Monday, December 26, 2016

R.I.P George Michael

What a year it has been. We have lost so many icons in the entertainment industry this past year. The latest being George Michael who passed on on Dec 25.

Rest in Peace, George Michael!

British pop singer George Michael, who shot to fame in the 1980s with Wham! and continued as a solo artist, died yesterday, Dec 25. at his home in Oxfordshire, England. He was 53.

According to George Michael’s manager Michael Lippman, the singer died of heart failure, says The Hollywood Reporter.

Read more at The Star: Last Christmas singer George Michael dies

Related articles:
The Star: George Michael, the guy who always had faith in himself

BBC: George Michael: Pop superstar dies at 53

CNN: The sun goes down on beloved pop star George Michael

Top image courtesy of CNN.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kuala Lumpur today

If you have been to Malaysia or Kuala Lumpur for that matter, you would have experienced the unpredictable weather pattern here - sunny one minute, downpour the next. We had sunshine yesterday.

But that's the weather here for you - tropical and with not one, but two monsoon seasons. As we speak, we are now going through the northeasterly monsoon which affects mostly the east coast states of the peninsula. Heavy rainfall do bring floods to the region.

I'm having a cool view of downtown KL today or rather the skyline. Look... Passing clouds over the PETRONAS Twin Towers. You don't see that everyday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dongzhi or the Winter Solstice Festival - 21 December 2016

Today, 21 December, 2016, is Winter solstice and for people of Chinese descent around the world, today is celebrated as what is known as Dongzhi or the 'Tung' Festival.

It marks "the arrival of winter") and this festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese community and other East Asians. This Winter Solstice or Dongzhi Festival is celebrated either on December 21 or 22 of each year. This year it falls on December 21, today.

Most mothers (as like mine too) would be cooking up a storm in the kitchen as this day is a time for a family to get together. It is also the last major Chinese festival of the year, the next one being the Chinese New Year. Incidentally Chinese New Year will be on Saturday, January 28.

Borrowing from Wikipedia on the Dongzhi Festival..

One activity that occurs during these get-togethers (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese communities overseas) is the making and eating of tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize reunion.

Tangyuan are made of glutinous rice flour and sometimes brightly coloured. Each family member receives at least one large tangyuan in addition to several small ones. The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savory broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl. It is also often served with a mildly alcoholic unfiltered rice wine containing whole grains of glutinous rice (and often also Sweet Osmanthus flowers), called jiuniang - but this one is probably still practiced in China.

More about Dongzhi - courtesy of Bing..

In northern China, people typically eat dumplings on Dongzhi. Wikipedia has this to say about its origin..

It is said to have originated from Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty. On one cold winter day, he saw the poor suffering from chilblains on their ears. Feeling sympathetic, he ordered his apprentices to make dumplings with lamb and other ingredients, and distribute them among the poor to keep them warm, to keep their ears from getting chilblains. Since the dumplings were shaped like ears, Zhang named the dish "qùhán jiāoěr tāng" (祛寒嬌耳湯) or dumpling soup that expels the cold. From that time on, it has been a tradition to eat dumplings on the day of Dongzhi.

And more..
Old traditions also require people with the same surname or from the same clan to gather at their ancestral temples to worship on this day. There is always a grand reunion dinner following the sacrificial ceremony.

The festive food is also a reminder that celebrators are now a year older and should behave better in the coming year. Even today, many Chinese around the world, especially the elderly, still insist that one is "a year older" right after the Dongzhi celebration instead of waiting for the lunar new year.

Here in Kuala Lumpur, we are nowhere near winter, of course. It's a sunny day with blue skies today..

KL skyline in the distance. More and more highrise buildings are springing up downtown. It used to be just the PETRONAS Twin Towers and one or two blocks but look at it now, and more to come. The KL Tower is actually to the right of the twin towers covered from view by that tall tree.

I wish you all a Very Happy Dongzhi!
Courtesy of Google images

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ableton Suite 8

If you are a music-maker, this you have to check out... the ableton live 8 which comes with 10 virtual instruments ideal for live performances as well as composing and arranging.

