Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Hong Kong Trip (V)

Eating in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is foodies’ haven. During my visit to the SAR, we had a meal in the famous Yung Kee Restaurant (鏞記酒家).

Yung Kee is most famous for its roasted geese. Unfortunately, I haven’t got the picture to show here. I am not that kind of people who would say, “Don’t eat! Let me take some pictures and upload to Facebook.”

Anyway, I managed to snap a few pictures before we picked up our chopsticks…

Outside the kitchen…

Preserved eggs…

Roasted meat rice…

Yung Kee Restaurant is located at:

32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Hong Kong is also famous for, what else, dim sum. And we also had a dim sum meal during our trip. Here is one picture…

But wait a minute… These are not real dim sum, but fridge magnets! We bought a few as souvenirs. I took picture after we returned to Singapore…

Friday, December 16, 2011

Free, with Terms & Conditions

Blogger SK wrote about a promotion campaign of KFC in Malaysia. The fast food giant offered free Zinger burgers for a month. Within a few hours after the promotion started, however, KFC had to discontinue the offer ‘due to overwhelming response’.

Is it possible for a business to offer some free goods or service, and still make money?

Well, AirAsia, the budget airline, has been giving away ‘free seats’ from time to time. But the passengers have to pay for everything else, from ‘convenience fee’ to baggage free to check-in fee.

In Japan, there is this kind of eateries called tachi-soba, literally ‘standing soba’. Patrons of these eateries are required to stand while having their meal. No seats are provided. See pictures below…


Now, combining the concepts of AirAsia and tachi-soba, I am thinking of starting a restaurant which serves free noodles, but with terms and conditions…

  • Noodle – free
  • Service charge – RM5
  • Bowl – RM1 (you can bring your own bowl)
  • Chopsticks + spoon – RM1 (you can bring your own chopsticks)
  • Drinks – various prices
  • Chair – RM1 (you may stand)
  • Use of restroom – RM1

On the other hand, I would increase my revenue by selling ads space in the shop…

So, anybody want to join my new venture?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Hong Kong Trip (IV)

Ngong Ping Village

In my last post, I wrote about the cable car ride from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping.

After getting off the cable car, we arrived at Ngong Ping Village. This was a theme village with traditional Chinese architecture. There were shops selling souvenirs and eateries. Ngong Ping Village was very touristy, but I must say that it was quite interesting.

The square...


Distances to the world, with the Giant Buddha at the background...

Po Lin Monastery

Next to Ngong Ping Village was Po Lin Monastery (寶蓮禪寺). The monastery was famous for the Giant Buddha, the world’s largest outdoor bronze statue. The Giant Buddha sat atop a hill. Surrounding the statue was several smaller statues in the shape of fairies (?) A stair of 268 steps led one to the complex. If you don’t feel like making the climb, you can still appreciate the view from below.

268 steps...


The Buddha & the flags...

Joss sticks...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

My Hong Kong Trip (III)

Ngong Ping 360

On the second day of my Hong Kong trip, we went to experience Ngong Ping 360 (昂坪360) at Lantau Island (大嶼山).

Ngong Ping 360 consisted of 2 parts – the first of which was the cable car journey which connects Tung Chung (東湧) to Ngong Ping. When we reached Tung Chung cable car station, there was already a long queue. We waited for half an hour to purchase the tickets, and another half an hour to board the car. Many of the tourists came from Mainland China. Hong Kong was hugely popular among Mainlanders. We would see a lot more Mainland tourists in the subsequent days.

Our patience paid off. The cable car ride was exhilarating. There were two types of cabins – regular and Crystal. Crystal Cabin had glass bottom, which allowed one to see the landscape beneath. As you might have expected, the fare for Crystal Cabin was higher.

We often perceive Hong Kong as a cosmopolitan city, but Lantau Island was heavily forested…

The crowd at Tung Chung…

The ride…

Hong Kong International Airport is at the background…

Crystal Cabin, with glass bottom…

Monday, December 05, 2011

My Hong Kong Trip (II)

Ding Ding

One of the more interesting modes of transport in Hong Kong is tram.

Known as Ding Ding (叮叮) by Hongkongese for the sound they make, trams run only in North Hong Kong Island. Ding Ding is slower than bus, and must stop for traffic light. In a city with highly efficient MTR (Mass Transit Rail) system, it is hard to imagine that Ding Ding survives into 21st century.

