- At The Moment of My Mind -

Taking leaps of faith only to fall in step with Him.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Talk of Tea, House Paint and Nasi Lemak

Lau Pans and Lau Pan Nians of Tea Cars

I dunno about other countries, perhaps they have their movable ice cream trucks, their hawker stands on motorbikes but here in KB, we have what is normally referred to as ‘Tea Car’. Now it’s not what you think. It’s not the kind of car you step up to get your chai latte on.

Usually it’s a long wagon vehicle (mostly Toyota corolla from the 1970’s) with the back seat put down and the back would be loaded with trays filled with all sorts of breakfast-able yummies. It varies from car to car but usually you would find kolo mee, kuey teow, nasi lemak, kuih of all sorts, coffee, tea, soft drinks and cold water.

When I was a kid this was like some kind of ‘special’ car, a travelling kopi tiam, and my first encounter with them is when I was brought to my dad’s work place – construction sites.

Construction of a Kid’s Memory

Dad paints houses and more often than not, he would pick me up after school and I would end up amusing myself in construction sites. Now you’d think it’s dangerous but not really, cuz see by the time the painters, like dad, comes in to paint the house, all the big and dangerous stuff are done, like brick layering and cementing.

Most of the projects dad worked on was those grand houses ordered by rich people. So you can imagine what fun a 10 yr old had imagining herself as a damsel in distress on a particular romantic balcony, or holding a impromptu production of Ali Ba Ba and the forty thieves along dark hallways with multiple rooms.

But what most amused me were the designs of the houses and materials used. Some were very lavish and grand while others were simple and chic. The tiles and glass used were often very pretty and unusual.

It was fun to imagine the kind of people that were going to inhabit these houses. I use to wonder how they could live with so much space and so many rooms. There was even one house with a water fountain inside with a small pond for fish. Sometimes I would play ‘dollhouse’ where I would picture mommy and daddy room is where and how they would decorate it, and same goes for all the other areas of the house. I even have their gardens planned out! Lol.

Dad would usually let me alone roaming about the house as long as I don’t wander too far off. All the other uncles working at the house are dad’s friends so sometimes they would give me little chores to do like sorting out tiles (wait, was that a chore or just something to get me out of their way? Hmmm).

Just One More Piece of Yummy

It was during these lazy afternoons that the tea cars would roll over around 3-ish and sold their goodies.

I remember where was one uncle whose car was literally filled to the brim with food. He had siu mai, chu chang fen, kolo mee, kuey teow, lo pak kuih, wu tou kuih, chai kuih, really, almost everything you can possibly imagine. His coffee and tea are already made in large water dispensers and if you want one, he would rip off a plastic bag, fill it up with either tea or coffee (your choice) and stick a straw into it before handing it to you.

All his stuff was delicious! Even now I can still recall how almost everything was my ‘favourite’, hahaha, kind of a pressure for a 10 yr old to pick just ONE with the single dollar she got from her dad. The uncle was very kind though and always gave me an extra piece of siew mai or chai kuih. I wonder if his family is still doing the same business today. I heard from my colleague when she was working in KB a couple of years ago, the old uncle was still there making the usual rounds. Bless him.

Present Day Tea Masters and Mistresses

Today the tea car in my work place just recently changed from a Chinese aunty (I miss her kolo mee) to a Malay uncle. I really didn’t know there are malays out there making tea car rounds. Not that I’m racist or anything but I’ve always thought the tea car business being a ‘Chinese’ thing, you know, like kolo mee and lion dance.

But now dawns a new era I guess (or maybe there were malay tea car but I just didn’t know until now) and the uncle now catering to our area offers stuff that his wife personally makes, like nasi lemak, mee or mee hoon goreng, curry puff, cucur pisang and other malay kuih of all sorts. To me this is equally yummy and came to a point where I have to watch what I eat cuz it’s all very tempting! Even the vehicle updated, his car is a Toyota Avanza.

Even though I miss the days of long ago, the quaintness of it all, the practice is still very much alive today and although it’s not the same as those of yesteryear, but still, time moves on and when one door closes, another opens.

