Sunday, August 31, 2008

31 / 08 /2008

It's 31st of August - Malaysia's Independence day.

I don't know if it is just me, or it is actully the general public, but seemed to me this year it was not as hyped as previous years. Unlike previous years, there seemed to be less cars displaying the Jalur Gemilang this year. Nevertheless, this morning on the highway, I saw a convoy of classic cars each have at least one little flag. There were a lot of classic cars of different years, brands, and models. Sorry no photo as I was behind the wheel. I almost hit the highway divider because I was too busy looking at them.

Other than driving on the highway, how did I spent the day? Installing operating system, software and stuff in my new customized CPU (for non-computer-savvy, it's that box where you have the on button for you pc). Except for a missing 10gig of hard disk space, everything seems to be working. Now, from my new machine, I proudly type this entry and wish you:

Happy Independence Day and travel safe!

for Muslims readers,
Happy fasting!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I’m not packing my bag for another trip just yet. But my officemate is. He is going for a work-related trip this Saturday. Having never travel before, he is clueless on what to pack. Since I went on a similar trip last year, he asked me for ideas.

Close friends would testify that I some times packed the smallest bag when travelling! So here are suggested things to pack in your bag:
1. Clothes:
· 2 sets of day clothes – to wear during the day
· 2 sets of night clothes – to wear for sleeping. To be kept dry at all cost. You wouldn’t want to be sleeping in wet clothes
· 2 pairs of socks
· 5 sets of under wears – don’t laugh but it is essential that you have enough!
· 1 set of sarong/kain batik – this versatile fabric can be used as towel, blanket, or be worn like skirt
If you are travelling to cold countries, you might want to add long johns and additional warm clothing. I avoid packing denims into my bag because they took up spaces. Denims are also heavier and take longer time to dry. If I really need denim pants / jacket, I normally wear them.

2. Toiletries (wrapped in waterproof plastic bag to avoid spillage):
· Toothpaste + toothbrush
· Soap bar – some would say shower cream/gel is more hygienic. But liquid has tendency of spilling all over your clothes in the bag. Get soap bar that is ‘gentle’ on the face so you can use the soap instead of facial cleanser.
· Detergent bar – to wash clothes. Rule of thumb in washing clothes is: 1 set to wash and dry, 1 set to wear and 1 set for spare
· Deodorant – unless you have no problem with smelling all-sweats
· Hair Shampoo – only bring this on long trips or trips that would make your hair dirty. Otherwise, shampoo you hair before going away.
· Razor blade – unless you don’t mind some hair growth
· Facial cleanser – optional if you can use the soap bar
· Sun blocks – I hardly bring this as I don’t go for sunbathing. Very important if you plan to spend time out in the hot sun

3. Utilities:
· Swiss army knife – make sure you check-in your bag if you have this item. Mine comes with can opener, and a little torchlight.
· Torchlight – very important if you plan to go camping / walking at night.
· Ponchos / rain cover – get one of those that can be open and served as a mat.
· Flip-flop / selipar jepun – I don’t normally bring this. To be use in places where you can’t wet your shoes or when you just want to walk small distance and don’t want to wear your shoes. Alternatively, you could get one of those expensive water-repellent-sandals-that-function-like-shoes, and wear it
· Waterproof plastic bags – to protect things (clothes/gadget/etc) from getting wet or to carry wet clothes.
· Zip lock bags – to be use to pack food. Can also function like plastic bag
· Fork and spoon – optional if your Swiss army knife comes with fork and spoon. If you bring the steel kind, make sure you check-in your bag

4. Electrical / electronic gadgets:
· Power adaptor – important if you are going to countries that have different kind of power socket than your electrical gadgets’
· PDA + charger – I use PalmOne Tungsten T5. I use it to record my travel details, store maps (in JPEG format) and phrase book, listen to MP3, watch films, blog, and some times surf internet and write e-mails. PDA with touch screen where you can scribble notes is very useful when you need to do a ‘pictorial’ translation
· Memory card for PDA – have enough space to store everything you need.
· Handphone + charger – check with your service provider if they provide roaming at the country/ies you are heading. Otherwise, get one of those handphones with multiple bands so you can buy local prepaid card
· Digital camera + charger – since I upgraded to dSLR, I have extra back just for the dSLR and its accessories. I also bring my compact digital camera as a backup camera
· Memory card for camera / Portable hard disk – to store photos from digital camera

