What do you get when you put a flock of birders, bird photographers & birding enthusiasts in a 130 million year old forest??? An animated pandemonium of ornithologists at the international Borneo Bird Race 2013! We are heading to the heart of Brunei & Sabah for a chance to capture on media, over 680 species of resident & migratory birds, 350 of which are in Sabah! Tell me if that’s not reason enough to be electrified! Birders from Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, India, Taiwan, Japan, Brunei & Malaysia will be on the path of flight to congregate for this event.
The pristine forests have been teeming with avian life since the beginning of time & participants will be competing for coveted prizes in the form of cameras & cash from Nikon & various sponsors. Sabah Tourism Board is equally excited to co-host the event at a grand scale as the Bird Race will take off in Ulu Temburong in Brunei before flying over to Kinabalu Park to find montane birds and make the descent to Sepilok, Sandakan for the 5th instalment of the Borneo Bird Festival 2013! Covering coastal regions, freshwater swamps, lowland forests, to the hills and mountain ranges of Sabah, this 10-day expedition will be The Big Year of the East!
I can hardly wait! Preparing my feathers to fly soon!
Will be giving updates on-the-fly from 31 May – 9 June 2013 so follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my FB!
Seeing some of the pictures on National Geographic website, I’ve been stirred with the thought of exploring the land of The Lord of the Rings by road which would be the best option to see places of interest at my own pace. New Zealand is also known as the land of Kiwis and packing for a birding trip would be easier if I don’t have to worry about transportation that can accommodate all the detours I’d be making with a discovery. Checking my options, I found a car rental site that can provide me with a supersaver compact car for only NZ$25 per day! It’s RM2.458 to NZ$1 which is about US$0.815 only. Being mobile can take me to more places than if I were to stay in one place throughout a 10-day trip.
There are two islands, the North & South islands to explore. Snap Car Rentals offers a range of rented cars from economy to premium depending on the size of your group. They take care of reservations of ferry tickets by Interislander Ferry if you want to cross the islands too. What makes it more convenient is that I’m able to select a pick-up at Auckland airport & choose to return it in another airport! The options are available as shown below in a simple dropdown list form to check the availability of the car of your choice for your dates of travel. While you are there, pick up some hip bags or some cool motorcycle gear in Motormart with a 3-day shipped to you option in New Zealand! And if you fall in love with the country & want to buy yourself a holiday home, check out this mortgage site too.
The notably large number of unique bird species & a mild maritime climate, this land was mostly covered in forest. New Zealand’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks caused by the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. This undulated landscape makes a perfect picture & one of the places I must visit is Abel Tasman National Park in the South Island. Self-drive is an option I choose to get the birds on my list to photograph!
At Bulb mode, 57 seconds, F2.8, ISO 1000 with contrast adjusted for you to see the ‘band.’
Recuperating from a weekend of chasing birds at the Wings of KKB Selangor Bird Race 2013, I came home with the 3rd prize of a trophy, a Deuter Pulse 40 EXP waistpack & a certificate. Seizing the day of high pressure in the atmosphere, I decided to have a go at astro photography again, now that I live so far out from the city. After dinner, we set out to look for a dark spot in the countryside in Semenyih. We set up our tripods & in the total darkness, we fumbled as the lights from our LED torches temporarily blinded us whenever we switched off for shutter release. Remembering I had the red LED setting on my Petzl e+Lite headlamp, it made it easier to operate in the dark without causing dizzy spells.
As Earth is part of the Milky Way, we can only see speckles of dust or what our eyes can make out as haze or clouds. Looking for the ever-so-familiar sight of the Milky Way, I could only guess which part of the sky it was. I had my Google Sky Map app with me & it provided a very precise location of the constellations in the sky, relative to where I was. Here are the instructions on how to equip yourself & find the Milky Way with your eyes!
The equipment I brought along with me:-
1) Camera – I used the Samsung NX200 mirrorless hybrid for this.
2) Samsung 20mm F2.8 lens
3) Manfrotto MKC3-H01 tripod with movie head
4) Asus Padfone Station
5) Petzl e+Lite headlamp (Get it from Lafuma!)
6) Folding chair
And essentials that you should have with you:-
1) Mosquito repellant.
2) Snacks & drinks to quell hunger pangs when you get too excited.
3) Blinkers to mark yourself in the dark.
4) A multitool to operate quick-release plates/screws etc.
5) Hammock & pillow if you get too sleepy waiting for clouds to pass.
6) An entourage.
‘When observing the night sky, the term “Milky Way” is limited to the hazy band of white light some 30 degrees wide arcing across the sky (although all of the stars that can be seen with the naked eye are part of the Milky Way Galaxy). The light in this band originates from un-resolved stars and other material that lie within the Galactic plane. Dark regions within the band, such as the Great Rift and the Coalsack, correspond to areas where light from distant stars is blocked by interstellar dust.’ – wikipedia.
At different times of the month, you might be able to see it if you find Pluto & a great way to do so is to do a search in Google Sky Map app on your Android device or any other star gazing apps such as Stellarium on your laptop, to point you to the exact location in the sky relative to where you are standing. Make sure your GPS is also turned on in your device.
At Bulb mode, 60 seconds, F2.8, ISO 800, only brightness adjusted.
If you have a bright wide angle lens, use that instead. Telephoto lenses are good for taking pictures of planets, not constellations unless you have a specific constellation that you want in a frame. I have yet to experiment with other lenses & will post an update here once I do. Depending on your settings, the general rule is, the bigger your aperture (smaller F-stop), the more light it allows but to keep the image sharp, you need to keep ISO low (800 or 640) in order to keep the blacks. A minute or less should be sufficient but then again, experiment with stopping up on the ISO or time to get the desired results.
Then I tried to take just the stars at F8.0, 37 seconds at ISO 2000 & all I got were the constellations!
I couldn’t adjust my tripod head to tilt any further as this cluster was already too high up in the sky. Your camera may or may not allow you to have priority release of shutter regardless of whether you can focus on anything or not. In my case, my camera has to be set on Manual mode, Manual Focus & Multi Point Focusing. Adjusting the focusing ring on my lens through the CCD & LCD in the dark is a great pain. Literally, my neck was craned as I had positioned my tripod over my seat to look into my screen as it pointed upwards to the sky. A lot of the aim, is GUESSWORK. Pressing the shutter release was the start, waiting for a minute or so was expected but as soon as you press the shutter again, the camera went into a processing mode which took another minute & during this time, you shouldn’t move your camera or tripod in case the shutter hasn’t really closed yet. I heard a third sound when the processing was done. Through the 4 – 5 hours of shooting, I only managed 30+ pictures, of which only 3 or 5 were usable so don’t fret if you don’t get your pictures on the first try!
Here are some of my fluke shots, the frustration that you get after waiting for the picture to be processed…..
Best time to plan for a starry night, weather & elements dependent, is to use a Moon Phase widget on your Android device to help you decide on the days where the moon would be below the horizon. The best time would be when it’s at waxing crescent or waning crescent, what we know as new moon. Search for an ideal spot to include some trees or landscape in your picture BEFORE your actual night of shooting. This would help with any impromptu decisions to go stargazing whenever the skies are clear. Be aware of your surroundings though. You may not be able to see what’s around you but it doesn’t mean that you are not being watched. Nocturnal animals are out & about too. I found a Terrapin crossing the road & stopped to take a photo of it!
Let me know if you have succeeded in taking any photos of the Milky Way!
