Ditch the workout-Join the party! Zumba by Exhale @ Seremban Prima

Zumba got its name from the buzzing of bees……..ZUUUuuuuuuuuuummmba! It’s Colombian Slang for “fast”. Take to the floor and shake it to an infectious routine of easy to follow steps and moves in a sociable party atmosphere. Zumba dancing transforms fitness routine into a fiesta.

I’ll admit, the thought of someone as uncoordinated as myself trying to dance alongside nearly 150 participants was initially scary but remembering the joy I felt dancing with my daughter Anjali (Chung Hua High School Student), it was fantastic!

The mixture of kicks, twirls, glides and ends provide an hour of enthusiasm and passion, offering an energetic atmosphere for everyone to get stuck in.

At the kick off event, at about 1.45pm, YB Nicole Tan graced the event. She gave a short speech saying that she rushed from Penang just to be here with us today. There was a massive traffic congestion along the PLUS highway, that was the reason why her journey was slightly delayed. I truly admire her dedication and her energy level, who showed up in her sports attire to body roll, fist pump and booty-shake. We then sang our national anthem “Negaraku” followed by a short speech by Ms Lily. At 2pm, the party began. That joy exists is in no small part to the Zumba community, from instructors to participants, welcoming each other and creating a positive, accepting and inclusive space for all to flourish in.

To me, Zumba means “connection is the energy we create when we feel, seen, heard and loved.” Zumba is all about rewarding, not punishing yourself. Zumba is for everybody- Period!

The event organised by Exhale Fitness was part of their CSR program which funds will be contributed and donated to charity. It was an atmosphere of inclusivity for people of different body size. Zumba wear is equally inclusive, featuring size small (SPICY), medium (MARVELOUS), large (LOVELY), extra large (EXTRA LOVELY) and so on, because as the tags note, “a size won’t tell you how awesome you are”.

The atmosphere in Seremban Prima was like a disco in a gym, however, my personal opinion, Zumba combines moves used in different Latin dances such as samba, mambo and salsa, as well as belly-dancing, hip-hop and martial arts, all set to a soundtrack of upbeat Latin music tempos. Therefore, the moves were more a “dance-mix” routine rather than the original choreographed Zumba fitness elements, nevertheless it provided exciting, rhythmical exercise routines that are great fun.

It was a fun little event, too bad that more people didn’t show up but I am hoping that Seremban Prima will welcome more events like this lots more.

The word will get out!

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Kampung Hakka Mantin-A disappearing heritage

 

Preserving the history and rich heritage of the century-old Kampung Hakka in Mantin near Seremban.

 

“The demolition of old and historical settlements in the country in the name of development is a wake-up call to all of us”. It is important that we preserve them because future generations need to know that this country was built by all races.

 

Kampung Hakka was a settlement of working class migrants from China who traced their roots to Huizhou in Guangdong.

About 300 families once occupied the village which is considered to be among the older Hakka settlements in the country.

Today, only 32 families still live there as the village has been partly developed after it was sold. Many make a living by selling fruits, vegetables and herbs from their tiny gardens or rear birds to be sold at pet shops in the city. Some even sell bundles of old newspapers to nearby orchards to wrap and protect fruits still hanging on the trees.

While most of them just want to be allowed to spend their remaining years in the only homes they know, there are some who do not want to see their personal history wiped out.

 

I truly had an out of this world experience! I had the opportunity to ride a bicycle (last rode a bicycle when I was 16 years old) a little ‘shaky shaky’ but thanked my lucky stars, I managed to get a grip of myself! It was a fun day, hubby and I arrived at Kampung Hakka at 4pm and was warmly welcomed with arms wide open by Madam Seong Foong Chan, a Rakan Mantin member, to the Village’s Interpretative Centre. Rakan Mantin was put together by Victor, with the collaboration of Chan Seong Foon, in September 2012. They wanted to support the residents’ rights to continue living in their village by raising awareness of the history of the Kg Hakka within their own community as well as to outsiders (Community arts, 2014).

The Interpretative Centre is the home of Chong Tze Yaw and has belonged to his family for six generations. The old house has been renovated and is used as a small exhibition hall, where old pictures and documentation of residents’ stories are on display.

 

The agenda for the day included a Bicycle tour through the village and we were pleased to meet more villagers who shared with us their life stories, including the delightful Grandmas Kok and Lee who run Mah-jong game tables in their homes. A grocery store, an impressive Church under the name of St Aloysius built in 1900 as well as a Chinese temple also over 100 years old were included in our tour, kindly guided by Eddy.  She gave us a brief tour, with so much information for me to digest and dozens and dozens of amazing photographs, explaining the history and details of Kampung Hakka. Minutes later, we went for a journey back into time…….

 

At the end of the tour and in conjunction of Chap Goh Mei, they hosted dinner with a few performances, Lion dance performance and also fireworks!  we enjoyed the scrumptious feast prepared by the Kg Hakka ladies.

 

The Kg Hakka villagers, with the support of Victor Chin, Seong Foong Chan and the other members of Rakan Mantin, welcome visitors and encourage them to participate in social events organized in the village. The goal is to exchange the villagers’ stories with the visitors, emphasizing a two-way experience, much like visiting a new friend´s home and avoiding turning it into a showcase.

 

Chinese New Year Feast @ Royale Chulan, Han Pi Yuen, Seremban

Chinese New Year to me, means a lot of things- being a ‘mixture’, my dad- a Chinese, my mum-a Eurasian and married to an Indian. I get the best of everything, culture, religion and traditions. From lunch and dinner get together to seeing random children in the kampung-hood walking up to you with ‘Xin Nian Kuai Le’ greetings, their hands stretched out for “you know what”….and not forgetting the massive traffic jam if you leave for your destination during peak times.

But most importantly, Chinese New Year is about family and friends and celebrating the start of a New Lunar Year.

It was the first day of Chinese New Year- we decided to have our dinner at Royale Chulan- Han Pi Yuen Restaurant – What better way to celebrate anything……

The menu had a great selection. Mr Edward greeted us and led us to a private room and briefed us about the menu and their signature dishes and something you can’t get anywhere in Seremban.

Step aside ‘the traditional’ Yee Sang, prepared by Chef Jack’s special combination Yee Sang of fresh Salmon, assorted vegetables, crackers , oranges….. steamed it’s way to our table! I allowed my taste buds to explore the fundamental flavours of spicy, sour, sweet and salty. It was heavenly…

Some might ask, what is in the menu? All set of menus will include dishes associated with prosperity, luck, success, love and wealth which are the characteristics commonly associated with Chinese New Year.

Our mains came fairly swiftly after our appetizers but still with enough time to relax and enjoy the company and surroundings.

Among the highlights was the Glutinous Rice with lobsters, it was tasty and easy to chew. One piece was not enough, we took extra helpings, of course. The sauce was wonderful too and having it with the warm glutinous rice to mop up the sauce did wonders! A typical Chinese meal with some carbs, and since it is Chinese New Year, rice symbolises a link between heaven and men as a sign of fertility and wealth for the New Year @ Royale Chulan, Han Pi Yuen Restaurant, they have prepared this signature glutinous rice with lobster.

Steamed Tiger Grouper with Chicken Essence- it was an impressive dish. It had the right formula. The creaminess of the broth was overwhelming for my palate.  Splendid texture that leaves me wanting for more….

Overall, the Chinese New Year feast at Royale Chulan, Han Pi Yuen Restaurant didn’t miss any mark nor did it spring any surprises! Dishes here didn’t deviate far from it’s traditional form and flavour. You can expect quality and consistency and thus be assured that your traditional Chinese New Year feast here won’t be a disappointment.