Lay Ean and Dr. Dana Skopal – Editor for Tok Panjang

Just had a wonderful lunch with my editor, Dr. Dana Skopal. For those of you who have not met her yet, Dana is the author of several books and she is also a lecturer at Macquarie University. I have known Dana for more than 15 years, ever since I started GoKids. This means she had been through the ride with me through the GoKids, GoParents, My Long Table and Tok Panjang eras.

This is our annual lunch date, and we catch up on what we are both working on. It is also so Dana can hear what to expect from my work, the context of my writing, the frequency of my newsletter and mainly what I am up to.

I am committed to get my writing out to you guys at least twice a week – Mondays and Thursdays @ 6am. However, sometimes Dana had to put up with my mind-block days, where I did not write anything until the night before the newsletter was due… then she had to get up early in the morning to check my work so that I could publish my blog for that day.

I am forever grateful for her dedication and the common philosophy we shared together – FAMILY!

At the same time, both of us are going through similar journeys right now, with ageing parents, and living far away from our family. That’s why Dana could emphatise with my writing and the meaning I am trying to express through words.

I remember many times she told me “I wished I could just sit you down and teach you the proper grammar/sentence structures etc. etc…”, but I told her not to worry. She just needs to understand where I am coming from and just edit the grammar accordingly… and we had been working together ever since.

So today… our topic was about Tok Panjang; I shared with her some pictures about my peranakan family, but short of bringing all my references, i.e. books and notes. I also shared with her about my mission, my intention to introduce more easy recipes using readymade pastes, and my potential books that I am working on etc, and what she would like to see more in my work.

So guys… I am officially back to work today (Monday 8th Jan when I am writing this post).

This is my mission for Tok Panjang:

It is going to be about: 

FAMILY – Share your cultural dishes with your family and friends.

Reconnect with your roots / who you are by sharing your cultural and traditional dishes with your family and friends, and make living away from home easier.

CULTURE – Nonya Cuisine is becoming a thing of the past.

Due to its complexity and labour-intensive preparation of the dishes, as well as we now lack time, knowledge and raw ingredients, it can be discouraging for busy individuals to learn and preserve the skill of cooking nonya cuisine.

CONNECTIONS – Bridge Cultural and Generational Gaps from your kitchen.

One of the easiest ways to bond with your children is to introduce your culture to your children through your cultural food, i.e. childhood dishes.

So let’s have FUN reconnecting to your kitchen! Sharing with your family is caring 🙂