Sunday, December 27, 2009

Off!

It's going to be a little bit quiet here for the next week (if it hasn't yet!).

I'm off to visit two places in the next seven days, so expect some interruptions to normal blogging.


Anyway, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Crimbo!

Here's wishing all friends and colleagues,


Enjoy it.

If you drink, don't drive.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Joe's a winner!

If you have been following Britain's The X Factor, you would know what I am talking about!

I am glad that this talented young man won this year's The X Factor show.





I think this song is his best performance in the whole series.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Halal Bak Kut Teh??

Check out this news story from the Straits Times......

KUALA LUMPUR - A MALAYSIAN government-backed campaign to popularise a well-known ethnic Chinese soup by making a version that avoids pork and fulfills Islamic dietary rules sparked criticism on Tuesday by activists who fear it will confuse Muslims.

A halal version of 'bak kut teh', a herbal broth traditionally made with pork ribs, was introduced at a Tourism Ministry food fair last weekend to promote local cuisine. The new version contains chicken, seafood or vegetables instead of pork, which Islam prohibits.

However, some Muslims object to the use of 'bak kut teh' to identify the revamped recipe, saying the name is synonymous with pork among people in Muslim-majority Malaysia and neighbouring Singapore, where the dish is beloved by the ethnic Chinese community. 'Bak kut teh' means 'meat bone tea' in a Chinese dialect, but the meat is generally understood to be pork.

'This will cause misunderstanding among the public. It might even lead some Muslims to wonder whether it is all right to eat pork,' said Mr Ma'mor Osman, secretary general of the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association.

The association plans to send a complaint to the Tourism Ministry, urging it to find a new name for the halal version, Mr Ma'mor told The Associated Press. The Department of Islamic Development, a government group that oversees Islamic policies, reportedly said it won't allow the dish to be formally certified as halal if it continues to be named 'bak kut teh'.

Islamic authorities are worried that Muslims will wrongly assume that the soup's pork version is suitable for consumption, the department's deputy director, Mr Lokman Abdul Rahman, told the Utusan Malaysia newspaper. -- AP


What do you think?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maal Hijrah

Selamat Menyambut Tahun Baru Hijrah 1431H


Moga tahun baru ini memberi kebahagiaan, kedamaian dan kekuatan iman......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Family Diary

For many years now, we have been keeping a family diary, where almost every event that involved the family was recorded. When it is someone's birthday or any special day, e.g. Hari Raya or wedding anniversary, we would sign off on that particular day.

When I was studying abroad, the family diary was one of the first things I would look for when I came back for my holidays. I would catch up with the happenings at home.

One of my sisters is a regular contributor to the diary. I am trying to encourage her to keep the records online.

These are two pages are from this year's diary.

This was from the first day of Hari Raya.


This was from one of days in the fasting month.
You could see the menu for sahur and sungkai too!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Floating LNG

One of the things that impressed me during my week-long course in Singapore was that floating liquified natural gas (FLNG) concept is becoming a reality. Shell has signed a contract with a consortium with Technip and Samsung to built such facility, which will eventually be used for the Prelude LNG project in Australia.

Floating LNG concept has been thought about for a very long time and many international oil companies (IOCs) toyed with the idea. It is ideal to be used for stranded pockets of gas, where laying pipelines to an onshore LNG plant might not be feasible. FLNG vessel may be moved from one gas well to another, hence providing the flexibility of developing these gas wells, which may not been possible if the concept is not realised.

The FLNG vessel that Shell has contracted Technip and Samsung to build will have a dimension of 450 metres by 70 metres, making it one of the biggest sea vessels to be built. It will have a capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG, with additional capacity to process condensate and LPG (liquid petroleum gas). The vessel will have the capabilities to store LNG, condensate and LPG. An LNG tanker will berth alongside it for loading. At the moment, no financial details have been made available. It is open to anyone's guess how much it would eventually cost.

Here's an artist impression of the FLNG vessel. The LNG tanker that berths alongside it is a 140,000 cubic metre A-class tanker, so you could probably imagine how big the FLNG vessel is. That will be one huge floater!


Also, below is a video on the floating LNG concept.



Read more about it here and here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Birthday Greetings for Sisters....

Happy Birthday to two sisters who share their birthdays today....

....... to Nana, here with her beloved CJ ........


