Project B-2-5: And so it begins…

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New Home

THIS morning, the contractor sent me several pictures of my new home. It’s been more than a year since we bought the house and nothing had been done all this while, as the legal work took forever. It was surreal, looking at pictures of just-hacked walls and discussing about our WC measurements and shower mixers. It’s real now, and I still can’t believe it.

Owning my own home is the biggest thing to happen to me, and Project B-2-5 is dedicated to this phase of my life.

In reality, Project B-2-5 started more than a year ago. After months of house-hunting, we finally made our choice and began with the legal work. A few months ago, I started doing serious research on the Internet, and began putting my ideas into sketches. I also began getting recommendations for contractors from friends. After narrowing down to three contractors, we decided on Alan.

Alan has been good so far; he understands my sketches, is very prompt and provides 3D sketches so we can visualise how he has expanded on my ideas. The only thing is, Alan doesn’t come cheap. But cheap is not necessarily good. The important thing is to go with someone who can work within your budget, and whom are comfortable with and who understands your vision.

Now to wait for my home to slowly materialise … and get down to actually purchasing what’s needed.

Weakness so sweet

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Kryptonite
Oh, weakness so sweet!

You of honeyed tongue and dulcet voice
Of fragrance so enticing
Smile so alluring
Eyes so penetrating

Kryptonite
Oh, weakness so sweet!

Beckon me again
Break my defences
I crumble, slowly, under your steady gaze
And yield, steadily, to your silent call

Copyright MalaysianMinx 2014

Why can’t I be like…?

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Some days I wish I was someone else. Like that hot, irritatingly-skinny chef that runs this hip bistro in the suburbs and who whips up gastronomical storms that would melt a man’s heart.

Me — I wear old food-stained aprons, and can only cook a few boring, pronounceable dishes. I have only baked two kinds of cakes in my lifetime and, even then, not very spectacularly.

Alas! I can only be me. After all, everyone else is taken. Like that chef….

Nasi Lemak Atan

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I LOVE food programmes. I get hungry or inspired after watching them. Which is a lovely state of being compared to how I would feel after a love story (yuck), tear jerker (bleh), drama or horror flick (wired).

A few lazy nights ago, I tuned in to AFC and settled for a Best in the World marathon with Razif Hashim. I’m not normally a fan of locally produced food shows, but there’s something about Razif which makes me want to try the food he’s tried: his delivery is spontaneous and amusing, and he certainly can eat. Heartily.

So what particularly caught my attention that night was his entry on Nasi Lemak Atan at Chow Kit. Now,  I’ve never been to Chow Kit and have never felt the need to go there, but after watching Razif wolf down several packs of nasi lemak and side servings of lauk, The Boy and I decided we had to try it out.

Getting there wasn’t easy, especially for someone who is sometimes directionally challenged like me. But, we finally made it after driving aimlessly along narrow streets lined with numerous stalls. Note: if you are a datuk or datin who’s used to traveling in a huge MPV, you may want to downsize to a much smaller vehicle.
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Warm packs of nasi lemak in a basket. Picture courtesy of Fried Chillies.

What is it about Malaysians and their nasi lemak? For me, it’s about the warm, fluffy and subtly coconut flavoured rice, topped with spicy anchovy chilli paste and a simple hardboiled egg. All this wrapped in banana leaf and newspaper. This is best eaten not too long after it’s wrapped, or the rice would stick together in a big lump. It really is a matter of preference at the end of the day — not everyone minds lumpy rice like I do.

Nasi lemak at the stall is served in small packs — a practice Atan started and which his son continues to this day, after Atan passed on. Customers pick as many packs as they want into a basket, and they also get to choose from a variety of lauk (served in smaller plates) on the way to the cashier. Choices include fried chicken, chicken rendang, beef lung, cockles, cuttle fish….and more. If you prefer your rice on a plate instead of newspaper, be sure to ask for one.

Scrumptious spread of lauk to go with the nasi lemak

So, my verdict for Nasi Lemak Atan?

I thought the rice was still suitably warm, but not fluffy enough. The sambal was decent — not too sweet — but not spectacular. We also had the cockles (mediocre), beef lung (too hard), cuttle fish (awesome)  and chicken rendang (yummy) and one whole hard boiled egg on the side. All that, and three packs of nasi lemak shared between the two of us cost RM28.00. Frankly, I wouldn’t go back there again unless I had a crazy craving for the cuttle fish sambal. Or a very late night craving for nasi lemak!

