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. :)

Microdermal implants – my third nipple

microdermal implant instruments

Microdermal implants uses surgical grade titanium to anchor an interchangeable stud under your skin. It’s done by creating a “pocket” under your skin and it’s a lot easier to heal than the previous surface bar piercing that I have. I shall do a quick n00b drawing to show how it works.

microdermal diagram

Basically, it needs to be anchored towards something, in this case, my ribcage. There is a long titanium anchor that goes up and a shorter one that goes down. The first time you do it, it’s best to have a flat stud so it won’t rub too much against your clothes.

microdermal implant draw

It’s a lot easier to get piercings in high school and university coz you don’t have to give considerations about work. However, now that I’m working, piercings (except for the usual orthodox ones) have to be concealable under office attire.

microdermal implant measuring

Michelle calls it my third nipple. smirk

Fresh says it looks like someone just hammered a nail in my heart but it’s actually straight in the middle of my body. Frankie of Zoo Body Piercing measured it so it would be right in the center of my body.

microdermal implant look

The procedure is fairly simple – a small gauge needle (which is a large needle – the higher the gauge, the thinner it is) is used to make 4 incisions under your skin. The top part of the anchor is pushed in followed by the bottom part.

microdermal implant done

I didn’t find it painful but then again your mileage may vary since everyone has different pain thresholds. I actually like pain so it was quite enjoyable for me.

Microdermal implants takes only 3 months to heal and costs RM 250. You have to really take care of it during the first few days though. However, my approach towards body modification is always LITHA (Leave It The Hell Alone) and it usually works for me.

microdermal implant us

Thanks to bff Lainey for the recommendation! Zoo Body Piercing also does branding – my next project! =D

Eating dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam

dog head

How much is that doggie in the window? *woof woof*

The one with the waggly tail?

dog head me

How much is that doggie in the window?

dog paws

I do hope that doggie’s for sale!

thit cho

Eating dog meat is popular amongst certain demographics in Hanoi, Vietnam. The place to head to is the row of shops bordering Red River. It is full of mom-and-pop shops with names like thit cho. Thit cho literally means dog meat in Vietnam.

dog meat butcher

It looks like a butcher shop and not a restaurant since all the dog chopping action is happening on the ground floor, but fear not, there is actually a place for people to enjoy a nice meal of canine meat upstairs.

chopping dog meat

I chose a platter of mixed dog cuts to experience the texture and taste of man’s best friend – it’s served with a dipping sauce which tastes like fermented shrimp paste (cincalok) and turns into a vivid shade of purple when my guide mixed it.

cooking dog meat

My guide is a motorbike driver you’ll find loitering around in the Old Quarter – it’s the best way to get around! I negotiated a return trip for VND 5,000 + 1 Beer Hanoi and I get to choose the thit cho place. Pro tip: You should always have the final choice when dealing with local drivers coz they might have kickbacks from certain outlets. I chose the one that had the most locals upstairs – a rowdy bunch that kept on chanting something before drinking their vodka.

dog sausage

The portly woman who owns the place did not appear to be very friendly (she viewed my camera with considerable suspicion) but after one of her staff passed me a piece of dog meat and I ate it before giving her the thumbs up sign, she warmed up to me considerably and led me upstairs. The price for dog meat should range around VND 20,000 to VND 30,000 per 100 grams.

dog meat shoes

You take off your shoes and sit on the floor with a piece of newspaper being the communal dining place in lieu of a proper table. It’s customary to drink vodka with dog meat but I didn’t want to get fucking sloshed and then lose my way in a dodgy part of town so I went with the ubiquitous Bia Ha Noi instead.

dog meat seating

Most people choose a selection of mixed cuts. This is an interesting dish as it comes with pure cuts from the dog (without further cooking) and a mix of dog sausage (which gives a totally new meaning to the word “hot dog” smirk).

dog meat stew

There is also dog stew available – it tastes pretty good but after a while it got a bit cloying due to the amount of oil they use in cooking.

deep fried dog meat

Deep fried dog! Not too bad, but I prefer pure cuts.

dog meat meal

The entire meal (inclusive of beer) only costs VND 180,000 (RM 28) – a fucking bargain if you ask me.

