Nee Sern is...

really really sleepy

Monday, October 08, 2007

Abdullah is clueless...

I didn't say it. It's reported in theSun...

On another matter, the prime minister seemed in the dark when asked the reasons for the delay in handing over of keys to tsunami victims in Tanjung Bungah to allow them to move into their new homes.

“Those who meet the requirements can move in immediately,” he said.

When told that the victims had held a demonstration yesterday as they were unable to move into their new homes, he looked puzzled and insisted they could move in already. “As long as they have met the requirements, they should be able to move into the new units,” he said.

When pressed further on whether he will order an investigation on the reasons for the delay, he replied “no”, but seemed unhappy over being informed about the delay by the media.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

2 more episodes to go

With only 2 more episodes to go in both (yes - both - I'm watching both) Astro-On-Demand dramas, finally the stories will end. As always, it will be a happy ending. And I hope that the loose ends are tied up nicely, or else it will be quite irritating to see an open ended plot line not properly closed up. It will just show the flaws during the script writing.

So what will I do from next week onwards? I guess it's back to whatever routine I had previously before the drama invasion. A mix of Heroes/KyleXY/Prison Break watching, reading up on all my books, and preparing for my grandpa's 90th birthday bash!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I learnt something about Astro On Demand...

...that I can actually switch on the subtitles!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bicycles by the Beach

f/6.3 :: 1/500s :: ISO100 :: 38mm

This was taken in Nusa Dua beach, Bali. I spotted these colourful children's bicycles parked by the beach in perfect alignment. They seemed to be speaking to each other while their owners played in the water.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

KL International Tattoo 2007

We were fortunate enough to get VIP Grandstand tickets to the KL International Tattoo 2007 last Saturday. Thanks to Datuk for providing the tickets!

We decided to car pool with MJ to Stadium Merdeka. I decided against bringing my DSLR and settled for the compact and very capable IXUS 850IS.

From Stadium Merdeka, I caught a view of the Twin Towers that I normally wouldn't get.

We were treated to a Colours of Malaysia show before the event actually started. We were waiting for the Agong, you see. And what an arrival! With the official announcements, the standing in attention, and the patriotic strains of Negaraku played by the ensemble bands!

Initially had no idea what the Tattoo show was all about. Only knew that it was something to do with the military. Turned out to be all about military. Each invited country's military bands performed outstanding tunes and marching formations to the delight of the crowd! Just take a look at the UK team with their kilts and bagpipes.

A total of 13 countries, including Malaysia, participated in the event. It was truly amazing. There were some memorable performances, and some not so inspiring ones (particularly from France :P). However, performances from USA and Thailand seemed to be more pop-oriented, while the militaristic discipline of the Singapore team was shown in the way they planned their formations. All in all, this is an event that we would not have known of if not for the complementary passes from Datuk. So, thanks again Datuk!

The fireworks display was fantastical. I wonder how much money was spent just on fireworks!

Opening acts by our Malaysian army...

...and Unit Gerak Khas police.

Team Brunei...


...France *yawnnn*...

The militaristic Singaporeans surprisingly drew loud applause and cheers.

The Americans sang and played My Girl, among other popular songs.

The Korean "drummer boys" were fantastic, with their swift playing and superb coordination.

Team New Zealand brought Maori tribal performers and did the Haka dance.

The enthusiastic band conductor from The Phillipines.

The charming and hot military girl from Thailand singing "Sabai Sabai"!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tonle Sap - as wide as an ocean...

f/5.6 :: 1/200s :: ISO200 :: 120mm

This picture was taken by jyon as our boat was riding out towards the center of the lake. We encountered choppy waves and slowly turned around for fear of capsizing. It was then that we saw these boats gracing the waters as if they felt nothing. Tonle Sap lake is truly such a large lake that from this angle, it looks more like an open ocean!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Steps is currently showing on Astro-on-Demand channel 901. Yesterday was the premier of the first episode. It revolves around an aspiring dancer who ends up in a dancing school after failing to qualify in the Hong Kong Dance Company auditions. I suppose she ends up pairing with the son of the dance school's principal and both of them spark off a wonderful friendship which eventually blossoms into romance (I guess). There will be trials and tribulations but the end should be a good one, as they participate in a professional dance competition (this is from what I saw in the previews).

Anyway, from what I've watched yesterday, I think this is another potentially great series from TVB! Of course, it doesn't hurt that Bernice Liu also looks so adorable ;)

20 episodes for less than RM20, and you get to watch it over and over and over and over and over again. What are you waiting for?

Saturday, September 08, 2007


f/5.6 :: 1/25s :: ISO400 :: 55mm

Are you craving for some century eggs? Just look at the slick and shiny surface of the eggs. Imagine their succulence as you bite into the flesh and taste the bittersweet wonder that explodes from within.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lousy service at California Pizza Kitchen?

Ok. Not all aspects of the service sucked. For instance, the seating and ordering and serving was done quite well and in a timely fashion.

However, when the time comes to ask for the bill, it takes ages for anyone to respond. I usually have to wave my hands frantically and repeatedly get someone to hear me request for the bill. It's quite ridiculous actually. I mean, I'm trying to pay you and you hold me up for no reason!

