December 2014 - The Malaysian Culture Group


December 2014 - The Malaysian Culture Group
N E W S L E T T E R!
Malaysian Culture Group
The Year is almost over...
...but your MCG is busy with outings, lectures, good food and good times with friends. Things are not
slowing down for the holidays, and if you are still in town we hope to see you at the monthly lecture or
the Holiday Tea at Carcosa Seri Negara. Be sure to mark your calendar for Friday, February 27,
2015, when we will be traveling by coach to Melaka where Cedric Tan has prepared an interesting
Chinese New Year program for us. Full details will be January’s MCG Newsletter. Wishing you all the
happiest of holidays, no matter which ones you choose to celebrate.
Helen Mastache, Newsletter Editor
Page 1
Table of Contents December 2014
President’s Message .....................................................................................Page 3
MCG Events
December Monthly Lecture: A Morning at
the US Embassy Residence with Dato’ Bertie Talalla ...............Page 4
January Monthly Lecture: Islam in Malaysia with Dina Zaman ..........Page 4
December Event: Tea at Seri Carcosa ...............................................Page 5
Reports and Reviews
Report: Nine Emperor Gods Tour .......................................................Page 6
Report: Screening of Ulama Perempuan ...........................................Page 8
Report: Chinese Ceramics Collection ................................................Page 9
Report: A Malay Wedding Experience ................................................Page 10
Book Group 1: This Earth of Mankind ................................................Page 12
Book Group 1: Five Star Billionaire ....................................................Page 14
Book Group 1: Cracking India ............................................................Page 16
Book Group 3: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats ...................................Page 17
Report: Enak! at The Café at Royal Selangor Pewter ........................Page 18
MCG Committee ...........................................................................................Page 20
Save the Date!
Your MCG Events Planning Team is pleased to announce an exciting trip to Melaka to
experience Chinese New Year festivities. On February 27. 2015, we will be the guests of
Cedric Tan at his home, where we will view the altar for the Jade Emperor, have a
presentation on the CNY activities of the Peranakan community and enjoy a delicious lunch
tok panjang (long table) style. Members will also be treated to a unique tour of Melaka's
temples and Chinatown.
Be sure to save the date and watch for your Anyvite, as space will be limited for this
special Chinese New Year event.
Page 2
President’s Message
Dear MCG members,
Book Group 3
Last month I had the privilege of joining Book Group 3 and it was a great experience.
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker proved to be a good source for sharing
different views and getting new insights. Sally Addington led the group with her discussion
questions. The diversity of the twelve members present made me look at the novel with
different eyes. The camaraderie was well supported by Alice, who offered her nice condo for
the meeting and surprised us with her culinary delights. MCG is the place to be!
Membership and name cards
The MCG Committee discussed various options in response to suggestions by
members that there should be a receipt or membership card received upon joining MCG, and
that the names of participants be visible at events. The main criterion was to provide a simple
solution for both the members and the event organizer. The Committee has opted for an ereceipt/membership card and for name stickers at each event. The latter means that each
person writes her/his first name on the sticker for the event. It seems to work well in other
organisations. Let’s give a try and see how it works for us.
Another year has almost passed by!
I am proudly looking back at 2014. Many members expressed their appreciation for the
diversity and quality of events, the flourishing book groups, Enak! and Explorers, as well as the
lively atmosphere of the Open House and Annual General Meeting (AGM.) The same
appreciation is heard for the newsletter, the Anyvite system and our Facebook page. Behind
the scenes, our new website is coming together. I am convinced that you will like the new look
and functionality to be unveiled in early 2015.
I am even more proud of all the volunteers who make this all possible—the Events
Planning Team, the organizing conveners and members of Book Groups, Enak! and Explorers,
the librarian, the new Communications Team and the MCG Committee. And we cannot forget
the members who provide hands on support during events or for the website project.
May I wish you all safe travels and great festivities!
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year!
