Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's That You're Eating?

Have you ever sat and ruminated over the thoughts about where your food comes from before digging into that scrumptious meal in front of you?

I'm sure most of us would have heard of the urban legend regarding KFC and it's 6 legged headless chickens running around in cramped cages (no, that does not make sense upon reflection, unfortunately) before they're killed and marinated and then cooked into either OR or the Hot n Spicy versions. It is also said that it is called KFC now instead of Kentucky Fried Chicken because apparently, it is not chickens that we eat but the 6 legged, headless creatures! Of course once again, I need to stress that this is only an urban legend, and countless people still line up at their counters day after day...

Anyway, the other day I had watched half a show on tv about chickens, and how there are free range chickens and non-free range chickens, based on how they are reared in farms. Obviously, free range chickens are treated better than non-free range chickens. In fact non-free range chickens are fed to the point of obesity in cramped areas to maximise profit. There have been times when I've eaten at certain places, only to discard my chicken halfway upon gagging on the amount of fat on it.

Now I understand that it is impossible for farmers to provide a large area to shelter the birds comfortably as they're reared to be killed for food and not as pets. I have even touched this topic on mangrove crab rearing which I was dead against. It raises the question of us being at the top of the food chain and our responsibility towards those who are unfortunate enough to be eaten by us. The thing is, besides cruelty (not much space to run, having your eggs taken from you, etc) the people who end up eating the birds are not in a very good position either. I mean, we eat chicken because it's supposed to be (somewhat) healthy white meat, provides protein, but if the chicken itself is raised unnaturally with all the growth hormones and allowed to be obese, what is going to happen to us?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tell Me Your Secret

If there is one thing that annoys me, it's the fact that some people just cannot seem to grasp the idea of privacy. Why don't they understand, if someone doesn't tell you something, then it means they don't want to tell you. Perhaps for obvious reasons.

For some unknown reason, people seem to look at me as their secret keeper. They kind of pull me aside and say something and then add "it's a secret, you know". And I nod and acknowledge the fact. That makes me feel like Post Secret at times, but I don't mind. No doubt I have been able to keep people's secrets for years without it being leaked out at all. Ask my sister, she knows.

Anyway, as I mentioned in a earlier post, my direct boss had sent in her resignation and it's official at the moment. Everyone knows she's leaving, but the reasons behind her departure and future plans are perhaps known to only a select handful, perhaps those of us who were particularly close to her. The day she submitted the letter, she informed of her resignation and her future plans. Maybe she was excited about it and needed to tell someone, and she told me. But it's meant to be a secret. Now, she is quite close with a few of us, and she might have told them the whole story, but I don't know, and I don't want to know either.

The problem is, other people seem to have been bombarding me with questions regarding her departure. If they really want to know, why don't they ask her themselves? Why need to look for the person who is supposedly closest to her to find out? (we're the only two females in our department so we are indeed pretty close) Although most of the curious people were curious in an ordinary way, one of them was the worst of the lot. His name is *Joseph, an old, fussy man who could drive the Dalai Lama up the wall with his constant blabbering and anecdotes from his previous place.

I found this man hovering near my place in the office one evening after the official working hours. I think there were only three people left in the office at that time. The rest were probably in the various areas in the factory, doing their work, or on their way home and he suddenly asked me if I knew about H's resignation. Knowing that she had already informed everyone else, I acknowledged the fact. He proceeded to ask me if I knew the reason why, but I replied that she said it's personal. Don't they get it? Should we put up a poster with the definition of personal plastered everywhere? Seeing that I wasn't going to reveal anything, he used a different approach.

(Tip: the key to keeping a secret safe is to act stupid all the time so people will get irritated and leave)

"I heard she's unhappy with the situation here" he says
" I don't know..." I say
"Another thing, I heard" he lowers his voice conspiratorially "is that her whole family is migrating"
"I really don't know. She said it's personal, and I understand that" I say...
"Her family is migrating... I know" he says and walks back to his side of the office.

I suspect he was trying to shock me into revealing her side of the story. Who does he think he is? The Secret Service?

