Wednesday, August 31, 2016

September's Child


Going to be a busy and challenging week up ahead,

with a good mix of fun and work, hopefully.

It's a dream project coming to fruition.

If I don't call you, it doesn't mean I'm not thinking of you

Always know that you are loved, cherished and adored

Stay healthy, be happy, September's Child.



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Happy 59th Merdeka


I texted a friend yesterday to wish her a Happy Birthday.  I said "Approaching the big Five-O, much to celebrate."

Her reply: "Not really.  I'm going downhill now."

Well, if you're aware that you're going downhill, then stop right there and change direction.  Stop going down that path.

Change your mindset to a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.

But I'm guilty of that too, at times, I mean whining about getting old.

I sat cross-legged on the floor recently, and the muscle of my left leg started to protest.  In my mind, I was going "it's no fun getting old.   I used to be able to sit cross-legged without any problem."

I guess there are other ways to sit, or just endure with the slight discomfort and when the muscles are used to it, the pain will eventually disappear.

What else to do, right?  Adjust the thinking a little bit, and all will be well again.

Happy Merdeka to all anak Malaysia.



Pic taken at the Afiniti Medini, a mixed development in Iskandar Puteri with a visually stunning landscape.  Ideal for wedding photo shoots.

And I'm wearing my new boots.


Related link:   Everybody loves Ian


Friday, August 26, 2016

Good Old-Fashioned Values


lovely  butterflies




Good Old-Fashioned Values In A Global Landscape

There are 11 international schools in Iskandar Malaysia, with two more starting next year.  Parents have a choice of seeing their child embracing an American culture, British etiquette or Asian values.

As the southern growth corridor sees an influx of expatriates and foreign investors, the number of international schools here is expected to grow in number and each striving to gain a competitive edge.

Seri Omega Private and International School, which has been providing quality education since 2002, welcomes the competition as it knows its own strength.

"We have a team of high quality teachers, an efficient management team and we instill good old-fashioned values in our students.

"Our vision is also different," said the school's founder and principal Dato Seri Ooi Chong Beng.

How It All Started

It had started in 2002, with several hundred students attending the school in Jalan Harimau.  As the student population grew, it had to move to Taman Sutera Utama in 2008.

When that became too small, Ooi built a four-hectare campus in Senai in late 2011 and the school re-located there.

Growing Student Population

Registering a 30 per cent average growth in student population each year, Ooi had to expand the land size of the school to 8 hectares in 2015 where the construction of an assembly hall and a second sports complex is currently 40 per cent completed.

The school currently has 4,200 students, 230 teachers and over 40 administrative staff.

Parents Say
  
S. Gunasegara and his wife, R. Rathigah, of Taman Sri Putri, Skudai, said they chose Seri Omega for their son because of the strict rules and discipline, and well-maintained environment.

Gunasegara, a businessman, said his 10-year-old son has been studying at Seri Omega for the past four years.
 
What's Coming?

The assembly hall, when completed, can accommodate up to 5,000 people. It will have a pre-function area where the crowd can mingle with one another before entering the assembly hall.

"The pre-function hall can also be used to carry out public examinations, and the air-conditioned sports complex enables extra-curricular activities to be held whether it is rain or shine," Ooi said.

There will also be another 170 car parking spaces in addition to the existing 180.

"The sports complex, assembly hall and car park area is expected to be completed next February, and works on a four-storey classroom block and a three-storey office block will begin in December this year.
The second phase is expected to be fully completed and operational in January 2018.

"There is also an overhead link bridge stretching 40 metres from the existing administration building to the second floor of a classroom block and multi-purpose hall in the second phase of the development," he said, adding that he wanted to build the school as and when there is a need to do so.

Meawhile, Ooi has bought another four-hectare plot to be built in the third phase of development.  Seri Omega will sprawl over 12ha when fully developed. 


School Open Day 2016


The annual Seri Omega Open Day had always been a memorable experience for guests and students, and this year, its fourth, is no exception.

With a crowd of 13,000, Seri Omega, highlights were the "The Enchanted Butterfly Garden" where more than 2,000 butterflies of 25 species, and imported plants were bought for the event, to enable the crowd to know more about the delicate winged insects.

