Let’s go up for dinner

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Photo : The Straits Times

Photo : The Straits Times

Photo : The Straits Times

Photo : The Straits Times

Photo : The Straits Times

Photo : The Straits Times

Daredevils hungry for a new thrill should head across the Causeway for Dinner In The Sky Malaysia in Johor Baru.

Located in a carpark with aerial views of Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya, the event seats 22 guests at a table hoisted 40 to 45m above the ground by a 180-tonne crane.

Guests are securely belted up in chairs that look like those found on roller-coasters.

Three chefs who are strapped into harnesses work in the middle of the table. They plate and serve pre-cooked dishes during the hour- long four-course meal, prepared by Tosca Trattoria Italiana of DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru.

Two safety officers are also on board to monitor wind conditions and give instructions to the ground crew to move the crane periodically, so that all guests can enjoy views of Puteri Harbour.


The menu includes green pea and basil soup with truffle cream, and braised wagyu beef cheek with gaufrette potato and baby spinach.

Dinner In The Sky Malaysia runs till June 19, with up to four one-hour dinner seatings daily. A seat costs 599 ringgit (US$145) from Monday to Thursday and 699 ringgit from Friday to Sunday.

About 90 per cent of the tickets have been sold, says the organiser, Malaysian events company 2Spicy Entertainment, which held the event in Kuala Lumpur in August last year and in Penang in February. About a third of the tickets were sold to Singaporeans.

Created in Belgium in 2006, Dinner In The Sky has been to 45 cities around the world.

Call me crazy, but I survived Dinner In The Sky Malaysia. It was the most terrifying dinner experience of my life, during which I gingerly bent forward to slurp on soup as my legs dangled precariously 13 storeys in the air.

The only protection under my feet was a small footrest with just enough room to position them side by side. Save for a thin cover above diners’ heads, I was exposed to the elements.

Willing myself to look down, I saw passers-by glancing up at us, perhaps wondering why we had subjected ourselves to this seemingly foolhardy adventure.

The two safety officers onboard told us we could swivel our seats around and even adjust the backrest to lean farther back.

“Try it, it’s fun,” said one of them with a cheeky glint in his eye.

Three daredevils took his advice and pulled on the chair’s lever. They did not fall to their deaths but, instead, squealed excitedly.

That was a good enough sign for me to follow suit and I was glad I did – the wider angle provided better photo-taking opportunities.

These were what I saw: yachts nestled in the harbour, a mall, buildings under construction, the calm waters of the Straits of Johor and the dull skyline of the rest of the city in the distance.

Tommy Lee, chief operations officer of 2Spicy Entertainment, says that a suitable location for Dinner In The Sky requires more than just a beautiful view.

More importantly, the area has to have enough space and ground strength to hold the crane and table, which weighs up to 7 tonnes when all 22 seats are filled.

Never mind the view – when I saw streaks of lightning splitting the nightsky in the distance, I quickly checked the contingency plan with the officer.

He said we would return to solid ground in the event of bad weather such as strong winds or heavy rain. The dinner would then continue in an indoor lounge.

During my dinner on Sunday, the winds were not strong enough to bring us back to the ground. But it was windy enough to turn the food cold quickly.

And, because of the tight schedule, we had no time to savour our food. The chefs kept a close watch on us, swooping forward to clear plates as soon as each of us looked like we were done.

As I tucked into my dessert of cherry tiramisu, I felt raindrops on my head and, soon enough, we were on our way down.

Once back on the ground, one diner made a beeline for the nearest restroom five minutes away in the nearby building. She later threw up in the bus taking journalists back to Singapore.


This is how a drone sees Penang

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Tan's photo of Pulau Tikus, an islet off Tanjung Bungah, seen from 52m in the air. Photos: Se Vena Networks

Tan’s photo of Pulau Tikus, an islet off Tanjung Bungah, seen from 52m in the air. Photos: Se Vena Networks

Before the drought: Tan captured Bukit Mertajam with its green carpet of padi fields on last Dec 2 from 164m in the air.

Before the drought: Tan captured Bukit Mertajam with its green carpet of padi fields on last Dec 2 from 164m in the air.

The night scene over the Gurney Drive roundabout.

The night scene over the Gurney Drive roundabout.

While shooting in Teluk Bahang, Tan spied a banana boat operator who had taken too sharp a corner, giving passengers the thrill of being thrown off the boat.

