On the day of 28th March, 2009

Here is the list of events that took place on the first day of my twenty-eight-year-old life in chronological order.

0000hrs – My beloved video calls me to wish me a very happy birthday!

0010hrs – My mother wishes me a happy birthday too. Received a few SMSes from friends as well.

0030hrs – Continue with my work on moving the motherboard and components of my computer to a lighter casing.

0400hrs – Finally done with the CPU I was working on, tested and ran fine. Did not realise it took so long and I had to wake up at 0700hrs for Cheng Beng (Tomb Sweeping).

0715hrs – Struggled to wake up and was 15 minutes late. Washed up in a hurry and drove over to grandma’s place. Feeling like a zombie.

0745hrs – Finally everyone is ready and we set out for breakfast in two cars at a nearby dim sum place.

0900hrs – The food at the dim sum place tasted awful, I have no choice but to swallow them, as I need some energy for the tomb sweeping later. We left Ipoh and headed to Tapah for our first stop, where my great-grandmother, great-grandfather and grand-uncle are laid to rest.

1000hrs – Arrived at Tapah and there was a lot of people there already.

Ancestors tomb in Tapah
Ancestors' tomb in Tapah

1100hrs – After waiting for an hour for our other relatives to pay their respect to my great-grandmother, it is our turn and it took us less than 20 minutes to complete. On average, we spent 20 minutes per tomb, but our other relatives, who are very ‘filial’, took almost 45 minutes to ‘sweep the tomb’.

1200hrs – We (my mother, two of my uncles, my cousin and I) stood directly under the sun, waiting for our other relatives to do their praying. Sweat is rolling down my cheeks like it was raining and everyone here is beginning to get some tan.

1300hrs – Finally…we are on our way back to Ipoh. Next stop is my grandfather’s ‘condo’, located in Bercham. Grandma will meet us there as she skipped the Tapah trip. She is having problem with her knees so it is better for her to stay at home.

1340hrs – Kek Lok Temple is where my grandfather’s ashes is being kept. It is a buddhist temple, the premises is clean and the statues look classy. I am a Christian, therefore I can only admire the architectural wonders of the building and regard the statues as artwork pieces.

My grandfather's final resting place
My grandfather's final resting place

1430hrs – And the tomb sweeping is completed! We all head over to Pizza Hut for lunch. The pizza is bad. The bread-stix is hard and cold. The waiter/waitresses do not even have a smile on the face, they are serving us as if we were inmates.

1600hrs – Home, showered and resting. Random activities such as watching drama, reading news and books. Mind was drifted away most of the time.

1930hrs – Dinner. On my birthday, I requested for porridge for dinner. I just need more liquid and I do not really feel like having heavy food. Perhaps I am really getting old?

2030hrs – Counting down to earth hour and when the clock on my notebook turns 20:30, all the lights in the house go off. We took out the emergency light charged and surprisingly it was bright enough. I took a picture of 8TV’s transmission before turning the TV off too. During the earth hour, all electronic devices are run on batteries. Including my notebook.

8TV's Transmission during Earth Hour
8TV's transmission during Earth Hour

I looked out from the house and saw that the neighbourhood is darker than usual nights, seems like everyone is doing their part to create the global warming awareness. Or do they really know why do they have to turn off the lights for 60 minutes?

My beloved was doing her part too, lighting only candles for the entire hour to study. We chatted online and video called, but since it was so dark, it somewhat felt creepy.

Before switching on the lights after earth hour, in between 2030hrs and 2130hrs, I got so tired that I slept on the couch in the living room. My beloved complained later that when she called I just cut off her phone (which I have totally no memory of), and my mother was complaining that my snoring was the only sound she hear while she was watching her drama on TV.

And this concludes the first day of my twenty-eight-year-old life.

The last thing I remember before dozing off...
The last thing I remember before dozing off...

P.S. I woke up around 0900hrs the following day.

Random Thoughts 090402

It was April Fools yesterday. I did not get pranked but my car’s speedo died on me.

It is quite a challenge driving without a speedo because we have traffic police with their speed guns stationed at all sort of weird places that people will unknowingly exceed the limit unless they drive with their eyes on the speedo, not the road. Therefore it is never safe to follow the speed of other cars, and it means I have to drive EXTRA slow.

That is why I am blogging from my phone now. After sending my beloved this morning, I went straight to the service center. They made we wait for 30 minutes and eventually tell me to go to another service center because they do not have the replacement part in stock. So then I arrived here at 1030hrs.