Other exhibitions included the "Creepy Crawlies Adventure" featured a variety of insects and the "Chick Inn" to show how chicks are hatched in an incubator. There was also "The Fascination of Robotics", "Warisan Filateli Budaya", "Anjung Alunan Irama" and the "Omega Nyonya Cuisine".

Meanwhile, a food spread ranging from grilled chicken to cheese baked oysters to roast lamb, durian, coconut shake and cendol beckon the crowd in the school premises.

The performances this year showcased the talents and efforts of the newly-formed Seri Omega string orchestra as well as the the Seri Omega Brass Band and Seri Omega Gu-Zheng Club.

Wong Ee Ven, who teaches music as an extra-curricular activity, captivated the audience with her coloratura soprano range in a rendition of "Con Te Partiro" with the Seri Omega Choir.

Wong, a pianist with the school for the past 8 years, has been practising with the choir since March this year in preparation for the performance.

Joanne Teo

Another alluring performance was the "speed glitter painting" where special guest artiste Joanne Teo, from Batu Pahat, painted a portrait of the school's principal using glitter and glue in 4 minutes.


Other guest artistes included the Southern Chinese Orchestra and magician Mahdi Moudini.

More enquiries pouring in

And as all the fun-filled activities were going on, staff at the administrative office were kept busy with more enquiries pouring in from the visitors that day.

For further enquiries

Visit the school at Lot 6974 and Lot 6975, Jalan Beringin 5, Taman Beringin, 81400 Senai or call 07-599 8998.

Related links:

School Open Day 2013 and 2014

School Open Day 2015

School Open Day 2015 (II)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Flags waving, and a time to feast on mooncakes


Businessman M. Kandapan has done it again.  He has been decorating his car for Merdeka Day since 2002.  This year he has decorated his Proton Exora with large strickers of Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.


And on Malaysia Day which falls on Sept 16, Kandapan's son Dr K. Thiagaran, a cardiologist at Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Johor Baru, will tie the knot with Dr. P. Jeaneta, a doctor based in Selangor.

A convoy of  31 cars and 28 motorcycles adorned with flags from both states will start from Bandar Seri Alam to the Coastal Highway, Jalan Pasir Pelangi, Jalan Ibrahim Sultan and Sultan Iskandar Highway before heading to Dewan Taman Johor Jaya for the wedding feast where 3,000 guests have been invited.


Meanwhile,



enjoy halal kuih bulan from Wan Li Chinese Restaurant, an outlet of the Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel in Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru.

Related links     Over the moon, and a little overwhelmed

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sinking Land

Updated

A civil engineer replied: "Land reclamation should not be an issue if it has been technically done up properly, like providing surcharge for specific period of time.

"Often, the contractor or project owner just ignore and complete it in a very short period of time.  The people become the victims eventually.

"Sinking could be due to poor foundation design, poor ground condition or disturbance caused by adjacent activities.  Or even poor drainage system."


Original post
an accident waiting to happen

This is why I don't really like land reclamation.  The land is prone to sinking and this is what happens when the land starts to sink.

Can you convince me otherwise?  Civil engineer, soil expert, anyone?




Over The Moon, and a little overwhelmed

snowskin and traditional baked mooncakes at Wan Li Chinese Restaurant

of the Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel.

Patrons can get four pieces of traditional baked mooncakes at RM98 nett, or RM25 per piece.

For the snowskin which comprises of dark chocolate crunchy pearl, coffee truffle, taro paste truffle, mango paste truffle, green tea matcha truffle, passion fruit truffle, peppermint chocolate truffle and raspberry fizzy truffle, it is priced at RM15 each or RM98 nett for eight pieces.

There's also the fresh durian madness priced at RM25 each or RM158 nett per box of eight pieces.

For the traditional baked variety, there is pure lotus paste, lotus paste with single yolk, lotus paste with double yolk, green tea paste with single yolk, jade custard and assorted fruit and nuts.

I am not a fan of mooncakes, but those who adore mooncakes or celebrate the mid-Autumn festival on Sept 15, and may want to present the mooncakes as a gift, the ones at Wan Li are handmade.




These fusion dishes which were served at Wan Li today was just exquisite.

The dish above was the starter called Wan Li Fusion Three Combination Platter made up of fried Japanese scallop and prawns in herb on a cashew nut green pea puree, Asian inspired Chicken Kofta with Szechuan sauce and oven baked fresh oyster with cheese and curry leaf.

