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Archive for May, 2007

This is a landmark in Batu Pahat that is quite well known. It’s officially called Dataran Penggaram but we folks here tend to shorten it and call it Dataran. This field has been there even before I was born and it used to be only a small size fountain with a simple pond. Then due to old age, it was demolished and a new one was built to replace the old fountain.
This is the fountain as we see it today. This was taken on a Saturday night.

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This plaque shows when this fountain was opened to the public. It was officiated by the Tunku Mahkota Johor, Tunku Ibrahim Ismail Ibni Sultan Iskandar on 2nd July 2001.

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This is a much clearer picture of the fountain, sorry about the yellow lighting cause the floodlights were in the way. And if you look carefully at the top of the fountain you will see a structure that resembles the action Batu Pahat which means Chiselled Rock.

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During weekend nights, most parents will bring their families there to relax cause of the cool breeze and the relaxed atmosphere. Some of them will bring footballs, kites or toy bicycles there for the kids. For those who feel the hassle of carrying too many things to the park, they have this toy rentals for kids as shown below.

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For those who wants to just buy balloons or bubble blowing toys, they can get it from these stalls below. Sometimes during windy days, these stalls do sell kites. Ever seen countless people fly kite at night? Never, right .. but only in Batu Pahat Dataran you can see them.

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For those who wants to buy snacks and drinks, there is always the mobile stalls to browse through.

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Me and my girlfriend had a lot of fun, the night I took this photos, we bought some bubble blowing toys and started blowing out lots and lots of bubbles to the joy of this anonymous kid.

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The Main Road in my hometown is known as Jalan Rahmat. It was probably the first road constructed when Batu Pahat was founded. The Hokkien folks call it ‘Tua Beh Lor’ which literally means large road. This road has seen the major developments in town particularly the construction of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which was founded by the chinese pioneers of the town.

Today, most of the banks branches are located along this road along with the post office, shop outlets and eateries. They even converted part of the road and named it “BP Walk” a miniature version of the “Bukit Bintang Walk” in KL.

I am going to share with you some pictures of Jalan Rahmat (or a certain portion of it, this was taken on a hot afternoon, I was literally cooking under my clothes).

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I took this picture while standing on a kerb outside Maybank. The big building in grey is known as the Penggaram Complex, it houses the local stock exchange.

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This is my front view. The bus stand was donated by Fujitsu Components (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. The red tiled-roofed buildings at the back is the Jabatan Kesihatan Batu Pahat, where we go for our annual teeth check-up. At the foreground, the big building that’s being renovated is Ai Chun Primary School, its an all girls primary school.

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This is my left view. That pink building is our town main post office. It was constructed in 1936. This place holds many memories to me during my school days, caused I used to line up there to buy the first-day covers. The corner shop is Radin Bookstore. Many residents would know this shop cause its where we get our text and revision books. Early this year, an accident happened at the junction where a kancil literally drove through the main entrance of the bookstore, happened at 3 a.m. in the morning. I was at Maybank at 7 a.m in the morning and saw a Kancil parked nicely in there. The owner have had the shop entrance repaired and a new gate installed.

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What’s so special about this yellow building. This was formerly an old cinema known to many older folks as Cathay Cinema. It has those wooden chairs, a noisy air cond., and a terrace upper floor which costs an extra RM1. During my childhood days, I used to throng this cinema and the opposite one, known as Rex Cinema to catch the blockbusters of our days. But after the cineplexes came into existence, the charm of this old cinemas fail to capture the newer audience and they fell into neglect and disrepair. It was then converted into big shop outlets and rented to the public. There use to be a furniture shop here but they moved out when the owners decided to increase the rental. So its now empty.

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These are some views of the BP Walk I mentioned earlier, this place used to be the parking lot for the cinema goers. There also used to be driving schools here but were probably evicted to make way for development.

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This is the old Rex Cinema that has been converted to a shopping mart called “One Stop Superstore”. The food stalls are located in front as well as left and right side of the building.

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A closer view of the Post Office. The green awnings you see in the picture are add-ons. There was nothing like that 20 years ago.

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This sup stall wasn’t opened in the afternoon but they serve one of the best sup lembu/kambing in town. Try it, if you are ever in Batu Pahat. And that concludes the tour along part of Jalan Rahmat.

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You can see these corn (jagung) everytime you go to a pasar malam. They are usually boiled then taken out to simmer. Sold for about RM2.00 for 5 pieces. These are ‘jagung biasa’ not sweet corn like what you see sold in hypermarkets, those are more expensive.

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There are many varieties of keropok (crackers) sold here. The most common one is the keropok lekor. A popular and the most visible fried snack in Terengganu, the keropok lekur (lekor) is made of fish meat, ground to a paste, and mixed with sago. Keropok is best eaten hot with its special chili dip.

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Coming in two main different forms, the long chewy ones are called ‘lekor’, while the thin, crispy ones are called ‘keping’. (Left – keping, right – lekor).

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You can find other stuff sold in a pasar malam, like for example:

Soya drink and soya paste (tau foo fah)

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Tauhu Bakar

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Quail Eggs, these are sold at RM3.00 for 45 eggs.