Ableton Suite 8 is a software package that gives you a rich world of sound, perfectly complementing the music production tools and features in Live 8, plus 10 virtual synthesizers and a huge collection of multi-sample instruments and drums.

Here's the spectrum of what's included in the software package:

* Sampler (sampler)
* Operator (frequency modulation synth)
* Electric (classic electronic piano emulator)
* Collision (physical modeling instrument for authentic mallet sounds and creative percussion Tension (physical modeling string synth)
* Analog (vintage analog synth emulator)
* Drum Machines (classic drum machine sounds)
* Session Drums (acoustic drums)
* Essential Instrument Collection 2 (wide range of acoustic and electric pianos, guitars, bass, drums, orchestral instruments , and more)
* Latin Percussion (Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and African acoustic percussion instruments).

Fyi, a user's comments:

- 100% recommended!
- I got this software about 2 years ago it keeps impressing me!
- I do not DJ much, i use this software mainly to record my band and other bands through a Focusrite saffire 6 usb.

There you go!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mysterious object found on Muriwai beach in Auckland

Everyone loves a mystery. Add this to your list.

The large, mysterious object below, covered in barnacles was spotted on Muriwai Beach in Auckland by local resident Melissa Doubleday.

The strange object washed up ashore is sparking a social media debate about what it could be.

A shocked Ms. Doubleday added that she spotted the object about 5 kilometres down the beach from the creek, adding: “[I] drove past and [was] like what the?”

“It looks like worms with shells I’ve never seen before with these funny creatures that are just [coming] out.”

She told “I actually thought it was a washed-up whale as I approached it, so weird.”

Exactly what the object is has sparked a debate on social media, with commentators speculating it could be anything from art to part of an old ship wreck.

What do you think it is? Your guess is as good as mine. Let's look out for more updates.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Harith Iskander wins Funniest Person in the World competition

Yay! Harith Iskander wins Funniest Person in the World competition!

The Star..
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander (pic) is the funniest person in the world after emerging triumphant in the finals of the Funniest Person in the World competition held in Levi, Finland on Saturday

He beat out four finalists - Alex Calleja from The Philippines, Katerina Vrana from Greece, Mino van Nassau from India and David Kilimnick from Israel - to win the title.

"Congratulations @HarithIskander- #LaughFactory's Funniest Person in the World for 2016," said contest organiser Laugh Factory on their official Twitter account on Saturday.

As the winner of the "The Funniest Person in the World" title, Harith will receive the grand prize of USD$100,000 (RM444,845).

The Funniest Person in the World competition is organised by Laugh Factory, a global comedy chain in the United States.

Harith and the other comedians had performed in the competition finals at the Hullu Polo Arena in Levi, Finland on Dec 8.

The winner was chosen through global online fan voting, which was open for 24 hours after the finals.

Harith had previously defeated 88 other comedians from all over the world, including fellow Malaysian Dr Jason Leong to reach the finals of the competition.

Little India in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

A friend sent me this picture of a sort of a procession that took place yesterday downtown Kuala Lumpur in the part of the city known as Little India.

I have no idea what's the occasion, perhaps the blessing of a new chariot. It's a beautiful one, no doubt.

Little India in Kuala Lumpur is located in Brickfields, a residential neighbourhood just outside central Kuala Lumpur. Brickfields as the name suggests used to be the centre for brick-making in the early days of Kuala Lumpur.

From Wikipedia..
In 1881, a flood swept through Kuala Lumpur, in the wake of a disastrous fire. These successive problems destroyed the town's structures of wood and atap (thatching). As a response, Frank Swettenham, the British Resident of Selangor, required that buildings be constructed of brick and tile.[2] Hence, Kapitan Yap Ah Loy bought a sprawling piece of real estate for the setting up of a brick industry which would spur the rebuilding of Kuala Lumpur. This place is the eponymous Brickfields.

Later the area was developed by Yap Kwan Seng, the fifth and last Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur. As a businessman, he foresaw an increased demand for bricks in fast-growing Kuala Lumpur and established a kiln in the district. The area soon became the centre for brick-making in the early days because the whole area was a clay pit and good quality bricks are made from clay. Therefore, Brickfields became synonymous with good quality bricks.

