Sunday, November 27, 2011

Many thanks, congratulations and best wishes!

It is that time of the year again.

The time when we count our blessings for the wonderful ups and downs with the children. All the tears and laughter, the bitter and the sweet.

The time we thank the families for their support and confidence in our teaching. We thank you in recommending us to your colleagues, friends, neighbours and extended family. We have enjoyed working with all of you in helping your children grow and learn.

The time when we anxiously await the new year to begin and to hear back from our K2 children who will be stepping up to Year One. We are constantly kept on our toes, to know if we have done our job in preparing them for their future.

As I take the graduation photos for the graduating students and as I announce each of their names as they walk towards Mum to receive their certificates, I am ushered down memory lane. Memories from as far back as when their parents approach the centre to enquire about our programs in the office with me, to the first week of their formal education and care experience with us, to the person they have turned out today.

Even as I watch them perform on stage, I feel an indescribable amount of pride. All our children, from the really young two-year-olds to the tall and lanky six-year-olds, exude confidence and enjoyment. I was brought to tears when the whole school sang 感谢. Some parents came up to me to congratulate me on another concert well done. One even had tears in her eyes.

The praises that are showered upon us when our children do well in school in future are not as important as the relationship that they want to maintain with us. To me, it is when children and their family return to help out at events, or even drop by just to send their regards that our job is a job well done. I try very hard to be part of this because this reminds me of why I chose to be in this profession.

Every year, I fly home for this.

Nothing I say can express the heartfelt gratitude I have for all our teaching and non-teaching staff, our students and their families, current and former.

Thank you, everyone. Congratulations and all the best for the coming year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Look Out Point Western & Local Cuisine, Look Out Point Ampang

The first time I came here was with Yun Hau and Pin Kean, who brought me out here for drinks at a different restaurant a few years ago. Since then, I visited again twice, which made this visit my fourth visit but the first with family (and for a proper meal).

It was sort of a birthday celebration dinner for Mum and Bro that we had at the first restaurant to operate in Look Out Point since 2005, the Look Out Point Western & Local Cuisine.

Honestly, I think people visit this place for the view and not the food.

Other than overpriced and not worth the price tag, I have nothing much to say about the food, really.

Mushroom soup, which I think was straight out of a can with less than acceptable garlic bread.

Cheese cream escargot (half dozen) (RM18.80): One word - rubbery.

Sea coconut drink (with ice, S RM5.80, L RM9.50; without ice, S RM8.00, L RM12.90)

Some salmon with pasta dish.

Cheese ham grill fish (Dory RM 17.80, Salmon RM35.80, Cod RM 39.80).

Grill fish (Dory RM15.80, Salmon RM33.80, Cod RM38.80)

Cheese sausage chicken chop (RM19.80)

It is better to visit during weekdays, since weekends and public holidays attract larger volumes of visitors. There is ample parking at the entry level of the hill for a parking fee of RM2. It is best to park your car at the open carpark and walk up the stairs, which lead directly to the restaurants and the view. However, for an extra RM3, you can choose to drive your car up the road to the jockey parking area. This is recommended only if you are unable to walk up the steep and long flight of stairs, as the parking up at the peak is limited and can get crowded. If you are young and fit and do not mind a hike, park on the roadside and walk up.

Look Out Point Western & Local Cuisine Ampang
Lot 3A, Pusat Pelancongan Menara Tinjau, Jalan Ampang - Hulu Langat, 43100 Bukit Langat, Selangor
Bookings / Enquiries: Frankie +60 19 250 8379, +60 16 242 4326, Hans +60 19 691 2308
Weekdays 5:30pm to 2:00am, Weekends 5:30pm to 3:00am

Monday, November 21, 2011

Häagen-Dazs Mid Valley Megamall

We all know there are brands of clothes, brands of electronics, brands of cars.

There are also brands of ice-cream and one of the more pricey brands out there is Häagen-Dazs.

When we walked past the shop, we browsed through the menu and the item that caught our attention was the Sushi Platter. We walked in and placed out order. Unfortunately for us, it was not available that day.

We settled for Love in Paradise (RM29), an indulgent platter of scoops of Belgian Chocolate and Crème Brûlée ice-cream, a piece of dark chocolate cake, chocolate seashells and strawberries.

Hm, the strawberry could have been a riper one but we both thought that on a whole, it was worth every ringgit, especially on the velvety smooth ice-cream and the sinfully rich dark chocolate.

Häagen-Dazs Mid Valley Megamall
Lot SK-01, 2nd Floor, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 3 2282 0766, Fax: +60 3 2284 2766
Open 10:00am to 10:00pm daily


那些年,我们一起追过的女孩 or You Are The Apple Of My Eye is a novel written by famed Taiwanese author, Giddens Ko, or better known as 九把刀. The novel is about the personal experiences of the award-winning writer, who is equipped with an MA from Tunghai University (THU). This also means that the characters in the story are real persons.

Now that I am pursuing my postgraduate studies, I relate to why people say that an individual is attractive when talking about something he or she is passionate about and which holds significance in his or her life. Before watching the movie, I had friends revealing to me that they did not share the same enthusiasm reflected in the record-winning ticket sales of the movie in the cinemas. Despite their negative feelings towards the movie, I insisted on watching it.

