My experience with dengue fever

dengue antibodies test igm

I woke up early Sunday morning with a burning fever that came on suddenly. I had a pounding headache and worse still, there was an intense pain behind my eyeballs. I couldn’t even blink without substantial pain.

I was also burning up. You can reach over 40 degrees Celsius in the first few days of dengue infection and the heat was baking off me – so much so that my better half couldn’t stand the heat when she was beside me.

I went to the doctor the next day and she didn’t even know I had dengue fever or diagnose me as such. I was just given a 30 second consultation, given paracetamol and was out the door.

test for dengue

Day 1
High fever, chills, pain at the back of the eyes

I was really, really sick. I couldn’t eat anything and I didn’t want to move at all. When I went to the doctor again, I was bent over from fatigue. It was worse than any flu that I’ve ever had. I slept.

Day 2
High fever, fatigue, stabbing pain behind my eyes, aching joints and muscles

It didn’t get better the next day. The fever had gotten worse and I was waiting my IgM and IgG dengue antibodies results so I could confirm that this is a case of dengue. I slept most of the day.

dengue blood test

Day 3
Fever, fatigue, aching joints, muscle pain, stabbing pain behind my eyes

I would say that the most characteristic feature of dengue fever is the stabbing pain behind your eyes. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I got my results and it was dengue!

rash dengue

Day 4
Diarrhoea, fatigue, nausea, aching muscles and joints

The fever had broke but I was still too tired to get up from bed. I can honestly say that I was bedridden for a full week! I also threw up anything that I tried to eat and couldn’t keep down any fluids.

dengue fever rash

Day 5
Nausea, fatigue, itching all over, rashes

This was when I got a mysterious rash all over my body. It’s very itchy and I couldn’t stop scratching myself. It’s on my feet, my hands, my body and it kept me scratching the entire time I was awake. The only respite is sleep.

Day 6
Itches all over, hives, rashes, nausea, fatigue

It got better on the sixth day and I had daily blood tests to monitor my platelets count. It had dropped really low and I couldn’t seem to heal from the smallest lacerations.

second blood test

Day 7
Lacerations from scratching, itching all over, fatigue

It’s the seventh day now and I’m mostly feeling better, although I can’t get up for long periods of time. It’s very tiring to do even minor chores and I’ve been sleeping 12 hour days without any fluids – a bad thing to do which probably made my recovery slower but I had lots of isotonic drinks courtesy of my dear.

dengue hospital referral

Dengue fever isn’t as bad as some people report. You won’t die if you’re a relatively healthy adult. I got a letter for admission to the hospital but I didn’t go – that is if your platelets count is dropping and doesn’t rally for some reason and it’s a precaution. They really can’t do anything for you – your immune system just has to get rid of the dengue fever virus by itself.

I’ve been through a few (mis)adventures in my life and out of them I’ll rate this as a 4 from a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most painful. 10 would be withdrawing from benzodiazepines without a taper plan at a shitty government rehab centre – you’re shackled and handcuffed and you’re seizing every hour and trying not to bite your tongue and you’re peeing blood from the exertion and your brain feels damaged from all the minor and grand mal seizures and you’re just begging for a higher power to not let you die.

(and you can very well die from cold turkey benzo withdrawal after 14 years of heavy usage)

I’ve also done cold turkey withdrawal from opiates (heroin, oxycodone and methadone) and I’ll rate that a 7 – nowhere near the death experience of benzo withdrawal but still painful. I’ve also had an emergency dialysis done on my neck and that discomfort is probably around 5 so my rating of 4 for dengue fever is just according to my personal experiences – your mileage will vary depending on what you’ve been through. smirk

dengue rash

There’s a positive thing that came out of all this though – I’m immune from this strain of dengue fever forever! You can only get dengue once, you’ll have immunity after that, and considering there’s four (4) known strains out there – that means you’ll get dengue a maximum of four times and you’re set after that. :)

Poached chicken breast with beetroot and nectarine puree

poached chicken nectarine puree

This is the best dish I’ve cooked to date! The chicken breast is really *poached* i.e. it’s cooked in ambient hot water with no direct heat for 20 minutes. I learned this technique in a MasterClass and it’s an exact replication of that dish.

poach chicken

The protein in this dish comes from the crown of chicken breast without the wishbone, which I cut from a whole chicken.

beetroot food processor

You will need:

