From Vitagen & Yoghurt to reminiscence of Nee Soon (Yishun)

I grew up in Malaysia and Singapore.  I was born in Kuching in the state of Sarawak located on upper part of the island of Borneo.  Sarawak and Sabah are called East Malaysia, separated from Peninsula Malaysia by the South China Sea.  In the island of Borneo, we have Brunei as one neighbour and Kalimantan (Indonesian state) as the other.

borneo

What has all these got to do about yoghurt, you may wonder.

During my childhood, as long as I can remember, we spent a month in Singapore every end of the final school term.  Mum grew up in a farm house in Singapore.  There was no direct bus into her family home and we had to take a 20 minutes or more walk from the bus stop into a ‘jungle’ route (as I called it) before we reached the house.

I hated it.  It was like going back in time, from our big family home (dad’s side) right on the main street of Tabuan Rd, Kuching to this remote village called ‘Nee Soon’.  The farm house had earthen floor on some parts and the rest was concrete.  Outside the house, there were  at least a dozen of rectangular fish ponds though I hardly see any fishes in them, filled with some water.  To me, they looked shallow, not deep.  One day, we heard the adults whispered that our little cousin fell into the pond and drowned.  She was one of the daughters of mum’s younger sister, probably two or three year old when the accident happened many, may years ago.  Since then, the fish ponds were left dry till they were destroyed when the house was demolished.

nee-soon-village-1985

Today, the farmhouse village is gone.  In the late 1980s, they renamed the town Yishun and Grandma’s farm house gave way to blocks of high rise.   She was given a 3 bedroom HDB flat with easy bus access.  I am not sure if she got any other compensation for giving up that huge farm house, the fish ponds, the fruit trees, the outdoor portaloo (toilet) and everything else.

Yishun-SG

Back to the present, I am supposed to share about Yoghurt.

I had my first taste of Vitagen, a cultured milk drink made by fermenting skim milk with billions of live probiotic cultures (good bacteria i.e. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei) to help maintain a healthy digestive system. These were our treats when we were in Singapore and eventually we found we could buy these drinks at home in Kuching too. Yipee !

vitagen.jpg

There was a ‘flash’ Supermarket called Ting & Ting located close to our school where the expats did their groceries shopping.  That was where I bought my first tub of yoghurt.  I was in secondary school.  A small tub of Yoplait cost around ringgit $3.40 in early 1980s.

tingting

Yoplait-Yogurt-Core-Cups

Yoghurts were so much dearer then in Sarawak compared to Singapore or Peninsula Malaysia the main reason being freight as all yoghurts at that time were probably imported.  Today, they are easily available and can be made from home.

yogurt-fruit

Sometime in the early 2000s, we started a Yoghurt Smoothie mobile kiosks selling ice blended drinks, yoghurt, pizzas and other finger foods.  It was fulfilling to see that something you created yourself sprung to life and became the talk of the town.  Someone even asked if our business was a franchise.   At that time, I was working full time or I would have taken the business a step further to create a homegrown franchise !

yoghurtfranchise_.jpg

During that time I was full on reading, researching all about yoghurt and its good bacteria.  Experimenting with the culture, water temperatures to make the best yoghurt.  Yoghurt is healthy eating and we used yoghurt drinks to replace soft drinks, yoghurt to replace ice cream, made ice blended yoghurt smoothies.  In cooking we used yoghurt to replace coconut in curries and substitute for sour cream in baking.

Now back to the present.

I was reading an article saying that rather than use the ‘live’ yoghurt culture or those EasiYo Packs, you could use capsules of probiotic powder to make coconut yoghurt. This luxuriously creamy and tangy yoghurt is perfectly satisfying and makes for a wonderful dairy-free option.

easiyo-products-580.jpg

I will check out on that and will post it as a sequel.  There’s just so many things to write about this wonderful live food.

 

Disclaimer :  Thank you to the various creators of these images. I do not own these images.  The are for illustrations only to support my story.  Please click on those images to take you to the source.

Yoghurt and reminiscence of the past ……….. of little borneo girl.

via Daily Prompt, Time – This week, think about time and portray it photographically.

I don’t want ………to sleep alone

Want a better night’s sleep?

