Sunday, 28 September 2008

Taipei Taipei...........................

As usual I made a short one night stop over in Taipei, and this time I managed to cover the hip area of Ximending ( 西門町 ) and food haven cum bargains galore of HsinLin Night Market ( 士林夜市 ).

Ximending which is located in the Wanhua district , is also fondly known as the Harajuku of Taiwan, where you can get the hippest and trendiest fashion apparels, Japanese manga, magazines and anything to do with Land of the Rising sun .

As usual..I dont travel by Taxi in Taipei as the MRT are so ever convenient !!! Believe me, you wont get lost, just follow the colour lines !! Here in Taipei MRT, they uses a magnetic RFID coin/chip to replace a ticket which is much more environmental friendly as they are recyclyable. That is when you are entering the station, you simply scan with the chip ! And when you exit, you simply put the chip back into the gantry.

People mountain people sea in XImending
Just reminds me of Japan
Shin Lin night market, just like Petaling Street( Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown )

Yummy Taiwanese street food !!!!!

Some roti canai look alike which we didnt try....... serves with toppings like peanuts, jams etc
Fried giant tempura hot dog. A bargain at NT30/each
The local way of eating vermicelli ( misua ) is just standing by the road and slurping away !!

The original famous AY Chung mi sua stand in Ximen Ding . Really yummy pork intestine rice vermicelli.

A closer look of this delicious comfort food.

The famous Da Ji Pai ( Jumbo fried chicken ) stand in Shin Lin foodcourt.

This is how the system works. You line up and you would be given a plastic bag, one for each piece of fried chicken.
The much crazed jumbo fried chicken at Nt50 each. Taste's much better than KFC !!

Much choices awaits you in Shin Lin food court.

Wok-fried Squid ( 生炒花枝 Sheng Chao Hua Zhi) - Fresh squid is sliced and then wok-fried with garlic, red pepper, bamboo shoot slices, and carrots, and boiled with stock soup to make thicksoup. Tasted yummy with a dash of vinegar.

Oa Chien ( Oyster Omelette )

My cup of shaved iced frog eggs !!!! Taste just like jelly with tapioca balls to me......

Fried Smelly tofu (臭豆腐,chòu dòufǔ) an aquired taste. The king of Taiwanese Steet food !! Without failed I would get my fix everytime I step my fot into Taiwan !! Eaten with some pickled cabbage ( resembles Saurkraut ) and a dash of sweet sause and chili paste !! Heaven !!!!!!

Pigs blood pudding with rice o· bí-ko ( 烏米糕 ) - a dish made from pork blood and rice. Fried and eaten with a soya sauce dipping and chilli sauce.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Taichung revisited

Its been countless times I've been to Taichung, but I'll never get bored as every visit is a new experience for me. As the name literally suggest , Middle of Taiwan, its located about 150kms away from Taipei ( which means Northern Taiwan ).

Basically Taichung is an industrial town, but like any other cities of Taiwan, its heritage in argicultural still lies strongly in the heart of Taiwanese. This can be seen from the amounts of paddy fields which is scattered around town,beside houses, factories and even back alleys is not spared !!

Paddy fields everywhere !!! View from my hotel, Howard Prince Taichung.

Taichung is also the home of the infamous Betelnut girls...........where scantily clad ladies does their business by cabins by the roadsides attracting passing drivers with their killer bodies, sometimes wearing nothing more than an underwear and lingerie....wait its not what you think..they are mere selling betelnuts , ciggrates and nothing more !!

Another must visit spot in Taichung is the famous FENGCHIA night market,which is just like our local pasar malam. There is a saying from a local....if you have not been to Fengchia, you havent been to Taichung !!!! Loads of yummy Taiwanese street foods can be found here, together with cheap and trendy gifts for everyone. If you want value for money shopping, here is the place .

Yummy roast cuttlefish. NT40/each

Noodle store with where you pick the ingredients.

