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ICT Expo 2004: Day 0 – Setup

kcba ict expo 04

This is KCBA ICT Expo 2004 – the second expo we’re establishing a
presence in. KCBA is the acronym for Kuching Computer Business
Association and ICT apparently stands for Information, Communication,
Technology. It’s organized by the good people at IDA Exhibition
Services and it’s at Level 5 of the Permata Carpark Building.

ict04 kuching

ICT Expo 2004 is more oriented towards entertainment and consumer
electronics, and is supposed to attract a younger crowd, compared to
the previous expo, which was mainly for suppliers and trade people. It
will officially open tomorrow, today is the day the exhibitors come in
and set things up.

wcg pcs

Anyway, the WCG (World Cyber Games) East Malaysia preliminary is
held at the same expo. That’s a pro gaming tourney, and I had half
thought about joining for fun, but they told me the spots were full and
the signups were closed five days ago. The above shows the boxes that
the games are going to be played on.

security wcg 2004

There was a security guard walking around, no doubt to prevent
competitors from installing aimbots or something. I got him to pose
beside the arena of PC’s and he kindly obliged. Cheers!

Here’s the customary video of the day:

ict2004 setup

Download: ICT Expo 2004 Setup []

The reason for the long pause is coz I was checking my Exhibitor tag
to see what expo this is…you tend to lose track after a while. :p

Well, since today is the setup day (not open to the public), not all
the booths are finished yet, but from what I see, this is going to be a
more interesting expo. There were a lot of promising booths offering
intriguing products.

intel loot me

Intel is also renting a couple of booths at the expo. They have a
“Loot me!” sign attached to their booth. There’s no one there, in fact
the whole expo floor was practically empty. Monitors anyone?

dreamsky booth setup

The booth to opposite us and a little to the left has Ragnarok Online – Dream Sky stuff. I’m not into MMORPGs…

ragnarok balloons

…but these balloons were going “Grab one, I’m cute!”

Here are some miscellaneous shots from the expo floor on setup day:

ict04 misc 1

ict04 misc 2

ict04 misc 3

I’m intrigued by this device.

infocus thingy

It goes “I am EVERYTHING & EVERYWHERE. I am InFocus.” I’m not
sure what it does, the dark walk in display doesn’t do anything, but it
could be one of those integrated home entertainment system things. I’ll
report back tomorrow.

poor john

This poster really made my day. Anti-intellectual property theft
(the correct term for “software piracy”) propaganda. This is John, a
“computer genius” falling victim to “software pirates”. Poor John…a
minute of silence please, for John’s plight.

idiot at ict04

Men behaving badly. This illustrates the concept of “chao huey”
well, a local term which literally translates to “fire escaping”. It’s
one of the few things that survives cross-language translation. Chao huey
is the term people use to describe that aggressive and pissed off state
of mind following prolonged and high caffeine intake before benzos are
called in to temper (no pun intended) the negative effects. It can
manifest itself in various ways, namely, aggressive behavior towards
other people, a general simmering rage, and here, it shows a shirtless
someone giving you the finger with his pants falling down, showing his
tattered, but comfortable briefs.

When questioned, the man said that he’s feeling hot from all the
manual setting up work and wanted to go shirtless. I did not talk to
him much coz he was really agitated and confrontational.

Disclaimer: I made sure that there were no organizers
in the vicinity before taking that photo. There wasn’t anyone at the
empty expo grounds at that time except for us and this girl who was so
surprised she stopped in her tracks as I was posing for the photo. This
is just a fun photo taken by an employee and should not be taken to
reflect upon the company in any way.

ict04 july 1

1st of July (tomorrow) is when ICT 2004 will be open to the public.
Come one, come all! I’m at Booth 30, say and I’ll take a
photo with you. =D

Anyway, we take turns having our lunch break…mine is up, I’m going back to the expo to set up the wireless LAN.

Snow Flakes

snow flakes

This dry and unbearably hot weather warranted a visit to Snow Flakes
@ Tun Jugah Food Court during lunch hour. I decided on Sour Sop.

bring me ice

Bring me ice! Lots of it. Make haste! I’m burning up…

soursop snowflake

This is what it looks like – it has dragon fruit (again! w00t!) over
a bed of nice, refreshing sour sop, pineapples and a lime in the
middle. It’s heaven. Heaven, I tell you…

my snowflake

Perfect for a hot day.

snow flake 2

This is what one of my co-workers had. I don’t know what he ordered but I’m sure just looking at the photo will cool you down.

snow flake 3

Here’s another one, the heat wave made us walk to this oasis. This
place is really good, the snow flakes (a pretentious name for crushed
ice) is milky sweet.

