Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Merdeka Raya :)

Let me be honest here - the reason I love Raya so much is definitely the food. The must have that my mom always prepare is the lontong or some would call it Lodeh.. Nasi kapit (himpit or pressed rice).. Mixed together with Sayur Masak Lemak (veggie with coconut) - put extraa suhoon please and sambal bilis (anchovies sambal).. And I am in heaven.. It is my mom's signature dish on Hari Raya and in Terengganu, where Nasi Dagang is the usual Raya dish, it stand out on its own. We managed to teach some of my brothers' friends to eat them.. And now for Hari Raya, they would come in droves to savour it hahaha :)

Another one is the Rendang Daging - for the past few years I would be the one sponsering the purchase of meat.. But let me tell you, the way my mom cooks it - again, heaven on earth. It is nice to be eaten with lemang (glutanious rice cooked in bamboo with coconut milk).. But, sometimes when lemang would be out of stock (we purchase lemang - never tried to cook it).. Nasi kapit is suffice and even add to the lontong, it would be stupendeous.

Hmmm.. I love Hari Raya :)

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saw Tapirs Yesterday :)

Pic. www.tapir.org ...

Yesterday we were late returning from hubby's kampung or village yesterday. We use the newly opened portion of LPT (Lebuhraya Pantai Timur from Bukit Besi to Ajil) which shorted our journey considerably (the distance is similar but the two lanes allow us to speed).

Then we used a short cut using the Felda Ketengah Jaya to avoid the longer Dungun road. I was apprehensive but hubby felt he was to tired to use the longer road.

It was nearly midnight then. Thruthfully I was more apprehensive in seeing "paranormals" hahaha so I kept my eyes peeled and chatter away to keep hubby awake.

Around middle of our journey, we saw two black shape.. We thought it was a hog.. But its bigger.. A buffolo?? But its body two rounded! So.. When we slow to a stop, imagine our delights in seeing a black and while body (like a panda).. But smooth body.. Longish trunk like an elephant.. Wow! We saw a panda couple. Looking at them looking back at us.. I bet they are as confused as us.. They are slow peaceful animal as we observed them.. Turning round and climbing the road fence to go to the other side of the road :)

Thruthfully, this is the first time ever I saw tapirs. Same as hubby. I think I usually saw them on stamps. I thought they are small creatures like a mousedeer or small goat. I never thought at then being bigger.. About maybe a teen rhino.. And such a rounded body haha..

Love this! I was so stunned and my hp was in my bag so haven't got time to snap some pics but have a look of the pic from www.tapir.org there.. The tapirs look similar like those.

Continuing on our journey.. I pray that those tapir couple be safe. Would be very sad if they become roadkill victims.. But with developments and highways, their home is getting smaller. Bet these are just a few that still roam free.. Wish them safe journeys.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Planting my 2nd Frangipangi ;)

I had put an earlier entry about planting my mini frangipangi few weeks earlier.. And it is doing great.. Lotsa new leaves.. Just no flower yet.. I am curious on its colour actually cz there wasn't any when I bought it - just the word of the nursery that it would be a lovely shade of yellow..

Anyway.. Seeing its happy grenary, I am finally planting my taller frangipangi.. It has been with me since 5 months ago and not so healthy.. Might be cz I let it be in its plastic bag.. On a cement.. And it had been big and needed room to grow..

Last weekend I finally had time and strength to dig a hole for it.. Haha.. Hubby just watch and help lift it in the final stages to the whole.. Yep, freeing it from its plastic bag, I can see lots of tiny new roots sprouting.. It was in dire need of more soil.

Pictured here is my eldest son, Kimi.. Happily helping to pile earth on the frangipangi. Looks like he enjoyed it a lot. Maybe I am grooming my sons to the love the outdoor better after this.

Hmmm.. So, next to do - searching and planting a mini coconut tree.. Maybe in 5 years, my family & I would be able to quench our thirst from the fruit of our garden :)

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Farewell of a Beloved CEO

Yesterday, I went back to my HQ office for a brief meeting with my immediate boss. At 1130, there was an urgent assembly in which our beloved CEO would give his last farewell before being transfered to a sister agency. It was a sad occasion. He said he planned to retire here as it has been like a second home for him since 1994. All the staffs are like family to him.

However, he said in a positive note, being transferred means that people recognised our efforts and brands and they trust that our agency culture would assimilate to the other agency as well.

We all rushed to say farewell to him after the speech. Maybe he saw many red eyes and sad plus sombre expression in our faces, that he exclaim "you all nih".. And turn around for awhile to composed himself before turning to us again. Really felt sad till now still, can still see in my mind his glassy eyes and sadness. Don't worry Dato', we will always remember you and your kind of leadership we will try to emulate.