Pepper meat bun, another favourite street food

Takoyaki, influenced by the Japanese which ruled Taiwan for over 50 years

Another must try, spare parts of gizzards, intestines etc

Its been ages since I had a coke the old skool way, directly from a glassbottle!

Howard Prince Taichung has been like a home away from home for me each time I visit Taichung. And believe me.they do really serves good food !!!!!!! Recommended is Yangtse River restaurant located in 16th Floor. But sometimes its really funny that they like to serveswestern chinese food here in a same meal.............

Smoked salmon salad with Sesame oil sauce

Cold appetizers. My all time favourite is the marinated cherry tomato in prune juice !!

Chinese style Beef steak with red wine sauce which we had for dinner on the first night.

Lamb shoulders, which makes up part of our lunch on the 2nd day.
Shark fin dumpling soup for lunch....

Haha also saw our humble Proton Savvy made into Taiwans shore !!

Finally I make it home !!!!! What a day !!

As a result of Typhoon Hagupit which hits Hong Kong yesterday, I got my self stranded in Taiwan yesterday for more than 5 hours awaiting my return flight to KL via Hong Kong . Imagine sitting there awaiting when you can go home is one of the most annoying thing which can happen to a traveller.

Check into Taoyuan International Airport Taipei at 0900am for my 1120am flight to Hong Kong for my connecting flight home by Cathay Pacific. While awaiting boarding we were told that the flight would be delayed to 130pm which left me wondering aimlessly in the airport. Finally we were told to board the waiting plane a little over 1pm. The worst is yet to come.........

While awaiting to take off to from Taipei, the Cathay Pacific's flight failed to get clearance to land in Hong Kong due to a recurrent typhoon and we were make to wait for another 2 hours in the plane !! Tensions flared in plane with some passengers started hurl abuses at the steward/dess on duty , as most of the over 300 hundred passengers in the 747 would end up missing their connecting flights back home . Poor thing as its none of their fault and yet they need entertain such a passenger.

Finally the plane took off at 330pm and scheduled to arrive at Honk Kong at 445pm. The typhoon was so bad that we need to abort 3 landing attempts and wasted 45 minutes circling the airspace of Hong Kong. Imagine a fully laden 747 rocks and sways by the wind !!! Finally we make it on the ground admist applause by passengers at 530pm !! Upon reaching the terminal I only found out that my connecting flight CX693 to KL was suppose to leave at 255pm was re-scheduled to 5pm..but it is already 545pm now! And I drag my self to the nearest Cathay transfer counter to get myself another connecting flight back.

Tempers flares are getting worst when a Taiwanese was hurling abuses at an off duty Cathay Pacific ground staff who was just passing thru the area. Despite abuses and scoldings from this unruly Taiwanese passenger , she managed to kept her cool and explained the whole situation to this passenger. Hats off to this SYT for handling the situation so professionally !! But Cathay Pacific also need to understand the situation, as hundreds of passengers missed their connecting flights and they only open 4 counters !!!! I myself waited more than 1 1/2 hours in line.

As the counter staff told me that there are no more flights out of HK to KL tonight as the last flight CX693 already left at 545pm !! And they decided to put me on the next available flight out of HK the next morning at 845am and offered me a night stay at a nearby hotel and HKD40 meal voucher. In my heart I am started to get angry guys put me in all this mess all you do is to offer me a night stay plus HKD40 meal voucher ? Y so kiamsiap wan ?? What can u get for HKD40 now adays plus the voucher can only be used in the airport ?? Furthermore this stop in HK is unplanned and I dont even has a single HKD dollar with me . SO expect me to eat what ??

Finally the counter staff only managed to check that the earlier CX693 didnt leave HK after all because of some technical problems and wouldnt leave till 8pm !! Mind you its 730pm at that time and I have to run like a mad man across the airport just to be in the gate by 8pm !!

Finally after much delay we manage to leave HK at 830pm and reach KL at 1130pm. And guess what my bad luck never ends here as they didnt manage to check in my bag !!! Damm !! Luckily I am home...if this happen when I am on my way to Taiwan ?????

