Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Frolics: What Does Your Taste in Music Say About You?

I guess my taste in music says I'm a boring, boring person. Oh well....

What Your Taste in Music Says About You

Your musical tastes are upbeat and conventional.

You are an easy going, optimistic person.

Family and friends are very important to you.

You enjoy caring for and helping other people.

You thrive in a tranquil environment, and you do your best to keep things peaceful.

You enjoy your life. You have your priorities straight.

More Fun Quizzes

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Of Cereals and Hotdogs and Others

Some funny pictures to share...

Probably put up by your boss...

How was your cereal this morning?

Boy genius!

Good reason to wear PJs or something to bed?

Latest grill accessories - these are a must have!

And finally, how to handle a problem neighbour

Source unknown

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Know Your Fruit Labels

These days, fruits come with a sticker. I've never paid any attention to the sticker but from now on, I will. Did you know that the code on the sticker has a significance?

Conventional Fruit Labels
- A four-digit code that starts with the number 4

Organic Fruit Labels
- A five-digit code that starts with number 9

Genetically Modified Fruits
- A code that starts with the digit 8

What this means is that, an apple in the store with a label that reads 4922 is a conventional apple grown with herbicides and harmful fertilizers. This is the regular common produce. If it has a sticker that reads 99222, it's organic. If it says 89222, then it means it has been genetically modified or engineered.

So the next time you go shopping, keep this information in mind.

Additional information:

In his comment, Doc asked for the source of information. Unfortunately, I did not have any as it is from a forwarded email and people are not in the habit of quoting sources. However, a Google-search brought me to the website of International Federation of Produce Standards. The codes on these labels are called Price-Look Up (PLU) codes and they are for fresh fruits and vegetables sold in random-weight/bulk in produce departments. This is universal apparently. You can find the info on PLUs on PLU Codes User's Guide, page 17. However, code #4 is not mentioned. There must be another source.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gas and Durians

The "no free lunch" has finally caught up some - in the area of gasoline. The government's subsidy on gas has also benefitted our neighbours. At RM1.97/liter, some Singaporeans have been taking advantage of this cheaper gas and coming over to Johore Bahru to fill up their tanks while grocery-shopping over the weekend. With a currency exchange rate of about 2.25 to their advantage, the Singapore dollar covers a lot more mileage over here.

Today, the government announced that starting Friday, there would be no more petrol sale to foreign cars. Petrol stations located in border states like Johor and Perlis will be barred from selling petrol and diesel to foreign-registered cars starting Friday. This applies to petrol stations located as far as 50km from the border. The government is also studying if the ban should include petrol stations in Pontian.

Not only do our neighbours enjoy cheaper gas, Singaporeans also come to Malaysia for the food. One popular item is the durians. Each year, tons of durians are exported to Singapore.

For durian-lovers, you might have to pay more for the fruits this season as the rains during the supposedly dry season disrupted durian trees from flowering, thus bearing less fruits.

Durian orchard owners in Penang are lamenting about the poor harvest this season. In good times: The average durian tree can yield 50 to 70 fruits after flowering. This season, the yield is a lot less.

More... The Star..Bad weather a thorny issue for orchard owners

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Enjoy Flea Markets

Did I ever mention that I like flea-marketing? I do. The one that I usually go to is the one at Amcorp Mall. You could come across some really nice items in flea-markets but the challenge is to know how much to pay for them because the opening prices can sometimes be rather ridiculous. The other day, I saw a nice pocket watch being picked up by someone just ahead of me. Oh well...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Your Flip Flops Say About You

After the heavy downpour yesterday (flower pots in the office garden were knocked about), we are seeing clear blue skies again. Great weather for the beach. Great weather to put those bikinis and flip flops to some good use. You think?! Unfortunately, the beach is some 40km away though the flip flops do come in handy in the garden.

Flip flops. Do you have a pair? What do yours look like? Anything like the ones I picked in this quiz? Imagine flip flops can say so much!

What Your Flip Flops Say About You

You live to have fun, and your sense of humor is downright goofy.

You are a big kid on the inside, and you have a very open heart.

You try to make every day feel like a vacation, even if you have other responsibilities.

Each day, you make a little bit of time to play and let loose.

