Friday, 30 October 2015

WHO sez ...?

Phew! Made it! Thought I'd miss posting something in October.

Just doing my bit for cancer awareness.

Do share to be aware. Peace.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

I became a ghost!

Hey, guess what? I plonked this text on my FaceBook page!

Hello Dear Visitor <3

I guess you're reading this after wondering why I still have not accepted your friend request :)

Here's my take:

a) I set a limit of 50 friends, and I'm maxed out.
I can't keep up with any more than 50 and seriously, who can? lol

b) Let's get to REALLY know each other before we become FB friends.
This takes at least a few months, my dear, not a few comments.

c) Yes, it's virtual, but I seek a gracious, mutual friendship with you.
I will not ignore your comments or only click "Like" silently. I will reply. I will giggle. I will unfriend you if you don't do the same, unless you unfriend me first (dang!).

d) I'm a diecast collector, not a Friends collector, and certainly not a "Likes" collector.
If you are, then please withdraw your request cos I will swiftly lightning-slap on your unfriend button once I find out I'm just a lousy statistic to you.
Here's a reality check - could You also be a statistic to your friends? no, not a lousy one, just the normal data type <-- see? that's how nice I'll be to you.

e) So now you're thinking "she's maxed out her limit... how can she ever include me?"
Well, I unfriend freely. See c & d above. 'nuff said.

Thanks for reading. Maybe you had a bit of a laugh (or a frown). Good luck on your pending friend request to me. God Bless.

Your possible friend,

Yes, I do have a queue of Friend Requests. I decided not to delete them cos I thought I’d see how things turn out between us, but who knows? They may very well pull out their request after reading my post above & *gasp*... Block me!

Yeah, so what? No way am I going to be so lame as to lose sleep by staying awake all night sulking and upset about it... sheesh! well, not anymore anyway... ok, 2 hours tops, promise.

It was actually kinda fun guessing what could possibly have gone through that person’s raging-bull mind to shut me out and damn me to hell like that. I mean, they actually take the trouble to accurately spell out my full username (I should have made it longer!), make EXACTLY sure it’s me (there are hundreds of Angel Tans virtually floating out there), grab that mouse again & click “Block”. Poof! I immediately become a ghost.

They can see others mention my name, laugh at my jokes, ask me questions, but shhh... I’m not visible... Woooooo...

and I can’t see them either. Creepy fun, ain’t it?

I got blocked for the first time (by two Singaporeans, mind you, and on the same day) more than a year ago. They’re friends or cousins or something, together with me in the same FB food group. I was just asking for help from the guy on a cooking dilemma. I private messaged him (the method he suggested didn’t work & I didn’t want to embarrass him by asking openly in the group for all to see), he advised me all nice & friendly, then one hour later BOOM! The three of us became ghosts.

The female one (we’ll call her “The Addict”) was actually stalking me in the group and at one point I wanted to block HER. She made me real nervous to just log in! SHE was scary...

She would also suddenly take a very keen interest in any unsuspecting person (whom she’d never bothered with before) who showed me more attention, especially with a good conversation, as if to compete for them.

Once I caught on to this, I just felt it was so unfair to those people. Till today, I can’t do anything about it... shucks!

I mean, how would I start? Something like this?

“Hello, (insert unsuspecting person’s name) do you really think (insert stalker’s name) gives a hoot about you and your financial problems? How come her fingers were too lazy to click “Like” on your posts in the past, until you and I had that nice, long chat yesterday, and you tagged me today and we LOL non-stop? Wow! Did you so think the French/Spanish/Portuguese phrases she floods all over your post was because her stalker heart cares to sincerely bond with you? I know her husband’s lineage is part this, part that & part the exotic country you’re from – she’s used this to death every chance she gets. He probably had to fill out a form and he won cos he’s got the most cocktail-mixed elite heritage she’s looking for, to boast for all eternity. Yes, we suspect he is possibly part-Martian, too.”

I sound bitchy, don’t I? You don’t believe me, do you? I don’t believe it myself.

I can’t even hold a matchstick to her outstanding scholarly achievements. How can a highly academically accomplished person become so addicted to an FB food group as to go all out to stalk & block an itty-bitty little homemaker like me?

