Monday, November 29, 2010

Kota Bharu Craft Village

The best place to shop for souvenir while in Kota Bharu will be the Craft Village. It is located in Jalan Hilir Kota in the cultural zone of Kota Bharu.

The village was opened in July 1991 to spur the development of the traditional handicraft industry in the state.

One can buy a wide range of handicrafts which make excellent presents or souvenirs. The handicrafts produced here illustrate not only the exquisite craftsmanship of the people of Kelantan, but also their cultural history, which has been passed down the generations.

The building in the complex are constructed in traditional Kelantan Malay style and are named after popular flowers and plants. The main building, Balai (or hall) Getam Guri, is a handicraft museum. Entrance fee to the museum is RM 1 for adult.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kota Bharu World War II Memorial / Kerapu Bank

There is a odd looking building which seems out of place in Kota Bharu town. The building was actually built in 1912 and first used as a commercial bank, The Mercantile Bank of India Limited, thus the name Kerapu Bank.

The "Kerapu" however refers to the rough exterior walls of the building. During the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945, this building was used as the headquarters of the Japanese secret police, the Kempetai. After the war, the building was reused as a bank.

In 1981, the first floor of the building was converted into an Art Gallery while the ground floor was used to display handicrafts. The building was converted into a memorial dedicated to the World War II in 1992 and was officially opened in 1994. It has a lot of memorial symbol about the Japan's colonization and keeps documents that record the World War II. Entrance fee to the museum is RM 1.

There is a small courtyard beside the building which exhibits some war artifacts from Kota Bharu. Entrance to this courtyard is free.

This pillbox is a replica of a barricade which was used during the Second World War (1941-1945). This particular model is found along the coast of Pantai Sabak. However, this historical artifact is now covered by water as a result of constant coastal erosion.

Initially, the Pill Boxes were built by the British Army in 1939/1940 as barricades during World War II. For this purpose, these boxes were constructed along the coast, that is from Tumpat, Kelantan to Kuala Besut, Terengganu. Apart from the coastal areas, such constructions are also found at other strategic places such as Kelantan riverside, near the airport of Kota Bharu and in areas such as Lalang Luas, Machang, and Gong Kedak, Pasir Puteh.

A Pill Box is made of concrete cement that could accommodate 9-12 soldiers. Each box has a narrow hole at every corner which is meant for observing and shooting enemies with guns.

Old vehicles such as antique car, trishaw and lanca were on display here.

An armored car and army landing boat. The boat was used by the Japanese army to carry soldiers from the mother vessels of Awangisan Maru, Ayatosan Maru and Sakura Maru to the Kuala Pat Amat, Kota Bharu on midnight 7/8 December 1941 in an attempt to conquer Malaya. This landing boat was found buried in Kelantan River at Palekbang, Tumpat in 1988.

The V 1oo Armored Car is equipped with machine gun and smoke bomb as its defensive weapons. It is used during battle or emergency to carry Army officials and VIPs from one place to another.

This memorial was established between The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and The State Government of Kelantan to commemorate the first commitment of Australian Combat Units against the Imperial Japan at Kota Bharu in the early hours of Monday 8th December 1941.

In this opening battle of the war in the Asia Pacific region, Lockheed Hudson aircraft and crews of the Royal Australian Air Force operated against the Japanese seaborne invasion force. This memorial recognizes the sacrifices in particular of the aircrew personnel of No.1 Squadron RAAF who died during the engagement at Kota Bharu on 8 December 1941

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sultan Ismail Petra Arches

One of the most prominent structures in Kota Bharu is the elegant Sultan Ismail Petra Arches which located at the Kota Sultan Ismail Petra.

The arches are a beauty and adorned with Quran. Islamic influence is highly presence in its design

This timber arch commemorates the declaration of Kota Bharu as a cultural city. It faces the main town square, Independence Field.

In the vicinity of the arches are The Grand Palace. The palace was built in 1844 along Malay architecture lines that were hugely popular in the 19th century. Skilled carpenters from all over Kelantan constructed the palace from choice of cengal timber.

