GOASIAPLUS December 2018

goasiaplus

Christmas is around the corner again at this time of the year and we share with you the offerings of the festive feast around Asia! Just in time for the feel good season, see our take on volunteer travelling in Cambodia, story of brave Psoriasis fighter Rocyie Wong and how to stock up your cellar for the new years!

DECEMBER 2018 | ISSUE 31

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

VOLUNTEER

VACATION

STOCKING UP

ON TIPPLES

AN

ASIAN

CHRISTMAS


CONTENTS

16

4 ON THE RADAR

8 OUT & ABOUT

10 INSIGHT

Miss Cosmopolitan

World 2018

13 TRAVEL

Volunteer Vacation in

Siem Reap

16 FOOD

Christmas Feast in Asia

19 FOOD

Recipe to Follow:

Papua Festive Fish Soup

20 TRAVEL

Tawau, Sabah

22 INSIGHT

Royal of Durian Kingdom

25 INSIGHT

Turning the Table on Psoriasis

29 SHOP

A Toast to Wrap Up the Year

32 LOST & FOUND

Memoirs of a Shopper

20

COVER PHOTO BY

ADOBE STOCK

EDITORIAL TEAM

GROUP HEAD & BRANDS

JOHN SO

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

JAMIE SOO-HOO

WRITER

JESSY WONG

PHOTOGRAPHER

RICK CHEAH

CONTRIBUTORS

FRANCIS YIP, YY CHEN, DARIO ROBBEN,

ILYAS SHUKOR, JH TAN & TAN EE LIAN

DIGITAL TEAM

WEB CONTENT

JESSY WONG & IMRAN SUKRI

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES

EDITORIAL@PCOMASIA.COM

13

SENIOR MANAGER

SALES & MARKETING

YONG WANG CHING

YONG@PCOMASIA.COM

COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP

JOHN SO

JOHNSO@PCOMASIA.COM

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EDITOR’S

NOTE

John So

Publisher

Recently I walked down the aisle

in a sling with a broken wrist. I

could have cursed and ranted at

“misfortune” for spoiling one of the most

important days of my life. But instead, I

chose to be thankful for small mercies. It

could have been worse–I could have been

totally unable to walk at all! That would

have been disastrous for my bride and I.

When GOASIAPLUS first started we

had nothing more than a permit, startup

capital, a part-time designer and an

editor. But the small team that I had was

determined, driven and courageous to make

this new kid to the print world stand and

be counted.

We were inexperienced and we had

our fair share of trial and errors. Despite

this, our business partners–AFORadio,

MAHB, Panasonic Malaysia, gateway@klia2,

Aerobus, KLIA Ekspres, our printer and all

contributors to the magazine–supported us

and gave us the opportunity to grow.

Today I am proud to say that we are

more polished in our design and content.

It has been one adventurous learning

journey and we are still engaging the bends

and corners to create more milestones.

As the year draws to a close I believe

it’s time to be thankful for every helping

hand that was extended our way and to pay

forward the assistance to others in need.

Psoriasis fighter Rocyie Wong had a

steeper hill to climb when she took to the

social media to talk about her condition so

that others like her could feel encouraged

(page 25). She is thankful for such

unreserved support from the community

to enable her to make the most of her

autoimmune skin disease to inspire others.

As we reflect on all that has happened in

the past year let us raise our glasses and

drink a toast to small mercies.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

A FORGOTTEN LUXURY

PICK-UP

POINTS

Overabundance is more often than not a blessing in disguise. Having too much of

anything can cloud your sense of fulfillment, pleasure and appreciation; making you

forget the true value of it.

I am a wretched victim of superabundance. I love to serve my purpose in bringing

satisfaction to people’s needs, uniting them and representing cultural identities to

communities. Afterall, it wasn’t an easy task to make me yet I am discarded in heaps and

bags everyday.

Malaysia is a place that loves and appreciates me but perhaps too much love is

unhealthy. There are more than 16,000 metric tonnes of food being wasted daily and it

could have been prevented if people are more responsible with me.

Up till today, food wastage has become a cancerous culture. Because people are being

spoilt for choice, somehow they have forgotten that I am a luxury. Even if you love me,

take only what you can finish. Don’t punish me by throwing me away unnecessarily as I

wish you would remember that every act of wastage could have fed tens of millions of

people in starvation.

Angrily yours,

Food

Read our magazine

exclusively in Aerobus

airport shuttles or

bring home a copy of

GOASIAPLUS with you at

these pick-up points below:

GATEWAY@KLIA2

VENDING MACHINE

KLIA EKSPRES

KL SENTRAL

KLIA

INFORMATION COUNTER AT

DEPARTURE MAIN TERMINAL

& SATELLITE BUILDING

KLIA2

INFORMATION COUNTER,

SATELLITE BUILDING &

INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL

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NEWS

ON THE RADAR

GET UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HAPPENINGS ON

TRAVEL, HOTEL OPENINGS, FOOD OFFERS AND

TRENDING FASHION AROUND SOUTH EAST ASIA

NO-FRILLS HOTEL FOR GROUP GETAWAYS

Kuala Lumpur’s Travelodge Bukit Bintang opens its

doors in the city’s shopping and business district in

Jalan Alor with 168 stylish guestrooms. The spacious

room can even boasts up to 4 beds in a single space,

making it ideal for slumber parties and family

travels. Enjoy 30% off room rates from now till 31

December 2018.

www.travelodgehotels.asia

A FESTIVE CULTURAL

CELEBRATION

Courtyard by Marriot Siem Reap

Resort is celebrating its first

festive holiday in the city with

special Christmas Eve and New

Year’s Eve dinners. Dining at the

Kingdom of Wonder will capture

its localised atmosphere with

lively entertainments of folk

music, traditional performances

and sing-alongs while you

indulge in a fusioned Cambodian

Christmas offerings.

www.courtyardsiemreap.com

CALENDAR OF BEAUTY

CONSTELLATIONS

L’occitane advent calendar

is back with the designs

of Castelbajac Paris made

exclusively for a pleasant

surprise. The calendar is built

with 24 portals; each hidden

with a treasure so twist, turn,

rotate and seek out the puzzle

to discover the gifts from

L’occitane. Available in stores

nationwide and online.

my.loccitane.com

SPARKLE WITH JOY AND LOVE

Swarovski’s latest holiday collection takes its

inspiration from an enchanting fairytale garden.

