Borneo Cultural Festival 2014

borneo cultural festival

The Borneo Cultural Festival is back! BCF 2014 is the latest iteration of this Sibu festival celebrating local Dayak/Iban and other native cultures. It’s our version of Kuching Festival and there’s a similar emphasis on food! The last time I went was when I was working here, during Borneo Cultural Festival 2008.

sellers

I went with my dad for the last two days and the layout is similar, with sections for Dayak cuisine, Malay cooking and Chinese food. I first wrote about Borneo Cultural Festival in 2003 when my blog was just over a year old (they had a beauty pageant for Miss Malaysian Chinese that year) and went again for BCF 2006 – check out the Borneo Cultural Festival category for full coverage!

bcf2014

Here is my photoblog for BCF 2014:

ayam pansoh

Ayam Pansuh is a Sarawakian dish that uses bamboo to cook chicken. The meat is stuffed into the tube with tapioca leaves and some water before being cooked over a charcoal fire. The bamboo is then cracked open and the water becomes the stock of this chicken dish. You can eat the tapioca leaves too!

beancurd sheet

This is a piece of tofu skin that’s been dipped in *real fish batter* before being deep fried. I’ve never quite had something like this before. It’s made of soybeans – basically a bean curd sheet that’s rehydrated and coated with fish. My dad loved it.

satay

12 different types of satay! There’s chicken skin, chicken heart, chicken liver, rabbit, beef, lamb, cockles, ostrich, and many other unusual proteins on skewers. No pork satay here though coz this is a halal stall. However, my favorite guilty pleasure is here in abundance – grilled chicken skin actually tastes wonderful, but you can’t eat too much of it or you’ll get sick of the ultra rich fat.

wife biscuits

Wife Cake comes in many different variants here. Besides the traditional lao por peng, there’s also “Husband Biscuits” (Biskut Suami) which uses star anise as a filling.

pulut panggang

Pulut Panggang makes an authentic appearance too! It’s glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves that’s been grilled over a charcoal BBQ, giving it the distinctive smoked flavor. I bought several of the beef and chicken filled ones and it was good.

potato twisters

I got potato twisters as well – a staple fair food. It’s a whole potato that’s been cut into spirals and this version uses a sweet batter to coat it before it’s deep fried and slathered with mayo and chilli sauce.

bcf2014 me

Awesome stuff.

ice cream cone

This is a very diluted soft serve ice cream cone. It’s a mix of chocolate and vanilla but it tastes horrible – akin to a penny pinching coffee shop being miserly with the cocoa powder. smirk

chess competition

Chinese chess competition that’s open to the public. It was played on one of the smaller stages in a tournament format.

best pavilion

This particular booth got Best of Show. The Chinese pavilions are usually very well decorated compared to the sparse Malay booths.

pavilions

Here’s another example.

chinese culture art

These pavilions are usually made by clan associations e.g. Heng Hua, Foochow etc but some of them are owned by more general groups like the Chinese Culture & Art Appreciation societies…

gula melaka puffs

…and they have the manpower from clan membership working inside too!

clan pavilions

The Chinese pavilions line the side facing the main road so it’s beautiful when you look in that way – the lights, the glitter, the jazz! (or rather, er-hu ;))

taiwanese food

There’s also a huge Taiwanese food trend in the stalls this year.

bcf

Music, dance and cultural performances are constantly done on the main stage – it’s also a major attraction besides the food.

sugar machine

Sugar twill machine that makes candy on a stick with CAD printing that you can choose – anything from your Chinese Zodiac (Rooster, Dragon, Snake etc) to intellectual property (Doraemon, Hello Kitty and the Disney character lineup). It’s very popular with kids.

sugar twill

(and the young-at-heart)

sibu pasar malam

The Sibu Pasar Malam Association also has a booth selling traditional night market fare.

