Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taking Stock

2008 will be coming to an end in a few hours.

While the passing of the year would probably be apathetic for me, I I can't help but feel a strong sense of achievement in reflecting the past year.

For one, I had many 'firsts' in 2008 as far as outdoor activities are concerned. I've managed to take part and complete two Penang Hill hiking competitions, the half marathon in the Penang Bridge Run, Starwalk, and not to mention my adventures in Mulu and Bario.

Secondly, 2008 is also the year that I took an active role in exercising political/citizen responsibility. I enjoyed the political rallies that I attended. But most important of all (and probably the most embarrassing as well), I voted for the first time! And without any regret on the outcome. Ha ha ha...

Re-doing the furniture setting in my apartment is also something that I'm very happy with. It feels much cozier now. All the trouble and hassle in lugging the furniture shelves, chairs and table from IKEA was worth the effort.

2008 also marked the start of a private endeavour that I've embarked on. 'Private' because it is something that I'd like to keep a low profile on. While it is sucking a lot of my time and is quite a heavy financial burden, I'm actually enjoying it (at least most of the time). But on the other hand, I can't wait for it to be over and done with either. Contradictory? Maybe.... :)

One more thing that I'm happy and grateful for is getting back in touch with a bunch of old friends both from school and uni (thanks primarily to Facebook), and also in making new friends over the year.

So, what's next for 2009?

While it is not a new year resolution, here's a list of items that I hope to accomplish in the coming year...

1) Keep up with the outdoor activities, and to pick up mountain biking.

2) Make good progress in my 'private endeavour' :)

3) To put more effort and start the activities rolling on my house.

4) Upgrade my photography skills and get some more serious gears.

5) Continue to embark on more adventures (maybe to finally make my trip to Cambodia???)

6) Sustain and improve my physical, mental, emotional, social and career health. (Seems like a very weighty sentence, right???)

7) And... to continue updating this blog!

Wish me luck!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Under The Big Tree

During the long Christmas weekend while I was back in Ipoh, I had lunch at a place Ipoh folks call 'Tai Shu Kiok' - literally meaning 'at the feet of big trees'. The name is quite apt, as the tables were set out within a grove of shady trees.

I had not been there for quite a while, and was surprised at the changes there. For one, a hawker centre has suddenly sprung up next to it. Although it was doing relatively good business as well, it does not seem to have affected the original shop as it was just as crowded.

Secondly, plastic 'canvas' canopies now cover the entire area under the trees. While it is probably good for practical reasons, i miss the time when it was all open air. I miss the 'torpedoes' of falling leaves and twigs everytime the wind blows.

Anyways, most importantly the food has not changed. I could still have my laksa bee hoon (yes, bee hoon) there. Ipoh remains the only place i've found that i could have laksa with bee hoon, (just the way i like it). I don't fancy the thicker noodles that normally accompanies laksa dishes.

Plus the large variety of 'stuffed snacks' or 'liu' as we call it in cantonese is just marvelous. Add to the fact that everything is freshly fried at the stall itself, the entire lunch was just amazingly mouth watering and very much satisfying. I guess that is why the place is so popular. I was there at about 2pm, and the place was still packed with the lunch crowd...

This remains as one of my favourite makan places of all times. Compared to this, I just can't understand what the fuss about 'Ampang Yong Tau Foo' is all about...

Delicious stuff just waiting to be fried...

Yummy Stuff...

The lunch crowd...