Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Deeelicious Story

I was doing some Spring-Cleaning to my antique photo album which had fungal print marks on every page. I stumbled upon this silly shot which I snapped when I finished high school.

I was the youngest and holidayed with this group of young executives who eventually became my BFF till today. I am forever grateful to them for paying all my expenses before I graduated to start my career.

That year in the 90s, I followed them to Pulau Tioman by boat from Mersing. All except me were scuba divers who had dived in almost every exotic marine beds from Mauritius, Great Barrier Reefs and Cebu up to Jeju Islands. Goodness, I could never afford to dive like them!

I love this photo taken from their backs. The centre torso in yellow cap is my Princess of Arabia! We have come a long way as friends and she fussed on me like a terror kid brother! I call her Abby and she used to work for Bristol Myers Squibb in KL after her decades of nursing stint in United Kingdom. In the gang, there was another beezee lady, Helen who hardly had time to catch up after leaving her famous purchasing post at Metrojaya.

Abby was most well known for her loud laughters, sweet tooths and world class stuffed Christmas Turkeys besides all the pastries, cakes and yummy desserts! The KBS drama featuring the chef Kim Tak-Gu reminds me of Abby who has the natural flair to toss, cook and bake! I used to lick my dinner plates dry.

They all rarely communicated as I lived away in Penang before leaving for States. Abby who used to attend the Bristol Myer's AGM yearly at Indiana in US had made an effort to visit me in Pennsylvania one summer. We had planned to tour Philadelphia and NYC as I could be her tour guide but her time was tight, so we called off.

So, I took her around Pittsburgh to see the beautiful European designed buildings of Heinz Hall and Carnegie Music Hall where the movie "Flashdance - What A Feeling" was filmed. She loved my rented condo in the swanky Shadyside haven for yuppies which had glass roofs to view the falling snow in Winter. I guess I was a bad son, living like a prince and even visited Trump's casinos in Atantic City as a student. Ssssshh!

Here, we took the train up to Mount Washington to view the skyline of Pittsburgh.

Next, we chilled at the giant fountain which sits by the the tip of the famous 3 rivers - Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. Bruce Willis often made his movies here and considered Pittsburgh as Hollywood Of The East. Before I returned to Malaysia, Abby had been promoted and transferred to Hong Kong to head the aggressive marketing division.

One thing led to another, Helen went on to open her chain of oversized dresses!

Next, she teamed up with Abby and Deeeeelicious was born!

I truly salute their hard work and sweat for everything today where Abby still heads the factory's huge kitchen now.

I have patronized several outlets and prefer the one at Dua Residences as it was a memorable noisy birthday dinner by a Sri Garden's student. They made so much noise in the private room till all diners threatened to throw us out. Later on, some bloggers also left a stained dispute on that wall. LOL!

Abby highly recommended me her sweet Mud Chocolate which could give me an instant diabetic on the 2nd helping. Believe me, I love the food menu but the bill hurts my pocket TERRIBLY. I would love to hear your sweet bitter dining experience too @ Delicious. Abby does not know I blog, no worries yet laaar....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Met A Korean Celebrity

I almost forgot that my ski trip to Korea had some more photos yet to be uploaded, to continue from my earlier blog post ~ Winter Sonata

At the mountains in Hwacheon, we went to see the amazing ice carvings which were meticulously sculpted by the famous Harbin ice carvers from China. It was even colder inside than the winter temp -25C outside.

It was a spectacular and colourful sight at night to see many fish lanterns being strung up along every street in Hwacheon. Their fresh water fishes are very expensive and cleanest, according to the Korean folks.

Next morning, we were given special invitation by the Korean Tourism Ministry to visit their North/South border point which is out of bound to public. We passed so many sentry checkpoints manned by tough looking young soldiers.

No one is allowed to snap this photo BUT I did cheekily...
This is the view of North Korea with its double border fencing, dividing the 2 countries. Their mountains everywhere in the whole of Korea are very sharp looking and rocky.