Anyway, the new CEO is good as well though her demands would ensure me to turn around and hide when she appeared hahahaha :P

Had the opportunity to congrates her on the Buka Puasa Night. She said that she wanted to see us again and discuss new KPIs for us. Yikes!!!! Hahahahaha.. Don't get me wrong.. I like her work ethic and quality of output she churns out.. But I have to admit I am not as hardworking as her... Hehehehe :P

Anyway.. To my two beloved CEOs.. Good Luck and Best of Luck! I know you would do your best and also bring the best to those around you!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Citrus Hotel KL

Hmmm.. Its the time of the year again when I need to go for a refresher meeting in KL. They dictated us what hotel to stay in KL. I was hoping for Quality Hotel as its nearer to Sogo (and I can do some shopping for Hari Raya) but.. Apparently they just hiked the room rate so back to the trusty Citrus Hotel for me.

Citrus Hotel is actually not bad. Just it's location a bit hidden at Jalan Tiong Nam. But it is basically at the back of Wisma Sime Darby, so if you like to walk, LRT.. Chow Kit.. Maju Junction is just a few minutes walk away..

I have seen refurbishment in Citrus sinvce it start open around 2005. So, about 6 years I've been frequenting this hotel. For a 3 star hotel, it earns two thumbs up. During peak seasons, it would be fully booked by tourists from India, China, Indonesian and some west countries one.

Hmmm.. My meeting is 30 mins away, and I am killing my time here, tucked at the many comfy sofa sets at the seminar rooms in my HQ. Hahaha.. Wouldn't want to be to eager to be at the meeting room haha.. Besides I know I'll be one at the first few rows :)

Coming back to HQ reminded me on how much I am losing. Some friends had accepted posts overseas and can't denied I'm a bit jealous.. Not really jealous but resigned and a bit regretful that I am not able to go as well. Going for post means better job promotion, better money.. Better recognition, status, experiance.. Lots of better things..

But.. When the other side is your family (from mom and dad to spouse and kids).. The scale (though barely).. Would still slide towards family and life.. Huhuhu.. What to do lah..

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Lovely Hearth @ Kerteh, Terengganu

I love this picture of the three guys in my life.. Staring out the sea at my lovely hometown Kerteh Terengganu.

I was born in Kelantan but my family moved here since 23 years ago. There aren't much in Kerteh then, and it stayed that way for a long while until these few years that some development caught on. I consider myself a Terengganian now.

Kerteh derives its name from Kera Teh.. It was foretold long ago that Kerteh was a fisherman village with only a few huts standing. Kera or monkeys were prevelant then, and many would sneak up the huts to search for food. So, one day, the monkeys ambushed a house and the husband panicking.. shouted for his wife, named Teh, to help shoo them of.. Kera Teh! Kera Teh! (Monkeys Teh! Monkeys Teh!).. Hehe quaint story :)

I wasn't at Kerteh very long during my schooling years as I spend my teens (from 13 years old) onwards at MRSM (a boarding school) and then off to Australia for university.

Oh.. Forgotten to mention, Kerteh is the home of the oil and gas industry in Malaysia.. So, after I graduated I came back to work there. There were lots of OnG development then on the 90s that I get to work with Aussies (McConnell Dowell Malaysia) and then with the UK (Foster Wheeler Malaysia Sdn Bhd).. Love working with these expatriates guy and I am still in touch with my boss Bob Walters! Hiya Bob! :)

At the site also, I had met my hubby now. Anyway.. Times has flown, hubby still worked at the OnG sector but I had left the excitement of the project life to the reliable government job (which thank god.. I still love)..

Overall, I do love Kerteh.. It is my hometown now and I am blessed to be able to built my home here.. The unhurried life (no jam).. Lovely environment (not to developed.. Not too laidback).. The lovely riverstream and the beaches.. Must say that life is good.. Alhamdulillah (praise to god)! :)

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Tour to the Afterlife? All set for one helluva tour!

Wow! Malaysia boleh. Came across this article today that I found to good to not feature in my blog. In conjuction with the Hungry Ghost Festival, a trip will be organised to connect the living and those who passed on. Wow! I really respect those who would like to go. Please share the experiance.. I am extra curious on this!

The Star Malaysia

All set for one helluva tour!

GEORGE TOWN: The first ever outdoor ‘Netherworld Tour’ (a trip to hell) in Malaysia would be held here in conjunction with the ongoing Phor Thor (Hungry Ghost Festival).