Your ideal warm weather place: Disney World

More Fun Quizzes

Friday, May 23, 2008

Streets of Kuala Lumpur

Oh great! It's pouring again now. Some say the haze is back. Perhaps it is, or perhaps we are polluting the atmosphere faster than the rain can wash the particles in the air away. Latest I heard over the radio that hotspots were sighted. Here, let me show you a shot I took two mornings ago.

Bad, huh? Oops! My apologies for always showing you the view of the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpur Tower each time the KL skyline is featured. Sorry, but that's all we have. -lol- Scream if you have to.

Despite the heavy downpour yesterday afternoon, the atmosphere was no better after that. Shot below taken this morning. Same same.

But take a look at how clear it was two weeks ago. I had to go downtown to sort out something in KLCC one Saturday morning.

Here are a few shots of the Petronas Twin Towers from different angles.

This is a directional sign along the road leading to the towers. Colourful.

This s a montage of four pictures. The top left was taken from the ground looking up, while the bottom left is from where the shot was taken. The top right is one of an early skater (an expatriate - not a young man though) and the bottom right is one of early shoppers or maybe not, because it was still too early for the shops to open. It was just nine-ish. Perhaps they were on their way to the skybridge.

This is a very old Chinese temple along the same road and same side as the Petronas Twin Towers. This temple has recently been refurbished. Not sure how far this is true but I heard that there used to be an old lady in the inner sanctum of this temple that was able to tell a person's previous life, plus when a person is going to die. Eerie! I wonder who would want to know that!

The road this temple is on is Jalan Ampang (Jalan is road or street in English). Jalan Ampang is sometimes referred to as Embassy Row for the many embassies and consulates along this street. You can find the Chinese consulate, British High Comm and French Embassy here besides others.

Jalan Ampang is one of the longest streets in KL. It stretches right up to Ampang village at the other end where there is a settlement of Chinese Hakka families, probably related to Yap Ah Loy.

On the other side of the Twin Towers is this old office complex, Angkasa Raya. This is one of the earliest/oldest complexes in Kuala Lumpur. Notice its simple design vis-a-vis the tower beside it. This complex dates back to the early 70s and was one of the tallest then. The other tower is much higher. Notice the KL Tower beside Angkasa Raya. KL Tower is located on a hill in the city though quite a distance from this part of town.

This is the junction of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P. Ramlee. P. Ramlee was a local celebrity. He was a very talented entertainment personality in the 50s and 60s. He was a film actor, director, singer, and songwriter. Thus this road was renamed in his honour. Notice I said 'renamed'. A lot of roads have been renamed from colonial English names to local names. Jalan P. Ramlee used to be called Jalan Parry. Sad that we are killing our own history.

See the brown building with the pointy top? This is the headquarters of Public Bank. This building is diagonally opposite the Petronas Twin Towers, separated by the junction in the above picture. From the picture, Public Bank would be somewhere in the direction of 2 o'clock while the Twin Towers would be at approximately 8 o'clock.

At night when the lights are lit, the building looks like a citrine crystal tower. That's the lit building between the Twin Towers below the skybridge in this picture. The Public Bank building is a sight to behold and which adds colour to the KL skyline at night.

A closer view of the marble-and-glass Public Bank building. On its right (but not shown in the picture) is the Australian High Comm.

I probably added a little oomph! to this gentleman's day when I took his picture. He amd his friend were rolling on paint to the boards shielding a work-in-progress construction site. They are imported labour from Indonesia. These days, the people who staff the construction industry are mostly foreign workers, Indonesians making the bulk of it.

After my business in the KLCC (KL City Center) area, I took a drive to the other side of town, the Golden Triangle area. This is Jalan Imbi. Notice the street is not congested with traffic. I was surprised too that a Saturday morning could look like that. But then again, it's still too early for vehicles to be pouring out from office complexes. Office workers enjoy a half-day workday (usually from 9am to 1pm) on Saturdays unless they are on a five-day workweek.

The brown building in the background is Berjaya Times Square. This is one of the newest malls in the city and according to Wikipedia, it is tagged as the "world’s largest building ever built in a single phase". It's attractions include an indoor amusement park, Asia’s largest indoor theme park, Cosmo's World, Malaysia’s first-ever IMAX 2D & 3D theatre, nine levels of shopping, two 5-star hotels and a monorail station right next to it. In April 2005, Borders Group opened its first franchise store here. Currently, the store is the largest Borders store in the world. Other popular stores include Metrojaya, which is a multi-level major department store.

