Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thank you, 2011.

Thank you 2011 for the many of the good, the bad  and the weird memories.

This year was definitely the most year of my life in terms of travel. Not only did I travelled to Thailand not once but twice this year, but I was very fortunately to travel to the European continent, particulary the chance to travel to Gdansk, Poland.

I may have missed out on travelling to Europe the last two years despite a promise by the company I would...but I am glad the company has now allowed me to travel to Europe. I learnt so much only on the work and career side of the trip, but also the Polish culture as a whole. The trip truly changed my perception on Poland as a whole.

The Thailand trips: first was earlier in January to Bangkok and Pattaya, while the second was recently to Krabi in November. To say I've not fallen in love with the country is a lie! I love the food, I love the adventure of travelling alone early in the year, and I love the beautiful Hong Island at the Krabi province which I had my close friend Daniel to thank for.

Sadly, there was a big scar to my life from the most recent trip: I had my smartphone stolen on my way back from Krabi to KL in the plane. Long story. But it was enough to traumatise me to not think of any travelling for the first six months of 2012! Damn it 2011, I saved my hard-earned money for that smartphone...and I only had it for three months! If God wanted to punish me, then it was such a cruel way.

2011 was also a year where I made new friends. Unfortunately I've also had friendships broken, and the was enough hated of mine towards certain individuals...enough for Buddha to not forgive me I shamefully admit. I had a couple of horrible colleagues, and I had to deal with people I still feel they do not deserved to be in the town I called home.

That said, I am also glad I had some of the best nights in 2011 with a circle of friends. Especially the boys from Sarawak Bloggers. To my brothers Fahriee, Rodz, Cyril, Kim and Reyes, I thank you for the non-stop laughter from all the reference of "Sio Bee" and all the other talk-cocks we had whenever we met!

Oh sure, I still haven't found love. I was certain there were chances with several ladies I had met here in 2011, but I'm afraid my Cupid seemed to have a poor shot accuracy. But I wouldn't blame him; I wasn't really serious to begin it. I had a career to focused, debts to clear, money and power to be obtained. I supposed until love has proven me otherwise, I shall stick to "friends with benefits" if you know what I mean.

Oh, how could I forget my family, who has been supportive of me when I had my troubles!

Ok, enough rant. I must head off to a pot-luck dinner and the clubs for the countdown to 2012. 2011 isn't the best year I ever had, but it was definitely far better than the last three years.

Thank you once again, 2011.




Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Opening of La Senza's First Pin-Up Store in Kuching

A couple of weeks ago, La Senza opened its first store in Kuching. Rejoice for the women (and men) in Kuching! :)

I will update further on the event, but I suppose what would interest you is this:



Friday, December 09, 2011

#twtupkch - Game lounges tips and tricks

(Right I shall challenge myself to write each sentence of this blog within the Twitter standard of 140 characters.)

#twtupkch (Tweet-Up Kuching) is an event by Sarawak Bloggers which will be happening at The Spring tomorrow from 11am to 4pm+.

#twtupkch basically gets people who use Twitter to meet other Twitter users, be friends and play games together.

There will be 354 'tweeps' who will be attending (not sure if all of them are coming la) which means you're sure to make new friends!

Now, if you're naturally competitive like me you'll want to win all the games from the game lounges at the #twtupkch event.

The list of games tomorrow include: Arm wrestling, Jenga!, Monopoly, BINGO, PC & PS2 games, Cangkul and UNO.

Normally I wouldn't give gaming tips (Kiasu mah), but I feel good today so here's a quick tip for each game above:

Arm wrestling:
When ready to finish your opponent, rotate your body so your shoulder is in line with the direction you want your arm to go.

Jenga!:
Push it gently: if it refuses to budge, try another piece.

Monopoly:
Railroads are better to own than utilities, but utilities should be purchased if the opportunity arises (esp. if you can get both of them).

BINGO:
One strategy to increase your odds at Bingo is to play as many cards at one time as you can; but do be careful!

