Extended holiday

Things have changed (again). My company in Shanghai announced that work has been pushed back to the beginning of March. My salary is supposedly going to be paid to me as usual — we shall see. My coworkers have said that this is essentially a paid holiday, which I guess it is. The extended-ness of it is a bit crazy, though. I was supposed to fly back to Shanghai on Feb 1, and now it looks like I’ll be back in Shanghai on March 1. Maybe.

Malaysia would have been so much cheaper to wait it out in, but I am now staying with family in Northern Ireland.

Flight board showing cancelled China flights


I flew economy on Oman Airlines and it was really nice.

Voting from abroad, part 2

Bernie Sanders was my choice in 2016 and still is. My absentee ballot will be mailed to Shanghai, or probably has already arrived … but because of the coronavirus, I’m staying far, far away for a while. Until February 13, anyway. Waiting for a response on my email about printing out a ballot and mailing it from Malaysia or wherever I end up waiting out The Plague. I’m a Super Tuesday voter this time around and I will have my vote!!

Adventures in cooking Malaysian food

I’m not Muslim, but all the talk in Malaysia about param (apparently a new thing … pasar ramadan) has me hungry for all the food I used to eat there.

Here’s a snapshot of my adventures in making kuih lapis here in Korea. The only ingredients I had to special-order online was tapioca flour. I also bought a small bottle of pandan extract when I went to Malaysia earlier this year, and I used that. I don’t know if it’s possible to buy pandan extract or (frozen?) pandan leaves in Korea. Somewhere online, I’m sure.

I followed this kuih lapis recipe, including the reduction of sugar to 280 g. Tastes just right! 400 g of sugar must be a bit crazy. I think I added a 1.5 teaspoons of pandan extract.

First of all, rainbow kuih lapis! I have a food coloring set, but it only has red, blue, yellow, and green. And because my K-12 education never once mentioned color wheels, I had to pull up a photo of a color wheel online, to figure out what combination of colors to mix. Haha! Don’t worry, I’m not that helpless. I only needed it to figure out the red/blue balance of indigo and violet. It’s not easy for some of us, okay!?

And after that, I repeatedly had to recite ROY G BIV in reverse, because the first layer I poured in was V.

The rainbow kuih lapis looked great and tasted authentic, but the layers wouldn’t peel! My mother later told me that between steamings, the pot lid should be removed (while continuing to boil) for a minute or so until the layer has visibly set. Pour in next layer, cover with lid.


I had some leftovers because my pan was only a 6 inch round pan. So, I decided to use the typical Korean 떡 (tteok) rice cake colors of white, pink, and green. It actually looks quite Malaysian, too.

And I did remove the pot lid between steamings, and yes, it’s now possible to peel off the separate layers. I’m ready to open for business! (or not…)

And then I attempted chicken rendang, except that I used maybe too much turmeric (super yellow!), and I didn’t have any lengkuas or serai. I didn’t have any cili padi, so I dumped in some bottled sos cili padi – same thing, no? As for kerisik, hey, I have shredded coconut. Just pan-fry it in a dry pan until it browns, right?

After eating it, I realized I actually made a standard curry, not rendang. Haha! Don’t know why that didn’t occur to me earlier.


Was watching some footage of Manchester. You know, the Commonwealth Games and all are going on, so… lots of coverage on TV. Well…. OK. Maybe not so much coverage, but some.

I was having a very giddy moment back there. That’s the Bridgewater Hall! the kuala lumpur closing ceremony drum! I saw it. Haha I even I touched it! Wasn’t supposed to.

A very “You-are-there” moment?