Share your bed with a pet

A study of dog owners found more than half let their pets share their beds. Photo / Getty
A study of dog owners found more than half let their pets share their beds. Photo / Getty

Do you have trouble sleeping?

A new study has found having a pet in the bedroom could be the answer to a better night’s sleep.

A recent study of 23, 000 dog owners found more than half of them let their canines sleep on their beds.

Amazing but true !  What are your thoughts ?

(Extra)ordinary – It’s no ordinary plot of land, it was my home

empty land

This looks ordinary but to me it is (extra)ordinary. My family home where I grew up used to sit on this plot of land. The house was sold perhaps 30 years ago but the memories remain.

neighbour

This was our neighbour’s house, just directly opposite our old home. This house is still here. Photo taken perhaps three years ago.

Mundane and meaningful objects. Beautiful everyday things. This week, surprise us with something or someone (extra)ordinary.

Source: (Extra)ordinary

Anzac Day

Dawn services around the country saw record numbers of attendees as the significance of the centenary anniversary gave people an added reason to leave their warm beds at an early hour to attend services.

The largest crowd in the country attended the 76th annual Dawn Service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

– as reported by New Zealand Herald today –

http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/image/jpg/201517/dawnauckland_620x310.jpeg

Please click below for the video
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/video.cfm?c_id=1&gallery_id=149619&gal_objectid=11438588

littlegirlstory

anz2

Anzac Day occurs on 25 April. It commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women.

The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The word Anzac is part of the culture of New Zealanders and Australians. People talk about the ‘spirit of Anzac’; there are Anzac biscuits, and rugby or rugby league teams from the two countries play an Anzac Day test. The word conjures up a shared heritage of two nations, but it also has a specific meaning.

Anzac biscuits and tea will be handed out to large crowd expected to attend Anzac commemorations in Wellington. 20,000 Anzac biscuits and tea will be handed out to large crowd expected to attend Anzac commemorations in Wellington.  Photo credit Fairfax NZ

Anzac is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  Today, the word was used to describe all Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought on…

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A Word a Week Challenge -Hole

New year resolutions. Mend the holes.

littlegirlstory

Hole
an empty space
hollow
a vacuum
something missing.

There’s a hole in the bucket
a leak
water dripping away
wastage
and loss.

On a positive note
a hole can be mended
patched and filled
imagine a golf ball
aim for a hole in one.

Cover the hole
and make it whole.

IMG_0052

via A Word in Your Ear – Hole

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Writing 101 : Happy Chinese New Year

I could have been the writer here. 🙂 So many similarities on the culture and this authentic Nyonya dish and what it symbolizes.

Do you have a favorite childhood meal or treat that comforted you or has deep roots in your memory?

WorldwideFriends

When I think of Chap Chai Te’ng (mixed vegetable soup) I think of Chinese (lunar) New Year.

As a child right through to my twenties as a young mother to three children, Chinese New Year meant new clothes and new shoes. My favourite day of the festival was the evening before new year. That’s when all the family came round for a banquet, the reunion dinner. The dish that symbolizes the occasion is my aunt’s specialty Chap Chai Te’ng cooked with chicken, prawn balls, fish balls, cabbage, vermicelli (glass noodles), bean curd sticks, black fungus (bok jee) in chicken soup. It is a dish of many mixtures although I have no idea why it is called Chap Chai when the only vegetable in the dish is cabbage.

This special dish, amongst other Nyonya authentic dishes that my aunt lovingly cooked for us showed her love for her family. The salt…

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A room with a view

Is that little girl really me?

Or

Is that old woman really me? Those were the days indeed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9JOmU2jFUo

WorldwideFriends

Going back in time many many years ago, a ten year old little girl looked out the window from her bedroom on the first floor of a wooden double-storey house.

She saw a big tree and further across the field was an attap house with little flower pots (some broken) of plants and flowers sitting on wooden plank shelves outside that attap dwelling. The little house across the field was perhaps home to the servants of her family who lived in that big family home before she was born. The house compound was very big, several acres, an open field, overgrown in some parts and a stream separated that big house and the small attap house. Access was through a few pieces of timber nailed together, placed across the narrow stream as a walkway, sometimes submerged in water during high tide. The whole property had endured floods during the monsoon…

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