Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours in Asia-Pacific

What the world does not need is a natural disaster to add on to the existing man-made disasters of warfare and terrorism. To have a country stricken with an 'act of God' is bad enough but to have a big part of an entire region being affected, all within a week, is totally beyond imagination. And sad.

First, it was Typhoon Ketsana hitting the Philippines, then Samoa and American Samoa hit by an earthquake. Next Typhoon Ketsana moving on to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, then two earthquakes off Sumatra, Indonesia. Tremors could be felt as far away as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Would it be correct to say that the Asia Pacific region has been 'attacked by nature'?

What a way to start the final quarter of the year!!

Some related articles below:

Indonesia quake toll between 100-200 people

Quake in Sumatra, tremors in Malaysia

Typhoon Ketsana wreaks havoc across South-East Asia

Samoa hit by Earthquake and Tsunami

Samoa hit by Earthquake and Tsunami

With changes in weather patterns and increased natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, many people around the world living on islands have much to worry about. We saw the people of Philippines having to suffer floods caused by Typhoon Ketsana last week, and now Samoans are battling effects of an earthquake and a resultant tsunami.

From The Star..
PAGO PAGO (American Samoa): A powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday, flattening villages, killing dozens of people and leaving several workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities.

Cars and people were swept out to sea by the fast-churning water as survivors fled to high ground, where they remained huddled hours later. Signs of devastation were everywhere, with a giant boat getting washed ashore and coming to rest on the edge of a highway and floodwaters swallowing up cars and homes.

The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn about 200km from Samoa, a South Pacific island nation of about 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.

It struck about 190km from neighbouring American Samoa, a US territory of about 65,000 people.

Four tsunami waves of 4-6m high roared ashore soon afterward, reaching up to 1.6km inland. Continue reading..

More pictures from The Star Gallery

Related Stories:
Disaster declaration issued for American Samoa
Hawaii spared effects of deadly tsunami
Japan issues tsunami warning along coast

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Starbucks Coffee, You Like?

Nice montage, don't you think? These are actually all the 30 different types of whole bean coffee beans that are available at Starbucks. Starbucks coffee beans are sourced from all over the world, Latin America, Africa, Arabia and Asia Pacific.

Starbucks Corporation is an international coffee and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington, United States. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 16,120 stores in 49 countries, including around 11,000 in the United States, followed by nearly 1,000 in Canada and more than 800 in Japan.

Starbucks sells drip brewed coffee, espresso-based hot drinks, other hot and cold drinks, snacks, and items such as mugs and coffee beans. The company also markets books, music, and film. Many of the company's products are seasonal or specific to the locality of the store. Starbucks-brand ice cream and coffee are also offered at grocery stores.

In the 1990s, Starbucks was opening a new store every workday, a pace that continued into the 2000s. The first store outside the United States or Canada opened in the mid-'90s, and overseas stores now constitute almost one third of Starbucks' stores. The company plans to open a net of 900 new stores outside of the United States in 2009, but has announced 900 store closures in the United States since 2008.

International presence of Starbucks stores

Here in Kuala Lumpur, there is a Starbucks in every shopping mall and in busy parts of suburbs outside the city. Is it just the coffee that millions of people patronise the outlets each day?

Whatever it is, like it or not, Starbucks (and places like theirs) are slowly but surely changing the way we live.

In his new book, "Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks", Bryant Simon, a history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, writes that "while people once were able to find meaningful conversation and debate at libraries, recreation centers and parks, those public spaces have become less available - and less desirable _ since municipal resources are focused elsewhere."

According to Simon, Starbucks has filled that void.

Or has it?

What's the true cost of a Starbucks latte, really? And we are not talking about money.

- Starbucks website
- Wikipedia

- The Star

Monday, September 28, 2009

McDonald's Coke Glass Tumbler

I had a Big Mac meal at McDonald's and picked a purple Coke glass (arrowed above). I think the blue one would have been nicer. The glass is always bluer on the other side. LOL!

Fastfood meals are not cheap in Malaysia. The entire meal plus the tumbler/glass came up to about RM15. A char kway teow (stir-fried noodles) meal (drink included) would only cost close to RM8 at most. Economy rice would be more economical? Oh well, it's not everyday I eat a Western fastfood meal.

Have you got your glass yet? Come to think of it, it's not a needed item. Just because...

Malaysia's Polygamy Club

An article titled Al-Arqam making a comeback in The Star caught my attention the other day but I thought nothing of it. It's the government's concern.

