Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Raya 2012 Part II - Raya in Perak

This is a part of a series of posts based on my Raya celebrations of 2012.
The previous post : Raya 2012 Part I - Story of Lemang

I spent my raya celebrations in Perak with my mother's family. To edit the photos one by one inserting it into my trademark frames but not this time. Photography wise, I found that indoors, nothing beats the good old light source. Even using wide open apertures and high ISO on my 600D, the shallow depth of field makes photos look out of focus and not so pleasing. Anybody kind enough to buy me a speedlight? Oh I'm posting most of these photos from a third party photo site, feel free to click for the full sized photos. Most of them are not edited.

Anyways, this is about raya. It is about the time when the young asks for forgiveness from the old and sometimes, we get some money as reward. Let's go raya!

Raya meme?
Lily not impressed.
Introducing Yan & Granny
Aidi at the back waiting for his turn?
Sara and Aai
Tyra and me mother.
Yeah, us.
Sara and her siblings.
Aai and his siblings!
oh mum.
look at our achievement!
Raya is the time for us to meet and catch up.
They are plotting something I tell you...
Relaxing after a long day collecting duit raya.
Picture time!

Stay tuned for another one, photos of my adventures in Terengganu is next!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Raya 2012 Part I - Story of Lemang

This will be a part of a series of posts based on my Raya celebrations of 2012.

I'm so lucky to be blessed with parents with real kampungs in Perak and Terengganu. In dramas they would have a scene where the couple argues which kampung will they go for raya. My parents are different, instead of deciding which kampung to go each year, they would go for both kampungs in the same year. Yeah! A trip around the peninsular for me!

Somewhere near Kampar on the PLUS highway there was an overturned bus that caused this traffic jam. Pitch black darkness, my Canon 600D still captures the image!

Remember my Canon 600D Low Light Street - Story of 'Santan' where I told you about the coconut milk? The story continues with the festive preparations! Let's make some Lemang!

Step 1: Clear the bush. Seriously? I don't know.
Get the young coconuts for the water and the old ones for the milk.

Mix washed glutinous rice with santan, salt and lots of love.

We're not done yet! Get some banana leaves and some bamboo stems! Cut the banana leaves carefully and let it line the inner walls of the bamboo stem for the lemang.

Fill the bamboo sticks with the pre-prepared rice!

Fill em up to around this height.

Hire some badass gangsters for help.

After that cut them up!


Oh the raya goodness.
Stay tuned for more soon.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Selamat Hari Raya 2012

Selamat Hari Raya kepada pembaca-pembaca yang setia klik blog ni~

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Malaysian Bane Meme

So yesterday I posted a meme or caption pictures as some might call it. It is a picture of Bane from the Dark Knight Rises that reads "We take Malaysia from the rich, the corrupt. Malaysia is yours, do as you please."

It all began in the intention of just equating Malaysia to Gotham, just wouldn't it be cool if our country is the home of Bane and Batman? Yeah for fun. But as I were making it, uploaded it, I thought it has more to the captions. It served a bigger cause.

Gotham is plagued with problems as most would know, crime skyrockets, people are taking out their voices to the streets in violence, just perfect with Malaysia struggling with bold violent crimes commited to unsuspecting citizens, and people are taking their voices to the streets with riots, arson, looting, you name it, in the Bersih riots to name one.

Just as Bane and his clan planning his vendetta towards civilization, he wants Gotham destroyed, he puts out a nuclear bomb, threathening to bomb the city. While he does that he breaks the Gotham island from the outside world by destroying bridges and blocking tunnels. Gotham is in emergency and no government can govern.

Instead of blowing up the city to tiny pieces of smashed pumpkin immediately, he inspires false hope that he is 'returning the power to the people'. In the period he can see people fight each other, some to restore order, while some other just want to continue life without laws. The poor people continue looting rich houses. They say it is much fairer. The power belongs the people he said, although their end is counted in days. Indeed that is what Bane wanted. In the fight to survive, provide them with false hope to see them kill each other.

In reality the concept really is scary, but totally logical and true. This is how Malaysia is working.

The Malaysian democracy system is very interesting. We are heavily divided into many groups, actually worse in those groups we have much more sub-groups. Every day in TV we see politicians from many parties, promising hope to the people. But yet not much is being done to solve the major problems we face in daily life.

We see the 1 Malaysia slogan almost everywhere but yet are we really that close to being united and patriotic? Start with the political system. Every race has a few political party that speaks their demands to the nation. These parties then form a coalition together to form a bigger organization and compete for votes. Sounds like a good idea. But since every single party has their own race to defend, who cares much about the other race? Not like literally, but are we really solving problems in the same boat or just three boats tugging each other to different places? Just think about it.

