Monday, December 29, 2008
I was backpacking in
But wait a minute. My story would not be incomplete without photos. What could I do? I could, of course, upload my photos from the camera. However, at 2 or 3 megabytes each, it would take a while to upload them to the Web. You know, the Internet café charged us by the minute.
I would prefer to resize the images in the camera before uploading them to the Web. I would also like to adjust the exposure.
Now, there are some cameras in the market which have image editing features, but I am not sure if they can also resize the images. My camera certainly can do neither of them. Canon probably thinks that most of us would edit and resize images in PC, and doesn’t bother to include such functions in the camera.
But for a photographer cum blogger on the go, such features can useful.
Friday, December 26, 2008
香港作家陶杰，指出说这个前英国属地有『教育种族隔离政策』- Educational Apartheid。在一边是传统的，重视考试的本地中学，在另一边是国际学校。在马来西亚，我所看到的却是服装种族隔离政策。
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I have learned this much – Buddhists wake up early.
At the Bhavana Society, a large metal gong reverberates through the woods at five A.M., and should you somehow manage to snooze through that, the neighborhood dogs immediately explode into a barking frenzy.
I stumble down the hill in the morning darkness to the meditation hall, where we sit on our cushions from five-thirty to six-thirty.
I think I live an unusual lifestyle.
In the city I live, it is typical for the folks to sleep at 2am on weekend, and wake up at 12 noon the following day. I typically go to bed before 12 midnight, and wake up at 7am.
Weather is one reason which explains my lifestyle.
Perhaps, being a Buddhist is another reason I wake up early.
Furthermore, I am a photographer. Experienced photographers know that there are ‘magic hours’ for taking photos. These usually refer to early morning and late afternoon, when the sunlight is not that harsh. Apparently, if I want to shoot pictures at 7.30am, I have to wake up by 7am.
I may be different, but I don’t regret that…
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I thought public phone was something of the past. I was wrong…
Chances are, the nearest public phone was out of order, so I had to go to the next one. But the next one was also not working, and I had to search harder. Finally, I found a good one, but there were already 5 or 6 people lining up. The inconsiderate young guy was chatting with his lover over the phone. He talked for more than 10 minutes. Everyone behind him was impatient and agitated. I started to curse him, “This bloody hell f*****… I wanna kill him!”
When mobile phone eventually became a household product, public phone booths went into oblivion. Why bother to use a public phone, when we can call from home, Starbucks, even inside a cinema?
To my surprise, I saw some new public phone booths popping up recently. Who are using them, when even low-waged migrant workers from
Foreign tourists may still need public phone, as roaming charges for mobile phone remain high. However, the public phone booths I saw weren’t located in tourist areas.
I am still not convinced that public phone is a viable business…
Friday, December 19, 2008
Recently, I stumbled upon a blog whose owner, Lisa, is an MBA student. I am doing MBA too. After reading the blog, I feel like sharing my own experience and views too...
Quite a few of my classmates are fresh graduates with little or no working experience. They are often very concerned with examination and grade. As a part-time student who has worked for a number of years, I know very well that CGPA is only important for one’s first job.
You may ask, “Why, then, do you study MBA?” Well, there are a couple of reasons…
First and foremost, in an MBA class, one can sharpen his or her writing, presentation skills, analytical skills and creativity. These qualities are more important than CGPA itself. Surprisingly, even at this level, you still need to memorize a lot of stuff before entering the exam hall. Part-timers usually have less time to study, so they probably won’t score A’s, but there are definitely other things worth learning.
Secondly, we don’t just learn from the lecturers, or from books. We also learn from our classmates. A few of my classmates are my role models:
One of them is Mr Yap. He was the oldest student in the class, and a successful businessman.
Another one is Dr Tay, the best public speaker among us. You can hardly imagine his background is in Medicine.
The third one, Hellen, is one of the most high-powered women I personally know. I see myself as a thinker, i.e. think but no action. Hellen is a “doer”.
Last but not least, MBA provides a platform for networking. Your classmates may provide you with unofficial consultation. They may even be your future business partners. On the lighter side, they may be your companion in the golf club or karaoke lounge.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
When taking this picture, I turned of auto-focus, and instead focused manually. Ouch! That’s tough.
Parrot greeting the visitors…
Birds of paradise, male and female…
In the world of birds, males are often more beautiful than females. Examples are peacock, bird of paradise and mandarin duck. Similarly, male lion looks greater than lioness.
