Waterproof firecrackers!

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. :)

The Best Day of My Life

riding bicycles

Greetings everyone! I am back after a short hiatus – major stuff to sort out and everything is peachy now. In fact, I just had one of the best days of my life with my dear and the kids. It was actually quite a simple thing, I wonder why we didn’t do it earlier.

bicycles

We got a bicycle for the little one (second hand, person is moving out of the country) for just RM 40 and the big one got a new (and larger) bike for RM 200. There’s one bicycle at home, which is for adults and one day after work we just took the kids to the park!

happy us

It actually started out with me trying to ride the new bicycle with the little one while the big one is finishing her school. She had a quick dinner after that and we all cycled to the park. The kids kept wanting rides so it was the most exercise I did for to date! I also had to cycle with my dear at the back – we tried it the other way round, but she couldn’t even start cycling coz I was too heavy. smirk

setting sun

I gave so much rides and raced with the big one so much that I felt like puking. It didn’t help that I was still wearing my work clothes so I overheated and was nauseous for a good hour! I had fun though, and so did my dear and the kids. It’s the wholesome family fun that I’ve always wanted to have and I’m glad we did that!

elise dustbin

The funniest thing was watching the little one run with her short legs chasing after her sister. Haha! Too cute. The simple pleasures in life are the best.

It was nice that I could take a lot of awesome photos with just my phone too, which reminds me…

Short mention:

tranfering smartphone data

I’m using my Sony Xperia Z1 [link to my review] now and I’m constantly amazed at the new things that it can do. My previous phone is a Sony Xperia S and I used the Xperia Transfer app to sync everything on my old phone to the new one so it’s up and running.

xperia transfer app

The Xperia Transfer app can be downloaded from Google Play and it works for *all* Android devices. What if you have a Windows or iOS phone? Sony PC Companion and Sony Bridge for Mac (it’s an executable on your new Sony Zperia Z1 smartphone – just connect the microUSB) performs the same function.

how to use xperia transfer

Thus, whatever platform you’re using right now, you can do a direct transfer of your data, contacts, photos etc into your new Sony Xperia Z1 so you’ll be ready to go! :)

Gadget Frenzy!

chill relax

There are some things in life where you just have to brave the traffic and parking woes to get done.

There are other things in life which you can do at the comfort of your own home, wearing comfortable clothes and generally being a slob.

E-banking is one of them. I have never gone back once I started unless it’s to cash in cheques or something like that. It’s just so convenient to use a phone, tablet or PC to perform all your banking tasks. I’ve gotten so used to it that if you asked me to physically go and pay bills I’ll probably just terminate the service.

I personally use RHB Now, Internet & Mobile Banking. You can also get the RHB Now app from Google Play or iOS – you can download it for free and perform all the banking related tasks you want from the comfort of your couch or when you’re out and about. Very convenient stuff.

rhb now android

The transactions that you can do on RHB Now is almost everything you can do at the branch. There’s Bill Payment, Prepaid Reload, Send Money via PayPal, Western Union and Foreign Telegraphic Transfer – it can all be done digitally now! :)

You can win awesome gadgets just from doing digital transactions too! Perform a transaction with a minimum of RM 30 and you’ll qualify for:

rhb chart

The top 3 customers with the highest accumulated entries for the week will win a Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom each!

The top 3 customers with the highest accumulated entries for the month will win a Samsung GALAXY Note 3 each!

I think it’s awesome that you can win all these prizes just from doing digital transactions on RHB Now! New customers get 5 bonus entries when you sign-up on RHB Now via the Internet and 10 bonus entries when you download RHB Now mobile app for iOS/Android so get rewarded for doing your banking online now!

gagdet frenzy

The campaign period ends 19th March 2014. Get more information about the RHB Now Gadget Frenzy campaign here.

Trade-in and get RM 650 cashback!

intel extreme masters

I’ve been watching the Intel Extreme Masters 2013 that was held in Singapore recently. It’s one of the biggest Starcraft 2 (and other electronic sports) tournaments of the year. It got me really interested in playing Starcraft 2 on ladder again but unfortunately, my laptop is too slow to run Heart of the Swarm.

Thus, I have been looking for great deals to get myself a gaming notebook that will run Starcraft 2 so I can play again and I have found it! It’s an awesome deal where you trade-in your old laptop for up to RM 650 cashback! You can choose any of the models below:

trade in

I love the simplicity of this – there are just three HP models for you to choose based on your lifestyle and neeeds. The models available will start from RM 1,349 and the higher end touchscreen model will be yours for RM 1,749 after cashback!

