Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Garden with a Difference

My parents have an interesting garden back in KK. The plants include flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees. I managed to snap some pictures of the plants when I was home during the Hari Raya break.

Various plants

Aloe Vera - a flower bloomed from it recently

Dill - 'mosquito repellent' plant

There used to be a lot of mosquitoes in the house but with Dill, mosquitoes were driven away.

Fish bone stuck in your throat? No fear! This plant can help to remove the bone.

Herb to relieve hypertension

Ladies' finger


Herb for healing sore throat and high blood pressure


Sweet potato

Tapioca - My dad has just harvested the tapioca - Yummy!

Coconut Mango

Coconut Mango

Coconut Mango Tree

Coconut Mango Tree

Jogoton Mango Tree

Multi-grafted Apple Mango Tree

A rainbow

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pictures from KK Trip

Simply Chocolate

Scenes from the Kota Kinabalu Observatory Tower

Gaya Seafood Restaurant

Sea Creatures in Ocean View Restaurant

My Primary and Secondary School – next to each other

Fabulous Family Trip in KK

First Day – Thursday, 11 October 2007

10 am – Departed from LCCT. Yoke Kheng sent us to the airport.
12:30 pm – Arrived at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal 2.
Greeted by my Mum and Dad

Lunch at home – fried noodles – one of Mum’s specialties.
Rested at home.

7:30 pm – Dinner at Supertanker with Uncle David and Aunty Doris.
Jordan felt asleep. So, we had a peaceful dinner.

KK city tour. Jordan continued to sleep.

Second Day – Friday, 12 October 2007

8:30 am – Dental appointment for Seng Chor and I – tooth scaling. It was a painful and wet experience for Seng Chor. His dental scaling took more than half an hour!

11 am – Visited the chocolate factory – Simply Chocolate in Jalan Penampang.
This is the first handmade chocolate factory in Sabah.
We could view the process of making the chocolates in the factory.
It’s my first visit to a chocolate factory. I was expecting a big premises but it was just a shop lot. Anyway, it was still an interesting visit, and we bought some chocolates back as well. They have lovely packaging for the chocolates.

Lunch – Dim Sum at Foo Phin Restaurant. It was good to see Jordan finishing more than half a bowl of the chicken porridge. He really enjoyed it.

In the evening, Seng Chor and I took Jordan to the Tun Fuad Stephens Park near our house. There is a lake in the park, with a lot of fish. We even saw a turtle swimming in the lake. Jordan was excited to see the fish and the turtle – there were all very big – about 4 - 5 feet. Jordan kept on repeating the words, fish and turtle, and pointing to them at the same time. As a child, I used to go to the park with my family. We would bring bread to feed the fish. The fish were small then. Now, they are huge. I wonder if they were the same batch of fish.

My Mum cooked a lovely dinner for us. Jordan enjoyed the soup very much, and he kept on asking for more – “soup, soup, soup”.

After dinner, we wanted to visit my ex-schoolmate. Unfortunately, Jordan fell asleep.

Third Day – Saturday, 13 October 2007
We including my parents went to Karambunai Beach Resort. We walked around the Nexus Hotel. Seng Chor took Jordan for a walk on the beach but Jordan was still scared. He was reluctant to put his feet into the sea as well.

After that, Jordan sat next to a pond and had fun watching the fish swimming. There was a monitor lizard lurking near the pond as well. It also swam in the pond. Jordan was not afraid of it at all and even wanted to go near it. He really enjoyed himself that morning.

We went back to Foo Phin Restaurant for dim sum again. This time Jordan ate the century egg porridge – he ate more than half a bowl as well.

3 pm
My ex-schoolmate Josephine and her hubby John picked us to visit another ex-schoolmate Agatha who was working at the Tambunan Golf Club. Even though the meeting was brief (about an hour), it was still good to catch up with one another.

7 pm
Sumptuous dinner with Jenny at Gaya Seafood Restaurant. It was a wonderful treat from Jenny – my ex-University mate. We had butter crab, steamed prawn, “tung fung lo”, “sayur manis” (Sabah vegetable) and garlic rice.

Fourth Day – Sunday, 14 October 2007 (Jordan’s 22nd month birthday)
Visited Church of the Good Samaritan – an Anglican church.
Aunty Doris took us there.
During the worship, Seng Chor babysat Jordan. What a good relief! I hardly had chance to sit through a worship session without any interruption. It was a refreshing time indeed. The best part – I got to sing my favourite song – “Jesus loves me this I know.” My eyes were almost filled with tears as we sang the song. God has reminded me of His love for me, and I long for His touch once again. Praise the Lord!

