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Pandemic Tales: Celebrating Our First-Year Wedding Anniversary Apart

2020 was supposed to be THE year. 

N and I had our marriage registered in Nov 2019 after months of groundwork (flying back and forth to get documents and approval from the respective departments, etc), and we finally had our wedding ceremony in February – before he flew back to the Philippines to wait out the six-month cooling off period (Malaysia has this law to avoid fake marriages). The plan was for him to apply for the Long-Term Spouse Visa at the soonest possible time (May), so that we can start building our life together here. 

But then the pandemic happened. The Malaysian government imposed a ban on travelers from the Philippines (indefinitely), even for spouses. While it sucks tremendously, we understand this is for safety, and we don’t want to risk any air travel right now (plus the insane costs of quarantine which is like RM5,000+ for foreigners). 

So it is that we’re going to celebrate our first year as husband and wife 2,490 kilometres apart. 

Murphy’s Law is a bitch. 

But if there’s one thing that our four-year-long LDR has taught us, it is resilience. The whole point of us getting married is so that we can physically be together – but now that a wrench has been thrown into our plans, I think we’re better able to weather the storm compared to people who have never had LDR experience, because of our prior ‘training’ (not that it’s a ‘good’ thing, lmao. We’d much prefer being able to be together!). To all the LDR couples out there, whether you’ve been in an LDR for a long time or just forced into one because of the pandemic situation – stay strong. 

A friend once asked if I find it difficult to be apart from N, since we’re newlyweds and this is supposed to be our lovey-dovey honeymoon phase. 

Thing is, it has always been a lovey-dovey honeymoon phase, as much as you might feel like puking from reading this lol. And while it is difficult to be apart, I find strength in knowing that he’ll still be with me when this is all over. Hopefully for good this time. 

Like many couples, there are occasional disagreements and I’ve often felt like wringing his stubborn neck (I’m sure he feels the same way about me, lol) – but I think at the end of the day, we’re just two imperfect people trying to do the best for each other. I love the fact that we’re like an old married couple at times, but also giggly, immature teenagers who can laugh at silly things and act like kids. Coming from a household where my parents are the complete antithesis of what I have in my relationship right now, all I can say is I’ve been extremely blessed to find someone who vibes with me as much as he does, and who tries to understand and accept me for who I am. 

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@RIUH Kuala Lumpur, 2018

Still, it’s surreal to think that we’ve been married for a year now. We’ve come a long way since our first date at a Jollibee’s in Robinsons Place, stuffing our faces with fried chicken. It was also crazy because I recklessly flew to Manila without telling anyone and it would have been extremely bad if he turned out to be an evil person (don’t try this at home, kids – not all stories have a happy ending). 

This might sound cliche, but my husband is my best friend. We’re both people who love experiences, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to share them with. Who else is going to spend six hours in a museum with me fawning over ancient weaponry? 

Outside the Museum of Natural History in Manila. It was memorable because we got stuck in one of Manila’s infamous flash floods and only got back to our hotel at midnight. We also had to slog through calf-high flood water to get to a bus stop and N’s mysophobia meant he had nightmares for the rest of the week lol

There is nothing that I can really ‘do’ for him this year because of the distance, aside from penning down these thoughts. We’ve both agreed that we’re not going to send each other stuff, but we’re going to have a virtual date where we’ll order our favourite food (he’s getting Jollibee and I’m probably going to get A&W), dress up and Skype each other. Since it’s a special occasion I might even get some boba, ha 

The way things are going right now, we’re not even sure we’ll be able to see each other in 2021. It would be a funny story to tell our cats in the future though, “Hey, mom and dad were separated for two whole years after we got married. Isn’t that crazy?” 

Happy Anniversary, mahal ko. 

What It’s Like To Date A Filipino

So.

You’ve got your eye on a cute guy from the beautiful country of the Philippines. But you’re worried about cultural differences, and how the relationship might work out.

Fret not – I’m here to share with you what it’s like to date a Filipino, and what you can expect. winkwink 

Now before we proceed, a disclaimer for the party poopers going “OMG Eris so you dated two Filipino guys, you married one and you have a bunch of Filipino friends – what gives you the right to generalise ? Smooth out your knickers, this is purely for fun. I mean, no one gets mad when people ‘generalise’ Virgos as perfectionists (entirely true, though).

