Big Bad Wolf 2020 – Malaysia’s Largest Book Sale Goes Online

Since 2009, Malaysian bibliophiles and book hoarders have made their annual pilgrimage to the Big Bad Wolf Sale, which is held every year around Feb/Mac or Nov/Dec and is touted as the largest book sale in the region. The last time I went in 2018, they had over 3 million titles!

Buang balik #2018

Due to the pandemic, many events have had to be cancelled – so the BBW won’t be held physically this year. They are, however, having an online sale, so you can still shop for books from the comforts of your own home. The sale went live at midnight on Nov 4, and will run until Nov 11 (which is shorter than the usual BBW which usually runs for 2 weeks).

Now, although BBW and BookXCess (BBW’s parent company) has been around for some time, they’ve always been more of a brick-and-mortar business – as evidenced by their bookstores, which are all beautifully designed as ‘lifestyle hubs’ where you can sip on a coffee, work, study, etc. There is of course nothing wrong with this; I personally prefer physical bookstores and the joy of finding an awesome book hidden in a corner shelf , getting to inhale the smell of paper, touch the sleek edges of the page. Hmm.

The BookXCess store at Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya is the largest bookstore in Malaysia, and it operated 24 hours a day (pre-pandemic)

But we are living in uncertain times, and many businesses have had to accelerate their digital processes and shift to a more online-centric model to cater to shifting consumer needs/demands. BBW’s first online sale will be a test as to how well it’ll be able to cope. So far, there seem to be a lot of teething problems.

Since going live at midnight, many users have complained that the website is inaccessible – probably due to the sheer amount of web traffic which is overloading their servers. When they do get in, some have problems creating an account, while others can’t browse because titles are not showing up on the pages. Still others have said their cart turns up empty after they’ve selected the items they want to purchase, and some users haven’t been able to checkout at all.

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I’m part of a local book group on FB, and these are just some of the frustrated comments:

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Curious, I went to the website myself at around 11AM today. It loaded fine at first…


But upon trying to register for an account:

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Tried again at 12.40PM and managed to get a form to fill up, but after filling it up and pressing ‘create account’, it cleared my data and requested for me to fill up my details again.

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BBW has at least acknowledged they’re having problems on their page.

Now I’m not trying to be mean here or say that they’re doing a shit job – I’m sure their IT department is working round-the-clock to resolve these issues, and despite how some people have commented that “Oh you should have been prepared knowing that there will be many people surfing your website”, I know Murphy’s Law applies – you can prepare for every possibility in the world, but things that will go wrong will go wrong.

But I also understand the frustration on the consumer’s side – one comment said it took them an hour to register an account, an hour to browse and select their books, and another hour to checkout because they had to keep refreshing the page – a total of four hours. In a digital-savvy world of instant gratification and convenient online shopping, four hours just doesn’t cut it.

That being said, there are also customers like these – which is when you know you’ve done something right with your brand:

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If you do manage to get in, BBW 2020 does have great discounts, up to 90% off on 40,000 titles and with over two million books on sale. They also provide free shipping on orders above RM180. If you’re buying above RM300, you’re entitled to a further 10% discount with the code BBW10% off.

Anyway, I hope they manage to sort things out soon because I do think that they are doing a good thing – which is bringing books to customers. There are also many pros to going online, namely avoiding the crowd of shoppers and the massive traffic jams that are a signature of BBW sales every year.

PS: I initially wanted to browse some of the titles, but perhaps this is for the best seeing as I have a TBR pile from AS FAR BACK AS 2013 LMFAO I HATE MYSELF WHY AM I LIKE THIS LOL.

These were from 2018. I have only managed to finish the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time wtf. Kill me.

Have you ordered books from the Big Bad Wolf Sale 2020? How was your experience?

Royal Floria Putrajaya 2019 @ Taman Botani Putrajaya

The Royal Floria Putrajaya – Malaysia’s premiere flower and garden show – has been held annually for over 10 years now. First conceived in 2008, the idea was to have the nation’s very own version of famous horticulture shows such as the RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.


