GOASIAPLUS January 2019

goasiaplus

Our January issue is out with a special feature on numerology to determine your personal travel style for 2019 (solely based on your birthday!).

Also, see our take on the Thanksgiving festival of Thaipusam, miniaturists of Malaysia and the types of social enterprises restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City!

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JANUARY 2019 | ISSUE 32

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

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TRAVELLING

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FOR YOUR YEAR

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THAIPUSAM MINIATURE

IN MALAYSIA ARTS

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CONTENTS

6 ON THE RADAR

10 OUT & ABOUT

12 FOOD

Social Enterprise

Restaurants in Ho Chi

Minh City

16 TRAVEL

Your Travel Path for

2019

22 TRAVEL

A Thaipusam Tribute

26 TRAVEL

Sakon Nakhon, Thailand

28 SHOP

Miniaturists of Malaysia

32 LOST & FOUND

Lost Language

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COVER DESIGN BY

JAMIE SOO-HOO

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EDITORIAL TEAM

GROUP HEAD & BRANDS

JOHN SO

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

JAMIE SOO-HOO

WRITER

JESSY WONG

PHOTOGRAPHER

RICK CHEAH

CONTRIBUTORS

FRANCIS YIP & ANGELA GOH

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DIGITAL TEAM

WEB CONTENT

JESSY WONG & IMRAN SUKRI

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES

EDITORIAL@PCOMASIA.COM

SENIOR MANAGER

SALES & MARKETING

YONG WANG CHING

YONG@PCOMASIA.COM

COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP

JOHN SO

JOHNSO@PCOMASIA.COM

PUBLISHED BY

PUBLISHCOM ASIA SDN. BHD.

NO. 83–1, JALAN MEDANG SERAI, BUKIT BANDARAYA,

59100 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.

+603–20118983 WWW.PCOMASIA.COM

28

PRINTED BY

PERCETAKAN TURBO SDN. BHD.

NO. 8, JALAN SEKINCAN 26/9,

SECTION 26, SHAH ALAM 40000, MALAYSIA.

The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those

of Publishcom Asia Sdn Bhd (963236–P). While every reasonable care is

taken in compiling the magazine, the publisher shall not be held liable for

any omission, error or inaccuracy. Please notify the publisher in writing of

any such omission, error or inaccuracy. Editorial contributions are welcome,

but unsolicited materials are submitted at the sender’s risk. The publisher

cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage. All rights reserved by

Publishcom Asia Sdn Bhd (963236–P). No part of this publication may be

reproduced in any form without the publisher’s permission in writing.

KDN PP 19019/05/2016 (034482)

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 3


EDITOR’S NOTE

John So

Publisher

2018 has come and gone in a blink of an eye.

Especially among us, some resolutions have

yet to be fulfilled but fret not as I believe that

being affirmed in our past will give us the strength

and courage to hope for the future.

To me, new year always pave out a few things that

we can all appreciate in Malaysia. No matter where

I go, the peace and cultural diversity in the country

makes me proud and grateful to call this place home.

This January, Thaipusam is celebrated among the

Malaysian Indian community across the country and

see how you can be part of the religious and cultural

festivity on page 8.

While we observe the festivity of self-humility

and penance, it is also a good chance to learn more

about ourselves through metaphysics. Numerology

specialist Mitra Chen explains what 2019 can bring

to our personal destinies on page 16 and from there,

I hope you’ll have fun finding out your own Life Path

number to decide on your travel path for this year.

Make every day count and may your new year be

fruitful and adventurous!

A DROWNING PLEA

PICK-UP

POINTS

My kingdom extends far and wide and I govern most lives on the planet; from the floor of

the sea to the peak of the sky. As the king, I provide a living for millions of creature but I

no longer have the power to protect them.

The army of streams like river to canals are endlessly under attack. Solid wastes and

leaking oil are our enemies that have invaded our space; degrading our health, threatening

our lives and ecosystem.

My residential fishes, marine mammals and corals alongside our tourists, the seabirds,

are dying from my polluted kingdom. Likewise, the acidification is bleaching my beloved

reefs and killing shellfishes.

Another vexing reality lies on the surface where unwanted garbage became neglected

islands on my territory. To date, numerous endangered turtles and vulnerable whales have

succumbed to the pollutants.

The fate of my kingdom is now up to you to restore what was once beautiful and

healthy. Reducing plastic consumption, proper waste disposal and community clean ups

could be one’s solution to this destructive war.

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

Sadly defeated,

Ocean

KLIA EKSPRES

KL SENTRAL

KLIA

INFORMATION COUNTER AT

DEPARTURE MAIN TERMINAL

& SATELLITE BUILDING

KLIA2

INFORMATION COUNTER,

SATELLITE BUILDING &

INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL

4 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


NEWS

ON THE RADAR

GET UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HAPPENINGS ON

TRAVEL, HOTEL OPENINGS, FOOD OFFERS AND

TRENDING FASHION AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA

UPSCALE HOTEL

IN CHINA’S

METROPOLIS

ISLAND

Jinshazhou island

in Southern China’s

Guangdong province

welcomes the first

international hotel–the

Grand Mercure Foshan

Country Garden–in the

city. Inspired by the

historical Shabei Village,

the hotel’s interior

reflect the local culture

with ceramic art and

offers a mountainous

view of Xunfeng

Mountain. Opening rates

starts from RMB429 nett

per room.

www.accorhotels.com

HONG KONG WELCOMES

WAGYUMAFIA

Tokyo’s top wagyu specialist restaurant,

Wagyumafia debuts its first overseas

branch at Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Known

for their unique fat-marbling and

authentic Japanese-reared premium

beef, this exclusive restaurant

will include their world-famous

Cutlet Sandwich to yakiniku and

shabu shabu of the Kobe beef.

Dinner are available through

reservations on Tock only.

