Jun 21, 2014

14 Confessions Of A Frog Who Took A Peek Outside

Katak di bawah tempurung (Frog under coconut shell) is a popular Malay proverb which describes a person who lives in a small world, someone with limited knowledge of what's beyond.

"On the rocks, ma'am? " asked the waiter when I ordered a Bailey's.

"Huh?"  the only word that left my lips as grey stones and brown pebbles flashed through my mind. I wrinkled my nose slowly.

"I mean, with ice, ma'am. "

"Ohhhhh.....! "

Well, that's embarrassing!

Do you recall first moments in your life? Your first bite of a Famous Amos cookie , that time you grazed your car, the first time your guy held your hand? What happened above was one of my firsts. I laugh at myself every time I think about it and go, "Gosh, did that really happen? "

This is me walking down memory lane.

Where I come from (which is a little island far, far away), coffee is a fuss-free drink that has no airs. It is simply served black or with milk. That's as easy as it gets.

The 'coffee queen' is a title reserved for someone who loves drinking black coffee more than once a day. Sorry about that, but there is no glory in being a white-coffee drinker here! Aah...life was uncomplicated then. We were happy just gathering around, sipping our drink, no thoughts on the correctness of coffee preparation or where it came from.

It was only when I moved to the city that I was slapped with the likes of Espresso, Cappuccino, Mocha, Latte. Gone were the days I could just walk in and say, "Kopi-O, satu!" (Black coffee, one!) without sounding like an unpolished old auntie in a regular coffee shop.

So, the first time I walked into Starbucks, I was in a daze and just asked for coffee.

"Which one? "

"AAaaaannnnyyyyy  one....." My eyes darted across the menu. Oh, help me God! It looks like I'm latte when it comes to jumping on the coffee bandwagon. It's an americano thing, no? I'm sure mocha is not a call to buy more cars and espresso is not telling me to be quick in my decision. Macchiato has nothing to do with the mafia, surely!   

If you have been following my blog, you'll know that I'm not big on coffee. While I feel that I've come a long way since my first Frappucino, I long for the good old days when camaraderie took front stage and coffee knowledge stayed a far distance behind.

For the anti-Starbucks folks, there's the more gourmet Illy brand and if you can't afford that, then there's a host of 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 coffee packs sold in supermarkets. Many Malaysians have great love for coffee, whatever kind I believe, and they try to outdo each other too.

"Ah Pek coffee ah, very nice! Drink before? "

"Have you tried this? The latest in the market! Great stuff! " which really translates to "I discovered it first! Hah!"

I have often felt the urge to hand them a trophy for 'Unpaid Employee Of The Month'. Haha-ing that thought!

How this post strayed so much into coffee, I'll never know...slurp. I'm ending this with a little something for coffee newbies. Caf-ay lah-tey, anyone?

An Illustrated Guide to Coffee Drinks
Source: http://visual.ly/illustrated-guide-coffee-drinks

This frog has jumped a step forward.

Jun 12, 2014

10 Penang : The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower

The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower
The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower - there's a feeling of grandeur in its name and this is further reflected in the intricate gold-painted carvings that surround the building.

The tower is located within the vicinity of Dhammikarama, a Burmese Temple founded in 1803, along Jalan Burma.

I had a lot of fun exploring this place. The temple site is well maintained, housing several beautiful religious structures and sculptures, some really small, some huge! The bell tower is a fairly new addition and an interesting one. 

I must warn you that this place draws large tourist crowds, by the way. The best time to visit? When you don't see buses around. It's the best advice I can give, if you know what it's like to have large groups of people circling around, going ooh and aah around you.

And don't get me started on my photo-taking experience. I have occasionally bumped into natural photobombers, the ones who don't even realise their uncanny talent of appearing out of nowhere. Here I am ready to take my shot of this amazing sculpture. My finger is halfway down and poof! I see a family in my snap.

The smiling wife is halfway towards me, "Hello there, would you mind helping us?" whilst handing out her camera.

"Uhh, sure...." I smiled in return. What! No! Yes, I do mind! Grrr, be nice now.

The 4-storey Golden Pagoda Bell Tower was built in 2011 to house marble replicas of ancient Buddhist shrines from 22 countries.