Last year’s Floria was a pretty well organised affair, so I was surprised (and quite disappointed) by the quality of 2019’s event, which has significantly dropped. I think the organisers know this too, as the entry price is much cheaper (RM5 for Malaysians, RM10 for nons). They’ve also moved the venue from Anjung Floria (near the lakeside), to Taman Botani Putrajaya. It’s not convenient for a couple of reasons:

  • Lack of parking spaces. You’ll have to park at the edge of the Putrajaya roundabout, and it can be a really long walk to the entrance. Not to be mention dangerous when crossing the road.
  • The garden is MASSIVE (like 3 acres). Not friendly for old folks and children. They do have intermittent buggy services, but it takes a long time to walk from exhibit to exhibit, and they’re all scattered across the park with no proper directions.


We went at night because it was cooler. While you’re here, check out the cool-looking Astana Morocco, or the Moroccan Pavilion, which was built with the assistance of the Moroccan government and artisans. The Moorish architecture, reminiscent of places like Cordoba and Granada in Spain, features walls, pillars and archways covered in exquisite detailing. Geometric motifs abound on tiled floors, and water flows from beautiful basins. It’s no wonder the place is popular for wedding photoshoots.





To be frank, the exhibits were not as impressive as the previous edition, and they were so scattered across the park that we had a hard time walking around (pretty sure we missed out on a few due to poor directions and just the general layout of the place, with its undulating hills. Good workout though!)

Another point that they could improve on is lighting. I understand it’s hard to light up an entire park that is meant to be visited in the day, but there were exhibits sitting in the middle of nowhere and paths that were poorly lit. Almost fell flat on my face a couple of times after tripping over branches/holes in the ground and whatnot.

That isn’t to say that there weren’t a few interesting displays, however. Here are some highlights:


This avenue of trees by the lakeside, draped over with colourful fairy lights.



By far the most impressive showcase was by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. Beautifully landscaped with various plants and flowers,  great use of lighting, and they even had actors playing fairies to take photos with visitors.


Kudos to Mr Fairy. I was sweating in a T-shirt and shorts, and he had make up on + what looked like a heavy costume and headdress.


A display representing the state of Terengganu, including a replica of the famous Batu Bersurat, a 700-year-old granite slab inscribed with verses in Jawi (Classical Malay script) surrounded by water ways and flowers.


I dub this the Onion Disco, because they’re shaped like onions and they had disco lights inside.


Antiques and vintage paraphernalia inside a replica of a traditional Johor-style kampung (village) home on stilts.


A Japanese garden, complete with a bamboo water feature and a small flowing stream.


Another interesting exhibit – the Johor Chateau featuring wires strung together to form archways and a building.

Royal Floria Putrajaya will be running until September 8, so there’s still time to catch it this weekend at Taman Botani Putrajaya, Precinct 1, Putrajaya. It is open from 10AM – 10PM.


Catch Leonardo Da Vinci’s Work in Malaysia at The Opera Omnia Exhibition, Balai Seni Visual Negara

If you’ve always wanted to see the Mona Lisa up close – but because you’re a poor millennial like me and can’t just pop on to the Lourve whenever – here’s some good news.


The Italian Ministry of Foreign Embassy has brought Leonardo da Vinci to Malaysians at the National Art Gallery, where you can see true-to-size, digital reproductions on display until 15 August 2019. The “Leonardo Opera Omnia” exhibition features 17 of Leonardo’s art works painted in the 1ate 15th to early 16th centuries, as well as a special exhibition based on one of notebooks, Codex on the Flight of Birds. For those who have never been exposed to European art, this is an excellent chance to get acquainted and also be wowed at the sheer technique and beauty of the renowned genius’ masterpieces.


The digital reproductions are displayed in high definition in low light, which ‘evokes the feeling of viewing the actual artwork’, according to the pamphlet. You can definitely see the tiny cracks and creases from the original, which was painted with oil on poplar panel. While I’m sure it can’t compare to seeing it at the Lourve, I felt like viewing the Mona Lisa here was a great experience. The crowds are less, for one, and you can get really close to the ‘painting’. I can see why it is one of art’s most popular pieces. There’s just something about her slight smile and Leonardo’s excellent use of form and atmosphere that creates an ethereal, mysterious quality to it.

