Football legends Oscar and Pelé are in Malaysia and I’m meeting them!

Pele in Kuala Lumpur

Yup, you heard me right! In fact, I have a photo to prove it. :)

Pele Arriving In Malaysia

Unfortunately, I wasn’t at KLIA to greet Pelé, I doubt I’ll be given access anyway with the mob of people waiting in line to see him. I got the photo from the 100PLUS Facebook page. They’re bringing football legends Oscar and Pelé to Kuala Lumpur for an action packed appearance. Good thing I have an invite to see them on May 29th – this Friday!

Pele Oscar

Well, if you don’t know who those two are, I guess you don’t watch much football. Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior is a Brazilian for Chelsea and also plays for the Brazil national team. He’s a fast rising star, despite his young age.

Pelé needs no further introduction. Born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento, he’s been around for so many years that even non-football fans know his name. He was elected as Athlete of the Century by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and despite being retired, this Brazilian is still a formidable force, being the most successful league goal scorer in the world with 541 goals.

Oscar Pele

Thanks to 100PLUS, two of football’s finest, Pelé and Oscar are coming to Malaysia on 29th May in conjunction with their “Stay Thirsty” campaign. 100PLUS has also chosen 100 lucky winners to join them at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre this Friday.

Oscar and Pelé are the first international ambassadors signed by 100PLUS and were chosen to inspire youths across the nation via the “Stay Thirsty” campaign. Through the campaign, 100PLUS wants to encourage youths to strive and push beyond their limits, and hunger to be better.

Pele Quote

During their visit to Malaysia, Oscar will be conducting a “Stay Thirsty” Football Clinic for the four Ministry of Education Football League Zone Champions, sharing his knowledge and skill for the sport. YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Youth & Sports, will be present too.

Pele Kuala Lumpur

Pelé will be sharing his vast experience with the National Football Team. This forum isn’t just open to the 100 lucky winners and the media at the event. 100PLUS is taking this to the viewers at home via a live stream of the event on their official website. This means that *YOU* will be able to participate with the Q&A with Pelé by submitting your questions via Twitter.

Pele Arrives KLIA

I know you’ll have heaps of questions to ask Pelé so remember to log on to the 100PLUS official website for the live streaming of Pelé’s Team Talk on 29th May 2015 at 3:30 pm. Tweet your questions live to Pelé using the hashtag #100plusstaythirsty.

You can also surf over to watch the delayed streaming of Oscar and Pelé live in Malaysia if you missed it or like the 100PLUS Facebook page for more information. I got all of my photos from their FB page and I’ll be at the event this Friday, make sure you log in from your office/home/university too!

Behind the Scenes: Microsoft Surface 3 Official Malaysian Launch @ The Bee, Publika

Surface 3 Launch Preparations

I was lucky enough to view this entire event from behind the scenes, as I was involved in the official Malaysian launch of the Surface 3 on the 5th of May 2015. There were 4 guest presenters/speakers/influencers which were part of the event that day – 2 for Home and 2 for Office. I was part of the Office group, together with Careen, my partner.

The Bee Surface 3

The event started off quite early for us, I was there at 7:30 am for an 8 am rehearsal led by Rukmani where we ran through everything. Good thing breakfast (and most importantly coffee) was provided. Denise actually ran out and got me an iced latte – thanks for that!

Audio Ears On

I got wired up for sound before the dry run. I’ll be talking about how the Surface 3 has helped me in my life, and do a quick run-through of the things I actually do on it. I was quite proud of that fact that I was actually doing things I would actually do during the entire event, nothing was scripted.

Updating Blog

I was even replying Facebook comments at one point! I had my Surface 3 hooked up to the docking station, which allowed me to use a wireless full sized keyboard and mouse, as well as the HDMI output to Extend or Mirror the contents of my Surface 3 to the large monitor on my table.

View From Office

The Surface 3 Docking Station is capable of DVI/VGA/HDMI so it’s all covered there. I was a little worried that my personal account would be in full view on the large monitor they had setup for me on my table, but we were still alone at the time and the blinds were up.

Office Room

It had been decided in the previous meeting that the Home and Office sections will be flanking the stage and there will be full blinds/curtains to contain the scenes behind from prying eyes. We were slated to slip into the space and be in place at 1:50 pm latest.