UniqBun

Gardenia, Massimo and other commercial large-scale baking and distribution operations in KL don’t sell their RM 0.80 ready-to-eat cream filled buns here, so people often buy them in bulk at LCCT/KLIA2 before flying back. There’s now a Sibu company doing it – UniqBun.

cook-to-order

This is my favorite food of the Borneo Cultural Festival 2014. I award it my personal blue ribbon. ;) I even went back the next day with my dad to get some more. It’s cooked-to-order palm sugar balls filled with glutinous rice (pulut). It puffs into a ball when it’s deep fried and it’s a sweet treat at RM 1 each.

palm sugar balls

You just can’t argue with piping hot, deep-fried sweet balls of caramelized airy dough.

dabai sarawak

Oh, and it’s dabai season again! I like how this stall had samplers that has been blanched and marinated in soy sauce and sugar (the traditional way of preparing it). You can only get these in Sarawak. It’s called okana (black olives) but it’s not technically in the olive family. A delicious, seasonal local delicacy.

cultural performance

I quite enjoyed going to this year’s Borneo Cultural Festival with my dad. It didn’t run for a while due to politics but now that it’s back, I hope it’ll be an annual event. It wasn’t very packed on the last day due to the rain and some of the food items sells out fast since it starts at 5 pm but it’s a lot of fun!

food stalls

More importantly, BCF 2014 is a festival we can call our own! :)

GAB Oktoberfest Malaysia 2013!

Oktoberfest Malaysia Germany

Oktoberfest is kicking off this year with celebrations throughout the month of October! I’ve always hit a couple each year to get the limited edition beer mug. I have one from every year gracing my shelves – some are even unopened and still in the box! I’m also keen to drink the Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier, brewed exclusively for the Oktoberfest season!

Oktoberfest Malaysia Beer Mug

The 2013 1 liter Oktoberfest Mug is ceramic and comes with a limited edition metal lid. It’s the first time this is done and it’s more in line with the Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany! The metal lid is originally a device to keep flies out of your brew! :)

Oktoberfest Malaysia Mug

I’m keen to add this to my collection of GAB Oktoberfest beer mugs – the 2010 edition even has the outlet printed on the beer mug, which makes it all the more collectible.

Interesting fact: All Oktoberfest beers must be brewed within the city limits of Munich and conform to the Reinheitsgebot (Bavarian Purity Law) which limits the ingredients which can be used.

Oktoberfest Malaysia Paulaner

I’ve had the Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier before and this isn’t something that can be had throughout the year. This is a brew that’s specially made for Oktoberfest and it weighs in at 6% alcohol – slightly higher than the usual beers which comes in around the 5% alcohol point.

Oktoberfest Malaysia Paulaner Bier

Paulaner is usually known for their wheat beers but unlike the rest of the range of Paulaner beers, the Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier is a lager! It’s very good too, and I like the fact that it can only be had during the Oktoberfest season.

Oktoberfest Malaysia Beer

The main Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany is a huge one and beer breweries have tents to provide a different drinking experience. Paulaner is famous for three of their tents:

Armbrustschutzenzelt – This derives from the word “armbrust” (crossbow) and this tent has been providing a large crossbow shooting range for more than 110 years!

Kafer’s Wies’n-Schanke – This tent serves signature gourmet food like “Kafer-Duck” and a roast saddle of venison.

Winzerer Fahndl – This tent is home to the iconic tower with a gigantic mug of Paulaner sitting on top of it and has the celebrated oompah band called “Nockherberger” playing some tunes while you drink!

Oktoberfest Malaysia McDonalds

I’ve been to Germany before and love the fact that all their beers has to conform to the German Purity Law, even the ones in McDonald’s! Yup, the McDonald’s in Germany serves beer!

Oktoberfest Malaysia 2013 Mug

Even though the Oktoberfest celebrations in Malaysia won’t be physically as big as the main Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, it’s quickly catching up with lots of good food from around the world, exciting contests, fun activities and promotions on GAB’s selection of award-winning beers like Tiger, Guinness, Heineken and of course, the official Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier.

Oktoberfest Malaysia Food

I’m personally looking forward to the authentic limited edition 1 litre ceramic Oktoberfest 2013 mug with a metal lid! You have to reserve yours in advance to avoid missing out, so check out all the fun themed parties going on around Malaysia at the Oktoberfest Malaysia Facebook Page!

Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival with the Future In-Laws

hb ling ethel

This photo was taken by the little one!

mooncake festival 2013

We just celebrated the Mid-Autumn festival last night! Yup, it’s several days early but that was the date it was decided on since Monday is a public holiday and everyone could make it. I was pleased to be invited by my better half’s parents to come over for dinner.

mooncakes in laws

I bought some mooncakes to bring along as a gift. I spotted a teh tarik (pulled milk tea) version which I wanted them to try while my dear chose more conventional ones like white lotus and assorted nuts with chicken bits. The Imperial Musang King Royale (RM 78 / 2 pcs) has long been sold out.

mid autumn dinner 2013

It’s good to have a home cooked meal while celebrating the mooncake festival in a home setting. My family is partly in Sibu and partly in Singapore so I don’t get that myself.

dragon lantern

There were also a lot of kids playing lanterns – I remember this vividly from my childhood and both of us lit some as well. Haha!

mooncakes 2013

There’s a lot of weird and wonderful lanterns now – the little one got an Angry Birds version while the big one got a rather unwieldy and large dragon, which burned on one side after a while.

mooncake family 2013

It was a good night spent with the future in-laws. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2013! :)

Pasar Ramadan Shah Alam – briyani gam, Roti John and enforcement officers!

pasar ramadan shah alam

The Pasar Ramadan in Stadium Shah Alam is reportedly the biggest food bazaar in Malaysia. It opens once a year during the holy month (for Muslims) of Ramadan with various vendors from established shops to home cooks offering all sorts of delicious fare for people to buy and eat when they break their fast.

honey spice chicken

There’s a big stall with lots of BBQ chicken on spits turning over a charcoal fire offering just one item – ayam golek.

ayam golek

Ayam golek basically translates to “spun chicken” (I think) – and this particular stall sells it for RM 19 per chicken or RM 10 for half. The chicken is marinated in madu (honey) and rempah (spices) and it’s one of the most popular stalls there. It tastes really good!

john bread

Roti John stalls are also very popular. It’s basically a long loaf of bread stuffed with various ingredients – anything from beef to seafood.

making roti john

I found one called Papa John with a fearsome queue – the Roti John is done up like an assembly line with a cook at the back and the French loaf sized sandwiches were flying off the table as soon as they got there.

roti john

We got the aptly named Extravaganza for RM 8. The regular ones are half the price but this contains generous slices of oblong burgers in addition to the minced meat (you can choose chicken or beef) that comes with the normal ones. It’s made a lot like a large Ramly burger.

briyani gam batu pahat

Nasi Briyani Gam are also very popular with lots of stalls selling this special that hails from Batu Pahat, Johor. It’s a type of spiced rice that’s strained with a muslin cloth and served with chicken, lamb or beef. The kambing (lamb) is the best and goes for RM 8.

pasar ramadan saman

Funny thing about this stall is that it has no licence and *enforcement officers* were there giving them the good news. smirk

enforcement officers

These enforcement officers roam around the bazaar to look for infractions – you need a special monthly (Ramadan lasts for a month) license in order to set up shop. This one didn’t have the proper license and I heard them negotiating with the enforcement officers, who fined them. It’s still one of the most popular ones though so I bought mine there…while the enforcement officers were writing the ticket. I reckon they’ll need the additional business. ;)

murtabak singapore

There’s also a stall selling durian crepes and Murtabak Singapore (a type of filled roti canai). It’s RM 10 for 6 pillows and it tasted really good. It’s supposed to be made with D24 durians.

durian crepes

It didn’t even last the trip home, we ate the last ones in the car. It’s supposed to be kept cold and it’s yummy when eaten chilled.

fresh dates

I also bought some fresh dates on a branch (quite expensive though) on a specialty date store that also sells various Iranian dates.

smoked duck

There’s also a stall that sells smoked duck – lots of the birds were hanging from a hook.

chicken percik

Ayam percik is another seasonal must have and my dear got a skewer for RM 3.50.

ayam percik

It’s marinated and chicken grilled over a charcoal fire with a unique sauce but it tasted horrible coz one side was burnt. I chose that one coz I thought it’ll impart some nice caramelization (like our honey spiced chicken) but it ended up being tough and bitter instead.

burung goreng

I did like the deep fried quail though.

fried quail

The deep fried quail is simply called called burung goreng (fried bird) and just cost RM 4.50 for an *entire quail*! It’s small but delicious, if you like quail meat and it’s served with spices too.

itek mandi minkak panas

The other good buy we made was at the stall that sells itik mandi minyak panas (duck bathing in hot oil). It’s apparently very famous – they had a bunch of articles in papers featuring the duck. The duck cost RM 38 each, which is about right (ducks cost about twice that of chicken) but we had bought so much stuff that we couldn’t even manage half. The man was kind enough to sell us a quarter (chose the duck leg portion) for RM 10.

