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March 2020

Your free copy or read online at fireflyz.com.my




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Contents March 2020

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

10 Comfort Zone Where to stay



Inside Look Malaysian handicraft finds loyal following

Humble Beginnings Maple Comics

12 Bites Where to eat

14 Quench Where to drink

16 Tech’Up Must-have gadgets

17 Savour Popiah

27 Perspective Fashion designer Khoon Hooi


12 Hours

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

44 Pack Up Best Foot Forward

46 Health & Beauty Spring Makeup

March 2020


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Tracker Top 5 most beautiful national flowers of the world


Street Chef Uncle Bean Soya Bean

48 Reads Female Empowerment

50 At The Movies What’s showing in theatres

52 Out & About Happenings around town

54 MY List 10 Things and Facts about Malaysia

57 Firefly News 58 Network Map 60 Fleet & Service Info Langkawi SkyBridge, Kedah


64 #FlyFirefly

Nissan LEAF

62 Viewfinder

First Drives

Our Instagram Stars!

March 2020


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18/02/2020 11:12 AM

CEO's Message


Hello Valued Passengers. Welcome aboard Firefly! The school holidays are almost upon us again, and what a perfect opportunity it provides to reconnect with our children. We are so busy with work and the other stressors of life that sometimes our family takes a backseat. Though we are working to provide for them, nothing can beat the time we spend with them. So, make sure to plan and book your tickets with us for that funfilled quality time. A little trip away could do wonders for your emotional and mental health. There is no need to look too far afield, as our wonderful country has a lot to offer for a holiday. Moreover, it’s Visit Malaysia 2020 and we should take this opportunity to explore and appreciate Malaysia better. We are indeed blessed with many hidden gems that are worth discovering or re-discovering, and it’s surprising how close some of these places are to the city. In conjunction with the livery launch with Tourism Malaysia last month, Firefly is honoured to offer a 30 percent discount for all travellers to enjoy. There are also special holiday packages to various destinations that will be rolled out throughout this year. We should be proud of our country’s abundant attractions – from nature to history, culture to adventure. We often look abroad when it comes to holidays. Maybe we should start appreciating all the things that our gorgeous Malaysia has to offer? In a continued commitment to delivering value-added solutions, Firefly has introduced many exciting services. There is no better joy for us than to constantly exceed customer expectations, always going e-wallet the extra mile and pushing the boundaries. It is our desire to FYdeliver an amazing experience – making every journey more enjoyable and FYFY e-wallet helping you achieve your personal travel e-wallet aspirations. Do experience and enjoy the convenience of our various services below:

Editorial Committee Koo Kee Wai, Saisundary Sundra Kumar 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: www.fireflyz.com.my Email: customer_care@fireflyz.com.my SPAFAX MALAYSIA Business Director Sue Loke sue.loke@spafax.com EDITORIAL Editor Julie Goh julie.goh@spafax.com Senior Writer Eris Choo eris.choo@spafax.com

Art Director Euric Liew euric.liew@spafax.com

Writer Noel Foo noel.foo@spafax.com

Graphic Designer Nurfarahin Kamarudin nurfarahin.kamarudin @spafax.com

Contributors PY Cheong, Sara Hon, Sean Yoong, Fong Min Hun, Elaine Lau ADVERTISING & MEDIA SALES Senior Sales Manager Shirley Chin shirley.chin @spafax.com

Sales Manager Emmy Aiza emmy.aiza @spafax.com

Sales Manager Vannes Ching vannes.ching @spafax.com

Sales Manager Khairul Adzman khairul.adzman @spafax.com

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.com

Spafax USA Mary Rae Esposito maryrae.esposito @spafax.com

Spafax Europe Tullia Vitturi tullia.vitturi @spafax.com

FY FYe-wallet e-wallet

It is indeed a tough time now with the outbreak of various viruses. Many fear for their health and safety while flying. At this point, let me assure you that we are putting in stringent procedures to keep our aircraft clean and sanitised as you, our customers, are our priority. At the same time, no matter where you are, do take extra care of your personal hygiene and cleanliness to avoid infections. I hope that the month is kind to you and we look forward to serving you again.

Phil Chief Executive Officer Firefly Airlines

March 2020


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Spafax UK Steve O’Connor Steve.OConnor @spafax.com Spafax Asia-Pacific Agnes Law agnes.law @spafax.com

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

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 Fireflyz 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


Fireflyz is not only entertainingly useful with excellent content but also a handy tool during take-off. During FY1424 SZB-PEN on 8 November, the opposite overhead compartment door suddenly flipped open during take-off. I sensed the danger of bags falling and tried to reach out with my right hand to shut the door. Unfortunately, the top of the compartment door was too far from my seated position, what with my seat-belt strapped on. Then I spotted the magazine! Perhaps by rolling it up, I could reach the door top. I immediately rolled up my Fireflyz, used it to push the compartment door down and slammed it shut! Subsequently, I looked towards cabin crew Yong who was seated at the far end and she gave me the nicest smile ever. PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR, MALAYSIA

I started taking Firefly from Singapore to Malaysia in 2012 when I used to go to KL for work on a monthly basis. On my first flight, I must admit that I was a ball of terrified nerves, gripping the armrest as though my life depended on it. It didn’t take long for my trepidation to be replaced by one of comfort and warmth because of the nice staff, and the flights tend to be smooth too. Even the noise the propellers make always lull me to sleep at take-off. It’s quite funny! I didn’t realise how much fun it was surfing the clouds aboard Firefly until I stopped coming to KL for some time. But I’ve recently started making trips to Malaysia again and I must say that it does feel like coming home to something comfortingly familiar and I just love how practical and convenient it is for me to just hop on a taxi/Grab car from Subang to my office in under 20 minutes. Thank you for making every flight an adventure and for making sure we always have something fun to read in-flight. Looking forward to more trips with you!

Victoria R. Al-Taie


“Firefly, are they normally punctual?” I asked my wife who had flown a few times with them to Johor Bahru. “Yes!” came the reply candidly. “Friendly crew too.” I had a business meeting in Johor Bahru and decided that I was going to fly, to save time. I was torn between Firefly and another airline. My wife and a few friends recommended Firefly and since the airline departure timings were also convenient, I informed my travel agent to book with them. On the day of travel, 3 December 2019, the recommendations certainly didn’t disappoint. Flight took off at 1505hrs as scheduled. Onboard experience exceeded expectations as cabin crew were friendly and exuded great warmth in welcoming passengers. I had forgotten to bring my book but the in-flight magazine together with the mango juice and the groundnuts kept me company throughout the journey. Great work, Firefly. You just added a new supporter to your fan club!

Murly Chandran


Travelling has been part of my job, both overseas and domestically. Firefly is always my top pick when it comes to business travels. The airport’s location in Subang Skypark is convenient for me as it saves me a lot of time travelling to the airport. On-time arrival, cabin crew services and cleanliness have always been pleasant. The complimentary light refreshment truly makes us, travellers, feel welcomed and exclusive. Good job, Firefly!

Yam Herng Khang


We’ d love to hear from you!

In the case of Amir Hafizi, it took a heart attack to convince him it’s time to turn his passion for comics into action. “I’m probably going to die in the next few years. Let’s do this comics thing before I kick the bucket,” he said to Nizam ‘Roy’ Ablah, a friend and a fellow comic enthusiast, back in 2014. They each invested RM5,000 and Maple (pronounced Ma-play) was born. Today, the comics publishing company has 28 titles under its belt (page 30). Some people are better than others at seizing the day. Lee Khoon Hooi is one of them. He knew early in his life that he wanted to become a fashion designer. Born in the small town of Parit Buntar in Perak, he learnt about tailoring and fabrics from his grandmother, and later enrolled in a private college to study fashion and textiles. Thirty years of hard work paid off when Hollywood celebrities recently wore his creations to glamorous red carpet events (page 27). Amir and Roy have seized the day, so has Khoon Hooi. I’m about to seize mine too. Six years and seven months as editor in the company, it’s time to rethink life’s purpose. Surely, it can’t all just be in pursuit of career and wealth. Sure we need money in order to get through life, but self care – and I don’t just mean physical, but mental and spiritual health as well – is equally important. It has been a real pleasure editing this magazine for the past 14 months. Thank you for all your kind words and for allowing me to be part of your Firefly journey.

Keep well.

Write to us at ffmedia@spafax.com and stand a chance to win a 2D1N stay

in the Studio Suite of The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences, inclusive of breakfast for two worth RM450. 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.

Julie Goh Editor

March 2020

Your free copy or read online at fireflyz.com.my


March 2020


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Malaysian handmade crafts have found a loyal following as fans seek products that tell a story about country and culture





Martin Lee

arpe diem, Latin for “seize the day”, was an aphorism used by Roman poet Horace in one of his works in 23 B.C. Originally carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero, it is translated as “seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow or the future”. He is essentially saying, grab the moment to do what you want while you still can.

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Dance Parade

Originating from a lively dance parade event that was founded in Kochi, Japan in 1954, the Penang Yosakoi Parade features teams of dancers competing in an array of colourful Japanese costumes, showing off choreographed dance routines in various styles while keeping the tempo with wooden naruko clappers in each hand. This year’s event will see the introduction of the Yosakoi Fun Run, a costumed night run through a circular route along Light Street. Take in the carnival atmosphere with a variety of food, games and artisan craft stalls to explore and look forward to seeing cosplayers and meeting Miss Penang Yosakoi. The parade will also feature the mizukake mikoshi, in which portable shrine carriers are blessed by being doused with water by onlookers. When: 7 March Where: Esplanade and Lebuh Light (Light Street), George Town, Penang penangyosakoiparade.org

Taking Flight

One of Putrajaya’s most popular annual events, the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is back for its 11th edition. Over 20 hot air balloons from all over the world in various shapes and colours will traverse the skies over the nation’s scenic administrative capital. Visitors can pay for the privilege to see the balloons up close, go up in a tethered balloon ride or even join the pilots for a much longer ride. No admission fee is required to access most parts of the event grounds, which features mouth-watering food stalls, stalls selling arts and crafts, workshops where visitors can craft their own souvenirs and a fun zone with large inflatables for children. Don’t miss the Night Glow show at the end of the night, where the landed balloons will be lit up in bright colours to lively music. When: 19 – 22 March Where: Monumen Alaf Baru, Precinct 2, Putrajaya myballoonfiesta.com

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Timeless Classics

Take a trip down memory lane with some of time’s most popular golden oldies with Yesterday Once More 3, presented by the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and supported by Creador Foundation. The concert debuted in 2018 to a sold-out audience, bringing to life timeless classics from the 1940s to the 1960s. Musical director Ian Chow will lead a fivepiece band to perform some of the iconic hit songs of artists such as Doris Day, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, The Everly Brothers, Perry Como, The Bee Gees, Nancy Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Cliff Richard and Buddy Holly. When: 18 – 22 March Where: The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac), Sentul, Kuala Lumpur klpac.org