While shooting in Teluk Bahang, Tan spied a banana boat operator who had taken too sharp a corner, giving passengers the thrill of being thrown off the boat.

Penang – Drone camera pilot Warren Tan, 28, has eyes on Penang that few can match. He has a recorded flight telemetry of 535.3km around the state and has captured over 3,500 photographs of how an eagle could the state flying up to 500m above ground.

Tan flies for people who need a better look at things. Event organisers call him in to photograph open air functions from the sky. Developers ask him to shoot expanses of land at varying heights so they would know more about their land than any map can tell. Building owners hire him to take videos of external walls of their towers to do maintenance checks.

“We can’t fly, so how things look like from the air offers valuable perspectives.

“Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the Earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return,” said Tan, quoting artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci.

Operating out of his own company, Se Vena Networks, he said he started flying only about a year ago.


“It began as a hobby. But I quickly saw how useful my drone’s photographs can be.

“A drone is not like a helicopter. We can take shots from just a few metres off the ground if needed. I can hover a few metres beside a tall building; that is impossible by helicopter,” he added.

Of course, as with all pursuits, domain knowledge is king and things are easier said that done.

“Flying a drone efficiently takes practice and experience. You can crash if you are not careful. You can knock into buildings and trees.”

While taking an assignment in Langkawi last month, Tan had hardware failure and his RM8,000 drone crashed into the sea from 100m in the air.

He fortunately had the flight telemetry to prove it was hardware failure and the manufacturer had agreed to replace it.

He smacked one of his drones into trees twice because he misjudged the wind (speed) while he was learning.

Tan said his two drones, Phantom and Inspire models by manufacturer DJI plus repairs and extra auxiliary gear, had cost him about RM50,000 so far.

Being able to see Penang in a way (from a height) hardly anyone else can has given Tan an inspiration too.

“I want to show people what I see and do a good turn at the same time, so I published a book using my photos and have given it to charity.”

Se Vena Networks and Tun Sardon Foundation, a 39-year-old institution dedicated to helping the poor and disaster victims, have teamed up to launch the 100-page hardcover coffee table book entitled Aerial Artistry: Penang From Above. It contains over 100 aerial photographs of Penang.

“I was born in Penang but every time I fly my drone here, I feel joy for seeing my state from high up. I share often on social media, but there’s nothing like putting the photos in a book to preserve them,” Tan said.

Two anonymous philanthropists have agreed to fund the printing and copies of the books will be given to various charity homes in Penang. When the homes sell the books, they can keep the money.

While on his flying jobs, Tan sometimes spies unique sights.

“A helicopter flew by while I was taking pictures of Gurney Drive (an iconic shopping and tourism hotspot on the island).

“I panned toward it quickly and took a picture while my drone was tilting so much that I captured my rotor blades too.

“That photo speaks volumes for me. The Gurney Drive coastline will change soon through reclamation. Things will look very different.

Tan realises that progress will lead to Penang looking very different in the future. But as long as there are opportunities to document the island in photographs, he will be there to get the job done.

“So many changes are happening to Penang. And I’m glad to follow them with my drone.”


A tale of love lost and found

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Photo : Happy memories: A photo collage made by Noriah of herself and Asmuni.

Photo : Happy memories: A photo collage made by Noriah of herself and Asmuni.

Kuala Selangor : Theirs was a timeless love story.

But alas, for Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon and Asmuni Abdullah, both 52, their second shot at happiness only lasted eight months.

They died together in the Sarawak helicopter tragedy on Thursday.

They met when they were teenagers, fell in love, but had to part ways. But even after more than 30 years, and each having gone separate lives, building their own families thousands of kilometres apart, their love stayed strong.

The childhood sweethearts only tied the knot last September after reconnecting via Facebook.

Noriah’s younger brother, Saiful Baharim, 44, recalled that the young lovers had to part ways more than 30 years ago after their mother objected to the relationship.

“They studied in the same primary school at SK Sungai Burong here. They wanted to be together when they finished high school but mum would not allow it because she said studies were more important.

“In the end, they had to bury their love for each other and move on to pursue their tertiary education.

“Asmuni went to the United States to study architecture while Noriah read law at the International Islamic University Malaysia,” he said when met at the family’s village home in Batu 12, Sungai Burong, here yesterday.