After the religious movement was outlawed in 1994, there was very little news of the Al-Arqam movement. Apparently, it was still active though on a very low-profile level in Rawang, a suburban town a little off Kuala Lumpur. You could still recognise the members by their attire, especially the men with their beard and turban-like headwear.

Even though Muslims, they believe in polygamy. New York Times has a more interesting perspective about it - Here Come the Brides: Polygamy Club Woos Malaysia

Meanwhile, across the Causeway..
Switching sex partners a hit with Singaporeans

SINGAPOREANS are flocking to a website to change sex partners, Sin Chew Daily reported.

The daily reported that so far, 49 couples had signed up at the website.

Among the categories available were men seeking women, women seeking men, and where same sex partners are available.

“The majority of those who signed up stressed that they were only looking for sex, not love,” reported the daily.

What is more astonishing is that those who signed up voluntarily left their contact details to allow interested parties to call them.

A check found that those who signed up were Singaporean Chinese in their 30s. Most of them are professionals.

Source: The Star

2,560th Birthday of Confucius

Wish I was in Qufu, China, yesterday. Why? Read on..

Confucius’ 2,560th birthday held at his birthplace

QUFU (China): A grand ceremony was held in Qufu, east China's Shandong Province, on Monday to commemorate the 2,560th birthday of Confucius, the great ancient Chinese thinker and philosopher revered around the world, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 10,000 people, including his descendants, scholars and representatives from foreign embassies in China and international organisations, attended the ceremony at the Confucius Temple in Qufu, his birthplace.

Confucius and his disciples advocated positive self-discipline, healthy living, maintaining harmony in family life, peace and order in the country, peace in the world.

His thoughts are still studied worldwide. - Bernama

Source: The Star

Flood and Havoc in the Philippines caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana

Latest updates:
- Aug 10, 2012: Floods in Philippines - No respite from rain
- Aug 7, 2012: Manila is badly flooded

More than a month’s worth of rain fell in just 12 hours Saturday as Tropical Storm Ketsana slammed ashore in the Philippines triggering the worst flooding in decades in the capital Manila and nearby provinces.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo appealed for donations and called for calm.

Blogger, Rej, lives in Manila. Here is her comment on the flood:

We are glad you and your family are fine and safe, Rej. Take care.

Related articles:
Philippines battles flood chaos
Philippine storm leaves at least 106 dead, missing
Philippine storm leaves 106 dead and missing
In pictures: Philippine flood clear up
Ways to Donate

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Of Cigars and Pewter Cigar-cutters

Every country or city has her special or unique products that travellers pick up as souvenirs for friends and family back home. When visiting colleagues come to Malaysia, there are a few places they would ask to be taken to. One of them is the Royal Selangor Pewter factory and showroom in Setapak.

I suppose the staff there at the showroom are always happy to see foreign customers because of the volume they buy. They would snap up beer tankards, vases, picture frames, pendants and other costume jewellery, even cigar-cutters. I remember one visitor bought a half dozen of them on his first visit to the showroom. Talk about cigar-cutters, I read that Padron cigars brim with complexity and the essence of coffee and cocoa bean. I can imagine how good they would smell.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Source of Information on Acne Treatment

If you are still looking for an acne treatment solution, here is another source of acne treatment product reviews, sort of an acne treatment guide - a wealth of information for people looking for a treatment to rid that ghastly acne condition.

Variety being the spice of life, it is always a plus to have more information than not at all as going shopping with adequate relevant information will result in picking out something suitable and effective. No?

Improved Road Safety

Malaysian roads will soon be a lot safer with the installation of AES (not to be confused with AED).

The proposed Automated Enforcement System (AES) will involve the setting up of hundreds of cameras which will act as the “eyes” of policemen. The system will transmit to a control centre photographs and videos of motorists committing traffic offences. The centre will then issue the summonses.

The unmanned cameras will be located at 831 spots around the country.

Friday Frolics - What Internet Slang Are You?

Huh! How time flies, it's Friday again. Time again for another personality quiz. The way we use the Internet does have a bearing on our personality. Don't believe? Take the quiz. Your Internet habit will identify the Internet Slang in relation to your personality that you are, whether you are OMG!, FAIL!, ROTFL, LOL!, WTF! OR FAQ. Okay, time to check it out..

You Are FAQ

For you, the internet is like your personal library. And you know more facts than fifty normal humans.

Your brain is basically lot a computer at this point. You have a lot of information stored up there.

You spend hours looking up obscure information and learning things. If you have question, you always Google it.

You can't help but be a bit of a know-it-all. You can answer everyone's frequently asked questions.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taking Your Piano Playing to the Next Level

Some piano players have difficulty playing without sheet music. If you are one who has a concern reading piano chords, help is on the way.

