Thursday, November 26, 2009

Murni Discovery at Sunway Mas Commercial Center

Today me and my wife had dinner at Murni Discovery. It's the new branch of Murni mamak from SS2. If you ever seen Murni in SS2, Petaling Jaya, it's an extremely popular and crowded restaurant.

I hardly ever eat there because you can never find a table and there's hardly any parking as they place all their tables on the parking lots already.

So when I saw that they were opening in Sunway Mas, I was quite interested to try their food. You can find them here in the wikipedia map that I have already marked out here. The cross marks the spot.



My first impression is that parking is a lot easier now. Its the only mamak in that block so at night parking should be plenty. Also, they have a corner lot and more tables. Hopefully, they won't have to resort to putting tables outside their shop here. It was only their 4th day of opening so word still hasn't gotten out about the place yet.




Check out the interior design of the shop. Before Murni took over this place, it was a cafe that hardly had any customers. Murni didn't change much to the decor except to add some bamboo decor. My wife said she saw the owner come in a lorry with bamboo and he must have cut it himself as he was wearing an army ranger outfit. Cool, I always like DIY!

If you haven't tried Murni before, they're famous for their fusion mamak and western food. I ordered their fried rice with soft shell crab because it was the most unique thing on their menu.



The soft shell crab needed a bit more seasoning. It was just the crab dipped in flour and fried. Not much taste to it. However, the fried rice was excellent. Not sure why there were french fries in the combo, didn't go well. Next time, I'm just having the fried rice.

Their chops and sirloin steak is also very popular.

I looked around at what else people were ordering and I saw the portions that were serving were huge! Rhey're like for 2 people for each single person dish.

Also, the price is really cheap for their mix rice. My wife took away 3 dishes for my mother-in-law. There was some prawns and rice and it only came up to 2 ringgit! That's like the cheapest mix rice I've ever seen! Not sure if its just a promo price but the guy told my wife its their normal price.

Well, now I know where to go when I'm hungry!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Malaysian Ideas that need better definition

Lately, there has been a lot of talk on what I would call themes and ideas in the media that, I feel needs better explanation. Let's start with the first one, "1 Malaysia".

1. When Najib started this idea of 1Malaysia, my first thought was One Utama, the shopping mall in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. When Najib first started talking about unity and how its about bringing Malaysians together, he never clearly explained how he would go about it through implementation of policies.

Instead, what happened was, the media started interviewing smaller politicians on what they thought it meant and they got a variety of answers. To make matters worst, companies started to cash in on this 1Malaysia idea with such slogans as "product X for 1Malaysia" or "product X in support of 1Malaysia". How do you support 1Malaysia when you don't even know what the heck it is? Is 1Malaysia assimilation? is it multiculturalism?

I think Najib is just keeping it vague so that he can use it as a political tool. Let's say for example, someone on the opposition proposes an assimilation policy, for example... "all Malaysians should go to single stream schools!". If it gets a lot of opposition from the public, Najib can always say "no, we can't do that, its not in-line with 1 Malaysia".

Now let's say if another politician says, "government should review the NEP and make it more friendly to the non-malays". If there is support for it, he can always say "we will study it in the spirit of 1 Malaysia".

Everyone in their head would have their own vague interpretation of 1 Malaysia and think, "oh okay, I guess I'm going to get what I want! Since I don't even know what 1 Malaysia, so Najib's probably thinking what I'm thinking".

The government has a publicity campaign potraying it as a feel good campaign with multicultural kids playing together (how come its always malay, chinese and indian? where are the other races?). Maybe peninsula Malaysia has more of a cultural unity problem then Sabah and Sarawak?

2. The Greater Unity Plan
This Ong Tee Keat is quite a crafty fellow, he only tells the inner MCA circle what it is and he has said it's not a mathematical model. Doesn't really explain how its going to make MCA better. Maybe he learned a thing or two from Najib.

3. New Economic Model
One economist I talked too told me since this new economic model that Najib has been talking about is based on a service based economy, it sounds a lot like an old idea that was already proposed along time ago, the Knowledge Based Economy. It was proposed more than 10 years ago and it started things such as the Multimedia Supercorridor project.

Not much information is forth coming from the policy makers yet on what is this new economic model. Probably the likes of NEAC are still tinkering with the idea and trying to figure it out.

How do we get 6% GDP growth every year when we're stuck in a middle-income trap? A lot of people like to compare the Malaysian economy to the South Koreans. We started of after world war 2 at the same time but South Korea has soared way above us and literally over-taken the Malaysian economy. They've gone on to be a high-income economy, but here we are still stuck at a middle-income economy.


I bet there's a lot more ill-defined slogans out there, care too name any?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What I've been up too lately

Hola!

What's up amigos? As usual, it's been awhile since I wrote anything. I've been busy with quite a few things lately. First of all, I've been logging into another blog that I've been maintaining so I haven't been logging into this one in awhile.

The other blog is work related, it's for the program I've been producing. I'm not going to write it down here as I don't want google searches for that blog to push people to my personal blog. I'll like to keep it separate.

Anyway, the other things that I've been busy with is work! Yes, work! This show I've been doing is aired every Sunday night and it's live. So now I work Wed to Sunday. I get Monday and Tuesday off... and most of the time, Saturday too if there is nothing to do in the office.

I kinda of like working on Sunday nights now. I find it quite peaceful in the office. When everyone's winding down to prepare for Monday, I'm all psyched up getting ready for the live show. By midnight, I'm extremely relieved that the show is over and I have my 'weekend' to look forward too. On the other hand, my wife is complaining that she has to go back to work on Monday morning.

So what have I been doing on my Mondays and Tuesdays? Well, the original plan was to take short drives to remote places for day trips. In reality, I've just been sitting at home doing nothing. I wake up at 1PM on Monday because I sleep at 3AM on Sunday night.

On Tuesday, I wake up at 1PM again and by then... it's too late to drive anywhere. So the furthest I go is around Petaling Jaya. So much for being adventuress.

At home, I've been downloading stuff of file sharing sites. So that's turned into sort of a hobby of mine now, looking for the latest versions of software's to download and music files.

Recently, I spend a few days trying to get the latest version of a software I was using that hardly anyone outside of my industry would use. After I got it, I installed it and it was so new, it had problems with the old version my office used. In the end, I had to uninstall it. What a waste, it was too advanced for its time.

Anyway, I got to go now. I'm in the office and I have to get back to editing!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Neck & shoulder pain

Stayed at home the whole day today. The right side of my neck and shoulder hurts. Yesterday, it was already hurting, must have slept on my side and strained it. I when for a massage yesterday and today when I woke up it was worst.

Now all I can do is lie in bed. If I stand or am upright, my neck hurts as it has to support my head. So I spend the afternoon lying bed listening to some music and surfing the net on my iPhone. I can't use my notebook because I can only face the ceiling.

This sucks. I hope It heals before the Raya holiday starts!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Proton Saga fuel economy tips

I googled "Proton Saga fuel efficiency" and found this article in www.autoworld.com.my. It was about a fuel efficiency contest that was run by Proton itself for Proton Saga BLM.


Proton Saga Proven Frugal on Fuel

Saturday, February 07, 2009 By YS Khong

The Proton Saga has proven to be a car that is economical not only to own, but is economical to run as well. In a recent competition held for Proton Saga owners, the top winners returned some very impressive consumption figures.

In the Proton Saga Economy Run, a total of 30 Proton saga owners registered for the event. The rules were simple; over a set course of 190 kilometres, with a driver and one passenger who also acts as the navigator, the winner is the saga that uses the least amount of fuel between the two points. Under the contest regulations, no fuel-saving devices are allowed, and cars have to be mechanically in ‘series production’ specifications. There were handsome prizes for both the manual and automatic category winners.

Registered participants were required to undergo ‘scrutineering’, during which all cars were inspected for compliance with the rules and regulations, and the bonnets, all fuel lines, all possible points where the fuel line or the fuel tank can be accessed, including the fuel lids, were sealed by the main motoring authority in Malaysia, the AAM (Automobile Association of Malaysia). Before the final sealing of the bonnet and fuel lid, all participants were given the opportunity to fill their fuel tanks to the brim.

As the event was to start on the next day, all the sealed cars were impounded and under strict security for the night at the Centre Of Excellence, the headquarters of Proton.

The Proton Saga Economy Run route took the competing cars from the Proton COE to Clearwater Sanctuary in Ipoh, with a stop over at an appointed petrol station where the cars were again topped up to the brim to measure the amount of fuel used in the economy run. Before the refuelling, AAM officials were on hand to inspect all the seals, and to the credit of all the very sporting spirit of the competitors, not one seal was found to have been tampered with.

In the Proton Saga 1.3 Automatic category, Ahmad Saifuddin Bin Abdullah, co-driven by Ahmad Zharif Bin Ahmad Zubid took top honours with an impressive 27.429 kilometres per litre (3.645 litres per 100 kilometres) fuel consumption. Second spot went to the young couple of Azmi Samsuddin and Rozna Ramli, who clocked in with 25.99 kilometres per litre (3.846 litres per 100 kilometres). The third and final prize for this category went to an all-girl team, Nur Fatihah Abdul Hamid, partnered by Nor Salehah Md Isa, who came all the way from the East Coast to participate in the event.

