Saturday, August 31, 2013

Malaysia celebrates 56th Merdeka (Independence) Day today, August 31 2013

Update: 2015 National Day celebration

Malaysia celebrates National Day today, August 31. This is our 56th anniversary having achieved independence from United Kingdom in 1957. Independence Day is a more appropriate term as it was on this date 56 years ago that Malaya became independent. Malaysia did not come about until in 1963, September 16 to be exact when Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak came together to form the new Federation of Malaysia. In 1965, Singapore left to form the Republic of Singapore.

This year, the Independence Day parade is officially held in Kuala Lumpur. Crowds, local and tourists alike, converge on Dataran Merdeka to watch the morning parade.  There is also a live telecast for those who prefer to watch the parade at home.

This year's Merdeka theme is "Malaysiaku berdaulat: Tanah tumpahnya darahku" which translates to English as "My sovereign Malaysia: My native land".

The theme calls for Malaysians to be united in defending the sovereignty of our beloved country. In line with the theme, this year's parade will showcase the assets of the country to defend the country as opposed to floats of former years that featured cultural aspects of the country.

The king and queen, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other cabinet ministers, as well as VVIPs and their wives will be on a special stage to witness the parade. The picture above shows where the main stage is which is right in front of the Abdul Samad Building.  The field on the right is Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square which has one of the tallest flagpoles in the world at 95-meter tall.  You can see part of the flagpole on the top-right corner of the picture (above).


More pictures available in The Star.

A video to watch of the Merdeka Day parade..


Friday, August 30, 2013

Upcoming major Malaysian festivals

Hari Raya being a month-long celebration (until Sep 7), Malay homes are still projecting an air of festivity all brightly-lit at night.  Family and friends are still visiting one another spreading goodwill and cheer.

The next major festival that we will see is the Mid-Autumn Festival (on Sep 19) or also known as Lantern Festival though not to be confused with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of Chinese New Year. Lanterns will take centre stage for this festival though Chinese homes would sometimes be decorated with coloured lights for that added glow.

Deepavali (Nov 3), an Indian Hindu Festival, is also a festival of lights and aptly known as Festival of Lights. Homes are adorned with lights and other decorations as Hindus celebrate this happy occasion.

Then there is Christmas on December 25. Though some months away, colleagues of mine are starting early preparation this year in the shopping department buying presents and christmas lights white wire type as well as coloured lights to celebrate this season of love and cheer.

Image source:  The Star
Speaking of lights, downtown Kuala Lumpur will be all aglow tonight ushering in the 56th Independence Day tomorrow, August 31. Dataran Merdeka will be a sight to behold as well as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building across from it. This year, Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square in English will be the venue for the Merdeka Parade tomorrow.

People from the city and other states, as well as visitors from overseas will be at the square to witness the Merdeka parade. Many others will be catching the live telecast of the parade on tv.

Happy Merdeka Day!

Friday Frolics - What's Your Soul's Urge?

Now here's another Friday Frolics personality quiz that doesn't need answering questions and yet is able to tell some truths about you. Not possible? Take the quiz to find out for yourself.

Happy Friday, everyone!  Enjoy what's left of August.  It's just two more days to go.. 

Here in Malaysia, we celebrate National Day tomorrow, August 31.  It will be our 56th year of independence from Britain.  We remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations of which there are 54 member states.

And now the quiz..



Happy's Soul's Urge is Joy


You are a truly and naturally happy person. You are always grateful for something.

People are drawn to your light hearted spirit. You are very popular without trying to be.


You can see the good in almost every person. You don't criticize, condemn, or gossip.

You truly embrace life without fears or worries. You hurt like everyone else, you just move on from it more quickly.


Last Week's Quiz: The Labyrinth Test

Monday, August 26, 2013

Protecting your PC with a reliable Anti-Virus Software

A computer that has access to the Internet has a chance of being infected with malicious threats such as viruses, adware, spyware and Trojans. These threats can cause damage to the computer's operating system. Some of these threats can also replicate themselves as well as send emails to people in our address books, the latter I have been on the receiving end before and a nightmare for the unsuspecting email-sender.

