Crispy fried chicken

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Crunchy on the outside and juicy inside

McDonald’s spicy fried chicken has hit our shores like a tsunami. Everyone seems to be entranced by the advertisement. Many have flocked to the nearest McDonald’s to get a but of this cleverly and appetizing advertising. We aren’t spared either.

My tween who had decided she was giving up chicken and other meat since the beginning of the year, crumbled. She asked if it was ok for the maybe think about giving up meat when she’s a little older.

One fine day, we decided to give this chicken a go. Kids were excited that they were about to know what’s all the fuss about. Their influence, their favourite radio station that kept talking about this spicy chicken for the longest time.

What ought to be a drama free, usual visit to McDonald’s turned​ out to be a horrible experience.

One, the queue to the ordering counter was horribly wrong. We had to wait a good 20 minutes before placing an order.

Then, they ran out of this chicken; due to overwhelming demand. So I had to settle for a burger, which wasn’t why we were here but the thought of dragging there hungry kids elsewhere was too daunting.

Giving up wasn’t an option. So we returned again, this time on a weekday. Luckily the queue wasn’t long and we managed to get, the last two pieces. So the three of them had to share two tiny pieces of chicken.

“Ergh! The things I do”

Fed up with McDonald’s inefficiency, I decided to make my version of this hard to get chicken.

Fried chicken. I can’t recall when was the last time o ever made anything deep fried. It has always been baked, grilled or airfried.

But a promise is a promise. So we resersched the internet. Got the kids involved in deciding which type of fried chicken they wanted and headed out to the store to get all the necessary ingredients.

You might want to stay for the results because it was damn good. Unhealthy but simply delicious. So good that my kids beggd me to make it every other day. Which they know isn’t possible because that’s one way ticket to coronary artery blockage.

To make my two variety chicken:

Good reliable and trustworthy chicken supplier who can supply a whole chicken.

1 cup Buttermilk (I used buttermilk substitute; 1 cup milk & 2 tbs lemon juice. Mix and let it curdle)

1 cups plain yogurt

Season the chicken with  A LOT of salt and pepper. Divide the chicken into two portion (or not). Brine one portion in n buttermilk and the other in yogurt in your refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Costing. That’s the magic in achieving a crisp and crunchy chicken.

Pour 3-4 cups of plain flour into a big paper bag. Throw in 1 tbs each of garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. Give is a good shake.

To coat the chicken you’ll need two large eggs, beaten not stirred. First you shake off as much yogurt and buttermilk off the chicken or give it a quick rinse and patient down to dry it. Then throw these into the paper bag. Do the samba with it. Then remove one piece at a time, shaking off all the flour from it and dip it into the egg. Make sure it is well coated. Then throw back all egg coated chicken back into the paper bag and give it a good shake.

“Shake it off, shake it off, ah ah ah”

Deep fry these ready beasts into a deep pan of hot vegetable oil.

Here’s the know how: this is meant for those who aren’t certain how to properly fry a chicken. How to achieve a crisp on the outside and juicy without being bloody in the inside. Trust me, it’s a big put off to see runny red bloody liquid in a fried chicken.

To test it the oil is hot enough, throw in a tiny piece of coated flour into the oil. If this flour floats up and is sizzling, your oil is ready.

Carefully and gently put in the chicken. Imagine you’re walking on a tight rope and need to be focused as you lower the pieces of chicken into the hot oil. Any misconcetration will land you with oil splater burn and this burn as @#$%.

Don’t overcrowd your pan and let is cook, undisturbed for about 10 minutes or the skin turns golden brown. Then turn, again breathe in and breathe out gently as you do this and let it cook for another 10 minutes on medium low flame.

Drain excess oil and place your fried chicken on some tissues. I like to poke and check the thickets part of the chicken to ensure there’s no blood. If there is, you will need to let it fry for a couple minutes more but this second frying, usually ends up drying the chicken. So get it right the first time!

To see video on this piece of meat sizzling, go to my Instagram page. Don’t be shy, stalk my page 😉

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For more recipes, check Anyone Can Cook

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When everyone’s doing it

“Why not?!” I demanded. ” Pfft! F.Y.I They’re doing it.” I huffed as I stormed away. I have never questioned the coaches decision but not today. Today I just erupted. Victory was ours but he was too adamant and loyal to his values and wasn’t letting me change that.

