Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year to You

Thank you for being a part of my life..

Monday, December 29, 2014

Malaysia Flood update & East coast states totally cut off

Kelantan is the worst hit state. The flood situation in Kelantan is still critical with five districts in serious situation following the disruption of basic amenities caused by floods.

Widespread misery: Floodwaters covering a vast area in Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan. — EPA

The Star reported that:

Access to the country’s flood-hit east coast states is now almost totally cut off after waters submerged many of the main roads to the affected areas.

The number of evacuees also rose by nearly 40,000 overnight as the Meteorological Department warned of a new round of heavy rains lasting until Wednesday.

A total of 200,023 evacuees are currently seeking shelter at more than 500 relief centres in five states, up from 160,921 on Saturday.

As at 6.30pm yesterday, Kelantan remained the worst-hit state with the number of victims rising to 124,966 from 81,925 the day before.

Terengganu had 36,410 evacuees, Pahang (33,601), Perak (4,581) and Johor (465).

The Meteorological Department issued a three-day “yellow” stage alert from today for Perlis, Kedah, north Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor.

The alert, which warns of the possibility of monsoon rains and heavy winds, also covers Kudat and Sandakan in Sabah as well as Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Sarikei, Sibu, Mukah and Betong in Sarawak.

In KUANTAN, Temerloh has been effectively cut off to land vehicles after a section of the East Coast Expressway became severely flooded.

According to the Pahang Public Works Department, several trunk roads leading to and from the district were also inaccessible to all vehicles.

Main roads from Temerloh to Bera and Jerantut have also been closed after the water level rose to more than a metre high.

New school term will start a week later due to floods

The Star reported that:

The new school session will start a week later nationwide due to the severe floods, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Monday.

In a statement, Muhyiddin who is also the Education Minister said for states in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor, the new term will begin on Jan 11 (Sunday) while for other states, the session starts on Jan 12 (Monday).

He noted that as of Sunday, 340 schools in seven states were affected by the floods. According to him, some of these schools were used as flood relief centres and others were inundated by the deluge.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

East Coast floods - Update

Yesterday, I posted about the monsoon and the floods that come with it. It seems the flood situation has turned for the worse as more areas in the country are being affected so much so New Year celebrations scheduled at Putrajaya and Perak have been cancelled.

The celebration in Putrajaya is supposed to be a planned mega new year celebration. The events have been cancelled in respect of the thousands affected by flood in several states.

in Terengganu..

Kemaman is the worst affected of the districts, with 19,405 evacuees from 4,607 families.

The Star reported today that some 90,250 people have been evacuated as at 9am Thursday in five states ravaged by floods which are showing no sign of letting up.

Fifteen more stretches of road in Kelantan had been closed, raising to 37 the roads impassable to traffic due to the floods. In Kota Bharu, several patients at the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital old wing were evacuated due to rising flood waters early Thursday.

In PAHANG, Kuantan had the highest number of evacuees at 14,350 from 4,119 families, now housed at 44 relief centres. The worst-hit districts are Kemaman followed by Dungun, Kuala Terengganu, Hulu Terengganu, Besut and Marang.

The Maran district has 2,744 evacuees at 17 centres; Jerantut, 2,478 at 34 centres; Lipis, 2,319 at 26 centres; Pekan, 1,402 at 18 centres; Temerloh, 649 at 15 centres; Rompin, 265 at four centres and Bera, 109 at four centres.

In PERAK, people moved out of their homes in the three districts of Kuala Kangsar, Hulu Perak and Perak Tengah rose to 4,335 from 1,079 families.

Deep trouble: A victim wading through floodwaters at Kampung Lembah Sireh in Kota Baru.

Hitting the roof: Taman Bukit Sirih residents surveying the flood situation using a float in Kuala Krai. — Bernama

The situation in most flood-hit states continues to worsen with the authorities warning of continuing heavy rain in the badly-hit states of Kelantan and Terengganu.

The Star reported that Kelantan is now only accessible via the Kuala Terengganu-Kota Baru trunk road and by air.

The other route to Kelantan through the East West Highway was closed to all traffic after part of the highway at the 65th kilometre near Puncak Titiwangsa collapsed.

The Gua Musang-Kuala Krai road has been closed to all traffic while the route from Padang Besar through Haadyai was also impassable due to the floods.

