Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Al-Fatihah

Another Raya without my beloved parents. Miss them beyond words. Al-Fatihah...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Aidilfitri @ Malaysia Hari Ini

It was a very meriah Hari Raya on the set of MHI this morning as the three of us were also joined by guest hosts Fizz Fairuz, Shiha, Eby Yus and Farawahida. Everyone was in good spirits as we bantered and chewed on the Raya food on the table. If only every show could be like this. Hehe. It was also cool to see the rest of the MHI crew decked out in their finest outfits for the occasion. Stomach is too full to write much now, so do enjoy these pics...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Selamat Hari Raya!

No fancy pantuns, or virtual raya cards; just wanna wish everyone Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin!

And yes, I'm still in the Klang Valley (in the office, to be exact) and it's pretty quiet here as expected. Don't forget catch me on MHI tomorrow morning as you folks have your rendang and ketupat, though. Yup, it will be a working Raya for me, but it's gonna be fun in the studio tomorrow, for sure :)

Selamat Hari Raya!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Food, Glorious Food!: Muara Sungai Duyung, Melaka

I know, I know, it's rather weird that I've been quiet about food all this month, huh? But the reason is obvious, right? And although I WAS planning on doing a special edition on all the fantastic berbuka grub I've had, it might seem redundant now that Raya is just around the corner.

BUT I do wanna highlight at least one berbuka experience we had; and this one was in Melaka. Muara Sungai Duyung, Melaka, to be exact. This was our second year in a row during Ramadhan there, and so far, we've not been disappointed.
.

But to get a seat there, we had to be there as early as 5.30pm! The restaurant doesn't entertain telephone bookings, so you have to actually go there, pick out your table, choose your seafood, and then only are you allowed to go "jalan-jalan" to kill time before berbuka time comes.
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Anyway, it was another big spread of seafood we ordered, including: chili mussels, garlic butter prawn, pahat goreng cili padi, black pepper crabs, deep fried squid and a couple of grilled fish. Have a look:
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. Overall, I was again impressed by the freshness of the seafood and of course, the cooking itself. The balance in taste is always there and they don't skimp on spices and other ingredients. And instead of normal rice, they serve some delicious nasi lemak to go with the food. I can guarantee that two packs will be your absolute minimum!

Oh yeah, we ordered a couple of pitches of sugar cane juice as well that brilliantly washed down everything smoothly.

So if you ask me, this place is definitely in my Top 5 of favourite seafood joints in the land.

A Picture A Day: Homemade Kuih Ros!

Can't wait to sink my teeth into these. Seven hours to go! : )

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Weekend In Kuala Terengganu

I know what you're thinking; why Kuala Terengganu during Ramadhan? The honest answer is; I had bought the tickets during an AirAsia sale last year, and I didn't even realise it was gonna be during the fasting month. But sure, I WAS looking forward to going since the last time I visited KT was approximately 15 years ago!

We took the flight out on Friday night, which was pretty interesting in itself, seeing how we were at the LCCT gate when buka time came. So unlike other days where we're usually confronted by huge spreads of food, berbuka that day was a humble kaya turnover and mineral water for me.

We reached Kuala Terengganu around 9pm + and I was impressed by the airport's new facade. It was rather clean and well-maintained on the inside as well.


We then took a taxi to our place of accommodation, the Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort & Spa at Pulau Duyong. This is the place where all of the Monsoon Cup contingents stayed, so it's aptly called the "Home of the Monsoon Cup". From the main lobby as well, we could see KT clearly along with its own version of i-City.



It was rather quiet though, and after checking in, we were taken to our chalet on a buggy. It was already quite late, so there wasn't that much to do save for lepaking at our room and just chillax. The next highlight was the sahur delivery at 4.30am. Oh yes, sahur came to our room in tiffin carriers and the food was pretty good as well!



On Saturday, we raided the world famous Pasar Payang and basically splurged on all sorts of kain and kerepok. It must be noted that the place still looked the same since the last time I was there. Is this good or bad, I'm not sure. But honestly, a bit of sprucing up wouldn't hurt the place one bit.