PC & PS2 games:
Well it depends on the games; just surf to GameFAQs.com for the game that's currently being played. Heh.

Cangkul:
To be honest I dunno! 

UNO:
Save your draw cards and wild cards; you'll need them to stop someone from winning the round.

Yes, I heard you scream "WTF these tips is so obvious!"...of course la it's obvious 'cause I kiasu mah!

Hehe anyway that's what Google is for right?

So let's meet up at #twtupkch tomorrow & challenge each other to any friendly game above...except Cangkul. Yes I never played it before!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kuching, a boring city?

It was sometime ago a debate was sparked in the world of Twitter regarding the Cat City of Sarawak, Kuching. Well it wasn't so much of a debate; rather it was more statements of disappointments and frustration from a certain individual. Some of these key statements include the need for more events in Kuching on a monthly basis,  having new and improved products to attract tourists and locals alike and more importantly, the need for the relevant authorities to pretty much "upped their game" in making Kuching, well, less boring per say.

And I can perfectly understand the point the individual was making; I too once had the very same thoughts and reactions to the status of Kuching. When I was younger doing tertiary studies, I would be back in Kuching for Chinese New Year, and each time I returned to celebrate there was never a chance for a new place to visit, a new form of activity or an interesting event to enjoy or even a new franchise to check out. Each time I came back I asked "When will Kuching ever be developed into the likes of Kuala Lumpur, or just the satellite cities Subang Jaya, Damansara or Bangsar?"

That was circa 2002 to 2006. Now though, I looked back at my own thoughts with some regret. Of course Kuching will never be like KL in so many ways. Number of population, number of events, number of shopping malls and clubs, number of major financial investments...there isn't much need for explanation really.

To say the relevant authorities are not doing enough for Kuching isn't accurate though. Being in the tourism industry myself, I know the authorities are doing what they can to make Kuching a more happening place. The Government didn't build BCCK for nothing (save the political conspiracy please).

If one needs to compare Kuching with the rest of the world though, Kuching seems like a decent place after all. According to Simon Busch, MSN Travel UK editor, these are some of  following places best described as boring and dull:


  • Britain (with special mentions to Luton and Lincolnshire) - "It's cold, grey, violent and the population is completely controlled by the media."
  • New Zealand - "We moved to New Zealand for a change of lifestyle. We certainly got it; we felt like we've moved into semi-retirement." 
  • Finland - "freezing cold for eight months and [swarming with] millions of mosquitoes in the damp summer."
  • Switzerland - "Beautiful scenery but by God it's dull. Even in the centre of Zurich the bars are all shut by 11pm. The national pastime is growing 'interesting' moustaches." 
  • Canada - "like a giant shopping mall with a huge car park and McDonald's every 50 metres."
  • Weedsport, New York - "It is only a street"
  • and even the MOON. 
Now if you asked me, I can't agree to all of that being boring! I've been to New Zealand and I love the fresh air, the food and the people and I would love to return again for the thrill of adrenaline rush the country takes pride on. I've plans to visit Britain (specifically Manchester) for English Premier League and for the English pub culture. Canada too for the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. Surely Finland and Switzerland aren't that bad either! The only one I'm not certain is Weedsport. And maybe the moon.  

Then again, if I worked there long enough I could possibly agree to such?


Despite the above, or the fact the sources came from a not-so-credible MSN Travel UK (the Moon, seriously?), Mr. Simon made a powerful statement:

The most boring place on Earth is the place next to you.

Let me just copy and paste the paragraphs for this statement:

If our discussion of the world's most boring places illustrates anything, however, it is that dullness is relative. It depends, to a large extent, on you.

One user, Bert Bretherton, sums it up honestly: "I am a 67-year-old, grumpy, twice married, twice divorced man. The space next to me – wherever I am – must be the dullest place on Earth."

