Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hobo


hoboh5
Swiped from williamnyk.
Not the hobo yang kusut-masai, nor the Hokkien greeting, "How are you?", but actually the name of a province in China that is quite synonymous with the Hakka poeple. The dialect kinda sounds like an inaccurate version of Cantonese in my opinion, hence I get to understand bits and pieces of conversations. But due to the same reason, I find it difficult to speak, because it just goes against my Cantonese conditioning. Don't worry, I'm not doing a linguistics post here. If you're a returning visitior to my blog, you would know by now that this is yet another FOOD post. Tada! You either love me for it or hate me for it.

The restaurant this time is Restoran Ho Boh. Just opposite the road from Mee Jawa. The place serves "authentic" (I have no way to verify this) Hakka dishes and their specialty is the Lui Cha. For those of you who do not know, it's white rice with garnishing of dried prawns, leeks, dried tofu, peanuts, preserved vegetables, chives, long beans and etc. It comes with an accompanying soup of sweet basil leaves, mint leaves, sayur manis and tea. One is supposed to eat it banjir style. I love it.

I also tried their Hakka stuffed bean curd and gingered duck. Both were heavenly. The duck was stewed to perfection. The meat was so-so tender, you can even crunch the bones. The bean curd stuffing of pork was exceptionally fragrant with the aroma of salted fish. However, the place doesn't serve other trademark dish of the hakkas-- Stir-fried big intestine with pineapple and other fatty pork belly dishes! THe place is quite cozy. Marble and wooden furniture. Old style dish cupboards, cute children stools and even traditional Lui Cha preparation utensils. The price is fair.

At night, was out with some coursemates. We had steamboat at Ketam Steamboat, Bandar Puteri Puchong. Quite a nice place where you don't have to sweat it out over the hotpot as the place is fully-airconditioned and induction stoves are used instead of gas ones. No marketplace feel to it with just enough customers to make you feel that it's actually sedap, and little enough not make you suffocate. Really nice as it was raining heavily outside. Ended the night at Sweet Bean, Seri Petaling (the places there open up till 1am, Clay...). Nothing to shout about really. I ordered the Black Glutinous Rice + Tofu Fah duo. The former was too santan-y, the latter was congealed diabetes served in a bowl. Goodness.

It has really gotten harder and harder to get in touch with my ex-coursemates. I'll meet anyone of them regardless of number. By keeping groups small and simple, there is more meaningful conversation and I feel that any small interaction is big step towards keeping a healthy rapport. Sigh, from 700 freshies, 400 were my coursemates. Out of 400, 100 were from my department. Out of that 100, only 10 was in my clique. And now, I'm only left with 3. I hope to keep that precious 3.

hoboh3

hoboh2

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ah Steve


AhSteve
Swiped from williamnyk.
What is art? I don't really know.

I've watched arty-farty foreign films with weird scripts, naked men and women (porn is art, art is porn? If that is the case, I'm practically an expert, :D) and senseless camera angles. Some I liked, most I brushed off as crap.

I've watched Cirque Du Soleil's Quidam and the explosion of sights and sounds in front me was mesmerising. And yet I left confused.

I've watched tragic musicals and heard Chinese orchestra pieces, and I found the folksy stuff very close to my heart.

I've been to art galleries and photography exhibitions, but I can't find myself too engrossed in anything I see.


So continuing on my road of "non-discovery", I've been introduced to a piece of performing arts-- Ah Steve. A play, to be exact. After a great (and expensive) dinner at Xenri, Old Klang Road, KH and I headed over to The Actors Studio, Bangsar shopping Center. My car was dying on me again. The gears were jamming up once again and the mechanics are not open till next week. I hope it can last a few more days. We reached the venue with time to spare. NTV7 was there to interview Faridah Merican. A tame affair for an opening night. Many interesting faces. Joanna Bassey and a few patrons who looked like they walked out of a Philosophy Men ad.

