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Bangkok 2013 Day 2: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Jim Thompson House & Red Sky Bar

Published by on August 15, 2013

This is part of an ongoing travelogue. to start at the beginning, click here.

Day 2 started very early. The tour guide was scheduled to pick us up at hotel at 6.45am, so we woke up at 6.00am and went down for breakfast at 6.30am.

Breakfast was in a small venue looking out to the pool. the food was limited to 3 different dishes every morning, in addition to bread and fruits. But everyone gets a breakfast Western platter with eggs done to your choice.

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(it was scrambled or sunny side up for me)

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(the shaded pool)

The tour guide came a little early, she was an unsmiling lady who kept rushing us to go off early to ‘avoid the jam’. We would go on to have a few grouses with this tour lady, but all in all for THB1200 per pax for a half day tour you get what you pay for, I guess. The hotel had offered us a more expensive tour at THB1900 per pax for a private tour, this one we shared with another group.

So early in the morning, Bangkok was already bright but the streets were still deserted. The van picked up another group from another hotel near ours, consisting of a guy and four ladies, Chinese from Sarawak who spoke in a mix of Mandarin, Hakka and Malay. Quite nice people.

Damnoen Saduak is the original floating market, still the biggest and most popular. Unlike the other newer and nearer ones in Bangkok, this one opens every day of the week. I considered going to one of the nearer markets like Taling Chan or Amphawa, but at the end of the day, I still wanted to go to the famous Damnoen Saduak featured in so many travel shows. Going there takes about 60 to 90 mins, depending on how fast your driver is. Ours took 90 mins in a van, plus it was drizzling slightly on the way there. Leaving Bangkok in the morning you can see the scale of the traffic jam entering the city going the opposite direction, reports you hear about it aren’t exaggerated. The line of cars entering the city stretches for miles and miles, across the rivers, into the next town and until you reach the rural areas. Once out of the metropolitan area Bangkok is much like any other part of Thailand – large swaths of village greenery interspersed by small towns with their morning markets.

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(our van, quite old but can seat up to 11 people)

As we neared Damnoen Saduak, one feature you will notice is that most houses have a pile of coconut husks by the roadside. They look like a mount of skulls.

You can drive right up to the floating market, it is right across a junction with ample parking on both sides. But our tour package came with a longtail boat ride into the market. It was a great experience to experience and see the life of the folks living next to the khlongs (canals). The longtail boat will take you to the start of the market, where you can either rent a larger tourist boat who will take you through the market, or walk along the pathways on either side of the canal. We opted to walk.

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(boarding the longtail)

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(approaching the market)

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(the one and only time during this trip we sat in a longtail boat)

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(life along the khlong)

Damnoen Saduak is a rather small market, so if you go on weekends, be prepared for it to be crowded with foreigners. We shopped for some clothes, souvenirs and ate some sticky mango rice.

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(the shops beside the canal sold lots of food and souvenirs)

You can drive up to the canal and park your car there, instead of taking a longtail. But it’s all part of the experience if you do so. I notice most of the people who took the boat cruise were Mat Sallehs, i guess its all very exotic for them. For me, i just don’t want to pay THB150 per pax to get wet with dirty canal water.

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(fine Thai woodcarving craftsmanship reduced to making silly giraffes nobody wants to buy)

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(so original i can smell the royalty payments)

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(Bought mango sticky rice from this lady. Best and cheapest we had throughout our trip)

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(yellow gac fruit. i tried not to pronounce the Thai name…)

After finishing round the market, we sat down for some coffee and drinks beside the canal. I can say every cup of coffee i had in Bangkok tasted good.

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After the floating market, the tour guide brought us to a wood carving centre. This was supposed to be a tourist trap, but I thought it was a great experience given that woodcarving is one of my (many) hobbies. This centre has some rather impressive works in progress and completed ones, not just the tourist trinkets.

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(master craftsman. Wearing running shoes)

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(huge motif carved from one single trunk)

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(impressive carvings)

The place also had two airconditioned showrooms showcasing furniture and souvenirs for sale.

