Tags: Malaysia
July 5, 2014
by Syazana Nur

Ramadhan & Idul Fitri: A Personal Journey

By: Syazana Nur

Ramadhan is not only a community binding ritual, it is also a personal journey. In this article Syazana from Malaysia shares her childhood memories about this special month.

Ramadhan Memories

Since I was a child, the coming of Ramadhan marks the most exciting time of the year. Ramadhan brings a month of fasting for Muslims all around the world. I have always enjoyed Ramadhan because I feel that this is the time where I can cleanse my body and allow my body to take a rest from all the food that I’ve consumed throughout that year.

I can still remember that when I was a child, fasting was never a problem for me. The only trouble for me would have to be the sahur. Sahur is the time right before sunrise or dawn that we are allowed to eat so as to give us enough energy to get through the day of fasting. Since I was never an early riser, sahur has always been a struggle, but as I grow up, it’s not as much trouble as it was when I was small.

June 22, 2014
by Melissa Lin

Ramadan Recipes: Dry Beef Rendang

By: Melissa Lin

Beef Rendang is a dish that is usually served during Malay celebrations and weddings. It is also eaten traditionally during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. The beef is cooked in a spicy paste with coconut and served with steamed white rice or Briyani.

Some people believe this dish was introduced to Malaysia from the Sumatran matrilineal Minangkabau settlers in Malaysia. This recipie is the dry Beef Rendang variation and whilst the steps necessary to create this dish are somewhat more complex, the delicious end result is well worth it.

April 23, 2014
by Diana van Oort

Get rich quickly in Malaysia with a Toyol!

By: Diana van Oort

During lunch at work we share stories about our cultures. Ghost stories were the most recent topic. Many ghost stories revolve around the Japanese occupation of Malaysia during WWII and the many, many atrocities the Japanese committed. Some places are ‘off limits’ because the ghost of the victims are still wandering around and could cause harm.

Another Malay story revolves around the so called Toyol (or Tuyul), my colleague Abu enthusiastically explained. It’s a greenish looking toddler with big reddish eyes, a big, bald head, pointy ears and sharp teeth that is kept and raised by its owner to steal money and valuables. If jewellery and money suddenly go missing from your home, a Toyol can be at work.

April 20, 2014
by Diana van Oort

Village of a thousand homes, Kampung Cempaka near Kuala Lumpur

By: Diana van Oort

It’s not easy for my taxi driver to find Kampung Cempaka, even with my map and the directions of numerous people. Driving through spaghetti type highways and many newly build neighborhoods, there is no sign of any planning in the area. After we follow another taxi driver, we finally arrive.

Kampung Cempaka is a Chinese shanty town close to upscale Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur. It’s surrounded by modern development. The original settlers were relocated here soon after the 13 May 1969 race riots. They lost loved ones and were given land to resettle. It was the new home for exactly 1000 families.  The early settlers were mostly from the Sai Vooi clan and formed an association. The roads are narrow and houses are built haphazardly. The town houses many little factories, where the business practices of some are cause for concern regarding safety and the environment. Kampung Cempaka still feels like a small town where people know each other. It has kept it roots and identity, amidst a city with impersonal, huge apartment buildings where most people don’t know their neighbors. It makes the city feel impersonal, distant and cool. Here there is a sense of community with just a single karaoke club and a well visited temple.

December 1, 2013
by Erna Dyanty

A Malaysian Christmas Spread: Green Apple Chutney

By: Erna Dyanty

Ready for some Christmas feeling? Latitudes gives you the best tips for your holidays cooking, Christmas presents and trips!

Every year in December, the streets will be covered with shades of red, green and white. Everything seems warmer even when you’re in the cold. Kids come up with a wish list, dad’s figuring out the wiring for the lights and mom is listing out her shopping list for the kitchen. Christmas is that time of the year where everyone comes together under the tree for presents and at the dining table for a major end of the year feast.

While some of you may sit at home, dreaming of a white Christmas and a huge Turkey, we Malaysians wait for a sunny holiday and a feast with a spread of local goodness. Christmas in Malaysia, like any other festive season is celebrated by everyone! Whether you’re a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Atheist, we come together and just celebrate the year with thanks, a feast and of course the presents.

November 22, 2012
by Latitudes

Malaysian Activists Walk 300 KM to Demand Environmental Justice

A group of Malaysian activists has embarked on a 300 km walk from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur to demand for an end to various environment grievances afflicting their communities. The walk, which began on 13th of November, will take them across 14 towns over 14 days and will culminate in a handling over of memorandum at Dataran Merdeka, or Independence Square, on the 26th of November.

The starting point of Kuantan is of particular significance because it is where the recent surge in environmental activism began. The community there is fighting the largest rare earth plant in the world owned by Lynas from commencing operation. They are joined by activists opposing the Murum and Baram dams in Sarawak, Raub activists opposing the use of cyanide in gold mining, Pengerang activists opposing the RAPID petrochemical complex as well as Teluk Rubiah activists opposing the Vale iron ore distribution hub.

September 5, 2012
by Emma Kwee

In the Mix: Meet Malay/Pakistani Muhammad

By: Emma Kwee

In this series we talk to people with a mixed background. Have these colorful roots entangled them? Confused them? In what way has their heritage formed their identity, how they look at the world and the world looks at them?

Are you mixed Asian and do you want to share your story? Then just e-mail info@latitudes.nu!

This time around, we meet Muhammad, a Malaysian with Pakistani roots and a deep love for Teh Tarik.

July 22, 2012
by Erna Dyanty

Roti Jala (Net-Like Pancakes) Recipe

By: Erna Dyanty

Roti Jala is a favourite snack, especially in Ramadhan. Almost every kuih stall would sell this think pancakes served with chicken curry. Sold in the markets for about RM3.50 for a pack of 5. To achieve the net like effect, you can either use your fingers and in a clock wise motion - you drip the batter onto a hot pan. You can also use a laddle with holes. Roti Jala is a favourite snack, especially in Ramadhan. Almost every kuih stall would sell this think pancakes served with chicken curry. Sold in the markets for about RM3.50 for a pack of 5.To achieve the net like effect, you can either use your fingers and in a clock wise motion - you drip the batter onto a hot pan. You can also use a laddle with holes.

May 18, 2012
by Melissa Lin

Bernice Chauly: ‘Growing up with Ghosts’

By: Melissa Lin

Bernice Chauly is a writer, photographer, poet, lecturer and film-maker. Having been active in the Kuala Lumpur arts scene for almost two decades, Chauly has contributed in a myriad of ways to the evolution and richness of the local arts and literary scene.

Her memoir ‘Growing up with Ghosts’ is a quintessential Malaysian story that seamlessly weaves the diverse threads of ancestry, history, politics and personal narrative. Released just last year, it has now gone into its third reprint.

Chauly has recently completed a two month long residency program by the Nederlands Letterenfonds in Amsterdam and is currently working on a new novel and a new collection of poems.

March 23, 2012
by Erna Dyanty

Sardines in Tomato Sauce: a Cook’s Survival Kit

By: Erna Dyanty

When I first started to cook, one of the recipes my father taught me was how to cook a can of sardines. He says it’s a cooks’ survival kit. If you want to know if a person can cook, you try their sardines cooked in tomato sauce. This fish in a can is great to eat with rice or even taken straight out of the can with a squeeze of lime dunked with bread.

Here's a simple yet very delicious recipe to whip that can of sardine into a family favourite - guaranteed to stay on your menu. Great served with steamy rice or simply dipped with bread and done in 15 minutes!