Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And that's it.....

It's now almost the end of the year. The year has seen its ups and downs. The year that saw me grow a year older, but not necessarily wiser. So here's just a list of some of my highlights and lowlights of the year.

  • In January, I returned to Lumut after a seven-month work assignment in Bintulu. Eventually in February, I was appointed to my current position.
  • In end of January, I joined the work visit to Kuala Ingai, Ulu Belait.
  • The various TM HLP events, including the visit to Pusat Ehsan, the badminton tournament and the fun sports day.
  • Manchester United winning the Barclays Premier League, the European Champions League and the World Club Championship.
  • The holidays that I had with friends and family.
  • Making new friends.

  • The times when I felt quite frustrated with work and thought that I was not made for it.
  • The betrayed trust that you heaped upon someone you thought you could trust.
  • This disagreement that I had with one of the girls at work, resulting in us not talking to each other until now.
Lastly, I am off for the new year and will only be back on Sunday. Have a safe and enjoyable new year celebration. Don't drink and drive. 

And hope 2008 was a good year to all! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End-of-year Dinner

One of the initiatives that I introduced as I took over the post of the Head of Lab was to introduce a voluntary monthly contribution to a fund which would be used for a dinner at the end of the year. Out of thirteen people, ten people contributed. 

On Saturday, we had our end-of-year dinner at the Poolside of the Royal Brunei Recreation Club. Unfortunately, one of us could not attend as he was on the duty team and was called in to do some work.

The barbeque dinner at the restaurant takes place only twice a month, i.e. the first and last Saturdays of the month. I had expected it to be busy, but alas, we occupied 2 tables, out of seven prepared. Another table was occupied by a family and another by a couple. At one point, when the chefs came out from the kitchen, I felt that the number of restaurant staff almost equal the number of diners that evening. The range of food was not as extensive as I expected and I would rate the food to be just above average. The soup was salty, despite being sent back to the kitchen to be 'modified'. Barbequed items consisted of lamb, beef, seafood and chicken. There were some main dish items, such as fried rice and vegetables, but I did not touch any of them. Desserts were forgettable.

There was a live band playing that evening, though I preferred our two most junior colleague serenading us!

We also played secret santa, we all brought unmarked gift, to be exchanged with the others. In the end, I got this set from an 'anonymous' person....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Selamat Menyambut Tahun Baru Hijrah

Here's wishing all Muslims out there, Selamat Tahun Baru 1430 Hijrah. 

Moga tahun baru ini membawa keamanan dan ketaqwaan, dan bertambah keimanan.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last birthday of the year......

Here's wishing Happy Birthday to my niece, Sarinah, whose birthday falls today. Mudahan sihat selalu. Sorry, I do not have your picture on my laptop, so I will try to post it nanti lah.

Happy Birthday, Cip!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Looking back....

As 2008 nears its end, it is probably a good idea to look back and see if any of my resolutions (here and here) were achieved....
  • I will post regularly..... - yeah, I am now averaging more than 20 posts per month....
  • I will exercise more.... - yeah, I think I have been exercising more. But I need to do more than just badminton.
  • I will lose that extra weight.... - hmmm, judging from my last health check, I don't think I have actually lost weight; I actually gained some more..... Could have done better!
  • I will improve my photography skills.... I like to think that I have improved, judging by comments I received from people on some pictures that I posted on this blogs and other sites. But I have been quite lazy to pick up my camera lately and that can hardly help to improve further, right??
  • I will not procastinate at work.... This is something I wished I could improve better. I do clear "my things to do" list but they could have been more quickly done. Done, but could be better.
  • I will try to be less careless with my religious obligations.... I do not think I have done much headway with this, unfortunately. Must improve......
It's 27th Dec today and I have a few more days to think of my new year resolutions. Will get back to you on that one soon......

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Crimbo!

Regardless of your faith, here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Hope it is peaceful, happy and fun.

For some people, today is the start of a very long weekend. Whatever you do, please be safe. Drive with care and eat in moderation. And enjoy the loooooonnnnggggg weekend......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It is always saddening to hear when someone died in a circumstance that you could relate to.

I just heard that a man in his early 40s collapsed after playing badminton this evening at a badminton hall in Kuala Belait. He later died at the KB Hospital. I would guess the most probable cause of death is heart attack.

This is not the first time that I heard someone died after playing badminton locally. At least there were three people who died in a similar circumstance. And there were some well-known sport personalities who died from heart attack while playing sports, such as footballers Marc-Vivien Foe (of Manchester City) and Miklos Feher (of Benfica).