After being attended to and typed in the information to the computer, I was told that I can get my car back at 1200hrs. Since I have no one to fetch me, I waited at the service center. My car was sitting in the same position until 1130hrs! The time now is 1225hrs and my car is inside the workshop (finally!) and people are working on it. Now I wonder when I can get my car fixed.

On another note, there are a few things I want to blog about, so I am going to list it down before I forget:
1) Events that took place on 090328
2) What you see in the ads are not what you get in Pizza Hut
3) The home-made steamboat dinner that was supposed to be my birthday dinner
4) Two movie reviews: Confession of a shopaholic and Slumdog Millionaire
5) Two forwarded emails that is worth sharing with you all.
Now I have enough materials to cover my blog for the next two week. I just have to write it out.

More updates to come…

Earth Hour 2009

NB. I will be writing entries to this blog but will keep it unpublished until after the earth hour this Saturday.

It has been more than a week since my last post. There was nothing much to write about since the past week has been quite uneventful.

However, I am counting down to this Saturday, 28th March 2009. If you are close to me, then you would know why I am looking forward to this. Duh, because 28th March is my birthday!

However, I am not actually a birthday person, therefore my birthday celebration will be kept to a minimum. What I wanted to draw your attention to, is the Earth Hour for the year.

Earth Hour 2009
Earth Hour 2009

At 8.30pm this Saturday, 28th March 2009, my blog will be turned off for an hour in support of the Earth Hour. I have already signed up to support the event, and hopefully you could do the same by clicking on the link on the banner at the top of this page.

As I write this post, KLCC, Sunway City Subang Jaya, Penang Bridge, Putrajaya, KL Sentral, Dataran Merdeka and other major landmarks have pledged their support to the earth hour by switching off all non-essential lights and electrical appliances from 8.30pm-9.30pm. 8TV will also cease transmission for the earth hour too. 

The aim of the earth hour is to create public awareness on global warming and are targeting ONE BILLION VOTES FOR EARTH (in the form of switching off between 8.30pm-9.30pm on 28th March 2009) worldwide so that this could be presented in the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this year.

The Earth Hour is a WWF initiative started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 where 2.2 million households switched off their lights in support of the event. Later in 2008, it became a world event and now we are in its third year. Hopefully, more of us will become aware of the global warming and begin to stop unnecessary electricity usage. Switch off all electrical appliances when not in use, not just on the earth hour this Saturday, but at all times.

Now, I have to go look for birthday candles that can last for an hour for this Saturday.

10 Reasons Why I am NOT PAYING for an iPhone

While we are all getting excited about the iPhone 3G that is finally coming to Malaysia, there are a few shortcomings from the seemingly ‘perfect brand’ (Apple, that is) and below is the 10 reasons (there may be more) that I WILL NOT PAY to get an iPhone from Maxis.

Reason #1
The design of the phone is already 2 years old. Even though it still looks great, and with a minimal facelift late last year, the iPhone is going to be replaced by a newer design anytime shortly after we get our hands on their ‘leftovers’ late this March.

Reason #2
The iPhone has a 2-megapixel camera. My first digital camera received as a gift in 1998 is a 2-megapixel too! Even the mid- to top-range phones now offer a minimum 3.2-megapixel camera. Not so cool for camwhores.

Reason #3
When you take pictures using your iPhone, you would like to share with your family and friends immediately, right? Not so for iPhone users. There is no MMS function available in iPhone. No freaking Multimedia Messaging System function! The ONLY way to send pictures to your family and friends is via email/Internet.

Reason #4
The iPhone does not have a front camera, because it does not support Video Calls. Too bad for those who want to kiss their love ones goodnight through video call. Also, bad for camwhores who just cannot resist taking their pictures anytime, anywhere, you cannot see the picture preview of yourself when taking picture. Come to think of it, that is why iPhone’s ‘back-side’ has a mirror finish.

Reason #5
Global Position System, GPS. Apple boasts that its iPhone has GPS. However, the GPS is only capable of displaying your location on the map, if you need directions to go somewhere you are not familiar, you have to find it yourself. Also, it is rumoured that your iPhone gives away your exact location, good for parents who want to track where their children is, bad for those wanting ‘to keep a low profile’.

Reason #6
If you thought you could surf the Internet with iPhone, think twice. The phone has a 3.5 inch screen, much smaller than any netbooks in the market nowadays, and its Safari web browser DOES NOT SUPPORT FLASH. Therefore you will not get the FULL Internet experience via an iPhone.