In the Proton Saga 1.3 manual category, the results were even more impressive. Norazila Binti Azimi and Mohd Zulkernain Bin Buahab returned an astounding 44.719 kilometres per litre (2.236 litres per 100 kilometres) to win top honours. In second place was Illesarah Binti Abdul Haziman and Rohaizad Bin Ithnin with 32.908 kilometres per litre, while third place was awarded to Mohd Faizol Bin Razak and Mohd Nazri Bin Othman.
When interviewed, Mohd Zulkernain said that his technique was to apply very gentle throttle, and make sure the engine is running below 2,000 rpm. “Of course, in our normal driving, the fuel consumption is more than what he achieved in the competition; sometimes we are in a hurry, so I use more fuel when I drive the car hard, or in situations where traffic is heavy. But now I know just what the Saga is capable of, and if I generally drive gently, there will be savings in the long run,” he added.

As a finale to the competition, Proton Edar organized a contest to see how many people would squeeze into a Proton Saga, and amazingly, the winning team managed 17 adults!




Okay, so the guy who got 44.719 kilometres per litre was driving really slowly, at 2000 RPM or less... plus he was driving a manual. That must have been a really slow assed drive!

When I first got my car, I was trying to keep it under 3000 RPM but I wasn't used to the accelerator, I kept pressing it until it when to 4. I guess coming from a manual transmission car, I wasn't used to the car doing my gear shifts for me.

Now I drive with the RPM at 2000-3000PM. It's just that when I'm crossing a road at a busy intersection that I use more gas as I have to really step on the gas. I worry that the car won't have enough power to get me across the road fast enough... maybe it's just in my head.

Petaling Jaya rain storm







I came home and saw this scene when I came out of the lift at my apartment. There was a storm cloud crossing, from east to west at the south of my aparment. It was moving very rapidly. I quickly, ran back to grab my tripod to take a few shots of it.

I saw some spectacular lightning but didn't get any shots of it. I love seeing the storm rolling over the city and I could see it dropping rain as it passes over the rush hour traffic. Everyone was on their way home during the buka puasa rush home.

Wonderful sight, the power of nature.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya clear night sky


Tonight is just an amazing night. The sky is so clear, the air is fresh and there's a wonderful breeze. I spend the evening taking some night pictures. On the east side of my apartment, I can see KLCC and KL Tower from the fire escape.

Wonderful sight. I used a long exposure to capture both photos.



In the photo above, you can even see a bright star (I think it could be a planet) shining brightly above. Just click on the picture to see a bigger and clearer one.

I think everyone in the Klang Valley is starting to appreciate the cleaner air now that the haze has cleared up (for now anyway). We're all just starting to appreciate things that we took for granted.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Proton Saga service after 1000KM



I when to the Proton Service centre in Mutiara Damansara in the morning to send my Proton Saga for the first 1000KM service. I told them there was 3 things I needed them to check on.

1. Fuel mileage was very low. 7KM/L for city driving, and 11KM/L for highway.

2. Back window level was hard to wind. Needs lubricant.

3. One of the key has a cracked plastic casing. When I received the key, there was a hairline crack where the screw is. I think it was screwed too tight so it cracked. Now the crack is getting bigger and bits of the plastic fell of.



I got there at 10AM and I only had to wait 30 minutes before they took the car from me to inspect. They said it would be ready by 1PM so I said I'll walk to The Curve to wait then.

Walked around the curve and surfed the internet at the Starbucks until they send an automated SMS to tell me it was done.

When I got back to the service centre at 1:30PM, they said they were closed for a break. So I hung around some more waiting for the guy. He finally came back from his break and I asked him what happened.

For my first complain, they did engine tuning. The second complain, he didn't explain (I also forgot to ask). The third complain, he said he has to speak to my dealer (Raymond) since Raymond not around, that one they will call me back. Anyway, there's no stock for the spare key. Probably next week only they will have.

I called Raymond and told him to follow up with the customer service guy (Mu'azd, odd name, never heard before). I paid RM117 for the first service. Small things like topping up cleaning fluid for the wiper also they charge me. I remember using it less than 10 times only, that also by accident because I keep thinking it was for the signal.

Anyway, I spoke to another customer service guy about the fuel mileage problem. He said a lot of other customers also complain about the high fuel consumption in city driving. He said, it's 23-24 sen per KM. Not sure how to convert that to KM/L ratio. Anyway, that one also probably based on old fuel price.

He said, the car does well on the highway and I would have to agree, it's just the city driving that it does quite bad. The car if it's driven above 3000RPM, it does well. He said it's got to do with the high gear ratio. In stop go traffic, we have to constantly get it from low to high gear. It stays in the low gear quite often.

After the service, I drove straight to a car wash in Aman Suria. Normally, I wash my car at a petrol station or at one of those open car wash. Today, I decided to try one of those car salon shops there. Its still the same price, RM10 so I gave it a try.



A bit of an improvement over the other car washes I tried. The guy actually used a brush to brush of the dirt on the dashboard. So that helps. Normally, they just wipe with a dirty old rag.

I think I'll try one of those other car salons. Someone told me there's one in Aman Suria that has a RM50 per month unlimited car wash. That means, you pay RM50 and you can was as many times as you want. I think it's worth it if you wash at least once a week.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Overcast skies.



I love the rain. Today's weather is just perfect. The cloud is overcast so its not hot and there's a slight drizzle outside my apartment. I love the view when the air is clean and clear and you can see until the end of the horizon. I can see for at least 5KM.

My apartment faces directly south so this picture is a view of southern Petaling Jaya.

parking samaritan

I like going out of the way to look for good hokkien mee so I found quite a nice one in Damansara Perdana. It's a corner shop called TBC Corner. The best time to eat Hokkien Mee of course is in the middle of the night.

I was sitting down to wait for my food and I noticed across the road, some cars had double parked. It was already quite late, about 11PM. The only shop that was open was the restaurant, a mamak, a 24 hrs convenience shop and a cybercafe. There were lights on in the shops lots above them.

There was a lady there who was the owner of a small Perodua Kembara. She was parked legally in of the parking lots and a black Honda Civic was double parked right behind her car, blocking her exit. I watched as she when from shop to shop asking who was the owner of the car.

To make matters worst, her car honk was really soft so every time she laid on the honk no one could hear it. I could see her getting quite frustrated and frantic as she was on her mobile phone trying to get help I think.

After I finished my hokkien mee (it was okay only). I was going to walk of but I bought a pau from another restaurant nearby. As I was waiting for my pau, I saw her trying to shake the car so the alarm would go of, it didn't work. When I finally got my pau, I stood there a few more minutes to see what else she would do to get her car out.

After awhile, I finally decided to cross the road and watch from a closer distance. I could see that the other car that was also parked illegally next to her parking lot has reversed. She was trying to squeeze thru that small point to get out. She moved the car forward so close to the curb I could actually hear her hit it.

That's when I finally walked over to her car window and bend over and asked her gently if she would like help in reversing her car. By then, there were quite a few bystanders standing around trying to guide her out of the tight spot.

She happily got out of the car to let me try and reverse it out. I think I must have gone back and forth more than 10 times before I could finally moved the car to the right position. I was just a few MM from hitting the black civic that was parked illegally behind her.

After 15 minutes, I finally could get the car out and I got out and handed it back to her. She was quite glad and happy. She said it wasn't her car, it was her friend's car. Maybe her friend should know she scrapped the bumper on the curb!

Anyway, that was my good deed for the day... felt guilty for parking illegally and blocking someone after that lunch date with Hannah Tan the other day.

If I was in the lady's position, I think I actually might have gone back into the convenience store after getting the car out to buy a little present for the black civic. I would have bought a bottle of ketchup and wrote asshole on the windscreen with ketchup.

Then again, that's so not me!

New Desk




That's my new desk in the office. Today was moving day. Previously, we were squatting in a few places as the office under went renovation. Previously, all the TV stations had their own production arm but now they've all merged together in a new entity, Primeworks Studio.

Well, the new office looks like a plate of spagetti. All the tables are in squiggly lines instead of grids. It's a headache walking from one of the room to the other. Kind of like driving in KL. Who is the interior who designed this place? Obviously doesn't understand Feng Shui.

Some of the tables are ridiculously small. The guy setting next to me has a table half the size of mine. WTF? That's crazy.

Anyway, we don't have working phone lines and ethernet connection for the PC's yet. Good thing we still have wifi so no problem for me.

Going to take awhile before I remember the route to take to get to my table from the front door or the route to get to the toilet!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Proton Saga fuel economy


I just want to share my experience with my new Proton Saga (auto). Just reached my first 1000KM, going to send to service.

I read some reviews about the bad fuel economy of the car. This is my experience.

