Living with Dyslexia in Malaysia

“Friends” and “foes” in my organic garden

This yellow dragonfly is found in my back lane. There used to be another red coloured dragon-fly.

Beautiful red ladybird on my kendongdong leaves.  Have not seen many ladybirds these days.

My camera is not able to take small insects or rather I am not that camera savvy. You can see a blur green spider which is hanging on its thread.Used a leaf to show the spider dangling down.

Red wrigglers from HS Wong’s DQ Farm.  Found out that I also have such worms in my garden.  Latest experiment is my wormiculture, started since June 2009. Have already harvested  my first worm castings in Oct.  As per Mr Wong’s suggestion, I made tea from the worm castings and sprayed all  over my garden.

Have yet to spot my old ‘friend’ – the chameleon, also the solo big bumble bee. There used to be many small bees hovering around my starfruit tree.  Maybe due to the rainy season, these creatures have gone into  “hibernation?”

OR most probably most of them have been snuffed out by the constant MPBJ’s fogging against the dengue fever.

Yuks! those creepy worms or larvae from butterflies.  No informed gardener would be happy to see these.  Neither would I be happy to see butterflies in my garden even though they are so colourful  and it’s so nice to see them flying around.  With butterflies around, you would sure to find their larvae on my lime leaves, the above caterpillar is very happy on my succulent jambu air leaves.   Notice the white jambu flowers on the bottom right. looking forward to eating my red jambu air fruits soon.


This grasshopper is easily 4 inches long. You can do your own comparison as this is the normal rectangular box you use when you ‘tar-pau’ your food.  These huge grasshoppers know where to get good organic leaves . They love my mango, longan and  banana leaves.

My ‘holey’ longan leaves – after the grasshopper had a feast.  Just one huge grasshopper is enough to wipe out all my mango shoots.

Thank-goodness I am not an organic farmer having to face so many predators and weather issues but just an ordinary avid gardener.  Can you imagine the heartache and stress they have to endure with acres of farmland  under such stressful tropical l environment.  I only have a corner lot and it’s pretty tough to handle already. Therefore we organic kakis emphatise with the truly organic farmers. Their life is not easy -having to till the soil and face so many problems…. so take heart when you buy their produce which is more expensive. They need to survive too…… just like the grasshoppers and caterpillars….not forgetting the  earthworms and the bees.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Organic Gardening | Leave a comment

Session with Dato’ Lat – 1 Nov 2009

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Thanks to my friend Wai Leng and her hubby KV Soon, we were invited to meet the famous Dato Lat. Dato Lat is such an unpretentious person.  So  friendly and approachable.  We were all so intrigued with his stories about his kampong life and his explanations on his drawings. The Q & A session was enlightening.

Dato Lat made it a point to meet up and talk to all the kids in the hall and gave pointers on their drawings.

My son, FS was very happy to meet up with this famous artist.  (We have many Lat books at home).  Dato Lat signed  2 of his drawings.  A drawing with Lat’s  signature as below.

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Dato Lat gave lots of encouragement to the kids to draw as much as possible and he also  gave tips on how to draw.

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This session has ‘opened’ FS’s eyes that one has to practice and practice a lot to be able to draw as fast and as creative as Dato Lat. This can be seen when Dato Lat went around each table and demonstrated his drawing skills with so much ease.

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All the kids drew something in a  sketch book as a momento for Dato Lat.  FS did a sketching of Lat’s cartoon as above – with Sarong the local touch. (Not bad considering the fact that FS had his  index finger slammed in his dad’s car door just 2 hours before. Finger already swollen and blue black, so he had to hold the pencil with his 3rd finger)  On the right he wrote “Public toilet. Best in Malaysia”.   On the left, he wrote “‘First you take a bath and then only you take a photo” ????  There’s a camera in front of Lat’s picture. Camera with a stand if you take a closer look.

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FS did his first sketch of a person  whilst we were in Laos with friends. He took 10 minutes to complete his sketch. Not bad for a beginner,  having witnessed Dato Lat doing caricatures of the kids.

Exposure is so crucial for our kids.  If not for the session with Dato Lat, FS would not have considered doing live sketches even though we have asked him to do so  a long time ago.

