25 December 2009

Father and Son Again

Photo was taken at Tanjung Aru Beach, Kota Kinabalu on Sunday 6 December 2009 at 5.52 PM.

Sunset or Gazebo

Photo was taken at Tanjung Aru Beach, Kota Kinabalu on Saturday 5 December 2009 at 5.50 PM.

26 November 2009

Imperial or Metric?

I just started secondary school when the country began the switch from imperial measurements to metric ones. Yes, it was confusing though once you get it, I'd say metric is easier. Afterall, for example, there are 100 centimetres in a meter and 1,000 meters in a kilometre but 12 inches in a foot, and three feet in a yard. Which one is easier to remember? Metric ones, of course.

Anyhow, I left school and went to university in a country which still uses (even now) the imperial system. When I got back home, I got my first job and I remember one occasion when I got the two systems mixed up. On of my colleagues asked me how much I weight. I answered wrongly, saying “65 pounds”. Another colleague quipped, “That must be the weight of one of your legs.” Everyone laughed. After that, I never used pound or feet, any more.
(154 words)

Arabic or Tamil?

Many years ago, I was travelling on a flight between West and East Malaysia. For this particular flight, I asked to be seated at the last row of the plane, which was a Boeing 737.

Anyway, sometime during the flight, one of the female flight attendants took a stack of newspapers from under the aisle seat and placed them on the seat.

Apparently someone must've asked for a newspaper as I saw her loooking through the stack. She must've noticed me for stopped in the middle of the stack, which happened to be on a newspaper in the Arabic script, probably the Utusan Melayu, the only paper printed in that script. Back to the flight attendant, when she stopped, she first looked at the paper and then at me, mouthing a question in Malay, asking me if I could read it. Caught off guard, I sheepishly answered that I could but a little slow.

The flight attendant continued looking through the stack of newspapers. I was still watching her and I supposed she noticed it as she stopped looking and looked at me again instead. This time, I had a question for her. I nonchalantly asked in Malay too, "Looking for the Tamil one, is it?"

I had the last laugh this time because she was probably too dumbstruck to answer. Instead, she just returned the whole stack to under the seat. From then on, I hardly notice her smiling when she passed by. Well, you started it.
(250 words)

American or British?

A few years back, when I applied for a visa to a certain English speaking country, one of the requirements was an interview with the staff at the country's Embassy.

At the appointed time, I came but had to wait for a little bit for those applicants who came in before me to be interviewed first. There seemed to be a prepared set of questions asked by the Embassy’s staff.

I wasn't so concerned about getting the visa because the organization I worked for then had dealings with organizations in that country. What concerned me was what would be my answer for a particular question I overheard, which was, "Do you speak English?". I could've answer with a simple, "Yes" or with a triumphant and thumping "Yes indeed, I do". I even thought of answering it with a question, "American or British?" in my best accent of both, of course.

Anyway, when my turn came, the staff enquired about my English as expected. But he asked me, "How's your English" instead of the question I thought about. Unexpectedly and too bad, all I could muster for an answer was an uninspiring "Uhm, okay."
(195 words)

22 November 2009

A Tale of Two Mobile Service Providers

One of them is not applicable in this post.

I have two mobile phones with two different service providers. One is the same with my broadband service. For my birthday, I didn't get anything from this service provider, not even a free happy birthday sms. Last month, however, I got 30 minutes of free calls for numbers within the same network for my 12th anniversary using their service. Yes, 12 years. During this time, I’ve kept the same number but have been changing from one package to another.
The other provider, on the other hand, gave me 1 whole day of free calls for numbers within the same network on my birthday. Believe it or not, I've been using their service for less than 2 years. Less 2 years.

One more thing I feel my birthday is a more significant date than the anniversary date of my signing up with a service provider. But I guess that's not up to me to decide.
(165 words)

My Broadband Service Provider is Amazing

Only one of them is applicable in this post.

Amazingly slow, that is. I've been using the service since April this year and its not getting any better. Sometimes, both the upload and download indicate 0 kpbs. I'm not a heavy user of Internet. Normally, my monthly usage is way below than the 5G allocated. I usually use facebook, e-mails, look up information for work, blog and enjoy interactions in social and interest forums. Actually, I wanted to terminate the service but then the modem is tied to this particular provider, which means, I can't use it with another. Too bad, huh. Well, my own stupid mistake.

