Thursday, September 29, 2016

Still blogging today

A girlfriend once marveled at how I could still keep up with blogging after all these years. I told her 'nothing to it, you just keep on finding something to write, anything'.. tongue in cheek.

But I must admit that I've not been updating this space regularly enough - those of you who have been regular readers would have noticed that. Ooops!

And I've told myself (not once) I shall do better, and I will. I will post more regularly from now on, maybe not daily like the Blog Challenge I did last April, but certainly more frequently from now on.

For starters, here's something wow-worthy, 'The most awesome Omurice in Kichi2, Kyoto, Japan'. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Looper Effects Pedals

Loopers are basically miniature recorders that can play back a sample again and again on demand - hence the name. Loopers are a staple for musicians who include looping parts in their songs and a looper effects pedal is a powerful tool in the hands of a creative musician. So it's never too early to start planning on how you can use one to your advantage.

If you are in the market for a music looper, you would be spoilt for choice but you can easily find a model that provides exactly the set of features you're looking for.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy Malaysia Day!

Just to have it on record here, today, September 16th is Malaysia Day.

Malaysia was formed on September 16, 1963, 53 years ago, when the former British colonies of Singapore and the North Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya.

Two years later, Singapore left to become an independent nation by herself.

Below are some facts about Malaysia courtesy of World Facts..

Geography of Malaysia

Southeastern Asia, peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam

2 30 N, 112 30 E

total: 329,750 sq km
water: 1,200 sq km
land: 328,550 sq km

Area comparative:
slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries:
total: 2,669 km
border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km

4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM

tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons

coastal plains rising to hills and mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,100 m

Natural resources:
tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite

Natural hazards:
flooding, landslides, forest fires

Environment current issues:
air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires

Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

Population of Malaysia

25,274,132 (July 2008 est.)  - Today, population is close to 30 million.

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.6% (male 4,093,859/female 3,862,730)
15-64 years: 62.6% (male 7,660,680/female 7,613,537)
65 years and over: 4.7% (male 509,260/female 645,792)

Median age:
24.1 years

Growth rate:

Infant mortality:
17.16 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.5 years
male: 69.8 years
female: 75.38 years

Fertility rate:
3.04 children born/woman

noun: Malaysian(s)
adjective: Malaysian

Ethnic groups:
Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, Indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8%

Muslim, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh; note - in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia

Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; note - in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest are Iban and Kadazan

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.9%
male: 92.4%
female: 85.4%

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated today, 15 September, 2016

Today, September 15th, the Chinese community around the world celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival. This festival is also celebrated by the Vietnamese.

Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival or in this part of the world (Malaysia and Singapore) also referred to as the Lantern Festival (though not to be confused with the other Lantern Festival celebrated on the 15th day of Chinese New Year).

Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th Month of the Lunar year.

The Mooncake Festival is one of a number of traditional Chinese festivals. Malaysians of Chinese descent make up about 25% of the population of Malaysia so Chinese festivals are observed here in keeping up with traditions.

Traditionally, the Mid-Autumn Festival is in celebration of the end of the harvest season. Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the harvest moon on this day of the year (the Chinese lunar calendar), as they believed the practice would bring them a bountiful harvest the following year.

The custom of offering sacrifices to the moon originated from worshiping the moon goddess, and it was recorded that kings offered sacrifices to the moon in fall during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045–770 BC).

The practice of moon worship is still practised today, in this day and age. Only the Chinese Buddhist/Taoist community here in Malaysia follow the custom. A table would be set up outdoors with offerings of fruits and snacks and mooncakes, of course, together with lighting of incense/joss-sticks and candles.

Offerings are actually made to a lunar deity, Chang'e, known as the Moon Goddess of Immortality. The myths associated with Chang'e explain the origin of moon worship during this day. One version of the story can be found on Wikipedia, as described in Lihui Yang's Handbook of Chinese Mythology.

After dinner, family members would continue the festivity with more eating, mooncakes being a must-have food item, naturally. Other foodstuff associated with this festival include the pomelo, small yams or taro and water caltrops or ling kok (in Cantonese).

Children will play with lanterns. The lantern, like the mooncake, is synonymous with the Mid-Autumn Festival which explains why this festival is also called Lantern Festival.

Lanterns are traditionally handmade with paper and bamboo strips and lit by a candle. However, lanterns have evolved over the years and contemporary versions are sometimes made of plastic, lit by a battery-operated bulb and feature cartoon characters though traditional animal shapes or the star-fruit are still available.

The tradition of eating mooncakes during the festival began in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), a dynasty ruled by the Mongols.

At the end of the Yuan Dynasty, the Han people's resistance wanted to overthrow the rule of the Mongols, so they planned an uprising together. But they had no way to inform other Han people who wanted to join them of the time of the uprising without being discovered by the Mongols.

The military counselor of the Han people's resistance army, Liu Bowen, thought out a stratagem related to mooncakes. Liu Bowen asked his soldiers to write "uprising on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival" on slips of paper, put them in mooncakes, and then sell them to the other Han people.

When the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival came, a huge uprising broke out and the Han people succeeded.

Source: China Highlights

Here's wishing you a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Selamat Hari Raya Haji

Malaysia being a Muslim-majority nation celebrates this festive occasion with a gazetted public holiday today - making this a three-day weekend for some of us.

The city of Kuala Lumpur is somewhat quiet and deserted as Muslims in the city have left for their hometown to celebrate this festive occasion with their family and loved ones, most travelling interstate for the celebration.

I was at Berjaya Times Square for a lunch gathering yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the easy traffic along Jalan Imbi, and on a Sunday too. Here, take a look..

See what I mean? Berjaya Times Square is the red building in the centre. Berjaya Times Square or sometimes referred to as BTS is one mall to check out when you are in Kuala Lumpur.

There are lots to see and do for the entire family just in this one mall. But let's talk about Berjaya Times Square in another post, shall we?. In the meantime..

Selamat Hari Raya Haji and Happy Holiday!