Thursday, May 19, 2016

How To Make "Happy Overnight Oats"

I have been making my own version of overnight oats for my wife's breakfast for some years now. I would always make 5 bottles at once and that should last her a whole week to be eaten at her work place. She has become so addicted to them after I have experimented with so many hundreds of ingredients like yoghurt, mixed nuts, various fruits, rolled oats and other organic edibles. I am posting this after successfully serving my wife who dislikes anything sweet or too much carbo diet. However, she loves this slightly sweet healthy overnight oats that tastes like those imported ice cream! This is also a happy diet meal with everything in pink & red - LOVE

  A Quick Glance at my ingredients and its step-by-steps.
There is no definite or fixed recipe as the ingredient choices are all subjective.

I found that only instant oats could absorb all the strawberry milk well and dissolve them into ice-cream like mixture. The GoodDay brand has the best fragrant strawberry milk, after experimenting so many brands. Yoghurt is not suitable as it has sourish taste and the reaction with fresh strawberries makes them taste like lemon Slurpee instead. I also found that raw cashew nuts have natural sweetness that adds more booster. Lastly, I also add raisins and dried cranberries which would turn soft, bloated and chewy. Some alternate weeks, I would add in blueberries and muesli when she needs a real POWER OVERNIGHT OATS. The whole costs is not a cheap breakfast but the Joy & Happiness for her to enjoy a POWER breakfast diet that matters.

 Cut the fruits and throw everything you fancy into these special glass bottles.

Add in 3 spoonful of instant oats above. The nuts, fresh and dried fruits
need to submerge below in the strawberry milk.

 Pour the strawberry milk until the level of the oats and stir them lightly.

Place the bottles into your refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours.
They can easily keep over 1-2 weeks.



Monday, May 16, 2016

Bad Parenting On The Rise

Yesterday, I went to the nearby supermarket in my neighbourhood to do my grocery. It was a Sunday and it would always be packed with regular shoppers. I disliked the big crowd always as I often encountered problems to navigate my mini trolley along the aisle. Most of the familiar faces are those well heeled lazy aunties who would bring along their maids just to push trolleys. Occasionally you might see some noisy small kids running around too, knocking into the people and shelves until the displayed items fell off. Some parents would apologize and snapped at their kids. Some parents would transform into blind bats and ignored their own kids by pretending to look elsewhere!!

I had a real fright of my life when my trolley reached the end of the aisle to get some toilet rolls. This boy was rolling and tossing on the floor singing away his lullabies. My eyes went wide and my mouth opened big with dropped jaws. The boy continued to kick and toss, pulling down more boxes of tissues to do his monkey acts. I walked near him and was very horrified! His mother was just beside him, looking at some labels & instructions on the bottles! Kaneeneh! What kind of mother is that?? I think this mother needed help and not the kid.

I freaked out and walked back few steps to snap this photo. My heart was thanking my late mother so much that I was brought up very well under the thumbs of her very strict Thai manners. She trained me & siblings so well that she hardly used a cane. All she needed was cringe her eyebrows fiercely with the most scary eyes at me. I would be frozen into ice cube, numbed and behaved properly at once! Muahahahaha!

I may not have kids but I know that parenting doesn't come with a handbook. It's all on-the-job training as the kids come into their families. No given guidelines, just lots of unwritten rules that restrict who our children think they want to be. Every parent would dream to turn their children into grown ups with responsible, successful and independent traits. Parenting isn't just a job, it's a lifelong commitment.

One expert has pointed out - " If you want to change someone else's behavior, the best place to start is by changing yours"... It really makes sense to me to adopt this at work as my staff are like my helpless kids sometimes.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Despatch Boy's Future

Many people have mistaken that the positions of a Despatch Boy has rather limited & stagnant future. I also had similar thoughts on them, not sure if they have ambitious plans to be successful, make money and get married. Buy a car, a house and start a family as the long lists go on. I spoke to many of them who had come and gone under my company's employment. 

I decided to help them to build their work experience which would help shape their future employments elsewhere as I do not encourage them to work in our office till retirement.

I am proud to share that my plans had paid off several times after grooming our Despatch Boys. My office needs 5 Despatch Boys daily to handle all our many deliveries, collections, banking and errands. They have to report to me from time to time and I would always remind them to work smartly. They would get biggest hell from me whenever I received complaints from their seniors or our 3 Datuk bosses. In return, they would be given the chance to become my right hand man after showing their earnest desires to climb the career. In between their daily despatch jobs, I would teach them the tricks & trades to handle the tedious applications for our foreign workers' permits, applications for outdoor advertising license and permits, compliance lists of Fire & Safety of Factory rules and macam-macam lagi....... Along the way, I would also give them practice using Words & Excel softwares on the PC which was always a headache to many. I would constantly motivate them to use their little experience to upgrade their CV for future employment as Admin Assistants or License Supervisors. 

