Wednesday 29 October 2014

Colourful October Flora of Taman Tasik Shah Alam

It is the month of October and Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, so there is less colour in the parks and gardens. But our perennials do not let us down and we do have flowers all year round. Here are some of the colourful flora we encountered along our walk in the Taman Tasik Shah Alam or Shah Alam Lake Gardens.

Dillenia suffructicosa or Shrubby dillenia

Rhodomyrtus tomentosa or Rose myrtle. (Kamunting in Malay).

Andira inermis or Brown heart

Ochna kirkii or Mickey mouse plant

Bauhinia blakeana or Hong Kong bauhinia

Calliandra tergemina or Red powder puff

P.S. These plants/trees have been identified using my trusty garden reference 'Tropical Horticulture & Gardening' by Francis S.P. Ng.

P. P. S. I have seen signs for the 'Orchid Walk' near the Taman Tasik Shah Alam but somehow I have not been able to locate exactly where it is. Just where are the orchids?

Monday 27 October 2014

Taman Tasik Shah Alam

The Shah Alam Lake Gardens being just 'a stone's throw away' from where we live, I am ashamed to admit that it was only yesterday (Sunday) that we managed to walk the whole circuit around the lakes. And what a beautiful experience it was, in this oasis of calm right smack in the city centre of Shah Alam. Although the smog is still discernible, the serene waters of the lakes, very green grass, the verdant trees and plants with enough bursts of colourful bright flowers are indeed a sight to behold.

We walked in awe under the beautiful canopy of the largest trees, the Rain tree or Samanea saman. Looking up skywards and observing their crown shyness, we noted the only one Yellow Rain tree there while the rest were the usual green variety. Hopefully the branches of these Pokok Pukul lima will all gravitate towards the waters of the lakes and be as picturesque as those in the Taiping Lake Gardens.

There were families picnicking by the lakes, under the shade of these Rain trees. And if you forgot your mat, then are many gazebos to choose from. But if you prefer activity to passivity, then there are canoes or paddle boats for hire. The children's playgrounds seem alive with lots of little people running around having a whale of a weekend with their parents/carers.

There was plenty to observe of both the fauna and flora. In another part of the lake gardens, flocks of storks roost on the tall Casuarina trees. There are very many nests and the birds swoop in to land on them after a beautiful flight overhead. The birds are also on a couple of islands in the lake. There are white and also grey cranes and others we are not able to identify.

This being October and the inter-monsoon rains heavy and often in the afternoons, walks (or jogs) are best done in the early morning. But as you may well know, I am not really into this healthy lifestyle activity. I do it for the love of photographing nature (with my trusty point & shoot digital camera).

As for the colourful flora that we encountered, I will write another post. After all I have taken quite a number of pictures. There are the yellow Dellenia suffructicosa, purple Bauhinia blakeana, Red powder puff, pink Kamunting, etc.

At the end of our nearly two-hour walk around the Shah Alam Lake Gardens, we may have burnt away two karipaps' worth of calories, but then for brunch we gained a plateful of nasi lemak and a glassful of teh tarik worth even much more calories, heh heh! Ces't la vie!

26 October 2014

Thursday 23 October 2014

The Art of Meme

While shopping at the Great Eastern Mall not so recently, we stopped by the art gallery on the topmost floor. We found the fascinating art of Meme or Khairol Azmir Shoib (b. 1975) on exhibit then. Meme is a Malaysian artist/illustrator (also lecturer) whose works are quite 'out of this world'. Not really an art critic (just an art lover), I cannot comment much except to say that for me, Meme's art makes you think, quite outside the box.

You can check out Meme and his art on his blog 'Goblin Companion' at
Also in '100++ Malaysian Illustrators' in

Note: Yesterday was Deepavali, so wishing all who celebrate, Happy Deepavali!

Saturday 18 October 2014

SA Garden Catalogue: Boat Lily

Scientific name: Tradescantia discolor (Syn: Rhoeo discolor, R. spathacea)
Common name: Boat lily
Origin: Central America

According to botanist Francis S. P. Ng in his book, Tropical Horticulture & Gardening (which I constantly use as a gardening reference), the Boat lily is "a rosette ever-flowering herb with succulent fragile leaves, bearing crowded flowers in boat-shaped bracts in the leaf axils. There are large-leafed and small-leafed as well as variegated varieties. The stems lean when they get too long. Replanting is usually necessary every year to keep the leafy rosettes short and neat. Some small leafed cultivars are used as ground covers or edge plants."

