Monday, January 30, 2006

Chinese New Years Blues


I am now in Bangkok on a Monday morning, Second day of CNY, listening to 988 (Malaysia Radio) on the internet. There are some phone calls from Malaysian around the world calling in to wish their family Chinese New Year. Some are living apart from their parents, daughter, sons and brothers and sisters. As they express their New Year wishes and greetings, I could sense the loneliness, the bitterness of living aboard away from their families on such occasion.

What reel that feeling out into the open? Is it the Chinese New Year song that was coming out from their speakers? The Gong, the beat, the fire crackers sounds? I guess if you are alone out there surfing the net in a foreign land now on Chinese New Year, with the sound of keyboard cracking in the background in an office, it does dig out some “Sad” feeling. I guess instead of the keyboard cracking, you will prefer to hear the sound of your niece, nephews, your sons and daughter in the background, your parents cooking and maybe some yelling from neighbor of “Pong” while playing mahjong and of course the fire crackers sounds.

If you are out there years after years, will this feeling still crop up? I guess deep inside most of us, we are still a “kampong boy” who still has the Chinese roots running around in our blood stream. Who can resists the thoughts of sitting in the house with families, eating “love letters”, drinking sarsi and playing cards or mahjong? But personally I believe years after years of urbanization, we are drifting away further and further from all this even in our home countries. I believe there are a lot of us who is from another states working in big city like Kuala Lumpur will travel less and less back to their hometown due to work commitment or etc.

I personally felt that the Chinese New Year spirit is being pulled apart by the strong drift of modernization and development. It could be due to the fact that individually we are now growing faster than we thought. As the world grows smaller and smaller, we are growing further and further apart from our cultures. We used to live in a harmonious “kampong” environment, now most of us lives in condominium, bungalows, terraces house who does not even knows who our neighbors is.

Just flip back to history, in my generation I used to hear about “Kampong” people migrating to the city to work. Now it’s to another country. You could look at your children, niece or nephew who is in their earlier teens, will they wear “red” or bright color new clothes or will they abstain from sweeping the floor, cutting their beard, washing their hair and etc like we do. Let’s hope the Chinese New Year Spirit and culture is here to stay, who would want a Chinese New Year without the lion dance, the songs, the crackers, the reunion dinner, the biscuits, ang pow and etc.......

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gong Xi Fa Cai

*G O N G *X I* F A *C A I *
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR
TO EVERYONE
Wish
Everyone
A
Healthy
And
Prosperous
Dog Year
*
May
God Of Fortune follows you everywhere
And "Sun Sun Mang Mang"
And "Lung Mah Ching Sun"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Collection of Christmas Tree

I wanted to do this during new year but never get to do it, a collection of Christmas Tree photo that I have taken.



My favourite is the last one.....

Getting to know you and me (Meme)

A Meme passed by Lee Cheen Siong.

The Rules:
Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom spot.

1. Helen’s All
2. My Crzy Corner
3. My feelings
4. My Life at Beijing
5. Time Stops Here

I will skipped the part whereby I need to pass to five bloggers, as most of the active blogger I knew has already gotten this meme.

1. What were you doing ten years ago?
1996 – Same as Lee Cheen Siong, I was at Bangkok working on the biggest project for my company at that time. I was also at Singapore for 2 – 3 months helping to implement one of the bank there. I was also courting my wife.

2. What were you doing 1 year ago?
2005 – I was “grounded”. I spend the whole year in Malaysia as my “wings” was clipped in 2004. Adjusting to my post-operation and diagnosis of my medical condition, in terms of diet, understand my own body all over again as though as I am just reborn. I am still adjusting and readjusting now.

3. Five snacks you enjoy
- Sun Flower/Pumpkin Seeds
- Biscuits with no preservative or coloring.

The above is the only 2 snacks that I could eat.

4. Five songs to which you know all the lyrics off your head right now:
- Malaysia National Anthem

All the others I don't know the whole lyrics, I knows the chorus only.

5. Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

If I got only one million in the bank, I will still continue to do what I am doing now as its not enough for me to “retire”.

If I am a multimillionaire (above 10 Million) then these are the 5 things that I would do.
- Retire from working.
- Buy a house in another part of the city whereby there is less air and noise polution, in other words more greenery and peace.
- get myself another car, preferbably above Rm300K.
- convince my wife to retire also.
- Travel around the world.

