Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Selamat Hari Raya.

Selamat hari Raya Aidil Fitri

   Celebrated by the Muslims, Aidil Fitri signifies the end of the fasting season of Ramadan for a month. The celebration is determined by sighting of the new moon. This is the most significant celebration for the Muslims. Muslims starts the day by congregating in the mosques early in the morning to perform Hari Raya Puasa prayers followed by visits to the graves of the departed. 

This festive occasion is greeted with great joy, the young will ask for forgiveness from their elders and everyone will put on new clothes. Open house or invitation for relatives and friends to come to their house is practised. Plenty of traditional Malay delicacies are served during this festive season. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and decorated with the lighting of oil lamps to welcome the angels which is believed to be visiting the earth during the seven days preceding the festivall. The celebration lasts for a month which the celebration is concentrated in the first three days. 
 (source:  Festival of Malaysia - Hari Raya Puasa www.regit.com/malaysia/festival/haripuas.html)


54th Independence Day
31st August

bangchik and kakdah

Monday, August 29, 2011

hills being majestic.

Limestone hills are majestic, showing everything about strength. They have gone through million of years with little change and trees learn how to grow on hard surface. There aren't many limestone hills in Malaysia.  Ipoh is famous with limestone hills forming exotic boundary. Gua Musang is another place where limestone hill rise to majestic height. Almost to the town of Kuala Krai, limestone hills form a nice backdrop to the oil palm plantations. The pictures were taken near Kuala Krai, Kelantan.

a limestone hill, so high almost like a mountain

View of oil palms, newly planted, and a few rows of old oil palms.
 Limestone hills rise steeply to the sky.

oil palm plantation with a small limestone hill.

bangchik and kakdah

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Being ambitious over Roselle.

Ever since red bugs ( Roselle surrendering to red bugs) attacked the row of aging roselle, we stopped thinking about having roselle in the garden. The spot had been replaced by lady's fingers / okra / bendi which produce fruits regularly, more than we can consume.  

We were invited by  Mardi Kelantan (Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute) to participate in "Farmers Day 2011, Kelantan" (Hari Peladang, Penternak dan Nelayan 2011) to be held at the end of September.  The group will exhibit rooftop gardening as showcase, and they will sell chili, agro products, and seedlings. To keep enthusiasm going, I agree to get 100 roselle, 100 stevia and markisa ready.

So, these roselle are for sale!

Last week: roselle in black polybags

Last week: roselle viewed from above.

I do hope these roselle will not be too old 
when the day comes. I don't even know how much to charge,
I guess I will let the group decides, 
definitely at current market price.

bangchik and kakdah

Thursday, August 25, 2011

as white as snow.

Kangkung is water spinach, easy to grow and sometimes known as poor man's vegetable.  It is the purest form of white that attract my attention as I clicked at the flowers.  I thought early morning sun managed to give a little bit of shade... and surprisingly made it even whiter....

white and shadow.

well hidden, so no obvious shadow

Three of them, and white is after all so pure

Kangkongs join chives, white orchids, selom and rain lilies, 
giving out pure white flowers. With a little bit of shadow, 
white is purest.

There goes, as white as cotton, or as white as snow,  
as white as a sheet, as white as a ghost
and right now as white as kangkong's flower.

bangchik and kakdah

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wishing Markisa good luck!

Markisa sounds like a girl's name. It is in fact a variety of passion fruits. There are 100 seedlings in the garden right now, and I have not decided where to plant them. If anyone wish to buy them, I will be more than happy..... aha, knowing Markisa will brighten up someone else garden......

markisa seedlings

markisa seedlings

markisa seedlings

A few months ago, Azura mentioned about markisa plants  growing healthily in her mother's garden. She saved one fruit for me..., and I didn't take long to germinate the little black seeds.

We are waiting 
for these to happen 
right in our garden, 
or someone else garden.

the beautiful flowers of markisa/passionfruit/passiflora edulis

Buah Markisa/ passion fruit/ passiflora edulis

bangchik and kakdah

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Changing location, better colour for chryothemis pulchella

Kakdah had been placing this potted plant under her orchid house ever since the orchid house was ready early of the year. Then a few months later she decided to to embark on garden facelift, swapping plants from left to right, taking out some and put them under brighter light, and some placed under shadier place. Flowers somehow need light to show off their exotic outfit. And these flowers really bloom!