Guardian House,

32 Oi Kwan Road,

Wan Chai,

Hong Kong

BEWARE OF THE DANGER SERIES

Yoke & Theam relaunched its anticipated

signature design from 2015. Adding more

variations to the local brand’s collection

sees best-seller Ace sandals redone

in mesh or microfiber material while

Picabo sandals comes in matt or glossy

leather. Both sandals are loved for their

inner cushion and comfortable insole for

long-hour wear.

www.yokentheam.com

MRS JONES’ MAGIC POTION

Taste specially crafted drinks at Petaling Jaya’s

new homely hangout spot at Mrs Jones’ Parlour

that serves exclusive cocktails, a selection of wines

and unrivalled in-house gin and tonic in a rather

nostalgic ambience of a 70s residence. The bar and

dinner place opens from 5pm till 1am daily.

617A, Jalan 17/10, Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya

6 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


MYairports

TRAVEL EASY AND QUICK

Download the MYairports app today for a

more joyful airport experience.

Breeze through your journey from

home to the departure gate with

our new MYairports app!

Navigate easily with the dynamic

way finding feature

Manage your journey step by step

through the airport

Customise your app preferences

by creating your own profile

Share your feedback to enhance

your experience and satisfaction

*ANDROID VER 6 & ABOVE

HAVE A HAPPY JOURNEY!


NEWS

ATELIER COLOGNE DEBUT IN KLIA

Inspired by its boutiques worldwide, the

Parisian brand marks its first Southeast

Asia airport pop-up concept for travellers.

One can venture into the scents and

fragrances of Atelier Cologne and

purchase personalised leather case for

fragrance bottles with engraved name or

initials. The pop-up is available from now

until end of February 2019.

Satellite Building, Kuala Lumpur

International Airport

LIVE LIKE A LOCAL IN

SINGAPORE

Travellers to Singapore can feel and

experience the local roots through

the new experiential local tour

and workshops hosted by Grand

Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

Exclusive for in-house guests, they

can embark on a complimentary

half-day heritage tour at Tiong Bahru

neighbourhood on every Saturday.

The campaign runs from now until 31

November 2019.

www.grandcopthorne.com.sg

FIRST HALAL CUISINE IN

ASIA’S CRUISE SHIP

Dream Cruises is the only cruise ship

in the Asia to be certified Halal in its

line of food and beverages on board

at The Lido restaurant in Genting

Dream cruise ship. Genting Dream

deploys from Singapore to exciting

venues in Penang, Phuket, Surabaya,

North Bali and others all year round.

www.dreamcruiseline.com

WIRELESS NOISE

CANCELLING HEADPHONES

Go crazy with Sony’s new Bluetooth

noise cancelling headphones. The

innovative WI-C600N lightweight

neckband eliminates loud

distractions and let you switch to

surrounding ambient sound easily

by pushing a button. The built-in

microphone is also compatible

with Google Assistant and Siri for

listening to music and making calls

in ease.

Available in Sony Stores and

authorised retailers in Malaysia

8 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


EVENTS

OUT & ABOUT

LOOK OUT FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF

THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND

STORY PARTY MALAYSIA

9 JAN

A live storytelling show put professional storytellers

in the limelight sharing true experiences in dating

whether it is good or bad ugly dating stories. The Story

Party world tour even won an award of “Online Dating

Alternative” playing to sold out audiences in more than

60 countries across the world.

PJ Live Arts, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

www.storyparty.co

PONGGAL CELEBRATION

15 JAN

Join the Ponggal festival in Penang

surrounded by a sacred atmosphere

at the local temple featuring various

cultural presentations. Ponggal is a

harvest festival observed by Tamils to

give thanks to the Sun God in hope

for a successful harvest. Enjoy the traditional

sweet Ponggal dish to complete the experience.

Kuil Dewi Sree Veerapathra Maha Kaliamman,

Bagan Ajam, Butterworth

www.mypenang.gov.my

BTS WORLD TOUR LOVE YOURSELF

19 JAN

They are the first South Korean band/artists

to top the Billboard 200 chart consecutively

with their music and cultivating an awardwinning

social media presence. Also

known as Bangtan Boys or Bulletproof Boy

Scouts, the band will be promoting the

‘Love Yourself’ album series in their third

worldwide tour.

National Stadium, Singapore

www.sportshubtix.sg

THE FAIRY DOLL

18-19 JAN

Brought to you by Asia

Ballet Academy, The

Fairy Doll brings you

through a journey of

dreams and adventure

in toy forms. Among tin

soldiers, bunny, music

box and many other, The

Fairy Doll is the most

beautiful toy of all with

her magic powers that

encourages love and

happiness.

Istana Budaya,

Kuala Lumpur

www.airasiaredtix.com

LONDON’S WEST END MEN IN CONCERT

19 JAN

Along with the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, a cast of talented musicians

and actors are performing together on the prestigious platform. West End’s top

musicians such as Daniel Koek, Hugh Maynard and Oliver Tompsett will be joined

by Harriet Jones, the lead in Phantom of the Opera as a special guest.

Thailand Cultural Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

www.thaiticketmajor.com

10 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Healthy Joints

To Cherish

OTHER THAN A SURPRISE PROPOSAL, THERE

SHOULD BE NO CAUSE FOR HAVING WEAK KNEES

ALL THE TIME. CONSTANT BACK ACHE AND JOINT

DISCOMFORT MIGHT WARRANT SYMPTOMS OF

ORTHOPAEDIC PROBLEMS. SO, BE INFORMED AS

ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON, DR KUNASELAN, GETS TO

THE BASIS OF BONE CARE AND OTHER PRECAUTIONS.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ORTHOPAEDIC

PROBLEMS IN OUR LIFESTYLE TODAY?

