Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010




Wishing you a New Year filled with good health, new hope and new beginnings!

May year 2010 open up for you more opportunities, lead you onto the path of continued success, happiness and prosperity!


May this year be filled with happiness,
that your days be filled with joy,
that your hearts may be full of peace
and your lives full of love.

May your families and you be blessed this 2010.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Buah Tampoi, Exotic Wild Jungle Fruit.





Yesterday on my way back from Muadzam Shah, Pahang, I saw this orang Asli man selling petai and this exotic wild fruit, buah tampoi, at the roadside. He was selling the jungle fruits at RM5.00/bundle. I have never tasted it before. He gave me one fruit to eat trying its taste . It was easy to open and unlike mangosteen, there was no juice coming out from the skin when squeezed to open. Its flesh was transparent white and tasted a bit sweet and little sour. I don't know how true it is, but he told me that the wild tampoi trees in the jungle only bear fruits in 5-7 years! So I decided to buy a bundle. I also bought 2 bundle of petai and 3 piece chempedak from him. The petai was sold at RM3.00/bundle and I paid RM5.00 for the cempedak. It was, indeed, a fruitful day for me!

Later my son-in-law from Kuching, Joshua Goh, told me that buah tampoi (Baccaurea spp.) had been planted commercially in Sarawak in recent years. Its flesh of the variety there is transparent yellow in colour.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The main causes of liver damage

This message has been circulated in the internet for quite some time. If you are health conscious, read on and you may have to change your eating habits and adopt a good daily lifestyle. Do not over-burden your liver! Take good care of it. Stay healthy, my friends.

1. Sleeping too late and waking up too late are main cause.

2. Not urinating in the morning.

3. Too much eating.

4.. Skipping breakfast.

5. Consuming too much medication.

6. Consuming too much preservatives, additives, food coloring, and artificial sweetener.

7. Consuming unhealthy cooking oil. As much as possible reduce cooking oil use when frying, which includes even the best cooking oils like olive oil. Do not consume fried foods when you are tired, except if the body is very fit.

8. Consuming raw (overly done) foods also add to the burden of liver. Veggies should be eaten raw or cooked 3-5 parts. Fried veggies should be finished in one sitting, do not store.

Something2Share:

Planters used to sleep early in order to wake up early for conducting “Muster Call” so that plantation workers are sent to the fields in early morning, A good habit is to drink a glass of warm water after wake up and surely after that will have to urinate in the morning. I think no planters ever skip breakfast for they need to eat like a king in the morning to have more energy walking in the fields.

Beside olive oil, planters should support and consume Carotino (red palm oil), a healthy cooking oil. Although it appears red in colour, but after cooking, it’s golden in colour. Oil palm is a golden crop afterall !

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Healthy Foods for a Healthy Body !



The following healthy foods have been recommended for a healthy body.

Just want to share with you hoping that you will also have something to share.

BROCCOLI – CANCER

Close-up, the tiny green tips on a broccoli head look like hundreds of cancer cells. Now scientists know this disease-busting veg can play a crucial role in preventing the disease. Last year, a team of researchers at the US National Cancer Institute found just a weekly serving of broccoli was enough to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 45 per cent. In Britain, prostate cancer kills one man every hour.

MUSHROOM – EAR

Slice a mushroom in half and it resembles the shape of the human ear.And guess what?Adding it to your cooking could actually improve your hearing. That’s because mushrooms are one of the few foods in our diet that contain vitamin D. This particular vitamin is important for healthy bones, even the tiny ones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.

GINGER – STOMACH

Root ginger, commonly sold in supermarkets, often looks just like the stomach. So it’s interesting that one of its biggest benefits is aiding digestion. The Chinese have been using it for over 2,000 years to calm the stomach and cure nausea, while it is also a popular remedy for motion sickness. But the benefits could go much further.Tests on mice at the University of Minnesota found injecting the chemical that gives ginger its flavour slowed down the growth rate of bowel tumours.

BANANA (SMILE) – DEPRESSION

Cheer yourself up and put a smile on your face by eating a banana. The popular fruit contains a protein called tryptophan. Once it has been digested, tryptophan then gets converted in a chemical neurotransmitter called serotonin. This is one of the most important mood-regulating chemicals in the brain and most anti-depressant drugs work by adjusting levels of serotonin production. Higher levels are associated with better moods.

CHEESE – BONES

A nice ‘holey’ cheese, like Emmenthal, is not just good for your bones, it even resembles their internal structure. And like most cheeses, it is a rich source of calcium, a vital ingredient for strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Together with another mineral called phosphate, it provides the main strength in bones but also helps to ‘power’ muscles. Getting enough calcium in the diet during childhood is crucial for strong bones. A study at Columbia University in New York showed teens who increased calcium intake from 800mg a day to 1200mg – equal to an extra two slices of cheddar - boosted their bone density by six per cent.

BEANSPROUTS – SPERM

The stir-fry favourite bears an uncanny resemblance to the images we see of ‘swimming’ sperm trying to fertilise an egg. And research from the US suggests they could play an important part in boosting male fertility. A study at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio showed that to make healthy sperm in large quantities, the body needs a good supply of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against damage by harmful molecules called free radicals. Just half a cup of bean sprouts provides 16 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for a man. It’s not just dad but baby too who could benefit. Bean sprouts are packed with folate, a vitamin that prevents neural tube defects, where the baby is born with a damaged brain or spine.

GRAPES – LUNGS

OUR lungs are made up of branches of ever-smaller airways that finish up with tiny bunches of tissue called alveoli. These structures, which resemble bunches of grapes, allow oxygen to pass from the lungs to the blood stream. One reason that very premature babies struggle to survive is that these alveoli do not begin to form until week 23 or 24 of pregnancy. A diet high in fresh fruit, such as grapes, has been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Grape seeds also contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which appears to reduce the severity of asthma triggered by allergy.

TOMATO – HEART

A TOMATO is red and usually has four chambers, just like our heart. Tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene, a plant chemical that reduces the risk of heart disease and several cancers. The Women’s Health Study — an American research programme which tracks the health of 40,000 women — found women with the highest blood levels of lycopene had 30 per cent less heart disease than women who had very little lycopene. Lab experiments have also shown that lycopene helps counter the effect of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. One Canadian study, published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, said there was “convincing evidence’ that lycopene prevented coronary heart disease.

