Apr 27, 2013

8 Sunrise : Why I love mornings in Penang

That's because I wake up to the view of a sunrise.

Back home, it's always the sunset but in Penang island, it's always the sunrise. My room faces the East. 7am's the perfect time to catch it.

I'd be up and poised for the capture. I feel like a cougar ready to pounce on something. Hubby would be ZzZZzz-ing beside - "Honey, I'm not waking up for anything unless it's Iron Man."

I'd like to think that he doesn't know what he's missing, but he's probably thinking I'm missing a lot of sleep, one hour per morning.

These photos were taken on 1st April 2013. The ascent at 7.26am...

7.26am - Dark, cool, misty air

OhHhhh.. :O

The sun illuminates a ship. I wish I was on it! I would imitate Mr. Bean - lay sprawled on the floor with the light of heaven shining down on me. 


Just zooming in a little..

Zooming out..7.37am

Zooming in again..stop zooming. I know.


Almost 8am! Time to wash up and prepare for the long drive home.

8.53am on the Penang bridge - Goodbye Penang!

Apr 22, 2013

4 The Dolce Gusto Experience - Chococino

Slurp your coffee, sip your tea.

I never imagined owning a Dolce Gusto machine but here it was, courtesy of my lovely cousin.

Cool nights have never been the same since ..slurp. I love sitting outside the balcony with a hot cup of chococino in hand.. slurrPpp. Just me, the stars, the moon ..slurpPpPPp.

Forgive me for my overexcitement..and for losing myself in my own world.

I'm very much a fool for simple pleasures. There's nothing I like more than chillin' out in comfy shorts and old tees in the small zone of my cosy apartment. I'm that typical person with messy hair tied into a bun, looking nothing like the polished person she is on her Facebook photo.

Chococino's the "in" drink in my home right now.

I'm not a huge fan of coffee but with cocoa put together, it's like a match made in heaven. I know I'm exaggerating it a whole lot but that sums up my feelings about the Dolce Gusto chococino. No, this isn't an advertorial but it'd sure be nice if I was paid to be an ambassador for something I love.

Each box of 8-pack chococino costs RM28. That comes out to RM3.50 per cup. I guess whether it's worth it would really depend on how much you love drinking it.

I wasn't attracted to put the dollar down on the other flavours. Chocolate does that. It has such magnetism that I cannot pull away. Hah!

Anyway, although I love my machine and chococino to bits, there is one thing I really wish for - a fancy Dolce Gusto cup with measurements engraved inside so I can tell whether I'm filling it up in the right proportions.

Here are some photos to show you how easy it is to work this machine. The basics - fill it with water, place the capsules into the holder and flip the water dispensing handle on...marshmallows not included.

As easy as ABC!

Dolce Gusto Piccolo (RM400+) - makes three cups!

A registration gift upon signing up as member online - the Bubble Pod Holder

The chococino slurp is just about to happen

Apr 11, 2013

4 Environmental Disaster? Us?

The flower coughs, choked with dust
The tractor ploughs, go on it must
Down with the trees, rid the inhabitants
We aim to seize all Mother Nature's merchants

Another construction for Man's enhancement
Another contraption to ease Man's burden
Another mansion to fill worldly treasure
Another destruction for personal pleasure

Greenery toil to keep Earth a peaceful place
Little beings die from lack of breathing space
We broke the circle of life, the unity
Our future will be punished to live with artificial reality..

 © Sharon Das

Note: This was written many years ago for a poetry site.

When we think of environmental disasters, many of us don't see that we are part of the cause. It is easier to point the finger at huge manufacturing corporations in an attempt to cover the fact that we don't seriously care. We loathe to admit that we were the ones who put the dollar down to cut a tree for a piece of paper, to tear the Earth for oil and gas, to produce plastic so we can have new gadgets to play with..

Apr 5, 2013

0 Tomb Sweeping Festival 2013

The Tomb Sweeping Festival falls on April 4th this year. Grave cleaning is usually carried out within the ten days before or after the actual date. We paid our respects last Sunday.

I'm usually up by 4.30am on this day...well, someone has to be first to the bathroom! ...Ok, I've an obsession about taking my "sweet, sweet time". Can I say that I'm competitive? Rushing isn't in my vocabulary, but it was in my younger days when I had lesser appreciation for the small things in life. Anyway, I had to be first because I enjoy a good shower.

We reached the cemetery before the sun rose. Our years of experience showed - a great parking spot side-by-side with other members of the family, torch-lights, good shoes, old tees and that confident stride to the ancestors' burial lots.

There was already a good crowd at the site. We walked through black muddy paths and lumps of dead brown grass, a result of mass burning done weeks before in anticipation of the festival.

We began sweeping the tomb as soon as we unpacked several prayer paraphernalia. The moon was clearly visible against the dim skies. It would have felt eerie if not for the hive of activity going on in several corners of the graveyard.

The moon
An overview - see the smoke rising from the burning of joss paper

After cleaning the area, we served food and drinks to our long gone ancestors. It was a sight to behold. We always did our best to spiff the place up. You'll understand what I mean when you see the photos below.

Food is placed on the altar

In the old days, we would carry along a grass cutter and a hoe to clear thick weeds and grass which would have amassed over the grave throughout months of neglect. Then, bags of brown soil is poured over until a nice small mound is made.

Some graves are grown with a patch of grass, some are covered with sand

Today, that small mound is now planted with a bed of soft grass. An annual fee is paid to the cemetery caretaker to maintain the lot. We no longer come like armed gardeners. You could say we have moved into modern times.

The patch of green grass is laid with joss paper, kept in place by colourful flags. Burning joss sticks are also stuck on top.

Joss paper and flags

We are quite generous

When that is done, each family member would then kneel before the ancestral grave with burning joss sticks in hand, to pay their respects.

Finally, joss paper items such as money, clothes, a car and shoes are burned. It is believed that our ancestors are still in need of these items. I look at burning as a delivery service to the afterlife.  I just hope that when my time comes, someone remembers that I would greatly appreciate something like an oven, a gas stove, cutlery sets and other kitchen items to go along with the basics ..ahem

Items for afterlife

We leave the burial ground for eldest brother's home. Here, we gather for another round of ancestral prayers. Before entering the house, we rinse our hands and face with water in a bowl laden with beautiful flowers. This is to wash away bad luck.

More joss paper is folded during this time and a good spread of food is placed in front of the altar. The same ritual is repeated to pay our respects, from kneeling to the burning of joss paper items.

Once the tasks have been completed, we take a breather to catch up on family 'gossip' and have lunch together before going on our own way.

I often enjoy coming home for this because I love the way culture binds families. It makes our lives all the more colourful with bits of unique practices that do not make sense in the modern educated world. To sum up my feelings - can't wait for next year!!!

Flower water

A bagful of folded joss paper, in the form of ancient money

Food for the ancestors

Burning of more joss paper items

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