It took me 2 tries to get anyone to bring me the bill. I verified the list and paid with my credit card. It took them 15 minutes to come back with the processed bill, by which time I was fuming mad coz I had to rush to DFP for the Latin Jazz concert. Nobody said sorry, nobody said anything. I left with a sour face after validating the transaction.

Needless to say, CPK better buck up or else lose one customer!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Entrance to Angkor Wat

f/8.0 :: 1/320s :: ISO100 :: 31mm

This was taken inside the compound of the entrance area, just before ascending the staircase to enter Angkor Wat. These stones have withstood a thousand years of nature's beatings, and yet they still stand tall and proud.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Angkor Wat - entrance

f/8 :: 1/250s :: ISO-Auto :: 6mm

This picture of Angkor Wat was taken by elsf as we walked past one of the 4 gates and entered the compound for the first time. It was a sunny morning, the radiance of the morning light bathed the temple with its glorious rays. It was truly a magnificent sight.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Stone Wall in Angkor Wat compound

f/8.0 :: 1/200s :: ISO100 :: 40mm

As I mentioned, I made a trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia recently, and the main attraction was visiting the Angkor Wat ruins. This shot was taken after we descended from the steep staircase from the top of the main tower.

Angkor Wat is truly a magnificent place. If making a trip for photography, I really suggest getting at least the 3-day pass. Otherwise, if you're rushed like me, you won't be able to capture as many memorable shots as would be possible.

Take your time to admire the surroundings, the stone carvings, the sheer immenseness of this super structure built 1000 years ago. You will be amazed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Begging for help...

An older man has to kneel down to a younger man to beg for action to be taken to resolve Rawang HTZ issues.

Is this what celebrating 50 years of nationhood is all about?

Trip - Cambodia - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat

I just came back from a 4 days holiday in Siem Reap, main purpose was to visit Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples, and also visit an orphanage and a shelter home for street kids. I treated this trip more as a photography trip, and came back with tons of pictures. Not only from my camera but also from elsf's and also jyon's cameras. Will post the pictures soon. But for now, let me just say that Angkor Wat is truly magnificent, and I am indeed thankful to live in a peaceful and "prosperous" country.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More test shots using 50mm

We had our weekly gathering in McDonald's SS15 Drive Thru.

Sorry people! If you don't want your face here, just give me a buzz.

All photos are JPEG's straight out of camera. I normally set my camera's parameters as follows: Contrast +2, Sharpness 0, Saturation +2, Color Tone 0.

:: Jyon with a new haircut ::
f/2.5 :: 1/60s :: ISO400 :: 50mm
(Check out the el-cheapo pentagon-shaped bokeh :P)

:: Alex came to sell T-shirts ::
f/2.5 :: 1/50s :: ISO400 :: 50mm

:: Sue didn't want to be photographed ::
f/2.5 :: 1/125s :: ISO400 :: 50mm

:: Wendy was also quite shy ::
f/2.5 :: 1/100s :: ISO400 :: 50mm
(I believe this picture was taken by Alex)

:: MJ was... well... being MJ ::
f/2.5 :: 1/80s :: ISO400 :: 50mm

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Camera basics :: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO

Not everyone will need to know all these photographic terms. Point-n-shoot photographers will not bother because their cameras have scene presets or fully auto modes that give them adequate results. So who really wants to know this stuff?

Actually it's written for my own reference, just in case I do fumble with the terms in the near future. Here goes on my explanation of these photographic terms.

Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO can be considered as the building blocks of a camera's imaging system (be it the film or the digital sensor). Let's try to explain these terms with an analogy.

If we now imagine that there is a bucket which is filled with a fixed amount of sand, and a water tap that can be used to fill the bucket. Now, we can vary the opening of the water tap by controlling how much we turn the spigot. We can also control the duration of the water tap being open. Finally, we can also choose a smaller bucket to store the water (with the same amount of sand in it).

If we open the water tap larger, it will take less time to fill up the bucket. If we open the water tap smaller, it will take more time to fill up the bucket. If we choose a smaller bucket, it will also take less time to fill up the bucket but the water will be more murky. A combination of these 3 parameters will result in the same thing: a bucket full of water.

So what is what?

Opening size of the water tap is analogous to the Aperture, i.e. how big is the opening.

Duration of the water tap being open is analogous to the Shutter Speed, i.e. how long is the shutter kept open.

Bucket size is analogous to the ISO, i.e. how easy it is to fill the bucket (with the expense of getting murky water, or noisy pictures).

The bucket refers to the film or digital sensor.

And of course, water in this case is analogous to light, which is what the camera is trying to capture anyway.

OK, let's see what happens now.

Aperture is represented with F numbers. The larger the F number, the smaller the Aperture, and vice versa. Normally they are written as f/2, f/4, f/5.6, f/16, f/22, etc.

Shutter Speed is represented with numbers or fractions, with units in seconds. Typically it's written as 1/30, 1/250, 0.3, etc.

ISO is represented in whole numbers. The larger the ISO, the more sensitive the digital sensor or film (or the smaller the bucket size). Whole ISO units are 100, 200, 400, 800, etc.

So we can vary the combinations of these 3 parameters to get the perfect exposure: that's it, really. Of course, different apertures/shutter speeds will give different creative results (e.g. background blur, smoothened waterfalls).