  • Two chicken breasts
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1 nectarine
  • Raw goat milk
  • Nuts
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic scapes

poaching chicken

It’s quite a simple dish but the trick to cooking it is the perfect poaching of the chicken. The way to do it is to season a pot of water with garlic scapes, rosemary and salt and let it boil.

garlic scapes

I used garlic scapes (also known as garlic flower) to flavor the broth coz it tastes milder than garlic. It costs a lot more though at RM 19.90 / kg.

indirect heat cooking

When the water has started boiling, take the pot off the flame/electric hob/heating element and slide in the crown of chicken breast. Set a timer for 20 minutes and put the lid back on. You do not need direct heat to cook this – just the residual heat from the boiled stock.

goat milk puree

Meanwhile, I exchanged the vegetable puree that was in the original dish with a beetroot and nectarine puree. I also used raw goat milk while processing the puree. I felt that the colors look nice, and more importantly, it tasted awesome!

beetroot nectarine puree

The sweetness of the nectarine balances out the beetroot and you get a nice red puree for plating.

poached chicken

The crown of chicken breast should be taken out right at the 20 minute point, skin removed, and sliced into the two breast meat that it contains. I further made three cuts to each chicken breast be faithful to the dish replication.

chicken breast crown

The last step is to grind up some nuts or cereal and scatter it on the top of the plated chicken. It looks beautiful (if I can say so myself) and best of all, it tastes great!

grinder nuts

I’ve never tried indirect heat cooking and got it right at the first try. The beetroot and nectarine puree is smothered over the plate before the chicken breast is plated for the dish to pop (yes, you can roll your eyes right about now smirk) but the sweet puree was so good we ate it in other dishes too, like the king grouper in fish pastry shells.

poached chicken beetroot puree

My dear better half finished her dish and it was good to be able to do a restaurant quality dish from just watching a show. Haha! I’m putting this into Best of sixthseal.com – a category which I put very few of my posts into. :D

Shooting clay pigeons with a shotgun at Phuket Shooting Range

skeet shooting

I went to the Phuket Shooting Range yesterday to get some range time in. I haven’t shot a firearm since my initial foray with a .357 Magnum revolver, 9 mm and .45 caliber semi-automatic handguns while I was studying in Melbourne.

ak rifles guns thailand

I went quite often after that and got a license to own but I heard it’s a perishable skill – if you don’t practice often, you won’t hit the nice grouping you used to be able to do when you went every other weekend. I also…er, examined an Steyr M9 pistol while I was in Malaysia but I wasn’t interested in handguns this time and wanted to shoot a rifle instead.

phuket shooting

Phuket Shooting Range had a great package for a .22 caliber long rifle with sights for just THB 890 (about RM 90) for 10 bullets. You can get a semi-automatic or fully automatic (!!!) rifle with a scope for indoor shooting and I was sorely tempted to do this but unfortunately I only had 15 minutes since the girls wanted to go catch the sunset.

me with shotgun

Thus, I settled on clay pigeon shooting. It’s a package with 10 shotgun shells for THB 1,190 (about RM 120). I honestly don’t know if this is skeet shooting, trap shooting or sporting clays since the Phuket Shooting Range is huge and I was at a station with clay pigeons flying from two different directions and angles.

shooting range thailand

The registration process was incredibly lax – I didn’t need to hand over my passport or even prove that I am who I say I am. I just wrote my name on a piece of paper – I didn’t even sign it! You can get a variety of semi-automatic handguns from .38 caliber revolvers to shotguns and there’s even a full outdoor tactical range.

I’ve never been clay pigeon shooting before. I did see President Obama (purportedly) skeet shooting in that well-publicized White House propaganda photo as he made more restrictions to gun laws in the US though. I do know shotguns since I grew up in Sarawak (locals are allowed to own shotguns) but this is a special skeet shooting double-barreled Over And Under design (O/U) that I’ve never used before.

competition shells

The skeet shooting shells are 24 gr 7 ½ inch 70mm meant for competition – the Olympics uses the same shotgun shells. I was given a short primer (smirk) on how to follow the arcs with my shotgun and shoot. The orange clay pigeons came from two directions – a bit like trap/skeet shooting in just one station.

phuket shooting range

I pressed my cheek against the stock of the shotgun, rested it against my shoulder and waited for the recoil that I thought would hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt nothing at all! There’s barely any recoil from this break open Over And Under (two barrels stacked vertically) shotgun with this particular shell.

shotgun shell

However, I found that tracking the clay pigeons (which is automatically thrown into the air from two stations – you’re supposed to track, lead and shoot it, breaking the discs) was harder than I thought. I wasn’t very comfortable with the shotgun – I wanted to have a front pistol grip, which is absurd, that’s something for tactical use, but it would be much more comfortable. :)


Full video of me skeet shooting!

