05 December 2008

Photo rescue mission

I don't know what went to my head today - I looked at my old photos - those during my college and uni days.

Stored all these years in cheap photo albums, I don't think they will survive for much longer if I don't do something about it. So, I'm going to scan my photos so that I can store them digitally, just like all my more current photos.

It's hard to imagine that just around 8 years ago, I was still clicking away on film cameras. In those days, an Olympus mju was probably the most sought after camera for the young crowd like me (yes, I was young once upon a time).

As I turn the pages, the memory of my younger days flashed before me. I recall friends long forgotten, and newly rediscovered (Facebook is the best thing since sliced bread, I think). I remember those days when I was wondering if I should pay 2.50 for a Snickers bar ... because I had only 5 in my pockets ! I recall those times when a holiday means I could walk a little longer in the mall.

I know realise these photos are really important to me. One day, when memory fails me, I'll need to look at them to remind me of myself.

So, busy work days or not, I'll work towards digitizing as many of my photos as I possibly can !

Maybe then, I can show some of you the days when I had green hair !

17 November 2008

The world has changed, hasn't it ?

Since my last posting, more than a month back, the world has changed, for better or for worse ...

I've been back from Sydney, and haven't travelled since. The global financial crisis meant travels have been restricted for us ... so it's working behind a desk and from home.

A black man has become the president elect of the US of A. Man, that day seemed impossible not that long ago ...

I took a holiday in Kuantan & Cherating. I needed a break, bad economy or no bad economy.

How about a big round of applause for AirAsia's free ticket promotions? I've grabbed a couple of free flights.

I absolutely love how this new James Bond is turning out to be. All action ... yeah !

I'm really busy, no, not really posting anything at all on this blog. But believe me, once the busy is away (if at all it will be), I will have regular service resume !

Lately, I've been putting up all my photos on Facebook, but I can't help but think that I should get an account in Flickr and post them there instead. I dunno, I guess there's only so much money to go around, and there are so many things I wanna do that requires money ... there's never enough, is there ?

I hope this next round of financial crisis won't hurt us all that badly. However, I can't help but think that the combination of bad news, low consumer confidence, and the contagion effect will eventually reach our shores. And the longer we deny it, the worse off we could be. On my part, I'm bracing for it, and have decided to cut out all non-essential spending. So, lenses and camera accessories are off.

How will the world have changed by the time the next post is up ?

11 October 2008

Ta ...

See you again in a bit ;)

My eyes have opened to the world.

Hope to be back soon to visit you again, Sydney =)

07 October 2008

Down Under Trail

Trail status so far:

Hunter Valley
Middle Gardens, Royal Botanical Gardens
All over Sydney
All over North Sydney
Belgian Beer Cafe, Cammeray
Greath Northern Cafe, Chatswood
Ku-rin-gai Chase National Park

Personal status so far:

Missing YOU very dearly

21 September 2008



Sydney is in sight. Will be there in a little over 24 hours ! How about that ???

20 September 2008

Let down ...

If there was a day when I felt like the whole world let me down, it was today ...

Sometimes, I think I set my expectations very high, both of myself, and for the people around me. Perhaps I'm setting myself up for major disappointment.

It's taken a very long time for me to learn this, but I've realised that while you shouldn't do upon others what you don't want them to do to you, you can't do what upon others what you want them to do to you. I waited patiently today for nothing. I wasted time, didn't do gym, didn't watch TV, didn't go out. Maybe I shouldn't do that anymore.

Anyways, I had trouble all round today, and nowhere to turn to let it all out. I'm really frustrated. Perhaps I should make more friends.

I have so little time for myself. I shouldn't spend those little time waiting or moping. Anyone for a game of golf ?

18 September 2008

BRB - Down Under

I'll be away from Malaysia for the next few weeks. I hope to return home to a less messy country.

In the meantime, while I'll miss sunshine very much every day, I'll be looking forward to renewing my ties with what can be arguably called my 3rd home, maybe even 2nd home. I've actually calculated that I've spent more time in Australia compared to every other country except Malaysia.

This time around, I'll try and do Hunter Valley, failing which I'll try to do the Grand Canyon hike in the Blue Mountains. And of course, there's the Manly-Spit walk and Doyle's at Watson's Bay.

One thing I absolutely love about Australia is the almost unending variety of outdoor activity.

Ah ... springtime in Sydney ! Hopefully, it'll be spring cleaning in Putrajaya as well.

12 September 2008

Glad to get a small break ...

I looked at my calendar today ... and I nearly died.

And these don't even count my time at customer place, travel between meetings, and actual work that needs to be done.

Perhaps I should have just died. How do I find the time to even do work, with schedules like the last two days in that snapshot? I'll be spending more time just being in meetings and calls !

11 September 2008

"I forgot to switch off the lights ..."

This morning, my dad forgot to switch off his car's headlights, resulting in the car's battery bring totally drained.

We tried to jump start it with my car's battery, but it didn't work, and I had had to get someone from a auto repair shop nearby to come and fix the problem.

I just realised today again, that my dad is aging. It would probably be more common from now on to have him forget a thing or two. And it must hurt him to see us all help him out. He's a proud man who used to be able to do everything on his own.

You know, one day, we're all going to be old, and we'll all need help every now and then. I'm not sure I'll enjoy it, but I sure do hope that my children would handle me better than how I sometimes handle situations with my own parents.

My dad has done so much for me, putting in hours of backbreaking labor to make every dollar and cent that we children spent, sometimes unwisely. In a sense, we were able to punch above our weight because we had parents who support us, and gave their everything into making our dreams possible.

I'm sorry that I don't always handle situations in the perfect way, dad. I know you mean well, and I know I should be a more grateful son. After all, everything I am, I owe it to you.

31 August 2008

Happy Birthday, Malaysia

"You're not young anymore, act like an adult." - Mum, on my birthdays when I was young.

50+1. Quite an age to be. Past the half century mark. In human terms, this would be really a momentous occasion.

