Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Coffee Shop Saturday Meeting
Saturday morning meeting with my CG members is becoming quite common. We met to discuss issues or work of services. It is happening at the shops at Pujut 2. Last Saturday meeting was about 40 DOP event.
Mike, James and his wife, Roseline
Sui Jiao - one of the goodies

Kueh Tiau ... if you are feeling hungry!
Some mini Li Bin. It has been a long time since we tasted this.
That is how the filling looks like...
Praise Dance
I think it must be the Methodist churches in Miri who first brought "praise dance" into Miri. Just in case you don't know, praise dance is a form of exercise. They "dance" according to gospel song.
Praise dance was first conducted at Mei Ann Methodist Church in Miri. Now, I was told that it is conducted in many churches.
All are welcomed. It is not necessary that you must be a church member. The only criteria is that you are still alive!
I am not sure about the schedule at Bulatan Park. On Saturday, it is at 6:30AM-7:30AM. At Grace Methodist Church, it is Mon, Wed, Friday at 6:00PM. You can call up (085-662660) the church office to ask for the schedule.
The pictures here was taken last Saturday at Bulatan Park, Miri. Don't under estimate this... you will sweat all over. I tried it before.
You will feel young after the exercise! Everybody is welcomed. Just drop by.
These four are veteran Praise Dancers. So they are here doing the leading ...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Watch these two videos: Partner Equilibristic
I think they are good!

"Boneless" girl from Africa

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Muscle Cramp - How to reverse it

My colleague told me that he has a knee problem on one leg and now his whole leg is suffering from great pain due to a muscle cramp while sleeping. This is no good! So, I thought I would blog here to let all of you know how I normally reverse the onset of cramp.

Muscle cramp on the leg can happens anytime during my sleep. It seldom happens but if it does, your leg will suffer for the next 2-3 days.

To reverse muscle cramp on the leg, the solution is very simple: Jump out of your bed immediately and stand upright. That is all! You will find that the cramp will stop immediately and everything will go back to normal. Do you have anything better? Please share.

My other friend said, "just sit up and hold the toes of the affected leg and pull the foot of forward. Actually when you stand upright, this is what happen also - your foot is forced toward you.

How about the knee problem? Don't sit in your office chair for too long. Stand up and walk around every 30 minutes. Make sure that the chair is properly adjusted. To me, knee problem is caused by insufficient blood supply to the knee. Work in your garden or do mountain climbing often. Sweat a lot. Brisk walking is a nonsense exercise as it will damage the knee caps in the long run! I don't believe this. Ok, this is my personal view. Let me hear yours.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Financial Amnesia
Remember... the Lord... gives you power to become rich.
Deuteronomy 8:18 TLB
Can God trust you with money? Do you have the courage to thank Him publicly for what He's given you? Ever noticed how some of us who praised Him when we had very little, suddenly become 'image conscious' when we start to prosper? We call on God when we're in trouble, but when we get back on our feet we stop counting our blessings and start counting our money. What's happened? We've become so self-sufficient that we're reluctant to mention the name of Jesus when we talk about our blessings! Israel's financial amnesia was nothing new; it happens once you start believing "it was [my] own power and might that made [me] wealthy" (Deuteronomy 8:17 TLB).
Never get so dazzled by success that you forget the source of everything you have, or become so caught up in your blessings that you fail to acknowledge the One who blessed you. God told the Israelites, "When you have become… prosperous… built fine homes… and your silver and gold have multiplied… don't become proud and forget the Lord… who brought you out of… slavery" (Deuteronomy 8:11-14 TLB). God doesn't condemn success, He condemns arrogance! When you've had very little and suddenly enter the 'Promised Land,' it's easy to forget where you came from. A few gourmet meals, a designer suit and a house in 'the right neighbourhood' can make you forget about yesterday's hand-me-downs! God constantly had to remind His people not to overlook His goodness to them. And the same applies to us. "Remember… the Lord… gives you power to become rich, and… just as [He]… caused other nations in the past to perish… That will be your fate… if you don't obey… God" (Deuteronomy 8:18-20 TLB).
Bottom line - you don't have anything God didn't give you!
Comment: It is indeed so easy to forget all the blessing that have been given to us. We must give thanks to the Almighty God all the time and in all situation.
The above is taken from The Vine. Do sign up to get your daily post. It is free!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stop Worrying!
It begins and ends with faith... those who are right with God... live by faith.
Romans 1:17 NCV
A man who maintained he'd swallowed a horse was referred to a psychiatrist who recommended surgery. The surgeon agreed to bring a horse into the operating room so that when the man woke up he'd know the operation was a success. But after regaining consciousness the man opened his eyes and announced, "That's the wrong horse. It's white. The one I swallowed was black!" Too much anxiety and not enough reality - it's why Christ talks to us so much about worry (which means to be divided or distracted).
Understand this. Worry: (a) Wastes your time and energy. Jesus said, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27 NIV). It's a medically proven fact that worry won't lengthen or enrich your life, but it can shorten it. (b) Stops you from enjoying what you have. How? By creating burdens God never intended you to carry - because they're His. (c) Makes you feel less-than. Jesus pointed out that you're worth much more than the birds of the air, and they don't worry or die from hunger; they simply enjoy life. Come on, if God takes care of them, don't you think He'll take care of you too? (d) Makes you overlook God's promises. "If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line… by sending His… Son, is there anything else He wouldn't… do for us?" (Romans 8:32 TM). Note the word "anything." That covers whatever you're going through right now, plus whatever comes up in the future. So stop worrying.

