Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation, Malaysia

Monday, June 29, 2009

Music Monday - A Tribute to Michael Jackson : King of Pop

Like the rest of the world, I was in a state of utter shock and devastated to hear the news of the untimely death of pop icon Michael Jackson. When my boss broke the tragic news to me, I was in a state of disbelief. Although he has no reason to lie to me, I refuse to believe the news. But curiosity got the better of me. So when I finally switched on my laptop, the news of his death spread like wildfire through news sites, social networks and Twitter non-stop. It was simply shocking.

I spend my childhood listening to Michael’s timeless music and words cannot describe how much the legendary King will be missed. Although I've never been a huge fan of Michael Jackson, it made me sad that the legendary King of Pop was gone despite all the controversies surrounding him in the past decades. So keeping his personal life aside, it’s the music and amazing talent of Michael Jackson, that we should all remember him.

Having said that, he was an undoubtedly amazing moon walker I've ever seen and I don't think we will ever have another magnificent King like him for the rest of the decade because he’s irreplaceable in every sense of the word. Almost instantly, a musical tribute filled the airwaves with his greatest hits. As sad as it may sound, his legacy will never die and forever be cherished in the heart of millions who treasured his undeniable talent.

May his soul rest in peace. I sincerely hope he has finally found some form of peace and happiness in his life he was never able to find in this world. My heart goes out to his three kids and other members of his family.

Until then, I'm featuring a couple of Michael's inspirational songs this week for your listening pleasure. Happy listening!

From LYRICSMODE.COM lyrics archive
Lyrics | Michael Jackson lyrics - You Are Not Alone lyrics

From LYRICSMODE.COM lyrics archive
Lyrics | Michael Jackson lyrics - Heal The World lyrics

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

PhotoHunt - Flags

I think cupcake flags are just so cool, especially when it comes to parties and special occasions. They instantly add a touch of fun to a batch of cupcakes and they are great to set the mood and carry the mood over the dessert table.

I've always loved cupcakes which are sweet handful that requires no knife, no spoon and no fork. You just peel back the paper and eat. Not only are they yummy indulgence, they are the ideal portion size and I can see why most people and even kids are so captivated with these little treats. They're something easy to hold and eat with one hand, easy to display and easy to serve, don't you think?

Malaysian cupcake flags

If you're feeling patriotic, I bet that would be the excellent patriotic touch to any desserts for the upcoming Independence Day party. Alternatively, desserts can be personalised with different flag designs to suit the occasion.

Have a great weekend and Happy PhotoHunting!

First Commenter - Mei Teng

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Koi Fish

Colourful koi fish (Japanese word for fish) swimming gracefully in the pond. They are also commonly known as the Japanese carp. I could feel the serenity of nature and I simply love the way the fish are swimming in groups, yet so close together. My kids are delighted by the enchanting colours with its contrasting patterns. The bold colors of each koi makes the pond comes alive.

According to Japanese legend, if a koi succeeded in swimming all the way up the Yellow River to a point called Dragon Gate, it will literally transform into a Dragon. Based on that legend, it became a symbol of worldly aspiration and advancement. They are now bred all over the world and Koi tattoos have also gained popularity in North America.

In chinese culture, it is believed that these symbolic fish brings good luck to the owners. As much as I would like to breed these fish, they can be highly prized and you need to dig deep into your pockets to stock a large pond with Koi. I guess I'll only consider these fish if I have got plenty of money to spare. :)

First Commenter

Monday, June 22, 2009

Durians, anyone?

It's that time of the year again when durian or commonly known as 'The King of Fruits' stalls crowded the roadsides, all packed with mountains of durians. Yup, it’s durian frenzy here in Penang/Kedah and there are plenty of durian stalls selling this thorny fruit at every corner of the streets. Although I'm afraid of piling on the calories but when it comes to durians, I throw caution to the wind. Needless to say, I was looking forward to savour a good feast of this fabulous tasting fruits.

While some people consider the smell of durian as notoriously stinky and repulsive, I find this thorny fruit sinfully aromatic. Some can be dry, others creamy, like ice cream or chocolate in taste. I personally like smaller durians with bittersweet taste and the slightly fermented aroma of liquor to it. These are all good durians that should be highly appreciated to its fullest. Infact, the taste and quality of durians really differ depending on the origin and the degree of ripeness. The best place to get good durians is still Balik Pulau, Penang. I find durians from Thailand which are much bigger in size to be less desirable in terms of taste, smell and especially texture.

It was also interesting to note that there are many unique nicknames for different version of durian fruits that reflects its characteristics or even named after Jackie Chan's wife. As much as I love durians, it's difficult to be able to differentiate or remember the taste of one from the other. I couldn't even recall the name of my favourite.

These are some selection of branded durians. Prices are between RM12-13 per kilo in my neighbourhood. I normally spend about RM100-200 for these exotic spicky fruits every year.

