19 November 2008

It came and went

My 40th birthday actually and without much fanfare. Not that it mattered. I don't even quite remember the last one and the ones before.

I got birthday greetings from the usual people (you know who you are - thank you very much).

My parents and siblings wished me birthday and probably, for me to get married soon. We'll see about the second part.

I got a card from my nieces and an sms from my nephew whose studying abroad. They are the ones I am closest with.

I also received birthday wishes from my colleagues, current and former students. Thank you for remembering.

Finally, two people promised to give something this weekend.

For my birthday, all I need actually from all of you is warm thoughts, full of care and love.
(133 words)

Four O

Today, I'm forty years old. I won't look back at my past and wish that I'd done that instead of this. For me, everything happened for a reason. I've made life changing decisions in the last forty years and I won't hesitate to make more of them in the next forty, of course, God willing.

At the same, I've achieved some important, to me at least, milestones in my life too. Perhaps I can blog about them later. Anyway, I still have some personal goals that I'd like accomplish in the future.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

From Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
(131 words)

12 November 2008

What’s your personality type?

This has more to do what kind of work you’re suitable for. Take the test at http://www.kisa.ca/personality/.

I am an ISFP, who the website says generally has the following traits:
• Keen awareness of their environment
• Live in the present moment
• Enjoy a slower pace - they like to take time to savor the present moment
• Dislike dealing with theory or abstract thought, unless they see a practical application
• Faithful and loyal to people and ideas which are important to them
• Individualistic, having no desire to lead or follow
• Take things seriously, although they frequently appear not to
• Special bond with children and animals
• Quiet and reserved, except with people they know extremely well
• Trusting, sensitive, and kind
• Service-oriented; they're driven to help others
• Extremely well-developed appreciation for aesthetic beauty
• Likely to be original and unconventional
• Learn best with hands-on training
• Hate being confined to strict schedules and regimens
• Need space and freedom to do things their own way
• Dislike mundane, routine tasks, but will perform them if necessary

And the possible career paths for the ISFP are
• Artist
• Musician / Composer
• Designer
• Child Care / Early Childhood Development
• Social Worker / Counselor
• Teacher
• Psychologist
• Veterinarian
• Forest Ranger
• Pediatrician
(227 words)

Busy as a bee

Actually, I haven’t been away, for business or leisure. I’ve been in my office all along since the end of last month. It’s just that I’ve been busy lately. It seems that I’ve got a ton of things to be done and at the same time, I’ve a lot of things on my mind. Anyway, something’s significant to me is happening later this month. Maybe I‘ll write about it. Till the next post, take care and be good!
(80 words)

30 October 2008

Short vacation report

I was in Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur over the weekend. I met friends and visited some interesting places. I have been to Kuala Terengganu before, so the places I went to were not entirely new. There were new locations (like Noor Arfa Batik complex) and new exhibits (in the State Museum). Anyway, the Taman Tamadun Islam may be worth the visit for those interested in seeing Islamic monuments of the world. Some of the monuments had accompanying displays and short videos in an air-conditioned area, which gave visitors a respite from the hot Terengganu sun. Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur I met some friends to catch up on the latest news.

All in all, I had a great time. I just wish I had a longer time but I’ve quite a lot to do at the office.
A photo of the Kuala Lumpur skyline from the hotel I stayed in. The PETRONAS Twin Towers are to the right and the Kuala Lumpur Tower to the left.
(168 words)

I Have to Admit It

.. that keeping a blog is easier said than done. I am not disciplined to write on a frequent basis. My work gets in the way sometimes. My personal life gets in the sometimes. Anyway, I will not set any lofty numbers of blog posts that I must do each month. I could probably increase my posts by posting songs, tags and the like in this blog but I will not succumb to that. I'd like to keep my blog about things I care and feel strongly about. Anyway, we'll see how it goes.
(96 words)

24 October 2008

Another vacation

I am off for another vacation this weekend. Well, I am not going anyway far, just good old KL. Going to meet my friends and that’s half of the fun. If all goes well, we’ll be in Kuala Trengganu for the weekend. I haven’t been there for sometime now.

(51 words)

10 October 2008

Kota Kinabalu International Airport New Terminal Building

I’m now in the off new terminal building of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. From the outside it looks very modern. The inside is airy and bright, unlike some stuffy and dark terminal buildings that I’ve been to.

Besides that, I like this airport for two things. First, there’s free Wifi (yeah, I am your average internet junkie) and second, there’s a superb view outside the terminal building. In the mornings and on good weather days (like today), you can actually see the majestic Mount Kinabalu in the distance.

The only thing that I don’t like so far is that there are no visible local or traditional designs incorporated in the design of the airport. So far, I only some traditional motives on the pillars in the departure hall. And there isn’t much to say about these motives – there are small and not very noticeable. As for the rest of the building, you’ll see lots of aluminium claddings and glass.

Here are some photos of the departure hall of the new terminal building.

Departure Hall

Pillar with traditional design

View outside the departure hall

(186 words)

Another Business Trip

I am off to another business trip. This time I have to go to a small town in one of the southern states in Peninsular Malaysia. It’s just over the weekend but the best thing is that I get to see family and friends over in the Peninsular for the holidays. The holidays is one month long anyway. I’m currently waiting for my flight at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport new terminal building. I’ll blog more about it later. My trip this time is only for three days and I’ll be back in the office first thing Monday morning.
(101 words)

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Minal Aidil Wal Faizin

I hope it is not too late for me to wish everyone the above. I took three days off for the holidays and got the whole week off. Nothing much happened over the holidays except I get to see my family and friends during it, which for me, is actually the most important part. I hope your Aidil Fitri celebration was a good one.
(66 words)

26 September 2008

Manila Trip (August 2008)

Last month, I was in Manila for a break over a weekend with my nephew. It was a short three-day trip, so there wasn't much time to do a lot. To make things worse, the weather was not so good. Apparently, August is the rainiest month in a year for Manila. Well, it rained almost every morning and night then.

Anyway, the trip was a trip for shopping especially for my nephew, so we didn't go to a lot of sites. However, we managed to visit Intramuros area and walk along the ocean boulevard the when the weather was good. Other than that, it was this mall and that mall. I also find the people beautiful. The only thing I didn't like was that almost everyone spoke to me in Tagalog, which I only know of a few words. More often that not, I had to say that I am a Malaysian to each one of them.

Based on my trip, I'm definite that I'll visit the Philippines again. It's a good place to shop (at least Manila) and I know there are a lot of interesting places to visit among its over seven thousand islands. By the way, I can now add another country to the list of countries that I have visited. And, I also managed to visit another world heritage site, one of the baroque churches of the Philippines, the San Agustin Church of Manila (in Intramuros).
(242 words)

Of would be toads and frogs

If he (the one who shall not be named) has his way, he'll be the prime minister by now. Of course, with the help of would be toads and frogs. If this happens, I don't have much to say especially about these toads and the frogs except they are the lowliest form of scum on earth. If they are in an aquarium, they'll be the fish eating the shit of the other fishes. They are unprincipled, self-centered and ....... (fill in the worst expletive that you can think of).

I also pray to the Almighty that the worst misfortunes and disasters will befall on them and their next seven generations. What they are doing goes beyond democratic principles. If they have the guts and balls, step down as elected representatives and let the people choose again.

To conclude, here's a riddle on those would be toads and frogs:

Question: What's the difference between these would be toads and frogs Members of Parliament and a pail of shit?

Answer: The pail.

So, there!
(174 words)

16 September 2008

It went by and despite all the talk, we still had the same government of day as we had when the March general elections. What I don't understand is why is you (the one who shall not be named) are so bent on becoming the prime minister? If we, the people, can wait for five years to change the government (see Selangor, Perak, Penang & Kedah), why can't you? Why do you have to create all these uncertainties in the country? The people have chosen the government of day in March and leave it at that.

Instead, what you should be doing is lead an effective opposition and ensure that the states governed by the opposition will be better in the next five years. Do that and I believe when your time comes, you'll be all that you want to be. Do your job now well and the people will support you. But don't do what you are doing now. It's undemocratic and unethical.
(166 words)

04 September 2008

Happy Ramadan

I know I am a few days late but I hope everyone celebrating the month of Ramadan will have a blessed time. One of the best things about this whole month is the Pasar Ramadan or Ramadan Market. At this place, you can get all sorts of food for breaking fast. In some cases, you can even find food, which are typically not available all year round. Anyway, if you are in Kota Kinabalu and its vicinity, there are a few designated Pasar Ramadans.