*real name used! Ha!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nowhere to Go

Picture borrowed from onemanbandwidth.wordpress.com
We live right here, on a planet called Earth where forests are green, and seas are blue. We are fortunate to be teeming with life, or are we?

I was driving to work today at the mind-numbing speed of 8 km/hr (there was an accident along the way that caused a jam that stretched for miles) when I observed an old dilapidated wall covered with greens. It had once had a grand looking house in the compound, which was nowhere to be seen, and the gate too had disappeared (metal thieves?) I don't know when it was abandoned, but the compound itself had grown into a massive tangle of weeds (not weed, hahaha) which would probably be waist high had I ventured inside, with saplings growing wildly and looked pretty much like a secondary jungle.

Now, I mention this because it is after all World Earth Day on the 22nd of April, and for me, seeing those greens fighting their way through what was once a human domain is a positive sign that we can turn around the damage we have done to the planet if we really want to.

People may argue that the Earth is not in trouble, and about global warming being a myth and all, or even worse a situation that was created to frighten us into submission by the powers that are. It is quite hard to convincingly say yes, there is global warming and we should all be afraid. The thing is, the planet is pretty much unpredictable and may suddenly decide to re-enter the ice age again for no rhyme or reason while everyone is busy worrying about the 0.5 C increase in temperature.

Nevertheless, the Earth is our home, and it is up to us to take care of it the best way we can. Reuse, recycle, reduce, whatever. Stop the bloody open burning - if you don't want to think about the planet, at least use your brains to figure out then when your annoyed neighbour finally finds the Environmental Department's phone number, she will not hesitate to call them, and will actually be a witness when you're prosecuted. Stop littering like a moron. Use the bins, and if you can't find a bin at that very moment what harm could a sweet wrapper possibly do if it sits in your pocket for awhile? Use the recycle bins correctly, take care of the river, the list goes on. In short, *"Preserve the Earth before it decides to preserve you!"

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

* I hereby trademark this statement!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Milestone Documented

After slightly more that 3 years of almost consistent procrastination via ramblings on life and things that surround life itself, we hereby announce that we have finally hit the 25,000 visitors mark, although admittedly the first two or three hundred were my own before I realised that I could block my own cookies (but I can't eat them, alas!)
The number above shows the count as at 11:45 pm. If my backtracking is accurate, then the exact 25,000 mark was hit at around 4:00 pm earlier today.

On a totally unrelated note, I got a kick out this funny line on a show just now.... "The pool's on fire! Someone get some water!" Ha! Ha!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where Did All The Money Go?


Blame it on the media - an overexposure to the economic crisis that is currently plaguing the whole world apparently has it's effects, including inducing curiosity in people like myself, who as I have mentioned in a previous post lacks proper knowledge in this field due to the narrow scope secondary school education had provided.

In a move to understand things better, I had gone on a search for a book that went by the title Freakonomics - firstly because the long lost friend who had recommended the book said it was pretty good and had in fact made him interested in Economics, so much so that he had actually contemplated doing his post grad in Economics. This was back in December 2006 and we had lost contact since. Secondly, this coming from someone who is a self-professed non-reader was quite interesting in itself, especially after hearing his sad encounter with books (apparently he was handed old copies of girlish boarding school stories by his older female cousins - this I added here for your entertainment only), thirdly, I didn't want to get into a very academic and detailed book and this seemed like the best bet, and fourthly - I had a few book gift vouchers I had to use, and this book was there in front of me and was also discounted on top of that!

I had spent the past two weeks with the book, finishing it just about a few hours ago (my reading time is unfortunately limited to about 15 minutes before work begins and about an hour before I sleep, but that also depends because I have woken up in the middle of the night/morning with the book on my face feeling terribly disoriented), and I must sadly admit that it could not possibly answer my question to "Where has all the money gone?" I actually realised this even before I was halfway through the book, but decided to continue reading because you never know what you might get and then say it out loud.

