Hobby & Leisures

High-rise Farming: Project Rempah

After failing miserably on my first attempt (Project Popeye), another project was unexpectedly showing pretty good results. In less than 3 weeks, it has grown about 2 feet.

These are the chili plants when they are about 3 weeks old. They need all the sunlight they can get in the day.

These are the chili plants when they are about 3 weeks old. They need all the sunlight they can get in the day.

After about 6 weeks, the labor finally bore the first fruit.

Spotted the first chili from amongst the 6 plants Ive planted.

Spotted the first chili from amongst the 6 plants I've planted.

And here’s the same chili fruit after about 6 days it was first spotted.

Looking really healthy for the harvest.

Looking really healthy for the harvest.

Due to the fact that these chilies are grown in a rather ‘high’ altitude, it’s quite difficult for natural agents, such as bees or ladybirds to pollinate them. Hence, lots of the initials flowering withered without bearing any fruits. After doing some research, I realized that you can actually ‘self-pollinate’ them simply using an art brush.

Self-pollination is done either using your fingers to rub on these flowers or by using a small art brush.

Self-pollination is done either using your fingers to rub on these flowers or by using a small art brush.

And here’s an interesting picture that shows how the flower transforms into a baby chili.

Its amazing to see how nature transform. From what looks like an attractive flower a few days ago, the chili starts to form its way out from the very same place.

It's amazing to see how nature transform. From what looks like an attractive flower a few days ago, the chili starts to form its way out from the very same place.

Finally, after about 8 weeks since the germination, I harvested my first chili fruit.

You reap what you sow! But honestly, I remembered taking the seeds out from a red chili fruit. Hmm...someone hasnt been faithful...

You reap what you sow! But honestly, I remembered taking the seeds out from a red chili fruit. Hmm...someone hasn't been faithful...

Well, I can’t say it’s 100% organic, since the level of pollution in Petaling Jaya is not exactly at a very healthy level. But if compared to the chilies I get from the supermarket, this ‘home-made’ chilies definitely beats them hands down!

And who says you can’t start a farm in a high-rise apartment ;-)

2009-09-20T01:25:07+00:00 September 20th, 2009|Daily Observations, Hobby & Leisures, Mother Earth|1 Comment

High-rise Farming

If you have been getting your vegetable supplies from the supermarkets, you would have probably notice the surge of organic produce on the shelves of major supermarkets. You can find them in a special section, where I suppose the term special was reserved for the ‘price tag’. These so-called organic produce usually cost almost 2-3 times more expensive than their non-organic counterparts.

There’s generally no easy way to tell whether if you are really getting the real deal, since not everyone has the same definition of organic. Even if we can agree with what makes a produce organic, most of the products that I have seen so far on the shelves are not certified by the Organic Alliance Malaysia (OAM). I think OAM has to take a more active stance on protecting the consumers of organic produce by spreading the awareness on how to tell if the produce that we are paying 2-3 times more than the market price is truly organic.

If you are into growing things, you can also start your little farming project as an alternative to buying organic produce. Of course, unless you have a huge piece of land, don’t expect your hobby to be able to sustain your consumption. And if you are like me who lives in a high rise apartment, your available land for cultivation is even more restricted. However, if you really enjoy seeing seedlings sprouting into edible produce, these restrictions should not hold you back.

And here are some pictures from the first farming project: Project Popeye.

Overcrowded spinach sprouts.

Overcrowded spinach sprouts.

These spinach sprouts definitely looks very promising in the beginning...

These spinach sprouts definitely looks very promising in the beginning...

You can literally see life in these little seedlings.

You can literally see life in these little seedlings.

Unfortunately for these cute little spinach sprouts, the funding for the project was stalled and all these baby sprouts was exterminated. Just kidding.

Under the hands of an inexperienced farmer like myself, these little spinach sprouts will eventually meet their doom in the next couple of days.

Under the hands of an inexperienced farmer like myself, these little spinach sprouts will eventually meet their doom in the next couple of days.

Actually, the real cause of crop failure was very likely due to insufficient sunlight and soil issues…

In the next post, I will be showing you another project which I have managed to harvest just after 2 months.

2009-09-18T02:29:19+00:00 September 18th, 2009|Daily Observations, Hobby & Leisures, Mother Earth|0 Comments

ArtSentral.Com Live!

The artsy-fartsy people I’ve known since my university days just launched their website- www.artsentral.com! Last I heard, they just hit 1,000 visitors barely one week after launching the site.

