Sunday, January 31, 2010

The evolution of Books (Another musing on reading)

Shortly after Amazon came up with their portable eBook reader "Kindle" in Nov 2007, Steve Jobs was quoted saying:
"It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore... The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore.". He also stated that in the previous year, 40% of americans read books only once or less a year.

In a recent interview with Malaysia OUM (Open University), Mahathir, an ever-interesting Asian leader of these decades, was asked about his opinon on reading:
"Reading also improves your perception of things and trains you to analyse and understand complex matters. The more you read, the more you acquire the experience of others albeit through the eyes of a skillful observer. Even if you are reading a story book, your ability to solve problems increases because you have, at least read about it."
"To encourage lifelong learning, you must instil a reading culture. Lifelong learning starts with reading, and can become a habit, just like reading."
I'm a firm believer in life learning experiences thru reading, whether it's a simple book, comedy, drama, novel, travelogue, history, even comics! Reading opens windows to different mindsets, different cultures, different journeys, and all that can be simply 'operated' from a lazy sofa in your own home, on a sunbed besides a cosy swimming pool, or while waiting for your name to be called at the doctor's.
I surely hope this wonderful learning experience will continue to be passed on, no matter how the media will evolve (from manuscript, to paperback, to Kindler & then to iPad :) ).

ps: Gizmodo was right, Jobs, shaker of the Pop Culture evolution, was indeed cooking something better than Kindle at that time :). Hail to the new iPad :) - just announced 3 days ago - 27 Jan 2009.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Namul in the Banchans

Since C has a Korean working colleague, he starts introducing me to Korean Restaurants. I have not been really familiar with korean cuisine, except Bulgogi (in Pasaraya BlokM that i keep coming and coming again) & Bimbimbap (My favourite used to be in T2 Cengkareng, but i think they are not there anymore).
After a few resto tries here, I've become quite fond of some of their vegetables side dishes. Korean restos serve mini side dishes "Banchan" while we wait for our main course, in tiny little plates, that remind me of Padang style food serving :).
The variety includes their famous vinegar-and-chilli-fermented cabbage - Kimchi - which unfortunately I still dont like :) They also serve sweet mashed potato, softened peanuts, cucumber slices, but my favourites are their fresh boiled vegetables:
- Spinach Namul (Sigumchi Namul)
- Asparagus Namul
- Bean Sprouts Namul (Sukju Namul or  kongnamul muchim)
I've been a lazy snail in cooking, but if i were to cook vege-s soon, I think I will try the above recipes. They seem so simple to make isnt it.
*pic taken from

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 Random Things on KL

Inspired by this posting, a faithful indonesian blogger who constantly blogs on things related to Japan only, here are 10 random things about KL:
1. KL's air is pretty unpolluted (esp. compared to Jkt). It is easy to get the light blue clear color of the sky here, except during the dry season when forest fire smokes fly from Sumatra. Around the vicinity of the city, it is easy to see greens & forests. In fact, from Carrefour shopping center, which is just 5 mins drive from my place, the view from the gate is limestone hills covered by dense tropical forest.

2. KL itself is actually a small area. The hustle bustle happens much in its surrounding area, more popularly called the Klang Valley, consisting of districts like PJ (Petaling Jaya); Subang; Shah Alam... This would be something like Bekasi or Cikarang or BSD, but much more integrated to the city center & same level of infrastructure. Malaysia's manufacturing industries, residential areas of people who work in KL, hyper-sized malls are spread out in this area.

3. KL & the country has an excellent road infrastructure standard. Highways are all of the same quality in all parts of Malaysia, with well manicured trees along the road & lightings are excellent.

4. I do still get confused of some Malay words, which sometimes just make me smile. eg: Toko Hiasan Dalam: I've thought this is a lingerie shop, but actually means interior design office. A building with signboard on its roof writeen "Ibu Pejabat Kepolisian": thought this was a building where all the wifes of the policemen gather for meeting (macam Dharma Wanita). Actually Ibu means "Main", pejabat means "office". ie. Main Headquarter of the Police.

5. I am very pleased with the existence of the LRT (mrt-like) network, which i can take btw office & home, rather than going thru the packed roads by car (+nightmare in finding carpark space). It's clean, cold, and they are expanding the wagons from 2 to 4, yippee! Plus, they stop right in front of my condo & in front of my office, so it's very very convenient for me :).

6. Malaysia has received about 25millions of visitors last year, whereas Indo has made it to barely 6 millions. I can name you so many wonderful places in Indonesia & so much more beautiful & captivating (and i do mean this objectively)..., lots of them still untouched by international mass-tourism, especially the beaches that I so love.... from Pulau Weh, Belitung, Ujung Genteng, beaches past Wonosari, Amed in Bali, Gili Islands, Raja Ampat, Derawan, Wakatobi.... In brief, they are countless. But what a contrast, in terms of numbers of visitors, isnt'it? Even if let's say i cut the number of visitors by 1/2 because 50% of them are Singaporeans, which I presume most of them go to Malaysia to see their relatives or just short educational school trips, it still leaves the number at 12 mio, 2x than my country's visitors :(. It does show something though, that Malaysia tourism campaign & tourism management has been successful. Also, the feeling of personal security and ease in finding places is also an important factor for a tourist when visiting a country i guess.

7. The other thing about Malaysia that makes it a favourite place for tourists to hop to, is it is the homebase of AirAsia air carriers. Its location is perfect for connecting flights to other gems of South East Asia: Thailand; Cambodia; Burma; Vietnam; even Aceh/Sabang is nearer from here than from Jkt

8. While KL is located west of Jkt, it is geographically-illogically following a later time zone than Jakarta!. It follows the timing zone of Sabah/Sarawak, which is GMT+8. As a result, i feel hours in KL are a bit out of sync with the sun's position. Eg. When it's 6.00 pm it is still pitch dark like 5.00 am. Only at 7.10 the sun rises. 7pm is the time when the sun is just about to start... so the night gets dark pretty late, and before u know it, it's already time to sleep :)

9. People dress more casually & practical here in malls, compared to Jakarta. Most women/girls wear flat shoes & casual clothes, even in upmarket malls. while in jkt, going to the malls make u feel glamorous, just by looking at the nicely dressed girls with their high heels & made-up hair. Ooo, I do actually miss those nice sights :) (not that i am one of them, but i got to say that nicely dressed ladies are pretty sights to your eyes & do inspire me to try to dress more tidy :) ).

10. I have found some good local foods here, but sadly they are not very healthy & most of them lack the vegetable ingredient: Bak Kut Teh (braised pork in soya sauce soup); Crab in butter sauce; Prawn in salted egg; asam laksa; fried kwey tiau, oyster omellete; nasi lemak (even the name is sinful already); roti prata with mutton curry.... they are yummy, but no wonder my cholesterol level has gone up this year!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

always good to stop for a while n smell the flowers around...

Happy Weekend everyone :)

(photo print from Danielle Thompson's Etsy)

Friday, January 08, 2010

JavaJazz 5-7 Mar 2010

Aaauww... they got a fabulous listing of artists..
David Sanborn, John Legend, Al Jarreau, Dave Koz, Special EFX, Manhattan Transfer, Anggun...
I wanna go :)