01 June, 2011

Popping the popcorn on Gawai

Happy Gawai to all who are celebrating the Harvest Festival in Sarawak! And happy holidays to those who are enjoying themselves visiting :)

As for me, I'm now taking a break from work... oh well, being a workaholic, there's no way for me to sit there idle. Besides, I've got lots of deadlines to meet too, so I can't afford to waste any spare time I have! So, no visiting for me. 

Sigh. My apology to a friend who has invited me to his *kampung! I really wished I could be there, but bad planning by our group of friends prevented me from going. So sorry, buddy! 

Anyways, I had a wonderful morning today... *wink wink*

After breakfast this morning, I was helping my mom to clean up when I saw this packet of popcorn kernels in the cabinet. 

It was a very easy-to-pop popcorn. As easy as 1-2-3.

Or maybe we should call it "instant popcorn." Well, in a world where everything has to be instant, e.g. instant noodles, instant photos, instant oatmeal, instant coffee, instant tea, even instant passports, I'm more excited than surprised when I picked up this packet of popcorn kernels.

Mom said she bought this early this year at Ta Kiong, tHe Spring. So she gave me the green light to get the kernels popped.

So first of all... opening the wrapper and I found this... 

On the outer wrapper and this popcorn bag, they demanded that instructions should be carefully read before going to the next step. So it took me 2 minutes to read and understand (I just don't want to blow my mom's microwave, if anything unexpected happens. Haha). Then into the microwave it went.

After about 4 minutes...

... tadaaa!! The bag has now expanded! Let's see what it's like inside...

Woohoo... one whole bag filled with popcorns!

Curious of how much it is, I emptied the content into the pot we always use to cook instant noodle or soup. Not bad, it filled the whole pot.

Now it's ready to be enjoyed while you watch your favourite drama or movie! *wink*

Looks like this instant popcorn isn't too bad, eh?

Having said that, I think I shall take a break from work and indulge in the drama starred by my favourite actor while enjoying some unfinished popcorns. Yum yum... Now would you please excuse me...

*"Kampung" is the Malay word for "village".

19 May, 2011

Are toilet signages redundant?

I was thinking of doing a fun opening for this post on the signages seen in toilets, many of which are considered weird, funny, and redundant but after finding the banner below (you'll see it later), I changed my mind.

Maybe I should use a more serious tone for this topic. Toilet hygiene is no joke.

Well, I'm sure all of us realise the importance of toilets/washrooms, without which we would be in "big trouble", particularly when we're all living in the cities. (I'm not indicating that in the rural areas toilets aren't that important, but hey, at least there are bushes or jungles that one can run to to answer the nature's call. It's much better than having nowhere to go, right?)

For me, I'm very very particular of toilet cleanliness. If I could wait until I get home, then I would wait until I get home! As we all know, public toilets are usually unpleasant and dirty.

Anyway, I know of a lot of friends who ridicule the signages found in local toilets (in Kuching and other places in Malaysia). I heard comments like "Look, they even teach us how to pass urine, as if we're only born yesterday!" Alright, let's look at two common signages found in Kuching public toilets.

You must have seen this one...

... teaching you how to correctly do your 'business'.
Or this one...

... an almost step-by-step guide on how to use the toilet properly -- again, as if we were from the most remote and rural places in the jungle and have never seen or use a seated toilet before!

Ridiculous signs, right? As if we toilet users are so stupid that we need guidelines on how to do our 'business'. But the ultimate truth is... there ARE people who don't know how to use the toilets properly!!

Let me share my experience when visiting my best pal who's working in a church. While waiting for her to have lunch together, suddenly I had an urge. I grabbed the toilet paper (ohh, what would have become of me if there was no toilet paper!), rushed to the toilet (it's the church's public toilet), banged the door shut, opened my pants (I know, too much detail, but anyways...), put the toilet seat in place... and to my horror, I found some yellowish stain and brown colour shoe prints on it. Groaning in pain and trying my best to hold on, I QUICKLY poured water over the seat and wiped it dry and clean before finally resting myself on it.

If you haven't experienced anything like this, then put yourselves in my shoes. You would understand how annoying it is to see users who are so inconsiderate and not civic-minded. Subsequently, the next users become the victims.

Look, people. Even though these public/shared toilets are not owned solely by you alone, you are still RESPONSIBLE to ensure its cleanliness because YOU are also one of the users. And PLEASE... I beg you... DON'T EVER let the next person clean up YOUR mess!! It only shows that you're an inconsiderate and VERY selfish person!! (Consider yourself lucky you've never met me. Otherwise, I'll make sure you suffer the same ordeal you've caused the other toilet users!)

Well, if you do not want to be held responsible, then that's perfectly fine. Just wait till you go home and use your OWN toilet! Oh... please don't even go to the planted shrubs, your urine definitely isn't perfume (you'd cause air pollution!), and you could even kill the shrubs / plants (too much ammonia can cause poisoning, you know?)!

The toilet / washroom / restroom is provided for our comfort, and I think each of us should be thankful for these basic amenities and take good care of them.