Redundant and Happy puts it this way: "If you live in a small place far from anywhere, with one pub full of old men, then it will seem dull if you want a city centre party atmosphere. On the other hand, if you want peace and quiet and to live happily with your partner away from all the [loudmouths] who make our towns no-go areas in the evening, then rural living is anything but dull."


The whole paragraph sums up the whole point of what I am trying to say. You can either make the place exciting, or the place boring. Ultimately, it's the company you keep and how you interact with others that defines the attractiveness of the place.

To each their own.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A bigger Switch for the iLovers

"Hah! You really did go for the Steve Jobs look huh?" my brother said with a wide grin.

"Yea, well, I just wanna know what's it like to follow his fashion style..." I said. Not in full enthusiam mind you. In fact, I'm not sure why I went all metrosexual when I was invited to cover the grand launch of Switch at the Spring Shopping Mall last Sunday. 

Normally on a weekend I'll love to wear a football jersey, jeans and sandals; obviously that particular Sunday was not a norm.

So anyway, Switch used to be located at the corner nearby DiGi and while it was a prominent area, it was just 600 square feet. That's pretty small space for a company that sells one of the biggest brands in the world: Apple.



Now of course, it got bigger. 2000 square feet bigger...that's 3.3 times bigger! And they didn't grow bigger without a reason: Switch Spring has upgraded from Apple Authorized Reseller (AAR) status to Apple Premium Reseller (APR) status.


What's the difference you asked? Well, when Switch Spring was under AAR  they can sell only a selected range of Apple software and hardware. Now with APR, they don't just provide the full Apple products, but they now have a training room which they can provide classes for customers to help them familiarize with their Apple products.


How awesome is that?? Oh, they have a service centre too. The only Apple Service Provider in East Malaysia somemore (There's four in Malaysia). So iHooray for the Apple lovers! (By the way, Switch pretty much took over the store where Nokia once stood...kesian Nokia)

Of course, no launch is complete without activities yea? So with the help of photos to narrate this was basically what happened at the event:

Customers testing out the iPods

Boys playing Fruit Ninja on the iPad2
Guess what iPod model is this?
Then & Now: My iPod Nano 1st Generation (left) and the iPod Nano 6th Generation (right)
Something that excite us bloggers...
I'll like this in my room :) 
Cyril winning an iPad2 cover from a pop quiz

If only that website was actually painted on the wall...

  • Fruit Ninja Competition: I thought of joining this at first so I practiced playing Fruit Ninja the night before...gosh I sucked at it! 


One of the Top 10 Finalist slicing away fruits like a Samurai


The kid in white is the winner with 219 points. 



  • Treasure Hunt: Unfortunately I did not take much on this as the hunt started two hours after the original schedule. But I do know who's the winner and it's that...

...boy in the middle, Fahriee. He and his partner won an iPod Shuffle each. It's only natural for an Apple fanboy like him to win an Apple event! But he did something wonderful to his prize.



Best thing for me at this event? The lunch provided was fantastic! Kudos to the management for picking Banquet as their caterer.

I must say though...sorry Steve, your fashion style is not my style!

(Watch this space for a video!) 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

It's a bird! It's a plane! No it's...

...just me having the most awesome 10 seconds of my life this year!


I'm sure from the video you just saw, you could feel my adrenaline and my euphoria of being up in the air!

And nope, I did not pissed in my pants. Nor did I puked afterwards, or had jelly legs. For this, I am proud of myself (put a star sticker on me will ya? :D)!

Anyway, my excitement aside, this reverse bungee jump (also known as the The Elevator/bungy ejector) was available for the public during last month's Sarawak Regatta. For RM30 (normal price RM60), it sure was very reasonable for some adrenaline rush! Not to mention an awesome view of the Sarawak river as well as the IWWF Wakeboard World Cup that was also happening that time. Well, only for 10 or so seconds at least.



Oh, kudos to the organizers who brought The Elevator in; it certainly made Sarawak Regatta a much more interesting event to go to. Otherwise, you wouldn't have expected Cyril to blog about his orgasm over his 'jump'!