Sitting at a little hawker centre in North Bridge Road in Singapore, after alighting from the fiendish express bus that was supposed to have dropped me off at Beach Road but made me disembark in the middle of Jalan Sultan at an unearthly hour of 5am when I’m barely awake from the journey. Venturing further with my Eminent wheelie luggage & Millet backpack, I found this place with the nicest tea that I’ve tasted in a long time. People just don’t make tea the way tea is supposed to taste like in kopitiams anymore. While waiting for my dear, uppity tangkachi to pick me up in her ‘meet-Ah Lian-clothes,’ I am sitting here, sipping my tea & trying to put my thoughts together.
I watched a foreign worker in bright reflector vest, sweeping the street just outside our state of the art bus terminal building in Bandar Tasik Selatan when I went there after a workshop to collect my boarding pass. I felt a surge of compassion towards him & I asked God to bless him & the family that he probably has to send money home to. A storm was brewing & from the place he was sweeping, there was no way he could reach the building or any shelter for that matter when the skies pour down. He’s got to get wet to keep OUR streets clean. I couldn’t help but feel sad at the state of the country where foreign workers take up the jobs that are supposed to be filled by Malaysians. I feel sorry that they have to be subjected to harsh working conditions because they have no status here as odd job workers & manual labourers. I felt angry for the way these people have been reduced to such working standards that give them no way to voice their rights. It hurts me to see that despite these unjust treatment levied on them, many of these foreigners are given citizenship by a crooked system that’s bent on milking the nation dry.
Here in Singapore, Malaysians who have flocked here to make their mark have made their mark one way or another. They have been given recognition based on merits & many have decided to embrace the permanent residency offered by the administration & are thriving beyond any of their peers back home. The competitive trait that most of them have acquired, is actually a simulation of the environment that they have to be in & it’s no wonder that they can be successful. Comparing that trait to that of Malaysians’, we fall short & far behind. We don’t even have a minimum wage policy until recently & wages do not increase proportionately with the inflation of goods, leaving many working in jobs to sustain a life they can’t afford to live in. In a few days, I would finish my assignment here & return home where I will be commissioned again for other assignments. I can go on but I’m not here to lament about what has been done or hasn’t been done. I want to put to use what I know for the good governance that I’m looking for & hope for a flood that will sweep the nation. 5 May 2013.
Have you thought about what you would do in an event of an emergency? Are you prepared for a disaster, whether natural or man-made? Do you know first aid? Can you do CPR? Can you save yourself & then get back to your family to get them to safety? Living in an urban setting in a modernised age has suppressed our survival instincts & defied logic of any possibility of intrusion, uprising or insurgencies. In this day & age, why should we prepare for ‘war?’ Let’s not get so far, what about the word UNREST? In my parent’s & grandparents’ days, they survived the war & May 13, 1969 to tell me stories but as I grew up, I noticed that we tend to associate those war stories to that of what’s depicted in the movies & dismiss any notion of it happening again. Disaster can strike when you least expect it & usually with no warning so preparation in advance will help everyone in your family to know what to do when something happens. Other countries may have zombie apocalypse/doomsday/bug-out preparation, we should have our own.
I sought the advice of my King Scout compatriot friend ala outdoor instructor, Adrian Chin who took me on many jungle & adventure pursuits in the past. He showed me his emergency bag of essentials which was equipped with tools & survival equipment to keep him alive for at least 3 days before getting to more help if needed. The Survivalist Sack (pummkinology), similar to a Bug-Out Bag (BOB) in America, which is actually a ‘disaster-relief bag,’ where you pack all your essentials to grab in a haste to escape & run off into the jungle (or wild) to seek refuge/survive till the coast is clear again. It could be in an event of a natural disaster like an earthquake, a tsunami, a flood, a landslide (an avalanche is unlikely here because we don’t have snow in Malaysia), or any other possibilities of ‘Martians’ (or foolhardy sultanates claiming territorial rights while their kinship avenge their defeat) taking over our gardens. In hindsight, we should prepare for a meteor hit like the recent one for if had changed directions & hit us instead of the Russians, we may be blasted into South China Sea. This is just stretching it. Who’s to say what might happen? Who knows if we would have an insurgency of Neptunians or Plutonians who in the course of a universe convention decided to leave the coalition of planets in their orbits to come into ours. Heaven forbids these far-off aliens to land when there are already so many aliens amongst us.
Well, as one of my workshop speakers Mr. Bose said, ‘History has taught us that the Portuguese came & conquered, the Dutch came & conquered, the Japanese & British too. It shows that anyone can come & conquer!’ Hmm……he may be right. Militians (Martians amongst us) can go rogue. Let’s just use the recent insurgency in Lahad Datu as an example for us to be equipped in the eventuality of a similar uprising here. Though I have full confidence in the ability of the armed forces & the police force where 8 of the policemen & 2 army soldiers lost their lives in a battle & ambush, as a responsible citizen, we have to be armed with the knowledge of how to survive in the wild before help reaches you. We are far too dependent upon modern gadgets, all of which require energy/electricity to power up. We have tablets that are not for swallowing, iPads that can’t be used for periods, smartphones that can only be smart when it’s got a data plan. What if the telecommunication towers get jammed? You wanna send smoke signals? Morse code maybe? Or use your loud hailer???
I would like to be prepared myself for the sake of the ones whom I happen to be around at the time of crisis.
Three things to keep in mind when preparing for your kit. You need WATER, SHELTER & FIRE. You can live 3 days without water & 3 weeks without food so food is not really vital when you have the tools to pluck fruits, hunt or fish. You need shelter from the elements. If you have run off into the jungle, you need rain protection. We don’t call it a rainforest for nothing. Dampness can leave you feeling chilly & though we live in the tropics, it’s good to have some kind of rain jacket with you.
My survivals stash other part.
I’ve taken the liberty to kit out my Survivalist Sack with more technical help from the shop & I will teach you what each item is for. Presenting the worse case scenario, you will at least have an idea what each tool can function as, not just for the intended purpose of its design. Here’s a list of things which you should acquire in your Survivalist Sack to keep in your car should an occurrence of any sort take place where you are, you can access the bag & get away. Plan it to your requirement. If you have kids, factor them in. If your kids are big enough to have a bag of their own, kit them up too. If you pack food items, remember they have a shelf life & it would be good for you to take this bag out to practice using it in a camp every few months or so.
I went to the Lafuma store in Bangsar to get most of my equipment as I find them to have most things available & they are the best in its class. If you are still asking yourself if you should get kitted up, let me put it this way, your car has a toolbox as a manufacturer’s specification. In the toolbox, you have an emergency signal, a wrench, a jack, some spanners, screwdriver & one of those tools to change tyres. Your car has an emergency kit to protect you & keep you safe so why shouldn’t you have survival tools to keep you alive in an emergency? You worked so hard to have financial security but have you thought of your physical security? Start planning for this sack now.
When it was still in the shop, I fitted it as best as I could.
I wanted a bag to be small but enough to carry what the essentials.
1) The Bag – Millet Level 15 Sky Diver Hydration Bag – RM 329
This bag has a 15litre capacity & was selected to fit all these items into it. Everything that’s mentioned here can be fitted into this little bag! My next post covers more paranoia to fit more stuff in bigger bags but when go through this list of stuff, you will know what size of bag you need. The thing to keep in mind is, you must be able to hoist your bag easily with little effort because in an emergency, adrenaline rush can zap you of your energy & you wouldn’t want to be saddled with too big of a bag that drags your mobility/movement.
