Sunday, December 30, 2012

What do you dislike most at Shell petrol station?

When arriving at a petrol station, one thing that annoy me most is ...
"Harap maaf pump angin sedang bidaiki", ie, air pump is not functioning.

At one time, instead of pumping air into my tyre, it almost releases all the air!

And in Miri, the Shell Shin Yang Station at Pujut seems to have a broken air pump which is never repaired. Their petrol pumps also seem to be set to dripping mode and it pumps so slowly. I have since stopped going to this station.

The other thing that annoyed me most is "Sorry, no more diesel". Looks like someone is siphoning diesel to somewhere! This is a global issue, ie, not limited to Shell station.

So, if you have a deflated tyre and you see a Shell Station, don't be too happy. Because most Shell stations have non functioning air pump in Miri!

How to Shoot Firework Photo

In view of the new year countdown, and the beautiful firework display, below is a guideline on how to shoot firework.

  1. Use a tripod
  2. Be on site early to secure a good spot
  3. You may use landscape or portrait format. The choice is really yours
  4. Exposure setting:
    For digital compact, use firework mode if there is one

    For DSLR: Use B mode if available. Shutter will remain open as long as the shutter release button remain pressed. A good way is to use a black card to cover the lens. When firework goes off, take off the card and put it back on as appropriate.

    Set Aperture between 8 to 16.
  5. Use the lowest ISO available
  6. Focus - use manual mode.

After a few practice, I hope you get good pictures. Otherwise, fine tune the setting.
eg, if too bright, set apperture to a higher value, etc.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Things you must do on this Monday!

I just wanted to remind all my readers in Malaysia, especially those who have children still studying and have to pay income tax. From next year, the tax relief for education saving fund for children has been increased to RM6000! So, if you are paying the max bracket, this means a saving of RM1600+!!! Run to Maybank on Monday and get it done! I think CIMB is also an agent. After that, pls remember to bring me out for yam char!

The scheme is called Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional (SSPN).
Amount deposited in SSPN by an individual for his children’s education is deductible up to a maximum of RM6,000. The allowable deduction is limited to the net amount deposited in that basis year only. So if both husband and wife are working and has opted for separate assessment and you have two children still studying, you are entitled to RM6K each!

If you are retired like me, don't forget to put money in EPF if you have no insurance, etc to claim for deduction. Max deduction is also RM6K each for separate assessment. Go to EPF to get the form and then go to the bank to put in $$.

Maximum deductible for complete medical examination is RM500. But this is combined with medical expenses on serious diseases also. Anyway, total for these two item is RM5K only. Otherwise, go for a complete checkup on Monday.

Reading my blog may actually save you money!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (冬至)

The Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival (Chinese: 冬至; pinyin: Dōngzhì; literally "the Extreme of Winter") is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around December 22 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. It occurs on Friday, December 21, 2012, ie, today!
Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get togethers (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese communities overseas) is the making and eating of tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinuous rice, which symbolize reunion. Tangyuan are made of glutinuous rice flour and sometimes brightly coloured. Each family member receives at least one large tangyuan in addition to several small ones. The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl. It is also often served with a mildly alcoholic unfiltered rice wine containing whole grains of glutinous rice (and often also Sweet Osmanthus flowers), called jiuniang.

Have you eaten your tangyuan today?
We were served with this tangyuan the other day at the Chinese Association Merit Award dinner.

Traditionally, we have been eating this tangyuan with roasted peanut/soy bean powder added with sugar. I will see whether I have the energy to go out and buy some later.

For more reading about this festival, click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where is God?

When tragedy struck, we always ask where is God? Is there a God? Why God allows the shooting to happen at the school in USA that killed 26 people? Watch this video... and ask yourself at the end of it.... have you been systematically removing God from your life, from your workplace, from the community. Have you been forbidding God to be part of your life? And when tragedy struck, why would you ask "where is God"? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another serious car accident at Taman Awan, Miri

More photos at my facebook.
16-Dec-2012 5:30PM: I was passing by Taman Awan on the way to Merdeka Mall and saw this accident involving a Proton Saga and a Brunei registered Lexus LS300. I think it took the ambulances at least half an hour to arrive on site.
Upon impact, the Proton was flung to the side of the road, over the road divider and turned 360 degree! I was told that the Proton was parked at the road side. It seems to supported such a theory because the hazard light was switched on and the handbrake was engaged.
The impact causes the boot of the Proton to literally "disappeared". The back seat touched the back of the front passenger seat. And...
... the Proton was compressed to half of it length!
Fortunately there was no passenger at the back seat!
The young lady driver was quite seriously injured as I saw blood from her mouth. I hope that her spine is ok. She seems to drift in and out of consciousness and wasn't moving.
A young child was flung out of the car and landed on the grass at the road divider.

