Ramadan 2021

Iiiit’s the first day of Ramadan!

Ramadan is an Islamic holy month. During this month, the moslems fast by stopping eating and drinking when the sun rises (subuh/soobooh) until the sun sets (iftar/maghrib) — and we do this for 30 days.

“No eating, I can understand. NO DRINKING? Even water?”

Even water, yep. It’s a literal fast as nothing should be consumed for a whole day. It’s the time for the moslems to reflect oneself and learn about patience, perseverance, and kindness.

And yes, I already used with, “… did you die?” questions 😆

Ari and I have been revamping our suhoor (the morning meal) menu since last year. We found that the more we eat during suhoor, the more we feel uncomfortable (hello, gastric acid,) and lethargic we are during the day.

Apparently, our best type of suhoor meal is the one with less carb, and more veggies and fruits.

Ari made a tomato and cucumber salad with yogurt and olive oil. I made myself omelette (with chives), and we also have sliced oranges.

We do put more attention on water, though. Two glasses of water during suhoor, two glasses of water during iftar (breaking the fast,) and two glasses of water before bedtime.

So far, things went pretty well. I had a headache in the noontime because the blood sugar dropped and my body still adjusting (telltale sign that I’ve been snacking too much when I’m working 😆) I had to take a longer break due to that — although luckily, it was pretty quiet on the office’s Slack channels too.

I’m pretty pumped about tomorrow. Hopefully my body can adjust things better as Ramadan progresses.

Happy Ramadan, folks! May all of us have a blessed Ramadan.

‘Pleasure’ – Sarah Kang

When I was only ten, I was told by a man

He smiled as he said, "You just need to understand
Unless you grow thinner, no man would ever want you"

And what a grownup said I believed as children do

She wasn't made for your pleasure
Don't you blame it on human nature
She wasn't made for your pleasure
Oh, who will love her?

Daisy, go dress yourself in a red disguise
To look like a rose, you must pay a heavy price

Try to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye
Run after your youth 'til the day that you die

She wasn't made for your pleasure
Don't you blame it on human nature
She wasn't made for your pleasure
Oh, who will love her?

An apology to Agatha Christie

I first learned about Sherlock Holmes — yes, we will talk about Agatha Christie later. THIS IS IMPORTANT — when I was an elementary student. When I was still a kid, we had — and I guess we still have — this children magazine named “BOBO”. Originated from the Netherlands, “BOBO” magazine had such a long affection and connection to Indonesian children as it became part of our childhood. I remember I read Sherlock Holmes’ ‘The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire’, translated to Indonesian, in the magazine.

From there, I entered a wonderful world of detectives genre on literature.

As my admiration to Sherlock Holmes grew and as I learned more about the fictional detectives, I, too, learned about Agatha Christie and her famous Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Unfortunately, it was an unsavoury experience as I found everything by Agatha Christie as “dull” and “rambling.” I was used with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fast-paced short-stories style, I couldn’t stand to read a whole novel of one single case.

I didn’t even bother to read Agatha Christie’s works until a couple of years ago (?) I saw ‘And Then There Were None’ on Netflix.

No. I didn’t watch it. I only saw the thumbnail on the Netflix app.

I watched it only for the first 10 minutes then I got too scared (I’m serious.) Yet the curiosity started. What is this about this lady, Agatha Christie, that she could build such legacy with her detectives? Surely a proud Belgian man and a chatty elderly lady should do something extremely right that made the world fall in love with them?

Last week, we went to a bookstore in KL East after we had dinner in Cafe Chef Wan. The bookstore’s name is ‘BookXcess’ (read: Book Excess.) This bookstore is the parent group of Big Bad Wolf Book Expo, a really famous book expo in Southeast Asia (mainly in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia) for super cheap price. I kid you not, the price can be third or even quarter of the actual price.

Then I saw this Agatha Christie box set. Five novels: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Evil Under the Sun, The ABC Murders, The Five Little Pigs, and Murder on the Orient Express.

I took it without second thought. That, and because the price is not super exorbitant so my wallet can still breathe after my multiple stints with Neil Gaiman’s graphics novels and Kinokuniya Bookstore.

I decided to open my journey with a murder of a gentleman in a, supposedly, closed room: “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”

And I had to remind myself again and again, “this is 1926. You do NOT yell, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE DICTAPHONE IS REALLY BIG? SONY HAS ONE THAT’S SMALL ENOUGH FOR YOUR POCKET” because for God sake, we have this thing called history of technology.”

Reading detective novel is fun. You found yourself trying to guess from the very first page. This man looks suspicious! Oh, this lady looks like she knows nothing— but who knows? You tried to outsmart the author. You wished you could scoff and remarked, “HAH! I KNEW IT!” in such triumphant manner. You, a reader, able to guess whodunnit! That’s surely an achievement worth to brag about!

Then came ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ and when Hercule Poirot uttered the name of the killer, I found myself in Error 404 Not Found for five seconds.

“Wait.

What.

What.”

Then a complete 5 minutes of, “are you kidding me, are you serious— WHAT,” and aggressively turned the pages again and again, from chapter one to the last chapter, tried to connect the dots, “did I miss anything?”-panic, and ended up with a quiet realization followed with a final, “… Now I know why.”

I admire Agatha Christie’s way of portraying her characters, especially the women. I love how she breathed such variations on the women — they can be a schoolgirl dabbled in occultism or a naive temptress. I love how Agatha Christie able to give different perspectives and personalities on one single character — somebody that we thought using other people for their own expenses yet craved, and manipulated, by another (‘Evil Under the Sun’.)

Now, I keep turning the pages, craving for more.

Thank you for the magnificent works, Agatha Christie. My deepest apology, as it took me 36 years to recognize you.

