Posted in Daily post

Pining for Spicy Penang Laksa

penang laksa

Cough and sniffles…  head pounds… throat’s on fire

My mind wonders what can I? what can I?  …

I could kill for some Penang Laksa.  It is simply, spice in a bowl.

Laksa – which is available in Australia or for that matter in most western countries would be modified to the local “white” pallet.  Laksa is usually coconut milk based. Which makes it to be rather creamy and rich.

But the Penang Laksa holds it’s own, because it is so different to the rest.  It is tamarind based. (Tamarind is a tree that produces pods, these pods when ripened are then used in many Asian cooking, it adds a sourness to the dish)

The soup itself is not as thick as other Laksa’s but it is loaded with so much spice and flavours that it will definitely clear my nose, my sinuses and  definitely numb my throat. And to use a regular cliche’ ” it will blow your mind”. I haven’t had this laksa since my last visit to Penang about 4-5 years ago.  But the memory of the taste is well embedded.

When leaving Penang, passing time chatting to some locals on the plane, I mentioned my love for this spice bowl.  As per them the broth is started with gently tossing a few anchovies in hot oil, then gradually all the other ingredients eg ginger or galangal go in. I am looking through online recipes and there is no mention of the anchovies.  But, I guess with any of the traditional food, each grandma from each region will have their own method of cooking the dish.

Along with the super spicy broth, there is also noodles and meat or seafood.   It will be topped with more fresh chillies, spring onion etc.  This is definitely worth adding onto your bucket list of things to try.

If I didn’t pay any taxes, I could probably afford to fly over to Penang right now, maybe even on a private jet to get my Spicy Penang Laksa.

If I didn’t pay any taxes, maybe I wouldn’t be contributing to a stupid vote on whether same sex couples could get married or not.  Food for thought.

Daily word Prompt: Spicy

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/spicy/

 

 

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Posted in travel

Destination Goa (final)

Goa beach

Four am start.  Jan and I hardly had any sleep.  We were planning on a early night as we thought we need it for our 4 am start.  Didn’t exactly stick to our adult like responsible decision.  One more night of being back to our teenage days.  We weren’t exactly throwing up into the toilet bowl.  Just more chatting and reminiscing our past, the last couple of days and making promises for the future.  Relationships, Kids, loss, survival…. both of us in our own ways have been through a lot.  We are like two weeds that stood stubbornly through the storm and now looking a lot lusher.  We did bend, we did mellow, but we refused to wither.  I guess, neither of had a choice.

I so wish she lived next door and not in the opposite hemisphere. Every time I needed a hug she would have come running to me and every time she needed that hug I would have happily run over to her. But I think my hubby is relieved that there is a reprieve on the credit card and shopping. I treasure these holidays.  It’s truly a blessing that I can meet up with her once in awhile. Even though there are many days and weeks and years in between, thank god to Whatsapp and Skype, it makes it bearable.

Our bags gets rolled out at 4.00am.  We stood at the middle of the airport hugging and hanging on to our tears within our eyelids, interrupting and maybe blocking the other rushing passengers.  One big heave and then we headed back to our mundane travel procedures.

Getting through security took a lot longer than in Australia.  However, it wasn’t chaotic like it was in Chennai a few years ago.  I had about an hour or so before boarding.  For a small city, the airport was pretty good.  Very clean toilets.  Yes, this was in India.

Some Murals that caught my eye

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An hour went quickly with a bit of writing and taking pictures.  Next an uneventful flight to Mumbai.  Plane was clean and service was better than Jet star.

I had a long stop over at Mumbai before my next flight to Singapore.  After my stay at Niranta transit hotel on my way over I had decided I wanted to go back there again and get a room for a few hours.  This would give me a chance to meet that young man who helped me so much last time as well.  Unfortunately they were fully booked.  And that young man was not on duty that day either.  But, the young lady at the counter was still very sweet.  She asked me to stay in their lounge area, instead going back to the main airport area.  She even offered me a bottle of water and the ever useful wifi password. At this stage I had not spent a dime with them.  I was astounded by their empathy which went over and beyond the call of customer service.  I had breakfast with them, and left a small token of thank you in an envelope and left with plenty of time for check in etc.

I thought my bubble on perfect trip was going to unravel when the guy at the counter said my visa has expired.  I knew it hadn’t, I had checked and rechecked, so with a stern and irritated voice I replied “no it isn’t”.  On checking with another officer (lady officer) he realised he needed to have a “mummy look”.

This time around I had more time look around the airport.  Rather a big, classy, clean airport.  Yes, it’s in India and it’s clean.

This was a mural by the side of the travelator.  What a great welcome as you get off the plane.

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More quirky cafe’s and art work.

