Old Town White Coffee - Lum Mee

Howdy folks! On my second episode of Old Town White Coffee tryout adventure, I'm going to review the Lum Mee. This noodle is not as good as the Javanese noodle, not spicy at all and the 'kick' factor is missing.
This meal costs a reasonable RM6.80++ and the drinking water is only 70++ cent. Honestly with this sky high price, I wonder why I kept coming to this restaurant.

Pavilion KL

When I was young and single, I made it a point to visit every single shopping mall in the Klang Valley. From One Utama to Alamanda, I've seen them all. Fast forward 10 years later, now that I have a career and a family, I only visit shopping malls only when it is absolutely necessary (i.e when I really need to buy something). No time to window shop or hang around those places anymore. So over time, new shopping malls came up and even after 2 to 3 years after their launch, I've never set foot in those premises yet.

One example of interesting shopping mall that I drive by every month but has no time to visit is the Pavilion shopping mall in KL. Last week though, while on a business trip to KL, I got the chance to explore Pavilion early in the morning.
Located right smack in the city centre along Jalan Bukit Bintang, the Pavilion was open for business since September 2007. It consists of four major components; a retail mall, an office tower, two towers of residences and a proposed hotel.
Boasting 1,400,000 square feet (130,000 m2) of retail space, Pavilion KL houses 450 different outlets in six precincts namely Bintang Circle, Gourmet Emporium, Couture, Connection, Home and Seventh Heaven on sevel levels.
The site where Pavilion KL now stands used to be the campus of Bukit Bintang Girls' School, the oldest school in Kuala Lumpur. The Bukit Bintang campus was vacated in 2000 when the school moved to Cheras and renamed itself as Sekolah Seri Bintang Utara. Rumours has it that the ghost of the girl who comitted suicide at the school still haunts the ladies room at night. So you might want to be careful when you visit the ladies room in the evening (at least make sure you're not alone).
Amongst Pavilion KL's double-storey flagship stores are Versace, Hermès, Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Coach Inc, Mont Blanc, Hugo Boss, Canali and Esprit. Other main tenants include Parkson, Tangs, Golden Screen Cinemas, True Fitness and Harvey-Norman.
My first impression upon entering Pavilion: it's big and spacious, much like The Curve in Mutiara Damansara. But big and spacious alone doesn't mean it's a great place to go. I mean there's nothing much there to interest me.
Most of the stores here are international brands catered for the upper-class market and certainly not made for me. Much of everything sold here is beyond my budget anyway so I didn't exactly squirm with delight upon coming here.
To be honest, I'd had much more fun going to Low Yat Plaza, IKEA or even Tesco than in Pavilion. To sum things up, Pavilion is like KLCC minus the twin towers. Up market place and not for the commoners.
The only place that I might try out should I come by this place again is the GSC cinemas which looks quite inviting from the outside.
I must commend the architect of Pavilion though. The design is simply exquisite and world-class.
I think this is the only shopping mall in the country where there's Starbucks on every floor.
Belly-dancers anyone? Some of the restaurants at the Gourmet Emporium are truly tantalizing but as always, you'll have to dig deep in your pockets to dine here.
There's plenty of bars, bistros and cafés at Pavilion. I'm sure it must be quite happening around here at night.
And if you're tired of walking aimlessly around the mall, there's ample chairs, sofas and lounges around the place for you to sit down and rest your tired legs.

And that concludes my report on Pavilion KL. I probably won't go there again any time soon.

p.s: I'm just kidding about the ghost thing.

Help me choose a phone

My current phone is broken. I might not afford to buy a new phone right now but who knows in the future when I saved enough money? For my next (future) phone, it must have a qwerty keypad. Easy for my to reply to SMS, write e-mails and most importantly blog anywhere and anytime. I have shortlisted all my prospective phones to these 5 here. Why are they so cheap? Because they're all used items and they're from Lelong.com.my of course!

HP iPaq 6515
PDA phone with integrated GPS, 1.3 mega-pixel camera but no WiFi or 3G. Powered by the ancient Windows Mobile 2003SE OS. I found a lot of bad reviews about this phone especially concerning it's 240 x 240 resolution and battery life. The only good thing about this unit is the price - RM404.00.

Samsung i320
GSM smartphone with Windows Mobile 5.0. 320 x 240 screen, 1.3 mega pixel camera with built in flash, Bluetooth and push e-mail. Cheapest of them all at only RM383.00.

Motorola Q8
The Q8 is a slim smartphone powered by Windows Mobile 6 phone with 1.3 mega pixel camera and Bluetooth. Supports multiple email (POP3/IMAP4), MS Exchange Server with direct push technology. Price from RM499.00 ~ RM515.00.

