Jun 29, 2012

WoW! : My Son, The Chef Pt.1

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Well, technically he's not a chef - yet. He's a cadet chef, but he will be getting there. And this is his story up till now.

My son Nitaro is not much of bookworm, he just can't cope with mugging subjects.When in classes for these subjects, his attention just wanders. In junior and high school, he was a headache to many a teacher. Also a frustration to his parents - we try to let him have the best  but why oh why is he not proving himself?
Me and my wife, have tried several times to enroll him in various courses which we had hoped will interest him and which we hoped will bring him a stable and bright future. Over a period of two years, he attended a few colleges and different courses. But he just couldn't find his true calling.

In a way, part of the fault lies with us, his parents. He had - prior to all the "experimentation" of different courses - expressed his liking for cooking. He did ask me, "Dad, is it alright if I become a chef?" My answer was, "Yes, it's ok. You can be a chef. Just as long as you are good chef. Excel in anything you do.".

But somehow, that discussion became muddled in present day parents' expectation for their children - wanting them to have the best and not wanting them to fail in life. And so Nitaro went on a merry-go-round trying to live to his parents' expectations. I think that at some stage we have to just let go and let them find their own ground. Let them grow up on their own.

Anyway enough of that, we are here today to celebrate a happy occasion, his graduation as a Cadet Chef. The college put up its best for this ceremony. A proper hall with all the pomp and ceremony for presenting the certificates. Important academicians were there to present the certificates. When Nitaro received his cerificate, we were beaming with pride.

They even hosted a cocktail prepared by their student for us to savor.

There were this cute, blue Cointreau Macaron, something similar to cream-puff but with not-so-creamy-sweet filling. But I do not do justice with my description lest the French chefs come after me.

Croissants filled with a creamy filling.

Smoked Salmon Quiche

Nice bread with topping.

Smoked Duck Quiche

Nicely presented tiramisu.

Cherry Tarts.

Eating these nice food with it's wonderful tastes made me proud, not for their deliciousness but more for what my son can achieve.

His chef-teacher has also seen the potential in him and commented "Nitaro has that passion for cooking. If he puts more effort & focus into it he WILL BE a great chef!" So Nitaro, the ball is at your feet. Let's look forward to future graduations. Apply yourself full-heartedly and excel, then you will truly be - MY SON, THE CHEF - THE MASTER CHEF!

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Jun 25, 2012

Twisty Tales : Weird Teachers

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Weird Teachers


School discipline during my Primary/Junior school days was real discipline; sometimes bordering on torture. I had a string of teachers from Primary 1 to 6. Except for two lady teachers, the others seems to excel in their own form of unique punishment.

In Primary 2, our teacher Mr. J imposed discipline by caning with rattan canes. The poor culprit student had to stand at the front of the class and select the weapon of choice. How nice! He even let us choose the canes - from thick to thinnest. Being naive young kids, most of us always chose the thinnest, not realizing that this inflict the most pain!

Well we learnt something then. No, it's not about not being naughty, more importantly it's about making decisions. "Choose boy, Choose!" A life lesson well taught.

The following year, in Primary 3, Mr. L has his distinct way to punish erring students. He pulls out their side-burn hair. Try it on yourself, pinch a finger-full and pull. Ouch!.

I'll skip Primary 5 first and jump to Primary 6. Mr. T of that year has this big mug of water in the classroom. After writing on the black-board he washes his hands in the mug. After blowing his nose, he also washes his hands in the mug. Naughty students will be "baptized" with this mugful of concoction. Eeeeew!

Now Primary 5 - that year will forever be etched in my memory. Whenever the class gets noisy, Mr. N will shout "Hold your tongues!" Yes, hold our tongues, and he meant that literally. We had to stick our tongues out and hold it with the fingers of our two hands, no letting go. Saliva, after a while, will start dripping down onto the floor. And some of us also couldn't help it but giggle (through our held tongues) at our odd situation. For these, an extra punishment is added, stand on their chairs or desks and hold their tongues. Students from other classes walking by our class couldn't help but quietly sniggle.