I've asked a friend who works with the service provider about this and one of the possible causes I was told is that much of the bandwidth was being used up by the students at a nearby university. I can see that but I know that the students have completed their final exams and most would be on their way back to their hometown. I expected the service to improve when the students are gone. Sadly, its still the same now.
(190 words)

21 November 2009

What did I get for my birthday?

A book, a perfume and deodorant set, a lunch, a digital camera bag (but I managed to squeeze my notebook in there too), a digital photography book, a cake and a lot of wishes from my family and friends. Thank you all. For me, its the thoughts, not the physical items, that count.

P/S: I'm still thinking of what to buy for myself. I'm thinking of getting accessories for my digital camera - maybe, a lens or two and a flash.
(83 words)

19 November 2009

My Birthday

I was born today many years ago. Sometime ago, I got around asking my mother about the time I was born. Well for starters, I was born in the local hospital of my mother's hometown. She said labor wasn't very difficult. My mother came to the hospital around 8am and voila, 2 hours later, I was born. If you check here, you'll know I was born on a Tuesday.

My mother said I wasn't a particularly difficult baby to take care of. Even later, as a young boy, I wasn't a difficult child. According to her, I usually followed what I was told, like to stay in one place or to behave. (Wow, I'm amazed of myself, really.) Anyway, I still could recall being mischievous at times, but there were not so many of these. Kids being kids, I guess.

I usually try to take leave on my birthday. That's not possible today as I've a lot of things to do at work. If I'd taken leave, I'll probably do them at home, anyway. So, what's the point of taking leave, right? It's too bad that I'd to work on my birthday but I'll get through it.
(199 words)

15 November 2009

10 Things to Do in Jakarta

Photo: Ships at Sunda Kelapa Port
I've lost count of my trips to Jakarta for work. I first went in 2001. My worst experience was being in the city the day the Australian embassy in Kuningan was bombed. My colleagues and I even passed by the area on our way to work that particular morning.

For a change, I was in Jakarta for a proper vacation for the very first time last December.

Here's the list:

  1. Visit Monas, the National monument and have a picnic on the grounds. Don't forget nearby buildings, like the Istiklal Mosque and the Roman Catholic church.
  2. Visit Jakarta old quarter and see old buildings from past centuries.
  3. See the ships at Sunda Kelapa port and if you are lucky, you'll see a nice sunset too.
  4. Visit Ancol area. Taman Mini Indonesian and the Underwater World are perennial attractions.
  5. Eat somewhere along Jalan Jaksa. A backpackers haunt, the road is lined by many food outlets.
  6. Shop at Mangga Dua area for affordable stuff and souvenirs.
  7. Shop at Plaza Indonesia or Senayan Mall for more upmarket goods.
  8. Stock up on local Indonesian music CD's and Indonesian movies DVD's. The prices will blow you away.
  9. Get lost for books at Taman Gunung Agung Kwitang or at any Gramedia outlets.
  10. Take a train and get away to Bandung and Bogor, 3 hours and 1 hour away respectively. Enjoy the cooler climate in both places and in Bandung, some more shopping.

(249 words)

14 November 2009

Last Night

Actually, ten nights ago. There was a full moon, so I decided to take my camera out and take a photo of the moon.

Reminds of Az Yet’s song “Last Night”. Last night, while making love to you. I saw the sun, the moon, the mountains and the rivers…

Photo was taken from outside my home, Kota Kinabalu on Wednesday 4 November at 10.15PM

10 November 2009

10 Things to Do in Manila

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Palm Tree - Roxas Boulevard during the anniversary of People Power Revolution

The List:

  1. Intramuros, in particular Fort Santiago.
  2. Manila Cathedral & UNESCO World Heritage Site Saint Agustin Church. Both are located in Intramuros.
  3. Have a picnic at Rizal Park/Luneta Park.
  4. Look at the excellent permanent and rotating exhibits at the Ayala Museum.
  5. National Museum of Filipino People.
  6. Roxas Boulevard. Take a walk in the morning or late afternoon along Manila Bay.
  7. Shopping at SM Mall of Asia (MoA). I prefer Robinson Place in Malate or Greenbelt/Glorietta in Makati but MoA is huge.
  8. Clubbing in J Nakpil street, Malate.
  9. Shop for trinkets, souvenirs or gifts, what the Filipinos call 'pasalubong' at Greenhills.
  10. Visit the still active Taal volcano.

