Fun with indoor firecrackers or "How I Nearly Burned Down the House"

How not to light a firecracker 101

firecracker this is stupid

I was alone at home last night and decided to add some Chap Goh Meh cheer to the place. I had a couple of Chai Lei firecrackers
[] around (it’s a loud firecracker) and I have let them
off in the enclosed space that I call home before without adverse
consequences. However, this time I had to man the camera AND light the
firecracker at the same time, and unfortunately God, in His infinite
wisdom only gave Man two hands.

firecracker on fire

Download: Firecracker box burning []

I lost my lighter and had to use a match to light the firecracker
and me in my infinite wisdom, decided it was a good idea to light it
straight from the box which contains the rest of the Chai Lei
firecrackers. I lit the firecracker, prepared to aim the digicam at it,
and then I noticed that the shrink wrap on the firecracker box was
burning (!!!).

I tried to blow out the flames (again, me and my infinite wisdom)
and it just accelerated the burn rate AND the lit firecracker was still
in my hand. I had a brain fart and threw the firecracker away before
overturning the burning box into a towel and hoped for the best.

firecracker bad thing

My hands were shaking from the nearly adverted catastrophe. It would
not have been pretty for the box of Chai Lei firecrackers to go off all
at once indoors.

It would be decidedly a Bad Thing (TM).

firecracker singe fuse

Download: Firecracker fuse singed []

I did another take and bad luck seems to come in twos (or is that
threes) coz I dropped the (still lit) match into the box, before it
bounced out, making it come into contact with an unlit fuse and
singeing it. I did not realize it and only noticed it after the fact.
The tip of the Chai Lei firecracker fuse nearly caught on fire and
would have set off a chain reaction which would probably burn the place
down (since I didn’t even know it happened).

The worst thing is, my fire extinguisher hasn’t even been inspected
since I moved in and I live on the top floor and the any fire-related
incidents would probably leave…er, collateral damage.

Yeah, I know, I’m the epitome of a responsible citizen. ;)

firecracker perfect

Download: Indoor Chai Lei firecracker []

firecracker dont try this at home

This is a perfect take. It’s fun to light Chai Lei firecrackers
indoors for a change. It’s also fun to throw several into an electric
kettle indoors and see if the metal/plastic would hold the blast or
send sharp shards all over the enclosed space.

You just might win the Darwin award. ;)

CNY firecrackers and fireworks roundup – a Chap Goh Meh special

chap goh meh 06

Chap Goh Meh marks the end of the Lunar New Year.
Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days and Chap Goh Meh literally
means (the) 15th night. Firecrackers and fireworks are usually let off
liberally to mark the end of Chinese New Year. There is a wide variety
of firecrackers and fireworks available in Malaysia and the large
self-contained box type is the most popular ones.


Download: Chinese New Year 2006 []

I’m a big fan of firecrackers and fireworks (and everything else
that goes “boom”) and it seems that the trend in 2006 shifts markedly
to industrial grade fireworks. The market in Sibu and Kuching is
flooded with display shells – the catch-all term for the 3″, 5″ and 8″
shell that shoots up before exploding in fascinating pyrotechnics.



This is an example of a “consumer grade” display shell fireworks. Shellshock
comes in a box containing 12 pieces of “double break shells”. It’s made
in China, that’s where firecrackers and fireworks in Malaysia is
sourced (read: smuggled) from.

shellshock open

The Shellshock box opens up to reveal a foot long tube launcher
embedded into the package with 6 shells lining each side of the box.
The shells are inserted one at a time into the launch tube with the
flat end (base) making contact with the bottom of the launcher tube.

shellshock shells

The 1.5″ shells is shaped like a gourd and there is a long
conventional green fuse bound intricately around the shell and held in
place by a colored string on the top indicating the color of the
display shell when it is…well, displayed.

shellshock double

Here is a closer look at this consumer grade firework. There are
double spheres in the shells – this is a double report, double flare
display shell. The shells have a flat base and a visible fuse starter.
This firecracker requires the launcher tube to launch the shells into
the air and the long fuse is to accommodate for the launcher length.

shellshock launcher

The Shellshock ones come in a disposable cardboard and plastic launcher.

shellshock insert

The display shell type fireworks (regardless of grade) should always
be used in conjunction with a launcher tube to guide the shell upwards.
I’m sure everyone has tried not using a launcher tube at least once in
their lives (at least I did, with a 3″ shell) and the results are not

shellshock fire
The Shellshock launcher tube does the job well enough…

It’s pretty dangerous since the shell just explodes on the ground,
sending out burning debris over a wide area. Notice how large the
dispersal area is when it’s airborne? That’s the coverage you can
expect when it goes off on the ground. Most residential areas cannot
accommodate for this kind explosive power.

shellshock topple
…though it topples after each launch…and the cardboard burns.

