A Magical Christmas at Sunway – Atlantis and Trikstars

Christmas in Malaysia is not as big as in countries like the US or the UK, but tmalls will always be decked out in pretty decorations and since it’s almost the new year, there’ll always be a general festive mood in the air.

Sunway Pyramid has transformed itself into an underwater wonderland with the theme Christmas in Atlantis. ‘Swim’ with the fishes (not in a literal sense!), sunken treasure and seahorse-drawn carriages while ogling at the giant Christmas tree which is several-storeys high.

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The watery wonderland at the centercourt has glowing seahorses, and colourful corals with beads of light.

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More family fun awaits at Trikstars: The Masters of Trickery show happening at the nearby Sunway Lagoon Theme Park,  from now until Dec 20. An exclusive magic show that brings together award winning talents from Las Vegas and Europe, be prepared to be dazzled by colourful costumes, sets and amazing trickery and illusions.

I got to attend their gala premiere, and the Amphitheater was packed with excited families and Sunway staff members.

First up is The Wizardy of Phelston Jones, who blends magic with comedy in his routine. Wearing a bird mask, he picked on random members of the audience, making silver coins appear out of thin air from their hair.

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In between each act was Australian singer, Jaime Holland, who gave us some powerhouse vocals with lively dances and intricate, coloruful costumes.

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Next up was Rudy Coby: The Coolest Magician on Earth. Armed with a bag of tricks, Rudy did some fascinating illusions involving a couple of extra legs and an elongating body.

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Sylvester the Jester or the Real Life Cartoon will be a hit with the kids, as he speaks in a high-pitched, cartoonish voice and does all the gags expected of cartoon characters, including ‘accidentally’ ripping off his face with sticky tape, pop out eyes and running a string through both ears til smoke comes out.

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Then it was more dancing and singing!

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One of my favourite acts of the night was Nightmares, all the way from the Netherlands. Combining unique storytelling with strong visuals and magic, the ‘story’ started with a ‘boy’ going to sleep in his bedroom, and waking up to hellish illusions and nightmarish creatures. The performance was very impressive as the actors seemed to appear and disappear out of thin air, the sets and costume were super cool, and the visuals were just pure awesomeness.

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Running away from a headless woman !

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Hungarian duo Sebastian and Kristina did the classic sword box with umbrellas.

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Another crowd favourite was the King Charles Troupe, who zipped and whizzed their way across the stage while playing basketball on unicycles.

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The cast for Trikstars all came out for the finale, where they danced and sang along to music.

Tickets are pricey, at RM194 (Adult – VIP), RM144 (Adult -Normal) and RM164 (Child – VIP), RM114 (Child-Normal). But if this is your first time going to a magic/illusion show, I guess it will be good experience.

The show will be on until Dec 20 at 8pm daily (except Tuesdays).

To book go to : http://www.ticketcharge.com.my/en/current-events/trikstars-masters-of-trickery.

I Got Tatted

Yep.

The quintessential goodie-two-shoes Asian daughter, ie me, got tatted.

It happened about a month ago. It wasn’t a rash decision or a whim, because I’ve been thinking to get one ever since college, and I finally did just shy of my 25th birthday.

Of course, it didn’t go down well with my traditional Chinese parents. People who get tatted, in their books, are either

  • a) Hooligans/Gangsters/Thugs
  • b) Drug dealers/drug addicts
  • c) Stupid

To a lot of young people, getting a tattoo might be something ‘cool’. I certainly thought of it that way when I was younger. But as I grew older, my perceptions changed.  Tatts are going to be a part of you, forever. And to many, it marks something important in life – an event, a memory, a lesson that they want to remember.

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I’ve written about this before, but I’ve always struggled with my ‘duties’ as a Traditional Asian Daughter.

I was raised in a (relatively) conservative household, where daughters are expected to follow and obey. I did just that, from a young age – until one day, I discovered that I was very unhappy with who I was. I had my own ideals, and I wanted to follow them. It was all very confusing : I respect and love my parents a lot, but I couldn’t be who they wanted me to be. I was afraid of disappointing them, but I resented myself for not having the courage to do what I thought would make me happy.

