Tag: Malaysia

A Timeless Tale of Beauty and Nostalgia.

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Recently in Malaysia, the movie Beauty and the Beast had garnered negative attention when the Censorship Board spotted what they interpreted as a gay moment during the song and dance between the pompous Gaston, his sidekick LeFou and the townspeople. Apparently said “gay moment” occurred when LeFou lifted up his shirt to show the love bite that Gaston left on his tummy! Local cinema-goers (and I) beg to differ and tell you that at the very least, it was the adoration that LeFou had for Gaston.

Thankfully, the movie was given the green light to proceed with all scenes intact.

I, too, had the opportunity of watching the movie earlier today, courtesy of the company she works in as a reward to the sales department for hitting their targets. And I thought the movie was brilliant! It was wonderful! It was lovely! It was pretty damn amazing and As a child, I had been a big fan of Disney (and I still am until today), I’m pleased that they didn’t futz it up or butcher it like so many other movie producers and directors had done to other film adaptations.

The musically-inclined in me lapped up every tune, every lyric and every verse belted out by each and every character in the movie. And each song sung during each scene brought me back to my childhood days which I spent watching, Disney cartoons and pretending I was an ordinary girl waiting to meet her Prince Charming. Although that didn’t actually happen but it was still a dream for little ol’ me. Songs like Be Our Guest and Tale As Old As Time took me back almost 20 years ago… It was purely nostalgic!

Director Bill Condon and screenplay writers Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos made sure that every part of the movie fitted like a perfect jigsaw puzzle to the original cartoon. They even found the right actors and actresses to play each of their respective parts!

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Here are some of the characters that I can still recall from watching the movie:

Dan Stevens played the Prince who had been cursed by a witch for turning her away when she sought shelter at his castle during a snowstorm. He was turned into a hideous beast whose spell can only be broken by true love. His servants were not spared either; they had been turned into various objects and furniture with a life and the ability to speak. It’s a pity that neither cartoon nor film had a name for this rugged looking prince. Out of all the Disney cartoons, this prince looks like a manly man. The princes in Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella looked more like pretty boys than manly men.

Emma Watson outgrew her adolescence in the Harry Potter series as Hermione Granger to play Belle, the book-reading, adventure-seeking, fearless young woman who defies Gaston’s request to marry him, goes in search for her elderly father in the dark forest, takes his place in the cursed castle, and learns to love and live with someone completely out of her league. Ironically, she plays a young woman who was born in Paris, France before her father took her away to save her from catching the plague that killed her mother. Watson herself was born as Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson in Paris, France to English parents, Chris Watson and Jacqueline Luesby, both lawyers by profession!

Luke Evans is well-known for his roles as Owen Shaw in Fast & Furious 7 and Bard in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Gaston was a deliciously evil man! Who can resist the bad boy charms of a muscular French man riding through town on a large black horse? He was relentless in his pursuits and efforts to make Belle his wife, right until the very end of the movie.

Josh Gad did a good imitation of LeFou, the short, squat sidekick of Gaston. Although, in the cartoon, he looked a lot more daft than he did in the movie. But both versions of LeFou had a vast amount of adoration for Gaston. The other celebrities I did not imagine seeing in the movie were Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Stanley Tucci as Maestro, Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth and Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts. Of course, there were other stars whom I did not recognise as well.

Again, I’ll say that the movie was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I liked that it brought back such fond memories 20 years ago. I’m not that old considering that I’ve only hit the big 3-0 but taking 20 years off my current age is a big deal! I sat there as the credits rolled after the movie ended, with a tear or two in my eyes. I just couldn’t take my eyes off the screen from start to finish. It was so amazing that I would bring my husband to watch it with me, even if it means watching it for the second time. And this time, I’ll try to focus on the scenes that I might have missed the first time I saw it. I love it so much and I’d love to say more. But I think I will stop here in case I spoil the movie for those who have yet to watch the movie.

Colmar Tropicale, In All Its Glory.

