Thursday, 31 March 2011

Moving out...

Let's start with another of my well-worn excuse on why postings in this blog has been a bit sparse of late... of course the standard one being - very, very busy! The non-standard reason is that I have been on a house-hunting mission over the past few weekends because the lease to the place I'm renting now is expiring and I want to move to a cheaper unit. My current economic situation does not permit me to continue staying at the present apartment in Wangsa Maju although I like the environment quite a lot.

During the limited free time that I had, I browsed around the areas of Ampang, Pandan and Cheras to look for something within my budget. Nothing suitable was found until a chance search online indicated a vacancy at a new apartment unit in Bukit Jalil. I called the owner for a viewing appointment but he said he was driving and would call me back. After a whole day of waiting, the return call never came. The next day, I ran a google search of the apartment's location and made a trip there just to try my luck.

I located the place easy enough and politely asked the security guard at the entrance gate if he knew of any owners who want to rent out their units. He suggested I ask the maintenance office, which I did. As luck would have it, I met a staff who's acting on behalf of an owner who has a unit for rent. I had a look at the place, asked about the rental rate and decided there and then to close the deal.

It was a tiring day of moving stuff from the old place to the new place yesterday. The new place is of course very much smaller and has less facilities... but it still has a view of KLCC, albeit at a much greater distance. Cannot compare to the view from the previous place but I'm not complaining.

View from the old place on midnite of the new year...

Friday, 18 March 2011

A recipe book from the past

40-year old recipe book
I was at my sister-in-law's place earlier today and came across an old recipe book which she bought in the early 70's. The book is titled `Medan Selera' and was written by the late Haji Ahmad Bin Yaakub.

When I say `old', I mean real old... the text is in `ejaan lama'. For those of you young readers out there, if you don't understand what is meant by ejaan lama, go ask your mother. Even the measurements for the ingredients uses terms that are no longer in use. Try going to the market and ask to buy a kati of fish... and you'll probably get a laugh from the fishmonger.

Medan Selera was one of the very early compilation of recipes in book form. Haji Ahmad originally wrote his compilation in Jawi script in 1958. This romanised edition was first published in 1971, after the author's demise. It became a popular reference book amongst the ladies at that time. It contains recipes for most of the traditional dishes that Johor is famous for... nasi beriani (spelt as buryani in the book), laksa Johor and botok-botok. Surprisingly, the author had also included recipes for some western and Japanese dishes too. There is actually a recipe for mutton chops... which just goes to show that our tastebuds were already quite varied back then. It is also claimed that Haji Ahmad was the one who first used the Italian spaghetti in laksa Johor.

So how heavy is a kati in today's terms?
I only had a short time to browse through the book. No way my sis-in-law is letting me go home with her precious possession. I had an amusing time reading some of the archaic terms, measurements and ingredients. A tablespoon was known as chamcha besar. The smallest unit of weight was the tahil. Rice was measured in chupak. Then there is this ingredient in laksa Johor called sajira... I've never heard of it. My sis-in-law says it is a kind of spice.

Tembosa, a.k.a epok-epok
I did manage to find printed evidence about an issue that was recently discussed by some old school friends. The Malay kuih that the rest of Malaysia calls as karipap, is known as tembosa to us Johoreans. The filling for tembosa is the 156th recipe in the book.

A teacher from my old school who is a descendant of Haji Ahmad Bin Yaakub, is presently making efforts to re-publish this book in modern form. I look forward to owning a copy when it comes out in print. Then maybe I can try cook the original version of the famous Beriani Gam.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Is it bad to wish something bad on someone?

Well... readers need not answer this question. Of course it is bad.... but sometimes you cross paths with some senseless jerks who really test your patience.

Two days back, I was on my way to work. I stopped at a four-way traffic junction. Another car was in front of me. When the lights turned green, the car in front moved off and I started to follow. Suddenly, a motorcycle from the road on my right darted between the two cars, barely squeezing past. I had to brake hard to avoid smashing into the bike. What the eff!!!