Without further ado (but first a photo, coz we lookin’ cute): 

THEY’RE ROMANTIC

Be ready for some extremely corny (but not unpleasant) pick-up lines.

Courtship is a big thing in Filipino culture. Back in the day, a man who wished to woo a woman had to go through the proper steps, first expressing interest in a friendly and discreet manner. Traditional Filipino society was conservative, so the process was often done through a ‘bridge’, a friend who knows both families. The bachelor would visit the family, asking for permission to court the lady. There might be a series of chaperoned dates, lots of gift giving, romantic letters and cards, serenading (called harana) and the like. Oftentimes, the bachelor would have to ‘court’ the girl’s family as well  – gotta please the future in-laws lol. 

Perhaps this is why Filipinos still have a strong notion of romantic love (be it through gifts, love songs, writing, etc.). Coming from a Malaysian Chinese family, where love is rarely expressed in words, it is refreshing to date someone who tells you they love you and puts in the effort to keep things fresh and interesting. I don’t subscribe to the belief that once you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it becomes drab and dull. It’s only boring if you make it so.

I know this is not the best example (seeing as how he’s gone down in history as a despot lol), but ex-President Marcos once said to Imelda, “Just love me now, and I’ll court you forever.” We all know how that went, but you can’t say the idea isn’t romantic!

THEY GET JEALOUS EASILY 

N and I had a huge fight early on in our relationship. I met up with an old friend from grade school, and since we hadn’t seen each other for so long, we got drinks after dinner and hung out until midnight. N was pissed because he said going out 1-on-1 with a guy constitutes a ‘date’ – despite how I tried to explain that we’re just friends. On my end, I felt insulted because it was clearly not a date and how about having a little bit of faith in me? I mean, even my super protective Asian parents didn’t give a shit, so why was he even mad? If the reverse applied, I wouldn’t mind if he went out with a female friend, because there’s this thing called trust. Long story short, he insisted I was wrong, I refused to apologise, and we made a compromise that I wouldn’t stay out past midnight with a guy (apparently a group of people is fine… I don’t get the logic). Now that we’re married though, he doesn’t seem to mind – so I guess it was a ‘we’re not really official yet so I’m worried someone might steal you away thing’ ?

PS: I know some people would call this a red flag – that if a man truly loves you they wouldn’t try to put a leash on you. But I think it goes both ways. If your significant other has made it clear that they’re uncomfortable about something and they’ve explained the reason behind it, weigh it against your own principles, and see if it’s something you can compromise in, in exchange for a more harmonious relationship.  If you’re okay with it, by all means. I feel that couples these days can get too caught up in the ‘he/she has to accommodate ME’ attitude.  End of the day, God gave you brains – use them to make rational decisions based on mutual respect

THEY ARE FAMILY ORIENTED

In general, Asian cultures are more family-oriented than Western ones, and it’s not uncommon to find many generations living together under the same roof. Filipinos are no exception, and they usually have big families. While marriage is between two people, if your beau is living with his fam, naturally, you’d have to get along with his family members. If you come from an individualistic culture, this might be difficult to adapt to. I’m fortunate as my in-laws are nice and reasonable people but then again, I don’t live with them – it might be an entirely different ball game. 😛 At the same time, coming from an Asian family myself, I understand the importance of family to him, so I’d never ask him to choose between us.

THEY’RE RELIGIOUS 

A majority of Filipinos are Catholic and deeply religious. While they might not impose these beliefs on you, I think it’s important to respect the fact that religion plays an important part in their lives. N is Christian, and I’ve been to his church a couple of times to listen to sermons. Although he hopes that I will embrace Christianity some day, he has never forced me to accept his beliefs, and I’ve never insisted that he should be a Buddhist. When you come from different cultures and have different beliefs, respect is key. All too often, couples of different faiths have problems when they can’t find common ground, or dismiss the other person’s faith as lesser than one’s own.

