Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2010 Manifesto

“A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions”, so wiki says. The normal word to use is ‘resolution’ but this word doesn’t exert any power or oomph as ‘manifesto’ does, and is best left to define screen width and breadth e.g.1152x864.

Long story cut short, here is my manifesto for the new decade :-

1. Graduate Pre-U, preferably A-levels. Estimated time of completion : 2 years (until Jan 2012). My preferred choice of pre-university course.

2. Learn German. Estimated time of completion : 2 years (until Jan 2012). Thinking ahead, this is a stepping stone in case I intend to further my studies in Germany.

3. Buff up. ETC : 6 months (due June 2010). This is certain since I have my National Service for 3 months.

4. Pick up Guitar. Long Term Goal. Intended to do this for long, now is familiar with basic chords but not too fluent yet.

5. Doctorate in the field of Physics. Long, long, long, long term goal. But I know I will get there someday.

And this concludes my manifesto. Look out for me in the future!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gastronomy @ Krabi

Banana Pancake

One of the highlights in Krabi Gastronomy are the pancakes served by roadside hawkers. Dunno whether it can really be called pancakes though, it looks quite like the mamak stalls’ roti canai. Howvever, it is much tastier!

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Our ‘frequent customer’ stall would be the one in front of the McDonalds, as my mum concludes that this stall serves the best pancakes ( as everything I eat are tasty for me). Also there are many other flavours and varieties available, but no matter what make sure you try the banana!

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No.1 Thai Food

Opposite our hotel lies a restaurant that proclaims that they are “Number 1 Thai Food”. Out of curiosity we went over and had a bite – apparently the food was so nice we gobbled it up before I realized that I didn’t took any pictures! We also had a pleasant surprise when the Thai-Chinese owner speaks our dialect, Hakka. But the fact is out of 6 of us only my father can converse with her as I only know hakka as far as yit, ni sam, si…(1, 2, 3, 4…)

Sorry for no pictures and here’s a picture of the restaurant with that dazzling signboard – Proudly presented by Senior Fong, PhD in Gastronomy, Balakong Univ.

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Deep-fried ghosts (w/kaya)

The last day, we spent our late morning at a restaurant serving ‘deep-fried ghosts’. If the name sounds funny, it is a literal translation from Chinese ‘you-zha-gui’ / Cantonese ‘yau-zha-guai’. It’s a piece of dough deep-fried and usually served in pairs of cut into several pieces. In Thai they serve the dish with some kaya (coconut egg jam).

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Somewhere along the street there is another local restaurant serving steamboat, but we didn’t have the chance to try it. Likewise, I believe there are many more culinary delights out there waiting to be discovered, so don’t forget to search for more dishes if you’re going to Krabi!

play @ krabi – kayaking and elephant tour

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Two activities in one day!

In the morning, we went to the jetty to ride our canoes and go canoeing, also known as ‘kayaking’. My ma fantasized that someone will row the boat while she swallows the surroundings, but reality is far from it.

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Without strong muscles, we’re bound to snuff out quite fast. But with right techniques and strategy (cheats), we were able to keep up with the leader! One tip is to go the short way when turning corners, just make sure you don’t get washed ashore.

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Me and my trusted partner boat. Actually, not so trusted because it capsized once.

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Starfishes on a lagoon

The journey is about 4 hours. My mother vowed never going to kayak again!

Later in the day, we got some elephants for an authentic thai massage. Of course, not with them trampling on our backs.

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Here lies another variety of the cashier counter paradox – Why do they seem to enjoy it so much, but when we ride it fear of falling off terrorizes us? Our elephant are unusually hyperactive, preferring to take the long way overgrown with shrubs and cobwebs.

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THEM

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US

After a whole day on the sea and elephants, it’s good to be back on land again!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Play @ Krabi – Phi Phi Islands

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When my ma enquired about the tours offered ( at the faux tourist info booth), the lady proudly proclaimed that ‘You don’t go to Phi Phi Islands, means you never came to Krabi’.

Some Geography – Phi Phi Islands are composed of two main islands, the larger Phi Phi Don with resorts and beaches, and the smaller, inhospitable Phi Phi Ley. Other islands includes islands such as Bamboo Island, Dog Island, et cetera.

Our tour brought us for snorkelling at several spots including Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach and a dive in the middle of the sea. The view (which I can’t present to you because my camera isn't waterproof) is quite fascinating, reminiscent of my Redang and Tenggol (Terengganu islands) trips long ago.

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Other spots we explored are the Phi Phi Ley Islands,

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Maya Beach,

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and Phi Phi Don where we have lunch and I explored the science of creating rock solid sand balls.

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Well, the sun is always bound to set and after playing our hearts out, we decided to call it a day. Boats in the picture are known as longtail boats, which I think is due to how they put their motors on a long metal pole extended from the boat.CIMG6337

Impressions @ Krabi

Upon reaching Krabi after a short flight of 1 hour plus from KL, we booked a taxi to our pre-booked hotel, the Aonang Goodwill Hotel. My pa asked the driver to bring us to the town centre to search for some tours as we did not arrange any ground tours here unlike our previous tours. The driver then brought us to some official-looking booth with a sign that reads ‘tourist information’, but actually it is a travel agency inside. A walk along the Ao Nang area later confirmed my suspicions – a lot, if not all, the travel agencies offering tours displays the sign ‘tourist information’.