Compared to 30 years ago, there are more

outdoor engagements in the society. These days,

people spend most of their time indoors, sitting in

a confined area that limits their movements. This

eventually leads to frequent neck, shoulder and

hand pain. Besides, not having enough exposure

to sunlight can affect the bone density in a long

run. Sunlight is the top natural source of vitamin

D to improve bone health so do take some time

off to be outside on a sunny day.

KKLIU 2844/2018

CAN PHYSICAL FITNESS PREVENT

ORTHOPAEDIC COMPLICATIONS?

Practicing a simple active lifestyle can reduce the

risk of orthopaedic diseases. Make it a habit and

instill daily physical activities by walking more and

taking the stairs instead of elevators. For people

who sits in a prolonged time, it is recommended to

spend time in between to walk as an exercise.

HOW DOES YOUNG PEOPLE COMMONLY

SUFFER FROM ORTHOPAEDIC ISSUES?

Presently, most young adults get joint injuries

from sports. It is essential to warm up your body

properly before engaging in physical activities. Also,

there are higher tendencies of getting injuries from

playing indoor sports like futsal as there are no

shock absorptions on hard surfaces as compared to

playing on fields.

IF ONE SUFFER FROM A SPRAIN WHILE

TRAVELLING, WHAT ARE THE QUICK

WAYS TO ALLEVIATE THE PAIN?

For immediate action, use ice on the affected area

to reduce swelling. Otherwise, menthol oil that

consist methyl salicylate gives cool soothing effect

to the injured area.

IN LONG FLIGHTS, HOW CAN ONE

STAY COMFORTABLE AND AVOID

ORTHOPAEDIC PROBLEMS?

It is advisable to pick aisle seats for elderly

people for more convenience to stretch.

Constant movement of limbs can avoid deep vein

thrombosis, blood clot in veins for older patients.

There is also a high vulnerability for older people

to get fractures or back ache from bad

turbulence so use additional supports like

back and neck pillows for comfort.

1, Jalan 1/96A, Taman Cheras Makmur,

56100 Kuala Lumpur

03-9145 2888

www.pantai.com.my/cheras

SCAN FOR SPECIAL

HEALTH PACKAGE

Dr Kunaselan Muthiah

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon


FOOD

SOCIAL

ENTERPRISE

RESTAURANTS

IN HO CHI

MINH CITY

YOUR CULINARY ADVENTURE CAN BE

IMMENSELY IMMERSIVE, DINING IN

OUTLETS DRIVEN BY PHILANTHROPIC

AIMS IN HO CHI MINH CITY.

Text ANGELA GOH Photos NOIR, BLANC & KOTO SAIGON

Some dining experiences can take on a

whole new meaning. Dedicated to uplifting

the lives of disadvantaged groups, these

social enterprise outfits employ and provide

culinary-hospitality training to street children,

orphans and those with disabilities. Here are

several inspiring restaurants which serve good

food for good causes.

BLANC

Blanc, occupying the same beautifully restored

French colonial-era building which houses

Noir, is staffed by a team of 11 dedicated and

enthusiastic staff who are hearing-impaired.

“We had extra dining rooms and like the idea

of a restaurant in the ‘light’. Also, with several

deaf people working at Noir, we thought why not

give them their own restaurant?” says Germ, cofounder

of Blanc, which opened in 2017.

The hearing-impaired in Vietnam face a high

rate of unemployment, while those who work are

often relegated to poorly-paid, unskilled jobs,

Germ explains. A portion of Blanc’s profits are

channelled to charities working with the hearingimpaired,

including those which provide hearing

aids to children who are hearing-impaired.

How the dining works:

Diners are encouraged

to communicate in sign

language to help get

you acquainted with the

“new” language. Fret not;

there are pictographs of

Vietnamese sign language

on the menu. But feel free

to order with pen and

paper or just point to the

item.

Cuisine:

International Asian

fusion

Signature dishes:

Beef soup and Norwegian

salmon.

178/180D

Hai Ba Trung Street,

Da Kao Ward, District 1.

+84 28 6266 3535

blancrestaurant.vn

12 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


FOOD

Food Guide who will serve the

food and drinks, and is available to

answer questions. After the meal is

completed, diners will be led back

to the lounge where the mystery

of their meal will be uncovered as

they are informed about the kind of

dishes they had been served.

NOIR – DINING IN THE DARK

If you want to take dining to a higher sensory level,

try it in the realm of darkness. Deprived of the sense

of sight or blind tasting, diners at Noir embark on a

culinary journey heightened by other senses - taste,

smell, touch and sound.

Founded in 2014, Noir aims not only for diners to

fully appreciate a sense that so many of us take for

granted, but create job opportunities and promote

awareness about the visually impaired in Vietnam.

“Just like other people with disabilities, they

often live on the margins of society. In Noir, we turn

this around by putting them in charge,” says Germ,

referring to the team of 11 visually impaired servers.

How the dining works:

This unique gastronomic journey

begins at the lounge where welcome

drinks are served and diners can

select from one of three mystery

menus (each is a three-course meal

where the dishes are undisclosed).

The menu from the East is

Asian/Vietnamese while the menu

from the West is international/

European, both of which change

every four months. The vegetarian

menu changes twice a year. As you

can guess, wine pairing is also a

mystery. Diners then play with a

game to heighten their sense of

touch. After that, they are led to the

darkened dining room by a blind

Cuisine:

Contemporary Asian and Western.

Past menu:

The current menu is, literally, kept

in the dark, so a glimpse of its

past menu will give an idea of the

dishes served. Aimed at delighting

the senses, the items range from

the familiar to the exotic – prawn

tomyum soup, vegetable lasagne,

pan-fried seabass, slow-roasted

marinated duck breast and basil

tomato ice-cream.