There are a number of ways a computer can get infected and they include through email messages, websites and pop-up windows. Accidentally stumbling upon websites or typing in a wrong website address can sometimes result in more and more windows being opened. I read that the only way to stop this from continuing is to shut down the computer. However, if the computer does not have anti-virus protection, it could easily be infected and once the computer is restarted the virus could replicate itself into the system registry. Having an anti-virus software in a computer is not an option but a sure way to protect your computer.  The anti-virus software would need to be the first thing to have installed before you start using your computer.

What anti-virus software to install you may ask.  Here's a source for an ESET reseller. ESET has just released version 5 of the home version. ESET has been providing antivirus technology since 1992 and serves customers in more than 80 countries. Its software packages are available in 15 languages and boasts some of the industry’s most coveted honors. It holds more 100% awards from that Independent Test Lab than any other manufacturer in the world, a claim NO OTHER Antivirus Manufacture in the world can make.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

IKEA Trendig 2013 capsule collection of limited edition products


Fans of IKEA will have something to look forward to in September when the largest furniture retailer in the world launches a capsule collection of limited edition furniture and houseware products rolling out starting September 27.

The collection under the name, Trendig 2013, unites Asian cultural influences with the best of Scandinavian design.  This is the first time IKEA launches such a capsule collection of limited edition furniture and houseware products.

The limited edition collection will include crockery, furniture, textiles and table accessories including but not limited to trays and placemats.

By the way, ever wondered what does the name IKEA stand for?

The acronym IKEA is made up of the initials of the founder's name (Ingvar Kamprad) plus those of Elmtaryd, the family farm where he was born, and the nearby village Agunnaryd.

Ingvar Kamprad was only 17 when he founded the company in 1943 in Sweden. He is listed as one of the world's richest people in 2013.


Sources:
- The Star
- Wikipedia


Saturday, August 24, 2013

A fetish for rings

For safety purposes, nowadays it is rather rare to see ladies decked up in lavish precious gold and diamond jewelry in broad daylight unless it is for a formal function such as a wedding reception or a function that requires some pomp.

For the guys, they wear less jewelry though they may pleasure themselves with rings. A colleague who wears a ring on almost all his fingers shared some insights as to his obsession. Being once a military personnel, he has a military ring on one of his fingers. He said he's been having this ring since he left the army.

Do you have a ring fetish too? Come share your experience and passion.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Frolics - The Labyrinth Test

Let's do a simple Labyrinth test today but one whose answers you provide will tell about you. Take the quiz to find out more..

Happy Friday, everyone!



You Are Creative


You are open minded, flexible, and adventurous. You never quite know where you're going, and you like it that way.


You take a lot of time to enjoy yourself and live life to the fullest. You don't mind being in the slow lane.


You find that most tasks are easier than you anticipated. Things are never as bad as they seem.


You work hard for the feeling of satisfaction it gives you. Any money you get is secondary.


Last Week's Quiz: How Do You Color Your Life?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Metallica concert at Stadium Merdeka


The Star reported that 30,000 fans attended the Metallica concert last night and tickets were no cheaper. I wonder what's the crowd like at the Linkin Park concert at Bukit Jalil two nights earlier. The concert was held at the 45,000-capacity Stadium Merdeka.

The Metallica Live in Malaysia 2013 concert was the band's first ever in the country (its last show in the region was in 1993 in Singapore), and it was a rousing success as the band rocked the sell-out crowd with a set comprising some of its most popular hits.

These include Master of Puppets, For Whom the Bell Tolls, One, Nothing Else Matters and its all-time most recognisable song, Enter Sandman.

Comprising of lead singer guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo, the heavy metal band was formed in 1981, and is one of the most popular and commercially successful rock bands in history.


Google honours Claude Debussy

If you are a classical music-lover, you may like Google's animated doodle for today in honour of French composer, Claude Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918). The doodle is to honour his 151st birthday.

Here's the doodle. Check it out at Google to view and listen to a Debussy composition.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Genting Highlands bus crash this afternoon


The Star reported that

Twenty-six people have been confirmed dead so far after a bus carrying 49 people plunged into a 30m ravine near Genting Highlands around 3pm this afternoon.

According to Fire and Rescue Department deputy director-general Datuk Soiman Jahid, 41 have been pulled out of the bus.

Those dead included the driver of the bus.

It is believed that the bus driver had lost control of the bus, which then rammed a divider before plunging down the gorge.

