Ice Balls

Ipoh – Food Glorious Food, Fellowship and Fun


A couple of weeks ago, I was absent for a short while as I went along to my church annual family camp. It was a great time of hearing God’s word, fellowship and ‘fai lo’ ship (local slang for sharing meals together). This year our venue was the town of Ipoh.

Ipoh is the capitol of the state of Perak in Malaysia.  At one time, it was one of the richest cities in the region with scores of multimillionaires and resplendent with mansions on large grounds.  It had grown rich on the back of tin mining.  The city then fell into the backwaters when the price of tin fell catastrophically in the 1970’s.

Today, it is seeing a resurgence due to tourism.  It is surrounded by beautiful limestone hills and caves including some interesting temples built into the limestone caves.

However, we were there primarily to receive spiritual food; teaching from God’s word.  We had invited a Singaporean preacher who encouraged us not to be just pew warmers but to be true disciples of Christ, we had to be, well, disciples; following his example and obedient to his teachings and commands.  Specifically, we were challenged to a) have compassion for others and be relevant in our community; b) have a real and living relationship with God through prayer and reading the bible; c) have a vibrant relationship with one another, helping and encouraging one another in our Christian walk and finally d) to obey Christ is actively sharing His Good News to those around us.  We also looked into the book of Nehemiah and how different people (and not necessary the best qualified people) were assigned to rebuild different sections of Jerusalem’s fallen wall.  The important thing was being willing and working as part of a whole effort.

But a very good secondary reason for going to Ipoh is to enjoy the food because Ipoh has its own well know cuisine. Some of it is shown in the photos above. Use your mouse to hover over the photo and you can read the associated caption.

Some of the famous Ipoh cuisine are said to be due to the qualities of the spring water there that is used in the cooking process.  Hence, the Ipoh Hor Fun noodles is extremely soft and silky – unmatched anywhere else in Malaysia.  Similarly, the Beansprouts chicken is great not just because of the way the chicken is cooked but because the special spring water has made the beansprouts particularly plump, crunchy and juicy.  In the same way, the dessert – sweetened soyabean curd is silky smooth.

There are many more Ipoh food highlights including seafood, popiah (a type of soft springroll), beef noodles, Ipoh’s own white coffee, the pomelo fruit…….. the list goes on and on but it serves us all little good to keep talking about it here.  Internet technology hasn’t reach the stage where you can enjoy the food remotely.  You’ll just have to take my word for it ……or go there yourselves.  But be warned, Ipoh is hazardous to weight loss diets.

Automaton


In this Brave New World in which we find ourselves, many human jobs and roles have been taken over by robots.  It was inevitable therefore that the Lone Grey Squirrel too has been replaced with an automaton.

(Merrian-Webster Dictionary:  Automaton – a mechanism that is relatively self-operating; especially : robot)


Photoshopped image: Worth

Once again, I have to make a short trip and will be away for at least a fortnight.  During that time, I may have very limited access to the blogosphere and therefore will be unable to post.

In my absence, the blog management in their ‘wisdom’ have decided not to hire a temp or ghost writer to keep the posts rolling.  Instead, they have decided to try out an automaton – in the form of the WordPress Post Scheduler.

So, you will still see posts appear here at regular intervals during my two week absence but be WARNED……..there is no hot blooded squirrel behind that post button. *SHUDDER*  There will be nothing there but cold electronics.

I hope you will continue to visit and leave comments which I can enjoy later but do not expect any replies as your wit and humor are lost to the cold eyes of the automaton.

I hope to see you guys again in person on the blogosphere in two weeks …………if the powers that be don’t decide to replace me permanently. *SHUDDER*

mountain

Kinabalu Fail


It is often said that “a handicap is only a state of mind“.  Boy, I think I have just the tale to regale you with that demonstrates that very point.

I regularly go hiking with a group of friends into the hills near my home city.  However, some of the group have graduated to bigger things (specifically, bigger mountains).  Some went to the Himalayan foothills last year and last week some went to climb to the top of Mount Kinabalu which is the highest peak in South East Asia at 4,095 m asl.  I, of course applauded and cheered them on from the comfort of my armchair.

