Hands-on with the Surface 3

Surface 3 Bloggers

I was at a closed door media preview recently when I asked a rather embarrassing question.

Surface 3 Tablet

It was for the Microsoft Surface 3 and the Q&A was going on when I asked when the Surface Pro 3 was going to be released. There was a short moment of silence from the panel of speakers before two simultaneously told me – “It has already been released at the end of last year” – with a look that vaguely suggested that I was reaching new heights (or lows) of stupidity. smirk

Surface 3 Panel

The Surface Pro 3 is the more powerful and expensive brother to the Surface 3 and packs a beast of an i3/i5/i7 processor inside. I’ve been thinking which one to get and hadn’t decided yet at the time.

It got me thinking though…

Microsoft Surface 3 Rep

The truth of the matter is, people don’t actually follow gadget releases with religious fervour. Unless you’re a hardcore tech nerd, you probably wouldn’t be able to recite the latest hardware specifications. Most people only search for and read up on the latest news, releases and reviews when they’re about to make a purchase.

Surface 3 Hands On

This is where I come in. I’ve had hands-on experience with the Microsoft Surface 3 and I’ve been very impressed so far. I’ll be picking up a loan unit tomorrow for review but let me just tell you about the Surface 3 and what it’s all about first.

Surface 3 Demo

The Microsoft Surface 3 is a laptop replacement tablet that’s going to be released in the market soon. It’s a more affordable and mainstream offering compared to the Surface Pro 3 (which is more for power users) and it looks like it’s set to appeal to a wide range of users.

Writing Surface 3

There are a couple of new features in the latest Surface – the Surface 3 is the thinnest and lightest Surface ever! It just weighs a mere 622 grams. I was surprised when I picked it up, this is definitely lighter than I thought a tablet that works like a laptop would be.

Surface 3 Screen

Most importantly, it has a full-size USB 3.0! This allows you to connect a wide range of accessories and it’s what (for me) makes a tablet transcend into laptop functionality. You can plug in stuff like external hard disk drives for increased storage, your smartphone to transfer files (if you’re not using your own WiFi to sync), or even something as essential as a mouse!

(although I would highly recommend using a Bluetooth mouse instead of taking up the USB 3.0 slot, unless you plan on getting the docking station or a USB extender)

Surface 3 Excel

Also, Surface 3 runs all your Windows desktop software so you can use it just like a PC or notebook! That means you can use Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and all other desktop programs instead of relying on apps alone. That’s the beauty of the Surface 3 – you can run the app versions when you’re using it as a tablet, but for some essential software, you have the capability to install and execute it like you would on a normal computer.

Surface 3 Pen

The stylus is a thing of magic too – you can click it once to wake the tablet from sleep and double click it to automatically screencap what’s running and open it in OneNote (a feature I’ve found immensely useful in blogging and writing reviews).

Surface 3 Camera

There’s also an 8 MP 1080p rear-facing camera with auto-focus and a 3.5 MP 1080p front-facing camera.

Here are the specs for the Surface 3:

Surface 3 Specs

This is one tablet-laptop hybrid that looks poised to take the world by storm.

Surface 3 Blog

It’s the first Surface to have an Intel processor so you can run all Windows software, it’s the first to forgo the proprietary charging system in favor for a widely compatible micro-USB port so you can use it with your existing car and portable chargers, and it comes with an optional docking station to complete the PC experience.

Surface 3

Head over to the Microsoft Surface 3 microsite to pre-order your Surface 3 now! If you’re looking for a new tablet that has the functionality of a laptop, look no further – you know you want it. I’m really excited about this – the Microsoft Surface 3 has been hailed as a revolutionary change and it really lives up to the hype.

How I save myself from GST – by starting a new company!

GST Lego Malaysia

The implementation of GST effectively means that we’ve all taken a 6% cut to our paychecks. It’s actually slightly more than that, but for the sake of argument, let’s put it at 6%. Your purchasing power is also down by 6% so you’ve either got to tighten your belts or find an alternate source of income.

Just think about it, everyone in Malaysia got a 6% salary cut effective April 2015.

I prefer to be more proactive so I’m not thinking of ways to cut down on my consumption and lifestyle BUT to find new sources of income to negate the 6% cut in my salary. I’m even thinking about *overcoming* it e.g. get more than 6% so that the my net earnings are actually MORE post GST.

