Jan 30, 2013

0 A reflection of the sky on Tasik Titiwangsa (Lake Titiwangsa)

It was a glorious Sunday morning at the park, blessed by the warmth of a gorgeous sunrise that set my heart aflutter.

These photos were taken at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa. I was taking a stroll by the serene lake when my eyes were drawn to the reflection of the sky laid beautifully on the surface of the water like a huge canvas painting.

Words alone cannot possibly do justice in describing this phenomenal display. So, I'm sharing my photos with you.

Aiming for the sunrise before I realised that the lake had captured its beauty too

A picture can paint a thousand words

Cloudy with a chance of sunshine

A mirror of the sky

A vibrant view of the park and part of the city

Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower lines the horizon

Pretty with the fountain

Still waters run deep

Be here by 7a.m. if you wish to catch Mother Nature's spectacular show.

Jan 28, 2013

2 The RED Lunar New Year Campaign

The alarm was set for 6a.m. It was a spur of the moment thing. I felt like I needed some fresh air so I got up early for a stroll in the park.

As I was enjoying the cool air with machoman by my side...

"Flower! Flower!" I dug my camera out from my pocket..which I brought along 'secretly'. 

"Ling, I'm surprised you brought your camera. There! There! Another red!" I looked at him with my eyebrows raised.

"Ahem..for Lion Girl's red campaign, kan?" He continued. Impressive. Hubby knows. I laughed.

It's exciting. Eleven days into the campaign and here I am sitting and reflecting over this exercise of posting photos of any red object onto our Facebook. Brilliant ..this red initiative has got to be the most brilliant idea ever! It makes counting down to the Lunar New Year more meaningful. What better way to get ourselves into the mood than post photos of all things red - the must-have, must-wear auspicious colour that is traditionally tied to this celebration. 

I've been faithfully posting one red photo per day and these are my favourites ..

A Hanging Decoration - Love this one because it's so festive!

My Happy Red Mug - Ideally balanced!

Ok, these really are "red" flowers I took from the park. I blame my camera for playing this trick on me!

By the end of the campaign, my Facebook account will be a wall of festive red. I have Lion Girl to thank for making my page so beautiful and for keeping the spirit of cheerfulness alive in everybody's hearts with her infectious "wakakakaka" (that's a guffaw for you) and her many supportive words.

Jan 27, 2013

0 Electing For Good

That's where my vote is going this election - to the good man. It will be nothing to do with which political camp I support because I am no blind follower.

I will not abide by a wrong nor defend it in a show of steadfast loyalty. I'm afraid I have yet to reach this level of insane illogicality and the cruelness that comes with it. This cruelness that is so unabashedly displayed these days for the online world to see. It baffles me. The name-calling - DAPigs, Najis?

When have the hearts of Malaysians turned black with hatred and where have our manners gone in all this? Do we generally lack the EQ to handle situations unfavourable to our interests or beliefs? If we were once known worldwide for our down-to-earth and friendly demeanor, I am certain that we have fallen down the rank this day.

I cannot understand why anyone would agree to burning bibles or come out with hair-brained ideas that my tresses can only be cut by stylists of my gender. I fail to see how,  "If you vote for me, I give you this and that" is not construed as bribery. I cannot even fathom how it is very "nice" to arrogantly suggest that fellow Malaysians leave the country because they raised 'sensitive' questions. I don't get that warm fuzzy feeling knowing we have hum sup laos (perverts) as leaders. 

Can there be no beginning to intelligent debate amidst all this bickering? Are we heading towards a kind of extremism where we are slowly being coerced into becoming opinionless yes men?  

I think what we are all forgetting is that every Malaysian has a right to support whom they please and they should be given access to credible news and information so that they are able to make sound decisions on their own. There will always be bad apples in every political party. I believe that it is the duty of the rakyat to ensure that the rotten ones do not get elected in. This responsibility does not solely fall onto the shoulders of party leaders. We play a key role too.

At the end of the day, it is only when our parliament is filled with capable and honest individuals that our country will truly prosper. And it will not matter which party they come from because they don't represent any in parliament. They represent only us, the rakyat.

Whether one is a Barisan supporter, PKR die-hard or an independent party believer is of little concern. The important thing is we should all stand together against ill practices no matter which party the perpetrator stands for.

To sum it up, I have never understood the logic of voting for an individual in support of the larger party. In fact, I cannot imagine crossing my ballot for any unsavoury character ..

I am eager to cast my vote in this coming election but it will go to the better man.

