Thursday, March 31, 2011


Here's a chance to win a signed copy* of Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird **

Answer these two questions:

1. Which very special person do you think the above package is for?

2. What is inside the package?

The person who answers both questions correctly will be presented with the winner of Pulitzer Prize, with over 30 million copies sold, courtesy of Grandpa.

Should there be more than one persons with the right answers will choose the winner. I have never used it before but I have seen it often used by our blogging friends. I'll figure out how if there are more than one winners.

So hurry up with your entry using  the Comment form (remember, no more hassle of Word Verification, thanks to L'Aussie).

Quiz will remain open until 4 p.m Malaysian time (we are GMT+8) Saturday April 2, 2011. I will post result as soon as possible after that, considering there are more and more durians to collect.

Good luck!

* Signed by yours truly.

** Members of Grandpa's immediate family are not eligible to take part (this means fifth cousins and closer).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Party Postponed

Denise of L'Aussie Writing asked me whether I need the 'Word Verification' for comments. Now why in the tarnation would I need that? So it has been taken off!
Enjoy the new experience of trouble-free commenting on this blog. Right here.  Right now.

I was hoping to post some photos of our first durian and BBQ party for this season. Due to unforeseen circumstances the one scheduled for March 27 has been postponed to 1st May. (Update: may be brought forward to April 23).

I have however some pics from last season's (that time using Ricia's camera as I was not blogging actively yet).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lessons from Friday Poser

Lesson 1. If you don't ask you don't get;

Lesson 2. You'll be surprised at how much you get when you ask. You'll be thrilled, thankful, and moved to tears, all at the same time at the generosity of fellow bloggers with their opinions and thoughts;

Lesson 3. You CAN get counsel from people you haven't actually met. People who meant well and are so sincere and forthcoming with their advice.

That's all good to know. Thank you.

Here's the summary of your thoughts and suggestions, in no particular order, and some further comments on them:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Poser

I have always wondered what it is like to write a post completely devoid of photographs or illustrations of any kind.

I know many fine bloggers do. They express themselves so well they don't need pictorial support. Their words speak a thousand pictures (can I actually say that?).

For me a post, or a blog without pictures is like an Englishman without a tie. Not quite complete. Englishmen I used to know anyway.

I am trying my hands now at putting down just words. I know I'll be lost, but hope you won't be.

I feel like I'm ranting when there are just words. Pictures help me save on words.

Let me use this picture-less Friday to ask you a question: Can a couple who's been married for over thirty years suddenly decide that they've had enough of each other, continue to exist under the same roof, but generally have separate lives? How practical you think that arrangement is?

Because they are not formally divorced, family ties remain largely intact.

Universal convention, my upbringing, and the melancholic in me would scream a huge 'NO' - it's a crazy, out of this world idea.

But what do YOU think? (I wish I know how to put one of those 'vote' boxes, but I'll just do the tally from your comments). Thank you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brand New Pit

Crackling ambers rise from the hot, golden fire below. The aroma of burnt skin and scales tantalizes, and tests your patience. 

They have to be properly done before you serve your guests, you remind yourself.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Good and The Bad

I left The Farm for a few days: I needed to be back in the city where the internet is faster. An excuse really, to be with my grandkids... :)

On my return, I was shocked to find my favourite durian tree had lost a limb. A huge storm must have broken out while I was away.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Project HOPE

Dear Friends,

We're all witnessing how Japan is undergoing one of the worst catastrophes in her history. An earthquake and a devastating tsunami that wiped entire villages and killed thousands, and now a series of explosions from its nuclear plants.

A group of bloggers from the writing community (Rachael Harrie, Marieke, Luna, Tessa Quin and Amanda Milner) has come out with a noble idea and  formed WRITE HOPE, aimed at mobilizing forces amongst bloggers and readers to help in whatever way we can to alleviate the sufferings of those affected by the tsunami.

More details on Rachael's blog, and a special blog set up for this purpose. Pay them a visit, learn more, and help spread the word, please. And keep a close watch on Rachael's blog for further details.

Avec vous, le Japon!

Meet NOZOMI the mascot

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Other Lucky Number

It was a morning like any other.
I was driving along the highway, on the left most lane (that would be the right most in the US and other countries that drive on the right side of the road).

I was driving casually, minding my own business, when from the rear view mirror I could see an old Nissan sedan closing in on me. I could also see that the occupants of the car - four or five of them - were excitedly jostling on their seats, waving their hands about, and pointing towards my 4 x 4.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


A lazy post this one. Something just struck me so I'm squeezing it in between my pillar posts - there'll be one 'normal' post tomorrow or in a couple of days. Promise.

Please continue reading my previous post, and as always I appreciate your comment.

I was struck by something I saw on TV 1 last night: the former Information Minister Dato' Khalid Yunus (he must be 70 years old now) was shown climbing Mount Beirut. It's easy to type the word 'climbing'. But the actual act is much much harder. You should have seen him - panting and sweating it out, sometimes falling down, then got up again, all the way up.

It set me thinking as to why people do certain things, even difficult and punishing stuff. Some even risk their life. Or why people do easy and enjoyable stuff at the expense of other more important things.

I think I know the answer now: PASSION.

It comes in many fashions: a person can row a boat across stormy waters full of sharks to get to his/her favourite island;

Another braves massive traffic jams and intense heat and travel for hours or days to get to his/her passionate destination, may be to be with his/her passionate partner;

Yet another is passionate enough to kill in the name of love. Or leave his/her family in the name of religion. Or blow himself/herself up to bits.

There is this young man whose passion is fishing. He gets up in the wee hours, ties up his boat on the top of his car, goes round to pick up his mates, then drives for hours into the wilderness to catch some fish. He comes back after two days, with or without fish, exhausted and face swollen from mosquito and insect bites. A couple of hours sleep, and he gets up and goes to work. He does this every single weekend. When his wife asks him to go and see his old and ailing father he said: "Oh, I wish I have 36 hours in a day...." The wife stops him in his track: "Don't give me that bullshit about not having enough time. Why don't you just say that you are not passionate about him".

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Guava

Lady Jennie, a frequent visitor to this blog, writes this delightful  blog called "A Lady in France". In her recent post she had this thing going about Guava:

"I remember the friend I had in my co-teacher in Taiwan whose English name was Elva. But it was really Elva-Guava because I was trying to teach the children how to make the “v” sound and so had them chant all the words I could think of with “v” in it: “seven, eleven, Elva, Guava.”  The entire school chanted “Elva Guava” when she walked in the gate each morning."

Read all about Elva Guava and Lady Jennie's other adventures here.

What has all that got to do with this post, you might ask. Well, guava happens to be one of my favourite fruits and one of the many types of fruits grown on The Farm, so I thought today I'll write a little bit about this delightful fruit.