Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zzzzz's and Zucchini recipes

Z is for more Zzzzz's.

Strange that the first thing that came to mind about Z is the thought that I need to catch up on having more Zzzzz's as in catching up on sleep. Many of us are in need of that, I think.

So many things to do, so little time.. Yes?

Z is also for many other things. Zebra is the most common. Ai Shiang in the Y post asked if I was going to use zebra. That's an easy one, isn't it?

Z is also for Zeppelin, Zero, Zeus, Zip, Zombie, Zoo, Zygote, Zucchini and more. And speaking of zucchini, here are three recipes to try out with zucchini.

Are you a brownies fan?
Bake yourself some delicious moist zucchini chocolate brownies.

Having an abundant harvest of zucchini from the garden? Why not make some cheesy Zucchini patties. Yum, served with a bit of tomato sauce or sour cream dabbed on top.

And here's a recipe for blueberry zucchini bread for bread-lovers!

And this ends the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge! Yay! I made it!

Thank you for visiting. See you around.

Image source: Allrecipes

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for You

is for You.

Yes, you.

Y can be for a lot of others...

But it is YOU I want to thank for being a part of this blog. Thank You!

Image source: Google images

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for X-factor

X is for X-factor.

The X-factor referred here is the television music competition franchise created by Simon Cowell. It originated in the United Kingdom and it is now held in various countries.

The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality. The prize is usually a recording contract, in addition to the publicity that appearance in the later stages of the show itself generates, not only for the winner but also for other highly ranked contestants.

Sam Bailey certainly has that X-factor. Follow her progress, in the video below, from audition to the final and eventually wins the X-factor in 2013.

Be entertained by her X-factor/talent. Yes, be entertained. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for Watermelon, Water, Waterloo

W is for Watermelon.

Watermelon is available here all year round.

See what we can do with this sweet watery fruit or draw inspiration from it.

Notice the square watermelon. That is grown in Japan.

Source: Yahoo! images

W is also for Water, precious, precious water.

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Without access to safe water communities are unable to take their first essential step out of poverty.

WaterAid has been working in Mali since 2000. Over the last decade we have worked with local partners and influenced decision-makers to help more than 205,000 people access safe water and more than 208,000 people access safe sanitation.

W is also for Waterloo.. in relation to ABBA, of course. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for Vegetables

V is for Vegetables.

- Vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, and variety is as important as quantity.

- No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. Eat plenty everyday.

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.

Eat a variety of types and colors of produce in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. Try dark leafy greens; brightly colored red, yellow and orange vegetables and fruits; and cooked tomatoes.

The above is borrowed from the Harvard School of Public Health website. It goes on with more information..

Eat more vegetables and fruits each day

1. Keep fruit where you can see it. That way you’ll be more likely to eat it.

2. Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet.

3. Skip the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbohydrates.

4. Make it a meal. Try cooking new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads and stir fries are two ideas for getting tasty vegetables on your plate.

This one is interesting. There' also a suggestion of a Healthy Eating Plate vs. USDA’s MyPlate. Take a look.

This is the Healthy Eating Plate...

And this is the USDA's My Plate..

The Healthy Eating Plate, created by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, points consumers to the healthiest choices in the major food groups. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate, though it has been revised to reflect some key findings, still doesn’t offer the most complete picture when it comes to basic nutrition advice.

The Healthy Eating Plate is based exclusively on the best available science and was not subjected to political or commercial pressures from food industry lobbyists. Here’s a table showing how the Healthy Eating Plate compares to the USDA’s MyPlate, section by section.

Details on the comparison is available on Healthy Eating Plate vs. USDA’s MyPlate. Worth reading.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for the Unseen

U is for the Unseen.

This is the last week of the A to Z Challenge. Though it's been challenging trying to keep up, it has been an interesting journey these past three weeks, and which now takes us to the letter U.

I have no idea why the word Unseen popped up. Let's go with it then.

Do you believe in the Unseen? The paranormal type I mean.

The ethnic Chinese of Taoist/Buddhist faith, of which this writer is a part of, just the beginning of this month took part in the ritual of tomb-sweeping, i.e., visiting tombs of departed relatives with food, incense, and other related offerings including money and clothes used in the other world.

