Posts from the “People” Category

L’arme de larmy

N: I get a fan club

N: Lainie gets an army

Y: pls make military patches of this immediately

We were meant to plan dinner, but my former colleagues changed it into a call to arms amongst themselves to form Lainie’s Army — Larmy.

I flatly rejected it then because it made me feel awkward and weird. But then some other friends declared they were joining it too and I guess now it’s a thing and I’ve had time to adjust and now I have an army.

I already see how this could come in useful. We were talking about a sexist man and

P: Throw his carcass to the Larmy

Seven recruits today, seven million in a few tweets.


Handling my friend’s Zoloft pills

  • Me: This looks deleeecious
  • Friend: *grabs* No no no no this won’t get you high
  • Me: Areyusure howyuno
  • Friend: Yes.
  • Me: GDI.
  • Friend: It’s my Xanax pills you want
  • Me: 😀
  • Friend: Also no.
  • Me: 😔

I mean, it’s unethical to rob friends of their medication, right?

Chicken chop burger, Beef avocado burger

A few days ago, in conjunction with IWD, I celebrated my womanhood by having a burger festival. Burger for lunch, burger for dinner, in the company of friends.

Over dinner, my friend Nina started a story, and because she is Malaysian, she included the food she was eating into the general description of events, even though it had no bearing whatsoever on the story.

  • Nina: So I was eating this nasi lemak…
  • Lainie: Wait. Was the nasi lemak delicious?
  • Nina: Yeah! It was delicious.
  • Lainie: Sorry. I just interrupted your story to check if the food you were eating when it happened was delicious. Am I being Malaysian?
  • Nina: Yes, and like a good Malaysian, I responded.

Was it a sandwich? A nasi lemak? I don’t rightly recall. What was the rest of the conversation about? I don’t remember the details not because I’m a Malaysian, but because I’m a bad friend. Even the moments of self-awareness, where I stop myself to wonder why I have to know the quality of this non-essential food, are rare.

But I do remember that we talked about food, because that is a crucial part of being Malaysian.

Then we talked about how it’s so strange to learn that people from other countries don’t talk about food all the time. Like, isn’t it natural to discuss over lunch what you will have for dinner? Or to discuss over dinner where our next dinner will be? To eat food we like, and to talk about both our meal and other foods we like? And if the food is far away, how we will travel together and be rewarded at the destination?

By the way, I love the chicken chop burger in Gasing 123 cafe on Jalan Gasing.

Upon Hearing The News Celebration Tea

I made a brief FB announcement that I would be retrenched from work come Nov 30. The news spread faster and wider than I thought it would.

  • Juana: We have end of Kakiseni celebration tea
    Me: I still have a month to go kot
    Juana: Upon hearing the news celebration tea.

At our “Upon Hearing The News Celebration Tea”

  • Me: When I’m done with work, I’m going to treat myself to one indulgence: either I’ll buy a WordPress theme thing to customise for my blog, or I’ll buy a lot of avocados and have guacamole.
  • Juana: No to the avocado, you’re getting the WordPress thing.
  • (Of course my so-serious friend will pick the WordPress thing)
  • Me: Or maybe, now’s the time to start my dildo carving business
  • Juana: I am not the friend you have this conversation with.

We had some pretty good satay and half boiled eggs with toast and drinks. Talked about a range of things, including 5-year plans (which she quickly changed to 2-years, probably because she guessed the non-existence of the former). It was a good thing to consider. I had met Jac for lunch earlier and she’d asked me what was next.

To combine my answers to both: I want to work in an environment where I meet fewer people compared to my current job (I easily hit double digits in a week). I prefer small teams, and working with women/feminists. I want to learn new skills while flexing current ones. I prefer to manage myself, and have flexi hours. Positive social impact, please. I don’t want to be exhausted. I could do with one main client and a few freelance options. I would enjoy working on good festivals, and learning from them.

One of the things I learnt from Jac + Juana: I don’t sell my accomplishments or skills much. Even with all my faffing around online, I’ve rarely mentioned to people beyond colleagues (and even then) what my contributions are. I think I’ll have a lot more to put into my CV than I had thought of. And as Jac said, when I don’t claim credit for my work, I leave behind a vacuum to be inhabited by others. Minimally, I’ll have founded/co-founded the ASEAN Puppetry Exchange, ASEAN Puppetry Conference, and The Other Festival under Kakiseni. I don’t know if the programmes will continue without money being gifted for it.