Page 3
December Monthly Lecture
A Morning with Dato’ Bertie Talalla
Wednesday 3rd December 2014
09:30 am for 10:00 am start,
Please note earlier start time
US Embassy Residence
RM15 members only
This talk by Dato’ Albert “Bertie” Talalla is fully booked.
If you are interested in being put on the waiting list, please contact the Events Planning
Team at [email protected] As the Embassy requests an attendance list by November
26th, you will be informed by that date if you have been added to the RSVP list.
January Monthly Lecture
Islam in Malaysia with Dina Zaman
Wednesday 14th January 2015
10:00 am for 10:30 am start
US Embassy Residence
RM15 members / RM25 guests
MCG programming starts 2015 with a talk by Dina Zaman.
Dina Zaman has had media presence locally and abroad as a columnist since 1994,
and as a commentator of current affairs since 2005. She has helmed a number of columns,
including: Off Our Backs (The Sun, Malaysia in 1995), Dina’s Dalca (New Straits Time, 1996
to 1998) and I Am Muslim (, 2005 to 2006). She writes on religion,
society and lifestyle issues, and injects a sense of humour into her writing. She has been
interviewed on Al Jazeera’s Everywoman program.
Ms. Zaman is an award-winning writer of non-fiction, fiction and poetry. A collection of
her writings from the I Am Muslim column became a best selling book of the same name. Her
book of short stories, King of the Sea, was long listed for the Frank O’Connor Short Story
Award. Ms. Zaman has also experienced expat life. Her childhood was spent in many
countries. She studied at universities in the both the US and the UK. More recently she was a
recipient of an API Senior Fellowship and was based in Jogjakarta, Indonesia and Thailand in
Page 4
December Event
Afternoon Tea at Carcosa Seri Negara
Wednesday December 10th, 2014
2:15 pm for 2:30 pm start
Carcosa Seri Negara, Taman Tasik Perdana, KL 50480
RM 95 members and guests
This is the actual cost charged by Carcosa. Please note that this price is only for
the traditional Afternoon Tea. Any other beverages will be charged under
separate cover.
Time to get into the holiday spirit with your MCG friends!
We have a wonderful afternoon planned for those of you who will be in KL in December,
an afternoon tea at the Carcosa Seri Negara.
The history of Carcosa Seri Negara is integral to the history and development of
Malaysia. The Carcosa and Seri Negara buildings were built by Sir Frank Swettenham
between the years of 1896 and 1904. From this time until the invasion by the Japanese in
1941, Seri Negara was the residence of the highest British representative to the Malay States.
Afternoon tea at the Carcosa is a culinary delight. Tea will include gourmet sandwiches,
a variety of pastries, and warm scones served with clotted cream and jam.
If you would like more information on Carcosa Seri Negara please visit their website at
Page 5
Report: September Event
Nine Emperor Gods Festival
On Sept. 29, 2014 MCG member and self-admitted
festival freak, Cheryl Hoffmann, led a tour to the Nan Tiong
Gong temple in Ampang. It was a fascinating experience,
although somewhat overwhelming for new members who had
recently arrived to make KL their home. It was truly a feast for
the senses!
The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is held annually, for
nine days during the ninth month of the Chinese lunar
calendar. It has its roots in the secret societies of the
nineteenth-century Chinese mining communities and is
shrouded in mysterious ritual and ceremonies.
Devotees keep a strict vegetarian diet, pray at the altar
three times daily, and participate in the rituals that balance the
forces of yin and yang. This year the festival ran from
September 24th to October 2nd.
For more information about this
festival, visit Cheryl's Nine
Emperor Gods blog at http://
We met at the entrance and
walked past tables filled with
items that could be purchased
to present as offerings to the
gods (Photo 1). We passed a
huge fireplace (more like a
Page 6
September Event
libero vel
Nine Emperor Gods Festival (con’t)
small building) where devotees could throw
“money” to the Gods. There were stacks of
“money” in various locations ready to be
Eventually we made our way to the
altar of the Emperor, to pay our respects.