They should have this bungy ejector more often in Kuching really. As Fahriee would have said, we don't get a lot of fun around Kuching so this is very much a big welcome!

You know, it would be interesting if this machine is setup at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching. Hmm that's a thought...

Oh yea, I was given a second chance to go up again. And I heard my friends demanding for a somersault. Well then...



I AM AN ADRENALINE JUNKIE!!


If you want more info on The Elevator check out www.theelevator.asia

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

DJ Patricia K? Or DJ Joey G?

Several weeks back, I dropped by BarZ!ng with my friends from KL to listen to the babalicious DJ Patricia K. A mix Danish-Chinese, I was keen to see how exotic she looked in my own eyes and just as importantly, to hear if the co-host of Maxis Football Extra has what it takes to be on the DJ console. All without prior research on her on YouTube.

We arrived around midnight, expecting the club to be full house and her rocking away the music.

However, it wasn't the case. Unlike the time I went for DJ Mari Ferrari, there's nothing of what you called a crowd there. Odd, it's midnight leh not 9.30p.m. why no crowd?



In a way I'm glad there wasn't much party-goers at BarZ!ng that night as that meant I could watch DJ Patricia K in full glory! Perverted it might sound but I <3 mix looks!

Hot and all sexiness aside, there's something about her and her work as a DJ. No, her music did not suck. It was not great but it was acceptable and a lil' bit different. Something else disturbed my time there. And I figured why:

-What is DJ Joey G doing at BarZ!ng?-

Seriously?

I did not see him at BarZ!ng Facebook advertisement. So why did I ended up watching him on the console more than DJ Patricia K? If the advert featured the couple then that's fine...but I DID NOT COME TO BARZ!NG TO WATCH HIM PERFORM!

Don't get me wrong. He's a cool guy, but I came to see his girl do her work, not him doing her work! Which leads me to another question...

Was the music I've been hearing at the club her work? Or his work?

Gutted to have seen more of him than her in my brief time at BarZ!ng, we decided to do some pub-hopping; we even attempted to find some dodgy massage at Chong Lin Park after.

Of course, I did not leave the building without a photo of DJ Patricia K :)



Maybe she did performed on her own much earlier. Maybe she's new and has DJ Joey G to train her up. But until she's back in Kuching performing I can't be quite sure if I like her style.



Or I could just ignore my own thoughts and just cuci mata.

For more photos of the event, click here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Enfin, Délifrance à Kuching!

Ah yes, Délifrance. Together with Dave's Deli, Kenny Rogers and Oliver's Sandwiches, Délifrance was one of the 'new' franchises I learnt of when I first moved to Subang Jaya in 1996. It was the branch in Subang Parade where I had my first taste of Délifrance. I can't quite recalled what I had then, but I believed I had some bites of their famous croissant as well as their mushroom soup. I supposed that was my first taste of French food.

Fast forward to 2011. And after years of waiting, Délifrance is FINALLY HERE IN KUCHING!



Can Délifrance charmed the Kuchingites with its French cuisine? That's what the management of Délifrance will find out by inviting the Kuching bloggers (myself included...despite the lack of updates...) to have a food tasting session at the newest cafe in town last week.


"What took you guys so long to open??"

I noticed there was a bunch of baguettes at the side of the registration table. A symbol of French culture :) Do read this for its interesting history.


So while we wait I took some wannabe "creative" shots like this:



or this



or this



Ok, fine I don't do photo shots well. I am blaming on my digicam lol.



I must say the interior of this Délifrance is not the ones I was used to in Subang Jaya/Kuala Lumpur; in fact this looked more inviting to come. It has similarities with Starbucks if I must compare.

The one I never got to try. Yet.

This was the first appertizer, the Mini Blueberry Apple Danish and of course, my long-awaited Butter Croissant!




I ate the Mini Blueberry Apple Danish first.



