Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Food: Pasembur rojak and Cendol love affair

OK, let me straighten out the facts here for a minute. THIS IS NOT A FOOD BLOG.

But heck, I might as well do it for a bit ~ since I did rag on about barley rice yesterday, and having gotten a mouth watering inspiration from Eating Asia today. It's a sign from God I tell you!

While on my adventures in Malaysia earlier this month, I did what every good pilgrim would do... Ease the food craving. The ONE place that I must pay homage to is very near my house. This, is the ONLY place in town where I would honestly say I love eating rojak at.

Shocked to see that it's only a wee truck parked on the side of the street with no proper facilities?

Hell yeah! You'd be even more shocked when you realize that half the time, there'd be people with BMWs and Mercedec-Benzes double parked alongside that road just to have a taste of their humble looking, but fantastilicious Pasembur rojak concoction of hard-boiled egg, tofu, cucumber, bean sprouts, broiled cuttlefish, funky tasting Indian-spiced cakes, and of course... the secret peanut sauce!

That was a mouthful, I know.


See the green jelly looking things wading in a pool of ice slush, in combination with what could be a highly addictive mix of black (qincau) jelly, whole red beans, coconut milk and coconut palm sugar? Those are the green things that make it what it is ~ Cendol.

Another mouthful, I know.

Forgive me for ragging, but it is THAT good! For a mere RM5 (USD$1.50), you can appease that burning fire of your culinary cravings for rojak and cendol! Whoever thought of mixing elements of hot (spicy rojak) and cold (cendol) to create this lethal love affair, could have only been nothing short of genius... or might I even say, a master in the Tao of Yin and Yang!

In case you wonder, there are a bunch of these all over the place in Petaling Jaya, and even Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. But this is the only one that I eat at. It has always been parked at Section 17 Road 21 Petaling Jaya in front of the market for as long as memory serves me. Business hours are usually midday ~ 6pm. Business is usually awesome and they tend to close early sometimes. Other landmarks include the Rothmans roundabout, Sin Chiew Jit Poh, and the Section 17 flats off-Jalan University.

Try it... and you will be a believer!

I will stop ragging now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Food: Boribab (Barley rice)

What do you do when you don't feel like having too heavy a meal, especially after Thanksgiving, which I'm still pretty stuffed from all that turkey...

Boribab (보리밥) ~ 'Barley rice' sounds like a plan!

So after our little fumble around Nagan pretending to be tourists on Sunday, we headed over to a well-known local joint where even the KOREANS eat.

The deal is this... a bowl of boiled barley is served, which is eaten like steamed rice. On the side, there will be gazillion side dishes from broiled pork, seasoned soft shell crab, grilled fish, vegetable assortment, kimchi (lest we forget), soup and other condiments.

It is meant to be eaten ANYWAY you like. I chose to do it a'la Bibimbab (비빔밥) ~ A stirred up mix of barley rice, meat, vegetables, sesame oil and Korean chili sauce.

Absolutely delicious, with a little or no guilt on the part of having eaten too much! Its low fat and high in fiber... can't beat that can we?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Travel: Pebble park encounters

Weekend was nothing less than awesome. So awesome, that I might have to postpone my Malaysian food posts for a little bit.

Anyway, there just so happens to be a project going on near our jobsite, and a few guys I knew came over to Korea for that one. Since they haven't been around, I played nice-guy, and brought them to Nagan Folk Village, which I just went to in October.

If you recall, there was the pebble garden outside.

Brace yourselves for the following pictures

~ Rated 18-SX ~

Don't know why I didn't spot this the last time, but... Look closely, and see if you know what they are. It's rather embarrassing, yet funny.


Spotted these, which I believe to be shot-glasses (??) while at the pottery store in Nagan. *Another blush

Gee... Whats with all the sexually inclined encounters today anyway??!!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Announcement: Kenny & Joanne

For a courtship that took a mere 1 week, resulting in a relationship spanning 9 years... you two have set the perfect example that fairy tales do materialize! I am really happy for the both of you, as the relationship is brought to the next level.

Congratulations to the newly-weds ~

Kenny Cheong and Joanne Tan

Culture: Slogans... we need more slogans!

It seems from daily observation, that Koreans love slogans. Everywhere you go, every city that you visit, there'll be a slogan waiting there for you. Its everywhere from busses, street signs to banners for the sole purpose of displaying these slogans...

"Happy Suwon (name of a city)", "Love your hardhat", "No accidents"...etc.

