Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A & W and yesteryears...

This was last weekend ...
Penang Bridge
Headed for Penang. Pleasantly surprised that the third lane is opened... 2 weeks ago, it was still 2 lanes. But the joy was short lived as the bridge became 2 lanes a short while later and traffic became congested again. Would the expanded bridge be able to handle the ballooning traffic? I doubt it. As long as fuel is cheap and our public transport, its dismal self, traffic will be a snarl on the bridge; as was the situation on our way back later in the day.

Was at Gurney Plaza; the adjacent building is now operational, new shops have opened and some old ones like Switch, relocated to the new wing. However, it was A & W that caught our eye... not sure whether there was one before but never came across one in our so many forays there. Naturally, we were a little excited as we've not been into one for a while.
A&W Gurney Plaza
It's been so long since my last bite of anything A & W. Alor Setar used to have one... along Jln Kota but it closed down not too long after we moved here. So in we went... Daughter is always game for anything fast food!
A&W
It's tag line "More Than The Usual" is still there, though the food is not more than usual... but somehow the food didn't taste as good as before. The root beer has also lost its wow-ness! Other Half and I used to frequent the A & W joint in PJ State; those good ol' uni days for the onion rings and root beer... and their waffles with ice cream. What to do? We were kampung kids out on the loose in the city. So food like this tended to get to us somewhat. LOL! But the onion rings that we had last weekend was hard... a rather uncomfortable experience for the gums. But Lil Gal said it was nice. So, it's either our taste buds have changed (yup! we've grown older) or the food really was not as good! But the root beer was still alright! Can't go wrong with carbonated drinks where taste is concerned. 8)
Red Pearl Sg Petani
Anyway, we stopped for dinner at this place in SP on our way home. Been a long while since we stopped by here. This place is in Tmn Sejati, right after the SP Southern Toll Exit. We remember the food being quite good. But this time, it was so-so except for this dish which was not too bad..
Hai Bee
A concoction of sea stuff... fish maw, sea asparagus, squids, prawns and peas... cooked in claypot. The fish maw was firm but soft enough to hold the gravy. This trip punya makan-makan really tak berapa jadi.

Monday, March 30, 2009

PIBG...

This is a season for PIBG meetings in schools here... so I get to hear more about it these couple of weeks.

A friend of mine was telling me about her son's PIBG or PTA meeting. The teachers in the school always hope that less parents show up. And they try to make their Q & A time as short as possible. Why? The general perception is parents always demand and complain too much. But there are many parents who will still go much to their chagrin. LOL!

Then there are schools which would go to great measures to entice parents to come. This one uses 'baits' to get parents to come. They'd give out rice, bicycles, cooking oil as lucky draw parents to attend. I'm not sure whether the parents are there because they want to contribute to the meeting or hope to win something from the lucky draw.

In another school, they send out these letters through the students to confirm whether a parent is coming. If they don't come, the parents have to pay (say RM5) in lieu of their attendance. This is an easy way to raise funds for the PIBG fund. This one is like making parents pay penalty for not showing that they care about their children. LOL!

And of course there are also schools which let things take their natural course. Let the parents decide themselves. No coercion or veiled forcing ...

So what is the role of the PIBG in our schools? Basically they dole out the money collected to buy stuff that the school needs. Sometimes, a parent may volunteer their help to do something for the school... but this is quite rare. Once in a blue moon, the parents will participate in school activities like a gotong-royong. I think parents are generally too busy to attend PIBG meetings. Anyway, the one who ends up being the Chairman is usually the one with either wealth or position.

Then there are schools' with PIBG which will subsidize the teachers for trips... usually as a reward because the school did well in the public examinations. For teachers in such schools, at least the PIBG show appreciation of their effort. Again this one is also rare... this one is usually found in Chinese schools. In many schools, it's the other way round.... PIBG expects the teachers to donate their time and give extra classes. It is after all charitable, so they say.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Penang Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow is a Malaysian favourite.. what more Penang char kway teow. Was in Penang not too long ago for a quick hospital trip. A relative of the friend took us around and we ended up here...
Photobucket
This is Lorong Selamat... people always talk about Penang Char Kway Teow... but after eating it here, I'd say Alor Star's char kway teow is almost if not equally good... and it is way CHEAPER! I can do without those big prawns-lah.
Photobucket
The price per plate is fixed at RM6.00, RM6.50 and RM 8.50! For char kway teow!!!! I'm not sure how much my plate cost but it had 3 prawns in it. But at RM6.00 for char kway teow? Inflation has hit our favourite hawker food!!!

