Feng tau Chinese New Year (a police raid and the great escape)

This New Year is going to be very auspicious for me because we
narrowly avoided being raided by the police. =D It started when we went
to My Place for some good old feng tau action to celebrate the Chinese
New Year.

my place raid 1
1 1/2 Marquis dengan Mandelin biru, lima dan bir.

my place raid 2
Here’s another shot of us, didn’t get everyone in, unfortunately, our convoy of 13 people were scattered at the venue.

sixthseal.com’s My Place video clip [sixthseal.com]
(1.17 MB zip file, right click, save download as)
Extract from the zip file – it’s a .mov file (Requires QuickTime Player)

Click the movie above for a small video clip of the place.

Anyway, much fun was had until exactly 3 am when everyone started leaving in a hurried pace in droves.

Rule #1 – When people start leaving en masse, get off your ass and fucking cabut with them.

I managed to mobilize most of our group and we all headed out of the
place. Not a second too soon, there was a fucking group of police
walking determinedly towards the venue. Hell, the first wave was nearly
at the doorstep and we nonchalantly (as close to nonchalant as we could
manage anyway) took a sharp right. None of us could afford to
get hauled in if you catch my drift. I got into my car with my friend
and drove off, just in time. Close call…

Phone calls were made to ensure that everyone managed to get out
safely and we set a rendezvous point outside a nearby hotel. Bad news,
one person in our group didn’t get out. Last we saw, he was behind the
speakers. By that time, the place was swarming with police – there were
patrol cars, sapu vehicles (those trucks used to load people in for
drug tests) and personnel. I wanted to take a photo but that would be
an extremely stupid thing to do, so unfortunately there’s no raid
photos. We waited a while and turned back to search for our missing

Stroke of luck, he managed to get out as well. πŸ™‚

Alls well that ends well, let me get some nitrazepam and alcohol into me and no one wake me till 4 pm. Party safe everyone.

Chinese New Year visiting photos

The first round of Chinese New Year visitations kick started as I
was awakened at about 1:15 pm by a phone call, and we arranged to meet
at Johnny’s house to start things off:

johnny house
Johnny’s house
L-R: Lee Ling, Daniel, Johnny, Huai Bin (me), Ting Chuan.

Next up is Frank, stopped by his house and played with his kitten. πŸ™‚

frank house
Frank’s house
L-R: Daniel, Ting Chuan, The kitten and I, Frank, Johnny.

Picked Frank up and we headed down to Diana’s place. She’s actually
living in Kuching now, but comes back during Chinese New Year. This is
the first shot (facing inwards):

diana house in
Diana’s house #1
Front row
L-R: Huai Bin (red Quiksilver T-shirt), Doreen (holding the baby, Diana’s eldest sister), Diana, Daphne (Diana’s elder sister).
Back row
L-R: Frank, Ting Chuan, Johnny, Daniel, Lee Ling.

We took another shot facing outwards:

diana house out
Diana’s house #2
Front row
L-R: Daphne, Doreen, Diana, me.
Back row
L-R: Lee Ling, Daniel, Johnny, Ting Chuan, Frank.

Next up is Lisa’s house. Here’s a shot of us:

lisa house
Lisa’s house
The one in the red shirt (not me, the female in the red shirt) is Lisa.
The others can be recognizable from the previous photo captions.

We finally adjourned to Daniel’s place here:

daniel house
Daniel’s house

I’ll have to go out again in a while. I’ll try to reply all the
comments until I have to leave. Chinese New Year, quite busy, my
apologies. πŸ™‚

Chinese New Year in Sibu

A photo story

stringing firecrackers

There’s the stringing of firecrackers over the balcony to avoid using the unwieldy pole method.

shun lee hung cloth

The lesser form of firecrackers (Shun Lee Hung) doesn’t sound as
loud nor does it have a lucky banner (it has a cloth instead) but is a
common replacement considering the dearth of the traditional “fuck you”
loud ass Chinese firecrackers.

firecrackers second floor

We wait for the clock to strike 12 am.

burning firecrackers

Everyone lets off their firecrackers at the stroke of midnight.

