Wednesday, March 29, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:12 pm

Chicken run in Malacca

MALACCA: When it comes to free fried chicken, all fears of bird flu go out the window.

At the Melaka Sentral wet market entrance yesterday morning, 200kg of fried chicken were gone in under 10 minutes.

Eighteen chicken traders at the market donated 10 birds each for the free chicken meal event organised by the Malacca Hawkers and Traders Association to promote chicken consumption.

Many among the 1,000 people who turned up for the 11am free meal came ready with plastic bags with the intention to ta pau (take away) the chicken.

The fried chicken went so fast that many did not have a chance to grab a piece, so the chicken traders gave another 200kg of chicken to appease the crowd.

Seeing the fresh supply, the people crowded the volunteers frying the meat and some even tried to grab the raw chicken.

Association president Wong Soo Tang was delighted with the response. – STARpic by A. MALEX YAHAYA

Source : The Star - 28th March, 2006

When I read this article, I was reminded of the time I went to Pak Lah's Hari Raya Open House....back in....cannot remember the year lah. But it was the first year he was celebrating as the new DPM of Malaysia....yup, after the other DPM got the sack.

Anyway, the open house was held at Putra World Trade Centre. My parents and I have not attended any politician's open house before, so we thought why not? We were greeted with traffic jam just to get into the car park.

When we were outside the hall, we saw many people....but we were not expecting THAT MANY to be inside the hall.

Inside, people were jostling to get themselves onto the buffet table...mee siam was being served but people just used their bare hands to scoop the mee siam from the serving tray onto their paper plates. Every tray that got itself placed on the buffet table was emptied in less than the time it took Carl Lewis to finish 100 metres.

As some waiters were coming out from the kitchen bringing reinforcement (food) using trolleys, they were stopped at the door by these Malaysians who were pushing and surrounding the trolleys. And again, bare mother's nature utensil (hand) reached into the food as if they have never eaten in months. And these people were all smartly dressed (they probably just shook Pak Lah's hands). I wonder if they washed their hands??

Some of the food on their paper plates were replicas of Mount Fuji....were they taking for their whole family who were waiting by the side or??? And I also saw Mount Fujis lying on the floor by the side of the walls...paper plates, food, paper cups some filled to the brim all on the floor. Perhaps, after all the rush, the food and drink was not up to their standard.

My parents and I merely stood by watching the spectacle...the way these Malaysians went for the food would put some of the people in starving regions to shame. There were a couple of tourists who were like us, amazed by the antics of Malaysians when it came to buffet and such. They were taking photos...perhaps to bring home to show their family and friends about how deprived we Malaysians are.

"It's free, so what?". Just look at the plates above....filled Mount Fuji style with fried chicken whilst the elderly lady in the middle of picture seems at a lost 'cos she's looking for fried chicken to fill up her plate.

Spare a thought!


posted by PabloPabla at 3:43 pm

Good reading this one... make sure you finish reading it...drool on

Source : The Star - 25th March, 2006

Family smorgasbord

LINGERING over brunch – or any meals – in a restaurant with toddlers in tow is quite impossible. Whenever we go out with my very active three-year-old, we have to eat in an air-conditioned place, with French fries on the menu. And we have to finish eating before the fries get cold, or spend the mealtime amusing the restless child.

It's usually easier to just stay home.

Last Sunday, though, we actually enjoyed a four-hour leisurely brunch and left only because the restaurant was closing. My friends were tired parents of a six-week son, who had been keeping them awake with two-hourly feeds, and a four-year-old daughter. I brought my rascal, and we all trooped into Mandarin Oriental’s (MO) Pacifica Grill and Bar in an entourage of three prams.

At the MO Sunday brunch, the waiters will bring the selection of seafood in a punch bowl right to the table. Look at em' oysters! Drool
We were escorted to the side, which looked out on the lush greenery of the KLCC Park. But it was the children’s playroom at the end of the veranda that got our attention: there was a resident clown all ready to amuse the children, lots of balloons, crayons and a television showing cartoons. There was also a buffet spread for the children with finger food like sausages, potato wedges, mini burgers, chocolate cakes and ice cream. Phooiyo! Sounds good! Can send the kids to be entertained whilst I have a double or triple dose of zinc (read : oysters)

With the children occupied, we were free to enjoy ourselves. The champagne got us off to a good start. The brunch buffet here includes free-flowing wine, and just the thought of it was enough to put desperate mothers (who usually drink wines from mugs on hot afternoons) in a good mood.

The playroom and the resident clown keeps the children amused, leaving parents free to enjoy the good food.
There is an extensive spread at the buffet, from breakfast essentials to lunch offerings and tea.

It was not so much the variety or quantity but the attention to detail and quality. It felt like the Pacifica Grill people were striving to take the buffet dining experience many notches up.

The fruits bar, where freshly squeezed juices can be had, was a great place to start. There was also a good selection of bread that came with a variety of flavoured butter. Luxury, however, came in the bowl of fresh seafood brought to our table. There were oysters, shrimps, river lobsters and salmon, with lemon and three different sauces.

