Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Turkish Airlines Crashed at Amsterdam

Business travellers like us are terrified when we see this kind of news. There has been quite a number of crashes when it involves airplane nowadays, luckily the death figures were low like this crash which happened in Armsterdam, 9 dead at this moment as rescue efforts continues.

When travelling, we pray hard that such accident will not happen to us, but you can never know. So, when I reach home this Friday, I will hug my family real tight and say "I am glad to be home" and have a big bowl of Hokkein mee......

26 Feb 2009 Shanghai Daily : Authorities say thay have found the flight data recorders of a plane that crashed yesterday in Amsterdam, killing both pilots, an apprentice pilot and six others. The Turkish Airlines jet plowed into a muddy field near Amsterdam's main airport as it tried to land. In addition to those killed, more than 50 people were injured, six of them critically, as the fuselage shattered into 3 pieces.

Buy with Caution!

The next time you go to Hong Kong for a shopping spree, make sure you know what you buy. There has been a lot of complaints from Chinese buyers that they have been cheated by retailers especially making false and misleading representation. Other tighter regulations are also in the works, like putting up the price tag and a detailed description of the accessories that come with the price tag. By the way, the "saman" fine is pretty high if found guilty, HKD 500,000 and imprisonment for 5 years.
So, better put up the price tag or else "chor kam" go to prison.

Andy Lau to wed Malaysian girl, Carol Zhu

The secret is out - Andy Lau Tak Wah and longtime girlfriend and former Miss Malaysia Carol Zhu Liqian will tie the knot in April. Wedding will be held at Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur.
Wah, mana mahu cari, Wah Chai and our own Malaysian girl.
Malaysia Boleh lah!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Boy burned in camp cooking lesson

The Standard (Hong Kong) 23 Feb 2009 : A boy suffered second degree burns yesterday when boiling oil splashed on his face during a cooking lesson at a barbecue site in Hok Tau, Fan Ling.

The boy was covered with dressing and needed oxygen when admitted to the burns unit at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin. A hospital spokeman said that the victim was in stable condition last night.

A source at the scene said the boy was taking part in camp training with other youngsters when he was injured by splashing cooking oil.

Children weaker than their parents?

Found this cartoon in one of the newspapers in Hong Kong yesterday. It say, "If Hong Kong children are so fragile and weak, how come adults can shoulder so many burdens?".
How true! I mean even we as parents are so protective when comes to issues that may so called "harm" our children, may it be at school or their association with their friends. We always "screen" their friends' backgrounds, which class are they from, who are their parents, what do they do for a living and so forth. To come to think of it, my parents were not like that and it was never in their culture to ask those questions we dare to ask nowadays.
I was hiking the other day at Bukit Jambul and I overheard a conversation, a one sided debate I would rather put it, about how different the teachers are in comparison with those of 15 years back.
"I tell you the teachers nowadays don't bother if you (students) pass the exams or not! They are fed up of the frequent complains received from parents about how they scolded or punished their kids." said a woman in her 60s.
"They just don't care anymore, but can you blame them?" she continued.
"Those days, if we kena caning, we don't even dare to tell our parents, we always say we fell and got the bruises." said another lady.
"You tell you kena caning or punishment at school to my mother ah, sure kena whacking from her again, double kena and she will say that you deserved it!" she said.
So, tell me why are we so over protective? Aren't we supposed to educate and train our kids to face this ugly world? Aren't we supposed to prepare them to be tougher as the future is not going to be easy as it looks?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

20 Million Chinese Without Jobs in China

South China Morning Post (Hong Kong based news) 21 Feb 2009. Job crush. Security workers keep college students waiting at a job fair in Wuhan, Hubei province, yesterday. Demand for Chinese goods is falling, leading to increased unemployment, with the government saying at least 20 million migrant workers lost their jobs last year.

I was on the way to Hong Kong this morning and found this article about millions of Chinese without work. In some instances, graduates had to work as domestic helpers. Wearing a blue apron with a white floral print, many will spent days in school for domestic worker practising how to clean a window without leaving streaks across the glass. The job search for this year it seems will be difficult because another 6.1 million graduates will enter into the market. If times are not good in China, just imagine what the current situation will effect Malaysia. I really don't dare to even think about it.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

AGM Postponed to 21 March 2009

Notice of First Annual General Meeting for the formation of the Management Corporation (Perbadanan Pengurusan Pearl Garden) to be held on the 21 March 2009 (Saturday), at the Community Hall of Pearl Garden Condominium, Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim, 11900 Penang.