Reason #7
It does not have an memory expansion slot, unlike most other phones in the market. Therefore, you are only limited to storing 8GB or 16GB of media/data files in your phone.

Reason #8
You cannot freely install free stuffs in to your iPhone. Every application that you want to run on the iPhone must be purchased through authorised iPhone Apps vendors, therefore no more freebies for iPhone users!

Reason #9
You cannot use an iPhone as a 3G modem. Apple does not allow you connect your iPhone to your computer and use it as a data modem. Therefore the only 3G you could use on the iPhone is to check your emails, browse the Internet (without the FLASH) and shopping for iPhone Apps.

Reason #10
Not worth the money. Apple products have always been pricey. Reason? Because of its brand positioning. The iPhones are manufactured in China by Foxconn and we are paying a premium price for it just because it is an Apple product.

With the money I have to fork out to get an iPhone from Maxis, I could get myself a 3G phone with a decent camera (at least more than 2-megapixel) from Nokia (sub RM1k) which I can video call and use as a 3G data modem, an ASUS Eee PC 900 (RM1,499) and an iPod touch (RM948) which basically is an iPhone without the functions of a mobile phone. And I get three items for a price of one (iPhone)!

How about that?

iPhone 3G finally coming to Malaysia

I was excited when I saw this.

This is not a hoax. Click here or visit maxis website to verify it for yourself.

Anyone can book the iPhone now and if you place your booking before 17th March 2009 11:59pm, you may be invited for the official launch at KL Convention Centre on 20th March – 22nd March.

The iPhone will be tied up to a maxis plan, check out the rate plans here.

I have done a breakdown on the rate plans to determine which best fits our budget. The plans on offer are the 6-month Value Plus, 12-month iValue and 24-month iValue contracts.

First up we have the 6-month Value Plus contract.

If you are not happy with maxis’ coverage or services, yet you want to own a legitimate iPhone (now I do not know if the phone is SIM-locked to maxis only), you may consider chosing one of the Value Plus plans. However, you have to pay RM2540 upfront for an 8GB iPhone 3G, or RM2960 upfront for a 16GB iPhone. Even on the cheapest rate plan (the Value Plus 80), you are going to pay RM503.33/RM573.33 per month to fully own an iPhone 3G after 6 months. No free Data Allowance is included in Value Plus plans.

Bear in mind that if you own an iPhone, it is extremely likely that you will spend a lot of time online (which incurs Data Usage), therefore an extra RM99/month for unlimited Data Usage plan is advisable. Thus Value Plus is the most expensive plan package on offer.

If you are satisfied with maxis, and do not want to tie yourself to a 2 year contract, then consider the following.

Again, if you are able to afford to spend RM258.33/RM290.83 per month for a mobile phone and call/data services, iValue 1 plan with a monthly commitment of RM100 over 12 months with RM1900/RM2290 upfront seems the best plan for you. Also, bear in mind that iPhone is very addictive and eats up a lot of Data Allowance, therefore 500MB might just be barely enough for you.

If you are absolutely satisfied with maxis and would like to commit yourself to a 2 year plan, you are going to get the best value for money with the following iValue plans.

By paying RM1510/RM1890 upfront and committing yourself to RM100/month for 24 months, you will be the proud owner of the new iPhone 3G. It totals up to RM162.92/RM178.75 per month, thus is the best value for money package in terms of monthly outlay.

The i-Value 4 plan, which has a monthly commitment of RM375 over 24 months, is the only plan that you have to pay nothing RM0.00 upfront for the phone (8GB version)! Heavy users may consider this a bargain, however the total outlay for the phone will eventually reach a total of RM9260.

Study the breakdown of the plans carefully before booking yours online. All iPhones booked before 17th March have to be collected from selected outlets the latest by 26th March. I have no idea of why they have set a pick-up date limit, maybe we will find out on the 27th March.

And no, maxis did not give me an iPhone to blog about this.

When Jacky Cheung Meets Jay Chou

I was copying Jacky’s song to my USB drive for my car audio when I came across this song – ‘Fortune Telling’. It was composed by Jay Chou and performed by Jacky Cheung.

When the song was released back in 2001, it was the my favourite song for that album (Jacky Heat, mandarin album). Back then, I was ignorant to the fact that Jay Chou was the composer. The style of the song was very different to Jacky Cheung’s usual ones yet I liked the song the first time I listened to it.

