7.4.09 - Balik Mengundi!

A little bit of opposition propaganda for your viewing pleasure this fine weekend. Enjoy.

This video is to remind Malaysians of the sense of hope and liberation felt by all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, at the heart-thumping general election results of March 8, 2008 - uniting all Malaysians in an uplifting feeling that there is still a future for the country as change is possible.

With the three important by-elections of Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai in eleven days’ time on April 7, 2009, let us reinforce the paradigm shift in Malaysian politics achieved last year after half-a-century of electoral politics to endorse the advent of two-coalition politics where Malaysians will always have a meaningful choice at the ballot box in the march towards freedom, democracy, justice, accountability, integrity and good governance.

Every vote counts in the three by-elections on April 11.

People’s power in Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai to end political hegemony in the country!

OldTown White Coffee - Springy Noodle with Chicken Ham & Egg

For this visit to Oldtown White Coffee, we went to the Alamanda Putrajaya outlet.
It is a brand new outlet which has just opened its doors last month.
This time I choose to have the springy noodle with chicken ham and egg menu. It tastes suspiciously like the Myojo instant noodle that I had last week, the difference being they threw in a fried egg and some chicken ham in it. Think I can make this one myself at home and it won't even costs 6.30 ringgit.
For refreshment I had the Oldtown "cham" cold drink which is basically milked tea mixed with coffee. RM3.50. Seriously, if their drinks were much cheaper, I'd be eating here like every week. Too bad. Many thanks to my wife who treated me this time.

Happy Birthday Mia

Today my baby turns 1 year old. How time flies. Mia can now walk steadily, eat a lot of solid food, cry when hold by strangers and loves to play with her brother and Papa and Mama.
Happy birthday to you babe. We love you.

Al-Diafah restaurant review

Today our supplier treated us for lunch at one posh Middle Eastern restaurant in Sri Petaling. Did I say we love our suppliers? Yes we do!
About a dozen of us had lunch at Al-Diafah restaurant this afternoon, all of which had worked our ass down for that Puncak Alam project for the past 2 years or so.
Before we enter, first we have to measure all our stomach together to see how much they grow afterwards. For now Ujang is the undisputed champion followed closely by Bujal and Sapuan lagging not far behind.
Some of the 17 attendees of the lunch. The menu was already pre-ordered by our host so we didn't get to choose the food. We had to wait for a while for the food to arrive. The plain water tasted like Rose flower. I'd prefer my plain water plain, thank you.
Our appetizer was some fries, salad and some Arabian bread. The main course was friend beef and grilled chicken and mutton served with briyani rice.
The mutton (which came aplenty) was okay but the chicken (which is rather limited) was better. I was hoping to have a taste of the world renown hummus meal but unfortunately it wasn't on the menu today. Ah well, maybe some other time.
This is pretty much what I had this afternoon. Might not look much but I did had another 3 pieces of mutton shortly after.
This grilled mutton may look rather dull and uninteresting in this picture but that actually taste slightly better than they look. I forget to bring along my proper camera so all this pictures was taken with my phone's camera.
My drink of choice was this apple juice. 100% apple with hardly anything else added.
The atmosphere and general ambiance in this restaurant was calm and quiet with a soothing Arabic music in the background. Most of its client came during lunch time, almost half of them made up from some rich Arab or Middle Eastern people. Everybody thought this restaurant is a no-smoking area so they took the trouble to go outside to smoke. And then come a bunch of this Arab dudes and they casually smoke at their table like they just don't care. Ha ha, take that. So you actually can smoke in there. Huh, I bet you can smoke in any restaurant that charge exorbitant rates like this one here.
Our dessert for today was this cup cake and some fruit cocktail. I was expecting something more lavish.
One thing for sure though, I can safely say everybody had more than enough to eat for lunch today. There was still plenty of food (at least there's plenty of mutton) left even after all 17 of us is finished. Plus they even packed all those leftovers for us to take home. The title for the champion eater today is... at number 3 - Bujal, number 2 - Safuan and number one goes to...
... En Mazlan! Who ate triple of everything including the mutton which he's not supposed to eat (much) because of his health condition. Well we're all going to die sooner or later so why bother right?

