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February 14, 2008

Chinese New Year 2008

Blogged under Family,Personal by DrJean on Thursday 14 February 2008 at 6:45 pm

I took a week off to spend time with my family over the Chinese Lunar New Year.

After last year’s horrendous experience with the “balik kampung” traffic,we decided to leave town much,much earlier.

This year,we spent Chinese New Year with my parents and siblings and their family back in Sitiawan.It was great to just relax and eat(it is after all the Chinese New Year!) and catching up with loved ones.

The atmosphere was festive and the fireworks were spectacular.The amount of “ammunition” that was used made me wonder how many truckloads of fireworks were transported to a small town like Sitiawan for the new year 🙂


We had popiah(spring rolls) for new year in Sitiawan.Practically every household would have this dish.So you can imagine that it is roaring business for the popiah skin maker.(These skins are hand-made).Here is my elder daughter demonstrating how she wraps a popiah.


On New Years Day,we went to my parents’ church for a Thanksgiving Service.And I “looked like an ang pow”(-in my children’s words) in my Chinese New Year outfit!!

We went to Pangkor Island for a short family holiday.Bad mistake! We learnt our lesson,to NEVER EVER go to Pangkor Island on a major public holiday.There were 20 of us,including children and babies,and we had to contend with the HUGE crowd of people who were also going to the same destination.The experience of queuing to board the ferry was enough to drain us all…and the thought of the queue coming back certainly did not help at all 🙁

Anyway,we(optimistic people!) decided that we would have fun.And so we did.Happy Chinese New Year!!


January 8, 2008


Blogged under Family,Personal by DrJean on Tuesday 8 January 2008 at 7:34 am

My grandpa went home to be with the Lord  last weekend.He died of respiratory failure due to post operative complication after a hernia surgery.He was 100 years old.

To say that Grandpa was an amazing man is a gross understatement.

Grandpa was fiercely independant.Widowed since many many years ago(in fact,when my mum was an infant) he chose to live on his own even though in the later years,my parents frequently offered him to stay with them.He lived in a simple village house in Sitiawan, cooked his own meals,washed his own clothes.He drew water from the well for his bath and he planted a vegetable patch outside his house.He even made his own furniture,putting up shelves and cupboards for his books and clothes.

His passion was reading.Grandpa read voraciously.He read the papers daily,always covering the international news first before going for the local news. He spent a lot of time reading the Bible.He read history books and geography books.His general knowledge puts us to shame and most of the time when he was describing something to us,we would just nod sheepishly,realising how little we know 🙁

He wrote poems as well.He would write about the wonder of God’s creation.He wrote about his desire for world peace.

Grandpa was facsinated with technology.He wanted to know how the computer works.And when he wanted to know about the internet.The Chinese has a saying (literally translated)”Live till old age,learn till old age”.That is my grandpa personified.

In his last few days of life,even though his physical body was weakening,he was in high spirits.He repeated said that he had lived a good life and he was thankful to God for giving him such a long life.He was glad that all his grandchildren and great grandchildren came back to Sitiawan to see him.His one wish before he passed on was for the world to be peaceful,for all wars to cease.

We are going to miss him very much,but I am glad Grandpa is free of his infirmities and he is a much better place.Goodbye,Grandpa.




September 5, 2007


Blogged under Family by DrJean on Wednesday 5 September 2007 at 6:26 am

Last school break,I went for a week long holiday with my family to Thailand.We had a blast!

We flew to Chiangmai (thanks to Air Asia for making travelling for big families like mine less painful for the wallet!),in-laws included, rented a van and drove towards Bangkok over the week,staying at different towns along the way.Then it was Air Asia again from Bangkok back home.

Here are some pictures to share…


Coffee with mum-in law              and       feeding the elephants


On the highlands of ChiangMai  



With the tribal people

And of course,food! glorious food!!



