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Catastrophic Event at Dog Shelter

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In the last few months of hiatus, I’d spent my time with friends, relatives and catching up on outdoor pursuits all over Germany & Italy and getting a bit of underwater time in Egypt. I took a break from myself because I wanted to get more input to be able to give output. I was writing for work so much that I’ve lost some mojo in the things that once brought me such joy. One event led to the next, and though people may envy my travels, they don’t really know how disconnected I become when I come back from each trip, catching up on friends’ FB feed and desiring fellowship with great buddies. One friend got married, had a baby with a man I didn’t know she married because I thought she was still dating her long time boyfriend whom I happen to also know. I asked her privately, of course, much to my confusion and thankfully, it wasn’t as embarrassing as I thought it would be. Honesty and forthrightness go a long way to preserving relationships. I don’t believe in talking behind anyone’s back unless I’m giving them praises.

I got to a stage in life where I started to place importance in keeping friends who want to stay in touch, I began to keep away from those who are malignant. I became less attached to social media starting with my weaning off Twitter & Google+, using it only to communicate with several people pertaining to current issues. I stay in touch with good friends who are also busy, making no demands on their time as they made no demands on mine and when we meet, it would be as if no time had passed between us at all. I made a resolution last year to only write what would be of good cheer, useful and informative articles for the benefit of my audience who take the time to journey with me.

I was also getting over a traumatic event.

Just before the turn of the New Year, a Christmas party I attended at a dog shelter ended up in a disaster. I couldn’t write about it then because I was distraught and injured. What seemed to be a fine afternoon of celebration in the sun with cheery dogs running about, a sudden storm turned the river outside into a raging torrent that submerged the shelter and all other houses in the vicinity in over 2 metres of muddy water. 13 volunteers and workers including Puspa, the founder of the shelter, Aziz & myself, were scrambling to raise the cages & free the dogs but the flood waters rose so fast, there wasn’t enough time to get all to safety and dry ground resulting in deaths. Everyone did their best to get as many dogs out, those of us who could swim, were grabbing dogs paddling about to hoist them to higher platforms, those who couldn’t, were clinging on to several dogs on trees, pillars & roofs for their dear lives. The scene was right out of a catastrophic mudslide except that this happened in Kajang, on our soil, to our people. Having my supposedly waterproof Sony Xperia Z1 phone in my pocket while I swam to & fro the main gate of the shelter’s compound to call for help, had actually flooded it. If only I can get hold of the footage I filmed when the flood happened, it would give you an idea what we endured before risking our lives to save our dogs. The incident left many broken hearted.

The rain didn’t stop. When the waters rose passed knee deep. I began to pray. This was way beyond what I was trained for in disaster management and life saving but I couldn’t leave them stranded and knowing the majority of our nation could not swim, it was a call of duty. I knew Aziz could swim, having been educated in the U.K., I expected him to be able to. He was rescuing bags of food and the box of frozen chicken. I asked God what to do. By then, the water had reached my waist. A rat swam frantically by. There was also a snake in the water. I didn’t flinch. I was just stunned. It was barely minutes. I had a backpack filled with documents, electronic gadgets, tablets & devices that weren’t protected. I pleaded for help. Lord, if you want me to do this right, please protect my belongings! God made me turn around & there, I saw a bungee cord hanging on the door! Then He showed me a pipe near the roof for me to climb up the window sill to tie my bag there. In my breath, I heaved a sigh of relief and gave thanks to God who always fished me out of trouble. Then the rescue really begun. I tried to stay calm and talked to those who couldn’t swim. We released all dogs within our perimeters to fend for themselves. My priority was human beings, dogs go to heaven any way. Dogs have an inbuilt ability to swim. Humans don’t. The larger dogs in the outside compound cages were freed in time and being social animals, they clamoured onto us & clung on for dear lives onto our shoulders and backs. If I wasn’t a strong swimmer, I would’ve drowned in all that weight. I tossed whoever was in my grasp to either Baskaran, the staff who got onto the higher platform with 20 other panicky dogs or Aziz who would bring the dogs to stand above the hoisted cages. Somehow, they know trouble was brewing. I couldn’t let my voice falter or they would hear my tone of distress that would trouble them even more. The last thing I needed was for the 20+ dogs to jump out of the holding platform at once to head for the torrential river outside the gate. I had scratches and bruises and like the rest, I wasn’t going to let go of them. Joey lost her car in the floods. It was almost like a repeat of Pulau Selat Kering back in 2009.

