Old Town Charm

New coffee joints sprout like mushrooms after the rain. Muar is awash in this new wave. The latest to hop on the bandwagon is the biggest of the local players, Old Town White Coffee. Located along Jln Ibrahim, it has been attracting quite a crowd since it started. I guess the trademarked white coffee tastes the same everywhere, but we did not want to miss the chance of having a cuppa in our very own backyard.

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Celebrating Kyra’s first birthday

Cheese...

How time flies, our little girl is almost one.

On Saturday, we had a simple lunch at our place to celebrate this milestone, inviting Yin’s family and a couple of Vicky’s colleagues. We had a record, six Rabbit Year babies gathered at our place. So just for one afternoon, our place looked like a mini child-care, with little tikes and their older siblings crawling/running around, and busy parents trying their best to grab some food.

Here are more of the other little ones…

Cousin Isaac

Cousin Sophia

Cheyenne Jie Jie at the door

Fellow Baby Bunny

Another Rabbit year alumni and her bro

With Aunty Mel

Bunny Boy

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Itzel .. youngest of the bunny lot

The centerpiece

Onward to Bengaluru

Another night flight. Another midnight check-in. Well at least this will be my first time to this bustling Indian city.

Ok Bangalore, here I come …

Eat . Shop . Love .

We were back in Muar two weekends back for a short getaway. It was good to break our weekly routine, where every weekend is almost the same as the one before.

Muar can be a boring place if you do not what to do. But to us it was heaven sent; We were surrounded by family, had free babysitting help, no house chores (heh heh …), had our choice pick of favourite local food and plenty of shopping.

Eat .

It was ‘Ready- Set – Eat’ from the word ‘Go’. Even before we reached the borders of Muar on that Friday night, we had already placed our order of ‘Wan Tan Mee’. These is one of Vicky’s favourites, the noodle stall opposite Chuan Tin Restaurant.

The next day, we had Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls for lunch. These yummy balls are slightly bigger than their Malaccan counterparts, but smaller than the fist-sized balls that are also found in Muar. Dinner in Muar is usually Zi Char but with the many new restaurants sprouting around town, we were spoilt for choice. In the end we decided to try the ‘Yu Tou Wang’ (Fish Head King) restaurant. The food (Nyonya-styled fish head, sambal sotong and prawns) did not disappoint.

Other must try in Muar includes the Mee Siput (get a pack of six), Seremban Siew Pau from Fung Seng, and Bak Kut Teh (for breakfast).

Shop .

Yes, you read it right – Shop. What can you find in Muar that you cannot find in Singapore? Well, cheap baby formula milk for one. It might be lacking a few extra ingredients (eg DHAs, AAs, probiotics) compared to their Singaporean cousins, but at half the cost, it is a bargain that is hard to ignore.  There are many other baby and household essentials that are selling cheaper in Malaysia too.

And if you have missed any movie titles or are finding it impossible to go to the theaters with baby around, the DVD shop is just a hop away from the shopping mall. I finally got to see Jayden doing his best impression of the Karate Kid, Stallone-Arnie-Willis doing a scene together, Ah Niu and gang acting out a teenage love story, and hearing the iconic A-Team theme song again.

Love .

Well baby got plenty of lovin. With no other babies or grand kids to vie for attention, Chey naturally got all the attention. She enjoys it. And looks out for it. So much that she would sometimes stare blankly at us, her parents, but turns around and smiles at any stranger that catches her eye. She will look up eagerly at waiters who serves our food or stare at the people on the next table, hoping to catch their attention. At least it keeps her busy and distracted while we have a chance to eat in peace.

Too bad we only had two and a half days to spend in Muar. It only makes us look forward to the next trip home.

If you are guessing what happened to pray, we did not quite make it to church. The 6 to 7pm slot happens to coincide with Baby’s nap-bath-dinner time.

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Mee Siput anyone?

Those old mid-autumn nights

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Back in the 80s, mid-autumn nights were especially special. When the sun sets, we gladly welcomed the night as it heralded the lantern sessions. Our toys of choice were either the multi-colured foldable paper lanterns or plastic wire framed character lanterns that we took out once a year from the back cupboard. Of course, we had to be sure that we were well stocked up with candles and a short stick or two to hold our lanterns.  Then it was time to round up the troops. These usually made up of our old neighbours Patrick, Pauline and Steven. This was one of the rare nights that we were granted the license to roam the neighbourhood streets instead of hitting our books.

So with lantern in hand, we would prowl the few Lorongs (lanes) that made up our Taman (housing estate). This was not a boring walk in the dark. To us kids, the estate was a giant playground with endless possibilities of fun. There were pit stops to be made along the way; usually  to pay a visit to homes of friends or school mates which dotted the Taman. Our reward would be an offer of a drink or some snacks. There were also houses of teachers to peep in, enemies to confront, dogs to avoid, and crazy antics like shouting a persons name and running off (a particular house in Taman Sri Maharani was often the target). We would also sometimes play hide and seek, splitting into two groups and trying to find or avoid each other.

Ahhh… miss those simple times. Who would have thought a lighted lantern would bring so much joy and leave so many fond memories. Can’t wait till my daughter is old enough to walk around the neighbourhood with her own lantern.

Till then, Happy Mid-Autumn…

Goodbyes over Penang Asam Laksa and Char Kway Teow

It was a long overdue meet-up and farewell of sorts, done over a Penang buffet spread at Penang Place. Saye Chuan, Julia and Kirsten, who moved over to this sunny island just a year plus ago will be hopping over to another bustling capital on an equally sunny island. The food was so-so, the company was great and the suggestion of a trip to Yogyakarta sounded very enticing.

Here is a nice cheery photo of our group.

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Teh Tarik Satu lagi

“Bos, teh tarik satu lagi!”

“Ok, one coming up. Hey, you’ve moved your blog arh?”

“Yeah, after five happy years at blogger. I thought it was time for something fresh. Haha… didn’t know you read my blog.”

“Want more roti?”

“No, teh cukup. My stomach no more like last time. What goes in will stay on as part of the spare tyre…”

March Birthdays Boys again

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The Birthday Boys

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With the rest of us

I am king of the world no more

hurt_locker_ver3 VS avatar-movie-poster

At the end, the ex-missus took the cake. In fact, it was both the cake and the icing. With both main oscars in the bag, she has finally stepped out of James’ larger-than-life shadows. Well, personally I had preferred ‘Avatar’ to win. For me it was a 3D epic adventure that was just more memorable and exciting than the rest of the lot. I had watched the Hurt Locker on DVD last weekend; it was gritty, engaging and ‘real’ but it would probably just stay on mind as long as let’s say ‘District 9’, meaning just good enough for a night’s reflection. Maybe the war-movie meant a whole lot more to the Americans who has loved ones in the thick of the action. Anyway, the blue army of Pandora gets my nod. Here are a few noatable (and laughable) quotes from the academy awards.

“I want to thank the Academy for not considering Na’vi a foreign language.” — Argentine director Juan Jose Campanella, after winning the award for best foreign language film.

“Oscar and Penelope (Cruz), that’s an uber-Bingo.” — Christoph Waltz, accepting the best supporting actor Oscar. Cruz was the presenter.

“Never did I dream that making a flip book out of my third-grade math book would lead to this.” — Pete Docter, accepting the best animated feature film award for “Up.”