The dainty and delicate jewelleries are designed

to share all the little moments that add sparkle

to life. Frozen in time, the hues of brilliance

from Swarovski crystals serves to light up the

mood and spirit of festivity.

www.swarovski.com

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NEWS

MEDITERRANEAN DINING EXPERIENCE

Taste an exceptional spread of Mediterranean cuisines at the TARO

in The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa headlined by renowned

Chef Cliff Borg from Malta. Each flavourful dish is inspired from

somewhere around the world. Among the anticipated dishes are

crab meat with citrus and truffle mushroom risotto. The pop-up

will be available from 6pm onwards daily until 31 January 2019.

The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa, Langkawi, Malaysia

BE BOLD IN FESTIVE GIFTING

Kiehl’s Since 1851 has made a creative collaboration

with Andrew Bannecker for this year’s holiday

tradition. Continuing its sought-after holiday

partnerships, the New York apothecary brand releases

10 limited edition products designed in bold graphics,

electric colours and illustrations to make the art of

gifting and skincare to be more fun and festive.

Available at Kiehl’s stores and selected retailers

nationwide

A CANDY MADE FOR ATHLETES

This locally-made candy is loved by both children

and adults alike for its subtle mint flavour. Made

with natural Himalayan salt, the lemon flavoured

candy could replenish the sodium content in your

body during excessive workout and sports. It

contains over 80 natural traces of minerals and could

promote absorption of mineral and nutrients into the

bloodstream. One can handily carry around Himalaya

Salt Sports Candy as it comes in a convenient ziplock

bag for easy storage and consumption.

Available in leading pharmacies, supermarkets and

hypermarkets nationwide

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EVENTS

OUT & ABOUT

LOOK OUT FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF

THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND

DWPX–10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

7-9 DEC

In celebration for their 10th installment, Indonesia’s largest

electronic dance music festival has extended their world-class

production to 3 phenomenal days. This year’s lineup is ready to

bring the house down with Alesso, DJ Snake, Major Lazer, The

Weeknd and Porter Robinson casting spells on festival-goers.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, Bali, Indonesia

www.djakartawarehouse.com

THE WEEKND LIVE IN SINGAPORE

5 DEC

Started out by posting anonymous videos on Youtube as The

Weeknd, Abel Tesfaye steadily rose as one the biggest R&B artists

in the US since 2010. The Weeknd earned international stardom

through his double platinum album ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’

and has now released his first EP titled ‘My Dear Melancholy’.

Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore

www.sportshubtix.sg

THE KEVIN HART IRRESPONSIBLE TOUR

15 DEC

From stand-up comedies to box office hits, Kevin

Hart knows how to work with his audience. With his

massive fan base, Kevin’s previous comedy tour has

grossed over $100 million worldwide. Other than the

stage, the star is scheduled to appear on screen in his

upcoming movie; ‘Night School’.

Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur

www.mytickets.asia

SAM & TAM HAPPY

TOGETHER -

CLASSIC EXPRESS

22 DEC

Cantopop legendary

duo Sam Hui and Alan

Tam are joining hands

to bring their fans for a

ride of reminiscence into

their twinned legacies.

Sam has more than 23

albums in his belt while

Alan has written over

800 songs in his career.

This would be the first

for these stars to sing

together in Malaysia.

Axiata Arena, Bukit

Jalil, Kuala Lumpur

www.starplanet.com.my

COMIC FIESTA 2018

22-23 DEC

The longest running animation, comics and

games event gathers youth for a line-up

of engaging activities from speedpainting

showdown, an exclusive stamp rally and a

chance for visitors to participate in ‘table

flip’ challenge, a meme dream turn reality.

Fans of the culture can also see an all-star

cosplay competition in the event.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

www.comicfiesta.org

8 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


Powered by

SOFO SMART CHAIR

With over 1 million units sold worldwide, Sofo

Smart Chair have something for everyone.

Sofo Smart Chair enhances the leisure hour

experience in various public spaces in China.

Travellers and visitors can turn an expected

delay into a comfortable relief while boosting

their health in airports, railway and bus

stations, hospitals and even supermarkets.

在 全 球 销 售 量 超 过 100 万 台 下 ,Sofo Smart

Chair 拥 有 着 适 合 每 个 人 的 品 质 。Sofo Smart

Chair 增 强 了 中 国 的 各 种 公 共 场 所 的 休 闲 时 光 。 游

客 们 可 以 将 预 期 的 延 迟 转 变 为 舒 适 的 缓 解 , 同 时

也 可 以 在 机 场 , 铁 路 和 公 交 车 站 , 医 院 甚 至 是 超

市 提 高 他 们 的 健 康 状 况 。

AVAILABLE AT THESE MAIN LOCATIONS

AND MANY MORE:


INSIGHT

WINNER OF

MISS COSMOPOLITAN

WORLD 2018

MALAYSIA’S HOMEGROWN BEAUTY PAGEANT CONTINUE TO BUILD

ITS LINE OF REMARKABLE SUCCESSIONS WITH MISS KOREA’S

EMERGENCE AS THEIR BRIGHT NEW STAR.