Q&A time!

eating dog meat

I bet most of you is going to ask me this – what does dog meat taste like?

Well, dog meat tastes like dog. I’ve had dog meat in Korea but the dog meat in Hanoi tastes better since it’s not infused with a multitude of flavors. I particularly liked the pure cuts of dog – some parts like the thigh is nigh impossible to eat due to the huge bones and the tough skin and fat, but some cuts are easy enough to chew though.

dog meat upstairs

Dog meat has a very interesting taste to it. It is very odoriferous so people who don’t like mutton probably should stay away from it. You can literally taste/smell the dog as you chew it.

dog meat dip

There’s also a layer of fat between the skin and meat that imparts a very vivid flavor to the dog meat.

dog meat cuts

I love the taste – it’s like a cross between castrated pork and mutton. The meat is tough and the skin is chewy but it’s an experience unlike any other.

dog heads

The canine culinary experience is a must try for everyone with an adventurous palate. Mmm…dog meat.

Love The Way You Lie

working

I love this song to bits! I’m a huge fan of Eminem and when Cindy suggested that we team up to do Eminem feat. Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie, I was more than intrigued. The first time I watched the video, it provoked a very strong emotional response. It’s just one of those music videos you wish you directed. Pure ingenuity distilled into a 5 minute AV clip.

I’m very proud of the final production but let me just ramble on about how this materialized. I have watched this video countless of times and gotten the gist of the story behind it. It’s has a theme that most of us can relate to and the powerful message behind it acts as a warning against how relationships can go really bad and raises awareness of domestic violence.

movie shoot

The all star cast features Eminem and Rihanna singing with inter cuts to scenes of Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan (best known as Charlie from Lost) – a chronological mashup of how they met and their current situations and attempts to salvage it. Megan Fox donated all her earnings to SOJOURN – a charity for battered women and their children. It is ultimately about empowering women.

Anyway, back to our filming, I realized that we hit a snag coz my sunburn from Krabi was starting to peel really bad at the time. It had to be peeled off before we can start filming so I started with the storyboards.

sunburn

The camera angles are replicated almost exactly as in the video and although there were some scenes that we cannot do e.g. setting myself on fire (it requires heptane to be even remotely safe) and the bar fight (don’t have a breakable bottle prop) we managed to somehow do the video and still remain true to the original.

There are multiple shots from multiple angles and it took 5 hours of shooting to complete the video. I tried to edit the video myself but Windows Live Movie Maker does not have the capacity to do this so I engaged Haze Long to help me with it. She’s really good considering there are over 100 video files and managed to capture the essence of what we wanted.

The spitting scene in particular was rather hard to do – it appears that normal saliva does not propel in an arc that we wanted so Cindy used water inside her mouth to do it instead. She has the exact same outfit as Megan was wearing in the video and had to dry it with a hairdryer several times due to the number of takes we had to do.

cindy drying clothes

Special thanks to Fresh for being our videographer!

I present to you – our finished production:

It was a lot of fun to do this project and see it come to life. I am very proud of the final cut and even though it was a lot of work as well, the satisfaction of doing a video that came out as good as this is nothing short of nirvana.

Here are some outtakes from the video:

This is how we know spitting doesn’t look good on video.

I had to blow out Cindy’s candle while not appearing in the frame and what made this really funny was Fresh’s deadpan comment at the end. Heh! We both laughed so hard.

The reason we did this video is to participate in the Arthur’s Day Man of Action contest. This involves you getting creative (like our video – we did the parts in between so it sounds like Eminem and Rihanna is singing about us) and filming a music video involving your favorite artist or band.

Just post the video on YouTube and the video link at the Guinness Malaysia Facebook page with your name and video title (it must start with Arthur’s Day 2010:) and you’ll get a chance to win a trip to Dublin to visit the famous St James Gate Brewery and have a pint of the black stuff – it’s as fresh as it gets, any closer to the source, you’ll be drowning in the vat. ;)

Oh, and each and every qualified entry will automatically win two passes to Arthur’s Day (which requires no further introduction)! Everyone knows about the legendary Arthur’s Day and you don’t want to miss it – I went to the last one and enjoyed it thoroughly. Arthur’s Day to me is an outdoor concert with great music and smooth pints of Guinness. It’s the ambience that pulls me rather than the lineup! You can purchase your tickets at the site.

