Belgium, Flashbacks, Human Nature, Malaysia

Stand Up

One of my favourite Flemish columnists wrote about a bus ride he took not too long ago. Aside from the usual rants about smart phones, headphones and how distanced we are towards each other; he wrote about not giving up his seat for an older woman who seemed to be his mother’s age. He stayed seated and looked away instead, out of fear that he might offend the woman with his action. And maybe embarrassing himself? Maar allez…

I only know of a public bus system when I went to upper secondary school in Kota Kinabalu. The buses were often packed with young people going to school or work. I do not recall having to, or seeing anyone giving up their seats for anyone else, simply because such occasions did not occur during my time there.

Many years ago in Kortrijk, I was accompanying a pregnant friend to the hospital. When an old lady boarded the full bus, I stood up and gestured her to my seat. The woman sat down without much ado, as I continued talking to my friend. For someone who thinks too much, most of the time, that instance was not it. It was a no-brainer, no big deal, just a miniscule act of decency.

Business & Being Creative, Flashbacks, Numbers, Travels

Fifty Two

My bank in Malaysia has a product called Golden Savers Savings Account. The advertisement goes: Embrace your later years with confidence. Created for senior citizens, retirees and early retirement. For individuals aged 50 and above only.

In Malaysia, I am in the same category as senior citizens. Well, I guess when retirement age is 55 and most of the population do not get to see their 60s, people in their 50s are considered old.

Then there is the US, where the gap between rich and poor is so drastic it is beyond words. The current taxation system tends to sabotage the economy rather than helping it. If things do not change, most working Americans today will probably not get to enjoy their social security when they retire. In this case, they are in the same boat as I. I have a build up of thousands of dollars which I probably do not have the right to receive when I reach the US retirement age of 65. Knowing this however, does not make me regret leaving and crossing the ocean…

My experiences and encounters of living in three countries in the past five decades, allow me to have very different opinions regarding education, work, life, identity, retirement, health, death and what really counts as a good life.

What makes us happy is answered by an article I read not too long ago. But that is another story. Another blog post for another time. 😉

Time to try out the moelleux.

Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber, Numbers

Not Frozen

A week ago, temperature was below zero for days. When I checked on the endive roots which I stored in the garden shed, they looked frozen. To make sure whether these are still okay, I squeezed four roots into the pot of existing growing endives in the utility room, and crossed my fingers! I checked today and there are new growth. So phew… not frozen, not ruined. Today, I planted one extra pot of about ten roots and hope that I will be harvesting beautiful endives in two weeks time.

This afternoon, D and I ran some pre-Christmas errands. We went to buy chocolates, renew a library book, visited the Christmas Market in Kortrijk (was too early), and bought some groceries for the days ahead.

We did our year-end Asian Market groceries yesterday. 🙂

Flashbacks, Human Nature

Shiny Facades

This Saturday afternoon, I watched a documentary about the migrant workers in Qatar.

Viewers were shown cramped sleeping quarters without working air-conditioning units, filthy toilets, and very basic and dirty kitchens. The interviewed, mostly security personnel (odd…), complained about their work, the living conditions, and their unpaid salaries.

I personally have seen worst conditions at Chinese factories and Malaysian construction sites. Dirty toilets, filthy kitchens and cockroaches; things that are kind of expected when large group of men are separated from their families (mothers, wives) and are crowded together in tight spaces.

There were no obvious mention of migrant workers’ deaths throughout the documentary. No mention of work-related injuries and accidents. I do not recall any interviews of construction workers. And what about the family members back home?

Yes, the work and living conditions of the migrant workers are horrible, unbearable to most Westerners. It irks me that the documentary did not reveal the truly insidious and deadly inhuman practices behind the rich, shiny, glorious facades.

Flashbacks, Food & Drinks, Jibber Jabber, Numbers

Jam & Soy Sauce

In 2019, I made jam from the abundance of plums and peaches. Three years later, the majority of those jams are still in storage, plus the ones I made in 2020! Jams are not getting consumed fast enough in this household.

Recently, I experimented with a combination of jam and soy sauce, and used that to marinade a rack of ribs. This turned out to be very good. Even though I am not such a huge meat eater, this jam and soy sauce marinade offers an alternative way for me to consume the home-made jams…

Flashbacks, Human Nature, Movies, Books & TV Shows, Numbers

Airport Purchase

Someone was interested in the book ‘The No Asshole Rule’, which I placed on the second-hand website almost two years ago. The person wanted to buy it for half the price I asked. D rolled the ball back to the potential buyer, negotiating for 80% of the asking price, plus sending cost. It was a no go.

There was really no loss on neither side. Potential buyer did not want the book enough to pay for what I asked, and I did not need to part with the book that desperately…

I bought the book at SFO, after a business trip to China. Do not make a book worm wait at an airport for hours, for no good reasons.

Flashbacks, Human Nature, Jibber Jabber

All Souls

Today I think of my grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, Catherine, Tony, Kris, Carlos, Shelly and so many more.

My true identity is not formed by how many diplomas I hold, how much money I have in my bank accounts, and definitely not by labelling myself with those boring conventional titles that modern society has conjured up.

I am my parents’ first born child. The granddaughter of a wonderful popo. Nothing can take that away. Nothing.

Flashbacks, Food & Drinks, Numbers, Simplify

Old Bread, Pumpkin & Remembering Grandma

This morning, I dealt with the old breads that I got from the in-laws. Some I freeze. Some I cut up and fried into croutons. The rest I cut up to be used for making strata.

I also found the time to cut up the one and only pumpkin (2Kg) I harvested from my vegetable patch. I will use the pumpkin chunks as ingredient in soups, strata, and a variety of dishes.

Seven years ago today, grandma passed away. I still miss her, but feel grateful that I have known her well in my life.