oil bathed duck

I thought duck bathing in hot oil is a really funny and quirky name too and the guy manning the counter was very educated and spoke English with an Oxford accent!

egg chicken

There are ready made meals too but we didn’t buy those coz we already had a nasi briyani gam kambing.

sea coconut

Of course, being Ramadan, drinks are big at the bazaar too (since the fasting Muslims do this month includes not drinking during daylight hours). Sea coconut drinks are popular as well as the ubiquitous cendol.

cendol tapai

I couldn’t resist this cendol stall that sells the shaved ice with palm sugar concoctions by the jug. There’s various toppings you can make too – tapai (fermented rice), pulut (glutinous rice) and durian.

cendol jugs

One jug of ice cold cendol costs RM 6 with a topping (went with glutinous rice coz they ran out of fermented rice). I loved it! We got it in a huge plastic bag to go and I drank it for the next 24 hours. :D

my john

There was a massive traffic jam going back coz of all the people rushing back to break fast so we ended up eating the Roti John in the car in anticipation of the long drive.

feast

We had a veritable feast when we got back! My dear promptly got food poisoning though and had to sit on the toilet a couple of hours after that. I was fine though, it’s the luck of the draw I guess, some of the food has been sitting there for hours.

huge cendol

Pasar Ramadan Stadium Shah Alam is very congested starting from 6 pm onwards and it opens at 3-4 pm. I still love going there though – it’s always very interesting to get different dishes to go at the food bazaar to eat at home. I spent a lot there coz I didn’t realize how the little things would all add up!

whole grilled lamb

There are no seating arrangements and people don’t eat there coz it’s still fasting time but there’s such a lot of delicious things on offer that you’re bound to get more than you can eat. :)

Old friends, new friends

welcome

Welcome to the Friendliest Day of the Year!

st pats girls

I went bright and early to the St Patrick’s 2012 celebration at Changkat Bukit Bintang. It’s my third St Patrick’s Day celebration – to which I’ve rallied every single consecutive year since 2010. :D

hie ming

…and guess who I bumped into? Hie Ming, a classmate of mine from Sibu which I haven’t seen since I went to NZ in 1996! A meeting of old friends is always a good portent of things to come.

st pat 2012

The street started filling up as the night went on…

drinking guinness

…as we enjoyed pints of Guinness on tap.

arthurs lounge

Arthur’s Lounge – I was quite excited to go in, since someone told me there will be a nice surprise inside. There was in fact, more than one.

perfect pint

I had a go at pouring the perfect pint…

workshop

…while personalized Guinness pint glasses with our names engraved on it were made.

personalized pint glass

It’s like Santa’s workshop for adults! There were heaps of people involved in the making of my very own pint glass.

personalized pint

I can bring this around to pubs and fill it up with the black stuff and it’ll never get lost coz…it has my name on it. It says “Huai Bin”. :D

poloroid

There were street performers and buskers and people going around snapping Polaroid photos. It was a very merry experience indeed.

rachel

I bumped into Rachel…

harleys

…and beheld the wonder of a procession of Harleys driving into Changkat Bukit Bintang with a troupe of performers bringing up the rear.

next year

The night ended with an awesome display of fireworks and I have to say, I haven’t had this much fun since the last St Patrick’s Day. The Friendliest Day of the Year? I would say so. I met old friends and made new ones, and that’s what this year’s St Patrick’s Day is all about! (and also getting into the Guinness Book of Records)

why so serious

What about the record? Check it out for yourself!

evelyn

I raise my (currently empty) personalized pint glass in anticipation of next year’s celebrations, where I aim to bring it and fill it with drink. :D

The Friendliest Day of the Year

March 17th

I hear it’s being touted as the Friendliest Day of the Year.

people

It’s one of the few holidays that break out from the country of origin (Ireland, in this case) to metamorphosis from obscurity to become something more…something global, something truly epic!

eat play love

It’s St. Patrick’s Day!

st pat 2010

I go every single year. Guinness has held the biggest St Patrick’s Day parties for two years running in Malaysia. I was at the 2010 celebrations in 1Utama.

st pat 2011

I also went to the 2011 street party at Changkat Bukit Bintang where they have all the awesome street performers and even awesomer (spell check just warned me about this word with the red squiggly line) launch with the jugglers and huge motorcycle parade.