First few hundred KM, I drove just around PJ. A lot of stop go traffic, very little highway. I found that the fuel economy after 3 tanks full average about 7.5KM/Liter or about 250KM per every full tank I pump in (about 35L every time I pump).

That's really bad compared to my old car, Nissan Sunny. My old Nissan sunny which I traded in for this car could get 11KM/L in city driving conditions. For every 35L I put in, I could get at least 400KM in city driving.

Two days ago, I drove the Proton Saga to Ipoh and back from PJ on the North-South Highway. Average speed between 110KM/H-140KM/H. I found the car very stable, even in very heavy rain. Tyres and suspension were good. No vibration at high speed and even in the heavy rain.

The fuel economy for highway driving was 11KM/L. So, that was a much better improvement than the city driving consumption.

I think the reason why this car uses so much fuel in city driving is because of the auto transmission and the soft gas pedal. The RPM shoots up to 4 when you depress it half the way.

I've changed my driving style, previously, I tend to drive slow. Now I tend to drive faster. I find that the fuel economy is much better when you drive faster, when the auto transmission changes to the higher gears. Previously, I drove just under 50KM/H in city driving. Now I try to get the auto transmission to change to the highest gear as soon as possible by accelerating steadily by keeping the RPM at 2.5-3.

Monday I have my first 1000KM service. I'll see what the technician says.

lunch with Hannah Tan


I had lunch with Hannah the other day. It's been ages since we had time to talk. Most of the time, it was just short SMS's about work.

At first we were going to go try the Seremban Char Siew in Aman Suria but since we could only meet after the place's closing time, we decided to have lunch at SS2 instead. I told her its really hard to find parking there and she said, just double park in front of the shop

When I got there, I found her car already double parked in front of her shop so I did the same thing in front of her car. Awhile later, a car started honking and the duck rice shop owner we were eating at said a car I was blocking wanted to go out. So I ran out to move the car and parked in the guy's spot instead.

After that, the shop owner again came to tell me that the MBPJ wanted to summon my car because I forgot to buy a ticket. Damn it. So I ran out to buy a ticket to put in the car. From far, I could see that they were also looking at Hannah's car and when they saw her looking out from the shop at her car, they just left after that. Damn, they came after me but left her alone? So unfair!

She said I was such a square for always following the rules. I am a square because of things just like this, I don't like to worry about getting summoned or blocking someone's car. Plus the fact my car's brand new, I didn't want anything to happen to it. Then again, she drives a car a few times more expensive then mine and she's not worried.

Anyway, it was nice to catch up with her again, I didn't realize we actually sat in that shop for 2 hours talking about work, relationships and people we know. She's such a sweet girl. I can't reveal what we talked about but the things she told me were so funny I bursted out laughing in the shop a few times. I think the shop owner gave me a few wierd stares from the other corner of the shop.

The nice thing about talking to a pretty girl is that they're easy on the eyes. It's easier to maintain eye contact when you talk with someone. That's why we put them on TV, so you maintain as much eye contact with the contents on TV.

Looking back at the lunch, I had my overdose of high cholesterol duck rice and siew yoke. That will definitely cut down my life span but the conversation definitely improved my quality of life. It's a simple trade of.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How's your day?

Recently, anytime someone asked how's my day I would say, "it's great!" or "it's good!". I read a little about the law of attraction and it says that if you keep doing that then your perception of the day will change and it would really be a good day.

So how has it worked so far? Well, it's working! I've been having some great days for the pass few days.

Like yesterday, I drove my new Proton Saga car to Ipoh. I told myself it's going to be a good day and it was because I had a lot of fun testing it on the highway.

The car handled really well on the highway. I was driving between 120 to 140. The car was very stable and the fuel efficiency on the highway was 11KM/L. I think it could be better but at least it was fun.

On the way back, it rained really heavily. I didn't realize it but I was doing 120KM/H in the heavy rain. That means the tyres and the car's handling was pretty good too.

So how was my day today? Another pretty awsome day!

I got two customer service representatives call me to check on their service. The first was from Samsung and they wanted to know if my TV was ok after the technician repaired it. They also wanted to know how long I waited. If I was charged for anything and if I had any comments. I said everthing was fine but I was worried this might happen again because it sounded like an engineering design flaw from what the technician told me. They said they will look into it. Anyway, I'm glad they callled. I was already happy with samsung's service.

The other call was from proton to ask how was the car. I said the fuel efficiency was quite bad (7KM/L in city driving and 11KM/L highway driving). Also the key they gave me, the plastic cover was cracked. I think they screwed in the tightening screw too tight and it cracked the casing.

I also made an appointment with them for my first 1000km servicing. They asked me how was the salesman that served me. I said I was very happy with the service provided so far.

Now that I think about it, I heard a lot of horror stories previously about proton and their poor customer service and product quality. I have to say so far my experience has been pretty good so far. Other than the fuel efficiency problem and the cracked key, proton has been really good to me.

Not sure if my optimistic view on life is my good reviews on Samsung and Proton so far but at least I'm happy!




-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, August 14, 2009

Modern fears

First, we feared the terrorists. We were afraid of getting bombed when we when out. We were afraid of going to tall buildings and having a plane crash into it. We couldn't open our mails as we feared someone will mail us death.

Then came the fear of flying, we were afraid to get bombed in the air.

Then there was the government in turmoil. We were afraid and also angry at the government. We wanted change... and we had our change but we're afraid of the untested now.

After that, the economy crashed and we feared loosing our financial security. We were afraid of losing our jobs and savings.

Now we fear for our health. We wear mask and avoid public places. We view with suspicion anyone who has a cough. We stay at home and watch the news as the death toll climbs everyday. It never decreases... it just goes up and up. When will they stop counting?

We have too much fear.

Steady yourself I say!

Live life as you should! Take in your fears but do not forget you have a life to live.

D not fear for there is nothing to fear but fear itself!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TV Ghost exorcised!

The Samsung technician came to perform an exorcism on my TV today.

Previously, the TV was changing volume and channels on its own. I called Samsung to come and have a look at it as it was still under warranty. They said they provided on-site repairs which was good because it would have been a bitch to carry it to their service center. I would have needed 2 persons to do that.

At first I was worried about the warranty period and all that, but in the end, it all turned out well. The technician just took a look at the serial number and he could tell it was manufactured in November. I told him I purchased it in March. So at least I didn't have to give a lengthy explanation.

He changed both the control panel and main board. At first he suspected it was the control panel board and after changing that, it was still acting wierd, so in the end he changed the main board also. He said this was the second Samsung LCD he's seen with the same problem.

The technician was quite friendly and he explained quite a lot to me on how the TV works.

I also got him to take a look at a Samsung DVD player I bought for RM99. It has no warranty and it only worked for a week after buying it. I had bought it for my nephew to play his cartoons but it died after a few days. He said he'll check how much it is to repair it. He added if it was more than RM30 to repair, it's probably not worth it. Better of buying a new one.

So I got my TV repaired for free, with on-site service too. I'm impressed with Samsung's customer service. When I initially called them and gave them my name and phone number, they knew who I was already. I had previously registered a few Samsung products online and they had me on their database already so that saved me the problem of a long explanation. Their service response time was also 2 days, so better than I expected.

At the end of the service, the technician updated on his Samsung PDA what were the parts that he changed and the data was send to Korea. Cool. They keep track of all the problems. Hopefully, they improve on the manufacturing process for the TV.

Now if I buy another product, I'll make sure it's a Samsung!

(this blog post wasn't paid for by Samsung)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Haunted TV

I woke up really early this morning to take a piss. As I was walking to the toilet, I saw that the TV was on, it was just white snow. I thought maybe my wife had left it on before she when to bed last night. After I came out of the toilet, I took the remote and turned of the TV. As I was walking back to the bedroom, the TV turned on by itself and started cycling through the channels on its own!

I took the remote and pressed the power button to turn it of again... and again it came back on. I then realized that the button for the channel down must be depressed. I took all the batteries out from the remote controls (yeah, I have 3 remotes). The channel was still still cycling down on its own. The normal TV channels don't have any signals because I use Astro and that come through on a AV input. So from channel 1-100 is just white snow.

Damn, that means there's something wrong with the channel down button on the TV control panel. Nothing I could do about it then. The only way I could turn of the TV was by turning of the main power.

If it wasn't in the morning, it would have been quite freaky to have the TV come to life on its own.

My biggest problem now is that I can't find the damn warranty. The reason for this is why I have 3 remotes. I bought this TV from my wife's friend's warehouse sale. Her family sells used Samsung products. I got another remote since I also wanted to control the TV from my dining table. I also got a Samsung DVD player, so that's why I have 3 remotes that can control the TV.

I found one warranty card but I'm not sure if its the TV's warranty card or the DVD's warranty card. I registered my product online at the Samsung website online and it accepted it. Maybe their serial numbers on the warranty card is not linked to any particular products. I then made an appointment for their technician to come over. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I hope the they call me back to confirm the appointment to repair the TV.

