APRIL 2019 | ISSUE 35
DESSERTS IN KL
4 ON THE RADAR
8 OUT & ABOUT
All Game for Digitising
Exploring Nature’s Glory
Gwangju, South Korea
Spotted in Asia:
Hashima Island, Japan
Cash vs Mobile Payments
GROUP HEAD & BRANDS
28 TALES ON TRACK
Lost & Found
FRANCIS YIP, NG SHEN LEE, JENNIFER CHOO & SAM YEN
SALES & MARKETING
YONG WANG CHING
COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP
PUBLISHCOM ASIA SDN. BHD.
NO. 83–1, JALAN MEDANG SERAI, BUKIT BANDARAYA,
59100 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.
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
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WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 1
The world has changed tremendously since
we first ushered in the growing era of
technology. Travel habits has surely evolved
synonymously since the last twenty years. I
remember how travelling in the earlier days used
to be when me and my family had to collect our air
tickets from the travel agency. Now, all you need is a
passport as everything else can be done online.
Therefore, it is only vital when traditional
businesses transform their services and products
online. It is no different for a renowned travel
agency in Malaysia like Mayflower to digitise their
business so it is a great chance for us to speak to KC,
the Chief Technology Officer of Mayflower (page 10)
on his insights of building a digital travel platform.
If you don’t know, KC is also the brain behind
the start-up of AirAsia website.
I have been a frequent traveller to South
Korea so emerging cities like Gwangju (page 20)
keeps my interest piqued for what the beautiful
country can offer. Whereas you are looking for
a nature retreat, see our story on national parks
in Malaysia on page 13. The list of things to do
in Taman Negara alone makes me want to go
outdoors more. After all that exercise, perhaps
you will make a guilt-free run for a plate of
dessert or two in Kuala Lumpur (page 24).
Photo ADOBE STOCK
Do you know what it feels like to be given up for
something else? Mistreated to make room for
development. Altered from my natural estate
to fit into plans. Abused by human’s greed and
finally neglected, when I’m no longer beautiful.
Already, a large number of me is considered
“dead”. I am damaged to the core and robbed
from my ability to perform.
Pollution made me a threat to fishes and
aquatic plants. Domestic and farming sewage,
illegal dumping and land clearing labours are
bullets to my heart. Harming me is akin to
spitting in the wind. Throwing wastes into my
body will only come back to harm you in a cycle.
This country suffers from low water rates
and yet, people here has the highest water
consumption, wastage and overuse. Will
humans only realise my importance when
I’m finally completely zeroed out? Without
me, the quality of life deteriorates and leads
to long-term economic losses. Where it it
Start your efforts from home. Small
domestic steps like conserving water can
make a huge difference. Reduce water
pollution by using soluble products.
Environmentally-friendly products do not
turn into pollutants when going down the
drain. You can save yourself by saving me.
Read our magazine exclusively in Aerobus airport shuttles or bring home a copy of GOASIAPLUS with
you at these pick-up points below:
AIRPORT SHOPPING MALL
INFORMATION COUNTER AT
DEPARTURE MAIN TERMINAL
& SATELLITE BUILDING
SATELLITE BUILDING &
2 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
ON THE RADAR
GET UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HAPPENINGS ON
TRAVEL, HOTEL OPENINGS, FOOD OFFERS AND
TRENDING FASHION AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA
CARNIVAL AWAITS AT
Resorts World Genting redefines
our childhood memory with their
new indoor theme park Skytropolis
Funland. There are nine thrill rides,
eight family rides and five children
rides in the carnival-like wonderland
with latest innovative attractions
like The VOID hyper reality center,
Imaginatrix that combines physical
rides with virtual reality and BigTop
Video Games Park.
Located at Level 1, 2 & 3, First
World Plaza, Resorts World Genting
DRAMATIC ADDITION IN
Located only 10 minutes from
Danang International Airport, this
coastal beach resort introduces
the revamp of 175 rooms and new
two-bedroom Family Suite with
modern amenities. Guests can also
dive into their new ocean-facing
infinity swimming pool, the first in
Vietnam to feature Krislite’s fiber
optic lighting for a galactical swim.
ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT JAPANESE WAGYU
The Hong Kong shabu-shabu buffet restaurant
sees its first flagship Wagyu More branch in
Malaysia with top notch beef and pork from
different countries and unlimited supply of
meat, vegetables, hot food, sushi and desserts
for diners. Premium Buffet packages include
Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef, Spanish Iberico
Pork and Australian Wagyu Beef. Price for the
shabu-shabu buffet starts at RM36.80++.
