Pillow Talk

I’m not one of those people who boast about what their kids can do or what tricks their pets can perform. But I find this habit of hers quite puzzling.

Do dogs generally sleep on pillows? Or have I done such a good job in spoiling her rotten?

Mesmorizing Melaka

We went back to the old hometown last weekend. Every trip back has always been an exhilarating one and this one is no different. Catching up with my folks over overflowing tables of food, I noticed that while some things are not the same anymore, there are others that have thankfully remained the same.

My favourite aunty for instance, has despite her age continued to deliver her mind blowing array of gastronomic delights. Every dish is painstakingly handmade herself, with every gram of food passing the most stringent of inspections. If there is a Malaccan version of Nigella, it has got to be her. Only better.

My run down kampong is still as run down. We ate half of our dinner in the dark and without ventilation, because the electricity had tripped. The staff in the restaurant were totally deadpan about it as well. I can only guess that we were considered lucky because at least we had lights and fans during the first half of dinner. Things like that would have put me off before but as I look back, it’s all but part of the charm of village life. It’s these uncertainties that made us thankful for the times when we had running water and food on the table.

As I watched my cousins’ kids playing with their own cousins, it dawned upon me that not so long ago (or at least it seems), that was me and my cousins. Every chance to get together was one precious opportunity for frolicking in the outdoors, with no recollection of responsibilities nor restrictions. I remember that holiday when we “harvested” vegetables, “cooked” them in a makeshift hawker cart, and forcing the rest to “buy” our culinary breakthrough. Good thing I was not evil enough then to force them to eat it as well.

I might now. :)

Thankfully I did not poison them then. How else could I witness such cute things that they fathered.

My brother loves to hold kids hostage.

Speaking of kids, they love us.

See, what did I tell you about kids loving us…

Aunty’s organic garden. Yum!

Bad Pitt and his retro but trusty C70.

Badgelina spotted in the kampong.

Role Reversal

Once upon a time, men keep dogs so the dogs can work for men. Men can sleep in peace knowing that their dogs will keep them safe.

Evidently not anymore. My soul feels disturbed and unbalanced as I see this whilst I drag my weary body to work this morning.

The Power of Small Money

This week, something happened. Something important – one of our regular supermarket clients Mrs Bagel (who owns a bagel shop) was chatting with our supervisor. Her landlord is about to increase the rent for her bagel shop by $500 to $4,000. It turned out that the landlord in question is neither a high flying white collar executive nor a scion of a rich family. He is a middle aged guy selling granny clothes next door (well you know, old fashioned clothes that only grannies would dare wear out). Doesn’t this remind you of the fruits seller?

I bet many of you out there feel frustrated that you can’t do any “proper” investments because you do not have the luck to receive big money such as the 8-months bonus payout your cousin Linda gets, or the humongous commission your brother John, who is a top grossing insurance agent, earns. And you’re probably vexed that your savings ratio (say 10% on $2,000), comes up to only $200 every month and you’re thinking: what in the world can $200 do in terms of investment? If that’s really how you feel, chances are you just might have overlooked the power of small money.

In finance, you need to remember a very important concept – wealth takes time to grow. This concept forms one of the most basic fundamentals of successful financial planning. Over a period of 30 months or 2.5 years, your $200 a month would’ve turned into $6,000. If market risk type of investment appeals to you and you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity of low stock prices brought about by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and bought say, the shares of Olam International Ltd, which were trading at less than $1 a share at the peak of the crisis, you would have gotten 6 lots of shares (1 lot = 1,000 shares, for simplicity we’ve rounded up figures and assumed no brokerage charges). Olam shares are now at more than $2.50, which means that you have a gain of $9,000. Not bad for $200 a month eh?

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Men in Tutus

Was awe-quite-alot! These beautiful male ballerinas are so elegant I feel like a hippopotamus. The dance was so exhilating it must have been the best Dying Swan and Swanlake I’ve ever seen.
Who says ballet have to be serious?

The Right Fit

Last weekend while chilling out at Blooie’s, the cool gang and I (not that I was anywhere near cool) were deep in our knees over a conversation about fit. The gist of the conversation was that it doesn’t matter which business school our friend chooses, it has to be the Right Fit for him.

Now that had been food for thought. What exactly constitutes the right fit. Is it the feel, the environment, the people, the time, or all of the above. As the Chinese believe, everything is about Tian Shi, Di Li, Ren He. Loosely translated as success will come in the exact moment in time, geography, and the harmonious energy of the people.

But what if you are torn between your own liking and feel of another? Like in the case of our friend and the choice of 2 schools he shortlisted, how do you choose? Is the right fit simply an intangible but pulling notion, or something more complicated like using decision making algorithms?

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Chicken Pot Pie

Nothing spells hearty and comforting like a pie made with a rich, meaty and saucy filling. I always make more of these in advance and freeze them, so I can always heat them up when Mr Pie Craving comes knocking on my door. He can be quite a demanding creature, and drives a hard bargain.

Turn away now if you’re on a diet!

I had hand written this pie crust recipe from the internet donkey years ago but did not note down the source. If this is your recipe and you are reading this, thank you savior! You’ve saved my poor ol’ soul many many times!

Ingredients for pie crust
270gm vegetable shortening
3 cups of plain flour
1 large egg
5 tbsp cold water
pinch of salt

Ingredients for pie filling (makes 2 x 8″ pies plus 3 mini 3″ pies)
700gm of chicken meat (I used thigh because I have a disturbing love for fatty meat)
1 large purple onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
5 small potatoes, about 70+gm each
5 small carrots, about 230gm in total
3-4 eggs, hard-boiled and cut into quarters
3 cups of stock (I used chicken & veggie stock)
2 tbsp of Worcester sauce
splash of white wine
2 tsp of cornflour
tsp of chilli powder (optional)
tsp of garlic powder (optional)
1-1.5 tsp sea salt, or more suit taste
your desired amount of freshly ground black pepper

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