Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Tho Yuen" Chicken Rice Shop...

This chicken rice shop has been around a long time. I remember when I was still in elementary school, and my grandfather used to bring me and my brother here not only for the chicken rice, but also one of our favourite dish, i.e. crispy noodle dish.
They still make great chicken rice and crispy noodle till this day. They are located at Campbell and Cintra Street Junction. ( Close to the Rolex watch shop).
Penang Chicken Rice is mainly "Hainan"-style which originally was introduced by the Chinese from Hainan, China. There are other varieties esp. in the way the chicken is roasted and the type of sauce that is used. The best chicken rice shld have really juicy pieces of chicken that is roasted to golden brown and drenched in soy sauce and sesame oil. The rice itself is cooked with chicken broth and ginger. It is usually served with cucumber and spring onions. While typing this, I can actually smell sesame oil. No kidding. Must be my imagination. :P
For the recipe to make this dish just visit this link: http://www.roseskitchenette.com/?p=316

Monday, June 29, 2009

PAPA: Penang Apprenticeship Programme for Artisans

The Penang Heritage Trust is launching a programme that actively promotes intangible cultural heritage. This involves assisting artisans and performers whose skills are considered traditional and core to our Penang cultural heritage. In today's world, these skills are few and far in between, apprentices need to be sourced and skills need to be transmitted, in order that we may not loose these precious assets. The individuals themselves who are usually old, may be experiencing difficulties with evictions, high rentals, lack of help, difficulties of transportation, cost of materials, vulnerability and a loss of significance. This proposal assumes that the time is right for rendering assistance and building capacity by promoting apprenticeship.

This project also views promotion, product development and assistance with marketing as integral in achieving sustainability of the skills.

The goal is to perpetuate & develop traditional skills & techniques, transmit these through a prescribed training system, aid in marketing and strive to generate income so that the skills becomes attractive as a viable life choice career for young people.

It is planned that as far as possible, these artisans be sited in individual shop-houses within a common area, in the heart of George Town. This would make promotion and marketing in terms of a value added site for visitors, much easier to manage. It is envisaged that accommodation is possible on the upper floors if so required for either artisan or apprentice. If cultural reasons exist for usage of other areas, this may be incorporated.

The proposed locations are properties of the Khoo Kongsi Temple and Acheen Street Malay Enclave, Penang's most famous heritage attraction, who have undertaken at their own expense the restoration of their clan houses and Malay shophouses, and are now interested in contributing their efforts to the diversity of urban spaces by forging community partnerships and creating projects which promote sustainable development and are socially relevant for the city's World Heritage status.


1. The signboard carver - Identified
2. The rattan weaver - Identified
3. The rattan & silk lantern maker - Identified
4. Paper glass lantern maker - Identified
5. The beaded slipper maker
6. A kebaya designer & tailor - Identified
7. The songkok maker - Identified
8. Calligrapher
9. Batik artist
10. Koran calligrapher / printer
11. A traditional gold/silversmith - Identified
12. An artist
13. A traditional spice-grinder
14. A traditional perfume
15. The hand-made jossticks maker - Identified
16. The master-cheongsam tailor
17. The clog-maker
18. The hand-made shoe-maker
19. Traditional paper model maker
20. A traditional weaver of mengkuang mats etc

Interested? You may contact PHT at 04-2642631 or phtrust@streamyx.com

Source : Penang Heritage Trust

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sarah Brightman-- One of my 'Passion'

sToday I am going to digress a little on to something that is not Malaysian specific. Just wanted to share about one of my passion which is music. One of my favourite singers is Sarah Brightman. She became well known when she played the lead role in "Phantom of the Opera". One of the few early albums that I have are Eden, Dive,Time to Say Goodbye,...etc. Some people may say her voice is shrilly, but one thing I admire about her, is her ability to push the boundaries to fuse and re-introduce songs from different genre from the classics to border-line new age, to make it contemporary to the times.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Transformer 2 : Revenge of the Fallen

I just watched the most recent Transformer sequel, "Revenge of the Fallen". The movie is about 2.5 hours long, and if I were to rate it, I would give it a 2/5. The special effects as usual is superb, and larger than life. However, the storyline is not so fluid, with lots of flashback as the movie tries to tell the story about the history of the ancestors of the Transformers, who inherited the Earth with the human race. This movie is rated PG-13, but I still see occasional censorship snips here and there, that makes me wonder what happened during that scene. Frankly, I feel that the Terminator Salvation movie is much better. Check out the Terminator Parody in my previous blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Tomato just turned Red..

My tomato plant which I planted from just a seed since beginning of the year has just turned red recently. Even in this hot weather, this plant is showing its resiliency in able to produce tomatos. I don't see a whole of bunch of them, but there are ~ 3 fruits budding so far. Just waiting for them to grow bigger and pluck them when they are ripe and juicy. hee hee.
See my previous blog in May on tips to grow a tomato plant in Malaysia.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Visit Penang ( UN World Heritage Site) Soft Launch from July

There will be a soft Launch of Visit Penang Year 2010 ~ 2012 with a number of programs. Some of them are listed here:
1) 1st July 2009. 8pm~11pm. Esplanade, Penang

In conjunction with the soft launch of VisitPenang Year 2010~2012, a diverse programme of performing arts featuring traditional dance performances by Kumpulan Kebudayaan Negeri Pulau Pinang (Penang Cultural Council), Temple of Fine Arts and Spring Production and Art Studios will showcase the unique culture and traditions of Penang.
Experience classic Malay, Chinese and Indian presentation in our open concert setting at Esplanade, absolutely Free.

2) Penang In Retrospect - Air Photo Exhibition
1st ~ 31st July 2009. 12pm. Queensbay Mall South Zone

"Penang in Retrospect" lets you examine the city from different perspective with its 60 carefully selected photos. Panoramic aerial view phogoraphy by Don Law, reveals traces of Penang history amid the development surrounding the old heritage and the new George Town.
See Penang from above, a treasure trove for anyone who loves Penang and photography.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Slow.... Streamyx Broadband

Lately, since Streamyx announced they did a major upgrade on their equipment or services, I see that my broadband is getting really slow. Anyone having the same problem?
I went to a website : http://www.speedtest.net/, to check my download speed to a server in KL, and the result is: 470kbps for download. ( It is slightly below my subscribed 512kbps). However, it still felt slow, so I tried with a server in the US i.e. San Francisco. And it just hanged for a while and moving at a very slow crawl and the speed is 30kbps!! My guess is that there is a big "traffic jam" going to the US gateways from Malaysia. Not sure what is causing the jam. Internet getting crowded with too much traffic, but limited bandwidth??

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Malaysian Soul Singer to rival Norah Jones- Zee Avi

Just relax and listen to this petite Sarawakian lady with a silky voice.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Haze... An annual event

What else can I say except the "yearly" haze event is back in town. The top picture is taken on 20th June, while the bottom picture is take on 18th June. See my post on May 26th for how Penang looks like under clear sky. advice with this bad air quality is no heavy exercise, and drink lots of water, and write a letter to your Minister of Environment Yang "Berkhidmat" ( not Berhormat yet, since he has gotten my "hormat" yet) Douglas Uggah Embas. http://www.nre.gov.my/BM/Pages/home.aspx, and the Dept. of Environment .
For info. on the latest Air Pollution Index (API) : http://www.doe.gov.my/apims/. If you have $$ or the time, you can get away from here to somewhere where the air is clearer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cendol == Great Dessert for Cooling You Down on a Hot Penang Day

This few days have been hot and humid in Penang. I guess even though we are in a tropical climate, there are just some months that are warmer than usual. Penang "Summer" will last from June till September. And the perfect way to quench your thirst and cool you down is a dessert called Cendol, which is made of coconut milk with shaved ice, black sugar ( gula melaka) and some green jelly-like made from screwpine leaves or pandan, and boiled red beans. It is sweet and is perfect dessert to cool you down on a hot day. The picture on the bottom is "Teochew"-style Cendol, which is very common here.
The most famous stall is at Keng Kwee Street, just of Penang Road near KOMTAR ( the tallest building in Penang) Here's the recipe: http://www.roseskitchenette.com/?s=chendol

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stock Recommendations by CIMB

Went to a market outlook talk by CIMB over the weekend. In nut shell, they started with a 4 slides disclaimer which says that they are not liable or responsible for anything they were presenting. Just spend less than hour there, and managed to get their top 5 recommended stocks i.e. AirAsia , Resorts, Gamuda, Lafarge and MRCB. The last 3 stocks are mainly construction related stocks which are supposed to benefit frm the Gov't stimulus plan. Sectors to avoid are Plantation, Insurance, Shipping and Tobacco. Hmm, just checked the directions of these 5 stocks today and only Lafarge gained while the rest were losers. Hard to predict which way the direction of the market since according to their technical analysis, the market is overbought, but on the other hand there are still buying support whenever there is a selloff, mainly due to large cash still parked outside ( mainly unit trust $), that are nibbling whenever there is a dip. Don't put too much faith in the market, as it has a mind of its own. One important rule, is " don't lose big and cut your losses if the market starts going south."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Old Farmer's Advice


* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner
Than you.

* It don't take a very big person to carry a Grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't Never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best Answer.

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get
Older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't Bothering you.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever
Have to deal with, watches you from The mirror every mornin'.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a
Lotta that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot
Easier than puttin' it back in.

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some
Influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Treat an Orphan to a "Night at the Museum"

Treat an orphan to a blockbuster ( From the Star)

DIE-hard fans of the ‘Night at the Museum 2’ can now watch the blockbuster movie for a good cause.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Koay Teng Hai service team is providing the opportunity for film enthusiasts to watch their favourite movie not with their friends or loved ones, but with the less-fortunate children.

Koay said the tickets, priced at RM20 each, would entitle one to accompany one of the handicapped children or orphan to watch the movie on Sunday at Golden Screen Cinema in the Gurney Plaza shopping mall.

“Those who purchased the tickets must be present for a photograph session with the children at 10am before the movie and the photo will be given to them as souvenirs.

“We hope to create an awareness that the public should not neglect this unfortunate group as well as the need to improve the facilities for the disabled,” he told a press conference.

Koay said his service team had earlier went to the cinema to see if it was disabled-friendly. “Although the disabled could come all the way up to the cinema, still it is not convenient for them to attend a movie by themselves. They still need assistance,’’ he said, adding that the movie was sponsored by the Golden Screen Cinema operator.

Koay said the money collected would be used to buy popcorn and carbonated drinks for the children.

The remaining money after deducting the cost, will be distributed evenly to five welfare homes – Penang Cheshire Home, St Joseph Home, Handicap Children Centre, ‘‘Sekolah Kanak-kanak Terencat Akal’’ and Eden Handicap Service Centre. Those interested to participate can call 012-4883227 or 04-226 3227.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Budget Air Travel to Penang

I am currently planning a trip from Penang to Europe. And since the Malaysian Ringgit is "puny", I explored and looked for the cheapest airfare available, browsing online and checking with travel agents. I find that you get better airfare deals via online compared to agents. One tour that I was looking at from Cosmos, was quoted US$1450. This was fine, but the local agent told me I need to pay using a "slightly" higher exchange rate, i.e. US$1=Rm$3.65! Last I checked, the exchange rate was $3.53. What the #$*? ( Pardon my language) :P I went online, and for the same tour I get a discounted price of US$1213. ( A savings of US$237 plus with the correct market exchange rate).
The cheapest budget airline now is via our own Malaysian pride "AirAsia" airline (http://www.airasia.com/). However, this is a no frills flight with narrow seats and no entertainment on board, and you will have to purchase your own meals. Of course the flight only goes from KLIA- London Stansted Airport. I found that there are also other viable alternative other than AirAsia, especially if you plan to leave from Penang, and not have to go down south to KL. You just have to book an AirAsia flight frm Penang to Bangkok, Thailand. ( Cost is about RM$100/pax), and then take Air Berlin from Bangkok, which flies to Dusseldorf, Germany, and from there you can continue on to London, or other major cities in Europe. You just pay a little extra but you get meals, better entertainment on board, and more time friendly. It works for me especially for my return trip from London to Penang, since the flight touches down in Bangkok in the morning, and you can take the direct flight from Bangkok to Penang via AirAsia in the afternoon. MAS is having some really cheap seats nowadays for a full service airline, but the seats go real fast. Check their websites, and try to book at least 3 months or more in advance to get good deals.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Horse Show.. More than just horses

The Horse Show over last weekend was an enjoyable event catering for everyone esp. families as they do not only have horses to show, but many entertaining acts such as jugglers, clowns, and even have snakes. Horse rides for kids were popular judging from the long queue. As with most other shows, there were lots of booth selling and advertising almost everything under the sun e.g. water filter, jewelry, " Boost Yr Kid I/Q" program, massage,...etc. A few charity organizations were also selling handicrafts. Judging from the crowd, there were a number of outstation folks from other parts of Malaysia, and even one of the very sporting kids who won the hula-hoop competition was from Singapore ( see picture below). Overall, it was great fun, so don't miss the next show next year.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Express bus fares are up 30% nationwide

By SARBAN SINGH ( Source : The Star)

SEREMBAN: Express bus fares are already up 30% nationwide.

The Government has allowed a one-month surcharge for express bus fares during Hari Raya last year, and never revoked, to be made permanent.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the increase would be “most minimal” and not hurt consumers and the exact quantum would be announced soon.

Express bus companies were only allowed to impose the surcharge for a month during Hari Raya last year but the government allowed an indefinite extension following appeal by operators.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said since the government had allowed operators to impose the surcharge since then, it cannot allow another hike in quick succession.

Citing an example, he said the one-way bus fare for the Seremban-Kuala Lumpur route which used to be RM4.70 before the surcharge was imposed was increased to RM6 during the Hari Raya period. This was not reduced since then.

He was talking to reporters after handing over taxi permits to 73 individuals from the state here.

Nazri said the Commercial vehicles Licensing Board was in the final stages of coming up with the new fare increase structure for buses and taxis.

“We are getting feedback from the relevant ministries and once this is done, I will get the final approval from the Cabinet before announcing it,” he said.

On a separate matter, Nazri warned bus and taxi operators not to allow foreigners to drive their vehicles.

He said both operator, be it an individual or a taxi driver would be slapped with a RM300 compound each if caught.

“I have friends who tell me that they are greeted with “nak ke mana pak” (where do you wish to go Sir) by Indonesian taxi drivers at KLIA.

“Also, we have Pakistani cabbies who drive around KL not knowing where KLCC is,” he said adding that this was bad for the image of taxi drivers.

He said the problem was serious and that the CVLB would not compromise with operators caught committing the offence.

Asked why the CVLB would give two warnings to such operators instead of automatically revoking their permits, Nazri said the board did not wish to be too strict as some of the operators had loans to service.

“If they are unable to service their loan, even the banks will suffer. But we would not compromise on the RM300 compound each for both parties,” he said.

Nazri said the CVLB received 7,586 applications for permits from individual taxi drivers when the “application window” was opened between July and Oct last year.

The board approved half the applications with 2,897 issued in the Federal Territory, Selangor and Negri Sembilan alone.

He said since the government now allowed taxi drivers to use their vehicles for up to 10 years from seven previously, they could also apply for loans from Mara, Bank Rakyat and SME Bank which provided lower interest rates.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Penang State Symphony Orchestra on June 10th

The Penang State Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (PESSOC) is an orchestra and choral group funded by the state of Penang, Malaysia, with a wide-ranging repertoire that emphasizes Western classical music. The resident conductor is Austrian-trained Japanese, Jascha Shimano. There will be a performance this Wednesday. Details below:
Date: 10th June 2009

Time: Opens: 7.30pm / Starts: 8:00pm

Venue: Dewan Sri Pinang Auditorium, Penang

Tickets: RM10 / RM20

Music Director / Conductor: Jascha Y Shimano

Enquiries: Penang State Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Office

Tel: 04-2622462 or 012-5622117


Mendelssohn Barthody, Jakob Ludwig Felix (1809 - 1847) - The Fingal's Cave Overture, Op.26

Haydn, Joseph (1732 - 1809) - Sinfonia No. 94 "Paukenschlag / Surprise", G-Dur

Bizet, Georges (1939 - 1875) - Ouverture "Carmen"

Offenbach, Jacques (1819 - 1880) - "Orpheus in the Underworld" Overture

Rossini, Giachino (1792 - 1868) - "The Thieving Magpie" Overture, "The Barber of Seville" Overture, "Wilhelm Tell" Overture
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Penang to go green every Monday starting next month

Penang to go green every Monday starting next month. A good small step forward for Penang. Way to go!

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will make every Monday a “No plastic bag day” from next month in a bid to become the country’s first ‘green’ state.

It is learnt that shoppers who do not bring their own reusable bags will be charged 20 sen for each plastic bag when making purchases from shopping complexes and hypermarkets.

The money collected from the sale of plastic bags will go to the fund to help the state’s hardcore poor, a state government source said.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said shopping complexes and hypermarkets have agreed to the state government’s initiative but there must be wide publicity to make it a success.

The state had distributed declaration forms to shopping complexes and hypermarkets to secure their commitment to the “No plastic bag day”, he told reporters after chairing a meeting with some 20 shopping centre representatives.

Phee said the first batch of “No plastic bag day” posters would be handed out to shopping centres a week before the end of the month.

Among the issues raised during the meeting were the high cost of giving out eco-bags and whether it was appropriate to use them for fresh produce.

Source : The Star Newspaper
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free Course by the Govt

The gov't of Malaysia is offering free course for any Malaysians mainly for ICT specific course.
MSC Malaysia via its K-Workers Development Initiatives (KDI) is driving the provision of last mile skills training to potential knowledge workers (k-workers) for the ICT industry. Trainings are currently done through partnership with training providers appointed by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

One example below of one of the program:
MSC Malaysia Job Camp : ITO Training - 60 days
Part A : Foundation
Part B : Application / Web Development Specialisation
(J2EE / VB.NET / PHP / ASP.NET / Oracle)
Part C : Hands-On Project
Part D : Soft Skills & Software Engineering Concepts

Requirements :
* Available k-workers (fresh graduates,
unemployed, in-between jobs or retrenched)
interested in a career in the ICT industry
* Malaysian citizen
* Diploma/Degree holders in ICT-related fields
* Minimum CGPA 2.5 and above
* Attend full time training (duration ranges from 10 to 60 days)

Check out the website for details: http://kdi.mscmalaysia.my/Main.action

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Durian Season!

It's Durian Season in Penang! I love eating it. Some don't like the taste and smell. I guess you need to get accustomed to it. Someone actually compiled a guide on the different types of Durian, which a lot of the great ones came from Penang. The plantation owners have been experimenting with different durians types, coming up with many unique durian characteristics esp. the flavour, and color. Here's a run down on the different famous ones:

D11 (pic above) : It has creamy yellow flesh with a pleasant taste and subtle smell.
D604 : Cultivated by the late Mr. Teh Hew Hong of Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau. It is sweet, and has some 'body' to it as the seed is small.
D600: Also from Sungai Pinang in Balik Pulau. The flesh as a bittersweet taste, with a touch of sourness.

D700: Slightly darker flesh and harder than D600. Crispy, and the smell is not very strong
Ang Sim: It has soft and sweet flesh, with dark yellow colour. Very nice aroma.
Khun Poh: Named after the late Mr. Lau Khun Poh. It has a beautiful orangy flesh, with a slightly bitter-sweet taste and very heavy aroma.

Hor Loh (Water Gourd Durian): One of my favourites! It is very soft, dry and slightly bitter, with a sharp smell. It was cultivated at Brown Estate at Sungai Ara. It's name comes from its appearance resembling a 'Hor Lor' ( pumpkin). If the durian hits the ground hard, the flesh tends to be bitter.

Ang Heh ( Red Prawn Durian): Another popular durian. Originated from Pondok Upeh, Balik Pulau. It is round, and the orange reddish flesh is very aromatic, and soft with a bitter-sweet taste.
Yah Kang ( Centipede Durian): It has a whitish flesh, and the taste is superb and milky. The name 'yah kang' means centipede, which is due to the many centipedes found at the foot of the tree.
Well, there are many more with unique names that reflects its characteristics or even named after famous celebrities e.g. Jackie Chan. Go ahead and experiment, and see which are your favorites.
Update (2nd July 09) : The author just discovered that the information and pictures that he received via email was from http://www.asiaexplorers.com/malaysia/penang_durian.htm
And he would like to acknowledge the source.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Air France Passenger Jet feared crashed with 228 souls on board

Even though this is not related to anything Malaysian, my heart goes out to the many lives which will be impacted from this incident. 228 souls were on board of the airplane. Nothing much I can say except a little prayer for the many families.

Horse Show in Penang ( Good for some Action Photo Shoots)

There will be a horse show at the Penang Turf Club, this Friday till Sunday ( 5th-7th June).
It is an Equestrian Event with competitions in dressage, carriage riding etc. Apart from these competitions, there will be pony rides and carriage rides for the public. A carnival air will prevail with clowns, stage shows for children, food and games stalls. There will also be an exhibition of various types of horses and ponies to educate the public on the equine industry.
It should be fun. I have never ridden a horse before. I rode an elephant once in Thailand, but I am pretty sure a horse shld be more fun. At least I shld as a horse doesn't have a trunk that likes to splash unmentionables on its rider.
The admission is free but the rides will cost ~ $2.
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Penang Street Market + Matters of the Heart

Since this Sunday was the last Sunday of the month, I decided to visit the "Little Penang Street Market" which is held at Upper Penang Road ( right across the E & O Hotel), every last Sunday of the month. This market is run by a committee of volunteers whose main aim is to showcase Penang's crafts, arts and culture, since July 2006. It is a perfect place to look for bargains and unique crafts and even some antiques.

Later, decided to have lunch at one of the Steak House nearby, but was stopped at the entrance. Apparently, someone just had a heart attack while having lunch. Red meat was known to be bad for the heart, but didn't realize it has an immediate effect. So, I just mooze along to another restaurant right across the street at the Continental Hotel, which is popular for its reasonably priced food. It has a very latin name, i.e. " SALSA". I opted for the set lunch which came with mushroom soup, main dish ( usual choice of fish, chicken, beef, spaghetti), dessert, and a glass of juice. Total came out about RM$15 including tax. Not bad price for a set lunch at a restaurant in town.