...... and Wyna.


Happy Birthday. Many happy returns. Moga panjang umur, murah rezeki dan sentiasa dirahmati Illahi.....




Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Final Draw

The draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was conducted yesterday.

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

Group C: England, United States, Algeria, Slovenia

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile


I will probably support England, who appears to be in an 'easy' group. Group G looks to be the toughest group and predictably dubbed the Group of Death.

The top two teams in each group will proceed to the knock-out stages. The ones in italic are the ones that I think would proceed.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What would you do?

Should I be feeling sorry for:
1. the passenger in question,
2. the passenger sitting in the middle, or
3. everyone else in the flight?

Read more about it here.

I remember when I attended this work dinner that a prominent person seemed to be tightly squeezed in his chair. Some time during the dinner, one of the servers was sent to offer a chair, without the arms, to this person. I wonder what the server said when he was offering to change the chair to this guy?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Beware!

It appears that spam messages are being sent from an unsuspecting user.

I first realised that this friend of mine seemed to have sent a message which did not seem to make any sense. A quick check on her profile revealed that the similar message was sent to more than 5 people. It's either her account was compromised, or a malicious program is embedded in her computer that automatically sends spam messages to her friend.

Make sure you scan your computer regularly.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Was the Dr. in Brunei?

Just watch the first 15 seconds of the clip.... Did he say he was in Southern Brunei?



The clip advertises the season finale of Dr. Who on Christmas Day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More birthdays

Happy Birthday to.....

..... Boboi, whose birthday was yesterday......


.... and Jojo, who celebrates her birthday today.
And thanks for the barbeque last night.


Moga panjang umur dan murah rezeki.

Aidiladha

Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha
Moga pengorbanan dan kesyukuran dirahmati Illahi.....


Maaf zahir dan batin.....

Enjoy the long weekend!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Birthday Greeting!

Happy Belated Birthday to a sister-in-law, whose birthday fell a few days ago. Moga panjang umur, murah rezeki dan sentiasa bahagia bersama keluarga.

And yeah, Happy 9th. Wedding Anniversary!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A question of sport.....

Should the World Cup Qualifier between France and the Republic of Ireland be replayed?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

2010 FIFA World Cup


Today marks the 200 days to go before the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa. The line-up of 32 countries qualified to the 2010 FIFA World Cup is now complete.

UEFA (Europe):
Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland.

CAF (Africa):
Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa

CONMEBOL (South America):
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay

AFC (Asia):
Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea

CONCACAF (North & Central America / Caribbean):
Honduras, Mexico, the United States of America

OFC (Oceania):
New Zealand

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa will take place between 11 June and 11 July 2010. The Final Draw will take place on 4 December 2009, at 7pm South African time. Check out the FIFA website here.

Who will you support?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three years on.....

It was three years ago, as the flight I was in landed in Singapore and my name was paged through the plane's PA system. I was then met by an RBA ground staff and was told that I had to fly back to Brunei that same evening, though my next connecting flight to Brunei was not until the next day. I feared the worst, which was confirmed when I was told that my Mum had died earlier that evening. That news sapped my energy away and opened the tear floodgate. I remember talking to my brother and sister on the phone in the middle of the terminal; a conversation that interrupted by sobs and tear wiping. The two-hour flight seemed very long. My mind drifted away and I searched for clues and signs for her death, but could not remember anything out of the ordinary in the days before I left for my business trip.

The three years since she left us have not been the same. Life just felt incomplete. I always felt that there was this void somewhere. I could only wish she was here to celebrate our success and share our sorrow. Not a day passed by without me thinking about her.

Semoga roh Babu dicucuri rahmat Illahi. Amin...... Al-Fatihah......



Monday, November 16, 2009

Wachaaaaa!

Happy Birthday to Wacha / Apec, who celebrates her birthday today.

Moga panjang umur, murah rezeki dan sentiasa berjaya dalam apa jua bidang!

P.s.: she was born while Brunei was hosting the 2000 APEC Summit.

Balik Kampung!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

BB!

Happy Birhday t9 Niece BB, whose birthday was yesterday 11/11....
Moga panjang umur,rurah rezeki dan berjaya dalam pelajaran.....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Please leave your message after the tone....

Off for a week-worth of business trip and then holiday with dad and brothers. It's gonna be a guys' weekend out.