Microsoft Surface 3 Launch Malaysia

The actual Microsoft Surface 3 Launch started at 2 pm. Thus, after lunch, we went behind the curtains and waited for our cue.

Rehearsals

Careen was slated to talk first and then I’ll go on about the flexibility of the Surface 3 – in particular how the Surface Pen allows you to write naturally while resting your wrist/palm on the screen (a very nifty feature I love) and the 4 USB and Gigabit Ethernet ports on the docking station (useful to turn your Surface 3 into a PC).

Happy Surface 3 User

I also liked how there’s a natural place to the left of the Surface 3 docking station for your Surface Pen! It’s a magnetic side which allows you to store your stylus without losing it, a very important feature when you’re transitioning from tablet/laptop mode to full PC mode.

Office Presentor Rukmani

I love little design features like this that helps make your life easier.

Personalized Mugs

The Surface 3 launch even had a place where you can get customized mugs made with your name on it!

Sixthseal Mug

I had mine done in “sixthseal.com” and “Huai Bin” in two different cups. I asked the nice people there to do the second one only if there were leftovers and they were kind enough to oblige.

Presenting Surface 3 Launch

I only have photos of me that I asked my friends to take while I was on-stage (or beside the stage, rather) and it was a great experience to talk about something which I genuinely like, for I have indeed fallen in love with the Surface 3 during my time with it.

Surface 3 Launch The Bee

It’s so useful for work and play that I miss it when I returned the Surface 3. It’s so portable, it works like a laptop (can even run Heroes of the Storm on it), and it’s silent since the quad core Intel Atom x7 can run fan-less.

Surface 3 Launch Malaysia

You can check out the Surface 3 at any large electronics store (saw it at Harvey Norman during the weekend) and see if you like it as much as I do. The Malaysian launch of the Surface 3 reveals the pricing to be RM 1,989 for the 64GB/2GB RAM version and RM 2,389 for the 128GB/4GB RAM version.

HB Careen

It’s out now, so you all have the chance to see what I’ve been so enamored with for the past few weeks.

Mother’s Day: Haagen-Dazs ice cream cake, Garrett’s gourmet popcorn, Tiffany’s heart pendant

Garrett Mix Popcorn

I wanted to get my better half something she’s never had before so I popped into Garrett’s to get some of their Chicago Mix (sweet Caramel Crisp with savory Cheese Corn) popcorn. I thought she’s never had it before but it turns out that I was wrong. -_-

Garrett Popcorn Malaysia

I got the new Mother’s Day Garrett Blossom Tin coz I knew my dear likes nice packaging (which she will repurpose). It’s a new tin that came out for the season, which I thought was pretty strange coz popcorn is not something I associate with Mother’s Day.

Garrett Mothers Day Popcorn Tin

Go figure.

Garrett Blossom Tin

Interesting fact: Garrett’s was sued over the usage of the term “Chicago Mix” so they call their 1/2 sweet caramel popcorn and 1/2 savory cheese popcorn Garrett Mix now. This took effect in the United States, but stores in Malaysia still uses Chicago Mix for this sweet/savory popcorn mix.

Tiffany Co KLCC

I also got her a pendant from Tiffany’s & Co.

Tiffany Pendants

I had called up in advance to reserve a double interlocking ring pendant. I had given her one almost 2 years ago and I wanted to present her with an updated version from the TIFFANY 1837 collection. I went to the Tiffany’s outlet in Suria KLCC and got the full VIP treatment, which was quite nice. smirk

Tiffanys VIP Treatment

I was seated and given a range of products to look at. However, the item I was interested in was a demo unit, which I didn’t want, so I looked at the other options before finally settling for the Elsa Peretti Open Heart Pendant.

Elsa Peretti Tiffany

This is a double heart design – one heart in sterling silver and the other heart in 18k rose gold. It’s RM 2,600 but money well spent coz she loved it! This actually happened during her birthday but I never got around to posting about that so I’m incorporating it into this post.

Tiffany Double Heart Pendant

Come to think of it, I haven’t had time to post about our monthsaries too, so I’ll do a round-up post soon – 8 things I did for the past 8 months or something like that. Haha.