What threat do I pose? For goodness sake, I happily cook, clean, take care of my sick mom, live on a budget and don’t travel anymore (I did say “budget”).

So what do you think? Jealousy? I became a tiny bit too popular at times? Does that even make sense? Come on, everyone has their days on the net. I’m just glad to have fun & laughter when it comes along.

I am a cheerful person and do enjoy everyday delights. I smile when I see flowers in the roadside bush, pet dogs out for a walk, puffy clouds, seniors having a game of chess, raindrops on my window, friends having a chat over coffee. In our virtual world, I applaud witty comments by anyone; I cheer the funny ones!

Yup, I was born happy.

I don’t need diamonds, haute couture or expensive bacon, and certainly not a gazillion “Likes” or boasting about the snowy European country where I’m skiing, to bring me joy. These are all transient. These all I’ve done.

I found it to be a self-centred mess, which is now my faraway past.

So back to The Addict, I really don’t see anything in my life for anyone to feel the slightest tinge of envy... unless...


Could it be she is an unhappy person?

With all her degrees, luxury food, boastings, virtual fame & money to burn, I think The Addict subconsciously knows that these things do not bring lasting happiness, but it’s gonna take time for that epiphany to reach her heart.

So I guess I was too hasty (and, yeah ok, bitchy) to judge her. Empathy is the better choice here.

Do you know of anyone in your life (incuding yourself) who is jealous of someone who has less, but is more happy than they are?

Tell them it only seems that way.

Tell them to peer into their hearts and have a look-see. Their true happiness is within their reach.

Oh ya, and For God’s sake, tell them to unblock me, please! Thanks.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

I grovelled...

Mom landed in hospital... no, wait... I can do a better intro.

So I lost April, May & June - do you know why? Mom landed in hospital... gasp!
Hmmm... One more try, ok?

(clears throat)
My mobile buzzed like crazy. I felt a cold tinge of strangeness in the air.
A quiet darkness swirled in my anxious head.  The voice spoke.
Mom landed in hospital. I hung up.

Not bad, huh?

No, I DIDN’T hang up – sheesh! Of course I got the ward details & immediately rushed down with hubby to see her.

Fast forward to now and all her tests results are okay - Thank you, God!

She’s fine. My mommy’s alright again.

I’m shuttling between her place and mine more often now, but in the 3 months mentioned,  I had hardly any time or strength to pick up a wok, so it’ll just be ‘Angel Laughs’ for now till I get cooking proper, people.

It’s not easy to just pick up from where I last cooked. It’s 3 months not 3 weeks, mind you!

I’ll probably start with something simple like fried taugay (bean sprouts), fried fish and something that was around for donkey decades that I just discovered at food courts due to my zero cooking.

Pork Ribs, Lotus Root and Peanuts Soup, right next to my hot rice & light soy sauce dip, infused with bird’s eye chillies, makes me a happy food blogger. Wholesome goodness & the dip brings home the zing! in my meal. The soup is a rich brown with glistening slices of lotus root, that winks temptingly at me. I usually succumb nowadays.

Let’s see, what else did I stumble upon? Oh ya, MOS Burger’s Kakiage Rice Burger!

This one you must try! I know it may look strange-ish, but believe me it’s like chowing down on wok-fried zhi char* with chewy rice. The flavor pops and at first bite, you immediately wonder why you never ordered it before, like I did. Scallop, prawn & asparagus never had it so GOOD!

It comes piping, finger-stinging hot so it’s best to let it cool down a bit or your tongue can’t taste anything, but ouch!

Ok, one more thing I discovered and it’s not food. It’s mom.

I rediscovered that my mom can still affect me when she does that one thing. It’s something  others also do that never comes close to affecting me.

First of all, you know those moms who don’t ever complain no matter how sick they are? My mom’s not like that. She bites.

It’s not surprising I broke down tired & quarrel-weary many times in my dutiful attempts to make her recovery as comfortable as I could. Together with my sister, we struggled to understand why she didn’t want to stick to her new & heavily restricted diet, and why the heck’s she snapping at us for? We’re not the ones who said no salt, lowest sugar and just 1 litre of water per day. Oh ya, don’t forget cholesterol is a no-no, too. Did I mention we also had to get her moving around and exercise to smoothly slide pass constipation?

