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Archive for July, 2008

Ah Loot and her friends went for dinner at Peony Garden nyonya restaurant at Dataran Sunway.  This restaurant is newly opened, about four months old.  Earlier in the day, Ah Loot’s friend had called the restaurant to make a reservation and also to order the duck soup which they confirmed was available.  However, when they reached the restaurant, there was no duck soup.  They denied receiving any phone call earlier regarding the duck soup.  So, then hoh, Ah Loot kicked up a storm, say, how come liddat one.  At first say got, now say no.   But there was no apology forthcoming from the restaurant owner and since they were already there, they decided to stay on and order the food.  After all that drama, Ah Loot said that the food was nice and the price was reasonable.  She didn’t take note of the names of the dishes but those of you who are familiar with nyonya food would be able to identify them.  Yummy, yummy!

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I don’t know what it is with Max and his fascination with my laptop.  He likes to jump and sit on it.  It doesn’t matter whether the laptop is closed or opened.  When it’s opened and I’m not around, he will sit on the keyboard.  But I would know he had been messing around the keyboard because I will see this endless line of “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” on the internet browser, the alphabets that will appear being whichever ones he happens to step on.

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When I first started my Mandarin conversation classes I didn’t know what to expect.  I’ve now completed the third lesson which covered actual conversation when meeting a friend.  The “Laoshi” (teacher) – if pronounced wrongly could mean “mouse” – tested each student individually and corrected our pronunciation.  From the conversation, we learnt the Chinese names of all the students in the class, what they do for a living, what company they work for and where they live.  Even those who were not Chinese had their names translated to Mandarin.  One “Sweet Young Thing” refused to reveal her Chinese name because she said it is a boy’s name.  We are indeed a diverse group ranging from students, working people to a retiree.   In my first two lessons, I was a lone ranger and sat alone.  On my third lesson, someone sat next to me and I met a new friend.  Slowly, everyone is opening up to each other and someone suggested that we should all go and have “makan” (a meal) after class.   That way we learn a language and network as well.  Also we can practise speaking Mandarin with each other. 

I am beginning to enjoy myself learning how to converse in Mandarin, but it needs a lot of practice.  The other day I tried practising with my nephew and niece and they were a great help in correcting me.  Some words that I pronounced ended up sounding like a bad word which left them exclaiming, “aiyeiiii”.  Ang Gu said, “better next time you don’t say that word”.  So anyway, they said I speak Mandarin with an “ang moh” (westerner) accent.   And they asked me why after all this time, I’ve decided to learn Mandarin.  I told them that I didn’t want to be called “banana” (as described by Wayson Choy here) anymore.  It didn’t bother me being called banana but I suppose it is about time, I explore my Chinese roots.

More tales to come later, until then “zai jian” (goodbye).

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Mom has turned 79

My mother turned 79 on Sunday, 20 July.  We took her out for dinner at the Sixth Happiness restaurant on Saturday night to celebrate the occasion.  There was a wedding dinner going on at that time, but fortunately, the restaurant has a couple of rooms opened for drop-in customers like us.  The restaurant has been refurbished and looks very nice and clean.

We ordered the individual set menu which costs RM26.80 net per head.  Normally, they have a set menu for a table of 10 people but now that they have this individual set, it suits us fine as there are 6 of us.   The food was delicious and the set consists of these dishes:

Salad Fresh Prawns
Shark’s Fin Soup With Crab Meat
 

Add this vinegar to the shark’s fin soup for added flavour. 

Vinegar
 
Honey Spareribs With Angelica
Japanese Beancurd Skin With Seafood
Steamed Fish With Beancurd Sticks And Fungus
Fried Rice

We wanted to change the fried rice dish to longevity noodles as this is usually eaten for birthdays but it wasn’t allowed, so we ordered the noodles separately.

Longevity Noodles

The above set meal comes with complimentary fruit juice or beer.  All of us opted for the fruit juice.  Ang Gu’s watermelon juice was yellow, orangy colour but it tasted like watermelon alright.

Apple Juice And Watermelon Juice

We were too stuffed after the meal to have the birthday cake, so we took it home instead. 

Max was as usual excited with all the happenings and he started jumping all over the place and we had to shout at him to get lost or push him aside.  In the end, he got sent to the corner and told to behave himself or get booted out of the house.  He looks very dejected here.

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This cough is killing me

This maddening cough just won’t leave me alone.  I’ve finished my medications but I think it’s this air-conditioning that’s making me cough like crazy.  

I am looking forward to the weekend, so that I can just sleep away….. like Max.

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I caught a nasty flu virus over the weekend.  It started with a sore throat and slight cough.  Then I started to get chilly and my bones ached.  At my age, I do suffer from the occasional aches and pains in my joints but this ache is like a zillion times magnified.  I felt completely exhausted and took the medications prescribed by the doctor.  The coughing got worse, I think I was getting on everyone’s nerves.  Finally, I crashed out for two days.  Did nothing but eat and sleep and now I’m feeling better, although the cough is still there. 

I bought the Dettol disinfectant and sprayed the whole house until it smelled like a hospital.  Ah Loot got the flu first and only recovered after two weeks.  I hope I recover faster than that.  Meanwhile, I’m taking Wheatgrass drink to boost my immune system.

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I have just started my first lesson in Mandarin (Conversation) Level 1.  The lessons are held once a week, two hours each lesson for a total of 15 weeks.  There are 22 of us in the class with a mixture of Malays, Chinese and Indians.  The teacher told us that the number will probably reduce to half as the weeks go by because some might find it too difficult to follow whilst some will skip classes due to work commitment. 

The first lesson we had was an introduction to Han Yu Pin Yin.  We were taught the different tones and pronunciation.  It was kind of interesting because we had to make funny sounds come out from our mouths and one word can have four different meanings depending on the tone expressed.  The teacher told us to practice the pronunciations at home.  In fact, we are to immerse ourselves in everything Chinese.  Watch Mandarin TV movies, dramas and news.  Listen to Chinese radio and if possible  practise speaking Mandarin.  We have to tune our minds to think Chinese.   So, now I will switch on the Mandarin radio channel in my car while driving to work and back.  I don’t understand a word, but never mind, I should recognise some of the words in time.  Well, I hope so anyway. 

Today while I was practising the sounds for “z, c, s, j, q, x” and etc, Max (my cat) ran towards me and looked like he was ready to attack.   He probably thought there was a snake or some weird animal in the house. 

I hope I survive all 15 weeks of my Mandarin classes.  I can’t think of Level 2 and Level 3 for now!

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