Jan 14, 2015

Penang: Misty Penang Hill

I have fond childhood memory of visiting Penang Hill. With luxuriant green, cold refreshing weather, tranquil, some part remained colonized too. I recalled, there was a green corner for kids to run wild while the parents get to sit down and relaxing close-by. About 830km above sea level, generally five degrees cooler than Georgetown, you will get to experience the change of temperature from the foot of the Hill to the Hill itself, with less than 30 minutes, excluding the waiting time at the queue to take the funicular. Penang Hill is one place that offering a spectacular panoramic view of Georgetown, sometime, Penang Bridge and beyond. 

We were not lucky enough. We didn't have the view of Georgetown entirely at the lookout point of Penang Hill. It was misty due to the wet weather. It had been raining non-stop for 5 days consecutively. And because of that, it was extremely cooling too. 

As much as I tried to find familiar sights of the place, it has changed a lot. Added with a structure to house the food court, an owl museum and a platform for hosting the love lock- adopted the popular love lock concept around the world, and a Penang Hill Square (Dataran Bukit Bendera). Oh boy, I felt a little disappointed. 

The only unchanged place is perhaps the old Bellevue Hotel. We had a tea session at the cafeteria and soaked into the misty atmosphere. It was rather quiet there, peace and green, compare to the very happening Dataran. Though, I wasn't sure if this is the place that my parents brought us and stored the beautiful memory of Penang Hill in me.   
Love the Garden of Bellevue Hotel

Apparently, Penang Hill, was the first colonial hill station developed in Peninsular Malaysia. Understandably, during colonial times, British administrators/planters/investors tried to find a place to escape the oppressive of the lowlands. The heat of the tropical climate took a heavy toll on the health of the British. Today, in spite of Penang Hill, Malaysia is now well known with Genting Highland, Cameron Highland, Fraser Hill and Maxwell Hill, attracting hordes of visitors looking to beat the heat by escaping to cooler climate.


More info:
  1. There is a playground near a Hindu Temple which is not too bad in condition.
  2. Official map of Penang Hill not just showing the points of interest, it also includes various routes of trekking towards the Hill.
  3. Funicular is not the only way to get up the Hill. You can walk up from the foot of the hill, actually another direction from Penang's Bontanic Garden to the top of Penang Hill. More helpful detail here, including the trekking routes.
  4. Ticket fare to take funicular is charged differently between foreigner and local. There is a small print says that, 50% discount for all categories after 7pm, Monday to Thursday, except Local School Holiday and Public Holiday. Absolutely good deal to enjoy the night scene of Georgetown.
  5. It is the last patch of tropical rainforest in Penang so the flora and fauna here have been protected since 1960. You can join some guided nature trails in Penang Hill. More information here.
  6. There is one British colonial building houses an upmarket David Brown's Restaurant and Tea House, absolutely the right place for a nostalgia English tea, scones, strawberry-and-cream and what not.
Linking up with Sakura Haruka's WW.

Jan 3, 2015

Dec 2014: Pulau Pinang

Before the year (2014) ended, we managed to make a trip to Penang. The trip was unexpectedly awesome. Even the girls said so and asked for a return. Well, maybe we hardly a tourist in our own homeland, time was always allocated for family gathering, friends meeting, running errands and shopping(it's cheaper there). This time round, despite we made the effort to meet uni-mates and bonding with family members, we did what tourists do: sight-seeing to Penang Hill, water and sand playing at the beach, wandering and hunting down those famous street arts, finding those food stalls that we used to patronised... Penang is really fun, apparently.

This scrapbook captured one fun moment of the girls. SC drove through Jalan Tanjung Bungah to reminisce what we knew of Teluk Bahang, Batu Ferringhi, stopped by one of the smaller and quieter beach at Tanjung Bunga for the girls to have some sand play time. The girls were thrilled. They jumped, cart-wheeled, shell and rock throwing, soaked into the sea water, etc. They didn't have enough of it. Beach, one great place to be for the kids to release their energy. Zero cost, infinite joy. 

Oh, throughout our visit in Penang, it was raining everyday. This was the only bright, cooling day for us to enjoy the beach.