Amidst all these argument-filled afternoons & bargaining nights, she just needed to do one thing that immediately got me silent & sorry. Cry.

I grovelled like a starving beggar asking for a crumb of forgiveness. Sorry I yelled. Sorry I was slow. Sorry I was asleep. Sorry I made you cry, again.

Just one teardrop quietly flowing down her cheek and I swear I could hear a crack in my heart so loud, I once cried along with her.

The sadness didn’t last long though. She straightened up, looked at me and exclaimed,”Aiyah! Why you so silly to cry? How are you going to take care of me like that? Come, come we have some kueh** and forget all about this. Silly girl!”

Yup, that’s my darling mom and I’ll bet it’s the same with yours. Lucky us.

*  zhi char is restaurant style cooking found in Singapore’s coffeeshops.
**kueh refers to Nyonya kueh. C’mon, just google it.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Thank you, Mr Lee.

Click photo for full size view

Mentor, Father, Friend of our country, you loved us so much to give us your Best.

You saw us as your children; our young land as your Home.

Thank you, Mr. Lee.

You are my childhood. You are my adulthood. You are my Singapore.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Caught me staring at her husband...

Warning: Reader discretion advised. This entry contains scenes that you may find disturbing... well, I sure did!

It’s Sunday. I’m resting in the seating area of Takashimaya Shopping Centre’s baby department.

Children are laughing, crying and talking non-stop. I see a baby screaming red in the face while the grandfather is gently rocking him in his arms, softly talking to him. He starts to calm down (the baby, not the adult) and we’re back to happy.

A young mid-twenties mother, carrying a quilted bag, arrives with her newborn (and I really mean newborn as this kid can’t possible hold a one-word conversation, let alone hold his own head up). She sits & skilfully whips out a full milk bottle from the bag, while still cradling & cooing to the little sweetie.

Young husband arrives with the pram; two bigger quilted bag are hanging on it. He starts shuffling for someting in one of the pram bags... oh it’s his iPad. He scrolls fast.

Mother gives that bottle a couple of good shakes and feeds it to her baby. Fast as lightning, without missing a beat, father shoves the iPad cartoon screen in front of the child, blocking his own fatherly face and distracting from mother’s motherly gaze.

What the... ? I was stunned. I sat there with eyebrows raised for 5 seconds. I lowered them when the mother caught me staring at her husband.

This man held up the device, unflinchingly for the full 8 minutes or so, it took the little munchkin to quietly finish drinking his milk. Congratulations, Sir - You are an iDad.

Not a single word was exchanged between the couple either. It was as if they’d rehearsed this scene a million times to dullsville. It’s now a mime performance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?

For the life of me, I remember mothers always looking with utter adoration at their babies during milk time, no question about it. As much as possible, proud fathers would make funny faces to entertain their newborns at all times.

He sees your eyes, nose, mouth and ears. He sees your cheeks perk up when you smile. He hears your voice when you laugh. He sees you, his dear mother & father. He shouldn’t be looking at a flat screen device just yet. He’s a baby!

Should I have said something to the uncommunicative parents? I honestly didn’t think I’d get through to these two, so I just sat there for the full 8 minutes and sighed.

Bored, I started making up excuses for them.

1. They are runaway aliens in human form. They mustn’t speak lest the Interstellar Police radar picks up their vocal signals.

2. The baby is a robot. A first generation robot baby that looks & does everything human, except for one glitch - when he cries, he picks up the local radio station or police intercom, whichever is nearer. They couldn’t risk the kid making a sound at not wanting to be fed.

3. They actually ARE mime performers hired by the shopping centre. A travelling one.

4. There’s no milk in there. It’s one of those bottles that fake the liquid disappearing. The kid hates this joke his parents play on him, but he’ll go along with it since he gets the cartoon.

5. It’s a reality advertisement for iPad.

6. This is one of those hidden camera Gotcha! kinda thing and I’ll be famous real soon. Anytime soon. Sooner than this blog will make me, dang it!

