15

The Light Root

Motion sickness is a very uncool thing to have when traveling. It is the enemy to any traveler!! Having said that, it’s pretty obvious I was one of them. So how did I combat that devil while going through another 3 hours to Sabak Bernam?

Sleep. (Prays to God no one took picture of me sleeping in the bus)

I had to force myself to sleep, which is unfortunate because Gilbert, our resident driver drove along the coastal road (that explains the extra long hours journey) and I missed out on the many paddy fields scenery throughout the journey.

Pfft.

So anyway, when we finally arrived at Sabak Bernam .. we were dropped off at the Dorani Home Stay. The event I was patiently waiting for because home stay being home stay, it means all of us will have to stay with our foster families!

Secretly, I was also waiting for this moment because with the kind of treatment we had given by Resorts World Genting, I wouldn’t know how some of them would react to this. Wanna know why? We’re literally put in the middle of a kampung (village) area so far out from the city, our only option is to adapt.

Oh yes, I was soooooo looking forward to this stay indeed!

It has been like what? A decade I believe since my last visit to this place (or was it Kuala Selangor?).. one day my dad drove us to a place similar to this during raya to visit someone. I couldn’t recall who or where but I knew it was in Selangor and the house was built around the paddy fields. Imagine the look on my face at that time when I saw the long lushes green paddy fields. Wished I took a picture of that.

Anyway, back to MySelangorStory..

as we got down the bus, we were welcomed with kompang and bunga manggar. Now, this particular custom is usually associated with Malay weddings or something more formal. Naturally, I thought we were going to a wedding πŸ˜‰

Boy, we were celebrated alright.

On top of that, we’ve got the youngsters performing a traditional dance called Kuda Kepang. And wouldn’t you know it, yours truly with 5 other girls and 6 other guys were taught to do this dance too.

During this perfomance, I was sitting next to Alid and he told me about the cult life of this particular dance back in Java where he lives. He explained to me in detail the rituals done such as eating live stocks alive and other mystical related things. It was pure gore to know where this dance had originated from. This dance was then introduced in Johor back in the days and the story behind this dance was based from the battles illustrated from the Quran. It was one of the methods used to attract people to Islam long long longgggg time ago.

However, considering we all are humans. We tend to misinterpret things.

As Alid and I discussed further of this dance, it reminded me of another traditional dance called Ulek Mayang, which in certain part of Malaysia is made into a cult dance that has a similar effect to the one in Java. What kind of effect you might ask? One can be possessed by “something” even without one’s knowledge. Actually many of our dances which originated from Java have their own stories to tell, one many of us might not be ready to hear.

If you want to know more about it, make sure you’re spiritually strong to absorb it πŸ™‚

After Kuda Kepang, we were introduced to the Barogan dance. It’s a folk dance based on Nabi Sulaiman a.s life as he could talk to animals. When I saw this dance, it immediately reminded me of the Barong dance from Bali. Do not be mistaken with these two dances, although I must admit there were characters/parts that were similar. Barong is a mythical character and is wrapped around Hindu characters. When I compare both of the dances, I can see how even the most trivial things in life has it’s own history background. I couldn’t think of anything better to learn history than to watch these dances. And I was lucky to be able to watch two different dance with similar traits from different cultures.

It simply spoke volume.

Got me thinking how come some of us could act so low against other people. After all, we came from the same source.

As soon as the show was over, we were all teamed together for the home stay program. Nicole and I were room buddies again! Our foster sister who met us was Kak Ani.

Now, this was when the conflict occur. See, I’m 25 and I look nothing like one. Kak Ani is also 25 and she looked matured for her age. Because she was referred to Kak, automatically my brain was programmed to call her that yet I couldn’t comprehend it. How did I managed to fix this glitch in my brain? I made myself assumed she was born in January, a month earlier than me so that the title fits. Problem fixed!

Thank god our bags were able to fit in her Wira which were loaded with plates (we later found out that she does catering) when she initially wanted to send us one at a time. Oh no no, we made ourselves fit in it rather than making her go back and forth.

Since my dad’s kampung in Kampung Sega, Rantau is the perfect image of what kampung life is about, with wooden house to add.. I was at ease being here. Only this time with paddy fields to envelope us throughout our stay.

The moment her car was parked next to her house.. I saw THIS.

What one earth was that? That my friends is how ketupat (packed rice) looked like when it’s boiling in a pot.

YES FOLKS, my (yet another) dream is about to come true..or at least I made sure it would. Being the person that I am, I asked Kak Ani if she could teach us to weave ketupat. When she said yes, I swear the sun was shining with me. No kidding.

