Just for fun

Postcard from… Taiping

Same old me, always delaying. Today is exactly one week since coming home from Taiping. Yeah, Luke and I backpacked to Taiping! It was one hell of a trip as I didn’t really prepare myself mentally or physically to be honest. Two days before the trip I got a call from Luke (herein will be referred to as Lychee or Raymond Lam Fung) out of the blue asking me to be his fellow traveler. I was in the mood of traveling, in fact not long ago I successfully booked tickets via AirAsia to Kuching next year, and poisoning from programs on Discovery Travel & Living and real life influence from my friend, Deco who had recently returned safely from his first ever backpacking trip. So I was quick to reply a yes after short consideration. In the next 48 hours I could be seen in front of the computer, doing this and that, got my ten fingers in ten pies, none of what I did was related to the impending trip though. I was still awake on the night before the trip 0300 hours to blow my wet sandal I washed earlier with a hairdryer.

Of course, as clever as always, I managed to wake up the next morning, although not exactly on time. After a quick bath, and grabbing my gears and gadgets off I go to the Pudu Bus Station with Lychee. You would think we were going on a trip aimlessly wouldn’t you? Well, I certainly know the importance of preparation before a trip. On the bus Luke said he’s nervous LOL.

29 Nov 2009 1200 GMT: After 4 hours of bus journey, we arrived at Kamunting Bus Station 1200 hours sharp. We then continue our journey to Taiping on a taxi although there are omnibus services at the bus station as we figured out it’ll take more time for the bus to leave according to schedule. As a side note, the taxi operators are uniformed in bright orange as required by their association of taxi operators on every Sunday according to our driver. The fares are also fixed accordingly and for ours trip RM8.00 will be charged. I remembered 4 years ago at KL I was charged the double of the price I’m paying now for a similar service. Our driver was kind enough to introduce a few interesting places along the short 15 minutes journey before reaching Taiping. We stopped perfectly at a casual market where a food court is just right in it besides the public taxi station. Time for lunch! We ordered some of the recommended cuisines we saw from internet like Fried Fishball Kueyteow, Popiah, ABC, rojak and Eight Treasures Tea. For certain reasons we actually took quite a long time in ordering food although we had already decided what to eat, maybe it was because of the bags that we were carrying people turn their eyes to us most of the time which made us feel a tad of awkward. Strange to say but there’s a “rule” in the food court that’s if you’re ordering drink from a beverages stall you would be better off sitting nearby to them or else they might not want to serve you even if you order from them. Having satisfying enough of our taste buds, we were on the move again, and off we go to explore the city of everlasting peace, with heaps of historical traces.

around Taiping

clockwise from top left: Taiping Market or Old Market | backview of District Office | 1930-built now shop lot with accomodation service | Kwang Tung Association building

Just when we were about to leave our table a young girl came and said to me I haven’t pay for the ABC. All blame it upon Mr Raymond Lam for he didn’t tell me the drink is unpaid yet. Taiping is a fairly compact town, with two major roads (Jalan Kota and Jalan Taming Sari) stretching from one end to the other end, connecting every parts of the town are the occasion cross streets, which made destinations and places of interest accessible by walking distance. The town also receives the highest rainfalls in the Peninsular, as you can see in the photographs most of the time the skies are cloudy and dark. I saw a man talking on the phone in Cantonese saying some vulgar words cursing the sky because it started to rain.

around Taiping

clockwise from top: cross road like this made up the town of Taiping | Lychee checking his hair in front of an unusable red telephone booth | we had to rely on this map on display in the Perak Museum for the rest of the day | Clock Tower with tourist information counter but it was closed on Sunday, we had no map!

Thanks to Mr Lychee’s bloody brilliant idea to travel on Sunday where some of the most important places like the tourist information counter below the Clock Tower is closed on Sunday! We then went to 7-11 and Popular bookstore to look for a town map but we can’t seem to find any. Eventually we found a map on display in the Perak Museum so we took a picture of it.

around Taiping

top two images: birds lining along on the cable and lamp post besides the Taiping Market | a white stork caught flying across the top of a building

Went into The Store too, no town map as well, but got myself some Carera ball pens (B-1). I don’t understand why must I go hundreds of kilometers away from home to buy a Carera product. The last time I bought the B-1s was at the KB Mall at Kelantan.