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(Yes, i can just see this living room set in my new house…)

They also had demonstrations on how to make paper from recycled wood chips.
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(child labour)

After that we were brought back to Bangkok and made to visit a gem factory. You know, the same type they make you go to to subsidize their tours. the thing with this one is the layout and look of the building is EXACTLY the same as the one we went to in ChiangMai! Right down to the 5 ‘L’ fish tanks in the show room.

After the tour was completed we were very hungry so we asked the tour guide to drop us off somewhere to eat, near Jim Thompson House, our next destination. She suggested MBK Shopping Mall across the road from Jim Thompson.

MBK is a huge, popular mall, something like our Sg. Wang Plaza but amped up about 5 times, and with much cleaner toilets. There are basically 2 types of malls in BKK, the ones selling affordable stuff and knockoffs like MBK and Platinum Mall, and the ones selling designer stuff like Siam Paragon or Terminal 21.

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In MBK there are two foodcourts, one on the 5th floor, and one on the 6th floor. 5th floor is an international foodcourt, 6th is where the good and cheap local food can be found.

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(fried chicken rice, kuey chap, ham fried rice and the ever present pad thai)

After lunch we didn’t walk around MBK, we just went straight our across the road to Jim Thompson. Right opposite MBK via the pedestrian bridge is the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre.

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(18SX photo. Somehow this wouldn’t fly in KL, I suspect)

A little further down the road, off into a nondescript soi, is Jim Thompson House & Museum. There is an electric golf buggy to ferry you to and fro the main road.

Jim Thompson House was the former resident of the former American architect and soldier who fell in love with Thailand. He revived the local silk industry back in the 50′s. He also built his home by relocating and reassembling six old houses from all over Thailand (particularly Ayutthaya). He was also a collector of Buddhist art. He went missing in Cameron Highlands (does not augur well for Malaysian tourists) 50 years ago so his house is now turned into a beautiful museum and gallery.

For about THB80, you get an excellent guided tour in English (or French). I thoroughly enjoyed this 40 minute tour, it was probably one of the highlights of my holiday.

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(the one in the center is not a staff of the museum)

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(Our extremely fair-skinned tour guide. She has a queer way of pronouncing ‘Jim Thompson’)
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(little stunned girl in Jim Thompson’s guest house)

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(Jim Thompson’s collection of Burmese art)

On the first floor of the main building, there is a large steel gallery showcasing art works by modern day artists. It hasn’t anything to do with Jim or his silk, but its something to experience – a large steel vault enclosure sitting atop a timber house.

After the museum we took a tuktuk through peak hour traffic to Centara Hotel in Central World. Right atop the hotel and shopping mall, at the 56th floor, is an open sky bar called Red Sky Bar. These sky bars are quite popular in BKK now, we chose this one coz its convenient to go in our itinerary. Be sure to get here before sunset for the best view of the city.

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(Kids under 18 are not allowed out on the open deck)

From above BKK doesn’t look so dense, quite spread out and sprawling. Too bad that day we were there it was overcast, so no sunset to photograph.

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(one of the many, many, many temples in the city)

It was happy hour at the bar, so we got an extra bottle of Chang / Singha / fruit juice for the price of one.

And yet the day isn’t over for us. For a late dinner, we took another tuktuk to Siam to try this somtam place I read about, called SomTam Nua. At all times of the day, there is a long line of people for the restaurant, mostly the young and trendy set.

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The line moves fast, we hardly waited 15 minutes. in the meantime, you can take your order first. So what is the fuss about this place? They have a few popular dishes, but since we ate too much peanuts at the Sky Bar, we only tried two – their mango salad with crab (som tam) and fried chicken. the latter alone is worth the trip here and queueing up.

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After being out walking and eating for more than 16 hours, it was back to hotel. the kids still had energy to surf the free internet at the lobby.

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Later it was some TV and then end of Day 2. A very long day, which started at 6am.

Next – the family take on Chatuchak.