This means that I have to do something, and I decided to start up a new company to earn active income to supplement my current income.

Conpany Registration

I’ve seen people take various steps post GST to increase their income.

This is just one of them. It’s not that hard to register a new company, you just need to take some (archaic) steps in my case – different councils will have different procedures but mine involves getting a chop (stamp) before you can take the official form.

The official form is a huge piece of paper that looks like it belongs in the 1980’s (probably was from then) and it specifically states that it must be filled using a typewriting. It can’t be filled by hand or by computer and no one I knew even owns a typewriter anymore (not even two large companies I asked) so I engaged the services of a shop in town that specializes in this kind of thing.

Typing Business Registration

It was RM 10 to type up the document but it’s worth the money I spent coz now I have a new company to engage in various specialized writing and creative services.

It’s called Pulse Consulting and it does everything you think it does, and more.

Pulse Consulting

That’s my unofficial tagline anyway.

Seriously, though, if you want to ask me what I do, just email me. smirk

However, there’s still many other ways to combat post-GST income stresses – one of them is through property investment. But property prices in Malaysia can be very high, so why not invest in property overseas! There’s one coming up that I think is rather promising. It’s located in the resort island of Phuket!

Elephant Phuket

I’ve been to Phuket many times and hotels there can be quite expensive – if you calculate a night’s stay in Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort or Club Med Phuket you’ll find that owning your own property can be cheaper in the long run, especially if you get benefits like golf, spa and boating benefits in Phuket.

Plus, this particular one offers 7% Rental Guarantee for the first year so you won’t have to worry about finding your own!

dCondo Mine is a fully furnished freehold condominium by Sansiri, one of Thailand’s leading property developers.

dCondo Mine

The best part is the price, it starts from – wait for it – RM 250,000 with 50% deferred payment. That’s affordable even for first time property buyers and I’m really keen to find out more about this luxurious lifestyle investment opportunity. You should check it out if you’re interested in expanding or diversifying your investment portfolio with a Phuket based condominium. The property showcase organised by Golden Emperor, a Hong Kong based company will be held:

Venue: Level 4, Starhill 5, JW Marriott KL
Date: 9-10 May 2015
Time: 12-2 pm (English), 2-4 pm (Chinese)

Seats are limited so hurry, RSVP in the form below and start investing overseas now to supplement your income post GST! It’s such an exciting opportunity that I’ll turn up just to see what it’s all about.

You can also check out the Golden Emperor website for more information.

Are you a chatterbox or a data muncher?

Sister

My sister (of all people) introduced me to this book by Gary Chapman. It’s called “The 5 Love Languages” and basically it talks about how different people have different preferred methods of communication. This doesn’t just apply to relationships and it’s a great book. I realized that I’m very big on talking (and listening) as my mode of communication. It’s what I find comforting but not everyone is like that.

Talk Text

I have seen others who prefer to write (or use social messaging) to express their feelings. It’s their preferred method of communication. There’s no wrong or right to this, we’re all born differently and along the way, we have acquired the methods in which we prefer to communicate. The book goes about how to bridge that gap and understand why others operate in a different way and I found it rather illuminating.

Happy Family

You may not consciously choose how you’ve grown up communicating, but Digi has something for everyone with their new Digi SmartPlan! It’s a new postpaid plan that allows you to choose which method of communication you’re most comfortable with – talking or social messaging. Thus, you can either go:

  1. High Voice
  2. High Data

I thought this made a lot of sense, especially since people use their smartphones differently. Believe it or not, there are still people who prefer to talk and use voice to communicate (like me – even though I was born right during the PC revolution and has grown up with IRC, ICQ and now to Facebook). There are also people who’re the opposite, who prefer to use Instagram and are high data consumers.

Girl Taking Photo

With the new Digi SmartPlan, this really gives the power to choose right back to you – you can either opt for High Voice (unlimited calls and SMS) or High Data (up to 6 GB). If you’re a traditionalist (like me) who just wants to pick up the phone and dial up a loved one, the former would suit you very well.

However, if you use a lot of FaceTime, Skype and LINE/Viber then the latter plan would make much more sense. It’s all about giving choices back to the consumer.