YOU’LL NEVER GO HUNGRY

Filipinos are known for their hospitality and every time I’ve been to the Philippines for holidays, I always leave a couple of pounds heavier. His mom makes a killer nilaga, and his fam is always taking me out for good food whenever I visit. The Hubs likes to try new cuisine, which is great because Malaysians are big foodies as well. If you love food, marry a Filipino!

 

 

 

How To Get Married To A Malaysian: A Guide For Filipino Foreign Spouses

Hey guys! 

So I haven’t had time to write about this properly, but I got my marriage registered in November last year (2019), with my Filipino husband.  We had the marriage registered in Malaysia and started planning as early as 2018. It took us over a year to have everything in place.

Getting married in Malaysia is no walk in the park if your spouse is a foreigner. The information available online is  not complete, and in some cases policies change – so we ended up running to a lot of different government agencies, having to enter and exit the country multiple times, etc. I hope that by sharing my own experience, it can help other spouses plan their marriage registration better!

Note: This is written from the perspective of a non-Muslim Malaysian spouse and a non-Muslim Filipino spouse (husband). The procedure for Muslims is different.

Note 2: Information is updated as of 2019. Some policies may have changed in the meantime.

WHAT TO GET IN THE PHILIPPINES – FILIPINO SPOUSE 

Step 1: NSO Birth Certificate & Certificate Of No Marriage (CENOMAR). You can order copies of these online at psa.gov.ph which should take two business days. They should cost around PHP 350 – 450 each. The CENOMAR is valid for 120 days from the date of issuance. Order two copies of each to be safe.

Step 2: The NSO Birth Cert & CENOMAR has to be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in a process called ‘Red Ribbon’. This can be done at any of their satellite branches and will cost around PHP300. Hubs had his done at the branch in SM Megamall Ortigas.

Step 3: Getting a Single Entry Visa (SEV) from the Malaysian Embassy in Makati. 

Okay, this is the complicated part. Filipinos travelling to Malaysia get 30 days on arrival, without having to apply for any visas. BUT. The marriage registration process takes more than 30 days. So unless you’re willing to exit Malaysia, go for a holiday in Bangkok for a couple of days or something, and come back again with a fresh 30-day pass, I recommend getting a Single Entry Visa (SEV), which allows Filipinos to stay up to 60 days in Malaysia without exiting. I think it used to be 90 days but they’ve shortened it to 60 – not sure if it’s applicable across the board or if it was our own personal experience.  

Because this section is pretty long in its own, I will detail this in another post.

Other stuff: Passport sized photos with white / blue background. Make lots and lots of them.

WHAT TO DO IN MALAYSIA 

So your Filipino spouse is finally in Malaysia. You’re halfway done, congrats! This part will involve lots of running around to different government departments – hopefully this’ll help guide you in your journey. 🙂 

STEP 1 : CERTIFICATE OF SINGLE STATUS – FOR THE MALAYSIAN SPOUSE 

No one actually told me that I had to get a cert of single status. So when we got to the Philippine embassy (with all the other documents ready for submission) and got asked for it, we had to scramble to the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara in Putrajaya to have it issued – there goes the day! At JPN, head to the Marriage and Divorce counter and tell them you want to get a cert of single status issued. If there aren’t too many people, you should get it within a couple of hours. PS: I can’t recall exactly but I THINK this needs to be certified by a commissioner of oaths. You can find one within the building.

Important note: After I got the cert of single status, a member of the staff advised for me to get the cert  authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Wisma KLN, Precinct 2, Putrajaya. The reason given was that ‘anything that deals with foreign affairs must be authenticated at the foreign affairs department’. I have not read anything about having to do this step, but we didn’t want to risk going to the Philippine embassy and being turned away again.  So we got EVERYTHING (my cert of single status, Hubs’ CENOMAR and birth cert, etc.) authenticated.

STEP 2: Applying for CLCCM (Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage) 

We returned to the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur the next day with documents in hand:

  • Copies of Birth Certificate and CENOMAR by NSO, authenticated (Red Ribbon) in Philippines AND stamped by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia.
  • Malaysian – Certificate of single status
  • Photocopy of Malaysian spouse IC
  • Photocopy of Philippine Passport (front page + page with date of entry to Malaysia will do but we printed everything to be safe)
  • Passport size photos of both parties (2 pieces each)
  • Affidavit of Contracting Party (you can get this at the embassy)
  • Application for CLCCM (you can get this at the embassy)
  • Payment: RM106.25.

