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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Claustrophobic!

I never thought I be scared of anything not least being claustrophobic. I was quite sure I had no fear of anything or at least none that I know of yet. That was the question the radiographer asked me and I assured him that no I wasn't claustrophobic. But like they said, hindsight is always 20/20.

Anyway, I got myself prep up for this procedure. Not that I not been through this before so when I saw the gleaming machine with its tunnel like chamber, it was a familiar sight. So was the loud sound. As instructed, I put my head into the head holder. The guy put 2 paddings on the side to keep my head in place and told me not to move. He gave me a buzzer thingy to hold and told me to press it if I need help. I was like - are you serious?

Then the cover came down over the head. There was a glass panel for me to see through so I wasn't in darkness. The guy told me to close my eyes, not to move and then the machine started. The all familiar sound came on. The ear plug I had inserted didn't seem to help much though but actually the sound was rather reassuring. Then it happened! I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe. There was a queasy feeling in the stomach and I thought I was going into a panic attack. I had never experience something like that before. And to make it worse, I couldn't move at all. Actually I could move but then the procedure will have to be prolonged until they can get a proper reading. So I stuck it out. I opened my eyes and immediately I felt better. So I choose to keep my eyes open and look at the shadows, the little bit of the lab that I can see from the little glass panel. I also found that trying to swallow help but was worried that the slight movement of the mouth and throat may affect the reading. Every now and then the urge to scream and push everything away came but I fought hard to resist it.   So this was how it was like being buried alive. I thought to myself. Fortunately, my time is not up,

But eventually after what seems like an eternity, the radiographer came in. It was only 30 minutes but this was probably the longest 30 minutes of my life.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Crab Buffet at Brizo Park Hotel Clarke Quay

Last year I went for the crab buffet at Park Royal at Beach Road. There was supposed to be at least 14 variety of crabs dishes. Unfortunately, the night we were there, we only counted a few. Apparently they do not serve all the 14 at one go and the dishes are rotated so depending on the time and day, we will not get to try all the different crab dishes. Despite these, it was still good value for money as on top of the crab dishes, there was the usual buffet food including the popular sashimi and roti prata. 

Well the crab buffet is back and the crowd are flocking to it and we couldn't get a table on the night that we wanted. In the end, we ended up at another crab buffet at what we thought was a sister hotel but which was actually a competitor. And which was where we ended up at what I think is possibly the most value for money crab buffet with not 14 but 19 crab dishes! And mind you, all 19 dishes are laid out at the buffet table without any other food to distract. Really a crab lover's heaven!


Let see - there is the cheese crab or is it the salted egg crab?

 One of the best - steamed crab with egg

Fried rice with crab meat

Flower crab cooked in some Italian way which nobody at the table like. Too unconventional for our taste bud

Cold crab, Alaskan crab, scallop and mussels

Soft shelled crab, crab claw and baked crab in shell

All in there were supposed to be 19 crab dishes including crab laksa, steamed crab, cheese crab, salted egg crab, chilli crab, black pepper crab, baked crab, In fact there were only 3 non crab dishes - a vegetable, a chicken and a bak kut teh and of course the  dessert section. Speaking of dessert, they don't serve the usual scoop ice cream. Instead, they have mini magnum, mini cornetto, potong ice cream and magnolia sherbet ice cream in a mini tub!

So you can gorge yourself silly on all the crabs and got no other food to distract you. And it only cost $55.00++ with a free parking throw in. That is really value for money considering that nowadays most buffet is priced from $68 ++ onwards. There is also some credit card promotion to sweeten the taste and for those who drink, throw in another $35.00 for free flow wine, beer and soft drink. Seriously worth it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Durian Makan 2014

The first durian makan for this year. This time with a group of running friends at the usual place at East Coast Rd. The desire to eat is still there but the stomach capacity has shrink and cannot eat so much.





This is what left of the fist or is it 2nd round of the durian. I think between the 9 of us, we ate at least 50 durians.