I have been to Manila only twice, so that doesn't make me an expert. My first time here was a surprise for me. Generally I found people were warm, friendly and helpful.

Another thing that really struck me is that there are so many beautiful and handsome people in this city. It was impossible not to notice. I even remarked to a travel mate that may be there's a law keeping the not so beautiful and not so handsome people, or most of them at least, locked at home.

P/S I might visit again in early December.

(233 words)

04 November 2009

Father and Son (1)

Photo was taken at Tanjung Aru Beach, Kota Kinabalu on Sunday 25 October 2009 at 5.40 PM.

03 November 2009

Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)

Microphone and examination announcement script for the chief invigilator.

My students diligently answering my examination.

The institution of higher learning where I worked has just commenced its final examination weeks for the on-going semester. Examination for both my papers were held in the first week. One is for about thirty students; the other, about three hundred students. Each paper has five questions. I am fine with the smaller group, as the questions are all qualitative. But with the larger one, I'll have to pore over 1,500 answers. And being a quantitative paper, I'll have to go over each question carefully especially when the students answers' do not match my own marking scheme. I give credit where credit is due.

Marking examination scripts is the thing I like least in my job. Ask any academic, they'll probably say the same. I'll probably spend the whole of the next week or so marking. But, if you are reading this my students, don't worry, though I may take time marking, I don't take shortcuts in doing it. Be rest assured that scripts are duly checked from front to back.
(188 words)

01 November 2009

Reflections and Contemplations

Five years ago today, I made the jump from the corporate world to the academia. Some of my friends then thought I've lost my mind. Looking back, maybe I really did. I'm now nowhere closer to where I'd like to be then. Perhaps it's time look reflect on what I've done and contemplate what I should be doing next. Did I make the wrong choice? Should I stay on or should I move on with my life? These are the questions playing in my mind. I don't have the answers but once I do, then it's my resolve. I know, this time around, some of my friends now might think I'm losing it again. Ah, well, c'est la vie.

20 October 2009

Butter Prawn Recipe

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients (for four to five people):

1. Prawn - 500 grams - Keep shell intact but slit the back and remove the black thread

2. Cooking Oil - 1/2 cup

3. Egg Yolk - 4 to 5 eggs - Beaten (Hint: you can use the egg white to stir fry vegetables with)

4. Butter - 2 to 3 tablespoons

5. Fresh Curry Leaves - 2 to 3 sprigs - Chopped

6. Bird's Eye Chillies - 5 to 6 pieces - Chopped and if you prefer, deseeded

7. Sugar - 1 tablespoon

8. Salt - to taste (I usually use minimally)


1. Heat cooking oil

2. Half-fry prawn, remove and dry

3. Remove used cooking oil

3. Heat butter

4. Pour egg yolk slowly from a high position and keep stirring (Hint: This is the hardest part.)

5. Add in curry leaves, chillies, sugar and salt

6. Add in half-fried prawn and mix with the rest of the ingredients

It's that easy. By the way, the prawn is the key to the dish. So the fresher the prawn, the better. And one more thing, don't ask me for any other dishes because my favorite dishes are simple fried fish and stir-fried vegetables, which anyone can cook.
(246 words)

Butter Prawn

A few of my friends in the office decided to have a potluck gathering over Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Everyone agreed to bring bring/make/buy something for the gathering. Mine was Butter Prawn, the dry version. I thought it tasted so and so but some of my friends liked it. Here's a photo of it, which was cropped from a friend's photo taken on that day.

19 October 2009

18 October 2009 Sunset

One of the things I try to do on weekends is a visit to Tanjung Aru beach to catch the sunset. The beach would be filled with people, enjoying themsleves either by sitting around, eating and drinking, playing games (soccer, rugby and seasports) or taking photographs (like me and many others). The other places that I take photographs of sunset is Anjung Samudera or the Waterfront in Kota Kinabalu city center and the building where I work (really).

Photo was taken at Tanjung Aru Beach, Kota Kinabalu on Sunday 18 October 2009 at 5.51PM.

Photo was taken at Tanjung Aru Beach, Kota Kinabalu on Sunday 18 October 2009 at 5.53PM.

It's Been A While

I know. I've been busy the past one month, with work particularly. I feel like going on a good long vacation but I'm not so sure if that's possible anytime soon. Anyway, it looks like the next one month will a hectic one for me. So if you are a regular visitor, please forgive me if I don't post that often.