Fun fact: The subject of the Mona Lisa is Lisa del Giocondo, an Italian noblewoman, and despite being one of the most well known faces in art, little is known about her personal life.  


Some of Leonardo’s other popular artworks on display include (from top left) Lady with an Ermine (1490), Portrait of a Musician (1490), La Belle Ferronniere (1490) and Head of A Woman (1508).


The Annunciation was one of Leonardo’s earliest completed works, and you can see how the technique was rather ‘raw’ in comparison to his later artworks – proving that while one may be born a genius, it still took years of honing his craft to reach his full potential.


I was excited to view the Madonna of the Rocks, because I was fascinated by the way Dan Brown used the symbolism in the painting as an important element in the Da Vinci Code novel. The painting depicts Mary and a child Jesus, with an infant John the Baptist and the angel Uriel.  There are actually two versions of the painting; they’re identical in terms of composition but differ with a few significant details, namely the hand of the angel (which is pointing towards Jesus in one) as well as the gaze (one is looking down and the other at the ‘viewer’). You can find both on display at the Opera Omnia!


Leonardo was fascinated by the idea of flight, and the exhibition includes a section called Codex on the Flight of Birds, based on a notebook he owned which detailed his observations on the flight of birds, and how it could relate to creating a machine where man could fly. Written in his famous reverse script, the pages are filled with wondrous diagrams, sketches and notes. I can see why the man was both admired and feared in his time – he was truly a visionary, of the kind that the world might not ever see again.


Aside from his usual notes, Leonardo often peppered the pages with quotes on the side.

The Opera Omnia exhibition is running at the National Art Gallery from now until August 15. 

While you’re here, there are plenty of other exhibitions to check out! The Open + Lab BMS (Bakat Muda Sezaman) / Young Contemporaries 2019 is an annual event by the National Art Gallery, dedicated to showcasing the work of young Malaysian artists. Many of these touch on current issues with powerful messages behind them – which is what I think art should be all about. Here are some of my favourites:


Awal – Akhir, 2019. by Muhammad Effi Syafiq Jusoh. Wood, paper, acrylic, bitumen and smoke machine. The piece is supposed to symbolise ‘life’ as the – between beginning (Awal) and end (Akhir), as illustrated through a crowded building with various houses and quarters within.




Colour Rhythm, 2019. by Choo Yan Xin. Cloth, wire and plastic airliner, various size. 


The Witnesses, 2019 by Shahar a/l Koyok @ Shaq Koyok. Acrylic & charcoal oil on pandanous mat, nipah leaves woven, tree stumps, wood, soil, clay, rattan, dried leaves and nylon string. 

An indigenous artist, the piece was inspired by the plight of Shaq’s people, the Temuan, who are facing extinction of their natural habitat due to deforestation and illegal logging. This is, sadly, nothing new in Malaysia – and many other countries for that matter – where indigenous rights are often eroded and destroyed over time. The ancestral lands in which they have lived off for centuries are in ever imminent danger of being taken away in the name of progress and greed – and the piece is meant to spark debate and awareness among the public of their plight.


Table Talk, 2018. Tan Yi Ching. Kopitiam cup, speaker and mp3. 

At first glance, a simple installation featuring cups fitted with speakers playing random snippets of conversation within each unit. The concept behind it is interesting though, and is meant to represent the importance of communication. The use of kopitiam cups – something integral to many Malaysians’ lives – makes it all the more relatable.


Merbahaya, 2019. by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum & Khairul Izzuddin Mohd Hiffni touches on another hot topic in Malaysian society: PPR flats, and urban poverty. PPR flats are essentially low cost housing projects, where thousands of people are often forced to live together in squalid conditions. They’re essentially giant, multi-storey slums in the city – the difference is unlike sprawling squatter homes, they are now confined to a flat. Drugs are a common problem, as are social issues. Children are not monitored as parents try to eke a living, and deaths have occurred due to railing rotting away and breaking off, or even several cases where garbage was thrown from the upper floors, striking someone below. While there are no easy solutions to such problems, pieces like this create awareness and get the conversation going, and hopefully, results in action. It is often too easy to forget or ignore things we aren’t willing to face.