Motorola Q9h
Motorola Q9h is much like the Q8 except that it comes with 3G and a slightly different keypad design. The most expensive of the lot at RM585.00.

Nokia E61
S60 Symbian powered smartphone with 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth but no camera. Supports POP3,IMAP, SMTP and MS Active Sync. From RM450.00 ~ RM550.00.

After reading numerous reviews and looking at all the specs of all the phones above, I think the Nokia E61 offers the best value-for-money smartphone with qwerty keyboard I can get on the market. But then maybe you guys have your own experience with any of the above phone and you'd like to share it with me? If you were me, which phone would you buy?

Tinie's tag

Dear Jessica Alba,

I don't really know how to tell you this, but our affair is over. I think I realized it when your platypus ran amok at Tinie's house and I saw you insult Spongebob. I'm sure you're old enough to understand I did a sex change. Now my boobs is even bigger than yours. I'm returning Hello Kitty poster to you, but I'll keep your mom as a memory. You should also know that I told my psychiatrist about Fatihah. No hard feelings ok? It's not about you, it's about me. I think I'm gay. Go die.


Sungai Chongkak

When it comes to waterfall or streams there's only one place that comes to my mind, Sungai Gabai waterfall in Hulu Langat, Selangor. It's near (30KM), not too crowded and it has a real waterfall, not just some stream with water flowing. Today though we decided to give Sungai Chongkak a try. This place is situated not far from Sungai Gabai, in fact they're only 6 kilometres apart.

I've never been to Sungai Chongkak before but since there's plenty of signboards, the place is not hard to find at all. First make your way to Pekan Batu 9 (along the Cheras - Kajang highway) and proceed to Pekan Batu 14 and finally to Pekan Batu 18. 6 kilometers from there you'll find the signboard to Sungai Chongkak on your right.
Being a weekend and public holiday the next day, Sungai Chongkak was really crowded today. Even before we reach the place there was a 5 kilometres crawl before the Pekan Batu 14 traffic lights. I've been to Hulu Langat a few times before but this is the first time I encountered such a terrible traffic jam.
Unlike Sungai Gabai, Sungai Chongkak is a really long stream with an equally long road next to it. As expected, the narrow road is jammed all the way from the entrance till the end at the Sungai Chongkak Park and Resort. Parking is obviously hard to find but luckily we managed to get one near the entrance. It doesn't matter where you park, at the road side or at a proper parking space - there's always some one to collect the parking fee. Usually from RM1.00 to RM3.00 (depending on where you park). I paid RM2.00 for a nice spot under a tree. I wouldn't advice you to park indiscriminately though because something unpleasant might accidentally happen to your car.
Being the picky person that I am, I'm not contend to bath just about anywhere in the stream. I must find the furthest, most far away part of the stream. So we paid the RM1.00 entrance fee (children below 12 free) and walk 2 kilometres into the Sungai Chongkak Park and Resort.
We were indeed curious to see how some cars and vehicles were allowed entry into the park while most of us had to park outside.
Later we found out only those who rented this chalet can drive inside. RM60.00 for the medium size and RM100.00 for the larger one per night. Looking at the dilapidated state of this building, these chalets are rather expensive don't you think?
Adam and I have no problem walking more than 2 kilometres inside the park even while carrying Mia and our heavy picnic stuff. My wife on the other hand was quite out of breath towards the end so we decided to stop after 20 minutes of walking and chose to park there.
There's nothing like a good long dip in the cool and refreshing stream water after a hot, sweaty walk under the afternoon sun. First I dragged Adam along but he was suddenly afraid to come into the water. He said the water is too full (deep) and he doesn't want to get drown. Oh come on kid, the water is only my knee deep!
Anyway since Adam didn't want to come in, I took Mia for a swim instead. Unlike her brother, Mia absolutely loves the water! She kicked and splashed happily in the water and she didn't even care when the water was really cold. That's my girl! Who knows someday you'll be a successful national swimmer just like auntie Nicole David?
Eventually I managed to persuade Adam to come into the water. First he played at the edge of the water. After a while he started to go further and further into the middle of the stream. In the end he was reluctant to come out when we decided that it's time to go home.
We spent nearly 3 hours there in Sungai Chongkak, almost 1 hour just walking and finding parking spot. Sungai Chongkak is good if you'd like to organize a family day or picnic or let your little ones play in the water. You can choose any place to land along the long stream. There's much more public amenities like chalets, camping area, toilets, changing rooms and stalls and there's also plenty of parking spaces.
But if you prefer a truly satisfying bathing experience at a real waterfall then Sungai Gabai is definitely the one for you. I mean Sungai Chongkak is nice and stuff but the water just trickles slowly there and it is not deep enough for you to swim or do back flips into the water. Plus I think Sungai Chongkak is way to crowded for my liking.
And I hate the fact that you'll have to walk for miles to find a decent picnicking spot.
Actually we didn't bring much food to eat at our picnic. Just some snacks and drinks. But as always we stopped by our regular eating place each time we come to Hulu Langat. This little restaurant is called Restoren Pohon Bambu. Why? Because you can see a stack of bamboo tree growing next to the place. From Pekan Batu 18, just drive 100 meters after the Sungai Gabai junction or from the Sungai Chongkak exit drive about 5 kilometres heading towards the opposite direction.
I've been coming here since UPM days with my buddies every time we went for a bath at Sungai Gabai. The food is good and they're is much cheaper too. You can choose from a variety of noodles, soups, chicken rice, rojak and fried rice. Today I chose to have this delicious mee Jawa which costs just RM2.50. My wife had noodle soup (RM3.00) and Adam had a plate of chicken rice (RM3.50). Altogether we paid only RM11.50 plus drinks. Cheap right?