This year, I feel non of the good feelings I do whenever 31st August comes about. I don't know how to explain it, but the truth is, my pride of being a Malaysian is no more. It's sad for me to say this, but everything I love about Malaysia is weighed down and overshadowed by all the things I don't like about Malaysia.

I'm a squatter in my own land. I pay taxes, I abide by the laws. Yet, I'm not getting full respect as a fellow Malaysian from many of my other fellow countrymen. In their eyes, I'm a pendatang, an immigrant. Sometimes, naturalised Indonesians get accorded better things that I do.

I got the grades, but didn't get the university place.
I pay the taxes, but I get non of the assistance.
I contribute to the nation, but I don't see the nation extending a welcoming hand back to me when I need it.
When I'm rich, I must be a cheat - I can't be getting rich without cheating.
When I'm poor, I'm the wrong ethnic group - I don't deserve help.
When I work hard, I am a threat.
When I do well, I am a threat.
I get turned away from meetings because of my skin color.

Hasn't it occured to you all, that I'm not your problem?
You are your own problem.
If you are such a superior ethnic group, why is it that you need the most help?

I just want to have my place under the Malaysian sun.
I want to work hard, play hard, and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I want to be treated fairly, to be recognized as a Malaysian.
But I know.
I know it is one request too much.

I have a hard enough time making ends meet, I don't need more obstacles and barriers put in place to hold me back.

I have decided today, on my 32nd birthday, that there is no place for me under the Malaysian sun.

The world is flat, my home is where my heart is, where open arms welcome me.
My heart is not here. I'll be somewhere else, in a place I can really call home.

Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday, Malaysia.

16 August 2008

To be or not to be ...

To be or not to be ...

Darned if I do ... Darned if I don't.

Sometimes, questions with just two answer choices are the hardest to choose. Because you have to choose one or the other. It's so black and white. No middle ground. No shades of grey.

Wouldn't want anyone else to be in my shoes now ...

13 August 2008

Moz does Jakarta

I don't know why, but after all these while, I felt like doing a travel entry, so here I am ...

I'm currently in Jakarta, putting up at the very nice JW Marriot. Here are pictures of my most visited hotel for the year :P

The room at JW Marriot. Quite nice, and well appointed.

I had my check-in done in my room now, thanks to my new Marriot Silver status ;)

I had a visitor from India with me, so tonight, I decided to go out for some different food, rather than stay around the same area I always eat out at.

So, with Hunady, my local colleague, we went out venturing to Sate Khas Senayan. I'll let the photos do the talking ! Don't blame me if you get hungry looking at the photos, ok ?!

So, we went out to Sate Khas Senayan !! Yeah, it's a chain, but the food is still good. This one is at Menteng, a central Jakarta district, home to the famous and rich people.

My colleagues trying to figure out what to order ...

Someone looks very happy that the food has arrived !

The flying fish, gureme goreng, is a signature dish here ... looks like the ones they make at the Sundanese Restaurant at KLCC, but tastes much better =)

While this dish (I forgot the name), is made of egg tofu, omelette, and bean sprouts. Nice alternative to gado-gado !

But really, this is why we came ! The chicken sate, served over a bowl with charcoal under it ! Simply delicious. It's not the same as kajang sate in Malaysia, so it's not really possible to compare.

05 August 2008

Shaken, but not stirred.

Some of you who know me, and read my constantly update status on Facebook could be forgiven for thinking that I've suddenly turned into a women's right activist today. Rest assured I have not.

Originally, I had planned to post about my travels to Hong Kong, and some photos from other trips, but I think this is more important to blog.

I was shaken today, witnessing an assault in front of my very eyes. I don't want to give out any details, except that it was in the public, and that it was a case of a husband assaulting his wife, with hundreds, if not thousands of witnesses.

I was shocked, and I had no idea what to do. I shouted to ask for someone to make a police report. Many other bystanders intervened and stopped any further assault. Now I know what it means when people say that things happen so quickly they didn't have the time to think and react properly. I had brain freeze for a while, and I had no idea what to do, and how to act.

The rest of my day was badly affected - I couldn't really work after that. I didn't realize something like this would affect me that badly, but somehow it did.

I can't fathom why a man would beat his wife, so it's even harder for me to understand how they not only can beat their wife, but they can beat them in the public, with all those people watching.

If the man thinks he's going to solve whatever problems he's trying to solve, he can't be more wrong. He's just making it worse, and he's making more problems. It becomes a downward spiral, if it isn't one already. If he hasn't already driven a final wedge in the relationship, I guess he just did.

A real man handles problems like a man - he thinks, acts and solves it like an adult. He will be realistic, rational, and objective. Violence doesn't solve problems - it is a problem itself, and only adds to whatever other problem already bogging one down.

We all have our down moments, and we all have rage within us. Sometimes, we do feel like taking things into our own hands. But if everyone does that, there would be anarchy in society. It'll be law of the jungle when that happens. We're adults. We shouldn't act like little children throwing tantrums when we don't get what we want !

A real man doesn't resolve family issues by beating his wife. That's what a weak man does - resort to violence. A weak man is one who can't use his charm and wits, or logic and reasoning to reach a positive, mutually acceptable conclusion.

I don't want to act like I'm an angel, but now that I've witness domestic violence / assault, you'll bet I'll step up to help people whom I know are in situations which could deteriorate into violence. I think I should stop being indifferent, and start being a friend.

I am shaken, but I thank many of my colleagues, and my beloved girlfriend for their support - at least they listened to me, and let me vent out my stress. And for that, I'm thankful.

14 July 2008

Awakening ...

Let's get this out of the way - this ain't a book review. Got that clear ?

On my somewhat long flight to Manila today (it feels longer than the 3 hours and 40 minutes, maybe it's the turbulence), I finally finished the book "The World is Flat" by Thomas L Friedman. This well research, thoughtful book talks about globalization, which I find essential read for someone like me.

The book covers globalization, the enabling factors, the resulting impact to the world, and how individuals, companies, and nations can cope with, and use it to their advantage.

