Searching for Jet Boosters


Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily

Searching for Jet Boosters


and so began my journey in search of the most effective ways to reach for the stars. Stumbling upon an institution among the unusually quiet residences of Mt. Emily. Not far from there, the gleeful laughter of children indulging in carefree play floats thru the thick air. Beads of prespiration trickle down my back as i succumb to the melting heat of the mid-noon sun. The ground titilating to an aweful gradient as i trudged thru the garden. Yikes.. I had dread this experience.. walking from Little India was no mean feat. I mean.. we're talking about Wild Rocket @ Mt. Emily over here! oh no.. Spilt the beans too quickly...


With reservations under our belts, my dining companion and I strided confidently into the comfortable helms of the shop. Cool air streaming down from the air conditioning units above was a welcoming distraction to my bodily discomforts. But those were erased quickly as we sought thru the task of scanning the menus.

Ala Carte Set lunch @ $35 ... now that's a steal (considering that some of the mains are already priced at $32.50. haha). CHECK!

for starters, we chose the Pan-seared Tuna Rocket Salad with Light Ginger Dressing and the Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab with granny smith salad. These arrive sooner than later at our tables. A riot of colors and a splash of flavors across our yearning taste buds.


the soft shell crab was almost a star on its own, with the thought of having to blot the excess oil of the battered crabs being the least of our worries. The black pepper sauce was AWESOME, sweet, thick and immensely spicy all at the same time. The granny smith apples on the side (not so much what you would call a salad) were a good treat as they helped the douse the flames that had arisen from the spiciness of the black pepper. The pan-seared tuna on the other hand was delightful but not that big a deal. The salad dressing paying compliments to chicken rice, with tangy flavors of the ginger dressing lingering. The seared tuna was slightly 'un-fresh' as interpreted by the way the fish shredded as I dug my fork along the thin lining of fats.


And at rocket speeds(which the restaurant guarantees with its name like that), the mains were quick to arrive. The Crabmeat Linguine with Chilli Tomato Cream for me and the Braised Lemongrass Ginger Lamb Shank with Garlic Potato Mash for her. Both were delightful with the meat falling off the bone for her and the generous serving of crabmeat sprinkled like treasures across a desert for me. All is not a scene of perfection though as I felt the pasta was a little undercooked.. not al dente the way I liked it. But who's to complain.. with the sauce. a mix of cream, tomato and a mighty kick from the chilli flakes. I was practically wolfing down the dish.


Note to oneself: I think i still prefer the linguine al granchio from La Cantina @ Changi Village Hotel.

chilli flakes

And with the final stop of the day. We had our desserts...

evan's dessert

poor girl had such a tough time deciding between the list of fusion desserts. drawing her final conclusion at the Black Glutinous Rice with coconut icecream. This was a major disappointment though as the glutinous rice was still a little undercooked, a little hard and definitely flavorless, if not for the coconut icecream. Guess their attempts to recreate the pulot hitam in a glass had failed miserably..

My order of Chocolate Lava Gateau with Flambe Bananas was a hit though with the both of us. Though the resturant didn't proclaim of the use of any exquisite chocolate in its recipe (think Bakerzin Valrhona Chocolate); I felt that the former had managed a better rendition of this classic yet cliched dessert. The outsides significatly warm with a slightly spongy and airy texture was delightful in contrast to the warm flowy innards. The flambe bananas bearing the warm notes of caramelisation. I just smirked my way thru this one...

chocolatelava cake

Wild Rocket, It's seclusion and peaceful nature resonating thru from its surroundings is indeed its prized possession. Enjoy a slow walk down from the hill after a meal or share an intimate moment in the nearby park. This definitely marks a notch in my record books for being a romantic hot spot.


Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily

hangout hotel, 10a upper wilkie road. singapore 228119.

tel : 63399448


Blueberry and coconut tart

A Tribute to Babbo's Kitchen


Picture a vivid color palette, plump purple-blue berries against a backdrop of snowy coconut. Tired and frustrated with the usual ways of imparting coconut with pineapple (aka the pina colada treatment), I seeked inspiration from Babbo's Kitchen. The simplistic yet extravagent picture of a honey and pine nut on the front cover of Dolce Italiano providing readers with an lip-smacking preview to the treasures lying beneath its covers. Truth is, if you were to close your eyes and have someone read the description of the array of desserts to you, it would almost be like a breath of fresh warm summer air blowing from the Italian coasts.

