12 things I bought for Christmas

1. Chocolate Monopoly

Chocolate Monopoly

This is an awesome find for RM 59.95! It’s a licensed Monopoly board game but all the cards, game pieces and property are replaced with chocolate pieces. The rules are somewhat similar but it’s of the spinner variety (there is no Monopoly money) so I thought it’ll be a great game for us to play with the kids on Christmas coz you can eat the chocolate pieces afterwards.

2. Christmas crackers

Tom Smith Selfie Christmas Crackers

An essential for the festive season, Christmas crackers are large pieces of cardboard with a snapper firecracker inside that explodes with a bang. The fun bit is that there’s miniature toys inside – usually tiny keepsakes that can range from a small compass to fart cushions. I bought a pack of six of the Tom Smith luxury version (RM 59.90) – one each for us and the kids plus two extra for my dear’s parents.

3. Snickers Slice n’ Share

Huge Snickers Slice Share

This is a *gigantic* bar of Snickers! It’s not pre-cut so it’s a solid block of candy that weighs 453.6 grams. You have to slice it into pieces yourself, thus the name. I’ve never seen this format before. I think it’s specially made for the 2014 festive season since it fits well with the large family dinner and sharing theme. This solid 1 pound (!!!) block of Snickers costs a staggering RM 68.95.

4. Porky Salt

Porky Salt

Haha! This is made by Garam Haram which literally translates to Forbidden Salt (and it rhymes too). It’s a play on the fact that pork is forbidden (haram) to Muslims and this is literally bacon infused salt. Porky Salt is a local artisanal product that’s just RM 15 and I can think of many ways to use it this Christmas dinner, whether we roast a traditional turkey like last year or go Asian.

5. Panettone

Panettone

What is Christmas without panettone? This brioche like edible is a Christmas staple in Milan and I’ve only seen it suddenly appear on the market in the last few years. I went to an Italian restaurant and had a wonderful “tiramisu” made with panettone in 2012 and I thought it was lovely. We also bought one last year for our Christmas celebrations. It’s tastier than the rock solid fruitcake that we’re used to eating before panettone started to flood the market as an alternative.

6. Giant Juicy Fruit

Giant Chewing Gum

Yup, this classic by Wrigley’s is supersized for the holidays! smirk I loved chewing on these when I was in high school – so much so that my Physics teacher in Christchurch called me “Eater”. Needless to say, I wasn’t a model student but I quite liked that nickname. You can eat in most classes in New Zealand (they’re not as strict as over here) but that particular educator didn’t like anyone doing so.

7. Huge roll of Life Savers

Giant Lifesavers

This classic sweet has put on some weight for the festive season too. The plus sized roll of Lifesavers is now 30 times as large as a regular roll! I used to eat this in high school too, it was cheap and I’m particular to the Musk flavored ones but you can’t find that flavor outside of Australia and New Zealand for some reason. Musk is not a popular flavor except down under.

8. White Cheddar Popcorn

White Cheddar Popcorn

You know how some people decorate their Christmas trees with popcorn? Well, not us, we prefer to *eat* popcorn. Especially if it’s this expensive! This bag of savory popcorn costs RM 21.90 and it’s made in the US by Angie’s. This is the White Cheddar flavor and they use all natural organic ingredients. It also checks all the healthy tick-boxes by being gluten-free, low trans fat, and whole grain.

9. Crème Brûlée

Creme Brulee

I accidentally bought this RM 12.50 packet of crème brûlée, thinking it was crème caramel. I love the latter, have eaten heaps of them as a kid (my mom used to make them) but it seems like they dropped off the face of the Earth! Since the advent of crème brûlée, the preparation without the blow-torched hard crack top seems to have disappeared. It used to be served in coffee-shops and I’ve been missing crème caramel since.

10. Christmas hampers

Christmas Hampers

‘Tis the season to be giving! I bought a RM 280 Christmas hamper for my better half so we could open it on Christmas Eve. I was torn between the one inside the sleigh and the one that’s in a large tube wooden reusable box (there’s only a RM 20 price difference) and after much consideration, chose the former. The retail assistant told me they both contain the same thing, it’s the wooden sleigh that’s more expensive due to craftsmanship.

11. Valrhona chocolates

Valrhona

It hurts my brain to even see this. Haha! We had gotten Valrhona chocolates from France – they have really good single origin Grand Crus and it’s the chocolate of choice for many high end Parisian fine dining restaurants. It’s very expensive to source your own Grand Crus from small gourmet purveyors like what Michelin starred restaurants do so this is the next best thing. I found it while shopping at BIG in Publika – I didn’t even know Malaysia stocks this.

12. Eggnog

Eggnog

You can’t have Christmas without eggnog. I have tried making my own but it’s a time consuming process if you have a turkey and other sides to take care of and store bought tastes just as good. They even have eggnog with alcohol included (mixture of brandy, whisky and rum for 14.75% alcohol) for RM 85.90 for 1.75 litres but if you have your own spirits, you can just get the regular 1 quart (946 ml) Grade A Eggnog for RM 23.90 and add your own to taste.

