Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Blue Over Red

Today I took the blue taxi, which is the executive taxi.  It costs RM15 for a ride from the Aeon Bukit Indah shopping mall to somewhere that is also in Bukit Indah.

I took the executive cab because the budget taxi (red one) asked for RM25.  As I was walking away, the driver of the red cab reduced it to RM20, and eventually to RM15.

Well, if I can get an executive ride for the same price, why not go for blue?

For those who seldom take taxis, the flag down fare of a budget taxi is RM3 while an executive cab charges RM6.

Being carless is actually giving me the opportunity to experience all this, which I would've missed if I were driving my car, which is currently still at the workshop.

“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain.”

Vivian Greene

Earlier I had arrived at the Aeon shopping mall using Uber.  The fare was RM3.97.  See the difference?  Uber is not legit, you say?  Charging RM15 for a ride that should have cost only RM8, or the most RM10, is also not legit.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Carless Week

JB Sentral
Yesterday --- which was a Sunday --- I went to the JB Sentral to wait for Bus No. 221.  Left the office at around 7pm.  Got a bus fairly fast to JB Sentral.  Waited for Bus 221 until 8.12pm, and finally got onto another bus to take me back to the office.  Reason for this merry-go-round?

Bus 221 never came, and I heard none was coming.  The day before someone already told me that it would be hard to get a bus on a Sunday, but I had faith in our public transportation system.  So, I decided to try.

While I was waiting for 221 yesterday, some people were saying that there's not going to be a bus coming, but I didn't quite believe them.

It turned out to be true.

When I got back to my office, I took a cab home.

The taxi driver told me it's going to be tougher for cab drivers in days to come because of the competition and also the fact that many foreign workers have gone back to Indonesia.

He said he was not surprised 221 didn't come because some stage buses nowadays are also being rented out, like cabs, so it will not run unless it is filled to capacity with commuters.

I called Syarikat Pengangkutan Maju Bhd to verify this.  The person I spoke to, En. Jalil, said it was untrue and that the delay could be due to "dua bas rosak" (two buses broke down).

I have been carless for a week now, and have gained so much new insights and knowledge.  One of them being that if you are ever involved in an accident with a motorcycle, the law always favours the motorcyclist even if the car driver is 99% in the right.  You will lose your NCB because the motorcyclist can claim for bodily injury within 7 years of the accident.  So, if you are ever in a road accident that involves a motorcycle, go lodge a police report.  Let the insurance company handle it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ramadan, Just Around The Corner

The Islamic holy month of dawn-to-sunset fasting known as Ramadan is just around the corner.

Where to go for the breaking of fast? If you're planning a gathering for corporate clients, friends and family, check out the "Bufet Ala Bazar" Buffet Dinner.

Date:  June 6 to July 4, 2016
Venue: Gleneagles Terrace Restaurant, Pulai Springs Resort
Price: RM 105 (adult) and RM 52.50 (child)
Enquiries/Reservations: call 07-521 2121 / visit www.pulaisprings.com or e-mail us at enquiry@pulaisprings.com

*Early birds (patrons who want to dine between June 6 and June 13), the price is RM90 (adult).

*For every 9 full paying adults (not valid with other discount schemes and programmes), one person gets to dine for free.  

*Guests can also pre purchase vouchers at the resort from May 5 to June 5 and save RM 20 per person. Pre purchased vouchers are priced at only RM 85 per adult and RM 42.50

Iftar Indulgence

"Bufet Ala Bazar" buffet dinner features more than 100 buka puasa favourites and delights specially created for iftar.

It has a plethora of piquant local salads, pickles, meat, seafood, barbecue and carving station, Middle Eastern, Thailand and Peranakan food corners, desserts, an assortment of hot and spicy dishes and free flow of selected drinks in six rotational menus.

Also expect to find Malacca Chicken Rice Ball, Laksa Penang, Nasi Seafood Briyani, Nasi Kabsa, Nasi Bukhari, Penang Fried Kueh Teow Kerang, Kacang Pool, roasted whole lamb, BBQ station and chef's signature soups like Sup Gear Box and Sup Daging.