He said both lost contact with each other and Noriah later married and had five children from three marriages, including a three-year-old adopted son, while Asmuni also had four children and settled down New York after finishing his studies. Saiful said the couple only reconnected early last year when Noriah initiated a gathering for her primary school alumni through Facebook.

Realising they still had feelings for each other, they kept in touch and got married last September.

“It was truly a timeless love story because they have liked each other since young,” he said showing old pictures of Noriah and Asmuni during their childhood and teenage years.

Noriah’s older sister, Sunarsih, 55, said her sister was so much happier after marrying Asmuni and had talked about quitting politics to focus on her family.

“She had told us that this would be her last term as Sungai Besar MP,” she said. Noriah was a term Sungai Besar MP.

Noriah’s niece Ummu Hani Asaidah Abdullah who has been looking after her adopted son Adam Mukhriz, is also worried as the toddler has been asking for his mother.

“Sometimes, he just stares blankly into space and keeps asking me where mama was.

“I do not know what else to say other than tell him that mama will be back soon,” she said, adding that Adam was very close to his mother.

It is understood that Noriah’s older children will be taking care of Adam.

Ethnic Siamese in Penang ponder future

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



With legal options exhausted, the community has no choice but to vacate their homes.

THE ethnic-Siamese community in Kampung Siam, Penang, is in despair after its High Court appeal to stay on the land was dismissed early this year.

The residents had first filed a case with the Sessions Court the challenge the eviction notice issued in April 2014 by the landowner, but their application was dismissed in June last year.

Hence, the residents have run out of all legal avenues to stay on.

It was reported that the 2,681 square metre area had been marked as a cultural and religious zone back in the 1970s, according to the then-Penang Municipal Council, but was then converted into a business, utility and infrastructure zone in 1996. There are some 30 families occupying 15 houses and 10 shophouses and many of the residents speak Thai.

Planning permission to build a hotel and three shop offices was submitted by the developer- cum-landowner Five Star Heritage on April 17, 2014, to the council |which has yet to approve the application.

“Where are we to go?” asked Penang Siamese Association chairman Boon Leua Aroonratana, 57, tearfully. “This has been our home for so many years and now the historical value of this village is going to be lost forever. The court has decided. What more can we do? We can only hope for proper compensation.”

Boon Leua said the residents’ reluctance to vacate their homes was not because of money, but the rich history of the village.

“At least six generations were born and bred here,” Boon pointed out.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey said residents in nine of the units refused to leave.

“The families in four houses are asking for homes to be built on the land and they want to continue staying there. The owners of five business premises are asking the developer to help relocate their businesses and partly sponsor them with another commercial unit,” Yap said.

She added that she emailed the developer last month to inform them of the residents’ requests.

“However, the developer was not keen on negotiating and the compensation remains at between RM30,000 and RM72,500 [Bt271,395 and Bt655,821).”

Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) vice-president Khoo Salma Nasution said many traditional settlements in Penang were under threat due to urbanisation.

PHT organised a visit of 70 people to Kampung Siam. They were treated to a Menora dance by 17-year-old Soi Sudha Chem, a fifth-generation Menora dancer in her family.

Their Majesties the King and the Queen visited Wat Chayamangka-laram in the area in 1962 to see its 35-metre-long reclining Buddha.

Heatwave a Godsend for some

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Quality control: Zaib checking the salted fish being dried under the hot sun at his village in Kampung Pantai Chempaka, Kuantan.

Quality control: Zaib checking the salted fish being dried under the hot sun at his village in Kampung Pantai Chempaka, Kuantan.

Increased production: A worker drying trays of fish crackers under the sun at Kampung Pengkalan Setar in Kuala Terengganu.

Increased production: A worker drying trays of fish crackers under the sun at Kampung Pengkalan Setar in Kuala Terengganu.

Sabak Bernam : While some are wishing for the heatwave to end, others are loving it. One of them is Chia Chen Teck, 71, a dried shrimp manufacturer for over 30 years in Kampung Nelayan Bagan Sekinchan here.

The hotter the better! The weather is great for drying shrimp.”At least 500kg of dried shrimp are processed daily.

“February and March are months for high shrimp yield,” he said, adding that he would wake up at 4am daily and work till night to take advantage of the weather.

Kelvin Quay, 30, who runs a business processing and distributing salted fish, is also loving the scorching heat.

