Tuesday, 28 February 2017

CNY 2017 (2)

On the second day of CNY, we woke up around 9am. Had breakfast and drove to KK again to fetch 6th aunt and at the same time visit at 3rd aunt's place.

Going through these tunnels on daily basis...

It was eating home made laksa at 3rd aunt's place as usual. Then back to the old house to wait for our dear cousins from Penang and Ipoh.

We steamed the "Dimsum" courtesy of an old friend and some other left over dishes for lunch.

After that, it was time to wave goodbyes and exchanging wishes . 

Visit FIL again before we left.

We were literally crawling our way back to our home sweet home as all daughters were travelling back to the mother's house for 开年. Cars with Singapore number plates are not unusual.

At about 7pm, we reached our house just to dropped the luggage. Then off we drove to Kota Kemunning for a cousin's birthday dinner.

We ate and hoo-has with the cousins before we had to excuse ourselves for the drive to my hometown the next day.

And so, we slept like logs and before we realised, we were on our way heading south!  

Breakfast was at the R&R because most shops were closed and the only mamak shop was full house!

My childhood friend who has been wanting to meet up watsapp to tell me to detour because the water has not subsided yet.

But when we were near the stretch of road, the weather was shinning and hot and some stubborn fellow decided to take the risk saying it should subside under the hot weather. Also, the detour is a bit too long to take.

I had bad feeling when I saw this, and true enough....

This is it, it was not passable, the river in front was still flooded.

Our smart friend got down from the car.
I heard a local uncle on motorbike said in Hokkien: it is very shallow only, it is ok to go....
Then he asked us where were we heading, he told us a detour we could take after our friend told him the name of my hometown.

I watsapp the flooded photo to my nephew and he too told us about the road which is called Maokil.

After we took the road with vast oil palm plantation which I had never use before, we arrived at mother's place safely half an hour later.

My eyes welled up with tears when I saw mother after more than 1 year. She was far more frail than I remember. The maid was helping her with lunch. My heart was very heavy when the maid asked mother for my name and she couldn't remember.

Then my dear friend came by.
 She is the only one who I still keep in touch.
 It was certainly not easy to catch up with her for she is hundred of KMs away in JB.

She could only stay for a short while before she had to rush back to JB with her family. After she left, we went over to sis's place for lunch. 

It was talking and talking for hours until my throat felt so dry. And of course the little fellow whom we miss dearly....

 Sis asked us to stay for a night again and I touched her hand to say "next time around".
It was hard to say goodbye to these bunch and the goodbyes was all the way from the door to the gate to the door of the car wide opened waiting for me.

The way to Melaka was badly conjested and we decided to have Kentucky for dinner which is just beside the road in Tangkak.

KFC, wrong decision, our friend dropped about RM500 here.
Crawled all the way to our hotel....
 9.45pm, the time taken was more than double the usual time.
Hote Puri Melaka, we stayed once few years back during someone's bday.

Someone was obviously in the right mood after we had our showers, so we set our foot out of the hotel and walked to the "pasar malam" which was still bustling with tourist at 11pm.
After some food and drinks, we walked to the "Red House"....
Along the way, it was all about Red laterns....
And Hard Rock, by the river.....

Monday, 27 February 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 (1)

CNY this year fell early on 27 January, 2017.

27.1.2017, 6.38am, North South highway....around Rawang...



We first went to uncle's house to drop something. Then we went to visit FIL in the nursing home and left him some CNY cookies and new clothes. This is the first time Bao and I went to the place since they placed him there after he got removed from the one in PJ Old Town.

The home looks decent enough.

Then only we went to the ancestor home which is now empty. Helped 6th aunt to prepare and perform the simple prayers at home before we continued the yearly routine to the Temple in Taiping.

It was getting very simple as the years goes by as 6th aunt is not that capable anymore. A lot of food are bought at the market.

It was around 3pm when we were at the monastery to visit the respectful 继尘法师who is 6th aunt's brother.  I always like to hear her telling us how he became a monk.