And that conclude our visit to Sungai Chongkak. Somehow I don't know whether I want to return to that place again or not in the future. Maybe I'll just stick to Sungai Gabai. Hmm. Got any other place you can recommend?

Lesson learned from the Perak political fiasco

If you could learn anything from the recent political fiasco in Perak, defection or crossover is wrong. No matter which side you are, the implications will be huge and it will always be negative. Imagine if 16 September 2008 actually happen. You think UMNO supporters will sit quietly and let it be without responding? No, there will be public unrest and demonstrations just like what you see in Perak yesterday. Worst still, UMNO might even declare a state of Emergency and marshall law will take over.

While I must admit that I was once all for Pakatan Rakyat ruling the country and I dreamed of 16 September to happen, I forgot one thing. And Anwar seemed to miss this too. Defections, it works both way. He can entice BN politician to cross over to his side so does BN, vice versa. You can argue that Anwar didn't dangle 50 million in front of the potential defectors nor did his threatened them by force. But knowing BN and UMNO especially, they'd do anything to cling on to power. The end justifies the mean and nothing else matters. The crux of the matter is Anwar failed and UMNO with it's near unlimited resources succeeded. End of story.

As much as I hate to admit this, Karpal Singh has been right all along. Defections is wrong. There's no two way about it. The best way to change any government is through the ballot boxes. Now I'm all for this anti-hopping law. Politicians just cannot be trusted.

My advice to Pakatan Rakyat leaders in Perak or anywhere, just let it go and move along. You can protest and resist until the cows come home. You can drag His Highness to court and even win your case. But at the end of the day, you'll going to need His Majesty's blessing to form a government whether state or national. Do you guys really want to continue doing this and incur the wrath of the Ruler? Calm down and get your acts together. If you really want to take back Perak, do it properly and peacefully through the State Assembly. Ask for a vote of no confidence against the BN government and get 3 or more ADUN to support you. That would be a more civilized way to do it and what's more you'll get a much better chance to get the Sultan's nod. All those demonstration and protest will get you nowhere. You will not get back Perak or the Ruler's approval by civil unrest. Yes we all know UMNO are crooks and evil and they play dirty but do you want to stoop to their level as well? Surely you guys are better than that?

Yeah you won BN, for now...

I don't have much to say about the ongoing political drama in Perak. They may have won the battle yesterday but God-willing come 2013 they'll lose the war, hands down. In the mean time let's ponder over this article that best describe my feelings right now.

There will be a reckoning, BN

By John Lee

Feb 5 — Amidst the chaos dominating Malaysian politics once again, it is worth remembering one simple constant: ultimately, the people will triumph.

It does not matter how hard you try to keep them down; no government can ever survive without the support of the people it claims to represent. Barisan Nasional has as much right to woo Pakatan Rakyat representatives as Pakatan has to woo Barisan reps.

But both parties should be mature and wise enough to face the people and justify their actions—and if there’s anything the crisis in Perak demonstrates, it is that Barisan lacks this wisdom and maturity.

Their failure to understand or address the reasons why Malaysians have rejected Barisan’s leadership will only undermine them even more.

Yes, we can very well tell Pakatan “padan muka” (serves you right) for having a taste of its own medicine.

