Family


Last Sunday, we went to Federation Square to visit our feathered friends.  A week before, we went there with my cousin, Cheryl who was on a 10-days trip in Melbourne.  Iris had a great time then, and she sacrificed two yummy croissants to the birds. Sensing that the experience was not adequate, we made a pack to go there again, just the two of us.  Daddy didn’t go cycling that day, and he didn’t come as well as he had a split headache. Poor daddy!

We took a train from Oak Park train station and stopped to purchase a loaf of bread at Coles, Melbourne Central. Although a dear friend suggested to purchase the bread at Coles adjacent to Flinders Street Station (which is just across Federation Square), we purposely hopped off the train at Melbourne Central as I thought Iris would appreciate a tram ride from Melbourne Central to Federation Square.  Well, the tram didn’t arrive, apparently due to some sort of disruptions.  We waited for about 10 minutes when I saw on the display that almost every tram line that runs along Swanston Street was interrupted that day.  So we walked…..  And that girl is a good walker, as steady as a horse, though occasional complaints came from her about the distance and more questions asking ‘are we there yet?’  Mama responded, ‘just in front, do you the traffic light? After the traffic light, ok?’  Twice.  Later that day, she said to me, ‘lucky I wore my NB shoes, mom. They are good for walking!’  Couldn’t agree more, pumpkin, couldn’t agree more! 

As we approached Federation Square, I got the reason for the tram service disruptions.  There was a rally taking place at Federation Square; the center of the square was packed with people protesting the budget cut imposed by the current government and in fact, it was organized all over Australia involving about 10,000 protesters. Well, what was I thinking when I saw the crowd?  At first I hesitated as I fear that people can be violent during rallies.  Alcohol and rallies do not mix well, and yes, I assumed that people may get drunk in such events.  I was proven wrong when it was indeed a peaceful protest.  The event was attended by families and many brought young children with them.  The police were everywhere and they were observing, and not to extent to obstruct the rally.  By the time I decided to proceed to the Yarra riverbank, Iris announced that she lost her Myki card.  Alamak.… Well, it is another story to tell.  Here’s some images from the rally.

The rally taking place on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at Federation Square, Melbourne, to protest the budget cut made by the Abbot government

The rally taking place on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at Federation Square, Melbourne, to protest the budget cut made by the Abbot government

Despite the ‘challenges’ to get to the venue, we had a great time seeing the different kinds of birds.  What I really like about the place is that it is clean and we don’t have to fear about stepping onto birds’ poo.  One loaf of bread was too much for us so we offered some to a nice lady who was equally attracted to the spectator.  She reciprocated with two pieces of chewing gums.  It was a good trade, and it feels good to share with others, though they are strangers.  The images below concludes our ‘meeting’ for the day. See the black swans? They are the alpha-birds; a honk from them scare the other birds away but they are nice and gentle with us.  At first I was weary of the ‘overwhelming’ responses from the birds.  In fact, they could be aggressive to each other but not to homo-sapiens that offer food to them.  The couple of lovey-dovey swans are sweet, eh? Oh ya, before the snapshot, they chased away one swan (probably male) who was tagging them. Ini kes tiang lampu kot…

Image

Until the next entry, sayonara minna san! 

Hello again everyone!  It’s been slightly over a year since my last post and it is a shame that those reminders for update I purposely placed in several entries were ignored by the very person who inserted them at the first place. Haiya!

To cut the long story short and to avoid the increasing incidence of broken promises, let’s just go straight to the topic, shall we?  Good, let’s proceed with the entry then…

Last Sunday (May 11th, 2014), the long anticipated VMPGA Family Day 2014 finally took place.  After so much efforts being put in and perhaps 1000 messages on Whatsapp, the team finally saw it through and I am proud to say that it was pretty good.  Honest!  The event went as scheduled, the formalities was kept to the minimum and most importantly the kids and parents had tonnes of fun.  I personally appreciate the event because it gave me opportunities to catch up with other friends.  Indeed, it has been a long time since we had such gathering and credits should be extended to the committee and this year’s host, South Eastern Family Community (SEFC)  for securing a great venue for the event (despite the many hiccups they had to endure) and we are extremely proud with the amount of commitment showered by participating kampungs. They are but not limited to Kampung Victoria North Melbourne (KVNM), Desa Bundoora (DB), SEFC and the Malaysian community in Geelong.