继尘法师travels abroad frequently to share his wisdom and enlighten others. He is using an Iphone 6s plus to communicate with ppl!
Very impressive tea table with matching stools c/w a drainage tube to drain away the initial round of tea directly from the table. 
In his quarter, I touched his sitting pad and it feels like granite and it is whole!

This, is an upside down teapot. The cover is at the bottom....tea is made with the pot turned "down", pot then tuned "up" to pour the tea. Amazing...
Gigantic brushes where he practice his calligraphy.

We had casual talks just like normal relatives and was later joined by another cousins. About 2 hours later, we drove back to the old house.

We had our showers and dressed for the Reunion dinner at a restaurant in another village.
Restaurant Soon Lai (Lim), even the Chinese also the same.

At the restaurant, with the poor man....

It was then back to the old house again. FIL looked around the house he had lived for most of his life and when he put his hands on the railings of the rotten staircase, it was quite an emotional sight. He has become so frail in merely a year after his operation.

It was midnight when we checked into M Boutique hotel after we dropped 6th aunt at 3rd aunt's house.
3rd time around, the manager is kind enough to charge us the same rate as last year.
Love this rustic and nostalgic chair in this room.

Had a very good night sleep after previous hectic day. It was 8.30 when i was awoke.  

Breakfast is always good under this ambience.
 Getting ready for the day....

At the lobby, OOTD drama....
The traffic was very busy when we drove from Ipoh to KK, it was late when we fetched 6th aunt. And the result was 2nd aunt arrived before we did. They had to lunch outside and they decided not to go to the old house after that. They probably were not very happy as they had lunch at the old house on first day of every CNY!

The town is now at the slumber stage. Gone are the days when CNY was bustling with greetings everywhere!
Anyway, 6th aunt decided to fry the left over rice last night together with some food she prepared for the prayers yesterday. And we ate with 7th uncle's family when they arrived from their hotel.

The old house is now at a very sorry condition. Effort to preserve might involve a lot of money and everyone is smart enough to play mum.

Then it was time to visit MIL's brother as usual. Dinner at their house as usual and when we were back to M Boutique hotel, it was almost midnight again.

Every corner is well taken care of.
The comfy bed is what making me coming back again and again.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Remembering the Late Mr Rican Lim Ah Kok

The photo has been on the front page of many papers.
It was just another Monday morning as I sat down and turned on my computer.

After went through the headlines on, I opened my FB page.

Unprepared for it, I saw someone posted "RIP" on Rican's page. I was dumbfounded and reread the message again and again. I was almost certain that it was a mistake, maybe it was his relatives....
I searched the wife's page thinking that if it was him, she or someone must have posted something, nothing. Tried searching his sons page too.
The whole morning I was uneasy thinking that how can a man passed away so sudden as I continued to refresh his page over and over again. I saw someone else posted on his page but still very disturbed.

Then I got back from my lunch break. I refreshed his page and saw another message with China Press page attached. I clicked on the page and went cold instantly when I read the headlines and saw the family photo. There was no post from the wife because she was also perished together with their 2 boys!

I remember the corner house.

It was a really tragic and extremely saddening news. I was so shocked and stunned !

                                                                 ~  ~ ~ ~ ~
I have known him through works. We were quite closed at the time when we had some errands which I couldn't handle myself. I used to meet up with him at the petrol station near my house and he called it our "老地方".

He was a very friendly and funny man. Always energetic and keen in his jobs. Liked to pat me on my shoulders lightly first before he spoke and always joked that how nice if we were to know each other when we were young. But he was from the north and I from the south.

He came to our office many times....had lunch with him...I teased him when he had to use the WC a few times....remember how he pulled at his pants...
The first errand was the signboard license...(the signboard manufacturer introduced him to me when I had problem with it.)
Then he drove me to MCA to meet the deputy finance minister....he knew the minister personally...
He drove my colleague and I all the way to Kastam department in Port meet a whole bunch of officers...we then had BatKutTeh...
He went to Syabas many times to get the stolen water meter fixed finally....
And many more...
                                                            ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
I dropped him off at his house which is in the same area as my house and he told me about his golden retriever in his car porch....
We met at the Giant Puteri with his wife in the car waiting...
His wife drove him to my house and passed me a bottle of XO sauce which I didn't use...
He told me someone bought his old junk of Alfa Romeo for 20k and he was so delighted to get rid of it....(he had like Alfa cars, like my husband.)
He told me they sent the daughter to the college and they bought her some essential items ...
He managed to find someone to replace a metal door on my house's dustbin compartment which got stolen....
Sometimes he talked "dirty..."