It was my first time at the Actors Studio. I didn't notice it was so small. The seats are so close to the stage. A very intimate setting. Well, on the review. Basically, it's a short play about Steve who is supposed to play Suzy (aka Mother Mary, watch to find out why) in his parish's Nativity play. The story enfolds itself via his conversations with the town shrink, Dr Lau, squabblings with his promiscuous sister, Jane, shouting matches with his holier-than-thou Aunt Tabithaand his prayers to dead mother and Jesus. It tells the story of how Steven grapples with a strange happiness that engulfs him when he is chosen to play a woman's ("not just any woman, but a holy woman") role in the play. The exhilaration of donning lipstick. It touches on homosexuality, cross-dressing, superstitions, family ties, social pressure and religion.

Mark Beaue the Silva is very expressive and Carol Wu as the leg-spreading town whore deserves a special mention. The play is dotted with plenty of interesting observations and Hokkien and is quite a rib-tickler. So, if you get the chance, go watch it. And if you really like My Little Pony, you must definitely go.

After the play, we headed down to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for a Mocha Ice-blended (Extreme-it!). On the way down, we followed 2 kids (about yay high... can't imagine? Form 2 la. :D) down the escalator. They saw the play too. Here's a snippet of their conversation:

Kid 1: The highlight of the play was when Steven declared he was gay.

Kid 2: Yes, I agree. The play was good. The interaction between the characters was excellent...


Wah lau... setahun jagung dan pandai datang berseni dan berfalsampah... Kids these days. To end the night, we headed over to KH's coursemate's place for a bit of gambling. I actually won RM2.00 this year. I know it's nothing to shout about, but coming from someone who has extremely bad gambling-luck, escaping with my shirt on my back and an extra RM2.00 in my wallet is considered GOOD. Hope everyone had a fun CNY. Back to work!

PS: I wanna watch Alih Punggong (Gamelan @ KLPAC) too, but no time la...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Swiss Garden


SwissGarden
Swiped from williamnyk.
Every day, our contact information are mongered by our credit card companies, banks, etc, to mailing lists and marketing databases. These days, receiving calls, e-mails and snail mail is quite a gauntlet. One is bombarded with offers of loans, insurance policies, credit cards and everything under the sun. However, the most novel one I received so far was a call from the Swiss Garden Vacation Club. Apparently, I was "selected" from a list of 100 privileged customers to receive an absolutely free 3D/2N stay at Swiss Garden Hotel KL, Swiss Garden Resort & Spa Kuantan or Swiss Court Holiday Apartment Damai Laut. The catch- listen to a 45 minute presentation.

After receiving more than 4 calls to confirm my attendance, I arrived at the place on a Sunday evening (chose that slot because got food, hehe). Arrived there. Had my fill of the GARAM goreng mee-hoon, fried chicken, cakes and coffee. After half hour, still nobody attended to me. I whined. They sent some kid (with puppy eyes no less) over to present their marketing plan. Whole lot of time-share crap. Escalating costs of holidays. Thousands of hotels to choose from. Special offers. Bla, bla bla. Told the kid, not interested. The manager came. A real buxom Malay lady. Could practically see down her blouse. Not really a pretty sight. Revealed the price. Nearly 20k. Not interested. Not interested. Not interested. Not interested. Prepare me the free stay voucher please...

Got my voucher and I was outta there, So many restrictions. 3-month validity. Can only book from Thurday to Sunday. Sigh. But I did learn something useful from the whole presentation other than the time share concept- the crap hole that is Swiss Garden KL is actually 5-star. There.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spring


collage
Swiped from williamnyk.
I remember reunion dinner to be a real big affair when I was a kid. Every, my family would travel hundreds of miles from Kuantan to Teluk Intan to congregate at my late uncle's place. My late grandmother also was also living with him at that time. At my end, it was us tiga adik-beradik, whereas I had another 5 cousins. We'd tear up the house each day. Played with thunder kings, moon travellers, red crackers and sparklers. Ah, those were the days when you could legally blow up stuff. Lion dance performances were so much livelier with red crackers. All the elders would be busy preparing food and performing religious ceremonies that were of little interest. Would stay up late to welcome the God of Fortune. Mandarin oranges and peanuts everyday until you felt like puking.