Maia Darmé

French Culture

Organised by the Alliance Française together with the Embassy of France in Malaysia, Le French Festival is Malaysia’s largest annual event celebrating all things French from movies to art, music, theatre and cuisine. This year, internationally acclaimed musician Manu Chao returns to Malaysia for a second time to perform acoustic songs from his album as part of his Southeast Asian tour. Longtime collaborator Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) has also put together the largest collection of films in the festival’s history, screening 15 of the latest award-winning French films in English subtitles. Other event highlights include food and drink tasting sessions, cooking classes, a photography exhibition, a circus show as well as live music, theatre and dance performances. When: 19 March – 25 April Where: Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) outlets and other participating venues across Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu

Manu Chao


March 2020


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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


Cosy Beachfront

Situated along a white sandy beach in Tanjung Bungah, Mercure Penang Beach enjoys a convenient location between the heritage centre of George Town and the popular Batu Ferringhi beach, both reachable within 15 minutes by car. This hotel offers 220 cosy rooms and suites for guests, each with complimentary wireless Internet access. Work up a sweat in the gym or take a dip in the outdoor pool while enjoying a view of the Andaman Sea. Feast on a variety of international and local dishes in air-conditioned comfort or out on the breezy patio at The Ombak all-day dining restaurant, or lounge with some snacks and a cool cocktail at the M Bar. The hotel’s largest function room, the pillarless Pearl Ballroom can accommodate up to 532 guests in a space that features tall windows with scenic views of the seafront. Address: 505, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang accorhotels.com


Minimalist Sanctuary

The recently opened The Chow Kit,, a property by the Ormond Group, is a 113-room boutique hotel at the highly visible junction of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur’s Chow Kit neighbourhood. Positioned as a simplified modern luxury accommodation, The Chow Kit’s design is inspired by classy late-night bars from the 1970s and 1980s. Enjoy Malaysian culinary favourites in The Chow Kit Kitchen & Bar, located in the lobby, which serves as a relaxed social space for guests to mingle. Guests seeking to utilise a more private space will love The Library, an exquisitely decorated space well-suited for small dining parties and meetings. The rooftop features a dedicated yoga pavilion where guests can participate in yoga and meditation sessions while enjoying a good view of the city. The hotel also provides a curated directory of places of interest around Chow Kit and guests can sign up for walking tours to explore the food and culture in the surrounding neighbourhood. Address: 1012 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Chow Kit, 50250 Kuala Lumpur thechowkit.com

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Contemporary Comfort

Contemporary design, comfortable furnishings and quality service are what guests can expect from every stay at G Hotel Gurney.. Located just a stone’s throw away from George Town’s famous open-air hawker centres along Gurney Drive, the hotel offers 312 comfortable guest rooms that boast premium modern amenities and a scenic view of the waterfront and cityscape. Dine in at the signature all-day dining Taste Café or relax with a cool drink in the G Lounge, the al fresco Tree Bar or the G Pool Bar, located right beside the hotel’s large infinity pool. Guests can also find good food and shopping at the neighbouring Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon shopping malls. The hotel also offers nine meeting rooms and two ballrooms, wellequipped and suited for events of any kind. Work up a sweat in the 24-hour gym or rent bicycles from the hotel to explore the best of George Town’s heritage on two wheels. Address: 168A Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang ghotel.com.my


Urban Pulse

Located in Singapore’s bustling Orchard Road is Hotel Jen Orchardgateway, a ShangriLa-managed property with 499 spacious rooms designed for the utmost comfort. Club room guests can enjoy services at the Club Lounge on the 19th floor, which boasts panoramic city views, complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks throughout the day and much more. Hotel Jen’s signature all-day dining restaurant Makan@ Jen offers eclectic à la carte options and buffet spreads while busy guests can opt to grab a quick bite at OnTheGo. The rooftop recreational facilities include three rooftop pools – a lap pool, a leisure pool and a wading pool, all overlooking the city skyline. Unwind with a workout in the 24-hour fitness centre or indulge in a massage in one of the pool cabanas. For those looking for their next event venue, Hotel Jen also offers a selection of function rooms and outdoor spaces for small to medium-sized private events. Address: 277 Orchard Road, Singapore 238858 hoteljen.com/singapore/orchardgateway

March 2020


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

Going Local

In recent months, brunch devotees have flocked to the gorgeous Rise & Shine by Tapestry in Kuala Lumpur’s history-rich Chow Kit neighbourhood. Now, Tapestry Dining is finally open, enabling customers to enjoy this space past sunset. The evening menu is exemplary, sourcing sustainable ingredients from local farmers and fishermen for culinary creations that can be traced back to their origins. Sample the Gua Musang seasonal vegetables with cardamom yogurt and barley; Kampar duck leg confit with orange duck fat financier and bean stew; Kuala Selangor lemon sole with charred vine potatoes; Tanjung Malim grilled sturgeon with assam pedas butter and pickled shallots; plus other temptations that rely on Job’s Tears grains from Sarawak, seafood from Sabah, and more.


Address: 28, Jalan Kamunting, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur tapestrydining.my


Oodles Of Noodles

If noodles fuel your food fantasies, the new lunch concept by Thai restaurant Krung Thep will be the latest playground for your palate. Noodle Bar by Day serves up eight distinctive noodle recipes daily, including fermented rice noodles with Thai tenggiri fish curry and onsen egg; glass noodles with claypot-baked sea prawns and green chilli sauce; northern Thai chicken curry rice noodles with Chiang Mai mustard greens; and stir-fried noodles with charred chicken, aromatic herbs and sriracha sauce. This means Krung Thep’s wider a la carte menu is now served exclusively in the evening, though there’s still a selection of several small plates to accompany the noodles, ranging from duck egg omelette with crab meat to fried chicken hearts and gizzards with fresh herbs. Address: G05, Republik, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur krungthep.my

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Sushi Sensation


Sushi Kazu serves the Edomae style of sushi for which chef Norikazu Shibata's home city of Tokyo is known, characterised by seafood that's carefully treated – aged, marinated, pickled or even parboiled – to bring out more depth and dimensions compared to straightforward fresh fish. Chef Shibata's genuine joy in his work makes Sushi Kazu an experience that Kuala Lumpur's omakase enthusiasts will savour – he has been working with sushi since he was 16, wielding nearly four decades of professional wisdom that informs each slice of his blade and stroke of his nikiri brush, bringing a dynamic flourish to everything from filefish to flounder. Address: 8A, First Floor, Plaza Batai, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur sushikazu.my

Restaurants Reborn


After enduring for a decade, Kuala Lumpur’s Spanish stalwart El Meson has evolved and expanded, transforming into Café Deli by El Meson,, revamping its various outposts across the Klang Valley. Besides its Spanish specialities, Café Deli’s repertoire now includes a Southeast Asian selection – it's the only place in KL where you can have terrific paella and Hokkien Mee in one restaurant, plus plenty of tapas like plump prawns with olive oil, pleasurably paired with sangria. Café Deli is also a retail space where customers can purchase European-imported hams, sausages, cheese, canned fish and more, as well as fresh-baked pastries. Address: GF-16, 163 Retail Park, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur elmeson.com.my

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

Art In A Cup

Bookmark Coffee in Petaling Jaya promises coffee with intricately skilled latte art in a spacious and soothing setting with tall windows. Its baristas have earned honours in competitions like the Master of Latte Art at Road to FHM 2019 and Champion of Latte Art Throw Down at the Genting Coffee Festival 2018. Customers can request for their desired latte art when ordering. Bookmark Coffee’s baristas have illustrated everything from Marvel superheroes to surprise marriage proposals! For those who love the Frozen animated blockbusters, enjoy rose lattes, banana-flavoured mochas and hojicha lattes that emerge delightfully adorned with grinning portraits of Elsa, Anna and Olaf, be sure to check out the place. Address: G-22, PJ Midtown, Jalan Kemajuan, Seksyen 13, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor facebook.com/bookmarkcoffeemalaysia

Coolest Cendol

Classic Malaysian cendol, reintroduced to the bubble tea generation: LIPAO is on a mission to help preserve the popularity of time-honoured domestic desserts, beginning with cendol, by making them fashionably fabulous. Each cendol comes in a convenient-togo presentation that evokes bubble tea, but this isn't merely a novelty – the cendol is completely satisfying, featuring green rice flour jelly sourced from an independent supplier who makes it in small batches, chilled and never frozen, relying on fresh, fragrant pandan. Equal attention is devoted to the palm sugar as well as coconut milk that's freshly secured every morning, with plenty of red beans and other treasures in each cup to yield delightfully creamy-chewy textures. Address: 50, Jalan Hang Kasturi, 50050 Kuala Lumpur facebook.com/lipaocendol

March 2020


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Chinatown Cocktails

If Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown could conjure a bar into existence, Jann would be the result, marinated in reverence for this neighbourhood’s heritage. The bartenders of this cocktail parlour in Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown have sought inspiration from surrounding landmarks and businesses that have endured for decades. One tiki drink, for example, pays homage to the former post office housed a short stroll away in a Tudor-style building that has stood since colonial times, while another concoction blends dark rum, grass jelly and palm sugar with the renowned tau foo fah (tofu pudding) of Chinatown’s Petaling Street. Address: Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown, Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur myclubmarriott.com/en/restaurant-bars/jann-four-pointssheraton-kuala-lumpur-chinatown

Perky Potions


Coffee that's crafted with real hands-on effort: Daily Potion is causing a caffeine commotion at its multiple locations in the Klang Valley and Kuching. Step in for a glimpse of this fuss-free café’s unique ROK manual espresso maker at work, then step out with a jolt of java that's wallet-friendly enough to fuel you up regularly, starting from four ringgit for an Americano. The baristas who operate these handpowered, aluminium-armed espresso makers produce a professional-grade cuppa with robust, full-bodied flavours. Most of Daily Potion's coffee relies on a house blend of Indonesian-cultivated, Ipoh-roasted beans. Address: 17, Persiaran Ara Kiri, Lucky Garden, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur facebook.com/dailypotionmalaysia

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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.


A Great Fit


Jabra recently launched the Elite 75t, a pair of wireless earbuds engineered for great calls and music. It is said to be able to stay in place even in the most strenuous of workouts or other activities. The comfortable fit is designed based on thousands of ear scans. RRP: RM949 jabra.com

Double The Performance 

The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a nifty-looking notebook. It features a 14-inch ‘screen pad’ above the keyboard, which complements the 15.6-inch main display. Reference an open document at the bottom, all while typing a report above – the seamless design affords greater productivity for a user on the go. RRP: RM12,999 asus.com/my

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Raring To Go

For the consummate gamer, Acer’s Predator Triton 300 delivers. Armed with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics, a 9th Gen Intel Core processor and the brand’s customengineered 4th Gen AeroBlade 3D cooling technology – it is supercharged for today’s most popular games. RRP: RM3,699 acer.com


Small Yet Secure

The Samsung T7 Touch is not your average portable solid state drive. It comes with a built-in fingerprint scanner, on top of password protection and hardware encryption (AES 256-bit) – all contained in a compact casing smaller than your average smartphone. Choose from three storage sizes: 500GB, 1TB and 2TB. RRP: RM528–RM1,625 samsung.com

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S a vo u r Text Richard Augustin Photos 123rf

ASIAN ROLLS Other similarly delicious wraps.