I guess that could explain my penchant for twisted tales, my tongue has been twisted since then.

Looking back, we had never got angry with these strange methods, and in later years learnt to appreciate that in their odd ways these teachers have helped mold us into better people.

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Jun 20, 2012

Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels

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This page is added to assist those who navigate by going through Blog Archives to connect to my other blogs,  click below to go there.

Go To  Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels

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Twisty Tales : 50 Names!

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50 Names!


I come from a large Chinese family. I have fifty first-cousins - and that's just on my dad's side. Friends used to ask me, how did I end up with so many?

My explanation is simple.
We come from a staunch Roman Catholic family.
No birth control. No pills. No caps.
And worst of all - No withdrawal. Leave it in the hands of God.
What can I say, my family are prolific producers.

But this story is not about me, it's about my late grandfather.
The lucky man, he has 50 grandchildren, and all through a monogamous marriage.
But the poor man - he names his grandchildren. And he had to come up with 50 names, all following names of Catholic saints. On top of that he had also to come out with the Chinese names too. That's a task! One can appreciate my grandfather's dilemma.

First off - The English Names.
Being Catholics, there are at least 5 of us named Joseph and a few Marys.
One cousin is Cornelius, his friends used to call him Corny until he cleverly played on a twist of his name and calls himself Nico.
Another was named Hyacinth. Is there such a saint's name. Apparently there is - I did check it up. He thought it was a mouthful (and perhaps somewhat flowery & feminine) and decided to use his Chinese name when introducing himself.
My younger brother is called Anslem, but he is happy with it as many people mispronounce it as Handsome.

Next - The Chinese Names.
(Chinese names comes in three parts. The first part is the surname, for eg. Wong, Chin, etc. The next one is the generation name, meaning all in the same generation will have the same one. It's a different one for males and females. Ours for guys is "Seang" and for girls "Siew". The last part is the distinct individual name. It's a good system, one look at the name and we can tell which family a person is from; and also which generation.)

So we have Chinese names like :
Seang Seang - meaning Exactly The Same
Seang Kuan - the Same Type
Seang Ee - Same As Him

Me? I have the same Christian name as my eldest brother. People ask me why. I can only tell them -

 "My grandfather ran out of names!"

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Jun 17, 2012

Twisty Tales : Sweet Young Thing - She Was After My Money

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Sweet Young Thing


One fine day I received a call from this SYT (Sweet Young Thing). She was from the credit card company calling to ask for payment and the conversation went as follows :-

SYT - Hello Mr. Tan and Good afternoon to you. I am calling regarding your outstanding payment which is overdue. Can you bank in the amount today by 3pm.

Me - 3pm? Are you crazy? Don't need to work gah?

SYT - But Mr. Tan, it's overdue.

Me - How long is it overdue? And how much?

SYT - Two weeks sir, and the amount is $150, Mr. Tan. 


SYT (in a even sweeter voice) - But Mr. Tan, don't get angry. I am just doing my job.

(At this stage I was almost boiling, but decided to stay cool. So I calmly asked her -)

Me - Miss, how old are you?

SYT - 21. Mr. Tan. Why? Sir.

Me - Can you check and see how long I have been a member of this card.

(Paused for a moment)

SYT - Uncle! Uncle! (No more "Mr. Tan" and no more "Sir" - just "Uncle")

Your card is even older than me!!!!!!!

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Twisty Tales : Blow Job

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Blow Job

(This post contains Malay words, for translation see below)

Not too long ago I was on the way back home after a happy HAPPY HOUR booze session with friends.

I was driving along Jln Damansara, passing the Bangsar traffic lights. As I passed the sharp bend in front of the Victoria Station, suddenly ahead of me was a police road block. I managed to brake and stop in time. (Who in their right mind would put a road block at a blind corner?)

