Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Being old

Recently I have been thinking of old age due to seeing the many elderly people who live on the same street as my in-laws - who takes care of them and how they live their lives.

1. One old lady (around 80 years old) lives in her marital home with two young Cambodian maids (20-25 years old). Her son and daughter (mid 60s) visit her during the weekends. I have never seen the old lady outside her house - only the maids.

2. Another old lady (75ish) lives in her younger brother's house as the caretaker with rooms let out to tenants. She is sweet and polite and very independent. She dares to walk alone to the nearby shops to get her grocery.

3. My parents-in-law (early 70s) live on their own in their marital home and we visit them regularly.

4. An old lady (70ish) lives with her son and his family with a maid.

5. An elderly couple (late 70s) lives on their own and occasionally the wife will shout very loudly at her husband and her shouts can be heard down the whole street even though she is shouting from within her own house. *Update (29 June 2011): I was told that the wife shouts at the husband because the husband is hard of hearing and she has to ask him to do things around the house because her legs are weak and she can't walk and move about*

6. There is one widow (mid 60s) who lives with a maid and babysit 4 grandchildren (2 from her daughter and 2 from her son). Her son lives in his own house with his family a few doors away and will send his children over to her house everyday. Her daughter lives further away but still send her children over to her house everyday.

So it sets me thinking, will I be like the old woman who shouts at her spouse when I am old and grey? Or will I live alone by myself should my spouse passed away before me? Can I be independent when old?

What about you? Have you thought about being old? Do you expect to live with your children and their respective families or do you expect to live with your children who are still single? Or do you plan to treasure your independence and live on your own for as long as you can as long as you are able to care for yourself? What's your plan should you need a carer - hire a maid or check into a nursing home or expect your children to be your carer? I told my spouse, if he needs a carer when he is old, I am checking both of us into a nursing home because I do not have the confidence that I will be able to take good care of him when I am old myself.

Speaking of the elderly, my maternal grandmother is going to celebrate her 95th birthday soon. She lives alone and still cooks her own meals. Can I be as independent as her? Once again, only time can tell.

A recent photo of my grandmother

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jakarta 2005

I've been to Indonesia only once - and that is to Jakarta for around 3-4 days in mid May 2005. My spouse went there to attend an exhibition and I tagged along. His employers' business partners brought us out for dinner on our first night there and I can not remember the name of the restaurant now. Apart from that dinner, I stayed in the hotel - Jakarta Hilton (now known as The Sultan Jakarta Hotel) the whole time for the rest of the trip so I did not see much of Jakarta.

Every morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and then I walked with my spouse to the Jakarta Convention Centre which is connected to the hotel via an underground air-conditioned tunnel. Then I would walked back to the hotel alone and strolled around the hotel's lush gardens before going back to my room to read a book. I ate all my meals at the hotel restaurants but did not use the other facilities. So should I visit Jakarta again to make up for the sight seeing that I missed the first time round?

Hotel's garden

Our room with two balconies

View from one of the window/balcony

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reuse a phone

A few days ago, my cell/mobile/hand phone started having a will of its own. I was keying in a text message and it interrupted me by sending the incomplete message to a random number from my address book. I pressed the cancel button a few times to no avail and then it proceeded to send blank text messages to a few other random numbers so I had no choice but to switch it off. I suspect this erratic behaviour is due to a "sticky-keys" problem.

This 4.5 years old phone is a hand-me-down phone from my spouse so I will not be sending it to be fixed. Instead I am now using another hand-me-down phone from my brother which has many other functions that I do not need as I only use my phone for sending text messages so any phone in working order will do. Let's see how long this 3 years old phone will last me.

P/S I love using hand-me-down items because in this way, I feel that I am doing my part in adhering to the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" motto.
Bye k618i! Hello HTC Kaiser!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

鳳梨酥 (Pineapple Cake)

********* Updated on Sunday 5 June 2011 *********

I realised that I couldn't tell the size of the pineapple cakes from my photos here. Just for the record, in general the dimensions of a pineapple cake are: 2 inches (length) x 1.5 inches (width) x 0.8 of an inch (thickness). Of course there are exceptions, some are smaller by 0.5" and some are larger by 0.5". So far, I have not seen one bigger than 2.5" x 2" or smaller than 1" x 1".

Adding to this list, these are the pineapple cakes bought by my brother from Yu-Jan-Shin pastry house in Taiwan. As I did not get to taste them, I am only noting down what I was told about how they taste.

Website: www.yjs.com.tw

The box with the round tag on it is the gold award winning pineapple cake.
Normal Price: TWD440
Discounted Price: TWD 410 (~RM43 or USD14) for 20 pieces in a gift box (~RM2.15each).
Notable Taste: The pineapple paste is darker in colour and the taste of the fillings is similar to Malacca nyonya pineapple tarts.

Note the darker fillings in the cake on the right
The other box:
Normal Price: TWD400
Discounted Price: TWD 370 (~RM39 or USD13) for 20 pieces in a gift box (~RM1.95each).

*End of updateUpdated on Sunday 5 June 2011 *

My mother just came back from Taipei and she gave me all these pineapple cakes that were made in Taiwan. I am making some short notes here so that I know which ones to buy when I go to Taiwan.

Website: www.pcake.com.tw and www.dawncake.com.tw
Unlike the rest of the pineapple cakes which are square in shape, this one is round. It is also known as Native Pineapple Cake and according to the FAQ on its website this is because "It’s made from genuine Native Pineapple and is totally different from so-called Pineapple Cake made from squash or artificial scents and flavoring."
***My note: the common pineapple paste in pineapple cake made in Taiwan is generally made out of pineapple and lots of winter melon so please check the ingredients listed on the box if you are looking to buy pineapple cake with fillings made mainly with  pineapple.***
Price: TWD430 (~RM45 or USD15) for 18 pieces in a gift box (~RM2.5each).
Calories per Serving (30g): 135.75kcal
They cater for international delivery to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and USA (too bad Malaysia is not in the list). Notable taste: The pastry crust tastes like it has cheese in it. Will I buy: Yes

Website: same as the one above. Name: 17th Pineapple cake (I'm not sure why it is named this way). Square in shape. Price: TWD530 (~RM56 or USD18) for 14 pieces in a gift box (~RM4 each). Notable taste: The pastry crust tastes like it has salty egg yolk in it. Will I buy: Maybe (due to the expensive price)

Square in shape (as shown in the following photo). Price: TWD300 (~RM32 or USD10) for 20 pieces (~RM1.6 each). Notable taste: The pastry crust has a strong milky taste which I like. Will I buy: Definite yes
Source: http://www.food168.com.tw/poducts-list-1.htm
Website: www.chiate88.com
Square in shape. Price: TWD520 (~RM54 or USD18) for 20 pieces (~RM2.7 each). Notable taste: The pastry crust has a strong buttery taste. Will I buy: Yes

Website: www.royal-family.com.tw
Square in shape. Price: TWD220 (~RM24 or USD8) for 16 pieces (~RM1.5 each). Notable taste: The pineapple paste is too sweet and does not taste natural.
Will I buy: No

As my spouse does not like to eat food items made from butter or milk, these are all for me so I will eat one every other day to ensure that my sugar intake does not go up too much in a day.