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January 2020

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Contents January 2020

4 CEO’s Message 6 Editor’s Note 6 Letters 8 Agenda Calendar of events and happenings 123RF

10 Comfort Zone Where to stay


Inside Look


The celebrated Chinese culture of lion dance



Vincent Chew of Pensonic Holdings Bhd

12 Hours Taiping, Perak

12 Bites Where to eat

14 Quench Where to drink

16 Tech’Up Must-have gadgets

21 Savour Kuih kapit

38 Humble Beginnings Noodle Shack

46 Pack Up Wardrobe Reboot

48 Health & Beauty Detoxing & Purifying

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Our top 5 destinations to visit in 2020


First Drives 50 Reads


Honda HR-V

Books about food

Street Chef

52 At The Movies

Sze Ngan Chye Roast Duck

What’s showing in theatres

55 Firefly News 56 Network Map 58 Fleet & Service Info 60 Out & About Happenings around town

62 Viewfinder Gunung Jerai, Kedah

64 #FlyFirefly Our Instagram Stars!

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CEO's Message

FIREFLY EDITORIAL ADVISOR CEO, FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd Philip See Editorial Committee Izra Izzuddin, Saisundary Sundra Kumar

A very Happy New Year to all and welcome aboard Firefly! 2019 seems to have flown past and we are now in a new decade. Have you made your resolutions yet? More importantly, will you be keeping them? I’ve always felt that resolutions are sometimes an additional stress. Do look after yourself – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Spend more time with the people who are important to you. Have fun. Live life! Firefly wants to help you live that life you truly deserve. Our new year’s resolution is to keep on raising the bar, to keep going beyond convenience. Towards that end, we have some good news for our passengers for the start of The Year of the Metal Rat. We have recently expanded our network to make things even more convenient for you, our valued passengers. Beginning 17 December 2019, Firefly’s newest route connects Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu three times a week. This is the perfect opportunity to explore what Johor Bahru and Kota Bharu have to offer. Kota Bharu is a city that is rich in culture; with various museums, the royal palace, former royal buildings and the huge sleeping Buddha at Wat Pothivihan to visit. Johor Bahru mixes the old with the new; offering traditional dances, great food and Legoland, which will appeal to the young and young at heart. Firefly has also introduced a new and reliable payment option for our customers – Maybank EzyPay. This is an interest-free instalment plan that will make the booking of flights and our other services even easier for our customers. Through the ‘zero percent’ Maybank instalment plans, travellers – particularly Maybank cardholders – can now book flights to their dream destinations for as low as RM84 per month for six months. Once again, a very Happy New Year to all of you and we look forward to serving you throughout this year.

Phil Chief Executive Officer Firefly Airlines

January 2020


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PUBLISHED BY FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd (346606-K) CITTA Mall, 3rd Floor, No.1, Jalan PJU 1A/48, Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: +603 7845 4543 Web: Email: SPAFAX MALAYSIA Business Director Sue Loke EDITORIAL Editor Julie Goh Senior Writer Eris Choo

Art Director Euric Liew

Writer Noel Foo

Graphic Designer Nurfarahin Kamarudin nurfarahin.kamarudin

Contributors Rubini Kamal, PY Cheong, Sara Hon, Caramella Scarpa, Fong Min Hun, Elaine Lau ADVERTISING & MEDIA SALES Senior Sales Manager Shirley Chin shirley.chin

Sales Manager Emmy Aiza emmy.aiza

Sales Manager Vannes Ching vannes.ching

Sales Manager Khairul Adzman khairul.adzman

SPAFAX Chief Executive Officer Niall McBain Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer Simon Ogden

Managing Director, Asia Pacific Jean-Marc Thomas

Spafax Middle East Jelle De Mey Jelle.DeMey

Spafax USA Mary Rae Esposito maryrae.esposito

Spafax Europe Tullia Vitturi tullia.vitturi Spafax UK Steve O’Connor Steve.OConnor Spafax Asia-Pacific Agnes Law

Spafax Canada Tracy Miller tracy.miller Spafax South America Francisco Azocar francisco.azocar

PRINTER Times Offset (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (194695-W) Times Subang, Bangunan Times Publishing, Lot 46, Subang Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Batu Tiga, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: +603 5628 6888 Fax: +603 5628 6899 Firelyz is published monthly by Spafax Networks Sdn Bhd for FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd (346606-K). No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of Firefly. All rights reserved. Copyright @ 2019 by Firefly. Opinions expressed in Firelyz are the writers’ and not necessarily endorsed by Firefly and/or Spafax Networks. They are not responsible or liable in any way for the contents in any of the advertisements, articles, photographs or illustrations contained in this publication. Editorial inquiries and inquiries concerning advertising and circulation should be addressed to Spafax Networks. Firefly and Spafax Networks accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photography, illustrations and other editorial materials. The Editorial Team reserves the right to edit and/or re-write all materials according to the needs of the publication upon usage. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless they are accompanied by sufficient return postage.

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Editor's Note



I'm a person fascinated by aviation and I keep a diary to record all my past flight experiences. I last flew Firefly back in 2011 – cruising in a Boeing 737 from KLIA to my hometown Kota Kinabalu. When I had to pick a flight from Johor to Kuala Lumpur in August, fond memories influenced me to "Firefly" again – this time on an ATR-72. On board, I was pleasantly surprised by the cabin cleanliness and seat comfort. Departure was on time, and the flight attendants were very professional and attentive. Landing in Subang gave me another nostalgic flashback. My last time here was in 1996 during the Subang Airport heydays. Thank you, Firefly, for making me relive these wonderful memories! This is going into my diary too!

Arthur Wong


As a frequent flyer from Subang to Johor Bahru, I’ve never missed reading Fireflyz. The Insider’s Guide on Shah Alam in the May issue opened up my eyes about the city. I’ve never explored Shah Alam to the fullest although I have resided here for some time. The article gives new insights to the city from its history, architecture and the amazing food it offers. Another article that captured my attention was on the various libraries available in Kuala Lumpur, which offer more than just books. I would like to congratulate the Firefly team for providing complimentary dates during the flight which allowed us to break our fast. Keep up the continuously good service!

Farhana Fadzil


I love your magazine! Three things I love about it: 1) It’s about MALAYSIA - places, food, art, business, literature and culture. 2) Unity in diversity - promoting the diversity of the races and culture in MALAYSIA and the underlying unity that makes us unique. 3) All the articles are very well written and thought through. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

Lau Tian Chen


I fly Firefly almost every month for work. Reading the magazine each month, I find the content increasingly interesting and varied. It introduces most of Malaysia's culture, food and tourist spots in different states and even the inspiring stories of Malaysian entrepreneurs. Previously, I only flipped through the magazine, but now I read it from page to page. Keep it up. Let’s share more about Malaysia with foreigners.

Beh Lee Wen


We’ d love to hear from you!

The beginning of a new year is a time for newness and clean slates; a time to seize the opportunity to do things differently and, hopefully, with a little more purpose. So in the spirit of the new year, I warmly welcome you to a slightly refreshed edition of Fireflyz. In the past few months, the team has worked hard to rethink the content for the magazine that would be refreshing but not wholly unfamiliar. We have retained the magazine’s essence – to be authentically Malaysian, and the core of the Fireflyz brand remains that of inspiring travel, culture and life. We will continue to feature Malaysian personalities and organisations that have made a difference to the country, yet remain largely under the radar; the ones who come from humble beginnings and the ones who thrive from their perseverance and determination. Within these pages too, you will continue to find bite-sized information, from food to fashion to cars. In conjunction with the new lunar year which falls on 25 January, our senior writer Eris Choo takes an inside look into the traditional art form of lion dancing. Said to date back to the Han and Tang dynasties, it involves tremendous athletic skills and precision, and is customarily performed during Chinese New Year and at business functions to bring prosperity, good luck and peace. Chinese immigrants first brought the lion dance to Malaysia over a century ago, but it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that its popularity soared. Today, Malaysia produces some of the top lion dance troupes in the world (page 22). If you have not made travel plans, check out our top five places to go this year. Bhutan, Cairo, Panama, Galway in Ireland and Maine in the United States made the list (page 30). In our other travel essay, Taiping, with its wellpreserved colonial architecture and public park with angsana trees, is having its moment in the sun (page 18). “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page,” someone once said. I hope you will make plans to travel more this year. It is only through travel that we begin to see things differently.

Write to us at and stand a chance to win a 2D1N stay in a one-bedroom suite at E&O Residences Kuala Lumpur, inclusive of breakfast for two worth about RM1,380.

To our readers celebrating, Gong Xi Fa Cai!


January 2020

Your free copy or read online at


January 2020


Customarily performed to usher in the new lunar year, lion dance is a national and cultural treasure in Malaysia.





Julie Goh

Letters may be edited for clarity and brevity, and will be published in the language in which they are written. Please include your full name, contact number and location when writing to us. Only one winning letter will be chosen each month.

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appy New Year and Welcome to a New Decade!

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Sun, Sail & Sea

The annual Royal Langkawi International Regatta is back for yet another race in the seas. The popular regatta in the Asian regatta calendar will see sailing enthusiasts from around the world brave challenging winds, putting their sailing chops and yachts to the test for the winning cup. Organised in conjunction with the Malaysian Sailing Association and under the patronage of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, the five-day race will see yachts of various designs and vintage taking part, aimed at promoting a challenging yet fun race for crew and spectators alike. When: 6 – 11 January Where: Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, Langkawi Island, Kedah


Stanislav Kochanovsky

European Affair

After opening the new year and its 22nd concert season with the works of Strauss, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) will be led by Russian conductor Yevgeny Sudbin Stanislav Kochanovsky through an inspiring medley of classical masterpieces of works by Rachmaninov, Liadov and Lutoslawski featuring pianist Yevgeny Sudbin. The month closes with Revolutionary Tales where Kochanovsky returns to the podium to present classics by Beethoven and Shostakovich. When: 11 – 19 January Where: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas

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Spring Celebration


This month sees Chinese New Year celebrated with much pomp and circumstance in countries with significant Chinese populations, including Malaysia. Also known as the Spring Festival in China, businesses are often closed for a week as people head back to their hometowns to visit relatives and pay respect to the elders. Traditionally, family members gather for a feast known as the reunion dinner on the eve of the festival. The giving of money in red packets is a common practice, as are cultural performances and parades in public spaces, accompanied by firecrackers and lion or dragon dance displays. Some visit temples to pray for blessings for the new year, and to give offerings to gods and ancestors. Certain traditions such as the eating of special festive food vary from place to place, which makes the festival all the more interesting to experience. When: 25 – 26 January Where: In countries with a Chinese population

Matter Of Art

Explore the exceptional works of one of Malaysia’s most prolific artists Ahmad Fuad Osman, which delves into current issues in Malaysia and beyond. Entitled At The End Of The Day Even Art Is Not Important, the exhibition features the artist’s works from 1990-2019 and includes his well-known breadth of style and medium such as readymade objects, film excerpts, sketches and more. The exhibition aims to convey how art should not be seen as an object to be possessed but rather a public space to address urgent topics that need our attention and action. When: Until 28 February 2020 Where: National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

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C o m f o r t Z o n e : W h e r e To S t a y