When the firemen finally got to us, they asked us how many we were and if there are children present. They asked us if we needed to be rescued in the waters well over my head. I said to them, where’s the boat, we only want to be rescued if we know we can leave here with our dogs. Bomba left us. Hmmm……I guess they don’t rescue dogs.

Thiaga from DAP, the party who came to our aid, offered Puspa a factory premise nearby to temporarily host the dogs till she can find something more permanent. Having had floods before, the current shelter is no longer a safe haven and she has got to move before another flood hits and by then, it wouldn’t be coinciding with any more parties with volunteers who know how to swim being present. Coming out to attend Pesta Balakong, the DAP councillor gave us new T-Shirts to change from our totally soaked & stinky attire. My foot was bleeding from having kicked some sharp object underwater but the pain was nothing compared to the pain of losing these beloved dogs in the flood. I don’t know the figures because I didn’t stay behind to witness the depressing sight which the workers had the terrible task of doing. More volunteers arrived after our calls for help reached social media. Anthony was my beacon. I never cried so hard before for the loss of these innocent lives caught in a catastrophe. It was something beyond our control. I cannot speak for the accusations levelled at Puspa on the running of the association but I was there at the scene with her to see her risk her life for her dogs. And so did her workers and volunteers present. I went home in a daze and washed my hair 3 times. I caught a chill but my thoughts were with MIAR. We can leave the incident but the incident can never leave us.

Upon hearing our ordeal, Steven Yong on behalf of HTC Malaysia came forward and gave the 13 of us at MIAR a replacement phone each. What a wonderful thing to do! A major commercial brand reached out to those who stayed behind for their four-legged friends. Thank you, HTC! The HTC Desire 610 is serving me very well. I’m reminded of the dogs that didn’t make it and the dogs that did. I asked God for a place in heaven for each one of them who crossed the Rainbow Bridge that day. And may those who lent a hand during the rescue and the post-rescue clean-up be blessed abundantly for answering the call for help. The empathy shown just blew me away.

Delights at Miss Ellie Teahouse

If there’s a place that you should go to for respite & be filled with an afternoon of treats, it would have to be at Miss Ellie Teahouse, a classic Tudor-styled English teahouse. The teahouse is located in the heart of a housing area in Taman Melawati & having opened less than 6 months, they are already whipping out more than 2 dozen kinds of main course, pastries & desserts to accompany your tea! Stepping into this teahouse was like stepping into someone’s home, decked in wooden furniture from the British Colonial days with wrought iron shelves displaying their finest selection of teas complemented by the rustic wooden beams on the ceiling! And it doesn’t even look old.

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The thought put into this place to complement Chef Justin Wong’s culinary creations was a combination of his preference for offering top class whipped delights in a cosy ambience replicating a homey feel when one sinks their teeth into his delectable desserts! He spent a great deal of time in Australia studying culinary arts before continuing as a chef in their shores. After several years of learning the trade, he returned to supervise the church’s ‘cafeteria ministry’ before deciding on opening his own tea house. Assisted by his mother, Nancy Wong, elder brother, Nigel & Auntie Helen, they embarked on a journey of keeping their hoards of foodie friends sated. With each dish served, one covets the next till just about every tooth is satisfied.

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Scones with strawberries & cream!

Starting the lunch course with Beef Casserole, it was followed by the creamiest of Créme Brulée & their signature Pandan Panna Cota. Staying a bit longer, the call of Scones was too powerful to ignore & we called upon Chef Justin to give us some of his classic concocted pleasures!

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Panoramic view from inside.

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Treats like these makes you want to have tea all day!

At Miss Elie Tea House, corners are created for you. Perfect if you are alone or when you need some privacy in this extra homey tea house. Even the washroom is decorated to make you feel like visiting twice.

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Everything is made with love!

