You are Visitor No.

November 12, 2014

THE BEST BBQ RIBS IN GOLD COAST

My vote for the best BBQ ribs in Gold Coast goes to Hurricane's Grill and Bar at Surfer's Paradise.
Lovely dining atmosphere especially if you get a window view seat overlooking the waves at Surfer's Paradise beach opposite.

To avoid disappointment, book early because the queue can get pretty long especially on weekends.
Their ribs are yummo! Not overdone and very nice flavour. My recommendation is to go for the lamb ribs if you are the type who doesn't have any preference for particular meats. If you are primarily after the ribs, go for the trio rib platter but ask for two portions of lamb and one portion of pork/beef because the lamb is juicier, meatier and less boney compared to the other two in other words, ..so you get to try 2 types with maximum meat.. more bang for your buck!! At A$85 for the rib platter, it is worth it for a family. They have also half or full racks for individual types of pork/lamb/beef ribs.

The short cut sirloin was lovely too. Jordan woudn't let us have more than a mouthful of sample each, as it was his birthday treat really plus the ribs!! Oh yes, you get your personal paper bib before you chowdown. Don't go with a white top for this one, guys..and enjoy!!


October 3, 2014

MT TAMBORINE COFFEE PLANTATION: WE'RE BACK!

Been quite a number of years  I last came and the place has changed-  it's now done up and refurbished nicely. Every time we passed the place on trips up Mt Tamborine, it was unfortunately a Saturday and they don't open on weekends. 

Today, on the way up for a friend's wedding at Cedar Creek Lodges, we snuck in for a cuppa. Not that we thought we were gonna be sleepy at the ceremony, but it had been a long time, since 2009!!







Since it was a hot day, iced coffee was the natural choice with a sinful dollop of home-made vanilla ice-cream for topping. Ask for strong and you will appreciate their robust flavour more. Coffee beans homegrown and roasted on their own plantation, nice quiet hangout place with cosy surroundings and eclectic art pieces for decor. They also serve lunch snacks like pies, fritatas and cakes for reasonable prices.




The green surroundings on the patio dining area outside was nice and calming. Nice place to chat, unwind and have a good coffee!

August 28, 2014

EISTEDFODD GOLD COAST 2014

On August 7th, Jordie went for his 1st piano competition at Eistedfodd Gold Coast. He wasn't really expecting much as I had forewarned him the people playing at this contest are very experienced and good pianists.  Some even come all the way from Brisbane to perform.

However, to our pleasant surprise, he did fantastically well on his 6 Variations on a Swiss song entry by Beethoven. The candidates prior to him were very skilled and expressive, oozing with emo and all.
His piece was more a technical piece, not much emo but consistency was very important.

So, he got 2nd place even though there were many other contestants who played very complicated difficult pieces with gusto and style. I think the judge liked his simplicity and unpretenciousness.
What a nice surprise!

His 2nd entry for Keryn Bailey's "Morning Song' didn't take off as well. Apparently, he felt something gooey sticky on the keyboard while playing and was trying to get rid of it from his finger. Boogers???
Whatever, but  he received very high commendable for this piece and it was a good experience to be exposed to what others his age were doing and how he fared among them.


His Varsity College school band for which he is the keyboardist, also received highly commendable for jazz ensemble pieces. 



One thing I learnt, never get intimidated by complicated pieces delivered. The judge looks out for style, natural delivery and accurate presentation. Next year, he's game to compete again.. go Jordie!!

May 7, 2014

EISTEDDFOD GOLD COAST

I can't even pronounce or spell the name properly....!

This Welsh-sounding event is an annual music festival and competition for a wide range of young performers in Gold Coast. Up till now, Jordan has been joining the Somerset Music Festival, but this year, he expressed a wish to enter the Eisteddfod in Gold Coast. I think what spurred him on was his exposure to it through the school jazz band that he joined this year. They will be participating in Eisteddfod and his teacher suggested, why not join piano solos if he plays as well?

It has definitely more stiff competition than Somerset, and I expressed my reservations. Jordan very surprisingly told me: " Well, if you don't ever get knocked down, you won't learn how to get up."
Words of wisdom from my 12 year old and I admire his courage.

So, off to the Eisteddfod office in Robina I go, to register my son for his very first entries for Eisteddfod this year. We will practice hard and pray for a good experience..


April 28, 2014

"SHEN YUN"

Have been on a long break from this blog for a while. Guess I just ran out of writer's fuel for a bit and there didn't really seem like anything inspiring worth writing about in GC and my life so far.. Tales of the expected just seemed really boring, tales of the unexpected infringed too much on the privacy of my life,..so in between, there really wasn't any material worth publishing...

