Friday, 21 October 2016

Find Dining...

I cannot remember how or when I came across the food review blog owned and authored by a gentleman who calls himself Tony Johor Kaki. I am a food explorer myself, so it must've been through a simple google search. Once I discovered the blog, I included the link in my sidebar so that I can easily click for updates.

Tony JK's blog is quite impressive. He has visited and personally tasted the food at hundreds of outlets, ranging from simple hawker stalls to fine restaurants located mainly in Johor Bahru city. His entries cover both non-halal and halal eateries, properly labeled and categorised, complete with address and GPS coordinates. But what sets him apart from other food blogs is his amazing collection of mouth-watering photographs that accompany each post.

From blogging, Tony later set up a Facebook Page for halal food enthusiasts called Johor Sedap. He has now progressed to become a full-fledged author of a guidebook for foodies. With the help of a generous sponsor and a publishing house, some entries from Tony's blog have been edited and compiled into a book named Find Dining with Johor Kaki.

I have commented on Tony's blog a number of times and contributed to the Johor Sedap FB page occasionally. It's only today that I had the privilege of meeting the man himself for the first time in person. It was during a book signing and distribution session at Sutera Mall in Skudai.

The book is available for free. I had a quick flip through its contents. Of the 23 halal food outlets mentioned in the book, I have not yet been to 8. That's roughly a 65% hit rate.

Of course, not all restaurants and food joints in Johor can be featured in a tiny guidebook. In Tony's words, the food business is very dynamic. New eating places open every week while some of the existing ones don't make it and have to close shop. With this, I'm pretty sure Tony JK and his publishers would be looking ahead at future editions. Good luck Tony.

Tony JK now a celebrity :-)

Finally, one blogger able to meet another (more famous) blogger

My personal copy, signed by Tony on the inside intro page

Monday, 3 October 2016

Good, bad and indifferent news

Events that happened in this past month of September 2016 :

1. Three athletes from Malaysia won gold at Rio 2016 Paralympics, for the first time ever.
2. JDT made history by winning the Malaysia Super League, 3 times in a row. 
3. Our DPM made known to the world of his English public-speaking skills.
4. The no. 1 university in the country denies having awarded an honorary PhD to a well-known motivational speaker.
5. My sister-in-law, Hajjah Zainab Bt Mohd Amin (fondly known as Mak We to her nephews and nieces), lost her long-fought battle against cancer.

Good, bad and indifferent news. No prizes for guessing which one I care about the most.

Hajjah Zainab was the second child in a family of 13 siblings. She was my wife's 2nd eldest sister and used to reside at her hometown of Mersing until a few years ago, when illness and treatments at hospitals in Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur caused her to stay with her youngest daughter.

I have very fond memories of her. When I married my wife those many years ago, her house was where I stayed at before the nikah ceremony proper. It was there I was first introduced to my then to-be niece, a sweet little 5-year old girl. The little girl has now grown up, with a family of her own. Thank you dear Maslin Md Ramly and your kind husband Isa Hoo Abdullah, for your dedication in taking care of your mother until her final day.

Tiga generasi di pusara allahyarham Hjh Zainab Bt Mohd Amin
 kembali ke rahmatullah pada hari Isnin 26 September 2016.
Gambar diambil (tanpa kebenaran) dari FB Puan Maslin.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The hornet's nest

I have a friend from childhood days who now works at the military airbase in Butterworth, Pulau Pinang. He is very knowledgeable about military aircraft, whether they come from US, Europe or Russia. I, on the other hand, am quite ignorant about airplanes. Perhaps the only significant combat plane that I can identify is the British Harrier Jump Jet, the amazing aircraft that can do vertical landing and take-off. This jet was part of the fleet that saw action during the Falklands War in 1982.

My friend recently posted an interesting trivia to our Whatsapp group. The British RAF 100 Squadron has a Malay motto on their badge. It reads :

`Sarang Tebuan Jangan Dijolok'

The literal translation of this Malay idiom is `Never stir up a hornet's nest', meaning that one should not be looking for trouble on purpose. When applied to the macho men of the Air Force, the underlying message would be, `Better not mess with us. Or else we'll come and hurt you real bad!'

