For those who can’t be bothered to read, the following short video (less than 3 minutes) illustrates my experience at Bersih 3.0. I also previously attended Bersih 2.0 and wrote about it here.
Bersih 2.0 (the body, yes it is confusing), has 8 demands, they are:
clean the electoral roll
reform postal ballot
use of indelible ink
minimum 21 day campaign period
free and fair access to media
strengthen public institutions
stop dirty politics
we took the train to pasar seni, saw national laureate A. Samad Said
I believe that our country really needs a change to the right direction, the demands of Bersih would prove to be a huge step forward. I participate in Bersih rallys to show support for these demands.
outside bar council
As access to the city is mostly blocked, a few friends and I took the train to Pasar Seni, one of the points of assembly for Bersih. We arrived at around noon and already there was quite a large crowd. Spotted the national laureate A Samad Said.
outside bar council
We walked from Pasar Seni to Bar Council to Masjid Jamek and ultimately stopped at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman right in front of Swiss Hotel. For the most part, the atmosphere was that of a festivity. People singing Bersih Bersih, and there was even a jamming session going on.
There were quite a lot of police everywhere, but they were content just standing at their “stations” and let everyone be. At a lorong, 2 lines of policemen seemed to be blocking the road, but we walked passed them via the sidewalk and they didn’t even blink.
jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, duduk bantah
The crowd was massive, it was definitely several times bigger than last year’s rally. We were content just sitting under the hot sun on the street, and to us, that was it. If we can’t get to Dataran Merdeka, so be it, we’ll just around it.
For the record, I believe Dataran Merdeka was in no danger whatsoever. The razor wire and heavy presence of FRU & Police forces guarding a piece of grass from peaceful protestors was really silly.
this was as close as we got to Dataran Merdeka
By this time we had already spent over 3 hours walking and sitting around KL under the hot sun. It was almost time to call it a day, I was going to leave at 4pm, the scheduled time for Bersih to end. (unbeknown to us, the leader of Bersih already called off the rally by then)
the eyes in the sky
Then, just before 4pm, when we were some 50-100 meters from the junction between Jalan TAR and Jalan Tun Perak, tear gas canisters were shot seemingly without warning. We made our retreat, at first a fast walk, and as the effect of the gas worsen, we ran.
Later we found out that there were apparently a few guys that broke the barricade and tried to get into Merdeka Square, that was what started it all. Instead of firing teargas/water cannon only at those who broke the barrier, tear gas canister were fired deep into the crowd.
We were at least 200 meters out and still felt the gas (actually it’s an acid mix)
this was some 150 meters away from the barrier, and yet we felt the tear gas
We made our way to Dang Wangi and seek refuge at Cap Square for a while, having something to drink and then eventually left town to PJ.
For us, the rally ended. Some of my friends though, were not as lucky, a few got “trapped” near Masjid Jamek and gassed a couple times, and got ambushed and tear gassed again when they tried to go to Pasar Seni. I thought FRU was trying to disperse the crowd, but why are they preventing people from going to the LRT stations?
I’m sure you can and probably read about accounts of violence (from both parts), so I shall not repeat.
Elsewhere in Penang and Ipoh, protestors went to the fields and sat for two hours then dispersed without incident. Why was Merdeka Square not made available?
Unfortunately, face was more important than logic on that day.
Last weekends I attended an event organized by Open Rice at Grand Millennium Hotel’sLai Ching Yuen thanks to the invitation from Marcky, a friend who is associated with the project, and someone who definitely loves to eat.
chef Kong of Lai Cheng Yuen showing off his skills
Lai Cheng Yuen is famous for it’s dimsum, and our host was the very friendly Chef Kong, a dimsum chef 28 years. Some of chef Kong’s signature dishes are the steamed siew mai with fresh scallop, deep fried bean curt roll with prawns, and mini durian tart.
On that day, however, we were in a treat for something different. Dimsum is usually associated wit seafood and pork as main ingredients, but Chef Kong wanted to show us that you can make yummy dimsum using all vegetarian ingredients too.
we got to try our hands on making dimsum
Even better, right after the cooking demonstration, we got to get our hands dirty and make our own dimsum as well.