around Taiping

clockwise from top left: Perak Museum, we saw it on our way here on taxi | statue of Col. Walker approaching to an old jet fighter besides the museum | tombstones besides a church we passed by on the way to museum | Taiping Prison Dept. | the church we passed by

The way to the Perak Museum by walking is quite a distance away. Pity Lychee for he had to be my “Ah Sei”, my camera bag and tripod were all attached onto his backpack while I only travel light with my camera strapped on my hand and a rather small backpack I carried along. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived at Perak Museum and it started to rain heavily too! Just in time for us to spend in the oldest museum in Malaysia while waiting for the rain to pause. The museum exhibits lots of wildlife and its skeletons in the front hall. As we visit deeper into the inner part of museum only to found it’s still under renovation. Apparently, Sir Hugh Low, the British Resident of Perak founded this museum in 1883.

around Taiping

Luke posing with Mr Choong, former English teacher, the Taiping Market as backdrop

We took opportunity to rest and rejuvenate while waiting for the heavy downpour to stop. That’s the most noisy museum I’ve ever been to in my opinion. Lots of  kids running around and occasionally amaze in enthusiasm. We moved on shortly after rain had stop to the Taiping Prison, if you have sharp eyes you’d probably by now should be able to anticipate what’s next on our storyline. Well, it’s Sunday, the gate is closed! Since we were at the end of our planned journey we figured out it’s time to return to town and look for accommodation before it’s too dark. But things took a twist we somehow lost our way back, and we ended up arriving at another destination, the Taiping Lake Garden. We were not in the mood for sightseeing anymore as the sky is getting darker so we quickly resort to asking a couple of hawkers in that area and we finally managed to return to town.

Back in town, our task was to look for and locate some hotels that we both know through our studies and then check if the pricing is acceptable. We were still unable to settle down after some searching as they were mostly too expensive, fully booked or too far away from town. An old man in his 70s approached us at the corner of a five foot ways while we were busy looking at my camera screen locating street names. He asked us where did we come from and he even asked our names. He introduced himself as Mr Choong then when I agreed with him that I have the same surname like him he excitedly tapped on my shoulder.  He was a friendly and nice man. We chatted for awhile and he went on to become an instant 15-minutes-tour-guide of the town. The best part was he solved our accommodation problem by recommending us two hotels from the same owner whom he knows. We were so grateful for his helping hands and we asked for a photograph with him. He looked a bit worry at first and told us he is too old for photograph and while saying that he checked his hair with bare hands and said no problem. Meeting this gentle old man is never quite in our plan but sometimes this kind of thing just came along and lift our heart and certainly it makes a trip more memorable. At the end of the day, we settled down at the Malaya Hotel for RM40.00 per night. Thanks to a fine old man who just wanted to have his dinner before stumbling upon us.

around Taiping

clockwise from top left: Peace Hotel | another hotel across the street owned by the same owner of Malaya Hotel according to Mr Choong | swallow nests hut built on top of building, there are plenty of them in Taiping | City Council Plaza, the lowest level houses a wet market, we had our breakfast the next morning in the food court thanks to Mr Choong's tip and there's a bowling arena in it too!

30 Nov 2009 0900 GMT: We overslept one hour before waking up reluctantly, after one whole hell day of walking and as a result of that two more corns pop up to make it four under my right feet. Remember the “rule” I mentioned earlier in a food court? We went to the upper floor of the City Council Plaza to have our breakfast and I saw one very old lady, she’s a drink stall operator from far waving to us. Maybe because we looked like tourists. We couldn’t bother enough though as we continued looking for food and a place to sit. I glanced at the old lady by chance when we finally sat down at the other side and the following thing I saw actually hits me very hard. Stepping down from her tall chair I saw an old lady with hunchback walking slowly to other place. I felt a lot for her. She then sat back on her tall chair continued inviting customers. I asked Lychee why is the world so unfair. Supposedly our plan of the day was to visit to Matang or Port Weld at the late morning and then return to Taiping Lake Garden cum Taiping Zoo for the rest of the day. We however screwed up the visiting plan to some places of interest namely the Mangrove Forest and Charcoal Factory at Matang, due to communication and time constraint. We headed back to Taiping on an omnibus for lunch. While on our way to lunch we finally got ourselves the town map we had been looking high and low for at the tourist information counter. As for lunch we had the famous Ipoh Beansprout Chicken and some side dishes at a restaurant close to the Lake Garden before going back to the place where we got lost yesterday.