Interview JESSY WONG • Photos MISS COSMOPOLITAN WORLD

This fashion model from South Korea is a

believer of opportunities when she decided

to try her hand in an international beauty

pageant. Crowned among other 28 participants,

Lim Soyeon’s unyielding resolution is to always be

the best version herself; and with that, poise and

confidence paved the way for her.

Besides being crowned Miss Cosmopolitan World

2018, you also won ‘The Time Keeper’. Can you

tell us more about this special award?

‘The Time Keeper’ is awarded for the candidate

who is most punctual and diligent during 3 weeks of

activities. I did not want to ruin any planned activity

by being late so I always try to arrive at least 15

minutes before call time. I think that is why I got the

‘The Time Keeper’ sub-title.

During your pageant travel around Malaysia,

which destination do you love most?

My favourite is Ipoh, Perak. All the girls challenged

themselves by climbing, hiking and exploring.

Especially, me and my group went to explore a

400 million-year-old cave. It was very challenging

but worth it because we witnessed some amazing

landscape and even fossil. This was not the end. We

even had Hawaiian theme barbecue dinner. It is one

of the most unforgettable moments.

What would you pick for a day out if you are given

three options to choose between sneakers, sandals

or heels?

Sandals for sure. Beautiful heels are uncomfortable.

To wear sneakers, I need to wear socks inside.

Sandals make me feel free!

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INSIGHT

FACTS

ON

MISS

KOREA

FULL NAME

Soyeon Lim

AGE

23

HOMETOWN

Busan, South Korea

EDUCATION

Business Management in

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

HOBBY

Dancing, learning languages,

playing piano

INSTAGRAM

S.lim0218

What have you gained from participating in

Miss Cosmopolitan World 2018?

Definitely, social skills and friendship. Through

3 weeks of pageant, I lived with 28 girls from

different countries and friends in Malaysia. It was

hard at first to adjust myself in this community

and change my lifestyle to the schedule. However,

avoidance is not key. I approached girls who had

similar problems to me, talked and listened to

their stories. When you approach someone with a

sincere heart, they will treat you in the same way.

If you have to pick a food that you can only eat

for your entire lifetime, what would it be?

Pizza! I am a crazy pizza lover.

Given the opportunity for the entire world to

hear you, what would your message be?

I would like to say opportunity only arises to

those who step out of their comfort zone and

reaches out. You need to find courage and know

that if there is an opportunity; you must grab it.

Be confident and love yourself.

Name three things that you must have with

you when travelling.

A handbag full of makeup tools, candies and

a camera.

What are your plans after winning Miss

Cosmopolitan World 2018?

I will first focus on my study to graduate next

year. Also, I would like to work as this pageant’s

ambassador to spread the message of Miss

Cosmopolitan World. About how this beauty

pageant is contributing to the society and

encouraging social responsibility. Furthermore, if

there are any social activities or events that I can

contribute to, I hope to be a part of it.

“Opportunity only arises

to those who step out of

their comfort zone.”

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 11


TRAVEL

1

VOLUNTEER

VACATION IN

SIEM REAP

TRAVELLING CAN BE A LIFE-CHANGING

EXPERIENCE WHEREAS VOLUNTEERING IS AN

EYE-OPENER TO THE CAUSES AROUND THE

WORLD. SO WHY NOT PUT BOTH TOGETHER?

WITH THE RIGHT KIND OF VOLUNTEER TRAVEL,

TAN EE LIAN FOUND HERSELF IN A MAJOR

UPLIFTING SOLO ADVENTURE IN CAMBODIA.

Text TAN EE LIAN • Photos TAN EE LIAN & ANGKOR LEGACY ACADEMY

2

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TRAVEL

3

4

5 6

14 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


TRAVEL

As a frequent traveller around the Asia

continent, it became a natural interest of

mine to forage into the roots of the country—

by living with the local villagers. Stripping major

tourism landmarks and shopping districts off the list,

there are no better scenic adventure than of our own

to bond and understand the actual circumstances of

the local life.

Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in

Southeast Asia with millions of residents still

entrenched in the shackles of poverty. And a large

percentage them resides in the countryside with no

access to education, career and other opportunities.

ANGKOR LEGACY ACADEMY

While seeking for a way to help, I found Angkor

Legacy Academy that are willing to host foreigners

to volunteer in their school. The academy is located

in the countryside at Lolei Village. It is about 40

minutes away from Siem Reap city centre and this is

where I became a volunteer teacher in Angkor

Legacy Academy.

The academy is a non-profit organisation founded

by Sovannarith Sok in April 2011 with the intention of

helping the villagers to fight against poverty.

For two weeks, I stayed with Sovannarith and

his family in the academy. It is not a typical life

choice many Cambodians would take, so I had the

opportunity to sit by the river with Sovannarith to

discuss about his history of starting the academy.

Previously an English teacher, it was always an

ambition of his to help the less fortunate villagers. He

founded the charity so the villagers could have free

education in the academy. It is a struggle to get local

teachers to work for free, hence, the academy relies

on volunteer basis.

Teaching is a pleasure as every student is

interested and keen to learn. There wasn’t a day

where I don’t have kids yelling “Teacher, me! Me!”

when I needed a student to answer the questions.

Besides English, the children are also determined to

learn Mandarin.

When I was there, founder Sovannarith was

taking Mandarin class in the city centre on every

weekday. The dedication of a teacher and his

students are truly remarkable as I spent almost every

night waiting with the kids for Sovannarith to come

back from his Mandarin class. Once he returns,

without having dinner or taking a break, he starts a

night class to share what he learned with us.

