Thursday, 24 December 2015

Holding another’s mind in your hands

Collecting quotable quotes have been one of my favorite activities since secondary school. I’ll search for the quotes from any publications that I can obtain which I then copy dutifully the quotes that I took fancy into a notebook. Reader’s Digest was my best source before Brainy Quotes and Goodreads hit the web. From this huge collection of quotable quotes, there are a few which I like the most; such as Socrates’s “The unexamined life is not worth living”, Nicollo Machiavelli's "He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command" and more. They are my “star quotes” for good or bad.

Among the many pages of quotable quotes that I copied into this weathered notebook of 20 years
Today, I am adding another quote to the list of my star quotes, it is:

When you read a book, you hold another’s mind in your hands – James Burke

This quote is interesting because it cause my philosophical mind can’t cease to wonder when you read this blog, are you holding a piece of my mind in your hands? If yes, it is my honor to share it. So, who is James Burke?

James Burke (b.1936) is a science historian, author, and television producer and “one of the most intriguing minds in the Western World” according to The Washington Post. In 1973, Burke, writing for Radio Times predicted the widespread use of computers for business decisions and the creation of metadata banks of personal information. Burke also discussed his predictions of a post-scarcity economy driven by advances in nano-factories, which he believes may be viable by the year 2043 during an interview on BBC Radio 4 in 2013.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

This season’s purple clay teapots

Two months ago, Uncle Wang from Shanghai’s Lu Yu Teashop helped me to purchase 9 purple clay teapots from Yixing to add to my ever expanding collection. These purple clay teapots are by Lin Yanping and Shi Zhaodi, two young up and coming artists whom are protégées of Master Wang Fujun and Master Wu Jianping.

Besides teapots from dead masters, famous masters, I am also in the practice of collecting the works of young artists for I believe that some of them will be famous masters of tomorrow. Master Wu Jianping is the best example. I started to collect his work in 2005 when he was still an unknown artist. The average price for his pot back then was RMB 400. Today, he is one the top purple clay teapot makers in China with an average price of RMB 15,000.

I was supposed to collect them myself in Shanghai this December but I’ve decided that I am going to give a break from going to China until I’ve recovered from “China lethargy” developed after my trip to Beijing in October.  It is hard to describe this lethargy in words but going to China once every two or three months for the past one year is perhaps a little too much to fathom. Only frequent visitors to China, having to navigate the vast complex system of inconveniences and cheats can truly understand.

Hence, I am thankful to Uncle Wang who took the trouble to travel to Yixing for these pots and Aunty Wang for packing them nicely to be brought to me by a very good friend from Singapore, alongside three pieces of precious aged White Tea. It reached me early this month. The timing is just nice as I can spend my annual December holiday polishing these teapots and enjoying a brew or two using them while catching up on reading.


Here are the teapots I gave myself as toys for this Christmas: 


















Wednesday, 16 December 2015

From Paris with love

POSTER BICENTENARY OF THE LOUVRE MUSEUM
As mentioned previously, mom, Yong and I went on a Western Europe tour in November and we were in central Paris two days after the deadliest attack of France since World War 2. Paris was virtually empty and all the famous tourist attractions were closed. Despite that, The Louvre is just too hard to resist. For Yong, I knew he just want to be there, even it is just viewing the glass pyramids otherwise the trip will be very incomplete. It is akin to visiting London without seeing the Tower Bridge or Sydney without the Opera House.

We were very fortunate that the police did not cordon off the whole compound and the Louvre souvenir shop was open. There are thousands of reproductions of the display in the museum that are for sale. With the limited time that we have, it is impossible to select something we truly wish to have.  Should it be a miniature Venus de Milo or Egyptian cat bust or The Raft of the Medusa reprint? Sorry to Mona Lisa fans, she will be the last thing that I would view in Louvre.  

