Leaving on a Jet Plane

30 Mar 2011 – Happy Bday Jo… a day early!

Kum cao/甘草/Glycyrrhiza uralensis, also known as Chinese liquorice, which is used in TCM. This root could help moistens the lungs and stops coughs. It treats disorders such as shortness of breath and fatigue. Its neutral property treats coughing and wheezing of various etiologies that stems from either cold or heat and deficiencies of excess, with or without phlegm. Liquorice root has also been reported to speed the healing of canker sores. Would start chewing it when a  sore throat or cough is onset and most times it works for me!

Take care people, there is much coughing going on at present.

Thank you Sue, Pat & David for a wonderful dinner and gathering@Imperial Treasure, Great World City****for their mom and my sister, Jo’s 74th Bday. Lucas is as cute as a button and certainly has much to say for his age! Good to see Michael looking well after his surgery. To Les & Ivy, the wines are as usual great, but the problem is that it is difficult to drink wines anywhere else! Will then stick to champagne when not drinking their wines 🙂

Appreciate that the celebrations is a day early as will be riding the Tiger again tomorrow! And now to get a good night sleep – just love those zzzzzzzz

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book – Irish Proverb

Believe It or Not!

29 Mar 2011 – Comments Flying All Over (edited 1700hrs)

Only one NSman is represented in this pix, there are others like my two grand-nephews ANG Kee Yang & LAM Sui Chang who are good citizens and serving their country with pride, my respects to them! Even if it means to add it in after the posting, formally Ghost from this morning, but edited to Believe It or Not. Had to do as a reminder and hopefully not happen again!


He’s in the army, but she’s the one carrying the backpack.

A series of photographs making its rounds on the Internet has generated much debate about whether Gen Y soldiers in Singapore are too soft and spoilt.

The photos which were taken off Facebook and posted on The Straits Times’ online portal Stomp features a young man, fully decked out in army fatigues, with his maid trailing behind him carrying his large backpack…

This was posted on FaceBook by CHENG Chee Hoew later… imagine the comments this incident generated. Since my name has been taken in vain here, had to put in my two cents!

Cheng Chee Hoew


2 hours ago ·  ·  · Share
  • 3 people like this.

      Amy Lam Hellooo my name has been taken in vain… and why would I want to catch up with such spoiled brats 🙂 

      2 hours ago · 

      Lee Chin Beng that’s a good one! 

      2 hours ago · 

      Cheng Chee Hoew Hahaha. Not you lah. You can outmarch those tofu soldiers for sure. 

      2 hours ago ·  ·  1 person

      Geno Ong Kay Yong likes “tofu soldiers” hehehehe 

      2 hours ago ·  ·  1 person

      Cheng Chee Hoew For those who don’t know Amy, she is the first Singaporean to hike the 3,500km Appalachian Trail in 2005. She would laugh at our 24km marches 🙂 

      about an hour ago · 

      Geno Ong Kay Yong ‎*hides behind coconut tree* 

      about an hour ago ·  ·  1 person

      Amy Lam Thanks CH… have all the respect for any 24 km marches but difficult to have respect in spoiled brats and wimps! 

      about an hour ago ·  ·  1 person

Ghost*** In Your Arms Again is a remake of the 1990 Ghost and is a co-production between S Korea and Japan. Previously titled Love and Soul. Except this flick is a role reverse. Nanami is a successful Japanese CEO and Joon-ho is a Korean potter who lives in Tokyo to learn pottery. They become a couple but Nanami dies due to an accident. Nanami hangs around Joon-ho even after her death because she couldn’t leave his loved one and then she eventually finds out the truth about her death.

Had to watch this as the original Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze was rather touching and Whoopi Goldberg did such a good job as the psychic! This Asian version is different even with the same music, Unchained Melody! Both stories reflect on love even after death. Is it possible for some souls to linger on and this story touches on that. Then does anyone really know; no one has been there and return to tell, unless you choose to believe. Am a sceptic, in spite of a few strange incidences and such one as…

A strange thing happened while flossing my teeth. The floss just vanished out of my hands! No did not swallow it, not illusions or imagination. Yes checked the sink and fine-combed the area throughly and am aware that Ching Ming is just round the corner! Will not disclose the location as others might get freak out. Harry suggested that the floss is made in China, thus dissolved in the mouth. That is the best explanation so far 🙂

A favourite quotation that has been quoted many times in: True love is like a ghost; everyone talks of it, but few have met it face to face – La Rochefoucald

The Lincoln Lawyer*** Mickey is a LA criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln Continental sedan. He has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of a lifetime: defending a Beverly Hills playboy accused of murder. But the seemingly straightforward case is more complicated and develops into a deadly game of survival for Mickey and his family. Worth the watch if you have the time.