I tried my hands on the Blueberry and Coconut Tart (crostata di mirtillo e cocco) after being inspired by the wild clash of colors painted across the photo. Rewards were great as the dessert was served up after the Chinese New Year spread. Praises and exclaimations greeted me, alongside huge lopsided grins bearing the juicy spills of blueberry ink. It wasn't until I sank my teeth into a small portion of the dessert that I understood. The blueberry was slightly sour against the sweet coconut streusel, slightly browned and crumbled on top of fluted tart. Each and every component looking the part of a seperate entity in the artistic composition yet its contributed flavors blending into something so wildly exotic, it was almost incomprehendible. That was Italian desserts for you... somehow, I grew wildly interested in trying the rest of the recipes in the book. hmph..

so for you guys who still have your slight doubts about the combination of blueberries and coconut (even after my ardous amount of convincing), do take a chance with the recipe below!

halfscreen tart

Blueberry and Coconut Tart
crostata di mirtillo e cocco

Makes one 10-inch tart, 10 servings

Sweet Tart Crust (i used Dorie Greenspan's, and prebaked it for 25 mins at 180 degrees celcius)

For the topping
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the filling

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs yolks
freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
pinch of kosher salt
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut

For the assembly

about 3 cups fresh bluberries
2 tblspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

To make topping: Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat and let it cool. Place the flour, sugar, salt and coconut in a large bowl and whisk together till combine well. Add the vanilla extract to the melted butter, then add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a fork to combine well. Spread the topping in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and chill for 30mins, or until firm.

Remove the topping from the refrigerator and place in a bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture several times to make small crumbs. Set aside.

To make filling:Place the butter and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and using a paddle attachment on medium speed, beat together until smooth and creamy, about 2 mins. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides. Beat in the lemon zest and salt, followed by coconut.

To assemble the tart: Place the blueberries in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch and stir together to combine, thoroughly coating the berries.

Using a spatula, evenly spread the filling into the tart shell. Top with blueberries, drizzling any liquid from the bottom of the bowl on top. Evenly cover the surface with the topping crumbs. Bake until topping is lightly golden and the blueberries are bubbling, 45-50 mins at 180 degrees celcius.

Serve the tart while still slightly warm, or cool and serve at room temperature.

Chinese New Year


TWD @ Chinese New Year:

Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread


The onset of Chinese New Year brought truckloads of opportunities for baking and feeding the crowds craving for a little piece of sweet nothing even after their more than satisfactory meals. In all respect of the nature of this week's TWD challenge as posed by Heather of Sherry Trifle (check out her blog for the recipe!), I decingingly baked the Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread as a tea time treat for the Aunties visiting my Dayima's house on new year's day. To be honest, the recipe was a real hassle, requiring freshly grated ginger, ginger powder, melted chocolate and chopped chocolate bits. All a little too much for lazy me of course. But the end result made it all worthwhile. What burst out of the fridge after a quick blast to set the chocolate glaze was a ligh, moist and subtly spiced cake balanced by the inclusion of everyone's FAVOURITE... chocolate. I could live with this combination forever!

With the lovely confection transported to the aunt's house without a taste test on my part.. i was strangely confident that this would be a hit over with the aunties. And truth to be, upon reaching the gates of the house, with my freshly baked crostata di mirtillo e cocco in tow, I was greeted by praises that the cake went down lovely with a cup of tea. Destination: Cloud 9...

So I would like to pose a major thanks to Heather for picking this week's recipe! Sure was a winner in my books!

for more versions of this beauty. please tune in to the TWD blogroll!


Moving on.. Here are some photo collages from the many Chinese new visits to my relatives houses that I thought would be nice to share. Tumultous amounts of loading up on foods.. new year goodies. It's no wonder many go back to work/school after the festivities with an extra paunch. ARGH...

dayima's hse

at my dayima's place on New Year's eve. Stupid Brother had to pick some silly game for all of us to play. And of course I can recognise my own mother's face blindfolded!!! haha.


the next day @ my er-yi's place for steamboat. I swear that the amount of food purchased was enough to feed at least 30 people! to think we only had 15 at the table.. haha. That's the thing about CNY, MORE! but never less... haha.


then a little midnight shopping with Babe and his family @ Mustafa Little India. The spice alley.. oh my gosh!!! I just get so excited thinking about it!