Yes yes yes, very long name.  The scallop (in the middle) topped with fried ginger shreds was to die for.


This Japanese style oven baked cod fish with dang gui and special honey sauce was also heavenly.


And the Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, a soup double-boiled for 8 hours, was superb.  Delicious and replenishing. This recipe is said to boost one's overall vitality and complexion.  I am a fan of soup.

Wan Li is a halal-certified restaurant.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Footsie Foodie


I walked into Shoe City again but this time it was purely "window shopping".  The pair of sneakers above looked really nice.



So many footwear designs ranging from chic to classic to choose from.

pic snapped by me

Before heading home, stopped by at Triple Seven Three Restaurant at Jalan Indah 28/2 in Bukit Indah, Johor Baru, for dinner.

Some of the hawkers whom I ordered my meals from were very pleasant, and the food was nice.  Like the guy on the far left of the pic that I took, he was selling "lok lok" and patrons have a choice whether to have the skewered food dipped in boiling water, or fried.  So, he took the time to explain which one was better fried and which one to be "dip dip" which was what "lok lok" literally means.


Should I add the sneakers to my new footwear collection? 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Shoe-gar Spike and A Lovely Night Out


Found myself smitten by these shoes at Shoe City, an outlet in Aeon Bukit Indah in Johor Bahru. I haven't bought a pair of shoes for quite a while.

The flat heel red shoe is perfect for shopping, while the two on the right can be worn to the office and after work. Ideal for shopping, too, as the heels are not high.

The one on the left is just plain stunning and can go with just about any attire. But don't take my word too seriously.  My fashion sense is at par with my sense of direction.

Now that my shoe cabinet is filled with foot wear for various occasions and activities, I better avoid Shoe City till the eve of Deepavali.

Women are like that la.  Some of us just can't resist shopping.  Time to hide the credit card and start saving money again or my goal to retire comfortably will go kaput.  Ok, I will avoid Shoe City till Christmas!

a lovely dinner at the Cafe BLD of the Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel

A wonderful night out with my sister who is in town.





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Where Conscious Meets The Subconscious

Updated

Mention of the word *lover below refers to the subconscious. Always go to sleep thankful and glad, never angry and bitter.


amazing sunrise

I've been to paradise and back.  I will go there again someday, and everyday.

My thoughts are mine, and mine alone

To roam as wild and as free as I wish to be


In sleep and in prayer I meet my lover who delivers all that I desire


#puertoprincesa



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Derailed By Distractions

The link below is a "must read" for all.

Malaysians would need to save 4 years longer to prepare for retirement, says study

I remembered a recent incident where I nearly dropped my handphone when it rang.  I was holding it and when I saw the person's caller ID, and I freaked out.

My friend, who is a unit trust consultant, is going to ask me about my finances again, I thought. I don't know if I was right or not because I didn't pick up.

However, I have to admit that I was rather indulgent in the past, and I only learnt the importance of saving money for retirement because of this friend of mine.  She was the one who asked me to reduce my credit card spendings. I still like to pamper myself to a massage and enjoy a good meal every once in a while.

It is easy to stray from one's goal to save money regularly.

Fried rice and pineapple juice

A meal like this cost me RM12.70 yesterday, with the pineapple juice at RM4.50, fried rice (RM7.50) and GST (72 sen.)

How much will it cost to have a meal like this 10 years from today?

I have another friend who is currently feeling troubled due to her work.  A month ago, she told me she wanted to save money but two days ago, when I met her again and I asked her whether she had done so, her reply was: "I've got a lot on my mind right now.  No time to think of anything else."

But why is she letting her troubles distract her from saving money?  When you are financially strong, you don't need to worry if you were to lose your job tomorrow or don't feel like working there anymore.

Friends who ask you to save money are not bad people.  They may freak you out, and they can be  annoying but they're asking you to save for your own good.

Of course they gain a little too if they're unit trust consultants, but it is a win-win situation.  No?

Whether you want a unit trust consultant to serve you want to do it on your own, it is up to you.  The important thing is that you do not stray from your goal and don't get into debt, quit smoking and stay happy, ok?

