Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Making A Treasury

No lah where got money to vault gold that seems de rigeur nowadays for many people. Pity the wife who I think I last bought something two years ago. What I want to write now is more to a vanishing treasury, Malay heritage cooking as I am inspired by my recently bought the Malay Heritage Cooking cookbook below that is published as part of Singapore Heritage Cookbooks series.

As can be expected, it has a Johor or Riau slant on the style of cooking but then with my Indonesian heritage, it does provide a treasure chest of recipes that I may not be able to salvage from my own family. Some rare ones are tahu goreng, nasi jagung, serunding daging(not the typical one you may think of, more like dried dendeng bersambal) in addition to more regular fare that I believe however many will not know how to cook actually. I shudder to think of the many family recipes that will be lost as the matriachs of cooking in my own family disappears when God calls them home.

Other heritage cookbooks that I have bought for the family I will list here with some dishes that should be highlighted if any. Following the southern flavours, we also have the book, Malay Occassions above that features Johor Arabic and Negeri Sembilan flavours.

From the east coast, we have Nik's Kitchen that features Kelantanese dishes whose recipes was also served during state functions. From Terengganu, we have Resepi Bonda in Malay that features an astonishing 88 recipes and from Pahang Nostalgia Bonda that unfortunately is falling apart due to possible poor printing quality.

A book close to my heart is A Taste of Batu Gajah as it features not only Malay dishes from Perak but dishes from my Mandhailing clan. Where else can you find a recipe for Gulai Daun Ubi Tumbuk eh? And as a northener, another recipe book that I love is Favourite Dishes From The Tunku's Kitchen. Our first Prime Minister does eat well and because of that, his heritage in recipes are now well preserved for the common man as the recipes are actually traditional common kitchen dishes that we may have forgotten in this age of nasi bungkus and Padang restaurants.

For a better than average compedium of traditional Malay recipes, Racik Tradisi a bi-lingual cookbook is a good bet while Hidangan Sesuci Lebaran and another bi-lingual Hidangan Raya Istimewa preserves recipes of traditional Malay Feast Dishes.

Have you actually noticed that most of the cookbooks are either bi-lingual or in English and that many are actually self-published or by boutique publishers. Not being an elitist but the average malay cookbooks feature humdrum day to day recipes or so called nouvelle malay dishes that gives a twist to daily recipes that can be extracted from any cooking magazine, newspaper and so on. Only these people has taken the extra effort to preserve their family treasures, and since my family do not have the liberty to do that ourselves, it is only right that we keep these books as our own as some are also short runs that may not be available in the future. So if anymore are in the pipeline, I can't hardly wait.

I only shudder when we pass how they will be divided betweem my two daughters, but I guess the best way is to make them learn how to cook the dishes themselves eh! By the way, I have not purchased local pricey coffee table cook books like the Malaysian Prime Ministers favourite recipe cookbook or Royal Pahang's etc as I fear the price will actually make them just that and not one that will grace my kitchen.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Despite The Silly Season

With signs that the Silly Season is already starting, this article should give pause for thoughts to everybody hopefully.

Be vigilant about competition

Politicians must devote more attention to energising the economy in this period of economic uncertainties.

OUR politicians on both sides of the political divide have been so busy criss-crossing the country, meeting voters and delivering speeches, that many Malaysians are wondering whether anything gets done at all.

The political posturing ahead of the general election is beginning to test the patience of many Malaysians who feel that there are many urgent issues that need immediate attention in the midst of economic uncertainties.

Most companies are already looking at lower profits, if not losses, over the next few months and Malaysians certainly want our politicians to address issues that matter to their livelihood.

There may be some comfort from a recent report by global management consultant A.T. Kearney which ranked Malaysia as among the world’s top 10 most attractive destinations for foreign direct investment.

Malaysia also experienced a significant jump up the Index from 21st to 10th. Inflows jumped 537% from 2009 to 2010 to US$9bil (RM27bil).

This number will be further surpassed in 2011 and is likely to continue in this positive direction based on the sentiments reflected in Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index, a regular measure of senior executive sentiment at the world’s largest companies.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, meanwhile, ranked Malaysia at 21 from its previous 26th position for overall global competitiveness.

The latest World Bank’s Doing Business Report also saw the country’s “Ease of Doing Business” ranking move up from 23 to 18, out of the 183 economies surveyed.

But while we may be happy with these positive news, we really need to watch how our neighbours are doing. And we are not talking just about the countries in the same range like Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, but also the less developed ones, including Myanmar.

In Myanmar, the speed of reforms recently carried out by its government has surprised many, including its strongest critics. The generals are now focused on economic matters instead of on their usual political tirades, like condemning the Americans. Capitalism is suddenly a buzzword in Naypyidaw.

Last week, Myanmar Industry Minister U Soe Thein travelled to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos to promote the once pariah nation to the largest gathering of capitalists and leaders of the Western world.

He got the ears of these powerful businessmen by revealing that his government was drafting a tax incentive law, which would be the most attractive in the region, as it prepares to achieve a 6% growth target in 2012.

The law could be passed by the end of the upcoming parliamentary session in February and a plan is under way to boost the international business community’s confidence in the kyat, Myanmar’s currency, in consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The package would include an eight-year tax exemption status with possible extension if the ventures prove profitable for the country.

He also revealed plans to upgrade the central bank to a fully independent entity instead of being just a department under the Finance Ministry.

The minister, who seldom meets journalists, said: “We were very busy meeting global policymakers, officials and CEOs.”

The delegation in Davos busied themselves attending sessions on the Eurozone crisis, job creation, sustainable energy and green policy, resources management, population and growth, poverty eradication, refugee and displaced persons, women and children, SMEs, anti-corruption and good governance.

“Yes, we are in a hurry ...” said the minister, citing the country’s preparations for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, and 400 meetings scheduled before it assumes chairmanship of Asean in 2014, plus the Asean Economic Community in 2015, and to achieve the UN Millennium Goals.

While it is good for our neighbours to prosper, as the region will benefit as a whole, we should also be more vigilant about competition.

A recent report by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation predicted that the Philippines would be the 16th biggest economy in the world by 2050, surpassing Australia, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

For a sense of perspective, we should recall that in the 1950s, the Philippines was the most dynamic economy in Asia and was hailed by the World Bank as a future powerhouse. Half a century later, the country was described as “the sick man of Asia”. And today, its future is shining bright.

No wonder that during the recent Taiwan presidential election, candidates were challenged not only on their position on China but also their views on the implications of the growing economies of the “VIP” countries, an acronym for Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Certainly, if our politicians spend less time politicking and devote more attention to how our neighbours are energising their economies, we will be more prepared to face the future, which is more than just about who will win at the polls.

Enough time has been wasted on mind-boggling political issues that divide the nation. We need to get out priorities right.

I end with a posting from my friend's FB posting.

1 Malaysia jadi Gagasan..
Negara Berkebajikan turut menawan...
Tak kira Pakatan atau Barisan...
Bersainglah dengan semangat setiakawan.