Note: This is taken from The Vine.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Marina Bay Sea Food Restaurant - revisit

I went there again tonight, ordered some food and enjoyed the surrounding. I also noticed some changes:

There are now tables (not many) along the balcony. This is perfect for watching sunset and enjoy the evening.

Now they have introduced lunch and dinner set menu with prices starting from just under RM200 (2-3 person) to just under RM900 (full table). I think this is a very good idea. For the set dinner we ordered, I think they can improve by having a choice of dessert instead of Eastern sweet soup. I think it is too starchy & sweet. I would prefer to see a choice of mixed fruit instead of just a stand dessert type.

I also noticed quite a lot of our expat friends there. One table was taking western and another eastern. My son kept pointing to the nice looking western set meal. Perhaps I will go for that next time.

Price for a small bottle of water is now RM3 coming down from RM6.5. Also, prices have been adjusted for many item. I didn't actually pay much attention on individual prices tonight. One area of possible improvement is to make coloured menu with full photos.

Don't feel being intimidated by the classy (subjective again) looking environment and possible damage to the pocket. If anyone think that you have been working very hard, do give yourself a treat. Sorry, I don't have a share in the restaurant! They won't even offer me anything special for blogging for them. So you can be assured that I am not being bias.

There are now more fishes, etc. Nice to visit the place. I hope they will keep that place open.
Nice clam soup - hot and a little spicy. Just nice for me.

Dessert - white fungus + water chestnut. Too sweet and starchy.
This is a very nice cartoon. The message is simple and yet true. As a Christian, how many of us are living like a defeated Christian? If so, you must know how to rejoice and know that you have been set free.... fully pardoned because He, Jesus, has already washed away our sin 2000 years ago. Otherwise, say a prayer, "Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. I know that because of your great love for all of us, you have willingly die on the cross for me. I know that you still love me and wanted me to live a victorious life so that your name and kingdom can be glorified. I wanted to be fully set free today and start to live a life that is not in any bondage. Thank you in Jesus name, Amen"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Banana - How many times can a banana tree bear fruit?

I decided to blog about banana after I heard two people asking me the same question within a day: How many times can a banana tree bear fruits? Then I realise that for things I have taken for granted is news to many. I came from a farming background in Sarikei. So, you can ask me anything about farming and I have a little knowledge: pepper cultivation, vegie, fruits, rubber, animals, etc.
The picture below shows a banana tree. You see that banana tree has no branches. The trunk and leaves are light and have honey comb structure. In fact, I understand that engineers have adopted the structure of the banana leave for aeroplane chasis design.

When a tree reaches maturity, a bunch of banana will appear from the top of the tree like the picture below. haha... you know what I mean!

When a bunch of fruit reach maturity, the tree is first cut down in order to reach the bunch of fruit. In fact, the trunk is so soft that I use a bread knife to cut! Depending on variety, the tree can grown from 4 feet to some 20 feet. Therefore, a banana tree can bear fruit only once. This is because the bunch of fruit with strong stem is actually the "stem" of the banana tree. This stem is wrapped around by its own leaves which have a very long stem. I am not an expert on the terminology used.

This is how the banana tree trunk looks like. The layered looking ring are actually leave stem! The core is the actual stem which leads to the bunch of fruit.

As a general rule, they are cut down when the fruits are still green but mature. This can be identified quite easily when the last three leaves started to dry off! Or for some species, you have to look at the edges of the fruit which started to "round off".
The picture below is what I called "rice" banana - small rice shape. As the fruit becomes more ripe, the skin becomes thinner making it difficult to peel.

Below is the so called "Sarawak Banana". It is know to be more "cooling". So don't eat too much in one go! Fragrant and sweet! Assorted banana - red banana, rice banana, berangan. They are all very nice to eat!
So another question which my colleague asked, how come I saw banana tree seem to bear fruit all the time?

Ok, when a banana sucker (baby banana tree) is first planted, suckers will begin to appear around the tree after a couple of months. As a general rule, too many suckers will spoil the quality of the fruit (smaller fruit). Therefore, thin sucker (male) are removed and only about 2-3 suckers are normally allowed to grow. Sucker will reach maturity in about 9 months. I am not sure how long it takes the fruit to ripe - probably about 3-4 months.

