sixthseal.com featured in Property Buyer

property buyer

I’m in the May 2011 edition of Property Buyer thanks to Lainey bff! <3

property buyer huai bin

It’s a full spread interview about me, my blog and the place I stay (obviously, since it’s a property magazine). I’ve been meaning to write an updated About Me here but never really got around to doing it. Hmm…I guess this is a good place to condense certain bits for it.

property buyer sixthseal

Anyway, if you want to read the entire unedited verbal diarrhea I wrote for the article, it’s here in it’s 2,000 word plus glory. ;)

ON HUAI BIN

I was born on Cheng Beng on 5th April 1981- I’m an Aries, through and through – it was quite unexpected as my parents were living in Kuching at the time and they had come to Sibu to do the traditional grave cleaning. I heard the only delivery clinic in town was closed so they had to wait until after the doctor finished with his Cheng Beng business before I could be delivered.

I spent the first 7 years of my childhood in Kuching, Sarawak before my dad was posted to Sibu. I started primary school here and continued until my parents applied for a New Zealand PR when I was 13. We did our first landing and it was the one of the best and last family vacations I remember as a kid – driving a campervan with another family to tour the North and South Islands of NZ for nearly a month.

It was decided that I was to be sent to Christchurch, New Zealand for my high school straight after I finished my PMR. I was only 15 when I went there and joined a Form Six class. My parents had hoped that I would effectively “jump” two years and enter university 2 years earlier than my peers. However, I picked subjects that were traditionally valued by Asians – chemistry, physics, calculus in the hopes of fulfilling my parents dream of having one engineer and one doctor as children (I have a sister).

Unfortunately, I didn’t do very well in my studies and was more interested in the freedom that being away from family afforded me instead. I hung out a lot, gained a love of travelling and a sense of adventure and got kicked out of high school – in that order.

I came back and went to Australia for college and university. I spent 4 years in Melbourne, first in college and then in Monash University, finally graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. I wanted to stay on in Melbourne but I had a girlfriend back in KL so I came back and started working in KL.

I’ve always loved travelling since our family has a tradition of going on at least one annual family vacation since I started to walk. It was a lot of fun and sometimes my grandma came along and those were the best memories of my life. I also have a great sense of adventure and is completely okay with taking risks.

I’ve gone bungee jumping at the tender age of 13, took up skydiving and snowboarding in Melbourne when I was in university, went cliff diving in Ton Sai, Thailand. I love the adrenaline rush and I also like meeting new people and understanding their cultures.

I’ve been to a lot of different countries and lived in them for prolonged periods of time and I enjoy learning about local customs. I once went on a camping trip with a couple of Aussie friends where we hunted kangaroo and had its tail on a campfire.

I enjoy travelling solo as it allows me to actually get to meet new people and go places where I usually can’t if I’m travelling with a partner. I’ve spent long periods talking and walking along the narrow alleys of the Old Quarter in Hanoi, Vietnam and I went to Europe twice within a 6 month period.

The last time was early this year, when I spent almost a month there. I had already visited England, Wales, Amsterdam and the usual suspects previously so I decided to go on a lesser travelled path – Latvia and Georgia.

I decided on the two Baltic and post-Soviet states because not many people have gone there. I spent time in Georgia getting to know the people and the history behind Tbilisi and other states (like South Ossetia – which isn’t a very safe place to visit due to it’s propensity for insurgencies). It’s my passion to meet new people and travel around, despite not knowing the language, going where no man (or at least few) have trodden before.

ON HIS BLOG

I started blogging back in April 2002 – I was still in university in Melbourne then and decided it was a good way to let my friends see what I’m up to instead of emailing each of them individually. I was studying computer science so the first incarnation of sixthseal.com does not have a CMS per se but is updated via HTML (no CSS back then) code written manually.

I changed to Movable Type a few months after and only switched to WordPress recently. I started blogging about basically everything and anything I find fun. I think it was the first blog at the time which had daily updates with photos. I even had a webcam turned on 24/7 so that anyone who logs in can see a snapshot of my room or me every 5 minutes – yes, even when I sleep.

I wanted to experience all that Australia has to offer so I went travelling a lot and I attended a lot of events. I covered everything from the Melbourne Open tennis match to concerts. However, it was during one exhibition – SEXPO 2002 – a sex lifestyle exhibition that I realized the potential of my blog. I got an email from the organizers after I posted the coverage asking for my permission to link my post from their official sexpo.com.au website. They also wanted to give me a media pass for next year so I could gain access to the backstage and get many other privileges.

sixthseal.com is one of the longest running blogs in Malaysia – it has just reached it’s 9th anniversary on the 19th of April 2011. That’s 9 years of blogging almost every day! It has become a way of life to me and more than that – it has become an extension of myself, my most prized “possession”. I have come to think of it as a “son”, a legacy that would carry on, hopefully forever.

I see a lot of new bloggers who are blogging for money but I strongly feel that’s the wrong way to go about it. I have thousands of unique visitors per day but even if I only had 2 visitors, I would still blog because I write for MYSELF and for the satisfaction it gives me.

It’s like a diary – a life journal where I can look back and see what I was doing at what year. I want to be able to show my children that too. In fact, I’ve already found myself doing that – if I can’t remember what date I did something or when something happened – the first thing I’ll do is to search my blog. :)

ON HIS HOME

My home in Sibu is a nice two storey corner terrace that used to have a huge mango tree in the considerable yard. We had rambutan trees at the back too and as kids, I remember eagerly waiting for the season when it’ll fruit and we’ll eat it straight from the tree.

However, all the trees were cut down to make way for an extension – my family decided to renovate and paved over the side, turning some of it into a larger living room and some of it into a covered garage that could fit the 4 cars that we had if everyone was back home.

