Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Model Shooting for 2009

I had my last model shooting for the year of 2009 on Dec 27, inside a studio. It was barely two days past Christmas, and we were still in holiday mood. We had the model – named Yen Yen – dressed in Santa outfit. Here are a few photos…

By the way, we actually had another model…

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Misadventure in Kuala Selangor

In my earlier post, I mentioned that I bought three photography books in December. I decided to put the techniques I learned from the books into practice. On Christmas Day, I set out to Kuala Selangor Nature Park.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake in not having insect repellent at my disposal. As soon as I walked into the park, I was attacked by armies of mosquitoes. I had to keep walking in order to get away from these irritating insects.

After walking for a few hundred meters, I reached a lake at the center of the park. There, vegetation was less dense. To my relief, I had respite from the mozzies. I was able to look around, and take some pictures.

This is the lake…

Kuala Selangor Nature Park is famous for its mangrove forest. I think these are mangrove trees…

A watch tower…

The bad news is: the Mangrove Walkway was closed for maintenance. The good news is, I saved an ounce of blood…

What are the fauna found in the park? I spotted some birds, monkeys, and butterflies. Somehow, I wasn’t able to capture their pictures.

Will I go to the park again? Probably, but not without insect repellent!

Saturday, December 26, 2009



香港回歸中國後,親北京的首長董建華提倡『母語教學』。但是到了2006年,現任特首曾蔭權的政府放寬政策,允許更多的學校采用英文為媒介語 。據南華早報說:許多中學都是在家長的要求下做出改變。其中元朗信義中學五十年來都是以中文教學,但是現在也將加入英文學校的行列。


P/S 大馬中文媒體有無報道這新聞呢?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some Photography Books

I bought three photography books in December alone. (Burning cash again ) All the books were bought in Kinokuniya Bookstore in KLCC. And all three were written by Taiwanese photographers – in Chinese of course.

Why Chinese books? Aren’t there plenty of books written in English?

Price is the major factor. (Now that’s the sad part.) All the three books I bought cost around RM50 each. A similar book written by a Western photographer easily doubles the price. As I strive to cut spending, my options are limited.

Anyway, all three books are well-written. And, as far as portraiture is concerned, I still prefer Asian style to Western one. Western photographers often draw their inspiration from Renaissance paintings. They may, for example, photograph a subject with half her face dark and the other half bright. Such portraiture tends to be very artistic. Another example is photographing a nude model – but only showing her backside. You can’t see her face. This is no pornography, but artistic nude! WTH, I studied science as a high school student. I haven’t learned to appreciate art.

By comparison, Asian style portraiture tends to be more casual, or pretend to be casual. (Don’t get it?) The kawaii poses, pioneered by the Japanese and copied by Taiwanese, are more pleasing than the Mona Lisa pose.

Hey, our London-based blogger and world-trotter Kikey Loo loves kawaii pose too

The three books I bought were:


(Exposure control & framing: Shoot with your own style)

Author: 若揚其


(How to strike a nice pose: Pictorial guide to posing for pretty girls)

Author: 黑麵


(Traveling with one camera and one lens)

Author: Stan Chang

Saturday, December 19, 2009


There is an American term called NIMBY – short for Not in My Backyard.

Take, for example, the proposed plan of California High Speed Rail (HSR). When completed, it would be the first bullet train service in the United States. In 2008, California voters voted in favor of the project. Facing oil price hike, freeway gridlock and global warming, they understood the benefits brought by HSR. However, when the residents of Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto learned that the train would shoot through their cities, they changed their mind. Now they are opposing the plan. Essentially what they are thinking is: I fully support high speed rail, so long as it is not built in my backyard!

Interestingly, Malaysia has its NIMBYists too. Malaysian government has proposed to extend the two LRT (light rail transit) lines in Klang Valley. Given the traffic jam in this region, the extension should come as good news to the commuters. Somehow, residents of Subang Alam and Putra Heights, where the extended LRT lines would cut through, are unhappy. Prem Kaur, the president of Putra Heights Residents Associated, was reported as saying, “When we moved in seven years ago, we were fully aware that there was no public transportation here. We enjoy the low density and the quietness.” (The Star, Dec 15, 2009)

I understand their concern with regard to their properties. But Klang Valley badly needs better public transport. Can we compromise?

