A Penang Story – Part 1

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So it all began with this photo I saw posted by a friend on Facebook.

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To most of you, this might seem like an ordinary photo. But for me, it’s so much more. It reminds me of my other home, Penang, in Malaysia. The photo is recent, and the location of where it was taken was at a famous shopping mall nearby where I used to live when I was residing in Penang. It was where I used to go almost everyday to have my meals, meet up with friends, and do my shopping. It’s been 11 years since I was last there. When I saw this photo, I immediately became homesick. It sure hit me hard.

There are 13 states and 3 federal territories in Malaysia. But out of them, Penang is the most different state. The people, the community, the lifestyle, the environment, is somehow different from the other states/territories. If you live in one state and then move to Penang, you will automatically feel the difference. A good difference. After being magnetized by the photo, I decided that I wanted to share with you my tour of Penang via my personal thoughts, views, knowledge, and experience, with also the help of some of my Penang friends with the visuals. Instead of presenting everything in one post, I am going to divide them into categories. My tour will include some of my favourite local food where you can’t find ANYWHERE else in the world, famous streets, art, stories and gossips (both local and personal), a haunted hill and war museum, and a history of an Englishman.

Enough said. Let the tour begin.

Malaysia is a multicultural country. There is Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, and Eurasian. Therefore, the food in Malaysia is also multicultural. Some have a combination of Malay and Chinese, while others may have a combination of Chinese and Portuguese. But in the end, no matter how many cultures there are, in food and people, it all comes together as one, Malaysia.

msia24The Penang flag.

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I lived in one of those tall condominiums by the seafront back when I was residing in Penang from the beginning of 2003 till end of that year.

msia6msia20komtar Penang’s iconic tall building.

What I miss the most is the food. Sure, there are Malaysian restaurants around the world. But it is never the same as home. I’ve tried many Malaysian dishes in London (where I am living), and the food never tastes the same. The food isn’t bad either, but it just doesn’t taste like home. It’s not as authentic, even though they say it is. In some restaurants, they even have the names of the food wrong. I don’t know how I’ve survived 11 years of no home food. I’ve even tried cooking some of the dishes, but they just don’t taste the same. I guess I just have to wait for some of my Malaysian friends to come and visit so that they can teach me the authentic way. Below are some of the food that are so authentic that it’s hard to find anywhere else in the world except for home.

msia12Char Kuey Teow, a noodle dish cooked in light and dark soy sauce, with egg and seafood.

msia11Noodle dish with meat or seafood dumplings. Most Malaysians like to have their dishes with iced/hot tea or coffee with milk.

msia22msia8Noodle dish in soup. This is an extremely rare dish to find in any western countries. The closest I’ll ever get to tasting the real deal is a pot noodle version from London Chinatown :(msia14A typical noodle cafe. msia15A noodle stand.

msia7Not just is this dish rare to find in western countries, but so is the fish. I call this fish the white fish.

msia13When I saw this photo while looking through a friend’s Facebook album, I almost cried. This is my all time favourite Malaysian dessert. It is made out of rice flour and thick coconut milk. It is layered, and I have a way of eating it. I don’t like eating it as it is, or taking a bite off it. There has only been ONE way I would eat it, and that is by layers. I would gently peel off each layer and eat it. I don’t know why. It’s the only way I will eat it. There’s no other way. Every time I see this dessert, I would immediately think of my childhood. msia17Another all time favourite. Biscuit with dried coloured icing on top.

msia16Of course, how can I forget about the rice balls.

My other posts on rice balls:

http://puiyinlab.wordpress.com/tag/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

http://puiyinlab.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/

http://puiyinlab.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/chinese-rice-balls/

msia1A typical Malaysian breakfast. It is a very simple dish. Bread with butter and sugar spread on top. Bread can be toasted or not, up to you. I prefer it toasted.

msia3Roti Canai, flat bread with spicy sauce.

msia21Traditional prawn curry in deliciously thick sauce. My goodness.

msia23A typical stall selling traditional desserts.

msia10Durians, also known as the smelly fruit to some. Like marmite, either you like it or you don’t. msia5Inside the durian. It does leave a strong odor on your hands afterwards. They are very expensive here in London Chinatown. Crazy expensive.

msia9Chinese buns. It is usually used for celebrations or prayers.

That’s it for the first part. To be continued.

A huge thank you to Irene Soo and Suzanne Yeang for the wonderful photos.

Two-Year Anniversary

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(Picture/logo credit – WordPress)

Hello all,

It’s been two years since I joined WordPress. I can’t believe how time flies. Has it really been that long? I would like to thank my fellow followers/bloggers for reading, sharing, and supporting my blog, especially those who have named and honoured my blog as their favourite (you know who you are). So thank you very much. I really appreciate it. I wouldn’t be blogging in the first place if it wasn’t for you guys….really. I don’t have an editor for my blog, so if you catch me rambling, or you spot any grammar mistakes, forgive me. When it comes to this blog, I like to keep it real and personal. That means writing whatever comes to mind.

