Maybe I had too much wine during dinner because I had an unpleasant dream last night. SK and I were on an old rickety bus heading to town, traveling via a scenic route. I ended up in a classroom with my old schoolmates. SK must have gone somewhere else.
Tension was broiling inside the classroom. My friends were avoiding me. When I confronted them, they said I have changed and grown complacent, arrogant and boastful about my success. Outside the window, ominous dark clouds were forming. A hurricane was brewing. Trees were uprooted and tossed about. Things were flying in the air. I was filled with anguish and worried sick about SK, yet trying to defend myself and convince my friends I haven't changed a bit.
I was desperately looking out for SK when I saw a group of people coming in for shelter. Maybe my son came back...but there was no ending or I had simply forgotten.
I'm not going to analyse my dream but clearly, it conveys my fear of losing my friends and loved ones.
This morning I was reading about Her Excellency Thongvanh Siphandone of Laos and gleaned some wisdom along the way. "To understand your weaknesses is to understand your strengths", she said. She experienced some of the most tumultuous periods during the Indochina war when Laos was subjected to the heaviest bombing in the history of warfare. She lost many many friends.
While the memories remain lucid, the war torn history is a thing of the past. Today she works tirelessly for the projects installed by the Lao Women's Union, a ministry that works towards the betterment of women's conditions in Laos, often visiting farming families in the countryside to give encouragement.
Her other passion is cooking. In Laos, all the genteel womenfolk can cook. It is a skill ingrained in them from childhood and has as its roots a love for family life and tradition. She started helping out in the kitchen as a six year old. "Cook with love," she advises. "Or there will be no flavour at all."
I think my dinner last night was quite a success because it was cooked with love. On workdays, I rely alot on prepackaged sauce. The Korean spicy stew was made using a soup base from the Korean supermarket. The dish was a melting pot of Asian products from Japanese miso paste to Chinese lettuce, Taiwanese Inoki mushroom, Indonesian pork and minced chicken. I also followed my Korean friend's advice of using starchy Japanese rice water for the soup.
We had panfried chicken steaks and salmon fillets seasoned with HP sauce and Teriyaki sauce. I cooked Mapo tofu (minced meat, button mushroom and beancurd) using a packaged mapo sauce. For some reason, the dish had a strong Jasmine tea scent. Must be something in the sauce. The last dish was stirfried cuttlefish with chive and spring onions.
For dessert, we had pineapple tarts EE bought in Taiwan, watermelon and rockmelon. Lots of wine too.