30 May 2009

Second Header For My Blog

This is my blog's old header. I've retired my first header and replaced it with the second one. Just for the record, the old header was a photo of me at the Sonobudoyo Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The new header is a photo of me at The Tip of Borneo, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Sabah, Malaysia. It was a very windy day then. Thank you to my friends who took the photos used as my blog header.
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29 May 2009

A Weekend in Singapore (1)

I'm in Singapore now. I'm staying at a hotel somewhere in Bencoolen Street, which is somewhere in between Orchard Road and Bugis Street. The hotel is very comfortable and has free Wi-Fi. As I haven't had a good rest the past few weeks, I just stayed in the room after check-in, taking an afternoon nap before going around to the nearby shopping areas later.

As today is the start of the Great Singapore Sale 2009, most of the shops are having sales. The GSS runs until 26 July, so there is still time to plan your visit here. Since I'll be here till Sunday, I really hope I can resist the temptation. I've already bought some stuff after having dinner tonight. We'll see how the rest of the weekend goes.

Photo of my cosy hotel room.

Photo of my shopping outcome (Round 1 hehehe).
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28 May 2009

Another Weekend Another City

I'm off for another weekend break. This time I am going south to Singapore. Actually, I’ve passed through Singapore at least once a month since January this year in order to get to Johor Bahru.

Anyway, this time I’ll stay for two nights in Singapore first before crossing over the border again for another two night stay. I’ll be flying on Tiger Airways, which is a Singapore based low cost airlines. Return airfare between Kota Kinabalu and Singapore was 139 Ringgit. The plan this time is museum visits and some shopping, again.
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27 May 2009

Photos in Manila

I didn't manage to take many photos in Manila. Actually, less than 30. Anyway, here are some of them and my comments:

Pedro Gil (pronounced Hil) LRT station in Malate, the closest to where I stayed.

View of EDSA, Taft Avenue LRT Station. One thing I noticed is the Roman Catholic element in the design. If you look closely, the roof of the station resembles a large cross. The background is the skyline of Central Manila.

An LRT train. Did you know that Manila LRT system starting operating from 1984? On the other hand, Singapore MRT system operated from 1987 only. Based on my experience, the Manila LRT system is very well utilised. Trains are usually filled to the brim. Its cheaper than taking the taxi. A similar trip I took costs 15 Pesos on the LRT but 200 Pesos on Taxi. One thing that needs improvement on Manila LRT is the cooling and ventilation system. It was really hot in the stations.

External view of the fine Ayala Museum. The museum has four floors of exhibits. Admission cost is 425 pesos for non-residents. I truly enjoyed my visit. Too bad, there just wasn't enough time. By the way, I didn't get to go the other museum that I wanted to visit. Next time, perhaps.

Filipino women dress exhibition in Robinson's Place, Malate. Nice traditional clothes. More in the next two photos.

Some of the results of my shopping excursion in Manila.
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24 May 2009

A Weekend in Manila (3)

I'm at Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) now, waiting for my flight home. By the way, DMIA doesn't look so hot from the inside but once inside, there's free Wifi, which is better than some international airports that I've been to.

My last day in Manila was not much to write about. Only managed to sample the night life here and did some shopping again. I don't know if I'll be back in the future. If the airfares are really cheap, maybe I will. Anyway, signing off from DMIA - the aircraft has just landed here and we should be boarding in 30 minutes or so.
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23 May 2009

A Weekend in Manila (2)

I'm in Manila now. It took forever to get to the hotel - a busted car tyre, in the middle of the North Luzon Expressway, no less and a bar full of Guest Relations Officers. I'm now in a hotel room somewhere in Malate, with free Wifi (yeah). No photos to upload yet. It was dark when I arrived here.

The plan for tomorrow, well, actually later today, is to visit two museums, the National Museum of the Filipino People and the Ayala Museum and maybe, do some shopping in between.

You can read more about the history of Manila here and general information on the city here.
(110 words)

20 May 2009

A weekend in Manila (1)

I'm off to Manila this Friday afternoon for the weekend and will be back on Sunday. Yeah, its crazy but I've been there before and I really don't mind going there again. I haven't planned out what to do but probably some sightseeing (a museum or two) and some shopping (Robinsons Place and Mall of Asia, here I come, again). This time, I'll take more photos to share. I'll be staying at a budget accommodation in Malate area. I'm going with a friend and hopefully this time the weather's better than during my last year's trip. I'm crossing my finger on that and will be packing an umbrella, just in case.
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15 May 2009

Lunch at Nasi Padang Ibu (Again)

This time, I went with a very close friend. I also managed to snap some photos with my PDA. Here are some of the photos:

NPI from the outside (this photo was taken a few days earlier using a digital camera)

Tables by the window - in the background, the Jesselton Point ticket sales counter and waiting area

Tables by the window - in the background, futsal arena and more food outlets

Entrance and Food Counter

Food Before

Food After

One thing you have to remember when eating Nasi Padang to finish everything in the plate, if you've ordered the food using the plates. There are no discounts for unconsumed portions of the food. So, choose wisely. Our orders (*) were:

  • Nasi Puteh (Steamed Rice) - 2 portions - RM1.50 x 2
  • Dendeng Basah (Spicy Beef like Jerky) - 2 portions - RM7.00
  • Perkedil Kentang (Mashed potatoes with meat and spices) - 2 portions/pieces - RM4.00
  • Sayur Nangka Berlemak (Creamy Young Jackfruit) - 2 portions - RM4.00
  • Ikan Tenggiri Gulai Kuning (Yellow Gravy Mackerel or Kingfish) - 2 portions - RM8.00


  • Air Mineral (Spritzer 600ml) – RM2.00
  • Kit Chai Sejuk (Iced Lime/Calamansi Juice with Dried Sour Plum) – RM3.00

(*) Except the rice which was in a large plates, each food was served in small plates, which I think can be eaten by two to three persons. Don't forget to add service charge of 10% to the bill.