Family Enjoyment

Touted as Singapore’s only beachfront resort, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa enjoys a prime location along Siloso Beach on Sentosa Island. A mere 15 minutes from the city centre, the hotel has 454 guest rooms and suites, each with their own private balcony or terrace overlooking the ocean and the resort’s verdant gardens. This family-friendly resort offers facilities for the enjoyment of all – the main swimming pool, the children’s pool, as well as water slides and a splash pad for younger guests. Guests can enjoy a variety of daily pool games or head to the beach for a day of sea sports or a fun time at Nestopia, an outdoor play space for children. Savour good food and beverage offerings at Casserole, Silver Shell Café and The Bubble Bar. Unwind at Chi, The Spa or the resort’s 24-hour gym. Sentosa’s top family attractions like Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and Mega Adventure Park are just a short drive away. Address: 101 Siloso Road, Sentosa, 098970, Singapore


Innovative Features

Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah was designed with the modern traveller in mind, with its 208 rooms and suites powered by innovative new technology. Passive infrared motion sensors detect the presence of guests in the room and automatically control the air-conditioning and power supply accordingly. Enjoy the view of the sparkling sea and the breathtaking sunset from the outdoor infinity pool or the pool bar with a cool drink in hand. Get a quick workout at any time of the day at Re:charge, the 24-hour gym. Take the time to dine in at Nook or grab a quick snack to-go from Re:fuel at any hour. Mingle with other guests in the Re:mix lobby area and W XYZ bar, which also hosts performances by local musical talent occasionally. There are also activities to entertain children at Camp Aloft and Kids Club. Located in Pantai Tengah, just down the road from the more popular Pantai Cenang beach, Langkawi’s best attractions are just a short drive away from the hotel. Address: Lot PT 701, Jalan Pantai Tengah, Mukim Kedawang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

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Luxurious Hideaway

Boasting white sand beaches, comfortable villas and myriad programmes and facilities, there is nothing quite like the experience of a stay at the exclusive and idyllic Amanpuri.. Occupying a secluded peninsula of Phuket, the property has 40 spacious pavilions and 40 luxurious villas, the largest having up to nine bedrooms for larger groups. Many of these private and luxurious accommodations come with their own large private pools or scenic terraces. Experience the extent of Aman hospitality with the Amanpuri Villa Experience, where guests can have 24-hour butler service, a personal Thai chef, a holistic massage at their own private villa and access to all the resort’s recreational facilities and programmes. Savour world class fare from a variety of cuisines from Thai to Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean and Latin American. The resort also offers a broad range of watersports, from paddleboard to jet skiing, wakeboarding, Flyboard, Schiller water bikes and even sailing lessons. Address: Pansea Beach, Cherngtalay, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand


Simplified Elegance

Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the five-star Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur is an elegant and contemporary hotel that caters to both leisure and business travellers alike. The hotel is situated right beside the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and is within comfortable walking distance of the city’s most popular shopping complexes, Suria KLCC and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Its 411 guest rooms and suites are spacious, designed with floorto-ceiling windows for maximum natural light and a great view of the city skyline. Dine at THIRTY8 or enjoy local specialties at JP teres or have a meal with a view at the poolside restaurant, Poolhouse. Grand Hyatt offers unique spaces for events, including the oval pillarless Grand Ballroom, the exclusive Grand Residence and the scenic Sky Lobby Lounge. Before the day ends, make use of Grand Hyatt’s recreational offerings such as the outdoor swimming pool, 24-hour fitness centre, sauna or Essa Spa. Address: 12, Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Fabulous Flaky Goodness

This light-infused cafĂŠ located in The Hub in SS2 specialises in well-made pastries, coffee and fusion hot meals. Flakes has developed a reputation for making amazing croissants with diners declaring them the best this side of Paris. What makes a good croissant? Flaky, buttery goodness! Have them plain or flavoured with almond and cinnamon. There are wallet-friendly lunch specials on weekdays with rice bowls, pasta and savoury stuffed croissants making the rounds. Come here for brunch and try croissants filled with creamy scrambled eggs and avocado, or the crabmeat version for something extra. extra.


B i t e s : W h e r e To E a t

Address: B-G-06 (B), The Hub SS2, 19 Sentral, Seksyen 19, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Malaysian Tapas In The City Bijan is the grand dame of Malay cuisine in Kuala Lumpur and their new venture, SPG by Bijan, is fast becoming a hot spot for uniquely crafted cocktails and delectable food. Start with Malaysian-style tapas like deep-fried nasi lemak rice balls with anchovy mayonnaise. Follow up with a traditional roti jala served with rich chicken curry and balanced with a tangy mango salad. Their grill section has meat and seafood cooked over charcoal and perfectly flavoured with local spices like chili, coriander and pepper, and sambal in various forms adds to the excitement. End the meal with mango- and banana-inspired desserts and a couple of cocktails. Address: 3 Jalan Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Fusion Cuisine With A Twist

Therefore focuses on Western-style dishes with solid Malaysian flavours as well as healthy options. Fusion comes in the form of pairing a classic ingredient like salmon with a tempeh crust or an inhouse-made burger flavoured with rendang spices. There are also unique offerings like the pegaga (also known as Gotu Kola, a popular herbal remedy) soup and a cendol-inspired bread pudding with vanilla-infused gula melaka sauce. The food is well-presented and the restaurant’s interior makes for a cool backdrop for those photos that need to get on Instagram. Address: Lot 02-G, Menara Symphony, No. 5, Jalan Professor Khoo Khay Khim, Seksyen 13, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Authentic Finger Licking Chicken


A new entry to Taman Tun’s already thriving café scene, Jeda Café & Diner enters the fray with its hip space and chicken done right. Lunch sees rice bowls inspired by regional flavours with a definitive Indonesian slant. Fried chicken is a culinary institution and when combined with sambal and Jeda’s special rice with fried shallots, torch ginger flower and kaffir lime, this is a great lunch treat. There are Thai and Japanese versions and they’re all tasty. Dinner is all about crispy spicy Southern-style fried chicken complemented by proper potato salad. Look out for the quirky wall mural – we all need a no drama llama in our lives.

Address: 24A, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Q u e n c h : W h e r e To D r i n k

Blue Nights

EQ Kuala Lumpur’s ’s transformation has been nothing short of remarkable. What was once a typical city hotel has become an exciting venue for events, stays, dining and now, rooftop drinks and nights out. Blue is located on the 51st floor of the hotel and needless to say, the view is impressive. Rooftop bars are still riding high and Blue offers yet another outlook of the city’s iconic skyline. The décor is sleek in tandem with the rest of the hotel and the cocktail to try is the aptly named Blue Moon – an exotic mix of gin, elderflower liqueur, lavender and violet flavoured bitters, and butterfly pea flower for a pop of colour. Address: EQ, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cocktail Adventure


Kuala Lumpur’s cocktail scene shows no sign of slowing down and mixologists are becoming bolder in their ingredient choices and combinations. WichiWichi Tapas & Cocktail Bar is located in an unlikely industrial area in Subang Jaya, which makes it even more interesting. Cocktail alchemy is what goes on here with drinks like Tie Me Down Tie Me Up; comprising Damrak gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, yuzu tonic and puree, and basil seeds. The food is also a wonderful mix of cuisines from ceviche and Mozzarellastuffed chillies to succulent wagyu beef and pan-seared Unagi with seaweed pesto rice. But it’s the cocktails that demand your attention so start with the Morning After Kopi-O (vodka, Kahlua, cold brew coffee, salted egg foam) and see where you go from there. Address: 12, Jalan SS 13/3b, Subang Jaya Industrial Estate, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

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Not Quite Boring!

Woobar at W Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly one of the hot spots in Kuala Lumpur with its DJ roster and that incredible view. It’s also famed for its cocktail list, which has undergone a menu revamp and promises connoisseurs a run for their money. The menu has been designed to look like a board game and is, actually, called The Bored Game! There are 12 new concoctions with names like The Hive Five (gin, pomegranate and Tualang honey), Shrooms (tequila, orange liqueur, shiitake mushrooms) and Bearly Alive (bourbon, Moscato, sake, agave). You can’t have all 12 in one night so this new menu calls for several visits to decide which you like best.


Address: 121, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

No Ordinary Coffee

Remember when a properly made cappuccino was enough to get you excited? Dissolved Solids is a café bar that aims to bring coffee to a parallel level of taste. Come here prepared for an adventure of the senses and ready to accept that some ingredients really do work no matter how strange. A prime example of this would be the alcoholbased Too Gouda To Be True, which is finished with grated Gouda. There are non-alcoholic coffee- and tea-based drinks too, and snacks like freshly made waffles and Cornish pasties. The ice used is handcrafted and is so clear, it looks like sheer glass and makes the drinks taste so much better. Address: 43-1, Jalan SS 20/11, Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

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Te c h U p : G a d g e t s *Some RRPs have been converted into Malaysian Ringgit and are correct at the time of conversion.


Music On The Go

Ready, Set, Game


Beats has released its very first on-ear, noise-cancelling headphones. The Solo Pro offers an immersive sound experience, while at the same time, actively blocks external noise. Integrated controls allow users to take calls, skip songs and control volume directly from the ear cup. RRP: RM1,299

Razer is cutting the cord of its Basilisk X HyperSpeed gaming mouse. With both wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, gamers can switch between the two to get an extended battery life of up to 450 hours. Other features include a 16000 DPI 5G sensor and six programmable buttons. RRP: RM252

2 3




Pretty Powerful


Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 is a slim and light device. The 13.5-inch variant weighs approximately 1.3kg, yet it comes with touchscreen capabilities, up to 11.5 hours of battery life and a large glass trackpad. Plus, it is able to fast charge – going from nothing to 80 percent powered in less than an hour. RRP: RM4,499

Beautifully Defined

New from Garmin is a limited edition collection of luxurious smartwatches. Named Marq, it comprises six models with very distinctive looks. Each is designed and engineered with a particular interest (or activity) in mind – flying, racing, sailing, exploring, sports and tactical performances. RRP: RM7,999–RM13,500 depending on model

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12 H o u r s

Bukit Larut, the first hill resort in Malaysia

Text & Photos K. Anand / Illustration Yion Lim / Art Direction Euric Liew


Taiping,, Taiping Take A Bow



scheduled every two hours, with only four trips per day. Tickets get sold out within hours, or within an hour on public and school holidays. There is time for breakfast at The Nest, a bungalowcafé with mainly local fare. It is one of a few bungalows available if you want to spend a night or two up on Bukit Larut.

11.30 am

Perak Museum, the first museum in Malaysia

8 am

As you enter Taiping, just three hours’ drive north of Kuala Lumpur, you are welcomed with a view of its undulating hills and tantalising skies. From its raintrees to its 34 historical firsts, it is no surprise that the city, whose name means ‘everlasting peace’, has

been recognised as a heritage town, and one of the top three sustainable cities in the world.

Malaysia. Land Rovers take visitors up to the 1,000 metre mark – about 200 metres short of the peak – to enjoy a view of the town, surrounding hills, and some attractions left behind from colonial times. The drive is about 30 minutes long and beats trying to hike up for about an hour or more. The rides are

8.30 am

The tour starts with a ride up the famous Bukit Larut. Previously known as Maxwell Hill, it is the first hill resort in

After the return journey down from Bukit Larut, make your way to the nearby Burmese Pool, a fresh water creek with water running down from the Bukit Larut waterfalls that are visible from town, but are not accessible to the public. The water is calm about 50 metres from the entrance. You can cross a bridge and walk about 100 metres to access a mini-waterfall surrounded by trees, through which the full glory of the morning sun makes for a beautiful sight. The beauty of Taiping is that this and other delightful experiences are only about 5-15 minutes away by car.