But that would be glossing over a very important difference between the change of power in Perak, and Pakatan’s attempts to gain power at the federal level.

While we can argue about the sincerity and feasibility of Pakatan’s earlier plans, there is little room to debate the opacity of Barisan’s seizing power in Perak.

When Pakatan sought to form a new government, it made its intentions clear; Barisan’s moves in Perak were made behind closed doors. Pakatan ran its plans past the public, and while we can argue that this does not legitimise crossovers, nobody can argue that Pakatan did not trust the public enough to make its plans clear.

Barisan’s secrecy — which was largely useless because the newly independent state reps were already under suspicion in the first place —only serves to undermine public confidence in its intentions, and public trust in its ethics.

With all eyes on Pakatan, it would have been hard for corruption or bribery to take place; in the case of Perak, and potentially Kedah, Barisan’s secrecy can only arouse suspicions of seat-buying.

If Barisan was conducting itself in an appropriate manner, why did it keep us in the dark as to its potential takeover of the government? While Barisan must remain innocent until proven guilty, the fact is that they had and have the means, motive and opportunity to buy seats.

None of the party-hopping state reps have explained their change of heart. When Sapp chose to leave Barisan last year, it explained to its members and the public why it could no longer affiliate with the ruling party.

All the former Barisan leaders who have joined Pakatan are likewise open about why they chose to leave the Barisan fold. If the new independent state reps are really sincere, why cannot they explain to the people they serve their reason for toppling the popularly-elected state government?

The burden of proof rests with Barisan to justify its actions now. Pakatan may have talked a lot about seizing power, but it justified itself openly with the press.

Barisan remains tight-lipped, only making statements to exuberantly celebrate its return to power in Perak. And if you are going to seize power without going directly to the people for a mandate, you had better have a bloody good explanation for them.

Ultimately, though, it does not matter what Barisan says, or whether fresh elections are called: Barisan’s days as a relevant political entity are numbered.

Will holding power in Perak truly revive Barisan’s political fortunes?

Not when Barisan has just toppled one of the most effective and popular state governments. Not when the new Barisan government is dominated by representatives from one ethnic group and one political party.

Not when the only agenda of the new Barisan government is to keep quiet about how it gained power or what it plans to do with that power. All this does not change the fact that Barisan remains a simple marriage of convenience — one that increasingly rings hollow to Malaysians who hunger for a government united more on principles and ideals than the thirst for power.

Barisan can’t run from the ballot box — and at the ballot box, its fate will be sealed.

It doesn’t matter whether fresh elections are called tomorrow, or in four years. Barisan has lost every single election it has contested since March 8.

Barisan has been resoundingly rejected in every independent opinion survey since March 8.

The man who will soon be leading it, that smug Najib Tun Razak, has a lower approval rating than the supposedly useless man he is replacing, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

For goodness sake, the Leader of the Opposition, Anwar Ibrahim, has higher approval ratings than Najib. And this is not just the public being singularly irrational at one moment in time; public sentiment has turned overwhelmingly against Barisan and the men who lead it.

Barisan still seems to think that as long as it can hold on to power, by hook or by crook, it will be okay.

It has no intention of justifying itself to the people it claims to serve.

It has no plan to address the corruption that dominates our politics and policymaking at every level.

It has no intention of truly addressing the economic stagnation of the Malays and Indians, or the political injustices meted out to the non-Malays of this country.

It has no principles guiding it, no basis for its governance besides the nebulous pursuit of power — because somehow, only Barisan is supposed to be able to govern this country.

Barisan can continue deluding itself like that for as long as it wants.

It has a lot of money; it will be fine for now.

But when the people of Perak, when the people of Malaysia next go to the polls, Barisan will have only itself to blame for the whipping it will get.

So go ahead, Barisan. Don’t address any of the problems we the people have with you.

Pretend it will be fine. You got even with Pakatan in Perak, and maybe you’ll settle the score further with it in the other Pakatan-led states.

Yes, padan muka Pakatan.

Well, don’t worry Barisan: I and the other millions of voters in our lovely country look forward to getting even with you at the next election. Padan muka Barisan — padan muka! - The Malaysian Insider

Fernando Torres is just awesome

Liverpool 2 - 0 Chelsea

Fernando Torres scored two in the final minutes to give Liverpool all three points at Anfield as they beat ten-man Chelsea 2-0. Rafa Benitez had left Robbie Keane out of his squad, but Liverpool were always the most dangerous with Petr Cech pulling off three fine saves. Once Frank Lampard had been sent off for a foul on Xabi Alonso, Chelsea soaked up the pressure, but Torres struck late on to seal the win.