Bangkok 2013 Day 1: Arrival & Asiatique

Published by on August 14, 2013

The initial plan was to do a year-end Melbourne & Sydney road trip, maybe 9 or 10 days doing a slow drive across the countryside in the late spring. But due to some financial commitments, plans were shelved and then changed. It then became a Hari Raya holiday, since it was the only time I could get off work. The thing about August – its probably one of the worst time to go vacation, second only to the New Year super-peak. If it isn’t typhoon season (Hong Kong, Macau, Maldives), its the biting cold and wet (Perth) or its the hottest month (Saigon, Hanoi). And with it being Eidul-Fitr, Muslim majority areas are out (most of Indonesia, Lombok, Phuket, Krabi).

Which leaves either Bali or Bangkok. Since we did Bali recently, we went with Krungthep, the city of Angels, aka Bangkok.

We touched down in Don Muang on the Thursday, first day of Raya. It was a normal working day in the city, weather was overcast and cool. August is one of the rainy months, but in our 6 days here, we were thankful the rains only came late at night or pre-dawn, which worked well for us.

Airport limo cost us THB700. Being a family of four including a kid and teenager, our transport preferences may differ from backpackers. Traffic was good, until we reached the the junction of Petchaburi-Asok road. Our hotel was on Asok road in Sukhumvit, clearing that short queue at the traffic lights took almost 20 minutes, since Sukhumvit road was jammed all the way.

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(mid afternoon traffic in downtown Bangkok)

Anyways, hotel is Asoke Residence, a small, new 4-star hotel which we were very impressed with. For RM400 a night, we got a 1,200sqft apartment with 2 large rooms, living room and full kitchen facilities. In fact the master bedroom is a separate adjoining room with separate kitchen facilities by itself. The hotel had a shaded pool and free breakfast.

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(master bedroom bigger than mine at home!)

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(living room with awesome TV and DVD player)

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(the, ummm, toilet)

After unpacking, we took a short 5 min walk to Petchaburi MRT and went to Asiatique for dinner.

Getting to Asiatique is easy. You disembark at Saphan Taksin BTS (we had to change from MRT to BTS) and walk down the pier. There was a long line for the free boat transfer to Asiatique a short distance downstream. If you preferred not to wait for the free transfer, you could board the Chao Phraya river taxi for about THB15 (RM1.50). Though the free transfer queue was long, it moved very fast cos the boat can fit a lot of people.

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(long queue to board the free transfer)

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(this is the Asiatique free transfer, there was only one but it filled up quite a bit)

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(scenic view of Chao Phraya riverside as we cruised along)

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(gets really windy)

Asiatique is a rather new open air shopping cum dining mall on the riverfront. we hadn’t had a solid meal since breakfast so we headed straight for the food square. After walking past the expensive Western restaurants facing the river (mostly Italian & American restaurants), we found the stalls serving Thai food.

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(Asiatique with the ferris wheel)

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(Vietnamese food stall. Why would we eat Vietnamese food when in THAILAND?)

We chose this one. Food was quite good, but the coconut wasn’t cold. Food in Asiatique is on the pricey side, this one cost us about THB648 for 4 people.

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(dinner was here)

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(fly lise)

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(curry was good)

After dinner we walked around the shops a bit.

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There was a long fireworks display, presumably for the Queen’s birthday on Monday.

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There were street artist performing for tips, like the ones in London tube stations.

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(this living statue also did caricatures for you)

Stalls in Asiatique sold mainly clothes and souvenirs, however I had a long day and wasn’t really in the mood for shopping. So we stayed a little longer and then took a cab back to the hotel. the streets were still heavy with traffic on account of it being a working day, our cab cost us THB300 flat rate, which is reasonable compared to taking the BTS/MRT.

Back in the hotel, I booked a tour to Damnoen Saduak floating market for tomorrow via the hotel. I took an early night, while my kids discovered the wonders of Fox Movies on the hotel telly. This channel would be a great source of entertainment for us every night, since we slept quite late with our bodies on Malaysian time. So ends Day 1, it would be a long, long 6 days in Bangkok…

Next: Damnoen Saduak, Jim Thompson House and Red Sky Bar.

