28 February 2007

MV Tung Hwang - The Cement Wreck

.Picture taken from British Sub-Aqua Club's website.

Cement Wreck is one of the 4 main wrecks (two WWII era and two post-war vessels) in Labuan discovered by Maurice Davidson. He wrote a book about the underwater beauty and diving in Bruneian waters, Laut Brunei-The Brunei Sea.

The MV Tung Hwang is a small freighter 92 metres in length which hit the Samarang Banks while freighting cement to Brunei for the construction of the Sultan's new palace. It sank on 25 September, 1980 without the loss of life and sits perfectly up-right on a hard sandy bottom in 32 metres. The masts are just eight metres below the surface at low tide and the roof of the wheelhouse is at 14 metres, with the main deck at 22 metres. Known as the perfect shipwreck, and the favourite shipwreck of well-known underwater photographer Michael Aw, harsh weather conditions is slowly taking a toll on the wreck.

This wreck is gorgeous, the top half of it is covered by a garden of soft and hard corals, sponges and ferns. Upon descending to the mast, you would normally be greeted by schools of small barracudas that patrol the wreck faithfully, and one or two playful batfish that are the friendliest towards divers.

Diving fever.. i feel it coming

Yessssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!! The longest wait is over! The friggin' rain is finally behind us now, giving way to clearer skies and more dive adventures. Say hello to frizzy and bleached hair, sun-tanned skin, strap marks, coral cuts, jellyfish stings, eye infections and my dad's unrelenting reminder/nagging everytime he sees me cleaning my camera's housing; "you're so o-chap-chap... becareful when you dive...what's so fun about diving... dont dive at night lah, it's so dangerous confused"... hrmm.. i'm beginning to question my sanity. Why do i spend time and money to dive and then spend another bundle on sunblocks, whitening lotions, hair repair serum, optho visits, stinging eye drops to reverse the pitfalls of diving. I must be I.N.S.A.N.E!

But i love diving, more than crosswords.. no, hang on.. i take it back. It's two different thing, dont ever ask me which one i love more. It's like one of those ridiculous 'who wld you save' kinda question. Diving gives me a certain kind of euphoria. I once described diving as my Zahir in my old dive blog. Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, incapable of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness. That was when i could do 8 dives in a week. The feeling of calmness, wonder and exhilaration when one dives is indescribable. It is another world altogether underwater. And one of the main reasons why i dive is my immense love for nudibranchs, the jewels of the sea.
There are more here.

Besides that, you gotto love the back-breaking boat rides, feast during surface intervals, company of people who share the same passion for diving, sunsets, lunch and cough-happyhour-cough breaks at Kuraman Island and many more.

Dive trips planned for this week:
Friday: Blue Water Wreck
Sunday: Mel's Reef/Brunei Patches

26 February 2007

a thumb for comfort

What do you do when you're bored and tired, or merely seeking comfort? Shania, Lucas and all babies alike think you can try popping your thumb in your mouth and start *smacking-slurping-smacking* away. And if that's not enough, you can always add a finger or two. It's amazing how soothing and calming it is to a baby.
My cheeky godson
Thumb-sucking has always been a debatable question of good or bad. A lead author from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry says "Sucking is a natural reflex, which comforts infants and young children. Any recommendation to stop thumb, finger or pacifier sucking before a child is two years old would be unrealistic, potentially detrimental and unnecessary from a dental standpoint"

Pacifier or thumb?

You dont exactly want to pull over in the middle of a highway or bend over a zillion times whenever your child spits or tosses his dummy ,-1. He will always find his finger, +1.
However when teeth starts emerging, when the time has come to wean them off the delight, you can jolly well toss the pacifier in the bin +1, but you cant exactly hide or break his fingers eek -1.

So how do you break the habit then smarty-pants? Some how-tos here.