Short mention:

Christmas Hamper Ling

I used my credit card to purchase this Christmas hamper that I got my better half. I wanted to get my dear something nice and this beautiful reindeer sleigh contains all her favorites – hot chocolate, cookies, Turkish Delight. There’s even some marshmallows for the kids and a stuffed toy that looks suspiciously like Olaf from Frozen. I’ve been using my Maybank credit card for *everything* since I can get my purchases for free with their I LOVE 100% Cashback campaign! Just spend with your Maybank cards from now until 31st January 2015 and get your expenses paid off!

Check it out – there’s nothing better than getting your festive season spending paid off with a 100% cashback to spread some festive cheer! :)

My new Toshiba Pro Theatre Full HD Smart TV powered by Android

4KTV unboxing

I have been using a review unit of the Toshiba Pro Theatre L54 series with a 40” screen for more than a week!

4KTV setup

It’s very easy to set-up using the provided remote (which has a trackball in the middle).

typing 4ktv

Typing is easily done by an on-screen keyboard too (you can also purchase an external keyboard) – this is me setting up the Android system, signing into my Google account and most importantly, linking it to my high speed TIME Home Fibre 30 Mbps connection to view YouTube videos in Full HD resolution!

4KTV WiFi

The set-up process for the Toshiba Pro Theatre 40L54 is so easy it can be done in less than 5 minutes – all you really need is a WiFi connection.

Smart TV Apps

Smart TVs are getting more and more prevalent in the market. No longer can the television set be accurately called an “idiot box” – it’s a lot smarter than humans nowadays!

Toshiba Smart TV

Toshiba is leading the charge with its range of high end large screen Smart TVs powered by Android. The high range Pro Theatre L9450 Series ranges in size from a whopping 84” to 64” and 50” – it’s a UltraHD 4K Immersive Unlimited with more natural color and texture, richer contrast and higher brightness enhanced by Toshiba’s High-brightness panel, wide color gamut panel, revolutionary UltraHD 4K technology and CEVO 4K image processing engine.

UHD Android TV

The narrow bezel makes it perfect for maximum screen real estate – you can really get an immersive viewing experience. It also fits into a relatively thin space – whether it’s your living room or bedroom. There’s Audio Source Filtering, Intelligent Scene Optimizer and Intelligent Auto View to get the most out of anything you’re watching.

4KTV USB

The USB Movie supports 28 different video formats too!

4KTV football

Plus, there’s a Football Mode for fans of the beautiful game out there. The FIFA World Cup 2014 was broadcast in 4K for the first time and I highly regret not having a UltraHD 4K LED TV to watch it for the best experience.

Alchemy 4K

There are people who’re still wary about the availability of 4K content. I’ll tell you right now that there’s a wealth of 4K content out there right now – you just have to know where to look. Netflix is broadcasting in 4K for some of their series like Breaking Bad and you can easily get access to that (they accept Malaysian credit cards) if you use a VPN.

4KTV viewing

I have a 30 Mbps fibre connection at home with no ridiculous restrictions, and with that kind of broadband you can comfortably watch streaming content (it just needs half the speed) on Netflix or Hulu Plus. Just hook up a Xbox One, do a little bit of configuring on your router and you’re good to go. I actually have Netflix at home right now and I’m paying less than what I’ll pay for a local satellite TV provider *and* I get Full HD content to boot!

tv google play

You can do everything you want on the Toshiba Full HD TVs powered by Android too – even run Microsoft Office documents with the popular Android app OfficeSuite 7 and do your Excel spreadsheets! Facebook, Picassa, Twitter, and all Android apps from the Google Play store are available. That means you can play games on your large screen Full HD TV too!

4k apps

Imagine playing the latest Android games like Monument Valley, The Walking Dead, Final Fantasy VI, and Angry Birds: Epic on your large screen Full HD TV! I’m an avid gamer and man, the games look *awesome* – especially Unreal Engine powered titles which can scale up.

4k gaming

Look at the awesome quality! I can’t wait to play Forza Motorsport 5 and Watch Dogs on this high resolution TV!

4k games

Besides playing games, you can also view photos which you take on your camera in the full resolution that it’s meant to be viewed. Do you have a camera that’s above 8.3 megapixels?

4KTV pictures

8.3 MP cameras shoots in 3840 x 2160 and if you’re viewing that using a Full HD 1080p TV, you won’t be able to see the photo as it’s meant to be seen.

4k google

The best part about having a smart TV is that you can multi-task and surf the net using your Android powered TV!

4k sixthseal

I also used my Toshiba Pro Theatre 40L54 to reply comments on my blog. :)

4k cnn

There’s really something for everyone, I found it useful to browse CNN while watching CNN! There’s often updated content on the website that didn’t make it to the broadcast and this is the future of “smart TVs” powered by Android.

4k bookmarks

There’s even the usual suspects provided in the Bookmarks centre – everything from Picasa photos to Twitter.

8MP Photo

You already have the tools necessary to shoot 4K resolution photos. The high end Toshiba Pro Theatre L54 Series Full HD with Android LED TV can support your current camera/smartphone (which is likely higher than 8.3 MP) and show your photos on the large screen in its native resolution.

