Makan2 Party for MSc ESDE Class of 09/10 @ Seoul Garden, Autocity

Yippie! The plan was from last semester actually, we were supposed to have a bye-bye-see-you-again-next-sem kind of gathering after the final exam, but it turned out that everyone was either too excited to go home right after the exam or… well, everyone was too excited to go home, period. Therefore the postponed lunch finally happened the other week recently :) And it was my first time eating Korean barbecue and steamboat buffet at Seoul Garden.

And it was my first time being in Autocity too, in fact.. (oh yeah, now you must be thinking I have really been living in a jungle for one whole semester and never went out to see civilization.. hm, maybe it’s half true). It’s about 20 minutes away from our campus via PLUS highway. And you can say, for someone who has left KL for a year and never been any near to big city ever since, and has almost turned into a cave-man inside her deserted campus in the middle of palm estate.. Autocity is like wonderland! Many decent restaurants (and fast-foodies) are sitting side by side, well perhaps I’ll make a separate post about Autocity for future Penang Spotlight entry :) Coz now I’m saving space to tell you about my class party only.

Here’s the Korean style hot plate, or whatever you call it, where you use to cook steamboat nuggets and grill meats of many choices of spices and kinds. And soup choices too. So convenient really, since everything is in bite-size so the food can easily go from the plate right to your mouth. Well, in case you need a plate, they do serve plates, don’t worry, and many of them actually, and the service people do their good job really, to keep changing your plates :) and even change the hot plate too, soon it gains stains of burnt meats (because of too busy eating…).

Choices of meats (constantly restocked). And plates, too. Besides the barbecue and steamboat, there are variety of salads and fruits, desserts, ice-cream, and soft drink. Yeah, I think that’s all. The buffet lunch time is from 12pm to 4pm (plus minus, I am not that sure either, coz we left by 3pm and we were too full already). Bring your student card so you can get a discounted price of RM25.10.

Class photo after lunch. Hmm.. a few people missing though. More photos of happy people eating and camwhoring can be seen in my Facebook album, and Fauzi’s.

Ok thanks bye.

The Chronicles of Penang Hill trains!

After I finished posting the last Penang Hill entry I was wondering myself if the trains really date back from 1923…. until I had to bang my head on the wall recalling that I actually SAW the older train (or rather, a carriage) which was displayed as historical item on the top of Penang Hill itself.. aghh.. which I forgot to take a picture of it, hence the forgetness.

Photo from wikipedia. This is it!!!!!!!!! The 1923 train!! :D And what’s more surprising, this carriage was serving people to go up Penang Hill for many many decades until 1977!! So the red train that I was riding started its service since 1977, yeah. The trains and carriages had funny shape like this because of the hill steepness of 50-51% along the way up to the peak.

I also found this rather amusing historic introduction from penang-traveltips.com:

The idea of a railway line up Penang Hill was put forth as early as 1897, before motor vehicle was even introduced to Penang Island. It was built by the British between 1906 and 1923 at a cost of 1.5 million Straits Dollars, so that the British officers can journey up the hill for convalescence or simply to relax and enjoy the cooler air. The funicular railway was only open to the public on 21 October 1923.

See.. everything also British invention one.. still we don’t know how to upgrade (quickly). Haih.

Penang Spotlight: Penang Hill a.k.a. Bukit Bendera

Continuing another part of getting-to-know Penang posts. A tourist doesn’t come to Penang if she/he isn’t going to Penang Hill, or Bukit Bendera (translate: Flag Hill) which is located near the capital Georgetown. It was my first time there ever since I can remember, though I used to come to Penang when I was little kid (6 years old?) and at that time we had a cousin family living in Penang, hence the holiday to here and Langkawi. Penang Hill is about 833 m high and what’s there on Penang Hill? Now I bring you to take a furnicular train ride to reach the top.

Penang Hill train schedule. It takes about 30 minutes to go up there..

See the train coming down the hill? No?

Okay, here it is. Not actually new trains. I think these trains have been around ever since the existence of Penang Hill T__T so old and obsolete.. and it got fans! (no aircond).

Oh guess when did the Penang Hill train railway started its service here? Guess! Guess! Guess! 1923!!!!!!! And I wonder if the very train itself dates back from 1923 as well =__= Well it won’t surprise me if it does… I mean… look at it.. sad and old.. and small.. and superslow.. and you think you’re visiting one of tourists places in Penang?? The state of Georgetown, the World Heritage site???? Unbelievable.