“The hot weather is perfect for drying salted fish and it also results in better tasting fish,” he said.


Increased production: A worker drying trays of fish crackers under the sun at Kampung Pengkalan Setar in Kuala Terengganu.

Increased production: A worker drying trays of fish crackers under the sun at Kampung Pengkalan Setar in Kuala Terengganu.

He offers customers 20 to 30 types of fish like mackerel, Spanish mackerel, ray and eel. Up to 1,000kg of fish are set out to dry daily.

He said his company, which was passed down from his father who started the business 20 years ago, is the longest running one in the village.

But he has no intention of having his children continuing the family business.

“It is hard work. I want them to get a good education and have a more comfortable job, instead of toiling in the sun like me,” he said.

In Kuala Terengganu, the scorching heat is also putting smiles on the faces of keropok entrepreneurs.

Many of them, including those involved in the small and medium sized enterprises in Pengkalan Setar here, view the El Nino phenomenon a blessing in disguise as their keropok dry faster and their income is soaring.

Nor Mahni Abd Ghani, 42, said the scorching heat helps to increase the quality and quantity of her product. It also helps to increase the lifespan and the expiry date.

Beating the heat: Three-year-old Mohd Ikmal Mohd Indra cooling down in the river during a family trip to Sungai Air Beruk near Gerik, Perak. — BernamaFinding her silver lining: An umbrella seller (left) making the most of the thunderstorm by selling her umbrellas to those caught by surprise when it started raining heavily around 5pm near Pavilion shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Beating the heat: Three-year-old Mohd Ikmal Mohd Indra cooling down in the river during a family trip to Sungai Air Beruk near Gerik, Perak. —Bernama

“The business that we are in needs this kind of weather especially after the monsoon season which dampens the business,” she said when met yesterday.

During the normal days, Nor Mahni said it would take about eight hours to completely dry the keropok, but now the process has been reduced by almost half the time.

Zainab Awang, 65, fondly known as Mak Nab Keropok, who has been in the business for more than 30 years said keropok produced during this period would last longer and less likely to become mouldy.

In Kuantan, the scorching weather was also welcomed by salted fish suppliers who were happy as their products would dry faster.

Kampung Pantai Chempaka villager Zaib Alip, 61, said it would normally take 10 hours to dry the salted fish but these days, it only took eight hours or less.

However, Zaib, who supplies salted fish to night markets, had to keep watch as well as the taste and quality would drop if it was too dry.

“My customers do not like to buy over-dried salted fish. I have to set the time during the drying process to get it just right,” he said.

Zaib said for every kg of fresh fish, its weight must be reduced by three times, and that was when the quality was the best.


Singer Siti launches ready-to-wear clothing line

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Siti (far left)

Siti (far left)

Siti (middle) performing a song at the fashion show.

Siti (middle) performing a song at the fashion show.

A fashionable ensemble from The Creacin by Siti Nurhaliza.

A fashionable ensemble from The Creacin by Siti Nurhaliza.

Singer Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin has added fashion designing under her belt.

The number one Malaysian singer, who also has her own line of make-up and skin care products, recently launched Creación by Siti Nurhaliza, a ready-to-wear collection for modern women.

She teamed up with exclusive hijab brand Ariani to debut her fashion brand that has simple and elegant designs, perfect for everyday wear.

The collection comprises modest wear pieces that are stylish and flatter the feminine silhouette made from warm weather-friendly materials.

The 37-year-old singer said she had been interested to come up with her own clothing line after starting her make-up brand Simply Siti in 2014.


“I have been discussing with Ariani to collaborate on a fashion brand for a few years, but we only discussed it seriously last year,” she said after the fashion show held at Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur Hotel.

She added that she was hands-on with the concept and design, but was assisted by Ariani in terms of fabric because they were more experienced in that area.

“Although as an artiste, I have experience with clothes especially during shows and photoshoots, I did not have a wide experience in dealing with the making of the clothes.

“Hence, that was why I chose to collaborate with Ariani, that has a deep knowledge in finding suitable material for my fashion brand,” she added.

Before she put on the hijab a few years ago, Siti Nurhaliza has always been known as an artiste who never wore revealing clothes, and her modest image is reflected in her pieces.

“The brand is not only targeting those who wear the hijab, but also those who are looking for demure clothings that are stylish,” she said.

