Happy 7-Year Anniversary

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It is that wonderful time of year again (no not Christmas) where I wish my blog a Happy Anniversary. Seven years ago around this time, I started my blog. I remember feeling timid and scared. What would bloggers think about my writing? What can I even write about? What if the blog is a failure? What if I make an embarrassment of myself? Even though these thoughts were flying in my head, I still knew I had to give it a go. If it didn’t work out for me, then so be it. And so, I wrote my very first blog post. It was about the London 2012 Paralympics and how it gave me inspiration and hope for my son. Once it was posted, I didn’t know what to expect. How would I know bloggers were going to read it? Or how would I know if it was a failure? Few minutes later, I had my answer. Bloggers began to like my post. It wasn’t a huge traffic, but still, it meant something to me. People were actually reading my blog. And from then onwards, it did not stop. There have been a few bloggers who have become my genuine online blogger/author friends since the beginning till this day. So as a little celebration, I would like to share with you some memorable posts.

Chinese Rice Balls

Yes, the famous Chinese Rice Balls post. I’d even posted a few posts on it, including one on how to make them. I have a friend in Malaysia who always made them in glorious colours which inspired me to have mines coloured, although not as glorious looking as hers.

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How to make Chinese Rice Balls – 1 April 2013

Chinese Rice Balls – 20 September 2012 

Happy New Year 2013 – 1 January 2013

Chinese New Year 2014

 

Blogger of the Year 2013

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I received Blogger of the Year 2013 not long after launching my blog. It was such an honour. As a writer, author, blogger, I always want to remain humble about what I write. I didn’t want to make this blog a ‘business’ or ‘work’ place. I wanted bloggers to see the real me. The blog is where I make mistakes and not have to worry about sounding commercial. It is a place for me to be ME. I especially love it when bloggers reach out to me with their thoughts about anything and everything. So feel free to reach out.

 

A Chinese Christmas Carol

A Chinese Christmas Carol was my very first published book. Back then long before I launched my publishing house, I did quite a few posts on the book. There were many topics I could write about regarding the book, like its background story and characters, which allowed me to draw away from the book itself. The plot of the story is a sad one, and it was inspired by a true story. There were times when I found some ‘things’ hard to write, but I still wanted to let it out. And best of all, I had the support of the bloggers. So thank you. Little did I know that I would later on decide to bring out a new edition to the book and turn it into a series.

Sales Gone Up – 20 November 2012

5 Years on… – 5 May 2015

 

Amy Tan

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I studied art and design at university, and one of the projects I had to do was to come up with a creative gift to give to a favourite person. Back then, Amy came to mind when I was given the project. At first, it took me a while to come up with a creative gift, and the chocolate idea was last minute when I saw an empty chocolate container laying on my bedroom floor. The chocolates were made into shapes/items that symbolizes the connection in life I had with Amy. In the end, it only took me one night to make my ‘chocolates’ out of play dough and have it painted with brown acrylic. When I had to present it to the entire class, most were impressed by my idea. Some even told me that they had wanted to ‘steal’ and eat the ‘chocolates’.

Meeting Amy Tan – 11 January 2016

 

Who We Were

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Who We Were is my first book that was launched at the same time as the publishing house. It was supposed to be a stand alone book to begin with. Then shortly after it was published, I had friends, family and some fans asking if there was going to be a sequel. After much thought, I decided to make it a trilogy before later making it into a five-book series. When I sent the book for review, I didn’t expect much as I didn’t want to be disappointed. Two weeks later, I received the five-star review. No words could describe how I felt.

Review Who We Were – 18 January 2018

 

Blogging101 – My Sexy People

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Blogging101 was an online blogging university to help bloggers blog and engage better with one another by completing one blogging task a day for a short period of time. I found the tasks enjoyable and always looked forward to the next. On my third task (day 3), I had to engage with other bloggers by selecting a few and describing their blogs. I then had to follow back a few other bloggers and explain the reason why I chose them. It was a very engaging task which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I had even made a few blogger friends along the way. Sadly, Blogging101 had to shut down.

Blogging101 Day 3 – January 8 2016

So I have presented some of my memorable and favourite posts, although all my posts are my favourite. I look forward to the next anniversary with more memorable posts to share.

 

‘A Chinese Christmas Carol’ re-vamp

Six years ago, I first published my book ‘A Chinese Christmas Carol’ (Xlibris Publishing). I never expected it to do alright in the market. Better than I had expected. And so, I have decided to do a re-vamp and bring out a new edition of the story under the new ownership of PUIYIN W.L. PUBLISHING®, and turn it into a series. Along with the recent news of ‘Who We Were’ becoming a trilogy, I am proud to officially announce another trilogy/series project in the making for 2017-2018.

