Friday, March 28, 2008

And More Politics

Watch the Malaysian political scene. April is going to be a happening month. So many predictions, it's mind boggling that a government who has led this nation for the last 50 years may suddenly see massive changes.

While it is exciting, there's a little apprehension. Are the chess pieces taking their positions "clean"? I highly doubt it. But the game is in play, we are mere spectators.

And speaking of changes, I now have a new boss. Which means, more changes for my workplace.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

YouTube Banned

It’s so frustrating. YouTube is banned in my office and I can’t see how American Idol David Cook’s performance on Billie Jean last night was so great that I had two people call and sms me on how fantastic he was.

Despite Google always having all my answers, I could not find a single website that allowed me to download the video of his performance without some kind of registration, download of some software or met with a firewall. Gaaaah!

Easter

Every time Easter comes along, I remember when I was in Australia eating a hot cross bun, toasted in the oven so that it had a crispy crust and soft on the inside. And I smothered each bite-sized chunks with yummy butter, which immediately melted.

That was more than 10 years ago. And we don’t have hot cross buns here in KL (in hotels they do but they have raisins/sultanas which I don’t eat). So, it’s been THAT long since I had a hot cross bun and yet I still crave for it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Innocent Man

Just finished reading The Innocent Man by John Grisham in 24 hours. It was a page turner because I was so angry at the injustice throughout. But of course, I know he is writing it from the point of view of the victim's sisters. Still...

To think there are so many people in death row who are actually innocent but are unable to proof their innocence.

But if you ask what I'm still most angry about, it's still the unregulated tuna fishing which is depleting the world of the species and related stories of human greed ravaging the earth's resources.

Cooking!

Was inspired to cook something healthy last Sunday and ended up baking two salmon steaks with boiled broccoli and carrots. Got the recipe off allrecipes.com and despite the non-aromatic smells as I massaged the herbs into the fish, it was more than passable!

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Here’s a picture of it and as you can see, I was too lazy to scoop it out of the foil and saved us from additional washing!

What I like about ang moh cooking is that I can buy the dried herbs, keep the herbs on the shelf and not worry about it growing fungus like light soy sauce, oyster sauce and even cooking oil. I’ve had my second full bottle of oil go stale because it expired before I used even a bit of it. Plus, it is so much easier to prepare as compared to Chinese food! And I eat ang moh vege, not Chinese leafy ones.

So it looks like I will be doing this again. This time with a smaller cut of the fish as we ate and ate until we got so sick trying to finish it up.

Friday, March 21, 2008

How many legs…

In a radio contest the other day, a simpled tied question was read out and between the two players, whoever who got the right answer first would have been the winner. It was hilarious so I shared it with KS who then shared it with a bunch of friends.

“The question was “How many legs does a butterfly have?” and the guy shouted “Ten!” ”

KS’s audience starts laughing.

“The DJs laughed and asked which kampung he came from that had mutated butterflies with 10 legs. The other contestant was also heard laughing. So the DJs turned to her and asked her to give the answer to win the contest. And you know what she said? “Eight!” ”

Everyone around KS laughs louder.

“The DJs were laughing even louder and also asked her which kampung she came from!”

At this juncture, his friend, M, who was wiping off tears of laughter interjected, “Wait, wait… the answer is four right?"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lampreys?

The internet is a real source of interesting (and often unimportant!) information.

Last week I learned about this creature called the lampreys which look absolutely horrible. They sound like large leeches with teeth that look like they inspired a lot of sci-fi movies (think Star Wars Episode 5 with Jabba and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest with The Cracken).

They are considered pests and are growing in numbers in America where they kill trout, salmon and whitefish. Anyway, the Portuguese eat them so the Americans are trying to eat them too but find it too gross. I reckon I’d be too grossed out to eat it as well.

One chef described trying to kill it as terrible and warned all squeamish cooks to avoid this. Something about chopping the head off but it still squirms around. Sounds like some people I know.

So anyways, the Americans are trying to find means and ways to reduce the population of this creature. Maybe they should slap a sticker on them that says it increases libido when eaten and send them to China.

Cambodian Sponsorships

A couple of weeks ago, I sponsored a Cambodian by the name of Moeun Sam via Kiva.org. Not that I’m earning much but then again, this micro financing starts from USD25 which is something I felt I could afford in order to help someone in Cambodia improve their livelihood. Once this loan is repaid, I can loan it out again to another person who needs the financing.

Kiva is quite amazing. I go in occasionally to see what businesses people are trying to start up in some remote places of the world. And usually, I see the loans being raised within 24 hours. It is just amazing!

It also reminds me of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus
who invented micro-finance and it’s just heart warming to read about the changes he has made.

This brings my sponsorship up to two, my first being a Cambodian child, whom I have been supporting for 3 years now via my church. I haven’t written to him because... because I don’t know what to write! When I went to Cambodia, I wasn’t assigned to visit his village so I didn’t get to see him then.