Nevertheless I found the book enlightening to say the least. It's all about asking the right questions and interpreting data in the best way possible, which is a small part of what I do in the field I'm in. It is also a very interesting read, the kind that makes you think to yourself "Oh wow!" or "Why didn't I think of that?" Although it did not necessarily make me an instant fan of economics, I still think that if we get the opportunity to have a copy in our hands, no matter who we are, reading it would be a wise choice because you just never know what it might give you!

I quote from pp 196 from the bonus material section "If you ask me if the stock market's going to go up or down, if you ask me if the economy is going to grow or shrink, if you ask me if deflation is good or bad, if you ask me about taxes - I mean it would be total fakery if I said I knew anything about those things" If an economist himself says something like that, then I guess it is OK for someone whose basic knowledge in economics was mostly about a subject called engineering economics that encompassed finding the price of pumps and distillation plates, converting them from USD to RM to know the ROI to not be able to answer the question to where has all the money gone, right?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tough Stuff

*Gorbachev asked me this morning as to what my immediate action plan regarding work looked like. I was quiet for a bit... somewhere in between being flummoxed and curious as to how and why this question could have arrived in the first place - it being an economically bad climate to move places when seniority is your safety belt of sorts.

He theorised that our current situation in the department I'm in is like this (He's now in a different department, but still hangs out and works closely with some of us)

There's one key person, and she's kind of holding us in place despite how bored/tired/annoyed/disheartened we are of the situation we are in, and mainly because she is quite the kind of boss that expects you to do your thing well and will support you 100% if help is ever needed. We don't see the results immediately (she's only been in that position for almost a year), but we can see ourselves moving - like glaciers if you may... slow but with impact. She's also the kind of person who gets along with just about everyone. The only problem now is that she is leaving. She found her greener pasture.

So, Gorbachev thinks that with her leaving, a few of us who have been working very closely with her (there are 4 of us - 2 process engineers and 2 supervisors) will follow suit, which although may seem ridiculous at first glance begins to make complete sense when you look at it closely. Of course the effect will not be immediate, but if her replacement doesn't respond to us in the same way, we most probably will be disheartened and move elsewhere. Besides, working with her moved things, and our goals were similar and most important of all we were a team, and we were making a difference despite the many hiccups. And for some reason, he feels that if any of us are moving away as well, he might face some difficulties as well - probably in terms of cooperation (our departments work closely together) and he therefore wants to know what our plans are - he's mainly concerned with **Tivenka (the other PE) and me because he deals with us more than he deals with the supervisors.

Now, I don't know why I brought up this issue... perhaps I'm subconsciously trying to reason out things with myself. Will things change again and we will be lost without a leader just when we're getting back in groove after one year of torture with Mr. Bridge? Or will things remain the same as they were, perhaps we will move with just the four of us? Or will the place where I spend quite a number of my waking hours suck so much more?

Too many questions are left unanswered.

* A Russian name
** Yet another (assumed) Russian name

PS: Thanks to Mike for the Russian names suggestion.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stolen Sunday

In case you didn't already know there is a Robin Hood-esque blog out there, aptly named Sunday Stealing, where they go around stealing memes from the meme rich blogs to share with the meme poor blogs! Well, sort of anyway, cause the meme poor blogs actually have to do the stealing on their own... after all blog posts don't really write by themselves, do they?

Anyway, I was checking out their blog week ago and found this meme, which I thought I'd steal because it looked like fun.

Third Meme about Blogging

1. How did you come up with your blog title OR what does it mean?

There is a movie out there that goes by the title Unfinished Business. I've never watched it, nor do I really know what it is about, but titles tend to stick in your head at times, so I used it. However, the reason it's used here is due to the fact that writing is my unfinished business. Another thing I ought to mention is that this particular blog had a different name originally for a very different purpose.

2. What are your general goals for blogging?

There are none. It is just a hobby.

3. Do people “in your real life” know that you blog and do they comment on your blog OR is it largely anonymous?
How often do you post (x per week)?

I think there may be about 4 people whom I've met in person before who I voluntarily gave the URL to. Two of them are in my blogroll and occasionally drop a comment here and there. The other two are my cousins. My sister found me by accident recently though, and so did one of my recent Sarawak travel buddies... so I suppose that makes me largely anonymous, although over the years I have actually made several friends in the blogging fraternity over a hugely popular networking site. And I'd like to meet them in person someday...

