Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Langkawi revisited - the beauty and the beast of it . . .

An odd title?

That's my sentiment following a re-visit to Langkawi after a hiatus of more than 2 years.

Beautiful it still is.

One cannot deny the beauty of the blinding white beaches of Tanjong Rhu;

the layered contours of Gunung Machincang from the vantage point of Top Station
of Langkawi Cable Car;

the lush green padi fields of Kedawang;

the quiet serenity of the river mouth of Sungai Rhu before it meets the sea;

a picturesque jetty at Tanjong Rhu;

the mysterious northern mangrove swamps;

and its wildlife of Pigtail Macaque (Macaca nemestrina), crabs, fish . . .

. . . and White Belly Sea Eagles, attracted by the revving of the outboard motor of boats (our boatman could not explain the phenomenon, but swore that this a long-time behaviour of these eagles).

Caving or spelunking (the recreational sport of exploring caves), where the enthusiast can experience it all - stalactites, stalagmites, bats and of course guano, best explored at low or neap tide;

and finally the open sea where innumerable outcroppings of various shapes that skirt the coastline, reminiscent of World Heritage Halong Bay of Vietnam.

Now for the beast of it all . . .

Langkawi is looking the worst for wear these days with countless abandoned building projects left derelict in choice real estate. Who should be held accountable for these unsightly creations? The State Land Office, businessmen, politicians or just the Greed of Man?

I thought to myself, all the homeless people should read this blog and head straight for Langkawi to take up residence in any of these abandoned shop houses, hotels and apartments.

An abandoned building around the Padang Matsirat area, wrapped in non-biodegradable green PVC mesh as prelude to renovations, now being promoted for sale as luxury apartments.

Mr buffalo, to the left of the promotional banner is chewing cud and wondering how much longer he can enjoy this part of paradise? Maybe he's in luck what with the state of the economy these days!

More buildings where construction seem to have halted resulting in breeding grounds for Aedes aegypti;

Nice architecture, but vacant as most of the shops at the Telaga Harbour Park;

the lonely marina at Telaga Harbour Park - too expensive to moor your yacht?

You now have the option to tether your yacht to two anchors along the mangrove river where the fish farmers will baby sit for you at a fraction of the cost, it seems.

Several fish farms have sprouted along the mangrove river, raring fish and prawns for export.

One even runs a restaurant at night attracting the rich and famous to dine. A boat-cum-limo service is included in the meal price. I suppose they deserve an 'A' for entrepreneurship, but let's hope the ecology is not disrupted too much.

Not everyone is as industrious. Low season in the tourist trade means you have to hang around waiting for customers.

Whether day or night, Ramadan or not, most restaurants in Kuah always seem to be closed. A few unique establishments that manage to attract customers are the Russian CCCP (go figure?) restaurant and Che Det's bread shop in Telaga Harbour Park.

A face saving fact is that where ever you are in Malaysia, you are bound to find a seafood restaurant or two guaranteed to serve up a value for money, finger-licking great meal. And you don't have to go all the way to Langkawi for it!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Bazaar Ramadan ala Langkawi

During the month of Ramadan, food bazaars sprout up everywhere to whet the appetite after a sunrise to sunset fast. This is a much sought after commercial activity, well organised by local authorities with issuance of temporary food vendor licenses in designated areas of easy accessibility. Daily clean up services are built into the system. It certainly gives an opportunity to boost livelihood as many food outlets are closed in the daytime during the fasting month.

Kuah in Langkawi must surely be credited for one of the better bazaars serving up a host of mouthwatering local favourites, some freshly cooked on site. By 3 pm, stalls start setting up woks and are busy preparing the fare for the day. The crowd trickles in around 4 o'clock and builds up to a frenzy by 6 pm as people rush from work to bungkus food for breaking of fast at home. A complete menu of appetisers, main meals, dessert and drinks are available.

A photoblog of yummy delights . . . enjoy!

Woks of curries cooked on the site

Smouldering BBQ & satay


Dessert galore

Sata - a variety of otak otak; Tapai pulut - kosher grog?

Roti jala - net pancake

Ikan panggang - Grilled fish

Malaysian version of Churros; Malaysian tempura (cucur udang)

Steaming mee goreng

Putu mayam; pulut

Sugar cane & coconuts

Sunset . . . and a well earned break fast.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Deja Vu

Zaid sends in letter of resignation!

Asked to stay on, and take two weeks leave. . .

He said " I'm not tired. I am disappointed!"

My partner and Zaid at 2007 Melbourne Formula One - happier times


I did the same when I found I was not only banging my head against the wall, running on the spot and finally jogging backwards quick time!
Important policies to formulate, programs to implement. Under qualified staff with poor analytical and communication skills. MMSAT halted in its tracks at a whim, new Bills against all odds, lack of commitment from upper echelons, hampers galore for Raya, inappropriate staff development, poor human resource management, questionable asset management, internal non compliance etcetera.


Instead of serious problem solving and timely decision-making,

there was a lot of standing around . . .

. . . a lot of sitting around . . .

. . . at round and square table meetings

. . . and eating around . . .

. . . and . . .?