In it, I found the most profound statement. I quote:

I like the way a U.S. diplomat in China put it to me in the spring of 2004: " China right now in doing titillation, not privatization. Reform here is translucent - and sometimes it is quite titillating, because you can see the shapes moving behind the screen - but it is not transparent. [The government still just gives] the information [about the economy] to a few companies and designated interest groups." Why only translucent? I asked. He answered, "Because if you are fully transparent, what do you do with the feedback? They don't know how to deal with that question. They cannot deal [yet] with the results of transparency."

In a way, that sentence almost describes Malaysia, doesn't it?

Is there reform? Isn't there reform? We're not transparent. Our government isn't courageous enough to be transparent even when they know they should. Because they know they can't deal with it. That's why it's always translucent.

Just give them the rakyat some glimpses of reform, but make it translucent, and tell them it's transparent. They've never seen transparent anyways, how would they know ?

And if you tell them enough times, they'll believe you. That's how I think the Malaysian BN government used to think.

Well, in this age of the flat world, where Internet enables news to be created by anyone, we the rakyat can choose whom to listen to, and via what media. Which is why we switch off the TV, and boycott the newspapers. We turn to news sites we trust.

The book also mentioned one thing close to my heart - education. I always felt Malaysia can do better with more talent, and the right environment and governance, together with education, will lead us to higher planes of achievements.

Ireland turned around from being left behind in the 60s, to currently being the 2nd richest nation in EU (believe it - they are), in less than 1 generation through government reforms, and education excellence. I really think we can learn from Ireland - how they reversed brain drain, attracted real and lasting investments, and attracted top talents to Ireland.

Somehow ... today, I feel ... awake. I wonder why ?

06 July 2008

Voice: Gone

Lost my voice while in Hong Kong ... it's back now, but I'm not really my usual voluble self.

Enjoyed myself in Hong Kong. Learnt so much this week, I'm going to put this down as one of the best trainings I've ever had. Anyone one you who want to learn how to have those tough conversations should pick up this book called "Crucial Conversations". It's seriously good, maybe a bit dry, but the contents could transform the way you communicate !

Hong Kong weather was great ... so I did manage a number of good photos ! Expect that soon ...

Now, excuse me while I get some sleep, and hopefully I'll get my voice back tomorrow ...

24 June 2008

Checklist for next weeks

  • Luggage - check
  • Credit Cards - check
  • Camera - check
  • Tripod - check
  • Octopus Card - check
  • Shopping List - check
  • Walking Map - check
  • MTR Map - check
  • Olympic venues list - check

I'm going Hong Kong. Then I'll go Beijing. =)

Travel times are here again ! =)

No, no shopping requests entertained. I've got enough from my sunshine and family already =(

Hopefully, there will be photos. And blog entries.

19 June 2008


Yesterday, I had a double shot of expresso from the coffee machine at work.

Immediately after that, till around 4am in the morning, I was a constant visitor to the toilet. It wasn't fun.

And this morning, I woke up to a bit of a fever too.

Sometimes, the body just tells you that a downtime is required.

And when that happens, you listen.

11 June 2008

Heavenly ...

Other than my vacation in Penang and Langkawi, I hadn't had a full 8 hours of sleep until yesterday night. Maybe it's the comfortable beds in JW Marriot Jakarta. Or maybe it's just time I got a lucky break at work.

Sometimes, we just go so fast, we forget that downtime is a part of the normal cycle. We work hard, we should play hard and sleep very hard too.

What's different? A very experienced friend told me, it's not what I do. It's what I don't do. Amazing how much time I can save by delegating small pieces of work every now and then. And even more amazing, I can save so much time simply by not looking at emails every 15 minutes.

Anyways, I'm working real hard now, trying to make sure I get a second night of full sleep.

Oh, and I finally updated my photoblog.

05 June 2008

How now brown cow ? Oil price naik kow kow ...

It wasn't unexpected. It wasn't like a bolt of lightning suddenly on a fine sunny day. It wasn't like your girlfriend coming up to you and told you her period stopped. It's not like that at all.

We all knew it was going to happen. We all expected it to happen. And when it happened, after all the waiting with bated breath, obviously, we're all angry. I can see fists knuckling, and faces turn stoic when the news that oil price was increasing quite dramatically filtered into the office.

For something that we've waited for so long to happen, the reaction was somewhat of a mystery to me. I expected Malaysians to queue the petrol stations and cause jams. I expected many of them to blog (like me). I know many will ponder about Petronas money. And I know many will accuse the government of turning its back on all Malaysians in their hour of need.

What I didn't expect was the instant knee jerk reaction. My economy rice some days before, consisting of a modest portion of rice, a chicken dish, and two portions of vegetables, cost me RM3.50. Today, the same dish is RM6.00. "Cost of electricity and fuel up", the uncle repeated again and again to everyone in the queue today.

I'm sure loads of other small traders will take advantage and increase prices. Or reduce portions. Either way, my ringgit will do less for me now. Not like it was doing a whole lot for me.

We have the lowest fuel price in ASEAN (except Indonesia and Brunei, the other 2 major oil producing nations in ASEAN).

But we have the most number of tolled roads anywhere I know of. Someone, correct me if I'm wrong.

We have really expensive cars. We're subsidising Proton as well in that sense, aren't we? Why aren't those subsidies lifted?

As a middle class Malaysian, I get nothing in terms of tax breaks that is considered special.

We have the nicest government buildings with the shittiest service provided inside. Nice buildings costs a lot, counts for nothing, and can't hide that fact that the counter services are probably on par only with 3rd world nations.

We have corruption blatantly going on (Port Klang Free Trade Zone, MITI Building, all the highway consessions, all those gravy trains). Corruption is a hidden cost. It's public money that is unaccounted for.

And above all this, the essential infrastructure and services remain at a very poor state. Our public schools, the public health care system, the universities, the public transportation systems, the utilities and local government services.

I want to be balanced in my criticism. I realise the market price for oil has increased astronomically. I realise that the subsidy bill is no longer affordable. There isn't one thing that the government can do about it.

