Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Paper Marche Panda Workshop

Days since my last post: 3

To begin, I would just like to say that I can hear my friend's voice in my head going on and asking me to stop it with the panda madness. My reply? NEVER.

What's this "stop" you're talking about?

Anyway just to recap on what happened to my short weekend, let's get started. 2 weeks or so ago, Tania left a link on the group chat we were in that WWF Malaysia was holding a paper marche panda workshop, an activity where you can make your own paper marche panda for a small fee. I was reluctant in the beginning but when you have an extremely convincing happens. We both signed up, got excited and merely waited.

We got a shock however when Kenneth from WWF Malaysia called us up, informing us that the workshop on Sunday was cancelled due to the lack of participants and we were given the option to move our slots to Saturday or get a refund. I weighed my options and thought, "Forget sleeping in and going to class later on, let's just wake up for pandas then go to class looking like one!" It would have been extra convincing when I pose with my panda, right?
 Comfortable working space with ready materials.

Glue, paint, brushes, newspapers and husk panda base included.

Oh hello, are you making me?

If you've known me enough, you would know that I have absolutely zero talent in the art division, making the job 200% more difficult than what it looked to be. Luckily though, I had two assistants for the day and that too didn't help too much because I was on one hand excited to make my own paper marche panda yet on the other hand glad I didn't have to be responsible for a bad job.

Tania and I hard at work.

The first job was to glue on newspaper bits to the husk base.

I know I only had one job, but I gave that away too.

Just a disclaimer though, I didn't demand for help. They merely couldn't handle looking at how I was working and took over anyway so now you know I was not kidding about the failure to art part.

I reserve the right to say that I did 70% of that, okay? He did the touch ups!

Hello, base of my panda!

The trick to make sure everything gets glued and in tiny pieces.

To make the base, all we had to do was brush on glue and stick on torn pieces of newspapers, ensuring every bit of the base is covered. It helps to slap on two or three layers, alternating between blow drying with hot air and air drying as normal in order for the newspaper bits to bond better.

And then you paint.

Dry it off with a blast of cold air...

It works better if you have TWO blasts of cold air!

The next step was just as tedious as the first and that was to make the paper marche panda white. This became one of the hardest steps because it not only could not be overly thick in paint as it could crack, but the white paint provided was fairly watery, making it extra difficult to paint over the blacks of the newspapers. The trick is to paint a thin layer of white over the paper marche panda, blast it with cold air and repeat the process until every inch is covered in white, looking almost snow like.

Unfortunately for us, we ran out of time as the workshop only ran from 9 AM to 12 PM, with a 30 minute delay as there were irresponsible people arriving late. In return, we went home with a polar bear, some white paint and some black paint. Every participant even got a certificate from WWF Malaysia for taking part in the Paper Marche Panda Workshop and I thought that was really adorable. It could have possibly one of the most fun things to do on a Saturday morning with my parents and losing sleep over this was totally worth it.

We've replaced my brother with a panda bunting for this family picture. Do you approve of your new look, Chef?

Oh and remember to visit the 1,600 pandas on display right now in Publika, Solaris Dutamas while they're still there from 10 AM to 10 PM until the 25th of January! You won't regret it, my blog post will vouch for me. Get more information from WWF Malaysia for more adorable activities like these or find out how to donate to save the wildlife. They do need us more than you need coffee daily.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What A Panda-monium

Days since my last post: 7

So I realize my consistency ran off BUT I have a valid reasoning to this. You see, the pandas were in town! I am presenting you lots of pictures okay, just bear with me.

It's black, it's white...
Disclaimer: No phones were harmed in the production of this picture, just worried hearts.
Yes, you're looking at several of the 1,600 pandas that's on display at Publika, Solaris Dutamas from the 13th to 25th January 2015, an initiative by WWF Malaysia and several other generous sponsors that brings on the awareness of the soon-to-be extinct pandas in the wild. In fact they had found that in the year 2004, only about 1,600 wild pandas are still around...thus the number of pandas that are going around on a flash mob activity.

Hello, adorable things!

How could there...

 Possibly be...

 So many...

Of you adorable...

Little things?!

I swear that they are what they are: Just tons of adorable innocence all rolled into one! I guess not a lot of people know it but aside to a loving for elephants, I also have soft spots for big animals like the orang utan and pandas, making it just about right for me to be in love with this exhibition.

1,601 pandas, if you catch my drift.

 Surrounded. Simply surrounded.

