30 April 2009

Friends' Vacation in Kota Kinabalu

My friends will be vacationing in Kota Kinabalu this long Labor Day weekend - Yeah. This is what I have planned for them:

Friday, May 1 – KK and Surrounding
  • Lokkawi Wildlife Park and Botanical Gardens
  • Lunch at Grace Garden
  • Tamu Penampang or Sabah State Museum
  • Signal Hill Lookout
  • Pasar Pilipin
  • Dinner at Anjung Selera (sunset)
  • 1Borneo Mall
  • Movie

Saturday, May 2 – Tanjung Simpang Mengayau
  • Kota Belud
  • Tanjung Simpang Mengayau
  • Rungus Longhouse, Kampung Bavaganzo
  • Pantai Dalit/Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort (Sunset)
  • Seafood Dinner at Salut Kg Gayang
  • Pasar Malam

Sunday, May 3 – Gaya Street Fair & Pulau Manukan
  • Gaya Street Fair
  • Fortune's
  • Lunch at Nasi Padang Ibu, Jesselton Point
  • Pulau Manukan
  • Kampung Tanjung Aru Lookout
  • Tanjung Aru beach (Sunset)
  • Dinner at Damai

Monday, May 4 – Kinabalu National Park
  • Pekan Nabalu
  • Kinabalu National Park
  • War Memorial, Kundasang
  • Poring Hot Springs
  • Dinner at Restoran Seri Melaka/1Borneo

Sadly, I won't be able to join them all the time due to work commitment. Sorry, friends. I hope you all will enjoy your vacation anyway.
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Spam SMS

From time to time I'll get spam SMSses. Well, I'm not that stupid and greedy to give my money to these spammers. I'm only smart enough (I think) to reply their SMS with an SMS of my own.

Here's an example of what I got from the sender:

Nombor Hotlink
Anda tlh berjaya
Mendptkan hadiah
Utama,Cek b'nilai
RM 10,000.dari
Power-Root SDN.
BHD.Sila dail tel:
Terima kasih

And here's what I send back to the sender:

Nombor anda
tlh berjaya
Mendptkan hadiah
Tinggal & makan
percuma dari
Kerajaan m'sia.
Sila ke pejabat
polis terdekat.
Terima kasih

Feel free to use this the next time you get a spam SMS. And people, please please, there is no such thing as free lunch in this world. Everything comes with a price.
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29 April 2009

Selamat Hari Lahir

It's someone's birthday today. I wish you a long life and prosperous always. Take care and be well.
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28 April 2009

What a Beautiful Day!

I don’t have words to describe it but just a photo for you to see. I just wish I wasn’t stuck in the office working now. It’d be nice to be able to sit by the beach, reading a good book and sipping ice-cold lemon tea.

View of the sea from my office building.
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23 April 2009

Happy World Book and Copyright Day

Today, 23 April 2009, is world book and copyright day, according to the UNESCO since 1996.

What do you do on this day? I suppose the least is to read a book or a part of a book. It’ll probably take the whole day to read a book, so why not read a short story or something similar. Just reading a short chapter this day will symbolically show our support for books and copyrights.

If you asked me, I’d suggest Jeffrey Archer’s and Robert Fulghum’s short story collections. For Malaysia related ones, you can try Adibah Amin’s or Robert Raymer’s. These are the ones that I have read and found interesting.

Happy reading!
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20 April 2009

My New Toy – Up and Running

Over the weekend, I managed to get it up and running. Also got these:
• Celcom Internet Broadband account – the best one available now in the market.
• Microsoft Office license – Home Office and Student edition – expensive but necessary.
• Multiple USB port hub – there are only two available.
• Carrying case – a temporary one until I get the HP one.

I am planning to get the following too:
• External DVD drive – just in case I need to watch movie or listen to music.
• McAfee Antivirus license – too many viruses out there.

Photo of new toy with this blog.
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17 April 2009

HP Mini 2140 Notebook

Before I decided to purchase the notebook, I searched and read reviews of it. The following are highlights of some the review: (As these are highlights only, do read the full review through the links).

Laptop magazine
  • Six-cell battery provides more than 7 hours runtime
  • Spacious, comfortable keyboard
  • Durable chassis
  • Fast recharging times
  • Poorly placed mouse buttons
  • 16:9 aspect ratio limits on-screen text
  • Underside gets warm

The good:
  • Solid metal construction
  • Full ExpressCard/54 slot
  • Big keyboard
The bad:
  • Odd resolution loses a few pixels
  • No mobile-broadband options (yet)
  • Awkward mouse button placement

The bottom line: HP offers a premium version of its plastic Mini 1000 while keeping the price down, making the Mini 2140 the Netbook to beat.

