Protect Your Credit Cards & Identity From Thieves

Ever since I read about identity thieves using RFID (radio frequency identification), I’d been shopping around for a wallet that contains RFID-blocking properties. What exactly is RFID? According to this Wiki, “Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and Order Amoxil tracking tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Some tags are powered by electromagnetic induction from magnetic fields produced near the reader. Some types collect energy from the interrogating radio waves and act as a passive transponder. Other types have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the reader. Unlike a barcode, the tag does not necessarily need to be within line of sight of the reader, and may be embedded in the Viagra purchase uk tracked object.”

This simply means, anyone with an RFID reader/tracker who comes close (or not, depending on tracking device) to your wallet containing credit cards & ATM cards, they may steal vital information and access to your identity (and bank account) within seconds. Pacsafe has a range of RFID-blocking bags & packs, built with anti-theft features such as slashguard wire mesh woven into the bag and slashproof straps and temper-proof zips.

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Tatonka Euro Wallet with RFID Blocker

Getting around in Frankfurt & scouring around to look at equipment in their outdoor shops, I found Globetrotter, a 5 -storey trekkers’ haven, that stocks the most comprehensive solutions to camping, trekking, hiking, kayaking & climbing located at the East end of Frankfurt. Here, I found a range of Pacsafe bags amongst other big names in outdoor equipment & bought the Stashsafe100 GII in Midnight Blue, a hip pack with built in anti-theft features & RFID-blocker. I also bought a Tatonka RFID Block wallet for days I don’t need to use the hip pack.

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Pacsafe Stashsafe 100 GII hip pack

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Inside of main compartment.

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Comes with a lock/keys and slash proof strap!

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5 storey of excitement!

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Bags! Globetrotter has all kinds of backpacks!

To think that Malaysia is the first country to adopt the smart passport system, using RFID technology in 1998, our passports are vulnerable to identity fishing. Whenever I fly, I always have this insecurity about falling asleep & waking up to a ransacked bag. With a hip pack that is lockable on your body, zips that can be secured from opening & straps that are slashproof, I doubt anyone would want to attempt to remove/grab it from me but the Viagra online usa added peace of mind of knowing that they can’t is already worth the money paid for. If you travel as much as I do, get the Pacsafe Stashsafe100 GII anti-theft hip pack. You would be glad to walk around the streets of South East Asian cities with the knowledge that nothing would fall out of your bag if it gets slashed neither could anyone pry the bag off you.

Onboard Komodo Dancer – Learning Human Behaviour – Day 3 & 4

Dinners were always served in style. Sit down with a glass of wine as the first course is served by Rizal, who tirelessly wait on us. A purpose-built massive wooden table that acts as an emergency exit from the cabins below, had the capacity to fit 16 divers comfortably, 17 divers cosily. Captain Kassim set sail on the 2nd night towards Sumbawa islands & that’s when the Viagra professional sale real adventure had begun.

Sumbawa & Komodo islands seem to harbour some monstrous sized reef life and Sale Tadalafil their pelagics are ginormous. Giant Trevallies are gigantic, Titan Triggerfish titanic, gargantuan Gorgonians that can wrap you twice over. The Napoleon Wrasse waltzes into schools declaring itself the emperor of the reef and Giant Groupers (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) prance the neighbourhood without a trace, giving away its camouflage only when it moved. I was many a time, frightened by one in close proximity when I hovered to take pictures over the colourful terrain. The more vibrant cousin, the Coronation Trout (Variola louti), was more visible as it changes colours upon entering & leaving the reef, the prime reason for my decision to take more videos.

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By this time, everyone except Team Russia (language barrier), was warming up to one another around meal times as food had always been the centrepiece of conversations in Asian communities. Free access to the soda fridge meant I get to be sugar-powered by Coke after a nitrogen-loaded gawking session underwater. Again the Order Lasix swollen moon made everything explode, not sure if they got excited but I sure did when I caught the courtship ritual of the Trumpetfish at Padang Bai. Could it be that we would get to witness the spontaneous spawning of the reef at this time of the year? It’s hard to contain my joy…..

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Anticipating the view of the recently erupted Sangeang volcano that sent a 19km plume of ashcloud into the sky, eager beavers like us (Team China & Team Malaysia) continued to check our location with the map & GPS to see how far off we were & if there was a possibility to get near. The Captain expressed that he was not going to take the risk as molten lava can be seen miles away in the following nights. We were told to get a glimpse of it when we moved closer to Komodo.

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Team Austria had to be the walking pharmacy and most medically-equipped couple ever. On the first few days, they kindly whipped out a magic bottle of eardrops that dry out people’s ears as one member of Team Everything-Is-Wrong had gotten an ear infection. Very soon, Team Austria took out some Voltaren pills for one member of Team USA who had gotten a sprained ankle from an injury before she went onboard. She was also my lovely roommate! Her enthusiasm for muck dives was unquenchable as she voraciously searched the guidebooks after each dive for the things she had found.