The next day was spent at my ah-ma's house for lunch and then dinner again at Dayima's house with the extended family. No photos to show though. Had my taste of chinese new year again after a continous run-away from the hustle and bustle over the past years, Kuantan in 2006 and Pulau Lang Tengah in 2007 (still one of the most spectacular island scenaries I had ever seen). A taste of family gatherings and nonstop reunions from house to house, guess I would be suffering from withdrawal effects. And after pushing away the notions that I had once hated Chinese New Year for its mundaness, I actually enjoyed myself this year. How often do you get to see all your relatives, (catch up on the latest gossips), enjoy good food and what not in a short span of 2 days?! What more could I ask for seriously.. haha.

More visiting to do today though.. sigh. Do come back for a slice of my crostata di mirtillo e cocco later!


Thank you dear for being with me through all of the rough times,

riding the waves together...

You're my solace.

Valentines Day?

Valentines Day Cupcake Collection 2009

well.. I know this is a little early since we're only starting to feel the onset of the chinese new year. But here's a sneak preview of my offerings for this years valentines day. And YESH, I'll be selling cupcakes! So do please support me if you will. haha.


here's the first successful flavor after a experimenting. 'Silver and Gold' features an earl grey infused chocolate cake base topped with more earl grey tea chocolate ganache and studded with gold and silver dragees and finished off with a gold dusted star. With all that sophistication and subtle mysterious flavoring going on, a box of these lovely beauties would be able to tell your loved one that ' our love is more precious than silver and gold'.

For more details, please visit my sales site here!


Meanwhile, please wait for the emergence of MORE flavors in this exotic journey of tastes and aromas!

bdae celebration for babe


TWD: Berry Surprise Cake

And for my first installment of Tuesdays With Dorie for the year 2009, here's presenting to you my version of Berry Surprise Cake as chosen by Mary Ann of Meet me in the Kitchen!

I made this in a valiant attempt to provide my dearest boyfriend with a birthday cake ever since he last complained of not having one the last year. oh well... For my dosage of red fruits, I turned to Egyptian Strawberries for the solution and a dash of strawberry liquer mixed in the sugar syrup for dabbing the insides of the cake. Sounds exotic? Meanwhile, while tasting the filling, I found it to be a little tastless and proceeded to adding just a little more sugar and vanilla. But not too much since the whipped cream frosting would perhaps provide the sweet element to the entire makeup of the dessert.


I loved the contrast of the chilled cream cheese filling to the softness of the genoise and the whipped cream layer on the outside. Almost a bit savoury as compared to its fluffy surrounding, the cream cheese filling was particularly divine as suggested by Dorie in the recipe book. Definitely would make this cake again! and not to mention the colors!!! wouldn't be appropriate for valentines day? haha.

For more exciting versions of this lovely recipe, please scroll down the list of TWD bakers! and watch out for next weeks recipe Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread!


reunion lunch

Only for reunions..
of somesort.


Lunch was a grand affair, with an assortment of meats, yong tau fu and balls of all sorts spread across the dining table. Hot bubbling clear soup in pots, ladles, some with strainers and some not. This is the typical chinese reunion dinner. Lunch rather.. but same goes. The tradition of sitting around the table, dipping meats and others into the hot pots. Jostling with neighbours over the narrow arm space, communal cooking over the same stove with an assortment of delights to please each and every individual. By the end of the endless free flow of food to the table, the entire family was full to the brim. Well.. not exactly.. EVERYONE has room for dessert don't they?

So continuing with the steamboat idea, I decided to inject a bit of un-chinese traditions to the normal reunion lunch. Chocolate fondue.. i mean it does carry some of the same significance doesn't it? One pot, several sticks.. and a whole lot of racket from fighting over the oozing warm chocolate sauce.

sourcream pound cake

So there it was, my own little chocolate fondue. Warm chocolate sauce finished with dark rum for that extra oomph.. and to keep the children quiet as well after the sugar rush. SSShh, pray don't tell. On the sides, salty pretzel sticks (for that salted chocolate effect), strawberries, mini marshmellows (didn't have time to make my own, bah!!), sliced apples and my very own sour cream pound cake. recipe courtesy of Carole Walter from her book 'Great coffee cakes' (with a teeny weeny bit of alteration).


to be honest.. the scene was a little chaotic, with children fixated at the platter, greedily dipping their skewers into the molten chocolate sauce. Chocolate on the plates, chocolate on the table, even chocolate dripping down the corners of the greedy little mouths. I'm not excused either of course...

