A morning stroll at Kota Tua Jakarta

old batavia

Kota Tua is loosely translated as “Old Town” and it’s the old part of Jakarta. It’s also known as Old Batavia and you can still see the scars of the 1998 riots here – burned buildings are still around and refurbishment hasn’t touched most of it yet.

kota tua

We were staying at a hotel just nearby and one morning, Jazz woke me up to experience the place. The streets were closed on that day, due to a function that’s happening on the square.

kota tua no vehicles

It was the event itself that caused the closure of the streets – it’s called Hari Bebas Kenderaan Bermotor Kawasan Kota Tua 2012 which translates to “(Motorized) Vehicle Free Day (in) Kota Tua Area 2012”. Heh.

kali besar

Kota Tua is bordered by a canal called Kali Besar which is famous for its overpowering stench. I could smell it, but it wasn’t anywhere as bad as I was told.

buskers

The beauty of Kota Tua Jakarta lies in its vibrant community of stalls and buskers – there were people playing various musical instruments and I even saw an improvised percussion system made of glass bottles nestled on a wood frame!

pos indonesia

This is one of the refurbished buildings – their post office. It’s part of their efforts at making this historical town into a UNESCO heritage site.

kota tua stalls

It is primarily a tourist attraction with it’s souvenir stalls – there’s also a theater called Museum Wayang there that plays traditional Indonesian Wayang Kulit (a shadow play with puppets).

museum wayang

Several vendors also offers rides on pimped up (or rather dolled up) bicycles for two, complete with flowery hats.

old jakarta bicycles

However, it’s definitely worth a visit – you can catch a local puppet show or grab a snack from a roadside stall. I had Otak Otak Ikan which is completely different from the soggy fish paste we get here.

otak otak indonesia

The Indonesian version of otak otak is crispy and eaten with a chilli paste. It’s cheap street food, I think I paid less than RM 1 for this.

indonesian otak otak

Kota Tua Jakarta has something for everyone. It’s called Old Jakarta for a reason – a lot of history and heritage can be found in this area. I’ll allocate at least half a day for a proper visit, and a full day if you want to pop into all the museums and catch a wayang kulit show.

kota tua indonesia

…or you can just sit at one of the cafes and watch the vibrant scenes – families at play, people collecting discarded cans for recycling money, old men chatting animatedly while standing around in loose circles.

Seize the day!

pamela hb

Morning peeps! I’ve been up for quite a while so I expect to crash pretty soon. I had breakfast at TDH with Pam, which I usually miss coz:

1. I don’t really eat breakfast.
2. I don’t wake up that early on weekends

I’m glad I went today though, coz I ended up sitting in there for 5 hours (!) talking to Pam. She has this really cool tattoo that goes “Carpe Diem”.

carpe diem

Seize the day indeed, something that everyone needs reminding of once in a while.

pamela ooi

Anyway, Leanne was in town for the weekend from Australia. I had dinner with her at Jalan Alor and got some interesting insights from her. It’s truly inspirational how she travels while juggling all her responsibilities.

leanne mangan

Pam, Jess and Konstandinos joined us for drinks later at Changkat Bukit Bintang. We had originally wanted to go to a gay bar for something different (thanks for the recommendation Lynn) but the place didn’t serve food so we went to another watering hole.

leanne us

I ended up drinking diet Coke and singing in a jarringly off-tune key to classics from the 90’s – it seems that a couple of us has the same tastes in music. The DJ was constantly inundated with requests by us and the bar was dominated by our playlist of punk, rock and metal classics. Heh.

hb pam

Anyway, today is a date of some importance to me. I think. I won’t be sure yet for another 28 days but if all the stars align I’ll get a tattoo that says 22/7/2012.

Seriously.