Cafe Chef Wan @ KL East Mall

Hey! I skipped blog for the past 2-3 weeks as my sinus infection blaring up. Unfortunately, it happened on the kids too. We actually suspect the current renovation works on our apartment building caused the sinusitis/allergy as it can be pretty dusty at times. Luckily, no fever.

Recently, I’ve been listening to this.

I heard ‘Jálale’ from Disney Pixar’s ‘Coco’ and I always thought it’s an instrumental music.

Anyway! My husband has been watching Uncle Roger Shows and when he watched uncle Roger visited Chef Wan’s restaurant ‘Cafe Chef Wan’, he commented that we have to try it too.

We actually tried one of Chef Wan’s restaurants: ‘De.Wan 1958’ in The Linc, Kuala Lumpur. At that time, the restaurant was under refurbishment and it was… If I’m not mistaken, juuuust after the first lockdown. Things were still pretty chaotic and people tried to get back on their feet.

Nevertheless, this is a restaurant by chef Wan, and he’s one of the best chefs in Asia. His tireless exploration of food and his deep respect and understanding on food and traditional dishes are second to none.

So! We decided to try ‘Cafe Chef Wan’ restaurant; we also noticed ‘Cafe Chef Wan’ restaurant has variations on western and asian dishes. This is super helpful in case the kids preferred western food.

When we went there, the restaurant was crowded. Expected, because uncle Roger (Nigel) involvement would catapult the promotion to the public. When we got seated, we decided to have mee rebus (noodle soup) for Wira, spaghetti bolognese for Rey, Sri Lankan fish croquettes for appetizer, and kerutup lamb shank for Ari and I.

So! When I saw the price, especially mee rebus, I was slightly surprised because it’s quite above average. Might be due to the place itself, I thought.

Oh how I was wrong.

Cik Aini’s Mee Rebus RM34 (US$8.23)

This would be the third time we got fooled by the portion. First time was when we just arrived in Malaysia and we wanted to have dinner at Madam Kwan KLCC. We ordered a fish head curry and we thought, “eeeh, it will be a small fish head that Wira can finish on his own.” It arrived in a pot that enough to feed four people.

The second time was when Ari and I ordered our lunch from banana leaf restaurant. Banana leaf is a term for restaurants, usually Indian restaurant/serving Indian foods, that serving the food on banana leaf. You can eat the rice along with rich, spicy, yummy curry and gravy using cutleries, yes, but who would do that if you can just dig in using your hands? So! We ordered two portions from this restaurant: Devi’s Bangsar, through GrabFood. When the meal arrived, we had to keep one portion for the next day’s breakfast. Mind you, this is two hungry adults — and one with tendency to comment, “I’m hungry” every five minutes (not Ari.)

Wira enjoyed the mee rebus immensely. He mentioned that it’s spicy but not too chili-spicy. “It makes my tummy warm.”

Rey just dug in directly on her pasta.

Spaghetti Bolognese RM36 (US$8.71)

I rarely a fan of bolognese sauce because I keep getting sour-taste/acid from the ragu (the sauce) so I have hard time enjoying red sauce in respect to pasta. But this one, this one, for some reason able to give the richness and the sweetness of the ragu without the acidity. They did something really right with the tomatoes.

For the fish fingers, we all love it.

Sri Lankan Fish Croquettes RM24 (US$5.81)

You can dip the fish fingers to lime yogurt or to tzatziki sauce. The sauce gives the clean taste, yet you can feel the hint of spice (turmeric, I guess?) on the fish (maybe from the coating?)

As for the main character…

Kerutup Lamb Shank RM62 (US$15.01) (for sharing — 2 to 3 portions)

The kerutup lamb shank is served with nasi bukhari, pineapple chutney, dhal, raita, fattoush, and papadum.

The lamb is so soft; fall-off-the-bone soft. The richness of the broth balanced with the freshness from raita and pineapple chutney.

This is a dish for dinner. A meal to give warmth and comfort as you slip into the evening.

Cafe Chef Wan @ KL East Mall
010-207 0383

Automattic Swag 2021: Wapuu Lion Dance

In Automattic, we usually have yearly announcements of new designs or products for our swag/merchandise. For 2021, the swag is a little bit special to me — mostly because I involved in one of the sticker series design.

Introducing: Lion Dance Wapuu.

Lion Dance Wapuu sticker design

This is actually a project that started as a joke. One of my teammates prepared her sabbatical leave that started during the Chinese New Year so we chatted about Chinese New Year celebrations and one of folks on the team channel mentioned, “Wapuu in lion dance costume would be super cute.”

As soon as I heard the comment, I did a really fast and rough sketch. Wapuu is fairly easy to draw because it fits all my character preferences: Round and chonk. Also, I really like drawing lion dance costume. After what happened in 2020 (and still going on in 2021,) I felt it would be pretty neat to bring a little bit of cheer.

The original sketch

I shared it on one of the office’s public Slack channel — Asiamatticians channel — and everyone shared really good responses. I was content at that time. I was pretty happy.

Then, my colleague from Marketing division mentioned me. “Hey, I pinged you on the Events’ Slack channel. Seems like everyone like it very much and they want to make it a sticker.”

Are you serious.”

“YES!”

I worked together with folks from my team, Events division, and Designs division. We chatted, joked, and shared insights on the origin of Chinese zodiac, the process of making the vector version of Wapuu, and the colors. It was a really awesome experience, to work cross-division like that. It wasn’t a super major project, but it has been really motivating and refreshing encounter.

And now I have the stickers!

Aside from Wapuu Lion Dance, we also have Wapuu Year of the Ox! Check them out on Mercantile store!

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