The news made me think: how much sports can we do before it starts to harm us? As Prez rightly asked later: what should come first: good health or exercise? Perhaps, we should do things in moderation.

My thoughts and prayers go to the family of the deceased. Al-Fatihah....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the front page.....

Did you notice something was not right on the front page of today's Borneo Bulletin?

There was nothing about Brunei at all!

None of the events that happened in Brunei yesterday was worthy to be put on the front page, apparently. Somehow, the 'national' debate on the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English in Malaysian schools made it to the front page. Granted, there was nothing particularly interesting happened yesterday in Brunei, but at least put the wonderful story of four students who were being sent to Singapore to further their studies. Or, the news about the mini landslide. Or, just put something, albeit a news snippet.

If you were foreigner in Brunei and were looking for a Bruneian paper, you would forgiven for not picking up Borneo Bulletin today as you might mistake it for a non-Bruneian paper!

Yes Man

Yes Man is a story about a man whose life dooms to be spent at home alone watching rented movies and crying over his failed marriage. After a reluctant attendance to a self-help workshop, he changes his life by saying yes to everything. The movie is based on a ture story and a book by British humourist Danny Wallace. Jim Carrey stars in the movie alongside Zooey Deschanel, whom I last saw in The Happening.

So what did I think of the movie? I did not like it at all. The movie lacked a credible storyline and hence, it did not have much plot. Yes, it was good for the brain; but the movie was practically empty. Jim Carrey was in his usual slapstick mode, which tend to get over the top at times. The movie depended too much on Jim's slapstick and physical humour to keep its audience riveted to the screen. For the first time ever, I was quite tempted to leave before the end credit rolled, but I sympathised with the couple next to me; they were embracing for most of the movie and I did not want to break them apart if I were to leave.

Reviews were mixed. Check out its review before you decide to watch it. Yes Man? More like no!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Then and now.....

From this ....
..... and this .....
.... to 10 years later......
(Thanks to Cookie for the above picture)

Friends Reunited

For the first time in many years, the Gang was reunited for Sunday afternoon high tea at the Lobby Lounge of the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Everyone was there; A Lai, Azmi, Ayu, Fa, Fak, Fd, Len and BM, plus Ayu's hubby. Fa and Len are now back for their end-of-year holidays which last until the new year.

As with many reunions, news were shared; Ayu now drives the same car as BM, Fd now owns a car in Brunei, Len is expecting a baby and I shared some lovely cupcakes from Sugarush. No reunions would be complete without flashbacks. We reminisced about our Disneyland Paris vacation during the Autumn Half-term of 1996, Maida Vale apartment stay during Spring break of 1997, Clearing during Summer of 1997 and various weekends in London (1997-2003). 

It was nice to see and to catch up with everyone again. Gang, I do hope that we will meet again before we all go our separate ways again.

Xmas Deco

Ever wonder how grand and beautiful this year's NBT's Christmas decoration is? 

Hmmm..... nada!

It looks like the current global recession and credit crunch are biting hard on everyone, including NBT!

Well, have a good Christmas nonetheless!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

World Champions....

First, Champions of England. Then, Champions of Europe. And now, Champions of the World. Well sort of....

Manchester United was declared the Champions of the World after beating Liga de Quito of Ecuador in the final of the Club World Cup, held in Yokohama, Japan. A goal from Wayne Rooney in the 73rd minute sealed the victory for Manchester United.

However, the victory was overshadowed with the sending off of Nemanja Vidic, which would mean that he would miss Manchester United's first leg match again Internazionale in Milan in the second of the Champions' League. 

Glory, Glory Manchester United!!

P.s. Manchester United's next match in the Barclays Premier League will be an away match against Stoke City on Boxing Day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Just a quick post to announce that CL's online cupcake boutique is now up and running. Check it out here.

And while you are there, make sure you check out her collection of cupcakes and please don't tell me you are not tempted to bite into some!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Just arrived home after spending the last four days away from home, having a holiday in KK with the family.

Left KK just after 1pm today and cross the border at Kuala Lurah at about 7.30pm. The return journey from KK was considerably shorter than the drive to KK. There was only one long queue at the Mengkalap Immigration Post (the one that you have to stop to stamp your passport as you leave Lawas, before going into Temburong). Apart from that, the two ferry points were relatively quiet and so was the the Kuala Lurah Immigration Post.

I am tired and need to rest, so I will post some more later.

And it is good to be back!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A quickie in KK

Here I am, sitting at McD making full use of its free wifi. Too bad I'm using my iPod shuffle doing this entry! So you could imagine how painstakingly slow it is, typing a letter at a time.