Though this bag has a zipped hydration compartment, I used it to store elongated items such as the Torch Crank Light from GoalZero, an LED wand, my Light My Fire™ dagger/fire starter, a flexible Platypus plusBottle water container & a foldable stove. In the main compartment, I’ve stuffed a storm shelter, an ultralite towel, disposal toilets for emergencies, a first aid kit, paracord, a mess tin with a Buff™ wear, Power Bars, a CRKT Eat’N Tool spork, a Lifesystem’s™ Survival Shelter, thermal blanket & purification tablets.
In the zippered mesh compartment, I’ve stashed away a Gerber’s 8-piece Survival Kit with rope, tinder, fire starter, a knife, a whistle & a survival booklet. I’ve also put my Petzl e+Lite headlamp which happens to be my favourite gadget in this bag.
In the front of the bag, I’ve attached a walking stick, for some support should I injure myself for whatever reason. The Katadyn bottle is attached with a carabiner & a Knotbone bungee cord to secure any wet attire or towel when on the move. Bags must be of immaculate quality & rated to the tested volume (15L, 30L, 45L & above). If it gives way midway, you will have a trail spluttered with your equipment & that would be the last thing you need to handle. Though Deuter was once the market leader, today there are many fakes & copies sold to resemble the genuine. There are parallel importers who take factory rejects from Vietnam & selling them at a fraction of the price here. Do not go for those because a bag’s durability must have gone through quality assurance during the manufacturing phase & must be able to withstand the vigours of travelling & some abuse. Thankfully, Lafuma & Millet backpacks have no copies…….yet. Being the official representative of Lafuma brand in France, you can be certain that all the bags you get from the store in Bangsar are genuine.
More about this Millet Level 15 Sky Diver bag in the following description below.
Main compartment with U-shaped zip opening
Front zipped stretch pocket
Document pocket with key ring
Zipped compartment for water pouch
Side stretch pocket
Stretch pockets pole holder
Highly breathable back system
Sternum strap + handrest
I wanted everything in this post here to fit inside THIS BAG & it did! You can get a bigger bag if you wish to put in more stuff but that will be addressed in Part 2.
Katadyn MyBottle Purifier – RM220
Rated as the most rugged, longest lasting microfilter in a bottle in the world. Due to its extreme durability and dependability, Katadyn MyBottle Purifier is the choice of the U.S. military and expeditions as this ingenious drinking bottle has an integrated virus filter. The three-stage water filter is the heart of this perfect outdoor drinking system. It eliminates harmful viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. It enables the purification of drinking water at any time and anywhere. Tested with muddy water & water comes out crystal clear. In extreme situations, it’s best to take your shirt to filter out heavier particles of water before straining it into a container. Then pour this water into the Katadyn MyBottle Purifier and drink. I would add a purification tablet into it just to let the filter have a longer lifespan.
Watch how I used cocoa powder (the kind that you make hot chocolate with) with tap water to simulate sedimentation as it gets filtered in the bottle in my kitchen!
It is only in my kitchen would I be able to test this bottle out by using what’s in my larder. I’m saving the use of this as my survival water bottle & it’s good for 100 litres of filtration. If you are in situations where no other option of clean water source is available, you need to trust your equipment to work for you. Being nicely designed, you can also carry this bottle with you when travelling to places where water source may be a suspect. Instructions booklet is enclosed to prepare the bottle for first use & to disinfect the bottle when you store it for a long period of time. There’s function, form & finesse in this bottle. I would be addressing other alternatives in Part 2.
Water purification tablets to treat water before drinking. In places where even the tap water is from a suspicious source, use one tablet per litre for purification before drinking. Get one box.
Lifesystems 2 Person Survival Shelter Bothy
I chose this survival shelter because it’s lightweight & compact & it’s fully waterproof. Perfect for emergency situations where maintaining body heat becomes a key priority, which means sheltering from the wind, rain or snow. Since Malaysia has no snow save for maybe at the peak of Mount Kinabalu, all Lifesystems Mountain Survival products have been tried and tested successfully in extreme conditions. A lightweight survival shelter for up to 3 persons, or 2 people with rucksacks. Works in place of tents if you can’t grab your tent in time to run. Use paracord & Shelter Systems’ Gripclips to attach ropes to the shelter without puncturing or breaking it.
Originally designed as lightweight emergency shelters, they create a surprisingly warm and sheltered internal microclimate. They can also be useful for meal breaks, route planning, map reading or any other situation that requires a warm, sheltered environment. Why is having a shelter important? Besides the obvious, it also gives you a sense of well-being in a strange, open space. When you feel secure, you are less likely to fear & be able to weather out the conditions. The Tough PU coated waterproof fabric has a 2000m hydrostatic head and fully taped seams. The Lifesystems 2 Person Survival Shelter Bothy’s lightweight design with a window and air-vent prevents claustrobia & the presence of reflective top strips for increased visibility. Enclosed within an integral stuff sack with draw cord closure, it is shorter but wider than the water bottle.
Paracord by Rothco
You need a rope to tie a sheet down for shelter. Sometimes you need to secure things & having a rope with extremely strong construction is necessary. An ideal all-around utility cord in the field, the Rothco Type III commercial paracord is tough and long lasting. The cord is made of 550-pound test nylon and features a seven-strand core for maximum strength. Measuring 5/32 inches in diameter, the paracord is manufactured in the United States by a certified US Government contractor. The paracord is available in several lengths and colours & Lafuma stocks them.
Hammock – RM95
Very easy to set up & deploy, the hammock can help you take 40 winks without having to clear the forest to pitch a tent. Minimal impact on the environment for all greenies reading this but if you ever need to be in the jungle to evade a Martian-attack, chop whatever you need to chop. God will make things grow again, possibly at speeds that you can never ever imagine. All you need is a mosquito net to keep you protected. If a night’s rest is needed, secure a flysheet overhead to keep out rain. This one is packable into a small enclosed pouch fitted into my little 15litre backpack.
Light My Fire™ dagger/fire starter
A two in one knife that functions as a knife & works as a striker to the magnesium rod that’s tucked away in the handle. Having several fire starters in your kit is good for backup purposes in case you lose your main one. Just strike the rod with the back blunt edge of the knife to create spark on tinder (enclosed in the survival kit below).
A proper knife to cut & gut fish, serves also as a weapon of defence should you come across rogue Martians who attempt to outrage your modesty or cross examine you. Carrying a knife with blades in excess of 10cm is an offence in Malaysia unless you give a good reason for doing so, such as for self defence. I don’t know who made these laws but be cautious anyway.
Gerber Survival 8-piece Kit – RM124
In this little waterproof bag contained in Lightweight Ripstop Nylon Bag with Waterproof Zipper, there’s a Gerber Mini-Paraframe Knife, Emergency Whistle, Fire Starter, Waterproof Matches, Snare Wire, Emergency Cord, Cotton Ball – Fire Tinder & Priorities of Survival – a Pocket Guide that has Bear’s Survival Essentials. On the nylon bag, there’s Land to Air Rescue Instructions. Add in a lighter if you can.
GoalZero Torch Crank Light (RM130)
This light has a solar panel for daytime recharging of its internal battery which requires 9 – 10 hours of sunlight for a full charge. The best thing about this light is, it has a hand crank (winder) that would generate 10 minutes of light after a constant 1 minute of winding! The tip of the light has 4 LEDs & the front panel has 18 LEDs for you to illuminate your shelter. There’s a hidden hook too. This is a must-have in your Survivalist Sack. A 12V Male Cigarette Adapter & wall charger is included in this super handy floodlight.