Thankfully, it' still very affordable in Alor Star. The prawns may not be that big but at least I can still eat my plate of char kway teow without thinking too much about the price. 8)

However, a nice thing happened on this particular trip to Lorong Selamat. I met an ex-student of mine whom I taught when I was still a greenhorn, fresh out of uni.... it was so long ago, in a tucked away backwater district. She approached me first and asked me whether I was who she thought I was. That means I've not changed that much over the years! LOL! We talked for a while. I can't recall her name but one nice thing though. She said she always remembered me because I made a difference in her life... and I'm part of the reason why she is successful now... that was almost 20 years ago! Wow! Really nice to know that! And it really made my day!

Anyway, back to char kway teow... it may soon not be the average Joe's food...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A time of merriment...

On Friday night, around 16 of us got together at one of our friends' place to have a 'makan'....an exotic dinner! We had other goodies as well. Other Half and Ah Ho also threw in a little surprise for me!
Quilt Cover
And Ah Ho gave me this! As a cover for my Mac. 8) Very sweet of her and a labour of love cos she did it in 2 days! I'm touched.
On the floor
We did the usual after dinner; hung around and talked. This round of after dinner conversation was about childhood and life in the earlier days; while the youngest among us did this... watched her favourite kiddy show. She bolot the TV for herself. The age gap between the oldest and youngest in our group that night was almost 70 years! And we got along famously. It was good to see Pak Khaw and Mak Khaw enjoying themselves... 8) I am reminded of the past and the the old ways of life from them from their engaging tales! Reminders such as these are good.

Anyway over dinner conversation we were reminded also that most of us are not local. Mostly came to Alor Setar during our younger days to work. Our children are mostly born here. They grew up here and this is now their hometown. So, if our forefathers uprooted themselves from China to come over, we too had also uprooted ourselves from our hometowns and planted our roots here. And many of our children have uprooted themselves from Alor Setar and grown roots elsewhere; in and out of the state and even country.

I guess this is nothing new.... people move all the time... this 'migration' is as old as human race.... some where along the line, their ancestors too had moved here from somewhere.... so for those who claim that this land belongs to them only; I guess it's a hollow claim.
Tatting of a cross
In between I was shown this tatting of a cross... a Pastor's wife does this whenever she travels on her long bus journeys.... good idea to spend your time on the bus!

Also, I realized that many of us, having gone through those old days when life was simpler with less of everything, share many similarities. Many of us speak many languages (dialects) and had less complicated lives. Our kids today speak less languages. Old school tales, pranks played on teachers.... it was good just to be able to hang around and talk, sharing our pasts and also intertwining it with our present cos as we rambled on, the present is also strengthened. Times like this one, over simple food... that's what we do with friends.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Makan-Makan Alor Setar...Do Re Mi

This was last Friday's lunch; on Mol. We had breakfast together earlier. See, we miss each other so much! Got a lot to catch up also. LOL!
Photobucket
Do Re Mi... at Jln Pintu Sepuluh... (I hope I got the name of the road right).... This place is very inconspicuous. With a faded signboard like that, you've got to look really hard. The shop has been around for over a decade. I used to walk past it but never went in. Anyway, Mol said the food in this place was nice. So we gave it a try... since it was her treat anyway.
Photobucket
This is bean curd in dark sauce and minced meat. They say they make their own bean curd.
Photobucket
This is one of the better chai pok steamed fish I've taken. The chai pok is not overly fried. So there is no burnt taste. Neither were they chewy. They were actually quite crispy. Served with pieces of steamed fish minus the bones, it was easy to eat.
Photobucket
4 different types of veg in one dish... french beans, aubergines, petai and angle beans... Nancy said she ate asparagus but I didn't find any. Fried in sambal and some prawns, this was actually a new experience for me. Appetizing. Not bad!

