Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chanting for 'Cheng Beng' ceremony

Above photos show 8 Buddhist monks chanting at the 'Cheng Beng' ceremony in the Buddhist Chetawan Temple, Petaling Jaya, on Sunday, March 28, 2010.

My family and I were there to offer merits to my 18- and 20-year ago departed Mum and Dad whose ashes are kept in the columbarium there.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Mysterious Fruit

Mr Thangarajah, 74

The Tree     
The Mysterious Fruit

The Flesh of the Fruit

The Leaves of the Fruit Tree

A Mysterious Fruit

A resident in my neighbourhood of SS14 Subang Jaya, Mr Thangarajah, 74, a retired Kirkby UK-trained teacher, has discovered a fruit which the Indonesians will buy for some US$6 per fruit, because it can be used for medicinal purposes.

He was doing some gardening with a friend when an Indonesian man approached him asking him whether the trees in front of his house were bearing fruits which "point up to the sky" because they grow at the end of the stem.

However, as far as he knew, having lived here for so many years, those trees don't bear fruits.

But recently someone picked up one fruit dropped from one of the trees. (Pictures of the fruit, the leaves and the trees are shown above.)

Mr Thangarajah is eager to know the name of this rare and valuable fruit, its medicinal value, and the botanical name of the tree. Can anyone help? Please post the answer in the comments. Thank you very much.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chinese New Year 2010

Year of The Tiger

The top photo shows the praying table. Praying to God of Heavenly Realm on the 9th day of Chinese New Year, Feb 22, which is a very auspicious day for Hokkiens who form the majority of ethnic Chinese in Malaysia.

The 2nd and 3rd photos show Chinese New Year
celebrations at SJBA in Subang Jaya, Feb 27. Pictures of
God of Wealth (Choy San) and Dragon Dance on the
eve of Chap Goh Meh, which is the 15th day of CNY
and the last day of CNY.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Friday, April 24, 2009

The Jackfruit Tree (center)

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Jackfruit, or known locally in Malay as Nangka, is the largest tree borne fruit in the world. This tree is located at a field in my neighborhood. The tree is native to the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, but is also very common in Malaysia.

The fruits which stick out of the main tree trunk can reach 36kg in weight and up to 90cm long and 50cm in diameter.

Before cutting up the fruit, it is best to have some cooking oil handy. Apply generous amount of oil onto the knife and your hands, otherwise it will be difficult to get rid of the sticky sap, which can even be used as glue. If the hands or the knife get stained, apply oil even during the cutting process. Note that it's best to have a very sharp knife.

It's common to coat the fruits with flour and fry them in oil. The leftover seeds can be steamed and are delicious to eat, like chestnuts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Cheng Beng" Ceremony in April

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Earlier this month, on 5th April, we observed the Cheng Beng ceremony (All Souls Day) at the Buddhist Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya where the ashes of our ancestors are kept. The ashes are contained in urns which are stored in cubicles at the columbarium in the temple.

Seven Buddhist monks sitting in lotus position in a row chanted suttras for the departed.

We were lucky because many others had to wake up very early and head for the hills where the cemetries are sited and where their ancestors were buried. They had to spend the whole morning cleaning up the sites, whereas we spent the whole morning listening to the soothing chanting by the monks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pineapple plant in backyard

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This is a pineapple plant in my sister-in-law's backyard in Kajang.

Origin: The pineapple is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay where wild relatives occur. It was spread by the Indians up through South and Central America to the West Indies before Columbus arrived. In 1493 Columbus found the fruit on the island of Guadaloupe and carried it back to Spain and it was spread around the world on sailing ships that carried it for protection against scurvy. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century. The pineapple reached England in 1660 and began to be grown in greenhouses for its fruit around 1720.

Growth Habit: The pineapple plant is a herbaceous perennial, 2-1/2 to 5 ft. high with a spread of 3 to 4 ft. It is essentially a short, stout stem with a rosette of waxy, straplike leaves.