That's the nice thing about Samsung, they have on-site servicing for LCD TV's bigger than 30 inch. I guess they realized it was too heavy for a customer to carry to their service center. I just hope their techncians bring all the right spare parts. I can just imagine a Samsung service van driving around with a bunch of odd spare parts, enough to build a TV, fridge or washing machine.

My wife's complaining now she's got no TV to watch. Personally, it really doesn't affect me that much. I just watch a few DVD's once awhile and maybe the news or CSI on Astro. Other than that, my wife is the one who watches the most TV.

Me, I'm on my notebook most of the time in my study room, while she's outside in the living room. This way we both have our own personal space.

Friday, July 31, 2009

searching for a host(s)

I used to think (this was a long time ago) it would be a really good pick up line to see a hot chick and walk up to her and say, "hi, you're very good looking. I'm a TV Producer and I would like you to come for an audition".

My talent department actually gave me a stack of business cards where I write my name and give it to the potential talent to make an appoinment.

That of course was years ago. I haven't stopped anyone to do that although once I was in an Air Asia flight with a colleague and he stopped the stewardess on the way out of the plane to compliment how nice her voice was when she was doing her announcement. He said she has a nice voice and should consider doing voice-overs. As we left the plane, I could hear all the girls giggling and complimenting her. I think that made her day.

I haven't actually stopped random strangers to see if they're interested in hosting. I don't go to clubs or even anywhere 'cool'. Most of the time, I'm at shopping malls if you consider that cool. I have written to a few that I've seen in social networking websites. That's about it.

Now, I let my talent department do the searching. I rather the talent goes to them rather then I personally go searching. I only do that when I feel they're not searching in the right place.

Well, now I'm searching for new talent and I have to visualize where would my ideal talent hang out. I'll talk to my management to see if I can get the green light to do my own search. This should be interesting.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Car

Its been a week now I've been driving my new Proton Saga. The only thing that is still bothering me is the smell of plastic. Most people like it, that 'new car' smell. I don't. I'm pretty allergic to any non-organic smells. Like plastics, chemicals and also cigarettes.

I drive around with the window down but I'm afraid I'll get rob when I'm at the traffic light or get hit by stones that other cars run over (end up like one of those wierd Final Destination deaths). So when I drive, the window is down and when I approach a traffic light to stop, I start winding up the window again.

I think the smell is partly because of this steering wheel grip I bought. It's giving of a wierd PVC smell when the car is hot. Time to dump that one.

What the car need is some organic smell like cloves and other spices. I think I'll drop by the supermarket near my place and buy some. Masking the smell still doesn't get rid of the plastic smell though.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What not to do at an audition.

Today, I sat in at an audition my HR department organized. It was a few shortlisted candidates that send in their resumes. Over the next few weeks, they'll be calling in people that wrote in.

Like I said before, usually if you have it, I can tell right away. It's not so much the looks, but the presentation style, voice and also most importantly, attitude and confidence.

From all the people that I've seen in auditions I can say what are the things you ought not to do:

1. Don't say you want to be successful in live. Be specific. When ever I ask them what do they want to do be successful in, they say "what ever I do". To me, I hear "I don't know what I want to do" which means you shouldn't be here.

2. Speak softly. If you're at an audition, speak loudly and clearly. Command attention! You want people to watch you but if you meakly, people tune out.

3. Speak in rojak. Be very fluently in the language you're auditioning in. I've seen a few who came in who can't even speak fluently their first language.

4. Dress sexily. I've seen a few ladies who were either trying to show of a cleavage they didn't have or showing too much. When they opened their mouth, it wasn't impressive but we remembered the cleavage. Know who you're auditioning for. If they're conservative, dress conservative.

New car

I got my new car today. It's the new proton saga. After much pestering from everyone, I finally got a car. I'm not really into cars. To me, cars are just an utility. I'm more into gadgets and PC's.

Anyway, the car's okay. Instead of filling it up with the normal Shell Petrol (green), I used the Shell V-Power (the red one). The car's pickup is way too powerful now. I'm not sure if its the car of because of the petrol. I hope it's the petrol, because when I test drove the car the first time at the showroom, it didn't pick up with a kick like how it is now. The one in the show room was quite smooth. It kind of reminds me of the old car I drove, the Nissan Sunny which was a manual.

For a month plus now I've been driving my mother's Wira. I had to park the old Nissan Sunny at my house and borrow the Wira because the Nissan Sunny just had too much problems. The suspensions were making noises; the engine was leaking oil and other problems. That was the main reason I decided to trade it in for the government's RM5,000 rebate for old cars. It looks like a good car from the outside but it wasn't economical to repair anymore.

Though I have to say, compared to the wira, the Nissan Sunny was much more fuel economical. For 40 litres of petrol, I got about 450KM. For the Wira, I only got 350KM. Now all this is just city driving. I think it's mostly to do with the Wira's auto transmission which wasn't very fuel economical.

Last night when I came to check on the old car, I found out the engine oil leak was so bad the car could have caught fire. It was leaking oil on to the exhaust and the oil was smoking. Luckily, my mother knew a mechanic and we called him over to have a look. He actually offered to buy the car from me for his daugther to use. I told him it was too late since I've already signed the papers with Proton. It would be nice actually to see this car be of service to someone else. Ironically, this was the same mechanic that my mother when with when she bought and tested the car.

The mechanic came in the morning to take the car to his workshop which was near my house to spray some sealant to stop the leak. My instructions to him was specific, fix it so I can drive to the proton dealership, as they were going to scap the car no need to do any extensive repairs. My mother's neighbour who drove the same car took some of the other parts of the car, like the hubcabs.

As I drove the car to the proton dealer this morning, I was really worried that the car would break down. However, it made it in one piece. While driving it, I almost forgot what fun it was to drive an old manual car. The pickup for the Nissan Sunny is pretty good, especially from 1st to 2nd and to 3rd gear. Somehow, driving an old manual like this car always made me feel like a rally driver.

I was seriously considering getting the manual version of the proton saga but my wife talked me out of it. This car is going to be with me for at least another 10 years and by then I probably won't have the energy to drive a manual anymore. So, I thought I better drive an auto from now on.

I'll miss driving manual... but I'm already having fun driving this new Saga. The pickup and handling is fantastic. I can take corners a lot faster then I used to do with the Sunny. It didn't feel like the car was going to turn over. The seat is higher too, just like in the Sunny.

The only thing that really bugs me is that the car doesn't have a USB port for MP3 playback on the radio. In my old Sunny, I had a radio that I bought with a USB port. I took the radio out and I'm going to put it in my wife's car. I can't change the radio that came with the Saga because there's a 5 year warranty so I got to stick with it. I'll probably consider one of those MP3 players that transmit over the FM frequency.

It would be nice if actually could find a way to integrate the radio with my Iphone. The wira I was driving had a mini stereo jack so I hooked up my Iphone to it and I've been listening to the tunes on it. However, I think I'm going to try listening to the radio for now just to see what I've been missing.

I've transferred some of the old stuff to the new car, like my university alumni sticker. It's old and worn out but it's the only one I have. I should write to my university and see if they can mail me a new one. It's free publicity for them anyway.

Friday, July 24, 2009

While my wife was away...

My wife just got back today from her short holiday overseas with her friends. So the past few days I've been staying alone in the apartment. I almost forgot what it was alike to stay alone. I actually got creeped out on the first night. I was too afraid to sleep alone. I stayed up until I was really tired and then when to bed. That way, I didn't have to think of all the scarry stuff that might happen... like I don't know... some monster coming out of my toilet bowl. Damn, I have an over imaginative mind.

Anyway, it did give me time to experiment with other things normally I would not have been able to do if my wife was around. For one, I've been playing around with this wireless camera I got that I have been using as a CCTV. The reception is pretty bad from the study room so for the past few days when the wife was away I attached a really long RCA cable to it and put the receiver in the living room. I was right, the reception was so much better. I think I might invest in a better wireless camera, I think there's a bluetooth version out there.

I've also got to watch my DVD's on the TV. My wife controls the TV now. I get the study room. In my study room, the monitor isn't that great on the desktop PC but I have 5.1 surround sound. In my living room, I have a large flat screen TV but only 2.1 speaker system. Only if I can combine the two... should try that out the next time.

Anyway, I did get to watch Watchmen on DVD. Now that was an awsome movie. I like the ending. The superheroes were kind of cheesy since they were from the 80's. I think the one character I like best was Rorschach. He reminded me a bit of Punisher because he didn't have any superpowers. In fact, most of the heroes in the Watchmen didn't have powers except for Dr Manhattan... now that guy was almost a God, too much powers. Rorschach was cool because of his extreme morality.

The soundtrack for the movie was pretty good too, It had some tunes from the 60's and 80's. Haven't heard most of them in awhile. After the movie, I listened back to some of the tunes again on my PC.

looking for talent

Lately, I've been on the hunt for more talent again to add to my production team. I still need some reporters (and hosts). As it's an english business program, finding someone who speaks english and have the right skills is not easy.