The one time I did it resulted in a cracked glass door (with an
industrial grade shell), flaming explosions all over the front of the
house and shocked family and neighbors. Oh, and I set the lawn of the
neighbor on fire too. In my defense, it was dry grass. :p I never did
dare to repeat that stunt again, since I didn’t want to pay for damages
to vehicles, property and possibly human life. ;)

Industrial grade fireworks

shellshock meet big bro

Meet big brother. ;) This is a custom made launcher tube for 3″ industrial grade display shells.

industrial launcher

The display shells (3 inch, 5 inch, and the expensive 8 inch ones)
are sold in boxes with instructions on the dimensions of the launcher
and the instructions are passed on to a local blacksmith (metal smith)
to be custom made.

industrial launcher dimensions

It’s usually made of solid metal alloy so it can be reused without
the force of the initial primer explosion from the shells (which is
quite substantial) wearing out the launcher tube. The base of the
launcher tube is very important – perhaps the most crucial part of the
component – it must be heavy enough to hold the structure or wide
enough to allow other weighing material (bricks etc.) to weigh it down.

industrial with shells

This is the launcher tube displayed with 3″ display shells.
These things are ordered in bulk and come with a sticker specifying the
exact pyrotechnics to expect from the particular shell (see below).

display shell boxes

It’s sold in boxes made of heavy paper stapled together to form a
“box” of sorts and each box contains a mixed bag of pyrotechnics
goodness, with different “grades” of shells e.g. Grade A would be a
shell which goes “Purple with sparkling to red ball” (three stages with
large initial purple explosion bloom, followed by sparkling edges and a
single slowly descending red ball) while Grade B would be a shell that
goes “Green to silver” (one explosion, color change at fringe of

display shell box open

This is a close look at the grenade like display shells. It’s
wrapped with heavy reinforcing paper and these fireworks are considered
industrial grade as it’s the same ones that the government lets off
during official celebrations. Heck, some of them are even “diverted”
from official celebrations. ;)

red green crackling

The grenade like display shells are individually wrapped and come
with a label in two languages of what to expect from that particular
display shell. This Grade A shell goes “Red to Green to Crackling”.

blue to silver

This Grade B shell goes “Blue to silver” (two phase change) while a
Grade C shell would be a single phase explosion e.g. “Red & Blue

3 inch shell

I have relatively large palms and this is a size comparison of what
a 3″ display shell looks like. It’s remarkably similar to a grenade,
except you have to use a launcher tube instead of igniting it on the
ground (which would cause a lot of Bad Things (TM) to happen).

industrial launcher insert

The industrial grade shells are inserted into the correctly sized
launcher tube with the base of the shell level against the base of the
launcher, and with the fuse sticking up and out of the launcher tube.

display shell

Download: Industrial grade fireworks []

I probably should mention that the industrial grade fireworks do not
have a long fuse delay, despite its looks. The fuse lights slowly at
the top and then *zaps* goes straight down the remaining length of the
“fuse” and its pyrotechnica!

The blast is pretty substantial and it’s fun to be close to the
launcher when it goes off. It’s a mini shellshock effect, right at your
doorstep. ;)

Consumer grade fireworks, these are not.

chinese firecrackers

Lest we forget our roots, these are the traditional Chinese firecrackers.

horse brand firecrackers

I love the 50,000 Horse Brand firecrackers.

horse brand expand

It’s fast and furious, burning through 50k of individual sticks of firecrackers in the span of a few seconds.

50k firecrackers

Download: Fast and furious firecrackers []

It got all over me in the video, though I thoroughly enjoyed it. Classic!

Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone!

Washing dirty linen in public

launder kuching

My damn washing machine broke down (to be fair, it’s been in service
ever since I came to Kuching to work) so I had to use a laundry to get
my linen services done in the mean time. LAUN’DER Laundry Services and Dry Cleaning is located just behind my office and they washed, dried and ironed about 12 kgs of miscellaneous items for just RM 10.40.

launder kuching girl

The staff is friendly and the turnaround time is fast (same day service).

It’s perfect for washing dirty linen in public. ;)

Must. Stop. Murderous. Thoughts.

must stop murderous thoughts

Fucking idiotic dim-witted stupid Neanderthals. It’s not 25,000 BC
anymore…learn how to use a fucking computer. It’s not rocket science
for fucks sake!

You’re dragging me off more important work and I hate driving (no
brakes) and I have more shit (which is really Serious Shit (TM)) to
deal with tomorrow.

Must. Stop. Murderous. Thoughts.

Nite at night

nite alcopop

Nite is an alcopop drink (flavored alcoholic
beverage) available at your friendly neighborhood hypermarket. It
contains 4 different flavors in a nicely done package which features a
strap for easy carrying. It’s made with “fruit wine” which probably
means some fermentation occured at some point of the manufacturing
process. The bottles weigh in at the standard 5% alcohol and I really
like the presentation of the nite Special Pack4.

Strawberry Delight
This tastes like artificially flavored strawberries. I have been trying
to open this for a long time (don’t ask) so the carbonation is minimal.
It’s still good though…the strawberry taste is recognizably
synthetic, but it’s not cloying. The lack of carbonation makes it easy
to down it in a single swig. That’s a Good Thing (TM). ;)

Eden Apple
One word – excessively acidic. Okay, that’s two words, but nite
seriously needs to work on the flavor composition of this one. The
acidity level is close to white wine (at least to my untrained palate)
and white wine is the only type of alcohol I turn down coz it gives me gastric problems. This one made my ulcers act up…

Lemon Fizz
It tastes like a reasonable approximation of lemonade so that gets the
thumbs up from me. The wonders of the modern synthetic flavor industry!
;) It’s the plainest one from the series, both packaging and taste
wise, but it works anyway. It’s good! Nothing fancy, just a lemonade
flavored alcopop…and it’s not acidic, despite being a lemon based
drink. It tastes remarkably similar to Two Dogs.

Passionate Orange
The name sounds appealing enough but I’ve never really liked orange
flavored drinks. It somehow never tastes like REAL orange juice and we
all know what real OJ tastes like so that’s a high bar if there was
one. nite Passionate Orange superseded my (admittedly low) expectations
and came up with the closest approximation to orange I’ve ever had.

Nite: Make The Best of Yours!

McDonald's McDelivery damn McInefficient and made me damn McTulan


McDonald’s McDelivery is using a centralized ordering system for all branches throughout Malaysia using its 1300-13-1300
number, which is based in Klang Valley. I had a McAttack last night
(not a McHeartAttack, you only get those after the meal) and surfed to
McDonald’s McDelivery website to get the number to call.

They insisted delivery services close after 10 pm. I asked them for the Kuching McDonald’s branch number and called that number.

Kuching told me that delivery services is open till 11 pm.
Unfortunately, I cannot order through them as I had to go through the
1300 centralized system in Klang Valley.

I called the 1300 number and told them about Kuching’s later
delivery services and they insisted that delivery services in Kuching
closes at 10 pm. F@*(#*&@#!!!oneone how dare you tell me when
Kuching delivery closes when you’re not in Kuching,

I got super McPissedOff and (insert standard procedure to deal with
uncooperative front line staff) and they finally relented and put my
order though.

mcdelivery arrive

The McDonald’s McDelivery staff finally reached my place at about 11
pm. Damn McDonald’s…what if I was McStoned and McDrunk and McFuckedUp
and drove to the outlet instead and McHit-and-Run innocent grandmothers
rolling a trolley while McDrivingWhileIntoxicated?

mcdelivery chilli sauce

…at least they had they decency to give me plenty of chilli sauce. Literally.

