Archive for December 2015

Three Best Budget Travel Destinations in the World by Forbes ………. again my City of George Town, Penang of Malaysia   Leave a comment

1-SgBatu Outing5D Part 2571-Ferry Raiway 101Extracted from FORBES / Personal Finance …

DEC 29, 2015 @ 08:51 AM 76,284 VIEWS
“Travel doesn’t have to break the bank. With a strong dollar, exotic locales can offer a lot of bang for your buck and an off-the-beaten path experience.

Here is a compendium of the coolest budget destinations for 2016 from some of the best travel bloggers on the web. From a family of four traveling the world to a single American living in Paris, they offer a wide range of suggestions depending on your travel style.

Edna Zhou is a serial expat and sports journalist who has been living abroad since 2008 and sharing her adventures at Expat Edna. When she is not traveling, she is usually in Paris, where she’s lived on and off since 2012. Here are her three best budget travel destinations:

1. George Town, Malaysia

For those who love to try new food but are on a budget,
 George Town, Malaysia is the place to go. The cuisine is a blend of Malay,
 Chinese, and Indian specialities, and local hawker centers and street food
stalls offer dozens of delicious options for just $2-3. Wash it all down
with a fresh fruit juice for $1 and you can easily eat well for under $10 
a day. Accommodation is cheap, with an abundance of budget-friendly 
hostels and Airbnbs. Additionally, the city is a UNESCO World Heritage
site, so when not eating you can spend hours walking around the city,
 visiting temples and taking in the beautiful colonial architecture and
 colorful street art.
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2. Xi’an, China

If you’re interested in history, culture and hearty but cheap
 food, Xi’an, China should be on your list. While cities like Beijing and
Shanghai have become more expensive to match their cosmopolitan status,
 Xi’an still remains budget-friendly. As a former endpoint of the Silk
 Road, the city has retained its historic city walls and east-meets-west
 harmony, the influence of which comes out in the street food. In Xi’an,
 you can scarf down big bowls of hand-pulled Lanzhou noodles or savor lamb
 burgers and kebabs in the Muslim Quarter for just $1.50-4. If you want to
visit the famous Terra Cotta Warriors, it’s easy to skip the expensive 
tours and take the local bus there for just $1.

3. Barcelona, Spain

For those traveling on the dollar, the euro is in our favor
right now. In Barcelona, Spain you can live the good life with $2 beers,
 $10 bottles of cava and completely filling $11-13 set lunch menus. In
between bar hopping you can spend your day relaxing on the beach in the
 clear, warm Mediterranean waters or admire Gaudi’s architecture with a
walk around the city or up to Park Guell — even if you don’t pay to enter
the central part of the park, you can still get a beautiful view over 
Barcelona completely for free.

Behind the hit website Two Monkey’s Travel are Jonathan Howe and Kach Medina Umandap, two bloggers who have been on the road since 2013. Currently in Florida, they are heading to Colombia this week.”
Other destinations listed apart from the top 3 are Metro Manila of Philippines, Thrace Region of Turkey, Morocco, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Croatia and Malaysia.

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The Benders are an Australian family who has been traveling the world for over three years with their two kids in tow. Sharing their adventures at Travel with Bender, Josh Bender stopped by to share his budget-friendly destinations for 2016.

1. Malaysia offers a lot of bang for your buck. There are plenty of fun activities and attractions for the whole family such as Legoland (our kids’ favorite), water parks, indoor theme parks, tropical beaches and cultural icons like Batu Caves. Traveling via air within the country is ultra cheap thanks to AirAsia. A round-trip flight from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, to the beautiful island of Langkawi can cost as little as US$33. English is widely spoken, local food is cheap and delicious and the weather is warm all year round.