Of course, I don’t expect the voice of the residents is strong enough to halt the project. After all, this is Malaysia, not USA. The most they would achieve is re-routing of the rail lines.

I hope NIMBYism won’t derail California HSR too.

California HSR struck by NIMBYism

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Boring Landscape Photos

In the last one year, I joined a number of ‘model photography’ class. I have posted many pictures of the beautiful models to my blog. Some of the female readers must be cursing me already. So I decided to try something else – landscape and cityscape.

I have, for example, photograph KLCC night view and a few deserted towns. I have also taken this picture in an oil palm plantation (the trees had been cut down)…

Somehow, my landscape / cityscape photos are never as exciting as my model photos. They are also no match to those taken by French/Canadian blogger Zhu. I think there are a few reasons which explain why my landscape and cityscape pictures are so dull.

First and foremost, I am inexperienced in this kind of photography. I am pretty busy and hardly travel to scenic places. By comparison, shooting pretty models can be done in half a day over the weekend.

Secondly, there aren’t many interesting places around here. Plus, there are no four seasons in this country, so I can’t photograph autumn foliage or winter snow. In essence, lack of interesting themes also explains why I seldom shoot landscape photos.

And finally, my gears could be a limiting factor. Landscape photos are often best taken with ultra-wide angle lens, which I do not yet own. The picture of oil palm plantation shown above was shot at 17mm. I wish I had shot it at 15mm – that would qualify as ultra-wide. Alas, 2mm makes a lot of difference.

I can’t afford an ultra wide angle lens for at least another year, as I am saving money to replace my 5-year old laptop and to buy a GPS device. For now, I think I will go back to shoot models.

Monday, December 14, 2009







Saturday, December 12, 2009

MOL Global buys Friendster

The purchase of Friendster by Malaysia-based MOL Global is a hot topic in this country.

MOL Global is controlled by Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan. Tan is a shrewd businessman who made headlines many years ago for winning a libel suit. His Berjaya Group conglomerate has interests in property, gaming, leisure and finance industries. However, not all of his ventures were successful. His pay TV business, MiTV, has failed to challenge the incumbent Astro.

As we know, Friendster is the granddaddy of social networking sites. In the last couple of year, however, it has been eclipsed by MySpace and Facebook. Can MOL Global revive Friendster?

Now, if all your friends are on Facebook, do you still bother to join Friendster? (Or, if you joined Friendster ages ago, do you still bother to log in?) Social networking sites are such services that ‘the more people using them, the more useful they become’. If Friendster were to ‘dethrone’ Facebook – to quote a phrase by Tekkaus – it can’t just imitate the latter. It has to be different.

According to report, 90 percent of Friendster’s traffic comes from Asia. One thing the social networking site can do is to offer location-specific services. Perhaps it can organize gatherings for its members. Perhaps it can do match-making.

On the other hand, Facebook’s strength may turn out to be its weakness. It’s too ‘general purpose’. Facebook’s early members were college students. Today even uncles and aunties have jumped on the bandwagon. It has lost its ‘exclusiveness’, and cool factor.

If you login to Facebook, you get all sorts of updates, requests and invitations. You’ll read, for example, that Tom has got a new friend whom you never know; Dick is tagged in a photo; and Jerry is playing an online game. Can we have a social networking site which really helps us to connect with our friends, without all the bells and whistles?

Friendster may be able to capitalize on Facebook’s weaknesses. In any case, it is an uphill struggle. Good luck, Tan Sri.


Tan Sri is a title.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Deserted Towns

In Malaysia, development tends to concentrate on three metropolitan areas – Klang Valley (which includes Kuala Lumpur), Penang and Johor Bahru. Elsewhere, youngsters migrate to these three metropolitans (and Singapore) in search of jobs, education and excitiement. The consequence is that many small towns are losing people and declining.

