Archive for December, 2017

Final hour of 2017

“Leave the dragon here for you. Very yummy ah you? Delicious. Like a char kuay teow.”

Friend JC visits and notices I have magnetised an extra stubborn friend home. A prayer, some incense, a bell. A cool wind. A dragon has been summoned to protect the space.

And then she is out the door with the bandidas squad for NYE.

Yesterday I was told I have the complexion of strawberry milk.

Today I was asked if I had a tan.

If only I could wear Instagram filters like a tan.

Big emotional day, to talk about our history.

She has a knack for launching into these surprise big emotional excavations at the peak of my moon, when everything pierces the heart.

I said I should do a map, locations marked with reverse pin drops, as tears to show the many places she has left me in tears — added up over the years. Our journey through my constant weeping, and I’ll frame it all in a moon. I said this through the curtain of tears I was producing — one more point for the map.

She says she wishes she could laugh at things the way I do. But I can only laugh at the things I cry about, and I’ve cried over us…enough. I have grieved, endured, survived. Enough to laugh about a map of all the tears.

So much about us was so sayang in retrospect. So unnecessarily fraught. I hope 2018 is kind to us.

I’m going into 2018 with a clearer idea of my self, and my fragilities. Slowly developing confidence in my resilience, and I’ve learned from being ill now that can be a weakness if applied with the wrong intentions.

I’m also going into it with new job opportunities. I’ve been signed on to one of my favourite festivals, and I look forward to it.

Also leading more projects! Whew.

My blog used to be for my friends. Now it’s for me. Note to self for the next article.

Had a meeting to discuss an upcoming project. I was ten minutes late but right on time, we arrived as a squad. I’ll be writing policy. JK has offered her help. All hands on deck, and with my fingers crossed.

Slightly muted and distracted during the meeting, because heart was punched right before.

Had dinner with Annie, who was back from Melbourne, and JK. At my usual sweet and sour pork place.

Talked about Annie’s adulting classes, with separate modules for training men to be fully functioning adults, and training women to assign end-to-end labour to their male partners.

She says her victory will be when her biopic is released, and her character is played by a brown person.

Have two couchsurfers at home. Macarena and Akira. Grey is very taken with Macarena, who has a slight Amy Winehousey feel. Usually she is so attracted to men, I’m surprised she’s not all over Akira.

If time and budget allows, I’ll be headed to Taiwan in 2018. I feel trepidation over my language, and lack of plans.

Lesbian haj

Went to ikea and gazed longingly at their new oven-safe dishes. These things are dangerous the way blank notebooks are — just a canvas for me to fantasise about my future creations. Very affordable though.

We lost Jac somewhere in the lamps and bulbs section and she panicked. Smh 🤦🏻‍♂️ who gets lost in IKEA?

I wanted to buy cheese puffs and Jac talked me out of it but then Juana goaded me and now I want to fill my pantry with just cheese puffs.

Maybe my secret superpower is telling identical twins apart. I bumped into Arv in IKEA and recognised him immediately.

I’ve been offered an opportunity to visit Taiwan next month. I’m kinda excited.

  • Jac: Why, you speak Mandarin.
  • Me: Any Mandarin I speak is translated from Cantonese
  • Jac: Best time to learn, immersion.

Yah yah, but she speaks like, what, 4 Chinese languages?😐

And is a living confidence machine😐.

Yas: Has your Chinese improved after the symposium?

Me: I think I became a new banana. I was mistaken about my place in the hierarchy of banananess, I don’t know any Mandarin after all.

Got the inside of my ankle tattooed at a charity event. It’s a flash tattoo of several bunga raya in a triangle. I had hoped to go by tattoo artist, but the selection available was anonymous. My last two tattoos I had carefully selected the artist, but I also don’t want to make it a habit to be too precious about my tattoos, and to be able to have some fun with my selection too.

I was worried the triangle wouldn’t be upright — I told the tattoo artist it would drive me nuts if it ended up senget. The artist looked me in the eye and confidently said “Don’t worry, I’m very particular about my lines.”

Upon inspection, that didn’t translate to his work (in fact, one whole line is missing from the tattoo). I don’t know if he measured himself incorrectly, or if it was because he smudged the art when transferring it to my skin. Still, it remains within my expectations of a frivolous flash tattoo.

My leg hurts much more than I thought it would. The other ankle definitely didn’t hurt like this, it could affect my walking. Well, I’ll find out when I walk Jabber tomorrow.