16 September 2009

16 September 2009

One year on, we are still governed by the same federal government. Where's all the talk of forming a new federal government? Maybe it's just a case of empty vessels make the most noise. (Check out the meaning of this proverb here). My guess is he's just too busy with other more pressing matter.

Anyway, happy Malaysia day, Malaysians.

Malaysia Oh Malaysia

One of the things I really feel bad and unhappy about is that when I get to Peninsular Malaysia and people I meet (usually for work) asks, "Bila sampai kat Malaysia?" or "When (did you) arrive in Malaysia?" It makes me feel like I am from another country altogether.

This happened when I went on to study for my whole secondary and part of my tertiary education in Peninsular Malaysia and then went on to work in Sarawak and here in Sabah. It still happens today. The sad thing is that the very people who asked me are generally educated fellow Malaysians, who I believe should have better general knowledge, if not historical knowledge, than your average Malaysians.

For the record, 46 years ago today, a country by name of Malaysia came into being by the federation of British North Borneo (as Sabah was known then), Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore. If this didn't happen, there wouldn't be Malaysia as we know it today.

There's an interesting report by the Malay Mail about Hari Malaysia. Check it out.

09 September 2009


What a nice date! To commemorate it, let me tell you nine things about me that you probably don’t know (unless you’re my best friend or something). Here goes:
  • One is the only distinction I got for my last examination in secondary school. Anyway, I impressed the panel of a scholarship interview because it was conducted in English. One remarked (loudly, because I heard it), “He can speak English.”
  • Two is the number of girls I’ve fallen head over heels over. Too bad, we didn’t work out.
  • Three is the number of cars I had over the years. All cute small cars.
  • Four is the number of years I took to complete my bachelor’s degree after finishing my school. That meant I got at 21 years old.
  • Five is the number of close friends I have since leaving secondary school (you know who you are). One friends even had a name for our group – NTL.
  • Six inches above five feet is my height. I’m short but still managed to be a starter on my school’s basketball team.
  • Seven years is the length of time I spent living out of the country.
  • Eight is the number of siblings in my family, five boys and three girls. Sadly, two are no longer with us today.
  • Nine months is the time I took to complete my master’s degree.

Today’s post was brought to you by the number Nine and letter Jae.

(249 words)

04 September 2009

Don’t Blame the Indonesian People, Blame Some of the Indonesian Media

I know I’ve written not so nice things before on the current Indonesia-Malaysia row. I don’t blame the Indonesian people for this. The parties to be blame for sensationalizing the issues are some of the Indonesian media, who I consider as overzealous. Worse still as members of media, they failed to check the authenticity and veracity of the news, print or broadcast. I thought that would be taught in Journalism 101.

As an example, the latest row is about the song Terang Bulan. If the journalist had bothered to google or do some Internet search, he/she would have read that the song was composed by a Frenchman in the late 19th century and in early 20th was adapted as its national by the state of Perak, a state in Malaysia today. This was a long time before it was recorded by Indonesia artists and adapted as the national anthem of Malaysia. Go ahead look it up yourself.

Well, I guess these kinds will write and air anything to sell their newspapers and make more watch their television programs. The kind of reporting they are practicing is sickening and must be stopped. There is no need to make a wedge between us as there are so many things where Indonesians and Malaysians can co-operate for the betterment of the two countries. Like it or not, we are stuck as neighbors until kingdom come.
(234 words)

01 September 2009

Poverty in Malaysia : The Answer (?)

Someone wrote to me about the post on poverty I did earlier.

Well, I don't have all the answers but I believe the key in solving the problem of poverty lies in education. If you educate the children of the poor well, these children then can help their families. Hopefully, the cycle of poverty will stop.

But when I mean education, its not just sending them to the nearest school. If you are a poor child and have to help in the family to get food on the table, which would you choose? Going to school or going without food?

What is needed is a comprehensive program where the children of the poor are given all, yes ALL, that they need to get educated well. Put them in hostels during primary and secondary schools. Provide them food, clothes, books and some pocket money. Give them a break for entry to institutions of higher learning. As long as they meet the minimum entry requirement, let them in. Give them scholarships to study. I know its cliché but remember the saying about teaching a man to fish? Here, we are teaching the poor children to fish. Where there is a will, there is a way.