"Ada minum gah?" the policeman asked over my open window.

"Dua glass saja, Cikgu." I replied in all innocence. (That should be the standard reply, irrespective of how much one had drank.)

"OK... Mari tiup." (Couldn't fool him.)

So I got out from my car and took the breath-a-lyser.

Just as I was about to blow.....


Both me and the cop turned to look towards the Bangsar junction. A car travelling fast, saw the

police block, applied the emergency brakes and skidded. (Guess the driver had more drinks than me and couldn't react fast enough)

The car skidded and hit the center concrete barricade, flipped and turned turtle.


The awe-struck policeman stared at the accident,
Looked at me.
Looked at the car.
Looked at me.
Looked at the car.
Looked at the breath-a-lyser.
Looked at the car.
Looked at me.again.

I just couldn't take it any more, and asked.
"Cikgu, mahu saya tiup atau mahu pergi tolong?"

The police man paused for a moment (probably thinking - there goes the coffee) but decided to act chivalrous and said reluctantly,
"Okay, you boleh pergi"


1. Ada minum gah? - You drank?
2. Dua glass sahaja, Cikgu - Two glasses only, Sir
3. Ok...Mari tiup - Ok...come blow
4. Cikgu, mahu saya tiup atau mahu pergi tolong? - Sir, you want me to blow or go help?
5. Okay, you boleh pergi - Okay, you can go

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Jun 16, 2012

Twisty Tales : Snake Bite Pt.2

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sssSnake Bite Pt. 2

(Courtesy of  autoclipart.com)

People call me a BANANA. Why? A banana is the term for a Chinese who acts more English - One who is yellow on the outside and white inside. I am a Chinese who can hardly speak Mandarin, and am not too familiar with its various customs. Worse -  I don't eat durians and can't stand the smell of them! Let's continue with the snake bite.

After the episode of the snake bite in Part 1, my co-adventurers quickly tied a tourniquet around my thigh. Not at the ankle, as they feared the snake poison could have spreaded up. Another of them quickly got on his bike and rushed to a public telephone (this was pre-mobile phone days) to call for an ambulance.
And I was telling myself, "Keep calm. Keep calm." Don't let the poison spread. I started meditating "Om...om...om..."
The ambulance came. But the attendants didn't bring a stretcher to the cliff side to carry me down. Am I suppose to pay them?

Anyway, time is of the essence to safe my life. My friends helped me limp down, shining a torch to make our way to the waiting ambulance. Again - "Keep calm." Was some numbness spreading up my body? "Om...om..."

The ambulance, like it's attendants, was in no hurry. It made a detour to drop off another passenger before proceeding to the hospital at its leisurely pace. No sirens, only silence.
What the ##? "Om....om..om..om...om"

We reached the hospital and I was quickly wheeled to the "Toxic" ward, given a couple of sedative jabs and put onto one of the many beds of the 3rd class ward. All in I was given a total of 17 jabs - very much more than what the snake gave me.

There I was, a small 14-year old boy lying on the bed - dirty and all alone in the dim ward. A few beds away, a younger boy lay unconscious, hooked onto an ECG machine. The parents were next to him weeping for his recovery. And I was trying hard to listen to the ECG beeps, are they still  there? Is this going to happen to me? "Om.....om....om....o.."

An hour later, another guy about my age, was wheeled in and placed on the bed next to mine. He was bitten while eating durians at a plantation. What was he doing eating durians in a plantation in the late evening? There's no understanding these durian lovers - they go to lengths to savor the King of Fruits.

At around midnight, this guy suddenly turned towards my side and vomited onto the floor. This being the third class ward, the vomit was left there until the cleaners come in the morning.

I can't stand the smell of durians, the stench of durian vomit is a 100 times worst. 


Accepting my fate, I just turned away, covered my head with the pillow and tried my best to sleep.