Shredded vegetables wrapped with paper-thin skins made from wheat flour, popiahs are not just tasty but fun to assemble too.

Appetising & Fresh


LOR BAK This delicious Nyonya roll is primarily made with meat marinated with five-spice powder, which is then rolled with bean curd skin. It is then deep fried until crispy before being served with a chilli dipping sauce.

Ingredients Filling


•1 turnip/jicama

(cleaned and shredded)

•1 carrot (shredded) •60gm dried shrimp

(soaked & then chopped)

•3 cloves garlic (chopped) •2 tbsp cooking oil •1 tbsp soy sauce •200ml water •Salt, pepper & sugar to taste

(washed & drained)

•2 pcs bean curd (diced) •1 egg omelette (sliced thinly) •200gm bean sprouts (blanched)

•3 tbsp fried shallots •3 tbsp ground roasted peanuts

•1 packet fresh popiah wrappers


he typical misconception about street food is that it is often delicious but also packed with calories. In Asia, it is common to find vendors peddling dishes that are loaded with carbs, oil and fat. They are tasty, no doubt, but for diners who want a healthier option without the calories, look no further than the popiah popiah..

The popiah popiah,, a fresh spring roll, is one such treat that ticks the right boxes by offering no compromise on taste whilst being packed with flavour. Shredded vegetables wrapped with paper-thin skins made from wheat or rice flour, they are not just tasty but fun to assemble too.

VIETNAMESE ROLLS This light and refreshing appetiser is made with a variety of fresh ingredients such as rice vermicelli, shrimp, Thai basil, cilantro and lettuce, which are wrapped in rice paper. It is often served with a savoury peanut dipping sauce.

Method Filling

•In a wok, heat oil and fry garlic until fragrant.


•Lay out the ingredients, within reach, on a table.

•Add in the dried shrimp

•On a chopping board, lay out a

•Add in the turnip and

•Place a lettuce leaf in the middle

•Pour in water, followed

•Make sure the filling is not too wet

•Reduce the heat and

•Top the filling with a little bean

and continue to stir fry for a couple of minutes. carrot and continue stir frying.

by soy sauce and sugar. allow the turnip to cook until soft, for approximately 20-30 minutes.

•Add salt and pepper for desired taste.

If you are eager to try this delicious snack at home, rest assured that it is easy to do. Best of all, it allows you to get creative with the fillings and wrapping them with what you’ve got.

•If needed, add water as the filling should not be too dry.

•Once the filling is cooked, set aside and allow it to cool down.

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•3 tbsp hoisin sauce •3 tbsp chilli paste •Fresh lettuce leaves

wrapper and spread a little hoisin and chilli sauce in the middle. and spoon some of the turnip filling onto it.

as it will make the popiah soggy.

CHINESE RICE NOODLE ROLLS Also known as cheung fun, these rolls consist of steamed rice noodle sheets, which are rolled with shrimp, vegetables and other ingredients. It is a staple dim sum dish, and is often doused with a sweet soy sauce and a chilli dip on the side.

curd, egg and sprouts.

•Sprinkle some ground peanuts and fried shallots on the filling.

•Fold the sides of the wrapper

in towards the filling and begin rolling the popiah.

•Using a sharp knife, slice the

popiah into three or four sections before serving.

POPIAH CHEE Arguably the most famous of all spring rolls, these are often made with fillings such as shredded jicama or turnip, carrots and cabbage. Wrapped in skins made of wheat flour, they are fried until crispy.

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12 H o u r s Text & Photos Julie Goh Illustration Yion Lim Art Direction Euric Liew

8.30 am

It’s almost impossible to have a bad meal in Penang. The island is Malaysia’s street food paradise and in almost every corner, you will find local favourites such as char kuey teow, nasi kandar, kway chap and more. Start your Penang culinary adventure at Kheng Pin Café on Penang Road in George Town, where the highlight of eating here is the loh bak – minced pork seasoned with five-spice powder, then wrapped in soy skin and deep fried until crisp. With half a century of experience, the “uncle” who runs the stall has perfected the art of deep frying the snack. Order a teh-c teh-c,, tea with evaporated milk and sugar, to go with your breakfast.

9 am

After breakfast, head to Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, where houses of worship representing different religions line the onekilometre ‘Street of Harmony’. Start by visiting Southeast Asia’s oldest Anglican house of worship, St George’s Anglican Church.. Built between 1817 and 1818 by the East India Company, it was restored twice after bombs were dropped on it in 1941 and after the Malaysian government declared it one of the country’s

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12 H o u r s

national treasures. From the church, the Goddess of Mercy Temple is a fiveminute walk away. Built in the 19th century, the temple is busy all-year round, with devotees offering incense for various favours, ranging from good health to keeping a watchful eye on roving spouses. From here, cross the road to Lebuh China, turn right onto Lebuh Queen and head straight to the beautiful Sri Mahamariamman Temple, built in 1833 to cater to the Tamil community of traders from Southern India. Before you enter the temple,

take a few minutes to admire the intricate sculpture or gopuram of 38 deities, and animals sacred to the Hindu religion, at the top of the entrance door. Exit the temple from the back door onto Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and turn left towards the first mosque erected by the troops of the East India Company who were some of Penang’s first Indian Muslim settlers in 1801. Named after the captain who suggested the building of the mosque, the single-minaret Kapitan Keling Mosque is a beautiful piece of architecture with

immaculately kept grounds. Join a tour of the mosque or visit the cultural centre for a history lesson into the community that has a significant role in Penang’s religious and cultural development.

11 am

George Town’s cultural treasures require more hours in a day to explore. If you are pressed for time, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion will get you acquainted with the lifestyle of the Straits Chinese fairly quickly. Also known as Peranakans or Babas and Nyonyas, Straits Chinese generally refers to people of mixed Chinese and Malay/ Indonesian heritage born in the British-controlled Straits Settlements of Singapore, Penang and Malacca. The Mansion, a recreation of the former residence and office of Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee into a typical Peranakan home, offers a glimpse into their lifestyle, culture and tradition. Stately and opulently-appointed, the Mansion houses more than 1,000 pieces of antiques

St George’s Anglican Church

Goddess of Mercy Temple

and collectibles. There is an entrance fee but complimentary tours can be arranged for groups of five and more with prior notice.

12 pm

You would have earned your lunch by now after all that walking. To give your tired feet a break, hop into a taxi to Restaurant Deens Maju Nasi Kandar on Jalan Gurdwara. Being the home of nasi kandar – steamed rice paired with a variety of meat and vegetable curries and side dishes – there is no shortage of restaurants offering this well-loved meal popularised by Indian Muslims on the island. Deens stands out for its fried chicken, but add on the squid and crab if you feel like splurging. While queues are long, service is fast and the experience more than makes up for it.

1 pm

Perhaps the most visited attraction in Penang is the Kek Lok Si Temple, one of the largest Buddhist

Peranakan Museum

FireFly operates multiple daily flights to Penang International Airport from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang

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Ernest Zacharevic’s ‘Boy On A Motorbike’ on Lebuh Ah Quee




Penang has seen a proliferation of ‘clandestine’ bars in the last couple of years. While drinks have not reached the standards of speakeasies in the capital Kuala Lumpur, here are three that are worth the trek:


3.30 pm

Step back in time with afternoon tea at the majestic Eastern & Oriental Hotel, the sea-fronting ‘Grande Dame of George Town’ that has played host to artists, writers and heads of state the likes of Somerset Maugham and the late Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, throughout its 134-year history. The three-tiered classic afternoon tea is served at Palm Court, with charming views of the well-tended lawns and the

5 pm

Loh Bak

George Town’s street art culture has grown considerably over the years. Download the map to find where these whimsical and interactive works of art are located as you make your way towards the Clan Jetties of Penang. Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic immortalised the urban art form after he was commissioned to paint some murals around the city. His legendary works, including ‘Brother and Sister On A Swing’ and ‘Boy On A Motorbike’ are along the way, so make sure you stop to admire them.

originally used for the loading and unloading of goods and for the mooring of small boats. Now, they are homes to the various Chinese clans who live in houses built on stilts. When visiting the jetties, be respectful of the families living there and do keep the noise level low.

8 pm

Do not leave Penang without sampling another one of its famous noodle dishes – Penang Hokkien Mee. 888 Hokkien Mee on Lebuh Presgrave opens at 4 pm, and is a 15-minute walk from Tan Jetty. Standard servings come with egg and beansprouts but portions are quite small. Add on roast pork for a meatier fill. Prepare to queue, especially on weekends.

7 pm

Time your arrival at the Tan Jetty close to the Penang ferry terminal to catch the last rays of the sun. The jetties, built in 1882, were

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Andaman Sea. Reservations are highly recommended and service is from 3 pm to 5 pm.


This speakeasy among shophouses on Jalan Magazine has such excellent soundproofing that you’d be lucky to locate its entrance. Decorated with Oriental lanterns and fans, stepping into the bar is like being transported into a 1920s Chinese martial arts scene. facebook.com/magazineM63


temples in Southeast Asia. A pilgrimage site of sorts for overseas visitors of the faith, construction of the temple began in 1893 and it opened in 1905. A pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas was added in 1930, and in 2002, a 100-foottall statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, was erected within the temple grounds. Entrance to the sprawling temple is free but visitors need to pay a small fee to enter the pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas and to ride the inclined lift to see the statue of Kuan Yin.

One of the bars with better cocktails, to find OON – as it is fondly referred to by locals – you’d have to locate an orange-coloured fridge in the Hold Up café. The menu is vividly illustrated in a notebook, and drinks have playful names such as ‘Sweet Pea of Mine’, ‘Thorn to be Wild’ and ‘I Went Bananas’. facebook.com/ outofnowhereeee


As the name suggests, Manchu’s décor is reminiscent of the decadent days of the Qing dynasty. It has live performances, including Chinese opera shows on certain days. facebook.com/ manchupenang

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Inside Look Text Carolyn Hong / Photos SooPhye & respective organisations

All Things Malaysian


With growing appreciation of these works, there is also a better understanding of what it takes to make things by hand. Dr Welyne Jehom, an anthropologist and purveyor of indigenous crafts, says people now recognise that it is a laborious and timeconsuming process, thus commanding a higher price. This has gone a long way to help maintain the high standards which has put the best Malaysian crafts at world standards. Aaron Lam, founder of the Jesselton Artisan Market in Kota Kinabalu, believes that this appreciation will continue to grow as more people support products which have a special appeal and fit their values.


aking things by hand has a long tradition in Malaysia. Its richly diverse culture has generated a stunning range of heritage crafts ranging from woven basketry to fine textiles and intricate mats. On the contemporary front, there are stylish ceramics, glass and concrete work that truly impress.