DiGi SmartPlan

I think it’s great and as a Digi user, I’m going to switch to the High Voice – the Digi SmartPlan really is versatile. I already have a fast fibre based Internet connection at home so I don’t need to use a lot of data. Plus, with the Digi SmartPlan 78 and above, I’ll get unlimited Whatsapp/WeChat even with High Voice! I used to be the opposite – no Internet connection at home and constantly using up my 3 GB of data per month just from surfing and updating my blog.

On top of Unlimited Whatsapp, WeChat (from SmartPlan 78 and above) and Facebook (with selected plans), Digi has recently launched their music app – Digi Music Freedom where you can stream music with zero data charges – this means that you can enjoy free music from Spotify, Deezer, KKBox and more! It’s a very good initiative from Digi for their clients, especially those who cannot live without music, and also it is a very positive initiative by Digi in helping to minimize the problem in illegal music downloads.

Niece

Thus, wherever you are in life, and whatever you like to do, with the new Digi SmartPlan, the choice is really up to you – High Voice or High Data! Choose which one you want here.

Birthday Dinner @ Payung Cafe Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu

Don’t you want to go to some other place?” I asked my better half. She’s been eating at the exact same two places last time she was here – Aloha Cafe for lunch and Payung Cafe for dinner, so I suggested Baba & Siam but she really liked the durian ice cream we had last time at Payung Cafe so we ended up here for dinner, three days after we had another huge dinner with my sister and her family (who also loves Payung). smirk

This is my birthday dinner – my dear had flown down from KL to celebrate slightly less than 24 hours with me and we had:

Guava Salad (RM 8)

Guava Salad

This is our starter. Payung Cafe has a range of salads and most of them are great. I especially recommend the Herbs Salad (RM 8) but since it was a hot day, we went for the Guava Salad. It’s a lovely dish of guava with calamansi lime, crushed nuts and other herbs. It’s extremely refreshing!

Mushroom Roll (RM 8)

Mushroom Roll

This is a dish that has gone through many, many recipe tweaks since it was first introduced 8 years ago. I was among the first people in Sibu who first came when Payung Cafe opened in 2008 and spread the word that it was a great al fresco dining place offering the best of South East Asian (and a couple of Western) dishes.

Starfruit Prawns (RM 16)

Starfruit Prawns

I love this stuff – it’s starfruit (carambola) cooked with large prawns. There are three inside and the rest is cut up starfruits and other vegetables. It makes for a good combination. My dad ordered this one.

Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM 19)

Thai Green Curry

My better half’s order – she didn’t even have to think twice. Thai green curry is usually very spicy (at least if you eat the original from Thailand) but this is a much more muted interpretation meant for sensitive local palates.

Otak-Otak Fish (RM 12)

Otak Otak Ikan

This is a Payung Cafe staple that we all ordered to share. It’s homemade and all of their dishes comes with rice (RM 2) and we also wanted to have otak otak so the owners were kind enough to deduct RM 1 from our fourth dish – we ordered four in total for a party of 3 so we didn’t need the extra. It’s usually RM 13.

Sour Chicken (RM 18)

Sour Chicken

This is one of their daily specials. I’ve had the duck version and I like how they use Cambodian spices and herbs to make this dish – it’s quite nice. Payung Cafe also uses chicken legs only in their dishes so you’ll get cuts of drums and thighs.

Mulu Ice Cream (RM 10)

Mulu Ice Cream

We ordered one dessert for each person – this is mine, the ever-changing Mulu Ice Cream. This too has gone through several revisions, it used to be round, then a square slice, then a rectangular slice. It’s not cake – this is a sandwich of two chocolate ice cream layers with muesli in between, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream. I really like this coz of the textural aspects, there’s muesli sprinkled on top too.

Durian Ice Cream (RM 8)

Durian Ice Cream

This is a delicious concoction of homemade vanilla ice cream with durian paste. It’s delicious when they’ve just made it and it tastes like real durians instead of dodol (a local confection made with durians). It’s the reason my better half loves this place.