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Art at Penang Times Square   2 comments

Had a great time photo-shooting at the extended area of Penang Times Square.
The wall murals depicted one from Kuala Lumpur’s Batu Caves with the Hindu Temple (on the right) and the other Penang Hill aka Bukit Bendera in Penang (on the left).
From Wikipedia:-
Batu Caves is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu (Batu River), which flows past the hill and also it is the tenth (Pattu in Tamil) limestone hill from Ampang. Batu Caves is also the name of the nearby village.
The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.
Batu Caves in short also referred as 10th Caves or Hill for Lord Muruga as there are 6 important holy shrines in India and 4 more in Malaysia. The 3 others in Malaysia are Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Tanneermalai Temple in Penang and Sannasimalai Temple in Melacca.
It is also near a town called Jinjang where famous entrepreneur Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong had his vision to build his business empire.
Standing at 42.7 m (140 ft) high, the world’s tallest statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity, is located outside Batu Caves, near the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The statue, which cost approximately 24 million rupees, is made of 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint brought in from neighbouring Thailand.
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The above photograph depicts the Lion Dance though from my personal observation, it is from China rather from Malaysia due to the dresses of the spectators in the mural.
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The above two scene are from Penang – the Clan Jetty (the topmost photograph) and the Kek Lok Si Temple (on the left) and a Muslim Mosque (on the right) from Perak.
From Wikipedia:-
The Ubudiah Mosque (Malay: Masjid Ubudiah) is Perak’s royal mosque, and is located in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, Malaysia.
Masjid Ubudiah – ranking high on the list of Malaysia’s most beautiful mosques, the Masjid Ubudiah (or Ubudiah Mosque) stands proudly and majestically in Kuala Kangsar, with its golden dome and minarets creating a spellbinding sight, from near and afar.
The mosque was designed by Arthur Benison Hubback, a government architect who is notably credited for the design of the Ipoh railway station and the Kuala Lumpur railway station.

Photo-shooting at the extended area of Penang Times Square was interesting though my neck was a bit strained. Moreover like a cheap skate, it is FREE! Come One, Come All to enjoy such beautifully painted murals.

Before I forget, I wish to greet every bloggers and visitors here a Happy, Peaceful and Fruitful New Year in 2016.

SP Lim

See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.   2 comments

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See the fireworks S. P.’s Space of 6 T’s – Tastes, Theatre, Thoughts, Time, Travels, and Treatments …… created by blogging on Check out their 2015 annual report.

Crunchy numbers

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

The busiest day of the year was August 3rd with 869 views. The most popular post that day was Celebrating the Taoist Dieties – Twa Pek and Jee Pek of the Underworld in Penang.

Source: See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

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Posted December 30, 2015 by lspeng1951 in Photography

My City of George Town of Penang, Malaysia is among the 16 “must-see” destinations for 2016 by the Los Angeles Times   4 comments

Penang’s George Town has been named among the 16 “must-see” destinations for 2016 by the Los Angeles Times.

In its Boxing Day article titled “Looking for a 2016 vacation? Here are 16 must-see destinations”, the US paper wrote that Penang’s main city is a Unesco World Heritage site with a 500-year history of trading and a hotel boom in progress.

The report said as many as 10 new hotels are expected to open next year, with many cruise lines calling at the port.

“With luck, this growth will leave intact the city’s most historic architecture and encourage its lively food scene,” it said.
The report also gave a brief history of George Town, which has a population of about 500,000.

“George Town was a British trading post from the early 19th century (hence its name) until Malaysian independence in 1957. It gives you British echoes, Malay essence, Chinese and Indian commercial traditions, scattered rickshaws and a stew of religions,” the report stated.

George Town joined other destinations, arranged alphabetically, including Botswana, Bozeman in Montana, Cartagena in Colombia, Dublin in Ireland, Harlem in New York and Iran.

Other destinations included in the list are Myanmar, Natchez in Mississippi, Orange County Coast, Paris, San Sebastian in Spain, Seattle, Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, Washington D.C, and Williamstown in Kentucky. – December 28, 2015.

– See more at:

“Penang Island, Malaysia

George Town (population about 500,000), Penang’s main city, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a 500-year history of trading and a hotel boom in progress. As many as 10 new hotels may open in 2016, and a bevy of cruise lines call at the port. With luck, this growth will leave intact the city’s most historic architecture and encourage its lively food scene. George Town was a British trading post from the early 19th century (hence its name) until Malaysian independence in 1957. It gives you British echoes, Malay essence, Chinese and Indian commercial traditions, scattered rickshaws and a stew of religions.