First of all, the resumes I've been getting from my HR department aren't very promising. I first filter the stack for those who can speak English and that really narrows it down. I can sort of tell right away from their cover letter. Most are cut and paste type. If you can't even write an original cover letter, you're not going to cut it as a journalist.

Then the next filter is academic background. Since it's a business program, I'm looking for someone with an accounting, finance, or business degree... and mind you, I say degree, not a diploma.

After all this is shortlisted, then it goes to the interview stage. At this stage, I can pretty much tell from the first minute of the interview if I want the person or not already. The interviews I do are designed to see how the candidates do well under stress and also how they handle real life situations they will be facing on the job.

The last interview I did, we asked the candidates "If you could interview the finance minister, what would you ask him?". I think most of them mumbled a feeble question but those who were confident knew what they wanted to ask... though some questions were a little too daring for Malaysian standards. I like someone with guts, who are not afraid to speak their mind.

I think the talent pool for english speaking Broadcast Journalist in Malaysia is very small. I wonder what happened to all the kids who graduate every year with a mass communication degree. Maybe they all go into advertising, PR or print journalism. Those who do go overseas to do broadcast journalism either don't come back or do something totally different from their first degree.

My degree isn't broadcast journalism either, it's TV Production but at least I'm doing what I studied.

Suddenly I feel like Optimus Prime at the end of the Transformer 1 movie where he's sending a message out to the stars asking for other autobots to join him. Any broadcast journalism graduates interested to join my team?

You can be a Decepticon too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pear & pineapple

A funny conversation this morning during a meeting I attended.

X: Hey, is that a new Iphone?
Y: Yeah, I got it in Singapore. Malaysia very expensive. Over there, much less.
X: (picks up the phone and looks at it) Hrm, this doesn't look like an Iphone.
Me: (takes Iphone and look at it) Hey, this is not an Iphone. It's a China clone.
Y: It is an Iphone, how you know its a clone?
Me: Iphone has an Apple logo on the back, yours doesn't. Plus your USB port is on top of the phone, Iphone's USB port is at the bottom. (I show her my Iphone). Your phone is not an Apple lar, it's a pear. Looks like an Apple, but it's not, it's a pear.
X: More like a pineapple.

hahahaha.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Back in the saddle again

A few months ago, my boss informed me that I would have to produce a new business program. At first, I was quite hesitant to do a business program again as I haven't done one in a long time and I have lost touch of the business world. Plus the fact that I would have preferred to do a lifestyle program. In fact, business programs are very specialized and only those with an interest in it would go into broadcasting specifically to just do business and financial programs. As this was a directive from my company, I had to do it.

So a few months down the road, it has been a few episodes into the season already. Things have almost stabilized. The hardest part about any program is getting things started. The hardest part is actually planning the editorial direction of the program and meeting up with the sponsors. Everyone has high expectations and it's important to explain to them early on what are the limitations.

Then there's the creative direction. Meeting the designers to build the set, program montage and the logo. Sometimes too many cooks spoils the soup and that's what happens every time when it comes to a creative progress. In the end, I had to push things through to get things done.

Preparing a team is also hard. The hardest is finding a good host. A few names were tossed around in the early part and all of the candidates have their pros and cons. In the end, I was lucky enough to convince my current host to take up the challenge to do it. It's important to have good chemistry with the host, especially during a live program. A host has to think in the same wavelength as the producer in terms of what questions to ask a guest.

The good thing about this program is that at least I'm now producing a program on my own again. It's like getting to captain your own ship again. Since I'm a Star Trek fan, I always see each program as a star ship and this program won't be a huge galaxy class ship like the Enterprise (that would be Buletin Utama, the main news program). My program would probably be equivalent to... a shuttle craft? hehehe. Hey, at least they call me producer again!

I've also been talking to the business community again. It's always nice to get the news straight from the source and to see uncensored version of the news. When I was doing a woman's talk show, I used to talk to NGO's and politicians and they used to tell me the challenges they faced. Most of it couldn't be aired. It's the same with the business community, they love to talk, but not officially on the record.

Maybe it's just the Malaysian culture. Everyone's afraid to stick their neck out to say something event though everyone else is thinking of it. Its just too risky.

Since my program is on Sunday night, my day offs are Monday and Tuesday now. At first I was thinking there goes my weekend but I find that working on a weekend is works out fine for me. On Mondays and Tuesdays I get to go out do my errands while everyone else is at work. It helps that I can go to the bank during banking hours.

The down side is I don't get to attend any social events on Sunday. Although I only start work at 4PM on Sunday, I prefer to sleep in on Sunday morning because I have to work until very late in the evening.

USB DVR and youtube ban in china.

Recently, I bought a USB DVR 4 channel recorder. It was a clear-logic brand. I got it from a dealer on lelong.com.my.

I've been looking for a DVR for some time to replace this old PCI DVR card I have. It only runs on Windows XP and my desktop is already running Vista on it. Plus, my desktop only has PCI slots and both of them are used already, for my soundcard and firewire slots.

Anyway, back to the USB DVR device, one of the features advertised is that it could record motion and auto upload it into youtube for you to watch. It also allowed auto upload of pictures to Picasa. I thought now that would be cool, I can watch stuff on my Iphone on youtube and picasa in real time.

I installed the software that came with it and found that the youtube function didn't work most of the time. Also, the program kept crashing everytime I tried to log it into picasa.

I e-mailed clear-logic for customer support, A 'Coco' were nice enough to write me back the next day to ask me to chat with her in MSN to get the new software.

She said in the new software update, it won't work with youtube anymore but it fixes the picasa problem. I asked her what happened to the youtube support since that was the major decision to buy it. She said, youtube has been banned in China, and since they're based in Shenzhen, they could not provide any customer support for their customers. Damn.

Looks like China's censorship is affecting me also. This clear-logic is brilliant in how they figured out a cheap way to offer full DVR services for a cheap product. They rely heavily on Google to do that.

The one I like best is how they get google calendar to send free sms to me everytime a motion is detected. It creates an event in google calendar and then google calendar sends a reminder by sms to me. I didn't even know google calendar sends out free sms reminders for events.

Anyway, I'll write a more extensive review of this DVR device futher once I've done more testing on it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

in this life time.

I've been thinking and reflecting on what I want in life... again. Sometimes, on a quiet night my mind drifts to thoughts about what I want to do in this life.

First of all, you have to understand what I believe in. I'm a Buddhist in heart. One of the hardest things for me to believe in Buddhism is reincarnation. If Buddha is right, that we are to reincarnate infinite times until we can escape through nirvana, until then we're to re-live many life times.

So if I am to reincarnate, what do I want to do in this life time? What would make it worth while? I don't remember my previous life times so I have no measure of what has been done or experiences I lack of.

I sit and ponder... and now I am hungry.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Who to ask?

Today, I was doing my editing in the Non-Linear Editing room and the producer who was using the room next door came to sit in my room out of boredom.

As I was sitting there, his trainee pops his head through the door and this the was conversation between the two of them:

Trainee: Where did you want me to go?
Producer: Go to Corporate Communications Department and get some sounvenirs for the trip we're going on.
Trainee: (blank look on the face). Where is it?
Producer: It's on the fourth floor, south wing. We're in the north wing right now.
Trainee: (still blank look on the face)

By this time, I chipped in and said, "It's next to the HR department".
Producer: Just go to the fourth floor and ask anyone for directions.
Trainee: Ask who?

both me and the producer then shouted and answered at the same time: Ask anyone there lar!
Me: When you get there, just ask the first person you see where is corporate comm!

Trainee: Erm... I meant, who to ask at Corporate Comm for the souvenirs?
Producer: oh, ask X for it.

hahaha. Lucky, both of us didn't give the space cadet a long lecture on using his brain. Like robot, must give precise instructions otherwise it won't operate properly.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Will Ferrell cameo role in Michael Jackson's music video "The Way You Make Me Feel"

I was looking at the full version of Michael Jackson's full length version of "The Way You Make Me Feel". The video was shot in 1987. The long version of the music video is hardly every played, so when I saw it on youtube I saw something I don't most people realize.

24 seconds into the video, there's actually a very short scene of young Will Ferrell playing a punk. He yells "Don't touch my head" in it briefly. I can't verify if it was him but from the voice, height and facial features, it sure looks like him.

Now in 1987, he was basically a nobody. I think this was even before he was a regular in Saturday Night LiveWho would have thought eh?

Check out the video below to see it for yourself at this youtube site here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJrUa-zKeIc

I can't post the video here myself because of copyrights reasons.

The short version that is played edits out the early part with him in it so that is why most people would not have seen it.

Now I wonder how many more famous people were in MJ's music video.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sports day








The primary school next to my apartment having sports day. I can hear them cheering "merah! Merah!" and "biru! Biru!".

Such fun times. I'm rooting for biru!

-- Post From My iPhone

Avante humidifier

I got this humidifier for RM228 at Home Fix at One Utama. It was the mid-range one. The high end one had a digital control with a room humidity sensor and control.