I recently drove along the national trunk road between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. I visited a number of ‘deserted towns’ which lied along the road. One of them was Trolak.

There were two rows of shops on the both sides of a small road. But most of the shops were closed…

I spotted an MCA branch, but wasn’t sure if it had been abandoned…

Another town I visited was Chenderiang. It wasn’t really deserted. Given its remote location, however, I am not optimistic of its future…

This is the town of Temoh. The shophouses are tenanted, but not opened for business. I saw another MCA branch here…

And finally this is Sungai Raya. The buildings here are the most run down among the towns I visited. The only shop which was still opened was a barber shop (bottom right). The traffic was actually quite busy here. Unfortunately, the vehicles just passed by…

Can these sleepy towns be saved? What do you think?

Monday, December 07, 2009



后来我到美国加州工作。在那儿,我生平中第一次因为自己的马来文差而感到惭愧。我的美国同事,以为马来西亚人必定精通本国的国语,但其实并非如此。当时我是以Malaysian,而非Chinese自居。对美国人而言,Chinese就是中国人。美国华人不是Chinese,而是Chinese American。理论上我可以告诉别人我是Chinese Malaysian,但不想囉哩啰嗦的解释。。。



当然,我们无需全盘使用马来文,但至少不应该把它当成外语来看待。除此以外,英文是大马没有法律地位的de facto lingua franca,也不能忽略它。

Friday, December 04, 2009

Random Shots

Made in by Malaysia???

Can they really assist to ‘provide’ student visa???

What you see…

…is NOT what you get. Subway’s heart-warming soup…

A traditional village house by the paddy field…

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Fad in Malaysia

Among Malaysian youths, I observe a trend – or maybe just a fad – in which they often write a word in mixed upper and lower cases. Here is a snapshot from Facebook:

As you can see, this Facebook member writes ‘reading’ as ‘ReAdInG’, and ‘online’ as ‘OnLiNE’.

Another example:

Whilte it ain’t wrong to write/type in this way, the fad suggests that many Malaysian youths are merely trend followers. I would like to see more young folks who can think for themselves, and be themselves.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Storm over Copycat Remarks

A Malaysian professor, Dr Khoo Kay Kim, recently said that Chinese schools in the country have produced copycats through its rote-learning methods. As one might expect, angry Chinese Malaysians who are defensive of their ‘mother tongue’ lambasted him. One blogger wrote, “Khoo is a banana man. He is not in the position to criticize Chinese schools.” (Apparently the blogger wrote in Chinese. I do the translation.)

Well, I was educated in Chinese schools. Am I in the position to say a word or two on Chinese education system?

It is a known fact Chinese schools produce students who can hardly think independently and creatively. The Chinese-educated people condemned Dr Khoo simply because they wanted to defend their much-loved mother tongue. (The claim that Mandarin is the mother tongue of all Chinese is dubious in the first place.)

I am currently doing MBA. Many of my classmates were Chinese-educated. I have found that, even at this level, quite a few of them like to ‘copy and paste’ when it comes to doing their assignments.

To be fair, it is not just Chinese schools which churn out copycats. Most schools in Asia do. Which is why Singaporean Kishore Mahbubani had written a book with the title Can Asians Think?.

I had a chance of working in California several years ago. I remember a guy told me, “Americans have the tradition of challenging the authorities.” Such spirit is lacking in Asia.

We should be courageous enough to acknowledge the shortcomings of our education systems, and take steps to rectify them. There is no need to be mad at Dr Khoo’s remarks simply because he doesn’t speak Mandarin.

Thursday, November 26, 2009








P/S 鉴于这帖子的主题太过敏感,我决定不用英文发表。

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Causes on Facebook II

In one of my posts written last January, I mentioned that there were many ‘causes’ which Facebook members could join. I doubted their impact, though.

Recently, I came across a funny ‘cause’ on that social networking site:

Foundation for the protection of Swedish underwear models

I have no idea what this foundation does. It has got more than half a million members. Money donated - $313! What a joke.

