Friday, March 17, 2017

Good Training

My grandchildren are great trainers. 

On my last visit to them, I had the rare opportunity to sleep with Grandchildren for 3 nights and they have managed, in that short time, to train me to wake up at 6:45am every morning. 

As a reward, I have a glorious sunrise to greet me today and everyday... if I can get myself out of bed. 

Abba Father, thank you for waking me up to another new day. Thank you for giving us another beautiful sunrise to enjoy. Thank you for the birds singing in the trees and the gentle drip drop of the rain that has come and gone. 

You are a wonderful God, full of wisdom, and rich in grace and mercy who has given us all good things to enjoy. My heart overflows with thanksgiving and I want to declare that I love you Father! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Growing Pains

“I walked a mile with pleasure, she chatted all the way.
But left me none the wiser, for all she had to say. 
I walked a mile with sorrow and not a word said she. 
But oh the things I learned from her, when sorrow walked with me.”

We seldom grow in good times. The times I've grown much in the Lord are during those trying, tumultuous and often terrible times of trials, trouble, sorrow, pressure, defeat and despair. That is why we call them growing pains.

Monday, July 28, 2014

HI NLS in Klang 25-30 July 2014

1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV)  "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service."

Yesterday I returned from Klang and I rejoice over the opportunity that God had given me to facilitate at my first HI leadership seminar. Garnering a massive prayer support, I can say that by the grace of God, I did not do too badly for a freshie. 

At first I thought that I would be intimidated by all experienced leaders attending the seminar but PTL! I was not the least nervous at all. In fact I felt calmer than those times when I give announcements or share in church! It was as if God carried me on eagle's wings. 

The veteran facilitators were so generous with their encouragement and that is the great strength of the HI community. We are always ready to share our knowledge and give each other a helping hand. To top it off, I was privileged to have my trainer Pauline to sit in and offer me some very good tips from her observation of my session. 

A thank you note from the Organising Committee
And here are the participants so I'll be able to remember when I look back later. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Secret Supper Club Series

Baby Sis always has in-roads into the many interesting activities happening around town. Last week she booked me for 3 nights to attend the In-Between Arts Festival that is sandwiched between George Town Literary Festival and Penang Island Jazz Festival. 

The In-Between Festival kicked off with a Baba & Nyonya Supper & Play at Ren I Tang Hotel on Monday night. Smart move, 'cos you really cannot go wrong with Nyonya food. 

Pearly Kee's Kacang Botol Kerabu really whetted my appetite. I went back for more! I can say that her otak-otak is one of the best I have ever tasted and I was delighted to find a big piece of firm and white fish meat in the otak-otak. She really doesn't stint on her ingredients.

Her Sambal Goreng was also fantastic and she surprised us with Spicy Savoury Parcels which are actually fried wontons with sambal hare bee (Dried Shrimp Sambal) filling. That's so creative. 

Look at my plate piled high with all the yummy dishes!

Clockwise from top left: Kacang Botol Kerabu, 5 Spiced Chicken Roll,
Jiu Hu Char, Nasi Ulam, Otak-Otak, Blue Rice, Kari Kapitan,
Spicy Savoury Parcels; and Sambal Goreng in the middle

The food was great but I could not say the same for the entertainment that followed. It was such a disappointment. A couple was so fed-up that they left half-way through the playlet. 

Apparently, the Penang Players had only one practice before the show, and so they play-read instead of acted. They were also sharing mics which makes it very difficult for us to hear much of what was being said. 

Towards the end there was a part where certain members of the audience (including my Baby Sis) were asked to insert punctuation marks into strings of words in order to make sentences. None of the sentences made much sense to me. 

I checked with Baby Sis and she said that they were already cued 
on where to insert the punctuation marks. There were no mistakes 
with regards to the order of the words on the placards 
held by the actors. So what happened?

On the second night, we had a royal Moghul feast prepared by Dr Tripat Narayanan. The location was Salsas Restaurant at Gurney Paragon Mall. I thought it a very odd combination to serve Indian food in a western food outlet. The Indian atmosphere was lost. 

I love the attention given to the table setting and the sit-down arrangement. This was the only meal that was not served buffet style.  

I couldn't stop eating the dry roasted cashews
and almonds. They were super crunchy
and not sweet 'cos they're fried
with chillis, cumin and brown sugar

Baby Sis was dressed to the theme while I looked so tired
in my work clothes. Going for dinner straight from work
is not a good idea.

