27022016 The Quest for The Kitchen's Kampua Mee

When I was about to come over to Kuching, a friend of mine, Jeffrey said that I need to try the Kampua Mee, a dish which is synonimous with the Foochows in Sibu. And so, the brand which I need to look out for was from 'The Kitchen' which, sells out very quickly.

But try as I might, that brand is quite difficult to get even in Kuching. But finally, through their Facebook, I was happy that it was being sold at the Boulevard's Groceries. This was because our Company Van drives us to both The Stutong Wet Market and also Boulevard for our weekly shopping needs. The alternative was Ta Kiong at The Spring, which is roughly over an hour's walk, something which I am still deliberating.

The Kampua Mee is actually dry handmade egg noodles. The specialty of this dish, apart from the noodles, lies in the pork lard and onion oil. Other ingredients such as minced pork, vegetables and so one are just to make it slightly different to cater for customer's palates as there a a LOT of Kampua Stalls competing in Sibu.

And so, today's journey ended up with me not able to find the particular brand, I had to settle for EcoFresh's Mi Kampua. Do note that these noodles are supposedly free from any preservative and so, has a very short shelf life as mine expired in end of May 2016! And yes, you need to look for them in the Non-Halal section. The whole shelf was full of EcoFresh's except for the brand I was looking for. There was no empty shelf to show that it was sold out either. Being the only brand there, I bought a packet of five for RM8.00

This is EcoMee's version of the Kampua Mee. The seasonings are (L-R) Vegetable oil, fried onions and Soy sauce

It tasted like dry wan tan noodles made with Angel Hair spaghetti, very oily and a little bit too salty. The fried onions was not crunchy at all despite being packed inside the vacuum sealed packet.

So, tonight's experience is a bit of a let down but maybe next week, I'll walk to Ta Kiong and give it a try and I really hope I would not be disappointed.

27022016 One of our Android is missing...

Worf: Sir, I cannot locate Commander Data
Picard: Computer, where is our Android?
Computer: Information unavailable.
Picard: Worf, type "Where's my Phone" in the Gooogle Search engine.
Worf: Oh my...

Yep, as long as you have signed into the Google account on your Android Phone, you'd be shocked at how much Big Brother knows about you and where. I don't even want to click on the RING option...

Below is the link from Business Insider on how Google can do this. And it's not even an App
Googling for your Android

27022016 The Flooding of Kuching

It has been raining for the past few weeks which I've accepted as normal since its near a river and very much closer to the  Seas. We have spots of rain almost every day as the locals keep telling me its the raining season. However, when it rains in Sarawak, it really rains. When I was in KL, such rain would be followed by thunder and lightning. But not over here. A weekend ago, it was raining non-stop since early Thursday morning until Sunday. And for this weekend, the rain started since last night.

I did not think much of it until my Driver told me that parts of Kuching was flooded, showing me images from his WhatsApp account. And within the next few minutes, I started to receive different images from my WhatsApp friend as well.

Why am I working on a Saturday? Actually, I find it kind of comforting to be in an office where there's no one or just one or two staffs in there. I kind of get more work done this way... It's not that I don't have a life but right now, getting work done is more important than looking for friends to fill the evening void when I am staying alone in Kuching. :)

Anyway, here's more from the online Papers:

The Borneo Post

News Straits Times

Youtube video outside Merdeka Palace

This is one of the entrances to Merdeka Palace with the view of the Padang Merdeka and Plaza Merdeka in the background

The side Lobby of Merdeka Palace

The streets outside Merdeka Palace which is Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg

20022016 Where am I Managing?

After what happened today, my Dinner was so much enjoyable that I did not want it to end

Well, things are starting to get very busy for me. And I am a little scared. I am scared because of the notion that I would be so 'occupied' with the projects, that I would lose sight of my actual target. I ma scared things can go South very quickly too. I know my Mentor is still waiting for me but everyone has a limit too.

Let me start my week.

I have recently been 'promoted' to be the Coordinator of a Company Event which will take place tomorrow. So, for the last few days, I had to start planning with my newly formed team. This is not an easy thing for me to do when it came to delegating jobs. In the end, I just had to draw on my own experiences (with my former Bosses) and trust that everyone can overcome the challenges faced with the task given.

Do I like it? In a sense, yes! Not only have I never done this before but I can tell you that this is very exciting. As the days goes by, I find myself trying to make sure everyone is up to date, guiding and listening to them and also, brainstorming when last minute changes were made or cracks discovered. Some would listen to me while some would have their own ideas but the main thing was that everyone knows what they are required to do during that Event. In a sense, this is starting to look a like Management!