So tiny space inside *tsk* and people are flooding.. so you better hurry if you want a seat. But most people end up standing.

OK, don’t be horrored yet, coz when I was inside this small train (standing, yes) there was a paper notice telling that the Penang Hill railway system will be upgraded starting February 2010.. yeay, good news to tourists coming after this and it will save Penang people from tortures for the old school railway system. Bye, bye, tiny train!

Train moving slowly, and after a while, we get to see this sight of train track we’ve coming from.

Yay, we reached the top after crawling for 30minutes or so.. the train stopped in a few stops where locals get down (whoa, there are people living in the sides of the hill!)

Sight from Penang Hill.

I can say the view from the top is very breathtaking.. and it’s cold too (when I say cold it’s rather cool air, below 20 degree I guess) since yeah, in tropical countries like Malaysia the only places to get a chill air is on the highlands! There are places you can have a walk and shops to buy souvenir, and if you want to take a further look around Penang Hill, you can take a baggy ride, or car or anything available there. Oh well, it’s practically a small town at the top of Penang Hill, anyway.

We took a ride of this baggy around the Penang Hill throughout small path.

…and got to see many of multimillionnaires’ holiday homes like this, but I can’t remember the names that the buggy boy was mentioning one after another. Who is it, Vincent Tan??

I spot my favorite item!! :) It’s an old red post box from the British colonization time..

You can see part of Penang Island from up here. Notice the Penang bridge? It spans 14 km to the mainland of Malaysia Peninsula.

OK, that’s all for Penang entry this time. Penang Hill sounds exciting right? Hehe.. what? No? Hm nevermind.

Penang spotlight: P.Ramlee’s House

This is one of a few blog chapters about our recent short trip in Penang. Though living in USM Engineering campus far away from Penang city doesn’t help much in getting to know this Island of Pearl, as its nickname goes, so unlike my initial plan before I moved to the campus – which was to be able to go around Penang over the weekends – turned out to be so unpractical in reality, so finally I had to wait until the semester was over to go on a trip around Penang. Sigh. But anyway, let’s go to P.Ramlee’s house first :)

My dear friends outside Malaysia, I wouldn’t mind even if you don’t know who the hell Malaysia’s current Prime Minister is, but I would like you to at least know P.Ramlee by your heart, that he’s the legendary star of Malaysia, much like Elvis and The Beatles in the West, if not more. P.Ramlee is the biggest Malay film director in history, actor, song composer and singer in the 1940s to 1970s (though his films were mostly released in the 50s and 60s). He’s just amazing and probably nobody so far is able to achieve as far as he did (yup, if you must know, Malaysian films are getting sappier by decades lately, duh). He left this world to rest in peace since 1973, but his films are still being repeatedly played on TV at least once every week, and they will continue to be, for many of us can still manage to sit and enjoy P.Ramlee’s films despite it’s actually the 100th time we’ve watched the same film throughout our lives, and we still manage to have a good laugh at the same joke we’ve watched for the 100th time. It sounds like bluffing, but it’s true. That’s the magical values P.Ramlee had in his films to Malaysian people after generations, with among the loveliest melody of songs in each and every his film I can endlessly be amazed with. And to sum everything up, in fact to me he’s the most influential Malay figure ever existed in history (not Dr. Mahathir, sorry to disappoint you, Az). So now you know how important is this person I have the honor to blog about this time.

So to speak, I have loved P.Ramlee ever since I was a little child, and so have my family, we are all his big fans! :D Hence the visit to P.Ramlee’s birth house in Penang.

Yup, P.Ramlee was born in this house in 1929, and grew up in Penang until he moved to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to start his career in music and film industry. This birth house of him, now is a museum, together with another building that displays photos and belongings of P.Ramlee and an auditorium, is a complex administrated by the National Archives of Malaysia as a tribute to the legendary star. Though it’s not as big and glamorous, we were all excited to visit P.Ramlee here!

Some of his famous movie posters inside the exhibition building, and we’re not supposed to take pictures actually :P sorry, but I couldn’t help to get some to put in my blog.