PC World
  • Premium model features speedy hard drive
  • Rugged design and aluminum frameCons
  • Awkwardly placed mouse buttons

Notebook Review
  • Excellent build quality (BEST in class)
  • Great keyboard (BEST in class)
  • ExpressCard slot offers fantastic expansion possibilities
  • Multiple configuration options
  • Base configuration has low-resolution screen
  • Strange location for touchpad buttons
  • Screen is too reflective due to second glossy protective layer

Here are some other mini notebook models to choose from:
  • Samsung N10
  • Dell Inspiron Mini 10
  • LG X110
  • ASUS N10
  • ASUS Eee PC 1000HA
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S10
  • Acer Aspire One
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My New Toy

Look at what the cat dragged in today. Well, the delivery guys actually.

In the box

Out of the box


Manuals and CD’s

In plastic and packaging

My new toy

Yes, it’s a HP Mini 214o Notebook.

After three long weeks, I finally got it in my hands. It will be a long night tonight. I hope it works well. This will be my second personal laptop for many years. I usually get by using the office laptops.

Tomorrow, I’ll have to find a carrying case that fits. I was supposed to get an HP one but they ran out of stock. So, I have to get another one until the HP one arrives in May. Then, I intend to get broadband Internet. No more getting expensive coffees just for Internet access. And no more lonely nights.

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14 April 2009

Surprise Meal

What a pleasant one too. I didn't expect Malaysia Airlines to serve Satay in economy class. But they did. The satay's not quite the signature dish that you'd get in the business class but its still satay nonetheless. I was impressed. You don't get to eat satay that often at 30,000 feet above sea level unless you travel internationally on business or first class with Malaysia Airlines all the time.

Then there was the tidbit. Usually you'd get a packet of crackers and a small piece of chocolate. This time Malaysia outdid itself by giving away Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Airasia eat your heart out.

MH68 economy class inflight meal

The satay up close
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Inflight entertainment on Airbus 330

I unexpectedly flew back to Kota Kinabalu on a Malaysian Airlines’ Airbus 330 yesterday although the original booking was on a Boeing 737. Guess what, you can plug in your own headphones into headphone jack to get inflight entertainment like in a Boeing 777 (see my previous post). But no movies because there is no in-seat video for the plane I was on. You can only get music. Some Malaysian Airlines’ Airbus 330 have in-seat video, so you might get lucky and get movies too on these planes.

Picture of an economy class armrest in Airbus 330
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12 April 2009

A Couple of Tips for Flying on the Local Leg of An International Malaysia Airline Flight

Yes, the title is a mouthful. I know. Bear with me.

These tips are based on the flights I took between Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, which are part of international Malaysia Airline flights. You can tell the flights by their flight numbers - they are the ones with single, double and triple digits. Some examples: MH80/81 (Tokyo), MH68/69 (Taipei), MH86/87 (Kaoshiung) and MH734/735 (Manila). I usually try to get MH80/81 flights. Now to the tips.

Tip No 1: Buying duty-free items on board.

Due to the time length of these flights, the cabin crew may not offer inflight duty-free sales on the local leg. However, after meals are served and if you ask politely to the nicest/friendliest looking cabin crew, you may be able to order something from Tempations, the inflight sales magazine. Prices of perfumes and cigarettes are cheaper on board compared to the normal market.

Tip No 2: Accessing inflight entertainment.

This is applicable only on Boeing 777 flights like MH80/81 and depends on the entertainment programs switched on by the cabin crew. Headphones are not given out during the local leg. To overcome this, you'll need is your own 3.5mm headphone. Insert the headphone into the input jack at the tip of armrest and then use the control panels (like game joysticks), detachable from the armrest. If you're lucky, you'll get to see movies and/or listen to music.

Picture of an economy class armrest in Boeing 777
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Malaysia Airlines Web Check-In

This is a way to bypass those long check-in queues. By using the web check-in facility on Malaysia Airlines website, you check in and print your own boarding pass yourself. I did so for a flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur. It's easy and convenient.

To get started, you'll need the following:
1. E-ticket number
2. Internet access
3. PDF reader (adobe acrobat)
4. Printer.

In five simple steps, you're checked-in and ready to board the plane. The five steps are:
1. Identification - key in e-ticket no.
2. Select passengers, if there are more than one passenger listed.
3. APIS (Advanced Passenger Information System) - you must indicate your nationality.
4. Confirmation of details - check/change your seat no, frequent flier/enrich membership no.
5. Print the boarding pass - this where you'll need the pdf reader and printer.

There you are, set to go and fly off. If you have baggage to check-in, you'll need to go to the airport at least 60 minutes before flight departure time to check-in the luggage.