It’s heartening to know that when I share this with others, they are also interested to do the same. It isn’t much but just know it will make a difference to the recipient.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Auto Setting?

I felt snubbed recently by a couple of people when I told them I was still using my auto setting on my camera. Sure, I know my camera is capable of playing around with the apertures, shutter speed, ISO and the whatevers. But every time I take my photos, I get impatient and don't want to stand there forever fiddling with these variables, which, at the end of the day, don't turn out as nice as my auto. At this point anyway. I promise I will eventually set a time and try to play around with the settings.

But as I was telling a friend, I approach photography more scientifically than artistically, as is my nature. I wish there was some sort of measurement to light. The morning sun streaming into the room is 80/120 and therefore equals to a setting of F1/12 with an ISO of 200. Hahaha... that's why I like maths. 1+1 is always 2.

Then I stumbled upon this blog entry and it really relieved me. I've just got to be patient, take one step at a time, learn the settings before I salivate over the new D60 (which caused the "a DSLR would be a waste on you" reactions).

Election Paraphernalia

Every time elections come about in Malaysia, our streets are ruined with posters, flags, makeshift billboards, buntings and so on. They are unsightly and blocks the vision of cars wanting to see traffic. The funny thing is, at busy junctions, you will see one party trying to outdo the other by putting their poster in front of the other.

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Their supporters will sneak in the night, dangle from ladders leaning precariously on anything nearby and do their little decoration. Even the housing estates are not spared and they look ghastly.

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I just think how ineffective and a waste of money this all is. Especially in the urban areas where people are smart enough to know that doesn't mean you have more posters, we will vote for you.

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Okay, this entry wasn't meant to get too serious. I was just wondering, in other countries, what are the election paraphernalia used?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cameron's Money, Money, Money

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Seen here is Cameron, watching an ABBA karaoke DVD and singing to Money, Money, Money during Chinese New Year. Hear my dad asking him, "Can you show me your money?" to which he replies "I got zero but my Daddy has a lot". And in the background you will hear James chipping in "I have some in Singapore. I have a lot! I have 80 cents!"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Travelling

This year, we have two trips already booked. KS and I will be going to Bangkok in early May and to HK with my folks and Jan in September. I am so excited as I haven’t been to both places before!

Which also means I have to start saving really hard to enjoy my shopping there…

New Era

On Saturday night, I sat alone in the new house, facing the tv, waiting for the reports on the polls to be announced. Instead, I was updated by repeated SMS-es and phone calls which were accurate despite the newscaster insisting to their viewers to wait for them for the official results.

And of course, as you know, the results were just staggering, with the ruling coalition losing the 2/3 majority and 5 states wrenched from their rule including where I come from. From a disbeliever, I was transformed as the night wore on, mingled with hope and fear. Hope that suddenly, there is light at the end of the long, corrupt tunnel of what used to be unending reign of the current government. Fear because when the same thing happened in 1969, there were racial riots which raped the nation. The Chinese were targeted and slaughtered around KL. Despite trying to hide this history from the younger generation, it is still too recent for older ones who went through that horror who are able to tell us of the terror they experienced.

Later, I was brought to the realization that this swing of votes were not based on race or religion, which alleviated my fears. Now, hope is soaring in all our hearts for a Bangsa Malaysia with the new changes.

Of course, we must also realize that these new people we voted in are green and do not know their way around. Good and bad. Good because they hopefully be humble. Bad because the existing ones will use whatever means they can to throw off the support given to these new folks.


To me, I’m just happy the changes are here and will be willing to give leeway for error to the new rulers.

Korean Town

Recently, KS and I explored the little area in Ampang brimming with Korean culture. Every single shop was Korean. Mainly food and groceries. Walking along the shops made me feel as though I’m in another country with the posters, notices and folks speaking in Korean. Even the shops had a different feel to it and reminded me of the Korean shops in Australia/NZ.

Not knowing which diner to try, we walked along the rows of shoplots and settled for one that had a Korean lady open the door to beckon us in. It was a Korean BBQ restaurant. We looked at the menu and looked again. Everything was unfamiliar! Where was my Bulgogi? We finally ordered and were suddenly besieged with small plates of kimchi and other pickled stuff.

They cooked our meat while we sat not knowing exactly how we were supposed to consume the food. Is the lettuce supposed to envelope the meat and the sauce is for the meat? After about 15 minutes, we gave up and just ate as we saw fit. After all, it would all go into the same stomach.

Surprisingly it was inexpensive and we were very full. And because I loved kimchi (note the past tense), I bought a kilo of the stuff from one of the groceries. After the meal, I’m kind of kimchi-ed out. Now I have a large tub and a small one sitting in the fridge. Oh well, when I asked the lady at the counter how long it will last, she just replied, “A long time”. That is so helpful. Now my tub is going to sit there for the next 6 months unless I consciously remind myself that it’s there.