No guesses as to the national of his first human sketch  as above.  Such well done eyes and  eyebrows,  not forgetting the moustache and sharp nose.

November 9, 2009 Posted by | Foo shearn's drawings | 1 Comment

Fruits of my labour

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Freak storm broke the Banana trunk. Pisang Tandang -we had  5 combs of bananas weighing 8.6 kg

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Mata kucing.  One bunch has 100 odd fruits. Very sweet and succulent. We had 16 odd bunches.  Unfortunately we only managed to harvest 6 bunches and the squirrels ate the rest.

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Crunchy guavas.  At its peak there were more than 20 big fruits of average 300gm each. A  couple of guaveas  were 500gms. Nowadays  this tree has very few fruits  – not enough attention from the house owner Ha! ha!….

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Freak storm and my papaya tree laden with fruits fell.  The unripe papayas makes a delicious dish, grated and stir fried. Also suitable for soups.

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When this tree had its first fruits, it was so sweet but nowadays, the weather or too much watering by the maid?? somehow the fruits are not so sweet. This fruit tree is in a pot – 2 ft diameter. at its peak had over 30 odd fruits to eat. so thirst quenching, eating it as it is – no need to add black sauce with sugar.  Eat it neat.

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Kendongdong fruits.  The ones that I have are very crisp and crunchy like apples. Not sourish.  The young shoots eaten raw reflects the kendongdong taste. Can really give you a ‘wake-up’ call.

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Pei Par fruits. The Chinese community would know the famous  ‘Pei Par Kau’ cough medicine. The flowers and buds are like the jambu air flowers.

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Purple custard apple.  Not many fruits from this tree.  So far only 3 fruits. Tree is in a metal box (recycled cheque  deposit machine, compliments from hubby)

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Pineapple was sweet but small -palm size only due to the fact that it was in a small  8 inch pot.  Have planted the crown into a bigger pot but to date not fruits yet.

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Red jambu air plant also in a pot near the green jambu air plant.  Somehow there are not that many red jambu air fruits compared to the green ones.

Other fruit trees in my corner terrace house are:  mango, rambutan, Brazilian longan, sour sop, lemon, pomegranate, coconut, figs, cherries, sugar cane, starfruit, ciku, pomelo,  jack fruit, dragon fruit and abiu.  Mostly planted in pots or metal boxes (in my back lane) due to  space constraints. Also easier maintenance if in pots.

October 13, 2009 Posted by | food from my garden | 1 Comment

Pot of herbs and flowers

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Being an amateur florist and not having the tools of the trade like sponge and containers,etc to decoarate with. I used a pot, have many small pots filled with herbs to give away to friends who are interested in gardening.

As per the photo above, this pot with  mixed earth and compost  has the  chilli padi  plant (3 green chillies  with 2 red chillies in front lower right), a sawtooth coriander  plant on the left and above in the middle mint leaves.  3 in 1 (3 plants in one pot).

For my mother-in-law’s 86th birthday, decorated this pot with some pink bougainvillea flowers,  yellow and pink  heliconias.  On the left are the orangy honeysuckle flowers.  And wallah! we have a simple pot transformed as a birthday present. Hmm…..coriander and mint smells yummy.  As for the chilli padi…… tongue will be on ‘fire’

September 20, 2009 Posted by | food from my garden | Leave a comment

bouquet of organic flowers

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For my sister-in-law’s birthday today,  I did up a bouquet of heliconias, anthuriums and mokara orchid for her.  All these flowers are long lasting, does not wilt easily and can last at least 2 weeks in the vase.

Hmmm…… whose birthday is up next? It is all  Pot luck.  I can try another arrangement depending on what’s available from my garden at that particular time.

August 31, 2009 Posted by | food from my garden | 1 Comment

line dancing – Bandar Sunway

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Dance Party at Holiday Villa,  31 May 2009.  Bdr Sunway group posing with Kenny Teh, a well known  Dance Choreographer.

Come and join the line dancing group at PJS 7 in Bandar Sunway. At the basketball court, behind the Chinese temple.

Dance Lessons are daily (Mon – Fri) 7 – 8 am. Fees: RM5-00 monthly  – for the electricity.