At night fall, we arrived at the 5-Star Holiday Inn which has lovely mountain view and well heated large suite complete with separate living and kitchen are! I miss that place so much.

Everyone quickly donned into their heavy ski outfits which were rented from a store many kilometres away! Next time, buy some of your winter stuffs like hats, scarf and ear mufflers from Daiso outlets in KL for RM5 each! I paid mine like over RM100 coz none of my chibai friends taught me to get them from Daiso!

That's me ~ Grandma Twilight in yellow gear, ready to GO! Wooohooo!

They have so many world class ski resorts in their mountains and this one is popular with all night skiing fun for die hards. Many first timers fell, rolled and screamed. I also crashed into their barricade fencing when my braking failed! Kaneeneh it was too bloody icy.

Next morning, we went to their cultural centre after visiting the all-you-can-eat huge strawberries farm. We were taught the traditional way to make the best Kim-Chi with the freshest ingredients where after all our Kim-Chi were donated to the local orphanage.

Here's my "Grandma Twilight's Kim-Chi" and I hope the orphans didn't pass out after eating.

Later, we adjourned to the only well preserved old palace in Seoul which was spared from the cruel bombings of Japan's war.

It is very spacious and unique but not as huge and magnificent as the Forbidden City's Palace in Beijing. We strolled hurriedly around and proceeded to their real 'secret garden' far behind the hills.

This is the enclave of their 'secret garden' where the pavilion sits next to the frozen lake. Their monarchs had their sexual romps openly in this lake and pavilion. I could imagine wine being filled up in the pool with nude concubines swimming and teasing the princes! Just let our dirty imaginations run wild.

Next place, we visited the museum of a typical ancient home of the wealthy Koreans located in downtown Seoul. It was huge with courtyards and traditional winter heating where they laid burning coals under their floor boards! So pandai kan!

Look at their funny way of opening and latching their doors upwards like that!

After a week's fun in the FREEZING winter, we boarded a ferry enroute to Incheon International Airport. I love the sight of these flying hungry seagulls. Thousands of them flew to our boat and picked any food and crackers we offered. How nice to be a free bird, I thought?

On board the Korean Airlines flight home, we all hurdled to the back of the plane.
On my right, was a young tall Korean guy seated with his hands glued to his PSP watching a movie. The plane took off into the sunset and that's when the activities came to live.

Barely 20 minutes into the high clouds, 2 young teenaged girls giggled and came up to my right to approach this guy. They asked for his autograph!!! Wow! Wow!

Minutes passed, I lost count on the number of young teens parading to him to ask for his autographs using their T-shirts, Jackets, Papers, Books and anything they wore. Oh my, I took a good look at him and I really had no idea who he was! My entourage Malaysian gang kept saying that he was tall, so handsome and soooo gorgeous leng chai!

Alamak! We still had no idea who he was and they just snapped his photos non stop as well as making me the broker to get his autographs for them all without a fee. He kept smiling and repeatedly said "Thank You" very softly.

At midnight, I got home and googled my computer to find out his name!

Now guess who?

He is Korea's Badminton Star & Heartthrob.

Lee Yong Dae

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hit & Run Lucky Number

It was dawn at 6:45 am on Malaysia Day.

I was getting ready to drive out of my house when I heard a very loud crash in the quiet morning's ambiance which sent many sleepers jolted from their beauty sleep.

A white Proton Wira had knocked onto this Toyota Altis which had parked nicely on the side road's pavement. I did not know how it happened so fast when there were no other moving cars that morning. The young punky lone driver got down in a daze to inspect. Maybe he saw a ghost and swerved his vehicle.

At 7:00pm, the wrecked car was still there! I think the owner had gone for a long vacation in another friend's car and parked his car at the safest spot. He will be shocked and piss in his pants when he comes to collect his mangled car later.

I will snap his photo with his wet pants later.

Now, the hit and run car's lucky number is

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Have You Been To Yala?

Since I embarked to the trails of my late grandpa's past CPO postings in Thailand, I have just covered Phuket last year and Yala recently at the troubled South of Thailand. For a while, I was worried about terrorists or fanatics who might bomb or behead someone while I was there.
It was a safe and peaceful place with much interesting photos to share.