Meeting Rafidah Ibrahim – Fida

rafidah ibrahim

I’ll be honest, I don’t know who Rafidah Ibrahim (or Fida as her fans affectionately call her) was when I first met her. I heard from the others that she’s a Malaysian artist that sings, acts and does modeling work. I was bunking with her talent manager in Perak, a guy called Shah and I quite admired her gung-ho attitude.

fida

Fida went white water rafting and did the Leap of Faith in Tambun with us. That’s my Kuta beach bum outfit, all that’s missing is me going “Magic mushroom, magic mushroom” while sitting on my bike in a dark alley near Poppies Lane II. smirk

rafidah

She bought us KFC at 3 am in the morning on the very last night which was very cool of her. Thanks for supper by the poolside, Fida! :)

Fun fairs in Ipoh is fun!

tesco

Those crappy fun fairs you see in small towns – FUN!

perak us

I met with this bunch of people this trip to Ipoh and on the very first night, Jazz wanted to head out for drinks. I was super tired but thought it’ll be fun to go along with them. I saw Anas downstairs and asked him to come along.

Thus, our group comprised of me, Jazz, Anas, Nicki, Jotunn, Li Wei. Anas and Li Wei wasn’t drinking though.

Anyway, we saw this fun fair from the hotel and the plan was to get some beers from a 7-Eleven and then walk to the fun fair. There was no 7-11 so we detoured to a Tesco and got our ethanol there.

tokens

It was fun to actually go to one of these small town fun fairs. I spent RM 24 on tokens trying to fish out a prize…

air gun

…and later shoot with a compressed air gun.

prize

It actually kinda worked. Kinda being the key word. Jazz with the haul.

tonight

Tonight, we’re at the designated party room…for the second round. This time Emily is with us!

It’s always fun to meet new people. :)

An awesome pork loin dinner at Kim and Gareth’s

dinner kim

It’s a wonder to see Kim in the kitchen. She’s got everything down pat (even has a system for cleaning up dirty dishes).

kim kitchen

I was there for dinner on Friday, she had a pork loin going in the oven and I puttered around a bit in the kitchen doing nothing particularly useful until she sat me down in front of the awesome 55” TV with a beer in hand.

baked pork loin

Fruit of the loin. The beautiful pork loin with apple sauce. It was marinated for two days!

baked carrot garlic

Baked carrots and garlic. This is awesome! The baked carrots *looks* burnt and dried but it’s actually super juicy and wonderfully sweet. The garlic bursts with flavor too. Very nice.

kim potatos

You say potato I say potatoe.

buttered peas

Peas with slabs of butter.

yorkshire pudding

Yorkshire pudding.

kim dessert

Kim also made this dessert with molasses (?) – it had a bit of a crater in the middle, which I don’t think was supposed to be there but it tasted just fine.

kim dinner

However, the pork loin with apple sauce was the piece de resistance. I really enjoyed hitting that oink. It’s a good cut, nice marbling and tender to boot. The apple sauce does wonders to it.

pork loin

It weighed in at slightly more than 2.3 kg and the six of us (ST, Kim, Lainey, Fresh, Sin Loo and me) finished the entire pork loin. That’s about the equivalent of each of us eating a 400 gram steak…not including the other dishes.

That’s how awesome it was.

Glen Grant 16yo

There was Ben and Jerry’s ice cream brought by Sin Loo and some Hokkaido cakes from Lainey and we spent (well, at least me and ST did) the night drinking Scotch and beer. I got a bottle of Glen Grant 16 year old single malt and thought it would be funny to text Kim while stuck in a jam about bringing a 16 year old but she didn’t get it until several hours after. Picture nicked from ShaolinTiger’s Twitter.

Thanks for having us over Kim and Gareth!

party

It was a fabulous dinner and I totally enjoyed talking about everything from the good ol’ days of rave music to the murder of Canny Ong (I know right, diverse range of topics). We all ended up leaving at 8 am in the morning. This could be a start of a tradition, first time that happened was at Lainey’s birthday – just chilling, drinking and talking till the break of dawn coz that’s how we roll yo. ;)

hb kim

Kim’s a *great* cook. A delicious dinner with awesome company, you just can’t beat that. I had a laughing fit twice that night, can’t remember why but I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time. Then someone said: You know you’re laughing at *yourself* right. It just made it funnier. Fantastic way to spend a Friday night even though I only woke up at 8 pm on Saturday. Totally worth it. smirk

Jin Xuan Dim Sum in Puchong at the crack of dawn

jin xuan puchong

I had a rather delicious start to the morning by having dim sum at around 7 am this morning. This is quite an unusual hour for me to be up on a Sunday morning. There is a very good reason for that though.