Brickfields also houses historical government quarters built during the British era which are under threat from rapid development.

Brickfields is popular for its Indian food delights especially the unique banana leaf rice and thosai (Indian pancake made from fermented rice flour).

Also tagged as a "Divine Location", Brickfields is home to many religious structures, some over 100 years old, are concentrated in the area, particularly Jalan Berhala. The aptly named road ("Berhala" means shrine) houses the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple and the Sri Sakthi Karpaga Vinayagar Temple.

Sri Kandaswamy Kovil on Jalan Scott

The Sri Kandaswamy Temple is one of the most prominent Sri Lankan Tamil or Ceylonese Tamil temple located along Jalan Scott. It is huge and showcases rich Tamil Architecture and has become a popular tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur. This temple was built in 1902.

The Lutheran Zion Church

A sprinkling of churches of different denominations can also be found here. Among the larger churches in the area are the Holy Rosary Church (est. 1903), Our Lady of Fatima, and the Zion Lutheran Church. Most of which are located along Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad. There is also an Indian orthodox church called the St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral in Jalan Tun Sambanthan Satu.

There is a Surau (small mosque) located on Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad called Madrasatul Gouthiyyah. This mosque is mainly attended by Indian-Muslims, and the sermons are sometimes conducted in Tamil.

Finally, another major landmark in Brickfields is the 50-year-old Three Teachings Chinese Temple along Jalan Thambillay.

Read more about Brickfields on Wikipedia.
How to get to Brickfields and more..

Source of images and information: Wikipedia

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Frolicking again

It's Friday again. Nice! I've always loved Friday, and why not, I'm a Friday's child.

Actually what I have in mind for today's post is... a quiz. Let's do one today after all the last quiz we did on Friday Frolics is way back in March. If you haven't taken that last quiz you can go here to find out What Flavor Jelly Bean Are You? and know something about yourself that may surprise you along the way, maybe?

Today's quiz is on Color Code. It's got an interesting set of questions too - thought-provoking a little.

This quiz says my Color Code is Yellow..

Your Color Code is Yellow

You are a ton of fun, no matter what is going on in life. You feel like you were put on this planet to have a good time.

You see each moment as an adventure, and you refuse to get stuck in a rut. You are always up for doing something new.

You are a very persuasive person, but you convince with your actions - not your words. Everyone wants to be living the kind of life you live.

You have friends pretty much everywhere you go, and if not, you make new ones easily. You always prefer life as a shared experience.

Now, your turn..

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

MR DIY Store offers RM5 promo

Want to stretch your Ringgit? MR.DIY’s “Save Pocket” promotion is back in town.

The promotion offers various products in the store at RM5 per item.

Attractive bargains to be had with more than 100 types of products ranging from padlocks, garden pruners, cellphone cables, selfie stick and LED light bulbs to Faber-Castell colour pencils, play dough and steering cover at only RM5 each.

Travelling anytime soon? This neck pillow will definitely come in handy.

How about this versatile non-slip mat..

Or this photo-frame..

Posture-corrector, anyone?

How about Skipping rope or a bicycle lock..

Or need a lint-roller?

Promotion is on until Nov 30. Happy bargain-hunting!

Image sources:
- The Star (top picture)
- Mr DIY blog

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bersih 5 - Today is the Day, November 19, 2016

Today is the day of Bersih 5. In solidarity, Bersih 5 rally is being held in many parts of the world. In Kuala Lumpur it is the base where it all started.

The Bersih 5 rally is calling for free and fair elections. The Red Shirts group is holding a counter-protest.

Several roads, especially those leading to Dataran Merdeka which has been barricaded, have been put out of bounds by the police.

DATELINE: Kuala Lumpur, November 19, 2016

6am: Dataran Merdeka: FRU teams already on standby at several locations around Dataran Merdeka. Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Raja Laut cordonned off at the Dataran Merdeka section.

7.30am: Petaling Street: Bersih protestors starting to arrive. Some seen having breakfast

8.20am: Bangsar LRT: People in yellow are milling about and taking pictures as they awaited larger numbers to arrive for the rally.

8.40am: A Red Shirts leader tells the group near Masjid Jamek to not do anything until there are instructions. “Wait for instructions,” he says.

