Saturday, May 31, 2008

A beautiful day in Boston, MA...

Wake up to a cool morning in Boston, MA. It is now 5:46AM and I am wide awake. Had my breakfast and start to write this. That bowl of fresh Cherry on the dinning table is indeed a welcome sight to our first morning in Boston.

Well, your guess is right; I am now in the US after a long flight from Kuala Lumpur. It start from KLIA at 8.50AM on Thursday May 29, 2008 taking the MAS flight to Newark, NJ for our journey to Boston to attend the commencement ceremony of our youngest daughter at Harvard U on June, 5. She would be getting her PhD, after pursuing here dream that start at Cornell, then at Yale and now at Harvard. As parents we are indeed proud of her achievements. In fact we are very proud of the achievements of all our children, who excel in their academic fields, beyond our wildest dream. Well, that is life, like the saying what you sow so may you reap.

The journey from Kuala Lumpur, the actual flight from KL to Stockholm was twelve hours fifteen minutes and after a transit of one an half hour, we proceed to Newark Airport and arrived on the same day at just before seven in the evening. This sector took about six and half hours. So the flight time KL - NY was about nineteen hours. It was a good flight but to us at this age, it was rather strenuous. On arrival at Newark we were greeted by those friendly and professional officials of the US Immigration and Custom agencies. What I like most about these professionals is that they are doing a difficult job in a very professional manner and yet friendly. We were indeed made welcome. After going through the normal ritual at the airport, we got into the US again after almost seven years of absence. The last time we were in the US was when we were living in New Haven in 2001.

Our daughter was there to welcome us as well. It was like returning home again, since we have been in and out of the US for many times from the early eighties. Tired we spend the night at the Best Western hotel near the airport. With the jet lag it was time to get acclimatized to the different environment with that change in the time zone. We had travelled almost twenty four hours and yet arrived on the same day as thought it was just an eleven hours journey. Just after twelve the next day we took the Amtrak train to Boston and arrived just past five in the evening. Without much ado we took a taxi to our daughter's home at Somerville, north of the Harvard U. With that we start our day in Boston. Indeed happy to be back to our home away from home. We had live in Boston for a year in 1998/99. Have a nice day...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Of tropical fruits...

Folks, Enjoy these images. The Custard Apple is from our own tree at that back of the house, whereas the Banana and the Water Apple are from the fruits vendor. I am not sure why the English names of these fruits are such but I believe that when the European first saw these fruits, they had to give a name for it. So the simplest way is to use Apple as a reference. Thus Our Jambu Air is Water Apple and our Buah Nona is Custard Apple. But they got a name for our Pisang in Banana. Well, these are nutritious fruits to take and it taste great as well. Have a nice day.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Malaysian Artistes For Unity....

Friends, I found this wonderful site - Malaysian Artistes For Unity at Steven and thought that it would be wise to spread the words around. So do have a look and I am sure like me you would enjoy this site. Have a nice day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Of the bowl of Chili...

For today just enjoy the image above. It is a bowl of Chili that my spouse prepared for dinner. It is a complete vegetarian dish and very nutritious. The first time we tasted it was at a dinner in New Haven, Connecticut when we were living there some years ago. A group of students which includes our youngest daughter, who was studying for their Master degree at Yale invited us to their party. Among the many dishes that the students had prepared is the one call Chili. It has nothing to do with our meaning of the word Chilly, a hot and spicy dish. This one is totally prepared with all kind of beans and it is the tomato which creates that color of red chilly. Thus it looks hot and spicy. It is not hot or spicy at all, but it taste as great. All the ingredients that made this wonderful and delicious food are vegetarian. And because all the foods that were served at this party are vegetarian, I ask why! And soon found out that almost all the students at that party are Vegetarian as well. They all say that they got converted to vegetarian because of the knowledge that they had acquired when studying for their degree on forestry and the environment. Thus they are convinced that one could live a healthy life on this planet by been vegetarian. No white or red meat, only vegetables which includes all the edible green, vegetable oil, the beans and cereals. I am indeed please to get such information from these group of social scientists and with that I am convinced that it is indeed a good way toward a healthy living.