The highlight of this town Yala is their past notorious communist camps and activities during the reign of Chin Peng's era.

This is their town which is just 2-streets, running like a square box. Damn boring without shopping malls or exotic cafes.

I stumbled across a Rumah Tumpangan named Jacky Chan Hotel.

Believe it or not ~ this is the OLDEST and TALLEST mail box in the world!

In such a sleepy town, they have this 5-Star hotel where I stayed. It looked like 3-Star to me though their carpet & paint smelled new and their Chinese Restaurant served very delicious and fresh food.

They also have a very impressive Thai Buddhist Temple built by the Queen of Thailand with a real pure gold minaret above the pagoda tower.

There is a huge Buddha statue sitting majestically below the hilltop temple.

There are several smaller temples surrounding the monastery.

Next attraction was the well preserved communist camp and the above is the arch-entrance uphill.

After a long hike through the thick old jungles, I arrived at the 1st view-post of the communists.

This tunnel is where they had a hidden stove and the coal's smoke was cleverly filtered to prevent the police & army to detect their hideout for decades!

The above long tunnel is where their soldiers hid inside.

It was such a low, dark, damp and foul-smelling tunnel where I had to stoop my head all the way. I think the communists would never recruit a 6 footer like me who would pose as a threat instead.

Hello? Hello? Can you see me?

They even had bamboo a make-shift pavillion to host the marriages amongst the soldiers! They were not allowed to have babies, so the men had to 'tie' their genitals.

These were their cooking utensils with mud-clay steps for kitchen cabinet.

There is an interesting museum which stored all their confiscated stuffs after their fall & surrender BUT no photography was allowed. You know me, I just curi-curi snapped so that can share with you guys.

I was surprised that the communist flags changed their emblems several times.

They had walkie talkies, sharpenels and other weapons displayed here.

Their Land Mines looked like Diamond's Water Filter canisters.

They also used Land Bombs and don't they look like uncooked "Lemang".

Hope you enjoyed the above sights of Betong in Yala, South Thailand.

Monday, September 13, 2010

He Got Arrested Again

My mum called my phone last week and yelled so loud like a mad woman. She screamed out ~ "Don't tell me that Ah Liang got arrested again? Is that really him?"

I replied cooly ~ "Yeah that idiot never learns and serves him right!"

Mum added ~ "Why on earth does he like to trade in this? Must be good money izzit?"

We all knew this Ah Liang since I was in primary. He was a well built hunk with dashing macho and tanned looks that could send the convent school gals swooning. His fiancee was my sister's best friend, so I saw him coming over to visit while tagging along his girlfriend then.

What was exciting about him was that he often brought along some exotic and scary pets. I was a small kid and was thrilled to see tarantulas, weird tortoises or tiny snakes in his shirt pockets. I would scream and squirm my balls when I saw his snakes! I never liked such pets yet it could excite me to see them when he brought them. Those years, I swear that no one else were keeping such pets in Penang like him. I thought he was sick or retarded to love such wild animals.

Many years passed and later, my sister went to Adelaide to study and my brother went off to Canada for his high school, leaving me alone at home, growing up rather lonely into my teens. I never saw Ah Liang and any other friends of theirs around our house anymore.

I found Ah Liang's teenage photo from internet.

I finished my SPM and went to work part time at a nearby construction site where I had to carry wheelbarrows of sand and cement. It was damn tough and I hated every minute working under the scorching sun. I lost count on the number of times my nose bled.
By then, I had lots of pocket money earned from the daily wages and my gang of friends wanted to visit Ha'adyai in South Thailand. They knew that I was sick of going there since I was born but going with my own friends could be added excitement.

So we booked a local tour bus that made weekly trips to Ha'adyai and Songkhla. My 2 male comrades were excited as it was their first trip out of Malaysia then. They were singing and laughing a lot in the bus which was packed with Penang's Hokkien folks and annoying aunties.
The tour guide was a young man who unashamedly asked the passengers if they wanted to see "Tiger Show" and there were so much wooos and aaahhs on the bus. I think almost the whole bus of adults AGREED to watch the sleazy show.

