Book Sale This Weekend

Seems to be all about books this week!
A friend of mine who owns a bookstore in KL will be having a book clearance sale of her surplus books.
So if you’re a book-lover, do check it out!
Date: 26 to 27 May (this weekend)
Venue: Flea market at Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya, on the first or 2nd floor.
Time: From 11 am to 7pm on both days
She tells me that they’re good quality books going at huge discounts!

Win This Book!

This is a quick post – just got news that you can win yourself this hot collection of short stories “Lovers & Strangers Revisited” written by my ex-USM lecturer and creative writing teacher, Robert Raymer by going to http://www.georgettetan.com/2007/05/20/contest-win-robert-raymers-lovers-and-strangers-revisited/
Robert is a client of mine (haha, these days must add disclaimer! I don’t blog for money but I must reveal what’s the relationship when I endorse or sing some praises) and before he became a client of ours, he was my creative writing lecturer when I was an undergrad in USM about a decade ago.

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The Places I Will Go

Friendships are different in this millennium.
In those days, I used to buy Galaxie and scour the penpal column and pick up a pen to write a letter off to someone. I had 2 good penpals then – Phyllis who used to live in PJ and send me posters of Madonna and Diana of Kuching who used to write in lovely longhand and share with me tales of her awful Chemistry teacher.
Dear old Phyllis is now a medical doctor, somewhere. Last I heard she was specialising in eye care and surgery. Diana? Haven’t heard from that woman in decades eversince I left school.
These days, friendships are different. I read someone’s blog, get to know all the juicy details of their lives, their peeves, their passions, their dogs and cats, and then I get to meet them.
And that’s so odd!
I met a fellow blogger on Monday and had a good two hours of nonstop conversation over a Nyonya dinner. In fact, I had read and heard so much about her that it was hard to believe I was actually going out to meet someone I’ve never met – and I was going to have dinner with her!

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On a Ducky Trail

When I get totally bushed, as I sometimes do (while working on clients’ projects simultaneously), I crave for some out of routine thing to do.
It could be just getting out and wandering aimlessly. It could be suddenly developing a craving for nasi kandar.
Which reminds me, I met up with two lovely people two weeks back – Ling Suan and her husband, Dr Leong who had driven up to Penang for a short break.
For many of you, does the name Tan Ling Suan ring a bell? She used to write regularly for The Star and she still writes, but she now spends most time writing children’s books. (You can find these phonics books and more in most bookstores, published by Arowana Publishing House.)
I’ve known her for years now – maybe 5 or 6 years – and she used to live in Sungai Petani when her husband was working at the Strand Hospital. One of the best things about Ling Suan is that she’s always cheerful and optimistic, and possesses a young heart despite having children and grandchildren!
Often curious, open-minded and tranquil, Ling Suan is someone I aspire to be like when I get to her age. Dr Leong is very kind – he’s probably the kind of doctor you’d want to visit if you are sick. His friendly demeanour makes you feel better right away.
We agreed to meet up for some supper at Kassim Mustafa, Penang Street. Ling Suan has a good memory – she reminded me that Nic raved about some 2am duck curry in Georgetown many years ago. Could we meet and try the duck curry together?
So we decided to meet up at Kassim Mustafa at 1am, because the duck curry only makes its appearance at 2am (for the late, late night crowd’s supper). I’m not a late night person and staying beyond 1am is not my kind of thing.
But never mind, it’s for Ling Suan and Dr Leong.
When we arrived at 1am, the corner shop was packed. People were lining up for the curries. We asked for the duck curry but the waiter told us apologetically that it was all sold out. So we settled for some chicken curry and naan. And we had a good night, talking and catching up so much so that we left Kassim Mustafa’s around 3am!
We found out from the waiter that the duck curry now appears earlier – from 9pm onwards. But on Saturday nights only.
I kept asking why it makes a once-a-week appearance because it was a highly popular dish (going by the lines of people and the takeaways, or tar pau). Why not make it more often? Again I asked. I was not satisfied that I did not get my duck curry despite staying up late.
“Oh, the curry is very expensive to cook… must do the rempah and all,” the waiter said, complete with shaking head and hand gestures.
And two days ago, I finally managed to get my duck curry. Aaah, my ducky trail has ended. I finally got to taste it. Make no mistake, this dish is well-known among regular patrons. You won’t even find it on their menu! It’s THAT top secret. It sells out very fast too.
We arrived about 10pm and already packets of nasi minyak and duck curry were being tar-paued quickly.
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We ordered the duck curry (a huge slab of duck thigh swimming in the most yummy curry gravy – RM6), some turmeric-infused stirfried cabbage (almost wilted, that’s the only thing I dislike about these nasi kandar places – RM1) and some beef curry (not bad but had a bit of a beefy smell, RM2) to go with our fragrant nasi minyak (RM1 x 2). And of course, don’t forget the scoops of spicy, sourish kerisik which really goes well with the duck and the nasi minyak.
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This place sells a mean Ayam Negreo too or what I call ayam diesel… the chicken pieces sit in sauce so black it could only be diesel! LOL. Joke aside, it’s not too bad but take the duck. Nic has eaten here years ago and he says the duck back then was more tender. The huge pots and pots of curries come out of the kitchen all night. Imagine how many people eat in and take away, if going by the size of the pots.
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Kassim Mustafa’s is a warm nasi kandar joint; either that, or the curries were hot. We both started sweating profusely as we gobbled our rice. Some half an hour later, we were absolutely sated, stuffed with duck and beef, and sat sipping our teas with relish.
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Here’s a bit of history about this duck curry – a must-try if you are in Penang – the first generation owner of Kassim Mustafa’s started selling his duck curry from a small, nondescript shop opposite its current premises. Over the years, he grew wealthier and expanded business into the current shop lots. I suppose for nostalgia’s sake they still sell the duck curry, although now only once a week, on a Saturday night. I’m not sure if they have it in their other branches of Kassim Mustafa (there’s a branch at Bayan Baru).
But good marketing too – make something so good and so scarce that people from far and wide just have to have a taste of this dish!