Info:” from the Los Angeles Times

Early morning view of George Town, Penang   Leave a comment

This is the early morning view of George Town, Penang in the month of December, 2015.

SP Lim

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A Day for Marriages and not for boxing   2 comments

A Day for Marriages and not for boxing

A busy day for Marriages instead of Boxing Day (post-Christmas Day) – we had one Marriage Registration and one Marriage Reception Dinner on Saturday, December 26, 2015.
The Marriage Registration of Vincent Ooi Yin Chong and Ho Cher Ling was held at Che Hoon Khor Moral Uplifting Society Penang. A big delegation of friends, relatives and parents were on hand to lend support and give moral support to the newly weds. Heartiest congratulations.

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The Marriage Reception Dinner of Ong Yu Shin (Son of Mr & Mrs Ong Ban Seang – my Penang Free School class-mate) and Evon Goh (daughter of Mr & Mrs Albert Goh Hua Tong) was held at Pelangi Ballroom, Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa Penang, Batu Ferringhi, Penang. Driving up to Batu Ferrighi was quite time-consuming owing to the bumper-to-bumper traffic jam starting at Tanjung Tokong until the hotel. There was a function at the Floating Mosque at Tanjung Bungah on that night.

SP Lim

From Wikipedia:-

Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the weekday or Saturday following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their masters, employers or customers, in the United Kingdom, The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other former British colonies. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday or public holiday that generally takes place on 26 or 27 December.

In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In the liturgical kalendar of Western Christianity, the day is dedicated to St. Stephen, so is known as St. Stephen’s Day to Christians (especially Anglicans, Lutherans and Roman Catholics), and to the population generally in Italy, Ireland, Finland, Alsace and Moselle in France. It is also known as both St. Stephen’s Day and the Day of the Wren or Wren Day in Ireland. In some European countries, most notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.

Wedding Dinner of Yu Shin and Evon   Leave a comment

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The wedding dinner of Ban Seang and Lily Lim’s son Yu Shin marriage at the Ballroom, Rasa Sayang Resort, Batu Ferringhi, Penang. The date was 26th December, 2015 – the Boxing Day.

SP Lim

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Merry Christmas Greetings   3 comments

1-Xmas Shoot 080Wishing my relatives, fellow Bloggers, friends and viewers celebrating Christmas ~ a Blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year of 2016.
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Wishing you and your family.
the Gift of Faith,
the Blessing of Hope,
and the Peace of Our Love,
at Christmas and Always.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

SP Lim & Family

I was shooting around the shopping malls around my home – Gurney Plaza with the Snoopy Theme and that of Gurney Paragon with Madagascar Theme. There is a apartment with fantastic Disney-themed decorations.

SP Lim

Winter Solstice/ Tung Cheh/ Dongzhi Ceremony at Kew Leong Tong Lim Kongsi, Penang   Leave a comment

Winter Solstice or Tung Cheh/ Dongzhi Ceremony at Kew Leong Tong Lim Kongsi, Penang this morning of December 22, 2015…
Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere this is the June solstice.

The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms (節氣). Dōngzhì (pīnyīn) or Tōji (rōmaji) (Chinese and Japanese: 冬至; Korean: 동지; Vietnamese: Đông chí; literally: “winter’s extreme”) is the 22nd solar term, and marks the winter solstice. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 270° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 285°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 270°. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around 21 December (22 December East Asia time) and ends around 5 January.
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Along with equinoxes, solstices (traditional Chinese: 至點; simplified Chinese: 至日; literally: “extreme sun”) mark the middle of East Asian calendar seasons. Thus, in “冬至”, the Chinese character “至” means “extreme” and the term for the winter solstice directly signifies the summit of winter, as “midwinter” is used in English.
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In China, Dongzhi was originally celebrated as an end-of-harvest festival. Today, it is observed with a family reunion over the long night, when pink and white tangyuan are eaten in sweet broth to symbolise family unity and prosperity.
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The Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (Chinese: 冬至; pinyin: Dōngzhì; literally: “the extreme of Winter”) is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around December 22 (according to East Asia time).[1] In 2015, the festival falls on Tuesday, December 22.
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The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos.[2] After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù (復, “Returning”).
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A Trip to the Monkey Cup Garden at Penang Hill   1 comment