Jelly Pisang (RM 8)

Jelly Pisang

This is a classic Sibu dessert – it used to be served with shaved ice and bananas and Jello. Nowadays, it’s almost extinct. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only two places who still serves this – Peppers Cafe @ Tanahmas Hotel and here. This is the higher end version with homemade ice cream. It’s pictured next to Roselle Juice (RM 6) – a refreshing drink made from the roselle plant. It’s misspelled as Roxelle Juice in the menu.

Payung Cafe Birthday

It’s a wonderful dinner, made even better with the awesome company – my dad and my better half. My dad insisted of picking up the bill and treating us to the meal since it’s my birthday. The total for the three of us came up to RM 132 which is very reasonable for the amount we ordered and true to this word, the owner took RM 1 off the bill. :)

My birthday conspiracy (which makes for reasonably good reading)

It’s times like these that I think there’s a higher power somewhere looking out for me. smirk It just so happened that I was back in my home town during my birthday (which coincides with Ching Ming) so I didn’t have much to do on Saturday night. I thought I’ll give a friend of mine a call and get some ketamine and treat myself to a nice k-hole for my birthday.

He didn’t pick up when I called him.

(I learned later this was a blessing in disguise)

Right after that, I went down and my dad asked me to pick someone up from the airport. That’s highly unusual, especially since he didn’t say who (my sister and her family had already gone back).

I pressed him for details and it turns out that my better half (whom I love to death) is coming to Sibu to celebrate my birthday with me. My dad had known since Tuesday (!!!) when she contacted him to arrange this conspiracy surprise.

The phone rang right after he told me – it was my friend, calling back. He said he missed my call since he took his daughter out and asked me what was up. I said nothing much and hung up.

*PHEW*

If you have skipped the beginning of this tale, this is the same friend whom I was about to arrange to get some ketamine for a personal birthday treat to myself.

What would have happened if my dear had arrived smack dab while I was in a dissociative state where I was thinking more about 4th and 10th dimensional beings and pondering the reality of our existence?

(or maybe that she was some kind of ketamine induced visual and auditory hallucination)

HAHAHA

Like I said, there is a God.

I’m kidding. That’s a heavily Photoshopped picture of salt (sodium hydrochloride) crystals packed in baggies to look like the real thing. It was pink Himalayan salt to boot, which had me adjusting all the contrast and levels and RGB details to make it look white and similar to ketamine crystals.

(either that, or I really digged out the real thing from my photo archives from years and years back action)

This is a highly elaborate running inside joke that I have with my dear, I seriously have quit all recreational substances, pharmaceuticals and anything that might even remotely alter my state of mind. No wink wink, nudge nudge stuff, this is for realz yo. I don’t even drink much anymore.

There’s no ketamine.

I love my dear to bits and she’s everything to me – I have always been true to her and haven’t touched anything mind-altering for almost three (3) years, ever since I have been with her.

Sarawak Laksa

Me and my dad picked her up from her airport and we went to Aloha Cafe to eat her favorite Sarawak Laksa.

Payung Cafe

The three of us also had a very nice dinner at Payung Cafe at night.

Braun Buffel Birthday Gift

She came bearing gifts too – a Braun Buffel wallet and a UNIQLO shirt.

Braun Buffel Grey Wallet

My wallet has been a sad specimen for a long time and I think she noticed that and got me a really expensive and nice grey one from the German premium leather designer.

Frankfurt Passport Stamp

I love that she has a passport stamp of last year, when we flew to Germany and France – it’s dated 5th of April 2014, my birthday.

Sibu Passport Stamp

This year, she has a stamp on 5th of April 2015 but this time in Sibu. It’s small things like this that means a lot to her and a lot to me too coz it shows how much she cares that she spends every birthday with me (despite telling me she will not this year coz she’s busy with GST to make the surprise better).

I love you dear. I’m glad you flew down all the way to surprise me and planned it with my dad. Thanks for all the gifts and most of all for gracing my birthday with your presence, even if it was just one day.

Birthday 2015

It’s the best birthday ever! You make my life better and you make me a better man by just being in it. <3

3 delicious pork jerky sandwiches a.k.a. How to use up your CNY bak kwa

Pork Jerky Sandwiches

I bought a lot of bak kwa (pork jerky) for Chinese New Year and we’re still eating them now! Part of the reason is that we’ve gotten gifts of pork jerky as well so the stock keeps on piling up. Fortunately, I like bak kwa and I’ve made three (3) sandwiches made with pork jerky that would satisfy any tastes – one is hot, the other is room temperature and the last one is cold.