red carpet

A red carpet lies in our wake.

dual chai lei

Other shenanigans like lighting two (or three, or four) firecrackers at once can be attempted at this point.

sibu 1

It’s not Sibu if there isn’t a man made fog after midnight! πŸ™‚

sibu 2

We won’t have it any other way. Here in Sibu, Sarawak, we aim to scare away the nien ghost the only way we know how to – light the fuses comrades! πŸ˜‰

Firecrackers in Malaysia – photos, videos and descriptions

A sixthseal.com Chinese New Year special

Coloured Flowers – Chai Lei

colored flowers box

This is the classic Colored Flowers a.k.a. Chai Lei (translates to
“coloured mine”). It costs RM 7 at your friendly local fireworks
retailer – usually operating with a single shutter open and stacks of
canned drinks obscuring the view. Please do not be mislead by the
benign sounding name – Coloured Flowers is a not something you light
and watch the pretty sparks fly. πŸ˜‰

colored flowers
Red and green, intertwined

Well, actually it does sparkle for a bit before it explodes, but
anyway. These are the classics for people getting into all sorts of
mischief i.e. time delay fuse (mosquito coil lar) rigged up, stuck into
toilet cistern and pity the poor guy who’s taking a dump while it goes
off. The time delay fuse is obviously to put a suitable amount of time
between the act and the deed so an alibi can be established.

chai lei fuse
The fuse of the Coloured Flower burns…

This is the Jin Yue Brand ones – the choice of connoisseurs. It
comes in a pack of 20 firecrackers – with 10 green tops and 10 red tops.

chai lei green

The green tops make a horrific shriek (and a green flare if you’re lucky) as the fuse burns into the primer before exploding.

chai lei red

The red one actually produces a nice, short burst of colourful
sparks before exploding. Otherwise, they are similar, the different
color determines how the primer reacts.

coloured flowers green
The green one lights…

coloured flowers red
The red one lights…

I would say that these are louder and more powerful than the new
Coloured Flowers (below). It costs RM 1 extra per box, but it’s worth
the premium.

chai lei explode
Red and green Chai Lei’s explode the same way.

Coloured Flowers – Chai Lei Wang

coloured flowers box

This is the new breed of Coloured Flowers and one which most people
would be familiar with. It’s made by another company and also comes in
a pack of 20. It costs RM 6, one dollar less than the classic ones but
it can hold it’s own to the originals. The box is slightly smaller than
the Chai Lei box and each firecracker is also slightly smaller.

coloured flowers

However Chai Lei Wang (literally “colored mine king”) differs
physically from the first in its effects. It also has a primer but the
primer produces normal flame coloured sparks before the firecracker
explodes. It registers a little lower in the decibel meter but not by
much. These are the common ones that we used to play as children; we’ll
wait for the primer to flame before chucking it.

chai lei wang

We soon learnt that the time it takes after lighting the fuse and
chucking it does not have a direct correlation with the size of one’s
balls and also another more important lesson – Chinese factories does
not have the rigorous quality assurance process that we take for
granted in other factories. Not all Chai Lei Wang has a primer, some
just explode as soon as the fuse burns out, though these are rare.

Here’s a short movie of how the Chai Lei Wang works:

sixthseal.com’s Chai Lei Wang video [sixthseal.com]
(2.84 MB zip file, right click, save download as)
Extract from the zip file – it’s a .mov file (Requires QuickTime Player)

My apologies for the bad take – we shot several times. It sounds
much louder than it does in the video due to hardware limitations. The
first two we messed up, and I forgot to wait till the primer ignites in
the third shot (which is the one you see above) and I did remember in
the forth one, but the cracker rolled into a longkang and it was a bad
take. Also, I noticed I felt the need to protect the family jewels in
the last minute in the video above. Heh. Anyway, the dog got a bit
freaked by the loud noises after that, so we did not attempt any more

chai lei wang 1
This is the primer of Chai Lei Wang burning (not to be confused with
the fuse (forgive the pun), the fuse has already burnt out before the
primer – it lights the primer).

chai lei wang 2
It burns into the cracker…

chai lei wang 3
which explodes.