Can you imagine the (already silly) smile that she managed to carve on my face? Sorry, no photo of that tho πŸ˜›

We quickly took our bags and went into our designated room. Chucked it at the corner, went out and met Kak Ani’s mum, Puan Haliwati.

Maybe God was having so much fun that he decided to amp the mood one notch higher.

Why?

There on the floor laid a bundle of palm leaves calling us out. Sheesh. Talk about temptations.

Yes, I also managed to pester Kak Ani’s mum to teach us this dying skill. We were told that Denise and Wen Yi had to stay with us because their foster mum could not make it in time for their stay. Both of them were also just as excited when they went into the living room where we were diligently trying to weave two strands of the palm leaf.

They say the more the merrier right? This certainly fit the description alright. Even Kak Ani joined us weaving.

Now, considering we never weaved a ketupat. It is understandable to see how difficult it was for us to do it. We sat there, Denise even recorded grand master (our foster mum) weaving and still couldn’t get it right..until 2 hours later. Yes yes, two incredible hours to weave TWO ketupat. How productive is that? Despite it all, we were very very very very very verrrrryyy proud of ourselves for getting it right (of course with lots of help!). Kak Ani confessed, she too had only started weaving a few weeks back during Raya. But for a beginner like her, the ketupat took form in mere 30 minutes. -_____-

Even the one I managed to weave looked like an alien. :/ Oh well, I’m still stoked the fact that I finally know how to weave a freaking ketupat! Hip hip hurray!

Hats off to two of our most awesome masters for being very patient with us through the whole session. Of course we weren’t spared with the witty remarks of having very stiff fingers.

Well, this brought me back to my first few weeks of my guitar lessons. Boy, that was some torture. But I’m sure, if we get to weave more often, we’d manage to pull off a ketupat in 30 seconds (like our foster mum). I think.

During our short stay, I managed to listened to both mother and daughter communicate in Javanese. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the company of one before so this was yet another cool discovery. We were also told of their family background from Java. They were apparently royalty descendant but something happened in Java so Kak Ani’s grandfather ran to Malaysia instead.

In just a few hours, my brain was already busy retrieving facts.

After that grueling session, we were served with kampung food which they had cooked for us earlier.

There’s one dish I never tried before which is called Pejari and this was cooked with eggplant. It’s a certain dish that tasted sweet but I wasn’t sure how it was cooked even though it was already explained. Not bad at all.

Right after dinner, we had to rush to see the Firefly at Kuala Selangor.

In one of my previous post, I had mentioned about being able to do many things listed in my to-do list. This was definitely one of them. I think it has been 5 years since I wanted to check this place out but never got around to do it.

Now that I was able to, I was pretty damn excited indeed!

This is yet another dying breed. So to protect this species, we were not allowed to take photos with flash or make too much noise. Fireflies love mangrove area and the only way to see fireflies, we have to sit in a boat.

Before we got into the boat, I had learned yet another lesson in life.

To set the camera settings to Auto so other people who aren’t familiar with it could take our photos. So this was what happened when I didn’t set it to Auto. Let’s just assume it’s an artsy fartsy thing ok?

One boat can only fit 4 adults. If I’m not mistaken, it’s RM10 per person. So Citra, Victor, Spectre and I got to share this once in a lifetime experience together.

I already knew about this particular fact – that it is hard to take a photo of a firefly with a steady hand or tripod (in a boat no less). So I wasn’t so disappointed with the outcome, I much rather enjoy this moment I have watching with my eyes instead of behind the lens.

This little amazing godsend creatures are something I tell ya! When you have a glow on your finger moving about, you won’t remember anything else but the little fella. It could just zen you out in an instant!

See the yellow/green glows in the photos? Those are the magical creatures. I really don’t know why every firefly preferred to hang out on my steel strap watch. What is it about this texture that they like so much anyway?

Be careful not to pinch them. They’re very delicate. Killing one of them is like killing one of your own family.

Since Optio P80 doesn’t have long exposure, I managed to record a video of my experience πŸ™‚ A short clip actually.