I’m quite curious oh what’ll go into my cv when I have time to start on it.

Currently listening: The best of Mozart

Lainie’s Suanie’s Lance’s Clam Chowder

My mom’s late friend, Uncle Philip Chang*, ran a restaurant in Ipoh called Beacon Point, which we frequented regularly.

I loved the little bowls of cream veg soups Uncle Philip served in his place. One day, he told me cream of any vegetable soup is easy to make — “The secret is butter.” Come to think of it, he may have said the same about quite a few things. Uncle Philip loved butter.

Uncle Philip briefly described the basic cream soup:

Cube the veg, fry in butter, add broth/water to cover the veg, boil, blend, add some dairy, season.

I didn’t make use of it until many years later, but his advice was so basic and easy to remember, I could still follow it when I finally started cooking. It’s the standard recipe I return to every time I make a veg soup to clear out the pantry.

Recently, my friend Suanie posted up a recipe for clam chowder that looked pretty kick-ass. I love clam chowder, and there’s a lot of either crappy or expensive clam chowder out there. Also, maybe it’s time I learn beyond the one ABC soup and one generic cream veg soup recipe that I can produce.

I’m no good at following recipes, and I also bastardised Suanie’s recipe from the get-go. I didn’t want to use bacon (blasphemy! Cina fail!) or beef stock — because most of my dinner groups don’t take pork or beef. I also used frozen seafood cause canned clams are a bitch to hunt down, and I gave up.

I think I did okay for my first go, although I’ll aim to tinker with the cooking time. I belatedly realised Suanie’s clam chowder had similarities with Uncle Philip’s soup recipe, with three key differences:

  1. It uses olive oil instead of butter
  2.  1 hour of boiling away on the stove just to reduce the liquids (wine, 2 tins of evaporated milk, broth).
  3. I’m also not used to cooking milk for as long as I did here, I usually just add it in at the end. Seeing white soup boil is very alarming and strange for me.

I think for my next round I’m looking for a compromise between Suanie’s recipe and Uncle Philip’s. I think my first clue should have been when her recipe said not to bother trying it if you didn’t have a blender. The same could be said about my veg soups — I don’t have the patience to build the broth over a small flame, blending removes that need somewhat.

I’ll sweeten with additional leeks/carrots, thicken with more potatoes (and cube in an extra one at the end, before adding the milk/or boil it first before adding to it), and use more veg overall. I may add some smoked duck breast for the fat, salt and smokey flavour.I also think I’ll begin with far less liquids, add just enough seafood juices and broth to cover, and use much less dairy to top up. Maybe a dash of wine with the broth (not a whole bottle). Mostly, I have to think of how to add body to the flavour since I’m not using beef broth or bacon, and I’m not willing to increase my time in the kitchen. The less time I spend in the kitchen, the less chances I have of creating a disaster.

Anyway, my first attempt was quite pleasing. The housemate likes it too. I had the soup with buttered toast, and the butter carried the flavour quite well, which I take as a sign that in future clam chowders I should go with Uncle Philip’s recipe, and cook the veg in butter.

If you’re looking to do a clam chowder, definitely give Suanie’s recipe a try.

*Uncle Philip is technically my granduncle on the family tree somehow, but for most of my childhood, I had no idea about it. So it's Uncle Philip, friend of my parents, very dear to my mother. Rest in peace, Uncle Philip.

I told Jac the most offensively boring story of how much I like only one type of grape, out of all the grapes in the world. And now she’s eating that grape.

It’s a pretty shitty way to treat a friend who’s told me at least two epic stories, about a vampire feminist and an artist she met, but I would still love to tell Jac (and all my friends, while they’re still friends) more boring stories.

I love how flat and uninspiring and nothing it is to talk about my approval for one type of grape. I am willing to expand this to other mundane topics.


Urut parlour in Rennie’s

Happiness is seeing my friends so happy on their day of marriage.

[ Kinda wondering if I seldom see this because so many of my friends cannot legally marry in Malaysia. ]

Sharing songs with the housemate. Johhny Cash, Nick Cave. And then I asked “Have you heard Lucero before?’

And then I pick my favourite tune.

She listens for ten seconds.

She points out Lucero sounds like Harry Monster in Sesame Street.

Torch song ruined forever.


So, Donna Tartt is kinda awesome. And clearly eccentric. But in a beautiful way.