 The Raft of the Medusa
I was mesmerized by The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault the first time I saw it. It is the only piece of Western and oil on canvas painting that I ever like though I am a big fan of Chinese paintings. Painted when Théodore Géricault was 27 years old and initially thought off as a failure after its exhibition at Salon of 1819. The Raft of the Medusa portrayed a wrenching scene of shipwrecked men helpless in the grips of the ocean after the wreck of a French frigate off the coast of Senegal in 1816, with over 150 soldiers on board.

A long time was spent by the artist in preparing for the composition of this painting. He began by amassing documentation, questioning the survivors and visits to the morgue which he then sketched, worked with a model and wax figurines, studied severed cadavers in his studio, used friends as models, and hesitated between a numbers of subjects. There followed the period of solitary work in his studio, spent getting to grips with a vast canvas measuring five meters by seven.

This painting left me contemplating the important but also brutally uncomfortable essential thought provoking question: what can we learn about our common mortality and the ultimate image of inhumanity at the mercy of Mother Nature?  

At the end, Yong selected for me this beautiful POSTER BICENTENARY OF THE LOUVRE MUSEUM, composed by 100 reproductions of works of the Louvre collections created on the occasion of the Louvre museum’s bicentenary. Thank you very much Yong; the framed up poster is now hanging in the display section of mom’s house, and a memento I love the most from our November’s holiday, from Paris with love.



Monday, 14 December 2015

The craze for Shell’s Ferrari LEGO set

Yesterday, 13th December, marked the end of Shell’s Ferrari LEGO bricks promotion in Malaysia with the release of limited edition Shell Tanker model. It was the second time that Shell roll out LEGO bricks for miniature Ferrari cars to commemorate Shell’s longstanding partnership with Ferrari.  The first time Shell ran the promotion for the LEGO Ferrari collection was in 2012.
The long queue.
Back then, the promotion came and went without much fanfare. There was no long line of queue at the tick of midnight to pump petrol or buy lubricant, disappointment curse from customers, banging of the cashier counter and unruly incidents at some petrol stations that police had to be called. Those cute miniature cars was available even when the official promotion ends. For some petrol station operators, there were still so much sets left that they were given away as gift to friends and relatives and to customers who purchase the lubricants. I do not recall receiving any phone call from friends and the only call that mom’s secretary ever received was from me asking for favour to reserve the LEGO sets.

The 2012 set.
However, this round, we have been receiving numerous calls from friends and strangers alike. Mom’s phone rang almost nonstop on Sunday. For mom’s secretary, she have been receiving calls from strangers who claimed to be personal friends of my mom and dad. The funniest of all calls received was one from an unknown person claiming to be my late daddy’s best friend and not knowing that daddy passed away more than a year ago. What a very best friend indeed!

Certainly a better looking set compared to 2012's 
I guess that this craze is probably attributed to the spread of news that this will be last chance to get a Shell Ferrari LEGO set as Shell had ceased cooperation with LEGO. As for myself, I did not ask for any set, the craze didn’t hit me this time, though knowing well that four iconic Ferrari cars, a special limited edition Shell Tanker, a Finish Line podium and a Shell Station in its casing were modelled after the one at Fiorano circuit, Scuderia Ferrari’s private racetrack in Maranello, Italy. The main reason is because I still have not assemble those from 2012 as well as the other sets bought in Singapore since 2007! I doubt I am a procrastination queen but I have to agree to the fact that, except for reading and writing which is a very solitary pursuit, things are more fun when it is done together with someone.

Found this advertising online. 
Nevertheless, the craze for Shell’s Ferrari LEGO bricks in Malaysia will still be around for a while before waning off, just like McDonald’s Hello Kitties of recent memory or Dutch’s Tulip Mania. From 1634 to 1637, the price of certain tulip bulbs exceeded their weight in gold. Already, there are people advertising to re-sell a Shell tanker for RM 100.00 and a whole set for RM 500.00 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Shaping my mini juniperus chinesis trees


This evening, or should I call my morning, as I am still adapting to Europe’s time zone despite being home for few days, I head out to the garden for my dear bonsai plants. It is time to prune, shape and transfer the little bonsais in the backyard into a proper pot. I selected 3 mini juniperus chinesis. After working on them for a little more than an hour, they are ready to join the other bonsais on display at the balcony, a place I call my mini paradise.