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By that time, I was getting to know everyone except one aloof member of Team China who doesn’t speak English & required his diving buddy to interpret dive briefs to him. A man of few words, he was exceptionally expressive underwater, gesticulating to his awesome interpreter buddy who happened to be an incredible photographer. I think I like him already! We can sign language! And so it was that I would speak Cantonese to him & he would speak Mandarin to me……..bliss!

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Onboard Komodo Dancer – Day 1 & 2 in Bali

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It takes an amazing mix of divers with a love of the ocean to traverse across continents to get to Bali and embark on a glorious 10 days of diving. The idea of crossing treacherous seas to dive pristine sites usually out of reach to common folks, MV Ombak Biru or known as Komodo Dancer, was built to be like a Dutch Schooner. Sailing off Tanjung Benoa Port in Bali with her crew of 16, the same number of divers from Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Canada, USA, China & Malaysia went aboard to experience 5 star diving.

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Our Cruise Director, Lea Jorg, the head of dive operations on board, prepared us with a comprehensive dive briefing detailing the zones where we were to assemble, gear up & stow away our personal dive gear after each dive. With the aid of a very experienced team of Divemasters & boat crew, dive sites were plotted with near accuracy, giving divers concise plans to move along even if the snail-paced photographers like me lose sight of the group. The sites map were drawn daily by Gedeh, a local DM with 6 years of experience onboard Komodo Dancer. His knowledge of the dive sites astounded me when the creatures & critters mentioned during dive briefing were actually seen on each of the dives at almost any turn of the corner!

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Expecting something spectacular in the midst of a waning gibbous (transition of a full moon to half moon), our maiden dive was done at Padang Bai, East Bali, under the jetty lined with annoyed anglers sending out invisible daggers at us as we descended with our GoPros, Nauticams, wondercams & whatnots. Being told that it was a muck dive, a few divers who were kitted with macro lenses were surprised to see prolific growth on the structural pillars of the jetty, teeming with sponges, soft corals, tunicates & Gorgonian seafans. The colours that greeted us was such a sight to behold, left me in awe as I scanned every centimetre of the encrusted walls for nudibranchs & invertebrates. Gedeh hijacked us to show us a huge Lacy Rhinopias that he had found, a lifer to many who hadn’t seen the clumsy-looking brightly coloured weedy specie of scorpionfish before. Swirling schools of Fusiliers, suspended Sweetlips & basking devilfish on the sand made the jetty somewhat of an exciting fish underpass for divers! The hazard is, of course, getting hooked by any of the anglers above, which one of the Canadians discovered when she felt the hook tug on her ponytail!

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We redescended after a hot breakfast served ala carte when we couldn’t get enough of this peculiar marine refuge equipped with glass domes on our ports to get our fill. The Captain sailed as soon as everyone returned to a spread of tropical fruits & Indonesian buffet lunch!

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Category: SCUBA  3 Comments

Osteoarthritis (OA) in Youngsters?

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My daily intake.

When people hear of arthritis, they usually have pictures of old people in their mind but the onset of Osteoarthritis (OA) can strike anyone between 20 to 40 years of age. Falling into this age category as an active sports person, I have had an old injury recur twice recently, immobilising me on one of my dive trips. The only relief I got was being in the water as I became weightless then. Symptoms of this possible onset of OA include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking and ‘crackling’ of joints caused by loss of cartilage by the wear & tear of the joints. Sharp pains shot right down my legs and upon returning to KL, I went to see my chiropractor immediately. He adjusted my hip & pushed it back into socket and I rested for two weeks before I prepared for my China expedition.

OA is associated with the breakdown of cartilage in joints, commonly occurring int eh weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees & spine although it can affect other areas too. What is this cartilage? Think of it as the shock absorbers in between your joints that give the spongy cushioning that it deserves. When that wears off, the grinding of the bones will cause pain & a lot of discomfort. I had to find alternatives to not suffer such severe pains when my hip occasionally falls out of socket from my vigorous activities so I sought the advice of a scientist he told me to up the dosage of my supplements from 500mg to 1,500mg per day for the first 3 months before regulating a lesser dose daily. I’m now on the 3rd week of taking Livewell Ostesamin that contain glucosamine sulphate & MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) supplements which has helped me control the mortifying pain & allowed me to carry on my usual active lifestyle. If my body is wearing away cartilage, what about the older folks? Cartilage repair is even slower amongst seniors and Order Sildenafil citrate the only way is to take supplements as they may not have the luxury of hip replacement surgeries.