1. Open Faced Pork Jerky Sandwich with Gui Fei Meat and Pork Floss in an Omelet

Open Faced Pork Jerky Omelet Sandwich

This is a hot sandwich that I like to make in the evenings. Gui Fei meat is another popular product during CNY – it’s Chinese bacon, smoked with spices. I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately and Red Bean Toast is one of my favorites. I got the idea from a Taiwanese bakery, it makes the bread slightly sweet. I’ll use two eggs with a splash of milk to make the base and add in the pork jerky, Gui Fei meat and sprinkle some pork floss on it before buttering the thick slice of bread and grilling it. It’s delicious!

2. Pork Jerky Sandwich with Pasta and Arrowhead Chips

Pasta Arrowhead Chips Sandwich

The best thing about this sandwich is that it goes very well with arrowhead chips (ngaku chips). I use whatever leftover pasta my better half has and pile it on top of a slice of minced pork jerky. This works best with minced pork jerky instead of the tougher sliced pork jerky for some reason. Just put another slice of regular bread on top and serve with lots of arrowhead chips for a quick late night snack.

3. Bagel with Pork Jerky and Salad

Pork Jerky Salad Bagel

This is my favorite cold pork jerky sandwich! I use a bagel shaped bread (it’s actually more like a brioche) and slice it in half before adding a slice of sliced pork jerky. I like carrots so julienning 1/3 of a stick with a mandolin works for me. I also added some thick sliced cucumbers and mayonnaise on top. There’s lettuce on the bottom of the pork jerky and some sweet corn on the side. It’s a perfect cold sandwich, eat this chilled for the best effect!

My Little Helper

It’s quite fun to think of new combinations! I have one hot, one cold and one room temperature sandwich which I can modify around. Best of all, I have my own little helper! Haha.

The 2015 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup!

Fireworks

This year, I decided to get a *massive* fireworks cake instead of multiple small ones like I usually do. I thought it’ll be nice to have a ginormous fireworks cake that requires two (2) people to move and blow all of my budget on that one single glorious aerial barrage. It was already in my mind the previous year and thus I made the necessary orders to get it done.

Fireworks 2015

This is all that I’ve got for Chinese New Year this year – one ridiculously large custom-made 27 kg fireworks cake, one 128 shot fireworks cake and two fountains. There are no firecrackers this year in respect of my late mom’s passing.

Happy Boom 333 shot 27 kg fireworks cake

333 Shots Fireworks

Behold! My centerpiece for this year! It’s 27 kilograms (about 60 pounds) and comes in it’s own box.

27kg Fireworks Cake

This is a custom-made display firework. It’s a divert from a licensed pyrotechnics show, which explains the 1.3G Display Grade sticker and it cost the average monthly household income around here but it’s worth it!

Largest Fireworks Cake

The sheer heft and dimensions dictates that two people was required to lug this monster out and all my cousins (and neighbors) came out to see it coz it’s not everyday someone gets such a huge fireworks cake.

Huge Fireworks Cake

This is one of three custom orders that came in and I managed to snag one of them. Just look at the size comparison to an iPad.

It measures 62 cm x 59 cm x 20 cm and when I lit it, it produced a full four (4) minutes of glory. There’s all sorts of aerial breaks in this 333 shot cake – green, blue and red starbursts, brocada crowns, green bees, white glitter, red chrysanthemums, sparkling willows and golden palm fronds that just blankets the entire sky from the angled fanning tubes in the middle.

I accidentally pressed stop while filming coz I thought it was over but the fireworks cake was merely shifting to the finale, which is an additional 1 minute in duration. You really have to see this video – it’s an *amazing* fireworks cake, the best I’ve ever purchased and it’s well worth the money I paid for it. :)

Happy Boom Magic Fountain

Magic Fountain Happy Boom

This is a gift that I got from ordering the 333 shot fireworks cake. It retails for RM 30 and it was thrown in as a thank you gift. It should be noted that Happy Boom is a very generic name for fireworks and firecrackers and it’s used to describe everything from Happy Boom novelty packets to Happy Boom salutes.