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famous Chinese nationalist leader, Dr Sun Yat Sen, who stayed there when he visited Taiping in the 1930s. There are no guides to show you around the mill, but do walk through to snap a few photos if you like and to sample the various types of coffee. Buy some to take home, along with snacks produced by Antong, all at reasonable prices. TOURISM MALAYSIA

will need it when ordering food from one of the many stalls. If you are a fan of noodles, order the wantan mee from stall number 63 and char koay teow from stall number 72 from the non-Halal side of the hawker centre. Be prepared to wait due to their popularity during peak hours. From the Halal corner, the mee combat is the best bet for something freshly made. If you fancy an ice-cool dessert, the ‘towerhigh’ ais batu campur, or more popularly known by its acronym of ABC, at stalls 102 or 103 will certainly satisfy your craving.

Antong Coffee Mill

12.15 pm

Next, head to Antong Coffee Mill, the oldest coffee mill in Malaysia and a must-visit for all, not just those who love their daily cuppa. Aside from the historical significance of the mill built in 1933, the house of the founder, located next to the mill, pays homage to the

1.15 pm

It's lunch time and at the Casual Market, officially known as the Larut Matang Food Court, you are in for a real treat. It takes a few minutes to scout around for a table. Sharing one is fine, but do remember your table number as you

2 pm

Take a short walk just behind the Casual Market for the Jejak Warisan or Heritage

Trail bus ride that takes visitors through the city’s historical sights. The journey lasts about 25-30 minutes but it runs every hour on the hour. You are allowed to get off the bus but getting back on the next bus will cost you RM1.

2.15 pm

After taking in some of the historic sights, alight at the Perak Museum. Built in 1883, it is the first museum in Malaysia. Take a look at history from early Perak and colonial times through the exhibits, covering various facets of life. While waiting to get on the next heritage trail bus, take a moment to view the Taiping Prison directly opposite the museum. Built in 1879, it is the first and oldest

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12 H o u r s


The big raintrees at Taiping Lake Gardens

Non-halal section of the Casual Market

The Burmese Pool

modern prison complex in Malaysia.

3.30 pm

The bus soon reaches Taiping's greatest heritage – the Taiping Lake Gardens and its famous raintrees. When the sun is up, the lake, with the hills in the background, make for Instagram-worthy photos. Take a walk or use the free bikes available to navigate in and around the lake. The raintrees along the road that circle the lake are akin to performers, taking a bow as you pass as if they are pleased with your presence!

5 pm

dolphin sightings. There is also a fish farm, a floating village (Kuala Sangga) and mangrove forests to see in the one-hour boat cruise.

After taking the bus back to the start of the Heritage Trail, it's time to head out on a slightly long drive to Kuala Sepetang, formerly known as Port Weld. What was once the first rail journey built in Malaysia, Taiping to Port Weld is now a 30-minute drive by car. There are two reasons for taking the drive to the Kuala Sepetang fishing village. One, it was once the hub of activity with all the tin mined in Perak moving through its narrow waters; and two, it has its own natural sights and experiences that one can enjoy on a boat cruise such as birdwatching and

8 pm

Back in Taiping, it's time for dinner at the Prima food court. It's open air with stalls to the left and right of tables set in the middle of a road that's accessible to vehicles during the day. The fare here is more of the nonhalal variety, including the mouth-watering satay, but one can try out the popular fried oyster-egg (oh chien), char koay teow and chicken rice too.

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The Heritage Trail bus ride takes visitors past attractions that are more than 100 years old, including the Clock Tower, Masjid Melayu (Malay Mosque built in 1890 and is the oldest mosque in Taiping), All Saints Anglican Church (oldest Anglican Church in Malaysia built in 1874), St George's Institution, King Edward VII School, first railway station, and the first telegraph office. The bus also passes the Taiping Zoo, the first zoo in the country opened in 1961, and the only one offering a night safari.

From the hawker centres to mamak restaurants and at almost half the price of what it would normally cost in big cities such as Kuala Lumpur, one will not go hungry in Taiping. Do not leave the city without trying cendol and hor ga sai. For the former, Ansari Famous Cendol and Bismillah Cendol have been serving theirs for more than 40 years. The latter is a mixture of coffee and milo and can be found in many kopitiams. The question is who serves the best as different proprietors have their own secret recipes for this beverage.

Cars are your best bet for getting around as there is hardly any traffic congestion, except during major festivals such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. Ride-hailing services such as Grab and MyCar are also available.

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S a vo u r Text Richard Augustin Photos 123rf

A staple treat during one of the biggest festivals in the lunar calendar, the thin wafer-like confectionary is also fondly known as love letters.

TRADITIONAL LUNAR NEW YEAR TREATS It won’t be Chinese New Year without these iconic cookies.

KUIH BANGKIT Made with tapioca flour, these light and crumbly cookies not only boast a creamy and rich coconut flavour but they also melt in your mouth.

Love Letters



sk anyone what their favourite snack is during Chinese New Year and chances are they will say it’s kuih kapit.. A staple treat during one of the biggest kapit festivals in the lunar calendar, the thin waferlike confectionary is also fondly known as love letters. Made predominantly with rice flour, egg, sugar and coconut milk, kuih kapit boasts a fragile and crisp texture that is quite unlike most festive treats. Therein lies the appeal of the snack, as it provides a joy for the senses with its sweet, caramel crumbly bite. Over the years, inventive cooks have given the kuih kapit a number of different spins – with a variety of fillings, shapes and flavour enhancements. Ultimately though, the plain and simple version remains the best, even more so when it’s made with loved ones from the confines of one’s own kitchen.


•120g rice flour •40g plain flour •150g castor sugar •1½ cups coconut milk (from 1 coconut) •2 eggs •¼ tsp salt Method

•Sieve flour into a mixing bowl and set aside.

•Gently whisk eggs with

sugar and gradually add in coconut milk.

•Stir in flour and salt and

continue to mix until you obtain a smooth and consistent batter.

•Strain the batter into

another bowl to remove any lumps and set aside.

Baking Process

•If using traditional

moulds, lightly grease them with cooking oil using a serviette or brush.

and bake them over the fire 20-30 seconds on each side.

•If using an electric

mould, preheat the appliance and lightly grease the surface with oil when it is hot enough.

•Pour a small amount of

batter unto the surface and immediately scrape off any excess.

•When the kuih kapit is

•Once the moulds are

•Store kuih kapit in an

hot enough, scoop some batter into them using a spoon.


PEANUT COOKIES Simple and delicious, these cookies are made with flour, sugar and ground peanuts, which gives it a sweet yet savoury taste. Crumbly in texture, most don’t stop after eating just one.

golden brown, remove from heat and fold or roll them immediately to the desired shape.

•Repeat process until the

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•Close the mould firmly

•Heat moulds over fire for a few minutes.

KUIH BAHULU A local version of the French tea cake, madeleine, these traditional bite-sized cakes are made with wheat flour, eggs and sugar. Crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside, kuih bahulu is also a firm favourite during Hari Raya.

batter is finished.

airtight tin or container until ready to consume.

PINEAPPLE TARTS These bite-sized pastries, also known as pineapple cookies, are made with buttery and flaky shortcrust pastry, filled or topped with pineapple jam.

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Inside Look Text Eris Choo / Photos SooPhye



Fong is one of the troupe leaders of the Khuan Loke Lion and Dragon Dance Association, multiple-time world champions and one of Malaysia’s leading lion dance troupes. A qualified instructor and competition judge, Fong is a passionate advocate of the sport, which he has been practicing since he was 11 years old. “I wasn’t really interested when I first joined, but now I can’t imagine myself without it,” he laughs.


(Inset and above) The Khuan Loke troupe practices the Southern-style of lion dance; troupe leader Eric Fong at a practice session with young students

nside a community hall in Sungai Way in the suburb of Petaling Jaya, a lion cocks its head from side to side, tail wagging to the steady beat of drums and cymbals. As the clang of instruments rises to a crescendo, it launches itself into the air, feet deftly landing onto high poles raised several metres above ground. The spectacle is nail-biting to watch, but also exhilarating.

(Next page; from top) A good lion dance performance not only involves stunning acrobatics but also excellent coordination and creative storytelling

Eric Fong raises his hands, calling for a time out. The beat ceases, and the lion’s two young performers slip out of their costumes for a short rest. “Competition season is just around the corner, so we need all the practice we can get,” says Fong, a lion dance veteran of 28 years. “The Lunar New Year is also our busiest period. Celebrating the festival with family is just one of the things we have to forgo.”

Being part of a lion dance troupe is no walk in the park. Physical and mental fortitude aside, it requires a lot of commitment from its members as well. Practice for competitions – such as the one we just witnessed – is held on weekday nights, and often stretches to weekends as well. While demand for performers is higher than ever, it is challenging to attract fresh talent, especially among the younger generation. Fong’s troupe has about 25 to 30 members actively performing. Many others, he says, have to make do with less. “Some youths today place more emphasis on education rather than physical sports or the arts. Others are unable to commit to our gruelling schedules because of family, work or study commitments. It is not like it was in the old days,” he quips.

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broke out between members of the different martial arts schools, clubs or associations. Fong recalls being ostracised by schoolmates when he first joined the troupe in the 1990s. “Their parents would tell me to keep away from their children. There was a stereotype that only gangsters or youths who were bad at studies joined lion dance troupes,” he explains. Some of this negative stigma persists to this day, but Foong has been in the industry long enough to see it become a celebrated sport, with its own examinations and international competitions. Today, Malaysia is recognised as one of the world’s best lion dancing nations, producing world champions such as the Kun Seng Keng troupe from Muar, Johor, as well as the Khuan Loke troupe. The Genting World Lion Dance Championship, held biennially in Genting Highlands, Pahang, is considered the gold standard in international lion dance competition. “We practice the Southern Lion here, more specifically the Futsan-style from Guangdong, but the dance has evolved enough to have its own distinct identity. The high stilts routine, for example, was popularised in Malaysia,” Fong elaborates.

Storied Past

The lion dance was first brought over to Malaysia by Chinese immigrants over a century ago, but it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that its popularity soared. During China’s Cultural Revolution, which saw the systematic purging of traditional practices in Chinese culture, many lion dance practitioners moved to Southeast Asia, Malaysia included, to continue teaching the craft.

(from top) Ento’s whole roasted crickets come in three flavours to cater to different ed the ‘least scary’ of all bugs

While it is almost inseparable from Chinese culture today, lion dance once had an unsavoury reputation. In the past, many lion dance groups were known to have ties to triads and secret societies, and violent fights often

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Inside Look

Its demographic has also become much more diverse. Female troupe members, once a rarity, are now more common. Khuan Loke has students from all walks of life; from those as young as five, up to seniors in their 40s who still perform on high stilts, also known as jong. “We have had students who were accountants, lawyers and successful businessmen. When you’re performing, there is no difference in status. Everyone is equal and we work as a team,” says Fong.

become good at it. Many of our members have been at it for years. If that isn’t good character building, I don’t know what is,” Fong says, adding that it requires discipline, patience and tenacity.

