Friday, 22 July 2011

Books, Food & Travel

I love books, food and travel, not necessarily in this order.

My home library has about 2000 titles and this figure pales in comparison to others' book collections. I read somewhere that the late film maker Yasmin Ahmad had 8000 in hers and national laureate Muhammad Hj Salleh has a houseful of books. Bookshops are top priority for bibliophiles everywhere, even when travelling in a foreign country, and we can only sigh because there are so many books out there, but so little time...

Inevitably I have quite a number of books on food and travel. Cookbooks especially are usually colourful and attractive and even if one does not do a 'Julia' (remember the girl who cooked her way through all the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook?), just flipping through the pages conjures up heavenly meals eaten in congenial dinner parties. Many books by celebrity chefs now combine the subject of food and travel, usually spin-offs from their tv shows. Think Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, Bobby Chin, Chef Wan, etc.

There are travel books aplenty now, a boon especialy for the armchair traveller. How else could we experience 'riding the Iron Rooster' or 'the old Patagonian express'. The ability of a traveller to recount his/her journey and convey it in writing is no mean feat. My latest acquisition is "The Tao of Travel" by Paul Theroux, whose 'work remains the standard by which other travel writing must be judged' (Observer).

My own travels have really been 'walks in the park' compared to the adventures of most travel writers. No book would come out of them (my walks, not their adventures!) so maybe I shall just blog my experiences of the 22 countries I have been to (the same number of countries Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet, visited in 1 year, 2010). C'est la vie!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Best Mum in the World

As I write this in Selangor, I think about how my mum is faring in the family home in Pulau Pinang. Most everyone has the best mum in the world, and I am no exception. But I know I am not the best daughter because my other siblings have done so much more for her. Especially now that she is so frail. I am most grateful to my siblings who have been looking after her, catering to her every need.

Mak, maybe I have not been saying this enough, but I love you and I thank you for everything that you have done for me. You are the best mum in the world!

My sweet mum and I (BB 2003)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

I Blog because...

I blog because... I think I can and I want to... & because it is on my 'Things to do before I Die' (or 'bucket') list! My blog will be on whatever, wherever, whenever; to record experiences of my pretty normal life, including my lifelong interest in books and travel. My interests are really many and varied, so this blog may be 'rojak'; a mixture of this and that, so please bear with me.

A debonair Ba in his G295 KTM uniform

I dedicate this first posting to my beloved late father Ba, who devoted his lifetime to KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) and instilled in me a fascination for trains and railways. I have happy memories of a railway childhood. Ba proudly wore G295 on his uniform and served from the Singapura, Alor Star, Gemas and Prai railway stations, traversing the country on the KTM trains. He had many interesting stories to tell about the numerous trips/journeys he made on the trains and I regret not documenting them while he was around. My recent train journey down to Tanjung Pagar/Singapura before its closure was made in his memory.