PR Facility / Maintenance Feedback Section

This section is dedicated to residents who wish to bring up issues with regards to Pearl Garden’s facilities and maintenance. Of course, I hope residents can also use this platform to voice out fair views and compliments too. So, put in your comments and get reactions from the fellow residents and JMC / MC.

Massive jam at Penang Bridge this morning

Not sure what had happened this morning, but it looked like a huge crane being lifted. Traffic was crawling but moving when I passed this section of the bridge at 7:05am. Some of my colleagues were stuck before reaching the bridge and turned back.

Robbers drive off with child in back seat

Always be aware of your surroundings when you are approaching your car, especially when you are alone. Nowadays, robbers are getting more aggressive and will resort to hurting their victims if they retaliate. I am sure you have heard about robbers breaking the car side windows to snatch bags placed on the car seats. Never, never put any “attract theif” items on the dashboard too. These thieves will break your window to retrieve the goodies.

And try to remember to remove all items from your car when you park, at least hide them away from prying eyes. Putting them in the boot or in the glove compartment would be a good and sound idea.

The incident in Klang ended with a happy note, but some may not be so lucky.

Star 17 Feb 2009 KLANG: The Foo family had a most frightening experience when two robbers drove off in their car with their son still in the back seat in Taman Berkeley here.

Their nightmare began yesterday morning when Kendrick Foo, 43, returned home after dropping off his wife at the Meru wet market where she runs a stall selling noodles and soya bean by-products. Six-year-old Foo Koo Ping was sleeping in the back seat when two men grabbed Foo, pushed him to the ground and took off in his Proton Wira.

He surrendered his wallet and threw himself in front of the car, screaming that his son was asleep in the back seat. “I believe that they too panicked and sped off,” said Foo. “He is our only child and we cannot imagine anything terrible happening to him,” said Foo, an employee at the IT department of a private hospital in Klang.

The robbers abandoned his car in front of Chemistry Department pensioner Zamedin Hasar’s house in Taman Desaria, near Sunway. Zamedin, 65, said he was on his way to his neighbourhood surau at 6.10am when he noticed a maroon Wira parked outside his house with the engine running.

When he returned 30 minutes later, the car was still there. Zamedin said he looked into the car and saw the boy asleep in the back seat. “The feeling of relief after being told that our son was all right is unexplainable,” said Foo, adding that he met Zamedin at the Sungai Way police station with his son and car.

Koo Ping, when asked what happened, coolly replied: “Two bad men drove my daddy’s car and I was very frightened.” Meanwhile, Klang OCPD Asst Comm Mohamad Mat Yusop said the police received their first report at 5.15am. The two robbers are still at large.

On a another matter, City police said there was no such case of an eight-year-old girl being kidnapped from Taman Maluri in a Nissan Sentra that was circulated by SMS a few days ago.

PR Celebrates Valentine's Day With Another Aedes Fogging

Another fogging? Yesterday evening, the mosquito busters were again fogging all three blocks because of another case of dengue in Pearl Garden, according to the MoH officers. I heard from the TV news yesterday, the fatal cases of Dengue Fever has risen to 18 this year. It is very alarming and preventive actions must be done at all levels and we need to take this issue seriously. Let’s keep our surroundings clean and flush out mosquito-breeding stagnant water in and around our condos.

Policemen at Block A

You probably saw a police car parked at Block A this evening at about 7:10pm to 7.25pm. Nothing to worry about, there was no break in or robbery of sort. This was clarified by the person responsible for calling the police when I met him and the policemen in the lift at the 9th floor.

Man stabs student in front of pupils

What has become of our children’s schools nowadays? Gang fights, theft, extortions, sexual assaults are reported within the school compound everywhere and it is dangerously growing out of proportion. I heard from my daughter recently a teacher was assaulted by an outsider while in the school compound, the school this teacher teaches is just next door to our condominium. Where were the securities? Who is responsible for the safety of our children when they are at school?