lake edge us

I didn’t sleep.

lainey birthday

I have been up since I went to Lainey‘s birthday party since 8:30 pm on Saturday and spent 12 hours talking and nursing various alcoholic drinks (beer, cider, single malt, champagne, vodka) and shooting the breeze on a bewildering array of topics (to the casual listener) with Fresh, Gareth and Kim till dawn broke.

jin xuan dimsum

It’s been a long time since I did that. Heh. It was a lot of fun though and before crashing we headed to Jin Xuan in Puchong for dim sum.

deep fried har kow

Deep fried har kow
I usually don’t like deep fried dim sum but the har kaw (prawn dumplings) here are done quite well. No excessive crackly skin and it’s superb with a dash of mayonnaise. The ones with fu chuk (the soy bean byproduct) wrapped around prawns is good too – a nice variant of har kow.

pai kuat

Spare ribs (pai kuat)
This is really good as well. I like the ones that’s swimming in a pool of delicious marinate too:

marinated pai kuat

It’s a bit hard to get at the meat, but when you do, it’s perfection.

salted shrimp scallops

Salted shrimp scallops
This one is pretty good as well. I’m a huge fan of shrimp in general so anything with it can’t really go wrong. It has bits of scallops, salted egg, and other stuff inside too.

flowing custard bun

Golden flowing bun
I don’t know how this translates in Cantonese. It’s supposed to be the piece de resistance in Jin Xuan and is a custard bun with bits of salted egg (?) that flows like lava when you break it open.

jin xuan custard bun

The savory taste of salted egg is surprisingly good in the sweet custard bun. It’s supposed to be really runny and despite multiple exchanges initiated by Gareth to get the perfect golden flowing bun – all of them was just a tad overcooked this morning.

jin xuan us

However, if I didn’t know better I would have though it was excellent. I’m definitely going back again for the golden flowing bun. I bet it’ll be orgasmic if they get it right. However, we didn’t get charged for it due to the poor quality control so I guess it’s free dessert. Heh.

I totally crashed and slept for 9 hours when I got home. I had a total blast though. It’s a good thing tomorrow’s a public holiday. Have a great time everyone! :)

The kindness of strangers

food container

The F&B places all started to jettison their food stock straight after the F1 final race in Sepang with “Buy 1 free 1” promos and 50% discounts. I wouldn’t pay RM 20 for a soggy sandwich but I was feeling particularly hungry and at RM 10, it didn’t sound so bad. It started to sound like airport food prices to me. ;)

Thus, I parked my ass at the nearest place and started to eat.

sepang food stalls

I got an egg sandwich, managed to two bites and started to poke at the radioactive looking mess that’s supposed to be coleslaw when I accidentally upended the entire disposable container and got the gooey stuff all over my jeans. The splatter was everywhere – on the floor, on my clothes and it nearly even hit the person beside me.

coleslaw

Anyway, I was wiping futilely at my jeans with the tiny piece of serviette they gave me, just moving around the mess instead of doing anything productive to it, when the girl sitting next to me (see photo below) rummaged in her bag and held out a packet of wet wipes.

f1 food sale

I thought that was really nice of her. Most people would have ignored the scene and looked the other way but she was kind enough to notice and offer some wet wipes to me. It really made my day, even though I still had to go to the washroom to clean up most of the mess. Heh! Thanks anonymous girl! I’m sorry I didn’t get your name. :x

muffin

I stuck to a safer-to-eat muffin after that. It was at bargain basement prices – a Coffee Bean bottled drink with 4 individually packaged muffins for just RM 5. :D

It’s like that…and that’s the way it is!

jisan vodka

Jisan is leaving today so I figured I’ll bring her out for a farewell dinner. She said to meet at delicious and for some reason it registered as WIP for me. I was sitting there in bsc, having two perfect pints of Guinness (how apt smirk) while waiting and playing Solitaire on my phone when I got a call from her.

It turns out that she was waiting at delicious in BVII so I drove there and we ordered some stuff to eat. My last meal was at 3 pm so I couldn’t eat much though I really liked the pate with crackers.

jisan b52

Anyway, since it’s her last day I figured we should probably do some shooters. I got 4 AK-47s and we both drank two in a row. It was kinda weak though so we drank our beers, ate some more, talked a lot and then I got an idea to order a bottle of vodka.