178 Hai Ba Trung District 1

+84 8 6263 2525 / +84 9 8663 2525

noirdininginthedark.com

KOTO SAIGON - A TRAINING RESTAURANT

Founder Jimmy Pham, a Vietnamese-Australian on his

first visit to Vietnam in 1996, was struck by the plight

of street children. He set out to ask some of them what

they wanted out of life, to which they replied: “We need

skills so we can find stable jobs.”

That sparked his concept for Koto (“Know One,

Teach One”), a not-for-profit social enterprise aimed

at transforming the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged

youths through a holistic training programme. Students

learn English, culinary and hospitality management and

life skills (healthy living, personal financing, first aid,

communication and among many others).

Koto started in Hanoi as a small sandwich shop with

only nine trainees in 1999; the first restaurant opened a

year later, and another in Saigon in 2010.

Almost a thousand young

people have graduated from

Koto, with about 200 in training.

Both training restaurants which

serve as venues for trainees

to practice their hospitality

skills also partially sponsors

the training programme. Every

six months, 40 disadvantaged

youths (16-22 years old) are

recruited and after graduating

from two years of training, they

are able to work in five-star

hotels, resorts and restaurants in

Vietnam and overseas.

Cuisine:

Traditional Vietnamese,

Southeast Asian and Western.

Signature dishes:

The Set Met is a crowd-pleaser

for a two-person date. It

comprises of seven dishes:

stuffed pork, beef roll, green

mango salad, crispy duck

wontons, salt and pepper frogs,

pork satay, and lotus fried rice.

Specials:

A three-course set lunch is priced at

98,000 Vietnamese dong.

19 Nguyen Dinh Chieu,

Da Kao Ward, District 1.

+84 28 3822 9357

www.koto.com.au/koto-trainingrestaurants

ALSO

CHECK

OUT

BLOOM RESTAURANT

SAIGON

It is a non-profit restaurant that

provides culinary training for

orphaned and disadvantaged

children around Vietnam

operated by Aid for Children

Without Parents at Ward Dakao,

District 1.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 13


QUICK ORGANIC MEAL TREATS

FAST FOOD ADDS A DOSE OF DELIGHT WHEN IT IS ORGANIC AND PACKED WITH WHOLESOME

NUTRIENTS. GET IN WITH QUICK AND EASY OFFERINGS FROM OVERNIGHT OATS, BAKED PASTRIES

AND SALAD SHAKERS AT BMS ORGANICS GRABN GO VEGAN OUTLET.

ADVERTORIAL

ENERGY BOOST

E Oriental Veggie Burger:

Juicy pineapple slice makes a sweet pair

with soy grain ham providing high-quality

protein source

E Mane Mushroom Veggie Wrap:

A Mexican wrap with mane mushroom

helps to strengthen the immune system and

improves digestion

E Panini Sandwich (Ciabatta):

Italian bread served with vegan tuna

spread and capsicums for healthy fibre and

vitamins dosage

FIBER DRIVE

E Lovely Red Overnight Oats:

Oats, Cashew Milk, Honey, Banana, Red

Dragon Fruit, Cinnamon Powder, Chia Seed

E Yellow Tango Overnight Oats:

Oats, Cashew Milk, Honey, Mango, Papaya,

Granola, Chia Seed

E Vitamin Boosting Juice:

Choices of blended fruits with honey or tea

for vitamins and antioxidants

COMFORT FOOD

E Black Sesame Bun:

Fillings rich in magnesium helps to stabilise

blood pressure

E Vegetable Bun:

Sauteed vegetables and wheat improves

bowel movements

E Pumpkin Mantou:

Steamed bun without fillings for good

dietary fibre

GRAB

IT AT

BMS ORGANICS GRABN GO

Level 3 (Departure Floor),

gateway@klia2

Download BMS Organics mobile app to enjoy

more rewards and free dining vouchers


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TRAVEL

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YOUR TRAVEL

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PATH FOR 2019

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ACCORDING TO NUMEROLOGY, EVERYONE HAS A LIFE

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PATH NUMBER. METAPHYSICS PROFESSIONAL MITRA

CHEN SHARES THE WAY TO KNOW YOUR OWN MASTER

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NUMBER AND LEARN HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR TRAVEL

7

PATTERN FOR THE NEW YEAR.

Text JESSY WONG • Photos ADOBE STOCK, GETTY IMAGES & AIRASIAGO

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3

2

38

0

6


1

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TRAVEL

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Everything in life has a meaning. Down to the

date of our births. Birthday is not just a mere

age indicator as the numbers that welcomed

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us to the world can say a lot about us. Thus, we sat

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down with Mitra Chen, a metaphysics professional,

to let you discover your individuality and pave your

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journey for this new year.

Based on numerology and metaphysics beliefs,

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the core of each personality is found in the Life Path

number. It can also influence the energy around you

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and lay out the course of your life.

However, the effect of your Life Path number is

set to transform every year. For example, one’s Life

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Path number is 2 but for 2019, her Personal Year

number equals to 6. Mitra explained that each year

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can bring a unique theme to each individual.

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3HOW TO GET STARTED

F Life Path Number

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Add all the numbers of your date of birth until you get a single digit number.

Eg: 16 December 1997

(1+6) + (1+2) + (1+9) + (9+7)

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7 + 3 + 10 + 16 = 36

3 + 6 = 9

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F Personal Year Number

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Replace your year of birth with the current year of 2019

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Eg: 16 March 2019

(1+6) + (0+3) + (2+0) + (1+9)

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7 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 13

1 + 3 = 4

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Always add any two digits number singularly as a body of its own.

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To simply put it, Life Path number reflects your

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lifelong character but Personal Year number will lay

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out what you may experience in the coming year.

Numerology is a good way to find out your true

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weaknesses and strength through Life Path number

and let you decide your own path in every Personal

Year number.

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Have fun finding out what 2019 may bring to

your lot! Be prepared either it is a new experience,

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obstacles or opportunities, there are always

something to learn by the end of the day. As Mitra

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believes it, everyone’s life destiny is in our hands and

it will always be up to us to design it.