The incense was so thick it stung our eyes
and the smoke filled our lungs. A few
members tried to learn their fortune by
throwing joss sticks (Photo 2) while the rest
of us were just in awe of our surroundings!
As this festival is a pilgrimage,
many devotees come and stay for two
weeks. Cheryl took us through the narrow
dormitories where hundreds of devotees
stay and sleep on simple wooden beds.
They were happy to see Cheryl, and gave
us warm welcoming smiles as we walked
enim pharetra
through their living quarters. Near the end
of our tour, we saw the huge kitchen where
three meals a day are prepared for the
hundreds of devotees, and the fire pits on
the outside wall (Photo 3) of the kitchen,
that keep the huge woks and ovens hot
(Photo 4).
We ended our tour with a group photo
in front of the Chinese opera stage, and
although we did not see a performance, we
saw the props, costumes and scenery for the
show. Thank you Cheryl for sharing with us
the significance of many of the festival rituals
and to you and Vicki for helping us navigate
through the noisy carnival scene.
By Maryann Kobzan-Diakow
& Carole Crowther
Page 7
Report: September Event
Showing of Ulama Perempuan
A documentary by Yati Kaprawi
Activist and documentary director are just a few of the labels used to describe
Norhayati Kaprawi who is actively involved in the women's rights movement in Malaysia.
Ulama Perempuan (Female Ulama) is her third documentary. MCG Events organized
the viewing of this documentary on September 25th.
The documentary tracks scholarly Indonesian Muslim religious women who visit
brothels and listen to women living in prostitution. The religious women expressed their fear
prior to visiting the brothels, but bonded with the other women immediately. They listened
to their daily struggles and cried along with them.
In Indonesia, the gender rights movement primarily by female scholars has produced
communities that are open to understanding Islam.
This documentary will soon be available for purchase, as are Norhayati’s other
documentaries, Mencari Kartika and Aku Siapa. These are must see documentaries to better
understand issues faced by Muslim women in Malaysia.
by Haar Gil
Follow the links below for a brief sample of the three documentaries:
Ulama Perempuan:
Mencari Kartika:
Aku Siapa:
Filmmaker Norhayati Kaprawi
Page 8
Report: October Event
A Chinese Ceramics Collection
A Collector Shares His Passion
About fifteen members of the MCG
were privileged to view William Tseng's
Chinese ceramics collection and to hear the
history of this collection. The focus of Mr.
Tseng’s collection is Ming and Ching blue and
white ceramics. To have collected such a wide
variety of classic, high quality pieces in only
ten years is a rare achievement in itself.
We were treated to some tips on how to
recognise counterfeit pieces and of the
importance of the buyer/dealer relationship. As
an amateur buyer of Chinese porcelain myself
some thirty or more years ago, it has to be
said that it was a real lesson to hear how to
approach such purchases professionally, and
of the joys and sorrows along the way, with
such spectacular end results.
The questions asked afterwards by
the audience reflected a keen interest in the
topic, and much more such advice was
offered. It was interesting to learn that
auctions do not necessarily produce the
cheapest prices. The visit was warmly
appreciated by all!
by John Nicholson
Page 9
Report: November Event
A Malay Wedding Experience
On Wednesday, November 12th, a
group of nineteen MCG members gathered in
festive clothes for a Malay Wedding
Experience at Badan Warisan, and what a
treat we had!
Mrs. Zuraidah shared some of her
family wedding photos. She explained the
preparation of the traditional trays for the
exchange of gifts between the groom and the
bride. Explaining some of the ways the
families arranged the courtship, she described
the shy way a young woman’s family would be
approached, discrete inquiries made in a
round about way, so if they were not interested
in such a match, there would be no loss of face.
She had so much information to share with us
but too little time as we had a full programme to
get through. We will be arranging another
meeting for members to enjoy her wealth of
information. Mrs. Zuraidah brought along some
very old pieces of family wedding embroidery,
lovingly made, and kept over the decades in
pristine condition.