There’s also a Man of Vision contest going on where you play Robert Langdon and decipher clues in an image at the same site!

Anecdote: The original video has Dominic’s hand with “Cindy” and a 555 number. We used “Megan” for this video as a tribute to this coincidence.

Watch it in full screen for the best experience! You want to go to Ireland? The winners will be announced 21st September. You’ll have to top this video to do it, else watch out for blog updates involving titles like “Top of the morning” when we win the contest. ;)

Cliff diving in Ton Sai

cliff diving

This is perhaps the primarily reason I went to Krabi. We went from Ao Nang to Railey and took a boat to the Phi Phi Islands as our route. Cliff diving is only available in Ton Sai, which is a short longboat ride away from Phi Phi Don.

Cliff diving is a very unregulated sport – basically, you do it at your own risk. You’ll have to place full trust on the guide too coz he’s not jumping and you’re sure you’ve seen rocks underneath the cliff.

cliff diving swimming

What cliff diving is all about:

1. Chartering a longboat to take you to Ton Sai
2. Finding a suitable cliff and swimming from the longboat to the cliff
3. Climb up the razor sharp rock face to the jump off point
4. Leap off the cliff into the water below
5. Swim back to the longboat (unless you see a pool of red slowly spreading, then don’t bother, coz you’ve jumped into rocks smirk)

The first one we did was 10 meters. The longboat stopped and I swam to the cliffs with the guide who showed me where to jump. I didn’t bring my digicam along coz I figured it won’t survive the 10 meter plunge.

cliff diving climbing

I really, really wish I did coz the cliff that you have to climb is fucking dangerous. It’s not rocks, it’s more like razor sharp outcroppings – millions of them – which is where I cut my hands too. There is no path per se, so if you slip you’ll be impaled by the sharp rocks. It looks like this:

cliff razor sharp

No joke.

I was a bit wary coz the guide was pulling my (third) leg about injuries to the family jewels. He claimed his balls hit the water hard at a 10 meter jump and insisted I protect it. :(

The 10 meter cliff dive was from an outcropping of rock and the view down is fantastic. You get a thrill from looking down, not knowing if there’s rocks underneath and then jumping.

I urged my travel companion to try it as well and she did, much to my surprise. Kudos! She figures she can only do “crazy shit” like this with me so she might as well do it while she’s there. smirk

I wanted more so I asked the guide to bring me to the 30 meter point, and off we went!

It followed the same routine of swimming from the long boat -> climbing up a jagged razor sharp cliff that I swear will cause serious injury if you misstep -> the jump into water. I was at the 20 meter point and wanted to climb further up.

My guide won’t go. He said it was too dangerous and despite me insisting on going on and paying him more money, he still won’t do the precarious climb to 30 meters. I offered him 500 baht extra (RM 50). It’s a no. He pointed to the jump site. It was a 20 meter jump off a branch of a tree.

This is one of the MOST ill conceived on-the-spot, “Hey, let’s make something up” seat-of-the-pants shit I’ve ever seen. I looked at my guide incredulously. He was dead serious. I was going to climb out off a cliff at 20 meters to a branch of unknown integrity and jump from it.

Call it a leap of faith. smirk

I did it, landed badly (if you see the video, you’ll notice it took me a while to resurface coz it knocked the breath out of me). I still have chest pains to this very day. Crap.

I still insisted on going for the 30 meter jump though but the guide was vehemently against it.

The reason?

cliff diving guide

He’ll get into trouble if I die.

(and I thought we had chartered an unlicensed longboat that would agree on anything)

How I lost RM 35,000 in Genting

21000 cash

Haih. Damn no mood to blog la. I went up to Uncle Lim’s domain armed with a bottle of Absolut Flavor of the Tropics which impaired my judgement for an overnight stay (and a bit of gambling on the side).

We went up pretty early – not check in time yet, so I went into the casino with a buy in of RM 6,400. I put RM 2,000 on Roulette and RM 300 on 24 or 25 (can’t remember) based on Naomi‘s advice.