However, the timing of the fuel price increase, the way the government managed the public's expectations, the message to all of us that we need to be austere and adapt to a new reality in life, and the speed of the announcement, in my opinion, was badly done.

The public was alerted earlier that it would be August before any real change is in place. But it happened overnight. This probably indicates how seriously short of money the government is that it can't even wait for 2 more months.

The public's expectations have not been managed properly as well. No denying all Malaysians have foreseen the price increase, but the quantum, and the speed caught many people out. I believe an announcement earlier, plus some advance warning, perhaps up to a week, would have created a better situation.

The worst part of it all is how we're asked to manage our lifestyles with increased fuel and electricity prices.

Would the PM and his government leaders lead the way by using less police escorts around our jammed streets to feel our pain, being stuck in the jam, burning expensive oil because we don't have a good public transportation system?

Would the PM and his government lead measures to reduce all the kenduri's and majlis makan malam's organised with tax payer money ?

Would the PM and his government commit to reducing fuel and electricity expenses at their respective department's premises to save tax payer money?

Would the PM and his government actually use our public transportation system to feel the pain instead of just giving lip service about improving public transportation?

I am committed to making changes in my life to adapt to the new oil prices and their impact. I am preparing to welcome a new government any time now.

31 May 2008

Just back from another trip ...

Sometimes, I wonder about my job, and how it relates to my life. And how it's true for everyone else.

I had this conversation with my cab driver in Ho Chi Minh City. We were talking about how Vietnam, while rapidly developing, is still a very difficult country to live in. Vietnamese live a hard life, he says.

I just answered my 40th phone call that day, and I told him - working in the city means more money, but you work all the time. And working the land means you may not have as much money, but you have much more time to yourself and your family. Some have that choice to make. Some don't.

That's my life now described. My decisions led me to this path now, where in exchange for career betterment, I have now less time for the things I like. Things that I missed doing.

I haven't been posting any new photos because I haven't really been photographing.
I haven't gone hiking for a while now.
I haven't gotten 8 hours of sleep for a few months too.
I haven't been able to see the sunset for many months now, except during my vacation.
I really miss going to gym.
And yes, I miss blogging too.
And yes, I miss commenting on my blogpal's blogs.

I hope I'll learn to manage my time better. I really miss a lot of things ...

21 May 2008

La-la-la-langkawi ...

Being in Penang, so close to the Islands of Legend, Langkawi, we obviously couldn't resist the temptation of dropping by to just sample what Langkawi has to offer.

It really got off to a bad start - there was a storm not long after leaving port in Penang, and the boat was rocking quite terribly - causing all of the people around us (except us) to throw up at one point or another. Good thing The Girlfriend fell asleep. I guess if you think you will get seasick, the best thing to do is to sleep. You can't be seasick if you're not awake, you know.

Anyways, reaching Langkawi 3 hours later, we were not the only people who're glad to be on dry land. I quickly rented a Proton Wira about to break apart. For RM60 per day, it's probably the worst bit of business I've done - words fail me here, because you have to experience the car to understand how bad it was. The shaking was so bad, it had to be measured with the Richter scale everytime we have to put the car in idle. And the fuel meter always shows Empty. And there are parts falling everywhere.

We stayed at the Mutiara Burau Bay - which I highly recommend - it's hidden away, quiet, and has a nice beach. No complaints about it. Food can be found nearby at the Telaga Harbour Park.

The weather didn't really co-operate, so we did the next best thing - we drove about the island. We basically saw every major beach there was to see - Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, Tanjung Rhu, Datai Bay, Pantai Kok. The drives were amazing and relaxing - little traffic, and smooth most of the ways.

We ate in restaurants recommended by the guide books, and just took it easy.

When the rain fell unabashed, we simply went indoors, taking our time in Underwater World Langkawi. Penguins are seriously cute, I promise you. Try to coincide your visit with the feeding times, and also take the time to watch the 3D show. It's cool =)

We also saw the waterfalls at Telaga Tujuh and Temurun. And of course, we took the Langkawi Cable Car. Too bad the weather turned bad at the top of Mt Mat Chinchang, which meant we had to forgo the boardwalk. Well, that and the fact that there's basically nothing but mist to look at up there.

The rains basically meant we had to give up snorkelling or island hopping plans. And I also decided against doing any mangrove tours or kayaking. I don't like spending time at sea during unpredictable weather.

Anyways, Langkawi is a great place to go to for a short break in a natural setting. It's got it all - beaches, tropical rain forests, slower pace of life.

Good thing for us, the ferry ride back to Penang was smooth sailing in good weather. The time I spent on the ferry deck, just enjoying the breeze and appreciating the sunset was godsent.

Langkawi is great. Too bad the weather didn't turn out how I expected it to. But that just means that we'll definately be back for another trip !

18 May 2008

Slow down, chill out, eat well !

Some days back, the Girlfriend and I, we decided that life was too stressful. And we thought that driving a few hundred kms to the north, staying there a few nights, and just wander about looking for good food would be a good way to wind down and destress =)

So, on we went to Penang.

Food is obviously the main attraction of Penang to us Malaysians. Few Malaysians would challenge Penang's place as the food capital of the country.

But don't forget that there are plenty of other things to do between meals to burn away your calories =)

The day we arrived, we just took it easy, and tried out Lebuh Keng Kwee's famous Teochew Chendul, the irresistable Durian Ice Kacang at Kek Seng Coffeeshop, and went nuts with Chev at Gurney Drive and New Lane trying all sorts of hawker food. It's a foodie's paradise !

We wandered about Georgetown one day, discovering the Heritage Trail. And then we immersed ourselves with the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion. And then I showed girlfriend that there is an End Of The World indeed ... and we settled for a Ship-ly dinner. Not content, we even went on to sample what is probably the best Murtabak in this glorious land called Malaysia !

And on yet another day, we ventured to the hills of Penang, scaling the dizzying heights of Penang Hill, and paying homage to the temple that the Kek Lok Si is ! And of course, what is a visit to the hills without a pit stop at the Air Itam market for the Asam Laksa? Or indeed, the sublime afternoon tea at David Brown's at Strawberry Hill?