4KTV YouTube

It’s an exciting time in the Smart TV market and UltraHD 4K resolution is coming – with Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K Android powered TV, you can also watch YouTube in 4K which a lot of content creators are already streaming in. It’s 4 times sharper than FullHD and with the third-generation CEVO 4K Engine you can retain stunning picture quality, regardless of screen size!

4k video

Look, now I can watch all my Youtube videos in Full HD! I wish I can keep this, it’s so amazing you have to see it to believe it!

My visit to Acacia Park Phase 1 Launch

clown

I was at the official launch of the Acacia Park Phase 1 in Bandar Tasik Puteri on the 8-9th November. It was a grand event with food and fun for the entire family – there was even a place to drop off your kids! The kids were entertained by a clown…

cotton candy

…and there was unlimited cotton candy on offer.

Acacia Park Launch

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in the morning and features (from left) Mr Wee Beng Sang (Director – Group Property Development/Management Services), Mr Lee Kok Wah (Director – Area Property Development & Technical Services), Tuan Mohd Azizi Bin Mohd Zain (Yang Dipertua (YDP) Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS), Mr Low Gee Teong (Group Managing Director of Low Yat Group).

nicole hb cavy

I also met Nicole (right) and Mr. Jason Hoh from Low Yat Group when I went for the property talk in the afternoon. I managed to take a photo with Nicole and Cavy at the photo wall.

acacia park flowers

There were congratulatory floral arrangements when I stepped into the Bandar Tasik Puteri Sales Office and the place was bustling with people. It seems like a lot of them has come to attend the property talk.

ishmael ho

The property talk took place in the newly refurbished Bandar Tasik Puteri Sales Gallery, presented by Mr. Ishmael Ho from Ho Chin Soon Research and I actually took a short video of him explaining about how to invest in property.

It was quite enlightening!

acacia park showroom

There were plenty of food and drinks for all the guests and by the end of the day Acacia Park Phase 1 had completely sold out!

acacia park show units

Acacia Park Phase 1 is a double storey terrace home that’s open for registration now. The homes are built with the four pillars of Accessibility, Peace of Mind, Spaciousness and Neighbourhood in mind. Each unit is 18′ by 80′ and I know that sounds small but it’s actually not.

acacia park visit

I had an image of the units in mind but they were surpassed when I actually visited the Bandar Tasik Puteri Township. It’s HUGE for a unit of that size! You don’t feel like it’s 18′ by 80′ at all due to the way it’s designed.

acacia park corner lot

There’s enough room in front for two cars and the entire Acacia Park Phase 1 area will be fenced with security gates. I’ve actually written about the Bandar Tasik Puteri township in a previous post and this one will be more geared towards Acacia Park Phase 1 & 2.

acacia park kitchen

Acacia Park Phase 1 has 224 units and is priced from RM 415,803.00 with a total built up area from 1,660 sq ft! The modern and contemporary design offers four (4) bedrooms and three (3) bathrooms which is perfect for those seeking an affordable first home.

acacia park master

I was amazed at the utilization of space when I walked into the show rooms. The second floor in particular is designed in a way that affords you with an ultra high ceiling! I had to ask Denise and Li Vian to take a photo of me as a point of reference so you can see just how high the ceilings are on the second floor.

acacia park yard

There’s also a back yard that’s very spacious – the flower hedge is where the property ends so you have an idea of how much space you have to work with if you want to extend to the back. This will be perfect for extending the kitchen so you have a large area for cooking or for BBQ gatherings.

acacia park guest room

Unfortunately, all 224 units of Acacia Park Phase 1 are fully sold out.

acacia park room

That shows how high the demand is for this new development from Low Yat Group out there.

acacia park living

Fret not though, Acacia Park Phase 2 is currently open for registration and these are 18′ x 75′ double storey terrace homes. They have a model home with all eight (8) types of units and I’m happy to announce that there are still some of the much sought after corner lots available when I was there.

Acacia Park Phase 2

Acacia Park Phase 2 has Intermediate units A1 and B1 with a total built up area of 1,766 sq ft and 1,778 sq ft. The End units A2 and B2 comes in 1,969 sq ft and 1,959 sq ft.

Acacia Park Phase 2 A2

Corner units A3 and B3 are sized 2,462 sq ft and 2,357 sq ft and Special Corner units A4 and B4 measures 2,817 sq ft and 2,813 sq ft.

Acacia Park Phase 2 models

The Corner (Type A3 & B3) and Special Corner (Type A4 & B4) is much larger than the 18′ of the Intermediate and End units. Corner units have a building width of 22′ and Special Corner measures a positively roomy 24′!

Low Yat Girls

It’s a very interesting development both for living in and as an investment. Acacia Park Phase 2 will have 215 units. There are plenty of discounts and other incentives like free SPA and loan legal fees so if you’re interested in Acacia Park Phase 2, don’t hesitate to call 03-60935188 or surf over to the Bandar Tasik Puteri website.

