Thursday, November 24, 2011

Penang, a Tropical Island of Heritage

Never have I really done any visit to the places of interest of my own hometown taking public transport. Everyone is so used to taking their own vehicle. It's called "convenient" because one has the freedom to follow own schedule and pace. Most of all, I guess it is all about avoiding the hassle of squeezing with others.

However, thanks to the courtesy of Ministry of Tourism (MOTOUR) and Project Penang, a trip on a very comfortable Rapid Penang Coach to one of the many specially designed routes has given me an opportunity to experience my lovely little Penang in a very special way.

It is Route number 101 where the journey starts from Jetty Penang and ends at Teluk Bahang (and return). We started the trip at 9am, given 45min to make visit respectively, enjoyed a one hour very delicious lunch and reached Jetty around 6pm. Along the way we stopped by KwanYin Temple, Penang State Museum, and the bus terminal at KOMTAR.

KwanYin Temple is one of the renown temple in town. It's located along Pitt Street, next to Penang Chinese Town Hall. Being the oldest temple in Penang, it attracts many people throughout the year.Every 1st and 15th day of Chinese Lunar Month, people (mostly Taoist) will come for prayers and make their wishes. During then, all of the architecture including stone crafting and wall painting were done by masters from China. They are still well-kept until today (after more than two hundred years). I am always fascinated by the look of the sincere faces as they hold up high the jossticks in their hands when praying. It is as if I could see/hear their whispers wishing for good health, luck and abundance in their life endeavors.

Penang State Museum stores the stories of how this almost invisible land on world map was notice and how it has prospered since Sir Francis Light back in 1886. This old premise that host artifacts and witnesses of development is reaching it's limit and will soon be extended to another building in Macalister Road.

For those who wishes to jump on different buses to their target destinations, you can either look for what you need at the Jetty or KOMTAR because these are the only places where all the buses meet.

Next stop, the 33-meter Reclining Buddha (at Wat Chayamangalaram) and Standing Budda (at the Burmist Temple) in Pulau Tikus. I don't want to tell you how incredible it is to see such a big statue lying there peacefully listening to visitors. What I do want to tell is this temple is open daily from 6am-5pm and it is free entrance. And another thing I do want to tell you is drop a 50cents into the box and ask your question in your heart. You will be amazed how Buddha can actually answer you without miss.

After some serious thoughts seeing the power that faith could possibly provide, it's time for some fun - The Toy Museum. Situated in Tanjung Bunga, it comprises countless number of toys under one roof. Too bad the limited space that houses so many innocent dreams was less organized and the ventilation was not very pleasant otherwise it would be the best place for parents and kids to hangout together sharing one common language - TOY!

Before our journey ends, we came to the floating mosque as well as Tropical Spice Garden.

This place of worship were built not very long ago. Watching this solemn building standing high over the water, a tranquil and peaceful feeling arouse. It is important that people of different belief have the compassion and tolerance when it comes to the topic of human race and mankind. No division should come in between because the fundamental of a prosperous world is love and respect.

Everyone knows at least one thing for sure: Penang is popular for its existence since centuries ago, being the platform for east and west to meet for barter system in exchanging what they want with what they have. And the most popular of trade during then was SPICES! Today, some of the wonderful aroma ingredients for cooking as well as herbs for medicine can be found here. Tropical Spice Garden has become the place of study for scholars and this very common looking garden actually contains endless discoveries waiting to be realized! Under these shades, I can really feel how unselfishly the humility and generosity of mother earth providing us the ground to learn and grow!

Penang is a beautiful place.

I have always tell my friends, "if there is one reason I cannot leave this place it would be it's beauty". It has greens, sea, sunshine, rain, and most of all, a lot of mouth watering food.

Feel it with your heart when you set your foot on this island. You will agree with me and many foreigners who finally decided to spend their lives here after visiting.

Many thanks to the invitation to this trip. It has been a very valuable journey.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Day of Remembrance

My last post was in July.

After such a break (for 3 months) comes a day that is going to be remembered for another reason - my birthday, also the same day the world remember the passing of Steve Jobs.

My friend said to me, "birthday is the day we remember how our mother had gone through big pain to bring us here in this world. We should be grateful for that, especially on this very day".

I replied to him saying, "well I am grateful for everyday since that great pain because it is from that day onwards I get to witness and experience all the wonderful things around me".