There was a staff named Fitri who joined our company after seeing my advertisement inside the 7-Eleven's notice board 3 years ago. That fateful day, Fitri was feeling very down and angry with his ex boss. He promptly went inside the convenience store to buy cigarettes & Slurpee drink to chill his head. He could not believe his eyes when he saw my advertisement with the words "5 Day Work" for a Despatch Clerk plus benefits. I interviewed him the next day and was surprised that Fitri in his early 20s had to work 7 days weekly for almost 2 years! His previous company worked 6 full days per week and he had to be on stand-by on Sundays which paid little overtime wages. He almost had to work every Sunday for 2 years! Goodness, his ex boss was a tyrant and exploited him.

Fitri was the most polite and hardworking guy among the 5 Despatch Boys we have. He was always smiling with respectful greetings. I watched too much Korean dramas and insisted that the 5 Despatch guys must greet & nod their heads whenever they saw our Datuks & Datins inside the company. Of course our bosses liked them as normal staff would not bother to greet them as this is not Korea. Fitri learnt all the ropes from me for 3 long years and I felt that he respected me like the father he never had. 

One day, Fitri passed me an envelope and my heart skipped. I could guess that he had finally found a new job! I opened the envelope and found his Wedding Invitation card instead. He had long courted his fiancee for 8 years since their school days. I was happy for him but felt bad that his salary was not sufficient to start a new family. Since he would be staying with his mother, that should be comfortable to bring home his new wife. Several weeks later, Fitri passed me another envelope and I screamed at him!!! I joked & teased whether it was for his 2nd wedding? Indeed, it was his resignation letter. He apologized profusely that he had to take up the unexpected offer when he was not even planning to quit his present job. The new job pays him over 30% more with a rosy position as a Supervisor.


 I attended Fitri & Wany's wedding somewhere in the kampung
deep inside Sungai Buloh.

The arrival of the handsome groom & his radiant bride!

This Raja Sehari - Fitri looked dashing like a Royalty. 

The bridal couple was accompanied by the bride's family entourage.

A band of Kompang boys followed behind beating the small drums.

The bride's entourage made their way into the compound of
the groom's house.

The groom's mother was the happiest lady on earth as he youngest
child had married. She hugged me tightly and thanked me for
grooming her son. My heart was melted and sank onto the floor.

Our special gift for the bride and groom. The gift of a Ceramic Induction
Cooker set was nicely wrapped with a specially printed card.
This photo of the gift got the HIGHEST LIKES inside his Facebook
and not even his bridal photos. 

The traditional door gifts of a Malay Wedding which contain
hard boiled eggs.

The famous DJ happened to be the groom's elder brother.

The groom's mother cooked everything by herself.

The buffet tables with chicken rice, cakes and desserts.

The groom's mother is a well known chef in their kampung.
So everyone loved her chicken rice and cakes.

The bride and groom at the main banquet table.

Their colourful wedding cake.

Floral decoration with hanging eggs.

"May The Bride & Groom
Enjoy An Everlasting Marriage"


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Chinese Taoism Funeral

My old friend Crystal passed away about 2 months ago after a big battle with breast cancer that eventually spread all over till her lungs collapsed. She was brave and fought hard till the end knowing that her survival chances were slim. She requested for no life support or medications to prolong her suffering anymore. She knew that her big supportive family members had been showering all their love and attention but she could no longer bear to see them suffer as well. Her 7 loving nephews and nieces were like her own children that she never had. Her final requests was to have the fullest & elaborate Chinese Taoist funeral in accordance to the Hokkien clan's rites. She wanted her funeral wakes to include the Taoism-Buddhist prayers, happy band singing, big loud drummers, paper mansion and street funeral band procession on her funeral day. Crystal wanted to be sent off happily and in style. I was very amused when her family member told me that. It was just her, who always enjoyed the merrily songs and dance.

My friendship with her went back to the late 80s when I was the wildest party animal who went clubbing many nights weekly in Penang. My own clubbing nights were often at the popular Rasa Sayang Hotel's Cinta Discotheque and also Orchard Hotel's The Cinnamon Tree along the coastal areas. Crystal loved the discotheque scenes where she could shake & dance cha-cha very well. She was tall and stood at 5' 10' with a very sweet face which attracted many friends who enjoyed her companionship of an often shy & girl-next-door's giggles covering her mouth. My best friend fell madly in love with her older sister instead and went on hot pursuit to woo her! So my gang of monkeys went clubbing with the 2 sisters as well. Later on, Crystal got acceptance to study at University Science Malaysia and told me that her dancing days were over as she had to focus seriously on her studies! The following year, I left for United States and my best friend married her older sister during my absence. Over the years I did not keep in touch with Crystal but we met just once when I drove over to her house to meet my best friend.

I am sharing this long post of her funeral which might interest some readers from different religious faiths and foreign countries. The 48 photos below will illustrate how a typical Chinese Taoist funeral rites are conducted.