The bill for today's lunch comes down to a cool RM1100 which is roughly RM65 per person. That might sound a lot but come to think of it, people pay pretty much the same amount per head for those wasteful Ramadan buffets every year so, no big deal. Will I come again to Al-Diafah in the future? Probably not. I think after today, Middle Eastern cuisine is not my thing. Perhaps they should put a huge NO SMOKING sign first at the entrance and charge the locals like 50% less or something and charge maximum price for everyone else.

In Rafa We Trust...

... to deliver us number 19!

By Richard Jolly

Now, once again, Anfield expects. Liverpool's previous Premier League home game, against Sunderland, was notable for the air of resignation. The title, once again, was bound for Old Trafford and if Rafa Benitez did not actually acknowledge it, it was only due to the Spaniard's stubbornness.

Yet Benitez has only won trophies at Anfield in utterly improbable fashion and Liverpool's renewed assault on the top of the table has come with a sizeable surprise factor. Theirs is the most emphatic of comebacks, capped by a five-goal demolition of a side who recently recorded seven successive away wins.

Hope can be the cruellest emotion, but now their supporters can hope again. Their optimism can be allied with the belief, confidence and momentum the players possess. Manchester United have the one-point advantage and the game in hand but, perhaps, the more frayed nerves. ''We need to do our job and wait for United to make mistakes,'' said Benitez. ''Now we are closer, but still they are in a much better position.''

But there is an element of role reversal. Now the streets surrounding Anfield are patrolled by traders selling T-shirts mocking Sir Alex Ferguson. Now the chants of ''Rafa's cracking up'' are the ironic songs of the Liverpool supporters. They have a tendency to deify managers and, after beating Real Madrid 4-0, Manchester United 4-1 and Aston Villa 5-0, there is a religious fervour to the more traditional choruses of Benitez's name.

If Istanbul was the most remarkable 120 minutes (plus penalties) of his five-year tenure, this represents the greatest fortnight.

Liverpool have tended to be a side capable of great displays rather than a great team, but they have mustered three in succession. The predictable part of their unforeseen excellence has been the brilliance of Steven Gerrard. The captain's latest tour de force incorporated a hat-trick that took him past the 20-goal barrier for the third time in four seasons.

For the third time in three games, however, Gerrard's brilliance was complemented by his team's. Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso were dominant in midfield, a resurgent Albert Riera exerted a major influence on the left flank and in attack Fernando Torres' lithe and graceful running troubled Villa. In many respects, it ranks as another bewildering development that Liverpool struck five times without a Torres goal.

The perfectionist at the helm was certainly hoping for more. Benitez's initial reaction to the rout was a lament that Liverpool's victory was not larger, even though their goal difference is now greater than United's. He said: ''I wanted more goals. We had some chances to do better on counter-attack. It was really important to take your chances and you never know what can happen with the goal difference. It's something we could improve.''

Others detected less room for improvement, especially as Liverpool have rectified their habit of starting slowly. At Anfield, tempo, rather than tactics, can be the key. Liverpool's was high, and so was their level of performance. They won a corner in the first minute, forced Brad Friedel to make a save in the second, were ahead by the eighth and had a three-goal lead at half-time.

The breakthrough came with an emphatic finish from Dirk Kuyt after Alonso met Gerrard's free kick with a glancing header that rebounded back off the bar to the Dutchman.

Villa had their direct moments, but Liverpool managed to take route one for their second goal. It was, nonetheless, one to remember and it was made in Spain, though the creative talents of Alonso and Torres weren't required. Instead, Jose Reina should be credited with a rare assist. His punt forward travelled some 80 yards and was allowed to bounce - something that should prompt an inquest in the Villa defence - for Riera to strike a glorious half-volley that crashed in off the underside of the bar.

The left winger, enjoying a renaissance after a midwinter slump in form, played his part in the third goal. He was fouled by Nigel Reo-Coker, whose comparative unfamiliarity with the right-back role was exposed, and Gerrard converted the resulting penalty.

He was as accurate from 20 yards as from 12. After Alonso touched a free kick to him, Gerrard's precise sidefoot defeated Friedel. Then, when the goalkeeper, albeit inadvertently, halted Torres in full flight, he was dismissed. Gerrard beat another Brad - substitute goalkeeper Guzan - with a very similar spot kick.