I liked the double barreled shotgun design though – it gives you two chances to break the orange clay pigeons and you can fire it like a semi-automatic. It has a very light trigger pull and you literally break open the stock and reload two shells when you’re done.

shooting shotgun

I would have loved to go on the shotgun course too – they had metal silhouettes that ping when you shoot it with buckshot but I was pressed for time so I could only go for this one. I have finally shot a classic break open O/U double-barreled shotgun at clay pigeons flying in the air at high speeds! :D

break open shotgun

It was a lot of fun!

Posted: 1:28 pm Phuket time (GMT +7)

Guess what? I won Magnum 4D!

magnum 4d win
THIS IS A WINNING TICKET

I had a feeling that I was going to get lucky yesterday so I went to the SS2 Magnum 4D outlet where I usually have my lunch and got some lottery tickets. I checked at night during dinner and thought I didn’t win but when I went back home and looked at the ticket – it was indeed a winning number! :)

lottery winnings

My number is 8179

I have *never* won Magnum 4D before.

winning lottery ticket

It came out as a Special Prize (RM 180) and I bought RM 3 of that number so I thought I won around RM 600 as I posted it up on the sixthseal.com Facebook page last night.

jackpot winnings

I just cashed it in and it seems like the Jackpot 4 prize is much larger than I thought. I read it was just RM 68 but when the payout ticket came out it’s RM 68 (Jackpot 4 bonus) x RM 2 (Jackpot minimum bet) x RM 3 (amount bet) = RM 408.

total 4d winnings

Thus RM 540 (RM 180 Special Prize) + RM 408 (Jackpot bonus) = RM 948.

8179 is a concatenation of a family number: 19(81) + 19(79).

The first is my year of birth and the other is the year my only other sibling – my sister – was born.

It’s a small win but I’m quite happy coz I’ve successfully beaten the insane odds. I’ve also had a winning Sports Toto ticket before and stopped buying after that.

winning face

Here’s a cheesy shot of me in recognition of the original one from 2006. (see the Sports Toto link from my post back then)

I had hoped to win a couple million from the Jackpot and send my mom and dad for a vacation to the States or Europe and get my mom better treatment but there are no shortcuts in life.

claim 4d

I am officially stopping any further bets from Magnum 4D since I just want to buck the odds. I used to occasionally get the tickets but seriously, the odds are just not there. I’m glad I finally beat it. It’s not much but it’s a bonus Chinese New Year ang pow. :)

5 exotic tropical fruit sandwiches

tropical sandwiches

I call this the Silat Buah Edition of my continuing bread story! smirk

1. Mangosteen sandwiches

mangosteens

It’s the season for mangosteens now. Mangosteens season is the end of the year and the smaller ones do not have seeds, making it perfect for sandwiches!

mangosteen sandwiches

It’s a refreshing experiment but to be honest, not all that good.

2. Starfruit sandwiches

starfruit

I saw this jar of local government FAMA produced belimbing (starfruit) jam on sale once and bought a tub of it. I then sauntered over to the fruits section and got myself 3 starfruits.

I decided to slather the starfruit jam and then cut starfruit slices on top of it to make a starfruit sandwich with real fruit.

starfruit sandwich

I had to choke it down – the jam is crappy and almost inedible, full of sugar and a weird flavoring that has little to do with starfruit. Another one of my failed experiments. I still can’t bring myself to eat the jam – it’s still sitting in the fridge after another try on it’s own. Vile stuff.

3. Jackfruit sandwiches

jackfruit

You can get the fresh ones at SS2 night market. I found it much better than the ones at the local hypermarket. It’s one of the more expensive fruits around at over RM 9 / kg. I just slid the fruit between bread since it’s quite flavorful by itself.

jackfruit sandwiches

It should probably be noted that seeds should be taken out before inserting into bread. It’s pretty good – especially when paired with cream cheese spread!

4. Durian sandwiches

durian

It might be heresy to some to use the precious durian as a sandwich filling. It’s expensive (recently bought a Holo durian for RM 33 with less than 10 seeds, costing over RM 3 each) so I used the more common D24 strain (RM 6 / kg) for this experiment.

