Weekend Kitchen Chat

Welcome to another weekend of kitchen chat with Victor!

Why have I posted this so late? The weekend is almost over. Another couple of hours, it is the beginning of a new week. I am not sure what I am going to chat about. The week passed was quite up and down for me. Finished a few more documents and training for the company. Went to a colleague farewell at the company’s cafeteria. She is a Malaysian Chinese, moving to Melbourne for a new job. Over 50 people were at her farewell afternoon tea, wishing her well in her next career move. Then it dawned upon me, that I am also leaving the company (except I am not a permanent employee even though I have worked for the same company for the past seven years!) in a couple of days. I had a mixed feeling at her farewell, and my last couple of days at work. She is moving on to something bigger and better for her future. I am…well, I am moving on to oblivion.

Yesterday, my mum and the rest of my family arrived in Melbourne. This is my mum’s second trip to Australia, having visited me in 1994. I must admit I am a bit concern about her visiting at this time of the year. She rarely travel. She is not accustomed to a cold climate. But, the trip is very special. It is her only grandson’s graduation.

So the week built up to an interesting change of event with my entire family here in Melbourne!

What about next week?

There will be more change and I must adapt. I have to, to remain sane. I will be out of work from next Tuesday. I will be going to Melbourne to meet my family and bring mum and my sister back in the weekend for a week visit in Tasmania. This will be their first visit. It will be interesting to see what they have to say. I will get the chance to cook for them. It will be nice. I am really looking forward to cook for my mum.

Have you ever been out of work? How does it feel? What do you do to keep yourself focus and not fall into depression?

This is going to be the first time I am without a job. Four years ago, I almost had a similar experience when I finished my permanent three years fixed term contract. There is no other project in the company and I had to leave. At the same time, my tenants decided to terminate their lease. I took back my property and refitted the shop front, turned into a Malaysian cafe. Turned my dream and passion of food into a reality. But, this time it is different. I don’t have another commercial property where I can restart cooking commercially again. I need to think. I need to adapt to a new change.

19 responses to “Weekend Kitchen Chat

  1. Oh Victor your head must be spinning with all that mischievous self talk! Keep it positive…At least you have some time to get used to the idea. Sometimes we get hung up on ‘busy’ when with the impermanence of life things are always changing eg in the garden with the seasons. The trees let go of their leaves but are still trees with next spring’s potential!
    With your Mum on the other hand I’m sure she’ll have a wonderful time with her favourite son : ))

    • Thanks, Mary. How true is that?! There is always a tomorrow, and the light of Spring. Life goes through a cycle, like everything else. Cheers.

  2. Dear Victor

    Sorry to hear you about your situation right now regarding employment. It is a scary thought, isn’t it? So much of our identity are tied up with our job, at least for some of us. I am in a similar situation to you. At first it is quite devastating but now I am slowly getting my head around that it is the best situation to be in.
    How I overcome the “mischievous self talk” (love that expression) is to tell myself to breathe and stay in the “NOW”, forget the past, and most of all don’t think of the future. Not right now when you are feeling down.

    Enjoy your time with your mum and extended family. Focus on the now. Take care, Victor.

    • Hey Lee – thanks for the comforting words. I will certainly take your advice to focus on “Now” and not look to the past, or think too much into the future. Time will tell.

  3. Victor, as a qualified Career Adviser, I am happy to come down and chat with you any time about your specific circumstance. Just say the word and I’m there.

    • Thanks for the offer, Rita. Hopefully by keeping myself busy with mum in the next few days, and weeks (as I will be taking her home to Penang), I will try and live it “Now” as suggested by Lee and Mary to remain positive. There is always a “spring” on the tomorrow.

  4. Victor, about 20 years ago, and in the space of one week, I lost my job, broke up with my girlfriend, and had to move house within a fortnight as my then flatmate decided he was going to go tramping around South America for a year and I couldn’t afford to take over the lease.

    It was an interesting time, to say the least. I felt like I was floating over eggshells.


    When all the things that are familiar to us go the way of the wind, it’s not so much an ending, but the beginning of whatever we may want it to be.

    Grab it and go for whatever you want to do in life, whatever grabs your passion.

    On other matters, I wandered into the local Asian shop recently and asked for a packet of galangal. “What’s that?” they asked me. “Galangal”, I said and pointed to my shopping list just in case I wasn’t pronouncing it correctly. “Never heard of it” they said. “You’re kidding”, I replied. “What do you use it for”, they asked, to which I responded “Never mind” and left.