Ever-flowering? I'm afraid the ones in my little garden do not flower much. They grow and multiply on the ground and I have never had to replant since I have had them about five years ago. (Can't really remember where I got them though). Anyway they are growing well in full/partial sun.

The October rains have been frequent and heavy. On some plants the leaves are 'yellowing' due to over-watering. I can't help always washing and cleaning my 'outside room' porch and the run-off water 'floods' the garden.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Nasi Kerabu at Taman Dagang

My plate of Nasi Kerabu @ Mek Siti, Taman Dagang

Do you like nasi kerabu? I do because it seems a healthy dish with all the herbs in it. My best memories of this delectable food was the nasi kerabu/ulam that my mother used to make at our railway quarters home in Alor Star, Kedah during Ramadhan in the 1950s. My siblings and I used to look forward to this dish being prepared because we would snigger about one 'rude' herb that was involved - daun sekentut!

Somehow in KL/Selangor, nasi kerabu Kedah /Utara is not as ubiquitous as the nasi kerabu Kelantan / Trengganu /Pantai Timur. Yesterday my sister and I got to enjoy the latter when a TKC friend Narim invited us to the opening of (her brother & partners') eatery in Taman Dagang - the Mek Siti Nasi Kerabu Ayam/Daging Bakar. Thank you very much, Narim and Zain. The food was good and it was nice to be able to meet your family and friends too at the venue.

With Narim, family and friends (2014)

We'll be sure to recommend this eatery to our family and friends.

Friday 10 October 2014

The Art of Jafar Petgar

"The language of art is understood through one's soul, not by one's mind or wisdom. Therefore a youngster may understand art better than a wise man"   - Jafar Petgar in 'The Boundries of Human and Art'

Jafar Petgar (1921-2004) was a renowned Iranian artist born in Tabriz, Azerbaijan, Iran. While living in Iran in the early 80s, one day at the Bazaar in Kermanshah, I came across a man painting from a print of another artist. He told me he was copying the work of the renowned artist Jafar Petgar. I was fascinated by the painting (The Poultry Vendor, 1941) and asked if he could paint another (copy) for me. Unfortunately the painting was destroyed in transit from one country to another because I was not wise in the ways of transporting an art work. But luckily I managed to buy a few prints of Petgar's fantastic paintings, which now adorn a bedroom.

Jafar Petgar's work between 1935 to 1947  'was defined by a focus on objective reality, what he perceived in the world around him. As such he spent most of his energies painting the way people dressed, the way people looked and the way people worked'. Three defining works were The Carpet Menders, 1943 and The Poultry Vendor, 1941, and The Artist's Mother. 

                                           The Carpet Menders, 1943

                                           Amir Abaad Tea House, 1941

(PIC: The Carpet Vendors, 1952)

Petgar's second period between 1947 to 1955 'was more heavily influenced by the influences like literature and mysticism than the objective reality of things, people and places. He was writing poetry at the time, and his paintings show an almost poetic aesthetic inspiration'.

                                                    From Here to Eternity, 1954

His third period from 1955 till his death in 2004 'is defined by the self-awareness and understanding of the mature artist... his work represented a form of communion between God and man'. He said, "If the artist has not reached God through art, then he has not understood art".

Ref:  Many of Petgar's beautiful paintings are featured here.

Thursday 9 October 2014


Flamingos are magical creatures, don't you think? These orange coloured feathered Caribbean flamingos were at the Singapore Jurong Bird Park. I took this snapshot when I was there with some friends three years ago.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Fooling Around at the Red Carpet i-City

Although it first opened a year ago in August 2013, we only decided to see what the Red Carpet at i-City Wax Museum, Shah Alam was all about when it reopened after the arson in February this year.

There is nothing to stop anyone 'cam whoring' and making fools talents of themselves at this interactive wax museum, B and yours truly included recently. There are 100 life like figures of "famous people from history and contemporary personalities of today". There you go, you can 'camwhore' 100 times over! But we will spare you and put up only 20. Enjoy!