And then there was no more errands, I only get to know about him through his FB postings.
He seemed to enjoy his retired life with outdoor outings with wife and friends.....

Read that he joined property line....

Finally this day....
                                                                ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

➽☰Rican, may you and your family rest in peace, your smiling face and cheerful personality will always be in my mind!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Hanoi (2)

The plan this day before we were there, after the highlight of Ha Long Bay and Trang An, is to shop till we dropped before we wave our goodbyes to Vietnam! But were a bit skeptical after few nights of "survey".

Anyways after breakfast, we packed our bag so that they could transfer our luggage to our standard room (the previous 3 nights was free-upgrade to premium room).

We first walked out to the hotel in search of the oldest church of Hanoi after I asked the tour guide yesterday for the location.

Without thinking too much about it, we walked towards the direction and were not able to locate it even with Google map. I got agitated after some 30 mins walk or even more, having asked the local guide, we finally found it and realized that it is situated very near to our hotel!

The church was built by the French in 1886. It is a simple church and the exterior speaks the 100+ + years of service.
Small and simple....

Some of the "exquisite" part.

We were being "chased out" rudely by an elderly man after about 10mins in it. We reckon it was the time the church closed to visitors.
Once outside, we met an adorable fellow and it caught the attention of a few others as well.
So adorable and docile.
She has soft-spot for the man-best-friend creatures at all times!
We then strolled around the area and walked further to Dong Xuan Market where they sells literally everything just like Cha-Tu-Chak in Bangkok.

This street is full with shop for the worshippers.

We ended in this part of Dong Xuan market with exotic food!
We then found ourselves in Lake Hokiem area again and decided to "chill" at the cafe to "recharge" ourselves!
We are now opposite the place where we "chilled" the day we arrived.

Chilling and recharging our "battery"....
When our "battery" was charged, we walked to the lake.

It was nice to just stroll around Lake Hokiem .
And we found ourselves in the posh area of Hanoi.

We spent a very short time in the empty posh mall and had our lunch in a premium pho shop featured in travel magazine.
The beef is from USA.
After the late lunch, we had no idea at all of what to do next!

Referring to the map we had, the only place we had interest in is the...prison!
Maison Central is built by the French in 1896 during the war.

It was in operation during 1896 - 1954 making it 120 years old. 

The super heavy duty door reminds me of a computer game.

Prison is of course not a nice place to visit. It tells stories of brutality beyond words as usual.

During the Vietnam war, it kept a lots of Vietnamese revolutionaries inmates and also American soldiers. They were treated with inhuman cruelty beyond words!

The cells are so tiny and bare that even women and children were without proper basic living conditions.
 The inmates were shackled at the ankles with these metal strips.

And this is the scaffold.

 The terrifying interrogation rooms.
The altar outside. Reminds me of the extremely disturbing museum in Nanjing.

After we walked back to the hotel and showered, we had our dinner at the tiny eatery I like.

The standard room we had is at the top floor. It is complete with plaster ceiling and nice wall paper. Looks good enough until we lied down on the badly sinking mattress! 

 This looks like 5 star ceiling....
 Very nice wall panel.....
But this is the bathroom wall....

Anyway, it was the last night. The next morning, we took the taxi arranged by the hotel to the airport and ended our trip in Vietnam.

Overall, I would say it was quite an enjoyable trip. The world recognised Unesco site of Hang Long bay is really a memorable journey. We had also enjoyed the nice boating in the charming Trang An complex. 

The culture and lifestyle of the Vietnamese is unique and eye-opener for us.

Goodbye Vietnam!