Belgium, Malaysia, Numbers

Strange Sums

About three weeks ago, I put in a request for an administrative service by a legal office. First, I was informally given a probable sum, which I found agreeable. Then, I received a quotation for the service, more than double the initially stated fee. What, why?! This prompted me to pause the process, put a hold on the request, while I explore other possibilities. A week later, today, I received an email of an amended quotation. The cost for the service has dropped back down to the sum quoted to me the first time. What the heck?!

Meanwhile, lesson of the day on the Belgian front: It is more costly to defame the wrong people, than to knowingly torture and accidentally kill another human being.

Belgium, Malaysia

Name Corrected

Yesterday, I delivered the legalized letter from the Malaysian Embassy to a staff at the city hall.

Today, the same city hall employee called to tell me that my name has been corrected in the system. I may now start the process of acquiring a new identity card, drivers license and so on.

What a relief that a part of this lengthy process is over. Good grief…

Flashbacks, Human Nature, Malaysia, Numbers


When I was in my mid-twenties working in my mother’s life insurance agencies, many people thought that I was a teenager. A friend of my aunt thought I was seventeen when I was a twenty-five year old university graduate. 😛

Going through your twenties and thirties with a face that was a decade younger has its pros and cons…

One of the disadvantages of looking way younger than one’s real age, was not being taken seriously by certain people. Although, with the right twists and strategies, my youthful looks was used to my advantage. Many did not see a ‘calculating strategist’ when they looked upon my damn innocent face. Ha!

Most people my age would love to be able to turn back time. They envy the youth and wish to be frozen in a certain younger period of their lives. Not me. I do not envy the youth, nor do I want to turn back time. I have travelled on interesting and unique paths in my teens, twenties, thirties, and forties; to reach my fifties. I am content to be at this point in my life. Life has been good to me.

All the best to those who still need to catch up. 😉

Flashbacks, Malaysia, Numbers, Wealth & Creativity

The Happiest Two!

The following photo shows a two-year-old me. A happy toddler and her humongous home-made birthday cake! My mom baked this creation without any measuring equipments, she literally hacked her way to this using empty tin cans.

Fifty one years ago today, I got a gigantic home-hacked butter cake with runny icing, and two large regular candles balanced precariously on top. I do not remember this day, but I am pretty sure I was the happiest girl at that moment. 😀

Wonder what happened to that cute birthday card? Looks familiar. Like I have it somewhere, tucked amongst my many possessions…

Belgium, Malaysia, Numbers, Wealth & Creativity


Yesterday, I emailed the city hall with enquiries. I will probably not hear back from them anytime soon and need to follow up on the matter next week. Administration stuck in quicksand. *sigh*

This morning, I received a forwarded email from my mother regarding one of the properties in Malaysia. *sigh*

But first thing first. I need to live the here and now…

At noon, D and I got on our bicycles and cycled to a restaurant nearby to celebrate his father’s belated birthday lunch. The four of us enjoyed our food and then continued the get-together at our home with coffee. That was my afternoon in short.

In the evening, I contacted my mother and we discussed what to do with the paperwork concerning the Malaysian property.

My brain is (and has been for decades) partitioned into different time-zones, continents, and administrative styles.

Flashbacks, Malaysia, Simplify

Laam Zam & See Hum

This morning, I completed a sewing project which I took on a few weeks ago. My objective was to turn the torn guest room comforter into a bolster (laam zam in Cantonese). I do not have need for a laam zam, nor any sort of pillows, with the exception of my baby pillow; but it sure was satisfying to be able to re-purpose an old item and turned it into something new, with the use of a sewing machine and some planning… 🙂

This evening, I have cockles (see hum in Cantonese) for dinner. According to Wikipedia, this bivalve is eaten all over the world. I was mildly amused that Wikipedia mentioned cockles in its Cantonese name but not in Mandarin. Maybe it is more of a Southern Chinese thing? I remember the older generation boiling and consuming cockles (blood cockles) as late evening snacks, but never saw it as a dish at the dinner table. My last memories of see hum before this evening’s dinner was of my college years in West Malaysia. Roaming the streets of Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur and Pulau Pinang with friends, in search of the best Char kway teow.

Malaysia, Wealth & Creativity


My parents are now registered onto an online platform, which will allow for remote management of their life insurance policies. Technology. Advancement. More work for the customer, and a definite reduction of human interactions and services. This is the future of things and no one can escape from it…

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.

Malaysia, Wealth & Creativity

In Order…

How does one take care of matters that is across oceans and continents? How does one make sure things are in order in a different time zone and will remain so?

For me, the best way is to dedicate a few hours a week to look into these matters. Keep the communication lines open with trusted contacts in the other time zones.

One step at a time, one thing at a time. Before you know it, a property is sold, your life insurance is paid, the money is transferred, your dormant post box revived, and so on and so forth.