My hope is for everyone to achieve financial freedom one day.  No need to whine about GST and the rising cost of living, diss your boss or curse the bitchiest man that ever cross your path. Just focus on making the best of your own life.

The bitchiest man to one may be the sweetest man to another.

May everyone be well and happy.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gratitude

I'll be back to work today. Briefly, I want to share how I had spent my time while waiting for my next flight home.


After arriving at the KLIA2 from Manila at 8.55pm, my travelling companions and I parted ways and I set off for the Tune Hotel.




Watched the Black Swan before falling asleep.


Had a complimentary breakfast at The Glass House Cafe and Bar of the Tune Hotel before going to the Thai Odyssey.





Pampered myself with a soothing aromatherapy massage which is packaged with a shower priced at RM146.

Went back to the hotel room and the electricity supply automatically went off at 11am, signaling that it was time to check out.

My connecting flight back to Johor Baru was at 2.05pm, so I guess it was time to head to the airport.  I reached the Senai International Airport in Johor Baru at 3pm.  The cab ride back to my house cost RM46.

This pretty much rounds it all up --- my trip to the Philippines, an archipelago in the Southeast Asia with more than 7,000 tropical islands waiting to be explored.

Thank you AirAsia and the Provincial Tourism Office of Palawan, and also to the establishment that I am in for making all this possible.



Culinary Delights and How To Get To Puerto Princesa From KL

a chocolate mousse dessert at the Daluyon

Besides a feast of the senses, the trip was also a heavenly gastronomical experience.

We were chauffeured to several posh dining outlets, namely, the Kalui and La Terrasse, both at Rizal Avenue in Puerto Princesa City and the Pawikan Restaurant in Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort in Sabang.

For me, the Daluyon was the best, with Kalui coming in second.

Shoes have to be placed in a small basket before entering the Kalui, which serves only the freshest catch of the day.


dining at the KaLui
Here I am at the Kalui with Palawan Tourism Council president Deborah Q. Tan, who owns the Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort.  Standing behind us is Deborah's husband, Demetrio Alvior jr, the assistant tourism officer of Puerto Princesa City Tourism.

At the Daluyon, a four-star beachfront resort in Sabang, we were feted to splendid seafood meal.  My favourite was this dish

the lobster


The Daluyon features eco-friendly amenities

And how do you get to Puerto Princesa from Kuala Lumpur?



Whether you are a backpacker or travelling on a budget with family and friends, AirAsia currently has two flights daily from KLIA2 in Kuala Lumpur to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.  The flight will take about three and a half hours to four hours.

Passengers will reach Terminal 3, which is the arrival and departure hall for international flights.  From here, one has to go to Terminal 4, the arrival and departure hall for domestic flights. The journey from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4 will take about 20 minutes depending on the traffic.

The flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa will take an hour or slightly more.

Puerto Princesa, which has a population of approximately 250,000, is also reachable by sea from Manila but it is going to take up to 24 hours.  Our tour guide told us there are only 22 taxis on the roads but there are thousands of tricycles.

For 8 pesos, he said one can travel up to 3km on a tricycle and 50 pesos is enough to get one a decent meal. The Puerto Princesa is certainly an enticing destination to note if you want to have an affordable family outing.

One can also head to Sabah, Malaysia, from here by boat. Sabah is on the south of Palawan.

AirAsia,  named the World's Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax for eight consecutive years from 2009 to 2016, may start direct flights to Puerto Princesa from KLIA2, but this will depend on public demand.

Related links

Every Island An Adventure

Good Morning Puerto Princesa

Paradise For Nature Lovers

Monday, August 1, 2016

Paradise for Nature Lovers



This shot was taken after a mystical sojourn of the Underground River, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

light at the end of the tunnel
The Underground River at the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, drew close to 320,416 tourists in 2015 while Puerto Princesa recorded 802,060 tourists which made up 80 per cent of the province's tourist arrivals.

Palawan's major market in tourism saw the arrival of 51,627 tourists from the United States, followed by 21,253 from China and 21, 144 from Korea last year.

Tourists from France totalled 15,423, Germany (13,516), Canada (12,743), Australia (11,898), United Kingdom (11,105), Japan (8,110) and Russia (6,329).