Keeping my weight in check is another crucial factor in preventing further effects of OA. The heavier you are, the more weight your bones have to carry & whilst our joints degenerate, you wouldn’t want them to work overtime unnecessarily & causing you excruciating pain in the process. I bought a core muscles builder exerciser for me to train and strengthen my core muscles to hold my posture upright, one of the ways of lessening the stress on my spine as the nerves were also pinched when my hip got dislocated. I walk as much as I can & have whole grain carbohydrates, lean protein with lots of vegetables in my diet. If you are overweight, you would definitely benefit from weight loss which would help you ease pressure on your knees. Though I’m not overweight, I have a duty to keep fit for the work that I do and being immobilised by pain is not something I see myself accepting! Yes, though ageing is a part of life that I can accept, what I can’t is if OA sets in. If I can do something to prevent it now, I will give it my all. We cannot prevent ageing but we can slow down the process by living a healthy lifestyle, eating a proper diet & have regular exercise.

Supplements that are really effective include Glucosamine + Chondroitin Sulphate and MSM. You can get them here:-

http://www.livewell2u.com/products.php?p=ostesamin

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Inaugurating First Edition of Flock in Zamboanga

Flock, the birding e-magazine by Amazing Journey Asia Media, reporting on the events in Zamboanga in conjunction with the 9th Philippine Bird Festival 2014. This edition will be updated progressively as the videos are edited & uploaded. I hope you would enjoy this birding chronicles in Flipbook style! A big thank you to the Department of Tourism in Philippines & the people at the Wild Bird Club of Philippines, without you, this experience wouldn’t have achieved so much fun, action & camaraderie! Enjoy the e-magazine!

Get Flock here.

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Where Every Grain Matters

In Daocheng county, Sichuan, China, the people farm wheat as the climate doesn’t allow them to plant other staple foods like rice. They can only harvest once, at most, twice per year. Stopping for a scenic take of the autumn trees, the workers clearing the wheat chaff on the land attracted my attention to cross the busy road plied by tourists buses using that route to head to Yading. They were constantly bent over, picking & plucking, occasionally rising to toss the little bundles into a woven basket that a boy was carrying. At the scene was an elderly lady with a baby strapped to her back. She seemed happy to converse with the workers. Looking at Andy Phua snapping away, I joined him & watched a scene in the daily lives of this Tibetan tribe.

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A view that leaves you speechless.

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The elderly lady with the baby.

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Back-breaking labour, pulling chaff to prepare the ground for winter before planting again.

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A panoramic view of the stream in Daocheng.

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A scruffy boy I met there.

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A sun-kissed toddler I’ve had the privilege of giving treats to.

Travelling further inward into the country, I caught sight of another group of farmers separating wheat grains using a blower, still manual work of hoisting the basket & pouring the contents into the wind, it was a fascinating experience for me. Learning how hard it is to get so little grain and yet this is all they have got.

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Wrapped my head in Buff™ & with my Cocoons sunglasses and hood, I approached the flying chaff onward to give you an insight of this hard labour.

Technical Jackets to Tackle Terrains

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Yading Nature Park, Sichuan, China – I almost passed out getting this picture. Subzero temperatures, sitting on frosted ground waiting for clouds to clear.

Having zero tolerance for the cold prompted me to look for different jackets & baselayers available for all my outdoor pursuits. Not sure if it’s owing to the lack of hair on my body or my internal heating system/metabolic rate is virtually not working or I may just be wearing clothes with poor insulation. My trip to China allowed me to truly rate each jacket’s warmth & insulation. Let’s just take the last reason for me to shop some more. :P

I have a Max Cocos insulated micro fibre winter coat for city trips to help me withstand the cold in winter countries when I have to attend meetings but I can’t use the same delicate jacket for outdoor adventure. I remember when I had to cover fam trips in all kinds of expedition around the country where I would tear a pair of pants or two every trip. It was quite a costly affair & this is in the tropics. What about zero degrees or sub zero terrain? I didn’t understand what ‘technical jacket’ was all about until I learnt the technology behind it.

My favourite brand is of course, Animal from UK. They have sizes that fit my long arms & legs perfectly. At 175cm, I tower over most Malaysian men & that’s without heels. I fell in love with the turquoise colour of this jacket & having a waterproof rating of 10,000mm & MVP of 15,000g, this jacket was perfect for times when I have to brave the rain or chilly wind on the dive boat ride back to shore.

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Animal Amaya Jacket

This 3 layer technical fabric is designed to keep water & wind out while venting away excess body heat.

