Current Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen received much flak recently for announcing plans to "lay claim" on certain local delicacies during the launch of Malaysia International Gourmet Festival on September 16th. The local delicacies quoted in the local dailies include laksa, bak kut teh, nasi lemak, chilli crab as well as Hainanese chicken rice. Bloggers are up in arms over this announcement, particularly from across the channel, which has since laid claim to some of these foods long time ago. While I think she may be well intended and as of yesterday, has corrected what she actually meant (not patenting but promoting these local delicacies), I wonder personally how the ministry would intent to go about "proving" that some of these local fares are of this country origin. This is because, foods, generally "migrate" and "introduce" to other areas or regions as the populace move about. The literal melting pot of culture so to speak. Most of the general populace of this region shares an almost homogenised cultural identities and mix, particularly geographical regions which are deemed as Strait Settlements, such as Penang (is this name "claimed"and "patented" by the state govt yet as announced? :P), Malacca and of course, Singapore. Take laksa for example. No proven texts exist which clearly state that it is from here and not there. Yet, in this country alone, there are so many variants i.e. Assam Laksa, Curry Laksa, Laksa Kelantan aka Laksam, Laksa Johor, Laksa Sarawak (for a full list, I think I would need to check out Laksa Shack). I think as a food is introduced, it is generally "tweek" to suit the general population taste based on acceptance. I wonder if variation counts? And what about the variation in name but consist of same cooking method? And the cook? Does it has to be a local? Most hawkers in KL consists of employed Burmese anyway...Now, if I have my way, here's a list of hawker fare I would attempt to "claim" (since lately, "claim" has been in vogue in the local news, beginning with Indonesia "claim" on Negara Ku as theirs, the nation via Discovery Channel embarrassingly "portray" Balinese Dance as originated from here, state govt "claim" on the name Penang :)).
a) Penang(R) Kueh Chap(C). This low profile hawker fare is slowly becoming hard to find, except in old town sections or wet markets. Different from the more popular Sarawak or Southern variety, the soup and "spare parts" are "derived" from ducks. And my goodness, it is veli ho liau!
b) Chee Cheong Fun(C). There are the Teluk Intan type, normal yong tau foo type, and my fav, Penang(R) type which is banjir-ed in heavenly shrimp paste heh.
c) Penang(R) Curry Mee(C) which contain cockles, shrimps, taufoo pok, taugeh and most importantly, the coagulated pig's blood (the singular most important differentiatng factor). Perhaps the most widely "copied" version of all time.
d) Penang((R) Lor Mee(C). Again, the type of noodle use, is different from the mid to southern region. In Penang(R), yellow noodles or beehoon is used instead of the standard flat noodle variety. The right combination of ngor hiang powder and starch are used to create the unique gooey gravy like soup. And again it tastes different from its southern cousin, maybe a tad more tastier. Order it with extra pork intestine. crispy fried lard plus some garlic and vinegar, whoa, instant food high!
e) Ipoh(TM) Taugeh Chicken Rice(C). Nothing beats the taste of a steamed chicken bath generously in a sea of peanut oil + soy sauce.
f) Ramly(R) Burger Special(C) with Cheese and Egg Super Special(TM). The original fast food since '79. Fuelled poor soul like me during the college days. Fuel those who crave for a late night snack. Dunk out in Worcestershire sauce, margarine, mayonnaise, tomato and chilli sauces, and cucumbers, onions and cabbage...yummy. Some might say, the idea of local indie, punks and DIY are also deeply rooted in those one stall mobile burger joint. Rawk on, brader!
g) Kajang Satay(C). As an old school satay lover, I staunchly believes all satays must have at least a portion of chicken skin or fat. At least up to recently, most Kajang satays, known for its generous portion, tender meats and secret recipied peanut sauces, are so darn delicious.
Anyhoo, I guess at the end of the day, it is the taste which counts, not rubber stamping and prove where so ever the said foods originated from.
Patrick Swayze, a leading man in most 80s to early 90s romance movies, has passed away last Monday due to cancer. Although stereotyped due to his "1991 sexiest man alive" looks, and starred in some real duds, he remains etched eternally in filmdom due to surprise super hit Dirty "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" Dancing (1987), sappy supernatural romance drama Ghost (1990) with Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg and a rare cross dressing adventure featuring him beside action man Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo. Curiously, all three movies are accompanied by a memorable song each. Dirty Dancing ~ (I've Had) The Time Of My Live, Ghost ~ Unchained Melody, To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar ~ I Am Body Beautiful (which became da ultimo theme for certain "men" in certain clubs...)
Some time back, an ex-colleague suggested that everyone should carry at least a currency of fantastic denomination to "keep" one's wealth intact. I am not sure which traditional belief it is, but the idea is akin to keeping the rice bowl full. Popular currencies are Vietnamese Dong and Indonesian Rupiah. One has to get a single note of at least 10,000 or above. Yesterday, I came across an even better alternative, a million dollars MJ note.