Rather than raising fund on Facebook, I would suggest that the foundation bring a few of these models to Malaysia to perform on stage. More money can be raised. (Closed event, of course. This is a Muslim-majority nation.) I believe Malaysian shutterbugs would also like to photograph these models in lingerie.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

3G – USA vs. Malaysia

AT&T and Verizon are the two major mobile operators in the United States. Verizon recently launched an advertisement ridiculing its rival’s poor 3G coverage.

(Click to enlarge)

Verizon claims that it has 5 times more 3G coverage as compared to AT&T. Given the vast size of America, Verizon’s network coverage is really impressive. But even AT&T is not too bad. While its 3G network may not have reached deserts, forests and national parks, at least most cities are served.

Now let’s see what Maxis, Malaysia’s mobile operator, has offered us:

Maxis 3G coverage as of Nov 20, 2009…

(Click to enlarge)

All I can say is: pathetic

Thursday, November 19, 2009




这起“姐弟恋生变,男子发狂开枪恐吓女友”事件,是于今日中午1230分,发生在安邦waterfront 3一间位于二楼的美法院。35岁的巫裔受害者是美发院女东主,相信此事件与感情纠纷有关。。。


英文星报The Star也报道了这起事件。这是摘要:

A 23-year-old jilted boyfriend held his beautician girlfriend at gunpoint to win her back in a two-hour hostage drama.

In the incident at Taman Kosas, Ampang, the man arrived at the hair salon, owned by the 35-year-old woman who ended their relationship several weeks back, at about 9.30am. He waited for her in his car for over an hour before storming into the salon, demanding to speak to her. When she refused, a shouting match broke out and a struggle ensued with the woman being assaulted by the former boyfriend who used to work as a caretaker at the salon…

(The Star, November 14, 2009)

星洲日报在文中的第一句子就指出嫌犯是马来人(巫裔),第二段又说明女受害者也同样是巫裔。The Star则完全没有提到两人的族裔。不过,1115The Star报道此事件发展时,在文中第三段提到女事主是新加坡人。

我比较能够接受The Star的报道方式。星洲日报有种族歧视之嫌。

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seat Pitch Comparison

In my post, Firefly vs. AirAsia, I wrote:

I hadn’t got a ruler with me, but my feeling is that Firefly’s planes have slightly larger legroom [as compared to AirAsia].

After doing some research over the Web, I finally got the figures for seat pitch of the two airlines. Seat pitch is defined as “the distance between two rows of seats”, or “the measurement from the same position on two seats, one behind the other.” While seat pitch is not the same as legroom, it’s a good alternative measure.

The seat pitch for AirAsia is 29 inches, and that for Firefly is 30 inches. That pretty much confirms my observation.

AirAsia X, the sister company of AirAsia, has slightly larger seat pitch at 31”. The seat pitch for economy class of Malaysia Airlines, according to the information I got online, is 34”. However, Malaysia Airlines’ fleet consists of many different planes, and it is not sure if all of them have the same seat pitch. If you think 34” is still too tight, you can opt for business class, which gives you 58” space.

Across the causeway, the seat pitches for Singapore Airlines (economy class), Jetstar Asia and Tiger Airways are 32”, 30” and 28.5” respectively. I can’t believe that Tiger Airways is even stingier than AirAsia!

Personally, I am comfortable with 30”. Nonetheless, for routes not covered by Firefly, I have to bear with AirAsia.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Twitter for Business

Chef Choi with his truck (source:

What can you do with Twitter, other than announcing to your followers what movies you watch and where you have your dinner?

American chef Roy Choi has found an ingenious use of the micro-blogging site. He sells Korean BBQ taco from his mobile kiosk – a truck. (Taco is originally a type of Mexican food, but Choi has added Korean touch to it.) He announces his whereabouts via Twitter alerts. (The End of California? Dream On!, Time Magazine, November 2, 2009 issue)

That’s a creative use of technology, isn’t it?

Friday, November 13, 2009







Tuesday, November 10, 2009

KLCC in the Evening

KLCC, the premier shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, and Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest building in the country, are two popular subjects of photographers. Every time I go to there, I see many shutterbugs.