Be there early (before 9AM) because it gets pretty crowded. We submitted our documents within the hour, and were told to return after 13 working days. 

STEP 3: Waiting 

It is a requirement to reside in the state where your spouse lives for at least 7 days. I think this is pretty hard to track because you can be travelling around as a tourist, and it’s not likely they’ll come to check on you – but to be safe, stay at your spouse’s place and go check out their neighbourhood, get used to Malaysian life, etc.

STEP 4: Collecting the CLCCM / Getting It Authenticated 

After 13 business days, return to the Philippine Embassy to get your CLCCM. Guess where you’re headed again? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Putrajaya. We made a return trip to get the CLCCM authenticated. Remember, if you’re not sure (and government staff tend to give you different instructions or “I don’t know”) , just have everything authenticated. 

STEP 5: Verification of Marital Status Letter 

One final hurdle before you can apply to get married. Foreign marriages can only be registered at the district where the Malaysian spouse resides. It cannot be done in JPN Putrajaya if the Malaysian spouse’s IC is not registered in Putrajaya (excluding special cases like Chinese or Nigerian nationals).

My IC is in Puchong, which falls under the purview of Daerah Petaling. Puchong has a JPN but it’s very small so for all major happenings /registrations/whatnot = JPN Petaling (in Petaling Jaya). BUT. I cannot go directly there. I had to get a Verification of Marital Status Letter issued by JPN Putrajaya, which I would have to bring to JPN Petaling. It’s basically an approval letter stating that you’re intending to marry this person and have already gotten your certificate of single status and are therefore allowed to marry.

STEP 6 : Application for marriage 

We finally went to JPN Petaling for our marriage application. Documents needed:

  • Verification of Marital Status Letter
  • Form JPN.KC02 (can be obtained at JPN Petaling)
  • One (1) colour passport-sized photograph per applicant.
  • Malaysian spouse’s MYKAD
  • Photocopies of Malaysian spouse’s MYKAD (photocopying services are available but it costs RM1)
  • Filipino spouse’s passport
  • Photocopies of Filipino spouse’s passport
  • CLCCM (authenticated)
  • CENOMAR (original and photocopy)
  • Filipino Birth Cert (original and photocopy)

Again, to be safe, bring every single document listed in the procedures from above. You don’t want to be running to another department to get some thing or other.

Our JPN officer guided us through the forms that we had to fill up. She could speak English so we didn’t require translation services from a commissioner of oath. If you or your spouse can’t speak English or Malay, you might have to get the forms translated (I think there is a commissioner of oath available inside the JPN building)

Once you’ve submitted and filled out everything, they’ll put up a notice for 21 days, and anyone (jealous exes?) who wants to raise an objection can do so in this period. You can also set a date for the swearing in.

We had a hiccup here because even though we had a 2-month SEV for him to stay in Malaysia (mid August – mid October) the dates available for the swearing in were full until November. We went to immigration to ask if we could extend but they didn’t allow it. He ended up flying back to the Philippines (additional cost ;__;), then flew back here in November on a tourist pass lol. Which sucked because we wasted a lot of money applying for the SEV, not to mention plane tickets back and forth.

In most cases, two months should suffice. To give you a breakdown of the timeline that we followed:

  • Verify Filipino spouse’s CENOMAR, Birth Cert and Malaysian spouse’s Certificate of Single Status at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Putrajaya – 1 day 
  • Apply for CLCCM at Philippine Embassy KL – 1 day 
  • Wait 13 business days for the CLCCM (does not include weekends – so we’re looking at almost 3 weeks here. It may be earlier; they will call you if it is)
  • Collect CLCCM. Go to Ministry of Foreign Affairs Putrajaya to authenticate. – 1 day
  • The Malaysian spouse has to get their Verification of Marital Status Letter if you’re marrying anywhere other than Putrajaya. We got this on the same day we verified the CLCCM at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Head to the JPN Branch of the district where your Malaysian spouse is residing and apply for marriage. They’ll put up a notice for 21 days. – 21 days 
  • Total: About 40 days, give or take.

