Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas is coming very soon!

Hey there! As the title of this post says, we're celebrating yet another Christmas, despite all the doomsday hype about yesterday's Mayan end-of-the-world prediction. For those of us who believe, no one will know the time or the hour, not even the angels, only God. The day came and went uneventfully for us.

This past week, we've been occupied with daily life and last-minute Christmas shopping. Every year end, we end up broke due to year-end travel, year-end sales, Christmas gifts, school holiday activities, book sales, school fees for next year and back-to-school expenses! We've also been occupied with nightly rehearsals for 'Everlasting Light', a Christmas musical we're participating in. In fact, we just returned an hour ago from the final dress rehearsal, with one more last practice on Christmas eve morning before the actual performance that evening.

This is C's first time taking part in a relatively large scale church Christmas production, while I'm helping out backstage. This brings back memories of my own participation in my primary school's annual Christmas cantata. I remember dressing up in a white flowy gown with angel wings once ( I guess I played the part of one of the angels heralding the birth of Jesus). I also remember singing all the carols in the choir. And I remember singing in a few Christmas productions during university days too.

Christmas is a time of joy and reflection. Besides celebrating it with food and presents, it is a reminder of the good news of salvation, peace and hope.

Here's wishing one and all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Enjoy this medley from the musical 'Everlasting Light':

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Children's theatre, adult's movie

On Sunday afternoon, C went with two of her cousins, uncle and aunt, to watch a children's play called 'Kleting Kuning and the Giant Crab'. It was held at PJ Live Arts at Jaya One. She enjoyed herself . I was told there was some audience participation and she volunteered and got chosen to be the 'scroll bearer' and ended up getting all wrapped up in the scroll it seems. I guess the theatre people tried to make things fun and funny for the kids to enjoy. From the PJ Live Arts website, the synopsis for the play says this:

Kleting Kuning is often bullied by her sisters, who jealously compete for the hand of a mysterious stranger. A fierce giant crab threatens to destroy their dreams but the quick-thinking (and quick-moving) Kleting Kuning with her MMA (Martial & Magic Arts) skills has some surprises for him! Find out if her dreams come true in this interactive stage adaptation of a classic Javanese folk tale!
Box of Delights Theatre for Children strives to entertain, educate and inspire young audiences by drawing from legends, literature, and historical lore of different cultures from around the world. Directed by Marina Tan, each show offers interactive, energetic, playful performances featuring wholesome, inspiring, sometimes thought-provoking and often wildly entertaining dialogue and song.
Box of Delights: KLETING KUNING & THE GIANT CRAB is performed in English and runs for approximately 45 minutes.


 
While C was at the play, E and I killed time while waiting by catching 'Life of Pi' at a cinema nearby. The movie was good but like most screen adaptations of novels, there was some artistic licence used. Some scenes which were not in the original novel were included, and usually it's some romantic scenario, which in this movie it was. We felt it was not quite necessary as it didn't impact the entire movie that much.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - places to visit

ACE spent four days, three nights in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the first week of the school holidays. It was an adventurous experience having to go everywhere in a tuk tuk as that was the cheapest, fastest and most convenient mode of transport in the busy, traffic-choked city. The traffic on Phnom Penh (PP) streets is rather haphazard compared to KL roads. Vehicles are driven on the right-side of the road and there's hardly any traffic light junctions so one has to be very brave driving there considering the number of cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks moving around very closely to each other.
 
 
It is best to wear a face mask, especially if you have nasal allergies like C, when on the roads of PP as the air is rather polluted with dust and vehicle fumes.
 
If your hotel is within the city centre, a tuk tuk ride to almost anywhere you wish to go would cost you USD2. The drivers would usually ask for more but it is not too hard to negotiate it down to USD2. Agree on the price first before you board the tuk tuk.
 
We visited the Silver Pagoda, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, National Museum, Sisowath Quay, Russian Market and Central Market. You may Google or read other travel websites for more details of each place as there's too much to write if I were to provide all the information. Here are some pictures and info of the places.
 