WALNUT – BRAIN

THE gnarled folds of a walnut mimic the appearance of a human brain - and provide a clue to the benefits. Walnuts are the only nuts which contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They may also help head off dementia. An American study found that walnut extract broke down the protein-based plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston found walnuts reversed some signs of brain ageing in rats.



Friday, July 10, 2009

Buah Kedondong


Kedondong or kedongdong, one of tropical fruits, is a kind of greenish yellow, fibrous, sour, plum like fruit also known as Hog plum but also called as Tahitian apple. It’s scientific name is Spondias dulcis. In Sinhalese it is called Ambarella, and it is simplified and commonly called as Ampula or Ambra in Panang. In Sabah, it is of course also known as Kedondong.

Interestingly, Kedondong belongs to the same family as the mangoes. Apparently, it was introduced from the Pacific Island to Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka. It is fairly common but grown mainly as individual tree in the rural areas. It grows mainly to a height of 10-20 meters, and fruits all the year round. The flowers are tiny and greenish white in colour, grouped together as a panicle.

The fruits are bright green, on ripening turning yellowish with a lot of grayish brown freckles. Each fruits is about 7.5-10 cm long by 2.5-3.7 cm wide. It is eaten as and a fresh fruit or pickled. The flesh is white and crunchy when immature, becomes fibrous on ripening.

Kedondong has a single seed and contents of lots of fiber with many stiff filaments . The fruit can be eaten raw; the flesh is crunchy and a little sour.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, the fruit is cut into few piece and often eaten with sticky black prawn paste or “hay-ko” in Hokkien. It is also used as an ingredient in rojak (mixed fruits with sweet and hot sauce) and it is sometimes eaten cooked. It may also be juiced, and goes then under the popular name “Ampula” juice in Malaysia, particularly in Penang and the northern states. Penang is famous for its pickled nutmeg, mangoes, guava and papaya pickles. Kedondong is also equally delicious as pickles.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

EATING BY YOUR BLOOD TYPE


Introduced by Peter D'Adamo, the Blood Type Diet is based on the assumption that everyone is an individual. And who are we to argue? Logically, just because we share the same row and column in the BMI chart, it shouldn't define the way our dietary habits are. The Blood Type Diet makes interesting claims that people fare better (which includes weight management) when their diet is tailored to their specific blood type.

TYPE A: Individuals who fall under the Type A blood group should basically stick to fruits and vegetable. Their blood types is generally thicker than other blood types, and possess a sensitive immune system. These individuals should not consume (or should reduce intake) dairy products, animal fats and meats. They are also at a heightened risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

TYPE B
: Type B blood groupers should consumer a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and meat. However, they should try to refrain from chicken, and increase intake of red meat such as duck and beef. Unlike the other blood types, Type B individuals have the best chance of bypassing or overcoming everyday types of diseases, as well as heart disease and cancer.

TYPE AB:
For Type AB individuals, intake of a mostly vegetarian diet is recommended. And only on rare occasions should they indulge in some fish, meat (not chicken) and dairy.

TYPE O:
Those that fall under the Type O blood type should basically stick to a high protein diet, low carbs, as well as a balanced intake of fruits and vegetables. However, food foes for Type Os include most grain food such as corn and wheat germ. They should also try to avoid dairy products. Type O types are commonly affected with hypothyroidism, high stomach acid (leading to ulcers), and thinner blood with greater resistance to blood clotting.

Something2sgare:

Useful information. No harm in trying. Eat right to stay healthy.

I am of Type B blood group. So now I know chicken is no good for me.

I and Nara used to stop by Skudai to eat our lunch with duck meat almost every Saturdays after office hour on our way back to Segamat many years ago. I was then with JCC in JB.

Beef noodle is also my favourite. Never missed beef rendang and beef curry whenever having meal in a hotel cafe.

Cheese is also my favourite but not butter and milk. Now I may have to drink more milk. I like fruits and vegetables too. Will stick to more balanced diet as suggested.

How about you, my friends?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Holy Alphabet

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of "Camp Complaining"
No weapon that is known!
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God! most high
Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Zion waits in glory....where none are ever sad!

"I am too blessed to be stressed!"

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything. Love and peace be with you forever, Amen.

Something2Share:

God is GREAT! All the times!

Read 'The Holy Alphabet' over and over again, for everyday is a blessing from God.

Monday, May 25, 2009

10 Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic


These Fruits and Vegetables Don't Hold on to So Many Pesticides, So You Can Save Your Organic Dollars for the Ones That Do.

Asparagus

Asparagus face fewer threats from pests such as insects or disease, so fewer pesticides need to be used.

Choose: Look for firm spears with bright green or purplish compact tips. Plan on a 1/2 pound per person, and for more uniform cooking, select spears of a similar thickness. Store in the refrigerator vegetable crisper and give them a good rinse before using (even if you're going to boil them).

Avocados

Avocados have thick skins that protect the fruit from pesticide build-up.

Choose: Look for avocados that are still somewhat unripe and firm to the squeeze; they'll ripen nicely on your kitchen counter in a couple of days. Store at room temperature. Although you'll be using only the meat of the avocado, it's always a good idea to rinse them before you slice them open.

Bananas

Pesticide residue remains on the banana peel, which isn't eaten.

Choose: There are basically 3 stages to a ripening banana. You'll want to choose them according to how you're going to use them. Chosen green, where the peel is pale yellow and the tips are green, their taste will be somewhat tart. These work best for frying or baking in a pie. Chosen at their next stage of ripeness, where the peel is mostly all yellow, the pulp will still be firm but their starch content will have started to turn to sugar. These also work well in pies and tarts. In the last stage of ripeness, the skins will show signs of brown spots with the peel a deeper yellow color. This is when they're sweetest and work well mashed and added to baked goods like banana bread recipes. Store at room temperature. If they're unripe, you can place them in a brown paper bag to ripen. Give the bananas a quick rinse and dry before you peel them.

Broccoli

Conventional broccoli doesn't retain so many pesticides because the crop faces fewer pest threats, which means less spraying.

Choose: Look for tightly bunched flower buds on the broccoli stalks that are immature. In other words, try not to buy them if their little yellow flowers have opened. Color-wise, the broccoli should be deep green and the stalks should be firm and not rubbery. Before use, wash in a cool water bath and change the water a couple of times in the process. Store in the refrigerator crisper.

