Saturday, 28 March 2015

"Spring has Sprung"

March 21 heralds Spring; the beginning of a 'new year' and the renewal of nature. Even if we live in a perpetual 'Summer' in the Tropics, we still look forward to the Vernal Equinox.

A few days ago I went out into my little garden and recorded the numerous flowers in bloom. Enjoy some of them here!

25 March 2015; Seri Aryan Garden

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Teater Lorong Pemimpi

I am really at a loss for words, because Teater Lorong Pemimpi ("tinggal di neraka, bermimpikan syurga") made us cry buckets... It tells a story so heart rending, you cannot help the tears. Well done to all involved (Chow Kit Youth, et al.) because you have proved that its not about lavish backdrops and costumes, nor over the top special effects. Its about the story... well executed on stage.

                                                    Khairul (left) as Adi & Izzat as Wanie/Mummy/Wan/Daddy                               
                                          Shazrin Zainurin gets our vote for best actor


                                  With Asrul/Mona                              A with Shazrin Zainurin

(In Progress) 
21 March 2015

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Puteri Gunung Ledang in Concert

Puteri Gunung Ledang (PGL) in Concert was held recently at the Istana Budaya. B enabled us to attend this on opening night, thank you very much. But I must say that I was rather disappointed initially because I thought it would be a rerun of the original PGL theatre which I had missed. Ok, I did not read the 'In Concert' in smaller print, so my bad! Anyway the overwhelming sound and special effects (lasers and pyrotechnics?) ruled the day, I mean, night. No wonder some technical glitches had to happen. Still, we came away quite impressed with the very lavish production which must have cost quite a bomb!

20 March 2015

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A Favourite Eatery: Pho Hoa

I love noodles of nearly every kind, and the noodle soups at Pho Hoa (Vietnamese) restaurants are firm favourites with the family. We get to choose the cuts of meats (steak, brisket, tendon, flank, tripe) we want, and enjoy the meal with the accompanying platter of fresh herbs/vegetables (coriander leaves, bean sprouts, basil leaves, lemon wedges and chilies). To complete the Vietnamese dining experience, we usually go for the drip coffee or lotus tea.

We mostly dine at the outlet in The Curve, Mutiara Damansara whenever we find ourselves there. I understand the pho or rice flour noodles come from Vietnam. But interestingly, the global Pho Hoa restaurant chain was started in 2001(?) in the United States.

(In progress)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Sixty4 at Thirty8

                        Thank you for the wonderful surprise!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Ari Moyang of the Mah Meri, Kampung Sungai Bumbun

The Mah Meri of Kampung Sungai Bumbun in Pulau Carey celebrated their Ari Moyang/Hari Moyang (Spirits/Ancestors Day) on the 20th March this year. It was a day of thanksgiving to their guardian and ancestral spirits and they were most gracious to share the occasion with many visitors and tourists including a busload of local secondary school children and three busloads of (very fervent) Indians.

                                          Shamidah and Suhaila greeting visitors

                                          Decorated archway to the first Rumah Moyang

At the Rumah Moyang or Spirit House, the Mah Meri villagers were not the only ones who sought the blessings of the spirits through the Batin/poyang. The fervent Indians jumped the queue to do so, much to the chagrin of other visitors.

But true to their peaceful and non-confrontational nature, we noticed the local Mah Meri youths lining up to be blessed only after the bulldozing visitors have had their turn!

Food is potluck on Ari Moyang. All families in the village contribute to the buffet spread. Likewise, visitors are encouraged to 'bring a plate' so that there will be enough food to go around.

To celebrate with the spirits, the Mayin Jo-oh dancers and musicians provided the entertainment with seven song-and-dance displays. Suffice to say cameras were clicking and whirring incessantly throughout.

A and I took the opportunity to talk to the masked dancers during their break. The men behind the masks? Sazali Halim wears the Moyang Pongkol mask while Fizal 'Ijal' anak Layon wears the Puteri Gunung Ledang mask. Masks are passed down from fathers to sons.