6. Five bad habits
- Too sensitive at times over my body and my medical condition.
- A tad bit hot temper at times that if you click on the right/wrong button.
- I love gadgets but I get bore easily with it.
-Spend too much money (a new bad habit that I got, just barely a year old)
-Shaking my leg.

7. Five things you like doing:
- Window Shopping and shopping
- Reading magazines
- Taking pictures
- Watching DVD
- Playing games on my PSP

8. Five things you would never wear, buy, or get new again
- Sony EarPhone. I bought one the other day and there is no bass at all, its as flat as the floor. Its not cheap, its above Rm100..
- Shorts that looks like double decker board.
- White color long sleeve working shirt
- Cheap batteries
- DVD5...

9. Five favorite toys:
- My PSP
- My Ipod Photo
- My Casio Exlim 750
- My IBM Think Pad
- My Toyota Camry.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Khao Yai Part 2

Continue from previous post….

After some heart pumping exercise, we decided to rest our body and headed back to our “ship”. I headed to the bathroom and I found that unlike most hotel or resort it’s slightly different. The bottom part is not tiled. It’s made of wood, I guess this gives the feeling that you are in a boat. I heard there are rooms, that the bottom of the bed is actually shaped like a boat, curved and not flat. So if you are a couple, you could not run from each other. You will end up rolling down to the middle and meeting each other there. The “ship” that I am in consists of 3 rooms, mine is located at the bottom of the ship.

After resting for a while, we decided to venture out from our bedroom. As we were walking around, a thai colleague decided to head to a Grape farm which is located less than half a km away. I am not sure how could a country like Thailand have grape farms as my peanut brain archive tells me that grapes can only be grow in cold country. Anyway nothing surprises me as I have gone to a lychee farm in Thailand before. When we reached there, the farm is called Granmonte, it’s a small farm. We bought 2 bottles of white wine, 1 bottle of red wine and one grape jam.


Our trip to Khao Yai National Park was schedule to be at 7 pm as the entrance to the park will be closed for public at 8 pm. As we ate our dinner we could feel the air turning chilly. This is a sign that up there in Khao Yai it will be cold as it’s located on top of a mountain (not very high though). But if you do not wear a jacket you will definitely "freeze", it is also advisable to wear socks. When we reached the entrance of the park we disembark from our double deck bus and separate ourselves into groups as we will be going up by pickup trucks. It’s an open pickup with no covers at the back. As the truck climbs up the mountain, the cold wind was blowing ferociously. Some of my thai colleague actually squat down to avoid the wind. As for my wife and me, we came prepare with my thick Jeans Jacket and socks hence it was quite enjoyable as it felt like air blowing from an open fridge.

The main reason of us having our fat burns fending off the cold in going up there is to see live animal that purportedly roams the park at night. In my previous trip, all we could see is a few deer. It was rumors that there are times you could see elephant and tigers near water holes. But I knew it will be all deer again. As for me I love the smell of fresh air and clear skies. Although there are times I could smell the fume emitted from the truck in front of us but it’s still a lot fresher then those in the city. If you tilt your head up, you could see "stars" clearly mapped out in the sky. If I could I would have bring along a mat, lie down and count the stars.

Below is some adhoc pictures that was taken...

The above is taken at the cowboy town.

The above taken at the resort.

The above taken at ChokChai Steak house, which is quite famous. We went there for our lunch after checking out from the resort.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Khao Yai Part 1

After the second post I am still writing about other things instead of my actual reason for my trip to Bangkok last week. So I hope by the time I conclude this post it will also conclude my post on the trips.

After almost 2 hours on the road we are near our destination but before that we made a stop at a place for some fun and lunch. This place has a cowboy theme to it. As we near the place there is a very strong smell, I guess its the smell of horse shits. The caravan outside and the smells simulate my mind to visualize ourselves in a “Farang” or “White Man” Land. We are asked to sit on a “mechanical horse” driven by a dark skin cowboy who speaks a word of English or two, to a place where “Fun” is the only word you would say.