Anyway, the ascent is normally taken in two stages.  The plan for the first stage was to climb for over 6 hours to the Laban Rata Resthouse at 3,270 metres and then to attempt the second stage to the summit very  early the next day.  The plan is to get to the top while it is still dark and then watch the sunrise.  Apart from being a fantastic sight, going to the summit any later in the day and most likely the view will be blocked by clouds or bad weather.  The following day, they would make a 7.5 hour descent off the mountain.

mountain
Photo credit: Soong Mei Ling

 

view
Majestic View (Photo Credit: Soong Mei Ling)

 

Upon their return to civilization, my friend Timothy, shared with all the armchair travelers, the tales of their adventure.  He told of the hard but rewarding climb to Laban Rata rich with beautiful flora and grand vistas.

Unfortunately, he told us, that on the morning that they were to make their assault on the summit, the weather closed in with rain and mist.  The team leader decided to cancel the final ascent citing “POOR VISIBILITY”.

Poor Visibility at the Top (Photo Credit: Soong Mei Ling)
Poor Visibility at the Top (Photo Credit: Soong Mei Ling)

We all were listening to Timothy’s account with great interest and all commiserated with him and the rest of the team for going so far but yet failing to reach the top due to poor visibility.

Ironically, I came across the following newspaper article a couple of days later about a group of seven climbers that made it to the top the very next day.  Truly, “a handicap is only a state of mind”.

blindnews

Well how about that for “poor visibility”, Timothy?

(Editor’s Note:  Despite giving Timothy a hard time about this, the truth is that the Lone Grey Squirrel was to chicken to even attempt the climb in the first place).

Aye or Naw


Well today is a truly historic day as Scotland goes to the polls to vote on the question; “Should Scotland be an independent country?”   Will it be a vote for independence – an “AYE” or “YES” vote?  Or will it be a vote to remain in the United Kingdom – a “NAW” or “NO” vote?

Recent opinion polls show this to be a very tight race and no one is willing to give a firm prediction on the outcome.

As I have some Scottish relatives so I have to tread a little carefully when posting on this issue.

My Red Squirrel cousins (distant cousins, I might add), consider Scotland to be part of their home domain and have been showing up in droves to support the vote for Scottish independence.

The Feorag as they are known in Scottish gaelic are all about their traditions and clans and claim to trace their ancestry back to the ancient warrior tribe of red-haired Picts that used to live in these parts.  Below is a picture of the Reds rallying for a “YES” vote.

sqwerl-invasion

Grey Squirrels on the other hand tend to have a different political view.    Truth be told, Greys don’t hold our cousins the Reds in very high esteem.  Their official scientific name is Sciurus vulgaris.  Doesn’t the name just say it all?

Gary-red-squirrel-sign

As you can see from the picture above, red squirrels drive slowly.  Actually, Greys think Reds are generally a bit slow.  Enough said.

While I can understand the aspirations of many Scottish folks and Red Squirrels for an independent Scotland, us Grey Squirrels are generally for keeping the union.

In an age of globalisation, the world is a smaller place and our fates seem to be completely intertwined.  We think that strength and prosperity comes from unity and population size.  Take China and India, for example, they are expected to become the largest global economies but that won’t happen if they fracture into smaller independent nations.

Scots are better educated than most in the UK.  They also have lots of oil and let’s not forget the whiskey.  They may fare well as an independent nation but the UK as a whole will definitely be poorer.

If everyone just looked at their own economic interests, then might California or Alaska seceded from the USA?  Hong Kong from China?  Alberta from Canada? Barcelona from Spain?  Disneyland from all the countries they are in?

No!  Grey Squirrels say “No”.  We are for union. Vote for union!

rexsquirrel

But anyway, it won’t make any difference as we Grey Squirrels intend to conquer the world and rule it as one.  So enjoy your freedoms and you referendums while you can.

MWahahahaha! (evil laugh)

I Leave …… You Laugh ……. I Hope


Hi there ladies and gentlemen and others,  the Lone Grey Squirrel will be taking a leave of absence for a few days for some spiritual meditation and good food.