Wagyu More, 3rd floor,
The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur
A DORAEMON WORLD IN
Revisit your childhood companions of
Doraemon, Nobita and friends in gateway@
klia2, the world-class airport shopping mall in
Malaysia. Surrounded with 30 life-sized mega
figurines of Doraemon, shoppers can choose
from a multitude of merchandises including
limited edition Doraemon items at the popup
store from now until 28 April 2019.
Located at Level 2 at gateway@klia2, Sepang
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BESPOKE LUXURY IN HONG KONG
The century-old hotel brand finds its way to Wan Chai’s
shore with a vision of Hong Kong’s timeless mansion
and cultural diversity. The St. Regis Hong Kong provides
129 designer rooms and suites with personalised St.
Regis Butler Service. Another worth anticipating is their
French and Chinese restaurants featuring Michelinstarred
chefs. The 5-star hotel is slated to open anytime
The St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Hong Kong
YOTELAIR LANDS IN ASIA
Singapore Changi Airport welcomes the first YOTELAIR
property in the newly-built Jewel Changi Airport for travellers
to relax and reconnect. The first-class airport hotel has gym,
co-working space and Club Lounge that overlooks the world’s
tallest indoor waterfall. The 130 smartly-designed cabins is
accepting reservations for stay beginning 12 April 2019 onwards.
FOR THE WILD
Look good and feel good
with ECCO’s latest
innovation the ECCO
OMNI-VENT, a style
that match adventures
in the wild and city. The
increases breathability for
warm climate and delivers
ultimate comfort with
their signature ECCO
anatomical fit to the foot.
Made in both black and
white, the hybrid sneakers
retail for RM939.00.
Available in all Ecco
Apart from New York, Sydney and Las
Vegas, MARQUEE’s first venture into
Asia is set to hype up the nightclub
scene in Singapore with its carnivalesque
features and amusement. The 3-floors
club will house a fully-operational
indoor Ferris Wheel and high slide for a
new party experience. The club opens on
12 April 2019 at Marina Bay Sands.
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OUT & ABOUT
LOOK OUT FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF
THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND
Since his debut in the
late 90s, John Mayer is
finally having his first
show in Hong Kong.
Catch the seven-time
Grammy winner in the
highlight of his Asia Tour
in “An Evening with
John Mayer” that feature
songs covering his entire
recording career with
seven studio albums.
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
ED SHEERAN DIVIDE
Fans rejoice as Ed is returning for his
second round of Divide Tour after his fast
sold-out concert in Malaysia back in 2017.
This time, the ‘Perfect’ singer will be joined
by special guest, One Ok Rock, a Japanese
rock band on the Kuala Lumpur stage.
National Stadium, Bukit Jalil
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The stage play returns for their award-winning
adaptation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. It
follows a group of farm animals facing betrayal,
corruption and cruelty in the taste of freedom after
driving humans away from the Jones Farm. This play
is performed in Malay with English subtitles.
KLPAC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
DISNEY ON ICE MICKEY’S SUPER CELEBRATION
Join Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy in venturing a trail of
Disney stories through this interactive event. Appearing in Asia for the first
time is Moana Live on the journey to save her island. Royal siblings Elsa and
Anna will also be part of the action on ice.
Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam, Malaysia
Held at Hua Hin’s best waterpark, this hip-hop
festival is set to blow up with A$AP Rocky and
2Chainz as headlining acts. Besides music, find local
streetwear at Fashion Zone and a line of Thai food
trucks at the Food Zone. The pirate-theme festival
encourages their attendees to dress up in costumes.
Vananava Hua Hin, Hua Hin, Thailand
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ALL GAME FOR
CLOCKING IN DECADES LONG OF
EXPERIENCE IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY
HAS PUT MAYFLOWER CHIEF TECHNOLOGY
OFFICER CHEAH KWAN CHEONG AMONG
THE TRAILBLAZERS OF BUILDING SOME OF
ASIA’S MOST PROMINENT TRAVEL WEBSITES.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos RICK CHEAH & CHEAH KWAN CHEONG
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American singer Jon Bon Jovi once said
“Nothing is as important as passion. No
matter what you want to do with your life,
be passionate.” Cheah Kwan Cheong is the man who
exhibits similar energy through his works in the
tourism digital world.
