Monday, June 26, 2017

Disappointing Metro Shuttle Service in Manchester

As a resident of Castlefield, my family and I had been relying on the Free bus (metro shuttle) no. 2 when we need to go to city centre or Northern Quarter. However lately it no longer pass Castlefield. Not just that, the route for all three metro shuttle have been very uncertain and changing so often that we no longer able to use them at all.

We are very disappointed with this.

In the email below I made a complaint to tfgm for the uncertain route and the very rude attitude by the drivers when we tried to clarify. 

I do feel very disappointed and let down as the metro shuttle used to be part of our pride in manchester - we told our friends and relatives that this great city has free buses to take people around and that the people of Manchester are friendly and helpful. Well it's no longer the case, when people ask the bus driver they received rude snort with no answer.

Thank you and kind regards,
Adeline Cooke

Begin forwarded message:

From: adeline 
Date: 26 June 2017 at 16:20:26 BST
Subject: Complaints about Metro shuttle

I am very disappointed and angry by two metro shuttles no. 2 today who despite of us waiting for a long time on the exact sign of a bus stop, they refused to stop. Twice today on Deansgante - one on spinningfield stop the other on the barton arcade one.

A week ago I went on the metro shuttle from Piccadilly Station confused because it did not follow the route published on its own wall. When i asked the driver, he was very rude and refused to explain the route.

Yesterday my husband had the same experience trying to clarify the real current route with a metro shuttle driver in piccadilly station but he received a rude non-answer. The other driver he asked said that they do not stop at certain places anymore such as salford central due to management's dispute with salford station management. 

These are very very unprofessional, disappointing ang embarassing for the city of manchester. With lots of visitors coming to manchester, if our bus drivers as rude, unhelpful and unprofessional, we are no better than a third world nation!

I hope tfgm and the council will consider having a consistent bus route ang hiring polite and helpful drivers in the very near future.


Adeline Cooke

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Against all odds

This little chilli grew from a little flower on a broken branch. For weeks I thought the flower would fall and die. It did not. It stubbornly grew to be a little chilli. The leaves on its brach are wilted and dying, but the little chilli keeps on growing. 

Hope many more survivors can still grow amid their toxic environment - from war to domestic abuse, from hunger to natural disaster. 

"Gambate...!" Is a Japanese word that no other language has. It is a word we say to plants as they are growing. Meaning "Grow big and strong, little one...!"

#gambate #plant #againstallodds #survivor #pauseforthought 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Manchester, 23rd May 2017

Yesterday, Manchester experienced one of the worst attacks since 9/11 and London 7/7. As singer Ariana Grande was wrapping up her concert, a young man detonated an improvised explosive device killing himself and 22 others, injuring 59 people. Among the victims are children and teenagers, first time concert goers.

We mourn. We condemn. We shed tears. Children should not die in such a tragedy. Murderers should not target children. But the reality is, it happened. Children died. Murdered, targeted by terrorist. Children also died when schools and hospitals destroyed by misiles.

We condemn the terrorist causing yesterday's carnage. We should also condemn our involvements in other countries' wars. We should condemn the fact that we cling on nuclear weapon for 'defense'. 

The thing is, human beings are capable of doing the worst things and the best things. All nations have murdered babies and innocents in the name of whatever - from colonialism, religion, freedom, the opposite of freedom, for money and for idealism. They are still murder and they are still wrong. 

But at the same time, people from all nations have also done the most unthinkable kindness. 

Yesterday we saw the solidarity of taxi drivers in Manchester taking survivors home for free, the generousity of the locals offering rooms. The heroism of parents and strangers saving other kids.

We are a unique species as we literally make and break this planet and each other. We are pests who are destroying Planet Earth. But we are also the saviours and the only hope this planet has.

Jeremy Keeling of Monkey World said, "I have my views on right and wrong, but preaching morality is fraught with problems" ("Jeremy & Amy", 2010, p.217). So true. Who are we to claim higher moral ground when we produce the most lethal weapons and sell them to any one who can afford them? Who are we to say others are evil when we look away from other children death just because they are not in our country? 

The thing is, murder and violence are wrong. Love and kindness are right. Someone said this over 2000 years ago and died on a rugged cross for it. He said, "turn and offer your other cheek if someone slap you." When will human ever learn?