Come reunion dinner, All the grown ups would sit at one table, while the kids at another. All would sit down to a big meal. As the years passed, most of my cousins got married and eventually had kids. Their branch of the family extended very much, causing logistical problems in lodging and such. So, as the years went by, we eventually didn't join them for reunion dinner anymore. Fast-forward today, reunion dinner is just a 3 person affair- me, myself and my mum. However, it's no less meriah. Bountiful food this year. Mum outdone herself with lotus root soup, fried pomfret, mixed vegetables with abalone slices, ginger duck stew, drunken prawns, coral lettuce salad and steamed salt chicken. And I bought yee sand from C-Jade Express. Food was accompanied by a bottle of Shiraz. It's quite amazing that we actually nearly downed everything.

After all that food, I was sleepy as hell, but my mother wouldn't allow that, she's put us to tasks immediately after dinner. Got the car washed, the floor mopped and the porch cleaned. My mother is very cunning in getting things done. I knew I'd have to do those chores, but I told her to let me rest for just 30 minutes after the heavy. She'll just ignore my plea, and just get to work on her own knowing full well that I would not allow her to do it alone. Why la... Just complain a bit. :P.

So far, a very fulfilling CNY. Didn't really get to rest. Meeting up friends and loved ones nearly every day. Sleeping at ungodly hours. Getting up early. And yet, I feel kinda energetic and fresh. This year is different. This year is very different.

HAPPY CNY!!!

collage1

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fugly


MsSunway
Swiped from williamnyk.
Check out the finalists for the Ms Sunway 2007 Princess paegent-- the one's marked with a crown. If you look closely enough, you'll find that some finalists should even be in the final 10, and some who are left out should be in. But I guess watching America's Next Top Model has taught me that a photogenic person is not necessarily beautiful in person. And a beautiful person does not necessarily photograph well. It's quite a tall order to fill really. To know how to make love to the camera and at the same time have a stunning presence. Oh well, youth and beauty is fleeting, we'll have to make the best of it, and save up the thing that matters most, the beauty of the heart and the soundness of the mind.

PS: I can soooo become Janice Dickinson at times...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Istana Tak Budaya

In conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Malaysia, The Japan Foundation (JFKL) and Embassy of Japan in Malaysia, in cooperation with Ministry of Culture, Art and Heritage, Istana Budaya, The Asano Foundation for Taiko Cultural Research, Japan Club Kuala Lumpur and JACTIM supported by Hotel Nikko presented a free drum concert by Hono-O-Daiko. It's a renowned Japanese group of women drummers, accompanied by music performers group, Tokyo Dageki Dan. Seeing that it was free, SK, Jack & I decided to try to get advanced tickets from the JFKL office. But since it was located at Menara Citibank, the advance tickets were quickly snapped up by those working in the vicinity. Not all hope was lost, there was still a chance to get tickets just before the concert itself. The website stated that 200 tickets were to be given out at Istana Budaya before the show. So, SK and Jack
went at 10+ am to try their luck. Seems that some kiasu people camped out at the boxoffice since 6.30am!! Apparently word got around that the concert's excellent so everyone was scrambling to secure tickets.

Unfortunately, SK and Jack's efforts were for naught. When boxoffice staff came, a notice was put up saying that only 25 tickets were available. Everyone was flabbergasted. All hell broke loose. Some people were got hot under the collar because they came to line up the day before and was told by JFKL that at least 100 tickets were available. The guards were also very rude and kept on making sarcastic remarks that everyone should leave because it would be impossible to get tickets. Saying that only 17 tickets were left, then 30, then 25-- just disseminating false information. It was weird. Some of the people even confronted the boxoffice staff. It ended with a shouting match:

Nak komplen tu komplen lah. Tak kisah la, Datuk ke, Tan Sri ke. Tiket banyak ni je. Siapa dulu dia dapat. Tak kisah Melayu ke, Cina ke, India ke. Aku tak kisah. Nak beratur ke, tak nak beratur. Aku tak kisah.

