Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Greetings 2011

Faith makes all things possible,
Hope makes all things work,
Love makes all things beautiful, 
May you have all the three for this Christmas.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

George Town Literary Festival 2011

So it seems my love affair with China House has yet to end as I found myself there again 2 Sundays in a row. Where prior visits were mostly for meals with friends, the latest was actually a first such event that I'd ever attended in my life - a meetup with authors in conjunction with the George Town Literary Festival 2011.

Call it fate or coincidence, the reason I decided to attend in the first place was because it featured Tan Twan Eng, the author of "The Gift of Rain", a book I was eagerly reading (and had since completed) then and I was actually excited to attend a reading cum discussion session to hear what the author had to say. Plus I kinda had a few questions lingering in my mind, one particularly being "Is the island, the island I think it is??"

Not wanting to jump straight to the end but I did ended up buying 2 books by the other 2 authors who were also present that day, hah not so sure if such events are good for my pockets..

Autographed by the author himself  :)
Anyway, the event was held upstairs at the Kopi Cine side of the building (facing Victoria Street), away from the hustle bustle of the very-familiar-by-now China House, and of which was quite a breath of fresh air to be honest. To add in to our delights, coffee/tea and cakes were complimentary i.e no worries about what to eat for breakfast. It wasn't a full house event but the crowd that day was a pretty decent number with a well mixture of the young and the old, locals and foreigners, as well as guys and gals. "Penangites, expatriates and tourists alike do read local books, how nice!" was my thought ☺

Tan Twan Eng was clearly the main draw, seeing that there was even a "An Evening with Tan Twan Eng" dinner/reading/conversation hosted at the E&O Hotel (and which cost RM50/pax) the night before but the other 2 authors, Iskandar Al-Bakri and Shih-Li Kow, had charming tales to tell as well. How could a tale of conspiracy, sorcery and black magic not be appealing, right? What more, Iskandar even had "props" to share with the audience; a "kayu hujan panas" which he claimed if used to hit a person, he/she will gradually go crazy. Bizarre? Curious to know more? Right, buy that book!

The authors each took turns to read excerpts from their books followed by a series of questions from the audience before the floor was opened for Q&A directed to individual authors or together as a whole. An interesting experience I must say and it exposed me to different genres, perceptions and views. For example, did you know that The Gift of Rain was written entirely in Cape Town, South Africa even though the story takes place right here in the Pearl of the Orient, almost a quarter of the earth away? And that it took 4 rewrites before he was satisfied with the final copy? Did you know that Shih-Li Kow is only a part-time writer and actually works at a shopping mall (to pay the bills she said) in Kuala Lumpur?

Overall, I am glad that a Literary Festival was held in Penang and I look forward to attending such events in the future. That is coming from a certified bookworm who is hoping for more bookworms to be nurtured.

Oh, and if you were wondering if I managed to ask that question....well, it was asked but not by yours truly. A lady said she was dying to know where the island was and was the island that island where her balcony at The Cove overlooked? Unfortunately, Mr Tan only gave a cryptic answer and insisted the island was whichever island you wanted it to be...

My take on that?

I'll cover it when I review the book in a coming post *winks

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

China House

Blogging on the that sounds kinda interesting to me. Shuey gave me the idea when she asked if I was doing just that when we first reached. Ok in truth, I might not have actually completed the entire post in China House itself but not too bad for a first try, right? *winks

So here I am on a rainy Monday evening inside China House, with English Breakfast (they ran out of camomile and earl grey, can you believe that?), a tiramisu and a Vietnamese tart  to keep me company. Oh and Shuey too of coz, though mostly we are keeping each other company only by our physical presence with minds in our own worlds.

a section for just about everyone

It's actually my 3rd visit here already; the most to any of the cafes around Penang. I think China House kinda has it all. From casual breakfasts to quick lunches to cozy teas to fine-dining dinners, you can do all that here. There are even different sections in this pre-war house that cater for the different needs. Not to mention rooms for private functions and a lounge area surrounded by all types of wine. And if you are the bookworm type like me, you'll like the back area where there are shelves filled with books and magazines for you to browse as you enjoy a cuppa and a dessert or two.