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My favourite Créme Brulée……

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Unless you live in Taman Melawati, don’t trust your instincts to get you there. You need a GPS & Waze app preferably. They are located at 7 Jalan H3, Taman Melawati, Selangor, Malaysia & using Waze, by searching for Miss Ellie Teahouse using Foursquare connection. The GPS coordinates are GPS: N 03° 13.658’ E 101° 44.675’. Call them if your GPS fails – +603-41620113 or +6012-2055171.

They are found on Facebook at http://bit.ly/MissEllieTH. Like them for new stuff on the menu!

CAT Addresses Attack of An Interesting Specie

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A panoramic view of the meeting in progress with chairman, Anthony Thanasayan.

It’s a monumental effort for CAT (Canine Advisory Team) to convene with the predominantly Muslim councillors from each district in Selangor to come to an agreement on executing plans pertaining to stray dogs management. Muslims being the majority in the country, we appreciate the efforts by them to find a fairground on dog issues & agree to disagree on certain issues. What was discussed on the panel was the dog park with each council giving their support for it to be set up, though in areas occupied by mainly Malays, they have had no request to have a dog park. Those in Shah Alam, Sepang & Selayang haven’t received any request whereas different rules apply in the municipality of Klang, Subang Jaya & Petaling Jaya. In Klang, dogs are allowed on leash to follow their owners everywhere even though they have no dog parks.

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Dr. Zainol of DBKL on the left.

The guest of honour we’ve had the pleasure of convening with, was Dr. Zainol of DBKL (City Hall). His input in matters concerning the pounds in Setapak & the recent collaboration with MIAR (Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue) was much sought after especially when there are quarters undermining their efforts of getting the pound dogs adopted. Previously, one organisation headed by a psychopathic reporter who’s task is to demonise any efforts by town councils or city hall to address the stray dog issue, had been trying to browbeat DBKL & MBPJ by portraying them as animal-catching fiends. This of course, had set off a string of gullible believers of incredulous claims, who then set on a rampage to verbally hammer the authorities without facts.

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Meeting in progress.

Wising up to their ways, the councils have come to predict what this organisation is all about. It’s become passé & this has caused them to lose credibility, not that they have any in the first place, and caused all councils in Selangor to boycott this ONE organisation. They are not even registered as a society. When you have someone at the top who makes squalid attempts to slander individuals with libel, associating with them can cause you your reputation too. Very soon, you will be the NEXT target. A person who has so much hatred cannot be tasked with nation-building. Dr. Zainol told me about a letter written to them alleging atrocious keeping of dogs at their pound. I told Dr. Zainol that if it was true, he wouldn’t be working with MIAR & the public now. Appointing MIAR, a registered NGO, headed by Puspa Rani & Shalinee Fernandez who’s a lawyer, they can’t go wrong. Puspa may be ranting off her frustrations publicly on her page but her love & dedication for strays is genuine & true. Shalinee, being a lawyer, has a great scale of legal knowledge & ability to vocalise change for the betterment of the management of dogs in the country. Putting Shalinee on the board of CAT together with other NGOs on the panel is a boon to the team! Too bad the organisations she had helped before didn’t recognise her ability but rather, they sought to discredit her by their same modus operandi used on anyone with good ideas.

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Having breakfast with Anthony, Shalinee & Yani of Klang Town Council.

Dr. Zainol briefed that since the bylaws had been updated in 2011, the restriction of having domestic pets above the ground floor of apartments has been lifted, thus, permitting dwellers in apartments to KEEP a dog as a pet but must be mindful to NOT let it be an annoyance to neighbours. Dog owners in apartments can finally REJOICE!!!!

Finally, we addressed the issue of the service dogs being put to sleep by the Fire & Rescue Department. Why is it not surprising that the same group of people (comprising of wanimo-sapiens – a genus called Wanii & the species of Waniipets, who hail from the same genus but camouflaged as another being) would launch a rampage to discredit the Department for a task that dignified the passing of their service dogs? I want to say thank you to the trainers who have dedicated their time & effort to train a dog to save a life in a fire or a hazard raid. And that they know it’s not right to give them up for adoption when they are so sick. Please read the letter by Anthony Thanasayan after he had met with the Fire & Rescue Department authorities at Putrajaya on Wednesday & published in The Star newspapers today. I want to thank the Fire & Rescue Department for having such good practices in putting the welfare of the dog first, even if it means to put them to rest after many months of deliberation. I would like to ask you readers to not entertain claims by wanimo-sapiens who take pride in tearing nations down with gutter-reporting & baseless accusations. As a journalist, I must have facts before I write & anything that I dish out, must be credible & accountable. Unfortunately, wanimo-sapiens do not practice that so what you get is basically waniarrhoea.