When Things Get Busy…

Welcome to a new look for Mayakirana’s blog….actually I’m totally so not techie. This is the work of Nic, of course.
I’ve been bugging him to change the theme for my blog for the absolutest longest time but you see, work and business get in the way.
And this past few weeks have been totally busy. So much so I think my friends are sick and tired of me saying, yes, yes, I can chat but for a while only. Got piles of stuff to do. And some of them can’t even sniff me out online because I’ve been out and about!
So when things get truly zombie-crazy busy, it’s nice to fiddle with themes for a bit. And have you noticed that this theme is rather cool? You can move the elements around if you like. Ajax and web 2.0 combination – and a resemblance to Mac. Apple Mac, that is.
The creative director (my husband lah) decided it was time for Maya’s blog to be moving with the millennium. Toss out the old theme and be as geeky as I can be. I’m not sure if I am geeky enough to qualify for geekdom but sometimes I do get pretty excited over widgets and what-nots I find online.
I’ve got a bunch of stuff to share too, and all these ideas are fermenting in my cranium.
Went for a Buddhist talk for the past two nights at Caring Society Complex, and enjoyed myself thoroughly listening to Phakchok Rinpoche who’s a terribly good storyteller.
Never mind that he stopped at times to ask his secretary how a certain word was said in English, never mind that the translator got mixed up when she was speaking in Mandarin.
His Dhamma talks were hilarious. But the best part has got to be the Q&A session at the end of the talks…. these are the times when people try to ask intellectual questions and stump many a listener. But the young Rinpoche answered them affably, with a twinkle in his eye and a cheeky smile. I will post up his photo once I re-size it properly. (He’s young too… he’s only 26.)
Actually I never knew much at Vajrana Buddhism until a friend told me about Rinpoche coming to Penang (I consider myself much more Theravadin than anything but then again, these are just labels….I’m learning about Pureland from Nic and reading up on it too but I grew up with Theravadin ways ie suttas, Dhamma camps/retreats etc).
Anyway, Rinpochoe visits Malaysia every 6 months I believe and gives talks and does puja with the laypeople. You can find out more about him and his monastery in Nepal from http://www.gomde.org.il/eng/pr.htm
Anyway, I’ll write more later. Now I’ve got to dash out for a while and run some errands.
Cheers!