For believers of the spiritual world, this tour is organised for them to ‘interact’ with their loved ones and friends who have passed on.

It is jointly organised by the Penang Teong Guan Association and the state government.

Tze Bei Guan Yin Centre leader Master Kek Eng Seng, who would lead the tour, said participants would experience different scenarios in ‘hell’.

“Some of them would be able to meet their loved ones who have passed on; some might be able to tour the streets of hell while some would be able to witness how torture is conducted in hell.

“We cannot guarantee though, that all participants are able to experience the tour successfully. Deterrent factors include their suffering from anxiety attack or failure to travel into the netherworld altogether,” he told a press conference on Carnarvon Street yesterday.

To prepare for the tour, the participants will be asked to close their eyes and listen to Master Kek’s instructions.

“They must listen attentively and heed every instruction issued, as it is crucial to avoid antagonising the wandering spirits,” he said.

He said this would be his first effort to attempt an outdoor ‘tour’.

Previously, he only conducted such ‘trips’ within the confines of a temple.

The ‘tour’ will be held at Padang Brown on Jalan Datuk Keramat from 8.30pm to 10.30pm on Aug 27.

It will be conducted by Master Kek with help from more than 10 of his assistants.

He has 28 years of experience in dealing with spiritual matters and had studied Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism as well as fortune tell-ing.

State Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang said the event had the potential to attract tourists .

He said: “We would like to thank the organisers of the Phor Thor for continuously organising this religious festival for over 100 years. The Netherworld Tour was famous in Taiwan but this would be the first in Malaysia.”

For now, Master Kek has fielded more than 200 participants but only about 100 can join the tour.

“We would screen the participants to see if they are fit to join the tour,” he said.

For details and registration, call Master Kek at 016-4148068 or Penang Teong Guan Association chairman Hung Siat Hee at 016-4432777.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Visiting a Talapia Fish Farm

Well, have to say I do love my job. It is tedious sometimes when I travelled so much leaving my family, but sometimes the places I visit almost make it worthwhile.

One of the places I truly enjoyed visiting is the Talapia farm, on Sungai Como near the Kenyir Lake of Terengganu. It is around 1 hour from Kuala Terengganu, where I am based.

After the refreshing and fresh air of sprawling palm oil plantation and virgin tropical jungle, we would arrived at the small jetty. Using a small boat in another 10 minutes, we arrived at the talapia farm.

You can see the pink talapia swimming round the net there. It is soothing watching fishes swimming right?

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Home Hotel Kota Damansara

Hehe.. Just came back from our quick trip to KL.. Expressly just to check out our new old car.. The peugeot 306.. Hubby did the test drive as I only know how to drive cars.. Not check or maintain them hahahaha :P

Anyway.. As we basically touch n go in KL.. Arrived around 6 pm then out again early in the morning.. We opted for budget hotel.. This time we tried My Home Budget Hotel..

Main agenda - shopping at IKEA :)

Well, the family&s growing.. A queen bed or king bed is not enough for us anymore.. Sleep is more important for us but money, of course, always a constraint..

Overall, I am satisfied. We pay RM160 for a family room (usual RM140 but we went during the weekends) so they surchaged us abit :(

Anyway.. For breaking fast, they did gave us 4 mineral water and 4 small packet of dates so it's a plus :)

Inside.. They have a lift! Another plus for a family with small children like me.. Lugging Haikal the baby and this pack of milk etc is not good..

Then, they offer free wifi :)
There's a water dispenser for both hot and cold water :)
The decor is nice.. White with some red.. Feel like I'm in Tune Hotel..
The bathroom is nice, no bathtub but the toilet is of quality and spacious.. Not cramped like the one I've stayed before..
The two beds are nice.. Kids love jumping on them :)
Ambiance is nice though we do not have windows in our room :(
There's a flat screen tv.. But reception not so nice :(

Overall, I am still satisfied. For a budget hotel, I give it two thumbs up..

For those interested to learn more, just go to their website www.myhomehotel.com.my. I'll definitely go back should I want to cure my IKEA fix :)

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bunga Kantan - Laksa Flower

I am in the process of deleting my snapped pics from my BB. Uploaded them yesterday to my PC - all 2,600 of them. Hahaha.. I am trigger happy with my mobile's camera :P

So, I am in the process of deleting the picture when I came across this laksa flower or bunga kantan plant.

Truth to be told, this is the first time I saw it during my lifetime. Usually we bought it at the markets just like that. I always thought that it was some sort of lotus (teratai) buds. They kinda look the same for me.. You know.. Pink etc.. So, I had imagined that the farmers need to row across the lake to get to them.

