Mrs. Chan

Archive for the ‘Happy Chan Family’ Category

of rituals & taboos

In Happy Chan Family, Labour of Love on September 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm

pic by stevie chan

These last 3 years, we have been happy camping at my mom’s and Agnes’s place. So when you “tumpang” you live life in moderation and full of courtesies. From now onwards, Stevie and I actually gonna experience living by ourselves.

I know, many people say that it’s easier to be playmates than house mates. It’s inevitable though, when you are married you got to try.

pic by Stevie Chan

I come from a family that practices a lot of Taoist rituals. Being the only girl in the family, I have been brought up, learning to assist my mom with everything that involves prayers, festivals and the altar.

All’s well. I am a very lazy Buddhist. I do not go far to pray as I have my altar in the heart. I see all religions as wanting to teach us to do good. To me, I adopt Buddhism merely as a philosophical guide to life. I am a strong believer of karma and reincarnations though.

Went to a Christian primary school, mixed with many Malay and Indian classmates throughout my elementary, secondary and university life. Heard enough of pantang-larangs throughout my life.

Our first encounter of “tolak-ansur” or “give and take” was on the house cleansing, a typical must do for most people before they officially habitat a new space. Be it an old house or newly built one. Most believe that there may be over-staying spirits that we must “invite out” before we can “move in”. Stevie’s fine with customary stuff as long as I don’t have to impose his participation. I am free to observe whatever I believe in.

Traditionally, mom would have insisted the “rice, salt and tea leaves” cleansing ritual. Equal parts of each, mixed together and being thrown to all corners of the house to rid bad chi. Knowing that it would be messy, mom suggested me to accord the vibrated coconuts practised by the disciples of Sahaja Yoga.

She checked the Chinese calendar, firstly, warned us against moving during the 7th Month or the Ghost Festival Month. It was a fair request. Secondly, we cannot simply choose any day to move on the auspicious 8th Month. I was advised to move on the 12th of September, the 13th day of the 8th Month of the Chinese calendar.

pic by Stevie Chan

A week before the official moving date, yours truly bought 6 healthy coconuts. Meaning not those old ones that are dry or sprouting with shoots. The important thing here is to find the 3 “eyes”, 2 in front and the 3rd eye at the back. Carefully shaved them till you have quite a smooth surface to ease the drawing of a swastika with kumkum powder. I did the swastika clockwise to signify evolution. Finally, to go over the 3 “eyes” with kumkum as well.

I have placed these coconuts at the 4 corners of the living hall, and one each for the 2 bedrooms in our apartment. Through this puja session, we believe that these coconuts will help absorb all negative energies and protect us from any bad omen.

Been checking anxiously every morning when I wake up. To date, exactly a week after, none of these coconuts cracked.

A good sign that the house is pretty clean.

Happy Chan Family: Mr. & Mrs. Chan

In Happy Chan Family on August 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm


But honestly, I did not put myself on eBay and my wife did not find me while foraging for bargain sex toys.

Yes, we first made acquaintance online, but it wasn’t on eBay.

I just have to make this very clear.

An anonymous blogger who calls himself Aisehman has put my blog on his blogroll (pretty good shit) and that’s how my wife started reading my drunken rants and found “that kid” interesting.

For the longest time she thought I was a college student. That how childish my blog was, if you really want to know the truth.


(above pics by luke ding)

And so one day I received this “fanmail” offering me a certain camera lens after I complained about my Leica M being stolen and I have this Canon camera body without a lens.

The lens doesn’t fit but we started trading emails, and then I started reading her blog, and she kept reading my rants. Basically that’s how we sized each other up.

Before Twitter, you know, blogging was really big.

Blogging was… you know, deep shit, and people took it seriously.

Bloggers love to think that they threw Pak Lah out of his office; that’s just to show you how big blogging was.

But none could beat me, of course, I got myself a wife from blogging.

pic by adriennely

I want to tell you more about what was going on in my life when I was a soldier-of-fortune in Shanghai, which eventually led me to ask for Jo’s hand, but I will save it for another day.

They are very emotional stuff.

pic by joanne sun

I don’t know how much I could tell you before hurting others’ feelings.

But I will tell you all, and that is a promise.

I have seen some funny shit that could make you cry.

pic by joanne sun

My wife and I didn’t really go on dates prior to our wedding.