Weekend Road Trip to Bukit Gambang Resort City

Published by on July 23, 2013

My church is organizing a congress / church camp in Bukit Gambang Resort City (BGRC) next month. I’ve been asked to do a treasure hunt en route there, something for the families to occupy their time with along the 3-hour journey. So last weekend I took a recce trip there on Saturday morning and stayed a night there.

To be frank, I’ve never actually heard of BGRC before this. All I knew was that Gambang together with the equally weird sounding Gehbeng were two industrial towns near Kuantan. Back in the day when my parents stayed in Kuantan in the mid-60′s, Gambang used to be a one street town with maybe 2 rows of shoplots. Now they probably have three rows of shoplots.

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So Saturday morning we loaded up the car and drove off. Travelling eastwards for us is trickier than going north or south, we need to circle the city along the MRR2. Traffic was good though, reached Gombak toll in good time and on to the Karak highway. The entire journey from my place to Gambang takes more than two and a half hours, so i thought it was important to take it slow and enjoy the journey.

At Karak, we exited the highway and went into town for lunch. Karak is a small non-descript town, famous since the 70′s for the highway that runs through it rather than the town itself. In the previous years, the jam exiting the highway during holidays is legendary. Thankfully these days, the East Coast Highway joins the Karak Highway seamlessly without you having to go through the town.

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What’s good to eat in Karak? A lot, apparently, but today we’re trying this famous restaurant called Yik Kee.

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They are famous for their durian puff and durian tarts. They own a branch in TTDI and Sri Karak in PJ.

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Lunch was their duck noodles and fish paste noodles (yee wat sang mein). The latter was really good.

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My wife tried the fresh prawn noodle (sang har sang mein).

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Pricing is very steep even by KL standards.

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Then onto the East Coast Highway for more tarmac time. Then a welcome sight.

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Strange building in Gambang. I think its a swallow farm.

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Aaaaand after a short drive off the highway, we reach the resort.

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The resort isn’t big, so its easy to navigate. First you pass the more upmarket Arabian Bay. then you see the Caribbean Bay where we stayed. Opposite Caribbean Bay is the active park where you can play paintball, flying fox, et al.

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A little further in you will find the water park and safari.

We stayed in the standard 2 room apartment. It’s quite satisfactory, pretty clean and big. But one complaint, though. Why no sofa set?

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After a short rest we went down to the safari. Didn’t go for the water park. this is the view of the water park from the hill.

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The safari tickets (both day and night safari combo) costs RM38 for adults and RM18 for kids.

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The safari consists of a bus ride around the park for about 40 mins, driving through the animal enclosures. To be honest, it wasn’t worth the price, even at the discounted rate. Most of the areas are still under construction, and most of the animal enclosures were disappointing. Like for the elephants, there was only one baby elephant. I really hope no Thai tourists get to see this.

After the park we went back for dinner. we were the first people at the restaurant. As you can see the food is all still shrink wrapped. The food here is good, maybe a little spicy for some folks.

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After dinner, we went back to the park for a walk in the night safari. If you are expecting ‘night safari’ like Singapore or Chiang Mai, or even Taiping, you’ll be severely disappointed.

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On the plus side, there are two shows to watch throughout the day. There’s a pretty short animal show (the show was short, not the animals).

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Again, if you are expecting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary or KL Birdpark animal show, you will be… never mind.

Again, if I’m being honest, I’d still recommend Farm in the City as a better (and cheaper) alternative.

Later on there’s a fire show.

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A little disappointed nothing or no one got burnt.

The next morning the kids went for swimming while we slept in.

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This is the small gym. Didn’t feel like working out here so I brought my shoes for nothing.

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Last meal before leaving the resort. Lunch was pretty good as with all the meals here.

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Just before going off, we checked out the Arabian resort. Whoooooaaa! this is so much better than our resort…!

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Then it was another 2 and a half hours of hard driving back to the valley. A short trip, but good one.

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Tennis Greats from Yesteryears

Published by on July 12, 2013

Watching Andy Murray win the Wimbledon last weekend, I got more than a few glimpses of the great Ivan Lendl, his coach, in the stands. Lendl looks pretty much the same as I remember him from the 80′s, maybe a few pounds heavier.