There is now a complete step-by-step piano improvisation course comprising a set of 6 DVDs that show you easy to understand improvisation tips and techniques that will have you playing like a pro in as little as a month.

The course also includes a binder with improvisation outlines and exercises. That's not all, you will also get two CDs of some 120 sample tracks for guidance and listening pleasure.

With this video tutorial, you will find that learning to read piano chords and piano improvisation are really not that difficult afterall. You can also sign up for some free piano lessons or learn tips on handling piano chords. All this available on Learn from a professional, get Shortcut Secrets On Mastering The Art Of Improvisation.

Here's a sample of an improvised piece..

Should We Be Taking Food Supplements?

Advancement in medical science has resulted in us knowing more about the human body, our ailments, what causes them, their prevention, etc. On tv last night, there was a programme that talked about a new discovery on beating skin cancer.

A dying patient was prescribed 6 to 8 tables twice a day and his skin condition miraculously cleared. He's all set to go back to work again. Of course, this is still in test phase but suffice to say that there is hope yet for a cancer cure, at least a cure for skin cancer in the near future.

Talk about health, should we be taking food supplements? Is our daily intake of natural food supplements adequate for our body? If horses are fed horse supplements, like those below, shouldn't we be taking food supplements too? At least Vitamin C if not multivits?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Weird and Rude Food Names

Do you normally scrutinize labels on food that you buy? If you do, did you sometimes find weird (even rude) names on labels? Here are some I found on the Nuffy site that are sure to catch your attention. Apart from the logo on the ice-cream box, the rest are unfamiliar to me. Check them out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oldest Man Celebrates 113th Birthday

Life magazine today features this gentleman being the world's oldest man at age 113. The picture below shows Walter Breuning blowing out candles on his birthday cake at his birthday celebration on Monday in Great Falls, Mont. He says he stays healthy by eating just two meals a day.
I remember a former colleague once said that he'd be happy to live until 45. He smoked, drank and had many lady companions (although married). And today in his early sixties, he is still alive and doing the same things he used to be doing. Life is unpredictable indeed and in his case, I suppose it's unpredictable on the good side.

Here's a thought. If you were given a choice to pick the age in which you'd give up your life, which age would you pick and why?

Prime Minister's Hari Raya Open House

Our Prime Minister opened up his house to the public on the first day of Hari Raya. That was Sunday, Sep 20. Believe it or not, I actually wanted to attend and revisit the PM's official residence after enjoying my earlier visit there. I didn't make it though because I couldn't get anyone to want to come along. Maybe next year, i.e., if I could convince some people to make the trip all the way to Putrajaya.

Many years ago, I joined a local tour to visit Putrajaya. It was at the time when Tun Mahathir was the Prime Minister. The tour took us to a few tourist attractions, i.e, the government offices (the PM's office), the Wetlands, Masjid Putra (Putra Mosque), and most significantly was the visit to the Prime Minister's official residence, Seri Perdana. Yes, it is open to the public.

In fact, a tour of Seri Perdana is highly recommended. Seri Perdana is open 0900-1230 and 1400-1700 everyday (including Public Holidays) except Mondays and Fridays. On Fridays, Seri Perdana is open 0900-1200 and 1500-1700. The residence is closed to the public on Mondays or when official functions are being held. Entry is free but visitors are required to submit their MyKad (Malaysian citizens) or passports when obtaining Visitor Pass from the public gate. Cameras are allowed. You can call (603)8888-8800 or e-mail Putrajaya Wetland is a fascinating place. The waters eventually flow down to the river where the Putra Mosque stands and by that time, the water is all clean and clear due to the filtration system of the Wetland.

We didn't stay long enough to explore the Wetland so we did not get to see any flora or fauna but we did manage to go up one of those viewing lofts, the one circled in the image below. From that vantage point, a pair of binoculars and some time would be just perfect for Wetland appreciation. Alas! We had neither.

Visiting the Putra Mosque was quite an experience. It was my first ever visit to a mosque. It is an awesome structure. One has to visit it to appreciate its overall beauty from its architecture to interior tile colours and design to its surroundings. Women are required to cover their hair so scarves were provided at the entrance. Word of advice here: you might want to BYOS (bring your own scarf) because I wondered if the ones loaned out were ever laundered. They didn't smell too good. Oh well..

Standing outside on the eastside and toward the end of the mosque, you could see the Wetland in the distance. The breeze coming in toward the mosque makes the place very cooling and the air refreshingly pleasant. Great fengshui, the mosque, I thought.