So expect some service interruptions.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Don't Drive and Text......

Warning: Very graphic, but worth watching.


and watch your speed too......

The following texts are from here:

Recent RAC Foundation research showed reaction times slowed by 35% when 17 to 24-year-olds drove while reading and writing text messages.

And its research last year showed that texting while driving impairs motorists more than being under the influence of drink or drugs.

It said nearly 50% of drivers aged between 18 and 24 texted while driving.

As well as reaction times being slower, it said texters often drifted out of lanes, had poorer steering control and the overall driving performance was poor.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The best medicine

Here's a clip from Pier Morgan's Life Stories, where he talked to Dannii Minogue about her sister's breast cancer.



I really felt for her and understood how she was feeling. I had my own cancer scare myself; in 2004, I was told I only had about a year to live if I didn't have mantle cell lymphoma, which I was diagnosed with, treated. That diagnosis affected everyone; my family at home, colleagues at work and friends. I was depressed , but determined to beat the disease. However, I realised I would not be able to beat it if I did not have the support from family and friends. I was glad that my family and friends were right behind me as I went through the ordeal of having various needles poking me at different parts of the body, of having to go through the tiny and restrictive CAT scanning tube; of having to decide that chemotheraphy would perhaps help to beat the disease and of having to wait as the doctors tried to confirm if I had in fact had that cancer. And guess who were the first people to hear that I had been given the all-clear? They were, of course, my family and friends.

Sometimes the best medicine that a patient can have are the support and love from family and friends.

Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Egurl!

Happy Belated Birthday to Egurl, whose birthday fell on the first day of the month.

Bah, rajin-rajin belajar & jaga badan eh!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Working on a Saturday morning.....

For the first time in a long time, I did something really productive on a Saturday morning.

One government department was trying to get its lab ISO-17025 accredited (ISO-17025 is the Quality Management System for Laboratory). One of the things that the department needed doing was an internal audit. I was contacted almost two months ago if I could conduct an internal audit on their system. Our lab is ISO-17025 certified. I am a qualified ISO-9001 internal auditor and I also attended the ISO-17025 internal audit training, so I readily accepted. I was also keen to practise what I had learnt and I also saw it an opportunity to do something outside the company.

The lab that I was audited on Saturday morning had an initial assessment by the SAC-SINGLAS (Singapore Accreditation Council - Singapore Laboratory Accreditation Scheme) and it made my job much easier. I did not have to dig too deep into the system as the initial assesors would have been thorough doing their job. I spent two hours auditing the sytem part, and also witnessed two tests that the lab had applied to be accredited. I enjoyed my first experience auditing an external lab. I got to learn new things and got to share what we practised in our own lab.

It felt really good to be able to help another lab in its aspiration to be ISO-17025 accredited. I wish all the best to the lab and its staff and I do hope to hear the news of your accreditation soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The biggest game of the season so far.....

So which red side will come out as winners tonight?



vs



9.00 pm Brunei Time, Anfield

Hopefully, I get the bragging rights!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

S-word on Fire

This Kings of Leon's song was heavily censored when it was played on Kristal FM a while ago. The chorus, which contained the title of the song, was totally missing from the song. Yes, it might have contained the S-word, but it had to be taken in the appropriate context. I did not think anything inappropriate with leaving the S-word in the song and playing in on national radio station.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Slower-than-snail Mail

There's one government department that I would love to see it privatised. It would be the Postal Services Department.

Since the start of Raya, which was almost a month ago, I realised that we had not been getting any snail mail at all. I am expecting a letter for the past two weeks but I have seen no signs of it. A quick quick round the house confirmed that no mails were received for the past few weeks. So I called the Post Office and was passed to, I presumed, a postman. After telling him the reasons for the call, he explained to me that he had only just returned to work after his holiday and was sorting the mail when I called.

Was there only one postman at the KB Post Office branch? So if he goes on holiday, does it mean the whole of KB would not get their mails? Should not there be more postmen around? This is not the only problem that we have with the Postal Services. There were times when our office became a local sorting office; we would get mails for our neighbours. One time, our mail was left in the rain and they got soaked wet. And the problem with late delivery of mails is not a new problem. Imagine if one was expecting a letter for a job interview or a letter for a job offer. Could we held the Postal Services liable for such delays?