The house belongs to my dad and we’ve lived in it for ever since I can remember. He owned it even when we were in Kuching but let one of our uncles live in it.

It’s a four bedroom house with a store room and a spare room at the first floor. We only live at the second floor – there’s a piano up there and me and my sister used to share a room until I was about 10 years old and our parents deemed it was time for us to sleep in different bedrooms.

I currently live in a 550sq ft studio apartment in Damansara Heights. It appealed to me because it came fully furnished and I was impressed by how much they could fit into that small space. There’s a full kitchen with fridge, a small hallway, a toilet, a glass shower unit and a small tub flanking a sink with vanity mirror and two glass cupboards.

The bedroom comes after the bathtub which is closed by sliding doors – there’s a double bed in there and a swivel TV cum bookshelf which connects to the living room with the sofa, coffee table and small writing desk. There’s even a tiny balcony where I can look out to nature!

I love how they use glass and how open everything is to make the place look bigger than it actually is. Everything is functional and every unit looks the same since it’s furnished by the developer!

However, it has never seemed like a home to me but rather a nice place to live for one. I’m now living with my girlfriend and space has become a bit of a premium but we can still manage…after I’ve made space for her considerable wardrobe. ;)

There’s a lot of different between the place I’m renting in KL and my home in Sibu. I’ve never considered this studio home. Home is the warm feeling you get when you step into the house and that place is my bedroom in Sibu, Sarawak.
Sibu is also comparatively safe – the neighborhood I live in has a very low crime rate – and the neighbours all know and watch out for each other. There’s just a nice homely feel to living in Sibu.

I don’t know any of my neighbors in my studio in 10 Semantan (except for my ex-gf who used to live in one of the units a couple of doors down – she has since moved out) and although the security is good – you need a tag to enter the car park, to open the doors to each floor and to use the lift. The key card access system is great – you can only access your own floor, the top floor with the gym and the swimming pool, and the car park floors but not any other residential floors.

It would never be home to me as long as I’m renting though. I’m currently planning to purchase an apartment in the Mutiara Damansara area – it would need to have great security and facilities. I love to swim so a swimming pool is essential to the place I live. That’s part of the reason I prefer to live in a condo vs a landed property – the other one being of course, security. Unless you’re living in a gated community, a condominium would be more secure in KL, in my opinion.

I travel a lot and I would loath to come back and find my place burglarized. I’ve actually had this happen in Sibu – but we weren’t at home at the time. It wasn’t a pleasant experience to find your most treasured possession (notebook and external HDD) missing when you come home, I’ll tell you that.

Not to mention the fact that a stranger has rummaged around in your stuff. I ended up washing all of my clothes and found out that the burglar took some of my attire as well. He seems to be quite discerning one as he only took the labeled clothes.

That’s one option – I’m actually looking for a place that’s below RM 350,000 as a first place, if I don’t find it it Mutiara Damansara, I’ll look in other areas but I would prefer to live in Petaling Jaya with access to the SPRINT highway to get to KL easily. I would love to find a place with minimal traffic congestion, but that’s stretching it a bit too far in the Klang Valley, I reckon. ;)

My dream home would be a landed property in Sibu – I don’t plan to live in KL forever – it would be a place for me to retire and raise my kids. I would like a place like the house of my youth – with a garden and lots of trees…and a swimming pool of course.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

I believe being happy is the most important thing in life. It’s not about accumulating wealth, getting caught up in the rat race and having to juggle office politics with work. I like my freedom and I quit a nice paying full time job to pursue my dreams of becoming a travel writer. Maybe one day I’ll take up a traditional job again but if I do so, it has to be something I love – a travel host for example. You spend most of your life at work – it ought to be something you love doing, not something you do just for money, else you’ll end up with an empty life. I also have some side income and it helps keep food on the table – the image of a starving artist is romantic, but ultimately unrealistic. I believe that life is short and you should make full use of it – be happy, travel and get to know the world, and most importantly, believe in what you’re doing. I love my blog and you’ll continue to see what I’m doing on sixthseal.com :)

ABC soup and the stone soup folk tale

abc soup recipe

ABC soup is basically a soup where you dunk in everything that’s available to make a clear broth soup. The traditional (if such a word can be used to describe this) method calls for:

abc soup vegetables

An onion (whole)
Carrots
Potatoes
Tomatoes

abc soup ingredients

I used to think that ABC soup is called that because it’s easy as 1-2-3 (or ABC) but I’ve been thinking about this old folk tale about the stone soup story. There are variants of this story but the one I heard is about this traveller who comes into a village hungry with nothing but a pot.

abc soup pot

He asks the villagers for some ingredients to put into the soup but no one wanted to part with anything. He then announces that he’s got a “magical stone” that makes wonderful soup and proceeds to fill the pot with water and puts the stone inside. So, he’s sitting there, stirring what amounts to nothing but water when a curious villager comes over and asks if it’s done.

abc soup cook

The traveller says not yet, but it would help if someone had carrots to put in it. Enhances the flavor, the dude casually mentions. The villager grudgingly says that he might have some carrots at home and adds it to the hot water. This became a cascading effect as the villagers watched the traveller cook his soup – each one started contributing their own stuff – a bit of meat, some onions, tomatoes etc and lo and behold – it was the best soup they’ve ever tasted.

abc soup boil

There’s a moral in there somewhere but that’s not why I’m writing this post. Heh! ABC soup has become something of a staple in our cooking since it’s quite versatile and very easy to cook. You basically need onions (sliced in half), carrots (diced), potatoes (whole if you use the tiny ones) and tomatoes (sliced in half).