Although I am still a little behind in reading/feeling how people react to me, I felt that things are moving quite well with most of them being excited with the tasks. There is a feeling which I could not describe today but let me share that experience with you; As I was walking into an office, this girl who is part of my team, was busy with her task. Thinking I was just a normal staff, she waved me off with the usual instructions. However, when she looked up and saw me, both her posture and voice changed. She sat upright, started to smile and immediately brought me up to speed on the Event. And here I am, a normal Engineer.

To be honest, the feedback of fears and stress of this Event was expected. I won't delve much into this but suffice to say (and I could be very wrong too), it could have started when no one in that room could see the whole picture. And we have less than a five daystogo. So, while waiting for the Management to come in, I decided that enough is enough and started to draw The Plan on the Whiteboard. One thing about Mind Maps (as my former Manager taught me) is that you can quickly see the whole picture and fill in the missing pieces just as quick. Once everyone understood the concept, their faces brightened and any doubt that they had earlier was more or less gone. Or maybe I was just imagining things.
But then, a few days later, Magic happened.

In my experience, if a Supervisor/Manager stands next to you and tells you what to do all  the time, the result is quite obvious. Since this is a happy Event, I decided to approach it from another angle. Moreover, I do not feel comfortable telling people what to do all the time. I prefer to guide them and more importantly, see them as part of the team. If a person takes the trouble to come over to talk to you and/or praises you, you will definitely feel the difference and the result shows! So, as I took the back seat, I saw a lot of beautiful ideas flowing about and more importantly, I witnessed teamwork. Everyone is happily going about their tasks!

Will this Event succeed tomorrow?

Am I doing this correctly?
I'll just have to trust my Team...

In the beginning, I was just the photographer.

But things changed when I started to draw a Mind Map...

Midnight skinny dipping.....

The term skinny dipping has nothing to do with activities concerning thin people. Until now, I have no idea why such term was coined. But man, the idea of doing one is quite fun.

However, in today's circumstances, you need to plan before doing it or else Mr. Social Media is going to have a field day... And  I just hope there's no sudden spotlights in the middle of the night either...

Yes, there is a little swimming pool and a baby pool just about  200 metres away.

Oh, just  in case: How to Skinny dip

14022016 Valentine's Lunch

I woke up to a very nice morning despite today's significance. And to be honest, I actually felt like walking to the shops just to alleviate my boredom/depression. But it was not to be since the weather felt as if it would pour anytime soon. Without a car, this means I cannot really go anywhere I like. But then again, I do not need such distraction since I want to really concentrate on the Job.

Anyway, feeling a little lazy today, I decided to make a simple salad. The noodles were an afterthought which will help the salad last until Monday.

Boil the noodles and then drain away the water. I am boiling two packs of noodles where I'll save the other half for tonight's dinner.

Dice some carrots and cucumbers, then add a tablespoon on tuna and sprinkle some sesame seed. Add in some corn and mix with the Kewpie Spicy sauce.

Add the salad to the noodles and start taking pictures...

The meal was great although the noodles were a little dry in the mouth. I need to get some sesame seed oil or next time, add in a little bit of 'soup' to it.

Lonely, I'm so lonely...

Man, this sucks. Its a quarter to five in the evening and there's a howling wind and heavy rain outside.
I wished there was someone I can talk to or hug. It would be nice if I did some electronics but now is not the time. Luckily I brought back some work but my mind kept drifting to the Lonely Land of Loneliness...

13022016 The Lone Cleanser Rides again!

Right after the Marketing, I am so pumped up that its time to get into the second agenda of the day which is to clean the place as much as I can. Don't get me wrong about the cleaners but being a bit fussy, I wanted to clean the place too, especially on the spot where I have moved the Bed. During my University days, Weekends were the time my flatmate and I took turns to clean the place. And in a way, you sort of feel very disciplined and glad you are part of some teamwork. More importantly, you had a purpose.

Today, things are not easy for me since the fuse keep tripping despite my removing all the appliances. I have isolated the fault, which I suspect is the wiring leading to the ground floor, and the main suspect could very well still be the washing machine. Unfortunately, this would mean all the power points on the Ground floor cannot be used for the time being. Lady Luck loves me because the Fridge is still working and soI can alternate its power point between the rice cooker and the kettle as well. In a weird kind of way, I am starting to enjoy this. Ha ha ha ha!

Seriously, one of the perks of living alone is that you can do your house cleaning when you want and how you want it. Feeling too tired to climb up to the bed? Fine, just lie there on the floor and doze off. Too tired to make a decent meal? Just chuck everything into the rice cooker and hope you don't need to use up all the toilet rolls. And so on. Its fun, isn't it? But I would stop at running naked across the yard though, even during midnight and in the heavy rain.