I used to work (for 2 years) and stay (for a year) in the Island ten years ago, before I married and stayed in Kulim. I reckon I needed a city to transit the city me before I moveed to a small town. It was probably one of the best decision I made. Slower pace at work, cheap and good food, people are generally nicer to approach if I seek for help, though I could not speak and understand Hokkien. Those day, SC (my then boyfriend) stayed and worked in Kulim, only occasionally came over Penang to visit me (or I went to Kulim). Those days, I had quite an adventure here, all by my self. So, part of me wanted to walk the city nostalgically this time. Many parts of my memory about Penang has faded away.

Dec 8, 2014

I Didn't Throw it Away

I used to draw a lot when I was young, before the world was cyberised. 

Growing up in a big city, we didn't spend our childhood outdoor freely. Most of the time, besides playing with my siblings at home, I spent most of my free time seating down on my desk and holding the pencil to draw, to sketch, and brushes to paint. There must the innocent soul of mine in believing myself of having some sort of magical power to visualise and decode 3D into 2D. I was not afraid of wrong doing onto the drawing pad.

Nov 30, 2014

Transforming Grape Stem Into a Tree

One day, after disconnected a bunch of grapes from the stem and passed the fruits to the girls to eat...

I saw a naked tree in my palm.
So, a wild attempt to let the girls have some fun began-

Paint a Tree
First | bend some parts of the stem a little outwards, just to make it like a tree branches.
Second | washi tape to stick the stem on the drawing paper, randomly.
Third | get ready with brushes, colouring palette, water, some water colours,
           mainly green, blue and yellow, just to get different shapes of green
Fourth | Fun dipping begins!
            Various of green- light green, dark green, lime, teal, mint, etc dip onto paper.

Lastly | Complete the background as you like.

Visually, it gives an impact to the little minds on the transformation possibility of an object. Technically, it allows the little hands to experience the dipping technique and how blue and yellow can form variety of green. Again, the infinite possibility of forming own's green.

Of course, you can try other shapes of colour.

Nov 10, 2014

A Bit (More) from the Daily Fix

While writing and receiving loves on my earlier post of the Daily Fix, I got the opportunity to chat a little with Julian, the Founder. More on, feedback on his food and coffee we had. I approached him further if he would like to share about his story on the café business, those vintage collections, his effort, his vision and what not. I mean, how clever is he to hunt and keep those antiques and oldies? Making them as part of his life beautifully is another great success. He must have some secret!

Here’s his reply:

Oct 15, 2014

Malacca: The Daily Fix, Jonker Street

We travel back to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore to visit my family, at least thrice a year. Hence, SC and I would bring the girls pop by Malacca whenever we could, just to be a day or two of wondering wanderers. Malacca maybe now a very tourist hotspot, it is still a new adventure place to the girls, many to see, many to think about and learn. We also think that it is a living book for us to read and get to walk our history physically. 

[Ok, the true is adult us love the food there, cheap and authentic].

Usually, we would pick off-peak season to visit the centre of Malacca city. It is always jam-packed during weekends and public holidays, on the road especially. Traffic congestion gets worst after listed as UNESCO heritage site. Good and bad I guess. I don't like crowd, and frankly we can't afford to spend more on the accommodation. Y'know, they charge more during peak seasons. (And they charge almost half the price when it is off-peak.)

So, after we had enough of wandering (and books), we went to The Daily Fix.

Oct 14, 2014

Malacca: Jonker Street and its Very Own Library

As I was saying, I have fond memories of Malacca. My dad brought little us to visit Malacca to makan angin (to travel for leisure), mostly during school holiday. Vaguely, I saw the red shophouses a lot, and the Christ Church, and the Fort A Famosa. And Trishaw! We didn't have it in the big city of KL nor small hometown of my dad's, you see. Malacca provided us a glimpse of the past and slower pace of living (few days though) from the Kuala Lumpur city. Over the years, I learnt a lot more about its history of Sultanate, Laksamana and Temenggung, as well as the unique Baba and Nyonya culture from our textbooks. It was one of the proud eras prior to Colonialism of Malaya. 

Profoundly, Malacca set the modern nation of Malaysia. If I may conclude so. 

