Monday, 30 September 2013

French Sole at KLCC

"A girl can never have too many shoes" - Anon.  Recently B and I went to the French Sole launch of their Autumn Winter collection at the store in KLCC. My poor old feet can no longer tolerate shoes with heels, so (ballet) flats are the best for some comfort. I have 'kicked off my heels' for some time already, what with a persistant plantar wart aggravating the situation.

Here's some 'sole' history: British shoe designer Jane Winkworth loved ballet since childhood and a holiday encounter (with colourful ballet flats) in the South of France in the 1960s sowed the seed of her decision to design and sell her own range. "The Queen of Ballet Flats" founded French Sole in 1989 in London. "From the humble beginnings of a 'tabletop' business selling only through charity fairs, Jane then started a mail order company from her Chelsea home and then followed the four central London based French Sole stores ... the rest is history ... "

There was a 10% discount on everything in the store at KLCC that day, but I did not really find anything I liked sole-wise to add to my very meagre collection of shoes which includes only one pair of brown FS ballet flats. (Nevertheless the tea and cakes were good, thank you very much!)

Blogs to check out: 1.  2.
28 September 2013 

Friday, 27 September 2013

A Wedding in TTDI

On the 22nd September 2013, we attended the wedding reception of Irwan Shahrizal, son of a former TKC classmate, Kazi (& her late husband Datuk Dr. Zainal Aznam). The kenduri was held at her home in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, in true Malay traditional style.

Kazi's artistic talent is apparent from the picture above of the wedding invitation card that she designed and drew herself. Compare it to the photo below of the groom and his bride Nur Mazuina, that I took at their makan beradat and you will agree that the likeness is obvious. Nice work, Kazi. Congratulations to the wedding couple and their parents. 'Semoga kekal bahagia hingga ke anak cucu ...'

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Best Nasi Lemak

IMHO*, the best nasi lemak ever is the one sold in Taman Keramat, beside the Aeon AU2 shopping centre. Every so often I never fail to savour this 'nasi lemak daun pisang' at the stall that is sometimes referred to as the 'Kedai Janggut'. Perhaps because there is a man there, the proprietor maybe, who has a janggut (beard)!

Anyway the stall operates everyday except Monday, from early morning till noon. I always try to go before they run out of my favourite vegetable of the kangkung (water convolvulus/water spinach) that is simply divine with the basic nasi lemak that I usually have for my breakfast. Of course you can add begedil (meat & potato patties), sotong (cuttle fish), chicken, etc., if it is brunch you are eating.

I usually go for this nasi lemak breakfast with my sister CY who lives in Taman Keramat, and sometimes I drag family members along although its not quite their best nasi lemak place. I guess everyone has their very own favourite. Do you?

*Read this however you like: In my humble opinion/In my honest opinion/In my highest opinion/In my hesitating opinion, or even, I might have ostriches?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Hairspray; the Broadway Musical

Event: Hairspray, the Broadway Musical, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, (17-22 September 2013)

Part of the cast (CNB 2013)

'Broadway's big fat musical comedy hit' deemed by the Guardian "The ultimate feel-good show". On Broadway since 2002, the musical is based on John Waters's 1988 comedy film of the same name. The 2007 film (starring John Travolta in a female role) in turn is based on the Broadway musical.

Part of the appreciative audience (WE 2013)
20 September 2013

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Peace to the World

Yesterday was the International Day of Peace (unofficially 'World Peace Day', but not to be confused with 'World Day of Peace', which is another story altogether!) ... so I say "Peace to all Mankind".

But these days, watching or reading the daily news about what is happening around the world, is rather depressing - there are the man-made disasters of senseless wars and killings, etc., and there are the serious ravages inflicted by mother nature because we humans have over-exploited the good Earth.

On the personal front, a rather unfortunate incident happened on this very day. The picture below tells the story. It all happened in a split second - a window smashed, a handbag grabbed! So ... we've become a statistic in the KL crime scenario.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Matchstick People of L S Lowry

L S Lowry's self portrait, 1925 Oil on board

When I was living in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester in the early 80s, I came across the artist L S Lowry. No, not the man himself, but his works at the Salford Art Gallery. I fell in love with what some would term 'naive art'. I liked his rendition of landscapes of the industrial north of England, and I particularly admired his iconic 'matchstick' figures of people going about their daily life. There is a certain charm to his figures, reminding me of a childhood period of schooling in Alor Star, when my friends and I drew people like this.

Mill Scene, 1965. Oil on canvas

Laurence Stephen Lowry was born in 1887 in Stretford and died at the age of 89. As a man and an artist, he "has been variously described as being lonely, solitary, enigmatic and eccentric without any definition of these terms in relation to the man. In some degree these attributes could be applied to certain aspects of his long life and some refer more strongly to certain periods. The action of most people, if viewed through a magnifying lens, could be classified in the same way".

