Thursday, April 30, 2009

You Have Been Planted

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain" (John 12:24, NKJ)
We all face difficulties and challenges in life. But you have to remember, as a believer in Jesus, you have the life-giving seed of Almighty God on the inside of you. When you go through disappointments or tough times, you may feel like you’ve been buried. You may feel like you’re in a dark, lonely place. You may feel like it’s the end, but in reality, it’s only the beginning. The fact is, you haven’t been buried; you have been planted. That means you’re coming back. And not only are you coming back, but you’re coming back in increase, better and stronger than before.
In those tough times, you’ve got to draw the line in the sand. Make a declaration, “This difficulty is not going to bury me. This loss, this disappointment, this injustice is not going to cause me to give up on my dreams. I refuse to live in self-pity. I know I am a seed. That means I cannot be buried. I can only be planted. I may be down, but it’s only temporary. I know I’m not only coming back, I’m coming back even better than I was before!”
Father in heaven, thank You for filling me with Your life-giving seed. I choose today to focus on the potential for my future. I know that I will overcome every obstacle by Your power that is at work in me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The above is from Joel and Victoria. A Joel Osteen Ministries.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Best Moments In Life

I received this through e-mail. I will leave it to you whether to agree or not to agree.

1. Falling in love.
2. Laughing till your stomach hurts.
3. Enjoying a ride down the country side.
4. Listening to your favorite song on the radio.
5. Going to sleep listening to the rain pouring outside.
6. Getting out of the shower and wrapping yourself with a warm, fuzzy towel.
7. Passing your final exams with good grades.
8. Being a part of an interesting conversation.
9. Finding some money in some old pants.
10. Laughing at yourself.
11. Sharing a wonderful dinner with all your friends.
12. Laughing without a reason.
13. "Accidentally" hearing someone say somthing good about you.
14. Watching the sunset.
15. Listening to a song that reminds you of an important person in your life.
16. Receiving or giving your first kiss.
17. Feeling this buzz in your body when seeing this "special" someone.
18. Having a great time with your friends.
19. Seeing the one you love happy.
20. Wearing the shirt of a person you love and smelling his/her perfume..
21. Visiting an old friend of yours and remembering great memories.
22. Hearing someone telling you "I LOVE YOU"

"True friends come in the good times when we tell them to, and come in the bad times.....without calling.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jaya One, PJ

We visited Jaya One in PJ section 14 last week. This place is quite new and is famous for food.
We dined at Duck King. I was told that this place serves some of the best duck dishes in town!
Jaya One is rather nicely decorated.
It has an artificial water fall.
... and the men toilet is innovative! It gave us the feeling that we urinate in the bush! Above this, is an open space!
I was told that Jaya One is the idea of a young man, about 30 years old. He is definitely very rich now.

Pudu Jail from a different angle

While in KL last week, we stayed in Times Square Hotel. Looking out of the hotel room, I was surprised to see the view below...
It is the old infamous Pudu Jail. This jail is no longer in use and I am not sure whether it is opened to the public. I know that it has an execution chamber where death roll prisoners were hung!
I am also surprised with the shape of the jail.

Ah Jon started his medicine

Ah Jon has started to treat his CML with Glivec since 21 April 2008. His first pill did not cause any side effect.
However, on the second day, he started to have throbbing headache and later, muscle pain, and then nausea. We brought him to see a GP in Asia Columbia, Dr. Chong, and he gave him some Panadol and anti-nausea. He took only 2 Panadols and his pain is now bearable. The good thing about him is that he can withstand some pain and will not eat medicine unnecessarily.
His body will probably take 2 weeks to adjust to the medicine.
Glivec is a designer drug. It also comes with two pages of possible side effect.
The box of 30 tablets in the tiny box above costs more than RM10,000! Thanks to my company who pay for the drug!
We will be doing a review on him this Saturday.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Something for your love ones

While window shopping at Cold Storage, KLCC, I found the following rather interesting.
The fresh flowers are replaced by teddy, lion, etc.
Cute... but the price is not cheap either... RM100+!
They also have the traditional flowers.... so new ideas to surprise your girl friend or wife.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Miri Photographics Society Photo Exhibition

This is the first time Miri Photographics Society organises such a large scale exhibition for the members. Some 35 members exhibited their works and some 350 photos were displayed.
Opening ceremony on Saturday 25-April-2009.
Soon and Ling ...

