May 21, 2016

10 A Day Out With A Friend

Our conversations often strayed into office politics. It is not a strange thing in the corporate world. Sometimes it gets ridiculously ugly with management turning a blind eye to the situation. It's a common story angle told through books and television shows and surprisingly, not very different in real life except less comedic.

We walked around the mall trying to look for a comfortable spot to continue our chat and at the same time have brunch.

" No...she didn't. " I gasped.

" And she had the gall to deny it! " continued my friend, "This, with evidence of her wrongdoing! "

That's the gist of our conversation, not in exact words.
 

Reaching the end of the shopping mall, we noticed some activity going on down below in the open. The Body Shop, working jointly with Free Tree Society Kuala Lumpur, was giving out free plants in conjunction with Earth Day.

The Body Shop - Free Plants For All

We popped in to see if there was anything that interested us. I was surprised to see Sabah Snake Grass. A flood of unpleasant memories washed over me. It was the thing my aunt took to help fight the cancer that was spreading in her body.

I remember it clearly. She was feeling weakened. A fellow cancer fighter who was also on snake grass revealed a little late that he had stopped taking it after his body reacted poorly to it. It seemed that there was a side effect and it hindered his recovery process instead of improving it. My aunt was upset that he didn't feel the need to mention it earlier. She had a hunch that it wasn't doing much for her either. That's the thing with miracle claims of cancer fix-its  - no one really wants to tell the truth out of fear that it will extinguish what little hope that still lights the heart. It could have benefited some people, I wouldn't know, but there shouldn't be a feeling that you can't tell people honestly how it fared in your case.

Free Plants

We left empty-handed, deciding that it would be a nuisance to carry a plant around with us seeing I was without my car that day and she was taking public transport.

Passion Fruit Tree

We walked towards my regular lunch spot. I ordered the usual iced lemon tea and a rice curry set to go with it.

I guess office politics will never really go away especially not in large corporations. There's only so many managerial positions available for people to get promoted into and they get so caught up in the rat race that all they can think of is a job title to impress friends and family, and a salary to afford a fancy home in the city or the suburbs. An unbranded phone wouldn't cut it. Neither would a handbag from Petaling Street. It's all a charade to look successful, and the more desperate ones resort to unsavory methods to stay ahead.

We ended the day thanking each other for a lovely time, both walking away into different directions with a shopping bag in hand, mine with a new black collared tee. 


May 17, 2016

18 It's A Swatch For Me

Thanks to my parents, I've been a watch-wearer since my early teens. I've no idea why they started me on this watch-wearing path but I'm glad they did.

" Wear a watch? You're reliable: Watch-wearers are more conscientious and punctual than those with bare wrists, research shows

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3240784/Wear-watch-reliable-Watch-wearers-conscientious-punctual-bare-wrists-research-shows.html#ixzz48m9xvpo8 "


See? That's true where I'm concerned. I'm almost always punctual - a friend once told me how impressed she was. She's always on time, but I take the cake by being an hour early! Hah!

Fast forward now, I'm wearing a brand new Swatch Metallic Dune. I love the shade - it's fun, not gaudy. It's perfect for all occasions. It is also my third Swatch watch, but only the first I'm buying for myself. Boy, do I feel pleased!

Swatch Metallic Dune

I was first introduced to Swatch watches through my ex-bosses, receiving one as a farewell gift and another for making best employee - both under different employers.

This (pictured below) understated Swatch Chessboard of black and white which was my favourite stopped working some months ago. I continued wearing it out of habit - my hand felt unbearably bare. Aah, so there you have it, an addiction. A harmless one, I think.

I assumed that the battery was dead and forked out RM30 for a replacement. The hands on the watch started moving again and I believed the issue to be solved. A week later, it stopped moving again. I went to another store to get it checked. Sad news, of course. One of the mechanisms had given way. It couldn't be repaired and if it could, it wouldn't be worth it. On a brighter note, it lasted a good ten years! That's how I ended up buying a new watch.

Swatch So Chic (pictured below), on the other hand, is an elegant timepiece with a line of crystals adorning the top and bottom. I've had it longer than the Chessboard but only wore it for a couple of years, and mostly to formal events. One of the crystals fell out. So I headed to the Swatch store for a replacement, but was left disheartened. I gave up after asking the third store. They didn't sell or fix missing pieces. It bugged me. I vowed never to buy watches with crystal embellishments ....really!