Disclaimer: Waiting for the primer to ignite is the “correct”
way for teenage boys to play Chai Lei Wang, but is not recommended due
to the variable nature of the primer and fuse.

Dadi Single Voice

dadi single voice

I love these things…I would pick this as my favourite firecracker.
It’s loud and it’s destructive. Throw it too close to a window
and…well, you’ll have to call for the glass cutters. It costs RM 10
for a box of 20 and the premium price is worth it. These babies are
larger than Chai Lei’s (both variants) and leaves a nice red carpet
after it ignites and explodes.

dadi firecracker

The aptly named Da Di Lei Gong (literally “big earth thunder king”)
used to be my favourite when I was young. I remembered a funny incident
from many Chinese New Years back. I was lighting one of these and saw
this rubbish collector trundling along with his basket. Mischief can be
allowed for at that age, so I rigged up a short time delay with a
sparkler. I sauntered back in, and watched from inside my compound as
he reached it…I knew I had the timing right.

dadi lei kung

Just as he was picking up my garbage can, the DaDi cracker exploded
and as I stand here today, I swear he jumped a meter up. Heh. These
things are loud, no doubt about it. πŸ™‚ Anyway, the damage potential of
these firecrackers is all blown (excuse the pun) out of proportion,
IMHO. While its common sense not to hold onto the crackers while it
explodes, anything else is pretty much okay for adults.

dadi fuse

I take the shots close and my digicam lens didn’t crack or anything
(though I have tinnitus in one ear)…even as kids we used to throw
them around and yeah, I can attest that one of these going off right
beside you would not cause any damage (except, as stated previously to
your hearing ;)), did that several times just now while fooling around.
While I won’t make this into a call for the re-legalization of
firecrackers, I feel that there’s no reason to ban what is a
fundamentally Chinese way of ushering in the New Year.

dadi explode
action! My favorite photo – Dadi Single Voice exploding.

I can’t imagine a Chinese New Year without firecrackers. I do think
that they should not be sold to people below a certain age, say 16, but
I do not support an outright ban. It’s always “for the kids”, someone
always has to say “Oh, won’t someone think of the poor children” when
someone gets hurt and just like that, it’s banned. I call it lack of
parental supervision. It’s your fault, no one else’s, stop pushing the
blame around. It’s the same with drugs. Come on, let your citizens
think for themselves; don’t do their thinking for them. I digress.

Anyway, obviously I haven’t conducted ballistics testing on these
things but qualitatively, DaDi Single Voice seems to be the loudest one
and it seems to be the “stronger” one of the three. Let’s put it this
way – if I had to choose between Chai Lei and DaDi to hold onto in my
hand while it explodes, I would choose the former. πŸ˜‰

My apologies for not featuring the other classics like Chung Tien
Pau (“rush sky cracker” – the double report bane of housing estates
everywhere ;)) and Thunder Clap. They were not in stock this year.

Other firecrackers:

Chinese firecrackers

chinese firecrackers

This is the traditional Chinese New Year staple to be let off at the
stroke of midnight. It’s a long string of firecrackers with a big boxy
cardboard thing on top that explodes to reveal a banner with Chinese
writing for good luck.

Shun Lee Hung firecrackers

shun lee hung

This is the other type of Chinese firecrackers. Shun Lee Hung
firecrackers are much like the one above and is common nowadays as a
replacement for the traditional rolled up ones. It doesn’t have the
lucky banner though.

Display shell

display shell

This looks like the great balls of colourful fire in the sky, you
know the ones. They let similar ones off during special events too so
most people have seen these.

display shell fuse
The fuse on top

It’s a long and largish tube that needs to be tied down (or have someone holding it in place).

display text
I am still searching the dictionary for an entry on “repotr”.

It does stand properly when it’s not lighted like now, but when it’s
lighted, the force of the first ball will topple the construction
without support.

Magical shots

magical shots

The favourite of children during Chinese New Year – each tube
propels several small, different coloured balls over a short distance.
The balls are multicoloured and it’s sold in a pack of 12 for RM 20.
It’s fun for the kids, basically, you hold it in your hand and let the
balls of fire shoot out. πŸ™‚

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Gong Xi Fa Chai!