Jan 25, 2013

4 Sabah - Pekan Nabalu (Nabalu Town)

Climb Mount Kinabalu? Oh no...not me! I just want to get a good view of the majestic mountain, so we made a stop at Pekan Nabalu.

It was as beautiful as when I first saw it years ago. Can one envy a mountain? I do. No one ever labels a mountain ugly and if it is ever called big, it is at most taken as a compliment.

There's Mount Kinabalu

Pekan Nabalu has flourished as a tourist stop - for souvenirs, to grab a bite, for a toilet break and the scenic view is a great spot for some touristy photo-taking activity.

The souvenirs are a treat, really cheap and abundant in choices. I love how beautiful the handmade crafts are especially the string hammocks. It has been my dream to own one ever since I was a child and these were so prettily coloured. I walked off with one in arm...oh dear, how will this fit into my small apartment I wonder...

Adding to my list of purchases was a sarong sized native design cloth for just RM10 and a bag of wood carved key chains.

I would have loved to complete my souvenir shopping here but experience has taught me not to put all my eggs into one basket. ..and this turned out to be a wise decision.  

A good spot for souvenir shopping

The toilets are ok-lah. You'll just have to close one eye. We arrived in the afternoon way after the tourist buses have left. They begin their adventure in the wee hours of the morning. We prefer the laid back experience. It made our traveling peaceful. I am glad we escaped the toilet queue and did not have to rush to pose for photos on 'high demand' spots.

Toilet cleanliness - acceptable

A viewing platform at the back has fallen into disrepair and the area has been cordoned off by a warning ribbon. No matter, we still got a good view of the mountain from the grassy edge of the hill we were standing on.

This platform is off limits!

There's a lovely "Angel's Trumpet" tree growing here too, some metres away from the decrepit platform. No doubt a crowd puller for photo-taking enthusiasts, one being me. Mmm..mm..gorgeous!

Angel's Trumpet Tree

Something to trumpet about

After Pekan Nabalu, we continued our journey to Kampung Luanti. I enjoyed the drive thoroughly. It felt like I had been transported into a different world. How can it be so green and serene. Do my eyes deceive me or are the skies bluer.

The road out of the city, leading to Kundasang all the way to Kampung Luanti is long and winding.  Best to be prepared if you're prone to car sickness but you should keep awake for the view. It's stunning. It would have been great to make little stops along the journey to take in the cool air and savour some of the local fruits sold at the roadside but we were pressed for time.

To sum up my whole experience - "Bah, next trip bila?"  I am eager to return.

(Bah - a Sabah slang. There is no standard meaning for it. It is used to make conversation sound more casual and friendly. Bila means "when" in Malay.)


Could this be where Hobbits live?

OkKkk... that looks like a cabin out of a horror movie

Jan 22, 2013

0 A package from Claire Organics

And then there are days I'm just so excited for the simplest reason. I've got mail!

It's arrived in a neat brown package, decorated with a pretty piece of white paper lace. That's Claire Organics for you - a glimpse of their creative side.

No drinking, please

What they're really into is organic soaps, the handmade kind with a lot of love put into it. Their passion for chemical free body wash products has me admiring them for their tenacity in coming out with unique ingredients for soap making. I believe a lot of research went into it.

I'd never even heard of breast milk soap before this but there you go, it only goes to show that nothing is really impossible these days if we let our minds wander in abandon.

This is my stash from Claire Organics - Calendula, Purple Gromwell and Guinness Stout. I bet you're going "???". Well, you can click here to read about these amazing products if you want. I'm off to try out my new stuff.

Organic Soaps

Jan 20, 2013

0 Choc-Vanilla Spiral Cookies

Choc-Vanilla Spiral Cookies

I don't often bake cookies. Well, that's an overstatement. Ooo..I'm terribly embarrassed to say it but I can only recall one other time I baked it! That would make this attempt my second. Still very much a newbie.

My sudden urge to bake is prompted by a recent book purchase - The Australian Women's Weekly, Baking. I love how the recipes are neatly presented. The photos are simply amazing - gorgeous shots with vibrant colours that'll make any kitchen enthusiast swoon.

"Oh yes, why was I baking again?" I chide myself.

RM19.90 from Popular bookstore

Anyway, I was flipping through the pages and ..

"Mmm..freeze 1 hour, rise 1 hour." Surely, this will try my patience.

"Divide mixture into p-a-n h-o-l-e-s...?" Baffling. Why would pan have holes? I scratch my head on this one.

"Combine ingredients a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i ..." Okay, no.

"Ahah! Page 81!" I scurried to the kitchen confidently, banging cabinet doors, mixing flour, eggs, sugar and what-have-you. I was done in just about an hour plus. The recipe is brilliantly short and sweet, requiring only the most basic baking ingredients. I'm sorry I can't post it here...at least, not without permission.