I know that studies after studies have been done to study poverty in the country. But, even now, where are we? Back at square one. Why are there still poor people in our country?
(239 words)

31 August 2009

No Malaysian National Day Parades This Year

Due the H1N1, there are no large scale National Day parades this year in most places in Malaysia, including Kota Kinabalu. Too bad because I love parades for as long as I remember. In fact, as a child, I only wanted to a soldier. In high school, I joined the marching band and took part in five National Day parades. Later at work, I took part in three National Day parades, including one at the national level.

If I'm free, I'd usually try to be one of the spectators lining up the parade way. I guess, I'm patriotic this way. Well, since there is no parade this year for me to take photos of, I leave you with some photos I took from the last year's parade.

(129 words)

10 Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur

The Twins

I first came to KL, as we Malaysians affectionately call the city, many years ago as a twelve-year old boy, en route to another city to continue my education in a boarding school. Since then, I’ve lived and worked in the city and yes, even holidayed there.

The list:
1. Visit the PETRONAS Twin Towers, go for the free skybridge tour. I worked here before and for the record, the highest floor I’ve been was Level 81.
2. Visit KL's old and new train stations, which are one stop from each other. Experience the old and new KL.
3. Stand in Masjid Jamek, the muddy confluence of Klang and Gombak Rivers, where KL began figuratively and literally.
4. Visit the Islamic Arts Museum.
5. Shop in Bukit Bintang, from venerable Sungai Wang and Bukit Bintang Plazas to new Pavillion and Berjaya Times Square.
6. Shop for handicrafts and gifts at Central Market.
7. Have a picnic at the Lake Gardens and visit the surrounding attractions like the Malaysian National Monument, Deer Park, KL Bird Park, Butterfly Park, Hibiscus Garden and Orchid Garden.
8. Dinner at Seri Angkasa (revolving) Restaurant, KL Tower. Superb views especially when there’s rain, thunder and lightning.
9. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner, supper at the many food outlets around the city, some are even open 24/7.
10. Catch a performance at Istana Budaya and/or PETRONAS Philharmonic Hall.

Happy National Day Malaysians

No matter what's our race, religion and political affiliation, I wish that we Malaysians will continue to contribute to our nation's development. I've lived in and visited many countries, Malaysia is always THE country for me. I'm proud to be a Malaysian. Malaysia, my home, my country.

30 August 2009

Sexy photo

Of a cat, not of me hehehe. This is Arsene, one of my five cats.

These are four of them. From the left, in clockwise direction, are Chester, the white tiger lookalike; Arsene, or is it Ashton, I can't see the tip of the tail to tell them apart and finally, their sister, Chelsea.
The fifth cat is actually Chester, Arsene, Ashton and Chelsea's mother. No she is not named after another English football club. Hmmm Liv, after my favorite club, Liverpool, would be a cool name for a girl cat. We call her Fina after the Turkish club, Fenerbache.

The cats live outside our house. It's a corner lot terrace house, they have lots of space to run around in. I'll write about them in the future.

29 August 2009

10 Things to Do Series

I guess I will make my "10 Things to Do" lists a series. The list includes places to visit, food outlets to try out an of course things to do at each place. My list is based on my own experience visiting and in some cases, living at these particular places.

My hope is that the "10 Things to Do" lists will help you start the ball rolling in visiting a particular place. You don't have to follow my list. Well, that's why we call it my list in the first place. Mine would most likely include places like a museum or two, historical related, nature related and most importantly, food related.

Go ahead and make up your own based on your likes and interest. If you can, don't forget to share them with fellow travellers. You can read my earlier list for Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand.
(151 words)

28 August 2009

Top 10 Museums

According to the June 2009 edition of Airasia's in-flight magazine, travel3sixty. These museums are located in Airasia's destinations.