For appetisers, there were different kinds of salads. We liked the beef carpaccio, thin sliced raw beef served with cold vinaigrette. The tofu carpaccio was also good, with the zesty dressing giving the sliced tofu sprinkled with fried shallots and spring onions a twist. There was also a Japanese selection, with sushi, miso soup and tempura.

The buffet spread is not the most extensive, but it is carefully planned. Main courses are done ala carte to ensure freshness. Available that Sunday: pan fried duck foie gras, black angus beef tenderloin, spring chicken breast, grilled king prawns and pan seared salmon. Wah say! Which to start with? Sounds delicious...mmmmm

GREAT TREATS: Main courses are cooked alacarte to ensure freshness.
The main courses came prettily decorated and smelling divine. It felt like fine dining. The grilled prawn had crispy skin and was sweet. Taken with the creamy cheesy risotto it came with, it was delightful. The portions were small, so we had room to sample more than one main course. Ah ha! Bring me everything in bite sizes...then I can say I've conquered everything

We also ordered pizza for the children. You can choose your own toppings; ours had mushrooms, caramelised onions, basil and lots of cheese. It was so good we actually had seconds. The chefs also whipped up pasta dishes. There were also otak otak and curries, and Chinese fare like dim sum. I'll probably be too full by now...burp!

The food was good, but what we liked most was the feeling of being pampered. As for the wines, the attentive waiters will recommend the appropriate vintage to go with your main course. There were also about six choices of teas and the waiter brought it to the table in a small teapot with honey and lemon.

The cheese platter has reportedly the biggest selection in town, and we had them with crackers, pumpkin seeds and fresh fruits. The chocolate fountain was decadent with lots of marshmallow and strawberries, and chocolate truffles to go with coffee. Wah! The reviewer can really eat....

Best of all, we liked that the children were welcome at the restaurant. The resident clown kept them occupied with balloon sculptures and games. The staff were great too, being unfazed by the little mishaps that cropped up - little hands dipped into chocolate sauce, spilt juice, strewn crayons and broken bowl. And all the while, patrons without children savoured their brunch away from the playroom area. I don't suppose the staff were allowed to give the children a good ol smacking or telling off, right? I'm sure they were trained to just smile away

The MO Sunday was definitely a treat. W

The MO Sunday brunch is from 11.30am to 3.30 pm, and is priced at RM69 ++ per person for children below 12 years, and RM138++ per person for adults. For reservations, please call 03-2179 8882.

What????? RM69.00 ++ per person for children below 12 years! What a nice way of putting it! That's RM79.35 nett to entertain your children. No wonder they can afford to smile away. And for adults, nice chinese figure of 138. That converts to RM158.70 nett per adult. Let me see....if I go there with my wife and my 2 daughters (aged 2 1/2 and 1 month old), that'll set me back by RM476.10..... I think I'll have Surbex zinc instead...


posted by PabloPabla at 12:49 am

Rubbish trapped for months

KUALA SELANGOR: A thick layer of rubbish resembling a floating landfill trapped at Sungai Selangor’s rubbish boom near Batang Berjuntai is proof that our rivers are treated as dumping grounds.

The plants that grow on the mass of rubbish several kilometres away from the raw water intake station indicates that the boom has not been cleared for months.

The volume of rubbish was so huge that one could walk on the mass where banana and yam plants flourished. A monitor lizard was spotted foraging amid the rubbish.

On the riverbanks, rubbish that had been dredged up – plastic soft drink bottles, cleaning agent bottles, bicycle tyres – were just left there. There were also traces of burnt plastic material.

Such was the condition at a rubbish boom along Sungai Selangor when The Star inspected the river.

POLLUTED RIVER: Rubbish trapped behind the boom at Sungai Selangor which stops garbage from flowing downstream into the nearby Puncak Niaga water intake station has not been cleaned for months. Plants can be seen growing out of it. — STARpic by LAI VOON LOONG
With such poor maintenance, it is no wonder that Klang Valley residents require extensive filtration and treatment for the water that comes out of the tap.

“The contractors will clear the rubbish once in three months,” said a villager who collects plastic bottles from the boom for recycling.

He said one could find an assortment of materials floating downstream.

“Logs, wood, and styrofoam boxes. Sometimes, dead animals and entrails. If the river overflows its banks, the rubbish can escape the boom and flow downstream,” said the man in his 50s.

The river is milky orange for miles and miles upstream, turning a lighter shade upstream. According to experts the milky-orange colour indicates the high presence of suspended solids in the water.

“And this is mainly caused by land clearing and development upstream,” said an expert on water treatment, who declined to be named.

Sand mining activities were evident at Sungai Selangor, and its tributary Sungai Tengi. Upstream near Air Itam, along Sungai Selangor, there was more illegal dumping. Asbestos panels and plastic sheets were also there.

However, at a tiny water-pump station along Sungai Tengi, the water was surprisingly clear of rubbish. An angler was out in the sun, waiting for a bite.

The stream trickled gently, the water seemingly clean despite the presence of goat and cattle farms nearby that did not appear to have any form of waste treatment facilities.

Further upstream, there were an abattoir, a fish farm and a large fruit plantation with a metal pipe connected to the river, possibly to draw water.