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A well-wisher came to congratulate Anthony on our way back from lunch after the CAT meeting.

Note:- I’ve been besieged with assignments that has left me exhausted & unable to blog for awhile. I believe in taking care of priorities & my friends who share burdens with me. Wait for my next blogpost addressing disaster packs!

Perdik & Beyond

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The unfurling of a fern.

At the start of the New Year, life just went on turbo mode. I accepted assignments that sent me to places, spent 5 days in Singapore, then spent another 6 days travelling to India & back. I’ve amassed a load of pictures which I’m tirelessly going through & selecting them for the stories. Returning from several birding trips & planning some more reminded me of words of wisdom from Chien who had persistently gone back to get the birds when no one did. I miss his take on so many aspects of my life & I’ve assimilated all of his advice on how a birder should be. Babes, how I wish you were here to see your legacy continue in the friends you have inspired such as the vivacious Georgina Chin, who has published a coffee table book with your excerpts, no, epilogue on birding. Even Nelson Khor, your best sidekick, the man of few words whose photographs of birds show more than what we will ever see, had started Malaysia’s very own bird forum to teach & nurture many Chinese-speaking birders to take pictures the way you did. To think that once, you defended him when the slew of nature police went after him for a crime against nature which he was innocent of. Today, he is standing upright & showing the rest how to be a leader the way you led. And me? Oh, I’m just going to places that you have told me to go, to see the birds that we have been after & to experience other cultures just as you did. I know you wanted me to be enriched just like you & would get upset if I didn’t listen. I am your legacy too. Today, I write more about nature & birds than I ever have in my life. And it’s all thanks to you.

My friends took me to Perdik. New birders who have the same passion for documenting birds. I brought my famous relax camo chair along, a gift from Philip Tang, and a camo collapsible umbrella I got from Colleen Goh which I never leave without. Just as well, the skies opened up & poured. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I stood in my poncho, holding my umbrella & shielding my camera gear while I shot some of the flora & fauna in the jungle. Having acquired the Kiwifotos 4/3rds adapter for my Samsung NX200, I was able to mount my Sigma 50-500mm lens on it. The pictures came out pretty good.

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Ferns in the jungle look more appealing to me.

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The fire ants on the banana flower as it drizzles.

Birds were hard to shoot. With a full manual mode system, I was positioned right in the centre of fruiting trees & saw Barbets, Shrikes, Malkohas but they didn’t stay long enough for me to get a sharp shot. I managed to take videos but I need to find time to upload them. Walking along the fringe of the jungle, I came to a small farm & found a fluttering Rajah Brooke waiting to settle for some salt licks. The makcik by the name of Asiah, came out to check on what I was doing as I looked at her farm with fascination. She had free range chickens!!! And a few strange looking birds which I hadn’t seen before. There were ducks but they ran away when they saw me coming in with my tripod. I asked her why that strange looking fowl was called ‘Ayam Keluk-Keluk.’ She said, “sebab bunyi dia macam keluk keluk keluk!” (it made the sound of keluk keluk keluk!) The cows had free range of the place too & the owner of the farm had to stop a territorial bull from coming at me. Yikes. The natural hazards of nature photography.

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The gobbledegook bird called Ayam Keluk-Keluk.

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The resting rooster, awaken by the pecking hen!

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Came across a very friendly Rajah Brooke!

We really got rained out & decided to quit for lunch at 2:30pm but not before I spotted a Drongo! People think black birds are drabby but this is such a beauty! You don’t need to have expensive gear to take priceless photos. You need to be at the right place at the right time, hopefully with the right settings on your camera for the right moment. All these photos on this post was taken on manual focusing with infinity focus. Here’s wishing for more opportunities like this!

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Drongo.