Did I mention that they are quite famous for their desserts with an unusual tiramisu cake made with kahlua topping the list? I was here for lunch once and sitting right across the cake counter and my-oh-my, the tiramisu was down to the last piece in no time (there were like 4-5 pieces when I first sat down).

breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between

Even though the place is called China House, don't expect the menu to be Chinese Chinese, if you know what I mean. They are more leaning towards western fusion. While there is not a long list of dishes to choose from, their breakfast/lunch menu does served up till 6pm. For dinner apparently there are 2 options; either the fine-dining way where you will be seated in the more posh-ly decorated area with nice china, drinking glasses and cutlery, or the common area where the all-day dining are served. I've not personally tried the fine-dining menu yet but I'll keep you updated if and when I have the opportunity to check that out ;)

For myself, I've tried their brunch of beans & lamb sausage with egg, toasts, and caramelized onion (very filling!), their lunch of roasted chicken with vinaigrette salad (tasty), and their dinner of vegetarian spaghetti (done in a nyonya-ish way with bunga kantan or ginger flower; an interesting recipe) and chicken mushroom pie (what you'd expect of a pie except it was on the house *yay).

for the art lovers

There is also an upstairs gallery where artworks of local artists are on display for sale so one can have a quick look-around after their meals before they leave. Interestingly, China House has two entrances, each facing a different road so the building is actually a combination of 3 heritage buildings. I've yet to explore till the other end entrance but right in between is an open-air courtyard with greenery but also an empty pool. My thoughts, if they spruce the place up with better landscaping, it could do wonders.

Lastly, China House reminds me of Kopi Cine and if my observations are correct, they are sister cafes. The tables at both cafes have clipped-on mahjong papers, each with a glass of crayons for the diners to draw on, and the teapots used are similar stainless steel pots. And if those aren't enough, the China House menu even has "Kopi C" as a header. But you decide...☺

Updated Nov 10th, 2011: Apparently China House is the new Kopi Cine relocated from the old place at Stewart Lane.


153 & 155 Beach Street,
Georgetown, Penang.

The other entrance:
183B Victoria Street,
Georgetown, Penang.

Tel: +604-2637299

Friday, October 28, 2011

Real Steel

I know it has been showing for a while now and most of you would have probably watched it anyway but I really wanted to blog about it (But stop reading this moment if you haven't and if you do not want spoilers.)

It's been a while since my last trip to the cinema (I think it was Insidious?) and it's just good that it was Real Steel that I watched.

Because I kinda love it, robot boxing violence and all.

A quick run on the synopsis; Real Steel takes place somewhere in the near future, year 2020 or so, where robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring. Yup, humans don't have to get hurt no more, instead they just control the robots with high-tech looking consoles or hand-held controllers. Some robots (a.k.a Noisy Boy) could even take in voice commands. Just speak into a bluetooth-like headset and instruct the robot; "upper-cut! dodge! swing left! swing right!" - well, you get the drill.

So we have Hugh Jackman playing the lead role as Charlie Kenton, a former boxer but who is now kinda in a deep debt which he trying to pay off by earning big money in robot boxing. Unfortunately things aren't going too well for him at all due to his hastiness and over-confidence. His first robot, Ambush, got totally mauled by a real-life bull and Charlie finds himself in hot soup which he could only try to run away from (but you know soon the bad stuff catches back up on you). He also finds himself having to take care of his preteen son, Max, whom he couldn't care-less (at first) and only agreed to the baby-sitting for the money (to buy a new robot so that he can earn back his cash asap). Then there's Bailey (played by the beautiful Evangeline Lily of Lost fame), childhood friend of Charlie, who is in love with him but had to ask him to leave as she could no longer support his debts while maintaining her deceased father's boxing gym. And the movie goes about detailing more fights while focusing on the father-son relationship.

So what made the movie stand out? You might think it's just robot boxing and that's that. Or perhaps it would only appeal to the guys with all the actions and fighting. Truth is Real Steel is more than that. In fact, it's so good that for once the girls wouldn't mind watching robots fighting.


The movie has such passion in it that it simply moves the viewer. It sure moved me at least. I enjoyed the movie from start to end and there wasn't really any moments/scenes that I disliked. It was exciting watching all the fights and the moves as if they were real and I was standing by the ringside. I grimaced at the violence but I also had a good laugh at all the antics. From the great Midas stroking his red Trojan hair after thrashing Noisy Boy, from the mighty Zeus flattening some unknown robot's head with just a clap of the hands, and definitely the dancing moves of Atom, the sparring robot that Max had to dug up on his own at some junkyard, no thanks to his dad who refused to help him!