(Inset and bottom) Only advanced performers can perform on the high stilts; a “dotting” ceremony where the lion’s eyes are painted to give it ‘life’ before a competition or performance

In total, it can take up to three years for a student to learn the instruments and progress to basic handling of the lion head or tail. Only the most advanced performers are able to perform on high stilts. A standard competition setup has 21 poles, the highest can tower up to six metres above ground. Aside from powerful movements and the ability to perform impressive stunts, creativity and effective storytelling are also tenets of a good lion dance performance. “The performance does not have dialogue, so it is important for the audience to grasp the story from the lion’s movements and gestures,” says Fong.

One member, Mariam Abdul Nazar, has been part of the troupe for over a decade. She joined when she was 13, after accompanying her older brother to a practice session. “My family has been very supportive. There were people who questioned if it was alright for a Muslim to join, but it has nothing to do with religion, and I see it as having a better understanding of the beauty of other cultures,” says the 23-year-old, who plays the cymbals and gong.

While the storyline is a contemporary touch, the dance still maintains many traditional elements, such as the practice of choi cheng (literally, plucking the greens), where the lion grabs a lettuce (which can be substituted by other green vegetables or auspicious symbols). The characters for ‘plucking’ and ‘greens’ are homonyms for ‘vegetable’ and ‘fortune’, so the practice is symbolic

Mariam, who works as a content reviewer and is also pursuing a part-time university degree, finds it difficult to find time for practice – but says that the troupe is “like family”. “I’ve also had the opportunity to visit many places to perform, such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. It gives me a sense of accomplishment,” she says.

Rigorous Process

The first thing that new students learn is how to play instruments, namely the cymbals, before moving up to playing drums and gongs. This can take anywhere from three months to a year to master. Coordination is key, as the drummers have to keep up with the movements of the lion and, sometimes, change their beats accordingly. “Lion dance is not a sport where you come in for a couple of months and

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of bringing in good luck and fortune. The lion ultimately spits out the lettuce to represent the spreading of prosperity.


For many members, juggling their daily lives with the gruelling requirements of training and performing can be a struggle. Yap Yan Qing, who is 22 years old and performs as the head of the lion, says that there are times when it has gotten in the way of his full-time job. “If we are competing overseas, we might be away for a week. There are times when the association has to write to my employers to request for special permission to take leave,” says Yap, who is a mechanic.

We have had students who Fong has also implemented a were accountants, small tuition fee for classes, which lawyers and successful are held every Sunday. “We used to offer them for free, but for businessmen. When some reason, that was counteryou’re performing, there intuitive! Parents are more likely is no difference in to encourage their kids to stick to status. Everyone is the classes when they pay a token equal and we work sum, as there is ‘value’ attached to as a team. it,” he explains.

For the Lunar New Year, Fong says troupe members might have to perform up to nine shows a day, which can be very taxing, both physically and mentally. “We don’t earn a lot, since most of the money is channelled back into the association to cover costs for logistics and equipment,” says Fong. Smaller troupes might even have to fork out their own money to compete overseas. There are other costs involved, such as venue rental as well as maintenance and replacement of props and equipment.

The way they train and perform has also evolved to keep up with modern times. “When I was younger, new students spent up to six months doing zhat ma (a shallow squat that is the basic stance in martial arts). You can’t do that with students today because they get discouraged and leave,” says Fong.

(From top left) Members of the Khuan Loke troupe; trophies and medals won throughout the years; the troupe has non-Chinese members, including Mariam Abdul Nazar

To attract new students, he tries out new methods to make sessions more interactive. “We have activities such as colouring sessions and decorating the costumes. I try to share with my students more about the history of lion dance, to instil passion and pride into what they are practising,” he says.

For now, Fong intends to carry on the spirit and soldier on to the best of his ability. “As lion dancers, we carry a lot of pride in what we do. It sounds clichéd, but it is the passion that keeps us going. Ultimately, lion dancing is serious business. “We have long training hours, and we often have to give up time with our families. It’s physically and mentally taxing. Not everyone has the passion and dedication to stay in it for the long run. But all the more reason to keep it alive,” he says.

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P e r s p e c t i ve Text Patsy Kam / Photos courtesy of Pensonic




“Nowadays, there are so many app-based gadgets and we have to keep up with the times. To stay in the race, we need new products to be relevant,” he says. While app-operated Smart home devices have been around since the late 1990s, Pensonic is the first Malaysian brand to offer the use of a single app to manage a few products. “The idea is to enable consumers to link all their home appliances under one platform with ease, so that they can save energy and money.”


eing conned is generally not a good thing, but in Vincent Chew's case, it was all part of his father’s masterplan that has worked out well. “Barely 10 days after graduating from Eastern Michigan University in the United States, I joined the family business in Penang. After two years, my father invested in a building in Kuala Lumpur and wanted me to help out in the new factory for a short while. Fast forward 20 years later, and I'm still here!” says Chew, who has a degree in human resource, in jest.

Pensonic's latest series of smart appliances called Töush can be controlled by a single app

Today, that small retail outlet called Keat Radio & Electrical Co started by Dato’ Sri Chew Weng Khak in Balik Pulau in Penang – renamed Pensonic in 1982 – has become the leading local electrical home appliances manufacturer and distributor in Malaysia with more than 500 employees.

Meant to be intuitive appliances that sense and respond to the user, Töush smart IoT appliances are remotely controlled using touchscreen devices. Different sensors detect temperature, air quality, energy levels, humidity and other essential data, and deliver the information to the consumer to help automate, quantify and optimise energy and resources for a seamless lifestyle.

According to a MarketsandMarkets report, the global Smart home appliance market is expected to grow from USD76 billion (RM316 billion) in 2018

Now the managing director of Pensonic Holdings Bhd, Chew is one of the key drivers behind the company’s latest series of smart appliances called Töush (pronounced ‘too-arsh’). Launched in August last year, the new range offers a Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, Smart Water Heater, Smart Air Purifier, Smart Air Conditioner and Smart Kit that are Wi-Fi enabled and controlled by a single app. The Töush Smart Kit contains a Smart Motion Sensor, Smart Temperature and Humidity Sensor, and Door and Window Sensor with a Gateway Control System. “It took about a year to come up with the new series of Smart appliances. In the beginning, we struggled to understand why basic appliances needed Wi-Fi when you are right there. It took a while to understand IoT (Internet of Things) as we needed to look beyond the technology and rethink functionality, for instance, the water heater and how information such as temperature control, water quality, and electricity usage could help the consumer,” says Chew.

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P e r s p e c t i ve

to USD151 billion (RM629 billion) by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent. The Malaysian market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 25.5 percent until 2023, while Statista reports that revenue for the Malaysian market is expected to reach USD105 million (RM437 million) in 2019 and may hit market volume of USD260 million by 2023. The need to innovate is also necessitated by a new generation of young customers who are more tech-savvy. “Working with younger customers is not easy as there is no real brand loyalty. Purchases are made based on customers’ reviews so we have to work harder to secure loyalty,” explains Chew.

international clients with 100 million connected devices to provide a secure platform for customers.

Nowadays, there are so many app-based gadgets and we have to keep up with the times. To stay in the race, we need new products to be relevant.

“What I had learnt about marketing in the last 20 years cannot be applied now. The world has changed, and there are many different options and online platforms. In the early years, Pensonic had to grow and expand to be noticed and to have better negotiation power to cope with the growing hypermarket trend as our products were retailed through these outlets. Now, things have changed again as hypermarkets lose out to digitisation.

“It’s a matter of linking offline and online services efficiently. If there is one thing I’ve learnt from my father, it’s honesty. Some dealers (and customers, too) have become close personal friends through the years. My father has earned their respect as he walks the talk and keeps his promises (to them),” he says proudly. Although the older Chew, who is the executive chairman of the group, is already 77 years old, he still keeps abreast with company news. “Some of the old dealers still look for him. My father is in Penang but he keeps up with Pensonic’s promotions and activities through Facebook,” says Chew.

“At less than three percent, digital sales may not account for much of the total sales but these are big ticket items and it is a growing segment. Technological advancement has been good for the industry (in) optimising processes; but on the other hand, the slightest mistake can go viral, so you have to be very careful in marketing,” he elaborates. Two of the biggest challenges brought on by the digital age, says Chew, are customer service and price dumping. Consumers these days expect fast delivery, and since anyone can put things up online, there is no accountability. To ensure consumer privacy and data security, Pensonic has partnered with Tuya Global Inc., a global IoT platform provider for smart appliances. It currently serves 100,000

In an industry where after-sales service is crucial, Chew assures consumers that customer care is still Pensonic’s top priority. In order to provide better Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Pensonic offers online warranty and service call for Töush Smart appliances. Consumers can easily register the warranty by downloading the Pensonic App to get the free Töush Kit.

Apart from its core brand Pensonic, the Pensonic Group also distributes products such as Lebensstil Kollektion, Cornell from the United States, Indesit and Gaggia from Italy, and Princess from Holland. The company is making inroads into Cambodia and Vietnam, and next year, it will move into its new 2.4-hectare warehouse in Kapar, Klang. Smart appliances such as door locks, fans, washing machines, refrigerators, switches, wall plugs with USB, plug tops, water dispensers and cookers are all in the pipeline as Pensonic seeks to provide a complete solution for the home. “Prices will be kept affordable to stay competitive and we will focus on growing the market for Töush. The new series has received favourable response, and the Smart air-conditioner could be the next big thing. Imagine being able to programme your appliance to switch on or off, monitor its condition and energy usage, get alerts for repairs and have instant access to user manuals,” says Chews. (top) Töush was introduced to the market in August last year

“When that happens, it will be a game changer that will transform the way we live.”

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The Better, Healthier

STEFAN WONG Hong Kong TVB actor

& TASTIER CHOICE If there is one food that Malaysians cannot live without, it is rice. With

Malaysia boasting a mouth-watering variety of rice dishes such as nasi lemak, chicken rice, nasi kerabu and nasi briyani, this isn’t surprising. There is a growing trend of consumers, especially young working adults living in urban areas, who want healthier alternatives to indulge in their favourite rice dish.

Enter Pensonic’s Migu Smart Low Sugar Rice Cooker – a rice cooker that cuts down carbohydrates while ensuring rice remains nutritious and tasty! Its unique, starch reducing technology reduces up to 37 percent of starch from cooked rice, and is the most suitable rice cooker for the health-conscious, gym enthusiasts, athletes and those following a low-carb diet. How does this amazing rice cooker work? Where conventional rice cookers fulfil the basic function of cooking rice by shutting off automatically when the water evaporates and keeping rice warm, Migu Smart Rice Cooker goes a few steps further. It releases starch into the water during the soaking process while keeping other nutrients in the rice intact. The boiling process removes more starch and dissolves it into the hot water, which is later drained from the rice. After excess moisture is removed, the end-product is soft, fluffy, nutritious and delightfully tasty rice that is low in starch! Choose your preferred texture of rice from firm, regular, soft to softer and a choice of eight cooking functions such as White Rice, Pearl White, Glutinous, and Brown Rice, as well as Reheat, Steam, Keep Warm, and Soup and

Food grade stainless steel pot

Auto adjust best setting for different rice

Porridge. Smart sensors automatically regulate water and temperature precisely for better tasting rice, soups and porridges. Pensonic’s Migu Smart Low Sugar Rice Cooker can be purchased from any Pensonic dealers or Pensonic eStore at a promotional price of RM699,

Automatic excess starch removal

which is a discount of 30 percent from the original retail price. Consumers will also receive a free Pensonic Yoghurt Maker and a Pensonic eStore voucher worth RM50. This promotion is valid while stocks last, so grab yours now! Visit Pensonic’s Facebook page for more information. Terms and conditions apply.