To get a picture with these 1,600 pandas in Publika, you'll have to fork out RM 10 for a printed photo, a single picture on your own device and a whole lot of joy to last you for days. Plus you'll be doing good as it goes to charity so what's not to like about that?

Every shot and print is RM 10.

The wait however can take a while. We lined up for a good hour to be with the pandas for...a minute.

If you can't afford another shot for RM 10 and an hour's worth of lining up, taking pictures outside the cordon works too.

I am also really lucky to have been there with 2 of my awesome friends, Stephanie and Weng Sum because the wait would have otherwise been horrendous. Tons of little screaming children and indifferent parents who think that they own the area simply because they're in line too.

Just a random picture of us because there is otherwise no proof of us being there together.

Click for a panaromic panda-perience!

Do pay the pandas a visit if you're in KL from today on till the 25th of January because they're really adorable bits of black and white in Publika! It's really difficult to miss seeing as that they're smack in the middle of the establishment and there's bound to be tons of people regardless where you go but it's really worth a once in a lifetime visit.

After all, how could you possibly say no to me?

Hoping to drop by a few days later to update on another panda thing so wish me luck on workload and I'll be back real soon! Till then, don't be a panda!

Special thanks to Steph and Weng Sum for several of the photos in the post. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Food Trails: Thai Camp

Days since my last post: 5

Hurray to a form of consistency, because it's only been 5 days since my last post. I realize that I've been doing them in 3s last year but it would almost seem like this year is bringing me more adventures so let's spread them in 5s unless necessary.

I'm back on the food trail, much of my halting has come from my laziness and being broke. Or maybe it's just that I have gotten so fat, I have stopped eating. No, don't do that. Totally side tracked but let's get to business. So for those who don't already know, I am back on the workforce (Yay!) so coming home to dinner is a norm again! But here we were on a rare day where my parents were out of the home the entire day, granting us the luxury of eating; not just out of home, but out of our area!

Talk about 3D art!

Really interesting pieces on the walls of Thai Camp.

 Graffiti works too!

We came across Thai Camp, a little nook that spans at half a shop's width that sells; to nobody's surprise, Thai food. I've probably said this tons of times but I shall repeat that I absolutely love Thai food. I love how tangy and spicy yet sweet all at the same time that most of their dishes can present and setting my eyes on Thai Camp was like coming across heaven that appeared out of nowhere. It felt that way after a long day at work, I swear.

A good use of space below the stairs.

 Guess who's stealing free the prawn crackers!

Choices for us were limited however as there were only the 3 of us so we went with the normal stuff that seemed safest to try for. Bearing in mind that Thai Camp had been shortlisted both as the Best Thai restaurant and Best New Restaurant, I had quite a lot of my eggs into a basket and prayed for the most eye popping meal yet. Sadly however, I was not pleased.

Iced lemongrass without the lemongrass stalk.

The iced lemongrass drink for one was fairly disappointing as I had expected an extra kick of lemongrass taste to it but it was just overly sweetened, lacking in the lemongrass scent and the slice of mint leaf in it hardly did anything to the drink. Overall, I only finished the drink because I had already paid for it and that the meal was extremely tongue-numbing. But let me get to that later on.

Piping hot tom yum soup that's been filled to the brim.

There is no visit to a Thai restaurant  without the order of tom yum so we went with the Tom Yum seafood soup that would serve the 3 of us well. It came as per usual in a pot as seen and it was actually very annoying to me. Why couldn't Thai restaurants just serve them in bowls like normal people serves soup? The middle portion to these pots makes it 100% harder to get our ingredients from the serving!

 Abundances of ingredients are great I suppose.

I do give them credit however for the fresh large prawns that boasted a great bite and sweet to taste, the perfectly cooked squids and mushrooms. Because mushrooms makes everything wonderful. The soup however was such a let down as it was ONLY sour not at all sweet nor tangy or spicy as I had expected for it to be. It was just sour, as if someone had decided that sour should be the only taste anyone could ever have. We didn't even drink one quarter of the soup in the pot when I usually lap up all of any tom yum soups!

Pork phad kra pao with a side of veges.

Phad Kra Pao or the Thai Basil Chicken dish except in Thai Camp, you can substitute it for pork and that's just what we did. I guess I was really expecting a strong taste of basil like the phad kra pao from a restaurant in Centrepoint called Black Canyon but I have got to say that it tastes nothing like that here. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't enjoy the dish but I just thought it could have been done better. It wasn't spicy as opposed to how I thought it would have been and neither was it over the moon kind of good. It was just...okay.