I really hope that for a such of customer-oriented service, the Government would consider privatising the Postal Services.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Festival of Light.....


Here's wishing all my Hindu friends, colleagues and acquaintances a very Happy, Bright and Peaceful Deepavali


Was that appropriate?

I was listening to Kristal FM this morning when one listener sms'ed and said that one of his relatives had died in the recent earthqake at Padang, Indonesia. He also requested a song, which I could not remember what, and apparently the deejay could not find it in her song collection. So she played an alternative song, entitled..... Buried Alive. Was that appropriate? Wasn't that a bit too insensitive of the deejay to play that song?

The deejay also asked the listeners to sms her on their odd habits to beat germs. She confessed to using her foot to flush the toilet. Yes, it might be alright for you, but please spare some thoughts to people who actually use their hands to flush. There are other ways to avoid touching the flush lever; I would use a piece of tissue paper to press the flush lever. But just don't use your germ-infested shoes!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

B'day Boy!

Here's a birthday greeting to a nephew, whose birthday falls today.

Happy Birthday Nephew.
Moga panjang umur dan murah rezeki.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Results of Brunei Shell Badminton Tournament Semi-finals Matches.....

Just a quick update.....

Brunei LNG Abadi Team lost its semi-finals match to JO/SKS/MOC team by a 3-4 scoreline. In another semi-finals match, Well On Saja beat OS Aeroblade.

The finals of the Brunei Shell Badminton Tournament will be contested between JO/SKS/MOC and Well On Saja on Friday 16 October at Brunei Shell Recreation Club, from 5.30pm.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The challenge is over.....

Our (BLNG Bubuk team) challenge in the Brunei Shell Badminton Tournament has finally come to an end. We lost our quarter finals match against OS Aeroblade 5-2.

We were not given much hope at the start of the tournament. We lost the first match quite badly and we were labelled as the team to beat. We made amends in the next two matches and secured a berth in the quarter finals. I am glad that we went as far as we did. The teamwork and the giving-all attitude were commandable. I am sure with more practice, the team could go further in future tournaments. Thanks to all the players for making it this far.

BLNG Abadi team is through to the semi-finals, after beating East Shuttlers. The team will meet JO/SKS/MOC team, the favourite to win the tournament. I will probably turn up on Wednesday to give my support to the BLNG Abadi team.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Old Photos....

I found these two photos while ging through some old albums. These two photos are becoming cherished treasures that I would safekeep myself.

This was circa 1984. If it was correct, I would have been 8 years old then.



This was 1990. I would have been 14 years old then. And please ignore that Steve Urkell glasses!

Babu, you're always remembered...... Al-Fatihah.....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We are through....!

Just a quick update.....

We won our match tonight and secured the second spot in our group in thre Brunei Shell Badminton Tournament. We almost had a perfect score, but Fiqi and I lost our game. I redeemed myself later when I won my friendly management game.

As a reward, we will play either BLNG A team or the OS Aeroblade in the Quarter final on Monday. Time to think about strategy and line-up then!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

About the current badminton tourney....

The past few evenings have been such busy evenings for me. At the moment, there is a Brunei Shell Inter Asset Units / Service Units / Contractors Badminton Tournament taking place at the Brunei Shell Recreation Club. I am playing in BLNG Team Bubuk (basically Team B la...!).

We are grouped together with East Shuttlers, Petrokon Utama and DM/PM Team B. In the first match, we were beaten soundly by the East Shuttlers by a 6-1 scoreline. I was quite deflated with the result. However, the result against Petrokon Utama tonight lifted everyone's spirit. We trashed them 7-0. Granted that Petrokon Utama is the punching bag for our group, but the scoreline was enough to bring our confidence back for our final match tomorrow against DM/PM Team B. As it stands at the moment, East Shuttlers are the sure winners; while we and DM/PM Team B have to battle it out for the second spot. The runners-up from each group will also qualify for the quarter finals.

BLNG Team A was grouped together with OS Aeroblades, Damit Worley Parsons and DM/PM Team A. BLNG Team A have played all their matches; two wins and one loss. If OS Aeroblades win their last match, they would top their group. If they lose, BLNG Team A could sneak in and top their group. Interestingly, if we win the second spot of our group and BLNG Team A win their group, both BLNG teams would meet each other in the quarter finals!