Behind the big build and friendly demeanour,
Kwan Cheong or better known as KC, is the person
behind the curtains that first build AirAsia.com back
in 2002 who now delivers Malaysia’s leading travel
The unbelievable truth on how KC started out
in this industry all hangs on his determination and
passion in software engineering. When he was first
approached to build AirAsia.com, KC interestingly
revealed, “I did AirAsia.com on my own, without
going for any class or training. When my ex-boss
called me about this vacancy, there was nothing inhouse.
I had to take over from agency and build the
website from scratch.”
The challenge is indisputable as KC did not
come from a IT or computer background. Instead,
KC graduated with a Degree in Mathematics from
Universiti Putra Malaysia. To add, internet is rare
and it has just been initiated everywhere back then.
AirAsia online platform is build by a man who taught
himself how to do programming, coding and scripts.
“I always tell my guys today to learn from
experience and knowledge. It is something that no
one can’t take away from you. One day when you
move on with your job, you actually earn it and own
KC shared his extensive experience comes
from his ten years stint with AirAsia, GDS platform
Travelport and starting a business of his own before
forming joint venture with Mayflower for digital
BUSINESS ON ONLINE PLATFORM
“Travel industry is going through a change where
you digitise your business or you’re out. The margin
is getting lower and the cost is getting higher.” And
the only way to offset the growing change is through
doing more volume via online business.
Mayflower travel agency has more than over 50
years of history in the Malaysian tourism industry
offering services from travel packages, hotels,
flights, car rentals and etc. So, KC is brought in to
elevate Mayflower traditional business onto digital
“Key objective is to digitise the business. Three
years on, we have done over 300 times of businesses
in terms of online volume”. KC’s passion in building
the e-commerce platform followed with his business
expertise makes him a professional in digitising
“Mixing business and technology together is
something I like to do, something that feels quite
fun because when there are problems, there are also
many ways to solve it. Even though you solve a small
thing, it can make a lot of difference”
As Mayflower is leading the travel market in
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 11
Malaysia, KC is idealistic in providing similar digital
platform for other affiliate companies to standardise
the entire industry digitally. “At the end of the day, it
is the whole marketplace that the volume runs across.
The one thing we can standardise is the platform.
So, even though it is a company we don’t own, they
can still ride on our technology to do their business as
we aim to build quality traffic to sustain for a long run.”
With the growth of online travel agencies and
internet penetration around the world, KC is also
working on an air travel commerce platform which
helps airlines distribute tickets to global markets
efficiently and cost effectively.
TRAVELLING FOR THE MAN
Being an expert in the digital tourism industry,
KC is a well-travelled man himself. As he said
before, “we are the end users ourselves” on his tip
to build both functional and attractive tourism and
In the interest of seeking motivation and pleasure,
KC is very much a beach-goer. “I used to go to
Redang island every year until I got married”, he
reminiscences. The excitement tells that beach is very
much his happy place to unwind.
His newfound favourite beach destination now
is Hua Hin in Thailand. “The laidback town of Hua
Hin gives you beach, good seafood and you’ll find
everything you want [in one location] from anywhere
else in Thailand.”
“It’s also a good place for family or company trip,
and it’s not too far from Malaysia.” But in a surprising
revelation, KC is happy to admit that his heart
ultimately lies in Japan.
“During my time in Osaka, I stayed in Shinsaibashi
and went to Kyoto for a day trip. Those few days, I
walked an average of 20,000 steps per day. But I still
think it was quite fun and cooling.” Now, KC waits for
his chance to travel to Japan again.
For the other side of the world, his best idea on
travelling in Europe is taking the hop-on hop-off city
bus on the first day. “The bus brings you everywhere as
an introduction. So on the second day, you can decide
on where you want to spend your time visiting or go for
sightseeing around the city.”
“Even though you solve a
small thing, it can make a
lot of difference.”
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AN ESCAPE INTO THE DEPTHS OF
MALAYSIA’S RAINFOREST DRAWS
DELIGHT AND UNEXPECTED WONDER
WITH ITS TROPICAL ABUNDANCE AND
VARIOUS RECREATIONS WORTH OF A
TRUE NATURE’S VOYAGE.
Text JESSY WONG Illustration JAMIE SOO-HOO
As a tropical country in Southeast Asia,
the plethora of rainforests in Malaysia is
illustrious of the country’s wealth with
nature reserves. The biodiverse hotspots are tucked
away from cities in a stretch of protected territories,
preserving the home for endangered mammals,
fishes and birds.