Inova Microlight XT LED Wand – RM79.90
When you need markers to indicate your presence in the dark, you need this wand. Powered by a small but powerful LED press light which can be removed & clipped on to your zippers, this wand can be used as an emergency signal marker in the dark with 4 functions – high power, low power, strobe & signal mode. Submersible to 150m, it also floats. Use it as a signal beam in a dive or on the surface for the boat to locate you. You can never have too many LED lights. In a panic, you want to be able to reach for any light & this is one nice light to have to mark your position without using too much battery. This one that I have, glows blue!
The Nite Ize ClipLit LED is a bright, water-resistant white light encased in durable, plastic housing and molded to a rugged plastic carabiner clip. Easy to activate—a quick twist turns it on and off—it’s just as easy to clip onto and off of almost anything with a loop. Attach it to your key ring, belt loop, zipper pull, backpack or purse, and you’ll have efficient, bright illumination wherever you are, whenever you want. The ClipLit is perfect for everything from reading fine print to finding a keyhole. And, when it’s attached to your clothing, it’s a fun and stylish way to let people know where YOU are when it’s dark, increasing your visibility and safety. I have a dog & putting one on his collar will allow me to instantly locate where he is if he happens to break free or be off leash. People with anaemia who are prone to passing out should wear this at night as they commute for others to locate them in the dark.
This tiny little headlamp is the niftiest headlight I’ve ever seen! Slightly bigger than the size of a USB Flash Drive, there is a strong retractable cord that you pull over your head to allow this headlamp to sit on your forehead. Different modes of brightness plus red LED blinking modes for use at night to not disrupt visibility. Bright enough to illuminate a bedroom in the dark! Perfect to use in situations where you need both your hands free. You’ll never know when you have to crawl into tight spaces like how the Vietcongs did it in Cu Chi Tunnels.
At the Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam, I went in & crawled 60 meters before I got out with a sense of awe for the Vietcongs!
You can never have too many lights.
For preparation of food:-
Trangia™ Mess Tin
A great tin to carry supplies, use as a survival kit or to carry food. This can be doubled up as a pot or pan to cook a light meal. I use it to carry my knick-knacks, compass, Puritabs, spork & spices.
A Folding Stove – RM8
A stove that uses solid fuel tablets is necessary to have to boil water or cook your meals. Get one that’s easy to pack away with minimal fuss. I’ve just ordered the White Box Stove™ that uses alcohol to accompany my cookware.
PlusBottle Platypus Collapsible Water Bottle
A collapsible 1 litre bottle that you can pack away, this Platypus Water Bottle is a storage for extra water if you are far away from a water source. Having several bottles with you will keep you rehydrated till you get to the next water source should it be so scarce.
CRKT Eat’N Tool
Multitool includes spoon, fork or better known as ‘spork,’ bottle opener, three hex wrenches, and a carabiner. Lots of functionality but weighs only 45gm. Large central hole for grip and to reduce weight. Better than the plastic variety where you can’t use strength to pry a drumstick. I keep this & one other plastic variety in the mess tin to eat with.
Gerber Suspension Multi Tool – RM190
A multi tool lives up to its name to serve you in a variety of ways & to get you out of situations. Apart from the spring-loaded pliers, it is also a saw, fine edge knife/serrated edge knife, wire cutter, scissors, crosspoint screwdrivers, small and medium flatblade screwdrivers, can opener, bottle opener & a lanyard hole. Brings out the MacGyvette in me. Always have this in easy to reach places & keep it within its holster when not in use. Very handy to scissor cut a packet of instant noodles or a bag of crisps!
When travelling light, nothings beats having a big towel that wraps into a small package. It rolls up to the size of a mug! Lifeventure’s HydroFibre UltraLite Trek Towel is ultra-lightweight, compact and highly absorbent. Treated with Ax AntiBacterial formula, it dries 10 times quicker than a standard beach towel & absorbs 6 times its own weight in water. Comes in a tough ripstop roll-bag. Use a bungee cord to secure it outside your backpack for faster drying while on the move.
A lightweight, compact blanket which, when wrapped around the body, reflects over 80% of radiated body heat to provide personal protection in the event of an accident, trauma or unexpected exposure to extreme cold. Again, when it rains & you get soaking wet, the wind can lower your body temperature drastically. Keep this in your bag for emergency warming-up needs.
With carabiner clips instead of open hooks at each end, it not only attaches to your anchor points, it locks there. Instead of elastic that loses its stretch over time, the KnotBone Bungee has a durable, high quality cord that threads through each end, adjusts from 121cm to 25cm in the #9 size and from 71cm to 15cm in the #5 size. Once you have it adjusted to the right length, secure it in place with a simple wrap-and-lock motion. The small self-clipping plastic caps to the cord ends to keep them in place once you’ve got your load secured. No more pulling, stretching, and re-hooking to get the tension you want. The KnotBone Bungee stays right where you attach it, pulls securely to the exact length you need, and locks there.
Use this to set up temporary clothes line or secure your tarp over your tent. You can also use it to hang wet attire or jacket when you secure it outside your backpack. Loads of uses. Get this.
LifeSystem’s Camping First Aid Kit – RM134.00 only
The first aid kit should be priority in your Survivalist Sack. Injuries, even a small one, can lead to infection & if not treated, can lead to gangrene or death. Treat every wound seriously & administer first aid as soon as you can. Treating wounds is necessary in survival because the feeling or sense of well-being is achieved when the wound is dressed. If you are lost, an injury can cause a sense of defeat so treat & rest if you must.
As recommended by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Product Team, the Lifesystem’s Camping First Aid Kit is designed for dealing with accidents that can happen whenever. The kit contains items for treating and preventing infection in burns, cuts, grazes, blisters and other minor injuries. There are 3 parts to this blogpost. In the next 2 posts, I will address where you can get additional information to prepare yourself. Very comprehensive kit with top of the line dressing that you can’t really find in local pharmacies. Even if you do, you would be spending more time locating all these in different pharmacies due to incomplete resources in each one. Eliminate your headache & just get this kit. You may get a higher specifications kit according to what you feel you want to have.
Contents of the LifeSystem’s Camping First Aid Kit:-
1 x Primary Care Leaflet
1 x Tweezers
6 x Safety Pins
1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
2 Pairs Vinyl Gloves
1 x Spot Check Thermometer
16 x Paracetamol Tablets
1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m
1 x Triangular Calico Bandage 90 x 127cm
1 x Open Woven Bandage 7.5cm x 5m
Preparations, Disposables & Tapes
6 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
1 x Zinc Oxide Tape 1.25cm x 5m
1 x Micropore Tape 1.25cm x 5m
5 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
3 x Burn Gel Sachets (3.5g)
1 x Strapping Tape 2.5cm x 2m
2 x Sterile Eye Wash (20ml each)
1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
1 x Medium Wound Dressing 12 x 12cm
2 x Low Adherent Dressings 5 x 5cm
1 x Low Adherent Dressing 10 x 10cm
1 x Small Plaster Fabric Strip 4cm x 1m
3 x Wound Closure Strips
1 x Small Eyepad Wound Dressing
Lifeventure Waterpoof Map Aloksaks to 60 Metres x 3
This element-proof bag is perfect for keeping valuables safe and dry in extreme conditions. Ideal for cameras, mp3 players, passports, tickets, money, keys etc. Pack contains 3 sizes. Keep your map, scanned prints of your identification cards, photos of your family members for ID purposes, driver’s licence & birthcerts. These copies are to help you verify your existence/citizenship/identification if the situation is not well. These bags are certified waterproof to 60 metres constructed using medical grade film that is FDA approved. Get these.
