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Monday, December 20, 2010

funny Language

Language can be such a funny thing, especially when people miscommunicate, intentionally or unintentionally. According to the Bible, the reason for the large amount of languages is due to men trying to build the Tower of Babel that would reach the ‘heavens’ would prove that nothing would be impossible for them. Simply put, the Tower of Babel was a monument of pride since they were united under the banner of a single language.

God decided that wasn’t such a good idea, confusing them by planting different languages into their heads causing them to be unable to continue working on the Tower of Babel. How many languages exist in the world today? There’s a lot more than I think I’d even bother to find out.

Coming to the current age, English is one of the most commonly spoken languages around the world, thanks to British trying to conquer economic trade back in the day. Still, I think the People’s Republic of China has quite a bit to say about upcoming influential languages of the modern age.

Interestingly, there’s never been one language that’s been able to accurately express everything we want to communicate. There have been times that some of my friends told me they couldn’t explain to me something they said in a Chinese dialect because English couldn’t accurately describe the meaning. More than spoken language, even programming language has its share of variety. Some computer programmers opt for certain languages over the other because certain programming languages translate into certain types of software applications better than others. Whether its human or programming language, both suffer from messages lost in translation at times.  

Isn’t it funny when you directly translate certain Malay words into English? For example, nasi lemak, which one of you has ever explained to a foreigner they’re about to have ‘fat rice’? Kaki bangku, are you going to tell someone they’re a foot stool in English? Turning it the other way round, isn’t there such a different feeling or effect when saying ‘Perang Bintang’ instead of Star Wars? I’ve also talked with some of my friends several times before about anime sounding so ridiculous when dubbed in English, when Japanese sounds so much better and subtitles should be used instead. 

Language can be funny too, not just when messages are lost in translation but when two people speaking the same language are on different wavelengths. Of all places to hear a lame English joke, I got this from an episode of Family Outing, a Korean variety show. Park Jin Young (JY for short) told how he responded to someone who was talking to him. This is how the two line conversation went:

“Are you okay?”

”No, I’m JY.”

Of course, sometimes poor command of a language can be funny too. I admit I did laugh at some friends before when I thought they said something in English incorrectly. It’s not that I was trying to be mean, but sometimes when you understand something well, its hard not to notice certain errors as something funny. That’s why there are websites that post a large variety of photos, depicting signboards with wrong grammar on them that translate into various humorous meanings. Most, if not all of them are taken in countries where English isn’t exactly the all important language.

Malaysia is no exception to all this either, which brings me to the last part of this entry. Now, I don’t think this is funny, but just confusing. Read the second last line shown in the photograph below. I took this just outside the counter lanes at Jusco’s branch at Mid Valley. What do you think it means?

Monday, December 13, 2010

recent Eatings

Being done with my studies has meant that I’ve had a lot more time on my hands lately. Quite a fair bit of this time has been spent eating food, both in and out of the house. I’ve got to admit, I’m blessed to have parents that’ll take me along to have some nice meals with them in addition to the fact that my mother’s actually a pretty great cook!

My last blog entry had a lot to do with One Utama, as I revealed then, its my favourite mall, hence one the one I frequent the most. Other than fast food outlets, malls like One Utama tend to be littered with plenty of eateries that like to charge you a lot for very little. This is why I’m usually stumped when trying to figure out where to eat for lunch or dinner whilst trying to avoid picking out McDonald’s or KFC.

After a few times, I’ve decided in terms of value for money and perhaps taste as well, Fish & Co. is the place to go. Its one of the few places I know where I can spend under RM 20 and know I won’t feel hungry until the next meal. By the way, if you want to compare it to Manhattan Fish Market, I’ll tell you outright that Fish & Co. is still more value for money, one of the reasons being that its cheaper.

One of the servings I really like at Fish & Co. is the seafood platter for two. That, admittedly is pricey though. When I told my mother about it, she whipped this up a few days later:

This was pretty good, I really loved the squid rings, must’ve been my favourite out of the whole bunch. She got some chicken and fish bits in there too, along with some prawns as well. That reminds me, on the day I left UTP, my family and I went to Tanjung Tualang for the seafood, where we had some pretty nice prawns:


Fleshy catfish

Fleshy catfish was also on our table that day, and it was really quite good. I enjoy steamed fish, and this was an exceptional dish. I can’t really imagine having steamed fish much better than that.

