Staying interconnected

With the advances in technology, keeping in touch or venturing out to new places is so easy nowadays, even for the older generation

20 Mar 2019 / 15:18 H.

BY JEFF YONG

SOME people believe that when we’ve plenty of time on our hands, we should spend it with our family and friends.

This is especially true when we’re in our twilight years of 60s and 70s, or even 80s.

Some people call these years the 6-Series and 7-Series, or even 8-Series, alluding to a certain luxury German motoring marque.

There really is no point staying cooped up at home if we’re able to get around without troubling others, and have the means to do so.

And with advances in technology, locating long-lost friends and relatives is that much easier.

Even driving to an unfamiliar place hardly raises a sweat, with the availability of location-finding apps such as Waze or Google Maps.

So it’s no issue organising a meeting among friends at some interesting locales.

This can all be done through the WhatsApp, Facebook, WeChat or Twitter platforms.

The fast connectivity not only enables us to meet and enjoy each other’s company, but also helps keep us connected through group chats where we can talk about anything under the sun or moon.

Recently, I met up with a number of my primary school friends and their spouses at a Hainanese bakery and café at Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya.

Now Taman Megah, which means ‘majestic’ in Malay, is often mispronounced as Taman Mega, as in mega or gigantic. Mega or not, it certainly has some interesting eating places.

It was here that a smallish but progressive bakery started with its array of exquisite cakes.

But I’m told there was an equity split among the shareholders, which eventually spawned a now famous nationwide restaurant and bakery chain.

It’s also the site of two large seafood restaurants which are packed to the brim whenever they’re open.

There’s also a herbal restaurant, which also doubles up as a herbalist store – a good place to look for Chinese herbal cures.

A nearby outlet sells all kinds of dumplings and dim sum goodies, and surrounding it is a galore of noodle stalls.

But the one that blew my mind is a restaurant that serves Indian banana leaf curry dishes with roast pork!

That appears to be a first in Malaysia – unless somebody knows of another.

Located at the corner of a row of shops, it has a pleasant and breezy ambience that should keep spirits up, especially when beer is thrown in!

Restaurants aside, I’m very taken in by a sundry shop – or in modern parlance, a mini-market – located there as well.

Giving that age has caught up with me, I find this rather unstuffy sundry shop really convenient.

I don’t have to walk all over a sprawling supermarket to get my stuff.

It meets most of my basic needs: rice, sugar, salt, eggs, cooking oil, flour, certain types of basic snacks and other edible essentials.

Unless I’m looking for something exotic.

Back to the Hainanese bakery and café that was introduced to me by a close friend, S.K., who isn’t Hainanese, but Hokkien.

My Penang friends – Chien Cheng and Seng Oo, together with their respective spouses, Moi Moi and Jess – and I had a great time that Sunday as we were transported back in time with the café’s time-honoured cakes and pastries. Not forgetting its robust coffees and teas.

It was a joy to be there, surrounded by shelves upon shelves of aromatic cakes and pastries, and served by its friendly owners and helpers.

Two days later, I was back at the same outlet with my brother-in-law and his wife! I was asked by someone what was the ‘magnet’ that attracted me to the place.

I replied that the Hainanese community is relatively small compared to the Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka or Foochow communities.

As such, we tend to be close-knit and supportive of each other, especially of a business entity that promotes our dialect group.

This is despite the fact that there are sub-dialect groups among us such as Wenchang, Wanning, Dingan and Qionghai, to name a few.

But we are cohesively Hainanese in our roots! Our island mentality, perhaps?

Jeff Yong, after making his mark in the twisty maze of mainstream journalism, has finally decided to enjoy what he does best – observing the unusual and recounting the gleeful. He can be contacted at lifestyle.borak@gmail.com.

email blast