Campbell Street Toh Soon Cafe in George Town Penang

Have you been here?
This spot is always crowded whether it is a weekday or a weekend. When we were there last week, we shared a small table with two friendly aunties who are in their forties at least. They told us Toh Soon Cafe has been around for more than 30 years. Both of them live nearby and they saw and knew about this place since they were very young. “Now, it is run by the new generation”, they claimed. What they love the most is his black coffee or what the Penangites called it ‘Kopi ‘O” (‘Kopi’ means coffee in Malay Language and ‘O’ is a coffee shop slang for coffee with sugar and no milk). “The black coffee here is exceptionally good in term of aroma and taste”, they continued.
A fabulous cup of coffee to kick start my day!

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Composing Better Photographs – Using Perspective Effectively for Better Depth and 3D

As defined in the technical aspects of art, ‘perspective’ is a method of composition which aims to enhance or give a feeling of 3-dimension in the 2 dimension medium of the photograph or painting. Viewed on the 2 dimensional surface of a photograph, perspective is normally depicted by lines which appears to converge at a distance. With perspective, the relative size of subjects in the photograph also gives an impression of depth and distance.

Perspective can also be exaggerated by shooting in wide angle and emphasizing lines of perspective in the composition.

Perspective to Exaggerate
In the photograph above of a tram-bus, notice the horizontal rail of the tram forms a set of perspective lines shooting into the photograph and giving an impression of the length of the tram. By shooting with the lens on wide angle, we have emphasized and exaggerated the perspective convergence of the lines towards the left of the photograph. This technique creates a sense of dynamism and movement in the photograph. By not shooting the length of the tram in entirety, and allowing the lines of perspective to extend beyond the right of the photograph, we have also exaggerated the length of the tram.

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Composing Better Photographs – Using Leading Lines in Your Pictures

As you look at a good photograph, it will have elements that will sort of lead your vision to explore and move into the subject of the photo. The elements are lines either implied or direct, visibile or invisible that guides the eyes to each element of the composition and guide you to ‘explore’ the photography. In photography theory these are callled leading lines.

The basic idea is that these lines keep the eyes from wandering out of the picture but tends to keep the interests leading fromt he edge of the photograph to the center of interests or the main subject.

Many elements in the photo can be used as these lines. Roads and pathways leading into the picture are one such example, also are stems of a plant leading you to the flowers, or the branches of a tree leading you to the colorful leaves. The idea is that these lines keep the viewer inside the picture.

One thing to note is that whether you decide to use them or not, leading lines are usually there in the picture. The question is then, whether these lines keep the viewer’s interests into the picture or it leads the user (and his or her interests) out of the picture. You should compose your photo such that the viewer’s interests are kept in – off course.

Central Park Path - New York City

In the photograph above the walking path is a obvious leading line. The path starts at the bottom right of the photo and leads the viewer into the center of the picture, encouraging him or her to explore the trees and greens along the path and leads onwards to the buildings beyond, giving the impression that this is a patch of green park right in the middle of a city. The two person walking on the path gives a perspective of the size of the park, trees and the length of the path itself.

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Spice and Rice Restaurant – Taste of Indian cuisine in George Town Penang

Recommended by a good friend of ours, we decided to try the Spice and Rice Restaurant on His Birthday!
Lighted signboard of Spice and Rice at British colonial building
Sandwiched between Light Street Convent and Green Hall Road, Spice and Rice Restaurant & Bar is in a British colonial building opposite Penang High Court. It is open for lunch and dinner. Parking lot is limited but there are plenty near the vicinity of Dewan Sri Pinang. That night, we made a convenience stroll from Dewan Sri Pinang heading for gastronomical adventure at Spice and Rice.
Spice & Rice Restaurant & Bar at night

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Buffet Steamboat at Town Steamboat Restaurant – Penang

‘Friends birthday celebration’, I guess that was the excuse we made to get together and fulfill our gastronomical indulgence in a steamboat restaurant.

Steamboat is popular among East Asian (Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Thai) community. It is cooked with a variety of raw material like vegetables, slices of pork/chicken/fish/cuttlefish/jelly fish, mushrooms, prawns, fish/meat balls, tofu and they are to be simmered in a pot of broth on a table before being served hot.

Historically for Chinese in Malaysia, steamboat treat is usually associated with special occasion for family gathering. In some instance, steamboat is a tradition on the dinner table on the eve of Chinese New Year. Nevertheless, due to high demand and luxurious eating trend, it is also made available at most restaurants or even at food courts nowadays.
Lighted up Town Steamboat easily recognised from Macalister Road
If you are in George Town, Penang and wish to experience a typical buffet-styled steamboat, Town Steamboat Restaurant offers a huge variety of selections at reasonable price.
Plenty of choices at selection counter
Below picture illustrates some of choices offered. From top left (clockwise), various type of edible balls (fish/meat/squib), corns and leafy green vegetables, crustaceans such as cockle, prawn, mantis shrimp (prawn mantis) and dim sum corner.
Various raw material for steamboat
Variety of sauces that you can name it - they are here!

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Seeing Thailand-Ayutthaya-Bangkok-Damnoen Saduak-Kanchanaburi in 7D/6N: Our Travel Itinerary

Do you know what we did last summer? Below detailed exactly what we did in Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak and Kanchanaburi in 7 days and 6 nights.

Day 1: 2 July 2008 – Wednesday
17:45 – Arrive at Bangkok (BKK) – Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Mr Kong is waiting for us and transfers us to Wendy House, a backpacker hostel in Patumwan of Bangkok City Centre.

I booked Wendy House via online for the first night. The service is good and the room is clean, so we decide to stay for the rest of our trip. You may check out in for more comments.