8.45am: A slightly larger crowd of ‘Yellow Shirts’ begin gathering on the other end of the Bangsar LRT station. Bersih paraphernalia is seen being sold.

Don't leave home with it..

9am: Red Shirts supporters are in a group in Masjid Jamek and Jalan Melaka.

Some pictures from The Star Gallery..

Part of the Bersih 5 members taking photograph in front of the police barricade at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman at 8am. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star. November 19, 2016.

Police FRU at Jalan Tun Perak at 8am. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star. November 19, 2016.

9.15AM: Masjid Negara: The situation at Masjid Negara remains calm and quiet. Groups of Bersih supporters are still trickling into the plaza in front of the mosque with the supporters numbering in the dozens.

9.20am: Bangsar: The crowd of Bersih supporters gathered at the Bangsar LRT station and Dataran Maybank next door have swelled.

That's the latest update on Bersih 5 rally this morning. If you are interested you can check out The Star's timeline of events.

Happy Bersihing.

Btw, Bersih is a word in the local (Malay) language. It simply means 'Clean'.


Though I'd continue to keep you updated as the day progresses.

9.55am: Petaling Street: Some placed a box with buns in it. A woman selling taufu-fa gets good orders from the rally-goers

10am: Masjid Negara: Bersih 2.0 deputy chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari has made an appearance and mingles with the crowd.

10.20am: DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang arrives in Bangsar, accompanied by other party leaders such as Teresa Kok, Tan Kok Wai and Lim Lip Eng.

Also here is social activist Marina Mahathir. Marina urged Malaysians not to be afraid of fighting for free and fair elections.

10.30am: Policemen are advising Bersih supporters at Sogo to be mindful of their safety and follow police instructions. If more than 100 people gathered at one spot, then they will be asked be dispersed.

10.30am: Bersih committee member Hishammudin Rais nabbed by police in Bangsar. He had earlier given a speech to the crowd.

A group of Red Shirts are gathering at PWTC, though their intention is not known.

10.35am: Bersih supporters are starting to make their way to meet with a larger group of supporters in Jalan Tun Perak.

Majid Jamek: Bersih leaders ask supporters to stop blowing the vuvuzelas.

Bangsar: Bersih supporters have spilled over onto the opposite lane along Jalan Bangsar but have been warned by police to clear the street.

An officer in a patrol vehicle told stubborn demonstrators over the intercom to move back to the other side.

An FRU truck is seen parked further in the distance as its personnel standby and monitor the crowd.

11.06am: Masjid Jamek: Bersih crowd stops close to the police barricade. No Red Shirts in sight in the area. All peaceful so far in the area.

11.10am: Bersih supporters converge and sit on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in front of a barricade of policemen.

11.20am: A group of orang asli from the Peninsular Malaysia Network of Orang Asli Villages join the rally near Masjid Negara.

Dolah Bin Dekoi, 47, said they were there to show Malaysia that the orang asli exist and will fight for their rights.

While Dolah came from Johor, he said the group was made up of orang asli from all over the peninsular.

Dolah and the orang asli group at Masjid Negara

11.50am: Bersih supporters have begun walking to Dataran Merdeka, crowding up one side of Jalan Bangsar.

11.58am: Yellow and red shirts meet at Majid Jamek. All peaceful now.

12:06pm: Red Shirts being led away from Jalan Raja Laut towards most probably Padang Merbok.

12.08pm: FRU block off road outside Sogo shopping mall.They use loudhailers to tell protesters to vacate Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Raja Laut leading towards Sogo.

12.19pm: Bangsar: Police seen trying out water cannon and accidentally sprayed water on their personnel.

12.20pm: Datuk Ambiga Sreenavesan and several Bersih leaders are seen negotiating with police in Bangsar to head towards Dataran Merdeka.

12.20pm: Red Shirt supporters have arrived at Padang Merbuk. The group earlier gathered at Putra World Trade Centre before marching in to Jalan Raja Laut and Jalan Kuching to march to Padang Merbok.

12.29pm: Datuk Ambiga says they will stay calm and remain on the road at Bangsar where they are now until completing their activities and then disperse.