 
 Statue of Buddha under a Bodhi tree at the entrance to the Silver Pagoda
 
 A stupa inside the compound of Silver Pagoda
 
 The Silver Pagoda is a temple within the Royal Palace grounds. It is called 'Silver' because the entire floor inside is laid with silver tiles. The silver was mined in Cambodia but sent to France to be made. Each tile weighs more than 1 kg.
 

 There is a scaled-down replica of the Angkor Wat in the Silver Pagoda grounds. Angkor Wat is in Siem Reap, outside of Phnom Penh. It takes a six-hour bus journey to get there from Phnom Penh.
 

 The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is also known as the S21 Prison. This was where Cambodians captured by the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot were detained, interrogated and tortured for confessions. The victims were then taken to the Killing Fields (15 km away) to be killed and buried in mass graves.
 
 A room where a victim was detained and shackled to the bed frame, fed only with about 3 tablespoons of poridge daily.
 
 small detention cells measuring 1 metre in width
 
 Graves of the last 14 victims found dead at S21 after the Khmer Rouge was toppled.
 
 A structure within the Royal Palace grounds facing the Mekong river, currently mourning the late Prince Norodom Sihanouk who is lying in state in the palace until his cremation in Feb 2013. Until then, the Royal Palace is closed to visitors.
 
 Wat Ounalom, a temple at the quayside, said to be the centre of Cambodian Buddhism. We did not enter this temple.
 
 Sisowath Quay by the Mekong river.
 
A sculpture at the quayside.
 
 The National Museum is located near the Silver Pagoda/Royal Palace. It takes about 10 minutes to walk there. It showcases artifacts from ancient Khmer and also gives a detailed look at research done of Angkor Wat.
 
 Central Market is located near Sorya Shopping Centre, one of the more modern malls in PP. It is more organised than Russian Market. Sells lots of semi-precious stone jewellery, accessories, bags, clothes, household wares, souvenirs and also has a wet market section selling fresh produce.
 
A stall selling local crafts such as scarves, bags, silk...
 

 A flower stall on the outer periphery of the Russian Market
 
 A fruit stall outside the Russian Market.
 
 Inside the Russian Market, a maze of narrow alleys flanked by small stalls crowded with loads of 'antique' ware, clothes, souvenirs, bags, silk, handicraft, household wares, hardware, machinery, wet market, food stalls....
 
 
Other places you could visit in Cambodia:
 
Choueng Ek Killing Fields
Independence Monument
Historical sites like the Angkor Archaeological Park (Angkor Wat)
Bokor National Park
Siem Reap
Kompong Chom
Koh Kong
Sihanoukvile

 
 
 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

School holidays are here!

We are in the second week of the school holidays. As I'm writing this, I'm recovering from a mild flu which I caught upon returning last week from a four-day visit to Cambodia. We had chosen to visit Phnom Penh after rather intensive deliberations within a week, from the aspects of airfare and accommodation cost, weather, travel time, and of course, suitable sights and food to suit both young and old. Lately, our short holidays have been rather last-minute in terms of actually deciding to take a holiday to deciding on where to go and what to do. Somehow, we always hardly have the pleasure of planning way ahead for holidays....

We're taking this week slowly as we recuperate from our travel and sickness (C's cough has been a prolonged one and she also had a fever for two days a few days ago). There's still the music classes and BM tuition for her to get back into momentum again, while my writing has been on the backburner for a bit too long...

And there's the Christmas shopping to start on too, although I still don't get it as to why we need to spend so much effort and money on getting presents and on feasting. Yes, Christmas is a time of celebration but I much prefer a quieter reflective one once awhile, and maybe give presents to the less fortunate instead of ourselves. C is involved in a church musical on Christmas eve so there's the additional practice sessions to attend starting December, which is just over a week away (!)

Although this year-end school holiday is seven weeks long, I foresee it whizzing past pretty quickly. While there's a lot one can do and be productive in seven weeks, especially for those super-achiever moms who somehow manage to get their kids into a myriad of activities indoors and outdoors, I'm resigned to the fact that I can't be, and don't want to be one of those. I'm sapped of energy just coping with the daily demands of life. As long as C covers the minimum requirements in terms of playing and learning, I shall try not to allow myself to get caught up with getting her to be a 'high-achiever' in every field.