I’ve been on my feet since 7am, drenched and parched under the laser like rays of the noon sun and running around ferrying water bottles. It didn’t help, my 5-year-old who resembled almost like a baked chicken refused to get out of the sun and sit under some shade. It didn’t help, me kicking myself for forgetting to bring along an umbrella and my eldest refusing to drink water because she has an issue with sharing her water bottle.

“Fine! Don’t hydrate yourself!”

Slowly the guilt crept in as I watched her play, skillfully defending her post but looking exhausted and thirsty. Next thing I knew, I was on my feet, running towards my car for a fresh water bottle, cursing along the way.

“Here’s your bottle and this time learn to say no if anyone wants a sip from your bottle because this is the last fresh bottle”

Then I grabbed a bottle from the team’s pool cooler bag and forced my overage toddler. She looked up, her skin almost ripe like a tomato.

“Fuck!” I forgot the umbrella again. “Fuck!” my daughter echoed. “Noooooo, I said duck! because a ball was heading your way darling” my quick response to kill the swearing.

Clearly it wasn’t my day.

20 May, 2017. We arrived early at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya. We were the first and a light drizzle early in the morning promised a beautiful day for tournament. The grass had a fine layer of diamond like water droplets, a nice tent with some neatly stacked up plastic chairs for mom’s like to me to rest our heavy bottoms on, was a welcoming sight. I was impressed “Nothing could go wrong” I voiced my thoughts delightfully.

I jinxed it because a lot went wrong.

The organising team came fashionably late. Much later than most of the teams participating for the AFC – FAM Grassroot Football Day. Then they forced all players to change into their AFC jerseys which was handed out for free (one plus point) but this was an issue for the girls because the bloody toilet was on the opposite end from where we were and it had a long queue and they had just done that when I made them change into their Supergirls’ jersey just half hour ago. The look on their face said it all, when I broke the news about them needing to change again.

Later to my dismay, I find out they didn’t have a schedule for the girls. “What?! What you mean you don’t have it? This is a tournament”

It was already 10am and the girls still had not played their first match. Luckily the boys match had started so they girls kept themselves entertained by watching these matches and having their mini discussion about each player on the pitch.

Finally, after an hour and the fact many other team managers, were getting uneasy with the wait, the organisers moved the girls to a turf field with small goal post.

I know, I seriously jinxed it because the only plus point, the well-kept natural grass field, was only meant for under 12 boys. The girls were hoping to get to repeat their experience on real grass like at JSSL International Tournament.

“Nevermind girls, we play on” the coach said encouragingly.

There’s always a silver lining. Smaller field meant they won’t get tired fast and smaller goal post meant, they didn’t really need a keeper, so everyone played, full on.

Both the Supergirls team played well, winning all their matches and securing a spot in the semi-finals. Once again, the defense team was relentless at making sure the ball was always in their possession and striping away the opponent’s chances to score a goal.

All was well until the break to decide which teams made it to the Semis. We weren’t told how long we had to wait for the results which by the way was bloody long. We didn’t want to risk ruining our chances at the Semis, so we didn’t allow the girls to eat because from experience, we have learned, these girls tend to slack off and behave like a well fed python after a meal. They morph from a Speedy Gonzales to a tortoise. Crushing any slither of hope for victory.

Not satisfied, I stomped back to my husband. “Look at that team. They brought players from other team. And here’s another with a couple of “import” players. These coaches came with one aim, to win this tournament at any cause. At least we are placing our own players on the field. So why aren’t you getting all the seasoned players into one team and the new ones in another? This way we can  be sure at least one team will make it the finals?”

“Just trust me” these three words was all he said and shut the door to my Grab Car.

“Was that your coach?” asked my Grab Car driver. Not in the mood for a chat, I simply lamented “yes” hoping that cue in my voice would stop him from further chat but today simply wasn’t my day.