Jay Chou made his debut in 2000 and has became popular with his R&B songs, while Jacky Cheung the veteran ‘God of Singers’ is more towards a rock singing style. How would this combination turn out?

Judge it for yourself from the music video clip I found on YouTube.

CW – Smile

Before proceeding to reading this entry, please scroll to the end where you can see a YouTube video. Click on the PLAY button and PAUSE it immediately so that the video will load while you are reading this entry. When you come to the end of this entry, click on play to enjoy the music video. If your Internet connection is fast enough that YouTube does not stop to load the video, please keep the video playing while reading this entry.

Creative Writing – SMILE

You have had a bad day.

The alarm clock went dead in the morning when you have a very important meeting with a client before office hours. On the way to the meeting, you got stuck in a very bad jam because the road was closed for some public event, without prior notice. Naturally, when you finally got there, your client had left. An inevitable dressing down from your immediate superior followed that even your fiercest rival in the workplace felt sorry for you.

After lunch, you made more visits to the toilet than your fingers can count because the food you ate was not hygienic. While your colleagues that went along with you suffered no ill-effects at all. It was five minutes to six and you are almost done word processing your fifty-page proposal that you have been working on for one full week when your computer crashed and the recovered file was at page twenty-five.

Finally, you left the office and realised you are already late for a dinner date with your other half. You were thankful that she was still waiting there when you apologetically made your entrance to the restaurant, just to find out that she waited for you because she wanted to tell you that she has decided to leave you for someone else.

Feeling dejected and lost of hope, you began to wonder what worse could happen to you. Your car picked up a puncture while you were driving home and had to change the tyre. While you were at it, rain began to fall and it got heavier by the minute. Just when you were about to give up and wanted to rush to the middle of the road so that any passing vehicle would end your misery, you were approached by two robbers. You gave them your watch, your hand phone, your notebook and all your money. Since you have already taken the wheel out of your car, they could not drive it away, therefore they gave you a good bashing before leaving the scene.

Eventually, you replaced the punctured tyre in pain, and drove home. There was a voice message for you from your parents that the grandfather you loved the most had just passed away. By then you were overwhelmed by the series of unfortunate events that have happened on you that you began laughing like a lunatic even though streams of tears were rolling down your face.

You began asking questions.
Could anyone else have had a worse day than mine?
Will I be able to survive tomorrow?
Why must all bad things happen to me?

Smile, though you heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking

You heard the song coming from the radio. ‘How could I smile after going through what I have been through today?’ You stared at the radio while thinking to yourself.

When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by

Every cloud has a silver lining, no matter how bad a situation you are in, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. If you could grit your teeth and push yourself, you could make it through.

 If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just…

There is always an end to everything, be it good or bad, happy or sad. When you are in a midst of a difficult situation, where you are powerless to control or to change its outcome, be positive and smile. No matter how hopeless things tend to be, at the end of the day, new possibilities (and positivity) will emerge.

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near

There is a saying that tells you, if you give up hope and give up trying, you have zero chances of overcoming the problem, but if you stay positive and keep trying, you still have fifty percent chance of succeeding.

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just…

When you are sad, when you feel the negative emotion, everything seems to work against you. When you are happy, when you are filled with positive emotions, you feel that you can conquer the toughest challenge thrown at you. With just a change in attitude, you can change your own destiny.

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

People can tell you how wonderful it is to just smile but you will never receive this gift unless you open your arms to receive it. When you keep thinking negatively, you will stay where you are. But if you would just smile, and have a positive attitude, which costs you absolutely nothing, you are ready to turn the situation around.

If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just smile…

Bear in mind that no matter how dire the situation is, all is not lost as long as you stay positive and keep fighting. If you felt that you do not have the energy to do so today, get some rest, have a good night’s sleep, and try again when the sun rises tomorrow. As long as you keep trying, you will gain some ground at the end of the day.

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just smile

Remember the most important five letter word in our life, smile.

Music composed by Charlie Chaplin (1936)
Lyrics written by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons (1954)
Song performed by Michael Jackson (1995)
Movie in clip written and produced by Charlie Chaplin (1921)

NB. This is one of my favourite song, it never fails to lift my spirits whenever I am down. I like this song so much that I wrote a Chinese lyrics here. Enjoy and smile 🙂

DIY – Fixing a broken water valve

When I decided to write an entry on fixing my water valve, my beloved commented that it was lame. However, she is looking forward to my post, so here it is.