Travel John™ – pack of 3 (RM34.90)
A disposal urinal is God-sent when you are in urgent need to answer nature’s call while you are stuck in your tent & it’s raining cats & dogs outside. You might think of using an umbrella & making a dash into bushes but the stem of your brolly could well be a conductor for lightning if you are in an electrical storm! The Travel John™ is a convenient & discrete way of doing your business in an exclusive strong plastic that is puncture resistant and contains the revolutionary LIQSORB® polymer pouch that solidifies liquids instantly into a Leak-proof, odourless, spill-proof gel that is non-toxic and safe for disposal in any waste bin. This will be essential for a situation where you are caught with your pants down with nowhere to go…..
The ideal devise is an outdoor GPS unit provided you have enough batteries to last. The compass is the only reliable navigation aid available & the best of it’s class is the Silva brand. Do not rely on others in your team to know where you are & how far you’ve gone. Always know your orientation & bearings. I’ve got one of these to hang on the zipper of my backpack. Get one & learn how to use it to find your position on the map & how to get from point A to point B.
Silva Compass. RM24
Lafuma’s store in Bangsar
For now, since I haven’t gotten my emergency fishing kit, I will resort to finding fruits, roots & shoots to eat if I do have to be in the wild. Sourcing for survival tools take time & I want you to know where to get them when I find them. Why do you need premium items if you can get equivalent unbranded items elsewhere at much lower prices? If you are already in a survival situation where your life depends upon the efficiency, stability & reliability of your equipment to defend you from the elements (and rogue Martians), don’t you think you would want to invest in good, tested & rated brands? If you can spend RM100,000 to buy a car, RM30,000 for a Rolex watch, RM7,000 for a Macbook Pro, RM4,000 for a Prada bag, RM1,500 for an SKII facial care set, please don’t skimp on your Survivalist Sack. This preparation is for the worse case scenario & you would still benefit if you never have to face an alien invasion. We have no one to rely on but ourselves as living is our responsibility, not the government’s. Just take your equipment out on a camp night & hone your natural skills that we have all lost in the process of modernisation or join me on a fun-filled camp night where the King Scout himself can show us the ropes while we toast marshmallows over the fire & watch each other fumble at setting up camp!
Contact Mr. Ng at Lafuma to help you get your kit ready for collection! He can be reached at +6012-4595012 or +603-22871118
This is the GPS coordinates to the shop. Use a QR Code reader on your smartphone to capture it & open the coordinates in Waze or Google Maps.
Alternatively, use the map below to find your way there.
Note:- Wait for Part 2 where I will address what other essentials to have for your other needs…..which would require a bigger bag!
A panoramic view of the meeting in progress with chairman, Anthony Thanasayan.
It’s a monumental effort for CAT (Canine Advisory Team) to convene with the predominantly Muslim councillors from each district in Selangor to come to an agreement on executing plans pertaining to stray dogs management. Muslims being the majority in the country, we appreciate the efforts by them to find a fairground on dog issues & agree to disagree on certain issues. What was discussed on the panel was the dog park with each council giving their support for it to be set up, though in areas occupied by mainly Malays, they have had no request to have a dog park. Those in Shah Alam, Sepang & Selayang haven’t received any request whereas different rules apply in the municipality of Klang, Subang Jaya & Petaling Jaya. In Klang, dogs are allowed on leash to follow their owners everywhere even though they have no dog parks.
Dr. Zainol of DBKL on the left.
The guest of honour we’ve had the pleasure of convening with, was Dr. Zainol of DBKL (City Hall). His input in matters concerning the pounds in Setapak & the recent collaboration with MIAR (Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue) was much sought after especially when there are quarters undermining their efforts of getting the pound dogs adopted. Previously, one organisation headed by a psychopathic reporter who’s task is to demonise any efforts by town councils or city hall to address the stray dog issue, had been trying to browbeat DBKL & MBPJ by portraying them as animal-catching fiends. This of course, had set off a string of gullible believers of incredulous claims, who then set on a rampage to verbally hammer the authorities without facts.
Meeting in progress.
Wising up to their ways, the councils have come to predict what this organisation is all about. It’s become passé & this has caused them to lose credibility, not that they have any in the first place, and caused all councils in Selangor to boycott this ONE organisation. They are not even registered as a society. When you have someone at the top who makes squalid attempts to slander individuals with libel, associating with them can cause you your reputation too. Very soon, you will be the NEXT target. A person who has so much hatred cannot be tasked with nation-building. Dr. Zainol told me about a letter written to them alleging atrocious keeping of dogs at their pound. I told Dr. Zainol that if it was true, he wouldn’t be working with MIAR & the public now. Appointing MIAR, a registered NGO, headed by Puspa Rani & Shalinee Fernandez who’s a lawyer, they can’t go wrong. Puspa may be ranting off her frustrations publicly on her page but her love & dedication for strays is genuine & true. Shalinee, being a lawyer, has a great scale of legal knowledge & ability to vocalise change for the betterment of the management of dogs in the country. Putting Shalinee on the board of CAT together with other NGOs on the panel is a boon to the team! Too bad the organisations she had helped before didn’t recognise her ability but rather, they sought to discredit her by their same modus operandi used on anyone with good ideas.
Having breakfast with Anthony, Shalinee & Yani of Klang Town Council.
Dr. Zainol briefed that since the bylaws had been updated in 2011, the restriction of having domestic pets above the ground floor of apartments has been lifted, thus, permitting dwellers in apartments to KEEP a dog as a pet but must be mindful to NOT let it be an annoyance to neighbours. Dog owners in apartments can finally REJOICE!!!!
Finally, we addressed the issue of the service dogs being put to sleep by the Fire & Rescue Department. Why is it not surprising that the same group of people (comprising of wanimo-sapiens – a genus called Wanii & the species of Waniipets, who hail from the same genus but camouflaged as another being) would launch a rampage to discredit the Department for a task that dignified the passing of their service dogs? I want to say thank you to the trainers who have dedicated their time & effort to train a dog to save a life in a fire or a hazard raid. And that they know it’s not right to give them up for adoption when they are so sick. Please read the letter by Anthony Thanasayan after he had met with the Fire & Rescue Department authorities at Putrajaya on Wednesday & published in The Star newspapers today. I want to thank the Fire & Rescue Department for having such good practices in putting the welfare of the dog first, even if it means to put them to rest after many months of deliberation. I would like to ask you readers to not entertain claims by wanimo-sapiens who take pride in tearing nations down with gutter-reporting & baseless accusations. As a journalist, I must have facts before I write & anything that I dish out, must be credible & accountable. Unfortunately, wanimo-sapiens do not practice that so what you get is basically waniarrhoea.
A well-wisher came to congratulate Anthony on our way back from lunch after the CAT meeting.
Note:- I’ve been besieged with assignments that has left me exhausted & unable to blog for awhile. I believe in taking care of priorities & my friends who share burdens with me. Wait for my next blogpost addressing disaster packs!
