Monday, May 24, 2021

Bahula Arang | Malaysia own Madeleine

I tried googling the English word for Bahulu, Wiki stated it as ‘similar in concept to the madeleine cake, but round in shape and composed of different ingredients. The fact is that it does remind me of madeleine, nicer in aroma (I might be a bit bias here), both crunchy and soft in texture, and the taste is light and simple. Great when dipped in tea/coffee/hot chocolate on a raining day.

Stated that it was originated during the colonization era derived from the Serani word - bolu which means cake. Ok ok macam ni lah senang, doesn’t matter what it is called, bahulu is the yummeh-iest and bahulu arang is the best. Hehhehehe…

This Kedahan was once in IT industry for 17 years and later decide to venture into F&B industry, Encik Husaini Mat Rejab the owner of Bahulu Arang followed his passion and has not looked back. Numerous interviews have taken place, sleepless night of desktop researches, countless of trial and error have not gone to waste cause Husaini has finally perfected his bahulu. It took him 6 months, using both chicken and duck eggs, and his secret ingredient, he set sailed with BAHULU ARANG. Passion and trust guided him.

I especially love it when one’s passion is seen as he speaks, and this is one those moments. Husaini vision and mission is to make bahulu arang a household name, not just in Malaysia but at international level (di persada dunia gitew). And that is not all, he planned to create a Bahulu Museum where he can house all his 300 bahulu mold. He said this will happen when he reaches 1000 mark. I pray he will, soon. 

Bahulu Mold
There’s a story for each of his 300 bahulu molds. The stated he sourced it from, the previous owners be bought it from right to the history of the molds. And that is not all, the made and the design story too. You will be impress to see bahulu mold in the shape of prawn (I’ve seen fish but prawn? Hemmm…) and if you think prawn is ‘interesting’, they even have a chicken design ie a cockerel as well as a 3D whole chicken design (yang shape macam butterfly too). The common ones are cermai (gooseberry) design, as well as the belimbing (bilimbi) design. Click HERE for video, please swipe.

Dapur Arang (Charcoal Oven)
This is the reason for in taste, texture and smell. To maintain the originality of a bahulu, it has to be made like the olden days – on dapur arang, macam dulu-dulu. Husaini showed us how he designed his modern charcoal oven and he found the best way to do this that is using batu kelikil (pea gravel). He said that he tried with sand but it did not turn out as good as pea gravel. Click HERE for video, please swipe.

Only a perfectionist will invest his time on the recipe, the mold and oven. To top this off, he custom made the packaging especially for event and gift-aways. You can even custom made for weddings and it’ll cost you only RM3.50 all in. Murah kan. Click HERE for video, please swipe.

Nothing escape this sharp brain of him, passion took the lead role here. And the bahulu taste better if drank with a hot coffee or the kampong. Simply umph!

#CutiCutiMalaysia #TravelMediaBuddy #StaySafe #StrongerTogether #AboutKL #MalaysiaTrulyAsia

Raya Gateaway with Tourism Malaysia is in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia and all its sponsors.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Haenyeo (women free divers) | UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

I simply love covering UNESCO site and I am lucky to be able to cover Korea’s UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – Haenyeo; the Women Free Diver. I remembered seeing it on TV that created my curiosity to know more about them. Being a dive myself (not that I like diving) I know how tough it can be but what they did is free diving, meaning their capability of holding breath underwater is amazing. One I will definitely fail.

While I was in Jeju, I saw a place where the equipment of these female divers was kept. This make me realise how determine they are to earn a living with just a wetsuit, harpoons, net basket with styrofoam ball to keep the nets afloat. Seaweed, abalone, claim, sea cucumber, sea urchin and squid are what they catch to sell.

I was told that this amazing ladies are able to hold their breath for 2 long minute or perhaps more, and that they have been diving since 7 years old and perfecting their skill by the time they hit their jubilee age. 20 meters is the deepest depth they usually descend to. With the world changing rapidly, there are fewer and fewer Haenyeo in the island of of Jeju as compared to in the 1960s; there are an estimation of 23,000 female divers. 