A delightful dessert, easy to put together for special occasions. Guess I've got this one on my menu in times to come.

Do I love you because you're beautiful

Lyrics to ponder over...

Lea Salonga... ahhh! Pratically dragged my mum to watch the Rodgers and Hammerstein - Cinderella musical at the esplanade. It was all a magical performance.. and Lea Salonga, utter brilliance. The song that struck me the most was 'Do I love you because you're beautiful'; suddenly, it all made sense to me. Do you fall in love with someone because in the world's eyes she/he is perfect, or will an imperfect being transform into someone beautiful when you've fallen in love? that all flaws be hidden from your eyes, as though shrouded by a mysterious cloud when he/she becomes the object of you deepest fantasies and hopes? Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder as they say... this is so true.

this version is from the TV version of Rodger and Hammerstein's Cinderella. A bit more cinematic of course. Much prefer the musical version which can be viewed here

Do i love you because you are beautiful?
Do I love you because you're beautiful,
or are you beautiful because I love you?
Am I making believe I see in you
a girl too lovely to be really true?

Do I want you because you're wonderful,
or are you wonderful because I want you?
Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream
or are you really as beautiful as you seem?

Am I making believe I see in you
a man too perfect to be really true?
Do I want you because you're wonderful,
or are you wonderful because I want you?

Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream
or are you really as wonderful as you seem?

at least for me, I live in blissful knowledge that my loved one has become the fixation of my admiration and adoration because I love him...

Double Bay Restaurant

Double Bay Resturant

celebrating Fine Australian cuisine


All was a scene of serenity. The teak furniture, slim cutlery, glass windows, beautifully comfy tweed chairs to sink into. All a surprising contrast to the tumultous surroundings; the roaring traffic passing by on the busy street; occasional strong winds that caused turmoil to innocent victims on the streets, flapping skimpy skirts and overturning cups. The Double Bay Resturant was evidently busy even in the early hours of dinner service. However with that many staff standing idly behind the counter, it was evident that they were perhaps over-staffed.

Once seated, my bf and I were presented an impressive drinks menu that spanned from Australian beers to sparkling wines, smoothies and more. The main menu though simple proved a feat to be decided upon as well given the huge variety of fishes. The waiters... fresh off the grill, were over-eager in taking our orders. Interrupting us twice in the span of a smooth conversation to enquire about our choices. Quickly sensing a bit of impatience, we settled on two glasses of wine, the first, a Green Point Sparkling Brut from the Yarra valley($15) and the other just a normal housepour white wine (riesling) ($13). Turns out, the latter was much better, smooth on the palate and inheriting a tinge of sweetness after oxidising. Perfect with fish...


For starters, we ordered the seared bay scallops with ikura and seaweed emulsion ($16.90) from the gastrobar. We were soon greeted with 6 large succulent scallops sitting on a platter with a bowl of accompanying salmon roe and salad. What impressed me most was the combination of salmon roe with the scallops. The explosion of flavors upon first bite was almost a beautiful symphony. The seaweed emulsion injecting a tinge of grassy, salty flavor to the entire dish. Definitely a dish worth its price tag. Did i mention that the scallops were perfectly done? *yummy..


scallops close up


Situated between the Raffles Hotel and Raffles City Shopping Centre. One would first marvel at the strange locality and peculiar layout of the establishment. Constrained on the outside of the protruding round walls of the shopping complex. The restaurant had a mini V-shaped platforms on all 3 sides which allowed for alfresco dining as well as tiny little decks on the peripherals for customers that preferred dining under the prying eyes of the passing traffic, both humans and automation.

The interior was an oasis of luxurious textures and gentle lighting. All inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of the Australians i suppose. I particularly enjoyed that feeling as I sat back basking in the comforting glow of the setting sun. It's bliss with the object of infatuation seated in front of you.