Step 7 : Swearing in !

After all that hullabaloo, our swearing in date was finally set. The process is on a first come first served basis, so be there early ! (we were at JPN Petaling around 7.30AM). Bring:

  • 2 witnesses (if they’re Malaysians, have MYKADS ready, if they’re non-Malaysians then passports)
  • Malaysian spouse IC
  • Foreign spouse passport

Casual wear is not allowed so no flip flops or tees. You don’t have to wear your gown though – a dress for the girl and a formal shirt for the guy should be good enough.

We were called into the room where the officer read a bunch of stuff and we had to sign some forms. We also did a symbolic ring exchange.

Getting married in Malaysia is not easy and couples should be ready to face a tonne of bureaucracy and challenges that require lots of patience and perseverance. If your foreign spouse is planning to stay here in Malaysia for the long term, it’s a whole new set of hurdles, like applying for a long term spouse visa and work permit. We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but we’ll face it when the time comes.

I hope this guide will be helpful to future couples. Good luck!

Helpful sources: 

https://heycontemporaryhippie.wordpress.com/

https://www.jpn.gov.my/en/maklumat-perkahwinan/pendaftaran-perkahwinan-bagi-pemohon-bukan-beragama-islam/

Join The Subtle Asian Dating Group On FB To Completely Ruin Your Self Confidence

If you’ve been somewhere in the stratosphere and/or spend much of your time on the Internet, then you’ve probably heard of the Subtle Asian Traits Group on Facebook (they’ve even got their own Wiki page), which has over 1.6 million members who share content, memes and have discussions on the Asian experience in the West. An offshoot of this, which I recently heard about, is the Subtle Asian Dating Group.

The most notable thing about the SAD group (haha!) is the ‘auction’ series, where friends of members (and sometimes the members themselves) post photos and a bio on why you should date them, usually accompanied by social media plugs so you can ‘slide into their DMs’. A majority of the members are young and in their early 20s.

As I scroll through the auction posts, all I can say is..  WTF? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHY DO THEY LOOK SO GODDAMN ATTRACTIVE? And it also seems that everyone has a 4.0 CGPA and/or is studying to be a doctor/computer scientist/data scientist/geologist/economist and/or has some sort of talent like being a cellist and performing at Carnegie Hall (actual profile), being an animal rescuer, national athletes, or some shit. That, on top of six packs and anime-like / Korean-oppa faces.

WHY THEN ARE THEY SINGLE? 

The more I go through the posts, the more I feel like a potato. It’s no wonder people have this stereotype of Asians as being overachievers, because they are lol.

That being said, I like looking at pretty people (who doesn’t?) so perhaps I’ll stay in the group for just a bit longer That’s not creepy at all

While we’re on the topic, I thought of doing an auction post for the Hubs. So here goes:

🔴🔴🔴 CHRISTMAS SALE 🔴🔴🔴

😍 HE’S OFF THE MARKET BUT I HAVE TO FOLLOW THE FORMAT SO HERE GOES. PRESENTING: 

  • Name: Neil GM
  • IG: nimbus.neil
  • Location: MNL
  • Age: 33 years young, can also be 10, 20, or 50 depending on hour of the day and mood
  • Ethnicity: 🇵🇭 Filipino (with a spot of Spanish. Like 10%. Which he is very adamant on mentioning)

PROS:

💙 don’t be fooled by the one pack – there’s a six pack underneath

💙 soft belly is perfect as a pillow

💙 Loves cuddles and will shower you with kisses

💙 gamer boi, will understand your need to game and give you space

💙 Will spend six hours in a museum with you and is basically a culture nerd

💙 Infinitely cute boyo, fluffy hair

💙 Cat lover, will meow at random street cats and they will usually come to him (cat overlord)

💙 Gives great massages and hugs

💙 Photo enthusiast; will take great photos of you for socmed

💙 Foodie; will act as your garbage disposal when you can’t finish your food

CONS:

📍 talks and giggles a lot when drunk
📍 can be stubborn (tiger baby)
📍 style still stuck in the 90s, won’t let me dress him up properly
📍 takes forever to decide on what to eat at restaurants + lame jokes that only I laugh at

DO NOT SLIDE INTO HIS DMS BECAUSE HE IS MINE

The end

 

 

 

Shinshe Lavender Cottage, Taichung – Not for Singles

It took me awhile to find out what this place is called. Tourism in Taiwan caters mostly to an Asian crowd (you’ll see a lot of domestic holiday-goers, Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese, Japanese and Koreans) and as such, it was hard to find English signs and place names. My cousin, who organised our trip there, simply told me this was ‘the love garden’ and that didn’t turn up anything on the search engine lol.

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Shinshe Lavender Cottage is about an hour’s drive away from Taichung City and a tranquil spot to chill. While it’s not a bad place, if I had been planning the trip, I wouldn’t choose this as a spot – not only is it out of the way, the ticket is overpriced and it’s a typical tourist trap, especially for couples. If you’re single, I suggest you skip this coz there’s literally nothing you can do without a constant reminder of your single-dom. lol.

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Trekking up to the garden area, which is on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. Trees and shrubs line the pathway, which has love quotes embedded into it at intervals, as well as stone displays with poetry and more quotes (all in Mandarin, of course).

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The garden was cute, but not very impressive. There were several European-style ‘cottages’, housing souvenir shops and cafes. Like many tourist places in Taiwan, the price of the admission ticket includes a voucher to spend, so they are essentially forcing you to buy stuff lol. I got a keychain and some lavender-scented pouches.

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Another souvenir shop selling overpriced necklaces, brooches and silver jewellery to gift to your girlfriend (or boyfriend).

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Wooden spoons which you can get from the workshop. They even throw in calligraphy/writing services for free. Couples write their wishes on to the spoons and hang them up on the hedge, like love locks.

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A good place to drop on your knees and… tie your shoelaces?

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Not a real piano.

There were actually lots of couple props, ie hedges cut into heart shapes, hanging frames with love quotes, kissing cutouts, etc. which were all a little too sickly sweet for my taste lol so I didn’t put any pictures up here.

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The main courtyard with a cafe and a fountain.

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Personally, Shinshe was not one of my favourites spots, but apparently they have a very nice lavender field in spring and summer so you might want to time your visit properly. 🙂

No. 20, Zhongxing St, Xinshe District, Taichung City, Taiwan 426
Opening hours: 10:30AM–6:30PM

If Time had been Kind

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like do i look photogenic in this pic or what lol.

 

If time had been kind
Would I be the one you watched
stars with late at night?
If words had been said
would you be the one I woke
up to each morning?
There are so many
Maybes hidden in between
Lines that we practiced
and now what are we
but two strangers lost in
a strange little world

 

*First try at haiku okay pls dont laugh kthxbai 

 

I was thinking about a guy I used to like when I wrote this. There’s nothing sexier than a man with a brilliant mind, and he had one that blew mine away. It didn’t hurt that he was also very cute. Sadly, the time wasn’t right – I was with someone else, and he knew it too. So that was that.

Sometimes I wonder about what would’ve happened if we had met under different circumstances.

Would he have rocked my world? And vice versa ?

Looking back, maybe not. He was truly a free spirit, a poet and a dreamer – something I wanted to be, but wasn’t. And could probably never be.

Come to think of it, maybe he never felt the same way about me. Hey, we hadn’t even met yet.

All we had was that one, unforgettable night of conversation.

 

 

If you’re reading this, yes, it’s about you.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day @ Taiping Lang, Puchong Jaya

Happy Mothers Day to all mums around the world! It’s not easy being a mum, so it’s not too much to have a special day to honour and celebrate all that she has done for you and the family.

I was working on Mothers Day. We decided to go for an early celebration with a meal at Taiping Lang, a Nyonya restaurant in Bandar Puchong Jaya.

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Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term Nyonya cuisine, it comes from Baba and Nyonya, a community found in Malaysia and Singapore. They are also referred to as ‘Straits Chinese’ or ‘Peranakan’. The Baba and Nyonya were 15th – 17th century Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago and adopted local Nusantara customs along with their traditional rituals, way of dress and food. Their cooking is a unique blend of both Chinese and Malay flavours, making it truly a one-of-a-kind cuisine that you can only find in this part of the world.