Left: Swatch So Chic
Right: Swatch Chessboard

Swatch Metallic Dune has been with me for two weeks now. The more I wore it, the more it felt at home on my hand. I did try several other brands before finally heading back to the Swatch store to pick this out. The exercise only made me see how besotted I am with Swatch watches. I just didn't realise how deep I was in until I kept comparing the other brands to it.

Swatch Metallic Dune in a Swatch Box - RM260

Everyone's excited about something. This tick-tocks it for me. Do you wear a watch and have you got a favourite?

Swatch Looks Good On Me, Don't You Think?

May 10, 2016

16 Aquaria KLCC : Ok-lah!

The 'Spotted Garden Eel' is just one of the fascinating creatures you can see in Aquaria KLCC. It sways like grass against soft winds, except that this is underwater. It can live up to 20 years!




I paid RM46 for an admission ticket. It's my second visit. The first being with hubs and now, with a relative. We walked in. It was noisy with schoolchildren. I found the area too small to be accommodating large numbers of persons visiting at the same time. The place could have been better designed if it was intended for buses of people. Just saying.

My two cents out of the way, I was excited to be blessed with the opportunity see underwater creatures up close.

LionFish

We walked through a passageway lined with aquariums housing various small fish.

Aquariums Along The Corridor

The oceanarium is a glass tube tunnel with a travelator. We saw sharks, sting rays and many large sea animals swimming by. This, to me, was the best part of Aquaria.

The Oceanarium

Below are some of the other underwater creatures I saw along the way.

This Looks Like An Eel

Pot bellied seahorse?  Noooo.. what an unflattering name.

Pot Bellied Seahorse

Is anyone thinking of having Lobster Thermidor for dinner after seeing this?

Lobster

Moon Jellies

We were surprised to see a virtual piano close to the exit. My cousin, who's a musician/singer, couldn't resist trying it out. I didn't bother looking for information as to what it was for but now I wish I had! That's the thing with delayed curiosity.

Fish in a Vertical Aquarium (left), Virtual Piano (right)

There was also a little corner dedicated to plants.

Plants at the Eco Lab

I should mention that Aquaria KLCC has the bestest staff stationed around every corner. They were down-to-earth friendly and proactively helpful. Can't fault a nice smile and a good hello. 

That ends my day out with my lovely cousin. That said, where are you most likely to take visiting relatives?

May 5, 2016

14 Sekinchan : Paddy Fields Of Green

Sekinchan. A small fishing village that's a major rice producer and is famous for its scenic paddy fields.

Amazing photos of this village started appearing weeks ago through various social media sites I was subscribed to. A large expanse of green against the horizon made it seem like paradise on earth. It was magical, to me at least. As weeks flew by, the urge to visit the place soon became an itch that couldn't be ignored.

Sekinchan Paddy Fields

"Can we go? Huh, can we? Too late-lorrr ...it will be fields of mud by then." That's the gist of me trying to convince my other half that we should go before the rice plants reached harvesting stage.

A decision was made and we were off the next morning.

The journey from Kuala Lumpur took one and a half hours by car, passing several small towns. We stomached a couple of char siew baos that we had purchased along the way for breakfast. It was a fun drive with music from the 80s blasting from the radio. Google Maps navigation led us directly to the the spot. Aah ..GPS has made domestic traveling such a breeze! Soon our little car was chugging along a small road lined with rice plants left and right. There was an old kampung charm about the place.

Although I knew through several blogs that Sekinchan had much to offer in terms of sightseeing, I chose to dedicate the day to just the fields. It was a view that deserved no rushing.

A Paddy Field

Pictured below is PLS Group's paddy processing factory. It is open to public daily. Rice and other food stuff can be purchased on the spot.

Paddy Processing Factory

After a bit of photo-taking with the paddy field as my backdrop, we paid RM5 in entrance fees to get into the gallery which was located a floor up. The receipt came with a small packet of rice. Win-win, in my opinion. I saw a couple of workers packing rice through the glass window. There was a guide on hand to explain the history and process of rice planting. We opted to explore the gallery on our own.

Me, at the Paddy Field and Factory

Scarecrows and paddy harvesting equipment were some of the things displayed. It included olden day household items. The gallery was a short walk from one end to the other.

I remember using a similar straw broom in my younger days!

We exited down the stairs into a shop crowded with tourists. The tour buses left soon after and the place was quiet again. This was when I did my bit of shopping.

Souvenir Shopping

 The factory also offers a buggy ride around the area in a vintage designed open car. It's RM5 for a ticket.

Buggy Ride

This is a real factory, mind you. A paddy tractor rolled in for weighing.

Paddy Tractor

I saw this building at the back of the factory across the field. It was neat against the green. I couldn't help but feel the serenity of working here.

