Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Selling Air

When KS went to Mount Fuji, he said they sold the mountain air in a can. I laughed and thought, "What a scam!"

Then just this week, I kind of encountered two instances whereby this selling of air is not uncommon after all.

Case #1
We had McDonald's for breakfast last Sunday and I ordered the Big Breakfast Meal while KS ordered the Sausage McMuffin with Egg Meal.

When I was about to consume my food, I realised the only difference between our meals was:
1. My egg was scrambled while his was fried.
2. My ingredients were separated on a polystyrene plate, waiting for me to assemble my burger.
3. My meal cost me a couple of bucks more.

So there you have it, add air into the egg and then charge me more. 

Okay, okay. Mum argued that the scrambled egg needed more work, more milk and butter etc. But for a couple more bucks? Hmm...

Anyway, I'll move on to Case #2.

My colleague just came back from overseas and brought us two bars of the latest offerings from Cadbury. It's called Bubbly.

Inside, it's the usual little rectangles of chocolate. When you bite into it, the centre is filled with, yup, you guessed it, bubbles. Air bubbles.

This is what I reckoned went on at the Cadbury's HQ:

"Everyone, cost is rising. We need to come up inventive ways of creating new offerings"

And some smart Alec who probably sold ice to Eskimos before says, "I know! Let's fill the chocolate bars with air and continue to charge customers the same price as a solid bar!"

Others would be skeptical and probably sneer, "And who would buy that?"

Well, not only is it being sold, my colleague insists the chocolate gives her a different sensation. Now THAT'S successful marketing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Farewell, Coconut Tree

Sometime last month, when I just arrived at my parents place and saw some activity going on outside. My dad finally chopped down their coconut tree!

When they first bought the house, the coconut tree wasn't fruiting. Then, when we had a house blessing, Pastor Foo prayed over the tree to bear fruit. After a few weeks, it started to flower and has been us a steady stream of coconuts since. It was one of the most obvious successes of the house blessing and the story of the prayed for coconut tree has gone around amongst our church friends.

Dad has been the one chopping the fruit down and I had always taken it for granted until one day I decided to go see how he did it. To my horror, he would precariously balance his ladder on unstable ground, sometimes wedging it with bits of spare plank and stand almost to the top of the ladder while he sawed away at the branch. Even when I helped him that day, I was sweating profusely, trying to pull a branch away so that he could get to the fruit. And I was SOO worried he might just fall off the ladder!

Soon, it got too tall and Dad was climbing higher and higher on his ladder to reach the fruits. He started talking about how expensive it was to get someone to chop it down. So when I saw the remnants of the tree lying and waiting to be carted off, I felt sad for the loss of the fruit and tree but glad that my Dad need not risk his life unnecessarily.

So, here's some photos (blogspot photo arranging is irritating me with the alignment) of the felled tree, the coconut we threw, how the back of the house looks bare without it and the last batch of its fruit.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fukuya Japanese Restaurant

Right before my trip to Gopeng, I organized an event and I must say it was quite a successful one at that. Held at a Japanese restaurant, Fukuya, housed in a bungalow in KL, we hosted over 40 guests. Despite being thrown last minute requests, I'm proud to say the team came together and made it all happen.

The people I liaised with at Fukuya were also very accommodating. Another highly recommended place. The food was good and many guests left happy, some were overheard saying they would come back on their own some other time.

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to take photos of the food but they were served in small helpings, teasing your tastebuds with different types of dishes. This is where I had my first (and last) taste of duck liver served on a huge fresh scallop. I will bring KS there one day, minus the duck liver.

My contribution in this photo is the place setting which I thought was pretty simply and cool :) Learnt it from Le Petit Prince restaurant in Paris.

The Great Outdoors

In the course of 3 weeks, we trekked two jungles and waterfalls. The first one was at Templers Park. We went with 20 over adults and 9 kids.

The trek was easy, and in less than the expected time, we arrived at a clearing which was suitable for us to set up "camp" for lunch and played some games.

The waters were quite clear and gentle. A real family place.

I bought a new pair of slippers for this hike and in anticipation of the next trek. KS and I still ended up tired as a result of this mild trek.