LOTTE Pie No Mi Chocolate Pie

lotte chocolate pie

Lotte Pie No Mi Chocolate Pie is a miniature chocolate snack from Japan. It retails for RM 6.70 and contains mini baked puff pastry chocolate pies.

lotte chocolate pie box

Lotte Chocolate Pie opens up like a box from a perforation that runs
along the side of the cardboard box to reveal a gold foiled package.
This is a Japanese import and the package has a semi-circular
perforation for an impeccable presentation.

lotte chocolate pie story

The box even has illustrations and lyrics (all in kanji) which I
think you’re supposed to sing along to (in a forced jovial tone) while
you consume the baked chocolate pies. It seems to tell a story about a
wayward fox from my limited linguistics understanding.

lotte chocolate pie open

This is what the mini chocolate pies look like. Its fluffy chocolate
pies baked to perfection, at least to the closest definition of
perfection that a packaged product can achieve.

lotte chocolate pie pie

Oh, nano nano, it drives me crazy! I really love what it does to me!

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Business Class review

business class check in

MAS Business Class seats were the only ones
available for my trip home since Economy class tickets have all been
taken up. I decided to go for Business Class instead and expected to
pay double the fare. However, my ticket agent told me that it’s only a
surcharge of RM 30 per route. It seems that Business Class for short
haul domestic flights (30 minutes) is not as expensive as I thought.
I’ve always looked at the people seated in front with a little contempt
(what’s the point in having a premium ticket for a short haul flight?)
and now, I have become one of them. Alas!

business class martina

However, it seems that there are perks to Business Class
seating in short haul domestic flights after all. First of all, I
noticed that the ground staff damn chun. This is Martina, the
Coordinating Agent for First Class/Business Class check in. There is
also usually no line at the First Class/Business Class check in

business class boarding

You also have the luxury of not boarding until the rest of sardine
class boards coz Business Class seats are to the front and overhead
compartment carry on luggage room is assured. There is no First Class
on the Boeing 747-200 used to service the Kuching – Sibu – Kuching

business class seats

There are four (4) rows of Business Class seats located at the front
of the plane. The seats are in two’s with spacious body and headroom
being afforded by the 2 x 2 seating (two seats on each extreme side of
the plane) in Business Class versus the 3 x 3 seating in Economy Class.

business class pillow

There is a pillow to rest your stiff neck on after a hard day’s work
shuffling papers around and delegating tasks or doing whatever it is
that people who fly Business Class do.

business class hot towel

Hot towels are provided before takeoff for your freshening needs and
a complimentary glass of juice (this is Mango Juice) is furnished to
sooth your parched throat after a long day yelling at subordinates for
no reason at all. The juice is served in proper glasses, which Business
Class flyers are implicitly trusted with, while the standard OJ served
as the “refreshment” after take off in Economy Class uses disposable
plastic cups, lest they take glassware away (those thieving heathens).

business class papers

Naturally, a selection of our finest English dailies are provided in
the seat in front of you, so you don’t have to rush into the plane when
you board just to get a copy or nick one from Business Class. ;)

business class cabin crew

The cabin attendants in Business Class tend to be more aesthetically pleasing than the ones doing the aisles at the back too.

business class napkins

Snacks and drinks are served with a napkin coz you’re supposed to be
more culturally refined. Economy Class passengers do not get food on
short haul flights, only the obligatory orange juice.

business class tray

Being the unrefined heathen than I am, I did not realize I was
supposed to use the napkin as a tray liner of sorts before eating my

business class food

The sandwiches are served on a dish and consist of an egg sandwich,
a tuna sandwich and a ham sandwich, with a quarter of a tomato on the

business class juice

Business Class grants you access to a variety of free flow juices,
which you can drink as fast as possible, before the plane lands…which
is pretty quick.