I had to rinse this more than six times to get the orange colouring out of the towel and its not even done yet. And at the same time, I was mopping the floor and trying to cook lunch as well. So much for multi-tasking.

What the... the brown towel also have colouring coming out!
How I wished I can use the washing machine. The closest laundry was 20 minutes walk away but since the weather does not look good, I'll have to hand wash all my clothes.

Did I tell you that every Supermarket I've been to, the cashiers are real fans to cable-ties?
Its starting to annoy me but just to pass the time, I would try to undo them using my fingernails

Mopped most of the place and now, I can lie nak... er, never mind.

Its good to have a fan to blow dry the clothes when the weather is not in your favour but it can take days to dry though.

Unfortunately, Mr. Sun loved to move to the neighbours's area, so despite the warm and humid weather its back to Mr. Fan at setting #3.

I'm so tired with all these cleaning, I just added everything into the rice, ate half of it and saving the rest for Dinner. Sometime next week, I am going to take a look at the gas stove and Man up enough to call for gas service. Then I might be able to fry some onions or even cook some curry. Edible curry, I mean.

However, in some nights, I do feel lonely without my Wife which I am so used to after we got married. I can ask for someone else to occupy the remaining rooms but this would mean giving up my privacy, having to accept their habits/cultures and so on. Something which I am not ready to acknowledge. Plus, rentals for girlfriends who can cook are expensive, if there ever was one.

13022016 Marketing Day!

Every Saturday, I can join the Group for Marketing. This is where we will be taken to the Stutong Wet Market followed by the Boulevard Supermarket with a time limit of 30 minutes and 60 minutes respectively. The Company does this for the benefit of foreign staff who does not have the time during normal working days to shop for their food. Yes, they practically work EVERYDAY.

Including myself, there were six of us.The Transport picks everyone up from different location and mine was on the 0830 slot.

Stutong Wet Market

Must be CNY mood as some of the stalls are still closed, I think.

This is the vegetable section where 60% of the vegetables looked very strange to me

Despite this, I could not locate any spring onions.

The prices of certain items are much more expensive to me which I later found out from the Supermarket. Then again, I know nuts about shopping for food since I looked at the price and not the quality/freshness. In the end, the RM4.00 for two lemons was bigger and fresher than the RM3.79 for four smaller, slightly less healthy, readily packed lemons in the Supermarket. Unlike West Malaysia, everyone weighs the products with electronic scale.

Left is the vege section while the on the right would be the meat section. There are stalls selling fruits as well but because I am not sure how ripe the papayas and bananas were, I had problems buying either one. 
Going up the stairs, there is a foodcourt but alas, time's up and we're off to the Supermarket

This is the Boulevard where the Supermarket is well, really Super. Since we arrived very much before 10AM, the place was practically empty. I was here weeks ago but I did not realise this was THE Boulevard where Daiso was.

If you came later in the day, this whole place would be full of people.

So, at the moment, I would say there was less than 30 customers in here, although the staff was ready in full force. Also, I was expecting to get some chicken fillet here, but just like the wet market, there's none and I don't really have a chopper yet. Plus, I could not find any pre-packed Yee Sang which was so common in Jusco, KL.

Moving across to their Hardware section, I was surprised that there were some IKEA products on sale!
Items such as the plastic bag holder, the dish drainer, chairs, lamps and even tables were being sold! Although I am not sure how the prices compared, but I bought this dish drainer for RM10.90

What I bought: I was quite miffed at the carrots and cucumbers which came up to RM8.00, plus the two towels which after looking back at the prices, the cheaper price was for Members. Stupid me for not reading carefully. I'll need to get one of their membership cards later on.
So, the damage was 2x Lemons (RM4.00), 5x carrots & 3x cucumbers (RM8.00), String beans (RM2.00), Papaya with suspected ripeness (RM6.00), Onions (RM1.23), Ikea Flundra Dish dryer rack (RM10.90), Milo 3in1 (RM12.99), Mocha Coffee (RM13.99), Skim Milk (RM5.79), Potato Snack (RM4.99) Tin of Corn(RM2.38), Brown bath towel (RM19.90 not 10.50), orange Brown towel (RM10.90 not 7.50) and some toothbrush (RM4.00)

10022016 KUL 2 KCH

I am very grateful for the kindness that my new Job has bestowed upon me. I have never heard of any company that pays for their staff's flight over to Kuching, then again, for their return trip back home for the Chinese New Year. Even if there is one, I would not be surprised if there were strings attached unless you happen to be one of the Big Bosses. But the current Company I am working for, was very honest with the gesture and more so, when I am still in the Probationary period.

