Monthly Archives: December 2018

If Yan Can Cook, So Can I

If there was any one person who has made light work out of a Wok, he was Martin Yan – whose “Yan Can Cook” series made its debut many years ago. 

His contagious, affable chatter in heavy Hongkong-accented English  — while his hands performed the deft cutting, chopping and stirring work — deeply endeared him to his audience.

The climax of each show was undoubtedly that rhythmic “chop-chop-chop-chop…..chop-chop-chop-chop…” rapid-fire slicing action on the chopping board, which always drew a huge applause from his audience.

He is something of an inspiration for me, each time I have to cook a meal.  Cooking is not something I am good at nor love to do. So, to survive each session, I would subconsciously provoke myself – if Yan Can Cook, So Can I”

Don’t ask me for recipes – I just follow my feelings

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Look Ma, No Props !

In 1962, Malayan Airways inaugurated their Silver Kris jet service with a single De Havilland Comet 4, leased from BOAC. 

Renamed Malaysian Airways in December 1963, it expanded the jet services by propping them up (pun intended) with two more BOAC jets.  By September 1965, it had purchased a total of 5 Comets from the British company.   These jetliners, each powered by 4 “Ghost” turbojet engines, cruised at 800km per hour and well above 30,000 feet — much faster and higher than what propellor-driven planes could do.

For financially well-endowed folks who were not afraid of heights, and had a need for speed,  a new label was conferred upon them – the jetsetters !  

Malaysian Airways morphed into MSA (Malaysia-Singapore Airlines) in 1966, with the Comet fleet serving regional routes in South East Asia.  The entire fleet was retired in late 1969, and replaced by newer ones, viz., the Boeing 737 and 707.

A Chop Off The Whole Log

Hope am not putting my head on the chopping block by travestying the old saying. **

In the old days, every home used a round wooden chopping “board” that was made from a cross-cut section of a good-size log.  Thickness varied from about 1” to 3”, depending on the diameter of the board.

On these boards, we cut everything in the kitchen, from vegetables to meat. One could deliver heavy blows with a chopper or cleaver, to cut through thick animal bones that were laid on the them – no problem.

These “old school” style chopping blocks (as I call them) are still much favoured by professional butchers in markets, as they are tough and hardy.

But for home use, they are getting scarce – replaced mostly by those made from plastics, or from pieces of wood, laminated together.

** “a chip off the old block”

Honey, They Shrunk The Connectors

Opening up my cache of computer cables that I have hoarded, I was awed by the miniaturization process that had taken place over the last 4 decades.   Not quite dramatic as per the 1989 movie where the kids got shrunk, but still it was amazing.

When I first joined the rat race in 1979, all PCs were desktop and printers were dot matrix – connected via a Centronics (printer end) and a DSUB25 connector (PC end).

These also had a set of 9-pin RS232 connector each.  The serial data transfer via these 9-pin ones was supposedly much slower than the 8-bit parallel mode of the former two.

Then in the late 1990s, the USB was introduced, with very substantial shrinkage in connector size.  Thereafter, came the mini-USB connector, and then the micro-USB connector.  All these may vanish altogether one day.

Terminal Recall

This photo was probably a scene from the early 60s, after the Pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim was opened in 1959.  Oh, so peaceful and serene, as compared to today’s bedlam.

I was barely 10 years old then.  But I can still remember the 5 beautiful ferries that plied between this terminal and the one on the Island.

Four main bus companies made their “bases” there – they were the UTC, the Central Province Wellesley, the Sam Lian Omnibus, and one other which plied between Baling/Kulim and Butterworth.

The voices of those ‘bus ushers’ with umbrellas, hollering “Bukit Mertajam, Parit Buntar, Nibong Tebal, Kuala Muda, Kepala Batas, Titi Timbol, Padang Serai, Alor Star, Sungai Petani” etc., still ring in my ears.

Oh yea, we had Mercedes-Benz  taxis parked nearby too. And the sea waters came almost right to the bus/car park.