I will certainly write a pictorial account about Phnom Penh soon, so you just have to wait if you're curious about what we did, saw, experienced and ate! Meanwhile I shall leave you with a picture of an eye-opening experience we had at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which detailed the atrocities inflicted upon Cambodians by the dictator Pol Pot.

 
A sombre display of skulls of victims of the Khmer Rouge


Friday, November 2, 2012

A day in the life of Me

Today, like every weekday, I woke up at 6:00am, and the following is a list of my activities:

Made and packed breakfast for E and C to eat in the car on the way to school.

After waving goodbye to them, I washed the floor of the car porch and watered the plants. Changed the water in the big jar for the water lily.

Then I combed Rusty's fur and tried my best to untangle some parts while he tried to run away from me after awhile.

Had my breakfast while reading the day's news online, checked e-mail and Facebook. Paid some bills online too.

Handwashed some clothes which couldn't be washed in the machine.

E returned from school as he had used my car. His car was left at the workshop yesterday. So we went to the workshop for him to collect his car and he went to work from there while I drove myself home.

When I got home, the autogate did not shut properly somehow. Rusty ran out. I had to go looking for him under the hot morning sun. After walking around for about 10 minutes in the neighbourhood, I found him. He didn't want to come to me and kept running away. I had to chase him and finally caught and brought him home on a leash.

I was hot and bothered so I sat down for a drink and continued poking my nose around Facebook.

Had an early lunch in order to fetch C as she dismissed earlier than usual today due to Speech Day rehearsal.

Got home, took foodstuff out of fridge to thaw and prepare for dinner. Told C to take a shower. She decide to read while sitting on the throne instead. Nagged at her to stop reading and start showering. She continued reading. Reminded her to shower. She continued reading. Yelled at her to shower. She finally did.

Cleaned the living, dining and dry kitchen floor.

Ironed some clothes.

Had a cup of coffee and watched some YouTube videos while it rained heavily outside.

Fed Rusty.

Started stir frying vegetables when the doorbell rang. Attended to the technician who came to fix our faulty water heater. Turns out it is not faulty. It is the electrical plug point that is faulty. Called electrician who can come only next Monday.

Continued cooking the half-cooked vegetables and other dishes for dinner.

Rested for an hour upstairs while C was having her tuition downstairs.

Ate dinner. Nagged at C to eat faster and not read while eating. She continued to eat slowly. Told her to stop reading, she continued reading. E returned from work and had dinner. Cleared the dining table after dinner was over.

Called C's drum teacher to discuss replacement classes and future arrangements due to certain changes.

Made a mental note to call the boarding facility to reserve a place for Rusty when we go on holiday soon. Need to get a dental appointment for C too.

Told C to stop reading again and start her homework.

Blogging here as C is doing her homework. Got irritated because C was not focused on her homework. She did not check her work and continued reading her book. She did not make the corrections carefully because she was preoccupied with her reading. (Reading is a good habit only if you know when to put the book down to do other important stuff!)

C is done with homework and has gone to get ready for bed.

I'm done with this blog post and wonder what I should do next.....





Friday, October 26, 2012

Children's Day and C's birthday at school

C's school celebrated Chidren's Day yesterday. The teachers organised a day of fun, food and games for the children. The celebration started off with a time of singing in the school hall, a speech by the headmistress and another by the PTA Chairman. Then children from Years 3,4 and 6 peformed on stage. C and seven other girls represented Year 4 with their rendition of One Direction's 'One Thing'.



Then a clown entertained the kids with his funny antics.



C's birthday falls on Saturday so we took the opportunity to celebrate it alongside Children's Day. At break time, the children sat in the canteen and had a feast of chicken rice, muffins, ice cream and drinks. I brought a cake, the one which C asked me to make (see previous post), and C distributed the party packs to her friends which contained some candy, a CD of Christina Perri's single 'A Thousand Years' and of course, the cookies we had made.





This is the chocolate cake with buttercream icing, decorated with chocolatge fingers and jellybeans I laboured through the afternoon (and night!) before. I had initially planned to spell out her name with the jellybeans but it didn't turn out well. Removing the jellybeans would have damaged the icing so I improvised. It was too painstaking to cover the entire surface with jellybeans so I turned it into a cross design instead, making it look like a cake for Easter! However, I felt it was also appropriate since it is our hope that our faith will be more meaningful to her as she begins life as a pre-teen. As it is, she is already showing some annoying teenager behaviour and attitude....

