Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This blog post is specially for my food blogger buddies and friends who enjoy a good sit-down dinner in a restaurant. Thanks to our Taiwanese hosts, almost every night we were treated to a feast of local cuisine. One thing I've discovered - in Taiwan beef is king, pork is close behind, and chicken is a distant third.

As I don't eat meat, I can only take pictures of the dishes. But I am sure they taste as good as they look. I can't remember the names of most of the dishes. Perhaps the food bloggers would like to help out with the names?

Monday, November 29, 2010


In a sea of grey, the yellow roof of the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall easily stands out.

We visited Taipei 101 today, and went right up to the 88th floor in the world's fastest elevator. It took only 37 seconds at a speed of 1010 metres per minutes. Then we climbed the steps up to the open observatory on the 91st floor. Looking at the panoramic view of the city I can say that as far as architecture goes, Taipei doesn't offer much to excite the imagination. Most buildings resemble concrete matchboxes in shades of grey or brown. None of the beautiful lines and curves that shape the skylines of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Buns, cakes and cream puffs to die for!

 Baker's Boy buns smell, look and taste 100% like our Roti Boy.

 My lunch - the biggest bowl of seafood noodles I've ever had, at NT$100 (RM10) a bowl.

At the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station, a 3-5-minute walk from Howard Plaza Hotel where we are staying. The best way to see the city is to take the MRT or the bus - cheap, fast and direct.
Tourists are given a complimentary EasyCard worth NT$50 for travel on the MRT and buses.

There are few signages and notices in English. Most people here speak only Mandarin. We had a hard time asking for directions!

One place worth checking out is the Miniatures Musuem.

My granddaughters were absolutely delighted to have cakes at the Hello Kitty Sweets cafe. Can you imagine an eatery all done up in pink with Hello Kitty motiffs everywhere you look? The pretty waitresses were all decked in Hello Kitty uniforms. (That's my elder daughter in the middle.)
For starters...

Day 2 ended with a sumptious Taiwanese spread of 15 dishes, courtesy of our gracious hosts. More food pictures in the next post, specially for my food blogger buddies.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Taking a short break in Taipei with the family. Only had time to check out some street food today. Unfortunately Internet access isn't free at our downtown hotel, so am keeping posts short and brief.

The best food is to be found in the side streets and alleys. Beef, pork, chicken cooked the way grandma used to. Pity I don't eat meat.

Tastes better than it looks - wantan soup and my bowl of dry noodles with thick sesame sauce.

The queue for these buns was so long, we gave up waiting to get some.

Hot sweet potatoes - simply yummy!
 My two granddaughters hamming it up while I enjoy what's left of the sweet potatoes.

I have no idea what snack this is - pieces of strange food floating in some liquid. Taiwan yong toufu?

If you think these are clothes for kids, take another look. They are actually designer wear for doggies!
 Street fashion for the street-smart. Love the boots. Saw some trendy ones going for only RM50!

More photos tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The video above makes a strong case for going vegetarian. I made a decison to stop eating meat in June 2008. Initially I thought I would miss my satay, beef noodles, rendang, char siew, roast duck and chicken curry. But it has turned out to be surprisingly easy to avoid meat altogether. Well, almost. I still enjoy seafood, with fish as a daily staple. But I'm hoping to ease off on that, and gradually move into becoming a full vegetarian.

Posting this video here is not an attempt to convert anyone to vegetarianism, but to share information. If I can find a video extolling the benefits of eating meat, I'll post it here too. Then we'll have all the facts from both sides to enable us to make an informed decision about our food intake.

To each his own.

Monday, November 22, 2010


"If you could choose to live to a ripe old age, what age would that be?". When I put the question to my friends, the answer I almost always get is "80". I'm not sure if that's because 80 is an auspicious number and therefore a good age to say bye-bye, or is it because most people still equate any number beyond 80 with physical and mental deterioration.

It's time to blast that equation to dust. A change in mindset is long overdue. It is possible to live to 80, 90 and even 100 and still enjoy good health and quality of life, provided we make the right lifestyle choices.

My daughter Belle recently accompanied Teresa, a 112-year old supercentenarian, to London to attend the centennial celebrations of her alma mater. The trip was made possible by generous sponsors who wanted to make Teresa's wish come true. She had such a wonderful time and was feted everywhere she went. For Belle, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she commemorated in a photobook specially put together as a gift for Teresa. (Pic: Teresa enjoying kite-flying.)

As a blogger on seniors-related topics, I have had the honour of meeting so many amazing men and women in their 80s and 90s who are proud of their age. And why not? How many people of this age-group can truly say they are living life to the full?