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8


TRAVEL

NO

1

F Life Path:

As a leader, you are

independent and trust

yourself more than

others. Sometimes,

your confidence

could be domineering

in a group so be

mindful when you

communicate your

creative ideas.

GUIDE TO TRAVEL

F Personal Year:

The intensity of

self-reliance makes

it perfect for solo

travelling to feed your

adventurous spirit.

Backpacking is a good

opportunity for you to

plan and prepare your

own travel itinerary.

GAP Suggests: Osaka, Japan

Osaka is probably the best place to start your

footprints in Japan. Enveloped by Kyoto and Nara,

one may effectively travel around the Kansai region

on railway lines without breaking your wallet; making

it possible to experience the modern Japanese city in

all its entirety in a budgeted solo trip.

2NO

F Life Path:

You love

companionship and be

of service to others.

With your sensitivity

and big heart, you

normally act as a

mediator in your

relationship circles

to create harmony.

Sometimes, you can

be overly dependent.

F Personal Year:

The need to feel

loved and valued is

strong so this engage

in romantic retreats

or activities this year

to closely grow and

improve relationships

with your spouse

or partner.

3NO

F Life Path:

As a master of selfexpression,

you live

life in pure joy and

optimism that enjoys

cultural and artful

things. You are playful

but when needed, you

are focused in your

tasks and sometimes

may feel impatient

towards others.

F Personal Year:

Remaining in your

current surroundings

will make you will

feel restless. Be it in

your neighbourhood

or spending the day

out, travelling is a way

to quench your thirst

and create chances to

meet new people.

GAP Suggests: Andaman and Nicobar, India

Havelock island is the idyllic place to go with skycovered

palm trees, bronzed tan and tropical vibes

for romance to sizzle. The picturesque and peaceful

place boasts of exotic snorkelling and scuba diving

for couples to undertake. One might even go for a

midnight bath in the coastal waters.

GAP Suggests: Bangkok, Thailand

Meet and mingle with people in one of Asia’s most

metropolitan scene. Pick from sophisticated clubs,

rooftop bars to partying at the streets, you may find

something to feed the party spirit at your natural

playground. To name a few, Khao San Road and

Thonglor Soi 10 are the hot millenials’ spots.

18 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


4NO

F Life Path:

Among your family and

friends, you are the one

they depend on. You are

a well-organised planner

and are keen to share

your enlightenment

with others. Others may

perceive your strong will

as a trait of stubbornness.

TRAVEL

F Personal Year:

Your rationality makes

you grounded with

things that are good

for you or the society.

Therefore, channeling

your determination to

do social work while

travelling can be a great

personal mission and

show support for the

local community.

5NO

F Life Path:

You are all about

experiencing the

world with innate

curiosity. From

big changes to

small actions, you

are fearless to see

what the world can

offer. The love of

freedom may cause

you to lose focus of

direction.

F Personal Year:

The adventurous

spirit is strong

and will make you

want to explore out

of your common

surroundings.

As long as you

are experiencing

something new,

it can get your

adrenaline pumping.

GAP Suggests: Siem Reap, Cambodia

There are many ways to contribute in Cambodia.

Profits from Charity Tours Cambodia go to community

developments projects and shopping Khmer silks at

Artisans D’Angkor help to support the local artisans. You

may also learn something from the Elephant Valley Project

that promote elephant conservation.

GAP Suggests: Cebu, Philippines

Cebu is an extraordinary island for various

exploration. Risk-takers can dive with sharks and

sea turtles at Moalboal diving spot, trek the path

at Osmena Peak, the highest point in the island

or go canyoning at the popular waterfall sites. For

a break, taste fresh Philippines seafood by the

clear waters and white beaches.

6NO

F Life Path:

Family is everything

to you. Besides,

you are driven to

manage and help

others; either

domestically or

business-wise,

you know how

to balance your

responsibilities and

are more likely to

be your own boss.

F Personal Year:

The nurturing

presence revolves

around you to be

understanding and

compassionate

towards others.

You are more likely

to splurge on your

family so family

trips and gatherings

can bring the best

out of you.

GAP Suggests: Jakarta, Indonesia

City travel has much to offer for every

generation in the family. There are cultural

engagements, local markets and delicious fares

to bond over with. Family-friendly activities

include catching a show at Jakarta Arts Theatre

and kids will delight in a trip to Taman Safari,

the wildlife park.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19


TRAVEL

7NO

F Life Path:

You are both a thinker and a

seeker. You live a lot in your

head to do self-reflection and

directing the intuitive side in

you. By doing that, you may

feel that others do not see

the world in the same way

as you.

F Personal Year:

Self-exploration is an

excellent theme for travelling

to be on a personal, eat pray

love kind of journey. The

urge to seek for your true self

and inner peace will allow

you to develop internally.

8NO

GAP Suggests: South Jeolla Province, South Korea

Away from the cityscape, Chungnyeongsan Mountain in Jangseong

County is a cypress forest covered landscape. It is also known as

the ‘healing forest’ for trekkers to undergo a retreat of senses.

Meditating in the scenic forest can rejuvenate one’s body and mind

in the refreshing cypress-scent air.

F Life Path:

The material

world is in your

hands if you

know your power.

With the right

leadership, vision

and learning path,

you can succeed

in your goals and

be financially

comfortable.

F Personal Year:

One may face

stress and be

short-tempered

when manifesting

their goals to meet

material needs so

going away from

the earthly calls

can be a pleasant

change to find

balance.

GAP Suggests: Sarawak, Malaysia

Embrace the local culture at the country’s

most diverse indigenous state at Sarawak

Cultural Village. The award-winning interactive

museum has a lot to offer about its ethnic

groups through traditional dances, costume

galleries, cultural food and lifesize replicas

of longhouses for one to truly experience its

humble lifestyle.