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Next we have the fruits section, cheaper alternative to buy fruits here.

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Last but not least, I leave here the last pic of a stall owner posing with his delicious roasted quail.

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Pasar malam is a Malay word that literally means night market, “Pasar” being related to “bazaar” in Persian. A pasar malam is a market in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia that opens in the evening, usually in housing areas. It brings together a collection of stalls that usually sell goods such as fruit, vegetables, snacks, toys, clothes, movie discs and ornaments at cheap, reasonable prices. Pasar malams often open only one to a few days of the week, as the traders rotate around different housing areas on different days of the week. Haggling over prices is a common practice at such markets.

Pasar malam and night markets are not to be confused. Pasar malams mostly open on Saturdays (or other days, depends on the location) from 6pm to 11pm, around the housing areas, whereas night markets open every night. Most of the time, Pasar malams open directly at the roadside and would hinder traffic of the entire street from 6pm to 11pm. After 11pm the street is cleared and be reverted back to normal although pasar malams are usually held over a duration of a day to a week. Pasar malams are usually attended by families as a short outing.
The picture below is a typical scene of a pasar malam in my hometown, Batu Pahat. This happens every Thursday evening in Jalan Omar (also known as Old Bus Stand).

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One nice feature about pasar malam is that it isn’t cluttered like certain night markets. They are split into different sections. There are sections for food, clothes, shoes, fresh produce, vegetables, fruits and etc. Below is an example of the clothes section.

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There are a few food sold in this pasar malam. I will briefly go introduce them here in case anyone drops by and visit it, can go to the respective stalls.

Roti John, essentially an omelette sandwich, is a popular Malay breakfast and snack item in Singapore and Malaysia. The ingredients include minced mutton, onion, egg, tomato-chilli sauce and a baguette loaf. The mutton mince, egg and chopped onions are fried on a skillet and then placed into the cavity of a baguette halved lengthwise. The whole is then briefly pan-fried on the skillet and then served after being cut into several portions. A variant is to place the minced mutton, onions and sauce inside the baguette, then baguette dipped into beaten egg, and the whole then panfried on the skillet. You can find this lady next to a chicken rice stall. Prices are RM1.20 for either beef, chicken or sardine.

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You can also try out the laksa penang (Penang Laksa) stall right beside the roti john lady. It only cost RM1.00 per packet.

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‘Ayam Percik’ is a popular local delicacy, especially in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is usually prepared by grilling chicken, parts or whole, over fire with intermittent sprinkling of the percik sauce on the chicken such that when the chicken gets cooked a pasty layer of sauce with distinct smoke flavour cover both sides of the chicken. Presently, this dish is only available at food stalls and restaurants around the country.

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The Ramly Burger, also known as the Burger Ramly, is a Malaysian burger created by Ramly Moknin popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Though the term “Ramly Burger” may refer to any of the hamburgers sold in a Ramly Burger stall, it most commonly refers to the Ramly Burger Special. While the amount and type of ingredients vary greatly depending on location, a typical Ramly Burger consists of a beef or chicken patty, margarine, onions, an egg, cabbage, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce. This list is subjective, however, as Ramly Burgers are famous for being highly customizable.

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We drink them everytime we pop up at some fast food joint. Nothing like a cold coca-cola on a hot summer day or in the case of Malaysia, every other bloody day. But do you know that this amazing drink has got other uses besides drinking it, you will be surprised. Continue reading and you will know how much you don’t know.
Clean a toilet bowl. Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl. Let the real thing sit for one hour, then brush and flush clean. The phosphoric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

Remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers. Rubbing the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola will help remove rust spots.

Clean corrosion from car battery terminals. Pour a can of carbonated Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

Cook with Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Consumer Information Center offers a free packet of recipes including a Mustard Herb Dressing (an Italian style salad dressing made with one-half cup of Coca-Cola), a Twin Cheese Dip (requiring three-quarter cup of Coca-Cola and doubling as a sandwich filling), and Sweet-Sour Cabbage (using one-half cup of Coca-Cola and two tablespoons of bacon drippings).

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Loosen a rusted bolt. It is suggested that applying a cloth soaked in a carbonated soda to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

Bake a moist ham. Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.

Remove grease from clothes. Empty a can of Coke into a load of greasy work clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular wash cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.

Clean rust in a bathtub. Saturate an abrasive sponge with Coca-Cola and scrub the rust stain. The phosphoric acid in the Coke removes rust.

Clean milk stains from clothes. Saturate the milk stains with a can of Coca-Cola, let the garment sit for five minutes, then launder in your regular wash.

Make barbecue sauce. Make an excellent barbecue sauce by mixing Coca-Cola with Heinz Ketchup. Brush the mixture on chicken or ribs while grilling.

Prevent an asthma attack. If you feel the onset of an asthma attack, drink two cans of Coke. The caffeine in Coke can help thwart an asthma attack, according to the book Home Remedies from the Country Doctor.

Relieve constipation. Drinking a can of the real thing can have a laxative result.

