Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To Thumb A Ride

HOW DO YOU GET FROM THE SG. NIBONG BUS TERMINAL TO GURNEY DRIVE?

Simple. Hop on Rapid Penang Bus 304 and you are on the right course. So, we thought. But travelling from the south-eastern side of Penang island to the north-eastern side wasn't that simple, because, we didn't know which side of Sg. Dua Road to wait at.

Bus, bus, bus...

Karjie and I ended up getting on a rickety bus to Komtar and transitting on Rapid 101 to Bagan Jermal. From there, we followed a McDonald's woman all the way to Gurney Plaza (we assumed she worked there). During the journey, we saw a massive crowd gathering by the roadside. There was a massive accident involving a trailer and a motocycle. The motorcyclist (pressumably) perished and was covered with a white cloth.


Source: The Star, 1 April 2009.

Hunger overtook and we headed for Sakae Sushi for late lunch. And here's the yummy lunch menu:


Tamago Nigiri Sushi


Unagi & Tempura Bento


Spicy Hotate Kimuchi Soup


and my ever-favourite (refillable)

GENMAI CHA

premium green tea with roasted brown rice!


FACES OF SATISFACTION


Note the fish lips. XD

KJ says I look like the Sakae Frog. =.=


The Education UK Fair was very small - 22 universities only. There wasn't much for the SPM-leaver, just Bellerby's and Abbey.

Our aunt picked us up from there and we headed to Queensbay Mall. We met up with our uncle and headed to Dragon-i, a Shanghainese restaurant overlooking Jerejak Island and the Penang Bridge. The speciality - la mian or hand-pulled noodles.

I ordered Hot & Spicy Szechuan La Mian. I usually have no problem with spicy food but this was FUISH! As the word "Szechuan" implies, the noodles were sourish with the famous salted vegetable. The soup was mildly starchy and tasted like shark fin's soup. After a while, I got pretty full with the generous helping! We had Xiao Long Bao - pork dumplings with hot soup inside. But my soup had leaked out. :( The chefs are specially from China and Hong Kong and their open kitchen concept allows the public to see these sifus at work pulling the la mian.

Travelling without supervision is a true adventure - relying purely on public transport. Backpacking around Penang is one on my must-do list. Hopefully, it'll be soon! This trip makes me want to go back to Cherating and Macau.

Macau! Recognise this Boys Over Flowers fans? Ep. 13 I think. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

With Christ in the Vessel

The JPA interview is coming up at the end of this week and I'm pretty relaxed at the moment and actually looking forward to it. According to statistics concerning JPA online, in 2007, there were 400 applicants for architecture. Out of that, 154 were short-listed for the interview and 40 were selected for the course. 39% were sent overseas - that's about 16 people. Let me be that 39% sent overseas, preferably UK!

With Christ in the vessel, I can smile at the storm,
Smile at the storm, smile at the storm.
With Christ in the vessel, I can smile at the storm,
Until He takes me home.

An old hymn Sam taught with actions at Youth Camp '06. I think the lyrics are correct..

It was nice badminton fun on Saturday, this time with a different group. Hmm. I noted my terrible play in doubles. Gotta brush up for better agility and quicker reflexes. My exercise partner's gone to KL for a lengthy 2 weeks, so, I doubt my lazy bones are going to start moving again.

Well, I'll be going to Penang tomorrow for the Education UK 2009 exhibition in the G Hotel at Gurney Drive with Karjie by bus. Hopefully, we'll have a safe journey to Penang and especially from the terminal to Gurney by RapidPenang. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Special is Special?

HMM. Interesting. The JPA wants us 2009 PILN interviewees to do a "Special Examination". Failure to do the test will result in your chances for the scholarship terminated. I'm just curious to know how "special" is this test. Any ideas?

I Fry Mean Eggs


I'm supposed to be watching my other Korean drama - Hateful, But Once Again (or Again, My Love) but Dad has conquered the TV, so maybe I'll just catch it later on mysoju.

After hearing Steven's stories of the JPA medical career exposure, I wished that I could just go to see it. Not that I'm very interested in medicine, but I just enjoy the process of learning. Concerning JPA, I've been short-listed for the architecture course interview that will be held on the 3rd of April.

