Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The end of the holidays and the beginning of my 2nd semester of the 3rd year

Just got back to Kota Kinabalu today, although class is supposed to officially start on Monday. Gosh, the past semester break feels like the shortest semester break for me. Been back home for about 2 and a half weeks only due to my trip with my friends in Sabah. And within the 2 and a half weeks, i was busy getting food poisoning in the beginning, then busy recovering, busy resting, busy going online, busy formatting my laptop and towards the end, busy going out with friends, busy packing and busy worrying about this semester. After all those "busy-ing" i still haven't had enough rest, not enough time to go meeting friends and time online to get me satisfied to the point i normally do during my past semester breaks. It has only been about 6 hours since i arrived and i'm missing my bed, and the basic amenities (internet, electricity, water supply) back in Penang. And, i'm so looking forward to the Chinese New Year break.

A check of my time table for this semester almost got me crazy! It is classes from 0800 hrs to 1700 hrs almost everyday from Monday to Saturday. Yes, Saturday! and i already have an assignment pending... Thinking about how tough it was last semester and the results that i had obtained already made me unready for this semester. Also, i have my internship to worry about as this semester ends.

Well, there's only one way to go - forward. Hopefully I can cope with what's coming ahead.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rumors: Fake eggs from China

I'm sure many of you have came across this "Fake eggs from China" e-mail. I can't believe it the first minute i saw it. Well, i thought it was possible to make such an egg but not possible to sell it in the market at a cheaper price.

Let these articles explain everything:


Read that, and there's nothing much left to be said about this hoax.

Busted!! No such fake eggs in the market.

Rumors: Plastic seaweed from China

Today, mom decided to cook seaweed soup. Upon opening a packet of seaweed, she recalled an e-mail claiming that seaweeds from China are fake and are made from plastic. So, she called me over to check whether that packet was from China. Indeed it was. So, she freaked out, thinking whether or not to throw the seaweeds away and cook another type of soup.

Here are some of the pictures from the e-mail:

The packet of seaweed she opened wasn't of this brand though

Ok, although they look like plastic in the pictures, but aren't they supposed to look like that?

I did a search in google and found this:

(more pictures and news items in the link)

Apparently the rumor started from Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand. A women claimed that the packet of seaweed she bought was actually plastic or rubber as it was very chewy. And in the picture, it looked stretchable, like plastic!!

After that, the Bangkok Post reported that tests ran by the Thai Food and Drug Administration show that the seaweeds were real.

So, this is what i think. It could be that the rumor is fake altogether or it could have been that a batch of seaweeds actually got contaminated by plastic? Well, this are just the impressions i got. But, what's for sure is that not all (or none) of the seaweeds from China are made from plastic. However, since there are all sorts of food contamination in China, this may not be impossible as well.

For me, i'm not a believer of e-mail rumors, and thus, believe that seaweed from China is safe for consumption. To be safe, it is better not to buy it, but if i already have a packet, i will not waste it by throwing it away just based on rumors, besides, it is not that i'm going to consume it on a daily basis.

A check in the kitchen just now shows that the soup is now - vegetable soup!! What a waste!! thanks to e-mail rumors...

Monday, December 14, 2009

10Sabah: The outcome

Finally I find the time to write this post. This is the my 4th day in Penang since I'm back from Sabah and have just finished editing and uploading selected photos to Facebook - which totaled to some 200+ !! First of all, i have to mention that the "welcome" to Penang wasn't too pleasant. I had food poisoning on Thursday. After a gathering with some freinds at McDonald's Jian Fa, Eng Hua and I decided to have our late dinner since neither of us wanted to take dinner in McD. We ended up somewhere in Jelutong where i took Koay Teow soup and Soy Milk. That very night, i was arranging my photos to the wee hours of the night because we were supposed to compile our photos the next day at Jian Fa's place. Well, at his place because he will be going back to Johore on Saturday and we wanted to show him our pics. So, while doing that, suddenly i feel some discomfort in my stomach. Well, i went to bed. The next morning, vomiting, purging, blah blah... i would not like to talk about it anymore. Eng Hua was feeling a little discomfort himself but Jian Fa was fine. Good for him. Too bad I can't make it to his house that day, we only get to meet for just a few hours this semester break. Start missing him already :(

Alright, now, the main topic - the Sabah trip!

It started off with last minute decisions - a bunch of them! Wei Leong deciding not to follow, Michelle forgetting her MyKAD, Michelle coming later, Michelle and Chun Khai leaving early, me having to get rid of Isly, flight delayed, etc... WOW!!! just as i thought things were in place, more things happened. (Guys, if you guys are reading this, i do not blame you guys for this, i truely understand, things do happen when we do not want them to) Thanks to Grace for her quick thinking, and Willie providing transport, transportation problems were solved easily. Much of these happened "behind the scenes" when the trip has started for the 7 of them. And, the trip started for me when:

these guys arrive...