The list with some remarks is below. My own comments, only applicable to cities I’ve been to, are in brackets.
  1. National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh - completes knowledge of Angkor Wat. (No comment).
  2. National Museum of Singapore - fresh modern approach and history back to 14th century. (Hah, I beg to differ. When I last visited about 10 years ago, the period between 14th century and 1824 was a blank. Anyway, the Asian Civilizations Museum at Empress Place is a much better choice).
  3. Sarawak Museum, Kuching - arguably Malaysia's best museum. (I don't want to argue but it's a good museum).
  4. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi - most comprehensive museum. (No comment).
  5. Islamic Arts Museum, KL - works from Persia & Middle East to China and India. (I enjoyed visiting this museum very much).
  6. Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang, Laos - formerly a royal residence. (No comment).
  7. Sono-Budoyo Museum, Yogyakarta - country's most complete museum. (I also enjoyed visiting this museum very much).
  8. Natural History Museum, London - botany to zoology. (I've never been here but I enjoyed my visit to the British Museum. I practically spent a whole day there).
  9. Hall of Opium, Chiang Saen, Thailand. (No comment).
  10. National Palace Museum, Taipei - on par with Lourve & MOMA and features Chinese architects. (No comment).
(247 words)

I Don't Know if Malaysia Airlines Will Make It

This is a follow-up to my previous post. The more I look, the more depressing the figures become. The table below shows the operating revenue and operating expense of Malaysia Airlines from 2005 to Quarter 2 2009.


Operating Revenue

Operating Expenses














































































It seems that out of 18 quarters, operating revenue exceeded operating expense only 5 times. How do your sustain your core activity if no profits are derived from your core business activities? I think the airline should look into more efforts in reducing its costs.

I read somewhere once that Tony Fernandes the CEO of Airasia once said that costs is Airasia’s enemy and not other airlines or other modes of transportation. Perhaps, Malaysia Airlines should take heed of this statement.

(202 words)

Will Malaysia Airlines make it?

My friend posted this interesting post about Malaysia Airlines. Here’s my take on the same issue.

When I look at companies, one of the things that I like to know is its operating results. In the airline industry, among other things, you’ll look at revenues, passenger/cargo load factors and yields. Other than revenue, profit or loss from operations figures would indicate how a company is doing financially in its core business activity.

Based on data from Malaysia Airlines website, here are the profit or loss from operations figures in (RM’000) from 2005 to Quarter 2, 2009 (figures in brackets indicate loss):

Q1 91,091
Q2 (278,356)
Q3 (363,534)
Q4 (605,125)
Total (1,251,603)

Q1 (309,533)
Q2 (160,677)
Q3 72,693
Q4 94,673
Total (133,737)

Q1 146,843
Q2 54,379
Q3 376,389
Q4 260,764
Total 875,227

Q1 132,898
Q2 62,029
Q3 44,277
Q4 66,252
Total 305,457

Q1 (137,917)
Q2 (420,814)
Total (558,730) (Q1-Q2)

For 2009, here’s what the airline has to say:
  • The Group's targets are: RM499 million loss - RM50 million net income (on target), RM51 million - RM500 million (exceeding) and RM501 million - RM 1 billion (outstanding).
  • In July 2009, Aviation Week announced Malaysia Airlines as one of the top 3 airlines in the world (together with Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa) capable of weathering the current crisis.
I’m not making any analysis or posting an Excel graph here. I leave it to you to make your own conclusions. Only time will tell.
(249 words)

27 August 2009

Of Pendet, Reog and Rasa Sayange

If Indonesia is so hard up about wanting back whatever it owns like Pendet, Reog, Rasa Sayange and so on, then it should also take back the thousands, if not a million of its citizens who are in Malaysia illegally. These illegals or "pendatang haram" in Malay are certainly not welcomed in Malaysia. This comment is for all those anti-Malaysian commentators on the recent Pendet furore, here, here and here. And in the end,as reported by an Indonesian English press, it was a mistake. A BIG one if I might add. By the way, Indonesians who are in Malaysia legally are more than welcome to stay.

Frankly, I've nothing against Indonesians. I've a number, not many I admit, of Indonesian friends. I enjoy Indonesian music (all bought legally in Indonesia or here). I like Indonesia food - Nasi Padang, Pecal, Gado-gado, Gudeg, anytime. In fact, I've lost count of the number of times I've been to that country, either for business or leisure. What I don't understand is why are some people are like hell breaking loose on issues like Pendet, Reog, Rasa Sayange and so on. We are from the same archipelago and as our people move from one place to another, we are bound to share a lot of things, culture included. Having said that, however, I'm seriously thinking of not going to Indonesia anytime soon or even anytime at all.
(235 words)

If only there's such a thing.

I'd like to be on the first one up.
(11 words)

26 August 2009

If you want to bend bamboo, do it while it is still a shoot.

The title above is a translation of a Malay saying, "Kalau hendak melentur buluh, biarlah dari rebungnya." Likewise, if we want to instill something positive in people, we need to do it when they are still young.