Palawan registered earnings of 9.7 billion Php from domestic tourists for 2014 and 2015, while foreign tourists contributed 8.7 billion Php in the same period in 2015, recording a 21 per cent growth compared to 10.5 billion Php in 2014.

Average earnings from tourism activities for 2015 was about 21.4 billion.

What I found most inviting about Palawan, apart from the amazing sunsets and sunrise, sandy beaches and warm hospitality is the province's environmental conservation efforts.

The Community Based Sustainable Tourism model trains the indigenous community to be local  guides to tourists.  I think we have a similar programme here in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, too.

enjoying a chat with Arles Orias III, assistant information education officer of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River
National Park at the Sabang Beach.



Arles also took this stunning snapshot

of the people that I travelled with. That's Ivan Ong in the middle (with his arms stretched out)


This shot was taken at Sabang beach after the Underground River tour.  On the extreme right is Arnoldo Valdez Jr from the Provincial Tourism Office of Palawan and on the extreme left is Chency, a celebrated Malaysian blogger who writes at thechency.com


Chency, Ivan and I stayed at the Microtel during our tour.


Related links

Every Island An Adventure

Good Morning Puerto Princesa

Culinary Delights and How To Get To Puerto Princesa From KL


Good Morning, Puerto Princesa



This is the view from my room at Microtel, a beachfront hotel by the Wyndham Hotel Group.   All the cares of the world just melt away when a calm, picturesque setting like this greets you in the morning.


Good morning
Enjoying the longganisa, a Filipino-style sausage with ground pork, sugar and spice, along with omelette and avocado with milk at the Senordamla in the Microtel in Peurto Princesa, a carbon neutral city, which is the capital of Palawan.

The picture of me at Senordamla was snapped by 


Bernard Manicani
who also made me an omelette.


the Filipino hospitality deserves a thumbs up


the room that I stayed in

Room rates are from 7,000 Php to 10,000 Php per night.

If you are planning a vacation, do choose Microtel for your next adventure.


Related links

Paradise for Nature Lovers

Every Island An Adventure

Culinary Delights and How To Get To Puerto Princesa From KL



Every Island An Adventure

getting ready

I am back from my 3D/2N stay at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, in the Philippines.

Palawan, named the best island in the world by Conde Nast Traveler in 2014 and 2015, has plenty to offer the insatiable adventurer.

Among the highlights of the trip, jointly organised by the Provincial Tourism Office of Palawan and Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia Berhad, was the Sabang X Zipline.

Had to walk about 15 minutes up a hill stretching about 1km comprising some 700 steps to get to the top. The descend using the zipline was only 2 minutes (800 metres), unless you're stuck midway.

Once you start your descent, you'll be so busy admiring the breathtaking view all around you. All the fear and worry that you may have had such as fear of heights and the wire snaping which will see you plunging into the sea below, would have disappeared in an instant as the view was just too amazing. You'd want to do it all over again.



Besides the zipline, we also went to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park for the Underground River Tour. This is a world heritage site and has been hailed one of the 7 wonders of Nature.

Everyone should see take this tour at least once in their lifetime. It was truly an amazing experience.

Another memorable activity was the firefly watching tour along Iwahig River. One boat could only accommodate 3 persons and it was pitch dark.

Once again, the mind started to play tricks with thoughts of crocodiles lurking nearby. And all the characters from the horror films start to spring to mind.

But like the zipline, once the boat starts going down the river, the sight of the glowing fireflies and the stars above you is just so mesmerising you forget everything else.

I will write more about the Underground River and Firefly Watching Tour on another day.  

Besides souvenirs and unforgettable memories, I also brought back from the Philippines a nasty bruise.

You'd think I got the bruise while jungle trekking or climbing some rocky terrains or going down a
slippery hill but NO.

It was dark and I didn't see the drop. A misstep sent me going gracefully down to the floor inside the Palawan Heritage Centre. Want to laugh, laugh la. I don't mind. The Heritage Centre is a museum of sort which houses a collection of ancient artifacts.

Will leave you with this for now, and continue my Palawan stories on another day.

Was having so much fun, I kind of forgot all about the bruise while I was there.  There's now a bit of swelling too. I better apply coconut oil on it to make the nasty bruise go away.

Related links

Good Morning Puerto Princesa

Paradise for Nature Lovers

Culinary Delights and How To Get To Puerto Princesa from KL


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