Light display at iCity, Shah Alam.
It’s the month of Christmas again. I just came back from a short yet fantastic trip from Singapore. I have not seen Singapore being transformed into such a vibrant city decorated with glittering lights and sparkling ornaments. All the shopping malls that I went to have their own Yuletide decorations to portray.
From top left: Christmas trees at Raffles Place, Bugis Junction and ION Orchard.
From bottom left: Christmas trees at Somerset, Orchard Road and Takashimaya.
In front of the New York Public Library replica inside Universal Studio Singapore a huge christmas tree was erected to welcome all who seek fun in this theme park. I still like the lit up tree in ION Orchard, so magnificent it looks like a milky way with millions of stars.
Along the tourists’ favourite Singapore River walk bubbles are blown into the air to mimic snows. Christmas songs are played and I really feel like dancing in the street.
Here in the central business district, Orchard Road is a swanky, one-way boulevard flanked by distinctive and iconic shopping malls, restaurants and hotels. A shopper’s haven becomes lively at night.
Again in Orchard Road where retail outlets too join in the Yuletide festive. Christmas is really fantastic in Singapore even though it is commercialised, nonetheless the country really make you feel that Christmas is special.
Perhaps I should cover Kuala Lumpur too! Well let’s see how things go.
Been a while since I last wrote about my Australia trip, you may say it’s already as old as fermented blue cheese since I went there during summer last year. Travelling is never about old or new because the memory stays as long as pictures framed every moment you once saw. So today I am going to share some really cool sculptures in Geelong.
Little did I know that Geelong is the second most populated city after Melbourne in Victoria. Chances are you will only pass by this town when you explore the Great Ocean Road in which we did. Geelong’s charm is not so much of the number of tall modern buildings it has, but what it has to offer is a waterfront overlooking the Corio Bay and this town has great public spaces with sculptures that define the town.
Our first stop for the Great Ocean Road journey was Geelong.
Cunningham Pier stretches far into the sea and is a favourite place for fishing and hanging out.
Once famous for its wool industry, the Denny Lascelles Woolstore now houses the Deakin University. Since it was early summer morning, the only person I saw was a lady walking her brown dog.
What is there in Mukah that makes this town tick? It has got to be the food here. ‘Sago’ and ‘umai’ are inseparable to Mukah like a diamond is to a ring. The ABC, known as air batu campur among the locals, is also a must-try.
Our host for the trip was Anita, a woman who had lived in Mukah for her entire life. She served us umai and sago worms upon our arrival for late supper. I tried her umai before, back in the university days, as she would fly over to Johor to see her son Eddie who is also my friend. This trip was my very first endeavor to try the sago worms.
The umai is made of raw fish. The fish is cut and sliced into pieces and are then mixed with lime, vinegar, chilies and onion to taste. As far as I know, the acidic vinegar and lime somehow caused the fish to turn from raw to cook. The gist in preparing a good umai is of course the fish. As fresh fish is easily available in Mukah, it is no doubt that the bountiful catch is used to make umai.
A trip to Mukah is never complete without trying the sago worms. I have heard about this squirming and wriggling live sago worms ever since when I was young and saw countless tourism ads introducing the sago worm. You are going to think I am kidding you when I tell you that the worm is as big as my thumb. It is the size of an adult’s thumb. Try wriggling your thumb now and imagining that the thumb in front of your very own eyes is the sago worm.
Hello Mukah! Famous for its fisheries and once thriving sago industry, the town of Mukah is located about 2.5 hours from Sibu by road. It’s also famous for its Pesta Kaul which is celebrated by the local Melanaus. With only two days in town and having to travel in a group, I tried to cover the must-do things in Mukah, though not all of them.
The Chinese Temple and Sago Factory Chimney
The Tourism Board wrote this on a placard “The Sago palm thrives in the peat soils in the Rajang Delta. In the 19th century, local chieftains grew rich from the labour of farmers who extracted the starchy pith of tall palms manually. In the early 20th century the price of sago flour fell sharply. Thus the Mukah factory closed, leaving behind a 20 metre-tall brickwork chimney.”
This is the iconic chimney, standing proudly against time and weather, beside the Chinese temple on the left bank of Mukah River. The Chinese Temple, known as Tua Pek Kong also holds much history. It was built in the year 1879, some 133 years ago, where the temple committee had to look after the welfare of the Chinese community.
Wet Market and Fish Market
A few steps away from the temple is where the wet market and fish market are located. Mukah has always been known as a traditional fishing town, even until today it’s the livelihood of the Melanaus and Chinese here. Most markets are closed in the afternoon, but here in Mukah, business is as usual under the burning hot sun.