The white and blue building on the right is the Parkroyal Hotel. See the pink structure in front of Parkroyal? This is a row of old shops. This street, Jalan Imbi, houses a number of renowned restaurants, such as Overseas Restaurant (Chinese cuisine), Sakura Restaurant (local fare, especially famous for its fish head curries), a number of vegetarian restaurants and a corner coffeeshop that serves the best meatball noodles in town.

This is a close-up picture of the same Berjaya Times Square, plus the monorail track. The monorail system just plies the city centre. Outside it, runs the LRT (Light Rail Transit) system which helps relieve some city traffic congestion.

Taxis here are colourful. The picture above shows two taxis of two different colours. This one is orangy-red with a strong message on anti-dadah (drugs). In Malaysia, possession and trafficking of drugs carries a death sentence.

This is another shopping mall, Sungei Wang Plaza which literally translates to River of Money Plaza. What's in a name, you say? Well, this complex even though has been here for more than two decades, is doing extremely well. On weekends, the place is packed with shoppers, both locals and tourists. You'd wonder as to where these people come from. We are gearing up for the Middle-eastern tourists who are normally here in the summer months of June right up to mid-September. Hotels are doing a roaring business this time of the year.

An overhead pedestrian bridge makes it safer to cross over to the other side from Sungei Wang Plaza - but jaywalkers are aplenty. Above that is the monorail track and beyond that is the monorail station. This station is only one stop away from the station at Berjaya Times Square.

This is the street leading away from the busy part of town. Still quiet. Monorail track overhead.

Kuala Lumpur is not entirely concrete. There is a lot of greenery everywhere. Btw, the white building in the background a little to the left, is Genting Highlands head office. This is the hub where they handle bookings for shows and rooms at the Genting Highlands Resort or popularly known as City of Entertainment.

KL, like any other city, has both the new and the old co-existing. This is a block of old flats, regularly spruced up with a new coat of paint.

Cranes atop buildings are a common sight here, afterall Malaysia is only 50 years-old.

I hope you enjoyed this little car-ride tour of KL. Next time, we'll go visit somewhere else. Welcome to Kuala Lumpur!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Manchester United New Champions of UEFA Champions League

Sing it:
We are the Champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end -
We are the Champions -
We are the Champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the Champions - of Europe -

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Here, Read My Diary

Keeping a diary was the rage in school. My friends had a diary each. Me? No diary. Didn't believe in it and still don't. Having a diary is dangerous, big time!

I know if I were to maintain a diary, I'd want to document every minute detail of everything and everyone. There'd be very intimate details and it would be like "all hell would break loose" should the contents be spilled. Alright, I am exaggerating. No diary for me. Look what can happen if it were to fall on wrong hands, like this one:

Diary of a young wife

Now home from honeymoon and settled in our new home.
It's fun to cook for Tim. Today I made an angel food cake and the recipe said, 'beat 12 eggs separately.' Well, I didn't have enough bowls to do that, so I had to borrow 12 bowls to beat the eggs in. The cake turned out fine though.

We wanted a fruit salad for supper. The recipe said, 'serve without dressing.' So I didn't dress. But Tim happened to bring a friend home for supper that night. They both looked so startled when I served them, I think it was the salad.

I decided to serve rice and found a recipe which said, 'wash thoroughly before steaming the rice.' So I heated some water and took a bath before steaming the rice. Sounded kinda silly in the middle of the day. I can't say it improved the rice anyhow.

Today Tim asked for salad again. I tried a new recipe.
It said, prepare ingredients, then toss on a bed of lettuce one hour before serving.' I hunted all over the place for a garden and when I got one, I tossed my salad into the bed of lettuce and stood over there for over one hour so the dog would not take it. Tim came over and asked if I felt all right.I wonder why? He must be stressed at work, I'll try to be supportive.

Today I found an easy recipe for cookies. It said, 'put all ingredients in a bowl and beat it.' Beat it I did,to my mum's place. There must have been something wrong with the recipe, because when I came back home again, it looked the same as when I left it.

