Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Greetings

I just want to greet all the friends I met in Malaysia . . . a very
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year !!!

Hopefully, I can visit Malaysia one more time in 2010. It's such a wonderful place!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Butterfly Favor

Suddenly, I had this flashback when I was a schoolgirl, just enjoying the school grounds wherein a large portion were covered with grass. I would see some mushrooms sprouting from the grass, especially after the rain. When the sun is up, the grass is fresh, attracting golden dragonflies and bright-colored butterflies. Birds, in a flock also painted the blue sky.

Nature is full of God's "I love you's".

Coming to Malaysia, I did not let the opportunity to visit the Butterfly Garden pass by. I've seen something similar in Hong Kong.

Being with a lot of fluttering butterflies all around, not frightened by visitors, felt invigorating. I myself felt so free, like being one with the colorful creations, which started as small crawling caterpillars.

The garden was designed with small bridges and mini waterfalls. There was even an area where cocoons where kept and there were designated feeding boxes with flowers and fruits.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Native Flora and Fauna in Malaysia

In my recent trip, I was fortunate to have visited Europe. I did some review of notes on my experiences there with that I had in Malaysia. Well, I wasn't able to see live animals in Europe, like my camel friend here. I did enjoy the pigeons. Europe is rich in structures and architecture. Malaysia is more green, even in the city. Sun, water, trees . . . that's how I remember Malaysia. Who knows, I may come back in Malaysia sooner than I think. That would be exciting! See you Jack, remember him?

Malaysia is well-endowed with natural resources in areas such as agriculture, forestry and minerals. In terms of agriculture, Malaysia is one of the top exporters of natural rubber and palm oil, which together with sawn logs and sawn timber, cocoa, pepper, pineapple and tobacco dominate the growth of the sector. Palm oil is also a major generator of foreign exchange.

Regarding forestry resources, it is noted that logging only began to make a substantial contribution to the economy during the 19th century. Today, an estimated 59% of Malaysia remains forested. The rapid expansion of the timber industry, particularly after the 1960s, has brought about a serious erosion problem in the country's forest resources. However, in line with the Government's commitment to protect the environment and the ecological system, forestry resources are being managed on a sustainable basis and accordingly the rate of tree felling has been on the decline.

In addition, substantial areas are being silviculturally treated and reforestation of degraded forestland is being carried out. The Malaysian government provide plans for the enrichment of some 312.30 square kilometers (120.5 sq mi) of land with rattan under natural forest conditions and in rubber plantations as an inter crop. To further enrich forest resources, fast-growing timber species such as meranti tembaga, merawan and sesenduk are also being planted. At the same time, the cultivation of high-value trees like teak and other trees for pulp and paper are also encouraged. Rubber, once the mainstay of the Malaysian economy, has been largely replaced by oil palm as Malaysia's leading agricultural export.

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holidays Tours in Genting

The Genting Sempah-Genting Highlands Highway is a main highway from Genting Sempah to Genting Highlands, Malaysia's famous mountain resort and entertainment parks. Genting Sempah-Genting Highlands Highway was used to be a private highway owned by Genting Highlands Resort. The construction of the highway was regarded as one of the most astonishing engineering project in Malaysia. However, frequent landslides at the highway during recent years have caused the highway to be recommissioned as a federal road by Malaysian Public Works Department in 2005.

Genting Highlands is a mountain peak within the Titiwangsa Mountains on the border between the states of Pahang and Selangor of Malaysia and is home to a famous mountain resort by the same name, which can be reached by car from Kuala Lumpur in one hour. It is also accessible by the world's fastest and South East Asia's longest cable car called Genting Skyway. In 2006, the resort had 18.4 million visitors. Genting Highlands was founded by the late Lim Goh Tong in the late 1960s. Currently, this resort is being lead by Lim Goh Tong's son, Lim Kok Thay who is also the current president and CEO of Star Cruises company.