The best thing about this is that they have an Intel Core i5 processor, Windows 8, and an nVIDIA GeForce GT 740M which will allow me to play Starcraft 2, watch all my favorite movies, blog and do video editing! It’s everything I need in a laptop for just RM 1,349 – that’s less than 5 dining-out sessions if you think about it!

iem singapore

The Intel Core i5 processors in the laptops are the new 4th generation chips. That means vastly improved graphics, performance, battery life and security. There’s support for Windows 8 Connected Standby and it’s the biggest improvement to battery life in history, which means that the #1 concern of laptop users is now addressed – you can run your notebook for *a lot longer*!

Also, enhanced security services such as Intel Identity Protection Technology and Intel Anti-Theft Technology, malware detection and vulnerability-resistant BIOS/firmware protection is built in, as multiple safeguards embedded deep into processor hardware. This means you don’t need to worry about using your laptop on public WiFi hotspots. :)

The participating resellers are Thundermatch, SNS and MTCS. After you purchase the three (3) qualifying models – HP Pavilion 14-n060TX (Mineral Black), HP Pavilion 14-n059TX (Silver), HP Pavilion Touchsmart 14-n049TX (Silver) – you just need to login to www.tradeupmypc.com to register for the trade-in program.

how to

Approval will be granted within 3 days and once the claims are approved, you just need to courier your old laptop to the designated recycling center. Once the technician at the recycling center to checks your old laptop and approves the trade-in value, the money will be deposited right into your back account directly so there’s no need for you to run around. The trade-in mechanics makes it very easy and simple for you!

vespa

Plus, you also get the chance to win a Vespa worth RM 12,000 when you purchase the three models listed above! That’ll be the icing on the cake, along with the RM 650 trade-in cashback! You can get more information about the Vespa contest at the Intel Vespa contest website. The Vespa contest ends 31st December 2013. Remember to get to form from the participating resellers or email gentoday@in2ideas.com for more information.

rm650

The trade-in program runs till 31st January 2013. Surf on over to www.tradeupmypc.com to get more information and the list of participating retailers for this awesome RM 650 cashback!

‘Volkswagen On Tour’ comes to Penang

volkswagen us

I caught up with the inaugural ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ brand showcase that took place in Penang last week. We actually went twice coz it was so much fun! Admittedly, the first time was a bit of a short session coz I had to sort out my hotel and other things after I got stuck on the Penang Bridge after running out of gas. Haha!

bicycle popcorn

There is popcorn, test drives, and a play pen for the kids. This all comes at a rather reasonable admission fee – it’s free! Yup, it’s the classic Volkswagen hospitality in action here, which I’ve experienced to my delight on a trip to Germany last year.

polo r wrc
The Polo R WRC that just won the FIA World Rally Championships 2013

Volkswagen On Tour‘ will literally tour the entire nation – there are 13 stops all over Malaysia, so it’ll be coming to a place near you soon! It’s an invitation to everyone for an exclusive brand experience right at your doorstep.

volkswagen tour penang

It’s a lot of fun, I managed to catch the press conference where Ms Petra Schreiber (Director of Marketing & Communications, Volkswagen Malaysia) was holding court and fielding questions from the media.

driving gti simulator

I went back again the next day. I wanted to collect all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that forms a coaster. There are a lot of activities you can do at the ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ roadshow – my favorite being the Golf GTI simulator.

gti simulator

This isn’t something that you can get to see in arcades – the setup is so realistic that your *entire bucket seat* moves and you really get thrown around a bit if you drive into gravel beside the virtual track at high speeds. I know people who set up expensive steering wheel and pedal combos to play racing simulation games at home.

driving simulator

Prepared to be blown away! You’ve never seen anything like this. There are even pistons to move your seat around the 3-screen immersion Golf GTI simulator – you really get the exhilaration of driving on track that I actually flinched when I made a fast and tight corner. :)

gti puzzle

You get a piece of the puzzle that forms a coaster after you experience each station.

popcorn challenge

There is another interesting one called Popcorn Challenge which uses a clean source of energy (namely, you) to power a popcorn machine. A stationary bicycle is hooked up and your kinetic energy from pedaling the bike makes the corn pop.

popcorn

You can have the satisfaction of eating the popcorn that you’ve just made with your own energy after that too!

shout out loud

There is also an interactive station called Shout Out Loud where you can rally four (4) people to speak into each of the microphones at each corner of a model city to light it up. The louder you are, the more intense the blue light becomes.

think blue wall

It’s a brilliant way to showcase their ‘Think Blue.’ philosophy which is all about fuel efficiency and educating the public on carbon emissions for a sustainable future, as well as how Volkswagen is applying it to their award-winning automotive technology for a better tomorrow. Guess which one is the message we wrote?

