Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Read the letter fully here.
REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008
Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.
You don't get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it's next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That's got to be the clue hasn't it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in:
Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So lets peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see what's on offer.
I'll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it's Christmas morning and you're sat their with your final present to open. It's a big one, and you know what it is. It's that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.
Only you open the present and it's not in there. It's your hamster Richard. It's your hamster in the box and it's not breathing. That's how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this:
Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking it's more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. It's mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.
Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.
By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to it's baffling presentation:
It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn't want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.
I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was relax but obviously I had to sit with that mess in front of me for half an hour. I swear the sponge shafts moved at one point.
Once cleared, I decided to relax with a bit of your world-famous onboard entertainment. I switched it on:
I apologise for the quality of the photo, it's just it was incredibly hard to capture Boris Johnson's face through the flickering white lines running up and down the screen. Perhaps it would be better on another channel:
Is that Ray Liotta? A question I found myself asking over and over again throughout the gruelling half-hour I attempted to watch the film like this. After that I switched off. I'd had enough. I was the hungriest I'd been in my adult life and I had a splitting headache from squinting at a crackling screen.
My only option was to simply stare at the seat in front and wait for either food, or sleep. Neither came for an incredibly long time. But when it did it surpassed my wildest expectations:
Yes! It's another crime-scene cookie. Only this time you dunk it in the white stuff.
Richard.... What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji custard and the Mustard sauce. It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. I lied to my new friends and told them I'd done it loads of times. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese. That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard.
So that was that Richard. I didn't eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I can't imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.
As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. It's just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to it's knees and begging for sustenance.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Manchester United produced one of the best performance this season, beating West Brom Albions 5-0 at the Hawthorns. The main three payers, Berbatov, Tevez and Ronaldo scored; Ronaldo scored his first goals in ten weeks. It also marked the return of Rio Ferdinand after a bout of back injury kept him out of the squad. Some players also played despite being declared injured in the days building up to this match. It was a record-setting victory, as Manchester United now goes eleven matches without conceeding a goal.
Now it's up to Liverpool to keep up the pressure on Manchester United, who now sits at the top of the league, three points and 7 goal difference more than Liverpool. Liverpool will play against Wigan Athletics at the JJB Stadium.
Manchester United's next BPL game will be against Everton, the blue side of Liverpool and probably the real team of Merseyside ;), on Monday, 2 February at Old Trafford.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Last Wednesday, Manchester United booked their place in the League Cup Final at Wembley on 1 March 2009 after beating Derby County. Manchester United lost the first leg 1-0 and won the second leg 4-2, to win by a 4-3 aggregate. In the Finals, Manchester United will meet Tottenham Hotspurs, who beat Burnley to reach the Finals.
In the FA Cup Fifth Round match, Manchester United beat Tottenham Hostpurs 2-1 to play either Derby County or Nottingham Forest in the Last 16 Round. The winner of this match will proceed to play in the Quarter Finals. Paul Scholes scored a screamer, his first goal since many months ago.
This evening, Manchester United will play West Brom Albions who sit at the bottom of the league table. On paper, this should be an easy win for Manchester United, but at least eleven players are on the injury list, causing a big headache to Sir Alex. Among the injured players are Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Nani, Anderson,Partice Evra, Park Ji-Sung, Wes Brown, Jonny Evans, Fabio and Rafael da Silva, Owen Hargreaves and Danny Welbeck. The list is missing only a goalkeeper, otherwise they could form another team, of probably equal, or even higher, stature as tonight's opponent. One good news, Cristiano Ronaldo should play tonight.
Just hope Sir Alex can weave his magic again tonight and take us further towards that eighteenth Championships honour.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
For all those who celebrate it, it will be a time to start a new year of prosperity, wealth, good health and peace. After possibly one of the worst ways to prepare the new year, many people are looking ahead to move on and celebrate the new year with a bang.
For all those who don't, it is the time to take a well-deserved break. It has been a quite an eventful start to the year. Some are affected by the floods, landslides and power cuts. Thankfully, almost everything is back to normal.
Anyway, what's your plan for the long weekend? Or more precisely, on the first day of the Chinese New Year? One of the biggest firework shows in Brunei will kick off right on the stroke of midnight. If you happen to be in Kuala Belait, go out around the Pandan and Jalan Maulana areas. You will see an amazing show of firework rivalry between the many households around the areas. I can't think of any other place in Brunei where you could witness such spectacle. Take your family out for the show; it only happens once a year. And tomorrow, take your kids out to watch the lion dance. One of my nephews, who is barely two, is a big fan of the lion dance. He has a mini lion dance set, complete with the drum. During a niece's birthday party last weekend, he made an impression on many guests as he danced in his lion dance set.
And don't forget the solar eclipse tomorrow, but please observe the safety precautions.