I figure if I start feeling uncomfortable I'll just turn it down. No need for the sensor. Right now I have it turned on full.



Right now I have it setup on a high position above my shelfs. I'll need a new extension cord so that I don't trip on the wire.

You can't really see it in the picture but the mist it generates is really cool. It falls down and covers the room.

-- Post From My iPhone

Flu

I'm down with the flu again. At first I was wondering if it was Influenza A H1N1 (I don't call it the "selsema babi") but luckily the doctor said there's no fever... just sore throat and running nose.

When to the doctor the second time again today to get antibiotics. When I saw her yesterday, I said I'll be back if it got worst and it did. Knowing myself, my running nose always leads to a bad sore troat. When I wake up in the morning, the back of my throat really hurts because all the phlegm is dried up.

I've been drinking a lot of water but the side-effect of that is that I keep going to the toilet every 20-30 minutes. I have a small bladder I think. Now I know what pregnant ladies go through. I can hardly sleep at night because I keep going to the toilet. It's not easy to aim when you're half asleep!

I when to One Utama to buy a dehumidifier. I find that my room gets really dry when the airconditioning is on. I can't really tell the difference yet with it on. The air in my study does feel a little 'thicker'. Hopefully, this would help with my sore throat.

Anyway, the 'night' flu medication is supposed to make me feel drowsy. Took it more than an hour ago and finally I'm feel sleepy. Time to hit the sack!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wrong Number

When I first moved into my apartment, I was considering what type of internet connection I was going to get. At first, I got Celcom wireless broadband but that turned out to be a really bad idea. It turns out that Maxis and Celcom's wireless broadband do very badly in the Klang Valley, too many users.

I remember calling Celcom to complain and they said they will add more capacity in my area but I have to wait 3 months, I then asked them why should I pay 3 months for a service I'm not getting? They said, it's actually a mobile device and it wasn't meant to be used in only one place. So I cancelled it right away.

In the end, I when back to Streamyx. It turns out Streamyx is still the most stable and fastest I've tested.

Now, with my Streamyx, I also had to apply for a phone line. Since my wife and I both use handphones, we both don't use a fixed line anymore. The streamyx customer service representative at their shop said I could pick a number so I looked through it.

I picked a number with a few repeating numbers so it's easy to remember. I didn't tell anyone except our families the phone number since I figured no one will ever call me on the fixed line. A few days after installing the line, the phone started ringging and I started getting calls from Telekom staff who kept asking me if wanted to register Streamyx. The customer service rep did warn me about "people" calling to ask but I didn't realize it was going to be like 3-4 times a day.

In the end, it did stop but I now get calls wrong number calls. If the house phone rings, it's most certainly a wrong number. I think picking a nice number has its drawbacks, I think my number must be similar to other people's office number because I keep getting people calling asking for strangers.

Previously, in my old house, I had a land line in my room too for the Streamyx. I think the number was similar to a sundry shop near my house so people kept calling the phone asking for sundry goods to be delivered to them. Once, the phone rang and I got fed up and I just picked it up and hang it up again. The second time it rang, I picked it up and an old lady screamed "why you keep hanging up? I want to order my groceries!".

I want to unplug the phone but I have to keep it for emergencies. Sometimes the Maxis reception in my study room is bad, so my wife calls the house phone to get me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guntron

I've been following a new comic strip online, The Perry Bible Fellowship. I know, it sounds wierd but it's nothing to with Christianity.


It's got some pretty dark humour which is my favourite. This is my favourite panel so far. Click on it to open it to see it clearer, the second panel is a bit small.








Took me a split second to figure out the ending and I had to go back to the second panel before I finally got it. Shit, I was laughing for a minute there. Funny as hell.


Here's another one... sort of ties in to the Transformer sequel coming out.


Monday, June 22, 2009

This is Melbourne Part 04


Another panorama picture from Melbourne. Wonderful city. I love how they like to try new architectural designs. Very interesting.
The layout of the city and their mass transportation is very good too. A Sim City model I say.

This is Melbourne Part 03



Finally got my camera fixed. I dropped it in Melbourne. Cost me over RM400 to fix it. I dropped it on the lens and it pushed the telescope lens out of alignment.

So I finally downloaded all my panorama pictures. That's my favourite thing to do with my camera and photoshop. I love seeing how photoshop puts together the panorama pictures perfectly everything. The above picture was taken at Sovereign Hill, Balarat, near Melbourne, Australia. In the background, is my wife, her grand-uncle and my mother-in-law.

The place is one of those tourist places you probably only go once and you had enough of it. It's basically an old mining camp that they've turned into a tourist attraction. By the way, a few minutes after I took this picture was when I dropped the camera.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This is melbourne 02

We took Airasia X. The flight was 7 hours plus and I have to say it was really uncomfortable. The reason for that was because of the seat. It was really hard to recline them and we had to sleep slouching most of the time.

Anyway, the food was OK. Check out the Nasi lemak.






We got to the airport at Melbourne almost close to 11:30pm. Getting through Customs was ok, except that they wanted to fine my wife for trying to bring in the Kit Kat bar in the picture above and without declaring it (Australia requires all visitors to declare all dairy).

Right away I was quite impressed with the level of technology they have here. Just take this hand dryer I saw I'm their toilet, it says it can dry your hands in 10 secs and it really did! It's got huge fans in it and I could feel the air pushing the water of my hands.







Ok, so it doesn't take a lot to impress me. More in the next post.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, May 25, 2009

This is Melbourne Part 01

It's been a long time since I when to a cold place. The only cold place I go to these day is my editing room, which I keep at 20C. So I was quite excited about going to Melbourne with my wife and mother-in-law for a holiday.

We had bought our ticket early as Air Asia was having a sale, and we were lucky enough to get discounted hotels. Accor was having a global sale so we got the rooms really cheap.

I'll post more pictures later. Right now, I'm trying to blog from the iPhone with a new blogging software. Leaving you with a picture of a friend we made there.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Music




I just bought Raising Sand, a collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. It's the album that won album of the year at the Grammy award. I've always been a fan of Alison Krauss and the first time I heard of the album was when it won the award. I searched the net and found the song Please Read The Letter. The first time I heard that song, I just knew I had to get the album.


Alison has such a haunting sound to her voice, add Robert Plant into it and you have an amazingly haunting album.

Looking back, I don't think I buy many albums. The last one I bought was a Julie London compilation which I listen too once awhile in the apartment when nobody's in on a lazy day. It's really soothing to listen to her sing. My favourite song by her is Cry Me A River. It's a sad song but I just love how she sings it. It's the album I listen too if I want to take a nap on the sofa.

I used to download all the latest hits instead of listening to the radio. I think since two years ago, I stopped doing that. I think I stopped listening to the radio at one point and lost all interest in the new music coming out. It's not that I didn't like the music coming out anymore, its just that I never had the time to listen to the radio anymore so I never knew what were the new music coming out that I might like. When I do listen to the radio when I drive, I listen to stations that have more news content like Radio Bernama or BFM which is a business/talk show station. The music that they do play aren't the latest but its music that I like.

I also listen to audio lectures that I have downloaded in my car. I put it in my thumb drive and play it from my car stereo's USB jack. I have a series of lectures on Buddhism and I only listen to it when no one else is in the car. Most people don't get it, for me I find it quite relaxing to listen to the professor lecturing. For long distance drives, it's perfect.

I tried downloading the latest top 20 hits a few days ago. Most of the songs are nice, but I think I'll still stick to the oldies and more mellow folk and country music. Must be getting old already!

Knowing the future



Spoiler for Knowing and Next below:



I watched Knowing earlier this evening. It's a science fiction film starring Nicholas Cage. It was either this or watching The International. I choose Nicholas Cage because of the 'knowing the future' theme.
In Nicholas Cage's previous movie, Next he can see into the future a few minutes before it happens, hence he can change it just before it happens. Its got a pretty dumb ending. He 'dies' but then wakes up and he's back at the middle of the movie again where he's just lying on his bed playing out all the possibilities before he got out of bed. How dumb is that? The movie ends without even the bad guys getting caught. I felt cheated, like there was supposed to be a sequel but it never happened.




Anyway, I wanted to know what happened at the end of Knowing. From the trailer, I sort of figured it out. Nicholas Cage has a series of numbers that predict the future. In the end, turns out aliens have been sending selected people warnings that the world is about to end. In the finale, the aliens takes his son away but won't let him follow as he wasn't one of the 'chosen one'. Too bad Nicholas, I guess nobody wants you. So he dies in the end when a huge solar flare kills everyone on earth.

Now I feel satisfied that he finally died in the end of a movie. He may have cheated me of a death in Next but he made up for it in Knowning. I did like the theme and the implied message in the end of the movie Knowing. The aliens in the ending are translucent humanoid beings. As they fly up to their spaceship, they have translucent angel wings. They drop the kids of on a strange planet with almost similar earth like atmosphere and ecology, except that it has two moons. In the last scene, the children run towards a large pale white tree in the open of a grassland. This tree is supposed to represent The Tree of Life from the bible.