abc soup peel

Just use to golden rule:
PEEL the stuff that needs peeling
SLICE the stuff that needs slicing
DICE the stuff that needs dicing

abc soup

You bring a pot of water to boil, add some salt to taste and dunk everything in. Allow this to simmer for 30 minutes or so and it’s ready to eat!

abc soup heat

The best thing about this is that even if you can’t finish it you can still eat (we use more ingredients than soup) it in the middle of the night. There’s this thermos like thing (except it’s much bigger) that we use to keep it warm.

abc soup leftover

I can just scoop some out and eat it at 3 am in the morning if I’m hungry. ABC soup is easy to cook and infinitely customizable – we’ve put leftover minced meat inside too, it goes very well with just about anything. It’s really healthy compared to the other stuff I eat too. :)

First landing

christchurch

I remember my first trip to New Zealand – my entire family went with another family for our first landing (one of the prerequisites to get a Permanent Residency). We arrived at Christchurch and rented a caravan large enough for our family of 4 and their family of 4 and did nothing except go to prospective high schools to prepare for our education there two years later.

The first few days were a drag – we went to several schools before deciding on either Burnside or Riccarton high school. Next was the search for a home stay since we were minors and my dad finally settled for one right behind Riccarton High School (which was the one we ended up going to).

auckland nz

The rest of the time however was marvelous – we spent a couple of days in Christchurch, swung down to Dunedin (primarily to prepare me and my sister for medical school – she made it, I didn’t), met with the steepest road in the entire world before heading to the North Island.

rotorua

We pretty much toured the entire NZ in 3 weeks just by driving. My favorite place would be Rotorua – the air smells like sulfur and everything is more expensive than other towns but I loved the mud baths and our motel even had its own private spa!

luge

I was also an adventure fiend back then and went for this precarious ride called the luge (and got teased mercilessly by the other family’s twin sisters for pronouncing it loo-gee) where I nearly shit my pants by intentionally steering down “Advanced” instead of “Beginner” and careening down the side of a hill with sheer cliffs and nothing but centrifugal force to avoid you from tipping over.

I got out all wobbly legged and was properly chastised for heading down the Advanced route when I’m not supposed to.

bungee

I also went bungee jumping – AJ Hackett originated from New Zealand, but to be honest, the luge experience scared me more than the bungee jump coz I was supposed to steer but I didn’t know how to.

riccarton high school

Fast forward two years and I found myself studying in Christchurch. My parents decided on RHS primarily coz it had a low ratio of Asian students compared to Burnside. They are firm believers of fitting in and immersing yourself into another culture, which I guess rubbed off on me during my travels.

I joined the drama club (best thing that happened to me) and had a leading role in the end-of-year school play Peer Gynt. I also got kicked out of school for disciplinary issues but we shall not be discussing that today. ;)

fishandchips

The year that I spent in Christchurch was a lot of fun. The temperature drops down to the negatives in winter and despite being only 15 years old, I was very active in the rave scene. I can be seen at Ministry most weekends, which is where most of the good raves are found. I love eating fish and chips loaded with ketchup during the colder days of the year and explored every nook and cranny of the city (as much as a 15 year old who hung out with uni students who could drive did).

Christchurch is a beautiful city and although I’ve been to Auckland late last year to see my mom, sister and niece, I still prefer Christchurch to Auckland. It’s like how I love Melbourne but can’t get into the groove of Sydney.

christchurch-tram-nz

It’s a perfect place with quiet spots like Church Corner with its quaint dairies (a grocery store of sorts where you can get hot food and drinks) and yet with a vibrant night life, if you know where to look. You can even hang out in the city square where there is a huge ass chessboard with equally gigantic pieces.

Christchurch is also great as a base to REALLY travel around New Zealand. Just rent a car and explore the South Island before hooking back up north.

dairy

It’s been ages since I’ve been back to Christchurch and I’ll really love to see how much it has changed (and perhaps see my old principal, whom I had a lot of run-ins with and show him I didn’t turn out to be a total delinquent after all ;)) so it was great news when I heard that AirAsia X is now flying to Christchurch from an amazing RM 499 one way!

Man, you gotta give AirAsia X kudos, they’re adding more and more destinations exponentially – it really makes travel much easier at a great value!

You can also get the chance to win an awesome 7D/6N holiday in New Zealand courtesy of AirAsiaX by participating in the Faces Go Places contest on their Facebook page. Just upload a photo of your face to their Facebook application, which has a variety of activities you can match an expression to. Add a caption and share it with your friends to get votes. It’s that easy!

manic

This is my maniacally excited face. Heh! The Faces Go Places contest is where it’s at. Come on then, give us your best shot mate! ;)

Kiwi fruit rice with yoghurt

a.k.a. Drooling Smiley Face Kiwi Fruit Rice with Fish Roe and Pork

kiwi

My girlfriend bought a lot of Kiwi fruit weeks ago – there were 8 of these French green kiwifruits and she’s eaten only one during all that time. I’m not a fan of fruits in general so it remained uneaten for several days.

french kiwifruit

I noticed the furry little things in the fridge during the weekend and thought it’ll be a waste to let it rot. I decided to remedy that by cooking something that sounded good – Kiwi fruit rice! :)

kiwi fruit rice

It was the perfect solution!