Technical specifications:- 

  • Anitex Technical Fabric
  • Textured Nylon 3 Layer Fabric With DWR
  • Waterproof Rating of 10,000; MVP 15,000
  • Taped Seams
  • Waterproof Zippers
  • Underarm Ventilation
  • Grown On Hood
  • Adjustable Hem And Hood
  • Adjustable Cuffs
  • Reflective Logo

Let’s examine this MVP rating. MVP is moisture vapour permeability. It tells you how much moisture can vaporise through the fabric per m2 per 24 hours. Which means, even if the fabric is waterproof from the outside, it allows sweat to permeate through the fabric without leaving you soaking wet. The waterproofing rating involves testing using a number of different testing protocols but most involve the equivalent of placing a 1” x 1” square tube over the fabric and determining how high (in millimeters) a column of water you can suspend over it before it starts to leak. So when I read that the Animal Amaya jacket has 10,000mm WP, I knew I had to have it.

Then came the Trespass Balbi. Trespass is another UK brand (I love their size 12) that is available online through their website. Being dark grey, I could use it for birding! So I got it in time for my trip to China.

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Trespass Balbi Jacket

Technical specifications:- 

  • Shell – 3 Layer Fabric
  • Adjustable Grown On Hood
  • 3 Zip Pockets with Water Resistant Zips
  • Water Resistant Zip at Centre Front Opening
  • Hem Drawcord with Side Adjustment
  • Form Cut Rubber Cuff Tab
  • Shell: 100% Polyester/ TPU
  • Membrane/ 100% Polyester
  • Waterproof 10,000mm
  • Breathable 3000g/m2/24hrs
  • Windproof
  • Taped Seams

Though I loved this jacket, upon the 3rd day of use, the inside started to peel away at the waterproofed seams. Since it’s still new, I am going to ask for an exchange. Coupled with the Trespass Wendy jacket as a midlayer, it provided me with enough warmth but due to a switch of bags for the journey, I didn’t get to wear this in Yading & wore the less effective Karrimor 3in1 parka instead. Naturally, I froze & almost passed out.

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Leong took a picture of me taking a picture of something! In my Trespass Balbi jacket.

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Standing atop a pile of earth at the edge of the ravine, we were in Yunnan, China. I was covered in my Buff™ balaclava & was wearing Animal Ski Pants!

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Trespass Wendy jacket – the soft shell fleece midlayer I wore in China. 

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Lafuma LD Donegal CLIMACTIVE® Jacket i

This is one of my favourite all-year round jacket. The lightest of them all, this pink jacket packs a hood in the collar & it’s great to ward off the rain on your photo walkabouts. I often wear it when I have my dinner outdoors at Chinese restaurants to repel wind. Did I mention that I have no tolerance to cold? As soon as the temperature dips to 24? or less, I will start to feel uncomfortable.

Technical specifications:-

  • 100% POLYESTER
  • 3 in 1 protective jacket with removable fleece
  • Structured Twill-effect fabric
  • Attached hood which stows inside collar
  • 1 zippered chest pocket with invisible zip
  • 2 zippered hand warmer pockets
  • Adjustable hem with elasticated drawcord and Tadalafil online usa toggles
  • Velcro tab adjustment at wrist.
  • 2 zippered hand warmer pockets.
  • Seam sealed.

This Lafuma jacket can be found at Lafuma Bangsar. I believe there are men’s versions as well & certainly not pink in colour. ?

My fascination with pink has to do with being female. I can be a typical female when it comes to colour choices but for practicality sake, no one would want to steal ‘pink.’ This is my second pink jacket, the first being the Animal Kapelle Ski jacket.

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The Animal Kapelle is a soft shell fleeced jacket that works great in the cinema! I haven’t actually brought this on my expeditions yet to test the warmth rating & I should do so.

Technical specifications:-

  • Anitex Technical Fabric
  • Softshell Fabric With DWR
  • Grown On Adjustable Hood
  • Mesh Lined Pockets For Extra Venting
  • Cuff Adjusters
  • Inverted Zips And External Taping Detail
  • One Handed Adjusters At Hem
  • Waterproof: 8000mm
  • MVP: 10,000g/m2/24hr

JadaCassis

My latest haulage is the Trespass JADA Women’s Waterproof Jacket. Similar to the Animal Amaya, the JADA jacket is the ultimate outdoor piece of kit. The Tres-Tex membrane is made with 3 layers – outer shell, membrane and inner shell- which are laminated together. High performance but lightweight, the thing I like about this jacket apart from its high visibility is the detachable hood. The highest waterproof-rated material at 15,000mm & I would really like to put it to a test in the harsh conditions of some snowy mountainous region somewhere or the jungle! I wanted to a more neutral colour but it only comes in Pink, Black or Turquoise which I already have. I never liked black. My Jada arrived in the mail yesterday!