Haagen-Dazs

Back to Mother’s Day, I also got her a Haagen-Dazs ice cream cake!

Haagen-Dazs Girls

They have a Mother’s Day promo which gave out a free minicup multipack (4 x cups in a box) with every order of a 1 kg ice cream cake so I ordered a Double Chocolate Royale.

Haagen-Dazs Reserved

It costs RM 149 for a 1 kg ice cream cake (pure ice cream only, none of that cake or sponge fingers nonsense) which makes Haagen-Dazs a little more expensive than Baskin-Robbins (you can get a HUGE 9″ cake with ice cream scoops on top for the same price) but I think the former is trying to brand itself as more exclusive.

Haagen-Dazs Custom Ice Cream

However, we always eat at Baskin-Robbins (in fact that was how we met) so I went for Haagen-Dazs for the Mother’s Day cake.

Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Cake

I know she’s never had this before and had to book in advance to get the flavor we want (it’s usually Macadamia Nut otherwise) so it’s specially custom made.

Blurry Mothers Day Selfie

Here’s our blurry Mother’s Day selfie.

Double Chocolate Royale

The kids loved it and we had so much fun playing with the dry ice too!

Dry Ice Experiments

You can actually dump dry ice in a tub of water with some liquid soap and it’ll produce lotsa bubbles which pop with smoke (actually CO2) – the kids absolutely enjoyed that so it was a great Mother’s Day! <3

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

Race Against the Machines: The first drone vs human marathon!

Race Against the Machines 2015

I drove down to Putrajaya over the weekend to witness the first human versus drone 6 km run! This is particularly intriguing to me since the concept resonates with the post-apocalyptic genre of movies and books (which I love). The basis of Race Against the Machines is that flying drones chase all the runners and people can control and view the drones on their smartphones to try and kill hunt the runners.

Putrajaya Flesh vs Steel

The 100PLUS Outrunner 2015 runs also feature traditional 12 km and 9 km runs in addition to the 6 km Race Against the Machines fun run.

100PLUS Outrunner Putrajaya

I could feel the energy of the crowd of people gathering around the square beside Putrajaya Palace of Justice – everyone was excited to begin the run and I was kindly furnished with a t-shirt for the run. I also got the new 100PLUS bottles with the contours and bumps at the end to form a better grip for runners.

100PLUS Putrajaya Run

100PLUS is the organizer behind this event and there was a really cool place where you can get a sticker on your face (or any other part of your body) – the transfer was really vivid!

I watched the 12 km race being flagged off to fireworks…

100PLUS Outrunner 2015

…as well as the 9 km race.

Race Against the Machines

I heard the PA announce that the first finisher for the 12 km run came in less than 45 minutes after the race started. The three races all have staggered starts and my interest was towards the 6 km Flesh vs Steel Race Against the Machines.

I got it on good authority that the flying drones were controlled by a 100PLUS truck that acts as a sort of pacer vehicle in front of the pack of runners. People at home who couldn’t make it could also view the runners from the cameras mounted on the drones. I imagine this is what Predator/Reaper pilots (and Wikileaks aficionados) must feel like.

100PLUS

There were obstacles in addition to the flying drones and I saw families having lot of fun – there are participants from fit marathon types to families pushing a stroller and even a gentleman in a wheelchair. The atmosphere was amazing!

Shelter Zone

The runners in Race Against the Machines can also “hide” at designated Shelter Zones. This is when the cameras from the flying drones go “dark” and the runners are effectively hidden from the people who’re trying to hunt them. This sanctuary is very important as the drones fly at a speed of 57 km/h – much faster than a human can possibly run!

100PLUS Drones

The drones are “armed” with powerful searchlights and high definition video cameras that allow the Drone Masters (people at home) to search and hunt the runners. Drone Masters have 25 shots to fire from the flying machines – that means if they manage to take a clear photo of your barcode, you’re “captured” and 1 Life is deducted.

Flying Drones

The barcodes on the front and back of the participants in Race Against the Machines act as an identifier/target – it keeps track of who got tagged by the lasers and who survived till the end and I thought it’s an amazing idea. Each runner had 3 Lifes (a bonus Life is given for those who’re carrying the 100PLUS New Grip Bottle) and they must cross the finish line with at least 1 Life remaining.