Then the next one was a trip to Gopeng with the Youth Leaders last weekend. We stayed at this lovely place called Adeline's Villa. Adeline also owns and runs the Rumah Rehat Adeline which is a basic place of stay, wooden huts with mattresses spread out on the floor.

For comfort, we upgraded to the Villa which was a 5 minute walk from Rumah Rehat Adeline. This is where I stayed:

Isn't it gorgeous? They currently have two dorms that can fit about 10 people per dorm and it looks like this:

Now, Adeline is also well-known for her cooking and we can all testify to this. The food beats the hotel food we had during last year's Youth Leader's retreat.

Activities we did during that weekend was white water rafting, which unfortunately I don't have a photo of since we would be soaking wet. The grade was merely 1-3 but even so, I managed to fall into the rapids twice and inhaled a lot of river water. I did think I was going to drown but even though my nostril was filled with water, thankfully, my mouth was still able to gasp in much needed air. Not for someone who isn't confident in water. Oh well, I'm still alive.

The second day we were supposed to jungle trek to see Rafflesia. However, there were none blooming in our near vicinity, only a "kobis" at about 2 hours worth of Orang Asli trekking (for normal people, it could mean more than 5 hours worth of trekking).

Instead, we took a jungle trek to the nearby waterfall. Even with this simple trek of about 20-30 minutes of uphill walking at the start, I was nearly wiped out. So unfit! Still, the waterfall was really something.

See the height of the waterfall? We stood beneath it and allowed the icy coolness massage our backs.

Oh and another interesting part of the excursion was that we were transported via standing behind trucks and lorries. We had to duck low hanging branches and tried in vain to reach for durians and bananas as we passed.

Speaking of durians, since it is durian season, we managed to grab several durians that fell off the many durian trees. Bliss!

Will definitely recommend this place to anyone for team building and outdoor activities. They have many other activities like paint ball, abseiling down that waterfall etc. Go check it out!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Made in China

Last night, we went to a shopping mall nearby and stumbled upon this section where most things for sale were made in China. While browsing, I stumbled upon this device and was trying to figure out what it was. The Bollywood looking couple pictured didn't give away any clue to the description of "Cure Sleepiness Right Away" and "To Prevent Traffic Accidents, To Ensure Driving Safety":

So I flipped the package to see "The Description of Products" and was blown away by the first sentence.

Wow! Never underestimate cervical vertebra disease (especially from near sighted-staff members). And they seem to have something against students!

If you can't read it, it says:
"Dolphin's fish's little sentry" was designed by near-sighted, staff member's cervical vertebra disease in order to prevent students. You so long as suitable position after ear are hung by it, it you in studying or bend over one's desk and write, operate computer level the bad position of sitting for a long time. Ensure eyesight, and remind the driver to doze off while driving tiredly, guarantee the security. "Dolphin fish little sentries" consist of each push away and hold up, it sets up suitable angles in advance go beyond range to send out melodious voice remind.

After being enlightened to remind the driver to doze off while driving tiredly (but it says to ensure driving safety!), we found another apparatus:

What on earth is a "Pull out a Vacuum apparatus"? It's a good companion to health, by the way.

And the instructions were just as clear:
1. employment front, first bottle top end valve the pole (something) up to withdraw once, commitment air unblocked.
2. gasp the gun muzzle set the vacuum to live the empress of a top end, perpendicularity to with draw to pull to pull the pole 4 times or so, attain the adquacy negative press.
3. the employment end to rise the bottle, bottle top end valve the pole lightly bring up, and the bottle have the then commendable bottom.
4. human body less the part or furriery, brothers, joint can use the edible to make into a turn the mat place a bottle bottom then each to seal completely the result.

Laughing so hard, we turned around and spotted this one too:

How about a Pull Reducer that is strong and handsome? It had instructions at the back of it too but it's a bit long so I'll leave that out.

Then we saw these hooks which were not very polite:

It got worse when we saw what was displayed next to this Man & Woman Hooks. So wrong, just so wrong... a happy bear looking like a flasher.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Still Alive

Hi, just a quick update that I'm still alive. Renovation works have intensified, with me going to up to 10 different suppliers within two days, making decisions on the spur of the moment, making some mistakes in the process. I wish I could say I'm enjoying the process. Just wish it wasn't so rushed. :(