Technical specifications:-

  • Shell – 3 Layer Fabric
  • Ventilation Zips
  • Adjustable Zip Off Hood
  • 3 Water Repellent Zip Pockets
  • 1 Sleeve Zip Pocket
  • Hem Drawcord with Side Adjuster
  • Flat Cuff with Velcro Tab
  • Back Tail
  • Waterproof 15,000mm
  • Breathable 8000mvp
  • Windproof
  • Taped Seams

All these jackets above are not padded with additional insulation. I thought it should work with base & midlayers & it did plus you can also use it on its own in the tropics to repel rain. Should I come across another highly rated jacket again, I will post it up here but chances are, it would be pink again. :D

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Donned in my Karrimor Parka, which could only help me withstand down to 7?C. I was freezing throughout until I got my to my main luggage & changed back to my Balbi & Wendy.

Category: Adventure  3 Comments

Benzilan – The Place I Barely Remember

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Panorama of Benzilan

Hit by an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter Scale, Benzilan in Yunnan, China had temporary make-shift tents as accommodation for the people which lined the street outside our hotel. We got there at night & it was the start of a series of cold nights thereafter. And the hotel doesn’t have any lifts! I felt sorry for the guys who brought unbreakable chunky luggages. Walking up the stairs with such load is enough to bring on back pain. My room that I shared with Miss Lai was on the first floor, not that bad considering that I had brought a convertible Eminent trolley bag which I hauled up like a backpack.

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My camera backpack, the Lowepro Photo Sport 200AW was filled with 80% essentials (survival equipment) & 20% photographic gear. On the first 2 days, people on the trip got a little surprised as to why I had a relatively big pack but only carried a Samsung NX200 wherever I went. I began to whip out things…….Lifestraw™……Lifeventure Shelter 2 Bothy Bag……Gerber multitool…….Sealskinz gloves…..survival kit…….Fenix PD32 light…hiking pole…..travel pillow….thermal blanket……spork…….power bars…..soup packs……purifying tabs……Platypus drinking bag……..alcohol wipes……first aid kit…..Garmin 76CSX…..batteries….. I explained to them that survival was my priority when going out into the wilderness for my adventures. Photos are secondary.

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Nice bag, no?

If I was going to travel for an indefinite period through the cold, mountainous region, I wasn’t going to leave my safety to chance or the tour guide. If we had gotten stranded for whatever reason, at least we would have purified & filtered water to drink. I’ve never been to China before & didn’t know what to expect except that the people look very similar to me. :D

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Angela posing.

Sandwiched between the demure Angela & the excitable Leong, their antics drove me to the toilet. I have never laughed this much, all 12 days mind you, at two contrasting individuals trying to take pictures & get along. Leong’s model-opportunisticism, both as the photographer & the one being photographed, was worthy of commend. He took very flattering shots of Angela but Angela felt that he did better with aunties & housewives making them look like stars. So the hammering begun. Leong was untameable. He went after cows, goats, yaks, whatever that moved……even other tourists, to get his portraits. He even managed to herd a bull back across the bridge over a torrential river! In witnessing such charismatic flaunts, I decided to document him. I don’t remember much about Benzilan or the journey thereafter except that I was always in stitches as the taunts & threats were continually thrown at Leong by Angela, should he not succeed at taking flattering shots of her again. Leong took his task seriously & clicked furiously to get that right shot afterwards!

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Feeling the pressure…..Leong has to perform, or else…..

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Leong succeeded to ask Alex to photograph him. Alex is a hotshot photographer!

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He got Uncle Nigel to take a shot of him too! How does he do it??? :D
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He would make sounds through the lens hood….

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And the only time we stopped laughing was when he was deep in slumber…..

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I took him taking me.

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Benzilan was beautiful but I can only remember how much those two amigos made me laugh.

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Walking across the suspended bridge.

A Great Man Has Gone Home

Rolihlahla (Nelson) Mandela. 18 July 1918 – 6 December 2013.

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Taken at Madame Tussauds, Wien, Austria.

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Taken at Madame Tussauds, Wien, Austria.

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But I’ve only just met you! Or your towering wax figure Tussauds made out of you. You looked so weathered, stood so tall, yet the battles you fought for the people against apartheid and poverty will make us all stand proud with you for eternity. God bless your soul and may you receive the many promised crowns in heaven!!! Thank you for the gift of yourself, Mr. Mandela!

Arriving in Kunming, Dali & Erhai Village, China in 24hours

As far as my eyes could see out of the little pane on my window seat, we were descending into a mountainous region. Whatever I’ve seen in paintings of old China plastered on the wall of coffeeshops as I was growing up actually reflected what was before me. Landing in Kunming, Yunnan, China, my 12 day trip began. The superfluous road journey was enough to set my hip off if it weren’t for the BackJoy Posture+ seat that I had lugged along. Absolutely necessary for long car rides. Each day, we travelled between 150 – 350km, stopping along the way for scenic spots & photo opportunity. Given the chance, I would have loved to stay put longer in one place to experience the culture & life of the people.