We’ve met only 3 times before I proposed to her. Online.

For that I wish to register my apology to her.

But I have my reasons.

pic by irene ngoh

pic by irene ngoh

My wife often asks if I love her, and to my knowledge I have never given her a straight answer.

That’s because I don’t believe it is a worthy question.

But here it is:

it’s love by whom (my beautiful friend) the gift to live is without until:

…love was and shall be this only truth (a dream of a deed, born not to die)

– e. e. cummings

story by stevie chan, a.k.a. youtiup

Happy Chan Family: Fargo & Shauna on A-Kon

In Happy Chan Family on August 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

What is A-Kon? It is a 3-day event of mad fun! Where you will find loads of anime-related information. You can meet people in the gaming industry. Artists. There are educational panels on a variety of anime topics. One can play games. Many people cosplay favorite characters. If you like, you can be in a cosplay skit. Also, you’ll find loads of anime-based merch. There are rave dances, an abundance of glow! And the concerts… my favorite! This year two Japanese bands! That alone is worth the cost of registration. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

One might say our family had been preparing for the convention for nearly a year. Costumes were planned. We pre-registered months in advance. It’s much cheaper that way. And we reserved our hotel room well in advance. Rooms go fast!

And so, off we went early Friday, the first day. Truck packed with food, frocks and full of excitement.

When we arrived, parking was close to impossible. And a touch pricey. It was to be expected. A-Kon is a huge event. And well, it is Dallas.

After finding a place, far, far away….. We managed to get the hotel room and make the trek to the infamous pre-reg line. A very long maze-like line that encircled the entire room. And that room is very large. Though, because we brought our young children with us, A-Kon staff took pity on us and placed us near the very front of the line. Nice! This occurred more than once throughout the convention, I might add. Benefits. Haha! Also, it is worth noting, small children are very much welcome at the event. There are very few exceptions regarding this.

We received our pre-reg badges and moved on to the madness.

Yes, I dressed up as something. Though the only photo I have of the ensemble is blurry! This, because everyone was in a tremendous hurry to hit the convention floors. I snapped the photo with kids under foot, their way out the door. Did I mention it was hot?! Whew!

My costume, in the beginning, was to resemble Riese, from the steampunk series of that name. It wound up being a mish-mash of pieces, though still very much steampunk. I even made my own aged-look brassy-like goggles. I do have the exact ammo belt Riese has. I’m very proud of that. Actually, in our household, we have two! Husband sported one of them, complete with snacks, cellphone and cash. Mine contained a brass nautical compass. Handy, no doubt.

The eldest daughter and her friend dressed as popular anime characters and had many photos taken of them. My little man chose to be a ninja. Little daughter, opted for Sailor Moon. Her ensemble was a last minute decision and put together rather quickly out of what was on hand. She received many compliments and relished it every bit.

And so, we went with the flow. The huge crowd, like a river winding through large rooms and small corridors.

The big event on Friday, the concert. Two Japanese bands. Blood Stain Child and D for the first time in the U.S. What a privilege it was to see them!

And now, I have learned what visual kei is. Men dressed in feminine clothing with a full face of makeup can be very appealing and oddly quite masculine.

The interesting thing is they are indeed beautiful to look at, though their music is very metal and hard. A fascinating contradiction. I was transfixed and instantly a fan of both groups. Though D is particularly seductive.

The voices of Blood Stain Child clash, but in a vibrant harmonious way. The harshness of Ryo’s voice is the edge. The beautiful Sophia’s sweet melodious voice is like light winding through the rubble.

Then there is D. The visually stunning D. Their performance took my breath away. They instantly commanded the stage and my attention was fixed. And though the songs are sung in Japanese language I do not know, the beautiful voice of Asagi is so full of emotion, I was pulled into understanding. I could go on and on. But, I’ll spare you the gush and keep the sweet memory to myself. Let’s just say, the audience was very much a part of the journey. And it was lovely.

My only regret, the one thing I’m very sad about missing was the autograph sessions with both bands. We may never see the groups again, I realize. Every opportunity to savor the experience must be taken. And I missed it! Never again, I vow. Next year will be different.

As for the rest of the convention…
The rave, my second favorite thing to attend. I’ve always loved dance music. And glow sticks! The two combined, well, it is almost a heaven.