The one I like, however, is in Kem Lok Kawi, an army camp outside of the city. Having gone to five years of secondary school in West Malaysia, the West Malaysian food offered at the Lokkawi Camp are the closest to the ones I had before. Kem Lok Kawi is a bit far, so I only get to go there on weekends.
(148 words)

31 August 2008

August 2008

This month was a long month for me. I thought I would have some spare time in the second half of the month to write about the things from my trips but alas, there was just too much to do and too little time. Hopefully, this will be the month with fewest posts in my blog. We'll see how it goes. Okay, I am off to do something else now.
(72 words)

Sabah National Day Parade 2008

The first parade I could remember was one I caught as a young boy. Standing by the roadside with my parents and siblings watching all the people marching and in their unforms caught my attention as they do now. In primary school, my ambition was to be a soldier (really). Well, it was also partly because one of my neighborhood friend's father was in the army. He looked splendid in uniform.

Later, in secondary school, I even joined part of the school brass band, which naturally took part in these parades. When I started to work, I also took part in national day parades as part of my employer's contingent.

Anyway, I think brass bands are one of the attractions of a national day parade. Noticeably, the were very few brass bands today at Sabah national day parade. I don't know why. I counted less than ten today.

Usually there is a competition for the contingents which took part. Once I get the results, I will to post the photos of the winning contingents that I took from the parade.

(182 words)

Happy National Day Malaysia

To all Malaysians, have a good national day. More than ever, we need to work together to develop this country and bring it to a higher level, politically, economically and socially.

In my younger days, I used to take part in national day parades but these days, I am left to watching the parade on the television and if I wake up early enough in the morning, I will try to catch a live parade nearby. And today, I did just that. I was at the national day parade at the state level in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. I actually took part in the same one about a dozen years ago. Our contingent came in the top three. A year later, I took part in the national day parade at the national level. This time, our contingent did not make it to the top three but was one of the contingents to be watched during the rehearsals. By the way, a competing contingent that year was featured in a photo in an article on Malaysia the National Geographic magazine.
To be frank, the parades are all the same. Contingents after contingents marching, not walking like you see in the Olympics march past. I don't know but I like to see it. Maybe it instills the national pride and identity in us. I've been to and lived in other countries, but this is the country I love. I was born here and, I hope, shall die here.
(247 words)

20 August 2008

A Very Special Happy Birthday to Two Persons Close to Me

I don't have to write your names here because you know who you are. I wish you both a very happy birthday and many happy returns in the future. Thank you for being there for me.

Note: I don't think it is a coincidence that both of you were born on the same day of the month but in different years. One of them is 23 and the other is forever 27 ;-).
(75 words)


I know it's been a while since I last blogged. But, it was unavoidable, I just didn't have the time to sit down, collect my thoughts and write something with them.

I was away on leave for two weekends and was involved in two dinners in between. Even during my leave periods, I wasn't able to do much. I spent my time with friends in one and visited a new country in the other.

Anyway, I'll try to write whatever I have in mind for the next few days. It seems that I'll have a bit more time for myself now. I do have some ideas about what I'll write about but for now, I'll keep them to myself. You'll read about them when I get to blogging them.
(131 words)

31 July 2008

Happy Birthday My Friend!

Selamat ulang tahun
สุขสันต์วันเกิด (sook sun wan gerd)

Someone is having his birthday today. My friend, I wish you all the success and happiness in your life.

P.S. Sorry, you have to wait another day for your present.
(41 words)

29 July 2008

Going on leave again in August

Too bad, its not going to be a vacation. I am just going away to finish up my annual leave from last year. Actually, I still have a few more days left. And I haven't used up any of my thirty days of leave for this year.

Anyway, for this weekend, I got very low prices to fly between Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur from Malaysia Airlines, just RM240 return. The usual price is about 5 times more. I'll probably see my friends while I am in KL and since the Malaysia Mega Sales in on, I'll shop a little. Maybe add more books to my collection of unread books (maybe about 15 books) stacked in my bedroom table.

Then in two weeks, I am going off to Manila with my sister's son, who is studying overseas and is back at home for his summer vacation. I haven't been to Manila, so I have to find out a lot about where to stay, visit and eat there.
(169 words)

28 July 2008

Kota Kinabalu International Airport

This is the new terminal at the above airport. Its futuristic, sure. But I am still disappointed that there is no visible local design or motif to be seen in the outside. I don’t know how the inside will look like. Hopefully, there’s something traditional in the interior design. As it is, the airport could be located anywhere else, by design, but Sabah.

The airport also has a great location, it is by the Tanjung Aru Beach. Here’s a photo of an aircraft taxiing down the runway. In the background are the South China Sea and the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National (Marine) Park.

(108 words)

Photos from business trip

Here are some photos to accompany the last post. You can probably guess where I went from one of the photos.

Plane No 1

Plane No 2

Bus No 1

Ferry No 1

(35 words)

24 July 2008

Four airplanes, two ferries, two busses and two taxis

And all within 72 hours. I was away again for official duty again in the past few days. Anyway, for this trip, I had to go on four flights (all on Boeings 737 except for one on Airbus 300). I took the bus twice between the airport and the ferry terminal since I had time to kill. Then I took taxis to get around the towns that I visited. The bad thing was I didn’t get to spend time with my good friends who were in town for a holiday. The good thing was, there wasn’t a good thing. Now, I am still tired from the trip. I hope I don’t have to travel like this again in the near future. Next week, however, I will be out of the office. Only this time, it’s not for work. Yayyyy
(142 words)

Familiar Places, Friendly Faces

A week ago I visited two places that I've been before. One I lived in for more than three years. On the flight out, I sat next to someone who used to work in the same building with me. Then, on arrival at the airport, I met a former housemate and work colleague, a very nice and understanding guy. I also met my former supervisor at the same airport. He's one of the best bosses who I've worked with. The guys in my old office are lucky to have him as their head of department now. When I worked under him, he always looks after me well. When, I moved to a new department, he even warned me about what was happening behind my back especially with my new boss then, who had nothing good to say about me. I couldn't believe it. My boss was known to be a pious man. Anyway, years later, I found out that what my former supervisor told me was all true.

Later on that night, I had dinner with friends, who I used to work with in the same department. It was great to be able to visit the city I worked in before and met the people I knew there.

On the next day, I went to another town and guess what, I met with former colleagues who have moved to work there. I had lunch with one of them. It is a small world after all.
(247 words)

10 July 2008

World Heritage sites in South East Asia

Here's the list of the above. The year the site was included are in brackets.

Cambodia (2)
* Angkor (1992)
* Temple of Preah Vihear (2008)

Indonesia (7)
* Borobudur Temple Compounds (1991)
* Komodo National Park (1991)
* Prambanan Temple Compounds (1991)
* Ujung Kulon National Park (1991)
* Sangiran Early Man Site (1996)
* Lorentz National Park (1999)
* Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (2004)

Lao People's Democratic Republic (2)
* Town of Luang Prabang (1995)
* Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape (2001)

Malaysia (3)
* Gunung Mulu National Park (2000)
* Kinabalu Park (2000)
* Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (2008)

Philippines (5)
* Baroque Churches of the Philippines (1993)
* Tubbataha Reef Marine Park (1993)
* Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (1995)
* Historic Town of Vigan (1999)
* Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park (1999)

Thailand (5)
* Historic City of Ayutthaya (1991)
* Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns (1991)
* Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (1991)
* Ban Chiang Archaeological Site (1992)
* Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (2005)

Viet Nam (5)
* Complex of Hué Monuments (1993)
* Ha Long Bay (1994, 2000)
* Hoi An Ancient Town (1999)
* My Son Sanctuary (1999)
* Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (2003)

There are no sites in Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Singapore and Timor Leste.
(237 words)

Malaysia's World Heritage sites

Malaysia now has three world heritage sites. With Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca recently joining Gunung Mulu National Park and Kinabalu Park, which came on the list in 2000. Melaka and George Town are considered as one entry.