We ordered a set meal for three persons and some side dishes. First up was ngo hiang or fried lor bak : a spiced pork and shrimp meat roll wrapped with vegetables in beancurd. The meat was marinated in five-spice powder, giving it a solid, savoury flavour interspersed with bits of carrots and other veggies. The skin was crispy and deep fried to perfection. The version here was done well without being too salty, and came served with a house special chilli dip.

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Next up, Nyonya fried chicken. Unlike conventional fried chicken, this had less skin and was sweet, like it had been glazed with sugar or honey. I’m guessing it was made from village chicken as the size was smaller and the meat was tender and juicy.

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This brings back memories! Jiu hu char is stir-fried jicama with dried cuttlefish, a Nyonya specialty. Although my dad’s side is ethnic Hokkien, my grandma used to make it she learnt it from a Nyonya lady when she was younger. My aunt still prepares it on special occasions, like Chinese New Year.

The jicama had a texture similar to daikon or radish, and the stir frying made it soft as it swam in a broth of its own juices. Apart from dried cuttlefish, the dish also had har mai (dried shrimps) and mushrooms for a chewier bite.

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Sambal fried anchovies. Spicy, with pungent onions and chilli, this was great to go with rice.

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Otak-otak wrapped in banana leaves. Literally translated, it means ‘brain-brain’ in Malay – probably derived from the dish’s soft, gooey appearance. It is actually a steamed seafood cake cooked with herbs. The cake’s texture is soft but occasionally has big chunks of seafood in them. This one here was not too spicy and the herbs lent it a unique flavour.

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Rice and soup to go along with the dishes.

Overall, Taiping Lang did not disappoint. The menu items are quite limited, but the few dishes they serve are all of good quality. The resto is quite famous as you will see cutouts of newspaper reviews and celebrity photos pasted all over the wall.

TAIPING LANG

19-01, Jalan Kenari 18B, Bandar Puchong Jaya,, 47100, Puchong, Selangor, 47100

03-8076 2686

Tuesday – Sunday (Closed on Mondays)

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I was grumpy on Mothers Day itself because I was working from morning til 10pm at night – but the day started off well because I got to buy a bunch of fresh roses at the event I was attending  for only RM1. Look how pretty they are! I got a pink bouquet for my mum coz she has never gotten flowers from anyone, tbh. (my dad isn’t exactly the romantic type lol)

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If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you’ll know that my mum and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. Despite everything, she is still the one I’m closest to in my family, who brought me up to be the person I am today. And I know she will always be there for me, through good times, or bad times.

As a child, my mum was always super protective of me. This didn’t bide well when I stepped into adulthood – I felt suffocated by all the rules and regulations, of the things she imposed on my life ‘in my best interests’. That was often a point of contention between us.  The fights were terrible. I can honestly say that I’ve never fought as much with anyone else in my life. Thankfully, these incidences are becoming less and less.

Over the past year, I’d like to believe that she is starting to understand that I am not always going to be her cutesy five-year-old, whom she can dress up and protect from all the evils in the world. Fledglings grow up and leave the nest : and while I will always be her little girl, I too must leave the nest and go out into the world someday.

I want to be my own person, to explore and fall down and get hurt and learn from experiences. Conversely, as I grow older, I am also starting to understand the fears that a mother feels, and I try to show her that I am able to take care of myself and that she need not worry.

Either way, I’d just like to wish my mum and all the mums in the world a Happy Mothers Day! I know we as kids may hurt you and do stupid things, so thank you for giving us life and putting up with all our antics.

2014 in Pictures

Hi guys! How was your New Year’s? Mine was a quiet affair at home. I was working during the day and got back late, so I really didn’t have any energy to go partying afterwards.

Since I did a ‘review’ of sorts for 2013, I thought I’d do one for 2014 as well. Personally, it has been a very eventful year and I got to go to a lot of places – of which I am very grateful for. Here’s to another awesome year ahead!