Photobucket
Meat cooked in sweet sour sauce. Tender and very easy to chew. Taste is not bad, goes well with the rice.
Photobucket
And this... I've always like yam. So to be able to have my lunch with yam rice instead of white rice; that's quite nice. Inconspicuous, simple and no frills ... and this is reflected in the bill. Lunch for six of us plus drinks (a mix of soya bean drink, herbal tea) came up to RM53. I think it is very reasonable.

Mentoring...

Developed nations must pay environmental tax... this was the topic in a recent debate.

Points put forward by the opposition.. Developed nations should not pay environmental tax because
  1. the timing is not right (recession now, mah, so cannot pay tax.);
  2. it's unfair (developing nations and all those other ignorant people in all the other countries must pay also, then only fair);
  3. wrong conceptualization.
Our 16 and 17 year olds do not think of things like greenhouse gasses emission; or that much of the environmental degradation is due to the lifestyle of the rich, or channeling funds into research; or ideas on alternatives to environmental taxes... the more 'heady' stuff. Nope! Instead of inspiring our young to think big, we tell them they cannot handle those issues... aiyo! We teach them to argue from a more simplistic angle, 'small boys' way of arguing... kinda like our Parliament with the likes of Bung Mukthtar and Tajuddin Rahman. Are we caging their minds or is it because we teachers cannot inspire??

Teachers are supposed to act as mentors. They are supposed to inspire students to think big, traverse beyond our shores, reach out for the stars... fill in the rest of the dream yourself! But nah! Looks like, it's good enough to keep to our own shores.... kinda like the proverbial frog under the coconut. Instead of inculcating in our kids the value of being responsible global citizens, we teach them winning is the most important thing! Now developed nations can say, "Look, it's not fair cos the developing nations also pollute the environment." Never mind that majority of the top 25 countries in the list of top emitters of greenhouse gases are developed nations. You can really have your cake and eat it at the same time!!!

So is it no wonder then our 'small-minded' people when fully grown says things like this below...
.. UMNO should not ban money politics cos if they don't give out money to the delegates, they cannot attend the general meeting... or this.. only UMNO loyalists be appointed to senior positions in public universities... small mind, small world. So if we're going to have small minded people to run the country... oh boy! End of the world for the rest of the non UMNO members. You can read the rest of the 'small' stuff here...

My two sen...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A baby bird..

This is the time of the year where we get heavy rains in the evening... we're at the tail end of the north-east monsoon. Usually around this time we get violent storms... The Sumatera winds have started blowing into this part of the country. Yesterday, after a long time, we had a big one... the winds were really strong and rains came down in torrents.

My pine tree beside my house fell over. The pot broke the first time it fell over. Didn't realize there was a nest up there. Son pushed it up again. When it went over the second time, my kids noticed 2 baby birds in the rain.. one was dead; probably from the impact of being flung from its nest. Another one was still moving. We took it out from the pelting rain.... and I took a cloth to keep it warm.

Lil One was fascinated by it. She had never seen a baby bird so close at hand before, let alone touch one. I asked the kids to keep an eye on the nest which Son had put back. The baby was still in my hands. I was worried that if they came back and could not find the babies, they would fly away. True enough, one flew in despite the torrential rain to check the nest.
BabyBird
That put us into overdrive. As soon as it flew off, I asked Son to put the then-slightly warmed baby bird back into the nest. To our huge relief, both adult birds started flying back with stuff in their beaks. They tried to fix the nest somewhat, we could see..

However, later on, the nest fell off the tree again. Son put it back onto the branch. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this little baby will make it through...

Pokok Sena Hill has a new shelter!

I've got to hand it to the HASH people... we haven't gone hiking for 3 weeks and last Saturday, we went. My lil gal is now quite fast... went all the way up without stopping. She is slowly feeling more confident of her footing. But this time, we were literally chased up by hungry mozzies! Good thing we brought anti-mozzie repellant along. But that didn't keep them away for long. Anyway, a pleasant surprise awaited us up there.....
PSena1
The building materials were carried by hand up there to build this, no mean feat. Some Bangladeshis were hired to do the work. Made of hardwood (I presume they have taken the termites into considerations) the hut provides a nice shelter should the rains hit us while on our way up! And that happens a lot during the wet season. Die hard hikers are there rain or shine! So cheers to those kind souls who built this to share this with everyone who goes up the hill!