Despite that, some of these reserves are open
to visitors to fully experience nature in its habitat.
Among the most sought-after eco destination
remains to be Malaysia’s national park, Taman
Negara, famed to be the oldest rainforest in Asia
estimated to be more than 130 million years old.
The geological charm comes into play for outdoor
lovers to live out their tropical adventure.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 13
THINGS TO DO AT TAMAN NEGARA, PAHANG
Acrophobics might want to stay away from
this longest canopy walk in the world. The
suspended bridge is about 45 metres from
the ground at 550 metres long. It is said
that the canopy walk was initially built for
research in the rainforest. Take a stroll on
the canopy walkway to savour breathtaking
panoramic view of unfiltered nature.
CLIMBING MOUNT TAHAN
Mount Tahan is the highest mountain
in Peninsular Malaysia with more
than 2,000 metres above sea level.
To reach the summit, mountaineers
have to trek through challenging paths
for 7 whole days. Upon ascent, the
temperature drop could materialise
frost at the summit. Usually the best
time to climb Mount Tahan is from
March till August every year and it is
recommended only for those who are
Among the exhilarating activities for outdoor
beginners to engage in is cruising along
the national park’s rivers namely Sungai
Tembeling and Sungai Tahan. The popular
one is rapid shooting at Sungai Tembeling
river where there are 7 different rapids for
shots of adrenaline. Otherwise, fishing is
recommended during the dry months from
February till September.
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The limestone caves in the park
are something not to be missed
for a half-day activity. It is a two
hours trek to reach Gua Kepayang
Besar from the park headquarter
and many would spend a night
camping at the cave. The big
cave chamber could fit up to a
hundred campers at a time.
Malaysia is a hotspot for bird
watching especially in Taman
Negara to catch sights of rare
bird species like the hornbill,
great argus, yellow-eared
barbet and red-naped trogon.
To date, there are 380 bird
species in the national park.
Malaysia is one of the
eighteen countries in
the world identified as
megadiverse for its great
diversity of flora and fauna.
VISITING INDIGENOUS VILLAGE
To learn more about the ethnic tribes
in Malaysia, the indigenous people’s
village is open for experiential learning
at Jeram Dedari to understand their
culture and ways of living in the
backwoods. Survival skills like making
fire and hunting using blow pipes are
demonstrated to the public.
Taman Negara has an area
coverage of 4,343 km 2 which
is equivalent to the size of 6
The “ipoh” tree in the
national park is a natural
poison supplier for darts to
the indigenous people. The
tree latex extract has high
toxic steroid that can cause
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 15
Forested land makes up more than half of Malaysia’s terrain and in east
Malaysia alone, there are over ten national parks conserved, reserved and
protected. Considerably, this part of Malaysia lies on Borneo–the world’s
third largest island–with an abundance of natural resources. Having said
that, stunning geological sights await in the trip to Sabah and Sarawak’s
TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN NATIONAL PARK
This national park is uniquely made up of 5 islands with twothirds
of its surface covered by sea. Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi,
Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sulug are believed to
be formed after melting ice brought a change in sea level about a
million years ago. This marine park is easily accessible from Kota
Kinabalu main town in Sabah by boarding a ferry at Jesselton
Point Ferry Terminal. Aside from trekking in the greens, water
activities like snorkelling and diving are popular here.
Located at the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
BATANG AI NATIONAL PARK
Around 250km away from main city of Kuching,
orang utan, gibbons and hornbills claim this
tropical rainforest as home. Although close to
Indonesia borders, Batang Ai National Park is a
settlement for the Iban ethnic group. The locals
are heavily involved in conserving the place by
offering services like boat rides, park guides
and porters. Tourists can also visit nearby Iban
longhouses for a cultural detour or stay at the
longhouses to experience a night among local.
Located at Lubok Antu, Sarawak
GUNUNG MULU NATIONAL PARK
The breathtaking scenery and its biological
significance makes the place worthy as a UNESCO
World Heritage Site. As a rich tropical karst area,
this national park has three notable caves and
three dominant mountains. However not all caves
are open to public. Visitors to Clearwater Cave,
Deer Cave and Lang’s Cave must apply for permit
and accompanied by a park guide. Other activities
in the park include rock climbing, trekking,
kayaking and mountain biking.