But, of course, among Homo sapiens, women are more attractive…
Monday, December 15, 2008
The study found that:
Knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy yourself. A happy friend of a friend increases your odds of happiness by 9.8%, and even your neighbor's sister's friend can give you a 5.6% boost.
(Read the story here.)
Wondering if we really need such a study? Don’t we already know that happiness is contagious? Well, maybe some are still not convinced yet.
Confucianism tells us that we should:
Be worried before the whole world is worried.
Be happy (only) after the whole world is happy.
No wonder Chinese and Koreans are so somber and serious…
Sunday, December 14, 2008
He is said to have visited KL Bird Park. I went there to take photos the following day. Missed it! Sigh…
When I read that
The joke says that
Friday, December 12, 2008
台湾版旅游书籍介绍的酒店，多半属四、五星级。但我是贫穷的背包族，只能住没有冷气设施的客栈。（这应该比较环保吧。）另外，台湾旅游书籍很多都 会大谈 Spa。像我手上这本《峇里岛玩全指南》，就用了十页介绍岛上的 Spa 服务。台湾妇女似乎无 Spa 不欢。
台湾的旅游书籍，我买来『看爽』。真正出国旅游时，还是得依赖 Lonely Planet 或其他类似的书。。。
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In 1998, Apple changed our perception of computer when it rolled out the transparent iMac G3…
Recently, Asus launched the F6 series notebook computers with 4 different designs…
Now, to make a functional computer requires analytical skills, which is a function our left brain. To design a visually-appealing computer, on the other hand, requires creativity, which is a function of our right brain.
When I was a secondary student, I studied Science. In the university, I studied Engineering. I had been trained to think in a logical manner. In future, I foresee that the job market will need more people who can think creatively. If you have children in schooling age, do make sure to train them in both aspects.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Actually, in the United States, it is common for a customer in McDonald’s to return the tray after the meal. Malaysians, somehow, do not generally have the DIY spirit. Most just leave the trash and trays to the restaurant staff. However, majority of Malaysians eat vegetarian food for religious reasons. The self-service vegetarian restaurants are probably banking on the ‘Buddha factor’, as understood from the Chinese saying:
Even if we don’t give face to the monks, we should give face to the Buddha.
The price? In the restaurant located near my workplace, a simple meal costs just RM2, and Chinese tea is provided for free. That is really cheap…
Saturday, December 06, 2008
大学生报读中文系，会不会变得老气横秋呢？我有一个朋友，就是中文系出身。记得有一回，公司派我去瑞典受训，乘搭北欧 SAS 航空的班机。SAS 的空姐，不，空婆，都是四、五十岁的安娣，身材都已经有点走样。回国后，我对中文系朋友提起这件事，他很欣慰地说：『幸好如此。你不会为美女分心…』
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Note that they are called “Chinese American restaurants”, not “Chinese restaurants”. This is because they serve Chinese American food, which is slightly different from what we have here in
Some of the most common Chinese American dishes are:
beef and broccoli
kong poh chicken
General Zuo’s chicken (左宗棠鸡)
egg foo yong
Beef and broccoli is served in nearly every Chinese American restaurant, and it clearly shows the American influence – Americans are heavy beef eaters, and broccoli is the most popular vegetable in the States.
Of course, no meal in Chinese American restaurant is complete without the ubiquitous fortune cookies.
Did I miss anything? Yes, I couldn’t find any Chinese American restaurant which served fried fish or steamed fish.
Now, I know many people will complain that Chinese American food is not authentic. But who cares? After all, Chinese Malaysians have also invented Malayan Scenery (马来风光), Hainanese chicken rice and bak kut teh (肉骨茶).
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
On October 1, 2005, three suicide bombers blew themselves up in
Security was tight in Kuta. The guards in McDonalds’ checked my backpack before letting me go in. I avoided restaurants and bars with lots of Westerners, since they were potential targets of terrorists.
I was happy that I didn’t cancel my trip. The terrorists’ objective to kill the innocent people was to stoke fear among the public. When we continued to travel to
You have failed!
R.aja's Bar & Restaurant was blown up by the suicide bomber in 2005
Sunday, November 30, 2008
美国国家地理摄影师 Michael Yamashita 是日裔美国人。他在美国长大，但是却会说日语。大学毕业后他“回到日本”。无独有偶，他也发现自己“不能够是日本人”。
二十世纪初，日本人口爆炸，许多人移民巴西。八十年代，日出之国劳工短缺，但是恐外 (xenophobic) 的日本人不愿意放松移民政策。最后，东京政府想出了个两全其美的办法：引入日裔巴西人。殊不知，第三代日裔巴西人已经融入巴西主流社会，他们讲葡萄牙语，听的是桑巴 (Samba) 音乐。由于文化上的差异，日裔巴西人和本土日本人有许多冲突。
Friday, November 28, 2008
Of course, this is by no means that Muslims are not allowed to own non-Syariah-approved shares. They are just discouraged to do so. As a non-Muslim, I do not refer to the list when I invest in the stock market.