After eating, the kids proceeded to the field to play some telematch games. School dismissed early and everyone went home happy with snacks and souvenirs.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cookie-cutter shortbread cookies

Yesterday afternoon, C made more cookies. The 'moon rocks' and 'meteor showers' she made last week had all been devoured, mostly by E and her. This time, she used another recipe, a basic one for shortbread cookies. After rolling out the dough, she was excited about using cookie cutters to cut out the various shapes.

 
 
They turned out quite well considering it's her first time baking shortbread cookies, and after tasting one, she said she liked it. She made two trays of them to be packed into the goody bags she wants to give her classmates when she celebrates her birthday at school next week. However, these two trays will not be enough so I guess I'll have to help her make more in the next few days, plus pack them into the little plastic bags I bought for her from the baking supplies shop.
 
I am bracing myself too to bake and decorate a chocolate cake to bring to school for her birthday. It'll be my very first time making a cake for public viewing and consumption! I prepared her by telling her that if it doesn't turn out right, I'll have to buy one from a bakery at the last minute that day!
 
This is the kind of cake she wants (scroll all the way down the page to see the picture), which I hope and think is simple enough for me to make.  We were browsing through foodgawker together one day and she said she wanted it for the coming birthday. I'm not too keen on filling the top of the cake with so much jellybeans, so the compromise is that I'll spell out her name on the cake with jellybeans.
 
Watch this space for further updates on how our baking endeavours for her birthday turns out.....
 
 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Caitlin's homemade cookies

Caitlin got interested in making some cookies from a children's baking book I bought recently. So after lunch on Sunday, she took the book out and thawed the butter while I gathered the required ingredients in the kitchen. I told her she'd have to do everything herself from measuring to making the cookies. They are actually what I know as 'rock buns'. I also said she had to wash up after cooking, and only when she needed help should she call on me.

It went fine until she realised she didn't plan well enough. She was impatient and didn't follow the book's instruction to "collect the ingredients together, then turn the page to receive instructions for moon rock contruction". After measuring the flour and butter she started rubbing them together and getting both hands all messy. She had yet to measure and set aside the other ingredients, so she asked for help....she learned her lesson for not following the book's instructions and listening to my advice to plan for everything she needed.

After that little snag, she went on to make the cookies. They turned out fine and edible, although a little dry for my liking. She was proud of her first attempt at baking cookies all by herself. She is planning to try other recipes and bake more soon to include them into the party packs she wants to give her classmates when she celebrates her birthday at school next week. We'll see how that works out soon....

The novice baker at work.

The book calls this 'moon rocks'. The exposed raisins got burnt and tasted a little bitter :)

This is 'meteor shower'. The same recipe, raisins substituted with colourful sugar strands.
 


Monday, October 15, 2012

World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend

Last weekend, Malaysia participated in the World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend event which took place simultaneously in various countries worldwide. Take a look here to see where it was held. Thanks to a good friend of mine who told me about the event (she brought her daughter too), we took C to the Sunway Pyramid ice skating rink to get her first experience skating and 'playing' ice hockey. The event was open to girls age 17 and below.

Registration and waiting in line to get the right-sized t-shirt, skates, helmet, shin guards and hockey stick plus putting them on took about an hour as the turnout was quite good. Upon entering the rink, the coaches lined the girls up and helped them practise moving from one end of the rink to the other. After learning the basic moves and getting used to falling and keeping their balance on the ice, they moved on to holding the hockey sticks while skating and going through simple obstacles. As most of the girls were inexperienced, they did not play a real ice hockey game. After two hours, they took a group photograph and called it a day.

C quite enjoyed it and said she would like to go ice skating again.

C (in blue jeans) waiting for her turn to skate
 
Group photo of all the participants (picture borrowed from here which has more pictures)
Click on the picture to see if you can spot C who had removed her helmet.
 