In other related news, I’m now Senior Systems Engineer. I just got
back from work. Go secure that RM 3 million in VC funds tomorrow, team!
Go go go! =D

RFC 003 – Celtic cross tattoo

rfc cross design

I have this unbearable urge to get another tattoo, thanks to Lainie
[]. :p I’ve been actually wanting one for a long, long time
but have put it aside due to certain constraints, hereby stated in

1. My girlfriend would have a fit.
2. My parents will disown me.
3. My girlfriend’s parents would disapprove.

I have this line I call the Impulse Line (IL). It’s a very permeable
line, but only on one side, unfortunately. I would be driving along,
thinking about going home when this loud, annoyingly alluring fast
music gets into my auditory senses and I grab my cell phone. I’m
standing on the IL at that point. It just takes a nanosecond for me to
decide to press Call and meet up with my barista friend. That’s the TTL
(Time To Live) of my neurological biochemistry. Just one nanosecond to
cross it.

That’s how I got all my previous tattoos…the first one, I was just
sitting on a bus and passed by a tattoo studio and said, okay, I’m
going to get one today and I went in and got one. The second time was
when I was talking to my friend about getting my gf’s name tattooed on
my left forearm…it was the middle of the night, and I thought, sounds
good, and promptly got it done the next day.

I am very impulsive by nature. Once I cross the IL, it takes A LOT to get me back. I’m quite sure I crossed it today.

RFC = Request for Comments
003 = My third tattoo

RFC 003 – Celtic cross tattoo

rfc tattoo idea

Here’s where it’s supposed to go. The Celtic cross goes on the nape
of my neck and the Latin phrase goes over my shoulders (back).

rfc celtic mock

This is a simple and quick mockup I did of what it would look like. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti
is Latin for In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I
know “nomine” is supposed to be in lower case, but I like it in
uppercase. It will be done in some Gothic font. I’m planning to get it
done at Borneo Headhunters Tattoo & Piercing.

Update: Holy shit, look at what James [] did! Thanks mate! I love this design, it’s love at first sight. What do you all think? Shall I? Shall I?

tattoo visual
Tattoo visual

tattoo mock
Tattoo mock

I will film the whole procedure, just for documentation’s sake, since I never did that for my previous ink work.

Tell me what you think.

Ice Blended Black Forest @ Coffee Bean

coffee bean kuching

The Coffee Bean.

coffee bean kch counter

The Original Ice Blended Black Forest w/ whipped cream @ RM 11.50.

coffee bean honey sticks

Optional honey sticks for those of us who still have taste buds.

me drinking black forest

Here’s a closer look at my short hair. My friends say I look 13 instead of 23.

black forest closeup

Black Forest Ice Blended
Our secret Coffee Extract and chocolate or vanilla powder blended
with ice, chocolate espresso beans, maraschino cherries and low-fat

double espresso

This is a double espresso – the ice blended drink was just for starters.

Central Market, Kuching

central market

This is Central Market in Kuching. It’s only open on Sundays. I was
liberated from my slumber from one of my friends to go along with him
and his girlfriend, and I thought, why not…

upside down plants

There are all sorts of things there, strange things like this upside down plant.

sugarcane drink

It was a hot day, iced sugarcane drinks are a must…

central market us

L-R: Huai Bin (me), Miriam, Ah Lung

I know my pants are falling down; most of my attire doesn’t fit anymore without a belt.

keropok lekor

We ate our way through the market. This is keropok lekor, which I
assume is some kind of fish. There were samples and I thought it was
pretty good, so I got some. It tastes like real fish.

strange stuff

There were strange stuff on offer…these are edible.

assorted kuih

Here’s a stall with assorted kuih. The long phallic looking things
in the middle is a derivative of the fish keropok, or so I’m told.

drinks stall

This is a drinks stall with old skool 60 cent bottled sodas.
Memories…back when I was young, we didn’t have enough pocket money to
buy anything but these.



rm 160 dogs

RM 160 canines…


Cacti – none of them psychoactive, unfortunately.