Let's say the camera meters the following exposure: f/4.0, 1/200s, ISO200

Suppose that we want to make the background blur even more outstanding, so we need a larger aperture, say f/2.8. Remember our analogy: the water tap opening is now very big. This means we either need to increase the shutter speed (shorten the duration that the water tap is open) or reduce the ISO (get a larger bucket) to maintain the same exposure (the bucket is properly filled to the brim). So we can either do:

f/2.8, 1/400s, ISO200
f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO100

Then let's say we want to stop action (maybe in sports photography) and the shutter speed is too low. So we need to increase the shutter speed to say 1/800s (shorten the duration that the water tap is open). Thus we either need a larger aperture (larger water tap opening) or a higher ISO (smaller bucket), or a combination of both:

f/2.0, 1/800s, ISO200
f/4.0, 1/800s, ISO800
f/2.8, 1/800s, ISO400

Or maybe we want to have everything in focus from foreground to background (small aperture, e.g. f/8.0):

f/8.0, 1/50s, ISO200
f/8.0, 1/200s, ISO800
f/8.0, 1/100s, ISO400

With today's camera's through-the-lens metering and auto-program modes, the perfect exposure is calculated automatically. What we need to do is to be aware of the metering characteristics, creative exposure and adjust the compensation accordingly.

Anyway, all the above is fine for ambient light photography; but in Flash photography, choosing a higher ISO will give different results than choosing a lower shutter speed or larger aperture. But that's for another day.

P/S I hope I got all that right!

What is a 50mm good for?

Yesterday Alex asked me what is a 50mm lens good for?

Here are my feeble attempts to answer him:
1) 50mm x 1.6fov = 80mm ~ short telephoto ~ half body portraits
2) f/1.8 ~ large aperture ~ low light no flash photography
3) f/1.8 ~ large aperture ~ blur background

Any more justifications?

4) It's dirt cheap! Go get one now!

Vote for No More Monkeys!

Political pundits are predicting an early snap general elections this year. Have you registered to be a voter?

Monday, August 06, 2007

I not stupid

Hooray! Thanks to Zam, I now know that I'm not a stupid blogger!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunset @ Bali (Jimbaran Bay)

f/5.6 :: 1/30s :: ISO400 :: 55mm

This photo was taken at Jimbaran Bay in Bali, Indonesia. We arrived for a seafood BBQ dinner quite late, so I only had around 10 minutes of golden hour before the colours finally faded to black. I did some cropping on this picture so that the silhouette is on one side instead of the middle. Probably not such an interesting shot if not for that silhouette of a passerby.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Yesterday I was walking in SS2 near the McDonald's and there is a video rental shop. Prominently displayed on the window was a poster of The Drive Of Life series and another notice written in Chinese. Well, I can't read Chinese, but I sort of caught the gist of it. Basically, you can rent the series from that shop for only RM50. And the notice also states that it's for the entire 60 episodes, which comes to about 83 sen only. Obviously this is in direct competition with Astro On Demand!

It will be a great boon to those who do not have Astro, or do not subscribe to Dynasty package, or do not wish to contribute to Astro's ever increasing bottom line.

Kudos to the video rental store!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Saya telah membeli alat permainan yang baru...

Update 3

Yet another test shot. The focus point is between the "o" and the last "n" of the Canon word. This is a picture of the 18-55 kit lens. As you can imagine, the kit lens size is not that big, so the distance to the floor is only a few cm. Yet, the floor is completely out of focus already. Even the letterings of the "18-55mm" on the lens barrel is blurred. I love the 50mm cheapie! Note: picture is auto-levels adjusted.

f/1.8 :: 1/15s :: ISO800 :: 50mm

Update 2:

This lens is superb. I took this picture of small figurines on my decorative shelf. The distance from the 2 cats to the picture frame in the background is only 10cm. The focus point was the nose of the right cat (I know, I know, it's not really in focus). Check out the blur! Only auto-levels adjusted in Photoshop.

f/1.8 :: 1/100s :: ISO400 :: 50mm

Update 1:

Got it from J-One Amcorp Mall. Will post sample pictures soon. In the mean time...


Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila tunggu sebentar. Saya belum menangkap gambar dan menulis karangan lagi...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Drive Of Life

I normally don't chase chinese TV dramas. When I do, it's usually because they are of exceptional quality in terms of storyline, acting and overall production.

The most recent one I caught was the Dicey Business (dou cheung foong wan) which revolves around a casino operation, friendship, brotherhood and betrayals. Top notch acting and storyline but of course some cheesy scripts abundant in Hong Kong productions.

Now that Astro On Demand is showing non stop repetitions of The Drive Of Life (sui yuet foong wan), I find myself gravitating toward this show. It's only at the 7th episode, but already showing the quality since the first episode. The storyline generally focuses on family, friendship and trust, and of course expounding the goodness of the Chinese government and the Chinese people.

Will I have the strength to follow through this drama? Well, let's put it this way. Even if I miss the original screening time, I can always watch the entire thing all over again via all the repeat screenings of all the episodes. Thanks to Astro On Demand, I am able to do this. Of course it comes with a price, but the price is only 99sen per episode, which is actually quite a good deal. It works out to about RM55 for the entire drama. I'm sure the original VCD's will probably cost about the same when it does get released. And from what I see, this price point is generally acceptable by most of the viewing customers.

