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All things old and beautiful in Armenian Street May 31, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Malaysia, People, Places.
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Penang, or sometimes known as the Pearl of the Orient, is well known for its hawker food but lesser known are some of its old houses that hold relics and traces of its ancient and very rich heritage.

Somewhere in Armenian Street is a house that is called the Sun Yat Sen Memorial House. Recently, I visited the place on the behest of some students of history who wanted to know more about Dr Sun’s visit to old Malaya in the early 20th century, or was it the late 19th century.

Anyway, the old house has some old stuff that are a throwback to those days when life was simpler and some people say more exciting.

 There are several pictures of Dr Sun Yat Sen hanging inside the house. On sale are some interesting books that traced that history of Penang and other topics that will enlighten a lot of curious minds.

I bought two books. Now I am richer for the experience. Just goes to show what you can gain from an innocent little walk around some old parts of George Town.

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Symbols to a good life on earth May 27, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Craft, Culture, Malaysia, Places.
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Spiralling joss, tortoises, koi fish and Kwan Yin – these are all symbols of longevity and peace of mind on earth. Some worshippers believe that these creatures of the earth and man-made items are reminders to us all that life’s path better taken is not always trodden upon by the majority.

These heavenly symbols were found in a small Chinese temple on the far side of the Kuala Selangor town. It is sandwiched in between a curving road and some shophouses.

 It has probably been around for decades but it looks repainted. The cultural heritage is rich with symbols of the past and the divine. We earthlings must build our hopes on things intangible because life’s adversities have taught us that material possessions can evaporate as easily as the drifting clouds on a sunny day.

  What lies beyond helps us to align our bearings on our earthly existence so that we will not indulge too much on what is temporal nor lean too heavily on what is unreal.

All kinds of cutlery and sharpened tools in Taipei May 25, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Other Countries, Taiwan.
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Shilin is very well known for its night market in the city of Taipei, Taiwan but that’s not what I want to talk about here. There is a small knife shop in Shilin that will  bring tears of joy to a knife collector’s eyes.

I learnt about this shop from one of my knife friends residing in Taipei. When I walked in, I nearly collapsed out of sheer joy. Never have I seen so many knives in such a small, confined space.

Of course, the fact that the Malaysian ringgit is not considered legal tender in Taiwan also almost brought me to tears but for a different reason. I spotted a damascus hunting knife which was par excellence and the proprietor even refused to take a credit card.

What is a man to do? So I bought only a small folder which has been in production at that shop for two generations. The Shilin knife shop is famous for its leaf-shaped folder. Supposed to be their flagship item.

Needless, I made a mental note to myself for a longer visit on my second trip to Taiwan. So far, no luck!

Views from a Chinese temple May 20, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Craft, Culture, Malaysia, Places.
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For thousands of years, the Chinese community has built houses of worship. Even as their ancestors fled their motherland for reasons that now laid buried with them, they carried their traditions and practices to wherever they set their roots.

In Malaysia, for example, there are Chinese temples in various parts of the country. Many are found in caves because these places are considered conducive for meditation and prayer.

In small towns, inconspicuous temples sprouted up for the local Chinese residents. The temple is for those people seeking solace and reassurance for an earthly life well lived.

Prayers and meditation are made available for those who have pursued material possessions and in the end found only misery and unhappiness. Thus, the temple serves two main purposes: one, to remind the Chinese of their precious ancient traditions, and two, a portal for them to communicate with entities beyond to parley for peace of mind and continued good health, and also protection of loved ones.

Ichiban! From Land of the Rising Sun May 14, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Culture, Food, Malaysia, People, Places.
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The Koreans are famous for their BBQ meat (charcoal-style), and the Japanese for well known for their unique steamboat.

Equatorial Hotel KL has a Japanese restaurant called Kampachi. It serves up a storm during one of their finest evenings.

I was there when a relative celebrated his mother’s 80th birthday. We all “went Japanese”. There were a number of stalls, all serving different kinds of Japanese cuisine.

I liked the line-up very much. Our Japanese friends are rather neat and their dishes can be quite addictive. The steamboat dish held a certain fascination for me.

They even threw in a variety of desserts and ice–cream. I nearly ended up talking to guests from the floor (lying down). We Asians really eat too much!