I'm vying the Monbukagakusho Scholarship to Japan in 2010. For this, I'm applying for dentistry. Yes, I know it is a total opposite of architecture, but, there aren't many choices in physics for me. I'm game on learning Japanese for a year and I really want it more than JPA (unless they send me to UK!). I may even be able to travel to Korea (muahaha...) and China! God, please, please!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flowers of Interest


I've been following the Korean drama craze - BOYS OVER FLOWERS - for the past few weeks. Adapted from the Japanese manga, it is about a poor, spunky girl Geum Jandi who is transfered to Shinhwa High, a school for the ultra rich. She encounters the F4 (Flower Four) - four rich and rather spoiled boys.

Geum Jandi is played by Goo Hye-seon whose parents operate a dry cleaner. One day, on delivery to Shinhwa, she saves a suicidal student. To prevent further furore, she is offered a scholarship to study there. However, she cannot gel well and gets a "Red Card" from the F4. As the whole school starts bullying her, she meets Jihu on the stairs and develops feeling for "the only one who cares". But, Junpyo soons has feelings for her and things get a little sticky.

I can't help being tickled and amused by Junpyo's auntie-style permed hair. Very interesting. :) Although he's mighty spoilt, I really like his terrible usage and misquoting of Korean proverbs and sayings and actor Lee Min Ho's funny expressions.

But my favourite is So Yijeong who is played by Kim Beom (who is one reason why I watch the show!). Yijeong, one of the F4, is a gifted potter and gained reputation for his talent in ceramics. He's a playboy but is pretty warm-hearted and nice, and Jandi's friend, Gaeul, seems to have some affection for him.

Kim Beom!

He seems kinda Takeshi Kaneshiro-esque in this shot. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vroom!

I'm exuberantly happy today because I AM A LEGAL DRIVER!

I managed to pass my first driving test with a score of 17 thanks to the smooth traffic flow, the great tester and God especially. Indeed He is good!

Congrats to Jason too! He sat for the test with me and had the same tester and a score of 18.

So, you'll be seeing me hit the roads soon! XD

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Burn It, Gain It

I had yet another driving lesson today as my test is coming soon on Wednesday. The early rain and the morning rush got me frazzled but I managed to get to church in time and in one piece.

Finally, after many weeks of liaising and persuasion, I managed to join the guys for badminton. Eight guys and a girl - Hong, Philip, Ste, Dibin, Wayne, Sum, Kok, Jin and I. HM. But it was enjoyable, nonetheless, especially with Philip's constant crapping. I had the opportunity of playing several matches and wahh.. it was very "song" to just sweat it out a little. A lil' comment here: Dibin's game is so good; very clean and powerful. FUH. I wish I could go up to his level.

We inevitably had ais kacang due to Philip's craving and pasembor too. Yum. Then, together with Dibin, "Driver Ali" drove us home. They intended to visit KJ, but, too bad, she was napping. It was a fun outing. =)

Just to add: My thousand apologies, Shao and thanks for the rides home. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHILIP!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Judgement Day?

I quote En Jun: Today is JUDGEMENT DAY.

The uno numero question that everyone's asking this March 12th is...

WHAT ARE YOUR RESULTS?

Well, my expectation was 8 As minimum. As we entered school, Karjie said, "I'll bet 5 cents that you'll get more than 9 As."

"Huh? 5 cents; so little. But I'll lose that 5 cents."




And...




I lost that 5 cents.

I scored 5 A1s, 4 A2s and 2 B3s. That's probably good - 9 As.

Thank God for the surprising A1 in History and for no Cs.

But, I really hoped for an A1 for BM especially since I got an A1 for trials and also for Bible Knowledge since I worked so much on it. And at least an A2 for that Add Math paper. Probably my chances in getting a JPA scholarship in architecture is much slimmer. So, I'll be depending on my cocurriculum greatly.

But all in all, thank God!
Okay, on a second thought, maybe I'm not so happy with what I've got. But, well, make do with what you have. =/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One of a Kind

I stumbled upon an ancient-looking book at Aunty Page's house during Jo Ann's birthday party. It was yellowed with age and on the cover was a face of a Chinese woman. LADY WU - A TRUE STORY was written. Surely, she must have been a great woman of her time if there was a book written about her.