Excerpt from ‘Who We Were’

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Qingshan was left speechless. And then out of nowhere, he did the unthinkable and reached for Lei-Li’s hand and held it. All this time he had wanted to hold her hand, but he had never plucked up the courage to do it. At that moment, however, it felt right. It felt like the right thing to do. He then looked right into her eyes and she looked right back at him. She didn’t have to say anything for him to read the expression on her face and to know she felt exactly the same as he did. It was that one intimate moment that confirmed to Qingshan that he and Lei-Li were more than just friends.

PUIYIN W.L. PUBLISHING® INTRODUCES FIRST NEW NOVEL ‘WHO WE WERE’

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www.puiyinwlpublishing.com

It is difficult to understand the theory of a parallel existence, but two young people – Jace and Melodi – experience out-of-place memories that later prove to be strangely accurate in detail.

In 1950, a young man named Qingshan moves to Jiangning in China with his parents in search of a better life. He meets a beautiful young lady named Lei-Li, but their love is forbidden due to old family traditions and cultural differences and they pay the ultimate penalty for trying to be together.

Jace and Melodi meet at High School in Connecticut in the USA in 1996 and feel an immediate affiliation for each another, but their relationship is also doomed. They meet up again as adults, when Jace is a doctor and Melodi a writer, and their paths become intertwined through the words written in a diary by Lei-Li. The coincidences are hard to ignore and a tragic accident leads to a better understanding of who they really were.

News update

Hello all,

Good news. The publishing company is well under way. I am trademarking the name and logo, and I have just passed the first HUGE step. Now, it’s the waiting game. Under UK law, every new company needs to have its name/logo in the Trademark Journal for two months for anyone/company to object. I have until mid December, before Christmas. Therefore, once again, I have to delay the launch. Meantime, work on the first soon-to-be published book under the company is also underway. There have been so many sleepless nights for the last couple of months. But it’s all going to be so bloody worth it. I haven’t forgotten you all. Aside from the company, I also have news regarding my two previous books.

There will be a new re-write of ‘A Chinese Christmas Carol’. Don’t get me wrong. The book will still be available to buy. Considering many of you bought the book, I would not want to make any changes to the original. Instead, a similar, but slightly different story will be told. I am grateful for those who have bought it. It will always be the original background story. However, I want to made a saga or a series out of it. For those who have read it will know that there are questions to be answered. And those questions will be answered in the saga/series.

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Unfortunately, ‘Family Sorrow’ will be taken down once the company is launched. Instead, it will also be re-written and be part of ‘A Chinese Christmas Carol’ saga/series. For those who have bought it, thank you, and always remember it will always be the original background story.

All these changes are due to the fact that as a will-be-soon company, I want to start fresh with the books. But there are still stories regarding characters from both books to tell that I cannot just not write about. Which is why I want to start fresh, and yet, hold on to parts of the old.

I hope many of you will support me on this new exciting journey. Because without readers, writers, bloggers, and supporters like you out there, there will be no means for books to be written. Meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions regarding the changes. I will do my best to answer them.

Love you all,

PY Lab

Short excerpt from ‘A Chinese Christmas Carol’

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Grandma Ling nodded sadly. Joie only knew very little about the Chinese customs when it came to wakes and funerals, but she didn’t know that a mother couldn’t attend her own daughter’s wake and funeral. So a mother couldn’t say a proper good-bye to her own daughter?

“That’s very stupid,” said Joie.

“That’s the custom,” said Grandma Ling sadly.

“Grandma Ling, how are you going to say good-bye to my mom, your daughter?”

“I can’t”

“What happens if you turn up at the wake and the funeral?”

“Joie, in Chinese custom when it comes to wakes and funerals, we Chinese people take it very, very seriously. If the customs are not followed and obeyed, there will be bad luck, ill fortune, and disaster within the family.”

Joie didn’t say anything.

“Joie, during the funeral, you must send your parents off well and properly, especially for me, OK?”

Happy Chinese New Year – The story of Nian

Happy Chinese New Year 2015 to all.

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As many know, Chinese New Year is a time where majority of those of Chinese descent, come together with their family and friends to celebrate. It is a festive period involving lots of good company, food, money giving, traditional entertainments, and lots of laughter.

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And of course, we cannot forget about the Chinese rice balls, which is eaten during festive seasons like Chinese New Year, New Year, and for some, during the Christmas season as well.