Posts are posted anywhere between once a week to almost everyday depending on the situation at hand.

4. How often do you read other blogs (x per week)?

I read those on my blogroll whenever they're updated. The cool new blogroll feature sees to that. As for some other blogs which are I've bookmarked/added to google reader - it depends on how often I go in there (as in bookmarks and google reader)

5. How do you select blogs to read (do you prefer blogs that focus on certain topics or do you choose by tone or…?)

It started with the next blog button, which led to several interesting blogs and then some website that called itself the bestest blog which had an enormous list of blogs, and another called a world of bloggers which also had a huge compilation of blogs from which I found some great reads - most of which I read till today. I have a slight preference for personal blogs because people's stories are often more interesting and you sort of relate to it better, although specific blogs such as food blogs and political blogs also have some form of attraction. For Malaysian blogs, I occasionally trawl Project Petaling Street.

6. Do you have any plans to copy your blog entries in any other format, 0r do you think that one day, you’ll just delete it all?

Ha! Ha! Funny that... In fact this is what this blog originally was. But no... at the moment I shall not be doing any backing up unless I decide to take a break for 6 months or more (and that is also because I used to hear of people who have had their blogs 'stolen' from right under their noses) If someday I'm too embarrassed about this blog, I may just 'hide' it, but deletion is not an option.

7. What are the things you like best about blogging?

I don't really know.. I just gave it a try out of a sudden back in 2005 because I had so many stories to tell and I keet doing it. Maybe it's the fact that there is something to do that keeps me blogging, and of course the people I got to know along the way and making friends from all the different cultures I wouldn't have made otherwise :)

8. What are the things you don’t like about blogging?

None that I can think of at the moment

9. How do you handle comments?

I try my best to answer to all comments unless I miss them (which happens sometimes if comments are posted into much older blog posts) Since my posts are usually non-controversial and non- confrontational, I have never really found the need to defend myself or others against abuse and attack. In the initial days, I did innocently reply to a spam comment as well.

10. Do you have any burning thoughts to share on blog etiquette?

I'm going to keep this for the future!

11. Any desired blog features?

A portable blog that can type on it's own while I dictate my thoughts?

12. Have you suffered blog addiction?

What do you think? ;P

Monday, April 13, 2009

White Noise

She was walking along a somewhat familiar path, well known and well worn, one she's been using for the past 6 months or so without fail. Suddenly, an arrow, unseen and unheard swishes swiftly by her right ear, narrowly missing her by a fraction of an inch and lands neatly into a pile of wood, quivering slightly due to inertia.

She turns, surprised, and sees a familiar face. "Why are you using that path? he asks.

Eyebrows raised slightly, she answers "This is the path. I've been using it all this while"

"Well, it's wrong" he says. "You're supposed to use that path" he continues, pointing towards a different path. To her it looked like what once used to be a path. It was now all covered in brambles.

He walks away, slowly. Before he disappears completely from view, he turns to her and says. "Remember, use this path the next time"

She nods her head acknowledging agreement despite somewhat skeptically. Why does *life seem like the simulation of being stuck in the middle of a field of a particularly **nasty rugby game?

* Well, not life per se, but a very rough representation of it

** Not that rugby games are nasty, but you know how it always seems to be muddy in some sort of way, and there's people all over, grappling, trying to lay their hands on the elusive rugby ball, and you're all alone in the middle of that!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Week(end) That Was

Random Scribblings On a Sunday Afternoon

1. My brains are more tired than I thought them to be. I can't figure out the reason just yet. Then there is also the fact that I there are quite a number of thoughts moving around in my brain and what better way to spend Sunday filing them up neatly on a blogpost!