Needless to say, many left the place disappointed.
It all reeks of foul play. Obviously some hanky-panky involved and they did not even bother to offer any semblance of an excuse. Kudos to Istana Budaya. I was pissed at JFKL too, so I sent an irate e-mail to them. They actually replied. Cleared the air a bit, or passed the buck, depending on the angle:

Thank you very much for your e-mail and apology for what happened.

We had passed 180 tickets to Istana Budaya on 20th and told them never ever release the tickets until the redemption on the 21st starts. They promised, but when we arrived there that Sunday morning, we were informed that there were only 25 left. We asked for the explanation but they kept saying that the person-in-charge was on leave. We, as well as the people lined up like you, were very angry, upset and disappointed about that. We asked for IB staff to stand at the box office to explain what exactly happened, not to us JFKL but to the people spending their time and effort to line up, but there were nobody in the office. The fact is, the 155 tickets were taken by IB staff.

We are very sorry for what had happened, and will try our best to avoid this kind of problems to happen again.

We sincerely hope to see you at our coming events.


So much for budaya. So much for culture.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Kopitiam


SingSengNam
Swiped from williamnyk.
A picture taken at Restoran Sin Seng Nam, Leboh Pasar Besar. A really old coffeeshop. So-so food. Stuffy. Even retained original service staff (read: old uncles).

The picture is sooo Alex Photobook material too. Haha.

I wish.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fireflies, Cannons and Monkeys


MonkeyCanon
Swiped from williamnyk.
When SK announced to me that Cho (my junior from F6) had arranged an excursion to Kg. Kuantan, Kuala Selangor to see fireflies, I was quite hesitant. My hesistance stemmed from my sister's opinion that it just looks like lampu lip-lap on trees. Her perception is not wrong, it does look like lampu lip-lap on trees! But lemme get to that later. So, we went in 2 cars-- your's truly, my mum (I'm such a good son, and a bad friend), SK, Cho, KiamHoe (Cho's housemate) and Peng (SK's housemate). A nearly 1 hour 45 minute drive. I really hate driving on trunk roads-- the lorries, the constant need to overtake, potholes, slow-moving traffic, lawless drivers near villages, etc... But the roads are so much better now than from when I was a kid. I marvel at how my late dad used to drive up all the way from Kuantan to Hilir Perak using those roads. I remember passing the time by reading every single signboard, counting cars, imagining stuff with the clouds and raindrops on the window and all sorts of stuff. No PSP. No GameBoy. Heh.

Arriving nearly at 5pm, it was obviously too early, so we went off to visit Bukit Melawati. Cho was very convinced that there's an istana there, but the kid we asked to just stared at us in disbelief. Another local we asked for directions told us that it's just cannons and monkeys. Hehe. Oh well. When you're a tourist, do what the tourists do. The placed really reeked of tourist trap. We took a tram up the rocky hill. Stopped at a hillside overlooking Kuala Selangor. A fantastic view. The sun's rays bursting from behind the clouds, touching the flat landscape below. Really reminded of a panel from the manga Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind. Monkeys aplenty there. A strange species. Black with white streaks. And the babies are orange in colour! There was even a new moon observatory there, used to determine the dates of Ramadan and Syawal.

Saya selaku Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-Raja, dengan kuasa yang diberikan oleh Majlis Raja-Raja, meng-ISYTIHAR-kan, esok, bersamaan dd/mm/yyyy sebagai....