It was probably my dad who got me started on tennis. My brother watched a little too, he didn’t like Lendl. In retrospect, its easy to see why, with his sawdusting and boring groundstrokes. My brother much preferred the young upstart Boris Becker. Those days, there were lots of tennis greats, Mats Wilander, Jimmy Connors (“can’t top-spin a ball to save his life” according to my brother), Mecir (I remembered he came to play an exhibition match here) and Jarryd. McEnroe was on the wane when I started watching, and Andre Agassi still had long blond hair and wore denim shorts at the US Open. Players like Sampras, Courier and Hewitt came a little later.

But by and large, my favourite tennis star was Stefan Edberg. I mean, every stroke he played was stylish. And he seemed like a nice guy in his demeanour and interviews, unlike McEnroe or Natase. Those days there was a one hour show called ATP something where they show interviews and tour matches around the globe. Another reason why i liked him was how he sliced every serve, and my tennis coach pointed out that Edberg used the Continental grip, similar to my style.

Oh yes, I had a tennis coach.

My dad got me started on tennis lessons from a guy called Allan, not sure how we got to know him. Every Thursday night for about 2 hours under the floodlights at the LLN tennis court, he taught me with a group of kids of varying levels of competency how to serve, volley, top spin, etc. i guess he was a much better player than he was a teacher. After about half a year I guess we stopped the classes, probably my parents realized it was a luxury we couldn’t afford.

So with the limited lessons, i continued playing through university. It was by accident my best friend in uni was a good tennis player, having competed at school level. It was easy to book courts in uni because every college had at least two courts. My friend told me that i was probably the third best player in my class, which was high praise considering how good the top two were.

Remembering Wong Ka Kui and Beyond

Published by on July 4, 2013

Last Sunday marked 20 years since Wong Ka Kui died in a freak stage accident in Japan.

In terms of being a fan, I was very late in catching on. But at least it was when he was still alive. I was introduced to him by my university friends during our many karaoke trips after exams. They loved his songs, and borrowing some of their cassettes, I was soon introduced to this foursome band from Cantopop land in Hong Kong.

Cantopop in those days was filled with singers belting out schmaltzy ballads, most of them undistinguishable from the next. Don’t get me wrong. There are some gifted singers. But if in terms of standing against the flow of conformity, there was only one band, called Beyond.

It did help that they rocked a little harder than their counterparts, while still playing the ballads. But they wrote great songs about individuality, a somewhat foreign concept in the Chinese psyche back in those days.

One day I heard it on the radio about his accident. I rushed on over to my pal’s room, this guy was the biggest Beyond fan I knew. He was taking it quite well. “Wah, you also heard about it ar?” was his wry reply when I told him. This was a simpler time without the internet and SMS.

Well, after the next the exam ended, we went down to the karaoke and belted all his famous hits as a tribute to Ka Kui.
大地.
喜欢你.
灰色轨迹.
Amani.
光輝歲月.
And of course, my favourites, 真的爱你 and 海闊天空.

***

One day back home on holiday, I asked my brother if he had heard of Beyond. “Yes, I know them. What’s so special about them?” was his reply. Of course, this coming from a guy heavily schooled in Clapton, the Police and Dire Straits.

My reply was, “but in terms of everyone else in Cantopop, aren’t they a world apart?”

He could only say, “Well, yes.”

Buying Rice the Old Fashion Way

Published by on April 27, 2013

My family hardly eats any rice, we only buy brown rice for the kids. But i know how the drill is about buying rice, whether brown or white. We go to Tesco, or whichever hypermarket having a sale, but most of the time it was Tesco. We’d go to the rice aisle, pick the brand on sale from the choice of the few we usually buy from. If it was white rice, it was most of the time Dragon Pearl. Nowadays with brown rice, it is usually ecoBrown.

Since our rate of consumption is slow, we go for the 5kg. Back in those days my kids were small and we didn’t have a bathroom scale, i’d estimate my children’s weight in comparison to the bag of 5kg rice (a few years ago, i redeemed a bathroom scale from Bonuslink).

