Friday, October 30, 2009


Halloween is just not a Malaysian celebration but it has crossed International borders and arrived whether we like it or not. The shopping malls have quickly "cashed" in and set up Halloween corners.
Events like Creeky Door Knock, Halloween Family and Costume party will surely sell to the youngsters.
Freddy Krugger has left our nightmares and appeared in day light. He actually was quite friendly and tapped me on the shoulder to ask if I would like to photograph him.

The sweets and chocolates on sale.
How does a caricature drawing stall fit into Halloween. I guess, anything sells.
A Malaysian witch on the prowl.
MartianGirl went over to a friend's house to carve little pumpkins. We don't celebrate Halloween and I am not into her dressed as a ghoul. But, they had never carved pumpkins and it was something unusual for them. Their handicraft at night. I guess it's not too bad for a first attempt but I am sure in countries where Halloween is celebrated, pumpkin carving would be serious business. She wasn't scared at all. Maybe he was....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Divali and Neighbours

I live in a surburb where the community is large and our houses are "within hearing distance from each other. "Within hearing distance" would be the most accurate way of imagining how close our homes are. If I am in my garden, I actually can smell what the neighours are having for dinner and I am not lying. Once we got the lovely smell of bacon and MartianGirl argues with me, "why can't I have bacon for dinner instead of rice, meat and vegatables which is sooo boring." And if we are truely sticky noses (which we are not), we can actually see what they are eating by peeping over the fence. So it is with much gratitude that I have lovely neighbours on both left and right sides or life would be really misearble.

GismoMan celebrates Deepavali, a festival of lights to remember the victory of good over evil. The festival usually falls in October or November every year. For Divali which we celebrated just 3 weeks ago, my neighbour Jeanny baked us a lovely orange butter cake with lovely peacock icing. The tail of the bird was made to look like a "rangoli," an Indian art made of coloured rice grains or powder drawn at the entrances of homes. She used coloured sugar to make the "rangoli." She even delivered the cake in a beautiful box.
I sent over some Indian sweets and cookies. The kids receive a little money in coloured packets and MartianGirl collected RM 80 this year. She deposited half of the money into her savings account and she will buy some clothes with the remainder.

Monday, October 26, 2009


These cute floral (soft animal?) arrangements are popular gifts on graduation days. In the past, graduation bears wearing motar boards were the in-thing, but as MartianGirl says, "they are so last season." These squirrels with their large eyes and wide smiles are pretty irresitible with the lovely packaging.
These girls are of Malay ethnic origin and the graduates usually wear head scarfs that colour coordinate with the colour on their graduation gowns. The colours differ from one faculty to another and on any one graduation ceremony, there will be greens, blues, mauve and silvers moving around.
Graduation week takes on a fun fair and carnival atmosphere with many stalls that "mushroom" overnight to sell food, drinks, trinklets and flowers.
Mini or Mickey in grauation outfit?? I can't figure out the gender.
The undergraduates set up stalls and the profits support their activities on Campus. The University does give out grants for various student activities, but the extra money means the Societies can have more projects throughout the semesters.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


It is 6am on a Monday morning in Malaysia and I feel as grouchy as Smokey BBQ. The weekend was busy with grocery shopping and the usual running around getting things ready for this week. Saturday had 4 loads of laundry to be done. Started at 7 am with the first load of bedsheets, pillow and boster covers out by 8.30. Everything was dried by 12 noon. The morning started a little cloudy so it took a little longer for things to get dried. Second load was out at noon and dried in 2 hours (the temperature here is 28 - 30 degrees Celcius and with a slight breeze, everything dries super quick (including myself in the sun). We don't need a clothes drier in this climate. Third load was out and hanging by 2.30 and the fourth load by 4 pm. Everything washed and dried by 7pm. The sun is up by 7 every morning and sets at around 7pm, so we get lots of light if thunder storms stay away. I love living in this country, its shorts and T-shirts all day and I never have to waste time bundling up in winter woolies or getting frost bitten. The only bites I get here are from mosquitoes.

We had to get to the super market (usuallyTesco) for groceries on Saturday night. That took 2 hours, we had run out of everything from toilet paper to food. Sunday had only one laundry load. MartianGirl has at least 3 clothes changes everyday - pyjamas into the basket every morning, uniform in the basket after school and home clothes in the wash again every night when she changes into clean pyjamas. The humidity here is around
90 % so it can get very sweaty. I do at least two changes, thank goodness for sunny days.