I think our match tomorrow against DM/PM Team B will be a tough one to call. We both have equal chance to proceed to the next round. It would take a right-on-the-spot strategy to get winning combinations tomorrow. I am sure some people who get dropped tomorrow will not be too happy. But we play to win, so they would have to accept their fate tomorrow.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Yo Bro...... ! ...part II

Happy Birthday to another brother who celebrates his birthday today.

Moga panjang umur dan murah rezeki........

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yo Bro......!

....... Happy Birthday to you! Moga panjang umur dan murah rezeki!


Have an enjoyable birthday.



Friday, October 2, 2009

A painting speaks a thousand words.....

I recently moved my office to a much smaller room. I vacated the old room, so that it could be converted to a staff common room. With the common room, my staff would be able to do their work away from the lab area and work in a much cleaner and safer environment. My current office is, as called by some colleagues, cosy, nice and tiny. I thought I might put up some pictures on the wall, as it was bare.

Lo and behold, I recently got hold this nice painting, which is now hanging proudly on my wall. It is an original oil painting of a rice field, with 9 rice planters working on it.

Nice or not??

Thanks T for getting it for me!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Black-outs....

It was not a pleasant evening for many people in Brunei two evenings ago, when a problem occured at the Gadong Power Plant, which resulted in black-outs in many parts of Brunei-Muara, Belait and Tutong districts. It was even worse for some places when the black-outs occurred again in the next two evenings, though I was not too sure if they were related or not.

It would be very easy to point our fingers to the Department of Electrical Services. It would be very easy to blame the department for the black-outs that we had to endure. But as with anything mechanical, failures could happen and they did. Working in a place where machinery was an integral part of our operation taught me that no matter how much we prepared and how much maintenance we did, machines could fail. And they had the knack of failing at the most inconvenient of times.

Rather than blaming the Department of Eletrical Services for the black-outs, spare some moments to think about the burdens we are putting on our power plants. Brunei was named as one of the biggest users of electricity, but it was not a country which heavily depended on mega industries. Yet, we were consuming energy as much as those industrialised country such as Japan and China. We are putting extra strain on the system, especially during the Raya period.

Think also about the amount of gas that we unnecessary use to generate electricity to power those air-con units in the other rooms that are unoccupied, those hot water boilers in the bathrooms that are switched on all day long, those computers that lie idle in the rooms or those tv sets that remain unwatched. Gas will eventually be gone. And do not put too much hope on solar power. According to the big boss of Shell, solar power will only account to a tiny percentage of energy supply in the future.

So please save energy. Think Earth, think the future.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

50th Aniversary of Brunei's Constitution

Today marks the 50 years since the Constitution was signed. It marked an ear, which eventually pathed way to Brunei's independence from the British. Brunei was not exactly colonised; it was rather a British protectorate state. All government affairs, except those that related to the Islamic religion matters and Brunei culture, were handled by the British. All Brunei citizens, as a result, were considered to be British citizens. I remember my parents had British passports. Malay was declared as the official language and Islam is the official religion in Brunei.

Today also marks the 50th anniversary of a number of government departments, which were formed as a result of the signing of Brunei's constitution. Among the departments are the Islamic Religious Department (now upgraded as a ministry) and the Attorney General's Chamber (AGC).

So how much progress, development and advancement has Brunei achieved since 1959? Just look around and decide for yourself.

To qoute a famous American, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country".


Monday, September 28, 2009

Raya Visits?

Aidilfitri has always been a time to celebrate victory; a time to seek and give forgiveness; and a time to visit friends and families. It has always been a tradition where families and friends would go and visit each other. As long as the lights were still switched on, visitors were welcomed with open arms.

Nowadays, open houses is becoming a trend. So much so that people now would only visit their friends and families if there were open houses. It got me thinking a few days ago when a friend asked if I would be visiting this person’s house. Without much thought, I told him that I would go only if there was an open house and I got an earful from my friend after that! We have inadvertently became caught up in the changing times. So if one is not having an open house, does it mean he/she doesn’t need to be visited upon?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

BPL Match 7

Manchester United won their game against much-improved Stoke City side at the Britannia Stadium. This is their fifth straight win after that loss to Burnley much earlier in the season and their sixth win this season.