For the first time in my life, I enjoyed a movie in Gold Class comfort, and a movie that tugged at my heartstrings at that. I did not find it as bad as what my friends said.

Several reasons I found the movie appealing, one of them being that it was a movie which did not require much analysing, one that is light-hearted and easy to follow. One that is perfect to unwind with after a hard day's work.

Although there was not much analysing involved, it did provoke self-reflection. I find movies that make you ponder on your own situation more worthwhile than movies that just give you an adrenaline rush for two or three hours and stop at there.

The natural acting skills of the lead characters, Kai Ko (柯震東) and Michelle Chen (陈妍希), were impressive.


Kai Ko, especially, put up a sterling performance considering the movie his first ever. Not surprising he won the best Newcomer Award at the recent 48th Golden Horse Awards. Only 20 years of age, hopefully this young lad does not allow fame and money affect his life in a negative manner.

The story is one that is close to the heart of the author/director, which makes the movie down-to-earth and easy to relate to. Also, watching it brought back memories of my own time in high school - the constantly perverted thoughts of my male friends, the overwhelming attention the most popular girl in class receives, friends who stand up for each other, the heartbreak of high school puppy love, the agony of whether or not to start an "official" relationship.

Some of my favourite scenes in the movie include this scene of when he covers up for her and receives the punishment on her behalf. The feeling of protecting the person you care for came straight out of this scene. This was when she changed her perception and ill-feeling towards him.

The scene in which she tied her hair up in a ponytail further strengthened his feelings towards her. When she and her bestie walked past his friends and he at the school oval, he was awestruck, literally.

I liked when they went on their first date. He was still pursuing her, still in the chasing stage, which in my opinion is the sweetest and most enjoyable stage.

It is always disappointing and painful when we put plenty of effort into something and do not get any returns. In this case, they both invested much effort into making 'them' work out and yet it did not. Even though it did not work out between them, they remained friends. At her wedding dinner, the boys asked her husband if they were allowed to kiss the bride. Her husband gave the green light but first with them kissing him in the manner that they would like to kiss her. He was the first person to plunge him on a table with a passionate kiss.

All the memories of their time together played in their minds. As the flashbacks played on screen, I teared up, as I could feel the memories, as well, if you get what I mean.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Garden Lifestyle Store and Cafe

As we crossed the connecting bridge between The Gardens and Mid Valley Megamall, we noticed a new cafe occupying the spot where Little Penang used to be.

My attention was further attracted by the live singing that was coming out of a 'piano cage'.

We made a mental note of the place and returned later to give them a try.

I really liked the ambience of the place. Holding true to their garden concept, there were plants, both flowering and non-flowering, everywhere. Perhaps I have the influence of my parents - I seem to prefer places with greenery.

We wondered if the food would be of the same standard as its set up. As our orders were served, we progressively became impressed with not just the food, but also the service of its staff.

While waiting for our mains to be served, we enjoyed a pot of mixed fruit tea (RM12.90).

It tasted a little like sour plum tea and we found out that the most tasteful bit was the bit at the bottom of the pot.

The spaghetti marinara (RM18.90) arrived first. I was impressed with its presentation, and even more so with the fresh tomato and basil sauce. The clams, prawns and mussels were also fresh.

It made me look forward to the Peking duck pasta (RM23.90). When it arrived, my good friend looked at me and asked, "Why did you order pan mee at an Italian restaurant?"

I nearly choked on my tea. "Excuse me, this 'pan mee' here is called linguine, okay?" What I had was linguine cooked in brown sauce with wild spinach and shredded duck slices. Although the duck could have been more tender, it was still a dish that I would not mind having again.

Both of us chocolate maniacs could not resist the temptation of dessert with some amount of chocolate, which led us to decide on a slice of harmony cake (RM8.90).

The blend of hazelnut with orange was refreshing. We thought it went down well with all the other flavours.

How did we feel with our impromptu decision to dine here? All our positive feedback and encouragement were recorded in their feedback form. We left feeling very satisfied.

Garden Lifestyle Store and Cafe
Lot F-001, First Floor, Mid Valley Megamall, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +60 3 2282 0271, Fax: +60 3 2282 0418
Open 10:00am to 10:00pm daily

My birthday in 2011

This year, for the first time in my life, I received a birthday present way in advanced. And it was a really pretty present - a Swarovski snowflake, all thanks to my lovely student. Okay, ex-student/friend.

Then, back home, on the night before the actual day, my Kembangsari girls gave me a surprise disguised in a yumcha session at Little Star Cafe.

I was both happy and embarrassed at the same time, as Miss Teoh's entire extended in-law family was there and helped sing the birthday song! Aiyo, paiseh la but thank you all so much!

After working hard during the first half of my birthday, I spent the rest of the day enjoying myself. Perhaps it was my lucky day, we managed to get a parking spot right after we passed the boom gate. We quickly went up to the cinema to grab our tickets for the current Taiwanese blockbuster, You Are The Apple Of My Eye (那些年, 我們一起追的女孩).