Check out my masterpiece. Tadaaa!

Fresh out of the oven

The first bite didn't excite me much. I was a little disappointed with myself for choosing something that looked "so bland" by my definition. I am after all a chocolate chip, marshmallow kinda girl.

The next day though, I was hooked. Now, I think it's simply scrumptious. Perhaps it's all in the mind. I'll never be a great food critic..ever! *chomp, chomp, chomp* 

It grows on you

Hah..I even made heart-shaped ones!

Jan 16, 2013

0 We Elected, They Neglected

Nothing but a storm in the teacup
"Election’s coming", they say
Months pass..what's up?!
What childish game to play

Where are the brave men running our country?
They’ve melted to corrupt ways
All fattened by our tax money!
Satan’s winning a lot these days..

Dirty tactics,
What do these achieve?
Plumped up positive statistics?
For what earns nothing but disbelief!

Are you, our elected, blind?
With selfish intentions to stay in power
Spending days arguing that "everything’s fine"
You could have provided relief for the poor
But no, only your pockets matter..

~ Sharon Das @ 15January 2013

Jan 15, 2013

0 Eat Out: Thai Garden Village, Kepong

It was a makan (eat) weekend for me, spent catching up with different group of friends and family. I also ended up sleeping at 4am for two nights in a row. What can I say? Vibrant chit-chat made me lose track of time...I gained insight and eye bags.

One Hot Chick
We were at the Thai Garden Village restaurant on Sunday to try out an exciting dish called the Fire Phoenix Chicken. This was a chicken on fire, literally.

I love coming to this restaurant for the cosy ambiance and warm smiles. The waiters are a friendly and attentive lot.

No sooner had we sat down, the menu was placed in front of us. They waited patiently while we hello-ed and how-are-you-ed. I could even feel their friendliness when we asked if they could help snap a photo of us. It was all very down to earth.

We placed our order finally - a mix of vegetables, seafood and of course, the special chicken. There was a choice of two flavours for the chicken, between honey or black pepper. We opted for the latter.

This is how the chicken is served - cooked and covered in gravy.

Fire Phoenix

Then, the waiter uses a flame stick to light it up. I captured a short video.

The chicken is ready to be eaten after the fire dies out. This takes about a minute or so but I can't be really sure because I was distracted with photo-taking!

Mmm..mmm..! The chicken was so so yummy. The gravy has been infused into a burst of roasted flavour. I personally enjoyed every bite.

The other dish that stole my attention was the Tom Yum Seafood Soup - a bold and spicy take on a household favourite. The Chef was generous with the ingredients too.

Tom Yum Seafood

It was a night of over-indulgence - good food, good company and obviously outdid ourselves. We waddled to the car in tighter pants. Oooh!

An overview of our feast and the restaurant:

Mamma mia..
Cosy - the place was packed by 7.30PM

Jan 12, 2013

2 Present Day

A significant day, is it not? ....Present day.

I'm talking about Birthdays. Mine just came and went. Only twelve days into the New Year and I've already wished four other family members, theirs. Capricorns, the lot of us - Mom, aunts and cousin!

Because there's so many of us, it's usually celebrated with some fanfare. I remember the time my mom and aunts all dressed up in Mickey Mouse t-shirts for the Birthday-do. I had to go in something else because I loaned mine to mom. That was us then, always enthusiastic about doing something for our special day.

With Birthdays, come presents. Some big, some small, some plain good ol wishes. Whatever cometh, it made our day.

Mom and dad sent me a basket of beautiful red roses this year. These were arranged by Pure Seed Florist. They're well known for their expertise in fresh flower arrangements. I am absolutely enchanted with how vibrant it looks. Oh, how it lifts my spirit.

I am also enamoured with this elephant mobile holder from my other half. Elephant, for obvious reasons..he is a fan of my blog. See the message on the card? It says "Gambatte", meaning "Do your best" or something to that extent.

What's a Birthday without the cake. It's an unbroken tradition despite pleas of "No needlah". Here's mine without the flaming sticks of wax. There was a time when all the candles could fit onto my cake..mmm!

Birthdays are special. I can never get enough of the fuzzy feel-good vibe that follow the many warm wishes I receive on this day. It renews my spirit!

Jan 10, 2013

2 Sabah - Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House)

The family back home was abuzz with news of the latest attraction in Sabah, which was the upside down house. My eyes rolled at the fact that it was just a man-made structure that's not even an original idea.  Little did I know that I would be making a stop here on our journey to Kampung Luanti for the fish massage! It was along the way and seemed a waste not to satisfy our curiosity.