My only hope now is for them to grow healthily in these little pots barely the size of my palm. When this region was blanketed by haze for the past few months, I lost 7 mini juniperus chinesis. They just mysteriously turned yellow and died a slow death despite the twice a day “bathing” ritual. However, I am thankful that the other bigger trees survive the harsh weather. Survival of the fittest taking place right in front of my own eyes!   

Here are some of my “artworks”, before and after :

1. The broom tree


2. The informal upright tree






3. The windswept tree

Monday, 23 November 2015

A bowl of soup in Amsterdam

It was quarter to eight when my family and I arrived at Amsterdam’s Nam Kee Restaurant after a painfully long journey from Brussels, brought even longer by heavy rain and traffic congestion. Everyone was hungry. Mom was tired of Western food, my friend can’t wait for Nam Kee’s delicious “wanton mee” while I look forward for the delicious roast duck recommended.

After settling down, the waitress served a bowl of soup as starters. The bowl of soup didn’t look appetizing to me but I decided to take a sip for I was too hungry to wait till the main courses to arrive. After the first sip, I reckoned that the taste is very familiar. I then took a second sip and I almost cried with nostalgic happiness.

At the instant, my memory wandered off to faraway Auckland, to the Chinese restaurant by the name of Love A Duck in Dominion Road where I went almost daily for a simple lunch or dinner. Over there, my usual order was a bowl of Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup with a bowl of white rice and nothing else. Throughout my Auckland years, it can be said that Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup with white rice was what I ate the most. After leaving Auckland, I never had Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup that tastes exactly the same as Love A Duck’s again until that night in Amsterdam. It was my comfort food.

I almost gave it a miss but glad that I didn't
“This soup was my favorite when I was staying in Auckland. Mom, can you cook this at home next time?”

“You better don’t. She will just make you another version,” retorted Yong, knowing too well that mom likes to add extra ingredients to soups or dishes till it can be a completely alien thing.

When the duck was served, I was almost full after taking two bowls of rice with the soup. Yet, that still didn’t stop me from asking a refill of the soup and another bowl of rice. Time flies over us but leaves its imprint behind, just like the simple Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup. 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Faux Paris

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people – Isaac Newton

Cruising past Eiffel Tower on the evening of 16th November 2015. 
It was a warm morning on the 14th November 2015 in the beautiful Swiss city of Zurich when I was awoken by the endless messages and emails coming in concerned friends and colleagues with the news that Paris was under siege by terrorists the previous night that left more than 100 people dead. One by one, I replied that my family and I were in Switzerland and that our hotel in Paris was booked for check in on 16th November.

Over breakfast before heading to the Swiss Alps, fear and confusions were everywhere when the BBC news reported that French authorities close its borders, Paris in lockdown, suspects on the run, more terror expected and etc. Should we change course or continue on to Paris as planned? Mom wasn’t in the mood for Paris but Yong and I were optimistic that Paris is safe. In the end, we still make it to Paris without any problem and in fact, not even a single road block, not a single man in arms in sight till we get to Arc de Triomphe.

Then, slowly, the feel of an empty Paris starts to creep in. The usually busy Champ de Elysees was unusually quiet. Tour buses that normally line the drop of tourists at Place de la Concorde were nowhere to be seen. Major tourist attractions, museums, art galleries and the opera house were closed to public. Even the gypsies that normally target unsuspecting tourists near Eiffel Tower were staying home.