I have a new tattoo, yeay! I already have my next two artists lined up for commissioned pieces. Looks like most of my tatts draw from nature, except for the tribal dragon tattoo. Maybe I should just cover myself in flowers.

For now, I’ve peeled away the wrap, washed off the plasma, and moisturised the skin. I’d forgotten the steps, it was nice to be able to discover them anew.

Also….I’m already eyeing a new flash tattoo now. Stop it Lainie. No. Stop it Lainie. Maybe. Stop it Lainie. No.

So fascinated by this tale of the Falun Gong and a dance company.

The most successful double date with two people je. The usual dinner and wandering. Saw a rooftop garden, which makes me imagine what my own space would be like. I would want fruit trees. And an ecosystem that would help sustain birds. I think most rooves would collapse under the weight of my ambition — I would only need to water the plants as a catalyst.

I’d want a cobblestone path that is somehow also easy and safe to walk on. I’m so annoyed by the people who littered in the rooftop garden. Why are ppl like this.

Star Wars The Last Jedi was practically a public service announcement against toxic masculinity.

Went to a cinema where the chairs move like motion master. Was pleased my lower back held up to this and a stumble in the day in Sentul.

Sleepy. 80% not sleeping because worried I’ll wake up with a blanket fused to my tattoo.

Corpse rice

Murder, sarcophagic conspiracy, family mystery.

I have parents. There is a dead body in the house discovered. They have dug a hole in the garden for it.

There is rice from the garden hole that was next to supplies next to the dead body, to disguise the function of the hole. The rice is in a jar now. Some of the edges are blackened and I’m not sure if they’re burnt or from exposure to the corpse.

We are back in the house. I am not there but I can see everything. I am an adult woman. An aunt. The man offers me grapes. The children will be home soon (from abroad) he says. He is doing carpentry. Asks the lady colleague/me to help pin down the long strip of wood he’s working on — the tool normally used for it was worn out in the last festival and he has the wood balanced on it. She/I hold the wood down, make conversation. He talks about ponying up some funds to buy tickets for the show. He hints that his children who are abroad will be back soon and performing. I grin. Oh that’s my turn to pony up. Yes. I am a white woman in farming/horse riding clothes, brown leather britches. I concede.

I see a bunch of grapes hanging , partially obscured by a calendar, outside the fridge. I realise someone else has been eating them. I realise to my horror the children have been hidden from view in the house all along. Caring for them must have been a nightmare. They have to be kept quiet and children inevitably fight, at that age. My brother doesn’t like green grapes, but this one is a purple bunch with some greens at the edges — those are the ones that have been removed. The children must be the ones snacking on them. This will reveal us. They cannot realise we are french by blood! The children will have to pretend they didn’t manage to pick up any foreign language (French?) in this supposed boarding school, the lie is too flimsy to hold. At best they look stupid. He freaks out. I cannot expose them, he cries. Murder is at stake here, the body is still in the garden.

The body has been exhumed from the garden. I helped carry the dead weight in with him. I hold the bloated arm — the body has been soaked in water and is heavy. The body is separated into cardboard boxes by him. Packed back with different things. Some are to be reburied, better disguised. Others sent to separate bins.

One day, the rice is given to me in a jar. If hands like a bunch of grapes in there, touching some of the sides, doesn’t fill the jar the way rice should. The rice bothers me.

We go to a restaurant. It’s level is lower than the car level.

I stare at my jar with the blackened rice wondering how I will eat it. Corpse rice.

Birds, giant birds, are in the underground tunnel. L-shaped hole. They tunnel down and then a bit sideways, to nest away from sight. This woman patted the side of their solid bodies and left them alone.

A small part of me realises I don’t have to eat the rice, but it doesn’t occur to me to not keep it. This small part isn’t really voiced.

I am in a house party. This man is going to be my partner, and he has a son. Maybe he teaches, or has that demeanour. He lives in a house on wheels, it is neat, spacious, but populated. Many books. Light grey-blue carpet. I ask him if this is his house or his transport. I get the impression from the answer he has a landed property as well, but this trailer has become the main accommodation.

The ex housemate is there. I think about it. I talk to her. She has two bindis, small on plaster-sized transparent wide stickers (complete with rounded corners), which she has put on both right corners of her eyes — so one lies on the outside, and one on the inside of her other eye, touching against the bridge of her nose. It’s distracting and makes it difficult to speak with her. Talking to her startled her, but she recovers. I ask her about her current place, she feigns. How many months has she lived there now, one? Oh, five? Oh I’ve moved out for that long? It is an insincere and guarded conversation, with a forced levity. She has been in a few movies since, which she downplays. She’s been in how many now, one? Five?

