10 things about Billy Law that you don’t know
It is funny how sometimes I walk on the street or dine in a restaurant, a few people will still recognise me as that guy from Masterchef. Most of them will think they know a lot about me from the show and then start reminding me with, “Do you remember how you stuffed up in that challenge?” and so on. I am pretty much an open book really, by writing a blog is pretty much revealing my life day by day to the public, where I eat, where I travel, etc. But I thought it will be interesting for me to share some random facts about myself that you don’t know. So here goes:
1. Left-hander rules
Back in the old days, using left hand to write is consider a bad habit and demonic and should be converted. Just like how some people trying to convert a homosexual because it is against their beliefs. When I was at Standard 1 (Year 1), my school teacher whacked my left hand with a wooden ruler and forced me to write with my right hand. I cried… a lot. I was so scare and tried to change but simply couldn’t, is almost like asking me to use chopsticks with my foot. When I got home I told my mum what happened and said I don’t want to go back to school because the teacher will smack me again. The next morning, my mum went to school with me and had a talk with the teacher, when I say “talk”, I meant my mum gave the teach a piece of her mind! HA! The teacher eventually agreed to let me use my left hand and not surprise I probably wasn’t her favourite student from then onwards.
You know you are a left-hander when this happens. You can see I am peeling the green papaya with left hand in pictures below.
2. How I eat a Maxibon
You know those Maxibon ice cream sandwich that comes with two parts, the spongey biscuits on one side while the other side is coated in chocolate with peanuts? I believe most people will eat the chocolate coated part first because you can hold on to the biscuit part so it won’t melt, that’s the theory anyway. But everyone has their own favourite part of a Maxibon, and I definitely prefer the chocolate coated bit over the soft biscuits which is too gooey and stuck between teeth everywhere, that’s why I eat a Maxibon the other way round. Here’s my trick – unwrap the ice cream, hold the chocolate part but still inside the wrapper as an insulant from the fingers so it wont melt as fast, eat the biscuits part first and save the best bits for last. Lick the fingers if you must.
3. I am taken
Long time readers of my blog would have realised that I mentioned about my partner, The Pom, quite regularly. We met back in 2001 and been together for 12 years. Yes, 12 years! (I believe that’s ancient in gay years!) The Pom will always have a good story to tell how we met, he will start the story with, “I got off the ferry at Manly, and there you were, appearing through the mist next to the golden turd fountain…” Yep, he remembered me by the turd.
4. My last meal
My close friends would know this, my last meal has to be my mum’s braised vinegar pork ribs. It is home cooking comfort food that I will never ever get sick of, which is also a dish that I cook quite often whenever I am little homesick, whenever I am lazy, whenever having a dinner party, or simply whenever I feel like it. It is a simple one pot wonder with bold flavours from ginger, garlic and star anise. The sauce itself is so good that I can simply drizzle it all over steamed rice and call it a meal. Yep, that will be my last meal.
5. Horror movies & I
Hi, my name is Billy Law and I am a horror movie junkie. I still remember the first movie I watched in a cinema was Clash of the Titans, at that time I was only 5 or 6 years old. The movie itself actually wasn’t all that scary until the last scene when Perseus was in the lair trying to kill Medusa, that part had me squirmy, trying not to look into Medusa’s eyes on the big screen so that I won’t turn into rock.
The Pom and I both love horror movies, the more ghosts, the more frightening scene the better. We prefer ghosts, paranormal activities, exorcism kind of frights over the bloody gore stuff. And I also find Chinese ghosts in HK movies are particularly scary for some reason. The Other, Ju-On (Japan), The Shining, The Eye (HK), The Exorcist are a few of my favourites.
Here is a scene from The Eye. Even the ghosts want to eat… okay?
6. Pressure On
I actually suffer from hypertension or more commonly known as high blood pressure. It is in our family history; my mum has it, my sister has it, and now I have it. Unfortunately it is not something I can fix easily, and currently on medication. I haven’t really change my diet drastically (I love my soy sauce to much), but instead I try to stay active and healthy by being outdoor more often, cycling, jogging, boxing, whatever to keep my heart pumping. One of my dream is to be able to hike to the top of Machu Picchu, and I’ve been training to get my cardio up and hopefully one day I will be able to fulfil my dream.
7. The figure of 8
The Law family is a big family, a total of 8 of us. Mum, Dad, three sisters, two brothers and I am the youngest. Most of my family are still living in Malaysia, except one of my brother is now living in San Francisco. My parents had very little education when they were young, my dad had to quit school at Form 2 (year 8) and mum didn’t even make it to secondary school; but they still managed to raise all the children. We are a very hardworking family, I grew up in a grocer store called Joo Hong Chan, which eventually turned into a hardware store back in the 80’s. Working in the hardware store was hard labour, we all had to help out after school, carrying heavy 20 litre buckets of paint, stacking bricks and plywoods were some of the memories I will never forget. My parents are now in their 70s, and they still running the hardware store.
