Showing posts from February, 2009

Caught In The Act

Image Credits K H and R L

Delight In the Detail

While I was waiting in line at the Big W checkout aisle, I noticed various little packs of what supermarkets think we need, whether for travel or everyday use. They ranged from mints, napkins, moisturiser and toiletries to toothpaste, all packaged in unassuming white box packets. I chose the instant shoe shine.

I had the opportunity to attend a stage performance skilfully displaying a blend of martial arts, dramatic acting and ballet. It was unusual but emphasised to me the commonality in physical expression and exertion in the creative arts.

Most pleasant for me was unexpectedly catching up with someone whom I can be just be myself - no appointments needed. Each of us was in transit at a fast food takeaway between things to do, but I guess both of us appreciated the chat and break from the routine and the list of have-to-dos!

What fed my inner soul was cruising through early Sunday morning with saved versions of episodes of the sitcoms Two and A Half Men and the Big Bang Theory. I wi…

Contrasts of greater Sydney

In the heart of what is essentially Sydney city, twenty somethings and retired couples took it easy late on Sunday afternoon, sipping coffee, browsing through the Sunday papers, making small conversation or just staring into each other's eyes. Never mind if the grounds were wet from passing showers throughout most of the day.
Vespas and like-minded motorbike models were neatly parked in front of shaven-headed men with big eyes and almost similar body hugging t-shirts. The women could be fans of the book Sex and The City, but in reality perhaps have more complex realities than anyone can imagine.

The service was not exactly top notch at this Challis Street cafe. There seemed to be a dearth of open coffee places in Potts Point. The Fratelli Fresh was lively - and so was a rather trendy Woolworths store along the main street. We sat in alfresco dining quarters where a car was driven to neatly park literally straight behind our backs. Perhaps after what we saw in front of a terrace in…

Further Food Adventures in My Hometown

I am not particularly a fan of the fruit mix called rojak (literally "hotch-potch"). It is a concoction of thin cut slices of fruit and other crunchy stuff that is meant to deliver a heavenly sensation once inside your mouth. It delivers a heady mix of sweet, sour and savoury tastes, which can be garnished with sesame seeds, chili cuts and a unique prawn paste blend called the hay koh. Originating from Malaysia and Thailand, variations can be found in Singapore, Burma and Indonesia. It can be confronting or instantly delightful to the initiated; even though I grew up with it, I have not been endeared to this dish, though like effect of the full moon,it is said that pregnant women may suddenly develop a temporary dire for this street hawker's magic.

I fell for its charms when a cousin of mine got two packs of this delicacy from Bukit Mertajam, a bustling regional centre located on the mainland portion of Penang State (the Brits named it Province Wellesley). I immediately …

Return to Eythrope

Only Yesterday

Eythrope Revisited

Approach to Eythrope

Sunrise Over Penang Hill

Penang Hill Undergrowth

Pathway to Eythrope

Lillies on a Pond

A Moment

Colonial Cannon at Penang Hill

Sign Board to Eythrope

Image Credits: K H 18 January 2009

Food Adventures in my Hometown

I could not resist the offer by the Indian vendor offering curry puffs from a banana leaf layered basket he was carrying. The potato and chicken concoction beneath the wholesome pastry, when bit into, suggested a succulence of orange-brown coloured spiciness, and when mixed with the unusual onion ring pickles, took me back to my childhood.

It was the morning before I flew to Singapore. Here I was in the heart of Georgetown, Penang, culminating my adventures of food unique to the island, a long established melting pot of various cuisines, local fusion and sea-faring delicacies. I was in the Kheng Pin coffee shop along Penang Road, which also offered Hainan steamed chicken rice with a class above and comparable to what Singapore outlets made at a higher asking price. A few days ago, across the street, I dunked crispy savoury roti pancakes into three types of curry, not as watery as in Sydney's Chinatown, but with a more solid flavour and aromatic arouser to the appetite. European b…

One Night in Singapore

Immigration officials at Changi Airport do smile.

Once out at Terminal Two arrival hall, I felt the spaciousness of clean, tiled floors protected in air-conditioned comfort by glass doors that led to what I imagined would contain a blast of humid warm air once I got out there. However, it was a balmy cool night once Karen caught up with me and walked me to the Audi A4, in which Chet was waiting. There is a certain feel about Singapore, night or day, in which the canopy of carefully planned road side trees moderate the equatorial air, lower the intensity of deep urban planning and blend in carefully with the orange-coloured sodium street lights. The double decked SBS buses proclaim adverts shouting out "Uniquely Singapore" which led the three of us to a lively discussion as to the more appropriate theme going forward to attract tourists - I nominate "Snug Singapore".

Snug because the island nation provides an orderly haven for visitors dropping by between other pla…

Return to Balgownie

The lawn grass had turned into a straw-like yellow, consistent in dryness like a change of coloured carpet. The geraniums on the side had shrivelled leaves and thinned flowering blooms and buds, reflecting a change in the weather pattern whilst I was away from Australia. Adelaide and Melbourne had recorded a maximum of 43.8 degrees Celsius in the days just gone past, but I did not expect such effects in New South Wales. I recalled the burnt brown leaves one New Year's Day upon my return from Tasmania, and especially the smell of burnt bush hanging in the air even as I just stepped outside Sydney Airport. There was no such intensity this first day of February, but the mandarin shrub had turned obviously yellow. with little green left in its leaves.

The cricket was on for most of the rest of the day, having been telecast live from Perth, on the other side of the continent. King Federer was due to give his crown to younger Spaniard Rafael Nadal later that night in the Australian Ope…