1. I gave her flowers that lasts forever

blue roses

I originally ordered a bouquet of blue roses but unfortunately, they looked rather worn down and sad when I arrived to pick them up before going to the airport (more about that soon). I wanted to surprise my dear with flowers at the airport but I didn’t want these miserable looking specimens.

forever flowers

However, the place was pushing flowers that lasts forever (or at least a good 3-5 years). These *forever flowers* are real flowers, not fake ones – they have been freeze dried, which preserves them and makes them keep their scent and shape for several years (more if you don’t expose the flowers to oxygen by opening the case).

roses lasts forever

I thought that was a pretty meaningful gift. I had RM 65 credit at the store coz I refused the flowers so I used them on this. I wanted our relationship to be like this too – something real, which lasts forever! <3

2. My dear flew down to Sibu

arrivals

I was still in Sibu at the time coz of my mom so my better half decided to fly down as a surprise and told me to pick her up at the airport! It was just for the weekend, but I’m glad we managed to spend Valentine’s together – she flew in on Valentine’s Day itself (Friday) – and we both flew back to KL on Sunday.

3. We celebrated Chap Goh Meh and Valentine’s Day at my grandma’s place

chap goh meh

Chap Goh Meh is also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day. My dad was flying out to Singapore the next day so we decided to go to my grandma’s to eat and only celebrate our own Valentine’s Day dinner the next night.

4. We had ice-cream in the car

ice cream

It’s a simple thing to do but it’s one of the things that’s “ours”. It’s a bit of a tradition and something we both like to do.

5. Valentine’s Day dinner

cafe cafe

I brought her out to Cafe Cafe (they also have a sister lounge called The Queen) for Valentine’s Day. It was a day late but we had a great dinner in Sibu. This is one of the better places to go if you factor in ambiance – just get a seat at the back coz the front is really noisy.

valentines dinner

It was wonderful coz we didn’t have a lot of time together (just slightly more than 48 hours before we had to fly back) and the full day that we had was perfect!

6. She mailed me my Valentine’s Day presents

valentines gift

My better half thoughtfully boxed together a care package containing Granola Maple Pecan cereal and an assortment of candy bars, all with their own messages inscribed on them.

granola maple pecan

It was lovely!

candy

She always takes a lot of effort in putting together something nice. I love you dear! *hugs*

7. I gave her a personalized fireworks show

Yup, I left two of my biggest fireworks cakes till she came back on Chap Goh Meh/Valentine’s Day (which falls on the same date in 2014) and let it off for her to see at night.

sparkler

I also managed to convince her to light a few of the less dangerous ones.

I had an awesome 119 shot fireworks cake that discharges all the bomblets in an aerial barrage lasting probably 10 seconds, which is a pretty intense display.

valentines us

It was a great Valentine’s Day and I’m glad I have my dear with me. :)

funny fireworks

I know, the title sounds like it’s straight out of “Spambots for Dummies”. Haha! I couldn’t think of a better description though. I’ve been going through my fireworks videos recently – uploading, tagging and sorting them so I’ll actually get my annual fireworks and firecrackers roundup done in time this year when I saw this gem.

firecracker sweep

It happened a couple of nights ago when we strung up 3 strings of long firecrackers and set them off *at once*. Of course, by ‘we’ I meant the spryer young men. smirk

lighting firecrackers

One long 39,0000 firecracker string was pulled up alongside 2 x 3,000 firecracker strings and all of them were lit at once with a sparkler. It’s something we’ve done more recently since it puts up quite a nice show.

However, this time the guy who went to light the fuse did so rather slowly and was jumping around while trying to avoid the firecrackers, which were popping all around him, yet *determined* to finish his mission of lighting every string before he ran away.

I hope that makes your Monday morning as much as it did mine! :D

waterproof firecrackers

It’s the firecrackers de jour for these two years (at least for experiential or cost conscious buyers) due to the fact that it’s very cheap. It’s the exact opposite of the 39,000 head firecrackers which cost upwards of RM 150 – this is a short, semi-traditional string of firecrackers that everyone can afford.

ssb888 firecrackers

These are RM 10 each and it’s marketed as waterproof firecrackers. That’s due to the *wax red paper* wrapped around the entire length of the string of firecrackers, protecting it from the elements.