Now I seem to remember some famous saying said by some famous person I think which goes something like this … “Leave them laughing!”

And so as I leave, I hope to leave you laughing.

This is actually something I posted before but I think it is worth repeating.  I challenge you not to laugh.

Funny Laughter

I thought that we could all use a laugh this Monday and so I decided to post on laughter. I admire people who know how to laugh at themselves and know how to make others laugh along. My favorite comediennes all knew not to take themselves seriously. The only thing that they took seriously was the art of making people laugh.

Some comic geniuses take it a step further and make it almost their professional duty to trip up their fellow colleagues and make them laugh. One good example and a favorite of mine was the Carol Burnett Show. As if the skits were not funny enough but the real icing on the cake were the one liner ad lib that the actors would throw out which often caused the other actors in the skit to laugh uncontrollably. Yet as good professionals, they would try to hide their laughter behind straight faces or available props, but often not very successfully. For the audience, the poor attempts to hide their laughter were some of the funniest things ever seen. Occasionally, an actor would lose it and laugh hysterically and that would just ignite the audience with wildfire laughter. When that happened, I would laugh until I cried.

There was something contagious about the laughter. “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.“, so the saying goes. I present for your amusement, one of the best examples of an infectious laugh. It is a little long but quite worth it. The fun really gets going at the 1.30 minute mark and all decorum goes downhill from there. Enjoy.

Paranormal Proof


In a recent post  entitled “Knock,Knock“, we had a look at the Philip Experiment which was an attempt to determine scientifically the origin of some ghosts.   Spurred on by what we could learn from the experiment, I decided to investigate further into the paranormal.

After much research, I uncovered this unnerving footage which in my opinion is the most conclusive proof of the ghost activity that is happening around us.

This video was filmed in a forest in Eastern Europe using a high speed camera.  The ghost only became visible to the human eye when the film was slowed down considerably.  Watch carefully as the image appears only briefly.   Be warned.  You may be shocked.

The bodies being received at the KL International Airport (source: AFP)

Welcome Home…….


Today Malaysia mourns and remembers.  37 days after the loss of flight MH17 and 298 souls, the first of the remains of the Malaysian victims has returned home.  Today we welcome home to rest 20 of the 48 Malaysians who were on board MH17.  Today at 10.55 am local time, the nation came to a standstill and observed a moment of silence.  As the flags flew at half mast and the traffic on the roads came to a halt and businesses and offices all found a way to show their respect, 17 coffins and 3 urns were given a military escort from the plane that had carried them one last time from Amsterdam to start their journey home to their loved ones.

Prayers were held at the mosques and at temples and churches.  Many Christians are observing a half day fast.  Memorial walls have been set up all over for passerbys to leave messages of condolences.

Welcome home …….. and rest in peace. 

The bodies being received at the KL International Airport (source: AFP)
The bodies being received at the KL International Airport (source: AFP)
Malaysian Airlines Stewardesses Grieving (Source :BBC)
Malaysian Airlines Stewardesses Grieving (Source :BBC)

 

Vehicles come to a stop on Penang Bridge
Vehicles come to a stop on Penang Bridge

 

Remembering the Crew and Passengers
Remembering the Crew and Passengers

 

 

The Malaysian Passengers  (source : TheStar online)

Paul Rajasingam Sivagnanam (M)

Mabel Anthonysamy (F)

Matthew Ezekiel Sivagnanam (M)

Paul Rajasingam Sivagnanam, a top IT executive with Shell Malaysia, was travelling with his wife Mabel and son Matthew Ezekiel, 10.

 

Tambi Jiee (M)

Ariza Ghazalee (F)

Mohd Afif Tambi (M)

Mohd Afruz Tambi (M)

Mohd Afzal Tambi (M)

Marsha Azmeena Tambi (F)

Tambi Jiee, 49, from Sarawak, was with his wife Ariza Ghazalee, 47, and four children – Mohd Afif, 19, Mohd Afzal, 17, Marsha Azmeena, 15, and Mohd Afruz, 13, on the way back from Kazakhstan transiting via Amsterdam. The Kuching family was returning home for good from Kazakhstan, where Tambi had been working for about three years as a Shell employee.