And true enough, she was. Wu Tsertien was the only female emperor of China and she ruled for half a century. She entered the Tang palace at the age of 14 as a tsairen (a select - of the sixth rank of concubines) to Emperor Taitsung. After his death, she was to become a nun for the rest of her life as did other childless concubines. However, the Empress Wang of Emperor Gowtsung - the son and successor of Taitsung - needed a beautiful concubine to divert Gowtsung's attention from Consort Siowfei. So, she had Lady Wu back as Gowtsung's concubine. But, Lady Wu, like a two-headed snake, managed to defeat both Empress Wang and Siowfei. She had them whipped 100 times and their hands and feet cut off. With their arms and legs crooked behind them, she had them thrown into wine vats where she "let these wenches' bones and marrow melt in drunken ecstacy".

She rose to so much power that in private talks and in official communications, the plural 'Their Majesties' or erh sheng was used instead of the usual His Majesty.

As Gowtsung weakened of illness, Empress Wu gained control over the government. Murder was an everyday occurance for her. To frame Empress Wang, she strangled her first infant daughter. She had poisoned her own sister the Duchess of Han and her niece the Duchess of Wei for they were gaining the favour of the emperor. She killed many of her own biological sons so that she would have a hold on the empire, including the persona's (Shouli, Prince of Bin) father - Prince Shien.

She had two books compiled under her name - On the Proper Conduct of Women at Home (Neitser) and Lives of Model Women. She established the spy system that caused many to perish through false accusations. She established the Zhou Dynasty replacing the Tang Dynasty after Gowtsung died.

She was involved with a Buddhist monk Huaiyi who was bestowed with great honour and also the imperial physician - Dr. Shen Nanchiu. Just as emperors had concubines to satisfy their desires, so did Lady Wu. She was notorious for the harem of paramours known as the Stork Institute.

She was eventually removed from her position and died at a great age of 80.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gender Confusion

No, I'm not confused about my gender and neither am I opting for a sex change. Instead, it's me being constantly mistaken as a member of my opposite sex. This happens so frequently that I have even lost count of these recurring events. Here are some 'memorable' confusions so far:

Confusion #1 I guess I was about Standard 6 or Form 1 when I went into the Sentosa Coffee shop to ta pau some coffee. The old lady there asked, "What do you want, leng chai?" After placing my order, receiving it and the change, again she went, "Thank you, leng chai."

Confusion #2 Just in January, I went to the butcher to purchase some pork bones (for boiling soup). And again, "What do you want, leng chai?" Guess he's been seeing to much pork till he can't tell apart guys and girls.

Confusion #3 I went to buy wan tan mee where there was an Indian woman in line before me. Her hand was injured and there was some sort of brown paste medicine on her palm, so she had difficulty fishing the money out from her pocket.

"Boleh tolong pegang?" she asked, waving a 1 dollar note.

"Orh."

She pulls out the rest of her money and I return her the note. She laughs and says, "Good boy, good boy."

O.o

Confusion #4 This just happened today, this evening, to be precise. We were going to have a take away dinner tonight, so, Mom and I went to the nearby coffee shop. While I was taking away my kuey kak, Mom was at the popiah stall. The popiah guy commented to Mom, "Wah, your son is very tall, huh?"


A very girly Korean-hairstyled son indeed.

Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships

I've been on a badminton streak these past two days with the Yonex All-England Open Badminton Championships that was held in Birmingham. As the English commentator, a former badminton player, mentioned, the All England is akin to the Wimbledon for tennis.

Here are several highlights:

Semi-finals

Chen Jin (CHN) was up against fellow compatriot Lin Dan. The 2-month military training stint done wonders to Super Dan's game, in other words, he was perfect. In no time, he sent Chen Jin running across the court. However, in the second match, succumbed to a back injury and retired from the match, leaving the former military man to march into the finals against the world number 1 - Lee Chong Wei (MAS).

In the mixed doubles event, Zheng Bo was partnered with Ma Jin instead of the usual Gao Ling who had retired. They played against the Koreans Ko Sung Hyun and Ha Jung Eun, a new pair. I was siding the Koreans this match. Zheng Bo displayed bad sportmanship when he hit a wild shuttle into the air in anger at Ma Jin's incompetency. From there on, the foundations of the Chinese were shaken and the Koreans triumphed over them in a short while.