In 1972, an international treaty, the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, was adopted by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Under this treaty, UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Except for Brunei, Myanmar, Singapore and Timor Leste, all other countries in South East Asia are on the world heritage list. Cambodia has two sites, including Angkor. Indonesia has seven sites, including the Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple Compounds. Lao People's Democratic Republic has two sites, one of them the Town of Luang Prabang. Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam each has five sites.

There are two other sites in Malaysia, which are consideration for the list. They are the Taman Negara National Park of Peninsular Malaysia and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary (LEWS) and Batang Ai National Park (BANP) in Sarawak. Both were submitted for consideration in 2004.
(209 words)

08 July 2008

Travel Plans - Laos and Cambodia

I plan to travel to Luang Prabang in Laos and Siam Reap in Cambodia. If the plan materializes, that means I've only the Philippines and Vietnam left of ASEAN countries that I haven't visited.

Siam Reap's claim to fame is Angkor Wat. Remember Lara Craft in the Tomb Raider? It is said that to do justice to Angkor Wat, one has to spend at least three days there. According to Lonely Planet, the Temples of Angkor are "must-see - ancient Hindu-Buddhist temples of monumental proportion". While Luang Prabang is "an easy-going capital with French and Buddhist architecture."

The plan I have in mind is to fly from Kuala Lumpur into Luang Prabang. Then fly from there directly to Siam Reap or through Bangkok. From Siam Reap, there are flights back to Kuala Lumpur. This plan will take about five days.

There are also bus services between Luang Prabang to Bangkok via Cambodia's capital Vientiane (about 22 hours) and between Bangkok and Siam Reap (about 10-14 hours). This plan will take maybe two days longer than the flying option.

Another possible plan is to visit only one country at a time. In this case, it'll have to be Cambodia first and Laos second. This plan will probably take between three to five days for Cambodia and a day or two shorter for Laos.
(225 words)

04 July 2008

Morning person

I'm not one. But I haven't got much choice. In my schools days, classes started around 7am.,The same goes to work, which starts at 8am. If it's up to me everything should start at 10 or 11am.

Anyway, while attending university for my first degree, I was able to schedule my classes on my own. I hardly had classes first thing in the morning. In one semester, I had an early start in the day but for this semester, I managed to schedule all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And guess what? I had Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as my weekend that particular semester. Lets just say, it was nice to have long weekend like that. I hardly study though. Sometimes, I'm amazed to complete my degree, which was no easy feat.

When I did my master degree, there weren't many choices in my schedule. But by then, my study habits were different. Well, it was a self-sponsored degree and to make it worthwhile, I worked hard to do well. I usually studied, did my assignments and of course, attend classes between 8am to 5pm on weekdays. The other time I reserved for meeting up friends and doing chores such as cooking, cleaning, washing and so on.

Anyway, not being a morning person means that I'm invariably late to work. But still, I make it a point to be punctual when there's something important on early during the day.
(243 words)

02 July 2008

I am a Mango

I was blog surfing today and found this entry. I answered the question posted and here's what my answer says about me:

MANGO - A mango lover is a personality to reckon with; quite often, you are a person who has quite fixed ideas, and influencing you is not an easy task. You tend to be an extremist with strong likes and dislikes, and at times even like to control a situation. You enjoy getting involved in something that presents mental challenge. Strong as you may be, you are like a kitten when you are with your partner. You accommodate the love of your life, and make up for all the strong will elsewhere!

All I can say is that it is mostly true.
(126 words)

30 June 2008

House of Sundanese Food KLCC

I just love Indonesian food. During my last break, I had dinner with my friends at the House of Sundanese Food at Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur. Surprisingly, the restaurant is a franchise originating from Singapore. But that doesn’t matter. If the food is good, I could care if it came all the way from Timbuktoo.

The restaurant used to have another outlet also in Kuala Lumpur at Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC). The outlet in BSC actually had stunning view of the city skyline, particularly if you get a seat by the windows. It was beautiful.

For starters, we had Keropok Melinjo or Emping accompanied by Sambal. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste but delicious. For mains, we had Ikan Nila Goreng (very crunchy with a fabulous cicah), Cumi-Cumi Bakar, Acar Udang (more Acar than Udang really) and Ayam Goreng Sunda, all eaten with steam rice. We wanted sayur lodeh but it was not available. So we settled for something else (which escapes me at the moment). Overall, the food was good and the restaurant had good ambiance.

Location: House Of Sundanese Food, 4.12, Level 4 Suria KLCC, 50250 Jln. Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-21662272; Fax: 03-21662273
Opening Hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-9.30pm
(203 words)

A Would Be Kingmaker?

I don't think so. I personally believe what the big guy had to say about him. Greed, must be it. I used to tell my friends that if you could find an honest politician, I'd give you a virgin “bohsia” (a girl with loose morals). It's all part of the game of politics. However, what's important for me is that the country or the state doesn't go bankrupt from the actions of the politicians.

Sadly, this is what has happened to my home state Sabah. It used to be one of the richer states in the country. Now, it's one of the poorest. During my younger days, we got free uniforms, shoes, books and milk in school. Yes, free, and it helped my parents who had to hold two jobs to keep the family running.

Back to the would be kingmaker. He was the head honcho of my home state for two years but nothing was done to resolve the problems we face today, particularly illegal immigrants from neighboring countries. Probably busy filing up his personal coffers. So much to take and so little time. You had your opportunity to do things right but squandered it.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.
(205 words)

Back from a Break

For the last two weeks, I was on a break. There is not much to write about except that I spent time with people I care about (you know who you are). Other than that, by taking leave, I managed to use up some of my annual leave from last year (and I still have some more to utilise).

My next leave is planned for early August and mid December. I'll probably take some break in between too. I don't know how it happened but it seems I'm accumulating my annual leaves again similar to when I was in my old job. I used to get 20 days of leave in my old job but now I get 30 days. Effectively I get about 6 weeks off now compared to 4 weeks before. And its getting harder to finish off my leave now.

When I started this year, believe it or not, I had almost a year's worth of last year's leave brought forward. Thus, this year I had about two years worth of annual leave. It seemed that every time I wanted to take my leave, there'd be something on. I don't know if I could finish up all my leave for this year. I doubt it but I'd try, anyway.
(214 words)

06 June 2008

Things You Can Do To Use Your Fuel Efficiently And Effectively

Now that fuel prices have gone up, we must find ways to help us get out of the most of the fuel we use. Here are some of the things that we can do:

1. Plan your journey. Before you open the car door and drive away, you need to determine where do you want to go and how do you get there. Don't go around in circles or travel over the same route twice. Do use the shortest route between two points.

2. Lighten your car load. Look in your car boots or under the seats. Are they things that you can leave at home? That extra kilogram of stuff you drive around with will cost some fuel. Maybe it's also time to lose some kilograms on you as well.

3. Carpool to and from work. If two office mates carpool, it means they can halve their fuel bill. Think if four people do it.

4. Use public transportation. While it doesn't provide freedom of travel, public transportation may give a cheaper option to us if considered properly.

5. Use alternative means of transportation. Ride a motorbike instead of driving a car. Ride a bicycle to work. Drive a smaller car or a car with a smaller engine size.

6. Lastly, if possible, explore the possibility to work at home. These days most of us have access to the Internet and own a mobile phone. We can communicate much better.
(243 words)

Fuel Price Increase

It was inevitable and I am all for it. It's time we remove 'subsidy' mentality in everything we do. Anyway, I've two reasons why fuel should no longer be subsidised in Malaysia.

Firstly, crude oil prices have gone up tremendously in the past couple of years and our government can no longer sustain the subsidies. At the end of May, the local crude oil price was at USD138 per barrel, which is the highest in history. Our government has no control over crude oil prices which are determined by the supply and demand forces of the market. So, it's better for the subsidy to be channeled to other beneficial use.

Secondly, despite being an oil producer and exporter, Malaysia relies on foreign companies to in the costly and risky process of finding and producing oil from the ground. We do not have sufficient funding and technical ability to go at it on our own. In fact, it's typical to have joint ventures in the oil industry. In Malaysia, it's usually between the national oil company and a foreign oil company. In addition, fuel oil is not only sold by the national oil company but also by foreign oil companies. It’s impossible to force these foreign oil companies to sell at a price lower than the world market. So, the government has to pay the subsidy to these companies.