I think there is another round coming up soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

River Safari & Amazon River Quest


Went back to the River Safari. Last visit was slightly over 6 months ago and the "boat ride" had not started then. To get to the boat ride, there is an extra $5.00 on top of the entrance fee. But frankly was a bit disappointed with the ride though.


The ride was the sort of lazy river ride that one get nowadays in the big water park. Just that we sat in flat bottom boat which winds round a small area of the park. There are supposed to be a number of animals along the way but maybe we were too early or it was too hot. We only got to see a few of the animals like this capybara, some howler monkey and some pig like animals.

The rest of the animals like the Brazilian Tapir, jaguar, giant anteater, wolf and some smaller monkeys were not visible at all.

Then there are the birds. The flamingoes were behind a netting which was kinda disappointing but there was a small flock of red bird - scarlet ibis(?) and they seems to be flying freely.

Of course the highlight of a visit to the Singapore River Safari is the panda and this time round we managed to see both of them and their cousin the Red Panda. Much more fruitful than the last trip.

This is Kai Kai
This is Jia Jia

The pair of Red Panda seems very stressed compared to the one we saw at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. I think it is because the enclosure is in an enclosed area and too near to the visitors.

Anyway, in my opinion, the Amazon River Quest is not worth the $5.00 especially if there is a long queue. But on the other hand, $5 is not too much and it is definitely better than the boat ride at the Bangkok Safari World where there are no real animals!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

There something called "Choice"

Our little red dot is making it to the international media circuit again. Probably apart from Brazil, we are getting the most laugh internationally for all the things that are coming out from our shore. And I am not talking about the STPB made in Philippines' video or the National Council on Problem Gambling.anti gambling during World Cup 2014 advertisement.

The National Library's decision to withdraw 3 children books in response to public feedback that they are not "pro-family" is getting a lot of flaks from angry citizen and a lot of ridicule from the rest of the world. And in what must be a first for the government and the NLB, some writers are withdrawing their support and co-operation with the NLB in protest against the actions by the NLB.

Of course as in everything, there are 2 camps for this saga. One side is the so called "pro-family" camp who I suspect are actually not so much pro family but anti LGBT. The other  camp surprisingly is not the LGBT camp but the anti censorship camp. There have been arguments thrown back and fro - in the main steam media, social media and debate in companies and coffee shop. The gahmen has weighed in that the NLB was only responding to "community noms" whatever that mean.

Personally, I haven't read the 3 books and probably never will. But I am pissed that the NLB is allowing a few individuals to dictate what the rest of society can read. To me its not about the content of the books. It not about the LGBT movement. In fact I am very much anti-gay because I think the gay community is predatory and engage in sexual grooming of the young kids. But I don't care which hole they want to poke and what they want to suck. Its their lives after all.

But when some individuals hiding under the disguise of  "pro family" try to dictate what the larger community can read or watch, then it is not right. Just what exactly is pro family anyway? Isn't a single mum with 2 kids, 2 parents living together a family? How about 2 orphaned brothers staying together? They not family? So I find this demand by these people very silly and disgusting.

There will be always something that we don't agree with. Some of them are pure illegal - like porno, drugs and bomb making - these are things that should be banned for the greater good of the society. But where do you draw the line when it comes to other things that are not so clear cut? This is where there is something called "Choice". Yes even in dictatorial Singapore where the gahmen dictates most of what we can or cannot do, we still can make a lot of choice.

So we can choose to read a book or choose not to read it if we don't like its contents. We can choose not to watch a movie if we don't like the subject, the actors or the plot. We can choose what radio program to listen to and so on. Singapore is already stifling enough. We don't need any moral policeman running around telling us what we can or cannot read. If this continue, we end up like some Middle Eastern countries where there are characters going around telling women what they can or cannot wear.

So to those morons who keep writing to this agency or that to complain, you have a choice. If you don't like the naughty deejays on the radio channels, there are at last count at least 6 other radio channels to switch over to. Don't write in to complain every time you hear one of them made a dirty joke. If you don't like a particular movies because there are scenes of people doing things that you do not like to do to your partners, don't ask for it to be banned. Just don't go and watch it. And if there are any books with contents that offends you or may "corrupt" your children, pick another book. The NLB has millions of  books. 