This is a yearly affair around this time of the year. If you have seen a Chinese Taoist/Buddhist cemetery you would realise that it's very unlike the Christian ones. Chinese cemeteries have that air of 'scariness', or maybe it's just me or maybe it's the culture of belief of the afterlife and ghosts that gives us that feeling that our cemeteries are eerie.

For that reason, I make it a point never to take pictures in a cemetery when I make that annual pilgrimage to my grandparents' graves.

Speaking of taking pictures, I know someone who inadvertently snapped a picture of a ghostly figure appearing next to his friend whose picture was being taken. This took place at a staircase in a popular shopping complex downtown. Not sure if he still has that shot in his phone. That was quite some years ago.

Personally, I haven't had any such encounter. Thank goodness for that. But my roommate at a hotel in Auckland (that's right, New Zealand) had the experience. She saw one the very first night itself. Maybe because 'she' knew my girlfriend saw her, she thought it was ok to 'harass' my girlfriend after that. And she did, on the last night (fourth night) of our stay in this 5-star hotel. We were staying in one of the hotel suites.

(Lesson here - should you see a spirit/ghost, do not maintain eye contact or never let it know that you saw it. Pretend you didn't know it's there. Chances are it will also ignore you.)

I only knew about my roommate's encounter when she told me about it on the morning of the fifth day while we were waiting for our cab to the airport. My friend was not scared one bit. Such a brave lady! I would have asked for a room-change.

Want me to go on?

At dawn of the last morning of our stay, i.e. the fifth morning, I noticed my girlfriend (we slept in separate beds) was groping as if searching for something under the pillow and the sheets. At breakfast, I asked her about it and she said 'someone took off my pullover'.

You see, she had her pullover over a cotton short-sleeved blouse when we retired for the night. But come morning the pullover had been taken off and she suspected the 'thing' did it. Then she revealed that she had seen her the very first night itself. She was writing a postcard to send home. That was about 2AM when she saw a ghostly figure in white with wet long hair coming out from the bathroom. Yikes!

Why wasn't she scared, I asked her. She said she wasn't because she had with her not one but two amulets that her mom gave her.

A little about amulets. Over here, amulets are a part of the Chinese Taoist/Buddhist belief system. They are usually issued from the temple and mostly through a temple medium. He (usually it's a he) goes into a trance in which his body is being taken over by the temple deity and then he hears out anyone with a problem who need a solution. Together with the solution or advice provided (conveyed through a translator) amulets are sometimes issued when the occasion warrants it. I have seen these trance sessions and even been chased once by a medium, but that's for another day.

Back to the hotel episode, here's a tip to ensure a good night's sleep in a 'foreign' environment.

The next time before you retire for the night in a hotel room or in any strange place, do one of the following methods (someone in the know shared) on how to ward off spirits for an undisturbed good night's sleep.

1. Place your footwear each facing opposing directions by your bed. (See images.)

2. Sleep in the nude.

3. Sleep with your underwear at the head of the bed.

Nos. 2 and 3 are probably more for men but I practice the first one all the time - usually more than one pair. Yes, even in Auckland that time. Which explains, you think?

I didn't share it with my roommate because I thought she might think that I was overly superstitious. But you try it the next time you travel. I know it guarantees me a good night's sleep every time. It would too, for you. Tell me about it when you get back.

Image source: Yahoo!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

T for Top Ten

T is for Top Ten.

For T, I'm going for a Top Ten list of various topics from cats to coffee; from Korea to Bali. Isn't the Internet an amazing thing!

First up is..

1) 10 Things Cats Hate. Planning on getting a cat for a pet? This list is a good start.

2) Many of us need coffee to start the day. Take a look at the 10 Things Coffee Does to Your Body - the good and the bad of it.

3) Heard so much about Bali but not sure what is in store for the kids? Here are 10 Best Things to Do With Kids in Bali

4) It's been reported that in Malaysia diabetes is on the rise, maybe in the world too, I don't know. The worse part is that people are not aware that they have diabetes because Type 2 diabetes has no symptoms. Here's for awareness...Ten Things You Might Not Know About Diabetes.

5) 10 Things Great Managers Do

6) 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Money

7) 10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean

8) Other than K-Pop what else do we know about South Korea. Find out what 10 things South Korea does better than anywhere else.

9) 10 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Car

10) 10 Things Teachers Want Parents to Know

This is my ten of Top Ten. Do you have any list to share?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sad day..