There were so many events. To be sure, I missed many of them. And, as the year before, I have learned what I overlooked and pledge to not miss so much!

In a nutshell, that is my experience. I suppose one can never get too old for such random fun. (^.^)/

Here is just a glimpse of us and some of what we saw.


Story & Pictures contributed by Shauna Chan, Dallas.


Recipe For Love

In Happy Chan Family, Momsie's Garden on June 30, 2011 at 7:30 am


What is your idealised childhood pastime?

I remember mine as carefree, filled with many indoor and outdoor activities with neighbours and visiting cousins. Joyful portrayal of brides with scarves and beauty accessories; plentiful make believe dishes from our “masak-masak” kitchen; skipping, hopping, picnics etc. Of course these are the usual for us girls and the boys would be collecting soft drink bottle caps, rubber seeds, marbles and occasionally spinning a top or out fishing at a nearby stream.

Tic Toc and Margaux, cousins and best friends spend hours together on their own, discovering friendship. When they play, they work very hard to make things real in their tiny little world. Margaux, though the younger one, usually leads. Tic Toc is comfortable following kiddo into the classroom when Margaux plays teacher, the submissive wife when kiddo is playing dad. I love to see them together.

I captured this series of photographs, a couple of years back when Stevie and I were dating. I carry with me a point and shoot camera. By now, I have a very huge collection of family photographs that I am dying to show off to everyone.

On this typical Sunday morning when we were back in Malacca, the children are having fun. Margaux was 4 and Tic Toc was 5, both blowing soap bubble and lost in their world, though on Momsie’s garden.


I bumped into this cute song and would like to share the cute ingredients with you.

A RECIPE FOR LOVE by Harry Connick, Jr.

A little bit of me and a whole lot of you
Add a dash of starlight and a dozen roses, too
Then let it rise for a hundred years or two
And that’s the recipe for making love

It doesn’t need sugar ’cause it’s already sweet
It doesn’t need an oven ’cause it’s got a lot of heat
Just add a dash of kisses to make it all complete
And that’s the recipe for making love

And if you’ve made it right you’ll know it
It’s not like anything you’ve made before
And if you’ve made it wrong you’ll know it
‘Cause it won’t keep you coming back for more

I didn’t get it from my grandma’s book upon the shelf
I didn’t get it from a magical and culinary elf
No, a little birdie told me you can’t make it by yourself
And that’s the recipe for making love


HAPPY FAMILY:- The Gelbers Hosting A Party

In family festivities, Happy Chan Family on May 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm


Coco Chan, the youngest amongst the siblings. Marrying Mitch made her a Gelber Chan.

A decade ago, Mitch and Stevie used to be neighbours in New York. He invited Mitch for a holiday to Malaysia right after his return. Mitch came, met Coco and never left.

He was Chan-ised too.

Recently the Gelbers hosted a small potluck party for families and friends. The obvious choice location to host the party was definitely Agnes’s place. The usual suspects from the Chan Clan turned up. Mitch invited Ian, Diane, Glen, Paul and sister. Ian and Glen were ex- colleagues to Mitch in one of the leading architecture firm in Kuala Lumpur.


Mitch is recently “retired” and a happy home-maker while Coco Chan works as a legal consultant for a oil and gas company. So Mitch’s temporary retirement is good for this new family to adjust to parenthood. Vel, their little baby boy is only 6 months and this arrangement seems perfect.


Ian is from Germany, and has been travelling a bit. His employment term is expiring in Malaysia soon and he is aspiring to move on soon. Brilliant guy and speaks so humbly. I enjoyed the afternoon getting acquainted with new found friends. Funny thing was, I was admiring his partner, Diane from far. A dark beauty, beautiful hair and sweet personality. Smart me thought Ian found this beauty treasure and brought her here from some exotic Polynesian Islands. Turned out she is Malaysian, from Penang Island.







Home away from home. Agnes’s abode is such a treasure dwelling. Everyone can stay at their perfect spot, private yet not distant from the festivity.


Plenty of aperitif to uplift spirit, a few gin tonic can help warm a social event. Glen gladly offered to make for everyone.


A candid moment.


Sharing thoughts from each other’s perspective. Enlarging.


Closing the evening with a sweet golden plump pumpkin desert, enjoying the beautiful evening light that warmed our hearts.