Star 13 Feb 2009 KLANG: Teachers and students at a secondary school in Kapar had the scare of their lives when an armed man stormed into the school and stabbed a student.

Klang OCPD Asst Comm Mohamad Mat Yusop said the incident occurred a few minutes after the morning session ended at 1pm.

He said the man, who was wearing a crash helmet, entered the school compound with a knife in his hand.

A female teacher tried to stop him but he quickly walked up to a group of students and stabbed one of them in the arm and thigh, he added. The assailant then walked out of the school compound and slashed three more students who were waiting to go home.

The three students, however, suffered only minor injuries. All the victims were aged between 14 and 15. The four students were rushed to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital here for treatment. The student who was stabbed was admitted while the others were given outpatient treatment. ACP Mohamad said police believed it was a revenge attack following a gang fight between two groups of students on Tuesday.

The assailant, believed to be a former student, is still at large.

Fence Down….

Probably a branch fell and damaged the fence along the jogging path. It has been there unattended for quite sometime now. Can the Pearl Garden maintenance section or JMC take charge to repair it as soon as possible? Thank you.

Rubbish at parking roof top…

During most of our festive seasons, playing with fireworks are the kids’ favourite event and to some grown ups too. It is always important to supervise these events as there were incidents fireworks rocketted into homes and caused fire (not here in Pearl Garden, well not yet at least).

It is also very important that after the fun and all, the empty firework shells are collected and thrown away into the rubbish bins. We have to practice such simple common sense, don’t leave your rubbish for some else to pick up. Would you pick up theirs? I am closing the poll for "What are the rubbish discard by others near your area?"
50% - cigarette butts
25% - tissue paper
25% - plastic bag

This tree needs trimming….

Better trim this tree before it collapses onto the roof of motorcycle parking area. I am afraid that the weight of the branches maybe too heavy for the roofing. Can the JMC or the gardener look into this?
Thank you.

Britain has right to review future visa waiver

Star 11 Feb 2009 KUALA LUMPUR: Britain reserves the right to periodically review Malaysia’s visa-free status despite it having recently passed the visa waiver test period.

British High Commissioner Boyd McCleary said the country’s success in retaining its status was not the “end of story” and that efforts to reduce Malaysian overstayers by the Immigration authorities here should be an “ongoing process”.

“We reserve the right to review the situation not only for Malaysia but for many countries. However, I am confident that if Malaysian authorities continue to work together with us, the country will continue to enjoy the six-month free visa status.

“It really depends on how Malaysians react to the visa-free status,” he told reporters after announcing a nationwide publicity blitz on Wednesday on the country’s visa regime and the implications of abusing it.

McCleary said despite the recent reduction in the number of overstayers, Malaysia was still in the list of top ten countries whose nationals committed the offence. It was announced recently that Malaysians could continue to visit and remain in Britain without a visa for up to six months. Malaysia was in a group of 11 non-European countries whose visa-exempt status was reviewed by Britain from mid-2008. McCleary also warned those caught overstaying that besides being imposed with jail sentences and fines by the British authorities, their passports would also be marked with a chop to indicate they had committed an offence.

“They can then have their passports detained by the Malaysian Immigration Department or even withdrawn entirely,” he said, adding that Britain was also discussing the possibility of having a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia on the exchange of information and better cooperation between immigration officials.

UK Border Agency regional manager for South-East Asia Jon Drew said Malaysians intending to study in Britain could expect some “procedural changes” in their application for visas in March.

“This is because educational institutions will now have to be licensed by our agency. This should make their application for visas simpler,” he said.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Chap Goh Meh at The Esplanade, Penang

Chap Goh Meh fireworks display taken by BHLeow :

For those who speaks Hokkien, you would know that Chap Goh Meh literally means the fifteenth in the Chinese Lunar New Year. It marks the first full moon of the Lunar New Year and the Chinese community celebrates this happy auspicious occasion with various activities. The crowd was gathering near the stage and it was impossible to move closer to the centre ring. We had to stand about 30 metres away from the stage to get a better view of the ongoing Chingay performance. This time around, 2 large projector screens for live coverage were provided for spectators standing in the “padang”.