Last Friday, when I stepped into my bathroom, undressed, and turned the water valve knob, nothing happened! Yes, NOTHING HAPPENED! The water was supposed to flow through the valve, then into the heater, then heated water will come out of the shower head. But nothing happened!

However, since it was already almost midnight, I had to bear with the cold water from the tub, bathing in a cool weather as it was raining heavily that night, something that I have not experienced since taking that COLD shower during MID-WINTER in Melbourne a few years ago.

Therefore, I was determined to find the problem and fix it, and the next day I started by getting the spanner from the tool box and do some plumbing.

The first thing I would do is to remove the valve knob as the water has been dripping from that place when I realised that the shower is not working.

Happily with the spanner in my hand I proceed to remove the knob. The next thing that happened, is that I got wet… BECAUSE I HAVE FORGOTTEN TO TURN OFF THE MAIN WATER SUPPLY!!! So before proceeding to removing any pipes or valves, please remember to turn off the main water supply. Usually, it is found in the front yard of the house.

So, remember to TURN OFF THE MAIN WATER SUPPLY before doing any plumbing work! Another thing to remember, some water pipes are connected to the water tank located on the roof of the house, and the valve is different from the one at the front of the house. Remember to turn that off too!

After removing the valve and inspected it, I found that the rubber of the valve that stops the water from flowing to the heater has deformed and was not able to effectively stop the water flow even when the valve has been securely tightened.

The following picture illustrates how the water are supposed to flow from the main water supply (where the green arrow is pointing at) to the hole in the middle (where the red arrow is pointing at) and into the water heater. The valve, with its rubber, is supposed to stop the water from flowing into the hole. However, since the rubber is deformed, water can freely flow through thus rendering the valve knob useless.

Armed with the useless valve knob, I set out to find a replacement valve knob. Since it looks kinda old, I began to feel a little worried if I can find any replacement that can just fit in without having to remove the whole piping. If, unfortunately, that is the case, I would have to call in the REAL plumber and I have failed to Do-It-MYself. Luckily, I found one in the hardware shop and happily paid RM5 for it.

The new valve knob is a perfect fit and without further hesitation I started wrapping the white water-piping-tape around the teeth of the valve knob to avoid water from leaking from the gaps.

Before fixing the valve knob back, remember to unwind the lever (where the rubber is) to the end (widest gap allowed for water to flow through), so that when screwing the knob back in place, the rubber will not be deformed again. Remember to close the valve knob after securely fastened it, because we have to turn on the main water supply. After doing so, I happily went to turn on the main water supply, got back to the bathroom, and turned on the water tap. Nothing happened. NOTHING HAPPENED. N-o-t-h-i-n-g  h-a-p-p-e-n-e-d ! ! ! Being disappointed, I tried a few steps to find out what the problem is until I read something written on the water heater.

It says: Clean filter unit regularly. Which I do not think was the case. And that was why the water heater is not working. Because the filter was blocked and water cannot flow through it! It was a bit ironic when the part that I have fixed was to stop water from flowing through yet the problem with the water heater is that water CANNOT GET INSIDE THE HEATER!!! While laughing at the sacarsm of the situation, I began removing the filter and clean it. A lot of pebble-like dirt was removed, both from the filter and the inlet of the water heater. At the same time, I also cleaned the shower head. As my hands got so dirty, I was not able to capture any images of that.

After fixing all parts back to their original places, and with my fingers crossed, I turned knob and as soon as I see water coming out from the shower head, I can almost see celebrations going on in my head! Since the filters and shower head has been cleaned, the water flow appeared stronger than before, and I am so happy that I get to use the water heater again! (It has been raining heavily for the past few days and the water temperature was so low at night.)

And this concludes the post for DIY – Fixing a broken water valve. The lesson learnt is that I do not have to commission a plumber to fix trivial things and waste money on their services. The money spent to fix the water valve is RM5, plus the petrol cost. Also, I learnt new things and had quite some fun!

Discovered something interesting …

Earlier when I sent in my previous entry via gmail, the post went under ‘pending review’.

After doing some google-ing, I dicovered that wordpress will check for the email address of entry to see if it matches the one defined by the administrator.

If the email address matches the one defined, the entries will be published immediately. Otherwise it will fall under the category ‘pending review’.

Perhaps I should add another author to the blog with my gmail address, that ought to do the trick.

Also, smiley faces are enabled 🙂