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As a tennis enthusiast, I waved goodbye to my idol and love, Roger Federer tonight. I have to admit, I did it in style. With a glass of white in hand and hors d'oeuvres at the ready at Sheraton KL's rooftop club bar, I watched my glorious tennis star slowly but surely defeated by Nadal's aggressive, rambunctious war of attrition.

However it is hardly the most of my trip.

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Paradise: One of South East Asia's oldest colonial hotels, The Eastern & Oriental, in Penang. That is me floating in the foreground!

May I start by stating that I experienced the most incredible four-day Chinese New Year holiday I have ever had? (I admit, I have never had a four day Chinese New Year holiday before...)

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E & O: The pearl of the Orient.

After leaving the Australian High Commission with a Friday, 3pm early mark, I left with my dear companion, Greg, for the paradise town of Georgetown, Penang.

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The room. Next door was the "Noel Coward" Suite. But of course.

Booked months in advance, we sidestepped the notorious New Year traffic (via my early mark) on the northern highway and headed directly to the colonial quarters of the Eastern and Oriental Hotel. Apart from researching a possible travel feature for The Star, this trip was yet another cultural escapade into the diversity, idiosyncrasies and colour of Malaysian culture. The following photos are just a brief insight into my 70 km car journey around the island and the rest of the long weekend in our rental car.

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The Snake Temple: The snakes are supposedly doped up on the incense that burns in this sacred Buddhist site.

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Tropicana: Off from the main highway, we drove down a dirt road on the West coast of Penang Island. Pity the hawker-style seafood restaurant next to me was shut for Chinese New Year holiday.

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Monkey magic: Food has been a big part of the trip, for me and the locals.

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Hainan-my-chicken-lice: Hawker food pit stop on the way to Kek Lok Si Temple above George Town, Peang. I also had sugar cane juice and my young coconut water staple.

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Kek Lok Si Temple: That Buddha is enormous! Only a couple hundred metres from this shot there was an (extended) family of wild monkeys.

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Close-up: The gigantic buddha from Kek Lok Si Temple in all its peaceful glory.

After returning from Penang, Monday was a decisively quiet day in KL with most Chinese businesses closed for the New Year. As a result we decided to take a day trip out to the sacred Batu Caves, just 13km out from KL. The caves play an important role in the Thaipusam Festival for Hindu Indians in Malaysia (on Feb 7, I think... I may be covering it for The Star)

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The Caves: Similar to the Kek Lok Si Temple, Batu Caves are a religious treasure for Malaysia's Inidan Hindu community. May I add that the 270 or more stairs reinvigorated the term 'Thunder thighs' for me.

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King of the roost: This rooster at Batu Caves provided a lot of interest for the younger pilgrims to the site.

After the long weekend, Wednesday was my first day of work at The Star. Apart from sitting in on an Editor's morning news meeting with David Yeoh and the other editors (an incredible experience), the rest of the day was pretty quiet, with just HR, IT and personal research to be completed.

Today, however was a different story (pun not intended, I promise).

My Section Editor at Metro assigned me the task of shadowing a senior KL reporter in a story that is developing. It is covering the rapid over-development of Little India in KL.

After listening-in on a one and a half hour interview at KL Sentral with an expert transport planner, I was also given a tour around the development area by the journalist and photographer. I was then assigned the task of interviewing two sources for the story at The Star's Bangsar office.

I felt like I had finally done some serious investigative work.

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Little India: walking around the century old Indian community establishment and the rising condominiums encircling it, I got a different perspective of KL's rampant development.

While The Fed Express may have taken an Australian sojourn, my travels, work and new experiences in Malaysia steam-roll ahead.


About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.