At the start of the New Year, life just went on turbo mode. I accepted assignments that sent me to places, spent 5 days in Singapore, then spent another 6 days travelling to India & back. I’ve amassed a load of pictures which I’m tirelessly going through & selecting them for the stories. Returning from several birding trips & planning some more reminded me of words of wisdom from Chien who had persistently gone back to get the birds when no one did. I miss his take on so many aspects of my life & I’ve assimilated all of his advice on how a birder should be. Babes, how I wish you were here to see your legacy continue in the friends you have inspired such as the vivacious Georgina Chin, who has published a coffee table book with your excerpts, no, epilogue on birding. Even Nelson Khor, your best sidekick, the man of few words whose photographs of birds show more than what we will ever see, had started Malaysia’s very own bird forum to teach & nurture many Chinese-speaking birders to take pictures the way you did. To think that once, you defended him when the slew of nature police went after him for a crime against nature which he was innocent of. Today, he is standing upright & showing the rest how to be a leader the way you led. And me? Oh, I’m just going to places that you have told me to go, to see the birds that we have been after & to experience other cultures just as you did. I know you wanted me to be enriched just like you & would get upset if I didn’t listen. I am your legacy too. Today, I write more about nature & birds than I ever have in my life. And it’s all thanks to you.
My friends took me to Perdik. New birders who have the same passion for documenting birds. I brought my famous relax camo chair along, a gift from Philip Tang, and a camo collapsible umbrella I got from Colleen Goh which I never leave without. Just as well, the skies opened up & poured. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I stood in my poncho, holding my umbrella & shielding my camera gear while I shot some of the flora & fauna in the jungle. Having acquired the Kiwifotos 4/3rds adapter for my Samsung NX200, I was able to mount my Sigma 50-500mm lens on it. The pictures came out pretty good.
Ferns in the jungle look more appealing to me.
The fire ants on the banana flower as it drizzles.
Birds were hard to shoot. With a full manual mode system, I was positioned right in the centre of fruiting trees & saw Barbets, Shrikes, Malkohas but they didn’t stay long enough for me to get a sharp shot. I managed to take videos but I need to find time to upload them. Walking along the fringe of the jungle, I came to a small farm & found a fluttering Rajah Brooke waiting to settle for some salt licks. The makcik by the name of Asiah, came out to check on what I was doing as I looked at her farm with fascination. She had free range chickens!!! And a few strange looking birds which I hadn’t seen before. There were ducks but they ran away when they saw me coming in with my tripod. I asked her why that strange looking fowl was called ‘Ayam Keluk-Keluk.’ She said, “sebab bunyi dia macam keluk keluk keluk!” (it made the sound of keluk keluk keluk!) The cows had free range of the place too & the owner of the farm had to stop a territorial bull from coming at me. Yikes. The natural hazards of nature photography.
The gobbledegook bird called Ayam Keluk-Keluk.
The resting rooster, awaken by the pecking hen!
Came across a very friendly Rajah Brooke!
We really got rained out & decided to quit for lunch at 2:30pm but not before I spotted a Drongo! People think black birds are drabby but this is such a beauty! You don’t need to have expensive gear to take priceless photos. You need to be at the right place at the right time, hopefully with the right settings on your camera for the right moment. All these photos on this post was taken on manual focusing with infinity focus. Here’s wishing for more opportunities like this!
Imagine being able to take your camera with you no matter what the weather is like. On days when you want to take snapshots of your trip to the beach or the waterfalls, you no longer need to worry about getting wet or destroying your gadget. You can even protect your camera when you go cycling, jungle trekking, kayaking or while attending wet festivals such as Songkran in Thailand and La Tomatina in Spain! Now there’s a manufacturer who has come out with a universal underwater housing for your compact camera as well as a dedicated housing for iPhone users. If you have brands of compact cameras like Nikon, Samsung, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Olympic, Fujifilm, Leica, Casio, Sanyo, Ricoh, Pentax, Kodak, BenQ, Haier, Polaroid, Rollei, Yashica, GE then you would most definitely have your camera housed.
Configuration is quite simple but needs a little understanding of the structure of your camera & how it will fit inside your Seashell SS1 or SS2 housing. Generally, if you have a compact camera that has a protruding zoom lens, then go for the SS1. If your camera has a flat lens & a shutter closure, then get the SS2 housing. I needed a fuss-free option where I can keep a camera on me, so that I won’t have to miss any whaleshark sightings should I be conducting the Advanced Scuba Diver course or any other courses except entry level dive courses (which is prohibited in the standards to carry a camera). This housing fits snugly into my dive shorts pocket. I secure the lanyard to a carabiner which is clipped inside my pocket’s D-ring. The Pentax Optio RS1500 that I had won in the My Selangor Story 2011 blogging competition was a perfect candidate for this pretty housing. Since I have different cameras for different purposes, I use this as my back up underwater system.
The fitting of the fishtails (silicon pads) was a bit tricky even with the supplied template that you are suppose to measure your camera against. I basically gauged which fishtail should cushion the bottom & applied some guesswork to which goes onto the side wall slots. Put them all into a ziplock bag to prevent losing them over time. They can be used again if you change cameras & need a re-fitting. After placing my camera inside, I took the sponge frame to fit over the display panel of the camera with the sticky side facing up before gently closing the door. Once it caught on, I pressed the sponge into place & voila! My casing is ready to go into the water!
Here are some point & shoot pictures taken with it.
During a night dive where my torch was my primary light that doubled up as my subject finder!
A lionfish or two, lurking on the reef.
A Chromodoris reticulata (nudibranch) at Sri Nakhoda, Tenggol.
Seashell is the world first Universal Water Proof Camera Case. Seashell can be configured to fit hundreds of different compact digital camera models. e.g. GE, Nikon, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Olympic, Fujifilm, Leica, Casio, Sanyo, Ricoh, Pentax, Kodak, Samsung, BenQ, Haier, Polaroid, Rollei, Yashica and many more. You can now safely bring your camera to the beach, waterfalls, water themed parks & river cruise or lakes for swimming, and even to water festivals and not get it wet.
Comes with the configuration kit.
Operate down to -10 degrees Celsius.
1M Shock Proof.
IP6X Dust Proof.
Hard case design, provide better protection against shocks, dust and sand.
Fashionable design with multiple colour options.
If you are interested to get one, please contact me via email at iam (at) pummkin (dot) net. Price for SS1 & SS2 is RM635.00 and for the SSi (iPhone4) is RM 575.00. Delivery within Klang Valley is RM10 only.
I’m more alive than ever. I’ve made several trips abroad since January & have been taking care of work assignments without realising how time flies. Having tons of pictures to process when I got back, I couldn’t put my thoughts to words because a flurry of events had taken place & they needed more attention than this blog. Whenever anything concerns the welfare of a human being, I put my work below the importance of a soul. I certainly do not think blogging is work or work is my blog but I’ve been given several appointments that require immediate attention like how everyone wants things done……..by yesterday, so I had to deliver.