Cabbage

Cabbage doesn't hold on to so many pesticides because a ton of spraying isn't required to grow it.

Choose: Look for cabbage heads whose leaves are tight and be sure the head is heavy for its type, and firm. For most cabbage varieties, you'll want to make sure the outer leaves are shiny and crisp. Savoy is the exception to this rule, as it forms a looser head and the leaves grow crinkly naturally. You'll want to avoid any with leaves that show signs of yellowing. Bok choy should have deep green leaves with their stems a crisp-looking white. Discard the outer leaves of a cabbage before using. You can wash and spin most cabbage leaves just like you do salad greens. Store in the refrigerator crisper.

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi peel provides a barrier from pesticides. Give them a rinse before cutting.

Choose: Here's where your nose plays an important part when choosing fresh fruit. Sniff out kiwis that smell good. They should be plump and yield to a squeeze like that of a ripe pear. Steer clear from those with moist areas on their surface or any skin bruising. If unripe kiwi are all that are available, simply take them home and place them in a paper bag at room temperature with other fruits that need more time, such as bananas or pears. Store in the refrigerator crisper.

Mango

Sweet mango flesh is protected by its thick skin from pesticides. Still, you'll want to rinse under water before cutting open.

Choose: Depending on the variety of melon, look for those that are bright in color such as red, yellow, or orange. It should have a distinctive "fruity" smell. If there's no ripe-fruit aroma, steer clear. Mangoes should be slightly firm but yield to your touch somewhat -- the softer the mango, usually the sweeter it is. If the mango is too soft, there's a good chance that it will be rotten inside. Store in the refrigerator crisper.

Onions

Onions don't see as many pest threats, which means less pesticide spraying.

Choose: Look for onions that are firm, have a distinctive "oniony" smell that's not overpowering, and show no visible signs of damage or soft spots. Store in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.

Papaya

Pesticide residue stays on papaya skin, but be sure to give them a wash before slicing open.

Choose: Papaya colors usually range between yellow and green. Look for those that are slightly soft and show no signs of bruising or appear shriveled. If they're not fully ripened, you can toss them in the brown bag along with your unripened kiwi fruit, peaches, and pears. Once they're ripened, store in the refrigerator crisper.

Pineapples

You won't be eating the tough pineapple skin, which protects the fruit from pesticide residue. As with all your produce, you should rinse the pineapple before cutting.

Choose: Although tempting, this is one fruit that you won't want to choose if it has a strong, sweet smell. This usually means that the pineapple is overripe and has even begun to ferment. Like all other fruits, avoid any that have soft spots, and in the case of pineapples, damage to the rind. Store in the refrigerator crisper.

Something2Share:

I reckon these are favourite fruits and vegies for most of us if not all and we eat them very often if not everyday. With the information given, why spend more buying the organic ones?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tips to ward off dementia (cognitive and intellectual deterioration)

Implementation of some of these ideas may help!

To help ward off dementia, train your brain. Timing is everything, comedians say.

It's also important when it comes to taking care of your brain. Yet most of us start worrying about dementia after retirement - and that may be too little, too late.

Experts say that if you really want to ward off dementia, you need to start taking care of your brain in your 30s and 40s - or even earlier.

"More and more research is suggesting that lifestyle is very important to your brain's health," says Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist and an adjunct associate professor at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine. "If you want to live a long, healthy life, then many of us need to start as early as we can."

So what can you do to beef up your brain - and possibly ward off dementia? Nussbaum, who recently gave a speech on the topic for the Winter Park (Fla.) Health Foundation, offers 20 tips that may help.

1. Join clubs or organizations that need volunteers. If you start volunteering now, you won't feel lost and unneeded after you retire.

2. Develop a hobby or two. Hobbies help you develop a robust brain because you're trying something new and complex.

3. Practice writing with your nondominant hand several minutes every day.
This will exercise the opposite side of your brain and fire up those neurons.

4. Take dance lessons. In a study of nearly 500 people, dancing was the only regular physical activity associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The people who danced three or four times a week showed 76 percent less incidence of dementia than those who danced only once a week or not at all.

5. Need a hobby? Start gardening. Researchers in New Zealand found that, of 1,000 people, those who gardened regularly were less likely to suffer from dementia. Not only does gardening reduce stress, but gardeners use their brains to plan gardens; they use visual and spatial reasoning to lay out a garden.

6. Buy a pedometer and walk 10,000 steps a day. Walking daily can reduce the risk of dementia because cardiovascular health is important to maintain blood flow to the brain.

7. Read and write daily. Reading stimulates a wide variety of brain areas that process and store information. Likewise, writing (not copying) stimulates many areas of the brain as well.

8. Start knitting. Using both hands works both sides of your brain. And it's a stress reducer...

9. Learn a new language. Whether it's a foreign language or sign language, you are working your brain by making it go back and forth between one language and the other. A researcher in England found that being bilingual seemed to delay symptoms of Alzheimer's disease for four years. (And some research suggests that the earlier a child learns sign language, the higher his IQ - and people with high IQs are less likely to have dementia. So start them early.)

10. Play board games such as Scrabble and Monopoly. Not only are you taxing your brain, you're socializing too. (Playing solo games, such as solitaire or online computer brain games can be helpful, but Nussbaum prefers games that encourage you to socialize too.)

11. Take classes throughout your lifetime. Learning produces structural and chemical changes in the brain, and education appears to help people live longer. Brain researchers have found that people with advanced degrees live longer - and if they do have Alzheimer's it often becomes apparent only in the very later stages of the disease.

12. Listen to classical music. A growing volume of research suggests that music may hard wire the brain, building links between the two hemispheres. Any kind of music may work, but there's some research that shows positive effects for classical music, though researchers don't understand why.

13 Learn a musical instrument. It may be harder than it was when you were a kid, but you'll be developing a dormant part of your brain.

14. Travel. When you travel (whether it's to a distant vacation spot or on a different route across town), you're forcing your brain to navigate a new and complex environment. A study of London taxi drivers found experienced drivers had larger brains because they have to store lots of information about locations and how to navigate there.

15. Pray.
Daily prayer appears to help your immune system. And people
who attend a formal worship service regularly live longer and report happier, healthier lives.