The mains were soon to arrive. Both of us chose the beer-battered fish..*i know.. boring!*. He had the Cobia/ Black King fish ($23.90) whilst I had the Australian Barramundi ($19.90). With a list of 7 fishes to choose from, it was a tough affair but we settled quickly waiting eagerly to sample the differences. The former was definitely better with a richer taste and flakier texture whereas the latter lacked personality, though it was still a good piece of fish. The beer batter was crispy and fried to perfection, never taking on the sydrome of sogginess despite our slow, ardous eating process. Pity, the aroma of beer failed to shine.

cobia,black king fish

Served with tomato ketchip, vinegar and tar-tar sauce, it was the perfect combination with the fish fillets. Simple and non-descript. The fries on the side were thick steak cut pieces, fried lightly such that its starchy contents, soft and moist were the stars of the show. I was delighted of course, since I had always had a thing for 'soggy' fries. These were perfect.


stained cutlery

a sense of wellbeing aflot. Stained cutlery dipped in vinegar and condiments. Still, we had to do desserts. Mandatory process? Guess it would have to be this way with me around.

lemon meringue pie

Our choice, the Lemon Meringue Pie ($8.90). Though this item appeared the most insignificant on the dessert menu, with no description whatsoever; I must admit that I was thoroughly pleased with the dessert. Apart from the mini blunder with the orders of course. With a serving size big enough for 3 eaters, this lemon meringue pie was unlike any that I've ever seen before. Flat as a pancake. The lemon curd layer was thin, and the excellently torched meringue layer adding another 50% to the entire dimension of the dessert. Sugared berries crowned the top providing a brush of dazzling colors to the plate. Essentially, this dessert was a perfect ending to the meal, the meringue, evidently dry of tears (no weeping) was an excellent contrast to the tart lemon curd (though i wish it could just a little more sour!) and the buttery crust. It's height only meant that you could easily have a feel of all the layered components in your mouth at the same time. Phenomenal. the only complaint was the ice-cream served on the side. Definitely not produced in-house, large ice-crystals and non-predominant taste of vanilla beans. *Shrugs*. Still, this dessert is a sure shot and I'll probably return just to try the other desserts some day. The profiteroles sound tempting...


Last but not least, I would like to wish my dear baby boy a Happy 23rd Birthday.

You're my rock.

and i must say.. a very lovable rock..

Double Bay Restaurant

252 North Bridge Road
#01-22A Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6334 6530


Double Bay Resturant


Passing traffic, tweed chairs, the warm glow of lights from chinese lanterns suspended mid-air, immaculate cuisine and the most important man in my life.

review on the Double Bay to be out soon...



Key to My Heart


Key To My Heart
by Amanda Marie

I had closed the door upon my heart
and wouldn't let anyone in
I had trusted and loved only to be hurt
but that would never happen again
I locked the door and
tossed the key as
hard and as far as I could
My heart was closed for good

Then you came into my life and
made me change my mind
just when I thought that
tiny key was impossible to find
that is when you held out your hand
and proved me wrong
inside your palm was the
Key to My Heart
You had it all along

Happy Birthday to you my darling babe...

Tales of a Japanese maiden and the Italian Baker

Tales of the Japanese Maiden and the Italian Baker
randomousity amidst the achievements...

perla's pastry boutique + cupcakes + en japanese dining

Photos of the lovely dessert box I got from my mum's Japanese boss in return for baking linzer sables for him to bring back to his family upon request. Financiers, sables and many other buttery concoctions alike. This box lead to many smiles and jovious laughters...

Sunday lunch at En Japanese Dining Bar @ Bukit Timah with the family.
Food was exquisite and standards were high even for its lunch sets. The wide selection allowed for the picky taste buds at the table to be appeased. The lunch set (valued at $20++) included free flow of rice/ hot udon, chawanmushi, seared tuna, radish salad, pickles, miso soup and a choice of two dishes. I chose the grilled salmon and terriyaki chicken whilst most others at the table had the wafu beef. All were delicious of course with the beef recieving the largest shower of compliments. Glistering succulence certainly made it's way up the alley of my family's palate. The grilled salmon arrived at the table way above my expectations. Instead of the measly thin slice of salmon, a thick slab of pink fleshed salmon with crisp divine skin filled the void. I was stolen by the freshness of the catch and the perfect doneness of its interior.

perla's pastry boutique + cupcakes + en japanese dining-1

perla's pastry boutique + cupcakes + en japanese dining-3
With that, En Japanese Dining Bar quickly earn a place as the place to go to for quality japanese food in my record books. If you guys are interested please do check out the restaurant and its other related outlets located at mohammad sultan road. (details are provided at the end of the post)

Next up, desserts from Perla's Pastry Boutique, sister shop to the infamous Valentino located at rifle range road. With a very excited mum in tow, we were quick to wipe out almost every item in the glass display case in an attempt to experience the sugar rush later on. Below are the dessert items we brought home, along with a pink box full of pastries and other bignes (mini puffs).