And cos of that, now we have a nice place to sit up there... should we be able to stand the mosquitoes' attack. It's rainy season now and the latex cups have also become mozzies breeding cups. So many hungry mosquitoes... so few food sources...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Schools and the looking-good-on-the-outside culture

There are certain events in school which include the participation of parents; 'outside people'. PIBG (PTA) meeting and Hari Anugerah Cemerlang (Speech Day) are 2 such events. You have the Sports Day as well but not many parents will attend that....

This year, I am in charge of getting the stage ready for the PTA meeting... I usually don't get such duties as I am deemed the none-deco-type. Anyway, I'm struck by how much time and money we, at school are willing to waste to decorate a place for a meeting. We're suckers for the look-good-on-the-outside thingy.

Getting the place ready is one thing... but have it done like a bridal chamber with all the curtains and frills? And also the time wasted in getting the place ready... hanging up the backdrop, frills and what have you not is so typical of our look-good-on-the-outside culture now. We can spend the whole morning and sometimes a day or two before, doing up a place which will only be used for 3 hours... how many man hours gone down the drain?? We teachers are really jia-lat cos we are promoting such culture too.

Similarly, another favourite is curtain frills in the classrooms. These are the mini curtains which hang above the windows. And they cover the air vents. They hang there for a whole year, collecting dust, not washed till the year comes to the end. The curtains may look 'nice' but they block the movement or air too. We know hot air rises and architects bear that in mind when they design the classrooms. The upper part of the wall is built with 'air vents' so that there is good circulation of air. Now, block those vents up... and what have you? Almost 40 students in a stuffy classroom... and dusty curtains. Who knows what microbial creatures thrive there? And these curtains cost precious $. But then again, the people who think of these rather let the kids and teachers bear the discomfort.

And wrapping up the tables with papers and plastics. We might as well tell the manufacturers to make tables without finishings as no matter how nice they may be, they'll all be wrapped up like some presents. Until today, I've yet to hear a plausible reason for this wrapping thingy. Students waste money buying the plastic and paper. We are dressing up everything that can be dressed up.... to impress! It feels so wrong, somehow.

And this brings to mind the Sekolah Harapan (???Vision School) competition. When a school takes part in a Sekolah Harapan competition, one of the frenzies it would go into is that of the keceriaan (beautifying) part. There'll be this frenzy to update files.. which often contains pseudo paper work; many of which are reports for activities not carried out but put in to dress up the files and give an impression of substance. Hours are spent beautifying those files. They all look really nice and uniformed. Hence, sometimes non deserving schools win.

Then the students are put into another frenzy...gotong-royong frenzy to beautify the school; class, compound, library, just about any school area. I think that happened in one of the schools which won this award. Everything around the school starts wearing skirts. You have skirts for the canteen table, office tables, teachers' tables... basically anything that has legs, they'll put a skirt on. I supposed you could say this is one of the problems that stems from having too many lady teachers. LOL! The canteen skirts become a convenient wiping cloth. And school starts to look like a home... hence phrases such as Sekolahku, Rumahku.... everything sounds nice, looks nice... but still, things don't feel quite right.

So, there you have.... teachers and students in the same frenzy, working hand in hand to create an impression of something which is actually not there. Isn't this 'tipulogy' at work here? And we are producing a whole generation of 'tipu-ists'.... or it's just the look-good-on-the-outside culture at play here? They feel the same to me. *shrug shoulders* Apples with worms... they still look good on the outside, don't they? Take a bite and you will be filled with disgust!