I couldn’t get a good shot at the actual event with everyone jostling around but here’s what it looks like – that’s from the preview event and is almost exactly the same. :D

dancing

It is always a day full of fun, friendship and laughter.

Fun Fact:
A popular Irish toast on St Patrick’s Day is “May the roof above never fall in, and may we as friends beneath it never fall out”.

performers

This year sees a return of the celebrations to Changkat Bukit Bintang! There will be a month full of celebrations starting right about now. Remember when I said March 17th is going to be known as the Friendliest Day of the Year?

Well, there’s this obscure, little book that you might have heard of. It’s called the Guinness Book of World Records. ;)

friendliest day of the year

This is the real thing, the authoritative tome that people refer to when a feat or record is in doubt. It’s no local wannabe, if you’re in it, you know you’ve done something worth writing down for posterity in the entire known world.

parade

Guinness is attempting to set a new Guinness World Record for the Friendliest Day of the Year by getting 1 million people to pledge online at www.facebook.com/guinnessmalaysia and www.stpatricks.com.my to get into the book. Just click on COUNT ME IN to make it happen! :)

st pat 2012

I’m telling you, it’ll be the best fun you ever had. The crowd is always nice and there’s fun and laughter. Get ready for the pure awesomeness that is the main St Patrick’s Day street party:

Date: Saturday (17th March)
Venue: Changkat Bukit Bintang
Time: 6 pm onwards

street performers

There’s even going to be a busker dressed like a court jester. What more can you ask for? :D

Get more information on the various other parties and promotions being held at www.facebook.com/guinnessmalaysia.

An awesome pork loin dinner at Kim and Gareth’s

dinner kim

It’s a wonder to see Kim in the kitchen. She’s got everything down pat (even has a system for cleaning up dirty dishes).

kim kitchen

I was there for dinner on Friday, she had a pork loin going in the oven and I puttered around a bit in the kitchen doing nothing particularly useful until she sat me down in front of the awesome 55” TV with a beer in hand.

baked pork loin

Fruit of the loin. The beautiful pork loin with apple sauce. It was marinated for two days!

baked carrot garlic

Baked carrots and garlic. This is awesome! The baked carrots *looks* burnt and dried but it’s actually super juicy and wonderfully sweet. The garlic bursts with flavor too. Very nice.

kim potatos

You say potato I say potatoe.

buttered peas

Peas with slabs of butter.

yorkshire pudding

Yorkshire pudding.

kim dessert

Kim also made this dessert with molasses (?) – it had a bit of a crater in the middle, which I don’t think was supposed to be there but it tasted just fine.

kim dinner

However, the pork loin with apple sauce was the piece de resistance. I really enjoyed hitting that oink. It’s a good cut, nice marbling and tender to boot. The apple sauce does wonders to it.

pork loin

It weighed in at slightly more than 2.3 kg and the six of us (ST, Kim, Lainey, Fresh, Sin Loo and me) finished the entire pork loin. That’s about the equivalent of each of us eating a 400 gram steak…not including the other dishes.

That’s how awesome it was.

Glen Grant 16yo

There was Ben and Jerry’s ice cream brought by Sin Loo and some Hokkaido cakes from Lainey and we spent (well, at least me and ST did) the night drinking Scotch and beer. I got a bottle of Glen Grant 16 year old single malt and thought it would be funny to text Kim while stuck in a jam about bringing a 16 year old but she didn’t get it until several hours after. Picture nicked from ShaolinTiger’s Twitter.

Thanks for having us over Kim and Gareth!

party

It was a fabulous dinner and I totally enjoyed talking about everything from the good ol’ days of rave music to the murder of Canny Ong (I know right, diverse range of topics). We all ended up leaving at 8 am in the morning. This could be a start of a tradition, first time that happened was at Lainey’s birthday – just chilling, drinking and talking till the break of dawn coz that’s how we roll yo. ;)

hb kim

Kim’s a *great* cook. A delicious dinner with awesome company, you just can’t beat that. I had a laughing fit twice that night, can’t remember why but I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time. Then someone said: You know you’re laughing at *yourself* right. It just made it funnier. Fantastic way to spend a Friday night even though I only woke up at 8 pm on Saturday. Totally worth it. smirk

Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival 2011

bukit layang layang

I went on this trip to Pasir Gudang in Johor to catch the World Kite Festival 2011 a few weeks ago. It’s called Festival Layang-Layang Sedunia 2011 in Malay and I was surprised to see a lot of international participants. I also witnessed an awesome 400 meter long kite being deployed (that’s almost half a kilometer) which is pretty impressive.

kite fest

It seems that the Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival is a big thing amongst kite enthusiasts around the world. I’m amazed that people actually travel to Johor just to fly kites for a couple of days. I used to play with kites as a kid too but never really got into it.

kite assembly

These people however are serious kite enthusiasts. I saw gravity defying contraptions being flown over the weekend and got a lesson on kites around the world while at it.

Here’s a video of the action at Bukit Layang-Layang.

flying kites

The passion of the international teams is infectious. I ended up talking to some of them, trying to understand their love for the sport. These are people who lug their kites from various countries to Malaysia just for a few days of fraternizing with like minded people and showing off their carefully made kites.

japanese

The Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival is held at the appropriately named Bukit Layang-Layang (Kite Hill) and it’s a tourist attraction which the government has capitalized on. A lot of hotels have promotions for this and there’s even a kite museum at the venue.

kite array

The kites come in every shape and size. I saw everything from giant alligators to statue sized clowns being flown.

german

The larger kites require a small “pilot kite” to be raised before the actual kite can fly.

The pilot kite is a small parachute that gives enough lift to enable the main kite – in this case a gigantic squid by the team from Germany – to fly. It takes a lot of skill and effort to get this one afloat.

line kite

I found this one particularly impressive too – it’s a dragon kite that measures over 250 meters (!!!). This is from a team in Taiwan and there was a bit of controversy over which category in the competition it can go into.

I don’t know enough about the technicalities of kite classifications to comment, but based on the video, the organizers put them in the “line kite” instead of the “dragon kite” category due to some small design feature which violates the dragon kite specifications.

dragon kite

These type of kites takes a long time to setup and fly – it needs to be packed in a box and guided slowly out before the entire kite is sky bound. The longest one measures over 400 meters (!!!). That’s almost ½ a kilometer and it’s a wonder how they managed to get it up. It must be quite a task to retrieve it in one piece too.

flying kite

Here are some of the other kites that I liked:

box kite

This is a box kite from Australia.

box

It’s hexagonal shape seem to go against every law of aerodynamics but they actually flew it quite easily.

starfruit

Our very own country also came out with a starfruit shaped kite.

spinner

This is called a spinner – it doesn’t fly per se but floats and spins clockwise, thus the name.

eagle kite

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s…well, it’s not Superman, but an eagle kite that flies like a real bird.

jump

I saw this YouTube video of a dog totally owning a cat and now I can’t get that image out of my head. I had originally thought of this as a tiger pouncing on a shark but now it looks more like the large cat is about to forcibly initiate some inter-species coitus with the shark. It doesn’t help that the shark kite has a shocked expression on its face too. smirk

guitar

Look! A flying acoustic guitar shaped kite!

cupid

An anatomically correct Cupid kite. ;)

rose

One of the girls in the China team has a rather improbable kite – it’s the tiniest one in the festival and it really flies. Yes, it’s the rose she’s holding in her hand. That’s actually a very small flower kite. Nifty! A rose by any other name is a kite. :D

museum

I went with Khairie and Mohd Zaid and got really sunburned over the weekend, but it was fun experiencing something I normally wouldn’t and talking to the kite enthusiasts around the world. It’s an insightful look into the kite flying subculture, one where even 86-year-old grandmothers fly all the way from Japan to participate in.

kites

The Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival is an annual affair in Johor. They have a website with more information here. This is the 16th incarnation of the festival-cum-competition and it’s interesting to see people who are really serious about it gather from all over the world to indulge in their mutual passion.

Here’s another video of the scene at Bukit Layang-Layang during the event.

me

It has a very vibrant ambience and everyone was friendly and eager to help each other out. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the nature of the activity practically begs for a quote from the bestselling book by Khaled Hosseini:

…for you, a thousand times over. smirk

Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2008

hari raya header

This is the first day of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations – the new year for our Muslim friends. In Malaysia, “open houses” are practiced and it is common for different races to mingle and socialize during festive occasions.

hari raya 08

I visited a couple of houses this morning with a bunch of friends. I neglected to pace myself and ate too much at the first house, which resulted in me not being able to eat much at the latter houses. :)

raya 1

This is what I had – pulut (glutenous rice), satay, beef rendang, curry chicken and ayam masak merah.

raya 11

I also had some dessert after that – cakes and this confectionery made out of cornflakes that I really like. :)

raya ketupat

Our group adjurned to the second house after that where there is ketupat (a traditional Hari Raya preparation made out of glutenous rice, but different from pulut).

ketupat

This is what ketupat looks like – it’s made with pandan wrappings (a complicated procedure that traditionally lasts throughout the night) while pulut is cooked in bamboo over a slow BBQ fire.

raya breasts

I was presented this home made confectionery by the host and the following conversation proceeded:

Host: What does this remind you of, Huai Bin?
HB: Hmm…something that should be covered up. ;)
Host: You have a gutter mind la…it’s eyes.
HB: That’s what I meant, it should be covered up with sunglasses. What did you think I mean? Lingerie? ;)

raya feature

It’s fun, with witty banter and general fellowship. I have missed Hari Raya for two years in a row so it’s great to be able to go visiting again. I love this water feature that I saw in one of the houses that we visited.

Selamat Hari Raya 2008 to all readers of sixthseal.com! :)

Borneo Cultural Festival 2008 Closing Ceremony

bcf 2008 closing

The Borneo Cultural Festival 2008 has come and gone and the closing ceremony during the weekend was a grand affair, with fireworks and performances to mark the end of the BCF 2008. I have attended the festival for most days of the week and the turnout was great, with the festival being packed full of people despite the drizzle.

This is a performance by TUKU KAME featuring Jerry Kamit during the closing ceremony. They’re also slated to perform at the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) later this week in Kuching.

eddy mary poh poh

I haven’t had dinner yet, and thus we went in search for food with Eddy, his nephew, Mary and Mr. Poh (not me). Last call for tuak and all that. ;)

pansoh ikan

We had pansoh ikan (fish cooked in bamboo)…

lemang

…and lemang (glutenous rice wrapped in pandan leaves).

I heard a haunting refrain of The Phantom of the Opera and went to film a video of the performance. You have to watch this – the vocal range of the female singer is amazing!

me simmy

I also went to Simmy’s booth while I was there and talked to her about photography and models in Sibu for an upcoming project I’m doing. She’s a professional freelance photographer and she has a website with her photography portfolio.

haircutting demo

The major hairstylists were out in force at the BCF 2008 with free haircutting sessions. I just got a haircut but went for it anyway just for fun.

getting haircut

She ended up butchering my hair a little, with one side longer than the other but people claim that it’s not very noticeable anyway, having the chubby face that comes with my weight gain.

me hairstylist

I’m not very sure what to think of that. Blessing in disguise? Or friendly hints that I need to lose some weight? Hmm… ;)

carnival

The BCF 2008 is also about having fun and the carnival games is a place where you can get fleeced into paying RM 100 for a Made in China stuffed toy that costs RM 0.20 and yet have fun while doing it. Fleeced for fun. ;)

bingo

There are a lot of different carnival games ranging from bingo…

ping pong

…to ping pong ball based games.

playing ping pong

I managed to get a turtle key chain for my efforts.

turtle

“May you have a prosperous and beautiful future”. Wow, thanks turtle! =D

shooting

There is also a shooting game that I played in an inebriated state…

idiot

…doing the usual stuff people do when they’re less than sober. I love the expression of the guy next to me. :)

I find that I’m a little bit annoying (even to myself) when I get past a certain state of sobriety though.

darts dodge

It’s also not a good idea to be going for the dart games in an inebriated state. Look at how far the girl is dodging from my questionable aim. Hmm…I didn’t notice that until now. She memang siam hui hui.

darts 2

I managed to win RM 2 after spending RM 25…and I felt pleased. Jesus Christ…

childish

I’m so childish sometimes, I amaze even myself…

mary wins

Mary, rating higher on the sobriety scale than myself, managed to win two pillows. Hmph…

bcf finale

BCF 2008 is fun for all ages (and especially for the inner child in you). There are cultural shows, fashion shows, and games galore. You can drink yourself into a stupor and shoot less-than-straight photographs of the events (which is quite fun in it’s own right). ;)

I’m not sure if you’ll want to fly all the way here if you’re not from Sarawak, but the timing is good – right before the RWMF 2008 kicks off in Kuching, so drop by if you’re already here. Cheers from Sibu!

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