1. The funeral wake was held for 3 nights at her family home.
The casket was placed inside the living room.

2. Her graduation photo was placed on the altar at the end
of her casket and flanked by a pair of paper "male & female servants"
who will serve her in the after world.

3. The prayer altar was set up outside the house with the
scrolls of the Taoism deities.

4. The family ordered this custom made 'Paper Mansion" which would be enjoyed
by the deceased in the next life.

5. There were many boxes of  "money" and " treasures" that
would be burnt later that midnight.

6. Close-up view of the entrance to her mansion. There was
a uniformed guard at the door with some kitchen utensils to use.

7. They also ordered some movies and CD songs with a Flat Screen TV and
satellite TV service! Wow!

8. They served many types of delicious nyonya kuehs and hot black coffee
for the visitors and well wishers. They also had a fabulous chef on
duty to fry yummy Char Kueh Teow for everyone. We all enjoyed
eating and chatting with friends to rekindle the good days.

9. My wife had never met Crystal but she promptly sat down to
chant the whole prayers from the sutra book of DiZang Wang Bodhisattva
to dedicate the merits to Crystal for a good journey.

10. My wife had notified the nephews and nieces to observe the 3 joss sticks
that she had placed on the urn at the start of her long prayers. They were told
that when the 3 joss sticks started to burn at different lengths all the way down,
it would signify an auspicious journey.

11. The brood of nephews and nieces were so excited to see the 3 joss sticks
had really reached the auspicious lengths as per the website's photo above.
The soul of Crystal "communicated" with her older sister who gave their assurance
for her to go in peace to the better realms.

12. The band started to sing some happier songs that final night.

13. The Taoist Monk in yellow robe conducted long prayers and
rituals together with the entire family members.

14. The Taoist Monk led the family members to cross over the
mini heavenly bridge.

15. The niece carried the urn with lighted joss
stick to represent the deceased.

16. At midnight, they placed all the paper offerings, money, treasures and
mansion at the cross junction near the house to burn them all.

17. When all the paper offerings were burnt, it would be sent
instantly to the "after world".

18. The paper mansion being set on fire.


19. An altar was set up outside the house with food and fruit
offerings before the funeral at 2.00pm.

20. The clothes and shoes of Crystal were placed on the chair
with her paper effigy attached. Her clothes & shoes had her DNA.

21. The band sang their final happy songs that could be heard
in the whole neighbourhood.

22. The paper sedan chair was prepared ready to carry 
Crystal's soul which would make its way to the crematorium.

23. It was a very sad moment to have their last look at
their youngest sibling Crystal and bade farewell.
They have 6 siblings and Crystal was a very caring sister
who spent a lot of time doing long prayers before she was sick.
She often showered all her family members with her generous
gifts. They all loved her so much! This made me wonder why
good and kind people always died so young?
Karma Rules.

24. 2 sets of drummers hammered their last thunderous numbers
in front of the casket.

25. Her effigy had been placed on the sedan chair outside
by the road sides.

26.  The Taoist Monk conducted the final rites before
the funeral ceremony.

27. The casket was placed outside the house, right behind the
altar and the hearse transport.

28. The back of hearse transport.

29. The front view of the funeral hearse.

30. All the family members and friends paid their last respects
to the deceased.

31. The funeral cortege left the house and all the mourners walked for
some 2 kilometers away before boarding the chartered buses.

32. The sombre funeral procession.

33. The funeral street band followed by the Taoist Monk
and the sedan chair.


34. The final place - United Hokkien Cemeteries.

35. This is the foyer area of the crematorium.

36. The coffin was placed outside the entrance to the
cremation chamber.

37. The drummer giving his final beatings on the big drum
for a good send off.

38. Final rites conducted by the Taoist Monk before
the cremation starts.

39. The body was cremated inside the chamber while the Taoist 
Monk led the family members to the open space to send off the

40. The family members circled the sedan chair with prayers
before lighting it on fire.

41. The final send off.

42. This terrace, houses all the other urns at the columbarium.

43. There was a food canteen with the comforts of air cond
and dining tables for the mourners and well wishers.
They served white porridge with dishes for our lunch.

44. This is a common sight at Chinese funerals where they
would place a bucket of fresh water with petals of assorted
flowers. The colourful and pretty flowers are always believed 
to contain good frequencies.
This water would be used to wipe our hands and faces
to help purify & brighten up our well being after attending
funerals which are deemed as "Yin" occasions.


45. The funeral undertakers had collected the ashes and placed
them inside the metal pan for the family to sort out.

46. The ashes have been sorted out and arranged inside the white
marble urn. The undertaker sealed it with glue and tied with a 
red fabric ribbon.

47. The Taoist Monk conducted a special prayer to bless the new
niche to place the urn. This columbarium was inside another
temple grounds of another location in Penang.

"May Her Soul Rest In Peace
In The Land Of Eternity."


The Day My World Ended

At sunrise of 3rd August, my wife came to fetch me in her brand new car. She sped all the way through the morning traffic to Shah Alam. It w...