From William Ting
My friend, Louis, is an early bird!
Just in case you missed the exhibition during the weekend, I was told that it has been extended by a few more days.

Miri-Pujut road upgrading

Finally, the authority in Miri is putting up the steel barrier and concrete curb at the road side. This should prevent any vehicle from crashing into the so called "decorative trees" along Miri-Pujut road. In fact, I prefer to them them killer trees.
On a positive side, at least something is being done to save more lives. Those trees in Miri (not just confined to Miri-Pujut Road) must be killing lots of people since they were planted. It is enough to kill the car occupants even at a low speed of 40 KM/hr when collison is head on.
Another new development is that the Miri-Pujut road is currently being resurfaced. Actually the orange machine above scrape off about 2 inches (5 CM) of the road surface. After that, two new layers were being put on.
The scraping were done at night but the resurfacing were done during the day time (some time at night). Two weeks ago, the traffic came to a crawl and I was caught in one of those. It took me 30 minutes to cover 1.5KM! The authority must forbid closing of road during peak hours. The contractor gave me the impression that the road belongs to them.

Post note: Thanks to some readers' comments who think that the contractor is doing the job at snail speed thus causing maximum inconveniences to road users. They work and then stop for a prolonged period of time leaving road that has been scraped, always at the most dangerous places like roundabout. Why is the authority allowing that?

Friday, April 24, 2009

KLCC - Night and day view

The majestic KLCC twin towers ...
... as if they are reaching into the outer space.
A night view of the twin towers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Photo Exhibition at Boulevard

This weekend, members of Miri Photographic Society will be displaying their work at Boulevard hypermarket - top floor exhibition area. I think there are some 30 members participating. You will also see some of my photos there. I didn't manage to make full use of my quota of 20 photos as I have been away too often and have no time to look for photos.

I would appreciate your visit and comment.

Techie's visit to KLIA

This must be the second time Ah Jon visited KLIA. The first time, he was only 10 years old. This time, he is 18 years old. He is very much into IT stuff, hardware, software, current develpment, new stuff, current IT news, etc.
When we arrived in KLIA last Saturday, he had a look at the huge LCD flight information system. For 99.9% of the people, they will only see what is being displayed. But for him, the information is irrelevant. He is only interested in the hardware.
... so, after seeing the "back part", he came and told me... "This is an expensive layout. Just see the number of inputs! This is crazy!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Culture Unplugged Video

Sunset at KLIA

I was coming back to Miri yesterday and arrived at KLIA almost 3 hours before departure. So, we went for dinner and then hang around...
After dinner, we went to the International Check-in side and saw this sunset...
... wandering outside the building we saw KLIA building from the side and saw the nice lighting...
Control tower at the distance.
Hoep you like the above pictures.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What the specialist said

At about 11:30AM, we finally manage to see the consultant Haematologist, Dr. Ng. He explained that in the west, CML is normally found on adult, >30 years old. In the east, we have cases even in children, as young as 13.
Two options are available, poping pills for the rest of his life or do a stem cell transplant.
Option 1: This is not too bad if the case is an adult. Also, it seems that stem cell transplant is more troublesome for much older adults. For young children, they seem to response better to stem cell transplant. Another issue with popping pill has to do with compliancy, ie, consistently taking pill without miss.
Option 2: Stem cell transplant. Dr. Ng just came back from a conference and informed that in China, a certain Dr. Huang, prefer stem cell transplant for younger people. This is for practical reason and also more logical. The main driver is that stem cell transplant offers a permanent cure. But the side effect is body rejection of the donor's cell. For this option, the patient will go on the drug for 6 months until the situation stabilises; then a transplant is done.
Ah Jon is fortunate that he has 5 other siblings and there is a 25% chance of a match in each one.
The doctor recommended option 2, and will carry out a mini stem cell transplant in 6 months. He needs to stay in a clean room for one month at a cost of >RM100K.
We prefer option 2 right from the beginning because this is his only chance to live a normal life.
Is there a divine intervention here? I would think so! Months ago, the three girls all decided to come back this year and we all agreed to that. They have been away for up to 4 years. Then he wanted to stay back in Miri to study against the will of the parents who prefer to pack him up to study elsewhere. We agreed to his desire. Next, if he didn't have that car accident and a small fever, it would never trigger off the blood test.
Are all this coincident? I don't think so.
Please pray that he will response to the drug Glivec (imatinib) and that he will not suffer any serious side effect. Also pray that one of the sibling would have a perfect match.
We thanks our company for covering the cost of treatment. Glivec costs RM300 per pill (US$3000 per month) and he needs a pill a day for the next 6 months.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Update From KL

