No More Broiler-Vs-Broiler

While tidying up my store room, I uncovered this 2-decade old kitchen appliance that we have not used for a long long time.  It has become a monumental testimony of my wife’s happy hours in many episodes of culinary Broiler-vs-Broiler drama in the kitchen.

The machine is a table-top broiler, which we used to broil chicken (aka ‘broilers’) for dinner.  It is a pretty amazing piece of machine, though quite simple in concept.

Those were the days. However, now, as age catch up with us, we find  it too tedious to do the broiling, and troublesome to clear up the oily aftermath.   Moreover, as the Empty Nest syndrome sets in, the incentive to get embroiled with cooking diminishes rapidly.

If we want roast chicken, simple — just head to the supermarket, grab one from over the counter and start biting.


My First Gold Heist

Disclaimer: I did not take part in that golden moment of history – only remember that it was the first time a goldsmith shop in Penang was attacked by robbers armed with pistols.

Penang folks probably recognise this shop, Nam Loong, as one of the earliest jewellers in the gold belt, aka Campbell Street.  One day, while I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, I heard that armed robbers went in and smashed up the glass showcases before scooping off almost all the gold jewellery in there.  Several shots were fired.

From thence on, all the goldsmith shops in Penang had to build steel cages inside their glass showcases, in order to greatly hinder the picking up of the prized pieces in the event of another hold-up.  Am not sure if this is still practised.

Food And Shelter Provided

Wow !  Sounds like an irresistible deal, right?

Decades ago, we lived in a village wooden house, which had a roof made from pieces of attap leaves that had been previously “stitched’ together. These were strapped into place by skilled workers, and they withstood rain and sunshine for at least 5 years between changes.

But we never saw the plant – the Nipah Palm – from which the attap leaves were harvested.  Perhaps we never thought of looking for them.

These palms bear a kind of fruit with a multi-ridged pointed roundish shape.  We used to buy them from petty traders at the marketplace.  Once split open, the inside of the fruit yielded a smooth translucent ellipsoidal kernel which we called  “attap chee” in Hokkien (‘seed of atap’). Yummy !

These days both fruit and and leaves are getting scarce.

I Was A LUNA Kid

As a kid, I loved to draw and thus, as soon as I was able to tell blue from black, I was given colour pencils to to further develop my skills as a blooming artist.

My favourite brand was LUNA by Staedtler. If I remember correctly, LUNA was available in 3 kits :-

  • a Basic Pack with 12-colour, 4-inch pencils
  • an Extended Pack with 12-colour, 7-inch pencils,
  • a Premium Pack with 24-colour, 7-inch pencils.

I never saw the Premium Pack in real life.  However, I think I went through at least 3 sets of the Basic Pack – initially losing a number of individual pencils to the voracious appetites of pencil sharpeners.  (The best way to sharpen them was to use a razor blade).

The photo shows the livery of the packaging of the 1960s/70s.

By Hooke, Not By Crook

Clearing out my store room recently, I came face-to-face with an old “friend”.  It was that 50 kg capacity spring-activated weighing machine, that I acquired in 1997 when I started my 3rd business venture.

For those techie-minded folks, yes, it operated on Hooke’s Law; these types however, have been steadily replaced by electronically-operated ones over the years.

Nothing spectacular, but this machine brings back many memories of past follies and glories in my forays into business.  Many lessons weighed in, as I recall that doing business was not as simple and straight forward as applying engineering principles. 

Many times, it had to be either by Hook or by Crook to get a deal —  that went against my grain and so, finally I decided to get back to Bolts and Nuts,….and…,Springs.

Trails Of Two Kebaya’s

In 1972, the inevitable happened: the joint flag-carrier, MSA split into two distinct national airlines, leaving each free to mark the skies with trails and contrails of its own, wherever and however it desired.

They parted but then somehow each arrived at the same conclusion on the choice of uniforms for their female crew.  Yes, kebayas and kebayas.  One cannot deny the simple noble elegance and graceful feminine aura these exude.

SIA’s more daring design by Pierre Balmain is already 46 years old (as of 2018).   The slightly more conservative MAS design currently in use was introduced only in 1986, supposedly by the creative minds at the School of Fashion, MARA Universtity of Technology. Nevertheless, it also stood the test of 32 years.

The two kebayas have flown apart from each other, but the common heritage background is unmistakeable.

Enamelled Enamour Or Enamoured Enamel ?

Whichever way you call it, these fashionable utensils of the first 7 or 8 decades of the previous century are getting less popular by the day. 

They were favoured for their relative light weight, though the base material was ordinary steel sheetmetal.  The enamel coating imparted a decent degree of resistance to wear, and corrosion. And it came in all sorts of colours, and often with flowery decorations too.

However, the coating was vulnerable to knocks, which caused chipping, leaving ugly spots and patches,  which led to corrosion.  After prolonged use, the insides of the utensils could get stained too.

The photo shows 3 of the 5 or so pieces that are still left in my home,   Over the years, we had discarded at least 6 other items, in favour of stainless steel or porcelain or glass ones.