To worsen things there are not a single group that represents a particular race, there are multiple. One is a shouting chauvinist, the other is defenders of a fallen leader and another is a strict religious enforcer. Well there are already three original boats tugging each other, but now there are much more boats, tugging each other to different directions. No more thinking in the same boat! How can we move forwards, even in any direction maybe as everybody is tugging each other?

Yes spread out mediocre slogans and symbols but our hearts are far apart. It has some effect but not total effect. Well, we go to different schools yeah? We need to secure our identity we kept from our motherlands through the fight of keeping these racially divided schools alive? Why cant we have only one universal way of teaching that will make us think similarly? Still with so many voices of society representatives screaming their community's needs, but not one voice for the good of all? I'm just asking. You have the answer.

The steps that needed to solve this are not yet taken in my point of view. Mediocre slogans and logos, are we being fed false hope while there are actually none?

Feed the trolls.
They say, leaders must win their voters. Some say it is by providing the people with food on their table. People who benefit from the current policies will say, lets keep things the way it is going now, vote for him! Meanwhile, the people who doesn't really benefit much on their side of the table will surely revolt, demanding a revolution! Stand up from the norm, we must take our power back from the corrupted rich stocks! Power must be returned to the people. Oh Gotham.

The major problems, like housing prices go up so fast, some say its at least 10% annually making more and more people couldn't afford buying property anymore, like not much economic activity going on to provide work opportunities for fresh grads and so much more haunting us on a daily basis. But yet none of these problems are yet nipped in the bud.

The leaders resort to giving raya bonuses, subsidies and so much more in big checks handed over to people while posing on stage in massive ceremonies in front of flashing lights of media coverage. Then another group is promising too-good-to-be-true offers like free education, abolishing loans and more subsidies. Trying to steal the spotlight, almost works but most doubt it if they could even afford that.

The meme symbolises something much bigger than it is intended. I see false hope being fed to people everywhere just like Bane wants it to be. The time bomb is ticking. To change for the better we need to stop tugging boats. Built a ferry for everyone and discuss a travel plan to reach where everybody wants to go. But it needs massive power to get these people, these boats go together. One weak young citizen just can do so much. Bane broke Batman's back with so much ease when he fought alone, but with half of Gotham united they won Gotham back.

Oh snap out of it. Its just a movie. Lets just try to live our lives happy and let those heavy faced old people worry about all those stuff. Lets just make more memes. "Why so serious, son?"

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Canon 600D Low Light Street - Story of 'Santan'

Oh the title would entice those kids searching for real life low light shots from a Canon EOS 600D DSLR. Now everybody wants low light capabilities right? Eeew, I know, just a feat of advertising. But who say I can't shoot handheld in low light, in the dark of night? Sure I can with this camera and a bag of tricks. Here are the photos. All are taken with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Mark II lens. 

The Story of Santan - coconut milk. Just a Canon 600D Nighttime Low Light Street Style shooting.

It is Ramadhan here in Malaysia. It means that the Muslims here refrain themselves from food, drinks, vices and many more from sunrise to sunset. Most would be like, 'whoa that is an awesome feat of mind". It is, normal maybe? All human beings do this for 8 hours each day while sleeping, why not do it for 13 hours during waking hours?

Simple. Wake up at 5am for Sahur, eat a considerable amount of food and water before the sun rises at 6am. From sunrise, no more food and water. Hunger is not really the main concern to me personally, but the thirst is the imminent enemy. I love water, water is life.. Oooh... After 13 hours at 7pm, when the sun is down, the fasting period is over and we can have our sip of water with glorious food. Ahh everybody exhales the breath of relief lol.

It started as a normal Ramadhan day for me, then sometime past 10pm dad called me downstairs, he asked if I wanted to go out and buy some Santan - the coconut milk, with him. So yeah why not, we went out. The coconut milk is one of the most important ingredient in many Malay dishes. It is so commonly used as it is very common plant in Malaysia. Usually the green coloured young coconut fruit is mainly for drinking, but the santan came from old brown coconuts, purposely left to age.

We went to a pasar malam, or the night market beforehand.

Nothing much interesting. So we went to a nearby grocery store, traditional Malaysian style. Not the cleanest place you would want to see but I can hide the bad parts out of my frame. And we found our coconut here! So the process is actually breaking the coconut shell into two pieces, removing the water inside it and then grating the white flesh inside it with a coconut grater. The shredded coconut flesh will be the one we need. RM2 per coconut if I'm not mistaken.

In cooking, we would soak the shredded coconut flesh into a bath of water and squeeze them to get the milk out. After repeating the process a few times the water will turn milky white and congratulations, we have the santan. 