Besides, uncle’s nasi lemak is pretty good especially with a dash of limau with the sambal ~ delish! ^_^

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weekly Program

Lately been so busy at work that I haven’t had time for anything else, much less updating my blog. You wanna know my weekly schedule?

Monday – work and Bible Study (which I haven’t been able to attend due to functions, food poisoning, sprained ankle, etc)

Tuesday – work and free time. Usually a movie / surfing the net / reading.

Wednesday – work and Vicarate of Young Adult Faith Formation

Thursday – work and free time. Usually a movie / surfing the net / reading.

Friday – work and perhaps dropping by my Godmother’s house to review the
Sunday School lesson and activities. Otherwise it’s reviewing the coming Monday Bible study’s lesson.

Saturday – sometimes work, sometimes free time, sometimes errands, it’s varies depending on what my family wants me to do. Sometimes I accompany mum to shop at the open air market. It’s real interesting to see the many types of produce the local farmers sell here. Mom greets many of the vendors and haggle like a true pro in all her housewifery glory. Sometimes I spend the evening at Pat’s kitchen with Shikin for a chat fest. It's fun when their boys are around cuz they are just adorable! XD

Sunday – church, Sunday school and afternoon off. This is the only true relaxing afternoon of which I treat myself to a movie/anime/series session on the couch. Evening I sometimes spend with Pat and Shiking but more likely I’ll be at home, getting ready to start another week.

Other than that I also try to make time to read the daily gospel everyday and recite rosary at least once a week (which is usually taken care of every Wednesday with the VYA faith formation). Once Father Dominic advised to keep a spiritual journal of sorts and I’m trying to do as well. Plus I got a couple of books (okay, I admit, more than just a couple…) I want to finish off when I got the time.

There is an interesting one that Aunty J lent me to read titled, ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ which has a 40 days plan, so thinking about reading that through Lent.

I’m not saying I’m getting all of this done. Sometimes I miss out on a few. However, it’s comforting to me when I get some done and I feel better in a way that I cannot explain. A spiritual fulfillment? Perhaps. I’m not too sure about it myself. But I do know this, I have become happier every passing day. I fret less and forgive more. My stress level continues to fluctuate but it no longer bothers me as much as it use to. So I guess, things are getting better everyday and I have Him to thank for it. ^_^

Sunday, January 09, 2011

YEAR 2011

I won’t talk about why I’ve been MIA from the blog sphere for so long (laziness) or what I’ve been doing all this time (gaming/work) but important thing is now I’m updating (Ya!). So let’s talk about my plans for 2011.


Ooo…I’m getting back to my religious roots. Yes, I’m relearning, reviving and recognizing my faith again. What is my religious vocation? I have no idea and I’ve learned even though it’s important for me to realize what’s my calling but it’s also alright to take it one step at a time. If I try too hard and too fast, it’s most likely I’d trip or fumble and lost hold of something dear which has had happened before, so I’m not going to make the same mistake twice.

I’m a roman catholic. I’ve been out of touch for so long, a few people were surprised when they found out. (=.=) But that doesn’t matter really. What is important is that now I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I hope what I’m doing is according to the Lord’s plan (most probably it is whether I know it or not. Lol)

My goals religiously this year?

- Attend Vicarate of Young Adults regularly and learn
- Teach Sunday School for Year 6 with my Godmother
- Help with the youth program at St John’s Church
- Participate in World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid Spain
- Hope to help out in the next CHOICE
- Join in more Taize

This year the Festival of Praise will be held in SJC which would mean a lot of busy going on. I have so many fond memories of Fest of Praise ’99 so I am willing to do anything I can to help out the committee this year.


To do better despite of whatever negativity I might encounter this year! Gambatte!

Also just on a side note, I’m prepped to do some English tuition this year to earn a bit more for my World Youth Day 2011 fund. I need 4k to go. GAMBATTE!


Doc actually said my BP is borderline. Ouch. You know, over 6 years at my other job, my health was alright, even though I am overweight but it was still alright. Now with this new job (baru 2 years kalia) suddenly doc says my BP is teetering on the edge of high? Huh, figures.

It’s okay, cuz I want to lose weight anyway. I need to get fit for World Youth Day cuz there will be a lot of walking, a – lot – lot – lot of walking. So yeah, better be prepared.