I am so grateful to  Cheryl who is such a fantastic dancer and so patient in teaching us.   Kudos to her and also our Assistant teacher Pat,  both are so dedicated and ever willing to teach.  Both of them can dance so well and remember so many, many…many dance steps, unlike yours truly who is struggling at times.

Read that line dancing helps to exercise the brain – having to remember all those dance steps. That’s the reason why I joined – to help my deteriorating memory.  Dancing is  fun, once one gets a hang of it. The initial few months can be trying.  It’s really  a good physical workout.  So give it a try

August 22, 2009 Posted by | line dancing | Leave a comment

herb and flower basket

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Baked a vegetarian chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday.  Decided to be creative and decorated  with herbs and flowers from my organic garden. Note the serai wangi (citronella leaves) at the back, the beautiful red double layer petals of the hibiscus in front.  Left and right are the ordinary single petal red hibiscus.  Threw in some bunga telang (blue pea flowers).  Informed my girl friend that only the serai, hibiscus and  blue pea flowers can be used to make herbal tea drinks. The rest of the flowers are just for decoration purposes  only.

July 31, 2009 Posted by | food from my garden | 2 Comments

Mien Kum – thai appetizer

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Planted a few daun kaduk outside my house and now it grows wild all over.  Many neighbours are seen harvesting the daun kaduk.  Besides the daun kaduk, the mango ginger, lime and chillies are from my organic garden.  Once you start eating this, one will find it hard to stop.  no need to stop as it is a very healthy appetizer.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | food from my garden | 1 Comment

Foo Shearn’s drawings

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30 -05-2009.  OMNI’s Educational Fair.  In the Art competition FS’s T-shirt painting  above  won him the 2nd prize in his age category.

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26-3-2009 :  The Official Opening of the Dyslexia Association’s Ampang Head Office.  FS presenting his drawing  to the Queen of Negri Sembilan.  FS drew a sketch of  the intricate wood carvings from the Negri  Sembilan’s Palace.

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8 June till 11 June 2009.  The famous artist Yusof Gajah taught 20 dyslexic kids at the Ampang Centre (sponsored by SHELL during the June holidays) how to draw and paint. A real hands-on experience for the kids (especially FS who only sketches with pencil) and they are proud to show off their paintings as above under the artist’s guidance. Yusof Gajah is on the right. The kids paintings will be incorporated into SHELL’s calendar 2010.

 

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18-7-2009: Art Competition (Festive Seasons) sponsored by La Farge Cement. FS drew Santa Claus and it was a foregone conclusion that he will win in this category as can be see below.

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The judges arranged the  4 winners accordingly: Hari Raya, Deepavali, Christmas and Chinese New year. As can be seen above, FS’s  Santa Claus was  chosen as the winner. Unfortunately, he was disqualified as he drew his Santa Claus in Portrait style and not Landscape as required.

It was a lesson for him –  to listen and abide by the rules in any competition. Nevertheless, the Judges gave him a consolation prize for his effort.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Foo shearn's drawings | 2 Comments

Bio dynamic farming (Qi farming)- 20 June 2009

My organic ‘kakis’ were invited by Mr Wong to visit his farm in Bukit Tinggi one Saturday for a ‘compost qi’ course. This course is to start at 9 am till 1pm. Being avid kitchen gardeners the session dragged on till 3pm when we adjourned for lunch. There was so much to discuss and exchange amongst us- the die hard organic people.

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We learnt a lot from Mr Wong – making our own lactobacillus, composting, wormiculture etc….   To top it all, he taught us a few qi-gong exercises so that we can cultivate our qi and pass this qi to our plants and environment.

We felt invigorated in his farm,  feeling all the good positive vibes (qi) that has never been felt in any other farms that we have visited.  This farm is truly beyond organic farming.

We left with red wrigglers (earthworms)  to start our own wormiculture. We also brought back papayas and loads of information to convert our small kitchen gardening into a bio dynamic garden.

I am now practising my qi exercises.  Also started my wormiculture with 2 boxes of worms – one the red wriigglers and another box of worms from my own garden. I have already sprayed the whole garden with my qi lactobacillus made from Mr Wong’s recipe. Look forward to more fruits from my >30 fruit trees in the garden now that i am giving them the extra ingredient “qi”

July 4, 2009 Posted by | Organic Gardening | 3 Comments