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So I’m going to have yet another long weekend in January this month, my first for 2017 apart from the one we had for New Year’s Eve. It is actually my 30th birthday surprise weekend getaway which was long overdue because my husband was unable to secure the dates in December on my actual birth date. The irony of this getaway is that it’s no longer a surprise destination as my husband had initially booked a different location but he had second thoughts after reading some reviews on TripAdvisor by other travellers.

Turned out he had secured the weekend for a back-to-nature vacation at the Time Capsule Retreat in Sungai Lembing Town of Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. It would have been a great vacation if it weren’t for some rooms not having an attached bathroom, mosquito fiestas and the bad reviews by other guests who had stayed there before. Of course that doesn’t mean that I would never go there. Perhaps another time when it isn’t supposed to be a big deal (i.e.: my birthday surprise). After reading the reviews and having a change of mind, he called me and an emergency change of plans was much needed.

In the end, we settled for Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi by Berjaya Corporation Berhad, also in Pahang, after much thought and careful deliberation on Booking.com. So what is it about Colmar Tropicale that caught our attention?

Well, for one, it has been a long time since I last went there. I used to visit the place as a child when my family would go over for a day trip. Unforunately for me, I’ve been to the actual Colmar in France during one of my holidays with my family a few years ago, and now coming back to the local version, things may not seem as great as the real thing. For my husband, however, he has never been there before and it would be a great experience for him. So at least the trip wouldn’t just be for me. I don’t believe in celebrating at a place that I myself would enjoy while the other person is suffering and/or sacrificing his or her happiness for the sake of the other party.

But let me tell you a little bit about the place, even if my trip is only two days away and I will likely be posting about the trip again when I’m back. Perhaps you may want to have a go at it once I’m done with this post.

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Photo by Kuala Lumpur by Hotels.

About Colmar Tropicale

Colmar Tropicale was opened in the year 2000 and modelled after the 16th century Colmar town in the northeast of Alsace in France. The Malaysian version of Colmar Tropicale also incorporates the architectural designs and elements from the ancient surrounding villages of Riquewihr, Turckheim and Kayersberg.

Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, was impressed with the French-themed village upon his visit to the region of Alsace, which prompted Tan Sri Vincent Tan, the founder of Berjaya Corporation Berhad to replicate the actual Colmar town in Malaysia. The Malaysian version of Colmar comes with 235 rooms and suites, a variety of food and beverage outlets-cum-lounges with dishes ranging from local and international cuisine to authentic French fine dining restaurants, as well as facilities for banquests and meeting rooms are also offered by the resort.

Colmar Tropicale beckons to just about anyone, from solo travellers to families, hopeless romantics and honeymooners, to bathe in the century-old Alsace charms at 2,700 feet above sea level amidst 80 acres of rainforest. Let the medieval French village atmosphere and picturesque environment bring you back to an enchanting era teeming with culture and romance.

Are you tempted yet?

Activities in Colmar Tropicale

If you’re wondering what to occupy yourself with at Colmar Tropicale, well, here are a list of things that you could dip your hands into.

Food and Beverage

For the romantic, you can book yourself a table for two at La Cigogne, the authentic French fine dining restaurant. The restaurant had been given the ‘Best Serviced Restaurant’ award by Tatler Malaysia in 2005 with culinary roots in classic French cuisine and comes with the promise of a romantic French dining experience that is perfect for honeymooners. The menu embraces a modern style with an understatement of creating an ambience of an intimate dining experience. These cuisines are perfectly matched with an extensive range of international wines.

For Health and Wellness

For the weary, you can embrace bring forth the best of health by treating yourself to a session of pampering your skin, body and mind. The Tatami Spa is Asia’s first Japanese-concept spa outside of Japan and was given the ‘Resort Spa of the Year’ award by Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards 2007-2008. Indulge in a range of body treatments from scrubs and aromatherapy massages to hot therapeutic baths, be it in the calming indoors or the refreshing outdoors. The spa is set within the lush and tranquil Japanese Village, which only serves to accentuate an atmosphere of total bliss and relaxation.