Besides that, Angkor Legacy Academy has more

charity programs than just free education. Volunteers

can participate in their food donation program

for the poor and disabled as well as community

development activities like repairing roof and roads

in the village. The academy is currently working on

starting a computer class for the kids to develop

useful skills.

“It is a struggle to get local

teachers to work for free,

hence, the academy relies

on volunteer basis.”

LIVING AS A VOLUNTEER TRAVELLER

Being a solo volunteer traveller is akin to the journey

of a backpacker in terms of budget, experience and

the chance to meet new friends. In the academy,

there is a dorm for volunteers to stay for free and the

academy have volunteers from all around the world.

Like a backpacker, I have made great friends from

England, France, Finland, Netherlands and many

more. Substituting the absence of room service, it

remains a blessing for us to taste local and authentic

meals everyday—bought from the local market or

prepared by Sovannarith’s wife.

With ample time on my hands, I took the chance

to immerse myself in the carefree life of the villagers.

Although it is hard to find a mutual understanding

without being able to communicate with each other,

it is barely a problem here in Lolei Village.

Smiles easily replace words. The locals are also

extremely warm and happy to welcome visitors into

their homes.

One memorable experience there was when we

were casually filling potholes in the road when it

started to rain. We were soaked and the road pretty

much turned into small rivers. Despite all that, we

were surrounded by kids who see rain as a major

amusement. The innocence of children running

around and playing in the mud reminded me that one

doesn’t need a lot to be happy. We just need enough.

On the weekends, volunteers are free to roam

wherever they want. I spent my weekends exploring

the city centre and visiting one of the best UNESCO

world heritage site; Angkor Wat. As compared to all

my previous travels, this was the greatest two weeks

of my life—receiving and learning so much from

Sovannarith and the villagers. I think I left a part of

myself there and it is just a matter of time before I

am back there with my students.

1 A scenic sundown at Lolei

Village 2 Children focused

in class 3 Sharing the art

of high-five 4 Helping the

community to repair roofs 5 A

livestock resident in the village

6 A happy child drawing on

whiteboard

HOW

TO GET

STARTED

To volunteer in

Angkor Legacy

Academy,

you may call

+855-92422944

or visit www.alalolei.org

for more

information.

Angkor Legacy

Academy is

located at Lolei

Village, Bakong

in Siem Reap,

Cambodia.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 15


FOOD

CHRISTMAS

FEAST IN ASIA

FESTIVE FARES THAT FEAST THE EYES AND

PALATES BELONGS IN MANY SHAPES, FLAVOURS

AND OFFERINGS AND IN ASIA, LOCAL

GATHERINGS RING IN THE SEASONAL JOY WITH

CULTURALLY-INFUSED DELIGHTS AND RECIPES.

Text JESSY WONG Photos ADOBE STOCK & KFC JAPAN

The pinnacle of a Christmas day features

food as the main festivity. And as always,

the holiday spirit makes the time-ticking

preparation of a festal spread into a memorable

one in most households. Whether it is for

Christmas morning or the evening banquet,

people across all culture get together in their

own local fashion. From eating out, sourcing

ingredients to cook their best heirloom recipe,

Asians gather to dine in their classic rendition

of a perfect holiday spread.

16 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


FOOD

INDIA

There are many cultural festivals in India and it is no surprise that

Christmas is part of the many festivities. Referred as Badda Din (big

day) in Hindi, Indian Christian minorities relish the day in their own

traditions across the country. Kerala’s Syrian-Christians typically

taste a little bit of everything so a classic Christmas offering in the

morning would be appam (fermented rice batter and coconut milk)

and meat stews of either duck, chicken, beef, pork or fish. Turkey

filled every table in the western world but for the Goan Catholics, it

is not Christmas if there’s no pork. The unique cuisines in Goa are

pork vindaloo, a curry with meat marinated in wine and garlic or

pork sorpotel, a spicy chilli curry preserved overtime. Both dishes are

influenced by the previous Portuguese colonialists in Goa.

FOOD TO TRY

Pork Vindaloo


WHERE TO EAT

Viva Panjim,

Goa, India

FOOD TO TRY

Queso De Bola


WHERE TO EAT

Abe Filipino

Cuisine Restaurant,

Pasay, Philippines

PHILIPPINES

A country with the longest Christmas celebration in the world shows

what it means to observe its most significant holiday season. Starting

early from September till the feast of Santo Nino in next year January,

typical Christmas food begin to be sold and prepared everywhere. The

highlight of the long countdown happens during noche buena which

means good night in Spanish for Christmas Eve. Noche buena sees

Filipino families gather for the traditional dinner, serving mainly queso

de bola (the Edam cheese), lechón (roasted suckling pig), spaghetti,

bibingka (rice cake) and tsokolate (hot cocoa) as the popular beverage.

Other than this, Filipinos enjoy fruit salad as a sweet dessert during the

feast. Their common version of fruit salad uses drained canned fruit

cocktail mixed with cream and sweetened condensed milk.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 17


FOOD

FOOD TO TRY

Fried Chicken


WHERE TO EAT

KFC, Japan

JAPAN

Brimmed with holiday spirit, everywhere in Japan are illuminated

with Christmas trees and ornaments although there are less than one

percent of Japanese that recognises themselves as Christians. This

is because the American occupation has left a distinct western and

Japanese mix in their lifestyle and food. Today, Christmas and Kentucky

Fried Chicken (KFC) have become synonymous in Japan. In 1970,

the first KFC in the country introduced a party barrel to be sold on

Christmas and the ordinary fast food meal turned into a nationwide

tradition in just 4 years. To get KFC for Christmas dinner, one will have

to preorder weeks in advance. For dessert, Japanese Christmas cake

is served as the centerpiece. The iconic cake is actually a fluffy sponge

cake, coated with whipped cream and decorated with strawberries.