Anyway, I snapped this when I ventured into mom in law garden in the back of her house. It was some sort of small jungle there hehehe.. She said that she wanted to get something to cook singgang (a type of boiled dish for meat or fish) and needed some laksa flower.

So, I follow this and rewarded with this picture. The laksa flower plant looks like an ornamental type of plant and seems to like shady places. This one grow underneath the coconut tree.

Hmmm.. I gotta get some for my garden to soon :)

p/s - sorry the blurry pic - I was happily snapping away when my mom in law warn me that pacat (leech) is prevalent here so I rush back to the viccinity of the house pronto. Sure enough there's a pacat on one of my leg. A second check, I discover a baby pacat (the smallest I've seen) on another leg. Yikes!
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Planting my Frangipangi or Kemboja

If you like everything Balinese.. You would love the frangipani like I do.

As you might notice, I just moved to my new home (haha at least my hubby did as I usually touch base on the weekends only).

I love the frangipangi since I was a child. However, then Frangipangi is sort of a taboo flower as it associated with graves. Yes folk! For Malays, Frangipangi or Kemboja especially the ones with the white flowers are planted in graves, supposedly its fragrances are to counter the smell of the dead bodies.

Pontianak, a Malaysian female ghost wich appears as a beautiful girl with hair adorn with a frangipangi. Then, when they have the mens (usually) in their trall, they would appear in their true form.. A gruesome ghost with long black hair and nails.. With sharp tooth for them to suck blood from their victims.

Haha.. Enough of the horror tale :)

Nowadays, with the popularity of the Balinese garden, people in Malaysia start to add frangipangi in their gardens.

I am happy too as I would therefore be able to enjoy their bloom. Here is one that I paid only RM18 that I had planted in front of my house. I had another taller one for RM50 that I hadn't decided on where to plant.

Hmmm.. But remembering the horror story, I choose only red and yellow frangipangi. I wouldn't want the white ones even though it smell the best, it is the one most favoured by the Pontianaks hahahaha :)

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Rats in My House

Hmmm.. I'm actually a weekend mum. I stay at Kuala Terengganu during weekdays and back to my family during the weekends. Most of the time I would travel all over Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang (the 3 states in the eastern coast of peninsular) that my rented house would be empty most of the time.

I got a nasty suspicion that my house is invaded by rats when I saw their poop underneath the sofa. Well, nowadays they wenta whole step further.. Eating my food! On the dining table too!

I supposed I have to do major spring cleaning exercise after this. I did put some poisened bait. They eat those and didn't come for a while (maybe some died) but then, I think a new batch is here again. Hmmmm.. Pesky!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Sportage..

Sportie, my nick name for my ride is getting old. She's my second car after a Proton Iswara that I now given to my younger brother.. Some sort of emergency car for my dad and sister as well..

But Sportie is getting old.. She's born in 97, clocked around 336K nowaday so like old people, her frames rattled and her engine aka heart gave her troubled. She did have a heart attack when I drove her to KL last year but had the grace to do it at an R&R. Thanks Sportie. It gave me the experiance of riding on a tow truck hahahaha.. And made me RM2K poorer..

Lately, her engine problem indication is always on and the aircon is becoming hotter. So, me and family might go to KL this weekend to search for a younger replacement. Think I want to try another budget hotel in Kota Damansaran, thought I would love to tour IKEA hehehehe :)

Don't worry Sportie, we will still retain you as our 3rd car.. A leisure car for the beaches and our small orchard.. Still love to drive you around but on less rigourous routine.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Ramadhan is a Wonderful Month

Another good article of why I love Ramadhan as well as why tourist shout visit Malaysia during Ramadhan. I mean look at those yummy food! :)

Photos by G.C. TAN and CHAN BOON KAI

THE spirit of the holy month of Ramadan is in the air with Ramadan bazaars selling a myriad of colourful and flavourful delicacies to Muslims and their non-Muslim friends.

One such bazaar is at the Masjid Imar Ibnu Al-Khattab in Bayan Baru which features more than 100 stalls selling mouth-watering dishes such as satay, murtabak, popiah, ayam percik, grilled fish, fried noodles, kebab and a variety of local kuih.

Stall operators there were spotted opening their stalls as early as 3pm on the first day of the fasting month on Monday.

A large crowd of Muslims and non-Muslims were seen thronging the bazaar from 5pm onwards to buy their favourite delicacies.