What To Find While Birding in Kuala Selangor

This month, Tourism Selangor takes us to celebrate the return of migratory birds & explore the resident species that make homes in the entire state. Migratory birds use the mangroves and coastal areas around Kuala Selangor as a transit area to feed and rest before continuing on their journey down south, much like a rest & relax area for birds! Kuala Selangor Nature Park has been designated as an Important Birding Area (IBA) – in compliance with internationally set criteria by BirdLife International. What can you find in this huge park? Let me take you to the permanent inhabitants……

Before you go, here are the list of things that you must carry on you when you set out on the long walk. You are not adviced to go if you don’t have these things on you.

  • Insect repellent <– compulsory. Midges will get you otherwise. These are nastier than mosquitoes & they come in swarms. Preferably, wear long sleeves or you will be considered as one with the colony of monkeys nearby.
  • Hat. The sun has no mercy. Stay cool & stay in the shade. Machismo can’t take you far in this park. Use a brolly if you have to. There are camouflage collapsible ones sold in tactical shops to prevent you from sticking out like a sore thumb as you wait for the birds.
  • Polarised sunglasses. <– you will need this to prevent you from squinting the whole day. Go to Peak Vision Optics & get yourself a pair of Cocoons.
  • Drinking water. <— compulsory. When you find a bird stalking a prey, you wouldn’t want to run back to the park office to get something to quench your thirst.
  • Batteries for all gadgets. Your phone, your camera, GPS, torch, whatever you need to power up everything for you to document the journey (of birds).
  • Portable/handheld fan. You will thank me for this.
  • Camouflaged attire or any green, brown or khaki coloured clothing will help you blend into the surroundings & get nearer to the birds.
  • Folding chair to rest at will. 🙂

Leave word with your friends & the park ranger of your expected time of return. They will send for a search party if you are caught ogling at birds longer than you should. We set off early in the morning to get there after breakfast. The loop around the wetlands is several kilometres long but you will see plenty if you keep your eyes peeled. The only migrants who arrived sooner than expected were the Blue Tailed Bee Eaters.

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Blue Tailed Bee Eaters. I think they were having a bit of a domestic quarrel here!

Walking along the fringe of the mangrove, we spotted a huge bird lying on the ground. When we got closer, it flew to the nearby trees, settling just above our eye level. It was a huge Crested Serpent Eagle! We had a good 20 minutes shooting it at all lighting conditions & angles never thought possible. A Black Naped Oriole was consistently attacking it to chase it away from its nest, assumed to be nearby. The eagle didn’t budge until it spotted a bigger morsel further into the jungle.

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Soaring above us was a White Bellied Sea Eagle, taken here just after a successful hunt. The fish it caught in its talons was a sizeable one! We weren’t really looking up into the sky if we weren’t having a break & thankfully, I had the camera ready. They will usually give out a shrill but most come unannounced when they hunt.

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Us taking a break in the shade while waiting for the kingfisher.

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Flying Lizard (Cicak Kubing)

Birds are not the only kind of wildlife we see in the park. There are Flying Lizards too! When we went up to a watchtower, we got to capture a few woodpeckers looking for worms in the woods.

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Spending a good 5 hours at the park & returning with all these beauties in our memory cards was all we came after. On the way back, we were treated to another session of birding when we saw a tree filled with nests that turned out to be Baya Weavers’ nests. Treading carefully & slowly, I was able to film one doing the deed! See video here:-

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They are normally built on the same tree.

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Closer look at the nest.

Coming away with a few residents & one migrant specie in my list is a great boon to come back again & again. More birds will be arriving in these shores as December approaches so it’s the best time to be watching them at Kuala Selangor Nature Park! Don’t forget that list of things to bring!

To get there, you can take the bus or taxi but it’s more advisable to drive.

(Taken from Wikipedia)
Visitors can board Selangor Bus No. 141 from Medan Pasar Bus Hub in Kuala Lumpur. The bus departs half-hourly from KL between 6.30am and 7.30pm, and takes 2 hours (++) to reach the bus terminal at Bandar Malawati, Kuala Selangor. (The last bus for the return trip from Kuala Selangor to KL is at 7.45pm) The one-way fare is RM7.30. The bus hub is about 100m north of Central Market. From Masjid Jamek LRT, walk 100m southeast along Jln Tun Perak before turning right into Lebuh Ampang. After walking another 100m, you will see the bus shelter next to a grey “clock tower” in the small square.

