Monday, 26 November 2012

Langkawi Chronicles: Stray Overload

A total of 27 days now I have been in Langkawi. Much is yet to be seen and experienced of course. But I am drawn towards a serious problem in Langkawi - stray animals.

Langkawi it seems has a situation with regards to cats and dogs. They are just everywhere. I find myself finding animals everywhere I go. And for many of those cases, the animals don't look too healthy.

Rail thin kittens, flea bitten dogs, mangy toms abound almost anywhere human habitation or business exist.

I have visited the volunteer run animal sanctuary Langkawi LASSie here near Pantai Cenang, they can be found here, and they are doing their damnedest best to control the ever increasing population growth. I see many cats and dogs, carrying the signature LASSie treatment mark, which to me at least, suggest that some battles are still being valiantly fought despite the odds.

I am not too sure how long the good guys there can keep it up but bless their kind hearts and willing bodies to take up such an undertaking.

Honestly, I don't understand why some people can keep pets and then when the habit becomes inconvenient, say for instance, they got to move elsewhere, the pet falls ill, the cuteness wears off, the animal grows old and requires incrementally greater care, or others, t he very same people who swears a while ago that they love their pets can blithely abandon their animals.

Frequently I find, to my horror, updates on the FB page of LASSie of some found, abandoned or neglected animal. It breaks my heart.

I am not in a position now to offer more help, but I soon hope to be able to. In the meantime, spare them some care and thought and much needed love and help out any which way you can - Cash, Kind, Support, Words of Encouragement or Helping to spread the word around. 
There is something everyone can do to help!
Please consider helping out! Tigger and Munchkin and many more of their brethren need our continued love!

Doe-eyed Tigger!

Me Mini Munchkin!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Langkawi Chronicles: BuraqOil

Petrol stations are few and far in between in Langkawi. Trying to find my favourite brand Shell, is nigh on inconvenient. There is only 1 outlet in the whole of Langkawi, and to add insult, it is in Kuah, easily 3 kilometers away from where I live. Some Petronas outlets here and there in the primary townships, but am not a fan of their petrol anyways.

Driving around the other day, I found this sad looking outlet in Temoyong (yes, really, Temoyong. I have no idea what that means!), and another, at the end of jalan Chandek Kura (don't ask).

It used to have a small convenience store and a cashiering system. Now, all that's left is only a tragic reminder of the snack store and the office, being run by a kid who I guess is probably 10 years old (but entrepreneurial!). Le sad!


Langkawi Chronicles : Job Well Done!

The team here just successfully attended to a family clan get-together of a well known Malaysian VIP. 

The group started check-in into our resort on 16th and on 22nd they left. 36 persons in total. We made arrangements for their rooming, in-house meals and activities as well as planned for their off-resort fun. 

In all, it has been a challenging run for me and the team and  I am thankful that my counterpart who will soon return to HQ was present to tag-team the tasks. 

Select individuals from HQ was also flown to the resort to help out, of which I am also thankful for. Catering for a group of such discerning tastes is no easy task. Having them come from different parts of the world also puts an interesting requirement to the planning. 

Indoor games & activities - karaoke, carrom, congkak, jenga, chess and more, were set up for their use. Ping Pong & Water Polo tournaments, Beach & Sea Adventures - island hop, jet ski, para-sailing & banana-boat rides, rest & relaxation spa treatments,  as well as tourist trap go-sees were negotiated, plotted and replotted. Dinner bookings and menu planning were to me the most exciting, trying to feed and satisfy so many eager mouths. 

It was a long and hard week for the lot of us, and many, who were not used to the punishing workload were visibly struggling, but we managed to soldier on despite our aching bodies. Many ended working upwards of 14 hours everyday (I myself worked 0700-0030 almost daily). Logistics alone was a puzzling workout!

At the end most importantly, our guests all had nice things to say and were appreciative of the level of attention and care we accorded them. The guests shook our hands warmly as we bid them adieu. It was almost sad to see them leave, mixed with a sense of accomplishment on a job well done. 