    So much for the local Asian grocery store. I’d probably have better luck in bloody Woolies.

    • Thanks, Ross. And nice to hear from you again. “…floating over eggshells..” LOL. Like that expression. I guess we always bounce back one way or the other.

      LOL! I cannot believe what I am hearing. He or she is probably not from SEA (South-east Asia) background. Next time, bring a photo to show him or her. Ha ha. I usually buy a few when I can find it here in Hobart. Then freeze. What are you planning to make, Ross? Tom Yum?

  5. Victor, just a chicken curry that I picked up off the web a while back. When I couldn’t get galangal, I opted to make a butter chicken instead. Your chicken salad sounds nice – I’ll print that out for a later day. The beef one, too.

    I found this recipe the other day, and might give it a go sometime soon –


    I’ll keep fingers crossed that I can find somewhere that sells fenugreek and nigella seeds.

    Up here in Brisbane, putting mustard on a hot dog is considered fine and unusual dining!

    • Ross, that sounds utterly delicious – Achaari Murg! You must try it. I think for Indian cooking, it is hard to go wrong as long as you use a lot of different wet and dry spices; mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds are almost a must. The more complex, exotic and spicy the flavour, the better it is! Love that recipe. I must admit I have never seen or try nigella seeds.

  6. Hi Victor

    I’m sorry to hear of your situation. However, I’m also glad to hear your mother, sister & family are around you at this time. The good and the bad always go parallel. You celebrate a graduation, you’re out of work, you’re feeling down, your mom’s with you and you’re cooking for her…you get my drift.

    It’s also the same with emotions. You can be positive and negative at the same time. If you’re feeling down, I say feel down because you’ve a good reason to and it’s ok to feel that way.

    When I came to UK in 1994 and had to leave my job, I felt ok for awhile but after that, having no routine or job to go to each day wasn’t something I’d recommend to anyone especially if one’s a workaholic or work is a necessity. I ended up searching the newspapers for any job vacancies and didn’t mind what jobs were out there.

    Over time, something will eventually come up for you, so don’t worry too much. Take this moment as a short break from 7 years of hard work and sooner or later, I hope that something right will come your way and I wish you all the best.

    I’m envious you can go back to Penang! Do have a good time. You’ll never know what’s around the corner! 🙂


    • Thanks, Emily. I feel better already. And, definitely looking forward to time off with mum and family. Guess what? You have been in UK as long as I have been in Australia. Moved here in 1993!

  7. Hi Victor, sorry to hear about your job situation. I lost my job once and only worked there for less than a year, I found out later that I was only hired to fill in during the time people take vacation. I jogged a lot during that time to stay busy, and I was active searching and found this one.

    I’ve been here for over 10 years now, and last year, things were very slow and they started temporary laying people off and I took my turn 1 week per month and I knew by the end of the 3nd month, one or two of us would be permanently laid off. That’s when I started my garden and stayed busy. There is no such thing as job security anymore.

    Just stay busy and be positive and better things will come along. 🙂

    • Thanks, Nye. I take refuge in my garden too. I think it is the most natural, organic type of meditation.
      I am enjoying my time in Melbourne at the moment, so not much worry for now.

  8. Hi, Victor!

    Sorry to hear about your situation. I was laid off from my company twice before. The fist time was in 2003. I was stunned. I find myself stare into any empty space a lot. Sometime I don’t want to wake up from sleep. I pondered what I had done or didn’t do to deserved that. But I was hired back a month later.

    The second lay off was last spring (2009). I handled it little better this time but I still worry. I took time learn something new. I got some certifications to hang on the wall and pad my resume.

    The company was going to hire us back this past spring but decided against it the last minute. I guess the current economic crisis is not benefiting them.

    I recently got a new job at a different company. The hour is horrible and the pay is even worst. But we must adapt and change as you mention. Take Care.

    • Hi Dallas – thanks for sharing, mate. I am glad you have bounced back each time. That proofs to me that I can do the same as well. Cheers.

  9. Hi Victor,
    Sorry to hear about your situation. Something will come up for you. In the mean time, enjoy your time with your mum and trip back to Penang. Have lots of Char Kuey Teow and it will cheer you up!

    • Thanks, Poay. Am very busy with mum and sis at the moment, and cooking for them. I am really looking forward to Penang again! I walked to Pantai Jerjak for CKT from Queensbay on last trip, and will do that again and again. 🙂

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