To them, I was an awkward and rebellious child that had to be protected and forced to do things that I might not agree with for my own good. They simply wanted me to conform, to be filial, to be what they had laid out for me.

I understand where they’re coming from. They truly believe that this is the way to keep me safe and happy. But there will come a day when they have to let go of the reins. I have to learn to make my own mistakes, fall down and cry, then get up again. I don’t love them any less, but I have to find my own way in life.

My tattoo is an embodiment of all those feelings. It was symbolic, a way of making a decision I felt was best for me.

Since the very beginning, I’ve always wanted a Lotus flower, because they’re beautiful and bloom even in the harshest, muddiest environments. It was a way of reminding myself that I should always persevere and hold on to hope even in the darkest of times. The Lotus is also Buddha’s vessel, so I felt it was appropriate.  I was raised a Buddhist, and although I’m not very religious, many of his teachings about  life resonates with how I’d like to lead my own life, and I try to follow them as best as I can.

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I got tatted at Michelle’s (ex-colleague) boyfriend’s tattoo parlour. It’s called Exodus and they just shifted in to their new place last month at Damansara Perdana. I had the honour of being the second person to be tatted at the studio on their re-opening day, because Michelle beat me to it. ha

The studio was very cool looking, with pop art paintings done by the artist himself. The walls are glass so virtually anyone can look inside while you’re doing your tatt. There is a shade for privacy but since there weren’t many people walking around and it wasn’t like I was doing a tattoo on my boob anyway…

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The design was simple, so it took less than 30mins.

Did it hurt? 

I’d say my tolerance to pain is high, but yes, it hurt like a bitch. It felt like a cat was constantly scratching on my back in one long motion with it’s claw. We didn’t stop for breaks, since he said it was gonna hurt more that way. Michelle helped by distracting me with small talk lol. I was thankful that it was done and over quickly!

The tattoo bled for a couple of hours so I had to constantly wipe it off with some wet tissue. It didn’t actually hurt after the tattoo was done except for a light, stinging sensation. The real hell came after a week, when the skin started peeling and itching. I couldn’t scratch it lest it disfigured the design so I was just constantly tapping it lightly, willing the itch to go away. It was maddening.

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It has been over a month and every time I turn back to look in the mirror, I feel a swell of pride. I’ve never been happier with how it turned out. I’ve never regretted anything in life. And this will not be one of them.All the experiences I’ve been through, pleasant or unpleasant, have made me who I am today. No matter how my physical appearance changes, those who know me know that I’m still the same person. With or without a tatt.

Happy Mother’s Day @ Taiping Lang, Puchong Jaya

Happy Mothers Day to all mums around the world! It’s not easy being a mum, so it’s not too much to have a special day to honour and celebrate all that she has done for you and the family.

I was working on Mothers Day. We decided to go for an early celebration with a meal at Taiping Lang, a Nyonya restaurant in Bandar Puchong Jaya.

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Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term Nyonya cuisine, it comes from Baba and Nyonya, a community found in Malaysia and Singapore. They are also referred to as ‘Straits Chinese’ or ‘Peranakan’. The Baba and Nyonya were 15th – 17th century Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago and adopted local Nusantara customs along with their traditional rituals, way of dress and food. Their cooking is a unique blend of both Chinese and Malay flavours, making it truly a one-of-a-kind cuisine that you can only find in this part of the world.

We ordered a set meal for three persons and some side dishes. First up was ngo hiang or fried lor bak : a spiced pork and shrimp meat roll wrapped with vegetables in beancurd. The meat was marinated in five-spice powder, giving it a solid, savoury flavour interspersed with bits of carrots and other veggies. The skin was crispy and deep fried to perfection. The version here was done well without being too salty, and came served with a house special chilli dip.

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Next up, Nyonya fried chicken. Unlike conventional fried chicken, this had less skin and was sweet, like it had been glazed with sugar or honey. I’m guessing it was made from village chicken as the size was smaller and the meat was tender and juicy.