After a 430km and almost butt-numbing 10-hour drive from home, we finally arrived in KK well into the evening. It could've been faster, but the queues were particularly long at Kuala Lurah border post and the two ferry points. It was already nightfall by the time we crossed into Sabah and the drive was even slower as it was dark and we were not that familiar with the road.

We spent almost the whole day at 1Borneo yesterday, but the place wasn't as good as some people made it sound like. Comparing somewhere Malaysian, I would still prefer Midvalley, Suria KLCC or the Pavilion.

Today we're spending some times in the city center before paying a visit to a relative.

And yeah, as you might have gathered the hotel apartment where we are staying at doesn't have free Internet, therefore my blogging time is greatly limited. This is probably my only post from KK. See you all soon!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gone again!

By the time you read, I'd probably on my way driving down to Kota Kinabalu. Why driving I heard you asked? Well, saja.....

Two of my sisters are currently on leave and we spontaneously decided that it would be a good idea to drive down to Kota Kinabalu and spend a few days there.

Not too sure if the apartment hotel that we are staying at have internet, so posts might be intermittent again.

Have a good week ahead and see you all soon!

P.s.: spent the best part of Sunday doing the BSM's BSB Walk-a-hunt; I think we did quite badly but managed to bagged ourselves a 13th place and return trip to Singapore!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Miscellaneous Post....

As featured on DJ Tini's blog, apparently this website would be able to guess the gender of the author of a particular website.  

So I gave it a try and got this:

The website thought was written by a woman. I do not have any idea how it came up with that!

I am sure you have seen this footwear. 

These flip flops would be called selipar jepun in Malay. Somehow this department store in KB managed to literally translate it to English and came up with japanese slipper!

And a few days ago, my brother-in-law celebrated his birthday. Happy Birthday Bro! 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heritage of George Town

One of the reasons why George Town was chosen as one of UNESCO World Heritage Site was the harmony in which the different houses of worship of different religions co-exist in a relatively small town. George Town was also said to have a unique architectural and cultural townscape without paralel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

During the glory days of the British Empire in South East Asia, George Town was one of the main ports of calls for many ships that shuffled between Great Britain and the East. As a result, George Town became a place where people from many parts of the world came to live. People as far away as China, the Indian sub-continent and the Arabian Peninsula arrived in Penang and eventually they would build their own house of worship.

One of the mosques that one would find in George Town was Masjid Kapitan Keling (roughly translated to Indian Captain Mosque). One of the unique things about this mosque was that the praying hall had no walls. 

The front of Masjid Kapitan Keling

The pulpit from where the Imam would deliver his sermons from.

The main praying hall; I took picture from the outside as the hall did not have any walls.

Another mosque that we visited was theMasjid Melayu (Jamek) Lebuh Acheh Pulau Pinang. It was built in 1808 as an endowment from Tunku Syed Hussein Idid.

It may look like a lighthouse, but it is actually one of the minarets of the mosque.

One of the entrances to the Main Praying Hall.

Chinese Temples were quite plentiful here as well. The temples were built by the different clans (or kongsi) and they would be built in the area where people from the same clan lived. The temples were mostly intricately decorated with sculpted stone figures from Chinese literatures and cultures, gold coloured pillars and their diety figures. Most of the temples would be contained within a compund in which one would find a big garden and a stage. Some of the temples would not be found on the main street; often you would go into the compund of the temple via a side street or a small lane between shophouses.

I'd highly recommend George Town as your next hoilday destination. Who knows how much you could learn from your travels?

Friday, December 12, 2008


I was reading the article on BLNG's contribution to the Kampung Mumong's Women's Bureau when I came across the following statement:

...... Kampong Mumong Women's Council Head Dayang Hajah Julia binte Chee said the association is working its way to branding the village's infamous "Kampong Mumong Chilli Sauce", which they have developed and perfected since the bureau's inception in 2000 ........

I thought it did not sound right. Infamous would normally refer to something not good.

A online check on some online dictionaries confirmed my suspicion:

1. having a bad reputation.
2. of bad report.
3. notoriously vile.
4. detestable; as, an infamous traitor; an infamous perjurer.

1. having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.
2. deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable: an infamous deed.
1. having a reputation of the worst kind : notoriously evil .
2. causing or bringing infamy : disgraceful .
3. convicted of an offense bringing infamy.

Hmm.... I feel sorry for the ladies; after spending eight years developing and perfecting the chilli sauce, it still has quite a bad reputation!!

Give me back my VM title!!


