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Being Thankful

27 Apr

2020 will forever be etched in stone as the year everyone looked forward to but now wants to forget – for the first half of the year that is. The Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the globe and has caused lives to be upended, events cancelled, routines disrupted and birthday celebrations postponed. Some people even want to reset the year, get a refund for the months lost and such.

For me, I can’t decide what I want but for sure, it’s the first time in my life I’m celebrating a quiet birthday at home, not outside or away. With the MCO in place, there’s no restaurant to go to nor a destination to visit for a getaway celebration.

It’s okay because…

I’m thankful for being healthy;
I’m thankful for my loved ones who are keeping safe;
I’m thankful for my friends who are keeping me sane;
I’m thankful for my hobbies and discoveries that are keeping me occupied, and
I’m thankful for technology for us to stay connected to be closer while staying apart.

Where’s the Fish? Part 3

10 Feb

Just last week I thought there would be no more ‘Yee Sang’ to toss and eat as the Lunar New Year celebrations was ending, we had a final one on Chap Goh Meh night itself! And what a thrill we had with this finale.

It was the family Chap Goh Meh dinner and I had the honor to put the dish together with all the ingredients available. It was decided it should resemble a mouse, after all we are celebrating the Year of the Rat. And this time, we finally had fish topping – salmon that was cooked not raw but still counts in my opinion.

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Me busy putting the ingredients together

What fun I had crafting the dish, almost like a piece of art. The final toss was even more enjoyable with the family savoring our own creation in presentation and flavors. The dinner that followed, needless to say, was simply delicious, all home cooked. It was a good Chap Goh Meh dinner.

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Where’s the Fish? Part 2

7 Feb

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So on Tuesday when we were out with our friends for dinner, there was the ‘Yee Sang’ dish to toss right before the rest of the other dishes were served. But no raw salmon topping on it! Again, where’s the fish? We had slices of abalone instead…

With the Lunar New Year celebration coming to an end soon, I guess we won’t be tossing anymore ‘Yee Sang’ because there’s no more dinners to attend except the final one – the family Chap Goh Meh dinner on Saturday night.

Chap Goh Meh literally means the 15th night of Chinese New Year and it’s the last day of the festive period and celebration. For some (like my side of the family), the dinner on this night is equally important as the Reunion Dinner. So we will, as always, have a final family dinner at home to mark the occasion.

And most likely no ‘Yee Sang’ although there will be a steamed fish on the menu. Looks like we will have to wait until next year for a ‘Yee Sang’ topped with raw salmon.

Where’s the Fish?

4 Feb

We are midway into the Lunar New Year celebration. During this time, eating sumptuous Chinese meals and tossing the ‘Yee Sang’- a must, with friends and family is nothing out of sorts. After all, it’s a good reason to catch up.

However I’ve noticed this time, the few ‘Yee Sang’ that we have had are presented very differently despite the description stating ‘Yee’ meaning fish.

Typically, there would be raw salmon or even just jellyfish as the main topping but so far, the four times we’ve had this festive dish, we had four very different versions!

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Top (left): with abalone; Top (right): with Iberico ham and bottom version was all fruits!

It’s very interesting though these new flavours I must say. In the past, regardless of how many times we’d do the dish during this festive time, it was always only the salmon or jellyfish choices. But how times have changed! Four occasions, four different versions.

Both of us have never tasted these new combinations especially the last three – an abalone version, a crispy fish skin version (unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of this version on my phone), an all-fruit version and the most recent, an Iberico ham version!!! So where’s the fish?

Tonight as I will be attending a dinner with another group of friends at a Chinese restaurant, let’s hope there will be some good ol’ salmon ‘Yee’ in the ‘Yee Sang’ that we will have. Otherwise, another new combination to add to my list!

May Our Fortunes Rise and Expand

31 Jan

Yesterday our office reopened and we’re back to work. Year in, year out, we always reopen the office on the 6th day of Chinese New Year except there was one year, a friend told us the 5th day was even better to start work. That was the only time we did that.

Usually during the Lunar New Year period, work is very disrupted because the flow of things are not smooth. Our supporting vendors (for print jobs) would not be taking anymore orders when the date draws closer to the Reunion Dinner night. They would be clearing the existing ongoing projects before closing a day or two earlier for the all important dinner.

Sometimes we do this too, closing earlier, when we have to return to hubby’s hometown for the dinner with his family. An earlier departure would mean a shorter drive thus avoiding the exodus for the long drive ahead. Then during the 15 days of the celebration, we would close for the first five days while some vendors are taking longer breaks than most, things cannot progress further.

Thankfully, workload upon return is typically not too heavy because either everyone’s still on leave or clients who are back to work early do understand that during the Lunar New Year, not much can be done; so there’s no urgency to get things completed within a tight deadline.

