Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arabic restaurants / Arabic food Bandar Baru Bangi

One recent newspaper article has reported that Malaysia is the number one tourist destination among  Muslim travelers particularly those coming  from the Middle Eastern countries. As such, it's quite normal to see Arab tourists with with their harems walking along the Bukit Bintang walk especially on Saturday night. Strolling on Saturday night along that area  makes you feel that you are somewhere in UAE or Lebanon . Only the occasional presence of Chinese pimps soliciting for customers makes you realize that you're in Malaysia .With the Arab tourists, there's bound to be Arabic restaurants and these types of  restaurants are  mushrooming now in Malaysia.  Bandar Baru Bangi , Serdang and Cyberjaya  have also witnessed the explosion of Arab owned restaurants. Yours truly today would like to share his Arabic  food adventures around Bandar Baru Bangi and its vicinity.

The best Arabic restaurant I would say is the one in Cyberjaya called SABA  (Food 4.5 star and service 3.5 Star).  It is located not far from the Cyberjaya Mall. Before reaching the Mall , you have to turn right at the second  traffic lights  if you 're from KL or Kajang.The owner is an Arab guy from Yemen and married to a Malaysian.The place is always full of customers especially Malaysians from all walks of life but  particularly government servants working in Putrajaya. The menu is typical Arabic dishes like Lamb/Chicken Hanith, Mandy or Kabsah, shawarma  Kebab and a number of other traditional Arabic dishes that I can't remember the names. The parboiled rice is particular long, fluffy and soft immersed with aromatic spices from Yemen and it's very delicious. You can even eat the rice on its own. The meat , lamb or chicken,  is extremely tender, juicy and succulent. The restaurant is best visited in the afternoon after 3 pm when there's less customers around. The service is not very good despite having numerous waiters holding their hand held order gadget.Despite having lots of waiters you need to get your own gravy that is placed near the cashier's counter. The price set for the rice dishes  is around RM 17 -25 slightly more expensive compared to other Arabic restaurants in the area.
Lamb Hanith

The next best restaurant is called the Half Moon (Food 4.0 Star and  Service 2 Star) . It is situated somewhere in Serdang  not far from the Southern or South Hall  Mall (I'm not very sure of the name of the mall ) . You need to drive 100 metres past the Mall and turn left. The restaurant is just adjacent to  the KL Seremban Highway. The restaurant is very popular among  Arab students studying in UKM and UPM.My Arab friends have  told me that this is the best Arabic restaurant but I don't really share their sentiment. I still feel that the one in Cyberjaya is still the best. The service at  Half Moon restaurant  is mediocre at best and the ambiance is quite ok-nothing interesting. The portion given is  enough for you to share with your  partner. There is a seating section in the restaurant for those who don't want to be seen. The pricing is cheaper than the one in Cyberjaya and costing around 13-17 ringgit.
Shawarma Kebab

Mandy Chicken

The third best is the Arabic restaurant not far from the Kajang bus Terminal. The restaurant (3.5 star for food and 2 Star for service) is nestled among the furniture stores. It's the last shop house and open after 12 noon . The pricing is quite reasonable (RM 14-25). The portion given is not that much but more than enough to meet a one day food requirements of an Asian which is around 2000 calories.The restaurant is bare and lacking in Arabic features. It could be mistaken for a  Malaysian restaurant except for its large signage on top of the shop house indicating that it is actually an Arabic restaurant.

Another nice Arabic restaurant ( Food 3.5 Star and 4 star in Service) is the one in section 7 of Bandar Baru Bangi. I don't remember the name but the restaurant is big and occupies the last block and its 3 storey high. The place is squeaky clean and looks like  a real   Arab restaurant with its ornamented cornice compared to the other inconspicuous restaurants that I mentioned earlier. During this holy Ramadan the restaurant offers a buffet at RM 40 per pax. The spread is reasonably wide in selection and most of them are meat dishes with some rice dishes with generous portion of various types of nuts spread on top of the rice dish as  codiments. The desert section however  lacks the typical Arab offerings but according to the owner he will prepare a better desert selection in the future.The rice used  is not the extra  long American grain but still the expensive Basmathi  type. 