Directions from Bandar Malawati Bus Terminal: The terminal is in Bandar Malawati, which is about 1km southeast of the town centre. You can then take a RM5 taxi ride / local bus to the town centre of Kuala Selangor (alternatively you can take a 15-20min walk). [The bus terminal is also served by Cityliner buses from Klang]

It’s a one hour journey by cab. The cab might also not be able to pick up a passenger on the way back, so expect fares to be high. For comparison, the distance from KL to KLIA is about 80km and a one hour journey. Taxis typically want RM 70 for a trip to the airport. So you would expect something similar, or higher for this trip. You might be able to negotiate a good deal if you book the taxi for a return trip.
Hourly hire rates for a small taxi (red/white) is about RM35 an hour if you would like to book one for the duration of the trip.

If you drive, set your GPS to Kuala Selangor Nature Park & navigate your way there! I use Waze, available on iPhone & Android.

Crispy Oyster Omelette – A Decade in Business!

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Oh-chien (Hokkien pronunciation) or Ho Cheen Tahn (Cantonese pronunciation) is a favourite dish amongst the Chinese from the world over & in Malaysia, there are lots of varieties of this oyster omelette. Bringing you my favourite oh-chien hawker whom I had been patronising for more than a decade, Mr. Yee opens his stall for business in the cluster of hawkers at Sang Kee Restaurant in Makhota Cheras, Selangor. Returning from his break of 4 months after he moved from Ampang, his unique omelette cannot be rivalled anywhere.

This month, Tourism Selangor brings you to the crown of Cheras to bring you the people’s favourite!

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The batter of potato starch is poured onto the grill to make the base while the eggs that have been whisked with chives & diced Choy Poh (preserved radish) are added onto the batter. Mr. Yee then pushes the batter aside before throwing in a generous amount of diced garlic onto the grill. His wife assists him by scooping a ladle-full of big oysters & handing them to him in a sift. I counted them. Mine had 10 pieces & they were succulent & juicy! He adds a few kinds of sauces & pepper before tossing them about to seal in the flavour. He artfully uses both hands holding wok ladles in each to stir-fry & coat the batter with oil. Finally, he takes the crispy, golden brown batter to cover the oysters & picks them up onto a plate. Served with a dish of chilli sauce for that zing though it’s not spicy, it complements the taste of the eggs, choy poh & oysters.

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Mr. Yee also does Lobak Ko – a kind of Chinese carrot cake & I have been eating his special omelette since he had a stall at Taman Desa for a number of years before moving to other locations in the 12 years that I have known of his amazing oyster omelette. Nowhere else does it this good & if you have not tried this style of omelette, you will never know what you have missed. Watch how he cooks it here:-

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The coffeeshop restaurant is at Jalan Temenggung 1/9 in Bandar Makhota Cheras & you can use these GPS coordinates to get there:- N3 03.051 E101 47.426.

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He’ll add in something special if you tell him you were sent by Pummkin!

Butter Coffee & Drunken Noodles in Banting

Banting is a town near Port Klang that bridges coastal areas like Morib & Tanjung Sepat. On our way to Tanjung Sepat, one stopover that you should not miss is the Banting Butter Brew coffee & Rice Wine Mee Sua, situated side by side at a row of government-owned shoplot. The coffee brew has a legacy of 60 years, left behind by the keeper’s father of Hainanese descent. The specialty black coffee is brewed & then a dollop of butter is added to give it a creamy taste. They serve the usual fare of toast with kaya (coconut & egg jam) & butter & half boiled eggs throughout the day.

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Beside this shop is Wo Jia Restaurant & I ordered their special Rice Wine Mee Sua, vermicelli noodles in rice wine soup served with an egg poached inside. It was absolutely divine as the wine in the hot soup brought out the flavour of the vermicelli & egg. My friend ordered a Pumpkin Pan Mee, hand-pinched noodle with pumpkin in soup.

