Sunday, June 28, 2015

Another Day To Be Thankful For

I woke up wanting to cook beef stew and "Cencaru Sumbat" but decided to eat out instead.  

I drove to Bestmart in Taman Nusa Bestari 2, Johor Baru, to have the "Lei Cha" aka "Ham Cha", a Hakka vegetarian comfort food.

The 百家乐客家擂茶 at the Bestmart food court serves one of the best "lei cha", in my opinion.  The green tea is made from a mixture of leafy greens and nuts blended together. 

Some like to pour the tea into the rice, which is underneath the radish, beancurd, long beans, cabbage and spinach, all nicely chopped and diced, and sprinkled with white sesame seeds. But I prefer to savour the rice and tea separately. I always tell the lady boss to exclude the peanuts, which is one of the ingredients of the dish.

This is how the dish looks like after you stir it. Patrons can choose white or brown rice.

This is the stall. The meal is affordably priced at RM5.

From Bestmart, I drove over to the Ramadan Bazaar outside the Perling Mall. 

I was tempted to get the "tulang gear box kambing", but decided against it.  Just a few days ago at a "buka puasa" gathering, I had eaten two.  

So I bought the ayam penyet instead. 

Inside the Perling mall, there were several stalls selling a variety of head scarves and other fashion wear for the Hari Raya celebration.

When I got to my car, it was so jam-packed with vehicles, the only way to get out of the car park was to drive in reverse to the exit.

Well, that was my day. How was yours?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Time Off

Watching TV1 with my buddy, Gray.

Enjoying home-made chapati with green gram dhal, sardine curry and mango chutney, all cooked by my aunt.

These are the eggplant aka aubergine aka brinjal, from my aunt's garden. She's giving me some to take home.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Johor Matta Fair Aug 7 to Aug 9

From left: Wannie Chew (commitee member),  Steven Chung (committee member), Kenny Ngi (event organising chairman), Kathryn Lee (chairman) and Charlie Chia (treasurer)

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Johor sees 2015 as one of the most challenging year for the travel industry.

  Its chairman Kathryn Lee said the plunging ringgit, the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax and the aviation mystery were just some of the factors that have caused a dent in the industry.

  "Tourist arrivals registered at 27.4 million in the first quater of last year.  In the same period this year, there was a 8.6 per cent drop.  Of these, Chinese tourists dropped by 27 per cent," Lee said at a press conference here yesterday on the three-day Johor MATTA Fair which is taking place at the EXPO@Danga City Mall here from Aug 7.

  "We hope that the move to waive visas for China tour groups will be expanded to include individual travellers as well, as the Chinese tourist is known to have great spending power," she said.

  Lee also said it is hoped the ringgit will not plunge further despite the fact that this may, undeniably, boost inbound tourism.

  "However, it would be difficult for travel agents to plan out a programme for travellers if the currency does not stabilise," she said.

  On a separate matter, Lee said that about 90 per cent of the younger generation are making travel plans online.

  Lee said travellers who book online would not know if they were dealing with licenced agents.

  "If bookings were made at MATTA fairs, all the agents are licenced.  Should travellers encounter any problems, they can lodge a complaint with MATTA, and we will know whom to take to task," she said, adding that a cheaper rate may not ensure security and peace of mind.

  In the last Johor MATTA fair which took place on April 10 to April 12, the most popular outbound destination was Thailand, followed by China, Indonesia, Japan, Europe, Taiwan, Australia and Korea.

  However, Lee said travels to Korea today have plummeted by 80 per cent due to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) scare. 

  For the most popular inbound destination, Langkawi clinched the top spot, followed by Tioman Island, Pahang; A'Famosa in Malacca; Desaru, Johor; Penang; Legoland, Nusajaya; Sekinchan, Selangor; Redang Island, Terrenganu; and Sabah.

  The August fair will see five participants from Johor Tourism, Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Taiwan Visitors Association (TVA), Japan National Tourism Organisation and India Tourism.

  "TVA is participating in a big way as they have brought in a host of fun-filled activities in conjunction with the fair to give the event a carnival-like atmosphere," said Kenny Ngi, the fair's event organising chairman.

  Meanwhile, Ngi said a total of 29 travel agents, which was the highest this year, will be among the 46 travel-related agencies taking up 176 booths at the event.

  "We are projecting 15,000 visitors over the three days, and sales turnover is expected to reach RM10 million," he said.