Elsewhere - In Sabah, the situation improved slightly with most of the evacuees allowed to return home yesterday morning.

In Perlis, there was not much change in the flood situation and 175 people were still seeking shelter at evacuation centres.

The 102 tourists trapped at the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort in Kuala Tahan heaved a sigh of relief when the Fire and Rescue Department arrived with much needed food supplies.

The department sent more than four boatloads of food supplies for the tourists and residents in the area. Safe and sound, the tourists would be transported by boat to relief centres in Kuala Tahan before being flown by helicopter to Jerantut town.

Apart from Malaysians, the tourists were from Germany, France, Canada and the Czech Republic.

Source: The Star

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Moonsoon floods in the East Coast, Taman Negara, Kajang and more

The monsoon is upon us again this time of the year. If you are planning to visit Malaysia - the east coast states on the peninsula - avoid the months of November and December. This year, the monsoon rains are unusually heavy causing bad flooding in the States of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

Needless to say, the islands of Redang and Perhentian would experience low tourism rate this time of the year. I suspect Clud Med as well being located in the state of Pahang.

The Star today report that.. The floods in Kelantan and Terengganu worsened yesterday afternoon as more victims were being evacuated.

Rescue effort..

In Terengganu, chalet guests were told to move out due to strong waves..

A group of holidaymakers faced a terrifying moment when their chalet almost collapsed due to strong waves.

Even the National Park, Taman Negara has not been spared as the park recorded its highest rainfall Tuesday since the major flood in 1971.

The Star reported that:

More than 100 local and foreign tourists are believed to be stranded at the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort after Sungai Tembeling in Kuala Tahan surpassed its danger level.

The Kuala Tahan tourist jetty had to be closed due to swift currents in the river, which is dangerous to boats.

A resort employee, who declined to be identified, said the foreign tourists holed up in the hotel were from Canada, Germany, France and Holland while there were also some local tourists.

"They should have left today (Tuesday) but the dangerous river has cut off the place from the outside world and we are running low on food. Nonetheless, we ensure the safety and well-being of tourists and if necessary, we will use a helicopter to drop food for us tomorrow," he said when contacted late Tuesday.

According to him, a special meeting with police and Jerantut district office was held to discuss measures to get all tourists out safely. – Bernama

Even Kajang town was not spared. Known for its satay, Kajang some twenty miles south of Kuala Lumpur was inundated with flash floods last Saturday. A Christmas party at the Malaysia Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR) shelter in Kajang turned gloomy when floods overcame the facility, drowning some dogs and injuring volunteers.

Meantime, it has been reported that floods has worsened in six states sending 58,705 people in these six states to evacuation centres as Wednesday/this morning.

Menteri Besar of Perak Datuk Seri Dr. Zambry Abd Kadir (fourth from right) reviewing the situation in Kampung Labit.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Biggest Book Sale in the World

Believe me, the biggest book sale in the world is right here in Malaysia.

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is back! This time, 3.5 MILLION books are up for grabs.

Read more about The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale..

Friday, November 21, 2014

Monsoon brings floods to Terengganu

If you are thinking about making a trip to the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia, particularly Terengganu and Kelantan, you may want to wait awhile. Below is an image from The Star today showing the flood situation in Terengganu.

This shows Residents working together to move a floating car after it got stranded in the floods at Kuala Nerus

Malaysia goes through two monsoon periods a year and currently it's the Northeastern monsoon season resulting in increased rainfall and flooding in the two states of Terengganu and Kelantan.

Tourist numbers to Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian also take a dip this time of the year.

However, if you'd still prefer a beach holiday on the east coast, there's still Pulau Tioman or Club Med Cherating, the latter is now open all-year round.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RON97 is down by 20 sen today

Yes, good news for owners whose vehicle uses RON97 petrol as well as for owners of foreign-registered cars. Many vehicles cross the border to Malaysia daily - from Thailand in the north of the peninsula and from Singapore in the south.

As of midnight, RON97 is priced at RM2.55 a litre down 20 sen. More about RON97.

RON95 petrol is currently at RM2.30 per litre while diesel costs RM2.20 per litre. These prices came into effect on 2 October, last month.