I took over from Seng Chor to babysit Jordan during the message time.
4 visitors from Doulos shared. They played a short video clip, introduced the gospel through a skit and ended with a message by the Malaysian who has been with Doulos for 20 years. He shared his experiences and the challenges as a missionary on Doulos.

The service started at 10 am, and ended slightly before noon.

Lunch at home – fish noodles from Tian-tian coffee shop (Dad’s favourite restaurant).

Dinner at Ocean View Restaurant
We celebrated Jordan’s 22nd month birthday. My mum bought him a 2 kg Black Forest cake from Strawberry Bakery. It was a big cake indeed!

Dinner was of course sumptuous – fish, steamed prawn, “tung fong lo”, 2 types of clams, sayur manis and ostrich meat.

Jordan ate some fish and cake. He was very fascinated with the fish, prawns, crabs, and lobsters in the aquarium.

Fifth Day – Monday, 15 October 2007 (Window shopping Day)

Had a light lunch at home.

Seng Chor, Jordan, my Mum and I visited the old and new shopping complexes in KK:
• Wisma Merdeka (old)
• Warisan Square(new)
• Centerpoint (old)
• City Mall (new)

Mum cooked dinner.

Sixth Day – Tuesday, 13 October 2007
Visited Doulos – bought books and a Children’s Discovery Bible for Jordan.
Went up to the Observatory Tower to take some pictures.

Lunch at home – once again, Jordan enjoyed the soup.

After lunch, we dropped by at Karamunsing Kompleks. Seng Chor wanted to check out the camera and hand phone prices.

Next, we visited my primary and secondary schools. Took some photos from the entrance.

6:45 pm
Left for the KKIA Terminal 2.
Flight was delayed for 25 minutes. The flight was not full. So, Jordan had his own seat, and he could also see the view from the window.

We arrived LCCT at 10:45 pm. We were greeted by Yoke Kheng.

The Teohs slept after 1 am.

Praise the Lord for a fabulous and memorable family trip!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

3rd Tioman Trip and Sheraton Imperial

28 Sept 2007 to 30 Sept 2007
Seng Chor and I took a trip down Tioman Island – 3rd time for me and countless times for Seng Chor. Jordan was placed at the babysitter. We went together with Seng Chor’s colleague and family, and 2 other friends – 10 adults and 2 kids.

While Seng Chor and his friends were away diving, I spent most of the time in the room – watching TV and preparing PowerPoint slides for my lecture. How boring, right? I didn’t have any proper meal until Saturday night. Anyway, I pampered myself with the Signature massage at the resort. I enjoyed the boat ride to the nearby Pulai Island on Sunday morning – managed to tan myself a bit at the beach.

This is the first time I joined Seng Chor and his diving friends. It’s good to know them better and I do hope to join them more – maybe join them underwater in the near future. 

This trip is also part of our 7th wedding anniversary celebration.

At Mersing jetty, waiting for our ferry

Welcome drink at the resort

At Tulai Island

Sheraton Imperial, Kuala Lumpur – Saturday, 6 October 2007.
We ended our anniversary celebration with a one night stay at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in KL. We celebrated the anniversary for almost a month. Hehehe! Jordan was with us and he had an excellent time – eating and exploring almost every corner of the room. This complimentary stay is one of the privileges as a club member of the hotel chain. We had complimentary buffet lunch and dinner too. This weekend retreat is worth more than the annual membership fee that we paid. So, it’s a good deal indeed!

We still have a few more vouchers for complimentary meal and cakes. We are looking forward to that but unfortunately no more complimentary stay.

On Saturday afternoon, we had a wonderful family outing at the latest shopping centre in KL - Pavilion. The best part - I got a cool new handphone - Sony Ericsson W660i - anniversary cum advanced birthday gift! Thanks, Seng Chor. Actually, the main reason for getting this mobile phone is that my LG phone is dead for no apparent reason. The old has gone, the new has come.

Sheraton Imperial

Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Final Post on Vietnam Trip

My luggage was half full when I left Malaysia but it was overweight by about 5 kg after the trip. As I checked in my luggage, I prayed silently that I would not be charged for excess baggage. Thank God for answering my prayer.