And then I realized this day also mark another special message - with the passing of a great person, who had brought the world a different dimension in seeing and enjoying connection with style and personality, not only inspired so many young souls but also motivated such different perspective in seeing things, everything in our life is a creation of our believe and effort.

Leave no regret when we are to waive this world goodbye.

We can do great things. We can, however, do better in doing small things with great love.

To Steve Jobs (1955-2011): thank you for your big message. For you have done your part to this world in this life, may you be in a better place in the next continue to become more inspiring.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Love that remains

It's the pictures from a family cum dear friend (a.k.a. darling) that gave me the idea of writing this post.

The title goes like this: photoshooting weekend - 7th July 2011, and the album consists only a few random shots, taken using handphone in the car.

Driver is the groom-to-be, bride-to-be is sitting next to him. Parents of bride-to-be as well as the photographer at the back seat.

Obviously it is a trip for the wedding portraiture shooting.

And yes, parents are tagging along.

I bet some will give me the look of "What? What is the point parents following?" while others might probably say "how sweet the parents care so much to the little detail of their baby's wedding".

Ever since my dad's passed on, we siblings have been taking our mom together to almost everywhere we go. Well not that we did not do so when our dad's still around, but he wasn't keen in going out with us (at least not too often) and so mom will always accompany him. Thus the most we could do was to have family meal together as often as possible. That's the only time dad's keen (everybody eats).

The idea of "accompanying" comes from the concern of "spending time together". We do not want to let mom feeling alone or left behind, which will eventually make her misses dad even more; but most importantly is we want to have the chance to really appreciate the time we can spend together.

What's the point of having time spent together? Those are the moments that will become the most precious afterwards.

No matter what we are doing for as long as we do it together.

That is the best thing that nurtures the love, and eventually the memory, both share.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Gap in Between

The world moves in a very fast pace.It has always been that way. What I am talking here is the pace of our life runs. We sleep less, work more, need little but buy tonnes, play only what shows status, forgetting the joy of being simple.

Yes, life can be better. Yes, money buys most of the things that make life more enjoyable. Yes, we want to have more freedom to get whatever we want whenever we want it however we want it to be.

But can we find the simple happiness without so many considerations?

We furnish ourselves to fill the gap between what we want inside and what we portray on the surface. That is why we see and feel differently.

Thus by listening to this song and watching the MV together give different impression.

But I like it because it gives me the pleasure of seeing and understanding as well as feeling the gap in between things.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Future - Michael J. Fox

Sometimes it is interesting to look at life itself from various perspective.

From monetary point of view, our life is pretty much depend on how much money we can earn (to our level best) to not only put food on the table (putting aside the type of food and its cost) but to afford a little bit more of luxury (that's how people tend to put it this way - more comfortable, which its degree always different to people).

And then it comes to pursuing life goal, such as social status, more a recognition from the society, to feel good being appreciated.

However, ironically, most people realize that all the above that give rather high level of feeling in terms of life accomplishment seem significantly less important in compare with health, much when one is down with illness.

I was at the bookstore yesterday and his book caught my eye.

Finding that balance between all aspects is the key lesson each and everyone of us learn throughout our lives.

Don't you think so?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our World

There are many sayings about Apocalypse, End of Days, End of the World, Judgement Day etc. If the world does end, let say, tomorrow what memory would you have?

Rest assured that ending is waiting somewhere, since there has been beginning.

It is a cycle.

What really matter is the journey that we have on this world. The footsteps and the times we had through thick and thin with people around us.

The world is beautiful because we see it with our heart.

Monday, May 09, 2011


When I first heard, "when you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced; live a life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice" by Kabir an Indian Poet, I thought it has described how one should really live so that they have a life.

Until I hear "Actually funerals are an important ritual in the grieving process. They don't just recognize that a life has ended. They recognize that a life was lived" from the movie Love Happens.

Life is indeed a celebration, although the departure is always hard to people around.

For some reason, I realize and open the photo folder of my father's funeral and the memories of the day we received call from Thailand about his demise and all the afterwards of such sudden shock came back. For me to remember that day, I still keep in my phone the messages that I corresponded with my youngest brother when he was there handling the body pick up with mom.