Image source: The Star

Thursday, October 02, 2014

New Price of petrol in Malaysia - October 2014

The price of RON95 petrol and diesel fuel went up by 20 sen effective midnight.

The new price of RON95 petrol is now RM2.30 per litre while diesel costs RM2.20 per litre.

The current unsubsidised market price for RON95 is RM2.58 per litre while diesel is RM2.52 per litre.

Petrol and diesel prices were last increased, also by a 20 sen margin, on Sept 2 last year.

The current price of RON 97 petrol is RM2.75 per litre - reduced by 10 sen last month, September.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Greetings for a Selamat Hari Raya 2014

I wish you and your family a Selamat Hari Raya.

And a happy tune to go along..

More happy tunes for the occasion.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Venice Lido: the island where sea and elegance meet

After that interesting article - An Italian's Adventurous Food Trip to Malaysia - Cinzia Greco has so kindly volunteered another article. This time, Cinzia shares with us an insider perspective of a world-famous city of her lovely country, Italy. Venice is where we head to next, and in particular, The Lido which is the venue of the much-celebrated annual Venice Film Festival.

The Lido — or Venice Lido (Lido di Venezia) — is an 11 kilometres (7 miles) long sandbar in Venice, northern Italy; it is home to about 20,000 residents.

The Venice Film Festival takes place at the Lido every September. This year's event is slated to be from 27th August to 6th September 2014 and it will be the 71st Venice International Film Festival.

Cinzia, take it away..

Just opposite Venice, one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world, a narrow strip of land stretches for about 12 kilometres in between the local lagoon and the Adriatic sea: it is the Venice Lido, one of the over 40 islands scattered around the Venetian lagoon, famous above all for being the place where the Venice International Film Festival takes place every year in late August or early September (the first edition of the festival goes back to 1932).

The Lido is one of the municipalities of Venice and it includes 3 main settlements: Alberoni, at the southern end of the island, appreciated for its golf course, Malamocco, right in the centre, where the Doge of Venice used to live, and the Lido itself, in the north, which is the home to the Film Festival and hosts some of the most elegant hotels of the island.
On the Lido, the atmosphere is something sophisticatedly retro and old-fashioned in virtue of its elegant art nouveau buildings, its refined private villas, its lush gardens and pine groves that frame beautiful beaches of golden sand, each of them provided with modern and fully-equipped bath establishments.

Beaches here are gently touched by the transparent waters of the Adriatic sea: soft sand dunes and glorious pine-trees together enclose a protected oasis of great naturalistic interest.
Several dams protect both the sea-line and the lagoon regulating the water flow from the sea.
Typical of the Lido are the so-called Murazzi, An impressive dam in Istrian stone built by the Republic of Venice to safeguard the lagoon from the erosive activity of the sea. Starting from here, along the sea side of the island, the elegant tree-lined promenade extends with its unique shops, original locals and refined hotels.
To spend a holiday here on the Lido island it would be like going back in time and going back to being in the shoes of a Venetian nobleman living in the area way back in the fifteenth century.
Most of the island hotels do maintain this vintage character, but they charge quite large sums of money to experience this atmosphere: for instance, the Grand Hotel Excelsior or the Des Bains (where Thomas Mann stayed in 1911 inspiring his novella Death in Venice) are definitely two of the most representative hotels on the island, but prices are indeed quite high and expensive, being that they are luxury accommodation.
If you still want to enjoy the delightful atmosphere of the Venice Lido without spending a fortune, you can rather opt for Ca’ del Borgo, a delicious Bed&Breakfast set within a magnificent 15th century Venetian palace that used to be the residence of some local nobles. The building is located in Malamocco, the central settlement of the island, and it is easy to reach both from Venice and the mainland through an efficient system of waterbuses, motorboats and ferryboats that dock in the 2 main ports of the Lido: Santa Maria Elisabetta and San Nicolò.
Food in the island is just great.
For an up-to-date list of the best dining places, you can check the Tripadvisor page and read through the numerous reviews written by users. If you want to experience a delicious dinner by the sea, the restaurant at the Alberoni Baths is what you are looking for: menus include pizza, meat dishes and extraordinary sea-food prepared according the local traditions. Not only a restaurant, you can just stop by for an aperitif or at breakfast time to enjoy the beach at its best, when everything is peace and quiet.