Larger fish farms, the size of 10 to 15 football fields, and oil palm plantations, with treatment plants were also located along the riverbanks near Bukit Beruntung.

Closer to the start of Sungai Selangor, near Rasa, Hulu Selangor, smaller illegal dumpsites and farms were found.

According to a water expert, any place within 360sq km of the water intake point should be classified as a catchment area and activities within it must be regulated or monitored.

“If toxic waste and heavy metal gets into the river, we will face serious health consequences,” he said.

He said the farms, oil palm plantations, and orchards should be monitored so that waste and fertiliser did not get into the waterways.

The expert, who has been in the water business since the 1950s, said the Government should also consider building “water banks” or raw water storage ponds using disused mining pools.

“If there is contamination the water banks can be used during emergencies,” he said.

Source : The Star - 28th March, 2006

This piece of news make me sick. But I'm not surprised at all. And what response will we get from Syabas (Puncak Niaga) or the local government? "We don't know about this", "We are looking into this", "We are short of manpower", "We need more allocation of funds to deal with this", "It is the fault of those who throw rubbish indiscriminately". Pointing fingers, zero accountability.

Every citizen is entitled to clean water. After all, we are required to pay for water which we consume. Whilst it is right for the authority to place a rubbish boom to collect rubbish, why was it left to accumulate for 3 months before the rubbish is cleared? Perhaps they are allowing a bridge to be built across the river. Or are they working in cohorts with water filtration companies to increase the latter's sale of filtration products.

It is indeed sad that for a country that boasts the tallest flag in the world, soon-to-be biggest court complex in the world, used-to-be tallest building in the world etc, we are struggling with cleanliness and inadequate supply of water. It is indeed sad that having to pay RM1.20 per cubic metre of water (for condos) and lesser for other types of residential dwellings, consumers have to spend more money to buy water filters to install at their homes and watch the slime and grime accumulate on their water filter as fast as they could blink their eyes. How many of your white clothes turn yellow after a few washes? How many of your water containers turn yellow / brown after a few refills?

Know your rights and take care of your health!


Thursday, March 16, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 2:54 pm

Last Saturday (11.03.2006), I went to the market and got home at around 8.30am. Everything was per normal. Around noon and whilst having lunch, my wife and I heard alarm ringing from outside and we thought it was the lift alarm. It stopped after about 30 seconds or so.

Later that day, after dinner, my maid informed me that there is no water coming out from the taps. Oh dear, is there a water supply disruption? So, down I went to the Notice Board and saw an urgent notice which was put up that very day itself. "Please be informed that there is a water supply disruption due to breakdown at the Ulu Langat Reservoir. Management was not informed by Syabas earlier. Having checked with Syabas, we are informed that the water supply will be interupted from 9.00am (11.03.2006) until 9.00am (12.03.2006)". Oh dear, no water...dishes to wash and washing machine was interupted at the drain cycle. We did not keep any water for use.

Oh well....we thought since it's going to recover the next morning, we should move to my parent's house and stay overnight. Especially when you have a 9 day old infant who threatens to poo-poo at any time and there's no water to wash up!

Next day, we came back home at 2.30pm only to find that there is still no water running through the taps. I went to check the main supply pipe and noted its reading. The meter was not running.... Maybe water will come in later, I thought.

At 5.30pm, I went to check out the main supply pipe again. Still the same reading as 2.30pm. This is really too much. So, again...we packed our bags, tilam and all and headed for my parent's house.

Monday - 13.03.2006. Called the Management office and was informed that water supply will come in the afternoon but appears to be very low pressure. As I am staying on the 10th floor of a 12 storey building, I will be one of the last to receive the supply. It should come in at night. But we ran out of clothes and I had to go to work the next morning. So, after dinner, I took a drive home to pack some clothes etc. It's a 40 minutes drive one-way (about 25km) from my parent's house to my own. The fuel indicator was dropping fast.

Next day, called my neighbour on the same floor and was informed that there is only a trickle of water at 5pm. Upstairs neighbour (11th floor) hasn't received theirs yet. Looks like gotta stay one more night at my parent's house.

We finally got home yesterday night (15.03.2006) and were happy to see water flowing again through the pipes. Of course, the initial flow looked very much like the teh ais which I have almost every morning. But it was glorious indeed to see the water flow.

Syabas....what a name to use. Syabas is short-form for Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor. And the Menteri Besar is so proud to announce that Selangor is the most developed state in Malaysia and ought to be declared a fully-developed state. On what basis? Is it necessary that to qualify for developed status, you need to have flash floods every time it rains heavily for 1 hour or so? Or to have frequent water disruption notwithstanding we are living in a tropical country?

At least, I still have my parent's house to seek refuge during the water disruption. What about those with no where to go? Stay in a hotel? Syabas will not reimburse you for that. Neither will they reimburse you for having to spend more money buying drinking water. What about the additional travelling incurred (especially when fuel price has increased)? I would be keen to see if, as "caring corporate citizens" (they are, after all, corporatised) they will grant rebates to those affected by water disruptions.... Fat chance!