24 May 2010

Amr diab * Tammeny 2009 &Asuured me - (English Subtitles) عمرو دياب - طمني

  I've always had a weakness for Arabic music and I found this one by Amir Diab on youtube. Really nice

22 May 2010

Borobodur, Jogjakarta

We arrived at Borobodur actually 2 days ago, after landing at the Jogja airport some time on Thursday. Then it being only about 10 am and rooms not yet available for checking in we decided to go for a short tour of the Solo area. Solo is quite well known in its own right - it being the place of that old well known song " Bengawan Solo" sung by Sang Saimon originally and later by a number of other artistes. We visted some craft shops and also an old palace - what the Indonesians call a Kraton. It was built sometime during the 17th century by the Sultan HeMangku Buwono. But when the Dutch took over Java he was deposed

Right now  we are in Borubodur. Its a really great place - my daughter has banned me from using the word "awesome" because she says I'm too old to use it. There must be a law somewhere that I dont know  about which says I must not use words meant for kids, perhaps?
 Anyway it is  awe-inspiring, tremendously so. Not just the vastness of the temple complex but the fact that it is so well kept. Although some of the statues of the Buddha were missing, and some of the heads too, most of the temple is quite intact.
The hotel we stayed in is the Manohara Hotel or the Princess Manohara Hotel. It's situated right within the temple grounds so its only a few metres to visit the temple. I was quite impressed with the temple - its huge - its about 2 and a half km to walk right around the temple according to the guide, and its about 10 stories high. It was built sometime during the 7th century, by the Buddhists. There are more than 500 statues of the Buddha within the temple, on every story. However it was only discovered late in the 18th century during the Dutch era. It seems that most of the temple had been buried under volcanic ash during one of the earlier volcanic eruptions and lay undisturbed by Man for a number of centuries. This probably accounts for the fact that most of the temple is quite intact.

Other interesting sites in and around Jogjakarta are the volcanoes. There are a number of them, the most active of which is Merapi. Mount Merapi erupted sometime in 2007 and more than 5000 people died in that explosion, mainly because of the mudslides and earthquake that followed the erruption. Most of Jogjakarta consist of lowlying buildings, maybe because of this. Geographically most of the island of Java lies in the earthquake zone and the whole island is quite prone to earthquakes, but Jogjakarta is more susceptible to them than any other city in Java.

On the other hand, because of this, the soil here is also one of the richest in the country. As we drove upwards towards the Dieng Plateau, about 5300 feet above sea level, we could see the panaroma all around us - fields and fields of green - potatoes, beetroot, carrots, cabbages and others. From what I could see, the earth is so rich you can plant almost anything anywhere. Any land that is wider than 2 feet is planted and utilised. You can see terraces of potatoes, right up to the peak of the mountains.

                                                                    Fat sheep grazing in one of the pastures - no its not in New Zealand but in Indonesia!

16 May 2010

Back in Singapore

We're having a wonderful weekend now visiting my grand daughter in Singapore. Rizal our son has gone off to Mumbai for a conference so we decided to go over and keep Pohling company. Sophia is a real chatterbox these days - she can talk non stop for hours. She talks to her toys, to her imaginary friend Totoro and to her grand father! I took a video of her "cooking" broccolli for Thomas the train and Totoro. She's a very imaginative child and has an exceptional vocabulary for a 30 month old toddler. I'll have to ask Wan how to upload it to this site later!

9 May 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere!

8 May 2010

Malacca River cruise

Its been some time since I was back home in Malacca. Today Repin and I went for a photo shoot, or rather Repin went for a photo shoot and I followed him. He got some really good shots of the Malacca River cruise. The last timewe went on the cruise it was at night - there are some advantages to going on the day cruise - you can see the beautiful wall murals they have done on the backs of the buildings facing the river - history of Malacca at a glance! The artists came from a local college and it was done for the Malacca state government without charge  I heard. The murals are good - in fact some are better than good and they depict all the scenes of the different stages in the history of Malacca - from its discovery by Parameswara, the prince of Majapahit to the Portuguese and later the Dutch conquest and finally to independence from colonial rule.

There are some things that we could not see at night - for example the little grove of mangrove swamp or wetlands allowed to grow naturally just next to the town centre and also the little water mill that was used in the 50s. Its really very interesting and I'm glad we took the time to do this tour, even though we are Malaccans. Often, native dwellers of a historic place miss out what visitors see because we always say - "Oh its in my state, district... I can always see it later." But later we don't have the time and when others have seen the beauty or history of your own place, you yorself have not made time to do it. Just like the Mulu Caves in Sarawak which is one of the World Heritage sites. When I went to visit it some time ago, Gurnam, Peck Choo myself and Kuldeep were the only Malaysians there. The rest of the visitors came from all over the world - Americans, Germans, Dutch, Australians and British plus a couple of Singaporians.

6 May 2010

Jakarta and Bandung

Last weekend I went to Jakarta and Bandung with my sisters. This was the first time that I went out with my sisters and it was really fun! Very tiring though. Being the eldest sister I'm the oldest of them all and really can't keep up with their energy. Yah especially was really a shopaholic - non-stop shopping. I love Bandung - Rumah Mode specially. Its a lovely place - small and very personal yet lots of space to sit and admire the view. And Heritage House as well as Cascade too. Bandung will always be a great place to shop - brand names as well as the local brands - just walk around and you can find what you want. Yah bought some new bagpack style bags in the shape of the famous cartoon characters - Megatron, Darth Vader, Spiderman, even coffins and so on. The kids seem to like it. I got one for Ridzuan my son. Also got some lovely fabric which was really cheap - dirt cheap I'd say! Less than RM5 a meter. But so cool and soft and in such fantastic colours! Very English according to Min's daughter Aisyah.

The picture on the left is of the biggest masjid in Jakarta.

We stayed at the Sukajadi Hotel. Its cheap and really nice and they've renovated so our rooms were all very pleasant. They also overlook the swimming pool. That's what I like about the Indonesians  - the swimming pool area is beautifully landscaped, even though its small. Everywhere you go in Bandung you see sometrhing that is beautiful - cool avenues with lots of shady trees, old Dutch bungalows, lots of landscaped gardens...