The Bomoh in 4th Industrial Revolution, 2019 by Aiman Husin & Hawari Berahim is a thought-provoking, tongue-in-cheek series, portrayed as a parody of today’s society and how we interact in cyberspace. A ‘bomoh’ in traditional Malay society is essentially a witch doctor and a problem solver of sorts, who communities approached for help. The idea behind it is that many today are acting as ‘bomoh’s on social media, “casting spells and curses with little regard for truth and fairness”. This is especially true of Malaysian society. I think many Malaysian social media users are gullible yet trigger happy, eager to dispense mob justice on cyberspace, yet unable to distinguish between what is right and wrong. It is dangerous, and we need to reflect on how we can process information and be proactive rather than reactive.


Appropriate. Doesn’t it seem like everyone seems to be an ‘expert’ on social media these days, offering their unwarranted opinions and judging others for it? Lol.

There are plenty of other thought-provoking pieces in the exhibition, and I was very impressed with the quality and effort put into each. These are definitely works that get you talking and thinking, as opposed to being so abstract or “syok sendiri” that viewers can’t relate. There is great potential in the Malaysian art industry.

So there you have it! Instead of heading to the mall this weekend, go check out BSVN! Entrance is free.


No. 2, Jalan Temerloh, Off Jalan Tun Razak,
53200 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 10AM – 6PM (daily)


Rapid KL Bus 402 from KLCC heads towards the National Art Gallery. It does not stop directly in front of the building, so you will have to stop near Hospital KL and walk across the road. Coming back is a bit more complicated. You can either take 402 again to loop back to KLCC, or board 302. Alternatively, Grab services are available within the city.



Hipster Things @ RIUH September 2018

Hey guys! This is a long overdue post, but as the saying goes, better late than never, right? 🙂

When the Boy came to visit KL last month, I brought him to RIUH, a monthly curated platform featuring pop-up stores, food stalls, creative workshops, shows and live performances. Up until recently, it was held at APW Bangsar, but they switched up the venue this time. Working with local developer YTL Land, the historic, abandoned Sentul Depot was transformed into an edgy, creative space:


Located within the grounds of Sentul Park, the depot dates back to 1905, where it was once one of the finest engineering workshops in the world, serving the Federated Malay States Railways and then KTM until the early 2000s. It was then abandoned for years, before being revived by YTL Land. I really like how cavernous the space is – and the fact that they left some of the buildings untouched to give it that raw, edgy feel.


An old building facade that was partially restored.


There’s plenty of space – more than 200,000 square feet of it – and some parts were not open to the public for the festival, but still made for great photos. The depot features numerous brick buildings and metal sheds, which were previously used as railway depots, engineering workshops and storage areas for steam and diesel locomotives and railway cars.


Crowds enjoying live performances



Since the event was in conjunction with Malaysia Day, there were loads of patriotic activities. (Above) an art exhibition depicting the faces of Malaysia made with what Malaysians love best – food.


A landscaped area just next to the main depot building. We ordered beef brisket and cheesy nachos from some of the food stalls. The nachos were pretty darn good.


A minibus. These were very popular up until the late 90s, after which they were replaced by newer, larger buses. They weren’t air conditioned and drivers drove with long shift sticks that looked like it was a hassle to get into gear.


Stalls selling all kinds of everything, from local titles from indie publishers, clothing from local designers, arts and crafts, handmade candles and soaps, bags, and more.


Intriguing light fixtures


Traditional wooden house replica.


Fun Malaysian phrases on T-shirts.

Foreign friends, let’s test your knowledge of “Manglish” and see if you can decode this:

“Aiseyman, so expensive! Can cheaper ah bos? I really pokai leh” 😀 

An awesome video by the Riuh team.