12.30pm: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad flew back from Sudan and will be heading to Bersih Rally soon.

1pm: Police at Jalan Kinabalu refuse to allow the red shirts to pass through.

1.41pm: The Bangsar crowd is breaking up into small groups and trying to make their way to Dataran Merdeka.

1.44pm: Announcement by Bersih spokesperson, asking everyone to find their way to Masjid Jamek either via Brickfields or by LRT. They said the programme at Bangsar is over and the rally will continue till 6pm at Dataran Merdeka.

Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has arrived at the Bangsar LRT station to attend the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur.

2.55pm: Most of the Red Shirts have already left Padang Merbok area. Many are seen heading towards Bank Negara to Jalan Kuching as Jalan Parlimen heading towards Dataran Merdeka had already been cordoned off by police.

3.07pm: Dr Mahathir and Parti Pribumi leaders in cars headed to KLCC.

3.20pm: Bersih groups from various staging points head towards KLCC.

More Bersih groups leaving Masjid Jamek towards KLCC.

3.50pm: Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at KLCC accompanied by Pribumi president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir. A large crowd is already gathered here.

4.22pm: Quite a number of people at KLCC are starting to leave. Some are taking selfies and entering Suria KLCC mall.

5.30pm: Supporters at KLCC start singing the Negaraku.

5.35pm: The crowd at KLCC is dispersing following a downpour.

5.38pm: Roads reopen at Central Market area. However, roads near Dataran Merdeka are still closed to traffic. Police presence is also dwindling.

6.02pm: The barricades along Jalan TAR and Masjid Jamek have been removed.

Bersih 5 rally ends without major incidents

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mini Jack Ma - Fan Xiaoqin - has taken the Internet by storm

A good story never ends. Shouldn't end.

Yesterday I blogged about Mini Jack Ma, a young Jack Ma look-alike who has won the heart of the founder of Alibaba Group, the real Jack Ma.

Today, I read that Mini Jack Ma has taken the Internet by storm.

Here, you see at left, Fan Xiaoqin (that's his name) chatting with a boy at the Yanhui village in Jiangxi province where he lives.

The Star reports:

BEIJING: The similarities of facial appearances and expressions with Internet tycoon Jack Ma have changed the life of a poor child in East China’s Jiangxi province after his photos and videos went viral.

A one-minute video of the boy Fan Xiaoqin, or “mini Jack Ma” that Internet users called him, attracted public attention earlier this month, and the video also proved a photo published online last year was real, not photoshopped.

Like the Forbes magazine’s description of Ma, the nine-year-old boy has “protruding cheekbones, dishevelled hair” and “the mischievous dew tooth smiles.”

The short video showed that Fan’s parents were handicapped and his family were poor.

Ma, the founder of the Alibaba Group, said in an internal e-mail on Nov 9 that he would offer financial support for Fan’s study until he graduates from university.

Huang Jiayi, a local at the Yanhui village, said that her older cousin who returned home from his work place in Anhui province first took a photo of Fan in May last year and published it online to attract people’s attention. — China Daily/Asia News Network

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mini Jack Ma

Here's a good story to share..

The Star: Alibaba's founder to support 'mini Jack Ma' until university graduation

BEIJING: A young Jack Ma look-alike has won the heart of the founder of Alibaba Group, the real Jack Ma.

Fan Xiaoqin or "mini Jack Ma" is 8-years-old and lives in Yongfeng County, east China's Jiangxi Province. His family circumstances are unfortunate as his mother has poliomyelitis, his father a missing leg and his grandma, Alzheimer's disease, reported on November 13.

"Mini Jack Ma" came to fame after a villager posted a video of him online in 2015. The internet exploded in remarks over how similar the boy looked to Jack Ma. Once again, with the coming of double-eleven "mini Jack Ma" won the hearts of internet once again, and netizens urged that Jack Ma should act as a beneficiary to Fan Xiaoqin, given his family circumstances.

The attention and buzz caught Jack Ma's attention and he saw the similarities between himself and the boy. Just last week, he announced he would financially support Fan Xiaoqin until he graduates from university. – China Daily/Asia News Network.