1. Gnarl and show your fangs teeth like the cute, blonde Monkey King. (Donnie Yen played the titular protagonist in the recent 3D movie based on an episode of the Chinese literary classic, 'Journey to the West'. I had read this during my uni days doing Chinese Studies.)

2. Proclaim 'Merdeka' with Malaysia's first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

3. Demand for world peace on the same podium with Putin and Obama.
B: Putin and Obama, you both demand world peace. I have to go shopping right now, heheh!

4. Get close to Queen Elizabeth and put your arm around her like you are two old friends.
Queen Lizzy: Simply N, I command that you tell me why you are dressed so casually and have your ugliest shoes on for this photo shoot? 
Simply N: Err... but they are most comfy, Your Majesty. Okay, I shall come in my best outfit and Louboutins next time around. I promise.  Btw, I like your hair!

5. Sit next to Mandela, lean and hang your arm casually on his armchair and try to carry on a decent conversation about apartheid and world politics. (The patterns on Mandela's shirt and the armchair look rather similar, it's like he is in camouflage. Is it intentional, you think? Why?)

6. Get close to Yasser Arafat and remember his important role in the politics and nationalism of Palestine. Oh, and his iconic black-and-white checkered keffiyeh or shemagh makes him, contrary to what people say, not so bad-looking after all. This trademark scarf is now military chic according to Wikipedia, and also was a fashion accessory in the US and Tokyo.

7. Have a tete a tete with LKY. (I think they have made his head a tad too small for his body here, what do you think?)

8. Pose with the controversial Mao Zedong (prev. Tse-tung) like he is your long lost uncle (or brother in my case). This Chairman of the Communist Party of China ruled from 1949-1976 and was either a revered cult figure or hated dictator.

9. Dance with Steve Jobs (1955-2011). He said "If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?" 
B: No, I think I shall dance!

10. Think and ponder like Einstein (1879-1955) who said "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". Me? I don't want to explain anything. I can only smile at the camera behind his back! No, the camera is not behind his back, I am behind his back. Understand? Enough explanation already! Note: I think Einstein probably has more bad hair days than I do.

11. Make your wushu move with Li Lianjie aka Jet Li. We understand that Bruce Lee got burnt (in the recent fire), so for now you can't make any martial arts move with him just yet.

12. Smirk like Michelle Yeoh, if you must. After all she is a local lass Ipoh mali who has made it in Hollywood and global filmdom.

13. Sidle up to Bond, James Bond. And put your finger on his lips. Just be careful he doesn't bite! Ouch! (B thinks Daniel Craig is the handsomest Bond, but I think the title goes to Sean Connery. What do you think?)

14. Drive off in Mr Bean's mini when his beady eyes are not looking at you.

15. Sit down and have 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' with Holly Golightly, I mean Audrey Hepburn. Although she is a little overdressed here in her black gown and gloves, and a tiara to boot! But wait, who took away her elegant cigarette holder? What? No smoking in here?

16. Put on your most hoity-toity look when hanging out with David Beckham and Posh Victoria.

17. Measure up to Michael Jordan's height of 6 ft 6 in.

18. Of course with Psy, you do your best 'Gangnam style'. B, good move, but why the tongue?

19. Graciously receive your encores with Luciano Pavarotti (d.2007), full arms extended. 'Thank you, thank you very much, thank you.'

20. Take a we-fie with Arnold Schwarzenegger. For us it was a foursome, together with his weapon of destruction (whatever it is).
B: Ma, he is older than you but he still looks good!
Ma: Huh???

P.S. Other personalities featured include Napoleon Bonarparte, Deng Xiaoping, King Hussein of Jordan, the Pope, Kofi Annan, Eleven Xi Jinping, Bill Gates, John Travolta, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Shakira, Fan Bing Bing, Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie, 'Captain Jack Sparrow'/Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jackie Chan, Elton John, Lionel Messi, Lee Chong Wei, Lee Young Ae, Yong Yun Hai, Nancy Ajram, Guinness World Record holders, etc.

P.P.S. We think that several of the wax figures do not look like who they are intended to be/represent. Among these - Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, William and Kate, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, etc.