However, there are some pain points. Firstly, there is no subtitle! How can anyone understand Hong Kong cantonese without some helpful subtitles, even if the subtitles are in chinese? The better option would be to supply on-demand subtitles. Secondly, the picture and sound quality is substandard. The picture looks like it's been compressed several times over that there are splotches of colour everywhere instead of fine detail. The sound is also quite terrible, with the extreme high trebles and extreme low basses severely muted. Often, the conversation is muffled because of this, making it even more difficult to catch what is being said (minus subtitles!). Astro should fix this, considering we are paying premium to watch this show.

Harry Potter 5

Finally watched the movie yesterday in a freezing cinema hall. 1 Utama management, please make it more convenient for moviegoers in TGV to access the car park in the new wing!

Anyway, the movie actually made me understand the story of Harry Potter 5 much better than the long-winded book. And I'm actually surprised to see how little story development there is in HP5 compared to the previous books. Dunno, maybe if I go back to the book then I'll be able to pick up all the missed out bits that were intentionally left out by the movie director.

The movie plods along fine, the focus this time more on Harry. Sure, Ron and Hermione get some screen time, but it's comparatively less than the previous outings. Cho gets limited screen time and fails most of the time, while Luna Lovegood serves as comic relief with her weird self chatter and incessant obsession with Nargles.

Dumbledore is in his finest performance for this installment (check out the dueling scene at the end!), while Sirius is given fine treatment here. The other characters don't really get much screen time (Ginny, Neville, Moody, etc.) which is a good thing to keep the movie flowing but also a bad thing because the magic of previous movies is just lost in this one.

A good view, but could've been better. I very much preferred HP3 and HP4 movies.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How to take night photographs with flash?

This post is written with the Canon user in mind.

Normally, if you want to snap a picture of someone at night, you will use the flash, set your camera to the green box or P mode and fire away. All is fine, till you review the picture. The background is so totally blacked out and only the subject is well-lit. What happened?

Well, in the Canon system, if you are using the green box or the P mode, the camera will assume that you are using ONLY the flash as the main light source, and will set the minimum shutter speed to 1/60s to avoid camera shake. Also depending on the camera, ISO will be set automatically (or not). Anyway, since the built-in flash of many cameras have very limited power, the amount of light generated from the flash is not enough to light up the entire room or background. It can only reach far enough to light up your main subject. That is why you get what you get.

The smarter way would be to switch to some manual modes. You can use either Av or Tv or M mode. In these modes, the camera will assume that you are using the ambient light as the main light source, and the flash as a fill-in light only. This means that the camera's light meter will set the aperture and shutter speed to expose for the room or background correctly. Typically, for night shots, I like to use Tv mode set to 1/25s or 1/30s, ISO800 or ISO1600, and fill-in flash. This achieves several things: firstly, the shutter speed is slower than 1/60s yet not too slow to induce camera shake; secondly, the ambient light is well registered in the camera by using high ISO; thirdly, by filling in with flash, I can fill in the shadows in my main subject and also catch some sparkle reflection in their eyes.

Alternatively, I also use Av mode sometimes, but I have to keep my eye on the shutter speed to ensure that no camera shake is induced. Typically I like to underexpose by -1/3 or -2/3 and correct the levels in post processing later.

If you have a separate flashgun (e.g. Speedlite 430EX), you can do some bounce moves and have better control over the direction and size of your light source. I am now learning how to use a bounce card to achieve better flash results. I point my flash gun to the ceiling, attach a curved piece of white paper to the back of the flashgun so that the reflected light is diffused forward, while the main flash strobe is bounced on the ceiling to create a soft effect. This can work 80% of the time, but of course the photographer must be mindful to ensure that the ceiling is not too low (overpowering flash) or too high (wasted flash power).

Anyway, those are the tips I can think of. Basically, don't use the green box and P mode because that will fix your shutter speed to 1/60s or faster, and that is just too fast for the camera to capture any ambient light from the room or background.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Don't Play With Fire!

With an article from today's theSun page 10, I've compiled my personal ramblings in my other blog. Actually, it's true. I've seen this "don't play with fire" phrase so many times that I decided to track the instances down. So I googled UMNO "play with fire" and here are the results!

581 hits for the phrase UMNO "play with fire".

Selected Excerpts:

From Malaysiakini: Umno warns PCCC not to play with fire
04 Oct 2006

The Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) call for abolition of the 30 percent Bumiputera quota in housing and commercial projects has been labelled a racial statement and has warned the chamber not to “play with fire”.

Bukit Mertajam Umno division head Musa Sheikh Fadzim, asked to comment today, said the PCCC should not play with fire.

Don’t stir the hornet’s nest. We are only asking for our rights which is 30 percent. We’re not asking for 40, 50 or 100 percent (of the share). This is a racial issue, so we’re asking them (the chamber) not be extreme,” he said.

From Chow Kon Yeow: "Ministers, don't play with fire!"

23 January 2006

This morning while driving down to work, a banner hung at the busy Jalan Jelutong/Jalan Kudin traffic intersection caught my attention.

“Jangan Main Dengan Api” , the UMNO Taman Perak Branch warned the nine non-Muslim Ministers for sending a memorandum to the Prime Minister, calling for a review of laws affecting the rights of non-Muslims.