Customarily, the groom will send an odd
number of trays of gifts to the bride on the day
of their marriage, with the minimum accepted
number being five. These trays will typically
include a gold or diamond ring, a betel set or
Page 10
Report: November Event
A Malay Wedding Experience (con’t)
tepak sirih complete with betel leaves and
other ingredients, and other gifts such as
fruit or clothing. In return, the bride will send
the groom two more trays of gifts than he
sent to her.
Ida showed us the traditional way to
prepare henna, with flowers and plants, for
the berinai ceremony during which the
bride’s and groom’s fingers and nails are
stained with henna. More typically today,
however, henna is bought premade in
packets that are easy to apply, and much
less messy. Henna is considered a blessing
and is intended to protect the couple from
evil or malicious influences.
These are made of flowers and an egg, and
typically will have been made by the
We then moved on to try our hand at
shredding the coconut and squeezing the
milk out of the shredded coconut. In village
weddings, women are in charge of the
preparation of the food, but men do the actual
cooking, as the pots to feed such large
numbers of people are very large and heavy.
Finally, in true Malaysian style, it was
time for the traditional wedding feast in
Badan Warisan’s lovely pavilion, where we
sat and chatted as we enjoyed the Malay
Ida had also prepared the bunga
rampai, or wedding potpourri, which
consists of finely sliced pandan leaves,
fragrant and colorful flowers, and often kaffir
lime leaves. We learned this mixture is also
useful for keeping bugs out of cupboards.
Thank you Melanie, Ida, Jee, David,
Mrs. Zuraidah, and the performers for the
work you all did to make this a very
memorable morning for us.
We then formed a procession behind
the bridal couple, Suparna and Lay Chin.
Two other members held tall, colorful
umbrella-like decorations, and we formed a
procession as musicians followed playing
drums behind us. When we reached the
house we were received the traditional
greeting of a martial arts display before
entering the house, where the bride and
groom sat on the dais ready for wedding
guests to give them the blessing, by
sprinkling their hands with rice and
rosewater. We were then presented with the
traditional wedding favor, the bunga telor.
by Michelle Speed, Elise Hill
and Helen Mastache
Page 11
Review: Book Group 1
This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
few members of Book Group 1 had
wanted to read this famous Indonesian
classic for some time, although most had
never heard of it. This Earth of Mankind is
the first volume of a tetralogy called The
Buru Quartet named because it was
‘written’ by Pramoedya, or Pak Pram as he
is affectionately known in Indonesia, during
his captivity on Buru Island in the Malukus.
The story of its origin is arguably more
fascinating than the novel itself.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) is
considered to be one of the greats of
Indonesian literature. Imprisoned for his
political views in 1973 with other writers
and intellectuals, the author and other
prisoners were cruelly denied writing
implements on pain of death. Pramoedya
conceived the story in his head and
narrated it to his fellow inmates in nightly
installments; it was not published until 1980
when it was promptly banned, a prohibition
that remained in place in Indonesia until
2005. When the English translation by Max
Lane, a member of staff at the Australian
embassy in Jakarta, was published in
1981, Lane was recalled home to avoid
embarrassment, and the publishing house was closed. Much of Pramoedya’s adult life was
spent in confinement of one sort of another: the Dutch imprisoned him from 1947-9, Suharto’s
regime from 1965-79, and even after his release he was kept under house arrest in Jakarta
until 1992.
The hero of the novel is Minke, an intelligent but curiously passive young East Javanese
who is fortunate enough at the beginning of the novel to be receiving a higher education
normally reserved for colonial youths. He rejects his family’s values and traditional beliefs and
seems to regard the scientific principles of the West to be so important that he endures insult
and prejudice from his peers, both Dutch and Indo (mixed race). That is until he meets the
beautiful Annalies, the daughter of a Dutch factory owner and a beautiful Javanese courtesan,
Nyai Ontosoro. Minke becomes embroiled with this dysfunctional family. Ultimately the novel
leads to a tragic conclusion that wakes Minke up to the reality of life in colonial Java in the late
19th century.