My visit to Bandar Tasik Puteri in Rawang

Bandar Tasik Puteri

Bandar Tasik Puteri is a beautiful township in Rawang with a 27-hole golf course designed by Australian Golf Management located just 18 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. I just went to check out the area during the weekend with Namee Roslan, Denise, Li Vian, and Nicole from Low Yat Group and I was very impressed!

BTP Development

It’s becoming the largest and most active development north of Kuala Lumpur. Bandar Tasik Puteri is described as the “dawn of a perfect township” and I couldn’t agree more.

Bandar Tasik Puteri Country Club

Enveloped by lush terrain, greenery and sparkling lakes, Bandar Tasik Puteri is the ultimate suburban sanctuary. You can feel the difference just by driving down the main road lined with palm trees!

Bandar Tasik Puteri Map

This sprawling 2,670 acre Bandar Tasik Puteri township is surrounded by Kuang, Kundang, Batu Arang and Rawang Town (collectively known as part of North Klang Valley).

Bandar Tasik Puteri Legend

Bandar Tasik Puteri is located in a steadily increasing development area with major access to highways – it’s just 400 meters away from the BTP Interchange of the LATAR Highway which will be completed in 2016.

BTP LATAR

The BTP Interchange will make travelling to KL just a short 18 minutes!

Bandar Tasik Puteri me

We met with Mr. Lee Kok Wah (Project Director of Bandar Tasik Puteri) and Mr. Jason Hoh (Manager of Sales & Marketing) and they were kind enough to take us on a tour around the whole Bandar Tasik Puteri area. The township is developed by Low Yat Group and there’s currently:

  • 2 primary schools
  • 1 secondary school
  • 1 Islamic school
  • 3 polyclinics and 2 specialists
  • 8 mini markets
  • 1 mosque

in addition to the weekly night and wet markets, automobile service centres, furniture retailers, parks, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and petrol stations!

Bandar Tasik Puteri Golf Club

The Tasik Puteri Golf & Country Club also has 27-holes for anyone interested in golfing and best of all, there’s no membership dues. This is one of the few golf courses open to the public – you just have to pay a green fee to play on the breathtaking course!

Bandar Tasik Puteri Swimming Pool

There are also swimming pools at the rustic country club and a new development called BTP Recreation & Sport Club offering modern gyms and sports facilities.

Bandar Tasik Puteri Construction

You can see the developments currently underway for the residential projects in Bandar Tasik Puteri. There are presently four (4) developments for the public:

  • Garden Heights, Phase 5 (2-Storey Terrace House, 2,214 sq ft, 20′ x 75′)
  • SEIRING East (Semi-Detached House, 3,173 sq ft, 40′ x 80′)
  • Acacia Park, Phase 1 (2-Storey Terrace House, 1,660 sq ft, 18′ x 80′)
  • Medan Puteri 2 (3-Storey Shop Office, 4,280 – 8,714 sq ft, 20′ x 75′)

JKR

Here’s where the Bandar Tasik Puteri – LATAR Highway Interchange is being built. The entire Bandar Tasik Puteri area will be connected with a ring road after construction – providing yet another bypass and more commercial opportunities to the area.

Bandar Tasik Puteri houses

There were also models of houses that is currently under construction in the Bandar Tasik Puteri area.

Bandar Tasik Puteri Golf

You’ll love the place – it’s secure, modern and located in the fastest growing township north of Kuala Lumpur! Bandar Tasik Puteri is a great place for investment – in addition to the housing developments, there are office buildings and commercial centres being built to make this a modern and vibrant new township.

BTP Golf Club

I can foresee that the Bandar Tasik Puteri area under development by Low Yat Group will be very popular, especially with the developments that’s already there plus the ones they are implementing for the future, together with infrastructure like petrol stations and highways to fuel the growth!

Bandar Tasik Puteri Sales

The thing I like the most about the place is that the area beside it is a no-build area so you’ll be sure of having greenery when you look out! There will be a launch of the new housing development Acacia Park Phase 1 at Bandar Tasik Puteri. Details of the event as below:

Date: 8-9 November 2014 (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 11 am to 7 pm
Venue: Bandar Tasik Puteri New Sales Gallery
GPS: 3.296563, 101.485187

The event would an informational one as Ishmael Ho from Ho Chin Soon Research will be giving a property talk at the event on 8th November, 3pm. Parents, please do not hesitate to bring your family along as there will be games and activities for kids and free buffet!

If you are interested, think no further and check the event this coming weekend yourself!

Toshiba’s Smart Technology, Smart Future UltraHD 4K TV with Android convention in Genting

Toshiba Model

I was excited to attend Toshiba’s Smart Technology, Smart Future convention in Genting. It was a 1 hour bus trip to the highlands but I’ve always loved events there due to the cool weather. Their high end Pro Theatre L9540 Series UltraHD 4K with Android LED TV is something I’ve been looking forward to see with my own eyes.

Toshiba Convention Genting

Thus, I was rather impressed by the way they transformed GICC (Genting International Convention Center) into a HUGE stage featuring their best *and* an enormous side hall reserved for Toshiba’s newest products – everything from washing machines to the latest multi-door refrigerators!