Last but not least is the Arabic fare that is prepared by 'orang Melayu' at the Bandar Baru Bangi grand  Blue Mosque ( Food 3 Star and Service 3 Star)  in Section 9. The only drawback of the restaurant or more of a stall  is that it is only opened on  Friday after 11 am. It basically targets the worshippers for the Friday prayers. But one interesting thing about the place  is that I even noticed a number of girls having their lunch there. They must have known that the dishes are delicious (RM 10 for chicken and RM 13 for lamb).  Even though the dishes are  prepared by  Malaysians, it does not differ  much from the real thing. The meat is very tender and delicious and immersed with a stronger aromatic smell of Arabic spices. The sambal is pefectly prepared according to the Malay taste buds and it tastes better that the usual Arabic fare. The owner  started off selling the rice dishes using the extra long Arabic parboiled rice but later changed to the Basmathi type  of late but with a reduction in price by a ringgit.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Dying party?

UMNO is undoubtedly one of the strongest political organizations in the world. It's very  well oiled political  machinery has ensured its existence and dominance as a political master in Malaysia for more  than 50 years. Malaysia has emerged from  a  backwater entity  to an economic powerhouse in South East Asia courtesy of the shrewdness and foresightedness of its leaders in balancing the needs and sometimes nonsensical demands of the various ethnic groups . Despite some minor racial  incidents through out the years , the country has managed to progress reasonably well in terms of its economic and nationalistic journeys. But the voices of frustrations with the organization are getting louder and more vocal. People especially the young are not happy with the way the country is run and managed. They need Malaysia to be more open and their leaders more transparent in their political decisions. The discontentment among the new generation of Malaysians especially  the Malays towards UMNO stemmed from the organization's own doing.They need not point the blames onto other political parties or entities. They have to put the blames squarely on them. The opportunistic oppositions are merely riding on the negative momentum towards the government of the day.

For one, UMNO carries the stigma of  a very corrupt party. The party has had many cases of perceived weaknesses in fighting corruption. They are so many cases of cases of corruption involving UMNO such as the cases involving  Tan Sri Muhammad, Khir Toyo, Rahim Thamby Chik and  scores of their leaders past and present. The list is endless and it goes to the echelon. This is the major weakness of UMNO. Their so called fighting of corruption merely involves creating beautiful slogans and building good image of fighting it and nothing else. I don't think they are really serious in fighting this scourge. Whether this is true or otherwise this  is the perception. And perception is reality.Most Malaysians regardless of race believe that most UMNO members are corrupt to the bone. If they want the Malays to support the party again they need to be serious in fighting this. In general, the Malays would still want to be with UMNO but they want radical changes made to the party. They are still cautious about moving on to another ship as it is still not ready to sail.The alternative party  is still hazy and rudderless.
Good leaders?

Corrupt leaders?

Secondly , I believe most UNMO leaders have lost their spirit of fighting for the Malays. They have lost the fighting soul which is the basis   for the establishment of the main political party of the Malays. The die hard UMNO veterans such as Dato Onn, Tun Abdul Razak and to some extent Dr. Mahathir really served the Malays. They were in the party not for the ministerial post or money. They were there to fight for the Malays. Their  main aim was to help the Malays and ensure their political survival of  the placid people.  But the young ones are in UMNO for the money and lucrative contracts. They are there to enrich their families and  themselves. They just could not care less about the survival of the Malays. They are there in the organization to fight for their own survival. These leaders will only go back to the roots ones they have fallen or not elected to contest in the elections. This  perception of the Malays about UMNO still holds true. That is why Malays are in droves joining other parties such as PAS and PKR. They have even formed the PERKASA as a saviour for the Malays. They have lost trust in UMNO. It is no more the party that protects the Malays