Verdict: The tiramisu is defintely the best I've ever had in Singapore. Quickly replacing the status of Galbati (rail mall). However, priced at $8.80 per cup, it seems a much higher price to pay. Nonethless, the amount of liquor and right constituency and texture to the entire dessert just makes it worthwhile. The chantilly cake.. that was definitely dreamy. Speaking of cream cakes, I never quite fancied one till i laid my eyes on this one. Being the signature cake of the pastry boutique, it had a large crown to fill in the taste test. And without a doubt, this dessert clearly emerged a winner. I was hooked. The light sponge cake soaked in rum and milk provided a soft and almost etheral finish to the custard and chocolate fillings within. The addition of white chocolate shavings made for contrast in textures between the monotany of the billowy soft cake. And as every spoonful melted in the mouth gently and almost gracious like a princess, I then came to realise why so many people had chosen this cake to be the cake for their special occasion. It was a blend of perfect harmony.. a happy thing after all...
perla's pastry boutique + cupcakes + en japanese dining-2

Last of all, the Torta Valentino, a chocolate cake with rum soaked raisins and dark chocolate ganache and chocolate cream. Definitely a must try for chocoholics. the chocolate ganache layer was to die for. plus the drunked raisin provided an interesting flavor to the entire makeup. I was enthralled by this one.. the box of pastries holding the mini puffs (bigne) , the cannocini and the very traditional cannoli siciliani were however not as good. Given that we had already feasted on some of the best cakes in my life, these were just mediocre. However, I must admit that the cream fillings for the bignes were excellent. More towards the rich custard fillings rather than cream. And the choux pastry was delicately soft and fresh tasting..
if only they had larger versions.. haha.

En Japanese Dining @ Bukit Timah

557 Bukit Timah Road, #01-14/16 Crown Centre
Tel: 6468 5710
Opening hours: 6pm - 12 midnight

Perla's Pastry Boutique

7 Jalan Bingka, Mayfair Park
Tel: 6462 2760
Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 12noon-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm
(closed on mondays)

a blank stare

you don't understand..

words like the deadly forests poisons on spear heads.

I'll stay silent.

i hate that girl so much



faces.. places


These cupcakes were done as a Xmas order for a lovely lady to her dearest colleages. 50 different faces, 50 different names and descriptions...

suffering in silence as i recieve text messages from the exhausted bf who is currently outfield. Can't hear his voice as he needs to be tactical. What crap...

Miss you.

What goes up must come down.

What goes up must come down...

one look at the skies and you can immediately taste a tinge of peace and lurking adventures lurking in the midst. With God granted blue skies, a sense of purpose quickly crawls into place. We are to scale the mountain. All 4,095m of it.. (psss.. perhaps there was a little cheating involved since the start off point was already at a certain altitude)


Many had congregated that day to join the throngs in clambering up the stiff slopes of Mt. K. I reckon that the mountain does pose a certain degree of 'easy-to-conquer' attitude with its 2 days 1 night itiniery to scale S.E Asia's highest peak. Think cheap thrill?.. thrill yes.. fast yes... cheap? NO!!..*recalling the hefty price tag involved in the bargain* Yet unlike its many cousins in the region, exampl Gunung Tahan, This mountain was just up all the way, no undulating terrains, no swamps or rivers to cross, Just an endless flight of weaving steps to conquer. Well, then again, you might think its easy. But i guarantee you not... with every step up, a whole new challenge is posed. Altitude performance and the ability to maneuver with ease, and manage activity at heights which make breathing easy a little harder than usual.

Recalling the painful steps i took up the sloped rock top near the end of the journey 2 years ago, i shudder.. and pray that the experience would be just a little more forgiving on my body.


My brother on the hand, embraced the challenge with open arms. Keeping a deaf ear to the many horrific tales that my parents passed on to him. Stories about the impassiveness of the body at high altitude, the cold winds as the temperature dipped down low whilst waiting for the sun to rise. 'BAH!!! I think it would be easier than all of you say.', he proclaims. I want to believe in him.. but somehow, I know that deep down inside.. I was scared.

