Saturday, 28 February 2015

COMPANY RETREAT - BATAM VIEW BEACH RESORT


Feb 26 - 28, 2015

Spend 2.5 days in Batam with a bunch of wackos.  We played games, solved puzzles, built gadgets, went to combat - all in the name of corporate team building.












On our last evening we enjoyed BBQ by the resort's poolside, played loud music, danced, drank, puked, drank some more and wrapped up the night by jumping into the resort's swimming pool. Those who refused to jump were ultimately thrown in.  What a racket!  I bet all the other guests were totally relieved to see us board the ferry the next morning.




The resort, though small, comes with its own stretch of private beach.







The guests were mostly Korean families with kids, or golfers waiting to to tee off in the nearby golfing clubs.  The children seemed to enjoy the petting zoo of sorts that houses a dog (Mr. Pug), several hamsters, two hedgehogs, two dragons and two parrots.  I was told that one of the parrots speak Korean but I didn't stay around long enough to find out.  It did greet me with "hullo" though, and stuck out a claw when I said, "Hi five!"  Then when I turned to go, it said "bye bye, bye bye", much to the amusement of my co-worker Tracy.

Here's one of three cats that patrol the resort.


On the second morning I was awakened at 4:30 by crowing roosters.  Turned out I wasn't the only one!


After breakfast I was greeted by a curious sight: a family of turkeys stretching freely on the grass beside the swimming pool!


Saturday, 21 February 2015

NOTHING LIKE HOMEMADE


Other than arthritis of the neck, Dad has weakness in the legs which means that he would have to undergo physiotherapy to strengthen those muscles. Basically he is deemed Fall Risk and there's no telling whether he would fall again at home so he will have to remain in the hospital for another week or so.  When I visited him last evening the staff informed me that Dad was caught trying to sneak into the washroom unsupervised. Bad boy! 

The hospital ward came alive with visitors yesterday.  Even his brother came, family in tow.  I'v never seen Dad smiled so much.  Like a kid, Dad loves being fussed over.

Some weeks ago I brought home a small butter loaf from a neighbourhood bakery.  According to Mom, Dad ate it over a span of several days, saving whatever he could not finish in the fridge. He even commented that the cake remained “smooth as silk” throughout.  That got me worried about what actually went into that cake!  

Nothing compares to homemade. At least I know what's in it!  I baked this for Dad who is still in the hospital.

Pound Cake with Chocolate Chips 

The Pound Cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.  The French call it "Quatre quarts" (literally "4 fourths"), which again reflects the equal amounts of the 4 ingredients.  

I used a 14-cm (5-1/2 inch) mini Bundt pan (chanced upon it while shopping in Taipei some years ago) but a foil loaf pan that measures 20.5cm x 10cm at the rim would also work.  You can find it in SKP

100 grams all-purpose flour 
2/3 teaspoon baking powder 
100 grams egg 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
100 grams salted butter 
100 grams caster sugar 
50 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips 


Place a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. 

Lightly butter and flour a 2-cup (14-cm) Bundt pan. Have all ingredients at room temperature. 

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside. 

In a small bowl, lightly beat together the egg and vanilla extract. 

In a mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy and smooth then add sugar. Continue to beat until the mixture is very light in colour and texture. Add the egg very slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until mixture is fluffy and pale ivory in colour. Add flour mixture in 3 - 4 additions, then stir in the chocolate chips. 

Spoon the batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake the cake until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out free of batter, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before turning the cake out of the pan. 

Enjoy it with black coffee.

Monday, 16 February 2015

ANOTHER TUMBLE

Dad took another tumble today.  Back in the hospital again.

Just two days ago he lost his balance while stepping out of the bathroom into his bedroom and bruised a toe. 

This is the third time that Dad lost his balance since his fall in September. Dr. Rani from Geriatric did warn that Dad has arthritis in the left side of his neck caused by degeneration of the bones in the neck (cervical spine) as he ages. Patients with arthritis of the neck often complain about weakness in the legs or loss of balance. Maybe that's the reason why Dad falls on his right side all the time, always cutting his right brow, right elbow and left thumb. 