  "The entrance fee for adult is RM3, and children under 12 gets to enter free of charge.  Visitors stand a chance to win prizes worth RM120,000 and every visitor who spends RM500 and above during the fair, stands a chance to drive away a brand new Proton Saga manual 1.35SV," he added.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Winged Messengers Or Just Dead Insects?

What does it mean when butterflies cross your path?  Is there a divine message here for me?

I'm sad to say that the butterfly that I brought home has died.  I hope it wasn't from the stress of being in a new environment. Does any butterfly expert have any advice on injured butterflies?  Just in case I were to come across another injured butterfly in the not so distant future.

Here's another butterfly that I saw today. It was so tiny I wasn't sure if it was a real butterfly. I didn't try to save this one because it was totally motionless. This one was in a taxi.

Why am I seeing so many butterflies? Ok, only two so far.  If I should see another butterfly in the next few days, then maybe I should start to wonder.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Shooting Birds

Rufous-backed Kingfisher
The Rufous-backed Kingfisher that is attracting photographers to the Panti Bird Sanctuary. Photo credit: MNS Johor 

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) Johor is urging the State Wildlife Department to come up with a set of rules for birders, on what they can and cannot do at the Panti Bird Sanctuary, Kota Tinggi.

  Its chairman Vincent Chow said that this year the sanctuary, formerly known as the Bunker Trail, recorded the least number of  nesting activities along the trail.

  He said this could be due to an influx of unethical birders and photography enthusiasts, who are disrupting the natural surroundings of the bird sanctuary.

  Chow said the bird sanctuary was set up by the Forestry Department and the MNS after six years of  collaborative evaluation. 

  "It was set up with the aim of  conserving a forest for birds and to provide an education on nature. It also has great potential for eco-tourism featuring  bird-watching , which is a global billion dollar eco-tourism product," he said.

  "MNS is eager to work with all the various departments to turn this "gem" into a big eco-tourist draw.  For this to happen, there must be a concerted effort.  But first, all relevant parties like the State Forestry Department, Johor Tourism Department and State Wildlife Department should meet with the State Exco for Environment to come up with workable plans and details." he added.

  Currently, about 10 to 20  foreign-registered cars are spotted there each week. Very often foreign birding guides bring their customers to the site making the Panti Bird Sanctuary the fourth most popular birding site in Southeast Asia.

  Citing examples of unethical practices, Chow said photographers have been seen  putting up a black cloth to be the backdrop for their shots, or what is known to them as a "studio" and some were seen throwing exotic fishes into  Sungai Padang, which is in the sanctuary, in a bid to bait the Kingfishers for action shots 

  This has resulted in the introduction of alien fish  species which could upset or wreak havoc to the river ecology as Sg Padang is a tributary that flows into Sg.Ulu Sedili.

MNS Johor birders in action.  The right way to shoot birds. Photo credit: MNS Johor

  "Birders are known to remove nestlings from their nests, or taking down  the entire nest from the tree to the ground,  for  want  of  better shots. Recorded songs and calls of almost all the birds  are used to lure the selected species to appear for the photographer. This is strictly disallowed in bird watching and must be banned. Otherwise bird poachers will copy this approach. Rules  and regulations must be drawn up and enforced and the right authourity will be the Wildlife Departmentthey are the guardians and the experts.

  "If visitors abused this liberty, it could upset the natural cycles of the birds' life cycle.   Poaching is still active as  sounds from  shotguns is quite rampant, especially on Sundays.  Efforts should be stepped up to nab poachers and hunters," he said.

  "A complex has been built and almost completed under the Stare Forestry Department's effort to cater to the needs of birders and eco-tourists .To provide better maintenance of the complex and the sanctuary, the Forestry Department can consider selling entrance tickets and use the proceeds for maintenance of the sanctuary. MNS Johor will assist in any way possible and we are here for the long run. For example, we could train the  locals to be  nature guides at the sanctuary," he added.

  Chow said, with good marketing, Kota Tinggi has great potential to attract the tourist dollar.

  "Kota Tinggi should be given more prominence as it was where the Johor kingdom had originated.  It is a district that is rich in natural and local history," he said.

  "Its proximity to Johor Bahru is very accessible to eco-tourists ." he said.

  The Panti Bird Sanctuary, spreading 10,879ha,  is a secondary tropical rainforest which offers a wealth of biodiversity resources with varied wild orchid species, and more than 308 of the 656 species of birds known in Malaysia have been spotted there since it opened in December 2008.

Selamat Berbuka Puasa at CheMystery

Such a stunning place to watch the sun go down.

An array of local delights to titilate the palate.

It was an evening called "IFTAR with media at the Gelora & CheMystery in the Ledang Urban Retreat" in Nusajaya.