There isn't much that we can do except to use our fuel oil efficiently and effectively.
(246 words)

01 June 2008

Beautiful Padang

I went to Padang for work over the weekend. Padang according the taxi driver who took me to the hotel, has a population of 5 million. It is the capital city of Sumatera Barat province in Indonesia. The city is located by the sea (well, actually ocean) and has a mountain range in the surrounding, quite similar to Kota Kinabalu.

I do not want to go into details about what I did during the trip, as it was very much related to work. It was made of waiting at the hotel, sitting in the car, meeting people and going to dinners. There wasn’t much time for my own personal agenda.

By the way, I can’t say enough good things about Padang food. No wonder you can find Nasi Pasi Padang all over Indonesia. It’s fabulous.

All I can say is that I will be more than willing to come back to Padang. In one word, it’s beautiful. From the place to the people.

(165 words)

Minangkabau International Airport, Padang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia

This airport (PDG) is one of the few airports that I have been to that incorporate local architecture in its building. If you can see the airport building from the seat in the airplane, you can immediately tell that you have landed. The building’s pointed roof is a prominent feature in Minangkabau architecture. In contrast, most Asian airports that I have been to are nothing more than Western copycats. It’s not wrong for the form to follow the function, but where possible, building designs in Asia should be more reflective the local architecture especially for airports, which will most likely be the first building a visitor to a particular place will first see.

(114 words)

Cancelled and delayed flight

My flight has been cancelled and I am now put to the next Malaysian flight to Kuala Lumpur from Jakarta. Except not being able to meet someone tonight, it’s not that bad as although I have to wait three hours for my new flight, I am given access to the executive. In addition to the usual food and beverage, there is also Internet access and that’s how I get to put up this post.

Anyway, before that I went for another foot massage at the same place on arrival from Kuala Lumpur. After all the travelling and walking, my feet were again killing me. This time another young lad did the massage. His name was Amar and very ambitious and entrepreneurial young person who has goals in life. He came from Jawa Tengah to study but didn’t sufficient funds. He worked his way up from a car washer to a taxi driver. He quit his taxi driver job as he was not too familiar with the city and become a masseur. At the same time, he has side business in public transportation (angkot) and food (fried rice stall). I am definite that in the future, he will have a bright and better future from his days as a son of farmers.

(212 words)

29 May 2008

What a long journey!

Actually, I am on a long journey to reach a destination that is just a time zone away from where I live. In the past, I had taken long journeys too but those trips were from point A in one time zone and to point B in many time zones away. I left home about 24 hours ago and I am still not where I am supposed to be. So far, it has taken two flights of about two hours on Airbus 330 aircrafts and a stay in a hotel. I have another flight of about 1 hour and forty minutes. My journey home will pretty much the same.
It’s not so bad but at the start of this journey, I lost my bank card. There rest are ok. I am on business class in one of the flights, get to stay at a posh hotel in the airport and I get to see my friends (although for a short while). Anyway, I hope everything will be ok until I get home. Anyway, I am off to my next flight now.
(183 words)

This airport (CGK)

Actually, I’ve been in this airport for countless of times. For me, however, it is usually out of the arrival hall and into the taxi or waiting car and out of the taxi or car into the departure hall. This by far the longest time I’ve spent in the airport. It’s a busy airport due to the sheer number of citizens and airports around the country. It’s no Changi or KLIA but I think I still like it. Why? It seems lively and full of people. I hate seeing KLIA when it’s not the holiday or hajj season. Nobody seems to be around. But not here.

Of course, this airport has shortcomings but when you look at the interior design, you know you are not in some Western airport wannabes. Usage of local traditional motives is numerous in CGK. If you go to KLIA, tell what do you see? KLIA might as well be an airport in America or Europe. Maybe, they should have used a Malaysia architect to design the airport. And now, you can see a mini KLIA in the airport I use most, the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Aping the West is not always right.
(200 words)

Another post from being stuck in the airport

One of the strange things in this airport is the number of times I’ve been approached by men and at least, one woman, trying to sell me watches and perfumes. It seems they approach a certain type of people, so not everyone. Based on my travels, I can say we can tell a little about a country the moment we step out of the arrival hall. Here, I can see a lot of people milling about, probably waiting for their relatives and my case, someone to buy their wares. I am not so sure if the stuff they are trying to sell are originals and knock-offs. I dare not to ask, even the price. Usually their sales pitches are met by a raised hand or a nodding of the head, saying no. Anyway, I think all the salespeople are just doing it to get some money to get by. It’s basic entrepreneurship or survival, whichever way you look at it.

At the same time, I saddened that if anyone comes to KL, they will be met by touts who are trying to fleece the visitors by offering taxi services at horrendous prices. What the authorities could do is put up a big sign in all major languages to warn travellers to buy tickets only from the counters or use taxis which are approved by the airport. Last month I saw a big sign in yellow at the Bangkok International Airport saying just this.
(245 words)

Stuck an airport

I am now stuck at Sukarno Hatta International Airport in Cangkering, Jakarta (CGK) waiting for my onward connection to the town I am supposed to travel to. I have about 6 hours to kill. It’s a bit risky to go to the city centre, with the jam and all. I really don’t want to miss my flight, which is twice daily. The other one is in the morning.

There isn’t much to do at the airport. So, I just walked aimlessly around. Checking where I would check-in for my flight and so on. And then, I saw this girl standing there, in the midst of the people around the airport.

She was holding something which caught my attention. What is it? It’s a brochure for a reflexology centre in the airport. We made small talk and I agreed to follow her to the centre. I opted for an hour foot massage, and nothing more. My masseuse was a very friendly and talkative young man by the name of Bambang from Lampung. After the massage, I feel relieved as my feet were killing me.

Now I have to find something else to do until my flight. There’s lunch and maybe some more posts in between.
(206 words)

27 May 2008

Going away again, but not for a vacation

I am supposed to be on leave for an extended time for the next few weeks, but it seems my bosses got other plans for me. Well, if it’s up to me, I’d say no. I need my rest, people! But then again, it’s not up to me and I have to go. I’ve got two places to go to.

First, I’m going to a neighbouring country for a meeting. My employer signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with another organization in this country, so we are trying to materialize something out of it. It sad that some MoUs signed before have remained as they are, MoUs. They became just a photo opportunity with some big shots and so on.

Secondly, I’m off to another Malaysian state to visit students, who are undergoing their practical training. Students where I teach are required to undergo practical training at the end of their studies. Usually they choose a place near their hometowns, which I don’t mind as long as the organization where the training takes place is relevant to what they studied and has opportunities to absorb these students as employees. That’s why the training is at the end of their studies and not in the middle. Anyway, as always, there’ll be some students not considering these in mind when selecting the organization for practical training.

I just hope there’s no third place to visit anytime soon.
(237 words)

Five Words You Need to Know When Travelling

Maybe seven words if you include 'excuse me' at the beginning. Everyone knows that English is an international language and more and more people around the world are speaking and learning English. As such, all you need really are the translation and correct pronunciation in the local language of 'Excuse me, do you speak English?' And also of the word 'No' as if the person you ask can speak English, he will probably answer with a 'Yes' in English, of course. I did just this during a vacation in Europe when I visited six countries with six different languages. Not many people have the capacity to learn that many languages. Of course, it also helps to learn simple daily conversational phrases or the numbers but when you are lost, the best way to find help is to find someone who speaks a common language with you.

To get started, here are the seven words in the languages I know. These are transliteration of the language stated which maybe written in an entirely different alphabetical from English.

Arabic: Law samat, hal tatakallam al-ingiliziyya? La.
French: Excuzi mwah, parley voo anglais? Non.
Italian: Mi scusi, parla inglesi? No.
Mandarin: Kingwen, ni shuo ying-wen ma? Meiyou.
Portuguese: Desculpe, fala ingles? Nao.
Russian: Izvenyeteh pahjaloosta, ti gavarit pa angliski? Nyet.
Spanish: Pardon, habla ingles? No.
Thai: Kao thot, khun phuut phaasaa angkrit dai mai? Maidai.
(234 words)

26 May 2008


Other than reading, the other thing I enjoy is watching movies. A good movie, for the duration of it, keeps you focused on the silver screen. That's why I'll try to watch my movies in the cinema and not on video, VCD or DVD at home.