And of course, the father and the son. Max is adorable and smart (or genius, so he says) and in actual, looks up to his dad and just wants Charlie to fight for him. The scenes between them are realistic, humorous and personal that it touches me as well as tickles me. It is only because they are so alike that they are always at loggerheads with each other but it sure keeps the audience entertained.

But what makes the movie stand out is really the cinematography. Kudos to director Shawn Levy for his visions. The angles, the lightings, the settings are just beautiful and very well captured. Even Charlie's pose while pumping gas was hilarious but way COOL. Levy is great at catching those moments; the frustration here, the anger there, the triumphs and the tears.

Overall, the movie is about how you gotta have hope and how when you have been beaten down, you have to stand up and fight somemore. You know what the ending is going to be like but you don't mind. You are in it for the feel good factor and coming out of the cinema at the end of the day with a happiness jab in the arm ☺

My Rating:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Science of Deduction

Blogging had taken a step back lately due to a sudden series tsunami.And the influx was so overwhelming, my days and nights were practically swarmed. Thus, it comes as no surprise what my blog post's going to be about...afterall it's TV Tuesday!

When it comes to solving mysteries, the name Sherlock Holmes is never far off. What with Warner Bros. even bringing the character to life with a face that strikingly resembles a certain Robert Downey Jr. There's even an Iphone game bearing the same face - which I would probably cover in some other post. Sir Authur Conan Doyle created the character a few centuries back thus the stories  always take place in late 1800s London with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, Pea Soupers and what-nots. And I certainly do not have any complains about the settings, being a fan of the Renaissance and the Victorian eras.

So when I was introduced to Sherlock, the TV series, I was expecting a similar setting and eagerly looking forward to it. (Coincidentally, I am halfway through a Sherlock Holmes novel myself - check out "Aftertot is Reading" at the side.) You bet I was surprised to see a modern London setting to begin with. The thought of "Did I copy the wrong files?" flashed across momentarily but was quickly overwritten by "Wow, a modern Sherlock Holmes! Now, how are they gonna portray this?!" with the first appearance of Dr. Watson, Holmes' trusted sidekick.

And I must say, the guys who created this series are just brilliant. They managed to put a modern twist to the stories so well that one would believe the stories are written in the 21st century themselves. Obvious example; Dr. Watson no longer jots down his adventures with Holmes in a journal. Instead he is now a techie guy who owns a blog, aptly named The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson - and yes, it really exists!

And Holmes in the show is a genius with a wit that makes you laugh out loud, as long as you are not at the receiving end of his remarks. He is arrogant and funny at the same time. And one would say he is really sly and manipulative. But in a good way i.e. in the name of solving mysteries and murders. Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who plays Holmes, is superb in the role and plays it to a T. Martin Freeman is great as Watson with funny antics almost always befalling him. Dialogues, plots, places and characters are wonderful all around.At the end of the day, it makes you wanna visit London and speak like an English...

The only downside is the first season is too short with just three 90-minute episodes, each a case of its own. The cases are adapted from Doyle's works - A Study in Pink (based on A Study in Scarlet), The Banker (based on The Valley of Fear and The Dancing Men). Thankfully though, the show has been picked up for a 2nd season schedule to be broadcast in early 2012, seeing that it won the 2011 BAFTA Television Award for Best Drama Series..yay! (BAFTA is the UK-equivalent of the Emmy Awards.)

Looking forward to more Sherlock but am glad for the hiatus. Now my other series can fill in that gap *winks

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth - Sherlock Holmes

My Rating:

Saturday, October 01, 2011

And In Another Life

Do you sometimes dream how life would have been, had you taken another path when you were at certain crossroads? Or how different where you are now from where you thought you would be? Childhood they come true?