I thought since it works so well with glutinous rice (seriously, durian and mangoes are perfect with glutinous rice) I reckon it might be okay with bread.

durian sandwiches

Nope, I still consider it a waste – I had to use about 4 seeds to gather enough flesh for a sandwich – it’s good, but durians deserve better treatment.

5. Jambu sandwiches

jambu

I saw this juicy local fruit at RM 8 / kg from a local roadside stand and it turned out to be one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever made! :)

fruit sandwiches

The secret is chunky peanut butter.

Jambu with chunky peanut butter has a very complex texture – the pure water squirting out of the fruit, the stickiness of peanut butter and the chewiness of bread. The flavor profile is amazing too – kinda like eating an apple with peanut butter (used to do that as a kid).

This is the tropical version – salty and buttery and sweet with refreshing bursts.

I did a lot of tongue-in-cheek sandwiches for fun but this…

jambu sandwiches

…this is the eureka moment, I discovered something I’ll really continue eating. It’s truly a great fruit sandwich! :)

Happy Blogday – 10 years of sixthseal.com!

sixthseal 10 anniversary

This blog has been running for an entire decade! I totally forgot about the 19th April blog anniversary where I usually do my annual roundup until Cynthia texted me all the way from Australia.

This is supposed to be up on the 19th of April each year and has been since 2003. sixthseal.com started in 2002 and this is my favorite post to write as it shows how much it has grown since it’s inception. :)

cynthia

I was planning to do something a bit special for the 10th blogniversary – the idea thrown out on the SixthSeal.com Facebook page was to write a completely new post featuring everyone’s favorite “guest author” – veritas. However, that idea has been scrapped – I’ve not been active in that scene for a long time except for a couple of discreet incursions and I think it’ll be counter-productive to what I’m trying to do with my life.

Further reading: A MapleStory from a Lvl 2X Swordsman

It’s filed under Satire/Parody and one of my favorite posts. It’s quite obvious what I’m talking about but I surprised myself by sustaining the metaphor for that long.

cooking pig tongue

Thus, without further ado, here’s my favorite posts from the blog year (think of it as a fiscal year) in chronological order:

Kiwi fruit rice with yoghurt
25th April 2011
This is in here coz it was a major milestone for me. My then-girlfriend moved from Miri to KL to be with me and we’ve been doing a lot of cooking together. This is one of the quirky breakfasts that I make. We’ve broken up but still remain good friends. :)

australia

The best of Northern Rivers in Australia
3rd June 2011
I flew over to the Northern Rivers region where I met people really big on organic food and low food miles and ate at their restaurants. The main event was Casino Beef Week – a cattle extravaganza in a small little town in Australia called Casino. I’ve never been to a cattle auction and street parade before and I loved the experience.

Skydiving and sea kayaking at Byron Bay & Beyond
28th June 2011
The next bit was skydiving and sea kayaking. I also ate a whole lot of good breakfasts which I really miss from my uni days in Melbourne.

Epic weekend: An impromptu trip to Ipoh, dodgy hotels, losing my wallet and my car bumper
12th June 2011
A little bit closer to home, I went on a road trip with a friend to Ipoh and promptly lost my wallet and the rear bumper of my car. It was totally unplanned, I went out for drinks with Bonnie and somehow we ended up in Ipoh. I’ve cut down a lot on my alcohol consumption since then and while I’m not a teetotaler, I drink quite a lot less than what I imagine a social drinker downs. :)

ipoh

Chilling with Christy at Colmar Tropicale, Bukit Tinggi
6th July 2011
This travel streak was promptly followed by a trip to Bukit Tinggi with Christy. I actually spent my 30th birthday here and this is the second time I remember being at Colmar Tropicale, although my dad mentions that we’ve been there when I was a kid.

The real reason Judas betrayed Jesus (and how evangelism started)
19th August 2011
A post that I wrote in a couple of minutes that turned out better than I expected. It’s filed under Satire/Parody and the best post I’ve ever written in that category hands down is Newsflash: Another clinic hit by notorious doctor shopper veritas. This doesn’t even come close but it’s good enough for government work.

(although I’m quite fond of The OMG! I stepped on an electrical socket adapter! FAQ too)

sic race track experience

Driving at the actual Sepang International Circuit!
15th September 2011
My first time driving a car at the Formula One circuit in Sepang. I met a friend which I later met up with in Penang too! The experience of driving at high speeds on an actual competition circuit is exhilarating!

Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum Specialists in Hong Kong
10th October 2011
I went to Hong Kong and Macau with my ex-girlfriend (the very same one mentioned in the first recap post). We had a lot of fun exploring with no itenerary and ate at the famous (and cheap) dim sum place opened by a Michelin 3-star chef. Locals wait in line for an hour on average to eat their divine baked BBQ pork buns.

me

Making big decisions in life – from someone who learned the hard way
10th October 2011
My life story for those of you who doesn’t know about my dark past. It’s a true story about addiction and redemption. I wrote it for Prudential and the entire article can be read here.

Chef Martin Yan Chinese food wine pairing banquet @ Mandarin Oriental
4th December 2011
This is the person who got me interested in cooking. If you’re an 80’s baby, you’ll remember the show Yan Can Cook. I finally met him in real life and he’s exactly like his on-air personality. :)

I got to taste his cooking too!

Meeting childhood idols are always good – kinda like talking to Ron Jeremy in SEXPO, Melbourne during my first year blogging. That post is NSFW due to the photos.

napbas

Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards – NAPBAS 2011 recap
18th December 2011
I was nominated for Best Lifestyle Blog. I didn’t win but it’s nice to be recognized for my efforts. :)

I also had an interview with Linora of Red FM prior to that.

It was a lot of fun to be on the radio and seeing how stuff works on air.

Merry Christmas from Bali!
24th December 2011
I went to Bali for Christmas and had a blast!

bali christmas

Babi Guling in Bali
1st January 2012
Forget the commercialized chains – for the best babi guling in Bali, head over to Denpasar and eat where the locals eat! :)

Happy Chinese New Year 2012 everyone!
22nd January 2012
It’s my favorite time of the year – firecrackers, drinking and family reunions!

chinese fireworks roll

The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!
8th February 2012
This is MY SECOND FAVORITE POST to write during the entire year. What I do is get a bunch of fireworks and firecrackers during Chinese New Year – take photos and video it and post it up. I write about the pyrotechnics and if there’s only one post you’re going to read in this entire roundup – read this one! :D

The story of the little gangster that could
10th February 2012
This is a photo story I wrote for my ex-girlfriend’s brother. I was the subject of their high pass photography experiments too and the the photos turned out great. I wrote two versions too – one exclusively for the newly launched SixthSeal.com Facebook page.

betrayal

My Valentine’s Day
15th February 2012
I got together with a girl I met while having breakfast at TDH. You all know the story.

My girlfriend just moved in with me!
29th February 2012
She moved in with me not 2 weeks after. I was totally in love and thought this was the one, that I’ve finally met someone that I can settle down with.

cleaning

I even hired professional cleaners to sanitize my studio apartment, something I’ve never done for anyone.

My girlfriend just broke up with me…
11th March 2012
It didn’t work out. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Okay, I’m tired of saying that so I’ll just say that it wasn’t my fault. It was doomed from the start and I was the last one to know about it. It really hurt and it took me a long time to recover from such a short relationship but I’ll like to think I’m wiser now.

You live, you learn. :)

I’m flying high on the trapeze!
18th March 2012
I had a lot of fun at the flying trapeze in Club Med, Phuket. In a few short days, I learned how to do a knee hang back flip and my crowning glory was being a flyer and timing it just right so I can be caught by one of the Circus GOs. It felt like I was an actual trapeze artist in the circus! :)

Happy Easter and the search for God
8th April 2012
I’ll end this with a slightly cryptic post about my spirituality and the changes I’ve made since then. It’s safe to say that it’s not a temporary thing, I am getting some serious things done with my life. :)

It just hit me that one year has just passed by since I last wrote this and I hate to use this cliched term but time really does fly!

My other social media sites:
Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/sixthseal
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/sixthseal
http://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/sixthsealdotcom

On the home front, I’m still single (and available). I’m looking for the right person but I still haven’t found her so I’m just going to let fate run its course.