The event did create some awareness about this sport in Malaysia, and especially for me, I didn't know before this that we have a female ice hockey team :)
 

Post-exam ramblings

It's somewhat a relief for ME that C's year-end exam at school is over and done with. It's hard to put aside that 'exam fever' stress that people my generation are so accustomed to -- exam time means studying hard, revising, burning the midnight oil as they say. And marks and grades are the ultimate measure of how clever you are and your potential to be successful in life i.e to be a doctor, lawyer or accountant! Also, having good grades meant better chances of getting a university degree which translates into getting a good job and a good life, and living in heaven on earth, if I may exaggerate. That's the idea that had been pounded into many of our heads from the time we started school and for the next 17-18 years of our academic life assuming we pursued tertiary education.

Many of us, including the generation before mine, i.e. my parents' generation, still continue to hold fast to that notion, failing to realise that times and things have changed. We can't blame ourselves as we grew up in those times when becoming a doctor, lawyer or accountant was indeed proven to be better than being a musician, designer or chef. I personally need to remind myself to shake that idea off  as I grew up that way and even more so because I had been a diligent student all my academic life and got quite good grades most of the time. A university degree and a good job in a multinational company with company car and chauffeur, club membership, travel benefits etc is no longer the only way to success in life in current times.  That's my personal opinion, anyway, in case I tread on some sensitive toes...

That brings me to the point about my struggle with leaving things be with C who is the total opposite of me -- nonchalant about good grades, pursuing only what interests her, not bowing to pressure or competition (or threats!) in almost everything in her corner of the world. It's a challenge, as a parent, to find the balance and draw the delicate line between nurturing independence, teaching responsibility for consequences of decisions/actions taken, allowing freedom to explore, and instilling perseverance for things you don't like but need to do (in her case, it's learning/mastering the national language), focus and discipline, to name a few.

My friends and I frequently wonder aloud now and again why our kids are the way they are, while we, during our time, did our homework and studied without anyone reminding or nagging us. I guess the answer lies again in how different life is nowadays. There are much more stuff that capture our attention and distract us. There are more opportunities and choices in life. Our kids have it better as they are more privileged, because we had worked hard to be able to give them a better life. The challenge is to not allow them to feel entitled, to help them see there are others less privileged than them, to mould their hearts to be down-to-earh, compassionate and godly, to know their purpose in life. A fulfilled life is not all about money and material things, although we tend to tell our kids, "You'd better study hard if you want to have a nice house and car next time, or you'll end up becoming like that homeless man." What should we actually say instead of this?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lethargic musings

It appears that the frequency of my posts is much less nowadays compared to a few years back when the enthusiasm to blog was still burning. Those days, I could just write a few within a day. Whatever musings and happenings would just be recorded here for remembrance or simply for the sake of ranting.

Seasons change. So do people and routines. But part of the reason why I 'talk' less here is because of Facebook. I 'talk' there more these days. I find it easier because the people there appear more 'present' than here. And it's much faster to post one liners of thoughts, rants and info, share pictures and videos through Facebook. It's much more 'instant'. It's more accessible as I can use my Android phone for it. I could use my phone to blog too but it's such a pain to be typing with one fingertip on the phone screen. And I keep pressing the wrong letters and many words end up being misspelled. That's one of my pet grouses of a touch-screen phone. With a computer keyboard, I can type much faster using 10 fingers, thanks to old-fashioned typewriting lessons I took during my free time after the Form 3 exams which was then known as SRP....

I've been feeling lethargic lately. Unmotivated. Unenthusiastic. Lazy. Tired. Sluggish. No mood, as they say. It's more of a mental state than a physical condition -- my personal diagnosis. But daily stuff still need to be done. And they have been done albeit without enthusiasm, barely meeting my personal standards of quality :)

C appears to have morphed from cheery and manageable pre-schooler to a sometimes sullen, grumpy, impatient and strong-minded rebel tween overnight. To say the least, it's been mentally and emotionally exhausting for me. I wonder how mothers with more than one such child cope and get through their days happy and not depressed. They must be yogis with nary a drop of impatience traversing within their veins if they manage to maintain a smile and go about mopping their floor singing 'Oh what a beautiful morning...' However, in my opinion, there's no such thing about 'supermom' being able to save the day. In actual fact, whoever coined that term 'supermom' probably didn't think it through enough. Something has got to give. As capable as one can be, one cannot cover all bases perfectly. Mothers can do incredible feats and juggle enormous responsibilities but we're still human.