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As usual I was rushing with something and I think it was my bag zipper made a cut on my finger.  Nothing major, but the darn thing was bleeding.  So I got to the toilet and kept my finger under the tap trying to stop the bleeding.  But no joy.  The cleaning lady saw this and came to my aid, she couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t understand her.

Language didn’t matter, the beauty of humanity expands past language barriers.  

She got me a band aid from the first aid kit.  She didn’t know or didn’t care that she probably should be wearing gloves when dealing with blood.  I thanked her in English and went rummaging in my hand bag to get some money.  She held my hand and shook her head saying words, I think that meant “no, no need” and she left.

Yes, this was India.

How wrong was I to pass judgement, that India was going to be dirty and crawling with cheating, thieving vermin’s.  Am I a racist who was hiding behind past experiences as an excuse? I am not going to say entire India going to be this rosy.  Jury is still out of Chennai for me.  I hear Delhi is no paradise either.  But, lesson learnt is that there is going to be good and bad places every where, there is going to be good and bad people every where.  If you aren’t willing to give that destination a chance, you will never know and never experience and that would be a damn shame.

It’s a red hot yes to Goa and maybe even to rest of India.

 

 

Posted in Daily post

Love, Lust – Fifty Strands of Gray

lust

He throws her on the bed, rips open her blouse…  She says “Don’t stop… Please”

For those of you who started reading, because of the Heading and then you read the first line, You can’t wait to continue, nervously taking the second bite on the biscuit… Shame on you.  Go back and read the Heading, it’s Fifty Strands not Fifty shades you lustful lot.

The way I understand the two words, Love and Lust is as follows:

Although both words are intertwined there is still a difference.  Although both words appear as mirror images, well it is a mirror image – they look the same but one isn’t real. I am not saying Love is real and Lust isn’t.  Love is real for those who want love to be real.  Lust is real for those who are not in it for Love.  Love and Lust can co exist, but only if Love takes Precedence.

Most of us have our own ideas of what Love is and maybe even what Lust is.

My take on what Lust isn’t..

She says “I am not ready”, and he says “I will wait” and that isn’t Lust

She says “Sorry, I don’t want to anymore” and he stops and that isn’t Lust

She’s had kids, her body is showing clear evidence of it, and he says “Honey you look beautiful” and that isn’t Lust (unless he uses that as a line)

She is in the nursing home with more than Fifty Strands of Gray Hair, she doesn’t remember anyone, not even him, but he still visits her to have breakfast with her.  And that definitely isn’t Lust

He (1) is diagnosed with AIDS. He (2) stands by.

He (1) is getting frail.  He (2) is still there.

He (1) and He (2) have reached more than fifty strands of gray hair

He (1) takes his last gasp.  He (2) is still there, sobbing his heart out.

Was that love or Lust?  

 

He (1) is diagnosed with Cancer. He (2) stands by.

He (1) is getting frail.  He (2) is still there, cleaning up his vomit.

He (1) and He (2) have reached more than fifty strands of gray hair

He (1) takes his last gasp.  He (2) is still there, sobbing his heart out.

Was that love or Lust?  

 

For the love of God Australia, let the Gays Get Married

 

Daily Post word Prompt:   Lust

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lust/

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The soul of a dog

Written by Andrea Stepheson

Harvesting Hecate

SAMSUNG CSC

There is an old episode of the Twilight Zone, in which an elderly man and his dog die and make their way to the afterlife.  They approach what they believe to be heaven, only to be told that the dog isn’t allowed to enter.  The old man decides that it can’t be much of a heaven if his dog isn’t welcome, so he walks on by.  Of course, it soon becomes clear that this wasn’t heaven after all, but hell, and the devil was trying to trick him.  His loyalty to his dog saved him.  I must have watched a lot of Twilight Zones when I was young, but this one has stuck with me.

SAMSUNG CSC

Some people believe that animals don’t have souls.  That everything they do, they do purely out of instinct or because it serves some purpose for survival.  They believe that humans are the only species with a rich interior life…

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Posted in Daily post

Bud and Two leaves

tea

I was pleasantly surprised with the Daily word prompt – TEA.

My glorious childhood was among’st this backdrop.  Sri Lanka’s upcountry was mainly adorned by Tea estates.  But this was no ordinary Tea Estate.  This was my little utopia.

My dad worked as a Scientist at the Tea Research Institute (TRI) in Sri Lanka.  Tea being the major export of the country, this research facility also was one of the largest organisations of the country.  It was also important to establish the research centre where the Tea actually grew rather than in a major city.