Each species has a distinct taste and odour. For every pause for the next variety, it is best to rinse your mouth with plain water so that you can exquisitely acquire the exact taste for each cultivar and not having your taste buds to dance with undiscovered delight. My hubby loves the ones with golden or orange flesh which are popular in demand and secures the highest price, especially if it is accompanied with a great taste.

A small seed with milky, heavenly texture

A taste that's out of this world

Can you spot the worm hole on the husk? Now, don't be turned off by the sight of worm holes. It is a good indication that these durians are grown in pesticide- free environment.

As durians have warming properties, it's quite a common practise to pour water into the husk of the fruit after the pulp has been consumed and drink it.

An alternative method is to eat the durian in accompaniment with mangosteens, which is considered to have cooling properties.

It looks like unpeel cloves of garlic and whitish creamy against the fruit's purple backdrop. Incase you are wondering, the season for durians is typically from June to August, which coincides with mangosteens too.

Love it or loathe it, durians will stand out like no other fruit. For durian lovers, happy durian hunting! :D

First Commenter - Mei Teng

Saturday, June 20, 2009

PhotoHunt - Creamy

Having been a brownies fan, I simply can't resist this gooey chocolately goodness as it's richly creamy, moist and luscious. It's usually made with lashings of chocolates and it's stunningly delicious with a tinge of peanuts dancing around my taste buds. I could smell the chocolate from the distance, it's simply divine. The melt in your mouth cake is comforting and a great once in a while treat!

Happy Creamy weekend, everyone!

First Commenter - Bengbeng

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A visit to Strawberry Farm

We made a quick stop at the Big Red Strawberry Farm which was located just next to the Cactus Valley. It appears that the farm isn't really big as the name implies. I had thought that it would be some huge strawberry field but this place was a small nursery where strawberry plants were grown hydrophonically, ( in nutrient solutions and not in soil).

Hydroponics method is being practised for cultivating some crops aside from strawberries which include tomatoes, capsicums and other herbal plants since they adapt well to the cool tropical highlands weather. Strawberry farms are practically everywhere in the highlands as the weather here is suitable for its cultivation. These farms are opened for visitors making them one of the popular tourist attractions in CH.

It is believed that over 40,000 pots are grown here in this farm. Some strawberry farms offered self-plucking berries and you need to pay accordingly to the amount you've plucked. We didn't go to one of those farms though.

unripe berries dangling from the stems. Although these berries seem to be slightly smaller than the ones in Europe, they are just as exquisitely sweet and juicy.

Rows of lettuce (Red coral, Green coral, Butterhead, Romaine) being grown hydroponically on this farm as well.

Aside from the hydroponic farm, there were abundance of potted plants and cactus available for sale at the nursery.

We bought some strawberries home and this is exclusively the right dessert to end this post on a sweet note. Bright ruby red, juicy, berrylicious and packed with flavour, I savoured every berry, especially as it has been months since my last eaten berry. They serve more than just satisfying the sweet tooth. :)

First Commenter - Buzzing J

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Cactus Valley

Apart from Cactus Point, Cactus Valley has the best collection of cactus as well as other exotic plant species in Cameron Highlands. Some plants in this valley were believed to be at least 60 years old. I was fascinated by the wide array of lovely flowers of different colors and shapes cultivated in the highlands and you won't see such plants elsewhere in Malaysia. I've always enjoyed viewing the majestic beauty of fresh flowers and they were well maintained and you will find abundance of these plants in this nursery.

Some plants and cactus were put up for sale and some people were wondering if I bought any cactis. Unfortunately, I didn't buy any as you have to keep the climatic conditions in mind for them to grow well. Some species need special care and it is necessary to take into account whether they can adapt to different humidity, temperature, soil, sunlight and the amount of water levels. A couple of years ago I bought some pots of cactus and sadly, they didn’t grow properly and didn’t bloom at all. :( So, the thought of getting one has not crossed my mind as it is very difficult to weed around these guys and I couldn't bear the thought of seeing them being perished again.

I would very much loved to get these plants home and i would have been in a cheery mood everyday. :)

First Commenter - Ayie

Saturday, June 13, 2009

PhotoHunt - Lock

I came across this cleanly cut cable bicycle lock on the ground. Sadly, bicycles are relatively easy to steal and with a flimsy lock like this, it doesn't require much effort to swipe a locked bike. They’re such an easy target for dedicated crooks, opportunists as well as bored teenagers. :( I prefer a thick, high quality cable lock to protect my bike.

First Commenter - Liz

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Cactus

Cactus Point is one of the main attractions in Cameron Highlands. It is a wholesale and retail of cactus nursery with a nice exhibit of different specimens. I did a fair amount of touring looking for unique plants and cactus. As it turned out, I did not have to go very far. The best and among the greatest part of the cactus were all right in front of our eyes. I was amazed by all of the different varieties of cactus. They were lovely and well tended. Even my kids were fascinated by the colourful cacti due to the spikes and prickles. For cacti enthusiasts, you'll find the spiky plants interesting and amazing. :)

First Commenter - Lori