Paddy Factory

Sekinchan Paddy Factory

Below is a close-up of the flowering rice plant. This is what it looks like before it ripens (turns yellow) for harvesting.

A Paddy Plant At The Flowering Stage

Finally, these are all of my purchases from this outing. See that packet of rice crunch on the left? I'm addicted to it! It was made fresh in front of me; so hot off the wok that they couldn't seal the pack for me. They told us to wait until it was cool before closing it with the twist tie they gave us. 

Rice and Snacks

That ends my day trip to Sekinchan. We'll be back for 'the other stuff'.

Apr 30, 2016

16 Malayan Tapir Awareness Campaign - An Art Exhibition!

Has anyone heard of World Tapir Day? I've never, that is, not until running into the Malayan Tapir awareness campaign in Publika. I was nosing around the area with my cousin and baby nephew.

We were there for lunch and a walkabout. It so happened that it was the day of the launch of this campaign. It is an art exhibition with many activities lined up until 8th May, when it ends. Lucky us. My 8-month old nephew is such a cutie, giggling and reaching out to touch the nose of the larger Tapir exhibit as though it was alive.

It is estimated that there are just over a thousand Malayan Tapirs left in the wild. Their dwindling numbers is caused by deforestation and hunting. Like many other animals, it has fallen into the endangered species category.

ArtSemble presented an impressive three thousand clay tapir models, made by schoolchildren across Malaysia, for this art exhibition.

Three Thousand Strong Miniature Clay Tapirs

Miniature Clay Tapirs

The huge Malayan Tapir (pictured below) is made from bamboo and cloth.
 
Save The Malayan Tapir!

I was enthralled to see this Tapir sand art by Ikhwan Saloot, known to be the only active sand sculptor in Malaysia. He hails from Penang.

Tapir Sand Sculpture

If you wish to do your bit to help the Tapirs, you could contribute to the fund raising programme by purchasing a t-shirt or by joining the various workshops they have lined up such as clay art, face painting and origami. There's also a story-telling session - Timmy Tapir learns to do what's right. Sounds like something we should all listen to!

Tapirs Of The World

A daily Facebook contest to win a plush toy is on-going.

Facebook Contest

I have only seen the Malayan Tapir in pictures. This is how it will be like for the future generation as many more animals become extinct; a sad reality until we stop cutting down forests indiscriminately.

Will you be making your way to the Tapir art exhibition?


Apr 22, 2016

12 On The Outskirts Of Batu Caves

So much for raring to blog. Life threw me thorned roses - it was good-ouch. I came down with the sniffles and a sore throat. It didn't help that temperatures outside were soaring. I occupied myself with housework but this was done in a state of zombieness. Better than inactivity. They say 'An idle mind is the Devil's playground' ; as long as I was focused on doing something, my thoughts bordered on the chirpier side of life.

The runny nose situation soon disappeared and the next thing I knew, I was having a fab time with George, my 8-month old nephew who had the most adorable more-gums-than-teeth smile. I was also getting my apartment fitted with a spanking new air-con! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I go sightseeing with someone elderly, I keep in mind to take it slow.

I enjoy walking at their pace and carrying light conversation. The scenery feels more breathtaking this way. I love the short stops we make to rest along the way. It's also an opportunity to savour local treats. It cannot be said that any of our time was wasted. We merely did what so many wise men have advised, that is, to stop and smell the roses.

What's your take on travelling with the elderly?

These are pictures I snapped whilst taking my very elderly relative around Batu Caves. The place is famous for its cave temples, the main one located atop a flight of stairs of 272 steps and draws a crowd that numbers more than a million during Thaipusam. We didn't make the climb as it was too steep for my relative and at the same time unwise for us at the peak of humid weather.

Did you know that the Lord Murugan statue which stands at 140ft in Batu Caves is the second tallest statue of a Hindu deity in the world?

Lord Murugan Statue, Batu Caves

After oohing and aahing over the Lord Murugan statue, we made our way far-left, towards Ramayana Cave. Here stands a statue of Lord Hanuman (pictured below). It is only 50ft tall, but no less impressive. I have not heard of Ramayana Cave before this visit and believed it was a newer addition, but from this interesting blog piece on Caving in SE Asia by Liz Price, I now know that it has been around for sometime!

Hanuman Statue, Batu Caves

I'm saving the cave visits for another day. This jalan-jalan  is just a look-see of the surrounding areas.

Limestone hill in the background

Coconuts to be burned for prayers

Lots of fish in this lake.

Man-made lake at Batu Caves

Watch out for the monkeys!