around Taiping

clockwise from top right: Taiping Lake Garden, former tin mine and oldest lake garden in Malaysia | tourist riding a big swan | the famous branches of rain trees along the street bending toward to lake | Lake Garden of Taiping with Maxwell Hill serving as backdrop | a leafless tree bending toward the lake, ignore Lychee

We decided to take the longest path to Taiping Zoo in the hope of seeing and taking more pictures along the Lake Garden before reaching the zoo. It’s a huge piece of god-made landscape. I enjoyed the breeze air and wind there while walking although it was an afternoon. If I’m to be at there again I’m going to find a suitable spot and just lay and laze there while enjoying the gentle breeze of cool weather.

around Taiping

hidden beauties

The ultimate destination of the day – the Taiping Zoo & Night Safari, showcases variety of animals from Sahara desert to tropical forest in the oldest zoo in Malaysia. The Night Safari is also first of its kind in Malaysia but we chose not to visit it. The entrance ticket was RM12.00 per person. I taught some foreigners Malay language at the zoo. She was looking into an empty cage and I told her it’s an empty cage while pointing to a signboard which says “Kandang Kosong”. She smiled and thanked me and I said no problem.

around Taiping

wild life on exhibition at Taiping Zoo

We spent almost half of the day in zoo seeing animals and taking pictures. We were lucky to pay every corner of the zoo a visit before it closes at 1800 hours. Lychee was looking all over the zoo for a tiger because he think it would be a waste if he can’t get to see a tiger in a zoo. It’s surprising to spot some kangaroos (bottom picture between a lazing Malaya Tiger which Lychee finally found before we go back and a butterfly). I saw a magpie too! It was a Magpie Robin (bottom left), sounds like a very heroic bird. It’s the second time in two weeks I encounter a magpie. I know it’s gonna be my lucky day every time I see a magpie around. And Newcastle beat Watford a few days later.

around Taiping

Ready for Another Round; A zoo staff clearing the walkway after the zoo closes and making way for the Night Safari session.

Catching a taxi in Taiping is fairly difficult. We got lost again while on our way back because the Lake Garden is way too enormous. This time it was already dark when we got back and the first thing we did was looking for food. We took a break at an outdoor food court ordering Waat Dan Hor, lobak, Roasted Duck rice, several pastries and herbal teas as our last dinner at Taiping. We took down the picture of the food on the table and a friendly hawker spoke in a loud tone from far “Wa cameraman ah!”

1 Dec 2009 1000 GMT: It was the last day of our trip. We finished the movie, “Vantage Point” on HBO from the comfort of our room before checking out. We spent the next few hours after brunch shopping before purchasing bus ticket at a counter near to a taxi station and got on a taxi shortly to transfer us back to Kamunting Bus Station. The driver kept talking about prison matters, which made me suspect he could be a former prisoner as he told us lots about what’s inside of a prison. At 1500 hours we bid farewell to the town of everlasting peace. Back in KL, we actually had a short adventure in the heart of the city. We missed out the famous Jalan Alor where we intended to have dinner at while looking for it. We came to the landmark McDonald’s at the centre of Bukit Bintang so we thought it’s not a bad idea also since we never have any burger in it. I apologized for the lack of food photos throughout the whole trip as I don’t have them with me. I hope you enjoy the photos, stories and our journey.

Until the next “Postcard from” update, ciao!

Just another day

A little bit of this and that

The MUET test was released yesterday. Decent band 4 I scored, I didn’t expect that high. Anyway, I’m not going to pay another RM60 to resit again and that’s the short and long of the story. I’m glad that all my mates passed the test quite well. Gary and Luke were so delighted with their results and vowed to treat us a meal.

With the test is finally over, we were mooting our option again. Some of us suggest that we should return to the English class. Others are still in doubt. I’m going back. I like the class a lot actually, although I have to pay RM60 every month, it’s still worth with all the stuff that I’ve learned.

Lastly, I’ve got myself a brand-new USB drive. 4 years ago, I bought an Apacer 64MB USB stick with RM60. That was a junk! It didn’t last for a month until Black destroyed it. I had no idea how he dismantled the fugly piece of metal. Did he repay me? Today, with the same price, I get the world’s smallest USB stick with specifications like faster writing speed, water-proof and lifetime warranty. It’s the PNY Micro Attache 4GB. I still think it’s a little pricey. But that’s the price everyone have to pay for to get hands on new technology gadgets.