My favorite – cats!


These are quails – note the quail egg at the side. I’ve never seen quails this huge before.


Stop looking at me like that, feline…


I’ll give you some goldfish to eat if you want?

pearl grass

Pearl grass at RM 10 per plot. Jesus, the grass at my house back
home looks exactly like this. You can have that for free if you want.


Here’s some parangs for sale.

parang exposed

Doesn’t look all that sharp to me. I’ll stick to balisongs, thanks.


Scary figurines to bring the wrath of the god(s) down on yourself or
to bring good fortune to your enemies. Or is it the other way round?

huge rabbit

Fuck, this is one HUGE rabbit. It scared me.

vegetarian drumsticks

The stall owner told me these are “vegetarian drumsticks”. I got one to try.

veggie drumsticks

It’s pretty good actually, and the “bone” is made of a slice of sugarcane…sweetens the whole thing.

salted fish

Salted fish anyone?

deep fried stall

Here’s a stall offering deep fried stuff.

goreng pisang

I saw they just got a batch of goreng pisang out, so I got some of that.

huge sotongs

I also had some of these huge sotongs…it’s a WHOLE sotong on a
skewer. Note the body at the end and the tendrils (or whatever
appendages they have) on the front.

I’m heading out again, will reply all the comments later. See ya!

I’m a freak!

joliz unisex saloon

I just got my hair cut really, really short. It’s funny how the
definition of short changes over time. This was how I used to keep my
hair, until the decision to keep it long was made. Anyway, I went to
Joliz Unisex Hair Saloon, no particular reason, it was just the first
one I saw who had a hairstylist that didn’t hurt the eyes too much
*cough* so I just went in and told them I wanted to get my hair cut by
her (points at aesthetically pleasing hairstylist).

Anyway, here’s a video of me before getting my hair cut:

pre haircut

Pre-cutting session []

The video is just me showing my lower lip length hair, the longest
I’ve ever had. That’s a longan iced drink to the bottom left of the

I know that the lighting conditions are rather unfavorable, my
apologies for the quality, I didn’t realize I had a lighting preset on
in the recording function.

This is me, in the final stages of the haircut, with short hair:

haircut done

Final stages of haircut []

She’s making the final touches and applying gel. I have to add that
this establishment is very big on the comfort of its customers in
providing pillow rests, depending on which hairstylist you go for. πŸ˜‰

The haircut just cost RM 5.

joliz me helen

This is me and the hairstylist Ellen (or Helen). She’s not Chinese
as I first assumed, and she looks much better in real life than in this
blurry photo (taken by the proprietor).

I miss my old hair… in The Sunday Times, Print Edition

blog sunday times letter

I received a print copy of the article this blog’s URL appeared in,
courtesy of The Straits Times (The Sunday Times), Singapore Press
Holdings. It came in a cardboard reinforced envelope today. was mentioned in an article in The Sunday Times
[] last week. I wrote an email to the author of the
article with my opinion and also to request for a hard copy of the
article and they obliged and gave me a free copy. Thanks!

blog sunday times compliments

The two pieces were clipped with a note saying “With Compliments – Singapore Press Holdings”.

blog sunday times blurb

This is the front page of the paper, where the blurb was.

blog sunday times page

This is the main article – it spans a whole page.

blog sunday times mention

This is the bit where my blog was mentioned.

blog sunday times hazel

Hazel [] also sent me a copy, thanks for that!

Any publicity is good publicity! πŸ˜‰

This is the email I wrote for anyone who’s interested in reading it:

Hello, this is Huai Bin from One of my readers notified me of the blog’s URL appearing in your article.

Anyway, a lot of benzodiazepine users do have an existing issue,
which makes them prone to self-administration and the escalation of
dosages as needed.
Granted, this is dangerous behavior as benzodiazepines are physically
addictive and to quit “cold turkey” after a prolonged period of
consumption may result in life threatening seizures, much like acute
alcohol withdrawal, but worse.

Personally, I do have social anxiety disorder, I’m constantly
worrying about what others are thinking about me and those thoughts are
usually delusional and paranoid in nature. Benzodiazepines have helped
me a lot – I’m more comfortable around people, that helps me
communicate better and I find that I’m more productive at work.