As only single seats were available, we had to settle for Gold Class seats that were side-by-side. Not that I was complaining. It was my first Gold Class experience and it was great. It was worth every fifty-five ringgit spent (because I did not know how comfortable the seats and blanket were!). Will be sharing my thoughts on this movie in a later post.

To fill up our hungry tummies, we dined at Garden Lifestyle Store and Cafe, which now occupies the lot which Little Penang used to occupy. Initially attracted by just their environment, we were later impressed by their food and service, too. More on that soon.

How would my birthday be complete without ice-cream? We went to none other than Häagen-Dazs.

It did not stop there. After I got back to Sydney, I had something cute from a cute person.

Seriously, am just glad that I have all of you in my life.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Mamak Village

Seems like the Malaysian food scene in Sydney is really growing. Relatively new on the scene is Mamak Village in Glebe, which will turn one in January.

At first, we thought it was a branch of Mamak. But wait, they only have a branch in Chatswood and Glebe is too near to their main branch in Chinatown. So, this must be an entirely different one.

I ordered a signature dish of theirs, a plate of nasi lemak with chicken curry ($10.00 during lunch time).

The acar was really spicy and was the best component on the entire plate. The curry could have used a little more santan. Xin Wen had mee goreng ($13.90), which translates into wok fried yellow noodles, normally in mamak style.

She felt that it lacked the wok taste. Just like how good char kuey teow has some wok taste. I am unable to recall who ordered the plate of roti kaya ($5.50). Too hard, too little kaya.

Hm... but we all agreed that Mamak makes better rotis. Michael had dessert, too. He had a serving of sago gula melaka ($5.00).

Too sweet, even for the sweet-toothed Michael. Boey had a glass of iced More More Tea ($3.50), which essentially is just triple layered tea.

Hm, maybe we had our hopes too high, which had us leaving in a tad of a disappointment. At least, they had good service.

Unfortunately, for us it is a case of been there, done that.

Mamak Village
25 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW 2037
Tel: +61 414 675 880, +61 433 074 299
Monday to Friday: 11:15am to 3:00pm, 5:30pm to 9:45pm
Friday to Saturday: 11:15am to 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:15am to 9:30pm

Mamak Village on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Boathouse Palm Beach

Well-known to the locals of the Northern Beaches, especially Palm Beach, is The Boathouse Palm Beach, a funky little cafe that is housed in the original Barrenjoey Boathouse on the edge of Station Beach.

Flanked by tall and grand pine trees in the front, we were welcomed by baskets of fresh flowers and fruits at the entrance. The light breeze also carried a whiff of caffeine, which made us think more of brekkie.

The interior design, as well as landscape design and horticultural backgrounds of both owners sure came in handy in making the place this inviting.

They used clear glass window shutters to compliment the simple and clean design of the place.

Not only does this allow the interior to look more spacious, it also allows more light to enter the building.

After deciding long and hard on what we were having for brekkie, we placed our orders at the counter with the many attractive sweets.

An old chap who was behind Xin Wen in the line saw me taking this photo and said to me, "Oh, come on, don't just take a picture of 'em, you know you want to have some! Order one and he'll give you two!"

We chose to sit outside on the large wooden deck. Who could resist the lovely weather?

They serve good coffee. Good enough for Xin Wen to order a mocha (she is so not a coffee person). I, on the other hand, enjoyed a cup of soy chai latte.

Xin Wen chose to have the mushroom toast, which is a dish of sautéed mushrooms, haloumi, rocket and chilli jam on sourdough toast ($18.50). She loved it.

As I hardly have anything fishy at home, I ordered a dish of smoked salmon eggs.

My plate had poached eggs, spinach wrapped in smoked salmon topped with goats cheese and balsamic glaze on a piece of soy and linseed sourdough ($18.50). This was so worth its price, as the salmon was so fresh.

Michael ordered something out of the ordinary. You see, Michael and fresh produce normally do not go hand in hand. But on this morning, he ordered himself a large bowl of breakfast muesli (S $8.50, M $10.50, L $12.50).

An individual selection of bircher muesli, granola, naturally sweetened yoghurt, rhubarb compote and/or berry coulis tastefully presented on a Boathouse serving board, we had to help him finish it! We loved the generous serving of fresh fruits, yum!

Boey loves pork so he had fried eggs with grilled bacon and roasted roma tomatoes on thick cut crusty sourdough ($16.50).

Yup, the sourdough was thick, alright.

A place with great ambience run by people who looked like the love what they are doing, I would say that this is the place I would bring visitors to for that all important positive first impression of Sydney's cafe culture. But I think, the next time I pay them a visit, I would not be as lucky as this time to grab a table so quickly!

The Boat House on Urbanspoon

The Boathouse Palm Beach
Barrenjoey Boathouse, Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach, NSW 2108
Tel: +61 2 9974 3868
For weddings and functions, contact Rhiannon Swan at
Open daily for Breakfast (7:30am - 12:00pm) and Lunch (12:00pm - 3:00pm)
Note: They do not take reservations.