Friday, August 28, 2009


My neighbour, Jeanny, is fantastic. She enjoys baking and frequently attends classes to improve her skills. This is her work after going for a cake decoration course where they learnt to make roses, pansies, chrysanthenums and many other different types of flowers. This was one of her examination pieces - a flower basket. I think she should graduate with distinction.
She gave us the cake after the grading. I just couldn't cut up the masterpiece so I brought it to work and showed every one in the office. We eventually cut it by evening for tea break and it tasted better than it looked. MartianGirl and GismoMan were really mad with me cos' I did not allow them to cut the cake at home, and to make things worse, there's wasn't any left to bring home for them to eat. They called me "Rampas Queen" - Snatch Queen for snatching the cake from right under their noses and running away with it in the morning.
Living in a township where the houses are just next to each other is tricky. It gets trickier (if they is such a word) when neighbours do not talk to each other. In my previous township where I lived for 10 years, I actually did not know who my neighbours on my right side were cos' they never wanted to be friends. MartianGirl and the front neighbours' kids played in the evenings, I had some good chats from my kitchen with the back neighbour and Mr Goh, my left neighbour came over to pay his respects when my dad passed away. These neighbours came over when a male intruder, high from sniffing glue climbed the gate and entered my compound. In fact, it was my neighbours kids' shouting and screaming at the intruder that alerted me to call the police. The front neighbour even left work and came home when his son rang to inform him that some guy had climed into my house. He came over immediatley to check if everything was OK. I do miss them all.
I moved to this new township only about 1 1/2 years ago. I am good friends with the left and right side neighbours and we have had dinners with each other. However, the ones in front keep to themselves and have not responded to my nice sunny smiles. I think I will actually be rude and start talking!! Living next door to Jeanie has its advantages - imagine having apple pies, cheese cakes, cup cakes, fruit cakes and chocolate cakes delivered through the back gate.

Nigella bites but Jeanie rocks!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Bali - the island of a thousand temples. Hinduism is the main religion and temple ceremonies or "upacara"are frequent . There is a temple ceremony every day to celebrate different occasions - "adalan" to celebrate the first day when the temple was built and "pamusapati" where the spirit is invited into sacred objects like masks and amulets. Men and women wear traditional Balinese clothing and offerings are brought in cane baskets.
Cremation ceremony at "Pura Agung," or Bali's Mother Temple in Besakih.

Some of the "upacara" are accompanied by men playing musical instruments.Note the four colours of the umbrellas at the ceremony - black, yellow, white and red.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Padi fields in Ubud. The padi is grown on hill terraces as Ubud is a town in the hilly region of Gianyar.

Padi fields in the flat lowlands. Irrigation canals cross-link the fields as the young padi plants require a lot of water.Pieces of cloth and other material to scare off the birds.Padi ready for harvesting.
When the padi plants are mature, they turn golden brown and are harvested by hand using a sickle shape knife. Padi farming is a back-breaking job as the planting and harvesting is done manually.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Hinduism is the main religion of the Balinese. Every morning, the women will make offerings in a tray containing little plates weaved from coconut palms and filled with fragrant chopped screw-pine leaves and colourful balsam flower petals together with lighted joss sticks.

The offerings can be bought in the markets with the palm leave plates already filled with flowers or the items can be bought separately and put together later.
This little girl has already learnt the art of making the plates by cutting and shaping the palm leaves with the large blade. She is so young yet she has learnt how to handle the large blade so carefully. When there is a need, kids grow up so quickly. Looking at her, I realise I am too protective with MartianGirl who has only recently started to chop and cut fruits and vegetables. And I am still wary when she handles the kitchen knife.
In the markets, the ladies arrange the many different coloured clower petals in the palm leaf trays for sale in the morning. The trays are quickly bought for the morning offerings.
The offerings can be made in specific prayer areas,
by the roads just next to their shoplots, homes or at the entrance of ther shops.
These offerings are carried out without fail every morning and the roads and streets are lined with palm leaf trays, flower petals and joss sticks.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Ubud was founded by Rsi Markandya, a Hindu priest from Java on his spiritual journey to Bali. Ubud may have come from the word "Wos," the name of a river in the area. The root word of "wos" is "usada" which also means Ubad (medicine) and the river was believed to have healing properties.

The market is really worth a visit with fruit, vegetable, clothes and handicraft already in display by 8.30 in the morning. Do a little bit of bargaining.

I never knew cinamon sticks were this long since the ones sold are only about 4 inches. The dark brown items in packets are vanilla beans where you can scrap the pods and get the natural pure flavour. Again, I always figured vanilla was an artificial falvouring and had only seen it in bottles in the cake isle in supermarkets.

The spice shop with cloves, vanilla beans, saffron, tumeric, cardamon and a whole lot more that I wouldn't know what to do with.

Chillies and garlic anyone?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Women dressed in traditional Balinese clothing walking to a temple festival. The women wear lovely transparent lace tops with a sarong and a sash. Many of the women are svelte with hour glass figures and they look really great with their hair tied back into a neat bun. Busy making handicraft at her beach front shop.

Balinese ladies sit side saddle style so gracefully on motorbikes just like the women in India and Vietnam. In Malaysia, we sit with our legs across like the drivers. If I had to sit side saddle style, I would look pretty graceful but I would slide off as soon as the motor bike moved.

Young ladies on a trip to Sanur Beach.

Teenages catching the sun set in Sanur Beach.
On the way to a temple ceremony.

The Balinese women are fantastic as they can balance large loads on their heads.

Young ladies on their way to work. After my trip to Bali, I have started exercising to get some shape back. It will take some time before I look as good as the 2 young beauties but at least I have started.