I guess the only moral of this sad story is: "always do the best our heart can guide us. Be kind and gentle. Always believe in Love and act based on Love." 

Peace and God bless us all ❤️ 

Manchester, 23 May 2017 


Friday, May 12, 2017

Indonesian Peanut Sauce (Bumbu Gado-gado) Recipe

The Indonesian peanut sauce (sambal kacang) is commonly used for the famous Gado-Gado salad and its different varieties and for Chicken Satay. 

I saw some recipes online that uses only peanut butter. Rubbish! The real Indonesian peanut sauce uses proper peanuts, and grind them as soft or as coarse as you like.

You can add peanut butter to make the sauce creamy, but use real peanut as the main ingredient. Easiest is to use supermarket's basic salted peanut. You can rinse the salt to be healthy, or just use the peanut as salty (instead of adding the salt into the sauce later).

As most Indonesian recipes, precise measurements are not important. But as a guidelines, I wrote the measurements for those of you who never tried this before. You can always add more peanut


200gr (ish) Basic salted peanut

2 little Shallots or 1 banana shallot 

2 cloves Garlic

Red chilli and/or Bird eye chilli as needed

Salt & pepper to taste

100ml (ish) Hot/warm water 


1tbs peanut butter or 1tbs coconut milk

1 tsp brown sugar 

1tbs Tamarind water and/or lemon/lime

Sweet soya sauce

Method A: Mix everything in a food processor or blender, add salt and pepper to taste. 

Or, Method B: grind the shallot, garlic, chilli, and peanuts using mortar and pestle, adding water slowly. This is the authentic Gado-gado street seller method... if you do this, you have to add some sexy hip gyrating movement to make it taste nice! (Not making sense? That's the point, the Indonesian way...hahaha...)

Both Gado-gado and Satay are normally served with rice cake (lontong). You can make this by boiling 'boil in the bag' rice for one to two hours. Then press the bulging bag with something heavy. Once it's cooler, refrigerate until firm - two hours to overnight. To serve, cut the rice cake into bite size (about one inch cube).

To make gado-gado, mix any vegetable you like with a hard boiled egg, fried tofu, fried tempe, and rice cake, then pour the peanut sauce. On top you can add lemon/lime juice, sweet soya sauce, fried shallot (bawang goreng) and crackers (krupuk) as garnish.

The traditional Indonesian or Javanese gado-gado has long/fine green beans, bean sprouts, sweet corn, some green leaves (pak choy or its family). Sometimes they have bitter gourd (pare). Still, you can use any vegetable you like. I sometimes used mixed salad leaves, kale, frozen mixed veg, etc.

Another version of this delicious and nutricious salad is the Sundanese Karedok. Same mix of vegetable, but most veg are raw. And if you want to be authentic, add Kaempferia galanga (kencur) to the sauce to give it the extra Sundanese kick.

Native Jakartan or Betawi people have yet another version of Gado-gado. It is called Ketoprak. In this version, the only vegetable is bean sprout. The rest are rice cake, rice vermicelli (bihun), fried tofu and sometimes hard boiled egg.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

What's The Point?

Dealing with human mortality. When death was so near. Is there really heaven and hell and the eternal life? (Funny enough, Fr Dougal in the conedy seried "Fr Ted" also questioned this in one episode) 

I really want to believe. If nothing else, it's because believing in the Mighty Imaginary Friend Above makes life easier to handle. But I want to believe that there is a point in life, that Love will make things better, that He did not die on the cross for nothing.... If not, why we bother working to help others? 

I can't bear the alternative. I tried denying God and religion in anger on the face of 250,000 death on one Boxing Day. But years later I realised that turning away from God only made my life empty and meaningless. 

As expressed so beautifully in Mary Doria Russel's The Sparrow, "I'd rather think that God does not exist, because the alternative is too painful. I love God too much to hold Him responsible for all these deaths and atrocities. Yet if He is God and He is Almighty, why did He not stop this tragedy? Why did He let so many innocents die?"

I thought I came to accept the non-existence of any answer and take the alternative route of believing that in every disaster we found one or two human kindness that reflect the Father's Love.

But today, I really would love to hear God's answer to a question asked by a young rape survivor (and many other victims of poverty, injustice, exploitation and oppression): what's the point?