Prevent diarrhea. When traveling through developing countries where the risk of getting diarrhea is high, drinking Coca-Cola helps minimize your chances of getting the trots, according to The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies. The acids in Coca Cola help reduce the amount of E. Coli bacteria in your intestines, inhibiting the production of toxins that would otherwise prevent your intestines from absorbing water.

Condition hair. To give your hair a great shine, pour a can of Coca Cola into your hair, working it in well, then rinse your hair with water.

Fertilize azaleas or gardenias. Watering azaleas or gardenias with Classic Coke increases the acidity in the soil, which azaleas love, and boosts plant performance. The sugar in the Coke feeds microorganisms in the soil, increasing the organic matter in the soil.

Clean eyeglasses. The phosphoric acid cleans the grunge from eyeglasses, then rinse with water.

Clean tarnished pennies. Fill a drinking glass with Coca-Cola and drop in the pennies. Let sit for one hour, then wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Strip paint off metal patio furniture. Cover the spot you wish to strip for one week with a bath towel saturated with Coca-Cola. Add more Coke every day to keep the towel wet. The paint strips right off.

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Get rid of fruit flies. Use an electric drill with a one-quarter-inch bit to drill a hole in the cap of a two liter Coke bottle. Leave one inch of Classic Coke (not diet or caffeine-free) in the bottom of the bottle, and set outside. Fruit flies will crawl into the bottle to enjoy the Real Thing, but won’t be able to get back out.

Boost a compost bin. Pouring flat Coca-Cola into the compost pile helps jump start the microorganisms. The Real Thing increases the acidity and the sugar feeds the microorganisms, increasing the organic matter in the compost.

Prevent flatulence. Add a can of Coca-Cola to a pot of pinto beans when cooking to neutralize the gas.

Relieve an upset stomach, nausea, or the pangs of food poisoning. Open a can of Coca-Cola, let it sit until it goes flat (roughly thirty minutes), then drink the defizzed real thing. Coca-Cola syrup is used an elixir to cure upset stomaches, and it still works, according to The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies. Letting the bubbles out of the soda prevents the carbonation from further upsetting your stomach.

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Kill slugs or snails. Fill jar lids with flat Coca-Cola and set in the garden. Slugs and snails, attracted by sweet soda, will slither into the jar lid and be killed by the acids in the Coke.

Mousse hair. Mix equal parts Coca-Cola and water in a trigger spray bottle and shake well. After getting out of the shower or bath, spray a light coat of the diluted Coke over your hair to give your locks a tousled look.

Soothe a jellyfish sting. Pouring the real thing over a jellyfish sting relieves the stinging pain. The acids in the Coke seem to neutralize the venom.

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Clean blood stains from clothes. Saturate the blood stain with Coca-Cola, let sit five minutes, then launder as usual. Coke removes blood from clothing—even dried blood that has gone through the washing machine and dryer.

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Soothe a sore throat. Gargle with Coca-Cola. The carbonation in the cola loosens phlegm.

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Neutralize skunk odor. Pour four two-liter bottles of Coke into a bucket, sponge yourself down in shower, and rinse clean. The acids in the Coca-Cola kill skunk odor.

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Recycled Parts Ideas

Recycling is big business these days, but do you know you can always rely on your creative mind to make them into an artform. Below are some examples to use everyday products to your advantage.
1. Old Wooden Clothespin (Pegs)
Remove the springs from the wooden pegs and insert them in between your pair of chopsticks, you do not have to worry about picking up the fish ball again!
2. Paintbrush
If your family paints your own house, I am sure you will find these lying around in the storeroom. Take one out and try to bend them into a ‘L’ shape. Only works with plastic handles. Glue the plastic handles to your wall right behind your door. Voila … an ingenious way to have a door stopper without the door banging your wall and removing the paint.
3. Beer Cans (Any cans will do but preferably those 500 ml ones)
Take the empty beer can, cut them in half. Cut the edges like what you see in the pic below. Place your creation over a candle and you have yourself a nice lampshade.
4. Used Stamps
Stamp collectors will always have those excess stamps in their collection. Sometimes when you want to exchange them with other collectors, it’s usually a fuss. Why not take a few of them, preferably with nice designs, cut them into smaller pieces and then paste them on your nails. You now have customized nail designs your neighbours will envy.

5. Candle stand (tray)
You usually see these candles in aromatherapy shops. Once the candles have outlived their usefullness, do not throw away those small aluminium stands or trays. Use a knife or a scissors to cut both sides of the stand, do not cut completely. Fold the cut parts together and then insert your photos or postcards on your table.


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Bento Art in Japan

Bento (弁当 or べんとう) is a single-portion takeout meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. While bento are readily available at convenience stores and bento shops (弁当屋, bento-ya) throughout Japan, it is still considered an essential skill of a Japanese housewife to be able to prepare an appealing boxed lunch.

Bento can be very elaborate, aesthetically pleasing cuisine arrangements. Often the food is arranged in such a way as to resemble other objects: dolls, flowers, leaves, and so forth.

A sotong bento

Good for the pig year, Pig bento

Teddies all over the place

Fishes but no sushi

Cute animals bento

Panda Bento

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