Our first stop was at ErHai Fishing Village, a lake that the Chinese term as the sea for the never-ending sight of the horizon. Not getting much sleep from the night before when we arrived at The Ancient City of Dali (Dali Gusheng), I woke up to a temperatures too low for my liking. A cotton-loving girl donned in Uniqlo HeatTech, fleece & technical jacket is hardly anything to marvel at. I saved my waterproof ski pants for the coldest sector of my journey…….Yading, in Sichuan near the Himalayas.

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At dawn, these boats are parked by the lakeside.

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Boats parked.

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Fisherfolks row out to haul in the catch.

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Wheat clusters left by the road.

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Mode of transport for the village folks.

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Taking out the vermicelli noodles at the factory.

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Noodles hanging out to dry.

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Garbed in balaclava, beanie & hooded jacket.

This was our first stop on our long & arduous journey to Yading Nature Reserve. On the bus, there were 12 other photographers & an MPV with 6 people plus the driver. Travelling 350km upon arrival in the evening was anything but nice. The fun only began on the 3rd day when I was accosted by Leong Taoping (Long Bean Army as I called him) and the demure but bean-bashing, Angela.

Exporting Mail from Mac to Outlook 2011

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I managed to import ALL of my client’s mail from Mail.app to Outlook 2011 flawlessly WITHOUT too much trouble. If you are a Mac user who has decided to use Outlook instead of the built-in proprietary Mail. Follow the steps below as Apple has nestled folders within .mbox & your mail has a ~.elmx (proprietary) extension rather than .mbox (UNIX mail format). Whatever you naysayers say about Outlook, you have either never used the advance features nor have you been on Windows long enough to know how it handles email just the way we like it so I would ignore anyone who tries to discourage you from getting onto Outlook. Microsoft may ‘dysfunctional’ in their OS but they have full-featured softwares like Project, Publisher & Outlook that some people deem ireplicable so let’s get on with the problem.
 
Apple has hidden the Library folder in Lion & Mountain Lion OSX to prevent accidental access by newbies so you need to access it in Finder.
 

  1. Download the emlx converter to mbox app here. Run the app.
  2. Go to Finder, in the tab under Go, press ALT/Option to show Library folder, select it & go to Mail folder.
  3. Copy any ~.mbox files to a folder on your Desktop. You don’t want to mess with the original file.
  4. Go to folder on your Desktop, click on INBOX.mbox, select your folder till it opens to show folders titled 2, 3, 4…..etc.
  5. Click on each of these folders till it shows files with .emlx.
  6. Select ALL & drag them to the EMLXConverter but don’t start the conversion yet.
  7. Do this with each of the 2, 3, 4, 5 titled folders & add to the converter so that it would convert & place them into Outlook as one folder.
  8. Click Convert.
  9. In Outlook, select Import & choose ‘Contacts & messages from a text file’
  10. Select ‘Import messages from an MBOX-format text file.’ Choose your converted file & you will have a folder entitled, ‘Mbox’ in your Outlook. Click on the folder, select all the messages & drag them to ‘Inbox.’
  11. Do the same from item No. 4 onwards for your SENT.mbox to be converted & imported into Outlook.

 
I spent hours looking for a solution using different search criteria until I found a conversation thread in a Microsoft Community & it was Garret Mickelson who posted it. I reckon I didn’t need to register as I wouldn’t be communicating in a Windows forum since I switched OS 6 years ago. Meanwhile, I’ve converted all my mail from my Entourage app to Outlook using the inbuilt import feature. Took about half an hour for I have many mailboxes that I manage. I hope this would help solve all your frustration & let you use your favourite app after becoming a Mac user!

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Taking Your Smartphone Underwater

Spending in access of RM1,000 for your smartphone, warrants a smarter solution to protect it especially if you are going out to sea. How often have you been caught in a situation where you wished your phone (which has doubled up as your camera) was waterproof or robust? Salt water is especially corrosive & keeping it inside a big dry bag with all your other stuff may cause you to miss precious moments around you so how do you protect your phone from accidental slips into the sea or splashes that might short-circuit it?

I got a chance to take my Galaxy Note underwater (before acquiring the Sony Xperia Z1) & I tested the Dicapac DCP-WP-C2 casing that allowed me to operate the touchscreen whilst in the water. My favourite online camera shop, Shashinki, sells it for only RM80 & delivered right to your doorstep! There’s a selection of Green, White, Blue, Yellow & Pink casing & it’s no brainer which one I picked! So I decided to take it skin-diving with me!