We left Miri on Saturday and went straight to Normah to see Dr. Lau. I have to credit him for being a very caring and understanding doctor. He wrote a letter of referral and prepared all the necessary document for us to see Dr. Ng of Sime Darby Medical Centre (Formally Subang Medical Centre) in Subang Jaya.
On Saturday afternoon, we visited Jasmine and family and talked to great length about prayers and deliverance.
We arrived in KL at 8:30PM and checked into Times Square Hotel an hour later. The taxi driver sent us to Times Square Shopping Mall. He sent us there either he didn't know or done on purpose. How could he not know what the customer want? Well, it shows the quality of the airport taxi service! If they are not speeding, they sent the customer to the wrong place! LOL! Sorry to generalise here. You may get better service if you are lucky. Whenever I could, I took the train.
On Sunday, we went to DUMC for the morning worship. I met many pastors there .. Ps Margaret, Ps Soo, Ps Chris, Ps Michael. In the afternoon, Ah Jon visited his forum friends at Sunway Pyramic. Emily/Gan brough us there. Thanks to them! In the evening, we were at Lowyat and "look see" until Ah Jon legs could carry him no more!
Mon 20: We got up early, ok, 6:00AM, in preparation for breakfast and then took a taxi to the Medical centre here.
We arrived at 8:15AM and there was a big crowd already. The clinic won't be open until 8:30AM. Anyway, we had registered ourselves and waiting for Dr. Ng to be ready to see us from 10:00AM as he needs to make his daily morning round!
So, now, we are waiting and thanks God that there is network here!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bone Marrow test result

Ah Jon bone marrow test result was made known to us yesterday. His chromosome test was not carried out because the courier service has failed to deliver the marrow sample on time and the cells arrived dead. Hence the Philadelphia chromosome test cannot be carried out.
So for the time being, the specialist think that he is suffering from CML.

CML is diagnosed by detecting the Philadelphia chromosome. This characteristic chromosomal abnormality can be detected by routine cytogenetics, by fluorescent in situ hybridization, or by PCR for the bcr-abl fusion gene.
In Ah Jon's case, only BCR-ABL test was carried out and found to be positive. This is a type of DNA test which does not require live cell.

I will bring him to Kuching on 18th April and will discuss with the specialist regarding the treatment management. On the same day, we will travel to KL and see another specialist at Subang Medical Centre for a second opinion on 20th April.
Please pray for divine healing for him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rain ... more rain

14-April-2009 7:30AM: Latest on-site weather report at Curtin University Sarawak Campus, Miri ...
Looks like we are in for lots of rain again. In addition to flooding, we will see the escalation of veggie price!
On the southern part of Miri, the sky is clear.

Please... eat the food

For some reason, a baby bird dropped from the sky and landed at the main entrance to the office. Could it be possible that it had been kicked out of the nest? Or structural fault of the nest? Or due to an unsafe act by the mother bird? Or due to human cruelty which knock out the nest? Whatever was the reason, we will never knew...

... but two of my compassionate colleagues immediately try to save the baby. It was dehydrated and almost motionless. But they took the trouble to buy baby food for the bird.