Here's a big banner we have hanging on one of our units. Its basically to remind us of the 3 No's and the 3 Being's we should have on site:

3 No's
Accidents, Fault and Penalties
3 Being's
Cheer, Worth and Smile.

This is my Malaysian response: "Eh, a little bit corny leh!"

Friday, November 25, 2005

Culture: Thanksgiving '05

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day for the Americans.

So Gary decided to get the boys together, and whip up an amazing turkey-dinner. Well done!

Thanksgiving dinner was as multicultural as it gets. So there were Americans, an Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese, Philipina and Koreans, but what the...??!!

It was funny. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nature: Dragon fruit

Not sure what it is, but I distinctly remember that the fruit's flesh was colored WHITE, and now its pinkish-RED!

Anyway, I gave the new breed of Dragon fruit (Hylocereus Undatus) a shot while back in Malaysia. I guess it's not just the color that's changed. Even the taste is much sweeter!

The Kiwi cross watermelon texture was still there though. Not too bad at all, despite God-knows-what genetically modified stuff is being fed into my system during the holidays in Malaysia!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

@ Work: Its all true!

The legend of the BIG RED BUTTON... Its all true!

Hit the button, and the entire power plant unit trips/shuts down.

*Just got back from Malaysia, and they are already running two of the four power plant units at our jobsite. Good stuff! I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel (project) now!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stuff: Last chance

After reaching Seoul yesterday morning, I had to transfer to from Incheon to Gimpo airport, and hop onto a domestic flight bound for the south. Having done my business at the ticketing counter, and prior to entering the departure lounge, it daunted upon me... "Waitaminit! I'm not going to have a decent breakfast for the next FOUR months!"

… *Gulp!

Unlike Seoul, there are still a few (minor) things lacking in Suncheon and one of them is a decent place to have breakfast. Normally, people here do the traditional Korean breakfast ~ aka kimchi, soup and rice! For me, Paris Baguette is really quite good, but it doesn't open until 10am, which is too late even on a weekend.


That kinda sucks, because I’d like to do the bread, coffee and scones routine every now and then. OK, Malaysian breakfast consisting of nasi lemak or soup-noodles would be better, but I think that'll be pushing it.

So instead of going right into the departure area, I scouted out Starbucks, and ordered me a Mango Citrus Frappucino + Lemon Scone.

Heavenly ~ Just hope the ecstacy lasts for four months!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

About me: Saturdays and the kids

It's absolutely mind-boggling what kids can remember you for. EVERYTIME I am due for vacation in Malaysia... in fact, even before I get back to Malaysia, cousins of mine would ask mum: "When is Vincent coming back?" ~ Aww, how sweet!

...and then comes the REAL question:
"When is he going to bring us to Mc Donald's?"

OK, not such innocent angels after all. The main culprit is Jocelyn... She's 7. Then there are the others too, Jorn (5) and Jiven (4). Today there were eight of us.

Bugger if I remember how I got into trouble in the first place. But now, it's pretty much a tradition to bring them out on Saturday mornings to Mc Donald's whenever I'm home. :P

We usually do McD's at Bandar Utama Centerpoint. It's usually crowded and such, which I suppose is because its got a pretty decent playing area for the kids.

Yup, I love children, and I am your future house-husband in-training. On Saturdays, I work part-time for the kids. :)

Announcement: Korea too fast too soon

Darn... it's time to fly again. Heading back to Korea tonight on a past-midnight flight.

Another four months in a place where I will have to struggle once more in trying to:
  1. Pick up women in a language I can barely speak. Acting cute + die trying always works.
  2. Keep myself occupied. Work on site is pretty much wrapped up as far as construction is concerned. So let's see if I can do other things outside of work... read a bit more, write abit more music, learn a bit more on subjects of language and 'other stuff'.
    *Yeah right ~ That's what I said last time round, and I worked my ass off for four months.
  3. Try to ski/snow board and practice singing "I Believe I Can Fly - R.Kelly" while at it.
  4. Bloggertainment ~ Be posting more on THIS Malaysia trip when I get my laptop back in Korea! I'm using sis's at the moment...

Peace out girl scouts, smell y'all later~

Friday, November 18, 2005

Traffic: Cute car stickers

Car bumper stickers don't excite me too much. It's hardly a nudge in the ribs anymore with the usual cliché of "Bitch on board" or "If you can see this sticker, you're too close. Back off!" stickers.

It was a nice change to spot this while driving sis to the exam halls the other day. Something warm and friendly... cheeky even.

Mind you, Malaysia has had the ugliest, most generic and monotonous car scene for the last God-knows how long. It was either the luxury Continental cars, aka BMWs and Merces.... or on the other end of the yard stick, Malaysian manufactured Protons! I guess in recent years, people finally started having a taste for different cars.