ArtSentral.com Live!

If you are into computer graphics (CG) and 3d animation, this is a great place to network and attend local events and seminars that are receiving very little exposure in the mainstream medias. What to do… we live in a country where artists are still considered “weirdos”…

A “must-subscribe” for students who are serious to venture into the CG industry.

Man and partner, keep up the great effort!

Back from East Coast

Left the busy Klang Valley and was away to the East Coast. Amidst the rising flood water, the East Coast seems pretty much undisturbed, as the trademark sunny sky and soft sandy beach continues to sets the mind at peace. The waves was much more energetic at this time of the year. You can see local surfers having a splashing good time along the usual surf spots.

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Keropok lekor and sata stalls line the 20 kilometres Kuantan-Kemaman coastway. Keropok lekor is a local snack made of flour and fish paste, which is deep-fried and served with sweet-spicy chili sauce. You can find them in stalls throughout the country, but none of them comes fresher and tastier than the ones lined up along the east coast roadside. Sata, not as well known as the lekor, is similar to a otak-otak (a pasty prawn-ish snack that is hugely popular in Muar), is not as easily available. It’s fish meat wrapped in pandan leaves and then barbecued with red hot charcoal.

And don’t forget to visit Bandar Chukai for their famous stuffed crab at Restaurant Tong Juan.

The year 2007 has been very rewarding and 2008 would start off with a few more trips up North. I am not sure about you, but yours truly has never stepped into Cameron Highlands. I have avoided it like the Moria, but this time, I am going to get my armaments ready for this 1,500 metres above-sea-level ascend. By the way, no strawberries for me please :-P

I hope to stretch the trip to Penang, if my schedule permits.

It sure is great starting the year with a road trip!

2008-01-03T00:51:54+00:00 January 2nd, 2008|Daily Observations, Hobby & Leisures|1 Comment

Terry Fox Ran

terry-fox-sidebar.jpgOkie, here’s a quick post-up on this morning’s Terry Fox Run.

I arrived there with my man-powered bike, and there was no sign showing where the Assembly Area is until you actually reach the Assembly Area (duh!), and the marshals I asked obviously had no idea either. Wasted about 10 minutes just to find the starting point, before I park my bike. Suppose to rendezvous with a few friends but the run already started. There was such a BIG crowd, like white ants trail going off from the Starting Line. So I started the run anyway, hoping to meet up with a few familiar faces later on.

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Yours truly took the Long Run, shown on the map in green line. It was a pretty steep uphill climb, and for first time Lake Garden runners like me, I had to control my speed in case I “pancit” half-way up the hill.

LensaMalaysia’s photographers are everywhere, trying to catch candid shots of runners. The marshals did a great job also guiding the runners along the route. A few fella runners didn’t notice the extended Long Run and ended up running 2 rounds of the Short Run to make it up.

After finishing the loop, there was a lot of freebies for runners- High 5 Breads in variety of flavors, bottle waters, bananas, and of course, the Milo Van. I regretted taking the Milo, which gave me a terrible stomach ache…

The crowd began to disperse at around 11 am.

Outside at the parking area, travel buses should be informed about the event and they should avoid entering the Lake Garden area since these over-sized vehicles is the main traffic-cloggers. I have seen a few cars scratched and knocked on the sides by these buses as they maneuver their way between double-side-parked roads, and of course, ran off with it…

It was a great event and outing. Even as the run ended, over here at the Terry Fox Web Team, we are still getting enquiries from people who are asking if they can just buy the T-Shirt and contribute to the charity cause. A caring and selfless society we still have, amidst rising crime rates.

This event is definitely in my calendar every year.

2007-11-05T01:31:24+00:00 November 5th, 2007|Daily Observations, Hobby & Leisures|0 Comments

Visit Malaysia Year 2007 with YC

Here’s a short account on how I took up the job of a tour guide last Monday as my friend Dario from Germany came to town with his girlfriend Joanna:

Dario called me up at 11 pm and told me that he and Anna is waiting at KLCC.

I decided show them something Malaysian even before we meet, so I arrived at KLCC ala Malaysian-style, I was late about 15 minutes :-P

Dario then updated me with their trip to Borneo, where they conquered Mt Kinabalu, dived in Sipadan, explored Gua Niah and then to Kuching. For a while, I really got abit jealous. Here’s a 20-year old couple who did everything in Borneo in just 2 weeks in what took me 2 years… Well, at least I explored Mulu!