For those of you who don’t know, I am on the verge of setting up my own publishing house, which explains the long absence from my blog. I haven’t forgotten about you guys, nor the blog. When the website for the publishing house is set up, I will link it with this blog. I don’t want to keep any promises I can’t keep. But I will promise to post more. There have been times when I am out and I see something that I want to post, and then I forget about it immediately, because something about the publishing house would come up. So no more excuses.

Anyways, hope to post again this week. See you all then.

Lots of love,

PY LAB

xoxo

MH17

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(Photo credit – Facebook)

My deepest condolences to those affected. I should have posted my condolences earlier, but I was in total shock and distress since the tragedy happened. I didn’t know anyone on board, but yet, it felt like I did.

“One woman’s body is unimaginably scarred, but the red paint on her toenails is still smooth and unchipped and the skin of her one remaining foot has retained its lifelike lustre. The blond hair of another passenger is in perfect condition, but her body has been split and torn. A young boy’s corpse is nearby. His white Tommy Hilfiger shirt is still clean, marked only by the blood near his head and shoulder. His face is well preserved with a strong brow and dark straight hair. But he has suffered a traumatic head wound.” 

- Text taken from The Telegraph online (MH17 – A scene of horror) 19/07/14

The Reason I Jump

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I’ve just finished reading a non-fiction book called ‘The Reason I Jump’ by a young, teenage, Japanese author, Naoki Higashida, who is autistic. As far as my understanding goes, the book was written when the author was thirteen years old. The book is about the author’s life with autism.

Those of you who don’t know or understand autism, here’s a brief explanation. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. Those with autism will usually find it hard to communicate and relate with others. It can also affect how they see the world. They can be sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, colours and lights. Autism itself is broad. Each autistic individual is different. Some severe, some not. Some can grow up and live independently, whereas some would need long-term caring support.

I have an almost-six-year-old boy with autism, and having read the book really gave me a much better understanding of my son’s certain behaviours. Not that I don’t understand about autism. I do. What I mean by understanding my son’s behaviour is, for instance, after reading the book, I have a better understanding as to why sometimes he would flap his hands repeatedly, especially when he’s out in the sun, or when he repeats what I’m saying, or showing lack of emotional expressions and not speak. Naoki would explain the real reasons behind many of the different and awkward behaviours, expressions, and emotions by those with autism. I could totally relate to the book. It was as if Naoki was writing about my son. It changed the way I look at autism. It also changed the way I look at life and the way I am living it, because like Naoki mentioned, those with autism tends to see the real beauty of the world. They see the beauty of life and living, something many of us don’t see or take notice. There were some parts in the book that made me sad and almost cried, like the part where those with autism always feel isolated, and that they are usually referred to as ‘retards’ and not ‘normal’ people. Never once in my life did I think of my son as a retard. Naoki even mentioned a few times in the book about encouraging us not to give up on those with autism. Instead, he wants us to be patient and understanding. He even wants us to know that majority of those with autism understands people and the world around them, even though it might not seem like it. When I first found out that my son was autistic at the age of three, I was scared. But at the same time, I was willing to fight for him. And with the many help, advise, and support from doctors, playgroups, and parents and friends with autistic children, I managed to pull through and learn/understand about autism one day at a time. Today, I couldn’t be a prouder mother to an autistic child.

Naoki really proves that it doesn’t matter if you are autistic or have a disability or not. No one is not ‘normal’. We are humans. We are all the same. We shouldn’t judge an individual just because he/she might behave differently from others. Look at Naoki. He is an author, and ‘The Reason I Jump’ is a No1 Best Seller. And don’t forget, he’s autistic.

A special post: Prayers to MH370

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mas(Photo credit: Facebook page)

As many of you may already know, Malaysia Airlines MH370 took off from its home ground of Kuala Lumpur and was bound for Beijing, but never made it. And as I am writing this post, the airline is still missing. Nobody knows whether it has crashed, been hijacked, or it has landed somewhere. Even though I am far away (London) from where this is all happening, I am a Malaysian myself and it saddens me. Also, my late father was an airline executive for Malaysia Airlines. When I heard of the news, I suddenly thought of my father. I didn’t exactly know why. Probably because I know how much it would have affected him if he was here with me. I have been following the news throughout my Saturday. I have even been communicating with friends in Malaysia to find out how the situation is at the other end. There are many speculations as to what might have happened. But for now, let us pray and hope there will be some positivity out of this. My deepest thoughts go out to those who are affected.

Will be right back!!!

Hello all,

Just a short/quick note to let you all know that I haven’t been blogging or posting anything as I am currently living in temporary accommodation before officially moving into my new house. At the moment, I can’t go online (am posting this from an internet place). I hope to sort the internet out in within two weeks’ time. Meantime, I haven’t forgotten about the blog or my fellow bloggers. By the way, thank you to those who have recently followed my blog. I will be back very soon.