Image Source:
The One That Got Away, a great new song by Katy Perry. Love the rhythm, the lyrics..☺

Summer after high school when we first met 
We make out in your Mustang to Radiohead
And on my 18th birthday we got matching tattoos

Used to steal your parents' liquor and climb to the roof
Talk about our future like we had a clue
Never planned that one day I'd be losing you

And in another life I would be your girl
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
And in another life I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away

I was June and you were my Johnny Cash
Never one without the other, we made a pact
Sometimes when I miss you, I put those records on, whoa

Someone said you had your tattoo removed
Saw you downtown singing the blues
It's time to face the music, I'm no longer your muse

But in another life I would be your girl
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
And in another life I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away

The one, the one, the one
The one that got away

All this money can't buy me a time machine, no
Can't replace you with a million rings, no
I should've told you what you meant to me, whoa
'Cause now I pay the price

And in another life I would be your girl
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
And in another life I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away

The one, the one, the one

And in another life I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away

Monday, September 26, 2011


Romeo X Juliet

...a tale of forbidden love with a magical/fantasy twist, and a great song - Inori by Lena Park; a Japanese version of the famous You Raise Me Up (which according to Wikipedia, has been covered more than 125 times including the likes of Josh Groban and Westlife)

urunda hitomi no oku ni [In the depths of my tear-filled eyes]  
kawaranu kimi no sugata [Is your everlasting beauty]
"doko made sekai wa tsudzuku no" ["How far does the world go?"]
todaeta hibi no kotoba [Those words from our bygone days]

kogoeru arashi no yoru mo [Even on those freezing, stormy nights]
mada minu kimi e tsudzuku [Though you are still out of sight, I continue on]
oshiete umi wataru kaze [Please tell me, ocean-crossing winds]
inori wa toki wo koeru [That my prayers will pass through time]

kasunda chihei no mukou ni [Beyond the misty horizons]
nemureru hoshi no souwa [Stars are fabled to lie]
"akenai yoru wa nai yo" to ["Dawn will surely follow every night"]
ano hi no tsumi ga warau [The sins of my past laughs]

furueru kimi wo dakiyose [I try to embrace you trembling with uncertainty]
todokanu kokuu wo aogu [But I look up at the empty sky beyond reach]
kikoeru yami terasu kane [I hear the chime that illuminates darkness]
kimi eto michi wa tooku [Showing me that the path to you is still far]

Note: Lyrics courtesy of

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mid-Autumn 2011

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!!
4th year and still keeping the tradition alive ☺

Häagen-Dazs ice-cream mooncakes...goes well with a cuppa coffee/tea under the moonlit sky (or a rainy afternoon) ;)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

La Boheme

A touch of French in the heart of heritage George Town...

Which I did not even know existed until yesterday. And lo and behold, it was so obvious yet hidden at the same time; just along Sri Bahari road and it looked like any ordinary pre-war house occupied by normal Penangites, down to the motorcycles in the front porch covered by canvases to hide from the rain. And yes, we walked right past it without even bothering to take a glance inside until SHuey called out to us [which is another funny story altogether no thanks to our declining hearing..] and we were suprised beyond words.

How in the world could anyone find this place?! There was no signboard, save for a mini wooden chopping board hanging on the gates with "42 La Boheme" written in marker.

The place is sparsely decorated and you don't actually feel you are inside a French cafe at all except for that black and white photograph of ground level Eiffel Tower. And also of course the food. The food served were at least mostly French☺. There were ready-baked pies on display at the counter, a fridge full of mouth-watering desserts, and tables decorated with mini glasses of water with fresh blooms of chrysanthemums. The owner is a European-looking man, my guess French, who prepares the food in the kitchen behind and whose wife was not in at that time thus no coffee could be served (he said his wife makes the coffee..haha).

Anyway, tea was fine with us and there were the usual selection (earl grey, english breakfast and the likes) as well as a list of scented teas. I decided to go the apple flower tea which I found to be not much different from chamomile. All the teas were not off-the-shelf tea bags, and they came in individual pots with Japanese-like tea cups.

Food wise, we decided to share so we could have space for desserts as well as opportunity to sample a wider variety. We had the almond croissant (served on a mini chopping board), the chicken salad (colorfully displayed on a wide plate), the quiche Lorraine which came with a side salad as well, and the crème brûlée, which they caramelized immediately only before serving.

(They serve pizzas too which we were lucky we did not order for it was huge and definitely not a 1-person share, not even for 2 or 3 small eaters if you get what I mean.)

No complains really on the food. The croissant had chocolate fillings and tasted pretty good. The salad - drizzled with balsamic vinegar, if not mistaken - was appetizing. The crème brûlée's custard base was smooth while the caramel disc was crispy although CPeng find it to be a tad over-burnt for her liking. And lastly, the quiche.

