Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My First Flight with Firefly

I have my experience with a propeller-driven plane on July 25, 2009, when I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore on Firefly.

Firefly, the “community airline”, is based at Subang Airport. Here is a view of the departure hall in this small airport…

It was 6.30am. Most of the shops were still closed. Starbucks was the only food outlet opened then. But what the heck, budget airlines and Starbucks don’t click!

Given that Subang was the main airport for KL before the new one at Sepang opened, I was pretty disappointed by it. Since passengers were not allowed to bring water on board, I searched for ‘water cooler machines’, but couldn’t locate one.

Here you go, Firefly’s ATR 72-500 propeller-driven aircraft…

Inside the cabin… There were 4 seats per row. The lady at the bottom right corner only put on mask when she arrived at Singapore’s Changi Airport, which was quite pointless. I had my mask on throughout the journey…

Firefly suffered from the same delay problem as AirAsia, the other Malaysia-based budget airline. My flight was scheduled to take off at 7.50am, but boarding did not start until 7.45am. Fortunately, the boarding process was completed in just 10 minutes, and by 8 o’clock, the plane started to taxi.

The stewardess demonstrating the use of life jacket…

Firefly even served light refreshment free of charge!

The propeller…

Finally, at about 9.15am, we touched down at Changi Airport’s Budget Terminal.

Coming up soon: Firefly vs. AirAsia. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 27, 2009




更糟糕的是:大马华人社会受到港台流行文化的冲击。我那个年代的人爱看美国电视剧,及唱Michael JacksonBlack or White。现在的华裔学生爱看港台剧,并却很少听英文歌。连Disney都已经有中文台了,ESPN也有普通话评述。相比之下,城市地区马来人学英文的环境可能会更好。过去,西马的学生以印裔的英文能力最强,华裔学生次之,马来裔学生最弱。十年后看看情况如何吧。



Friday, July 24, 2009

Playing with Canon Picture Styles

Many digital photographers edit their photos on computer. One of the most popular photo-editing software is Photoshop. Photoshop is very powerful but also very difficult to master. In the last one and a half year, I have often resorted to a simpler way – by applying Picture Styles specifically for Canon cameras. (Nikon has something equivalent called Picture Control.)

Picture Styles supplied by Canon include Standard, Landscape, Portrait and Faithful, among others. Each of them alters an image in certain way with a single click. Many Canon users have also created their own Picture Styles.

I recently requested a Picture Style created by Taiwanese photographer Kevin Wang, who names it 和風, or Yawato Style. (Yawato refers to the Japanese.) I am now experimenting with it…

This is a picture taken last year. The lovely model is Maria, an Indonesian girl who studied in Malaysia. It was shot with Standard Picture Style…

Standard Picture Style

Now, I apply Portrait Picture Style. As you can see, the subject’s complexion has changed and become more radiant…

Portrait Picture Style

Next, I apply Kevin Wang’s Picture Style. Saturation is lowered, but the picture doesn’t look dull…

Kevin Wang's Picture Style

Which one, do you think, is the best?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Twitter for Schools

Twitter is one of the hottest website of late, but I have yet to join it. I had been thinking what good is joining the micro-blogging site if one is not a celebrity or a fan. Now, I can think of one usage of Twitter for ordinary folks.

Malaysia, like many other countries, has been hit by Influenza A (H1N1). A number of schools have been closed down to prevent the spread of the dreaded flu. Somehow, the schools were not able to inform each and every student or his/her parents about the closure. Some students still turned up at schools, only to find out that the gates were locked.

Perhaps the schools should be on Twitter. The parents should ‘follow’ schools attended by their children. This way, announcements made by the schools can be quickly disseminated. Of course, the parents have to be more tech-savvy…

Friday, July 17, 2009

Smile to the Customers

Japanese firms are famous for their excellent customer service. BBC reported that a rail firm in Japan has introduced a system to check that its staffs are smiling enough at all times.

Computerized scanners around 15 Tokyo stations will measure the smile curvature to ensure that it is wide enough. Those who fail the measure will be advised to look less serious and more cheerful. (Read the story here.)