8. I play Tuba
That’s right, who’d have thought I can play Tuba? I was actually also a Bass Section leader in a Brass Band at my secondary school. Anyone who’d met me would know how untypically huge I am for being an Asian at 6ft2 (186cm) tall! I got picked out immediately to carry the heavy Tuba simply because of my size, and sometimes I even had to carry a sousaphone down the street during parades for special events. But I loved every single moment of it and possibly one of the best memories I will cherish forever. Now who wants me to play the bass solo in The Liberty Bell or Washington Post March? LOL!
9. I am a Libran
Diplomaitic and urbane
Romantic and charming
Easygoing and sociable
Idealistic and peaceable
On the dark side….
Indecisive and changeable
Gullible and easily infuenced
Flirtatious and self-indulgent
Any Libran out there?
10. My Tattoo
I only have one tattoo which is a short sleeve on my right arm. The tattoo is a spinoff of the traditional Hokusai painting, designed by American artists Kozyndan called ‘Uprisings‘. It was a collaboration between a tattoo artist based in Japan, KozynDan and myself. I’ve always wanted a tattoo but since it is a lifetime commitment, I wanted to get it right at first go. I’ve been following Kozyndan’s work for quite some time now and always admire their artwork. In 2007, I finally wrote an email to Dan and asked for permission to have their artwork ink on my body. He agreed to it so long I send him a photo of the end result. And to find an artist who is suitable along with his style wasn’t easy, eventually I found one in Japan. We flew to Japan for vacation and left the last day for the tattoo session. It was one of the best experience but yet also the most painful one, 9 hours, non-stop. To be honest, my body was in shock and already numb, I simply couldn’t feel the pain when it was 5 hours in. We walked into the studio at 12pm, got the print on body by 3pm, then I didn’t come out of the studio until midnight.
Was it painful? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely! It is one of the decisions that I will never forget.
Here is a little video documented the whole experience.
This recipe is actually featured in the July issue of Home & Decor Malaysia magazine. Each issue I will share two Malaysian recipes with the Malaysian readers, and since many of you couldn’t get hold of a copy of the magazine outside of Malaysia, so I have decided to share one of the two recipes here on my blog and you have to decide which recipe you would like to have. It is simple, all you have to do is:
2. Vote for the recipe you would like to cook
3. The recipe with the most votes will be posted here.
Next issue is a good one, not two but three Malaysian recipes that everyone will love. So keep an eye for the next announcement closer to end of month.
Squid, pineapple and green papaya salad
20g dried shrimp, soaked in water for 1 hour
12g belachan shrimp paste, toasted
3 (80g) large red chillies
20g dried anchovies
300g pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks
150g green papaya
50g carrot, julienned
50g red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
100g palm sugar, grated
4 tablespoons fish sauce
a handful of coriander
30g peanuts, toasted
2 kaffir lime leaves, rolled and thinly sliced
Vegetable oil for cooking
1. To make sambal, blend dried shrimp, belachan, red chillies and eschalots into fine paste. Heat oil in a wok on medium-high heat, fry the paste until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
2. Wipe clean the wok, add another 4 tablespoons of oil, fry the anchovies until crispy. Drain and set aside.
3. Clean the squid and pat dry. Use a sharp knife, split open the body part lengthwise and then cut in half, now you should have two flat halves. Without cutting all the way through the squid, score the front parts of the squid in crisscross pattern. Place squid on a tray, rub 2 tablespoons of sambal into the squid and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare all the fruit and vegetables. For green papaya, using a serrated peeler, shred the papaya into thin strips. Alternatively, you can do it the traditional way by holding the papaya in one hand, then chop it repeatedly lengthwise, once there are enough cuts, shred the papaya with a peeler. But be extremely careful not to cut yourself!
5. To make the dressing, add lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce in a jar, mix well until all sugar has dissolved. Adjust the flavour accordingly, it should be a balance of sweet, sour and salty.
6. Heat up a barbecue or grill, alternatively using a fry pan. Drizzle a little bit of oil over the squid, place the squid on the bbq, scored side down and grill for 30 seconds. Then flip over and grill for another 30 seconds. Hold it down with a spatula with it starts to curl up. Remove from the bbq, leave to rest for a minute then slice into bite-size pieces.
7. To assemble, put everything in a mixing bowl, drizzle with dressing and the extra sambal, toss well and ready to serve.
Join in the fun!
I am going to keep this as a series and will reveal bit by bit about myself in future posts.
Now, I have told you 10 things that you may or may have not known about me, how about you join in the fun and tell us 10 things about yourself that we don’t know?! You can either leave a comment on this post, or if you are a blogger, why not write a post and share it with us?