Category Archives: Living With Boys


When two engineers are faced with the problem of clearing an inch of frost in the freezer, they think of mass expansion and heat transfer. Story of my life.

The fridge was filthy, filthy, FILTHY. The was water at the base near the crisper (the section where your mummy would normally put the vegetables in), there were ketchup stains everywhere and there was even some icky green stuff between the rubber strips on the door gasket. That afternoon, as I got to town to stock up on food and enjoy a bar of vanilla fudge chocolate, I also bought a pair of rubber gloves, scouring pad, and diswashing liquid.

I turned off the switch, transferred all the food into the other fridge (there are two fridges in the house), took out the clear glass shelves and started attacking the walls of the fridge with a sponge and dishwashing liquid (no heavy duty chemicals required. Just a good sponge with a gentle scouring pad will suffice).

My housemate came out of the room to see what the fuss was all about, and proceeded to clean the removed shelves (which I placed on the table) without being asked. Excellent!

Then, came the freezer.

Apparently, somebody had turned down the temperature, causing frost buildup. There was a least one inch of ice covering the cooling coils (or whatever you call it). I started with scraping the top layer of ice off furiously with a spoon (never do this if the ice layer is thin. You don’t want to risk damaging the coils). It was fun, seeing all the ice scrapings fall. Reminds me of the cendol back home, except without the cendol jelly and the toppings.

After about twenty minutes or so with nearly one pound of ice shavings dumped into the sink, housemate and I decided that that method was going to take forever. He suggested using a hair dryer. I wondered if the heat is going to cause some parts to crack due to sudden expansion. He explained that since the refrigerating system is under pressure anyway, that’s not going to happen. Mmm…okay. So off I went to fetch my hair dryer. Plugged it in and blasted the hot air away.

Personally, I would prefer to scrape all night. That’s because ice shavings are easier to remove than constantly wiping off and catching water droplets as the melting begins to threaten a puddle in your kitchen. Anyway, we placed towels and plastic containers to catch the dripping water at the bottom of the freezer.

The ice began to melt when he got the idea to put a bowl of hot water into the freezer compartment and let it sit there for half an hour or so with the doors closed. It took a while, but eventually the residual icicles in there became less than a centimeter thick. Huraah! Hurraah! The process was repeated twice. Finally, the door was left open to let the remaining ice melt on its own. Tracings of ice are still present at moment of press.

Housemate : “It takes a lot of energy to melt the ice.”

Me : *Chuckles* Thinking of : Specific latent heat of substance.


Living With Men

“Babi sial!” Pronounced “ bah-bee, cee-ahl!”, it literally means foul pig in Malay. I was muttering this under my breath as I try to clean the grime stuck onto the microwave walls and on the kitchen hob. Girls, just because you love a guy and he loves you back doesn’t mean a happy marriage. The question is, can you LIVE with him, under one roof, for rest of your life?

For those of you who missed it, I live with four other guys. All postgraduate students. Two Brits, one Polish, one Chinese. We get together along quite well, probably also because most of us are out most of the day and spend the remaining time home doing our own things in our rooms. Before I came to UK, my mother would boast as having the messiest daughter around (beaten only by one of my neighbours back then) but since I moved into where I’m living now, the mess they create puts mine to shame.

There will be stacks of dirty pots and pans standing next to the sink. There are bits of burnt food underneath the hob. There is washing powder everywhere around the wash machine, and unless I do the occasional sweeping the hallway and the stairway is absolutely dusty. From one of my previous post, Mambang Unplugged, I described how I ‘exorcised’ the filth from the bathroom. Recently a stern warning from the water company came in through the post for a way overdue water bills (then I just realised the rent wasn’t inclusive of the utilities, except the internet). Since then I’ve been in charge of collecting the money and paying the bills. Watch it guys! I’ll turn into a witch if you don’t do as I say! ABRACADABRAAA!!!!

Putting all the dirt, and grime, and filth aside, having guys as your house mates (especially when you’re a girl) does have it perks. For example, one night on the way back from university I happened to bump into one of my not-so-secret admirer, which I would prefer to avoid, at all cost. At that time I was sitting in the bus with my Polish house mate. After a curt exchange of “How are you? I’m doing good, blah blah blah” I turned to my house mate and pretended to discuss something about physics and maths and coursework stress. The not-so-secret admirer also happened to get off at the same stop as I did, and better still, he lived near where I live. Kudos to some quick thinking of the brain, I held my Polish house mate’s hand and started talking about dinner. This made the not-so-secret admirer think we were together and left us alone. Mission accomplished.

Quite some time ago I accidentally left behind a panty in the washing machine and it was a rather awkward moment when my Chinese house mate tried to point it out by saying “I left my laundry in the wash machine”. Good Lord, get the courage to say “PANTY” or “unmentionables” at least. To say “underwear” isn’t that difficult either, isn’t it?





Mambang Unplugged

It was a carnival in the toilet this morning as I concocted a potent mixture of cleaning potion in the bathtub. Armed with a Scotchbrite and a pair of thick yellow gloves, I plugged the outlet and ran hot water into the tub. I took a bottle of THICK BLEACH and squeezed a decent amount of it into the tub (the windows were open so the chlorine could waft out) and shook a generous amount of oxy-cleaning powder into it.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble I scrubbed the sides of the tub and the sides of the wall. I squirted a good dose of bleach onto the moss infested corners of the tub for good measure.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, I put the bath mat (which has been there since time immemorial ) into the concoction. Black, BLACK substance started oozing out of the mat. I gave it some good scrubbing and drained the water out. Dark, DARK solids were left behind and had to be rinsed out. I repeated this process FIVE times. It was THAT filthy.

What bliss it was to see all that grime go down the drain.  Good lord, these guys really need a girl to live with them.

The bathtub and the bathmat wasn’t the only thing I cleaned. I disinfected the sink and the toilet bowl by attacking them (non physically – I dare not touch the toilet bowl) with gracious amounts of thick bleach. The moss lurking by the side of the bath tub finally disappeared (at least about half of it) after leaving it to brew in the bleach.

You can guess by now the toilet smells like a swimming pool with all the chlorine in the air and my obsession with Bleach. I love Bleach, do you?