The bus carrying 49 passengers was coming down from Genting Highlands and heading towards Kuala Lumpur.



Source: The Star..26 confirmed dead in Genting bus crash


Incidentally, today is the 15th day of the 7th lunar month.


UPDATE:
53 passengers were on board the bus of which 37 were killed and 16 injured.

Following is the list of survivors who identities have been established so far:

At Hospital Kuala Lumpur:

Wong Teraphong, 63 (Thailand)
Ali Haider Syed Haider, 46 (Bangladesh)
Saidah, 19 (Malaysia)
Razif, 26 (Malaysia)
Tan Ming Shing, 26 (Malaysia)

At Selayang Hospital:
Raawnok Arefin, 14 (Bangladesh)
Nu Syamimi Ja'afar, 25 (Malaysia)
Nur Fathiah Ja'afar, 21 (Malaysia)
Rashidah Buyah, 50 (Bangladesh)
Andri Purwadi, 25 (Indonesia)
Nurul Quraitul Aini, 19 (Malaysia)
Rezyan Arefin, 24 (Bangladesh)
Nur Fridil Gusman, 23 (Indonesia)

Source: The Star..Genting bus crash: Bodies of victims sent to HKL

Updated Survivor list as of Aug 23 from The Star..

Updated Deceased list as of Aug 23 from The Star..


Related article:
RWG expresses condolences to families of crash victims

Chinese flock to IKEA to escape heatwave

The day started out this morning with bright sunshine and the promise of yet another hot day but alas, it's overcast now and even threatening to rain. In some parts of the peninsula, we are seeing moderate PSI readings and some smog in the air so some rain might be good. 

The PSI readings from the Department of Environment website as as the chart below. Blue denotes good PSI reading of between 0-50 while green is Moderate for between 51-100.  Kuala Lumpur is a combination of both blue and green.


Even though Malaysia is in the tropics, our temperatures seldom go beyond 40degC as what has been experienced in other non-tropical countries. I read with alarm and some amusement the other day about the heatwave in China, Beijing to be exact and that it was so unbearable but Beijing people flock to IKEA to escape the heatwave with some even falling asleep on their beds! I kid you not! Photos below are proof enough. Perhaps a little amusing..?


For more pictures, visit CNN's Gallery: Chinese flock to IKEA to escape heatwave


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Looking for a Remo Advent Djembe drum?

For a layperson who knows next to nothing about musical instruments, coming across a remo djembe drum large would sound like Greek to me.

A quick check online tells me that it is a drum as in percussion and comes with a variety of tones which you could tune. This particular drum has a weather-resistant synthetic-suede head so it's the perfect beginner's drum for anyone who would like to pick up this musical instrument.

I read some rave reviews and not only for it being the best value in djembes. It's lightweight, portable and water-proof, of course, having a synthetic-suede head. It can easily be tuned and played in the pitch range of a djembe or doumbek sound. If you need a reliable consistent sound, this Remo comes highly recommended.

How to select a stunning diamond ring quickly

At tea-break the other day, we (my co-workers and I) were talking about the Zodiac and the various gemstones associated with each sign. The exchange became more spirited when it came to diamonds. Everyone had something to say about diamonds. No surprise, really.

Shopping for a diamond ring can seem challenging at first, especially if you don’t know the proper guidelines in selecting the right one. But with the right amount of basic knowledge about rings, it could help you choose a diamond ring in no time. Here are a few tips to help you out with selecting the perfect stunning diamond ring of your dreams.


Have knowledge about the terms when shopping for a ring
Having the basic “know how” when it comes to diamond rings will help build your confidence. It will also help you ward off any dishonest ring sellers. You can do research about the terms that are standard when it comes to ring knowledge. Some terms may include band, setting, gemstone, the 4 C’s (carot, color, clarity and cut of the gemstone) and cost.

Select a good jeweller
Just because a jeweller is expensive, it doesn’t mean that it is the right one for you. Make sure to look for a store that makes you feel at ease and where the employees are helpful and pleasant to talk to. Be sure that you go somewhere that fits your budget range so you can walk in a jewellery store and walk out with the diamond ring of your dreams.