But one day, stuck in the traffic jam, it occured to me that wasn’t how we bought rice when we were small.

Back then, my mom bought rice from the sundry shop near my house. Sundry shops sold, um, all and sundry in those days – stationery, snacks, toys, books, and even some hardware. Outside the shop, in a large gunny sack sitting on the floor was a mound of rice. It was usually next to other gunny sacks containing dried chillies, onions and other grains we never bought.

If you wanted to buy rice, the shopkeeper, usually an old thin guy wearing grey or khaki belted shorts and a white singlet (sometimes rolled up to his torso, depending on how old he was), would open up a paper bag. This paper bag was usually made out of brown paper or newspaper, glued at the bottom with starch made from rice. It’s a miracle how starch can hold such a heavy load.

The shopkeeper would ask u how much u wanted, you’d say the price, or the weight, like 2 katis. What a kati? Dunno, but its 16 tahils. If you were Cantonese you’d say ‘kun’, rhymes with ‘bun’. Then shopkeeper would used a metal scoop and dished the rice from the sack to the paper bag. There was no grade to the rice, no Super AA or Jasmine white rice or any of that. We only knew it came from Thailand.

Then you would pay the shopkeeper and he’d seal the bag of rice. Then you would carefully carry the bag of rice home, to eat for the next few weeks.

Writing this evokes a lot of memories about rice and its link to Chinese society the world over. Rice symbolises livelihood, rezeki. I remember old Hong Kong period dramas that show a poor boy tripping and spilling a bag of rice on the ground meant the greatest tragedy.

Roger Ebert

Published by on April 6, 2013

Whenever i finish reading a book, or after watching a movie, or a particular good season of a TV show, i am compelled to go online to read the reviews. Some people like to read reviews before, i like to see what other people, including experts thought, and whether or not they agree with me.

For movies, there are only two review sites i read – Empire Online, and Roger Ebert. There used to be a few more, especially those that used to listed in Yahoo! Movies. For some strange reason, they’ve done away with this critics’ reviews and replaced it with user reviews.

I like Empire’s reviews, but of late they’ve been patchy. And the thing with Empire is that they usually only do a handful of full reviews a month, other movies only get a short 2-3 paragraphs. What’s up with that, Empire? You’re supposed to be a MOVIE magazine.

And as for Roger Ebert, i think i’ve been reading his reviews since i started using the internet back in the 90′s. his style is immediately likeable – he knows his movies and movie-making. He is witty, sarcastic when necessary, and funny. And he is efficient – every major release is reviewed. He puts his best into every review, no phoning it in. You can read the archives of his reviews from the 70′s and 80′s, they still hold up the test of time.

Some years ago i learnt he lost his jaw to cancer, but it didn’t stop him from his work. In recent years i noticed he started slowing down on his work, more and more movies were not reviewed.

And a couple of days ago, i heard the inevitable news, Ebert has died.

Sad day, indeed. One of the obituaries mentioned he was the last of his generation of newspaper columnist that cut their teeth in the bygone era of print newsroom. For he, he was the one movie reviewer. There is no one else.

What Comes After ‘WYY’?

Published by on March 10, 2013

When i was small toddler starting to learn my alphabet, i noticed the new cars in town had licence plates that started with JAA. Older cars like my mom’s Fiat 146 had only two letters, JH. Even older cars had only the letter J followed by the numbers, but these were rare even in my time. In my small town we could see new cars with newly minted plates quite often, as back in those days, Muar was one of only 2 towns in the state with an RIMV (JPJ) office. The other was the state capital JB far far away. I distinctively remember asking my parents about these car registration plates once, probably as a pre-schooler.

‘What comes after JY 9999?’
‘JAA 1′

‘Why not JZ?’
‘Coz Z is reserved for the military.’

‘So what comes after JAY9999?’
‘Well, you change the 2nd letter, so it will be JBA.’

‘And when we reach… er… JYY?’
‘Then we add another letter at the end to be JAAA and start the cycle again.’