Kota Kinabalu' 08-14

And not long after, the journey begins.. from the lush forest to the sparser vegetation and bonsai trees shrouded in a cloud of mist near the top. Each step was misery for me. Perhaps its just one of those days, combined with my severly under-trained physique. I was quickly turning into a mess as I trudged up the slopes. It wasn't before long that my brother joined me in my trip down agony lane, muttering evil curses underneath our rapid trembling breaths.

We reached laban rata in a record slow time of 4 1/2 hours. (slower than 2 years ago of course) but I gave a quick prayer of thanks to the Lord for carrying me up. My thighs were perpertually useless with a searing pain on my right leg eased only by thr rubbing of some of Bonny's miracle cream ( he's our mountain guide) . We were to spend the night here, fill our stomachs and then set off to conqeur the peak at 2am the next morning. Reach the summit just in time for sunrise.

laban rata

Needless to say, coffee was the first thing on my mind. Something to make the endorphins rush.. comfort in a cup.


Soon after our buffet dinner provided at the lodge, we took a shower in the shelter (my brother selfishly indulged in the comforts of hot water for at least a quarter of an hour whilst I had the bear the brunt of the damage done, taking mine in ice cold water) and headed up to our slping quarters some 200m above the main shelter. With no heating system, I was thankful for the company of 2 others in the room, a young Japanese Couple, a doctor and a nurse residing in the double decker beds next to ours.


After watching the most amazing sunset and snuggling underneath the covers... we both drifted off to sleep. NEH.. more like he drifted off to slp whilst i stayed wide awake staring at the ceiling above me. Paracetemols just makes me so darn awake. In the entire 8 hours of rest time, I only managed to catch 2 hours of sleep. DARn it...

soon, the alarm in the neighbouring bed woke us up. 2 am.. time to set off. Thankfully we were one of the first teams to leave the quarters with the other teams trailing far behind. Memories of the trailing lights ahead became parts of a fleeting past. Instead, darkness and the unknown lay before our paths as we trudged up the mountain. One step at a time, with only the whistling winds, throbbing beats of your heart and your slow steady breaths in tow. 40 steps was all it took to reach a stage of fatigue. With every ounce of muscle screaming for more air in such a oxygen deprieved environment. Even the normally functional muscle groups seem to be wailing in agony with each step.

Thank God for my Kor who was always one step ahead of me in our journey up the slopes. If it weren't for him and his presence that served as encouragement to me. I probably wouldn't have made it up the mountain so fast. We reached Low's Peak at 5 10am in the morning. 50 mins ahead of the approximated sunrise. Now it is a whole different ball game, with only 2 layers of clothing and temperatures as low as 3 degrees complete with cold winds, It was a battle to stay warm till the sun rose.

Huddling up behind the rocks in a futile effort to stay out of the passing winds, we shivered and grunted till we saw beams of orange lightning emerging from the clouds ahead. Could that be sunrise?!

and yes it was!!! WE MADE IT!!!


I couldn't have been happier... a feeling of joy and overwhelming peace took over. The once dark surroundings were now illuminated by the sun rays that gently painted the sculpted lands. I watched as my brother looked in awe at the giant rock that he had been climbing on for the last 2 hours. Everything made sense..

Kota Kinabalu' 08-92

By this time, my fingers, only protected by the yarn gloves that i had carried along to prevent rope burns were now numb and incredibly painful from the extreme cold. Taking photos or even handling the camera was not one of my first priorities at the moment. Kudos to the few whom i saw whipping out their dslr to capture the moment. For me, I was just glad to have made it all the way so far. Despite the many situations encountered along the way... Sucess was sweet.


Despite the intial thrill, I began to feel the effects of lack of sleep and the strain from the climb on my body. Think it was a little altitude sickness as well as I started to have light-headedness and nausea. Then i was a race down the mountain in order to get to lower heights... Pity though as I would have liked to stick around longer... Thanks to the Japanese couple for the medication!

Kota Kinabalu' 08-93

Going down wasn't easy definitely... with the effects of the painkillers that my brother popped the day before wearing out. The brunt of his previous day's jumps and prancing up the steps came crashing down on him. And soon, he was reduced to a limping old man walking at speeds of 2km/hr down the slopes. haha. SEE i told you! But still, as he tells me, something's gotta give... I'm just glad that I got to share his first mountain climbing experience with him...

Thanks Kor for being there...

walking down