It is sometimes informally known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia, dubbed the "City of Entertainment", as it has the only legal land-based casino in the country and is run by Resorts World Bhd, a subsidiary of Genting Group. The resort, Genting Highlands Resort, also features many hotels owned by Genting subsidiaries including Awana Genting, First World Hotel, Genting Hotel, Highlands Hotel, Resort Hotel and Theme Park Hotel. Facilities in this resort include two theme parks, a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" Museum, a wind-turbine sky diving simulator, golf courses and shopping malls.

There is a computerized system outside First World Hotel which can automatically calculate the number of parking-bays left in four hotels; First World Hotel, Genting Hotel, Highlands Hotel and Resort Hotel.

Genting Highlands is also home to a 100 million year old forest.

The cool mountain air makes it an exhilarating experience to enjoy the many rides at the Outdoor Theme Park. Whether taking leisure drives in the Antique car or experiencing the adrenaline pumping Space Shot, it's a magical adventure of fun and excitement for the whole family.

There is more than 20 different kind of excitement in the theme park , for example, "the space shot" which 185 feet high,"the pirate ship", "a spinner", so much much more.

Genting Skyway, located at the Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor side of Genting Highlands, Malaysia, is currently the world's fastest and South East Asia's longest cable car system. Its lower station is located near Gohtong Jaya, and its upper station is located at Highlands Hotel of Genting Highlands Resort. It was officially opened in 1997 by the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohammad.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Trip to Malacca

It was raining during the early part of the day when I left the hotel. Fortunate for me, the sun was shining brightly at Malacca. The city is a bit far from where I was staying, so we left very early. The travel was worth it. The place is truly rich with Malaysian culture.

I was able to make a swift tour, digesting everything my eyes can behold. At the park, there are a number of colorful rickshaws that you can ride to take you around the area and have some photo shoots. The people are amiable.

Selamat datang, as they say.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bird Watcher

Wow, I miss blogging. Just returned home from Europe. Back with the birds!

I visited the commercial squares in Europe. This one was in Portugal. The birds won't fly, looks like they're heavy from getting fed by the tourists there (probably pizza crumbs).

Birds . . . they're great to watch when in a flock. I love watching them fly together. At home, in the Philippines, I am so blessed to have a view of a flock of flying birds every afternoon, an hour before sunset. Lately, I discovered the same flock fly after sunrise, when I walk my dogs in the morning. What a lovely world!

I sure had a greater time with the birds here in Malaysia, at the Batu Caves, where they were more in number during my visit and had more energy to flap their wings.

Even my hotel in Malaysia has flying birds as motif on the walls. Cool! Fly on!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Church Finder

That day, I saw a big mosque in the city. Jack, my "teksi" driver said there is a bigger mosque that he can show me. Later on in the afternoon, Jack changed his mind and brought me to a Catholic church instead. He said we came there so I can pray. I was a little disappointed not to see the grand mosque like he said earlier but it was a good suggestion from him that I pray here.

We went to St.Peter's Church in Melaka (or Melacca).

The church was constructed in 1710 under the Dutch administration. It is the oldest Catholic church in Malaysia. Its facade and decorative embellishment is a mix of both eastern and western architecture. Its bell was delivered from Goa in 1608.

The church was closed. I headed for the adoration chapel instead where I offered my thanksgiving. I was so thrilled with my trip here in Malaysia. I was so happy that I even had this opportunity to visit a church and pray. Jack's idea was great after all.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Local Malaysian Foods

Malaysian foods, got hooked with them. Love the local food such as Nasi Lemak and Nyonya. The tropical fruits in season are also great.

Nasi Lemak is rice steamed with coconut milk to lend it special fragrance. It is served with anchovies, peanuts, cucumber and a chili paste known as "sambal". The mamak variety of "sambal" tends to be a bit more spicy whereas the malay version of "sambal" in a nasi lemak tends to be on the sweet side.