7. The store thinks I’m a celebrity, or a shoplifter, and the two adults are plainclothes security staff ready to protect me or pounce on me. The baby is a robot (see Number 2).

8. They are after my latest culinary discovery, Furikake French Toast and here’s the simple oh-so-delicious recipe. Enjoy!

Furikake French Toast

It smells Incredibly tempting
2 slices white bread, cut into 8 triangles
2 small eggs, beaten
1 tbsp, or more, Furikake (I use the Mishima brand; see last pic)
Chopped cilantro, optional
White pepper, to taste
Dash of sesame oil

Heat up a non-stick pan.
Mix all the ingredients, except the white bread.
Dip and thoroughly coat a triangle of bread into the egg mixture.
Fry both sides of the bread till egg is cooked.
Repeat for all the triangles of bread.
Serve hot.

Quick & Easy Snack

Friday, 6 February 2015

Unpredictable Mixture...

I heard sizzling & saw a stream of smoke billowing by me. Someone had walked past carrying a Fried Saba on a Hotplate. I closed my eyes in ecstasy; the saucy fragrance slowly enveloped my senses like some temptress executing a sultry pole dance. It was utterly tantalizing! I couldn’t resist.

I love trying new foods and Korean cuisine is one of those that I really like... now. It took quite a while, years actually, to find really great Korean cooking at a reasonable price. The first time I ate kimchee (with a bland soup & rice) in a food court made me wonder how much salt exists in the Korean diet. It was that heavily salted, really bad...

I didn’t touch anymore of this foreign food for over 5 years. Then came the smoky Saba temptress. I ordered in a flash. The mackerel had shiny skin like a polished jewel. It is one of those times you can’t wait to sink your teeth in. It was fantastic and I quickly caught up with lost time by ordering it every chance I got.

The kimchee, on the other hand, was still as crazy salty as 5 years before. Thank goodness they usually give just a few slices. It didn’t put me off eating the fish though. I happily ate it for all it’s worth, but ignored the kimchee again.

One day, the adventurous side of me decided to point at the ‘Beebimbap’ on the wall menu. I cradled the bowl to my table & enthusiastically mixed it up.

Bad choice! It was all cold ingredients and tasteless. The sauce and vegetables had no taste. The fried egg had no taste (is this even possible?). Fortunately, the rice had ‘rice’ taste. I slapped my hand to my forehead when I realised that I had just bought the most expensive bowl of plain rice in my entire life.

I ran back to the Fried Saba and stayed faithful for another long stretch of time, safe in my smoky comfort zone. All hunky-Dory Fish, well mackerel actually.

However, stuck not so deep in my subconscious, I couldn’t shake off the nagging fact that kimchee is Korea’s National Dish. I also keep seeing Beebimbap popping up happily everywhere in my KBS drama serials.

It finally turned around.

I just had to give Beebimbap another chance after seeing this elderly gentleman earnestly tossing & mixing it up, at my first visit to the new Kopitiam food court in Suntec City. He took one spoonful and as he chewed, he shook his head with a ‘Praise-the-Lord-for-this-Dish’ expression.

I couldn’t argue the look on his face. I don’t think he paid with an Amex card, but it was Priceless.

I ordered and in a flash, it was ready. The egg yolk was raw & stood on top in the middle of the bowl, looking at me with a cute custard wobble. I swirled it into the sauce below. The rest of the mixing came carefully with me singing a little prayer in my head hoping I didn’t waste my lunch money.

I picked up a full rounded spoonful of this ‘unpredictable mixture’... looked ok; smelled ok. I chewed... slowly.

The euphoria came like a desperate bowling strike in very slow motion. Incredible is the mildest word I can think of, to describe the layers of supreme flavors that excited my tastebuds all at once. I tasted savoury egg, fragrant sesame oil, prickly chilli, uber fresh veggies, warm pepper, cool cucumber and such delicious rice! I certainly got much more value than what I paid. It is an authentic Beebimbap.

I asked the nice staff for the name of the company. It’s called ‘Han Ga Wi’. I dived in to the rest of the menu.