Very large laboratories of all disciplines such as Bio Chemistry, Entomology, Pathology etc were established with the latest equipment’s.  All the staff were given Housing. Rather beautiful and luxuries houses were built for the staff.  They were maintained by TRI as well.  The lawns were mowed, regularly painted and furniture’s were upgraded. Most of these things were primarily established by the British.  So you did get a feel of the British presence in the decor and style of the Bungalows.

We had our own transport.  Buses for the staff and their family to go to school, shopping etc.  A large fleet of cars with drivers for staff and family.  Our own little hospital and medical facility, Post Office,  Telecom and even a  Water dam and purification plant. Our own club house, sporting venues the list goes on.

We were all removed from our core extended families.  This became our extended family.  It’s not a cliche’ when I say, we lived together in harmony without any racial or other disputes.

The labs were my playground.  This was the era before Occupational Health and Safety or Work Cover mandates.  But we didn’t have any accidents, this was also an era where people used something called common sense.  We didn’t need a sign that said “Slippery when wet”.  Anyway, coming back to my playground or playgrounds, I had no siblings and no playstation or any other electronic device.  Not even internet, so I had to learn to amuse my self and I lived mostly outdoors.

The soil here was really great.  Everyone had a great garden filled with flowers, fruit treas and vegetables.  Constantly we would exchange our produce.  I spent most of my time up a fruit tree.  When I got bored with that I would walk to the lab. On the way I would frolic through the Tea fields, run up and down the extensive stairs that went from the Tea Factory to the Lab.  Every one knew me.  I was like the common village dog, that was fed by every butcher.

I mainly played in the Bio Chemistry Department as that’s where my dad worked.  But I knew the entire geography of all other labs as well and had at least one friend in each department.  Yeah I know they were grown ups and I was a kid, but they were still my friends and showed me “cool” stuff.  I knew to operate the centrifuge and I played with Magnets.  I knew about Poly Phenol’s long before I went to high school.  When I think about it now, it wasn’t really playing, my dad was teaching me Science and I was doing science experiments.

One bud and two leaves – all that is plucked to produce tea.  Silver tip is the only one uses just the buds and hence the high cost.  I would accompany my dad on many of the guided tours he would take our visitors and I knew all this information long before I started school.

dad stamp

The above is my dad on an old Sri Lankan Postal Stamp. He is injecting radio active isotopes into tea leaves to study the pattern of the nutrients movement.  Nutrients from the root did not evenly go all over the plant.  The mother leaf (the bigger leaf on the bottom) fed the one on top and so forth.  When you removed the big leaf right underneath baby leaf, the leaves further down acted as a surrogate and fed the bud.

That was one amazing child hood, it all came to an end when I lost my dad at 19. Such is life, still grateful that I had this childhood and to all the uncle’s and aunties of TRI who were there for us then and even now.  Children of TRI hold a special bond.  All of us grown up and adults now.  But most of us are still in contact even from different parts of the world.

Disclaimer:  It’s a long time since I left TRI, some information shared here may not be completely accurate.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tea/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/soil/

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=two+leaves+and+a+bud+book&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjV17SrzLDVAhXEF5QKHS14DU0Q1QIIdSgB

 

https://www.google.com.au/search?biw=1280&bih=894&q=tea+plantations+sri+lanka+nuwara+eliya&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjHvd7KzrDVAhWLe7wKHX6UATAQ1QIIuwEoAQ

 

 

Posted in Australian Politics, India, Jobs, Jobs going overseas

Aussie Jobs Going Overseas

why-australian-call-centre-jobs-are-going-offshore
The topic for today is Aussie jobs going over seas.
 
While we gripe about those coming on 457 Visa to work in Aussie Businesses, we are losing much larger amount of jobs to overseas companies and not realising it, just giving in without much complain. IT Call centers was I guess the beginning. We’ve all experienced the feeling of annoyance when we ring our Telco companies. Our mood is already at breaking point because the internet is not working or the phone, and add to that to be answered by someone who from the get go you know is not going to fix the problem. He/she has an answering sheet, same solution “after you pull the socket out of wall, press it with a ball point and say “Ohm Shiva” (sorry I am not being a racist here, I am just peeved to the core). Anyway, what have we done about fixing that issue, Well nothing, more and more Aussie companies are establishing their call centres overseas.
 