Following the huge hype about the movie since its release in the States and its entry to the top spot the week it was released, we took the opportunity to watch it while we were in Penang. We caught a midnight show on a weekday night, something that you would not see at local cinemas

Twilight is a movie based on the first book in a series of books written by Stephenie Meyer. It tells a story of a girl who moved in with her father and gets to know this eccentric family at her new school. Eventually, she falls for one of the boys in the family and gets to know more than what she bargained for.

I have not read the book, so I could not really judge how much of the book was adapted for screenplay. If you have read the book, you might enjoy the movie, but sadly, I did not. The storyline was weak at most points and the plot seemed to dry up towards the end. Reviews in the internet, magazines and newspaper have been average so far; read more here.

I know I would probably get some nasty comments from the teenage girls out there, but I would give this movie a rating of 6 out of 10. My friend would have given a 5, but he gave an extra point because he managed not to fall asleep during the movie, though I suspected it was the coffee that we had before the movie.

As I said, I have not read the book and probably I will not read it in the future.....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Day in George Town, Penang

During our trip to Penang recently, we spent a day going around Georgetown, the capital of the state of Penang. George Town was named after King George III of Great Britain, upon the landing of its founder, Captain Francis Light in 1786. The site where Captain Light first set foot on the Penang island lied within the Fort of Cornwallis, now a tourist attraction.

Do you know that in July 2008, George Town, together with Melaka, have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca? It is officially recognised as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. 

Many parts of George Town have been preserved and maintained. Many older buildings are now returned to their former glory. Many streets are still lined by old shophouses, which antique-looking windows and doors. Old grocery shops, mostly run by Chinese businessmen and sell almost everything that you need, still stand, something that you would be hard pressed to see here in Brunei. 

An example of a traditional grocery shop.

Streets are lines with beautiful shophouses.

The front facade of one of the older shops.

Rightly so as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is clean and not too congested. Traffic is not clogging the roads, unlike many other cities. It is also very picturesque and scenic. I would think that George Town would be a nice location of choice to many couples taking their wedding pictures. 

This building is located near the harbour and appropriately housed the Customs House.

This clock tower was contributed by a Penang Chinese family and erected to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Britain's Queen Victoria reign in 1896.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

G Hotel, Penang

During the recent trip to Penang, my travelling companions and I stayed at the G Hotel; that G presumably referred to the road on which the hotel was located, the Gurney Drive. It is not rated officially, but self-rated as a four-star hotel, which I agreed. It is one of the newer and more modern hotels in Georgetown, the capital of Penang.

The hotel was about 30 minutes taxi-drive away from the Penang International Airport. It cost us RM38 to take a prepaid taxi. I would not recommend you to take other taxis, as they would charge you differently and there had been stories of them taking unscheduled stops at other touristy places.

The hotel was conveniently located next to one of the more popular shopping complexes in Georgetown (or was it the other way around?). The trendy Plaza Gurney is just a stone-throw away and provides everything that you would need, be it toys, clothes, PCs, laptops, groceries and fast food (Sushi King, Sakae Sushi, Nando's, Starbucks, Chilis, Segafredo, A&W and hawker food are among a few). Also nearby was the Gurney Drive Hawker Food Centre, which could get really crowded in the evenings. Penang was a place of mixed gastronomic adventures, so there was bound to be something for everyone.

The room was sufficiently sized and had all the amenities that any traveller would need. There was a free broadband internet service and it was really fast, but it was wired internet, so you would be stuck to the table to be online. There was a good-sized swimming pool and a decently- equipped gym. There were a few restaurants at the hotel, but we would rather go eat somewhere. For the clubbers out there, there was a club, predictably called the G-Spot, at the hotel, where you could get your complimentary welcome drink from.

Just one complaint about this hotel: it was really difficult to contact the Front Desk and calls to the Front Desk would remain unanswered. It would be faster to go down to the lobby and speak to the Front Desk staff directly. And yeah, another complaint: the coffee lounge and the bar were within the lobby itself and people smoked freely, so the lobby stunk of cigarette smell.

Taxi from the hotel to the airport cost RM50 in a hotel-appointed taxi, which was clean and efficient.

Look at the cute Santa's hat on the hotel's monogram.

The lobby of the hotel.

The hotel's Christmas tree - nowadays Christmas trees aren't traditional and green anymore.

Ref. this post, one of the cards with the Christmas present wish from an occupant of a boy's home. And he did not ask for much; he just wanted some hair gel.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Birthday Cupcakes for the Birthday Sisters

As I was away when my sisters had their birthdays and I remembered how nice CL's cupcakes were, I decided to get her to provide me with birthday cupcakes for my sisters.

