27 February 2015

Meandering in Myanmar: Sule Paya in Yangon

Shwedagon Paya was not the only Buddhist temple I have visited while in Yangon. Heck, Myanmar is known as a golden land, mostly because of the golden stupas that are found all over the place. I also visited Sule Paya, which is located in downtown Yangon, right in the middle of a busy intersection. It seems that this stupa was built way before Shwedagon Paya, which means that it is at least 2500 years old. There is a legend that says that there was an old spirit who was residing in Sule Paya, which revealed the location of Shwedagon Paya. Due to its focal location in the middle of downtown, this was where most of the rallies and protests started, especially if they were lead by monks.

25 February 2015

Making Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs

I love tea eggs. I don't have them often, but every time I have the chance, I try and get my hands on them. Once, when the Chinese Cultural Center had an open house here in Berlin, we visited them, and I was glad to find out that they were selling Chinese street food during the event. We sampled, among other things, tea eggs. And when I was in Malaysia late last year, I went to a Chinese temple, and sure enough, I found tea eggs in the food court downstairs. So when my sister found a recipe online, she shared it to me, and I opted to experiment in my kitchen one day.

23 February 2015

Meandering in Myanmar: Shwedagon Paya in Yangon

The first thing I checked out in Yangon was Shwedagon Paya. This is the most important Buddhist site in the whole of Myanmar, and is definitely stunning. Unfortunately, I visited during a renovation period, which meant that the golden stupa that is featured at the middle of the whole complex is actually covered by scaffolding, as they were renewing the gold leaf coating of the stupa. Oh well, it was spectacular nonetheless.

21 February 2015

Book Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Boy, what an epic. This is perhaps the best book from Haruki Murakami that I have read so far. I have read two other novels of his in the past, Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood. While I liked the surreal plot of Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood was rather dissatisfying. Hence, I picked this up because it was filled with surreal elements, which I am quite fond of.

See, 1Q84 deals with alternative realities and parallel worlds. There are two main characters, Aomame and Tengo. In the beginning, the book uses these two characters as points of view, with alternating chapters telling a story that is told from the perspective of these two seemingly unrelated people. Yet as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that there is a connection between Aomame and Tengo, and as the novel progresses, their connection becomes more evident than ever. In that respect, the novel is a novel of romance, covering the affair between these two characters.

19 February 2015

Meandering in Myanmar: Culture Shocked

You know, when I took the train from downtown Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I already had a weird funny feeling in me. I felt that this would be an adventure. After all, I was again heading to a new country, a place where I don't speak the language, and I don't even have the ability to read the signs. So as I left the train and headed into the terminal, I had a little exciting feeling.