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A bowl of laksa

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Boy, must I say I have been really occupied with work lately. It’s a challenging job, with several construction projects under my supervision and overlooking urban drainage planning requirements. I used to lament that my pigeon hole is usually empty in my old work place, these days I can’t wait to see my pigeon hole empty, such irony. Most days I get home exhausted, thinking how to solve the mounting problems. Some days I get home satisfied, having made small accomplishments. That’s just me, wanting to get work done.

Life is best enjoyed with a bowl of Sarawak laksa.

One of the two laksa place I frequent in Klang Valley is Aunt Christina’s Sarawak Laksa in Lucky Garden, Bangsar and the other one is Hai Siang Kopitiam in Bandar Puteri, Puchong. Not a food critic, but my personal preference goes to the former. The price tallies with the portion, gravy is to my liking. The latter is a tad bit pricier but the place is more hygienic.

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Whatever it is, I still enjoy my bowl of laksa with a squeeze of lime and a spoonful of sambal belacan.

Frustration with Windows Phone

I don’t always get frustrated with things or people, but when I do it really get into the core of me. After using Windows Phone for almost a year, I’ve grown frustrated enough to ditch the mobile platform. The app gap is really a huge problem. The lack of new feature updates for the apps and the very fact that Microsoft have more apps on iOS and Android than on Windows Phone itself is frustrating.

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  1. While my friends get to call each other via Whatsapp call, I’m stuck with Whatsapp chat. Likewise for Facebook Messenger. No voice call, no video call.
  2. Instagram is forever stuck at BETA stage. There’s no video upload, direct message or new filters. Though there’s a 3rd-party app 6tag but the experience is just not the same as the official app. Other official apps like Facebook and Twitter hardly get updated with new features, stuck with same old same old.
  3. While iOS supports Google products, i.e. Hangouts, Google+, Maps, Translate etc, these essential apps are not available on Windows Phone.
  4. There are a lot of productivity apps missing from the platform, as an engineer I’d aspect to have AutoCad viewer to look at construction drawings and also a well-built scientific calculator.
  5. Banking, booking movie tickets or paying phone bills is a dream. All the big banks and telcos don’t support the platform. The only local apps I can find – AirAsia and GSC.
  6. My last straw has to be when Facebook killed the Facebook Connects features. Events, birthdays, contacts and photos now don’t sync to the phone. Sharing photos and videos from photo gallery/ One Drive is no longer possible as well. The Facebook app itself is a dismay – can’t select custom friend list or post a status with mood (how are you feeling?).

Despite my frustration with Windows Phone, one thing that I really like about my Nokia Lumia 830 is the camera and Lumia Creative Studio and Moments app. Those are really good photo app which I’m going to miss.

Mango rash

This is something I learn about mangoes. It is delicious. It is toxic as well. I didn’t know it until two weeks ago when my friend and I went for a mango-plucking spree.

We had a great time plucking mangoes from the tree right in front of his house, taking turns plucking with a rod and catching the falling mangoes with a basket.

While catching mangoes, some of the sap dripped on my arms. Initially it felt like some kind of burning sensation. The sap was sticky so I washed it off with soap after having feeling satisfied with our catch, three bagful of mangoes.

The following day, rashes started to appear. It was itchy. Thinking it was just a normal rash, I apply some hydrocortisone cream whenever I feel the itch. Things started to get better it seems.

After a week or so, not only did the red patches not resolve, it spreads and become intolerable – redness, hives and itchiness… So itchy I could hardly get a good night sleep. I am allergic to mango sap!

Thanks to my cousin doctor, I am now on prednisone (a corticosteroid for anti-inflammation) and dermovate ointment to get rid of the allergy.

Not so glorious pictures of my left hand and my right hand on day two of treatment/medication.

Things are getting a little better. It is still itchy but not to the point of scratching them, learning to tame myself.

What probably most of us urban guys don’t know is that the stem which holds the mango contains urushiol in its sap (oil). When you break the stem, the mango become a chemical weapon that when in contact with your skin can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

For my case, the reaction happened after 12 hours and got worse after two weeks. There you go, always be careful with mango sap.

I love eating mango still. 🍋 🍋🍋

Let nothing trouble

Yesterday, the three of us went hiking at a nearby hill. I’ve been to this hill not more than ten times but I am rather sure I recognize the entrance and the favourite trail – one that leads to a suspension bridge and valley. Being adventurous we decided to take a different trail, this time tailing behind some other hikers. Somehow too carried away with talking, we ended up arriving at a junction with several paths diverging into the woods.

Panic we were not. Took the right most path, it led to the other end of the hill. We could turn back, but we won’t. We waited. A loving couple, probably in their fifties, came up from behind and stopped for a drink. We asked if they are familiar with the trails, to our delight the pakcik (uncle in Malay) answered, “Bagus macam tu, kalao tak tahu, tanya. Pakcik tunjukkan jalan.”

We chatted with the couple along the hike until we parted our ways. Said our goodbye, not knowing whether will we be crossing path again.

After our hike, we went to the old folks home where my friend is a visiting doctor there. While he was attending to his clinic, I volunteered to feed the occupants there. The nun assigned me to feed a French priest who is bed ridden. As I was feeding him, I stared hard at his face, the face of Jesus, the face of a man who sacrificed his life for the church.

I found myself asking, “God, why God? Has not this man served you for his whole life, and why does he deserve all this? Bed ridden, unable to feed and clean himself?”

I found myself asking, “Will I ever get to have children? And if I do have children, will I ever end up like the rest of the folks here when I cannot feed and clean myself one day?”

Here I am again, at a crossroad of my life, taking a hard look at what lies ahead. Troubled. Maybe I will find an answer to this. Maybe I will meet someone who will show me the way.

Coincidence or not, I know not, but at times like this I find some solace. This morning as I was driving to work, the song Nada Te Turbe sung by the Taize community  was playing from the podcast. The song, translated to English means:

Let nothing trouble you or make you afraid. Those who have God will lack nothing, God alone is enough.

Discerning

I’m going for a retreat in Penang. Need to rethink and readjust my life. Things cropped up, I just received a letter of transfer. But I am happy with the new posting, it’s a new breath of life after spending a good six years in the design office doing engineering analysis and design.

Uncertainties are fogging my mind, there are so many questions in life I have to set straight – career advancement/change, relationship, marriage vocation.

In His time. All will be revealed.

May with the help of Fr. Ignatius, the retreat master, it will be a fruitful discernment.

© 2015 daniel thinks. All rights reserved.

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