Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sweet Charity

It's now the end of Charity Week at the University although the charity events are still being held. Down the Square today, there was a 'bouncing ring' (like a bouncing castle but in the shape of a sumo stage) and people could pay to dress up as sumos and battle for a fee. On Monday, I participated in the 'Sweet Charity' Open-Mic organised by the Creative Writing Society. Anyone who goes for the event pay 2 pounds for READ International, so it felt good to be part of it.

Good as it is, though, I was tensed before my slot (normal reaction for anyone) and was getting more and more nervous with the flow of people into the bar. The performances before mine were positively received too. Anyway, overall I think I did just as well and had a great time.

Poster of the week
Here is a poem that I wrote, which despite not having been read at the open mic, is something more relevant to this post, partly influenced by the recent earthquake.


A quiver.
A little quiver.
A little quiver rocked the table,
Stirred the water
Pictures dancing at a corner-
Hark the herald of a slaughter!
Nothing now but puddles,
Glass and a shower of slivers!
And it all started with
A quiver.

A penny.
A little penny.
A little penny made a flip,
Fell into the rusty tin,
Fed the crane that sleeps within-
Nothing now to change the wind
But what you think won't add up to any
Someday adds up to a-plenty
And it all started with
A penny.

Rachael Lum

Thursday, March 17, 2011

International Party 2011

International Party Ticket
A long awaited post! Last Wednesday was the International Party! From the start of my semester I have been told about how this is the most interesting and unique event in the university. It was only natural for it to be on my list. My verdict? With the fact of it being a "club" night that involves bringing together students for home-cooked international food and performances, I agree with them.

International Party Banner
The stage.
After refreshing my memory, I recall tasting Welsh cake (which look like scones), Brunei Kuih, Hellenic food which includes pita bread with unusual dips, Indonesian salad and fried mee and so on. Some of the food were new to me, but I'm not too picky with my culinary choices. A few tasted strange - possibly because first times work that way - and most were delicious.

The Malaysian society - brace yourself - had nasi lemak, kuih bakar, teh tarik and popiah. Slurp. Adiba, Sara, Vivien and I helped with the popiah earlier that day.

Dombra Performance
Dombra performance
The performances were pretty amazing too, and I liked how there was a range of different cultural showcases. There were several dancing styles, including a martial arts infused one and an Afro-Caribbean choreography that used claps and stomps as the beat. There's also singing and even the Kazakh dombra performance, which I thought was creative. My only uncertainty was that there should be more societies setting up their food booths and performing. Wonder why they weren't involved.
It was too bad that I had to leave straight after the performances. There's always next year to look forward to, I guess.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Comfort. The word so lulling and desirable.

Comfort. Somehow. It is just that time when you realise the limits of your bubble with respect to the world outside. Not being sure even so if being outside the bubble is all that good.

Comfort. Food. First try in deep-frying 'pisang goreng' also known as banana fritters. Not the same as back home, but it does bring a bit of that comfort.

Comfort. Hope so. I know this is me being incredibly vague and suggestive. All you need to know is that today I've been-


Sunday, March 13, 2011


International Pancake Day was last Tuesday. Bowls of batter were made, pancakes sizzled on the hob, toppings were bought, whiffs of buttery aroma permeated the air and many students gorged on pancakes in and out of campus.

I was not one of them.

Not with my class ending late in the evening and with a literary festival event I wanted to attend that night.

Because there were a few of us who didn't get to eat pancakes, Caroline, Ezra, Michael and I made last Thursday our Personal Pancake Day, with some guidelines from a cookbook.

The Batter
Adapted Pancake Recipe
(Supposed to make 16 but ended up with only 10 pancakes)
220g flour
2 eggs
1/2 pint of milk
1 tbs of oil
Sprinkles of salt
A bit of water
Butter for frying

Toppings (Lemon and Sugar, Chocolate Syrup/Spread, Maple Syrup, Honey, Bananas)

1. Mix in order. Carefully. (To put it plainly)
2. Fry a scoop of batter on pan till golden brown. Flip when necessary.
3. Put on toppings.
4. Eat while the next two people are frying their own pancake.

Chefs at work
Caroline and I did pretty well. See our pancakes! As for Mike and Ezra... *cough* *cough**COUGH*

My Pancake!
With lemon and sugar.
Of course, this is not the first time I've had pancakes. I've had them back home; not as a typical breakfast but as the occasional treat. This really should become a tradition in Malaysia on top of with all the other ones we have. Mind you, it evolved from a religious background of sorts. But seeing as it involves food and it does taste good, why not?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring in a Wild Flower

Spring by rachlyf
Spring a photo by rachlyf on Flickr.
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
~ William Blake

The cold is not as bone-chilling as it was before, the landscape is looking brighter by the day, the sun is up, and it is impossible to not notice the new additions in the park as I walk into the university.