Parisians, to the best that I know, has always retained a magical belief that the City of Light is impervious to any siege, civil disorder and military occupation. However, this time, Parisians are acting to the multiple attacks by terrorists on the night of 13th November with fear, bewilderment and generally confused responses. It is the second time in 2015 that mass killing by ISIS linked terrorist happened. As Sir Isaac Newton rightly observed, the madness of people can’t be calculated and Parisians are in defensive mode.

Only Galeries Lafayette conducts its business as usual. Tourist’s dollars, especially from Mainland China are hard to resist. It is like a mad house inside. Luxury goods were taken off shelf faster than a blink. And while mom was busy shopping, Yong and I slipped out, walked the 20 over minutes towards the Louvre for mementos of an empty Paris. At dusk, we head to Rue de Cambon for dinner before a cruise on Seine. Eiffel Tower was in tricolor instead of its usual yellow sparkle.

As I bid adieu to Paris, I am disappointed but glad that we are all safe and sound. This is not the Paris that I know! Faux Paris!!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Grandmother

My grandmother and I
My grandmother, my beloved “ah ma” is still around. She’d just celebrated her 91st birthday in October but I couldn’t make it home from Beijing for it and a deep sense of guilt disturbed me for days. Finally, I was with ah ma yesterday night at Catrina’s wedding and again, for family dinner tonight. Despite her age, ah ma is still in good shape except that she needs the help of a walking stick and a hearing aid. At the time of writing this, I find that words are inadequate to describe the full and happy 91 years of ah ma’s life thus far and all I want is for ah ma to stay healthy and to be around us for many more years to come. 

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Congratulations to Gary & Catrina


Family portrait. 

Congratulations and best wishes to my dearest God sister Catrina and Gary Lim on this auspicious occasion of your wedding. 祝你 百年好合,永结同心。 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Boy denied or received insufficient treatment due to mom’s shorts?

I read with rage when I saw the headline that a two year old boy was denied treatment at two government clinics and a hospital because the pants his mother and aunty wore was too short. Fellow Malaysians read with rage too of such stupidity of the incident.

The boy who cut his finger last Saturday was rushed to the 1 Malaysia clinics in Saleng, Bandar Indahpura Kulai and the Kulai Hospital. However the boy didn’t get proper treatment from these three public health care institutions and were finally given treatment at a nearby private clinic. The boy’s father, Wong Xiang Lan was quoted as saying that: “My son was crying aloud at that time, so a nurse gave my wife a sarong and let her in.”

After reading the article, I thought for a while. Something is wrong. My earlier rage was not even necessary but like fellow Malaysians, the sensory image of the headline that crept in before the finer prints had left a damming few seconds of impressions to me. 

 There is a mismatch of information in the whole report, I said to myself. 

The mother of the child claimed she was denied entry because of her attire but was later admitted after donning a sarong. However, she left two hours later when her son was not given proper treatment.  Whether it is proper or improper treatment, the fact is that the boy was given treatment. It is actually hard to judge whether a treatment given is proper or improper, depending on the treatment given by a medical personnel and the interpretation of the person receiving the care. Hence, the headline is actually misleading. DENIED TREATMENT means the boy did not get any treatment but truth  should be IMPROPER TREATMENT.

There is a big divide between DENIED and IMPROPER, and this is what that stir up the emotions of the readers. At time like this, we do not need the media to spin to headlines to create an even more distrust between the public and the government, and in this instance, it involved all government run institutions from the clinics to the police force and finally, zooming in on civil servants themselves.

On the other hand, dress codes should not be imposed in government clinics and hospitals for family members who bring in sick or injured patient. The duty of the medical personnel is to treat the patients and not to look at the legs or arms or even shoulders of those who accompanied the patient. When faced with a medical emergency, the first thing in the mind of everyone is where is the nearest hospital or clinic and to rush the person there or to be there. Having the right attire would not even make it to secondary thought or plainly, won't cross the mind at all. 