Page 12
Review-Book Group 1
This Earth of Mankind (con’t)
The readers found the novel
challenging, written as it was in a
quintessentially Indonesian literary structure
that was difficult to appreciate unless one had
some knowledge of Java and its culture and
history. The cover of the book reveals one
key to understanding the symbolism of the
story, the wayang mask face. Minke
resembles one of the halus, or young heroes
of the wayang theatre, an empty book himself
until life writes upon his pages. He jumps into
a passionate love affair without much thought
or even motivation and seems to stumble
through the novel, believing himself innocent
and yet to the reader he is the catalyst driving
the tragic events that ensue. The heroine
Annalies is an emotionally unstable young
woman, the pawn of her mother and brother,
given to frightening dramatic displays of
nervous anguish and childish impetuosity.
Perhaps she and other major players in the
story are ciphers for Java past present and
future? The book is peopled with odd, often
sinister, characters and the ultimate tragedy
is played out in Grand Guignol style. But if
one translates the imagery into the traditional
devices of a wayang performance, it
becomes apparent that we are witnessing a
tale told in an ancient Javanese medium, the
morality of which does not readily translate
into the conventions of western literature.
The novel engendered a rich
discussion on the nature of prejudice in
colonial times, the differences between Java
and the Malay peninsula under the Dutch and
British, and also the relevance today of many
of the issues the book raised. Despite the
challenges of the style, several readers
wanted to read the further adventures of
Minke in the subsequent novels of the
quartet, interested to know whether he is to
be forever changed by the events of the
novel, and if so, in what ways. Through his
eyes, we see portrayed the growing
awareness of Indonesians at the period to
notions of independence, in a time that came
to be referred to as The National Awakening
(Kebangkitan Nasional Indonesia.)
By Rose Gan
Page 13
Review: Book Group 1
Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
Book Group 1 was avidly looking forward to
this, our final novel for the year. It came
accompanied by a fanfare of fulsome praise:
‘Unputdownable!’ ‘Coolly engrossing!’,
proclaimed the front cover. Other literary
reviews variously likened the author to
Trollope, Edith Wharton, and Tom Wolfe. We
were obviously in for a treat! Unfortunately
our group was disappointed. A few liked it
albeit in a lukewarm way, while the majority
found it unconvincing, even tiresome. Five
Star Billionaire was a well-written book (as is
to be expected from Tash Aw) but an oddly
uninvolving one, a particular surprise
considering the subject matter, which should
have resonated with us all.
The book follows the tale of five Malaysians
emigrés each running away from something
in the past, looking for a fresh start in the
teeming megalopolis of Shanghai. Phoebe
aspires to make her way in life by blindly
following the suggestions of self-help books,
particularly one written by The Five Star
Billionaire. Gary is a pop star out of his depth
and on the brink of meltdown. Yinghui, an upand-coming workaholic entrepreneur, has
sacrificed family life for professional success. Justin is a wealthy Malaysian businessman who
has reached a crisis in his emotional life just as his business is about to implode. Into their
stories steps Machiavellian Walter Chao, the eponymous five-star billionaire himself, who
proceeds to affect their lives in a variety of unexpected ways.
Each chapter is narrated in one of these five voices, a not entirely successful device. Aw
often fails to make it clear who is speaking, so it is left to the reader to work it out for
themselves. While most of our readers had a soft spot for the hapless Phoebe, on the whole
the characters failed to make an impact. We did not like them very much nor care enough
about them to bemoan their individual plights. The tone of the book was gloomy: a group of
dysfunctional people making mistakes and dubious moral choices in an impersonal,
anonymous, fast-moving city. Everyone is unhappy and depressed. It has an unremittingly
sombre and soulless atmosphere. While that may be appropriate for a novel exploring the
shallow and empty lives many live in Asia’s modern cities, it still seems necessary for the
reader to empathise with the main characters, even if they were ultimately flawed, if we are to
be drawn into their fates.
