Thursday, October 28, 2021


 is not all bad. I would prefer to live further away with more greenery and trees. But getting to work and back would have involved fighting traffic. Thus, in exchange for less driving time, I live a suburban life where condominiums tower over terrace houses.

Residents have learnt to nurtured their front and backyards with flowering plants, vegetables and fruit trees. This post is dedicated to vegetable plots and fruit trees which are not all that interesting, unless one finds them blooming along main roads and drains.  

This purple sugar cane plot is beside the main road with cars zipping along and maybe some lead pollution. 

    The morning glory vegetable or Chinese water spinach patch is doing very well. Stir-fry with prawn paste and chilli, it is delicious with just white rice 😋😋. 

Can you imagine mangoes hanging by the main road? DRIVE BY and PLUCK!
Bananas at our front gates. Many of these trees do no require any care. Malaysia's sunny intersperse with raining days are perfect growing conditions.

Papaya trees are common and another easy-peasy fruit to grow in the tropics. Dig in some seeds, and harvest in a few months. We share our fruits with the bats, birds, squirrels and monkeys, and occasionally some wayward humans who steal the entire stalk overnight.

Noni, a fruit featured in traditional medicine is now reported to have antibacterial, antiviral and even immune enhancing properties. 

I know it sounds yukky to have fruits growing beside drains, but this is very common in Malaysia. The pomegranate shrub is flowering and fruiting.  

So is this passion fruit tree,

but Kim Lian's passion fruits grown in pots inside are better specimens. GOOD JOB. 
Lots of banana and papaya trees next to monsoon drains. These idle plots are called "no man's land"  as they belong to the municipality, who are happy the plots are taken care of for them. 
Abundance of coconuts by the drain. If there is a space, there is a fruiting tree.

Another very common farming practice here is "backyard farming." 
Here we have sugar cane, banana trees, screwpine (pandan), lemongrass (serai) and pumpkin along a narrow strip of soil. Vegetables and fruits for a family's needs.
 Another flourishing "backyard farm" just outside the back door. 
We may be boxed in by choice to live in the suburbs
but we have turned our "no man's land" FRUITFUL and GREEN.

Monday, October 18, 2021


 The women in Bali need no  empowerment lessons. They were empowered before this word was coined. The word "empower" had been hanging around for quite some time, like since the 17th century. In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton had tea with four friends and questioned, "How the republic would benefit with women playing more active roles in society?" This chit-chat become the impetus of a "revolution." Well actually not quite a rioting revolution, but the first public meeting for gender equality. 

 I believe the Balinese men are just as hard working. But, when I moved around the streets of Bali I marveled at the ladies. Dressed in their kamben (similar to the sarong), kebaya blouse very often in lace and sometimes with a waist sash (sabuk), they moved so effortlessly with their daily chores.
 Whether carrying prayer offerings for an "upacara" (ceremony), 
beginning the daily morning offerings,
 carrying impossible loads on their heads or

amazingly riding side saddle. They are LADIES WITH SUCH GRACE and OMPH!  
I caught some young ones at Sanur beach 
in more comfortable (to me) wear. 
When I returned home, 
I walked with a book on my head (it couldn't be that hard)

and sat side-saddle on a motor bike like women also in Vietnam and India. 
Alas, I failed miserably. The book fell off. I slid off the bike. OUCH!
I was born and bred a Malaysian, 
NOT a gracious svelte Balinese lady. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021


On a scorching April 12th afternoon, I rubbed shoulders with screaming teeny boppers. It was an unforgettable goosebumps, hair-raising experience. 
With the Sunway Lagoon amphitheatre bursting with "I love David" fans, I felt like I was in an alternate Universe.
David Archuleta, the American Idol runner-up for 2008, had arrived in town. 
We heard about nothing else but David A for months from my daughter, Savvy K. If there had been an examination on "The History of David Archuleta," she would have scored a High Distinction.
DA was Savvy K's first pop concert. She was only 12, and being the responsible mother, I accompanied her. 
DA was then a Mormon teen with a charming personality. 
The concert scheduled to start at 3pm, had DA storming the stage only at 4.30pm. By then, the crowd was impatient and sweaty. YIKES! Their screams could have caused another tsunami. They waved their posters, "Janice loves David, Mrs Archuleta is here, This Girl crushes on David." 

        These boppers knew every song. He played the key board, they screamed along. He asked questions, they screamed again! ALL they did was SCREAM!

But, it was pure magic. An eighteen-year old American from Utah united 6000 Malaysians of different races and religions

including some very harassed perplexed MUMS and DADS. 

           The things we do for our children. Yet I find I am still at constant loggerheads with Savvy K over dressing ("Are you going out IN that?"), makeup ("Are you going out LIKE that?") and friends ("Are you going out WITH them?"). Ahh, maybe the above does explain it all.

Sunday, October 3, 2021



Malaysians are finally breathing a sigh of relief, but with our masks on. 

We are fully into our National Recovery Plan after ONE year, SIX months and SIXTEEN days of Movement Control Order. I can sense the difference - traffic jams are actually happening (!) and kids are returning to school for the real educational experience.

December 31st 2019: Wuhan Municipal Health Commission informed WHO of a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origins.

January 7th 2020: The culprit was temporarily named “2019-nCoV”later renamed COVID-19 (CO = Corona; VI = Virus; D = disease; 19 = 2019).January 30th 2020: WHO declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

February 11th 2020: The disease was named SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). COVID-19 is genetically related to the SARS virus in 2003 but different in some characteristics, much like siblings in the same family who are genetically related but possess different traits.March 11th 2020: WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak a GLOBAL pandemic.

March 18th 2020: Malaysia went into lock down.December 11th 2020: FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine.April 2021: Molnupiravir, an ORAL anti-viral pill reported to half the chances of dying or hospitalisation in severe Covid-19 cases was announced.  Mode of action - introduces errors into the viral genetic code.


The pandemic has robbed us of many things - but NOT our kindness and responsibility to look after our communities.

I watched "High School Musical" a zillion times with Savvy K! It was excruciating. But, If there is one thing I learnt from the movie, it was the lyrics of their song:

"Together... we're there for
Each other every time
Together... together...
C'mon let's do this right."