Main problem

Thirdly, UMNO has lost its prominence because lots of UMNO members are arrogant flaunting their wealth and most of them only play the role of apple polishers. They will only "bodek" or impress upon their leaders. They will not bring up real problems of the Malays. They only talk about the Malay issues in order to get   elected. To the UMNO members what is important is their own political survival. The Malays and their  problems are not important. Just look at the UMNO gatherings . The UMNO members would just swarmed their leaders to impress them. They would just follow them wherever their leaders go. That is the political culture of UMNO. If they continue with this mentality and attitude I'm not surprised that the Malays will support the opposition and their leaders will bring on the Chinese in order to get greater political mileage. Ultimately, the Malays would lose out  as the Chinese will extract concessions from Pakatan in which they  will ultimately demand changes to the Constitution. The political scenario is so scary .

If UMNO wants the support from the Malays it would have to reform . The reform must be genuine and serious. If this is not done I believe UMNO will only last for another term and later Pakatan will takeover Putrajaya.  The opposition wave is getting stronger by the day. No matter how smart Najib is in maneuvering this political mess , the outcome will still be negative if the reforms are shorthanded and cast only in beautiful slogans.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Diabetes and Ramadhan

Islam is the official religion in Malaysia and more than 50 % of the Malaysian population are Muslims. Soon in a few days  the holy month of Ramadhan will come. It is the month that the Quran was revealed and Muslims will fast between 29 to 30 days in that month. Muslims will abstain from eating and drinking  from sunrise to sunset from around 5:45 am to around 7:15 pm. Like other any other Muslims your truly also  would not eat and drink during that time. What is more challenging is that I'm   also Type 2 diabetic a disease that I did not  know I had it. I would like to share my own experience in managing diabetes during the holy month of Ramadhan. I've had diabetes for more than 20 years and I tell you its not easy to manage the disease in the ordinary month let alone during Ramadhan. The temptation to eat is greater in the month due to the abundant of "Pasar Ramadhan".

One of the things that  I would do is to  adhere rather strictly to the medication regime even during the fasting month. I would try as much as I can to follow the normal medication except that the time to take the medication would be  at dawn and at dusk-during the breaking of fast and iftar or sahur. I would take the same amount of  my glicazide (rather small white coloured tablet) as prescribed by the doctor. I was told by a doctor that glicazide does not cause hypoglycemic ( In lay man's  term its the lack of sugar in our body). Those using insulin please get more information from your personal doctor.

However, it is important that the amount of metformin ( the slightly big white coloured tablet) be adjusted because during the fasting month our blood glucose level is going to be  lower compare to  during the ordinary month. If during the ordinary days I would take two but during the fasting month I would only take once. You need to adjust accordingly. However, before you actually reduce the amount of metformin to be taken , you need to talk to your doctor first. In my case I feel comfortable with the reduced amount that I take.

One thing that I would definitely do during the ramadhan is that if I feel that my sugar level is very low I would break my fast immediately. Depending on the person a person can experience hypoglycaemic if the glucose level is 1-3.5 mmol. I would always keep fresh orange juice in my fridge and would drink some when experiencing hypo. Try to drink it slowly and try not to drink too much. I believe half a cup would do. Later on  don't forget to  drink water.

The most difficult part during the ramadhan is the breaking of fast where the buffet spread is just amazing. My favourites are always putik nangka, karamel, tahi itik, kole kacang, and the sweet dishes from Kelantan. But those were the days and I would just break the fast with dates. No more big glasses of sweet drinks but just warm water. I have promised my self that I would be a good boy. "Selamat Menyambut bulan Puasa" to all Muslims. "Banyak banyaklah beribadat dalam bulan yang mulia ini". 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Malaysia vs Singapore

Our tiny neighbor at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia is a  squeaky clean and  politically sanitized country. It is also  the financial center for much of south East Asia attracting capitals from overseas Chinese residing in neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Its western guided liberal economy is complemented by  Asian values and thus ensuring prosperity to the city state in the seas of Malay dominated  archipelago. Despite its small size it has wielded an economic power bigger many times  over than its size. Even Indonesia succumbs economically to Singapore and dare not antagonize the roaring lion. Billion of dollars are poured into the country by Indonesian name Chinese businessmen.

