Friday, June 21, 2013

Good Coffee: Cheaper than prozac

As a Dutchman i've grown up on Coffee around me a lot....and as the title suggests, its a good tool to keep sane... (-:

Here in Malaysia I went straight for the Starbucks, as that's the easy option I guess.

However, I quickly adjusted to the local variation  Kopi ((o) ais ) but 2 of my friends on separate occasions have introduced me to a small coffee chain in KL that's called Artisan Roast
(with what i just found out a link to a coffee place in the UK aswell..
UPDATE... Its actually in my Beloved Edinburgh, right near where i used to live in Bruntsfield... http://www.artisanroast.co.uk/ check em out)

In any case... they have 2 great relaxing places in KL one in a busy mall and one in a more urbanised area ...

I have on a couple of occasions really enjoyed their coffees and latte's and even what I reckon is one of the best cheesecakes i've ever had in my life.....

and suddenly I discovered the other day that they have just opened a place next to the office where i'm currently based. so I couldn't resist and got myself this...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Zongzi / Bak Chang


The other day I was handed a little leaf wrapped parcel by a friend of mine, saying: “here, you’ll like this…. “

And me (not owning a verbal filter sometimes…..) saying, hmmm, thanks, but eh its evening, why are you handing me breakfast?

(I was referring to Nasi Lemak a dish wrapped in pandang leaves and mainly taken for breakfast in Malaysia)


My friend laughed and said “noooooooo its not that… its something else completely…it’s a very traditional Chinese dish…”

“Its something called BakChang”  and she proceeded to tell me the story of Qu Yuan a famous poet during the Chu Dynasty as legend goes (according to various sources on the interweb and of course my friend who gave me one of these)

The Bak Chang is a traditional Chinese rice dumpling usually available around the time of Dragon Boat Festival.

Like many Chinese festivals and their associated foodie traditions, there is also a legend surrounding the origin of this yummy food.

The story goes that Qu Yuan tried to warn the King and his fellow countrymen of the expansion of the neighbouring Qin kingdom, with little success.

When the capital of the Chu kingdom fell to a Qin general, the patriotic Qu Yuan was supposedly so overcome with grief that he drowned himself in the Miluo River. The Chu people threw packets of rice  (the Bak Chang ) in to the river  to keep the fish from feeding on the poet’s body. (i have also heard a version where it was meant for feeding him in the afterlife..)

Bak Zhang or Zhongzi as they are known today, are made with glutinous rice with a variety of filling, then wrapped in bamboo leaves, bound and tied together in a bundle and consumed once a year on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

Although I was out by the exact day I was still in on the exact week, and went to try this last night…

As you can see it looks kinda lush, and that it was…





Quite filling.... that’s the glutinous rice itself I guess.. but very flavoursome and tasty….
Bring on next year


Take a hike….

Over the last year I’ve been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone on occasions, determined not to let me vision issues get me down... climbing Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur… going for a Swim in a rocky Waterfall area, and this weekend I added another something…

I went up Bukit Saga , a trekking spot near Kuala Lumpur.. 

Purely to see if I could physically and mentally do it…, it wasn't very high, but still I wanted to see if I could do something like this and if it was something I could or should continue doing…….

I was kind of inspired by a  friend of mine who recently climbed Mount Kinabalu, a mountain on the Borneo side of Malaysia and she provided me with some amazing pictures and stories that got me kinda hooked and intrigued now…  knowing that that probably wasn't something I could ever do, It did make me think if hiking itself was possible…

Was it possible?

Well, see below…
 The “going-up” bit was a wake-up call as towards my overall fitness….  I was with someone from work and 2 of her friends they were all my senior in years, they were regular gym goers, and runners etc, (they even had hiked and climbed before, including Mount Kinabalu) … in other words …. healthy…

Me? Well, I’m a many things, but not that… I have indeed shifted approx. 35kg since having figured out that I had KC, and that it was manageable and that I can live with it very well, but that was without being fit, or making an efforts as such towards the weight loss….. and for sure I haven’t started any proper sports as such, apart from a small attempt at rowing last year in the UK before moving to the Asia Pacific region and a little bit of swimming and a tiny bit of Yoga…

Someday soon I will have to start some regular exercise for sure , but just now, I need to deal with the “storm” in my head that has been this roller coaster ride that my life has been since having had my Contacts fitted and ive been able to pick up my life again…

So halfway up the hill, my body was sending me shocked message as to what the hell I was suddenly doing, and yeh, it hit a stage where I did have to sit down for a while and recover… but so far, no visions issues, just climb and use my hands to gauge where i'm going…. All good…



By the time we finally were on top of the hill, and were joyous to find we got there, we discovered that another hour further we would be able to reach some great waterfalls…. However we decided to set that task for next time, as it would be a good motivator to come back soon….

