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!

10 February, 2011

From drama to spamming

I'm taking a little break from work right now. I've been staring at the LCD monitor since 9 am this morning. My brain is kind of drained; my eyes strained. @_@  A short nap would be fantastic.

But to have a good nap, I would need this.

Photo screenshot from TVB's The Rippling Blossom, Episode 1
*Chuckle* This sleep mask (or eye mask) is cool, right? Just wondering if we can get the same one here in Kuching.

Anyway, I've been watching this TVB drama The Rippling Blossom since its first episode. If you're a fan of Damian Lau, Myolie Wu, Julian Cheung Chi Lam, Michael Tse, Tavia Yeung and Eileen Yeow, then you should catch it too. It's on Astro On Demand. But since I don't have Astro, I watched it online via streaming of live broadcast from 翡翠台. You can do so by using PPS or PPTV.

TVB's The Rippling Blossom 《鱼跃在花见》
The story is about how the two brothers, Michael Tse and Chilam got back their japanese cuisine restaurant, and the challenges they faced as sushi chefs, including competition between the two brothers in their relationships and career. For now, I would say it's still very interesting and funny. It's something like a japanese anime coming to live.

As for me, my favourite actor is none other than Damian Lau Chung Yan. See, he's cute right? *awww*
Damian as Mo-Yung Ching, a renowned Hokkaido seafood merchandiser
Okay, enough with this drama. And enough with Damian (I could go on and on and on and...). I really NEED to get off the computer and take a short break. And after that I have to combat the spammers.

I'm helping out with the church's website maintenance. And look at the spams I've got EACH DAY. At least 600 spams. Arrghhh~! I HATE YOU, SPAMMERS! Don't you have anything better to do other than spamming other people's site and emails?! It took me at least half an hour everyday to delete the spams (I also need to make sure I don't delete those that are not spam). What a waste of my precious time!

05 February, 2011

Chinese New Year in 2 days

This is the third day of Chinese New Year. While checking the stats of this blog as I got ready to work, I had a shock of a lifetime when I saw my blog being listed under Blogger of the Week on MyInternet, DiGi website.

My first reaction was ... "Yikes! What have I done?! Am I being blacklisted?!" Oh well, no wonder my blog suddenly receives so much traffic these few days. But I do wonder HOW I got listed there. Honestly speaking, I really like that little simple nice banner with a green globe and plants, may I "steal" it? *chuckle* Sincere thanks to DiGi or whosoever who got my simple blog listed!

Anyway, to the fellow Chinese friends, how have your Chinese New Year celebration been? I had a bad start.

First day, I was down with severe headache and I slept the WHOLE day. Woke up around 8 pm, took a bit of food, and took medicine too as the headache got worse. At about 10 pm, headache was finally gone so I watched The Superb Matchmakers (媒人帮) on NTV7.

Photo courtesy of http://sinsonsen.blogspot.com

It wasn't bad. I would have to say that it was quite impressive. Credit should be given where credit is due. The Malaysian actors/actresses/producers have improved a lot since the last time I watched a Malaysian-made movie/drama (like about 10 years ago?). Thumbs up and well done!

Second day, I stayed at home working on my report (well, being a workaholic...) until a group of youths stormed my house. Everything was fine except two things that made me feel frustrated.
They were all minding their own businesses. Talking among themselves, playing with iphones/ipods, and they couldn't even remember who the host is. So 'tis what visiting is all about?

Okay then, that is still forgivable compared to this one.

The rubbish bin was RIGHT THERE and see where the tissue paper ended up? On the floor. I'm very sure that it wasn't the fan that blew it off the table. 

Here's another piece. Someone must have just left it there right after use. Couldn't even bother to throw it into the bin that is less than 5 steps away.

So the question is, if you can't even bother about keeping clean at someone else's house, then it is definitely impossible that you would even remember not to litter at public places. Agree with me?

At night, I went out with friends to watch I Love Hong Kong (我爱HK 开心万岁).