MIDDLE EAST

There is one food that unites people in the Middle East. Dolma, stuffed

fillings in fruits, vegetables or wrapped in fresh leaves, is a traditional

meal to feast during special occasions and gatherings. Originated from

a Turkish word doldurma, which means stuffing, dolma is a regional

cuisine found in Central Asia, Egypt, Arabia and the Middle East.

Communities like Azerbaijan, Iraqi and Armenian Christians would

prepare, serve and eat dolmas during the religious holiday. Depending

on regions and countries, dolma variates from the choice of protein

like meat or seafood to vegetables like vine leaves or cabbage rolls

and fruits. Other spread would normally include dograma, a Turkmen

shredded meat and bread stew, another laborious preparation affair.

Made with flatbreads, large pots of shredded protein and peppers, this

dish is meant to be shared by a group of people.

FOOD TO TRY

Dolma


WHERE TO EAT

Firuze,

Fountain Square,

Azerbaijan

18 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


FOOD

RECIPE TO FOLLOW:

PAPUA FESTIVE

FISH SOUP

IN THE FAR EASTERN SIDE OF JAVA, INDONESIA,

ISLANDERS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WITH

A TRADITIONAL SPREAD OF SEAFOOD IN

ABUNDANCE. TWO OF THE MUST-HAVE DISHES

ARE PAPEDA AND FISH SOUP.

CHECK

OUT

Text YY CHEN Photos YY CHEN & JH TAN

INGREDIENTS:

700gm fish (whole or sliced)

2 bay leaves

2 turmeric leaves

2 lime leaves

Juice of 2 lime

1 lemongrass stick

3 large slices of dried assam

4 cloves of crushed garlic

1 ltr water

Salt and sugar to taste

For garnish: Fried shallots,

chopped parsley and sliced

red chillies

TO BLEND:

5 shallots, 5 garlic pips, 4

big red chillies, 3 birds eye

chillies, 4cm fresh turmeric,

2cm ginger, 3cm lengkuas

In Papua and Maluku Indonesia this festive

season, many will travel back from as far as

Holland to be with their families. The population

in these islands are predominantly Christians and

Christmas would mean large groups of families and

friends coming together to fete on a traditional

spread.

The food in these islands are as colourful and

intensely rich as their culture. Their cuisine is

influenced by produce that are found and grown

in the surrounding environment. As the populace

largely eke a living from the sea, seafood is in

abundance and their staple is sago. Papeda is a

traditional dish prepared with fermented sago.

Sago is dried and ground into powder before

mixing with water and left to ferment. Once

fermented water is squeezed out, it is made into

sticky gooey paste. Blobs of it are dropped into the

fish soup and all slurped down without needing to

chew on the gooey sago. It is served bakar or basah

(toasted or wet)

"You twirl the sticky paste with a stick and drop

the blob into the fish soup," Community Trainer

JH Tan explained. This is a bland and tasteless dish

that can also be eaten with other dishes. It goes

well with strong and spicy taste of the fish soup.

During a recent get-together with friends in

Papua, he managed to get the low-down on how to

prepare the fish soup that goes with Papeda. The

recipe differs with different islands. Rice is not a

traditional staple for the islanders but they eat root

crops like singkong, radish and yam.

"On these islands not many people have fridges

so they would cook in a manner where food can be

preserved for a few days," Tan said. This Christmas

he and his friends will partake in this dish.

METHOD

• Marinate fish with lime

juice, salt and crushed

garlic for 20-30 minutes.

• Heat oil in a pot and saute

the blended ingredients

till aromatic.

• Then add bay leaves,

lime leaves, crushed

lemongrass and dried

assam slices.

• Saute for a minute before

adding water to boil for

20 minutes.

• Add fish and cook for

another 10-15 minutes.

• Salt and sugar to taste.

• Garnish and serve.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19


TRAVEL

Road Less Travelled is a collaboration with AirAsiaGo.

Check out airasiago.com.my for flight & hotel deals!

ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

TAWAU, SABAH

POPULAR AS A MERE TRANSIT POINT TO

SABAH’S PARADISE BEACH, ISLANDS AND

OTHER COUNTRIES, THIS SMALL COASTAL

TOWN IN THE SOUTHEAST OF BORNEO

MAKES A DESERVING STOP ON ITS OWN.

Text JESSY WONG

Photos SABAH TOURISM BOARD & AIRASIAGO

HOW TO GET THERE

One can get to Tawau via direct flights from

Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur through

domestic airlines. Both AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines

also have daily flights from Sabah’s main city at Kota

Kinabalu to the coastal town.

WHAT TO DO

Get a familiar feel of the neighbourhood at Pasar

Tanjung Tawau that majorly sells raw and dried sea

produce at a good deal. Another must-visit place is

Teck Guan Cocoa Museum. Tawau is the largest

producer of cocoa in the country so you can find a

variation of local chocolate at the museum.

For a scenic change from the cityscape, explore

Tawau Hills Park for orchid viewing and trek in the

lush tropical garden. Follow the nature trail in the

park and it will lead you to the temptingly refreshing

waterfalls and hot springs.

20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

WHERE TO STAY

Spend a simple and yet stylish night at 4-star

Promenade Hotel Tawau that is located next to

the biggest mall in the city. A stay at Shervinton

Executive Boutique Hotel let you take a break at

their sky bar and lounge that overlooks the quaint

town and wind down in the hotel’s spa.