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Cairo, Egypt

Egypt’s buzzing capital is packed full of cultural gems, from the serenity of its museums and mosques to the thrills of the Khan Al Khalili traditional shopping district. Plus, you’re just 30 minutes from one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The pyramids at Giza might be popular, but they are also guaranteed to take your breath away. And when the state-of-the-art Grand Egyptian Museum opens later this year, you can also immerse yourself in the world’s largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts, including Tutankhamun’s treasures. Fancy adding a dive trip to your travel itinerary? Fly direct to the Red Sea from Giza’s Sphinx Airport.

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Tracker Text Tracey Petherick

Maine, USA



If the state of Maine in the northeast tip of the United States isn’t on your travel radar yet, it needs to be. Dramatic coastlines, picturesque waterways and vast forests combined with culinary delights and cultural diversity will sweep you off your feet. What’s more, Maine celebrates its bicentennial this year. Head to Acadia National Park’s boulder-strewn mountains, crystal clear lakes and pine forests where you might spot black bears, moose and peregrine falcons. Hike, cycle or kayak up the craggy shoreline dotted with lighthouses and lobster shacks. Then, check out the state fairs and quirky local events like pie-eating contests or get a serious culture fix at the galleries and theatres of downtown Portland.

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Galway, Ireland


At the middle point of the Wild Atlantic Way – a coastal path stretching 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometres) down the entire west coast of Ireland – sits the town of Galway. This bohemian city is alive with heritage and arts projects, culture cafés and colourful pubs filled with traditional Irish music. No wonder it’s the 2020 European Capital of Culture. World-class art, theatre and concerts sit alongside the best in street performers and interactive activities (check out the funambulism, or tightropewalking, workshops). Meanwhile, the foodie scene is thriving with innovative, terroir-focused restaurants – try the Michelinstarred Aniar – and the world’s longest-running oyster festival.

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As the world’s only carbon-negative country, this stunning Himalayan kingdom is also set to become the first fully organic nation in 2020. Bhutan’s commitment to sustainable tourism means that visitors must pay a daily tariff, but in return you get access to uncrowded attractions and pristine scenery. Snow-capped mountain peaks give way to subtropical jungle, while the landscape is dotted with monasteries and fortress-like dzongs, all pervaded by Buddhist culture and a peaceful sense of happiness and wellbeing. Must-visit places include the Tiger’s Nest monastery (Taktshang Goemba), perched on the side of a sheer cliff, and the majestic Punakha Dzong.

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Aerial view of the Islas Secas




San Blas island, Kuna Yala at the Caribbean coast of Panama

The isthmus that links Central and South America, Panama has been establishing itself as a must-go holiday destination for some time now. Highland coffee plantations, cloud forests and tropical jungle are flanked by beaches – the chilled out Caribbean on one side, the dramatic surf of the Pacific on the other. And its eco-tourism credentials are blooming. The recently-opened Islas Secas eco-retreat is the gateway to 14 islands within a huge coral reef off Panama’s Pacific coast. Sustainably managed, fully off-grid and powered by solar energy, this luxury resort gives its visitors access to an ocean wilderness as peaceful as it is exhilarating.

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The Win! In a competitive world where customer experience is key to brand success, businesses are having to adapt

to the changing needs of customers and consistently deliver to their expectations. Companies that understand this outperform their competition every time – which is why choosing the right Customer Relationship management (CRM) platform is crucial.

With over a decade of experience in Malaysia covering multiple industries, Telcowin, a leading CRM solutions provider, allows businesses to connect to their customers in a whole new way. As a Gold Consulting Partner and one of only four authorised resellers of Salesforce® in the ASEAN region, Telcowin provides its clientele with the best consulting support services, especially in the digital marketing front. Expect a wide range of primary services, from Salesforce® advisory to optimal digital marketing and customer-facing solutions, to maximise returns on investment. The company’s simple five-step implementation process ensures customers receive guidance and support every step of the way, from adoption to implementation and aftercare. Enhancing this are additional

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support services, including troubleshooting assistance, adoption training services, application of industry best practices and dashboard customisation. Tailored solutions provide businesses with even more room for improvement. With the Salesforce® cloud-computing model, CRM solutions can be customised and scaled quickly to meet the needs of small, medium and enterprise-sized businesses as they grow, while also connecting customers, employees, partners and even products without the headaches that come with traditional software and hardware. Activity tracking and alerts mean everyone is able to follow up. Sales teams will have the power to close deals like never before with an array of cloud-based tools that increase productivity and keep their pipeline filled with solid leads; while service industries can benefit from enhanced customer service with more responsive, intuitive and flexible support that anticipate customers’ needs. Marketing teams can benefit from creating personalised, cross-channel customer journeys that deliver exceptional experiences for the customer across email, mobile, social advertising, the web and more. So grow your business with better data, insights, and marketing. Generate better leads faster, and free up resources with automated nurture tracks that turn cold leads into sales-ready prospects. More information available on, or get in touch with Telcowin at

18/12/2019 11:45 AM

Humble Beginnings Text Noel Foo / Photos courtesy of Noodle Shack

Bowls of




s a common home-cooked dish enjoyed by many local ethnic Chinese families across Kuala Lumpur, pan mee can be found on almost every street corner. Yet, Kuala Lumpur natives Joseph Sun and Natalie Ng have done well to set themselves apart from other pan mee businesses – by taking the noodle dish back to its roots.

For the last 10 years, the husband and wife team have been running Noodle Shack, which operates three outlets out of three shopping centres in the Klang Valley: IPC Shopping Centre, 1Utama and Avenue K. Each bowl is made by hand in-store, from the hand-torn noodle pieces to the mackerel fishballs. Joseph recalls finding the inspiration behind the business while working in a shopping centre. “Some 13 years ago, I was operating a Japanese dessert house with a business partner. We took up the concept back then because we saw it trending in other countries but could not find anything like it in Malaysia,” says Joseph. Operating the business in a shopping mall every day for three years meant eating mass-produced food at commercial restaurants in the mall on a daily basis – something he got sick of after a while.

Noodle Shack was born out of a need to provide quality bowls of noodles in shopping malls

“I would spend long hours at work and would not be able to leave the mall for meals. Going home to eat home-cooked food was out of the question. That led Natalie and I to start looking for something that we could actually eat every day,” he says.

“In our area, banmian or pan mee is more commonly called mian fen guo, which translates to ‘flour snack’. In both our families, our mothers never had the time to cook much, so whenever they had the chance, this is what they would make,” says Joseph. “At Noodle Shack, we still call it mian fen guo to show that we have maintained our mothers’ original homecooked recipe and methods as much as possible, instead of following common commercialised methods,” he adds.

Another partner joined them in the inception of Noodle Shack, as well as its research and development. The business was born when they accepted an offer to occupy a small lot in IPC Shopping Centre. Rice dishes were also offered on the original menu but were abandoned over time in order to focus on producing quality bowls of noodles.

Derived from Hokkien and Hakka cuisine, the original recipe for pan mee calls for the noodle dough, made from flour, egg and water, to be torn into wide and uneven flat strips. To save time, most

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pan mee businesses typically buy ready-made noodles for boiling.

(bottom) Singleorigin chocolates from Raub, Titiwangsa and Hulu Selangor

Staying true to the original methods, Noodle Shack also makes its own mackerel fishballs by hand. The other key ingredient in pan mee is its soup, a simple broth made by boiling fried anchovies. These are all put together with a generous helping of sweet leaves (commonly known as pucuk manis in Malay and mani chai in Hokkien), crispy fried anchovies, minced meat and mushroom. Noodle Shack sets itself apart by using a whole shiitake mushroom instead of chopped ones and switches out the commonly used minced pork Derived from for minced chicken breast. Hokkien and Hakka While using minced chicken makes their pan mee accessible for Muslim customers, Joseph states that the real reason for the decision is that minced chicken breast is higher in protein and better aligned with Noodle Shack’s healthy food ethos. The brand also boasts using no added monosodium glutamate (MSG), no preservatives, no artificial colouring, as well as less salt and less oil.

cuisine, the original recipe for pan mee calls for the noodle dough, made from flour, egg and water, to be torn into wide and uneven flat strips.

Although Noodle Shack has yet to receive official halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), their Muslim-friendly practices have attracted a significant following among Muslim consumers. “In a shopping mall, whether you are halal-certified or not, you have to source your ingredients from halal suppliers. You even have to submit a certificate to prove this to the mall management,” says Joseph, adding that they have spoken to JAKIM consultants to learn proper halal-approved practices when it comes to food handling.

Joseph and Natalie plan to open four more outlets across the Klang Valley

The added presence of Muslim staff in the kitchen and in service positions helps to give more confidence to Muslim consumers. Muslim consumers make up about half of the customers at the Avenue K outlet in an average weekday lunch hour crowd. Joseph and Natalie’s penchant for experimenting in the kitchen has led to some unique creations being added to the menu, including a version of dry chili pan mee that uses their special sambal shrimp paste, and a coriander-infused noodle dish. “I did not like coriander before, but I love this dish. We use fresh coriander from Thailand, blend it and mix it with the noodle dough, giving it a light green colour. The strong coriander flavour even changes the taste of the soup,” he says. Joseph is cautious on the topic of expansion, especially when it comes to franchising. The duo directly owns all three existing Noodle Shack outlets, having not found suitable candidates for possible franchise licensing. He adds they are not focusing on franchising as they have plans in the works to open more Noodle Shack outlets across the Klang Valley first. “We have come up with a five-year plan that involves building up our team. We want to hire more Muslims so we can get halal certification and we will need enough staff to be able to run more than three outlets. We are hoping to reach at least seven outlets before considering master franchise deals in Penang and Johor,” says Joseph. “Our brand is not that strong yet because we do not have many physical outlets right now, but we will continue working on our branding so that the name Noodle Shack will someday be synonymous with healthy pan mee,” he adds.

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Green & Efficient


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F i r s t D r i ve s Text Richard Augustin / Photos courtesy of Honda Malaysia and respective local distributors


he first generation Honda HR-V was manufactured from 1999 to 2006, and although it managed to entice some drivers with its fun and cool design, the model only truly established itself in 2015. The reason was primarily due to increasing market demand for subcompact crossovers. Honda, knowing it has the perfect vehicle in its midst, promptly resurrected the model, and five years later, the HR-V continues to appeal; solidifying its position as one of the most popular models within its segment.

The HR-V, which stands for Hip & Smart Runabout Vehicle, is essentially the Honda CR-V’s baby brother. As such, it features all the benefits of a SUV such as space and a higher ride with the added benefits of having the manoeuvrability, performance and fuel economy of a smaller car. Still, Honda has found a way to make it even more efficient than ever with a new Honda HR-V Sport Hybrid i-DCD.

Rugged Sporty Looks

Similar in size as a compact sedan albeit with added height,

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F i r s t D r i ve s

the HR-V comes out tops in the design department with a bold and solid look that will turn heads. Honda designers have added a touch of ruggedness to the vehicle, with a unified stylish front grille as seen in Honda’s latest fleet and revised 17-inch alloys. Rear door handles are also integrated into the side windows to give a smooth uninterrupted flow along the side of the vehicle. Additionally, through further optimisation of the width and angle of the front pillars, the HR-V also offers a commanding viewpoint for drivers, which adds stock to an already impressive product.