Why am I dealing a lot with RM60?

***The era of cheap things is OVER!***

Just for fun

Darren van der Waals is the new Sean Kingston

This time last year, I was soaking myself in the beautiful beach of Langkawi, together with 10 other companions. We went hiking up the hill, trekking down the jungle, hopping round the islands, we just explored the island. Browsing through the photographs that we took during the journey, it was discovered that Darren’s hair were still growing, so I made this:


They are like brothers, aren’t they? And Darren can sing too! This ain’t coexistent. Absurd, nonsensical, wacky are the exclusive adjectives for him. He certainly brings joy to every one who knows him! Erhmm to the new Sean Kingston – Darren van der Waals!

On another note, we stunned Chun Fei and Luke totally with our unique way of birthday celebration. It was crazy. So crazy that it prompts me to think twice that we might had as well stun the whole of McDonald’s. It was just another hard-to-delete memories. Happy birthday to both of you!

In the afternoon, I went to Deco’s place to help him out on his computer. The computer’s performance dragged our time dearly. Deco was so actively encouraging by giving me and Darren treats continuously. I just can’t thank him enough for all the treats.

Just another day


We had our first paintball game today. Desmond suggested to play this game earlier and managed to locate the arena. The arena is located at Sungai Buloh suburb. NoPainNoGain(NPNG) Sports Centre is the name of the arena and it was my first visit. At first I wasn’t a big fan of this game, mainly because of its bombing price. After some heated discussions with the operator, we came to a deal at RM80 per person, bagging along extra 2000 ammos. We had a short but crazy briefing and we’re off to our first paintball game. We chose to play the outdoor arena first and we were divided into 2 teams. Adrian, Revan, Gary, Hong Yau, Wallace and me against Luke, JC, CF, Choobs, Ray, Fred and Desmond. They outnumbered us because Darren pulled out last minutes, refusing to come like a man. Forget about the chicken.

Godness gracious! I drastically turned my feeling 180 degrees as the game get going. All the feeling I had before the game were calm, just calm. When the game started, all sort of burning feelings came into my mind. The first thing I did was to take cover. During the time I was taking cover, I had a thought on how brave it is to be a soldier. When I saw the explosion of paintballs, when I heard the gunshots, when my movements was restricted, when I was trying so hard just to take cover, not to mention it’s so damn difficult to show up to fire, as the bullets will come from anywhere, enemies will lock down at me, it’s no lie that courage is all a person needed! Without it, a person won’t make it. Death is awaits if you don’t step up like a man. It just feels like in a real battlefield. I played so much of Counter Strike, now I finally got the taste of how it is like to be in a cross-fire scenario. I can’t do anything stupid. It’s also very hard to communicate with teammates. Desmond was the first man down, and it signaled the start of his real bad day.

1st round summary: <Capture the Flag scenario @ OUTDOOR> Hong Yau captured the flag thus we won the first game. I fall down when rushing to take cover. Haha. I got shot in the head! Chun Fei’s arm can be seen bruised so seriously, and it really freaked us out! Overall, first round was a bit of flat and slow-paced, mainly because of it was our first try. But every one were starting to get into the game I guess.

2nd round summary: <Capture the Flag scenario @ OUTDOOR> Luke captured the flag thus opposition won the second game. My machine got malfunction when the game just got going! I managed to fix it and carry on. I got shot in the head again this time! Damn! And the explosion of paintball left my wrist bruised, but it wasn’t that painful this time.

3rd round summary: <Last Man Standing scenario @ INDOOR> We moved into the indoor this time and changed the game scene as well. The team who managed to eliminate the other team win it. We won it this time. Desmond suffered the most wounds of the day in this round. Desmond was the last one of the rival team, already down shot by someone, somehow some of the fellas failed to control their fire and kept shooting at him, leaving 4 bruises on his thigh. Desmond lay on the ground suffering in agony and the game ended all of us wonder what had happened to him. When we looked at his wounds, it was really OMG!

4th round summary: <Last Man Standing scenario @ INDOOR> The marshal joined us to break even of the numbers of players in each teams. WOW! This game ended in the blinking of an eyes. As soon as the game started we advanced so deep up front and all of us keep firing at rivals. It was full of offensive and IT WAS SO EXCITING! One by one opponents down and down, and the game was over! Zizizizi. There was a moment when the marshal mistook Adrian as rival and was about to shoot him. Quickly, Adrian shouted “Kaki nang kaki nang!!! Jangan tembak!” which made every body LOL.