The next RIUH, running from 17-18 November, will be held at a different location, namely 2 Hang Kasturi, which is where local urban regeneration organisation and think tank, ThinkCity, is headquartered. Would love to go but have to see if there’s time. One thing about RIUH is that there’s always so many people going that it’s notoriously difficult to find parking space anywhere – which is probably why they encourage people to take Grab.









Crispy Friday by Swallow @The Saw Emporium X Penang International Food Festival 2018

Love all things crispy? A trip to Swallow @ The Saw Emporium is in order, as the pop-up dining joint brings together the crunchiest goodies from Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore – for one night only – at the annual Penang International Food Festival 2018.

Crispy Friday, happening on 20 April from 5 – 11PM, will feature local street food vendors, a food eating contest and local music bands. Meanwhile, kitchen takeovers, guest shifts and a beer party continue throughout the weekend.

Wolf Burger

Kicking things off at 5.30PM is the Crispy Fryday Food Eating Competition, comprising two rounds where participants consume either gourmet burgers by WOLF Burgers or a Mega Japanese Curry Rice by Teppei Syokudo in the fastest time possible. Up to 5 two-person teams can compete to win up to RM250 cash prizes. The contest is open to all nationalities, genders and ages where pre-registration is strictly required.

Local street vendors will pop up in dedicated food stands including Hock Seng Rojak King @ Lebuh Macallum with its signature sticky rojak sauce, fried banana fritters by Ah Boy Pisang Goreng @ Penang Road, as well as Keropok Lekor, Murukku and Belachan Chicken.

Crispy Fryday Flatlay

Look out for Crispy Fryday special menus from Swallow dining partners, featuring Assorted Tempura, Pork Tonkatsu, Seafood Kakiage, Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crab With Pork Floss and Assorted Kushikatsu Sticks by Teppei Syokudo, Sesame Street Deep-Fried Chicken Cartilage by WhatSaeb แซ่บ Boat Noodles, Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls by Pho Viet.

Crispy Fryday Jumbo Chicken and Pork Skewers on Grill

Throughout the night, enjoy live music with acts such as a 4-piece rock band helmed by guitarist Kelvyn Yeang, as well as three-piece acoustic band Wedding in Charlie.

Swallow mainstay partners such as TAPS Beer Bar, Qwenchers Juice Bar and Norm Café continue to operate as usual from 11am to 12am.

Copy of Premium Burger 8

Patrons can look forward to extended Weekend Kitchen Takeovers from 20 to 22 April, so if you missed out on the action on Friday night, fret not. Gourmet burger specialists from Pasarbella Suntec City in Singapore, WOLF Burgers will take over the kitchen at Embers BBQ Grill to showcase their burgers and fries including the signature Classic Wolf Burger, Honey Mustard Fried Chicken Burger and Pulled Pork with Chipotle Sauce & Corn Salsa, plus fan-favourite Kimchi Cheese Fries and Crispy Fries.

Kimchi Fries

Crispy Fryday Mega Japanese Rice Platter

MICHELIN Guide Singapore Bib Gourmand Owner-Chef Teppei Yamashita at Teppei Syokudo will launch a new menu following the kitchen takeover as he curates new dishes daily alongside signature Ten Don, Salmon Belly Don and Tonteki Fried Rice.


Kuala Lumpur’s sole entry on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017 and #10 the year before, speakeasy Omakase + Appreciate will take over the DaVinci Gourmet Cocktail Bar as three-time Diageo World Class Malaysia Champion, mixologist and co-owner, Shawn Chong guest shifts to showcase specialty and personalized cocktails true to the “I leave it to you” Japanese essence of omakase.

KL Bar Awards Best Beer Bar Winner, TAPS Beer Bar will hold the TAPS Beer Party, a sequel to the TAPS Takeover in January which invites beer drinkers on craft beer tasting flights from more than 50 international craft beer bottles and on tap, including ciders from global breweries including small batch brewers.

PIFF 2018 Crispy Fryday
20 April 2018, 5 – 11pm

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium
1 Gat Lebuh Macallum, George Town 10300, Penang Follow the Crispy Fryday event updates at


Feel the Fear @ Nights of Fright 5, Sunway Lagoon – Malaysia’s Largest Festival of Fear

It’s night.