Finals

The highly anticipated match between the two top players in the world was feared to be a repitition of the Beijing Olympic Finals by most Malaysians. However, it wasn't as Chong Wei put up a strong fight against Lin Dan. The fight ended in straight sets 21-19, 21-12 in favour of Lin Dan. It is his fourth All England title and his first tournament since being absent for 3 months.


“I think we both played very well today and really the winner today was the game of badminton. I think we gave the spectators what they wanted and Lee Chong Wei was as much a part of that as I was. I have won everything there is to win in badminton now but I still have motivation to be the best ambassador for the sport I can. Without doubt this is a huge motivation for me,” said Lin Dan after his historic win.


A huge shocker was 29-year-old Tine Rasmussen's (DEN) straight-set loss to junior Wang Yihan (CHN) in the women's singles. The calm and expressionless 21-year old managed to overcome her disadvantage of a short reach to beat the veteran who was probably exhausted after her 130 point semi-finals against Jiang Yanjiao just 24 hours before.

In the women's doubles, disappointingly Zhao Tingting-Zhang Yawen beat their fellow mates Cheng Shu-Zhao Yunlei by an error made by the line judge. The final point was won although the shuttle returned by Cheng-Zhao was in. Trust line judges.

An entertaining match was the men's doubles featuring Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (CHN) versus Hwang Ji Man-Han Sang Hoon (KOR). The interfering service judge kept faulting Han Sang Hoon for serving above the waist. To avoid further faults, he visibly pulled up his shorts and tucked in the front of his shirt, much to the amusement of the service judge and the crowd. There was an incident from the Koreans where a shuttle was smashed onto the head of their partner. Fu Haifeng, the super smasher managed a shuttle speed of 291 km/hr! The Chinese won in straights, closing the event.

Cai Yun (L) and Haifeng celebrating their win.


Overall, China swept all five medals in the All England - the first country to achieve that after 60 years.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oh, You're A Holiday..

CHERATING

The white stretch of sand, the crashing of the waves, the bright moonlight, the chilly breeze, the sunny afternoons, the squaking hornbills, the delicious food, the reggae, the free spirit and the company of friends. This generally describes the beach on the east.

There is too much to say about this wonderful trip, so let the pictures do the talking.

The 6 of us - Joseph, Jason, Navin, Me, KJ and Shao on the beach at 5 am when we just arrived.

Our beach front chalet at pre-dawn.

Sunrise over the hills.

Us chilling out on the verandah.

The coolest place ever by the mangrove.



It was one of the best trips ever and I can truly say that God watched over our party. Our chalet was broken into and a camera and a phone were stolen. But by the intervening hand of God, the villagers managed to recover the lost possessions. Overall, it was RM200 well spent.



KAMPAR EATING DAY-TRIP

On the 17th of February, ten of us packed into Hugo's Alphard to head to Kampar for the sole purpose of eating. With Sam and I seated on the floor, the 45 minute journey was fun and we listened to many Chinese songs. We went to Kam Ling for the famed chicken curry bun, then, to UTAR where we met Hugo's ex-schoolmate who brought us around. After lepak-ing here and there we left with more of the huge buns in the car.


Chiak, chiak, chiak!

UTAR-touring


New Town


KLEDANG HILL

Two days later, to get rid of the fats after the eating spree, we hiked up the hill in the wee hours of the morning. It wasn't the first time hiking in the forest there but it was the first time I hiked up through the forest in the darkness. We missed the sunrise, but the view was beautiful with the mist and sunbeams.



KAMPAR EATING NIGHT-TRIP

Yes, another eating trip. This time, only the 8 of us went. We had claypot chicken rice for dinner with Hugo's friend again (I think it's spelt Singh Yeah) and Ryohei Yamamoto. We bounded to the pasar malam there which was huge and more happening than Ipoh East's, more muhibbah too. After that, we went to the UTAR students' residence - to Ryohei's place. There, I learnt to play mahjong. And talk about my penchant for beginner's luck. Remember my four Di's in Chor Dai Di? Well, after Hugo's teaching, I won 4 out of 5 games! My tiles were beautiful. Ryohei joked that he would hire me to play for him and pay me 30% of the winnings. Just when I was getting better at the game, it was time to go.

Now that Hugo's back in Melbourne, there'll be less outings. But, it was a great time and just nice before the results are out.

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