Both sides were playing with caution in the first half and few chances were created by either side and none of the goalkeepers were troubled much. The second half started similar to the first half. The introduction of Ryan Giggs later in the second half turned out to be a wise move. The Welshman changed the game and made his presence felt when he assisted in both of United's goals. The first goal was a simple tap in from Berbatov and the second was a headed goal from O'Shea, who last scored for United more than two years ago.

The victory took United to the top of the league, with Chelsea suffering a shock loss at the DW Stadium. United frogleaped over Chelsea as it had a better goal difference. Liverpool scored six past a hapless Hull City side which took them to the third spot. Tottenham Hotspur is fourth after beating Burnley 5-0.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Bulgemeister? .... Here!

Have a guess what this picture is all about...



It is actually a board at home where our attendance for the daily sungkai was recorded. Every day after sungkai, one of the kids would shout out our names and we would have to respond to that.

Apparently, I could only manage 17 (out of 30) sungkai's at home this year!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To all the teachers out there......

In the midst of celebrating Aidilfitri, lets take a moment to wish all teachers, especially the four in my family, on the occasion of Teachers' Day in Brunei today.

Happy Teachers' Day to you all! Thanks for everything.



Do you know why Teachers' Day in Brunei falls on 23 September?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Raya.... again!

For the first time since Mum passed away, we took a family portrait in the morning of Hari Raya. It was quite a difficult task to get 50-odd people, which included not less than 25 kids, to organise themselves for the picture-taking. Putting the camera on a tripod and getting someone to press the shutter button were not as easy as I thought it would be. This is the best shot that I got.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Maaf Zahir & Batin

from
Everyone at Teratak Azlina SSZ
Kuala Belait
Syawal 1430

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Petronas Raya Collection: 2007



Note: I find this hard to watch; nine out of ten times, I would shed tears watching this particular video. I could relate to almost everything in the video; a husband who misses a now-departed wife and a son who forgets almost everything that matters to the parents.

This year, it is the third Raya that we celebrate without Babu. And it is not getting any easier.

Al-Fatihah........

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's not Aidilfitri yet.....

Oh, somehow Brunei will be celebrating Aidilfitri on Monday 21 September, while its neighbours celebrate Aidilfitri tomorrow, Sunday 20 September.

Cue conspiracy theories.......

Petronas Raya Collection - 2006


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flatulent Celebs!

Did you see Kanye West's outburst at the MTV Video Music Award, as Taylor Swift was delivering her acceptance speech? What was that all about?

Speaking outburst, did you see Serena William's outburst at a line judge, who footfaulted her as she served to stay in the match during the Womens' Final of the US Open? I do not blame the line judge for reporting the incident to the chair umpire. As a result, points were awarded to Kim Clijsters which eventually gave her second US Opens title.

Monday, September 14, 2009

BPL Day 5: Tottenham Sunk!

Manchester United sent a message to the other clubs in the Barclays Premier League that despite losing two of its biggest starts in the summer, by ending Tottenham Hotspurs' perfect start to the season.

The loss at Burnley seemed to have been forgotten. The match started badly for the Red Devils when Spurs took an early lead through a spectacular bicycle-kick goal from Defoe. Ryan Giggs equalised later in the first half, through an equally-spectacular free-kick. Giggs remains the only player to have scored in each and every Premier League since it started in 1992. It is even more impressive to note that Giggs is now nearing his 36th birthday, an age at which many other footballers would have either played for much smaller clubs or hung up their boots for good. Anderson scored United's second and his first-ever goal for United. His 'machine-gun' celebration could only be described as hilarious and rusty! Paul Scholes was sent off after receiving two yellow cards, both as a result of his legendary wayward tackles. It is quite amazing for a player to be good at everything, except tackling! Even at 10-man down, Spurs could not capitalise on their one-man advantage. During one of their attack, they were caught short when United broke and Wayne Rooney took advantage of the almost-deserted defence.


United's victory took them to the second spot in the league; Chelsea remains the only team to have won all their opening matches in the Barclays Premier League.

Manchester United's next game will be against local opposition. The Manchester Derby will be played on Sunday. Carlos Tevez is not expected to return to Old Trafford following his departure to the blue side of Manchester during the summer break.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

In memory of the dearly departed.........

With it being the final Sunday before Hari Raya (well, next Sunday might still be a fasting day if the new moon is not sighted on Saturday), families in Brunei take the opportunities to visit the graves of the departed loved ones. Go past any cemetery, you can see traffic jams (on the second thought, avoid the cemetery areas!).