In order to preserve this eroding art and tradition the Jeju government spent $6.5 million funding these female divers’ wetsuit and insurance. As many has come to realised that it is a lucrative tourist attraction upon the UNESCO designated haenyeo a Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016. With this world recognition, the female dives are appreciated and valued as Korea’s national treasure.

Click HERE for more details on UNESCOrecognition on Haenyeo (female divers) under the Intangible Cultural Heritageof Humanity. 

Aside from all this info gathered, one thing that made me wonders – WHY WOMAN?

Well, this is what I found out. Aside from the fact that the fishing method has existed as far back as the 6th century and yes, the number female has outnumbered male 12 centuries down the road. It is said that the reason (i) lesser numbers of men on the island and, (ii) us women’s reserves body fat is great than men (like seriously, should I feel proud or laugh. Am so confused) thus, able to handle cold water better (macam walrus pulak rasanya). Having said that, to be fair to both gender, while the women earn a living and do the hard part, their husbands would wait on the shores to help with the catch and sorting them out. Works out well for both parties, I guess.

Photo All Rights Reserved :  Photographer (John Doe)-Korea Tourism Organization

#ImagineYourKorea #KTOSuperstarFriends

Friday, May 14, 2021

Lacquerware : A Korean Craft

I first heard and learnt of lacquerware was back in the 80s, my late dad just got back from his business trip to South Korea; Seoul to be specific. South Korea then was different from what we’ve seen and known now. That was what my late dad always said.

I remembered distinctively, wondering about the word ‘lacquer’ itself, the artwork and the intricacy of mother of pearl craft. Everything in this craft spells beauty, love and romance. Captivating indeed. So much so, I personally own 2 pieces; one of it was my mom’s and I claimed its mine (typical eldest daughter characteristic, what’s yours is mine too. Hahahaaa…). She have this mesmerizing vanity box, a heavy one I must say and to this date I still wonder how my late dad packed and brought it home. If you think this is ‘too much’, he also brought home an exquisite vase… one of the most valued item at our home.

I also got myself a trinket box where I kept my jewelry in. Jadi lah….

Got this during my 1st trip to South Korea, I remembered telling myself ‘I must get one for myself as this is a Korean craft’. Now that I am more matured and experienced traveler, I begin to wonder the origin and evolution of this craft. 

Lacquerware or ‘Najeonchilgi known to the locals was produced in the Neolithic period (6000–1000 BCE). Najeon means mother-of-pearl inlay and is said to originated from China, reached South Korean by the eighth century and has established its presence till todate. 

Based on my reading, at the time of the Three Kingdoms period; between 212-686 CE, refined lacquerware was mostly produced in the north, Goguryeo as well as Baekje and Silla in the south. I learnt that the tombs of Goguryeo kings was an exceptionally remarkable lacquered wood coffins, and that it was decorated with red and white floral motifs on a black ground. I would certainly love to view this if it is in a museum, I bet I will be spellbound.

It was also said that in Goryeo period, this intricate craft was a symbol of wealth amongst the elitist as it was largely produced by the imperial workshop. However, later during the Joseon dynasty lacquer was more accessible to the commoners, according to history this was because the Buddhist influence has weakened. Thanks to this, lacquerware is now more affordable and obtainable by anyone and everyone as a d├ęcor and/or souvenir piece.

The najeon design motifs has gone through many evolution covering auspicious plants, animals and mythological figures such as dragon and phoenix. Often, a dragon motif symblozes a scholar’s status back in those days whereas dragon paintings bring good fortune to the home. Some might noticed a phoenix motif, this depicts that the owner belongs a royal family member as a phoenix are only allowed to be used by the royalty.