Nyonya food was developed by the Peranakan people of Malaysia and Singapore. It uses mainly Chinese ingredients but blends them with South-East Asian spices such as coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric, screwpine leaves, chillies and sambal. It can be considered as a blend of Chinese and Malay cooking.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Economy of Malaysia

Tin and petroleum are the two main mineral resources that are of major significance in the Malaysian economy. Malaysia was once the world's largest producer of tin until the collapse of the tin market in the early 1980s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, tin played a predominant role in the Malaysian economy. It was only in 1972 that petroleum and natural gas took over from tin as the mainstay of the mineral extraction sector. Meanwhile, the contribution by tin has declined. Petroleum and natural gas discoveries in oil fields off Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu have contributed much to the Malaysian economy.

Other minerals of some importance or significance include copper, bauxite, iron-ore and coal together with industrial minerals like clay, kaolin, silica, limestone, barite, phosphates and dimension stones such as granite as well as marble blocks and slabs. Small quantities of gold are produced.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mosque Image, Grand Mosque, Mosque Minaret

I am so thrilled to see the different mosques in Malaysia, but mostly just from afar. I was no able to go inside, though I was able to roam around in the vicinity. They were large structure of awe and beauty.

Another grand mosque in Malaysia is the Ubudiah Mosque in Kuala Kangsar, which I was not able to see, thus no photo. All the photos in my site are my personal photos taken during my trip.

This is the Masjid Negara, the national mosque of Malaysia. Its main roof is symbolically shaped like an open umbrella (above photo) while the high minaret is shaped like a closed umbrella (photo below).
The Masjid Negara is the national mosque of Malaysia, located in Kuala Lumpur. It has a capacity of 15,000 people and is situated among 13 acres (53,000 m2) of beautiful gardens. The original structure was designed by a three-person team from the Public Works Department - UK architect Howard Ashley, and Malaysians Hisham Albakri and Baharuddin Kassim. Originally built in 1965, it is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete, symbolic of the aspirations of a then newly-independent Malaysia.

Its key features are a 73-meter-high minaret and an 18-pointed star concrete main roof. The umbrella, synonymous with the tropics, is featured conspicuously - the main roof is reminiscent of an open umbrella, the minaret's cap a folded one. The folded plates of the concrete main roof is a creative solution to achieving the larger spans required in the main gathering hall. Reflecting pools and fountains spread throughout the compound.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Local Tastes of the City Tours

My first tour day in Malaysia was spent going around the city, in Kuala Lumpur. I was so eager that I went hopping from one place to another.

I went to a tourist shop where I bought a pair of violet sunglasses, what fun! I was able to drop by several mini showcase factories, but actually they are shops where they encourage tourists to buy. Included in the list are sites manufacturing chocolates, leather goods, batik cloth and dresses and one that makes and sell pewter products, where I got my mom an anklet.

I went to the King's Palace where visitors were not allowed. But the guard made my day by letting me have a photo with him. You cannot talk to the guards, they just stand there, not at all annoyed with critters like me.

What amazes me is the blending of buildings and structures with nature, lots of greens and lines of trees. Truly lovely!

Public Holidays in Malaysia

Typical festive fare during Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Haji: beef soup, ketupat (compressed rice cubes), beef rendang and sayur lodeh.

Malaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some holidays are federal gazetted public holidays and some are public holidays observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, but are not public holidays.

The most celebrated holiday is the "Hari Kebangsaan" (Independence Day), otherwise known as "Merdeka" (Freedom), on 31 August commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957, while Malaysia Day is only celebrated in the state of Sabah on 16 September to commemorate the formation of Malaysia in 1963. Hari Merdeka, as well as Labour Day (1 May), the King's birthday (first Saturday of June) and some other festivals are federal gazetted public holidays.

Muslims in Malaysia celebrate Muslim holidays. The most celebrated festival, Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri) is the Malay translation of Eid al-Fitr. It is generally a festival honoured by the Muslims worldwide marking the end of Ramadan, the fasting month. The sight of the new moon determines the end of Ramadan. This determines the new month, therefore the end of the fasting month. In addition to Hari Raya Puasa, they also celebrate Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Raya Aidiladha, the translation of Eid ul-Adha), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year) and Maulidur Rasul (Birthday of the Prophet).

