24 August 2010

Parks in Ipoh

The park most familiar to us is the Polo Grounds (Taman Rekreasi Sultan Abdul Aziz) along Jalan Tambun. It has a large-sized field, stately old trees, some playground and exercise equipment, and a newly added pond.

The Polo Grounds is extremely popular with the people in Ipoh, with families taking their kids there in the evenings and weekends, and people of all ages exercising, walking and jogging on the tracks. The Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh has done a good job, I must say, in promoting exercise as they organise weekend morning aerobics routines for the public, which is a great success. A rare "well done" to you, MBI!

Other than the Polo Grounds, another park of note would be Taman DR Seenivasagam. But Taman DR has lost much of its charm and atttraction, according to my husband. He remembers that as a child he used to ride his bicycle with his family there, but today, Taman DR is not attractive at all. MBI should do more to upgrade and revitalise this large and well located green lung.

Today, I discovered another gem of a park. A very large, well landscaped park with a huge lake as its central feature - Eco Park in Taman Botani. I gather it is part of the township of Taman Botani (developed by KLK Group) and it appears that the developer has not stinged in sprucing up this recreational area. The lake teems with large fish, and one complete circuit around the lake would give me more than enough exercise for the day!

I hear that another township in Ipoh - Tiara Lake Park in Pengkalan - is set to provide a serene and beautiful lakeside park for Tiara Lake Park residents, and of course the general public, to enjoy. Will have to check that out.

21 August 2010

It's fasting month in Malaysia, but let's all chill

It is that time of the year when Muslims in Malaysia observe "bulan Ramadhan", a month of fasting which precedes the joyous celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

But alas, it seems that each year this holy month is marred by incidents of misunderstandings, badly checked emotions, insensitive remarks and the like.

Just when it has been alleged that a school principal in Johor had uttered unsettling remarks calling non-Malays "penumpang" (visitors), yet another principal in Kedah has behaved in an unbecoming manner by scolding non-Malays students for eating outside the canteen.

It was reported in the Star on 21 August 2010 that "In the incident, the principal had allegedly scolded 10 Form Three students for eating outside the school canteen at about 7am before classes began. The students were eating outside because the lights in the canteen were not switched on. The principal had purportedly told them off for “not respecting” their Muslim friends and that they “should return to their country of origin if they did not show such respect”.

If the principal did utter such remarks, one wonders why such words are being increasingly used these days? Perhaps, there have been too many people in authority/ politicians who have been using such words of late. And therefore, some simple-minded emotional citizens just follow such bad examples.

Asking non-Malays to return to their country of origin? Where would you ask citizens of Malaysia who were born and raised here, for maybe 2 or 3 generations, and who have contributed to nation-building, to return to? Where would be their country of origin? One would have thought that school principals were more educated, enlightened and rational. Sigh......the quality of the people in charge of our schools these days.

And isn't the point of Ramadhan for people to be more patient, compassionate, kind and to resist the body's usual demands? And surely by seeing other people eat - which is their right, since they are not fasting - should not weaken one's resolve to fast or make a person observing the fast to become furious beyond reason? Be assured that non-Malays would not be so arrogant or stupid or rude as to deliberately eat a scrumptious meal in front of our fellow Malays. But if the students in that school in Kedah were eating around the canteen area, then why should the principal be so upset? Shouldn't the principal respect the right of those students to eat their breakfast in peace? (By the way, why weren't the lights in the canteen turned on? Because it is fasting month, so nobody else needs to eat in the canteen?)

Let's all just chill, and may the noble spirit of Ramadhan prevail this month and for all Ramadhans to come.

10 August 2010

Why is "saman ekor" still around?

I had thought that the issue of "saman ekor" was settled a long time ago.

A number of years ago, much unhappiness was highlighted regarding the practice of the police issuing summonses to the public for various traffic offences - such summonses either arrived very late or never at all. And people could not remember whether they had indeed committed such an offence. The authorities, if I recall correctly, had said that they would put an end to "saman ekor" and that traffic violations would be penalised on the spot.

Hey, but "saman ekor" is very much alive. And now our DPM says he will "consider" public unhappiness about it.

I recently had to renew my road tax in July, and lo and behold the Transport Dept's system noted that my car registration number had a "block" on it, indicating that I had one or more unsettled police summonses. A first for me!

So off I trotted, like a good citizen, to the main police HQ opposite Ipoh's majestic old train station. Indeed, I had 2 summonses to my car - one on 26 Dec 2008 (just one day after I moved to Ipoh!!??) and another in May 2009. I was renewing my road tax for July 2010.