5. Food rations (Only if you think it would be hard to find suitable food for you. Quantity depends on travel duration):
· 3in1 nutritional drinks sachets
· Instant noodles – I hardly brings this because I’m kind of allergic to the instant seasonings
· Sardines – If possible get the one with ‘built-in’ can opener. Bear in mind the cans will add additional weight.
· Serunding (packed in zip lock bag) – a local dish of shredded meat/chicken/fish in coconut milk and spices cooked till dry.
· Brahim’s instant food – a local brand that have a variety of instant foods
· Microwave-able food container with cover – to ‘cook’ instant food. To save space I normally put the 3in1s and Serunding in the container before packing them into bag.

Happy packing and travelling!

Friday, August 08, 2008


"… tak takut mati ka?" [translation: (are you) not afraid to die?]

If you have been using Malaysian roads long enough, you probably have heard somebody yelling something like this angrily to someone.

I’ve been in many situations that could have caused my demise. Close friends would remember how dangerously fast I used to drive. And what with the solo wanderings in foreign lands. Yet, I’m still alive. Bumped, bruised and wounded, maybe, but I’m still very much alive! Which made me think that the Almighty has bigger plan for me. If my time has not come, no matter what I do, I’ll continuously cheats death. And if my time is up, nothing could ever stop it.

Experiences have thought me that there are no guarantees in life. No matter how hard you plan, there’s no guarantee that things will work the way you want. Every now and then you will fall and have to get up. There’s no guarantee that everyone will have a good life. The only guarantee that we have is that we all will die, eventually. Logic tells me that we should be afraid of things that have no guarantee. So, we should be afraid to live and not to die, right?

Which reminds me of a sensible advice I got years ago: live life as if you will die tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm Not Single

I wish I could say that about myself, but this entry isn't about myself. It is the title of a local film currently screening in local cinemas. Or should I say cineplex? With so many cineplex mushrooming in almost every shopping complexes, who watches films in cinemas anymore?

Anyway, back to the film. Contrary to its English title, it is actually a Malay film by young director Pierre Andre (again, contrary to foreign sounding name, he's a Malaysian). Since the film is still screening in cine(mas/plexes) and I have the tendecies of describing things in great details, I shall not comments on the story line.

Suffice to say that the whole story line relies heavily on its two main characters: Adam (played by Farid Kamil) and Maya (by newcomer Lisa Surihani). Suprisingly Farid and even newcomer Lisa managed to pull it off. I have to say, their strength lie in their appropriate facial expressions and body gestures. Lisa was able to convey anger, disgust etc. just by rolling and squinting her eyes. However, if Lisa could somehow improve her intonation and the way she says certain lines, we will be able to 'feel' even more.

I like how the film subtly explore multitude of topics ranging from sexsuality, wet dream and even pornography. I loved what Adam did when he picked up 'My Sayang' calling Maya's phone. l loved how the camera focused on certain part to subtly get the 'message' accross. Unfortunately, in some scenes, shallow depth-of-field sort of marred the film. The supermarket scene, for example, has Maya slightly out of focus. The depth-of-field problem is worst in 'out-on-a-bench' scene where Maya facial expression (or whatever left of her face that was 'cut-off' by the frame) is completely blurred in the foreground. Credit goes to Lisa who nevertheless managed to convey Maya's emotion solely via her voice!

This film is classified as 'U' (for general public), but sadly, due to remarks from immature audiences, this film should be classified as '18sx'. Don't get me wrong, it is those immature remark that you wouldn't want you kids to hear, not the things screened. It was similar to the remarks I herd when I watched "Suami, isteri dan..." - which I think is the same genre - in cinema, eons ago.

Anyway, it is a good film to watch. Do look out for Maya's 'cue-word' to Adam, which is the same one used by Iman of "Sepi"! Coincidence? You decide.

p.s. Photo taken from here