Today we once again seek the help of paramedics who whisked Dad to TTSH in an ambulance. I now know my way around the ER very well indeed. Dad received a head scan, then admitted for observation. 

We had originally reserved a table in Putien for Reunion Dinner this evening. I know Mom was really looking forward to it because the Kitchener Road branch used to be her favourite restaurant and we hadn't been back there in ages!  This morning, however, Mom and I noticed that Dad had trouble getting around with a bruised toe. So we decided on a change of plans and eat at home instead of going out. Then Dad took a tumble and plans quickly changed again.

While I was with Dad in TTSH, Mom was busy at home with Lorie (a very nice Filipino lady whom we hired to help Mom with Spring cleaning).  Lorie was in my bedroom, atop a ladder trying to unscrew the ceiling lamp for cleaning.  Just as she removed the last screw the lamp split cleanly into two - right into her palms!  She checked the ground for any tiny pieces of glass that might have fallen but there were none.  That spooked Lorie a bit.  She deduced that the lamp somehow absorbed Dad's bad luck. "Your father will be fine now," she assured me when I got home.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

排队鸡

昨天陪母亲到 Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market 走一回。母亲说买点虾米和咸鱼便走,因为还要顺道去牛车水买腊肠。我笑:每去Pasir Panjang 得转换巴士,来回得花上半天,哪有可能只买两样东西就走?

果然,买了虾米、白果、两种咸鱼、坚果、冬菇。到了牛车水又买了鹅润肠、柿饼、点心。提着大包小包准备回家,母亲却被年花给吸引了。其实只是用染布和塑胶做成的“大牡丹”,但母亲很喜欢。我觉得还OK,因为手工不是特别的好。看见她爱不释手,答应她:明天下午我再过来帮你买吧。母亲才肯乖乖地上德士。

回到家母亲便直嚷:说好啰,明天你会帮我买花的对吗?然后又说:既然人在牛车水,那非得打包只豉油鸡不可啊!

Alamek,明知道我讨厌排队啊!而且每次都得排上整个小时呢!


为了买到父亲朝思雾想的豉油鸡 今早匆匆地喝了半杯咖啡就出门了。8:25AM 到了牛车水,远远地望了那 爆红的烧腊摊一眼,看见已有三、四个顾客在守候着。因为自己实在饿的很,就先去吃了碗卤面。先后隔了不够30分钟,买鸡的人已多了八、九个。我还鸡婆地走到队前数了数 。。。哦,有12人摆在我前面。怎知回头竟然多了两个人,which means 排我前面的是14人。呜!

上次要排上一小时呢!今天只排了40分钟,大幸也!


Friday, 6 February 2015

ROLLING ... AND ACTION!

Went on location to shoot a short clip for a client today.  I played a kiasu Auntie.  Have absolutely no idea why I was casted in the role in the first place.  Perhaps because I'm a natural (Auntie).

My co-workers came around in the beginning of the week to say they desperately needed folks in the office to cast in a SG50 clip.  I initially declined but then my co-workers whimpered "please please please", assured me I had no line to read and basically needed to "be dramatic".  

The project isn't some big time television commercial so no overwhelming casts and crew were involved.  The "actors" took care of their own make-up and wardrobe.  My character wore clothing with bold prints.  The crew consisted of one director and one camera man.  Our very own interns and staff who took up the parts of assistant director, production assistant, kalefe ...  Being on camera for the first time was very exciting.  The filming of my two scenes lasted about three hours as it took several re-takes to get it each right.  

Thoroughly enjoyed my first filming experience. I surprised myself by jumping right into character.  No camera-shyness, no awkwardness.  My co-workers felt I did quite well for a first-timer. *self pat on back*   I only hope the client is happy with the end product because I had so much fun making it!