2. Went for Nan's engagement function on Friday. When I went over to say hi (after the ceremony and stuff were over) she put away whatever she was holding to give me a hug and introduced her fiance. He's got a very soft handshake (as opposed to firm), but I've never seen her this happy before although she's one of those people who's always got a smile on their face. (Of course knowing her for the past 17 years, I can see the difference between genuine happiness and a normal smile)

3. I now suppose she (Nan) didn't tell me personally that she was getting engaged because she most probably was being the demure girl, the kind of behaviour a girl is expected to have by parents and future in laws of the community we belong to, and hence got her parents to do the publicity instead of jumping around and announcing to all and sundry that she was getting engaged. (Very archaic, I know... but there you have it!)

4. TerraShield and her cynicism are both going to hell

5. Went for S's wedding reception on Saturday afternoon. Haven't seen this girl since 1995, I think. Facebook reunited us. Also met with SL there at the reception.

5. Too many of my friends carry the same initials. Blogging about them using those initials is driving me crazy!

6. Technology is cool... but now, my laptop's USB port is having difficulties recognising my modem. (About a year ago, my ethernet port gave issues) What will be the future of my internet usage look like? I think it's bleak... and shadowed with fist banging on the laptop. Or modems being left overnight in refrigerators!

7. Do your taxes, TerraShield... don't wait till the last minute!

8. Using sunglasses and driving is surreal. You feel as though you're moving in a sepia coloured film.

9. Nothing interesting happens anymore :(

Edit: By nothing interesting, I mean to say nothing blogworthy - like dropping a pile of books on an innocent bystander, or flood occurring on the 2nd floor, etc!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do



Under normal circumstances, a zoologist will most probably faint at the very idea of anyone referring to orang utans as monkeys. Under *not so normal circumstances, the orang utan will most probably pulverize you to submission if you call it a monkey.

We spent the final afternoon of our stay in Sarawak visiting the Orang Utan Sanctuary otherwise known as the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. Most of the animals here were rescued from terrible conditions and are taken care of (given food) in the wilderness. Although they are in contact with humans and have all been given names, they are not exactly tame. For instance, according to the person who gave a briefing before we saw them, the orang utans (especially the young uns) are capable of being mischievous and might snatch shiny objects and run off into the forest, and chances are you might never see your things again, because the forests border the neighbouring country and unlike us who need passports to travel around, the orang utans and their simple lifestyles don't require valid travel documents!

Over the years, the population of orang utans have grown, and to enable the public to view them, the wildlife centre opens the place during feeding time which is about 3 pm. It all seemed fine at first... the orang utans stayed on the trees and moved along the ropes to where the food was. And then she arrived... the oldest of the orang utans with the longest and shaggiest hair I've ever seen, and as you observe them moving, you can sense how strong they actually are. Imagine if they get annoyed with you for no apparent reason and decide to tear you from limb to limb! Scary!

Later on, we walked into a trail about 200 metres inside to reach another feeding area. There was a family eating there and there was also all these people busy clicking away at their cameras to capture shots of the family. The male sort of motioned the female and the baby to kind of hide, and he turned his back towards us (the people taking shots) and showed us his ass. At that moment, I did feel a bit bad for the orang utans... there they are, trying to live their lives as normal as they possibly can, and here we are busy watching them eat, as though it's some sort of freak show. I know for a fact that I'd hate having strangers take my picture while I'm eating!

The video above shows the oldest female, it's not very clear because it was taken with a normal digital camera and I needed to do a lot of zooming. Besides, this is my first attempt at posting a self made video (it's only a few seconds, though)

* for instance the librarian in the library of the unseen university

Thursday, April 09, 2009

On Friends

It was a windy afternoon, and I, donned in the ugliest clothes ever (a school uniform) walked to the bus stop where a solitary figure sat, most probably awaiting the same school bus as me. We got to talking, and found out that we were going to take the same school bus and we were in the same school. That day back in December of 1992 marked the strange but interesting bond between me and Nan.

Conversations in the school bus led to discovery that we were sort of kindred spirits, and without any of us openly acknowledging it, we were labelled best buddies. Moreover, we did have a not-so-secret language that we used among ourselves driving everyone else around us crazy. Ah, those were the days. As we grew older, though, we kind of drifted apart for no apparent reason. It reached a point only two years later that we stopped having stuff to talk about. Nevertheless, after school ended and we all went our own ways, we still kept in touch (via snail mail) followed by e-mails after the discovery of the world wide web. Despite the erratic communication we had I always knew what was going on in her life. From new jobs, to the joke about how the refugees called her and her colleagues Kofi Annan's delegates, and to the point where she almost changed religion for a guy she was dating.