Banner Collection @ Random Shots 2

Related Post:
Currently on display:
(25/3/09)
Photobucket
This was taken somewhere between Juru and Taiping during dusk during the school hols. To commemorate Earth Day 2009 which some say is just a gimmick. Electricity generated actually is already generated. You don't really save anything. But still, it creates an awareness of sorts for Mother Earth.
(20/3/09)
Photobucket
Been more than a month since the banner is changed. Caught up with other things. This is an orchid from my M-I-L's garden; with Sitiawan sky as the backdrop.
(12/2/09)
Photobucket
Other Half trying out new banner style... Kodak moments I call them. Pokok Sena, rubber trees planted on hills. The hills have been named 8888. It's a popular place with the locals as well as people who go all the way from Alor Star, about 15 minutes away. The route has been changed a few times as development ate into the hills and levelled them.
(6/2/09)
Photobucket
Pasir Panjang... the narrow gap before the wide open sea. It is also the seat of the Mohd Nizar, currently the man of the hour in the Perak crisis. Sultan Azlan has ordered him to resign... many feel the State Assembly should be dissolved. It's an idyllic place, peaceful... definitely the opposite of the upheaval and turmoil happening right now. For once, I find myself supporting this PAS candidate because I too think the Sultan has erred in his decision and wonder not so much because PR is booted out but because there seems to a a constitutional crisis here... and also, the words of the Regent sound so hollow. Words... they are cheap.
(4/2/09)
Photobucket
Kg S'wan... it's a place marked by mangrove swamps. Water is still clear. Nice place to go digging for 'ba-li-tong' during low tides, if you don't mind jumping into the muddy river bed. There are many chalets by the river that one can put up the night. Can also go catch crabs at night... Other Half, my bros used to to do while we were growing up. This place still has the nice kampung feel. A good place to unwind and relax.
(18/1/09)
Photobucket
CNY is just around the corner. Wishing everyone a prosperous year ahead... double earth bull.... or is it cow?? Well this cow has a lot of clearing up to do; the mess left behind by the rat. 8(

(6/1/09)
Photobucket
Other Half was working on a brochure for church... an appeal for our mission work in Cambodia. We've helped in the building of a school house which was recently completed and already running. The kids can go to school in their own village now instead of walking for miles. Each year we send 2 teams there.... mid and end. At a time when contributions are drying up because of the current economic crisis, they need assistance more than ever...

My Beijing Olympic 2008 Banners @ Random Shots
Banner Collection @ Random Shots
Banner Collection @ Random Shots 1

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

School holidays..What does it actually mean?

Mid term break for the first term has just ended... but if anything is to go by, school kids still had to go to school during the holidays. I saw students in uniforms early in the morning, heading for school. Many schools were conducting extra classes during the break. This, I think is madness! A break is supposed to be just that....A BREAK!

What is the point of having a break then? So that there can be more cramming sessions? Activities such as camping or other co-curricular activities which cannot be carried out during school days are understandable, if not good, to fill up the holidays. But cramming sessions???

As it is, the students put in a full day of school during term. Many schools end at 3 p.m. officially; and sometimes extended via extra classes up to 5 p.m. So, if the holidays are meant to be breaks for the kids, then it has all but failed to live up to its purpose. How to have time with neighbourhood kids or even with family members? They're too busy shuttling from one class to another during term! From school extra classes to tuition classes... all to get ready to be a rat and join the rat race!

Teachers are 'forced' to carry classes during the hols. I supposed all school heads want to be seen as doing something, being proactive... but I suspect all these are meant more to show the Department that they are on top of things, that they are doing something for the students. Again, on paper it looks really good.

Even primary school kids are having tonnes of homework to do... I wonder whether there is fun in learning these days... but everyone will tell you, have to prep them for the rat race.

*sigh* We make sure our kids keep chasing after the grades... what about theirs and our souls? Are we all becoming rats? You know, there are many types of rats..... brown rats, black rats. Brown rats make good pets, more docile, maybe. Black rats are good climbers, they are good at stowing away and they're also the ones who were responsible for spreading the plague... go figure out which type of rats we're becoming...

Ah the life story of a rat! Our rat pack join the rat race.. after some time they become drowned rats, immersed and taken up by the chase. Meantime their offsprings become mall rats or gutter rats cos papa rat and mama rat too busy. Rats! I smell a rat. We've so much more of everything it seems but....

Anyway, thankfully, this time around I wasn't 'forced' to hold extra classes... it would have probably driven me up the wall and pull my hair in exasperation..