I am already looking forward to my next holiday 🙂




July 16, 2007

Common interests

Blogged under Family by DrJean on Monday 16 July 2007 at 6:13 pm

Recently TC,my husband and I signed up for a marriage course,(one of the things we do to keep our marriage strong and healthy 🙂 )and among some of the things to keep marriages going strong is for the couple to find activities of common interests to be involved in.

We decided to try mountain biking.

We have a good friend who is a mountain bike enthusiast and he invited us(or rather we asked him to invite us!) to try out the sport.So last weekend,Melvin loaded his bicycles into his van,and together with another friend,Peter, four of us went off to FRIM(Forest Reserve Institute of Malaysia).

After a very comprehensive and precise briefing session on how to work the brakes and the gears and pedal positions etc,we set off on the road.That was quite easy,apart from manouvering the humps on the road.

Then Melvin said it was time to go off-road.And thats the REAL THING!! He said,”Don’t worry about the steep terrains,MTB stands for mountain biking,it also stands for “Mari Tolak Basikal”(Come,lets push the bike).How encouraging!!

It was tough,especially the climbs, but as greenhorns,we were just thankful that neither one of us fell.We spent approximately 3 hours on our bikes,taking rests now and then.It was quite a workout for all of us;we were drenched in sweat.We ended with a debriefing session.Cool!


The 3 guys and Melvin,our “sifu”,drinking from his water pouch through this pipe thingy that looked very much like my the one I have in my kitchen,attached to the cooking gas tank!

That’s us,with helmet and gloves and all!

Except for a sore bottom each,we agreed that this is a great sport,and yes,we CAN do this together again,and again.We have,in not so subtle terms,told Melvin to invite us again,soon,for our next common-interest activity 🙂

May 20, 2007

Appreciate life and live it well

Blogged under Family,Personal by DrJean on Sunday 20 May 2007 at 10:01 pm

Last week,my husband,TC and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.After 14 good years and 4 kids later,we have grown to appreciate and love each other much more than ever.I always tell the young people going into marriage ,”Marriage is a good thing,but we must never take it for granted.We have to work at the relationship all the time to keep it going and growing”.I have learnt to respect,love and trust my husband over the years and it has not been too difficult because he has been a responsible man,husband and father.

We went for some “classy”food,(something more sophisticated than our regular mamak-stall or wai-sek-kai dinners,when we go on our weekly mum-n-dad-only night-outs).

We went to Riblees in Sri Hartamas,a placed run by this lovely couple with 2 kids.Kenny and Doreen has visited iSmile some time ago and while chatting with Doreen,I found out about Riblees.When we arrived,we saw their 2 kids having dinner at a corner in the restaurant.It is heart-warming to see them so dedicated in their business and at the same time wanting to be good parents who spend time with their young children.

The food is good and reasonably priced.The ambience was “anniversary-ish” enough.And we got dessert on the house after a superb meal!


The next day,while driving to KLIA for a meeting,TC met with a car accident.His car went into a spin while making a sharp turn on a slippery road,and his car hit the divider.We acknowledge God’s protection on his life and are thankful.He was unhurt but the car didn’t look too pretty. 🙁

That evening,we sat down in our living room together after dinner and just held each others’ hands and appreciated life,acutely aware that we need to live every moment of it well.

May 7, 2007

Holidays…how I love them!!

Blogged under Family,Personal by DrJean on Monday 7 May 2007 at 2:26 am

Over the Labour Day and Wesak Day break recently,we took the opportunity to close the clinic for a couple of days.I decided that my team at iSmile(including myself!!) deserve a good break.

I had a good holiday.Unglamorous and restful.Just spending unhurried time with family.We took an easy drive down to Singapore to visit my brother and his family.He had a recent addition to the family,super-cute baby Ryan,who is 3 months old.Now big sister Samantha,who is turning 3 soon,will have a play-mate.

It was great to just relax and “lepak”.We cooked together(or rather,my dear brother dazzled me with his new found ability to cook almost-gourmet meals!!!),we went cycling along the east coast beaches of Singapore,my 2 older children and my dear husband attempted to roller-blade(which I firmly declined-I have no intention of bruising my bottom with multiple falls!!)