Located at Miri, Sarawak
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MAYFLOWER.COM.MY HAS PROVEN OVER TIME AND AGAIN TO BE MALAYSIA’S
LEADING TRAVEL PORTAL. SIGNING AS TRAVELLER’S BEST CHOICE, THIS PLATFORM
PRIDES ON HAVING ALL UNDER ONE BOOKING.
Homegrown travel agency
Mayflower has been
around for the longest
time with over 50 years in the
travel market. 3 years ago,
Mayflower made a decision to
digitised their conventional
services to the online platform.
Fitting in to the demands of a
new century, Mayflower.com.
my break through the e-booking
platform with leading examples
of a seasoned travel agency.
WHY BOOK FROM A
These days, there are plenty of
airline websites, hotel booking
platform and tour promotional
sites for one to shakedown
the best deals for their
preferred destination. Fishing
through multiple websites for
one purchase can be timeconsuming
especially when you’re online.
So, one-for-all travel
website like Mayflower.com.my
exemplifies the perks of having
everything on a single platform.
Dynamic and rich
Mayflower.com.my has a
complete range of travel
products within a click
away allowing users to pick
and purchase destination
and products all under
one booking. There are
more than 80 airlines
and more than 500,000
to choose from.
Ease of customising
The convenience of
booking through a single
platform comes into hand
when one is planning
flight, accommodation and
arrangement for airport
transport. The dynamic
offerings provide everything
you need for travelling.
Besides saving your time
from searching the internet,
on a high website speed
performance for seamless
experience plus offering all
the major payment methods
for you to pay for your
18 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Sign-in or Register with
Search for your holiday
destination at ‘Flight +
Hotel’ search tab
Pick the flight of
SAVING MORE WITH
The main attribute in the
travel website is their interface
that displays comparison
between multiple airline fares
and time or hotel deals on a
single page. The ease of use
allows users to track down
cheap flights or hotel deals by
navigating on a single page.
Besides, tour or ground
packages are aplenty online
with highly flexible itineraries
to be personalised by users.
Able to fit all forms of travel
and budgets, there is a direct
call-in customer service
during working hours to
check for tour availability and
During the flight plus
hotel bundle bookings, users
can purchase add-on services
and also enjoy an instant cash
discount. Add-on services
include car rental, entrance
tickets, airport transfer, travel
insurance, wifi and roaming
Other than direct debit and
credit card payments, registered
members of Mayflower.com.my
can opt to pay with their Travel
Wallet or Travel Credits.
Travel Wallet is a self topup
e-wallet feature to pay for
online transactions. You can
also convert your credit card
points to Travel Wallet and start
paying your bookings with it.
Travel Credit is a system
that rewards registered
members of Mayflower.com.my
via various activities. Gained
through promo codes, the
accumulated credits can be
exchanged for purchases online.
With their long experience
in the industry, Mayflower.
com.my has an extensive
partnerships with other large
partners like Maybank for
treatpoints conversion and
cashback in Boost wallet. Users
can check out the respective
websites for more information.
Pick the hotel of
services from airport
transfer, insurance, wifi
and SIM card
Pay for your purchase
New members of Mayflower can use “GAPTRAVEL” promo code for registration to
enjoy 20% off or up to RM50 discount on your bookings.
Promo code is only valid for registration from 1-30 April 2019 only • Booking period from 1 April-31 July
2019. • No cash alternatives or refund will be offered in lieu of promotion entitlement • Mayflower reserves
the absolute right to amend, delete or add to these Terms and Conditions at any time without prior notice.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19
ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
FREE YOUR SENSES AT THE SIXTH-
LARGEST CITY IN SOUTH KOREA WITH
HERITAGE VILLAGES, ANNUAL BIENNALE
AND CULTURAL BELT THAT OVERLOOKS
A BREATHTAKING UNESCO GEOPARK.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos GWANGJU
CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU AND
RAMADA PLAZA GWANGJU
HOW TO GET THERE
Gwangju is only accessible via domestic
flights within South Korea. Flight from
Seoul or Jeju Island is only 50 minutes long.
Otherwise, Korea Train Express takes 1
hour 30 minutes to reach from Seoul and
there are also plenty of buses to Gwangju
from Incheon, Busan and Seoul.
WHERE TO STAY
Ramada Plaza Gwangju stands tall in
Gwangju as the only 5-star hotel in the
region. The hotel features a designerclass
hot bath at 3Well Spa for relaxation
and massages to rejuvenate. For cheaper
alternatives, there are plenty of local hotels
and cozy hostels to consider.