Now I’m trying out a new diet thing called ‘The Right Approach’ or ‘TRA’ from Pharmanex (with NuSkin). Basically I eat a regular breakfast (cereal or bread), then good balanced lunch (rice, meat, veg and fruit) and night time I can only have fruits or veg. Through out the day I take about 29 pills of supplements and night time I drink a cup of their protein shake formula. I also apply a kind of slimming/body shaping cream on every morning and night.

I haven’t lost one pound at all.

BUT, my measurements went down. I have more energy to do stuff now (don’t feel so blah.) My memory improved (true). I also don’t feel so bloated anymore.

Oh pls don’t get me wrong. I’m not promoting ‘TRA’ or anything. I’m just saying I’m doing whatever I can to get into better shape. The next step is to actually do some exercise. Yeah, my measurements went down despite I didn’t do any exercise at all.

Of course, once in a while I treat myself to some good eating, like sushi and cake. I ain’t doing this to cut myself off and thus making myself miserable. Moderation is the key word here. Like today I had a good lunch at Wy Wy cuz my aunt wanted to treat us but I have a function at Cottage tonite, so what I do is I eat a lot of veg, soup, fruit and little fish maybe. Nothing fried or crab loaded.

So that's what I'm up to for this year. I pray I get 2/3 of this list done at least. Hahaha! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! ^_^

Sunday, May 23, 2010

There's a Calm Before a Storm

Last night I was chatting with someone whose opinion I respect. He has a blunt frankness about him which is refreshing, and it is thanks to his awakening insight that has made me come to realization with myself at some level.

I shall not divulge in specifics as it was at the time 2.30 in the morning and I must admit details are a little fuzzy right now. When I woke at the sound of rain beating against my roof and window, I find the interesting coincidence I am in as I’ve always been partial to rainy weather. Its like nature’s way to wash the grit and grime of yesterday. It possesses the astonishing ability to refresh the living. Introducing new sounds and smells around me. The chill, the coziness it brings, enhances the warmth and protection I feel within my home.

It was with such awareness that has taken root deep in my mind and began to grow, even though it is a barren wasteland, perhaps from years of neglect and abuse of my part. So many things I could enrich myself with and yet haven’t done so. I haven’t studied as I want to study. I mean to begin afresh. Like rain, my friend’s curt and perhaps bruising honesty washed the dust and watered the ground.

We have discussed at length the differences between belief and faith. What romanticisms we have in life, general or otherwise. Along those lines came the discussion of trust. A moral value I’ve long lost in the opposite sex. It is with my negativity and distrust that has caused me to lose something precious to me before. Although I hope it is not forever lost but I have monsters of my own to tame before I can re-establish anything.

First thing first is to have faith and belief in myself before anything else. More or not, I would like to have faith in myself again as belief can be fleeting whereas faith is lasting. Perhaps with belief and faith in myself again, I can come to love myself. For how can a person give love and deserve love in return if she doesn’t love herself in the first place?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bread - Its Sticks, Just Got Sticker - Part II

Okay, so I found another bread recipe online for dinner rolls. Who doesn’t love dinner rolls? You can have them with almost anything, right?

But wait… this dough called for 3.3/4 cups of all purpose flour.

Now we all know what all purpose flour is for. It’s for everything from baking cakes to making sauce, so how come it’s being used for bread rolls? All purpose flour has very little, if at all, protein and gluten formation possibilities. Every time the tiny bacteria eats the protein and churns out CO2, it ain’t gonna get trapped in the dough.

I don’t want that to happen, and yet this recipe states it so. Hmmm…so going with my gut instinct, I reduced 1.3/4 cup of the all purpose and added the same amount of bread flour into it.

And when to work beating the hell out of the dough.

This is really messy work so forgive me if I didn’t take an pics of the dough and all that. I really need a solid kitchen table to work the dough. The one I have in the kitchen is unacceptable work surface, with all the paint flaking and cracks, nuh uh. The counters which are solid however, are all occupied to the max with my mother’s collection of kitchen appliances and quaint ‘might needs’. Like the 3 blenders, or the 2 juicers, and for the love of Martha Stewart, throw that broken scale already. She has a new one from last Christmas and yet the old one is still there, occupying space.