Therefore, if you are not observance, you thought that the same tree keeps bearing fruit!

Ok, if there are any more question from anyone, please post it in the chatter box. I will update this blog to answer them.

All the above fruits are from Eric's Organic Farm in Sibu. He travels back to Sibu almost every week to ensure that everything is ok. He has about 80 acres of fruit garden. They are now staring to produce fruit. Call him (+6085 660680/+60198843683) if you want to buy true organic fruit. At the moment he is selling them at a very special price of only RM4/kg - not even enough to cover his petrol! He also has dragon fruit, lemon, papaya, sour sop which is actually sweet, etc.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

End of the Spear

Last night, our CG watched the movie "End of the Spear" together. It was about the five missionaries who were murdered in 1956 in the Ecuadorian jungle by members of the Waodani tribe they went to serve and how the killing brought about salvation and peace to the tribe who have been engaged in brutal tribal war. This movie is very touching. It taught us real forgiveness. If you think that you have problem in forgiving with life little hurts, watch this true story and think again about the power of forgiveness.

The father (Nate Saint) knew about the extreme danger of his mission. They brought along gun but will not use it. He told his son (Steve)that he was not scare to die because he was ready for heaven and the tribe was not. Watch this preview of the movie:

And then watch this real life interview with Steve Saint (son of one of the missionaries who was murdered) and Waodani tribe leader, Mincayani:

And then watch this short movie about the tribe...

Watch this interview with Mark Fincannon to see the research being done before making the movie:
Cell Group and Church
My CG has many members. However, the number of attendance can vary for various reasons. For example, if there is an evangelistic event in Methodist Campus Christian Fellowship for Curtin, some members will be there serving. Michelle, the expert cook made cup cakes.
Victor and his wife. Our very unique members who are physically challenged in hearing. We speak in sign language and type out discussion session.
Church Evening service
I was the liturgist and my cell member did the praise and worship. Wah... the worship team did a fantastic job. Praise the Lord and glory be to Him!
Our evening service always has tea. Someone will be serving drink and some food. Amazing service!

Happy Birthday, Nilesh
Mummy's colleague, Nilesh & his wife Sarah, invited many colleagues/friends over for dinner during his recent birthday celebration (5 April 08).
He ordered BBQ from Boat club to celebrate his birthday and there was plenty of food.
Satay is made from chicken or beef, marinated and then grilled over fire. It is a favourite amongst many in this region.
Yummy BBQ These photos were taken on my D3. The camera setting was set to manual mode and adjusted the exposure setting. Then switched on my flash (SB-800) to fill in. The result is shown here showing red hot charcoal fire and golden satay stick. If it is not taken this way, the charcoal fire will be hardly visible.

Cook from Boat Club.
Nilesh, Bernd, Dorist, Sarah

Photo taken by Bernd

BBQ Chicken

We left early at about 10:00PM but the party progressed right into the early hours with cake cutting, etc. Nilesh is young and energetic!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Marina Bay and Restaurant

17 April 2008: It seems that the area around the sea horse is quite popular for sightseeing, etc. It is also a perfect place to see sunset.

With luck, this is what you see! In fact, many people didn't realise that the most beautiful part of sunset is not just seeing the sun going down but the beauty of the light ray shooting through the sky for the next 20 minutes.
You know who they are! I set the timer on and put the camera on the railing.
ok, time to dine here again! Perhaps I (or who ever read this blog and responded) should ask for discount when I next visit them.
They now have a bigger collection of marine creatures for cooking to satisfy your hunger! Click on the picture to see an enlarged shot.

" Four colour cold dish". Costs RM138.00

Big head prawns, we ordered 8 of them and cooked in two different style. This is with cheese....
... and this is steamed with egg. This costs RM90 per Kg. Big head prawn can be very heavy. 8 of them weighed more than 2KG! So watch out!

This is a delicious mixed vegie dish. I counted so many Bei Kuo (is this ginko?) in there. This is expensive ingredient. Also a handful of almond flake. Cost: RM45
This is one of the "red fish". The fish was cooked in 3 styles - I prefered the portion fried with spring onion. Cost: RM160 per KG. Fish can also be very heavy. This fish weighed more than 2 KG.

A pot of tea. We ordered Jamine (I think) and cost RM10. Endless refill. There is one which tasted like wood. Can't remember the name.
Some of the lobsters, etc for you to satisfy your hunger!

As promised earlier, I would recommend the following way to order your food:
1. Go to the acquarium and select (or identify) your fish, crab, etc. The prices are all written out.
2. Order the quantity as appropriate.
3. Order your drink, etc. A can of Schweppes costs RM4.50. If you want to economise, order tea like we do. Dessert can be expensive at RM10 per small bowl.