You will need:
Kiwi fruits
Yoghurt
Fish roe
Kwe Hua meat
Century eggs
Rice

meat

Yes, this is another variant of my preserved meat meals. Heh! However, I decided on going for presentation this time – I’ll make a smiley face out of this sweet and savory meal!

fish roe

I’ll like to call this Drooling Smiley Face Kiwi Fruit Rice with Fish Roe and Pork. I’ll explain the “drooling” part later. :)

I used 3 kiwi fruits and sliced it into circles.

slicing

That was a mistake. I should have peeled it before doing so coz it became rather hard to remove the skin after slicing.

sliced

Told you I wasn’t good with fruits. >.<

kiwifruit

Anyway, I mixed 2 cups of rice with 3 kiwi fruits, one lonely fish roe and a piece of waxed meat before turning the rice cooker on.

prep

That’s the beauty of this – there’s no additional cooking needed, everything is done by the rice cooker. :)

done

It was ready after 10 minutes. I originally made it to look sorta like a face but then I realized I could make it look MORE like a face by arranging the fish roe as the “nose” and the waxed meat as the “mouth”. That leaves the “eyes” – century eggs. :D

The finishing touch was some fresh yoghurt – this is the plain unflavored ones, don’t use the flavored ones, it’ll ruin the taste of the dish.

yoghurt

I dabbed a generous portion on the waxed meat “mouth” to look like it was drooling. Food is all about presentation as well. ;)

I took a tentative scoop of rice…

kiwifruit rice

…and was amazed. The fruity citrus tang of the Kiwi combined with the sour yoghurt and rice tastes exceptionally delicious! It’s very refreshing! It’s tastes like…a beach holiday with the warm sun on your back and the cool breeze from the sea coming in.

It tasted like what an oasis would seem to someone wondering in a desert for 2 days without water.

The waxed meat and fish roe provides a savory twist to it. I ate one mouthful of the kiwi + yoghurt + rice and alternated it with waxed meat + fish roe + century egg + rice.

eating

It’s like having a main and a dessert in one dish!

It is surprisingly good, I kid you not! Let your adventurous palate roam with this unique dish and check it out for yourself.

smiley face

You can also forgo the meat and just cook Kiwi fruit rice and pair it with yoghurt for a dessert dish – I’m sure it’ll taste equally good. :)

Preserved meat, vegetable and egg breakfast

preserved breakfast

This is a quick and easy breakfast that’s really fast to bang up in the morning. It’s nice to eat rice for breakfast sometimes and I’ve grown to love this dish – I’ve been making variations of this for the past month. It only takes 15 minutes to cook – the exact time it takes for a rice cooker to do its job. :)

ed weng chow do

You will need:
Kwe Hua preserved meat
Lap cheong (waxed Chinese sausages)
Century eggs
Pickled diced daikon (chai bo)
Rice

lap cheong

The best thing about this recipe is that you cook the meat inside the rice cooker so there’s no additional pots or pans to wash up. Heh!

kwe hua meat

Kwe Hua waxed meat is a preserved meat sold in slabs. It’s usually found in the waxed meat section of your friendly neighborhood hypermarket. It costs about RM 2.50 or so per piece. It’s even more expensive than some imported fresh meat. I can’t figure out why yet, but I can’t argue with the taste – it’s absolutely delicious. Waxed meat is the yums. It’s sweet and has a smoky flavor.

lap cheong string

Preserved meats has an intense flavor and taste – it’s not the off-putting kind of intense, it’s the concentrated kind of intense, the essence of meat and spices distilled into one helluva package. :D

poh choy

I have also added some vegetables into this breakfast – it’s the only one I really like – chai bo. Chai bo is called coi pou in Cantonese and it’s picked diced daikon (Oriental radish).

sausage peel

I started off by preparing the lap cheong (Chinese sausages) – it takes a bit of time to peel the things. Lap cheong is wrapped with waxed paper – the easiest way to take it off is to snip off the twist at the top and peel downwards. Once that is done, you can start measuring out the rice and cooking it.

rice cooker cook

Generally, one measure of rice equals to one bowl of rice. Each measure of rice should be accompanied by an equal amount of water e.g. one scoop of rice requires one scoop of water in the rice cooker. Put the rice and water in the rice cooker and add the Kwe Hua meat and lap cheong. Do not add additional water!

fry chai bo

Once you’ve pressed the cook button on the rice cooker, it’s time to fry the chai bo. It’s a very quick affair – just heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and dump in the chai bo. I like my chai bo to be sweet so I added a lot of brown sugar to it. My recipe calls for half the amount of sugar to chai bo ratio.

chai bo sugar

I know that sounds a bit excessive but chai bo is extremely salty. I forgot to soak the chai bo in water beforehand – it’ll be easier to work with if you do that. The sugar caramelizes with the oil and adds that umami taste to the chai bo. I didn’t put any extras into it – I like my chai bo unadulterated. :)

new century egg

I found these new century eggs while grocery shopping one day – they don’t have a coating of mud and rice husk – it’s just covered with wax.

century egg

No, it’s not a fake egg – it’s just not made in the traditional way but with modern methods which produces the same results by alkali and sodium infusion (which is really what the traditional recipe does anyway).

century egg peeled

It’s MUCH easier to peel – it’s just like cracking a hard boiled egg, you don’t have to worry about accidentally squashing the egg when you open it (the egg doesn’t stick to the shell) and as a bonus it won’t produce a mess.

chai bo

Crack open a century egg and slice it in half. Serve the chai bo with the century eggs as a side dish.

rice cooker

The rice with the Kwe Hua preserved meat and lap cheong should be done by now. Open up the rice cooker and marvel at the wonder that you’ve just created. Heh! It tastes great when paired with the chai bo and century egg.

rice

Anyway, if you haven’t already noticed, this breakfast is full of unhealthy items – everything from the meat, vegetables and egg are preserved. It is REALLY high in sodium so if you have a condition e.g. high blood pressure, it might not be a good idea to partake. You’ll need to drink tons of water for the thirst afterwards. It is very delicious though!

eating preserved breakfast

I think this non-alcoholic cantaloupe beer with hops and malt might be the healthiest component of our breakfast. smirk