I wore new clothes on the first day of Chinese New Year & spent my whole afternoon with Freda laughing at all the challenges we have had to live with. My neighbour has about 8 people, maybe more, living in their house & with the increase in numbers, there’s always noise. We talked about handling enemies like what I had been taught how to when I wrote about it here. I’m having to deal with clamming up, being unable to express myself as the need of privacy in my life grows deeper. I have lost patience with people probing into my life when I don’t want to share, with people who ask me out for no apparent reason but to get to know me & people who try to waste my time in thinking that I have nothing better to do than to be of service them. I’ve stopped talking because I cherish my space so much. They are not bad people before you think that I’m insinuating. It’s just that I can’t understand why people can’t respect my space. The longest letters I’ve written are letters to Chien, my late best friend. I call them letters even though it reaches him at the instant that I press the send button because he was a great communicator & he valued my space & privacy. We connected as soul mates who knew what each other was doing even when we lived in different states. We didn’t have to report to one another but because he was in tune with my life as much as he shared a great part of his with me. I find it ever so difficult to connect with others now that he’s not here any more. Friends of mine with the greatest of good intentions have been trying to fill this void & have somewhat succeeded in part, never in whole. I wish they would remain as they are & not try to be a Chien to me. I value each one of them dearly & if they do anything that probes into my privacy, I will back away. It’s creepy to have someone track you on everything that you do. There’s a time & place for everything.
Those who are in my acquaintance list are the most worrying when you know they are out to hunt for a Miss Right. They go through a list of people whom they want to get to know better, ask for recommendations/introductions only to return to you to ask you out. What makes them think I’m interested to be with them in the first place? I already have such limited time for myself & my deserving friends, I cannot spare a minute for mindless chatter or small talk just so that they can ‘get to know me better.’ Going out is an effort. Time is costly. Every mindless minute I spend with anyone is minutes that I can never get back. What I do must count for the betterment of both parties. I don’t remember having this barrier before but I had to put it up to prevent myself from wasting other people’s time. Thank you for considering me even after having gone through your list of impossibles. Now you can add me to that list too.
I’ve been stealing time off to the jungle to capture my prized treasures & I’ll leave you with this Striped Throated Bulbul that had just gotten fed on a fig tree & was ready for a siesta. While I process pictures from my India trip, do checkout my Flickr for more photo updates. I hope this Chinese New Year would bring you much happiness & joy that prosperity cannot buy & may you be blessed with much more! Blessed Chinese New Year!
What 2012 had been was a year of drama, excitement, elation, grief, distress, mourning all at once. The year passed so quickly. With the blink of an eye, I’d been to several countries & back. Some of my involvement with social work has been enlightening too. Being one of the country’s representative for The Access Initiative (TAI) with Jeffrey Phang, I was able to learn what others pay top dollars to do so. Returning from our regional meeting in Bangkok, we were able to put our knowledge to work. Mom passed away just before the trip & I missed my flight but I knew it was important for me to be there. As part of the initiative, we are to advocate access to information, access to public participation in matters concerning the environment that would affect people & access to justice. We are now in the process of getting a club to adopt the hardcore poor homes by sponsoring food stuff. They are also keen to have the kids from the Drum Circle perform on their annual dinner event. More about that in time to come. Meetings with these wonderful ladies from the club is so heartening. With the passing of a life, another event begins.
On the animal welfare front, we have gained good ground by working with the first local council in Malaysia to celebrate & honour World Animal Day 2012. All thanks to Anthony T, who spearheaded & founded CAT (Canine Advisory Team, a panel in which I sit in) in MBPJ as a councillor since 2008, we will soon have a dog park to let our dogs be paw-loose & fancy-free! Listen to his speech at the launch of the day in the video below.
So much work set in motion by Sabrina Yeap, who also passed away this year, contributed to this effort of councils & organisations getting together. There are those who think that they are a contributing factor while they clamour for her stature but no one have the guts & gall that Sabrina had to have spent her life dedicated to making life worth living for the animals. Hardly surprising because those who deem themselves important have so many personalities uprising from their virtue of stunning others with incorrigible behaviour & expletives incontinence. And their little squadron of likeminded individuals, usually personalities playing up from not following doctor’s orders, would start to fire at anyone & everyone who has never known of such vocabulary. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, the pen writes or the keyboard types. When these keyboard warriors go on a rampage, they can only fool some of the people, some of the time. When some of these individuals stopped making sense years ago, I’ve pretty much disregarded their significance in the world of rescue. They have only themselves to rescue out of the pit they have dug & fallen into some time ago. I pray that they would find peace amidst the turmoil they face within.
Later on in the year, I was featured on a full page of a Chinese daily & Szee Cshieng, the journalist from Kwong Wah Yit Poh contacted me a month ahead to set an appointment for the feature. We met in 2007 at the LIMA exhibition in Langkawi. Since then, she had been following my pursuits on FB. Thank you for the compliments in the 7 roles that you reprised of me but I see myself as an adventurer more than as a star. If God has given us skills & talents, then we must use them to bless others. Even if it’s just to teach a new skill, impart a knowledge or to share responsibilities. In doing this, my life is enriched. In living life to the fullest, I am able to create pieces that thrills from having lived that journey of getting to wherever or whatever. This came shortly after my interview with Cars, Bikes & Trucks section of New Straits Times & a feature done by Grace Chen.
A directive from the top had me moving out of the city & into the beautiful countryside. My move is all done now & settling into my new place is easy. It’s the unpacking & organising of my stuff that’s daunting. Taking for granted of my ever present kitchen for the last 7 years, I didn’t know how much I missed not having one so I fitted in a brand new stainless steel kitchen & got myself a full-fledged/featured microwave oven that grills, bakes, steams & microwaves! Rufus took about 10 days to resign to his new home & he’s loving it here too. And my cousin Lisa gave me an infrared gas stove as a house-warming gift and guess who has been dropping in for meals ever since??? My beloved guest from Italy & the Scotsman living opposite my place! Hahahaha! Thanks, Lisa! I love the stove! I got a chicken timer for Christmas too & a pack of drink stirrers in addition to some birthday presents (gadgets & a locket). They also loved the DOM Benedictine that’s been evaporating from my non-consumption of it & topping it with Bulla’s Caramel Toffee Ice Cream, it seemed to have made these men happy! Not to mention, we even had a go at my rice wine meant for cooking…….. Time to stock up my freezer & pantry!
When packing to move, I found my stash of yarn. It was then that I decided to pick up my first love of crochet & made a pair of gloves, a cowl for my winter trips, two boleros and now starting on my another pair of gloves. I ordered more yarn & am enjoying church service so much more!
Making full use of fill-in time like getting caught in traffic jams, in between appointments & travelling transits, I was able to make all that. Imagine if I had more time on my hands! I’d be attempting to make those pretty tunics & dresses! If you like crochet, follow my crochet boards on Pinterest to get patterns & inspiration!
So the world didn’t end. Even after Chien died, mom died, Chien’s mom died, Sabrina died, Maxine died. I choose to think that my chapter with them has ended. And they would want me to write new books & chart new paths with other people too. And my world, the one that God has blessed me with, has just begun. Thank you, Lord, for a remarkable 2012.
There’s nothing like watching a brilliant cast put together by SIBKL’s production in a musical called Everworld on Christmas Day. The four of us headed to SunwayMas to watch Joshua & Jin perform. Joshua is the Programme Director of StART, where I used to teach swimming to the kids who come from underprivileged homes now living in the welfare homes around Klang Valley. (The pool had been out of order to commission a repair is too expensive so until we can find a venue to take the kids to, swimming lesson is halted.) And Jin, was my little student, now not so little as he has turned into a handsome young chap with an excellent voice. I spent the whole time taking photos of the musical & am very happy that I got to spend it with people who matters to me.
Joshua, playing the lead role as Prospero.
Tabitha, whose voice is more resounding than her stature, gave a wonderful performance.
My charming student, Li-Jin & his co-actress!