My all time favorite “Ali Baba Bujang Lapok”, Malay version of the Ali Baba & 40 Thieves epic. I have seen this movie for 100000 times!

Framed portraits of P.Ramlee.

Cover of P.Ramlee’s song book published in 1959.

A postcard (!) sent by P.Ramlee to his wife Saloma in KL while in Singapore.

So the displays are mostly photos of significant events in P.Ramlee’s life in his music & film-making career. But there are also from his childhood life, and there’s even his primary school class attendance book being displayed!

Therefore if you come to Penang and feel like meeting this gorgeous actor, do visit his birth house-cum-museum located in P.Ramlee Road (of course, a road named after him, but it should be easily spotted in the city). Oh, and I did grab a few photo postcards of P.Ramlee.. let me know if you’d like one! :D

And to finish this chapter, enjoy this song clip taken from film Musang Berjanggut (1959, read synopsis, and watch on YouTube), which was on TV again last week, and I just LOVE this song.. and the conversation afterwards where the prince proposed to his lady, with the lovely ancient Malay style in expressing words by pantun (tehnically, it’s how to say a certain sentence by firstly saying another irrelevant-yet-poetic sentence so they would give rhymes). It’s just beautiful. I have no idea why people no longer speak with pantun :(

Hmm.. that’s how I call a perfect proposal :-) *dreaming away*

Oh yeah, I am home

Since Sunday. And now it’s been 3 days, and I haven’t really settled. Haven’t cleaned the room. Haven’t done the laundry. Haven’t planned anything I’ll be doing for next 1 month at home. Yeah, right after the exam I was so glad that it’s over.. this killing semester.. the semester that used to make me feel like giving up. I have survived, yeah, who would have thought? :D And, though I had in my mind so many things to do during my free time now, actually, now I found myself not moving. Lazy. Unmotivated. Everyday blues. Sigh. I really don’t understand what’s going on and why, and I know I’ll just keep asking why. Though I don’t actually want to know the answer. But it’s not too bad, I guess. I mean, somehow I do think I have grown up ever since. Stronger. And another heart break doesn’t really break me anymore. I am still standing, and smiling. It’s not the first time anyway, this happened to me. There is love, mutual love, but it’s not going to happen. Again. I won’t say he’s a wrong guy. I have never liked wrong guys in my life. It’s just.. wrong time, again, maybe. (I’m sorry, time, have to blame you afterall..). I come either too late, or too early. Hmm. Anyway, that’s it. I hope I will stop ranting about love in this blog, and it will become less silly. It’s been ages since I last wrote something meaningful in this blog. I know some of my readers have run away after all the sappy craps I have written here. But who cares :)

I would like to make use of my holiday to the fullest. I have things to blog about, stories about my semester, and how we survived there, how I strangely, made friends with so many people in a sudden, and what is cool, and what sucks about studying in USM. And how I didn’t actually find any guy there.. lol. Well, I did. But I knew he’s not for me. And maybe I want to be back writing what is left about my Hajj trip. Now that.. the Hajj season is in the atmosphere again.. for this year. It’s going to be the right time and mood for the remembrance.  Today (8 Zulhijja in Hijri calendar) last year I was going to Arafah which is one of the stages in order to complete the Hajj task. It’s still clearly played in my mind.. the camps, the crowds, the sand, the chilly weather. Or rather, it can always be clearly played on my laptop thanks to my supercool DVD camcorder.  I may want to upload them on youtube.. haha. Anyways. I’m going so random now. I have to write also about family road trip to KL then Penang and Perak and KL again.. though it’s Penang that was most significant, since we haven’t actually been there, going around, 6 of us. Bukit Bendera/Penang Hill was.. sad. The train/cable car is so old, almost obsolete (good thing they’re replacing the system early next year) and so is the ferry. Haih. That’s the Malaysian govt, they are busy building and creating new mega projects but overlook the ones that really need attention. Improvement, please? I feel rather embarrassed when I was sending Penang postcards showing Penang ferry to people overseas. I mean.. look at it.. duh. I had this picture of ferry in Finland, Suomenlinna or whatever.. it’s incomparable. And talking about Finland, this picture I took from the Penang ferry rather reminds me of Helsinki.. and it also looks like Copenhagen harbor.. anyway, nevermind what the place is, but it’s one of my favorite.

Penang harbor