Monday, June 29, 2009

Bintang Plaza is growing ...

If you are from Miri, you would have noticed the constant changes around Bintang Plaza and the complex itself. First, there is traffic jam in front of the complex due to the construction, next all the trees in front was taken down. Road is currently being widen. Of course the complex itself doesn't stop growing upward. When completed, it will be another hotel.
I was driving up the car park (on the left of this picture) and noticed a huge traffic jam. Apparently, people are relunctant to go higher up. So, they will wait and wait at the lower floors when the upper floors are quite empty. Anyway, the parking is currently free of charge.
This place appeals to youngster a lot. But with the larger shopping mall, I think many more people will flood there.

Unsafe Miri Road

Tonight has been raining rather heavily and I thought it is perfect timing for me to go out and shoot "night scene"! Because with the aid of water, it can prove my point clearer.
This is not meant to discredit anyone but rather to prompt the authority to think safety before doing anything. Because many of us use the road everyday. Well, you must have guessed that I work for Shell and therefore safety is our top priority because it saves life. Our loved ones expected us to return home safely everyday and therefore, we must do our part to guarantee that.
This is a road hump. The authority built many of them and also left most of them without maintenance. When the paint has peeled off, the hump becomes "invisible" like the one in this picture. So, it is more dangerous to the road users, especially motorcyclists when they ride over without slowing down. For cars, we have damaged underside.
Even more dangerous is when the contractor build a new hump and didn't paint it immediately. I heard of two motorcyclists died because of new hump without paint! So, who are we trying to save when we do thing in an unsafe manner? Can the authority ensure that new hump are painted immediately and old ones are properly maintained?
This is the most dangerous junction in Miri, and I am sure that there are many of them. This junction is after Pujut 7 bridge. On the right of this picture is Permyjaya. During the day time, the visibility is alright. However, during the night, the road divider for traffic going straight is invisible. Worse, there is no street light on the left. See for yourself on the picture above!
On a closeup view of the road, it is now clear that the left side is completely dark. Also, it is clear that many had run into the barrier/road divider - just see the traffic road sign being knocked down. The road divider is a very good idea but please make it safe! I suggest that the authority install some highly reflective material on the barrier and install more street lights to brighten up the place. If the authority cannot maintain the barrier, please make it lower, eg, three inches. The standard height is a killer if anyone runs into it. Think, what happen if your loved ones run into it!
While driving along the newly resurfaced road between SESCO and Pujut 7, you may have the feeling that the tyre is having problem or the car suspension is messed up. Yet the road surface look reasonably smooth. Anyway, if you have been wondering whether it is your car is having problem, think no more. The road has proven to have uneven surface that is invisible to the eyes as reviewed in the photo above. The arrows point to the uneven parts! I am sure that they were not made intentionally. Perhaps, just poor workmanship!

My other blogs

By the way, I have three other blogs that I am managing:
Photography blog:
Blog on Education, Scholarship and Job:
Blog on my son Jonathan:
Do visit them also. The links are on the right side of this blog under "Family".

Miri old town renovation

Generally, the "renovation" of Miri old town is almost completed except for this row of shops.

Workers are working very hard and the progress is very fast.
Construction and completion of face-lift to 49 units of existing 2-storey shophouses at China Street, Jalan Bendahara, Jalan Raja... that is what the sign says.
Modern building technique... cement is being lifted up. In the good old days, a ramp was built and cement was push up. Don't be surprised, in the late 60s', ladies were employed to carry pails of cement up the ramp on their shoulders. In fact, there were a lots of female construction workers!

By the way, these workers work dangerously. While watching them, I saw one of them stepped backward and almost lost his balance. Safety is so important because a missed move, someone will lost their father or husband!
Newly completed shophouses shines against the bright afternoon sun! On the right is where the fish market is.
On the left side, the row of shops leading toward Jalan Bendahara. At the far end, you see Hotel Mega and hotel Imperial.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Parents Sunday Celebration

Our church celebrated parents' Sunday today...

A skit by the Sunday School teachers...Bee Ging - Mum; Irene - daughter; Mary - daddy

First, they played a rebellious role.
... next, they played the ideal family life... Christ centered.
A song presentation by the kids ...
Honouring the older folks.
Gifts made by the kids for their parents...
Made by Timothy... (click on the picture to read)
... and Joshua (click on the picture to read)
Happy mothers (Lucy) after receiving the gift from their children.
... and another happy mother, Teresa Han.
May you have a blessed Parents' Sunday.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Which would you choose for your pet?

Joshua and myself visited a pet shop just opposite SESCO in Sebakas. It is run by Mr. Lo. So, after seeing so many cute animals and fish, which one would you choose to be your pet? Just enjoy these photos and if you are poisoned, perhaps you may go over and pick up something. But please remember that buying pet is easy buy maintaining it could be tough. So, treat it with care as it is a living creature too.
Jos suddenly becomes very brave. This is a python.
Fancy a passionate parrot who demand company?
He is simply cute and adorable ...
Beautiful fish... look nicer under coloured light.
Anyone knows what is the name?
This one is big, slow moving and perhaps soothing to watch.
The graceful movement is definitely nice to watch.
oh... the friendly 5 feet long python. Perhaps it can even guard your home. How about putting a signboard outside your house "Unlucky tresspasser may be eaten by snake"

More pictures to come soon ...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Harvest Festival (GAWAI) 2009