Know your taste or the taste of the person you are purchasing the ring for

To get the upper hand, it is always best to know what you want in a ring or what the person you plan to purchase the ring for prefers. Try to find out as much as you can in terms of the desired ring’s attributes so that you don’t get frustrated or too intimidated with all the diamond rings available at the jewellery store.

Know your budget
This is probably one of the most important tips because your budget will determine most of the decision. Choose a budget that is within your reach and won’t leave you broke. But don’t be too cheap and buy a diamond ring that isn’t even close to the desired style or type.

Know your diamond information
It is common sense to have basic knowledge about diamonds when it comes to actually purchasing one because they don’t come cheap. Try to do your research about the carat, color, clarity and cut of diamonds so that you’re familiar with what you should be looking for when you get to the jeweller.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Linkin Park "Living Things" World Tour - Live in Malaysia 2013

LINKIN PARK "LIVING THINGS" World Tour Live in Malaysia 2013
MONDAY, AUG 19, 2013 - 8:00PM - STADIUM NASIONAL, BUKIT JALIL

Tonight is the night! It's Linkin Park I'm talking about which I'm into their music too but, I guess, not fan enough to brave the crowd by going to the concert.

After nearly a decade of anticipation, LINKIN PARK returns to Malaysia to kick off their Living Things World Tour on August 19th at Stadium National, Bukit Jalil at 8:00pm which is tonight.

A friend, a true fan of Linkin Park, bought tickets way ahead to secure good seats to tonight's much-anticipated concert. He'll be at The Pit, the Yellow Zone behind the VIP Zone, tonight at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. You can refer to the Seat Plan below. The last concert was held at Merdeka Stadium, the one downtown near Chinatown and this friend said he bought a number of Linkin Park t-shirts at the venue.  I wonder what he'll be going home with this time around.

The award-winning, multi-platinum alternative rock band, LINKIN PARK is comprised of co-lead vocalist, Chester Bennington, drummer/percussionist, Rob Bourdon, guitarist Brad Delson, bassist Dave 'Phoenix' Farrell, DJ and programmer Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda, co-lead vocals, keyboards, guitar. The band has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, and is the biggest band on Facebook - with over 53 million fans and counting.


It's raining outside which is a good thing in a way as it's been hot and humid these past few weeks. Plus the rain helps to clear the smog that has snuck back in in some parts of the country, KL being one of the few. For Linkin Park and their fans at the concert, I hope the weather will be kind to them tonight.

For more information, visit ticketcharge.com.my, an online ticketing agent in Malaysia. Images above are from this site.

I wonder if they'll go by this scheduled setlist..

SETLIST: (Source)
01. TINFOIL
02. Faint (Ext. Outro)
03. Papercut
04. Given Up (Ext. Outro w/ Extra Note)
05. With You (2012 Scratch Intro; Ext. Scratch Outro)
06. Somewhere I Belong (2012 Intro)
07. New Divide
08. VICTIMIZED (w/ QWERTY)
09. Points Of Authority
10. LIES GREED MISERY
11. Waiting For The End (Apaches Intro w/ 'UNTIL IT BREAKS' v2; Wall of Noise Outro)
12. Breaking The Habit
13. CASTLE OF GLASS
14. LOATR/SOTD/Iridescent (Ballad Medley)
15. The Catalyst
16. LOST IN THE ECHO (2012 Intro)
17. Numb (Outro 'Numb/Encore' Lyrics Tease (Mike/Chester)
18. What I've Done
19. One Step Closer (Ext. Outro)
--------------------------------------------
20. BURN IT DOWN
21. In The End
22. Bleed It Out (Ext. Intro; Ext. Bridge w/ 'Reading My Eyes' v1; Ext. Outro)


UPDATE:
Linkin Park was worth the wait according to The Star..


KUALA LUMPUR: When a random person screams at the top of his lungs, it's annoying but when Linkin Park's Chester Bennington does it, it's music to our ears.

Bennington drowned the sound of the crowd at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil with his powerful vocals as he belted one hit song after another at a concert Monday night.

Bennington and his bandmates - rapper Mike Shinoda, drummer Rob Bourdon, bassist Dave Farrell, guitarist Brad Delson and turntablist Joe Hahn - entertained the crowd with several radio-friendly hits from the earlier days of their careers such as Numb, In The End and Papercut.

The band also included some songs from their latest album Living Things, and got the crowd going from the beginning of the set until the end.