It was my first visit to the urban retreat, and it was a memorable experience.

Thank you, UMLAND (United Malayan Land Bhd) for the treat.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Broken-Winged Butterfly II

Butterfly's new home. Hope she'll be safe and happy here.

Broken-Winged Butterfly

I was walking past a row of shophouses when I came across this butterfly.  It could no longer fly as one of its wings was broken.  I couldn't leave it by the sidewalk.  Someone may just step on it, and it was an awfully hot day outside.

I brought it back to what I believed was a safer place for the delicate butterfly. See how pretty and elegant she stands in spite of her deformity.

The butterfly began to explore its surroundings.  I didn't know what to feed it. 

I gave it some diluted sugar and even went to  First Aid For Butterflies but my nursing skill is somewhat like my culinary skill.  If you follow my blog, you will know what I am talking about.

I don't think the butterfly drank the diluted sugar.  It crawled away to a nearby spot.

It fluttered its wings rapidly for a while.  I don't know if it was traumatised, happy, terrified or furious with this totally clueless human. It rested for quite a bit before moving its wings again.  It so desperately wanted to live, I think.  Or did it want to die, so that it can be reborn into another beautiful form again?  I don't know. 

I think the butterfly was trying to tell me that ...

Death is an awakening, a transformation.

From egg, to larvae (caterpillar), to pupa and from the cocoon emerges the butterfly ... the process of metamorphosis.... all taking place in the span of about a month.

As we go through life, facing all the changes and challenges, we need to stay away from the three poisons which are greed, stupidity and anger.  An enemy is only an external cause that can ignite the three poisons. Success can make a person arrogant and cause one to have a big ego.  Success may be followed by a downfall, if we are not mindful.

In life, there is this constant battle between one's buddhahood and one's fundamental darkness.  The good versus bad thingy.  And we always have to try and overcome the darkness.  Gain victory over it instead of letting it overwhelm us.

If our faith is strong .... if we know it is our karma that brings all the blessings and bad circumstances into our life story .... then we know there is no one else to blame or count on for salvation.

As I am writing this, the butterfly is fluttering her wings ... 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

World Without Animals

Can you imagine a world without dogs, or when mongrels become a rare species?

A world without cats, tigers, rhinos, monkeys, tapirs? What an empty world that would be.

A world filled with humans with big egos that thrive on greed and power.  A sad and scary world that would be.

Rambling on a Friday morning.

Below is my article that came out in the New Straits Times "Attitude must change first, says animal activist".

JOHOR BARU: The newly passed Animal Welfare Bill 2015 will not make much of a difference as long as people do not change their behaviour towards pets and animals.

Raymund Wee, who founded the Noah's Ark's Animal Sanctuary (Nanas) in Pekan Nanas, Pontian, said there was a need to get to the root of the problem which was people's mistreatment of animals and the inefficient handling of strays.
"When it comes to the treatment of animals, things are not going to change much until one gets to the root of the problem, which is the people's attitude towards pets and animals.

"There should also be a governing body to monitor non-governmental organisations that deal with animal welfare.

"At the moment, there are too many NGOs that are not registered," Wee told the New Straits Times.

The Dewan Rakyat passed the Animal Welfare Bill 2015 on Wednesday, which imposes a minimum fine of RM20,000 for animal abusers.

Wee said there was also a need to have guidelines for people who pick up stray animals.

"Animal lovers will pick up strays but what happens to the animal after that?"

He said microchips should be attached to pets as it let the authorities know who the pet belonged to.

Meanwhile, Homeless and Orphan Pets Exist (HOPE) secretary Serene Tan said people should be educated on the rights of animals.

"It all boils down to education.  Children who are brought up in families where parents are animal lovers grow up to be one, too," said Tan.

She said HOPE was co-organising a dogathon in IOI Mall, Kulaijaya, to raise more awareness about animal rights.

Johor Baru Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chairman Ranjeet Singh Bhullar said the bill was long overdue.

He said animal activists had long demanded for heavier penalties for animal cruelty.

Under Clause 29 of the bill, acts such as beating, mutilating, poisoning, confining in areas that restrict natural movements of the animals, abandoning or owners allowing such cruelty against the animal, will carry a minimum fine of RM20,000 and a maximum penalty of RM100,000 fine and three-year imprisonment.

source: New Straits Times

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blessed Ramadan To All Muslim Friends

I read most of the political analysis and reports on the "TMJ versus Tourism Minister" spat on the Internet yesterday and I posted the ones that I thought were insightful on my Facebook page.