You’re in a theme park after hours.

A mist swirls around your feet, curling and uncurling like fingers. An eerie laugh cuts through the night air, sending chills down your spine. You round the corner and you meet..

A whole lot of nope.

As Jigsaw peddles towards you, you take a few steps back, turn, and run the other way, towards the exit. But as you approach the gates, you meet a figure. He closes in and… !

You let out a scream… but realise you’re not in a horror movie after all and you’re not doomed to some gory, impending death.

After all, it’s only Nights of Fright 5, Malaysia’s largest festival of fear – returning this Halloween to Sunway Lagoon to scare the living daylights out of patrons. 😀

Held throughout the month of October, the theme park comes to life (lol) after dark with various denizens of death: ghoulies and ghosties from both East and West. The gates of horror opened last weekend, and will remain open until the 31st. And they’ve got some pretty scary things in store for the brave (?) soul who dares to venture in.

Occult fans will know of Mexico’s infamous Isla de la Munecas, or Island of the Dolls – said to be haunted by restless spirits who make the hundreds, if not thousands, of dolls on the swampy island their home. Described as one of the ‘creepiest places on earth’, the bizarre collection began when the island’s owner, Don Julian, began collecting dolls to appease a little girl’s spirit who apparently drowned in the area. He was found drowned himself, 50 years later, in the very spot where the body was supposed to be found.

Well, you don’t have to travel all the way to Mexico to experience it, because Sunway Lagoon is bringing the island right to our doorstep, along with its residents.

If dolls aren’t your thing, then maybe a nice quiet seance and Ouija board game with the folks over at the abandoned attic of Mr E J Bond Esquire’s home.

Walk the tightrope between life and death at Day of the Dead in 3D, as you make your way through the darkness, illuminated by the occasional eerie glow from masked souls. Be careful though – you never know when they might want some company in the realm of the dead.

Fast forward to the year 2147, to a world of Dystopia: overrun with squalor, human misery, oppression, disease and overcrowding. The hospital plays host to crazy doctors performing grisly human experiments, while monstrosities and ghosts of the past haunt its hallways.

They even got Silent Hill to loan them some nurses.

Lol kidding.

If you’re up to some badassery, explore the iconic Ghostbusters Firehouse HQ and kick some ghost ass. Not literally of course. Touch not the ‘ghosts’ and they won’t touch you. Other infamous ghost locations include the Aldridge Mansion and Seward Street Subway, recreated to a tee.

Some local flavour is in order, and they have the Pontianak vs Pocong, a bloody affair of a lover returning as a Pontianak (vampire) and an unfaithful husband as a Pocong (a Malay version of a zombie) – seeking what is rightfully theirs in a classic battle of evil vs evil (this was the movie they should have made instead of Sadako vs Kayako!)

Fangirl to your favourite horror movie characters of all time (just don’t ask for an autograph) at Horrorwood Studios, where you’ll meet iconic greats like Freddy from a Nightmare on Elm Street, and Michael Myers from Halloween. They’ll even walk you down the red carpet, complete with large Oscar statues, velvet rope barriers and lights over at the Horrorwood Boulevard! 

And of course, it wouldn’t be a screamfest/fear festival without the perennial favourite – zombies. Survive the Zombie Apocalypse maze where the undead are always on the ready to tear you apart and drag you down.

Aside from the above mentioned places, there will be a total of 8 Haunted Houses5 Scare Zones11 Thrill Rides and 4 Show Stages, including attractions such as the Forest of Fear and Judgment Lane (modeled after the demolished Pudu Jail). Join the parade at March of the Undead, where characters walk about in haunting yet beautiful makeup and costumes, decorated with Mexican paper flags and large puppet processions.

Nights of Fright 5, presented by Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, runs from Fridays til Sundays until Oct 31. Doors open at 730PM til late and entrance is strictly for those aged 12 years old and above. Tickets are priced at RM64 per pax.

For more details, visit: NOF5. 

Dare you?

Read last year’s experience here: Nights of Fright 4