Upon my first bite, my taste buds had a surprising enjoyment from its sweet, fruity cream. The pastry that holds the cream had a nice, slightly crispy (for the lack of a better word) taste which goes together with the sweetness of the blueberry apple.

Then I had the Butter Croissant.



I read that a good croissant has to be flaky, buttery, not too big and airy and unravels nicely when you pull the ends. This one seems to match most of it!


While it could use just a bit more butter in it, basically it was what I've been missing for the longest time: a good, tasty croissant! This would definitely be my "must order" the next time I return to Délifrance.

As we waited for the main course, Mr. Gabriel Hii, General Manager of Hills Management introduced himself together with his team. I would love to see Délifrance be successful in Kuching under their care :)

From left: John (F&B Consultant, Délifrance), Janice (Operations Manager, Délifrance), Gabriel Hii (General Manager, Hills), Sabrina Douglas (Marketing Manager, Hills), Mary Rachael (Marketing Executive, Hills) & Goh Sheng Hui (Senior Leasing Executive, Hills).

This is the main course; a couple of ciabattas.



I wasn't expecting sandwiches to be honest.

By the way, did you know 'Ciabatta' literally means "carpet slippers" in Italian? God bless Wikipedia for that!



The two ciabattas come in two types:



This one being the Ciabatta Beef Pepperoni S'preme...


...while the other being the Ciabatta Tuna D'licious.

While the bread has a nice, crisp crust I personally felt the bread should not be plain but with bits of black olives, seeds or any additional ingredients to make it tastier. While my brother did not fancy the raw white onions in it, I could actually enjoy the tang of the onions. We both agreed red onions would be the better choice though.

While awaiting for the desserts.

The last was the desserts. I was given a slice of Mango Delights and a slice of Opera Cake.



The Mango Delights had just the right amount of mango flavour and the Opera Cake had a delicious sweetness to it. However I was hoping the slices would be bigger to truly appreciate the depth of the cakes.

At the end of the food tasting session, I was given a loaf of baguette to try at home. According to Irene, the way I hold the baguette is very manly.


So what's the future of Délifrance Kuching? I reckon the pastries would sell well, and with some improvements over the ciabatta and possibly the rest on the menu as well as some aggressive
marketing I believed Délifrance will be at Hills Shopping Mall for quite a long while.


In the meantime, at least I know where to get a good Croissant now :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lufthansa: My First and My Last!

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a business trip to Gdansk, Poland. After three years of promise, the company I currently worked for has finally allowed me to travel to an industry training conference which is always at Europe. Being my first ever trip to Europe, what more to Poland, naturally I was very delighted with the opportunity to learn the Polish/European culture and be culture shocked by some of it.

And that started with an airline I was not familiar with: Lufthansa. Now before I proceed further, this post would only be focusing on Lufthansa's long-haul flight from Singapore to Germany as well as the return flight. I wouldn't touch on my transfer flight from Germany to Poland and vice versa...as for Gdansk itself, I'll have to save that for another post (if I do have the time!). You can however view the photos here.

Being the German flag carrier, it was not surprising that the majority of the passengers waiting at the departure lobby of Changi Airport were Germans. I can't say I was the only Asian at the lobby, but it's been a while since I had the feeling of being in the minority within a crowd. Not since my time studying in Brisbane years ago.

My flight was to Munich, Germany and it would be 12 hours long. I was given a modern A380 aircraft, on a 2-4-2 seating lane.

First impressions? I was surprised the seat was just about as comfortable as your typical Air Asia seat! The seat wasn't exactly 100% covered with cushion, so parts of was simply the plain plastic. But the huge German sitting beside me had it worst I believe; he never looked comfortable the whole flight duration. As for the air hostresses, don't expect the sexy and beautiful MAS or Singapore Airlines type. I was told prior to this flight the Lufthansa air hostresses looks like your typical aunt at a family home and all but one younger lady at my flight seemed to filled that stereotype.

Thankfully I've my entertainment screen to distract me for thinking about the air hostresses much. Their service levels is OK so far.