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This brings back memories! Jiu hu char is stir-fried jicama with dried cuttlefish, a Nyonya specialty. Although my dad’s side is ethnic Hokkien, my grandma used to make it she learnt it from a Nyonya lady when she was younger. My aunt still prepares it on special occasions, like Chinese New Year.

The jicama had a texture similar to daikon or radish, and the stir frying made it soft as it swam in a broth of its own juices. Apart from dried cuttlefish, the dish also had har mai (dried shrimps) and mushrooms for a chewier bite.

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Sambal fried anchovies. Spicy, with pungent onions and chilli, this was great to go with rice.

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Otak-otak wrapped in banana leaves. Literally translated, it means ‘brain-brain’ in Malay – probably derived from the dish’s soft, gooey appearance. It is actually a steamed seafood cake cooked with herbs. The cake’s texture is soft but occasionally has big chunks of seafood in them. This one here was not too spicy and the herbs lent it a unique flavour.

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Rice and soup to go along with the dishes.

Overall, Taiping Lang did not disappoint. The menu items are quite limited, but the few dishes they serve are all of good quality. The resto is quite famous as you will see cutouts of newspaper reviews and celebrity photos pasted all over the wall.

TAIPING LANG

19-01, Jalan Kenari 18B, Bandar Puchong Jaya,, 47100, Puchong, Selangor, 47100

03-8076 2686

Tuesday – Sunday (Closed on Mondays)

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I was grumpy on Mothers Day itself because I was working from morning til 10pm at night – but the day started off well because I got to buy a bunch of fresh roses at the event I was attending  for only RM1. Look how pretty they are! I got a pink bouquet for my mum coz she has never gotten flowers from anyone, tbh. (my dad isn’t exactly the romantic type lol)

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If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you’ll know that my mum and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. Despite everything, she is still the one I’m closest to in my family, who brought me up to be the person I am today. And I know she will always be there for me, through good times, or bad times.

As a child, my mum was always super protective of me. This didn’t bide well when I stepped into adulthood – I felt suffocated by all the rules and regulations, of the things she imposed on my life ‘in my best interests’. That was often a point of contention between us.  The fights were terrible. I can honestly say that I’ve never fought as much with anyone else in my life. Thankfully, these incidences are becoming less and less.

Over the past year, I’d like to believe that she is starting to understand that I am not always going to be her cutesy five-year-old, whom she can dress up and protect from all the evils in the world. Fledglings grow up and leave the nest : and while I will always be her little girl, I too must leave the nest and go out into the world someday.

I want to be my own person, to explore and fall down and get hurt and learn from experiences. Conversely, as I grow older, I am also starting to understand the fears that a mother feels, and I try to show her that I am able to take care of myself and that she need not worry.

Either way, I’d just like to wish my mum and all the mums in the world a Happy Mothers Day! I know we as kids may hurt you and do stupid things, so thank you for giving us life and putting up with all our antics.

In Another, Better Place

Hey guys. Sorry for the lack of updates – my paternal grandmother passed away last Thursday and I’ve been back in Ipoh for the funeral rites which lasted four days.

Ah Ma was the last of my surviving grandparents. She was diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago, and due to her age (she’s 90), doctors were unable to do surgery or chemo for her. We were all surprised that she lasted this long as it is, and thankfully, she has not complained of pain. She simply stopped eating towards the last days of her life, became weaker and weaker, and finally breathed her last.

Living in KL and rarely going back to Ipoh except on special occasions, I have never been close to any of my grandparents. But I admire the way Ah Ma has managed to bring up 10 children, through hard times. She has survived three children.

As I grow older, my parents are aging too. Death is part of life, but I know now to appreciate the time I have left with my remaining relatives and to cherish every moment.

We conducted two nights of prayers at the crematorium, and sent Ah Ma’s body for the final rites on Saturday. Then we collected her bones and ashes to be stored in the columbarium the next day.

Chinese people have a lot of rituals, some which I find rather… unique (?). Like the fact that only sons can carry the ash urn. But I guess culture and tradition has their own significance.