I know, perhaps one day, God willing, I would own a place of my own and perhaps clutter my own kitchen the same way. By that time I will give permission to whoever resides with me to question and in certain extreme cases, take action when necessary (like calling my mother for instance).

*Ahem* But I digress, back to the dough.

To my pleasant surprise it raised rather nicely. Although a bit smaller than I liked. The loaf earlier on was only 1 cup of flour and yet rose twice the size this one is, but then size doesn’t matter, its how you handle it. It ended up even smaller once I punched it lightly for the 2nd rising.

After the 2nd rising, gently took it out, shaped it, cut it into small mounds and rolled it into a semblance of a ball and placed them in greased trays. I also painted some egg yolk over each just for the colour and shine.

Into the oven.

Okay, this recipe had butter and sugar, so it bakes rather fast…which I forgot when I went into my room for a break and was lost in the internet reading on more bread science.

By the time I remembered, the 1st batch’s bottom was burnt. Awww crap. In goes the 2nd and 3rd batch.

Now the 3rd batch, I ran out of baking trays (the 1st one still cooling) so I used a muffin tray and put in smaller balls of dough in there. The 2nd and 3rd batch came out rather well.

The rolls went kind of flat during the baking process and when I cracked one open, there’s no sense of gluten in it at all.

See when you break bread, you have the gluten stretching against the pull. You can feel it, especially when you bite into it and with all the pockets the gluten makes, the bread is soft and fluffy.

Mine was not.

Yet… it kinda was.

Kind of hard to describe, it had a strange consistency between a muffin and a dinner roll. This I blame on the all purpose flour. Think about it, the recipe that uses all purpose flour, butter, eggs and sugar, can be made into muffins, cakes or pancakes, but if you add yeast to it, it makes dinner rolls? Doesn’t add up.

So I learned my lesson to trust my gut instinct more and to use more bread flour the next round.

Glad to say though that this time, despite the confusing texture, the taste was good. The 3rd batch of the mini bread bits in shape of the muffin tray was gone by the time I remembered to take pictures.


This time, even mom liked the taste. Heh.

PS: I would've uploaded 2 more pics but for some reason I keep getting an error whenever I try. Could be my crappy connection. It's been acting up these past 3 days.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bread - It Sticks (Part 1)

For the past two weeks I’ve been diligently applying myself in the study of the art of bread making. I mean, how hard can it be? Flour, yeast, salt and water, mix mix mix, leave it to ‘grow’ then bake. Right?

At least that’s what I thought before I found out I don’t even have the right type of flour in the house. Not to mention the yeast is at least 3 yrs old and probably all the little buggers have retired and died.

Never mind, just means a quick stop at supa save. Lets see, bread flour. I must get good bread flour high in protein so the little critters in the yeast would have plenty to eat and burp carbon dioxide to form the little pockets that makes the bread light, big and poofy. High protein also meant it’s easier for gluten to form during the kneading process.

I never kneaded anything in my life before. Can’t be all that bad.

Turns out there’s more to do before I can actually make the bread. See, there’s this stage where you make the ‘sponge’ or ‘spool’ or is it ‘spooge’? Whatever, it’s a pre mix of yeast, flour and water you mix, knead and let it rise in the fridge (yes fridge) over night. This helps make a better bread because the more you let a dough sit, the better the flavour. However can’t let the bread sit for too long or else it would have a beer like kind of taste. Therefore a ‘sponge’ is recommended.

Now for the actual bread making. Flour, water, yeast, salt, ‘spooge’ (or is it ‘sponge’?) = one yucky goopey mess. I don’t know what I did wrong but should it be that sticky and goop like? I thought I was making bread, not Slimer. Maybe the gluten hasn’t formed enough, I kept kneading but the dough refused to cooperate. 20 mins later my arms ached, my table was covered in flour and the dough which I have fondly named ‘damn blob’ sat there like a smug overstuffed fat kid on Halloween.

Flour, yes, perhaps it needs more flour. So I kept adding, until it started looking like a more manageable dough. Cut it into 3 parts, and put them into the pan for one final rise before popping into the oven.

One hour and a half later, the lovely smell of baked bread wafted through my mother’s kitchen. It had this wholesome bread smell, like toast, only better.