The beloved glass frame breaks and a replacement is in order, courtesy of a Wayfarer RB5121. However, the manner of which a Wayfarer "classically" leans onto my pudgy face (due to its design and not helped by my almost "bridgeless" tropical weather nose) can be quite un-comfortable...a certain period of adjustment required.
...just like a snake's fangs dripping with nectar instead of venom. It glistens in the sunlight. Also, noticed a small new plant at the substrate of the N. Ampullaria ver. Red On Green. Could it be a basal plant?
Chloe took over my job temporarily...she was rather impressed at the manner which I painstakingly tried to "repair" the suicidal Kerberos figure which "jumped" from the display shelf a couple of months ago...
Went to Puchong, near the Kampung Baru town for dinner with family last Saturday, bumped into Ah Mou and Ah Pak with Sasa, Pin and MOM, who was at their house since morning playing mahjong (when Ah Mou's in town, its mahjong all round). The Chinese restaurant serves great soup with chunks of fish meats in clay pot (so much so that we went again today). Outside a pasar malam was in progress. I think it is the first time Chloe and Dylan experienced the din and noises of a pasar malam. I enjoy a pasar malam, but with the A(H1N1) pandemic still over our heads, I was abit uncomfortable over the environment. They were particularly fascinated at the toys store selling all sorts of MYR 5 to 10 battery operated vehicles and dolls. Bought them a cat and dog toys which, seen at the demo, could walk and meow and bark. But alas, the dog malfunctioned once we switched it on at home while the cat lasted for only two days before it went KO. As for me, I was quite keen on some firecrackers on display. Perhaps I should not allow such opportunity to pass me by.
Honestly, I don't know much about the late Robert Palmer (19 January 1949 – 26 September 2003), but Addicted To Love, Simply Irresistible and She Makes My Day are some of my favourite songs from the 80s. It helps that the first two aforementioned songs' music video features the infamous, much parodied "conservatively sexy" models as back up for Palmer. The heavily makeup, mannequin like models are supposedly based after the artworks by Patrict Nagel, the late art icon whose works are akin to Art Deco. All I know is, if I were to have a bevy of those models as backup, I would sing those songs facing them instead of the audience.
Esther bought Chloe and Dylan two bubble making bottles from a nearby kedai runcit last Saturday. Both have been fascinated with it ever since. I got an extra for them last Monday, of which Chloe and Suetch subsequently turned the room into a bubble bath. Tried to refill it with soap and water but the bubbly effect is just not there. What are those liquids they used? And is it harmful? Afterall Suetch tried to "eat" the bubbles...
Alain Robert, 47, a self styled dare devil climber of tall buildings around the world, finally made it to the top of this country's Petronas Twin Towers on yesterday. After being arrested twice by the local law enforcers for his two, previous obviously uncompleted attempts, he finally managed to complete the climbing in the wee hour of the morning as the security guards are probably sleeping ;) and reached the top in an hour and 45 minutes. He is currently being held by the police after the security guards took him in (whom I guessed woke up in time to witness Robert's achievement) and no news on whether he would be charged with anything. Hopefully not caning :P
Update (5th Sept 09) : Alain is eventually fined MYR 2000 with promise not to climb another building in this country again.
Noel Gallagher announced recently that he is quitting Oasis for real this time after he couldn't stand Liam any longer. Just when I thought everything is dandy between the two famous fueding brothers. Not that I still enjoy their current releases but nostalgic moment flashes back just when Oasis is truly one of the biggest band in the world with their brand of Beatlelesque Brit Pop. That's back when they gave the world Definitely Maybe and What's The Story Morning Glory? Brotherly fight in the same band is nothing new but seems to be a "trend" with bands from the region. The Jesus And The Mary Chain, who are Jim and William Reid , two cool cats from Scotland, fought epic brotherly bouts (as well as notoriously violent live sets) but gave the world Psychocandy, an album infused with so much sonic feedbacks that I struggled like a drowning man when I first heard it. But unlike No Wave or Avant Garde Punk category bands, once I swam to the other side, the almost bubble gum pop like melodious songs greeted me. The album perhaps set the tone for bands like My Bloody Valentine aka shoegazers, which yield their axes sonic assault like there is no tomorrow. Earphones are strictly not recommended when listening to the JAMC first album as eardrums will definitely bleed literally.
Tina Turner, the Queen Of Rock N Roll, who was well into her 40s when she waxed lyrically about a private dancer and then asked the world what's love got to do with it, saying it is nothing but a second hand emotion. Subsequently she said we don't need another hero for all we want is life beyond the Thunderdome, a popular anti-war song from a Mad Max movie back then. And I listen, cos apart from her massive hairdo, ultra mini skirt and what former US President Bush proclaimed as "the best legs in show business", for she is simply the best.