This year, we had to keep the event short as the hall was booked for 5 hours. The beautiful venue is owned by the Bosnian community, equipped with a moderate sized hall complete with cooking area and washrooms. The hall itself is adjacent to a large football field and has a partially covered area at one side which is superb for barbecue.  It has ample parking space, which worked beautifully to cater our needs for the event. I reckon about 40 – 50 families have turned up for the event and none of them were deprived of parking spots. All in all, I give 8 out of 10 stars for the venue.  🙂

Anyway, moving on to the program itself.  The real star of the day were the kids as they had too much fun playing!  During the opening ceremony, they get to participate in a coloring contest and all participants received their share of prizes for the contest, including Iris.  The telematch games were mostly catered for the children’s interest while parents had one game each for mom and dad.  The organizer came up with interesting names for the games that none of us could guess how they were played: Vodafone, Tangan Emas, Kaki Emas and Saya Sayang Papa dan Mama. Who would guess that Vodafone involves 6 children passing water balloons, or Kaki Emas required fathers to become sepak raga stars?  And shouldn’t Tangan Emas be Mulut Emas as moms were put on the spot to say the name of vegetables lah, fish lah, car lah, states in Australia lah and other tasks that required us ladies to use our brain power! Hahahahaha.  With that sorted, I have to say Aman did a great job as the MC of the day. I reckon the smooth running and great timing of the events was attributed to his efficiency and the participants’ quick responses to the needs of the different games.

The celebrated heroes of the day - them kids!

The stars of the day – them kids!

I didn’t stay until the end as I promised to meet up with a cousin who had just arrived from Kuala Lumpur.  Iris and I took a ride in Dr Rahaman’s car to Chadstone Shopping Mall (it is huge!!) and from there we caught a bus to ferry us to Holmesglen train station.  Holmesglen station is about 30 minutes from Flinders Street station and boy, we ran like mad to catch the train! Iris enjoyed it and I kinda liked it too.  Well, you don’t get to run like mad to catch the train with your 6 year old daughter every day, right?

The photo collage that accompany this entry is my FIRST collage using an app called ‘Photo Collage’ recommended by Nadiah. With collages, I can still upload the amount of images that I want to share, without having to stretch my data plan should I upload them individually.  See, you learn new things every day. 🙂  Until the next entry, have a a great day ahead!

Last Saturday, we decided to accept Dr Rahaman’s invitation to go to a festival dedicated to Malaysian culture and delicacies.  From what I remembered, the event was jointly hosted by the Federation Square, Australian Multicultural Foundation, Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia and some other sponsoring partners.  Anticipating that it is going to be difficult to locate a car park at the CBD, we decided to park the car in front of my department at Bouverie Street, where we caught a tram at Stop #3.  The journey ended at Melbourne Central as a small segment of Swanston Street was blocked (didn’t check for the reason behind it) and we had to walk nearly one km to Federation Square which located across Flinders Street Station.

The festival was OK – there were performances and about 12 stalls were located at the terrace of Yarra River.  The delicacies ranged from sweet to savory and spicy varieties, priced between $5.00 – $12.00 per set.  Din purchased a packet of nasi lemak and a satay set (consists of 4 satay, cucumber and nasi himpit) for a total of $20.00 – mahalnya!!  Crazy expensive!  I purchased a packet of pasembur for only $5.00 which I was quite happy with – because there were sections of a big prawn embedded in the fritters.  I should have gone to get my second and third helping, hoh?  Iris finished a piece of roti canai, much to my surprise as she is a picky eater.   Maybe she was hungry as well and I was glad that I got it for her whe she requested it (oftentimes, her requests are not genuine – she wants something because the color is nice and the presentation is good but if she doesn’t like the taste, the item is all yours).  She liked the roti canai much that she decided to save a small portion “to be eaten at home”.  OK, that is the message for mummy to start learning how to make home made roti canai, and I am planning to start this weekend.  Let’s see how my girl likes it.