A Trip to the Monkey Cup Garden at Penang Hill

From Wikipedia:-
A vine (Latin vīnea “grapevine”, “vineyard”, from vīnum “wine”) in the narrowest sense is the grapevine (Vitis), but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent (that is, climbing) stems or runners. The word also can refer to such stems or runners themselves, for instance when used in wicker work.
In the United Kingdom, the term “vine” applies almost exclusively to the grapevine. The term “climber” is used for all climbing plants.

Nepenthes, a genus of carnivorous plants known as tropical pitcher plants or monkey cups Pandorea pandorana, the wonga wonga vine Parthenocissus quinquefolia
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Nepenthes rajah /nɨˈpɛnθiːz ˈrɑːdʒə/ is an insectivorous pitcher plant species of the Nepenthaceae family. It is endemic to Mount Kinabalu and neighbouring Mount Tambuyukon in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Nepenthes rajah grows exclusively on serpentine substrates, particularly in areas of seeping ground water where the soil is loose and permanently moist. The species has an altitudinal range of 1500 to 2650 m a.s.l. and is thus considered a highland or sub-alpine plant. Due to its localised distribution, N. rajah is classified as an endangered species by the IUCN and listed on CITES Appendix I.

The species was collected by Hugh Low on Mount Kinabalu in 1858, and described the following year by Joseph Dalton Hooker, who named it after James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak. Hooker called it “one of the most striking vegetable productions hither-to discovered”. Since being introduced into cultivation in 1881, Nepenthes rajah has always been a much sought-after species. For a long time, the plant was seldom seen in private collections due to its rarity, price, and specialised growing requirements. However, recent advances in tissue culture technology have resulted in prices falling dramatically, and N. rajah is now relatively widespread in cultivation.

Nepenthes rajah is most famous for the giant urn-shaped traps it produces, which can grow up to 41 cm high and 20 cm wide. These are capable of holding 3.5 litres of water and in excess of 2.5 litres of digestive fluid, making them probably the largest in the genus by volume. Another morphological feature of N. rajah is the peltate leaf attachment of the lamina and tendril, which is present in only a few other species.

The plant is known to occasionally trap vertebrates and even small mammals, with drowned rats having been observed in the pitcher-shaped traps. It is one of only two Nepenthes species documented as having caught mammalian prey in the wild, the other being N. rafflesiana. N. rajah is also known to occasionally trap small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards and even birds, although these cases probably involve sick animals and certainly do not represent the norm. Insects, and particularly ants, comprise the staple prey in both aerial and terrestrial pitchers.
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Although Nepenthes rajah is most famous for trapping and digesting animals, its pitchers are also host to a large number of other organisms, which are thought to form a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) association with the plant. Many of these animals are so specialised that they cannot survive anywhere else, and are referred to as nepenthebionts. N. rajah has two such mosquito taxa named after it: Culex rajah and Toxorhynchites rajah.

Another key feature of N. rajah is the relative ease with which it is able to hybridise in the wild. Hybrids between it and all other Nepenthes species on Mount Kinabalu have been recorded. However, due to the slow-growing nature of N. rajah, few hybrids involving the species have been artificially produced yet.

Inserted by SP Lim
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Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients (but not energy) from trapping and consuming animals or protozoans, typically insects and other arthropods. Carnivorous plants have adapted to grow in places with high light where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic bogs and rock outcroppings. Charles Darwin wrote Insectivorous Plants, the first well-known treatise on carnivorous plants, in 1875.

True carnivory is thought to have evolved independently nine times in five different orders of flowering plants, and is represented by more than a dozen genera. This classification includes at least 583 species that attract, trap and kill prey, absorbing the resulting available nutrients. Additionally, over 300 protocarnivorous plant species in several genera show some but not all of these characteristics.

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