It is a tradition that families go to pay their respects and offer prayers to those who had eternally departed. Many years ago, families would go in the morning of the first day of Hari Raya. Over the years, the practice changed and families went during the fasting month instead. Apart from offering prayers,the graveyard would be cleared and cleaned, grass would be trimmed and kept short and scented water would be poured over the grave of the loved ones. Certain families woud offer sedakah, normally in the form of a dollar note.

Today, together with some close and distant relatives (to be honest I did not recognise more than half of the faces who came along), we went to visit five places. The first site we went to wason Jalan Putat, an area quite remote and would take an hour to get from Bandar. Some relaties were buried there, as the place was quite easily accessible by boats and my families actually originated from Kampung Ayer. The next place was Lumapas Cemetery, where I was told my dad's mum and my mum's dad were buried. We then went to Kubah Makam along Jalan Tutong, where my dad's dad and my mum's mum were buried. The fourth place was the Subok cemetery, where two of my elder brothers were buried. The final place was the Kianggeh cemetery; I honestly do not know whose grave we were visiting.

Perhaps next week and also on the morning of the first day of Hari Raya, we will be visiting my mum's grave at the Batu Tiga cemetery in Kuala Belait. It will be an emotional visit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

B'day Greeting

Earlier this week, one of my sisters-in-law celebrated her birthday. So here's a birthday greeting for her.

Happy Birthday, Sis! Moga panjang umur dan murah rezeki. And good luck in your studies.

American Idol


Ellen DeGeneres has been announced as the new judge on American Idol, replacing Paula Abdul who left the show after eight seasons.

Reactions to this news are mixed. Ellen is not exactly known for her formal singing experience, but her humour might be the answer to the now-becoming-quite-boring American Idol. Her humour and her energy may bring that extra somethings to the show.

She would start appearing on American Idol from after the audition shows.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Shaking Car?

I was at the petrol station on the way home from work when I saw the car in front of me was shaking. I knew right away what was happening: the petrol station attendant was shaking the car so that he could put in as much as petrol as he could. Well, liquid does not behave like solid. If you were to pour sugar into a cup, you could shake the cup to cram in more sugar. You just can't do the same for liquid. All you get is a shaking car!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Same old stories....

Some things just remained the same here in Kuala Lumpur.....

1. We took a bus, which took us from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) to KL Sentral Station. There were ties when I feared for my life as the driver drove the bus at a speed, which could only be described as dangerous and too fast. He drove along this curve and I feared that the bus might leve the road.

2. When we arrived at KL Sentral, we saw there were many men wearing white shirts lining along the bus. Great, as I thought these men were there to unload our luggages from the bus. I was later proven to be wrong as they turned out to be taxi touts. They were one persistent bunch and could not take no for an answer. At one point, one of them actually manhandled me and stopped me from leaving the area. One tip: a coupon-based taxi service is available just down the walkway. It is much cheaper and safer to use.

3. Taxis still charged passenger indiscriminately. Taxi meters were for display only. Make sure you ask and agree for taxi meter before setting off.

4. Budget taxis were generally dirty and perhaps not road-worthy.

5. Taxi drivers drove their taxis as if they were taking part in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

6. Hotels only provided the more expensive executive taxis.

7. People still would not queue at the payment counters.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Air Asia flight... reviewed....

After setting off from home almost eight hours earlier, I finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Why it took so long you wonder? The first leg of the trip was perhaps the slowest bit. The company-provided transport had to follow the road rules and regulations and could not go any much faster. We actually broke our fast somewhere along the Tutong-Telisai highway. It took a painful100 minutes to get to the airport.

It was the first Air Asia flight from Brunei that I took. Despite being fifteen minuteslate, I was not too bothered. The seats had been randomly assigned during check-in, so there was no need to push and shove your fello travellers for the best seats. Just a word of advice: if you're travelling in groups, make sure you check in together or else you will sit separately. The flightwas quite packed, a sign that the recession is perhaps on the way out and people are trying to put some normality back into their lives. The plane was relatively new, the seats were leather seats and whatever you were provided with actually worked. I had ordered food when I booked the flight so the food was given to me as the trolley went by. The only thing that I was disappointed was that the food that was given to me was a slight variation from the one I wanted. Apparently for Ramadhan, the nasi lemak had sambal sotong instead of the fried chicken. I tried to get it changed but none was available apparently. I was dismayed later when I overheard the stewardess offered my neighbour the nasi lemak with fried chicken. I would not have made much fuss about it, but I hardly had anything to eat since I broke fast in the car!