“Sorry mam, that was my girlfriend calling, checking on me because today is only my sixth day as a Grab car driver and she has trust issues. She’s afraid of leng lui o (pretty girl oh) passengers.”

“Seriously?” I said laughing out loud. Thanks to him my mood changed and this infected my daughter and changed her sad pout into a smile because she was unhappy to leave her sisters and head over to her ballet class.

An hour in the comfortable and cool lounge at her ballet class made way for me to calm down. I even managed to sneak in a power nap and this helped clear my head. It made room for my sensible self to return and I recollected the reasons why my girls joined an all male dominated sport.

When I reunited with my husband and daughters over our overdue lunch at 3pm, and after gobbling up some fast food, he decides to tell me why he sent two teams instead of one strong team to play in the tournament.

“We decided to play balanced teams, mixing seniors and new players. This was done consciously to develop the newer players, that they learn from their senior players. Putting all our energy and efforts into the seniors alone will leave us only with one team. Supergirls is not about winning, it’s more than that. It’s about giving opportunity, even if it means, we might lose” he explained his earlier three words.

He shared with me pictures of what happened when I wasn’t there and from these pictures I can see, he made the right choice. These girls didn’t care they didn’t win the champion trophy. They were happy with their third and forth placing. My girls couldn’t stop talking about the fun they had playing against their own teammates for the 3rd spot.

“Can’t wait for our next tournament ma!” my daughter cheered gleefully

That’s what really matters. What say you?

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Both teams lost at the semis and now play each other for 3rd. Look on the Ref was priceless
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Supergirls chilling out with the opponents who beat them at the Semis. Some of them are ex-Supergirls. This is what Supergirls are all about
My tweens were very amused with their medal. Check it out …‘Footballs Day’ doesn’t seem right

 

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To a better and stronger Supergirls

After 6 wins and 1 draw, it all came down to one single opponent, Anza from Singapore, to decide which team goes through to the finals at the JSSL International Football Tournament.

Anza had been the champion for Team A and we knew we had an upheaval battle waiting for us after defeating Proveda from phillipine 2-0 which moved us up to meet Anza.

Day 3 had been the hottest and most challenging day in this tournament. Playing on turf grass at 1pm, in the hot unforgiving sun was pretty exhausting.

After their first match, against Proveda, the girls only had half hour to catch their breath and medicate injuries sustained before meeting Anza. They were hastily rushed off to pitch 1 for their next match.

Minutes after the whistle went off, Rania scored a goal, giving us the lead and the confidence we needed because it was an extremely nerve wracking to be pitted against last year’s JSSL champs.

If I thought the Tai Tam Tigers from Hong Kong were big players, Anza were twice of that. These girls were very experienced and mentally strong because the first nil advantage didn’t dampen their spirit even a wee bit. It only made them stronger and more fierce in their game.

This 1-0 lead was short lived after an equalizer goal from the opposing team and one immediately after that was scored. Just as day turns into night, casting a blanket of darkness, it was clearly visible, Supergirls had lost hope.

The fatigue which they hid well up to this point suddenly began to show. Their game got a lot slower and focused all their energy at ensuring no more goals were scored by Anza. 3-1 was the score and that marked the end of Supergirls journey in this tournament.

It was quite heartbreaking to see these girls unable to move to finals after playing so well over the past three days. It was time to let these girls digest their journey at their own pace. But some are already talking about what should be done for next year’s tournament.

There is hope. There’s always hope.

To a better and stronger Supergirls.

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Come what may

That was the mindset we went with to JSSL International​ football tournament in Singapore: A tournament with over 200 teams from across Asia, 3000 players and at 10 different venues.

Being pitted against teams with more experience, as some of these teams have been in this international tournament since its inception, in 2013, was a little nerve wracking for me but not to the Supergirls. All these girls wanted was to play and were looking forward to get on the pitch for some challenge.

It was time to see the fruitation of all the hard work and dedication put in by the players, team managers, coaches and parents. Time to let these girls put into practice what they have been training all these ardeous months.

It’s​ amazing how much these girls have matured in their game. For the past two days we have witnessed a proper footballing team. Each Supergirl played with gusto and knew how to handle her position. Most of them were determined and were focused. They had a lot more stamina too and played 22 minutes straight which is alot longer than what they are used to.