WHERE TO EAT
Gwangju is a food capital in Jeolla.
Songjeong tteokgal-bi (minced beef ribs
patties) is one of the signature food to
try at their night market. Another local
specialty is ori-tang, a special duck stew
served with rice porridge. Taste specially
made momil-guksu (buckwheat noodle
soup) at Cheongwonmomil, a famous
noodle place Gwangju.
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WHAT TO DO
Sightseeing of nature at Mudeung Mountain,
a UNESCO Geopark, is one of the relaxing
activities to do. Other than mountaineering,
one can take the chairlift or monorail at
Mudeung Mountain to see the cityscape
or stroll at Mudeung Mountain Art Gallery
Street with various museums and cafes at the
To shop, Chungjang-ro Street is the place
to go for the hippest trend to finding hanbok
(Korean traditional costume). Every April,
Sajik Park is a known spot to see cherry
blossoms in full bloom at night time in the
lights. The park also features a memorial for
national heroes, shooting range and multiple
pavilions overlooking downtown.
The word “Gwangju” literally
means “light province” in Korean.
U-Square is probably the largest
and most modern bus terminal in
the country with a movie theater,
shopping outlets, restaurants and
30 gates for buses.
Gwangju Sajik Park used to be
an area for Sajikdan, an altar
for praying to the Gods for a
good harvest during the
SPOTTED: ASIA IN FILMS
HASHIMA ISLAND, JAPAN
Text NG SHEN LEE
Photos ADOBE STOCK & FREEVECTORMAPS.COM
If you’re a fan of historical
tourist spots, you might be
familiar with Hashima Island,
for its story is a bitter one.
When the 2012 Bond film
“Skyfall” was released, one
of the filming locations in
particular caught the eyes
of viewers. It was battered,
decrepit and unsettling. Home
to the film’s main antagonist
Silva (played by Javier Bardem),
Hashima Island played a crucial
role in the film as Silva’s base
Despite this, filming
never took place on the actual
grounds of the abandoned
island due to safety concerns.
The majority of the setting was
actually filmed in a full-scale
replica in the UK, while a
good portion of it was crafted
But the reality of
Gunkanjima or the “Battleship
Island” is an even more
harrowing one. The small island
was initially established during
Japan’s industrial revolution as
a coal mining facility. And when
the number of labourers soared,
a multi-storeyed apartment
block was built to house the
workers and their families,
making the island the most
densely populated area in the
world come 1959.
Then WWII dawned upon
the world, and prisoners of
war from China and South
Korea were forced into labour
at the coal mines of Hashima
Island, where an estimated
1,300 of them passed away
on the island. Since then,
the island has long been
abandoned thanks to the rise
of petroleum, which rendered
the need for coal-mining towns
such as Hashima useless.
Of course, word began
to spread and not long later,
journalists and filmmakers
began flocking to the island.
The result? Documentaries
galore from the History
Channel, Forgotten Planet
and most recently, Netflix’s
“Dark Tourist”, a documentary
TV series exploring ominous
But be it insightful
documentaries or compelling
images, the controversy
revolving around Hashima
island only ballooned, for
in 2009, Japan’s request
to establish the island as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site
was met with backlash from
South Korea after the country
refused to acknowledge its role
in the island’s cruel history.
Today, even you and I can
step foot amidst the crumbling
concrete of this history-laden
island to admire its ruins...and
perhaps we have 007 to thank
apartment block was
supposedly the firstever
building of its kind
in Japan made from
Despite all this, Hashima
was at one time home to
a thriving community,
including a movie theatre,
swimming pool and even
a pachinko parlour!
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THE FACE OFF
CASH VS MOBILE PAYMENT
THE OMNIPRESENT VALUE OF MONEY HAS TAKEN MANY FORMS
THROUGHOUT HISTORY. WILL “CASH IS KING” BE DETHRONED BY
THE PIXELS OF DIGITAL CURRENCY IN THIS TECH SAVVY WORLD?
Text JESSY WONG • Illustration ADOBE STOCK
Paper printed currencies
Managing tangible cash gives a form of control and
improved fiscal conduct as compared to the digital mode.
This is because handling money physically can affect our
psychological well-being that influence how we spend or save
our money. Cash transaction also open doors for negotiations
deals in the marketplace.
Carrying cash (especially when overseas) gives a mixed sense
of security as the natural appeal of money can also attract
unwanted attention. Knowing you have instant money in
hand for emergencies leaves you wrangled with the possibility
of theft and robbery as stolen money is impossible to track.