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Jun 13, 2012

WoW! : Main

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These are my random blogs on things, events that I have witnessed or thoughts that occurred to me :

- Fire @ Yu Hua School
 A fire at a school in Kajang, Malaysia.
A tale of a woman's determination to become a mother.
My Son, The Chef Pt.1
My son's first step towards becoming a master chef.
My Son, The Chef Pt.2
Nicholas has graduated. Congratulations.
Buying My First Foldable Bike
Going biking again after many, many years - I bought my first foldable bike.
My Bike : Buying The Accessories Round 1
To complement my new bicycle, some accessories
No.5 Uncle 65th Birthday
An uncle came all the way back from New Zealand to celebrate his birthday with family.
A Young Man's 74th Birthday Party
A birthday lunch to celebrate my younger brother's father-in-law, Mr. Ang. He is one with a young man's attitude towards life.

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WoW! : Fire @Yu Hua School

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Fire Started about 15-20mins. ago
12th June 2012
I was at a Kajang government office, when I suddenly saw people rushing to the windows. Curiosity got the better of me and I followed them.
The window was a bit crowded, but I managed to see what was happening. The school next door has caught fire.Our fifth floor level, gave us an commanding view.

Squeezing, through the absorbed on-lookers, I managed to take some photos and also a video. The video I made can be seen on YouTube under title Fire at Kajang School. (CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO)

The fire raged on, and more smoke billowed out from the fire. It looked like an annex building that was on fire. Suddenly, "boom!" - a small explosion was heard, and my fellow on-lookers went "Woh!"

Fire under control - School children can be seen
evacuating to the neighboring school
After about fifteen minutes, we heard the siren of a fire engine. It was only a small one and it made its way to the back. The fire-fighters went to work and soon the fire was under control.

The next day, I went through my regular newspaper. Odd thing though - there was no report on this fire. I hoped that there are no casualties, as I didn't hear or see any ambulance.

Click here to see (SEE MAP)

UPDATE: 14th June 2012
Photos taken two days later from the neighboring Anglican Church. This is a view of the back. Looks like the fire started at first 3 rooms on the left of the 1st floor and then spreaded to the second floor. The fire-men managed to stop the fire before the roof could collapse.

Another view of the same block but from the front. Surprisingly, the front of the first floor wasn't affected by the fire.

Still no news in my regular papers.

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Jun 11, 2012

Twisty Tales : A Romantic Encounter

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A Romantic Encounter


Back in my bachelor days, I used to hang out with the guys, ex-schoolmates from our all-boys school in Penang. One of the pubs in PJ was our frequent haunt, where after imbibing some adequate amount of alcohol, our tongues loosen and all sorts of stories and jokes are traded.

Of course, being bachelors our eyes naturally strayed onto any nice eye-candy that pop into the pub.

During one of these drinking bouts, whilst sitting at the U-shaped bar counter rowdily laughing, I noticed a pretty lass sitting on the opposite side of the U.

Acting cool, I just continued talking to the guys but at the same time stole glances at the sweet chick. And SHE WAS STARING AT ME, and with a mystical smile. My heart started beating a little faster. And then she smiled at me, my heart-beat went even faster. My coolness must have gotten to her. Yeah! Mr. Macho!

The next thing I knew, she left her seat and started walking to us. My heart was pounding. She approached me and gave another sweet smile. She was even prettier up close. "Hi!" she said in a melodic voice. "Hello!" I answered, thanking my lucky stars.

"Is your name Jo?". Gosh, she even knows my name! Tonight isss going to be a good night. My testerone levels shot up.. We chatted for couple of minutes, but impatiently I had to ask the nagging question. So I just blurted out, "Have we met before? How did you know my name?"

Still in a sweet voice, she answered "Oh.........  I was your junior in school."


Did I mentioned that I was from an all-boys school? Bbbbbrrrrr - shivers!