Take care y’all!

 

Demo101: Cara-cara makan roti canai :)

Demo101: Cara-cara makan roti canai 🙂  See that small portion in the last picture? She wanted to tapau it for home. 

What I know before we arrived in Melbourne is that it is a multicultural city.  According to a Victorian government website (http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au) dedicated to document the profile of the city, there are approximately 140 nations residing side by side in Melbourne – with a significant proportion of Asian population.  The heart of the Asian community is always boils down to its food.  It is suffice to say that, if there is only one cultural heritage allowed to be brought into a foreign country, it has to be food.  Hence, explains the establishment of Asian continental stores around Melbourne, right from the CBD to the suburbs.

The largest Asian store often highlighted in this city is Laguna, located in QV Shopping Center.  It has a good variety of Asian delicacies, from dry to wet to frozen items.   If you happen to crave for roti canai (and refuse to spend a good $10.00 or so for a dish of roti canai at Pappa Rich), go to Laguna and try to locate them at the frozen section.  If you needed bunga kantan to garnish your pot of Penang Laksa, go to Laguna – chances is you might find some there when the other continental stores fail you.  I don’t really frequent Laguna because it is out of my daily route.  The only reason I frequent Laguna is when I am in dire need to replenish my stock of Maggi chili sauce, and normally I will buy 3 in a go (there is discount when you buy more).

Closer to home in Glenroy, there are two Asian stores that we patron quite frequently; conveniently labelled as “Kedai Asia Has” and “Kedai Asia Din”   – based on who found which.  Both are different in the way that who manage them.  My kedai Asia is managed by a Vietnamese couple and Din’s kedai Asia is owned by a Chinese lady from China.

Note to self: insert images of the two stores.

We have specific items that we buy from each store; frozen squids and Malaysian produced fish balls (and fish cakes) from the my kedai Asia. For Chinese herbs, eggs, canned food and dry stocks (black mushroom, ikan bilis, noodles, spices) from Din’s kedai Asia.  While the Chinese store offers good varieties of spices and food that we normally use in our kitchen, another reason why I love frequenting this store is because I can converse in Mandarin with the owner.  Not that I will get discounts on my purchase, but I like the sense of familiarity (at least in the language) that reminds me of the kind of home I grew up in.  I supposed my upbringing which inclines further to the maternal side justifies this.  Well, let’s have a look at the Asian ingredients that we have at home:

Spot the not. :-)  That bottle of kicap Kipas Udang is always a lifesaver!

Spot the not. 🙂 That bottle of kicap Kipas Udang is always a lifesaver!

Chili sauce, belacan, cili boh, sesame seed oil, and additional two different types of kicap amongst the other ingredients really complete our home.

Chili sauce, belacan, cili boh, sesame seed oil, and additional two different types of kicap amongst the other ingredients; really complete our home.

Not everything “Asian” that we consume comes from  the store.  For fresh items that we normally use e.g. lemongrass, daun kesum, mint leaves (no Gina, I will never ever replace them with toothpaste!), coriander, spring onion (daun bawang) and parsley (daun sup), we prefer to cultivate them and as of the date of this entry, they are doing well in our backyard – except for the coriander as the cat loves to land on them!  In Iris’ words – that cheeky cat!

A limited view of our backyard.

A limited view of our backyard.

The cheeky girl and the cheeky cat.

The cheeky girl and the cheeky cat.

Sprouting coriander - patiently cared by Din.

Sprouting coriander – patiently cared by Din.

Mint leaves aka the crude "toothpaste" left by the previous tenant. Thank you!!

Mint leaves aka the crude “toothpaste” left by the previous tenant. Thank you!!

Our lemongrass - it is hard to grow them in Melbourne's crazy weather.

Our lemongrass – it is hard to grow them in Melbourne’s crazy weather.

Rosemary - courtesy of Nuruzzaman.