Members of the Happy Senior Citizens Club who are in their 80s and 90s. The oldest is Mr Yong Tze Tai, 95, (extreme left) a retired court interpreter, and the youngest is Mdm Wong Yong Moi, 83, (in black) a line-dance instructor at her church.

On the other hand, I've also met retirees and pensioners who, at the relatively young age of 60+, are already withdrawing from life. They come up with 1001 excuses on why they can't do this or that. They prefer to remain at home and whine about the miseries of impending old age, loss of employment, income and self-esteem.

They are poor company with their constant complaints of aches and pains, whether real or imaginery. They lament the lack of attention from their adult children and grandchildren. They have a long list of what's gone wrong with their lives, but can't see the solution even when it's suggested or presented to them. They choose to focus on what they feel they are cursed with, rather than what they are blessed with.

We all know of friends and family members who are like that. No one can help them if they don't want to be helped. Sad, isn't it?

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I sold my Chrysler Alpine in 1998, and have not driven since. I still hold a valid driving license, in case I ever decide to get behind the wheels again.

My friends often wonder how I get around. Well, I'm fortunate to have lots of friends who drive. So there's no shortage of rides. But mostly I rely on public transport to take me where I want to go.

As each year passes, I feel less inclined to drive. I've gotten so used to being a passenger. I'm told that driving is a breeze now - no more changing of gears and with the GPS, no more worries about getting lost.

It's been 12 years since I last drove. The roads have changed, and cars have gone high tech. I sit in my son-in-law's BMW and I'm confused by all the gadgets and buttons. Will I ever be confident enough to start driving again? Would I be a danger to myself and to other road-users? My uncle is 77 and he still drives, rather well too, I must add. The other day I met an 83-year old lady who proudly told me she drives herself and her husband everywhere! 

Is there a maximum age limit for drivers here? How safe are elderly drivers? At aged 70+, how good is their eyesight, their hearing? How quick are their reflexes? How fast can they react in an emergency? What about those with early signs of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's?

Are there any restrictions placed on older drivers above 75? Do they have to take a road test and a medical examination before they can renew their license? Apparently, in Malaysia, anyone with a valid driving license is free to drive for as long as he feels he is competent enough to do so. Age is not an issue. He is his own judge.

For those who have been driving practically all their lives, would they be able to survive urban living without their own wheels? Public transport is an anathema for them. They are likely to continue renewing their driving license as they move into their 80s and even 90s, never mind that they may not be fit to drive, or may be a hazard to others on the road.

Scary thought.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Would you know what to do if someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest and you happen to be there? No? Well, watch this video and learn this new hands-only CPR method that doubles a person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest. It’s easy and does not require mouth-to-mouth contact.

One of my friends applied this new CPR method and was able to revive her mother when the latter experienced a cardiac arrest recently.

So, make sure you watch the video. You never know, you may save a life with this new procedure.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Source: The Star

When it comes to records, Malaysia probably holds the world's record in terms of the biggest civil service - 1.3 million civil servants for a population of 28 million. Now we can add another record - 2.1 million RELA volunteers.

Don't be fooled by the word 'volunteers'. Every one of these corps members is paid an allowance, which the Deputy PM saw fit to raise by another RM150 recently. Allowance aside, their uniforms alone add up to a tidy sum. And that's not all. Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong says the ministry is hoping to increase this number to 2.6 million by December! OMG!!

300,000 - that's just for Selangor alone!
With numbers like these, you would expect a high level of efficiency in the civil service and low crime rate. Sadly, that's not the case. You and I know how frustrating it can be to deal with civil servants. And you and I know we don't feel safe even in our own neighbourhood. The rise in gated communities attests to this. (Click here for the roles and functions of RELA.)

I don't even want to start on the Auditor-General's Report of numerous cases of mismanagement of funds, corruption, inflated prices and reckless spending.

Nothing can justify spending RM300,000 on just one meal!
The latest government agency under investigation is Yayasan Selangor. Consider these expenses:

~ RM300,000 for a luncheon to celebrate Yayasan Selangor's 40th anniversary. (This was cancelled on the orders of the Selangor Sultan.)
~ RM170,000 for a buka puasa function
~ RM320,000 for a Hari Raya event

Civil servants sure love to eat! Especially when they don't have to pay for the lavish spread.

And I just read that PKNS (Selangor State Development Board) spent RM520,000 on astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor's wedding extravaganza last month.

Who are the people who signed on the dotted line to approve all these large sums of money? Are they to remain nameless and faceless?

I am sure all this is just the tip of the iceberg. What else is waiting to be unearthed?