Smokey BBQ looks angry and grouchy inspite of all the food (leaves) I have given him/her. The Catty Kims are getting fatter and 3 have already gone into pupae stage. They eat so much and my plants have become quite bald. This is the flowering plant that they love so much to munch on and all 10 caterpillars were found chewing up the leaves.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


"Rangoli" or "kolam"is a floor art that is made from coloured rice grains and rice flour. The drawing is made by first having a design outlined by dots on the floor using rice flour or paste. The dots are then joined to form the full pattern. The painting is patiently filled in by pouring or sprinkling coloured grains within the patterns by hand. It is tedious and back breaking, but the product is a beautiful welcome "mat" at the entrance of the house.

During the celebration of Deepavali or Divali - the Festival of Lights celebrated by the Hindus, the kolam welcomes the Goddess Laxmi. This kolam was drawn at the entrance of a shopping centre during Deepavali which was celebrated last Saturday - 17th October. Depending artist's skill, the kolam can take a 3-Dimensional effect with the use of contrasting colours. The designs are intricate and flowers and the peacock are popular traditional rangoli designs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It's a good life I have here - lots to eat and nothing to do all day except get fat and morp into a butterfly. Hope all of you have relaxing days - don't take LIFE too seriously.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


We were browsing at Chinese Sea Food Restaurants last week in search of lunch. The sea food here looked really fresh. How more fresh can they get? They were still swimming and alive. We were not into picking out the sea food and having them cooked so we did not have any of these.
The Emparau Fish is the most expensive on the menu - normal price at around RM 1000 per fish as it is RM 100/100g. It was on special that day for Rm 65/100g. They did not look very impressive but the guy said even the scales can be eater. For a thousand dollars a fish, I would even eat the eye balls!!! The best way to taste it is to lightly steam the fish in soy sauce. Not for us or we would have to starve for the rest of the month.
The Morey Eel at RM 10/100g. I wouldn' t be eat these, I don't think they will go down too well with my sensitive stomach.
The Giant Mantis Prawns at RM 13/100g. My lunch buddies say it's quite tasty just stir fried with dried chillies and oyster sauce. NOPE - not me for too.
Prawns - this is the only sea food I can eat.
Just when you think you have seen it all - The GeoDuck. Oh can pay me and I still won't try this. At RM13.80/100g, one Geoduck is about RM 400. It is suppose to taste like abalone - either eaten in steam boat or as sashimi (raw).
The Japanese Escargot. I know the French eat SNAILS and I am glad I am Malaysian.
I guess, "To each, His Own."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


It was really difficult choosing lanterns for the Mid-Autumn festival last Oct 3rd. Did I want the traditional type like the paper ones above. These come folded flat in grooves and are sold in a pack of differnt colours as seen in the plastic piles on the table top. One just need to pull them open like acordians, stick a candle in the wire holder and viola....we are ready for the lantern parade.

The shopping complexes compete for the best decorations to attract customers to the moon cake stalls. There is so much variety from so many brands, it is hard to make a selection especially when the packaging is lovely. Special sections, usually in the Centre Court, are built to look like traditional China town.
These are lanterns made from wire frames to form different animals and then covered with colourful polythene paper. The lanterns are then hand painted for extra colour and to fill in the essential features - eyes, wings, beaks.
These are my favourite and I have had a different animal every year till I was 17 years old. I know, 17 is way too old to be doing the lantern parade but lanterns are irresistible. If one kid in the neighbourbood (even at 17) wants to walk her lantern, we have get our own and join in the fun. It happens in every home, "Mummy, Kim Lian has her lantern and Aunty has invited me to walk tomorrow." So even at 17, together with my sister and dad, we will be at the Chinese shops agonising over which animal to buy. Every animal has its own characteristics and vibrant colours. My very first was a squirrel, and rabbits, butterflies, dragons, flying horses have accompanied me over the years.
And... when we think we have finally outgrown the lantern parade, we have to start all over again with our own kids . Choosing the animals, buying boxes of candles, matches and lighters. The Mid-autumn festival of moon cakes and lantern walk on the night of a new moon - a tradition no one can ever out grow.