They didn’t have Absolut or Smirnoff so I went for SKYY (God I feel like puking just from writing that). I poured about 4-5 shots neat into the glasses – no ice, no mixers and we downed 3 glasses of that, almost in a row. I remember drinking more but alcohol induced anterograde amnesia kicked in after that.

jisan food

I had to get the download from Jisan the next day. Thank God everything was fine. I walked her to her car, drove back and even texted her to tell me when she’s home safe. I could even reply her but seriously, I don’t remember anything at all. I don’t even remember driving back but there’s no human shaped dent in my car so I guess everything went A-OK. smirk

It was fun but I probably shouldn’t have drank so much neat vodka over such a short period of time. We nearly finished the entire bottle. Neat, no mixers, no ice! Boy was it hard getting up the next day. T_T

jisan me

Say goodbye/hello to Jisan! All the best in all future endeavors!

P/S – She can drink more than me one. Dammit tricked me into drinking more. :p

jisan tic tac toe

…and I certainly don’t remember playing tic-tac-toe on a napkin!

Okana – a 2F production

f2roomem.jpg

This is from the photo shoot a couple of days ago at my old high
school. It seems insignificant, a featureless piece of masonry, but it
has personal significance to me. The memories this photo evokes are all
from Form 2 (14 years old) and there are three I can remember with
great fondness. I won’t share the first two *cough* but the third one
is the class drama production we did that year. Our class (2F) did a
play based on Cinderella. The script (and the performance) was called Okana
which is the nickname of Karen, who played the female lead in the
production. I remember waiting with the rest of the cast (all are my
classmates) at the very place you see in the photo above before moving
into the room to the left (not pictured in the frame) for our practice
sessions. I remember the production having a lot of dance sequences,
including one choreographed to Rednex’s Cotton Eye Joe. =D My partner
was Margaret Lim, and I think her feet was injured many times during
the practice sessions for the ballroom dancing scene. Heh.

okana.jpg
(from left)
Front row: Jackie, Karen, Justina
Middle row: Peter, Velvet, Ita, Mdm Yeo, Rita, Margaret, Wei Ing
Back row: Daniel, Adrian, Huai Bin (me)

Photo courtesy of Karen [geocities.com].

Here is a photo of the entire cast together with our English
teacher, our advisor for the play, but we basically had full control
over the play. Her job was to go through the script with a fine toothed
comb to see if there are any “inappropriate” scenes. ;) I don’t
remember her being present our practice sessions except for the full
dress rehearsal at the stage in the school’s hall (at that time). It’s
a nice memory, those were the days, a bunch of 14 year olds having fun
and getting a production together. :)

If it hadn’t been for Cotton-Eye Joe
I’d been married long time ago
Where did you come from? Where did you go?
Where did you come from Cotton-Eye Joe?

Well, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve rearranged some things during the
optimization last night. I put the “Blogs” in alphabetical order and
put some sites into “Personal Websites” because they aren’t really
weblogs per se, but they’re my personal friend’s sites. Anyway, I’ve
also been applying for jobs in the KL area these couple of days. After
thinking it over and discussing with my parents and girlfriend, the
plan is to get a Masters degree while working part time in KL. I’ve
been browsing through a lot of online job listings, and it seems that
there are a lot that requires something like 2 to 3 years of work
experience in the related field. Hmm…I wonder if my Industrial
Experience year qualifies? :) The ones that are targeted at fresh
graduates seem to offer a salary that I’m not prepared to accept. Also,
I’ve been tweaking (har har) my resume/CV and I wonder if I should put
this site down in the resume. That could be a good thing, but there are
two things which concern me.

The first is the fact that the site does not support some Mozilla
based browsers like Netscape due to their lack of full W3C CSS
specifications support and that could give a negative impression to the
HR manager reading the page using those browsers. The second is the
fact that my blog has a guest author who writes about things which most
companies would not approve of. It could prove to be something that
counts against me even though I always make it obvious that there are
two people writing on this blog – I write using the nick ‘hbpoh’ while
veritas writes under ‘veritas’ but this is not readily visible since
the text is small and at the bottom of each post. What do you think?

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