WHERE TO EAT

Taste Sabah’s signature nasi kuning (yellow rice)–

cooked with coconut milk and turmeric–at Restoran

Haji Tamrin. During the in-between meal hours,

snack at Indo Cafe that is famous for their cheesy

banana fritters. The coastal town has some of the

best seafood to offer in Sabah so dine at Kam Ling

Fresh Seafood for dinner. You can directly select

your choice of seafood from the fish tanks.

GOOD

to

KNOW

Pre-arrange a

return trip from

the town to Tawau

Hills Park with your

taxi driver to avoid

inconvenience in

cab-hailing later.

Other than

chocolates, batik

sarongs and

Tawau handicrafts

make good travel

souvenir.

Be sure to have

enough money on

hand as it might be

difficult to find ATM

in the small town.


INSIGHT

1 2

3

1 Both founders of Sunshine Kingdom; Eddie Wong and Aesos Lai 2 Aesos with Sunshine Kingdom’s giant durian landmark 3 Durian Kingdom cafe in Central Market

22 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


INSIGHT

ROYAL OF DURIAN KINGDOM

THE CREATIVE FOUNDER OF MALAYSIA’S TOP DURIAN SOUVENIR BRAND, AESOS LAI, ENDS THE YEAR WITH GREAT

FULFILLMENT AND SHARES HOW FILIAL PIETY SHAPES ONE’S COURSE IN LIFE.

Interview JESSY WONG • Photos RICK CHEAH & AESOS LAI

The souvenir which best

represents the vibrancy in

Malaysia is no other than

its national fruit–the durian–and

Aesos knows it. Already in t-shirt

souvenir design business, Aesos

first work out the idea of a ‘durian’

retail from one of his t-shirt

designs. Since its conception in

2014, Sunshine Kingdom is the

first company with durian-related

products in Malaysia to be awarded with the Superbrands Status.

As an entrepreneur, you introduced yourself as the creative

founder of Sunshine Kingdom who only deals with branding

and marketing. What is your viewpoint on this?

I love thinking and innovating so I prefer to do research more than

handling operations. Therefore, I invited Eddie Wong to join me

when I set up the business. He’s a specialist in retail and operations

with years of experience so I know he’s the best man to do the job.

To summarise, I’m the thinker and he’s the executor. Also a fun

fact, Eddie was previously my customer.

You have a Durian Kingdom cafe in Central Market, selling

vast options of durian-infused Malaysian food like nasi lemak

durian, ais kacang durian and etc. Why a durian cafe?

I was encouraged by a close friend who told me that a ‘durian

cafe’ concept will appeal to people who like something unique and

durian-related food items. Besides, durian is getting popular among

Chinese tourists from mainland China. It was a timely opportunity.

Besides the cafe, Sunshine Kingdom takes a very interesting

approach in marketing the durian products as souvenirs.

Durian is a very special local fruit. Firstly, Malaysians would gather

for a ‘durian session’ and it shows that durian is a fruit that can

unite people. It is the pride of our country. Hence, we believe that

durian is the perfect food souvenir. Taste durian, taste Malaysia.

Congratulations, Sunshine Kingdom is also listed in the

Malaysia Book of Records.

Thank you. We are the first company to be known for having the

“If you take care of

your parents, God

will make you happy.”

‘Most Number of Durian Related

Products in 2018’. We want

travellers who visit Malaysia to

take home a piece of the local

flavour in the form of the very

unique durian products. Today,

we have 85 different products in

total from getting the fresh whole

durian fruit, packed frozen durian

and many other durian products.

Personally as an avid coffee drinker, I would never go for a food

fusioned coffee. But, the durian coffee by Sunshine Kingdom

truly exceeded my expectations. What is the idea behind it?

I’m proud to say that we are the first company to emphasize durian

species in our range of durian coffee offerings. Each species tastes

differently. The variance between Musang King, D24 and Durian

Kampong will add to its own unique flavour. Other than that, we are

also the first to introduce Musang King Kopi Luwak in the world!

Speaking of coffees, the coffee packaging from Sunshine

Kingdom is really distinctive. How did the theme come about?

It is filial piety. The coffee design packaging actually features the

founders’–myself and Eddie–parents and parents-in-law. Gifting is

a happy thing, it makes my father proud when he gifts it as souvenir

to his friends and relatives. Parents are our best ambassadors.

This is definitely an uncommon approach for a brand. Sunshine

Kingdom is the first to adopt a filial piety value as part of its

company identity.

Well, I firmly believe that filial piety is an expression of gratitude

and such conception can help the company to build a strong

foundation in business ethics and values. Besides, I live by my

quote; if you take care of your parents, God will make you happy.

Now that Sunshine Kingdom is leading the tourist market in

the food souvenir ‘gifting’ trend, tell us your future plans for

the company.

I hope to see our products on the shelves in major supermarkets

nationwide. We would love to attract the positive feedback that we

got from foreigners with the locals.

CAFE AND STORE LOCATIONS

Durian Kingdom, Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur.

Sunshine Kingdom, Jalan Bandar Lapan Belas, Pusat Bandar Puchong, Selangor.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23


INSIGHT

2

1

TURNING THE

TABLES ON

PSORIASIS

THE BATTLE AGAINST HER AUTOIMMUNE

DISEASE IS FAR FROM OVER. PSORIASIS

FIGHTER ROCYIE WONG IS USING HER

JOURNEY TO HELP OTHERS FIGHT SIMILAR

CONDITIONS THAT HAVE ERODED THEIR

SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE.

Text YY CHEN

Photos YY CHEN & ROCYIE WONG

She runs her fingers slowly down the menu

looking for the right item that's safe to eat.

Rocyie Wong, 25, has been doing this for the

most part of her adult life. In the profile of her

Instagram she has described herself as a Psoriasis

Fighter. Psoriasis, the autoimmune disease that

leaves her otherwise flawless skin, with patches of

irritated and painful sores, is what Rocyie is

battling with.