100PLUS New Grip Bottle

100PLUS Outrunner 2015 is a great concept that manages to satisfy hardcore runners with the 12 km and 9 km runs and also the highly innovative 6 km Race Against the Machines. It brings casual runners or people interested in the concept of running from a post-apocalyptic army of drones (think Skynet) to push their limits and live a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise.

100PLUS Outrunner

…and that’s always a good thing! :)

Our annual poon choy dinner with whole baby abalone @ Hakka Siu Poon Choy

Poon Choy

I always look forward to our poon choy dinner as the proper start of the pre Chinese New Year celebrations. We got our poon choy from the famous Restaurant Lee Hong Kee (used to be known as Restaurant LYJ) last year and I decided to try a new place this year. I had passed by this small and unassuming shop and called them to ask about their Hakka Pun Choi.

Poon Choy is actually a Hakka tradition that has been adopted and popularized over the years here. It basically involves a pot filled with all manner of premium ingredients by layer – stacked from the bottom to the top so each layer seeps down to the next, providing a new ingredient as you eat “down” and having the gravy/juice absorbing stuff underneath so it gets all the wonderful flavors from the smorgasbord of meat and seafood.

Hakka Siu Poon Choy

Hakka Siu Poon Choy is helmed by Cheong Sifu (Master, can also mean Chef) and I called the proprietor to ask about their prices. Poon Choy is now streamlined into two (2) sizes – 5 pax and 10 pax. I wanted the Premium Abalone Poon Choy, their best offering, for 5 pax and it cost RM 280 for the basic set. You can also add whole baby abalone for RM 20 each and I had six pieces coz there are six of us eating and I wanted everyone to have one.

I wanted to try this small restaurant instead of the huge commercial multi-restaurant F&B enterprises e.g. Dragon-i, Unique Seafood etc even though they’re cheaper (probably coz they buy in bulk) coz a smaller operation would have a more homely feel. I had it to go since me and my better half had her parents over so it’s easier to eat at home, especially with the two kids.

Poon Choy 2015

I also got two craft beers from Oregon for my dear’s dad and myself from Betty’s Midwest Kitchen. I’ve always liked Rogue’s brews and I thought their Mocha Porter and Dry Hopped St Rogue Red Ale would be perfect for the meal. The first is a stout like beverage, dark and high in alcohol content, with a nice coffee aftertaste. The St Rogue Red Ale is a sweet affair that’s light and refreshing and tasty from the dry hop process.

Rogue Red Ale Mocha Porter

The poon choy from Hakka Siu Poon Choy did not disappoint – it was even better than last year! I called over the phone and told them to prepare a good one for me with premium ingredients and they did just that. The optional 6 pieces of whole abalone for RM 20 each was well worth it too! The good stuff is in the middle – there’s whole baby abalone, sliced abalone (the lighter colored stuff), sliced conch (the darker colored pieces), Pacific clams, sea asparagus (razor clams), top shell, dried mussels, dried scallops, fresh scallops, dried oyster and black moss (fatt choy).

Hakka Poon Choy

I’m quite impressed by that selection, although most of it probably came out of cans like New Moon, they’re not cheap either. The whole baby abalone and one type of scallop is fresh though. The dried scallops are large and flavorful too.

There’s also ½ chicken and ½ duck flanking the poon choy pot with huge prawns, spare ribs and fu chuk (whole beancurd sheets/tofu skin) interspaced between. I particularly liked how they had ½ fish maw with ½ dried and rehydrated pig skin at the second layer. There’s also a wonderful array of sliced pork belly and sea cucumber hidden below. The Shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, broccoli and turnips at the bottom soaks up the wonderful juices from everything slowly soaking down very well.

I’m sure I have missed some ingredients coz there’s supposed to be 28 in total!

Whole Baby Abalone

My favorite has gotta be the prawns cooked in sweet and sour sauce though – the juices from that flavored everything beneath really well and I’m glad I paid extra RM 20 / whole baby abalone for a more festive treat! Everyone loved it and even the kids had extra rice! My dear even had to cook an extra pot of rice for a second helping for everyone.

It was a great poon choy dinner that has become an annual treat, much like our Christmas turkey dinners! I can really feel the Chinese New Year “mood” now. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...