So in the end, there are a lot of references that aliens are actually God and Angels were aliens interacting with humans. In the end, they came to save selected humans to start over again on another planet. Sort of like conservationists. "oh, look at those poor humans! The solar flare will kill them, lets save some of them. It was such fun watching them on earth".




Thursday, March 26, 2009

The village idiot

For the pass few days, I don't know why but I've been thinking about this village idiot that I accidentally interviewed.

When I was in Terengganu shooting our documentary, we have heard of a chinese temple that was build on the banks of a river, the same spot where legends have it that Admiral Cheng Ho stopped to look for fresh water. It was during Cheng Ho's fourth trip that he sailed up the Terengganu river looking for fresh water. He couldn't proceed up river anymore as his path was blocked by a rapid.

We only knew its general location and we had to stop people on the street to ask for directions. After driving of the main road into some village, we came to the banks of a river and found the temple. In front of it was a river with a rapid. It was quiet and serene. The small temple was more like a shrine. It was locked up and no one was around.

So there I stood in the shade of a tree looking at the rapids. There was a jetty where villagers took water taxis to the main town down stream. I stood there watching passengers getting on and of while enjoying the peace of the surroundings. I had come a long way from KL all the way to this small tiny village called Kampung Jeram. It felt surreal.

I looked around to see if there was anyone we could interview about this temple, and just as I looked down the small street we were standing on, I saw a man riding a bicycle. It was actually a kid's chopper. It looked like it was one size too small for the guy ridding it. He was wearing a ragged t-shirt and he had a shaved head. He stopped and asked us what we were doing. We told him we were filming a documentary and wanted to interview someone who could tell us the history of the temple.

He offered himself saying that knew the history of the place. So we sat him down by the rocks of the rapid and he started to talk. While I was doing the interview, I could see that by then a few other villagers have gathered around. After the interview was done, He when of to get something. The other crew came back from talking to the other villagers. They said the guy we interviewed wasn't 'right'.

At that point, I realized we had interviewed the village idiot and he gave us the version of his history of the village. No wonder the guy was going around in a chopper. He did mention he used to work in KL but couldn't stand the stress and moved back to his village and was now jobless. Damn it. I should have seen the sign.

The other villagers mentioned that the best person to talk too was the former village chief. Just then, the village idiot came back on his bicycle. We asked him to take us to the former village chief. So we followed him from our van while he rode in front of us.

The ex-village chief was quite gracious enough to talk to us. The story he told us was slightly different from what the village idiot told us. There was a lot more 'additional' stuff that the village idiot had told us which I began to doubt about it's authencity.

In the end, when I finally reached the office and started editing. I didn't use any of the interviews with the village idiot. I still have his phone number. He didn't have a hand phone, only a home phone.

In fact, I think this was the second village idiot we talked too in Terengganu. While we were looking for another place, we stopped to ask for directions. There was a small warong selling drinks and a few customers sitting in it. My producer walked up to the first customer to ask for directions. The guy just mumbled and we couldn't understand a word he was saying. Finally the shop owner came forward and took the guy by the shoulders and moved him aside. He said that the person we were just talking too "wasn't right". Damn of all the customers in the shop, we picked the one who wasn't right.

Khairy?

Man, looks like Khairy won by a slim majority. It was a good fight Muhkriz. Looks like in the end UMNO youth wants Khairy, for all the bad publicity that he got, he could still win then over.

Fine. If that's what they want.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rafidah is out!

Rafidah is out! Wohoo!

Just watched it live on TV the announcement of Sharizat winning the ketua wanita UMNO post. I always knew Sharizat had it in her to lead. Way to go lady!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Broken TV

Good Bye old TV. You served me well. Sorry you to see you go in such an awful way. I was hoping you would last longer but alas, it was just wishful thinking.

A few days ago, I was moving my TV around on the old TV cart. It had a high centre of gravity and the cart was really light. The TV must have been about 50KG. The floor tiles wasn't even and eventually it hit a bump and the TV fell face down onto the floor. For a split second, I thought of stopping it with my knee as I was standing in front of it. However, I decided it was either a broken knee or a broken TV so I let it fall to the floor.

I could hear the glass shatter into many small pieces. As I stood there looking down at the back of the TV, I could still hear the glass shattering and cracking, the small pieces slowly being pulled by gravity to the bottom. I dreaded putting it back up right, afraid to see what had happened to the front.

After about 30 seconds, I finally lifted it up right and found that the front screen had cracked. The inside tube must have shattered into many small pieces by now. I lifted it up and put it on another lower trolley and pushed it into the store room, waiting for the right time to trow it away. There, it sit in the morgue awaiting its funeral.

The day finally came when I had a colleague over at the apartment. We both pushed it down to the refuse chamber and hoisted it to the side. I remember there was a slight drizzle and the sky was dark. In the rain, I said good bye to this dear old TV of mine. At least it was shaded.

All that remains is the two remote control I have from the TV. Only momentos left of a memory.

Well, at least I already have a new TV I bought just before the death of the old one!

Buddha says all component things will not last. How right he is. Don't hold on to things, let go and you will suffer less.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I wonder

Sometimes I wonder if we ever do have free will. Am I just a raft drifting along in a river of circumstances with no choice where I am headed to?

Is there only destiny or do we actually have free will? Are the choices we make in life just an illusion?

I ponder these questions as I write this. For every action there is an opposite reaction. My current actions is result of the actions of others. How can I change this and finally reach nirvana?

Countless reincarnations before me, how many more after me? When will it finally all end?

The end to all end, nirvana.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Here be pirates

The piracy problems of the coast of Somalia is going to make for a lot of materials for movie producers and novelists. Just take for instance the story from the Star newspaper below:

Anxious
moment for heli crew

LUMUT: Confronted by pirates off the
Somalia coast was a nerve-wrecking moment for our navy boys.

Commander
Sazalee Shoib, commander of the Super Lynx helicopter unit, was watching over
the MISC container vessel Bunga Mas Enam which had stalled due to mechanical
problems in November last year.

Below, two skiffs (speedboats) filled
with the pirates were already near the vessel with six other skiffs rushing to
the scene.

Commander Sazalee said there was a possibility that the
pirates carried rocket launchers and other weapons.

So he kept a safe
distance but close enough to show the pirates that he meant business.

“Under the rules of engagement, we are not allowed to fire unless fired
upon first,” said Commander Sazalee when met at the naval base here yesterday.

The pirates, probably considering their options, decided not to do
anything.

After an hour, they retreated upon seeing the warship KD
Mahawangsa.

The KD Mahawangsa had sailed to the Gulf of Aden on Sept 7
last year to escort merchant ships plying the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.

One of its mission was to escort the Bunga Mas Enam and another merchant
ship to Djibouti, Soma­lia.

KD Mahawangsa commanding officer Kapt
Khalid Jaafar said the container vessel had fallen an hour behind due to the
mechanical failure. The vessel’s crew then radioed in to say that eight skiffs
were approaching the vessel.

“I decided to send the Super Lynx team (to
watch over the vessel) while we make our way back to the vessel,” Kapt Khalid
said.

He said it was an anxious moment for him and his crew.

The
KD Mahawangsa returned to base here on Dec 17 and was replaced by the KD Sri
Inderasakti.

A filepic of the warship escorting the MISC trade vessel to its
destination.



Our navy has been escorting our ships in the dangerous waters of Somalia ever since some Malaysian ships were taken ransom. It used to be, pirates just boarded a ship, killed everyone on board and sailed away with the loot. Today, a ransom fetches a higher price.

The military commanders from the joint patrol team would have probably considered sending in commandos to rescue their ships already. The French send in commandos to take down some pirates after paying of the ransom for a french boat.

Even the Chinese are sending their warships to the African coasts to patrol. This would be their first major overseas naval mission ever since Admiral Cheng Ho sailed with his fleet to Africa almost 600 years ago.

Almost all the great nations of the world stated out as a trading maritime empire. Malacca was famous for their Orang Laut, the sea people who protected the trade routes. They were pirates by trade but the Sultan got them to 'protect' the routes for the state.

Cheng Ho sailed to south east asia and even battled pirates and attacked their bases. He even brought back the pirate commanders all the way to China to execute them. I think that's the way it should be done.

In a movie world, SAS and Delta force commandos would be swimming into the pirate's base to plan explosives around the town. Another team of commandos will be boarding all the ransomed boats to take out the kidnapppers on board. The lead commando will engage in a hand to hand fight with the pirate commander. As the alarm is alerted, the explosives go off creating a distraction for the commandos to sail away all the ransomed boat.

In the real world, the commandos black hawk helicopter will be shot down over the pirate's town and massacred. All the town's inhabitants including women and children will get blown up in an air strike; all the hostages will be executed by the kidnappers and the captured oil tankers will sink and leak oil all over the african coasts killing all sea life. Hrmm... yeah, I think this would make for a more realistic movie.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

List of Israeli companies to boycott

Before the Malaysians were actually calling for a boycott over the Israeli invasion of Gaza, I surfed the net to find out if anyone was boycotting Israeli products. I had remembered there was one called worldwide even during before the invasion of Lebanon.