Movies take you away for that one a half, two, two and half or three hours. You'll forget about the mountain of work in the office or personal problems that you might have. At times, however, I still catch at home the few movies which I might have missed for one reason or another, including not being screened in Malaysia.

Having said all that, I don't watch all kinds of movies that come to a screen near me. I gravitate towards all kinds of movies particularly science fiction, action/thriller, heavy drama, comedies and sometimes, cartoons. I draw the line, however, at horror movies especially those with paranormal themes. Not even if you are buying. See you at the movies!
(167 words)

Books, I Love

I love reading. I can get engrossed in a book or a magazine and sometimes, even a newspaper. But am I well read? I doubt so. You see, I'm pretty selective in what I read. I don't just read everything.

What do I read? I like fiction, autobiographies, travelogues and books on my interest areas (management, finance, fashion, interior design and origami).

Autobiographies and travelogues are pretty much non-fiction, I think, so its interesting to read up about other people's lives and travels.

As for fiction, I pretty much read only all the works of authors I find interesting. So far, those who caught my interest are, in no particular order, Jeffrey Archer, Paolo Coelho, Bryce Courtenay, John Grisham and Robert Ludlum. Nevertheless, I still read works of fiction by other authors recommended by friends and the best seller list.

Do I have a particular favorite book? Well, yes and no. There are books I refer to all of the time. Then, there are books I don't mind re-reading. I don't, however, consider these my favorites. However, I'll be willing to recommend books for your reading pleasure.

By the way, don't you worry, none of my recommendations will be books in the area that I primarily teach. I doubt that these books will interest you in the way they interest me. Still, I can probably recommend one or two you can read up about what I teach.
(238 words)

25 May 2008

Time to Visit Sabah

If you asked me, its probably May, if you are into culture and the month before Eidul Fitri or Hari Raya Puasa (Ramadhan in the Islamic calendar), if you are into food. The time to avoid is the rainy season, usually towards the of the year.

If you come in May, you will be visiting during Sabah Fest and Harvest Festival or Tadau Kaamatan when a lot of cultural activities take place. Not to be missed are the launch of the Fest at the beginning of the month and the festivities of the Festival during the last two days of the month.

As for the month of Ramadhan, throughout this month, various food bazaar will be up and running for everyone, Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, to savour the food usually not available during the other eleven months of the year. Coupled with other types of food Sabah is famous for, such as seafood, you will get many choices of treats to eat.

On the hand, November and December may not be the best time for you to visit Sabah due to the rain. No, the attractions opens year round but the rain can get in the way, sometimes. Unless your idea of a vacation is staying indoors most of the time, then the rainy season is not a good time to visit. Then again, it doesn't mean you shouldn't come during this time. Malaysia, after all, is the land of eternal summer.
(244 words)

20 May 2008

10 Things To Do in Bangkok

I went to Bangkok for my recent vacation. For me, it wasn't something new. In my last two jobs, I've been to Bangkok for work for so many times that I've lost count.

My trip this time, however, was fun as I went with my friends. Trips like this are always fun. It is not so much the place we visit but more of the companionship.

Anyway, if you ever plan to visit to Bangkok, make sure it's over a weekend. And here are ten things you can do while visiting:

1. Shop at Chathuchak Weekend Market & Suan Lum Night Market
2. Shop at MBK, Siam Paragon & Siam Centre
3. Visit the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kew (or other Wats) & the National Museum.
4. Take a river cruise at Menam Chao Phraya
5. Watch Muay Thai (Thai Kickboxing)
6. Walk around or have a picnic at Lumpini Park or Sanam Luang
7. Visit Ayuthaya
8. Visit Floating Market at Damneon Saduak
9. Visit Kanchanaburi
10. Eat real Thai food

Nos. 7, 8 & 9 are not in Bangkok but they are just a few hours away. You can easily arrange for the trip from Bangkok.

As for me, I know I'll probably be back again in Bangkok in the near future.
(216 words)

08 May 2008

Going away again

After the all hard work these past two weeks, I am going to take a short rest from work. I am going away again with my friends. I’ve been to the place we are going to for many times (for both work and leisure) but I really don’t mind going again. Anyway, it’s not so much the place but the time you spent with the people you travel with. I hope the trip will turn out well as planned. The photo above should give you a hint of where I am heading.
(94 words)

Mark mark mark

It’s been a while since my last post, I know. I’ve been busy the past two weeks for two reasons. First, it was marking exam scripts. Oh man, if there’s one thing I hate about my job, it’s marking exam scripts. I just don’t enjoy it. The first time I taught I had a course with over 250 students. It took me more than a week to complete the marking. Last semester, I had a course with over 450 students! Marking for that course took like forever. This semester, it was not so bad with just over 70 students.

But then again, marking exam scripts is well, marking exam scripts. There’s nothing to like about that unless my students get to answer all the questions well, which is like rare. I usually let the students know the chapters, usually 5 or 6 out of the 13 or 14 chapters we cover in a semester. I am happy if they get half of the answers right as our final examination is about half of the course grades. But, some of the students can’t even do this. As an educator, it frustrates. me I think they want me to give them questions before the examination. Hello, like that’s going to happen. Anyway, I’ve completed my marking already.

And the other reason is I’ve been teaching on the past two weekends for one of our commercial programs. It was a new course for me, so I had to prepare.

(248 words)

25 April 2008


It's that time of the year again. Have you filed your taxes? If you haven't, do so now as if you missed the 30 April deadline, you'll be fined RM100, which is better spent on other things.

Anyway, in addition to being timely, I hope you fill your tax forms correctly. Taxpayers are required to keep their records for seven long years and may subject to a tax audit, or worse, tax investigation. So, do ensure that all your tax documents are kept safely.

I know it's a bit late but I just want to share with you one strategy to reduce your taxes. Maybe you can apply this for this year's tax. Its based on my experience as a taxpayer and common sense.

As a taxpayer, we should aim to have a low chargeable income (item E1 in the BE2007 form). You can't lie or cheat on the amount of income because that's illegal and I don't think you'd want to end up in jail. So, the next best thing is to maximise, where possible, all the reliefs (items D1-D13) and rebates (items E4-E7) available to you.

Two things I usually do are buy books and magazines (item D8 - maximum relief RM1,000) and get an annual medical check-up (item D7 - maximum relief RM500). Besides the amount limits, you should also know the conditions for the reliefs and rebates. For further reference, buy a Malaysian tax guidebook and don't forget to claim relief for it.
(250 words)

23 April 2008

Eat in KK

I really don't want to turn my blog into a food heavy blog but as a food lover, I just can't help it. I guess I live to eat, not the other way around.

I'd like to review in detail places I go to eat in KK but it's impossible. I can't differentiate between something succulent and delectable or how to express the texture of the food I eat. It'll probably do no justice to the places I reviewed. Usually, for me, it's good on one end and yucky on the other.

Anyway, what I'll do is list out all the places which I think are okay for everyone. Not the greatest places, just acceptable places, according to me at least. Here goes (in alphabetical order):

• Gayang Seafood, Kampung Gayang. What else? Seafood.
• Grace Point/Garden, Sembulan. All kinds Of food, but stay away from the Nyonya food, its got lousy service.
• Jati Tom Yam, Taman Indah Permai. Tom Yam Malaysian style.
• Kak Nong's, Beverly Hills. Asam Fish Head
• Nasi Padang Ibu, Jesselton Point. Padang food.
• Pete's corner, Asia City. Western food.
• Seri Keningau, Taman Indah Permai. Malaysian food.
• Sri Melaka, Kampung Air. Asam Fish Head & Butter Prawn.
• Sri Melati, Jalan Gaya. Asam Fish Head.
• Taman Selera, Beach No 2, Tanjung Aru. Rojak Buah, Sotong Kangkung & Kitchai Peng
• Tam Nak Thai, Api-api Centre. Tom Yam Plachon & Green Curry.
(246 words)


No, it's not one of the Scorpion's songs. Last night, there was no electricity in the area where I stay. It's been happening all to frequent. I don't mind the darkness but in the hot and humid climate of Malaysia, the heat can become a big problem, day or night.