Nothing much else to see. There's a well and a royal tomb. We went back down and Cho bought himself a wooden sword. Good God. Like the stuff you see in Chinese Vampire movies, only worse because there's the word Bukit Melawati written on the scabbard in silver ink. Yuck! Having an hour before the firefly boat service opens, we went of for a seafood dinner at Pasir Penambang. Don't eat at River View Restaurant. Another tourist trap. We should have known better-- all the tourists we saw from Bukit Melawati stopped there as well. The food is worse than Pulau Ketam, but the price is really cheap la.

FYI, the boat ride costs RM40.00 per boat. 4 person per boat. About 30 minutes. It includes 4 bottles of mineral water. Yay! Anyway, they use a sampan. One can see the fireflies resting on the beremban trees once you're close enough. The fireflies like the sweet excretions from the trees it seems. They light up when resting on the leaves, hence the whole Christmas tree effect. If disturbed, they do fly around a bit, but don't expect a scene from Hayao Miyazaki's Tombstone of Fireflies. Apparently, they're quite weak and can't fly far. I caught a few in the palms of my hands and after a while they seems exhausted and don't light up as bright anymore. Not exactly Duracell material. According to my guide, the business has been running for 30 years now and it is slowly diminishing. Encroachment of villages to the banks are driving the fireflies away because the beremban trees are dying and the smoke and pollution from the villages are driving them away. So go see them before they die out at Kg Kuantan and you will have to go further upstream to look for them. Majlis Perbandaran Kuala Selangor should really buck up and protect the area. Even the information center is turned into a store room for lifejackets and a prayer room. Typical...

Left at around 8.30pm. Missed the exit to Bandar Manjalara, so we ended up in the Batu Caves Thaipusam jam... First time I've ever seen the festival. I never knew it was this meriah and chaotic! Haha. On hindsight, it Wasn't a total waste. Every cloud has a silver lining.

BukitMelawati3

KualaSelangor1

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nutrition Club


Nutri Drink
Swiped from williamnyk.
I'm no legal expert, but if I'm not mistaken, under the Direct Selling Act, direct sellers can't open shops to ply their wares. They must do their business directly, straight to the customer. However, it has become ironic that certain direct sellers have found a loop hole in the legislation. They open shops to indirectly sell their products.

One good example is the Nutrition Club in OUG. Just barely a couple of months old. Not exactly selling direct selling products, but they sell protein shakes that are made using those poducts. Ala carte, one set costs RM15.90 (lime juice, protein shake + fruits and vegetables du jour + unlimited hibscus ocha), but if you sign up for 10-day or 30-day courses, you get a significant discount. Business is quite brisk, since the shop is located at the bustling OUG market. Plenty of aunties and ladies of leisure who are concerned about their health. Service is personalised, where everyone knows your name (not to be mistaken with Cheers).

The first trial is free and they perform a simple health check for you. They measured me 5cm taller. I told the girl that it's impossible. She said I grew taller (Bwahaha, dah 26 larat lagi nak grow taller. 'Other things' got growth also kot...). As usual, I was declared slightly underweight with a body fat percentage of 17% and an internal body fat percentage of 5%. Normal kwa. But don't know la those machines. Are the readings accurate and they do they actually make any sense. So, if you're interested, go visit the Nutrition Club. Franchise enquiries are welcome. Quite lucrative, methinks. You get to earn from the retail and the direct selling sales volume as well. Double the income. Heh.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Twin Sausages


twin sausages
Swiped from plhu.
Note: This is a REALLY stale post. Fresh one's are preserved over at Robb and David's blogs respectively.

Due to some last minute work on Saturday, I arrived at the gathering a fashionable 1.5 hours late. My tardiness also dragged the Godfather down since he was my responsiblity. Hungry, tired and stinky after a whole day out, I was really ravenous. The guys were so kind to have actually pre-ordered some food for us. Before you go awwwwwwwwwwwwww, read on first:


Me: Food. Food. Food. I need food.

Liars: Hey, eat this first. We know you'd be hungry.

Me: (eyeing the suspicious looking sausage) Errrmm. This is like just off the grill, I'll eat it later.