Oh Kimchee! What sensational soups they whipped up & they cook the Ultimately hands-down juiciest BEST Fried Saba I have ever greedily gobbled up! Just look at it! Isn’t it Gorgeous?

Click this photo for a better view
The top prize is the kimchee. It is the undisputed stand-alone Most savoury, delicious & well-marinated napa cabbage EVER! You will thank me for it! I requested for a nice pile and they kindly obliged, as you can see.

I confidently say to you – Don’t ever give up looking for Great Cooking. It may take awhile, and some experimenting, but you don’t want to miss these confetti events.

Food is a Journey. It will take you further than you ever thought you would travel, to cultures you will welcome with joy.

Food is a Love Story. It’s like an emotional meeting with a long lost love after years of searching, finally finding each other’s embrace and growing old together.

Food is Life. Mine and Yours.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

not entirely my fault...

(Best not to read this while you’re eating. Come back when you’re done, ok?)

One thing I wish they’d stop is the abstract arty restroom signs for restaurants & malls. I have absolutely no time to analyze any of it!

There I am, legs crossed, trying to figure out which is my loo. Recognisable images don’t help much either. Is it the sun or the moon, beer mug or tall glass, fried egg or hard-boiled egg? 

Tough choice silhouettes make me go eenie-meanie-miney-mo. Is mine the spider’s web or blackbird’s nest, eagle or humming bird (which also looks like a landing hawk... ).

Thank God I know how different the lion & lioness look like! I also got scooter & motorbike correct, by the way.

As it happens to everyone, I did walk into the wrong loo a few times by accident. If this has not happened to you yet, just wait.

1st time

I got as far as soaping my hands when these two gentlemen walked in.

One shrieked like a girl (split second I thought he was one), while the other immediately U-turned to check the sign at the entrance. Still not realising that I was in the Gent’s, I frowned and shouted, “Hey, get out!”

The ‘girl’ pointed his index finger at me and proclaimed, “YOU Get Out!”

I didn’t get to finish soaping my hands and I don’t go to that mall anymore...

2nd time

I feel this time it’s not entirely my fault. The mall made both the entrances directly opposite each other along a rather narrow corridor.

The hand dryer was out of order in mine and I saw another just four steps into the room opposite. Thinking it’s the diaper changing one for babies, I casually went in and started to dry my hands, all the while facing the noisy machine.

I sensed someone walk out briskly behind me. I heard someone else clear the throat, then a cough. There was a flush and murmuring. There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned around. This time I was the one who shrieked.

I apologised profusedly blaming the mall’s lousy floor planning. They told me to ‘Please stop talking. Just Go Out!’

I ran out.

3rd time

On an overseas trip, I walked out of the Ladies’ and while trying to find my way to the hotel lobby, I wandered into what looked like a lounge (hey, there were flowers ok!), but turned out to be the swanky Gent’s.

Noticing the BOSS colognes, different fixtures, and from past experience, I got that Titanic-sinking feeling that I was in the wrong place... again. I turned to rush out, but came face to face with the Chef Concierge. Shriek!

He kindly directed me to the exit after jokingly lecturing me to not be so curious about how the men’s loos in other countries look like & that it's not part of the hotel tour. I think he must've blabbed/blogged about me cos after that, the other staff seemed somewhat amused whenever I approached them for sightseeing directions.

So there you have it – not a pretty part of my life, but true. I certainly don’t plan these things (who does?) even when I’m bored. I much prefer to cook or bake in the quiet comfort of my kitchen – it’s quite shriek-free there.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

I’ll get even... Just you Wait!

Is your new year getting off to a great start?

Did you look back and smile with ‘What a lovely, happy year I had’ or did you yell ‘Damn you, 2014! I’ll get even... Just you Wait!’

I’m somewhere in the middle. Sort of like ‘What the... ? Hey, I’m not finished yet!’
So many fabulous things I wanted to happen to me that didn’t last year.

I wish 2014 had given me:

1. A New Talent.
Singing would be nice or maybe being able to read people’s minds and telepathically reply. That’s kinda creepy, I know, but helluva lot of FUN, doncha think?