So, let the trip reviewing begin!

Day 1
  • Monsopiad Cultural Village, Penampang
My first time here!! But, bad weather - raining. Took rice wine, which taste kind of good, watched some cultural performances, played some of the games and looked around the area. Nice place to get to know more about the Kadazandusuns. I think some of the activities were not available that day maybe due to the time or power failure or weather. My friend got to "eat" the sago tree worm and try out their traditional costumes the last time they were there.

  • 1Borneo Hypermall
Raining... what can we do?? go to the mall!! Dinner at NewYorkNewYork. Everyone was complaining about the price of the food, so we shared 1 giant burger, 1 small plate of spaghetti and 2 slices of sandwich. What?!?!

Day 2
  • Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
Got a deal for RM 40 for a 4 islands island hopping trip. (I wonder why Pulau Gaya is not included) My first time to these islands, eventhough i've been in KK for 2 and a half years already... ha ha... First off was Manukan - blah... then Mamutik, which was slightly better, then a ride through Sulug, which was said to be haunted and thus, abandoned, and finally Sapi, which i think is the nicest so far, but - raining... :( Overall, i think the islands are a nice getaway from KK but not worthy to be a marine park judging from its current state - dead corals and pollution. However they can be considered clean for being so near a huge city. I think conservation efforts should be stepped up to protect these islands before things get worse!
  • Tanjung Aru
Believe it or not, i've never been there before as well, eventhough KKIA T2 is so near and i've used it like over 10 times! Opinion? one word - polluted. Oh yea, and where's the starfish? hermit crabs are abundunt though...
  • Sutera Harbour
Same old place... ha ha... I was enjoying taking night pics but the others looked like zombies already... too tired??

Day 3

Going to the east coast!! yay!! Never been there before. It will be the eastern most part of the world i've ever been to and also the furthest away from home.
  • Tawau
Flight from BKI to TWU was like: "We'll be landing shortly..." and i was like: What? that was really very "shortly". Then the bus ride to the town centre was so hell long. From the info i've collected, it is 31km! This gives me the feeling that Tawau Airport has the potential to be expanded into a mega airport in the future.

The rest of the day was spent walking around town as there's nothing much to do or see there. (Thanks to Angela for bringing us around). My impression of Tawau is like Sinsuran and Segama on steroids. The town centre feels like a huge Sinsuran + Segama. And i was surprised to see the murky seawater there. The first place in Sabah where i find murky seawater.

Day 4
  • Semporna
The day started damn early in order to get to Semporna by 0730 hrs to catch the boat to Mabul. The ride was around 2 hrs from Tawau - and a costly one RM 30 per person per trip. Well, i wasn't sure about the transport around there, so... sorry guys...

Didn't have much time to walk around Semporna. We got on to the jetty right away. The seawater is super clear but full of rubbish!

  • Mabul

Again, super clear water but RUBBISH!!! All sorts of starfish can be spotted when we approached the island. I've not seen so many of them in my life! We were picking them up and playing with them near the stilt village.

Snorkeling trip around the island was cool!! nice corals and marine life.

  • Kapalai
The sunken island. We only did snorkeling there, would have loved to take a look at the water bungalows... the water was so shallow and the corals were within reach... all those tentacles... yucks!! he he...

Day 5

  • Lahad Datu
Only stopped over for lunch in the outskirts. Passing through the town, it seemed bigger than Beaufort!

  • Sandakan
Our destination. We arrived just before evening after a 6 hour bus ride from Tawau. Ouch!! Sandakan is a very weird town. everything is so spread out. town centre to the east, another part of the town to the south, suburbs far west, Sepilok further west, airport to the north... where's the town planning?? We had been given suggestions to stay in one of the suburbs where good food is readily available but then it is so far from the tourist attractions in the town centre. well, maybe next time, since we've already tried the town centre...

Dinner was unforgettable! Seafood steamboat!! i think i've never eaten so many prawns before... how unhealthy! ha ha... Thanks a million to Pei Hong for bringing us around that night ;)

Day 6

  • Sepilok
The star attraction of Sandakan must definitely be the Orang Utan! But, let's rewind a little, tickets are sold at 10 am, next is at 2pm. So, we detoured to Rainforest Discovery Centre, just next door. New place, and it's nice and very informative. And guess what? RAIN... We moved on, nevertheless, under umbrellas. The canopy walk is very interesting. It is built on the ground and suspended on towers, rather than the conventional tree to tree canopy. It is not as challenging as the tree to tree canopy walk but i find it kinda cool.