This year, I received several gadgets for Christmas, one of them had been my wish for ages, a Fa&Mi underwater video light!! Off to savour my other presents that came in the form of jars of anchovies & precious truffles in honey! Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas!
For more pictures of the production, go to my Flickr & look for Events & Festival collection.
Malaysia’s multi-cultural society bridges people with the advent of technology that magnifies the splendour of the nation. Buildings, culinary delights, cultural practices, festivals & places are re-created artistically through a wonder mine of digital partnership with Samsung & our beloved songbird/songwriter, Yuna, who’s a Galaxy Note II ambassador after the first successful Sparkle Project with its predecessor, the Galaxy Note.
This journey aided with the Galaxy Note II will bring everything special about Malaysia to life. A traditional congkak (an elongated wooden egg tray that holds glass marbles as part of the game) is animated into a dragonboat with rowers, depicting the annual races held in the waters of Penang. The stigma of a hibiscus magically transforms into a plant growing out of the fields & a pitcher plant intertwined with KL Tower. This is Galaxy Wonderland! A celebration of Malaysia’s identity through her culture, places & art in a musical voyage brought to life on Samsung’s latest flagship, the GALAXY Note II. Yuna will once again work with a host of creative collaborators as well as her fans to paint a Malaysian Wonderland through the eyes of her people.
Yuna is a unique artist embodying the heart & soul of the inspirational stories that Samsung wants to showcase on GALAXY Wonderland. The experience of being able to submit unique creations online as part of the project motivates one to connect with her on an artistic level. To contribute to a beautiful collection of inspiring personal stories with other Malaysians & be considered as part of the project inspires me to continue to shoot the essence of Malaysia in my travels. I submitted a few underwater pictures of several dive sites in Malaysia and will be submitting a few illustrations of what Malaysia means to me.
The site shows you several options that you can do. You can either select the illustrating pen & draw whatever you wish or select the picture or video upload of your work.
You can submit your stories about your inspirations, on GALAXY Wonderland’s online portal, http://galaxywonderland.my as Yuna will use these personal accounts to find her own creative spark to write a new song! Anyone armed with the GALAXY Note II or a simple writing tablet and stylus can populate the online portal with whimsical illustrations or submit pictures showcasing what is unique about Malaysia to you. In its expanding landscape of ideas & surreal elements, GALAXY Wonderland will incorporate your submissions (upon approval) in a music video featuring her new song produced with the GALAXY Note II.
Yuna’s journey on GALAXY Wonderland will be featured in a series on Astro Ria. Catch her to see if your work is in her song!
Samsung and Yuna’s first collaboration, the Sparkle Project, saw Malaysia’s first music video created with the GALAXY Note. This musical partnership is a true showcase of creativity and a testament to what can be achieved when people, music, and technology are brought together. Recently, the Sparkle music video won the Best Music Video award on Anugerah Industri Musik (AIM), Malaysia’s premier music award-giving ceremony.
People were queuing up at midnight to get their hands on the coveted phone while some were walking away with an entitlement to buy it at only RM5 during the launch! As we celebrate the launch of the iPhone 5 today, here’s a great reason to get it from Celcom at the best rates with huge savings utilising the widest coverage in the nation. Celcom First plans have the highest data volume of up to 6.2GB/month! I crunch up 3Gb on mine alone & am seriously considering an upgrade of plan.
Fret not if you were not in the midnight queue, there’s a better way to get it with savings of up to RM1,921 at your nearest Blue Cube outlet! From as low as RM278 on the device after savings and total monthly rebate up to RM1,210, simply choose the ideal Celcom First plan to suit your needs:
Total Payment Upon Registration for each iPhone 5 model is:
Celcom has the widest network coverage anywhere in Malaysia, be it indoors or outdoors. Offering the best network quality, voice calls, video calling, surfing, receiving email, would no longer be a challenge. Celcom gives you the richest web and video streaming experience with its stable connection enabling you to tweet or update your Facebook status on the go or live-stream an event to your friends! With iPhone’s 4” Retina display, your shots will not only be vibrant but intense coming from the 8megapixel onboard camera. Time to wow your friends & family with the results from this sleek beauty!
For more information, log on to www.celcom.com.my
The Chinatown walking tour is one of the most enlightening tours of Kuala Lumpur that you can be in. Arriving at the meeting point for the Rakan KL’s 2-hour tour, I had just picked up Wolfgang from KL Sentral where he had just landed from Italy! Entering an old hotel and walking along the buildings on the streets that have somewhat lost its lustre, I looked at what will be demolished in due time for the erection of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) in the area. It was interesting to note that before Pudu Jail, there predates it was a smaller prison that sits on Jalan Panggong (Theatre Street) where arts & culture once thrived. This street served as the centre of entertainment & cultural development of sorts from street arts to opera. A few legacy shops selling artistic wares still exist today but for how long, we don’t know.
We continued to venture with the guidance of the prominent artist, Victor Chin & environmental guardian, Adrian Yeo & his team to the back lanes where we got the chance to enter a house that resembled a ‘secret society’s den’ in the heydays. It looked like a clan house. The doors had vertical bars as barriers, something that you don’t see in modern architecture anymore. Then we stopped for a mid-morning snack where I had a bowl of yee mee for breakfast & a generous handful of spongerusks that Victor handed out. I forgot what it was like savouring the flavours of Petaling Street where my late mother frequented when I was growing up. Four generations of my family have lived & breathed the air of the confluence of two rivers, known as Kuala Lumpur & never before have I felt so depressed about the lost of a heritage site. Sitting by the sidewalk is an gentleman of Indian heritage who came here as a boy at 5 years of age. Today, he 58 years old. He sells sundries, newspapers & magazines for as long as he had been there.
Walking further along the street heading to Chin Woo Stadium, I got to see the art along the side walls of Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association. Here is where a prominent tailor, Kwong Fook Wing, made his royal commissions. The KL Commercial Book Store is also situated here. After the final stop at Chin Woo Stadium, the highest point in Kuala Lumpur city, we made our way to lunch in a backstreet restaurant before parting ways. It is reported that one is able to look directly at Bukit Aman police headquarters where before it wasn’t possible during the British occupation in Malaya!
Smartphones may make you look smart but winning this contest will make you the talk of the town. Thought I’d share with you what I just entered to win an entire movie hall to invite every child & teacher at StART Society (where I taught underprivileged kids swimming when the pool was functional) to be able to treat them to the upcoming Hobbit or the 3D movie of The Life of Pi just by doodling my most creative strokes on BeCreative! Samsung is running a fun contest and you can also be in the running to win it too!
I whipped out my drawing tablet and doodled away to finish my inspirator, Ernest Zacharevic’s sketch! Here’s what I illustrated……
Screenshot of my drawing before submission….
And it’s simple as this was what I had to do. Just select any one of the four artists/artistes and finish up what they have drawn up and wait for them to pick the four winners! Apart from the chance of winning the movie hall by finishing Sharifah Amani’s drawing, you could also try your hand in the stakes to take home Ernest Zacharevic’s masterpiece, a personalised Adam Carruthers’s jersey or a dinner for two at Razif Hashim’s favourite restaurant, Prime! I will draw another sketch after this post & pray that I will win at least one of the prizes!
Visit BeCreative and follow the easy instructions on board then select any of the ambassadors where they will begin to draw a sketch for you to finish up!
Taken from the features of Samsung’s Galaxy Note II, the larger screen and enhanced S-Pen features will change the way you communicate! I love my Galaxy Note but the successor is even more awesome!