Tonight, my company celebrated Gawai closing open house. As usual, it was at the KRP (formerly KSL). A couple of VIPs attended.
All guests, were welcomed with Tuak (rice wine), traditional cakes and delicacies while new mats (tikai) were rolled out. The Tuai Gawai or Chief Host led the celebrations, while the Tuai Pengabang led the contingent of visitors. After the celebrations were over, a ceremony was held to mark the end of the festive season. This includes Ngiling Tikai (rolling up the mats) to show that work must begin again with a new cycle of planting and reaping. Tadau Kaamatan is celebrated by the Kadazandusun ethnic communities who gather each year to give thanks for the harvest, and includes music, dancing, the selection of the Harvest Queen (Unduk Ngadau) and feasting, offers an insight into the Kadazandusun community and its culture. (This paragraph is extracted from who happen to be my colleage also)

Bidayuh traditional offering - Taya, hanging, is the place where all the goodies are placed.
Tuai Gawai (Chief Host) was there welcoming the guest...
Tuak or rice wine is a must for all guests.
... traditionally, a chicken was (and still is) always slaughtered and then cooked as an offering to the ancestors and blessing for another fruitful/plentiful year ahead.
Beautiful Orang Ulu dancers...
There is no more elongated ears for the younger generation.
... smoking is a common "past time". (He is Tuai Rumah for Orang Ulu)
... beautiful costume of Kadazan ...
Renata and Pauline waiting to serve guests with tuak (Kadazan).
(Iban Warrior dance) Their dance is graceful ... doesn't matter whether man or ...

Iban Dancers

... or women. The evening completed with various dances. Unfortunately, I couldn't wait to see all the performances. But from what I saw, they did a fantastic job!

Orange Ulu is literally translated to "People from upstream" , ie, people from the ulu.

Vegetable in Miri is so cheap

If you have been to the Tamu Muhibah (Opposite Park Hotel) lately, you will be shocked to know that the price of vegetables have dropped from the high price of RM15/kg (in Dec/Jan) to the current RM1-2/kg.
I was there two Saturdays ago at about 3:00PM, and this kangkong was sold at RM1/kg.
Last Saturday, this kiucai was selling for RM2/kg. Long bean was the most expensive at RM4/kg.
I am from a farming background. After pepper harvest, we plant lots of long bean and cucumber. During the peak, they were sold for 5 cents/kati, ie, 10 cents per kg. Still no one ever wanted to buy them! So, you would see mountain of them left to rot! A pity that we didn't know how to preserve. (That was in the '60's. A kilo of sugar cost RM0.25)
Just in case you don't know...

... this is peppper vine on belian pole. Inset is the pepper corn.

Baby cucumber with flower. By the way, cucumber flowers have distinct male and female. Male flower has no baby fruit.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How fast is fast?

So far, I have never written about my camera, a Nikon D3 with a AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens. But I think I just like to show two of my photos here taken at an event in Boulevard carpark Miri on 29 March 2009. While wandering to the stage area, I saw a martial art demostration. But I couldn't go near the stage as there were so many people. Anyway, standing some distance away, I decided to take some pictures.

Nikon D3 f/2.8 1/1250 sec ISO-1800 EV: -2.7 70MM no flash.

As this was my first time taking real action under some colourful spotlight, I have to experiment. Initial shots were blur because the shutter speed was too slow until I crank it up to 1/1250 sec. Only then I manage to "freeze" the action. Nikon D3 f/2.8 1/1250 sec ISO-1800 EV: -2.7 70MM no flash.

The two photos above were not retouched other than cropping and resizing. There is no noise/grain visible.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Forum for Sarawakians

New forums for Sarawakians has just been launched. They are all non-government:

Sarawakian general blog

Miri Social network/forum

New Miri Forum by Albert

Not so new social network/forum
.... Sibu (Chinese)

... Kuching (Chinese)

... Miri (English)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dao Sheng Drama Group

Sarawak SCAC has established a drama group for evangelism and outreach. They were at our church today to perform a small skit.
I would say that they did a very good job... with very good acting.
A group photo with our pastor.

Miri Blood Donor Night

Malaysian Red Crescent, Miri Chapter Blood Donors' Night, and Celebrating 20 years of 100% voluntary blood donation was officiated by our YB George Chan on 20 June 2009.
I was one of the 15 pints certificate recipients. Actually I have achieved 18 pints now! When I was small, I was warned by my mother never to give blood because it will make me sick! Actually, it is all untrue. I waited for too long to donate my first pint because I was scare that my mother will scold me. Anyway, I never let her knew about it! So, if you have not already started to donate blood, start now for such a good cause because you actually save life.
A cake to mark the occasion... 20 years of 100% voluntary blood donation. I wonder what happen before that?! I remembered that the recipient of blood had to find their own donor. Really is that even today, donating blood by some races is still a taboo. This is very sad when I read the true case of a brother who even refuse to undergo blood test for possible bone marrow transplant to his own brother!
Blowing the candles...
There were performances... this was an interesting one... Chinese cultural dance by or Malay friend! Good job!
Of course there was a 6-course dinner. It was disappointing. In fact, such dinner at Eastwood Golf Club had never been good. The portions were small and worse, expensive! Also, the dishes are always the same. My table had 6 people only and the food was hardly enough.
Cultural dances ...
Rose donated 28 pints in a year!
She is the youngest at 19 and has donated 2 pints! Good job and keep it up!
The highest number of pint donated went to John at 100 pints!