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This row of shoplot is located near the bus stop & parallel to a huge monsoon drain. Perhaps the authorities should look into beautifying the area that hosts delectable street food along this entire row of shops. The outdoor seating beneath the big trees is quite a pleasant experience. We forget that when we live in & around concrete jungles. I got the shopkeeper to relate his thoughts to my friend who could speak Mandarin so if you speak the language too, do watch the video!!!
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Banting Butter Brew is in a shoplot called Sin Guan Huat & right beside it is Wo Jia Restaurant. My entire meal for two only costs less than RM15.00. Unbelievable but true. You have got to try it yourself to see what value you are getting. You can find them on Foursquare or at the coordinates here:- N2.810275, E101.502419. Make this your definite stopover as the trade of his butter brew is dying since his son has indicated no interest in continuing his business. The very few heritage trades of Hainanese left in Selangor……

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Passionately Prized Fruit Blended with Ice in Tanjung Sepat

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Led by the sound of ice being shaved, I drew near to where a stall sits underneath a huge ficus tree. A Vespa, two dogs lazing & a man was sitting at the table beside the stall. This man runs both the stall & the passionfruit farm behind it. The look of curiosity on our faces paid off, as my girlfriend & I were invited to see how this unique fruit is planted & harvested. The tendrils of the passionfruit plants climb the trellises that Mr. Khor had built & his two runners (dogs) aptly named ‘Pai Xiang Kuo’ (Passionfruit in Chinese) & ‘Sen Qi Kuo’ (Miracle Fruit) watch over them with great interest. The fruit starts out green & ripens to a rose pink hue that is ready to eat. He was cutting fruits for us as he gave us a tour! Yummy…..

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The name “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Christ. The name was given by missionaries because the parts of the flower seemed reminiscent of the torture (the Passion) of Christ prior to his crucifixion.

  • The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
  • The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
  • The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
  • The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).

Very interesting discovery even though I feel that the 12 apostles should always remain as twelve because after Jesus rose from the dead, He went to Peter & asked him if he loved Jesus, 3 times, in a manner that would allow Peter who had denied Christ 3 times, to redeem himself & be restored by Jesus. The symbolism of this flower that bears such a marvellous tasting fruit is truly great! The flower is not to be an object of worship neither should it be idolised. God made all things good for mankind & passionfruit happens to be exceptionally delicious!

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Pai Xiang Kuo

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Sen Qi Kuo

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We ordered a cup of ice-blended passionfruit puree & it was the best drink I’ve ever had! The fresh, tangy & sweet fruit was the best thirst quencher for the afternoon stroll. You can take home some passionfruits at RM12 per kilogram or RM3.50 per cup of ice blended goodness. I should’ve bought 2 kilos. Escorted out by Pai Xiang Kuo & Sen Qi Kuo, I thanked Mr. Khor for taking us on a tour of his farm while explaining how the plant flourishes as the good leaves are pruned.

Watch the video here!
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Mr. Khor’s bonding session with Pai Xiang Kuo who seemed to enjoy these moments with his master!

You can reach Mr. Khor at +6019-3776616 to make appointment for a visit to his farm or his stall at Qinren Qiao Fruits Farming at No. 19. Jalan Bawal 12, Taman Mutiara, 42800 Tanjung Sepat, Selangor. Bring a treat for Pai Xiang Kuo & Sen Qi Kuo when you visit!

GPS Coordinates:- N2.657982, E101.556631

Doggone Good in CAT

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The Canine Advisory Team (CAT) meeting started with a minute of silence in honour of our departed friend, Sabrina Yeap, who had demonstrated love & compassion towards abandoned & unwanted dogs & cats in her 22 years of service in animal welfare organisations. The team is chaired by Anthony Thanasayan, the councillor in MBPJ who champions causes for the disabled community as well as founding an animal welfare group to train dogs for animal-assisted therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association.

32 members of the team were invited to attend the meeting from all over Selangor on Monday 23 July, at 2:30pm, comprising of councillors from various municipalities, DVS (Department of Veterinary Services) and non-governmental organisations such as SPCA, MIAR (Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue), MKA, MSAVA (Malaysian Small Animals Veterinary Association) & Pet Positive. The chairperson set the tone for the session that followed by giving every party an opportunity to air their views including objections.