As the “Horse” drove pass the dusty road, we could see a land full of greens that have wild horses running around freely. It’s like a scene from the wild wild west. We reaches our “fun” destination and we were brief on the “Funs” that we could play, Go Kart, 4 wheels motorbike, a ride down a slope with a plastic looking car (without engine), a fun and short distance ride with on a 2 sitter cable “car”, hang glide down a slopes and etc. I choose the 4 wheels motorbike as the others I considered it “high” risk for a man with a single kidney. It was fun ride although it was on a very short course. It was very bumpy, dusty and fill with vroom-vroom sound. It was quite fun especially for a person like me who only sat on a motorbike only once. For your information I do not even know how to ride a bicycle.

After lunch, we were ready to go the resort. The main attraction of this trip is to go to a place called "Khao Yai" which means big mountain. It’s a national park, some sort like our Taman Negara (not that I have been to there). The resort is less than half hour drive to Khao Yai. The resort is quite unique; it consists of some small bungalows or huts. Some is constructed resembling a boat. In actual fact the resort name is Boat Villa. When we disembark from the bas, I could feel the heat surging and my body was immediately “warm up". A bit disappointed, although the resort is not on a very high ground but at least it should not be hot.


After settling down we went in search for some “activities”. It seems there is a hanging bridge somewhere. As we walk around we saw more “obstacle”, below is one of them and this photo shows me pulling all my muscle, trying to carry myself up to the top. After a while of pulling and sweating, I changed my mind and continue on my quest for the hanging bridge.
And we finally found it, blocked by some bushes somewhere north of the resort. It’s not as dangerous as I thought. It’s just around 10 feet plus from the ground. The bottom part is a 1 and half inch width ropes. I have a look at my foot, its width is more than 2 inches; I guess it should be safe, one big one small. I was wrong, it feels fun at the initial stage, as I inched myself across, the middle was a “Hair Standing” experience. If you are walking alone, it is just between the 1 and half inch ropes below & beside and your sole of your foot, it should be fine and "safe". But if you are walking with someone in front of you and someone at the back of you, it’s like walking on flat ground with King Kong in front of you and Godzilla at the back. Up and Down, Up and Down. Anyway I managed to cross it.

To be continue….

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I choose Us.

Continue on my story of my previous Bangkok trip….

As we made our way out from the parking, the notorious morning Bangkok Traffic has already started. As the bus crawls its way out from the city choked arteries, most of us has started to doze off. One of them is this pretty young thing or PYT who is the sister of the Handsome Man that I blogged about. While some of us entertain ourselves by admiring the colorful buses that was speeding pass us, the bas driver decided to plug in a movie to keep us from dozing off.

The movie is starred by Nicolas cage and Tea Leoni, it is called “Family Man”. I have seen it before but I do not have much recollection of it. I only remember that is one of those shows that I quite like. A show that has a “What If” theme to it. It actually starts by showing Nicholas Cage enjoying his high profile works in New York City who thoughts that he has everything thats it until someone up there decided to show him the things that he did not have. The story begins a day before Christmas Eve.

What profoundly moves me is the way the story is trying to tell us. Nicholas Cage actually forgoes a relationship in which the show portrays as one of the reason in which he is at where he is now, a very successful person. As the show continues to progress it show the “What If” he did not do so, in which he chooses the relationship instead of his career. As he was thrown suddenly to a time in which he lives in the country side, working as a tire salesman married with 2 children and driving a pickup van/truck as compares to his New York Penthouse, high profile job, single & having a fling now & then, and of course his Ferrari.

As he starts to live this could have been “life”, he initially hated it but as the shows progresses, he starts to love this other family life that he is now living in. He loves the warmth that he feels through “his family”, his lovely wife and children instead of empty Christmas Eve in his “real life”. As he tries to understand the reason of his decision that he has made in which it adversely changes his life, he asks his wife the same question, why she forego her high profile life and chooses a life that is limited, that fills with financial constraints and work as a Non profit lawyer. Her answer is “I Choose Us”. This is a good choice of words, same as Tom Cruise says in the famous movie, “You complete Me”.

As we struggles, we slog, we worked hard, we always said is for the family. But personally after watching this show in which I shed a tear or two, I felt it’s more of a selfish reason to shows to ourselves that “I can do it”, “I can be on top”, “I can juggle both career and family”. My dear, how many of us can do it, for most of us, it’s either this or that only, there is no both…………..