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Jun 8, 2012

Twisty Tales : Mr Macho

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Mr. Macho


My friend Albert regularly holds a dinner annually to celebrate and thank friends & business acquaintances for the success of his company. These are often attended by a couple of hundreds of guests.

His staff would organize & perform dance routines, music pieces & various stage sketches to keep the guest entertained through the dinner. They even got the audience to participate in some games (on stage of course).

One of these was a competition for the best looking body, a Mr. Macho competition. Albert asked me to take part in this. Me, being sporting ol' me, relented. There were ten of us who will be contributing to the entertainment of his dinner guests. Some were average Joes like me, others have bodice I could only dream off. A couple were below average.

We were given tight body-building singlets - the sleeveless ones that will show off our muscles best, And were herded to the restroom to change and be briefed on the competition. One of his staff showed us various body-building poses that we have to perform. The audience, we were told, would be the judges. The participant garnering the most claps will be the winner. So, there we were - the ten of us - practicing the various pose whilst looking at the full- length mirrors." Hello Gorgeous", "Looking Goooood, man!" - was probably echoing through our minds.

And now the moment of of TRUTH! One by one we paraded on stage - trying our best to show our best. A couple of hunks went on first. They had sure-win figures. The first hunk went in, went through the various poses - beautiful muscles. The rest of us waited in anticipation for the audience reaction.


The next hunk went on. Same response. Silence. Funny... What's happening?

My turn then. Overcoming my perennial stage fright, I went in. Some claps. "Okay. Okay. Not so bad." I told myself. Then one of the scrawny guys went on. THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE! The next scarecrow went in - the hall reverberated!  A clear winner!

"What's happening?" "No meaning!" went through our heads. Only after the prize was given, did we find out the truth.
This was no Mr. Macho competition.
This was a Mr. Arm-pit Hair contest!
It seems that while were were in the changing room, out of earshot  the audience were briefed on the true nature of the contest - the guy with the most armpit hair wins. The joke was on us. It seems thinner guys have more armpit hair, check for yourself and see. But we - with or without arm-pit hair - had a good laugh!

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Jun 7, 2012

Twisty Tales : Snake Bite 1

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sssSnake Bite Pt. 1


When I was a young 14-yr old, I was an active Boy Scout. There was this once when I was on a Venture Scout Badge journey together with a couple of 16-yr old scout-mates.

After a long tiring first day journey, we reached the Penang Youth Park and set up camp at the far end of the park; not too far away from the waterfall. After setting up camp, it was getting dark and I made my way bare-footed to the waterfall to wash a pot of rice.

On the way back to the camp - suddenly "Ouch!" as I felt a stinging pain on my left feet. My fellow adventurers rushed over to me and shone a torch onto my feet. Horror of horrors, there were two small puncture holes near my small toe. "Snake bite! Snake bite!" I yelled.

Without a second thought, one of my co-adventurers just brushed the dirt from my feet and started sucking."Sssss! Pui!" "Ssss! Pui!" he went sucking and spitting out my blood. He probably saved my life!

This school-mate of mine is now a Datuk.


Anyway, Thanks Again, Datuk.
(For those not from Malaysia, a Datuk is the Malaysian equivalent of a Knight. So how many of you can say "A Knight Sucked My Toes!". I can!)

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Twisty Tales - Main

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               JOTARO'S TWISTY TALES               

Twisty Tales to Tickle Your Toes     - (click on titles below to view)

- 50 Names!  : My grandfather's dilemma.
Blow Job : To blow or not to blow?
Buying My 2nd Folding Bike : Someone else bought the bike I badly wanted!
Mr. Macho  : My venture into self admiration.
Romantic Encounrter : Oh.. The lady was a vamp.
- sssSnake Bite Pt. 1 : Once bitten, twice shy!
sssSnake Bite Pt. 2 : And it gets worse.
-Sweet Young Thing : She was after my money!
Trigger Finger : Gun-totting adventures?
- Weird Teachers : Extreme Torture.

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