ISOFIX

There are exhibits where you can familiarize yourself with Volkswagen’s advanced safety technology like their range of child safety seats and ISOFIX (child seat anchor). This would be of interest to parents with small children or people who’re planning to have kids!

kids station

There is a place for kids to learn and play too, which is great for parents with small children. The kids can have age-appropriate fun and learning while you get your own fun and learning in…test driving the latest Volkswagen models!

test drive

It’s the most popular station so remember to sign up early while you wait your turn.

volkswagen test drive

There’s also a ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ photo contest where you can snap a photo of yourself with a complete coaster puzzle.

interactive stations

You can get each piece of the puzzle by going to each of the stations (Popcorn Challenge, Test Drive etc) and after you’ve completed it, the redemption counter will give you a free gift for completing all the stations.

Volkswagen On Tour

You just need to post a photo of yourself with the complete coaster with the #VolkswagenOnTour hastag on either Instagram or Facebook and tag @VolkswagenOnTour or the Volkswagen Malaysia Facebook page respectively (remember to follow the accounts first) and stand a chance to win one of nine prizes, including an extended two week test drive with any of your favorite Volkswagen models!

coaster puzzle

It’s really a lot of fun for the whole family and you get to experience the latest (and eat some popcorn you made with your own energy while you’re at it).

volkswagen tour schedule

We had a blast and we’re looking forward to the Selangor stop of the tour! ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ will be heading to 13 locations nationwide between now till March 2014. Get more details about the stop nearest to you at www.volkswagenontour.com.my.

Guide to Throwing the Best Garden Gala Ever

Step 1: Entertainment

garden party people

Upstage all the parties going on at the end of the year by adding in some drama (okay, I’ll stop with the wordplay haha) by setting up your very own mini-theater. It’s really not hard to do – I go to the Singapore Arts Festival every year (my mom and sister lives there) and they have al fresco performances in the middle of the park. You just need some scaffolding and plywood for seats, that adds to the artsy feel too.

mini theatre

I’ll do a smaller scale one in the middle of a large enough private garden that I’ll rent for the day and fly in some entertainment that people would love to see. I’m thinking of the Ishinha group with their signature Jan Jan Opera, they’re really good and offer something MORE.

Step 2: Decorations

You can’t have a garden party without decorations. It’ll be like having a wedding without the bride.

flowers

I’ll pick up some nice flowers from Cameron Highlands and arrange it around the garden so there’s not just lush green grass but a lot of color.

wanaka party
(Image source: Wanaka The Bungalow)

I’ll be nice to have some fairy lights to get things going too!

elephant

…and maybe even an elephant! :D

Step 3: Snacks

You’ll also need some festive themed candy for people to snack on while they’re standing around and chatting.

christmas candy

I’ll go for chocolates instead of hors d’oeuvre coz I want everyone into a festive mood. Otherwise, it’ll just be another generic garden gala. This is my little twist – I love candy and I bought a lot of the Xmas themed ones.

snickers nutcrackers

The manufacturers actually come out with a lot of interesting limited editions during the end of the year! I spent over 4 years in Melbourne where there was a lot of limited edition runs of flavors e.g. White Chocolate Twix for Christmas.

twix tin box

Interesting side fact: There are places like Melbourne where snack manufacturers do their test marketing before deciding to launch a new product. I don’t know how they decide the criteria for a city/town – several places in the US are test beds too but it’s not the ones you think e.g. Los Angeles. It’s the slightly smaller cities with a more cosmopolitan make-up. Neither Singapore nor New York is a test bed. Apparently, you can’t be too big, or too small.

I’ll also have some Christmas crackers for people to pull just coz it’s fun!

Step 4: Dinner

It’ll be nice to cook for all your guests but the logistics behind it would make it too much of a hassle.

christmas turkey

There are plenty of caterers who can do the job just as well at the end of the year. I’m thinking of having a party for 30 so that would be too many to cook for. It’s not like an 8 person dinner party, so I’ll just order some Christmas dinner staples!

Turkey with stuffing is a must, as well as a plethora of side-dishes to make everyone happy and full.

