Category Archives: Mama Matters

母爱

I woke up at around 4 am this morning and remember feeling angry.

I must be dreaming.

I remember I was shouting 母爱! 母爱!

Yesterday I sent away another of my mother’s belonging. Her sewing machine.

 

 

 

Frankly, I have never seen my mother used it. But she told me she saved money to get this for herself and made really nice dresses.

I had vivid memories that my mom was a good sewer. When I needed her to alter my school uniform to shorten my skirt, she hand sewn the hems with beautiful flawless stitches.

I also remember her sitting in a corner of our living room chit chatting with my father while she hand sewn her own dress. I was probably only 5 or 6 then and wondering what took her so long to finish sewing that dress?? But when I saw her put on that dress, I understood why. She showed me how intricate the sewing was. It was probably more like embroidery.

But I never see her use the sewing machine.

So, my brother texted me that he is going through the umpteen times to clear the house of my mother’s stuff. This time is a sewing machine.  And asked if I want it or know of anyone who wants it. I found someone who loves it and arranged for pick up.

And there, we sent off another of my mom’s possession.

I don’t know if the dream was in any way related to my mom and the sewing machine. But I suspect more.

I was shouting at my ‘Ang’.

Kimchi Cucumber

It took me practically 1 month to trace down that Korean chilli powder!

I went to Sol market but the staff told me all their outlets are out. The chilli powder price went up 200% as I was told and their boss is trying to replace with another brand of chilli powder. So, one fine day, while I was walking back from my office to the URA carpark, I dawned onto me that there is a Korean wholesale shop just beside my office building! Its Tanjong Pagar! The epicentre of Korean cuisine in Singapore. The Little Korea!

It is kind of a run down building  and no one would know that behind that dark glass windows, sits a Korean shop. I went in. A bell rang. A woman appeared from a little back office. She asked what I want and I told her. She brought me to the aisle and pointed at a dusty pile of chilli powder packets. No price was on it. She said $22. It’s more than a kg but I took it nonetheless. I wanted to go walk around the shop for other items but she marched to the cashier, prepare that red ratty plastic bag and waited for me to pay. I think I might have disturbed her lunch.

Anyway, I adapted the recipe here.

It took a while to buy the right cucumbers. I wanted those with as little seeds as possible. The best would be telegraph cucumbers but they are non-existence really expensive here in this part of the world. So I settled with what our supermarket termed as “Japanese cucumbers”.

I soaked them in salty boiling water for 50 mins. I think I added too much salt.

At this point, I was supposed to pour the water away and rinse with cold water but I completely forgot. I only rinsed with tap water once. I don’t know why we need to use cold water but I have written to Aeri’s Kitchen, the originator of this recipe and waiting for her reply.

Here’s the chilli paste with sugar, fish sauce, ginger paste, garlic paste and water.

I stuffed the cucumbers with the paste. Kept them out, covered overnight. And this morning, I saw this.

Look at that water! When I left them yesterday night, there wasn’t any water but this morning, it filled half the container! Realised this is common. I supposed cucumbers have really high water content.

Tested it in the morning. Can’t really say I liked it because it was too salty! It must have been my heavy-handedness in adding the salt or the fact that I didn’t rinse it enough. But still, eatable lah!

Just side track a bit, to make the ginger and garlic paste. I dug this out.

It has interchangeable blades for different cuts. But this is not what I’m going to talk about.

Can see this is really old right?

I practically inherited all my mama’s kitchen utensils, cutlery, pots and pans. Her Le Creuset pans are still at my brother’s place because they are just so heavy!

This kitchen slicer is by KAI, a very good Japanese brand till today. Their products are still hanging in shelves of Isetan and Takashimaya. And frankly, the blades are still sharp, except that the plastic parts are turning yellow.

Guess how old this is?

Look at the top right corner of the box.

Yes. It is a price tag.

Yes. It is Yaohan!

Yes. Its is $21.63

Days when Takashimaya was unknown in Singapore. Days when 1 cent was still a legal tender.

It must have been at least 20 years old.

Mama’s file

Frankly, I have tonnes of unfinished projects to be done at home.

The Store Room is practically a junkyard. The Guest Room has a shelf of neglected books, magazines and documents waiting to collapse anytime. The Shoe Cabinet is overflowing with my ever eternal love for shoes.

Yesterday, I was forced to dig into the pile of documents in the Guest Room because it is the IRAS time – filing for my income tax. I know that tiny piece of receipt is there, somewhere buried in that box, or that box, or this box!

I somehow managed to complete my IRAS filing with documents spread out on the floor, mixed with Hero’s fur. And since some of the documents were sorted and filed, I might as well just finish the rest. And it strikes me, that thick red ring file with the blue logo…..

It is my mother’s file.

Her documented life of surgeries, TCM, Medisave, insurance, allergies, medical records and medical bills. All properly filed as if mama is still alive today.

Qing Ming

It is Qing Ming festival again.

I kinda looked forward to it, simply because it is a time for family to get together, besides Chinese New Year that is. I am really beginning to appreciate rituals like these to bond a family.

Similar to last year’s Qing Ming, my brother and his wife came to our house to pick us up. This year, he requested me to prepare food for the prayers and that we consume it after that. My brother finds it too wasteful to be throwing away proper food prepared for the prayers. So I whipped up 猪脚米粉 (canned pork trotters with rice vermicelli).

My brother took care of all the, what I called, burnable offerings – incense paper, incense, candles, etc. I was impressed by him. He went to the Columbarium a few days earlier to take some measurements of the niche that my father, mother and sister sit and went to Bras Basah to make a little wooden platform for the food offerings and incense and candles. He even prepared a piece cloth to clean up the marble niche, tiny potted flowers complete with blu-tack! He is well equipped! Even had a pair of scissors on hand. And the best part is……

He even brought 4 stools and a table!!! For what? For 4 of us to sit down and eat the beehoon I prepared!! Got more PRO or not????!!!

And again!!! I forget to take photos!!!

One of my dreams

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I have been wanting to watch this show for the looooonngest time.

Was only able to hunt it down at my local DVD rental shop after my request. They transferred it from another outlet and kept it for 3 days before I collected it! That’s what I called Customer Service!!

I’m not going to write much about the show, if you are interested, go watch it. I was so inspired after watching it I feel like doing something. Before long I was chatting with a friend (whom we both left the Corporate World) about chasing our dreams.

Winning the Grammy awards was one of his dreams. One of mine was writing a cook book. I wanted to document my late mother’s yellowing recipes. How I had to follow her to a cooking class in my school uniform when I was young. How I had to follow her to some forest to identify and pick spices. How I had to help in her foodstall grumbling about not able to go to the movies with my friends. How I had to register and call that chef from overseas coming into Singapore for that 1 cooking class (Think 1980s, there’s no World Gourmet Summit in Singapore) How the food she sold brought me up.

Ahh…….that day will come!

I will master her recipes!

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