Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Indonesia-Penang Trip XIV

2 June 2014

Sudanese Cuisine

Later that day, we were put into the car and embarked on another journey to our next eating place. This time round, it was to taste some Sudanese food. Sudanese is one of the many ethnics in Indonesia and each of them have certain specialties and styles when it came to culinary.

The first sign we saw was a banner advertising Kopi Luwak. Kopi Luwak, also known as civet coffee, was a kind of coffee brewed from beans that were digested by civet cats. Many of the environment activists would not be very impressed with this beverage as there had been reports of cruelty towards the animal in the process of obtaining the processed beans. Hence, in general, many of my peers would avoid this.


We continued our walk inwards to a little garden with small platforms where we would have our meal. It was not especially grandeuse or pretty, but it was an incredibly peaceful setting...


What awaited us were really nice food recommended by our guide:


I regret to say that I don't even remember or know what these dishes were called. They were delicious nontheless. I especially enjoyed the kangkung dish. The rest were slightly different from the usual Indonesian food that we had been eating but to be honest, each and every of them were different. Perhaps I need more experience and exposure to be able to truly appreciate the intricacy of this cuisine.

The Demon under the Microscope (Review)


Foremost, I would like to give credit and thanks to Goodread.com for this recommendation based on my previously-read books. The Demon under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for The World's First Miracle Drug by Thomas Hager was sitting in a library so near to my lab that I never notice it until I went to search for it, and the content just got better and better.

This book described the discovery of antibacterial antibiotic, sulfanilamide and later commercialized Prontonsils. Most of the story depiction was written around Gerhard Domagk from his experience in WWI to working in Bayer's company. Besides that, bits and pieces of life of several others were described in the book, because this road of discovery was not, in the end, a one-man-show. 

Gerhard Domagk
Eventually, the journey even span across the globe. It started from Germany, then France, then the United Kingdom, then United States, and evetually, back to everyone. At some point, it was time for WWII and readers would be entertained by how the big companies which started with this discovery came down with its government policy, whether by will or by force. IG Farben, for example, was involved in the manufacturing of Zyklon B and even known for the discovery of Sarin. Many of the management level officers of this company were put on trial during Nuremberg's. 

This book was quite fair in describing each of the character involved, be it those who would end up helping the Nazis or end up standing up against. We saw the long toil paid by each on this discovery, from understanding how infection worked, to what caused it, to what stopped it and even longer time till someone finally understand why it worked. Not just that, it showed on the road of commercializing a certain products too, which involved not only research work but many other factors. This case study involved also ethical issues and the transformation of drug trials.

In the end, by the time Nobel prize was awarded for this discovery, this drug was long past the history with the appearance of penicillin. It showed us how Science work, the reality of life.

However, all the work was not in vain, in my opinion. All these were part of the progress and sometimes you wouldn't arrive at the later part if you did not go through the middle part, which many would deem redundant. Never underestimate even the slightest detail.

In total, this is a very entertaining read in my personal opinion. I enjoyed each and every part of the book, even though my heart did ache for the long journey it took to finally found the drug.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

M

Hello, everyone. It has been almost a month since this happened and I am ready to introduce you with my new camera. I had an old Fujifilm which my parents surprised me when I was inside the camp during National Service, almost ten years ago. It is still working, though not having as nice clarity as even phone cameras. After that, I sort of 'borrowed' my brother's camera for years because he did not have a habit of bringing a camera around. That was a free camera our family gotten from getting a new TV. That camera was quite good and I was with it for quite a while. Then, I landed myself with rather good-quality phone camera. Even my current phone was quite good, I'd say. However, since my brother started to have adventure of his own, it was only polite for me to return the camera and I started to hunt for one.

And since I have started to earn money myself, I have to budget my own camera and save up for it. So earlier last month I went to Funan thinking of checking out the X-100T, because the review sounds awesome. Turned out it was too advanced for me, especially when my experiences were around pocket camera. So the sales person actually introduced a few models that would suited me better. I ended up choosing one I thought could fulfill my usual usage, as in snapping street photos - unglam photos, X-M1. 

So here it is, me introducing M - I gave it a name as my usual MO.

A photo posted by Mafer Seow (@freshwiz_mafer) on

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Flaws by Bastille (Cover)

Next up from Alex Turner's Piledriver Waltz, I learned Bastille's Flaws. For this song, the first thing that caught my attention was the music and the chorus part.


At first I thought I may not be able to sing it properly on acoustic but it turned out to be a fun song to play, even though my singing was really bad. After I found more about the lyrics, I fall in love with the lyrics.

Lyrics:
When all of your flaws and all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
The wonderful part of the mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone

All of your flaws and all of my flaws
They lie there hand in hand
Ones we've inherited, ones that we learned
They pass from man to man

There's a hole in my soul
I can't fill it, I can't fill it
There's a hole in my soul
Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up; let's finish what we've started
Dig them up, so nothing's left untouched

All of your flaws and all of my flaws,
When they have been exhumed
We'll see that we need them to be who we are
Without them we'd be doomed

There's a hole in my soul
I can't fill it, I can't fill it
There's a hole in my soul
Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up; let's finish what we've started
Dig them up, so nothing's left untouched

Ooh
Ooh

When all of your flaws
And all of my flaws are counted
When all of your flaws
And all of my flaws are counted

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up. Let's finish what we've started
Dig them up. So nothing's left untouched

Ooh
Ooh

All of your flaws and all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
Look at the wonderful mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone

Piledriver Waltz (Cover)

I found out about Alex Turner quite some time ago but I did not go deep into his lyrics and songs, more of enjoying his music and style. Recently, my playlist shuffled me back to his songs and just at the same moment, I had the mood to observe and listen his song in detail. There were a few which I liked and this was one of them, Piledriver Waltz. I had no idea what was a piledriver until after searching it in a dictionary. However, the rest of the lyrics were quite easily understood. The nice part was the use of his words were very on point and suitable, at least in my point of view. Therefore, I looked up for the guitar chord and learned them. And here is my version. Excuse my bad singing.


Alex Turner's voice range was obviously lower, so I did mine at 5th capo instead of 1st.

Lyrics:
I etched the face of a stopwatch
On the back of a raindrop
And did a swap for the sand in an hourglass

I heard an unhappy ending
It sort of sounds like you leaving
I heard the piledriver waltz
It woke me up this morning

You look like you've been for breakfast at the Heartbreak Hotel
And sat in the back booth by the pamphlets and the literature on how to lose
Your waitress was miserable and so was your food
If you're gonna try and walk on water make sure you wear your comfortable shoes

Mysteries flashing amber go green
When you answer but the red on the rest
Of the questionnaire never changes

I heard the news that you're planning
To shoot me out of a cannon
I heard the piledriver waltz
It woke me up this morning

You look like you've been for breakfast at the Heartbreak Hotel
And sat in the back booth by the pamphlets and the literature on how to lose
Your waitress was miserable and so was your food
If you're gonna try and walk on water make sure you wear your comfortable shoes

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