Confessions of a Chocoholic ☆ Chocolate Concierge!
Had you asked me earlier, I would've dramatically - hand-over-heart - proclaimed myself a serious chocoholic. I thought I earned that title having meticulously curated my taste buds through years of dedicated research, otherwise known as gobbling chocolates at every opportunity.
I was sorely mistaken.
Enter Ning-Geng Ong Lingam, founder of the exquisitely crafted Chocolate Concierge and title bearer of flavor junkie, hardcore chocoholic and general cacao-know-it-all!
Deconstructing Suhaimi Fadzir - Acclaimed Contemporary Artist
It was fortuitous to discover Suhaimi Fadzir's latest exhibition "BEBAS" in Artcube, a gallery tucked away on the 3rd floor of the Intermark building. My husband and I were on the prowl for new contemporary furniture pieces and instead, it was contemporary art that caught our eye.
Artcube has a wonderfully open and accessible feel for a gallery that showcases some of the best Malaysian contemporary artists and so we paused, double backed and entered the gallery.
China Tiger ☆ A Prowl Around George Town!
Although I've been to Penang a number of times, somehow I've always stayed on the outskirts. Most recently, my husband and I stayed at the beautiful Lone Pines, which proved to be fantastically relaxing but rather secluded. In fact, we hardly left the shady hammocks poolside. And before that I'd stayed in the gorgeous Pinang suite in the famous Eastern & Oriental hotel with three balconies and a crisp white pool overlooking the ocean. Yet, even that meant a hot long walk to get into the interesting, historical parts of town.
This time with just a few days in Penang, we were determined to stay right in the heart of Penang's UNESCO heritage zone!
"Love Me In My Batik" ~ Conceptualizing Batik♥
My mother, or Amala as I call her, used to travel frequently to Malaysia, Indonesia and other Pacific Rim countries. In Malaysia, she worked mainly in Sarawak and at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) on community forest issues. She specialized in multi-stakeholder and conflict management practices and applied these tools in the building of community forestry networks, along with new policies to support these Southeast Asian communities.
As children, my brother and I would await her return, the inevitable unpacking of suitcases and uncovering of a roll of colorful batik cloth or beautiful shadow puppets 'Wayang Kulit' and 'Wayang Golek' figures that ended up adorning our home.
A Delightful ArtDeco Walkabout ~ Tiong Bahru, Singapore
I'd like to think I have a bit of a nose for neighborhoods; that I scouted Tiong Bahru well before its current renaissance as a trendy little enclave of boutiques, tasty eateries, and bearded hipsters. A spate of articles in 2011 proudly proclaimed Tiong Bahru as Singapore's oldest and hippest neighborhood. Whereas my first time staying there was in 2010, January 2010 to be specific, during an urban/jungle holiday in Singapore and then Borneo with my brother.
The proof is in the pudding, and by pudding I mean photos. Cast your gaze on these pics 6 years ago, when Marina Bay Sands was still racing to completion and I was still in the plausible realm of same height possibility with my baby brother.
Aerial Diving & Trampowalling with Cirque Éloize!
As I stepped into the empty Sands Theatre, I could hear the soft taps and leaps of feet from behind the curtain. I was back in Singapore, back at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands, but this was the first time I was told to take any seat I wished. Joy!
I had been invited for the press preview of Cirque Éloize iD performance, which would officially open just a few hours later with a cast of 15 talented performers freshly landed from Montreal. As members of the media streamed by with their massive tripods, video cameras, mikes and booms, I followed their lead and beelined for a seat front and center - best to learn from the pros.
Stalking Thin & Bold - Adventures of a Furniture Huntress!
Beautiful things have always caught my eye. Sometimes it literally makes you step back, put your head on tilt, and do an intense once over. I felt like that the first time I encountered this dark wooden console with striking brass dove tail bows.
The Quirks of Quarks ~ Singapore ArtScience Museum
Bright and early one morning, I was off to Singapore, ostensibly, road tripping it down to fetch a second batch of Turkish tiles. These we had joyfully discovered there a month earlier, after a futile and frustrating search of quite possibly every tile store in KL. Speeding down the North-South Expressway as acres of green oil palms whizzed by, tile-fetching was my purported mission but in fact, I had a hidden agenda.
I'd heard thru the geek-vine that the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands was hosting an exhibit on the Hadron Collider, and in my eagerness as a dedicated tile-hunter, we'd come one week too early last time.
Seeking the Sacred: Thaipusam
In Kuala Lumpur, we've been gearing up for the upcoming public holidays that honor the richness and diversity of Malaysian life, namely Thaipusam and Chinese New Year. Malaysians and expats alike adore this festive season that this year, per the Tamil and Lunar calendars respectively, follow so closely on the heels of Christmas and New Years.
Even if you've previously visited, or even lived in India as I have, you'll likely be caught off guard by the the staggering grandeur of devotion on display during the holy Hindu holiday of Thaipusam. It's beautiful, it's overwhelming, and it draws you in closely, pressed tight against the saffron clad bodies of Lord Sri Murugan's devotees.