   My brother,in his hospital scrubs home clothes, cooking his famous chicken curry.


We ended the holiday spending one night in Port Dickson.My children had a blast with water sports and I just revelled in the beauty of the sunset(which is rather rare to behold nowadays).


Hooray for holidays!!!

February 23, 2007

Chinese New Year jam and other food

Blogged under Family,Personal by DrJean on Friday 23 February 2007 at 1:26 am

What makes a good Chinese New Year(CNY) jam?

Zillions of “kampung”-bound city-dwellers trying to fit into the North-South Highway.

This CNY,instead of travelling to the east coast where my husband,TC’s “kampung” is,my in-laws decided to celebrate the reunion dinner in Penang instead,where their eldest son lives with his family.So,we dutifully planned our trip up north via the infamous highway.TC and I decided that we would leave late.”Let everyone else go first and get caught in the traffic jam,and by the time we leave,the highway would have cleared considerably”.So we thought.Sigh!!

We left home just before 11pm,after a good dinner and 40 winks.As we entered the highway,we were greeted by this,

The average speed for the first 2 hours was between 15 to 20kms an hour.TC was surfing the internet and reading his emails on his Blackberry while driving at that speed.Who said men can’t multi-task?? 🙂

We arrived safely in Penang just after 5am,and practically collapsed into bed!

Some snippets from CNY 2007.


My youngest,Lu-Zheng, played so hard that he fell asleep almost into his food during the fanily dinner on CNY eve.

     Ang pow time!

I was determined to re read my all time favourite by JRR Tolkein,the Lord of the Rings(for the 4th time,actually).

Well,CNY break is almost up and I am into the second of the three books.Once I start work on Monday the 26th,I may have to finish it next CNY…. 🙁

January 6, 2007

Holiday season has come and gone

Blogged under Family,Personal by DrJean on Saturday 6 January 2007 at 8:43 pm

Christmas has come and gone,and its another brand new year!The Christmas trees are taken down,the turkeys are all eaten up(including the bones being used to boil super duper ABC soup!).

I had several Christmas parties at home,and some of them were so noisy that my dear neighbours’ patience must have been severely tried,in spite of their graciousness.By the way,I have 2 wonderful families as neighbours.On my right is Pakcik Ahmad and his gentle and quiet makcik,both of them retirees from the civil service.On my left is Mr Najib and his red-head wife(she is of Arabic descent) and his fabulously gorgeous daughters,red-heads too!I am very blessed to have neighbours like them.They are ever ready to help and always willing to watch out for our house whenever we travel,even helping to water my plants.I leave my house keys with either one of my neighbours when we go out of town.That’s how good they are.

My first Christmas party was for my cell group from church and some invited guest.This was the mildest of all the parties I had.

Next one was a family Christmas dinner with my parents,siblings and relatives.Noisiness level was 7.5 out of ten.(We are mainly FooChows,famed to talk very loudly,especially in the presence of other FooChows,all the more related ones).



It was also the Winter Solstice Tang Yuan Festival,also known as Guo Dong.The Foochows eat these glutinous rice balls rolled in sweetened ground peanuts and ground soya beans.Yummy!!

And my dad’s 69th birthday.Here is mum and dad with their grandchildren,minus 2 more who couldn’t make it back from Melbourne,Australia.Two more grandkids due to enter the family with a big bang by  this Chinese New Year.

The 3rd party was for a bunch of Dental Students from the Dental Faculty of UM.I invite them to my home every Christmas for a good wholesome Christmas dinner.


They would play games,sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts.This year,there were about 30 of them and these are students between the age of 20 to 25.


This was was 9.9 out of 10 in terms of noisiness level.The next morning,I promptly presently both my wonderful(and long-suffering) neighbours with a big box of Ferrero Rocher, each.




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