Young mangoes, onions, celeries and lime juice.

A Thai staple order: Mango salad. Is this what they call a som tum? I've forgotten but the minute this came, I said goodbye to my taste buds. Perhaps it's just my family but neither of us liked this mango salad, much on the basis that it was overly spicy to begin with. We couldn't get the sour nor sweet off the mango because that was just it. Much like the tom yum soup, this only had one word stuck to it and it was the word SPICY. We hardly made it through half of it before it was left alone...only to be struggled through by the end of the meal.

 A welcoming entrance, no?

Bags are for sale if you're interested.

It costed us RM 65 for the entire meal inclusive of 3 servings of rice and it was probably just one of those that has made it to my disappointed list. I now doubt the shortlisting of famous websites and magazines on restaurants again. There is no government tax nor service charge here and the waiter, (And who I believe is the owner according to the phone application, Foursquare) Nic is a really cheery fellow so you won't be afraid to ask him questions.

A tiny spot of half a shop lot. I trust they have lights later at night.

Chances to a revisit is probably only at a 20%, much like the promotion that they currently have on their Facebook page. For now however, I think I would just stick to Khunthai for tom yum and Black Canyon for my Thai Basil chicken.

Thai Camp
37, Jalan 20/7,
Taman Paramount,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Open from Tuesdays to Sundays: 6 PM - 10 PM

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tourist Day Out

Days since my last post: 5

I've come to realize that this year, I should make a list on how far apart my posts are just so I can give myself a sense of how balanced I can be between juggling my work and everything else. So here's a post to remember my good times and the very day I took a Japanese friend around Kuala Lumpur.

And I began to look very Japanese myself too. 

Masaaki is a 21-year old accounting student from Tokyo, Japan and we met on...don't laugh at this but through an app on our mobiles. It was an odd meet actually because I was just scrolling through deals from the Galaxy Life application for Samsung phones and I came across app suggestions for people who were learning languages. I really think my phone is onto me. It's pretty well known that one of the best ways to improve yourself is in fact to speak to someone whose native tongue is of that language so I tried out HelloTalk for the first time.

The application was revolutionary and I began speaking to several Japanese people through my broken Japanese typing and awkward voice recording. Amongst the people I have spoken to right now are people named Kuniyoshi, Genki, Seiya, Ryohei and Misao. Of course then, there is Masaaki. The thing about the app however is that you can never enlarge the picture of your new found friend and it's been programmed as such to protect our safety. 

Among other silly things we speak of.

For odd reasons, I found myself a click to Masaaki and when he told me he would be in Malaysia during Christmas last year, I just told him right off that I would take him around KL even if it were just for a day. So it was set. Our meet up was not at all awkward and this funny Japanese dude and I had an entire Sunday out together.

This is just one of the better pictures, he doesn't take normal looking stuff apparently.

I thought it was great. It made me feel like the Japanese are truly one of the nicest people around and even when they're away from home, that part of culture in them has never left and the day was extremely enjoyable. The only issue however was that I had no idea where to take him because he didn't seem to like malls a lot and finally set our day to the KL Hop On Hop Off. A word of advice if the conductor asks whether you're a local, say yes. This tip applies to you too if you have a visitor around and THEY look local as well because you could well just save your friend more than half of the fees charged by the KL Hop On Hop Off service.
Charges go at RM 19 per local for an entire day and you can go up and down the bus as many times as you like while tourists pay through their nose at RM 45 for the same service. Just look them up on Google as "KL Hop On Hop Off" and you'll get a glimpse of their routes and what not. I got up at KL Central and got off in Chinatown after a big circle around town. I recommend it as a fun activity to know KL though!

Our destinations included the National Museum, National Palace, National Mosque, Cultural Palace and the Dataran Merdeka; all of which are obviously prominent KL tourist spots. I think he was most fascinated with Dataran Merdeka and we were lucky to have seen the road closed off in preparations for the New Years Eve countdown. We hardly have pictures together however as I did feel just a tad bit shy but now I regret it to the core, knowing that it would probably be another 2 or 3 years until I could save up enough to go to Japan and meet him up again.

This post isn't quite around to be informative nor is it made to be a review to anything, just a reminder of the good times I had...just in case I get older and forget them all.

Thank you for the good day out, Masaaki. Until we meet again.

