Wednesday, May 31, 2006

About me: Travel to Perth and KL

Alright, there's been some speculation as to where I've been for the last week or so.

For a 10 day period, I went to Perth (Australia), and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). I went to Perth because I had to get my residency for Australia officiated, and also to visit some family.

This was the first time I met my cousin in-law: Jack Lee. I like the guy: very down to earth, and boy does he have a way with words! Lucky cousin of mine ~ Cherry. Then there was also her sister Ting, who tried her very best to hook me up with EVERY girl she knew from around town.

*Oh come on... Do I look desperate?!

There were also the bunch of people I knew from 2003 when I was still building a power plant there. We used to hang out and were everyone joined the FGA Church, Perth.

If you're reading this...

G'morning Joanne... smile! :)

I thought it wouldn't have hurt to throw in some extra side trips to rekindle some fond memories of the past... food-wise. There were the Chili Mussels from Conca's, Deep fried intestines with salt and cracked pepper, and dim sum from Jade restaurant.

*Yes... we do enjoy some of the vilest of foodstuffs :P

Having spent 5 days in Perth, I flew to Kuala Lumpur for another 5 days before returning to Kota Kinabalu for work at site. Humbug.

Not much to report from the home front of Kuala Lumpur, apart from a good time catching up with family and friends. Oh, and Saturdays at McDonald's was good fun once again...

Friday, May 26, 2006

People: Gabriel Liew

Remember my coincidental meet with Zahid and Van? Now dude... seriously, this post is about another even more bizarre coincidence.

As I had mentioned, I need to make my way to Australia to get my residency officiated. This is what they term a "first entry" into Australia. So I took leave from work, and hopped on the plane to Perth from Kota Kinabalu.

While waiting at the airport, I kind of made out the figure of someone in the distance that looked like.... OMG


This person used to be my housemate when we were studying pre-university in 1996, but lost contact after that year.

Sharon and me have talked about him over the years, but no joy as far as tracking him down.

Who would've known that after almost 10 years... As fate has it, we meet at a time when I am only passing through KK, and on the first trip that Gabriel has made it back to his hometown of KK for the first time in 5 years! He is now living in Perth.

Talk about coincidence.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Culture: Do Not Rush!

G, since you missed my Korean commentaries, I dedicate this one to you. :)

A public signage can tell you a lot about a culture... Spotted this at the train station on my way back from Seoul back in January 2006.


Indeed though, that's the impression I've formed about Korea while working there.

Everything is a BIG rush... Everyone is always driving irrationally, and running lights. People sometimes shove their way through queues just so they can be ahead in a line. Jobsites are being run like a military drill, where everything is all about being fast and not about quality. It's all about being "palli palli" (빨리 빨리) ~ FAST FAST!

My take on it... rushing doesn't necessarily mean you're going to end up doing something faster. Worse, you could really get people all fired up emotionaly, works could end up in mistakes, or even cause fatalities.

Instead of rushing, couldn't the focus be more on EFFICIENCY, or just NEW METHODS of doing something, and DOING IT RIGHT THE 1ST TIME? I guess it's hard to drill this mind-set into the population of 49million people in Korea, and change has to start from me.

That being said and done, I'll set my alarm clock 15 minutes early, so I don't have to be rushing like a mad man to the airport tomorrow... *Hint hint ;)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Food: Bak kut teh

Ever heard of businesses that can afford to be located on prime property, and open only for business during evening hours, and still do pretty good?

I haven't... prior to visiting Yu Kee restaurant in Kota Kinabalu, that is.

Yu Kee is just opposite Jesselton Hotel on Gaya Street. Their specialty is Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶), which literally translates into "Meat and Rib Tea".

For readers whom are not familiar with the local cuisine, it is a dark herbal soup that derives its taste from meat-packed ribs, whole garlic, mushrooms, and "whatever else" stewed up in a hotpot. With it, is usually servings of plain rice, and piles of fried dough ~ You Tiao (油条).

Back where I'm from, every bit of the soup and "stuff" is usually served in a hot pot for every person. Here at Yu Kee, we ordered every part of the pig in separate bowls. I guess that makes sense, since not everyone likes the idea of introducing pork intestines to his or her own...

Excuse the grotesque English...
But a pig is a pig and intestines are intestines right?
How else could I have put it??

Since I've been fed the best stuff from Klang (Selangor) and also quite a memorable one in Kuching (Sarawak), I wouldn't say that this is the definitely the best I have had. But to be fair, it still was a pretty good meal.

Now, back to the art of telling how good a business is...

Just look at the following picture.

I mean dude... while other restaurants are serving their customers toilet paper rolls for wipes, this one dishes out PRIMIER, which is 5 times more expensive!!

Business is definitely bustling at this KK local's hotspot!

Monday, May 08, 2006

People: Zahid & Van

It seems like everyone is flocking into KK for holidays, coincidentally during the period when I am stationed here for my project.

Just a few weeks ago, I managed to meet up with Zahid and Van, both friends from my varsity days.

Coincidences in meeting them have been unbelievable. Take March for example, when I just arrived in KK...

Doing the obligatory "Hi what's up, I'm back and in KK for work" messages to all my friends, I get a reply back from Zahid saying "Do you want to meet up in KK this weekend?".

I called Zahid immediately upon receiving the message, and apparently they were going to be in Kota Kinabalu for a vacation! We did eventually meet up, and had quite a decent time catching up.

*Thanks for dinner guys!

That's not it...

Van and Zahid were on a long distance relationship for 5 years due to work commitments, where she was in Australia, and him in Malaysia. On 2 other occasions, my break in-between projects back home (Kuala Lumpur) coincided with Van's annual week-long visit of Zahid. That one time, I was alighting at a train station that I don't normally go to, and voila ~ there they were coming out from turnstiles at the opposite end of the station!

I can only let my imagination run wild, as to where we'll be meeting next. The Kota Kinabalu experience was certainly one of the more memorable ones. That's why it's on this blog. :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Music: Aegukga (愛國歌/애국가) in the key of ROCK!

If you remember, I blogged about how a band got in trouble by playing a rock version of the Korean national anthem.

As an act of support to the musicians, whom I believe to have had no disrespect towards their country, here is my version of Aegukga (애국가) in the key of Rock.

Click 'HERE'.

Note that I probably could have done a lot more: Progressing into a D-major, and throwing in a few more shredding phrases, or even follow the odd 5/4 - 4/4 timing that the original score calls for... but I believe the bridge I threw in, ala Vinnie Moore should be more than enough for now.

By the way... do pray that I don't get sued since it is copyrighted. ;)

In case you wanted to listen to the original, click 'here'.