This one has small aerial bursts in addition to fountains but it malfunctioned and ended up burning to the ground.

Burning Fountain

It’s not unlike the Italian Horseshoe Fireworks Fountain I got in KL – they’re prone to overheating due to the stress the gerbs are subjected to (heavy and sustained spurts instead of the lift charge that a fireworks cake produces).

London Bridge Fountain

London Bridge Fireworks Fountain

I really liked this one! It’s beautiful and I wrote about the new London Bridge firework fountain in more detail in another post. You can see the video here:

The gerbs produces bright and varied effects and the unusual colors that came out of this made this the most interesting fountain I’ve seen this year. It retailed for RM 50 but I got it for RM 30 with the bundle purchase of another fireworks cake (reviewed below). That might sound like a lot to pay for a fountain but this was really worth it due to the spectacular display!

Silvesters Pass & Rock ‘N Roll! Pyro 128 shot fireworks cake

Silvesters Rock N Roll Pyro

This is a Swan fireworks item which retailed for RM 120. Silvester is actually the name of a Roman Catholic holiday celebrated in Germany which coincides with New Year’s Eve. This is supposed to be a “new” cake but the catalog number (KT 122) has popped up before so I suspect it’s a re-badged KT 122 with new effects…

128 Shots Fireworks Cake

…and I was right! It wasn’t as grand as my wonderful 333 shot fireworks cake but it added bulk and entertainment for my niece and nephews who were back home for the Lunar New Year holidays and missed the 333 shot monster I let off on CNY Eve.

KT122 Fireworks Cake

The effects of the Swan KT 122 has steadily improved over the years – this one had two series of fanned tubes to angle the aerial shells and there are some new breaks that were too expensive to be put in previous years, like the starting silent comet tail strobes (one of my favorite dramatic effects) and the crossette breaks.

This one is the best in the KT 122 series I’ve seen to date. I love the pace and the dramatic use of strobes – there are actually a lot of them in this cake, so much so that they had to skimp on the other breaks but if you love a beautiful (and not too loud) strobe cake, this would do you just fine. My niece and nephews loved it!

Hope you all had a great Chinese New Year! Enjoy the videos and Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone! :)

London Bridge fireworks

London Bridge Fireworks

I found this marvellous fountain on sale this year! It’s a new one called London Bridge and it comes in a large semi-circle format with the lyrics and sheet music of London Bridge printed on top. I’m not usually easily impressed by fountains coz they’re rather boring compared to the beautiful aerial breaks of a fireworks cake but this one is gorgeous!

The retail price for this is RM 50 which is quite high for a fountain. The latest 13” conic volcano shaped fountains are half that price. However, the format is relatively large and I got it for RM 30 so I figured it was worth checking out since it looked quite promising.

I wasn’t disappointed! I set it up on top of my ginormous 333 shot fireworks cake and lit the fuse:

The gerbs shoots outs vivid pink, orange and blue jets of flame across the arc. These are not very common colors and it’s wonderful to see such a brilliant color come out of a consumer firework. It turns to yellow, green and red and ends with plenty of sparkling rain.

Pro tip: Always elevate your fountains to get best effect. Don’t put them on the ground. It’s a lot more dramatic when a fountain is placed high up e.g. 3 feet off the ground so you can see the sparks fall longer before they hit the ground.

London Bridge Fountain

I thought this was quite a decent new arrival this year and I saw more than a few houses get it despite the price. It’s worth every cent with the rare colors. The sheer brightness of the arcs of flames overloaded the CCD on the camera but you can still see what a beautiful fountain it is from the video. :)

15 Chinese New Year visiting photos

CNY Visiting 2015

1. Food! I went to just a few open houses this year – close friends and relatives. The good thing is that more people are serving hot food, which makes for a more substantial meal than snacks and cakes and such – it’s a nice savoury change.

Prawn Fried Noodles

2. This is a thin fried yellow noodle with hints of Thai chilli sauce and prawns. It’s very good, so much so that I went back for second (and third) helpings.

Beef Satay Sauce

3. There’s also beef in satay sauce…

Ketupat

4. …with the accompanying ketupat.

