Sunday, September 26, 2021


It has been two years without the OLD-NORM GRADUATION in Malaysia. 
This is so sad for the graduating batches of 2020 and 2021.
 The grand culmination of their blood (for Medical and Biomed students), sweat and literally tears had been snatched away by the coronavirus pandemic. What did they have to settle for? 
Graduation via zoom wearing shorts and a nice top!
 Here are my students minutes 

before their final examinations 

and their graduation, pre-pandemic.

Hand phones left on invigilators' table.
As the clock struck 9, 
their three-hour papers began.
My students eventually get to the finish line. Some maybe a semester or two later, but they do finish their marathon! 

A highlight for parents to witness their "rascals" on the thresh hold of their careers.
 One wanted to be a Formula One race driver and I hope he made it. Others became lecturers, scientists, doctors, air steward, singers, insurance copy writers, fashion writer (my Honours male student), marketing executives, entrepreneurs and a host of other fantastic careers. 
These "kids" taught me that an Honours Degree in Biomedical Science did not limit their career options!

GRADUATION - tis' the only time in his life a REAL MAN gets to proudly carry his flowers and soft toys.
For FOUR years, I saw my boys and girls in their jeans and T-shirts. I have often wondered if they sometimes attended my 8am class in their pyjamas.  
But, overnight like caterpillars turning into butterflies, my BOYS in their suits and neckties morphed into remarkable handsome MEN 

and my GIRLS into beautiful young LADIES. 
I felt like another proud "parent."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


Today is the Mid-autumn Festival. Moon cakes are eaten only once a year around September in the Gregorian calendar. 
Centre courts of shopping malls are converted  to ancient Chinese villages with 
lanterns in infinite colours to attract and entice us to buy boxes of these delicacies for family or as gifts. 
Each cake is sealed in plastic to keep the flavours fresh and packed in sets of 
four different flavours in elaborate exquisite boxes, even a hand bag.

These traditional cakes contain no butter or eggs but lotus paste from dried lotus seeds with

a whole salted duck egg in the centre. 

For the uninitiated, I suggest just the plain lotus cake to start with. The salted duck egg in contrast to the sweetness of the cake is an acquired taste. 

Here is Jocelyn and friends in Adelaide with their home-made moon cakes. 
Starting with coloured dough, square and round moulds, and pattern tops, this group of friends bond together to

give the true message that moon cakes are not just food, but a celebration of togetherness.

These traditions keep a culture alive -  that the Hungry Ghost Festival has ended and it is time 

to celebrate the abundant autumn harvest with love ones under a bright new moon.

Sunday, September 19, 2021



It was a surprising when Savvy K found FAT caterpillars in our garden. Being her delightful self then at 12 years-old, she asked "Can we keep them and watch them grow into butterflies?"

I was surprised that these caterpillars had their own food preferences.  

They only ate the leaves of my desert rose (Adenium obesum).
 I had three pots of this plant and caterpillars had invaded all three,   

munching happily.
We collected 10 Katy Kims, as what Savvy K called them and
placed them into plastic containers. Oh my, they had voracious appetites! They refused to eat any other leaves and our desert roses were almost bald. 

We had to ask for "desert rose leaf donations" from neighbours and my colleagues at work.
They just chomp through the leaves like razor blades.

Savvy K was very diligent and cleaned their "homes." They "pooped" a real lot, but thankfully as dried pellets, so house keeping was not a problem.
Every one had names - "Hello Yellow, Momok Jin, Smoky BBQ, Ali Baba, 

Little Bean, Tiny Boo, Lil Jinx, Plump Daisy and Bloated Submarine."
They started their pupa stage when they stopped their "cat" walk and turned a hardy brown. They looked like bullets with eyes. We placed the containers in a safe corner and left the lids opened.
 Every so often, the pupae would do a "jiggle" or "shake." Savvy K was sad she never saw the butterflies, only the pupa cases remained in the mornings. During the nights or early mornings when it was cool, they completed their final stage of metamorphosis and flew away through the opened windows. Savvy K did a GOOD job. ALL the Katy Kims successfully transformed into butterflies.
Boey's butterfly inspired hand-painted T-shirt.
AH HA, I did find one butterfly in the morning 

resting on the jasmine shrub.