The entertainment screen lacked any form of interactive games, which is a shame considering I was highly expecting myself to play some SNES games especially when I get to play such on a MAS flight to/from Brisbane. Despite that, it had enough selection of movies, TV shows and documentaries (not to mention a big list of CDs to enjoy) for me to last the flight. I ended up watching "Inside Google", "The Eagle", "Tangled", "The Lincoln Lawyer" and documentaries on Franz Beckenbauer and Ronaldo (The Fat One).



As for the food and drinks, I was given some kind of biscuits to start. A variety kind of taste, some salty, some bitter. It went well with my neat whiskey though :) I love the free flow of alcohol on this flight!

This was my dinner:



The main meal was beef with pasta noodles and vegetables, with a side dish of fresh salmon with creamy potatoes and bread pudding and standard bread. It was actually very nice this meal! Oddly the air hostress gave me chopsticks too for this meal. Very considerate...or racist much?

The movie watching and some three hours of sleep later, here came breakfast:



Main course consist of omelette with tomato sauce, potatoes and a type of vegetables that I can't quite recognised. Salty greens. Comes with plain yogurt, the standard bread with butter and a very nice raspberry jam.



My butt was aching a lil bit after I arrived to Munich but so far it's ok Lufthansa. Landing was alright as well.

However, things were different when I was done with my conference and I was to head to Singapore from Frankfurt.



This time I was given their oldest plane, the Boeing 747! It was a 3-4-3 lane which was not cool because I was given the window seat and I have to ask two passangers to move so I can take a leak! But more importantly I have NO PERSONAL ENTERTAINMENT SCREEN!!! Instead I have to watch whatever they have on their overhead monitor with the others!

And annoying enough it was raining and the airline had to wait for a bunch of Singaporean tour group to arrive at the airplane, and they weren't showing anything on the monitor for 1 hour at least!



Same biscuits, but I hit harder on the alcohol due to the lack of entertainment!

In their in-flight magazine they said they were gonna show three movies, beginning with Rio.



But I waited for like 90 minutes and they were showing other shit instead:



News, a Donald Duck cartoon and Lufthansa's bloody own advertisement on in-flight entertainment later I finally get to watch Rio...

BUT FOR SOME FUCKING REASON THEY DECIDED TO TURN OFF THE MONITOR AT THE CLIMAX OF THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHY THE FUCK!? WHY!??? CAUSE OF THE ASSUMPTION THAT WE SHOULD ALL BE SLEEPING!???

And the torture didn't end there...



My dinner was beef with rice, carrots and peas while the side dish was some salad and fruits, cheese and bread. Being asian, I've some standards on the rice and in all honesty the rice was crap, the beef was a lil bit tough and the vegetables were tasteless. The fruits and cheese was good though.

Without much entertainment, I got restless. I tried to sleep, but obviously I can't. I ended up getting to know a Singaporean sitting beside me for he shared the same angry feelings with me too.
Blessing in disguise you can say but this is not valued for money nonetheless!

And here's my breakfast:



Main course: Omelette with some kind of spicy sauce, fried onions and that same salty vegetable from before. Yogurt and bread as side dish. The omelette was a lil bit overcooked. Not my ideal last meal in flight too.



Upon arrival to Changi Airport, my butt and my left thigh was aching (despite the exercises and a walkabout). The service levels of the air hostresses in this flight is sub-par too; one air hostress was not smilling at all. Funny enough the seat was more comfortable than the other flight but it did looked old and needed a new material.

Still, it was the longest 12 hour flight I ever had to date.

So I think you know by now where was the turning point for my interest levels to the Lufthansa brand. Why don't they refit this particular plane with the modern personal entertainment screen is beyond my understanding...and even if they did planned to do so I'll say "Too late guys!". And why oh why must they turn off the screen during a movie? I don't understand that.

I can only round up my experience with Lufthansa with this:



I will not fly Lufthansa again (until I'm sure I am flying on their more modern planes!)