A touch to remember

aquaria

I went to the launch of the Tupperware One Touch Airtight Challenge a couple of days back. It was held in Aquaria, KLCC. I was there quite early and Joanna spotted me from the registration counter. I was interested in what Tupperware was unveiling since I heard it was going to be something unusual.

tupperware

I met Christine and Ee Ling inside the cordoned off area. I was talking to Ee Ling (Senior Manager of Marketing Communications & Corporate Affairs) about the Tupperware brand. Somewhere during the conversation, it was mentioned that they have added new colors to the containers to counter the “aunty” image of Tupperware.

ee ling

I was surprised – that is news to me! I’ve been living with Tupperware for ages – lunch boxes and water containers when I was in primary school – it has always been a premium brand to me. Heck, I was telling my girlfriend that I’ll be attending a Tupperware event and her first reaction was to get all excited and ask if they’ll be giving away Tupperware containers as door gifts.

snacks

I told her I didn’t know, maybe, maybe not. It turns out that Tupperware WAS indeed kind enough to give us some. I’m sure that’s going to make my girlfriend very happy. Heh!

You know, back in the days way before man roamed the Earth (and people and to walk 3,000 miles to go to school – one way) people used a lot of interesting but ultimately slap dish ways of maintaining freshness. I call this period of darkness BT (Before Tupperware).

old skool

One of the common things that my grandma’s generation does is to use a serviette (or a piece of newspaper) to “seal” a container tighter – this container usually being a cream cracker aluminium tin. They were big fans of recycling and reusing stuff back then. ;)

transfer

It’s all well and good but it doesn’t work very well – the mee sua (longevity noodles) that was given to me for my birthday started going a bit off. It won’t keep very long, unless it’s in a REAL airtight container, not something an old Martha Stewart playing MacGyver thought up several generations ago for making a semi air tight container. ;)

karen

Anyway, back to the Tupperware One Touch Airtight Challenge launch, have you ever wondered why the snacks you put inside Tupperware never goes stale? It’s airtight! In fact it’s so airtight they’re putting a Samsung Galaxy Tab inside it and submerging the Tupperware in a glass aquarium!

Karen of Tupperware went down in SCUBA gear for the launch of the Airtight One Touch Challenge. She was accompanied by two other divers who were feeding food to the fish in the huge tank in Aquaria, KLCC.

feeding

The Tupperware One Touch container she’s carrying in this video has a Samsung Galaxy Tab inside it! It’s switched on and fully functional. It’s meant to show the air tight capabilities of the Tupperware One Touch container.

samsung

There was a banner unfurled underwater and turtles slowly gliding past us – it really was a grand launch. :)

We were brought on a tour around Aquaria, KLCC and reached another area of the aquarium where there will be a permanent fixture of a Samsung Galaxy Tablet inside a Tupperware One Touch container. The unique thing about this is the placement of the container – it’s inside an aquarium in DEEPFOREST.

cell

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is fully functional – I tried calling it from my cell phone and it rang with my number on it! It’s going to be there for about two months and it’s there for a reason. More about that later!

cheesie

Tea was served after the launch and we headed back with goodies galore from Tupperware. We received a box of One Touch airtight containers and I’ve already put it into good use!

I bought some of my favorite cookies – this one is replacing Tim Tams as my favorite due to its slightly more complex coconut flavor. It’s two biscuits sandwiching a chocolate center. Arnott’s Kingston biscuits, which I hated when I was going through university in Melbourne but have grown to love now.

cookies

The problem with buying cookies is that I can’t finish them in one sitting (but chips is another matter) and if you just put it in the fridge, it goes a bit off and absorbs the other smells in your refrigerator. :x

It’s just not meant to be stored that way…which is why the packages have “Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place” printed on it. Now that I have the Tupperware One Touch containers, I can indulge without having to worry about finishing the entire pack or risk it going bad.

instructions

This allows me to make great discoveries like this Italian delight. Forno Bonomi Savoiardi Ladyfingers is awesome! It tastes great when you dunk it into hot coffee – the entire biscuit rapidly absorbs the liquid like a sponge. You can even make a no-bake tiramisu with the biscuits when you’re bored of eating it.

I also included my current favorite brand of chocolate chip cookies (from the US of course). This is Pepperidge Farm Sausalito Milk Chocolate Macadamia with whole macadamia nuts in a chocolate chip cookie. It’s not cloyingly sweet…in fact it’s rather bland (in a good way) compared to most choc chip cookies – you can taste the subtle flavors – definitely a product for adults.

onion rings

…and my current favorite snack – Burger King’s onion rings! It’s also made in the USA and it’s quite expensive at RM 9. However it tastes REALLY good and somewhat like the real onion rings from BK. Of course, onion rings from BK would be cheaper but it won’t be as crunchy as this!

fresh

I have the gene that causes me to eat a whole bag of chips so putting this into a Tupperware container makes the excuse “Oh it’s going to go stale if I don’t finish it so I might as well eat the whole bag” moot. :)

storage

I like how the One Touch containers are stack-able too – it really saves space – the snacks and cookies go into one cupboard and the noodles go into another.

food

I’m loving it!

Do you want to win your own Tupperware hampers and Samsung Galaxy Tabs? Just type <TupperwareAirtight>space<Your Name> and send to 012 783 0790. It’s a regular cell phone number, not one of those short codes where you have to pay though your nose to text. I like the consideration given – you only pay the regular SMS charges that your cell provider charges! :)

contest

Every 100th SMS received will get a Tupperware hamper full of products worth RM 50 and a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab! There are three (3) Samsung Galaxy Tabs to be won. The contest ends on the 31st May 2011 and you can actually see it happen in real life if you head down to Aquaria, KLCC!

call

Just go to the DEEPFOREST section and look for the aquarium with the Tupperware One Touch container with the Samsung Galaxy Tab inside. It’s fun to text and see your SMS appear. ;)

enjoy rings

The number you’re looking for is 012 783 0790. Head on over to Tupperware’s Facebook page for more information on the contest!