This link Nazri has missed the point of TMJ's Criticisms reached the highest number of readers.

Today, I don't want to read any of the heavy stuff.  I joined my colleagues for a fun-filled potluck session at the office just now.  The party was organised in conjunction with Ramadan which will see Muslims fasting throughout the Holy month starting on June 18 which is 1st Ramadan, 1436 Hijrah (AH).

It is a month of forgiveness, and seeking forgiveness.  If I have done anything to offend you, please forgive me.

I need to clarify something.  Yesterday, I titled my post "Mediator, Firestarter, Spectator, Calculator".  Most of you probably know that I was just fooling around, but for those who didn't, (especially students who are learning English), I have to clarify.

The device above is a calculator.  People who know when to cut their losses are not to be called a Calculator, ok?  I was just kidding.

Mohon ampun dan maaf.  

Someone needs to do this, too.  Whether you are right or wrong.  It is Ramadan.  Everyone is seeking forgiveness.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Holding Out For A Hero

When you can't get it at home, you will look for it elsewhere.

When there's darkness, you look out for a beacon.  In chaos, you reach out for a hero.

We see it as the match of the century
and get caught up in the drama
Maybe it's just a game of chess
and we don't even know if we are king, queen, rook, bishop, knight or pawn

I just wanna listen to Bonnie Tyler before I call it a night.

Sweet dreams, everyone.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Errant Drivers Caught By Surprise

Drivers of foreign-registered cars with outstanding summonses were caught off-guard at a roadblock at the Gelang Patah Rest and Recreation Area at the Second Link here on June 14.

The operation started on June 12 and will end on June 15.

Bukit Aman traffic police commanding officer Superintendent Zulkefly Yahya said there were 728,577 summonses issued to foreign-registered vehicles from 2000 to 2014.  Of these 71 per cent or 518,510 were Singapore-registered cars.

Zulkefly said police had stopped a driver of a foreign-registered car who had more than 20 outstanding summonses.
"The offenders have to settle their outstanding summonses on the spot or we will seize their cars," he said, adding that most of the errant drivers were caught for speeding.

The operation led to 2,725 fines being settled at Gelang Patah, Easter Dispersal Link (481) and km2 Jalan Johor Baru-Kota Tinggi (995).

Zulkefly said more than 20 Automatic Number Plate Registration equipment to identify foreign cars would be introduced nationwide at entry and exit points after the Hari Raya celebrations in the first phase of implementation.

Johor Lashes Back


The Tourism and Culture Minister is being probed under the Sedition Act 1948.  I read it at Malaysiakini.

Original post

In a show of unity ...

some of the NGO representatives who turned up at the Johor Baru Selatan police station on Sunday to lodge the police report

Representatives from some of the 46 non-governmental organisations were at  the Johor Baru Selatan police station on June 14 to lodge a police report against Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz for making a statement "warning" the Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim against meddling with politics.

Persatuan Kebajikan Marana Sagaya Nithi Johor Bahru,  Persatuan Belia India Kota Tinggi, Johor Cultural and Sports Club and various branches of Majlis Belia India Malaysia were among the 46 NGOs.

Meanwhile, state exco members also defended Tunku Ismail

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Our Beloved Sultan And The Crown Prince, And Legoland Malaysia

Royal Launch: Istana Bukit Serene replica expected to draw more tourists

LEGOLAND Malaysia has unveiled a replica of the Johor Sultan's residential palace, Istana Bukit Serene.

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar officially launched the replica at the theme park on June 13 by placing a gold-coloured brick on a crown, which sits on top of an arch in front of  Istana Bukit Serene.

The model is made up of 278,023 Lego bricks and weighs in at 350kg.  It includes the main palace structure, which is known for its moss green roof tiles, high tower and a crown arch, built to mark the Sultan's coronation in March.

The replica includes small but significant details, such as the ruler's collection of motorcycles and cars, and a stray black cat, said to be a regular visitor to the palance grounds.

The palace is the latest feature at the Miniland section at the theme park, which boasts replicas of iconic structures, such as the Taj Mahal in India and the Petronas Twin Towers in KL.

Read more in the printed edition of the Sunday Times (June 14)

Meanwhile, this is currently the most viewed story on Star online and Malaysiakini (the last time I checked)

Read the story at  Rakyat Post

Bring it On!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Lego Replica of Istana Bukit Serene in Legoland Minipark

The Sultan of Johor places the final gold brick on the crown to mark the launch of the Istana Bukit Serene at the Legoland minipark.  On the ruler's left is the builder Stefan Bentivoglio. Pix by Mohd Azren Jamaludin.