Thankfully that the incident involving the little boy did not develop into something more complicated, otherwise, who is to blame? The security guard following the “brainless” instruction from moral police up there or the mother who forget to don a proper attire before rushing her precious son to get medical treatment?

Minister Subramaniam and Minister Salleh Said Keruak, can you two please look into this matter? Small it may sound to you but underneath it reverberate two big issues about sensational journalism and public opinion about government institutions and its servants. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Mirrors of myself from 2008-2015

Strangers and those who do not know my age will usually come to conclusion that I am either still in university or a fresh graduate despite me having graduate some 10 years ago. 9 years ago, 6 years ago, 4 years ago and even recently, they kept saying the same thing that I look so young. Another irony is people kept thinking I am still a chambering pupil! I am so used to that now but I will keep asking myself: Do I really look that young? No. I do think the youthful look is no longer there.

Since 2008, I have been visiting Beijing every year due to work as well as my long standing fondness for this City and here, I discovered the gem that was to steal my heart and lure me back with its old world charm and architecture, so magical and alluring. It is also in this city that craftsmen, artists, rulers, warriors, current and long gone, bestowed the world with one of the greatest treasure known to man.

For some strange reasons, Tiananmen Square holds a special place in my heart and made it a point to have a photo taken at about the same spot near Tiananmen Gate to see the change of my outlook and the place. Alas, the gate didn't change much but vicissitudes of life are evidently shown when I compare then and now.

P/s: For many reasons, I think I am starting to have "China Lethargy" and it will probably be many more years before my next visit to Beijing if it isn't for work purpose. 

Circa 2015

Circa 2014

Circa 2013

Circa 2012

Circa 2011

Circa 2010

Circa 2009
Circa 2008









Friday, 9 October 2015

The modern day Marcus Licinius Crassus of Malaysia

I was reading The Rich: From Slaves to Super Yatchs, A 2000 Year History by John Kampfner when I came across these two paragraphs:

He may have been the richest of them all. Marcus Licinius Crassus was the ultimate oligarch who used the nexus of wealth and politics to become one of the most powerful figures in the Roman Republic.  He was the man of his times, when corruption was an art form, when violence, politics and profit were rolled into one. This was an era of rapid economic growth, with wealth flowing in from newly conquered lands.  Friendships and enmities, loyalties and betrayals, could be bought and sold. The elite were at it all, but some were more successful than others. His skills have proven transferable through the ages. He would have felt right at home in ……………in which ruthlessness and greed were regarded as inevitable parts of public life.

And

Crassus used his cash to make himself indispensable. He would house senators and fund armies. In doing so, he managed his reputation to the top. Through cunning and endeavor, rather than any particular skill, he came to dominate Rome, alongside his longtime rival, Pompey, and the precocious Julius Ceasar. These three would later be known as the First Triumvirate.  

Much have been written about Crassus over the millennia but reading Kampfner describing him in these lines made me think of his modern day reincarnation in Malaysia. The Romans, according to the great moral philosopher Plutarch, say that the many virtues of Crassus were obscured by his sole vice of avarice. I think fellow Malaysians would agree with the Romans regarding this particular leader in Malaysia that his many virtues are now being obscured by his insatiable greed.

Who is he? Who is the first person that came across your mind ? I'll offer a treat to those who get it right. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The idler’s way (闲人道)


闲人道The Idler’s Way

做会
数 几
件 个
可 有
流 见
传 识
趣 高
事 人
消 论
磨 说
岁 古
月 今

Knowing of my interest in Chinese calligraphy, a China based client of mine gave me this couplet (对联) recently to add to my collection. This couplet’s beautiful calligraphy is by Chen Rishen, one of the many distinguish members of China National Calligrapher Association based in Beijing. I name this couplet “The Idler’s Way”; for its casual yet meaningful exhortation of what we can/should do during our idle time.

The first 12 words in it exhorts its reader to do meaningful things during one’s lifetime that can be passed on for generations to come while the next is about the setting up meetings of minds to have discourse on current and historical issues when one have some idle time to spare. Thank you very much to Mr. Zong for this precious gift as well as the many life plus business wisdoms that you generously share with me.