Rosemary – courtesy of Nuruzzaman.

Vietnamese mint leaves better known as daun kesum in our culture - courtesy of Rodzy (Azami). Din always says, "daun kesum yang panjang amal..."

Vietnamese mint leaves better known as daun kesum in our culture – courtesy of Rodzy (Azami). Din always relates them as: “daun kesum yang panjang amal…”

The discourses of home suggests that home is not entirely about the physical appearance of the house – it is a combination of the elements that make us comfortable in that space; the household and interaction between them.  As food is an important element that binds us together, we won’t create our home out of something that we are not familiar with.

Moving to a different country doesn’t mean that we adopt an entirely new culture and abandon ours.   We are bound to bring some part of the culture with us and whatever lacking, is compensated and improvised with what the destination country has to offer.  As newcomers, we often try to make the best out of this new environment to sustain the norms and beliefs that shape us.  From the way I see it, the presence of Asian continental stores enables the notion, and therefore making an Asian home in this angmo region is not as challenging as we presumed, as long as we know where to look.

We normally have birds coming over for breakfast and lunch and every meals in between - depending on the food available.

We normally have birds coming over for breakfast and lunch and every meals in between – depending on the food available.

The house is packaged with a "pusak bulu panjang" - I'd never imagine that we'll have this breed as an unofficial pet. Oh ya, she very annoying, most of the time and a very picky eater!

The house is packaged with a “pusak bulu panjang” – I’d never imagine that we’ll have this breed as an unofficial pet. Oh ya, she is very annoying most of the time and a very picky eater! She has killed three birds thus far… Not out of hunger.

We have nice smelling lavender in front of the house. It is not much, but their presence enhances our sense of home and our daughter loves them.  So are the bees.

We have nice smelling lavender in front of the house. It is not much, but their presence enhances our sense of home and our daughter loves them. So are the bees.

The front common area is spacious enough for father-daughter activities.

The front common area is spacious enough for father-daughter activities.

Public transport is just a short stroll away...

Public transport is just a short stroll away…

This is the home where a father and daughter develop their more significant bonding - prior to our move to Melbourne, they only meet on weekends.

This is the home where a father and daughter develop their more significant bonding – prior to our move to Melbourne, they only meet on weekends.

This is where I head for to "recharge" after a long day at uni.

This is where I head for to “recharge” after a long day at uni.

(This is a very much delayed post.  Took place when Iris was 1 year+)

My aunt flew in to Kuching mid of last month to attend a course at Hotel Grand Continental.  We agreed to meet up Monday evening after work and Freda joined us for the meeting.  We started the ride at 4pm.  Traffic was OK except for the long queue at Simpang Tiga, otherwise we could have reached the destination 15 minutes earlier.  Along the way, Iris was sometimes behaved very well, several occasions not and more frequently squirming and wanted to come to my side of the wheel.  Thank God Freda guarded her well.

In the hotel, she was excited with her first experience going into a lift.  I can’t remember my aunt’s room but our supposedly short visit didn’t end there.  4yi insisted of going to Parkson and later to McD for Dinner.  I could imagine the hassle of bringing Iris to those places but then again it may be good to let her experience night outings.

To cut the story short, Iris was running around in Parkson, sat on the floor, touched the mannequin and was extra friendly with the pak guard.  Freda was always on her tail, holding on to her hood.  Both of them reminds me of Boo and that blue hairy creature in “Monsters Inc”.

With 4yi-po at Parkson, Kuching.

With her very young Auntie Freda.

At McD, all the adults washed their hands but none of them remembered to wash the baby’s hands.  It was already too late because the little stomached her first chicken nugget quickly (apparently she was starving).  Crap!  I bet she swallowed all the germs and bacteria together with the yummy nugget.   Thank god she didn’t experience anything unpleasant after that.

Moral of the story: Adults too, make mistakes and tend to be very forgetful when they are short of carbs and sugar.  Hence, bring hand sanitizer at all time!  My fav brand is Protex.   The product smells nice and gentle to the skin.

Source: http://www.catchoftheday.com.au