I took it out and poked it. Actually, poking is an understatement, the crust was so hard, when I wanted to let it cool on the side, it actually fell out of the pan and went ‘KLUNK!’ on the table.

The crust was [this-thick] and slicing it was like sawing a log. Inside was brown and spongy and a little undercooked. Well, so much for ‘mastering the art of baking’ and dreams of making little mouth watering buns.

The final blow was from my own mother. “Smells nice, doesn’t taste so great though. I make better bread than this.”

Okay, I admit, my first loaf of bread isn’t that impressive but still, ouch!

So I swore to keep on trying until my mother admits that I too can make good bread, or at least in par with hers.

- To be continued -

Monday, November 23, 2009

Travelling The Emerald Green Road

Honestly speaking ... there's not much to do around in the old Belait town. Okay, well there probably is but nothing that sparks my interests much.

However, I was keen on getting reaquainted with the abundant nature that is dominantly the most available form of distraction the district has to offer. (Despite the fact I haven't stepped on a hiking trail since my mom dragged my sorry arse through hill and hell at Shah Bandar.)

I went to Sungai Liang with my family for my dad's 60th brithday.
It was a picnic celebration and I know my dad hasn't done much hiking eventhough he loves nature. I think it's because he rather have some company while he hikes. I remember well enough he use to bring me to the Sungai Liang forest reserve all the thime when I was kid. My brother as well but I don't know if he still remembers though. After every hike, my father would end the trip with a break at a kopi shop where he, my brother and I would always order roti.

I remember often enough there were often birds singing to one another in the forests. I once brought out my recorder just for kicks to see if I can get any reaction and I DID get one! It was amazing for me, a 15yr old, to be playing a recorder in the middle of the rainforest and have a bird replying back! Dad was impressed which was saying something cuz he can also make birds reply by picking up a leaf and making all sorts of whistles out of it.
Last trip we went, he picked up a different kind of leaf and make monkey shrieks. I tot it was for real! Cuz dad was ahead of us and I didn't see what he was doing. I tot there were real monkeys ahead! Dad thought it was a real hoot and continued making the noise all the way until we saw a real monkey, sitting on top of a rotting trunk some 10 meters away from us. I was scared it would try to attack us for food.

Some tourists and hikers leave food for the monkeys and think its' a real hoot but I consider this as a bad habit cuz then wild monkeys would associate humans with food and one day might become more aggrassive in search of it. Once at shah bandar I saw this 5 yr old tossing bits of food at the monkeys and having fun until one of the bigger monkeys dashed up to her and snatched the whole bag out of her hands. Totally shocked her. I just thank God the others didn't follow suit and search the kid for more food. So, remember, don't feed any wild animals.
Moving on...

I forgot how beautiful our rainforests are. It's like being in an entirely different world. Granted the Sungai Liang forest reserve is pretty tame compared to some of the bigger forests reserves in Labi and Temburong but at least they leave most of the wild alone.

Tall majestic trees surrounds the path which is concrete but because it's ben there so long, it's turned into a pretty emerald colour which suits the surrounds (however kind of dangerous if wet). The canopy overhead gave us a pretty good shelter from the fierce sun and felt like we were travelling through a kingdom of unfathomable complexity because there is something of interest in almost every 5 meters or so.

I dunno why but I was delighted to find the many wild fruits growing there such as durian, rambutan, jackfruit and bread fruit.

Hiking there is relatively easy, so easy that even I can go for one round and still be able to enjoy my surroundings without suffering too much. Haha. I managed to take some pretty nice pics too. Was so glad I decided to take my Lumix with me.

There were a lot of people there as well, some swimming (yuck!) in the pool filled with the natural water, bbq-ing on the side and hiking about. I didn't realise there would be so many people into the park these days. I guess it's because Bruneians are becoming more health conscious now and are taking full advantage of their natural surroundings.

Still, I rather enjoy a slow pace and lovely scenery than trying to work my butt off climbing a steep thing only to be passed by an ah pek hiking up the trail like some shirvelled up mountain goat on speed. Jialat.
Anyhoo...I've really enjoyed taking pictures while hiking and got some really nice pics! Hope you like them as much I do. ^_^ I think some are just fantastic!