Monday, 13 February 2012

A Valentine's Day Tribute To The One Who Means The World To Me

        Contrary to what many youngsters think, Valentine's Day is not solely dedicated to the partner or spouse we love. It is a time to pay tribute to people who are dear to us, and to tell them how much they mean to us.
        She is the one who has stood steadfast beside me all these years. Her loyalty to me has never wavered. Even at times when others doubted, she never questioned. When I was teased or bullied, she rallied to my rescue. And even now when I can stand up for myself, she is still my pillar of strength, in whom I can lean on to take a breather when times are trying.
        She is the one who held my hands and steadied me as I took my first steps. She taught me my first words, and went on to read with me the Ladybird series. She tirelessly taught me arithmetic, assigned worksheets for me to work on and revised other schoolwork with me throughout primary schooldays. In my secondary school years, she sat with me in the nights as I did my homework or revision. Even as her eyelids grew heavy, she valiantly tried to stay awake for fear of tempting me to doze off as well.
        She is the one who devotedly nursed me back to health every time I was ill. I can clearly remember the times she played card games to cheer up a moody sick child. And the time she bought me a doll and waved it in front of me as I woke up groggily from a fever-induced slumber. During the agonizing chicken pox days, she was a rock. She soothed the itches and tolerated my screams when she washed my hair and burst some blisters on my scalp. And when it was all over, she drove me out to paint the town red after the imposed confinement. Even though I am now an adult who is capable of looking after herself, she still frets and fusses whenever I fall sick.
        She is the one I turn to for A to Z. She knows my deepest desires and innermost secrets. We share everything under the sun. We instinctively know what the other is thinking and we often finish each other's sentences. I know it may sound a little uncanny but we can sometimes even feel what the other party is undergoing. We are very much a part of each other. On days when I do not see her, I do not feel 100% alive. At times when I feel a little under the weather, the sight of her and time spent with her can be a more effective cure than Panadol and Piriton put together.
        So Mummy dearest, this tribute is for you. You are the one who means the world to me. I love you  for always believing in me, for always encouraging me to believe in myself, for giving me a solid foundation, for incessantly being there for me. Thank you so much for being my Mama. Happy Valentine's Day to my beautiful mother!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Feasting on Chap Goh Mei

In true 1Malaysia spirit, this long weekend is rendered extra special because all the three main races have their own stakes in the celebration. Yesterday was a holy day for the Muslims as it was Prophet Muhammad's birthday. Chinese New Year formally ends today with Chap Goh Mei. Devout Hindus will throng the temples to give thanks and fulfil their vows on Thaipusam, which falls tomorrow.

It has indeed been a fruitful long weekend for me, a welcome respite for the weary working soul. Although I was slogging around the house on Saturday and Sunday, I enjoyed surveying the fruits of my labour. In preparation for hubby's guest, who will be checking into our humble abode in a fortnight's time, I have been sprucing up the house. When the urge and mood kick in, I can vouch for how therapeutic tidying and cleaning can be. Witnessing the transformation from messy and dusty to neat and sparkling clean can certainly boost one's spirits and esteem.

After all the hard work, I decided to celebrate the Chinese version of Valentine's Day with Suet Fun, who is like a sister to me. To digress a little, I'll explain why Chap Goh Mei (the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year) is akin to Valentine's Day. In the olden days, fair maidens headed to rivers and lakes where they would throw in their mandarin oranges. It was believed that the man who picks up their orange would be their future destiny.

Being of the practical sort (and also because we've already found our own destiny), Suet Fun and I had no plans to pollute the Kinta River with our mandarin oranges. Instead, we opted to fill our bellies with a sumptuous meal at Restoran Rasa Lain in Bercham. It was Suet Fun's first time there and she thanked me for introducing her to such good food. We shared a claypot of tung hoon (vermicelli) with deep fried fish meat and a platter of steamed la-la (clams). Restoran Rasa Lain is famed for its claypot tung hoon with crabs but we dainty ladies did not deign to dirty our hands cracking the claws. So we chose to have the claypot tung hoon accompanied by fish meat instead. When the claypot arrived, it looked like a really huge amount but we hungry souls were not in the least worried. And because it was so delicious, not a drop of the soup nor a thread of tung hoon was left. We also attacked the steamed la-la with fervour as they were succulent and scrumptious, being accompanied by garlic, ginger, spring onions and chillies.

Tonight's dinner cost us RM26 each but given the amount of seafood, it was truly reasonable. But more importantly, it was dining with the right company that made the affair truly memorable. Happy Chap Goh Mei, jie jie!