The thing is, this old friend of mine is getting engaged tomorrow and she has been silent so far as to who this mysterious guy is. In fact, I found out about her being in a relationship through Facebook and her getting engaged from my parents when her parents had apparently invited them to the event. I am a bit surprised that until today she has kept quiet about this getting engaged thing (and I know for a fact that she was not forced into this engagement or anything of that sort - I doubt her parents would lie about such a thing, and besides she changed her relationship status on facebook which means that she was well aware of what's going on) and it bothers me to an extent. Surely she must have something to say...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Food for Thought

If there's one thing I can't get enough of, it's observing people. And because of that, the observation below was noted and now shared. Who knows it might come in handy sometime regardless if you're Malaysian or not...

The best way to annoy a Malaysian living abroad is to talk about food. Local food. And you've got their goat.

What would be the best way to annoy someone from your country who is living abroad? Anyone?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bako National Park

A few years ago, a friend said that a visit to an island is not complete unless you go to an ocean (that was Bali 2006), and hence a visit to a place that is famed for its forests is not complete without a visit to (yeah, you guessed it) a forest.

Bako National Park was a 20 to 30 minute drive away from our hotel (I didn't keep time) and upon reaching there, we were first required to get the entrance tickets where the officer informed us of the conditions we were about to face, looked at our shoes and commented that JC's shoes might not be suitable, but it was. He then proceeded to tell us that seeing that the tide was low, we'd have to wade through the water to reach the park entrance, and there we may encounter jellyfish and some sort of scary fish, so we had to be careful. Gulp.

We got on a boat that was supposed to take us to the National Park. The river was wide, and for me rather scary... only the knowledge that I had on a life jacket and the fact that the tide was low kept my spirits high. Nevertheless, I could not bring myself to walk around of the boat for fear that it may tip over!

There was a good view of Mt Santubong, a mountain steeped in ancient myths about two sisters who got jealous of each other, where Santubong poked Sejinjang with something and crushed her to bits. So we have Mt. Santubong and bits of pieces of Sejinjang that no one seems to talk about.Over the river we also went to this place by the sea where there are sandstone formations from 75 million years ago, and the marvels of erosion. It is said that what is now the forest was under water back then. Interesting, huh?

We had breakfast at the canteen at the National Park. Alas! My brekkie was disrupted by a monkey and her baby (my plate flew into the air when I tried to run from them) One thing we had problems with was getting a guide. Apparently, all the guides were pre booked, and we had to enter on our own :( However, as luck would have it, a guide who was guiding three *people from HK took us under his wing. At first, one of the three was reluctant for us to share their guide because they were pressed for time and were afraid we could not keep up! As if... :p

As time passed by, the member who was the most reluctant to have us along ended up being the friendliest one, even to the point of wanting to know us personally - where we were from, what we are doing, etc. Ha! Ha! We took the Paku trail. It's only 800m and is supposed to take one hour. It requires a bit of climbing and good foothold. One of our team actually tore her favourite pair of jeans on one of the rocks there! It was a tiring climb combined with the heat from the sea and the forest but it was all worth it. Also my going to the gym - although only twice a week has made me stronger. So, woo hoo! According to the guide, despite the size of the trees, none of them are too strong. In fact, the combined power of a few *strong men (he could have used the words a few strong people instead of men) can actually push the trees down. This is because the trees do not have **akar tunjang (which I literally translated to taproots because I have no idea what they are called since I'm from one of the batches that learnt science and maths in Malay) because there really is no ground for them to grow in (the ground is mostly sandstone) and have modified their roots to cover a large area to compensate the lack of the taproot.