This couplet is now prominently on display in my room, flanking a painting of an abstract dragon. 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Cao Dai Temple – a strange mecca in Vietnam

The main temple of Cao Daism, also known as the Holy See
Out of curiosity, while in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) last week, my friend and I decided that we should pay a visit the heart of a very strange sect that flourishes in Communist Vietnam, with 2-3 million followers worldwide. This thought provoking sect is none other than Cao Daism – a syncretic institution that embraces a mixture of Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and native Vietnamese spiritualism.

A beautiful or eyesore blend of East and West, depending on one's view.
Pronounced as “cow thy” in English, the mecca for this sect is situation in Tay Ninh town which is at the border with Cambodia. After a dreadful three and half hours’ drive from Ho Chi Minh City, we arrived at the temple complex which houses the sect’s gigantic temple, administrative center, residence for officials and adepts as well as a hospital of traditional Vietnamese healing. Only the main temple is open for public. The best time for the public to visit the temple is at 12 noon when the prayer is in session. Prayers are conducted 4 times daily at the main temple with hundreds of adherents in white and led by three leaders dressed separately in red, yellow and blue.

Sun, Hugo and Nyugen - the 3 Saints
Read with caveat.
The founder of this sect is the mystic Ngo Minh Chieu whom in 1919 began receiving revelations in which the tenets of Cao Daism were set forth. In 1926, the gigantic Cao Dai Temple began its construction with a blend of whimsical east and classical west architectural flavors. At the entrance of the temple, a strange mural greets the visitors. It depicts the three signatories of the “Third Alliance between God and Man with Chinese Nationalist leader Dr Sun Yet Sen holds an ink stone, while author Victor Hugo and Vietnamese poet Nguyen Binh Khiem write “God and Humanity” and “Love and Justice”. Nguyen writes with a brush and Hugo uses a quill pen.


Prayer session.
After spending about 30 minutes in the temple complex with most of the time spent snapping pictures, my friend and I decided to leave. Cao Daism is just a very strange notion for both of us. However, it is worth the long drive from Saigon to widen one’s knowledge about the complexity of religion and what can go wrong or right with it. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Kamquat tree in the garden



I took a stroll after dinner in the garden and saw this pot of Nagami kumquat tree that was trained since it was a shoot to become a bonsai tree. Since arriving to our garden from Uncle Hooi’s place, this is the first time that it is producing fruits. Fruit by fruit, I counted, there are 12! A rare feat for such a small plant.
An auspicious omen, I said to myself, at the same time, agreeing with John Ruskin’s quote that nature is painting for us, day after day, if only we have eyes to see them…


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Peaceful Petaling Street on 26/9/2015

@Petaling Street
I’m just back from Petaling Street. It is quite business as usual there today despite the threat by Datuk Mohd. Jamal Yunos, Ali “Tinju” and certain ultra-Malay NGOs that demonstration and riot are bound to happen. The reason for the need for Jamal and his gang to demonstrate at Petaling Street varies every other day and depending on which news outlet that one reads.

Close for the day.
At the end, the only conclusion that everyone know is that the demonstration is needed purely because Petaling Street is associated with the Chinese traders. Tourists and fellow Malaysians shun Petaling Street out of fear. Business owners around Petaling Street are angry. Instead of closing up businesses to accommodate the threat of demonstration and riot, the traders are having business as usual. According to the conversation that I heard from the tea shop at Jalan Sultan, the traders are not hesitating to fight if the need arise and they can’t be closing shops all the time.

Heavy presence of media and the police force.
I started my noon at Petaling Street with having chicken rice at Nam Heong. The restaurant manager told me that they do not prepare as much steamed chicken and other roast products as they are prepared to close shop early in case any chaotic incidents happen. I then proceed towards the stalls in the main vicinity of Petaling Street. Most of the shops except those selling food are open. There is a heavy presence of policemen and journalists. I bumped into an old journalist friend, Raymond who used to be with 8TV but have since move on to Oriental Daily.