Page 14
Review: Book Group 1
Five Star Billionaire (con’t)
It was not all bad, however. Some
sections were enjoyable, especially those set
in Malaysia: the weekend in a company
bungalow at Port Dickson, a treat many of
our members themselves remember
experiencing not too many years ago; the arthouse café in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail with its
whole foods and pretentious décor where
young wealthy kids flaunt their intellectual
and hip lifestyles; the appalling disregard of
heritage and community in the rapid
development of new malls and housing
estates. We also recognised the main
characters as being typical of many modern
young Malaysians. There was much to learn
about contemporary Malaysia and Shanghai
from this novel – but is learning facts enough
reason to read a novel?
Shanghai was not very vividly realised
apart from some reference to the smells. In
fact it seemed more like an anonymous
metropolis, all the large Asian cities
amorphously rolled into one. Those who had
visited Shanghai did not feel that descriptions
matched their experiences and this seemed a
missed opportunity. Surely the city itself was
almost a character in the novel? By the time
the story laboriously wends it way to a rather
obvious denouement, most of the readers no
longer cared. The ending itself is oddly
nonengaging, with even the retribution visited
on the characters seeming unjustly
apportioned and ultimately pointless. But we
are left with many questions about the
mysterious ‘billionaire’ that are undoubtedly
The resulting discussion was certainly
lively, ranging from the Asian obsessions with
designer goods to fake handbags and
cosmetic surgery. Some deeper issues did
arise: whether immigrants always need to
adopt a ‘flexible’ set of ethics to survive in an
alien environment; is Justin’s brother C.S.
correct when he claims ‘Corruption suits the
Asian temperament’ asserting that
Westerners are not more moral, just too rigid
in their mindset. Another factor was the role
of technology and social media, which is
becoming anything but social. Some of the
characters of this book had more contact with
others on the Internet than in their daily lives–
but is that the same as true social
Five Star Billionaire ultimately failed to
deliver and we are left still waiting for the
great novel of South East Asia to arrive. Or
as Margo suggested, why aren’t we
sharpening our pencils and writing it? The
last meeting of the season was rounded off
by an excellent lunch. Here’s to next year’s
fascinating reading list!
By Rose Gan
Page 15
Review: Book Group 1
Cracking India by Bapsi Sidwa
Book Group 1 discussed this
book on October 31, 2014, a day that is
important in Indian history. It was this
day in history 30 years ago that Indira
Gandhi was assassinated by her
bodyguards, and we were discussing
another day in Indian history—August
15, 1947 when India was “cracked” to
create a new country called Pakistan.
Two members of the book club
had a personal history attached to this
book. Nazi Murad, is friends with the
Sidwa family and has personally met
most of the characters in the book. The
other person is me. My mother was born
in Punjab and lived approximately two
hours from the new Indian border. She
had many tales that she shared with my
family and me.
After the discussion I received
many emails messages from members
of the group about what they learned
from Nazi and me.
We all recommend this book to
those interested in learning about the
partition that resulted in five million
people being uprooted, over one million
deaths and about the bond that the
Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs shared before politics got in the way.
As usual, we had a great discussion that was followed by some fabulous Yotam
Ottolengi recipes, thanks to Chef Margo Rosenberg. On this day we also said goodbye to
Rissa Larsen and Nicola Johnston, and hello to three new members.
by Haar Gill
Page 16
Review: Book Group 3
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
This debut novel tells two stories, the
modern-day secondary tale of Julia Win, a
young lawyer who flies from New York to the
remote village of Kalaw in Myanmar to track
down her father who disappeared four years
before. Tin Win had risen from his humble
Burmese origins to become a top Wall Street
lawyer and his successes and family
commitments made it all the more baffling that
he should disappear without a trace. Julia
encounters U Ba in a tea house, an old man
who claims to be able to give her the answers
she needs as long as she is willing to listen…
and thus the primary story unfolds to the reader
as Julia becomes engrossed in her father’s
tumultuous, romantic and poignant history in
pre-war Burma.