The HR-V’s interior design and space is a solid effort from Honda

Efficient Drive

The Honda HR-V Sport Hybrid i-DCD is powered by a 1.5L DOHC i-VTEC engine with Direct Injection which is paired with a 7-Speed Dual-Clutch Transmission and Integrated High Power Motor. The combined output of the engine and motor assisted by the High-Power Lithium-Ion Battery provides Hybrid power that is equal to a 2.0L engine. With 152Ps on tap, this SUV responds quickly and delivers an exhilarating drive. The Sport Hybrid i-DCD system enables the vehicle to transfer power from its battery to motor during EV Mode which provides a boost to its performance with excellent fuel efficiency.

stability. Comfort is further improved upon with the addition of highperformance sound absorbing and insulating materials within the cabin, which contributes to reduced noise, vibration and harshness. The latest HR-V also features practical and functional features such as the MultiUtility Cargo Space which offers classleading cabin space.

Class Leading Features

Well-Mannered Ride

In the drive and handling department, the compact SUV is both comfortable and poised with increased body rigidity and

THREE TO COMPETE The main rivals in the compact SUV segment:

The new model also continues to set the benchmark in the Compact SUV segment with value-added features such as Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, Cruise Control and Paddle Shift. Standard Safety features in the updated HR-V include Six Airbags, Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and ISO Fix. The Hybrid variant is also equipped with an Electric Servo Brake System for improved energy regeneration and Fully Electric Driven Compressor air-conditioner system for the comfort of drivers and passengers. Other Hybrid exclusive features include the 3D Illuminated Meter Cluster Multi Information Display, Shift by Wire and Sport Mode.

The Hybrid Equation MAZDA CX-3

The most appealing factor about the CX-3 is the KODO design philosophy, which gives it a dynamic expression of motion. It also boasts a number of unique features including Mazda’s patented G-Vectoring Control and MZD Connect infotainment system. Priced from RM130,000, the CX-3 is powered by 154Hp Skyactive-G 2.0L petrol engine.

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With its sculpted body and sloping roofline, the CH-R strikes an imposing look. Powered by a 1.8L engine, the model offers 140PS of power and 171Nm of torque for a spirited drive. Priced at RM150,000, it is also one of the more expensive models in the segment but for its looks alone, it’s probably worth the asking price.


In terms of handling and manoeuvrability, the XV has an edge in the form of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Nestled under the hood is a 2.0L Boxer Engine, which is paired with a Lineartronic CVT transmission outputting 156PS of power. Priced from RM119,000, it’s a formidable SUV perfect for the adventurous sort.

With a stylish design and a long list of features, admittedly the HR-V has no real competitor in the compact SUV market, which will undoubtedly make it a huge hit amongst consumers. The fact that it comes with a tried, tested and reliable badge is just icing on the cake and Honda should have no trouble putting this model into driveways of drivers looking for a smart, stylish daily runabout with added efficiency to match.

The new Honda HR-V Sport Hybrid i-DCD is priced at RM120,800 (on-the-road, without insurance).

August 2019


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Built To Thrill


Handcrafted For Racing

With its low-slung front section and the shark nose-like radiator grille, the Mercedes-AMG GT C not only looks the part of a bona fide race car but also runs like one too. Tucked in under the hood of the performance machine is a 4.0-litre V8 turbo engine, putting out 557hp and 680 Nm of torque. Paired with an AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed transmission, the GT C goes from 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 316 km/h. Brutal, incredibly powerful, agile and exuding performance DNA, the GT C features a motorsport-derived suspension systematically designed for racetrack use. Mercedes-AMG GT C is priced at RM1,558,888 (onthe-road, without insurance).

Boxer Powered

Extended sojourns on the open road is made easy with the new BMW R 1250 RS as it arrives fitted with a significantly redeveloped boxer engine for enhanced power and torque. With 136hp and 143Nm of torque on tap along with ShiftCam Technology as well as Automatic Stability Control and Hill Start Control, the sporty two-wheeler is equipped for any rider and adventure. It is also quite a looker too, arriving in an elegant body finished in stunning Imperial Blue. Standard features include LED daytime riding light, a multifunctional instrument cluster with a 6.5-inch full-colour TFT screen and Keyless Ride as well.

True Driver’ s Car

The Volvo S60 T8 R Design arrives in the market as the Swedish marquee’s best handling car, and one of its most efficiently powerful. Combining performance, sustainability and safety in a mid-size premium sports sedan, the new S60 is powered by the award-winning T8 Twin Engine AWD plug-in hybrid offering 407hp and 640Nm of torque. As with all Volvo cars, the model also boasts a handsome design with fine interior quality and craftsmanship. It also features a number of intelligent smart features such as City Safety with Autobrake technology, a Pilot Assist system along with Run-off Road Mitigation and Cross Traffic Alert. The new Volvo S60 is priced at RM295,888 (on-the-road, without insurance).

The new BMW R 1250 RS is priced at RM106,500 (on-the-road, without insurance).

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Street Chef Text Vincent Tan / Photos Raymond Ooi

Labour of Love



etaling Street, the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, bustles with a mix of pushcarts and shops, hawking everything from imitation leather goods to household items. Tourists and locals jostle underneath a transparent green PVC roof, erected in 2003 as part of the city’s plan to pedestrianise the entire thoroughfare. The lanes that cut across to the parallel roads of Jalan Sultan and Jalan Tun HS Lee are lined with more shops and hawker stalls. Colloquially, Petaling Street is known as chee cheong kai – “starch street” in Cantonese – due to a factory producing starch from locally-grown tapioca sited on the street then.

These days, a half duck portion is sold for RM30, and a whole bird for RM60, and Amy usually sells out by lunch time if business is good. She will bring between 60 and 70 roast ducks to sell at Petaling Street, and more on weekends and public holidays. “We have a lot of regulars from around the Klang Valley and from outstation, and there are also a number of East Malaysians who buy the ducks to bring back to Borneo,” says Amy, while taking a break in between serving customers. Tourists, who walk up and down Petaling Street, stop by to purchase the ducks too. Roasting ducks isn’t easy work. A glance at Amy’s fingers, blunt and scarred from years of handling hot roasting skewers and large cleavers, shows how labour intensive the preparation can get. Work starts in the wee hours of the morning. By 2 am or 3 am, Amy and her helpers are already at their central kitchen cleaning out duck carcasses and preparing them for roasting.

“There used to be about 15 hawker carts along the street, all selling roast duck in one form or another,” says Amy Choong, 53, as she gestures down the thoroughfare to the end where Petaling Street intersects with Jalan Sultan and a new building is in its final stages of construction. Her father, the late Choong Feng Phooi, started selling the first salted roast ducks along Petaling Street many years ago. “Back then, there wasn’t anyone else selling salted roast duck. They were selling ducks roasted with dao jiong (fermented soybean paste) or lap ngak (waxed, preserved duck). Now, there are many salted roast duck vendors,” says Amy. She recalls how her parents would drive out to Petaling Street in a car laden with ducks. A whole duck back when the late Choong started business was sold for four Malaysian dollars. “My father started selling his roast ducks here 70 years ago. We’re still in the same spot. There wasn’t any signage, but people started calling him sze ngan chye (Cantonese for “four-eyed fellow”), because he wore spectacles,” explains Amy, who took over the stall five years ago.

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Usually they take an hour on average to roast to the doneness we want, and we turn the ducks every 10 to 15 minutes to base, balanced cook evenly. You can tell against the sweetwhen the ducks are umami flavour of the cooked just right bean paste and the when you take them maltose basting. The meat is delicious eaten out of the on its own, but Amy also oven. provides packets of Sze Ngan Chye’s signature savoury dipping sauce for a different level of flavour. “You can leave the duck aside the whole day and it will still be good to eat in the evening. Otherwise, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days if you’re not planning on eating it straight away,” says Amy, as she wraps up a duck in a plastic sheet and then adds a layer of newspapers to absorb any juices that may leak out. Aside from half and whole sized birds, Sze Ngan Chye also offers arp geok bao (duck feet buns), for the more adventurous. While the stall at Petaling Street is purely for takeaway, Amy’s family has also opened up a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s Kepong area.

“We flavour the ducks with salt, and also apply the dao jiong and maltose syrup. Then you have to let them hang and dry for up to two hours,” she says, adding that the ducks need to be dried adequately as they would not cook properly in the oven otherwise. The roasting is done in batches as one oven can only fit about 10 ducks at a time, using charcoal as fuel.

(Above) Sze Ngan Chye Roast Duck has been operating from the same spot for 70 years

There’s no meat thermometer or appliance to tell when the ducks are roasted just right. Everything is done through years of experience, where Amy can tell with just a look at the size of the carcass if the duck needs more time or less to cook.

(Previous page) Amy Choong took over the stall from her late father five years ago

“Usually they take an hour on average to roast to the doneness we want, and we turn the ducks every 10 to 15 minutes to cook evenly. You can tell when the ducks are cooked just right when you take them out of the oven,” she adds. If they feel too heavy on the roasting spit, they’re not cooked enough yet; but if the spit is too light, the ducks have been left in for too long.

SZE NGAN CHYE ROAST DUCK 46, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur Opens from 6 am – 1 pm. Closed on Mondays.

All this effort results in a succulent bird with indelible flavour. The skin is crisp, with just the right amount of juiciness in the meat. And this includes the breast portion – normally dry and chewy if not cooked right. Amy’s ducks do not have a gamey taste as the salt has given the meat a nice savoury

At their Taman Usahawan establishment, you not only have roast duck that have been prepared at the same central kitchen in Old Klang Road, but freshly roasted on location at the restaurant too. There’s also roast pork, with rice and noodle dishes to round out their offerings. As to how long Petaling Street’s remaining roast duck stall can stay in business, it’s a question Amy hasn’t contemplated seriously yet. “This business requires hard work as everything is done by hand, but I can still work, so I haven’t really thought about retiring. But we have certainly slowed down. We used to sell about 100 ducks a day. Now we only roast that many for busy periods like Chinese New Year or on certain public holidays. “I began helping my father after I finished schooling. It is a different story with me (compared to my father) because I insisted that my children continued with their studies, and now they all have their own jobs.”

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Pack Up : For Her


Yes, Capes


The poncho is certainly proving to be the cover-up of choice for the season. H&M offers one made from the softest felted fabric. It comes with a two-way zip and wind flap at the front, as well as a fringed hem. RRP: RM279

A Bold Step

Seen on all the Spring 2020 runways, mary janes are the shoes you need for the new year. Repetto has a standout pair that comes in a fire red colour. The medium-height heels are just perfect for everyday use. RRP: EUR235 (RM1,079)


A Fresh Start



3 4


Dry No More

Bio-Oil’s new Dry Skin Gel is just the thing you need if you are feeling the effects of a chilly winter wind. It forms a layer on the skin, protecting it from drying out – all the while drawing in moisture from the environment. RRP: RM19.90-RM58.25


Cool To Be Small

The Tabby Shoulder Bag 26 from Coach is a cute design that mixes shearling with leather and suede. Though small, it makes a huge statement. Carry by hand, on the shoulder or even crossbody. RRP: RM2,950

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Pack Up : For Him *Some RRPs have been converted into Malaysian Ringgit and are correct at the time of conversion.