Cute cars and funky stickers that make the road a friendlier place definitely deserve a spot on my posts!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

People: Whatajoy Reloaded

Wednesdays... a day I used to look forward to catching up with my extended family in the church. This is my cell group now at SIB church (KL) ~ Whatajoy Reloaded.

How time flies, and it's been 4 years since I first met these people. In the process, we've been through multiple structure shuffles, witnessed budding love stories, marriage and baby popping...

Ever since traveling more on the job, I've kept in touch with some of them online and join them whenever I'm back in Malaysia.

Every time I join them though, I go through the same nostalgia. Feelings of "what I could have been part of" also seem to come upon me so strongly, so convincingly... that I am almost always tempted to just give up my jet-setting job for a more permanent lifestyle. I need a home!

Alas, that isn't possible for various reasons, and had to bid them goodbye again last night. This was after an intimate session with one of the two resident babies ~ Ethan, as well as a hearty supper of noodles.

See you again cell-people... in four months!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stuff: Dreading the hols!

There are times, when I seriously contemplate coming back to Malaysia to face my worst fears... sorting out bills!

The PILE you see spread out, was accumulated from a mere 4 months (only) that I was away. Oh joy ~ As we speak, I am halfway through sorting them, and updating records of my finances for the period. Wish me well...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

PMS: They are investigating WHAT?!

Flipping open the Chinese newspaper this morning, I read of robbery on the second page. In the ordeal, the robber was pushing his luck with the woman he robbed and tied up, asking for oral sex favors. Instead, he got his man-hood bitten.

Yadi yadi yada... He escaped when the police finally showed up.

From what I read, I couldn't believe how they classified the investigations that followed. I quote:

"... this case has been classified according to protocol 377D (unnatural acts of sex) for investigation"

Some things just DO NOT make sense in my country. I mean... obviously this is robbery/rape. "Unnatural acts of sex" (in this case oral sex) would be the last thing that comes to my mind! They could have classified it under "intention to cause harm" or "robbery" for crying out loud!

Maybe it's just me (again), but I think this deserves a Pretty Much Senseless (PMS) tag on my posts!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

About me: Highlights of my vacation so far...

Alright... I might as well dish out the truth.


Would love to say three cheers, and at the same time, a BIG sorry to my faithful readers, as I will be on semi-hibernation mode for the following one week.

Nontheless, here are the highlights of my last two days:
  1. As I tried to leave my apartment in Korea for the airport, two ladies from Jehovah's Witnesses rock up at my door trying to share their faith to me. Bummer ~ how much more stress do I need on top of being rushed for time, and not knowing whether my flights will be cancelled! I just brushed them away.

  2. I was on the Korean Airline flight, where Betty (a stewardess) happens to be on duty! That was such a coincidence, because I don't know that many stewardesses. Betty is a sweet little thing from the same hometown as my dad's in Malaysia. We met under the weirdest circumstance earlier this year in Korea...

    She kept on a big smile throughout the journey, even though from the looks of it, they were all stressed out with lots to do. I even got me a big-ass bag of peanuts from her. Thanks Betty!

    *Unfortunately guys, she's got her a lucky man already.

  3. William and Sharon's wedding was awsome. I was in the "band of brothers", where we travelled from Will's house to the hotel Sharon was staying at. There we spent RM188.00 ~ USD$50, ate doughnuts filled with chilli/wasabe/lemon juice/salt, as well as simulated two guys 'humping' one another before the bride was allowed to meet with the groom.

    ... (Embarassing silence)

    Yes, the ladies guarding the door to the bride's room had a bag of eggs tied to our legs. We had to bump each other's legs in order to break the eggs. Malaysian women,


  4. Chinese wedding dinners ~ It was that night where I had the greatest revelation of my life. I finally realized why I was born of Chinese heritage.

    It's all because of THE FOOD!

    The ten course dinner was such a delight... Nay, dare I even say SALVATION, for me who has missed out on Chinese weddings for almost a decade!

  5. Caught up with friends whom I have not seen in YEARS. But the highlight was still the couple to be married off that day ~ William and Sharon!

    Did I tell you weddings are a great place to meet women? Yes, I did meet some, but only God and themselves know if they were single. I didn't even bothered asking because I had such a good time! ;)
Will continue posting in the following days whenever I can.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Announcement: I'm coming home, and it's raining!

