Category Archives: Words

Off to Malaysia Lah.

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Hibiscus. National flower, Malaysia

Yes, today I’m off to Malaysia Lah – and, as I said in my book – Naked in Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad,– it’s my favourite Asian country!

So why “lah” and why “favourite”?

To lah or not to lah that is the question. Many Malaysians add this ‘non-word’ to sentences, peppering it around , flavouring their words just as you do with the spice.

For explanations of all the meanings attributed to the word see here.

Some include these

Coaxing: Come on, lah; don’t be like that-lah; please-lah
Forceful: Shut up-lah! Get out-lah!
Apologetic: Sorry-lah
Fed up: Enough-lah!
Definite: Of course-lah; sure-lah
Agreeable: Okay-lah

We Kiwi also add a sort of non-word to many sentences – ours is ‘eh’ pronounced ‘ay’, like the letter ‘a’ and it’s used to tag question or emphasise a statement – not nearly as versatile as the Malaysian Lah!

However, my parents, clear-speaking Christchurch folk, were horrified when their North Island born grandchildren moved south with the casual ‘eh’ added to their comments and queries alike – they considered it very ‘lower-class’. It was ‘regional’ but it has slowly moved to the South Island but it’s still not so common there – and many people throughout NZ still consider it a sign of a lack of education and or money.

And, now, why ‘favourite country’? Well, my first visit to Asia, and Malaysia was in the late-90s, landing in Singapore, on my way to Thailand where I was keen to see the gold temples and Buddha’s. Malaysia was really just a two-week route north. I thought it would be ‘just another colonised country’ and gosh was I wrong!

As a Kiwi (New Zealander)I got a 3-month visa as I crossed the border, bused to Malacca and promptly fell in love with the country, the food and the people: Think Assam Pedas a spicy-sour fish for breakfast, sweet-corn ice-cream, great sights, history,  friendly people of different ethnicities and religions, and of course  their “Open Homes”.

These open homes are a truly Malaysian way of celebrating all festivals or celebrations including religious and ancient events, when everyone is invited to someone’s home for a great meal.  Staying in Malacca for ten days meant I was there for the Hari Raya celebrations (end of Ramadan) and much to my surprise was welcomed into the home of the Deputy Health Minister.

I tell much more about my time in Malaysia in my book, but to finish this blog, I can tell you I finally had to make a rush to the Malay-Thai border on the last day of that 3-month visa, hating leaving, and knowing I would return.

I’ve been back a couple of times but this is my first visit to East Malaysia (Sarawak & Sabah on Borneo) and for the next 2 months I’m looking forward to seeing both the differences and what’s similar – follow my adventures here and on social media.

Heather Hapeta: the kiwi travel writer

See here for my social media links – so you can choose how to follow my travels, the food, the creatures, and the nature of this tropical island 🙂

Writers Walkway: Wellington Waterfront

Last week I attended the launch and unveiling of four new quotes on the Wellington Writers Walkway – and the honouring of  the writers and their city, or the city their quotes mention.

These tributes to the city by the sea are dotted  around the  Wellington waterfront as typographical sculptures in wood and concrete.  Use your smartphone to guide you around the sites and learn more about the writers behind them. See it here. ( or download the brochure or pick it up at the Wellington i-site centre.)

It was also wonderful  to meet 3 young woman travellers, from Malaysia, who said “it’s great that you  honour your writers this way”. Funnily, one of the woman lives in the city I land at in my Borneo trip (Kuching, June – August 2013) and who I now will meet for a coffee after I’ve been the Rainforest World Music Festival. As the CEO of the Sarawak  State Library, it’s no wonder she noticed the group of us wandering the waterfront and we were glad they joined us.

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The writers honoured at this launch were: Joy Cowley, Elizabeth Knox, James McNeish and Jack Lazenby who’s pole and quote  is behind the visitor-students to Wellington. Read more about them on the Writers Walkway website or on the New Zealand Society of Authors one.

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Gifts for travellers – whether armchair or on the road often

Gifts for travellers, whether they are armchair travellers or on the road often, can be problematic. Let me solve the problem for you with these ideas. Food, travel and tales … these books have it all.
I have all these books and know fellow travellers … or food lovers … will love them. Of course I know they would also love my travel memoir too Naked in Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad. I always get great feedback from readers about it. Available for all e-readers from Amazon and Smashwords (etc) and as a hard copy directly from me.

Global food and travel issues (and recipes) are in Lonely Planet’s new book Food Lover’s Guide to the World (published October 2012.

Even if you can’t travel, you can take your taste buds around the world in this book. With more than fifty authentic recipes, it also has contributions from celebrity food-lovers, such as chef Fergus Henderson (co-founder of St John restaurant, London), chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix, Dan Hunter (chef at the Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld, Victoria), Tessa Kiros (author of Limoncello and Linen Water), chef Atul Kochhar (Benares restaurant, London), Eric Ripert (head chef at Le Bernardin, New York) and Ruth Rogers (River Café, London).

It has introductions by Mark Bittman, lead food writer for The New York Times Magazine; and James Oseland, Editor-in-Chief of Saveur magazine.

For travellers you can also find the best places to find local dishes in cities great & small and most importantly, many cultural tips and how-to-eat etiquette.

I have already blogged about Lonely Planet’s latest guide to New Zealand (published Sept. 2012) but it’s worth giving you another heads up about it. While many people travel with tablets and smart phones, a huge percentage still love the paper copy in their bag. See my blog about it here.

And finally, Better than Fiction (November 2012) is their fifth literary anthology edited by Don George. It has 32 international fiction authors telling their real travel stories from across the world: this will fit perfectly in anyone’s Christmas stocking (or birthday gift). For beside the bed, or in the backpack or suitcase, mine is beside my bed for dipping into. Wonderful writing!