Recently, I learned of a technique, from book, for taking ‘night view’ photos, and decided to put it into practice. Hence, I headed to KLCC. Here are a few of my photos…

At 6.50pm…

At 7.00pm…

At 7.06pm…

Strictly speaking, I am not very satisfied with these images. I had not brought along my tripod, and was handicapped by that. Perhaps I will have another try in the near future.

Photography Tips:

‘Night view’ photos are best taken when the sky is still bluish, preferably with twilight. Do not wait until it is completely dark. Timing is critical.

It is advisable to stabilize the camera using a tripod.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


我在英文帖子The Chinese Diaspora中指出:中國人一方面強烈愛國,另一方面又老是想移居海外。但他們的愛國心,可能會妨礙他們融入當地社會。



Thursday, November 05, 2009

Two Commercial Ads

In my post, Malaysia’s Broadband War, I mentioned P1’s ‘Cut Now’ advertisement. P1 also has ‘Cut Now’ TV commercials. Unfortunately, the commercials were met with strong objections from certain groups, who thought they were derogatory to women. In this conservative Muslim-majority society, the word ‘cut’ has another meaning – removing skin from a man’s private part.

‘Cut Now’ commercial (Cantonese version) on Youtube…

The controversy caused by P1 reminds me of Japanese commercial for Wacoal Up-Up bra. In this commercial, a man drops his document when he sees a pretty lady at the elevator. The lady lowered her body to pick up the paper. It’s at this moment that the guy sees her breasts, enhanced by the Up-Up bra.

18SX! Up-Up bra on Youtube…

I gather that this kind of ads will never make it to Malaysian TV. But let’s assume for a moment that it does, what would happen?

Religious groups would condemn it as obscene and polluting the minds of youths.

Women’s groups would criticize it as a form of gender discrimination.

What do you think of the two commercials? Are they distasteful or creative? Are we too conservative?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

An Encounter with a Thai Model

As a shutterbug, I like to photograph sunset and beautiful models. Recently, a photographer organized a model shooting event by a beach. The theme was ‘Sunset Bikini’. Since the theme involved two of my favorite subjects, I happily signed up. According to the organizer, the model was Kat. I thought, “Kat must be short for Katherine.”

The photography session was scheduled to start at 5.00pm, but the organizer and the model failed to turn up on time. I was a bit impatient, as we didn’t have much time left before it got dark. At 5.30pm the organizer finally arrived with the model. But there was another lady who appeared to be the model’s mother. I was intrigued.

It turned out that Kat was actually Katoy, and she was a Thai. She had just flown in from Bangkok. It is said that Thai girls are very attached to their families, so it was no surprised that Katoy asked her mother to come along. According to the organizer, Katoy was stuck at the immigration. Apparently the officers suspected that she was a sex worker! It wasn’t until she proved her return flight that the officers let her go.

Wasting no time, five shutterbugs – myself included – took pictures of this sexy model from the Land of Smile. Sadly, I didn’t quite manage to capture the sunset. Anyway, I got a few OK shots. Here are two:

More photos on my Flickr set.

Katoy’s homepage

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Malaysia’s Broadband War

Among Malaysian consumers, ADSL is the dominant technology used to access Internet. Streamyx is the leading ADSL service providers. In the past few years, however, wireless technology has emerged as the alternative means of Internet access. 3G and WiMAX providers are now challenging Streamyx.

P1, the leading WiMAX operator, recently launched an advertisement with the slogan ‘Potong Now’ (Cut Now). The ad tells us to cut the plain old telephony line (landline). Since most of us own mobile phones, landline is redundant, except in the case of prolonged power failure. And if we cut the landline, we essentially terminate the Streamyx service as well.

Here is the P1 ad. Click to enlarge…

Streamyx responded by launching its own marketing campaign. In its ad, a man is shown as having to surf the Net from a window. It implies that wireless technology is not good, and that we can’t use it indoor. (I doubt the claim, though.)