Food Glorious Food

27 Mar 2011 – No Need for More Food!!!

Fri: lunch with Pat & Peggy@Teahouse/the Asian Kitchen***(since 2005) in Raffles City. We had the roast duck, broccoli with mushroom and the spinach soup which are all rather tasty. To Peggy thanks for lunch and to Pat & Peggy, thanks for the lovely company.

Coffee & dessert@Canele… what an indulgence.

Has been sometime ago since Leonard & Brian got together and also ages ago since the last visit to ShangriLa Hotel. There are some interesting signs in the area. Supposed to meet for high tea but could not really eat more, instead a glass of champagne to cheers to such charming and delightful company. Thanks Brian for getting us together. Amazing that when we first met, Brian, Chuan and Leonard were in their late 20s. Both Brian & Chuan in KCH now are into fatherhood and their eldest kid is same age as Katy! Appreciations to the younger men for keeping in contact with this grandmother 🙂

Sat: dim-sum lunch@Victor’s Kitchen in Sunshine Plaza and the standard of the food is not as it was, especially the service. Considering the personal problems the owners are going thur’ and the lady boss was practically in tears when relating her woes! Memories from some years back when this HKG family just moved here started at a corner shop with only 6 tables! Will not rate this time round as it will not be fair.

http://www.camperscorner.com.sg/main/index.php Campers’ Corner Outdoor Outfitters/51 Waterloo St, the only shop that sells Chaco in SIN. Could not resist this pair but would have preferred it in another colour, then the comfort is most important for any hiker! Thanks to Calvin TAY for his attention & service. Decided to buy a new stick, hat and headlamp (gave away most of the hiking gears after the AT hike!) Plans for a PPP & talk on the AT Hike on 29 Apr at this location.

http://www.foodforthought.com.sg/fft Tea at Queens St branch@Food for Thought****David never fails to impress me with their food & service. The N Bridge Rd branch has the best duck pizza! Food for Thought & Victor’s Kitchen have been rated in other postings. If interested just enter the names on the right hand corner and do a search. Thanks to nephew Clement for lunch & tea and to Leslie & Ivy for dinner@Tanglin Club, founded in 1865 is one of the most prominent and prestigious social clubs in SIN.

It was a social club, place to be seen and a place to make connections – Ken Yellis

Acknowledgements etc

25 Mar 2011 – Back in SIN with more of Mother Nature’s Fury!

Thu: bye-bye to the Cat City’s beautiful sky. The Tiger took off 10mins late from KCH due to late incoming flight but caught up with time and arrived on time safe & sound back in SIN early yesterday evening. If not for these people’s kindness and gracious hospitality, the travels in Sarawak would have not been so educational and enjoyable.

Many thanks, especially to Lawrence & Mabel for putting me up, driving me all around KCH, all the yummy food and wines and the delicious farewell dinner@See Good****

Kuching: AnnChee, SiawChuan & family, Mr Lam of Lee Sang Goldsmith and Peter Wee of Anna Photo Studio.

Sarikei: Daniel Yiek’s info on: http://sarikei-time-capsule.blogspot.com, Mr & Mrs Stephen Chen & family of King’s Inn, the Lam family of Kwong Hup Cafe and to all the people who took time to talk to me.

Sibu: Cathrine Eyut Ak Pasai & family and the people in Kampung Bawang Assan/Longhouse,  Kelly Grace & Wesley Malacca.

Elizabeth Taylor (79), the legendary actress famed for her beauty, her charitable endeavors and her many marriages. National Velvet is a classical and even as a child watching her then, she was already absolutely beautiful and her beauty continued until yesterday. May she now rest in peace. Condolences to her family

Another earthquake and this one is in Myanmar near the Thai border around the Golden Triangle. To the people in that area where there is much poverty, my prayers and thoughts go out to them.

At least 75 people were killed and dozens of buildings destroyed. Tremors spread as far away as Bangkok, almost 800km from the epicentre, Hanoi and parts of China during the earthquake on Thursday, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) measured at magnitude 6.8.

Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts – Martin Buxbaum

Views of KCH

23 Mar 2011 – Civic Centre

Tue: thanks to AnnChee & SiawChuan for a home-cooked dinner. Nice to spent some time with their delightful children and they too are growing up fast. Jia Jia is now 9, same as Katy and playing the piano. Kelly would have been 6, like Ellie and Tiger is 3, a year younger than JohnW. Has been just over a year ago since Kelly departed from this world and she is missed by all her loved ones. Somehow it seems like yesterday that AnnChee & SiawChuan were passing thru’ SIN en route for their honeymoon!

KCH Civic Centre or Dewan Suarah KCH/1988 is a major landmark in here. The viewing platform at the top of the futuristic Civic Centre tower offers the best all-round views of KCH and the surrounding areas. The city and its hinterland, Mt Serapi, Mt Santubong and even the mountains of Kalimantan are visible on a clear day. Not sure as to why there are hardly anyone there yesterday, perhaps it is a weekday but lucky for my camera and me 🙂

Notice the beautiful big trees and the magnificent colonial white-washed buildings from the White Rajah days! Quite a contrast to the not-so well-maintained Chinese shop houses where Main Bazaar (river front) and #30 is. KLBank used to be there, now Star Company. Across the river is a Malay Kampong/village next to the Astana. It is certainly not your White Rajahs’ standard of living even when they are neighbours! Better watch my words here or might get bitten 🙂

The Torch Ginger is exquisitely beautiful to the extend that it does not look or feel real. This bud (the taste is not so good when the flower blossoms) is use to enhance the flavour of salad dishes. Usually in a lighter shade of pink colour found in rojak/a local salad dish.  The flowers in this pix are picked from Lawrence & Mabel’s garden and this vibrant pink is something new to the eyes that will have to focus towards SIN tomorrow…

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes – Marcel Proust

Road from Sibu-Kuching

22 Mar 2011 – Modes of Transportation!

Bullock carts are no longer in use, but the journey would have taken many days for that mode of transport! Plane (35mins), boat (5hrs) and now the experience with the bus. No trains in these areas and as for biking or walking, the tropical weather is not where one wants to bike or walk unless there are no other choices!

Mon: bus from Sibu to KCH, app 7hrs including 2 stops in Sarikei & Jelukong. Chose Asia Star(Biaramas Express) with the most comfortable seats and seats #1 & 2 have the panoramic views. Relaxing and good way to see the interior of this area. Probably also the most expensive bus compared to the others but a well worth 59MYR ride on mainly 2 lanes decent roads by passing some small farms (corn, dragon fruits, pepper etc), abundance of tropical ferns & plants; orchid lovers would like this, the wild Arundina/Bamboo orchid (one of my favourite wild ones!) grows like weeds on the road side.

Left on time 10.00hrs- roads out of Sibu on a Mon drizzly morning! Notice the amount of water on the road-side… the floods during monsoon seasons are no surprises! If one has to live around these swampy areas, better build houses on tall Belian wood or concrete stilts 🙂

The express bus terminals in Sibu, Sarikei (one will have to be colour-blind to miss this terminal!) and a stop@Jelukong. Be prepared to pay .20c and another .40c for tissues for the restrooms in Sibu & Sariket. In Jelukong, hold your breath, but FOC 🙂

Sibu & Sarikei’s express bus terminals are located app 15mins drive from the town center, not confusing with the local bus terminals which are at the heart for these small towns. Originally the idea to stay near these local terminals (not realizing that the express bus terminals are at different locations) is that they are in walking distance to the accommodations. But would still choose to stay near the river if future trips are necessary. The pix of the orchid is downloaded and the most of the others are taken from a moving bus. Arrived in KCH on time, at 17.00hrs and appreciations to Lawrence for meeting me.

Thank you to Lawrence for his invitation to the Rotary Club dinner and meeting. An educational slide show regarding the medical volunteers to the longhouses in the jungles in Miri. Respect and admiration to the medical team from all over Malaysia who took their leave-time to do this noble field-work.

Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass – John Steinbeck


20 Mar 2011 – Kampung Bawang Assan/Sibu

Breakfast before 0700hrs so as to make the most of this last day in Sibu. Quite a sad scene at the coffee shop, a young boy about age 6, washing cups with an older guy yelling at him on top of his voice. Controlled the tears but left as soon as I could shallow the last bit of noodles. Gratitude and thoughts to grand-uncle and grandfather for having the courage and guts to venture out of their poverty and for making a fortune so that we were given the opportunity to an education!

