Bye for now, KCH…

31 Mar 2010 – Happy Bday to Jo, my sister

Mon: breakfast@Rumah hijau/Green home*** interesting decor. The Indian rojak is excellent. Thanks to Raja Noor, who first introduced me to the colourful swiss roll kede lapis a couple of years ago. She lead us to the village across the river where these lapis are manufactured and they are such pretty gifts to buy for my SIN family and friends.

App 1hr drive towards Lundu is the tiny fishing village Telaga Air, located near the mouth of the Sungai Sibu/River Sibu which ends in the S China Sea. Bought fresh fish and prawns at the village. Drove to the coastline to discover an uninviting beach with real rough and choppy waves. But the view beyond is quiet lovely.

Tue: Happy Bday to Raymond ONG and thank you for the delicious bday lunch @Xin Tsui Siang*** The roast duck is tasty. So long KCH… for now, until the next trip. Picture taken from the Hilton Hotel of the Main Bazaar and the other two at the riverfront walk- dedicated to Chuan & AnnChee, a safe Easter KL trip to them.

Thank you to Lawrence & Mabel for their hospitality. Kum sia to the ONG family and terima kasih to Raja Noor.

Bla bla bla

29 Mar 2010 – What a weekend!

ChingMing, held on the day of the Third Moon and for this year, 4/5 Apr. This day is also known as the Grave-Sweeping or Spring Remembrance Day, literally means ‘clear and bright’ and is the time of the year when Chinese families visit the graves of their ancestors to clean the gravesite and pay their respects. It’s common for families to make offerings of rice, fruit and wine to ensure their loved ones have enough food and drink in the afterlife. Some families burn incense and paper money by the graveside, believing that the smoke rises to the after-world and can be used by their ancestors.

Sat: out of the house by 0600hrs to the grave of Mabel’s parents. As some of her family members could only be here this weekend, ChingMing for them is a week earlier. In my childhood days, we would carry wine and a whole sucking-pig up to my paternal grandfather LAM Song Kee’s grave in SIN when burial was still the norm. Today, due to lack of land in SIN, cremation is the usual way is go and grandfather’s remains have been cremated and kept in an urn.

By lunch I was giving another AT Thru-Hike talk to the Rotary International/Rotary Club of KCH Central, Sarawak, Malaysia/District 3310. Thank you for the a lovely lunch. Appreciations to the ONG family for including me for their ChingMing dinner, another sumptuous spread with two sucking-pigs.

Sun: app 55km from KCH is the border town Serikin/Bau, not known to the tourists. There are over 200 stalls of both fresh produce and stuff where the traders cross into Sarawak from Indonesia to sell their goods. One can get good bargains… the cane furniture were tempting me! The grandchildren would have loved the rocking horse and the chairs but shipping them would have cost much more than the goods!

Dinner at the Bla bla bla Restaurant**** for the charming ambiance located a shop-house where you need to stay sober to get thru’ two waterways 🙂 for the fusion food*** The lamb-shank was OK and I have had better midin=fiddlehead, a local fern which is one of my favourite KCH greens and can only be found here.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep… – Elizabeth Frye

Butterflies

27 Mar 2010 – In Memory of Kelly Xuan

2010, this beautiful butterfly picture was Kelly Xuan’s last drawing. Now a loving guardian angel, she is helping her loved ones to ease their grief with her butterflies. She will be greatly missed but the memories will always stay in the heart and mind of her loved ones. May she rest in peace.

The Ancient Greek word for butterfly is ψυχή=psȳchē, which primarily means soul or mind. There are many links with butterflies in mythology from all over the world, many of which, in particular Greek mythology, link butterflies to the human soul. Butterflies are considered as the souls of those who had passed away. Many people reported receiving a sign which affirmed that their deceased family member or friend had survived physical death and continues to live in another dimension of existence, known as ADC signs. They are a relatively common type of after-death communication. Depending on their belief system, they may ask their deceased loved one to give them a sign, or they may pray to God or the universe for one.

Typical symbolic ADC include butterflies and rainbows. Whether a sign comes immediately or takes days or weeks to arrive, most people intuitively recognize their sign right away and feel it was intended just for them. These signs provide much hope to those who are grieving deeply. But because they are a symbolic form of communication, the receiver must interpret his or her own experience and assign personal meaning to it.

June 1965, there was a butterfly on my mother’s coffin lid all night while I was keeping watch. 15 June 2005 (Day 47 of my AT Thru-Hike) would have been my father’s 94th bday (he died in 1996) and there were butterflies galore around me that day. The Buddhists believe in reincarnation…  were all my ancestors keeping an eye on me during my hike?

Butterfly, butterfly Bright as can be. Fly pretty butterfly, Fly down to me!

Hello from Kuching/KCH

26 Mar 2010 – Memories from 1973

The first time I set foot here was in 1973. Brother Lawrence & his wife Mabel were having combined bday party for their sons John & Larry. They had a pool with a slide and the children were having a blast sliding into the water. John HALD, my children’s father was one of the life guards. Was observing this sweet Japanese girl who was at the side of the pool carefully taking in all the excitement. She then timidly climbed up the stairs to the slide and looked apprehensive before sitting down on the slide, still have a picture which I took of her sliding down. The moment she landed in the water, I knew she could not swim. Thank goodness John, being over 6′ could stand on the deepest end of the pool, and he picked her up after my frantic yelling to him. Memories of this incident flashed back with a recent sad and tragic swimming pool accident.