The driver of the Bruneian car wasn't seem to be seriously injured. I saw just some scratches on his arms and appeared to be shaken.

A serious accident happened at the same spot. A lady driver ramp into one of the trees and died on the spot. I think that was last year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas in Miri

As usual, Christmas parade has become an annual affair in Miri. The year, it was held last Saturday.
 After the parade, was the usual open air concert.
Despite the slight rain the crowd was quite big.
The usual Christmas tree at the Miri City Fan.  Samling company constructed this huge tree and display again this year.
I didn't take many photos and I hope you like the above photos and the effect I use. They are straight from my camera!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

IBS Graduation and Awards Ceremony 2012

For more photos, please go to my facebook by clicking here.

Congratulations to all graduands.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Extra Tax Relief for 2012

In the current economic situation, we must ensure that we claim our income tax relief to the maximum. So, I listed here just a few for you to work on before 31 December 2012!

1. EPF contribution
2. Private Retirement Scheme - you may ask me.
3. Children education saving - find out from Maybank. They are agent.
4. Medical allowances
5. Medical equipment for disabled child/parents/spouse
6. Insurance for some

For full details, make sure that you download the income tax explanation booklet from IRB website.

For those high income group, probably only items 3, 4 and 5 are applicable to you.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Accident again at Pujut 4C/ Pujut 5 junction

Pujut 4C/Pujut 5 junction is a notorious accident spot. In think on average, there was one accident every month. My car was knocked twice at this spot also.
 So just now, 2PM, we saw a Proton Gen 2 and a brand new Viva knocked into each other.
This Viva is badly damaged.
I hope the local authority will quickly build a speed bump here so that people will slow down. Also, the road should be properly painted... perhaps with yellow strips.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

天下男人没有有个是好东西 (All men are bad?)

 因為吃到最後 就把心扔了,
想要看到男人的心 就需要一層一層去剝!
 剝到最後你才知道洋蔥是沒心的 !


My translation:

Women are like pears,
Outside, it is sweet but the core is sour.
Those eating pear would never knew that the core is sour,
Because the core is always thrown away,
So men never understood a woman's heart.
Men are like onions,
To see a man's heart, you need to peel layer by layer!
But in the process of peeling, much tears will be shed.
In the end, you only knew that onions has no heart!

God is love, He is the creator. Therefore man has heart and soul!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fajar International College 2012 Graduation

Fajar International College of Miri held it Graduation Ceremony of 2012 at Marriott Hotel today, 17 Nov 2012.

Altogether, we saw a total of more than 150 students graduating. Many of the students took a diploma course in Occupational Health and Safety. This course is the only one in Sarawak which is certified by DOSH.
Many students also graduated in Accounting/Business Administration course where employ-ability after graduation is highest.
Twining degree courses were also offered.
Congratulations to all students!
As one student put it, after today, it is the start of manhood!
More photos can be viewed at my photography page on my facebook.

(Typo error on the above photo. Correct one is on my fb)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Golden Dragon Fruit Flower

I bet there isn't a dragon fruit flower which is golden/pinkish in colour. But here it is... it wasn't photoshopped but ...
colour was modified during exposure time using a red reflector. Anyone can do it. The easiest is to cover your flash with a colour gel (film).
The original colour is snow white which I thought was too boring.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Miri Musical Parade

Miri Musical Parade on 11 Nov 2012 

Taman Awam Miri from 10 am to 6 pm

Jointly orgainsed by Kelab Musiz Galaxy Miri , Miri Council and RC Riam Zon 21

10:30 am launching Of Kelab Musiz Galaxy Miri By  Datuk Lee Kim Shin
3:30 pm event declared open by Mr Hii King Chiong

Free admission
Live band performances 

All music lovers, make sure you go there!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

SPM and STPM tomorrow

To all my readers, I wish you all the best in the SPM and STPM exam starting tomorrow.

On the positive side, especially those science students, I was made to understand that the passing marks for the science subjects could be as low as 20%! So, if you are doing last minute revision, make sure that you can do all the subjects/chapters you like most... perhaps choose a minimum of three chapters.