Kacangma Chicken

5. Arthur also broke out the kacangma chicken. I was reminded of a joke another friend told about cannabis, he said he accidentally pulled out a packet of the good stuff to pay for a meal and only later realized it wasn’t a wad of cash. Luckily the auntie who was the (unintended) recipient said “What’s this? Kacangma herbs?” smirk You just had to be there.

Baked Chicken Wings

6. This is some great baked chicken wings to complete the feast. I had an awesome lunch here on the first day.

HB Arthur

7. Here’s a photo of me with Arthur!

Honeydew Cake

8. One of the more unusual cakes I had – the lowest right is a honeydew cake! It’s not sweet at all and just had a hint of the melon. Delicious! I had this at Alex’s house and was happily munching on some macadamia nuts he had on hand too (love them, they’re my favorite type of nuts).

Huge Nasi Briyani

9. Huge pot of nasi briyani at another friend’s house.

China Snow Beer

10. An unusual Chinese snow beer that weighs in at 4.7% alcohol. Very refreshing stuff, you can’t get it outside. Funny story, as we were visiting this house, there was another guy which I didn’t know there. The host suddenly brought up the topic of weed and how it relates to sleep. Thus, I joined in and said “Yeah, ganja is a lot better than alcohol, at least you won’t have to wake up at 3 am to pee” and saw my friend laughing. He later asked me “Do you know who the other guy is? He’s with the police and he’s in Narcotics.” -_-

HB Eddy Jona

11. With my bro Eddy and his wife. I hung out here most of the time, it’s nice to feel truly welcome instead of having someone be snarky and calculative behind your back. Eddy has always been solid, he’s always got my back regardless of what I did and I’ve learned a lot from him. You can tell the ultimate measure of a man by the friends he has in real life and this person probably has more than anyone can count.

Macallan Whisky Makers Edition

12. Drinking The Macallan Whisky Maker’s Edition.

Philippines Pork Belly

13. Pork belly cooked with a spice mix found in the Philippines that’s the most awesome thing I had – ate here three meals in a row.

Philippines Food

14. It went very well with the daging masak hitam (beef cooked in black sauce) too. Tons of flavor!

My Niece

15. Me with my niece, who’s getting bigger now! :)

My Chinese New Year Eve Diary

0800

I usually let my fireworks stash dry out a bit to wring out any excessive moisture during sea transport or storage. I’m quite proud of my piece de resistance this year – it’s a 27 kg (60 pound) fireworks cake with 333 shots. This is a 1.3G display grade item and it was amazing! Here’s a video of my fireworks cache this year. I have some interesting items here.

1300

Sanbanto Pork

Sending out the last of my Sanbanto pork jerky. These are gifts meant for friends and family – I don’t have much space so I could only bring back 14 packs. One of my friends in particular has been very kind to me – Cydney from Melbourne so I made sure to bring her one. She also brought back heaps of Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams for me.

1800

Reunion Dinner

The reunion dinner commences with a bottle of wine! Here’s a photo of me with my dad and grandma. I had packed ang pows for them and got some from my uncles. My cousins came and we played a bit of Blackjack – changed the rules to casino style Blackjack rules so being the dealer, I didn’t lose as much this year. smirk

2200

Cousins Waiting

My cousins came back to my house with several of my aunties to watch me let off my monster 27 kg fireworks cake. The neighbors were watching as well – one of them came up to me and asked me how much it was since it’s so ginormous. I also had another neighbor come and compliment me for turning my back from my wayward past (how she knew is a mystery to me).

2300

Here’s where I let off my huge 27 kg fireworks cake – it took two people to haul it out since it’s more than a 0.62 x 0.59 meters in size. It’s beautiful, I wasn’t disappointed in the money I spent for this, check out the video above – this is a vertical take, I have a proper horizontal take (2 of them in fact – got one of my cousins to help me film) uploading.

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This is what Sibu looks like at the stroke of midnight. I still haven’t let off all my fireworks so I’ll do the full roundup in a couple of days. I was quite happy with a fountain I got too, the colors were intense and I’m not usually impressed easily by fountains (prefer aerial repeaters) so it’s quite an interesting new item that I’m glad I bought on a whim. The video isn’t up yet due to slow broadband but you can see the item in the first video in this post.

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Happy CNY 2015

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :)

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