Well, if you have been following my posts, quiches have been quite under the spotlight lately thus that dish was one I was more eager to try out the moment I saw it scribbled on the menu blackboard. So drum rolls please, here's my verdict:

That Little Wine Bar's quiche still reigned supreme! But La Boheme's quiche is definitely better than Delicious's *pins the silver ribbon on La Boheme's quiche Lorraine.

Also, while we were the first customers but as the day progressed, all the tables were occupied. I guess we were probably one of those few who never heard of the place until that day. Overall, La Boheme is worth going back to; both for its food as well as for it's "invisibility" for as I watched the cars and passersby strolled past, for a moment there it was as though I'd escaped the hecticness of life.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Muntri Mews

So it was my birthday and I had a bad cough thus Soo Huey was supposed to bring me out for "Khor Teh" or Bitter Tea, a chinese tea remedy for those feeling under the weather, having a sore-throat or a cough. We decided to have brunch first at Moon Tree; which I will hopefully cover in a future post for the lack of pictures. I was too busy enjoying my bacon sandwich, bruschetta, and honey lemon tea as well as the relaxing, quiet environment that is Moon Tree.

We ended up only having the tea some other night but we did discover a cozy, grand place for desserts that cloudy afternoon. Conveniently, it was just a few pre-war buildings away from Moon Tree.

Muntri Mews cafe is a lovely place for a peaceful and cooling afternoon - it's air conditioned - where one can sit sipping tea, snacking on nyonya kuih-s while admiring the beautifully landscaped surroundings with shady tropical plants dancing in the breeze. Not to forget the heritage picture books of Penang and portraits of her people in a basket to be perused at the pleasure of customers.

Some pictures of the Mews' special tiramisu and some jaw-dropping cum funny moments later, we noticed that Muntri Mews was not just only a cafe. In fact, the cafe is actually part of a boutique hotel with a gated area only for in-house guests. Checking out the rooms was a great idea because it really was pretty sight. The rooms were spacious and very elegantly decorated with local antiques and paraphernalia. I managed to grab the pamphlet on my way out which not only introduced Muntri Mews, it was also a map of Penang with a list of interesting places to visit and recommended eateries.

And according to the pamphlet, Muntri Mews only comes with 9 suites thus "creating a feeling of intimate conviviality but also allowing for the privacy when desired." No wonder the price per night is a bit steep (~RM300++) but for a tourist with a stronger currency, I would certainly recommend to give the place a try. I like the thoughts and details put into restoring the place (it was formerly a dilapidated row of Peranakan townhouse) making it into one of the more upscale and classy locations in the heart of George Town.

Would definitely revisit the place. Still have the unfinished picture books to flip through...☺

P/S: Mews apparently were private stables for horse carriages, with staff quarters upstairs, which then became garages for motor cars during the Edwardian era. --courtesy of the Muntri Mews pamphlet 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I've heard and seen so many pictures of this place when it was first opened and to think I never could find time to go. I've heard of how popular they were in Kuala Lumpur and how Penangites were rejoiced that it finally opened its doors at the beautiful Straits Quay. So needless to say, I just had to find an opportunity to see the place for myself.

And the first impression of the place was really good. I love the ambience, the decorations made up of bird cages, the cozy color combinations of mostly white and blue, the layout with ceiling-to-floor glass windows that overlooked the sea with warm sunny rays streaming in. On my first visit, I was seated at one of the desserts table by the window - I only had time for desserts then - and it was a nice experience like I was without a care in the world, just enjoying the "yuppie-ness" (definitely thanks to a glass of St. Claire "bubbles" sparkling wine).

Delicious is supposed to be famous for its desserts if I'm not mistaken. However, truth be told I've yet to discover that. Thus far, I've tried the Tiramisu in a glass, Macadamia Cheesecake topped with crunchy macadamia nut brittle & caramel, Strawberry Shortcake, and the Peach & Banana Crumble with vanilla ice cream. None made me crave to go back for more with the peach & banana crumble not even making it into my 2nd-try list. Yup, I didn't like that one at all.

Besides desserts, I've also heard of the pies, mains and pasta. A friend of mine told me the quiche is really good, definitely a must-try. If you've been following my blog you would know how I've sang praises of That Little Wine Bar's quiche, so my ears definitely pricked up when I heard there's a better quiche in town. Okayyy, I gotta find another time to go for a proper meal then. And find time I did.