With this info in mind, you can at least have an idea on the cost of your meal rather than getting a shock in your life, eg, you may be thinking of a 1kg fish and they caught a 2.5kg fish. When you order lobster and didn't ask about the price, you may be served with a lobster weighing 2KG at a cost of RM250.00 per kg!! Please note that this is just hypothetical. I am sure they are not unethical until like that!

Most vegetables cost RM45 for a large plate. Noodle cost just as much. I can't remember the cost for a small plate.

Taking about prices, I think it is very similar to the one in Pakan. But the problem here is that you don't have a feel of the size and overall cost if you don't ask. That is why I suggested that you should see first and order.

Food is fresh and cooking is good.

Anyway, they accept credit card now. So you don't need to pawn anything as security just in case you have not got enough cash.

My suggestion to the management is that they should consider giving out plain water for free like what some restaurants are doing. Making this extra money for selling plain bottled water for RM6.50 is not a very good idea. Haha... we all ended up in Ming Shop for drink after this!
Note: updated 23 April 2008. Prices have been adjusted. See another blog entry.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reckless Driving Kills - Watch this video and you decide whether you want to pay more attention while driving your car or riding your bike.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Taking Responsibility (3)
Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:2 NLT
In any great endeavour you'll face: (a) nay-sayers who think it can't be done; (b) road-blockers who place obstacles in your way; (c) a high probability you'll fail before you succeed. Who wants to endure such things? Winners! It takes courage to leave Egypt, walk through the wilderness wondering, "Am I making any progress at all?" and stand at the Red Sea knowing that without a miracle you'll drown, thinking "Nobody's ever been in this situation before, what if it doesn't work?" Taking responsibility means stepping out in faith when there's no precedent to go by, no logic to stand on, and your friends are questioning your sanity.
The one quality all successful people have is the ability to accept ultimate responsibility. General Eisenhower was given responsibility for planning the D-Day invasion. Giving the okay was a painful decision, one he knew would lead to many deaths. Yet if it was successful, it would guarantee victory over the Nazis. In the hours prior to the assault Eisenhower wrote a press release that he would use in the event of the invasion's failure. It read: "Our landings have failed… and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and this place was based on the best information available. The troops, the Air Force and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to this attempt, it is mine alone."
If you want others to trust you, to give you greater opportunities and resources, to partner with you - then embrace responsibility and practice it faithfully in every area of your life!
I hope you have enjoyed this series on "Responsibility". It is from The Vine.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Marina Bay Seafood Restaurant #2

Updated 15 April 08: This restaurant is newly opened in March 2008. It is made of timber completely, with curving panel everywhere. The roof is made of attap. There is no aircon.
Location: Next to the beach, reclaimed land in Miri and next to the huge sea horse
To get there: 1st left turn after the Marina Bay condo (Opposite SMK Chung Hua). The sign board by the roadside is finally put on. This restaurant is very scenic in the evening facing the sea. I went there again with a group of people last night and found that they do accept credit card now. I met the manager and the chief cook. Watch out for this blog. I will post further when I got the time.

The veranda

Beautifully carved wall panel at the entrance.
The furniture is unique and comfortable...
"Emergency staircase" at the back leading to the kitchen and toilets... The "western" ground floor has a bar. Setting is cosy... While taking picture at the back entrance, I saw a waiter with this delicious dish of prawn walking by and with no time to waste, this scene is frozen for you to enjoy ...

The food is unique. I was told that the cooks are mostly from West Malaysia. The prawns were cooked in two different styles here. The heads were steamed and the flesh was fried served with flake!

Big head prawn in two taste. Cost RM90/Kg

Deep fried lotus root with salted egg... It is crunchy and tasted nice.

Seafood with salad mango sauce. Delicious! Yummy! RM12 per piece...

Braised assorted sea treasure in clayport. I counted 6 fresh large scallops inside. You get what you pay.
Golden Box Beancurd with filling inside. Unique again at RM6/piece.

I think many people commented that this place is super expensive. But my comment is that it is better to ask about the price before ordering to prevent waste and money. It can indeed be very expensive if you are not careful. At the momenty, each pot of tea cost RM10.00 with free top up! So don't buy any other drink if you want to save cost!

Poached pears in saffron served with vanilla panna lotta. RM18 each. This is expensive!

Double boiled papaya with green tea. Never taken before. RM10 per bowl ... anyone?

Wafer chestnut cream with white fungus (nearest camera). Each RM6 per bowl

We visited the place where they store the fish...

A pool of fish...

Shell fish

As said earlier, I will post more photos later. For those who are cost conscious, I will give some suggestions on how to order food. I will also put on some suggestions for the restaurant management.

All photos taken with a Nikon D3. This is a super sensitive camera. No post processing has been applied.