Rumah Terbalik

Rumah Terbalik (meaning Upside Down House) as it has been named, has no significant cultural bearings nor it is a natural phenomenon like the famed Rafflesia.

I would have put its existence down to an inauthentic tourist attraction had I not known that it was built with an important message that is a stand against the exploit of natural resources. According to legend..I mean, mom..it was constructed as a grim reminder that our world could turn upside down with the continuation of such abuses.

The tickets are a bit pricey but I consoled myself that, "It's for a good cause". Really!

We were only allowed to take photos at designated areas outside the house. The interior was off limits. A guide led us through with a brief explanation. Inside, the ceiling was the floor and vice versa. The rooms had beds, there was an equipped kitchen and a proper living hall. It was a normal fully furnished home except that everything was locked in an upside down position.

The tour was a short one. We were soon ushered out via the other door and into the souvenir shop, giving way to the next batch of tourists to enter.

I would sum up the whole experience as, "Mmm..interesting". 

RM10 per ticket (Mykad Holders)
Waiting our turn at the entrance
A house without a car wouldn't be complete

Jan 7, 2013

0 A Chinese take for the New Year dinner

I love to cook...probably not the most enlightening statement of the year.

Here's what I whipped up a few days ago for some close family friends. I made chick-kut-teh (herbal chicken soup) and three different kind of braised mixed vegetables! I could have stopped at two but no, once my feet is planted in the kitchen, it is gala time with the pots and pans.

I am oft-bemused by my culinary drama. My nose is usually the culprit of these over-indulgences. It is easily smitten by the whiff of aromatic herbs and spice and makes my stomach signal upwards, '"Surrrely one dish be too little for a feast on ssuch a special..l occasion." I could have sworn I heard that in the voice of a dirty pirate. Arrr..!

... Always end up cooking more.

Behold, the feast.

Top (from Left): Chick-Kut-Teh, Wood Ears and Dried Beancurd with Glass Noodles
Bottom (from Left): Cabbages, Chilli, Capsicum and Cuttlefish (4Cs), Lettuce in Oyster Sauce

Jan 6, 2013

0 Thank God men cannot fly..

Jan 4, 2013

2 Sabah - Fish Spa at 'Tagal' Sungai Moroli, Kampung Luanti

It's always nice returning to Sabah for a holiday. Although I was born and bred in a little island nearby, there is still so much I haven't seen of the mainland.

The fish spa at Kampung Luanti remains one of my favourite experiences. It is a long winding three-hour drive out of Kota Kinabalu city, but the ride was kept pleasant by the several stops we made to do some souvenir shopping, take in the majestic view of Mount Kinabalu and explore the odd structure of "Rumah Terbalik" (Upside down house).

The entrance fee is RM5 for 15minutes in the river. There's an additional RM3 charge if you bring a camera in. You'll find that they aren't very strict about it. We were not charged for our camera, not did they restrict our time. I guess it's because it wasn't peak season.

Fish food costs RM0.20 per packet. Buy it because feeding is a fun activity.

The fish spa in Kampung Luanti is nothing like the ones we find in malls. The fishes are larger sized, active and very effectively remove dead skin cells by sucking it off. By golly, my submerged feet were squeaky clean! I am not proud of it. I do wash my feet everyday!

The beautiful thing about it is that I got to experience all this in the natural cool waters of "Tagal" Sungai Moroli river. Tagal, meaning "No fishing" in the local dialect. There were no confining man-made pool or four walls to restrain my visual senses. The scenery is breathtaking 

Large school of fishes swarming towards me initially seemed intimidating but I was quick to get comfortable with the feeling once realisation sank in that it doesn't hurt. I felt the sharp mouths grazing my skin but that's just about it.

If this isn't your cup of tea, stay near the edge of the river where the smaller fishes are. You can choose to enjoy your time by tossing in some fish food. Watch the fish go crazy for it.

The pebbled bottom of the river can be a little harsh on the feet. There are plastic chairs provided. You can bring these chairs with you to the river. Just sit, with feet in the water, while the fishes enjoy their fruit..ahem (one man's meat...).

Daredevils can go for a full body dip.

Me? I'm satisfied with with the attention. Never have I had so many fans fighting for a piece of me...fish they may be.

Here are some photos I took:

A testimony of their dedication to keeping the river clean

Tourists getting the low down from the Guide
This tourist is on her own
Smaller fishes
In a frenzy as they sense food in the hand. Watch the video below. It's amazing.

Bridge over serene water
More of the bridge

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