(Previous page and above) The Ilham Gallery gift store stocks fun and quirky crafts for everyday use and as home décor, notebooks and publications. It also runs creative workshops for children to foster a love of art

The handmade crafts scene is flourishing across Malaysia, as pop-up markets and chic stores spring up to feed the growing appreciation for local artisanal brands. “People are looking for products which tell a story about our own country and culture,” says Rahel Joseph, Gallery Director at Ilham Art Gallery, which also has a shop promoting Malaysian design.

Ilham Gallery

The Ilham Gallery is no stranger to art lovers in Kuala Lumpur for its thoughtprovoking exhibitions. Part of the gallery’s larger objectives to promote Malaysian arts and design, the stylish gift store is much along the same lines – sometimes provocative, sometimes inspirational, but always fun and quirky. “We find that appreciation for locally-made Malaysian design and crafts is increasingly growing,” says gallery director Rahel, sharing that the works of the Sabahan art collective Pangrok Sulap, whose intricate woodblock prints are immortalised on T-shirts, tote bags and wall prints, are among her favourites. The beauty

Community-driven projects have also played a significant role in stirring public awareness, especially of indigenous crafts, says Rosemarie Wong who runs two artisan galleries in Kuching.

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Inside Look

of their prints draw attention to their themes which are often centred on social issues such as the loss of indigenous land and environmental destruction. Also captivating are the whimsical cat-themed works of artist Kat Rahmat, nostalgic home décor pieces of the Bingka trio and, of course, Ilham’s own range of notebooks and publications based on its exhibitions. The Bingka line, named after the Malaysian tapioca cake, is the work of three women who laboriously silkscreen textiles with their own designs of Malaysian culture, from its food to buildings. The textiles are translated into purses and home décor such as tea towels, coasters and pillows.

Anthropologist and purveyor of indigenous crafts, Dr Welyne Jehom opened a shop to help market indigenous handicrafts such as traditional Sarawak beadwork and pua kumbu woven by Iban women

Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies, University of Malaya

Technically, this is not a shop but a research centre belonging to University of Malaya. However, run by Sarawakian anthropologist Dr Welyne Jehom, who became its head of research in 2018, it was inevitable that a shop for indigenous handicrafts would open here. Dr Welyne is passionate about making her research work do double duty. It serves as both academic research as well as works to benefit the communities whom she researches. Her accidental shop started when she began helping to market pua kumbu, or ‘dream textiles’, woven by Iban women from a village in Sarawak accessible only by boat. She was, then, studying the Iban heritage of weaving fine textiles from patterns that come in dreams. Soon, she began helping to market their other items. Her makeshift shop in a 1960s bungalow aims to be a space for

For even more nostalgia, the gift store stocks a range of miniatures that charm many for their detailed rendering of Malaysian scenes. The Loka Made pop-up paper sculptures of Malaysian buildings of years gone by are so detailed that they include cats and potted plants. In contrast, Gigi’s range of handmade clay earrings with modern abstract designs are so perfectly shaped that it’s hard to imagine they were made by hand. What makes the gift shop stand out is that it believes art is for everyone. It stocks Malaysian crafts at all price points so that even students can afford to be inspired by local designs. It has an affinity for the young; offering snacks tailored for little hands, workshops to introduce art to children, and a range of children’s art books. It also runs workshops for artists to share how they create their works. ADDRESS: Ilham Gallery, Level 5, Menara Ilham, 8, Jln Binjai, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. OPENING HOURS: Tues – Sat 10.30 am – 7 pm; Sun 10.30 am – 5pm; Closed on Mondays and public holidays.

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the indigenous people of East and West Malaysia to engage with each other, and with the university. In this small but well stocked shop, their exquisite textiles, basketry, woven mats, sculptures and jewellery are displayed next to each other, forming a veritable museum of indigenous crafts from East and West Malaysia.

From my first visit in the 1990s up to today, it amazes me how skilled and talented the Ibans are. They make such beautiful items like mats, baskets and textiles.

Pua kumbus come in large pieces that can cover a table and in smaller sizes as scarves, or made into purses and bags. There are colourful pouches, formerly made to hold tobacco, woven from pandanus strips by the Mah Meri women of West Malaysia, whom Dr Welyne is persuading to make larger to hold mobile phones or for use as dinner clutches.

a passion for the rich arts of her home state, it is no surprise that The Marian is also the venue to showcase indigenous crafts and contemporary arts arising from the immense talent found in Sarawak.

Rosemarie has worked for many years with artisans from the Iban longhouses located several hours from Kuching, where her Iban husband’s family comes from. “From my first visit in the 1990s up to today, it amazes me how skilled and talented the Ibans are. They make such beautiful items like mats, baskets and textiles,” she says.

There is also the stunning beadwork of a Bidayuh woman in Sarawak, robust baskets made by the Jah Hut people, Semelai pandanus mats, Penan rattan craft, Temiar mini fish traps (now used as lampshades), and Dusun rattan backpacks.

But these items never left their longhouses. Seeing the potential, she worked with the artisans to redesign them for the contemporary market. The artisan designs the patterns while Rosemarie suggests colour schemes that would appeal in the urban market.

The store only carries items made of natural fibres, and which utilise traditional skills as the centre’s focus is on preserving traditional knowledge. All proceeds are returned to the artisans, with a small percentage retained to fund the costs of bringing them for events at the centre. ADDRESS: 11, Jalan 16/4, Section 16, 59100 Kuala Lumpur. OPENING HOURS: Mon – Fri 10 am – 5 pm; Closed on weekends and public holidays except when there are events at the centre. Check its Facebook page for announcements or ring ahead.

The Marian, Kuching

The gift shop at The Marian Boutique Lodging House carries crafts from more than 40 Sarawakian communities and individual artisans

The Marian Boutique Lodging House in Kuching – formerly an Anglican lodging house, and a tycoon’s mansion before that – is undoubtedly evocative with its high ceilings and long corridors. Run by Rosemarie Wong, a Sarawakian with

The gift shop at The Marian carries products from over 40 Sarawakian communities and individual artisans. Filled to overflowing, the first items which catch the eye are the large pieces – rattan baskets and bags, and huge platters made from recycled fan covers laced with colourful strips. But before long, the eye will fall on the intricate necklaces of tiny seeds painted with even tinier patterns,

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Inside Look

wooden spoons decorated with tribal motifs, and dazzling beadwork. There is also a fun range of Sarawak street food in miniature form which look good enough to eat. Rosemarie is particularly proud of the upcycling project using fan covers – a brainchild of the Iban women themselves. With her encouragement, they refined their work to create more intricate patterns in striking colours, and won the ‘Award of Excellence’ from the World Craft Council (Asia-Pacific Region) in 2018. The Iban tote basket, which uses a technique to weave a continuous intricate pattern without any joints and which only a few artisans have mastered, are truly works of art that must be appreciated, she said.

Aaron Lam and Chrystin Choo founded the Jesselton Art Market for traditional and contemporary craftsmen to sell their products and become a launchpad for brands like Uinah Ginger Beer

invited by The Walk Riverson, a ritzy retail space, to set up their own craft market. Initially, Aaron wondered if there would be enough vendors but more than 40 sellers set up tables at their first market, along with a big crowd. Today, the market has over 200 vendors, selected from the 500 applicants received each time. It opens once every two months, carrying a mix of traditional and modern products. Some vendors have been at the market from the start, like Pink Dinosaur run by two sisters who make cute coin purses and cheerful clay jewellery. Sang Tukang, a brass artisan, is also a regular; crafting brass accessories which have earned fans for their stunning interpretation of heritage motifs in contemporary sleek form.

The Marian hosts a quarterly Small Town Art Market which features contemporary work. ADDRESS: 27, Wayang Street, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak OPENING HOURS: Mon – Sat 9 am – 6 pm; Sun 9 am – 5 pm

The eclectic group also includes long-time expatriates in Sabah who bring the art forms from their home country; including a French woman who makes silk-screen prints on textiles with her own original designs, and an Australian expatriate who makes European and Australian style cheeses. The market has become a launchpad for brands like the Uinah ginger beer, which sold its first drinks from a stall there, before supplying to supermarkets and cafés.

Jesselton Artisan Market, Kota Kinabalu

When Aaron Lam and his wife Chrystin Choo relocated back to Kota Kinabalu three years ago from Kuala Lumpur, they soon realised it lacked venues for craft sales although there was a lot of interest. An opportunity arose when they were

ADDRESS: The Walk, Riverson, Jalan Riverson 1, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. OPENING HOURS: The market is held at weekends once every two months. Check its Facebook page for dates.

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P e r s p e c t i ve Text Sharon Crowther / Photos courtesy of Khoon Hooi





ee Khoon Hooi sits quietly in his Bangsar showroom, dressed in a plain white, tailored shirt, a pair of unremarkable black pants and simple gold-rimmed spectacles. Lee's own minimalist style and soft spoken persona is somewhat at odds with his latest collection, on display around him; a dazzling array of formalwear in vibrant colours, luxurious textures and bold structures. Clearly, the couturier prefers to let his clothes take centre stage. And that's exactly where they've been in recent months. In December last year, when pop megastar Katy Perry turned heads at a high profile holiday ball in a marigold yellow, diamante encrusted, evening gown, embellished with an oversized bow, the fashion world asked, “Who are you wearing this evening, Ms Perry?” The answer was Khoon Hooi. In January, when Hollywood actress Karen Pittman of The Morning Show floated down the red carpet at the Golden Globes in an elaborate, ombre feather gown, again, the fashion world asked, “Who are you wearing?” The answer was Khoon Hooi. In fact, Lee had not one but two gowns on the red

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P e r s p e c t i ve

carpet that evening with Ginnifer Goodwin also choosing Khoon Hooi for her red carpet moment. But life hasn't always been quite so star-studded for the Malaysian designer. Born in the suburbs of the small town of Parit Buntar, Perak, the eldest son in a traditional Chinese family, Lee had an unremarkable and, he admits, “not very glamorous” childhood. “There were no fashion boutiques or runway shows where I grew up,” he recalls, “but I learned about tailoring and fabrics from my grandmother, who made the most beautiful kebaya (traditional dress worn by Malaysian and Indonesian women).” Determined to follow his passion, Lee enrolled at the Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur, against his family's wishes, where he majored in Fashion and Textiles. “This was nearly 30 years ago, a time when it was unheard of for anyone from my town, especially a boy, to want to study fashion,” he recalls. “My family wanted me to get a proper job which, for them, meant working in government, banking or corporate.” After graduation, Lee spent several years honing his design and business skills under Malaysian fashion brands such as Voir, until, in 2000, he took a leap and launched his own label. Starting with just two racks and fifteen pieces in Isetan, Lot 10, Lee soon proved there was a market for his signature luxe ladies wear and was given the opportunity, along with two other promising young Malaysian designers, including fellow couturier Melinda Looi, to open a counter in the department store. “I couldn't have afforded to have a counter myself and neither could the others at that time so we shared the costs. It was a good way to build up a customer base.” With his fan base growing, Lee eventually moved his collection from the chorus line of the department store to centre stage in his first boutique in the prestigious Starhill Gallery mall. “It was around that time that we started attending Singapore Fashion Week, which was the first time the brand really had any attention from

Celebrity exposure is definitely the fastest way to increase international brand recognition, and I'm excited to see how this strategy will unfold in 2020. After 20 years in the business, it feels right that we embark on something new and exciting.