I remember thinking it was a pretty cool system, probably impressed more with the novelty of it rather the logistics of it all. Perhaps, not even my parents envisaged when the time would come for that to happen, maybe because people like us didn’t think that much about the future or stuff like traffic congestion or novelty number plates. It was all in the hazy future.

Fast forward more than 30 years ahead, the our capital city KL is now approaching that milestone. The current plate is past WYA, and it will probably reach WYY9999 in a few months. Next should be WAAA, next? Should be no problem, right?

Well, for a couple of reasons, it may not be so. For one, its too long. Secondly, the first ‘A’ in the plate will be insignificant for the next 20+ plus years, maybe less considering our increasing affluency, but a very long time nonetheless. Maybe it isn’t a big problem to JPJ! And they will still stick to the system, or maybe they will devise another system.

Well, if you ask me, theres a simple solution. Pick another alphabet. Start with F1 or G1 or something. They’ll make tons and tons money auctioning off these 9999 plates, like they did with the WWW series. Nobody has an affinity to the W letter, anyway, if refers to an archaic designation for KL which no one uses anymore (‘Wilayah Persekutuan’).

7 Seasons of 30 Rock

Published by on February 15, 2013

These past few years I don’t really watch many shows due to lack of time. Gone are the days when i can follow up to ten weekly shows plus anime series. These days i can only do a handful, and only if they are highly recommended.

One of the holdovers from those earlier days is the comedy 30 Rock. I just watched the series finale, bringing and end to seven seasons. Lets face it, 30 Rock is not popular. No one else i know watches it, let alone appreciates it. One friend even asked me after watching a few episodes in season 1, “Funny meh?”

Yes, i found 30 Rock funny. For the first few seasons, in my opinion one of the smartest show on TV. I just love how they bring sitcom humour to a higher level, and all the inside jokes about TV industry. But sadly, just like all good shows, this one jumped the shark. I’m not particularly sure when, i there was a point when Jenna’s weekly shenanigans started to become more and more unbelievable, and Tracy Jordan become even more annoying (that was one character i never liked from day one).

All i know was the last 3 seasons i lost the urge to watch it, but i kept on going until the end, cos at its worst it was still one of the best sitcoms on TV.

So it has ended, the finale as irreverent as the series always has been. Ive been told quite a few new shows match up to the standard created by 30 Rock – Parks & Recreations, Modern Family and Arrested Development. I didn’t find Parks & Recreation funny at all, just a little annoying. Maybe one day I’ll start on the other two.

Meanwhile, the Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls are still on my watch list.

Insect Spray

Published by on January 12, 2013

When I was really small, I remember my mom used an insect spray that looked like this.

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You pumped the handle like a Nerf gun, and the spray came out. But then they introduced the tall thin canister spray we are familiar with now. The only difference was the earlier types had this white plastic button on top with the nozzle, and each time you used it, the oily spray would get onto your fingers and hands. If you didn’t wash your hands after, you’d be ingested all the yummy nutritious poison.

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See how close the nozzle is to your finger?

It was only recently they introduced the type with the yellow plastic cap, still in use now. I remember the earlier models were quite flimsy, the pressdown part kept breaking off.

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My home town had a chronic mosquito problem due to the poor drainage system (it still does) so mosquito is a major problem. We had to spray the entire house in the mornings and evenings before sweeping out all the dead mozzies on the floor. (When that mosquito zapping racket craze first started it was a huge seller in my town)

I remember my mom kept two types of insect sprays – a regular type, usually Mortein, Shelltox or Ridsect (nowadays Shelltox is called Shieldtox). We also had a can of the green coloured Baygon. Why two? Coz the regular types like Ridsect are only good for killing tiny insects like ants and mozzies. For cockroaches, you need to whip out the more toxic Baygon. Even the sound of the Baygon makes is more impressive, a deeper drone. These days any brand can kill roaches. Not sure about centipedes, though.

Over the years I seen people use lots of alternatives – roach traps, bug zappers (popular in Malay restaurants), Combat roach poison (works as well as alien detectors), etc but nothing works as effective as insect sprays. I know they’re toxic if inhaled and burn a hole in the ozone layer, but i don’t wanna get dengue.

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