Reading about de-cold war, and de-cold-ware, and wondering if the chilly metaphor was forced just so that pun could exist.

My god. Daryl is a father now.

Epicuro in Uptown has closed down and I am reminded once again that I loathe changes I don’t have time to prepare for.For the past few years Epicuro has been my sole dinner destination when I visit Jac and then I’m too lazy to go home and cook after.

Since I was already here, I tried to tell myself to give the new restaurant a chance, but it was difficult because I knew exactly which pasta dish and drink I wanted, and suddenly I was having Indian food instead.

I am a creature of habit and I don’t enjoy having my habits challenged.

RIP Conchiglie with spinach cream.

It’s been on my bucket list to write about my encounter with sexist lawyers, and now I’ve been offered pay to do it. 😄

Talking about someone we know who is an ex-gay.

“I don’t really understand how it can actually just turn on and off”

Me neither, babes. I think he’s in pain, that it’s a sign when both our instincts say so. As I get older, I better understand that I can’t fix every problem I see, and not everyone wants fixing.

Chinese Oats Porridge Recipe

I fucking love porridge. When I searched for porridge recipes and saw my results contaminated with recipes for oat porridges, I always had this judgey suspicion it was because white people dominate recipes on the internet, and white people don’t understand the delicious comfort of white rice.

It never crossed my mind that I in turn didn’t understand the delicious comforting potential of oat porridge until recently. Btw, I can’t even confidently distinguish rolled oats porridge from homecooked white rice porridge.

DP9gBwgUMAEHguB.jpg-large

First of all, oat porridge comes out super smooth. Like a proper Cantonese-style porridge. Look at the consistency of that porridge — flat out smooooooth. The grains are all meltedddddd.

My oats porridge recipe is good for 1 portion, because I use a small 1-person rice cooker. Good thing too, if I cooked this in batches, I would eat them all.

This recipe is more an approach, a four-part system (base porridge, stock, toppings + seasoning) I use to produce many different oat porridges. You can easily adapt it.

Oats Porridge (1 portion)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • ~3 cups or 600ml of water. Basically, 1:9 ratio of oats to water, doesn’t have to be exact.
  • Stock ingredients of your choice (to flavour the porridge)
  • Toppings (to eat with the porridge)
  • Seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Put oats, water, and stock ingredients in rice cooker.
  2. Cook as you usually would rice or porridge in the cooker. Hit the button, walk away.
  3. Oats cook faster than rice porridge, so you can scoop it out as long as it’s melted to the consistency you like, and everything is cooked.
    I prefer to let it cook all the way, because I want more flavours from the stock ingredients in the porridge.
  4. Add toppings and seasoning

If you are using a small pot and the water level is close to the edge, occasionally let some steam out — or, when it gets to a rolling boil, I just take the lid off and let it reduce.

It's not pretty, but it's tasty

Tasty  pumpkin oats porridge — I took it off the cooker 15 mins early, so it’s not as melted, but the mouthfeel was the same as smooth porridge

Stock ingredients (optional):
Stock ingredients are what I use to flavour the porridge, by cooking them alongside the rolled oats and water. I dice most items finely (except for the mushrooms) to help them cook faster.

My default stock: slices of dried shiitake mushrooms (I buy them pre-sliced), and 3 small dried oysters, diced.

Alternatives I have used:

  • 1 TBSP organic white miso (yum)
  • leftover roast chicken (yum)
  • chicken bones
  • dried scallops
  • spinach (kinda turned brown on me, so I prefer to use as toppings now)
  • pumpkin cubes (I love this, it melts into a golden porridge — make sure you cut them small)
  • tom yam paste
  • ikan bilis stock (powder)
  • chicken soup stock (powder)

Basically, anything you can use to make soup, you can chuck in there to make porridge.

You can also use ingredients typically used in Cantonese porridges/congee, eg: pork ribs. I mostly use my default stock of mushrooms and oysters, and add on any leftovers or food I feel will go well with it. To be honest, if you get your stock flavours right, and enough water for the oats to melt into the right consistency, it doesn’t matter much what your toppings are. It’s already delicious.

Toppings:

These are toppings I have used, mostly based on convenience, whatever I like, and whatever is available.

I will usually dice the pickled lettuce more finely — I must have been feeling lazy

The difference between topping and stock ingredients is that toppings don’t hold up as well to long cooking periods. So chunky veg becomes stock ingredient (carrots, pumpkin), and leafy veg become toppings.