NUSAJAYA: Visitors to the Legoland Malaysia Resort now have a new attraction to see after the Sultan of Johor officially unveiled a Lego replica of his residential palace, Istana Bukit Serene today. 

During a ceremony at the theme park, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar laid the final gold-coloured Lego brick on the replica of a crown arch which in real life is situated in front of the palace. 

The entire replica is made up of 278,023 Lego bricks and weighs 350kg. It took four months to make and includes intricate details such as the sultan's motorcycle, cars and even a stray black cat which is said to be a regular visitor to the palace grounds. 

Legoland Malaysia model builder, Stefan Bentivoglio said the work was conducted by a team of six builders. "We had an audience with the sultan after his coronation in March. 

A team then went to Istana Bukit Serene on several occasions to take pictures and measurements of the palace that was built in 1939. "The biggest challenge of building the replica was making the sultan happy, and judging from Tuanku's smile today, I think he is indeed happy," Stefan said after the launch ceremony. The Istana Bukit Serene is now among the other replicas of iconic buildings such as the Petronas Twin Towers and the Taj Mahal at Legoland.

Read More :

source NST online 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dogathon In Johor: June 21

I heard about the Pontian stray dogs issue a few days ago, but wasn't quite sure what it was about. I later learnt that the dogs have been rescued and that all was well.  

Today, I saw the following FB post, and it is very clear the shelter is in need of help.  


The Homeless Orphan Pets Exist (H.O.P.E) has successfully rescued 52 dogs after negotiating with the Pontian District Council. One of the dogs was said to have died soon after arriving at the shelter due to severe dehydration. Most of the surviving dogs showed symptoms of dehydration and are currently under observation at the shelter.


The dogs were captured by dog catchers from various locations in Pontian last week and were kept in several small cages which were left exposed to the sun and rain.  It was believed the dogs were not given food and water for a few days. It was truly horrible.


There were no dog catching exercise in Pontian for quite some time and many owners thought it was safe to allow their pets to roam outside.  Unfortunately, the dogs were rounded up by the dog catchers.


We urge all dog owners to pay close attention and never allow your dog to go outside of the house. The dogs may not be able to come home if they get captured.


There is a sudden addition of 50 over dogs in the shelter and that means a heavier burden for us. We need your support and funding for food and medications to allow us to soldier on and to keep the furkids in the shelter safe and sound.

Thanks for your help and these are the ways to sponsor:

银行汇款 / ATM Bank-in: Maybank 5012-0808-5710 (Persatuan Perlindungan dan Peliharaan Haiwan Terbiar Skudai)

网上汇款 / Online Donations:

Paypal Account:

**在此很高兴的通知所有希望护生园的捐款者和赞助者, 您捐款和赞助的收据是可减税的,请电邮至 **
**Please be informed ALL DONATION and SPONSORSHIP to HOPE are now tax-deductible. For tax-exemption receipt, please send an email to us at**

The way the dogs were treated was very cruel.  Pet owners, please be more responsible.  Dog catchers, please be more compassionate.

H.O.P.E., together with the IOI Mall in Bandar Putra, Kulai, is organising a dogathon event.  It will be the first dogathon to be held in Johor.  The date is June 21, 2015.

There will be a screening of a documentary called "12 Nights", in conjunction with the event.  The organisers hope to create public awareness on what happens to a captured pet and for owners to be more responsible.

There will also be a dog and cat show competition.

Rich Man, Poor Man

I read the Malay Mail Online story quoting Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz as saying he is a “happy man” as the cheaper Malaysian currency will be a boost to tourism here.

He said foreign tourists especially from Europe will feel “like a rich man” owing to the exchange rate of the ringgit.

The ringgit closed at 3.73 against the dollar today, recovering slightly from 3.77 on Monday, which was its lowest level since February 2006.

It slumped to 3.80 during the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis

Read more at:

TV news and current affairs channel Astro Awani also quoted Nazri as saying he was among those happy with the falling value of the Ringgit, as this would attract more tourists and prompt locals to think twice about going abroad for holiday trips.

"So, the holidays will be expensive and they will spend their money here as local tourists.....and that makes me happy. Very happy," he said.

Read more at:

But the rakyat is very sad, Sir, and the cries of the common folk is getting louder.

Apart from worries of whether a tsunami or earthquake is going to hit Malaysia again, the people are also worried about the plummeting value of the ringgit.