They tried very hard to save it. But alas... it couldn't make it. Six hours later, it gave up struggling. So sad .... fortunately I took a few pictures in remembrance of their kindness.... May the baby bird rest in peace. We also knew that they have tried their best! They even took the trouble to bring the bird to a vet but unfortunately, the vet does not know how to save a bird!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bread, bread and more bread

Over the weekend, Yee went to buy a second hand bread maker from my friend for less than RM100.
This was the first loaf of bread he made using the machine. Maybe it was a good thing that I was around to stop him from putting two tablespoons of salt into the flour, otherwise, he would have a very interesting bread! Well, he misread the recipe book! Being a technical person, I like measurement to be more tangible, rather than one cup, etc. The question is always, how big is the cup? Anyway, the recipe book uses "cup" for measurement and the dough came out far too soft! Thanks God that he didn't use all the flour and I still managed to correct it.
I was into something else. I used my own machine to make "man tou 曼头", ie, pau or dumpling without filling. But I was too lazy to make them into "ball". So, when I finished steaming it, mummy said, "wah, such a big steamed sponge cake"... hahaha. Timmy said, "I want pau with minced meat filling". Well, wait for my next round!
So, this is the machine Yee bought. It is made by Sanyo.
p/s: I believe the cup used in recipe book has a capacity of 200cc. This is the so called "normal cup". Please do correct me if I am wrong.

Words of Appreciation

My friend, Bob Danzig, has an amazing story. Simple words of appreciation and encouragement changed his life. Bob was in five foster homes during his youth, and said he spent his childhood trying to find someone to love and appreciate him.
When he was nine years old, he had a new social worker. He said after she had done all the paperwork to move him to yet another foster home, she sat him down, looked him directly in the eyes, and said, "Bobby, I want you to always remember these words: YOU ARE WORTHWHILE!"
Bob says that no one had ever said anything like that to him, and each time they met, she repeated those words. They became an affirmation of appreciation that he heard over and over again in his head.
Bob graduated at sixteen, not because he was smart, he says, but because he got mixed up in the system!
He soon took a job at the Albany New York Times as a copy boy, and his very first boss was a woman named Margaret. After he had worked there about six months, Margaret called him into her office one day and asked him to sit down. He thought for sure he was going to be fired! She looked him right in the eyes and said to him, "I have been the office manager for 15 years - I have been observing you - and I believe YOU ARE FULL OF PROMISE." Those words, on that day, gave him permission to aspire.
Those two positive messages of appreciation played over and over again in his head and ultimately gave him the courage to be the very best he could be. Sixteen years later he became the Publisher of the Albany New York Times, and seven years after that, he became CEO of Hearst Newspapers, one of the largest newspaper companies in the world; and he credits it all to those simple words of appreciation and love. What a wonderful example of how little gifts of appreciation can make such a difference in a life!
I just want to share this Proverb with you:
Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Looking at ourselves, are we having this problem too often?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We Have Gone Nuts!

It all started during Chinese New Year when we bought back one bag of roasted nut in shell. There is also an e-mail circulating around telling people the benefits of nuts!

So, over the long weekend, we bought roasted almond in shell, walnut in shell, hazelnut in shell, etc. I found that the more you eat, the nicer they tasted! So, is walnut really good for the brain? It looks like brain anyway.

I hope that they will not elevate my uric acid!

You can buy all the above nuts at Sing Liang Supermarket at a very reasonable price. By the way, they don't pay me commission for advertising their name.