Desktop research has brought me to a beautiful and opulent piece - Red Lacquerware Document Chest inlaid with Mother-of-pearl dates as far back as 19th or early 20th century that was exhibited at the Jeju National Museum some time ago. The fact that it is in red, captivates me. I feel like I should own a similar piece as well, a red armoire cabinet perhaps.
With coloured lacquerware gaining popularity back in those days, a sub art form of lacquerware has since been borne. It is called chaehwa chilgi, basically mixing the lacquer with mineral pigments that is further coated with sap of the Chinese lacquer tree to give a glossy finish. Having said that, this art form has existed for more than 2,000 years (not so recent). This shall be in my bucket list in my next trip to South Korea, foreseeing plenty of coloured lacquerware souvenirs too.
Well, aren’t you intrigued now? Care to join me in my South Korea trip, lacquer hunting.
#ImagineYourKorea #KTOSuperstarFriends

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Jewel of Kuala Lumpur | Wilayah Mosque

Dubbed as 'Jewel of Kuala Lumpur', the Wilayah Mosque was built between 1998 and 2000 and able to accommodate 17,000 worshippers at a time. This Ottoman Malay style building is influenced by the famous Istanbul Blue Mosque. Its doors are of cengal wood and carved by a local craftsman from the Terengganu, Malaysia.

Some of the things that I find amazing and you can also view my narration video of all the below places HERE

1. It has 3 multi-purpose halls. The biggest can fit 1200pax, 500 and 200

- This is suitable for wedding events, ceramah (talks), workshops, training or even motivation bootcamp (skewed to religious topic lah kan).
- The foyer area is fairly big to accommodate the crowd.
- They have a garden at the back that can be used as bootcamp site.

2. Accommodation rooms (twin sharing), separated by male and female

- I didn’t even know this mosque has such facilities, many would welcome and appreciate this a lot.
- For those having wedding or event at the halls here, can stay a night during the set-up/preparation day thus minimise the hassle of driving in and out late at night.
- Also applicable for those attending any talks, training or bootcamp here. Practical huh.

3. There's kindergarten here

- This caught me by surprise. You can now send your kids here for education as well.
- It is a proper classroom, clean and well equip. Do drop by and check it out.
- Would also encourage for you to go thru their syllabus as I did not manage to cover it the other day.

4. And they have a primary school too

- I am even more surprise upon learning this.
- Again, it is a proper classroom, clean and well equip. As per show in my video HERE (just swap).
- Highly advice to go thru their syllabus for I did not manage to check during my visit there.

5. Library and computer room located near the school
- Did not drop by but I am assuming it should be sufficient to cover for the kids studying here as well for public.
- Probably a lot of religious book.
- Not sure they allow to us to borrow out, do call and drop by to enquire.

6. Wedding event/banquet hall

- Providing a complete package, I believe you can also book the Tok Kadi here.
- Aside from the Nikah place, it can also be the reception venue as they provide wedding/banquet hall.
- And also, it has accommodations too (for those helping with set-up). Perfect ain’t it.

7. The mosque conducts tour session, robe is made available (Multi-lingual tour guide can be requested. Advance notice is appreciated)
- I highly recommend you guys to experience this, it is overwhelming and enlightening both at the same time. Check-out the video HERE, swipe for more.
- It shows that a mosque is not only for prayers, it is a One-Stop-House for us to perform our ibadat and ibadah.
- There are a few mosque around Malaysia with the similar concept, you can google it.

8. OKU friendly (Lift available to the highest floor/women praying hall)

- As it has 4 floors all together, highest being the female praying/solat area hence the the lift takes you all the way up.
- There’s a lot of stairs, for OKUs do take note on the entrance with escalator and lift service.
- And make sure to park near to OKUs accessible areas (else kena jalan jauh).

9. Food bank counter for those wanting to lend a hand
- This is fairly important as there are times we want to make donation but don’t know where to go, well this is the place.
- They ONLY open during office hours, so DO NOT drop by on weekends lah yek.
- It is advised to call and understand the type of goods required prior making the donations.

10. ATM machine
- Incase you want to make a donation and short of cash, worry not as Bank Islam ATM machine is available.
As shown on my video HERE.

Are you as impressed as me when I first found out the facilities they have to offer?
Wilayah Mosque
Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim
Kompleks Kerajaan
Kuala Lumpur

#CutiCutiMalaysia #TravelMediaBuddy #StaySafe #StrongerTogether #AboutKL #MalaysiaTrulyAsia

Raya Gateaway with Tourism Malaysia is in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia and all its sponsors.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Study opportunities at Institut Kraf Negara (National Craft Institute)

Yup! This time around, they impressed me.
Mind you, am not that easy to impress tau.