The celebration of Ari Moyang in Kampung Sungai Bumbun is at three sites, where the Rumah Moyang are. (Historically, there existed three settlements, hence the three spirit houses).

The second site was quite a walking distance away. Here, as at the first Rumah Moyang, many sought the blessings of the spirits through the poyang/shamans. The celebration of Ari Moyang also entails that the Mah Meri do not do paid work for three days.

(In progress)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

SA Garden Catalogue: Fragrant Pandan

The Pandan family is one "of sparsely branched trees, shrubs and vines, with parallel-veined, longitudinally-pleated leaves bearing spines on the margins and on the back of the midrib. The leaves are arranged in tight spirals. Most species produce prominent stilt roots. The best known species is the fragrant Pandan, Pandanus amaryllifolius, used in Thai and Malaysian cuisine. The leaves of many species are used for weaving mats. The fruits of several species are edible.

The plants are separately male or female, with tiny flowers crowded into heads. Sepals and petals are absent or rudimentary. Male flowers bear numerous stamens and the female flower heads develop into pineapple-like compound fruits. The family is concentrated in tropical Asia and Madagascar, with outliers in the African mainland and out in the Pacific as far as New Zealand".

Other Pandan species include the Pandanus dubius, Pandanus pygmaeus, Pandanus sanderi (pic) and Pandanus tectorius (pic).

I have always had fragrant Pandan in my garden, both on the ground and in containers. If you note how much the leaves cost in the supermarkets, you will know why I grow this 'food flavouring and colouring' plant. It is so easy to grow anyway and the leaves are very beautiful. I have used countless leaves not only for flavouring foods including nasi lemak, but also in drawers (said to keep out cockroaches).

The weather in March has been hot, hot, hot, but late afternoon showers do occur on some days.

 Note: Its the Spring Vernal Equinox 2015 and so Nowruz/'First day of Spring and renewal of nature' is being celebrated in many countries.

Ref: Tropical Horticulture and Gardening/Francis S P Ng (Ex Libris CNB 1866)                         
(In progress)

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

An Afternoon at Zoo Negara

The above are our 'obligatory' pose in Zoo Negara. Did we get to see the real pandas?
(In progress)


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Retro: Land's End, England

Just reminiscing...  something I do when I have nothing better to do... Also wishfully thinking about travel to England. But when? Sigh...

Note: Pardon the quality of the pictures which have been rephoto-ed from prints developed from slides more than 30 years old!      (In progress)

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Batu Pahat and 'Mee Racun' Part 2

My taste of Johor continues in Batu Pahat (after Johor Bahru) with the unique 'poison noodles' or Mee Racun. This three-generation-old concoction may be enjoyed from three eatery outlets and my Bro AG got our takeaway dinner from the eatery below (serendipitously captured when I clicked the camera randomly as B and I arrived into Batu Pahat town).    

The next day we were treated to lunch at the cafe/bakery, Cuppacake B'Licious in Taman Flora Utama, BP. Although their specialty are cakes obviously, my sister-in-law recommended their Laksa Johor and Asam Pedas. We had both, and the dishes were rather delicious although I still think that the best Laksa Johor was the one made by my sister-in-law's mum a long time ago when we visited Batu Pahat the very first time in 1990.

After our lunch we went on a short tour of Batu Pahat town, stopping by the rather kitschy 'chisel and rock' monument in the town square. Kitschy or not, of course we abadikan the moment at this BP landmark and its surrounds.

We also noted the many new shop lots, three big shopping malls and new housing estates for BP's 500,000 residents. Looks like big-time development has come to this one-time sleepy, backwater town of Johor.

Later, on our way back to get on to the North-South highway (and home), passing through town again, we did spot a spruced-up Crystal Inn where I'd stayed in 2008 to attend Bro AG's daughter's wedding reception. Oh, also that rather infamous hotel The Katerina, which involved a certain politician in a certain incriminating video there. But of course I don't remember who and what?! I must be suffering from selective amnesia!

28 Feb-1st Mar 2015