Happy 9th bloganivarsary sixthseal.com!

It’s the sixthseal.com 9th anniversary today! :D

9-anniversary

Yup, that’s 9 solid years of blogging – something of an achievement, I’ll like to think.

It has become somewhat of a tradition to do a recap of sorts, followed by the best posts of the previous year (from the 19th of April 2010 to the 19th of April 2011) – the blog year – something like the fiscal year – instead of the Gregorian year. :)

I started blogging back in April 2002 – I was still in university in Melbourne then and decided it was a good way to let my friends see what I’m up to instead of emailing each of them individually. I was studying computer science so the first incarnation of sixthseal.com does not have a CMS per se but is updated via HTML (no CSS back then) code written manually.

I changed to Movable Type a few months after and only switched to WordPress recently. I started blogging about basically everything and anything I find fun. I think it was the first blog at the time which had daily updates with photos. I even had a webcam turned on 24/7 so that anyone who logs in can see a snapshot of my room or me every 5 minutes – yes, even when I sleep.

I wanted to experience all that Australia has to offer so I went travelling a lot and I attended a lot of events. I covered everything from the Melbourne Open tennis match to concerts. However, it was during one exhibition – SEXPO 2002 – a sex lifestyle exhibition that I realized the potential of my blog. I got an email from the organizers after I posted the coverage asking for my permission to link my post from their official sexpo.com.au website.

They also wanted to give me a media pass for next year so I could gain access to the backstage and get many other privileges.

Unfortunately, there was a server incident where sixthseal.com went down and I didn’t have the backups so you’ll notice that the posts are all missing comments. T_T It’s one of my biggest regrets but hey, at least the posts are (mostly) intact.

sixthseal.com is one of the longest running blogs in Malaysia – it has just reached it’s 9th anniversary on the 19th of April 2011. That’s 9 years of blogging almost every day! It has become a way of life to me and more than that – it has become an extension of myself, my most prized “possession”. I have come to think of it as a “son”, a legacy that would carry on, hopefully forever.

It’s like a diary – a life journal where I can look back and see what I was doing at what year. I want to be able to show my children that too. In fact, I’ve already found myself doing that – if I can’t remember what date I did something or when something happened – the first thing I’ll do is to search my blog. :)

It’s kinda ironic – the blogger behind sixthseal.com is 30 and taking hair treatment sessions at Svenson while the actual blog has only turned 9 years old. Oh, and Svenson just told me that everyone reading sixthseal.com can drop in for a free consultation at any of the Svenson centres nationwide – call ahead at 1-800-22-8333 to make an appointment – do it before it’s too late! Thanks for the blogiversary gift to the readers! :)

The best of 19th April 2010 – 19th April 2011

uncle

4th May 2010
O HAI! I IZ AN UNCLE!
I am an uncle! :D

23rd May 2010
How I lost RM 35,000 in Genting
I am broke. :(

17th June 2010
The entire process of eating rat in China
Gastronomic adventures in the land of possibilities!

1st August 2010
Fraser’s Hill travel report
Travel closer to home.

22nd August 2010
Cliff diving in Ton Sai
Adventure in Thailand!

2nd September 2010
Love The Way You Lie
The best video I’ve ever done – thanks to Cindy for co-starring in this!

dog head

15th September 2010
Eating dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam
More unusual culinary delights! ;)

24th October 2010
Microdermal implants – my third nipple
More body piercing fun!

14th November 2010
A warning about Amsterdam Coffeeshops
Ahh…Amsterdam! :D

24th November 2010
South Korea and North Korea DMZ
My second trip to Korea!

28th November 2010
Pub food in London, England
My first trip to Europe within 6 months. Heh!

dark side of georgia

13th January 2011
Where the wild things are
Part of my trip to Tbilisi, Georgia! This is my second sojourn to Europe.

25th January 2011
Broodje haring, Hollandse Nieuwe and herring in Amsterdam
A more wholesome Amsterdam experience.

16th February 2011
The most romantic Valentine’s Day ever!
Getting in a relationship with Jeanie. :)

19th February 2011
2011 fireworks and firecrackers review
The annual firecracker and fireworks roundup!

niece

24th February 2011
My niece’s 1st birthday!
I am an uncle! :D

27th February 2011
Polly’s wedding in Tangkak, Johor
Going to Johor for a wedding. Good times…

It was a year of travel for me – I’ve been to a lot of places inside Malaysia, went to Europe TWICE (first trip was a more traditional experience while the second involved the lesser travelled Latvia and Georgia, Korea, Vietnam, heck, there were so many I can’t remember all of it!

However, you’ll notice that there are periods which mean more to me – it’s usually the times when I travel or during the CNY period when I’m home with my family. This really makes me miss Sibu. I started and (nearly) ended with posts on my niece – those were the highlights of my year. Here’s to my niece – Kara. Your uncle loves you. :)

Happy 9th birthday sixthseal.com – you have become something like a son to me. :)

PJ Life Arts – The God of Carnage ticket giveaway on sixthseal.com!

PJ Life Arts is showing a comedy play called The God of Carnage and I’ve got two pairs of tickets to be given away thanks to Nuffnang! I’ve always loved the theatre and performances – it’s not “just live movies in real 3D” (as a film critic quipped) – it’s much better than that!

God of Carnage

I’ve acted in a play during my high school in New Zealand and it takes a lot of practise, improvisation and quick thinking if you mess up your lines. I have a lot of respect for the people who do this and you’ll be pleased by the cast in The God of Carnage – Lina Teoh, Will Quah, Maya Tan and Megat Sharizal will be the leads in this production!