I had a glance at some mock exam papers and was stunted to find that some students actually scored a big ZERO in basic science. A simple question like "Name a natural preservative" drew a blank! What on earth are those students doing in class? I knew many students actually slept through classes or busy talking.

Reflecting back to 1973, I was panic stricken and study like crazy for the last 6 months as the future will be bad if I didn't do well. I already knew what I wanted to study/do. Imagine that while I was in Form 4, we have a successful photo studio/business. But nowadays, many students are still unsure.... perhaps too much computer games.

So, go to study if you are having to sit for exams. Luck could still be there even if it last minute preparation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eye of typhoon hit Boulevard area?

Boulevard, Miri, looks like a war zone this afternoon. Many roads were blocked ...
 ... due to falling trees.
 Cars were damaged as branches came crushing down.
 ... more casualties...
 Branches snapped like matches!
So these unlucky few who parked under the trees will have surprises... I was told by one of the owners that   the insurance will not pay as it is an act of God. So I asked a shocked man, do you believe in God? He was not sure!
The huge damage was the driving school at Boulevard. The steel structure literally ripped off. In fact not a single roofing material left.
The classroom was wrecked ...

  Nearby the driving school, you can see the strength of the wind... this huge branch was of no match!
 ... another top of the tree was literally pinched off it trunk and thrown some 20 meters away!
 Nearby, the religious school has two gaping holes on the roof. The fire engine was on site just now.
 Surprisingly, or rather thanks God for it, the squatter areas was not too bad.
This huge branch was ripped off it trunk.
We have not seen such huge wind in Miri before.
More photos on my facebook.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This cat has perfect heterochromia

This is the first time in my life to see a cat with different eye colour, one blue and one brown!
 I just wonder how is the vision like...
According to my son Jonathan, this is a condition called heterochromia iridum. Read up more about it here.

Update: After I publish this blog, the cat has mysteriously disappeared from my friend's shop in town. Could someone had stolen it or whatever, no one knows.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

5Cs no more!

The traditional 5Cs that define wealth in Singapore are no longer that relevant today, according to a survey on what people in the city-state strive for in life.

Singaporeans prefer to pursue intangible goals in life such as having a happy family (70 per cent), travelling around the world (52 per cent), and be healthy at a ripe old age (53 per cent).

The traditional Cs — cash, car, credit card, condo and country club membership — that people hoped to achieve in the past are now overshadowed by another set of new Cs made up of non- material possessions.

The new Cs are Control, Confidence, Community, Can and Career.

Some commented that this kind of mentality will cause death  or serious injury or just drop dead all because they have goal!

But on the other hand, without goal, where is the motivation in life?

I would say, the new Cs are quite good but whatever, don't overdo or they really kill!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is there heaven?

Life after death experience by an American neurosurgeon. Read more here and here ...  

Thursday, October 04, 2012

What are they actually selling??

I looked at the label and saw "Thai Style Rice" and without looking at the ingredients, I thought this is Thai Style vermicelli, ie, rice noodle.
They look like reasonably good. So I bought two packs home!
I cooked it two days ago and found that it is tougher than I thought. It is definitely not made from rice. At one point, I thought it is the green pea noodle (东份). It is chewy. So I decided to check the ingredient...
... it is actually made in China and made from corn starch. Not rice at all! How upsetting.
Although honest (I hope) on the label, it includes Sodium polyacrylate which is a super absorbent polymers (sometimes taken to refer to plastic).  Next is Sodium dihydrogen phosphate, which is supposed to be used as laxative.
The last item is Xanthan Gum which seems to be a very interesting. It is widely used as food additive.
Now, I am unsure ....
... can this thing be eaten?! No wonder it has such a foul chemical smell when I opened it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Inflation or profiteering?

Malaysia is reporting low inflation rate all these years. But is this really true? We all know that we are getting less and less for the money we spend! The mee (noodle) on the plate is getting less and the drink is getting more expensive. So in reality what has been happening? Let's see....
 This cracker was 410g until last week. Now the cracker is only 385gm but selling at the same price. So, this is a reduction of 6%. Look at LUX soap ...
It use to be 100gm per cake of soap! Ok, that was quite sometime ago, perhaps not that long ago since I still have them! The price used to be RM2+ for three.
Then, it went down by 10gm to 90gm. And at the same time, price gone up.
Now, if you go to the market, this same soap is now only 85g. The price today is RM3.30 for three. We bought some last week at a discount! Ok, now the sugar subsidy is 20 cent less. The minister said that traders and businessmen must not have exorbitant price increase of food! This is interesting ... he used exorbitant, ie, the price can still go up a little! However, have a look...
Drink in the coffee shops used to be using the bigger cup on the left, ie, 300ml. Now, everyone changed to the one on the right, ie, 250ml. So, a reduction of 16%. I know that prices of drink is now RM1.80 to RM2.50 from around RM0.80/1.20. In another word, the prices have more than double over that last 5 years.
Look at this franchise drink from Taiwan which is coming to Miri. It comes in a hefty 700ml cup! 700ml is almost equivalent to 3 cups from the coffee shop. No wonder youngsters love them. This also means that it is not as expensive as we all thought!
Ok, this is Miri. How about other town in Malaysia?