16. Learn to meditate. It's important for your brain that you learn to shut out the stresses of everyday life.

17. Get enough sleep. Studies have shown a link between interrupted sleep and dementia.

18. Eat more foods containing omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, sardines, tuna, ocean trout, mackerel or herring, plus walnuts (which are higher in omega 3s than salmon) and flaxseed. Flaxseed oil, cod liver oil and walnut oil are good sources too...

19. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables mop up some of the damage caused by free radicals, one of the leading killers of brain cells.

20. Eat at least one meal a day with family and friends. You’ll slow down, socialize, and research shows you'll eat healthier food than if you ate alone or on the go.

Something2share:

The tips are useful and many of them have been known to us for years. Question is how many of them are we practising daily to train our brains and ward off dementia? As for me, just 8 out of 20. What about you, my friends? It's still not too late to implement more of these ideas. Don't you agree?


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beating The A (H1N1) Flu

Adapted from Beating The Flu: The Natural Prescription for Surviving Pandemic Influenza and Bird Flu, by J.E. Williams, O.M.D. (Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 2006).

Feed a fever, starve a cold. Or is it the other way around? Maybe both! Foods not only nourish and sustain our bodies, but are also rich in compounds that prevent disease and fight infection. This list of common kitchen herbs used to spice up foods are an excellent and all-natural way to treat common ailments, and they also have flu-fighting properties.

Try one of these spices and feel better soon!

Anise: Aids in digestion and helps stop coughing.

Basil: Helps clear head congestion during a cold.

Cardamom: Helps digestion of dairy products and soothes the stomach to treat indigestion.

Cilantro: Helps prevent food poisoning and removes mercury from the body. Cilantro is the name of the young green leaves of the coriander plant.

Fennel: Controls bad breath and, when chewed after spicy meals, masks the odor of garlic and onions.

Oregano: A favorite in Mediterranean cooking, oregano has powerful infection-fighting properties.

Peppermint: Stops intestinal gas, calms indigestion, controls nausea, and sweetens the breath.
Parsley: Promotes urinary flow and provides antioxidants.

Rosemary: A powerful antioxidant, rosemary also had microbe-fighting properties, and it helps calms nerves.

Sage: Treats the congestion and stuffiness associated with colds, clears headaches, and kills parasites, bacteria, and yeasts. Sage oil may improve memory.

Thyme: Well known as a natural antibiotic, it kills parasites and yeast. It can also soothe the chest and halt coughing.

Turmeric: The main ingredient in curry, turmeric adds zest and color to foods. It’s cancer fighting and lowers unfavorable bacteria in the gut that cause gas and bloating. It has anti-inflammatory properties.

Something2share:

A write up in a local Chinese newspaper suggested drinking a glass of honey plus 5 drops of Propolis in the morning able to strengthen our immune system to fight against A (H1N1) Flu. Why not give it a try?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Soursop, the exotic fruit

I begin to like soursop juice when I was introduced to Juiz Sirsak in Jambi, Indonesia, when I was there as an expatriate planter from 2004 -2007. Then I was transferred to Medan in 2008. To me the soursop juice tasted good the 1st time I drank it pure without ice. Of course, my Indonesian friends prefer to drink it with sugar with ice.

Then I started buying the fruit every now and then from the supermarket and blending my own soursop juice. I could not finish all and I kept the balance in the refrigerator. I also liked to eat it raw. Soursop fruit is heart-shaped with a rough green skin with soft fleshy spines. When it is eaten fresh it has a creamy, sweet flavor similar to that of durian and its relative, the custard apple. Wow! The flesh, separated into segments containing 50 - 100 indigestible black seeds, is very juicy and slightly acid, and produces a rich creamy juice which is very refreshing. The seeds are quite a nuisance when trying to separate them from the flesh.

In Indonesia, soursop is called 'Sirsak' which is derived from the Dutch 'zuur zak' meaning sour sack. Soursop is also common ingredient for making fresh fruit juices that are sold at most of street food vendors and restaurants or Rumah Makan. Then I remember back home in Malaysia soursop is known as ‘Ang Mo Liulian’ in Hokkien and ‘Durian Belanda’ in Malay. But in the past, somehow we seldom like to eat soursop fruit; or rather it is being ignored and disliked by most of us. In Thailand, it is called ‘Thu-rian-khaek’ and in Philippines, it is called ‘Guayabano’ in Tagalog.

It seems that now soursop juice is a popular beverage throughout Southeast Asia and is available canned or bottled. Throughout much of Central and South America, soursop is processed into excellent ice creams, sherbets and beverages. In these countries, sweet varieties of the fruit are often eaten raw, and used for dessert.

Now you know that soursop is a very exotic fruit, I bet you will like to taste it. Nutritionally, the fruit is high in carbohydrates, particularly fructose. The fruit also contains significant amounts of vitamins C, B1, and B2. Accordingly, the fruit, seeds, and leaves have a number of herbal medicinal uses among indigenous peoples of regions where the plant is common.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

PETAI, THE STINK BEANS

Petai contains three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose. Combined with fiber, petai gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proved that just two servings of petai provide enough energy for a strenuous 90 - minute workout. No wonder petai is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way petai can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression:
According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating petai. This is because petai contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS(premenstrual syndrome):
Forget the pills - eat petai. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood..

Anaemia:
High in iron, petai can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.

Blood Pressure:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the petai industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power :
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating petai at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium - packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert. Understand that bananas contain lot of potassium too so eat more banana. Just look at those monkeys, they are really active, alert, smart and cunny too!!

Constipation:
High in fiber, including petai in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers:

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a petai milkshake, sweetened with honey. The petai calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re - hydrates your system.

Heartburn:

Petai has a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating petai for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness :

Snacking on petai between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites :

Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of the petai skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves:

Petai is high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system..

Overweight:

Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high - pressure jobs.. The report concluded that, to avoid panic - induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers:

Petai is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over - chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over - acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control :

Many other cultures see petai as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Holland , for example, pregnant women eat petai to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) :

Petai can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Smoking:

Petai can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress:

Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high - potassium petai snack.

Strokes:

According to research in 'The New England Journal of Medicine, ' eating petai as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%'.