JANUARY

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  • Went white-water rafting for the first time.
  • Ferried to the jungle campsite in lorries in the middle of the night like cattle.
  • Scary, exhilirating and exciting all at once.
  • Fell into the river two minutes into the ride.
  • Dangerous, but fun – like a two hour long ride where you can’t get off and might lose your legs and a life in the process. yeah.

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  • Went to Bali with the fam.
  • Dug toes into the beautiful beaches of Uluwatu with its turqoise blue waters.
  • Visited the sacred temples of Tirta Empul and touched the holy spring waters for good luck.
  • Drove up to the high, cold peaks of Kintamani and had lunch while looking at the badass crater-lake.
  • Enjoyed exploring the rich culture and history this Hindu island had to offer.

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FEBRUARY

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  • Agonisingly long trip back to parents hometown in Ipoh to visit relatives for Chinese New Year
  • Played tourist and went to Taman Rekreasi Gunung Lang
  • Visited the Ipoh railway station for pix and stuff.

MARCH

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  • Met up with my Saudi Arabian friend Sinan for the first time.
  • Took him sightseeing around Putrajaya. 

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  • Country experiences tragedy with MH370’s disappearance.
  • Helped with coverage, interviewed international journalists on their experience here.

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  • Went to my first F1 race with Simon. Got sunburnt in the process.

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  • Tried North Indian cuisine for the first time.
  • It was pretty awesome.

APRIL 

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  • Saw a real-life Tibetan Mastiff for the first time.
  • Fluffeh as hellz

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  • Traveled to Cameron Highlands for another family trip.
  • Enjoyed the cool air, tea leaf plantations, beautiful butterflies and pretty flowers up in the hills.

MAY 

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  • Went for my first Red Bull Air Race. 

JUNE

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  • Visited the zoo again after more than 10 years. 

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  • Took lots of hipster shots at the annual Floria Putrajaya – the city’s flower and garden festival.

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  • Went on my first press junket to Vietnam – to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 
  • First class treatment with business class flights and five star hotels.
  • Marveled at the beautiful, tranquil river waters of Tam Coc, which is like Halong Bay but less commercial-y.
  • Got to know more of the country’s history at places like Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and the Reunification Palace.
  • Nearly died crossing the roads at Hanoi’s Old Quarters coz their traffic is cray

JULY

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  • Made coffee at DIB – the first cafe in Malaysia which is run by the deaf and mute community.
  • Mourned another tragedy – MH17 was shot down while flying over Ukraine and Russia.

AUGUST

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  • Best month of my life.
  • Boyfriend flew all the way from San Francisco to visit me in Malaysia for two weeks.
  • Words are inadequate to describe how happy I am to have this amazing person in my life, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of it with him
  • Spent most of our time together walking the streets of Penang and KL.
  • Took him to Penang Hill, the beaches of Batu Feringghi, the Clan Jetties and exploring the culture-rich streets of Georgetown.
  • Parents let him stay over in our house. APPROVAL STAMPED.

SEPTEMBER

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  • Got to interview graffiti artists that I respect and admire on their street art project in KL.

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  • Fed goats on a farm in Johor.
  • Won an Ipad Mini at a lucky draw. Achievement unlocked, because I’ve never won anything in lucky draws.

OCTOBER

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  • Grandma’s 88th birthday.

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  • Met up with my Indonesian friend Liv and played tour guide around KL.

NOVEMBER

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  • Joined and completed a marathon for the first time.
  • In Penang again.
  • It was 7km, but still counts, right?

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  • Invited to another press junket at I-City.
  • Went with mum for a free night’s stay at their newly opened hotel.
  • Visited the wax museum, trick art museum and various other attractions.

DECEMBER

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  • Aunt and Uncle’s 35th wedding anniversary.
  • Got my US VISA. Planning to travel to LA to visit the boyfriend (and Jeppeh) in April 2015.

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  • Christmas meet-up with the UK gang.

Can’t say it hasn’t been an awesome year. I’m thankful for everything.

Anyway, I’m turning a quarter of a century this year. That’s more than 30% of my life lived. @-@ Have I done anything worthy of being remembered? I don’t know. Maybe I should do more this year.

How was your 2014?