Our journey took us to a secluded beach and we caught a glimpse of the proboscis monkey. The photo didn't turn out though because yours truly aimed the camera at a wrong tree :(

Along the beach we also saw mangrove crabs - very cute. Mangrove plants and more sandstone. Some of it made me feel as though I have landed in an alien planet! We went back to the registration area, claiming that we had all exited the park in one piece, and went back to our boat. It was a bit after one pm by then and we still had to wade the sea. The water was bloody hot, yet another interesting experience.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Case Of Over Scrutiny

While the whole world hides behind their television sets appraising Mr. Obama as he moves about in his daily duties as one of the most anticipated Presidents of the United States, some quarters have started observing Mrs. Obama and commenting on every other thing she does.

I was *watching the recorded news on CNN about 10 this morning which had the headings written at the bottom of the show regarding Mrs Obama and her Royal Hug, followed by the question "who made the first move?"

Oh, come on! I had to stop and laugh, though.

To be honest, the kind of scrutiny this woman is under surprises me. I don't recall any other first lady being commented about this much. I think the media should give her a break, so what if she hugged the Queen? I don't think the Queen would have minded it at all.

Maybe hugging (or putting her arm behind the Queen's shoulder - as that is what I saw the other day) is just her thing, and protocol (if there was one) just escaped her mind. Besides, she's pretty new to all of this, and even the best of us make mistakes when doing something new, unless we're the kind of person who refuses to do anything new for fear of making mistakes. I think they (the media) ought to come off it for awhile.

* Only watching, not listening! :)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Sunset at the Waterfront

Where there is a river or straits, there is apt to be a waterfront.

If you look at it from a cliched perspective, you'd say that the Kuching Waterfront is just a stone's throw away from our hotel, a row of stalls selling food and drinks, ethnic music playing in the background with an excellent view of the Sarawak River that stretches quite a bit. I do wonder though, if any of us actually stood right outside the hotel facing the waterfront and threw a stone towards it, would it have reached the waterfront, or would we have hit an unsuspecting victim on the head in our efforts to prove the stone's throw away theory? We never found out.

It was 6 pm by the time we left the building again to check out the waterfront. JC and U who reached earlier had visited the place earlier that morning and wanted to sleep a bit, so PJ, JV, UM and myself headed out. It was getting dark fast (Sarawak is more East than Kuala Lumpur, hence it does get darker earlier although our clocks are set to the same time) and a good thing too as I managed to get a few shots of the gorgeous sunset. The one below was one of the earlier pictures I took, and I was amazed that my old 2005 model camera could capture the colours so well. This one currently serves as my laptop wallpaper.


There is a reason why we should not take photos while walking, and that is something I always forget, but I thought the arc made by the tree branches along the waterfront area was very nice to look at, but this was all I got, a shaky image where people actually look like ghosts, and the arc is barely visible.

This is the image I got after the sun had set. I thought the lights dancing on the river (which was very clean, by the way) was just lovely. As you walk along the waterfront area, there is a small jetty which leads you to a boat ride, if you so wish and it costs only 50 sen (USD 0.16), which was very surprising seeing that it was a touristy place and all... but there you have it. None of us took the boat ride that day because it was rather dark (although the boats travel right up till midnight) and besides, the whole gang wasn't there.
Unfortunately we never made it till the very end of the walking path where there is a Fort called Fort Margherita which was built for one Mrs Brooke. Neither did we visit the Chinese Museum because it apparently closes at 4:00 pm.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Muse Misses The Last Flight Out

History repeats itself. It seems as though each time I go off on a trip (holiday or otherwise) my muse rides along, which is not a bad thing (after all, I owe observing silly things like the pilot welcoming us to KL instead of Kuching because of the muse)

However, the downside to this is that my muse kind of purposely stays behind to enjoy itself while I struggle with drafts and drafts of attempts to document the journey and experience I've encountered and everything else in between. In other words, I'm sort of having another 'block'. Damn!

So, while I gather my materials, sort out my thoughts, get back ownership of my brain (it is currently held against it's will by the foreign advisors until Thursday evening), and await my muse, I leave you with these - a picture of 'us' and a diagram depicting how we know each other...



Due to the semi private nature of this blog, we can only show you our feet... besides, it is admittedly difficult to travel without your feet!


How we know each other