S is a Sad day for music fans around the world.

Indeed a sad day. Legendary musician, Prince has passed away, aged 57.

Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, died Thursday. He was found unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park, his home and recording studio, in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Prince rose to fame in the 1980s with hits like Purple Rain, When Doves Cry and Kiss.

Source: CNN

His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, confirmed to AP. “It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57,” Schure said in a statement. “There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time.”

Earlier this month, due to illness, Prince had to cancel a scheduled performance in Atlanta. Last Friday, he was briefly hospitalised after his plane was forced to make an emergency landing at the Illinois Quad City International Airport. It was reported that he had been struggling with the flu.

RIP Prince. You will be missed.

More about Prince from CNN:
- Photos through the years
- Timeline of his life/Fast Facts
- Prince's Most Iconic Moments
- Celebrities pay tribute

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rain, please!

R is for Rain, please!

Every September our skies here are shrouded with haze or smog but hey it's not even September yet and we are experiencing rather unhealthy air quality today in certain parts of the country.

Lest we be too ready to blame slash-and-burn land-clearing activities in Sumatra, this time, it is due to local open burning, vehicular pollution as well as peat fires caused by extremely hot and dry weather.

Yes, only heavy downpours can drench down the unhealthy particles in the air.

Think RAIN.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quizzes for Fun

Q is for Quizzes!

I find quizzes a great way to relax and to escape for a while from the seriousness of everyday living - sort of like mini escapes if you like.

For that reason I started Friday Frolics , my own little collection of quizzes, where I have a quiz every Friday.

Long-time readers of this blog would have noticed there's no quiz this month. But not to worry, the quizzes will be right back after the A-to-Z Challenge . And we are at 'Q' today already!

Just for a sampling below are a few quizzes, if you are up to it. Enjoy...

What Side of Your Brain is Dominant?

The Shoe Personality Test

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

And one more for the road.. Find the Panda among the snowmen. Or did you find it the last time?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Protect Your Child

P is for Protect Your Child.

This is a great message to spread.

We protect our email, our bank account, our phone with a password.

So why not protect our child.


You can help prevent your child from being abducted
by simply doing the following:

1. Create a special password that is shared by you and your child and
other trusted people. Under no circumstances should this be shared
with anyone else.

2. Make sure your child memorises it.

3. If a stranger approaches your child and tries to convince him or her
to come with them, your child should demand the password.

4. If the stranger doesn’t know the password, your child should refuse
to go with the stranger and immediately alert a nearby teacher,
parent or policeman.

What method do you use to protect your child?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Orange - quickest way to peel an orange

O is for Oranges.

Here in Malaysia we get oranges all year round unlike our local fruits that are seasonal. (I can't wait when durians will be back in season next month.)

We are not complaining though that we can get oranges and apples any time of the year. It's helpful. You see. some of us make fruit offerings at prayer altars so having fruits all year round helps. Apples and oranges too are fruits one brings along when visiting a sick/ill person. Very traditional this one, this part of the world.

Now back to oranges... we all have our own set way(s) of peeling or cutting an orange. Of course, there's no right or wrong way, it's just a matter of choice.

The other day, I stumbled upon this interesting (and fun) video on three easy ways to peel and cut oranges. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Nuan Nuan, the new baby Panda born in Malaysia

N is for Nuan Nuan.

Nuan Nuan is the baby panda born seven months ago in Malahysia's Zoo Negara.

Nuan Nuan is the name chosen from 23,000 suggestions from the Malaysian public in a month-long nationwide competition.

The baby panda is the offspring of Liang Liang and Xing Xing who are on loan to Malaysia from China. I think this new-born is on record as being the earliest to be born to a couple of pandas after relocation outside of China.

Nuan Nuan means warm and friendly which best exemplifies Malaysia and China's diplomatic relationship.

Check out the little guy...

Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for Mid-way of the A-to-Z Challenge

M is for Mid-way.

M is the 13th letter of the alphabet which is to say participants of the A-to-Z Challenge have completed half the month-long blogging project.

Personally it's been quite a challenge but satisfying to know that I managed to blog regularly or find new things to write about.

Thank you for visiting and leaving your thoughts. I will have to work harder at replying and dropping by your blog. So many blogs to enjoy (more than 1700 blogs), so little time. Exciting times ahead!