And of course, we simply had to try out the divine Char Koay Teow at Lebuh Kimberly. Cooked in oil immersed in seafood ... the subtle flavors of Char Koay Teow only a true Penang hawker can create were all teased out, dancing and mesmerizing our undeserving tastebuds.

And obviously, you can't leave Penang without trying the Char Koay Teow at Lorong Selamat! And wash it down with some of the famous Peanut Ice Kacang, no less =)

Simply unbeatable ... only Penang can boast so much good food, so many things to see and enjoy, and so much relaxation in an urban setting ! =D

There is a pulse !!!

Ok ... I'm back.

Still adjusting to being really busy. Still not used to very little sleep, and lots of work.

Traveling to places often. And just back from a holiday (which I intend to blog about this long weekend).

Just did a digital photography workshop as well =). Hope people will like it !

Disappointed that a last minute trip to Shanghai didn't work out. But looking forward to the rest I'll get because I won't have to fly !

And yeah, I'll put some photos on the photoblog.

BTW, Iron Man rocks. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for ??

01 May 2008

May-day ! May-day !! =)

Alright. Hands up now those who realised that April was a busy month for me?

Right. That wasn't too hard to see, was it? 2 blog posts in an entire month? Gee. Something's gone terribly wrong.

I'm quite happy no one has taken the initiative to call the police and filed a missing person's report. It means if this blog slowly slips into oblivion, it'll be ok :). Of course, it wouldn't slowly slip into oblivion. With me, it'll either slip really quickly into oblivion, or not go anywhere at all.

What happened in the month of April to have kept me so busy?

Adjusting to the level of work. Adjusting to all the new programs I am participating in. Just plain lazy sometimes. A regional conference. And a week long adventure in Jakarta.

May has always been vacation month for me. And for the 3rd year in a row, May will be Cuti Cuti Malaysia month ! =)

This month, I'll head up to the Pearl of the Orient, and then reacquaint myself with the 99 islands in the Archipelago of Legend. It should be cool, spending time looking for a dot in the map, getting lost in traffic, and hopefully, doing next to nothing as well from time to time ! Sounds like fun to me !

Since it's holiday week. I'll hopefully blog a few more times and put some pictures too :). You never know.

At least there are all these pending tags I'll need to work on.

11 April 2008

Hanging in ...

Sometimes, life throws you curve balls. Real curve balls. Not the occasional curving minimally ball. We're talking balls that can swing off the continent before coming back towards you kinda curve ball.

While my eyes burn painfully, I can't fall asleep. There are so many things to worry about. There are so many things I have to do. So many things I need to finish. So many things pending. So many worries to look into. I could use some support. I could really have used some tonight, but it wasn't to be.

The kind of stress levels I'm at now, I'm surprised I haven't turned back to the bottle. Or got myself into some deep funk. I would have done that a few years ago. Perhaps it's a testament to maturity, perhaps it's just realisation dawning that those things don't solve problems. Or release stress. But it's getting desperately despairing now.

Yesterday, I destressed by taking self potraits. Today, I have nothing to fall back to. One stressful phone call followed by another. Work isn't personal. Work is simply work. It piles. It gathers momentum. It requires your every attention to detail, but it comes to you with careless abandon.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll read this and think - "You silly boy ... how could you even think of this ?" - but right now, just walking away from it all isn't such a bad idea. Even dying doesn't appear to be all that bad, seriously. But I'm probably right - it's probably a really terrible idea a tired, sleep deprived mind throws out to self preserve.

I just remembered why I used to turn to the bottle in the past, even when I knew the things I know today. It's simply the convenient thing to do. It was easy. It was simple. It wasn't too hard to get drunk. The brain doesn't function after that, and your problems go away for that little while. Just a little while.

Anyways, I've been quite sober for a really long time now. The new mentality of tackling problems head on might need to change - I think I just realised I can' solve all the problems in the world. I'll just have to pick the ones that are important and work on them.

And of course, there are real reasons life is worth it. You're one.

Oh well. Here, I'm putting this burden down. I'm imagining that I'm taking a huge boulder off my shoulders.

And yeah, if ever anything were to happen to me, I wanna use this picture I took of myself yesterday as my potrait. Seriously.

01 April 2008

Busy just gets busier

I bought myself a Blackberry. And that's just because busy is getting busier.

Having a Blackberry device frees me up for a bit more mobility without tying me up to a laptop.

It's quite funny - once upon the time, it was considered a liberating experience to get yourself a laptop ! Suddenly you can work from home ... no more getting stuck to the workstation !!! I remember the first laptop I had - it's a heavy Toshiba with enough weight to help you build very nice shoulder muscles.

Then, you can download your emails via dial-up connections. Then you disconnect, then you answer all the emails offline, and you dial-up again, then you send all your emails.

One day, my neighhbour showed me his broadband connection. And since then, I've had broadband (and all its ups and downs, and all the high blood pressure risks that came along with it), and I've never looked back. At first, I have wired broadband at home - I need to sit 3 feet from the ADSL modem because that's how long the cable is.

Then, one day, my company gave me a home wireless router to try out. And since then, I've been running a wireless network at home. It gives me the ability to move about the house and still be connected online - of course, I have to bring my laptop with me.

Granted my laptop is very light, but it's still a bit of a bummer. I can't really put my laptop on my lap when I'm in the washroom. Of course, you really don't wanna have to work or do anything online when you're doing some more serious business, if you dig what I'm saying.

So, enter my Blackberry. This simply means that I get to be online even more often, and I'm going to be more connected. Bad? No, I think not. Everytime I've added more connectivity to my life, I've been fearful that I'll loose out on more of the better things in life.

But the contrary has happened - I didn't need to be in the office all the time, I can work from home where it's reasonable. And I didn't need to be connected at all times. I can do simple tasks on the move whenever those work comes in, and that means I don't have to sit at one place for a long time to clear my work.