This is a play that everyone can relate to – the competition, the bottled up anger and the thinly veiled jealousy forms a large part of our daily interactions with others. The script just adds a dose of humor to all of that. You can read the synopsis here.

This show is rated 18-PL so please (as the popular sign on bars go) “B 18 or B Gone”. ;)

Show: The God of Carnage
Date & Time: 25th April 2011, 8:30 PM (Monday)
Location: PJ Life Arts, Jaya One
Ticket Giveaway: 2 pairs (4 tix) worth RM 60 each for two winners

We all need a bit of laughter in our lives. There will be two winners – just like there are two families in the play – who’ll get to watch this for free! The winners will get two (2) tickets each so you can bring a friend along. :D

Nuffnang will contact you to confirm your attendance and hand out the tickets for this 1 hour and 30 minute comedy. I’ll be passing them the details of the winners from the contest on sixthseal.com. As such, kindly ensure that your email address in the comments is correct so I can get in touch. Join us in watching The God of Carnage at PJLA!

Just share a funny story or incident involving your family by commenting before 6 pm on the 22nd April 2011 (Friday). The two funniest comments will win these tickets! :)

See you there!

A trip into the F1 Paddock in Sepang / Malaysian Grand Prix 2011 race

me anita

The paddock! It’s the dream of every F1 fan to be able to walk amongst the pit crews, engineers and drivers prepping the F1 cars before the start of the race. I was fortunate enough to be able to join in just one such expedition.

f1 paddock

There are scheduled pit walks if you’re a member of the F1 Sepang Paddock Club (where you have to shell out a staggering amount for the privilege) but ours was by the Lotus Renault GP team.

girls

Our liaison was Anita Nyers, who travels around the world with the Lotus Renault team as Liaison Officer. She brought us into their allocated garage, which was bustling with activity. There were people hurrying around, all wearing the Lotus Renault GP shirt. I am also donning one of the tees – which I got from PROTON, who is supporting Group Lotus in its sponsorship and involvement in F1 through the Lotus Renault team.

lotus tag

This is the almost magical Lotus Renault GP VIP Garage Access tag that granted us entrance into the area. I still have it. :)

sepang

The paddock visit was scheduled at 11 am in the morning and I drove down to Sepang much earlier than that (didn’t want to risk missing this chance) and parked in PA1. The SIC has decreed that parking this year will be slightly cheaper – I paid RM 50 for the ticket, which is valid for two days. I like the parking spot, it’s right in front of the Sepang International Circuit.

f1 sepang

Anyway, back to the paddock trip, we saw the Lotus Renault GP team working on the cars, tuning and checking every single component before the race in their garage.

garage

The weather and track conditions (temperature of the ground, ambient temperature etc) are tracked constantly with computer monitors. It’s an engineer’s wet dream.

computer

They use all this data to give them an edge in the race. Here is a tyre stack – two front and two rear wheels which will be used during the race. There are spares in stacks all around.

tyres

The interesting bit about this contraption here is that it HEATS the tyres starting from 3 hours before the race based on the track temperature so it’ll perform optimally.

lotus garage

The attention to detail is incredible and F1 cars are amazingly complex machines.

helmets

These are the real racing helmets that the drivers will be using later.

Here’s a video of The Paddock! Experience it vicariously! ;)

driver

Oh, we bumped into the Malaysian driver for Lotus Renault GP while walking in The Paddock – here’s Fairuz Fauzy.

lotus renault lounge

We were also brought into the hospitality lounge where there’s anything and everything you can think of. I had a bottle of Italian sparkling water. There’s Evian, Perrier, various carbonated drinks and even Corona beer in the fridge. You can help yourself to it, or more accurately, Lotus Renault GP has a staff member which helps you get it.

monitors

They actually FLY these people all the way around the world with the Lotus Renault F1 drivers – everyone from the pit crew to the chefs. The drivers have very specific diets and brings along their own chef and food.

monitoring

I discovered a coffee machine which is quite nifty – you just put a packet of coffee that you choose from a dispenser above and put the entire thing in. There’s no need for you to open it or pour it out. The entire packet – unopened – goes into a slot and out comes your coffee. I don’t care if it makes me look dumb, but I’ve never seen anything like that before.

me

I also had a croissant (which is one of the largest I’ve ever seen) and a banana coz I didn’t have breakfast and then we walked out to watch the pit girls parade past, waving to the drivers and teams in The Paddock.

Here is one final video of the Lotus Renault garage in The Paddock!

parade

We had to vacate the premises soon after that for the qualifiers so we did. I watched the 4 pm qualifiers and went back to catch some much needed sleep before the real finals on Sunday.

paddock

Sunday came and I decided to go 5 hours early to beat the jam. It turned out to be futile. It was congested at certain parts of the road to Sepang and though the traffic police did a great job in directing, it took me the better part of two hours to get there.

view

There’s still ample time when I got there so I parked and started walking around before deciding I wanted to go up to one of the towers instead of sitting at my allocated seat. There’s a girl at the entrance which checks your ticket but I guess I was quite official looking with my tags and all on Saturday so she didn’t ask me for my ticket when I went up.

prep

I decided to stroll up again and smiled at her. She recognized me from the day before…and yes, did not check my ticket. Heh! I went up to the 3rd floor, which offers an awesome 360 degree view of the track – I can see the starting point, several straights and two bends.

flags

The pit girls came out parading the flags of the participant countries…

ready

…before the F1 cars came roaring out of The Paddock and into their allocated slots.

Here’s a video of the lineup of all the F1 cars at the Malaysian Grand Prix 2011 final race!