Here’s the list of blog anniversary posts I’ve done since sixthseal.com came online on the 19th of April 2002:

2003: sixthseal.com 1st Birthday
2004: sixthseal.com 2nd Birthday!
2005: sixthseal.com 3rd Birthday!
2006: sixthseal.com 4th Birthday!
2007: I was in rehab. There are (officially) no posts in 2007.
2008: I just got out of rehab. There is no 2007 recap to be done. :)
2009: Seven years of sixthseal.com
2010: I was in New Zealand at the time while my mom underwent an operation for lung cancer. I am pretty sure I still wrote the blogniversary post, but I’ve been having a bit of problems with the archives so let me double check on that.
2011: Happy 9th bloganivarsary sixthseal.com!

sixthseal 10

Happy birthday sixthseal.com! You have come a loooong way since the days of blogging in a cramped room in Melbourne with a webcam as a camera.

Here’s to 10 more years of sixthseal.com – it’s something I’ll like to show my children, a “Hey kids, this is what dad used to be like” kinda thing but I’m sure I’ll still be blogging then. :D

Thanks for reading everyone! It just won’t be the same without you all. :)

I’m flying high on the trapeze!

flying-trapeze

I got to experience the flying trapeze at Club Med, Phuket – it was a natural calling, being attracted to all things with an adrenaline factor in it. It’s one of those things that looks easy but it’s actually quite hard. I was at the flying trapeze almost every single day, aching in muscles I didn’t even know I had, wanting to perfect my technique and be a flyer.

flying trapeze training

The Circus GOs (Gentle Officers) are really big on safety so they see if you can actually do it – hang on a trapeze and then pull your legs up to hang upside down on a slightly raised training trapeze – before they let you go up the real thing.

the real trapeze

This is the real thing.

It’s high but they have a safety net and lots of contraptions to ensure that you don’t fall. This here is my first attempt – a 3:30 minute video where I managed to hook myself on the flying trapeze – it’s very long and rather funny, so I’m posting it up, but the rest of the painful journey is on the SixthSeal.com Facebook page.

trapeze club med

You have to let go and trust that the trapeze will hold you (and your hands and legs won’t fail you) while you hook your legs over the bar and then back into the holding position. There is actually an “audition” of sorts – they won’t let you be a flyer unless you can pull it off perfectly within the stipulated time-frame.

I also managed to do a back flip landing where you swing your legs in and out until you achieve the inertia required to rotate a full 360 degrees in mid-air backwards before landing on the net.

flying trapeze knee hang

…but here’s what I got my certificate for – being a flyer. It’s all about timing, doing things when it’s asked of you without hesitation. I was one of the two that made it (the other girl who managed it was not an amateur) so it actually looks easier and has a higher drop-out rate than you imagine. You need to be interested and dedicated.

I only managed it on my second try, I nearly reached the catcher’s hands on the first try but nearly isn’t good enough.

chalk

Basically, what you do is use chalk to powder yourself up to your elbows (this is to ensure a better grip for the catcher) and hang upside down on the bar on your knees. When you look backward and see the catcher, he/she grips you and you let go of the bar. There’s an element of trust in it as well, which I have in spades – I always trust that there will be no rocks under the sea when I go cliff diving – and the fear of heights, which is why a lot of people don’t get past the basic hook, but I managed to do it.

My entire body was sore every single day and I had cuts and abrasions all over by the time I achieved this but it was all worth it.

kelly

A big thank you to Kelly, Kelsey, Kory, Phil, Hsein Ming, Dennis – all my Circus GO instructors in the Phuket village of Club Med – for being so patient with me. :)

I was so ecstatic that I was on a pure adrenaline high for several hours. It was liberating. Watching the video again made me feel that I can do whatever I want to if I set my mind to it. It was the highlight of my trip. :D

The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!

fireworks roundup

Yes, it’s that time of the year again! :) This is the annual Chinese New Year fireworks and firecrackers roundup for 2012. There’s a lot of quirky fireworks this year – gift hampers, old firecrackers which I haven’t seen for decades and fountains which goes up over one and half storeys high! :)

cake fireworks

Sibu has a fine selection of retro firecrackers and fireworks this year. However, the ever popular multishot fireworks cake barrages are the most prevalent and there are multiple places selling it openly…in the morning, despite the massive RELA and police presence due to the recent murders. Well, that’s Sibu for you. :)

All Chinese to English translations kindly furnished by my dad.

Chinese firecrackers (RM 100)

chinese firecrackers

We have here one of the old skool Chinese firecrackers – the extremely noisy ones than produces massive amounts of smoke and tons of red paper.

