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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Smandel96 Singapore Reunion

Femmy came one hour after Riza. She hasn't changed ever since high school. As a good doctor she gave me a lot pregnancy advice. She showed us her twin baby daughter pictures. I wish my baby is a twin too!

Yudis Batak couldn't make it because he had worked in the hospital until early morning and he was still catching up sleep. Wiwin couldn't make it because her relatives were visiting.

While we were eating the Martabak, Masmur kept calling me, saying that he got stuck in the traffic (it was National Day Parade rehearsal, and he stayed in Mountbatten). Finally he arrived at my place close to sunset, and he brought Chicken Wing Carbonara! I didn't know he was so good in cooking! He told us that he had been cooking ever since he was still in Junior High School. He opted for culinary skill class instead of accountancy.

They are all fall in love with my kampong like environment. I hope they became interested in moving into my neighborhood. At least with Masmur around, I don't have to worry about cooking ;>

Here's the photo of our reunion!

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Failed Bolu Kukus

I tried to make Bolu Kukus, but it was a total failure! The batter looked and tasted OK. However, the paper cups was flattened due to the moisture of the steamer and this caused the batter to spill all over. To prevent this I hand to pull the paper cups, and this means I had to open the steamer. Apparently this prevented the cake to expand. However, Masindi's theory is different. He said, the honey I put into the batter had caused the batter to be too heavy.

We are having high school reunion. Riza came first and brought us two sets of Martabak! When he came, I was in the middle of my frustration of having failed Bolu Kukus! But then he tried my failed Bolu and he liked it (although he said it tasted and looks like Serabi instead of Bolu Kukus). Anyway, I finally made colorful chocolate pancakes from the batter.

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Based on the 8.5 mm size of the baby, the pregnancy age is 6 weeks 6 days. From here, the doctor can determine a more exact due date, which is 20 March 2004, however the baby is likely to be born before that.

The doctor gave us general nutritional advice, like, eat a lot of vegetable, fruit, and fish, and nibble fruit instead of cookie.

Here's the latest picture of our baby. BTW, we have been calling our baby Noelani, and nick named her Noe. Noelani means Heavenly Mist or Heavenly Rain. This was suggested by Rita, and seems that she will walk out later with the surprise gift!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Make It Right for Singapore

Do you know the infamous Jeyaratnam? You can read all about him here:

 I’d rather not write what I think about him, but I will tell you in person if you ask me.

Judhi was kind enough to take a picture of us just after I bought the book signed by him. Oh yes, I asked him to write something for Rani J A little gift from me to my beautiful wife.

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Inflasi harga lidah sapi

Apa daya, niat beli lidah sapi gak kesampean... Minggu kemarin kita berdua pergi ke pasar Tekka untuk bikin Lidah Asap yang sedap itu, rencananya untuk acara reuni SMA sabtu ini. Eeeh, kita tanya semua tukang daging sapi yang ada di pasar itu, mulai dari Pak Djauhari sampai pak Musa, nggak ada yang punya lidah sapi. Usut punya usut, ternyata harga lidah dari Australia sudah naik lebih dari dua kali lipat. Harga beli sekarang 32 Dolar, nah, tukang daging mau jual berapa?

Padahal kita ingat beberapa minggu yang lalu masih bisa beli lidah sapi 15 dolar perkilo. Nasib ya nasib, kayaknya gak bakal deh makan lidah sapi untuk waktu yang lamaaaaa sekali... hiks hiks...

Pak Musa sarankan untuk beli saja lidah kambing. Rugi amat, dan belum tentu enak juga! Gimana dong?

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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Hello, Butterfly!

My sister-in-law Siska wrote:

Isn't it amazing how little kids are so fascinated by the littlest things that barely catch our attention? Every chance he has, my 3-year-old son takes the time to stop and look at flowers, trees, butterflies, ants, spiders, grass, birds... even some funny-looking rocks.

To encourage his communication skills, I often ask him about the color, size, and other simple facts about the objects that he sees. I also ask him to greet the critters he sees. I don't know why I do this, but it has the most pleasant effect on him. He smiles whenever he says, "Hello, ants!" or "Good morning, birds!" or "Hello cute butterfly". It doesn't upset him at all that the critters don't greet him back, but rather fly or crawl away and mind their own business.

A genuine friendliness is shown in his face. He's happy and content in the friendly little world that he created. As he turns his attention to other things -- although he seems oblivious to what just happened -- his smile and good mood linger.

I tried to understand his simple yet profound happiness, to put words that could explain how and why and what I find amazing in such a naive mind of a child. Maybe it's the openess of the mind; the simplicity it craves, away from the wants, the plans, the worries that clutter our daily lives; maybe it's the feeling that we get when we accept things the way they are and be grateful for them, such feeling we get when we take the time to stop and greet God's creations... or maybe, it's just good to be friendly.

As I was sitting in my car waiting for the stop sign, an orange butterfly fluttered across my windshield. My son wasn't there in the backseat to point at it and greet it, so I say, "hello, butterfly". I know I didn't look cute talking to a bug, but who cares, it made me feel good.

-Siska/Juli 2004

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Grilled Haloumi Salad with Hickory Smoke Bbq Sauce

I found Haloumi cheese in the grocery, and the reciple on its wrapping tempted me to give it a try. Besides, I need to increase my daily intake of calcium for my baby. Hence, today I cook this Grilled Haloumi Salad with Hicory Smoke Bbq Sauce.