Monkeys at Batu Caves

I can't believe I've yet to explore such an important tourism landmark although I live nearby. It's not embarrassing, but as a proud Malaysian, it's just outrageous! ;)

Apr 4, 2016

18 Adventures With Magnum ... Not 4D!

I am surrounded by friends and family who are crazy over Magnum ice cream and it can sometimes get a little competitive as we try to outdo each other - especially when a new flavour is released. Our Magnum selfies send a message along the lines of 'look what I got that you don't!'.

Black Espresso and Pink Pomegranate are the latest flavours introduced into the Malaysian market. Which tastes better is all about 'mood' for me.  When I need a pick-me-up, black espresso is my cup of tea. 

Magnum Black Espresso

To cool off on hot days, Pink Pomegranate would be my choice.

Magnum Pink Pomegranate

I've been to Magnum Cafe, Mid Valley Megamall many times - more to introduce loved ones to a new food experience. Since it costs only RM9.90 for a personalised bar of Magnum, it's a treat that's worth it.

Relatives are saying that I make a good tour guide. I'm LOL-ing over that. The first three months of my 2016 alone has been dedicated to bringing people sightseeing. Magnum Cafe is one of those places that's in my 'jalan-jalan Kuala Lumpur' list. Jalan-jalan meaning to sightsee.

This Magnum (pictured below) is topped with asam jawa candy, chocolates and nuts.

RM9.90 Magnum Personalised Ice Cream

I've yet to try the other items on the menu because I'm stuck with 'making my own Magnum'!

Magnum Cafe, Mid Valley Megamall

There are many toppings to choose from. I go for a different combination every time. Variety is the spice of life!

Select three toppings for your Magnum Ice Cream

The pink dip is actually white chocolate that has been made pink, possibly in line with the latest released flavours.

Select a Chocolate Dip

This is how it works - After selecting the flavour of your bar of Magnum, you get to choose three toppings and then a dip. It's finally done with a drizzle of more chocolate.

My Magnum Creation

Tadaaa! Pictured above is my latest Magnum creation - enjoyed weeks ago with my sister-in-law who was here for a visit. It has marshmallows, chocolate crunch pearls and crushed Oreos.

My Magnum ice cream story last year.


Mar 31, 2016

22 Visiting The Royal Museum, Kuala Lumpur

The Royal Museum (Muzium DiRaja) was formerly the official residence of the King and Queen of Malaysia. Before its doors were open to the public as a piece of historical treasure, it was our Istana Negara (National Palace) until 2011.  

I felt the pages of our Buku Sejarah (history book) come alive as I walked through the old palace. It is a good place to visit, and not short on informational noticeboards.

Before it became our National Palace, this was actually the mansion of a Chinese tin mining millionaire with 8 wives! He fled the country with his family during the Japanese occupation. A Japanese Governor made this his home until it was taken over by the British after the war ended. Finally, it was converted into our National Palace when Malaya achieved independence. It has undergone extensive renovations to fit royal functions.

Royal Museum, Jalan Istana

As I explored the rooms and halls of the mansion, I was surprised to find it rather down-to-earth. It didn't seem 'fit for a King'. I would describe it as a grand home for a very rich person. Aah .. that's not to say I wasn't impressed. I was, very!

Old Istana Negara

The main throne room (Balairong Seri), which is located in another building, was architecturally more exciting interior wise. The detailing on the wall is like a huge art piece. It is majestic.

Royal Museum - The Main Throne at Balairong Seri

Seating for the Royal Guests

Various Royal functions were held in this hall

Yellow, being our Royal Colour

Royal Museum - Balairong Seri

The outdoor surroundings were well maintained with neatly trimmed trees and a lawn so perfect for picnics. Initially I was going, "Phew! That's quite a distance to walk!" . I knew I was only saying that because of the afternoon heat. This was in no way far. I soon forgot how hot it was as I took in the scenery!

The field in front of the Royal Museum

Spot the KL Tower and Twin Towers?

The entrance / exit is way down there!

Entrance To The Royal Museum

All in, I had a very pleasant experience. The staff was smiling and helpful throughout. This made me want to come back here ...and I did - a week later!

Note: No photo-taking is allowed in the mansion. We were free to snap photos in the main throne hall and everywhere else.

Admission fee:
Locals - RM5 adults, RM2 kids (6-12yrs), RM3 senior citizens.
Foreigners - RM10 adults, RM5 kids (6-12yrs).

Address: Old Istana Negara, Jalan Istana, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone:+60 3 - 2267 1000
Opens daily from 9am to 5pm.



 

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