Like many other cities in Malaysia, Malacca grows and develops rapidly too, vertically and horizontally while I was reading it from the textbooks. Some parts of the city stay physically intact as much as it could, some parts try to integrate the past and redevelop. Conservation and Preservation are not easy when socia-economic consideration is the primary aspect for a city. In 2008, together with George Town of Penang, Malacca became one of UNESCO World Heritage Site. More effort of redevelopment ever since, but I think that listing gives some of us some sort of relief that many of the past get to stay permanently.

Speaking of which, we love visiting Jonker Streetbeing the core of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage SiteDuring our last visit to Malacca, we had great fun. 

Oct 7, 2014

Sept 2014: Malacca

In many ways, Malacca is a very charming place to be. Its food and its mixed arts and cultural are the main attractions, along with those well restored historical architectures. Jonker Street, aka Jalan Hang Jebat, being the core of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage Site, is where we don’t mind coming back again whenever we are visiting Malacca. Jonker Street is where I would find surprises whenever we are the wondering wanderers.

Slowly, I realised that, Malacca is also one of the places that I injected best memories to my children, my family. Pretty much similar to what my dad did to us. We used to visit Malacca for family trips. Those days, Malacca was much more leisure, much more simple; not as happening as now, was not so scorchy hot, was much lesser cars, little chaotic developments, no reclamation (or was it started in process?)... 

Malacca was a good place for us to escape from the metropolitan KL.

Credits: Amanda Yi Designs; Sahlin Studio; Kim Christensen's Design; Akizo, etc.

The text in the digital scrapbook is in Malay, for Melaka = Malacca; Bandaraya Bersejarah = Historical City. I am slowly losing the power of writing in it and speaking of it. 

I share more of our surprises in Jonker Street here and there.

Sep 22, 2014

Review: Creative Horizons

My girl's English isn't fantastic. She is confused with grammar, weak with word decoding; speaks Singlish (Colloquial Singaporean English) wonderfully and brings them into her comprehension, composition and oral too.

I don't have solution for her, except being very patient in correcting her. You see, I was brought up in an environment that English is being third or four language to acquaint with, I didn't learn the language formally until i was in third year of primary school. I learnt English bit by bit slowly over the years and I am still learning the language to-date. So in a way, I don't push very hard in her study. I let the big English-speaking environment do the hard work; the school, her friends, the media are the greatest teachers, aren't they? Eventually, she should be mastering the language, right? I am just a supporting role when she's back home.

But. My home environment is kind of rojak (mixed): Mandarin, English and most of the time mixing them up in a sentence to convey a message. Even though I don't speak perfect English, I was taught the right way to speak simple English and so cautiously, I speak to my children in grammatically correct manner... by right. In such a big environment of Singlish, I am slowly localised, been quite confused with the language sometime, while exhaustively reminding her what's right and what's not. Slowly, I get into more serious business, past years' paper for her to practice, holiday programme to revise, hoping to improve her proficiency level. I hate to admit, I am doing little help to her, in her English. To some extend, I speak more Chinese to her instead. Let's go back to our mother tongue, she should be mastering the language eventually, right?

I think I was giving up in helping her.

Aug 20, 2014

Fun for Free Singapore: Venus Loop, MacRitchie

This post is part of the FUN FOR FREE SG series of blog train, brought to you by a group of mum bloggers. We’re sharing on one fun and free venue a day in the month of August. For the complete list of places, please scroll right to the bottom of this blog post.
. . . . . . . . . . ~ ~ . . . . . . . . . .

Today, I'll be sharing with you another fun and free place to be with your little ones: Venus Loop, a small part of MacRitchie nature trails.

MacRitchie situated in the core area of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), it is believed that it boasts a rich biodiversity with over 500 animal species. Together with MacRitchie, the CCNR now consists of a mixture of young and mature secondary forests with virgin primary forest surrounding the reservoirs.

As you may already know, MacRitchie Trails is a 20-km network of forest trails and broadwalks winding through the forest, to allow public to experience and appreciate nature. TreeTop Walk is another key attraction of CCNR. Whilst, Venus Loop is less mentioned.
"The MacRitchie Forest Trail at Venus Drive meanders along the banks of a forest stream that is full of freshwater life. Here live dragons and damsels, freshwater crabs and prawns, the Puff-faced Watersnake, Pygmy Halfbeak and Saddle Barb." from Toddycats.
"让生命稳稳流动(也)是我的功课之一。" by Bubu Tsai