Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No Plastic Bag Day

It's Saturday, the no plastic day in Selangor, Malaysia. 'Remember to bring your plastic bags. Lots of plastic bags' the usual sms that I get from my sister almost every Saturday for the first few months after the Selangor government enforced the system.

Though many voiced out their grouses, they had began to accept the ruling after a few months enforced.In fact a few shopping centers in Kuala Lumpur have already began the no plastic bag on Saturdays campaign on their own. Even pharmacies in hospitals in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur support the campaign. There were a few times when I went for medical checkup and I had to prepare a small plastic bag to put all my medicines that were prescribed. Once I had forgotten to bring a plastic bag when I went to the pharmacy and I had to put all the medicine into my handbag.

Now to avoid being caught having to carry small or wet items bought on Saturdays, I had always made sure that I have 2-3 large plastic bags ready in my handbag. Most of these Saturdays , it's hard to find an empty trolley just before we enter the grocery store.

I remembered when I was studying in the US in the 80's we were given paper bags when we buy our groceries. As we don't have any transport at that time the easiest way to carry those things was by putting everything into our bag packs. Then we would be able to walk back to our apartment easily or use the bus. We did not mind though as we thought that it was just a good practise by the Americans.

We also used lunch paper bags to put in our sandwiches when we had many classes during the day. Of course lunch paper bags are convenient only when we have dry food, fuits and burgers.
It is not suitable for the food that we usually have for lunch such as rice and noodles.

In China , plastic bags are even scarce even in wet markets. During our visit to China,my family and I had the opportunity to go to one of the wet markets not far from the hotel that we were staying. We were surprised when we saw people carrying fruits and vegetables with their bare hands as they came out of the market. When we reached the market, we finally understood that the seller did not provide plastic bags to customers except for those who bought small items and small size fruits.

I was also surprised when I went to one of the mini market there to buy a packet of sugar only to find that they also do not provide plastic bags to customers. Since I had already paid for the sugar, I had no choice but to put the packet of sugar into my handbag!

Maybe in China, the no plastic bag campaign had been going on for a long time. Therefore it would not feel wierd carrying fruits and vegetables with their bare hands. However I would rather bring my own palstic bags to put in the things I bought rather than having people staring sympathetically at me carrying cabbages, spinach and balancing a water melon with both of my hands .

However, plastic bags or no, it does have an effect to the environment. Help save the environment.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Places For Muslims to Visit In Malaysia

Malaysia may not be a familiar holiday retreat for those who do not even know its existence. Located at the southern of the Asian continent, peninsular Malaysia offers countless places that can be visited by muslims .
A country with Islam being one of the major religion, it is certainly easy for muslim travelers especially in terms of food and finding mosques to perform solat. Most of the food sold here is halal even in food courts. However, to be positively sure that it is halal, just look at the halal jakim signages. Mosques are almost everywhere. Even if you are in a shopping mall there are even prayer rooms available if one wants to perform solat.
The Islamic Arts Complex is one of the place that I would like to reccomend to local and foreign tourist. Located in Section 10 Shah Alam, it is a place where the Al quran Mushaf Malaysia is produced. Handled by the Yayasan Restu , it is a non profit organisation that aims to spread the message of Islam throughout the world. Besides producing the AlQuran Mushaf Malaysia ,it also does creative works that are related to the Islamic Art.
The museum Al Quran houses a few galleries which display copies of Al Quran produced by the staff of Restu's Foundation. Besides that there are also calligraphy Islamic Crafts which were performed on animal tusks and ostrich eggs.
In producing the Al Quran, the colours that were used to decorate the borders and calligraphy were not only made from acrylic colours but also from herbs and plants such as star anise, mangosteen, sugar flower and tumeric.
I had bought a few copies of the Al Quran mushaf Malaysia and a book on selected surahs and was amazed by the intricate designs that based on fruits and vegetables and paddy , plants that are availabe in Malaysia. The design was beautifully and profesionally done. The handwritten mushafs complete with the designs were then scanned in computers so that it can be produced in mass production.
Besides the galleries, there is also a souvenir shop that sells mainly their products and other Islamic art souvenirs. Indeed this is the very place that is worth to visit if you are muslim traveller in Malaysia.

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