It means the longest unbroken appearance record in the Premier League will end when Friedel is suspended for the trip to Old Trafford in a fortnight. Martin O'Neill said: ''I don't think Brad's gone out and made a deliberate attempt to upend him; quite the opposite, he makes himself smaller. The fact is that the referee has interpreted it as a penalty and a sending-off on top of it.''

The result brooked no complaints: ''We have played poorly today. There's no getting away from it. We have given some really lousy goals away and we have contributed to our own downfall.'' His analysis of the title race was succinct: ''After today, it won't concern me.'' Interest in Liverpool, however, is growing.

Visit Japan Year 2009

Last week a few of my colleagues went for an all expense paid trip to Japan. Among those lucky few were Rizal Shaari and Bujal. Since Rizal S didn't have a blog and Bujal is too lazy to blog, I took the liberty to blog about their recent visit according to my imagination and creativity.

First day in Hokkaido, learn to use the ATM machine. "They've got ATM machines in Japan too! Cool!" said Bujal. Like duh? We got tonnes of those here. "Yeah, but this one dispenses money in Yen!".

"Check out my 2 hawt Japanese chicks! So long Suzen!!". (Don't tell anyone I had to pay them 200 Yen each to pose with me).

"My folks back home would be so proud to see me with all these snow!"

"Alright, gimme one big bear hug!!"

"Hey I'm a bear I want a bear hug too!"

"I'm the King of the Sapporo Road!!!"

"Yesterday I ate a sushi for dinner. The fish was this BIG!"

Yeah-yeah we get it, you get to go to Hokkaido. Big deal. Don't forget to return the jacket.

In Japan, chicks really dig guys with crabs. The larger the better.

"I'm gonna keep you, take care of you and love you and name your Mr. Krab!"

Now, which one is the bear? Hmm very difficult to tell.

Rizal before doing the hanky-panky with Bujal.

"I just love to sleep in this cupboard! Makes me feel like Harry Potter"

By the 3rd day, they can't afford to sleep in cupboards anymore so they build this igloo for shelter. Look out for bears.

The incredibly long and boring journey home

Let's face it, I'm tired of driving long distance. Especially to places I've been a hundred times before. That said, I can't do nothing much about it. We've all got kampung, a home town to go back to sometimes and for some people their home town is located hundred of miles away. I've been driving to and fro my home town almost as soon as I got my driving license. Below is an example of my typical drive from my home town back to where I live in the city.
7:07 AM
Depart from Tanah Merah. The sun is rising but it is still relatively dark everywhere.
7:36 AM
Arrived in Kuala Krai some 30 KM away. It's a foggy day today. No rain but visibilaty is rather poor.
8:53 AM
Stopped near the Gua Musang R&R area for toilet break. It's the only proper R&R you'll ever find in Kelantan. There's a few eateries open and the public toilet is fairly clean. A real commodity if you've travelled around Malaysia frequently. You can also fill up at the Shell station next door.
9:06 AM
Arrived in Gua Musang. Still foggy but it is improving. Traffic clear so far. 110 KM travelled.
10:32 AM
Drove past Kuala Lipis. No signs of Siti Nurhaliza anywhere. Someday I must visit that town. But what for? Nevermind.
11:00 AM
Stopped at the Benta R&R outside Kuala Lipis because wifey needs toilet break and the kids have to shower and change. The toilet here is clean too.
11:34 AM
Drove past Raub. 320 KM.
12:05 PM
Arrived in Bentong. Searched around for McDonald's to buy porridge for Mia. No McD here!
12:11 PM
Stopped for lunch at an eatery in Bentong. There's about a dozen shops to choose from here but not all of them are good. We were unfortunate to pick one which has sucky and expensive food. Next time look for the crowded one. Sure good or at least cheap.
1:06 PM
Drove past Genting Sempah. 400 KM
1:19 PM
Arrived in Selangor finally. Traffic jam in certain stretch of the MRR2 probably because of lunch hour.
1:54 PM
Arrived safe and sound in Seri Kembangan. 460 KM from Tanah Merah. Went to Jusco to do some groceries.