But what's admirable about this young adult is

that she has decided to take this fight to another

level and turn the situation around to make it a fight

against social prejudices against people with similar

diseases or ‘flaws’ that make them stay away from

public eye.

“A lot of times when people don't understand our

situation they would make assumptions and could

not empathise with our struggles. I want to help

create a more accepting society,” Rocyie's online

platform of a Safe Space has attracted the coming

together of people with different sufferings to share

their ordeal. Even people with depression have found

their way into her Safe Space platform.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 25


INSIGHT

3

“A part of me is still

not ready to deal with

people who stare when

I wear shorts.”

She writes: I want to provide a platform where

people can improve, heal physically and emotionally,

and be more mindful of the things around us.

Rocyie began by showing them her personal

journey through a project called “Naked” to explain

the chronic skin condition that causes excess of

skin to form as scaly, red patches that are itchy and

painful. Often, the flare up on her skin is triggered

by food.

“80 percent of my life is planned around my food

and I think of where to go for safe food,” but Rocyie

does not allow this to hamper her social life. She

would either bring along home-cooked food or her

friends would choose a place where she could have

her choice of safe food.

Generally, she avoids consuming meat, fish, pork

and stick with wholefood and plant-based fares.

There is a list of food taboos that she has found out,

mainly by trial and error, that would cause the skin

to flare up. When she turned 22 and after having

moved from one doctor to another, Rocyie decided

to take charge of her own condition by doing

research and taking note of her reactions to different

kinds of food.

“My worst experience was a couple of years ago

when I consumed black beans and it landed me with

such a bad flare up that it took a month to clear.

“I couldn't do anything but just to lie down and

rest without aggravating the condition further,”

she recalled.

Growing up as a teenager took a lot of courage

and tolerance from her. From being conscious and

embarrassed by the dust of dandruff on her shoulder

to why she had to wear a cap always were just some

of the trying times.

Removing her cap to reveal her face was a

small but significant step to come out to brave the

unwanted attention, “...a part of me is still not ready

to deal with people who stare when I wear shorts.”

On bad days, she is floored by her emotional

roller coaster of feeling helpless, self-doubting and

at a lost at what to do about her future career. “And

26 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


INSIGHT

4

1 Donning a sleeveless top

with confidence 2 Finding

strength and beauty in her

battle 3 Rocyie in her element

in sharing her personal

journey 4 Fashionably casual

and stylish 5 Rocyie’s ‘Naked’

project 6 Rocyie conducting a

Safe Space session

5

when my skin flares up I would just lie in bed to

rest and not feel like doing anything. And the fear of

never getting any better is very real.”

But her spirit is buoyed up by followers in her

social media who also share about their conditions.

By connecting via each other’s vulnerability has made

Safe Space a powerful platform.

Rocyie will soon launch another campaign

#Beinghuman. It is a non-judgemental zone

with talks, workshops and exhibitions to create

a supportive community and for the people with

similar conditions.

“What do I stand for? I would ask this, Are

you in love with who you are? Right now I am very

comfortable of being who I am. And who I am

believes in authenticity, courage and to let the way I

live speak for myself.”

Rocyie dreams of being a public figure one day so

that she could cast her net farther in reaching out to

touch more lives. “But my mum’s dream is that my

skin will clear one day. Cause she fears that I can’t

get married!” she laughs it off as her focus is now on

planning the workshops for her next campaign.

6

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 27


SHOP

A TOAST TO WRAP

UP THE YEAR

IT IS THE TIME OF THE YEAR WHERE MOST PEOPLE WOULD

WIND DOWN WITH VACATIONS TO OVERSEAS DESTINATIONS

AND PREPARE FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON. THE LATTER

USUALLY MEANS DRINKING A TOAST TO THE YEAR THAT’S

COMING TO AN END. DARIO ROBBEN HAS A FEW SUGGESTED

WISE BUYS ON WINES AND WHISKIES TO STOCK UP.

Text DARIO ROBBEN • Photos ILYAS SHUKOR

Festive seasons make a habit of sneaking up on you.

We all know they are coming but frankly, there

is a lot to prepare for and time has a confusing

tendency to run out faster than you expect it to. For

those who celebrate, Christmas and New Year’s are fast

approaching and marking these occasions with parties

or small festive gatherings can make for some of the best

memories to carry you through the new year. At least

until you get to do it again.

The festive season gives you an excuse to indulge

and a chance to celebrate with the people you love or,

sometimes equally importantly, the people you need to

impress. One of the tools to help make these moments

more memorable is alcohol. Whilst Malaysia’s alcohol

prices are not exactly a bargain, there are plenty of

interesting options worth spending a little more on

without being unreasonable.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 29


SHOP

“One of the

favourite

Christmas

drinks for a

reason.”

THE SINGLE MALT

A delightful and unique single malt whiskey,

Craigellachie 13 has the added benefit of being

a potential icebreaker when you are trying to

pronounce the name.

The taste descriptions of whiskeys often seem

to take a lot of poetic license but Craigellachie 13

truly has a distinct smoky and fruity flavour. Due

to this distinctness it is not the smoothest whiskey,

but it is not so harsh as to make it hard to drink.

Great served plain over ice, you can also use it in the

popular Christmas drink–eggnog–to add a special

kind of spiciness that I highly recommend. It isn’t the

easiest bottle to find but is readily available in duty

free zones and can be purchased from Hermiu.com, an

online retailer based in Penang.