Even Malaysia has not managed to tame the lion. We have been a lame entity when dealing with Singapore. I believe that main reason why we tend to lose out against Singapore is because our Malay culture. We deal with Singapore using our cultural template and this has been used by Singapore to extract concessions from Malaysia. We are losing out. We need to use a more cultural free setting when dealing with our southern neighbor. We must not use "budi bicara" when dealing with Singapore. It must be based on  a professional and cultural free negotiation. Our PTD negotiators from Wisma Putra must get rid of the Malay facade when dealing with that tiny country.

We must tell  Singapore straight to the face  that sending their three embassy staff for BERSIH demonstration is wrong and runs contrary to diplomatic  norms of  the two countries. They must not interfere with the domestic issues of Malaysia. We like them to prosper but we don't want our sovereignty to  be challenged by a tiny country. We don't interfere with their internal issues and we have the right to demand that they too respect our needs. We must request that the three embassy staff be recalled to their country. We cant afford to just reprimand the ambassador. Something more drastic should be taken. Please get rid of the "Abang adik" mentality. They are not our "adik". They are an independent and opportunistic country.  

We must show  Singapore that they are consequences that they have to pay if do do harm to Malaysia. The soft approach that we adopt now must be stopped. They will never learn if we continue using our soft Malay approach. We must tell them straight to their face that what they have done is wrong and that we will not tolerate it. Don't repeat the fiasco of the water agreement again. We must play a kiasu game with the Chinese run  state. When we deal the right and professional way only then they begin to listen.

I hope that Malaysia will overtake the small country economically. We have the people and resources and we just need to harness all the potentials that we have so that we can compete with them. I believe we can do it. We need to approach them free of the Malay approach and instead replaced it with a neutral professional template. We must win against Singapore economically.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Malays

The Malays are the main inhabitants of the Malay peninsula and virtually all Malays are Muslims. There are  a few Malays who  do not practise  Islam because of some tricky situations and as  a result of some of them renounce the  religion . Culturally, the Malays are gentle people who are very open into accepting people wholeheartedly from other races and ethnic groups. Earlier in history, the Malays accepted hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Indian immigrants to the Tanah Melayu. We accommodate them and consider them as " rakyat" Malaysia. Not many people in other countries  are willing to do what the Malays in Malaysia  have done. In Germany, the Turks are never given the rights to citizenships despite  living in that country from  time immemorial. The Israelis are now getting rid of the South Sudan Africans from their country after welcoming them temporarily. Even in the States the whites in America are insisting that the Chicanos not given citizenships even though they were born in that country. In Myanmar, the Rohingyas are killed and pushed into Bangladesh. In Malaysia, we take in all those "pendatangs" with  open arms. They are   are now " rakyat" Malaysia. 

The Malays are always the ones that are always asked to sacrifice  to accommodate the Chinese so that the country can prosper and develop. For the sake of getting the people to integrate we had  to forgo the identity our language  that is Bahasa Melayu to politically nice Bahasa Malaysia. With the change it is hoped that  the non Malays would be happy to adopt the new language but  it is not the case . Not only did they not use it, most of them just despise the language to the core. Some of them even go to the extent of sabotaging the language. Very few non Malays are adopting the language. They only adopt  either Mandarin or English. They can in fact survive economically in either of the language. It is now a rare sight to hear a non Malay speaking the Malay language like a Chinese Indonesian speaking Bahasa Indonesia. The change to Bahasa Melayu does not entice the Chinese to actually use the language. It was never appreciated. 

The Malays were also  told that we needed to change the name Tanah Melayu to Malaysia so that we can integrate with other ethnic groups. So  again we sacrificed our Malay nationhood so that Malaysia could come into existence. The only Tanah Melayu that still lingers on is Keretapi Tanah Melayu.  Even that is vaporizing to a another Malaysian entity. All other forms of Tanah Melayu have been erased completely. Despite the sacrifice made by the Malays, the unity that was expected and projected never did come into existence. It was a total waste of sacrifice. The raced based general election 13 will show the Malays the exit . The Malay race is loosing out to the no Malays. The Social contract is gone. The non Malays  still keep on to  their identities but the Malays and their  identities are gone . All the traces of the Malayness are gone or  are fast disappearing.