Warts:

Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of petai and place it on the wart. Carefully hold the petai in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, as you can see, petai really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So may be its time to change that well - known phrase so that we say, 'A Petai a day keeps the doctor away'.


Something2Share:

I like to eat petai beans, whether raw, or the "sampal petai", although it gives a pungent smell during urination. It contains certain amino acids that give a strong smell to one's urine, an effect that can be noticed up to two days after consumption. Once you acquire the taste, you begin to like it. That's why petai is so popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, southern Thailand, Burma and even northeastern India.

It seems that petai is also good for diabetes patients.

Friday, March 13, 2009

SANDAKAN: UNFORGETTABLE "LITTLE HONG KONG"





I like Sandakan after my transfer to Morisem Estate in December 1988. The out-going Manager, Saw See Hong, picked me up from Sandakan airport on 8 December 1988. That was my first trip to Sabah, the Land Below The Wind, in East Malaysia. I was surprised when I was told that Sandakan was once nick-named “Little Hong Kong”. The common Chinese dialect in this town is Hakka and not Cantonese and it seems that over 98% of the Chinese Malaysians in Sabah speak Hakka dialect. Later, my Sandakan friends explained to me that many of the earlier Chinese settlers actually came to Sandakan from Guangdong Province via Hong Kong. Anyway, I felt at home in Sandakan and it was easy for me to make new friends since I am also a Hakka. My late father came from Da Bu in Guangdong Province and settled down in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, West Malaysia.

To get into Morisem Estate, we had to travel to Sukau, a small village by the bank of Kinabatangan River. Then we had to cross the river on a barge towed by the company’s tugboat, powered by a 200HP Yanmar engine. We called it "Morisem Ferry". In the late 1980s, the road conditions from Sandakan to Sukau after the Mile 32 Check Point used to be very bad after rains, being muddy, soggy and very slippery for vehicles to travel even after engaging the 4WD (four wheels drive). Most stretches along the main trunk road were not tarred but only surfaced with round river pebbles. That’s why we preferred to stay back in the estate most weekends during the monsoon seasons.

Travelling along the Kinabatangan River on "Morisem Ferry" particularly in the very late afternoons was always full of anticipation and eagerness as well as excitement when we were lucky to see the long- nosed Proboscis monkeys on trees of the mangroves near the river banks. With a big dangling bulbous nose and its pot-belly and sitting on a branch with its long tail (about the same length as its body) hanging down, from far it was previously mistaken as a “Dutchman”, thus it was called ‘monyet Blenda’ in Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia. Nevertheless, the official Indonesian name for “Dutch monkey” is Bakantan.

It was David Soo who took me to Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary located at the center of the mangrove forest along the coastal land near Kampong Samawang within an oil palm estate to have a close watch of the Proboscis monkeys swinging and leaping from tree to tree during the feeding time. I was in Sandakan to visit his workshop installing HIAB crane to farm tractor. My 2nd trip to the sanctuary was accompanied by Mr. Lee Min Khin when we travelled to Sandakan one early Sunday morning after completed my visit to the plantation he managed.

We were so amazed when one local staff told us that there were at least 3 groups of Proboscis monkeys in the sanctuary. “That’s Romeo,” he pointed to a big adult male accompanied by a bunch of females and the young ones having small upturned noses. “Caesar’s there,” he showed us another adult male among other group of females and juveniles. Then he told us that the latecomers were all males forming the bachelor group before acquiring their own harems. He carried on telling us that a ‘challenger’ would emerge from the bachelors to fight the adult male. If it lost the fight, it would go back to the bachelor group but if it won the fight, it would replace the loser as ‘alpha male’. The poor loser had to leave to somewhere secluded and isolate itself and would never show up again.

One day Simon, our trainee Assistant in Morisem Estate, found a strayed young orangutan in his division at the jungle edge boundary. After nourishing it for few days, I told him to surrender it to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, about 25 kilometers west of Sandakan. When my family visited me during the school holidays in 1990, I brought them to the orangutan sanctuary in Sepilok. My wife and my young children were overjoyed with lot of laughter seeing the playful orangutans swing in from the jungle trees on to the feed platform during the feeding time. In this rehabilitation centre the young orangutans, mainly orphaned, are raised and trained for survival in the wild environment and will be eventually released back to the jungle when ready. It has become one of Sabah's top tourist attractions.

There was on occasion I saw an elephant crossing the logging track in front of us. At that time I was travelling in the vehicle of another planter, Chin Teng Nam. He quickly stopped his vehicle and turned off the engine. Since it was still quite a distance away, he did not want the running engine sound to disturb it or draw its attention. The big mammal flapping its ears and swiveling its trunk from side to side, turned its head towards the direction of the vehicle, hesitated for awhile, then walked slowly across the road into the jungle. However, I had never seen the elephants swimming across the Kinabatangan River, as told to us by Orang Sungai friends in Sukau. Nevertheless, there was a newspaper write up in Daily Express published on January 26, 2006, “Due to barriers formed by large rivers, large water channels, oil palm plantations and villages, the forests downstream of the Sandakan-Lahad Datu highway are divided into 15 fragmented patches. Borneo Pygmy elephants can only move between these patches by swimming across rivers, and walking through plantations and villages.” As a matter of interest to all, I have downloaded a photo of the ‘swimming elephants’ from the internet.

Not far from Sukau are the Gomantong Caves famous for bird’s nests. There are two caves, the Black Cave known as Simud Hitam Cave producing black bird’s nests and the White Cave known as Simud Puteh Cave producing the more valuable white bird’s nests. Besides swiftlets, bats are also among the resident creatures of the caves. Other birds such as serpent eagles, bat hawks and kingfishers can be seen outside the caves. One day I and Wong Tan Ho, our provision shop operator in Morisem Estate, went to have a look inside the Black Cave accompanied by our Sukau police chief. As we stepped into the cave, it was dark and smelly inside, and the entire floor of the cave was covered with guano of 3 – 4 meters deep. What amazed us was the erected long rattan ladders with poles and hanging ropes to collect the bird’s nests built by swiftlets right on top of the cave. We could imagine that the licensed harvesters of bird’s nests were highly skilled climbers and well rewarded for their hard earned take home pay.