Balik kampung

Usually I only go back to my home town once a year, during Hari Raya and that's it. I think the distance and the infrequency that makes that trip, that occasion much more special. This year though, we've decided to go back more often (i.e more than once). Actually my wife planned all this. I just go along. We've been planning this balik kampung trip since last month. I think my car didn't really like this idea because the battery went flat last month and the cable plug and ignition coil gave up on me a few days ago. Altogether we spend more than 700 ringgit fixing the car in less than a month.
As always I preferred to start early in the morning. It's much cooler then and there's less traffic (plus it's a Saturday). It drizzled and rained intermittently from KL to Manjung where we're headed. I used the PLUS highway this time so that we can reach our destination faster. It stopped raining when we exited the PLUS highway at Bidor and it's all clear and sunny all the way to Manjung from there on.
At Manjung we stopped for an early lunch and to pick up Linda's mom who's joining us for the trip back. My little niece Shafy Qasif is not that little anymore. She's even bigger than our Mia although they're about one year apart. Maybe she ate genetically modified giant cereal or something.
From Manjung we head straight to Kelantan via the East-West road. 3 hours later we reached Pasir Mas, my home sweet home. Pictured above is the historic Lot 173 Lorong Che Nor Pesaka. At least it's historic to me because I spent most of my time growing up there. The house had just been repainted last year. Is it any wonder that I always feel at peace coming home here every time?
We spent the night in Pasir Mas and early next morning I send my sister Izni to her college just outside town. She teaches at a local IKM nearby and she's off to Kedah for a week for some sporting event. Izni just transfered from Johore earlier this year. My grandma went to see several high-ranking politicians to help her move nearer to home. My sister is only 25 this year but my family (i.e my Mom and grandma) is worried that she has no plans of getting married anytime soon. Heck she didn't even have any boyfriend at the moment since she broke up with that Megat dude a few years back. Either guys are afraid to approach her or my sister is the really picky type. Nevertheless I think at 25, she shouldn't be worried to much about marriage and stuff. She's got 2-3 years more to enjoy life before settling down and I believe no one should push or coerce her or anything. It's her life and if anybody should be making the decision, it should be her and her alone. Anyhow I heard a few bachelors back home is making formal enquiries about her already. So I think she would be married by next year should she fail to pick one herself haw haw.
After that we left to Tanah Merah to my wife's place. But first we had to stop at Warung Kurnia Ibu to sample their famous noodle soup. Noodle with beef, some vegetables and anchovies and if you order the special, you'll get a half-boiled egg thrown in together. To add more kick to the soup, pour some soy sauce, vinegar and squeeze the lime and don't forget to sprinkle some salt and pepper to your steamy, hot bowl of noodle soup.
Nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a rainy day. But your visit to Warung Kurnia Ibu in downtown Pasir Mas is not complete without tasting this succulent, freshly home made coconut shake, topped with 2 scoops of vanilla and yam flavored ice cream sprinkled with some ground and hazel nuts. Take your time to savor the creamy and milky coconut juice while taking a bite at that delicious fresh young coconut pulps. Ah so heavenly! (Your mouth watering yet?).
Next in Tanah Merah, I did what I'm known to do best every holiday - sleep all day long. Nothing like a good, long sleep on a rainy day especially after driving all day yesterday. The next day we went to Kampung Sat nearby to visit some relatives (it's compulsory). After that we went to the hospital to visit a sick friend at the Tanah Merah hospital. I've never had so much fun in one day.
It rained again today but that didn't stop us from visiting Tanah Merah town to buy some stuff. While Linda spent an hour at the bank, I stumbled upon this long lost snack peddler that I last tasted when I was in primary school. If you grew up where I live, you'd probably heard of lok ceng (fish satay), grilled on charcoal and dipped with a special sweet-sour sauce. I can never grow tired eating this. Too bad they're much more expensive today. 1 ringgit for a stick of 5 puny fish balls. Bleh.
To be honest, my ideal vacation would be visiting some interesting and far away places that I never or rarely get to visit. Going back to the same town year in and year out is not my idea of a memorable vacation. Still you know vacations anywhere don't come cheap nowadays. You had to pay for fuel, accommodation, tickets and what not. At least when we visit our loved ones back home, a few people will be really happy to see us and that should be worth it.