P.s. I wonder if there is any Chinese belief or if it means something when you have a solar eclipse on the first day of the new year?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
I believe the government should not be solely blamed for the landslides that happened. There are only so much that the relevant government agencies could do, but at the end of the day, it was upto the developers and the property owners to carry out their projects in a more responsible manner. Retaining walls should be built; but not just any retaining wall, it should be strong and able to withstanding whatever nature throws at us. The developers should also built good drainage system. There are many instances that approvals were granted by the relevant government agencies to build such property with stipulated precautions, only for the developers to cut corners and modify their project, without due considerations to the environment and the surroundings.
As of the prolonged power cuts, it is unfortunate that it happened. May be we should be more prepared for the sudden 'disaster' but there are only so much we could do to prepare ourselves. At the end, we cannot really predict what nature may want to throw at us. And has anyone thought that perhaps it is God's way to remind us that we are doing something we are not supposed to do, or we are not doing something that we are supposed to do?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The current weather situation is expected to continue until March. And some said there may be repeats of the chaoatic scenes from two days ago. Whatever you do, please take care. Always be on alert and ready to move when you sense danger is coming.
And to my Chinese readers, I hope the weather will settle itself, even for a while, to allow you to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The press release on the eclipse below is downloadable fully from here.
Members of the public are advised to observe the safety precaution stated on the press release.
Visit the website of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam at http://www.bruneiastronomy.org/php/index.php
The next solar eclipse visible in Brunei Darussalam will take place on 22 July 2009, but it is expected to be of a lesser magnitude.
P.s. I wonder if there will be similar public viewing in KB area?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In a Monday evening fixture, Liverpool was held at home by the other Merseyside team. Steven Gerrard scored on the 69th minute and Liverpool was looking at collecting the full 3 points from this game. However, Everton's Tim Cahill read a different script and scored a late equaliser to put a dent on Liverpool's title aspiration.
With last night's game completed, Manchester United and Liverpool occupy the top spots, but Manchester United has a bigger goal difference than Liverpool and still has one game in hand.
In another development, Manchester City was reported to have terminated the discussion to bring the former World Player of the Year, Kaka, to the City of Manchester Stadium. The Brazilian was touted as the first player to reach the GBP100 million transfer figure mark, but it looked like he will not leave San Siro. The AC Milan player probably noticed the precarious position of Manchester City in the league table!
Just a thought: if the tranfer of Kaka had materialised, do you not think that it would make the football transfer market upside down? Perhaps, it should be regulated by Fifa, as to protect the smaller and less rich teams.
And can a big-named player change a team? Is there such a thing as a one-man team? Manchester City bought Robinho at the start of the season and it was said that Manchester City would be a team to be reckoned with this season, but just look at where it stands at the moment: on 11th place, just four points away from the relegation zone.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Anyway, here are some tips on driving in the wet condition (as taken from Goodyear's website):
1. Routinely check your tyres...
Always check your tyres before you hit the road. Make sure you do the following routine maintenance: Keep your tyres properly inflated. The correct air pressure for your tyres is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found on the vehicle door edge, door-post, and glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner's manual. The number listed on the side of the tyre is not the recommended air pressure for your tyre -- it is the maximum air pressure for the tyre. You should check your tyre's air pressure at least once a month. Check the tyre's tread depth. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and aquaplaning.
2. Slow down.
As rain falls, it mixes with grime and oil on the road creating slick conditions perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tyre's tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.
3. Know how to recover from a skid.
Skids can happen even to the most cautious drivers. If your car does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes. Do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead, apply firm, steady pressure to the brakes and steer the car in the direction of the skid.
4. Keep your distance from the car ahead.
Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls - steering, clutch, brake and accelerator - and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and can easily slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly. It takes about three times longer to brake on wet roads than it does on dry roads. As more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
5. Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.
Avoid using your brakes. Whenever possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator. Turn your headlights on, even in a light rain. Not only do they help you see the road, but they'll help other drivers see you. If your car has daytime running lights, you should turn them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better.
6. Prepare for your journey.
Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls - steering, clutch, brake and accelerator - and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and liable to slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly.
7. Learn how to avoid and deal with aquaplaning.
Aquaplaning happens when the water in front of your tyres builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tyres and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road. To avoid aquaplaning, keep your tyres properly inflated, maintain good tread on your tyres and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tyre tracks left by the cars in front of you. If you find yourself aquaplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the accelerator until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do so gently with light pumping actions. If your car has ABS, then brake normally; the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.
8. If the rain becomes too heavy, stop!
Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades, allowing an almost continuous sheet of water to flow over the screen. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas. If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers.
9. First rains make the road very slippery.
The first rains always make the roads the most difficult to drive on, as the mud and oil on the dry road combines with the water and forms a rather slippery layer. Drivers are likely to experience reduced control, and are cautioned to be extra careful for the first half-hour after it begins to rain.
10. Cloudy weather reduces visibility.
Use extra caution when passing other vehicles.
11. Dry your brakes after driving through standing water.
If you have driven through standing water deep enough to get your brake shoes wet, apply the brakes lightly to dry them.