We brought Ah Ma’s urn to her final resting place at the Wat Siribunya along Tambun Road. My dad used to stay here as a child, when a kind donor allowed them the land within the Siamese temple’s compound. The saying goes that you always come back to your roots and home. Ah Ma’s urn slot lies next to my grandpa’s, two of her sisters, just opposite my great grandfather, and a few slots away from my eldest uncle and aunt.

Anyway, I’ll be super busy this week. I missed four days of work and now I have to play catch up. Til next post.

Reunion Dinner Night

Happy Chinese New Year! Another year has come and gone according to the Chinese lunar calendar – we bid adieu to the Year of the Horse and welcome a brand new Year of the Goat. 🙂

Traditionally, my family and I will travel back to Ipoh to visit my paternal grandmother and aunts on New Year’s Eve, aka Reunion Dinner night (lin sam sap man). It is a time when everyone gathers to have the last meal of the year, with dishes that symbolise togetherness, happiness and harmony.

CNY for my family this year is a very quiet and subdued affair. When I was younger, the house used to be lively with games, mahjong, people talking, eating and laughing. Now my cousins are all either overseas or have not come back for the new year because they are celebrating with their own families. Many of my aunts and uncles have also passed on. I kind of envy those large families who go back to their respective villages and seem to be really close to each other even though they only meet once a year.

It’s quite sad, actually.

Oh well. A new year is for happy things!

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Cooking for the family was my grandma’s domain. She used to make really kick ass chicken curry which my dad and his siblings loved. But since she is 91 and can’t walk anymore, my third aunt has taken on the task. It’s impressive the way she can whip up such mouthwatering dishes! I think she is the only one who inherited my grandma’s skills in the kitchen.

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Before eating, we will first make an offering to the ancestors and gods at the altar. The food will be laid out on a small table along with five pairs of chopsticks (one for each departed family member, which includes my great grandparents, grandpa, my aunt and uncles). We will then offer joss sticks and prayers.

This year we also burnt hell money. According to Chinese beliefs, the living can send the departed gifts of money and small luxuries to make their time down there slightly easier. Which doesn’t make sense, seeing that if you are in hell, you are there to be punished (?).

Unlike Christians where good people (and all dogs!) go to heaven, it is difficult for someone to ascend to Heaven in our belief/culture, unless they become an Arafat(Buddha) and achieve Nirvana (one with God). Even though someone might have been kind in this life, chances are we will still refer to them as being ‘down there’ instead of ‘up above’. We think of Hell as a place for punishment and transition, where you ‘live on’ for a bit and atone until you are reborn again. The only concept I can think of that is similar is Catholic Purgatory.

The only way for one to free themselves from this cycle is to achieve Nirvana – something that may take thousands of lifetimes.

I’m digressing again. More pics!

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We start off the dinner by Lou Sang, or tossing Yee Sang – a uniquely Malaysian/Singaporean Chinese tradition that you won’t even find in China. Yee Sang is basically a vegetable and fruit/snack salad of sorts with colourful and crunchy fried condiments, crackers, assortment of sliced vegetables/fruits such as onion, radish, cucumber, pomelo, apples or mangoes (ingredients may vary). It is usually mixed with jellyfish or salmon, then topped with sweet and sticky fish sauce.

The objective is to ‘lou‘ (toss) it as high as possible to symbolise good achievements. Kids will wish for good results, while adults will often shout out ‘BONUS’ and ‘SALARY INCREMENT!’ 😀

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Just some of the food that we have for reunion dinner. It’s much simpler this year. Since my dad’s family is ethnic Hokkien, most of the dishes are traditional Hokkien dishes. Siew Yuk (roast pork) and bark jaam gai (poached chicken) are must-have meat dishes; there’s also Jiu Hu Char (sliced radish and carrot salad with dried shrimp) and Salted Vegetable Duck soup, aside from some stir-fried vege dishes.

We used to have a lot more, like dried oyster dish with mushrooms, oatmeal prawns, fried chicken… but yeah. Still a great meal!

Some families will have everyone sit together at a long table, but since space is limited in my grandma’s house, we usually eat separately at smaller tables or out in the living room.