From Aliran: Troubling times
15 February 2007

An Umno veteran, Mohamed Rahmat, who should know better because of his vast experience - previously a cabinet minister of many years, Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia, a long-standing former BN and Umno secretary-general - nevertheless warned, “Please don’t test the Malays; they know ‘amok’. We don’t want to reach that level.”

The delegate from Malacca, Hansoor Sidang Hussein, declared, “Umno is willing to risk lives and bathe in blood in defence of race and religion. Don’t play with fire. If they mess with our rights, we will mess with theirs.”

An Umno Youth exco member did not mince his words in expressing his views, “When tension rises, the blood of Malay warriors will run in our veins.”

A Penang Umno delegate, Musa Sheik Fadzir, added, “Don’t test the patience of the Malays and don’t play with fire.”

From The Malaysian: Now Puteri Umno Has Started Posturing, Wants Cartoons Censored! Oh Dear!
17 November 2006

Rahimah also asked the Umno leaders not to compromise on the establishment of the Inter-Faith Commission (IFC) and the government to use the Internal Security Act (ISA) on those who cause trouble. "Say No, No, No to the establishment of the IFC. We will not compromise with parties who try to disturb our rights. Don't play with fire, or you'll get burnt. Just arrest them and place them under the ISA!!!" she said.

From Malaysian Malaysia

In 1999, controversy was reignited when Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party (DAP, the former Malaysian branch of the PAP) called for a second campaign for a "Malaysian Malaysia". Then acting UMNO Youth Chief Hishamuddin Hussein angrily responded with a warning not to "play with fire," and accused Lim of politicising an issue that had been decided at independence with the social contract. Lim argued that the concept of a Malaysian Malaysia did not differ much from the government policy of establishing a Bangsa Malaysia (Malaysian race or Malaysian nation). Some noted that ironically, Hishamuddin's grandfather, Dato' Onn Ja'afar, the founder of UMNO, had left the party to form the Independence of Malaya Party based on the concept of eliminating special privileges for the Malays.

From BBC: Row over Malay privileges
18 August 2000

On Friday, youth leaders of Dr Mahathir's United Malays National Organisation party (Umno) held a protest outside the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur.

Umno's Vice-President Najib Tun Razak has also warned the Chinese community against raising the issue.

"My advice to these Chinese associations is not to play with fire," Mr Najib said.

Down the drain...

It was a change of venue. From Starbucks Curve to Starbucks 1U to Starbucks Uptown. Had dinner at Naili's. Was supposed to eat with Jo but she couldn't make it on time. Proceeded to Starbucks after that, waiting for the rest to arrive. Jo's call came: "I've been robbed. Laptop is gone."

Shocked beyond comprehension. No words to describe. Mun Yee called Jo to clarify. She's safe. Bag and personal documents not taken, only laptop. All felt weird. Li Kim says Uptown is not safe to be walking around alone. Alex says girls shouldn't walk alone. Jyon says she already kena 5 or 6 times and still not scared? MJ frets about our country's lost bearings.

Deep down, I felt sick. Was it my fault for not thinking of her safety? After all, I should have offered to drive her over. Instead I thought nothing of it when knowing she was supposed to walk over to Naili's.

Anyway, the important thing is that she's safe and not harmed.

Now to do some serious thinking. Our police force human resource is really crappily assigned. Out of the 100%, only 30% of the force is deployed for crime prevention. The remaining officers are for top management, administrative, special branch, and all other branches not related to crime prevention. So are we surprised that we never ever see patrol police officers doing their ronda rounds? Instead we normally see the ubiquitous traffic police hiding behind trees trying to catch minor offenders. Or special branch officers tracking down innocent bloggers (detention without arrest, anyone?).

Must we resort to citizen's policing? Should we lobby our Ms. fried mee hoon to step up crime prevention efforts? Will we have the patience to deal with all this shit?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

@#$**$#% the @#$*#*$#-ing police!

This is criminal intimidation by the police!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Damned if we do, damned if we don't

This news article reports residents in Penang protesting over the construction of a telecommunications tower near their residential areas. The interesting thing is that the tower has been built according to MCMC (the government regulator for Communications) standards and safety guidelines, and as a response to the vehement complaints of poor coverage by the residents themselves. So they want good phone coverage but don't want the tower in their backyards?

Let's take a technical look at the misinformation. According to these protesters, building the tower so near to their houses will cause a lot of radiation and thus affect health and cause cancer. Let's see. The maximum transmit power of the base station is normally 43dBm, or 20W. After passing through the combiners, filters, feeders and antenna system gain, the EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power) will be around 55dBm, which is approximately 320W. However, since the waves need to propagate through the space from the antenna to the ground level, there is some form of degradation in the signal strength according to the appropriate propagation model. Usually, the signal strength on the ground level deteriorates to a value of -40dBm (depending on the distance from the antenna), which translates to a wattage value of 0.0000001W!