12kg firecrackers

This weighs 12 kgs and is unique in the sense that it has a large firecracker braided *on top* of two rows of smaller firecrackers, making a formidable stack of 3 in the string.

chinese fireworks roll

However, I can’t bring myself to use the word “smaller” with this since even the smaller firecrackers are about 6 times the size of Shun Lee Hung firecrackers.

chinese firecrackers roll

See the grandma walking past? She was followed by a woman who told her in Hokkien “Ah Ma walk faster, he’s letting off the big firecrackers.

…and being the neighborly sort I told them not to worry, I’ll let them pass before I light it and CNY greetings were passed. That’s the spirit! :)

I was standing quite far away (about 2-3 meters) coz my dad was holding the digicam and I had to walk back to him, but some of the firecrackers went past me, showering me with Chinese New Year cheer (and the possibility of grave eye injury). I like!

smoldering firecracker paper

It was still smoldering on the ground after it finished its barrage. I let this off on the morning of the 1st day – woke up early just to do this. :D

Fireworks cake barrages / repeaters

fireworks cake repeaters

These are the aerial firework barrages which comes in a “cake” configuration. It has several tubes which launch the projectiles into the air. It’s very popular in creating a sustained barrage (which is why some people call it that) of aerial fireworks and depending on the artisan’s imagination, can range from being mundane to impressive.

However these things has two major flaws:

1. Susceptibility to wind conditions

It is advisable not to let these off during high wind conditions. The initial propellant that shoots up the shells sends it from 75 – 150 feet (depending on the primer). However, the aerial shot itself is quite light and wind can send it in a totally unpredictable direction (usually diagonally) and limit its apogee, which can be quite disastrous. I’ve seen one send shots that explode 12 feet above and let me tell you, that is quite an experience since it’s supposed to go off 10 times that distance.

It had us all watching nervously and asking if anyone has a fire extinguisher and telling cars not to pass.

fireworks exploding

2. It can explode on the ground if poorly constructed

I actually wrote an article about it. One of my firework cakes exploded on me.

Despite those flaws (everything has a downside), firework cakes are probably the greatest invention since sliced bread in pyrotechnics. :D

Beautiful Mountain and Rivers (RM 220)

20kg fireworks cake

This 2 feet long, 68 shot beauty comprises of multiple artillery barrages that has mortar sizes ranging from 3” to 1”. It produces a rather nice finale and it’s this year’s crème de la crème of fireworks cakes in my stash – it even beats the more expensive ones above with the fanning effect (angled mortar tubes).

fireworks cake launchers

It was at the stroke of midnight that I let this one off so there is a lot of competition from other sources. However, you can see the effects of this aerial barrage quite well. :)

The finish was amazing, I love the “sparkling rain” kind of effects for an ending.

Well worth the RM 220 I spent though as you can see this class of fireworks barrages is not exactly meant for you to see (the optimal viewing angle is too high) so maybe if you live down the street, you’ll appreciate it more.

Celebration (RM 35)

fuse

This is a fast 36 shot fireworks cake barrage. It’s simple, effective and quite awesome. It sends up to 6-7 aerial shots in a row up which explodes in a burst of color up in the air.

It’s over in a few seconds but classic. :)

Glowing Beautiful Woman (RM 25)

barrage fireworks

This 200 shot baby is quite impressive despite the small mortar tube size and height. It’s 1/9 the size of my largest fireworks cake and it’s easy to dismiss this wonderful piece of carefully arranged barrage. Fireworks cakes are like flower arrangements…the mediocre ones are blah but the good ones is a work of art. This is the latter.

200 shot fireworks cake

It doesn’t go very high but has a nice mixture of spinning whistlers, star bursts, and sparkling rain – it’s quite fantastic. I bought several of these and I’m glad I did.

It’s well worth the price, I’m grabbing more next year if I see it. Highly recommended!

Stepping Up (RM 35)

This one is representative of the general small fireworks cakes. It would be nice if it didn’t blow up on the ground though.

Stepping Up was the multi-shot fireworks cake barrage that blew up on me. I had to pick up pieces from 25 meters away.

Prosperous Family

repeater fireworks

I don’t know the price to some coz it was a gift or a throw in after a large purchase. This is one of them. The retail price should be around RM 35-40. It has a variety of different effects and launches it quite high up – you can tell from the size of the fireworks cake and mortar tubes.

I like the part in the middle where it “fans” out the aerial shots and the ending. Nice.