Even the coaches seemed more relaxed compared to previous tournaments​. There was very little coaching whilst the girls were playing because the girls perfectly executed the coaches’ strategies. Kudos to coaches and team director for their time spent strategising.

Day 1 had been quite good. The weather was perfect; cloudy with a chance of rain but it stayed dry. Our first match took almost an hour because the lightening sirens went off twice and we were forced to evacuate the field. The girls didn’t mind this small break as it gave them some rest time and a chance for the coaches to regroup and re-strategise.

Supergirls’ first opponent, JSSL Stoney from Singapore​, was a good ice breaker into the tournament and we won 1-0. The girls struggled to get  their rythm especially with the interruption from the weather but Rania managed to squeeze in a  side goal giving us the victory in the last couple of minutes.

The second match, against LFA also from Singapore, saw a brilliant goal by Rania at the early stages  of the game and was finished off by a  wonderful tap-in by Sabrina.

Day 2 was a little tougher. The sun was like ripe bright orange ball in the sky, shining ever so brightly. Our first game was against Tim Tam Tigers from Hong Kong. It was an extremely tough encounter. Our opponents were all equally larger than any of our players except Asheesh.

But with some smart planning and tactics from our coaches, we managed to hold our ground and not allow a single goal to pierce through. Tim Tam had already built a good reputation for themselves by leaving their opponents with 5 nil defeat. Brave defending got us a well deserved draw.

Next match was against Davao City Philippines. Both teams has a friendly cheer and chats before getting on to the pitch as opponents. Davao’s team JC was familiar with Supergirls’ as they met at Barcelona Soccer Camp through the Kem Bola programme.

We saw another a win towards the end of the match when Adriana scored a goal moments after entering as a substitute with a great pass from Rania.

By the time we got to our last match against JSSL Elite 2, many girls were already exhausted and having made it through to quarter finals, by being second in the table, the coaches decided to shake things up. With only Asheesh, Yasmin and Rania from the previous game. The game was won by a long range looping shot from Kanchen that was enough to beat the team.

The girls were clearly tired but are equally excited for tomorrow.

 

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Life isn’t a journey

I often troll the blogsphere once I’ve successfully put my full of life children to bed. Just reading whatever’s trending, getting some ideas and inspiration, or simply stalking my favorite writers and their latest work.
I stumbled upon a visual tableau by David Lindbergh on  Alan Watts’s words, titled Why Your Life is not a Journey.

I believed life is a journey but always struggled with the ‘to where’ part. It has kept me riled up for decades, searching for my kismet. Has had me believing that I have yet to reach my destination. That it is somewhere I will soon arrive if I navigate properly. But the problem with this equation is that I don’t know my destination. So I’m just traveling along.

Alan Watts says life isn’t a journey and all of sudden I feel like I had it all wrong. 

Life isn’t a journey sounds so right so fast.

Because life is about the now and enjoying this very moment. Life is like your favorite song, the one you dance or sing to. How each chord stirs your emotions while it is playing. With a song, you don’t wait for it’s end to relish the joy it brings. 

So life is a song. Your favorite song. Life is how you moved to that song. Life is how you let that song influence you. It’s how the song made you feel. It’s the now and not the end. Because when the song ends, you will stop moving and feeling. You might feel exhilarated or high from all that dancing and singing but that feeling will fade away like the notes of the music. Then you’re left feeling nothing because there is no more music.

I believe now, life isn’t a journey like a traveller waiting to arrive at his destination. Life is music that must be danced to and sang. Life is the music of a composer.

More than just about football

Tactical planning before the game

Every year something new springs up. Makes life interesting and we look forward to these opportunities and challenges.

The Supergirls has had their ups and downs but with the grace of the almighty, we are still going strong.

More girls have joined us, more parents are beginning to realize girls football isn’t such a bad thing. The commitment and dedication of these parents is commendable.

A lot has happened in the first quarter of 2017. The girls have grown a little stronger, bonded a little better and gained a lot confidence, both on and off pitch. And these have translated into many aspects of their life.