Last night's concert also marked Linkin Park's final stop in the Living Things World Tour.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

RhythmTech RT8000 Cabasa makes Latin and world music sound better

An essential effect for Latin and world music is the sound of the RhythmTech RT8000 Cabasa!

This well-made Cabasa is made from hardwood with chrome fittings.  It has a rubber grip for easier, more comfortable play. A linear pattern on the scraper produces a brighter more cutting sound according to one musician in his review of this musical instrument.

Another reviewer shares that it is much more controllable than a shaker and that you are only limited by your imagination.  It records well and seems to hold up really well. 

The Cabasa is easy to use, yet extremely diverse with a great sound and could be used in almost any style of music, particularly in the intro as suggested.  The Cabasa is an excellent instrument, yet is cheaper than the Latin Percussion.  You would want to check it out.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Barclays English Premier League begins today

Here we go again.. the new season of Barclays English Premier League begins today, tonight Malaysia time.

Below is a look at fixtures for the first games of the new EPL season. To determine the actual time of play for KL time-zone, just add 7 hours to the times stated.



A little history in the meantime.

On this day in Premier League history, 17 August, 1996, David Beckham scores from own half and made history.

The goal helped Beckham win Premier League player of the month for the only time in his career. The strike was named the Premier League Goal of the Decade in 2002 and 10 years later it was included in the 20 Seasons best goal selection.

Source: Premierleague.com

Are you going to Egypt?


Everyday, day or night, you switch on to CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera or Skynews and you'd be hit with news about the violence in Egypt. It used to be news about Syria. Both situations are just as bad, worrisome and saddening, like why are we killing each other?

Egypt, like China, has a rich history and civilization that date back centuries so it should be a very interesting place to visit from what we know. If you are thinking about going to Egypt, you may want to hold on to that plan for now.

With the escalating unrest, many countries are issuing travel warnings about going to Egypt including the seaside resorts along the Red Sea though one owner of a diving centre in Hurghada said:

"Most of the events are 600 kilometres away in Cairo and in Alexandria, but people just don't realise that," he told Reuters by telephone.

"Downtown Hurghada is absolutely quiet. All I saw today were some people and police sitting together protecting the church."

He said the media coverage of the deadly violence was partly to blame.


Let's see which countries are issuing travel advisories to their citizenry..

German tour operators Thomas Cook Germany and TUI Germany, part of Europe's largest tour operator TUI Travel, cancelled all trips to Egypt after the German foreign ministry advised against travelling to the beach resorts popular with European sun-seekers and divers.

Similar advice from Sweden's foreign ministry led Swedish tour operators to stop all trips to the resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, 400 kms from Cairo on the Sinai Peninsula, and Hurghada on the Egyptian mainland.

Belgium followed suit, extending a travel warning to tourist resorts on Friday that led to travel agencies Neckermann and Jetair cancelling all trips to Egypt until August 31.

The United States on Thursday warned Americans against travelling to Egypt and urged U.S. citizens living in Egypt to leave the country.

Egypt attracted 14.7 million visitors in 2010 including 2.8 million Russians, 1.5 million Britons and 1.3 million Germans, according to OECD figures.

Three years ago the $13 billion (8 billion pounds) industry accounted for 11 percent of GDP, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Russia, the biggest source of tourists to Egypt, said its citizens should not travel to the country and its tourism agency advised against tour operators promoting Egyptian holidays.

Britain's foreign office has advised against travelling to Egypt except to Red Sea resorts, although a spokesman said this guidance was under constant review.

He said some tourists in resorts at Hurghada had been advised not to leave their hotel grounds after one man was killed in clashes there on Wednesday.

Millions of foreigners visit Egypt each year to laze on its beaches, tour ancient ruins and cruise along the Nile.


Travel advice issued by governments affects tourism as travel health and cancellation insurance will often not apply to locations deemed unsuitable for travel.
Source: The Star..Travel firms cancel holidays as violence grips Egypt



The two images above capture the views from the top of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They are two of a number of illicit photos taken by tourists in March of this year who secretly climbed the wonder of the world at night.

A group of Russian tourists waited until official visiting hours were over at Egypt's famous Giza Necropolis, before scaling the enormous Great Pyramid as the sun began to set.