No card games or mahjong either, since we were the only ‘young ones’ and all my cousins did not return this year. We spent most of the evening poking on our mobile devices. @_@

On another note, one of my obnoxious cousins DID show up, bringing his pregnant girlfriend in tow and announcing their wedding date.

Now I know I’ve gained quite a lot of weight, and it’s normal for relatives to comment on appearance (part and parcel of being in an Asian family!), but tone is very important and you do not just call someone fat in front of everyone. Which is what said obnoxious cousin did. It is not even the ‘hey, you seemed to have gained some weight’, rather the ‘WOW WTF YOU ARE SO FAT’ kinda comment.

Seeing that he is 100 kilos, I do not see how he is qualified to comment. Also, it is rude to say that to random cousins you only see once a year.

It was very disheartening to have someone call you fat to your face. Back in 2013, I used to weigh 56kg – a normal weight for somebody of my height and size. Then I started work and stress-eating, ballooning up to 76.3kg at my fattest point in September last year: more than 20kilos. I’ve been working really hard since then and I’ve managed to lose eight kgs – an achievement I’m proud of, even if I still have a long way to go. To have someone just call you fat without even understanding the struggle against food choices and temptation is just… pretty shitty, to be honest.

So since he was acting like an obnoxious little prick, I do not see why I should give him any respect.You want respect, you earn it. If I were to judge you as you have judged me… don’t even start. But I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I just smiled and retorted with a sarcastic reply of ‘living the good life!’.

I can lose the weight, dear, but you’ll always be an asshole. 

Anywayyyy. That was too ranty for a nice, feel-good post. I shall not start off the year with negativity.

On another happy note, I am now 67.5kg on my latest weigh-in. I hope to be able to hit 65kg by the end of March, so wish me luck! Positive thoughts.

Til next post!

2014 in Pictures

Hi guys! How was your New Year’s? Mine was a quiet affair at home. I was working during the day and got back late, so I really didn’t have any energy to go partying afterwards.

Since I did a ‘review’ of sorts for 2013, I thought I’d do one for 2014 as well. Personally, it has been a very eventful year and I got to go to a lot of places – of which I am very grateful for. Here’s to another awesome year ahead!

JANUARY

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  • Went white-water rafting for the first time.
  • Ferried to the jungle campsite in lorries in the middle of the night like cattle.
  • Scary, exhilirating and exciting all at once.
  • Fell into the river two minutes into the ride.
  • Dangerous, but fun – like a two hour long ride where you can’t get off and might lose your legs and a life in the process. yeah.

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  • Went to Bali with the fam.
  • Dug toes into the beautiful beaches of Uluwatu with its turqoise blue waters.
  • Visited the sacred temples of Tirta Empul and touched the holy spring waters for good luck.
  • Drove up to the high, cold peaks of Kintamani and had lunch while looking at the badass crater-lake.
  • Enjoyed exploring the rich culture and history this Hindu island had to offer.

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FEBRUARY

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  • Agonisingly long trip back to parents hometown in Ipoh to visit relatives for Chinese New Year
  • Played tourist and went to Taman Rekreasi Gunung Lang
  • Visited the Ipoh railway station for pix and stuff.

MARCH

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  • Met up with my Saudi Arabian friend Sinan for the first time.
  • Took him sightseeing around Putrajaya. 

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  • Country experiences tragedy with MH370’s disappearance.
  • Helped with coverage, interviewed international journalists on their experience here.

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  • Went to my first F1 race with Simon. Got sunburnt in the process.

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  • Tried North Indian cuisine for the first time.
  • It was pretty awesome.

APRIL 

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  • Saw a real-life Tibetan Mastiff for the first time.
  • Fluffeh as hellz

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  • Traveled to Cameron Highlands for another family trip.
  • Enjoyed the cool air, tea leaf plantations, beautiful butterflies and pretty flowers up in the hills.

MAY 

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  • Went for my first Red Bull Air Race. 

JUNE

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  • Visited the zoo again after more than 10 years. 

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  • Took lots of hipster shots at the annual Floria Putrajaya – the city’s flower and garden festival.