A trip on Ding Ding costs HK$2.30 for adults, or HK$1.20 for children under 12, regardless of distance. Ding Ding fare is really, really cheap. But my complaint is that the air at tram stations is choking...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My Hong Kong Trip (I)

From Singapore to Hong Kong

I joined my parents and sister in Singapore. We flew from the Lion City to the Pearl of the Orient in Singapore Airlines’ double-decker Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

I often thought Airbus A380 was mainly used for long-distance, trans-continental flights. I was surprised to learn that SIA deployed this plane for its Singapore-to-HK route. Every A380 can seat more than 400 passengers, including those in business class. That is more than double the capacity of A320 used by AirAsia. According to SIA’s magazine, A380 was the most efficient aircraft. Perhaps that’s why we managed to get a relatively cheap airfare. However, due to the large number of passengers, boarding time could be slightly longer. So there are pros and cons with this plane.

We landed in Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok (赤鱲角) after 3 hours and 15 minutes in the air.

Changi Airport Terminal 3…

Airbus A380 super jumbo jet…

Interior of the A380…

Hong Kong International Airport…

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Hong Kong Trip - Preview

Shot taken at Causeway Bay (銅鑼灣), Hong Kong...

For high-resolution pictures, please check out my Flickr...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cameras for Sale

I am a shutterbug, but I don’t always understand the mindset of my fellow photographers…

This guy bought a new Canon camera in September 2011 (with 2-year warranty). Barely one month had passed, he was already selling this camera in a forum…

Another guy was selling his 3-year old camera. He described it as LIKE NEW. He had already taken 25,000 pictures with this camera. That is like 8,000 shots per year?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Demise of Steve Jobs, and Apple’s Magic

teve Jobs, the visionary founder of Apple, died on Oct 5, 2011. His death, together with the announcement of iPhone 4S, seem to signal the beginning of Apple’s decline.

No doubt, iPhone 4S is a nice phone. Nonetheless, having been delayed by a few months, people were expecting a major upgrade. It turns out that the new phone’s screen is still 3.5-inch wide; it doesn’t work on 4G LTE networks, and doesn’t support NFC (Near Field Communication).

One theory says that Apple did plan to launch iPhone 5. For some unknown reason, however, iPhone 5 could not come to market in time. Not wanting to miss holidays season, Apple was forced to launch a more modest iPhone 4S instead.

In fact, the combined market of Android phones has already eclipsed iPhone’s. Apple still leads in the tablet computer market with its iPad, but I doubt its dominance will last long. Without Steve Jobs, will Apple be the same again?

P/S Look out for Samsung’s curved Nexus Prime, scheduled to be announced on Oct 11.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Third Sex

In my recent trip to Bangkok, I went to watch Calypso Cabaret in Asia Hotel.

As some of you already know, Calypso Cabaret is a show by transvestites/transgender. (Though there are male performers too.) The most famous transvestites’ shows, as I understand it, can be found in Pattaya. The show I watched wasn’t top class, but I was satisfied with it.

Transvestites are known as kathoey in Thai. But among English-speaking communities, they are called ‘ladyboys’.

Some people ask, “Why are there so many transvestites in Thailand?” Well, I guess there are many such people in other countries too. In fact, I have come across quite a few in Kuala Lumpur. It is just that in the Land of Smile, transvestites are more visible.

The next question is, “Why are they more invisible in Thailand?” I believe this has to do with the fact that majority of Thais are Buddhists. Buddhism, unlike some other religions, does not view transvestites as sinners.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More on Acupuncture

In my earlier post, I mentioned that I was learning acupuncture, and had been attending a course. The instructor told us that acupuncture was particularly effective in treating the following illness (read: possibly better than Western medicine):

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastritis
  • Facial paralysis
  • Headache/migraine
  • Stroke

So, if you have been plagued by such illness, it’s time to look for an acupuncturist.

Of course, acupuncture is no panacea. You still need to complement it with other forms of medication or therapy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The King

No, this is not a post about Elvis Presley...

I had a short trip to Bangkok with my parents in August.

One night, I was walking by King Rama I Road. I wanted to cross the road to get to Siam Discovery Center. But as I was approaching the pedestrian overpass, I was stopped by a police. I knew what was going to happen, as I had similar experience before…

As I had expected, a limousine carrying royal family members sped by shortly. You got the idea: we lowly people can’t be above the monarch in any way.

But I wonder why Buddhist monks do not enjoy the same level of privilege…

If you have been to Thailand, I am sure you notice that portraits of the royal family are ubiquitous in the Land of Smile. You see them at road junctions, on the wall of buildings, and in calenders. The state propaganda machine constantly reminds the people how King Bhumibol has sacrificed for his subjects, therefore all Thais must love his majesty.