This is what it looks like inside (photo below). At the top of the gold pillar, the word 'ANONYMOUS' is inscribed, for a donor who doesn't want to be named. I've always found that a little weird and if given the opportunity, I would rename 'ANONYMOUS' to 'A Friend '. 

There's a lift at the end. This makes it very convenient for visitors. Penang's humid weather makes taking the stairs a challenge. On a cool day, I wouldn't complain.

Ground Floor - The Golden Pagoda Bell Tower

The marble replicas, an ambitious idea by the chief monk, are displayed in the first two floors. I have a close-up of one.

Marble

The work of Burmese artisans. An amazing piece.

Marble-carved

The view at the top is great. This corner overlooks the temple grounds.

The temple grounds of Dhammikarama

I bet this crow feels on top of the world. It stood confident against the wind and threat of rain.

Aah, a crow

The higher floors of the bell tower hold various religious sculptures.

Kassapa Buddha

Akasind Deva

Statue in front of the tower (left), Kakusanda (on the right)
A little note on the Golden Pagoda Bell Tower.

About Penang's Golden Pagoda Bell Tower


I enjoyed walking around this wonderful place, so this is one stop I would recommend to anyone visiting Penang, especially if they're into religious history.


Jun 6, 2014

12 At the Preview of Avens Residence, Southville City, Bangi

1st June 2014, an SMS about a project preview on the only link homes in Southville City reached me. A dramatic line that called out to my curiosity. We (hubs and I) decided to join the Mah Sing fanfare.

The place is a little difficult to find but nothing that Sara couldn't handle. Sara's what we call our Google Map GPS navigation phone app, by the way.

It was drizzling when we arrived. This did not deter us from exploring the park, which was designed with several water fountains. The garden is gorgeous. Typically designed, but no less a joy to wander.

Water Fountain at Southville City Show Gallery

I waited for the water gushing from this fountain (pictured below) to reach as high as it could before I took this shot. A jogging track surrounds the pond. That's always a plus for me....in case I decide to move out of my sedentary lifestyle and take up running. My friends will go, "Yeah, right," on this one.

Fountain at a pond

Here we are at the very modern-looking show gallery. I think this will make a very nice home design too.



The crowd was so-so at 1PM-ish. We walked right into Dato' Joey Yap's Feng Shui session. He was explaining the merits of owning a square home Feng Shui-wise to the crowd.

Dato' Joey Yap

Below is the show unit for Avens Residence, a 2 1/2-storey and 3-storey link development. What do you think of the facade? I think it's great. I do like balconies, even better if it doesn't face my neighbour's. I am not considering buying a unit for myself. I'm just imagining the possibilities. 

The interior is bare and basic, leaving you full potential to renovate it to your needs.

The location is hardly prime but I believe it will improve once the area is fully developed. From my calculation, that's a lot of years to wait for an old lady.

Avens Residence Show Unit

We left after an hour of checking the place out. I love this open-air archway that leads to the parking lot. It's a neat idea.

An archway with climbing plants

As larger raindrops begin to fall, we hurried to the car. I couldn't resist stopping for a quick snapshot of this artwork, just to show my friend who loves cats a lot.

Kittens

In case you're interested, Avens Residence is tagged at a lofty price close to RM900k.
Website: http://www.southville-city.com

Jun 2, 2014

14 It's Rice Dumpling Day!

Rice Dumpling

To those who are celebrating, I wish you Happy Dumpling Festival! 

It is also known as the Double Fifth Festival because it falls on the 5th day of the 5th month in the traditional Chinese calendar. Some of you may also know it as the Dragon Boat Festival. Dragon boat racing is a customary event that has been held annually for more than two thousand years on this festival day.

If you're curious to know how this event came about, click here --- > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duanwu_Festival.

I've not been to the races but I do have my fill of rice dumplings! We usually buy the ones with fillings of meat, egg yolk and mushroom. This is the first time I'm trying out red bean rice dumplings. It's not bad. Sweetish, of course.

Red Bean Rice Dumpling

Coincidentally, I've been tagged by a friend to snap five photos each day for five days, beginning today. It's a day of fives! I hope my photo skills improve a little after this exercise.... who am I kidding! This is my submission for Day 1:

Rice Dumpling Photo Challenge

Have you had any rice dumpling recently? ...It's not too late to get some! ;)

 

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