An afternoon of sharing has to come to an end soon.


And we bid goodbye, au revoir till we meet again!

HAPPY FAMILY: Dai Lo, Dai So & family

In family festivities, Happy Chan Family on May 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Normally I am the official photographer of the Chan family. Today has been an exception, I decided to let Stevie “take over” his camera as Dai So called personally for this favour. I am happy to take a step back and enjoy the festivities.

It is no ordinary day today. Besides, 1st May being a Labour Day public holiday, it is also the birthday of the eldest son of our Chan Family. Chan Keng Choon or most affectionately addressed as Dai Lo (大老) amongst us siblings and in-laws.

Dai So (大嫂) has been planning this birthday since last year. Everyone in the family was given enough notice and she reminded us to be present for this auspicious celebration. Gosh, 50 sounds like a BIG number. It was only 21 years ago that Dai Lo at 31 years old cradle snatched a 17 year old bride in my Dai So.

And today, at 50, this simple and inward looking couple is gifted with 4 junior Chans. Dai Lo and wife run a restaurant in Pantai Kundur; a restaurant boasting authentic and delicious Hakka dishes. I hope to be writing about him and his recipes, soon after I have completed introducing the Chan family members.

This accompanying, very unprofessionally taken and unedited video clip is posted especially for Fargo and Shauna. We wished you all could be here to celebrate with us.


HAPPY FAMILY: Fargo & Shauna Chan’s family – part 1 the appetiser

In Happy Chan Family on April 16, 2011 at 7:06 am

fargo chan - hakkachan

Being so far away, obviously Fargo’s family is the one we are missing most.

There’s never a family get together or celebration we do not discussed about how nice it would be if Fargo, Shauna and children were here.

Recently bumped into this cute “Chan Clan” video produced by Shauna, Fargo’s wife. I shall take a short cut to insert this video I borrowed from Shauna’s blog Spirit Suds.

I hope Shauna will co-write with me here on, “What Happen’s On The Other Side of the World?”. Everything that has to do with those hakkachans in Texas, USA.

In the meanwhile, I bet you will enjoy getting acquainted with Fargo, Shauna, Lauren, Sara and little Ian.

No doubt, it’s an old tape. Way back in 2008. So by the time I am done doing the next official posting on them, you will be gasping on how much these kids have grown. The marvel of digital technology, we are able to freeze time and lock them up.

Savour and enjoy life.

Capture every moment.

HAPPY FAMILY: Agnes & Margaux Chan

In Hakkamui Cooks, Happy Chan Family, Snack Food on April 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I thought it would be nice if I start introducing you the Chan family members. Let’s start with this beautiful mother-daughter couple, Agnes Chan and Margaux Chan Chaillou.

Pretty, successful and enterprising. She is now all dressed up on a Saturday morning, all ready to defend a team of residents of a condominium in Ampang. Although a busy lady, Agnes makes sure she spends enough time with her little kiddo; especially on weekends like this.

Strong taste buds, highly critical on food, Agnes prefers home-cook food because rarely she finds those served outside palatable. Despite a late bloomer as far as venturing into the kitchen department, she can cook up a surprise or two. Summarily, a very daring, adaptable and intuitive cook.

Margaux Chan Chaillou is an artist. That is how she loves to be recognised. Kid you not, this kid can produce very beautiful sketches and drawings. Margaux actually started selling some of her creations as far back as when she was a tiny tot at 4.

This morning, while Agnes is cooking her favourite French Toast, she is busy preparing an illustration project on Benjamin Franklin. Whenever she is inspired, her creative adrenaline is gushing; nothing can distract her.



1                  egg

1 tbsp           condensed milk

3 slices      wholemeal bread

3 tsp           raw honey


oil butter


1. Break egg in a wide bowl. Beat the egg a little.

2. Add condensed milk and lightly stir to dissolve them.

3. Pour in a little milk to the right consistency.

4. Immerse bread slice by slice.

5. Heat a frying pan and put in a little oil.

6. Fry both side to golden colour.

7. Scope a little raw honey and trickle as much or as little, or none.

She is so absorbed into Franklin’s world.

Pleasantly taking a little pause from school work. Time for this little girl to grab these golden toasts.

Her little masterpiece for the morning.