They explain in detail to me that we all need energy to live and that energy comes from the sun. And since our species has not found the way to convert the sun energy direct for our consumption, to get the energy we had to go to a third party. That third party is the plant. Plant is the only species that could convert energy direct from the sun; no other species on this planet could do so. So it is the plant that convert that energy from the sun and stored it for other species to consumed, thus we get the energy to live on this planet. So those students thought that it would be best for them to became vegetarian and get their energy from the plant, the first source of energy and not from the other sources like animal and fish who ate plant to get energy. And not to consumed any meats to get their nutrition. After thinking over it I found how true what these students said. It is a simple logic that we go to the direct source, the plant for our energy need instead to the animal or fish, like us cannot convert the sun energy direct but had to rely on the plant to get their energy to survive on this planet.

On returning to Malaysia my spouse after looking at the recipes and additional input from our daughter and with her culinary expertise, try cooking the Chili and over time she got it perfect and now loved by all members of the family. Guests who came to dinner were at time served with this dish and they seem to enjoy it too. So friend this bowl of Chili is not only a vegetarian dish but nutritious as well, for it contains varieties of beans, tomatoes and the this and that which come with a good culinary culture. Of course with a pinch of Love, that Chili became a yet another wonderful food for the family. Try it and I am sure you would enjoy this wonder complete food and it is vegetarian.

As for vegetarian food, my first encounter and a wonderful experience was when I was living in Chandigarh, India in the mid seventies. A colleague, a local professor of the University where I was a faculty member invites me to his home for dinner. He is a vegetarian thus the food were vegetarian. We sat at the dinning table in his home and on it are spreads of varieties of dishes that look tempting and all are vegetarian. To go with these spreads, is the Indian bread or Roti. The one we refer to here as chapatti. It is served hot and his Mrs. kept preparing it while we eat. It was one of the best meals I ever had and it is vegetarian.

So as one can see that vegetarian food if done well are good if not better then those foods that of white or red meats. Because of all these experiences we are slowly been converted to go vegetarian. At present not totally vegetarian but for a start we would go for white meat rather then red meat. I would still go for red meat from time to time like before. As for my spouse she has completely taken red meat out of her menu. We soon found out that we are more healthy now and I believe it is because of the kind of food we indulges ourselves at this period of our lives. Anyways in our golden age we had to take everything into consideration in order to continue to enjoy living. Have a nice day...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An afternoon @ Janda Baik...

The happening Sunday, May 11, 2008. It was a beautiful Sunday, with blue sky and patches of clouds here and there. Indeed a great day to take a slow drive to the rural area. Our niece had invited us to come over to her farm at Janda Baik for families get together. So as usual I took a lazy drive and got there just before three in the afternoon. The others are already there and I could see the women folks doing their cooking at the makeshift kitchen. It smells good and I could smell the aroma of grilled fish as well. I parked my car and then join the rest to have a good time in this beautiful enclave of Janda Baik. It was a time to sit and relax and chat while enjoying the foods and drinks. It was a day to enjoy living in such a beautiful rural environment.

These are some images of Janda Baik, scene that we would not be able to see in the urban area. In Kuala Lumpur open burning is prohibited, so there are no chances of seeing such scene which are common in the Kampong [village]. When I was growing up in the Kampong we would gather all those rubbish which includes the dried leaves and branches and make a bonfire of it in the evening. It would create smoke which would drive the mosquito away. As kids it was fun to get to light up the dried leave and branches and turn it into a bonfire. Sometimes such burning is done in the orchard to get rid of the unwanted orchard waste. At the same time it would provide the carbon dioxide that plant needs to grow. Coconut palm needs the smoke to grow well, so it is a familiar sight to see open burning done in such plantation. Now living the city the scene of open burning are no longer seen. So it is in a place like Janda Baik that we get to see such a happening, which made such scenes so special to us folks from the city. Yet it turns out to be another wonderful day with the families. Have a nice day..

Friday, May 16, 2008

Reminisce - Teenagers...

The happening was in the late fifties and early sixties, the days of Elvis Presley, the Rock and Roll and the visit to the Nurses Hostel for a dance get together. We were young teenagers just out of secondary school and for the first time we are been treat as adult in a world that we are yet to understand. With no proper jobs to start a living on our own, most of us still stayed at our parents house, thus everything are provided for just like before but with a difference, we are now more free to roam the streets with our gang of like minded youth. Come evening we would dress up and meet at a corner shop at one end of the Jail Road in Kuantan. It is the shops that are in front the Abdullah School, where we all had our Primary School education. My home was at Tanah Putih, now Jalan Wong Ah Jang. Tanah Putih in those days was the end of the town where the Kuantan River cut the road to the west. One had to use a ferry to get across. To us it is the end of our world. It is a place no one live. It is a swamp where Nipah grows in abundant. Folks would come here to gather the leaves to makes roofing material for houses. At time we would also join the old folks to looks for clam in the swamp. Other then that we seldom ventures across the river, where at time, you would see crocodile swimming freely. It is indeed not a place for kids to be going. No way would we venture across the river.