I hope that busy getting busier isn't going to mean I'll lose touch with all good things in life.

24 March 2008

Ten years to start with ...

I started my work life ten years ago, on March 23 1998. It's so much like the literal blink of an eye ! Without much drama, the first decade of working has passed me by.

I must say that if you've told me ten years back I'll be doing what I do now, I'll probably laugh at your face and tell you to pull the other leg too. No way I'd think I'll be doing this. I wouldn't have believed I'd be even in this line I'm in !!!

Not bad for ten years of working - it's afforded me down payment for my current house, it's given me my current car, it's helped my parents live a more stable life, it's seen me traveling all over the globe and it's helped put some sense into my head.

I'm thankful for the opportunities I've been given, I will continue to work hard so that I can get lucky. And when luck comes my way, I'll work even harder to make the best of it. I have been taught early on in my work life by some very good friends of mine that you create luck by working hard - and your reward for luck is hard work.

As I write this, I am humbled by the experience of work, but at the same time thankful for what it has provided me with. There are plenty of ups, and equally as many downs. Sometimes, it feels like a major grind when the only constant in your entire work life is hard work. However, whenever I step back to assess what little I've been able to achieve, I think I stand before you a better person now than ten years past - and that's all that matters.

Nowadays, we young turks (I hope no one takes offense that I'm calling myself a young turk still) get so much opportunities, it'll be a crying shame if we don't embrace it and use them for personal advancement. To my bosses, past and present, I want to thank you all for your patience and kind coaching. Each of you have left in me some lessons that will stay with me for a long time yet.

Ten years is a long time, ten years is a short time. Ten years is but a blink, ten years is an eternity. Ten years is past, I hope for a better next ten years.

19 March 2008

Top Ten New Cabinet Surprises

Well, in the aftermath of a historic General Elections, the new Malaysian cabinet was revealed earlier yesterday. Besides the expected down sizing, there were a few obvious surprises. However, not many media pundit pointed out the real surprises.

So, as a community service to Malaysians at large, I'm going to point out the Top Ten New Cabinet Surprises :

  • What? Only 2 Finance Ministers?
  • No Special Adviser with Full Ministerial ranking to advise on how to stay awake ? Disappointing !
  • Many were relieved to hear that Mawi wasn't appointed as Minister to boost popularity amongst young voters.
  • How the PM steadfastly refused to rename the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry as the Earth, Wind and Fire Ministry despite impassioned pleas from the other cabinet members.
  • Samy's toupee wasn't appointed even as a deputy minister ! How can ??!??
  • To try and connect with younger voters, the PM now starts each sentence with : "Yo, Dawg !"
  • In yet another effort to appeal to younger voters, a new cabinet post is created to look for all the missing Edison Chen photos.
  • What happened to the Minister in the PM Department In-Charge of Searching for Hidden Cameras?
  • To keep BN relevant, Malaysians will vote out a cabinet member each week ... opps ... that's American Idol. Wrong channel ... :P
  • Where's Kementerian Mat Rempit ?

So, there you go people ... the Top Ten New Cabinet Surprises ! Now, let's sit back, relax and see how the country either fall apart spectacularly or improves dramatically in the next few years !

17 March 2008

Even less time for this now ...

"Congratulations ..."

With that email, the realisation hit me that now, more than ever, I'm going to have less and less time for personal things.

Sometimes, it's strange how people ask for things without thinking about what it means. I guess sometimes, you ask for it without understanding that everything you get, you have to give up something too. It's an equilibrium - a way things balances themselves out.

Getting more salary usually means you get more work. Getting more staff usually means you have more responsibility. I guess it's good for me - I have wanted it, and now I've got it.

I'll be on a 12 month program now, hopefully at the end of which I'll have better things in store for myself in terms of career. At my age, if it doesn't happen soon, it won't happen. I'm just happy to be given a stab at it.

So, here's to putting my heads down and concentrating on doing a good job for the next 12 months !

09 March 2008

Enough !

I'm glad I voted.

I'm happy with change. The only constant in change anyways.

You had your run, you failed us. Now let others give it a go.

The people should not be afraid of the government. The government should be afraid of the people !

You asked for 5 years. We have given you that 5 years. Now show us all you can do something better. Else you know, change will come again.

Ironic isn't it, my 400th blog post will be on such a momentous ocassion !

06 March 2008

Woohooo !!!! Sawadee Krub ... !

Sawadee Krab !!!

Ow khao neau ma muang krab !!


Will be in Bangkok next week. Hope to catch up with some really dear friends from those days when Bangkok was home to me.

In my heart, Bangkok is always a second home. I'd like to see if I can meet up with Dee and Nuclear ... hope to see how they are now. And to reminisce the older days. And get some coffee at Black Canyon. I miss Black Canyon Coffee. And funky colored Toyota cabs ... who wants a shocking pink cab ?

I miss the water splashes in Songkran. I miss the wais when I pay my food bills. I miss the randomness of Chatuchak. I miss the walk from Chitlom to Siam Square. I miss the noise in Chinatown. I miss the small meals they call lunch.

I miss Bangkok.

I'm so glad I'm getting a fix of Bangkok, even for a few days.

04 March 2008

With power, comes responsibility

With power, comes responsibility.

Those are the famous words Peter Parker, aka Spiderman utters all the time.

We are responsible for the government we vote for. No use berating the fact after that we have a system that rots us from inside.

Last week, while I was driving around, I realised what choices do to you. When parking was hard to find, just any spot would do. When there were plenty of spots, I became picky - this spot wasn't aligned in the wrong way, that one wasn't close enough to the lift, and the other one didn't have any shade.

Choices can be hard to make. But I will make my choice. And come what may, I won't regret it.

I can't guarantee myself if I vote one way or the other my future will be better. No one can. Promises are easier made than kept. And things aren't always what they seem.

My investment manager tells me that past performance cannot be used as the sole basis of future performance indication. Meaning: Don't look back and use it to predict the future.