Your article seems to paint a negative light towards self-medicating
people like us. It’s understandable, I feel strongly about certain
issues too. However, if you don’t mind, let me voice my opinion on the

Brutally honest, Michael admits that being on drugs has stunted him
emotionally: ‘My thinking, my personality, it’s still that of a 16 year
old. I still throw tantrums.’

I have to say that this is a classic benzodiazepine rebound side
effect after bzd dependant people quit. It’s due to the way benzos work
– they bind to the bzd receptors in the GABA region of the brain, which
regulates, amongst other things, sleep and acts as a natural agent that
calms people down.

“Michael” is not throwing temper tantrums and being “emotionally
stunted” or immature. He’s just agitated because the brain is used to
having benzodiazepines binding and activating the GABA in the brain,
and now it’s not.

An analogy of this would be someone driving down the road, relaxed,
when another driver swerves in and cuts the driver off and provokes the
driver by preventing any attempts to overtake the offending vehicle.
The driver is stressed out – GABA production is unable to cope with the
stress hormones, and thus, they get angry and would probably “throw a
tantrum” or do something violent.

In time, the effects are reversible and the brain grows to expect
less and less bzd receptor binding and GABA production, though this
usually takes a while (years) before it returns to normal levels, which
is where the importance of tapering (slowly reducing doses over a
period of a year or more) comes in.

Benzodiazepines, like alcohol, acts as a disinhibitor. It’s unfair
to portray benzodiazepine users as criminals and petty thieves.

Alcohol is another GABA agonist (it enhances GABA production) – it
would be accurate to make allusions towards alcohol and benzodiazepine
dependency, as they work basically the same way, by (in)direct GABA
stimulation, just like the barbiturate group of drugs before

To single out benzo users as somehow more prone to commit crime is,
forgive me for the use of this term, just spreading fear, uncertainty
and doubt (FUD, I’m sure you’re familiar with this phrase). The
tendency has to be in there in the first place for it to happen.

It won’t turn church going Christians into deviant rapists
overnight…unless, of course, they were already suppressing that urge
in the first place. It’s just a disinhibitor, like alcohol, no more, no

Anyway, I thank you for reading my email and cheers for mentioning
my blog’s URL in your article, although I would have described it
differently. πŸ™‚ I never meant for it to be a forum for drug recipes, I
do not respond to chemistry related questions. However, intellectual
discourse is encouraged, so long as no dealing or soliciting is going

Thank you for your time Salma, and if it’s not too much to ask,
could I have a copy of the print edition of The Sunday Times on 20th
June 2004 (the one with your article)? My mailing address is:

Poh Huai Bin
(deleted my postal address)

I will be willing to pay for the postage and your trouble. Please
get back to me if you can, I can be reached at and I
would appreciate it if you could get back to me about the status of the
print edition.

Thanks for your time, Salma, and have a nice week ahead. πŸ™‚

Huai Bin

New Zealand Herbal Lamb Soup

new zealand herbal lamb soup

I went on a site visit today to Choice Deli (Tabuan Laru) and
noticed this particular product on offer…NZ Herbal Lamb Soup. It’s
the plastic containers flanking the bottom left of this photo.

nz herbal lamb soup

It retails for RM 5.00 per plastic takeaway bowl and it certainly
looks tasty from the photo. However, they didn’t have a spoon (and
neither have I, there is no spoon) so I had to pass this one by.

It was only later that I realized…I could just have drunk the soup
and then picked up the meat with my fingers and eat that. Doh!

I shall return, herbal lamb soup…

…and when I do, you’ll be like…er, lamb to the slaughter

or something. πŸ˜‰

Martini vermouth

martini rossi vermouth

This is Martini (no, not the cocktail), otherwise known as Martini
& Rossi vermouth. It’s a dry vermouth made in Italy. Vermouth is a
herb infused wine usually considered as a mixer but it can be drunk
neat at room temperature. It’s pretty good actually, tastes like white
wine that won’t give you gastric.

martini vermouth italy

It weighs in at 18% – very paltry, but it has been my companion for
the last few days. You can see that it’s at the end of its lifespan,
it’s a pretty good to drink before dinner. A lot of people won’t
consider vermouth, especially the dry ones, for drinking straight, but
try it, you might like the taste.

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