Maybe it's just another excavation taking the wrong hole. Maybe it's just someone caught dead trying to steal metal parts from the electrical substations. Maybe it's just some drunk driver rammed into one of those power lines. Maybe it's just someone who's trying to make illegal electrical connections to the main electrical lines. Maybe it's just that the surrounding customers haven't been paying their bills on time and the electricity company trying to get even. Maybe.

Whatever the excuse is, the electricity company must do something to improve the service or at least, the turnaround time with blackouts. Not a month goes by without a blackout lasting 3 to 6 hours.

It's just unbelievable. Many years back, someone, refering to the frequent power outages in Sabah, coined the words, "Malaysia Boleh, Sabah Boleh, SESB Tidak Boleh" (Malaysia Can, Sabah Can, SESB Cannot) from the battle cry "Malaysia Boleh". I guess, you now can add "SESB Masih Tidak Boleh" (SESB Still Cannot).
(214 words)

Idiot in the plane

If you are taking a flight, never ever say the B word, as in "bomb". That's what a stupid passenger, who I shall call Idiot, said on the flight I took back from Penang to Kota Kinabalu recently.

This is what happenned. Idiot refused to place his carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment despite being told by the flight attendant as Idiot was sitting the row where the safety exits were and no luggage are allowed on the floor or under the seat.

Apparently, in his protestations, Idiot mentioned that there was a bomb in his hand luggage. This is a big no-no for airlines, so the flight attendents took action. Idiot got booted out, a report was made with the airport's authorities and the officer came on board to check the crime scene. All this took about an hour and of course, delayed the flight.

Later, I learnt Idiot was remanded for a day to facilitate investigations and the aircraft was towed to the hangar to be securely inspected. The process took six hours, which must cost the airline loss of revenue. So, sue the Idiot already.

We were lucky that the inspection was done in Kota Kinabalu, not in Penang. If it was done in Penang, we'd have to wait another six hours. Then again, think again how much fabulous Penang food could be had in that span of time. You win some, you loose some.
(244 words)

Fabulous Penang

Or should I say fabulous Penang food. If you hadn't guess, I went to Penang for my short vacation. My friends and I paid for taxes and charges only, about RM143 each.

We stayed in a hotel on Penang Road and had only two items on the our itinerary, shopping and eating. Actually, it was more eating than shopping. For example, I only bought two pairs of pants for myself and some clothes (t-shirt, etc) for the people back home. Other than that, it was food and more food.

On the inbound flight, there was no heavy food sold onboard, so upon arrival in Penang, the first thing to do was to have some Penang food.

During the trip, we had nasi kandar at various places including Nasi Kandar Sharif Glugor and super soup at Sup Hameed nearby the hotel. We also had teochew chendol and char kuew tiao at Prangin Mall and chendol pulut at Chowrasta Bazaar. We also had buffet lunch at the hotel, which featured Penang delicacies such as pasembur, rojak, prawn mee as well as various other dishes. Our hotel room didn't include, so we had more excuse to eat out. Breakfast was usually nasi lemak, thosai, roti canai or fried noodles.

In general, Penang food is fabulous. I'll be back for more. Now, if only I had eaten that extra plate of laksa or even nasi kandar before the flight home. You see, heavy food was sold out again.
(248 words)

15 April 2008

Food and I

I like all kinds of food. It doesn't matter where really. It could be a posh restaurant or just a stall under a tree. As long as the food is good, I'm a happy person.

In the past when I lived in other countries, I even had to learn to cook. It was more of a necessity. In the places I've lived, if you wanted to eat Malaysian food, you had to cook it yourself.

I've forgotten the more complicated recipes but I can probably still dish out Nasi Lemak and a simple curry. Since the original ingredients were not available, we just improvised with the best thing. For example, its milk for santan (coconut milk) and a few small chunks of ginger for pandanus leaves.

Come to think of it, cooking's actually not that hard. First, get the recipe which I usually do by asking around or looking up a recipe book. Then, try it. If you cook something often enough, you'll probably remember the recipe. That's where the problem lies, I hardly cook in Malaysia. So, don't start inviting yourself to my place to have me cook. I'll probably suggest the next best restaurant or tree for that.
(205 words)

Food blog not

Someone remarked that my blog is becoming a food review blog especially with the last few posts. Well, I don't think there's a need for another one of this or this. Three's a crowd, they say.

Seriously, I didn't have any intention to write a lot about food. But then again, it's one of the things I enjoy. So, it's only fair that I write about it. By the way, what I write is based on my own taste and I hereby solemnly declare that I didn't receive any inducement to feature any of the food establishments written in my blog.

If you tried the places I mentioned and liked it, good for you. Maybe we'll bump into each other there in the future. On the other, if you tried and didn't like it, please don't sue me. Worst still, if you tried, didn't like it and got diarrhoea, please sue the owner(s) of the establishment.

With that out the way, I will continue writing about food I had. But if you need more advice on food, you'll need to read the sites linked in the first paragraph. They are superb materials there and good food there. Bon appetite.

(204 words)

14 April 2008

Seri 3 Rasa Seafood

It's one of the evening foodstalls in Kompleks Karamunsing. Its located outside the shopping complex on street level, behind the foodcourt and McDonald's.

I am usually here for one thing only. Butter Prawn with steamed or fried rice. From my observation, it's the only foodstall that stays in operations for sometime. Others have come and gone.
I've never asked but I think it's family run, that's why it stays where it is for quite sometime. There's probably no problem with cook running away. Waiting time for your order to arrive could be a problem especially during busy times, around 6.30 to 8 PM. The foodstalls are popular with shop and office workers in the complex. Meanwhile, there would only be two or three persons in the very small kitchen.
I usually don't order food other than my favorite, Butter Prawn. Yes, even the person running the place knows I'll order this dish. However, I've eaten with friends who ordered other dishes and liked them (their food). Their other customers also seemed to enjoy their orders. Maybe the next time I go there, I'll order something. Then again, maybe not.
Here's a photo of the butter prawn I'm talking about.
Location: Kompleks Karamunsing Evening Foodstall. Middle stall.
Opening Hours: 5PM-9/10PM
(215 words)

Breakfast binge

Yesterday, Sunday, was a free day for me. Finally. I didn't have much plan so I decided to go down to the weekly Gaya Street Fair in downtown Kota Kinabalu.

It was early and I was hungry, so I decided to have breakfast here.
This was breakfast no. 1 and it was their nasi lemak and iced Milo.
After walking around and getting what I wanted at the weekly fair, it was time for the next stop for breakfast no. 2 here.

I had two toasts with butter and kaya, with iced Milo again. I like the Ice Kacang or Ais Batu Campur too. Satay (available evenings) is also good.

Then, I went off to do one last thing for the morning. I walked around in one of the older shophouses in town and when I couldn't find a suitable shop (maybe because it's Sunday and it's early), I decided to stop by for a drink here.

My stomach got the better of me and I ordered soto to go with my kalamansi juice with dried plum. The menu here is mind boggling. I'll probably need two months to try everything.

Don't worry, after all the eating I didn't have to run to the bathroom very frequently.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Location: Block A, Segama
Opening hours: 24 hours

Fortune Coffee Shop
Location: Jalan Pantai
Opening hours: early morning - 6/7PM
Restoran Seri Rahmat
Location: Block A, Segama
Opening hours: early morning - 9/10PM
(247 words)

12 April 2008

Restoran Taufik

During the day especially around lunchtime, you'll be lucky to get seated immediately as it's usually packed with customers. Even at night during dinnertime, it can be quite full as well.

The word is Restoran Taufik serves the best soto in town. There's a branch, Restoran Taufik 2, in the city centre but the real thing is the one in Inanam. It's a bit out of the way but worth a visit. Despite the name though, it's more like a local coffee shop.

Prices are reasonable. For example, a meal for two and drinks will probably cost around RM10 or less. Service is ok, but at peak time, you'll have to attract the attention of the waiters/waitresses. If you are after soto or rojak, you should get your food in no time. Cleanliness is not something to write home about but it's definitely not dirty or rat infested like some other places. Anyway, the food is worth it. Besides, you can always order takeaway.

Other than the usual, you can also order nasi campur or economy rice (rice with two or three side dishes) or fried noodles or rice. But I don't see the point. It's the place for soto. You don't go KFC for burgers right?