Wow, this feel good movie really makes people feel good! We laughed from the beginning to the end. And people even clapped! It wasn't like 花田喜事2010 (not sure what the English name is) aired last year, which was funny but illogical, and a bit lame too. I Love Hong Kong is different as the story was more realistic, added with humour. I particularly enjoyed the scenes by Sandra Ng. But you would need to understand at least 50% of Cantonese to watch this movie, or else you'd be at a lost. The subtitles do help, but it's still an advantage to know Cantonese. Definitely a MUST watch!

Let me share with you two miracles that happened. I was still suffering from slight headache before watching this movie but after watching, my headache was gone! One of my friends lost her voice before the movie, but she laughed so much that after the movie, she regained her voice. *chuckle* See, miracles do happen!

Okay, better get back to work now. Well, I may have a lousy start to another year, but I hope my days get better and there would be a happy ending towards the end of the year!

A Happy New Year to all Chinese celebrating Chinese New Year and Happy Holidays to non-Chinese! Salam 1Malaysia! *wink*

27 January, 2011

Unity in action

Just my two cents. Couldn't help but am touched by it recently.

When this happened...

And netizens, most of whom are Malaysians, regardless of race and religion...

Together voiced out their concern and disgust towards the issue...

Which finally caught the attention of the authorities, made the headlines in newspapers, and actions are being taken...

United for the common good; differences among individuals are put aside.

A good example of 1Malaysia.

If for such a matter so small and insignificant, Malaysians could unite to face it together, then there would not be any issues too big to be overcome in the future.

This incident makes me proud to be a Malaysian.

Well done, fellow Malaysians! *Thumbs up*

26 January, 2011

Say no to polystyrene !

I would get pretty upset if I see my food served with polystyrene eateries.

I've noticed quite a number of times that, 3 out of 5 stalls at the makan places I always "haunt" are using polystyrene eateries.

Anyone who has even the most basic knowledge in environmental sciences would know that polystyrene is not environmental friendly and takes only-God-knows-how-many-years to biodegrade (that is, IF it's even degradable!).

Let's do some mathematics. Say, in Area S there are 50 stalls selling a variety of food. Out of these 50, 30 stalls are utilising polystyrene utensils. If one stall is able to sell a minimum of 30 servings per night (assuming that 1 polystyrene plate/bowl is used per serving), then 30 stalls would be selling 900 servings per night. Which means, at least 900 plates/bowls are being disposed of per night; 4,300 plates/bowls in a week; 27,000 in a month and 324,000 in a year (take-away polystyrene containers, plastic spoons, forks and bamboo chopsticks are excluded). Assuming that there are 10 eating outlets in Kuching City alone, then at least 3,240,000 plates/bowls will end up in the Mambung dumpsite per night.

Can you imagine the amount of polystyrene rubbish we Kuching people produce? I cannot find an exact photo of polystyrene utensils piling up, but I guess the photo below would suffice. Simply replace those big polystyrene boxes with polystyrene plates and bowls, and imagine yourself standing there looking at that pile of rubbish.

Still not convincing enough?

We cannot deny that polystyrene products in the food industry are considered sanitary, sturdy, efficient, economical and most importantly, convenient (source). However, at the same time, polystyrene is found to be not environmental friendly, and worse still, it could be a health hazard:

  1. Toxic chemicals leach out of these products into the food that they contain. These chemicals threaten human health and reproductive systems.
  2. These products are made with petroleum, a non-sustainable, heavily polluting and disappearing commodity.
  3. The product does not biodegrade. It crumbles into fragments that have no expiration date.
  4. A certain percentage of product will be dumped in the environment, persisting on land indefinitely as litter and breaking up into pieces that choke and clog animal digestive systems in waterways.
  5. The product takes up more space in landfills than does paper and eventually will re-enter the environment when landfills are breached by water or mechanical forces.
We as Earth's residents are responsible for all kinds of environmental pollution, which in the end affect us in return. For the food stall operators who still prefer to use the polystyrene -- please stop being so selfish. For customers who prefer to take away their food in polystyrene containers -- perhaps you would consider bringing your own container; it's more hygienic and you have less rubbish to be thrown out. For those who enjoy sitting down and enjoying the food right there and then, we can avoid ordering food from those using polystyrene utensils, or better still, bring our own utensils.

For more information on plastics and polystyrene: Polystyrene Fact Sheet, Dangers of packaging chemicals getting into food.

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