Thought I'd kick off this year with a little review of my recent visit to the Gold Coast Arts Centre which was hosting the event, "Shen Yun". Initially, no thanks to my limited Chinese knowledge, I had presumed the promotional booths for this at the malls were selling services of a fertility clinic!! Because Shen Yun also sounds like pregnancy.. Apparently, it means "Divine Sound" and it is a live dance and musical performance telling of China's 5000 cultural history. At any rate, we wouldn't have paid $100+ for tickets, but a kind client of my hubby's sponsored us for the show, so of course, we didn't pass it up!

The show was very colourful and vibrant, with costumes, dance ribbons, backdrops, props. Started out with 2 MC's who were bi-lingual, introducing the theme of the show. The acts included many types of dances, opera singers, all fully accompanied by a live band. The backdrop, although simple, was very well-designed and digitally executed so that the performers could seemingly fly off into the horizon and then back hop back again to the stage in one seamless effect ala chinese opera in the digital age...

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against chinese culture, but the show was just so blatantly Falungong propaganda! Albeit, performance was good, dancers very skilled, music impeccable, but the propaganda too strong...Falungong is a religious movement in China which has been banned due to its increasing popularity and possible threat to the authority of the Chinese government. Many members were severely persecuted and sent to detention camps for brainwashing. There were outright abuse of human rights in that part of Chinese history, and whoever backed this performance (which is New York-based by the way) must have been a combination of angry locals and provoked foreigners. It's a no-brainer of course, you won't be able to watch this show at all in China! But in many countries elsewhere, it has gone far and wide.


So, on the one hand, you have these beautiful and uplifting displays of Chinese cultural arts and history, their myths and beliefs interwoven with strong and loud stands of the Dafa set of beliefs and displays of cruelty of their persecutors highlighted in red.





To non-Chinese audiences, Shen Yun and its classical dance and songs must have been so refreshingly different and unique, something they've never been exposed to before. Because I have been exposed to these performances, it didn't overwhelm me as much, but nevertheless, I still enjoyed getting connected with chinese culture again and embracing the "pride" of a heritage that is springing forth from many years of rich history.




July 6, 2013

TOGETHER AT LAST @ MELBOURNE


@ our Penang home back in 1969
It 's been a long time since we last met together as a family. ..10 years ago.   

 After they finished school, my brother and sisters were usually either trying overseas or working away. Then along came marriage, children, jobs... 

This trip to Melbourne was a great chance to catch up with my mum and siblings. 

2014 Mum's kuih lapis birthday



We had a great time of sharing ideas, catching up, coffee, sisterly baking sprees, and walks in the park.





..and eating "chang" which are nice rice dumplings made by my mum. Mum was very happy to see us all at once as it was so rare. At any one point of time in past gatherings, someone was always missing, you see, since we were scattered all over different places.

Jordan had heaps of fun at their place.  


























So, yes it was nice to tuck into mum's tasty nyonya and bak chang's and enjoy the company of those dear to me. I realised it wasn't just the taste I miss, it was the company.



My eldest sis very kindly hosted us at her place. She took us around and we had a wonderful time exploring Melbourne city, pigging out at buffets, going to the Victoria Markets, museum, and also boarded a city free bus tour for an overview of Melbourne landmarks.


CHORIZOS, SALAMIS, SAUSAGES


FEDERATION SQUARE
The 3 sisters @ Chinatown




We visited Chinatown as well, but I feel, just like in Brisbane, the food places just aren't as good and authentic as the ones being offered at suburbs that we had visited such as Papparich @ Glen Waverley or even at Boxhill area.



















We also took a drive up to Lake Mountain- the closest place to see some "snow" as Jordan wanted to touch and play with some. He and cousin Yang had a blast tobboganing in the cold! At least 25 rounds up and down they went on the slope.

COUSINS HAVING A CHILLING BLAST!
It wasn't freezing cold, but it was enough to make us shiver.... and Jordan's bum to go numb... You can bet they were hungry after that!!

Unfortunately, it wasn't snowy, so the ice was pretty thin and they had to manufacture some with an ice blower machine uphill.


On the way home, we stopped by a quaint little town called Marysville which is at the foot of Lake Mountain and I popped into the local candy store for some lollies while waiting for the boys doing their playground break ...





SUH-WEEEEET!!



















On one of the days, for a most arresting experience - we visited the Melbourne jail. They had an inhouse tour called the Watchhouse Experience.


The Watchhouse Experience was an insight into experiences of someone being locked up in the Melbourne gaol. The "sergeant' started shelling us the minute we walked in, addressing us as arrested offenders of the law. We were asked to line up agaisnt the wall, take a card which tells us the identity we were to assume, the offence we committed and our age. There were mouth and leg physical inspections to make sure we brought no hazardous weapons in and then,... we were locked up in cell in darkness. The bolts, the shouting, doors slamming, latches clicking shut were all psychological elements of the jailhouse experience.

It was also interesting looking at death masks of executed prisoners from death row.