If we want to be worried, we should be worried about our handphones. Our handphones have a maximum transmit power of typically 21dBm, or 0.13W. Since there is no feeder or combiner system, and the antenna gain is typically 0dB, the EIRP from the phone is also 21dBm. Now, considering the fact that we normally use the phone by placing it against our ear (which is like just next to our brain), we expect the loss contributed by our body to be around 3dB. This means that the amount of power that is reaching our brain is 18dBm, or 0.06W. Compare this to the 0.0000001W from the base station. The power received from the base station is miniscule compared to the power received from the phone.

Does this mean that the phone will cause cancer? There is no absolute proof, no confirmed research to indicate yes or no at this point. However, we tend to take conveniences for granted, without understanding first what the facts are. We look at the large telecommunication towers with their large antennas and we become frightened. We look at the small handphone which we use and we think nothing of its radiation.

Let's face it. We are already accustomed to a wireless world. We treat mobile communications for granted, sometimes without knowing the technology that makes it happen. Perhaps MCMC should educate the consumers on the basics of wireless communication technology, so that health scares that lead to pointless protests will be a thing of the past, and we can all progress into the future.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Searching for Truth 2

f/8.0 :: 1/400s :: ISO100 :: 33mm

This photo was taken at Tanah Lot, Bali. It was late afternoon, and there were many tourists in this popular place of interest. I got down low and snapped this picture which shows the people walking as if with a noble aim, but in fact they are just walking towards the Tanah Lot temple.

I performed a lot of manipulation in Photoshop to get these pretty colours. This shows that we don't need to be faithful to the natural conditions in order to create artistic shots.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Malaysian Drivers Most Annoying Habits

I'm putting this down because people I talk to generally don't find this to be such a big deal. So I will illustrate with examples from my personal experience.

1) Malaysian drivers don't know how to use roundabout
OK. Roundabouts may be quite obsolete in heavy traffic areas. But it does not discount the reality that roundabouts still exist, and we should all learn how to use it. Vehicles moving in the roundabout have the right of way over vehicles trying to enter the roundabout. When exiting roundabouts, please indicate with the signal lights. When the roundabout is at a standstill, please don't force your way in and cause a gridlock! Simple rules that somehow are not followed, leading to being stuck for 1 hour in a roundabout (example: Rothmans roundabout).

2) Malaysian drivers don't know how to indicate
This is especially true when I am trying to go into the main road, and I see an oncoming car, so I wait for the car to pass. At the very last minute, the car turns into the road that I'm in, which means that if he had signaled earlier, I wouldn't have needed to wait for him to pass! Or they are trying to cut into my lane but I'm not sure if they are really going to do it or are just blur by moving between the lanes, since he is not signaling his intention. So what I normally do is I just close the gap, until he decides to indicate.

3) Malaysian drivers love to cut queues
This habit is a very annoying one, simply because the act of cutting queues contribute to the formation of the queues in the first place. When the highway traffic is slow moving, for example, these stupid drivers will start to go on the emergency lane, and when they encounter whatever is blocking the movement of traffic, they will forcibly cut back into the normal lanes. This actually slows down traffic in the normal lanes, which in turn encourages these stupid drivers to cut queues. Another example is at toll plazas where there is a petrol station at the side. These stupid drivers will actually cut into the petrol station, and cut back out just to skip the queue of some 2 or 3 cars. Stupid, isn't it?

4) Malaysian drivers love to litter all over the place
Ahah, don't be confused. They love to litter all over the place except their own car. How many times have I witnessed already drivers of supposedly posh cars (expensive SUV's, BMW's, imported Japanese makes) throwing things out of their cars: plastic bags, food containers, cigarette packs, drink bottles, rubbish, cigarette butts. So much so that if you were to drive on the Federal Highway and just look at the road, you will be able to see all this rubbish already forming to become part of the road surface! Also related to this habit, Malaysian drivers just love to open their car door when they are stationary, stick out their head and spit out a thick gooey piece of phlegm, without consideration to the vehicles behind them which will be treading on their biological waste. Disgusting!

5) Malaysian drivers love to flash and tailgate
This is very true on the expressways. Normally, I am legitimately overtaking slower vehicles by using the right lane. I don't speed above the legal limit, but I am not breaking any regulations, since the rule clearly states that I can use the right lane for overtaking. More often than not, there will be some fancy car (typically Mercedes or BMW, occasionally Toyotas or even Proton Wajas) which will start flashing the highlights from very far behind, as if to brag about their large and fast cars, shouting "move aside!!". Of course, I'm in the middle of my overtaking maneuver, so I can't possibly move back into the left lane. Soon, the big car is right behind me, flashing his highlights non-stop and sticking too close for comfort to the back of my car. What I fantasise to do sometimes is to just step on the brakes and watch him lose control of his car, crashing it to the road divider and sustaining some form of injury. Of course I'm rational, so I don't do that. The worst thing happens when I do give way, and he just speeds ahead only to be slowed down by another slower car. I'm thinking... congratulations, you just managed to go ahead by one car. You saved..... 2 seconds off your traveling time! Hooray! Sheesh...

These are just some of the stupid things that Malaysian drivers do on the road. I wonder if they behave similarly when they are out of their big and expensive cars.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Yes!! I finally watched it!! It's simply breathtaking!! I ran out of words to say, after the movie we talked and talked and talked and talked... simply put, this is the best movie of the year PERIOD!

OK. Here's a more proper review of the movie.