9NO

F Life Path:

Passion is your

strongest weapon

to achieve anything

you want. You are

wise and creative in

reaching your goal

to boot, you are

charitable and are

happy to lend your

hand to others.

F Personal Year:

Feel a heightened

sense of

enlightenment

spiritually or

psychologically

while completing

missionary or

pilgrim travel. By

observing others,

you can learn to let

go things of the past.

GAP Suggests: Lhasa, Tibet

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to be impressed

by Tibet’s breathtaking landscapes, the pilgrims’

faith and holy sites. Lhasa literally means ‘place

of the Gods’. The colourful townscape in peaceful

surroundings can easily move anyone. Note that

independent travel in Tibet is not allowed so do

prearrange a tour.

MORE ON METAPHYSICS

Mitra Chen is a metaphysics professional with specialities in bazi, qimen dunjia, fensghui, date selection and numerology. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she is also the

founder of Joy Mitra Resources that provides freelance personalised consultation to individuals and corporate clients. Contact Mitra at joymitra2908@gmail.com

or call +6014-3301569 for personal analysis.

20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


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TRAVEL

A THAIPUSAM

TRIBUTE

THAIPUSAM IS ONE OF THE MAIN HINDU CELEBRATIONS

IN MALAYSIA AND IS THE BIGGEST FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD

DEDICATED TO THE HINDU GOD MURUGAN. A DAY OF

PRAYERS AND PENANCE, THAIPUSAM IS ALSO A FESTIVAL

OF THANKSGIVING TO MURUGAN FOR VOWS FULFILLED.

Text ANGELA GOH • Photos ADOBE STOCK

1

22 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


TRAVEL

2

3

4

Thaipusam is not Murugan’s birthday. Vaikhasi

Vishakam, which falls in either May or June, is

Murugan’s birthday.

F How It Is Celebrated

Thaipusam festivities take place over three days.

48 Days Prior

Devotees exercise abstinence leading up to the

festival, forgoing any manner of gluttony, luxury and

desire. They observe complete fasting or eat a simple

vegetarian meal or some fruit and milk once a day.

They observe strict celibacy and refrain from

alcohol, smoking, vulgarity and even entertainment.

They sleep on the floor, wake before sunrise for

meditation and chants and take a customary

cleansing bath.

ORIGIN

WHEN

21JAN2019

F Meaning

Thaipusam is celebrated during a full moon in

the Tamil month of “Thai” (the 10th month in

the Tamil calendar, coinciding with January or

February). “Pusam” means “when the star is at

its brightest”.

Thaipusam festival commemorates the occasion

when Parvati Devi gave her son Murugan (also

known as Subramaniam) a spear or Vel, so he could

vanquish a demon.

Besides representing virtue, youth and power,

Hindus also believe Murugan is the universal

dispenser of favours. Some who have made vows

and pledges to Murugan show their gratitude by

undergoing self-mortification on Thaipusam day.

They often perform acts of self-sacrifice, piercing

their skin with silver skewers that symbolise the Vel

or with hooks from which they hang fruits or bowls

of milk.

On The Eve

After completing the 48 days of abstinence, the

devotees must observe a 24-hour fast. Some may also

observe a vow of silence.

Thaipusam Day

The procession with Murugan’s chariot goes from

one temple to another main temple. Clad in yellow

and saffron (Murugan’s colours) with clean-shaven

heads (symbol of humility and atonement), devotees

walk barefoot to a temple of Murugan carrying the

kavadi or milk pots.

On reaching the end of the route, the kavadi is

laid down and the hooks which have been attached

to the skin of the devotee’s body are removed while

a priest chants amid an elaborate ceremony with

drumming and music. The wounds are treated with

hot ash.

Last Day

The chariot returns to the temple.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23


TRAVEL

6

“Murugan is

the universal

dispenser of

favours.”

5

7

SYMBOLS

F Climbing Steps

All Murugan temples are situated on top of a hill as

Siva ordered him to be situated atop Mount Palani

in south India. Following this, devotees are required

to hike up to the temples carrying the kavadi and

offerings to Murugan.

F Kavadi

Kavadi derives from the words “kaavu” and “tadi”

which means a pole to carry things. It is believed

that the burden in the life of a devotee who carries

a kavadi is lessened by Murugan. A kavadi consists

of a short wooden pole topped with a wooden arch,

decorated with peacock feathers (Murugan’s mascot

is the peacock), margosa leaves and other materials.

F Milk Pot (Paal Kudam)

Most women devotees carry a pot of milk which is

poured over the statue of Murugan at the end of the

procession. It is believed that when devotees pour

milk onto a deity, elixir is extracted from it.

F Piercing

Tongue and cheek piercing symbolise the sacrifice

of giving up speech and talking (to fully focus on the

deity).

F Shaving of Heads

This is to remove ego and vanity.

F Coconuts

Another spectacle that you will witness during the

Thaipusam celebration is the breaking of coconuts.

This is an act of purification and humility upon

attaining wisdom. In Malaysia, even non-Hindu

devotees are sometimes seen breaking coconuts to

fulfil their vows.

24 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


TRAVEL

8

WHERE IN MALAYSIA

F Kuala Lumpur

The night before Thaipusam, devotees gather at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple

along Jalan Tun HS Lee (Chinatown/Petaling Street area). From there, they

leave around midnight on a 15-km (8-hour) walk to Batu Caves, arriving the next

morning. The long trip culminates in the flight of 272 steps to the cave entrance.

F Penang

On Thaipusam day, various types of colourful kavadis would be carried up 248

steps to reach the Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple or the Penang Waterfall

Hilltop Temple at Jalan Kebun Bunga. The main road that leads to the hilltop will

be decorated with cultural motifs called kolam.