There are often lot of times we have regrets in being not able to do something especially when it comes to losing someone dear. We mourn until we barely able to get on our feet after such hit.

Yes on one hand I comfort everyone including myself that he is at peace without pain but on the other hand I somehow still feeling that loss inside, which the separation has taken out from me - we did not get to say good bye, face to face.

I guess this is the hardest part.

Until the idea from the movie got into me.

As I looked at the pictures taken that day, although they are filled with our grief of losing a father, a husband, a healer, a teacher and good friend (my dad has always been a good friend to me), I know too that he, although may not be able to speak his last words to us personally but, has given us the opportunity to look at life itself - so that we live too the life and get recognize when the time for us to leave comes.

It is a matter of how we look at life itself. And dad, you just never stop teaching me things even you are gone.

We miss you dearly.

And Happy Birthday pa, wherever you are.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dance Day for Earth

Being responsible and care for nature does not mean only not littering or not wasting natural resources, although both means so much in keeping the planet cleaner and healthier. There is another thing that is still lacking - love, that includes make connection with mother earth. It is like taking care of our house, or more personally, our body. You not only keeping it clean (hygiene) but also maintaining your body in a tip-top condition at your best and at the same time paying attention to feelings and level of esteem.

In conjunction with World Dance Day, this year Penang is holding it with the title as "Dance Day for Earth"  emphasizing on soul connection - human to human, human to earth, and earth to human - from children to teenagers and adults, caressing the soft grass that is rooted to the soil.

Held at Fort Conwallis Penang in small groups, all workshops maintained the learning process effective by limiting the number of participants.The weather was not too good, big sun all the while and came dark clouds followed by down pouring, but it eventually helped to keep the number of patrons small.

Aida said, "although we received many students last year but it was too crowded and we end up not knowing whether the students benefited or what have they learned".

Different workshops including expressive dance for children & adult, contemporary dance, hip-hop, traditional Chinese dance, traditional Malay dance and improvisation session.


"This year we might not have such overwhelming response but we can monitor the progress and it will help us to do better next".

Sometimes it really isn't about the scale we do things, rather the effectiveness make the difference. To cultivate that awareness of allowing our body to listen to the whisper of mother earth is awakening our natural born instinct to connect with our source.

Before wrapping up the day, the showcase session consisting modern Japanese dance (performed by Ms. Hitomi), contemporary dance (performed by Phor Tay Private and Han Jiang Private), traditional Borneo dance, hip-hop and finally a part of River Project, delivered one very important message - connection happens when we pay attention.

One thing I like very much about the night: the rain put everyone, performers and audience, under one roof on the stage (because that's the only place with shelter) - we all perform and watch at the same time in our lives, thus play that role with people around us and most of all live up to the fullest!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rice Noodle that Immerse in the Love of a Mother

Soup is the fundamental concern.

Different sellers heavily rely on their secret weapon to stand out of the crowds. After all there are too many hawkers selling the same thing so in order to have their own personality to distinguish themselves from others, they have to put in their signature.

The most common base for rice noodle is chicken soup. I am sure you have heard how cooks repeated "carefully selected fresh chicken is cooked to get the original sweetness of the soup, giving the enriched taste sipping to its last drop". However everybody knows "the original sweetness of chicken" can easily be obtained through something called "chicken stock" today. So how to give the soup a real original touch? This KoeyTeowTh'ng seller has his own personal point.

Instead of ordinary chicken, he uses the ones with wisdom - older hen. This allows the soup to have that exquisite aroma that is totally different from every other chicken soup.

That is not all.

Although what really matter is what the tongue gets, but due to rice noodle has a rather pale look - the white rice noodle in clear soup, it needs something to seduce the eyes.

Combining meat balls and fish balls in different sizes, this bowl of rice noodle immediately provide the stimulation, not only that eyes need but also to our taste bud. 

Now this is a complete dish!

Let the smooth and silky rice noodle intertwine with motherly love slowly sliding down through the throat, and get on your feet to the tempo of munching the dente meatballs.

One and only stall in an alley, but is full of regulars and new comers.Where is it? Clarke Street, just opposite the Wantan Mee. That is how near Penang famous and delicious delicacies distant.

Bon appetite!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Dancing Wantan Mee

Ever thought of the food that you put into your mouth actually becomes image in your head when it runs through your tongue and teeth then slide down the throat?