PY Lab

xoxo

Chinese New Year 2014

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It is Chinese New Year 2014, the year of the horse. Many Chinese, including those of other nationalities from around the world, will be celebrating the lively, colourful, and joyous festival. It is also the time to be with family and friends. Where I am, in London-town, every year, the festival is celebrated in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square, London’s famous landmarks. Roads between Chinatown and Trafalgar Square will be closed for Chinese entertainment to take place, such as parades, acrobatics, traditional dance, singing, martial arts, Chinese celebrities appearances, and not to forget the dragon/lion dance.

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Chinese New Year delicacies. cyn5  cyn2 cyn3

My favourite part of Chinese New Year is eating the Chinese rice balls. Here’s the link as a reminder for those who have forgotten about Chinese rice balls http://puiyinlab.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year-first-post-of-2013/ 

http://puiyinlab.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/how-to-make-chinese-rice-balls/

My best friend’s mother in Malaysia recently entered a rice ball competition where she had to be creative with using rice balls in the form of art.1491268_428654217262698_1698682218_o

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I would like to thank Irene Soo and Chunkha Phen for the photos.

Happy Chinese New Year to my dearest fellow bloggers :)

Happy 2014!!!

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Happy New Year my dearest bloggers. Welcome to the year 2014. I would like to thank those who have been reading and following my blog. I would like to thank one amazing blogger in particular, Sagedoyle http://sagedoyle.wordpress.com for awarding me ‘The Blog of the Year Award 2013′. This is my first blog award and I am really grateful. Thank you Sagedoyle. Below is the post about the award reposted from Sagedoyle‘s blog. My blog is listed amongst other awardees. You too can award your favourite blogger(s).

Blog of the Year 2013 – 6 Stars!

I made six stars!  Thanks so much to everyone who awarded me, I very deeply appreciate it.

These are the talented and incredible people who honored me, not in the order necessarily that I received them:

A star from http://belsbror.wordpress.com/ which gave me 4 stars

Blog of the Year Award 4 star jpeg

A star from http://danaiana.com/ which gave me 5 stars

Blog of the Year Award 5 star jpeg

A star from http://adicanada.wordpress.com/ which gave me my total of six!

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

I also received a 7th star from another blogger who has since deleted his/her blog.  I just want to say thank you to that person in case they’re still hovering about the blog world, but I don’t want to mention any names in case they’d prefer to be anonymous, since I’m not sure if they’re blogging anymore.

Thanks so much, friends!

The instructions for this award are simple:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ Award

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3. Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them – (please don’t alter the instructions or the badges!)

4. Come over and say hello to the originator of the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ Awardvia this link – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/

5. You can now also join the ‘Blog of the Year’ Award Facebook page – click the link here https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear/ and share your blog posts with an even wider audience.

6. And as a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog… and start collecting stars…

stars

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

Ok, here are my awardees.  This is probably the most complicated factor in blogging for me.  I picked the below people for various reasons.  I know there has to be some of you out there that I missed and that’s the part I hate about selecting people.  If I forgot you, please don’t be offended, it’s just a lot of blogs to sort through and I get kind of overwhelmed, which creates a chaotic state of disorganization for me.  If I left you out, call it overworked axons and executive functioning issues.  That’s really all it is, because I value all of my friends here in the blogging community, and am impressed on a daily basis by the content on your blogs.

I have 4 stars to give out, so take as many of those or all of them if you want.  Happy New Year!

Anyway, awardees as follows, not in any particular order:

http://andro54.wordpress.com/

http://cherylmoore.wordpress.com

http://thatdudeeddie.wordpress.com

http://sparklyknickers.wordpress.com

http://puiyinlab.wordpress.com

http://kizzylee.wordpress.com

http://corporatehousekeeping.wordpress.com/

http://yomicfit.wordpress.com

http://missfoureyes.wordpress.com/

http://thelifeandtimesofaforeverwitch.wordpress.com

http://ladyornot.com

http://natycalinescu.wordpress.com

http://righttobitch.wordpress.com

http://schtiel.wordpress.com

http://lasesana.wordpress.com

http://foundinfrance.wordpress.com

http://toffeefee.wordpress.com

http://ivonprefontaine.com/

http://andlifesmile.wordpress.com/

http://sarahmonagle.wordpress.com

http://charronschatter.com

http://jackmoreno.wordpress.com/

http://4writersandreaders.wordpress.com

http://dedicatedtothebest.wordpress.com

http://enchantedseashells.wordpress.com

http://85degrees.wordpress.com

http://shackledandcrowned.wordpress.com

http://vision5d2012.wordpress.com

http://ashadeofpen.wordpress.com/

http://jaydeashe.wordpress.com

http://seumasgallacher.com

http://friendlyfairytales.com/

http://edwardhotspur.wordpress.com/

http://fictionalmachines.com/

http://adicanada.wordpress.com/

http://johncoyote.wordpress.com/

http://imperfectionperfectionist.com/

http://mrmodigliani.wordpress.com/

http://cncfimoparadise.wordpress.com/

http://thebottomofabottle.wordpress.com/

http://runningonsober.com/

 

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