Squid Rings

Oh, earlier I mentioned I like squid rings right? I loved the ones we had at Tanjung Tualang too, and it didn’t need any sauce or extra flavouring on top of what was served, it was a very enjoyable meal.

Oh, over there, we also had this pretty interesting drink. It doesn’t suit me much, but my parents like it. It isn’t actually sold in the restaurant itself, but at a stall outside (I think), but you can ask the restaurant waiters to help order it for you and you just need to pay when the drink’s delivered to you from the person outside.

The best way I can think of to describe this drink is a lime jelly iced drink that’s got sugar on the bottom, which is why the spoon’s there so you can even everything out. We’ve got Choung Ginn to thank for introducing us to all this.

Jelly on top, sugar and ice at the bottom.

Well, back to food in the Klang Valley, I also got to go to this place in Uptown Damansara:

Sukico Hainan Cafe.

If I’m not wrong, its on the same row as Public Bank. Anyway, its one joint that I’ll definitely return to every now and then. My mother and I heard about it so we wanted to give it a try, some of its offerings were enticing enough:

Pork galore!

It must be such a blessing that the store only just turned non-halal on my birthday this year, hahaha! One thing that looked pretty good but I didn’t try then was the Roti Babi, which is really authentically Hainanese, or so I’ve been told. I still had a pretty good meal though because I still ate something I thoroughly enjoyed:

Pork Chop
Oink oink!

I had some grilled pork chop and the meat was really tender and juicy. It wasn’t particularly fat, but it was tender and not too soft.

It comes served with a sauce of your choosing, I went for garlic, not a bad choice too.

Even the iced lemon tea I had was just nice. Compared to others that I’ve had, let it be from a bottle, can or made in-house (all of which I like anyhow), this one was rather light, but still had all the flavours you’d want from iced lemon tea. The tea was light, but the balance was perfect, I really liked it.

A lot of people have heard the saying that chocolate is like heaven in your mouth. Personally, I disagree, because pork has just got to be number one! Still, I’ll agree it doesn’t always melt in your mouth, which is probably why people say ‘heaven in my mouth’. I’ll always remember the time a few years ago when Felix put the display message on his IM, “God’s best creation after man is pork” I don’t think I’ve ever resonated with Felix’s wavelength more, hahaha! I’ve got to tell you, that second best creation, my mother’s pretty good at making sure it stays at second place because she can make this:

Well, I have no idea what heaven tastes like because I’ve never been there, although I’m tempted to say this may give me a clue or two, haha! Pot roast, delicious.

Well, keeping away from ‘heaven’ for a bit, my parents and I did go for some halal food recently, Arabic food in particular. We went downtown to this place:

The surprising thing is, its not too difficult to find, because its right across a place you can probably find on any map of Kuala Lumpur:

The place itself is actually an open area, but just closed by those huge, tall tents. Its generally spacious, and could probably fit over a hundred people comfortably. Its not a bad place to go for lunch, which is just as well, because…

it will never be open for breakfast, supper’s an option though.

Enough space for everybody.

This is what we had:

Rice with lamb.

Rice with chicken.

Grilled platter.

I will tell you right now that the amount of rice that was served was ridiculously a lot! Thankfully, it was the kind of rice that was low carb, so it wasn’t as filling as what you probably eat at home, but still the portion would have been enough to make any ordinary eater more than full! One thing, this eatery or perhaps arabic food in general isn’t really into sauces (am I right/wrong?). The lamb I had was actually quite tender but it was lacking in taste a bit. You know how some people say certain things come short by two percent? That statement fit this situation. The same went for the grilled platter, but the chicken that my dad had was a little better. Still, that may just be about preference, the food is definitely more than palatable.

Oh, for drinks, we had something that was all the craze in UTP during the convocation fair that I didn’t try, Barbican.

Apple flavoured Barbican.

Apparently, due to the way its bottled and marketed (as in the way they advertise through the image of the bottle), it seems Barbican is supposed to be the halal alternative of certain alcoholic beverages just like the role of turkey bacon, something I blogged about here. I would like to say this about Barbican, as a drink on its own, it’s not bad. However, I don’t see how this remotely mimics any alcoholic beverage, let it be beer or wine. Just tonic water alone would be a better way to mimic alcoholic beverages as opposed to Barbican.

It’s a twist that’s way off.

I would rather mix orange juice with soda water plus some ice and that would probably be even better in my honest opinion. Cordial drinks, anyone? Anyhow, I saw Barbican bottles being sold in Tesco at RM 2.90 each. Random statement, I like the Barbican bottle design better than any beer bottle I’ve seen so far, so I took all three home, hahahaha.