We arrived at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport just twenty minutes later than scheduled. I had not realised how big Air Asia has become as an airline carrier. There were more airplanes than the last time I flew with them. The terminal had gone much bigger and obviously busier. We still had to walk on the tarmac all the way from the plane to the terminal. I found it funny that our group was stopped along the way to give way to another group of passengers who were boarding another flight. And also, we were diverted to the upper floor of the terminal just for immigration checks and went down to the lower floor again to reclaim our luggage.

Perhaps, it was not going to be my last ever Air Asia flight. If it continues to offer fares competitively, I would fly on it again in the future.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Away....

It's the long weekend again. Off I go then!

Expect some interruptions with new blog posts. Normal service will resume once I am back.

Have an enjoyable weekend! Be safe.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Just a number....


Given the fact that the figure given is not the actual figure and the Influenza A H1N1 pandemic is now considered a community spread infection, what is the point of publishing the numbers then? I found out that many countries now do not report to WHO anymore, on the number of new cases/death, so publishing the number of cases remains pointless perhaps.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Alternative....

Love food, hate waste?

I think I prefer Cookie's version better: eat at home, save some money!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BPL: Match Day 5

So it took a penalty and an own goal to tame Arsenal at Old Trafford? Well, yes and I am not that bothered!


Manchester United overcame a one-goal deficit to spoil Arsenal's perfect start to the season. A 40th-minute strike from Arsenal Arshavin gave the Gunners a half-time lead. In a space to five minutes in the second half, two goals, one a penalty and the other an own-goal, turned the match match around. United's goalkeeper made a string of saves to keep the Gunner's score to that sole goal. The end of the game was no less dramatic. With just 30 seconds remaining on the clock before the end of the injury time, I remarked to a friend that it would be cruel if Arsenal scored. Imagine my horror, not long after that, when I saw the ball hit the back of United's net. All sorts of expletive came out from my mouth and colours must have drained from my face. When the camera focussed to that raised flag, I was glad that it was raised. And the sight of Arsene Wenger being ushered off from the dug-out was a sight I could not forget easily. And the look of the Gunners' fans, who cheered and pointed at the Red Devil fans' faces as the ball hit the net, when they realised that the Gunners had lost was priceless.

The win continued Manchester United's revival from that unnecessary loss to Burnley. The win also returned them to the third spot in the table.


Manchester United's next BPL match will be against the league topper, Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane on Saturday, 12 September. That should be another cracking match!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy B'day Sis!

Happy Birthday to our eldest sister who celebrates her birthday today.

Happy Birthday, Sis. Moga panjang umur dan murah rezeki.

Friday, August 28, 2009

UEFA Champions League 2009-2010

The draw for the group stage of this season's UEFA Champions' League has been made.

Group A: Bayern Munich, Juventus, Bordeaux, Maccabi Haifa
Group B: Manchester United, CSKA Moscow, Besiktas, Wolfsburg
Group C: Milan, Real Madrid, Marseille, FC Zurich
Group D: Chelsea, Porto, Atletico Madrid, APOEL Nicosi
Group E: Liverpool, Lyon, Fiorentina, Debrecen
Group F: Barcelona, Internazionale, Dinamo Kiev, Rubin Kazan
Group G: Sevilla, Rangers, Stuttgart, Unirea Urziceni
Group H: Arsenal, AZ Alkmaar, Olympiacos, Standard Liege

How do I rate Manchester United's chance of progressing to the next round? The toughest opposition would be Besiktas; Manchester United does not have a great record against Turkish team. CSKA Moscow may be another potential difficult team to play against. However, I would not bet against the 2008/2009 Champions' League finalist not qualifying to the next round.

The toughest group is Group F, with defending champions, Barcelona, being grouped together with Inter and Dinamo Kiev. All the other English teams seems to be in easy groups.

The first round of matches will start on 15/16 September.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trivia

How far can a dog run into the woods?


Halfway..... because beyond that, it would be running out of the woods!