And now back to the Orang Utan Sanctuary. Guess what again?? well, guess yourselves!! Hint: it got us wet. It was too bad that we only saw 4 Orang Utans. I hope they are not the only ones left. There were lots of monkeys though... It was kinda funny to watch the monkeys stealing the food meant for the Orang Utans.

  • Sandakan
We met Pei Hong again, and we dined at Mile 5 (if i remembered correctly). and after that, we spontaneausly decided to watch a concert organized by Sports Toto. There were 3 artists performing, i only remember 余畑龙, a Hakka singer, as i've heard one of his songs before: 海边看飞机. He's pretty talented, but in my opinion, his mandarin sounds a little odd.

Day 7

  • Sandakan
Sunday morning. What's a sunday morning if it is not for a walk in the market. And that's pretty much all we did that morning in Sandakan. A walk to the central markent and next, to the sunday morning market.

when checking in for our flight back to Kota Kinabalu, we met 余畑龙 again. and we had the opportunity to take a picture together. Yikes!! i didn't know what to say to him. I barely even remember his name... ha ha...

when up in the clouds,

Mount Kinabalu!! cool ey?

and before i've finished flicking through the magazine, "we will be landing shortly" WHAT!! that's the shortest flight i've ever been on.
  • Kota Kinabalu
Filipino Market, night market, supermarket... all the markets... ha ha... Earlier we had dinner in Damai and we shared food amongst ourselves... gosh we looked ugly!! ha ha...

Day 8
  • Kota Belud
Stop over, stretch legs, buy stuff, get annoyed over paying for a toilet that has no running water!! f*** you payed toilets!!!

at the outskirts of Kota Belud is the ostrich farm. all of us felt the presence of Vil Cherd in there. we even get to say things we don't get to and do stuff like petting its head and sitting on its back that we can't do on Vil Cherd.

  • Matunggong
around matunggong area, we went to the Gong Factory in Kampung Sumangkap and Honey Bee Farm in Kampung Gombizau. The eye opener in the Gong Factory is the Giant Gong, probably around 7 m tall. And, in the honey bee farm, we got to taste honey straight from the honey comb... yummy!!

further up, is the Bavanggazo Rungus Longhouse. I've stayed there overnight once, but this time, just a visit, so save on budget. I was told it now costs RM 50 to spend a night there. it was only around RM 30 last time...
  • Tanjung Simpang Mengayau
Sunset!! finally!! after having the rain spoiling the view of the sunset for the past few days, we finally get to see the senset at the tip of borneo.

and then, begins the long and tiring trip back to Kota Kinabalu...

Day 9
  • Kinabalu Park
First stop - Kinabalu Park, near Timpohon gate. Gosh! loved the weather there!! it was cool and foggy and surrounded by alpine forest. Feels like New Zealand!!

  • Kundasang
Vegetables, fruits and flowers anyone?? i only got chicken ass!! ha ha... i can't believe it was that hot in Kundasang. It was also hot as hell the last time i was there. i think i'll bring sunscreen the next time i go to kundasang!

Next up, War memorial. That was the first time i pay to enter a memorial, i think. But it was worth it. The landscaping and garden was well kept and beautiful. at places, it looks like Australia, thanks to the architecture of the structures and the Australian and British flags hung around there.
  • Mesilau
Back up to the clouds. Too bad the road condition to the Dairy Farm was so deteriorated, we can't go in there... should have stopped there, walked in and took a few pics from outside... but anyway... i met Mr. Noob in Mesilau who will be climbing Mount Kinabalu the next day. looking at the entrance to the trail made me wanna climb it too... hopefully i have the chance, or else, i think i just take a plane to Sandakan to have a view of it again... ha ha...

we were unlucky that it was so foggy that day. there was not a single minute that we can catch a glimpse of Kinabalu.

Day 10
  • Karambunai
Been there once, but only to the lagoon. the resort was nice and grand looking. the seafront reminds me of batu Ferringhi but with much wider beach. (which reminds me that i wanna go to hard Rock Hotel... ha ha...)
  • Kota Kinabalu
Had pork organs noodles at Lintas, then an egg tart, then a croissant, then a glass of ice blended coffee at YoYo. I wonder what happened that time, just felt like eating... ha ha...

then we're off to Signal hill, turning into every possible roads there... discovered nice views and nice houses... even stole a few shots of it!! he he....

... and the airport... goodbye, Sabah... Damn!! have to go back again in a few weeks time...

All in all, i would say that it was a trip successfully carried out, although there are a few hiccups and weather problems, and also still within budget (at least for me and Grace, i don't know where the money for the others went to). The most important thing is that all of us had a great time, seen a lot of places and gained lots of experience, even though we were very worn off. I didn't expect to survive these 10 days in the beginning, but i did it!! ha ha...