Very nearby the Pasar Payang though was the Bazaar Warisan, a rather new shopping arcade with basically the same content. Pity that the place was rather deserted and lifeless. Worse still, on closer inspection, the building itself looked like it's crumbling due to very poor workmanship.




And the area around it was pretty dirty with litter everywhere. Why lah people? So difficult to make use of the dustbins provided meh?

Getting a taxi to go back to the hotel was a chore as well. But we did get one after walking a distance, and we were back at the comforts of our lovely chalet after a RM20 ride. Here are more pics of the place for your viewing pleasure...





We decided to buka at the resort that day and I was looking forward to some major nasi dagang and keropok lekor action. But I was sorely disappointed. While the spread was rather generous, there were no local dishes on offer. Not even the keropok lekor. Major bummer lah. And to add to that, Sunday morning's sahur wasn't that great either. (Only Liverpool's 2-0 win over Arsenal earlier in the night gave me something to cheer about).

But we WERE looking forward to some sightseeing after checking out on Sunday morning. I rented a Proton Exora and we went gallivanting around town before making the drive over to the famed Masjid Kristal. And it was a pretty breathtaking sight...




Up next was the Taman Tamaddun Islam.

We were ready to spend hours there admiring the miniature mosques and learning more than just a thing or two. BUT... the place was closed! Yup, it's closed for the entire month of Ramadhan to visitors. So we were left there ternganga and getting only small peeks at the mosques from the outside. Damn kesian, OK?


So we ended up driving around, buying some keropok lekor near Losong and "enjoying" the heat and breeze at Batu Burok beach.



With nothing else to do, we decided to check into one of the beach resorts there for some ZZZsss. But I also had a nifty plan. We went to the bazaar Ramadhan near Batu Burok beach, and I finally got my nasi dagang and keropok lekor for buka!



The nasi turned out to be really good and we also helped ourselves to a full 2litre bottle of A&W rootbeer.

Full and fully-rested, we then drove to the airport where I also returned the car. All things considered, it was a pretty interesting and decent getaway. Although the next time we're in the State, I'm pretty sure we'll be visiting the nearby islands instead...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Halal Index

So, while all the attention on what's halal and what's not has been on the food we consume as well as cosmetics, not much has been said or revealed about pharmaceuticals.

And so, this morning I interviewed Mr. Halim Ihsan, the editor of this very important and ground-breaking book, The Halal Index: Pig Based Pharmaceuticals.

The book was produced after a couple of years of extensive research on the subject and the results are nothing less than shocking. Well, at least shocking for a layman like me.

Basically, every pharmaceutical product contains active and inactive compounds, and according to this book, quite a number of the compounds are made of pig parts. Which means, there are thousands of pharmaceutical products out there with pig-based compounds.


The book does mention the type of pharmaceuticals with such compounds and also gives alternatives (where they exist) to the consumers. However, the writers of the book stopped short of labelling such products as Haram, as only the relevant religious authorities are allowed to do so.


And if you're wondering why pigs are used for pharmaceuticals, well, it's because the animal is easy to breed and as such, there's an endless supply of it.


If you're interested in the book, please click HERE

Saturday, August 13, 2011

EPL Is Back!

As I'm writing this, we're just minutes away from the kick-off of the English Premier League season 2011/12. Woo-freakin'-hoo! And it's even more exciting with Liverpool thrown straight into the action vs Sunderland.

So, what will happen to the Reds this season? Well, it has been a rather eventful off-season, hasn't it? King Kenny has been active in the transfer market, bringing in a few more quality signings and the pre-season tour took them even to Malaysia. If the players themselves aren't excited about the new season, then I don't know what to say lah.

I must say though that the pre-season results were not that convincing, especially when our defensive frailties were exposed time and again. And I'm not sure what our first-eleven is gonna be like.

Having said that, I'm optimistic of a solid season. King Kenny's a master tactician, and the players (old and new) are hungry for trophies. So I predict a top 4 finish with one trophy in the bag.