Though the 5 days seemed to pass by very fast, I am actually looking forward to going back to work.

With more than an hour to spare, I made my way to Marrybrown. It's a Malaysian homegrown franchise which offers various choices to the point of trying to please everyone. Some will label them as a KFC copy, a MacDonald's impostor and so on but they're doing their best. And personally, their menu spread is quite good too.
This is an image of their menu. I'll definitely need to try their Fried Chicken and also their Chicken Rice in the future.

Which brings me to their salads. I love salads especially Coleslaw. When I was younger, I thought KFC's Coleslaw was the best ever until I discovered Chilies and ultimately, Marrybrown's Hawaiian Coleslaw. So, before my flight back, I decided to treat myself to some coleslaw.

The flight this time is wonderful but for a 1hr 45 min flight, I could not get to finish this Movie. It's an irritatingly nice one but I felt as if the whole movie is just taking snippets of the comic strips and extended it, all the while trying to stay consistent. I am not even sure if this movie was about 'Charlie Brown the annoying Loser' or 'Get to meet the Red Haired Girl'. Worst of all since this is a talky, I did not expect Snoopy to make any noises.

Again, the sexy stewardess said, "Something something something curry and something something something fried rice". So this  time, I chose 'curry' and wow, its Murtabak and Dhal!

Luckily I checked in a day earlier as the flight was almost full again. So, the  seats 13, 14, and 15 are the right next to the wings and has ample space due to their Emergency exit locations. I'll try to get these seats the next time.I just hate eating halfway when the person in front suddenly leans the seat back and body slam heavily into it. Not that it has happened yet, though but I just can't imagine myself pouring the rest of my meal over their heads.

Testing of the new non-stick rice cooker by first boiling some water on it. The reason why I did this was because the current new one, has an aluminum pot which scratches easily and it took me days to remove rice which was stuck to it. I'll reserve that for soup making.

Right after I have settled my things. it was time to go shopping for some fresh stocks. The closest Supermarket is about 20~25 minutes  walk away. Although I did not feel the CNY mood here, there were signs such as shops not opening and the daily produce such as eggs and vegetables were not restocked. Sadly, I was so looking forward to some spring onions again.

Groceries for the day. I really needed to mop the floors and also, repair some things.

As you can see, this is where the water leaked from the Washing Machine but not, it is also not the cause of why it spun twice and stopped. Long term exposure to the Sun's UV rays, whether directly or indirectly, will cause plastic to become brittle.

Yum-yum! Its Grenadine with milk, and rice with egg/carrots/tuna/garlic!

Oh, and just in case you're asking about the Gardenia Butterscotch bread, they're all ready for the office tomorrow!

09022016 Day 2

On the second day, right after our Prayers, it was time to visit the In-Laws, something which I always look forward to, all the time. Maybe its the food, maybe its the atmosphere or maybe, its just me.

Still, its great as we get to catch up and see how each other are doing. This time, many were surprised that I got a job in Kuching. Although they do not know the name but they have an inkling of a 'famous' Solar Factory there. If the other Brother in Law was here, he would be very interested in what I have to tell them. Since he's not, I just kept to answering the bare minimum.

This glutinous rice was made using a Korean marble non-stick pot.
It should cost more than half a grand and I shudder to think what would happen if it was dropped.

Kaelynn showing her younger cousins how to blow bubbles.

She's the only one who is curious about stuff and tries to learn things from the kitchen

My first time on a bike with a shock absorbing fork and disc brakes. During a emergency braking to avoid Kaelynn, I fell head first and did a sort of roll. Later, I realised you need to shift your weight. But damn, this bike is cool! And the way the girls described my fall to my Wife, it was as if I suffered badly or lost a limb. But in reality, it was just a light scrape on the elbow and knee. I am seriously thinking of getting one....

I think we did 4 or 5 rounds and there was a scary incident where Kaelynn rode to the opposite side of the road. Luckily the Mercedes was driven very slowly when coming out of the blind corner. As for Kristine, her bike route was all over the place, including the trees. Kaelynn told me Kristine rode into a bush which she later denied...

I never realised my girls can play football either.
They hated it but they still play on. Weird, right?

The Theme for Dinner this time was Steamboat.

And yes, it was a lot of fun for everyone
And so, with the beginning of the new year, I have witnessed everyone succeeding in whatever they do, watched how some have grown, introduced to new family members and so on. But this year, I WILL make it my year and so that, in 12 month's time, I can be proud to sit among them as a Man and my Wife's head held high.