 

Shaliza Zaina Dewa (F)

A relative of local singer Hattan, Shaliza Zaina, 45, had been based in Melbourne with her Dutch husband and three children aged eight, 12 and 15 for many years now. Returning from a holiday in the Netherlands, Shaliza and her family were planning to stop over in Kajang, Selangor, for a week to celebrate Hari Raya with her family before returning to Australia.

 

Subashini Jeyaretnam (F)

Kaela Maya Jay Goes (F)

Subashini, better known as Shuba Jaya, a performing arts actress from Kuala Lumpur, and her Dutch husband Paul Goes were returning to Kuala Lumpur after taking their 21-month-old daughter, Kaela, to visit her grandparents in the Netherlands for the first time. Kaela was notably delivered via unassisted home birth.

 

Karamjit Singh Karnail Singh (M)

Karamjit was a safety adviser with the Safety, Health and Environment Department of ExxonMobil. He had worked at the Usan oil field in Nigeria. Karamjit, 54, was on the way home to Kuala Lumpur.

 

Mohd Ali Mohd Salim (M)

Mohd Ali Mohd Salim, 30, was furthering his studies and preparing a thesis on Psychology Studies at the doctorate of philosophy (PhD) level in Amsterdam. His brother Mohd Zaki said Ali was “very excited to be back for Raya with the family.” He was scheduled to join Universiti Sains Malaysia next year after completing his doctorate.

 

Meling Mula (M)

Bintulu scaffolder Meling Mula, 48, had promised to take his wife and three children on a holiday after returning from an overseas posting. The eldest, Maryline Sindun, said he placed great importance on education.

 

Ng Qing Zhen (M)

Ng was an engineer from Shah Alam who boarded MH17 after a business trip to Amsterdam. He had changed his flight at the last minute to reach home sooner, having originally planned to fly to Singapore and transfer back to Kuala Lumpur. He was an only son, and left behind a wife and a son aged four.

 

Ng Shi Ing (F)

Benjamin Jian Han Lee (M)

Elisabeth Ng Lye Ti (F)

The academic specialising in the teaching of English as a second language went to Belgium to attend a conference on language learning, She was also looking at the possibility of pursuing a doctorate at the University of Antwerp. On July 5, she went to Europe with her year-old son Benjamin and her 33-year-old sister Elisabeth.

 

Rahimmah Noor (F)

Rahimmah, 67, stayed in Geneva for about 30 years and had planned a six-week holiday to celebrate Raya with her family here.

 

Hasni Hardi Parlan (M)

The oil and gas engineer was a gentle soul who called home daily no matter where he was stationed. The 32-year-old loved ‘ayam masak merah’ and was headed home for Raya to spend a few months with his family.

 

Datin Kaushalya Jairamdass Punjabi (F)

Better known as Datin Priya Vijendran, she was a doting grandmother who was returning home after spending nearly a month with her two grandchildren – seven-year-old Chiara and nine-year-old Leo, the children of her second son Sanjay – in Lieden, Amsterdam.

 

Siti Amirah Parawira (F)

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s step-grandmother Puan Sri Siti Amirah was among those killed. According to a family member, the 83-year-old was travelling alone back to Indonesia from Amsterdam.

 

Siew Poh Tan (F)

The 85-year-old lady was travelling with her daughter Loh Yan Hwa and her son-in-law Fan Shun Po, both of whom owned two restaurants, one of which is a Michelin-billed restaurant named Asian Glories, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Elaine Teoh (F)

Elaine Teoh was on board the doomed flight with her Dutch boyfriend Emiel Mahler. The couple, both 27, were living in Melbourne and working in the financial sector.

 

Lee Ming Foo (M)

Chee Yau Liew (M)

Yeen Kiah Lee (F)

 

The Crew  (Source: AsiaOne)

1. Capt Wan Amran Wan Hussin, 50, pilot

Capt Wan Amran from Kuala Kangsar, Perak, is remembered as a kind-hearted and charitable man who loved to joke, said niece Nur Suraya Dusuki, 29. He had been piloting Boeing aircraft for more than 20 years and had been planning to perform the Haj at the end of the year. Capt Wan Amran leaves a wife and two sons, aged nine and seven.