First of all, you have got to love food. Loving in the sense of appreciating its details, including the texture, taste and picture that you see when you are enjoying it (and I mean not taking the place and people into account yet).

It's a heavy down pouring Friday morning. We had a breakfast date with a friend who found this classical and traditional Chinese Wantan Mee that eagerly wanted to share such discovery with us. And so we went.

I'll keep the other details such as the name and the look of the shop secret.

Let us focus on the main topic for now.

The magnificent Wantan Mee.

No stranger to many people in the world, Wantan Mee has been a very trusted Chinese Cantonese Food Ambassador for countless years. So what so special about this one?

The Wantan (dumpling) has to be smooth, that's is the first priority since it is called Wantan Mee (dumpling noodle). So, CHECKED.

The Mee (Noodle) has to be springy and individually separated (that means it has the necessary chewy and cleanly washed away the excess flour with sufficient water). Yep, CHECKED.

A Dry Wantan Noodle is mixed with dark soya sauce and some sesame oil with light soya sauce and sometimes the seller's secret recipe gravy. Things looked as simple as this require years or skill and experience because the moment everything is combined at a nicely controlled proportionate the dish will transform into something extraordinary. Of course, CHECKED.

When the noodle is well cooked and mixed, having the dumpling resting at the side, it needs some other touch up before serving - CharSiew (grilled seasoned pork), boiled green vegetables, and shredded chicken floss.

How often these days you still see a simple dish like this is being treated so nicely before sending down the customer's stomach? It is an art even it is food. Because all the heart in preparing such meal is presented when it is served.

The shiny and shimmering look gives our taste bud a boost and they almost dance in my mouth when my teeth  cut them into smaller pieces.

It is a plate of care-full dish. Because the temperature, the look, and the taste are all carefully taken into account.

Anyway, it would be even better if they can touch up with something very important that will elevate its everything - fried lard, because the aroma that lard creates is totally something indescribable.  Hah, that will be PERFECT!

Where's this shop? Take a little walk near Roti Canai Transfer Road. When you reach Caltex, look for 2 c'clock direction. Across the street by Argyll Road there is a small shop, but filled with people, locals that just sniff out right to find the best things in town.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

As We Age, We Forget Things...

            Such as the innocence to feel happy even for a little deed or accomplishment we have done.

            The other day I brought lunch to Joie and John when they were busy working on doing photo-shooting for a pair of lovely couple. I saw them trying capture the "split second" which projects the essence of true beauty and after many attempts where I helped hold up the veil, release it on the count and run away from being caught in the picture I saw one very very beautiful reaction by John, my youngest brother.

            He hold both his hand high up in the sky (with his camera) and start jumping in circles for joy - he has caught the moment that he likes.

            I will never forget that image.

            Often we are overwhelmed by so much expectations to meet and obligations to fulfill we stress ourselves to forgetting a little act of happiness means so much to our heart. It gives us the pleasure that is irreplaceable with anything else.

            It may not seem significant, not to the extend of making big money or paying bills but the accumulated little joyful things are meaningful enough to give us the sense of purpose in things we are passionate about.

            Most of all, it reminds us: we are the difference we want to see.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

There Is No Boundary

Sometimes life can be a little difficult when things do not turn out the way we hoped it would. While most of the time the feeling of defeat and worry about what bet have we left for the coming challenges is driving us to the edge of falling, the real reason of stirring our stomach is always losing control.

The gap between effort and result is way too far apart that it ultimately taking all efforts into insignificance.

When the results are not promising it is almost like a big pile of disappointment appearing like a stack of thick blankets oppressing over the chest causing this suffocating gasps.

I stood by a tree the other day watching its tentacles-like "leaves" growing upwards. I observed how it is showered by the warm sun and move along as the breeze flow, and listened to its whispers of the rustling.

And then, I see hope.

I see life.

Friday, March 11, 2011


When the breaking news make such announcement that Japan experienced a 8.9 degree earthquake and tsunami hit the shore flooded the farms many other places, my memory gone back to 2004 when that earthquake has caused many casualties in India, Indonesia and affected some part of Penang, my home land.

Seeing that big water rushing in covering and flushing away things it can reach, everything immediately shrunk to become miniature standing in front of a giant almost being crushed with just a small act.