Toshiba girls

The best thing about the gigantic hall with Toshiba’s new series was that it’s interactive – we could not just watch the presentations of the various electric appliances, we could actually touch and (in some cases) eat the final product. It was the best tour I’ve ever had!

toshiba smart technology smart future

The event started off with Mr. Hitoshi Katayama, the Managing Director of Toshiba Sales & Services Sdn Bhd officially launching the Toshiba Pro Theatre L9540 Series UltraHD 4K with Android LED TV.

We were seated at different tables and I got to ask a couple of questions when the Q&A session came up.

me questions

My question was about the Toshiba’s new UHD 4K TV which is also powered by Android…

Toshiba panel

…and it was answered superbly by the panel.

Mel headset

Our table was outfitted with a radio and led into the convention hall. The radios are necessary for the best experience – we could hear the presenters through the headphones while the entire hall remained silent.

Mandy

Mandy was leading our group through the various stations and I’ll show you some of the more interesting ones.

latest washing machine

This is the new Magic Drum S-DD Inverter 16 kg washing machine by Toshiba. I actually went up and wrote my name and “sixthseal.com” on the drum.

me magic drum

It shows the Magic Drum technology used by Toshiba and what regular washing machines use.

magic drum

It really makes a huge difference – the coating on the Magic Drum allows dirt and other stuff that tends to be stuck to the side of your washing machine drum to be washed off easily.

dual tornado

I was quite impressed with the new Torneo vacuum cleaner with Dual Tornado System as well!

Toshiba first vacuum cleaner

It has such a high suction power and the Futon Brush is so amazing that it can deal with hard-to-vacuum things like lentils, beans and cotton pieces with ease. It can also suck up bed bugs and mites, which causes a lot of sinus problems for a lot of people. Best of all, it only weighs 2.7 kg!

glass fridge

Toshiba also had a new and stylish premium fridge out which really impressed me. I wanted it so badly! I have no idea how much it costs – the price hasn’t been released, but I aim to save up for it!

fridge compartments

It’s their premium Multi-Door G-Series INVERTER Refrigerator – the front of the fridge is glass and it’s operated by touch!

touch fridge

The inside of the fridge is divided into several compartments, where the temperature is optimal for storing vegetables, fruits, meat, drinks etc. The G-Series Twin Cooling System and PICOION technology makes your food last longer too.

ice maker

There’s also an automatic ice-maker!

latest fridge

The freezer compartment is at the very bottom. This is definitely a fridge to lust for – I couldn’t stop imagining it in my condo. The technology is great and it looks beautiful too.

Toshiba L Series

However, the best of the show went to the Toshiba Pro Theatre L9450 Series UltraHD 4K TVs powered by Android. 4K resolution is the next step in TV evolution – the Toshiba UltraHD 4K TVs are also Android powered, which means it’s not just a TV, it’s a “smart TV”.

Android TV

In fact, there’s no difference between the Android powered Toshiba UltraHD 4K TVs and a powerful Android powered netbook/smartphone/tablet device, except that the screen is HUGE when compared to other Android devices.

Android games running on TV

You can do everything you want on the Toshiba UltraHD 4K TVs powered by Android too – Facebook, Picassa, Twitter, and all Android apps from the Google Play store are available. That means you can play games on your large screen 4K TV too!

me 4KTV

Also, if you can’t wait for future content to come out in 4K (a lot of current movies and TV shows are already filmed in 4K – it just needs to be remastered to come out in 4K native format) there’s always YouTube! YouTube has 4K videos already uploaded in the site – using Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TV is the only way you can view it the way it’s meant to be viewed.

4KTV image quality

…and you can always make YOUR own content by taking photos or making videos by shooting in 4K resolution. :)

smart technology smart future

It’s an exciting new world indeed and I’ve been wanting a 4K TV since the standard was announced. I was so impressed by Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TV powered by Android that I can’t wait to try it out. I do hope I get a chance to test out the TVs – I’m one of the lucky ones to have TIME Home Fibre and I have a stable and super fast 30 Mbps connection.

4ktv with android

Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TV powered by Android is something you need to see to believe. The pixel density and colors are so amazing that you’ll never look at a Full HD (1080p) TV in the same way again. You’ll want a 4K TV for the crisp image, bright vivid colors, true blacks and ultra high definition – you can’t even spot individual pixels!

4KTV

I’ll be back with a review of Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TVs powered by Android, but in the meantime, go and check out their offerings at your nearest store! It has to be seen to be believed and it’s really a smart TV for the entire family – you can use a keyboard to Facebook with someone studying in another country, upload your own 4K videos to YouTube and watch the best 4K movies and TV series in Netflix!