P/S: I absolutely do not condone meeting up with people you find online unless you truly trust them, okay? Meeting up Masaaki was a double take and I only had faith in him enough when he said to set our point of meet up at KL Central instead of his own hotel. "You can run if I am scary," he said to me. Always execute caution when it comes to seeing someone you've known online and if possible, bring a friend. Or two. Or a whole kampung, just to keep yourself safe. This is a PSA, for real.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Come ye 2015

Come forth and meet your match, 2015! I know that each year I would put up seemingly unrealistic resolutions that I never seem to hit right in the target but to make them is just about half the fun. So what can be of 2015 without a resolution to look at, right? This year however, I have made it extra reasonable and less impossible...if that's even possible. And so come ye 2015, I shall see it through to meeting you.

  • Love myself more
The better half of me: Me.

By this, I absolutely do NOT mean that I will be posting a billion selfies in a day but instead to care for myself more than bothering on other things that somehow do not affect me whether directly or indirectly. Perhaps a lot more evident to my family and close friends, I absolutely let myself go in the year 2014 and hardly bothered about things like my weight, my skin and my health. As such I ballooned to my personal high of 52kgs, had acne issues that were so prominent with no amount of Photoshop that could help, and fell sick so many times, I could have just opened a drug store with the amount of medicine I have had.

So in 2015, my hope is to see myself caring. For me. It's just a little promise from me to me but to have it said out seems to feel much more real than to keep it in. I sincerely hope that this reaches out to everyone else too because by the end of the day, you will still be you and there's no one who deserves more love than yourself.

  • Do well in Japanese
 Because working hard brings improvements.

An ultimate miss in the year 2014, I hope that this year would bring changes to my language skills. Having picked up Japanese in August 2013 as soon as I stopped college, I do hope that I could be conversing in the language without the need for stutters. I mean, it definitely wouldn't be my first language but if I were to have another Japanese friend come to Malaysia for a visit, I wish I could just speak to them as well as I could in Chinese or English.

Keeping it up with the help of storybooks my teacher graciously gave me and having my regular conversations with a friend called Masaaki. Why are Japanese people so amazing?

  • Travel more with family and friends
 My little red book and a bag on wheels.

I am aware that in the year 2014, I have made more trips to Penang that I used to have when my grandfather was alive and we had a home there. I was also given the opportunity to visit the Philippines along with new friends made thus in 2015, I look forward to more bags to pack and places to see because if not now, when? Cliche as this is, I am a firm believer that travels can help you grow as you see more of what is outside of the world you know and meet people who will always interest you in learning new things or experiencing new chapters of life. This isn't an easy resolution because everything is immensely costly especially given my range of salary, but in faith brings miracles so let's have this around as a great hope to look forward to.

  • Read more regardless of novels or self help books
A beginning, perhaps.

I've realized that since the start of my college days, I stopped reading as much as I used to and my very familiar excuse is that I haven't got the time. What I have failed to realize however is the amount of closure and relaxation reading once brought to me when I was much younger. This year, I have all these books surrounding me (I say surround because my room is an utter mess that cannot be saved so I have books all over) and while I will not promise to read them all, I hope to complete just at the very least 10 to 20 of them all. Evidently when I am done, I am pledging to send them out to donations for the poor so everyone finds as much joy in reading as I do.

  • Fuel my hobby as a reward to all I have done
 I apologize for the lack of a picture, perhaps a video would do better?

I have this belief that in life, you can't just keep going. You can't keep hoping for someone else to always shower you with praises or recognize the effort you have put in either because what you may feel is great will probably just be mediocre to them. This however does not mean that you haven't done a good job so in 2015, I am hoping to reward myself if I ever feel like I have thrown in my best to anything in hand. By saying this, I am obviously NOT saying that I need such acknowledgements but if I am constantly only degrading myself then I would never find the push to keep going, right? This sounds very contradictory to my first line but I guess it's almost like saying we should take a break before going on. In the words of those who know Chinese, 休息是為了走更远 的路。 We all need a breather once in a while, folks. Don't keep putting yourself at the limits of falling down a cliff you can't climb. Come back to the sane side...and build yourself some Nanoblocks.

And that's it. I've obviously dropped my number of resolutions and made them seemingly more reasonable, most of it because I can't think of what else to make as a resolution. I guess as you're growing into more commitments and begin to put more effort in the thoughts of other things than just resolving resolutions made, this does happen. I do hope that in 2015, I could be doing more than I have done in the past years so wish me luck as we grow together!

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2015 be greater for all of us.