2. Better Hair.
I think that crazy teenage perm of mine has forever damaged all my strands. Shucks! (kicks dirt)

3. That uncanny dexterity to text with both thumbs at super speed.
How come they never make a mistake or maybe they’re autocorrect-proof?

4. The courage to skateboard, rollerblade & bungee jump!
Ok, maybe not bungee jump cos that’s just plain stupid... I mean scary... no wait, I mean stupid AND scary! Yep, that’s it!

5. Big Lottery Winnings. Do I really need to explain this?

6. Teleporting Power.
I’ve SO wanted this ever since I saw it on Star Trek! Useful for when I’m stuck in traffic, or in the wrong loo (funny & curse-worthy story this is – tell ya about it next week).

7. A Green Thumb.
I have corridor space for nature, but no skills whatsoever with plants. Repotting anything equals certain death. None survive more than coupla months before they pack up & ‘leaf’ for good.

8. A Supermodel Face & Body – Please! Do I really, Really need to explain this, too?

Tell you what, I’ll explain how to cook a really delicious, healthy fish dish instead.

I present the wonderfully famous ‘Teochew Steamed Fish’. It is incredible slurpy goodness & you finally get to solve the puzzle of how to use those odd metal tongs you bought!

Teochew Steamed Fish – White Pomfret

Important Notes
• Fish MUST be fresh, not frozen, as it is going to be steamed.
• Your steamer MUST be Hot before putting in the fish!
• Your steamer must not be too hot or the outside of the fish will overcook; it should be a steady steam, not gushing steam.

• The fish is generally cooked once the eye turns white & pops out a bit, but you can cut & check the flesh near the bone, to make sure.

• This dish must be served Hot. Try & turn the fish quickly (but carefully) once out of the steamer.

1 Fresh White Pomfret – gut & rinse, then score as shown in photo.
1 or 2 salted plums - mash & remove seed
Spring onions - cut into 5cm strips, incl thick white part
Cilantro - cut into 1 cm strips, some long sprigs for garnish
Kiam chye - sliced ½ cm thick (aka salted mustard green)
Red chillies - slice into strips
Tomato - slice into 8 segments
Ginger - slice into strips, some into flat rounds
Light soy sauce
Sesame Oil
White pepper
Msg, optional

Start your steamer.
Stuff the fish scores with ginger strips, stuff the gut area with ginger rounds.
In a steaming plate, place the thick parts of the spring onions around the middle, slightly apart.
Distribute most of the cut ingredients around it.
Place the fish on top.
Spread the rest of the ingredients around the fish (not on the fish, except the cilantro).
In a small bowl, mix some water, dash of sesame oil, light soy sauce, white pepper and msg (the amount should more or less come up to touch the bottom half of the fish).
Pour over the fish.
Steam for about 15 mins. Check to see fish is cooked.
Once cooked, remove from steamer using tongs (see photo).
Carefully turn the fish over, for the top side to now absorb the stock, while you eat the already soaked side.
Garnish with cilantro sprigs & Serve Hot!

Use these metal tongs to easily raise hot plates out of the steamer.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

one small Horrible thing...

My mom ruled my crown of glory till I started working. Did yours?

I just went along with whatever hair-raising styles she chose. I didn’t want to chance losing dinner by protesting - this wonderlady mama of mine cooks the best food ever!

My china doll haircut - looks so adorable on most kids, but somehow it failed to take off for me. I blame it on Slim Whitman’s ‘China Doll’ song that was a favorite of mom’s back then. That and also my lack of cute cheekbones combined with uncute small eyes – you really need Bambi peepers to support such a demanding frame.

My mini eyes happened around the era of ‘Not double eyelid, Not Big, Not Nice!’ for girls. Tons of magazines pumped up this belief by featuring doe-eyed models & movie stars as Supreme Goddesses of Beauty.

At birthday phototakings, mom would be behind the photographer, both hands doing a ‘twinkle, twinkle little star’ action and earnestly shouting ‘make your eyes bigger, Bigger’ at me. I’d intensely widen my eyes, even raising my brows as high as I could.