 

Nasi Lemak Atan
Lot 1185 1A Lorong Haji Hussein off Jalan Haji Hussein,
Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur
Opens 6pm – 5am

 

 

 

Holding On and Letting Go

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Sometimes it’s hard to let go; we always hold on so tight: relationships, the past, the life that you now have, the one you always dreamed of having… Sometimes you kid yourself that you’ve let go of everything that’s holding you back, but in the dark recesses of your head and heart, that secret place that only you can go to — that’s where you hang on to cherished memories, lost hopes, and dreams-that-once-were. Everything that defined who you were and who you wanted to be. You can’t truly close that chapter. You’re holding on and letting go.

Positivity & Gratitude: Spread the Smiles

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I completely agree!

Virata Gamany

you_are_loved

Life is truly the school of hard knocks. We’re never prepared for the curve balls that come our way! But I think what makes life that much more bearable is positive thinking and positive affirmation. A conscious state of gratitude goes a long way, too.

I write this today in memory of those who have gone missing on MH370. I cannot begin to imagine the sense of loss and grief their family members have gone through and are still going through; the regret they feel for the things they could’ve done, words they could’ve have said, encouragement they could’ve given when there was still time — and how this all now weighs so heavily upon their conscience.

One thing this tragedy has made me realise is that my problems aren’t really that big; there are others with far heavier burdens to bear. I have my loved ones with me, and, unlike those who have lost their families so suddenly and…

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Hope Springs Eternal: One Malaysian’s Dream

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Photo courtesy of Ng Seksan

OVER the last two weeks, an ‘installation’ of sorts has taken shape in various suburbs about town. Thousands of tiny colourful flags have sprouted from the grassy roadside slopes in Bangsar to Damansara Heights, Sri Hartamas and, last I saw, near the Section 16 intersection in Petaling Jaya.

This ever-growing citizen’s initiative, or ‘flowers’ as they are fondly known by the Malaysian Spring movement, were first planted at the Jalan Tempinis roundabout in Lucky Gardens, Bangsar.

I actually think they’re quite pretty. And, certainly striking in their simplicity, especially against the backdrop of the glossy, propaganda-laden posters and political flags that have blanketed the Malaysian landscape of late.

Credit goes to movement founder Ng Seksan and his team who have been hard at work planting the ‘flowers’ since April 14.

Sadly, though, sourpusses have poured cold water over their efforts. An article in an online media news portal reported that detractors had lodged police reports claiming the flags “disturb the eyes” and are an “obstruction of the road”.

Clearly, this flag phenomenon is fast becoming a pain in the EC’s behind. It’s certainly flagging up the growing resentment and restlessness amongst the Malaysian people.

According to Ng, an architect and art collector, the flags symbolise hope for Malaysia. But at the very least, they are a work of art – creative, aesthetically pleasing and hold significance to both creator and audience.

So I can’t help but feel disappointed at the narrow mindedness of those who have decried the Malaysian Spring effort. Surely, freedom of expression is not a crime? Surely, there is equality in visual campaigning. Surely, one can see that those flags are neither an eyesore nor an obstruction to traffic!

Truth be told, I do not profess to campaign for any political party in particular – and am not about to start.

There are days that I mull over the rampant corruption in the country, the glaring inconsistencies of the ruling government, the opacity of business transactions at so many different levels, and the injustice that lies within affirmative policies. I wonder if the deeply entrenched culture of patronage will ever be shattered. I wonder if BN will ever change.

Then there are days when I consider the issues within the Opposition: their inability to agree, the power struggles that drive their disunity. And find myself wondering whether, if given the mandate, they will be able to transform Malaysia into the country that I – and so many Malaysians – hope for it to be. I wonder if they can and will effectively stem the outflow of talent and funds, and reinstate integrity, equality and justice within our systems.

I suppose this effectively puts me in the category of fence sitters that now comprise some 48% of voters in the country.

Ultimately, who we choose to govern the country is our prerogative. But, the choice we make will have a far reaching effect. And come May 5, I know I will weigh my decision wisely. For my hope is for an open, fair and transparent government that will bring peace and prosperity to my country.

Which brings me back to the story of the flags. I hope the Malaysian Spring movement continues unimpeded till polling day. I hope to see more ‘flowers’ springing up in cities across the country. I hope this citizen’s initiative will not be in vain.

At the very least, and as Ng says, “What we’re planting for is hope and the betterment of Malaysia.”

I hope for a better Malaysia.