M is also for Malaysia. Btw, ever wondered where Malaysia is? Here's a map to help along.

Malaysia is made up of two land masses. West Malaysia is a peninsula flanked by Thailand to the north, Singapore to the south and Indonesia to the west.

East Malaysia is on the island of Borneo comprising Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Longevitology or the Study of long life

L is for Longevitology.

Longevitology, ever heard of this technique of healing by way of adjusting energy flow in one's body?

Longevitology (Chang Sen Xue in Chinese, which translates as "study of long life") is one of several healing modalities intended to adjust energy flow throughout the body to improve the body's ability to heal itself.

The general theory of health and illness underlying Longevitology is the same as in other forms of Asian medicine: Good health is the result of energy (referred to as Ch'i, Qi or Prana) and blood flowing smoothly through the organ systems of the body; illness results when the flow of ch'i is disrupted. When proper energy flow has been restored, conditions are optimized for the body to heal. The body lives in a rich field of universal yang energy. Just as a healthy body draws oxygen into the lungs to breathe, it also draws in universal energy to replenish itself. It does so through points on the body, neural plexes called chakras. Chakras are the body’s power centers, energizing cells and organs so they can function. Each chakra governs the functioning of a different organ system. When all chakras are operating properly, metabolism will be efficient, the immune system will be effective, and waste and toxins will be readily excreted.

In Longevitology, Master Lin Tzu-Chen and Wei Yu-Feng opens the student’s chakras to receive this universal energy. Students are taught how to use this energy to heal themselves and others of common ailments. Master/Teacher Lin Tzu-Chen and Wei Yu-Feng travel throughout the world annually to teach Longevitology.

Courses are taught in Mandarin and English translation is available in some locations. Classes in Malaysia are taught in Mandarin and English translation is available. I completed all the three classes - beginning, intermediate and advance classes. I must admit, I see results, not that I have any major illness or anything like that but I find that little, little discomforts disappear much faster than they used to. I also do adjustments for family members.

People who received Longevitology energy adjustments reported the following common benefits:

•Reduced stress
•Pain relief; deeper, more restful sleep
•Increased energy
•Relief from migraines, tension headaches and back pain
•Increase mental alertness
•Faster healing of injuries
•Regular elimination
•Shrinking of tumors
•Improved quality of life
•Among others.

I strongly encourage you to join a class not only for your own benefit but also for the benefit of those around you. But in the meantime if you need some adjusting to relieve some pain due to an injury or to accelerate recovery after a surgery or for any of the above, visit an adjustment center near you, if any. Adjustment centers are available to the public. There are quite a number of adjustment centers in Kuala Lumpur as well.

Here's a class schedule for you to check out. Two classes were just completed in Vancouver, Canada and the next class with be in Los Angeles and then back to Canada, Toronto, Las Vegas and then in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. This is all for April.

In Malaysia, the next class will be in June and that's in Sarawak. And then classes will move on to London, Wells in the UK and then on to Lille in France. That's all in June. Sign up, you won't regret it. Oh, did I mention that it's all free of charge? This is a non-profit organization started in Taiwan.

Perak will have a class in June, and one in Pahang in July. There's one in Selangor in July too. Yay for people in the Klang Valley. There are three classes in Myanmar in July too. Singaporeans are not left out. There's a class in July as well, end of July. And if you are in Taiwan, you are lucky because there are two classes running simultaneously in two different cities fortnightly.

Good news for you if you are in the KL area. Though not in the schedule yet, there's a class already in the pipeline to be held in Setapak in November. Let me clue you in on that, so check back on the Longevitology for updates and contact details.

If a picture tells a thousand words, here are a few more thousand words. These images show attendance and participation in class in a number of cities. No bluffing one. This is a serious affair.

Don't worry. Longevitology is not a business; nothing is bought or sold. It is not a religion, and it has no political aspirations. Longevitology groups are present in several nations, including Taiwan, the US, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Austria and Belgium. Like I said earlier, classes are FOC.

For more information, visit the Longevitology site which is the source of information and images on this post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K is for Kuala Lumpur, of course!

K is for Kuala Lumpur, but of course.

What better word to pick for K than the capital city of one's own country. Kuala Lumpur.

The word 'Kuala Lumpur' is a Malay (local language) that means 'muddy confluence'. It was literally at a muddy confluence in the heart of the city that KL (for short) first took shape.