I was apparently her first customer and I was made more impressed with her service when she personally met me at the airport upon my arrival from my holiday to pass me her creations.

(Picture was from CL's blog)

What can I say about the cupcakes? They were all lovely made and tasted good! All the cupcakes with the butterflies were immediately snapped up by the kids and the adults were scrambling for the leftovers!

Trust me, CL's cupcakes were excellent. And her cheesecakes too. And her cookies too. And her granny's kueh nyonya too. Well, you get the point!

Check out her post here on prices of the above cupcakes and the details on how to make your order!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Here's wishing all Muslims out there a Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha. Moga ibadat, pengorbanan dan keimanan sentiasa dirahmati Allah SWT.

Coincidentally, this is also my 300th post on this blog!

And, another thing..... In case you are in KB today (Monday, 8 Dec), please do drop by at our Aidiladha Open House, from noon onwards (until we run out of food I guess!).

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Man Utd: BPL Match No.15

December is finally here and it is always said that the eventual Premier League Champions can be potentially identified by December. This season, no one team seems to be at that position yet. 

It took a goal from the most unlikely source for Manchester United to keep the pressure on the teams at the top of the Barclays Premier League table. Nemanja Vidic scored in the first minute of the second-half's injury time to give Manchester United full points in their match against managerless Sunderland at Old Trafford. 

In the other games involving the Super Four, Liverpool beat uninspired Blackburn Rovers 3-1 to remain at the top of BPL, Chelsea won away at Bolton Wanderers 2-0 and Arsenal won at home in their match against Wigan Athletic 1-0.

Meanwhile, Patrice Evra has been handed a four-match suspension in his part in the 'Battle of the Bridge' in April this year. The incident happened following the match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge when it was alleged that Patrice Evra was manhandling a Chelsea groundstaff, who was cleared from a racial abuse charge. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sisters

Here's a birthday wish to two of my sisters who are celebrating their birthdays today.

Happy Birthday Sisters!
Moga panjang umur dan murah rezeki.

Intermittent Service......

Many apologies for the lack of updates and posts. 

I am now in Penang, Malaysia for the second part of my week-long holiday. I was supposed to be attanding a friend's wedding, which unfortunately got postponed last week, and since everything was already planned and paid, it would be too late to cancel everything or risk paying more for cancellation. 

Penang is one good place to visit. Spent the past two days going around Penang, especially George Town, which was declared as a Unesco's World Heritage Site not too long ago. I took some pictures, but left my camera cable in Singapore, so I could not really download and upload my pictures.

 The hotel where I am staying at is conveniently located near one of the 'hippiest' place to be n Penang. Gurney Plaza is just next door and offers shops which would not look out of place in Midvalley Shopping City. I have access to the internet at the hotel, but I could not find the time and ideas to update this blog.

Anyway, I will try to update this properly when I am back in Brunei this weekend.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time for Charity?

With just about three more weeks to Christmas, preparations are now truly on the way. Here in Singapore, lots of christmas trees have been erected. Among those baubles, lights and other christmas decorations, some of the stores also hung something extra.... special wish cards. These cards carried items, that occupants from some children homes, wished for Christmas. They vary from clothes, pen drives, shoes and books. There was also this card of a boy who wanted hair gel for Christmas. To make their Christmas dreams come true, just simply note down the Christmas wish, buy the item and then pass it over to the shop. 

There are also some places that let their customers buy day-to-day items to the less fortunates. You may donate rice, detergents, fruits or just about anything for them.

Since the new school year is approaching, there is also this shop which let their customers to donate school uniform, stationeries and books to childrens who need them.

Nowadays, doing charity cannot come any easier. Do your part and share the happiness.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TM Family Day 2008

On Sunday, the function (Technical Function - TM) I am working for organised the Family Day, which was attended by more than 70 staff and their families. It was the final event of the 2008 TM Calendar. 

All sorts of staff turned up.... 

Present and Past....

Old and new.....

Just married.....

The Family Day started off with a lunch buffet spread....

After lunch, we had a 'free and easy' activity. 
Some went for the Sunday Splash, while Jester, another friend and I tried to hit the golf buggy at the driving range.....

More food followed during the Afternoon High Tea...

While having tea, we had some activities; we asked the kids to paint on their parents' faces.....

.... and then, the parents had the chance to paint their children's faces. Luckily, nobody tried to draw the process diagram or the LNG process flow diagram.....

As tokens of appreciation, souvenirs were given away, including this nice recyclable bag....

In the end, fun was had all around. Many thanks to the many people who organised this.