Location: Block E, Inanam New Township Phase II (in the same block with RHB Bank, but on the other end). It’s nearby the Inanam post office and Milimewa Supermarket.
Opening hours: early morning till 10/11pm.
(246 words)

Packing for a vacation

It said that when going for a vacation, the rule of thumb is half the stuff you are packing and double the money you are bringing. That's a probably true.

I consider myself a season traveler, so I've a list of stuff which I will bring with me, particularly when traveling to unfamiliar places like Africa or somewhere in Central Asia.

Here's the list:
1) Toiletries - Toothbrush and toothpaste, perfume, deodorant, facewash and especially for hot places, talcum powder.
2) Medicine - headaches (e.g. Panadol, Ponstan), flu (e.g. Panadol C&F and Vicks Vaporub), cough (e.g. Strepsils), diarrhea (e.g. Pil chi kit teck aun) and some plasters or band-aids;
3) If I'm going overseas, a copy of my passport and IC, extra passport sized photos and the address and contact numbers of the nearest Malaysian embassy (if none, a British one or that of another Commonwealth country will also be useful);
4) An extra foldable bag for all the shopping;
5) Camera & MP3 player; and lastly
6) A good book or two.

Other than these, I usually pack my favorite sleepwear for a good night's rest. For the remainder of my clothes, especially for short trips (a week or less), I will pack enough to see me through the trip without having to launder my clothes. On the other hand, if the trip involves shopping for clothes, I'll just bring a change of clothes or a bit more with me.
(247 words)

Going away for a vacation

I'm going away for a short vacation next week. Well, it's always nice to get away from the office. It's even nicer to spend it with your friends. I hope to get some rest but with all the itinerary planned, I'm not sure this will be the case, though. For that kind of rest, I'll probably need to check in a nice hotel, or a resort all the better. For this trip, my friends and I are planning to go here and there and do stuff like shopping, sightseeing and eating.

I haven't been to the place for sometime now. The last time was in 2003. I can't wait to see what's new, especially with the changes in government recently. Anyway, I hope the food there is still fabulous. Here I come, dot dot dot dot dot dot. Hint: it's an island.
(149 words)

08 April 2008

A kitchen story

This is a story of the kettle calling the pot black. The kettle had been on the stove for 22 days before. Imagine what the kettle did for such a long period. The pot, on the other hand, has been on the stove for 5 days only. Both are black from being on the stove but the kettle is now loudly calling the pot black. The pot, which is now on the stove, is more on a defensive mode, answering back only once in a while.

The problem is both the kettle and the pot are in danger if the pot is removed from the stove by the wok, which is eyeing to be on the stove. For the kettle, it is better if the pot is gone and replaced something other than the wok. The wok will surely take revenge on the kettle for what the kettle did when the kettle was on the stove. The wok is said to be gathering support from all the other equipment in the kitchen.

Now the kettle, not the pot, is very worried. The kettle has got more to lose if the wok is on the stove. The kettle, afterall, was responsible to put the wok in the cupboard. While the pot took the wok out of there.

We'll see what happens next to the kettle, pot and wok.
(232 words)

07 April 2008

What will they charge next?

According to the Star:

AirAsia to have check-in baggage fee

KUALA LUMPUR: Budget airline AirAsia will introduce check-in baggage fees from April 21.

The move is to defray rising fuel costs, said group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes.

The baggage fees are RM3 per bag (for online check-in) and RM5 per bag (for airport check-in).”

What will they charge next? Fee for bringing a hand baggage to the aircraft? Fee to use the scanner to scan your baggage? They might as well ask the passenger to carry their own baggage to the baggage hold on the aircraft before boarding. This will get rid of the costs to bring the baggage from the check-in counter to the aircraft.

Or maybe they will charge passengers with extra baggage on their body. Who knows what they’ll think of next?
(144 words)


Now, I know what I have. I'm one of those people suffering from No Mobile Phobia or Nomophobia. I don't use my mobile all the time but I'm insecure if I don't have my mobile with me.

Now, back to my nomophobia. I usually have my mobile switched on the whole day, even while I'm asleep for the sole reason that there is no landline in my home.

I rarely get calls or messages past midnight but when this happens, I'll wake up unless I'm very tired or sick. I'm fine when it is something important. What I don't understand is that sometimes I get messages which are not very important, i.e. messages like jokes and chain messages that can wait until at least its daytime.

Well, my problem is that once I wake up in the middle of the night, it'll be very difficult for me to go to sleep again. Sometimes, I'll be awake until dawn and then I'll feel like a zombie the rest of the day.

I just wish people are more considerate before sending messages or calling people at ungodly hours. If the message can wait or does not have life and death implications, don't send it to me at 3am in the morning. Please. And, I promise I’ll do the same for you.
(223 words)

A long day

Last week, I went Kuala Lumpur and back in a little over half a day! I left Kota Kinabalu at 1050am and then arrived back at 1250am the next day.

The meeting I attended took only about two hours but it was an important one. So, it was worthwhile to spend the resources to attend it - flight tickets, travel allowances and my time.

Anyway, the best thing that happened during any of my trips to Kuala Lumpur is to get to meet my friends there. That I got to do this time too. Thank you for coming all the way to KLIA to see me.

It was a tiring day indeed but I was glad to see people who make me smile.
(128 words)

26 March 2008

Flying on low cost airlines

Last Sunday I flew back to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur on Airasia. I heard one passenger complained about not getting to sit next to the passenger’s fellow traveler. The passenger remarked that those traveling together should be able to sit together and even wanted to improve their choice of travel arrangements instead of using low cost airlines. If you could afford better, why did you fly on a low cost airlines?

All I can say that particular passenger is probably ignorant of how low cost airlines work. Most low cost airlines do not issue out assigned seat numbers. All you get is a boarding pass and you can choose where to sit, except the crew seats, of course. The reason being passengers will tend to be on time when there is no assigned seat.

If the passenger intends to sit in a particular seat (window, aisle, front, back, etc) or with fellow travelers, then the passenger should arrive early in the airport and be the first to queue up at the boarding gate. If a passenger arrives late, then the passenger will most likely have to sit somewhere they do not want like the passengers I mentioned earlier. So, in order to avoid such a problem, always always arrive early at the airport. Otherwise, you’d be complaining like the passenger I met.
(230 words)

24 March 2008

A well deserved break

I just came back from Kuala Lumpur. We had a very long weekend break in Kota Kinabalu - two back-to-back public holidays on Thursday and Friday and then, the weekend. I spent four days and four nights with friends.

I arrived on Wednesday night. The next day, Thursday, which was also a holiday in Kuala Lumpur, my friends and I went for a picnic. On Friday and Saturday, I spent time with a very important person in my life. It was nice to meet each other again. I also bought four books and a couple of t-shirts.

On Saturday night, we cooked dinner at home. I didn't do much except helping out a little on cooking. Then I spent the evening talking to my friends. Before I went to bed, I finished reading one of the books I bought earlier and this was at 3.30am. It's a habit of mine to finish a book (except for textbooks) at one reading. I just can't help it.

Then on Sunday, my friends and I went to a shopping mall for window shopping, shopping and lunch. It was a large mall, so it was tiring (for me, at least). I bought a magazine (Details), a pair of cuff links and a pair of tie.

All in all, it was a well deserved for me. Thank you to all (you know who you are) for making it happen. I hope to see all of you again soon.
(249 words)

20 March 2008

How to look younger than your age

When I tell my students how old I am (not the exact year, of course), most would invariably ask me how do I look younger than I am. My answer is not some elixir of youth, plastic surgery or any of the latest beauty secrets like botox (ewwww).

My secret (well, not anymore now that I'm sharing it with you) is to lead a worry free life. It doesn't mean that I'm happy all the time. There are times when I'm not, but I try hard to minimise them. Life's too short to fill it with too much worries.

How do you do this? You must first separate problems from inconveniences. Many people mix their problems with their inconveniences. To them, everything is a problem. A problem makes us worry to no end. An inconvenience is probably just temporary and takes little to solve.

Let me demonstrate this with an example. Lets say you are at home and hungry and you need something to eat. You enter the kitchen and head to the fridge. If you open the fridge and find no food inside, then you've got a problem. If you open the fridge and find a slice of cake inside, then you've got an inconvenience.