In archaeology and anthropology, a longhouse is a type of long, proportionately narrow, single-room building built by people in various parts of the world including Asia, Europe and N America. Many of the Dayaks in Borneo live traditionally in buildings known as a longhouse, Rumah panjang in Malay. They are built raised off the ground on stilts (best accustomed to jungle life) and are divided into a more or less public area along one side and a row of private living quarters lined along the other side. It is kind of like a village on stilts!

About an hour by car from Sibu crossing the Batang Isan Bridge is the Bawang Assan Village longhouse/希望在马来西亚,砂拉越诗巫, home of the Iban people who were into headhunting until as recently as in the late 1940s. In some very remote locations there may even still be the odd beheading but no worries will not be going in that direction 🙂

These 100yrs old foundations of the houses are made from Belian hardwood, the only wood in Borneo capable of being submerged for a long time. Appreciations to Catherine Eyut Ak Pasai (who is younger than me but has 5 children, 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren!) & her family for sharing their lunch and for showing me their home. The ayam pansuh=chicken cooked in bamboo and ikan pansuh=fish… tasted heavenly!

Thanks to her family and the locals who so graciously allow to be photographed. And thank you to beautiful old trees 🙂

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people – Confucius


19 Mar 2011 – Greetings from Sibu  





Fri: after a pleasant 1hr 30mins on the Rajang River (15MYR), was welcome by Sibu’s chirping committee in a basket 🙂

Not to be mistaken with the Sibu/Cebu in the Philippines, Sibu here is a town in Sarawak/E Malaysia! Garden City to be, this quiet town along Rajang River is one of the three towns in Malaysia which consists of a predominantly Foochow-Chinese population. Gam Mua noodle /干盘面 (kampua) – noodles tossed in pork lard or vegetable oil, fried shallots, spring onions and sometimes soy sauce and/or chili sauce is their signature dish. The town symbol is the Swan but all my pix look more like a goose! Central Market, Malaysia’s largest indoor market is quite amazing, especially how the chickens are wrapped in newspapers… eco-friendly chicks 🙂

Checked into the River Park Hotel/Jalan Maju (68MYR/per night) and took a siesta on this very hot afternoon. The late afternoon rains helped to cool the evening but not much help where taking pix is concerned. Early night and hopefully early tomorrow the rains will stop! Kian Hock Coffee Shop has good food and is next door to the hotel. How convenient!

Sat: Sibu’s area of app 8,278 km2 /3,196.3 sq mi is populated with app 257,800. The more affluent buildings besides some hotels are the Sanyan Tower/三洋大厦 (notice the rainbow! from the Central Market pix), Tua Pek Kong Temple, Fu Yong Methodist Church/Hoover Mission Hall. To many this is a sign of wealth and progress but is organized religion the answer to salvation? On this beautiful morning, the camera will be my only salvation:-)

The original KLBank/1923 was located on Jalan Bank on the junction of Jalan Wharf & Jalan Temple, what a strategic location! 6 Feb 2009 posting, it was a bike shop, today it is a cafe! Mission is now more or less accomplished in these areas with pix of where the original KLBanks were once located in Sarikei and Sibu. The next mission is to search for anyone who might have pix of the KLBanks from 1923 & 1937!

Life in Sibu is again very much focus around the river. A new attraction is the Pandaw River Cruise/2009, a 9days ordeal cruising up the Rajang river deep into the Pelagus Rapids Resort in the rural interior of Sarawak with longhouses as the attraction. Will pass on that for now. As long as the legs are able to carry this overweight body! the cruises can wait…

Started raining again this afternoon. Had a drink@Le Ark Cafe & Gallery, a wannabe trendy joint that does not serve Gin Tonic or Martinis. But Blue Lagoon is on the cocktail list… maybe they should have a signature drink name Muddy Lagoon 🙂

Ended the day@the night market where the full moon is supposed to be larger than normal, but alas the clouds will not budge for the moon… maybe later! At least the rains have stopped. Choices upon choices, managed to choose 3 dishes- tamarind (assam) fish, tapioca leaf and another local veggie for dinner, yummy!

A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death – Albert Einstein

Sarikei’s Swiflets

18 Mar 2011 – Happy 37th Bday Linn, my first-born!

Check into King’s Inn on Wed for the same price as Dragon’s Inn. The room here has the river view and the hot water works, also more convenient to the bus station and boat terminal. The King won over Puff, the mighty dragon who ceased his fearless roar 🙂

Thu: last night the sky opened to rain cats and dogs but what a refreshing morning stroll by the river to the central market!  Morning sky dotted with swiftlets flying in and out of their nests. Only a few species of swiftlets are renowned for building the saliva nests used to produce the unique texture of bird nest soup. This delicacy costs app MYR4,000-5,000 per kilo! The edible ones are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans, thus a lucrative but polluting business if one is not familiar of the know-how! These nests have been used in Chinese cooking for over 400 years.


