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.

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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.
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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).
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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.

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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.
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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.
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If only there's such a thing.

I'd like to be on the first one up.
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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
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