…and you just have to pay RM 1 per minute for this service. ;)

Kampung Hilir Ferry Kebab

ferry kebab kampung hilir

Kampung Hilir is a Malay settlement
accessible from a small turning in town which leads into the scenic
drive in predominantly Chinese Sibu that showcases the best cottage
industries the kampung has to offer. There is a very popular kebab stall that’s been around for as long as your grandma’s grandma – it’s called Ferry Kebab and it’s manned by a husband and wife team.

ferry kebab setup

There used to be two kebab stalls opposite each other but the first
establishment (and the best) seems to have usurped the other one as
only Ferry Kebab is left standing. It’s basically a
stall selling kebabs (Malay style). The kebab stalls over here is very
distinctive – there is what seems to be a huge chunk of meat skewered
into a manually rotational implement, with good ol’ fire (as in flames)
baking the meat to perfection.

ferry kebab meat

This is a closer look at the kebab setup – the chunk of meat is
easily as large as the torso of fully grown man…which in hindsight is
a bad size comparison. ;) Notice the flames heating the mass of meat
from behind – it’s best to go in the evenings as that’s when the
operation starts. The hunk of meat is sliced with a long sharp knife
and a wooden spatula like implement into slivers and the skewer is
turned around as the slicing is done to ensure a consistent cut.

ferry kebab prep

The meat from the chunk of kebab is then mixed into a preparation of
raw onions, cucumber, and various other diced vegetables. Requests for
additional ingredients are catered to without extra charge and I always
go for more raw onions – it makes the kebab taste better.

ferry kebab mix

This is a closer look at the modular kebab setup – there is a
preparation area right beneath the skewer of meat, and the sliced
slivers of meat is mixed into the condiments to make the contents of
the kebab.

ferry kebab toppings

The kebabs over here are not, by definition, skewers of meat on a
stick/metal spear. It’s the by product of the above, stuffed into a hot
dog bun, much like a Sloppy Joe. The kebab bun is then topped with
finely shredded lettuce and more onions…

ferry kebab sauce

…before a slathering of mayonnaise and chilli sauce is applied. It’s not for the faint hearted or people who’re on a diet.

ferry kebab kebab

The kebab from Ferry Kebab retails for a mere RM 2 each, which makes it a popular evening snack over here. It’s best enjoyed outdoors. :)

Mr Aaron Ting & Ms Jenny Chong Buffet Dinner and Wedding Reception @ Riviera Lounge, Kingwood

riviera lounge wedding

Aaron Ting and Jenny Chong had a wedding reception on the 1st of February, 2006 at the Rivera Lounge
in Kingwood Hotel, Sibu. I thought it was a rather unique place to hold
a private party for friends since at our age, the emphasis shifts from
the traditional Chinese dinners to more relevant receptions for our age
group since most people drink.

riviera lounge interior

The entire Riviera Lounge was booked by the newlyweds for their
wedding reception, so we had the entire place to ourselves. I know both
the bride and groom since Jenny Chong is my classmate and Aaron Ting is
the brother of another one of my classmates – Ita Ting.

riviera lounge bar

Riviera Lounge has a full bar and it was open for the night so free
flow beer, champagne and other drinks were available for the guests. I
went with a couple of friends and it seems like everyone knows everyone
in there coz we’re all classmates or friends. It’s great to catch up
with all my ex-classmates and exchange contacts since we’re all working

riviera lounge buffet

The wedding reception also includes a buffet dinner which has soup,
mix-your-own salads, desserts, finger food and, of course, the main
course buffet fare. I loved the fish…I wonder how they managed to
debone the thing and serve it in fillets while still retaining the
taste of a classic steamed fish served in Chinese restaurants.

riviera lounge video

Download: Riviera Lounge wedding reception video []

riviera lounge aaron jenny

This is a photo of the couple – Mr. Aaron Ting and Ms. Jenny Chong.
Aaron is working in KL and he’s a reader of as well,
which I didn’t expect and Jenny is doing her Masters in very
interesting field. ;)

riviera lounge group photo

Here’s one of the many group photos taken throughout the night – I met with a lot of ex-classmates that I haven’t seen in ages!
L-R: Liza, Collena, Jenny (the bride) and Huai Bin
(me). Chiew Yieng was there as well, she’s currently in Shanghai, me
and her go way back – we used to swim in her pool at 2 am in the
morning when we were in Form Five. Heh! Memories…

riviera lounge ita ting

This is me and Ita Ting (the younger sister of Aaron Ting). She’s
been my classmate ever since Form One and she’s a tennis player,
represented our school and division (state?). She’s really good in

riviera lounge couple of the night

Here’s another photo of the couple of the night – Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Ting. Best wishes from all of us, and enjoy the honeymoon!

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