That's that. So around 11pm I got home and enjoy my supper. A scrumptious bowl of Bubur Lambuk awaits me, one of the dishes that uses the santan in making it. Other Malaysians are standing in line on this day, they wanna enjoy a free scoop of Baskin Robbins ice cream; well Baskin promised if Dato' Lee Chong Wei win a gold medal they would give free scoop of ice cream to Malaysians, although he got silver, the plan still goes on. But this is me, eating my traditional porridge, sure, this is way much better than ice cream. Oh look at that, a fresh mango juice blend from the tree in front of my place. Lovely.
Happy Ramadhan.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Double Standards in Muslim Malay Men

First and foremost I would like to offer my greatest apologies if you find the content of this post might hurt you in any way. I am not a religious expert so if you find any mistakes do enlighten me. I am not very comfortable in posting this Islamic stuff but I need to speak my mind out, as this is my blog, I post things that crosses my mind.

I am writing this in a feeling of despair, distrust towards my own kind, the Malays. It is a well known fact that there is a wave of Islamization going on in Malaysia where everybody is changing towards the better.

The Malays set high standards in choosing a wife. She must be beautiful and so much more. To keep things short, she must be perfect while there is no particular criteria for men to be that perfect to suit her. Just see the competition called 'Gadis Melayu' on TV. In the Islamization again the women are the ones who must heed with society's demands. They call for the women to cover up their bodies according to Islamic laws.

It is good. I don't deny it. But I began to feel dissapointed when I saw some of my male friends who are very loud advocators for Malay women to cover up end up praising sexy Korean K-pop girls as beauty idols and applauds all the pretty Malaysian Chinese girls for their beauty. It just doesn't add up. Apparently I lambasted some of them in my own synical ways and they learnt their lesson. But this DOUBLE STANDARD annoys me even further when a girl I know is in the equation.

Malay boys doesn't respect Chinese girls.
Harsh mini title there. This is not true for all though, just for some.

I remember once I saw on TV how a pious looking politician once got caught receiving bribe in the form of two china dolls, not blow up dolls, real Chinese women to have fun with. The disturbing part is when reporters asked him, why he received the girls anyway and he simply said something like; "people gave it to me as a present, I took it".

Isn't there any guilt or remorse in his actions? I don't remember when it happened or who he was but I am absolutely sure I watched him on TV.

It hurts a lot when I was chatting away with a friend, a Malaysian Chinese girl and somehow we got into the topic of relationships of the kids in school, and she broke out some amazing revelation about her past. There were a few Malay boys who actually texted her, asking if she can have sex with them. Let me just repeat, a few, not one or two, a few. She is pretty though. But she is smart enough to know that pre maritial sex is prohibited in Islam and politely turn down their pleads. She is not that cheap as the kids thought. Then I asked who the kids were, and I know them, familiar faces in school, even at the mosque every friday. I know these kids who would really avoid touching Malay girls by avoiding handshakes and all, but when it comes to Chinese girls, the tables got turned?

Look at the double standard. They had so much respect for hijjab wearing Malay girls but never felt the same respect to Chinese girls. No handshakes for Malay girls but when it comes to non Muslim Chinese girls, oh it is so okay to sleep together. That is just scary.

Facebook page selling Malay girls
A few days ago while I was blogwalking or browsing the blogs I subscribed to, I found an angry blogger, blogging about a Facebook page. The page shows pictures of pretty Malay girls and saying they will give the link to her facebook profile to the highest bidder. I don't fully understand how their sick bidding business works, gladly, their business is closed.

The pictures shown in the page is very, hmm enticing? The comments were biddings and some are just sick pornographic jokes.

There are some girls who found out and demanded their photos to be taken down from the page. I am very much dissapointed to see the treatment of other Malay men towards the girls. Of course the girls are in shock, angry to see they are in an 'auction'. I am much dissapointed how Malay men actually hurl abuse to them and said she deserved it because she didn't cover her body.

Sorry bro, that is just sick. Here is the stuff.

Again. I am very dissapointed on how disrespectful these so called mosque going hudud law advocators can be towards girls. It just doesn't add up. Islamic practices is all about telling others to abide it rudely without you changing yourself? You call for girls to cover up abiding Islamic laws but there you are, a fan of the page, bidding for links? Get a life. Get a real girl. I'm sure you can't.

You are always chanting in Facebook and Twitter about Malay girls not covering up their bodies while you feast your eyes with Girls Generation and lenglui's? Controlling lust goes both ways my brothers. I'm not saying girls can go naked around town but hey, let her do her job of covering up her body, but you need to look away too. And a soft spoken advice gives much more impact than just hurling abuse. Learn how to da'wah properly but first, learn some manners. When it comes to the issue of treatment to non-Muslim girls, I'd expect you to keep the same amount of respect towards non-Muslim girls as you would towards hijjabis and burqa wearing women.

Allah is just. Let us all, together, control our lust. May Allah cleanse our hearts with blessings and keep us away from the great fire. Amin.
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