My google search led me to this website http://www.inminds.com/. They actually have an extensive list of companies that supported Israeli that they say should be boycotted here.

Below is a duplication of the list of companies with the brands next to them:


AOL Time Warner Time Life
magazine, CNN, ICQ
Apax
Partners
Jonny Rockets, Sunglass Hut.
Arsenal Football Club
Coca-Cola Fruitopia, Fanta, Kia Orange, Lilt, Sprite, Sunkist..
Caterpillar
Danone HP foods, Evian,
Volvic, Jacob
Delta
Galil
Hema, Barbie, Carrefour, Auchan, Tchibo, Victoria's Secret, GAP,
Banana Republic, Structure, J-Crew, JC Penny, Pryca, Lindex, DIM, DKNY, Ralph
Lauren, Playtex, cK, Hugo Boss, M&S
Disney
Emblaze
Estée Lauder Aramis,
Clinique, DKNY, Prescriptives, Origins, MAC, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Tommy
Hilfiger, Jane, Donna Karan, Aveda, Stila, Jo Malone, Bumble & Bumble, Kate
Spade
Home Depot Villager's Hardware, Georgia Lighting, Apex Supply, EXPO Design
Centres
IBM
Intel
Johnson &
Johnson

Kimberly-Clark Kleenex, Kotex, Huggies, Andrex
Lewis Trust Group
River Island, Isrotel hotels, Britannia Pacific
The Limited Inc Express
stores, Lerner New York, Structure, New York & Company, Mast Industries,
Intimate Brands, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, White Barn Candle
Company, Henri Bendel
L'Oreal Giorgio Armani,
Redken 5th Avenue, Lancome Paris, Vichy, Cacharel, La Roche-Posay, Garnier,
Biotherm, Helena Rubinstein, Maybelline, Ralph Lauren, Carson
Marks & Spencer M&S, St.Michaels
McDonald's
Motorola
Nestle Nescafé, Perrier,
Vittel, Pure Life, Carnation, Libby's, Milkmaid, Nesquik, Maggi, Buitoni, Cross
& Blackwell, KitKat, Milkybar, Quality Street, Smarties, After Eight, Aero,
Polo, Lion, Felix cat food, L'Oréal
News Corporation TV: Fox, Sky, Star, Phoenix, Granada, CNBC. UK newspapers: Standard
Newspaper, News of the World, The Sun, The Times. Australian Newspapers: The
Telegraph , Gold Coast Bulletin, Herald Sun, Independent, Sunday Mail. US
newspapers: New York Post. Publishers: Harper Collins Ragan, Zondervan, National
Geographical. Nursery World, Rawkus, NDS, Mushroom Records, ChinaByte.com,
Festival Records
Nokia
Revlon New
World Entertainment, Forbes
Sara Lee Hanes, Playtex,
Champion, Leggs, Douwe Egberts, Bryan, DIM, Ambi Pur, Bali, Superior Coffee,
Just My Size, Kiwi, Maison Cafe, Nur die, Pilao, Lovable, Outer Banks,
Wonderbra, Sanex, Pickwick, Gossard, Body Mist, Brylcreem, Aqua Velva,
Radox
Siemens
Selfridges
Starbucks Seattle
Coffee, Pasqua, Hear Music, Tazo
Timberland




Just roughly going through the list, I don't think I purchase many things from those companies anyway. I didn't drink any of Coca-cola's product (including their juicest) in a few months already, same goes for any fast food chains like McDonalds.

I think the only thing on the list I've bought lately was Maggi Mee and Milo from Nestle.

Hrmmm, I guess the Intel Core 2 Duo processor in my notebook I bought recently counts as a purchase from a company that supports Israel. The way I see it, there are only two choices, Intel or AMD. My processor is most likely made in Malaysia. Anyway, Intel rocks and AMD isn't as great as they used to be. I can't help it. The Israeli's probably know that too.

I used to use a Nokia and a Motorola phone, now it's an Iphone. Good think I don't see Apple on the list. Even the Israeli's are smart enough to run on a PC hehehe.

Under Sara Lee, there's Ambi Pur. Okay, I admit I just bought a car freshener for my car. I'll try not to buy anymore Ambi Pur.

I looked up the reason why they're calling for a boycott of Carrefour. Turns out an Israeli company Delta Galil supplies women undies and socks to them. Damn, I thought all of Carrefour's textile product in Malaysia comes from asian third world country like China or India. I just might have to take a peek at Carrefour's socks one day and see where it's made at. Taking a peek at their women's undies section is too wierd, even if it's academic interest.

I do wear a Timberland watch but it was a birthday gift long ago so I didn't actually purchase it.

Actually, now that I think about it, most of the brands in this list I don't think I'm planning to buy anything from them in the immediate future anyway. At least they're not calling for a boycott of Burger King. Burger King beats McD anytime with their juicy burgers... mmm.

Okay, I won't buy Milo and Maggi products for the mean time. Those guys at Nestle must be really feeling the pinch. Well, serves them right for raising the prices of the their product when the government raised the fuel price last year. Now it's payback time.

Last night I was watching the news and Vincent Tan from Berjaya said that most of the companies that are on the boycott list in Malaysia are also owned by Malaysians. He said, for instance, the Starbucks brand in Malaysia is owned by him. What he meant was, the Starbucks franchise in Malaysia was brought in my Berjaya.

Originally I was on the fence about boycotting Starbucks just because they're American but after Vincent Tan said he owned the brand in Malaysia, now I positively think I won't want to buy anything from Starbucks. Not that I bought anything from them in a year or so.

Talking about all these boycott, I wonder if there are a list of companies we can actually support. I wonder if there are any companies that are actually sending aid to Palestine or actually calling for an end of the Gaza occupation. So far there are only NGO's we can support. I wonder if the Palestinians actually export anything at all to Malaysia besides us hosting their students here.

Their economy must be so bad they don't have anything to speak of to export. The Malaysian government should consider strongly sending a trade mission over there to see how we can help their economy grow. Once there is economic growth, more jobs will be created.

Shalom!

I just noticed that there was 3 Israeli visitors to this blog since August. Now I wonder who they were. Hrmmm... now would they be interested to visit this blog?

Alam Melayu

I was reading a colleague's blog about the boycott of American products that some NGO's are calling a boycott for. As the blog was in Malay, I wrote the below comments:

Senarai barangan wajib di boikot ini tidak seimbang dan hanya menyenaraikan
jenama-jenama terbesar. Kenapa jenama seperti Coca-Cola di boikot dan bukan
Pepsi? Kenapa McDonalds dan bukan Burger King?

Adakah kejayaan
'branding' jenama-jenama ini terlalu 'american' sehingga selintas pandang, terus
disenaraikan untuk diboikot?

Tidakkah kita terfikir mengenai 1700
pekerja di Coca-Cola F&N Malaysia Sdn Bhd? 60% daripada pekerja mereka are
pekerja Islam.

Bagaimana dengan pelabur-pelabur dalam dalam syarikat
ini? KWSP juga melaburkan duit simpanan kita di dalam syarikat ini.

Kebanyakkan daripada jenama ini dibawa ke Malaysia oleh seorang rakan
kongsi rakyat Malaysia.

Akhirnya, rakyat Malaysia yang akan lebih 'sakit' daripada semua boikot ini. Saya tidak menulis ini untuk protes boikot ini, hanya untuk menyeru pembaca untuk fikir semula senarai barangan yang ingin di boikot.

Tun Dr. Mahathir sudah pun berkata, kita harus boikot mata wang Amerika. Dengan tindakan ini, mata wang mereka akan turun nilai.

Bagaimana ini boleh dicapai? Kalau satu dunia boleh berhenti menggunakan
mata wang ini sebagai mata wang perdanganan antarabangsa, ini boleh dicapai.


Yes, I do write in and speak Bahasa Malaysia. I would admit, my spoken Bahasa Malaysia is much better than my writing.

Today, I had the most interesting conversation with another colleague. She asked my comment what is the different between gaya dan style. I said, gaya was the malay translation for style. She said she was planning to do some slides and they had words like kontemporari and tips. I told her she should use terkini and petua instead as those would be a better word as the ones she used although was correct, it was borrowed English words.

Another Malay colleague walked up and he gave the exact same comments. I laughed and said to her, "don't just take it from me because I'm Chinese, even a Malay just told you the same thing!". Right after that, she immediately walked of to refer to our boss if she could change the slides.

Anyway, back to the issue of the boycott. I think Tun had something good going on there about boycotting the US dollar. Currently, crude oil and even palm oil is traded internationally in dollars. If Malaysia actually made it a law that anyone who wanted to buy our palm oil or crude oil has to pay us in european currencies, that will create a ripple effect.

As it is, we buy more American things than the Americans buy our Malaysian product. Just look at our exchange rate. What isn't stopping some redneck American from starting a boycott Malaysian product campaign? Think about it.