There are also other amenities and facilities to put your minds at ease. For those who need more than just the basic necessities, below are some of the offerings by the resort:

  • Baby-sitting services (upon request)
  • Car rental arrangement (upon request, subject to availability)
  • Shuttle services to and from attractions in Berjaya Hills
  • Courier, mail and postage services
  • Bell service
  • Foreign currency exchange
  • Hospitality Lounge with internet facilities
  • Laundry service
  • Major credit cards accepted
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Shuttle service
  • Souvenir shop
  • Wi-Fi (chargeable)

For Sports and Adrenalin

Sometimes we have too much energy and we need to spend them in order to get a restful night of sleep. A whole day spent with the wide array of recreational activities at Colmar Tropicale can include horse riding on the broad backs of the marvellous breed of Palomino horses to tea drinking in the hills of solitude at the Japanese gardens.

Perhaps you’re feeling the need to sweat it out? Then you can go mountain biking in a casual or adventurous setting and enjoy the scenic surrounding of Berjaya Hills Colmar Tropicale. Or maybe you feel the urge to flex those biceps and challenge yourself, then rock climbing could be for you at RM38.00 per person. As a strenuous activity, rock climbing requires you to have the physical strength, endurance and stamina in order to haul yourself up along the rocky walls. Apart from being a challenging activity, it is also an exciting one and gives the climber an adrenaline rush. You can participate in either the speed climbing or the leisure climbing. Either way, you’re certainly going to make your muscles scream for mercy!

There are a whole lot more that you can do when you get there, and a main reason why I chose that place is because of its French-themed surrounding which would make a very good photography opportunity! What about you? What’s your reason for going to a place that you’ve either already been to or haven’t been before?

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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So it was Christmas for us yesterday (it’s Boxing Day today for Malaysians as I write this blog post). I would have loved to update my blog much earlier but I was busy preparing my R&R for the long Christmas weekend. I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to do all the things that I enjoyed doing, like my reading, my typing on the typewriter, gaming and just plain relaxing at home.

Speaking of reading, I’m now on Odysseus: The Return, my 25th book for the year; the last book of my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge. Next year, I plan and hope to finish reading 30 books though seeing as trying to read 25 was already a challenge in itself, I’m not sure if I can really finish reading 30 books next year.

Now let’s see, what was my Christmas like…

I spent the first half of Christmas with my husband having a mixed sausage platter for lunch at Betty’s before leaving for Amcorp Mall to take a look at yet another typewriter. It was another portable, an Olympia Traveller De Luxe, just like the Antares 280 that I have now. The vital difference was the tension in the keys. It was much harder to type, which meant that I had to stab the keys with more strength. Nah, I wasn’t keen on that so I thanked the guy and allowed him to sell it to the next interested party. I’m falling more and more in love with my existing typewriter anyway so I didn’t see any point in getting another one.

My second half of Christmas was spent with my parents. We had a lovely dinner of roast chicken and stuffing, brussels sprouts, salad, buttered carrots, garlic bread, lamb, grilled salmon and roast potatoes… All of which we couldn’t finish. Which was fine anyway because my parents can have the leftovers as their meals the next day. We washed the food down with my mum’s homemade affogato. Everyone had the coffee version while I had the hot chocolate version. It was lovely!

How about you? How did you spend your Christmas?

Food Review: Nyonya Colors.

There are days when you know what to have for dinner. But there are days when you don’t.

Before you start writhing on the floor out of hunger and desperation, what I would do (and suggest you could do the same) is go to the nearest shopping mall, because it is a place where all manners of meals can be found.

Because that’s what we did last night.

We were a little stumped on dinner choices, as usual. So we drove to Mid Valley Megamall, which would have been just a short drive away if it wasn’t for all the godforsaken after-hours traffic. Unfortunately for us, some of the restaurants that we were thinking of eating at were closed due to a gas pipe explosion at the mall on April 5, 2016.