So glad to meet Raymond. 
After the stroll, I proceeded to Chanoyu Teahouse for tea and chit chat just like any other afternoon whenever I am in KL. There, I was told that DAP Supremo, Lim Kit Siang visited Petaling Street in the morning.  I was asked why MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong don’t bother to show up at Petaling Street to show solidarity with the traders. I answered that different leaders have different ways of getting things done. I’m also in the opinion that Prime Minister Najib Razak should visit Petaling Street after his return from overseas to send a strong message that he is not out of touch with the people and weak as perceived by the masses.

Interviewed by NTV 7.
At around 4pm, I head home as the haze is going from bad to worse. I am felt that I am threatened more by the haze exported from Indonesia than by Jamal and gang over demonstrations and riot. The morning and afternoon of 26th September 2015 is peaceful at Petaling Street. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Black Thorn Durian Mooncake

Arrrghhh…..Bridget Su!! You just made me go crazy over this picture. The heavenly limited edition snow skin black thorn durian mooncake by Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore is one of the hardest foods to resists alongside their cempedak mooncake. For many years in the row, moon cakes by Goodwood Park Hotel have consistently ranked one of the best in town, and it is certainly worth the premium.

A pair of limited edition snowskin black thorn 
First introduced in 2014, Goodwood Park Hotel is the only establishment in Malaysia and Singapore (or perhaps, the only one in the world) to produce the black thorn durian mooncakes. A box of 2 black thorn durian moon cake costs SGD 54 while 4 for SGD 88. The cempedak moon cake is slightly cheaper, costing SGD 38 and SGD 65 respectively.   This weekend, I think I will sleep dreaming of the moon and the cakes…duh! And I can't wait to be back to the Lion City on Monday to indulge myself. 

P/s: 
Thank you very much Bridget for the black thorn durian mooncake, It melts in my mouth.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Datuk Md Jamal Yunos should migrate from Malaysia too

In 2014, I’ve issued a challenge for retired Court of Appeal Judge, Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah and his like-minded friends  to migrate to another country if they do not like the system in Malaysia that have been enshrined in the constitution.

Today, after his so call “successful” Malay rights rally with its racist demands that ended with a ruckus, I am issuing the same call to Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos, one of its leaders to migrate from Malaysia. This call is actually in tandem with the exhortations of the Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister, Jamal’s Dear Leader No 2 in UMNO, who call on Malaysians who don’t like the systems in Malaysia to migrate.

Instead of losing sleep over the barbaric and insane demands of Jamal and his gang, worrying about another racial riot of May 13, having headache over how to soothe their voters and many more unnecessary qualms such as how and when to charge the Red Shirt gang for sedition and disruption of public order, UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders can take the easy way out by exhorting Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmah Zahid Hamidi’s call for them to get lost from Malaysia!

The successful millionaire who is not happy.
There is no worry that there won’t be any other countries that have a system that suits the demands of Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos and his gang. With their talented skills, especially in organizing mobs, in creative distortion of facts, in making up numbers, in  whipping up fiery speeches, in interpretation and manipulation of laws and most important of all, in being the lackeys that can be bought easily, many despots will actually wish to have them as citizen. They are a good bunch to have, and all ready to serve the ends of whoever that can dish the money out, but it is just unfortunate that the systems in Malaysia cannot accommodate them unless a wholesale change in Malaysia’s constitution can be done.

Besides that, after putting in many factors, including His Royal Highness The Sultan of Johor’s royal rebuke for racists, I still it is easier for Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos and his gang to migrate than to demand for trading plots in Petaling Street as reported. Petaling Street is called the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur but in actual fact, you see more Myanmar hawking souvenirs, running the restaurants and do about anything than a Malaysian Chinese actually does. I have long suggested that Petaling Street should be renamed to Myanmar Street.

I do not understand why Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos would want trading plots in Petaling Street and rubbing shoulders with the “pendatang” and “penumpang” that eat pork and whom he deemed as pigs. The only understanding that I get is that he just do it for the sake of trouble-making because Petaling Street is deemed "Chinese territory". According to his blog, he is a successful millionaire entrepreneur who owns IBM Automobiles with branches in the United Kingdom, Sekin Hotel and Resort, Sekinchan Ikan Bakar and many more. 

So, Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos, I will suggest it to you to discuss with Ridzuan Tee Abdullah, Datuk Mohd. Noor Abdullah and another notable alumni in the list of racist, who is none other than former Chief Justice of Malaya, Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad on the best ways  of group migration from Malaysia because the systems in this country is not to your liking even though the system through its unfair policies made you guys millionaires and top officials.

You guys can perhaps discuss with Tan Sri Tony Fernandes for chartered flights because none of you have branded Air Asia as un-Islamic. Maybe, you will be uncomfortable with the fact that the big boss of Air Asia is not a Bumiputra but it is still better than flying with the un-Islamic Malaysian Airlines that serve alcohol on board and you are paying the fare for alcoholic drinks to be served on board. Just in case that you do not like seeing their stewardess dressing up sexily, you can request for them to cover up from head to toe just as what they did mandatorily for their flights to and from Jeddah. And you know what that their stewardess have in common with you guys? They wear red too! I fully understand your allergy to yellow that is Bersih and green that is associated with the annoying PAS. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Inauspicious Portrait

This afternoon, a former colleague sent an article about 9 Facebook “Selfies” that can really harm you written by Hanni Lim to a group WhatsApp. In that article, Hanni listed 9 types of photos that is considered of bad feng shui and taboo, accompanied by real life experience and should be avoided at all cost. On another private chat box, another former colleague asked if I still remember “the inauspicious portrait”.

The portrait that is deemed inauspicious. 
Certainly I have not forgotten about that hand painted portrait of mine. It was commissioned by my colleagues as a gift on the occasion of my promotion which was announced in December 2007. The portrait was given to me on the first week of 2008 during a celebration party. I then asked the office maintenance staff to hang it on a prominent spot in my new room that comes with the promotion.  Soon, some colleagues began to comment that the portrait looked strange. Some complained that the artist had my face slanted. Some said it doesn’t look like me at all except the teeth. Some wanted me to remove the portrait as they think it will bring bad luck.

However, I stood my ground. I am happy to have the portrait there. I am grateful to my colleagues who took the trouble to commission it and there is no better place to display it than the office. Besides, I’ve often said that no promotions and success at the work place can ever the achieved without the support of all my colleagues and the bosses. The portrait served as a reminder to me of the hard work and cooperation of everyone, from the tea lady all the way up the pecking order.

A few months passed without any incident. The comments, negative comments about that portrait dried up and forgotten until one fine Monday morning when I turn up at work with my face droop and all sensations on the left side of the head lost. It turn out that I had Bell’s palsy which was caused by stress and viral infection. Barely after I settled down behind the desk, a colleague took down that portrait.

“See, I’ve been telling you that this portrait is inauspicious. Now, look at what happened!” complained one. 

“We will replace it,” said another colleague.

“Okay, you guys are probably right, but no more portraits,” I conceded and replaced it with a Chinese painting. 

Since then, the portrait has not seen the light again; wrapped up and occupying a tiny space in my store room. However, despite me being a highly superstitious person, I still do not think the portrait is the cause of my Bell’s palsy. But, neither will I risk another unfortunate incident by hanging up the portrait again. Close friends and colleagues still remember and pointing vividly to that portrait as the inauspicious portrait. Since then too, the practice of commissioning a portrait of a newly promoted colleague has stopped altogether in my office for fear of getting another wrong one.