Also during this time, there’s a lot more lunches and dinners to attend. So there goes the 16/8 diet. Typically these sumptuous meals will include the ‘Yee Sang’ dish to toss, a must have during the festivities for good luck and prosperity. Either with clients, friends or family, the ‘Yee Sang’ tossing ritual is a very noisy affair.

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Getting the chopsticks ready over the abalone Yee Sang before we tossed ’em high!

We had our first ‘Yee Sang’ during the Reunion Dinner with the family and today, with our design team later. So toss ‘em high we shall to symbolise our wishes for our fortunes to rise and expand for the Year of the Rat. Huat ah! Ong ah! Heng ah!

Smooth Sailing

28 Jan

The weekend passed by quickly and this morning we said our goodbyes to the parents and left at 8.45am. In anticipation of heavy traffic ahead, I packed lots of snacks and drinks to keep us fueled. But we were in for a surprise, it was smooth sailing!

It took us the normal two and a half hours to reach Ipoh, which was good. But we joined a long slow crawl after Ipoh. A quick check on Waze showed an accident further up. Oh dear.

Nonetheless it’s an okay pace because half the journey was completed already. Even if we arrived home by two, we’d still have done it in good time.

Chinese New Year Customs

27 Jan

We left home on the first day of Chinese New Year to head for hubby’s hometown. The traffic wasn’t too bad save for two stretches where it was rather heavy and another where a minor accident occurred. I won’t elaborated on this though…

As always with every other Chinese New Year, it’s a family tradition to visit an Aunty residing in another town nearby and to catch up with other family members. Soon the first day passed by quickly.

Day two was more our thing, and that is playing our customary first Chinese New Year golf game at Darul Aman Golf & Country Club. When we got to the golf club, there was hardly anybody else. But after the first tee off, we saw some other golfers.

The pace was slow in front of us. Then again it was a typical four ball flight versus our two balls. I played well again. Maybe it’s the golf set, the XXIO MP900 clubs are getting more comfortable with each game. But after the game, the elbow hurt to high heaven!

When we crossed over, the waiting pace stretched even more. The flight in front of us apparently bypassed the jumbo flight in front of them! So we ended up trailing the six-balls and it was so tedious as they were extremely slow. And annoyingly noisy but we endured because we were not in a hurry and we didn’t want any bad vibes during this festive time.

We will play another game today before we return tomorrow, bracing for the heavy traffic and long drive ahead.

Reunion Dinner 2020

24 Jan

This is it! This evening the family sans our two girls will gather for the all-important Reunion Dinner. We chose to eat at a restaurant instead of dining at home, slaving over the stoves preparing the dishes.

A time for reflection: I would like to approach the year with more positivity, less pain and less judgemental so that life would be happier and more meaningful. Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy and Prosperous Year ahead, Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

Preparations for the Lunar New Year

17 Jan

The Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year is one week away, omg! This time, I really take the cake leaving it until the very last minute to prepare to usher in the Year of the Rat. What a champion.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the Rat is the first animal in the 12-year cycle and 2020 is the year of the Male Metal Rat. Do find out what the Metal Rat Year means for you if you believe in Chinese horoscope as it differs for all Chinese zodiac signs. For me, well… good fortune will smile upon me if I put family and friends first!

On the homefront, the customary red cloth at the entrance of the house will be put up this weekend (told you it’s very last minute!) and the customary gifts finally prepared. This year the Reunion Dinner will be with my Mom and my sibling’s family before we head North the next day to hubby’s side of the family. And for the second year in the row, both our girls will not be present for the festive occasion.

The End of the Food Trail

7 Jan

M1 has arrived safely this morning after a long but on time flight. So the adventures of her food trail officially ended on Sunday with an early dinner before leaving for the airport that night. With the end of the food trail, this means no more constant heavy meals for us except for several upcoming Chinese New Year-related dinners with friends that have been pre-arranged earlier. We have gone back to the 16/8 diet routine immediately, kicking it off with a salad lunch yesterday.

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Bak Kut Teh with two sides was a good farewell dinner choice

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Contrasting the meat-based dinner, lunch the next day was just fiber and more fiber

The big question I’m sure that must be on everyone’s mind, did I gain weight? Of course I did! How could I not when the eating window was switched to 16 hours and the non-eating window reduced to eight hours or less, three quarters of which was being asleep. So essentially there was very little time in between for a meal to be fully digested before the next meal.

There were nights when I fretted to step on the bathroom scale knowing the numbers I’d see would not be pleasant. But I took it in stride because I knew the situation was temporary and it won’t last long.

There were several times when the weight climbed steadily upwards, it was rather horrifying. However the numbers fluctuated when we ate less; I even managed to squeeze in a couple of salad lunches to lessen the guilt. Thankfully, yesterday morning when I stepped on the bathroom scale, the final result was somewhat comforting for I had expected it to be more. I gained only a kilo (2.2lbs) which wasn’t too bad considering it did spiked up more than that!

I’m sure within a week, this gain would be erased and the 16/8 continues until when Chinese New Year comes around, a new round of festive eating to indulge in!