Traditionally, Sandakan’s economy was heavily dependent on export of tropical timber. However, the once dominant timber industry is currently relatively small with increasing depletion of the natural forests and ecological efforts to save remaining natural rainforest areas. I used to see tugboats towing hundreds of timber logs tied to one and other floating above the water surface and also tugboats towing huge stockpile of timber logs on large barges along the Kinabatangan River going downstream towards the direction to Sandakan port.

Apparently Sandakan has become the top palm oil producer in Sabah and I am proud that I was one of the many planters working in the Kinabatangan areas in the late 80s. I also went back as a Planting Controller for plantation visits every now and then in 1995/2003. Over the years the well developed oil palm plantations and the palm oil mills belonged to IOI, IJM, PPB, and others big plantation companies have played the important role in bringing good revenues and enormous development to Sandakan. Those days the road condition was very bad and used to become soggy, wet and very slippery during the rainy seasons. Due to the frequent of vehicles bogged down on soft muddy road, the lorries carrying FFB (Fresh Fruit Bunches of oil palm) to palm oil mills left early in the mornings and returned to the plantations late in the evenings. That’s why we used to complain, “It’s not the distance that counts but the time of travelling that matters because of the very bad road condition.” I remember the road to Sukau was only surfaced with river pebbles and full of potholes and even sink holes here and there along the way. In those days CPO was also transported by specially fabricated barges along the Kinabatangan River.

I love the seafood in Sandakan and I remember there were so many eating places in this town. Most seafood restaurants were built on stilts and extend out to the sea. For seafood steamboat, we preferred Trig Hill Restaurant built on hill top, overlooking Sandakan town. We were able to have night view of Sandakan harbour and felt the cool air while eating the steamy seafood and drinking cold beer in the open air. To me, the best place to eat seafood Dim Sum(点心) was in Palm Garden, Hotel Sandakan. For breakfast, we could find many varieties of hawker’s foods in the old Fat Cat ‘makan’ shop located in Bandar Nam Tung, particularly the seafood noodles in preference of either, mee (麵),beehun (米粉) or hor fun (河粉)served with large tiger prawns, squid and shellfish. I also liked the Penang Char Kuey Teow (炒粿条)with fresh prawns. I even told the hawker why not change the name to Sandakan Char Kuey Teow? We also had buk kut teh(肉骨茶) in Bandar Nam Tung. There was one restaurant in Bandar Ramai Ramai specially cooked yellow wine chicken(黄酒鸡) for us on special request. The English Tea House (near the Rotary's Observation Pavilion) built on hill high above Sandakan should be the right place for afternoon tea, having time to relax and chatting with friends while looking over Sandakan town and the ocean.

My only regret was missing the chance to visit the Turtle Island, famously known as Pulau Siligan, to watch turtles lay eggs. I shall visit Sandakan again and this time will surely make a trip there.

Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJEdjmIJ7yQ to watch and listen to this Sabah Hakka song. You'll like it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

SEGAMAT: HOMETOWN OF MY CHILDREN


When I started my planter career in Pukin Estate, Keratong, Pahang on 18 July 1978, I and my wife decided to make Segamat our home base for our family. We rented a wooden house in Fong Jang Park, Jalan Buloh Kasap. My eldest daughter was then less than 2 years old. Our other 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, were born in Segamat in 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1984 respectively. To my children, Segamat is their hometown where they had grew up and received their primary and secondary education. There are also quite of number of planters and palm oil mill engineers who have settled down in Segamat and brought up their children here.

At one time, the timber industry was the main contributor of Segamat’s economy. The traffic was usually slowed down because of many timber trucks passing through the town to various nearby timber saw mills. However, the glamour faded in the 1980s as the timber business wrapped up. Nowadays, the traffic is slowed down by lorries transporting oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB) to various palm oil mills and tankers carrying crude palm oil (CPO) to the oil refineries in Pasir Gudang. There are many oil palm and rubber estates belonged to big plantation companies within the District of Segamat and also in nearby Keratong, Pahang. Just to name a few, they are IOI (ex-Dunlop), Sime Darby (ex-Golden Hope & ex-Guthrie), KLK, Ajijaya (ex-Socfin), Felda, Risda, etc. Agricultural commodities have now become the main contributors to Segamat's economy. The plantation owners and smallholders were ‘laughing to the banks’ when the prices of oil palm and rubber skyrocketed to the peak before the global economy tsunami beginning in September 2008.

When I was transferred to Segamat Estate from Swee Lam Estate in July 1992, my wife agreed with me to move our family from our house in Taman Indah, Bukit Siput to the Manager’s Bungalow. We stayed there for only one and a half year until I was told to move again to Regent Estate in Gemencheh, Negeri Sembilan, in January 1994. I believe it was quite an experience to my children and full of sweet memories for them staying in the estate. Nevertheless, they did come to visit and stay with me in other estates during the school holidays.

The Rock Garden has been the main recreational park in Segamat. We used to bring our children there when they were kids and had many photos taken in the garden in the good old days. When I came out from the estate during weekends, I used to jog there many years ago but now I prefer to go for morning walk on the green, green grass of the golf course in Segamat Country Club since I returned from Indonesia not long ago.

There is a popular legend telling how Segamat got its name. In around 1511 Bendahara Tepok of Malacca and his troops were retreating to Johor to escape the Portuguese invasion. While stopping and resting by a river in the area, he took a sip of the crystal clear water from the river which meandered through Rantau Panjang, a settlement north of old Johor. "Segar amat (so refreshing)," he exclaimed. From then on the river was known as Sungai Segamat, and subsequently Segamat replaced Rantau Panjang as the new name of town. However, the river water is muddy nowadays due to frequent flooding and erosion of the river banks during rainy seasons.


The Segamat River flows within the District of Segamat and also flows through Segamat town center. There is a concrete bridge built some 100 years ago linking Bandar Atas, the old town of segamat and Bandar Seberang, the new town center located at the other side across Segamat River. Most of the supermarkets, shopping centers, banks, hotels and new housing estates are found in the new town across the bridge. In 2001, the construction of a second bridge funded by private developers was completed to reduce congestion at the main bridge and to ease the heavy traffic. There is also a railway bridge running parallel to the main bridge across Segamat River.

Segamat had experienced floods during the 1950s, 1984 but the worst shocking flood happened suddenly in December 2006, despite better town planning and irrigation by the authorities. At that time, I was still working as expatriate planter in Jambi, Indonesia, and my wife told me over the phone that our house in Taman Indah, Bukit Siput, was safe and spared by flood, so was the opposite Segamat Baru. We moved to Taman Indah in March 1983 after we bought the house there.