Try this drink - 5 greens for health

I have been so busy lately that time flies without me realising it! Whatever, taking care of oneself is important. The saying goes "anything tasted good is not good for your body". I am not going to debate on this. But this drink (so called five (5) greens) I made for myself is definitely not going to taste good. Jonathan, my eldest son, described this as "a heavenly drink"! You know what he means!

 I will not attempt to describe the taste and you will figure it out for yourself...
I put green pepper, cucumber, bitter gourd, green apple and celery into my high speed blender and out it comes, a drink like above. This is the famous "five greens" health drink. It is supposed to lower your cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The trick to drink this juice is to blend it and without thinking, swallow everything down in one go! An ex-colleague told me that this drink help to put the cholesterol back in order! So, have you tried this and how was your result?

Half Green pepper
Half cucumber (3-4 inches)
Quarter bitter gourd (2 inches)
2 stalks of celery
One medium green apple
100-200ml water

Above should make about 500ml. If you cannot finish everything in one go, you can always share it with someone or use it twice.

Go and check your cholesterol and BP now and then drink this "heavenly drink" for a month. Check the results of your cholesterol and BP again.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What is in the food you are eating?

More than a month ago, I left quarter can of evaporated milk in the kitchen. I opened the top and left it there thinking that mold will grow and ant will come to make a feast out of it. But I was surprised that after a few days, nothing came to have free meal. I continue to leave it there and finally, after more than a month, some black mold formed.  I decided to scrape the brown solid which has now formed.
 So what did the manufacturer added into the evaporated milk to make it so poisonous to mold and other insect? Looking at the label reviews literally nothing!
For the benefit of those who don't understand bahan-bahan (ingredients), google translated it for me: milk solids, refined palm oil, contain stabilizers and permitted food emulsifiers, vitamins A and D3

There is no mention of preservative, etc. Am I right to assume that there are a lot more to the list?

Just in case you are not aware, this "milk" is a vital ingredient in a lot of food - ice kacang, cake, drink, etc. So better eat less! The above is from a very famous brand with two red letters only.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mangoes and mangoes

In Miri, many households have mangoes. For some reason, mangoes grow very well in the soil here. This year, we have quite a few mangoes, although I wish I could have more.
 Due to the size of the tree, we normally wait for the mangoes to drop. Also, there are so many leaves that we can't even see where are the mangoes. So, if we let the mangoes drop from the tree, ...
 ... the fruits are always badly bruised. With fruits like this, we don't even dare to give them away! Anyway, how do you cut mangoes and gui nin (local mango)? You notice that I cut it along the seed...
 ... and then use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh, No mess and clean. Literally untouched by hand...
 ... and the cut is clean. But remember to use a spoon that is rather flat and thin. Ok, the ugly part of this mango business is the pests! Birds and rats loves them. I would say that they ate to their fill and the remainder is left for the human....
 ... this is common sight. A real pity! Whatever, God always provide enough. This year will be a bumper crop...
... Literally hundreds of them drop off and there are a lot more on the tree. Forgot to mention that the tree has lots of fire ant and therefore it is not practical for me to climb the tree. Beside, it is also dangerous to climb this tree.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hasselblad releases H5D!

Hasselblad is to update its full line up of H System medium format camera and lenses, promising better focus features and 'the largest, brightest viewfinder image on the market.' The H5D series is expected to start shipping by December, and will include 40, 50 and 60 megapixel models, as well as 50 and 200 megapixel multi-shot versions. The latest cameras feature an updated user interface and revised image processors for improved JPEG output. The Swedish company will also introduce a 24mm F4.8 lens, equivalent to a 17mm lens on a 135 format DSLR.

The camera is billed by the Sweden-based company as 'the latest step in the evolution of the best high-end camera system in the world'.
ok, this camera is aimed at high end professional users.