I remember that my heart was beating so fast and I was not sure whether I was scared, excited or nervous! Well, it was going to be my first time watching fully nude performers on stage. I was worried a while that a relative on the Ha'adyai streets might spot me entering the "Tiger Show's" premise near Lee Gardens hotel and report to my mum. I told myself to hide my face that night. Never mind, enjoy first and worry later.

Unknown to me, I suddenly spotted Ah Liang sitting in our same tour bus and he didn't seem to recognize me. Maybe, I had grown up into late teens and he had not seen me for some 10 years already. I kept glancing at him every few minutes and was nervous that he knew I was joining the bus folks to watch the famous "harimau show"..

Finally, I told my 2 buddies that I was very sure that Ah Liang could not recognize me anymore as I was a small kid when he last saw me. I was puzzled that he did not join us for any sight seeing or harimau shows. Maybe he took advantage of the bus for transport and hotel stay for his own business. Normally, almost everyone in Penang had visited Ha'dayai many times as it is so close by.

Damn it, a month later my mum asked me to sit down and gave me a stern LOOK at my face! I was shivering and wondered what I had done wrong. My sister was back for her summer holidays stood majestically beside and gave me another sly look.

Mum yelled ~ "I heard you went to Ha'adyai and watch that THAI GIRL SHOW???"
I nearly died on my chair and my heart fell onto the floor like jelly fish. I wish I had died and evaporated away in seconds! I was so damn malu beyond words!!

My idiot sister tambah kerosene to my stress and said ~ "Ah not only that, you guys drank so much beer and smoked cigarettes while watching the Thai Girl Show?? Wah!!! My brother grown up liao lo...."

My heart was cursing the worst curses at my sister and that stupid Ah Liang!!!!!
I hated that Ah Liang for his big mouth and thought that being guys, he would support me and just shut his fucking mouth!!! Mana tau, he actually related this joke with his girlfriend who alerted my sister later on. That's how women earned their crowns for having the bitchiest and chibai mouths for carrying tales!

I had forgotten about all these teenage stories until my sister informed me from London that Ah Liang was being jailed in South America for smuggling. I googled BBC news and was horrified to hear that he was jailed 71 months after losing appeals. He was the most wanted smuggler in the world for protected animals until the interpol had to track him for several years!

My heart should be laughing that justice had been served for his big mouth but I felt very sorry that he landed in jail. We all had no idea where he had gone to after breaking up with his long time sweetheart. So, we finally heard news that he was fighting hard to be transferred to the jail in Los Angeles as the S.American jail normally housed the worst narcotic and dangerous criminals in their deplorable jails.

He was released after 71 months and returned to Penang like a celebrity with so much interviews by the Star and media. Even a book was being written about his expedition by a world famous author. I have not seen the book yet as I am not sure whether it was really being released a few years ago.

This is his mugshot photo taken in the West. I don't know how on earth it was posted on the internet. Did he do it proudly?

Now, Ah Liang is back into hot news again! Everyone who knew him was shocked and dumbfounded by his repeated smuggling. Why was the media and relevant authorities attacking him with so much coverage when the protected animals which he sold was being kept as precious pets by collectors? Those who traded and smuggled protected animals for cooking pots were made unknown or got lesser publicity compared to Ah Liang. Whichever it was, he knew that he was playing with biggest fire and troubles.

When his luggage broke while on transit, look at the slippery friends wrapped in sarongs!

Waaaallaauuu eh! Over 90 snakes inside.

Yikes! I am scared of these reptiles and have the worst phobia for them! This snake slithered out of Ah Liang's luggage to greet the photographer.

Off he went to jail with a fine of RM190,000.00 and 6 months term in prison. My head is shaking in disbelief that he was someone who left a scar in my life and is now crouching in prison today.
I hope that he will never smuggle again! He has been nicknamed "Lizard King" globally!