…and yes, we let off the cakes in the middle of the road in Sibu, which is why you shouldn’t drive on CNY eve at midnight. All the locals know that but just in case you’re visiting, be home by 11 pm or wait till 2 am. :D

Fireworks gift hampers

fireworks gift package

This is another unusual development this year. It’s priced at RM 85 and comes with a smorgasbord of fireworks – mostly directed towards children.

fireworks gift box

There are:

The total price of the items inside exceeds RM 85 commercially. It’s quite a good gift for kids, and it has a lot of nostalgic fireworks inside. I like the variety and there’s even one multi-shot cake/fountain inside.

Fountains

fountains

This is a typical example of a fountain. It’s a small tube about the size of a salute (e.g. Thunder King) that you set on the ground and light with various effects.

The color on top of the fuse shows what it’s going to look like.

Desert at Night

desert at night

I don’t know which category to put this in as it is quite atypical. It’s a fountain with very nice effects and it has 7 aerial repeaters built in.

Thus, you get a combination fountain and aerial shot cake. :)

Cone fountains

cone fountains

Violets and Crimsons

Pretty mediocre. This came out of the fireworks hamper and is the smallest of the fountains. It’s barely taller than my lighter.

Volcano (RM 20)

volcano

Very impressive. This retails for RM 20 for singles and it slowly shoots up to a very respectable 1 ½ storeys high.

It’s worth the display. :)

Soaring Spirit

I wouldn’t buy it myself but it came in the gift hamper. Interesting display.

Conic Fountain (RM 20)

conic fountain

I bought a pack of this for RM 20 – it contains 5 fountains and it’s supposed to have a different effect for each.

I found out the hard way when I let one off which is a plain fountain and another when my two year old niece was watching where it had loud reports. There is no sign of what you’ll get – you have to light it to find out.

Tube Fountains

tube fountains

Krakatoa Fountain

This cylindrical fireworks fountain has height going for it but ultimately only has one effect.

Butterfly Flower

It’s quite typical of a fountain, nothing to write home. I couldn’t find the fuse at first and just lit the entire paper on top before floundering around with it. I also used the tube for something else. More on that later. :D

Box Fountains

box fountains

Large Golden Flower

It’s quite mediocre.

Peach Flower in Spring

This is quite good actually! It starts with a screaming effect and just when you thought it was over, it keeps on going to another effect. I like. :)

Windmill / Spinners

spinners

Da Feng Che

da feng che

This is supposed to be attached to a stick but I broke the stick so I lit it on the ground. Haha!

wheels fireworks

Honestly, I’m not sure it’s even safe to put on a stick coz I vaguely remember accidents from my childhood from the wheel actually spinning off the stick and flying off due to the rotational speed.

One of the fireworks I played with as a little kid. It has a dual (single?) fuse e.g. the fuse burns simultaneously into *TWO* tubes. That’s the interesting bit.

Ground Bloom Flower

This US made spinner is a fast one with various effects and colors. It’s a typical example of a spinner. I liked it.

Salutes

Thunder King

crazy bang

There’s a new batch of Thunder Kings this year which is quite a bit smaller than the original ones. I made a loudest firecracker comparison.

Chinese firecracker

I wouldn’t call this a salute per se – it’s just one of the firecrackers that dropped off the roll. I’m just showing how large and loud it is compared to the typical Shun Lee Hung firecrackers. Old skool is gold skool. :)

Triangle Firecrackers

triangle firecrackers

This is very, very old school. It’s a simple firecracker that contains flash powder wrapped into a triangle shape – the construction is easy and you can get bags containing 100s for little more than spare change. There are some strange imports this year though – Triangulinor which is definitely not from China.

It’s loud and effective. Fun to play. I had some fun playing fireworks with the neighborhood kids with this and one of the first videos I filmed back home was with my dad above. That’s what Chinese New Year is about. Family, friends and fireworks!

Hope you’ve all had a great Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fatt Chai everyone! :D

A typical day in Macau

macau ferry

Board ferry from Hong Kong to Macau

new world first ferry

Puke on the ferry

macau immigration

Spend 2 hours clearing immigration

macau complimentary shuttle

Get accosted by representatives of various casinos and board one of their free shuttles

macau casino

Lose an insane amount of money

pork chop bun

Eat a pork chop bun to try and cheer yourself up

senado square

Walk aimlessly around Senado Square

grand lisboa

Contemplate suicide, settles for shaking fist at Grand Lisboa

hong kong

Return to Hong Kong

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. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...