The ‘Yellow Shirts’ certainly love the royal family. They ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whom they believed had shown disrespect to the King. (Thaksin denied this accusation.)

Well, I can’t write too much here. You know, I am wary of Thailand’s notorious lèse majesté law…

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Learning Acupuncture

I have been learning acupuncture lately. I attended a short course in a local university. The course was conducted by a lecturer from the Faculty of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

I know some of you will ask, “Isn’t it dangerous to prick a needle in the body?” Well, to be sure I am not a daredevil too. I do it very cautiously. In particular, so far I only choose ‘acupuncture points’ on my arms and legs, which are considerably less risky to apply the needle.

Here are a few points I have used:

  • Hegu (合谷) – alleviates fever
  • Zusanli (足三里) – relieves stomach discomfort
  • Sanyinjiao (三陰交) – relieves stomach discomfort; also relieves menstrual pain
  • Xingjian (行間) – refreshes tired eyes

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The High Flying AirAsia (Stock)

On July 21, 2011, AirAsia’s stock closed at RM3.67 in KL Stock Exchange. That was an increase of 17 sen, or about 4.8%, over the previous day. The intra-day high was RM3.70. When I noticed the price hike, I thought, “Are there some good news for AirAsia?” Then, on BBC news portal, I learned that the budget airline had just announced a joint venture with All Nippon Airways (ANA). That says it all…

AirAsia has had a 5-star performance in KLSE of late. I started to track its price since last April. On April 11, it closed at RM2.57. In just a few months, the price has increased by more than 40%! Sadly, I missed the boat and only purchased the stocks at RM3.22.

The budget airline group is expanding aggressively. This year alone, AirAsia has signed deals with Airbus to purchase 300 jets. But my concern is whether it will have money to pay dividend, given that it reinvest so much of its revenue into buying new jets. In fact, the company only declared dividend once, in 2010. AirAsia’s Debt/Equity Ratio was above 2.0 as of 1Q 2011, which was somewhat high.

As a stockholder, I hope AirAsia will do well. But as a potential flyer, I also hope that rivals such as Firefly will give it a run for its money. Kinda funny, isn’t it?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Recycling with Tzu Chi (II)

Last year, I wrote about Tzu Chi’s recycling activities. For the past 4 months, I personally have contributed my time as a volunteer.

Tzu Chi’s recycling program is held on the third Sunday of every month. You may send your disused stuffs to one of the many (temporary) recycling centers near you. However, you are strongly encouraged to sort them first, as this will greatly help the volunteers. Tzu Chi accepts the following items for recycling:

  • Paper
  • Cloth
  • Electrical/electronic items
  • Metal/aluminum/glass
  • Plastic

I work in the paper section, and therefore have better knowledge of it. For recycling purposes, paper can be further grouped into following categories:

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Black-and-white paper
  • Miscellaneous paper

It is said that cardboard commands the highest price, followed by black-and-white paper. Please note that shredded paper automatically goes into miscellaneous category.

You can do your part to help Mother Earth too

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What to Sell Online

I signed up eBay recently. Since then I have been thinking:

What sort of things is suitable to be sold online?

(That is, not just on eBay, but all e-commerce sites.)

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As seen on eBay...

I am perplexed as to why people buy dresses online. Don’t you want to try them before making payment?

Anyway, I think one category of thing we can sell online is the hard-to-find items. As a shutterbug, I naturally think of such specialty photographic gears such as tilt-shift lens and light meter. Past issues of magazines also fall into this category. I have plenty of National Geographic magazines, the oldest of which was published in 1930s. Somehow, I am reluctant to part way with my collection.

A second category of merchandise great for online trading are things people don’t feel easy to buy in brick-and-mortar stores. These include condoms, and the “nipple cream” I mentioned in another post.

Finally, if you can price your merchandise at lower price compared to in brick-and-mortar stores, you can sell them online. One advantage of online trading is that you don’t need to pay for the rental or installment of a physical store. The drawback, however, is that postage doesn’t come cheap.

Have you bought anything online? Tell us your story!

Sunday, February 27, 2011




《傳統茶室須變革》 刊於星洲日報,2011126

《一個馬拉西亞,一種聲音》 刊於東方日報,2011216


第一篇《傳統茶室須變革》基本上是翻譯自我的英文貼子Kopitiam - a question of Cost & Price,只是更加詳盡。谷歌翻譯(Google Translate)成了我的最佳伴侶。


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Generosity in Festive Seasons

Festive seasons have always been the time of giving. We exchange presents on Christmas. Muslims donate to the mosque prior to the celebration of Eid (known as Aidilfitri in Malaysia).