Waxed duck – the fake looking meat

Waxed duck at a store display

Waxed duck, otherwise known as lup ngap (Cantonese) or lak yak
(Mandarin) is an oily, waxed meat. Lup and lak both mean “wax” in the
respective dialects although the romanization is different. I had
always thought it looked like plastic meat when I was younger and never
really had a chance to eat it. It’s a salty, preserved meat that needs
to be cooked (i.e. steamed) before serving. The seller mentioned that
it needed to be cooked before eating, but I was adamant at trying to
eat it raw and didn’t have much success:

eating raw lap ngap

It was simply too tough to bite off that way. The skin of the duck
went through some unholy preservative measures that made it look waxy
and rendered it all but impossible to tear off with the canines without
softening it first. It retails for RM 4.50 per drumstick (including
thigh area) and the price increases as the size of the fowl increases,
up to RM 25.00 for a full bird (it’s duck).

raw lak yak

Anyway, the above is a photo I took at home while I prepared it for
steaming. There isn’t any fancy ingredients added – this is the
unadulterated experience, just the duck and nothing else, thank you
very much. πŸ˜‰ I covered the plate with another plate as instructed and
then put it over some boiling water (no direct contact, steaming it)
and after about 20 minutes, it turned into this:

cooked waxed duck

It looks much more edible now, though the waxy looking exterior
remains. It also seems quite oily as the photo shows. I ate most of it
with kueh tiaw, though eating it with steamed rice would be a better
choice to offset the salty taste. It’s very salty, no doubt. It’s also
very tough but it was edible, if not palatable (at least to me) after
the first few bites. The choking oiliness and “waxy” feeling of the
duck makes the skin very hard to consume but nevertheless, I liked it
for the novelty value and hey, these things only come around once a
year. Happy Chinese New Year! πŸ™‚

Kingway beer is free from formaldehyde

kingway beer

Kingway beer from China is “FREE” FROM FORMALDEHYDE – or so the back
label claims. Now, this is quite a disturbing label to put on a beer
and the wording of the sentence leaves much to be desired, but keep in
mind that this is a product from a Chinese (ShenZhen Kingway Brewery
Company) brewery so translation errors might be an issue here. Back to
the “free” from formaldehyde claim, it disconcerts me that they put
inverted commas around the word free, which seems to suggest that it is not exactly, completely free from formaldehyde.

kingway 640ml

It’s like: You take a drink, put it down, see a label at the back
and read “drink moderately” and think yeah, standard disclaimer and
then read “”free” from formeldehyde” and think wtf man?? I was just
enjoying my drink and now you’ve given me pause…

kingway formaldehyde

However, a search leads to an article that says that this disturbing
label stems from a commercial in Taiwan where Kingway beer claims to be
the first beer brewery from China to not use formaldehyde as a
preservative. Formaldehyde, if you did not know, is a potentially
carcinogenic agent and generally is not a good idea to ingest.

kingway 5 percent

Anyway, fear not, drinkers of Kingway beer. The product seems to be
free from formaldehyde, not “free” from formaldehyde as the unfortunate
translation came out. It prompted indignant replies from other Chinese
beer manufacturers like TsingTao whom also claims they have not been
using formaldehyde in their brewing process for decades and that the
ads are misleading as they suggest Kingway is the only brewery to
discard the practise.

Bottles up, friends, it seems that Kingway beer is safe to drink. πŸ™‚
It retails at a decidedly affordable price point at RM 5 per bottle
(640 ml) of full strength (5.0 % Alc) beer.