Step 5: Drinks

You need to add something more to get people sociable and in the mood for celebrating the festive season at your garden gala.

made for more

I’ll want people to stay and talk, laugh and bond, after all the entertainment, snacks and dinner. I’ll want something more so here’s to bottles and bottles of Guinness to finish the end of the year with more!

wanaka

The reason behind this guide is because I’m interested in the above contest – Guinness is actually giving away the prize of a Garden Gala for end of the year! It’s a Celebration of More and it’s bound to be the best way to end the year!

garden gala

Yup, you get to win a private party for yourself and 29 of your friends too! This is something you really don’t want to miss. I hate to bandy around the term “once in a lifetime” but this comes really close. I’m going to join but in the spirit of giving, I’m going to invite all my readers if I win! :)

Garden Gala
Start: 12th December (Thursday) 10 am
End: 14th December (Saturday) 10 am

Go join the contest too but remember to invite me and my plus one if *you* win. Haha. The contest ends 14th December so head on over to the Guinness Malaysia Facebook page for more details now!

Sony Xperia Z1™ waterproof review

sony xperia z1 waterproof

You might have heard about this new wonder device. It’s not just a phone, but a high quality digital camera! It has everything except the kitchen sink…which leads us to the next point. Xperia™ Z1 is not just water resistant, it’s waterproof! To illustrate that point, I have submerged it in 6 inches of running water in my (you guessed it) kitchen sink.

xperia z1 waterproof

It still works perfectly and I have sent a joke text to my better half asking her where my phone is. Haha! It’s actually waterproof up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. This is achieved by flaps covering the microSIM, microUSB port, microSD card slot. In a smart move by Sony, the headphones jack in the Z1 doesn’t have a flap you need to keep closed. It’s rated at IP 55 and IP58 which means it’s not just waterproof, it’s also dust resistant!

sony xperia z1

Yup, this beautiful smartphone has been called “an almost perfect balance of form and function” by Forbes Magazine. The Xperia Z1 has it all:

20.7 MP camera with BIONZ™ for mobile

xperia z1 camera

The Xperia Z1 is powered by a large 1/2.3” 20.7 MP Exmor RS™ mobile image sensor, Sony’s award winning G Lens (the same kind you’ll find in their conventional compact digicams) and their tried-and-true BIONZ™ for mobile image processing engine.

I bought the Sony Xperia S when it first came out and one of the things I noticed is that the night mode takes a huge toll on the processor, which causes the screen to lag. This doesn’t happen anymore – the Xperia Z1 has its own dedicated processor!

The Xperia Z1 takes awesome photos, and handles the tricky light-and-dark situations well with the HDR mode. It also has four major Social Camera Applications to deliver new experiences and there’s a widget which allows you to put that right on the screen by default.

info eye

Info-Eye™
This is a “visual search” feature that provides related information on landmarks and other items such as books, wine or even groceries simply by capturing them with the camera. It’s like Google and Wikipedia combined, except you don’t type in your search string but take a photo instead!

info eye search results
Info Eye search results using bar code…

info eye search
…and the Image results! It works perfectly!

Social Live
This broadcasts the shots that you take to Facebook and the best thing about it is that you’ll get your friend’s comments right on your camera screen! This is the best in-house app I’ve had the pleasure of using and I’ll write about this in more detail soon – you need to be at an awesome event like a concert or while traveling to get the full impact of what this can do and what it means! :)

Timeshift Burst
My favorite feature by far – the Xperia Z1 takes 61 images in 2 seconds – a second before and after pressing the shutter – so you can scroll back and forth to find the perfect image. This is for all those times you “missed a shot” coz you took out your smartphone too late, it’ll never happen again.

AR Effect
There’s also a range of overlays that automatically detects faces and people and creates pictures using augmented reality app. I’ll dedicate a post to the camera and video features of the device – there’s just too many awesome features to describe in a general review.

ar effect

The Xperia Z1 also can shoot full 1080p HD video with stereo sound!

(and you can take a still image while the video is recording too)

5” Full HD screen

The Xperia Z1 has the latest Sony BRAVIA™ technology optimized for mobile. The beautiful and rich 5” screen uses a Full HD TRILUMINOS™ display which results in vibrant and incredible viewing experience. It’s the best screen I’ve ever seen on a smartphone!

sony xperia z1 screen

You can try it out at any Sony Center and be blown away at the crisp text and wide palate of natural colors. The Z1 also includes X-Reality™ for mobile and ClearAudio+™ for optimized video viewing. These are technologies usually found in their high range LCD TVs!

Software and performance

The Xperia Z1 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2.2 Ghz quad-core CPU and 4G LTE. It’s the first consumer smartphone to come up with this latest and super fast quad-core processor. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 features a GPU and dual ISP for incredible graphics and 3D performance – you’ll notice this if you play Unreal Engine based games on Android.

xperia z1 screen

Sony has also made changes to the stock version of Android and there’s four toggles in the notifications drop down that’s set to sound, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, brightness and settings by default. Swiping to the right in the app drawer brings up a menu that allows you to sort apps and also uninstall apps – you no longer have to go to the exact page in Google Play to do that anymore.