Finally make it back home a 2am today.....alive. And my poor dad needs to fly to Hong Kong also today..which his flight was also delayed ......

Dunno who to blame ? The typhoon or Cathay ? WHy other flights can make it and not ours ??

Sunday, 21 September 2008

From Taichung with love

Blogging in from Taichung...full report when i get back !!!!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Teresa Kok released from ISA detention !!!!

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok was released from detention under the Internal Security Act at about 1pm on today. Her father Kok Kim Tong and mother Poh Seh Kwon were at the Jalan Travers police station here when she was released.

According to Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said that Kok had been released at 1.30pm after investigations showed there was no reason to detain her any further.

The Kinrara assemblyman and senior Selangor state executive councillor was detained one week ago, together with Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng.

Tan was released after 18 hours.

Kok was detained because she was considered a potential threat to national security for "racial incitement" after she was accused of petitioning a mosque to reduce the volume for azan (the call to prayer), something which she had vehemently denied.

The accusation surfaced in a Sept 10 article in Utusan Malaysia quoting former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

The accusation was refuted by the Kinrara mosque committee chairman and Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah had lodged a police report against Dr Mohd Khir on this issue.

Kok also lodged a police report against the Malay daily, its columnist Zaini Hassan and Dr Mohd Khir.

“I believe one of the excuses for my ISA detention is in relation to that article and I place Utusan Malaysia, Zaini Hassan and Dr Mohd Khir Toyo responsible for my arrest,” she had stated in her police report.

On Monday, Kok filed a habeas corpus application in the High Court for her release citing that her arrest and detention under the Internal Security Act was unlawful.

Sankara said then that the court had fixed Sept 23 for hearing but said they would apply for Sept 22 instead as he had another case and Karpal Singh would be in East Malaysia on that date.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Happy Mooncake Festival aka Mid-Autumm Festival

The time of the year has come again. A much waited time of the year for moon cakes fans like me !! This time is also knows as the mid-autumm festival , in the good old days where childrens and adults alike carry lanterns around ,which has since been substituted with battery operated ones.

What is the hidden meaning of this festival ? A quick search thru Wikipedia reveals this :-

The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節, zhōng qiū jié), also known as the Moon Festival, is a popular East Asian celebration of abundance and togetherness, dating back over 3,000 years to China's Zhou Dynasty.[dubious ] In Malaysia and Singapore, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival. The Chinese Lantern Festival is held on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian calendar), a date that parallels the Autumn Equinox of the solar calendar. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calendar (the other being the Chinese Lunar New Year), and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:

  • Eating moon cakes outside under the moon
  • Putting pomelo rinds on one's head
  • Carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns
  • Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e
  • Planting Mid-Autumn trees
  • Collecting dandelion leaves and distributing them evenly among family members
  • Fire Dragon Dances

Shops selling mooncakes, before the festival, often display pictures of Chang'e floating to the moon.

As usual, traditional festivals celebrations has few versions of their origins, and the Mid-Autumm festival is not left behind too....another popular version is such....

While Westerners may talk about the "man in the moon", the Chinese talk about the "woman in the moon". The story of the fateful night when Chang'e was lifted up to the moon, familiar to most Chinese citizens, is a favorite subject of poets. Unlike many lunar deities in other cultures who personify the moon, Chang'e lives in the moon. Tradition places Houyi and Chang'e around 2170 BC, in the reign of the legendary Emperor Yao, shortly after that of Huang Di.

There are so many variations and adaptations of the Chang'e legend that one can become overwhelmed and utterly confused. However, most legends about Chang'e in Chinese mythology involve some variation of the following elements: Houyi, the Archer; Chang'e, the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality; an emperor, either benevolent or malevolent; an elixir of life; and the Moon:

Whatever it maybe..HAPPY MOONCAKE FESTIVAL to all...

signing off to get another piece of delicious mooncake to go with my pu-erh tea !!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A year ago...