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  • Went on my first press junket to Vietnam – to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 
  • First class treatment with business class flights and five star hotels.
  • Marveled at the beautiful, tranquil river waters of Tam Coc, which is like Halong Bay but less commercial-y.
  • Got to know more of the country’s history at places like Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and the Reunification Palace.
  • Nearly died crossing the roads at Hanoi’s Old Quarters coz their traffic is cray

JULY

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  • Made coffee at DIB – the first cafe in Malaysia which is run by the deaf and mute community.
  • Mourned another tragedy – MH17 was shot down while flying over Ukraine and Russia.

AUGUST

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  • Best month of my life.
  • Boyfriend flew all the way from San Francisco to visit me in Malaysia for two weeks.
  • Words are inadequate to describe how happy I am to have this amazing person in my life, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of it with him
  • Spent most of our time together walking the streets of Penang and KL.
  • Took him to Penang Hill, the beaches of Batu Feringghi, the Clan Jetties and exploring the culture-rich streets of Georgetown.
  • Parents let him stay over in our house. APPROVAL STAMPED.

SEPTEMBER

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  • Got to interview graffiti artists that I respect and admire on their street art project in KL.

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  • Fed goats on a farm in Johor.
  • Won an Ipad Mini at a lucky draw. Achievement unlocked, because I’ve never won anything in lucky draws.

OCTOBER

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  • Grandma’s 88th birthday.

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  • Met up with my Indonesian friend Liv and played tour guide around KL.

NOVEMBER

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  • Joined and completed a marathon for the first time.
  • In Penang again.
  • It was 7km, but still counts, right?

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  • Invited to another press junket at I-City.
  • Went with mum for a free night’s stay at their newly opened hotel.
  • Visited the wax museum, trick art museum and various other attractions.

DECEMBER

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  • Aunt and Uncle’s 35th wedding anniversary.
  • Got my US VISA. Planning to travel to LA to visit the boyfriend (and Jeppeh) in April 2015.

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  • Christmas meet-up with the UK gang.

Can’t say it hasn’t been an awesome year. I’m thankful for everything.

Anyway, I’m turning a quarter of a century this year. That’s more than 30% of my life lived. @-@ Have I done anything worthy of being remembered? I don’t know. Maybe I should do more this year.

How was your 2014?

 

 

35 Years of Love

Marriages are a lifelong commitment – you vow to be with your significant other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, in both good and bad times. To do that for 35 years needs something more than just the initial passion. A strong, lasting relationship needs patience, understanding and tolerance. So I applaud my aunt and uncle (Kao Fu and Kao Mo) for their perseverance and unwavering devotion to each other. Happy 35th anniversary!

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To celebrate this milestone, my cousin organised a banquet at Moon Palace in Bandar Puteri, Puchong with close to 200 guests comprising relatives and friends. Since my mum and dad were ‘VIP guests’, my bro and I were relegated to a random table full of old strangers. It made for awkward conversation and lots of smartphone playing (on our end, of course.)

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I can get the whole ‘festive’ idea of having banquets, because one wants to celebrate and be happy. I guess my aunt and uncle were pretty happy because they were walking from table to table, toasting guests in increasingly loud voices. I was surprised my uncle didn’t just topple over after a bit because he was lugging this huge ass bottle of whiskey around and drinking at every table. It’s also a Chinese thing because we take the phrase ‘the more the merrier’ literally. Loud and over-the-top = good. Quiet? Bad. That’s also why we invented firecrackers and fireworks, see?

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If I’m getting married next time, I just want a quiet affair at home with good food, a couple of friends and close relatives, and cake. Cake is a must. I don’t need abalones or sea cucumbers like those Chinese ten-course dinners, but Cake is a must.

I guess my wedding next time will be a very quiet affair with homemade food, a couple of friends and close relatives, and cake. CAKE IS A MUST. I don’t need abalone or sea cucumber or oat-fried shrimp but CAKE IS A MUST

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Bro and I with Kau foo and Kau Mo. The former looked quite dapper because he doesn’t normally wear coats, while the latter looked nearly 10 years younger – not from the makeup, but a general glow of happiness. I was happy for the both of them.

