Monthly Archives: December 2008

Making ‘Sugar balls’ from Snow??

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it snowed heavily today in the morning and early noon, and snow gathered on the balcony outside our bedroom. the first thing i thought of was if could make them into balls and put different kinds of sugar/syrup on it as dessert… hahaha…

brings me back to the time in Penang, when i used to cycle around Pulau Tikus near my school, i used to stop by this ais-kacang stall (one beside the bicycle shop) and order a ball of ice shaving coated with sweet syrups. the ideal dessert for a hot sunny day. but of course you’ll need to wash your hands and mouth after that from all the melted sugar and ice.

i actually might do it since it’s so easy to make, just that i don’t have the ingredients for it: ang-tng, sarsi-tng, or-tng (the different kinds of syrup). bleh!!

an ice ball in the making coated with different kinds of syrup

an ice ball in the making coated with different kinds of syrup

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Seriously ho liao

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For those who know me well, I don’t take too much sweet stuffs; never been a habit of mine. Deserts just don’t rock my boat; I can only take so much before I get all ‘jelak’ with the sweetness.

But, I discovered I have a sweet tooth for a particular chocolate candy bar, Snickers Cruncher. I first tasted this out-of-this-world creation in Malaysia maybe a decade ago, but of course didn’t eat too much of it ‘cos one bar costs you around RM2+, which is big money for me (eh, can buy a bowl of lip-smacking kolo mee leh).

For me, this bar tastes better than the original version, which is much stickier and chocolatey. The cruncher packs more nuts, rice crackers and less chocs, nougats. The hint of saltiness from the nuts goes very well with the nougats and chocolate layer.snickers cruncher

Give it a try!

P/S: I eat this stuff now almost every week ‘cos it’s so cheap to buy it here (around 0.40€ to 0.50€ per bar).

It snowed this morning…

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‘Twas a cool day, nice weather to sleep in; I had to drag myself out of the couch. Yea, the couch. I was sleeping outside the bedroom for the past two nights ‘cos Arielle is having problem sleeping due to her blocked nose (she’d cry at night while asleep).

Anyway, woke up, took my bath, and when I looked out the window, SNOWFLAKES!

If there’s some comparison to made about winter, it would be like a woman who is beautiful to behold but with a difficult temperament to manage… really leh… winter, it’s all white, makes the surrounding so serene and peaceful, but wahlau, walking or driving in the snow is no joke man. Plus, the snow does a good job in camouflaging the road lines and dividers; literally booby traps waiting to happen if you’re not careful.

T-Mobile + Bratislava + Slovakia

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ok, i’m gonna say this – and it might sound mean, but honestly – the service sector in Bratislava is generally poor, but what we just went through with T-Mobile … is ATROCIOUS!! oh wait, maybe i’m generalizing here, so i’ll be more specific, the T-Mobile branch at Aupark, Bratislava (a new shopping complex here) is ATROCIOUS!!

i don’t think that i’m being hasty to say this; let me give you a brief description.

because i don’t have my visa approved yet, so we had to use Ayl’s to open a fixed line account for my cell phone. yeah, it’s a rule here. T-Mobile uses emails to send their bill – and it’s in Slovak, PLUS they have a pin attached to the bill!! to add to the damage, since we’ve subscribed to T-Mobile till now, i’ve been receiving countless spam/random advertisements; all in Slovak! ok, no problem, i can ignore that.

i went to T-Mobile at Aupark last Saturday intending to pay the bill or to ask for the pin number so i know how much we need to pay. after taking a number, i waited for half and hour just to get to the counter; they have a couple of sofas at the back of the outlet which barely can contain the number of people standing in wait. here’s what happened when i got to the counter:

guy: yes, how can i help you? (in Slovak)

me: i’d like to pay my phone bill please.

guy (in English now): sorry, that’s not possible right now. our system is down (thanks, crap! what a waste of time waiting)

me: ok, i’d like to check what my pin number is since i got my bill in the email, but it’s all in slovak.

guy: ok, can you show me your passport/visa please.

me: sorry, i don’t have a visa, it’s still being processed and the number is under my husband’s.

guy: oh then, i can’t give you the pin number.

me: what? why? it’s my husband’s – how then will i know how much to pay?

guy: i’m sorry. (non-smiling all the while, with monotonous voice)

me: then do you know if Tesco Lamac branch is online and if i can make my payment there? Could you check for me? (another branch near our place)

guy: i don’t know. (shrugs – his expression ‘it’s not my problem’)