I am a sleeping member of a Buddhist society. Each year, during Chinese New Year season, the society members pay visit to selected devotees. They would perform “chanting of blessing”, and the hosts would, in return, contribute some money to the society. I have been taking part in such activities for a number of years. Due to my busy schedule, however, I could only join on perhaps alternate days. This year, I visited a total of 17 houses

One benefactor deserves special mentioning. Her mansion was located near Thien Hou Temple. We arrived at her house at 9pm, and were greeted by the hostess. She was about 30, dressed in cheongsam (旗袍), which highlighted her curvy figure; her brown (dyed) hair was secured in bun, which gave her an elegant look. The lady lived with her mother and three maids. We saw several portraits of her mother hanging on the wall. Also present was a Chinese calligraphy which expounded filial piety. I was told that the lady invited us to her house because she wanted her mother to “benefit” from it.

We performed the routine chanting. At the end of the session the hostess made her contribution. She also gave each of the visitors – about ten of us – a red packet. How much money was inside the ang pau? For privacy reason, I am not disclosing the number. But, considering that we hardly knew each other, I must say that she was very generous.

As a poor man, I couldn’t make a big monetary donation. But at least I was giving my time. That’s another form of generosity. I look forward to next year’s program…

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thien Hou Temple at Night

Chinese New Year is just over. Thien Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, as usual, was decorated with loads of lanterns during the festival. Last year, I visited the temple during the day. This year, I decided to go there at night. Here are a few night shots taken there…

This is an “out-of-focus” shot. I focused at the far-away lanterns. The nearer ones are rendered out-of-focus…

In this shot, I focused on the statue inside the temple hall…

This is yet another out-of-focus shot. Manual focusing was used to achieve such effect…

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interesting Items on eBay

I signed up eBay recently. I wish to sell things on the online shopping site in future, but before that, I will make some purchase. Through buying on eBay, I will learn how people run their online business.

As I browsed through the items listed on eBay, I found some interesting stuffs. Here are two…

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Cherry Blossoms for Natural Pink (Nipples & Lips) 粉紅嫩

According to the seller, this is cherry blossom extract which restores alluring sheer pink lips and lightens darkened nipples. Further, there is a description in Chinese which goes like this:


My translation: The black nipples on the chest are like two “black buttons”. Turn them pink, and your other half will love you more…

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Sole Cleaner Massage 礦石腳底清潔穴道按摩舒緩墊

Here are some descriptions of the item by the seller:

This unique foot massager features both soft and hard flexible bristles that clean and massage your feet whilst circulating blood stimulation. The sole cleaner is ideal for people for limited movement and makes cleaning your feet in the shower hassle free! This means no more bending down in shower to wash those dirty soles.

If your potbelly prevents you from bending down, you’ll find the sole cleaner useful!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

High Tech Gathering

On Feb 13, 2011, my extended family celebrated my grandma’s birthday cum Chinese New Year gathering. We had a meal in a Chinese restaurant.

A cousin of mine had just purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab. She was busy snapping pictures with her over-sized camera during the lunch. (pic)

The wife of my other cousin took pictures of every dish and uploaded them to Facebook. We had to wait for her to finish before lifting our chopsticks.

The Chinese restaurant was equipped with karaoke system. Still another cousin, in an attempt to select a song, pressed her finger on the TV screen. Unfortunately, the TV screen was not touch-sensitive like her phone.

Such was a modern day, high tech gathering…

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Post-CNY post

Oil lamps in a temple

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OK, I know Chinese New Year is not officially over yet, but I would like to share my thoughts here…

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This year, Chinese New Year fell on Feb 3. I returned to my hometown for the celebration on Feb 1, and returned to Selangor on Feb 7. As Feb 7 was Monday, I expected the traffic to be smooth, but I was wrong. There was gridlock on many stretches of the highway.

On Feb 5 (Saturday), my cousin traveled from Taiping to Kuala Kangsar. The trip took 2 hours, toll-to-toll. On normal days, it should take no more than 20 minutes.

It looks like Malaysian roads are getting more congested every year…

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I have been thinking: what can be done to tackle traffic gridlock during festive seasons?

The obvious way is to widen the North-South Highway. But given its environmental impacts, and the fact that oil price is rising, I would favor shift of focus to public transportation. The good news is that the government is planning to build high speed rail (HSR) linking the major cities on the West coast of Peninsula Malaysia.

Still, we need a car to visit our relatives and friends during festive seasons. So if we take HSR from say, Kuala Lumpur to Penang, we will want to rent a car on the island. Now I hope car rental agencies such as Hertz would seize on this opportunity to provide the service.