As reported, among the most badly affected areas are Taman Segar and Kampong Abdullah, the shop houses near the second bridge and the town areas across the main bridge. From what I had read, this was due to a sudden overflowing of the Segamat River at an unimaginable speed and unexpectedly, many places were flooded in just a couple of hours. Those affected Segamatians were left hopeless, unable to save their belongings, trapped in their houses and some even had to climb up to the house roof in order to be rescued. Most of the trapped flood victims suffered without tap water or electricity for days. All roads out of town were cut off and both route to Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru were badly flooded too. Both concrete bridges were submerged by rising water.

There was talk among the Segamat folks that it might have been caused by improper release of water from the upstream Bekok Dam. Nevertheless, Typhoon Utor was blamed for causing massive floods in southern Peninsular Malaysia on 18 December 2006, bringing heavy rainfall of up to 350mm with 24 hours.

Because of its location, the only set back of Segamat town is quite far off from North-South Highway. To go to Johor Baru, we have to drive to Yong Peng, about an hour journey, to exit into the highway. Whereas going to Kuala Lumpur, we drive either to Tangkak, also about an hour journey, or to Simpang Ampat near Tamping, about 1 ½ hour journey, to get into the highway.

Segamat is well known for its delicious durians, such as D1, D2, D24, D101, XO, Golden Phoenix, Red Prawn, Mao Shan Wang etc besides the good types kampung durians. Segamat durians are so famous that many travellers from near and far especially the Singaporeans usually drop by Segamat during the fruiting seasons. No wonder the recent slogan used to attract tourists to Segamat is Nikmatkan Keenakan Raja Segala Buah - ‘Durian Segamat’ (Enjoy the Delicious King of All Fruits - ‘Segamat Durians’). During each fruiting season, there will be many durian stalls sprouting along the roadsides near the junction turning to Tun Razak Highway which links Segamat town to the southern part of Pahang right up to Kuantan.


For those frequent visitors to Segamat as well as the locals who prefer eating out not in the restaurants, they know where to find the local foods and delicacies such as CHONG YIK KEE wanton mee, NAN YANG coffee and toast with butter and kaya (coconut-egg jam), NAM KWANG fragrant iced barley drink, YEO’S bah kut teh (pork bone tea soup), KAMPUNG TENGAH Chinese roti canai & TONG YUEN dim sum, SELVAM BANANA LEAF nasi bryani & roti canai,SANTHA CURRY HOUSE thosai & poori, WARUNG KG JAWA soto mee & nasi tempe and WARUNG USOP KETONG mee rebus. There are also open air food courts such as HOLLAND VILLAGE,GREENLAND, HAPPYLAND and NEWTURN where the customers can choose and order their favourite hawker’s foods.

Well, Segamat is not a big town where one can get to places within 15 minutes even though there are quite a number of traffic lights put up at various junctions along the main trunk road. Once settled down here, it’s not easy for us to move out again. Unlike the youngsters, obviously we, the senior citizens, have adapted ourselves well in Segamat and feel comfortably to stay on to enjoy our retirement life here.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

DIY Mosquito Trap (Dengue/Chikungunya /Malaria Prevention)


This simple but ingenious method was devised by a class of clever kids at Yong-An elementary school in Taipei, Taiwan (with the help of their teacher, Hsu Jia-chang [徐佳璋]).

You can do it yourself (DIY) to make the mosquito trap as illustrated in the pictures. It’s so simple, with just a mix of water, brown sugar and yeast. Then you can start fighting/avoiding the spreading of Dengue fever, Chikungunya and Malaria diseases by mosquitoes at home.

Materials used :
A 2 litre empty plastic bottle (CocaCola/Pepsi/7Up or other brand).
50 g of coarse sugar (like rock sugar etc., not the fine granulated stuff.)
1 g yeast powder/ granules.
A thermometer, a measuring cup, a craft knife & black paper.

Step 1 :
Cut a 2 litre empty plastic bottle into 2 halves/portions.

Step 2 :
Dissolve 50g brown sugar in 200ml hot water. Let it cool down to ~40 degF.

Step 3 :
Pour the cold sugar water into the lower cut portion of the bottle. Add 1g yeast power to react gradually with the sugar. Carbon dioxide (CO2) will form (This will attract the mosquitos).

Step 4 :
Place the upper cut portion of the bottle upside down like a funnel into the lower portion of the bottle. Ensure it is tight fit so that CO2 produced will only be coming out of the hole.

Step 5 :
Wrap the whole bottle with black paper to make it dark inside. Place it in a dark, preferrably humid corner of a room in your house.

Tips :
After 2 weeks you will be surprised by the number of dead mosquitos in your trap. Replace the sugar water and yeast every 2 weeks.

Something2Share :
Give it a try and see how it goes. Then share your experiences with others.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

KUALA LIPIS: MY HOMETOWN


I love Kuala Lipis because it’s my hometown. This is where I grew up and full of many, many past and unforgettable sweet memories of my childhood and schooling days.

My late father’s shop was ‘Bakauwali Tailor’ (百嘉洋服), a very unique name suggested to him by his Malay and Indian friends. Loh Sow Hiang was a professional cutter and employed 6 -8 tailors in his shop. In 1986, he surrendered back the shop to the owner and together with my late mother, moved to Kuala Lumpur and stayed with my younger brother, Kong Fatt and family. At the time, I had settled my family in Segamat, Johor, since I was then working in Mekassar Estate in Keratong, Pahang. The shop was located on Main Street, No. 63, and since then it had been converted to ‘Low Kuan Restaurant’ operated by Peter Kuan, the son-in-law of the shop owner.

We used to refer Kuala Lipis as small K.L. and as time went by, many Lipisians had settled down in Kuala Lumpur, the big K.L. In our younger days, when we took a bus to Kuala Lumpur, the journey took more than three hours as the road from Raub to the Gap was very winding all the way up and then from the Gap winding all the way down to Kuala Kubu Bahru. I remember my late mother used to ask when she looked over the bus window,” How come there is a road down the hill slope?” The journey continued from there passing through Rawang town before reaching Kuala Lumpur. When my wife travelled the long winding journey for the first time, she vomited several times. Later on, we preferred to travel to K.L. via Bentong way after we owned a car. The journey was less winding than the Gap route.