The main event was the lion dance on stilts performed by Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Association from Muar, Johor, whom has won 29 World Championship. Their performance was superb. The Bull Dance was not that exciting and kind of weird to me. The throwing of tangerines into the sea is an important part of Penang’s Chap Goh Meh cultural heritage.

Traditionally, unmarried women Nyonya would toss tangerine into the sea. While doing so, hopeful unmarried men, Baba, would try their luck at catching these tangerines in order to meet their future spouse.

Nowadays, it is just for fun and charity. There to promote the occassion were four lovely Miss Pesta 2008 finalist and several models. The grand finale was not that grand, the fireworks did not last for 12 minutes as advertised, but a mere 3.5 minutes (maybe less). Well, I guess it was ok, you know what they say about spending on fireworks “sio chuah ji” it is like burning money. With the current economic situation, such savings are much appreciated.

Support for Trams In Penang

Heritage writer Khoo Salma Nasution noted that the Penang Island Municipal Council was the first local government to introduce electric trams in the inner city in the early part of the last century. “People think the tram is a thing of the past, but they are wrong because it is actually the thing of the future,” she said.

“It is clean, energy saving and user-friendly not to mention fast, efficient and also cheap.”She said the tram could provide an iconic identity for Penang and help revitalise the heritage of the inner city.

Citizens for Public Transport (Cepat) coordinator Dr Choong Sim Poey asserts:
“We believe that any massive transportation mode requiring massive permanent infrastructure should not be implemented without proper study and a transport masterplan,” Choong said.

He said there were many alternatives besides the intrusive overhead monorail system that were cheaper, more sustainable and suitable for Penang with its heritage city and tree-lined roads. “There are modern trams as used in Hong Kong, San Francisco, and recently introduced in Paris, Melbourne, Nottingham, Manchester and five other British cities.

“Trams were used by cities throughout the world including Penang until phased out by the increase of number of cars which are now proving to be a problem,” he added. Penang Heritage Trust council member Ahmad Chik thinks its do-able:

Ahmad Chik, the author of (a tram) proposal and a PHT council member, says electric trams, or light rail transit as they are known in many countries, do not require a licence from the federal government to operate but can be undertaken by the local council. (Taken from

Fogging Videos

The fogging took about 1 hour 40 minutes, and this time around, the fogging was done very thoroughly. Here are some videos taken from the interior and the exterior of the building. While inside the building, breathing was difficult.

I took 2 video clips during the fogging process :-

PG 1st AGM - 20 Feb 09, 10:00am

Notice of the First Annual General Meeting for the formation of the Management Corporation (Perbadanan Pengurusan Pearl Garden) to be held on the 20th February 2009 (Friday), at the Community Hall of Pearl Garden Condominium, Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim, 11900 Penang at 10.00 am:

Agenda :-
1. To decide whether to confirm, vary or extend insurances effected by the Management Corporation;

2. To decide whether to confirm or vary any amounts determined as contributions to the Management Fund;

3. To determine the portion of contribution to the management fund to be paid into the special account to be maintained under section 46;

4. To determine the number of members of the council and to elect the council;

5. To decide whether to amend the additional by-laws in force immediately before the holding of the meeting;

6. To present the audited accounts of the Management Corporation.

Dated this 4th day of February 2009
By order of Padu Intan Properties Sdn Bhd
So, neighbours, kindly find time to attend this meeting. Your kind support is very much appreciated.

What A Let Down….

I was looking forward to a fun filled evening with my family and was very eager to see the 4 “lions” fighting to reach the top of the 6m podium. It was not as crowded as I would expect, but at 7.30pm the larger section of the crowd was enjoying the mini concert featuring traditional dances, while the other portion was gathering at the “ring side” where the 4 “lions” will trash it out like in the movie.

And there was the fortune well where well wishers threw oranges into it, hoping that their wishes will be granted. The other set back was, the whole structure fell apart and came crashing down. (See the before and after photo). I hope no one was injured….

We waited until 9.15pm and still nothing happened..One of the Rela guys told us that the “fight” will only start at 10.30pm….What??? I mean there were let so many people waiting for this event, and there was practically no other events..
I was dissappointed, my family was dissappointed, we came home empty handed and no photos to share…..I hope the next event on the 9th Feb 2009, will be much better…let’s hope.