The Russians managed to escape the attention of security guards at the ancient site, allowing photographer Vitaliy Raskalov to snap pictures of the surrounding desert and the majestic Sphinx from the top of the 455ft structure.


Here's another view from the top of the Great Pyramid..


For more information and photographs, visit The view from the TOP of the Great Pyramid: Illicit photos taken by tourists who secretly climbed wonder of the world at night


Better yet, view a video by CNN from which the above photos have been taken, I think.


The Russian photographer has apologized for ignoring regulations prohibiting the public from climbing on the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt.

"No words can express the fascination I felt when seeing my childhood dream come alive. Probably this very feeling made us climb onto the top of the Pyramid and see the the panorama of the whole complex, the desert and Cairo itself.

"It took us around 20 minutes to get to the top. We were taken breathless by the view.

"What we saw from up there was the seventh wonder of the world. We tried to capture the beauty of the scenery in the photos, so that the others could also see this magnificent panorama."


He said they were not the first to scale the pyramids.

"The pyramid's peak was filled with different inscriptions in many languages, some of them being hundreds years old." More on CNN..Russian photographer apologizes for pyramid photos


Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Frolics - How Do You Color Your Life?

Yeah, how do you color your life? Take the quiz to find out.

Happy Friday, everyone!



You Color Your Life With Subtle Coolness


You are a full of grace and peace. You don't let yourself get worked up.

You tend to be a bit reserved. You only speak when you really have something to say.


You aspire to a lot in life, and you're quietly working on your plan to take over the world.

You are elegant and a bit of a snob. You can't help it... you like expensive things!


Last Week's Quiz: What Color Is Your Birthday?


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Early shopping for Christmas

Shopping malls are still packed with shoppers throughout the country currently because the annual Mega Sale is still on until 1 September.

Even though Christmas is some four months away, colleagues of mine are starting to shop for Christmas taking advantage of the substantial discounts during this mega sale.

However, a few others prefer to put a personal touch to their presents. For these talented friends, they have started going online to find christmas ornaments to color. They have no shortage of choices and each year, the range gets better and better.

Do you also like to make your own gifts or create your own cards? Share with us what you have made in the comments below.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Seven Sisters Festival - August 13, 2013

Today, Google has an interesting interactive Google doodle to celebrate the Seven Sisters Festival, a traditional Chinese festival. The game requires the player to position the flying birds in the respective coloured spots in order for the lovers to meet at the top of the bridge.


The Seven Sisters Festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Today is the day this year.

Informally known as ‘Chinese Valentine’s Day’ (along with the Spring Lantern Festival) the Seven Sisters Festival has its origins in the two stars Altair and Vega. Chinese legend tells that these shining beauties are actually two lovers – a mortal cowherd and a goddess weaver – who have been cruelly separated on either side of the Milky Way. While the tale has several variations, many say that on this date each year the magpies of the world take pity on the star-crossed pair and form a temporary bridge for them to be united.

The festival is traditionally celebrated with needlework competitions, the burning of incense and young women making offerings to the lovesick goddess weaver and her cowherd beau. But in Hong Kong, some young romantics make additional offerings at Lovers’ Rock on Bowen Road in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. - Source: Discoverhongkong.com



Lonely Planet has a version closer to the one I'm familiar with that says:

Qi Xi is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Night. In a tradition that pre-dates Christ (not to mention speed dating), single girls carry out tasks to impress potential lovers. Also called Night of the Skills, the event sees girls showing off their talents at domestic duties such as embroidery and melon carving. They throw a sewing needle into a bowl of water and, if it floats, that indicates the girl is an accomplished knitter.

The festival honours seven fairy sisters who, while swimming, had their clothes stolen by a cheeky cowherd. Sent to ask for their clothes back, the youngest and most beautiful sister had to marry the mortal because he had seen her naked.

When her mother got wind of the unsuitable match, she angrily formed a river in the sky to divide them – the Milky Way. On this night, magpies fly into the heavens and create a bridge to unite the lovers.

Girls make offerings of flowers, food and face powder to the stars representing the couple. When the ceremony is over, in the hope of sharing the seventh sister’s celestial beauty, they throw half the powder on the roof and use the rest.

Local attractions: While the festival takes place throughout China, Hong Kong’s Lovers’ Rock is a pilgrim site for newlyweds and singletons.