Shortly after meeting up with them, I brought Dario and Anna to one of my favorite chicken rice stall in Wisma Central. Yeah, a friend of mine loved this shop and would travel 314.5 kilometres from Taman Johor Jaya to enjoy this delicacy. On the way to the chicken rice stall, I met my friend SK, the blogger, and I briefly introduced him to the German couple and my mission as the Malaysia Tourist Ambassador that day.

deep-blue-sandy-beach.jpgThey pretty much liked the roast chicken breast and chicken wing. After that, Dario reminded me to get him a set of Chinese Chess. I met Dario 2 weeks back in Cherating, where we’d a game of chess under the piercing hot sun. I’d incidentally told him about Chinese Chess and he had the chance, he would like to have a game of Chinese Chess with me (he hasn’t known about Chinese Chess until he came to Malaysia…).

After that I brought the two lovely German couple to Putrajaya, and showed them the glorious architecture of our government offices. I also introduced them to Rojak during our tea break.

After Putrajaya, we shoot off to Sunway Pyramid, and we got Dario a very beautiful Chinese chess set at one of the lifestyle shop (I can’t wait to take my revenge after the defeat at Cherating…he he…).

The chess set cost about RM 89.00 and I didn’t think Dario would fork out money for that, because all along his backpacking journey, he is a very cost-conscious lad. You have to be cost-conscious as a backpacker, since you don’t live on an unlimited budget, and you don’t want to spend your backpacking journey working part-time. He told me how he earned some decent Australian dollars back during his 3 months trip in Down Under planting strawberries.

After the chess set, Dario and Anna decided they wanted to see some colonial architecture, and honestly, I have no idea where I can find one in KL until he showed me his LonelyPlanet guide (shame! shame!).

We parked closed to Dataran Merdeka and for the first time in my life, my feet walked the Padang Merdeka, where our nation’s founding father declared our Independence 50 years ago. You know, if it hadn’t been for Dario, I really wondered if I would ever walked the field of freedom.

klcc.jpgWe then shot for KLCC Park, where Dario wanted to have a nice view of the lighted, double, sweetcorns. After taking a few pictures, I asked them if they wanted to have some porridge, and they decided that it would be nice to try, a decision they will later regret, heh! I chauffeured them to one of the town’s best Teochew porridge stall near the Pudu Jail, as I explain briefly to them the history of the Pudu Jail and the mural paintings on it.

I ordered a few dishes which I think would appeal to them. There’s a plate of stewed piggie ears, and I told Anna to give it a try before I would let her know what it is. And after trying it, I told her it was piggie ears, and I ended up having to finish it… But we’d a good laugh though! Yeah, they enjoyed every other Teochew dishes, but they certainly don’t dig the porridge itself, as it remained untouched after a few spoonfuls.

After the porridge, we moved on to the next destination- the Showdown between Kasparovs and Deep Blue. Dario decided to have our showdown at a somewhat exotic pub in KL. So I decided the venue would be Pan Global 33rd floor’s Luna Bar, where they can enjoy the city’s beautiful and serene nightview.

chess-set.jpgAnd I have to admit it was a very nice experience playing Chinese Chess in a pub. Before the game started, I explained to Dario the basic rules. And in the beginning of the game, I almost freaked out as he started to gain the upperhand. I must admit that I am rather disturbed… here I am, defeated by Dario, a first time Chinese chess player, though I must say I am really no expert in the game either. Maybe it’s my nature, I just don’t like to analyze too much, and prefer to take action first :-P

As we played on, I began to gain the upperhand and eventually won the game. But it wasn’t a very fair victory. I have to attribute my main reason of defeating Dario is due to the fact that after his pieces moved out from the original place in the board, he forgot which is which…the Chinese calligraphy on every piece looked almost the same to him!

Ha…ha…so much for my bitter sweet revenge.

We finished 2 jugs of beer before I sent them back to their inn (The Backpackers’ Inn) at Jalan Sultan. They are going to visit the Islamic Art Museum the next day before taking a bus down to Malacca.

They thanked me as I dropped them off, and I hope they really enjoyed their stay here in KL, as much as I’ve enjoyed being their tour escort. It’s really a nice feeling exploring KL together with them, answering their questions and sometimes unable to provide any useful infos (I need to learn up my own city more!).

2007-07-18T02:19:58+00:00 July 18th, 2007|Daily Observations, Hobby & Leisures|4 Comments