I snorkelled to where the reefs sloped to about 8 metres deep & all the while, I can operated the touchscreen through the thick bubble atmosphere the casing created when I locked the zip-lock top. The air pocket created space between the screen & the casing. On the surface, I could still touch the ‘shutter button’ on the screen but once I nose-dived down to 8 metres depth, the pressure flattened the air space & I couldn’t ‘touch’ the screen again. The casing is rated to 10 metres, which to most users, is more than enough waterproofing. Not a problem as I could turn it to video & take screenshots later. Little did I know that I had filmed the video upside down because I was inverted! Here are some shots taken with the smartphone in the Dicapac casing in the water below the surface & at 8 metres.

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Just adjusted the levels of the picture, no other edits.

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Birds eye view from below the surface.

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The house reef in Tenggol!

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See my fins beneath the surface?

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At the drop-off, I managed to take a picture….

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Yours truly staring at the phone…..

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With the supplied lanyard, I never have to worry about misplacing my phone on the boat & if you drop it in the sea, it floats!

P.S. – Also good for situations where you run the risk of getting sprayed by water cannons…… ;)

Check out their range of Dicapac casings that fit your smartphone!

Hiatus Ended

Whenever there’s a hiatus from my blog, I take time out to do everything that I’ve been wanting to do for the year before finding that inspiration to write again. After my round-Malaysia camping trip with Rufus, my work started to pile, visits to my clients’ place became more frequent & delivering my assignments meant I had to burn the midnight oil. Not that unusual but sleeping late doesn’t sync with Rufus’ timing to get his walk in the morning where he struts happily to shower the caterpillars at the shrubs near the pond. Beckoned only by the crows tailing us as we encircle the our morning fields, we watch the Purple Heron from a distance, an indicator that winter migration has begun.

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Before the season of diving ended I was plagued by a childhood injury & dislocated my hip again. Having the Low family help me in & out of the water during their certification trip was somewhat embarrassing but when I was water-bound, I was weightless/painless & free. Grimacing as soon as I leave the ocean, I spent Raya being bedridden till I could access my chiropractor after his holidays to have my hip adjusted into place. While horizontal, I got acquainted with Chinese serial dramas again & was given the desire to see China. Lo & behold, Soo offered me to take over her trip & when God healed me during a specific altar call where He had given me a vision 4 days prior at the start of the Pentecostal World Conference & just after a lady gave me a book entitled, ‘The Church in China,’ I was convinced that God was indeed, sending me to China.

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I visited my reefs & said hello to the resident Risbecia tryoni while the inquisitive Sea Perch decided to have its picture taken as well. Doing several dive trips before the season ended gave me an opportunity to accustom myself with the Olympus E-PM1 & the housing.

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In the month of Ramadhan, I witnessed the Tourism Minister together with Secretary General of Tourism giving red packets to under-privileged children at a buka puasa dinner hosted by the Ministry of Tourism. I caught up with fellow journalists from travel mags & Julini, my ex-colleague from Concorde Hotel.

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In the passed 2 months or so, I couldn’t bring myself to detail all that’s happened because life is just too fast paced & I had tons of writing to do for my clients. From 17-pages reports to drafting letters to minutes of meetings, all of which overworked my braincells & took away my creativity for awhile. I was even getting upset over events that had transpired in a meeting that I was minuting so nothing from me could be comprehensible in the last 2 months.

Just then, Sony Mobile selected my picture for the launching of Xperia Z1 in Malaysia & the picture of the Twin Towers was taken with the phone that they have presented me with.

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Soon after, I participated in another event & another picture was selected. Yes, I got busy with the 20 megapixel camera on the Z1 instead.

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I needed time out & China was a major trip traversing across mountainous terrains spanning over 1000km on the way to Yading in what I deem as freezing temperatures. I guess I’m made for the tropics. Will tell you about my trip in between my travels as soon as I appease Rufus because I’d been away too often & too long…..

Merdeka Giveaway – WinX HD Video Converter worth US$49.95!

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You spot an unidentifiable floating/flirting object, crawling, creeping, undulating or it might even be getting ready to cast its next generation into the ‘air’ (atmosphere, depending on whether you should terrestrial or marine life) & the first response is to whip out your camera and flash your shutter planes at it. You take a breath & resume your most comfortable position to record the motion instead. Minute by minute, your aching arms tell you that your footage is enough but your bug/slug/mollusc decides to demonstrate some kungfu or calisthenics to stun its prey and you finally get footage worthy of National Geographic’s mention.

You get to your computer & you want to edit it to include your signature & insert music to complement the excitement but you find that you must convert it to MOV or MPEG before you can even edit it. And you have many files to edit. Your free converter only converts one file at a time. For a 500MB video, it takes almost 20 minutes & not all converters can give you a high definition output or give you the controls to increase the volume nitrate or output to any format to be readable by your iPhone/iPad/Android as showpieces. Predicament like this can be solved with having a batch HD video converter like the WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe (for Windows) & WinX HD Video Converter for Mac to convert all your HD videos. Leave it running in the background & before you know it, all your videos are converted!