Along with that we are losing more supporting industries such as accounts departments to overseas as well. Yes, I have a vested interested in it as I am losing customers. But my annoyance goes further than my own personal gain/loss.  If these overseas establishments are doing a good job, I wouldn’t care so much. Not that I wouldn’t care but at least I will have to acknowledge that if a company could perform a task for half the cost but with the same efficiency, yes I will have to bow down and accept it.  But, my outburst today comes from having to deal with these companies on behalf of my local clients.  Whether it be Philippines or India, it is the same drama.  I am not sure who they employ in these places, if they actually have an accounting background or not.  Even if they had, whether they are familiar with our practices, laws and overall business culture.  
I have had payments made regularly minus the GST amount.  When you send them an email explaining this, it will then go through a million chain email from one person to another.  You wonder if it is worth the drama to be chasing for $14.97 for three months.  How should I write it off as, along with “Bad Debts” as account category, should have another one called “no understand GST”
Today’s outburst comes from an issue that I have been dealing with for a client of mine.  This clients’ client was an excellent payer.  I never had to pick up the phone chasing payments.  Like clock work the payments arrived on time along with a remittance advice.  End of last year I saw a new pattern emerging.  Suddenly I had to start sending emails and even phone calls chasing for payments or remittance advises.  Payments started coming in late and sometimes late and short paid.  Then since March nothing.  Client slowly revealed that they’ve gone overseas for the final stage of processing the invoices.  So, I would be sending the email to my clients office in Adelaide and then he would send it to Melbourne and then it goes to India.  Between May to date I think I have been through roughly 20 -25 emails, and god knows how many phone calls.  Each email gets more interesting than the previous.  I had dates given to me about payments made for the March and April invoices.  Again this email would have gone through five people before it comes to me,  I would then go back to the original bank statements to see if any payments had come through, that I may have mistakenly allocated to someone else.  Nope, so I would start the next chain of emails, saying no such payment has been made to our account on that day, before that day or after that day.
I received an interesting email today.  It came straight from India.  It started apologising for the delay in payments, they have identified that payments were not made since March. “Hallelujah”, finally I thought.  Anyway, I stopped reading there, as I wanted to finish the normal routine stuff first and then to come back to this email.  Anyway, if they’ve made the payment, I don’t really care for the rest of the fairy tale. So I went back to finishing the mundane stuff.  End of the bank reconciliation to my disappointment I realised that there was no payment from them.  So I went back to read the email to see if and when the payment would be made.
Mr Rahul Blah Blah Blah has sent me the email and has cc’d the email to another billion pen pushers and starts off by saying that they give their sincere apologies and after reconciling their accounts have found invoices dated after March have not been paid. “Finally” I thought, we are on the same page. He has given detailed information of the past invoices and when they were paid etc.  Advising me that I should reconcile my accounts according to that.  I felt like “Asterix” and “Oblix”
oblix toc toc toc
Well the email continues on to advise me that after I reconcile my accounts as per THEIR advise to print out a current statement and to send it to him directly and he will make the payment the following Monday.   I have sent him a very polite email cc’ing the rest of the Rahul’s, Gupta’s  and along with the rest of the Australian entourage.  So in short, the saga continues.
But this is a serious issue to think about.  More and more jobs are going overseas. Whether it be accounts departments, IT or Manufacturing.  I understand that our wages and other wage related expenses are slightly on the upper bracket leaving businesses with a smaller margin of Profit (in theory).
In my opinion I think it is mainly the medium to small businesses are the ones who are most affected by our high award rates and workcover, super and other industrial awards obligations, and receive the least amount of assistance from the Government.  There are many obligations (including financial payments) that needs to be met by businesses that venture into employing staff from overseas on the 457 visa.  Most locals are not aware of these things and the Governments don’t explain this either when they go for their vote grabbing slogans.
I wonder if there are same or if any requirements for companies that go overseas to subcontract their company functions? When we lose jobs to overseas, aren’t we then losing the PAYG revenue as well.
Talking about IT call centres going overseas, I had an interesting conversation a couple of weeks ago with the Tax departments IT help centre.  Guess where that call went to?  I am some one who is skeptical about “Cloud” servers so imagine how I feel about our ATO going to India.
Politicians constantly talk about job creation.  Before we talk about creating jobs, we should think about not losing the ones we have.  Each year University students find it almost impossible to find internships in Australia especially in Engineering and medical fields and some have no option but to go overseas.  Some even have to pay for their internships.  Same predicament once they graduate.  They have to go overseas for the jobs.  All this for the CEO to have fatter cheque.  I am not suggesting a Communist or a socialist policy here.  But there has to be a balance.  Total Capitalism will ruin the core social structure.  We still need some parts of the societies needs to be owned/met by the Government.  Governments shouldn’t be influenced by big businesses nor by the unions. Unions are a necessary organisation to keep businesses accountable, and could be a very important body for negotiation of the two parties.  But bullying by either party should not be tolerated/condoned by the Governments.
My blood pressure has come down.  Time for a refill cuppa.
Please Note: I have nothing against Indians or Phillipines or whoever else from the rest of the world.  But completely against our jobs going to whoever else other than Aussies (who are paying taxes in our country)