There's also Ayam Percik, Kambing Kuzi, Ikan Merah Lemak Cili Padi, Daging Salai dengan Air Asam, Kepah Masak Bercili, Ikan Pari Asam Pedas and Peranakan dishes like Chicken Curry Kapitan and Daging Rendang Peranakan.

Among the highlights is the ‘Ayam Goreng’ stall serving all sorts of fried chicken including Ayam Goreng Rangup, Ayam Goreng Rangka, Pedal Ayam Goreng and Hati Ayam Goreng.

Not forgetting the greens, there will be ulam-ulam kampung with sambal, jeruk-jeruk Malaysia with a selection of kerabu (Malaysian and Thai salads) like kerabu mangga, kerabu daging, kerabu seafood bunga kantan, kerabu terung dengan sambal bilis and assorted crackers.

And for dessert, surrender to sweet delights "ABC", Cendol, "ais krim Malaysia", "ice cream potong",  an array of local and Western desserts, fresh fruits, teh tarik and the popular Bubur Durian Kacang Hijau.

bon appetit

pix courtesy of Pulai Springs Resort

Saturday, May 21, 2016


I don't think I need to write much. The pictures already tell the story.

A man hails a bus in Bandar Baru Uda, Johor Bahru.

A woman alights from a stage bus.

The bus stop is on the left side of the inner road, but some stage buses stop at the outer road because the drivers don't want to do a U-turn to get to the bus stop.

This puts members of the public at risk, especially at night, when some were seen dashing across the road to get to a bus.  There are speeding cars on the inner road, too.  As for the outer road, it is also dangerous for other motorists when a bus were to stop for commuters to alight and get on board.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Happy Vesak Day

shattered glass

I thought of not writing this, but if the ignorance is not brought to light, one cannot overcome the darkness.

And since Vesak Day is celebrated by most Buddhists in Malaysia tomorrow (May 21) , I think I shall share this story.

I was at a Buddhist centre today.  My car (pictured) was damaged after an accident, and there was no covered carpark at the premises.

But the management found me a spot, which wasn't a parking area, but they gave me permission to park my car there so that it could get some shelter if there were rain.

One nun, however, insisted that I couldn't park there simply because it was not a parking bay.  She complained but I didn't move the car because everyone else said I could park there.

And then when my photographer arrived to snap pictures for my Vesak Day story, he said: "Muslims are not supposed to take pictures of Buddha replicas." (Sigh).

I remembered a former photographer who is a good friend of mine.  He's also a religious Muslim. But he has never said anything like that to me before.  He didn't seem to mind looking at Buddha replicas, whether big or small. 

Moral of the story. It doesn't matter what race or faith you embrace, there are kind Buddhists and uncompassionate ones, loud Chinese and soft spoken ones, stocky Malays and pencil slim ones, saintlike Indians and the parang wielding kind ... it takes all types to make up the world.  Race and religion does not define us.

Happy Vesak Day to all those who observe the occasion.  Peace, and triumph over the darkness!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Doing It The Heart Way

Captain America: Civil War

The ending of  "Captain America: Civil War" was heart-cheering and inspiring!

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) did not leave his comrades to rot in prison.  He went back for them. 

The Avengers is a league of extraordinary people, each having their own set of beliefs.  They banded together as they shared a common goal to protect humanity.

But sometimes good intention can unintentionally turn bad, and the superheroes are blamed for causing more destruction than salvation which prompted the higher-ups to want to control the team.

However, not everyone in the team agreed that signing the document which allowed them to be controlled was a good idea. Some signed, some rebelled, some opted out of the game.

The conflict drove the superheroes into two camps which led to a battle among them. 

Captain America, in his heart, knows that he has to stand by his friend, Winter Soldier, even though the latter had done some very bad things (actually the Winter Soldier was programmed to do so) so even though he had committed evil, it was not of his own will.