*simmers*

have you ever had a Customer Service personnel telling you ‘i don’t know’ immediately after you ask them a question?? as a CS myself back in my job, even if i really don’t know the answer to the question my customer is asking me, i’d at least do whatever i can to assist in providing some kind of information; or at least show some kind of effort/initiative to check. this guy didn’t even blink an eye when he said that.

then today, since Ayl took MC for the day, we made a trip there again to make payment. after standing in wait again for nearly more than half an hour, his number was still not up yet. we had it up to that point, and we decided it wasn’t worth the wait just to pay a simple phone bill. it was late, baby was sick, sleepy and restless, and the whole place was closing down already. the frustration was not only due to the wait itself, but also because of the ‘Customer Service’ – how they regard their customer.

you know, if this is Malaysia – the company would be out of business by now. sighs* but it’s not Malaysia, so i can only vent it out here. hopefully, they’ll change and start to take note of how important service really is in all types of business, in order to maintain their customers. same goes with the hotel industry here as well.

Thuum, chak thuum thuum…

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Without realising it, it’s already 12 years since I first wanted to learn to play the drums.

I remembered the day clearly; it was a few months after I become a Christian that I decided that I wanted to serve in the local church where I was attending. I did many things in the church, children’s ministry, youth ministry, setting up the chairs and cleaning the church after Sunday service, the weekday special services, etc… It was not that big a church, so a pair of hands did many things. I was particularly drawn to the worship team, the music and the songs that they sing every week. So I approached the guy, Richard, who played the drums and told him that I would be interested to learn and serve together with the team. And thus, my journey as the drummer began. We practised after church service, nothing spectacular, just the normal rhythm and tempo. The practices must have gone on for a few months, and after not long, I was playing for the youth and main service.

The beginning wasn’t all that dandy and flowery; being a new drummer attracts a lot of criticisms, in my case. I get  lot people telling me that I make more rolls than necessary, I was too loud etc… Well, I guess that’s what all drummers go through. I still get it once in a while, I guess that’s ok; what peeves me off is when I get these sort of criticisms from people who know nuts about music. Worst still is when they are totally tone-deaf and possess no musical ability… It’s like a basketball player telling the football player how to kick a ball; irritating nia.. Haha. But someone also told me, long time ago, she had a dream of me playing the drums in heaven, on the mountains! (whether there will be drums in heaven or not is another story though).

I also remembered a period of time when I was totally lost with drumming; I was probably in Form 6 that time and I felt that my drumming has reach a plateau. Didn’t know what else to do with it, I was playing the same style week in week out; it just got kinda tiring. Then we had some worship team from Singapore coming to the local church to give some workshop, and drums was included, so I quickly signed up!

The guy’s name was Wilson, and the song he used to teach during the workshop was “Jesus, we celebrate Your victory”. Looking back, the song was not that difficult to play, but in those days, for a freshie like me, it meant a lot. The style, different rolls, different tempo for the chorus and stanzas opened up a whole new possibilty for me. I felt something was loosened inside of me; a revelation that there is more than what I know! And with that workshop, I was reborn (pardon the pun). I call it the “Wilson moment”.

So, after 12 years, here I am in Slovakia, a young nation recently freed from communism, and soaking in different musical styles from all over the world. My chances of playing drums here are quite limited; the church I attend is quite a traditional one, and I only play the bongo instead of the full set. That being said, I play maybe twice a month. Not that I am complaining, since my working place is 1 hour drive from home and it would quite challenging to come back in time for practice.

My hope is that one day (while I’m still here in Europe), I’ll be able to serve the church more with this skill that I have, and maybe teach the younger (and maybe older) generations on how to play drums as well. I still recall my godmother, Aunty Maureen (wonder what she’s doing now) encouraging me with the verse from Psalms 33:3

Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy (NIV).

Very apt indeed.

Down with Cold

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yes, all 3 of us… ’tis the season to catch colds, la la la la la, la la la la!!’ most of the ppl here caught it as well… guess it’s in the air.

next week is Ayl’s last working week for this year, and then 2 weeks break till next year. hmm… we’re thinking of going to the hot spring up north in Slovakia. there are quite a few places, but as usual, looking for the most affordable & comfortable one to go.

ahhh… would be so nice now to immerse in hot water; clears up the throat and nose. but, for now, chicken soup and a lot of water will do.