Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Potato and vegetables

This dish was prepared with no oil at all - a healthy meal which also tasted just as good as the lazy alternative of calling McDonalds delivery. Boiled potatoes with broccoli, carrots and celery, garnished with baked beans and a sprinkling of salt, mixed herbs, and a lump of butter according to taste.

Everything is done in one saucepan. The potatoes and vegetables take around 15 minutes to cook, or until the potato is soft, add the vegetables later for around 3 minutes (carrots) whilst the broccoli and celery just need a little dip! The beans take just a few minutes to heat up.

Quick, easy and healthy, it's the perfect meal to prepare especially with young children anxiously waiting to be fed!

P.S. This is my 200th post on this blog. Are there any articles that you have liked most? Posts on certain subjects which you have enjoyed? Let me know...leave me a comment!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lauren's photo shoot

Lauren is getting really good in front of the camera as an ever-willing model. We had a fun time taking these pictures and hope that you will have as much fun viewing them. This photographic article comes courtesy of photographer Duncan Horne accompanied by model Lauren Horne.

Here is a selection of images of Lauren and her various poses which she performed so effortlessly:

It took some time but I eventually persuaded her that the zip need not be done up all the way to her neck, whilst I manoeuvred her hands into her pockets bar her two tiny thumbs.

I LOVE this pose!!! There is a faint hint of playfulness in her facial expression which makes her look so cute!

And here we witness the dissatisfied look. We are familiar with this look when she can't get what she wants!

Lauren was desperate to stare into the lens of the camera despite my insistence on gazing out of the sliding door. We got there eventually!

Lauren actually decided herself to spice things up by introducing the pink stool. It worked nicely.

This is a gorgeous capture of her. Note the curling of her toes, just like her mummy!

The flash gives the picture a whole different feel.

We then moved outside to the balcony where Lauren and I water the plants every day.

Lauren looks up into the camera as it hangs above her.

Finally, Lauren gives us a tight smile as she slings two bag straps over her shoulders.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sunway Pyramid

Sunway Pyramid is a shopping haven located in Sunway, Subang Jaya. I first saw it in 2002. A huge pyramid in the middle of Malaysia with a large, imposing sphinx guarding it's entrance was difficult to miss whilst chugging down the highway in a cramped bus. The bus stopped right in front of this great structure and I knew I was in an interesting place. This is how Sunway Pyramid looked from this 2002 dated picture:

Today, however, Sunway Pyramid is almost twice the size after Sunway Pyramid 2, an extension project that links both the old and the new structures together, was completed. The renovation work has not been restricted to the exterior either. The interior has had a complete make-over, leaving it new, dazzling and stunning.

We went there last year for a visit and I was amazed by how far Sunway Pyramid has come. I thought it was a trendy place to be back in 2002; now it is just out of this world.

The warm, orange glow with the fire-enhanced Egyptian Pharaohs lining the borders of the pyramid's roof creates a surreal atmosphere which is burst back into reality with the Burger King restaurant in the background, which by now should be up and running. It is a vibrant mix of different worlds - the old Egyptian world of Pharaohs combined with the Western influenced entertainment and eateries - all brought together in a multi-cultural Asian town.

There are many types of lighting around Sunway Pyramid. This picture portrays such illumination in keeping with the Egyptian theme:

This decoration stretches the length of a chain of shops:

Surrounded by golden pillars, it looks like a palace. Who wouldn't want to keep coming back here to shop?

There is something for everyone, and one of the main attractions is the ice rink towards the back section of the pyramid.

There you may skate for fun to the sound of continuous music, take lessons from an instructor, or play for real - ice hockey! In 2002 I met a man who played ice-hockey matches representing Malaysia right here. Although I never saw one of those matches - they were played around 12 midnight apparently, and we had a curfew back in those days of 10pm - I wonder if he still skates and smashes pucks today?

This is the view from the elevator. It's nice to just go up and down on the elevator, from top floor to bottom and back again, watching the people skate, jump and fall, whilst admiring the mall itself and the various activities taking place.