There was an initial placement round and then the race started proper…

…and they’re off!

start

Man, was it exciting! Red Bull Racing’s Sebastien Vettel started charging right off but Vitaly Petrov of Lotus Renault was right on his ass, giving him lots of pressure. Vitaly finished 3rd with his Lotus Renault in Melbourne before this so he was a favorite in Sepang. His pacing was impressive and it must have kept Vettel looking at his rear. It was unbelievable!

bend

I was rooting for Nick Heidfeld though. He’s also with the Lotus Renault team but didn’t start out as well as Petrov. However, he just kept at it and it paid off at the end, as you’ve probably heard.

chase

Petrov did things with his Lotus Renault F1 car that it was not meant to do – aerodynamic stunts – and had to retire at the 52nd lap. It was sooo close to the end but unfortunately he hit the side of the track and actually became airborne for a while before gravity took hold and pulled the car back down. The impact damaged the front so he had to exit after that.

chasing

I was standing all through the entire race – running from one side of the tower to the other to see the action. Nick of Lotus Renault was the dark horse in this race and I like rooting for the underdog. He kept on pushing the limits.

watch

The other fans up there were equally excited, some flew thousands of miles just to come and root for their team.

corners

It was a nail biting race – each lap saw cars trying to outmaneuver each other at bends and vying for position on the straights and Hiedfeld of Lotus Renault managed to come in at 3rd place!

race

It’s not the chequered flag but being able to stand on the podium is quite an achievement in itself. This is especially sweet for PROTON since Lotus Renault’s Heidfeld did it on home soil. :D

finish

Out of the 3 Malaysian backed teams, only the Lotus Renault team managed to get into the top 3 and pop the cork on the champagne bottle in the podium. w00t!

tickets

Lotus Renault GP is sponsored by Group Lotus. PROTON in its support of Group Lotus’ sponsorship of the team kindly provided me the tickets to F1 and the rare chance to go into The Paddock and even better – get INSIDE Lotus Renault’s garage. Not many people have that chance and I’m glad I managed to experience it.

I also went to the Rain concert which was included in the ticket.

anita nyers

Thanks to Jeffrey and Alvin from PROTON for being great hosts and Anita Nyers from Lotus for being an awesome tour guide. I can now say that I’ve held a real F1 steering wheel in my hand and rubbed shoulders with the pit crew inside the Lotus Renault paddock. :)

An interesting fact about the Lotus Renault team: Their golden suits is not just for the bling factor – it allows them to stay cool in Malaysia’s hot weather compared to their traditional black ones.

straight

Now that the Malaysian leg is over, I have one more year to recover from the sonic assault on my ears. I didn’t wear earplugs on both days and I think I might have developed slight hearing problems. ;)

An oasis in the weekend heat

sunny day

It was a hot and lazy Sunday afternoon – my girlfriend just came over to work in KL the night before and we stayed up late to unpack. By the time we hit the sack it was already dawn. We slept in and the clock blinked 2:00 PM when we woke up. I was famished!

island cafe interior

The problem with finding food at 3 pm in the afternoon (after showering and all) is that a lot of places are closed for lunch, and dinner hasn’t started yet. It’s the period of limbo between the two main meals of the day when most places just hunker down to weather out the heat.

island cafe ss2

I decided to bring her to Island Cafe in SS2. It’s one of those HK style restaurants which offers everything from lamb chops to fried noodles and peanut butter toast in between. It’s open at odd hours, it’s near to my place and they serve beer. In my books, that makes it a great place. :)

island cafe

Nothing beats a cold bottle of beer on a hot afternoon to go with your lunch.

Pumpkin Cheese Baked Rice

I ordered my usual – Pumpkin Cheese Baked Rice with Pork (RM 16.90). I love this dish coz it’s slightly different from the regular run-of-the-mill cheese baked rice other places offer – it’s baked and served in an actual pumpkin.

Pumpkin Cheese Baked Rice with Pork

I love pumpkin – it’s an acquired taste, I hear, coz a lot of people don’t like it. It’s sweet and the Pumpkin Cheese Baked Rice is made in such a way that the sweetness of the pumpkin is infused into the rice. It’s topped with two pork chops and melted cheese. You can even eat the pumpkin flesh if you dig into it with a spoon – the “bowl” is a real pumpkin.

kilkenny bottle

…and look at what I found – Kilkenny! :D

us

I noticed that Island Cafe has Kilkenny in bottles. I didn’t know they serve Kilkenny over here! I usually drink Kilkenny draft from pubs. I thought it would be nice to get a bottle to go with my lunch, considering the heat.

bamboo rice

Jeanie had the Bamboo Rice (RM 15.90) which is basically fried rice served in a bamboo container with chicken wings on the side. However, it tastes surprisingly good with Kilkenny. I like experimenting food pairings with beer. It’s more common with wine but the more flavorful beers like Kilkenny goes well with certain dishes too!

jeanie

Jeanie also had a glass of the Irish beer with her rice. She thought it was rather unusual but novel to drink Kilkenny outside of a bar. She loves Kilkenny too but like me, her experience is limited to bars. I just found out that it was only recently that Kilkenny produced bottles for sale in certain modern food courts, cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars that does not already serve Kilkenny Draught.

lunch

I think it’s great! The taste is pretty similar (although Kilkenny on tap tastes a bit smoother) and it’s nice to have the option of ordering an ale instead of the usual lagers while out eating local food.

mango dessert

I reckon it beats the hell out of the Mango Snow Ice (RM 8.50+) Jeanie had for dessert. I’ll prefer another bottle of Kilkenny as dessert. ;)

drink

There’s nothing better than an icy cold, sweating bottle of Kilkenny in your hand while eating a long lunch during weekends. It’s good to see it come out of the pubs and into modern food courts, cafes and restaurants so that I can drink it when I crave for local food. :)

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