About a couple of weeks ago, I was at the weekly Gaya Street Fair and was pleasantly surprised to see local dance performances by a young dance troupe from a local primary school and gamelan performances by a gamelan group from a local secondary school. It's heartening to see their performances being showcased to local and foreign tourists at the street fair.

This is all part of the Pusat Seni Setempat or Culture Hotspot organised jointly by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall and the Sabah National Culture and Arts Department. There were also performances by local singers and the department's cultural troupe. One improvement the organisers should consider is a proper stage for the performances. If you are interested, you can catch the next one on Sunday in the third week of October.

Here are some photos of our young dancers.
Dancers from Stella Maris primary school.
Sumazau dance.
Dancers getting ready.

Another traditional dance
(194 words)

24 July 2009

Mount Kinabalu: Up Close and Personal

Despite being born at a small town at the foot of the majestic Mount Kinabalu, I've never been up to the peak of the mountain. So far, the highest point that I've been to is the first hut or stop up the mountain. These pictures are the closest I got to the peak of the mountain.

During my last trip to Sandakan, I managed to capture the pictures above on my afternoon flight back to Kota Kinabalu. The day before I also took the afternoon flight but sadly took the window seat of the wrong side of the aircraft. Anyway, on the flight back, when I checked-in early and asked for the seat which gets the best view of the Mountain. Thank you to the nice lady at the counter, now I know its seat 8F or 9F for the Boeing 737 flight between Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. Never take 7F because it has no windows to speak of.

Now that you know, reserve the seat when you buy the ticket or do an early check-in through the web or by arriving early at the airport. Another thing is I suppose it's also be best if you could take the early morning flight (as of now, around 730am from Kota Kinabalu) rather than the afternoon flight. You can see that there's a lot of cloud surrounding the mountain. Have a good view.
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You've probably read his books or saw films based on his books. Yes, this book was written by the late Michael Crichton. I've read a number of his books like Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Andromeda Strain, The State of Fear, Prey and Next.

I read Time Frame because the author of Flight of the Titans, Kenny Kemp, suggested it in his book. If you're interested in the aircraft manufacturing battle between Airbus and Boeing, you should read this book.
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Flight of the Titans

I am into the airline industry. When I was doing my Masters degree, my research papers for my coursework were mostly on or related to this industry. One of my papers got the highest score in my class and another is published in an academic journal.

I found the above book at a book fair. It's an interesting book about the race between Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Airbus is now winning. The A380 is already in service, while the 787 is still on the ground, with both flight test and (subsequently) delivery to the first customer delayed.

This race is not about size but rather two aircrafts with different propositions. One is large and the other smaller but has a longer distance coverage. Which do you choose if you are an airline CEO?

One problem with airline industry, similar to hotel industry, any unsold seats on a flight are gone forever. At times, it might be hard to fill up airline seats, so what's the use of having an aircraft with large capacity, with all those many possible unsold seats? Another problem is that few airports have the infrastructure (runways and terminals) that can accommodate such a large airliner.

I guess you know which aircraft I like. Well, my first flight was on a Boeing 737 many years ago and then I went on business trips on Boeing 747s and 777s. Besides, the Dreamliner looks way too cool for an aircraft.
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Sleepless in Sandakan

Last month, I went on business trips to the towns of Tawau (day trip) and Sandakan (overnight) in the east coast of Sabah. Our admin support made the booking for hotel in Sandakan.

Little did I know that there's a story behind the hotel. I'm not going to name the hotel here. If you're familiar with Sandakan, it's enough for me to say that the hotel is on a hill and surrounded by the jungle. Yes, jungles, I should've known.

I checked in around 5PM and when I got to my room on the 4th floor, I can tell the hotel was quiet and looked deserted. After dinner, I got back to the room to rest. Usually when I go to sleep I will have one light on.

Anyway, while lying in bed, I suddenly heard a woman's voice screaming for maybe less than a minute. I thought maybe someone was having too much fun. But then, immediately the room's window curtains rustled for no reason. Well, after that, I switched on all the lights in the room and tried very hard to get to sleep.

Later in the office, a colleague told me her experience in the same hotel. She stayed there once. But at least she was luckier, she was with her husband. I'm definitely staying in another hotel the next time.

Photo of a hotel in a jungle: illustration only (taken from internet)

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