Jamek Mosque at the confluence of Gombak (left) and Klang (right) rivers. The earliest settlement of Kuala Lumpur developed on the eastern side of the river bank (to the right in this picture).

This is part of the eastern side of the river bank. Notice the old buildings on the right.

Another view of the east side. Here's a part of history -Japanese troops advancing up High Street (now Jalan Tun H S Lee) in Kuala Lumpur in December 1941 during World War II.

We are also trying to preserve old buildings in the city. These are pre-war terraced houses refurbished into restaurants and bars along Tengkat Tong Shin in Bukit Bintang. Bukit Bintang is where the action is in the city.

Kuala Lumpur has been voted one of the top shopping destinations in Asia. This is Suria KLCC, located between the Petronas Twin Towers. KLCC (KL City Center) where the twin towers are located, is linked to the Bukit Bintang area via an air-conditioned pedestrian walkway. This makes it really convenient to move between these two popular places in the city. The walkway would also, in a way, provide you a chance to see more of KL on foot as it passes through a number of areas in the city.

This is Bukit Bintang, the hub of the city, in the enclave of the Golden Triangle. In this vicinity there are like seven shopping malls and all within walking distance. Shop till you drop, no less! There is a monorail that plies the city - top right of the image.

At one time, the road junction here was named, Bintang Crossing, modeled after the famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. Here traffic lights stop in all directions to allow pedestrians to all scramble across at the same time. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough awareness on the how-to's of using it and not long after Bintang Crossing died a natural death. I wish they would revive it given the number of people using this crossing. It would also add a unique feature to the city.

These are the people who had a key role in the development of Kuala Lumpur.

A trip to Kuala Lumpur is not complete if you miss seeing the Petronas Twin Towers in person. Todate they are still the tallest twin towers in the world. You can get a panoramic view of the city at the Skybridge linking both towers at the 41st and 42nd floors.

Here is a night view of Kuala Lumpur with the moon rising over the iconic towers. The torch-like structure left of the twin towers is the KL Tower. It was lit in red, blue and white in solidarity with the rest against terrorism and respect for those who perished in Paris. In October, it's lit in pink/purple for Breast Cancer Awareness month. KL Tower is also the sight for the annual BASE jumping event which includes day and night jumps.

This is a view of the city centre. Picture taken last year, 2015. Beyond the hills to the centre-left, on a clear day you can even see Genting Highlands.
All images above are from Wikipedia.

Welcome to Kuala Lumpur!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for John Lennon

J is for John Lennon.

I thought I'd add in some music into this A-to-Z Challenge so I picked John Lennon for 'J'.

John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. (Wikipedia)

I don't think I need to say more. Let's get on with some of that good stuff. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Inter-monsoon season is here

I is for Inter-monsoon season.

We are still on the weather, yes.

As a follow-up to the 'H' post on Haze in Malaysia, let's talk about the Monsoon today.

Malaysia not only has a monsoon season, it has two. That's right T-W-O.

One is the southwest monsoon which is about to start anytime soon just as we speak. In fact, MetMalaysia said the inter-monsoon season had set in last week with west coast states expe­riencing heavy rainfall in the past few days.

The other monsoon season is the northeast monsoon which occurs late November right through to January. The latter is when we get heavy rains that cause much flooding, devastation and hardship to the people in the east-coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and parts of Pahang. Sadly, this is a yearly affair. There is much to be done.

The southwest monsoon on the other hand affects states on the west coast of the peninsula, including the capital city of Kuala Lumpur which is located inland. The expected heavy downpour should provide a respite from the heat wave we are experiencing right now which results in hotspots from peat fires and subsequently causing the haze over the country.

If you are planning a trip to Malaysia, best to check up on the weather/monsoon season for the part of the country you are visiting. For example if you are going to the island of Perhentian or to Clud Med, on the east coast, you may want to avoid the months of November to January. Other than that, every month is a good month to visit Malaysia. And that includes the island of Borneo which boasts of one of the best dive sites in the world, Sipadan.

Source: Tourism Malaysia

Malaysia celebrates a number of festivals that may make your visit here with us more enjoyable, more memorable. Shopping is definitely one good reason, if nothing else. So is food. With our melting pot of cultures, expect to be amazed what you can feast on. Tourism Malaysia is a good reference for a start.