The Grand Palace was built by Sultan Muhammad II who wanted a new palace to replace his old residence on the banks of the Kelantan River. It later became the home of several sultans who ruled the state.

These days, the palace is only used for important occassions such as royal functions and ceremonies. It contains the royal throne and the royal regalia of Kelantan

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Working at 1 Malaysia Deepavali Open House

Last Friday, on the 19th November 2010, there was a Deepavali Open House organized by the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia at Puspanitapuri, Precinct 10, Putrajaya.

I volunteered to help in the open house and been assigned to take care of the parking for visitors coming to the open house. We were provided with a torch light, reflective vest, raincoat and umbrella.

I was put in charge of the parking lots at Zone C, some 400m from the exact venue of the open house. Its not exactly a proper parking space and it is actually just a large uneven empty field. Vehicles had to drive in through the pedestrian walkway to get into here.

One of my team mate stationed at Zone C. This is my first time as "parking attendant" and it was an experience as things start to get busy and messy after 7.30pm.

Since some of the parking spaces are quite far away from the exact venue, coaster service was provided to shuttle the visitors from the parking lots to Puspanitapuri.

It was a tiring but fun night for me. The best part of it, we get to keep all the accessories given earlier :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

brotzeit German Bier Bar & Resraurant

brotzeit is a newly established German bar in Malaysia. It is located at Midvalley Megamall, just a stone throw from Boulevard Hotel.

The outlet offers quality German beers accompanied with authentic Bavarian cuisine in a chic and contemporary setting.

"Brotzeit" is a typical Bavarian expression where "Brot" being German for bread and "Zeit" for time, referring to a cozy meal complemented by fresh beer.

They specialize in German Paulaner wheat beer, which is the best German wheat beer I tasted to date. I notice they sell all sort of Paulaner product range here.

I had drank Paulaner Hefe Weissbier from bottle and it is time I savour it from the tap. They served in 300ml, 500ml, 1 litre and in massive 3 litre Weizen glass. I believe the appropriate serving would be in the 500ml Weizen glass, true to its Bavarian style.

It costs RM28 during happy hour (before 5pm) in 500ml glass. I really wish I had one of this beautiful Weizen glass.

It is actually an art to pour a wheat beer properly into the Weizen glass and I notice some of the routine the bartender follows when pouring the beer from the tap to the glass.

Paulaner Hefe Weissbier (5.5% alcohol content) is a beautiful beer when poured to the Weizen beer. Colour is hazy straw with huge white head. The head lasted quite long. The aroma was strong and clean. The spice and fruity flavour were well balanced . Overall, a refreshing beer and finished dry with no bitterness present.

I ordered a Schweins Medallions (pork) to go with the beer. Initially, I want to have the pork knuckle but I been told the serving will be too big for me to finish alone.

Pork Medallions (RM 44) is served with fries, broccoli, cauliflower and beans. The grilled pork is wrapped in a delicious bacon strip and they are tender and moist.

After finishing my meal, I am dying for another Paulaner and hence opt for the Hefe Dunkel Weissbier in 500ml Weizen glass (RM 28)

This Dunkel (5.3% alcohol content) sports brownish cloudy colour with a white head when poured. It has sweet taste followed by right amount of hops. This is easily the best Dunkel Weissbier I ever drank.

I definitely be back again and try the Paulaner Salvator (serving in bottle). The service here is excellent and the staffs are very attentive. Make me feel like a valued customer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Market Square Clock Tower

The clock tower at Medan Pasar was erected in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI. It was erected in the art deco style fashionable in those days and finished with Shanghai plaster. The clock tower is located behind the KL Central Market (Pasar Seni)

In the background are 3 storey shophouses by A.B. Hubback and built in 1907.

The original memorial plaques have been removed after the nation's independence. The geometric sunburst motif on the doors at the bottom of the clock tower is of special interest, as it is more commonly found on windows and above archways then on clock towers.

The sunburst motif puts it in the mood and style of European art deco.

Unfortunately the Medan Pasar Clock Tower is a sorry sight these days. Defaced with obscene graffiti. Tired commuters queuing up in front of the clock tower have no interest in its history or preservation.