The central market (new district office block in the background) has abundance of fresh, organic produce which made me want to cook! Between the veggies and the bird nest which is rich in nutrients and are traditionally believed to provide health benefits, such as aiding digestion, raising libido!! improving the voice, alleviating asthma, improving focus and an overall benefit to the immune system, one could be disgustingly healthy 🙂

Taman Merdeka, Pasar Sentral, Sarikei River Esplanade, Sacred Tree by the river

New Elfa Cafe, Rajang River T2, Temple-to-be! by the river

Old District Office & Court/1937, Chinese Chambers of Commerce/1940, Civic Center/1987.

Life revolving around  Jalan Wharf and the bus and river terminals…

Fri: appreciations to the people who took time to see and talk to me and a special thanks to Stephen CHEN & family who went out of their way to make me feel more than welcome. Heading upstream to Sibu at noon. The choice between the muddy brown water or the highway. For this stretch, will opt for the mud but will consider the highway back to KCH, then will have tried all mode of transport to this area 🙂

It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money – Irish Toast!

Sarikei, a small town with Big Hearts

16 Mar 2011 – Jalan Wharf/Wharf Road

12Swp2022: both his old photo of Sarikei and blog link from this post has been requested to be removed by DanielYiek – I have spent countless hours filing reports to remove this photo from copycats on Facebook. I had no choice but to dsiable my blog because I need to stop copycats and keep my old photos for a charity book on my town.

After the great Sibu fire in 1928, the Sibu branch of KLBank under LAM Pak Kuang (need to find out if he is related!) was moved to Sarikei until Sibu was rebuilt. KLBank/廣利銀行, opened in Sarikei in 1937. KLBank moved from 5 Wharf Road to 22 Wharf Road after the war in the late 1940s/early 1950s.

KL Mortgage & Remittance Company was started by grand-uncle LAM JiChiew in 1905 in Kuching. It granted loans against the security of export commodities such as pepper, rubber and other indigenous products. It provided the services of remitting money of migrant Chinese to their families in SE China. It opened branches in Sibu (1923) and Singapore (1926). After the Depression on 26 Oct 1934, the company was converted into a public company under the name KLBank. It then opened in Sarikei (1937) and Binatang (1973). It was acquired by MUI group in 1982 and then it was acquired by HL Group Malaysia in 1994. (Wikipedia)

KLBank moved to the 1st shop of a new block next to Payang Puri Block in the 1970s. 金山代理商/Kim Sang trader took over the old shop and was known for its imported western products like butter, sugar cubes and bacon.

Today the economy of Sarikei is primarily agricultural and is famed for its pineapples and pepper. The center of town has many old Chinese shophouses from the 1930s. It is also a major transportation hub for traffic on both the Pan Borneo Highway and the Rajang river. The most distinctive feature of the bustling waterfront is a 3.6 m high pineapple statue. The irony of the pix on the right is where a pot of gold is expected, there is a run-down shed at the end of this rainbow 🙂

Eureka… found my pot of gold! 5 Wharf Road, now Kwong Hup Heng Cafe with owners also name LAM. Not related but also from the same village as grandfather. Mrs LAM age 86 remembers vividly to describe how one of the fat guards in the ancestors’ Jiangmen/China house got slaughtered by the Japanese during the war. 22 Wharf Road is now a combination of furniture shop and Lian Star Realty.

HLBank is located next to Payang Puri Block near the fountain. Had Sarawak’s signature and my favourite KoLo mee+ice coffee breakfast for less than 3MYR@Rian Cheong Cafe*** across from HLBank.

Appreciations to Stephen CHEN@King’s Inn for arranging to meet up with various locals who are willing to take time to talk to me. Thank you for his most kind hospitality by even inviting me to his home for a delicious dinner with his lovely family. There are lily-pond, mango and longan tree in his garden and the fruits are juicy and yummy. The day ended with a memorable durian feast on his kitchen floor! Am planning to stay on a few more days to talk to people. To be continued…

People tend to forget that the word ‘history’ contains the word ‘story’ – Ken Burns