That’s all I have to blog about my recent eating experiences. Actually, I’ve had a couple more I would like to put in here but I didn’t take photos so I’ll pass on that, maybe I’ll have some on that later in the week.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

favourite Place

Well well, Christmas will soon be here won’t it? If you don’t think so, shopping malls all over Malaysia would beg to differ. The school break is on and the hotspots like Mid Valley Megamall and One Utama shopping complex seem to have more people than you’d usually see throughout other parts of the year.

One thing people always compare among all the malls in KL are the Christmas decorations. Which has the best? This year, KLCC isn’t showing much with an average display of tall purple and white Christmas trees. Mid Valley’s donning large and oversized teddy bears at all of their court areas, kids are literally jumping onto them. One Utama’s got to be the classiest I think, with its Christmas village:

The extra floors aren’t just for show by the way, some of the shops owning the space actually have some things for you to see if you walk up the stairs of these small shop lots. I didn’t bother though, not like I had anything to buy there.

One Utama’s always been my favourite mall around KL, whether just to hang around or do some actual shopping for whatever I need. It’s a whole lot brighter than Mid Valley and a lot more spacious than the narrow walkways in Suria KLCC. Of course, there are retail stores there that I might actually buy something from, not a premium items place like Starhill, Pavillion and so forth.

Going around malls can be pretty boring after a while, particularly if you’re not buying anything or haven’t got the mood to sit yourself down for over an hour in front of a big cinema screen. That’s when a lot of people tend to say their favourite place in a mall is usually the bookstore, because that’s where they can kill some time without having to fork out extra money other than for their parking fees.

Its the same for me, MPH will usually be the anchor for me being able to stay in One Utama for longer than a few hours. Still, its not my favourite place to be over there. I’m the kind of person that’d rather be up doing something rather than read mostly, restless I suppose. That brings me to one of the main reasons why One Utama’s my favourite mall, because it has this:

If you don’t know, although I think most people in KL do, the roof of One Utama hosts two sporting venues, one is ‘Padang’, the futsal court as well as ‘It’s a Hit!’ batting cages, which is what I’m talking about. If you don’t know how to get there, you need to go to the furthest end of the new wing where Parkson’s located, and go to the corner where there’re a couple of lifts and go up to the ‘UR’ floor that stands for upper roof (I think).

Once you’re there, walk out through the glass door, turn left and walk straight. You know you’ve arrived at the right spot when you see this dangling above your head:

Baseball Bat Jungle

After passing through ‘bat jungle’, you’ll make a left turn and see this huge white circular tent. Go in there and buy some tokens to play a few rounds at the batting cages. I forgot the prices, but I think its about RM 5.00 for a token, which is good for 15 pitches thrown at you. I went at about 2 o’clock on a Friday, and there’s a special promotion going on whereby on Friday between 12 noon to 3.00 p.m., the price is RM 3.00 per token flat. There’s another special offer where you pay RM 30.00 and the throwing machine will launch at you a total of 150 pitches.

After getting the tokens that look a little like our old one Ringgit coins, you’re all set. Just one thing, make sure you have this while you’re swinging away:

It's a Hit batting cages helmet
Black helmets are typically larger, blue are helmets smaller.

Honestly, although the chances of getting hit on the head is a little thin, trust me, its still possible. If I remember correctly, there was one time when I edged a ball straight up that hit the net roof and landed back on my head, so I was fortunate to have a helmet on. I hope that’s enough reason for you to wear one.

It’s a Hit batting cages have two ends with four lanes each. One section is for baseball type pitches, and the other for softball type pitches. Informally, the difference between the two is this, one is for males aged above 12, the other for women and children, girls and the elderly. I think its needless to say which group should go for softball over baseball.

Four lanes per end, each with its dedicated pitching machine.

Get into your lane, and insert the token into this machine:

There’re a lot of buttons, but don’t worry, the instructions are sufficient to get you through. Sometimes the machine’s buttons may not work well, some of them are loose I think, in this lane particularly. If you’re having trouble, no need to fret, just call over one of the staff and they’ll help you out (which is what I did yesterday), or just change to another lane if nobody’s there.

Also, the token machine is where the bats are as well, so just pick whichever suits you best. The longer ones are, well…. longer and heavier too, but of course heavy always packs a punch. Still, if you want something lighter, just pick the shorter one.

Stand somewhere in one of the rectangle boxes next to the base according to whether you’re right-handed or left-handed.