This gave every one of my pics a stunned, glaring expression. Luckily, being too busy taking instructions from my director mother, I didn’t smile into the camera. If not, I imagine I’d have ended up looking like Nicholson’s maniacal best in ‘The Shining’.

Then mom decided that I’d look really sweet with long ponytails swishing on either side of my head. She tied them so tight I swear they pulled my slitty eyes narrower. I couldn’t feel my head till she removed the rubber bands after school. That sudden gush of relief was one of the highlights of my day.

However, I really missed my ponytail episodes when, at 14, mom announced that (gasp) I should cut my hair ‘short, short’ to make it ‘easy, easy’ for me. I nearly fainted.

I was mistaken for a boy three times, twice in the ladies loo. I began to daydream of mass printing 365 T-shirts that read something like ‘The Person in this T-shirt is a GIRL!’ or ‘If you think I’m a male, you’re Dead Meat!’

Tugging at my hair before sleeping in the hope that it would grow faster and magically transform into gorgeously long, blonde Rapunzel locks by morning just made me giddy with headaches. This was as good as shaving me bald.

I sulked at my short hair all the way through secondary school right up to two years of co-ed junior college, where I had my very first BIG crush. It was Cruel – he thought I was a boy...

I was too infatuated to call him cock-eyed, so I got up from behind my desk, composed myself and casually said that it’s a common mistake because I am... er... 'tall for a girl'.

He kept a distance. I adored from afar. Nothing else to report.

No, wait... there is one small, horrible thing to report.

The Friday before the final two days, I was still hoping to stir up a little attraction. You know, maybe then he’ll ask for my number, I get my fairytale wedding, Veneno & we’d live jet-settingly happily ever after.

Right after classes, without telling mom, armed with a doe-eyed magazine, and my overgrown pixie hair, I went straight to the hairdresser’s and asked for the first perm of my life - an exact one that was featured on page 21. The model looked absolutely Gorgeous!

Five hours later, my hair looked absolutely Grotesque! Every strand turned out like a tight spring stretched out. In short, my crowning glory was a black candy floss. I was too shocked to cry.

They had kept saying how thick my hair was and how ‘difficult’ it was for the lotion to work, all the while dabbing more & more of it onto the thin curlers. Once the horror was revealed, they sweetly said they weren’t going to charge me for the extra dabbings. I paid. I walked home. People stared.

I locked myself in the bedroom immediately. Mom knocked gently and asked if I was sick. I didn’t answer. She shouted & banged loudly. I opened the door...

At this point, I want to take the opportunity to say that no matter what, our moms are the superheroes in our lives. Mine certainly is.

She can sense at Mach speed that something’s wrong with her china doll baby (me!) - it’s as if she developed some sort of high level Lucy* ESP during those months of my foetal accomodation. Moms also vow eternal love regardless of how much we screw up our studies, work and life, but most of all, they jump in to rescue you from that crucial worst hair day. Mine certainly did.

She marched me back to the salon after a comforting cup of tea and a reassuring talk. The hairdresser straightened out as much as she could; the stubborn wiry perm became shiny thick waves, very similar to that of a Yorkshire Terrier.

Still not desirable, I know, but given the choice, it was much better than the candy floss... and given the choice again, I really didn’t want to go back to school on Monday with this fur on my head, but I did. I had to. I promised my mom not to chicken out the moment we left the shop – I was high on gratitude and did it without thinking.

Did he notice me? I’ll never know, because I never got to see him at all. Maybe he decided to skip the last two days. Maybe he took one look, shuddered & ran off in terror staying hidden till the end. No Biggie. I got something better.

I got to understand that I shouldn’t charge at things when inexperienced. I got to realise that it’s wrong to do sneaky stuff behind someone’s back. I got to kick myself for promising too fast. I got to painfully swallow my self-centred, youthful, tough-as-nails pride, and for the first time ever, say ‘Sorry’ followed by ‘Please help me’.

Above all else, I got to know that my mom has super powers and that she’ll still love this daughter even though she sported a shiny doggie perm to impress a teenage crush.

* that cool movie starring Scarlett Johansson

p/s: Next week, I'll sneak in a recipe. Promise!