We had our good times. Now we're moving into an era of increased collaboration and openness, where competition will squeeze us from every possible angle. And here we are happily practising the divide and conquer politics we accuse our former British masters of practicing.

We see roads tarred up before elections and by elections. All our developments fast track around election time, and just die down to their normal leisurely pace thereafters. We do improve, but if our pace of improvement is slower compared to the people we're competing against - Singapore, Hong Kong - the other economies I think we should benchmark ourselves against - wouldn't that really mean we're not improving at all?

Bottomline: I have made my choice. I will not regret it. I will take responsibility for it. I will stand up for my believe.

01 March 2008

Shamelessly plugging again ...

Just added a new post on my photoblog. It's a series on a very intersting cloud formation I chanced upon while flying over Java island. The last photo is what I consider a once in a lifetime sort of photo.

Do visit it and give your comments.

25 February 2008


I'm in Jakarta now.

I'm travelling again. Again.

This morning, I met another frequent traveller in the airport. He's going to retire from traveling soon.

I wonder when will I ever get to do that, you know, stop traveling on my job.

The thing is, if I don't travel, I feel trapped. Bored. Lack of challenge. So I guess, I'll be traveling for at least a bit more. There's so much of the world I haven't seen.

Sometimes, when you travel, you feel a sense of homeliness when you return home. In some very unusual case, you get that feeling when you return to the same hotel. I felt the same homeliness today returning to JW Marriot here in Jakarta. Maybe it's because the rooms are all the same layout. And maybe it's because the power adaptors all sparkle when you plug them in.

16 February 2008

Gong Xi Gong Xi !!!

A few days ago, a few special guests visited my office.

A pair of really playful and cute Southern Lions !!! The building management of the office where we were located arranged for lion dance performance to visit all the offices in the whole complex !

Woot !!! Not only did they come in to scare away all the bad stuffs and bring us good luck in the office reception ...

They went everywhere to each table !! We played a small token angpow and a mandarin orange on each of our desks, and it went around to collect the angpow, bless our workplace, and peel open the mandarin oranges.

In between, the lions even found a bit of time to chat up some gals. It's Valentine's Day after all !

But what I found seriously funny ... were the lions visiting and dancing in our server room !!!! Never in a million years !!! Yeah !!! Make sure you scare those switches and routers into not failing us for the whole year, ya ??

Here's the lion blessing my table (and collecting an angpow from me too).

The aftermath of blessing at my workspace. Heheehe ... I photoshopped away some things from the board, and also my name plate ... sorry folks !

I like lion dance ! Here's to a Happy Chinese New Year to one and all ! Hopefully, the lions would bring me plenty of good luck this year !

Gong Xi Fa Cai !!!

10 February 2008

Shameless Plug: Photoblog

It's Chinese New Year, the only time of the year when I really slow down and do nothing. So, during this relaxing period of downtime, I've been taking the opportunity to tweak my photoblog a little bit.

In line with my new post on my small and humble collection of Crystals, I've come to realise that it's quite a bad experience scrolling up and down the page to see photos and then to read about it. Therefore, I've made a small change - using Javascript to implement a photo gallery whenever I need to show a collection of photos instead of just one photo individually.

I'll appreciate it loads if you all jump over there and have a look at my handiwork (I coded the Javascript from scratch), and let me know how I can improve you experience even further ! There are some small browser cross compatibility problems - readers on Firefox will see the intro text over and over again. I'm working on that and I hope to solve it soon.

Users who have subscribed to the RSS feed might find some funny Javascript turn up instead. I'm still trying to hack around Blogger to get rid of that bit of code. I apologise if you found ocipala text instead of useful words.

Some of you know I've been a mineral / crystal collector for sometime now. Although no longer actively collecting, I still pick up nice pieces when the opportunity presents itself.

And my crystals make very good macro photography subjects ! If you're wondering how big they are - most of my crystals are quite small. Look at the last photo and you'll understand better. ;)

So, thus my shameless plug on this blog !!! What are you waiting for ? Jump over !

06 February 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai !

It's that time of the year again !!! It's Chinese New Year !

To all friends, enjoy your Chinese New Year with family and friends, but remember to drink responsibly, drive safely, and to gamble within limits. Too much of anything can be bad !

To all rats, since this is the year of the rat, you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Lab rats will be able to do experiment on the scientists one day each week
  • There will be no operations against rats in SS2 and Gurney Drive for the entire year
  • For this year only, instead of saying "Rats !" every time something goes wrong, I'll say "Hello Kitty !" instead.
  • MBPJ will be handing out leftover food to rats in the entire PJ area.
  • The most popular noodle dish this year would be Lor See Fun !
  • For children born in the year of the rat, they have the option to put a picture of Mickey Mouse on their MyKad !
  • Just this year only, they'll remove the statue of that eagle in Langkawi and replace with a rat statue.
  • Tour agencies are encouraged to take tourists out to see the rats running about in the streets of KL.
  • I will decorate all the mouse traps in my house with paper cuttings, and use lokam as baits.
  • Cheese makers to donate half of all the cheese they made to mice.


31 January 2008

Jumping from one place to another !

It's just been a busy period for me, jumping from one place to another.

All that's been happening is a blur - I wake up, get to work, come home, chat with Girlfriend a bit, then work a bit more, and then go to sleep and repeat the process all over again. It's quite monotonous, and I'm hoping to break it a little bit.

I'll be back at the gym next week, hopefully, to break into some sweat and work myself back into a more streamlined shape. Right now, I'm so out of shape, those airport security scanning devices identify me as 'Unknown'. It's embarrassing.

On the work front, I've been nominated to join a year long project that will double my work load, and increase the amount of time I spend staring into blank spaces and computer screens. I guess it'll be good for me if I'm selected, although I'm pretty sure most people will see less of me. But it's a great program where only a few people get selected into, so I hope I'll get it.

No travels so far, but after Chinese New Year, I expect myself to help MAS achieve it's RM1 billion profit targets. Of course, those bloody lunch boxes they're giving us helps them loads. I hate the lunch boxes - cold sandwich and chocolate filled cereals isn't my idea of lunch. Or dinner. Or whatever. Gimme back my hot meals anytime !