We'd be hearing more from Cinzia, so be sure to check back soon. Once again, thank you, Cinzia, for yet another interesting post. :D

Image sources:
- Grand Hotel Des Bains

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Welcome Mr President

Malaysia plays host to US President Barack Obama today, April 26 to Monday, April 28. More..

Image source: The Star

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Visa application to India - more centres set up

According to The Star:

Following many complaints over the Indian High Commission’s new ruling that required visa applicants to be present, seven more processing centres are set to be opened soon throughout Malaysia.

They are located in Ipoh, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Malacca and Klang as well as Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

These outsourcing centres will complement the three existing ones in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru, set up to capture biometric data for Malaysians travelling to India.

A spokesperson of the Indian High Commission to Malaysia said this was done to save people’s time and costs in submitting their visa applications.

The system, which took effect on April 1, is applicable to all heading to India, be it for holidays or business.

Travel agents or other representatives, according to the Indian Visa Application Centre (Ivac), are not allowed to submit applications on behalf of interested travellers.

Submission hours are Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 2pm. For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Italian's Adventurous Food Trip to Malaysia

Cinzia Greco, who loves travelling made a trip to Kuala Lumpur recently and enjoyed it so much that she wants to share her wonderful experience.

Food, good food at that, elevates a travel experience. Here. Cinzia (Cynthia) shares the food she eat at her friend's new outlet. And if you are in Kuala Lumpur, you may want to give the Gastro Project in Section 17, Petaling Jaya a try and be blown away by their food, the decor, well, the whole experience!

Cinzia also shares some travel booking sites that she uses for her travel needs.  Images are also courtesy of Cinzia.

Thank you, Cinzia, for sharing your experience. I hope you enjoyed yourself here in Malaysia and will be back soon.

Read Cinzia's travel story:

One visit to Malaysia is enough to make you fall in love with it and to inspire in you the desire to travel there again.

However, if you are expecting a post describing the countless natural beauties of this country, you should not be reading this as I would rather focus on a specific aspect of my most recent experience in Malaysia. So, keep on reading if you like to find it out.

What is so great about Malaysia is the extraordinary melting pot of races and cultures, the balanced mash-up of traditions and religions where diversity is seen as something positive, an enrichment rather than a limitation.

Perfect evidence for this is the local cuisine, an explosive combination of gastronomic ingredients that, if combined together in the right way, can create exquisite recipes and dishes.

During my last trip to Malaysia, I got the chance to have an excellent guide: a good old friend of mine I met in UK several years ago.

I was really excited to see him after so long (unfortunately, in my previous visit to Malaysia we could not meet up as he was abroad for work).

Plus, I was particularly excited as I knew he and his family had open a new fusion restaurant and bar in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, near the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, just for the sake of their shared passion: food.

I could not wait any longer to go there and try what they describe as a sublime culinary experience and not only.

This time, I did not have to bother with accommodation search as my friend was putting me up in his apartment. But just to provide readers with useful information, during my very first visit to Malaysia I checked the various accommodation options listed in the main hotel booking portals, such as and Expedia. Eventually I ended up choosing a nice hotel through the HotelsClick website simply because they were offering the best price. Before booking my room, I gathered some information about this site that was previously unknown to me and, although opinions were different and not all positive, I just clicked the book now button… And I have to admit that everything went great!

For my next trip in general, I’d like to use this site that put travellers in contact with local host families: I think it could be a different way of travelling.

But let’s go back to my latest trip. My friend couldn't pick me up at the airport and, to tell you the truth, that was better for me as, when I travel on long distances, I tend to suffer from jet-lag quite a lot. So I was happy to have some time to recover and to meet my friend at the top of my shape.

We had arranged to meet the day after my arrival at The Gastro Project, their restaurant. He didn't tell me much about the place so it was a great surprise to find out that, apart from food, they had conceived it almost as a movie sanctuary with plenty of photos and posters from the film-making industry (loved the Godfather series!). That was a goal for me considering my passion for movies: the combination between food and cinema is a winning one! (They also have a wall screen projecting movies on a daily schedule).

Cocktailing at the bar
So, on my friend’s tip, I started my experience at The Gastro Project at the bar with a cocktail, of course. I had Hmmmm which is made of fresh strawberries, almonds, brown sugar, dark rum and midori liqueur. Sublime!

