June 21, 2010

Living a little healthier

The word “organic” is probably one of the most mentioned words in the natural health business. But not many people know what “organic” actually encapsulates. When asked, the first thing that comes to the top of our mind is that organic means all natural traditional farming. Well you are not wrong but that is not just it. Organic encapsulates more … organic farming does not mean going ‘back’ to traditional methods. It still uses many traditional farming methods that are still useful today but also combines them with modern scientific knowledge. Organic farmers do not leave their farms to be taken over by nature; they use all the knowledge, techniques and materials available to work with nature. In this way the farmer creates a healthy balance between nature and farming, where crops and animals can grow and thrive.

From a TV programme I came to know of an organic farm situated in Kampung Titi, Negeri Sembilan called Titi Eco Resort. This farm was created out of a strong passion for healthy living by a husband and wife team in the mid 90s. And after some research on the internet, I convinced a few of my friends to join me for a visit to the farm and checked into a programme to learn more about the concept of organic farming and healthy living.  
The vegetables, herbs and fruits planted in the organic farm

Well, don’t expect 5-star resort style living … it was a very basic, simple, plain, natural and healthy programme. The programme offers valuable information on organic farming of herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables in harmony with the nature. Also included in the programme were healthy eating tips, medicinal benefits of some common herbs and plants as well as common organic animal husbandry. We were taught the “6211” consumption method ... what’s that? Simple … it just means 6 parts fruits, 2 parts vegetables, 1 part carbohydrate and 1 part protein. If you can apply this formula to your eating habits, you are on the way to a healthy lifestyle.

Farmers for a day ... Shiek, Chin Keat, Guan Toong, Hwa Poh and Meng Leong)
Some common plants with medicinal benefits

Preparing herbs for mosquitoe bites and trying my hands in making organic bread

Do you know your vegetables? How do you go about buying vegetables? This is what you should know … vegetables are generally divided into 4 types … those under the ground … potatos, peanuts, yam, etc . Then those that are above the ground … the leafy types, flowers and fruits. Then there are those growing out of fresh water eg. lotus and water crest and finally those that grows in salt water like seaweed and algae. So if you rotate the 4 different groups when you are doing your weekly market visits, then you will get the best of all types of vegetables with their relevant benefits. And of course the colours … it is good to also have a mix of colours not just green all the time. And I found out that our national flower, the hibiscus is edible! Hibiscus salad anyone?

Honestly, how many of us can totally avoid un-organic (is there such a word?) food? It is not realistic but we can try to reduce our intake of chemicals, preservatives, toxins, acids and other stuffs not compatible to our body. With a little bit of education of what (and what not) to eat, what should we eat more, what should eat less, a little bit of restrain on our taste buds, a little bit of determination and a little bit of consciousness on how we feed ourselves, then we can live healthier and enjoy a bit more from what life have to offer.

Spending a couple of days in the organic farm certainly taught me to relook at my eating habits and make some necessary changes. It is not going to totally change my entire lifestyle but it is going to get a bit healthier and a lot better … I am sure.

June 07, 2010

The great footballers of the world

The hype is getting loud and everyone is talking about it. The whole world is waiting for the kick-off on 11th June 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. YES, I am talking about the FIFA World Cup 2010 … a great event that only comes every four years.

Lately, to promote the coming World Cup football, our local TV channels have been showing some of our very own football greats. I am sure you have seen (Dato’) Soh Chin Aun, Santokh Singh and James Wong on TV lately. I hope there will be more to come. If not, I would like to mention here our other great footballers such as Mokthar Dahari, Arumugam aka Spiderman, Wong Choon Wah, M Chandran, Shukor Salleh, Yip Chee Keong and Chow Chee Keong. And there were others like Sergebeth Singh, Zainal Abidin, Dollah Salleh, Wong Hung Nung, Lim Teong Kim and of course many more.

If these names don’t ring a bell, then maybe you should ask your dad (or grandfather) about them. These great footballers of Malaysia made us proud, putting our country first and making Malaysia a country to be reckoned with, back in the glory football days of Merdeka Cup. Sorry to say, today’s football in Malaysia is not a bit close to what it used to be.

And talking about Merdeka Cup matches played in the historic Merdeka Stadium, do you remember those “kacang putih” (fried nuts and beans) sellers with their wooden table and trays of various “kacang putihs” packed in little cones made from old newspaper? You see them peddling their stuffs in various entrances and corners of Merdeka Stadium during matches. Let me step away from football and tell you a funny story related to the “kacang putih” sellers. You see, one time I went with my friend and his dad to watch a football match at Merdeka Stadium. During the match, my friend’s dad went to buy “kacang putih”. My friend and I waited for him but he did not return so we went to search for him. We found him standing beside a “kacang putih” stall looking really mad, cursing and swearing. We soon found out that he wanted to buy some “kacang putih” and had given the seller a fifty dollar note. But the “kacang putih” guy did not have any small change so he told my friend’s dad that he will go out to a shop to change it. But you know what? That guy did not come back. Why? My friend’s dad finally figured out that the whole stall … the table, trays and the “kacang putihs” (lock stock and barrel) cost a lot less than fifty bucks. So that guy just ran off making my friend’s dad looks like a big fool … no joke, this is a true story!

Do you remember who is who?

OK back to football and great footballers ... what about other great footballers from the around the world? One of the first few names I first came to know (back in the early 70s) was of course Pele and his famous “banana kick” or what is known today as “bend it like Beckham”. Do you remember Kim Jae-han, Cha Bum-keun, Maung Maung Tin, Johan Cryuff, Sepp Maier, Gerd Muller, (Masakuni) Yamamoto, George Best, Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini, Osvaldo Ardiles, Mario Kempes and Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira or simply known as Socrates? Of course many will remember Diego Maradona and his controversial “hand of god” goal against England in 1986. What about Artur Antunes Coimbra? Maybe the name Zico sounds a little more familiar. Hey, remember Peter Shilton, Paolo Rossi, Gabriel Batistusta, Dino Zoff, Kevin Keegan and the famous top scoring goalkeeper from Paraguay, José Luis Chilavert? The list goes on.

Do you have any names to add? I am sure you will remember some of your favourite footballers from around the world. Even my 11 years old son is all excited and throwing names of famous current players like Ronaldo, Rooney, Drogba, Messi, Eto, Torres, Fabregas, Gerrard, Anelka, Lampard, Kaka, Malouda, Van Der Sar, Ballack, Arshavin and the list goes on. Maybe he will remember these names in the future.