You would think that ordering a coffee, tea or juice would be just that simple. It is, at a modern eatery or cafe, but in a traditional coffeeshop, also known as kopitiam in Malaysia, a novice will almost certainly need time to get used to the terms. If Starbucks wasn’t established thousands of miles away in Seattle about 40 years ago, I’d have thought they took the idea of custom-made drinks from our kopitiams, which have been around for almost twice as long as Starbucks. (You know how they are with their drinks. Care for a tall, iced, no whip cream, no sugar, half soy milk, half low-fat milk, green tea frappuccino, anyone?) Continue reading
Bank Negara rolled out design changes to the ringgit bills back in 2012, but to me they are brand new, and I’m finding it hard not to miss the mid-nineties design.
The Agong’s bust has been reduced by a third on all new notes, which seems to diminish his royal stature. A new 20 ringgit note has been introduced, but the orange-red colour can be mistaken for the red 10 ringgit note. Three shiny, rectangular shapes have been added to the left half of both 10 and 20 notes, a feature that is inconsistent and quite frankly, looks like a misprint. On the 100 note, there are not three, but four rectangles. On the 50 note, they show up on the back, not on the front like the others! It’s because of these new features that I keep flipping the note over, thinking that I’m looking at the back of the note when it’s really the front. Continue reading
Kuala Lumpur has seen plenty of new additions to its grocery scene in recent years, and it’s wonderful to have so many overseas-style supermarkets like Jaya Grocer’s and B.I.G Ben’s Food Market cater to customers who’d like a clean and modern food shopping experience. Prices may at times be a little steep, but that’s a given if you want imported groceries and the convenience of easy access to fresh food, anytime during business hours.
Yet, it’s hard to beat the charm of a wet market, early morning, outdoor produce markets also known in Malaysia as pasar pagi, where you’ll find local veggies, fruits, seafood and poultry at its’ freshest.
Batu Caves. Lord Murugan, in all his golden splendour, stands watch as visitors flock to pay their respects. Or to use that flight of stairs as a free stair stepper…
A myriad of bright colours await those who go to Batu Caves in Gombak, the country’s most well-known Hindu worship site that’s nestled within 400 million year-old limestone caves. In order to pay to your respects to supreme Hindu god Lord Murugan — whose towering, 140-feet tall gold statue greets visitors as they approach the entrance — you’ll have to brave a steep ascent of 272 steps. But it’s well worth the trouble.
In addition to the robust workout you get from climbing the stairs, you’ll be accompanied and entertained by a fair number of macaques who’ve long made their home at Batu Caves. Ambling about nimbly on all fours, the monkeys seem like they’re constantly on a mission.
Tires crunched under the car as we drove slowly onto uneven parts of the worn, tar road. Riding alongside on her motorbike was Aunty, a private caretaker at the cemetery. One hand steered the bike whilst the other held a broom that she pumped upwards in acknowledgement upon seeing us. Aunty stopped when we parked on the side of the road, dismounted with broom still in hand and began chattering happily to my dad and uncle.
I didn’t really believe my mother when she told me that Mid Valley, one of Kuala Lumpur’s largest malls had sectioned off a part of their parking garage for a specific type of customer–female shoppers driving alone to Mid Valley–until I saw it for myself.
Female only parking zones is a well-intended move by the mall’s management, meant to tighten security for lone female shoppers after they became a prime target in a series of snatch thefts that occurred awhile back.
It was exactly a month ago since I set out on this journey back to the homeland. People have asked how I’m adjusting, and as expected, there are pros and cons.
The first two weeks were spent getting over jet lag and the fact that I no longer lived in Maryland. Quite a number of mornings started out with me thinking that I had someplace in Washington D.C. to get to, only to remember that oh, right. I moved halfway around the world. Continue reading