Our place for a meeting usually starts at the Kuantan Recreation Club or the KRC. There is a green there and wooden benches were placed on the side of the green field. It is known as the KRC Padang. In those days there are no bus services and the only way we move around are by bicycles. Four or five of us would cycle from our home and meet at one of the bench and would sat around and smoke cigarette. A new found freedom and enjoy the in things those days. Smoking cigarette is sort of the coming of age for us youth. Some would spot the Elvis Presley hair do and others would do the P. Ramlee look and all of us would use that sticky Hair Cream and all would look smart with their hair well comb and shining. Girls were not yet in our minds at that time. We were just enjoying the freedom from school before going for further study or getting proper jobs. At time we would just yarn until dark or just go to one of the friend's house to listen to the music on the gramophone and enjoy the music. At time we would sing along and enjoy the day over drinks that the friend’s mom prepared for us. As for me I believe it is the beginning of my love for music till this day, for I just cannot live without music. It is now part of my culture of fine living. I stop smoking a long time ago and now live a healthy lifestyle.

We all love to dance and at most time when the Nurses Hostel had their regular Dance Party we would get invited by some of the girl’s schoolmates who now got jobs as nurses at the local hospital. Dance party became sort of a regular pastime for those nurses at their hostel. We would dress smart and went to have a good time. We would dance all night long and really had a great time. Care less of what the happening in the world. The dance music was provided by a local band and some of the musician was friends of ours. With such great music we would just dance till midnight and then leave like all good boys do and get home happy. Friends those were the day. Image above is one of those dances. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A new kid in blogsphere...

Out of the blue I received news that my cyberpal for Seattle, USA has start to blog. This pal has been a frequent visitor to my blog and I believe to others as well. Since comments made at the site are for the public viewing, I told him if he needs to discuss things personal, do it through the email. He took my suggestion and soon we began to communicate regularly. Thus he became another one of my cyberpals.

As a person whom I know only in cybersphere and as yet to meet in the real world, I could not address him as a blogger because for a simple reason that he did not have a blog. I did encourage him to blog but I believe he is taking his sweet time in getting to that. Been in the golden age, like me we have the luxury of time and usually takes our time to go into a new project. Moreover getting into blogging for people in the golden age is not as easy as those Tech-savvy of this generation. Anyway folks at our age do learn fast and never underestimate their will and determination. And sure enough yesterday I got an email from this cyberpal of mine saying that he has just start to blog. I hurry to his blog and found that indeed we are going to seen yet another informative blog in blogsphere. For those who had known him in cybersphere, he is non other then the Louis who often left comment in your blog. His is blog is this HOPSCOTH. Do visit it and I am sure you would enjoy his posting.

Louis, Welcome to Blogsphere. Have a nice day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

An image of space...

For today just enjoy this image that I took of my living room, a space that I spend part of my time enjoying the day. It is a place to relax and whilst the day, in cyberspace, enjoying a good book or just to day dreams. It is my way of having a great time in a space that I created with some ingenuity. I love mirror for mirror do give us that extra space that we need to expend our horizon. Space is nothing if we do not use it. So as you can see in the image above, mirror do double the space of my little living room. In this case it is an illusion of a reality. So what is reality- Matrix? That image above is a reality and I am enjoying that reality, a space that I created. Just like the space in cybersphere, in the real world the principal is still the same. It is what you see and enjoy that moment in time that is important. It is the time we spend enjoying life with color that made living so wonderfully beautiful. That is what living is all about. To be enjoyed.

We live in an ever changing world and I believe that we should enjoy every minutes as we go along on our journey of life. So friends do makes use of all the time that you have got whether it is doing your daily chore, your job at the office or potting the plants in your garden or driving your car or whatever you are doing, do it with all your hearts and enjoy it. For the present does not wait for you. The present is just here in mere seconds and then it just became the past that you can never go back to. You do not wait for the future for the future is now. So do enjoy your present now and makes it as colorful as possible. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Strangers no more...

