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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Runaway Ostrich on Highway

Now here's news you don't see everyday!

PETALING JAYA: An escaped ostrich caused a commotion when it was spotted bolting down the Federal Highway.

The video of the flightless bird speeding down the fast lane at about 3.20pm was uploaded by Jeff Sandhu on social media website Instagram.

When I came by it, the ostrich was running from the Universiti Malaya bus stop heading towards the Federal Highway. It blocked traffic at the bus stop as cars stopped to see what was happening," he told The Star Online on Thursday.

"After the bus stop, it started running on the road. And the next thing you know, it ran all the way to the RTM building," he said.

It appeared that the ostrich also had no regard for rules, and ran "afowl" of basic road etiquette.

"It blocked up five lanes on the Federal Highway," said Sandhu, who explained that it took up so much space because the indecisive ostrich kept switching lanes.

"Everyone wasn't sure whether to overtake it or not so we stayed behind it," he added.

However, the ostrich adhered to at least one road rule.

"It was running within the speed limit, so that's OK," said Sandhu, who estimated the bird's general speed at about 35kmh before it grew tired and slowed down.

Sandhu stopped tailing the feathered fugitive at the RTM building because he had a meeting to attend.

"I had to stop following it by then because I had a meeting. I don't think anyone would believe me if I told them I was late because I was chasing after an ostrich," he said.

He also expressed some worry for his new friend, hoping that the bird finds its way home unharmed.

"I hope the ostrich doesn't get hurt and finds its way back home! Raya is coming and I'm sure everyone wants it to be home safe," he said, echoing the concerned sentiments of netizens who commented on his video.

There is no information yet on what the ostrich was doing or where it came from.

The Star Online is in the midst of contacting the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and the Department of Veterinary Services to the status of the ostrich.

All attempts so far to apprehend the ostrich have been futile.

"We sent a team to locate and capture the ostrich but it could not be detected. It is likely that the bird has run to another area," an officer at the Seksyen 7 Petaling Jaya Fire and Rescue Department told The Star Online.

However, catching the bird was a delicate manner as it required some "interstate coordination".

"It is difficult as the bird was spotted at the border (between Kuala Lumpur and Selangor)," he quipped.

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This week's cookies. I made them for my vet.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Rice Dumpling Festival

Happy Rice Dumpling Day, pallies!

 Today, Chinese the world over celebrate the Duan Wu festival.
Rice Dumplings

An absolute favourite, the Duan Wu or Dumpling Festival was one of the celebrations we looked forward to when we were little. Back then, it was the only time of the year we got to enjoy those yummy rice dumplings and Grandma's kitchen would be abuzz with activity and chatter as we helped the aunts and older cousins with the preparation of the dumplings.

Part of the fun besides eating is the exchange of dumplings with neighbours, friends  and relatives. There's always an element of surprise in  unwrapping those pyramid-shaped packages. You never know what 'treasures' are buried in each package as the fillings used  differ from one cook to another.

These rice dumplings aren't the easiest of things to make.  A lot of work goes into the cooking of the meat and other fillings, boiling the bamboo leaves and cleaning them, wrapping, tying with reed strings  and then the long hours taken to boil the dumplings. The wrapping itself can be quite a frustrating and fiddly task for newbies.
Ingredients that go into the dumplings

These days, we can enjoy those sticky dumplings any time of the year as they are sold by vendors all year round.
A rice dumpling vendor

A little trivia about the Dumpling Festival.

Celebrated by the Chinese worldwide, the festival falls  on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese calendar. On this day, the Chinese will  feast on dumplings as a holiday tradition and in memory of the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan.

 The tragic story goes like this…......

A long, long time ago in ancient China,  there lived a poet by the name of Qu Yuan who served the Emperor of the  Chu Kingdom.  He was a good minister and was loved and respected by many. However, this did not go well with  jealous and corrupt court officials who successfully influenced the weak-minded emperor to dismiss and exile him.

The Tragedy

Devastated and angry, Qu Yuan tied himself to a rock and jumped into a river as a protest against injustice and corruption. Word about his suicide got out and the common people went to the river to search for his body in boats. When they failed to find his body, they started beating their drums and splashing the water with their paddles,  hoping to scare the fish away so that they would not devour his body. Others started making rice dumplings to throw into the river in the belief that the  fish and other aquatic creatures would feed on their dumplings instead of Qu Yuan's body. However, late one night, the spirit of Qu Yuan appeared before his friends and told them that the rice meant for him was being intercepted by a huge river dragon. He asked his friends to wrap their rice into three-cornered packages to ward off the dragon.

Since then, the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar was set as "Duan Wu Jie" (i.e. Dumpling Festival), to commemorate the incident. Dragon boat races are also held annually on this day of his death.
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An unwrapped dumpling  

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