OK, its 10:00am and here's why I'm worried:
  1. My domestic flight is 1pm. Its raining, and flights from Yeosu (where I am) to Seoul tend to cancel in those conditions. It is not uncommon for flights to/from airports in the mountaneous southern region of Korea, i.e: Mokpo, Gwangju, Yeosu, Ulsan and Pusan.
  2. If I miss the domestic flight, I won't be in time for the international flight to KL at 5:30pm!
  3. William and Sharon's wedding is tomorrow. Don't want to miss THAT!

Only the good Lord can bless me now... Pray that I fly alright! See you in Malaysia~

Culture: Happy Pepero Day!

Today is 11-11-2005. In Korea it's Pepero Day (빼빼로 데이), otherwise known as "I love you" Day. On this day, people are supposed to buy Pepero sticks, and give them to people you know, while pledging your never-ending commitment to them with the sacred words "I LOVE YOU".

Quoting the history from JoongAng Daily News:
The Pepero snack is a replica of Pocky, the Japanese treat of chocolate-dipped cookie sticks. The 11th of November is known as Pepero Day, because "11/11" looks like four sticks. Pepero Day supposedly started in 1994 at a girls' middle school in Busan, where students exchanged Pepero sticks, wishing each other to become as tall and slender as a Pepero.

Waitaminit here!!

Pepero sticks sell like no other on this day. If you read the quoted article, it even mentions that the whole concept was rumored to be started by the giant Korean consumer product giant Lotte. So I figure, Pepero day being the marketing scam is probably more true.

Guys give them to guys too, which is honestly a little too pansy for me.

OK, so I admit that I bought the sticks in the picture (*blushes). It's for the sweet old cleaning ladies at work. They've been good to us OK!

Anyway ~ Happy Pepero Day.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Health: Garlic voodoo

I had to climb around in our turbine 2 days ago without any safety shoes on. Sure enough, I hit my wee toe on some metal, and it swelled up like a raspberry lollipop. It hurts!

*Psst psst... Girls, help me out here.

I had to bleed the ol' toe out with a needle to relieve some clogged up pressure. As Murphy's law has it, I had no antiseptic or alcohol to clean the needle. I didn't have candles either, to burn the needle every time I stick it into my toe.


Right about then, I remembered mum telling me about how they used to disinfect needles for ear piercing with raw garlic! Let me try it out then.

48 hours later, my toe still doesn't look infected... In fact, its doing good now. I guess it pays to listen to your mum. ;)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Announcement: Home-bound

*Drum roll...

I will be back in Kuala Lumpur (KL) this coming week for a vacation, leaving Korea on the 11th Nov and flying off again to Korea on 19th Nov.

See that little highlight on my ticket that says "Valid on Malaysian Airline operated flights only"? You wouldn't believe how much trauma that caused me to book my flight out of Korea.

You see, normal tickets allow you to go on what they call code-share flights ~ flights operated by say Cathay Pacific or Korean Airlines. My open ticket, which I flew to Korea with, didn't allow that, and there were ZERO Malaysian Airline flights going out of Korea for like two weeks.

Bummer ~ I must make it to William and Sharon's wedding this Saturday!

I gave up using the original open ticket after trying to juggle with tonnes of loose-ends at work and multiple phonecalls with the local, as well as Malaysian travel agent, which was on semi-hiatus for Deeparaya. Now, I've resorted to getting a new ticket with Korean Air out of Seoul, and getting a refund on the original ticket. The lesson that I learnt this week...


From now on, I will raise hell if the travel agent gives me tickets like this again.

*I do complain a lot don't I? :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Food: More on dogs...

OK, since I'm on a row about weird Korean morning wood tea, I might as well continue on another weird ass Korean national dish.

Anyway ~ we went for more pup stew last night, to give ANOTHER farewell to Mr. KC Kim, who was the centerpiece of last Friday's blog. Yes, we do find every excuse reason to do dog...

This dish is served in two ways ~ at least down south in Jeollanam-do.

First there is Sooyook (수육) ~ Meat over boiling water on a steaming tray, accompanied by vegetables.

Then there is Jeongol (전골), which essentially is meat casserole in spicy chilli-based soup with vegetables, and on top of that - mushrooms.
All is served with the usual condiments of bay leaves, ginger strips, spices (pepper of some sort) and chilli paste.

In case you wonder what is going on in the bloody inhumane + twisted head of people who eat them... Hey ~ cows, chickens and rabbits are cute too, and people eat them. Anyway, these aren't your typical dogs. Technically, the meat comes only from a special type of dog, the yellow dog (黄狗). Just to straighten the facts out.

Here's a price list, big (大) feeds about 4 people...

Hope you haven't grossed out by now. :)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Food: Morning wood!