12. Don't drive while fatigued.
Stop at least every couple of hours or every hundred miles to rest.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
In next weekend's fixture, Manchester United will play away at the Reebok Stadium against Bolton Wanderers, an unpredictable team which currently lies in the twelveth position. Bolton Wanderers has been known as a boogey team to many top teams, therefore Manchester United have to tread carefully over the Reebok Stadium turf. If Manchester United wins this match, they will leapfrog Liverpool, who will not play until Monday evening.
However, the win over Wigan Athletics came at a price. After scoring the sole goal in the match in the first minute of play, Wayne Rooney had to be substituted on the seventh minute following a hamstring injury, which may sideline him for three weeks. It is now quite a worry to note that the injury list at Old Trafford is getting longer. Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves are among the other players in the injury list. However, Sir Alex Ferguson was confident that Manchester United would be able to maintain the strength anf momentum of the past few weeks with a large squad available at his disposal.
It is also reported that Manchester United is chasing a GBP14 million-rated Wigan Athletics midfielder, Wilson Palacios. Apparent--ly, he is also a target for Tottenham Hotspurs, which currently lies in the bottom three of the BPL. But isn't the Manchester United midfield getting a bit too congested now?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Lets hope he can re-capture his brilliance this season and help Manchester United to its third consecutive BPL title.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
One of them started school at the Tunas Jaya PGGMB School in KB. Apparently he started well, until some kid started to cry and everyone, including my nephew, joined in! When he came home, he complained that school was boring! He skipped his second day at school, as he was unwell. School can't be that bad, eh Boboi? This was him as he started his first day at school.
Another goes to this school in Bandar. Apparently, when he came home on the first day of school, he complained to one of the maids that his school was far from Hua Ho Department Store or else it would have been fun....
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
- Choose a time when there would be less traffic at the borders. Perhaps, the school holidays and the days around the payday should be avoided.
- Start early. If it is school holiday, start even earlier! Apparent--ly, during the last school holiday, the queue at Kuala Lurah started to form as early as four o'clock in the morning!
- Be ready to be stuck in a queue. There are eight immigration posts to go through (three Bruneian ones and five Malaysians) and two ferries to board. During our trip, we spent three hours q-ing.
- Bring some food. If you don't intend to stop to buy food, bring some food to munch along the way or while being stuck in the queue.
- You might want to top up your tanks in Lumapas and Temburong. A full tank in Temburong will take you into KK and a few days driving in KK. However, Premium Gasoline (minyak hijau) is slightly more expensive in Temburong; it is 54.7 cents per litre in Temburong but 53 cents per litre everywhere else. When you are about to leave KK, fill up your tanks and it may take you upto Lumapas where you could fill up with the cheaper Bruneian petrol. However, this will depend on your driving styles, the time you arrive in Lumapas and if you have to queue. Keep an eye on your fuel gauge as you drive.
- Bring your favourite CD's or load your favourite songs onto your iPod. You will be glad that you have something you like to listen to, rather than listening to radio stations with languages not familiar to you.
- Have at least one of your passengers awake throughout the journey. You may chat and avoid boredom and monotony. It may even prevent you from feeling sleepy. Or sing along to your CD's and iPod. And don't forget to bring something to munch and drink, so canned coffee or energy drinks may be useful.
- If you have to drive in the evening, reduce your speed and be more alert. The road may not be familiar to you and it is more difficult to drive in an unfamiliar road in the dark. And you do not know the driving habits of the people there.
- Look out for the junction to Papar as you get closer to KK. Take the road that takes you along Papar road. It may have more traffic, but it is less hilly and it has less curves.
- When you park your car in foreign land, always ensure that you lock your wheels by turning your steering wheel when the engine has been switched off.
- When you return to Brunei, leave early. You may not want to be stuck at Kuala Lurah and have to sleep overnight in your car. It may be a case of so near, but yet so far.....
- Enjoy the drive. Drive safely and rest when you are tired.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
So we moved to Grand Central Hotel, as it was cheap and its location at the end of Orchard Road was perfect for us. However, we knew why it was cheap. The hotel looked really run down and did not bear any sign that it was ever renovated since it was opened. The fixtures were falling off and looked old fashioned. The mattress seemed to be well worn and the linen looked as if they have gone through 1000+ washes. There was no safe deposit box and the air-con seemed to fail in the evening. Apparent--ly, the hotel was frequented by people from the region who seeked medical treatment in Singapore. It was perhaps true as one of the first things that hit you as you exited the lift was the smell of chinese herbs being brew. There were times when you could smell spices in the corridor.
It was probably the first and last time that I would stay at Grand Central Hotel. You are perhaps better off staying at one of the Hotel 81 chain hotels or paying more at a much better hotel.
Don't say you were never warned!
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Tomorrow will be the first working day for me in 2009. Tomorrow, hopefully, starts a year of increased productivity, efficiency and hard work.
Anyway, I hope to start regular posting tomorrow. Till then, have a good day and see you soon....
Ok, it's time to go. Passport? Check. Boarding pass? Check. Burger King? Check. Bengawan Solo? Check. Duty-free shoppings? Check! LOL!...