(By the way, “share” is the British English term. The American equivalent is “stock”.)
I am not clear of how the Islamic institutions select the Syariah-approved shares. I do know that conventional banking in which lenders earn interest is considered haram (illegal). It is, therefore, not surprising that virtually all banking shares are not Syariah-approved.
Two airlines companies are listed in the stock exchange – Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia. The latter is Syariah-approved while the former is not. MAS serves alcoholic drinks to the passengers, and alcohol is prohibited among Muslims. Perhaps this is the factor which contributes to its failure to earn approval. AirAsia is no-frills airlines.
But seriously, I believe that AirAsia does not deserve the status. The reason : its female cabin crews wear short skirts!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The proud peacock…
In KL Bird Park, “black nets” are hung over walking paths to shield the visitors from tropical searing sun. That’s a good idea, right?
Monday, November 24, 2008
CEO of the Detroit Big Three (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler), together with the president of the United Auto Workers, flew to
In my MBA study, one of the subjects is Business and Professional Ethics. Now, I wonder if
- The CEO of the three auto companies and the Union chief were flown to
in separate, corporate planes. Washington
- Ford alone maintains 8 corporate jets.
- Workers of GM, Ford and Chrysler make more than $70 per hour in combined wages and benefits, vs. around $40 for their counterparts in rival
Toyota’s plants in . America
- When Congress members asked the CEO of the companies to limit their own salaries to $1 million a year, only one (Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli) agreed. GM’s Wagoner and Ford’s Mulally sidestepped the question.
Elsewhere, I learn that GM CEO received $15.7 million in compensation last year. [Source] As a comparison, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs and Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt are paid $1 a year respectively (excluding dividends and other benefits), and you know both companies are doing well.
President-elect Obama has agreed in principle to assist
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Chinese Malaysians re-evaluate
Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the
Many Chinese Malaysians are fiercely pro-China. The Middle Kingdom rose rapidly since the days of Deng Xiaoping, and is now challenging the
However, Chinese Malaysians, like African Americans, are minorities in their own country. They have also been treated unfairly in the society. After Obama was elected the President, leaders of Chinese Malaysians criticize the government for discrimination, and urge all citizens to learn from the Americans. American presidential election has given us hope.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
At just RM300, or less than US$90, Canon EF 50mm f1.8 produces surprisingly good image quality. I shot the pictures of Evon and Sara exclusively with this lens. Some
It is, of course, not without flaws. First, focus is hit-or-miss. Second, bokeh can be better. But at this price, what can I complain???
Here is a picture taken with this lens…
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
MINES RESORT 3sty b’glow l/a 24k b/u 10ksf modern design, golf view…
But wait a minute. What, actually, is a bungalow?
Oxford Dictionary defines ‘bungalow’ as:
Small house only one storey; (in
) such a house surrounded by a large verandah. India
www.dictionary.com gives several definitions:
- A cottage of one story.
) a one-storied thatched or tiled house, usually surrounded by a veranda. India
Much has been said about Malaysian English, or Manglish. We often ignore tenses and add particles of local languages such as lah, mah, lor. We may, for example, say:
I go to Malacca yesterday mah…
Such a sentence, while grammatically incorrect, is still able to convey the message. But the inappropriate use of ‘bungalow’ in this country is outright confusing. Even big property developers make this mistake in their advertisements. (Well, maybe they purposely do so.)
Can our Education Ministry please educate the people?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
2008年11月4日，美国举行总统选举。在这之前，活泼女郎 Kikey Loo 在她的部落格搞了个模拟总统选举，成绩令我大跌眼镜。
The new idol of Chinese Malaysians
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Several months ago, I bought a reusable shopping bag from a grocery store as a replacement for plastic shopping bag. I wanted to do my part for saving the earth.
