Happy International Women’s Day to my amazing mother, Helen. As a little girl, my mother was made fun of for being timid. She regretted not standing up for herself. So being the only child in the family, the only girl, the female, my mother taught me how to be strong and not let anyone, especially in the male dominating career world, to bully, tease or put me down. She told me that a girl, a female, a woman, whichever way you want to put it, can be just as strong and powerful as anyone despite of their status and background and achieve anything. My father taught and showed me strength from the outside, but my mother was the emotional backbone which holds me together. Without her courage and wisdom, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and doing what I love most on my own.
Happy International Women’s Day, Mummy!
Christmas is here, and for the Chinese a few days before Christmas Day, it’s Happy Solstice Day. During this time, many Chinese around the world would make rice balls, also known as tong yuen or tang yuan (in Chinese). You could say it’s like Thanksgiving for the Chinese people, an important tradition. The rice balls are made out of glutinous rice flour in the form of play dough, and they are made into many small round balls. Amongst the many small rice balls, a very few large ones are made where some of them have fillings in it such as crushed peanuts, black sesame and red beans. I’ve never been a fan of the ones with fillings. I’ve always preferred my rice balls plain and simple. Colourings are also added to make the rice balls look bright and colourful. Rice balls are always made with close friends and families together as it symbolizes the importance of closeness and bonding.
Some Chinese are very peculiar about the ’roundness’ of the rice balls. They believe that the more ‘perfectly’ round the rice balls are, the stronger the closeness and bonding there is. Just like with my mother, she would always inspect the ’roundness’ of my rice balls. And if any of the rice balls are not as round as it should be, she would sigh loudly and re-rolled them until they were perfect to her, even if it meant re-rolling every single (200 plus) rice balls.
Afterwards, the rice balls are boiled twice in boiling water. The first round is to give them a wash. And in the second and final round, rock sugars, ginger and pandan leaves (pandanus amaryllifolius) are added into the water to give it its final flavour. When it’s done, share and serve the rice balls in small bowls. Those are the ingredients I would add to the ‘soup’ base, but there are also other flavourings used such as brown sugar or rice wine.
I’ve written a couple of posts on Chinese rice balls which you can check out or even learn to make.
How to make Chinese Rice Balls
Chinese New Year 2014
The Story of Nian
Chinese Rice Balls
Happy Solstice Day!!!
Photo credits to Suzanne Yeang, Chloe Wong, Irene Soo, Lydiana ‘Wewe’ Siti and Phen.
A late post from late last year. Who We Were has achieved a five-star review by Readers’ Favorite.
Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite.
“Who We Were by Puiyin Labial is a story about destiny and the incredible truth that people could be bound together by threads that are mysterious and intangible. With an international setting in China and the US, the reader follows the lives of two compelling characters, a young boy and girl who feel a powerful attraction for each other, an affection that is foiled by insane family traditions. They will meet again in high school, this time in the US, and feel irresistibly drawn to each other. But their attraction is hindered once more. As adults, Jace and Melodi meet again, this time each successfully pursuing their professions. Are they bound to be together or are these mere coincidences? They will learn the truth after a painful tragedy. Will they be able to stick together this one last time?
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the reader-friendly writing — simple, crisp, and fluid. From the start, the reader will appreciate the realism that is injected into the writing. The characters are well developed with solid backgrounds. The author did a great job in integrating the backgrounds of the key characters into the narrative, with Melodi excelling as a writer and Jace devoted to his career as a doctor. The story is cleverly plotted, leaving the reader with so much guessing to do. I quickly learned to care about these characters from the very beginning and couldn’t help having the feeling of a strange familiarity with them. Who We Were is a beautiful story that reminds readers that we know more than we are often aware of, and that our connections could go beyond our dreams and expectations. Puiyin Labial weaves strong themes like love, family, and human connections seamlessly into a story that is gripping and real.”
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.
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.
“The lady stopped writing and turned to look at him. As soon as he saw her, he stopped abruptly, suddenly lost for words. Looking back at him was the most beautiful face he had ever seen, probably about the same age as him, in her mid-twenties. Stunned by her beauty he couldn’t help but stare as he felt he was looking into the face of an angel. He had never seen such beauty before. She had the most exquisite, fair, soft-looking complexion. She had beautifully almond-shaped, light brown eyes and her medium-sized lips were painted red, making her appear slightly sultry.”
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.