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sentosa Plaza.. more handphone tales

Well... my Sony Ericsson c905 went 'siao' again. This time two of the press buttons became touch buttons. They were so sensitive that the phone would stop ringing when you touch it; which meant that I couldn't hear my calls coming in as the buttons would be rubbing against my pocket lining and that would effectively silence all the calls. And the info screen kept popping up cos the whole board short circuited.
Photobucket
So, I went back to Sentosa Plaza again... really geram. The phone is hardly 4 months old and already it has been giving me problems. Lucky me... this time my wandering salesman was found at his station. I showed him my problem... he walked around with my phone.. I think he was trying to shake me off as earlier he told me to wait. But I followed him.. persistently.

In the end I followed him to one far end (used to be where the supermarket was) and there was a 'Phone Repairing' shop there. I walked over to him and the lady there told me they will repair it within the day. The last time it took 16 days. So, all the time it may have been at that shop! Yup! They did repair it within a day...
Photobucket
This I just realized... there is a strong likelihood that all the guarantee from the company who brought in all these parallel import stuff... they are just words used by salesman to sell a product. The guarantee actually comes from this 'Repairing Shop' in Sentosa Plaza itself. And what kinds of parts they change into your phone... only they know. But I won't be surprised if they're not original. Anyway, two days after 'repair' my button is not so springy again... 8(

Guess that is why all the 'underwater' phones are cheaper'.... memang padan pun with the guarantee that they provide. We are suckers for cheaper stuff... where got such a thing as a free ride in life??? Aiyo... for all I know, my phone may be a product of a chop shop... not the stolen kind but the other kind... chop to repair and replace with non originals. 8(

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Caged Futsal... Alor Setar

Went to Pacific on Saturday to meet up with my ex-students for lunch and saw this..

Some demo on Muay Thai... Muay Thai is Thai boxing. It's supposed to be a sport of national standing in Thailand; very much like what sepak takraw is to us. Anyway, I found it amusing to watch these half-naked men 'dancing' to the accompaniment of some wind instrument. This is the 'usik-usik' part. No physical contact.

Then it was followed by the next part. Some physical contact; a few kicks here, one or two punches there, but nothing that would cause injury.
Photobucket
Caged futsal... LOL! The court was so tiny! I've tried futsal once, a couple of years back when the first futsal court came up in Lencongan Barat. But the first foray into this was also the last for our group of ladies cos one of us fell down and fractured her wrist.
TMKarnival Bola
Anyway, the muay thai was part of the entertainment provided in tandem with the futsal competition that was ongoing. I lingered a while to watch.
Photobucket
As for my lunch with my ex-students; it went okay. And yes! We did draw stares and whispers... cause after all, what's one Chinese doing in a group of Malay girls, right??? I told my girls that we were drawing stares... and it was kinda fun to be different! This is Malaysia, regressed!

Anyway, these are my some of my girls who broke records of sorts this time. Not that their results were spectacularly sterling; but it was a first in many years that none of them scored below a C6 for their English.. and because of that, all of them had more choices of higher institutions to apply to.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yet Another Place for Curry Mee in Alor Setar

This hols I seem to be eating a lot of curry mee... LOL!
Photobucket
This is another popular joint for curry mee. Located opposite the former bus station (which is now a wholesaler outlet) right in the town centre... which people in Alor Star used to refer to as the new bus station, it is usually packed during weekends and even weekdays.
Photobucket
The presence of pots and pots of curry attest to this stall's popularity. It used to be located diagonally opposite but moved over to this corner shop some years back. It's the same row as Kaede (the Japanese restaurant).
Photobucket
Many 'Alor Setarians' who come back usually must go and have a bowl of curry me from this shop. Try going during long weekends when they come home and this place would be jam packed. I go occasionally as they only sell curry mee and I've a small one who hasn't quite develop the ability to withstand the capsaicin compound yet. His stall shares the shop with a mamak rice stall.

