Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sabah 沙巴之旅

Before my memory fails me, before the excitement fizzles out, before lights are off and before no one's interested anymore, here's my post on our sabah trip! Sketches'll will come later, after I paint them but for now, words and some simple photos!

First off, this is a crazy  trip planned by Kuan Yew the nature and adventure lover, who dragged me along with him but now that I've been to Sabah, I must thank him a million cuz this place oozes of personality and warmth from its people. Malaysians from the peninsular who's never been to this beautiful place must visit it at least once in their lifetime!

To my pleasant surprise, this is not the ulu( remote) place I imagined it. How 'frog under the well' I was. It boasts of many shopping complexes that're comparable to some of KL's! They have 1 Borneo, KK time square , Suria Sabah(which is not even half full but will be in a matter of a year, which means by the time I start my housemanship there, I get to chill out in mega shopping malls!! yay! Provided i have the time la, fingers crossed). 

By crazy trip I mean renting a small Kelisa which power we have not tested and driving it( all by ky, poor thing) from kk to kundasang and then to sandakan on the Road of  Thousand Holes. But the lodge that greeted us and the next day's trip to Sepilok Orang Utan Santuary was all worth the horrifying journey. That said I was more than happy to be heading back to KK( I've never thought of myself as the hustle bustle city girl but I am one, no matter how much I'd like to be more balanced). The thought of everything at a stone's throw away is a hugely comforting one and of course, not being surrounded by bugs and creepy mysterious animals promotes a sense of peace in me.

Anyhoo, we went to Kundasang on the way to Sandakan and got a taste of how New Zealand ( where sheeps outnumber humans by 17 times!! baa baa baaaa) must feel like in Desa Dairy Farm, Mesilou. baa baa..

Here's a picture I took with my handphone, which is of course not so nice compared to ky's DSLR photo, which i promise that I'll steal and put there once he uploads it on facebook hehe heh.. 

Interesting things that I learned on this trip:

1. Cows are surrounded by buzzling flies 24/7 and they smell like their own feces. Sketching among piles of cow dung is as exciting, though.

2. Been invited to dine in a wedding by mother of the bride in a village called Buli Sim-sim. It's a long time since I felt so warmly welcomed  by friendly strangers.

3.  Sandflies are sneaky lil creatures. I was tortured with painful, extremely itchy bites the very first night. Avoid them at all cost!

4. Living cost in kk can be even higher than in KL because of the transport fee( from west msia to east msia) and it being a tourist area. So the extra allowance for housemen are rightly justified.

5. The aborigines are more often than not warmer than the owner of the food stall  you paid through your nose to have dinner at.

6. In KKGH ( Queen Elizabeth Hospital) , housemen perform DAILY lumbar puncture, compulsory quota of 3 Csec and 3 appendisectomy. How cool is that? hehehe...

7. Once you get past the tiredness, dirtiness and smelliness, backpacking is actually the funnest way to travel.( minus the sandfly bites and sleepless night, of course) We get to interact with people from different countries and travelling tips( it's not safe to rely solely on Lonely Planet and the like cuz it may be outdated. Like what Lonely Planet says about my hometown Ipoh. It says that its new town's traffic is congested and ipoh is only a transit to Pulau Pangkor and Cameron! And said nothing about the famous food like taugeh chicken, white coffee, YeeHup hiong beng etc! How dare they =(

Okie, here's all first. More coming soon!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ice Kacang Puppy Love: A review

                                                                                                                         ( pic taken from

Had been anticipating this 100 % Malaysian made movie , largely filmed in a little town called Tronoh(near Ipoh). The official website's here. When I saw the trailer, I was still dazed by Woohoo the Chinese New Year comedy(which I wrote a short review on it here) and couldn't help comparing both of them. I was a little bit disappointed by Ice Kacang for these few reasons:

1. In the first few scenes, the child Botak, child Fighter fish and the other kids were very obviously just regurgitating what's on their scripts. Overall I think the children's performance should be more natural. Whereas Woohoo started off very well in captivating its audience in introducing its funniest character- Ah Beng. Fighter Fish's mischievous and nonchalant behaviours (  putting charcoal into Botak's customer's coffee and other actions which disregard people's comfort) put me off from the start. I couldn't help laughing all through WooHoo. On the contrary I was bored watching Ice Kacang.