Updates

Updates to the previous post.

Do not be surprise if the account holder name is Aw Peng Mei as she is the cordinator in Malaysia.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

To fellow kind bloggers

I have a colleague of mine who is an Indonesia, residing in Jakarta that needs funds as he is diagnosed with chronic Kidney failure. I am posting this hoping that more kind individuals like you will see this, not only within my company but any Malaysian that have access to Maybank2u that drops by here. A Maybank account has been created for the sole purpose of collecting donation to help ease his sickness and get a transplant soon.

For fellow bloggers who has a few bucks extra, do donate. I know is quite difficult to verify the authenticity of this as we are only connected by a tiny space in the cyber world. We surf each other blogs daily or weekly or monthly hence we only knows each other by reading posts that have been put up. Most of us pour and write from our heart, we only know the ABC(s) alphabets that we wrote, we built and envision each other character via blog posting but we have yet to meet each other to have enough trust to part our hard earned money for something which could not really be verify. However personally I have donated money to some bloggers before hence I do think that there are some of you out there that is willing to donate.

To me if this post could raise a dollar or 2, it means my colleague will have less a dollar or 2 to worry about. The Maybank account no that you could donate to is 114721017710. For those who wants to donate via cheque do email me, I could provide more information. My email address is soohonk@gmail.com

Below is the email that is currently being circulated within my company, I have “x” some personal information but I have left the name of my colleague that is currently needs help.
=================================

Dear Friends,

Wendy (our colleague from XX xxxxx who worked with us on the Bank xxxxx) is recently diagnosed with chronic kidney failure (both kidneys). He has to rely on dialysis (which costs a lot of money) to live normally for the rest of his life unless he is able to get a kidney transplant.

Wendy has fully utilised his insurance coverage in view of his recent hospitalization for his kidney condition, and now relies on his own savngs for dialysis treatments (refer to Wendy's email below). A long term measure for him is to have a kidney transplant.

As colleagues and friends of Wendy, we are organising a donation drive to help Wendy achieve the long term goal of a kidney transplant.

We have setup a special account at Maybank Account No: 114721017710 whereby monetary donations can be made via Maybank2u.

Cheque donation can also be made to "xxx" and sent to "xxx".

If you require further details, please call xxx xxx (+xxxxx/ +xxxx) or xxx xx (xxxxx).

Thanking you in advance for your generous contribution.
=====================================

From: Wendy Sipahutar
Dear xxx and xxx,

I have touched in my deep heart when xxx inform me that my friends are gathering some donation for kidney transplant. May God blessed all of you.
xxx inform that need some information of my current condition include of my kidney condition, and how much the cost for dialysis per session at the center.

1) Generally, my health condition right now is good, better than before when first time dialysis at hospital. I just take care on foods, fruits and water. I can't take fruits that contain the water (like apple, grape, orange). For water, only can take max 800 ml per day.

2) According my doctors, my kidney is shrunken and only 15% left for function. My blood test shown an abnormal Ureum level (Normal 10 – 50mg/dl) which is 281 while Creatinin level (Normal 0.6 – 1.1 mg/dl) is 18.2.

3) For dialysis, now dialysis is twice a week with 5 hours per session. Cost per session is Rp. 550,000.- for dialysis + (Rp. 173,000.- x 2) for "Hemapo" Hormone Injection. So total cost per session is Rp.896,000.

Total cost per week is Rp. 1,792,000.-
Total cost per month is Rp. 7,168,000.-

And for your information, "Eka Life" Insurance will not cover dialysis. "Eka Life" only cover hospitalization. So, after check out from hospital, all cost is from my saving.

I realy realy need this support, because my saving is not much and now is being empty (going to).

Again, I almost cried eventhough in deep in my heart when I heart a lot of friends outside there will give some donation. For your information, cost for kidney transplant at China (Guang Zou city) is around US$ 25,000 - 30,000. I have got this information from doctors at hospital who has the channel at Guang Zou hospital.

May GOD blessed all of you.

Regards,
Wendy

PS. I don't have fixed line at my home to download xxx email. But I can download my email at centrin through my communicator. Please also send / reply my email to wendysipahutar@centrin.net.id as long as I'm not at the office. Thank you.