F Ipoh

The chariot procession starts from Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Sungai

Pari to the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunong Cheroh, Ipoh, Perak.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Devotees who carry kavadi for Thaipusam are recommended to fast from sunrise

to sunset, or observe vegetarianism. Breaking of fast with a satvic meal involves

eating fruit and nuts in the morning and having a light meal of idli and thosai

at sunset. This is part of the cleansing process to keep the body light for the

procession and arduous climb ahead. Devoid of stimulants, such as caffeine and

chocolate, this diet is believed to lead to clarity of mind and physical health.

1 Lord Murugan Statue at Batu Caves is also the tallest statue

in Malaysia 2 Thaipusam ceremony at Batu Caves 3 Religious

Indian praying rituals 4 Fruits and flowers offering for the

festival 5 A devotee with shaved head 6 Male kavadi bearer with

piercings 7 Smashing of coconuts to attain wisdom 8 A colourful

temple in limestone hill

GOOD

TO

KNOW

• On top of fasting, devotees sleep on the floor

without pillows throughout the 48 days

before Thaipusam.

• The task of carrying a kavadi is considered

very sacred and it is believed that this can

only be done when one’s mind and body are

free from earthly pleasures. Kavadi bearers

who have been pierced are said to feel no pain

nor bleed.

• While male devotees carry kavadi, female

devotees often carry milk pots. Both genders

however, can subject themselves to body

piercings should they wish.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 25


TRAVEL

ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

SAKON NAKHON,

THAILAND

BUILT IN THE 11TH CENTURY, THE ANCIENT

CITY OF THAILAND LEADS A SACRED

BUDDHIST SOCIETY NOTABLE FOR THEIR

TRADITIONS, VARIOUS FOREST TEMPLE

MEDITATION RETREATS, ROYAL SITES AND

GOLDEN STUPAS.

Text JESSY WONG

Photos ADOBE STOCK & CHUAN THANAPANYA RESORT

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly to Bangkok and transit at Don Mueang

International Airport as AirAsia has daily direct

flight to Sakon Nakhon Airport. Otherwise,

budget travellers can go there by bus from

Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal or take a train to

neighbouring town at Udon Thani and continue the

journey via bus.

WHERE TO STAY

Seekers of local and traditional touch to their stay

may consider Chuan Thanapanya Resort made of

wooden and brick houses. It may be out of town but

guests may enjoy additional perks at the resort’s hot

tubs, gardens, karaoke and hot spring bath.

WHERE TO EAT

Sakon Nakhon main produce are rice and fishes so do

expect these in most its local Thai dishes. If you dare,

try their local delicacy of deep-fried insects, bird

meat and snakes at their markets. International fares

and French cuisine can also be found in Ban Fa Prong

Coffee & Bakery and Buckstawk Coffee House.

26 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

WHAT TO DO

Embrace the calm and sacred surroundings at

Wat Phra That Cherng Chum, a local temple

at the city that features the footprints of four

Buddhas. For a cultural experience, visit Sakon

Nakhon Cultural Centre or go for a tour at Ban

Non Rua village famously known for their perfect

art of indigo-dyed fabrics made from kram plants.

Take a boat ride at Thailand’s second largest

lake, Nong Han, to reach its offshore isle of

Don Sawan. Phu Phan National Park is another

great place of interest for outdoor explorers.

Be enveloped with limestone mountains and

savannahs while you spend the day at waterfalls,

flower plain and camping with wildlife.

GOOD

to

KNOW

Sakon Nakhon Wax

Castle Festival is

an art and cultural

festival celebrated

in October every

year where

beautiful wax

castles are paraded

along the streets.

A handwoven fabric

with natural bark

dye made with

traditional Khit

weaving would be

good handicraft

souvenir.

The monument in

Wat Phra That

Cherng Chum

temple is the face

of Thailand’s tensatang

coin.


SHOP

28 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


SHOP

MINIATURISTS

OF MALAYSIA

SOMETIMES, GREAT THINGS COMES IN SMALL SIZES. LOVE IT AS AN

ART DISPLAY OR FLAUNT IT AS AN ACCESSORY, THESE ARTISTS HAVE

MASTERED THE KNACK OF MAKING EVERY INCH COUNTS.

Text JESSY WONG • Photos DIORAMA, PICOWORM & TINYPINC

A piece of miniature art is basically anything

that can be held in the palm of the hand.

These small sculptures or objects are more

often than not a replica of the reality, scaled down to

the smallest size imaginable.

Dating back millenniums ago, miniature art

or painting can be traced as a collector’s hobby to

gather miniature paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Although it is not common, the miniature trend has

been timeless. Perhaps, the most popular miniature

art that the masses can relate to is a dollhouse.

Well that, is about to change. Contemporary

miniaturists of Malaysia show their love for the

country by remaking their favourite childhood

memories, creating culture, forming foods and

constructing buildings. They never missed anything

down to the tiny little bits of details and it will make

one to fall in love with all things Malaysian, again.

EDDIE PUTERA

A veteran artist on Malaysian grounds, Eddie Putera,

is an expert in the business of art from painting,

sculpting and photography for as long as 20 years.

Pre-armed with skills and natural talent., he ventured

into diorama and miniature art that he calls “an

extension of my visual stories from 2D to 3D”.

Eddie’s work resonates with most Malaysians

as he is keen to built based on memories of things

from the past. He wishes his art could be a historical

archive for the future generations. “I try to replicate

the materials and the effect of weather on buildings,

vehicle and landscape so that they be as realistic as

possible. That is why [my creation has] the rust and

rustic look.”

Also a frequent traveller, Eddie takes his

references from his collection of pictures as an

inspiration to create. “It takes from 4-8 weeks for me

to complete my projects. And I could be working on

3-4 projects at the same time.” His proudest project

so far is a diorama he did on the story of successful

people from Malaysia; which was filmed into a

3-minute short movie for Independence Day.