First, let's start with the awe factor. Simply listening to the original voice of Optimus Prime in the beginning of the movie brought back nostalgic feelings. The opening sequence in outer space, and in the Qatar desert really pumped up the adrenaline and set the pace for things to come.

When the first transformation occurred on screen, I was simply stunned. The transformation sequences really dropped jaws, slick and seamless moves that turned the military helicopter into a menacing alien robot.

Bumblebee's transformation sequence and his play with radio also adds flavour to the movie's feel. I have to say that Bumblebee looks cool in the movie, unlike the bloated appearance in the cartoons. He's also a pivotal character in the movie, having more airtime than any other robot in the show.

When Optimus Prime appeared for the first time, the transformation simply blew my mind. Here was a super truck which stopped right in front of Sam Witwicky, proceeded to transform into a giant robot that towered over everything. And of course that superb voice is probably the only voice that is capable of bringing Optimus Prime to life.

The Decepticons are pretty nondescript. Megatron doesn't show up until the final third of the movie. Starscream was barely seen that he became quite irrelevant. Other Decepticons also were not that great.

In fact, Michael Bay betrayed true Transformers fans by showing more humans than robots. I mean, what is the story with the military soldier in the middle east? What's the point of the analyst-with-the-horrid-Australian-accent sub story and his ghetto sidekick? What's the point of introducing a quasi X-files like Sector 7 government agency? Seriously, Michael Bay should have just dropped all human characters except Sam Witwicky and his girlfriend, the Secretary of Defense to show how useless human defenses are, and of course the occasional "kelefe" to gawk, run and scream. All other airtime should be dedicated to the robots!

That said, this movie realizes the dreams of those of us who grew up in the 80's when the Transformers were popularized. If only for the nostalgia factor, this movie rates already at 4 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately, the substandard plot development and the inclusion of useless human characters deny it that final star rating. Nonetheless, this IS the best movie of the year for a biased reviewer. Highly recommended for anyone who has played with Transformers toys, watched Transformers cartoons, or simply like CGI robots that can transform to and fro cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, tanks, etc. Go watch it and then spend the rest of the day raving and ranting about it!

P/S - I really didn't like the fact that Optimus Prime's faceplat retracts when he's speaking. He looks so sissy when his mouth is exposed!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My cheeky nephew

f/5.0 :: 1/15s :: ISO800 :: 43m

My nephew, cheekily laughing while I was taking his photo. He knows how to pose for the camera and make all sorts of funny faces. This was taken with the flash bounced to the ceiling and bounce card. Levels and color balance adjusted with Photoshop, and noise reduced with Noise Ninja.

Note: I've decided to stop posting my photographs in my other blog. I realized that it's difficult to maintain so many blogs. The old photos will still be there for archive, but no more new updates there.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Check out my DIY flash diffuser!

Lookie lookie... EOS350D + 430EX + DIY Flash Diffuser

Check out the largish light source!

Problems: it's too flimsy, difficult to attach/detach. How, how?

Stupid driver

This morning, on the way out from Subang Jaya into Federal Highway, the traffic was quite heavy. Long queues formed on all lanes. There I was on the right lane, and there was a red Saga in front of me. There was a considerably adequate gap between the Saga and the car in front. There was then this Myvi that signaled and started to cut in front of the Saga from the left lane.

The stupid Saga driver immediately sped up and blocked the Myvi from cutting in! The Myvi was surprised and tried to pull back into the left lane to continue on. The stupid red Saga driver then cut to the left in front of the Myvi thus preventing the Myvi from proceeding forward. The Myvi then started to sound the horn loudly and repeatedly. The Saga responded with the horn as well. The Myvi, frustrated by the Saga driver's stupidity, cut out to the furthest left lane and sped off, cut back in later in front. The red Saga driver started waving his fist like a mad dog, scolding and gesturing violently. Later on, the Saga passed by the Myvi again, and the Saga driver slowed down, looked at the Myvi driver, and started scolding and gesturing before driving off.

Ironically, the Saga then signaled to cut left in order to go towards Glenmarie. It's too bad that he did not do so in front of the Myvi, otherwise I'm sure we would have seen full blown road rage escalation!

Friends, please drive with patience and please be careful on the road. You'll never know when there will be this type of stupid drivers on the road.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Recent Events

Yesterday, Lina Joy was denied freedom to change her religion.

Yesterday, I sent 450 pictures to be printed in Fotokem Sunway Pyramid.

Today, my newly joined colleague expressed his wish to resign from the company.

Today, the 27th INCOVAR Dhamma Camp officially begins in SJBA.

Today, is the 31st of the month, i.e. 31% discount for Baskin Robbins ice cream.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Drooling for a compact?

This is arguably a very stylish compact camera. The IXUS 850IS from Canon may be half a year old already; but is true wide angle lens (28mm equivalent), coupled with high ISO and Image Stabilizer capabilities make it a great party camera. It's currently retailing for around RM1400 with 1GB SD card, so it's still quite expensive for a point-and-shoot. This is not surprising, given the 850IS is actually a lifestyle product that happens to make good pictures. Design and branding are paramount, while image quality and usability are 2nd priority.

There is a replacement already announced (IXUS 950IS) that has higher resolution, but drops the wide angle lens (which is really a shame). Wide angle is so much more useful than telephoto, unless of course you plan to snoop around and be a pseudo peeping tom/private investigator.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Congratulations Suky & Yap!