A medical surgeon told me that he had to discontinue some brands of medicine that he usually orders from abroad as his patients just couldn't afford the new increased price.  He was forced to increase the price because of GST, and now with the depreciating ringgit ...

A flight attendant also called me last night to ask whether a tsunami was going to hit Sabah within the next 36 hours. He said the news have gone viral.  I said there were reports but nobody knows when.

A university researcher Associate Professor Dr Edy Tonnizam Mohamad was quoted as saying in the Star Online that the next place likely to encounter an earthquake are the Eastern parts of Sabah namely Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau.

Edy Tonnizam (pictured) who is the head of the Geoengineering and Geohazard Research Group at UTM's Faculty of Civil Enginnering, also called for an integrated research centre to be set up where experts from different fields and departments canget together to study and analyse the data that are available and maybe predict when a certain natural disaster would hit the country. This could be part of the early warning system that is needed in the country.

The problem with people when they get together (this is my opinion) is there will always be a personality clash  even though they share a common goal.  

In the days and weeks leading to an earthquake, the associate professor said the water temperature would increase because of the heat caused by the friction from the movement of the fault line.  So look out for abnormal phenomenon and signs.  Watch the animals, the birds, water which could have a rise in temperature or become murkier due to the discharges from the earth's crust.

So, if you notice anything abnormal in your surroundings, please get in touch with the National Security Council.  Hope the MKN will spring into action when they receive an alert.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Respect Local Culture, Laws And Customs

Click the link for the Singapore Straits Times' story on what had triggered the Sabah quake. 

Sabah quake: Sudden slippage along 10km fault south of Mt Kinabalu triggered quake, say scientists 

Meanwhile, Camilus Solungin, who lost his younger brother in the calamity, said "It is not about laws or superstition, but about having mutual respect among human beings."

This was his message to Canadian nudist Emil Kaminski who had launch an attack on the local culture in his social media sites.

Click the link for the New Straits Times' report

"It is not about laws or superstition, but about having mutual respect among human beings," was Camilus Solungin's message to notorious Canadian nudist Emil Kaminski. Camilus, 43, saw his youngest brother Joseph laid to rest today after the 33-year old perished in Malaysia's worst ever earthquake last Friday.

Read More :"It is not about laws or superstition, but about having mutual respect among human beings," was Camilus Solungin's message to notorious Canadian nudist Emil Kaminski. Camilus, 43, saw his youngest brother Joseph laid to rest today after the 33-year old perished in Malaysia's worst ever earthquake last Friday.
Sabah Quake: Guide’s brother hits out at ‘nudist’ Emil

It's a very good story actually... a brother's perspective on the matter ....  

I guess Camilus is right in a way.

If a smoker were to visit a house where the host dislikes smoking, then the smoker should refrain from smoking while there, as a sign of respect for the host.

A thumbs-up sign may be a positive gesture but giving the thumbs up in Thailand is deemed as a gesture of condemnation.  The OK hand sign is not OK at all in France, as it will be seen as a gesture that says someone is "worthless".  So, we try not to antagonise the locals when we are there, even though we know it's OK to give the Thumbs Up.

Similarly if someone always says things go missing from his desk, then we try to avoid going anywhere near the desk knowing that we're likely to get the blame when things go missing again.

And lastly,  while I maintain that the 10 nudists should not be blamed for the calamity, they should have respected the local laws, culture and customs.

But please spare the buffalo

Sabah quake: Tribal priest wants 10 buffalo from nude tourists

"It is not about laws or superstition, but about having mutual respect among human beings," was Camilus Solungin's message to notorious Canadian nudist Emil Kaminski. Camilus, 43, saw his youngest brother Joseph laid to rest today after the 33-year old perished in Malaysia's worst ever earthquake last Friday.

Read More :
"It is not about laws or superstition, but about having mutual respect among human beings," was Camilus Solungin's message to notorious Canadian nudist Emil Kaminski. Camilus, 43, saw his youngest brother Joseph laid to rest today after the 33-year old perished in Malaysia's worst ever earthquake last Friday.

Read More : Quake: Guide’s brother hits out at ‘nudist’ Emil

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hot Debate

Damaged roads in Ranau, Sabah, after the 5.9 magnitude earthquake on June 5, 2015

Shapeshifters, fairies and spirits fascinate me.  I am a big fan of the supernatural.  You must think I'd be the first to blame the 10 nudists for the June 5 calamity.  It is currently a hot debate whether the 10 had caused it.

I really don't think the 10 nudists should be blamed.  If it were so easy, terrorists and warriors need not train in the art of warfare or practise combat skills anymore, they just need to provoke an ancient spirit to wreak her wrath on their enemies.

