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Archive for June, 2013

A day before my baby son turned 100 days old and to mark the milestone, his babysitter told me to get ready a piece of chicken meat, a piece of pork and a piece of fish fillet, all cooked of course.

“Bring these food over and I’ll do the necessary for him,” she told me, a first time mother and a very naive one too.

The next day, she smeared his mouth with each piece of meat which I had cooked and put together in a plate.

“Today, you’re 100 days old and ready to eat solid food. Don’t be a picky eater, okay? Eat everything given to you – chicken, pork and fish. That way, you’ll grow up to be a big healthy boy,” she told my wide-eyed baby wriggling in her arms.

The same was done for his little sister when she was 100 days old.

I guess this must be some grandma trick to get children to eat meat. As children, we were given meat to eat as soon as our first tooth popped up.

Like my children, I grew up eating meat.

In those days, chicken, pork and fish were considered luxury food and when we have them once in a blue moon, we were so grateful that we did not bother to stop for a moment to think whether these are the right food for us. What is important is to have our empty stomachs filled up.

Now it is different. Now I am beginning to question the food that we put into our mouths.

I still remember as a teenager, I followed Mom to the Pasar Besar Ipoh one day and we stopped at the pork section. There, at her regular stall facing Foong Seong Building, I saw a slaughtered pig as big as the size of an adult human with its stomach slit open and drops of blood were dripping from the opening down to the floor that was covered with used newspaper.

On the table nearby was a tray of the pig’s offal which were to be sold separately. I saw another tray of coagulated pig blood as well. This gory sight made me almost fainted. I ran down the steps to a nearby drain and vomited. There and then, I made up my mind never to touch pork again.

Many years later when we moved to live in a housing estate away from town, we got someone slaughtering and selling chickens in the market as a neighbor. Each morning, he would slaughter hundreds of chicken before transporting them to the market. After four o’clock in the morning, it would be impossible to sleep on with all the crying from the animals permeating the air. The cries were so pitiful they will linger on in our mind long after the sun came out.

As years went by, it slowly dawned on me that we should not eat so much meat. Why should these poor animals have to endure pain and death to satisfy our palate? Don’t we have other food to eat besides meat?

Today, I am making a very conscious choice of reducing our family’s meat intake. I explained to my children why we should eat less meat from now on. Animals got killed because there were demands for their meat. If we reduce our demand, then there will be less supply and less killing.

Luckily for me, both my children were animal lovers and they have no qualms in giving up their meat intake. Instead of taking drastic steps like eliminating meat totally from their meals, what I did was to reduce them gradually. It’s been a month now but we managed beautifully.

Yes, we are taking baby steps towards total elimination and they are such joyful steps……..

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Antares with lovely Bonzo
🙂

Dear Ipohgal,

I’ve been meaning to email you after reading your stories from 188 Hugh Low Street, but posting this on your timeline is probably better – since it also serves as a public endorsement! You know I love stories – and storytellers – and your writing reminds me so much of my Aunt M.Y.’s – how could i not enjoy every single chapter?

I was touched by your ability to conjure minute details and your frank approach to what some folks might regard as embarrassing subjects. Your language comes across as sincere and unpretentious.

What gives your stories special appeal is that you write from the heart – your compassion & empathy shine through every retrieved memory & makes them come alive in the reader’s imagination. As documentation your book deserves national recognition, as it vividly captures images of an era long gone.

My heartiest congratulations, Frances. Your ancestors must indeed be glowing with pride & joy! ♥

Antares, from Magick River

Thank you, Farouk Gulsara of RIFLE RANGE BOY!

Thank you, Larry Ng!

Thank you, my teacher, Mrs. Wong Yew Choong!

Thank you, Dr Anthony Pun!

Thank you, Ian Anderson!

Thank you, Gerry Robert!

188 Hugh Low Street

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What unforgettable memories we created on 04 June 2013.

We’ll be back to Magick River!

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KL-KKB

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Yesterday, my family and I went to Antares’ sanctuary at Kampong Pertak near Kuala Kubu Baru for a day trip to the countryside. We left home at 10 o’clock in the morning and reached Kuala Kubu Baru around 12 noon.

Antares was at the Kuala Kubu Baru Commuter Station to meet and drove us up to his place called “Magick River” which is a settlement for the Temuan people. On the way along a winding road, we passed by and got down to have a closer view of the brea

thtaking dam and man-made lake at Sungai Luit. It was a very huge dam but unfortunately, according to my friend, many wild-life and indigenous people have to make way for this project.

After lunch on his windy patio, Antares, his beautiful wife Anoora and young son Ahau took us to the stream further down from their house to have fun in the cool and crystal clear water. It was such a beautiful place that took our breath away. Although the water was rather cold and the stones slippery, we have a good time playing there.

I sat on a spot where the current is so strong it is like sitting on a natural massage chair. The water gushing towards my back and neck took all my tiredness away, leaving me feeling so fresh and happy.

What made us laugh was to see how Antares’ dogs and cat coming along to play in the water. At Magick River, dogs and cats were such good friends. They got along so well, there is hardly any animosity between these felines and canines. Antares was such a great animal lover and he would talk to them as if they were his kids. Bonzo and Freckles are dogs while Bartholomew, Shambala, Khatijah and Kali were cats.

Marcus had a good time snapping away at the beautiful butterflies and dragonflies. He simply loves those big butterflies that came in black and green color. Antares said their name is Rajah Brooke. Unfortunately he could not capture their photos because these butterflies refused to sit still!  🙂

We were joined by Antares’ friends – Melissa, Myriam and Soon. We played in the water for almost four hours until the dark clouds looms over our heads. As we walked back it began to drizzle. After an hour or two of chatting and singing, we all went to Kuala Kubu Baru town for dinner before catching our train home at 8.30. We reached home at 10 p.m.

It was indeed a day well-spent in the countryside, so far away from the maddening crowd and the noisy traffic of busy Kuala Lumpur. It was good for our bodies and souls.

Thank you, Antares, if you’re reading this. Thank you for your hospitality and love. You’re right – we might be related in our previous lives! That’s why we could feel this affinity for each other. I think it has something to do with our Karma!

We’ll be back to Magick River!

To learn more about Antares and his work, google “Antares” or “Magick River” and you will

be amazed by this wonderful entity.

What unforgettable memories we created on 04 June 2013!

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