888 firecrackers

It’s perfect for lion dance performances since it can still be lit if it rains and it’s not as explosive as the 39,000 head firecrackers, which have been known to injure performers.

wax paper

These waterproof firecrackers are 8 feet long and as a bonus, the red wax paper also tears up as the firecrackers go off, adding to the festive and auspicious red paper mess. It’s unusual to have firecrackers being sold by length (8 ft) instead of “number of firecrackers” format e.g. 3,000 firecrackers, 39,000 firecrackers etc.

8 feet firecrackers

I noticed that there are a lot of unexploded ordnance when compared to other firecrackers. There’s bound to be some but this is a bit excessive. I took a video and thought that this happened coz I forgot to remove the cardboard backing, but that’s not the case.

firecrackers waterproof

I somehow lost the long Visco fuse (long green fuse) and had to light this with the fast fuse but it turned out alright. The wax paper doesn’t tear consistently when the firecrackers explode – this is the fourth string that I’ve let off and all turned out this way – but you really can’t complain for the price.

These “waterproof firecrackers” also lasts a very long time (almost 30 seconds) since it burns slower, despite being only 8 feet long, in contrast to the fast burning 39,000 head firecrackers – it’s a selling point for some people, but not for me. I like my firecrackers to go fast and furious!

firecrackers banner

However, you really can’t argue with the RM 10 price tag and it also has a small explosive finish with an auspicious couplet bearing banner inside (which is unusual at this price point) and I let it off just before it rained twice – it really can be lit even in mild showers! smirk

Here’s what my hometown looked like during CNY. It’s the stroke of midnight during Chinese New Year 2014. The symphony of noise and light has been going on for the entire night…and now reached it’s *peak*!

Short Mention:

Warning: Pyrotechnics galore! :D

I always have problems videoing the CNY fireworks coz it’s very hard to get the auto-focus done right through all the sudden flashes of light and the blinding clouds of smoke. I used my Sony Xperia Z1 to do it and I was extremely pleased by the results! It does a wonderful job at focusing quickly when I pan the smartphone around and the audio is awesome too!

I couldn’t believe my Xperia Z1 records better fireworks videos than most of the cameras I’ve had in the past. The video is a bit long but I provided two (2) coz I know there are people who love seeing the annual fireworks show the people here put out. It’s absolutely superb this year, you’ll see everything from 388-shot fireworks cakes to 12” aerial fireworks shells with new breaks!

P/S – Remember to switch to Full 1080 HD when you record the videos – that’s how I recorded it. :)

jewel of the nile

This is the first fireworks post of Chinese New Year! Well, it’s close to CNY anyway. I found this fountain / cake hybrid at the local market at a list price of RM 28 each. It’s called Niilin Jalokivet (Jewel of the Nile) and the quality of the packaging is like none I’ve seen before!

finland fireworks

The wrap details the optimal viewing distance (30 meters), minimum viewing distance (10 meters) and even how long it lasts! It says to *expect 20 seconds* of fireworks from this tall fountain and aerial repeater from Finland. I found the amount of information very impressive.

finnish fireworks detail

I got this at the local market. I’ve always found KL to be a bit dry in terms of fireworks and firecrackers compared to my hometown of Sibu. I managed to get 2 of this for RM 30, making it RM 15 each. There are firework cakes (multi-shot aerial barrages) listed for RM 780 (!!!) which I can get for RM 250 in Sibu.

fireworks in kl

I also saw the cheap generic 8888 Chinese firecrackers (usually RM 8 – got some during CNY eve) which doesn’t have the finish and sheer girth of the RM 200+ premium Chinese firecrackers selling for RM 25 here. The stuff here is 3x the price of what we pay in Sibu retail stalls (comparing apples to apples).

niilin jalokivet fireworks

I just wanted to let it off for my better half though, since CNY is coming soon, so I lit one across the road and another one closer to the house, which toppled. Luckily the Niilin Jalokivet doesn’t shoot up very high – 12 feet at it’s max.