The earth "is like a puzzle that endures stress and strain".  A senior lecturer and researcher of the Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Research Group (eSEER) said this.

Dr Mariyana Aida Ab Kadir is also a senior lecturer at the Engineering Faculty of the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

The university plans to launch the Earthquake Building Design Code in Malaysia by the end of the year.  The seismic code has been endorsed by the Public Works Department (PWD).

Why not earlier?  Because not many believe that earthquakes will occur in Malaysia.

Two uSEER researchers, Prof Azlan Adnan and Zamri Ramli visited Ranau after the occurrence.

Studies on the seismic code was carried out by UTM in 2007, after the federal government had allocated a grant for its research in 2005.  The grant was shared among public universities, the PWD, the Meteorological Department and engineering institutes.

Mariyana said only the Penang Second Bridge was built in accordance with the seismic code while buildings were constructed in accordance with the windload capacity.

Apart from Ranau, Mariyana Aida said only Bukit Tinggi in Pahang, which is near the Klang Valley in Kuala Lumpur, is the second place most vulnerable to an earthquake.

Back to the 10 nudists, I am aware there are dos and don't when one visits a sacred site and even a forest.  One is not supposed to remove anything from the forests.  But, there are still poachers in our
midst.  How I wish the spirits of the forests will hunt down the poachers and tear them from limb to limb. Or at least protect the animals from harm.

My heart goes out to all the beautiful children and all victims of the Sabah quake.  They are all heroes and angels. 

Now I hear that besides facing indecency charges, the tourists may also be fined 10 buffalo heads.

Remember the recently reported "Nepal's Killing Fields" story where thousands of animals were slaughtered over a two-day religious festival?  That's so gruesome.  I hope there won't be any more killings.  Every creature trembles at the rod.  

Below is the story which was on Star online.  Read and reflect, please.

Supernatural beliefs gain strength in natural disasters, says anthropologist

KUCHING: Supernatural beliefs gain strength when seemingly inexplicable natural disasters occur, says a Universiti Malaysia Sabah anthropologist.
  Dr Paul Porodong said despite there being no proof the Sabah earthquake was due to Mount Kinabalu climbers who stripped for a photo recently, they are being blamed because the incident "fits well with local belief".
  The Humanities, Arts and Heritage Faculty senior lecturer said photographs of the nearly nude mountaineers, which caused anger when shared online earlier this week, came just days before the deadly Friday earthquake.
  Mount Kinabalu is one of the most revered "temples" to the Kadazandusun community, he said, and acts of disrespect were long linked to accidents.
  "The blame on the nudists is a deduction on what is the previous or existing belief. Belief systems are about explaining unexplainable or unscientific phenomenon’s. Mount Kinabalu to the local community is sacred, not a tourism product. To them, the mountain belongs to the spirit of their ancestors," Porodong said.
  The Sabah Government had given credence to belief by adopting local wishes, he added.
For the last three years, an annual ceremony called the "Kakakapan id Gayo Ngaran" has been held. It is a ritual to make offerings to the Kadazan-Dusun's ancestors, and on the day, Sabah Parks stops foreigners from climbing.
  Porodong said the ritual bore similarity to Chinese religious ceremonies for the dead.
  "You pay your respects no matter what. This is Dusunic belief. No matter where they are, in the city or having become Christians, they still have deep belief. It's not to say they still belief in paganism, it's more like they fall back to old explanations, whether it's right or wrong, when they want explanations."
  The beliefs were reinforced by the native courts. Penalties meted out can include fines for angering spirit.
  "It's endorsed by the Native Court. Angering spirits is taken very seriously as part of the justice system. The basis of local belief is moral."
  Had it not been for the nude photo, Porodong added, other acts of disrespect might have been blamed for the earthquake.
  A Universiti Malaysia Sarawak academic cautioned against superstition when, "clearly, earthquakes are seismic events".
  Social Sciences Faculty Associate Professor Dr Andrew Aeria criticised Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitigan for telling the media yesterday that a flock of swallows circling his home on Thursday was a premonition.
  "The earthquake has nothing to do with swallows and nothing to do with offensive tourists taking their clothes off. What on earth is he talking about? It was an earthquake," Aeria said.
  "The fact that so many people believe what Pairin said shows us that our education system has failed. Instead of teaching science and rational thinking, society is reinforcing superstition and feudalism.
  “And we talk about being developed? We are one of the most backward countries in south east Asia now," he added.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ponnanganni Fried With Egg

The "ponnanganni" has numerous health benefits. It is said to promote good eyesight, glowing skin, among others.