Chap Goh Meh Celebration 2009

Date: 9th February 2009 (Monday)
Location: Esplanade, Penang
Time: 7pm to 11pm
Organizer: Penang State Government
Tel: 604-650 5136

Chinese Lanterns
The Penang State Government is organizing the ‘Chap Goh Meh’ celebration or the 15th night of the Lunar New Year celebration on 9th February 2009 at Esplande from 7pm to 11pm. This occasion signifies the first full moon of the New Year and during this celebration you will find fair maidens gathering to toss tangerines into the sea, in hope that their future spouse will pick it up. Besides that, there will be several cultural performances including a Baba Nyonya performance.

This year, Penang State Government is happy to announce that the renowed Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Association from Muar, Johor, whom has won 29 World Championship, will be performing their Lion Dance On Stilts at Chap Goh Meh Festival. Apart from Lion Dance, be ready to enjoy a 12 minutes firework.

Chap Goh Meh’s schedule:
7.00pm - Guests arrival
7.05pm - Lion Dance, Dragon Dance and Chingay performances
7.30pm - Joget and Dondang Sayang performances
8.00pm - Arrival of YAB Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng
“Kam” Mandarine orange tossing ceremony by Chief Minister and Ms Pesta Pulau Pinang
Lion Dance
Chinese New Year Songs by Mr Lau Han Keat
8.40pm - Arrival of TYT Dato Seri (Dr) Haji Abdul Rahman Bin Haji Abbas, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang serta yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Utama Hajah Majimor Bt Shariff
8.45pm - Speech by YAB Chief Minister
8.55pm - Baba Nyonya Dance
9.20pm - Penang Boria Dance
9.40pm - Chinese Traditional Opera
9.50pm - Indian Traditional Performance
10.00pm - “Niuh” Dance / Cow Dance
10.15pm - TYT & Toh Puan departure
10.20pm - Johnny Chee & The Nyonya Belles performance
10.35pm - Lion Dance on Stilts
The End

Road closures: Jalan Padang Kota Lama, Lebuh Light, Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah

Mosquito Fogging Today : 07 Feb 2009, 6:00pm
07 February 2009 : This morning, I met the Ministry of Health officers at the lobby while they were putting up the fogging notice and was told that there was another Dengue Fever case in Pearl Garden. They told me that recently, there were a few cases reported at a neighbouring apartment too. A few ambulances were required to take the patients to the hospital according to one of the officers.

The fogging at Pearl Garden will start at 6:00pm today. So, please open up your doors and windows for maximum effectiveness.

In my recent report on the 1st Feb 2009, “Ministry of Health Issues Dengue Fever Alert”, Selangor Health Committee chairman Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar called on the residents to cooperate with health officers during fogging operations.

“Residents must allow our men to fog their homes. We are using water-based chemicals for fogging, so it will not leave an oily residue.”What is a little bit of cleaning up after the fogging compared to getting Dengue Fever? Choose wisely.

Simple Salad Recipe

Simple Salad Recipe
1 and 1/2 orange, juice only1/2 lemon, juice only1/2 small red onion, chopped1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil1/8 teaspoon fine grain salt
4 big handfuls of salad greens, washed and dried1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted1/3 cup black olives, (the wrinkly, oily ones), pitted
In a medium bowl whisk together the juice of 1/2 orange, lemon juice, most of the red onion, olive oil, and salt. Whisk together until emulsified, taste and adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed.
Peel the remaining orange and cut into segments, removing any seeds you might encounter. Set aside.

When you’re ready to serve, place the salad greens in a large bowl. Toss very gently with a generous splash of the dressing. Add the orange segments and walnuts. Give another toss. Taste and decide if you need to add more dressing, if needed, add a bit more at a time, giving a good toss between additions. Make sure the nuts and citrus haven’t all gone to the bottom, help them back up to the top if needed. Serve salad topped with the remaining red onion and olives.
Serves 4.

If given a choice…..