Apparently, they were concerned that I would be stealing from the store…
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I was shocked when I read that
Even so, the Japanese car maker could not escape the economic downturn. It reported an operating loss of 34.6 billion yen in
When the mighty
Las Vegas Sands, which is building a casino in
In the last few years, the government wanted to woo wealthy foreigners to migrate to the Lion City. To this end, it has built many luxury homes, such as those in Sentosa Cove. Lee Hsieng Loong’s administration is naïve to think that if they build the houses, foreigners will come. It has failed to realize that, in the 21st century,
Now, with the world economy heading towards recession, the casino by Las Vegas Sands is in jeopardy. I am not optimistic with the market for luxury homes too.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Ages ago, I ordered the food at the counter. This time, however, I was told to be seated, and a waitress took my order. After a while I was served a glass of coke. The food was only delivered after 15 minutes. Since I ordered Mediterranean Rice, I wished that they would supply me with a spoon (but they didn’t).
I think it will be another two of three years before I will dine in Nando’s again…
(Picture taken with Sony Ericsson K850i)
Nando’s should consider transforming its operation into the self-service type, and do away with the service charge. The outlet I visited was located in a commercial cum industrial area, and opposite my university. On weekdays, workers and students just want to have a quick lunch there. Service is not in their mind. Furthermore, I suspect many Malaysians see it as a competitor to KFC, rather than Delifrance.
Or, if that is not possible, then perhaps diners order and pay at the counter, and take away their drinks. Waiters/waitresses deliver the food later. In this case, lower the service charge to 5%.
And, of course, don't serve diluted soda.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Since I woke up very early that morning, I was rather tired. After peeking at the beautiful stewardesses for 30 minutes, I decided to take a nap. “Malaysia Airlines’ seats have larger legroom,” I thought. “Air
Just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard the guy who sat next to me yelling at his mobile phone, “DARLING! I AM COMING HOME! I WILL REACH KL AIRPORT AT 5PM. I HAVE BOUGHT SOME NICE DRESSES FOR YOU. EVERYTHING IS F****** EXPENSIVE IN JAPAN…”
Welcome onboard Malaysia Airlines. The airlines long noted for its superior service just gets better everyday. It has teamed up with AeroMobile to offer in-flight mobile phone service. You can now call home with you mobile phone from 30,000 feet above sea level!
But I am not sure if I would like the service. I find it disturbing that someone shouts into his or her mobile phone inside the cabin. I think I will try JAL or ANA in my next trip…
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
在美国，mother tongue 是一个不太常用的字，取而代之的是 first language。First language 可以解释为一个人最精通的语言。大多数美国人的第一语言是英语，主要的例外是讲西班牙话的拉丁美洲裔人。
土生土长的华裔美国人，也就是所谓的 ABC，也在英文学校上课。我没听说过花旗国有中文学校，不过，南加州的西来寺有周末中文班。许多台湾移民都把他们的子女送去西来寺学中文。我在美国期间，接触的华人都是移民，不清楚 ABC 最精通那一种语言。
母语是一个过时的概念。与其争论我们的母语是什么，还是多学几个 second language 吧。
Monday, November 03, 2008
Product photographs are, of course, not as exciting as the pictures of Balinese volcanoes or portraits of beautiful women. (The only exemption is food photography.) Nonetheless, they are a breakthrough for me. Product photography also tests my creativity. Not having professional tools, how can I set up my makeshift ‘studio’?
Here is the picture of Raya cookies which I took during the Muslim festival of Aidilfitri (Eid)…
And this is how I took the picture: I used the white board to reflect sunlight and lighten shadow. The board itself was held in place with four bottles of ‘essence of chicken’.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Oon Yeoh is a columnist for Malaysian newspaper The Star. In his article dated October 16, 2008, he quoted the words of Nicholas Carr, a critic of user-generated contents (UGC):
“Forced to choose between reading blogs and subscribing to, say the New York Times, the Financial Times, the
I couldn’t help but laughed when I read the quotes. To say that bloggers are amateurs is like saying that secondary students are amateurs. Do we tell them (the students) not to write???
A very small numbers of bloggers, amateur photographers and amateur videographers who post their works to the Web eventually ‘graduate’ to become professionals. The Web serves as their training ground, much like what the school does.
For the rest of us, the Web gives us a space to express ourselves, or share our photos and video clips. Despite the hype, vast majority of the bloggers have no intention of challenging the mainstream media.
In a sense, UGC helps to instill the spirit of freedom of speech. I have been criticized by a few other bloggers, but I don’t censor their comments. My guiding principle is “we agree to disagree”.
By the way, if you think mainstream media is free from user-generated contents, you are wrong. Are you not aware that many newspapers and magazines have “Letters to Editor” columns?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Nothing so special here. Now we wait for Kikey Loo to report from the United States.
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