 
Amazing isn’t it? The feeling I got when a firefly lifted off from my finger was nothing short of magical. I just felt like one of Disney princesses in the old movies. Yeah that was a lot of fun indeed. We were laughing sitting in the boat as we did our best to attract the fireflies. 
After the boat trip, we were briefed about fireflies in the auditorium room. See, I never told anyone about what I discovered when we entered the Firefly park which was sponsored by TNB. You see all these artworks plastered all over the park? These were the very work I had to help Erman, my Art Director in my first advertising company 5 years ago (who is also my mentor, one of the few people I look up to). That very year, TNB was going all out with campaigns regarding fireflies, spreading across Hari Raya, Deepavali, Chinese New..everything from tv commercials, press ads to billboards. This was his brainchild from the very beginning and I was very lucky to help him when I did my internship and then absorbed in as a permanent employee. 
Every firefly brief by TNB was strictly Erman’s, up to a point we ended up calling him Man Firefly. So to actually see the real work being displayed for the public to see (and hopefully appreciate) was an added bonus to my visit. Didn’t know it was still there after 5 years! And it still looked just as good as it was first printed. Bravo Man!
We left the park around 10.45pm and was immediately told by Mr. Hafeez that there was a surprise waiting for us. Turns out to be Satay Hut at Tanjung Karang. The effort we Malaysians make to get good food. It didn’t matter if we had to drive to the other end of the world, if it’s good, it’s worth going for.
They were delicious indeed. Succulent. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. But I’m a beef satay fan and I’m sure the beef must’ve tasted delicious. This place supposedly serve satay twice the size compared to the normal satay. There’s another place synonymous with satay in Selangor too. It’s in Kajang.
I don’t know how we managed to finished two rounds of satay but we did anyway and was also late to arrive back to our foster family. We arrived at Sabak Bernam around 12.30AM. We apologised to Kak Ani for waking her up so late at night to drive us back.
Our Saturday was an eye opening experience indeed and I enjoyed every minute of it too.
With tired mind, body and eyes, we slept on our queen size bed at the same time wondering what Sunday will offer us next.
Day 3 Part 2 comes to an end.
If you think this post deserves a vote, vote it here at MySelangorStory Day 3 πŸ™‚
Advertisements
0

Le Petit Paris Γ  ViΓͺtnam: Part 2 – Daylight Run Around Day 1

Much like the title suggested, I really do think HCMC is the Little Paris in Vietnam for it’s well organised and structured town planning, all thanks to their French counterpart back in the day.  Even the compact sized tall buildings were are build according to a standard measurement to keep the consistency of look and feel of the city. Like the French, HCMC has many parks for everyone to work out or wind down.

Any place with parks around is good for me when I feel like walking among the greens and not worry about crossing roads or cafes closing. Parks are perfect when you need to collect your thoughts at any time of the day or night, one thing that KL will never have due to certain regulations. Once, my Science teacher once said if my eyes are tired, all I need to do is look at the trees or anything green to relax. So yes, parks are a definite sight for sore eyes πŸ™‚

This particular section of the city in Dong Khoi Street, District 1 (opposite Majestic Hotel, where I stayed) definitely resembles the French flair. The cafes are all around the city; left right, up down. It’s everywhere! And I realised they love their New Zealand Natural ice cream too. Food wise, there are a whole selection to choose from whether you prefer your food to be served in restaurants, markets or by the street. This particular part reminds me a lot of Malaysian food. Vietnamese food is a mixed of Chinese, American, French, Japanese, Thai and a bit of Malaysian. So, don’t worry if fried insects or snake wine isn’t your thing, there are a lot of other edible food around too.

 They have this concoctions to make drinks and desserts. They could make Ais Kacang (Red Bean Ice)!

If you haven’t heard, Vietnam is synonymous with Phở bΓ² – a type of beef noodle soup. Oh so very delicious. And if you choose to have it from the small stalls, your eating area will be the streets itself. Anywhere you like πŸ™‚ The prices ranges from very affordable to very expensive. Pretty much caters to all.

No city can get away without having a go-to market. It’s your one stop to do all kinds of shopping, at least that’s what Cho Ben Thanh is about. Front part of the big market will satisfy your clothes/shoes/accessories/souvenirs and the other half is dedicated to all kinds of food/drinks you can imagine. It’s a mad world in there. So, if you do go in, put on your best poker face and make sure you survey the prices before bargaining. They can be very aggressive to sell you anything and sometimes, it pays to be nice and talk to them to distract them from selling you things you don’t want.

 

I’m horrible at bargaining. Seriously. But I do enjoy chatting up with the sellers, some of them are really friendly. When they found out I’m from Malaysia, they put on this big smile and get so excited. It’s an amazing energy just being around them.

I was snapping her photo when she told me she’s shy then proceed to make conversations with me. The owner of this stall is the guy who was waving in the picture asked if I had taken his picture, and thank god for this one! πŸ™‚

You know, now that I realised it..wherever I go, I’ll bound to discover a piece of Malaysia around me. I don’t know why but it’s just one of those things. Like being in this very chaotic market, so chaotic, I had to remind myself to focus..lo and behold, I heard someone speaking in Malay out of the blue. Turns out to be one of the many sellers who happened to marry a Malaysian or something like that selling material cloths.

 Busy busy.