Harvest: It is difficult to tell when the pineapple is ready to be harvested. Some people judge ripeness and quality by snapping a finger against the side of the fruit. A good, ripe fruit has a dull, solid sound. Immaturity and poor quality are indicated by a hollow thud. The fruit should be stored at 45° F or above, but should be stored for no longer than 4 - 6 weeks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Flame of the Forest

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This morning as I was driving in my neighbourhood I saw this gorgeous Flame of the Forest tree in bloom with its scarlet flowers. So I took a couple of pictures of it.

Flame of the Forest, or Delonix Regia, is often planted as a shade tree in parks because of its broadly spreading crown. However, it is more so an ornamental tree species recognised for its exuberant scarlet flowers when in full bloom.

A native of Madagascar, it was discovered by botanist Wenzel Bojer in 1820. Since then the tree has been planted in Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia.

The Flame of the Forest is a medium to large-size tree which can reach up to 60 feet high. The flowers are scarlet and fairly scented. The fruits are long pods dangling down sword-like from the branches.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jambu Air (water guava) or Rose Apple flowers and fruits

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Jambu Air is water guava or Rose Apple and comes in three colours, red, white and pink. Before a Jambu Air tree bears fruits, the whole crown of the tree will be covered with prickly and hairy light colored blossoms.

A Jambu Air tree in bloom will spread a refreshing light fragrance in the air. Jambu Air tree grows quickly and easily and is quite hardy. The fruits are very juicy, though not exactly sweet or sour. The white variety is sweeter than its colored sisters, although the red ones are more juicy. Jambu Air is an important ingredient in the local salad, "Rojak."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Subdued New Year celebrations

The festive season is still in the air, although on a rather subdued note due to the economic downturn. Picture shows a scene of chinese new year traditions in Subang Parade shopping center where not many people are seen to be around and most are just window shopping. However, the eateries are well patronised. People eat in celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eagerly awaiting Chinese New Year

Also pictured here is my good friend Chris Y, an ethnic Chinese Malaysian, eagerly waiting for the Chinese New Year celebrations to begin. He will be celebrating it in his hometown Ipoh, in central peninsular Malaysia.
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Chinese New Year celebrations

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Decorations and goodies at The Summit shopping mall in preparation for the Chinese New Year which falls on Monday, the 26th of January, 2009.

Sometimes called the Spring Festival, it is one of the most important traditional Chinese holidays. It is also called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside of China.

The festival begins on the first day of the first lunar month of the Chinese calendar and ends with a Lantern Festival on the 15th day, also called Chap Goh Meh.

Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, it is considered the most important holiday for the Chinese. It had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction.

These include Aboriginal Taiwanese people, Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese and Vietnamese. In mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries with significant Han Chinese populations, Chinese New year is also celebrated, and has, to varying degrees, become part of the traditional culture of these countries.

In Canada, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Canada Post Office issues Chinese New Year theme stamps in domestic and international rates.

In Malaysia, it is a 2-day holiday and the ethnic Chinese celebrate it in a very big way. There will be open houses and food and traditional Chinese New Year cookies will be served to relatives and friends who come avisiting.

The elders will give out red packets of money or "ang pows" to the younger ones who are not yet married. Inmates of old folks' homes and children's homes will also receive "ang pows", food and mandarin oranges. It is a time of great rejoicing.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Friendly Dogs

My friendly dogs, Bam and Pete, putting on a good show. They are also excellent guard dogs.
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Past Full Bloom

The Arabian Jasmine past full bloom and just about to wither, but with new buds coming out. This time the focussing is perfect, if I may say so.
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Yellow Flowers

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Lovely yellow flowers in my neighborhood, but don't know what species.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Arabian Jasmine buds

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Determined to make good my Arabian Jasmine photos (below) which were not properly focused, I went back to the site but only to find that the flowers had faded away and had dropped off.

However, there were many fresh buds coming out and, as true Arabian Jasmine, were already heavily scented and fragrant even though they were only buds.

This time I used proper equipment - Olympus C740 Ultra Zoom camera in Macro mode.

Lone white flower

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Gorgeous picture of a lone white flower of unknown species. I will be thankful if anyone can tell me what species it is?