Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I recently watched Miami Ink on Astro. Yeah I know it's been on for some time, but tak pernah tengok until now. Well, I know tattoo is haram in my religion, but it was fascinating to watch these really talented artists at work. A client comes in, tells them what he wants, they draw it on paper (freehand lagi tu!), and then magically transform the design from paper to skin.

Creativity is one thing, and perseverance is another. There was a lady who wanted a full back tatoo, and it took 7 hours to do it. Imagine sitting in one position and drawing the design pinprick by pinprick for 7 hours, mau patah pinggang tu.

Anyway, yes keeping in mind tattoo is prohibited in my religion, some of the more strategically placed tattoos were actually quite sexy :-) I don't mean on the genitals (ouch!), but at those cute places like at the base of the throat or neck, or at the small of the back, or on the shoulder blade, or on the hip, huuhhuuuhuuu!

Some tattoos are done as a dedication to a loved one, or to mark a certain event. For indigenous people like the Iban for instance, tattoos known as 'pantang' are a sign of bravery. Maoris also have tribal tatoos called 'Ta Moko' not only on the body but also the face, to depict a warrior status.

Some tattoos mark the belonging to a certain group, for example the traditional Japanese body suit tattoos called the 'irezumi', which is said to be favoured by the yakuza. How I wish I had the chance to see these in real life when I was there! The designs are rich and the colours vibrant, and steeped in symbolistic images like the dragon, the samurai sword et cetera.

And of course there's the army tattoos, and the prison tattoos, or some other brotherhood kinda thing tattoos.

And then, there's the crazy tatoos. Well, I won't say much about these, but have a look at some of 'em below hehehe :-)

Some are quite scary!

Oh lupa pulak, now with the latest technology, we have the blacklight tattoo, which is invisible to the naked eyes, but will magically appear under blacklight. This one I saw in an episode of CSI a few weeks back. Who says you can't learn from tv? :-)

Tapi... siapa kata orang melayu tak pakai tattoo? Isn't henna art a form of tattoo, albeit temporary? Hmmm... Cik Siti kita dulu pun ada buat henna art masa dia nak kawin setahun lepas kan?

( Maaf, aku tak sentuh isu hukum-hakam, I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable people lah.)

This one's done out of respect... Ghandi tu!

Anyone interested to ink up with a potrait of Pak Lah, maybe?

I wonder if this lower back tattoo would look good on me? :-)

Naahhh... I'm chicken, when it comes to situations involving voluntarily causing pain to my own body hehehe :-D

* pictures courtesy of the internet... wa cilok aje, jangan saman wa, wa takdak duit...

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Last Sunday was supposed to be a durian-picking day in Raub for us. I had been invited by a colleague to his kampung, where his family has a 4-acres dusun buah with numerous durian trees, and everyone there were quite bored of eating durians... *sigh* and here I was buying kampung durians at RM5 p/kg, while eyeing the D24 durians being sold at RM9 p/kg in Kelana Jaya.

Alas, due to a series of miscommunications, or rather 'bad-timing-sms', the plan went bust. But my colleague has promised to bring everyone at the office lots of smelly tempoyak next week *phew!*

I just love all kinds of local fruits, don't you?

The better-known ones would be durian the king of local fruits, rambutan the hairy one, manggis the mangoesteen, mangga the mangoes, pisang the banana, nenas the pineapple, nangka the jackfruit (how the toot did it get it's name?), betik the papaya, and tembikai @ semangka the watermelon. But there's lots more!

There's rambutan's cousin, the pulasan.

Pulasan has coarser hair in vibrant shades of maroon, and white succulent flesh and a seed. But it's flavour and fragrance is so unique and 'richer' than the rambutan's. Aptly named, it is opened by holding the fruit in one hand, then use the other hand to twist (pulas) the top part, like unsrewing a bottle cap.

There's the duku & family. The duku is round in shape, about the size of a pingpong ball, and it's flesh inside is segmented. The langsat is smaller than duku and not as sweet, so they married them off and produced dukulangsat, which has thicker skin, more durable than langsat and sweeter like duku. Then there's the dokong, which is the sweetest of them all. They all look the same though, to untrained eyes.

duku & rambai

I also like the duku's distant cousin, the rambai. This is a funny fruit to eat, because it hardly has any bite-able flesh, so we end up peeling off its skin, then swallowing the fruit whole, seeds and all. For the uninitiated, be careful eating it this way, as the effects of the seeds will be felt when you pass motion a few hours later hehehe :-)

Other quite similar-looking fruits are the tampoi and sentul.

tampoi & sentul

Aiyoh how to explain the difference? They have much thicker skin compared to duku, almost like a shell for sentul. The flesh is also fragmented and is quite fragrant, like a cross between manggis and rambai. They are wild jungle fruits and are very rare, the last time I ate tampoi must've been about 5 years ago. Kat mana ada jual, anybody can tell me?

Everyone knows mangga, so many varieties in shapes, colours, tastes and fragrance. Other mango-like fruits I know are the binjai, nam nam, bacang, kuinin, kedondong & kundang @ setar.

binjai, nam nam & kedondong

They are all sour mah! In fact, they are so sour that some are often added to sambal belacan to give the dish a sour ummph.

Oh yeah, one more really sour wild fruit - cermai. It's usually made into a pickle or cooked in a dish called 'acar'.

For the nangka, there's 2 similar cousins I can think of, the cempedak and the terap. The cempedak is very common here, and can be eaten raw or fried in batter. The terap, I was told, is a wild fruit and not eaten here, but I ate some on one trip to Sabah, and it's quite nice actually. Perhaps the Sabah terap is bigger and nicer than the ones here :-)

cempedak & terap

I absolutely adore the nona, round shape the size of a tennis ball, with bumpy red or purple skin. The flesh is white and has many seeds, kinda look like a durian belanda the soursop but very sweet.

Then there's the snakeskin fruit, the salak. Sweet only if it's fully ripe, otherwise it tastes so icky, you'd want to rinse out your mouth if you bite into an unripe one. But I think the unripe ones taste very good if pickled la.

salak & ciku
There's one fruit that I like to eat when it's not quite ripe, that's the egg-shaped-and-sized ciku, because a really ripe ciku is too sweet for my taste. It has a thin skin covered with very fine hair, much like the kiwifruit.
Lastly, the jambu family. We are all familiar with the guava, but the kampung jambu batu is not the same. It's small and hard as a stone, with plenty of seeds in it's core. There's also the jambu bol, jambu mawar and jambu air. These three have lots of liquid in it, but I hesitate to call it 'juice' as I've never heard it being juiced and drank before.

jambu batu, jambu bol & jambu mawar

I bet there's plenty more local fruits which I've never come across before, as I didn't grow up in a kampung, and some of the wierd (yes, it's intentional hehe) fruits were brought over by relatives when they come visit from the kampung.
By the way, did you recognize all the fruits mentioned or in the pictures?

(pictures courtesy of the internet)