Ramadhan – a time for reflection
Once again, Ramadhan, the holiest of months for Muslims, is almost upon us. The ninth month of the Muslim year is strictly observed by all Muslims as a month of fasting (and abstinence) during which they would abstain from the pleasures of eating, drinking and carnal desires and actions from sunrise to sunset. Ramadhan usually lasts from 29 to 30 days, after which Muslims celebrate Id-al-Fitr (Hari Raya Puasa in local language). Fasting is one of the five basic duties of Islam.
Nasi lemak – a parcel of Malaysian goodness
A favourite breakfast dish for most Malaysians is the Nasi Lemak – something which transcends the often-tenuous ethnic boundaries in this multi-racial country, as Malays, Indians and Chinese all love it.
Kuih Bahulu recipe
Kuih Bahulu is a perennial favourite among Malaysians of all ages. It is a light, fluffy sponge cake made of eggs, flour and sugar. It has a slightly crusty outer layer and is quite similar in taste and texture to the French Madeleines. Kuih Bahulu ideal for tea time and goes very well with black coffee. It comes in different shapes and sizes, but the popular options include the goldfish and the button flower designs.
Celebrating Vesak (or Wesak) Day in Penang
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." – Buddha.
Vesak day falls on full moon in May. Also known as Buddha Purnima, it is considered as a holy celebration for the Buddhists as the day commemorates with Gautama Buddha's birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and death (Parinirvāna).
Pausing for Reflection on Holy Vesak Day
As 21st century Malaysia hurtles deeper into the recesses of globalisation, an urban rat-race and the 'kiasu' syndrome, does Buddhist culture still bear relevance in preserving traditional values?
The beggar readily sees a bare floor as place for a good sleep. The rich man, on the other hand, will have nothing else but the softest bed in a 5-star hotel.
Both men, poor and rich, have one similar need - to sleep. But they have completely different levels of craving, different heights of desire.
Ireland ~ Penang: Bridging Friendships
Maggie Territt and Barry Leddy
Design, layout and photographs by Adrian Cheah, Neo Sentuhan Sdn Bhd
They came, as long ago as the mid-ninteenth century from all parts of Ireland, the Emerald Isle, with exotic names like Clare, Laois, Cork, Mayo, Mallow, Antrim and Tipperary. They numbered among Penang’s first overseas settlers and during long voyages by sea, suffered untold hardships. Some came for fame and fortune, some simply for the adventure, but many did so, fired by their desire to help open up unknown parts of the “new world” and to impart both their knowledge and faith.
Traditional Malay cooking at Lagenda Café in the heart of George Town
The key signature in traditional Malay cuisine is definitely the generous use of local herbs, spices and belacan (shrimp paste). Coconut milk is also added to Malay dishes to enrich them with a creamy finish. In Penang, as well as the northern states of Malaysia, Malay cooking has further integrated Thai flavours. Meats and seafood are usually marinated with a special blend of herbs and spices before being cooked. Vegetables are often stir-fried and some eaten raw always with sambal belacan. I love Malay dishes because of their strong, spicy and aromatic oomph. For an authentic Malay feast, head down to Lagenda Café.
The floral bath (mandi bunga) ritual
The Russian musician Igor Stravinsky might have composed Le Sacre du printemps (The Rites of Spring) as an exploration of nature and the rituals of renewal and sacrifice, but one could safely conjecture that the ritual and ceremony of the Malaysian floral bath was created for more personal (and less lofty) reasons. The two may be worlds apart, but both Stravinsky and the local bomoh share one thing – invoking the power and the mystery of nature and the elements in their work.
Apong Guan – one piece is never enough
This is something I have recently noticed about Uncle Ah Guan. He has always being great fun to chat with but on my recent visit one afternoon, although he was smiling and friendly, he was not his usual chatty self. I realised that age is catching up and grinding over the stove in the scorching tropical heat, day in and day out, cannot be an easy task for him these days.
George Town World Heritage Site: The story of the Chinese in nineteenth-century Penang
By Mark Thompson and Karl Steinberg with photographs by Adrian Cheah
Walk between two of George Town’s most famous landmarks with this illustrated guide. Discover the story of the Chinese in nineteenth-century Penang and explore some of the community’s fascinating characters, customs, architecture and events.
For as long as it has existed, George Town in Penang has attracted travellers and settlers from across the globe and is a true confluence of cultures. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site continues to enchant visitors with its traditional charm and its well-preserved historical townscape.