Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thanks, Uncle Chua

SOMETIMES in life you meet people you can't find faults with. They're not perfect but in their own ways, they're just very nice souls who don't bitch or bite, or show any vibe of negativity towards others around them. I was fortunate to have known a person like that in Chua Kok Hwa, a press photographer and friend who passed on Oct 10. 

Photos by Sam Tham 

Chua was 20 years my senior. He was one of two photographers assigned to Metro section of The Star when I first joined the company. I guess that made Chua a lot more special to us in Metro as we got to know him better. A man of few words but those few words were always witty, sound and sincere. He also came with a ready smile. 

As a young reporter, working with Chua was fun, easy and educational as he understood our stories and styles well and translated them into pictures that spoke just more than a thousand words. Those who've worked with him closely would also know that he had no excuses for demands and requests from writers and some almost impossible editors. What I admire most about Chua is that he never let the glamour of the job get to him; he remained humble, a trait that many media members fail to retain over the years. 

I have countless memories of Chua, whom some of us fondly referred to as Uncle Chua over the years. One that stands out is when he took me out for Char Siew on Tengkat Tung Shin when he learned of my crazy love for Chinese BBQ pork. He was very likeable like that. We had a thing for Chinese hawker food so we connected on that platform early on. 

My regret is that I never visited Chua the last time I was in Kuala Lumpur. Time was an issue during that short trip although I had wanted to see him. That doesn't count now, does it. Chua suffered from nose cancer for a few years. He'd been really sick in the recent months and his demise was expected. Too soon to go at 55 but thanks for everything, Uncle Chua. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

That Pink Piece

EVERY person who has ever looked at it must have seen it as nothing more than an expensive piece of a loud costume. The kind that has been oddly placed at a clothing department for the rich and boring. The kind you'd pick out just to kill time at the fitting room but never buy. The kind that you'd not purchase even if it is on a 70% discount.

I suppose I never saw it that way. After almost 15 months of openly lusting over it during my numerous mall visits, I was ecstatic when it finally went on sale mid last year. Seventy percent off and no one had gone for it. It sat exactly where it had been over the months amidst the sale-induced chaos. Surely it was meant for me then, that pink piece.

Pink and black

Some say it's obscenely pink. Too pink, or magenta or fushcia. Well, it is pink with black lace contrasting at the hem, neckline and shoulders. The dress sure has a quirky appeal. A matching black, satin sash at the waistline and it even has a little train like the garish pink and black combination isn't dramatic enough. But you know, I wouldn't have bought it if not for the train. There's a playful madness about it - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style with bold elegance of the Victorian fashion spilled over. It's something Helena Bonham Carter would wear to the Oscars if it isn't pink.

Really, it's a dark dress that comes off as too bright if you think about it. I've been loving it since I first laid eyes on it. But here's the thing. It is a costume after all. 
 I've even seen poorly made, raggedy versions of it at costume rentals. Unless the party theme suggests lots of pink and black in queer, I can't think of enveloping myself in it without grabbing attention I can't handle. I'm quite a reserved person despite what my Instagram account may suggest :p

Halloween isn't big here ( both in Malaysia and Qatar) but Oct 31st may be a good time to put on the pink dress. Perfect with accessories. Like a black hat and a pair of black satin gloves to the elbow. I could be anything from a witch to a vampire or a new fantasy being or simply some one from Charlie's chocolate factory. Well, I'm okay with anything that doesn't require me to have rundown make-up, fake blood or bad hair. I cannot imagine myself being a dead bride or geisha (although technically a vamp is dead). 

I'd be happy to rock a Halloween party in my pink costume and a Cosmo in one hand if I go for one later this month! I think the idea of a pink getup can be Halloween-worthy scary too (if being scary is the point). 

*post inspired by Mama Kat's : Favourite Halloween Costume 

Mama’s Losin’ It

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blueberry Frozen Yoghurt

I love a good frozen yoghurt especially one that's blended with fresh fruits like those served at Yogen Fruz. A scoop of your favourite fruit is crushed and blended with plain yoghurt. For me, it has to be the blueberry or cherry mix. Topped with just a bit of runny chocolate sauce, a small tub of the FroYo is bliss. Fruity, tangy and sweet all at the same time!

Well, I can't be running to the store every time I crave for one of those. So I compared a few recipes, tweaked and made something I like even better using blueberries. Love this recipe for its creamy fruitiness. The lemon just adds more zing to it and the colour of the final product is simply gorgeous. 

Blueberry Frozen Yoghurt 

You will need ...

450g low fat vanilla yoghurt ( or you can use plain yoghurt with a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
170g fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries 
2 -3 tbsp honey or maple syrup ( I prefer honey)
Zest of a lemon and juice of half (or more if you like)
Pinch of salt 

Mix blueberries, lemon juice and zest along with honey into a small sauce pan. Cook on medium heat while stirring for five to 10 mins as it comes to boil. 

Transfer the mixture into a wire mesh strainer and puree into a stainless steel bowl. *Put aside the pulp. 

Chill the puree by sticking it into the freezer. Give it a stir every five minutes. 

Once chilled, bring out the bowl and stir in the yoghurt and salt. Mix well, cover it with a foil and stick back into the freezer. Give it a stir after an hour and another stir an hour later. Continue to freeze for a few more hours till it is able to hold shape when you scoop. Alternately, you can use an ice-cream maker. 

*You can sprinkle some of the pulp on the frozen yoghurt when serving. I like a bit of this lemon-infused fibre as topping. Just make sure to keep it moist.