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overseas clients. That was a big milestone for us,” says Lee, reminiscing. At Singapore Fashion Week, Lee was chosen as one of three Asian designers to attend New York Fashion Week, where he launched four collections over the course of two years. “In hindsight, I think the fashion market in New York is too casual for my collections,” he muses. “Which is why, in 2010, we decided not to continue with New York but to focus on Europe as a location to launch our collections.” Serendipitously, that same year, a visiting shopper from Paris turned out to be on the committee for Paris Fashion Week and invited Lee to attend their leading industry trade show, Tranoi. “This year will be our tenth year attending Paris Fashion Week,” says Lee, who admits it's his favourite city in the world. “I really love it there. The whole city is like a museum and the people aren't afraid to dress up and experiment with their clothes, especially during fashion week. There's a market there for our collections. It's a good fit for us.”

(opposite) Singer Katy Perry wore Khoon Hooi's marigold yellow evening gown to the 101.3 KDWB 2019 Jingle Ball

“Generally, celebrities and stylists will select a few options for each event so, even if your pieces are chosen, there's no guarantee they'll be worn. Like everybody else, we only see what the clients actually chose when the pictures show up in the media,” says Lee. “Celebrity exposure is definitely the fastest way to increase international brand recognition, and I'm excited to see how this strategy will unfold in 2020. After 20 years in the business, it feels right that we embark on something new and exciting.”

(above) Some of the designer's bold and luxurious Spring 2020 looks

Yet, despite his affinity for Paris and his excitement over his stateside success, Lee says his business, which now employs a team of 25 in Kuala Lumpur, will remain firmly grounded in Malaysia, his home. “Malaysia is not a fashion destination and Kuala Lumpur is not considered a fashion city, which makes it tough for local designers to break into the international fashion scene,” he says, thoughtfully. “But globalisation is changing attitudes and the world has definitely opened up to Asian designers in the last decade.”

It was during last year's Paris Fashion Week that Lee met with a Los Angelesbased public relations agency to discuss getting his gowns into the closets of some of Hollywood's leading ladies. In October, the designer shipped two rails of clothes for red carpet consideration by some of the world's biggest celebrities and their stylists, ultimately catching the eye of Katy Perry, Karen Pittman and Ginnifer Goodwin.

“Attitudes among Malaysians are also changing. Twenty years ago, Malaysia was all about imported goods and international brands. Local designers were considered second-rate. Today, there's far more recognition within Malaysia for local talent and, for me, that's more than enough reason to stay here, in my home, where my family and friends are.”

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Humble Beginnings Text Eris Choo / Photos SooPhye

Fuelled by


Their careers eventually led them into different fields. For Amir, it was writing, while Roy became a director – but they always wanted to ‘do something with comics’. “We talked about it for a long time. We even registered a company, but there wasn’t anything concrete,” says Amir. That was until August 2014, when Amir suffered a heart attack. It was the push that he needed. After recovering, Amir called Roy and said, “I’m probably going to die in the next few years. Let’s do this comics thing before I kick the bucket.”  (inset) Roy (left) and Amir decided to take their comics publishing business seriously after Amir suffered a heart attack in 2014


mir Hafizi and Fairul Nizam ‘Roy’ Ablah have always had a passion for comics, even from a young age. Both voracious readers, the pair grew up inspired by titles such as Spiderman and the Sandman series, among others. Roy started drawing his own comics when he was just nine years old.

(opposite) Some of the titles published by Maple Comics

“I went to boarding school and graduated in computer science, but I still wanted to do something with comics, so I joined a local publishing house as a cartoonist. I also published my own comic magazine called Komikku,” recalls Roy.

And so, Maple Comics (pronounced Ma-play) was born. The name comes from the Tamil word mappillai, which translates to ‘bridegroom’. “It’s a 90s thing. We used to call mamaks (Indian Muslim restaurants) mappillai back then. Servers would yell mappillai when they carried something hot, so maybe that’s how it came about,” says Roy. Another possible origin for the term is that it is an abbreviation of “makan place” (an eatery). Since they spent many hours discussing their

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comic book plans and dreams at these places, they found it a fitting name. The company’s first publication was Kuala Terengganu in 7 Days by local illustrator Mimi Mashud. “She had the material ready and was looking for a publisher. It was perfect timing as we were still waiting for some of the artists we had engaged to finish (their work),” says Roy.  Amir and Roy each invested RM5,000 to print the first batch of books. It was a commercial and critical success.

“We used the profits to fund other titles. That’s also the business model we use today,” says Amir. Currently, Maple Comics has 28 titles under its belt. Most comic book publishers cater to a specific audience, but Maple carries multiple genres – everything from science fiction and horror to slice-of-life, humour and fantasy. As Roy puts it simply, “We only publish the things that we like to read.”  Some of the company’s bestselling titles are in the humour and slice-of-life genre, such as the highly popular My Giant Geek Boyfriend by Fishball, Komik Ronyok by Azwanjjai and Jejon di Jepun by Jonsuraya.  Amir and Roy still work on other ventures – Amir runs a consulting firm and freelance writing enterprise, while Roy has his own production company – but they hope to eventually quit their day jobs and focus on Maple Comics full time. ver 150 chocolate variantsocolates from Raub, Titiwangsa and Hulu Selangor

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“What we really want to do is create a platform for local creators to showcase their work and be able to retain rights to their intellectual property (IP). Historically, we’ve seen a lot of abuse in the market when it comes to IPs and how some companies take advantage of creators. As creators ourselves, we hate it when original creators don’t have creative control or benefit from their creations at all,” says Amir, adding that Maple Comics only holds the publishing rights

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Humble Beginnings

for three years, with creators retaining IP rights. As with any kind of business, Maple Comics has its fair share of challenges. One of the biggest is perception. “There’s a stigma that comics are only for kids. But they really aren’t. Comics are a medium, just like films, books and songs. It’s a way to express yourself and tell a story,” says Amir. “We do carry excellent books for kids like Taubat Si Tanggang, but we also have titles for young female travellers, such as Jejon di Jepun, or illustrated travelogues like Beijing in 5 Days. Comics can be a good medium of education. If you can use that, you’ll create a smarter society,” says Amir.  Production cost is another challenge. “When the goods and services tax was introduced, printing costs went up by 30 percent. It was profiteering, since the tax was only six percent,” he quips.

crowdfunding campaign for their latest project Nafiri, a light novel (a combination of a short novel and illustrations) set in ancient Southeast Asia. The story is written by Amir and illustrated by artist Zamzami M. Zain.

(from top) Concept art and sketches for Nafiri, Maple Comics’ latest project

“We were inspired by crowdfunding success stories like the Malaysian boardgame Drama Pukul 7, which reached 150 percent of its target. For Nafiri, we reached our target in just five days – so there’s definitely interest and support there,” says Amir, adding that they hoped initial funds from donations and sales can be used for future editions in the series.

(opposite) Amir and Roy hope Maple Comics can be a platform for local content creators to showcase their talent

“The Malaysian market is very price sensitive. If you sell local comics at a high price, nobody will buy it. Too low and you don’t make money,” Roy points out. Even so, fans have no qualms paying RM80 for a foreign comic.

These hurdles encourage Amir and Roy to be creative with their methods, and not rely on traditional publishing models. They recently ran a

“It’s a shame as our quality is as good as, and sometimes even better than, foreign comics. The only way to change this is to slowly win the public over by publishing good quality comics. This isn’t just in terms of content, but also the quality of

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the book itself. Our books are thread-sewn so they don’t come apart easily, and we have a matte finishing,” says Amir. The lack of a market support structure means there isn’t enough support for creators themselves. “In the (United) States, if you manage to hit it big with one title – like selling 5,000 comics a day or getting 12 million hits online – there are several paths that you can take. But in Malaysia, there isn’t much that can be done. You just hope that someone will figure out how to monetise it,” adds Amir.  The goal for the duo is to be successful enough in the future to be able to provide those options for artists. For artists working with Maple Comics, Roy and Amir help to get them in touch with people in industries such as animation or film, to adapt their comics into different media, or get their comics into markets overseas. So far, the pair have sold animation rights for Taubat Si Tanggang, as well as publishing rights for some of their titles to countries such as Vietnam, Japan and Singapore.

The Malaysian market is very price sensitive. If you sell local comics at a high price, nobody will buy it. Too low and you don’t make money. Even so, fans have no qualms paying RM80 for a foreign comic.

Social media has been a useful marketing tool. “We do ground events and set up booths at events such as the Comic Arts Festival, but social media has been a great help. Our crowdfunding success was also due to exposure on Twitter,” says Amir, who has a sizable following of over 5,000 Twitter followers. Moving forward, Amir and Roy are gearing up to publish six or seven titles for 2020, with a focus on light novels. They are also looking to develop a digital platform. “I don’t think there’s much money in comics right now. It has potential. Even market leaders are facing challenges. Small indie publishers can only be fuelled by passion and not money. You have to wait for years and years to find your break, which may never come,” says Amir. “In the meantime, we’ll continue publishing more comics. So far, Maple is pretty self-sustaining. It hasn’t drained our funds except for our time and effort. Ultimately, we hope to generate enough income to quit everything and focus on managing the company and writing, but for now, it’s like having a hobby,” he concludes.

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Known as the ‘Queen of Tropical Flowers’, the hibiscus rosa-sinensis was adopted in 1960 as Malaysia’s national flower, beating out competition from the likes of ylang ylang, magnolia and lotus flower. Its wide, colourful blooms each boast five petals to represent the five principles of the Rukun Negara, the country’s national philosophy. And while the hibiscus makes for a beautiful bouquet or floral display, it also has practical uses. Its edible flowers are widely used in salads while hibiscus tea, with its tart, cranberry-like flavour, is available all over the world. But our favourite use of all? The hibiscus is considered to be a great alternative shoe polish!


Malaysia’s Hibiscus

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Tracker Text Tracey Petherick

Mexico’s Dahlia


First cultivated by the ancient Aztecs, the dahlia was originally used as a food and water source. The hollow stems could also be filled to carry water while the edible tubers, or roots, were sweet and nutritious. When the Spanish arrived in Mexico in the 16th century, their botanists were seduced by the dahlia and took samples back to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid. Now loved as an ornamental bloom, it became Mexico’s national flower in 1963. Thanks to hybridisation there are thought to be around 50,000 types of dahlia, developed from just 20 different original species.