My ex university friends Suky and Yap were wedded yesterday.

Congratulations to both of you and may you enjoy each other's company for the rest of your lives together!

Thanks for the "entertainment" during lunch too ;)

Congratulations Jsun & Joy!

My ex colleague Jsun (Tho-San a.k.a Jsun-chai) and my ex university mate Joy Teoh were wedded last last Saturday.

Congratulations and may you have a wonderful future together!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I know what I want next

After intensive photography in Europe last month, I realize what I'm missing in my arsenal... a super wide angle lens!

Yes... those buildings were so huge, those landscapes were so breathtaking... I definitely need a super wide angle!

EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, price around RM2.5K...

Start saving!

Canon oh Canon...

Nikon has already in market the 18-200mm VR lens which is high in demand and low in supply.

Sigma has already in market the 18-200mm and recently announced the 18-200mm OS.

Tamron has already in market the 18-200mm and even an 18-250mm lens.

The question to Canon is.... when are you gonna release a super zoom lens for digital SLR's ??!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Kadar Pembayaran Tol Terowong Bijak

Mr. Arrogant has been in the news lately, proclaiming that the toll rates for the terowong bijak will be very high. Guesstimates from the public has placed the rates at as high as RM4 for the 4km stretch, making it the most expensive tolled road in Malaysia.

Here's what we should expect instead.

Tempoh Tol (RM)
2007 - 2009 2.00
2010 - 2014 3.00
2015 - 2019 4.00
2020 - 2024 5.00
2025 - 2029 6.00
2030 - tamat 7.00

When the toll rate is announced, we will anticipate Mr. Arrogant spewing his nonsense about how the government managed to negotiate a lower toll rate and how caring and understanding the government is to reduce the burden on the public, bla bla bla.

How to convince the unconvinced?

I had a brief moment of realization recently, when a friend mentioned that he will continue to vote for the BN because there is no viable opposition that can handle being in the government position.

It was then that it struck me, I'm really unprepared to "evangelize" those around me who are either:
1) genuinely satisfied with the present administration
2) complacent and going where the wind blows
3) hoodwinked by government propaganda
4) ignorant and maintaining status quo

I can't do much about those in the 1st category, but I can definitely do my part to convince those in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th categories that with a better opposition representation in Parliament, we will have better access to our wishes as citizens of this nation.

Recently I've been doing a lot of reading. It doesn't matter if it's pro government (all mainstream media and some websites), pro opposition (mostly blogs) or neutral standing. With more information, I am able to see more than what the government feeds me via UMNO/MCA controlled newspapers.

Nonetheless, I wonder now what is the best way to "evangelize" the non-believers. I don't want to convert them into blind believers of the opposition. In this respect, I choose to use the Buddhist concept of Ehipassiko (come and see). I wish to instil Right Understanding and not blind faith. The question is, how?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


There's a situation that I need to face together with elsf... it's a situation that nobody expected and yet it is happening... we have to be strong to face the troubles that lie ahead... nobody wished for it to happen and yet it is happening... what can we do... pray?

Now have to think about all the different possibilities to make it better... it will take commitment... resource... time... sacrifice... but all in the name of love...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

An experience with robbery...


Active discussion going on here (still no news on mainstream media) and

explicit photos here (PG strongly advised).

Original post:

This post by Kit is so relevant to what I'm about to relate now.

There we were, shopping in Subang Parade at approximately 8.30pm. We were walking around LG floor, near The Chicken Rice Shop, when suddenly I heard a loud boom. My initial thought was that there was some renovation work and someone dropped something. Then the second boom came, and I saw around me people ducking and running away. I knew then that there was something wrong happening, possibly gun shots, possibly a robbery in progress. I ducked and told my wife to do the same. Moments later, we ran as fast as we could and hid the World of Sports shop.

Overall, more than 10 shots were fired. The Poh Kong (I think...) jewelry shop was robbed. According to hearsay, 2 security guards and 1 robber were shot dead.

It's despicable, isn't it? Violent crimes happening in such public places as a shopping complex!

I truly hope that the perpetrators will be caught and punished to death.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Monster 18x Optical Zoom camera from Olympus!

Typical compact cameras have 3x optical zoom lenses.

More sophisticated compacts have slightly more, such as the 3.8x offered by the Canon IXUS 850IS.

Mid sized zooms will offer 4x to 6x optical zoom, such as the Canon Powershot A710IS.

Bridge cameras typically top the zoom range with 10x to 12x zooms, such as the Canon Powershot S3 IS.

Now, a new monster from Olympus, the SP-550 UZ, offers an 18x optical zoom lens together with CCD-Shift image stabilizing mechanism!

While image quality is yet to be seen and proven, the mere thought of holding such a powerful tool will be too much to resist! Imagine, having the full convenience of anything from a moderately wide angle lens to a full telephoto, all in compact body! The 28mm-504mm equivalent lens will please any photographer, from wide landscape and architectural perspectives, to normal view, to mild telephoto for portraiture work, to telephoto for landscape and creative composition, to super telephoto for sports and wildlife application! All this without the fuss to change between lenses or bodies.

I eagerly await similar contraptions from established makers Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Panasonic, Sony, et al...