To confirm my friend's story, I googled the 100 Squadron. Indeed, their badge does have a motto written in Malay. The webpage gives a brief history of the squadron but does not provide any information on how and why the Malay motto was adopted. It does however say that the squadron was once based in Malaya in 1950, so that was probably when they came across a Malay idiom which took their fancy.

The link can be read here -> RAF 100 Squadron

Selamat hari raya Aidiladha to my Muslim friends and readers. The noblest aspect of sacrifice is expecting nothing in return.

The hornet's sting may kill you...

Sunday, 28 August 2016

A very thorny issue

In Malay culture, there is this peculiar term known as `saudara durian'. It is a sarcastic phrase which literally translates to `durian relative'. To properly explain its meaning, allow me to provide you with an example.

Let's say that you are a city-dweller. You have a relative back at your hometown or village who owns a durian orchard. At the time of the fruiting season, you would visit this relative and partake in the copious consumption of this delicious fruit (absolutely free, of course) with the further chance of the kind relative packing some more of the fruits to take home. At other times of the year, it never crossed your mind to visit this relative or even ask about his/her well-being. You are then a `saudara durian'.

Nasty, isn't it?

Well, I hope I'm not placed into such a category. I am not much of a durian kaki anyway. I very seldom buy durians from the market and can hardly tell the difference in taste between a D24 grade and the Musang King variety. Nevertheless, if some kampung relatives do send me some of these fruits, I gladly accept them. It is very impolite to decline such gifts.

Two weeks ago, I texted a cousin of mine, asking him about the yield of his durian trees. The previous year, he had dropped by my house and gave us a sackful of the so-called king of fruits. This time around, I noted that the local markets are already teeming with the thorny fruits but yet no news from my cousin of his harvest. He texted back, saying that this year's yield is not as bountiful as last year, but there is still more that enough for personal consumption. He invited us to visit his dusun so that we can collect some for ourselves.

Yesterday, the missus and I made the trip to Pontian and met my cousin at his fruit orchard. The orchard has about 15 durian trees plus some mangosteen, duku, rambai and rambutan. By the time we arrived, there was already a large pile of durians that my cousin had gathered. He sliced opened a few for us to eat. I probably ate only 4 or 5 seeds. Really, there is only so much that you can eat. Otherwise you should be prepared to experience the rise in body heat if you consume too much. The fleshy pulp of the durian fruit has this unnerving exothermic property.

In addition to the freshly consumed ones at the orchard, my cousin gave us a sackful to take home. The sack contained 9 fruits of various sizes. This morning the missus used 3 to make serawa durian and bubur kacang hijau. The remainder would cause that distinctive pungent smell to linger in our house for another few more days.

King of fruits, the kampung variety

Monday, 15 August 2016

Moving on to a new brand

In my final post of the previous year, I wrote about my brand loyalty to Sony mobile phones. The full article can be read here -> Is it worth being brand loyal?

I have now given up on Sony and would never purchase another phone from this manufacturer or recommend any of my friends to buy it. Two weeks ago, my Xperia M5 Dual phone which I bought in September 2015, gave me problems for the second time. This time, the phone had trouble in detecting the telco network, causing difficulty in making and receiving calls. When I sent it to the local authorised dealer, I was told it was either a software problem or a system problem. If it was software, the repair could be done in a day or two. If it was a system problem, then they would have to send it to their main office in KL and this would take much longer.

After two days, I called the dealer and was told that my phone has a hardware problem and they may have to change the motherboard. The repair would take up to 3 weeks. Crap...

I cannot wait that long and not have a phone. Unfortunately, the phone that I used prior to the M5, an Xperia V which I had from 2013, was also not working due to a faulty power charging port. I made the decision to cut my ties with Sony and buy a new phone.

This time, I opted for an HTC Desire 626 Dual. It is not the top model of the HTC range of smartphones. In fact, it was the cheapest of the 3 models on display but it had the minimum specs that I wanted, namely two nano-simcard slots and a separate microSD card slot. More importantly, it met my budget. Feature-wise, it is very much inferior to the M5. For example, the camera is less powerful (lower resolution, poor macro focus) and the operating system is still Android 4 (Kitkat). Nonetheless, at this moment in time, connectivity is more important to me than features.

So let's see how this new phone from HTC perform. Maybe I'll write a review on it later.

Dual sim with 5" display, 13MP main camera and 2GB RAM