Category Archives: Going Places

Sandakan: The Nature City

‘Sandakan? Are you going there for work? Holiday?! What’s to see there?’ is the reaction I got when I told some people that I would like to go on a trip to Sandakan. I did and it was amazing.

Perhaps, some folks feel that there isn’t much adventure or experience when travelling to a local place. That wasn’t the case with Sandakan. It has a lot to offer and I guess these folks missed out a lot.

DAY 1 – Wednesday, January 28th.
My friend and I took a flight from KK on the morning of January 28th and upon our arrival we took a cab to Bandar Kim Fung as a friend of ours recommended a Chinese-Muslim Restaurant, Alice. Bandar Kim Fung deosn’t feel like Sandakan at all. Or Sabah for that matter. I felt like I was in China.

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After we had our breakfast at Alice and walked around the area, we took a bus straight to the city. Not knowing where to stay, we immediately checked into Harbourside Backpackers, the first backpackers lodge we saw and it was perfect as it was just in front of Harbour Mall where another friend of ours has a bookshop there.

In another story, prior our trip to Sandakan I suggested that we couch surf. But then, another friend of ours joked that our internal organs will be at stake. Jokes aside, we didn’t couch surf cause we were afraid of losing our organs but the house I suggested was a bit far from the city. Sorry Kak Ros.

Anyway, after we settled, the first stop has got to be Hipsta, our friend’s bookshop. It’s small but it’s full of life. It’s her dream came true and I felt very proud of her. This is also the place that sells my zine, t-shirts and bookmarks.

Later on we went to a shop beside the main road that sells these old school stuff. Hoarder mode on, immediately took everything I want from postcards, to speakers and board games. I ended up being friends with Kak Siti and came back to the shop again and again.

For tea, we went to Ba Lin, a roof top restaurant. We had some cakes and juices. Despite the gloomy sky, the view was spectacular.Ba Lin itself is a beautiful restaurant. I like the concept. I will go back there to try the main dishes. We ended our day with a karaoke session at Bandar Indah Recreation Centre.

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DAY 2 – Thursday, January 29th.

We started our second day with Coto Makassar for breakfast. Mind you, the soup or more like a gravy is so thick, I don’t think it’s for everyone. I on the other hand, despite the heavy gravy, liked it. It was full of flavour but a bowl was enough for me. Burrppp!

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After a trip to the post office and lunch, we drove to Agnes Keith’s House and we only had half an hour to look around before it was closed for the day. It was a beautiful house with beautiful furniture. The gift shop however, didn’t have much to offer. It only has these items that you can see in KK, not a single thing like postcards or magnets that says ‘Agnes Keith’s House’.

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Since the English Tea House was just next door, we decided to have our tea overlooking Sandakan and the sea.

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DAY 3 – Thursday, January 30th.
Our dear friend is a teacher at SK Bongon Besar 1, a school located at Pulau Bongon Besar, about half an hour boat ride from the mainland. We planned some activities for her students like origami and pop quiz. The view on the way to the island was spectacular and the hospitality shown by her colleagues makes you feel right at home. Her students? Adorable!

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Right after our island trip we went to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Lindung. Unfortunately, at that time, Lindung was still closed.

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DAY 4 – Saturday, January 31st.

‘What will we do today?’
‘Why don’t we just chill?’
‘That sounds like a good idea.’

Next thing we know, we’re on a bus heading towards the Sepilok, AGAIN. This time however, we wanted to see the sun bears at Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Did you know that the sun bears are the smallest bears in the world? We were the only visitors there at that time and we had a one on one session with Lester (or was it Leslie) who gave us a lot of info on sun bears, rescue efforts, what they eat and when they’ll be released back into the wild.

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DAY 5 – February 1st
We took a 2.00 pm flight back to our real lives.

It was a pleasant and much needed trip for both of us. There are still place in Sandakan that we haven’t been to yet. Perhaps well go there again someday. Besides, Kak Siti kept asking our friend about us. Patience Kak Siti.

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Injin Puput: Passage to the Heart of Borneo

I was lucky enough to get a free media pass to attend the media preview on the 3rd of May at Sabah’s JKKN Complex, from Nova, who was so supernova enough to give me one. I was ecstatic because I’m keen about the Sabahan culture that never cease to fascinate me.

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Injin Puput tells the story of a grandfather, Aku Arusop and his grandson, Aaron going on a train ride along the west coast of Sabah. While at it, Aki Arusop reminiscences his father, Aki Gounon’s love story with a Chinese girl, Mei Ling. The musical started with a Murut warrior having a premonition of the arrival of British which was also a forecast of the  appearance of Vulcan trains which is extended into the heart of Sabah.

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What I loved about this musical is the forbidden love story between Aku Gounon and Mei Ling which would be a cliche in movie theaters unless you add pale vampires, horny werewolves or aliens. This, I thought, was just classic.

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Falling in love over glutinous rice wrapped with bamboo leaves. Romantic eh?

Watching Injin Puput gave me a revelation, a reminder of how beautiful the cultures we have in Sabah. It was also an educating experience as I’ve got to learn some of the customs/traditions or rituals that I’ve never seen or heard before, especially the Bosilat Mandung – Mandung and the Sazau Modsuhung of the Kadazans of Papar.

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Bosilat Mandung – Mandung.

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Limbai.

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It would be unfair though, if I were to compare this production with the musicals and plays I’ve seen in Istana Budaya.  There were some things I thought in Injin Puput were ‘off’.

For instance, I thought that the screen which portrayed the visuals were over used that to me, seemed to be sort of a short cut to create the scene’s setting. If physical props have been used to create the setting, it would give a sense of awe and would be more realistic compared to just depending the visuals on the screen.

I’m not going to touch on the choreography of the traditional dances because my knowledge is not to that extent. But I did find that the fighting choreography during the scene with Mei Ling’s brother was quite weird and funny. At the back of my mind was ‘Ah, itu seja? Lawan, mati and then lari?’. It was just plain to me and I didn’t give any excitement of ‘wow, these dudes are really fighting’.

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Easy, breezy duel. Notice of bare the stage was without any physical prop create the setting? Instead, the visual on the screen created the setting. The stage felt empty.

At times as well I find the stage was too crowded especially in the scene where Mei Ling sells her glutinous rice. The stage blocking was poor, the extra actors were scattered without any apparent motive, well, other than wanting a piece of the glutinous rice.

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Everybody was waiting for kao chung. It look scattered. The scene would be more interesting there were stalls where some of the actors sell fabrics, fruits or fish, in other words, the local activities of the community. Takkan the activity of the community is just to wait for Mei Ling to jual her kao chung kan?

The story line on the other hand, it was just okay for me. It would have been more dramatic if the tension of the story was build up from the beginning when Mei Ling and Aki Gounon met. Then only the conflict would become stronger, when the conflict is strong, of course the love birds will try to do everything just to resolve the conflict.

I can’t really say if this is the best Sabah Fest production for I cannot make any comparisons as I haven’t attend last year’s Sabah Fest. Last time I went was when Sabah Fest was still held at Sutera Harbour, which is around 2009. But viewing from the whole production, the cultural aspects of Injin Puput is always an amazing educational experience. Production wise, it can be improved, from the story, to stage design and acting. Only then I believe, it would a solid act. Or maybe, this was just the preview night, therefore, the production didn’t went all out?

During this part, the Argus pheasant feather was missing on the actor's headgear and there weren't any tattoos that shows that he is a Murut tribesman.

During the marriage ceremony between Aki Gounon and Mei Ling, the Argus pheasant feather was missing on the Aki Gounon’s headgear and there weren’t any tattoos that shows that he is a Murut tribesman. A friend of mine posted a picture of this scene during the last night of the show and surprisingly, the male’s costume was complete, with tattoos as well. Hhmm.

Despite what the ‘offs’ that I mentioned, I congratulate the team behind Injin Puput for their efforts, hard work and ideas into making this production, a reality. I look forward for improvements on next year’s Sabah Fest. Thanks once again to the supernova, Nova, for the media pass.

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101 Things To In KL (Part 2): Things I Did for the First Time

Welcome people to Part 2 of 101 Things To Do In KL. This time its about the things I did for the first time. For those of you who’s missing out, check out Part 1 of this post, Been There, Done That.

Now before I tell you my experiences, there’s an (should I say) error I’d like to point out. *gasp*

As I was browsing through the cover story of Time Out KL’s (TOKL) April issue, which is the inspiration behind this post, I realized that I already did number 93, experience the good and ugly side of Changkat, Bukit Bintang. The ‘orang KL‘ in me says ‘gile ape duduk KL tak pernah gi Changkat? Less than 20 minutes (without the jam) jer kot dari rumah kau!‘. I swam in the pools at one of the condos, chill with my buddies at one of the clubs and have a roadside steam boat after a fun night.

Thus, add number 93 to the other 10 things I did in the the previous post, equals to 11. I did 11 things in the list and 90 to go!. Yes I know, I’m sorry. It’s my fault for not checking the list thoroughly. 😦

But no biggie. Now get your train tokens ready and drop down at Pasar Seni station cause the first thing I did in the list for the first time is…

88. Buy a keris at Central Market for self defense. 

Central Market is filled with handicrafts, souvenirs and traditional attires. It’s colorful ambiance makes the place lively and inviting.

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It is here I bought my first keris for the purpose of, well, as number 88 says it, self defense. No matter how big or small you are or the fact that you are a professional martial artist, you’ve just got to be careful. You never know someone might abduct you and sell your kidneys at the black market. Err.

I bought a keris just because I can.

I bought a keris just because I can.

After you’re satisfied with your keris, you can have a happy meal at the second floor food court.

Next!

 

80. Seek other forms of joy at the old Sin Hua Bakery. 

Since I’m around the corner, I decided to stop by at the old bakery. It wasn’t that hard to find as I’ve strolled the streets of Chow Kit and Jalan Raja Laut before.

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This old bakery sells your childhood biscuits that can trigger many fond memories and makes you relive the joy you had when you start to reminisce. Tsk!.

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77. Navigate the back alleys of Petaling Street for a roadside haircut. 

I had no GPS to navigate. I even thought of buying a map (to tap into the tourist side of me) but I thought ‘screw it. I’m gonna get lost anyways. And yes I was lost but I didn’t mind. I like strolling the streets of KL looking at stuff, old buildings and people. It’s all part of the experience of being in KL.

While constantly wiping sweat off my forehead, finally, I found it! The roadside barbershop.

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I was so ready to get myself a buzz cut and thought that it was going to be so cool to get a roadside haircut. Unfortunately, I was denied a haircut. Can you imagine, denied! It was like the word denied in shouting capitals was stamped onto my forehead in red. The uncle merely said that I was too young to get my haircut there. Pfft!

I was devastated and heartbroken. I walked many miles (exaggerating) uncle. Many miles just to get a cool roadside haircut.

So what does a young, devastated and brokenhearted dude gotta do when he was denied a haircut? Drag his ass to an Indian barbershop (another thing to do in KL)!. And the best part is, you get your shoulders massage and your neck ‘cracked’, which is always a scary experience for me but the sensation is freaking undeniable.

Or, go to Joe’s Barber Shop at SS15, Subang Jaya (another thing to do in KL) with hip hop tunes blaring from the speakers in the background. Joe’s Barber Shop brings out the hombre in you.

p/s: I know the uncle didn’t cut my hair but number 77 counts. I didn’t get myself lost and sweat for nothing. ;p 

 

43. Decipher social commentary from the graffiti in KL. 

I’m not going to say much, I’m just going to let you decipher the graffiti in KL, an expression from the graffiti artists that speaks today’s issues with these pictures. (Note: Pictures in number 43 are purposely edited differently making the colors pop to give you a worthwhile online deciphering experience. Hahaha!) 

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No pun intended Yuna fans, but the the longer I decipher on this Yuna grafitti, the more I think Yuna looks like a man,

No pun intended Yuna fans, but the the longer I decipher on this Yuna grafitti, the more I think Yuna looks like a man.

 

Add them all up, 15 down 86 to go! But unfortunately, I’m not in KL to do the other 86 things in the list. Kinda sad really because I was so into completing the list but I couldn’t. Nevertheless, I would like to congratulate myself for my effort (self appreciation).

And according to TOKL, my score (15/101) gave me the rank of a ‘Tour Bus Traveller’. Which basically means that I ‘need to get off that tour bus and into a mamak’. Mamak? Been there, done that lah. I was hoping to get a score of 71 – 101 which gives the rank ‘King of the Coffee Shops’; a true KLite and comes with the offer of working for TOKL. *Perasan akan dapat kerja kat TOKL*

Eventually, I’ll raise my rank when I get to KL next time and do the rest of the things in the list. But before the times comes, I’m going to share with you Part 3 of this post. What Part 3? Yes, I’m making a trilogy people, and I hope Peter Jackson will do some Lord of the Rings magic with it. Just joking. But I’m serious about Part 3 though, where I’ll be sharing about the things that could be on the list.

Anyways, I would like to wish Time Out KL a fifth anniversary. Keep on doing the great job! And it’s not a birthday without presents as TOKL said on its Facebook page. Get a free download the digital version of TOKL’s April issue here.

For those of you who fancy a 101 Things To Do In KL challenge, checkout the app of the same name on TOKL’s Facebook page.

See you in Part 3.

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101 Things To Do In KL (Part 1): Been There, Done That

Time Out KL magazine is really hard to come by in KK and I was devastated when I missed the March issue. So, I was determined to grab a copy on my KL trip this month.

I started reading TOKL while I was in KL for my studies and never stopped since. And though I don’t live in KL anymore (until further notice) I still keep reading TOKL. It’s one of the magazines that you could actually benefit from, if you know what I mean.

Time Out KL's 5th Anniversary Issue

Check out Time Out KL’s website at http://www.timeoutkl.com/

So, the April issue was about 101 Things To Do In KL, a list of various activities you can do in KL from food, art to playing the role of a tourist. I thought that while I’m in KL, I might as well do the things in the list. Though I was only in KL for six days (11th – 16th of April and most of the days I’m occupied with tidying up some loose ends and my convocation ceremony) I decided to challenge myself to do some of the things in the list. Doing all of them would mean that I need more time and, money. Haha.

Before I tell you my experience in doing some of the activities for the first time, I’m going to give you a ‘been there, done that’ session. What the heck is that? It’s basically the things in the list that I’ve already done.

11. Eat a sloppy Ramly burger by the roadside.

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If you ever go hungry at night, you’re to lazy to cook and a Ramly burger stall is just a few walks from your apartment, then Ramly burger is the answer. Each stall has their own version of the Ramly burger. I’ve tasted a cili padi Ramly burger at Pandan Jaya, seasoned with curry powder Ramly burger at Taman Dato’ Senu and the kicap Maggie ones at KL Central. No matter where I get my Ramly burger I always ask for extra salad and unions.

Be amazed with the skillful hands of the cook. This one's at Jalan Tun Sambanthan, opposite the YMCA building. Starts flipping burgers when the Sun is down.

Be amazed with the skillful hands of the cook. This one’s at Jalan Tun Sambanthan, opposite the YMCA building. Starts flipping burgers when the Sun is down.

19. Hang out at a mamak joint at ungodly hours of the night.

A mamak joint is a place where to clear your head after a New Year’s party or, to calm down after the club you went suddenly got rushed by the police or, to chill, chat and talk bad about people or, a hard work paid off celebrations and etc. Well, at least, those were my experience hanging out at a mamak joint.You can have a sip of teh tarik and a plate of nasi lemak telur mata or roti telur or if you have ‘saka‘ living in you who needs to be fed 24/7  ask for maggie goreng or nasi kandar.

20. Have nasi lemak bungkus with various side dishes at Nasi Lemak CT Garden.

I never got my nasi lemak bungkus at Nasi Lemak CT Garden before. But I did got my nasi lemak bungkus from the mak cik – mak cik or pak cik – pak cik or abang – abang at the roadside stalls and they never disappoint. I always prefer mine with sambal sotong and telur mata washed down with home made soy milk all that for only RM 4.50.

41. Channel your inner artsy fartsy at Urbanscapes.

I was lucky enough that I got free tickets to attend the 2011 Urbanscapes and I decided to make it an annual tradition. I had so much fun though I sweat a lot. Henry Golding even gave me a pair of flip flops which I forgot to get it autograph. And because I had so much fun, I made a video from all the pictures I took. Check it out:

Unfortunately, I didn’t attend last year’s Urbanscapes due to a busy schedule. Guess I wasn’t lucky enough last year.

64. Sing-off at KL’s best karaoke joints.

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Red Box Ria, Sogo, KL.

What do you do when Red Box is only around ten minutes walk from your college? Skip class and karaoke of course! And I did that a lot. Red Box is one of the best place to sing your heart out for three hours. I sang until I lost my voice. My friends and I danced like we were bunch of crazy lunatics and shaked our hips to the sound of Inul’s Goyang Inul.

67. Brave a bustling Ramadhan bazaar.

It only comes once a year and you’ve have just got to savour it. Loads of delicious Malay dishes being sold up to the point where you have no idea on what to have. Well, at least that’s what I experienced while at the bazaar. Everything looks so good I was tempted to try.

70. Explore Kampung Baru, a village smack bang in the city centre.

Kampung Baru is also a heaven for food lovers. There’s a loads of restaurants that you can choose from. As for me, I can’t get the image of mee celup in one of the restaurants there, out of my mind. Its basically a noodle soup with ground ground nuts with your choice of beef or chicken or both.

Or, if you want another form of Kampung Baru experience, walk around the village, get lost, see some cool vintage houses and find your way back with your own guts. Believe me, I’ve done that and there’s actually a story behind it.

79. Score dusty first editions at Junk Book Store.

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If it wasn’t for TOKL, I wouldn’t have known about Junk Book Store. Once I read it in the magazine, I immediately took a trip to the largest second hand book store in Malaysia and wrote my experience as well. I didn’t get any first editions during my first visit though. Instead, I bought myself Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s baby.

Then on last Monday (15th of April) I took another trip to Junk Book Store to get two more copies of Ira Levin’s books for only RM 23. Book lover or not, this is one of the place you should definitely visit when you’re in KL.

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Best way to get to Junk Book Store is by foot. Drop down at Masjid Jamek LRT Station and walk to Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. Junk Book Store is just opposite Reggae Mansion.

91. Eat hawker fare without the mess at grime at Lot 10 Hutong.

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If you always go to Bukit Bintang on your KL trip but never stepped into Lot 10’s Hutong, all I can say is, oh wait, can’t say anything, I’m speechless! You never been here?! Anyways, dishes ranging from the east to the west and there are loads to choose from. I for one always go two to three rounds around the food court before I decided on what to eat.

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While you’re here, might as well have sushi which you can get from Isetan Food Market. Sushi prices drops 30% in the evening and as the night progresses, everything is half price. Good sushi for good value I say.

Salmon Oyako Don for only RM 5.95.

Salmon Oyako Don for only RM 5.95.

96. Hang literally, with Genting Skyway.

Genting Highlands is not really my kind of place for a holiday or a day trip but the Genting Skyway is another worthwhile experience. Be amazed with the lush tropical forest while you’re suspended in the air and pray that the cable doesn’t snap mid way. Just kidding.

Number 96 of 101 Things to do in KL marks the end of Part one of this topic. It was very exciting to do all the things above and for sure I’ll do them again on my next trip to KL. Except for number 96 of course.

To KK people,  KL isn’t just about shopping and good food. It’s more than that and there are lots of things and other forms of joy you can discover here. Just remember to get a copy of the magazine when you plan your next trip to KL. Hahaha.

10 things down, 91 to go. Stay tuned for Part 2 of 101 Thing To Do In KL: Things I Did For The First Time.

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Yes, things have been really slow, and it has eventually stopped. My last post was on the 26th of August last year.

I could have frequently update my blog but my laptop ‘died’ last year and haven’t got a new one since. I know I could go to any internet cafe, but it’s nothing compared to the comfort of your own laptop and the privacy while at it.

But now, I say, what the heck. It’s now or never. I just have to get back to writing.

Thus, my homecoming entry is pretty interesting. Well at least for me. I came a cross a tweet from a friend saying ‘gonna review my first 60 days of the year, how was yours?’.

How was mine? So here’s to my first 60 pages for the first two months of 2013.

I kicked started my 2013 with an injured right knee. It wasn’t a serious medical case but it hurt like hell! Until now I haven’t gone to the doctor to have it x-rayed or checked. It happened when I was rushing to my cousin’s house. I slipped, my pinky bled. Stood up and tripped again. The pain was excruciating but I ignored and went to Donggongon to catch a movie and shopping in KK with a painful limp. When I reached home at nine, only then I realized how painful it was. Shitting was one hell of a thing to do.

A week after my injury, there was still mild pain. My aunt asked me to tag along with her family to a trip to Ranau, Kundasang and the Tip of Borneo. I guess the combination of pain killers and a sponsored trip made me forget the pain. The week-long trip was fun.

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The majestic Mount Kinabalu as viewed from Kinabalu Pine Resort, Kundasang.

 

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Travelled up north to the Tip of Borneo, Simpang Mengayau, Kudat.

In case you don’t know, I turned 22 by the end of January. My mum decided to celebrate it since I didn’t celebrate my 21st. It was nice, with the company of family members, a couple of presents and ang pows. The only thing that was missing was the company of my friends. Non of them couldn’t make it due to college and due to the fact that I live at the ‘edge of the world’ and it would be an expedition just to come here. So my friends say lah.

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My birthday cake, ordered from Shang Ri-La Tanjung Aru.

Then February came. On the 2nd, my cousin got married. We danced a lot. I wanted to karaoke but the list wasn’t updated. The karaoke guy didn’t have my staple of Adele and John Legend. All he had were old school rock ballads and some Indonesian song that I never heard before.

Few days after the wedding, I went on another sponsored trip with my aunt’s family to the majestic country of Brunei Darulsalam. Though I was unsure whether to go or not, I’m glad I became spontaneous about it. The trip was awesome.

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One of the structures at Kampung Ayer, the floating village.

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At one of the beaches in Brunei. I forgot the name.

The only downside to the Brunei trip was, I missed my dad’s birthday on the 10th. I thought we were going back on Saturday the 9th but we didn’t. I was sad but what to do lah kan?

A week after we came back from Brunei, it has been pretty quiet except that everybody is busy determining my future and my opinions and plans didn’t really count.

Moving on the 20th, we had a farewell party for my aunt and her family because they’ll be leaving for France the next day.

And on the last week of February, my mum was hospitalized due to hypertension. I took the night shift of being on her bedside. I was tired and I got sick but I didn’t mind. But the thing is, I hate hospitals. I can feel a clash of energies. It’s like both the positive and negative energies are on a war. I was so glad my mum was discharged three days after.

There you have it. My first 60 pages of 2013. Macam tidak pun sampai 60 pages kan? Hahaha.

But it’s good to be back to writing. There’ll be more updates. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

How was your 60 days?

First 60 Days

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Brisik Ramadhan Cooking Preview

Ah, the fasting month is here, though not a Muslim myself, I felt the joy of the countdown to Raya. It’s the spirit of festive season that brings people together, like it brought my friends and me together. And another great thing is, the food! Any bazaar you go, the stretch of vendors selling ‘once a year’ delicacies makes your mouth water. Restaurants aren’t behind in offering great Ramadhan dishes as well.

And recently, I was invited to a food review at Brisik Restaurant.

Located at Jaya One, Brisik offers a mix of Sundanese and Siamese cuisine where the spiciness up North in Thailand collides with the slight sweetness of Indonesian dishes. With mixture of sweet leaves, galangal, lemon grass and few other ingredients makes the dishes in Brisik a rainbow of flavours when you taste them.

The interior concept of Brisik, as its name suggest, I expected it to be more of a traditional Indonesian ambiance with the smell of fragrance stick, gamelan music and decorated with items that represents Indonesian/Siamese cultural identities. But instead, it had contemporary setting whereby it combines modernity with hints of Indonesian crafts that you can see on the wall. I’m not sure of the standing lamps at the middle and at the side though, it looks very English and not much effort was put onto the center pieces which were only plastic roses. I like the green wall though. It felt very South East Asian to me.

Surprisingly, the plastic roses looked good in camera. Must be photogenic roses.

Outside, there were lot of palm trees which give a sense of a tropical feel and lamps (Western inspired lamps) were hanging on the ceiling. A suggestion perhaps, wooden birds nest! If much attention were put on the décor of the restaurant, it would leave a long lasting impression to the customers.

Let’s talk about the food. Brisik and My Little Wing organized a Ramadhan Cooking Preview at the restaurant and we all witnessed the chefs’ expertise in preparing several dished.

Simplot (info) and Heinz (info) were also part of the cooking demo whereby a couple of dishes were prepared using ingredients from both brands.

Hashbrown popcorns by Simplot were pre prepared and they looked delicious. It would be a great snack to watch a movie or when you have friends coming by and of course, they taste like potatoes. The popcorns were paired with a sauce prepared on the spot by one of the chefs.

The ingredients for the sauce is mayonnaise and tomato sauce from Heinz, which looked pleasing but at the back of my mind was, when you mixed mayonnaise with tomato sauce, it equals to Thousand Island sauce. I thought the chef would prepare something that’s not-your-everyday-sauce or the-sauce-that-you-can’t-get-on-the-shelves-of-your-grocer type. But nevertheless, it goes well with the hashbrown popcorns and the mayo and tomato sauce is a good example of simple sauces that one can prepare at home.

Next up is pasta. From the looks of it, the pasta was prepared with the usual ingredients such as olive oil, sweet onions and tomato paste, from of course, Heinz. The downside was the chef only used sausages which didn’t balance out the strong tomato taste.

There were also grilled beef cutlets and no doubt the tenderness of the beef is to die for. There’s the sweetness when I tasted the beef as well, maybe marinated with sweet soy sauce. Strong garlic taste was present as well as hints of chili. Verdict, it was just okay for me.

My favourite dish of the day was Satay Serai. Lemon grass wrapped with minced chicken or beef with ingredients that burst in your mouth and then grilled to perfection. This was the winner. An Indonesian cuisine that’s really worth your taste buds.

There were also steam boat and a variety of traditional pastries.

Overall, the occasion was lively with full participation of the guest and the organizer Ms. Hartina Arssid (thanks a lot for inviting) and the Brisik team kept us occupied with quizzes and giveaways.

For Brisik’s Ramadhan ensemble, it started on the 23rd of July until August 15th 2012. Called Juadah @ Maghrib, prices range from RM 45 nett for adults and children from 8 – 12 years of age will be charge at RM 22.50 nett each.

It’s a three course Ramadhan dinner that you can start off with grilled tofu or crackers or salads or others and head on to two main course meals that you can choose from. It’s either grilled fish and rice with lalapan or steamboat. End up with varieties of traditional pastries. Wash them down with Es Selasih or Es Cincau Soya.

Other dishes from Brisik with the likes of Crispy Prawns and Cuttle Fish, Crispy Spinach, Red Curry Chicken, Chicken Basil, Kerabu Pucuk Paku and many more.

To those of you who are on a crusade for a Ramadhan break fast dinner, Brisik is one of the place that you can consider. Located at 10-01 Palm square, Jaya One, it opens everyday from 10.30 am and closes at 10.30 pm.

Cheers!

Break Fast at Red Box Ria

Tucked at the eight floor of KL’s Sogo is Red Box Ria, considered an entertainment gem to those students who want to have a good time with an incredibly affordable price. With quality service and excellent hospitality, this karaoke center also attracts people from all walks of life.

This is the place to escape from everyday’s hectic-ness and scream your lungs out to express what is suppressed inside you. Whether you love someone but don’t know how to say, or present that you can sing so well or unleash you alter ego, this is the place for you.

I know. Because I’ve been here many times.

So far, my experience with Red Box is always great. I never felt disappointed with the service. With responsible staff and freindly ambiance, this karaoke center felt ‘safe’ and comfortable.

From lunch to dinner, my taste buds tasted all the food served and the food were quite satisfying.

And yesterday which was on the 12th of July 2012, thanks to a great blogger friend of mine, Rayyan (check out his awesome blog at The Big Small Boy)  I had the privileged to have a taste of various traditional Malay dishes at Red Box Ria for its Ramadhan promotion.

Upon arriving at Red Box, I was greeted with friendly staffs at the registration counter and got a goodies bag that worth RM 25 each. It consist of a jersey t-shirt from Figos which I gave to my friend for his birthday (other than the fact that I don’t fit that jersey), a novel from Alaf 21 which I gave to a friend who’s obsessed with the Malay romance genre, RM 50 make up voucher from Cinema Secrets, Red Box vouchers and a CD from The Malayan, which I will do a review on it (wait for it).

Okay enough about the goodies bag. Before I take you to a culinary adventure, just let me share with you guys what happened. The food review kick started with a speech from Ms Valerie Choo, the managing director at Grand Surf Sdn. Bhd. on the promotions and activities conducted by Red Box.

There are three things which I like to highlight form her speech, firstly the Red Box Ria reward card. During the festive season from July to September Red Box Ria offers cash prizes and electrical appliances to its loyal customers. During the span of three months, visitors will be given a reward card whereby visitors have to collects five stamps and they are eligible to win. More info, go to Red Box Ria’s website.

Next is ‘We Care’ a CSR project in collaboration with The Malayan (who’s The Malayan? It’s a new band fronted by Andy from Flop Poppy). From may 1st until July 31st, a fund raising campaign themed ‘We Care’ under the Red Energy Charity Fund is held in all Red Box chains. Remember the goodies bag I mentioned? Well those goodies bag are for sell, RM 25 each whereby RM 10 from each bag sold will donated to single mothers and orphans. Now isn’t that great? You can help these people and at the same time, have loads of fun!

Last but not least, Red Box Ria traditional dishes promotion or commonly known as, food. Ramadhan is around the corner and Red Box Ria isn’t out of the list of places that serves traditional Malay dishes from only RM 37++/per person on weekdays. With different menus daily, you can indulge yourself with dishes such as sotong sambal petai, tempoyak ikan senangin and many more. Western dishes, appetizers and deserts are served as well.

The Malayan.

Here’s where the food review starts (finally!). Since it will be the Ramadhan month, the buffet area was decorated with elements of the festive season with the likes of Raya cards hanging from the ceiling with light green fabrics, the common colour for Ramadhan/Raya. There were bamboo lamps as well which would be really festive if it was lit up. I though that the decor could have been better. The mood was there but it didn’t brought much of the Ramadhan/Raya ambiance I was looking for. Perhaps, the management will go all out on the decorations when the Ramadhan is getting nearer (it’s next week!).

I mentioned that I had dinner in Red Box before so I skipped the dishes I had before.

First up is the Grilled Chicken with Tumeric Sauce.

At first glace, I though it was ‘ayam percik‘ but it isn’t. There’s this hint of mild sourness of the tamarind, blended well with the the turmeric. Well cooked, the flavours sipped in the meat and there’s a burst of flavour when you take a bite.

Chinese Broccoli with Salted Fish

 What? Kailan ikan masin? I know this is a common dish but it’s one of my favourite dish. I always get my dose of Chinese broccoli at the Malay stalls around the place I live. But the taste is inconsistent. Sometimes it’s starchy and sometimes you can’t taste the salted fish. I always prefer mine with lots of sweet onions with strong flavours of garlic and salted fish. Red Box Ria’s Chinese broccoli on the other hand, is opposite to my preference, lest garlic-ky and less salty. But despite that, it’s not bad at all. Perfect for those who are health conscious.

Sotong Masak Sambal Petai (Squid with Bitter Bean Sambal)

To be honest honest, I’m not a big fan bitter beans. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grew up with bitter dish in my diet. But I braced myself up and took a bite. To my surprised it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would have that strong smell and strong taste. But it’s the opposite. I think next time, I would have more bitter beans.

Grilled Salmon with Cream Sauce

Salmon is always a favourite. I like mine juicy and fatty, drizzled with lemon juice. But the salmon dish is a bit dry though, it doesn’t have that juicy feel to it. But have it with the cream which tasted cheesy and garlicky and you’ll find out that despite the less juicy salmon meat, it;s actually a nice treat.

Kurma Lamb Ribs

It’s well cooked and very tender. It doesn’t have that nauseating taste ans smell of lamb meat.

Aside from the dishes I mentioned above,  there are other dishes as well such as the spaghetti Bolognese which was disappointing. Why? I tasted less meat or no meat at all and the tomato tasted so bland. And there’s the Kerabu Daging with soft and tender meat with burst of flavour, you should give it a try. Grilled salad, boiled quail eggs in Thousand Island sauce, ulam, tamarind & belacan sauces and many more. 

Salads

Kerabu Daging

Quail Eggs

Desserts

Verdict, yes, my taste buds are satisfied with all the food served. The chefs did a good job in preparing in all the dishes, though there are some recipes that could be improved. The management staff were very nice and helpful, trained to offer good courtesy to customers. And if you’re looking for a place where you can have good food with entertainment, Red Box Ria is the place for you. With an affordable rate, this karaoke center is one of the must-go to break fast during Ramadhan.

Rate? I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

For more info log on to Red Box Ria’s website.

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