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Write Lah!

The Mesmerisings of Tunku Halim

Launching The “So Fat Lah!” Cookbook!

“You’re written a cookbook?” she asked, eyebrows raised.

“Yes, I have,” I reply with a grin.

“You write horror stuff and now you’ve come out with a cookbook?”

I nod. For indeed,  I have.

People who know me for my fictional work are surprised that I write non-fiction. People who are familiar with my non-fiction stuff and taken aback at my dark writings.

This is a special month for me, for I’m launching one of each. That’s 2 books, one fiction and the other non-fiction. I’ll tell you about the former in another post, but for now let’s focus on the non-fiction one.

Yes, it’s a cook book and it’s co-authored by Chef Christina Hiew. We’re launching it on Thursday, 8 November at MPH Nusentral in KL.

IMG_6693 (1)

This one is a very different kind of book launch for me as there’ll be food. And, from what I’ve tasted of Christina’s cooking, it’s going to be delicious!

I hope to see you there!

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That Time of the Year …

Yes, Halloween is upon us again.

I was asked to write an article for Unreserved magazine and so I did. It’s about ghouls that are common to South-East Asian. There are the 2 perfect Ps: these are the penanggalan and the pontianak. The article is out in the October issue.

So do have a read!

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Concert Review: Suzanne Vega 3/8/18

I first saw Suzanne Vega in concert in London when I was 21. This time, in Melbourne at the Palais Theatre, I went with my daughter, who is right now of the same age, 21.  Life can have strange coincidences. Life too, as we all know, moves incredibly fast.

As for Suzanne Vega, she seems to have hardly aged, from a distance anyway. Her vibrant, smoky voice sounded the same and she connected with the audience, telling them ever so often about how she came about writing each song. She mentioned that “Gypsy”, a tuneful  number, filled with vulnerability, was mostly written when she was 18. She talked about influences on her music including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Peter Gabriel.

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She opened with Tom’s Diner, which immediately mesmerised the audience, followed by her hit “Luka”. She unwaveringly played songs from her albums “Solitude Standing” and “99.9 Fº”, as she said she would.

The louder numbers were from the “99.9 Fº” album, especially “Blood Makes Noise” which was interesting and, instead of Dylan going electric, was Vega going industrial.

After the encore,  she capped off this enjoyable concert with “Marlene on the Wall”, “Left of Center” and “Tom’s Diner”.

The audience loved it. But I was left wondering why she chose to focus on these 2 albums and left out significant songs like “The Queen and the Soldier”, “Caramel” and “Tired of  Sleeping” … but that, I suppose, is what artists do. They challenge you.

It was certainly good Suzanne Vega again. I hope I don’t have to wait till my grandchild is 21 though to see her again!

Toilet Talk

I was boarding a Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur flight when I fell into a conversation with a woman behind me. She was Thai and married to a Malaysian. I asked what she thought of KL. She said she didn’t much like it as it was a just a big city like Bangkok. I understood perfectly as Chiang Mai, although it could be busy with traffic snarls and over-building, was not cut off from nature. It is only a short ride to lakes, waterfalls, paddy fields, pristine streams and temples built into caves. Then she said, “I don’t like the toilets. Dirty!”

It was all too true. Why are Malaysian toilets so dirty? It’s not because we sometimes use the bidet spray, for Chiang Mai toilets use them too. The toilets at KLIA can be appalling and a sad welcome for visitors to Malaysia. Why is it kept in such a bad state? Is it all the foreign workers here who can’t use the facilities properly? I doubt it for I recently ventured into a wine bar and found to toilets to be awful and not a foreign worker in sight.

Perhaps with the new government, attitudes might change. We can start making our country better in all aspects. 

It begins with those responsible for the toilets, whether it’s the operator of the mall, airport or shop. Then the users have to respect the facilities. Perhaps awards can be given for the best and worst toilets within a certain vicinity. Anyone like to start handing out these awards?

I’m not the first one to talk about our toilets:

https://thetravelmanuel.com/why-malaysia-has-the-worst-toilets-in-the-world/

https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2016/02/22/the-shocking-state-of-our-public-toilets/

http://malaysiandigest.com/features/708295-are-m-sia-s-public-toilets-really-the-worst-in-the-world.html

All operators  need to follow a standard operating procedure (SOP) in maintaining clean toilets and up-lifting Malaysia’s poor image:

https://www.johnston.biz/tips-for-keeping-public-restrooms-clean/

https://www.quora.com/How-do-we-keep-public-toilets-clean

Perhaps regular inspections by the local authorities are needed. Perhaps they should fine those that have unsightly, dirty facilities.

I’m writing this at an upmarket cafe in an office building in Damansara Height. The ceiling above the urinals in the food court below had been demolished which means no downlight and so it was dark. Water pooled on the floor.

I just felt like fleeing from the place . . . and writing this blog.

Well, that’s enough of the toilet talk.

I now need to (sadly) go to the loo!

Fake news is dangerous.

Sometimes it’s carefully hidden so that it seems that it’s real.

Here’s a post that was recently shared.

“Good news:
All you Lipitor users rejoice!

Cholesterol is finally officially removed from Naughty List . . .