My mobile Zumba session at Kelana Jaya Park

me zumba

I was at Kelana Jaya Park over the weekend for a very invigorating session of Zumba. It’s always good to get a bit of exercise in, and I must admit that I sometimes lack the motivation to get off my lazy posterior and work it.

zumba instructor

However a Zumba session is very different – it features fast bass-driven music and you always feel more energized to exercise when there’s hot and happening tunes playing! :)

There was a bit of rain on Sunday but the mobile Zumba session went on anyway after it cleared up! I went ready with my track pants and a workout tee. The certified Zumba instructor is Sharon and I loved the pumping music and fast paced workout! I even got a video of myself at the Zumba session. Heh.

sharon instructor

I loaded up with some NESTUM 3-in-1 before the hour long Zumba session in Kelana Jaya Park too, which helps a lot with energy. There was a NESTUM 3-in-1 Truck at the venue, giving out free cups of NESTUM cereal.

nestum truck

NESTUM is one of my favorite hot cereal brands – it’s something all Malaysians have grown up with! My parents would always get me to eat something before I go off to primary school and when I wake up late, I’ll fix myself a cup of NESTUM and I’ve loved the taste of the fragrant cereal ever since.

nestum drink

There’s a huge range of delicious and whole grain products such as NESTUM 3-in-1 and All Family Cereals now. I personally love the fragrant aroma of the Original but you can also get Oat, Honey and Chocolate. All of the NESTUM 3-in-1 variants has the goodness of whole wheat, corn and rice and it’s a great way to uplift your day!

nestum samples

I couldn’t get the NESTUM tune out of my head too – you might have seen the tummy tapping dance on TV and online and I tried to incorporate into the Zumba workout. I was even humming the tune the entire night, which drove my better half nuts! Haha.

nestum guys

The Zumba session is actually organized by NESTUM and it’s FREE for all members of the public to attend. The NESTUM Truck has been going around town every weekend now – there’s two slots every Saturday and Sunday (8:30 am and 5 pm).

era fm

The Era FM crew was there to get the members of the public at Kelana Jaya Park to join in the Zumba session and soon enough there’s a whole crowd of people moving to the beat. It’s a great way to get some exercise in – a healthy lifestyle does wonders to your body and mind!

Here’s a video of me at the Zumba session.

zumba me

My first experience with Zumba was actually at the Club Med Bali resort and I’ve loved the concept ever since. If you haven’t tried it out, I can guarantee you that you’ll love it! You can burn calories while doing exercise that’s actually *fun*.

nestum zumba goodie bag

Come and join the enjoyable and invigorating mobile Zumba session with certified instructors every weekend! There’s going to be a NESTUM Truck around the corner offering samples of NESTUM 3-in-1 Original and you can purchase limited edition NESTUM 3-in-1 Zumba Goodie Bags for just RM 10 (worth RM 18).

zumba session

Best of all, you’ll get a wonderful workout fit for all ages and the Zumba sessions are open to the public at no charge. Get more information on where the next mobile Zumba session is going to be and catch the NESTUM Truck at the NESTUM Malaysia FB or www.nestum.com.my!

What would I do with so much cash?

win expression

I would travel the world taking *upside down* photos from dizzying heights! I think this could be the next big thing. smirk The photo above was taken in New South Wales at the Sydney Tower Eye & SKYWALK. I’ve also taken similar photos during my travels to Melbourne (Eureka Skydeck 88 – second highest building in the Southern Hemisphere), Paris (Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe), and Georgia (the insanely deep Rustaveli station in Tbilisi with an escalator length of 120 meters).

Yup, RHB Now Internet & Mobile Banking is having a contest where you can win prizes worth up to RM 100,000!

700 dollar electricity bill

This RM 700+ power bill from TNB doesn’t look so bad now when I can get 20 entries by paying it using the RHB Now Mobile Banking app. A minimum of RM 30 on any 6 online banking transactions could win you loads of cash. It’s just so convenient to be able to do online banking using the Internet at home or my cell phone via RHB Now that I hardly ever go to a physical bank anymore.

eligable transactions

The more you transact, the more your entries and those with the highest accumulated entries will win the prizes on offer!

What prizes, you ask?

prizes 2014

How does RM 20,000 as the grand prize or weekly prizes of a Samsung GALAXY S5 & GEAR 2 sound? :)

photo contest

There’s also a way for you to win even more cash with a photo contest, which was what I was talking about in the beginning of the post. Just take a photo that captures “What would you do with so much cash” and upload it, completing the slogan:

“If I won cash and prizes from RHB Now, I would….”

and get up to RM 200 more on top of the RM 100,000 worth of prizes that are up for grabs! This contest runs till 30th November 2014. It’s just that easy, the more you use RHB Now, the more entries you’ll accumulate and the more chances you’ll have to win prizes worth up to RM 100,000!

RHBNow Transact Win 2014

There’s a lot of things you can do with that kind of money – a RM 20,000 Grand Prize can fund a trip to Japan (eating at all the Michelin starred places from metropolitan Tokyo to the rural ryokans). That’s our next planned destination! I’ll love to travel the world more, so here’s your chance to win just by using RHB Now!

travel world

Get more details at the Let’s Transact with RHB Now page.

