Showing posts from 2013

Life After Surgery

None of the nurses in the dialysis center said : "I told you so!" but I said it to myself. I have never really followed the renal diet closely; as a result I had sky high levels of phosphate and calcium, resulting in itchy skin all over my body. As a result of all the constant scratching, I had marks all over my body, not a pretty sight.

    I needed to have my Parathyroid glands removed badly. This is because the itchiness I was experiencing indicated that my Parathyroid (PT) glands had already swollen tremendously by this time. Everyone has 4 PT glands. And it's not easy feat to remove all 4 because 2 will be in an obvious place (behind the thyroid glands) but 2 will be in not so obvious places.

    I was told all this when I went for my first doctor's consultation. I was originally scheduled to have surgery on the 5th of July but because my nephrologist (kidney doctor) spoke to the endochrine surgeon (Thyroid and PT doctor) on my behalf, he managed to persuade…

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The Power In Books

I’ve been fascinated with the book trade since I was a child. Ah Bak, Elder Uncle, worked for a schoolbook distributor in Ipoh. Ah Ba, my father, visited him at least once a week and he often took me along. We would first be seated in Ah Bak’s manager office, a room full of boks.

The Ah Bak would have his clerk bring us some soda drinks. While the two men talked, Ah Bak’s staff would come in to ask for his signatures on invoices, inventories and purchase lists. Everyone in the shop – from the labourer who carried the books in from the lorries to the accountant—were men. 

Knowing that I loved books, Ah Bak asked me, “Do you want to work in a bookshop?”

When I looked shyly at the floor, in deference to an elder, Ah Bak laughed, “You’re a girl – you should never work in a bookshop. Bookshops are for men. It’s hard work!”

This was why I always associated the book trade with men. Then, one day, a woman named Yvonne Chau from MPH called, inquiring about my interest in selling ‘Stories for My…

If Only They Would Listen

I was at the World Book Day celebration organized by MPH Bookstores, the Spanish Embassy and a local college on April 23rd. The crowd gathered at the event comprised mostly of college students, the future pillars of our information economy. 

The Spanish Ambassador, H.E. Alvaro Iranzo, gave the keynote speech and spoke about the Spaniards’ love for book reading. World Book Day is celebrated in a big way in Spain. There is an all day long celebration with jazz combos, street dancing, chorus groups singing love songs, authors autographing books at bookshops, and 24-hour reading of Don Quixote. Men give women roses while the women give men books! By midnight, the Rambla, once a watercourse, is afloat with roses and tiny red-and-yellow ribbons with tiny written words like ‘t’estimo’ (I love you).

Spanish children grow up loving books as the culture of reading is embedded in the society. Parents read, and so children read too. Teenagers who love reading grow up to be adults with a deep lov…

Lava Cake

This dish will melt your heart out as it simply oozes with chocolaty goodness. Preparing it seems pretty effortless since you need no mixer or fancy moulds. In fact, you can even bake it in aluminium cups if no small baking dish is available in the kitchen. Here goes the recipe.
       Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare a few souffle dish/bowl (picture below) or ring moulds. Brush the bowls with butter and sprinkle a little bit of flour if you want to invert the cake onto a plate. In a double boiler, melt 230g dark chocolate and 225g butter. Once it melts, add in 250g fine sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolve. The next step is important. Turn off the heat but do not remove the bowl from the pot with the boiling water. You are about to add in 210g egg whites.       Pour in the egg whites slowly while continuously stirring the mixture. Keep stirring until the mixture slightly thickens. When the mixture has mixed well, you can place the bowl on a worktop and sift 120g flour (plain/s…

The Kitchen Juggler's Steam Chocolate Cheese Layer Cake

Steam cake was the first cake I knew when I was a child. Apparently, a decent oven was a pretty fancy gadget to be in any household during the 70s. We did have an oven though, the black butterfly oven for kerosene stove. Though humble as it may look, it managed to help my mom do wonders in the kitchen. 

      The steamer pot was as much useful as the oven. Though it was pretty dented up especially on the lid, it steamed the perfect paus, fruit cakes, chocolate cake, traditional kuihs and countless of other dishes that would leave me drooling just reminiscing about it. I too, own sets of steamer pots (and oh, the electric steamer seems very appealing to me), 4 to be exact, each of different size. 

      Somehow I find steam cakes a perfect serving for tea. They are moist, rich and tender just as they are and in no need of heavy frostings and fillings. Of course, a little chocolate drizzle atop a steam chocolate cake would do no harm though. It simply adds to the sinfulness of the ca…

The Kitchen Juggler's Recipe - Durian Crepe

Durian eaters have gone into this durian crepe frenzy.  I normally have this thin pancake filled with a variety of savoury and sweet fillings - nuts, fruits, ice-cream, cheese, beef - but never with durian. So I figured why not give it a try.  After all, it is the durian season (I guess my durian panna cotta had to wait).  So I got myself some musang king durians (this must be one pricey fruit crepes ever)...the fleshiest and creamiest ones, and started whipping up things. The result: A delightful combination of that rich fruit pulp and custardy cream. Best eaten chilled. 

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup rice flour
1/3 cup custard flour
1 egg
few drops yellow colouring
100ml fresh milk
100ml water (more or less)
butter (to brush on pan)

        Mix all ingredients in a blender and pulse for a while. Use a strainer to ensure mixture is thoroughly smooth. A non-stick pan comes in handy when making crepes or pancakes. You just need to brush a little bit of butter on the pan and heat it ve…

Around The World Seeking Roti Canai And Teh Tarik

Food in Australia can be one of the most expensive items in your budget. I however, simply had to indulge my food whims regardless of the fact that things are three times more expensive there.        I can easily be lured into sampling any food I set my eyes on. It's like each bite into the food tells us something about the people's culture and identity.        So when I travel for short while, I can survive without rice or other Malaysian delicacies and put aside my true Malaysian appetite for days simply because I would have a wonderful variety of food to make up for it. Unfortunately, my other half can't possibly live without Malaysian food no matter where we go.        During our recent trip to Australia, while I was eagerly trying to discover and sample their fabulous seafood dishes and exotic desserts varieties, my other half was whining about his intense craving for a simple (yet not simple in the land down under though) meal of roti canai and teh tarik.        Being…

Gender Inequality In The Work Force

For as long as I can remember, there has always been inequality in the workforce.  Although this situation is a lot better than what it was, it is still pretty clear that women get treated differently than men.

         I am currently a college student taking classes here in Malaysia for a year before I return back to the States. Last semester,  a class I took, International Human Resource Management, went into gender inequality in the work force in details. The class talked about how employees get chosen to go abroad to work.

         It was pretty evident that a majority of employees chosen to go abroad were males and the question was why? The answer that I am about to give you guys is pretty obvious and probably will not shock any of you. 

         People have it in their minds that males have a better chance of adapting to living abroad than women do, partially because of the place that those employees may be working.

         For example, my family has traveled all over the world …