Many of my friends in Segamat have never heard of hometown. When I told them I came from Kuala Lipis, they always mistook it as Kuala Pilah in Negeri Sembilan. Then I told them to look it up in the map, “Kuala Lipis is actually located right at the center in Peninsular Malaysia”. If you don’t believe me, please make a trip to Kuala Lipis and you will find the “0” milestone near the Post Office.

I also told them that “Kuala Lipis has the biggest ‘Round About’ in the country”. I and my old buddies, especially Tan Jing Ming, a retired headmaster still residing in Kuala Lipis, used to walk around from Main Street(大街 )to Jelai Street(下街)and back to Main Street in circles mainly in the evenings on weekend and we ended up at ‘Charlie’s stall’ along the Cross Street (横街) for drinks.

Kuala Lipis, situated at the confluence of two rivers, namely Lipis River and Jelai River, was the former capital of Pahang for 57 years from 1898 until 27th August 1955, when Kuantan was picked as the new capital. The visitors can still find some grand colonial buildings, such as the imposing District Offices and the Clifford School, the Pahang Club and the British Residency house on top of a hill, now the Kuala Lipis Rest House.

As young boys, we used to take bath in Jelai River, where we learned how to swim the river-type freestyle swimming by turning our heads left and right above the water. Along the river bank of Jelai River, there were many floating houses built on bamboo raft or “rumah rakit”, once the famous landmark of Kuala Lipis. I was told that these “rakit” houses along the river bank had been washed away during the great flood in 2000 and since then had been relocated quite a distance downstream.

In 1953 I started my primary education in Chung Hwa Chinese School (立卑中华小学) located in Batu Kurap, and in June 1955 we moved to the new school building on a hill top when I was in Standard Four. Those days I used to walk more than a mile to school and carried along the text books, exercise books, pencils and ruler etc in a rattan busket as ‘school bag’. Of course, I did not walk alone. Liew Chow Kong who stayed at next door was my usual walking partner. At times we would pop into a bus for a ride so that we would not be late to school. Nonetheless, we would rather save the money, about 10 cents per trip, for a bowl of ‘Ah Chong Ko Men’ (阿章哥麵), the Hakka Mee.

When I joined the Romoved Class in Clifford Secondary School in 1959, my father bought me a bicycle and from then onwards I cycled to school together with other schoolmates. At that time, my English was not good, so was my Malay. My dad had to send me for tuition classes to catch up. My Malay tuitor was Encik Solong, the captain of ‘Balai Bomba’, and he treated me as one of his children. He even taught me how to read some basic Jawi. I completed my Senior Cambridge (Form 5) in 1964. In those days, students of all races (Malays, Chinese and Indians) mixed well in classes and played well in extra curriculum activities. I still kept a photo taken in the studio with my classmates, Nazri Yahya and Muthusamy. I remember Nazri became a teacher and Muthusamy worked in Police Station. Unfortunately, we had lost contact with each other.

When we were young kids, going to old ‘Paradise Theater” to watch cinema movies was a big event for us. It was initially located in Jelai Street and later it was shifted to its new building just outside the town before crossing the railway line, opposite the old ‘Home Guard House’.

Unlike the kids today playing computer games, our childhood games were playing marbles, throwing a tennis ball to knock down a standing brick from a distance, jumping on blocks drawn on cement floor, catching ‘fighting’ spiders usually kept inside a match box, catching ‘fighting’ fishes in small streams, catching grasshoppers to feed the black and white bird known as ‘Oriental magpie Robin’ kept in cage, so on and so forth.

The last trip I went back to my hometown was in 2003 when I was visiting plantations in Sri Jaya. Taking the opportunity, I left early on a Sunday morning with two estate managers, Khoo Wan Hoo and Tan Guang Hui, taking a short cut route to Jerantut from the back exit of the plantation. Then we took the new road to Kuala Lipis via Mela. Once in the town, I met up and shaked hand with so many old faces including old friends of my late father. After all, Kuala Lipis was a small town and somehow everybody knew each other though might not be well acquainted. On the way back we followed Ng Swee Pen to his plantation, Budu Estate, and later we had durians in Benta before we returned to Sri Jaya via Jerantut.

Perhaps I will be able to write more tales of Kuala Lipis when I make a trip back in near future.

Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6MW_C9ldis & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id_95xprGIk & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAYBHzj3hnE to watch and listen to Paul Anka singing 'MY HOMETOWN' in YouTube.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I HOPE YOU SING: IT'S NOW OR NEVER

'It’s Now or Never': This is one of my favorite songs sung by Elvis Presley. When I bought the SP (Single Play) record way back to my schooling days in Clifford School, Kuala Lipis, Pahang, Malaysia, my old buddy Tan Jing Ming used to request me playing this song over and over again in my late father’s shop (Bakauwali Tailor) after we were back from school. Well, I don’t have Elvis Presley’s voice but I did sing this song quite often during karaoke sessions with my ex-colleagues after ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. And I enjoyed singing this song together with Pak Ferry.

In plantation management, at times we have to make decision on the spot as we need to solve problems on site. Just like this Elvis’ song, we got to make decision ‘It’s Now or Never' as we have always been reminded, ‘A decision made is better than no decision made’. Since we are in top management, we cannot be indecisive at all. We have to make a wise decision at the right time. And the right time is NOW because ‘Tomorrow will be too late'.

Append below is Elvis Presley lyrics ‘It’s Now or Never’. Relax and sing along, my friends.

It's now or never, come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling, be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
It's now or never, my love won't wait.

When I first saw you, with your smile so tender
My heart was captured, my soul surrendered
I'd spend a lifetime, waiting for the right time
Now that your near, the time is here at last.

It's now or never, come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling, be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
It's now or never, my love won't wait.

Just like a willow, we would cry an ocean
If we lost true love, and sweet devotion
Your lips excite me, let your arms invite me
For who knows when, we'll meet again this way

It's now or never, come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling, be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
It's now or never, my love won't wait.

It's now or never, my love won't wait
It's now or never, my love won't wait
It's now or never, my love won't wait.

Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtFN6YQOhj0 to watch and listen to Elvis Presley singing 'It's Now or Never’ on YouTube.