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The colour red have always been a symbolic colour for Chinese New Year. According to an old Chinese myth that I know, there was once a beast with the body of a bull and the head of a lion called, Nian. Every beginning of the year, Nian would come out from the mountains where it was living and terrorize a village. It would eat their crops, and if there were any villagers in the way, it would eat them too. One day, a strange man came to visit the village and told the villagers that the beast can be defeated by loud noises, bright firelights, and the colour red. So the villagers would hang and display bright red lanterns and fire crackers everywhere. In the end, Nian was terrified that it returned to the mountains and was never seen or heard of again. That is why Chinese New Year is filled with loud noises and firecrackers. And in memory of Nian, there is the symbolic and well known lion dance.

There are several versions of the Nian myth, but they are all similar in a way with how it ends.

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Photo credits to Suzanne Yeang and Irene Soo. Thank you, Ladies, for the wonderful photos, as usual. And special thanks to Irene for always taking mouth-watering photos of the rice balls. I know nobody who can make rice balls as perfect as she can. Looking forward for more to come.

Gong Hie Fatt Choi to everybody.

Other posts on past Chinese New Year and rice balls:

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/chinese-new-year-2014/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

 

 

A Penang Story – Part 2 Haunted home (Halloween special 1)

rigor_mortis_1(Photo credit – Rigor Mortis)

*Actual names have been changed.

The following accounts are real.

First account:

During my time in Penang, which was 11 years ago, I lived in a condominium with two other female flatmates, *Renee and Kate. Renee was also the landlord of our unit. The condominium consisted of two huge blocks. The buildings were very tall, and each floor had about eight units (hope that makes sense). The size of each unit wasn’t big, and it consisted of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small kitchen and living room area, and a balcony. Although every unit had a main front door, there was also a main gate to each of the unit, which was good for extra protection. Overall, the condominium was ‘alright’ looking. It wasn’t glamorous either, nor did it have a welcoming look, if I have to be honest. There were times when I didn’t feel safe. Each floor was eerily quiet. Not many neighbours would talk to each other. And the lifts can be creepy, especially when you are alone. Renee and Kate would work all day during the weekdays, and every Friday, after work, they would often go back to their home town, which left me to be by myself until Sunday or Monday, when they would return. At that time, I didn’t go out much during the weekends, except for going out to dinner with my uncle and his family, and I would always be back before 10 at night. After then, I would drown myself in homework. Strangely enough, at exactly midnight every Saturday, I could hear the doorbell ringing, followed by two women’s voices calling out. They sounded polite, too polite in fact.

“Excuse me, good evening.” (Really??? Midnight is not exactly evening)

“Is anybody home? Do you have any newspapers?” (???????)

And then a couple more ringing of the doorbell.

“Hello, is anybody home?”

I never answered the door. Renee had warned me a number of times to never open the door when I was home alone, especially if I wasn’t expecting anyone. So I listened to her. After a short while, there was no more ringing of the doorbell or the voices of the women, nor could I hear them calling out to my neighbours and asking them for newspapers. I then ignored it and went back to doing my work. In the beginning, I didn’t think much about the two women. But as it started occurring every Saturday midnight (yes, seriously, every single Saturday) with the women asking the same exact questions about newspapers, I began to get a ‘funny’ feeling. I was confused, and yet, curious about the women. Why were they asking for newspapers? If so, why did they have to come every Saturday midnight? Why not at other times? And why don’t I hear them calling out to the other units. It was creepy and strange. One night, I was tempted to look through the peephole, but was afraid the women might see the shadow of my feet (there was a tiny gap space between the bottom of the door and the floor). So I covered the entire gap with a shirt. Just before midnight approached, I turned off all the lights, except for the one near the balcony (didn’t want to freak myself out in the dark). I then looked through the peephole and waited. Midnight arrived. The women were nowhere in sight, nor could I hear their voices. Five minutes past twelve, I was about to give up waiting, thinking that they weren’t going to come. I looked away from the peephole, and just when I was about to walk away from the door, I heard the doorbell, followed by them calling out whether I had newspapers. I suddenly felt scared. I wanted to look through the peephole, but I couldn’t. I was scared. I had a bad feeling about looking through the peephole. My instinct told me not to look. So I stepped away from the door and remained quiet. After a short while, the doorbell ringing and calling out stopped. I didn’t hear them anymore. But I didn’t look through the peephole to find out.

Throughout my time at the condominium, I never found out who those women were, nor did I ever see them with my own eyes.

 

Second account coming shortly…………

 

 

A Penang Story – Part 1

So it all began with this photo I saw posted by a friend on Facebook.

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To most of you, this might seem like an ordinary photo. But for me, it’s so much more. It reminds me of my other home, Penang, in Malaysia. The photo is recent, and the location of where it was taken was at a famous shopping mall nearby where I used to live when I was residing in Penang. It was where I used to go almost everyday to have my meals, meet up with friends, and do my shopping. It’s been 11 years since I was last there. When I saw this photo, I immediately became homesick. It sure hit me hard.