This is Streamyx’s ad. Click to enlarge…

P1’s ‘Cut Now’ slogan may backfire. In this Islamic state, the very word ‘cut’ has another meaning. It implies the circumcision ceremony performed on Muslim boys.

The broadband war has heated up in Malaysia. Competition is good for the consumers, isn’t it? (Well, except in the case of soccer TV broadcast.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Chinese Diaspora

Chinese are some of the most patriotic people in the world. They like to boast about their country’s 5000-year history. Chinese men like to tell us how beautiful their women are. Now, with the Middle Kingdom poised to become the next super power, Chinese have more reasons to be proud of their identity.

Just before the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 60th National Day with fireworks and military parade, a university conducted a survey to find out how Chinese felt about their nation. The results showed that a full 98% of the respondents were proud to be Chinese. 95% answered that even if given a free choice, they would still want to be Chinese.

They wanted to be overseas Chinese, that is. Deep down their heart, they yearned to go to the ‘Beautiful Country’ a.k.a. the United States of America. On Oct 19, 2009, a ship carrying about 70 Chinese who tried to enter America illegally capsized in the Caribbean Sea. Many of the passengers drowned.

When I traveled to Singapore last July, I noticed that majority of the ground officers in Changi’s Budget Terminals were Chinese mainlanders. So were many of the food stall operators. In fact, there were so many Chinese in the Lion City that it has been dubbed ‘Chinapore’ by its very own citizens. Recently, a Chinese girl with PR (permanent resident) status was blasted by Singaporeans after she declared that ‘Beijing is my real home’.

Funny as it may sound, Chinese still do all they can to emigrate, even though their much-loved country has the world’s most dynamic economy.

It is, of course, not wrong for the Chinese to migrate to a foreign country so long as they have proper documents. After all, skilled Chinese workers are in high demand in rich countries. Nonetheless, Chinese migrants should do their best to integrate into the host nations, rather than keep thinking of how great their motherland is.

All the workers of this food stall in Changi’s Budget Terminals are Chinese mainlanders…


The USA is rendered Mei Guo (美国) in Chinese. The first character means ‘beautiful’, and the second means ‘country’.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Flickr Statistics

I uploaded some of my photos to Flickr. The Flickr ‘photostream’ shows the thumbnails of the pictures. Each picture has a counter, which is incremented when someone clicks on the thumbnail.

Here is a picture of a pretty model. I uploaded it to Flickr on Oct 19, 2009. As of Oct 22, this picture had 10 ‘views’ – meaning that its thumbnail had been clicked 10 times.

This is a picture of Malacca which I took during the last Mid-Autumn Festival. I uploaded it on Oct 9. As of Oct 22, it had been viewed just once.

Below is a picture of another model. It was uploaded on Oct 4. As of Oct 22, it got 28 views.

And here is a picture I took from inside a plane. It was uploaded way back on Aug 31. It got only 4 views as of Oct 22.

What can the statistics tell us? Perhaps we can conclude that visitors to my Flickr page are more interested in the pictures of pretty women. What say you?

Link: My Flickr page

Friday, October 23, 2009


日前我到一家飯檔用餐,服務員用粵語問我說:『飲乜嘢?』(喝甚麼?)我回答道:『滾水。』(白開水) 數分鐘後,他拿了一杯涼水(涼茶)給我。




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

National Geographic Classic

One of the oldest books I own is the September 1932 issue of National Geographic Magazine. I got it from a bookstore which bought and sold used books in California.

The reason I purchased this magazine was because it carried an article on Shanghai. This article was written at a time when Britons, French and Americans still ruled part of the Chinese city. I have been fascinated by the “Old Shanghai” after watching some Hong Kong TV dramas, such as Chow Yun Fat’s The Bund (上海灘). You know, in Old Shanghai, a gangster could commit a crime in the International Settlement (jointly run by the Brits, Americans, Japanese and Chinese) and escaped into the French Settlement.

This same issue also has an article on Macao (Macau), yet another Chinese enclave ruled by a Western power, in this case the Portuguese. As you would expect, the magazine is loaded with tons of high quality photos.

If you are interested in this issue of National Geographic, I can let go mine at RM100