Friday, September 28, 2012

Burial Methods

For some strange reason, I've had a slight interest (well, more than the average person) in the manner on how I'd like to be buried when I die. Warning: morbid subject if you haven't already guessed by now.

The interest started when I when to a photography exhibition some years back. One of the photos shown was of a sky burial, with the priest (if I'm not mistaken) using a parang to slice the flesh off the deceased person's arm with flying vultures at the background.

To me, I don't think I'd need my body once I'm done on this earth so why should it not benefit those who are still left behind?

So I started thinking of how I'd like my body to be disposed. First, organ donation for every part that is still good enough to be given away. Then scraped of all my flesh to be fed to whatever creatures (sky burial). And finally, soak my remaining bones etc in a tub of liquid nitrogen and then crushed into powder before being poured into a hole in the ground. (I read about some folks trying this out on a cow many years back and apparently all was needed to smash the carcass into smithereens was tap it with a mallet. No pollution from cremation and fast.)

Then I read that feeding the vultures actually give them more illness and therefore kill the species. And that it's not so easy to come by liquid nitrogen for this purpose and I doubt if this method will ever come to Malaysia. Plus, I'm not sure being soaked in liquid nitrogen would have any adverse effect on the ground where the particles would be placed eventually.

So when I recently went into and heard Jae Rhim Lee talk about the Mushroom Death Suit, it pricked my interest again. It's basically a suit filled with mushroom spores which will quickly  disintegrate the body in a biodegradable manner.

So now I want one. And since the mushrooms are edible, I told KS he can harvest and eat them with a potential wife replacement if I'm the one to go first. Just being practical.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bandar Lampung, Indonesia

*This post is way overdue as my trip was in April.

"Where?" This was the reaction of my friends when I told them I was going off on a holiday to Lampung. Yes, it's not a normal holiday destination for most Malaysians. For us, the reason for going was to visit our Indonesian relatives whom we hooked up with over the last couple of years.

So where is Lampung? It is the southern tip of the Sumatra Island of Indonesia, the nearest landmark would be the Krakatua volcano.

Our relatives had kindly offered to host us in their hometown so we were eager to go and explore new places, especially made more meaningful with local insights. So six of us went and were brought around at a dizzying pace of trying out different food since KS and I were only there for four days.

When we landed in Jakarta, we were met by our hosts' daughters and their family. It was such a pleasure to meet them despite the short time we had. One of them called a few days after we arrived in Lampung and offered KS and I to extend our stay in Jakarta on our way back so that she could take us around. Unfortunately we could not adjust our flights nor our leave so we had to take a rain cheque.

Lampung is not very different from a small town here in Malaysia except that it is a very, very large town. People are more relaxed, no incessant honking on the roads despite the crazy convergence of two- and three-wheeled vehicles weaving through the traffic. Organized chaos.

On every shop sign in Lampung (and other decorative advertisements), you will see this crown. I asked Yohanes this and he explained but I cannot remember in great detail. Something about this being the symbol of the kings of past and is somewhat regarded as a deity. Hence, every shop has one.

Crown at the roundabout

Our hosts were fabulous, going out of their way to show us their favourite haunts, ensuring we were well fed with a wide range of delicacies their town had to offer. There were so many different snacks to try, so many food stuff that I would classify as Same Same but Different. Unashamedly, my photos for this trip were all on food, with the rare architectural photos thrown in. A very different photo mix from my usual trips!

Our gracious hosts. Yohanes (in grey), Yunus and their parents.

KS's two cousins Yohanes and Yunus, were very, very gracious. They took time off from their work, closed their shop and took us around for food and to the nearby beach.

These are the various sweet stuff we had. I didn't manage to take photos of all of them so you can imagine we certainly had a whole lot of desserts throughout our stay! There are quite a lot of desserts made with coconut milk (santan).

My absolute favourite. Sticky green kuih with bits of coconut flesh in thick santan.
Bananas cooked in brown sugar and eaten with santan.
Boiled sweet potato drizzled with brown sugar syrup and santan.
Various types of kuih lapis.

Banana fritters with cheese and chocolate drizzle, a rare type of coconut, santan made into some kuih, some sticky kuih... You can tell I'm great with kuih names.

And here are some pictures of the other food we had the privilege to taste:

Our first meal there was with loads of seafood. This was the chilli condiment that came along with  the meal. Cute serving plate!
Bakso! Really enjoyed the meatballs and the noodles. The folks who opened this shop are also related to us.
Sop sumsum sapi. Yes, it's bone marrow but I really liked it.
Spicy sop kambing and ayam. Very spicy and yummy! This was right after a full dinner.
And Yohanes ordered loads of satay to accompany the mutton soup. 
Pempek: it's like fried fish balls dipped with some chilli vinegar sauce. 
Un-fried pempek in a noodle soup. 
Pempek with hard boiled egg with mee soaking in the chilli vinegar sauce.

As you can see, there are several types of pempek and Yohanes made sure we tried every type of it. This was right after a heavy lunch. I really can't remember how we managed to fit this into our stomachs. Shortly after that, we went to try the nasi padang.

Nasi padang. I nearly fainted when the waiters served us these plates as we just had the pempek before coming here. Luckily, they will only charge you for what you consume.
Here's where I had really succulent beef rendang. Mouth watering as I remember the taste...

Oh dear, now I remember why it's been taking me so long to blog about this trip. I'm feeling hungry!

Our hosts also have quite a few pets, four birds and a tiny dog who's sole ambition was to lick any available leg until she would choke and cough. Sadly, Bellie the dog has since passed away.

Lick, lick, lick, lick... choke, cough, wheeze...
The family also harvests their own bird's nest. This is on the third floor at the shop that Yohanes owns and works in, just a two minute walk from their home. We went in to see since we don't need to go caving to go look for bird's nest!

Bird's nest
Harvested nest. This is apparently very high grade bird's nest. Anyone interested to buy bird's nest here in PJ let me know.
Yohanes was also kind enough to bring us to a nearby beach where we sat under the cool shade of some huts and had fresh coconut.

Huts at Pantai Mutun
Pantai Mutun. Somewhere out there is Krakatua, the volcano.
Yohanes took us to this lovely dessert place on our last night. Love the blue + white colour scheme.