Below is a picture of the Putra Mosque. Architecture evolves over time, including that of mosques in Malaysia. There are many new mosques here that look something like the Putra Mosque with the red-white-peach shade.

Since I didn't make it to the PM's Open House, this video is as close as I could get this time.


Monday, September 21, 2009

The 2009 Emmy Awards

If you watch television, the Emmy Awards would have some significance to you, at least you'd know you are not wasting your time watching an Emmy winner. Eh?

The 61st prime-time Emmy Awards recognized television's best in the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Neil Patrick Harris hosted the ceremony. Below are some winners.

Matthew Weiner, creator of "Mad Men," accepted the award for best drama series. The AMC midcentury serial, which received 16 total nominations, the most among drama series, won the best drama Emmy for the second consecutive year.

The NBC comedy "30 Rock," created by Tina Fey, center, won the Emmy for best comedy for the third year in a row. Ms. Fey thanked NBC for "keeping us on the air even though we're so much more expensive than a talk show." That was a reference to NBC's 10 p.m. experiment, "The Jay Leno Show."

Alec Baldwin, now a perennial Emmy winner in the comedy lead actor category for NBC's "30 Rock," added another statue to his collection.

Glenn Close won another lead actress Emmy for her work on the FX legal thriller "Damages."

More Emmy winners..

And now to the Red Carpet..

Here are two of the best dresses. Go here for the entire 25 best dresses at Emmys 2009 held on Sunday. Other dresses on the Red Carpet.

The lady on left is Heidi Klum: Nothing Wrong With a Little Bump.
The Project Runway host is eight months pregnant and proud of it in a custom gown by Marchesa.

Beyonce Knowles - First Concert in Malaysia..Oct 25

Beyonce postpones concert in Malaysia..

For the first time, Beyonce Knowles will be taking the stage in Malaysia. She cancelled a concert two years ago citing schedule-conflict but it was actually after protesters threatened to disrupt the concert because of her sexy image and clothing. She performed in Indonesia instead.

The R&B superstar’s upcoming show is already drawing the ire of conservatives in this country, where female performers are required to cover up from the shoulders to knees with no cleavage showing.

I understand there would be a protest note to the Government over the concert reminding the Government of its "responsibility to protect the people of Malaysia from immoral Western influences". Gee-whiz.. as if the people can't discern for themselves!

If there is any consolation, there would be no plans so far to disrupt the concert. *Keeping fingers crossed for those planning on going to the concert.*

Beyonce performing at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept 13, 2009 in New York. (AP Photo)

There have been artistes who performed in Malaysia under similar protest threats by conservative Muslims, forcing them to don attire that revealed little skin. Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani are among them.

Looks like there will always be controversies of this sort, the most recent being late last month when there was an order forbidding Muslims from attending a Black-Eyd Peas concert because it's sponsored by a beer company. The order has since been reversed.

Beyonce's concert has been slated for Oct 25 at National Stadium, Bukit Jalil, at 8pm and tickets for Beyonce I Am... World Tour Live in Malaysia 2009 are sold at RM583, RM383, RM283, RM183 (numbered seats) and RM93 (free seating).

Ticket pre-sales will start from Sept 22.

For more information, call 03-2092 1199 (Marctensia) or log on to

Alternatively, call 03-7755 1000 (Axcess Ticketing) or log on to

- The Star

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Frolics - What Piercing Are You?

Interesting quiz, this one. It says I am a Lip Piercing. Oh boy! What piercing are you? Find out..

You Are a Lip Piercing

You are rebellious and defiant. You resist conforming and following rules.

You're the type to get pierced anywhere you want, and you're not taking your piercings out for anyone!

Reflective and philosophical, you've spent a lot of time thinking about how you'd like to live your life.

And it just so happens that your preferred lifestyle is pretty far outside the mainstream.

While people may find you standoffish, you aren't necessarily rude, mean, or judgmental.

You just don't try to fit in. And that's enough to scare most people away!

Fun at the Gym - Sexy Workout

Borrowed this video from Mick's Page. Hilarious stuff. Must watch..

My Samsung LCD Monitor Serves Me Well

When my PC monitor gave way last year, I was desperately scouting around for an alternative, looking for the best or close enough. On some good advice, I opted for a Samsung LCD monitor. No regrets whatsoever for getting this brighter, sharper, slimmer and stylish monitor.

A girlfriend on hearing that I chose Samsung was pleased. She was glad I chose a brand that is using parts manufactured by her company, an MNC. What a loyal employee.

I hear Samsung phones are having an increasing share of the Malaysian market giving other brands a run for their money.