Wendy House
36/2 Soi Kasemsan 1, Rama 1 Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Tel: +66 2-214 1149, 02-214 1150
Wendy House on the right along Soi Kasemsan 1
Wendy House - Reception counter and Lobby
The journey took about 40 minutes by a coach. After checking in, Mr Kong drove us to Suan Lum Night Market. We had dinner there and then went to airport again to fetch Gracie.

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Happy Diwali Reunion!

Telephone BoothThis is an article distributed via email. It is a sweet story with beautiful message!

An elderly man in Mumbai calls his son in New York and says,

‘I hate to ruin your day son, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are getting a divorce; 35 years of marriage… and that much misery is enough!’

‘Dad, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.

‘We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,’ the old man says.

‘We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Hong Kong and tell her!’

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.

‘Like heck they’re getting divorced,’ she shouts, ‘I’ll take care of this.’

She calls Mumbai immediately, and screams at the old man,

‘You are not getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then , don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR??’ and she hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. ‘Okay’, he says, ‘It’s all set. They’re both coming for Deepavali (Diwali) and paying their own airfare!!’

The moral of story:
No man/woman is busy in this world all 365 days.
The sky is not going to fall down if you take few days of leave and meet your dear ones.
Office work and money making are not everything in life.

P/S: You may try the same practise at your own risk and consequences.


My Floral Arrangement Part 5 – Symphony of Love for My Prince Charming

Love is patient, Love is kind. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Symphony of Love indicates an entire life. Life is made of songs, music, dances and melodies on a huge stage. In this floral arrangement design, I picked Dancing Lady orchids (scientifically called Oncidium Gower Ramsey) as primary flower since it is one of my Significant Other’s favorite flowers. Appearing like dancing ladies of striking yellow gown with burgundy top and elaborate head gear, they are unique representing life. Orange chrysanthemums are like the chorus in each song, symbolizing crescendo of life that shoot up reaching for the heaven above. White denotes purity and the one and only Madonna Lily (Lilium Candidum) is my focal point also represents my dearest prince charming! In fact, Symphony of Love was made special for His birthday!

Floral Material
Orchids have been feared by many as it is known to be hard to handle in floral arrangement (especially for amateur) as their shape is rather complicated to manage compares to other flowers. This is my first design capitalizes on orchid and it was much simpler than what I had thought of. A piece of motivation note – Failure is the beginning of success, and not the end of our journey.

From top left (clockwise) are Leather Ferns, Dancing Lady orchids, Madonna lily and Orange chrysanthemums. White asters are added as fillers.
Floral Material for Symphony of Love
Design concept
Triangle was the first shape came to my mind and below illustrates what I imagined from side view.
Side view - A triangle shape

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My Floral Arrangement Part 4 – Twin Peaks

Life is like a flower; it starts with a bud, blooms then fades
Remember to cherish when it blooms
~ Shirley T

Twin Peaks was designed especially for my late grandmother in observance of the seventh day memorial service after her deceased. From earth we came and to earth we return. May her soul be blessed and rest in peace.

Ah Ma, Thank you for everything. You are always deeply missed by all loved ones!

Floral Material
I picked carnation as primary flower as it denotes ‘a love for a woman’. The color is violet which means capriciousness. Intense violet blends well with light pinkish chrysanthemums. Both white and yellow aster (white peacock or yellow peacock) are added as fillers while leather ferns are used as the foliage in this flower arrangement.
From top left clockwise: White Aster, Pinkish Chysanthemums,Yellow Aster and Voilet Carnation
Design concept
Inspired by nature or mountains specifically, Twin Peaks is originated from the concept of Twin Style. This design is purely using carnations as primary flowers to bring out the shape of twin peaks as sketch below in blue line when viewing from front. The red line in the sketch locates the carnations at the lower half in a triangle shape. The focal point is the blooming carnation at the apex of the triangle (red line).Hand-sketch of Twin Peaks

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Penang Super Lai Lai Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Herbal Soup)

‘Bak Kut Teh’, is literally translated as Pork Ribs Tea. But I think it is more meaningful to be called Pork Ribs Herbal Soup to detail this local specialty. Bak Kut Teh or mouth-watering Chinese soup is made from pork ribs which are simmered in a collection of Chinese herbs for several hours.  It is also served with white rice or yam rice, ‘yu cha kui’ (fried dough stick), fresh raw garlic and  oystered ‘Yau Mak’ (lettuce). This is a popular dish among South East Asian Chinese but surprisingly, not among the typical Chinese in China. According to Wikipedia, Bak Kut Teh was first introduced to Malaya in 19th century by the coolies from Canton and Hong Kong as they ate to gain energy.

Since I am not a big fan of Bak Kut Teh, we took an advice from our colleague to try the people-claimed best Bak Kut Teh in town – Super Lai Lai Bak Kut Teh at Macalister Road. It turned out to be an awesome experience!Super Lai Lai Bak Kut Teh - Strategic location and visible from road side
Here it comes what we ordered – yummy! The hot appetizing herbal soup is placed in clay pot with some lean pork, liver, mushroom, tofu and meat balls. Our feast begins.
A big pot of Bak Kut Teh
Are you a fan of pig’s internal organs? Here, there are plenty of selection to choose from. If you run out of soup, just call them, it will be added free-of-charge. Go early before 7 pm or visit on weekdays as weekends are usually more crowded.
Plenty of add-on to choose
Macalister Road (opposite Red Rock Hotel, formerly known as Agora Hotel)
Or located right at the junction where Naning Street meets Macalister Road.
George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Recommendation: 4/5
Location courtesy by Google Map (click to view map & zoom in): Super Lai Lai Bak Kut Teh
Thank you MS for sharing the pictures we took together.


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