Once the distinction between a problem and an inconvenience is clear to you, you are on your way to a worry free life and hopefully looking younger than your age.
(245 words)

On the air again

Nope, I'm not on the radio or anything. Actually I'm on a flight to Kuala Lumpur while writing this. It will probably get posted when I get to the home of my friends, who are fetching me tonight.

Actually, I don't enjoy flying although I've been flying before I turned 12 years old. I've flown on many flights to all continents except Central and South America (and course Antartic and Artic). Still, I never feel safe when I'm in a plane. Here's the thing, if a simple toaster can breakdown, how about a plane?

Anyway, I feel safer on tonight's flight. Well, I'm lucky as the captain of the plane is a schoolmate of mine. He's a year older. Back in secondary school, the other students used to say that I was his younger brother because we look alike. I beg to differ. I think I was the cuter one. Hahaha. Anyway, after school, I think he joined the Royal Malaysian Air Force. After some time, he become a commercial pilot.

The last time time I met him was many years ago. It was also on a flight, only that time was on my way back to Kota Kinabalu. I'm not so sure if I get to see him when I disembark later. If I see him, I hope he remembers me when I call him by his second name LB.
(237 words)

16 March 2008


I'm in one. I found out about it lunch time last Friday from another colleague. I was dumbfounded when she told me about it. I feel really bad for her and the others who will or may be affected. The others include me too. Like her, now I feel pretty much demotivated about work. If it happens, which I sure it will, it's just a matter of time, then I'll have another reason to do something else with my life.

With the latest development, it seems that the only that keeps me here is going to happen much later than I expected. I'm not so sure if I'm going to able to wait some more. Whatever it is, I recently saw three interesting job openings in the industry I was in before. I guess that's the cue for me to update my resume (which hasn't been updated since I started teaching) and send out my applications.
(159 words)

13 March 2008

In two hundred fifty words or less

Now I know its a tall order but since I decided so, or else I'll have to eat, no pun intended, my own words. If you read from the beginning, you'll know that I capped the limit for each post at 250 words. Now, I can say its easier said than done.

But the reason for my limit is to make it easier for the readers (not too many at this stage though). There are some good blogs out there but I've lost interest in them due to their long posts, especially the long and winding ones. Sometimes, I feel like screaming, "What's the point?"

As I said, it is hard to limit myself to 250 words but I have come across blogs with only 100 words per post. Amazing. But here I am, sometimes having more than 1 post for a related topic. Sometimes, I just have too much to stay on some thing. Anyway, I'll try to minimise this in the future, (now we at 175 words), I promise.
(180 words)

Why I do what I do? (2)

The long answer is while doing my masters, my lecturers would inquire if I was in the teaching line. When I say 'no', they’d be surprised, saying that the way I conduct myself in presentations and discussions seemed to suggest I was.

One lecturer even suggested teaching when I told her that I’d be looking for a new job as I quit my old job to study. That got me into thinking and what do you know, two institutions of higher learning at home were hiring when I completed my masters. So, I applied. Anyway, I got a job with my last (so far) corporate employer before I got my current job.

In my previous job, my salary was double my salary new. Sure it was a drastic cut but I'm not a materialistic person. For example, a car for me is just a means to get from point A to point B. It doesn't have to be the latest Japanese or Continental model. As long as I get to pay my bills, which are not much anyway and buy some stuff for myself from time to time, I'm happy.

Teaching, however, rewards you in other ways. Only thing is now, after a few years doing it, I'm not sure if I want to continue on. And its not because of the money, but because of my own personal satisfaction. We’ll see how things turn out in the future.
(248 words)

Why I do what I do? (1)

I am actually now on my third career. When I graduated from university, I joined a local company for a short time before moving to another company in another industry where I worked for sometime before leaving again, this time to study full-time.

After completing my studies, I worked for yet another company before ending up with the organization I'm with now, an institution of higher learning.

A stark contrast between the two worlds, corporate and academic, is in the pay I get now. Before this, I earned a lot lot more than now. The other thing is the way things get done. There are so many administrative red tapes in what we do here.

When I told them I had decided to teach, my friends asked what got into me or worst, what was wrong with me. It's not everyday someone does this, I know. Most experienced people would go from academic to corporate but not from corporate to academic. It's just not done. Not very often anyway.

When I first came here, I am often asked by my current colleagues why I am here. Well, the short answer is that I want to try teaching and I want to contribute to the country by teaching our youngsters. How patriotic am I? Well, not very, as there is a longer version of this in my next post.
(237 words)

12 March 2008

Me, myself and I (2)

What else do I have to tell you about myself?

Ok, I told you that I've been to a number of countries due to study, work or holiday. Countries that I've been to are Azerbaijan, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mozambique, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, United States of America, United Arab Emirates and Vatican City (technically in Rome, Italy but its still a sovereign state). I’ve also been to two out of the Stans (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).

What do I do when I'm travelling? I usually gravitate towards museums, buildings and historical sites. I love London and Paris for all the museums. Chicago and Sydney for modern architecture. Istanbul, Rome and Yogyakarta for historical sites. For fun and shopping, you can't miss with Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, but make sure you come during the sales season. For natural attractions, however, I'd stick with my home state, Sabah. It's just too beautiful to be ignored.

If I have the money, I'd like to visit more countries, of course. We'll see. Maybe I get to blog it here.
(200 words)

06 March 2008

Me, myself and I (1)

I was born many years ago (yes, I am that old) in the hospital of a small town somewhere in Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo. Before I turned one year old, my family moved to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah and we have been living there ever since.

After I attending primary school, I got a scholarship to a top boarding school in West Malaysia for secondary school. The school, I believe, played a strong role in making me who and what I am today. Gosh, writing about it reminds me of my time and the people I met there. If only I could turn back the clock. Don't worry, I'll blog about it in the future.

After secondary school, I completed my bachelor's degree overseas. It was also on a scholarship. I don't consider myself brilliant but as luck would have it, I got what I got.

Since then graduating, I've worked for a financial institution, two multinational companies and a institution of higher learning. In between, I managed to complete my master's degree, also overseas. Currently, I'm teaching at an institution of higher learning in Kota Kinabalu.

In addition to studying overseas, I've also lived and worked overseas. Besides Malaysia, I've lived and worked or study in three different countries. In Malaysia, I've lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak. In addition, I've visited more than 20 countries either for work or vacation.
(245 words)

05 March 2008

Beginilah aku

That's the title of this blog which roughly means to "this is how I am" in Malay/Indonesian. The words actually came from the lyrics of an Indonesian song that I really like. The song is a beautiful duet entitled "Bukan Lagu Cinta", sung by Marcell Siahaan and Karen Pooroe. It was composed and written by Dewi Lestari, who happens to be Marcell’s wife. The song is from Marcell's aptly titled "Hidup" album, produced in 2007. All the songs in the album are nice to listen. I got it during my vacation in Indonesia over Chinese New Year 2008.

The part of the song lyrics with the words in particular is below:

Saat semua kata kehilangan makna
Saat segala upaya terasa hampa
Sekaranglah itu, beginilah aku

The English translation is as follows:

The moment all words lost their meaning
The moment all your labors are fruitless
This is now, this is how I am

When I started to think seriously about the title, I wanted something that is simple but covers what the blog is all about. And the blog is about me. So, this is how I am and I hope you will accept me as I am, with all my shortcomings.
(206 words)

04 March 2008

Numero uno

I've been wanting to start a blog for sometime now. So, this is it. I'll try to keep blogging as much as I can but you will never know. I plan to blog about anything and everything.

I also take pictures, so I'll post of them here once in a while. Please feel free to use the pictures, but it would much appreciated if they are properly attributed. I'll do the same too. A mention of this blog web address would suffice.

If you like what you read or see, just go ahead and link this website to yours. I hope you don't mind if I do the same. Also, upon your request, I can also link your website to mine.

I write in both English and Malay, but will probably use more of the former. As neither is my first language, I humbly apologize for any mistakes within. Anyway, as a student, I thoroughly enjoyed writing element of classes or courses I took.

Lastly, to keep my blog short and simple, I plan to limit the words I use in each post to about two hundred fifty words or less. Thankfully, Windows Mobile got word count.

Oh ya, by the way, you can call me Jae. Not a Korean but to some, I look like one. I'll tell you more about myself in my next post. Before I forget, thanks for coming by my blog. I hope to keep you coming back here, you hear.
(250 words)
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