Cempaka International School giving away Free iPhones

If you recall, early this year Cempaka International School students won an International Mathematics Contest organized by Unicef and 3P Learning Centre of Australia in conjunction with the recent World Maths Day.

Datin Freida Pilus, Cempaka Schools chairman, said students should be embracing technology because this opens up more ways of learning.

Two years ago, Cempaka introduced Macbooks — portable Apple computers — to its secondary school students.

And now, their forward-looking, innovative education system is introducing another first in education. They are giving away cell phones, the iPhone 3GS, to be exact, to their students. One hundred students of the soon-to-be-opened Cempaka International Ladies College (Clic) are getting an iPhone 3GS each for free.

Students would be introduced to a series of iPhone applications that would be used in their everyday classroom curriculum.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TV chef Keith Floyd dies

When it comes to cooking shows on Astro, there are a few that I watch. Keith Floyd's is one of them. Somehow our own Chef Wan reminds me of him. Keith went all over the world to whip up local dishes. Viewers get to learn about the local cuisine as well as get to experience local culture and take in the beautiful local sights.

Keith died on Monday so there won't be anymore new shows from him. Sad..
RIP, Keith..

From Yahoo! News..
Floyd died at his partner's home in Dorset after a heart attack on Monday night. He revealed in July that he was battling bowel cancer.

He became one of the world's most famous celebrity chefs in the 1980s, endearing himself to audiences worldwide with his flamboyant style.

Keith Floyd: His last lunch of champagne, white wine, oysters, red wine, partridge, perry jelly and a fag - The Mirror

Why we love Keith Floyd - The Guardian

Keith Floyd's Official Website

Is There A Cure for Acne?

If a pimply-faced teenager looking for acne treatment walks into a drugstore, he would be baffled by the variety of creams and lotions available on the shelves. I mean, how does he know which one to choose? He'd probably go back home empty-handed or just pick one he thinks could help his condition the most.

If he were to be a smart shopper, he'd first do some research and would probably find out that a good criteria to use would be something that ranks acne treatment product based on the following elements:

1) Safety
2) Ingredient Quality
3) Side Effects
4) Acne Fighting Power
5) Customer Feedback
6) Overall Value

Not sure if there is a cure acne magic product but the best in the market will surely do some good. Also, getting enough sleep and proper diet with lots of water would help, of course.

Finding the Best Weight Loss Supplement

I have talked so much about weight loss, you would probably think I am already an expert on the subject. Far from it. Anyone can lose weight if you will just follow the following 5 steps.

Steps 2 to 5 look easy enough but the real hurdle is actually Step 1 - finding the best weight loss supllmenent. Fortunately, there are available some good sites that help consumers compare the different types of weight loss supplements in the market leading to making informed decisions.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze dies at 57 of pancreatic cancer

LOS ANGELES: Patrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into viewers' hearts with "Dirty Dancing" and then broke them with "Ghost," died Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57. Continue reading..

Dirty Dancing is one of my favourite movies. Click image below for video..

Rest in peace..

Health Benefits of a Heated Bath

Many countries around the world are reporting a higher percentage of aging citizenry. These days, senior citizens are more comfortable living on their own than with their grown-up children. With technological advancement, the environment is getting more elderly- and disabled-friendly.

Take taking a bath, for instance. There are now available walk in bath tubs with various models helping people of different levels of assistance-needed to bathe. Seabridge Bathing manufactures and distributes seven unique models of walk-in bathtubs through dealers in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Their walk-in bathtubs are specially designed to be easy to enter and easy to exit. The revolutionary palm pad door opener operates with just a push-down with an open hand, closed fist, or elbow. For safety, textured walk-in tub floors are used.

And for comfort, there is the comfortable soft seat cushion available on some models and the luxurious 16 air jet massage. It's like experiencing a spa right at home.

It is a pity that not all new houses come with a bath-tub nowadays considering the health benefits of a heated bath. Just look at the health benefits a Seabridge walk-in bath can provide:

A Full Soak (up to the chest):

* Calms the mind
* Balances emotions
* Eliminates insomnia
* Eases muscle strain
* Reduces hemorroid
* Reduce arthritis pain
* Increases circulation
* Promotes elimination of impurities via the skin
* Soothing to the nerves
* Helpful to bladder and urinary problems
* Helps mild colds
* Lowers fevers
* Helps to maintain metabolic function

Even soaking up to the hips, calves or feet have their own benefits.

For more information on Seabridge bathtubs, check out their frequently asked questions section where they have one of the largest collections of resources about bathtubs for the elderly and disabled on the Internet, along with a blog. There are topics on senior independent living, wheelchair accessible bathtubs for the handicapped, and disabled bath and bathing.