So, I only discover after almost 1 1/2 years from my first ever police traffic summons, that I had apparently ran a red light. How am I to remember that, to challenge that? How is the police to prove that I did? But you see, the govt and the police see to it that my arms are twisted and I HAVE to pay the fine if I am to renew my road tax. Otherwise, I will be fined for driving around without a valid road tax sticker displayed on my windscreen.

Where is the equity and logic behind the "saman ekor"?? DPM Muhyiddin, please do something useful for the people of Malaysia and do away with the "saman ekor".

04 August 2010

Yin Fai Kee - Redeemed

I try to be fair.

I had an earlier blog posting where I wrote that Yin Fai Kee kept my family waiting for over an hour, and we walked out without eating. Well, we gave the place another try - this time for supper. My son had just finished his martial arts class and was hungry, so we went to get the black Hokkien mee and some chilly la-la (mussels fried in garlic and chilly).

We were at first reluctant to go back to Yin Fai Kee, and first stopped at Sun Seng Fatt on the same Jalan Leong Sin Nam (also famed for noodles). But the proprietor told us it would be a long wait - credit to her for telling us in advance. So we had no choice but to go to Yin Fai Kee.

This time we waited no more than 10 minutes and the food arrived. The Hokkien mee still could not match KL standards but for Ipoh, I guess it is one of the better ones. The fried la-la, though, was great. My son really liked it.

And last night, I had a craving for Hokkien mee. I nipped out at 2130 to "ta pau" the black fat noodles and got home with it one minute shy of 2200. Not bad.

So, Yin Fai Kee has redeemed itself in my eyes.

03 August 2010

Outrageous pricing at Nasi Kandar Pelita

OK - so the effects of the reduction in subsidies for sugar and chicken must be kicking in.

But I remember reading that the Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners’ Association (Primas) and the Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Operators’ Association (Presma) saying in the papers that they would maintain their prices. Perhaps Pelita Nasi Kandar is not a member of either Primas or Presma.

While we were out at the Tesco in Ipoh, my maid had lunch at Pelita. She had, to be exact, half a serving of white rice, one curried chicken wing and some bean sprouts. Oh, and some curry sauce on her rice. No drink, mind you. Her bill? RM8.70

Tell me that isn't exorbitant. Beware next time you eat at Nasi Kandar Pelita.

02 August 2010

Can you trust your school bus driver?

Malaysians are shocked and outraged at the recent case of a 10 year old who was raped by her school bus driver - that he was so brazen to rape the helpless child in broad day light in his bus while parked close to a kindergarten is even more unforgiveable. Thank goodness for the responsible kindergarten teacher who witnessed this terrible crime.

Now the idea being tossed about is to require all school buses to have a conductor on board. Aside from the issue of cost (which will inevitably be passed onto parents), will having a conductor on board the school bus make it safer for our children?

Maybe and maybe not.

The crime of rape may be conducted singularly or in gangs. If the conductor and bus driver are both males I, for one, would not feel any safer. If the conductor is a lady, the odds I think are better. But you might argue that the bus driver could intimidate or threaten his female conductor into being his accomplice.

The crime of rape is unacceptable in any circumstance, more so when the sick rapists target helpless young children. Karpal Singh has proposed the death penalty for convicted rapists. Certainly, they deserve severe punishment - there are many forms to choose from.

01 August 2010

Dry curry mee - Yee Fatt

As my parents are here visiting over the weekend, we have been eating out quite a bit. This morning we decided to have curry noodles for breakfast. My husband remembered that his grandmother used to love going to Yee Fatt at the Jalan Kampar roundabout opposite Methodist Girls' School for the dry curry mee there.

We got to Yee Fatt around 9.15am. The place was about a quarter full. We quickly found a table and placed our order - 4 dry curry with mee hoon and mee (mix of vermicelli and yellow noodles) with added roast pork, and 2 meehoon in plain soup for the kids. By now, the coffee shop was quickly filling up.

And hubby said his grandma also likes the "mo yee cha" there - a black sweet tea with a hardboiled egg - so we ordered 3 bowls.

The dry curry noodles were smothered in rich, reddish curry, topped with mint leaves. Very tasty. It also comes with pieces of charsiu and chicken, and of course, bean sprouts. The kids were happy enough with their soup noodles. I liked my breakfast this morning, but hubby thinks that the dry curry noodles in Nam Chau is better.

Well you can try out Yee Fatt and Nam Chau and decide for yourself, too!