Farizan Chehassan, 22 and Mohd Firdaus Abdul Hammid, 21, preparing grilled chicken.

A check at the bazaar also revealed that most of the stall operators did not increase their food prices.

Among the popular stalls at the bazaar with patrons seen queuing up was the one operated by Rosmi Hussein who sold traditional savoury dishes such as curry chicken, rendang, chilli fish and a selection of cooked vegetables.

“I have been operating the stall here for the past 17 years, offering more than 40 dishes to satisfy our customers’ craving,” he said when met at his stall.

Dates seller Jamaludin Ali, 48, said the juicy yellow dates were popular during this year’s fasting month.

“Although other variety of dates are sold, the ones in demand are the big, juicy yellow dates as customers prefer to go for the fresh ones,” he said.

In Alor Setar, the Ramadan bazaar at the open space of Darul Aman Stadium also drew a lot of people.

One stall, operated by Noor Fatin Marzuki, 20, and her brother Nazrie, 23, was a hit for their ‘laksa buyong’.

Noor Fatin, who hails from a family of laksa sellers, has been selling laksa at the Ramadan bazaar for seven years since she was in Form One.

Her mother, Rosinah Ahmad, 40, and sister Noor Izzati, 21, operates a laksa buyong stall at Simpang Kuala, Alor Setar, while her father, Marzuki Ismail, 46, runs another laksa buyong stall at Tandop, Alor Setar, for the past eight years.

“The special recipe of laksa buyong was passed down from my mother’s father. Laska Buyong is a traditional way of cooking laksa or laksam. Its taste is much better than laksa or laksam cooking using ordinary pot or aluminium cooking ware,” said Noor Fatin, whose laksa buyong cost RM2.50 per packet.

Ramadan is a time of repentance and prayer, of performing good deeds and charity.

It is also the month when Muslims fast to experience what hunger is like and to learn self-control.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What I Love About Ramadhan

Ramadhan is now on its 3rd day, another 27 to go. Some might dread its arrival judging from the number of gastratic cases (favourite excuse of not fasting but I really love Ramadhan). Here are some of the reasons why:-

1) Work is less busy (I was soo very busy nowadays handling the 3 states under my care).. So I sort of can look around a little and smell the roses :)

2) I can diet. Actually Ramadhan is a reminder that you could refrain from eating and you are actually healthier for it. For me, being around entreprenuers on the east coast whom consist prodimently of food & beverages.. Food come easy. After Ramadhan I always thought I would start puasa sunat on Monday and Thursday but business and temptation of available food dash my hope for that.

3) It is said that the devils are locked up during the month of Ramadhan so you have less temptation from the devils. Therefore, I should be able to refrain from doing bad things such as gossiping about untrue things, skip my prayers and such.

4) Ramadhan is also a good point to increase your good points for the afterlife especially during the terawih prayer.. Also you are encouraged the read the Quran, the Muslim holy book til the end. Even giving your neighbours the extra food earns brownies points.

5) Availability of variety of food during bazar Ramadhan - special food markets offering breaking fast food items are mushrooming everywhere and food item be it traditional to modern is everywhere. Also beverages (the most imported as for me, being parched is more serious that the hunger) are numerous and multicolour.

6) Fireworks.. Kids are most happy as well as moms and dads. Nowadays, police has ensure that no harmful fireworks are available unlike my childhood day longgggggg ago. But it is a good things as not many cases of children losing hands or eyesights due to harmful fireworks as before. But kids are creative especially the kampung kids who love to build the meriam buloh or bamboo canon - a device made of bamboo.. Put some carbide concotion in it.. Light it up and BOOM! Still heard it last night .. Very loud and for me, ANNOYING!

7) The Raya shopping.. Well, thruthfully, I neglected to even order myself a baju kurung (traditional Malay dress for ladies) these year, but maybe I'll buy one ready made. Still being a mom, providing for my two boys are more imported. Kids enjoy more the Raya preparation with the new cloths and angpow packets (containing money).

8) The Raya itself! Well, after fasting for a month.. Feasting on hari Raya or Eidul Fitri with many yummy dishes available is a MUST! Think the majority of Malaysian would gain back their shed kilos during the first 3 Syawal (aka the Raya month) which usually due to eating the food at home and near families while the last 27 days of the Syawal month visiting the rumah terbuka (open houses) of friends and corporate sectors. Usually we will have free lunches during the whole month!


Actually, there are still many things to add such as making the Raya cookies.. Preparing the house for Raya.. Malam 7 likur when you would light the pelita.. But I wouldn't stop if I wrote all that :)

So.. Happy Ramadhan everyone!

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