There’s a center tube acting as a fountain and 8 + 2 tubes surrounding it which shoots up balls of flaming fire and whistling sparks respectively. It reminds me of the smaller version of the popular old perennial Desert at Night.

fireworks tubes

It’s not too bad, but we’re used to paying much lower prices. It was still a good find though, the fireworks display was pretty awesome, especially the first one I let off, which didn’t topple over halfway. Haha!

niilin jalokivet

I just let it off last night after dinner. I always feel like Chinese New Year is around the corner when I start playing with fireworks. :)

fireworks accident

I had a rather gnarly experience during Chinese New Year earlier this year – one of the locally produced 3 feet Roman Candle style mortars with 5 x 2” shells exploded barely a meter in front of me!

Yup, this is the precursor to the *badly delayed* annual Chap Goh Meh fireworks and firecrackers round-up of 2013 (post up tomorrow!). I had procrastinated due to the sheer amount of videos I had to upload so I decided to put it up during Hari Raya Aidilfitri – another occasion for fireworks, though not as large scale. /excuses

roman candle mortar

I bought two of the 3” long Roman Candle mortars that shoots out 2” shells and let off the more powerful version – a dual salute (report) with stars. To give you a perspective of how large the aerial shells are, here’s a 2” shell from a reloadable mortar:

2 inch shell

Anything re-loadable above 1.75” is classified 1.3G – requires a licence in the US and is a possession is a felony – they’re not meant for consumers but professionals. However, in Sibu, anything goes – even 3” and 5” display grade shells.

This particular disposable cardboard mortar is not the more intense 3” aerial shells that we launch from a metal mortar tube made by local blacksmiths.

3 inch fireworks shells
3″ fireworks aerial shells (requires mortar – these are display/professional fireworks but can be bought)

The 3” fireworks shells pictured above from my stash are definitely not consumer fireworks. I played with them last time but lost my mortar, one of this exploding 1 meter away would do me serious bodily harm.

nylon

I had stupidly tied the 5-shot Roman Candle disposable aerial shells to my automatic gate with shabby nylon. It’s supposed to be half buried (1 ½ feet) into the ground for safe display.

fireworks disaster

What I *didn’t* see was that the mortar was really close to being blocked by a solid metal piece welded to the gate.

How aerial shells work:

  1. Lift charge launches shell into the air
  2. Shell bursts open safely hundreds of feet in the air
  3. Watch and enjoy

shells exploding

What happened:

  1. First shell of the five inside the mortar tube launched
  2. It had such a powerful lift charge the mortar tube shifted
  3. Second shell still left the tube safely and burst in the air
  4. Third shell hit the metal slab and bounced back down and burst one meter away
  5. Videographer (me) shouted “Shit!” in surprise at the force of the blast
  6. Forth shell exploded right in front of me, showering me with flaming debris
  7. I shouted “Fuck!” in a bit of a panic as I saw the mortar canted at an angle towards the house
  8. Fifth and last shell went into the porch and exploded beside a car


Full video of the fireworks accident

The problem with the digicam is that it cuts off the last 3-4 seconds so you can’t really see #8 but the pressure wave was so strong that my dad, who was standing at the door, felt it.

These 2” aerial shells are supposed to explode harmlessly hundreds of feet in the air.

Instead they exploded *right in front of me*.

It wasn’t fun, people and property could very well have been seriously injured/damaged but it’s a good thing nothing bad happened.

hammer

I had to use a hammer to knock the 1” stainless steel gate that bent (!!!) at the force of the explosion impact though. -_-

ge13

My voting station is in SRB Tung Hua and all the hype about indelible ink (or rather the delible nature of the ink) has made it the central topic in my mind.

tung hua voting station

I flew back to Sibu to vote in the GE13 (13th General Elections) yesterday and I’m flying back to KL later. I had changed my address here coz I think the Opposition has a good chance in my constituency. There’s three (3) candidates for the 212 – Sibu seat – DAP, BN and an Independent.

rocket

Ling took a video of me this morning letting off a fireworks rocket – I guess that much tells you which party I voted for. ;)

(For those unfamiliar with Malaysian politics, DAP’s logo is a rocket taking off)

oscar ling dap

I don’t even know Oscar Ling, the DAP candidate for my constituency – I wanted to vote for change, so I voted for the party instead of the candidate.