Here are some simple steps on how to cook ponnanganni.

Step 1: Wash and clean the "ponnanganni" aka "sayur kumar" (botanical name: Alternanthera sessilis.)

Step 2: Heat the grated coconut till it's slightly golden brown. No oil required.

Step 3: Take out the coconut when it's done. Sauté the onion, garlic and chilli.

Step 4:  Add the ponnanganni. After frying it for a little while --- not too long as we don't want the vegetables to turn yellow --- drop in the egg.  Add salt and soy sauce before pouring in the coconut.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Home-made Sushi

This I got at Aeon Bukit Indah.

Pictured below is home-made sushi.  

The pictures say it all. 

The home-made sushi tasted better than it looked.

Home-made may be so much cheaper and you know what you're puting into the meals.  But it is also a test of your passion and patience.  Are you prepared to go through the steps of making a meal or would you rather dine out and save the hassle of washing the utensils?

Pictured below is my favourite dish at a popular Japanese restaurant.

Contributor To The Stray Dog Population

Irresponsible pet owners should get a thrashing for creating and contributing to the stray dog population.  Dogs cannot be roaming the streets.  It's just not safe, for man and dog.  

The local councils are only doing their job to keep the streets clean and safe.  The 1 Dog RM10 campaign, though, was not a good idea.  

A veteran politician and social activist shares his thoughts on why it was a bad idea, and what should have been done instead.
source: Star online
PETALING JAYA: State governments should direct local authorities to abandon plans to catch and destroy stray dogs and adopt a Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage (TRNM) programme in every district as a more humane alternative, said Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Selangor patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye. 

"State governments should make some funding available for this purpose and work with non-government organisations which can provide assistance to the district councils to help implement the TNRM programme. “The state governments can also seek the cooperation of private veterinarians in every state to conduct the TNRM programme at a low rate with the help of private sponsorship," said Lee.  

He said that the Selangor SPCA is prepared to offer its advisory services and provide workable solutions to local authorities to combat their stray population. 

 "Selangor SPCA President Christine Chin will map out workable plans which aim to educate the community,particularly pet owners, form TNRM ground team of stray rescuers and prepare other methods. These plans will be announced in due course," said Lee. Lee, who issued a press release on Thursday slammed a now-cancelled programme by the Tanjung Malim Municipal Council, praising its cancellation. 

The programme, which would have kicked off on Wednesday was meant to encourage the public to catch stray dogs, with the council offering to pay RM10 per animal.

However it was cancelled following public outrage over the campaign, which was spearheaded with action by the Ipoh Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (ISPCA), with the help of state executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon. 

 "The council's decision is outrageous and it should not have been introduced in the first place as the approach is inhumane, highly controversial and can be exploited by irresponsible individuals for personal gain. I am pleased to note that the Tanjung Malim District Council decided to halt its "one dog 10 Ringgit" campaign to hunt down strays in the district following protests from animal lovers and various NGOs," said Lee. 

Lee said that while there were complaints about some ferocious strays, the problem must be dealt with humanely. "The catching and killing of strays as allowed by the local authority is an act of cruelty and barbarity which must never be condoned in a civil society. “All forms of cruelty against these animals must not be perpetrated by any local authority," said Lee.

This is not my dog. I just thought he's super dapper.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Public Outcry

When this "1 Dog 10 Ringgit" picture appeared on Facebook, dog lovers immediately sprang into action.  They got together to sign an online petition.  Within two hours, there were already 3,000 signatures.  The public outcry also attracted the attention of the local media.

It was like the local council was declaring the launch of  "stray hunting" season.  If it is catch and re-home, then it is not so bad.  But it is most likely catch and kill.  

By offering RM10 per dog puts every canine in peril.  

Several hours later, I saw this notice (pictured below) on the Tanjong Malim district council FB site.  The campaign had been scrapped due to comments and views that poured in.  Well, at least the local council listens to our voice.

Even though the campaign has been cancelled, I just hope there will not be any clandestine operation happening anywhere.

Dogs cannot be roaming the streets.  It is not safe for the animals either.  At the same time, shelters are getting overcrowded.  And dogs don't belong in a shelter throughout their lives.  What they need is a loving home.

  This is not my dog.  I just thought she's super cute.  

These dogs at a shelter are greeting the new day.  They, too, have the right to live.  

Read the Malay Mail Online report.

Growing Fun

By Gladys Tay Guest Blogger Last August, I decided to work on a project on my bucket list, which is to have an edible garden of my ...