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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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