Now you see why we decided on eating at a shopping mall. A few restaurants may be closed but there are so many more that you can visit instead! Here is where I bring your attention to Nyonya Colors, a restaurant located on the Lower Ground floor between Mid Valley and The Gardens Mall.

About the Restaurant

Nyonya Colors specializes in premium homemade quality Nyonya Kueh and delights. We aim to provide customers with the highest quality and tasty Nyonya Kueh. Many of our loyal customers would attest that our products bear the great authentic taste of the past. Almost all our Nyonya Kueh, desserts and meals are produced in our central kitchen so that we are able to achieve consistency in taste and good quality control. Only the best and freshest ingredients are used to make our products. As we do not use preservatives, we advise customers to consume the products within the day of purchase to ensure there is no impairment in taste and texture.

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I have been here before, with a friend for lunch. I love the food here, so I decided to bring my husband along this time. We were really hungry, but first, we shared a packet of nasi lemak. Flavourful and simple. That’s how it should be. It doesn’t have to be fine dining. As long as it tastes great and doesn’t result in numerous visits to the toilet and the clinic. A half-boiled egg, some peanuts, fried anchovies, and sambal are the perfect ingredients of a good nasi lemak.

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Once we got our tummies on a roll, we went for proper meals. A bowl of dry curry noodles for my husband (above), and a bowl of yellow laksa for me (below).

I have ordered the dry curry noodles when I came here for lunch with my friend, and I thought it was pretty good. So I recommended it to my husband. What I love about the dish was the chicken. I love chicken drumsticks and thighs, so when I first had this, I was amazed that these were the standard parts of the chicken that were offered.

So I decided to have yellow laksa instead. I might have made a mistake with asking for a mix of rice noodles and yellow noodles. Rice noodles soak up soup really fast if you don’t eat immediately, and they will become soft and soggy. Which they did. There were big chunks of radish as well, but they were too chunky, and I must have looked like a barbarian, biting into them and squeezing laksa juices all over the table. The laksa soup was delicious, though, albeit a little spicy (a little more than the dry curry noodles).

After swapping the bowls between the two of us, I know what I want the next time I come here.

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Two bowls of hot and spicy later, we decided to cool down with some ais kacang or ABC, as the locals like to call it. No, it has nothing to do with the alphabets. The abbreviation actually stands for Air Batu Campur in Malay, which translates to mixed ice in English.

There are many variations of ais kacang all over the Malaysian Peninsular, as well as in other parts of Asia. Some may use simple toppings and/or ingredients, while others can have ingredients from A-Z enjoying the ice-cold soak beneath the shaved ice. We had red jelly, black jelly, groundnuts, cendol (the little green leech-shaped jelly), attap chee (palm seeds), corn, and red beans. Cold and sweet, just what we needed on a really hot day!

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No doubt the food was great. I found that hard to believe because eating out in Malaysia (as far as I know) means consuming an unhealthy portion of food additives and preservatives. But the website claimed that they used neither in the preparation of their food, which is equivalent to a homecooked meal. It is hard to imagine that outside food can taste so good without even a small pinch of MSG (monosodium glutamate) or Ajinomoto.

Service was prompt. Despite the number of patrons at the restaurant, the food did not take long to reach our table. The cashier even allowed my husband to quickly withdraw some cash at a nearby ATM after having made the orders, and waited for him to return with the rest of the payment. That was good on their part!

However, most people would argue and say that we could get equally good food at a hawker restaurant for a third of the price we paid. Which is true, yes. You could get a bowl of dry curry noodles or ais kacang at a lower cost. But think about it. We were paying, in a way, for the presentation of the food and the cleanliness of the restaurant, no?

Our meal last night was indeed a colourful concoction, and if you look at it closely, it does resemble the colours of Malaysia, truly Asia!

The Evolution of Cups and Mankind.

These cups may have evolved, but mankind has evolved as well. | Photo by Vox.
These cups may have evolved, but mankind has evolved as well. For the worse. | Photo by Vox.