Thus the issue of nature versus nurture comes into play, applicable to development of child, career development and flowers too.

bangchik and kakdah

Friday, August 19, 2011

View over Kuantan.

It's business trip to Terengganu and Pahang last week. We stopped at a number of places, one was Kuantan. I took a few pictures over Kuantan from 9th floor of M.S. Garden Hotel. Kuantan is beautiful in its own way....

Tenaga Nasional Berhad Building (National Energy  Company)

the river, Sungai Kuantan forefront.

a hotel, a bridge and a river.

Government office in the middle

a mixture

stadium in the front with 4 floodlights

bright yellow building, very catchy

a school on the left  got stuck in the middle of things

 I saw a few buildings with rather empty rooftops 
that can be turned into
profitable  green rooftop gardening

Modern buildings blend well with houses squeezed through avalanche of modernization, as more office and business space are needed. It is within this setting that Dato Burn fell in love with a Pahang girl, got married, and settled down. The river remain as it is, carrying everything to the river mouth. It holds the history of Kuantan over the many hundred of years.

Bangchik and Kakdah

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ramadan Bazar and its colours.

Oh, at times we are a bit lavish with food, buying more than needed, then later feel bad about it. We fast the whole month of Ramadan. It should bring back some senses to everyone, that we can do with less, and a time to appreciate the hardship the poorer has to go through in life.

Kids are induced into fasting bit by bit. Mothers would encourage children to fast half the day. No food til lunch, and slowly get them to fast dawn to dusk, joining the adults. The whole development is very much tactical, encouragement and rewards. Mothers would promise new clothes ( or anything within their means) if children manage fasting well. Favourite food on the table for berbuka (breaking the day fasting) will be one of the inducement. Mothers would cook or go out to Ramadan Bazar to pick a few for children.

With the rule of supply and demand, Ramadan Bazar is here to stay, the whole length of fasting month. And mothers will continue the tactical game to induce children to fast the whole day and the whole month. That's how it goes, the perpetuation of life.

beautiful tents, the hallmark of Ramadan Bazar

A hot day, blue sky

seller and buyers

home made drinks

Look at the kid..., wondering which one to choose.

Kakdah settled for pulut udang

RM2 and 5  pulut udang changed hands.

I turned back for a final picture, farewell to Ramadan Bazar

It is in this part of Malaysia that I learn a delicacy "Tok Aji Serban". I bet Puan Asmara had forgotten what's the taste like, being away for far too long. Kakdah however prefer the name seri muka (translated roughly as as shining face), because to her that's more feminine.  We can build a long list of nice food for ramadan breakfast: cucur udang, akok, ketayap (that's sound a little bit like tok aji serban), bihun goreng, mee goreng, cucur keriya, tepung talam, cakar ayam, bubur lambok ( or kanji for northeners). A mere mention of their names, tickle anyone's appetite!. In the old days, we did food exchange. Children would take a plate of something to the neighbor, then wait for the exchange. Mothers prepare one, but end up with so many on the table......., a communal value that is slowly fading.......

Kakdah bought 5 pulut udang, which in fact is glutinous rice with coconut grating  in the middle mixed with chili and prawns, wrapped with banana leaf and grilled. Its is nice.....

Bangchik and Kakdah

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dragon fruits / buah naga by the roadside.

We were on the road again, meandering along East Malaysia coastal road. Weather was hot, sky was clear blue. There was this little stall that attracted us to stop. An old lady with her grandchildren made full use of shade under a casuarina tree. They were selling dragon fruits.

 Kakdah picked the good ones

These dragon fruits are known by many names:  
Malay Buah Naga
Vietnamese thanh long, Laos: mark mang gohn,  
Chinese huǒ lóng guǒ  
French:  fruit du dragon, cierge-lézard, poire de chardon, 
German: Drachenfrucht, Distelbirne,   
Hawaiian: panini-o-ka-puna-hou
Swedish: skogskaktus, röd pitahaya, 
Thai: แก้วมังกร (kaeo mangkon), 
Portuguese: cato-barse, cardo-ananaz, rainha da noite,  
Spanish: pitahaya roja,   
Other names are  :  Red Pitaya,  Red Pitahaya, Dragonfruit, Night blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, Conderella Plant 

 a lady with her grandchildren

 Kakdah selecting dragonfruits, but i wonder how she did, because they looked the same

 the lady said "add another one will make 2 kilo", as she eyed the scale.

five dragonfruits finally made 2 kilo.