I won the even odds, even payout, which nets me RM 1,700.

I should have left at this point. I wanted to go to Port Dickson, but all the rooms were booked, and actually made a reservation for Fraser’s Hill. Unfortunately, it was raining so after a bit of thought…Genting!

Now, if I had left at that time, I would have gotten a bit of pocket money minus the trip costs.

Unfortunately I made a second bet (also 2k) and lost, before switching tables and lost all of my initial RM 6,400 buy in.

This forced me to go to the International Room to withdraw RM 5,000 from my credit card. I was actually up at one point, playing Baccarat.

1000 chip genting

However, two bad decisions (going against the dragon instead of chasing it) with a RM 4,000 bet each time made me lose RM 12,000 (inclusive of credit card charges).

Now, if that is not bad enough, I went out, and was about to check into the hotel when I saw Maybank. My ethanol impaired decision made me withdraw RM 21,000 from my savings account.

THIS. IS. FUCKING. IT.

20k chips genting

I wanted to put RM 20,000 on Black on Roulette (when there was a Red dragon going – 7 in a row) but I was in the First World Hotel casino where they only allow RM 12,000 max instead of the RM 20,000 max in the main Genting casino.

This is SINK OR SWIM. It is the deciding factor of whether I would lose big or win back all my losses plus a neat RM 7,000. It was the:

genting roulette table

Moment of Truth (TM)

Photo discretely taken with my cell phone after I finished texting someone.

Look at the pile of chips on Black. Motherfucker. That’s all mine. It’s only 10k though.

The RED DRAGON (fuck you, cunt face) which I attempted to break was stronger than I thought it was. It turned out to be Red.

Lost 10k.

My obstination made me bet AGAINST the dragon again, with the last RM 10,000 bet on Black.

Yeah, bitch guess what? It was RED!

Total loss: RM 33,000

Fuck! I am allowed to use expletives in this post coz 30k is nothing to sneeze at. :(

The next day, I went on Rapid Roulette and the slot machines. The damn one armed bandit got me up to RM 700 with just a minute RM 400 buy in but how can I be content with that when I have lost so much?

Thus, I went to the Roulette table (the only one that can save me) and put RM 100 on 6 and RM 100 on 29. Yup, no points for guessing here. I lost both.

As Mike a.k.a foodcrazee put it, I “smelled blood” and went in for the kill. Hazardous coz the house ALWAYS wins.

If gambling was a game and there is a Save Mode I could have gone back to many places:

1. The initial RM 2,000 bet on Roulette and RM 300 on a number. That netted me RM 1,700 – more than enough for trip costs. I should not have been greedy. I should have left there and then and checked into the fucking hotel.

2. In the International Room, I was up by RM 11,000 and made a stupid RM 4,000 bet on Player during a Banker run (Banker dragon). I should have shifted to Banker. To compound the mistake, I made ANOTHER RM 4,000 on Player, which I lost as well.

3. My friend saw this table with a Black dragon on Roulette in my last ditch attempt to do a comeback. If I had gone to that table, this post would have been very different – it would have the title “COMEBACK KING!!! Won RM 7,000 after a huge loss. Hail to the fucking King baby”

4. In the International Room, I had a single, lone RM 1,000 chip and put it on 29. There was a HUGE influx of people changing money and placing their bets and I got very impatient and wanted to move to the next table. I should have…coz guess what? That table came out with 29. Motherfucker! I would have covered my losses and went out with a couple of thousands if that had happened.

slot machines

However, that is gambling. It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure (remember those books?). If I had done things differently. If only:

1. I left when I won the first game. RM 1,700 net win, more than enough to cover trip costs. Yay!

2. I didn’t go against the dragon in the International Room. I would have won RM 3,000. Yay!

3. I went to a different table during my last ditch do-or-die RM 20,000 bet. I would have won RM 7,000.

IT COULD HAVE GONE SO DIFFERENTLY!!! I could have won.

Well, all that didn’t happen and it’s not a children’s book. I’m not even going to sulk coz hell, that’s what every loser says so I’m not going to say it.