There are 13 states and 3 federal territories in Malaysia. But out of them, Penang is the most different state. The people, the community, the lifestyle, the environment, is somehow different from the other states/territories. If you live in one state and then move to Penang, you will automatically feel the difference. A good difference. After being magnetized by the photo, I decided that I wanted to share with you my tour of Penang via my personal thoughts, views, knowledge, and experience, with also the help of some of my Penang friends with the visuals. Instead of presenting everything in one post, I am going to divide them into categories. My tour will include some of my favourite local food where you can’t find ANYWHERE else in the world, famous streets, art, stories and gossips (both local and personal), a haunted hill and war museum, and a history of an Englishman.

Enough said. Let the tour begin.

Malaysia is a multicultural country. There is Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, and Eurasian. Therefore, the food in Malaysia is also multicultural. Some have a combination of Malay and Chinese, while others may have a combination of Chinese and Portuguese. But in the end, no matter how many cultures there are, in food and people, it all comes together as one, Malaysia.

msia24The Penang flag.

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I lived in one of those tall condominiums by the seafront back when I was residing in Penang from the beginning of 2003 till end of that year.

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What I miss the most is the food. Sure, there are Malaysian restaurants around the world. But it is never the same as home. I’ve tried many Malaysian dishes in London (where I am living), and the food never tastes the same. The food isn’t bad either, but it just doesn’t taste like home. It’s not as authentic, even though they say it is. In some restaurants, they even have the names of the food wrong. I don’t know how I’ve survived 11 years of no home food. I’ve even tried cooking some of the dishes, but they just don’t taste the same. I guess I just have to wait for some of my Malaysian friends to come and visit so that they can teach me the authentic way. Below are some of the food that are so authentic that it’s hard to find anywhere else in the world except for home.

msia12Char Kuey Teow, a noodle dish cooked in light and dark soy sauce, with egg and seafood.

msia11Noodle dish with meat or seafood dumplings. Most Malaysians like to have their dishes with iced/hot tea or coffee with milk.

msia22msia8Noodle dish in soup. This is an extremely rare dish to find in any western countries. The closest I’ll ever get to tasting the real deal is a pot noodle version from London Chinatown 😦msia14A typical noodle cafe. msia15A noodle stand.

msia7Not just is this dish rare to find in western countries, but so is the fish. I call this fish the white fish.

msia13When I saw this photo while looking through a friend’s Facebook album, I almost cried. This is my all time favourite Malaysian dessert. It is made out of rice flour and thick coconut milk. It is layered, and I have a way of eating it. I don’t like eating it as it is, or taking a bite off it. There has only been ONE way I would eat it, and that is by layers. I would gently peel off each layer and eat it. I don’t know why. It’s the only way I will eat it. There’s no other way. Every time I see this dessert, I would immediately think of my childhood. msia17Another all time favourite. Biscuit with dried coloured icing on top.

msia16Of course, how can I forget about the rice balls.

My other posts on rice balls:

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/tag/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/chinese-rice-balls/

msia1A typical Malaysian breakfast. It is a very simple dish. Bread with butter and sugar spread on top. Bread can be toasted or not, up to you. I prefer it toasted.

msia3Roti Canai, flat bread with spicy sauce.

msia21Traditional prawn curry in deliciously thick sauce. My goodness.

msia23A typical stall selling traditional desserts.

msia10Durians, also known as the smelly fruit to some. Like marmite, either you like it or you don’t. msia5Inside the durian. It does leave a strong odor on your hands afterwards. They are very expensive here in London Chinatown. Crazy expensive.

msia9Chinese buns. It is usually used for celebrations or prayers.

That’s it for the first part. To be continued.

A huge thank you to Irene Soo and Suzanne Yeang for the wonderful photos.

Chinese New Year 2014

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It is Chinese New Year 2014, the year of the horse. Many Chinese, including those of other nationalities from around the world, will be celebrating the lively, colourful, and joyous festival. It is also the time to be with family and friends. Where I am, in London-town, every year, the festival is celebrated in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square, London’s famous landmarks. Roads between Chinatown and Trafalgar Square will be closed for Chinese entertainment to take place, such as parades, acrobatics, traditional dance, singing, martial arts, Chinese celebrities appearances, and not to forget the dragon/lion dance.

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Chinese New Year delicacies.

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My favourite part of Chinese New Year is eating the Chinese rice balls. Here’s the link as a reminder for those who have forgotten about Chinese rice balls https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/ 

https://puiyinwl.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

My best friend’s mother in Malaysia recently entered a rice ball competition where she had to be creative with using rice balls in the form of art.

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I would like to thank Irene Soo and Chunkha Phen for the photos.

Happy Chinese New Year to my dearest fellow bloggers 🙂