A blogger who reside in the UK posted in a comment column of one of my posting that he is back in Malaysia for a short holiday. From time to time he had visited my blog and posted comments, thus we began to communicate. So in a way we are really not strangers. Blogsphere has in a way brought blogger close together as though we are one kind of a species that made friends easily. It this case we are indeed friends but not in the real world. Anyway it is a start of a friendship which began in cyberspere. In his latest comment, he suggested that if we meet for coffee. With that I replied that I would love to and then send him my cell phone number via his email address. A day later he calls me and we made arrangement to meet.

Eventually we met for the first time at the Loaf in the Pavilion, a new shopping mall at Jalan Bukit Bintang. It was a meeting of strangers who knows each other only in cyberspere and from that moment in time we are no longer strangers. We sat over cups of hot steamy coffee at the Loaf, a cozy cafe crowded with people enjoying their days. As usual with blogger we chat as thought we had know each other for a long time already. He then presented me with a pictorial book entitled 'Malaysians' as seen in the image above. He is the author of this book, his second book. His earlier book 'Outside Looking in Kuala Lumpur' which he gave me later contains photography of people and events in black and white. I thank him for those wonderful gifts. And since he had to leave early we parted and promise to meet again. He is Steven v-l lee and this is his blog.

Last Sunday together with my spouse I took him to the NZ Restaurant at Melawati where we all had a late breakfast of Roti Canai, Tosei and of course the Malaysian famous Teh Tarik. The place as usual is throng with people especially so on this Sunday morning. We chat on various subjects that come to our mind and enjoyed that brunch. After a while we decided to leave the place and on the way back before sending him to the Keramat LRT station, we stop at our home in Ampang Jaya for a while and he was glad that we brought him to our home for he had seen some of the images in my blog and delighted with that short visit to our home. In his words which he emails me later he says "Dear Pak Idrus, Many many thanks for taking me to NZ for roti yesterday, and also to meet your wife. It is so refreshing to meet new friends through blogging especially when we share some things in common. You have a lovely and cozy abode also. Will definitely catch up the next time I am in KL."

Friends, blogsphere actually create a new dimension in making friends all over the world. Just last month a blogger who read one of my posting made contact via email to me saying that he would like to meet me. So as usual I call him and eventually on the afternoon of March 8, 2008 he and his spouse [image on the left] came over and had tea at our home and enjoy the chat at the patio. He is Allen and he wrote about this meeting in his blog SISUAHLAI. So as you can see blogsphere is a wonderful place to be, to makes friends and in a way enjoy the color of living. Have a nice day.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Of Ikan Aya, Ikan Tongkol and Tuna Fish...

Right from my childhood I love eating fish and one of the fish that I love is the Ikan Aya. So what has this Ikan Aya has to do with Ikan Tongkol or Tuna Fish you may ask! Well, it is like this. Lots of people are confused as to this fish. In fact it is the same Fish. Ikan in English is Fish. Actually all the fish that I had mentioned in the title of this posting is the same fish. On the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia we call it Ikan Aya whereas others call it Ikan Tongkol. People on the west coast do not really like this fish and if you mentioned whether they eat Ikan Aya or Ikan Tongkol, they would say that not only they did not like it but they would not taste it. But when you ask them again if they enjoyed a Tuna Sandwich, the reply would most probably be yes, I love Tuna Sandwich, but again they do not like Ikan Aya. Then you have to explain to them that Ikan Aya, Ikan Tongkol and Tuna fish is the same fish. The Ikan Aya or Ikan Tongkol is the Malay name for Tuna Fish. So as you can see it is only the name that is different. So as the saying goes Rose by any other name is still the Rose and smell the same, so is this wonderful fleshy fish. The Ikan Aya.

The above images show Ikan Aya Singgang and the fried Tuna fish garnished with salt and turmeric. Ikan Aya Singgang or Tuna stew/soup is a very nutritious dish and it goes well with Sambal Belacan and fried salted fish. It would just be wonderful with Ulam [sort of fresh vegetables salad] and the fried Ikan Aya as well. Ikan Aya Singgang is very easy to do. What you got to do is to get a few cuts of ginger, galangal, a strip of lemon grass, a few chops of garlic, sliced anion, green chilly and a piece or two of Asam Gelugor [Garcinia atroviridis] . Just slow cooked it in water with the cut tuna fish and salt to taste, Voila!! You got yourself a very simple dish, yet nutritious. Remember that Galangal is a must, for without it your Singgang is not complete. Have a try.

This, friends is my first posting in May. We are almost half way through the year 2008, a year of change that would surely bring greater hopes and a better quality of life for all Malaysian. Have a nice day.