Sambal Pocket of Persia

sambal persia ad

This is the new sambal variant of the Pocket of Persia. I saw the
commercial advertising a new sambal flavoured Pocket of Persia on
Discovery’s Travel and Adventure channel, of all things. Anyway, I went
to the KFC at Wisma Sanyan after getting a haircut today and sure
enough – they have a sambal version of the Pocket of Persia.

sambal in pita

The new tagline is The sambal’s in the Pita instead of The secret’s in the Pita
[sixthseal.com] in the normal version. It also states that the new
Pocket of Persia comes with sambal sauce and crispy cucumbers:

sambal di dalam pita

However it does taste quite different – the sambal goes surprisingly
well with the other ingredients, much better than chilli IMHO, so this
makes for a delicious change.

sambal pocket persia

There is no difference to the new sambal Pocket of Persia besides
the replacement of the chilli sauce for sambal and some cucumbers, but
that seems to make a world of difference in taste. I liked it.

SugarBun’s Prosperity Fish Meal (RM 8.88)

prosperity fish meal banner

The Prosperity Fish Meal in Sugarbun sounded very attractive from
the banner they had in front of the store. SugarBun is a fast food
outlet like McDonalds, Burger King and the like, except that it has
recently diversified its menu to provide a wider range of items. The
banner shows a whole fish and I thought that sounded interesting, so me
and my gf went to check it out.

prosperity in every bite

The ads strung across the cashiers also promote this particular meal
– Prosperity in every bite! The “Wishing you nien nien yu yee” bit is a
common Chinese saying during Chinese (Lunar) New Year, it literally
translates to “Wishing you every year got fish” but it’s taken to mean
that you will have enough food to eat every year, kinda like “Good
luck” except this goes “May Famine not rear His black horse behind
you”. πŸ˜‰

prosperity fish meal

Here’s how it looks like – there really is a whole fish and it’s
quite large. It’s about the size of…well, the plate is a standard
dinner plate so you can infer the size of the fish from there. It costs
RM 8.88 (8 is considered a good number due to the pronunciation) and
comes with steamed rice and Sugarbun’s pickled vegetables on the side.
The sauce they poured over the fish goes well with the fried fish,
though I would add chilli for taste. The fish is fried well, crispy but
soft on the inside and there aren’t many bones to get in your way.

nien nien yu yee

This is what the inside of the fish looks like. I even had both sets
of eyes, they fried it well on the outside, but the inside is still
nice and gooey. The fish I got and the one my gf had was slightly
differing in size, but not to a great degree. I don’t expect whole fish
to be exactly the same size, but it’s not that different so they must
have some sort of quality control on the sizes. It’s good, I liked the
Prosperity Fish Meal and with a whole fish to go with it, I don’t think
the RM 8.88 price tag is unreasonable.

Besides, with all the bites I got out of it, I feel much more prosperous already.

The new Taman Selera

old taman selera
Taman Selera is dead. Long live Taman Selera.

It’s actually Taman Harmoni now…there was a popular place for
supper called Taman Selera in Sibu (we just call it “kampung tau”
though). However, sometime between the last time I was back and now,
the place has moved, as can be seen in the picture above. I was like
wtf? We had arranged to meet at kampung tau and the place seems to have

new taman selera
New Taman Selera (Taman Harmoni)

I was informed that there was a new one now, just right behind the
old place. This one is much larger (at least it seems that way) than
the old one, though the old Taman Selera retains a certain charm this
new sanitized and homogenous one does not radiate. It’s a semi circle
of stalls, with er…a decidedly hemogenous layout. Can’t say much more
than that really, even the store signboards are standardized.

nasi pataya
Interesting Nasi Goreng Pataya

Anyway, I had nasi goreng pattaya, and instead of the flat egg
wrapped rice I was expecting, this one came in the standard rice bowl
sized package! I was wondering how they managed to wrap the omelette
around this unorthodox rice dump. It came with chicken, salted fish,
cucumbers and sambal. It tasted pretty good.

harmoni photo

This is us at Taman Harmoni. Clockwise from left is me, Adrian, Hie
Ing (Adrian’s gf), er…sorry I forgot your name, Pheobe or Phoebe
(phew, remembered this one, if only for the easy to remember name), and
Christopher. I thought I had dropped the “two drinks each meal”
routine, but apparently not. Anyway, here’s a look at the washbasins of
Taman Harmoni (also standardized):

harmonious wash basins

There’s one for every size and shape. Harmonious wash basins. I liked this design.

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