I remember an old neighbour aunty used to set up a table with offerings of food, tea, flowers and other stuff relevant to this Seven Sisters Festival. She was the only I know who observed this festival. She was of the Cantonese clan.


Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris

Watching the Hong Kong TVB series Triumph in the Skies 2 (on Astro On Demand) last night, I was pleasantly surprised that Episode 21 takes the cast/story to this famous bookstore in Paris, Shakespeare and Company, located in a 17th-century building by the Seine at 37 Rue de la Bucherie, 75005 Paris, France.

Image source: Wikipedia

From Wikipedia..
Shakespeare and Company is the name of two independent bookstores on Paris's Left Bank. The first was opened by Sylvia Beach on 17 November 1919 at 8 rue Dupuytren, before moving to larger premises at 12 rue de l'Odéon in the 6th arrondissement in 1922. During the 1920s, it was a gathering place for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. It closed in 1940 during the German occupation of Paris and never re-opened.

The second is situated at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, in the 5th arrondissement - where it currently stands. Opened in 1951 by George Whitman, it was originally named "Le Mistral" but renamed to "Shakespeare and Company" in 1964 in tribute to Sylvia Beach's bookstore. Today, it serves both as a regular bookstore and as a reading library, specializing in English-language literature. The shop was featured in the Richard Linklater film Before Sunset and in the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris
and now might I add in Triumph in the Skies 2 or TITS2 in short.

This is the interior of the bookshop as you can also see it in TITS2. It also shows Summer (Myolie Woo) and Isaac (Ron Ng) putting up a night there - sorry, no hanky-panky, just heart-to-heart talk and some sweet moments. It also has them putting back books on the shelves, probably working for the store for accommodation for the night.

Image source: Wikipedia

Overlooking the Seine and facing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the store, looking somewhat beat-up behind a Dickensian facade and spread over three floors, has been an offbeat mix of open house and literary commune. For decades Mr. Whitman provided food and makeshift beds to young aspiring novelists or writing nomads, often letting them spend a night, a week, or even months living among the crowded shelves and alcoves.

He welcomed visitors with large-print messages on the walls. “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise,” was one, which he attributed to Yeats, although it was actually a variation on a biblical passage. Next to a wishing well at the center of the store, a sign said: “Give what you can, take what you need. George.” By his own estimate, he lodged some 40,000 people.

Mr. Whitman was famously frugal and expected the bibliophiles residing in his store to work a few hours every day sorting and selling books. Yet he also invited uncounted numbers of people for weekly tea parties to his own apartment, or for late-night readings enriched with dumplings or pots of Irish stew. - NY Times


Shakespeare and Company is now owned and run by Sylvia Beach Whitman, only child of George Whitman who used to live in the third-floor apartment above the store until his death at age 98 on December 14, 2011. She was named after Sylvia Beach, founder of the original Shakespeare and Company Bookstore.

Image source: NY Times

Ms Whitman continues to run the shop in the same manner as her father and allowing young writers to live and work in the bookstore.

Shakespeare and Company Bookstore - now, this is the kind of place that will make it to my itinerary should I visit Paris.


Related articles
- George Whitman, Paris Bookseller and Cultural Beacon, Is Dead at 98 - NY Times
- Literary Luminaries Hold Forth at Storied Paris Bookshop - NY Times

ADAM Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor


I'm looking for a pair of speakers for my laptop so I went online to do a search and see what's available. Too bad I was just looking for simple speakers but if I were in the market for really good speakers, I would seriously consider the adam a7x at musicians friend.

I'm not technically well-versed in this department but if you are, the adam a7x features below would mean something and a speaker worth checking out, I'm sure.



Features:
Excels at nearfield monitoring
Equipped with the X-ART tweeter and a large (7") midwoofer
50W A/B tweeter amplifier
100W PWM midwoofer amplifier
Upper corners slanted to minimize reflections
Large, double bass reflex tubes
±4dB gain for the high frequencies
Two shelf filters for the high and low frequencies
XLR (balanced) and RCA (unbalanced) connectors

Monday, August 12, 2013

Manchester United wins 2013 FA Community Shield

Manchester United is off to a good start of the new season by winning the 2013 FA Community Shield over Wigan with a 2-0 victory last night at the Wembley Stadium. Both goals were put in by Robin van Persie at the 6th and 59th minute.