 I whine, I complain, I rant and rave. Then I'm gentle, understanding and forgiving. I'm Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde at times or maybe, always.  Aha! Maybe that's why I feel drained! Oops, this self-analysing is a strange thing to be doing here. I wonder if other overworked mothers behave strangely like me.

Beneath or beyond all these, I have drawn strength in the mire of lethargy from spiritual reflection, prayer and inspirational songs.It is that Special Spirit within me that guides me back to the straight path. It is the notion that all things will fall into place regardless of how much or how little I possess, how much or how little I have achieved. I strive to view all that I possess and accomplish, tangible and intangible, as temporary. "Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand."

This brings to mind the 'kiasu' concept. Why should we want to be 'one up'? Where's our self-confidence? That's something C's disposition reminds me occasionally. She chugs along life not worried about who's better than her at school or in anything else she does, and not caught up with wanting to be better than the best. Some call it nonchalance, lacking competitive spirit, lacking desire to achieve. I think it's still too early to stick any labels on her where that's concerned, although I myself have often pasted some other labels out of frustration.

I think it's good to have, within certain limits, that Mad magazine guy's "what, me worry?" stance at times. Life is more peaceful and calm that way. It's crazy to measure everyone, especially our kids, with the same yardstick. I say po-tay-to, you say po-tah-to, so be it.

I view this lethargy or maybe, depressive vegetative state as helping me, the perfectionist, to slow down and not be in a hurry to get things done efficiently all the time, to not be so selfless but a little selfish at times, to quit worrying about cooking a healthy dinner and get lost in a different world browsing at a bookstore! That's what I did today, and left the shop almost RM200 poorer, oops......(But yet again, I veered towards selflessness, buying only one book for myself, and the other eight or more, for loved ones....)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Melaka, UNESCO World Heritage City

It was a hot and sunny day on 16 September, the day Malaysia celebrates her 'birthday'. We took a day trip to Melaka and became tourists for a day so that C could see with her own eyes what she had learnt at school about this place and its history.

Finding a carpark in Melaka these days, especially on weekends and public holidays, is just as difficult as finding one in KL. Luckily, where the big padang facing the sea (which has since been partly reclaimed and developed) once stood, there is now a huge shopping mall called Dataran Pahlawan Mall.

Arriving at around 11 am, we managed to find parking in the mall's basement carpark, and facing the exit of the carpark are the St Francis Institution and Sacred Heart Convent schools. The road along that school which was once an ordinary two-way street is now a huge open carpark. Gone are a lot of the greeneries surrounding the area. The padang has been reduced and is now choc-a-block with structures, all in the name of tourism. How I wish, when I was a teenager living in Melaka, I had taken pictures of Melaka then so that I can compare it with Melaka now visually, instead of relying on my memory....

These pictures will the rest of the story of our day out.

St Francis Institution

 No longer an ordinary two-way street - there was no tall building beside the school either.
 
 Just across the schools - Dataran Pahlawan Mall. I can imagine students hanging out here after school.....
 
 Sacred Heart Cannosian Convent
 
The Merdeka Memorial Museum - we did not enter this place. It showcases the history of how Malaya got its independence in 1957 from British colonial rule. The first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman had officially declared the date of independence at the padang, then known as Padang Bandar Hilir (for events leading up to the declaration, see here).

Walking on from the Merdeka Memorial, we arrived at the A Famosa, the gateway of the fort the Portuguese built when they conquered Melaka in 1511. Back in my day, it was surrounded by more greenery and there were hardly any tourists, and certainly no fancy trishaws charging a bomb for a short ride around the area. Behind the fort is St Paul's Hill, where the ruins of St Paul's church is located.

 After climbing up the steps to St Paul's Hill, we visited the Dutch graveyard located at the compound surrounding St Paul's church. It is now partly fenced up but one may walk along the path to view the cemetery and the tombs. 
 
One of the centuries-old tombs, - probably broken by vandals.