Insufficient parking space has been the pain in the neck for residents staying in apartments, condos, and now even landed properties too.
It is just never enough. This issue is one the most brought up by residents to their management committee everywhere. I recently received a comment from a resident of PG requesting the management committee to look into making available visitor car park.
The MC has responded promptly indicating there are plans for it in time to come. Well, that is good news, isn’t? Now, to have extra parking lots, one needs to find space for them within the grounds.
And the usual “available” spaces are essentially put aside for recreation purposes or making the environment greener like the fields and playgrounds.
The way I look at it, there are not that many choices. We have the big recreation field, the small triangle space next to the children’s playground and the little putting green. If given a choice, which of these areas you would rather turn into a visitor’s car park? Cast your votes here.

I am closing the poll and the results are :-
14% - Huge recreation field
14% - Triangle field
43% - Putting green
29% - Others

Garlic Bread Opapa

Garlic Bread Opapa
The size of your baguette will determine how much butter and garlic you’ll use. Try out the crispy french bread from Jusco Queensbay Mall.

1 loaf artisan French bread or wide baguette1 - 2 heads of garlic1 - 2 sticks of unsalted butter1 bunch of chives (optional)zest of one lemon (optional)
Slice that loaf of bread right up the middle so you have two halves. Now set them on their backs, cut side up. Mince the garlic or push it through one of those crushers - either way is fine. Now add it to the butter you should be melting in a small saucepan.

Now take a basting brush (or any brush for that matter - pastry, etc) and start slathering the garlic butter all across that bread. Really go for it, let it soak in. Make sure you get all those garlic chunks evenly distributed. If you are going to freeze the bread for later, this is when you do it - you don’t want to bake, then freeze.

This is when you bake at a standard temperature (350 degrees) for 10 to 15 minutes to heat the bread (particularly if it is coming out of the freezer), and then brown it off for color under the broiler for a minute or two.

When the bread is finished broiling let it cool for a minute or two. This is when I sprinkle with the lemon zest and chives (and to be honest, I sprinkle a bit of zest on the bread before it goes in the oven too because I like that roasted lemon flavor alongside the garlic.) Slice and serve.

The short version of this recipe:Cut, slather, bake, brown, slice.

Lion Dance Competition

A LION dance competition, in which the first troupe to reach a platform 6m from the ground will be declared the winner, will be the highlight of a Chap Goh Meh celebration hosted by the Penang Chinese Town Hall (PCTH) in George Town this Sunday, 8 Feb 2009.

Four troupes had confirmed participation in the competition which he believed was the first of its kind in the country.

The lions will first have to clear several obstacles placed along the ladder before reaching the platform. The winner and other participating troupes would win cash prizes, the amounts of which had yet to be decided.

It is estimated about 30,000 people were expected to turn up for the celebration which would be held from 6pm to 11pm.

A specially-designed wishing well would be put up in front of the Goddess of Mercy temple at the junction of China Street and Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling for the customary orange-throwing practice.

2,000 oranges for those wishing to throw the fruit into the well, adding that the public could get the fruit by making a donation which would be channeled to a charitable kidney dialysis centre.

The main performance stage would be erected at the junction of Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling and Bishop Street, adding that the programme for the evening included song and dance performances, Baba Nyonya and Malay folk dance presentations and Chingay performances.

Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling would be closed to traffic from 4pm until midnight on that day for the event. Hawker stalls will be set up along nearby Queen Street.

Visitors can park their cars at St George’s Church nearby for a RM3 fee

Thaipusam : Honouring Lord Murugan

Thaipusam is an annual Hindu festival which draws the largest gathering in multi-racial Malaysia. In Penang, Murugan temple stood majestically in the inner sanctum is the popular place on the important occasion.

Coming this 8th Feb 2009, the famous Murugan temple which is located atop a small hill in Penang near the Botanical Gardens, is visited by thousands of devotees who end their journey on foot every year.

After hours of trekking from the various temples in George Town, the devotees ascend the hill with a final inspired spurt of fulfillment and calmness, to release their loads in the holy place as a realization of their vows.

During the festivities, devotees spear their cheeks with long, shiny steel rods often a meter long and pierce their chests and backs with small, hook-like needles in penance. Tourists, who join the festivals, watch in awe as metal pierces the skin with hardly any bleeding and, apparently, no pain as the devotee stands in a trance in the dawn light after weeks of rigorous abstinence.