BTW, some people also claim that this is the best curry mee in Alor Setar... so many best curry mee... LOL!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Malaysian Petronas AAM Cub Prix in Alor Setar

Photobucket
The junction at the Indian Temple on Jln Stadium has been partially sealed since Thursday. Reason? Cub Prix is in Alor Setar. The Malaysian Petronas AAM Cub Prix is a motorbike race. And Alor Setar is the season starter. For those Rempit wannabes, this is a good outlet for all that dare in them.... but unfortunately, they can only watch from the sidelines. I caught this on my way home from lunch.
Photobucket
Track is actually made up of the roads circling Stadium Darul Aman. They've erected fences all over the place as a safety precaution. But going to town is a hassle as the two main roads are closed to traffic now.
Photobucket
Anyway these are shots which I took during their test run.... didn't go for the pit walk though. Apparently we can have a closer look at the machines during certain times. But.. these are only small bikes. No oomph or ahs to wow us!
Photobucket
The noise was deafening though. These are bikes which have been souped up for power and speed. One can actually develop a headache from turning the head to try to follow those cub bikes around the track and also from the deafening roars.

Am not sure but I think this is the first time this motor sport is held here.

Interesting stuff in Perak..

Photobucket
Couldn't help but notice this in town... such undying loyalty. Back in 1983, it was a quite a different tune these same people were singing... changing times and fortunes. Coffee shop talk now .... the unpopularity of an ex-schoolmate I know, the Exco in the other Perak Gahmen.
Photobucket
Then this in Temerloh (not the one in Pahang, but this Temerloh is in Perak)... must have been happier times.
Photobucket
And the next one... we had a good laugh at their audacity to put up such banners... by the main road some more!
Photobucket
And also this... the drawing is very nice leh. And the banner, eye catching...
Photobucket
And just beside, this was going on... resurfacing the road. Yay! The ride is going to be smoother after this.
Photobucket
And further down the road.... flags unfurling in the breeze, waving in the air... an air of festivity. Yup! Election is in the air!!! LOL!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lumut At Night

We were out looking for dried seafood stuff at night in Sitiawan... but most of the shops in town were closed; so we ventured to Lumut. This is the place to go catch your ferry to go over to Pangkor Island. As kids, my parents used to take us here to enjoy the evening sea breeze. Such kinds of trips were treats to us those days and we would look forward to it, usually during weekends when dad was free. Over the years Lumut has changed a lot. The old shops are still there but there are many new ones now. It has a very 'touristy' feel and look too. Gone is the rustic charm.
Photobucket
The night was still young but Lumut was quite empty. But the car parks were quite full. Guess many people have gone over to Pangkor Island. I was told that the hotels in Pangkor are fully booked for this hols. Guess more people are holidaying locally now that bad times have also hit our shores.
Photobucket
Anyway, since we were there, Other Half and I took a walk around the town. This is the Bazaar. But like everything else, it was quite, quite dead. The place lacks the vibrance you get in other places like Penang. The town planners should look into bringing more life to this town!
Photobucket
Some of the souvenirs sold in the Bazaar.... all made of shells and colourfully painted. But we saw only one forlorn foreign tourist walking along the Bazaar and a handful of locals.
Photobucket
But generally, Lumut is much nicer than Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis. The place is clean; you hardly see any rubbish. The shops are well organized and their walkways comfortable to walk on. In the cool breeze of the evening, it was actually quite nice to take a stroll around and look-see.

I finally manage to get my salted ikan tenggiri papan. But I realized that it was a tardy bit more expensive than the one I got the next day in Simpang Ampat. Tourist spot = tourist price. Must bear that in mind.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hawker Food in Alor Star

One of my favourite hawker haunts in Alor Star...
Photobucket
This is Timuran; along Jalan Telok Wanjah. Used to frequent this place quite often last time. What's nice here? The curry mee, according to my boy.
Photobucket
He says this curry me is better than the one at Cosy Cafe. It's a bit watery to my liking and also lacks that coconut milk smell. But this is supposed to be one of his favourites.
Photobucket
The same stall also sells 'chak-fan' or mixed rice. It used to be one of those places that sells this on this side of the town until the opposite shop started to provide some competition. The food is not bad, though.
Photobucket
Anyway, we like this place cos of this... outside the shop is a stall selling all this..
Photobucket
... and together with a bowl of curry mee to dip it in. It's nice. The 'yu-char-kway' is usually taken with porridge but eating it with curry is also a nice experience.

BTW, Timuran has a stall which sells good 'kway-teow-th'ng'. I'd rate it as one of the better ones in town.