AN IRISH COFFEE TWIST

Another drink to look out for at airports and other

duty-free zones is Sheridan’s coffee liqueur. The

bottle is a bit of an oddity as it is split vertically into

two separate sections. When poured the dark coffee

and whiskey liqueur forms the bottom layer while

the white chocolate liqueur floats to the top creating

a very pleasant Irish coffee. The taste of white

chocolate in this coffee liqueur adds an exquisite

touch that other coffee liqueurs don’t quite match.

30 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


SHOP

A TRADITIONAL JAPANESE LIQUEUR

Choya Umeshu is a Japanese liqueur made from the

ume fruit. It’s not one of those drinks you have to

learn to love or is an “acquired taste”. Most people

that try it for the first time, simply like it. There is

no noncommittal shrug or a mumbled not bad, it

just tastes good. Definitely something to purchase

for those who enjoy fruity cocktails. For added

sweetness, the honey or royal honey variations are a

definite must-try. Luckily this drink is easy to track

down in Malaysia, you can find it in most grocers or

buy it online if you prefer.

A TALE OF TWO BEERS

For the festive season you may be more willing to

spend a little extra on a more unique beer, or two.

The first may be off-putting to some simply because

of its colour, it is pink. Liefmans Fruitesse is a

Belgian berry beer and unusually is one of the few

beers designed to be served on the rocks. It even

says so on the bottle in large red letters, so you don’t

forget. It comes in at 3.8 percent and honestly tastes

quite a bit like a refreshing type of soda, without

being overly sweet.

This beer is relatively new to the Malaysian

market so it is not that common however it is

currently available at B.I.G. in Publika.

The other beer, Estrella Damm Inedit has an

interesting backstory. Created by Ferran Adrià to be

served with food in his Michelin 3-Star restaurant, it

tastes similar to a light witbier and is less carbonated,

so it won’t leave you feeling bloated. An enjoyable

beer with or without food, it is unfortunately very

hard to find.

Inedit is available in Malaysia, but mostly in

hotel restaurants or speciality Spanish restaurants

like Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar in Bangsar. In the

attempt to track down this beer I found out the

following useful tip: if you come across an alcoholic

beverage you haven’t seen before or have trouble

finding, inspect the bottle for the distributor in

Malaysia. They quite often have a sticker on them

with contact information.

MULLED WINE

This drink is great to show a bit more appreciation

for your guests by spending the effort of adding a

little ‘cooking’ to your drinking. Mulled wine is one

of the favourite Christmas drinks for a reason. It is

sweet like most Christmas time edibles or drinkables

and has enough wine in it to make things a bit more

interesting. There is a myriad of recipes online with

contributions from chefs like Gordon Ramsay or

Jamie Oliver. Most are worth a try.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 31


LOST & FOUND

Text and photos

FRANCIS YIP

MEMOIRS OF A SHOPPER

Forty years ago, my mother brought me along

to shop in Penang Road. Believe it or not, she

could get the shop assistant to slash more

than half the price or even a five cents discount, a

bargaining skill I could not master even today.

Shopping in those days was easy. There were no

mega shopping malls and hypermarkets but only

supermarkets. I remember when New Market was

opened in Rope Walk, there were long queues of

people wanting to enter the premises.

Today, supermarkets could no longer rival mega

malls. In Penang, the longest surviving supermarket

is perhaps Sui Wah Departmental Store in Air Itam.

MEGA SHOPPING MALLS

The shopping scene in the 90s and new millennium

saw mega shopping malls making waves

nationwide. I was working in Kuala Lumpur back

then, and saw how Bukit Bintang rapidly transform

itself into a shopping belt with Sungai Wang Plaza,

BB Plaza, Lot 10, Fahrenheit (formerly KL Plaza),

Starhill and Pavilion.

There, I could buy the world, from the classic to

the ultra modern and the basic fashion to designer

wear. In fact, Kuala Lumpur was ranked 4th best

shopping city in the world by CNN 4 years ago.

Those were the days I was like the male version of

Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex in the City” drama series

because shopping has become a daily ritual.

In the suburbs and other neighbourhoods that

era, Subang Parade, One Utama and many other

malls were thriving. Today, there are about 560

shopping malls nationwide with total net lettable

area of about 135 million sq ft.

But will these malls survive against our

economic backdrop? Malaysia Retail Chain

Association (MRCA) reported by the end of next year,

Malaysia will have close to 700 shopping malls with

total net lettable area of 170 million sq ft.

ONLINE SHOPPING

While we saw the oversupply of shopping mall

spaces, the trend is also shifting to online shopping.

My friends, especially the Gen Y and millennials love

to order clothes online.

It was reported in www.export.gov, Malaysia has

25.08 million or 79 percent active internet users; 15.3

million or 50 percent online shoppers, and 62 percent

mobile online shoppers.

That is quite astonishing. But for my parents’

generation, user experience is still important. They

want to see, touch and feel what they are buying.

Will I buy jewellery without seeing them for real?

Obviously not.

PASAR MALAM

While some shoppers prefer to shop in comfort,

others like myself love to sharpen my bargaining

skills at the night market or pasar malam. Although

I could not emulate my mother’s bargaining skill, I

love the atmosphere in these night markets, which

usually open once a week in residential areas.

Taman Connaught Night Market is the longest

street market in Kuala Lumpur with 700 stalls

stretching along a two-kilometre road.

Whatever it is, whether it is shopping in the mall,

night market or online, it is still my favourite pastime

activity. The only difference is that I spend lesser

now and no longer call myself the male version of

Carrie Bradshaw.

32 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

FRANCIS YIP always loses himself but somehow, finds his way back with lots of juicy stories to share. Forgive him if he sparks a debate.

Love him if he unlocks hidden jewels. So heavenly, so travelicious with him!

www.franciswriter.com franciswriterAd franciswriter

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