After collecting my luggage, I walked towards the exit. Suddenly, the immigration officer called me and requested for my luggage to be scanned. After scanning, I thought it was ok for me to leave. As I was walking away, I was called again to open my luggage! I was shocked and a bit fearful. He asked me whether I bought any new clothes and I said yes. He asked, “How many?” and I answered about 20 (actually I counted 14 when I reached home). He said that it’s quite a lot. I told them that there are all for my family and I have big family (including my in-laws). He said according to the regulation I was only allowed to bring in 3 pieces of new clothing. I told him that I was not aware of this. Then, he picked this custom declaration slip somewhere and showed it to me. I saw and read the regulation. But I was still puzzled. Later, I realized that the regulation applies to foreigners only not Malaysian. The whole conversation actually took place in Bahasa Malaysia. He checked through my luggage and found a can of coke and a bottle of coke. I explained that I collect them as souvenirs. He asked about the rest of the content, and I told him that those are mainly souvenirs. He seemed reluctant to let me go but I guessed that he had no reason to retain me. Eventually, he said nevermind and ok. Probably, through the conversation he realized that I’m a Malaysian and released me. For whatever reason, I thank God for His protection and favour.

More on Vietnam…

Things that I find different in Vietnam
  • Left-hand drive.
  • Most bikers wear hat and mask, and not helmet.
  • Wet tissue is served before meal – clean first before you eat.
  • Toothpicks are available on every table – my Dad need not ask for toothpick when he’s there.
  • Tea is served with lemon slices.
  • Wax is used to start the fire for steamboat. Hmm…not so healthy.
  • Blackboard and chalk is still used in the University for teaching.
  • The rain coat is rather unique – it covers the front and back of the motorbike. It comes in assorted colours.

  • Cool rain coat

    Look, there is a child in between the 2 adults.

    A Taxi

    About Vietnamese
    To me, they are very simple people – hardworking, clean, extremely creative (look at all the traps and the tunnel they designed). Generally, the ladies are pretty and sweet. Because of the food they eat (non oily and sour), you hardly see any fat Vietnamese. Their portion of the beef noodle is smaller than here but it is just nice. Malaysians tend to overeat. Occasionally, as I traveled around Ho Chi Minh City, I said a short prayer for Vietnam. May God bless this nation, and that the whole nation would turn to Him.

    Overall, it was good trip – both for business and shopping. It was good to meet up with some of the Universities and Colleges. So far, I have only 1 Vietnamese student in my course and he has just graduated. I hope to see more Vietnamese students, and this trip will enable me to relate to them better. Basically, they have 2 main concerns in studying overseas – language and finance. We have compared the cost, and it is definitely more affordable for them to study in Malaysia to earn a UK degree than studying in UK. We have also assured them that English support will be provided. Hopefully, the collaboration would be successful.

    My Passport
    My passport was blacklisted about 13 years ago. Why? It’s a long story. Anyway, someone used my old IC to apply for a temporary passport, and that someone was caught for being involved in illegal activities. Because the Immigration Department wanted to find out the main culprit, they blacklisted my passport. The case was closed only this year. For the past 13 years, whenever I go overseas (except Singapore), I must carry an additional document from the Immigration Department to certify that my passport is genuine. Then, only I’m allowed to enter in to and out from the country. The trouble is I had to renew the letter each time it expired, and the renewal time is different from my passport expiry date. Initially, I had problems renewing the letter and I also had to renew the letter annually. Later, the Immigration Department changed it to 5 years. Actually, in 1994, I went to Michael Chong and he held a press conference to highlight my case. I was featured in more than 10 newspapers – Malay, English and Chinese. Since then, I had no problem in getting the letter. I was even interviewed by one of the Malay press to share my experiences.

    The letter expired early this year. So, I had to go to the Immigration Department in Putrajaya to renew it. They asked me to wait for 2 weeks. Previously, I could get the letter renewed on the spot. I thought that I had to return to Putrajaya again. Surprisingly, the letter was sent to me, and it included a cover letter that states that my case has been closed and I do not need the letter to travel anymore. Praise the Lord!

    This Vietnam trip is the first time I could use the ‘Green Lane’ to pass through the Immigration at the airport without any glitches. No letter. No hassle. It felt good. What a relief! I am no longer an illegal immigrant. Hee! Hee! Hee!