And talking about corrupting the children, some of these people have argued that their children may pick up the books themselves, read it and get the wrong idea. Therefore they must be protected. Get real people. Children especially those who goes to the Children section are too innocent to understand the contents fully. Using the Tango book as a example, the children will be thinking what wonderful penguins the 2 male penguins are to take in an orphan. I am very certain that they are not going to wonder whether they will become gay just by reading the book. 

But the other thing is, as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children the right values. We cannot protect them from all the evils in the world. Our job is to teach them how to discern what is right and wrong. And if they innocently stumble on something that is undesirable, rather than try to brush, use the opportunity to discuss the situation with the child. Don't try to will it away because it will never work.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Moths in Kota Kinabalu

We went for lunch at this place at Bundu Tuhan. Apart from our group, there was no other customer. But there were a lot and seriously a lot of moth. None of those gigantic moth that we are seeing now in Singapore but small one, medium size one, plain one and colorful one and one odd shape one. Too bad I only had a compact camera with me and with the poor lighting indoor these was the best that I could manage.

This was on a door frame. It would have blend well if it was on a tree trunk

One of the smaller one but so beautiful

The biggest moth that we seen

Another one on a door frame. What with moth and door frame?

This small one looks like ready to take off soon.

The odd shaped moth. Very difficult to get it fully in focus with the compact camera

Another beauty

And this one is the brightest looking of the lot

I love the pattern on this one

This one looks like the same species as the first one but is more white

Can anybody name all the moths?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Journey to Mt Kinabalu - the Boring part

The first thing after we landed was to get food and for the 3rd successive time that I been here, we went to this place Selara Kg Air for seafood dinner. We first discovered this place during our first visit way back in 2008 and thought the food was pretty good but now, I think it is overpriced and pure mediocre. And I cannot stand the way they stuff the still alive mantis prawn in plastic bottles and leave them in the tank. But still there were a few seafood outlet to choose from and we didn't have to be too concerned with who don't eat what and it was near enough to our hotel for us to walk to.

Talking about hotel, we stayed at the Best Western Kinabalu Daya hotel. It was cheap enough but my advice to those going there to stay - don't. Firstly, they put us in rooms that had no windows and I really detest that. And worse, our friend Tony was trapped in the lift after we returned from our climb and the hotel actually called the police for help with the result that a fire engine, an ambulance and a police car came - all just to rescue poor Tony. So don't stay there not even if it is near to town.

The only advantage in staying here is that it is right opposite this place where Tony bought us to shop for trekking stuff. The shop turned out to be a department store but it had no brand trekking pole for sale at RM15 and all sort of hiking gears at dirt cheap prices. 

After checkout, we proceeded to our first destination but en route we stopped at this place which overlooks the Kinabalu range for a group photo and some shopping.
At Pekan Nabaru
Lunch was at this place which had more moths than customers. More about the moths in another post later but the food was cheap and it kept us full. And best of all, there was another magnificent view of the mountain range


Our next call was this place called the Don Bosco Children's Home.
Part of our fees for the climb went to the benefits of the children of Don Bosco Children's Home. The lovely children performed some songs for us before the warden asked us to distribute our gifts to them. Tony had also used part of the proceeds to buy some food stuff for the home while we had bought some stationery items from Singapore as well as some candy from the local supermarket.

Our last place was our home for the night before our climb the next day, the Mesilau Nature Centre. 


It was a beautiful place surrounded by trees and plants. We stayed in chalets which had 3 rooms all of which come with ensuite toilets and heater. The only blight was the food they served. Every thing was so oily, from the curry to the vegetables to the pasta. Maybe they think the climbers need fuel to climb the mountain and so they decided to lend a helping hand by providing us with oil for fuel! But this was our start point for our attack on the summit and so we had no choice but to endure.......

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