AMPLIFY @ The Rabbit Hole, Changkat Bukit Bintang

amplify

The number one question I’ve received from friends visiting from abroad is invariable – “Where can I chill with a couple of beers and a live band?”. You ever notice that? It’s never “Where’s the hottest club in town?” (once you get past college) or “Where’s the best place to pick up girls?” (unless you have a creepy set of friends).

live music

People just want to have a good time and kick back at night with a good brew in hand and some live music while they chat with friends.

rabbit hole changkat bb

I was out last Saturday night at The Rabbit Hole @ Changkat Bukit Bintang to check out one of the first iterations of Amplify. Guinness Amplify is a brand new music platform from Guinness – described as a journey of sound and sensation, it’s a celebration of the journey of talented, dedicated and passionate musicians.

amplify jumero

The Rabbit Hole was nicely decked out with a feature stage and a great sound system. It was packed by the time I got there for the JUMERO set. There’s a nice mix of locals and foreigners there too. There’s nothing better than listening to the best local bands that we have while downing a couple of pints of Guinness on tap!

jumero

There are three live sets each Saturday night – JUMERO was followed by THE MARQUEE before the headlining act OJ LAW. Each set lasted from 30 – 45 minutes and each had it’s own character. I particularly liked Jumero’s stage presence and how The Marquee got the crowd’s support with great covers. It’s so different from other music events – the musicians doing their gigs here is definitely made of more – they have the passion and dedication which makes them a cut above.

Here’s a video of The Marquee in action!

rabbit hole

The best thing about the live stage music is that it showcases local talent – they’re all bands from Klang Valley and a lot of the names will be familiar to you. I browsed through the bands that will be performing and recognized a lot of the bands. Yup, there’s going to be a Guinness Amplify event every Saturday night till October 11:

SEPT 20
Bierhaus @ Austin, Johor
AN HONEST MISTAKE
BIHZHU
FROYA

SEPT 27
Foley’s Irish Bar @ Oasis Ara Damansara
TEMPERED MENTAL
NICK DAVIS
DASH

pint music

OCT 4
SOHO Gastro Pub @ Precinct 10, Penang
THE ENDLEAVES
FROYA
KYOTO PROTOCOL

OCT 11
Laundry Bar @ The Curve
HALFWAY KINGS
PAPERPLANE PURSUIT
THEY WILL KILL US ALL

amplify tour

Entry is FREE for all events. There are no tickets required except for the finale show. Come early to grab your seats coz it’ll be pretty full once the first set starts! Guinness on tap was at RM 10 all night long at The Rabbit Hole and you’ll get 1 Guinness free for every 2 Guinness you buy, and there are give-aways between sets for the exclusive finale show at KL Live at every one of the Saturday night live events.

guinness amplify

Also, have I mentioned that Guinness will celebrate the Finale Show with a bang? It would be “Rude” of me if I didn’t reveal that Canadian band MAGIC! will definitely be performing alongside our local talents OJ Law and DASH in this much anticipated finale.

the marquee

You’ll love this – it’s all about passionate musicians showcasing their passion. It’s really different from other live band venues. Get more details about the weekly Saturday night events and how to win tickets to the phenomenal final show at KL Live @ www.amplify.com.my!

Your body is your amusement park temple

dialysis

I have treated my body (and mind) as more of a amusement park instead of a temple. I have done that for almost half my life, searching for the next hedonistic experience and by the time I realized that you can’t just do that and expect to live forever, it was too late.

kidney damage

You see, I used to have nothing to live for (or thought I didn’t). In my short sightedness, I have taken various interesting pharmacological agents to excess, damaging my kidneys in the process. I even needed an emergency dialysis and nearly didn’t make it – the doctor fully expected me to die and I was obstinate enough to recover.

home funeral

I have so much to live for now. My mom has passed but my dad is still around and I want to take care of him. I also have the best partner ever, which I’m very lucky to have. My better half is the best thing that has happened to me and she really set my life on the straight and narrow. I have two kids that I love to bits and I like to be there for them too!

jacuzzi

I am starting to live a very healthy lifestyle now and part of that includes exercise. You really can’t have a healthy lifestyle without exercise. I run, swim and play badminton with the kids (and sometimes my better half, who is, naturally, better than me).

family dinner

We Malaysians like to eat (a lot) and most of the time, the food that we eat is superbly unhealthy. That’s all fine and good but it needs to be balanced out by having an active lifestyle.

mooncake family 2013

The 1 thing that matters to me is being healthy enough to take care of all my dependants and to give them a happy life.

happy us

#matterstomeMY

kids

I can’t very well do that if I die of obesity related complications like heart disease or diabetes and I don’t want to give up eating well so I have to exercise a lot. It’s the best way to have a healthy lifestyle.

morib goldcoast us

I swim…

riding bicycles

I cycle…

run

I run…

bicycles

It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do as long as you do it – but if you run, you might want to download the Allianz Pacer app from Google Play or iTunes.

setting sun

Allianz’s priority is to help Malaysians to start taking care of what matters to them most, with a special focus on your health. They’ve set up Allianz Pacer – which is a social running community. It’s really quite interesting.

swimming with kids

Go and Like the Allianz Malaysia Facebook and participate in the sharing now!