This means eggs, butter, full-fat dairy products, nuts, coconut oil and meat have now been classified as safe and have been officially removed from the nutrients of concern list . . . 

 

So you can stop trying to change your Cholesterol level. Studies prove beyond a doubt, cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease and it won’t stop a heart attack.

The majority of people that have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels . . .

 

Experts say that there is nothing like LDL or HDL . . .

Please share the recent facts about CHOLESTEROL”

The post then referenced a news story in The Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/10/feds-poised-to-withdraw-longstanding-warnings-about-dietary-cholesterol/?utm_term=.1982832f86fa

By referencing a well-reputed news organisation, many of us might think that this fake news post, put up by some anonymous person, is actually the news story. Even if we didn’t think so, we might conclude that the fake news post is a summary of the news story.

The truth, however, is far from that.

The Washington Post news story actually says this:

“The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food . . .

The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.

The greater danger in this regard, these experts believe, lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.”

So the news story is that eating high cholesterol foods does not necessarily increase BLOOD cholesterol.

  1. It does NOT say that one should not be concerned about having high blood cholesterol.
  2. Nor does it declare that there is no difference between LDL and HDL.
  3. Nor does it say that high blood cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease.
  4. Nor does it state anything about stopping the use of the drug Lipitor.

The fake news post is dangerous.

Some people may actually now follow this advise and stop taking the drug as prescribed by their doctors. Others may now indulge in foods high in saturated fats, thinking that this is now a healthy diet.

You may wonder who, or which parties, are putting out such fake news posts.

Could it perhaps be coming from the global dairy and meat industry?

One can only guess.

Fake News 101!

Fake news is dangerous.

Sometimes it’s carefully hidden so that it seems that it’s real.

Here’s a post that was recently shared.

“Good news:
All you Lipitor users rejoice!

Cholesterol is finally officially removed from Naughty List . . .

This means eggs, butter, full-fat dairy products, nuts, coconut oil and meat have now been classified as safe and have been officially removed from the nutrients of concern list . . . 

 

So you can stop trying to change your Cholesterol level. Studies prove beyond a doubt, cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease and it won’t stop a heart attack.

The majority of people that have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels . . .

 

Experts say that there is nothing like LDL or HDL . . .

Please share the recent facts about CHOLESTEROL”

The post then referenced a news story in The Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/10/feds-poised-to-withdraw-longstanding-warnings-about-dietary-cholesterol/?utm_term=.1982832f86fa

By referencing a well-reputed news organisation, many of us might think that this fake news post, put up by some anonymous person, is actually the news story. Even if we didn’t think so, we might conclude that the fake news post is a summary of the news story.

The truth, however, is far from that.

bowl close up cooked cuisine
Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

The Washington Post news story actually says this:

“The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food . . .

The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.

The greater danger in this regard, these experts believe, lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.”

So the news story is that eating high cholesterol foods does not necessarily increase BLOOD cholesterol.

  1. It does NOT say that one should not be concerned about having high blood cholesterol.
  2. Nor does it declare that there is no difference between LDL and HDL.
  3. Nor does it say that high blood cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease.
  4. Nor does it state anything about stopping the use of the drug Lipitor.

The fake news post is dangerous.

Some people may actually now follow this advise and stop taking the drug as prescribed by their doctors. Others may now indulge in foods high in saturated fats, thinking that this is now a healthy diet.

You may wonder who, or which parties, are putting out such fake news posts.

Could it perhaps be coming from the global dairy and meat industry?

One can only guess.

In a world riddled by fake news, we need to be so very careful. Our antenna, our feelers, need to be active, constantly hunting out those deceptive news stories. We need to teach ourselves how to weed out the fake stuff from genuine news items. We must never share something if we’re not 100% sure. In a world where we’re constantly scrolling and clicking, this can be difficult. But we must be even more discerning, more cautious than ever before.

We must teach ourselves Fake News 101!

Creative Writing Mind Map

Today, I’ll be coaching part of a creative writing course at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre as part of Bookfest@Malaysia 2018.

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As part of the course, we’ll be going through a mind map, which covers the many facets of writing. I’m sharing it here with you, even if you’re not attending the course, and I hope that you find it helpful in your own writing.

CW seminar 20Jan

Writing can be frustrating, it can also be tremendously fun. I hope you enjoy creating your own stories, as I do mine.

Creative Writing Course: 10-11 June 2018

I’ll be teaching part of the Bookfest@Malaysia creative writing course at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

My segment will be about Settings, Dialogue, Descriptions, Re-writing and Editing which will be on the afternoon of the last day.

Writing Workshop POS4-01

The other lectures will be Bernice Chauly, Kris Williamson and Sharon Bakar. So lots of variety and points of view for students to absorb, I’m sure it’ll be fun too.

At RM80 it’s a very reasonably priced.

So, see you there!

Book Talk: 9 June 2018

I’ll be giving a book talk at the Bookfest@Malaysia2018 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. It’ll be at 5pm, right after I coach a Creative Writing Course.

I’ll be chatting about my novel Dark Demon Rising, the craft of writing, getting published, and any other stuff that comes to mind. I’m also happy to take questions from the audience.

Bookfest2018

The Bookfest was featured in The Star yesterday. There’ll be many other authors there too and I’m sure it’ll be most enjoyable.

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