The good chef prepared the all important dimsum skin from scratch (they do this everyday at Lai Ching Yuen) using Hong Kong flour as the main ingredient. The filling of the dimsum was prepared from the combination of carrot, mushroom, sengkuang, celery, bokchoi, and more.
these are all vegetarian dimsums
After the cooking demo, we were served 5 different vegetarian dim sum dishes chef Kong prepared on the spot. These were the pan fried soft bun with mixed vegetable, deep fried yam ring with mixed fruits, vegetarian lot mai fan, chee cheong fun, and a transparent sort of sui kao.
vegetarian chee cheong fun, lor mai fan, and the last 2 pieces, we made
The dishes were pretty good, and I suppose as close as you can get to tasting like real dim sum without any hint of meat or seafood ingredients. This is perfect for vegetarians who prefer real vegetarian foods instead of those menu that’s filled with fake meat & fake seafood that is popular in Chinese vegetarian offerings (always irks me especially for those who do it for religious purposes).
the five dimsum dishes we sampled
Unfortunately we did not get to try dim sum from Lai Ching Yuen’s normal menu, but judging from chef Kong’s expertise in this demonstration, I am pretty sure that they won’t disappoint.
At the end of the event, I won a lucky draw – lunch buffet for two at The Mill, Grand Millennium, and Horng walked away with a handsome voucher of RM 800+ from Slimming Sanctuary. Yuki should be happy about it.
Address: Lai Ching Yuen 160 Jalan Bukit Bintang 55100 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.14791, 101.71222 Tel: 03-2117 4180
Asam laksa and curry mee are just two of Penang’s signature hawker dishes. You can find them almost anywhere on the island, and most of the time they would be of pretty decent qualities.
Here is another place you could try if you find yourself on the Pearl of Orient – at Mount Erskine hawker center.
my niece is an asam laksa addict, just like Haze
The hawker center is situated at the end of Mt. Erskine road, the road most famous for having plenty of graves (hence super congested during cheng beng weekends). Here you will find a dozen or so hawker stalls offering everything from char kuih teow, kuih teow soup, mee goreng, curry mee, asam laksa, oyster porridge, mixed rice, and so on.
Penang asam laksa from Mt. Erskine hawker center
The laksa here is manned by two white haired aunties who certainly knows to keep things the traditional way. The laksa is laden with plenty of vegetable, chili, fish broth, prawn paste, and of course, topped with ginger flower (bungan kantan). It tastes as good as any, and passed my niece’s taste test.
A bowl costs RM 3.50 (but that was over Chinese new year, normal price was RM 3.00 I think)
Penang curry mee, this one with yummy fish ball too
When I’m there, I almost always order the curry mee (previous blog post from 2006). Other than the usual ingredients of cockles, prawns, coagulated blood, and tofu, they also throw in a couple home made fish balls into it.
While fish balls is a nice touch that gives the curry mee an extra dimension, the real deal here is their soup and chili paste. Fresh coconut milk based soup (the reason it appears white) with that aroma and kick from the slightly charred chili. Super yum! RM 4 or so. Try it!
here’s how you get to mount eskin in Penang
Address: Jalan Mt. Erskine, Tg. Tokong, Penang GPS:5.450560, 100.302064 Operating Hours: 11am to 4pm
Together with the Superbowl and World Cup, Olympics is undoubtedly one of the events that I want to participate at least once in my life time.
Of course, by participation I do mean attending and watch in person, though competing as an athlete/player that would of course be an even more awesome, but I think chances of that happening is as close to zero as it can be.
One of the big ticket items at the Olympics 2012 is undoubtedly the 100 meter dash. I remember watching history being made by Usian Bolt when he shattered the world record and ran so far ahead of the pack 4 years ago, and imagine how it would be like to be among the crowd that day.
Events like these are among the rare ones that the crowd cheers for winner and nobody boos the opponents. Imagine the jubilation, the excitement!
Another event that is of my personal interest is the badminton singles event. Four years ago Datuk Lee Chong Wei almost break out nation’s duck but fell just short for the gold medal.
This year is probably the last chance for Datuk Lee to get it done. As the world number one, an Olympic gold medal would make him one of the best players this generation. I’d love to be there to cheer for him during the matches.
And if I find myself at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, it won’t be just watching the athletes and games. There are over 200 countries at the big party, and there would be countless number of people attending.
An idea that I have is to capture videos of as many people in as many languages as possible saying “hello Malaysia, from London 2012“, and then compile a short video from the various clips. I think that’ll make a pretty neat video. What do you think?