Controversies keep us on our toes. That’s what I think. Because when there’s a controversy, there are all kinds of people who suddenly become geniuses overnight. They spout nonsense, thinking that they look or sound smarter. They start acting as if they know everything and that other people don’t and therefore, need to follow their advice. These people are normally those who have nothing better to do than to stir up controversy for fucks (pardon my language).

When the 1MDB case exploded in Malaysia, everyone went ballistic and criticised the government for everything. From the falling ringgit to the haze. And when it faded away (the controversy, not the case; the case is still alive and under investigation), Malaysians have gone into hiding. Now there is a new controversy, shaken and stirred, but it doesn’t involve Malaysia. It shouldn’t even be happening because it only goes to show how small-minded we are and how ridiculous we sound when we throw tantrums on something so trivial. I’m sure you have seen or heard about the latest ridicule that Starbucks is subjected to. All because of their unveiling of plain red cups for Christmas this year.

Seriously? Are we really that fussy about how their cups should look like for Christmas? Are we the decision-makers on the coffee chain’s board of directors? Are we being paid to design the cups? Then why are we making so much noise over this? If there is any noise to be made, it should be against world poverty and hunger, ISIS terror on children in the Middle East, Palestine and Israel, natural disasters, etc. Why are we making so much fuss over such a trivial matter? Our priorities are all messed up. We should be fighting against deforestation and open burning in indonesia. We should be voicing out against the maltreatment of the population in Syria. We should be channeling our energy to save Greece from bankruptcy. Not directing our disgust at Starbucks. What did Howard Schultz ever do to you, besides opening many branches of designer coffee and Frappuccinos for the world to enjoy?

For Starbucks, their annual unveiling of its “red cup” was meant to signify the approaching holiday season. Sadly, the move was met with a lot of criticism and controversy. The iconic Christmas cups have always featured winter-themed designs over the years, since its induction in 1997. From minimalist snowflakes and hand-drawn reindeer to winking snowmen and decorative ornaments, the design each year was distinctive and different from the last. This year, Starbucks decided to go for minimalism and simplicity — a bright red or dark cranberry shade. I quite like the minimalistic take on the design (I’ve never been buggered so much either anyway), and while some Twitter users have praised the simplistic design, others believed that the move has waged a “war on Christmas.”

The controversy bubbled over when rival coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts released their own version of a holiday Styrofoam cup with green holly leaves and the word ‘Joy’ written in red. The cups may not be explicitly Xmas-based but the move provoked and fuelled opponents of Starbucks’ plain red designs. There were speculations that Dunkin’ Donuts did this as a direct response to Starbucks, but the Dunkin Donuts dismissed the claims, that “they have always been dishing out the festive cups with the word ‘Joy’ on it as part of their annual celebration of season and holiday offerings.” That didn’t cushion the blow for Starbucks, though. People were quick to point out that neither Starbucks nor Dunkin Donuts had cups that had Christian symbols, both coffee chains have merely created winter-themed designs instead. The thirst and hunger for controversy has sparked the hashtag #ItsJustACup that has been used more than 4,400 times in the last few days. (Source: CNBC.com.)

Talk show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Colbert have much to say about this. DeGeneres piped up with her own satirical version of the controversy called ‘Satan Sipper Holiday Cups‘, while Colbert summed up the entirety of the controversy with his own words:

“I can see why people might be all frothed up about this. Now Starbucks is completely devoid of any trace of the holiday besides the Christmas tree ornaments, advent calendars, CDs of Christmas music, Christmas-themed gift cards, Christmas cookies, and giant displays of their Christmas Blend coffee. (Source: Business Insider Malaysia.)

Just because the cups have lost their cheer doesn’t mean Starbucks is not Christmas-friendly. This would make a pretty good movie parody though. When Starbucks Met Christmas (When Harry Met Sally). Christmas in Seattle (Sleepless in Seattle). The Cups of Wrath (The Grapes of Wrath). It could even be a Starbucks-Christmas trilogy!