We received a small tip at the end left by our gracious guest and I can wait to share with the team. I got a personal gift from the VIPs themselves, a humble gift of a Pelikat sarong. To many, this would be a tiny gift, but to some Johoreans, being gifted with Pelikat, or it's female variant, Batik Lepas, is an expression of honest gratitude and the solemn doa for well-being for the recipient. 

I was dumbstruck as this was possibly the quiet meaning behind the gesture.   

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Out & About: Simple Eats in Kg Sungai Menghulu.

Chanced upon this nameless Tom Yam stall barely 200 meters away from my rental. Simple and humble to the point of being decidedly Meh, but the results of what I ordered for dinner really surprised me.

Simple dish of Tom Yam Fried Rice and Vegetable Soup came out super. It could have been the combination of hunger and cold weather influencing me but both dishes were really good.

First off the rice portion was like ENORMOUS! Then, it was very richly flavored, packed with the spicy, sweet, sour and herby flavours one would expect a Tom Yam to carry. Each grain of the rice was coated in this delicious mix and wok fried. Some recklessly thrown in firecracker bird's eye chillies also added zing!

Nasi Goreng Tom Yam (that is not the full portion, had tucked into it before realizing I haven't taken a pic) and Sup Sayur.

The Vegetable soup was something off the scale altogether. All my life, I would have invariably be served a mix of 2 or 3 vegetables overcooked in bland stock. This one had carrot sticks, chopped chinese kale, fresh young corn, onion slices, cauliflower florets, cabbage ribbons, tomato chunks, slivers of sliced chicken boiled in the deepest yet clearest oxtail broth (it is vegetable soup, not Vegetarian soup after all). All this was then topped with a poached egg!! Egg, in a soup?

Imagine tucking into a spoonful of garlic infused beefy goodness, imbued with the natural sweetness and lightness of the vegetables, gently held together with the familiarity of chicken and that wonderful aroma of eggs. Ahhhhhh Joy!

It is really really good, and coming from such a seemingly boring place, it was a complete surprise for me.
And I have been having the same soup for dinner for 5 days straight. That is how good it is!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A week into Langkawi

It is almost a full week now since I started this new position in Langkawi.

It feels good.

My colleague who picked me up at the office is a great conversationalist. Looks very young too despite being in his forties. And he has a healthy obsession for Samsung Galaxy Note, like me. So it was a wonderful start to my working life here.

Finding lodging is somewhat of a challenge, I had to room at a motel, which very quickly ate into my life funds. Thankfully, thanks to some well meaning friends, I have finally acquired a room in this place between Kuah Town & Bayas. Alas, this room is somewhat a distance from the main road and thus exacerbating the weak 3G signal coverage.

I am internet-less at home. Gahhh! Thankfully, work has WiFi and coverage on my own device hovers around 3 Mbps in Cenang. So all is not lost.

I aim to acquire a proper domicile by the start of December in an area with better 3G reception. Until then, it would be just a matter of coping.

Peculiar things about Langkawi:

1) People here like to smile a lot. Everyone here seems to be entertaining some funny thought and walk around with this amused expression on their faces.

2) Tom yam stalls here serve good food albeit a tad heavy on the seasoning (as if the salty tang of the air has somewhat impaired their ability to actually taste salt!) and so the cooks overcompensate.

3) One cannot get lost here!

4) Spectacular views abound.

5) The weather can play a cruel trick, like "ooh, sunny views of the beaches,lets snap a few pics", then it rains!

6) No one drives above 70Km/h here, speed limit notwithstanding, locals drive at a very leisurely average of 45Km/h. Drives city boys like me crazy!

7) Everyone seems to be  an 'Anak menakan' (relative) of someone.

8) Pet stores here actually carry Hedgehogs! Albino ones too, and Ferrets!!

9) There are only 3 McDonald's here (and 1 isn't even open until December). And only 2 KFCs! Gaahhh!

10) There's a bazillion shops selling Household & Kitchenware. Ridiculous!