In the 19th century, it was common for plaster 'death masks' to be made of the face and skull of executed criminals. At the time, these masks served several purposes. Firstly, death masks were used for phrenological analysis, whereby the shape of a person's head is studied to determine their character traits. Secondly, they were often put on display in public places to serve as a reminder of the power of the police force. Some of those death masks even had their original eyelashes stuck to the plaster when it was lifted off their faces in the past!! Creepy....

JORDAN THE JUDGE
JORDAN POSING IN NED KELLY'S FAMOUS BULLET-PROOF ARMOUR
Next was the Ned Kelly trial re-enacted in a courtroom hearing. My brother took on the role of the judge. Bet he enjoyed himself, hammering away... but forgot to hammer to dismiss the hearing after the verdict. Of course, Jordan simply had to try on the judge costume too after the whole event!

Ned Kelly was one of the most notorious criminals of history and was executed for killing a policeman, The re-enactment, however seemed to propose a notion that Ned was given an unfair trial, that he shot at the policeman out of self-defence rather than offensive attack, because the police had actually brought wood coffins along with them when they set out to nab him, probably with the intention of killing him. Oh well, arbitrary history, there you go!! No one will ever know unless you do a time travel back to the past.


We also stopped by Dendy Beach at Brighton to view the traditional colourful bathing boxes for changing, in the style of retro England. It's an iconic landmark in Melbourne, so gotta take some pictures rite??

Of course, food is one of the elements of a nice holiday.  So off we trudge to do an advance birthday celebration lunch buffet for mum at the China Bar. The place had a really good Asian spread.



MOUTHWATERING DESSERTS


They had a facebook promotion deal and because it was a BOGOF deal (Buy One get One Free), it was a real bargain.  They had a sumptuous spread of a mix of Asian fare, Chinese primarily with dimsum, roast pork, fried noodles, roti, laksa, char koay teow, curries, sushi and other treats. We found some nice durian tarts and durian popsicles there too, for home-sick Malaysians, I suppose...
                                                                                
MY BROTHER'S LOOK OF LOVE.. FOR DURIAN


Melbourne is so different from GC. For one, the place is swarming for Asians, never seen so many in one place in Australia. Multidiversity is definitely thriving here. Love the food, and choices available.
 is also much colder here. The lack of sun is such a stark difference from sunny GC.

Also, everything seems to be happening at a faster pace and at one sweep of a glance, I could see cyclists, pedestrians, cars, trams and buses and horse-drawn carts going at the same time... Amidst our walk downtown, we also saw a street protest of Egyptians urging US intervention to stop dictator rulership in Egypt.  Down the corner at Flinder street in an alley, there were walls allocated for creative expression of graffiti all over. It wasn't just vandalism-style graffiti, it was rather good street art on an open gallery tastefully done...



Really enjoyable trip. Best bonus was of course the family get-together! Don't know when it might be possible again, but definitely, precious for now....












June 12, 2013

EPISODE 49: END OF ANOTHER CHAPTER AND ONTO THE NEXT....

Some things you can say goodbye to and wrap it up to store with fond, loving memories. Can't say the same for this chapter I am closing for the call centre job.

Today marks the day I leave the call centre and am super relieved to finally close this chapter. Although I am grateful and thankful for the income and interaction skills I managed to get during my stint there, it was never my calling to remain in something like this. I was like a square peg in a round hole, albeit, I still managed to curve my edges a bit to fit in for a while..

Anyway, I choose to dwell on the positive note of things, in the fact that I found out that my life wasn't in that bad a shape after all. Mingling with all these gals from the call centre, my story was like fairy floss next to their burnt toast- bitter and hard. Many had painful stories to tell from their past experiences. Some had come out of one or a few broken relationships, others had children who died or even killed themselves, or husbands gone insane and trying to kill them, some were just fighting bad health, depression, bankruptcy, poverty and the works... So yes, I am thankful for what I have, fairly good health, a loving husband and a son who loves me for who I am...and also for the opportunity to have picked up skills at the call centre, dealing with objections, digging up persuasion skills I never thought I had, and getting exposed to the Australian society at large from all walks of life, the problems they were facing and dealing with daily, and some Aussie lingo while I was at it.. 

This job was a stop gap measure during very trying financial times for the family and it had served us well.

But, now to take a deep breath and move onwards to things which are more on target.... gonna take some time to sharpen those arrows, and find the right bow... then point it in the right direction. Can't wait to see how the next chapter unfolds.....




October 23, 2012

JACARANDAS IN SPRING

I love looking at Jacaranda trees in full bloom. Spring is its season of bloom and I see it everywhere where I live, along roadsides, people's gardens, parks, at the Bond Uni, lovely purple flowers and looks divine when they are strewn on the ground. They also remind me of Beryl, who died a couple of years ago. She was the one who told me what they were when I first saw them at her place. Purple is also one of my favourite colours... maybe someday when I have my own home, I will have a Jacaranda right outside....

Cheeky Quote