For visitors, the early morning of Thaipusam is the finest time to experience the purist side of the festival. The calm and tranquil march of devotees bearing ceremonial milk-pots, coconuts and simple shoulder-kavadis in the balmy hours is an interesting sight to remember.

Miso Soup Recipe

Miso Soup Recipe
Miso Choice: I would encourage you to experiment with a range of misos.

3 ounces dried soba noodles
2 - 4 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
2 - 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
a handful of watercress or spinach, well washed and stems trimmed
2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
a small handful of cilantro
a pinch of red pepper flakes

Cook the soba noodles in salted water, drain, run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Pour a bit of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso paste - so it thins out a bit (this step is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Also, some miso pastes are less-salty than others, so you may need to add a bit of salt here. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.

Split the noodles between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add some watercress, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy. It is simple and fast…try it.

"I jom this parking aredi what!"

We were like driving around Amernian Street in circles, patiently looking for a parking lot. At last, just right in front us, a car reversed out and I said to my family, “It must be our lucky d….”

Then out from nowhere sprung right in front of my car , 3 kids, a middle aged man and his mother (I assume) and they stood right in the middle of the empty parking lot and waved to signal that they were there first.

I was rather amazed than shock, so I asked him what he was doing, he answered, ” I jom this parking aredi what! My car coming “.

Sensing that he was not a Penangite, I spoke to him in Cantonese politely. “Are you from Penang?”. He shouted back, ” Outstation people can park here too what !”

Now, that kind of remarks really bothered me alot, especially the last word “what!”. So, I shouted back angrily ”Parking lots are for cars, not for parking humans and my car was here first. Move away!”

Sensing that I was no push over, he politely said that he was from Kedah and he wanted to bring his family to the Campbell Street celebration. I told him that I would gladly let him park his car if he was a little bit courteous earlier.

So, never never use this “I jom this parking aredi what” and think that you can get away without a scolding….or a broken windscreen….

I wonder if you have come across such incident at Pearl Garden’s service road..

Jade Emperor God's Birthday

GEORGE TOWN: The economic slowdown has not deterred Hokkiens here from preparing for the Thni Kong Seh (Jade Emperor God’s birthday) celebration which falls on the ninth day of the Chinese lunar calendar.

At the Air Itam market, hailers blared in Hokkien “kamchia, kamchia lai” (Come and get your sugarcane) while thousands of sugarcane stalks lined the road.

Legend has it that the Hokkiens escaped persecution by a cruel general in ancient China by seeking refuge in a sugarcane plantation. They emerged unharmed on the birthday of the Jade Emperor. At the Chew jetty, preparations were also under way with organising committee members busily fixing decorative bulbs onto a red arch in preparation for the celebration.

People have been crowding the market’s narrow road since 6am yesterday to buy food and fruits as offering to the Jade Emperor God. The celebrations begin tonight.

MoH Issues Dengue Fever Alert

Malaysia’s government has issued a public alert against dengue fever after the number of infections and deaths sparked by the mosquito-borne disease doubled in the first two weeks of this year.

The Health Ministry says dengue fever sickened 3,211 people during the period of Jan. 4-17 compared to 1,514 people in the first two weeks of last year. It says 8 people have died of dengue this year, double the figure for the same period of 2008. The dengue virus causes severe joint pain, high fever, nausea and a rash. For more updates, visit

02 Feb 2009 SHAH ALAM: Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai has taken the Selangor Health Department to task for failing to take effective measures which led to the outbreak of 68 dengue fever cases at eight apartment blocks here over the last 100 days.

Among the 68 victims living off Jalan Plumbum in Section 7, 70% were students age 17 to 35 from the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Liow told department director Dr Rosnah Hadis and Petaling medical officer Dr Ismail Samad that effective and proactive measures should have been taken to contain the disease within the two weeks.

“With immediate effect, all measures must be taken if there are more than two cases and within two weeks, the health department and local councils must overcome the problem,” he said. Liow added that there were 48 hot spots in Selangor which are concentrated in the urban areas.

