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Down by the Kuala Kangsar river May 20, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Malaysia, Miscellaneous, People, Places.
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You have heard of bicycle ride, trishaw ride, bus ride, maybe even buffalo cart ride but river boat ride may not be so common in this day and age.

Well, down by the Kuala Kangsar river in the heart of the royal town Kuala Kangsar, Perak, there is such a service that ferries villagers who are staying on the other side of the river bank to the commercial centre of KK.

When I became a commuter on a hot afternoon, the fare was 30 sen. It was a picturesque outing, the kind that city dwellers would be fascinated with. For the local folks, it is a mundane activity that draws no excitement.

Anyway, it was a far cry from the traffic jams that clog streets in Ampang, Jalan Duta, Brickfields and roads all over Subang Jaya. A boat ride along Kuala Kangsar is therapeutic. It slows down your heartbeat and makes you reflect on the simpler things in life.

Thus, you may even want to change your priorities in life. Instead of acquiring a bigger car and a bigger house, you may want to think of taking long walks and eating simple food along the road side.

Instead of wearing the latest Jimmy Choo shoes or the latest suit designed by Zegna, you may opt for singlet and a pair of fisherman’s shorts.

Good life can be distilled down to an issue of how simple your life is.

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Lanterns light the way for the Chinese May 16, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Craft, Culture, Malaysia, People.
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When we were small, the only lanterns we could afford were the tiny paper ones. How we envied the richer kids in the neighbourhood who had those animal-shaped lanterns that seemed to come alive in the night.

As the years passed, more beautiful and more sophisticated lanterns came into the scene. There were lanterns that were anchored to the porch of a bungalow that rotated and had figures on their silk-like screens.

These days, the lanterns come in rocket-shapes, and other designs in keeping with modern times.

But kids still remain kids. Some of them want those that can spin a tune or two. Life was much simpler back in the old days when money was scarce and we had to make do with the paper ones and let our imaginations do the rest.

The Right Roti for curry ayam! May 14, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Food, Malaysia, People, Places.
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If you haven’t visited a bakery or a bread factory, may be you should. It is an education itself. I used to stay in Bukit Mertajam, about two decades ago.

And near the BM Hospital is a small bakery that makes great “Bengali roti” (as we call it) for the district.

Everyday, numerous rotimen would load their vehicles with products from this bakery. The flagship item of this bakery is its Bengali roti, which is non-pareil in the entire district. My family truly relished it when it is eaten with fresh chicken curry from the claypot.

I have since made several return trips to BM, with the specific purpose of buying at least two dozen loaves of bengali roti for my journey back to K.

There are other outlets that sell this type of bengali roti but I firmly believe, there’s none to match the roti from this local bakery.

Glorious mysteries of a Chinese temple May 11, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Culture, Malaysia, Miscellaneous, Nature, People, Places.
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Deep in the heart of one of Ipoh’s cave temples is Kek Lok Si. Kek Lok Si Temple in chronological time is probably one of the youngest temples in Kinta Valley.

Its age is about 80 years or so. In its early years, it was used as a kind of a stopover for those lorries plying a route that bypassed it.

Later as the decades passed by, Chinese traders began to see it as a centre for their religious activities. Thus, altars were probably built and gradually, people began to converge there for spiritual missions known best to themselves.

A number of years ago (in recent  memory), the Kek Lok Si Temple underwent a transformation because some benefactor invested a sizeable amount of money to turn it into a religious sanctuary as well as a tourist attraction in the State of Perak.

Its interior and other natural rock formations make it a perfect location for meditation and appreciation of nature with all its blessings. Of course, there are many other caves that can match Kek Lok Si but it stands as one of the newest and has some wonderful things that are beneficial for the body, mind and soul.

Delicious little apom for snacks May 9, 2008

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Food, Malaysia, People, Places.
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Apom lovers, take note. There’s a stall at Ming Tien food court in Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya that sells great apom. This stall is an offshoot of its original outlet in Gurney Drive, Penang.

The Gurney Drive apom balik is manned by a relative and this one is an exact copy of the other. In other words, the apom is great, especially if you have just bought a handful and pop them into your mouth, one by one.

Don’t wait for them to cool down. Apom is best eaten when it is still hot from the wok. Five pieces sell for $2. Normally, a customer will buy 10 at a go. Penangites know what I am talking about.