So, stashing away emergency cash in hotel room's safe or
lugagge is commonly practiced as a precaution.
Mobile, banking and payment apps through smartphone
It is all about convenience. Transactions could happen in
an instant through several taps on digital wallet without the
hassle of finding a cash machine and fiddling with tangible
notes for payments. Most mobile apps also exclusively
reward their users with cashbacks, promotional services and
products with usage of digital payment.
Unlimited access to credit via payment apps could result in
poor spending choices. It has been proven that digital money
and its transparent transaction make us feel less affected with
our expenses and puts us in risk of unauthorised transactions.
As many payment apps require authentications, a majority of
us tend to reuse password across multiple services. This will
inevitably increase the risk of hackers and data leak.
Ever expanding with technology
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LIFE IS SWEET AT KUALA LUMPUR’S
MOST ESSENTIAL DESSERT BARS.
Text JENNIFER CHOO
Photos MADHATTER DESSERTS, FROZEN ARTISAN & SAM YEN
Dessert should never be an afterthought, in
fact, there are many people who don’t think
twice about abandoning main courses and
skipping through to the good stuff. Good news for
sugar fiends is that there has been an marked uptick
in dessert only bars in the Klang Valley. From Korean
Bingsu to Italian Gelato, these dessert parlours offer
a taste of Seoul or Florence with the convenience of
never having to leave the city. As enticing as this is,
it’s the cafes which utilise available ingredients and
explore familiar flavours which intrigue us the most.
Here is a round-up of three unmissable dessert bars
that are doing our local produce proud.
Best for those who love the cold
Originally called Frozen by Ken, Frozen Artisan
began in a Bangsar shophouse featuring the creations
of Ken Liew and Evelyn Lim who met while working
at Glace, Melbourne’s most talked about dessert
bar. The fine yet quirky touch can be seen in the
artisanal frozen desserts sold in this bright modernist
café which include ice cream, sorbets and frozen
cakes. Although the inspiration may come from
Down Under, flavours are decidedly local with
tropical fruits like coconut, soursop, Kalamansi and
Durian and regional herbs like Pandan featuring
prominently, familiar flavours like Ais Batu Campur,
Kopi-O, Kuih Talam and Kaya Toast. Whimsical but
grounded in meticulous technique, Liew and Lim
showcase these unusual flavours through the layering
of multiple elements, weaving together ice-cream,
sorbet, baked cake, glazes, meringue, ganache, sauces,
compotes and crumbles with flair, aesthetics and
utter deliciousness. The original spirit of Frozen
Artisan will be brought to a larger audience beginning
with a kiosk in Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya and 4
more in the works.
The King, the ultimate durian sweet treat pairs a
centre of Musang King durian ice cream with coconut
sorbet wrapped in spiky torched marshmallow
skin showcasing the richness of both fruits with a
satisfying textural contrast.
6, Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar | +603-2856 8289
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“...don’t think twice about
abandoning main courses.”
Best for those who like to play with their food
Nestled along an unassuming row of Damansara
Utama shophouses is MadHatter Desserts, Marcus
Low’s dessert laboratory of sorts. The name itself
refers to the ex-MasterChef finalist’s predilection
for wearing hats but could well be an allusion to the
surreal Alice in Wonderland universe where anything
is possible. Low, who used to be a banker, opened
the café in 2017 with the intention of introducing
his experimental approach to desserts which are
presents familiar local flavours and desserts in
completely unexpected ways. Serving a range of
desserts, many which combine French culinary
techniques and local flavours, classics like the
Entremet cake is reinterpreted with layers of vanilla
sponge cake and Assam-infused curd and topped
with a watermelon and mint veil. Plated desserts are
available after 7pm and this is where Low’s creativity
is showcased best with mind-boggling concoctions
like the Claypot Rice, a complicated combination of
rice milk snow ice, rice milk gelée, barley pudding,
and rice puffs realised with liquid nitrogen and
infused with smoke from Bak Chang bamboo leaves.
Bubur Cha Cha is a deconstructed reimagination of
the classic local dessert soup which layers pumpkin
brûlée, coconut pearls and a sweet-potato-and-yam
cake topped with coconut ice cream infused with
sweet potato and yam.