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England’s Rose



Symbolising love and beauty, the iconic rose with its rich aroma is a popular emblem. Both the United States and the Maldives have adopted it as their floral emblems, but it is perhaps England that states the greatest claim to this beautiful bloom. Henry VII instated the rose as the country’s national flower way back in 1485 to celebrate the end of the War Of The Roses. See this flower at its best in June and July at one of these stunning rose gardens across the United Kingdom: Queen Mary’s Gardens in Regents Park, London; Mottisfont Abbey near Winchester; or Hever Castle in Kent.

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Netherlands’ Tulip



Visit the Netherlands in Spring and you will find much of the country swathed in a spectacular explosion of colour. This is tulip season, when vast areas of the landscape are filled with seas of flowers. The Dutch have been obsessed with their national flower since the 16th century. Its popularity grew so much – intensified through books, paintings and festivals dedicated to the bloom – that bulbs became so valuable they were, at one point, used as money. For a full-on tulip fix, head to the Tulip Festival in Noordoostpolder or to Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden.

Jordan’s Black Iris

One of the rarest flowers in the world, the black iris is native to Jordan. It grows wild in the hot, sandy landscapes around Kerak in the west of the country, but its delicate existence in this harsh environment means it is now an endangered species. Striking and elegant, this unique iris’ folds of velvety petals are actually shades of purple, but some blooms are so dark they almost look black. You are most likely to see it in March and April along the sides of village roads between Madaba, the stunning river canyon Wadi Mujib and Kerak itself – also home to a hilltop Crusader castle.

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A Brand NewLeaf



ears from now, when electric cars become commonplace on our roads, many will recall the one vehicle that kick-started the electric revolution. We’re talking about the Nissan Leaf of course, which was introduced ten years ago. Ever since its arrival, the all-electric vehicle (EV), was a game changer for automobiles as it spearheaded the call for emission-free electric mobility. Over the course of a decade, the Leaf has become the world’s best selling EV with over 400,000 cars sold. That number is expected to grow by leaps and bounds with the arrival of the second-generation Nissan Leaf, which boasts a new design along with more technological advancements and increased efficiency and range.

Electric Power

The most significant feature of the new Nissan Leaf is its brandnew e-powertrain, which generates 150PS with 320Nm of torque. Acceleration is swift, seamless and instant, allowing the car to sprint from 0-100kmh in 7.9 seconds. The model is also equipped with a new 40kWh lithium-ion battery, which provides a driving range of 311 kilometres on a full-charge. Granted, this is based on the ECE R101 New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test cycle but on average, the range of the Leaf in normal driving conditions should prove sufficient enough for the daily driving needs of most buyers.

Positive Charge

With the Leaf, the need to visit the fuel station is practically eliminated but owners do have to ensure that the vehicle is consistently charged. A standard 6.6kW Wall Box Charger takes care of that need, and requires seven hours to reach a maximum charge once the vehicle is plugged-in. Adding to the convenience is a 50kW CHAdeMO quick charger, which

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F i r s t D r i ve s Text Richard Augustin Photos courtesy of Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd and respective manufacturers

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F i r s t D r i ve s

allows the Leaf to be fully charged in just 60 minutes. The in-house developed battery pack also sits low in the chassis for a lower centre of gravity, which affords the Leaf better handling and stability.

Sleek & Modern

Nissan designers have done a great job of not just providing contemporary styling cues for the new Leaf but also excellent aerodynamics. The low and sleek profile is further accentuated with a new Diamond Inspired Holographic Grille, Boomerang LED Daytime Running Lights, Headlamps and Rear Combination Lamps. Inside, the model features a driver-centric designed interior with a 7-inch multiinfo display meter and luxurious Leather Alcantara appointed seats. It also features a useful Climate Control Timer, which helps cool the cabin of the car for a more comfortable journey.

Safety Assured

The Leaf is one of the safest EVs with a maximum 5-star rating in the Japan New Car Assessment Program

Intelligent Mobility isn’t just a catchy marketing tagline for Nissan judging by the impressive safety list the Leaf packs in. Featuring various Nissan Safety Shield technologies such as Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) and Around View Monitor (I-AVM) with Moving Object

TYRE TROUBLES To ensure a safer and smoother ride for your vehicle, proper tyre care and maintenance is always a must. Here are some essential tips that should never be neglected.

Detection (I-MOD), the Leaf is by far one of the safest vehicles around. No surprise then to see this EV sporting a maximum 5-star safety rating in JNCAP (Japan New Car Assessment Program).

An Electric Dream


Poorly inflated tyres not only increases drag, which leads to increased fuel consumption but also damages the tyre over the long run. Always keep an eye on the tyre pressure warning on your car’s dashboard or constantly monitor your wheels before hopping in for a drive.


Tyre tread patterns are designed to disperse surface water, which helps the vehicle maintain its grip especially in slippery conditions. Make sure your tyres have sufficient tread depth on them to eliminate the risk of losing control during a drive.


Hitting a pothole can affect your car’s alignment, which will result in uneven tyre wear. As such, it is prudent to always do periodic checks on your car’s wheel alignment. Rotating your car’s tyres also helps achieve more uniform wear and usability, which is not only safer but also more cost effective. Generally, tyres should be rotated August 201910,000km. every

No doubt for adopters who want to get into the electrification game, the new Nissan Leaf provides the perfect platform. It’s got a great design with features to match and it also alleviates the range anxiety that some owners face when driving an EV. That said, despite being relatively affordable, the Leaf is perhaps more ideally suited to be a secondary vehicle, used primarily for daily commutes and city driving. It will no doubt serve that need with zero emissions, whilst reducing the monthly household fuel bill significantly.

The all-new Nissan Leaf is priced at RM188,888 (on-the-road without insurance).


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A Touch Of Elegance

The Volkswagen Passat has been updated, which will further extend the popularity of the sedan. The Passat 2.0TSI Elegance boasts an updated 2.0TSI engine and a new 7-speed wet clutch dual-speed gearbox (DSG). Adding to that, the new model also arrives with a redesigned front and rear profile, and new lighting signatures. Keeping with the times, the new VW sedan also offers enhanced connectivity with wireless App Connect as well as an updated infotainment system. The vehicle’s safety features have also been upgraded with the addition of Side Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring System. The new Volkswagen Passat is priced at RM187,990 (on-the-road without insurance).

People Mover

Perodua’s best-selling sedan gets a contemporary update along with advanced safety features, further extending the value-added package the Bezza is renowned for. The 2020 Perodua Bezza now arrives with sharp LED headlamps and an angular and imposing front bumper. There are four model variants for the new model featuring 1.0-litre and 1.3-litre engines. All variants get power-adjustable side mirrors and reverse sensors with the higher spec 1.3-litre variants getting keyless entry and start, as well as front corner sensors. The top of the range AV variant is now equipped with Perodua’s Advanced Safety Assist 2.0 suite of driver assistance safety systems featuring Pedestrian Detection and Pre-Collision Warning. The 2020 Perodua Bezza is priced from RM34,580 to RM49,980 (on-the-road without insurance).

Exceptional Package

The fan favourite European SAV (Sport Activity Vehicle) gets a subtle redesign which enhances the appeal of the model. The new BMW X1 sDrive20i M Sport, features tweaks in both the front with a new bumper, integrated LED fog lights and larger air intakes. The BMW SAV also boasts redesigned LED tail lights and sits 10mm lower thanks to the M Sport Suspension. Tucked in under the hood is a formidable 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, paired with a 7-Speed Steptronic Dual Clutch Sport transmission. Inside, the model sports a visually striking interior trim with an 8.8-inch touchscreen navigation system centrally-located on the dashboard. The new BMW X1 sDrive20i M Sport is priced at RM233,800 (on-the-road without insurance).

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Street Chef Text Alexandra Wong / Photos SooPhye



t’s 4 am and on the tangled streets of Chinatown, there are people staggering home after a night out in clubs and bars. While most people are still in bed, some hawkers are already gearing up for business.

One of them is 40-year-old Ng Lee Chuan. In a small factory, he is grinding, straining and boiling batches of soya bean milk from beans that he pre-soaked in water the night before. By 7 am, he is ready to lug buckets of steaming hot soya bean milk to a pushcart in Petaling Street, where the breakfast crowd has already formed.

Uncle Bean offers three types of syrup to go with the soya bean drink and tau fu fah – brown, white and ginger sugar

The stall was set up in the 1940s when Lee Chuan’s grandfather migrated from China to Malaya. Incredibly, the stall has never moved from its present spot in Petaling Street; it’s possibly the oldest hawker stall in the historic neighbourhood. When patriarch Ng passed on in 1960, his two sons took over. Younger son Tiah Wing fully helmed the business on his own until the mid-2000s before passing it on to his son Lee Chuan, who rebranded it to “Uncle Bean”.

You can hardly walk a block in Kuala Lumpur without stumbling upon a mobile soya milk vendor, but Uncle Bean may be the city’s most popular. Bearing a hint of fragrance from the addition of pandan leaves, the milk strikes just the right balance between creaminess and smoothness. And as for their tau fu fah – which is made by adding gypsum to soya bean milk – every delicate spoonful is unbelievably smooth all the way through without a trace of the grittiness found in inferior versions. Making soya bean milk is an art that requires years of experience and skills to perfect, says Lee Chuan. Every step needs to be precisely executed; from knowing how to strain the milk, to setting the beancurd. “Our recipe is at least three generations old.”

Understandably, the Ngs won’t share the family recipe, but emphasize

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At that time, my father was still actively working at the stall with me. I figured he could look after the stall while I make deliveries. One thing led to another and we’re now supplying to about 30 outlets. The margin is thinner, but it’s extra revenue.

restaurateur friend, who was using soya milk to make tofu dishes, asked Lee Chuan if he would like to be a supplier.

“At that time, my father was still actively working at the stall with me. I figured he could look after the stall, while I make deliveries. One thing led to another and we’re now supplying to about 30 outlets. The margin is thinner, but it’s extra revenue,” says Lee Chuan. His sister Pei also opened up a branch selling soya milk and tau fu fah in the residential suburb of Taman Desa. Tiah Wing points out, “Consumer behaviour is constantly changing. If you don’t change your business model to evolve with the times, you won’t survive. Visitors to Petaling Street these days are mostly tourists, not locals. Our youngsters have so many options to choose from these days, so we must find a way to connect and attract them.”

that good ingredients is key. The most critical component of a good soya milk is quality beans. “We use premium Thompsons’ soya beans from Canada,” says Lee Chuan. They are more expensive, but “you can’t stinge on quality. During the soaking process, the beans absorb the water and swell up, thanks to a reaction that emulsifies bean and water into milk. The better and fresher the beans, the better their water absorption abilities, and the more milk they can produce.”

The stall in Petaling Street is in the same spot as it was in the 1940s when it was set up

His father Tiah Wing adds, “In the old days, we sourced our supplies from a city in China because it was cheap and good. But the city stopped producing beans when it was converted into an industrial area. We tried other sources but the milk that is produced doesn’t have that distinctive mellow soya bean flavour. Since then, we’ve stuck to the Canadian beans.”