212 sibu

I went to the voting station and got assigned a number. I was asked which hand I write in (I’m right handed) so I got the indelible ink painted on my left hand. It’s done on the opposite index finger.

I took the slip into the voting booth…

malaysian elections indelible ink

…and promptly put my left index print beside the DAP logo. -_-

indelible ink malaysia

Indelible ink has been on my mind all the while and I thought the new rules is to mark for the party you’re voting for using the ink. That doesn’t make sense at all coz:

  1. Voting is supposed to be anonymous and having your fingerprint there isn’t anonymous
  2. They wouldn’t have asked you for the *opposite* finger you write with if you’re meant to mark it
  3. There are writing implements there, just like past elections

I somehow looked past all that and for some robotic reason put my thumbprint (or index print rather) for the DAP candidate.

Mom: Idiot! You’re like a first time voter, being so blur.
Me: I thought that was the new rules instead of putting an X.

voting us

It’s okay though, I asked and old people have used their thumbprints or just put a single dot using a pen on the candidate they want to vote for in the past and it’s *confirmed* counted. It’s all good. :)

ge13 removable ink

…and on the subject of the ink, it’s not really that indelible. I’ll say it’s hard to remove, but after a shower and two hand washes, it has faded. I’m sure a dedicated person can totally remove it.

ge13 indelible ink
Obligatory GE13 photo: Giving the finger to show where my support lies. ;)

I have blue ink all over the tissues and other stuff I touch when in contact with oil or water e.g. during lunch!

Update: 212 Sibu is won by DAP! The other major urban seat 211 (Lanang) was also taken by DAP with over 8,000 votes! :D
Unfortunately, the smaller rural areas didn’t swing due to lack of education and Internet access. This, I believe, will change in the future.

color smoke salutes

Okay we have a fireworks post today but it’s not just any regular fireworks post. These are daytime fireworks e.g. fireworks you let off at daylight coz you *wouldn’t* be able to see them at night.

Whaaaaaaat? Really?

daytime fireworks cake

Yup!

color smoke salute effect

It’s actually called smoke salutes with a comet tail effect but these are airborne shells arranged in a barrage cake that contains bombettes filled with colored smoke that bursts in the air, creating a colorful cloud. This is the first time I’ve seen it available in a commercial format like this.

smoke salutes cake

I bought this cake of 49 shot colored smoke salutes for RM 200. I was specifically told to let it off in the morning. I found that it’s best to use these daylight fireworks when there’s no wind to make the smoke linger longer.

This colored smoke aerial cake produces a wonderful display of pink, green, blue, yellow, purple, smoke (black) and red. Pink is the most vivid color, followed by purple.

colored smoke salutes

I was surprised that the 1.2” mortars in the cake can produce such an impressive show. It’s quite long too so the shells shoots up quite high.

smoke salutes

Unfortunately, I had set my video mode to Shutter Priority so the sun completely washed out the smoke salute display. :x

daylight fireworks

It’s actually a very nice show and I’ll definitely be getting more of these next year. I’ll remember to film it better next time. The colored smoke lingers around in the air for a while and the vivid colors from the aerial smoke salutes makes for a novel daytime fireworks cake. :)

open house

I compiled a list of random photos from CNY open houses, visiting friends and generally doing the things I do each year during Chinese New Year. :D

This is a performance of a yu – a traditional Chinese musical instrument. I don’t know what it’s actually called, I just looked at the list of Chinese instruments at Wikipedia and the yu seems to fit it best. It’s a flute of sorts with a gourd at the back – there’s multiple tubes and it can make quite an enchanting melody.