Market Scene, Northern Town, 1939. Oil on canvas

A Fight, 1935. Oil on canvas

His artistic journey began when he was 15 and loved to sketch. He attended art classes in Manchester and Salford, and later exhibited at various art galleries both in the UK and overseas. He received honorary degrees from the Universities of Manchester, Salford and Liverpool. In fact, he has been described as "one of the most original English painters of this century" and he is "perhaps Lancashire's greatest artist and certainly one of the most loved of British painters".

Houses in Broughton, 1937. Pencil

It is interesting to note that this picture of his painting below, was entitled 'The Bedroom' until the artist's death, in respect of his wishes that it should not be generally known that it did, in fact, depict his own bedroom in Station Road, Pendlebury, Swinton, where he lived from 1909 to 1948.

The Artist's Bedroom, Pendlebury, 1940. Oil on canvas

Level crossing, 1946. Oil on canvas

The above picture is said to be 'an illustration of the artist's ability to caricature objects as well as people'. I had bought some prints of his paintings at the Gallery in Salford then and had them framed later. They became the mainstay of our Taman Pekaka (Pulau Pinang) sitting room walls till we moved to Shah Alam.

Note: Lowry trivia - he loved the operas of Bellini, Norma being his favourite!
Ref: L. S. Lowry; the Salford Collection. City of Salford Cultural Services Department, 1977. Ex Libris CNB 960

Saturday, 14 September 2013

SA Garden Catalogue: Torenia Fournieri

The late August rains really poured on the last day of the month and it has been raining almost daily since the beginning of September. It has been really wet, wet, wet. Great for the garden, spurting really luxuriant green growth. But for the Torenia fournieri, the rains do not encourage much flowering. Being an annual herb, these 'happy' flowers seem to flourish best in the tropical spring and summer months.

Scientific name: Torenia fournieri
Common name:
Family: Scrophularia
Origin: Indochina

The plants are 20 to 30 cm tall, and flowers in the axils of the upper leaves. The flowers range from a deep purple colour to lighter purples, to pinks, and white. The species tend to propagate itself by small seeds, hence once you have them in your garden, you will find the plant sprouting in places that sometimes surprise you. I have had the plants mostly in the front garden, but somehow, a couple of them found their way to the back! (I swear I did not move them! Maybe the flower fairy did?) Anyway the plants grow well in full or partial sun and you can propagate Torenia fournieri by seeds.

The flowers in August 2011 (CNB)

The flowers in May 2013 (CNB)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Landmarks of Selangor: Former Standard Chartered Bank

The former Standard Chartered Bank building, built in the early years of the 20th century, was the third branch in Malaya, of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China (now known as the Standard Chartered Bank). This building which occupies a prominent position in the heritage zone of Klang has distinctive features, especially in the three Dutch style gables; a fourth hidden behind the main block.

The former Standard Chartered building (CNB 2013)

On our walkabout of historic Klang recently, we found the building situated at the corner of Jalan Istana and Jalan Hamzah, now housing 'Chennai Silk'. Unfortunately, advert boards of the business within are most distracting and the beauty of the building's facades is hidden/lost from our gaze.

Ref: Landmarks of Selangor. Jugra Publications, 2003.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Happy Birthday B!

... err, sorry the 'celebratory lunch/tea' has had to be postponed because of the chicken thingy ... but Happy birthday today and we're definitely looking forward to our outing soon ...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Saris & Such in Little India, Klang

For colourful sights, heady smells, and sounds of Hindi/Tamil songs, head for the Little Indias, of which the one in Klang seems the place to be. Jalan Tengku Kelana, in this royal town of Selangor, is the heart of Little India and the shops here are brimming with everything Indian - saris, bangles, flower garlands, banana leaf meals, herbs & spices, sweets & candies, gold jewelry, etc, etc. But of course the people are more interesting, from the macha and mamak at the restaurants to the Jasmine garland weavers and the fortune tellers on five foot ways.

One of the many shops selling colourful saris (CNB 2013)

A fortune telling partnership of man and his parakeet (CNB)

A sundry shop and a pile of betel nut leaves (CNB 2013)

Flowers - who can resist flowers? In Little India, charming old ladies sit by the five-foot path of shops, stringing fragrant Jasmine buds. A man or two also do this. Beautiful yellow garlands of marigold and chrysanthemum decorate a few shopfronts, although some are plastic! But at the side street of Lorong Tingkat, some twenty stalls sell fresh flowers, garlands and wreaths for all occasions. Very, very colourful indeed!