Spring is on its way here for sure. The budding wild flowers tell me so.

Winter was wonderful at times but with its frostiness and dark, dingy days and nights it didn't take much to feel the blues. Sometimes it felt like a whole different world with the drifting snow, and other times you just want to curl up in your room with hot chocolate. I've been told that it was the coldest winter they've had for years. I don't know whether I should be annoyed by this or feel glad that I've survived through this.

It doesn't matter. What matters is that Spring has sprung out from the new grassy bed and I'm looking forward to the hint of warmth again.

So far, there have been many events going on, which I will share them with time and at my own pace. Now I have some matters to consider, some decisions to make with the break of a new season.

(What modules should I pick for next year!?)

Anyway, have a good day, guys! The snow has melted and the flowers are really making me smile. I hope you are too.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Follow the Frog

On the 28th of February, I went to Keb's Japanese themed birthday party. Lots of lovely homemade Japanese food, lots of Japanese and Korean music and lots of memorable childhood games (and some that are new to me). Here are two photos that best describes it:

Keb's Party
The Group Photo
Apart from the Pikachu cake and Keb's two sets of kigurumi (which I believe means character bodysuits), it was great getting to know many of them. To get a glimpse of the kigurumi and to understand the title of this post, look at Keb in green.

Japanese Dinner
The Japanese Food!
Thank you again for inviting me to your party, Keb! I had an amazing time. Lunch appointment soon?  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

When Norwich, Newcastle and London Meet

Meeting family is part of Chinese New Year. Always has been and always will. That weekend I went down to London to meet May Ling, while Kien Hsin came down from Newcastle. After so long, the photos are up and I'm going to let them take over now (mostly). Although they are not placed chronologically, enjoy the snapshots!

May Ling made us homemade Yee Sang (鱼生 in Cantonese or "raw fish", a dish that, when mixed together symbolizes good luck for the coming year. It's normally topped with salmon and is incredibly sweet. People don't normally finish the whole thing. Or at least, normal people don't.

We had our delicious lunch in a Lebanese Restaurant on Saturday. There was a kebab bar where the chefs/bartenders slice off chunks of meat to prepare the food.


Another view of our meal.

Some scenes along the way.

Hummingbird Cafe, famous for its cakes.

British Museum

Imperial University

We had dinner at their family friend's place. And the Malaysian food was absolutely delicious.


I had a great time then. I'm looking forward to the next trip, hopefully. But I'll see how that goes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yummy, yummy, Love in my Tummy

Finally, I get to post photos up! The only problem is that while I want Flickr to host my photos, they must be set to public to be posted directly. Something I am very hesitant about. For now all photo sharing would be pretty much hard work as I'm using the HTML instead.

I've handed in one essay on Monday and will be handing the other in tomorrow. I've gone through all the ferocious typing and that one instance when I thought I was never going to finish it (not a good feeling). I can feel the weight rolling off my shoulders behind me! Now the good times are to roll in!

Roll in! Roll in!

But before I flood my blog with new (and old) stories, I should mention the several things that I can't hold back. First thing's first - I'm returning to Malaysia in July, and I really miss home after so long. I would have booked for a flight in June but due to certain circumstances I have to be around until July.

I went for a great party with Japanese food which I will hopefully grace my blog with after the one on London which has been postponed for almost a month. Other than that I've been stuck in my room getting hyped up over the essays. And trying new recipes.

I think it turned out fine, although I cannot say the same for the aftermath when I had to clean up. The sauce stains on the pan took me a while to scrub off.

Pita Lunch
Pita Bread with Chicken and Vegetables

PIta Lunch Close Up
How it should look like close up
You're probably curious as to why I chose to post up photos of food instead of anything else. It's supposed to be a test - so testing, testing, 1, 2, 3! There, I've tested it. The dish below was pretty simple to cook, so I didn't have to leave my work unattended for too long. Saved me a lot of hassle, this did.

Fried noodles
Fried noodles
Now you might also find that I am writing in an incredibly odd fashion. If you do, it might be my way of readjusting myself after coursework. Diving into too much literary theories and a very unorthodox novel does things to you.

I sometimes find the messages I send out during those coursework periods hilariously random and reflective of the novel I'd indulged in. Like how you'd think in Shakespearean after reading his works one too many times, or getting moody over Philip Larkin or right now churning out absolutely nonsensical things like Laurence Sterne that are supposed to make a lot of sense.

I better stop. Give myself a day to recollect my scattered thoughts and piece them together again into a quilt. Like a quilt comfy enough to tuck someone in tonight. Now I really have to stop. Good night!