5th round summary: <Last Man Standing scenario @ OUTDOOR> This time, we went up to a hill slope. Wow. This place is a hell! I can imagine how the communists had war up on a slope. Without enough caution, I can easily fall down and crash on the rocks, cracked glasses and trunks. We had a round here and the opponents won it. GOSH! I got shot on my backbone and it was OLALA. So painful! Luke suffered the most severe injury of the day during this round. Gary shot at close range result in Luke’s ankle burst into a wound like a volcano hole! That really freaked every body else out!

6th round summary: <Last Man Standing scenario @ OUTDOOR> Enough of dungeon experience, we went back to our first playgound. This time JC got it all wrong when he rushed up to the flag station but it turned out the game was not a Capture the Flag game! He joked that he search deep into the sand to find the flag! We won this game.

Last round summary: <Last Man Standing scenario @ OUTDOOR> With our ammos nearly out of supplies, it was the last game which we won it again. We worked out so well and that’s the reason we won it. When I was about to fire the remaining bullets, my machine turned into the automatic mode, it fired for a decent times automatically. Somewhat thanks to God as the bullets didn’t unleashed from the weapon. I was surprised and every one were shocked. I immediately lock the safety pin to prevent it from firing again. Realizing there were still remaining bullets in my weapon, I couldn’t possibly imagine the outcome if the bullets were to unleashed from my weapon as it will surely give my mates a hard time.

End of the day, there are too many casualties, with Luke and Desmond grabbed away the Most Severe Wound award and the For the Love of Paintball Marks award respectively. I don’t know I should come back for this game or not. But for one thing I really enjoyed it!


some says I looks like Kevin Cheng in his upcoming TVB series, Forensic Heroes II

Just another day

CNY don’t be late

Everybody in the class seems so gloomy and cheerless. Everybody was sitting, waiting, wishing, please will the bell ring earlier? I wish to get out from these awkward situation now! These days school hours have been extended 10 minutes. Until the teacher started to poke fun of us by questioning the silence in the class. Finally there is some heated arguments among the students and the teacher. The class is live again! All of us started to gel together, even if it’s a teacher. Suddenly, I realized so much that the school has so many DDDs to offer to my eyes! Wow. It was quite amusing for geeks like us to sit in the canteen after school, keep signaling each other 3 o’clock, 7 o’clock, 12 o’clock, etc. turning around our neck to spot the DDDs. There was one moment, something’s wrong with Deco as he shouted 9 o’clock so loudly and as we turned our way to 9 o’clock, the DDDs also alerted by the shout of Deco and turned their attention to us. Quickly we remove our sights from them and can’t pause laughing, feeling embarrassed. Godness gracious! That was classic! Oh DDD!!! Earlier, we were all informed about the suspension from school due to past truanting records. Wow. I get a 4 days off! Luke and Darren both get 5 days off! If the execution starts before CNY or after CNY, I can get extra 4 days free from school and I’m off to enjoy my CNY holidays! I’m already getting the feel of CNY this instance, CNY tops my festivals list without a doubt! In Spain there is a festival called Tomato Festival where people enjoy throwing tomatoes to each other. So this year if possible I want to cast oranges into the lake on the Yuan Xiao 😛 CNY really means lots to me. Television shows are packed with myriad festival programmes, everybody’s started to be nice wishing each other, stalls selling dried meat and mandarin oranges are set up along the roadside, streets are well-decorated with red lanterns, shopping complexes crowded with people who are rushing to buy CNY stuff last minutes, and so much more. You gotta feel it yourself. One year one time I’ll make sure I won’t miss it! Apart from getting angpau and new clothes, I get to reunite with mates and relatives. It has been 3 years since my last home-going to Kedah. I really miss it! But the people at Kedah communicate in Teo Chew and to tell the truth I’m not well-versed in it meaning to say even if I go back I won’t communicate much with the elders. Anyway it won’t drive down my passion as I feel it’s well worth already even if it’s just to get a taste of the CNY at there. The only drawback of CNY is that, grandma is aging causing the culture of gathering among the relatives here at KL has already long gone =( Those were the time when I was still a kid and I really miss it! CNY creates so much of moments, simply amazing! I LOVE CNY

infinite prosperity
I don’t want angpau I want DDD! 😛