They are doing well with school and other activities. They are braver to try new sports and have been chosen to lead many of their sports teams.

They have even dipped their hands in some acting. Our girls did so well at the audition for Kasut Bola Pink, a Malay movie that the director created a new scene to fit the whole team. The lead actress even donned on our Supergirls Jersey. How cool is that?

We were even invited for the premier screening of this movie. It was great joy watching these girls faces when they saw themselves on the big screen. The bonus was reading their names appear in the credit listing and their beloved teams name. They were truly proud.

See, I told you a lot has happened.

To end the first quarter, the Supergirls had a sparring match with Superdads. It was a lovely match day. Watching girls playing against their fathers, brothers and some moms too. Amazingly these girls won win a score of 12-3.

I, who have never played striker scored a perfect equalizer goal the first half of the match but it was all downhill after 20 minutes. Superdads’ stamina was no match to Supergirls. These girls were like Energizer Bunnies. They simply never grew tired.

Looking forward to more exciting challenges in the next quarter. Stay with us.

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Homemade heart shaped butter cookies

The contrasting red against white is very vibrant. I just love how these two colours complement each other.

Now put these two together on a piece of cookie. I bet you will have kids and adults alike running to the kitchen to sink their teeth into it.

And that’s just what happened.

My youngest saw a video on Valentine’s day and this particular cookie, heart shaped strawberry jam cookie, stuck with her and she had been bugging me to make it.

This recipe is so easy and simple, you can get you tween to do all the job.

My 11 years old, who loves cooking, not only baked these little cute hearts, she even cleaned up after.

Now let’s get to the recipe;

  • 120gm butter (let it soften by leaving at room temperature)
  • 100gm all purpose flour
  • 150gm cake flour
  • 100 castor sugar
  • 1/2 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • Strawberry jam (as much as needed)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)*

In a large bowl (or on your counter top) mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Create a well in the middle, crack in the egg, pour in the vanilla extract and butter. Mix and gently knead until it forms into a smooth ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. 

Remove from fridge, roll into a quarter inch thickness and cut out desired shape. To make these hearts, you’ll need two different sizes cookie cutter. Place all large size heart shapes on a greased tin or parchment paper and then cut out tiny hearts in the middle of the large heart shaped cookies. Make equal amounts of hearts with and without hole in the middle because you are going to sandwich these two together with strawberry jam.

Bake at 175’C for about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on these. They cook very fast. Don’t let them brown. Remove from oven and let them cool a little. After that, spread the jam on the heart shape without a hole and put the heart shape with holes on it.

*You may dust these cookies with some powdered sugar. I didn’t do that because I liked the rustic look and didn’t want to hide its flaws under a thick layer of white powdered sugar.

That’s it, you done. Now you may enjoy with tall glass of cold milk or fresh juice.

  

Change your attitude

These three words caught my attention while I was browsing through my phone at breakfast. First, this is unusual because I discourage phones at meal time but today was an extremely rare occasion. Seriously! I never get a calm and relaxed breakfast. Saturday breakfast all by myself at McDonald’s. Am I dreaming?

As I was saying, ‘Change your attitude’. A survey conducted by JobStreet had revealed the mystery behind why there are so many unemployed fresh graduates and it is due to their attitude.

This isn’t something new. I’ve heard it before. Friends from HR department, reiterated that same sentiments.

This takes me back to my interview just a couple of days ago.

I had this wonderful opportunity to work with a telco company. They had come up with a brilliant CSR project; their way of giving it back to the community and I loved it!

I was extremely excited to be part of it. The money was good too but that wasn’t what got me excited.

Everything seemed to be fine. In fact I even started preparing my lesson plans. I had drafted a couple of interesting ways to connect with my audience but little did I know, they had second thoughts about me.

It was the perfect job for a mother like me. I only had to work once a week. The only drawback was its location. I knew it would have been a problem and I acknowledged it but with a little planning, I knew anything was possible.

I had laid out my limitations because I am a full-time mother and everything else is secondary. They seemed fine with it and led to believe everything was fine.

Without an explanation or even a simple note, I was cast aside.