Available in a wide range of sizes – up to XXXL – the collection can be purchased now at the new Creación boutique, located next to the Ariani boutique in Jakel Mall, Kuala Lumpur.

During the fashion show, guests were treated to a dazzling show of Ariani X Siti Nurhaliza premium hijab collection.

The collection features six styles of instant hijab and shawls made from chiffon crepe and bubble georgette fabrics, perfect for the Malaysian weather.

Ariani Textiles and Manufacturing (M) Sdn Bhd marketing director Datin Farah Haryani Muhamad Philip said the company wanted Ariani to be an exclusive hijab brand, with affordable prices.

“The hijab collection collaborated with Siti will allow the Ariani brand to be worn by women from any age and thus,” she said.

As the Ariani Ikon 2016, Siti Nurhaliza also lent her name to Ariani Stockist, a sub brand that offers a business platform to entrepreneurs, where the exclusive Ariani Stockist x Siti Nurhaliza the hijab is available only through Ariani stockists.

The collection features six instant hijab designs with motifs and print designs hand picked by Siti Nurhaliza herself.

The hijab are available in multitude of colours, and designs to suit different tastes.


Cristiano Ronaldo cancels meet with Dr Vida

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Dr Vida taking a photo with 'Ronaldo'//The Star

Dr Vida taking a photo with ‘Ronaldo’//The Star

Petaling Jaya : Cosmetic queen Dr Vida failed to meet Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo during a visit there after a scheduled meeting was called off at the last minute.

Nevertheless, Hasmiza Othman, founder of Vida Beauty Sdn Bhd and sponsor of the Kelantan football team, did not return home totally disappointed.

She had a picture taken with a lifesize cutout of Cristiano at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for rememberance.

“I was disappointed. I had planned for it (meeting Cristiano) but no luck,” Hasmiza said in an interview with The Star Online Malay news portal mStar.

“Although it was only a picture of Ronaldo, I felt consoled and that made the feeling of disappointment go away.

“Visiting the stadium gave me valuable insights to take home to Kelantan,” she said of her visit to Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Hasmiza said she studied the designs of the stadium to see if they could be applied to the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Baru, Kelantan.

“During a visit earlier (Tuesday afternoon local time), I was impressed by the design of the stadium that can accommodate 85,000 fans.

“Not only just the stadium, it is also a living history of the team since the beginning of its establishment. The seats, roof pitch are unique enough as a tourist attraction.

“Just imagine if the blue stadium is located in Kota Baru but pink, undoubtedly it will be a new landmark in Kelantan,” she said.

Hasmiza and her entourage later watched the Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven at Vicente Calderon Stadium, Madrid. Atletico beat PSV 87 on penalties after both teams were tied 00 after extra time.

Hasmiza has signed a two-year deal worth RM16mil with the Kelantan Football Association (KAFA) to become the first team in Malaysian history to don pink jerseys.

Not only will the Kelantan players be wearing pink jerseys, their home venue – Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru – will also be painted in the same colour.

Mahathir calls for national referendum on Najib

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Kuala Lumpur – Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad has called for a national referendum on the popularity of Prime Minister Najib Razak, promising that the referendum would settle scores “once and for all”.

In a post on his blog yesterday, the retired politician expressed scepticism of the prime minister’s popularity. “Najib is very popular, but some recalcitrants may not think so. What really would convince people would be a national referendum, or poll, in which every voter in the country can express his support of Najib,” he wrote.

Malaysia has never held a referendum since independence from Britain.

Throwing down the gauntlet in his post, he promised that “if Najib wins in the national referendum, I will stop asking him to resign”.

The 90-year-old former prime minister has kept up a relentless attack on his former protege.

Earlier this month, he put together a bipartisan alliance to initiate the “Citizens’ Declaration” to pressure Mr Najib to resign.

He remains undeterred, even as Datuk Seri Najib fights back.

Tun Dr Mahathir is even prepared to give speeches from the back of lorries if necessary, said former PAS vice-president Husam Musa at a forum on Sunday night, according to The Malaysian Insider.

He said that while they were discussing plans for a national roadshow, Dr Mahathir had complained that he could not even rent hotel rooms for speeches.

“If Dr Mahathir joins us at our ceramah (lecture) in Kedah, he will speak from the back of a lorry,” Datuk Husam said.