As usual, mushroom soup was a must so the Wild mushroom soup with garlic bread got a tick. Aglio olio is another favourite so on the order list the Aglio Olio Spaghettini went as well. Lastly, the oh-so-famous quiche. I had the Smoked Salmon Quiche although the Quiche Lorraine with beef bacon caught my eye but too bad I don't really take beef.  Then comes the afterthought (pun intended).

Maybe I had such high hopes for the quiche, you know, so I was a tad disappointed by it. Somehow the smoked salmon, cheese and crust just did not go well together. I hereby declare, the numero uno quiche in town is still the one at That Little Wine Bar, hah. Nothing to complain about the soup and pasta though as I ended up eating more of the pasta than the quiche☺.

Well, there's still a lot to try so it's not my last visit for sure. I do, however, feel that it gets pretty noisy in there. There's always a buzzing of people's voices and the clink-clanking of cutleries. Tone that down a notch and it would be perfect.

Also, one important thing on the menu caught my eye; Traditional English Afternoon Tea for Two (RM59.90):
Served in a Triple-Tier:
  •  Warm scones with preserves & fresh cream
  • Assortment of finger sandwiches & duck confit in filo pastry
  • Strawberry chocolate dip & hand-rolled chocolate truffles
  • Rosemary & cheese cookies
  • Choice of any one cake on display
  • Choice of any two cups of tea
Yay, another mission for me!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Life is like a boat

Nobody knows who I really am
I never felt this empty before
And if I ever need someone to come along
Who's gonna comfort me, and keep me strong?

We are all rowing a boat of fate
The waves keep on comin' and we can't escape
But if we ever get lost on our way
The waves would guide you through another day

Tooku de iki o shiteru [Far away, I'm breathing]
Toumei ni natta mitai [As if I were transparent]
Kurayami ni omoeta kedo [It would seem I was in the dark]
Mekakushi sareteta dake [But I was only blindfolded]

Inori o sasagete [I give a prayer]
Atarashii hi o matsu [As I wait for the new day]
Azayaka  ni hikaru umi [Shining vividly]
Sono hate made [Up to the edge of that sea]

Nobody knows who I really am
Maybe they just don't give a damn
But if I ever need someone to come along
I know you would follow me, and keep me strong

Hito no kokoro wa utsuriyuku [People's hearts change]
Mukedashitaku naru [And sneak away from them]
Tsuki wa mata atarashii shuuki de [The moon in its new cycle]
Fune o tsureteku [Leads the boat again]

And every time I see your face, the oceans heave up to my heart
You make me wanna strain at the oars
and soon I can see the shore

Oh, I can see the shore
When will I see the shore?

I want you to know who I really am
I never thought I'd feel this way towards you
And if you ever need someone to come along
I will follow you, and keep you strong

Tabi wa mada tsuzuiteku [And still the journey continues]
Odayaka na hi mo [On quiet days as well]
Tsuki wa mata atarashii shuuki de [The moon in its new cycle]
Fune o terashi dasu [Shines on the boats again]

Inori o sasagete [I give a prayer]
Atarashii hi o matsu [As I wait for the new day]
Azayaka ni  hikaru umi [Shining vividly]
Sono hate made [Up to the edge of that sea]

And every time I see your face, the oceans heave up to my heart
You make me wanna strain at the oars
and soon I can see the shore

Unmei no fune o kogi [We are rowing the boat of fate]
Nami wa tsugi kara tsugi e to watashitachi o osou kedo [But the waves keep attacking us]
Sore mo suteki na tabi ne [But isn't that still a wonderful journey?]
Dore mo suteki na tabi ne [Aren't any of them a wonderful journey?]

Note: Lyrics courtesy of

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves
Add to Cart
There is just so much I want to say about this book that I risk spilling the entire memoir out here.

I remember I couldn't helped but to relate the story to a friend even though I was only midway through the book then. Couldn't helped gushing about how it was so captivating, how the usage of Chinese proverbs in every chapter header perfectly described that particular chapter in Adeline's life, how life in Shanghai was exactly how it was always portrayed in Chinese drama series and many more.