Okay, back to the signs.

Mark McGinley, a Texan,  found the toilet signs to be useful when he was in Malaysia. If a westerner found it useful, then don't you think we Malaysians (or Kuchingnites) should shut up and start taking up our responsibility to keep the toilets clean at all times, rather than making so much unnecessary comments on the signs?

If the toilet isn't a place of importance, then there wouldn't be a World Toilet Day. Let's read it again. It's WORLD-Toilet-Day. Not Malaysian Toilet Day, or Kuching Toilet Day. Enough said, I hope?

Kudos to the Sibu Toilet Council, who even held a Toilet Cleanliness Seminar last year. This shows that the Local Council is concerned.

But isn't it an irony... we are now living in a world with great advancement in Science and Technology, and yet when it comes to basic cleanliness, most people choose to be ignorant.

Perhaps it is time we give other people a thought (if you have never been thoughtful), and help to make the world a better place to live in. There's enough misery in the world, so please don't add more to it!

27 March, 2011

Earth Hour - Campaigning for Mother Earth

Last night from 8.30-9.30 pm was Earth Hour. Did you participate in this global event by a simple action: switching off non-essential lightings?

I was supposed to be watching the Live broadcast of MY FM Awards on Astro at my friend’s house, but then I decided to stay at home for an hour and managed to make my family turn off the lights that we didn’t need. Like many others, they don’t see the necessity of Earth Hour. Worse still, they don’t really bother about the environment. You know, as an (self declared) environmentalist, I feel that I’ve failed terribly. I failed to convince my family to join me in caring for the environment, and I failed to change the mindset of friends who always say “I don’t care” or “none of my business” when the topic of environment is raised.

I believe all environmentalists and those who have made an effort to protect the environment would feel the same disappointment I’ve felt.

Oops, I sidetracked. Let’s go back to Earth Hour.

“Don’t bother, Earth Hour is not going to make any difference anyway.”

**Grin** How many of you out there who have made or heard this remark? Honestly speaking, I said something similar myself when I heard of Earth Hour for the first time: “Switching off lights for one hour can help cool the Earth down? What kind of bullshit is this?” Haha, what a shame, right, to hear this statement from an environmentalist? Like many people today, I didn’t know the main purpose and concept behind Earth Hour. But after learning in depth on electricity generation (especially on fossil-fueled and coal-fired power plants) and reading up on Earth Hour, it finally dawned on me the importance of Earth Hour.

Let’s put scientific data, explanation, proofs and so forth aside for now, and go down to the heart of Earth Hour. First we need to answer the question “WHAT is Earth Hour?” and “WHY is it important?”, which will bring us to a proper and better understanding of Earth Hour.

Photo courtesy of Fabio Lugoboni

I shall be using the Earth Hour FAQs from Earth Hour’s Official Website as a guideline as I explain in layman’s language in hope that it could be easily understood. You may also open the FAQs page for reference as you read the explanations below.

What exactly is Earth Hour?
“Earth Hour is a global grass-roots movement encouraging individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take positive actions for the environment, and celebrating their commitment to the planet by switching off their lights for one designated hour.

Earth Hour 2011 aims to show the actions that people, businesses and governments worldwide are taking to reduce their environmental impact.” (Adapted from Earth Hour: FAQs)
In other words: Earth Hour is just a simple campaign (movement) carried out in a worldwide basis (global), where everyone is requested to switch off the lights as a sign of his/her readiness and willingness to make a difference (to take positive actions for the environment) together with people around the world.

When we join in the global action of switching off our lights this night, we are telling Mother Earth this: “Dear Mother Earth, together with the people around the world, I hereby acknowledge my love for you by switching off my lights. This is the evident of my willing and loving commitment towards protecting you.”

Now, Earth Hour is NOT A SOLUTION to global warming. Turning off the lights is a symbolic gesture to show that we care. Earth Hour is a global event because we “share a unified moment” through a simple action. It shows us that “a solution to the world’s environmental challenges is possible if we work on them together” (Earth Hour: FAQs). This answers the question of why Earth Hour is important, and why as individuals our participation is important.

But is that all? Does it mean that we only take action for that one designated hour and after that, we can start wasting our resources again? Of course not!

Let us look at another scenario: During a wedding, the groom and bride exchanged their vows of love and commitment to each other. Does it mean that they were committed to each other only at that very moment they were making their vows? Or do they have to make an effort every moment of their lives to keep their marriage going?

So it is with Earth Hour. It doesn’t just stop there. Earth Hour is a yearly reminder of and the renewal of our commitment and responsibility towards the environment. It calls everyone living in this Planet Earth to continually adopt environmentally sustainable lifestyles, taking personal accountability for the adverse impact we’ve made on our Planet.

Have you made your commitment yet? If not, it’s still not too late to start today. And hopefully, more people would be able to join the next Earth Hour in 2012. Let us together make a difference, to save the Earth, our home!

Here's Hong Kong's Earth Hour. Well done, Hong Kong!

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