19, Jalan SS 21/60, Damansara Utama
| +6012-370 4327
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Best for those who eat with the eyes
F&B openings and closings are a dime in the dozen
in the busy Jalan Telawi hub but Jaslyn Cakes run by
self-thought baker Jaslyn Rangson, which has been
in operation since 2014, has been one of its most
successful residents. This charming half shop has
become something of a staple in the area and is full
of cakes and people at any day of the week so when
the lot next door became available, Rangson seized
the opportunity to open Dew. Touted as a pâtisserie,
florist and sometime speakeasy, this sophisticated
stylish space is a contrast from the more rustic Jaslyn
Cakes with two long terrazzo island, brass detailing
and forest green built ins. The space is a reflection
of the more sophisticated offerings on display in the
gleaming glass cabinet - refined botanical inspired
petits gateaux with fresh elements of herbs, flowers,
fruit and minimal colouring. Expect regional flavours
and produce like lime, bananas, mango, black sesame
and yuzu aimed at pleasing visually as much as these
delicate mousse cakes will delight the palette.
Kopiko tart packs a caffeine punch with patisserie
technique using beloved local beverage Nescafe as
mousse and ganache, coffee praline and cacao nib
nougatine encased in a swirled shell.
7, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru | +603-2280 0868
To best appreciate dessert, it’s important to
have the requisite vocabulary. Here are some
important terms to get you on the way:
French for burned, in cooking it refers to food
that has been sprinkled with sugar and baked
or torched to caramelise the sugar to form a
hard brittle top.
Not an item in itself but this vanilla-flavored
custard filling is used in a wide variety of fruit
tarts and pastries.
Similar to a pastry cream and used in the same
way as a filling for pastries and fruit tarts, this
is an almond paste base enriched with sugar,
butter, and very often, eggs.
Made of chocolate and cream, this mixture
can be used as a glaze, icing, sauce, or filling
A mixture of stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar
which is then usually browned and used in
confections or as a topping for pies, pastry etc.
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TALES ON TRACK
LOST & FOUND
Text FRANCIS YIP • Photos ADOBE STOCK
Ever wondered what will life be without
smartphones and computers? At the
dinner table, parents frown when
children play with their phones. And the
busy executives work with their tablet while
on the move. In short, we have become
slaves to these devices.
But how did human communicate back
in the early days?
COMMUNICATION IN THE PAST
Indigenous tribes used smoke signal, horns
or drums to communicate in ancient times.
Then postal services started in the 5th
century with the popular use of pigeons,
dogsled and donkeys.
These physical deliveries of documents
were gradually replaced in 1836 with the
introduction of telegraph which used Morse
codes to spell out the messages.
Years later in 1876, the world’s first
telephone was invented and patented by
Alexander Graham Bell. I still remember
seeing those bulky telephones with a rotary
dial when I was a child.
Telephones have changed so much since
those days. Did you know that it was from
the 80’s menhir-like “brick phones” to the
iconic Nokia handsets that paved way to
what we know as the smartphones today?
These old brick phones weighed a heavy
1.15 kg and were 10 inches long with battery
power lasting only 20 minutes. I have
friends who told me it is a good defensive
tool against robbers!
And how can we forget about radio?
It was the most powerful communication
tool among the Allies during World War 1.
In fact, 80 years ago, thousands of listeners
believed actor Orson Welles that Martians
were invading New Jersey when he made an
announcement in a radio show, “The War
of the Worlds”.
They rushed from their homes with
towels on their faces to protect themselves
in case gas was spewed out by aliens!
Since then, we have the entertainment
box known as television and followed by
video, VCD and DVD.
WORLD WIDE WEB
The World Wide Web or internet was
publicly made available in 1991 and have
since, opened up a whole new era of
Before the internet, I remember
using facsimiles to send business
documents. But soon, we use email, text
messaging and even video chatting and
video conferencing for long-distance
“The way we do business has changed
a lot. The internet and now mobile apps
have taken business and social networking
to a new level” says Dr Madelene Ong, cofounder
of a mobile app, FlipBizz.
Does that mean face-to-face
communication is no longer relevant?
“Technology is soulless but the trend
is now going back to the basic, in which
human touch is equally important. No
matter how busy we are with our gadgets,
we still need to meet up at one point or
another,” says Mr Ho Kim Hong, CEO
He adds, “In fact, mobile apps
complement face-to-face communication.
We call it Humanizing Business Online.”
Whatever it is, our modes of
communication may change from time to
time, but our physical interaction with our
loved ones is still much needed today.
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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