πŸ™‚ No matter how many times something like this happens, it’ll always manage to surprise me. Possibly one of the reason why I love traveling so much – the further you are away from where you come from, the closer you get to it.

Ok, I underestimated. It’s more than 2 parts :/ It’s obvious I love my stay while I was there and there’s just so many things I experienced that I can never put it into a few words.

I’ll sign off with this quote that I can relate to πŸ™‚

β€œFor my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.
The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

4

Hello World.

Everything in life has a beginning and an end. We’ll start with the beginning (and just enjoy the ride while the end comes; whenever it wants)..which will be Kuala Lumpur, my birthplace.

Let’s just say it’s Wanderlust Theories introduction to the world.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and it’s people are normally referred to as KLites. Tall buildings, food, shopping malls, haze, more glorious food, colourful culture, a lot of holidays and summer 24/7 pretty much sums up KL to it’s core. Oh, not to forget it’s traffic jam as well. But that’s another story altogether.

                                                        This was taken from the Observation Deck in Menara KL.

I used to think that KL is only most beautiful during the night or very early in the morning; for the obvious reason until recently, I rediscovered this city in a different perspective and it is a lot more fun/warm too. See, the thing about living in a city is that, the real face is covered with concrete all over causing the true life experience of what made it the way it is now left unknown to many people, even KLites themselves.

To me what makes a place appealing would be the raw emotions of it’s people. With the hustle and bustle of the city, one rarely get to experience it aside from it being just another city. Ok, Tokyo probably can get away with this. Never been there before, but one day some day soon I will.

So back to KL.

I’ll write about what KL is in general for now and delve into my new discoveries later on in new entries.

KLCC pretty much put us in the map, aside from the Sepang International Circuit for Formula 1. For the longest time, when you ask any westerner if they know where Malaysia is, they wouldn’t know, unless you say a neighbour to Singapore. It’s quite frustrating because Malaysia has so much to offer but was hidden from the world. Now though, it’s a different case.

I must admit, KL has a lot of energy. It caters to everyone with all kinds of interest. If you’re the running type of person, there are various hills you can go to – Tabur, Broga or Gasing Hill; heck, while you’re at it, might as well run up the stairs at Batu Caves. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Get your body work out with ATV or Paintball in the jungle. Hey, nothing beats being one with Mother Nature right?

Zorbing will turn your life upside down, literally. A tad crazy but it’s a once in a lifetime thing being in a washing machine-like enviroment. Of course those who suffers from claustrophobia are not advised to do it.   

The KL I grew up with is very humid during the first half of the year. What with global warming, boy, you’ll probably want to sleep in the freezer. For someone who does not like the air condition system, I sure as heck is tempted to install one in the room but once May-June comes, hello rain! Open your windows, welcome the cool breeze into your space and it’s just as chilly. I am amazed with women like them who doesn’t seem bothered with the heat.

As of late, we’ve been getting many more Koreans and Arabs coming over to KL either for holiday or to stay. Considering the conversion rate to Ringgit Malaysia(RM), KL is pretty cheap to shop, eat & stay. It’s no surprise the Arab/Korean restaurants are booming here; unfortunately the authentic good Korean restaurants (mostly in Korean Street, Ampang) are non-halal.

With so many races living together here, it’s no wonder our most popular question in everyday life is “What to eat ah today?” and most frequent answer to this would be “Anythinglah”. I mean of course we can’t think straight when it comes to food; God, look at the choices we have here! Let me assure you that, good ‘ole Malaysian food is best served in small stalls by the street or drains. There’s just something about it that makes the food extra delicious. You can spend as little as RM2 for Roti Canai and Teh Tarik or spend a bit more for noodles, rice or our local Burger Ramly. Let’s not even talk about the desserts!

If I can say one thing that we are rich in, it’s most definitely food. It doesn’t matter what your budget is, you’ll be guaranteed for a gastronomical experience anywhere in the city.

We’ve got some nice places to hangout during the night too. Whether you’re the clubbing type of person, lounge or just want to go out for the heck of it; KL’s got it all! From Zouk to No Black Tie to ehem..

people who constantly serving us day and night, the mamak stalls!

What would we do without those hardworking fellas making and serving our food when we crave for something to munch at 2AM? I can’t imagine a life without them. No wait, I could – something like London. That’s not even a compliment.

Yes, they are our unsung heroes.

Seriously. Food is KL and KL is food. There’s no other way about it.

You know what? KL is alright. It’s not mad. Albeit the crime issues are terrifying but it’s not so bad after all (also because of the new discoveries).

I didn’t think it would be this hard to write up a place like KL but how wrong was I?

Phewh. I can now stop looping Maroon 5’s Misery.

I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure
– Paulo Coelho