Stylishly Oversized



A Classic Revisited

The Longines Heritage Military 1938 is a versatile timepiece that you can use both day and night – for all outfits. Featuring a timeless, understated design, this 43mm steel piece features a hand-wound mechanical calibre. RRP: USD2,450 (RM10,175)

The humble puffer has acquired cult status recently. If you want to flaunt this streetwise jacket, choose one that is slightly oversized. Zara’s design sports a high collar, buttonup front pouch and diagonal zip fastening. RRP: RM399





Walk On Air


Streamlined Efficiency

When it comes to grooming, less is sometimes more. Kiehl’s Body Fuel All-In-One Energizing Wash combines a body cleanser and shampoo in one product. Removing oil and sweat, it leaves a man feeling conditioned from head to toe. RRP: RM88

Sneakers with “bubble” soles are all the rage right now. Balenciaga’s cool design has TPU injected into the layer; trapping air for more comfort, a lighter shoe and a shock absorber effect. RRP: USD1,115 (RM4,630)

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Health & Beauty *Some RRPs have been converted into Malaysian Ringgit and are correct at the time of conversion.

Hit Refresh Now!



2 1


Brand New Start


A good mask is an amazing way to transform skin, hands down. Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask is a best-selling active beta hydroxy treatment that does it using white willow bark and pomegranate enzymes, with a total of 11 active ingredients and kaolin clay. It speeds up cell renewal, refines pores, detoxifies and calms redness to reveal instantly exfoliated skin that is smoothened, softened and glowing – just gorgeous! RRP: RM271

For Your Eyes Only

If eyes are the windows to one’s soul, it pays to take good care of them, especially since the skin around them is so delicate. Shiseido’s Ultimune Power Infusing Eye Concentrate supports and strengthens skin from within as part of the patented and award-winning Ultimune stable, in combination with new technology calling upon powerful botanicals – Reishi mushroom and iris extract – and a Smoothing Defense Complex. RRP: RM275

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Good Seed


Infused with a potent blend of antioxidant-rich Mexican chia seed extract, mango seed oil and oat kernel extract, THE FACE SHOP Energy Seed Antioxidant Hydro Serum helps to de-stress tired and sensitive skin by neutralising the damaging effects of free radicals. Weightless, light in texture and formulated without the likes of parabens, mineral oil and silicone, it soothes and nourishes, encouraging skin to repair faster. RRP: RM115

Fresh Face

All skin treatments must start with properly cleansed skin. Giving you bang for your buck, Pixi’s Glow Mud Cleanser also exfoliates using glycolic acid while it deep cleanses skin and detoxifies pores with its mud formulation. That is not all. This active and gentle cleanser contains hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and avocado oil to keep skin plumped and nourished for a complexion that is radiant, smooth and purified. RRP: GBP18 (RM97)





Sleeping Beauty


Don’t lose sleep over not getting enough slumber that you need to kick-start skin regeneration and cellular renewal. Sothys’ nO2ctuelle Detox Resurfacing Overnight Cream revives, detoxifies and smoothens skin to counter the effects of sleep deprivation, leaving it luminous. The magic lies in the elixir’s cocktail of antioxidants, and detoxifying and hydrasmoothing complexes that include stabilised vitamin C, marine collagen, and avocado and macadamia oils. RRP: RM512

Crowning Glory

If your hair and scalp suffer from residue build-up and congestion, finding the right shampoo that gently purifies without stripping is vital. The OGX Purifying + Charcoal & Kaolin Clay Shampoo deeply cleanses but leaves hair shiny and full of body. Its secret weapons – not one, but two robust must-haves to detoxify and remove impurities – are charcoal sourced from coconut shell and mineral-soaked kaolin clay found in nature. RRP: RM47.50

January 2020


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Reads : Food

Only In Tokyo : Two Chefs, 24 Hours, The Ultimate Food City

by Michael Ryan & Luke Burgess Tokyo, Japan is undoubtedly a food-lover’s paradise that offers up a plethora of epicurean delights. But with such a dizzying array of choices, it can be a bit overwhelming. In Only In Tokyo, Australian chefs (and Japanophiles) Michael Ryan and Luke Burgess narrow down the choices for you by highlighting genuinely local food experiences — no tourist traps here — with compelling stories and insight into the individuals behind the restaurants, cafés, bars and tea houses. Most of the venues featured are towards the west of Tokyo (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Meguro and Minato), and the book starts with breakfast haunts and moves through to lunch venues, midafternoon joints, dinner destinations, and watering holes. The short, punchy text is complemented with charming photos by Burgess, and the notes on favourite dishes make this a delightfully personal and compelling guidebook. RRP: RM119.50

Hungry : Eating, Road-Tripping, And Risking It All With Rene Redzepi, The Greatest Chef In The World

by Jeff Gordinier Jeff Gordinier was a food writer at the New York Times when he received an invitation of a lifetime: to be part of the entourage on several gastronomic and culinary trips to Mexico, Australia, Denmark and Norway with none other than chef extraordinaire, René Redzepi, whose restaurant, Noma, had topped the World’s Best Restaurant list for several years. What follows is a rollicking account of landing in new destinations to seek out exotic ingredients and sample exquisite flavours, all so that Redzepi and his team could chart new territory in their offering of haute cuisine. Gordinier writes with admiration on the innerworkings of the Danish chef’s mind — he observed the man’s manic drive for perfection, his obsessive creative process and constant search for inspiration, and his sheer imagination. One doesn’t have to be a fan of Redzepi to enjoy this delectable food and travel memoir that will likely leave you hungry for more. RRP: RM89.90

Milk: A 10,000-Year History

by Mark Kurlansky The best-selling author of Cod: A Biography Of The Fish That Changed The World and Salt: A World History returns with the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary monograph on milk and all things dairy. Ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, humans have used milk of other mammals as a source of nourishment and turned it into foods such as cheese, yogurt, kefir and ice cream. Kurlansky traces milk’s history from antiquity to the present, from families keeping dairy cows to produce their own milk to mass production and the introduction of pasteurisation. Today, milk is still a test case among the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement, and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurisation. Written in his signature entertaining style, Milk demonstrates Kurlansky’s unparalleled ability to dive deep into a single subject revealing secret histories and remarkable stories in a highly entertaining fashion. RRP: RM69.90

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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS Hardcover Fiction & Non-fiction *based on the week of 8 December 2019

The Best American Food Writing 2019

In this evocative and wonderfully diverse anthology, award-winning author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin Nosrat has gathered a mouthwatering collection of 2019’s finest writing about food and drink in the US. There are stories for every taste and preference: there’s a piece on the reclamation of the queer history of tapas, another on the dizzying array of Kit Kats in Japan, a spotlight on a day in the life of a restaurant inspector, and an essay about eggs that segues into an exploration of purity myths, gender and sex, to name a few. The stories here will not only inspire but also provoke critical thinking and new perspectives about the food we eat (or don’t). In each case, the stories also reveal just how much our food is a part of our identity and how much time and effort we spend to make our food just right. RRP: RM89.90





by David Baldacci

by John Grisham

by Delia Owens

by Janet Evanovich

BLUE MOON by Lee Child


by Anonymous

Zaitoun: Recipes From The Palestinian Kitchen

by Yasmin Khan Yasmin Khan is an awardwinning author, campaigner and cook who is passionate about sharing people’s stories through food. Her second book, Zaitoun, is part cookbook, part travelogue that focuses on Palestine, its people and cuisine. Palestinian food can best be described as fresh and bright, as it revolves around colourful mezze dishes that feature the region’s bountiful produce and earthy spices. The cuisine has evolved over several millennia through the influences of Arabic, Jewish, Armenian, Persian, Turkish and Bedouin cultures and civilisations. Featuring more than 80 modern recipes, captivating stories and stunning travel photography, Zaitoun unlocks the flavours and fragrances of modern Palestine, from the sun-kissed pomegranate stalls of Akka on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea through evergreen oases of date plantations in the Jordan Valley, to the fading fish markets of Gaza City. RRP: RM149.90


by Donald Trump Jr


by Michelle Obama


by Elton John


Snap a photo of the front cover of this month’s Fireflyz and get a 5% discount at Lit Books store. Address: P-01-11 Tropicana Avenue, 12, Persiaran Tropicana, Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, 47410 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia TEL: 03-7886 6988

January 2020


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A t T h e M ov i e s

The Gentlemen

Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Matthew McConaughey, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant Director: Guy Ritchie Release date: 24 January 2020 Known for his classic crime blockbusters such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, English writer-director Guy Ritchie returns to his roots with The Gentlemen, a star-studded sophisticated action comedy. The Gentlemen follows American expatriate Mickey Pearson (McConaughey), who has built a highly profitable marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he’s looking to cash out of the business forever, it triggers plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him.

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Playing at the cinemas Like A Boss

*Information is correct at the time of printing

Starring: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair, Karan Soni Director: Miguel Arteta Release date: 10 January 2020


Friends Mia (Haddish) and Mel (Bryne) are living their dream of founding and running their own cosmetics business. They have completely different ideals, with one of them being more practical and the other attempting to live lavishly by building a massive fortune. When the business becomes saddled with debt, the prospect of being redeemed by a famous and powerful executive of the cosmetics industry, Claire Luna (Hayek), is too tempting to be dismissed – putting the long friendship between Mia and Mel to the test.


Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jessie Buckley, John Cena, Harry Collett, Marion Cotillard, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Emma Thompson Director: Stephen Gaghan Release date: 17 January 2020


After losing his wife, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey Jr.), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hides himself away behind the walls of Dolittle Manor, with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. When the young queen (Buckley) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure. The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla, an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck, a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich and an upbeat polar bear, and a headstrong parrot who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.

The Rhythm Section


Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown Director: Reed Morano Release date: 31 January 2020

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Blake Lively stars as Stephanie Patrick, an ordinary woman on a path of selfdestruction after her family was tragically killed in a plane crash. When Stephanie discovers that the crash was not an accident, she enters a dark, complex world to seek revenge on those responsible and find her own redemption. Based on the novel by Mark Burnell, the film is helmed by director Reed Morano of The Handmaid’s Tale fame, as well as the producers of the James Bond film series.

January 2020


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FY Mag Dec FPFC.pdf



11:32 AM

hear it. see it. feel it

Golden FY wallet

Travel as much. Age is just a number! Our NEW Golden Wallet for the senior travellers









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* GOLDEN WALLET is only applicable for individuals above the age of 50. Terms and conditions apply.

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FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd (199501017403 (346606-K))

Firef ly News 55

News & Happenings


Firefly Network


Firefly Fleet & Service Info

Network Expansion

Firefly Airlines has launched its latest route,, which will see three times weekly flights directly connecting Johor Bahru in Johor and Kota Bharu in Kelantan.. The new route is expected to cater to both business and leisure travellers, who will benefit from the direct flights and convenient timings both ways, without having to spend hours on the road. Firefly is also committed towards connecting communities to explore and discover what both cities have to offer, in line with Visit Malaysia Year 2020. Amongst the attractions in culture-rich Kota Bharu are various museums, the old royal palace and the huge sleeping Buddha at Wat Pothivihan. Similarly, Johor Bahru is also known for its culture, with traditional dances that include the ghazal, a form of contemporary jazz-like Malay music, as well as kuda kepang, a dance imitating the movements of horses.