Liars: Eat la. Come on, we specially bought for you guys.

Me: (with much trepidation I put my lips to the red, angry-looking sausage) Eerrr. This is SPICY!

Liars: Not spicy la, it's just the heat.

Me: (bite off a chunk and swallow) Yikes! (I run off to order food with tears streaming down my cheeks and obscenities tumbling from my mouth)


It was actually the super-spicy Ma Lat Taiwan Sausage. Shit! Numbs the lips. Burns the tongue. If you're trying for the Angelina Jolie look or if you wanna do an impression of an Ikan Patin without employing the use of a hot iron curler, give that sausage a try. Available at Ming Tien Food Court, SS24. Wifi-available.

PS: Bunny, before you post a complain that this yet ANOTHER food post, please take into consideration that you FFK us that day!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wedding Crashers


WeddingBarf
Swiped from williamnyk.
Followed KH to his friend's wedding the other day at PJ Old Town and boy was it fun. We arrived not long after at the bride's place not long after the groom's entourage arrived. The bride's place had a "new village" feel to it, a wooden house nestled between large concrete bungalows. But it was apt, as a tradition that was laid out for generations of Chinese was replayed there that day. The groom was looking resplendent in white, with his beng-ish and even beng-er posse. His supporters all wore white, but with stripes. A coordinated affair it seems. By the time we arrived, the first salvo had already been fired as one of the groom's party was already heaving his guts out at the drain outside. In the picture, it may look like the other guy is givig him a golden shower, but believe me, he's just passing him a tissue. :P. By the time they managed to get into the house, another commotion ensued. The whole bunch if them was required to tie a cardboard box over their asses and render a song. Pity the groom, neither of his boy's could carry a tune. But no matter, the bride's quite desperate to get out anyway so he passed. More commotion, followed by tea ceremony. More cam-whoring. Got to sit down for a bit and chat with the bridesmaids (mostly KH's friends as well). Fun crowd. I was mistaken for someone else again. I don't know why I keep getting that lately. Apparently, I have clones in Nottingham and in other colleges. Then, everybody leaves for the grooms place and I leave for lunch with KH and Vincent and subsequently work. Fini.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Red


redundies
Swiped from williamnyk.
CNY is just around the corner and the signs are already around us:

1) Roads jam up for no apparent reason.
2) Bank account balances dwindle for no apparent reason.

3) The aroma of bak-kwa is wafting from sidewalk grills.
4) You can grill bak-kwa on the sidewalk.

5) Shops are going dong-dong-chang.
5) Wallets are also going dong-dong-chang.

6) Souvenir shops are bursting with CNY pig-themed decorations.
7) People are already starting to eat like pigs.

8) Clothes on dislay are getting redder and redder.
9) Undies on display are getting redder and redder.

Head on to your nearest department store and start girding those loins with primal red undies and prosperity couplets!

PS: Thanks for all the concern. I appreciate it. :D

Friday, February 02, 2007

NPB

I know Ive been posting heavier stuff these days and some people have been concerned. Thanks for noticing that Im a bit off track these days guys and gals. Dont worry, I see that my orbit will be stabilising soon. I will retreat to my shell soon enough, my feelings have been getting too much sun lately anyway. Heh. Stay tuned kids, the regular programming will return soon enough. Keep your fingers crossed. Im fine, I really am.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Apa Nak Jadi?

Why do we say the things we say? Do the things we do? Think the thoughts we have? Why do we like some people, despise others? Why are we cynical about certain matters and more optimistic about others? Why do we belittle someone elses experience and glorify our own? Why do we make fun of others when certain situations happen, but shrug them off when it happens to us? Why does shit happen? An act of God or just some random coincidence that plagues our chaotic existence? Do you really love that person, or its just some complex mix of potent and heady hormones and chemicals fogging your mind and slapping a sloppy grin on your face? What the fuck am I rambling about? And why cant I use an apostrophe when Im posting through my phone?! Pray tell...