 

Travel quotes – do you agree (or not) with these?

 

  • If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things. Henry Miller

  • The wise man’s home is the universe. Democrites

  • Those who visit foreign nations, but who associate only with their own countrymen, change their climate, but not their customs; they see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with travelled bodies, but untravelled minds.Charles Caleb Colton

  • People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home. Dagobert D. Runes

  • There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign. Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. Cesare Pavese

Travel memoir – a great read on how to travel solo

BUY  YOUR DIGITAL COPY NOW ( check out the first 10% FREE)

BUY Naked In Budapest on Smashwords

BUY Naked in Budapest on Amazon

BUY Naked in Budapest at Barnes and Noble

Print version was published in 2007

great new book for bird and nature lovers

Birds of New Zealand by Julian Fitter and Don Merton

Sad facts for New Zealand, and the world, is that since the arrival of  people in New Zealand (about 800 years ago), some 41 species of bird have become extinct.

Today several species are only surviving thanks to intensive conversation measures and thanks for people such as Don Merton QSM – who unfortunately died in April 2011 before this book was published. I only met him once, but I, and other NZers value the work he did for us and our wildlife.

While we have lost many species and the forest no longer echoes with wonderful birdsong, the bird life in New Zealand is still remarkable with much of it being not just endemic, but unlike anything elsewhere.

The Kakapo, the world’s largest parrot, and the Takahe, the largest member of the Rail family, are two flightless examples of birds unlike anything else in the world. Other good examples are the two wattlebirds, the Saddleback and Kokako.  All of these would probably be extinct by now were it not for recent intervention by dedicated conservationists, by people such the authors of this new book, Birds of New Zealand.

Takahe - at Zealandia Wellington

 

Birds of New Zealand (ISBN 1869508513)

is a beautiful photographic guide featuring all 350 species of bird you can possibly see in New Zealand, illustrated with over 600 full colour photographs with full descriptions of all native species and the regular visitors: it is a wonderfully practical book that no bird spotter or nature enthusiast should be without.

This book is not just a guide to identifying the native birds: it is also a wake-up call to look after them, to appreciate and protect them. As Julian says in his acknowledgements, ‘the real thank you has to go to the amazing native bird life of Aotearoa New Zealand, for being so special, and so different. My one hope is that this book will do just a little bit to help you survive and prosper. You have had a rough 800 years and you deserve better.’ 

Julian Fitter is a conservationist, naturalist and writer with a special interest in island ecosystems. He spent 15 years in the Galapagos Islands where he established and ran the islands’ first yacht charter business. In 1995 he was instrumental in setting up the Galapagos Conservation Trust which has grown to be a significant supporter of conservation programmes in Galapagos. He is the author of a number of books on birds and wildlife, including most recently, New Zealand Wildlife and Bateman’s Field Guide to Wild New Zealand.

Don Merton is a name that is synonymous with bird conversation, worldwide.  He started work with the New Zealand Wildlife Service in 1957 and retired from the Department of Conservation in 2005.  The survival of several species, including the South Island Saddleback, Kakapo and Black Robin owe a lot to Don.  The techniques he and his colleagues used to ensure their survival, are now in use around the world and have helped countless other species in the fight to prevent their extinction.

NOTE: Another new book worth checking out by nature lovers is the  COLLINS FIELD GUIDE TO NEW ZEALAND WILDLIFE Terrence Lindsay and Rod Morris 

E-books have killed paper books – yeah right!

E-books have killed paper books ‘they’ say. I say ‘yeah right’.  And, something new has happened to show we avid readers  are right – it will be a long time, if ever, that paper will not be used in books.  So, what is it?

The Dutch started it, the Spanish, the French, and the British soon followed . . . and now it’s in New Zealand.

I could start a what is it?  ‘Bigger than a bread-box? Smaller than a box of tissues?”  but these are not the worlds that would help you solve the puzzle.

Try words like paper books, hardback, e-books, Kindles or Kobo, slips easily into your pocket, weighs less that 145 grams, and you would be nearer to the subject.

Then, add words like save trees, extremely thin paper, read from top to bottom,  flip-up, and there you have it: something very new in books.

So what is this puzzle that’s not a puzzle anymore?

It’s the “flipback” book, which seems it originated in Holland, (2009)  and which you hold vertically and flip the pages up as you read. No more turning the pages ‘over’ just flip it UP. The other revolutionary (or is it evolutionary) idea is the spine is made so that the book can lie open for reading without requiring a hand to hold it open (no broken spines either) great for reading  on the go especially in transport, while holding on so you don’t fall.

Flipbacks, published by Hodder & Stoughton, were launched in  New Zealand by Hachette NZ, (July 2011)  I’m sure as I write, these are spreading around the world,  an ideal gift for a traveller. Perfect for planes, waiting in queues for boarding, ticket buying and all those other places we have learnt to grab valuable reading moments.

So when others are talking about the demise of the paper book – here is a new hard-cover book, completely original, and a useful adjunct to my reading pile – offering me just another way of reading.

So, if you are thinking of buying me a book for my travels – I’d be happy with any other 100 titles already out ( 11 so far in NZ, more out in Sept and November)

See what our own Bookman says on Beattie’s book blog

travels with a passionate nomad …

Naked in Budapest: travels with passionate nomad, (AKA Heather Hapeta) will be broadcast from Monday, 16 May – Tuesday, 24 May, 2011 at 10.45 a.m. on Radio New Zealand National.

It has been adapted into 7 episodes and is read by the author.

It will be available to hear online at www.radionz.co.nz – as an MP3 file – and you can buy a hard copy at www.kiwitravelwriter.com.