The locals here are quite well-mannered and friendly. Our hotel manager, Sun helped us carry our luggage to our rooms, recommended us some good places for Thai fare, and remembered our room numbers by heart. The guides on our tours are good too, and even the local merchandise sellers do not chase tourists unlike our past experiences in Bali and China which sellers are persistent and sometimes irritating.

Commercialisation rears its head here with the appearance of chain stores such as Burger King, McDonalds and Swensen’s among other stores. Many still prefer boutique, local places to eat as those shops are usually void of people. but still locals will feel the squeeze from the competition, and does not reflect the culture of Krabi. This kind of development is just over the line for me.

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The omnipresent golden arches, even in Krabi

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Notice the Subway store?

Nevertheless, Krabi is definitely a joyful and relaxing place, and I hope it would remain so for many years to come.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ivory Towers

Direct translation from Malay ’menara gading’, which roughly symbolizes the pinnacles of knowledge, i.e. universities, colleges and the likes of it.

Went to Mid Valley Exhibition Centre today with my gang to attend the Malaysian Education Fair. Unlike last time when my aim was unsure, I headed inside, activated my eagle eyes and find for the word ‘A-levels’ in the booths. Results, I found several colleges offering the programme, naming Taylor’s, Methodist College KL, UCSI, KTAR, KDU and INTI among others. My priority is to enquire about intakes and scholarships, however I found out a thing about A-Levels I didn’t know – the two types of courses, Cambridge and Edexcel offered by these colleges. This time my ‘souveniers’ are lighter that the last time, but still need to go through those brochures and fine print and double-check before deciding.

To readers who has experience in A-levels, have you any advices for me? Kindly leave it in the chatbox, many thanks in advance.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Orange warfare

One of my post-SPM activities includes bathing orange paint, and of course bathing other people with it using CO2 fuelled machine guns in the rough sand dunes, guerrilla jungle and lakeside gang-fight zone. This is orange warfare, where we fight our enemies for the joy of seeing orange on their heads (not for our lives) in the ground zero of Tanamera Paintball Park.

The journey to Tanamera in Sg Buloh takes about 2 hours from Kajang, and upon reaching we were briefed about paintball and rules and regulations, as well as getting a feel of our weapons.

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The Centre

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Getting a feel of our guns (they call it ‘marker’)

We played 3 battles in total, the first beside a lake named Lake Placid where we fought head-to-head. We had a disadvantage as the other team had a peninsula to stand on. The second one which took place at the Vietcong guerrilla jungle naturally had us seeing red too as my group was at the lower part of the hill slope. The 3rd which I feel is the best take place at the Dunes, which somehow feels like some Middle East war zone. We played an occupation match, and due to miscommunication in our team, the rival team took the chance to run straight to our base and plugged their flag there. And as you can see, my group lost all 3 battles ^^.

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The Vietcong

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Fr left : Me, Chua, Abu (our guide) and Liew

Through this orange warfare, I somehow thought that NS is going to be tougher than this! Seems I need to buff up before my turn in NS. And this game requires high level of stamina, strategy and teamwork of course. This will be good training for us urban fellows, and after all the most important thing is – It’s fun!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday hollow days

The world of SPM Candidates starts to spin again – after Chemistry, except those who take Chinese very seriously, unlike me. After all, the percentage of Chinese student likely to take Chinese is I think around 20%, maybe even less. I have taken Chinese, but is not even getting B’s on it. Answering these papers requires talent + luck…Wait, I think I’ve ranted on this in the earlier post, didn’t I?

Two days passed after Chem and I’m already in full holiday mode, playing console games, read comic, books, or just daydreaming around until night. You notice the pattern? That I’m doing things that are ‘hollow’, that makes no impact whatsoever to my life or of others. Every night that ambitious feeling kicks in, thinking ‘I will do something worthwhile tomorrow’. ‘I will do a morning workout’, ‘I will find something to learn tomorrow’, et cetera, et cetera. But, when the sun rises, reality kicks in and the strong electromagnetic waves of the PS2 pulls me towards it. and keeps me occupied for hours and hours.

I also would like to plan in advance for my coming three-months break, but with my NS appeal results not yet known planning is impossible. For now, I’ll just let the water flow and follow the currents, and see how it goes..

Friday, December 4, 2009

9/11

The countdown meter is removed long ago, and time flies – 9 papers are marked off the list leaving Chemistry and Chinese Language. In overall my confidence is still there, the fighting spirit – but it faces danger of dimming out caused by the number of days separating these two papers – a week!

These two subjects are my nemesis. Chemistry is always my lowest subject among the three sciences, others being Bio and Physics. And Chinese, I never saw an A with it after going on to Form 4. Especially hating the subjective question, no matter what I write it will be greeted with a cross! I tried asking other students who fared better on the subject, and they replies it is a matter of whether your impression on the extract text given is similar to the marking scheme or otherwise. In other words, luck is your weapon. Being exposed to Chinese more is one advantage, but the language I use on the newspaper, forums, even my blog says it all.

What’s more, over the days we can recognize our invigilators now. One teacher who had quite a cool hairstyle recently cut his head botak (bald)! Another teacher is widely recognized because he share the same name with our protagonist in the novel for Malay Literature – Hilmi. Those who suddenly face short-term amnesia due to tension was in luck!

Still, the war’s ain’t over yet, and all the best!