Zero Interest Plan

Firefly recently introduced a new payment option via Maybank EzyPay,, an interestfree instalment plan, adding to the various convenient options already available to its customers. The plan, which is offered at zero interest, allows customers to make their bookings without having to worry about accumulated interest later down the road. Bookings with a minimum transaction of RM500 are eligible for the six-month plan, amounting to a mere RM84 per month. “This ‘buy now, pay later’ possibility allows customers to splurge on themselves, or spend on others at no extra cost to the cardholder. Travellers can now book their travels to dream destinations they once considered too costly to pay for in one lump sum,” says Philip See, Chief Executive Officer of Firefly Airlines. The payment option is available across all of Firefly’s platforms.

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Net work Map

Ways you can check-in aside from the airport : WEB CHECK-IN: At Print out the boarding pass yourself. Available for Malaysia domestic and Singapore flights only. For Indonesia and Thailand inbound/outbound flights, check in is through the counter at the airport only. MOBILE APP CHECK-IN: Via Firefly Mobile from your mobile phone. Download the app from Apple App Store and Google Play Store for free. KIOSK CHECK-IN: Check in and print your boarding pass at these kiosks at the airport. This service is available for code share passengers as well.

Firefly Sales Offices & Counters


Subang Skypark Terminal Ground Floor Departure Hall Terminal 3 Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport 47200 Subang, Selangor TEL: +603 7846 3622 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 5 am to 10 pm

PENANG Flight Operations Centre Mezzanine Floor Penang International Airport 11900 Bayan Lepas TEL: +604 630 2489 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 5:30 am to 10 pm

KELANTAN Sultan Ismail Petra Airport 16100 Kota Bharu TEL: +609 774 1377 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 5:30 am to 9:30 pm

TERENGGANU Sultan Mahmud Airport 21300 Kuala Terengganu TEL: +609 667 5377 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 7 am to 9 pm



Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport 25150 Kuantan TEL: +609 538 2911 OPERATING HOURS: Sat to Mon, Wed & Thur; 9 am to 6 pm

21, Seletar Aerospace Road 1 #01-03, Singapore 797405 TEL: +65 3158 8279 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 7 am to 7:30 pm



Ground Floor, Aero Mall Senai International Airport 81250, Johor Bahru TEL: +607 598 7488 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 6 am to 10 pm


Main Terminal, Sultan Abdul Halim Airport 06550 Alor Setar TEL: +604 714 3911 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 7 am to 8 pm


Langkawi International Airport 07100 Padang Matsirat, Kedah TEL: +604 955 9622 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 9 am to 8 pm


Sultan Azlan Shah Airport 30350 Ipoh OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 9 am to 5 pm

Banda Banda Aceh Aceh

International Departure Hall Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport Banda Aceh EMAIL: OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 8:30 am to 5 pm

Airline’s Marketing Representative

Selected Airport Ticket Offices

Floor 3, Room 302, Phuket International Airport Maikhao, Thalang, Phuket 83110 TEL: +66 76 351 477 FAX: +66 76 327 312 EMAIL:

Level 5, Departure Hall Main Terminal Building Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) 64000 Sepang, Selangor OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 5:30 am to 12 am


City Ticketing Office


Lot R-01, 3rd Floor, CITTA Mall No.1, Jalan PJU 1A/48 Ara Damansara 47301 Petaling Jaya Selangor, Malaysia OPERATING HOURS: Mon to Fri: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm; Sat, Sun & public holidays – closed



Lot L2.23, Level 2 Nu Sentral Shopping Centre 201, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 10 am to 10 pm (including public holidays); last queue number: 9:30 pm

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Taiping, Perak

(Kuala (Kuala Lumpur) Lumpur)

(Seletar (Seletar Airport) Airport)

Call Centre General Hotline: Malaysia +603 7845 4543 (Daily 8 am – 8 pm) Singapore +65 3158 8279 (Daily 8 am – 8 pm)

*Correct at the time of printing. Please visit for more information.

RICH HISTORY This laidback northern Malaysian town of many firsts has undeniable charms. Our 12-hour itinerary is on page 18.

January 2020


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Our Fleet & Service Information

Get acquainted with our service information for a fuss-free travel experience. On-Time Performance

No-Smoking Policy

Our check-in counters close 30 minutes before departure. Please allow at least 45 minutes for immigration and security clearance. Boarding gates will close 10 minutes prior to departure and late passengers will not be accepted.

Cabin Luggage Handling

ATR 72-500


Avions de transport régional (ATR) No. of aircraft



7.65 m Maximum Fuel Capacity

841 Gallons

Maximum Cruising Speed

Passenger Seating

510 km/h


Maximum range with full passenger load

72 (single class) 27.17 m Wingspan

Smoking, including the use of electronic cigarettes, is prohibited on all flights.

890 nautical miles (1648.28 Km)

27.05 m

Operation Hubs

Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Subang & Penang International Airport, Penang

Passenger and crew safety onboard our flights is our highest priority. In compliance with the airline’s policy and in observing Occupational, Safety and Health Regulations, cabin crew are no longer required to stow passengers’ hand luggages into the overhead stowage compartment. This is to minimise occupational hazard and ergonomic risks faced by cabin crew

in the aircraft. Cabin crew on duty will, however, assist passengers travelling with infants, young passengers travelling alone, the elderly, and passengers with reduced mobility. Passengers who are fit and in good health must carry, stow and secure their own hand luggage on board. Hand luggage exceeding the 7kg weight limit is required to be checked in before boarding.

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Wheelchair Assistance

Manual self-propelled wheelchairs can be provided for a fee, subject to availability. Please enquire through our Call Centre upon booking.

Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes must be carried on one’s person or in carry-on baggage only. Recharging of the device in-flight is not permitted.

Refusal to Carry or Restraint of Passenger Onboard Firefly has the right to refuse to carry passengers that they consider to be a potential risk to the safety of its other passengers and crew. We value courteousness. Any form of threat, verbal abuse or violence towards our staff will not be tolerated.

Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs)

For safety reasons and in line with the Regulatory Guidelines, mobile phones and all PEDs must be switched off once the aircraft door is closed. Whilst cruising, devices placed in flight mode may be used. The devices must again be switched off during the approach for landing until the aircraft is parked at the terminal building. Devices transmitting strong signals must remain switched off throughout the flight, until disembarkation. The Captain may prohibit the use of devices that can interfere with the aircraft’s system.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries for portable electronic devices (PEDs), including medical devices must not exceed 2g for lithium metal batteries and 100Wh for lithium ion batteries. All spare batteries, including lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries, for PEDs must be carried in passengers’ carry-on baggage only. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. For PEDs containing non-spillable batteries, they must be 12V or less or 100Wh or less. A maximum of two spare batteries may be carried. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits.

Fresh & Frozen Seafood

Fresh and frozen seafood are strictly not permitted in check-in baggage. They may be accepted in cabin baggage, subject to the destination’s quarantine regulations. They must be properly packed and meet the cabin baggage weight and size requirements. A maximum of 2.5 kg of dry ice per passenger is permissible if dry ice is used to carry these items. We reserve the right to refuse carriage if the items are not properly packed.

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Comfort Zone: Happenings

Out & About

For The Love Of Science

The largest annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) themed festival in Malaysia – The Petrosains Science Festival – returned for its sixth edition in November at the Esplanade, KLCC Park. Organised by Petrosains and aimed at inspiring passion and interest in STEM among the public, especially the younger generation, this year’s festival themed ‘Celebrating STEM’ with the tagline ‘Meet the Future’ showcased the wonders of STEM while taking a look at the scientific and technological advancements of the future through innovative workshops, informative talks and creative hands-on activities including virtual reality experience.

(from left) Yong Yoon Li, Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, Joseph Tan, Benjamin Tan and George Zhu

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Double Celebration

Royal Selangor had double cause for celebration with the reopening of its Pavilion Kuala Lumpur flagship store and the launch of its first-ever Confucian-themed Celestial Wisdom Collection in Beijing. Designed to create an allencompassing retail experience, the newly-refurbished store offers shoppers an immersive experience with interactive technology like augmented reality. Inspired by ancient wisdom, the new collection is based on the private sculptures of acclaimed artist Chiang Yi-tz to bring to life the teachings of Confucius and his five most ardent followers. Celestial Wisdom pays tribute to The Great Teacher and his contribution towards making education accessible for all regardless of social and economic status. The event was attended by Kong Deyong and Richard Kong, the 77th and 78th descendants of Confucius, respectively.

18/12/2019 12:01 PM

(from left) Daphne Iking, Indra Balaratnam, Gouichi Koizumi, Elaine Chew and Paul Jambunathan

Pump & Go

Pigeon Malaysia has launched the GoMini™ Electric Double Breast Pump, the smallest and lightest breast pump for women juggling career and motherhood. Allowing working and nursing mothers to go places while pumping in comfort, the award-winning product has been hailed as the “precursor for future breast pumps” by the prestigious Red Dot Design Award. Providing moms with the flexibility of switching between single and double pumps, it also features an intuitive one-hand operation for greater usability and is compatible with power banks. Aimed at helping women achieve a better work and motherhood balance, GoMini will play a critical role to help them sustain breastfeeding beyond six months.

Signing History

Following the launch of its ground-breaking signing store in Kuala Lumpur, Starbucks Malaysia marked another milestone with the opening of the second of its kind at Burmah Road in George Town, Penang. Appreciating the value that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace, the Starbucks signing store was conceived more than three years ago to offer employment and development opportunities for the deaf and hardof-hearing community. Besides espousing a diverse and inclusive work environment, the Starbucks signing store also serves to drive awareness on those living with hearing impairment.

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View finder Text & Photo David Wu

Firefly operates multiple daily flights to Alor Setar’s Sultan Abdul Halim Airport from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang

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Quiet Escape Y

achts lining past Gunung Jerai, the tallest mountain in the northern Malaysian state of Kedah. At 1,175 metres above sea level, the massive limestone outcrop stands out from the predominantly flat landscape made up almost entirely of paddy fields, befitting Kedah’s place as the rice bowl of the country. The western base of Gunung Jerai hugs the peninsular coastline facing the Straits of Malacca with the towns of Yan, Guar Chempedak, Gurun and Merbok at the foothills, while the island-quartet of Bidan, Songsong, Telur and Bunting lies opposite the mountain. On a clear day, Penang can be seen to the south and Pulau Langkawi to the north from the peak of Jerai. At approximately 48 kilometres from the state capital Alor Setar, visitors can drive, cycle or hike to the summit, where hill resorts offer a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Once an island, Gunung Jerai boasts breath-taking early morning views and gorgeous sunsets.


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# FlyFirefly

Taga g us on Instagram @ fireflyairlines and get your photos published. eidamame



Liked by is sa_queeni and others ian1 995 Count your life by smiles not te ars, count yo ur age by strength of dreams not years, live your life with pleasure no t with fears. Sooner or la ter, life is go ing to get better. #vie w #kl


Liked by chaipchin and others ctjamie59 Mango juice and butter cake. Such a good journey with #firefly to Penang

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ka suasanca Liked by yo rs he ot and s just landed fireflyairline h, thunisfly @ me to Ace ng. Welco from Pena ty. au be l ra natu enjoy our



Liked by jjere mingg and ot hers mingleeng Be sides Kwai Ch ai Hong street art at Pe taling Street, th ere is also mural art at Masjid Jame k LR T station. #visitma laysia2020

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Liked by aviation_jets_thrust and others singapore.spotter Firefly ATR-72 flying past the morning sun #firefly

January 2020


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Profile for Spafax Malaysia

Fireflyz January 2020  

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