UNCLE BEAN (Main outlet) Intersection between Jalan Petaling and Jalan Hang Lekir, Kuala Lumpur +6012-685 9000 Opens daily 7 am – 10 pm

Originally offering only brown sugar and white sugar syrup, Lee Chuan introduced a ginger sugar syrup variation that has become popular in recent years. “In fact, with increased health awareness, people prefer less sugar or no sugar at all these days,” he observes.

(Branch) Opposite Faber Heights, Jalan Desa Utama, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur Opens Mon– Friday, 7 am – 5 pm

In addition to selling at Petaling Street, Uncle Bean wholesales soya bean milk to other stalls, cafés and restaurants around Klang Valley. It all began when a

Speaking of fans, one of Uncle Bean’s most ardent supporters is none other than Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. During Tiah Wing’s time, Tun’s staff would come to the stall to tapau (take away) 40-50 packets of milk at a time. “It’s not often a customer buys such a high volume. After this happened a few times, we naturally asked who the drinks were for,”says Tiah Wing, chuckling. The Ngs finally met the man at the historic launch of the SingaporeBangkok Eastern and Oriental Express route in 1993. “We were invited to set up a stall at the old Kuala Lumpur railway station to serve soya milk to about two thousand guests,” says Lee Chuan. “I remember admiring the elegant green exterior of the train from afar. Then lo and behold, who else but Tun stopped by our humble stall. It’s one of our most precious memories. Alas, we did not take any photos of or with him!”

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Pack Up : For Her


Easy On


The mum mules of the 1990s are back in trend. This Bally design features the brand’s archival Janelle buckle detail, which totally dresses up the look and feel. Wear it in place of a formal heel. RRP: USD620 (RM2,521) bally.com

Go For Gold

Modern Mary Janes just got even more glamorous. Stuart Weitzman has a head-turning gold pair that is irresistible. It comes with a crystal-encrusted double buckle detail and sleek three-inch heels. RRP: RM2,400 stuartweitzman.com

Best Foot




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Anytime, Anywhere


Every woman needs the perfect all-occasion footwear. Thanks to its satin criss-cross straps, these Charles & Keith flats are versatile enough to go with a maxi dress for an evening out, or with shorts for a daytime jaunt. RRP: RM170 charleskeith.com

Perfectly Engineered

Created in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Biomechanics Laboratory, Cole Haan’s Grand Ambition slip-on sneakers provide uncompromised comfort. The metallic leather uppers look mighty snazzy too. RRP: RM900 colehaan.com

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


A Guy Thing


High Shine

The latest footwear collection by Bonia evokes a sense of tranquillity. Embellished with mesh and high-shine microfibre material, this white design is quite a looker – yet it evokes a utilitarian energy. RRP: RM499 bonia.com

The most rugged of all footwear, boots up the masculinity of any outfit. Tod’s has a pair of ankle design crafted out of suede and waxed fabric. It even sports padded trims and rubber outsoles for a trendier look. RRP: USD645 (RM2,626) tods.com



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Fire Up Your Style


The secret to rocking a basic T-shirt and jeans look is by styling it up with bold sneakers. Under Armour’s red HOVR Summit is not just made for workouts, it will look “fly” out on the streets too. RRP: RM619 underarmour.com.my

Simply Suave

Nothing says “gentleman” quite like classic oxford brogues. Burberry has reimagined the silhouette using vinyl-encased leather and a contrasting toe cap. The daring style is finished with a trench-inspired D-ring at the heel. RRP: RM3,590 my.burberry.com

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

New Season,

New Look



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Pucker Up


Spring brings back the gloss and while glossy skin and lids aren’t easy to wear without creasing and melting in hot, humid climate, gloss for lips is a breezy affair on its own or layered over a lipstick or lip balm. Hourglass’ latest lip product combines colour, treatment and luxury for beautifully shiny lips. RRP: RM233 hourglasscosmetics.com

Woman In Red

The classic and timeless red lipstick is back in favour for the season, not that it ever went away! For a contemporary look, this emblematic siren shade from Gucci Beauty’s inaugural lipstick launch, inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Age and perfumed with violet, is all you need to exude charm and sensuality. RRP: RM152 gucci.com/int/en/ca/beauty/makeup/lipstick-c-beauty-lips

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Eye To Eye


Eye makeup abounds with varied beauty references on the Spring/Summer 2020 runways. To create the multihued, ombre look, Nars’ eyeshadow compact is great at embellishing your eyes with smooth, rich pigments and a velvety texture via a palette of sparkling pale gold, sparkling metallic brass, shimmering deep rust red and sparkling antique bronze. RRP: RM185 narscosmetics.com/USA/eyeshadow

Sparkle & Shine

It’s not the time to shy away from the spotlight with the bold eye-makeup trends that are au courant now. If you crave subtlety along with having glitter eyes that work from day to night, look no further than this long-lasting liquid eyeshadow from Marc Jacobs. It’s sultry, fuss-free and fabulous. RRP: RM105 marcjacobsbeauty.com





Flirtatious Flush


Give the heavily contoured look a break and endow your cheeks with natural definition instead. A versatile way to brighten and freshen your face is to apply a few swirls of blooming colour, especially using one of Kat Von D’s six super-pigmented vegan blushers that stays soft and matte all day. RRP: RM108 katvondbeauty.com

Cover Your Bases

To showcase this season’s gorgeous makeup trends as well as the less-is-more “no makeup” look, foundation is essential. A wearable yet polished look always starts with a great canvas – skin flaunting a natural, luminous finish. With Dior Backstage foundation’s 40 universal shades, finding the perfect one to match your complexion is truly effortless. RRP: RM155 dior.com

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Reads : Female Empowerment

The Way Through The Woods

by Long Litt Woon Following the sudden death of her husband Eiolf, author and anthropologist Long Litt Woon finds herself bereft and “in free fall … I, who had always been in command and in control”. Disoriented without her partner of 32 years, Long discovers solace out on a walk one day and literally stumbles on the one thing that would lead her out of her “tunnel of grief”: mushrooms. Long, a Malaysian by birth and a Norwegian by marriage, has written a monograph on mycology, a personal grief diary and a mushroom cookbook, and woven them together into a compelling narrative that moves nimbly from one subject to the next. The books treat each subject discreetly (and are colour-coded to help the reader identify the appropriate sentiment with which to treat the paragraphs as only a scientist would) which, rather than interrupts the pace of the book, creates a unique structure where the personal, the scientific and the culinary overlap and intersect. The book reveals a relationship that is at once united by love, but also by a shared spirit of adventure and scientific curiosity. RRP: RM99.90


by Sheila Heti Sheila Heti’s Motherhood is a powerful novel that follows the life of Heti’s unnamed writer/narrator as she struggles with the question of whether to have children. For the narrator, she recognises that the question has as much to do with externalities as it does with her own existential struggles: with her insecurities, her sense of authentic self and her uncertain impulses and feelings of motherhood. Riven with ambivalence, she decides to pour her anxiety into a book in hopes that the end product may give her some clarity on what she truly wants. The book takes the form of a dialogue with three coins, which are flipped to give her yes or no answers to questions and concerns. The narrator’s struggle with motherhood – realising that something is irretrievably lost however she chooses, and desperately hoping that the losses are not irredeemable – is couched in Heti’s intimate prose which may very well be a reflection of her own struggle with potential parenthood. RRP: RM59.90

Stories Of The Sahara

by Sanmao Chen Mao-Ping, or better known by her pen name Sanmao (三毛), is a Taiwanese travel writer who has been inspiring her legions of Chinese reading fans to dream of lives less ordinary. An irrepressible writer and adventurer – the book opens with “When I arrived in the desert, I desperately wanted to be the first female explorer to cross the Sahara” – Stories of the Sahara is a testament to Sanmao’s spirit and timeless romanticism of adventure and discovery. Elegantly penned, the book invites the reader to share in Sanmao’s experiences of love and loss, freedom and peril, in a voice that deftly dances from sharp wit to languorous expression. The book was first published in 1976 to immediate acclaim, and it is inexplicable that it has taken more than 40 years for it to be translated into English. Sanmao’s voice fills a lacuna in the travel writing genre which continues to be dominated by the white, male voice. RRP: RM74.90

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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS Hardcover Fiction & Non-fiction *based on the week of 9 February 2020

The Doll Factory

by Elizabeth Macneal Elizabeth Macneal’s evocative debut historical fiction set in Victorian London is an intoxicating tale of obsession and pursuing one’s passion. Iris works as a painter of dolls at Mrs Slater’s Doll Emporium but harbours ambitions to be a real painter, and she secretly does so in the cellar at night after everyone is asleep. When Iris is presented with the opportunity to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he teaches her to paint. Even as she is finally living her dream, her life is about to be turned upside down due to Silas Reed, owner of a curiosity shop and a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, whose chance meeting with the red-haired beauty at the Great Exhibition sets him on a dangerous path fuelled by obsession. The novel is a bit of a slow burner at first, but it picks up halfway through to unfurl a series of nail-biting, shocking twists to make for a truly engrossing read. RRP: RM75.90


by Jeanine Cummins

by Delia Owens


by James Patterson and James O. Born


by Ann Napolitano

Invisible Women

by Caroline Criado Perez “Instead of believing women when they say they’re in pain, we tend to label them as mad. And who can blame us? Bitches be crazy, as Plato famously said.” And hysterical pain is one of the many examples of the way that the androcentric world continues to marginalise and delegitimise women’s experiences. Invisible Women, which won the Financial Times and McKinsey Book of The Year prize for 2019, is a revelatory monograph that uncovers and, in some cases, merely points at the way that inventions, policies, workplaces and the like fail to take into account women’s experiences in their conception and development. Central to Perez’s thesis is the claim that the fundamental evidential unit of experience, datum, is ultimately gender-biased, flying in the face of the long-held faith in the objectivity of scientific research. Seatbelts, school admissions, and municipal policies on the clearing of snow – nothing escapes Perez, and they are exhaustively revealed to be fundamentally gender-biased in her excellently researched book. RRP: RM84.90

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SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid


by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig


by Tara Westover

by Peter Schweizer



by Michelle Obama

by Malcolm Gladwell

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

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A t T h e M ov i e s


Starring: Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, Jet Li, Tzi Ma, Rosalind Chao Director: Niki Caro Release date: 27 March 2020 When an invasion from the north threatens China, the Emperor decrees that one man from every family must serve in the Imperial Chinese Army to defend the country. As the eldest daughter of an honoured warrior, Hua Mulan (Liu) disguises herself as a man and takes her ailing father’s place to save him from conscription. The spirited Mulan will need all of her wits and determination to not only keep her deception a secret from her superiors, but to protect her homeland and become China’s greatest warrior.

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Playing at the cinemas *Information is correct at the time of printing


Starring: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Ali Wong, Lena Waithe, Mel Rodriguez Director: Dan Scanlon Release date: 6 March 2020


Onward is set in a suburban fantasy world, where its population of various mystical creatures have turned away from magic in favour of modern technology. On his 16th birthday, Ian Lightfoot (Holland) and his brother Barley (Pratt) receive a magic staff from their late father with a spell that was meant to conjure his body for 24 hours. When the spell goes awry and brings back only his legs, the two elf brothers set out on a quest to look for the magic they need so they can spend one day with their father.