I guess you could say my curiosity got the better of me one morning driving to work.

You see, there's this vendor that's always parked on the side of the streets. He's got blocks of wood, all laid out on the side. Apparently he sells Chilk (칡) wood tea??!!

Oh well, what the heck... so I tried it.

Root: Arrowroot (칡), or Pueraria thunbergiana.
How its made: Juice squeezed from a press, like sugar cane.
Texture: Thick black coffee with schmuck/muddy sediment.
Taste: Dirt + Wood... although the after taste wasn't bad.
Treatment for: Hangovers, Common cold, Diabetes, Eye pain, Fever, Neck pain & Menopausal symptoms (What was I thinking!!)

Here's the catch ~ The guy only sells this in the morning. Talk about morning wood!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

People: Mr KC Kim

We went out for dinner on the Friday night. I didn't quite feel the joy, though it was a good night out having barbequed beef with the boys . Well, I guess this is the part of ANY job that I hate the most... Goodbyes.

The dinner was for one of our mechanics ~ Mr. Kim, who was leaving for another job, since the project here in Gwangyang was winding down.

Its funny how this guy never spoke a word of English, but yet we got along like good mates... Funny man he is! He'd always help out, and we'd always go for dinner once a month. I will miss the likes of him.

Good luck Mr. KC Kim!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Stuff: Trucker's union strike

Spotted this on the way to work this morning...

I guess the truckers union is on-strike again, with their trucks all parked along side a 0.5km stretch of road.

There was a major one just in October 2005. Some 8,000 to 12,000 truckers demanded things such as 1.increase in government fuel subsidies, 2.lengthen the time period for highway toll discounts and 3.relax regulations on overloaded vehicles.

Wonder what it is this time...

Friday, November 04, 2005

@ Work: Preservation and rust

We were installing some pretty important equipment today, and I found rust on the special bolts we use for it. "Oh s**t" I said to myself. The contractor had not stored and preserved the parts properly!

I'm on a project that spans for two years you see. Hence, parts such as these bolts sit in storage for quite sometime. Preservation and preventive maintenance on ALL equipment is essential. Unfortunately, our contractor isn't the best at doing so.

HOWEVER.... there's nothing that Scotch-Brite and industrial cleaning solvent can't save.

The power plant WILL be built!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Stuff: My new work boots...

Mr. YM Kim couldn't stand it anymore, seeing me wear my scruffy ol' work boots for the last few months... and so he did something about it!

Their company gets standard-issues, you see. So he rounded me up a pair of Semongs for free! Sweet little things they are... *Had to sand-paper out their company emblem though :P

Note the GORE-TEX label on the side. Now that is THE shit (in a good way)! Man, that stuff is water-proof, breathable, and not to mention expensive! They typically use them on mountain climbing gear such as outer layer jackets and shoes.

Thank you very much Mr. Kim!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Culture: Deeparaya

Sure, you guys probably have heard of Deepavali or Diwali. You've probably even heard of Hari Raya, or Eid ul-Fitr. BUT I bet yous (non-Malaysian overseas folks) never ever heard of this one...... Deeparaya.

Yesterday was the start of Deepavali ~ the festival of light, in Malaysia. This is probably the biggest celebration for our fellow countrymen of Indian descent. Indians make up 8% of our 24 million Malaysian population.

Ramadan will end (today?) too. It will then be our Muslim friends who will end their fasting for the holy month, and celebrate Hari Raya. Muslims, whom are predominantly Malays, as well as other indigenous groups make up 58% of the population.

Due to the way different calendar systems work for each festivity, Hari Raya and Deepavali are coinciding this year - 2005. Voila ~ Deepavali + Hari Raya =


Incidentally, I didn't take that picture of the Diya lights... Gosh, I wish I was there for it though, because Malaysia really lights up during the month of Ramadan, and the Hindus go all out at the temples with their rituals... and I am missing the festivities again this year... *sigh!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Announcement: Outback steakhouse ~ Suncheon!

Outback steakhouse finally opened its doors to the public in our fair city of Suncheon yesterday ~ 31st Oct 2005 @ 3pm. That means no more hour-long drive to Gwangju for anything more than Pizza Hut or Mc Donald's!

Obviously ALL the Americans on our jobsite were fairly excited, considering that they DO NOT have a liking for kimchi... So we made our way there early last night, and were able to get seats at the bar, no problems. Darn, we probably should've come a little later, because the people who came late + lined up got free ribs!

Anyway, on our way out, we received this little something. I am still having trouble figuring out any practical use for this piece of plastic...