Eddie works on commission basis and his

collection are also available purchase on his website.

GET IT ONLINE AT G

www.epvisualarts.com

@eddieputera

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 29


SHOP

PICOWORM

Just in her twenties, Lim Pui Wan artfully evokes

nostalgia and memories with PicoWorm. It is a dream

come true for her to become a miniature artist. From

saving money through part-time jobs to buy her first

supplies and tools, Pui Wan has accomplished more

than what she humbly aspires today–tugging the

hearts of many with PicoWorm’s miniatures.

‘PicoWorm’ exhibits someone who loves and

devotes her time in making miniatures. To break it

down for you, ‘Pico’ is a small unit in metric system

and ‘Worm’ is derived from the word, bookworm as

someone who loves to read. Besides, P.W. can also

stand as her initials!

As an artist, Pui Wan turns anything she saw or

experienced into her artwork in detail. Inspired by

her grandmother, her famous Nanyang Kitchen set

took her 5 months to complete. Another personal

collection is the Ban Fong Provision Shop that

serves as a remembrance of her childhood. “Realistic

miniatures can reminisce their past memories, and

the feeling of missing the old days.” Pui Wan shares.

PicoWorm miniatures are normally made to order

and if you’re lucky, she also sells limited pieces of her

miniatures online.

GET IT ONLINE AT G

www.etsy.com/shop/PicoWorm

@picoworm

30 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


SHOP

“The tiny little bits

of details will make

one to fall in love with

all things Malaysian,

again.”

TINYPINC

According to the founder, ‘TinyPinc’ is a play of words:

Tiny for small, Pinc is supposedly the colour of pink

which reflects something cute. Ling Hooi Yin, preferably

known as Ling, used to spend hours on Youtube learning

how to make things with polymer clay. It is a hobby to

de-stress from college. Fast forward to 9 years later,

TinyPinc is noted for making miniatures into accessories

like stud earrings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces.

Malaysians take their food seriously and Ling takes

the extra step of turning Malaysian food into miniatures

to wear. Ling cheerfully adds, “people buy for their

friends and family who couldn't eat Malaysian food for

years. That makes me happy because they get to own a

little piece of Malaysia.”

Ling shares that her famous durian art took her 10

hours to complete the husk as she meticulously shaped

each thorn. Sincerely handmade, one may find their

favourite smaller-than-bite-sized nasi lemak, char kway

teow, traditional kuih (desserts), sweets and even plastic

bag drinks to accessorize with.

You may also try your hand in making miniatures

with Ling. TinyPinc organises workshops from time

to time. TinyPinc miniatures are available on sale in

selected stores in Malaysia and Singapore and Ling also

accepts customised orders.

GET IT ONLINE AT G

www.tinypinc.com

@tinypinc

HOLD UP,

THERE'S

MORE!

Go to our website to read the artists’

full interviews online.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 31


LOST & FOUND

Text and photos

FRANCIS YIP

LOST

LANGUAGE

Language is the soul of a nation. As a multiracial

nation, Malaysia has speakers of over 137

living languages with 41 of them are found in

Peninsular Malaysia.* Malaysia practices the freedom

of languages. We have Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban,

Dusunic or Kadazan languages, and our official

language is the Malay language.

Over the decades, languages have evolved so

much. Technology terminology made their way

into some languages, enriching it further. However,

some are facing extinction as speakers of the native

languages prefer to use other main languages.

In fact, Etnologue Report, a database of the

world’s 7,000-plus languages claimed some 80

percent of 137 languages in Malaysia are considered

“endangered” in which the speakers are mainly the

elderly people.

LOST IN WORDS

My niece couldn’t speak any Chinese dialect. Like

most Chinese Malaysian children today, she was

raised to communicate in Mandarin and English

although Cantonese is my brother’s mother tongue.

The declining state of Chinese dialects as mother

tongue, like Penang Hokkien is not surprising.

Chinese independent schools emphasise on

Mandarin over other dialects while national schools

focus on Malay and English language.

The state of ethnic languages in other parts

of Malaysia also saw a decline. For the Melaka’s

Portuguese Eurasian community, those aged below 45

are less fluent in their Cristang or Creole language..

And most younger generation of Lun Dayeh, a

minority ethnic group in north-eastern Sabah and

Lun Bawang, Sarawak speak Malay at home because

of mixed marriages and school.

I remember my grandma used to speak Toi

Shanese language, which originated from Taishan, the

city in southwest of Guangdong, China. The Toi Shan

community used to be a close-knit community in

King Street, George Town, Penang. Today, this dialect

is less spoken among the community.

On a brighter note, linguists have recently

found a language, Jedek which is spoken by about

280 people of the community which once foraged

along the Pergau River. Jedek speakers now live in

resettlement area in northern Malaysia. The language

is recognised as unique by Swedish linguists from

Lund University.

Malaysian English is perhaps the most widely

spoken among Malaysians. We sometimes call it

Bahasa Rojak because the English language mixes

with other languages, from Malay, Chinese to Indian

languages. Talk to any Malaysian, and you will bound

to come across the word “lah” spoken along with

many sentences. For instance, “I have eaten lah” or

“gostan” to be “go astern”.

PROMOTING LANGUAGES

Realising their languages are in the decline, some

communities have stepped up efforts to promote

their languages. This include the making of Malaysia’s

first Penang Hokkien language movie, “You Mean the

World to Me” which has received rave reviews and

set the pace to more ethnic language movies.

Dictionaries of their mother tongue languages

like Penang Hokkien, Cristang and Lun Dayah were

published by individuals and associations. Some

have even created tutorials and podcasts of these

languages or a website like www.penanghokkien.com

All in all, we should preserve our languages. After

all, the more languages you know, the more you will

be in demand.

Note:

*Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Malaysia

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

32 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

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