Right now I sincerely hoping people from the affected area will stay strong.

picture taken from yahoo

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

What's life?

Oh, it has passed midnight so the following stuff is considered yesterday then.

I had a very wonderful conversation in the afternoon with a patient-turn-into-friend. She was my dad's patient and now she had become a family friend to us. The face to face chat was incredible because I realized all the little things in life can actually make up to very very useful knowledge. And the best part of it is: they are all everyday thing.

And we always thought "day in day out nothing is interesting if it is not big".

So what about life? Take it easy, but not lightly. Many confuse being easy going and not serious. Well, we can be serious and easy going at the same time. Serious in treating life as a very precious and valuable journey that we should waste no time on not paying attention; at the same time taking it easily so that we don't choke ourselves to death when we come across challenges or obstacles and failures.

Being serious doesn't mean having prejudice and/or discriminating others when the common understanding/value conflict. And so it is always the first thing to remember: we aren't here to not do mistakes but to learn to understand what mistake is.

Pain is part of life. It is through surviving the pain we understand what we have earned so that we know how important wisdom is in our life.

I thanked her for sharing, because she not only taught me the experiences she have but also given me such a big reminder: stay young at heart in order to keep on learning. So that the mind doesn't get filthy by arrogance and egoism, which usually possessed by habitually-complacent adult.

Be at the moment and always learn. Breakthrough is a joyful thing.

Friday, March 04, 2011

LOVE is a Constant Working On It Thing

One of my best friends' best friend (we are friends but aren't besties just yet) went to Maldives for her honeymoon and she captured a lot of wonderful pictures.

There is one particular picture than she tagged me in, in which she claimed it to be a "reminder" for my husband to bring me there (*which I thank her so much for that). The other reason that she did that tagging was probably the light-writing thing was something we had them doing when taking the pre-wedding photos. But because the result wasn't really satisfying so we ended up did not use in compiling the album.

And so she did, write that word again and capture the picture for us to see.

Although the outcome did not turn out perfect but it triggered something very valuable:

           Darren (the husband): practice make perfect. Thanks to our wedding photo shooting lesson.
           Venn (the wife): after so many times, I still cannot get it nice....dumb.
           Joie (my husband): Keep on practicing. Just like LOVE, need to constantly work together on it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No String Attached

It the 100th day prayer for my dad. We had the busy morning and decided to go for movie together in the afternoon, with mom along.

It's "No String Attached", by Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher (no spoiler here don't worry).

Throughout the movie there were pretty much laughter and frankly speaking it is a great new cinema in 1st Avenue, Penang. I enjoyed it so much particularly one line caught me as if it's some kind of message for me.

It says, "Be hurt. The world can take it".

Me and my sis-in-law had a talk yesterday over communication issue between couples. I mentioned about the sudden decease of my dad actually had quite an impact on us where we are still working on getting over it.

I did not really let myself get down in emotion since his depart. I know deep down I miss him so much but I just don't want to break down in tears. However when I heard this line my tears fall.

Sometimes it is just too deep the cut until the word "hurt" can be too much to bear.

Yes, be hurt.

Yes, the world can take it.


By the way, it is a good movie.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What is life if there isn't any process of achieving goals?

I guess different people just make different decision in defining life. I attended the 20th Anniversary Luncheon organized by the theatre troupe that I once belonged to and met many friends. It's always an interesting experience when many who got separated after taken their sail are once again back at the very same place where they nurtured their teen spirit.

We all have dreams.

They may vary from time to time, and sometimes accordingly to different life stage.

No matter what our dreams are we should never give it up for anything for they keep our soul soar so we can always hold our head high to face challenges.

Because of the gathering my memory wanders. I wonder where have the other absence gone and how have they pursue their dreams, and I missed them.

I guess different people have made different achievements in defining life.

Whatever yours is I wish you continue to achieving more goals!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Time of Seeing Old Friends

I was told by the invited guests to my wedding that apart from sharing the joy of our unity, another reason of attending such event is they can meet with friends that they have probably not seen for a long time.

It's true.

Much laughter and catch up were done over the dinner.

Although not many photos were taken (coz we were busy chatting).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Communication does not mean talking through things only when there is an issue waiting for solution. It gives the involved parties a chance to speak out the heart and listen to each other.

I believe everyone has a dream. Talk it out, and make it fly.