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Terengganu boats add colour to the coastline July 27, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Craft, Malaysia, People, Places.
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For those who are familiar with Terengganu, they (the locals) will tell you that Terengganu boats can be identified by their colours and shape.  City dwellers are usually unaccustomed to the ways of the riverine folk or seafaring people.

  We take for granted life in the concrete jungle. Seafaring inhabitants will tell you that the sea speaks to them in so many ways. They will tell of the signs that forewarn of heavy rains and why the catches will be few that day or that week.

  The more experienced ones will advise you on what kind of fish is tastier when grilled or what type of fish, exalted by city people, are treated with disdain by the people-of-the-sea. Yes, the blue waters holds more mysterious for us city dwellers than the sea of the people because the sea speaks to them in ways unknown to the inland residents.

The wind, the rain, the waves and the sunset across the horizon are Nature’s call signs which many of us are not privileged to understand. That is why the sea is held dear only by those who know and understand her.

High up on Zhu Shan where the lotus pond lies July 24, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Culture, Flora/Plants, Other Countries, Places, Taiwan.
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Some memories are worth their weight in gold. Pleasurable experiences are like wine or a great meal, long after the event is over, the memories have a lingering fragrance.

Somewhere up in Zhu Shan or Bamboo Mountain in Taiwan, there lies this lotus pond that has remnants of a blooming lotus spread. Even in the absence of the lotus flowers, the cool, fresh air holds a promise of a more beautiful tomorrow.

  The Lotus symbol is much loved by the Chinese. It is said that saints and Gods are often depicted in pictures and drawings, sitting in meditation on Lotus flowers. Even Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, is seen pictorially standing lotus.

  Hence over the millennia, the lotus flower or even the plant itself is revered as a religious symbol for spiritual enlightenment. Whenever, someone builds a lotus pond, the word that is often used to describe it is serenity.

 The picture above is one such pond up in Zhu Shan, Taiwan. Time seems to stand still there. Tranquillity reigns supreme and the heart is forever at peace.

Chinese carp for tranquillity and visual relaxation July 22, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Culture, Fauna/Animals, Malaysia, People, Places.
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There used to be a time when the breeding of ornamental Chinese carp, or Koi, whichever you prefer, were the preferred pastime of the nouveau rich but these days, these are days even shopping centres have them.

According to popular opinion, live fish (Chinese carp) swimming lazily in recycled water are supposed to bring good fortune and prosperity to the premises. Thus, you also find these fish in bungalows with compounds big enough to have a fountain accompanied by a pond.

   In Southeast Asia wherever there are Chinese communities, these fish in ponds are proliferating like the carp in other regions. Most Chinese carp are of the freshwater variety. They flourish perpectually and perenially like the tropical grass in Southeast Asia.

   The Chinese carp, for culinary reasons, have been bred, spawned and spread throughout Eastern Europe since the fifties. Today, the fish is bred and then commercially sold as fry in farm hatcheries. Maturity can be reached in five to seven years.

  Male carps reach maturity one or two years earlier than females.

Fruits of their labour July 20, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Culture, Food, Malaysia, People, Places.
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Malaysia is a land blessed with an abundance of tropical fruits. From what I heard, some botanists are already experimenting with temperate fruits as well.

Plant genetics have evolved since the days of Isaac Newton. However, those bunches of fruits you see above were on sale at the Kuala Kangsar rest stop along the North-South Expressway.

Farmers from the surrounding areas have stalls at those rest stops spread out intermittently over the entire length of the highway. However, sometimes the fruit sellers tend to get a little enthusiastic over the pricing.

Nevertheless, if you have stayed overseas for any extended period of time, you will learn very quickly to appreciate our own Malaysian fruits.

Fusion means a little of the East and something of the West July 18, 2007

Posted by asianpixmen in Food, Malaysia, Places.
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For some time now, I have had aural encounters with Kim Gary. I kept hearing that name from my daughter.

She would praise Kim Gary to culinary heaven. So one evening, to put an end to all the curiosity that has been created over this “person”, I made a journey to The Curve in Mutiara Damansara.

Somewhere on the first floor of The Curve food section is a Kim Gary outlet. I had to wait a couple of minutes before gaining entry into the eatery because all the tables were taken up. The clients were mostly young people.

  The rule of thumb told me that if a place is that crowded, then the dishes can’t be that bad. Anyway, orders were place and soon enough the dishes came. The plates were big, so were the bowls.

  For a few minutes back there, I thought perhaps that was a marketing strategy by the Kim Gary staff. Perhaps it was, too. Anyway, the food was not bad. The atmosphere was great and service was quick.

  Most important of all, the prices were not heart-stopping and the place was clean. Frankly, I prefer hawker fare but this being KL, sometimes we have to keep up with the trendsetters.

  Still, meeting and partaking of Kim Gary’s fusion culinary items were an education itself. I welcome all that could teach me a little more about other people’s eating habits.