To elucidate any more would be to ruin
what is essentially a dark fairy tale, one which
gave our book group much grist for the
discussion mill. Reactions were quite diverse,
with judgements ranging across the board from
‘tiresome, disappointing, incongruous,
frustrating and forgettable’ to ‘eloquent,
sensitive, and a sweet cliché’. Despite the
negatives, we thought the text had been brilliantly translated from the original German by
Kevin Wiliarty and is very readable, with many wonderful metaphors.
No offence to Alexius (whom we were delighted to welcome to our book group
discussion!) but most of us were surprised this novel had been written by a man, simply
because the romantic story-line is handled so gently, touchingly and imaginatively, occasionally
seeming almost absurd from a Westerner’s possibly sceptical point of view. In fact, the author
contrasts Western and Eastern values throughout: individualism and personal achievement
versus kinship, acceptance and transcendence.
We all agreed that the book itself has been beautifully presented, with an alluring cover,
lovely textured paper and clear font – and it’s not often we stop to praise the actual physical
book! Would we recommend it? Yes, definitely, though not as a historical novel, but as a
tender heart-breaking romance bordering the realms of fantasy.
Read more at:
by Sally Addington
Page 17
Report: Enak!
The Café at Royal Selangor Pewter
Clockwise from above
left: the infamous lifesaving teapot; a
delicious panini served
with a side salad;
Member Rupa Shah
tries her hand at
stamping a pewter
cylinder; Caesar
salad; Datin Chen with a
replica of the above
ENAK! Thursday, November 13, 2014
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre!!
4 Jalan Usahawan 6
Setapak Jaya, 53300 Kuala Lumpur
This month, Enak! was held at The Café
at Royal Selangor Pewter Visitor Centre in
Setapak. Fifteen Enak members along with five
guests enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the bright,
modern café, and judging by the animated
conversation, everyone was in fine spirits.
Several people chose the beautifully
garnished pumpkin soup, which was
pronounced delicious. Others ordered various
toasted paninis and wraps, which were served
with a small side salad. I heard praise for the
roasted sesame dressing on the salad, and
I’m sure it is the same Kewpie brand dressing
I use at home. The pesto chicken spinach
wrap elicited a loud “mmmm” from one
member, and the pasta dishes were also
popular. The smoked salmon salad had a
generous portion of fish and the roasted
chicken Caesar salad was another tasty
Page 18
Report: Enak!
The Café at Royal Selangor Pewter (con’t)
choice. No one chose the dish of the day,
curry laksa, but it certainly looked very
The Café is well known for its
delicious cakes and desserts. I confess to
tasting a tiny spoonful of the apple crumble
served with a small jug of cream, and it was
very good. I enjoyed a tangy iced lemon tea
with sugar syrup on the side, and the
specialty coffees are excellent.
Selangor Pewter was founded in
1885 by Yong Koon and after lunch, we
were privileged to meet Datin Chen, his
granddaughter, who continues to run the
factory. She told us the fascinating story of
the Melon Teapot, designed by her
grandfather. During World War Two, a young
Chinese man searching for food came
across the teapot on a warehouse floor. He
bent to retrieve it, and in doing so was saved
from being hit by shrapnel that barely missed
his head. It now has pride of place in the
The majority of our group took the
complimentary guided tour after lunch. Before
going home, everyone was free to indulge in a
little retail therapy just in time for Christmas.
Overall, members felt it was a most pleasant
afternoon as everybody mingled and spent
time getting to know each other.
By Polly Szantor
Page 19
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S ECR ETA [email protected] M CGKL .ORG
E XP L OR ER [email protected] M C G K L . OR G
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A L I SO NH A RR I SO [email protected] LI VE .CO.U K
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EN AK @ M C G K L . OR G
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