I couldn't resist taking a photo with Tan Twan Eng,
the author of "The Garden of Evening Mists." The book,
published in 2012, 
won the Man Asian Literary Prize,
and the 
Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Tan was born in Penang.
The starter: Cardamon scented Lamb Kebabs with Mint Chutney
served with small parathas

Raita, Chicken Kurma, Pan-fried Cauliflower with Tomatoes,
Saffron Basmati Rice, and Sweet Hot Mango Chutney
for dinner with Rose-scented Apple Kheer for dessert

Spiced tea and a digestive mix of crushed almonds,
rock sugar and fennel seeds to end our meal

Our entertainment for the evening - an Indian dance
 by dancers from the Temple of Fine Arts

On the third night, the spotlight was on Malay food and the menu was supposed to feature P. Ramlee's favourite dishes.

Clockwise from top left-hand corner: Rose Sherbet;
Chef Shuk showing us the spices used in the Beef Rendang
demonstration; Bubur Kacang; Chef Shuk's son stirring
the Beef Rendang; my dinner plate with Singapore Beehoon,
Kacang Panjang, Hang Tuah Beef Rendang, rice,
and Fish Curry with Roti Bengali;
Chef Shuk's Beef Rendang served on baguette
 This was the worst dinner of the lot. The place, Jawi House Cafe Gallery, was small and cramped. They were obviously short of workers. They kept telling us that they would get around to serving us our drinks but the drinks never came. Eventually one of the guys from our table decided to take things into his own hands because we were dying from thirst. He simply went to the service area and hijacked some bottles of water.

When it was time for dinner we had to bring the plates from our table to the buffet line to collect our meal. We thought the Fish Curry with Roti Bengali was a weird combination and true enough, it tasted weird. I'll settle for Chicken Curry with Roti Bengali any time. And the bubur kacang was also the worst bubur kacang I have ever tasted in my whole life. 

The only consolation was the entertainment. Viv Adram & the Northern Jazz Unit were really good. Unfortunately Baby Sis was not feeling too good and so we left early. I would have loved to joget the night away. 

Born Free: Oon Suan See's First Solo Exhibition

Warning: This is a long overdue post. It may be old news, 
but it is something I may want to refer to in the future. 

Mrs Khoo or Suan See is the lady who choreographs all the Nyonya dances that we have been performing. I was told that she is also an accomplished artist who has participated in many art exhibitions over the past 50 years or more. 

One day she asked whether the Sayang Sayang dancers would be able to dance at the opening of her first solo art exhibition. Of course, we responded with a resounding "yes." How can we not show our support for her when she has been such a blessing to us all?

And so we danced at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

Suan See is the one in black kebaya and green sarong.
I hope I look as good as she does when I am in my late seventies.

We were all astounded to receive a letter and a huge angpow each after our performance. What a gracious and generous lady she is!

Keep on dancing!

I went to the exhibition with high expectations and I was not disappointed. Suan See paints in a variety of styles and uses different media and even ventures into mixed media. 

These are her signature roses. Very feminine like the artist herself. 

In contrast this is a bold piece with vibrant and striking colours. Is it supposed to represent an impassioned bursting forth of pent up emotions? 

I am attracted to the happy colours in this painting. 

And there's also a painting to feature her nyonya heritage 
and to showcase her interest in dance. 

Baby Sis and I took photographs with some of our favourite pieces that happened to be colour coordinated with our kebayas.

And then we adjourned to Hainan Town for tea and to enjoy the sea breeze before dinner at Via Pre. I think the diners were a bit startled to see two nyonyas coming in for Italian food. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Grinch Lost

I was horrified to hear that we won't be putting up the office Christmas tree this year. At first it didn't occur to me to do anything about it since I am not the one who puts up the tree every year but as time went on it began to bother me. It bothered me so much that finally I took it upon myself to put up the tree and decorations single-handedly. 

Because I believe...
The reason for not putting up the tree was because there would be no official exchange of gifts this year. Yes, the tree may look a bit forlorn without gifts under its boughs but gifts do not a Christmas make. Anyway, who is to say that gifts would not appear once the tree is up! 

For me, putting up the Christmas tree symbolises hope in the midst of dark and trying times. To say that there is nothing left to celebrate is to admit defeat and to surrender to discouragement. I always believe that when our hearts are heaviest that is when we need to be reminded that our lives have been touched by the Divine. Hallelujah! Instead of looking at what we lack, we can and should choose to rejoice and to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the many good and wonderful gifts we have been blessed with. 

Yes, the Grinch tried his best to steal Christmas this year but I am glad to say that I foiled his dastardly plan. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Is A-Coming

...and I can feel it a-creeping up my toes!

I have snowflakes and glitter to decorate my Christmas tootsies