family trip morib

#matters2meMY

Borneo Cultural Festival 2014

borneo cultural festival

The Borneo Cultural Festival is back! BCF 2014 is the latest iteration of this Sibu festival celebrating local Dayak/Iban and other native cultures. It’s our version of Kuching Festival and there’s a similar emphasis on food! The last time I went was when I was working here, during Borneo Cultural Festival 2008.

sellers

I went with my dad for the last two days and the layout is similar, with sections for Dayak cuisine, Malay cooking and Chinese food. I first wrote about Borneo Cultural Festival in 2003 when my blog was just over a year old (they had a beauty pageant for Miss Malaysian Chinese that year) and went again for BCF 2006 – check out the Borneo Cultural Festival category for full coverage!

bcf2014

Here is my photoblog for BCF 2014:

ayam pansoh

Ayam Pansuh is a Sarawakian dish that uses bamboo to cook chicken. The meat is stuffed into the tube with tapioca leaves and some water before being cooked over a charcoal fire. The bamboo is then cracked open and the water becomes the stock of this chicken dish. You can eat the tapioca leaves too!

beancurd sheet

This is a piece of tofu skin that’s been dipped in *real fish batter* before being deep fried. I’ve never quite had something like this before. It’s made of soybeans – basically a bean curd sheet that’s rehydrated and coated with fish. My dad loved it.

satay

12 different types of satay! There’s chicken skin, chicken heart, chicken liver, rabbit, beef, lamb, cockles, ostrich, and many other unusual proteins on skewers. No pork satay here though coz this is a halal stall. However, my favorite guilty pleasure is here in abundance – grilled chicken skin actually tastes wonderful, but you can’t eat too much of it or you’ll get sick of the ultra rich fat.

wife biscuits

Wife Cake comes in many different variants here. Besides the traditional lao por peng, there’s also “Husband Biscuits” (Biskut Suami) which uses star anise as a filling.

pulut panggang

Pulut Panggang makes an authentic appearance too! It’s glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves that’s been grilled over a charcoal BBQ, giving it the distinctive smoked flavor. I bought several of the beef and chicken filled ones and it was good.

potato twisters

I got potato twisters as well – a staple fair food. It’s a whole potato that’s been cut into spirals and this version uses a sweet batter to coat it before it’s deep fried and slathered with mayo and chilli sauce.

bcf2014 me

Awesome stuff.

ice cream cone

This is a very diluted soft serve ice cream cone. It’s a mix of chocolate and vanilla but it tastes horrible – akin to a penny pinching coffee shop being miserly with the cocoa powder. smirk

chess competition

Chinese chess competition that’s open to the public. It was played on one of the smaller stages in a tournament format.

best pavilion

This particular booth got Best of Show. The Chinese pavilions are usually very well decorated compared to the sparse Malay booths.

pavilions

Here’s another example.

chinese culture art

These pavilions are usually made by clan associations e.g. Heng Hua, Foochow etc but some of them are owned by more general groups like the Chinese Culture & Art Appreciation societies…

gula melaka puffs

…and they have the manpower from clan membership working inside too!

clan pavilions

The Chinese pavilions line the side facing the main road so it’s beautiful when you look in that way – the lights, the glitter, the jazz! (or rather, er-hu ;))

taiwanese food

There’s also a huge Taiwanese food trend in the stalls this year.

bcf

Music, dance and cultural performances are constantly done on the main stage – it’s also a major attraction besides the food.

sugar machine

Sugar twill machine that makes candy on a stick with CAD printing that you can choose – anything from your Chinese Zodiac (Rooster, Dragon, Snake etc) to intellectual property (Doraemon, Hello Kitty and the Disney character lineup). It’s very popular with kids.

sugar twill

(and the young-at-heart)

sibu pasar malam

The Sibu Pasar Malam Association also has a booth selling traditional night market fare.

UniqBun

Gardenia, Massimo and other commercial large-scale baking and distribution operations in KL don’t sell their RM 0.80 ready-to-eat cream filled buns here, so people often buy them in bulk at LCCT/KLIA2 before flying back. There’s now a Sibu company doing it – UniqBun.

cook-to-order

This is my favorite food of the Borneo Cultural Festival 2014. I award it my personal blue ribbon. ;) I even went back the next day with my dad to get some more. It’s cooked-to-order palm sugar balls filled with glutinous rice (pulut). It puffs into a ball when it’s deep fried and it’s a sweet treat at RM 1 each.

palm sugar balls

You just can’t argue with piping hot, deep-fried sweet balls of caramelized airy dough.

dabai sarawak

Oh, and it’s dabai season again! I like how this stall had samplers that has been blanched and marinated in soy sauce and sugar (the traditional way of preparing it). You can only get these in Sarawak. It’s called okana (black olives) but it’s not technically in the olive family. A delicious, seasonal local delicacy.

cultural performance

I quite enjoyed going to this year’s Borneo Cultural Festival with my dad. It didn’t run for a while due to politics but now that it’s back, I hope it’ll be an annual event. It wasn’t very packed on the last day due to the rain and some of the food items sells out fast since it starts at 5 pm but it’s a lot of fun!

food stalls

More importantly, BCF 2014 is a festival we can call our own! :)

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