Anyways, here's a short story of Shania's and Lucas' 1st Chinese New Year.
Well , judging from the smiles and giggles, i reckon it has been a pretty good experience for both of them.biggrin

23 February 2007

Gong Hei Fatt Choi

Down with flu, plagued by an incessant cough from all the late nights, i continue to brace myself for more open-house.. in search for the yummiest kueh-mo, and that 3-king table. lol

At this moment, i miss diving quite terribly.

22 February 2007

Love is in the air

Have you guys got anything planned? Where is he taking you? Have you bought anything? Some of the many questions people throw at you when valentines day draws near. There are several occassions where i would conjure up an image of myself draped in an oversized apron, hastily blending up a mixture, shoving the roasting tray into the oven, rubbing my eyes with onion-peeled fingers, cursing under my breath upon the stench of burnt meat.. all that just to prepare a splendid meal for my other half. I tingle with fear. It does not mean i hate cooking, in fact, i love cooking but at my own sweet time. I've a teeny weeny problem with time management in the kitchen. confused
Until now, my thoughts have remained as thoughts.

This year, i was told to keep myself occupied and to stay away from the kitchen. I was not to peep in the fridge, not to worry about lending a hand, and to just not ask too many questions about what's for dinner. Hrmmm, kwai kwai she she.

Food preparation started at 6pm. Time ticked by, slooooOOoowly, it seemed like forever and you know it's been forever when your tummy starts rumbling. Time to feed.

At 8.00pm, Caroline decided to make her hunger known.. she went to the kitchen to check the progress.. apparently the conversation went like this,
Rudy: "What are you doing here?"
Caroline: "When will dinner be ready? We're hungry"
Rudy: "Soon, just wait downstairs"
Caroline: "But the chicken's not even in the oven yet!!"
Rudy: "It only takes 20 minutes, can you just wait downstairs and make sure Lee dont eat junk food"
Caroline: "Well.. too late, she's already eating away"

While Caroline was questioning, i thought i could help set up the table but was amazed to find this:At 8.30pm,
Lee: *gasp* "You havent cooked the chicken? *gasp* Not even the lamb?"
Rudy: "You guys are not supposed to be here.."
(Lee walks around kitchen in disbelief, clutching her empty, empty stomach..)
Caroline: "What have you been doing???"
Sensing trouble, the chef sent us out to get pineapple juice... out of his way.

At roughly 9.30pm, Steph and Ling arrived.. just when dinner is finally ready. The chef sat us down and served us garlic bread (with fresh garlic! eerrrrr) followed by salmon carpaccio, then main course, the heavenly chicken breast in tarragon sauce.. ohmygod, this is by far the best recipe i've tasted, it beats vino-vinos' hands down. Tarragon + mustard = tasty bliss.. i totally shunned the lamb. Dessert is the deliciously sinful chocolate mousse. Whipped perfectly, it simply dissolves on the tongue but the flavour lingered on.. so good that it was savoured by the bowlful. Almost full to my chest, then came cheese and crackers, ohhh ran out of crackers, so just cheese.

The food was magnificient! The presentation was immaculate. The service was exceptional. It was all good.

We washed down our food with what-seemed-like endless shots of illusion, laughed, drank, laughed and drank the night away.

Thank you for a wonderful night.

14 February 2007

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day razz
For women, one of the wonders of Valentines is to be pampered. For men, it is to pamper. No, wait some of them reckon all that hard work is infact in return for this day. Men, i wish you luck.

Last year, some displayed their well concealed culinary skills proving to us women that they can handle fancy pots and pans, know their cheese and herbs just as well, if not better. redface

My new-found faith in men. They're surprisingly comfortable in the K.I.T.C.H.E.N.

If you find yourself constantly peeping through to check if everything's in order, that no one has sliced off a chunk off their finger, sniff for hints of burnt food, gather the girls and start playing the all-time favourite RUMMY. It helps.

And voila, before you know it, dinner is ready. Sit and be served.