Beside the ice-rink and stretching until the new pyramid building in a long corridor lies the Marrakesh Morocco area. It's like stepping into another world. The decor is beautifully crafted and carved, with a lovely tapestry-like painting of the sky and clouds across the panorama of the ceiling. Moroccan restaurants, handicrafts, spices and stalls fill up the walkway, as can be seen in these two shots:

This blue obelisk stands tall in the centre of 'Marrakesh' and conveys the feeling of being thrown into this galaxy where historical reminders clash gracefully with modernity.

Almost anywhere inside Sunway Pyramid, one finds their eyes being drawn to look up. It seems to be a continuous theme throughout the complex. We likewise associate 'looking up' with searching for the divine, heavenly help, God. The domes inside Sunway Pyramid are no less spectacular than the walkways, the lighting or the entertainment. Here are a few images of the domes:

And here is one of my favourite pictures of a pillar below one of the domes. Pillars represent strength as they are built upon a foundation and in a way, are the continuance of that hidden foundation, bringing extra strength to the entire frame of the structure:

Really, the designers, architects and constructors have done a great job. It's impossible not to feel comfortable, homey and warm inside this shopping mall. No amount of photographs can compensate though, for being there in person, and sampling the aura it oozes. 

The pillars, the domes, the lights, the Egyptian theme merged with a modern world, the inclination to 'look up', all play their part in making this more than just a shopping experience. These attractions also represent a few symbolic parallels to our spiritual quest for hope, enlightenment, and the yearning for God.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The reaches of the heat

Even Lauren's barbie dolls suffer from the heat in Malaysia! Ever since she received them, she has always sought to remove their clothes. Is this geographical conditioning at work?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fun in the Tube

I can't fit through here...but it sure is fun!

I see what you mean hun...tricky but fun!

It's not that difficult...watch me go!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


H1N1 has returned and a friend of mine has already notified me of an acquaintance being admitted to the hospital. Some of my students are refusing to shake hands once more, and I'm guessing it won't be long before the white face masks are out in full force. Lucky we kept ours just in case!

The simple things ensure a safe passage through the H1N1 onslaught:

* wash hands regularly
* avoid gathering where many people are congregated
* avoid hand contact with others
* cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing
* if necessary, wear the mask!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hong Kong Food and Tea Restaurant Memories

(March 2015 update: unfortunately, Hong Kong Food & Tea is no longer in service at EC Mall Kuantan)

The Hong Kong Food and Tea Restaurant on the Ground Floor of East Coast Mall, Kuantan, has been one of our favourite places to eat. This is not only for the food which is well-presented and delicious, but the whole ambience of the place generates a feeling of comfort and relaxation. 

It plays probably just as big a part as the food which brings in the money. It leaves me wanting to come back for more. 

The lighting is one of the main attractions. It's different and emanates a warm, soft, homely glow, ensuring the restaurant is not too dark but neither too light. The little spotlights dotted around the ceiling are also a nice addition.

It's fair to say we have enjoyed every meal we have had there. Lauren also has had a great time with the food, and the helpful attendants whom Lauren has become good friends with.

I am not a big advocate of eating out too often, but on occasion, in a quality restaurant like this, it can be a very memorable experience. When the food, the service, and the atmosphere are rightly combined, this one-off treat could well be the highlight of the week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Zenith Hotel Kuantan

The Zenith Hotel in Kuantan is towering high above East Coast Mall. We have been watching it grow for the best part of a year now, and it's taking shape. Adjacent to it lies a much smaller Convention Centre and another identical looking office block. I can't wait for the project to be completed so we can look around like real tourists, gaping at the interior and exterior. We would also like to stay a night there, which we have talked about for many a month now.

We have been informed that the project is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year, which would be pretty quick according to Malaysian timing! The office block is a way behind so they will need to get cracking. But the Zenith Hotel is planning to be open by November, meaning the construction workers and companies will receive a welcome bonus pay packet for finishing earlier than planned. Let's just hope it isn't over-eagerly rushed!

Inside East Coast Mall recently was a fantastically detailed model of the Zenith Hotel, Convention Centre and Office Block, where a young man explained some details of the project whilst attempting to sell office lots to passers-by.

And the best thing about all this is that it's just a 5-minute walk down the road from our place! I barely break sweat walking there, and that's saying something because it really doesn't take long for me to work up a sweat here! Enjoy the model pictures:

Here is its progress over the last half a year:

October 2009

December 2009

January 2010

January 2010

February 2010

April 2010


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