Flash Flood in Miri

12-April-2009: I have not seen such heavy rain for a long time. It started at about 4:00PM with lighning and thunder...
Looking out of my balcony window, I could see the limited visibility.
At about 7:30PM, I received a call from Sarawakiana that Miri town is flooded. It was just then I wanted to go to town. The Pujut roundabout was flooded - it must be the first time in history! But why? In fact I have expected it because of the massive tar sealing of the open areas near the roundabout. All the water must now rush for the drain instead of "sinking into the soil". Why should reckless tarring of such a large space is allowed at the first place?
The above picture was taken in front of Boulevard Hypermarket. Many cars dare not drive forward which only make the traffic jam worse.
So... a massive jam was created!
I met a friend in Boulevard and she told that a van actually drove over the curb and the front wheel went into the drain. The driver was in a daze while getting down to inspect what had gone wrong. He walked to the front without realising that there is a drain and of course he had a shock of his life when he stepped right into the drain and wet himself all over.
13-April-2009 update: For the record purpose, there was 2 inches or 50mm of rain in just 2 hours yesterday.
By the way, the water at Pujut roundabout was cleared within one hour of rain stopping. It showed that our drianage is pretty good. The flash flood was due to the amount of rain within that short period of time.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Relics of WWII and things of the 60's

I visited my friend and found the following very interesting oldies... things dated back to the 1940's.
This is a helmet for the Japanese army used during the second world war. This helmet is made from solid alloy and is pretty heavy. Supposed to be bullet proof to protect the head?!
This is the stand for a very old Singer sewing machine. I remember seeing one of these belonging to my parents. The stand is solid and probably made from cast iron. Still in perfect condition.
Dare to guess what is this? Well, believe it or not, it is an 8mm movie viewer made by Mansfield (Model 950). You put the roll of film (movie) on the left and a pickup reel on the right. The film was thread across the viewer. Motion was created by manually turning the wheel.
They are lanterns used by boat or ship!

KL Taxis

A few days ago, major newspapers highlighted the dishonest taxi drivers. Out of 600+ taxis being checked, only a handful were found to be honest. Actually, this problem is nothing new to me. They have been fiddling with the meters since 1987! That was my first encounter! I remember the year very well because that was the year I implemented a VAX8700 computer for my office. Also, that year, I got chicken pox!
To be honest, I am very scare of taking taxis in KL. I am scare because of the uncertainty that I have to face, eg, how are they going to charge, how many times faster will the meter "jump", etc. Last December, the above taxi driver purposely cover the meter. It is ok with me if we can agree on the price upfront. Then it is my choice to take or not to take.
I personally felt that the government is to blame because the current taxi fare in KL is far too cheap. They have to make a living also. The various rules, eg, they are prohibited to take passenger on the return trip from KLIA is absurd. KLIA is some 50-60KM from KL and burning petrol for nothing on the way out is simply not making any economic sense. Therefore, the passenger has to pay!
Another problem is the transport system in the Klang Valley is simply insufficient. For example. why can't they make the monorail longer? etc etc. I am hoping that the government can do something really quick to fix public transport problems in the Klang Valley.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

2009 Pikom Kuching

We went to visit the Pikom Kuching on 3-April-2009, ie, the opening day. The place was too crowded, too much merchandise and too small.
There is only one thing which would make Ah Jon very happy ... computer stuff!
Acer show off their "funny" looking gaming computer. Cost RM5888. Ah Jon told me that this is rather cool!
One gadget that is getting popular is the net book. Popular price is RM1499.
oh... speakers are getting fashionable now!
RAM, memory sticks, etc can be found everywhere!
Computer LCD for playing video...
See the crowded place ...
The smallest projector. Cost RM1700+. I think it is not worth it. Battery driven.

My Visit to Kuching

When I first checked into a room at the 8th floor facing the water front, I couldn't see the Kuching River. The place was dark with the exception of some rows of lights. Anyway, ...
... this is the result of a hand held shot. I tried using low speed, low ISO but my hand is simply not capable to freeze a camera for 3-6 seconds. With long exposure, the pictures mostly came out slightly blurred.
When day broke, I saw the Kuching river full of activities.
We met friends in Kuching ... Pearly, Victor and Jasmine. They are from my cell group in Miri before moving to Kuching.
I met Aileen and David Teo of ST & T of Kuching. They are now a husband and wife team in Kuching doing logistic for Dell, sell some hardware, providing services, etc. I am happy to meet David again as I "lost" him for almost 20 years! I used to share a flat in Singapore with David in 1980.
David & Aileen are obviously a good employers. They celebrated birthday for his staff. I also noticed that his staff stay on with them for a long time. I wish them success and much blessing to all my friends in Kuching.