Tim went shopping today and brought home a chicken. He asked me to dress it for Sunday. I'm sure I don't know how hens dress for Sunday. I never noticed back on the farm, but I found an old doll dress and it's little cute shoes. I thought the hen looked really cute. When Tim saw it, he started counting to ten. Either he was really stressed because of his work, or he wanted the chicken to dance.

When I asked him what was wrong he started crying and shouting out 'why me? why me ?'

Hmmm....It must be his job.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Where Pigeons Gather

Here in Malaysia, it is not uncommon to see man-made pigeon lofts or homes in the backyard. But this is only found in homes in the suburbs or in the less concrete-jungle part of town. In Malaysia, pigeons are reared sometimes for their meat but oftentimes just as a hobby. In Hong Kong, grilled pigeons are a delicacy.

Last week, I was surprised to see pigeons homing in at a parking lot one morning. Of course, it wasn't like the number found in Paris or New York parks but enough to cause a stir. A young man was scattering seeds and the birds were there to get their share. I thought that's a pretty awesome sight of someone feeding the birds. Delightful to watch.

Over here, the pigeon population is not large enough to warrant any ban on feeding them unlike in Trafalgar Square where you can be slapped with a 50 pound fine, while in New York, there is a proposal for a $1,000 fine for feeding the winged creatures. Talk about feeding, time to grab a bite.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

That Cute Little Smart Car

I've been missing something lately on the way to work. Radio is on perfect, right down to the station with the two clownish deejays; traffic is the same, congested; sometimes cranes fly overhead; no traffic policeman in sight - which makes traffic smoother. Oops! Yet, there is something distinctly missing.

Got it! I miss that cute little red-and-grey car, the one that looks like a giant training sneaker. Yeah! It's that Smart car. We used to pass each other every morning on my way to work. I kinda like its look. Cute! The lady who drives it looks sweet too and I think she's conscious of her car attracting second, even third glances. Somehow you can tell.

There aren't many of these cars on the road here though. I wonder why. Could it be the price vis-a-vis its size? Or is it the smallness of it that gives the impression that it's not a safe car? If the latter is the reason, I think there is nothing to worry about as studies show that this tiny Smart car built-for-two scores big on safety. This pint-size, 8-foot 8-inch-long vehicle, the smallest car for sale in the U.S. market, has earned top scores in crash tests conducted by the insurance industry.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Save water - Bathe with a Friend

We sure have come a long way. I mean there are so many advances in equipment and gadgets around us.

I went with a girlfriend the other day looking for curtain rods and curtain materials, so we made our way to a furniture mall. It was the bathroom accessories section that took our fancy. There, we saw a few types of walk in tubs. We were told that these walk in tubs are popular in the west because they make it easy to get in and out of the tub - no stepping or straining to get in or out of the tub. Very safe.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Frolics - What is Your Personality at 35,000 Feet

It's Friday again. How nice! This weekend is going to be fun, fun, fun! There's a wedding and a birthday to attend. But still, I'm glad it's going to be a 3-day weekend, Monday being a public holiday. Thank Buddha for that. (It's Wesak Day.)

True to the Friday tradition, have fun with this quiz. And oh, have a happy weekend.

Your Personality at 35,000 Feet Says...

Deep down, you vastly prefer being with others to being alone. You love to engage people in conversation.

You don't spend much time thinking about your place in the world. You are who you are - and people can just deal with that!

Your gift is having a way with words. You know how to express yourself well.

You are inspired by freedom. Whenever you are able to do what you want, good things happen.

It's very easy for you to feel happy. You can find peace with any situation.

More fun quizzes

Thursday, May 15, 2008

China Earthquake

On Monday, May 12, 2008, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Wenchuan county in Sichuan Province. The epicenter is less than 100 kilometers away from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. The whole nation is involved in the rescue effort. Last I read, almost 15,000 have perished, 25,000 under the rubble and 8,000 still missing.

If you read Chinese, you can get 24-hour updates here.

In the meantime, here are some shots from a forwarded email, whose captions must have been put together by a sensitive, caring person. The source is unknown and I might have to take them pictures down if asked to. Just thought I'd share them here. The magnitude of devastation is unimaginable.

Source is unknown but "Thank you" to whoever put this touching compilation together