Another thing to remember is that you can check in anytime between 90 minutes to 24 hours before flight departure time. How cool huh.
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06 April 2009

Poverty in Malaysia

Last week I found disturbing news in the local newspaper. It’s a report from the current Parliamentary sitting.

As reported in the news item, according to government statistics, the four states with the most poor are Sabah with 30,852 poor and 15,732 hardcore poor; Sarawak, 26,487 poor and 12,326 hardcore poor; Terengganu, 10,187 poor and 3,572 hardcore poor; and Kelantan 9,067 poor and 3,053 hardcore poor. It’s a well-known fact that my home state Sabah has the most poor in the whole country. There are so many poverty eradication programmes around but are these programmes getting results?

What disturbs me greatly is that these four states with the most poor are the very four states producing petroleum (oil and gas, hydrocarbon) in Malaysia. It’s ironic, really. The federal and state (excluding Kelantan’s) governments should do something to overcome the poverty problem especially with the revenue gained from petroleum industry.

For the record, in 2007, federal revenue from petroleum (income taxes, royalties, export duties, sales taxes and PETRONAS dividends) was RM51.2 billion, of which RM20.6 billion was from petroleum income tax alone. Why not spend this amount in the states where the tax is collected from?

By the way, it is a not well-known fact that there is petroleum being produced offshore in Kelantan. The area known as the Malaysia-Thai Joint Area (MTJA), located in the Malaysian-Thai international waters, is offshore Kelantan state in Malaysia and Narathiwat province in Thailand. Daily gas production from MTJA started in 2005.
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Aladdin 1Borneo

As the name would suggest, Aladdin serves middle-eastern food. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to sample the food there. The menu is mounted from the ceiling and you choose from there. The menu's not so extensive, containing the basic middle-eastern fares such as shwarmas, kebabs and the like.

Menu, above cooking area and ordering counter.

Having lived in Central Asia for about 4 yours, I've had my share of middle-eastern food. Since I don't particularly like lamb, I chose a chicken dish. My choice was Tavuk Djaj, marinated chicken cutlets grilled on skewers, served with french fries (or if you'd like, rice) and slices of tomato (one), cucumber (two) and onion (many). Together with a can of Sprite, the whole meal cost RM17.50. Certainly pricey. But then what do you expect? There are limited choices for middle-eastern food outlets in Kota Kinabalu. Aladdin's food is authentic though as the owners are middle-easterners. Anyway, I'll eat here again only if my yearning for that kebab or shwarma is too strong.

Staff preparing and cooking food.

Another negative point is that I just can't stand is the ventilation in the small outlet. It's one thing to be able to see your food being prepared and cooked, but it's another thing to smell like your food afterwards, even after leaving the outlet.

Photo of meal.

Photo of meal, afterwards (I was really hungry).

Location: Lower Ground Floor, 1Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening hours: Same as Shopping Mall’s
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03 April 2009

New Malaysian Prime Minister

In less than half an hour, we will have a new prime minister in the country. The good news is that old guy is out and the new guy is in. The bad news (well, at least for some people) is that the other guy is still out and will not be in. 916, I suppose is nothing but a pipedream, or at best a political gimmick. I suggest that the other guy concentrate on being a good shadow prime minister and if the people are with him, he’ll be the real one the next time the ballot boxes are out again. Anyway, good luck to all the guys mentioned in this post. Don’t squander your opportunity.
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02 April 2009

Thai Food at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

I love Thai food. There are limited choices for outlets that exclusively offer Thai food in Kota Kinabalu. Anyway, if you are in town, try Tam Nak Thai in Api Api Centre. Let me know if you have trouble in deciding what to order.

Whenever I am in Kuala Lumpur, I try to visit a Thai food outlet or two. Last month, I had the chance to eat at the Thai Express in Pavilion, a shopping complex in Bukit Bintang area. Actually, I’ve tried two other Thai outlets in the shopping complex, i.e. Rama 9 in the food court, the Food Republic and Celadon Royal Thai Cuisine.

For Rama 9, I’d go for single Thai meals like Khao Pad (Fried Rice) or Phad Thai (Fried Noodles), with prices per meal between RM10 to RM15. But then, the cooks are Thai. Try it out. Rama 9 is on the left hand side of the food court from Tang’s direction.

Food in Celadon is excellent although prices were on the expensive side. For example, the clear tom yum soup costs about RM20 per bowl but was worth every single spoonful. Lunch for two was about RM150. I also like the décor of the restaurant, very cozy and inviting.

As for Thai Express, it was pricey too. Lunch for two costs about RM120 but the food’s not as good as Celadon’s. The décor is much simpler too.

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