Any perfect dinner has to end with an equally good dessert, Daryl whipped up his infamous NZ dish. Impressive.

And yea, knowing him he has to top it off by ending the night with short stories from "Unleashing the Sex Goddess in Every Woman".

What a wonderful world we live in.

13 February 2007

Wine, Dine and Unwind in Singapore

Again, everywhere i go i'm constantly reminded not to drink & drive or drink & dive. Anyhoos, i dont know if i can survive in Singapore.. there're just too many temptations:

Good Food
Goodwood Park is the ultimate location for steak lovers, BUT for people like me that only eat beef thinly sliced, head next door to Shima Japanese Restaurant for the best shabu-shabu ever.

Wagyu (left) and Shimofuri (right)

Just look at the marbling! Both came from Kobe and but have totally distinct taste. First bite of Wagyu and we thought it was heavenly, and then came Shimofuri. It's so velvety and words cannot give the flavour any justice. I've never loved beef this much.. it practically melts in your mouth. mMmmm... Precious beef.

These cattles enjoy a Dionysian diet of rice, beans and rice lager (to help their digestion, not to flavour their flesh). Famously, they are also massaged by farmers, although this is in order to soothe their muscles rather than disperse the fat. Despite their fattiness, Wagyu are slender, almost delicate beasts. According to the food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, "Wagyu fat contains a high proportion of monosaturated oleic acid (also found in olive oil), which accounts for its buttery taste and moderate cholesterol."

Shimofuri is no doubt gourmet meat.

Good Shopping

It's not a mystery that shopping is both a body and mind exercise; lower limbs for walking from shop to shop, upper limbs for browsing and carrying, mind for decisions, decisions and more decision making. After having excessive good food, practice this exercise regimen to rid yourself of those guilt-trips.

On the way back to our hotel, the poo realised there's a clothes hanger dangling on one of her shopping bags. Not a surprise if u imagine all the hustling in a barely 2m wide,10m long store filled with 10-20 frenzied women. After dinner that night, whilst waiting for a taxi, the poo stared at her sore, worn-out feet and said the darnest thing, (stg along the line of..) "look at 'chu, such little feet and you have to support a 43kg me, and all you ask for are pretty shoes, i shall get you pretty shoes". Rofl..lol

Good Entertainment

So the poo can now enter clubs LEGALLY, though she had her id checked by several bouncers from the same club 'cos they refused to believe their colleague that she's 18. Helluva night, usually accompanied by a splitting headache the next day and uncontrollable bouts of nausea.

Good trip. Now back to the good ol' O.F.F.I.C.E. Slave for income for more holidays. eek

08 February 2007

Another one bites the dust

Happy Birthday Ling
xx 07.02.2007 xx

and Congratulations!

Steven had the whole thing planned, the perfect occassion - his birthday, the venue, the flowers, his family, a few friends, and most importantly, the ring. For most of us, the whole night was just eager anticipation for the moment. After dinner and birthday songs, Steven sneaked off to get the flowers whilst Steph being Steph (eventhough she cant drink) was up and about making the guys drink.

:The Moment:
Steph was standing with her back towards the door, Steven made his way over unnoticed.. well he made it close enough cos when all our eyes turned to him, Steph turned around. With a huge smile on his face, a bouquet of flowers on one hand, he walked towards Steph, reached into his pocket, - at the same time Steph was laughing and said "Mm hou wan yeh laaaa.." (in cantonese, which means dont fool around) - went on his knees and popped the life-time question "Will you marry me?" razz Steph said "Yes!"Another pair bites the dust...

Ein Ling has pretty much met his match. There's no one quite as perfect as Steph for him. She's twice the drink-pusher he is.

Pictures below can sum up what happened the rest of the night...

Steph and her best friend, Kelly

The rest of Steven and Stephanie's night, well.. u'd have to ask them wink

Oh Steph, make sure you go through the extent of your I-DO before you say I-do lol

Another wild hen's night coming up.
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