So what did this deduce out of this situation? Was I considered to have unrealistic expectations? Could I have been clumped together with all those unemployed fresh graduates who are said to have terrible attitudes?

The thing is I would not know because those who interviewed, whom I met up with on three separate occasions and had many conversation over the phone, just dropped everything. No more calls or messages.

Honestly apart from my role as a mother, I was perfect for the task and they made it quite clear they wanted me. They even confided in me, revealing how tough it was getting someone who was up to it.

I’m not upset over not getting it. In fact I’m a little relieved. I’m glad to have someone who can give more than what I could have. It’s the sudden silence. They not knowing if I was still on board. The courtesy call to say I didn’t have to sign my contract. (That’s how far deep into the employment deal I was.)

I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who has this beef. My husband had complained about it too once. He too had a similar experience.

Not getting a job is quite upsetting but not knowing why and waiting for the interviewer’s response is worse. How do you expect a change when you don’t take the effort to tell what wasn’t right.

A letter of unsuccessful interview is a nice way to end it. In fact it should be made a requirement for all employers to issue to potential candidates. It’s a way to show that the employer appreciated the time and effort put in by the potential candidate but they are sorry for whatever reason.

When I was a fresh graduate, this was a normal practice. Has it changed over the years?

To expect change, one needs to state the problem area.

Just my ramblings, as I sit and watch many youngsters going through their phones. Are they searching for a job?

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A beautiful encounter

My husband always puts me in charge when things go wrong with our reservation or if we needed to get a good bargain. I have a knack for finding ways to right a wrong and get a bonus out of the situation. My tag line, “it was rightfully mine.”

En route to pick my mom up, I had a beautiful encounter with a simple man, with seemingly simpler needs. Whilst trying to climb up a step, he stumbled and fell. I raced towards him to help him up. He gently refused but seeing that I wasn’t going to leave him alone, he passed his shoulder bag to me, while he tried to steady himself and slowly take that step.

“It’s not a big deal, I’ve fallen so many times that I’m used to it”, he said as we slowly walked towards the local health clinic, a pace too slow for me but I wasn’t in a hurry. As we reached another step, I extended my hands but he just smiled and began telling me about his weak legs and how no medicine can cure him. Yet, he visits  many clinic each month to find medicine that will ease his pain.

It was a slow and painful walk for him. He just endured and spoke softly about his legs. He wasn’t complaining, he was just telling me about it.

As I was wondering why he didn’t park his car inside the clinic, he began telling me how he tried to park his car at the designated handicapped parking but was denied because he didn’t have a handicapped parking person sticker on his car. He never bothered to get it because the parking attendance at his previous clinic knew him and always allowed him to park inside.

I was so ready to give the guard at my mom’s local clinic a piece of my mind and relate to him how his wrong doing had caused this man to fall but before I could speak my thoughts, he smiled and said, “it wasn’t the guard’s fault, because I am new here and I should have had an OKU sticker on my car” He even smiled at the guard as we passed him. I looked back and caught him looking at the old man with some degree of concern. Perhaps he must have been regretting his action.

It’s my right! These words came ringing in my head because if it was me in his situation, I would have bitten the guard’s head off for not letting me park at the handicap parking bay, which was empty by the way. But not this old man. He just walked past the guard and sat quietly on a bench with his hands clasped together forming a diamond. He had his eyes shut as I walked on to my mom’s waiting room.

After helping my mom collect her monthly medication, I related the story to her and she too felt the guard was wrong. But as we walked past the man, whom was still sitting in the same way he was when I last saw him, all anger we felt for the guard vanished.

This reminded me of a phrase I know too well but hardly practice; be the lotus flower growing in a muddy pond. So beautiful and pure it grows, unaffected by the mud around it.

I never let things go. I react too fast because I get affected too easily. The old man had all the right reasons to pick a fight and demand that he was allowed to park inside the clinic area, but he didn’t. He just sat there, with his hands clasped in a diamond form, silently and patiently for his turn to see the doctor.

Despite sitting right in front of the vacant handicapped parking, he didn’t show any signs of anger festering in him. He was the lotus flower at this overly crowded health clinic. He was unaffected and didn’t let the surrounding affect him. He just was being him.

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