The film is filled with moments of wonder and awe in its adrenaline pumping fight scenes and the human drama.

As the film was coming to a close, an interrogator was taunting the villain for having gone through so much only to fail.  But the villain's icy reply was: "Did I?"
Even the villain was not really a villain.  Not a despicable one, I mean. He just snapped from the pain of loss.

To sum it up, I love Captain America!  He went back for his friends.  And he has this undefeated spirit: "I can do this all day!"  Truly, a superhero.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Do You Love Your Work?

Do you skip to work every day?  Or try every which way you can to skip going to work?
Work-related stress may not be a serious issue in Johor yet, but an awareness needs to be created now. 
People are suffering in silence and they may not even know the cause of their problems, says  Johor  State Human Resources and Unity Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan. adding that stress at the workplace also affects productivity.
Vidyananthan calls on employers to play their role in taking care of their employees --- local or foreigner.
Recently, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Dosh) launched a probe on two complaints they received --- one concerned a woman who was subjected to discrimination and bullying in the workplace.

Another worker --- a man --- suffered from schizophrenia due to the pressure he faced when he could not fulfil his work responsibilities.

Both victims work in the manufacturing industry.

"Europe's economy suffered a loss of  Euro 272 billion (RM1,200 billion) a year from workers not turning up for work," Vidyananthan said at the launch of  the state-level World Occupational Health and Safety Day in Johor today.

Also present was Dosh Johor state director Kormain Mohd Noor.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Discovering Life Through The Lens Of His Camera

FOR software developer Wilson Teo, capturing life through the lens of his camera has been an enriching discovery of new people and cultures.

pic by Wilson Teo

For the 50-year-old from Batu Pahat, Johor, his passion for photography has taken him far and wide, and given him the opportunity to see how the people he meets live.

“My favourite shot was that of a girl in Vietnam who was about 5 or 6 years old. She was rushing home to do her homework.

“I followed her into the house that she lived in and saw that the interior was very dark.

“She relied on the setting sun coming through holes in the wall to do her homework.

“I titled the shot Borrowed Light. “The photograph, which attracted recognition from the Photographic Society of America (PSA), touched me deeply.

“At that time, I could not wait to get home to share her story with my children to let them know how fortunate they are,” says Teo in an interview with the New Sunday Times.

Teo grew up in Kampung Parit Ahmad, Batu Pahat, before furthering his studies in the United States. He moved to Johor Baru to set up his software company in 1991.

His contributions to photography led to his appointment as an associate of the Society of Photographers-Malaysia.

He is also a member of the Photographic Society of Johor. Teo’s love for photography has taken him to East Java where he learnt about the hardship faced by sulphur miners, who carry loads of 60kg up a steep quarry to earn US$10 (RM39) to US$12 a day.

“The sulphur miners have short life expectancy due to the toxicity of sulphur gases,” he said. Teo, a self-taught photographer, indulges in photography trips and learns from award-winning photographers during his travels.

“I invite well-known photographers to hold talks in Johor Baru, so that photography enthusiasts can learn from them.

“For a photograph to come to life, the photographer must think about composition and adjust to the proper lens setting.

“Editing is also important to add dimension and details to a shot. “I also noticed that some young photographers do not put their heart into a shoot.”

Teo says photography strengthens unity and allows people to appreciate the different cultures in the fabric of community. He cites the Thaipusam celebration at Batu Caves in Selangor and the villagers and pristine waters of Semporna, Sabah, as among his recent “photography trips”.

“My favourite subjects are people in their natural setting, followed by landscape shots.

“Professional models, however, do not interest me as models are already pretty.

“There’s no challenge in taking shots of beautiful models who know how to strike a pose,” he says, adding that he used photography to help non-governmental organisations like the Breast Cancer Support Group to raise funds.

“Photography has brought value to my own life, and I hope that the art can bring value to the lives of others as well.”

pic by Wilson Teo

source : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/05/142771/picture-speaks-thousand-words

related article   Borrowed Light


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