Colorful Bus

I am now in Bangkok. I flew in together with my wife on Thursday evening who has been staying in KL since New Year eve. I am here to attend (as spouse) the company annual trip for the Thailand branch to a place called Khao Yai. This will be the second time that I have been there. It’s some sort like our Taman Negara. My wife woke up around 4.30 am on Friday morning to prepare my lunch as we anticipate that there is a possibility that there will be nothing much I can eat for lunch.

We are supposed to be in the office at 7 am as the charted tour bus is schedule to leave sharp at 7 am. I told my wife by Thai standard that will be a tall order as the thai people I know will always follows “Sony” time and not “Sharp” time. This means by default there will always be a delay as Bangkokians are “control” by bad traffic or they will use the traffic as an excuse. We reached the office at around 6:50 after taking a “van” and LRT.

When we reached the office, there were a few waiting, hence to burn some time, I chat with some of my thai colleague, have a cup of Milo, 3 slices of bread, chat with "Sim Tan" , she is still around in BKK, from what I heard it will be a while before she finally moves to somewhere else. We finally get bored and hot from waiting in the office, as the centralize air cond system will not be on until 8.30 am. We continue to wait in the bus and finally the last person arrives at 8 am. He was late as he is the breakfast guys that are suppose to buy Char Siew Rice for some of them.

We finally left the parking lot after 8 am. Along the way I saw some colorful bus, which I think you could only find it in Thailand. I will post more on this trip in another post....

Monday, January 02, 2006

A fruit called Apple

We are always attracted to cute little things. Be it the opposite sex, same sex or furniture or gadgets or etc. In terms of gadgets, if owning one does not burns holes in our pocket we will go out and buy it. Over these past few years, there is one particular technology company that manage to keep most of us interested in their products, it is Apple. Their products blend fashion and technology together. They are some who bought Apple PCs as just another piece of furniture.

If their PC runs on window, then most of us will definitely have one on our tables. As it’s a piece of art and not just a dull “box” that most of us is having now. Their MP3 players are a cut above the rest. Each year they kept coming out with products that could convince most of us to part with our money. My wife has bought an IPOD photo early of the year and since then they have introduce IPOD Nano and the recent IPOD Video and guess what happen? My wife, who loves all things cutes, has parted with her IPOD photo and bought a 60 GB IPOD Video.

Her IPOD photo is now with me, I am now in the midst of transferring my CD collections into it. IPOD Video looks better than IPOD Photo. The screen is bigger and it’s smaller in size. I have used it for a couple of times and if given the slightest chances I will hide it from my wife and tell her that an alien just drops by and took it to do some kind of experiment. Who knows I could use it to attract some pretty young girls, just like most guys uses a dog to strike up a conversation.

My wife has converted some VCDs using a converter (not Quick Time Pro) and the quality is not bad. It’s not in the “Wow” category but it’s not in the “Shit” category either. It’s good enough for busy people to watch movies on the go. The downside is that it eats up a lot of battery juice. The battery is just good enough to watch a movie, it might have some problem with movies that is above 3 hours. Do find a good converter as the initial converter we got is not that good, as the sound is not in synch with the video.

I have just managed to download some movie trailers for my PSP. In terms of watchability and quality, PSP is ahead of IPOD Video. The only problem is that you will need to have at least a 512 MB or one GB storage as each movie will be around 500 MB and above. And it cost around Rm350 to get a one GB memory stick. Poor me is still having the 32 MB memory stick that comes with the package. I am hoping the price will drop soon as there is rumours that Sony will introduce a 4 GB memory stick soon…..please, please Sony as I want to watch some movies with my PSP.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Some great car photos for New Year

Why guys love cars? I think I have blog about it before but until now it still baffles me. When I was in Siam paragon, there are some great cars on display; one of them is the black metal on my previous post. And the funniest thing is when a guy walks pass he will brings out his hand phone and click. If he is with someone else he will then ask that person to take a photo of him with the cars. That’s what happens to me, so below is some photos of me with some beautiful and unattainable car, at least in terms of my bank account. There are some porshe but hahaha I was too shy to walks into the showroom wearing my Rm30 polo tee.

For those who has the $$$$$, well add any of the car or cars below to your New Year Resolution on the Must Buy items. As for me I will add into my list of dream cars....

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone...

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