Unwrap Haloumi and rinse with water (I found out later that Haloumi is quite salty, and this can be overcome by immersing it in milk for a while, if needed). Season the cheese with pepper and herbs, set aside. Don't put salt, since the cheese is already quite salty!

As for the grilled salad, prepare any kind of vegetable that can be grilled. In this case I use asparagus and carrot.

Lightly smear the pan with butter or olive oil, and grill the veggies until it becomes more tender, season with a pinch of salt, pepper and herbs.

Then, grill the cheese, until it becomes golden brown. Don't add salt. The cheese won't melt, instead, the outer skin will become a bit crispy. The inside part of the cheese is rubbery yet spongy, really, a unique texture. It is really rich!

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce (or you can use any other kind of salad sauce / bbq sauce).

In a saucepan, combine tomato ketchup, red wine, herbs, salt, sugar, and chopped garlic and onion. Add liquid smoke for hickory smoke flavor. Simmer until garlic and onion becomes tender. When necessary, add a bit of water in order not burn the sauce.

Combine the two, and serve!

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Baby Names?

Actually we've been thinking of some names ever before this little guy is conceived. One thing for sure, it has to have a hawaiian element in it (that's where we got engaged). Lemme just put down some of the names we've been thinking.
  • Aina (Hawaiian): The earth / motherland
  • Lani (Hawaiian): The sky / heaven
  • Noia (?): Bliss / the state of bliss
  • Neruda: The famous poet, of course! or alternatively, Kundera?
  • Aidan: Little fire that brings warmth to the family
  • Others, like, Hawaiian name Moana, Keoni, Ikaika, or Indian ones like Vidhya, Kamma

Any advice? please! please! suggest some names by writing it down in the Comments section below. We'd like to expand our name alternatives. Perhaps we'll give you a Surprise when the name you suggested is being selected later on next year, God's willing!

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Saturday, July 17, 2004

We haven't put in our blog that Rani is pregnant. Last week, we checked it using test pack after our Melaka Trip and then went to general practitioner to confirm it. Finally we went to a gynae recommended by Tata in Thomson Medical Center, Dr. T.C. Chang. We had our first-time examination using USG today and found out that the baby is only 5 1/2 week old. The gestational sac is only 1cm wide. What a magical experience to have a new living creature emerging from human body!

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Sense of Survival

Where and when is human sense of survival being limited to total obedience? (i.e. You have to obey us in order to survive!)

Where and when is human sense of survival forcing people to be entrepreneurial and creative? (i.e. We have to overcome the situation using this, this, and this in order to survive)

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Singapore, a great big theme park

I find Singapore similar to a theme park. The path you walk is designated, not allowing you to deviate. The activities are well contained in specified spaces and places. The "system" are laid down for the people "to ride on a specified track", just like "It's A Small World" ride in Disneyland. Everything happens in a highly predictable manner. Most of the time people's appetites are satisfied and sometimes people are made to be excited a bit. Everything looks fine and dandy in Singapore, the great big theme park. Or more appropriately, Singapore the great big Truman Show world?

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Democratic Architecture?

Great architects are not democratic, they're authoritarian. They exert themselves in a such insensitive way to their surrounding Perhaps that's why Chandigarh failed, Brasilia failed, and Koolhaas's Seattle Public Library also doesn't do very well. Not to forget the EMP Building, also in Seattle, which performs very poorly and does not fit its urban context.

It's easy to sense and feel if one architecture piece is 'democratic' or 'authoritarian'. Just sense it, and feel it, particularly through the scale of the architecture and the circulation path. In my opinion, the Esplanade is one example of an authoritarian architecture, where the scale of the space is never right, and I felt forced to walk within its specified pedestrian path. It is not a compelling piece of architecture.

Hence, does 'iconic' have to be 'authoritarian'?
And does architecture reflect a (conscious / unconscious) political intention behind it?

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

gettin jiggy

i think nobody wants to get jiggy tonight but us.

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Dead baby bird

Yesterday morning i saw three baby birds lying dead on the grassy ground near jurong east mrt station. They were very young, the feathers haven't even grown. Apparently they fell from their nest, which was built at the edge of mrt platform, 10 meters above the ground. Death, what a sad scene to start my day.

By this evening, the dead birds are no longer there. Maybe stray cats ate them.

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Blackout 29 June 04

I am so disappointed by the way the the local media described the cause of the 29 june blackout. A short sentence that continously run in ChannelNewsAsia titlebar said: "Blackout in most area caused by disrupted gas supply from Indonesia".

The next day, a friend who works in energy sector informed me that indeed the gas comes from indonesia, however the blackout was caused by tripped valve in the receiving side, that is, in the Singapore side.

I decided to check the info to my friend who works in the StraitsTimes

Hi, what caused the blackout?

Valve on gas pipeline tripped n backup systm faild 2 work

The info i got frm word of mouzh is that the tripped valve is in singapore. However, news blames indonesian disruption of gas supply. i feel news hasn't objectively presented the whole pic, that the blackout is also partly singapore's mistake, not just indonesia's. It's grossly oversimplified

well its called politics

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