#InstitutKrafNegara, you’ve outdo yourself. Kudos.
I am gonna make it short, simple and sweet. Am not gonna sugarcoat this as this is a legit and valid info and I am all for it. And I personally believe this is useful for you school leavers out there and those that love craft and wanna fill up the holiday gap. Let’s do this.

Owned and managed by Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation, National Craft Institute (NCI) or Institut Kraf Negara (IKN) is set to help youngster and those with high interest in handicraft to be part of their family. Courses offered varies from 4 hours to 7 days course covering Batik Craft, Weaving Craft, Wood Craft, Metal Craft, Ceramic Craft and Rattan Craft. One that fascinates me is the copper tooling craft. Having a few at home makes me wonder how one crafts it and I was able to experience this at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur recently.

Most of craft course duration is between 2-3 years for certification and diploma respectively. During this period, students will learn about processes and tool, history/origin, technic, applications and etc. Aside from this, you will also learn English, Islamic study, basic computer skill as well as applications. As one progresses, the course subject intensifies. Fret not my friends, there are also classes/short courses for you and me. There are also 4 hours course to learn batik ikat.

For those that are interested, some of the facilities provided for those taking certification and diploma are accommodation that can fit approximately 320 pax; 4 per room. Cafeteria, common area, auditorium, sports field, racquet ball court, theatre among others. Aside from this, the college provides library, computer room and college buses. Not forgetting for East Malaysia students, flight tix to Kuala Lumpur during enrollment period as well as flight home upon course completion.

For the rest, check-out my video HERE.

Institut Kraf Negara
1 KM.20 Jalan Ipoh-Rawang
Taman Rekreasi Templer
Rawang, Selangor
Tel: +603-6091 5322


Raya Gateaway with Tourism Malaysia is in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia and all its sponsors.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza : Where East Meets West

Those that are familiar with my travel style, would know my passion well by know. Evolving always around culture, heritage, history and architecture. I feel that this 4 items intertwined with each more that often and almost none standalone. And when it comes to South Korea, the architecture scene is amazing, the South Korean somehow able to embrace modernity of science and technology while holding on strongly to their roots; culture and heritage. Embracing both, eloquently. With grace.

I would like to take you guys in a series of South Korean’s architecture, culture, heritage, food (well it kinda relates to one another, right) and perhaps theme parks and Kpop (that hit the world by storm). So, just sit back and relax.

PS : If you plan to visit South Korea soon (after the pandemic that is), here’s the space that you should watch out for and bookmark the link. Cause I will be sharing tonnes of #SouthKoreaTravelTips that you wouldn’t want to miss. Gonna take you on an architectural ride.

If you know Zaha Hadid then you will be in awe when visiting Dongdaemun in Seoul, South Korea.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza aka DDP is designed by this renowned architecture of all time Zaha Hadid. I must say, this is a must visit place when in Seoul (the fact is it becoming an Instagrammable spot should be a good enough excuse for you to include it in the itinerary). Built in 2007 and completed in 2014, DDP is slated to be the culture hub of South Korea of this century. Located in the historic district of Dongdaemun, popular for its 24hours shopping and boutique cafes that are mushrooming all over South Korea stamped that this is the place to be seen regardless of age group.
The aim is to make this DDP a place for exchange of ideas, where culture, art, technology and media meet. Basically, Dongdaemun Design Plaza is the catalyst of change. And for those that love architure, this would be on of their sweet spot. East meets West is best describe here.

This historic district is home to the Cheonggyecheon Stream, another architectural and engineering wonder. Having won the Honor Award under the General Design Category by the ASLA Professional Awards, it is an achievement milestone for South Korea. This revitalization project not only improve the air pollution index and the quality of live resulting to a better transportation system. It comes as no surprise that Seoul won the World Technology Award for this mega restoration project from the World Technology Network in San Francisco back in 2005.
This two magnificent engineering and architecture fit resides in the historical town of Dongdaemun, enveloped by Dongdaemun History & Culture Park, where their colourful heritage stood still - Seoul Fortress, Yigansumun Water Gate, Dongdaemun History Museum 1398, Dongdaemun Excavation Site Exhibition Hall, Dongdaemun Stadium Memorial within one complex.

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