Images below courtesy of Manutd.com

Man United 2, Wigan 0

Celebration..

Trophy presentation

New manager, David Moyes, dedicates trophy to Sir Alex


Yes! We are back to a new season of the Barclays Premier League.  A fresh start on a clean slate.  Are you able to tell the three new teams that have joined premier league and the three that were relegated? Here's a hint for the latter.

Click on image to enlarge.
Source: Premierleague.com

I am still supporting Manchester United in case you may be wondering..

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Oprah Winfrey suffered racism in Switzerland

Ugly thing called racism. Happens to the best of us.
According to CNN, Billionaire U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she was the victim of racism on a recent trip to Switzerland when a shop assistant refused to show her a handbag because it was "too expensive."

Winfrey was in Zurich for Tina Turner's wedding in late July when she left her hotel alone and popped into an upscale handbag shop.

She went into the shop and asked to see the crocodile skin bag. The shop assistant said, 'No, it's too expensive.'"

Winfrey says she asked again to see the bag -- a $38,000 crocodile skin number by Tom Ford -- and the woman again refused, saying, "No no no, you don't want to see that one, you want to see this one, because that one will cost too much and you will not be able to afford that."

Winfrey says she asked a final time to see the bag: "One more time I tried -- I said, 'But I really do just want to see that one,' and she said, 'I don't want to to hurt your feelings,' and I said, 'Ok thank you so much, you're probably right, I can't afford it and walked out of the store. Now why did she do that?"

Winfrey chose not to identify the shop, but the name of the high-end boutique -- Trois Pomme -- was soon revealed. The shop's manager told CNN the entire incident was a "200 percent misunderstanding" and had nothing to do with racism.

More on CNN..Oprah Winfrey racism row over Switzerland shop incident

Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amp

The exceptional marshall bluesbreaker at musicians friend would be up your alley if you are a recording and performing musician looking for a great amp.

The Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amp is just like the one used by Eric Clapton during his stint with Mayall's Bluesbreakers and famously on the Beano sessions. It comes with 30W output and 2x12 speakers and produces a gutsy bass and vibrant top, coupled with an overall natural warmth.

Musicians who are using this have given it rave reviews for its superior best clean sound. This amp works very well for Reggae, Blues, Alternative, and jazz according to one musician. Plus, you can also achieve a wide variety of tones by using a few pedals.

Yet another musician commented that this is a serious amp for the blues &; rock player. A beautiful hand wired 2 channel amp (which I jump together) of just the fullest, sweetest, richest tone.

There you have it, rave reviews for a great piece of equipment, the Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amp.

Book Fest Malaysia 2013

If you've yet to visit this year's Book Fest, you have until tomorrow to do it.
BookFest @ Malaysia, established since 2006 is aimed at showcasing leading publishers, exhibiting the latest most innovative stationery, CD and Multimedia products. This much-anticipated yearly bookfair has more than 600 booths, allowing hundreds of publishing houses, book and stationery distributors from all over Asia and elsewhere including United Kingdom, United States and Canada, to present and display their goods.

Available are millions of books from the latest and best collection of Chinese, English and Malay titles.

The Book Fest occupies a total of 133,000 square feet of exhibition space.  The Chinese Pavilion is located at Halls 1 & 2; the English Pavilion in Halls 4 & 5 and the Lifestyle Pavilion in the Grand Ballrooms 1 & 2 as well as the Banquet Hall of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

This year's BookFest @ Malaysia 2013 was officially launched on 2 August 2013. The exhibition opens from 10 am to 10 pm daily starting from 3 till 11 August 2013. Admission is RM 2.50 per ticket. FREE admission is given to students 18 years & below and senior citizens 60 years & above.

Visit the Bookfest Malaysia website for more details.

Saving fruit peels to turn them into natural cleaning products

Image source: Google
Every time I peel fruits or remove their skins, I feel a little guilty about having to throw them away when some of my colleagues save them to make cleaning products. Have you heard about fermenting fruit skins in water with brown sugar and turning them into natural cleaning products?

Apparently, they are effective for cleaning jobs and they are not abrasive to the hands. Needless to say they are eco-friendly. Maybe I should start looking into this green cleaning method to contribute a little to saving our planet.