A Quiet Place : Part II

Starring: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou Director: John Krasinski Release date: 20 March 2020


Picking up where the first film left off, A Quiet Place: Part II follows Evelyn Abbott (Blunt) and her two children Regan (Simmonds) and Marcus (Jupe) as they struggle to survive in a world overrun by deadly and near-indestructible extra-terrestrial creatures that hunt and kill anything that makes a sound, due to their lack of sight. Forced to leave their home and travel across a silent world, they will soon meet other survivors and learn that the aliens are not the only threat to their survival.

I Still Believe


Starring: KJ Apa, Britt Robertson, Melissa Roxburgh, Nathan Dean Parsons, Shania Twain, Gary Sinise Directors: Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin Release date: 20 March 2020

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Based on the true life story of renowned American Christian singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp, I Still Believe is a dramatic tale that looks at the rise of Camp’s (Apa) music career and his romance with his first wife, Melissa (Robertson), whom he decides to marry despite knowing that she is dying from cancer. His remarkable journey through love and loss tests his faith and ultimately teaches him the value of unwavering hope in the face of tragedy.

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Out & About

Warm Welcome

Tourism Malaysia kicked off the start of the new year in grand fashion with the launch of Visit Malaysia 2020, with welcome receptions held simultaneously at 22 venues across the country. The receptions took place at major entry points such as Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and venues of tourism industry partners like Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson, to welcome both domestic and international travellers. Tourists arriving at these major entry points were greeted with an array of cultural performances from dances to music, as well as with uniquely Malaysian tokens such as special batik garlands and packets of dodol (a toffee-like confection).

Innovative Skincare

Bath bomb pioneer and beauty products retailer Lush has opened its second store in Malaysia. Located in Sunway Pyramid, the 741-square-foot (69 square metres) store will be selling a wide range of their colourful fizzing bath bombs, shower jellies, solid shampoo bars and more. A unique concept featured at the new Sunway Pyramid store is the Fresh Face Mask counter, a deli-inspired display where customers can explore Lush’s fresh face masks and consult staff on putting together a variety of Lush products to create personalised skincare regimens. Established 24 years ago, Lush prides itself on its use of organic ingredients; ethical buying practices; and its stance against animal testing and wastage through overpackaging, creating products that can be sold to consumers without packaging.

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Spectacular Celebration

Singapore ushered in the new year with a spectacular display of fireworks at Star Island Singapore Countdown Edition 2019-2020. The renowned Japanese fireworks musical show kept audiences entertained throughout the evening on New Year’s Eve with a vibrant array of electrifying performances; from music and dancing to a unicycle troupe act, fire twirlers, stunt roller skaters as well as stilt walkers. The event also featured Singapore’s largest drone show, with 500 drones making brightly lit formations of Singaporean icons like the Merlion in the night sky. The event reached its climax at the end of the night with a 90-minute musical extravaganza accompanied by a dazzling display of fireworks over the scenic Marina Bay.

Premium Coffee

Penang’s first Starbucks Reserve outlet has made its home in the bustling Gurney Plaza, making it the 12th Starbucks Reserve store in the country. The store features two bars: a main bar that serves the core menu items and an interactive coffee bar that highlights special rare coffees from around the world. Baristas at Starbucks Reserve Gurney Plaza are trained and certified Coffee Masters who utilise various state-of-the-art brewing techniques to bring out the best flavours in their handcrafted beverages. In keeping with the brand’s ethos of using ethically sourced exotic Arabica coffee, beans are produced and sold in limited quantities in order to maintain a consistent supply.

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10 Things & Facts

About Amazing Ma laysia


Unique Names

Many places in Langkawi in the state of Kedah have unique names. The name of the island comes from ‘helang ‘helang’’ (eagle) and ‘kawi kawi’’ (a reddish type of rock), and there are also places such as Kuah (gravy), Telaga Tujuh (seven wells), Beras Terbakar (burnt paddy) and Tasik Dayang Bunting (lake of the pregnant maiden; photo) – each with their own stories and myths.



Traditional Weapon

The keris is a weapon that features prominently throughout Malay history, and can be found in the Malay archipelago that includes Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, southern Philippines, Singapore and southern Thailand. It can be used as a ceremonial piece as well as for combat and self-defense. It is also a symbol of Malaysian royalty.

Traditional Dress

As in many parts of the world, ethnic Indian women in Malaysia wear the saree (or sari) as a traditional dress. The dress features long yards of cloth, worn over a petticoat and wrapped around the body. There are many ways to tie and wear a saree.

Skilled Craftsmen 4

The Mah Meri are an indigenous group of people who live on the West coast of Peninsula Malaysia, mostly around Pulau Carey in Selangor. They are known for their excellent wood carving skills, especially with masks. The Mah Meri speak Besisi, which is an endangered language with less than 3,000 speakers left.

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Fine Feast

Malaysians love durian so much that there are buffets dedicated to the King of Fruits, where diners can eat to their heart’s content. The spread will often have different types of durian, and sometimes desserts such as durian ice cream, durian shakes and more.

Mighty Mammals

The Malayan gaur, known locally as seladang, is one of the world’s largest bovine animals. It feeds on grass and shrubs, and is listed as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List (IUCN) due to poaching for its meat, skull and magnificent horns. A cross between the seladang and domestic cattle is called selembu.

Beautiful Specimen 7

The national butterfly of Malaysia is the Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing, Birdwing, named after English explorer James Brooke, the Rajah of Sarawak. Male butterflies boast a more vibrant shade of electric green, while females tend to be brown with white at the tips of their wings.

Meaty Delight 8

Murtabak is a type of stuffed pancake, commonly found at Indian Muslim restaurants in Malaysia. The inside typically includes minced chicken or beef, as well as garlic, egg and onion, served with curry and gravy. It is a popular dish at Ramadan bazaars.



Longest River

The Pahang River is the longest river in Peninsular Malaysia, measuring over 459 kilometres. It originates from the Titiwangsa mountain range in the state of Pahang, before flowing out into the South China Sea.

Simple But Fun

Ketinting is the Malaysian version of the hopscotch game. The game features nine ‘boxes’, which can be drawn on the ground using branches or chalk. The objective of the game is to complete a circuit, usually by hopping onto each box with one leg, without stepping onto ‘markers’ or the drawn lines.

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Firef ly News 57

News & Happenings


Firefly Network

New Look

Firefly Airlines is rolling out a series of stunning aircraft livery as part of their Discovery campaign, which encourages the public to explore the hidden gems of Malaysia. The launch of the livery is also in line with Tourism Malaysia’s Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020). A total of six aircraft will be decked out in new livery, based on Discovery’s six pillars of See It, Feel It, Hear It, Touch It, Sense It and Taste It. “The inspiration behind Firefly’s Discovery campaign is speed, energy, curiosity and adventure, while Tourism Malaysia’s VM2020 evokes friendliness, colour, beauty and nature, to reflect the country’s diverse local culture,” says Khoo Sian Chun, Firefly’s Branding Manager. “When putting together the different logos and elements, we have to ensure that they convey the same message, that is, to discover the undiscovered of Malaysia.”


Firefly Fleet & Service Info

creation and direction, to production and installation. More designs will be rolled out in the coming months. “Our country has many hidden attractions – some of which are close to the city – that are worth discovering. Even locals may be surprised to find new places to visit that are unknown to most. With this initiative, we hope to inspire and educate travellers on what our motherland has, as well as raise awareness on the packages that Firefly has to offer,” he says.

Colour is an important element in the livery’s design, which incorporates warm shades of red and orange to represent Firefly’s Discovery, and cool tones of blue and green for VM2020. These colours were selected to create a visually balanced look and feel, as well as to create a strong brand connection and image recall for passengers. The first design, based on the See It and Feel It pillars, took two months to complete; from brainstorming, concept

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Net work Map

Ways you can check-in aside from the airport : WEB CHECK-IN: At www.fireflyz.com.my. 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

Banda Banda Aceh Aceh

International Departure Hall Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport Banda Aceh EMAIL: aceh@fireflyz.com.my OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 8:30 am to 5 pm


Main Terminal, Sultan Abdul Halim Airport 06550 Alor Setar TEL: +604 714 3911 OPERATING HOURS: Daily; 7 am to 8 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: phuket@fireflyz.com.my

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



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

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


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



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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(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 www.fireflyz.com.my for more information.


HERITAGE CITY The UNESCO-listed George Town in Penang is a wonderful mashup of culture, art and gastronomy. Our 12-hour itinerary is on page 18.

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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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View finder Text & Photo David Wu

Thrilling Experience T

he Langkawi SkyBridge ranks as one of the highest curved free span bridges in the world. Standing at 660 metres above sea level on top of Gunung Mat Cincang, the suspension bridge measures 125 metres in length and offers a spectacular panorama of virgin tropical jungles and the Andaman coastline. The bridge sways gently when high winds sweep past and can prove quite a challenge for those with a fear of heights. It does, however, provide visitors with a unique ’walk in the sky’ experience, punctuated with several see-through glass floor panels. Getting up to the bridge is a thrill, involving two sets of cable car transfers. The cable car ride is an exhilarating experience in itself and includes an almost vertical ascent to the top. Visitors will be forgiven for jumping for joy upon getting off. The cable car station is a 45-minute drive from the Kuah jetty point, or 20 minutes from the airport.

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Firefly operates multiple daily flights to Langkawi International Airport from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang

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# FlyFirefly



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

Liked by discoverselangor and others adriant1000 What a weekend! A night of many firsts. First time going to Kuala Kubu Baru, first time stargazing and looking at meteor showers and first time I tried my hand on astro photography.

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a week

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Liked by yanntyng 5 and others chyeo_ Chasing sha dows. #malaysia #penang #flyfirefly #fireflyairlines

Liked by mawar_biru89 and others sunahsakura Hari ini naik flight pergi Kota Bharu dari Senai, Firefly dah ada direct flight dari JB ke KB tau!

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March 2020


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Return To Classics New Balance brings new-school cool to a beloved classic with the 850 Retro Bring Back, a minimalist silhouette that was ahead of its time when it was originally introduced in 1996.

Featuring a mix of suede, synthetics and breathable mesh, the sneakers’ progressive upper features reflective details on the heel and forefoot, as well as a speed lace design that locks for fast and secure gearing up. Meanwhile, the midsole features signature ABZORB technology in the rearfoot and forefoot and ROLLBAR TPU medial support on the medial side to provide the ultimate in stability. The progressive upper of the men's 850 features a molded tongue label for bold heritage style, while a roll bar medial post in the midsole offers added stability.

Suite 520 – New Balance Outlet Johor Premium Outlets, Indahpura, 81000 Kulai, Johor Darul Takzim. Tel: +607 665 1903

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Profile for Spafax

Fireflyz March 2020  

Fireflyz March 2020  

Profile for spafaxmy