I am afraid this kind of monitoring system will create a ‘Big Brother’ atmosphere, whereby the employees feel stressed.

Perhaps a better way to ensure that the staffs smile is to make them happy. How about listening to jokes before attending to customers? Relaxation exercise may help too…

A smiling stewardess

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chin Swee Temple

Genting Highlands is a famous hill resort in Malaysia. It also has the only casino in this country. I made a day trip to Genting recently, not to gamble but to take pictures. One of my stops was Chin Swee Temple (清水寺).

This is the main shrine hall of the temple, which houses the deity of Chin Swee. The deity is said to be able to grant you wishes…

There is a pond next to the shrine, where one finds lots of tortoises. Tortoise is the symbol of longevity among Chinese…


Chin Swee Temple has been expanded. Here is a newer shrine hall and a pagoda…

There is a statue of Buddha too…

And finally, this is the statue of Lim Goh Tong (林梧桐), the late founder of Genting and a visionary entrepreneur. Is he being deified too?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Life with Mask

The cases of Influenza A (H1N1) are on the rise in Malaysia. Recently, when I went to the city by train (LRT), I decided to put on a surgical mask.

I did so for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to protect myself. Secondly, I wanted to tell others, “No, it is not weird to wear a mask.”

Not surprisingly, I was the only passenger with a mask in the train. Malaysians are always complacent. We tend to think that bad things don’t fall on us.

I have to admit that it is no fun wearing a surgical mask. I could barely breathe! Soon after I reached destination, I took it off. Somehow, eventually we may be forced to live with masks. Until the vaccination is out, I doubt we can contain the spread of this highly contagious flu.

Are you ready?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Random Shots

(1) Interesting Logo

I came across this interesting logo of a restaurant. Note that the “face” is actually a bowl. A good logo is good for marketing purposes.

I haven’t tried the food served here, though…

(2) Inconsiderate Malaysian Driver

This fellow is taking up 3 parking bays...

(3) Door for Suicide???

Wednesday, July 08, 2009



以我的家乡为例:她的马来文名是Kuala Kangsar,中文译作江沙。江里之沙,多么有诗意。。。


霹雳州另外一个城市是安顺。英殖民时代它是Teluk Anson,现已改为Teluk Intan,但中文名保持不变。毕竟大家都祈求平安顺利。



江沙 Kuala Kangsar

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Down the Memory Lane (2)

Part 1 is here. All photos were shot with film camera.

This is me at the Grand Canyon

The picture was taken by Wilson, my co-worker who originated from Dalian, China.

Another picture of the Grand Canyon

Most visitors to the Grand Canyon go to the south rim. Wilson and I decided to go to north rim instead. North rim was cooler in summer. The downside was, we couldn’t see the river.

We actually traveled to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Here is a picture taken at the Sin City

I took this picture when we were driving from California to Las Vegas. As you can see, the land is semi arid, with very thin vegetation. In fact, Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert…

When we were driving along the freeway, we saw a mini tornado measuring just a few feet tall. Vehicles stopped to wait for it crossing. No photo for the mini tornado, though…

Thursday, July 02, 2009

CD in the Age of Digital Music

Following the sudden death of superstar Michael Jackson, his albums were sold out in many music stores across Malaysia. Considering the omnipresence of MP3 music, this is pretty interesting.

MP3 music is convenient and customizable. We can download MP3 songs from the Web, whether legally of illegally. We can download individual titles instead of the whole album. Why, then, do we still buy CD/DVD?

One possible explanation is that MJ’s fans are Gen-X or pre-Gen-X, who are not as tech-savvy as the Gen-Y. They still prefer CD to MP3.

Another explanation is: we can’t display MP3 music on our shelves. It is not physical. In other words, it can’t be a collector’s item. Here is where CD/DVD still excels.

I plan to buy one or two Michael Jackson’s albums too – for collection purpose. The other albums I am eying are those of Celion Dion and Kitaro…