Once you’re done selecting the pitch speed you want, just stand in place and wait for the pitches to fly at you! If you’re wondering how the speeds actually translate into real life feelings. Having a 40 mph pitch feels like someone giving a solid throw from about ten metres out that you’d probably be able to catch. 50 mph is of course a little faster than that, so of course more challenging. Hitting 60 and 70 mph pitches are hard though. I think I’ve yet to even get a piece of bat on a 70 mph pitch! Still I know its possible because I once saw this Caucasian kid probably less than 13 years old playing with that high speed. Crazy!

From the photo above, you’ll be able to tell the difference between baseballs and softballs at the batting cages. The softballs are a lot larger, so they’re easier to hit. This, combined with the fact they’re launched at a slower speed than the baseball lanes is why I say they’re more for girls than guys, unless the girl playing is very sporty. In fact, if you look carefully at the top right corner of that photo, that’s the legs of a girl playing at the softball lanes.

There’re some target rings above for you to aim your hits at. I’ve personally never got one in. Most people like myself care more about getting some bat on the ball as compared to actually scoring a hit that’d resemble a home run, hahah!

Anyway, once you’re done selecting the speed, just take your stance and wait for the yellow light to come on, which indicates you’re about to have a yellow ball flown your way. Actually, you’ll even be able to see the ball being loaded into the pitching machine on the conveyor line. Once the yellow light goes off and the red comes on, a ball is already coming your way. This continues right to the last pitch, where the red light will finally go off and there won’t be a yellow light anymore, which means your session is over.

That’s all there is to it really, and I’ll tell you, its quite addictive. Even if you miss all the pitches, there’s an urge to try it again and again! I really love it, but then again, its a little pricey, which is why I still visit MPH more often than It’s a Hit when I’m in One Utama, but this is a really good place to bring friends for some fun and something different to do rather than the usual walk around and watch a movie routine. Batter up!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

last Days

Good morning Kuala Lumpur! I’m still up after watching a movie and I’m not in the mood for sleep yet, so I thought I’d do a little blogging. Time’s passed both slowly and quickly since I came back somehow and today’s Thursday, exactly a week after I left UTP.

The weekend before that, Mei Fang and I got to have lunch with some of the guys from church. Like I said in an earlier post, leaving these guys wasn’t so emotional, but still, it was nice to have a short time to chill with them for a bit.

Mei Fang and I, both relieved of student duties. 

It’s not like I had a farewell speech prepared anyhow. I had thought of writing some short messages on paper for these friends among others, but my laziness combined with the fact I was still having exams put that aside. Well, no need for emotions anyways, its not like anyone’s crying now that I’ve left or anything.

Even so, I guess I should take the time to mention names like Belden, Yik Chieng, David and Gilberth that I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to hang with them a bit more than I did before. They’re all very nice guys, and all of them have a good future in store I’m sure.

My last two exams were last Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Knowledge Management and Development was first on Tuesday. That wasn’t so bad, I could at least answer 90% of the exam paper, which was good enough for me. International Financial Management was trickier though, and I’m genuinely concerned about that paper, but I don’t feel anything much about it now that its all over. There’s nothing more I can do about it even if I want to.

Just before I sat for my last paper, the Main Hall @ UTP.

I thought it would’ve all been over after that, but there was still one last annoying thing left to do. Settling the UTP clearance forms was such a chore! I needed to go around nine different department all around campus to chase signatures. Even one of the student support staff said it a little annoyingly, “So you have to go for one whole tour around UTP to do it.”

The dreaded signature chasing chore.

Thankfully, I’d take one day to chase a few before the two papers I mentioned about, so it wasn’t as difficult to go around getting the remaining signatures on Thursday. Even so, it was easy only because my parents had come over so travelling to the security office from my hostel was a lot easier by car.

I know a lot of people would probably go through a lot of trouble to get into UTP, but I didn’t know we’d have to experience as much to get OUT of UTP, haha! Still, the feeling of satisfaction of dropping off the form at the Exam and Records Unit lets you know that you’ve finally finished all obligations as a university student. How about postgraduate studies? Aren’t you interested?

No, thank you. I’ve been telling many people, “I’ve had enough of reading the book, thank you very much.”

I don’t feel good about leaving the friends that I have in UTP, but then I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life and for me, that means an exit from the student phase. 

Leaving my student ID at the security office.

“Well, that’s the end of the line for you then 9989. Your services here are no longer needed. You’ve been terminated.”