The principles of gambling is “WHAT IF”. What if all that happened and I added more cash to my condo fund? That is the hook, that is the line, that is the sinker.

I lost RM 35,000 and that’s that. You can’t turn back the clock.

There goes my condo…and my trips…and even my fucking F&B.

T______________________T

On the bright side, perhaps eating bread and water would stop me from my daily drinking. I can’t afford to drink anymore. To be honest, I only have RM 107.35 to my name.

God-fucking-dammit.

Oh well, it’s all my own fault and I shall take all the blame.

I shall console myself with a phrase I learned in China:

genting-china-phrase

It means “Money is a curse, spend it and earn it again“. ;)

All photos taken using the Sony Cybershot TX-5 except the crappy one discreetly taken on the Roulette table.

Eating dog meat in Korea

dog meat

I managed to get gastronomically acquainted with man’s best friend during my trip to Korea. I have made it a personal jihad/crusade to sample their wonderful canine products. It was harder than I thought, despite the English – Korean word translator because: 

dog meat translate

Contrary to popular belief, selling dog meat is illegal in Korea

eating dog meat korea

We had to ask a lot of street vendors, who all shook their heads and looked away. Just as we were about to give up, one kindly old lady overheard us, proclaimed gae jang guk (dog meat soup) and made the appropriate “woof woof” sounds. She led us down this really dodgy and narrow side street and we half expected to be mugged in the cobbled alley. 

dog meat shop korea

…but lo and behold – there it was, an eating establishment in the middle of nowhere, out of the sight of casual tourists and probably accessible only to locals. 

dog meat korea

We entered the establishment and I asked for gae jang guk. The female proprietor eyed us and our entourage of cameras with some suspicion and I improvised a combination of sign language and enthused “I eat”. She finally nodded and let us into the seating area. 

dan gogi tang

I present to you dan gogi tang (dog meat soup) made with 100% authentic dog meat! It’s served with the usual Korean condiments and steamed rice. 

dog meat soup

It should be noted that the dog meat in Korea is not from your pet Labrador but a specially bred dog made for eating. 

gae jang guk

I find the dog meat excessively gamey and there is a lot of fat in this breed of dog. It tastes like nothing I’ve ever sampled before – the best I can describe it is a cross between lamb and pork but with a VERY strong smell and aftertaste. The odor was quite overwhelming despite the hot peppers and what not used to flavor the soup.

I would love to try it again though. I’m thinking back to the fatty-lean texture and pungent odor infusing the meat, and I’m drooling at the thought of chewing that in my mouth right now, allowing my palate to savor the taste of dog meat.

Bon appétit!

Oh, and the first dog I met barked at me. I’m serious. Does he know I ate his brethren?

Twin nipple piercings

I did a dual nipple piercing last year. It’s the only piercing I have left since I swallowed my tongue piercing for the umpteenth time (yes, again) and my wrist piercings got infected so I had to take it off. 

twin nipple piercing

I didn’t manage to write about the nipple piercings before since the videos and photos were back in Sibu. I managed to grab the external HDD when I went back home a couple of months ago, so all the assets are with me now! =D

I already had something in mind when I went in – I want both nipples to be pierced, but with a twist (no pun intended). I wanted one to be horizontal and one vertical

twin nipple piercings clamp

I was also adamant about using spiked bars instead of rings, much to the consternation of my attire. I wager the piercings have poked more holes in my clothes than I care to count. :( 

twin nipple piercings pierce

This piercing is hands down the most uncomfortable piercing I’ve ever done. I’ve had most of my face and various bodily parts pierced with no more than a shrug and a smile. However, my nipples are really sensitive and this piercing was…well, QUITE UNPLEASENT. 

twin nipple piercings done

I had to use both my hands to hold out my shirt so it doesn’t come into contact with the newly pierced nipples when I walked out of the place. It looked like I was attempting to create two imaginary man boobs by tenting up my shirt. :S 

twin nipple piercings

I did the piercings in Sungei Wang, so I got a lot of weird looks…but it sure beats the hell out of constantly wincing from the geli-ness produced from friction between my clothes and the fresh nipple piercings. Heh!

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