock-et, say POCK-ET." And he'd say, "Kopek kopek kopek!" @.@ (I guess I had teacher inclinations even then eh? :P) He also used to say that he wanted to eat "nasi melak" !!!! xD


I also remember Puku, a little pigeon who one day, wandered into Gu Phor's house and, by closing the door, Gu Phor managed to trap it for us. I wonder how she also managed to tie the pigeon to the sofa leg using a long rafia string. In retrospect, I'm horrified that we played with a pigeon (we all know they're not the cleanest of birds @.@) but all I remember of that incident was having a gala time playing with Puku. We were laughing and squealing as it fluttered and flew around the house. :D


Clockwise from L-R: Kit, Ming, me, Ma, Gu Phor and Pa


My mum had kept in contact with Ah Lan jiejie all these years, and so last Tuesday, we went to visit Gu Phor, who now stayed with her daughter's family in Sikamat.

She told us that when Gu Phor heard that we were coming to see her, she practically lit up with joy. :) We hadn't seen her in more than ten years since she shifted away from the Rasah Jaya flats.

She looked like she hadn't aged a day from the time I remember her. She looked just the same. And I was so happy to see that she looked healthy and happy. She kept exclaiming how big we all are now, and how she could barely recognize us anymore. She said that we'd really grown into liang moi and liang zai ('pretty girl' and 'handsome boy').

That's Ah Lan jiejie in light blue :)

We spent the day just talking over drinks and slices of fruit, and every few minutes, Gu Phor would exclaim how big we'd gotten, again. Then we brought out the old photo albums and laughed at how cute we were back then. Gu Phor would go, "Lek geh hae Ah Kit ar? Hao tet yi or!" (This is Ah Kit ar? So cute or!)


It was a meaningful time indeed. And I could not help feeling such gratitude towards Gu Phor for taking care of us when we were young. It certainly could not have been a walk in the park. And the very visible joy she showed over seeing us was very heartwarming. 

She is such a gentle old woman, and she has done so much for the Three Mouseketeers--us. :) I pray that God will grant her good health and joy with her family :) May she have beautiful times with her son and daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters :D

Till we meet again, Gu Phor ! Take care and may God bless you richly :)

Thank you :D


p.s: You have been treated to a very precious few photos of my childhood that I have never posted online before, EVER. So enjoy them :D

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Memory of a Dead Ancient Chinese Poet. Not Really.

Today is the Rice Dumpling Festival, or, in Mandarin, the Duānwǔ Jié. During this festival, the Chinese celebrate it by making (and of course, eating) yummy glutinous rice dumplings.


Although there are many stories and myths regarding the origins of this festival, I vaguely remember the one told by my Chinese teacher Mrs. Tan (when I took Chinese tuition lessons a couple of years ago :P)


Let's hear a little story first eh? :D




Qu Yuan was a highly respected person who also served in the palace as the Emperor of China's right-hand man and counsel. His wise words and advice were sought after by the Emperor in times of doubt and uncertainty. This trust by the Emperor was envied by others who served in the palace, and they anxiously waited for an opportunity to strip Qu Yuan of his position.

When the Emperor was deliberating over the decision to join forces with a neighbouring nation, the evil men who hated Qu Yuan spread nasty rumours about him, saying that Qu Yuan had claimed the Emperor was silly for even considering it, and completely opposed the alliance between the two nations. Unfortunately, despite his close relationship with Qu Yuan, the Emperor believed the lies and rumours and banished Qu Yuan from the royal palace for treason.

Qu Yuan was heartbroken over losing the Emperor's trust and his honourable reputation, being called a national traitor instead of the patriot he was. When that neighbouring country eventually conquered their nation, in despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

The people, who still admired this fallen patriot and poet, threw rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish so that they would not feed on Qu Yuan's body.


And this is what is popularly believed to be the myth behind the Rice Dumpling Festival :)




So, to commemorate Qu Yuan's death, we made rice dumplings! :D


Okay, I know you know me well enough to know that I did not make rice dumplings to commemorate some ancient Chinese poet's death.


Rice dumplings are yummy. And that's reason enough to make them! :P




This year, my grandma and aunts decided to make our own dumplings instead of buying them at crazy-expensive prices elsewhere.


So, I tagged along to help :)


There are many different "styles" of making rice dumplings, with an assortment of ingredients. But some of the ones we used here are typical in a glutinous rice dumpling you can find anywhere else.

1. Glutinous rice, uncooked, fried with soy sauce in the wok


2. Yummy pork--the fatter, the better!
(My grandma cooks the best pork! The fat literally melts in your mouth!)
(I know I must sound completely disgusting, but if you've tasted melt-in-your-mouth 
fatty pork before, you'd totally understand! Right???)

3. Dried shrimp

4. Juicy mushrooms, or 'dong gu' :)

5. Water chestnuts, boiled

6. Black-eyed beans
(I love these in rice dumplings! :D)

7. Chick beans

8. Salted egg yolks
(We only use the yolks, no whites)


So we set up "shop" in the kitchen. The preparation was already a killer (my poor grandma and aunts spent hours cooking, frying, boiling, cutting, slicing etc.) but the most challenging part was yet to come.

All the ingredients set and ready to be stuffed into the 'ketupat'! xD

Folding the leaves for the dumplings before boiling them was not an easy task. It took me ages to just get one done >.<

You had to fold the leaves just so, and then put rice, all the ingredients (and a little gravy) and top it off with more rice.

Folding them so that none of the rice or ingredients fall out, and that it remains in a nice triangular/pyramidal shape requires some real kungfu, I must say, one that I do not possess.

My first complete rice dumpling! Stuffed and folded by moi :D

Then you have to boil all these in a huge pot for almost two hours.

Even with five of us working: all stuffing and folding and tying and then boiling, it took us almost a whole day to finish.

Our hard day's work--140 rice dumplings!
Yes, you read it right.
ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DUMPLINGS BABEHHH~

We spent 6 hours just to stuff and fold the dumplings.

Our reward: Yummy rice dumplings for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
@.@

Now that we know how much work is actually involved in making these rice dumplings, we decided we will never complain about the prices they sell them at anymore.

And we also decided to never do this again. Too much work! >.<

(No wonder it's a dying art. =.=)

Oh, and btw, our rice dumplings were absolutely yummeh~ (And I'm not being biased or anything. Really!) :D