Friday, 21 July 2017

Witnessing "Muhibbah"

       Both my dad and my hubby frequent the same Indian barber, who operates from half a shoplot. Rajen's shop does not have the eye-catching revolving red and white helical stripes of the barber's pole. But he embraces patronage with colourful words of welcome in Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, Tamil and English...an excellent embodiment of the 1Malaysia spirit. Interestingly, the name of his shop is Muhibah (misspelt with one b less), which means goodwill, friendship and affection.
     Whilst waiting for hubby to have his haircut today, I witnessed a truly muhibbah scene. A feeble old Chinese uncle was tottering towards the barber shop. Upon seeing that, a young Indian man rushed out to render assistance. After being seated, the Chinese uncle grasped his Good Samaritan's hand in gratitude. The Indian man's simple act of kindness was spontaneous and was not to put on a show. But it spoke volumes of one's goodwill for another man, with nary a thought for race.
     I have always felt that Rajen's shop is rather cramped and cluttered, with hardly any room to swing a cat around. I usually pray that the haircut can be completed as soon as possible, before more customers crowd in. But as hubby and I left the barber shop today, the thought of "thank goodness it's done" was not in my mind. It was the sight of the Chinese uncle still smiling at the young Indian man (and at me, perhaps for holding the door open for him) and the reciprocal slightly shy smile of the young Indian man that filled my mind and warmed my heart today.
At Rajen's shop

     

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Catching Up With Two Brothers

              It is immensely heart-warming when your ex-students remember you, for the right reasons, and yearn to meet up with you. Students come and go in teachers’ lives, and only some take the trouble to keep in contact. Needless to say, the advent of social media like Facebook and WhatsApp have made this much easier. But when ex-students make it a point to pay us a visit in school or arrange for a meet-up, it transcends catching up to a different level, a much more personal one.
     I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with two brothers, Julian and Kevin Looi. Julian was from my first batch of Sam Tet students and I had not seen him for more than ten years. I remember him as a reserved, shy and lanky boy. He has now blossomed into a charming, affable and handsome 28-year-old, who has girls swooning over him. Although I did not teach Kevin, he was a student in my Young Christian Students Movement.  I remember him very well as he was a quiet but adorable boy. And today, I’m pleased to see that he is just as endearing, but is so much more vocal and humorous. As he is 5 years younger than Julian, I did not know they were brothers back then. The connection came to light only when their mother, Pn. Chuan, was transferred to Sam Tet as the Senior Assistant later. This was after both boys had left school.
     I was touched to learn from Pn. Chuan that I had left some positive impression on both her sons. This is one of the greatest compliments a teacher can get, as we often fear that we do not give enough, that we may have overlooked some as there are always so many in our care, that we may have been impatient or insensitive at times, or that we may have been careless with callous words that leave a scar.
     Interestingly, both boys (or should I say, young men?) are so similar in many aspects. How could I not have made the connection back then? They both enjoy cooking and baking, and now often take over the kitchen (but leave the cleaning up to their mum). Julian showed me some photos of the food and cakes that they have made, and just from the looks, I would say the brothers could give many eateries and bakeries a good run for their money. Both Julian and Kevin are so united in teasing their mum mercilessly. It was incredibly refreshing listening to their good-natured banter. The bond between the brothers is solid, and it’s easy to see that they share a camaraderie that can be the envy of many siblings.

     Inevitably, all good things must come to an end. We had to reluctantly leave the cafe, but with promises to meet up again another day. I took a look at my watch and was surprised to see that we had been chatting for one and a half hours! Had it been that long? Time flies, when you are having a good time. This has definitely been an afternoon that will long be remembered and treasured.
A very enjoyable afternoon with Pn. Chuan, Julian and Kevin

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Indulging In Crabs

Admittedly, having a meal of crabs does not come cheap. 

But the sight of two crab aficionados gleefully feasting on the crustaceans is worth the price to pay. 
Very focused on the task


Crab House Seafood Restaurant seems to be our annual dinner venue to celebrate Papa's birthday.
Located at Laluan Perajurit 1, Ipoh Garden East


Derrick loves crabs and insists that the process of tearing apart the shell to dig into the flesh is an integral part of enjoying crabs.
Cleaned out dish, empty shells, full stomach



Ever so pampered, I prefer to have the flesh ripped out for me, without having to get my hands dirty.

Fresh, plump and juicy were the crabs, which were imported from Batam, Indonesia, and are currently priced at RM123 per kg.
Tempting me with some


Get here early or reserve your table to avoid disappointment as the restaurant is usually packed, especially on weekends.

Happy Birthday, my dearest Papa!
My handsome Papa enjoys his crabs

A family photo before the meal begins

Homemade tofu smothered in pumpkin sauce

Crispy roasted chicken stuffed with fish paste

Stir-fried broccoli with garlic

And the piece de resistance : sweet and sour crabs