Mariar, the Jasmine lady, smiles for my camera 

Yellow marigold  & chrysanthemum flower garlands

By the flower stalls along Lorong Tingkat (MB 2013)

When in Little India, definitely have a banana leaf lunch. But before that snack on delicious vadei and pakora as you walk around. And after your lunch, don't forget to get your desserts from the shops or stalls - gulab jamun, jalebi, laddu, coconut candy, and other Indian sweets and candies. Come Deepavali (in November), Little India is sure to be more colourful, so maybe then we'll make a trip to Klang again.

My banana leaf meal (CNB 2013)

A sweet, sweet stall (CNB 2013)
30 August 2013

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Clang! Klang!

The name of Klang, the royal town of Selangor, is pronounced as in the English 'clang' or 'clung'. I have heard it both ways, and I prefer it in the baku, Klang. Recently, with M in tow, I went to Klang by train. (In fact even Lonely Planet suggests that its best to get to Klang by this mode of transport.)

This was not my first visit to Klang. I had been here before a very long time ago when my brother MN was stationed here in the 70s. But I do not remember much of Klang or Port Klang then. At the start of our residence in Shah Alam five years ago, I had to go to Klang to pay the water deposit in the Klang Office. So I took the train then, going to the office by taxi and walking back to the station, passing by various landmarks and heritage buildings. Later A and I would come to Klang again to check out the other landmarks (see my previous posts on the landmarks of Selangor).

Colourful facades of heritage shop-houses on Jalan Stesen

This time with M, we were mostly in the area of Jalan Stesen, Jalan Tengku Kelana (the heart of Little India) and Jalan Besar. We also walked the Jambatan Kota (Bridge) over the Klang River.

The heritage row of shop-houses along Jalan Besar (CNB 2013)

It is interesting to note that Klang has many heritage buildings as landmarks. I saw that some shop-houses date back to the 1920s. At Jalan Istana we came across a Dutch style building that was the former Standard Chartered Bank (I will do a blog post on this landmark later).

I revisited some landmarks, including the Sultan Suleiman Building housing the Royal Gallery, the Masjid India Muslim, and notably the Gedung Raja Abdullah which was open this time around. (I will do an update of these landmarks later).

Gedung Raja Abdullah
(see my blog post 7 January 2013 Landmarks of Selangor: Gedung Raja Abdulllah)

Galeri Diraja Sultan Abdul Aziz (Royal Gallery)
(see my blog post 6 January 2013 Landmarks of Selangor: Sultan Suleiman Building)

Masjid India Muslim
(see my blog post 7 January 2013 Landmarks of Selangor: Indian Muslim Mosque)

There are the other landmarks that we did not get to see, so this warrants another visit to this royal town. But we did spend quite some time checking out Klang's Little India with all its interesting sights, smells and sounds.

30 August 2013

Monday, 2 September 2013

A Train Trip to Klang

Recently M and I took a train trip to Klang, just two stations away from Shah Alam. We were lucky to get a parking spot for our car very near the commuter station before buying our return tickets (2xRM2.20), and boarding the commuter train EMU 28 which came soon enough.

The EMU 28 arrives in Shah Alam station (CNB 2013)

A rare 'uncajoled' smile from M in the train (CNB 2013)

There was the usual secondary forest trees and undergrowth (plus lots of lalang grass) along the tracks most of the time. Just after the Bukit Badak station, I spotted a sheep/goat farm. And we also did cross the Klang River before arriving at the Klang commuter station.

A sheep/goat farm along the tracks at Bukit Badak (NB 2013)

On arrival at the Klang station (MB 2013)

The Stesen Komuter (commuter station of) Klang is the former railway station built in 1890. Although it has undergone several renovation/upgrade works, the colonial architecture of the station remains. It is located in Jalan Besar in downtown Klang. From here it is easy enough to walk the heritage trail of this royal town, starting with ... Klang railway station.

Klang Railway Station (CNB 2013)

By the way, it is near enough for us to drive to Klang, but sometimes a train trip is more memorable. Right?

30 August 2013

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Pantun Melayu


Ditenun kain dengan kapas, 
Bermacham2 warna ragi.
Perahu lilin layar kertas,
Berani kulanggar lautan api.

Chik Daud berketam padi,
Sambil petik bunga pudak.
Tuan pergi kelaut api,
Biar hangus kuturut juga.

Kedondong batang sumpitan,
Batang padi sahaya lurutkan.
Tujuh gunung sembilan lautan,
Kalau tak mati sahaya turutkan.

Dari: PANTUN MELAYU (R J Wilkinson dan R O Winstedt)
Dipetik dari PUISI LAMA; dikumpulkan dan diuraikan S Takdir Alisjahbana(Zaman Baru Limited, 1965) Ex Libris CNB 0414