Wednesday, May 31, 2006

10 Simple Pleasures

The lovely May tagged me on this. And here it is finally: 10 little things that make Jane Sunshine happy:

1.Morning breakfast sitting in my garden and chatting with my roses (the reds, the pinks and the blossoming orange ones).

2. A long soak in the bath after a hard day.

3. Rambling evening walks.

4. Sovereignty of my kitchen. I never had my own proper kitchen ever. The one at home was always mom's and I never ventured there much the culinary way. The ones subsequent were rented and I always felt alien in them. Now, finally, I have my own with chrome spot lights and a breakfast bar. Yippeyay.

5. All the Neal's Yards product range : makes a girl feel so pampered and organic

6. Mindless TV: latest addiction is my Thursday night staple of House and Grey's Anatomy (have I mentioned my crush on Dr. Gregory House? There's something about arrogant, difficult men. On another note: it does seem a bit sad to list TV programs as things that make me happy-but they do. After a long day, nothing like bumming in front of the telly, I tell you. If it makes me shallow and stale, so be it).

7. Saturday Guardian and Sunday Times.

8. Fruit cake especially those laced with inordinate amounts of brandy (hic) and ice cream (if my friend ewok is reading this, I hope she knows how I adore the Losely honey and ginger tub).

9. Bargain hunting in markets, last done here.

10. Picnics (much to be had this coming summer, to show off especially new picnic basket. Pix when this happens, promise).

Friday, May 19, 2006

Meme Me

I got this from May who didn't tag me. So I guess I'm kind of tagging myself because I enjoyed the whole thing:

I AM so tired.

I JUST NOW filled a bureaucratic form.

I SAID good morning to my dotty old neighbour.

I WANT to go on a six month sabbatical but I just can't afford it.

I WISH life was simpler.

I HATE being so far away from my family

I MISS holding my mom.

I FEAR that my brain will evaporate (I am serious) and I'll forget everything before I write this goddamn thesis.

I HEAR the leaves rustling on a windy spring day.

I WONDER how life would have been if I had chosen a different career path.

I REGRET all the times I've lost my temper with my parents.

I AM NOT going to St. Petersburg now because there's just too much work- Ironically, I was supposed to go there for work.

I SING out of tune old Tamil songs in the bathroom.

I CRY because I need to. It helps. Sometimes.

I AM NOT ALWAYS this fat, I used to be thinner pre-Thesis.

I MADE two friends eat sambal ikan bilis last week-and they loved it.

I WRITE with no sense of structure. Bad. Bad. Bad.

I CONFUSE my priorities so often. Sigh.

I NEED to go shopping- summer beckons. I'm so in love with all the Cath Kidston vintage inspired stuff.

I SHOULD get back to work as I am going to watch Da Vinci Code tonight.

I START at a new place after summer, fingers crossed.

I FINISH the thesis and LIFE, which is now on hold, can begin again.


Oh, you can do this if you wish. No tags.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"I hate writing. I love having written"

Says the straight-talking Dorothy Parker. Which sort of sums up how things are now. And going to be for a while now. Sigh. It almost feels like sacrilege to be working when the weather is getting so gorgeous. Warm, honeyed sunshined is streaming in, bathing everything in a golden glow. And the bluebells are rustling.

Now, I know why all those poetry got written in spring.

But I leave you with a lame joke.

Q: How many Chicago school economists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, if it needs changing the market will take care of it.

Ha ha ha. But I sort of dig taking a shot at these nutters, ya know?


Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I can eat roti canai everyday for breakfast. There is something immensely satisfying about a crisp roti canai dunked into piping hot dhall curry. It sits with a flamboyant sheen as it's dished out, almost too grand for the regular blue plastic plate. A golden, velvety square-round roti. Whip bite pieces quickly into the thick dhall curry, enjoy the feel of the roti soaked in generous curry with your fingers and let it slide into the mouth. I seriously think that everything is down to the fact that the fluffy margarine smeared roti is flicked around with such dextrous fun. That's why it cant help but traipse around in flavourful bites when it finally sinks into the mouth.

In the evenings when the weight of the day hangs heavy, I tend to try fancier versions, roti telur, roti bom, roti sardin. They last longer for those after office conversations. There are so many new versions that I often am lost for choice. I don't think I can ever eat all the varieties though. Roti strawberi for example. Fruity jam with my roti seems such an anomaly.

But in the mornings, its canai and nothing else. Canai is never too much or too little. Always just nice. To pep the senses and start the day ahead.

Chanai also features regularly on lazy mid-mornings, when it's a holiday and no-plans-ahead-kind-of-day. It imbues a languid morning with a lovely, indulgent feeling. Perfect for a morning read. Maybe Murakami. Definitely a writer who goes with roti canai. Light and spurious to pique those lazy senses. Or nice, clean writers like Ishiguro or Julian Barnes. Those are my morning books that have the odd canai stain in their midst. Sometimes, with dhall as well.

Last of my memory and food posts for now, inspired by my recent trip to KL.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mr.Ho's Char Kueh Teow

Char kueh teow (ckt) over lunch at a nondescript stall holed in a corner of PJ. I have been eating in this place, Mr. Ho's, for over 10 years. It certainly is not the best ckt in town.

There are much more eulogized ones. When I do have a craving for a good plate, where the fluffy noodle, slathered in oil, soya sauce and eggs glides gently to tickle the taste buds and explode in a joyous symphony, accompanied by a heady note of cockles and prawns, I take a two hour drive up north to Ipoh. There, a bright coffee shop in the Old Town sells the best char keuh teow in Malaysia (subjective of course). Go there slightly after 1 in the afternoon and return empty stomached for the stall owners would be clearing out already.

Coming back to Mr. Ho's ckt. I really don't know what his name is but mentally called the thin, moustachioed noodle seller Mr. Ho years ago. Because he looked like a Mr. Ho type. You know the ones who are brisk and no-nonsense, always gruff, unsmiling and cursing under their breath. But with really nice hearts. That Mr. Ho type. Over the past decade, Mr.Ho has consistently served me with ckt that is too oily, with too much soy sauce, little or no prawns, and always slightly burnt.

In the early days, I attempted to explore a few other places during the PJ lunch hour but realized that I was wasting my time. Something to do with the water, another connoisseur quietly told me. Water makes a difference in the rice noodles and that's why the thick, flat noodles from up north, shaped with rice flour and clear water from the hills, taste so divine. The years when I worked in another part of town, I tried various other ckt stalls. Still, something felt not right. I've come to realize that it may not be the noodle as much as Mr. Ho.

The gruff Mr. Ho smiles some days when he recognizes me. Or gives me that glint of familiarity. And I tell you, for some strange reason, it makes such a difference. He has seen me with ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, current friends, my sisters, my parents and the one husband I now have. In a funny way, Mr. Ho's ckt has been the one constant in my life. And it always smells of how work day lunches should be.