Chinese in Malaysia typically celebrate festivals that are observed by Chinese around the world. Chinese New Year is the most celebrated among the festivals which lasts for fifteen days and ends with Chap Goh Mei. Other festivals celebrated by Chinese are the Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. In addition to traditional Chinese festivals, Buddhists Chinese also celebrate Vesak.

The majority of Indians in Malaysia are Hindus and they celebrate Diwali/Deepavali, the festival of light, while Thaipusam is a celebration which pilgrims from all over the country flock to Batu Caves. Apart from the Hindus, Sikhs celebrate the Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year.

Other festivals such as Good Friday (East Malaysia only), Christmas, Hari Gawai of the Ibans (Dayaks), Pesta Menuai (Pesta Kaamatan) of the Kadazan-Dusuns are also celebrated in Malaysia.

Despite most of the festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, all Malaysians celebrate the festivities together, regardless of their background. For years when the Hari Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year coincided, a portmanteau Kongsi Raya was coined, which is a combination of Gong Xi Fa Cai (a greeting used on the Chinese New Year) and Hari Raya (which could also mean "celebrating together" in Malay. Similarly, the portmanteau Deepa Raya was coined when Hari Raya Puasa and Deepavali coincided.

Source: Wikipedia

Culture in Malaysia

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society. The population is 28 million. Figures from 2007 show the population consisting of 62% Bumiputeras, 24% Chinese, 8% Indians, with other minorities along with foreigners.

The Malays, who form the largest community, are defined as Muslims in the Constitution of Malaysia. The Malays play a dominant role politically and are included in a grouping identified as bumiputra. Their native language is Malay (Bahasa Melaysia), which is the national language of the country. However, English is also widely spoken in major towns and cities across the country.

The largest non-Malay indigenous tribe is the Iban of Sarawak, who number over 600,000.

The Chinese population in Malaysia are mostly Buddhist (of Mahayana sect) or Taoist, although some of the younger generations are choosing Christianity as their religion. The Chinese community in Malaysia speak a variety of Chinese dialects including Mandarin Chinese, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, and Teochew. A large majority of Chinese in Malaysia, especially those from the larger cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Ipoh, Klang and Penang speak decent English as well. There has also been an increasing number of the present generation Chinese who consider English as their first language. The Chinese have historically been dominant in the Malaysian business and commerce community.

The Indians in Malaysia are mainly Hindu Tamils from southern India whose native language is Tamil.

Eurasians, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Thais, Bugis, Javanese and indigenous tribes make up the remaining population.

In addition, there have been many foreigners and expatriates who have made Malaysia their second home, also contributing to Malaysia's population.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Festival Holiday

The Thaipusam Festival

The Batu Caves site serves as the focus of the Hindu community's yearly Thaipusam (Tamil festival). It has become a pilgrimage place for not only Malaysian Hindus, but Hindus worldwide from countries such as India, Australia and Singapore.

A procession begins in the wee hours of the morning on Thaipusam from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur leading up to Batu Caves as a religious undertaking to Lord Muruga lasting eight hours. Devotees carry containers containing milk as offering to Lord Muruga either by hand or in huge decorated carriers on their shoulders called 'kavadi'.

The kavadi may be simple wooden arched semi-circular supports holding a carrier foisted with brass or clay pots of milk or huge, heavy ones which may rise up to two metres, built of bowed metal frames which hold long skewers, the sharpened end of which pierce the skin of the bearers torso. The kavadi is decorated with flowers and peacock feathers imported from India. Some kavadi may weigh as much as a hundred kilograms.

After a bath in the nearby Sungei Batu (Rocky River), the devotees wend their way to the Temple Cave and with remarkable endurance they climb the flights of stairs to the temple in the cave. Devotees use the wider centre staircase while worshippers and onlookers throng up and down those balustrades off on either side.

When the kavadi bearer arrives at the foot of the 272 step stairway leading up to the Temple Cave, the devotee has to make the arduous climb against gravity- against the press of the bustling masses.

Priests attend to the kavadi bearers. Consecrated ash is sprinkled over the hooks and skewers piercing the devotees flesh before they are removed. No blood is shed during the piercing and removal.

In 2007, the festival attracted more than 1.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the largest gatherings in history.
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