“Even friends of mine are coming down with dengue fever. Our Selangor MCA state liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Liew Yuen Keong was struck with the disease two weeks ago,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Rosnah blamed the dengue outbreak at the Section 7 apartments to the higher rainfall and public apathy that encouraged the breeding of the Aedes mosquitoes.

She added that officers from the department were not able to contain the situation as most of the breeding grounds were actually inside the apartments, especially bath tubs filled with water for weeks while the tenants returned to their home towns for holidays.

Selangor Health Committee chairman Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar called on the residents to cooperate with health officers during fogging operations.

“Residents must allow our men to fog their homes. We are using water-based chemicals for fogging, so it will not leave an oily residue.”

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Ox, Dragon, Goat and Dog - Trouble Zodiacs

In the year of the Ox, most of the 12 chinese zodiacs will prosper while some will need to “rectify their luck “. Those born under the zodiacs of Ox, Dragon, Goat and Dog will have to undergo a ritual to remove the obstacles that are hindering the incoming of good health, wealth and prosperity. The ritual took about 5 minutes and the lady was chanting in Hakka, half of it I do not understand because she was too fast but mostly because I did not brush up my Hakka as well. Yesterday, I was “rectified” and do I feel better? Well, time will tell.

Year of the Ox
2009 is Ox’s lucky year. 2009 is the year of Earth Ox.The Rat is more favorable to you than the Pig. You are almost the luckiest sign of the 12 Chinese zodiac. You’ll make significant progress in career. Big amount of money could come into your way. And you will enjoy good health this year. Although your love life will have some small problems, but in general, it’s all favorable.
Ox Career
There are two important lucky stars smiling upon the Ox in 2009. It’s a uncommon sign, don’t miss a single opportunity in the year of Rat. This could be the year when the promotion for which you have been looking is finally yours. A windfall could very well be yours. It may not be a jackpot, but unexpected money is coming your way. But, You’ll also spend lots of money this year.
Ox Romance
Not as last year the Ox’s is not so lucky in love in the year of Ox. The female Ox will be so luxurious that your partner could be very discontented with you. The male Ox will always be in a bad mood without any reason that your girlfriend think you are not satisfied with her. Your relationship will turn cold. And, there will be someone else who means to destroy your relationship. Remember to trust your lover when this is happening.
Ox Health
The Ox loves sports and healthy food, so you rarely get sick. In this favorable year, the Ox will even enjoy better health. Whereas, for young ox, don’t spend too much time on exploring for fun. It’s always good to be cautious before you have a trouble.

Another level of security

With the current economic slowdown and the expected retrenchment of foreign and local workers in many sectors in Penang, there is sure to be an increase of crime rate in a few months to come. Snatching of handbags, car hijackings, burglaries and kidnappings will definitely top the list of crimes that will haunt all of us until the economic situation improves (2011 maybe?). Like you and I, we cannot afford to sit down and wait for such things to happen. This important topic of security within and the surroundings of Pearl Garden was brought up by a resident and I believe we need to know if there are areas which we can improve to safeguard our property and most importantly the lives of our families in this troubled times. I must say that there has been huge improvements with the current security team, and so the question is, are they good enough to tackle the upcoming issues?

Please watch the following CCTV recording which caught a burglar trying to break into a house in Penang.

Litter Bugs

This photo was taken at Block A on the 25th Jan 2009 at about 10.00am. People just conveniently dumped their rubbish everywhere. Let’s be considerate and keep our place clean….If you have the same problems at your block, please highlight them in this blog….

Chinese New Year Decorations

As usual, during festive seasons, the committee and management put up decorations such as lanterns and “ang cai”s at every block this Chinese New Year. When lit up in the evening, it does bring the redness of Chinese New Year ambience. Well done!

If you have any nice photos taken during the evening, send them to me at I will publish them here for everyone to enjoy.

Gong Xi Fa Cai

First of all, I would like to wish everyone staying at Pearl Garden a Happy New Year and may the year of the Bull brings all of you wealth, health and prosperity. I would like to congratulate the committee and management of Pearl Garden for a job well done all these years. I have created this blog so that we have a cyber platform to voice out our views, may it be recommendations, compliments or complaints. Let’s use this platform with full responsibility and respect for others to improve our home, Pearl Garden. Thank you very much.
“Gong Xi Fa Cai”