Total bill for two persons was RM34.

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14 May 2009

Packing Lists

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be flying on Tiger Airways, a Singapore based low cost airline. While clicking around the airline’s website, I found this neat Packing List Customisation tool. Basically you’ll be given choice of items under a few of categories and based on the items you ticked, the tool will generate a list for you. The categories are:
  • Important Documents and Necessities
  • Personal Items and Hygiene
  • Clothing and Accessories
  • Medications and Health
  • Gadgets
  • On the Plane
  • Outdoors
  • Family
  • Miscellaneous
  • Your Additions

There is also another website called The Universal Packing List, which has been on the net since 1993. Wow, more than 15 years. Anyway, in this website you tick a few items such as dates, temperatures, gender, locations (domestic/international), types of activities, etc, and then the tool will generate a list for you. You can also have the generated list e-mailed to you.

Why not try these websites out for your next trip. Happy packing!
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The Traveler IQ Challenge

If you are good with world geography and places, you should try out Travelpod.com’s Traveler IQ Challenge. IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient and based on the challenge, mine’s 135. It’s only for this challenge and for the subject matter related to it. In real life, an IQ of above 130 is considered as "very superior" and can be equated with "genius." Well, in real life, I think I am anything but "very superior" or "genius."

The Traveler IQ Challenge covers the world and the various regions. You can choose
  • World
  • World Capitals
  • North America
  • Europe
  • Canada
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • Oceania/Australasia
  • UNESCO Sites
  • Flags of the World
  • Photos of the World
  • USA Challenge
  • Amazing Race
The one I played was the world as a whole. Go ahead, play and find out what's your Traveler IQ.
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11 May 2009

Lunch at Nasi Padang Ibu, Jesselton Point, Kota Kinabalu

The other day I had lunch at Nasi Padang Ibu (NPI) with some friends from the office. Although I like Indonesian food, I’ve eaten at NPI only three times. Well, I’ve been to Padang myself, so I’ve to say that Nasi Padang in Padang is way better. Then again, Padang is so far away. So, if I crave for Nasi Padang, NPI it is.

Based on my last two visits, NPI is doing good business these days. The first time I went there, it occupied a small area but now it has expanded. To help you price the food at NPI, here’s the price list from my lunch. Do note that the food was served in larger plate with the rice rather than the traditional way, i.e. in small plates. Servings in the small plates are double the price and usually enough for two or three persons.

  • Nasi Putih – RM1.50
  • Ayam Panggang – RM4.50
  • Ayam Goreng Sambal – RM4.00
  • Rendang Daging Lembu / Usus / Paru Basah – RM4.00
  • Dendeng Basah – RM3.50
  • Sotong Gulai – RM4.50
  • Perkedil Kentang / Sayur Nangka Berlemak / Sawi/Buncis Sambal – RM2.00
  • Telur Dadar – RM2.00
  • Sambal Merah – RM1.00

  • Jus Apokat/Avokado – RM6.00 (Yes, that’s the price)
  • Air Mineral (Spritzer 600ml) – RM2.00
  • Soya Bean (Can) – RM2.50
  • Kit Chai Sejuk – RM3.00

Sorry, no pictures of the food to share.
(220 words)

07 May 2009

RM20,000 Mattress

One of the things I do on weekends is read the Saturday edition of the Star newspaper, which has a good business section, BizWeek.

BizWeek has been running a weekly series of 10 questions for corporate figures or celebrities. Last week’s figure was Azizi Ali, pilot, writer and millionaire. This was one of the questions and answers that caught my attention:

What sort of luxuries have you allowed yourself? Tina Adam

Not much. All I need is a good breakfast, a good book to read, a computer to write and time with my family. I have all that already.

My family lives in a nice house in a fabulous neighbourhood. We have a few items to make our lives more comfortable but nothing out of the ordinary. I think, the average Malaysian has more toys than me. As I wrote in one of my books, visitors often comment that my house is spacious. My house is spacious not because it is big but because it is sparsely decorated. I call it minimalist decor. We still have only one TV in the house and a 10-year-old mini-compo. I don’t have any branded goods and see no use for them.

I spend money on quality (not branded) goods. For example, my mattress costs some RM20,000. If you’re going to spend a major portion of your life (eight to ten hours a day) on a mattress, the only sensible thing to do is to buy the best mattress you can afford.
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06 May 2009

The Weekend That Was

What an excellent weekend. It started on the night of 30 April 2008, when my friends in Kuala Lumpur arrived here in Kota Kinabalu. It’s great to meet up again for a trip together again after our Bangkok trip last year. Well, technically it’s not a trip for me but when I could, I was with them while they were here.

The highlights for me were the Tanjung Simpang Mengayau trip, the Manukan Island trip and of course, the dinners at Gayang Seafood (yes, we went twice). The lowlights were not being able to join all the other activities due to my work commitment and the last dinner. Sorry friends, I didn’t think the food at TLC, Anjung Selera would be that bad. Hopefully the location made up for it.

All in all, I think my friends had a great time here. Now, where next guys?

Photo of me taking photo at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau
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