The bit going down was next… and eh.. .that was eh fun….

As i've explained before with a lot of the people that have KC there is a common thing where we don’t see depth very well, Stairs and steps, and even pavement curbs become a tricky thing to navigate, as it will either become in our perspective a ramp or even as bad as a massive ski slope.. depending where you are ofcourse… in any case, a tricky thing to navigate, so just imagine how this would look to us…..





Scary!!!!!!

But that’s why I was here, to conquer that fear and move on and push beyond my comfort zone….

One thing to highlight aswell is that my travel companions all knew the score with me on this, so they were very patience and took their time when needed, pointing out where to be extra careful etc…

In any case, here I found my overall fitness not to be lacking whatsoever, it was just a very tough mental thing, where things came down to a lot of, what If I go right, or left, what about this drop, would that be as high as I think it is… but by anticipating and gauging these uneven grounds with a solid hiking cane it became a very intense but pleasurable thing to do… 

I definitely want to come back and maybe even aim for something more extreme, like the previously mentioned Mount Kinabalu…
(let’s see if my friend is up for taking that challenge with me next year, or if she (and others) will talk me out of it…. )

Maybe, just maybe....








Sweating like mad, but happy as a child..... (-:





Friday, June 14, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Time Flies

So it’s been a year since stepping out of the plane in Singapore to start my Time in the Asia Pacific region…. And it’s now just  a bit over a year since returning back to work after a rather traumatic couple of months just before that...

So where do I stand now?



It’s been a year of ups and down, (sometimes even literally.. )on a Physical (ocular) level, Mental level, an Emotional level and many other levels, all in all its been a year of personal growth...

Work brought me here, and that’s been a hell of a ride in itself, but I think mostly I ended up getting re-acquainted with myself again, sometimes that wasn’t nice, sometimes it was great....

I have noticed that I have become a more emotional person since my "Blurry" days, maybe from being isolated and spending time with myself a bit too much, maybe for other reasons. But, whatever the reason is….I don’t see it necessarily as a bad thing, but i need to learn to guide and contain it a bit better i think..

but im working on that...look up the Chimp Paradox, it makes sense..



Anyway, going back to where i stand now?
Well, work is going fairly good, It has its up and downs as well of course, but its going...

On a personal level, I have met some great people that have flowed in and out of my life, just like that goes, and I hope that I can keep calling some of them my friend for a long time to come.

I have had big time support from old friends and family along the way aswell, sometimes mixed with causing them concern, and stress and maybe sometimes even letting them and myself down, but their continued support has certainly made these last 12months easier to navigate.

But.. but what about my eyes?

My Eyes, seem to have stabilised... don’t get me wrong, I have bad days, where i wake up and just know there’s no use of getting up in the first place, and just rest my eyes.. In fact, it happened last weekend.. But overall, they have become manageable

As I documented, I had to go through a week of "blindness" to
give my eyes a rest for some rigorous testing, and the results from that initially said I should be looking at Surgery, two different surgeries as such.... cross-linking and keraring, (see previous post on these procedures) these procedures would cost me a quite a bit to do, and would not fix the issue, they would just slow down the deterioration of the cornea.. Which basically means, it will get worse much slower..... and although I’m not dismissive of those procedures, I have done some online research and spoken to some optometry professional I have come across via the Keratoconus GB Facebook page, and have found that as I,

A, have had KC happening to me at a later stage in live than the average patient and
B. I’m hitting 40 in a couple of years,

it’s not the most effective procedure in the first place, as the deterioration is slowing down and stabilizing around this age, granted I got it quite late, but the big possibility is that I won’t deteriorate fast, and if it does there’s always the future …..

So for now its stick with another set of RGP’s……

That’s sort of where im standing now I guess…
Where am going? Will see…I hope more pushing outside of my comfort zone

Got some hiking lined up next weekend, kinda scary, very scary actually, but I need to keep pushing… I just need to 


and if all fail, maybe , just maybe this is the future