cny visiting

I also managed to catch up with Ting Chuan, a very old friend of mine. We went through the same class in primary school *and* high school together. Luke is to the other side of me.

ting chuan hb luke

My high school mate has been married for a long time (his wife Siew Ling and their daughter is in the first photo) – was one of his heng tai during the wedding and he’s now the proud father of a bouncy new baby. This is the cute Megan. :)

megan

I’m always amazed and a little envious when see stuff like this. I’ll love to have kids of my own too. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a soul mate yet. I’ll see how things pan out. ;)

romeo steph

I went clubbing three times too – it’s been a while since I drank this much. It was a lot of fun! That’s Romeo and Stephanie @ The Base. I get to see this bunch of friends only once a year since we all work at different places.

cousins

This is 3 Degrees. We made a new tradition of going clubbing with just cousins starting this year. :D

birthday present

I also got my very first birthday present from Patricia Felicia – my birthday is not until 5th of April but she reckons she’ll not see me then coz I’ll be in KL so this is a 2-month early birthday gift. Thanks Pat! :)

chinese 80th birthday

Speaking of birthdays…this is my great aunt’s 80th birthday!

great aunt

She remembers me as a little kid when I lived in Sungai Merah. To be honest, I don’t even remember living in Sungai Merah but that’s what the older generation is for. Haha!

sky lantern cny

Letting of sky lanterns with my bros Eddy, Calvin, Romeo, Ah Tong. This is a RM 2.50 biodegradable sky lantern sold as an alternative to fireworks.

sky lantern

It really goes up high with a 15 minute burn time.

fountain cake fireworks

We also let off a fireworks cake called Jin Se Pu Bu (Golden Conflagration – a classic barrage from the early days way before the ban). This is up there with Colorpeony in terms of multi-tube aerial shots – back in the days (talking about the ’80s here) these are the *really popular* ones.

Two foot long fountains were also lit simultaneously beside it for a better show.

muesli cookies

I also visited Arthur’s house, which is just around the corner. Those are his muesli cookies.

arthur grace

Arthur has been a good friend of mine since I was a little kid. I didn’t have a car (mom’s car broke down) so Grace picked me up.

josiah

It’s has been an awesome Chinese New Year! I’ll be getting the annual fireworks and firecrackers post up before Chap Goh Meh (the 15th day and the end of the Lunar New Year). Hope ya’ll had a great CNY too! :D

lady bug fireworks

I came across some interesting novelty fireworks this year. The Lady Bug is a fist sized firework painted like a ladybird that’s supposed to launch several stories high into the air. I thought that was quite an impressive claim so I got a few packs.

It’s sold in a pack of 3 for RM 15, which makes it RM 5 for each of the ladybird fireworks.

ladybird fireworks

Lady Bug fireworks is basically a spinner connected to an aerial shell-like lift charge. I think that’s how it works – I didn’t dissect it to find out. smirk

The ladybird fireworks really shoots up to 4-6 stories. It’s variable – I’ve seen some that goes higher (about the same range as a 3” aerial shell would go).

I’ve seen a lot of people lighting these off – it’s a straight vertical lift after some furious spinning action. I reckon a *report* at the end of it’s apogee would make it more interesting though. :)

shun lee hung

Shun Lee Hung firecrackers are the most common type of Chinese firecrackers around town but it’s usually sold in a 3,000 firecracker configuration.

shun lee hung firecrackers

I got the much rarer small box thrown in with a purchase and was drying it out just now when…

rain fireworks

…it rained. :x

fireworks rain

I decided to let a string of these small firecrackers off since some of them got soaked.

They went off alright but due to the close proximity, it *ignited* another string of firecrackers in the box. An act worthy of a Darwin Award mention – I did it so close to my entire fireworks and firecrackers stash.

firecrackers disaster

I don’t think I was thinking at the time. smirk

This happened in 2006 when I played firecrackers indoors too.

Happy Chinese New Year’s Eve everyone! Updates on fireworks and firecrackers soon! :D

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