The place was somewhere in Terengganu, 
a state facing South China Sea.
Terengganu has perculiar accent which I can't comfortably imitate. A friend Sulong manage to hide his true accent most of the time, but at times he punctuates conversation with Ganu Kite "ak"..., and slip of tongue with "makang". WanZul on the other hand is different, claiming a true Ganu Kite from Besut , but comfortable only with Kecek Kelate. Bangchik remains secretive of his background with his own blend of Kelate....... I remember an associate, Jalil who after all these years, picked Pahang accent so well, that nobody knows he hails from Kuale Terengganu. Jalil has only Dato Burn to beat as outsider residing permanently in Pahang. ZolJobshi sticks to his Perak accent while working in Dungun for almost 5 years now. Some can switch accents easily, most cannot. Yes, Malaysia a small country yet the accents are numerous.

It was RM8 per kilo. Kakdah in the end bought 2 kilos of dragonfruits.

bangchik and kakdah

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

lady's fingers, no secrets.

It's the same location when roselle display beautiful flowers, and bright red fruits a few months back. Now it's lady's fingers turn. Both belong to hibiscus family. I go against the norm when I decided to replace roselle with lady's fingers. Even if lady's fingers fail to grow healthily, I will accept with full understanding that crop rotation is necessary to maintain soil's health.

Ladys' fingers fruits, flowers and many buds.

 All seven lady's fingers/ okra/ bendi are happy growing, flowering and fruiting. They don't show any withdrawal symptoms for growing on roselle's old vegetable bed. Probably they appreciate that I have done what I can do to improve the soil condition by immediately putting in organic fertiliser and compost after pulling out roselle.

Lady's fingers hold no secrets what to expect from them. We can count the number of buds waiting for their turn to bloom and produce fruits. Kakdah can in fact plan when to do curry with okra, or when to do giveaways.

bangchik and kakdah

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The excitement of first fruit, first baby for Papaya.

Is the first fruit too tough for them, these papaya?. I guess it should. Like everything else, the first day to school, the first baby, the first day of exams and so on. Every emotional elements gets in, jumbled up and create what I suspect the excitement.

the three first fruits - Papaya

the excitement of it's first fruit. - Papaya.

I think the plants wish to make the experience having the first fruit last longer, as long as they can. So they stop having subsequent fruits for a while, utilising every bit of energy and nutrients to nurture their first fruit. At the same time building enough skill and knowledge to go for the next and next and next. I am sure, they are strengthening stems and roots also, to  stay strong and upright as fruits get bigger and bigger. They dont want to get toppled down by strong winds with the first baby..........

Just imagine, the work papaya plants got to do, to build massive reservoir of carbohydrate content, potassium, calcium, chlorine, iron, silicon, sodium, antioxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene, Vitamin A and C and flavonoids, B Vitamins, folate and panthotenic acid. And the best part is the fruits has to store Papain which is proteolytic enzyme that is said so powerful. Papain helps digesting an amazing 200 times its own weight of protein. These are nutritional contents that are beneficial to us, and Papaya plants work hard to get them ready before harvest!

bangchik and kakdah

Sunday, August 7, 2011

rooftop gardening: for the community.

rooftop gardening: visitors

Our rooftop gardening is not about planting and harvesting only, it evolves into research on rooftop gardening's  impact to the environment, electronic and robotic applications in farming and a focal point for the community. The place is open for everyone to see and learn. Whoever gets to the rooftop, briefed about the technology behind it will get a certificate "friends of rooftop gardening". The number swells to a thousand now, serial 0001 goes to Dato Mustapha, 0002 Dato Rohani, and so on.

It is very much a social responsibility, pushing home the notion that gardening is a vocation, it is not old fashion, it is earth friendly. Everyone should get involved even as small as having a few pots at the balcony. So we received steady numbers of visitors from schools in Kelantan.....

students from nearby school

she was explaining about growth and harvest

primary school children

ready for a group photo

a group photo of primary school pupils.

They are allowed to meander about within a designated section.

books over the head, it was hot for some.

Future is in their hands, the younger generations. 
Rooftop gardening is about "dare to dream" and making use of idle space. 
And finally gardening is a profitable adventure.

The post on rooftop gardening is the last, 
until I assemble enough information on marketing aspects.

bangchik and kakdah
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