However, do not mistaken my excitement for all things bright and sunny. In fact, it's the exact opposite.Adeline Yen Mah's childhood was one filled with more frowns than smiles. Being born to a mother who died shortly after labor, she was destined to grow up under abuse, both physically and emotionally, not only at the hands of a cruel stepmother but also at the hands of her own siblings, an elder sister and 3 older brothers. Their household may be one that was wealthy and influential but the pain that Adeline went through did not reflect those privileges. She was not even allowed to have friends to come by her house. Her excellent academic achievements was deemed as showing off and being boastful. Her little pet chick was the weakest and smallest yet was the one chosen to be mauled by the parent's pet dog. She was later sent off to a boarding school in Tianjin, right at the height of China's Civil War, where according to her, "Most people were fleeing in the opposite direction".

Adeline weathered the storm and eventually fate dealt a gentler hand and she managed to come out triumphant, becoming a physician in the United States, and then a writer. Her passion had always been in writing which came out top in a prestigious writing competition that managed to catch her father's eyes for once in her life. Even in adulthood, filial piety is in her blood and she did whatever she could to help out her family. She definitely deserved better than the ugliness that reared its head after the death of her father and later the stepmother.

Overall, it is an engaging read. Adeline certainly has a prowess for writing. The memoir is not only about her sad childhood. It is also about her ancestors and their glorious past, her aunt's life in the middle of the China Cultural Revolution, and her own struggles in a foreign land where racial prejudice were rife back in 1950s. Most of all, it's about her root, her culture, her growing up, her voice.

Just like the proverb, Luo Ye Gui Gen (Falling leaves return to their roots), this is her journey. 

My Rating:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Edo Ichi

Been to the place more than a couple of times now. Located at the once lively Island Plaza (I just noticed even Dome had vanished..), Edo Ichi is still pretty abuzz with activities and most tables are occupied. The interior is nicely done with well-placed aquariums, booths for small groups, and larger sections to accommodate a bigger crowd. There is also a sushi bar adorned with huge sake bottles but set lower so you can't actually watch the chefs at work ala real sushi restaurants in Japan as seen in Japanese dramas.

The few times I've been there I'd ordered different dishes (maki-s, hand rolls, etc) and bento sets. The salmon sashimi is presented beautifully in a bowl of decorated ice. The flesh is fresh and I must say...thick! Others were merely average in taste and not really worth the price printed on the menu.

Until we decided to order some greens during a particular visit and went for the soft shell crab & salmon skin salad with special sauce. Say no more. The salad has since been a must-order item at every visit. The mixed lettuces are fresh, crunchy and sweet. The cucumber and cherry tomatoes, juicy. The soft shell crabs and salmon skins delicious to the bite. Most important of all is really the special sauce. It just brings the entire bowl of salad up a notch.

And I would go back to Edo Ichi just for that. Overall, it's a quiet place with pretty good service (they are fast  in ensuring empty plates are promptly cleared off!) and that yummy salad☺

Sunday, July 03, 2011

By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

Now before you go all panicky, it's just the title of the book by Julie Ann Peters...

By The Time You Read
This, I'll Be Dead
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Which was an intriguing read with a well-written flow. Got me turning pages and I even caught myself smiling even though the story line is about a girl contemplating suicide. Daelyn had had many failed attempts - her last attempt left her with damaged vocal cords - until she found this website, Through-the-Light, that thinks it is your right to take your own life if you must. Each member is assigned an ID and the "Date of Determination" is always 23 days from the day you signed up. Thus each chapter of the book is headed with a countdown; X days to D-Day.

Felt shudders at times especially when reading about the "Ways To Go". Each of the methods and means are rated to indicate the level of pain, availability and effectiveness. Did you know it would be better to use a razor-sharp knife rather than a razor-sharp blade? "Because it is difficult to hold when covered in blood...."
[Guess readers would have some options if ever a need arise? *touch wood!]

There's also the Final Forum section where the Jane and John Does share their pain and experiences. Above all, it threw a light on why some of us would go for a premature way out.

And bullying kills. I must say that well-known phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is kinda crap now. Because words can often be sharper than swords and they seriously cut DEEP.

When one has suicidal thoughts and somehow someone appears in their lives right at that moment, will it save them and help them see things in a different perspective? That there might actually be hope afterall? Daelyn met Santana. But is it too late?
So in the end, did she or did she not?
For you to find out...

My Rating: