Tag Archives: Books

A Hobby That Takes You Worldwide

Going through all my mails and reading all the letters and cards I received brought back loads of memories. Receiving a hand written letter or card from someone kinda makes you feel special and I love the surprise I got when I open my mailbox and there would be a letter waiting for me.

That is how Postcrossing is like. You send a postcard to a random person anywhere in the world and be surprised to receive a postcard from a random person from anywhere in the world.

At the time of writing, there are 464,575 registered users from 216 different countries. Since the Postcrossing project started there have been 21,678,492 postcards received. In Malaysia alone there are 3,292 members and 165,097 postcards sent.

I signed up for a Postcrossing account four months ago when I met a Postcrosser Gladys David on Twitter. A Postcrosser is someone who sends postcards to all over the world through Postcrossing. I saw her updates on Postcrossing and decided to check it out. After four months of having Postcrossing account, I only sent my first batch of postcards to Russia, Germany and China last week.

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Miss Gladys David.

While eagerly waiting for a postcard from a stranger from anywhere around the world  I decided to ask Gladys on her experience becoming a Postcrosser. Introduced to Postcrossing by her cousin, she started being an active Postcrosser since 2013, last year.

Why did you signed up for a Postcrossing account?
I love sending and receiving things through snail mail. Letters take too much time but postcards are simpler. 

So far, how many have you sent and how many have you received?
I’ve sent 70 postcards and received 73. I have a colleague who registered later than me but she has sent hundreds of postcards already.

Wow. Her postcards must’ve arrived their destination fast. That’s why she can send many.
[Laughs] I think I’m the one who’s lazy. If I’m busy, I put Postcrossing on hold and only start to send postcards when I have less workload.

For first time users, each user is allowed to send five postcards and when the recipient receives the postcard and enters the Postcard ID written, and then only a user sends another. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards a user sends.

How do you feel when you open your mailbox and there’s a postcard waiting for you?
Of course I feel excited.

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Usually how long will a postcard reaches its’ destination?
It depends on the destination. It doesn’t take too long if the destination is in the South East Asia like Thailand or the far east like Japan. Postcards to Russia will take some time though, according to my friend, @yAn123. [Laughs]

I see. Where have you received your postcards from?
Everywhere! But I haven’t received any postcards from the Middle East.

Gladys shares her statistics.

Did you become friends with the person you sent postcards to o the one you received postcards from, like adding each other on Facebook?
So far I haven’t add any Postcrossing friends on Facebook but there are some whom I became friends with for a regular swap. Basically regular swap is two friends sending postcards to each other without using the Postcard ID.

I see. The extent of your relationship with Postcrossers is sending each other postcards?
Yes. I haven’t had a Postcrosser friend whom I really became friends with.

Where do you get your postcards? Do you buy or your print them?
I bought my postcards most of the time. I print occasionally and I made a handmade postcard once.

Oh. I would like to go back to your previous answer, “I haven’t had a Postcrosser friend whom I really became friends with”. What are the points of the postcards if you haven’t made any friends?
I didn’t spend time nurturing my relationship with other users on Postcrossing. Maybe the point is to have a great personal statistics? [Giggles] You get to know some tidbits from the sender’s country or hometown and I like to see my postcard collection growing. That’s why I keep at it.

Some users have preferences on what type of postcards they like to receive and don’t like to receive. Do you send a postcard that meets the user’s preference or you just send any type of postcards?
[Laughs] I once send a user a postcard he dislikes. Usually, if I have a postcard that a user wants or if I can do something about it, I would meet the user’s preferences. I stick lots of stamps if a user stated that he/she likes stamps. For instance, normally I would use a RM 0.50 stamp, if he or she likes stamps if would use RM 0.10, RM 0.20, RM 0.30, RM 0.05 stamps that equals to RM 0.50. Different images on each stamp.

Postcrossing gave me a user’s address to send my postcard to and in her description box she stated that she is afraid of standard, touristic city views, monuments and art postcards, written in capital letters. Why would someone be afraid of a touristic city view postcard? I’m not sure why. 

What happened with the user whom you sent a postcard he doesn’t like?
Nothing happened. He didn’t say anything in the message box when he registered the postcard I sent.

Do you have any preference on what type of postcards you would like to receive?
My only preference is, the cards must be 4 inches x 6 inches in size so that the postcard can fit in my folder. [Laughs]

[Laughs] No wonder when I look at all your postcards, they’e about the same size. What do you usually write on your postcards before you send them?
Sometimes I write about the weather or any events that’s currently happening. Sometimes I write random stuff pretty much like tweeting.

Gladys’ postcard collection.

Speaking of stamps, how much do you usually spend on stamps for a postcard?
RM 0.50. Maybe more if he/she likes stamps but not more than a Ringgit. So far, I haven’t had any postcard that doesn’t reach its’ destination due to insufficient stamps.

RM 0.50 is quite cheap for a postcard travelling anywhere around the world. Adding that to the price of a postcard, the cost of sending a postcard all around the world is only RM 1.50. That’s what I had in mind when I was at the post office. I was surprised when I was charged RM 2 for a postcard travelling to Russia but I didn’t bother to ask why. While sitting at the corner sticking stamps on my postcards I heard a couple who ask the officer in regards of the price of sending a postcard.

“Why does it cost so much to send a postcard to Singapore?”

It turned out that any postcards that are 15 cm x 10 cm in size or smaller, stamp price will be RM 0.50 to all destinations. Any postcards larger than the size mentioned, the price of stamps will depend on the destination.

Top Left: Mt. Kinabalu postcard; 15 cm x 10 cm in size. RM 1 from Borneo Books, Wisma Merdeka.
Top Right: Random photo postcard bought at the post office for RM 1.
Bottom: KLCC postcard. Much larger than the previous two which stamps cost will depend on the destination.

Do you know any KK Postcrossers? Have you sent any postcards to someone in KK or anywhere in Sabah?
I’ve exchanged postcards with @rungitom who is also a Postcrosser but not through Postcrossing. Some of the Postcrossers I know are @glaydavid, @y4n123, and @sorbesque. Mariah Doksil is also a Postcrosser too.

After having that conversation with her I can’t wait to see the reaction of the user who’s afraid of certain postcards because I sent her a quite an artsy postcard I bought in KL. I would like to receive a postcard from the Pitcairn Islands. But unfortunately, with only population of 46 people (at the time of writing), there are no Postcrossing users from the island yet.

Want to start sending postcards? You can get your postcards from most bookstores at RM 1 each. There are stores you can get six postcards for RM 5 like Just For You in Wisma Merdeka. Most of the postcards being sold in KK are the typical touristic, scenic and cultural if not, orang utan postcards. There are various animal postcards in Times and Tai Yang Bookstore but they cost a lot. As for the artsy fartsy ones, so far I haven’t found any of them in KK.

Or you can always print a postcard by yourself or develop a picture you took and use it as a postcard. Opt for a more environmental friendly approach by reusing old boxes or envelopes and turn them into postcards. There are some concerns as well on Postcrossing leaving an ecological footprint. However, there’s a list of making Postcrossing a greener hobby on the website. Phew!

Fancy a postcard from me? Well give me your address then!

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Garage Sale: Bargain Party

Spend your weekend at the Garage Sale: Bargain Party event which will happen on the 28th and 29th of September 2013  from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. 

Expect to see loads of vendors selling new and second hand items like, clothes, books and many more. You might just find something you like at a bargain price. It will be held at the Damai Multi Purpose Hall which is at the opposite of the New SMC, Damai.

Want to set up a booth? Unfortunately, all booths are fully booked for the 28th and 29th of September.

However, on the 5th – 6th and 26th – 27th of October, the same garage sale will be held on those dates and booths are available for booking! 

Got some stuff you don’t wanna keep? Call the number on the poster or you can contact the organiser Pic Perfect via Facebook and sumbit the following details:

Name:
E-Mail Address:
Contact Number:
Total Number of Booths:
Products:

Booth size is 8′ x 8′ with a rental fee of RM 35 perday. Tables and chairs however, are not included.

“Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

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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.

Ramly Burger

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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Zombijaya

Okay, have you ever heard zombie stories in Malaysia? Oh, I know, Mamat Khalid’s Zombi Kampung Pisang.

Nah, forget about that cause it’s my pleasure to welcome you to, Zombijaya!

[Source: Fixi’s Facebook page]
Writer: Adib Zaini
Based on the story from: MJ Woo
Illustration: Ho Sui-Jon
Language: Malay

 

It’s a story about five friends living their life in Kuala Lumpur, about to have a stable job, great career and a married life when zombie infections spread around the city. In fear for their safety and don’t want to be turned into a zombie, they ran for their lives to Putrajaya where Nipis (the main character) suggest that they would be safe there. Did they make it? Find out for yourself and enter Zombijaya.

With catchy storyline and each characters are carefully develop and you grow to like as the story proceeds added with subplots with messages of their own, Zombijaya is worth your time, worth your penny and entertaining as well. I finished 307 pages in just a day because I’m dying what to know what happens next. It’s thrilling and adventurous! Oh yeah, the illustrations are amazing!

And did you know that, Zombijaya has been adapted into a movie and will be released, well, actually I don’t know when it’ll be released. But, the adapted version of it is named KL Zombie (though, I prefer Zombijaya).

If you want to have zombies close at heart, Zombijaya is for you.

Zombie-fy yourself by purchasing Zombijaya at Fixi’s online store (click here) or grab it at your local book store, Popular (Palm Square) has it.

My only question now is, will there be Zombijaya 2.0?

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Tabu

[Source: Fixi’s Facebook page]

Title: Tabu
Author: Shaz Johar
Language: Malay
Publisher: Buku Fixi

According to the synopsis at the back of the paperback, Tabu is a story about Bibi, a full figured lady who has an African boyfried and a good life until one day, she’s set to unravel two mysteries; the death of her best friend Kim and the owner of the cell phone that she found.

The storyline sounds interesting to me. A voluptuous lady goes all Nancy Drew investigating and perhaps goes into action like, I don’t know, maybe Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, finding the connection between the cell phone and her best friend’s death, a path chosen by a ‘big’ lady which is considered a taboo or out of the ordinary or uncommon. Yes, it does sound interesting.

And this is the point where I would go Randy Jackson and say ‘It was only okay for me, it didn’t have the moment that I expected (I’m expecting some boos now).

And yes, it wasn’t what I expected. The progression of the story is really slow *yawns*. The characters don’t develop and there wasn’t enough thrill and action. I would put it this way, poorly structured. It was just okay.

But don’t (seriously) take my word for it.

Grab yourself a copy and judge the book by yourself at Fixi’s online store (click here) or at your local bookstores.

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The Meeting Pool: A Tale of Borneo

Now why don’t you lay down those books you see on the shelves of major bookstores and opt for something more local, more Borneo. Introducing, The Meeting Pool: A Tale of Borneo by Mervyn Skipper.

It is a story about a group of animals, living in Pulau Daat, setting up a plot against the White Men who are taking down their forest. With a surprising twist at the end, combined with characters each with their own personalities, filled with lessons for the young and old and beautiful illustrations, this book serves as a great read for those who wants to ‘get to know’ the animals of Borneo. I can see a 2D Disney production while reading it. It’s fun and you just can’t put it down.

“This children’s book is a very lively collection of animal stories told by the Borneo forest animals to one another as they gather at their meeting-pool in the evenings to plot a strategy to get rid of the White Man who is cutting down their forests to plant rubber trees. Though this book was first published in 1929 it reads like a book written in 2007, both in freshness and relevance (just substitute oil palms for rubber trees!). It is a delightful introduction to the animals of Borneo, enhanced by the beautiful line drawings.” – Natural History Publication (Borneo).

Go get yourself a copy at Borneo Books, BG 26, Ground Floor, Phase 2 Wisma Merdeka, 88800 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. That’s where I got mine.

Or you can always order online at Natural History Publications (Borneo), Amazon, or The Penang Bookshelf.

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Puisi Satu Petang

In collaboration with Zine Satu Malam, Buka Jalanan Kota Kinabalu is organizing Puisi Satu Petang (Poetry at Twilight), a place where for writers or musicians to showcase their talent in writing or music.

This would be a perfect chance, a door to showcase the talent that you got and you can do it so many ways. You can recite poetry, a monologue or even play the guitar and sing. No worries, there’s no one to judge you. The aim is to discover new talents either in writing or music or even acting which you and I have never seen before and the works that these new talents have done, aside from bringing the confidence out of them.

There’s no big stage where it makes you have butterflies, moths or mosquitoes in your stomach. Similar to Buku Jalanan Kota Kinabalu’s, the setting would be at a laid – back and cozy environment. Look at the details below for time and venue or just refer to the poster above.

So, I urge, those of you, who have written prose, poetry, monologues or songs either in English or Bahasa and you want to share them,  don’t be afraid and don’t miss this opportunity to show what you got.

Present yourself;

At Tanjung Aru’s First Beach;

On the 13th of May 2012 (Sunday) from 3.30 pm to 6.00 pm. 

The poster says it all. So, once again don’t miss this opportunity and you can even bring you family and friends as well. See you there!

Buku Jalanan Kota Kinabalu or Kota Kinabalu Street Library is an effort to encourage reading among the people in KK. Read more about it here

For more information, do reach Buku Jalanan Kota Kinabalu at Facebook or Twitter. And you can reach Zine Satu Malam on Facebook or Twitter as well. 

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