2. The characters were too obvious on  belonging to either the good side or the bad. I especially couldn't stand Ma Ling Shu and Ma Li Bing's mother - the woman who frequents Botak's dad's coffee shop, selling 3D to the villagers. Although Ma Ling Shu( the town bully, well into his teenage hood) have sidekicks who possess sizes on both ends of the spectrum, thus adding some element of comedy to the movie, some of the characters are redundant eg Fish Leong's character( Ma Li Bing).

3. The relationship chart in the movie is too complicated where guy A likes girl B, who likes guy C, who likes girl D, who likes guy E who likes girl B so on and so forth. You get the picture. 

That said, there are some good points: 

1. I like how Botak narrates the story. 

2. I love the localness of the movie. For a moment, I thought that it's filmed in Ipoh (my hometown) and was pleasantly surprised until towards the 2nd last scene where Fighter Fish and her mother wait for their bus in a bus station and I heard workers shouting 'Ipoh, Ipoh!' , 'Taiping Taiping! " to attract customers. Nonetheless, it's still very heart warming  seeing all the familiar buildings and scenes in the movie. 

3. Good effort by by Ah Niu- the director, writer and actor of the movie. 

4. Really impressive sketches and oil painting of Lee Sin Jie.

I'd give it a 2/5. 

So far, nothing bad has been said about this movie. In fact, it has been well received in Hong Kong. I guess it's just not my cup of tea. 

Passport cover

    Today I made a passport cover based on Chubby Hobby's tutorial. This passport cover is for Su Yan, who gave me a lovely book for my birthday. It's called 'Handwork Zakka 40 Styles'. It includes tissue box cover, document cover, dog pillow and even some recipes! There're of course other projects other than sewing ones.

And some pages found inside the book. I especially love the bird tutorial! Tweet tweet!

Here's the passport cover.

The inside of it.

 I stiched ' Su Yan' on a piece of jeans fabric. She can put two passports in the cover. 
There're two pockets for Mykad, ATM card, or any cards for that matter. 
Here's the cover and the back.

Besides a passport cover, I sewed a Rubbit on my measuring tape.
Every time I used the tape, Murphy's law happened invariably. 
I'd always grab the wrong end.
I got so frustrated I stiched Rubbit on the wrong end and 
voila, now I know which end to grab.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Near to Nature in Cameron Highlands

After a blissful day of tea and scones, we went on a nature walk around Kea Farm, Boh and Cameron Valley tea plantations and the lovely, lovely Rose Centre. Here're some sketches done. 

This is a sketch of Cameron Valley( aka Bharat) tea plantation. I arrived there feeling ok but within seconds, I was attacked by mosquitoes and quickly plummeted into this foul mood ( YONG SUI mood) and gone was my sketching mood. Kuan Yew disturbing a bee hive did not help alleviate the bad mood either( Great, now not only do I have to worry about mosquitoes, I'v BEES to watch out for)
 Luckily Kuan Yew encouraged me to sketch so here it is! hehe...

This is the LOVELY Rose Centre! It looked haunted and worn out from the outside but once you enter( entrance fee rm5), you'd be amazed(deeply) by the beauty of the myriad of flowers you see!

On the contrary, the Butterfly Farm(also in Kea Farm) dissapoints with a lazy worker( who was obviously Anglo-philic as well) and overcrowded display boxes of creatures. They did not bother to move some of the poor animals to another box when the population in the box was apparently too packed. 

Taugeh Chicken in Ipoh

老黄芽菜鸡(Lou Wong Nga Choi Gai) or Onn Kee is not the only place to go if you want to try succulent, soft chicken meat and smooth, fine kuey teow in Ipoh. There's a shop called Kedai Kopi Kam Hor. Here's a comprehensive review of it. It includes pictures and address and a Google map of it!