Here are the reasons why you should get the WinX HD Video Converter for Mac (or Windows):-

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Support Multi-track HD and Blu-ray Video

The first Mac HD video converter that supports converting Multi-track HD video BDAV, M2TS, MKV, AVCHD, TrueHD, MTS, MPEG-TS Audio/Video. E.g. it lets you convert Multi-track MKV to MP4, M2TS to MKV, Blu-ray M2TS to MKV, which is a definitely useful feature when making a digital copy to backup your Blu-ray videos.

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Convert Videos from HD-Camcorder
Convert AVCHD, MOD, TOD and MTS videos recorded by HD camcorders, such as Panasonic, Canon, Sony, JVC to AVI, MPEG, MP4, FLV, JVC and other most popular video formats, so that you can play the videos on portable devices or edit the video in iMovie.

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Convert Videos to Portable Devices
It can convert all HD and regular videos, such as AVCHD, MKV, MTS, M2TS, MPEG-4, AVI, WMV, FLV, MP4, to other formats for playback on most popular portable devices like iPod, iPad ( iPad 2/iPad 3), iPhone (iPhone 4/4S/5), Apple TV, Xbox, Xbox360, PSP, PS3, etc. So you can watch them without assistance of third-party codecs.

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Create VOB Files on Mac for DVD Burning
It can also create VOB files (one of default DVD video formats) from the videos recorded by HD camcorders, downloaded from online video sharing sites, or made by your own, and then you can burn the VOB video to DVD Disc by your DVD authoring software. It offers an all-round solution to make backup copies of your videos.

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Youtube Video Downloader and Converter
With a built-in website video downloader, it is also a video tool for online content downloading to help you extract videos from millions video sharing site like Youtube, Vimeo, Google, Facebook, Megavideo, etc. Then you can convert all downloaded video directly.

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Amazing Output Video Audio Quality
High Quality Engine is built in this HD video converter to manage the output image quality. With advanced De-interlace Accelerator, it delivers more original output video, compared with similar Mac HD video converter. Besides, you can balance the video/audio quality and Viagra generic canada file size by adjusting the bitrate resolution parameters.

To be entered in the giveaway, please drop me a comment & tell me the model of your camera that you shoot with & the current converter you are using & include a shout out ‘MERDEKA!’ at the end of your comment. (Merdeka is a Malay word for independence, shouted by our Prime Minister on 31 August 1957 when we gained independence from the British). Please include your email address & state whether you need a Windows or Mac version. And thank you for sailing by Pummkin’s Pitch!

Giveaway is sponsored by the good people at Digiarty.com! For more information, please visit www.winxdvd.com.

Half A Year Gone

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Taiping Lake Gardens.

There are not enough hours in a day for me & every minute is precious when I’m doing the things I love to do most. When Wolfgang visited, we spent a week exploring the jungles of Malaysia equipped with tents, poles, four-legged companions & survival kits. We learnt that even a simple tent can bear quite an effect on your sleep if the roof is not vented & the fly-sheet is not totally waterproof. The tropical rainforest usually lives up to its name when you are least prepared and with Rufus & Spice coming along, there’s no option to stay in a resort. I have no problem with that & it’s so nice to see Rufus getting all protective of his space & master (or slave aka me).

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Rufus having a snooze while I drove.

Hearing the nocturnal insects & the quaak-quaak frogs at night made me feel like I was on a different planet. There was no ‘ribbik’ nor the ‘oowooongg’ noises from the bullfrogs but a very distinct & loud ‘QUAAK!’ which is then answered by their fellow species somewhere else. It was an interesting night. Rufus was adapting to all these foreign noises too. Aziz had to alternate between his tent & the 4WD because Spice kept him awake frequently with the need to answer nature’s call. He decided to sleep in the car so as not to wake Wolfgang.

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Rufus taking a cool dip with me!

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The Milky Way!

We spent nights shooting the Milky Way & visited Lawrence & Ina in Gua Musang in Kelantan. After that, we headed to Grik & spent a night at Belum. There, I was visited by a wild boar while I was in the tent. We drove to Taiping for some sight-seeing before returning to KL for a dive trip to Aur & Tenggol. In between, I caught up with my ex-boss, Dato’ Loy & ex-colleagues to celebrate his birthday & facilitate sessions for FInancial Psychology’s workshops.

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Ex boss & colleagues.

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Pulau Dayang, off Pulau Aur.

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Sandwiched in between a colour-coded (coincidence) dressing for the day, Bose & Soo.

I am constantly reminded that I have to stop & smell the roses each time work gets too hectic or when the assignment gets the better of me. I found one in such splendour that smelling it alone would not justice to it. It put a smile to my face that God flutters the heart of His children when His flora flourishes! Here’s to more discoveries in the wild!

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