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review 2017-11-16 02:49
The Gift of Rain
The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng



I tried about 75 pages of this over the last week and it is not doing anything for me for the following reasons:


1. This is a slow-build of a novel at a time when I am not in the mood for a slow-paced, potentially over-written story.


2. Although the story is set in Penang and I have an interest in the place, it seems to be rather similar to Tan Twan Eng's second book The Garden of Evening Mists, which also deals with a WWII setting. 


3. I have a feeling that I can guess where this story is going, and if I am right, it will be very similar to The Harmony Silk Factory. Too similar for my liking. 


So, I am going to set this one aside for a book that does not feel like a repetition right now.


No rating.

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text 2017-11-14 07:51
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #11: December 21st-22nd - Dōngzhì Festival


Tasks for Dōngzhì Festival: If you like Chinese food, tell us your favorite dish – otherwise, tell us your favorite dessert. (Recipes, as always, welcome.)


I love Chinese food. Having just spent a long weekend on a Chinese food trail - seriously, the friends I traveled with had their priorities set straight on food, which meant that we constantly sought out all kinds of hawker stalls and restaurants to find different kinds of food - mostly Chinese, some Indian, some Malay, some Thai (only because we couldn't find the Chinese one they were looking for).


My friends are all fluent in Mandarin and Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) and English and without them I would have had difficulty navigating around the different offerings - especially since there are some differences in understanding of what is "vegetarian"...


Anyway, there are quite a few different Chinese dishes that I consider favourites but probably none more so than steamed or fried dumplings and pao (or pau or bao or ... ). 



This one (above) had a filling of red bean paste, which I prefer over the one with lotus paste. 


The one in the centre below (which you can't see properly) is a charcoal pao with a sweetcorn filling, which was also super delicious.



There were a few other kinds, too, like a specialty one with a (boiling hot!) sweet egg yolk custard filling. And of course, there are several non-vegetarian versions.


Unfortunately, we didn't find any veggie dumplings. :( But I am motivated to learn how to make them myself when I get home. If I feel adventurous, I might investigate making pao, too, as I can totally imagine pao with a savoury veggie filling, which isn't something that people seem to have caught onto, yet, in the places we visited on this trip.

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text 2017-11-14 02:46
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #2: November 5th - Bon Om Touk


Tasks for Bon Om Touk:  Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.


I love all things open water and there are a number of favourite pictures to choose from. However, seeing that I have just returned from a trip with friends to Penang Island (in the north of Malaysia), I'll share the following picture(s) of the Malacca Strait:



#1 - Batu Feringghi



#2 - Batu Feringghi


#3 - George Town


#4 - George Town



Batu Feringghi is in the north of the island, and - unfortunately - has been developed into a tourist resort with more hotels and shops than maybe necessary. There is another beach just along the shore to the west called Monkey Beach, which smaller and less developed, but it was getting late and we wanted to spend some time on the beach before dark. 


Btw, I'm glad we did not get there earlier than we did because temperatures during the day ranged between 34C and 37C without any wind to speak of that would have provided relief and not many clouds to provide cover from the sun. I am simply not built for hot weather - I start to melt when exposed to the mid-20s (C)!


The 3rd and 4th picture are taken along the promenade in George Town. My friends were going to a wedding for the afternoon, and although they assured me I was welcome to join them, I did not feel comfortable to crash the party. So, I seized the opportunity to go sight-seeing. Of course, that was hampered by the heat and I ended up chilling in an air-conditioned cafe with some iced tea and a book after visiting Fort Cornwallis.

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text 2017-11-11 14:15
Adventure awaits...

...and trust my friends to designate a Buddhist book and tea shop as our starting point.






Anyway, I will be offline for a few days. Mostly.

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text 2017-11-07 13:25
This week's office view...

...is pretty cool, BUT it is an office view that I get to spend an awful lot of time looking at, which is why I haven't shared any exciting book, food, or wildlife pictures with you all, yet.



Thankfully, there is an end in sight as we are nearing Wednesday. And so, I can do more plotting of adventures for the weekend and few days that I have off after this current project. 


So, more of this...



Btw, BOH tea is grown in Malaysia. I visited last time I was here. There is something lovely about drinking tea where it grows. It has a quite delicate flavour, so I'm enjoying this one without milk, but with a little sugar. 


These are from the last trip, and were taken at the tea plantation: 



Imagine plucking these by hand!



*** EDIT ***


So, I hadn't noticed before posting the pictures, but picture # 2 also works for the St. Martin's Day Task of the 16 Festive Tasks.


" –OR– Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background."


I'll count it towards that. ***

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