Inside St Paul's church is the grave where St Francis Xavier was buried temporarily before his body was moved to Goa, India.
 
 The many stone memorial plaques of the Dutch deceased along the interior walls of the church
 
 St Francis Xavier's statue - see here and here to find out why his right arm is cut off.
 

The bell tower outside the church
 
The tourism authorities have certainly made things easier for us now that there is a walkway down another side of the hill that leads you directly to the Stadthuys, the Dutch administration building located at Dutch Square, recognisable by its red facade.
 
 Click on the picture to read the description.
 
 The Queen Victoria fountain erected by the British, in front of the Stadthuys, there are souvenir stalls under the umbrellas in the background, and more trishaw rides available too.
 

Entrance to the museum inside - Melaka has many museums showcasing various aspects of its history. This museum gives a general overview of history and culture, and connnected to this building is the Cheng Ho museum. You need to purchase tickets. Those with Malaysian ID (MyKad) get a discount.

 
Admiral Cheng Ho outside the museum showcasing China's involvement in trade with Melaka, and the part he played in bringing the legendary princess Hang Li Po to marry the sultan.
 
 Part of the Dutch Square, Christ Church is an Anglican church.
 
 
After walking so much in the heat, we sought lunch at a small cafe housed in a traditional Malaccan house across the bridge over the Melaka River from Dutch Square. At the back of the house flows the Melaka River, now spruced up for tourists to take a cruise. Many of these old houses have been turned into souvenir shops, bed & breakfast lodgings, restaurants and cafes.

 
 A river cruise boat laden with tourists - to take a cruise, you need to head towards the Maritime Museum and look for a sign (next picture) which points you to its location.
 
 
 
 If you walk along the riverbank, you might just spot some giant monitor lizards basking in the sun.
 
 

The clock tower at Dutch Square - after lunch we returned towards Dutch Square to double back towards the fort, crossed the road and headed towards the Maritime Museum.
 

The Maritime Museum is spread out into several buildings, one of which is a replica of the Portuguese boat named Flor de la Mar. MyKad holders get a 50% discount on entry tickets.

 Another tourist attraction is the Menara Taming Sari, located at one corner of Dataran Pahlawan. It is a revolving tower which takes you up to the top for a 360 degree bird's eye view of Melaka.
 
 At the big padang, near the entrance to Menara Taming Sari, this cross marks the spot where St Francis Xavier first set foot on Melaka when he arrived.
 
This explains it.
 
We ended our tour of those few historical places in Melaka at around 4.30pm. We felt hot and tired after walking around so much. Since our car was parked at the mall, we got some refreshments there before calling it a day.
 
The Taiwanese bubble tea craze is now back in Malaysia. This is a mango snow (iced smoothie) version.

This is the original flavoured bubble milk tea.
 
As it was only a day trip, we did not manage to visit other tourist sites like Bukit China, Hang Li Po's well, St John's Hill (another fort location), and Jonker Street with its various 'antique' and souvenir stores. I also did not manage to take C to visit my alma mater, Methodist Girls' School, or further towards the Klebang and Tanjung beaches which I hear have now undergone massive reclamation works....Melaka is no longer the sleepy hollow I once lived in, with plenty of greenery around, slow pace of life devoid of traffic jams.....
 
It is a busy place now with loads of tourists and many Singaporean weekenders thronging its streets and devouring its local food. Once upon a time, its popular local food like Hainanese chicken rice balls, cendol, homemade ice kacang, popiah, pork satay, satay celup and fried oyster omelets were truly authentic.
 
Now, if you want a taste of authenticity, you have to do some legwork and seek out the real McCoys instead of visiting those drop-in-quality-formerly-superb-but-now-overrated places frequented by tourists. One example is the Hainanese Chicken Rice Ball place located at the Melaka River bridge corner facing a big food place called East West (or something), formerly the OCBC Bank. You will always see a very long queue of people waiting to get a seat inside to gobble down the succulent steamed chicken and ball-shaped rice. I guess it's a novelty for them.
 
 Worth the wait in this crazy heat?
 
 
View from the back of the queue. Jonker Street and its adjoining streets are now spruced up for tourists. It now sports a long dragon overhead.