OK, the match is about to start. Here we go! YNWA...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kias Ramadhan (Ep 2)

OK, remember how I wrote about being part of this show sometime back? Well, episode 2 will be aired tonight at 11pm on TV3, and yes, it will have my scenes in it. I've gotten the thumbs up from those who've previewed it, but this would be my first time watching it as well.

So, please watch tonight and give me your (semi) honest comments... : )

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Raya Tak Jadi?

We're 1/3 into Ramadhan already, but I'm afraid I have some bad news for you guys... Raya might not happen this year!

Seriously, for Raya to happen, we must first fast during Ramadhan; then an announcement has to be made by the Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-Raja. But apparently, something has happened to this bearer of good news. Noooooooo............ Now, how do we tell the children???

Friday, August 05, 2011

Singgah Sahur: Kisah Gelandangan

So a couple of nights ago, I was part of the Singgah Sahur team for episode No 2 of the latest season. Our mission was to to distribute sahur meals for the homeless around KL city. Also part of the entourage was a group of UiTM students who came all the way from Melaka.

Our first stop was Dataran Merdeka where we were also joined by JKM officers who became our guide.



It was rather early then (around 11pm), but as we walked to the fountain area, we saw quite a number of people sleeping wherever they could. (There were loads of teens there as well doing God knows what, but that's a different story altogether).

Some of us approached these unfortunate people (the homeless, I mean), woke them up and gave them the food we had brought. It was already an eye-opener at this point as they told us their sad tales and we listened with a mixed sense of regret and disbelief.



Then we moved to Masjid Negara. Again we saw quite a number of the homeless sleeping on benches and on card-boards on the ground. Aduan Rakyat journalist Puspa and I, approached some of them and handed them some food.

I managed to talk to one pakcik, and his story was heart-breaking. He's been sleeping in that area for a few days and is waiting for an answer for a security guard job he applied. He's never been married, and doesn't want to "menyusahkan" his siblings. When I asked him when was the last time he lived in his own house, he told me that he had never owned a proper home, and that he always looked for jobs that came with accommodation. If not, he would have to live like that, using public toilets to cleanse himself and hope he'd have enough money to buy food.


He also told us about the risks of sleeping there including getting robbed, which was what happened to a few of the people he knew. I know right, who robs the homeless??

We then moved to Central Market and the situation there wasn't any less heartbreaking. The newly renovated, well-lit walkway was lined with the homeless from all races. Most of them still had a pack of "bubur lambuk" (that I'm sure was collected from the nearby Masjid Jamek) near them, maybe saving it for sahur later.



FYI, at the different stops, there were always a few who ran away when they saw us or the TV3 vehicles. Most of them were shocked and startled to see so many people crowding around them with lights and cameras, while others were more calm and were willing to talk to us without any problems.

We did experience some aggressive behaviour near the Puduraya roundaout area, where there were a lot more of the homeless than anywhere else. Some of them weren't happy that we woke them up from their sleep and didn't want to be on camera. Totally understandable.



But there was one pakcik who was more than happy to tell his story to the show's producer, Teh Syuhada. I heard part of their conversation. The pakcik was an ex soldier and was quite bitter that someone who had served the country would eventually live on the streets. And when asked about his relatives, he said: "Sedara ni, kalau ada kereta besar, duit, kebun, barulah nak mengaku sedara. Kalau tak, memang buat tak kenal je".

Our final stop was at the Anjung Singgah YKN at Jalan Hang Lekiu, a home for the homeless initiated by Kementerian Pembagunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat after a report was made by the Aduan Rakyat team on the state of the homeless. Here, the homeless could register themselves and stay at the hostel where food is provided for up to two weeks while the Yayasan Kebajikan Masyarakat people looked for suitable jobs for them.


We left at around 4am that morning and I went home with a lot to ponder. KL didn't look majestic that night with images of the homeless stuck in my mind. Why had society, you and I, let these people down, and what more could be done now?

You can watch this episode of Singgah Sahur on TV3 at 12.30am this Sunday with the repeat at 5pm on the same day.

* Now you can watch it online HERE

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