We addressed issues of gazetting dog parks in existing parks to enable dog owners to have recreation time with their beloved animals. Noting that almost all public parks are off-limits to dogs, the team endeavoured to look into the sensitivities of other cultures such as the majority of Muslims in the country who are averse to dogs & how best to educate the public in responsibly managing their pets when outdoors. Dr. Fazillah of DVS was very supportive of the proposed plan & even noted that she grew up with 8 dogs when her father was managing an estate then. She is now a veterinarian & she’s a Muslim. Her input has enlightened many who were present at the meeting & everything had to start with awareness & education.

Another effort the team is looking into is the setting up of spay clinics with subsidised rates for spaying/neutering of strays brought in by the public. We even discussed the possibilities of involving the public in adopting strays in their community, a classification of stray dogs that Dr. Fazillah calls, ‘community dogs.’ Being all for the idea of ‘catch, neuter & release,’ the team was made to understand that when dogs are removed from a place, other strays dogs will come in to occupy the void. Better to have dogs you know & are familiar with than dogs you don’t know/are not familiar with. The purpose is to help curb the stray population & prevent unnecessary proliferation of strays.

The team also addressed campaigns to promote responsible ownership of dogs & recognising independent rescuers from the public to work with. The meeting gained momentum when all NGO’s gave their views in support of ideas proposed. We came away knowing what we can look forward to achieving.

I am optimistic that we will finally get somewhere with Anthony being at the helm as soon as he was reinstated after an irrational, multiple personalities newswoman abused her position to campaign for his removal from the council. To think that this monumental effort of CAT that started in 2008 by Anthony himself was suspended, halted & possibly ended just so that one person gets her revenge is absolutely unthinkable. God has restored his authority & I hope he gets vindicated too. By the way, Anthony is a disabled person & his optimism & focus is not on himself but on how he can be of assistance to those who need it.

Unfortunately in this country, in the world of dogs & their fanatical lovers, there is no reasoning, rationale, logic nor sensibility when they resort to hounding & harassment of individuals who are opposed to certain practices or those who have the discernment & knowledge to unearth their dirty tactics of appealing to public’s sympathies in their endeavour to get funding. In their desperation to defend their territories like dogs who pee to mark their boundaries, they will go on a rampage like rabid dogs to discredit & disparage anyone who exposes them. There is no vaccine for people with behavioural issues & they can only go as far as their bark. I certainly hope they seek professional help before they spread their contagious convulsions to their ignorant pack of sidekicks.

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Swearing-In ceremony with Menteri Besar

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Anthony taking a snapshot with me.

Superb Mee Goreng Rojak by Aunty Zainab & Hamid – Selangorlicious

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Mee Goreng is a local favourite fried noodle dish, usually garnished with sprigs of beansprouts, strips of carrots, leafy vegetables & diced chicken with soy sauce seasoning but at Hamid Mee Rebus Penang, the authentic Penang-styled Mee Goreng is the standard thoroughfare seasoned with pasembur (rojak) sauce, tauhu (beancurd) & kelapa rojak (coconut condiment)!

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When Dian brought me to Taman Melawati, we were hunting for bookbinding supplies & she recommended me to have this awesome Mee Goreng for tea break. A business operated by mother & son, the Mee Goreng had potatoes, tauhu (beancurd), kelapa rojak (coconut condiment), beansprouts, shaved shallots, half a lime & lots of goodies! As I watched Aunty Zainab in action, she put in what she had from the pots of sauces that she had prepared. Watch how she tosses the noodles in the whole frying process in the video included!

The exterior is lined with a row of other food vendors, and being slightly elevated from the street, you would miss it if you hadn’t known what goodness laid within. The last stall by the roadside, Hamid Mee Rebus Penang serves both Mee Rebus (Noodles in Hot Sauce) & Mee Goreng plus drinks to quench your thirst. A panorama picture is included for your reference & a map to help you find it in Taman Melawati. You should look for it under Google Maps or Foursquare to conveniently navigate yourself over for a tasty, sizzling hot plate of Mee Goreng Rojak at Hamid & Zainab’s stall!

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