And funnily enough, it sounds like Chinese New Year, it looks like Chinese New Year, but I'm not sure if it's Chinese New Year ! This year, the atmosphere isn't there, for some funny reason. Probably because I've been immersed with so much work that it's just impossible to feel festive. Anyways, I'm planning to get some new clothes - hopefully that will jump start my Chinese New Year festive moods. If that doesn't work, I'll start eating Kuaci-s (melon seeds) and blast Chinese New Year songs at home. Those are fail proof, but it does very little to foster neighbourly love.

And this year, there is no plan to go anywhere ! I'm not even taking a lot of leave, just a day. I'm planning on saving up my holiday for a longer vacation.

Gee, I seem to write rubbish when I don't blog too often ... ok ... no more rants. I'm done. Happy Chinese New Year !

20 January 2008

Trip Report: Zhouzhuang

I've been putting this entry off for a few weeks now, but unless I do it now, I'll probably never be doing it.

To refresh our collective memories, I was in China for a few weeks in 2007, and so far, I've blogged about being in Beijing's Forbidden City and Beihai Park, my travels to Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, and my marvelling of Shanghai.

This report is about my visit to the water village of Zhouzhuang in Suzhou. Shanghai is located on the lower reaches of the Yangtze Delta, also called the Jiangnan (江南) in Chinese. This area is peppered with canals and waterways, and is where the province of Jiangsu is located. Jiangsu's most famous area is Suzhou (苏州).

Anyways, cutting the geography lesson short, Suzhou is where you'll find a lot of water villages. And to cut the story even shorter (I can see some readers tearing their hair our with impatience now) ... I visited one of them, Zhouzuang (
周庄) while I was in Shanghai.

It's a half day trip from Shanghai, but I'd really recommend you to break from the normal touristy itinerary, and go early in the morning before the tourists spoil your experience. Even better is going during the winter, when the place is half deserted (according to my tour guide).

Ok, no more babbles ... I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking now.

Zhouzhuang is a small village now fully commercialized - there are shops everywhere. But what's really cool is you can take a boat ride around the place, and you can pay the boatmen to sing the native songs to serenade you while you are taken on your boat ride. However, we didn't make the boat ride, although it was actually included in the price for the tour I took. Why ? Just look at the next picture ...

The place was actually over run by tourists. The newly rich Chinese are taking vacations now .. this is a photo of the famous Twin Bridges. These bridges were subjects of a famous painting called "Memory of Hometown" by the late Chen Yifei, an American based Chinese artist, which made Zhouzhuang famous. As you can see, it's impossible to photograph without getting any humans in the picture. Sigh ...

It got so crowded some of the Americans in my tour group asked our guide to take us away from the main streets where the Chinese tourists were, so he took us into some really small lane by a minor waterway. And that's when I really started enjoying the place. It's really nice to find unobstructed waterways, and be able to see the locals doing what they do, you know, locals doing their laundry, or going about their card games.

The water's actually quite clean, you can see the bottom of the canal (which isn't very deep to start with). And being on the small street means we could take our time and wander around, peeking into the living rooms of the locals, hoping to glimpse into their lives.

Unfortunately, this being a half day trip, the day was over way too soon. Next time I come, I'll make sure I spend at least a day and will definately NOT be in a tour group. I want to be able to spend as much time as I want in spots that I like here.

Suzhou is a place full of mulberry trees. Mulberry trees are important because the silkworms feed on their leafs. Silkworms are important because without them there is no silk.

Suzhou has been a central city in China's silk industry through the ages, so you know what it means, don't you? It means that eventhough we're really late, the tour bus still had to make a totally gratuitous stop at the local silk factory, where we were shown the way to make and process silk into the finished product.

And guess what? My mum will not be proud of me. I'm the only one in the tour group who left the shop empty handed. =P

18 January 2008

Penang !

Just got back from the pearl of the orient, Penang. Work carried me there for a few days, but the passion for food sustained me !

Had lots of good food, met up with Chev, took some really cool photos, and can't wait to go back. Thanks, Chev - you've been the perfect host !

Over a nice cuppa green tea latte, and some funky frappe, we had a really nice conversation. And of course, Chev can't resist showing me her new toy, the ASUS EE PC. Ee ... I so jealous !

And yeah, I saw a rainbow for the first time this year ! And on a sunny day too, how about that?

Wait for the photos on the photoblog ! Should be out within a day or two at most. I don't know if its me, but crumbling facade and wildly uncoordinated color schemes make good photos !

11 January 2008

Feedback - my photoblog

After relooking at my photoblog, Moz Takes Pictures (http://mozphotos.blogspot.com), I've found the hits to be quite low, so I'm not quite sure what I should do. It's a personal hobby I like a lot, photography, and I am keen to keep the blog up, and not have to close it.

On the one hand, I really like the concept, and want to see it continue, but on the other hand, I am not happy with the outcome so far.

I guess if I were to be honest, I guess I'm not getting hits because I haven't been putting up photos very frequently, and I haven't been very prolific in sounding out about the blog too. I guess as little time as I have, I'd really have to pull up my socks and do better in terms of putting photos out there.

But I'd like to hear from anyone who has some ideas on how I can spruce things up. I mean, I'd like to hear what you like, what you don't like, and how I can make your experience better when you visit my photo blog. I'd appreciate greatly any feedback.

07 January 2008

What the heck ...

Gee, 2008 seemed to start with a bang ! - literally. There's enough material for a whole year's worth of poking fun at the politicians who run Bolehland.

I think this pantun would be something a certain former minister might be penning this very moment ...

Oh my love, Angelina,

Mari kita ke Hotel Katerina,
Disana kita boleh bersuka ria,
Gembira bersama boleh berzina ...

Oh my love, Angelina,
Jumpa nanti di Hotel Katerina,
Kita bersua dibilik yang sama,
Dan jangan lupa bawa kamera !

Dedicated to a certain former minister ... =P