If its still happening.....we would be celebrating our 1st year today. But .......sometimes things are best left to god wills. Woke up to myself reminding of this day........

Another Racist Ahmad Ismail controversy.

Penang Umno leader Ahmad Ismail, the man at the centre of the 'racial slur' controversy, warned Chinese Malaysians not to mimic American Jews who not only seek to control the country's economy but also its political power.


ahmad ismail umno bukit bendera penang pc take down koh tsu koon photo stunt 080908 02

In an explosive 50-minute press conference, Ahmad who claimed time and again that he was not a racist, vowed that he would not apologise for his remarks which sparked the controversy.

"While it is not difficult to say sorry - for the sake of my Malay dignity, I resolve not to apologise no matter what others may say. I am willing to take the risk (for not doing so)," he said in a 14-page statement.

ahmad ismail umno bukit bendera penang pc take down koh tsu koon photo stunt 080908 sequenceThe press conference, which was held at the Penang Umno headquarters this afternoon, ended with shouts of 'Hidup Melayu' from about 50 local party leaders who were there.

Soon after the event, former Penang Umno committee member Zainol Abidin Hashim, with the help from his colleagues pulled down the photo of Gerakan acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon which adorned one of the walls in the party headquarters.

Koh's picture frame, which sat next to the photos of the Penang governor and his wife, was subsequently smashed.

As the glass broke into pieces, Zainol removed Koh's photo from the frame and tore it into half.

Koh, who is former Penang chief minister, has been trading barbs with Ahmad, the Bukit Bendera Umno division chief, over the issue.

Ahmad: Take this as a warning

Earlier, Ahmad told the minority Chinese not to go overboard in hurting the feelings of the Malays and Muslims.

"I want them to know, I want them to take this as a warning from the Malays. Malays and Muslims have been provoked many times. We have been patient because we want to maintain stability in the country," he said.

"Remember! The patience of Malays and Muslims has its limits. Do not push us to the wall, where we will be forced to reject the Chinese for the sake of our survival.

"If what I say sounds too strong for BN, take this as a warning from the Malays and Muslims as this has nothing to do with Umno. Do not pressure Umno leaders until they are caught in a dilemma."

He then sounded a dire warning to Koh and Gerakan.

"I want Koh Tsu Koon and Gerakan to take responsibility for whatever untoward incidents that could happen in this country of ours."

Ahmad also called upon BN leaders to "kick Gerakan out" from the ruling coalition.

'PM asked me to hold this PC'

The Bukit Bendera Umno chief said that he was asked by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to hold "another press conference".

Ahmad previously held a press conference last Friday in which he reiterated that he would not apologise for his remarks.

abdullah badawi penang pc  060908 01Abdullah (photo, right), who had earlier told the powerful local Umno leader to do so, was silent on the issue the next day when he met with Penang Umno leaders, including Ahmad.

Ahmad, who was backed by all 13 Umno divisions in Penang - Abdullah's home state - thanked the prime minister for his "understanding".

The controversy erupted after Ahmad had allegedly said that the "Chinese were immigrants squatting in this country" at a ceramah during the recent Permatang Pauh by-election campaign.

The speech caused Ahmad to come under heavy fire from Chinese-based political parties, particularly from Umno's allies MCA and Gerakan over the past two weeks. A spate of police reports were also lodged against the Umno division leader.

Ahmad nevertheless argued that his remark was taken out of context by Chinese-language Sin Chew Daily as he was referring to historical events.

At the press conference, Ahmad also urged the different states to hold a gathering of the whole ummah (Muslim community).

"Let us not let it go to waste as the flames of anger among Malays and Muslims has reached new heights. Let us take embrace this anger and come together as Malays and Muslims throughout the land so that we can turn the voices of the Malays into one that will unite all Malays and Muslims into one single movement."

In an immediate reaction, both Abdullah and Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak are expected to meet Ahmad tomorrow. It is believed that action could be taken against the Umno leader.

Source : Malaysia Kini


Merdeka !! Merdeka !!