On impulse, I stepped on my accelerator and chased the bike. A few hundred metres down the road, I caught up and pulled to his side. I wind down the car window and shouted some choice words to the motorcyclist.... I didn't care if he could hear me or not. The biker, a young man in his early 20's, just displayed a nonchalant face with a couldn't-care-less attitude. That was when the nasty thought of wishing ill on him crossed my mind.

I have lost count how many times I see irresponsible motorcyclists cut across road junctions when the light on their side is red. You don't have to take my word for it. Just stand next to any busy junction in Kuala Lumpur for 5 minutes and you'll know what I mean. Being small and nippy doesn't give motorcyclists any right to jump the lights. Why can't they have the patience to wait for the green signal, just like the rest of us?

Ok then... end of post. Just to let off some steam..

Monday, 7 March 2011

Zul and Nurul's Special Day

My brother-in-law, Zulkipli Mohd Amin tied the knot with a young lady from Hutan Melintang in Perak, last month. As usual, I took a lot of photos of the event, both at the bride's and the groom's side. I was too busy with work and other stuff to compile them properly... until the enforced time-off this weekend (see previous post) enabled me to create a simple video of the still pics.

I welcome Nurul-huda Ismail into this large family of ours... may your marriage be blessed and showered with happiness always, insyaAllah.

The related story of the engagement ceremony last year was posted here -> A new addition to the family.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Piroxicam and diclofenac

Another obvious sign of ageing is when the medicines your doctor prescribes you increase in variety. Previously you may just be familiar with paracetamol, ponstan and maybe one or two cough syrups. You wouldn't bother with the names of antibiotics because there are just too many of them. More often than not, you never finish the full antibiotic course as what was prescribed because you have this attitude of : Alaa... dah baik dah. Takyah nak makan ubat tu lagi...

Well... time is catching up on you, my friend. If you don't take care of your health, then be prepared to familiarise yourself with a host of new medications whose names would put you in a tongue-twisting exercise. There are hundreds of thousands of drugs and medicines out there. More are being discovered everyday. Pharmaceuticals is a very huge business.

So why am I talking about drugs today?

I had a severe attack of gout last night. The initial build-up to the pain around my left ankle was felt at about noon time yesterday. I chose to tough it out because there were outstanding items at the work site to attend to and that I would be driving back to Johor Bahru later that night. The plan was for me to see my regular doctor in JB the next day (today).

By the time I left Kuala Lumpur at around 9pm, the pain started to feel worse. Good thing it is the left leg... if it had been the right, then driving would've been impossible. I tried to make it a non-stop trip so as to reach home as fast as possible but my bladder wasn’t co-operating. I chose to make a pit stop at the small Yong Peng rest area where the toilets are not far from where we can park our car. It was a struggle to get out of my car to walk the 10 metres or so to reach the toilet. I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg and had to hobble the distance mostly on one leg. Quite embarrassing, really… Good thing the only other people watching this comical scene were the toilet cleaners.

I reached home in JB at around 1 am. My son acted as a crutch to help me from the car into the house. I downed two tablets of paracetamol, hoping to relieve some pain to last through the night.

No effect. The pain became unbearable and I couldn’t sleep. It was 3 am when I asked my better half to take me to see a doctor. Luckily there is a 24-hour clinic not too far away from where we stay. The last time I went to a clinic outside normal hours was ages ago.

The doctor took one look at my swollen ankle and immediately asked if I wanted a pain-killing jab. Yes, yes… please! She prescribed two medicines for me and her parting advice were two simple words : Jaga makan…

Yeah, doc… I hear you. But stubborn old me always give in to temptations when it comes to food.

Pic borrowed from ->
Feldene (piroxicam) and Voren 50 (diclofenac sodium) are two medications used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They are also sometimes used to treat gouty arthritis (attacks of severe joint pain and swelling caused by a build-up of certain substances in the joints). They both fall under a class of medicines known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)… see, I told you they are going to be a mouthful.

So today shall be a total rest-at-home day with limited mobility. Time to catch up on blogging and blog-hopping. And also to reflect on the problem of how to control my makan…