The Malays were moreover asked to accept a million "pendatangs" in  Tanah Melayu in the 60s and as a guarantee the Malays were given special privileges that are sacredly enshrined in the Constitution. But now those privileges are being questioned and challenged by the Chinese. They have by  all   intend and purposes to get rid of the special privileges in education and economy now temporarily enjoyed by the Malays. They are using the general elections to get rid of the privileges by using NGOs and raced based politics. 

The Malays are now becoming beggars in their own country. All the Malays' cultural,  political and economic aspirations are gone or dying out. We will become subservient people to the newcomers. we are ultimately doomed. Sad but true.

My 1 Malaysia

I don't really like to talk about race but it's something that you can't run away from it as it is part our life here in Malaysia. But after reading Chinese owned Malaysia kini, Malaysian Insider, Malaysian chronicles and other Chinese based opposition parties  linked blogs and websites you get very angry at the non Malays especially the Chinese talking about the Malays. The non Malays  like to say that the Malays are racist but looking at what they say in the blogs I believe that they are equally racist or more racist themselves. I was a neutral person and I believe in 1 Malaysia concept espoused by Najib ( I'm not a BN supporter)  but after reading the blogs run by these Chinese and Indians with their negative views of the Malays I just  can't just keep quiet. I have to see something about those damn  racist Chinese and some Indians.

Do you know why do I say that the Chinese are damn racist ? It is because of their could not  care less attitude towards nation building. They have their own Independent Chinese schools that get their fundings from the Malaysian government and run independently without any adherence to the 1 Malaysia concept and at the same time hitting at the Malays and wanting to get rid of the Malay privileges that are already enshrined in the Constitution.  The schools that they run  only require those with Chinese education would be able  to teach in those schools. The Malays can't teach in those school. The Indians too can't teach in the Chinese schools.  They even want only Chinese to teach Bahasa Malaysia subject if it's even thought. They don't want other races to teach their children.They don't want their children to mix around with other races. They only want  the Chinese children to mix with the own race. They are even worst then the Ku Klux Klan in the United States. Even  the KKK mix around with other races. Now who is more racist?

 If you go to these schools you will realize that everything is done in Chinese. They would display large Chinese characters in the school compounds. In their official functions they would only use Chinese. Bahasa Malaysia is nowhere to be seen. It is a taboo to use the national language. Pity those Chinese students. These are potential cultural criminals and language bastards who will not even able to speak and write Bahasa Malaysia. Remember the DAP Councillor fiasco in PJ where they nominated those Chinese local Councillors. These councillors are the products of these independent Chinese schools.

The Chinese say that the Malays are racist but do you realize that a Chinese will not buy a item or get a service if the shop is owned by a Malay. They only buy from the Chinese.I seldom see Chinese frequenting Malay owned shops. But a Chinese man would go to a Chinese shop without any hesitation. Have you read in the newspaper instances where Chinese companies would only employ  Chinese potential employees especially  those who can speak Mandarin. Now who is being racist? Moreover, if a Malay goes to a Chinese shop it is more likely that he will be over charged by at least 20-30 %.The Chinese shop owner will sell an item cheaper to a Chinese. This is through my own experience. In short, they sell cheaper to their own people. Now who is more racist?

It is a sad day for Malaysia. Najib has no balls. He's too coward and has succumbed to the Chinese pressures . The Chinese are now the King makers. I still have  hopes that  Malaysia will be peaceful and prosperous but I'm very pessimistic. I'm nor surprised if the May 13 incident will come to play out  again but I hope that it will  not . We need to come together and mold our country into becoming a melting pot but it has got to be done gradually  and peacefully and not play the racial cards.