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Chow time! Like most Chinese dinner banquets, food was served close to an hour after guest arrivals, because we are never on time lol. The dishes come according to course – which means that each dish is served and finished before the next one arrives.

For appetisers, we had a mixed platter of assorted stuff, including cold lobster salad, deep fried spring rolls stuffed with fish paste, salted egg yolk and seaweed; deep fried vegetable balls, octopus and mango salad (not pictured above) + deep fried pork ribs. The ribs were tender, juicy and well-flavoured, while the spring rolls were crunchy and well-cooked. Vege balls were disappointingly mushy, while the salad was okay (they could have put more lobster in it!)

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Second dish was shark’s fin soup. Killing sharks for their fins is considered a cruel practice because many hunters just leave the sharks to sink to the bottom of the ocean to die, but it is highly in demand especially at traditional Chinese banquets. The fins themselves are tasteless, and can be easily substituted by dong fun (a type of transparent vermicilli made from flour). Since this is supposed to be a happy post, I won’t complain about it but I think people (especially the younger generation) should be aware that consumption is a choice. Many people still eat it because it is expensive and regarded as a ‘prestigious’ or ‘prosperous’ dish.

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Suckling pig, which is basically a baby pig that has not reached a month old.😦

Okay this is going to sound really evil, but if done well, suckling pig tastes 10x better than bacon. It has a very crispy skin when roasted, lots of fat and soft, savoury meat just beneath. The textures just melt in your mouth when you eat it. The version here was not done well though – it felt like eating large blobs of fat drenched in oil. The squiggly stuff on the side is cold jellyfish. #itstruethatChinesepeopleeateverything

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Moving on to normal-er things, here is a large, steamed garoupa in soy sauce.

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And sweet and sour shrimp. I prefer my shrimp done with oats and buttermilk, but these weren’t too bad. There was also sea cucumber and baby abalone and lotus-leaf wrapped glutinous rice along with cold dessert to end the meal. Unfortunately by then I was too full and couldn’t eat much, nor was I taking pictures because I was too busy snapping away at the stage where my family members were. My cousin also gave a nice little speech and slideshow on his parents, from the day they met til where they are today.

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Once again, Happy 35th, Kau foo and Kau Mo! Here’s to many more years ahead. Stay sweet always

 

Kajang Arts Festival and Crafts Bazaar

The Kajang Municipal Council and the Selangor state government recently organised a three-day festival to promote arts and culture at the Kajang stadium, so I paid a visit for work and to check out what they had in store. The Kajang Arts festival and Crafts Bazaar was the first of its kind and there were about 20 booths in the area, as well as activities lined up throughout the day.

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When I got there it was a Friday afternoon, so the weather was really hot. A few buskers were giving a performance at the main stage while contestants took part in an anyaman tikar (mat weaving) competition behind them.

 

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Graffiti on display

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Some of the art booths with works for sale

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Kids trying out an old stone grinder used to make rice flour at the Hulu Langat history booth. Back then blenders didn’t exist yet, so Malaysian families- be they Malay, Chinese or Indian – used these heavy stone grinders instead. The resulting mix would then be cooked into kuih (traditional cakes) and other yummy goodies

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A collection of old photographs of the Kajang area. Kajang was one of the earliest tin mining and rubber settlements in Selangor, having been around since the 1700s. With the boom of development, many settlers came to the place, which can be seen from its rich colonial architecture and old buildings.

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Chinese calligraphy by former Kajang assemblyman, ‘Cikgu’ Lee Kim Sin. He also heads theHulu Langat Community Heritage Centre.

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Sketches by students from New Era College, Kajang – as part of the town’s cultural mapping project, which features beautiful artwork of old pre-war buildings in town.

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Two Keris club members dressed in traditional Busana (Malay clothing) at another booth that promoted Malay heritage and art.

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Selection of keris (Malay daggers), knives, parang (machete) and other decorative weapons.

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Children playing checkers. She looks like she’s concentrating intensely!:)

Overall the fair had some interesting things to see, even though I felt that they should have more booths because I was done walking around after half an hour. They should definitely organise these festivals regularly to promote arts and culture, which is slowly gaining an interest among the locals.