They also serve beers and different types of wines. To make sure you have something to taste along with your cocktail, finger foods and canapés are always handy.
Chatting with my friend made me hungry: time had come for dinner!

Dining at the restaurant
So we moved to the restaurant area where, you know what… I could not make my mind up while I was reading the menu. So I had to trust my friend once again. According to him, one of most popular dishes, something The Gastro Project has become famous for, is the Japanese salad. And after tasting it, I understood why!

I don’t think there is a better dish to begin your dinner with: your belly will be grateful to enjoy this delicate salad made of greens, avocado, pomegranate, pine nuts and edamame with a delicious topping of sesame dressing.

After the salad, I opted for a selection of two pasta dishes: spaghetti aglio e olio with crabmeat andorecchiette with lamb and cumino sauce.

My friend had pumpkin ravioli: of course I tasted them and I must say they were excellent.
Being a lover of lamb meat and couscous, my second course choice was obvious: lamb stewed with carrot and apricot and served with aromatic couscous. The meat literally melt in my mouth as though it was butter.

I was ready for dessert, but first I need to refresh my palate with a mint sorbet.  I have to say that I am not passionate about dessert, but still I had to taste their offer. So I went for a trio of dessert including:

• an English strawberry trifle with layers of fresh cream, custard and strawberries
• some chocolate cake balls with rum cocoa sauce (a must for chocolate lovers)
• a truly original cardamon pannacotta with a caramel sauce

I don’t need to say that every dish was paired with the most appropriate selection of wines.
I am Italian and the passion for good food is ingrained in my DNA. Also when I am travelling, I’d love to enjoy the most typical local recipes or, as in this case, the combination of different influences merging into the same dish.

So, it was a pleasure for me to discover that we Italians have this passion in common with the Malaysian people.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Karpal Singh - 1940 to 2014

This morning, Thousands of people lined the streets of Penang to send off the hearse carrying Karpal Singh on his last journey.

The casket, bearing the body of the “Tiger of Jelutong”, was draped with a carpet bearing an image of a Tiger before it was carried out from the Dewan Sri Pinang on Sunday.

Guan Eng, who is also the DAP secretary-general, said the state government mourned the untimely and unexpected passing of Karpal.

The procession will make stops at places dear to Karpal - the Penang High Court, his office in Green Hall, the Penang state assembly building, his alma mater St Xavier’s Institution and state DAP party headquarters in Rangoon Road - before proceeding to the Batu Gantong Crematorium.

Karpal Singh, a prominent lawyer, an MP and a fearless and defatigeable fighter for justice was killed in an auto accident on his way from Kuala Lumpur to Penang where he was to attend a court case. The accident happened around 1:10am of April 17, Thursday. His personal assistant Michael Cornelius Selvam Vellu also died. His driver and his son were injured while his Indonesia maid is in ICU.

Rest In Peace

Image source: The Star

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Missing MH370

Today, March 8, 2014, marks a sad day for Malaysia and the 227 passengers (from 14 countries) and 12 crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft which disappeared barely an hour over the South Chin Sea en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, eta 6:30am the same day.

Related articles:
- Missing MH370 - the 9th day
- Missing MH370 - Two objects found in Indian Ocean
- Missing MH370 - Two weeks and a day
- Flight MH370 confirmed lost - in the Indian Ocean

Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year - Gong Xi Fa Cai

Today is Chinese New Year. This year is the Year of the Wooden Fire Horse. Good colours to wear or use as in accessories, bags, and so forth are brown and green. Best days to start work in the new year? Check out 2014 Auspicious/Good Days to Start work in the Chinese New Year.

I wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year filled with happiness, good health and prosperity.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thaipusam at Batu Caves - 2014

If you are a visitor to Kuala Lumpur and would like to get a feel of a major religious festival, the Batu Caves could be where you'd want to be today. But be warned that there would be thousands heading that way too to celebrate one of Malaysia's most colourful and meaningful of festivals.

Today is Thaipusam, a Hindu festival celebrated on a really large scale here in Kuala Lumpur where the action is to be found at Batu Caves. More about Thaipusam..

Image source: Wikipedia

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