This sketch was done while waiting to be served. A very unique point of this restaurant : it is manned by a very old couple who has all the patience in the world, preparing their food delicately and slowly. So you might have to  wait for more than half an hour for the food to be ready. But good if you advocate slow food in a complete cycle: prepare slowly AND eat slowly.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tea and Scones in Cameron Highland

Tea and scones is a must on visits to Cameron Highland. I just got back from Cameron two days ago and had found some really nice places for tea and scones. I didn't try the tea cuz my system is accustomed to chinese tea and the taste buds would not 'tolerate' tea other than Chinese tea. The first stop for tea and scones was T cafe in Tanah Rata town. It is owned by a 70 something year old man( who looked 20 years younger). A man with serious humor:

The man actually stuck an obituary of his first pet fish on the tank in his restaurant!

Here's a sketch of T Cafe

The next stop was Cameronian Inn, just a few metres from where we stayed. It served nice scones but what blew us away was the pancake with honey and banana. Bananas! Nothing can go wrong with bananas, not even Quaker's oats.

Here's a night sketch done in Cameronian Inn.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Plight of Nice People

"The man sitting behind the sleeping man is Jason, a young Indian ( who can speak fluent Mandarin!). 
His legs are practically squashed by the overly reclined seat of the inconsiderate middle aged man 
( who speaks VERY loudly over the phone).
Such is the contrast between the very rude and the very nice."

This was sketched in a Konsortium bus on our way back from Muar to Ipoh. The man in front of me reclined his seat without considering the comfort of the person behind him(me). I had to sit up absolutely straight to avoid being squashed by the chair. It was very uncomfortable. As I whined about my bad luck, Kuan Yew pointed to the poor man beside me. I was shocked seeing an even more sorry case compared to mine. Jason, the kind Indian man had to endure this horrible misfortune for more than an hour. Imagine the soreness of the legs at the end of the journey! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mum and her folk art

Mum engrossed in her folk art. She bought two little wooden boxes and I sketched her painting one of them. It's wonderful and a blessing to find something you like to do after you retire. It adds fun to your life and may even make you feel fulfilled! 

I've decided that I love sketching and painting more than sewing. Sewing really requires patience and skill. I'm a beginner and because no one I know sews, I have to rely on blogs, websites and youtube to learn the basic stuff. And it can be very frustrating. Moreover, i think something is wrong with my sewing machine although it appeared ok when I brought it to the shop. I don't get the 'flow' when I sew as I do with sketching. 

As I grow older, I've come to the realisation that I'm an indoors person cuz all of my hobbies are indoor ones! 

1. reading
2. sketching and painting
3. sewing
4. room makeover
5. researching anything regarding the hobbies above

I can't think of any outdoor activity that I truly enjoy, other than theme parks and travelling( but that's because I can sketch) I have no interest in climbing, cycling, snorkelling, or any outdoor activities in that matter.

And Kuan Yew is undoubtedly a mixture of both out- and indoors person. I guess i'll have to train myself to like outdoors more.  Wait a minute, I love sketching outdoors, especially in cities! huhu, finally found some 'outdoorsiness' ( got such word ar? neologism, haha) in me. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My mum's kitchen

This is a fish view of my mum's kitchen. 
Drawing it fishview style just occurred to me and I was surprised at the liberty and 'flow' it gave me! 
It was very liberating when I made up my mind not to follow the proportion and dimension strictly. 
I'm gonna sketch more fish views in the future. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stools in my house

    These are the stools in my house, which have provided resting places for my family and me for as long as I can remember, except a few of the newly added ones mum brought from the folk art studio she joined a while ago. The one with Barbie dolls is my birthday gift from mum! And the one behind it ( in yellow and black) is what she's currently working on with acrylic. I can see that it's turning out well. And the two Chinese looking stools on the far right and left are dad's tea stools. They're the most exotic looking and sturdy. 

    The one smacked  right in the middle is my favourite one, because of its curves and most importantly, the colour! It's a mixture of crimson water colour paint and ink. hehe... I first saw this colour in Don Low's website and was mesmerized by it. I feel so happy when I got the combination of crimson and ink right. It's like figuring out some ancient secret recipe! But of course mixing paint is easier than having to taste and retaste spices and food.

    Speaking of cooking, I've never really have much of an interest in cooking and have, in all my life, just baked twice, the first one for my ex boyfriend and the second one with Kuan Yew. Both cake/cookies turned out edible and were actually quite tasty! But then again nothing can go wrong with chocolate.