This is what I usually have (all diced):

  • Leaves of green leafy veg — I tend to always have spinach leaves or rocket on hand, sometimes I just shred them by hand and drop into freshly cooked porridge
  • A big handful of coriander
  • Chinese pickled lettuce
  • century egg + salted egg (1/4 each, refrigerate the rest)

Alternatives I have used:

  • crumbled Tempeh fried with a lot of diced French beans
  • roast chicken
  • canned foods (braised peanuts)
  • luncheon meat
  • tuhau serunding
  • fried button mushrooms
  • thinly sliced ginger
  • leftovers

Something like roast chicken can be used as either topping or stock ingredient (or both!), so you can choose. Maybe see which side has fewer ingredients, and use the chicken there.

Seasoning:

I only season at the end. Dried oysters are kinda savoury, so I don’t usually need much. Taste before adding:

  • White pepper
  • Few drops of sesame oil
  • Small dash of soy sauce

Notes:

Calories: If you’re counting calories, take note that oats contain more calories than white rice. Past the calories though, oats are nutritionally very useful and great for keeping cholesterol levels healthy, which is why I started this.

Measurement: If you plan to eat oats regularly, get measuring spoons to help you scoop out the correct portion (1/2 cup and 1/3 cup will be the ones you use most frequently). It’s harder to gauge quantity of oats correctly compared to, say, shaking cereal out of a box.

Choice of oats:

i. Instant oats if you only have a kettle in your kitchen
ii. Quick-cook oats if you only have kettle and microwave in kitchen
iii. Rolled oats if you can actually cook stovetop or in rice cooker.

General rule of thumb is the more whole the oats, the more flavourful they are, so rolled oats > quick cook oats > instant oats.

Oats tastiness does not interfere with porridge tastiness. I know at this point you might be thinking of brown rice porridge, and how much you prefer white rice porridge. Fear not! Rolled oats porridge with good stock tastes like white rice porridge with good stock. I hope this very important point helps.

In all examples, the oats are plain oats. Don’t buy those instant oats drinks that come with sugar, chocolate, strawberries or whatever.

No kitchen: You can still make instant oats porridge. Instant oats + hot water gives you a base porridge. You can use miso (if you have a fridge) or stock powder (bonito, chicken, ikan bilis, mushroom etc) to flavour it.

Add pickled veg or tinned foods as toppings (I use pickled lettuce and tinned braised peanuts). Then season as needed.

If you grow parsley or buy green things in small amounts, you can add them to the porridge while it’s still very hot. Dice them ahead if possible.

You’ll have to estimate the amount of water needed as you pour. Keep in mind oats thicken as they cool.

No milk: Milk is unnecessary in all versions. The key is to use enough water so the oats can melt into the creamy consistency.

Dried goods: I use dried shiitake mushroom slices and dried seafood (oysters/scallops). You should ideally rinse before using. I leave the thin mushroom slices alone, but I dice the seafood into smaller chunks so it will cook and soften in a short period of time. You can also pre-soak the oats with the dried goods ahead of cooking, and then cook it in the same water when ready.

I use these because they are flavourful, are overall affordable, and last forever in the fridge/pantry, so it’s more convenient than keeping a supply of fresh ingredients. You should figure out your default easy-to-maintain combo too. Miso is a pretty good alternative.

Teochew: If anyone is gonna make Teochew style porridge with oats, please share the results.

Lastly, let me save you some time. There are no other recipes on this blog, I am not a food blogger, and I have no useful information on this blog until I finally get around to writing my tour guide post to my hometown, Ipoh.

Good luck with your porridge, and please let me know how it goes in the comments, or on Twitter if you make it (esp if you try different ingredients!) 🙂 @lainie

🍷🍷🍷🍷

I was likened to Rolly, my poor ego.

打是情罵是愛 / Mahu tapi malu

it’s a 👉🏻 Taming of the Shrew.

If all things go well, I’ll have a new tattoo this Sunday.

Low key feeling quite excited about this. Maybe am in the mood for frivolity with permanent consequences.

The key to happiness is to not have relationship problems with anyone you’re not in a relationship with.

Salma Hayek’s revelations of Weinstein’s constant assault is deeply affecting me. Just the environment of deep oppression, and the violence that culminated in a scene so beloved in my queer community, one that involves an icon also much claimed and beloved in the community. The violence that is visible is always just a drop in the ocean.

I almost feel like I’m in mourning. I am glad I am detaching more and more from the products of Hollywood.