Found KCH to be charming and delightful then and still do. Have been a couple of time since 1973 and will be returning. Was hoping to travel on to Sibu & Sarikei to do more research on the bank but seems like time is not on my side for this trip, so will stay around to catch up with family & friends who are important for me. The delicious KCH laksa is one of the must-try dish when in KCH. Coincidentally, all of Mabel’s siblings are here visiting and like us she also has 6 siblings and a chance for a Kodah moment should not be missed! The picture of me is with one of Mabel’s niece, Angelina ONG who will be moving to Belgium next week. Good Luck to her.

To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward – Margaret Fairless Barber

iRobot Roomba

24 Mar 2010 – And Mar Movies/2

Spent a delightful day catching up with Gene who introduced me the iRobot vacuum cleaner. It was fascinating to watch this round-shaped machine suck up all the dust and it is definitely on the top of my wish-list! G also lives in the same condo complex as nephew Lee & family. Thank you G for having me, Lee, Adeline & SunSun in your beautiful home for sushi and wine. Have to head to the airport for a Tiger flight towards KCH. Tying up the loose ends for the LAM-Heritage trail book so that I can get a start on a first rough draft… a project to keep me out of trouble for the next three years 🙂 Hopefully there will be a chance to blog there.

Crazy Heart**** great acting from Jeff Bridges in this semi-tragic romantic. Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who’s had way too many marriages, too many years on the road and drinks way too many times. With the help a journalist and her son, Bad learns the hard way to be the real man behind the musician.

Ain’t rememberin’ wonderful?


The Class*** screened by SFS is a winner of 2008 Palme d’Or at the 61st Cannes film festival with the original French title is Entre les murs= between the walls. In a multiracial middle school in inner Paris, a languages teacher struggles to hold the attention of a class of 14/15-year-olds throughout the academic year. This movie is a reminder why I do not ever want to teach in a public school. Somehow education today is baby-sitting kids whose parents are not there for them or are there but not daring to discipline them. There seems to be a miscommunication or misunderstanding that education = upbringing!

Up in the Air*** this poster shows the vast emptiness of the man’s life with 2 unconnected strangers, no where close to him, and it is on the mark! A fresh comedy surrounding a human resource administrator whose life up in the friendly skies becomes his only world as he works to reach his one-millionth frequent flyer miles when he meets the frequent-traveller woman of his dreams and ready to make a connection.

Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes – on getting through airport security

Remember Me*** In the romantic drama about Tyler whose parents have split in the wake of his brother’s suicide and Ally who lives each day to the fullest since witnessing her mother’s murder. Tyler, a rebellious young man who has a strained relationship with his father, didn’t think anyone could possibly understand what he was going through until he met Ally through an unusual twist of fate. They fall in love but hidden secrets are revealed and the circumstances that brought them together slowly threaten to tear them apart.

If you could hear me, I would say that our finger prints don’t fade from the lives we’ve touched

A Tale of Love & Adventure

22 Mar 2010 – Ramayana Revisited

The Peranakan Museum exhibits the most famous works of ancient India where Prince of Ayodhya with an army of monkeys recuse his wife from the King of Lanka… universal and timeless concepts of love, honour, deceit and duty! In this exhibition, the 7 chapters are illustrated with beautiful shadow puppets which are my high points.

There were some slight miscommunication over the weekend. Thought that the Tubbs told me that they will be back on Sun morning. My original plans for Sat was, first Stanley‘s swimming competition, then pay respect at my parents’ crematorium (around the same area as SSS) and meet AmyR at the Peranaken Museum. As it turned out, Stanley had a fever and could not swim. The Tubbs arrived Sat morning in the pouring rain and we had a relaxing morning. After the museum with AmyR, it was perfect to walk around CHIJMES (my old school), Arab Street and Little India under the cool cloudy skies. Believe it or not but 3 cups of green tea at Raffles Ah Ting’s Cafe cost over S$40! Somehow it does NOT justify that kind of price but there are other ways to get even 🙂

Sun at the airport. Janice, being an ex-airline employee travels on space available. Fortunately they got on their flight to BKK and hope that they managed their connection to LAX. Safe journeys to them and hope that we will not wait for another 10 years before our next meeting. It was so nice to catch up and we had such fond memories from my FL days. Had quite a shopping spree and experience at T3 as there is no GST(7%) at some of the shops. Joined the Changi Rewards Club (no charge or fees), a point system. For a non-shopper like me, this is quite a change…

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one – Erma Bombeck

Singapore Sports School/SSS

20 Mar 2010 – Grand nephew Stanley LAM

SSS/新加坡体育学校 is a specialized independent school and was initiated by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports/MCYS catering to teenagers who have talent in sports. In 2004 this impressive school was opened on a 70,000sqm site, located in Woodlands. It takes me over an hour by public transport (bus-MRT-bus) to get there and it is about 10mis drive from the SIN immigration check-point to Malaysia. This Aug, the 1st Youth Olympics Games will be held there where Stanley is a boarder and home only in the weekends. On weekdays, he start his day training at 0600hrs, then a normal school day and more training after classes.

Was there Thu & Fri to watch his swimming competitions (Stanley- 2nd fr left, black cap); for those who wonder, he is my 3rd brother, LAM Kwok Ping’s (known as Ah Onn to the family) first grandson. What a great way for the young people to be able to use their talent and energy. The last time I attended a swimming competition was when I swam for CHIJ school in 1965; Jovina TSENG (one of SIN top female swimmers then) is still fresh in the memory! Today’s technology provides time recording so efficiently displayed digitally on a visible scoreboard big enough for any age to read!

In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sports. You must also be prepared to work hard and the willing to accept destructive criticism. Without 100% dedication, you won’t be able to do this – Wilson Mizner