2. Capt Eugene Choo Jin Leong, 45, pilot

Capt Eugene Choo from Seremban was a humble family man who was always friendly, say colleagues and neighbours. The former student of SM Ibrahim, Sungai Petani, Kedah, was a passionate biker. Capt Eugene leaves a wife and two sons, aged 13 and 10.

3. Ahmad Hakimi Hanapi, 29, first officer

Ahmad Hakimi was said to be a very quiet person but he was also very kind and helpful. Although fond of cracking jokes, Hakimi was always very soft-spoken, never raising his voice even when faced with stressful situations.

4. Muhd Firdaus Abdul Rahim, 27, first officer

Muhd Firdaus achieved his childhood dream of being a pilot when he started a career with Malaysia Airlines (MAS). He leaves a wife and a son.

5. Mohd Ghafar Abu Bakar, 54, in-flight supervisor

Mohd Ghafar was a member of Masjid Bukit Indah, Ampang, where he lived. He is remembered by his friends as a principled and pious man with a good heart.

6. Dora Shahila Kassim, 47, chief stewardess

Dora Shahila, a single mother who was known to be very close to her 15-year-old daughter Diyana Yazeera, currently studying in Seremban. Diyana regularly tweets about how much she misses her “superhero” mother since the crash, and is constantly sending prayers to Dora.

7. Azrina Yakob, 41, chief stewardess

Azrina Yakob, the second of four siblings, had worked with MAS for 20 years. She is survived by her husband and two children aged six and three. Azrina’s mother Habibah Ismail said that her daughter always kept in touch with her and that she had planned to go back to her village for Hari Raya with her family.

8. Lee Hui Ping, 42, leading stewardess

A mother of three, originally from Kelantan. A warm and friendly person.

9. Mastura Mustafa, 40, leading stewardess

Mastura was a whiz in the kitchen, often whipping up local delicacies. Her 10-year-old son Muhriz Marzaidi said that his mother would usually cook his favourite food after coming back from work overseas. The last time Muhriz saw his mother was when they broke fast together with his favourite dishes before Mastura boarded Flight MH17.

10. Chong Yee Pheng, 40, flight stewardess

It was her ambition to see the world and she spent 18 years doing that. She was 22 when she joined the airline.

11. Shaikh Mohd Noor Mahmood, 44, flight steward

Shaikh Mohd Noor was a romantic, caring and jovial person, said his wife, stewardess Mardiani Mahdi. Shaikh Mohd Noor leaves three children aged 13, 12 and six with his ex-wife and a two-year-old daughter with Mardiani.

12. Sanjid Singh Sandhu, 41, flight steward

Also known as Bob, Sanjid was described as a generous, obedient and loving son by his father, Jijar Singh, 71. Sanjid was also a good-natured person, befriending people regardless of race or religion. During his wake on Aug 10, nearly a thousand mourners of diverse backgrounds attended to pay their last respects to him. He leaves a wife, MAS flight stewardess Tan Bee Geok, and their son Hans.

13. Hamfazlin Sham Mohamed Arifin, 38, flight stewardess

Hamfazlin leaves a husband and two sons, aged eight and two.

14. Nur Shazana Mohamed Salleh, 31, flight stewardess

A stewardess of nine years and an avid traveller, Nur Shazana lived her dream of seeing the world with MAS. The eldest of four was also a football fan and according to a Facebook post during the World Cup, she had enjoyed the final between Germany and Argentina. Before the MH17 crash, Nur Shazana had made plans to celebrate Hari Raya in Penang with her family.

15. Angeline Premila Rajandaran, 30, flight stewardess

The only girl among three siblings, Angeline was described as a good-natured person and was an animal lover. Her final message to her family in Klang, Selangor, was: “Look after my dog Lexi.”

Viewing the World Through the Observation of Squirrels

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