The Xperia Z1 also has 4 shortcuts at the main phone screen to reflect Sony’s concept for this phone- WALKMAN™, Album, Movies and PlayStation® Mobile. Yup, it’s an MP3 player, camera, video recorder and gaming device all rolled into one portable smartphone!

It does all those tasks very well too – there is no lag or slowdown of any kind even with intensive widgets on the screen that pulls Facebook and other social media feeds, multiple tabs open on the default browser (Chrome) and it tackles the most graphically intense Unreal Engine games with ease.

The 3000mAh battery performs well too – I can easily use the Xperia Z1 for a full day without having to recharge. That’s largely due to the highly effective Battery STAMINA Mode which uses a lot of useful tricks to preserve battery life. It shuts off certain apps when you’re not actively using them (you can customize this so that your favorite apps will run all the time) and turns off functions you don’t need until you wake up your screen again.

Design and other features

The entire phone has a premium feel to it from the single piece of aluminium (which also acts as an antenna) surrounding the front and back tempered sheet glass. The Sony Xperia Z1 is a long rectangle shape with an impressive build quality.

xperia z1

The On/Off button is now located on the right hand side in the middle instead of top right. All the buttons are placed right and the headphone jack is the lone item on the top which is perfectly situated to prevent snagging or accidental pressing of buttons while listening to an audio book in MP3 (which is what I do more than listen to music).

The speakers produces surprisingly well-defined sound too.

The Xperia Z1 weighs 170 grams which might seem a tad on the heavy side for people not used to it but I’m loving mine – it’s a high quality digital camera, gaming device, and smartphone in a sleek package that gets double takes. It not only looks good, it feels good too – and the fact that it’s also waterproof and shock and dust resistant is just icing on the cake.

xperia z1 unboxing

The Sony Xperia Z1 retails for RM 2,399 and if you purchase it now, you’ll get three months of free unlimited music streaming from Akazoo, a preloaded social media music app. This is valid from October till December 2013. You can also download six (6) movies (offer valid till 31st December) via Xperia Privilege app, which is also preloaded into the device.

There’s a lot more to talk about but this is already way over 1,000 words so I’ll write more on the awesome 20.7 MP digital camera, 1080p Full HD video recording, nifty apps like Social Live and other apps. I’ll also do a special on underwater photography and my annual Chinese New Year fireworks and firecrackers roundup. I also have the SmartWatch 2, which is a NFC/Bluetooth watch that can sync via NFC to get Facebook updates and allows you to control your phone remotely from your wrist.

smartwatch2

I love my new toy(s)! :D

Check out the Sony Xperia Z1 experience!

Building a rainwater harvesting system in Kampung Jemeri, Kuala Rompin

water for life

I went to Kampung Jemeri last weekend for the Water For Life CSR (Community Social Responsibility) program, which provides Orang Asli with access to uninterrupted water supply. Kampung Jemeri in Kuala Rompin, Pahang is about a 6 hour drive from KL and does not have one of the basic necessities of life – clean water.

kampung jemeri rompin

The entire Orang Asli village has to draw water from a very old pump and when it runs dry, they have to walk half a kilometer to draw water from the well and on days when the water supply was low, they had to make an incredible 5 km trek to reach the nearest river!

community service

Water For Life is a venture of PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad (PDB) and Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) to ensure that the 131 families in Kampung Jemeri has a clean and safe water supply. The second phase involves 40 of us from PDB to help them install a rainwater harvesting system.

rompin pahang

I’ve been to quite a few kampungs in my time but never to one where water is such a scarce resource! Long houses for Ibans in Sarawak is usually built close to rivers to that isn’t a problem. However, the Orang Asli here doesn’t even have a steady supply of that!

water tanks

It was quite a pleasure to help them in this – we were all issued heavy duty gloves and a wristband to indicate which of the 4 large 400 liter water tanks we will be assigned to.

water

The large tanks are installed in sections throughout the main dirt road of the 131 Orang Asli families in Kampung Jemeri to provide easy access to water for all.

rainwater collection

The first one was built at the start of the sprawling village and it takes in water from…

rainwater filtration

….two large rainwater harvesting ponds.

cutting pvc pipe

It is then sent up through a system of 100 meter pipes to the other tanks to allow everyone in the village easy access to water – right at their doorsteps.

task station

I was assigned to the very last water tank and we hefted it all the way to the rear of the village and did all the installation to accept the sequential water from Tank 1-3.

blue team

Blue Team!

water harvesting tanks

Hauling the water tanks into the village.

100m pvc

Since we’re at the last station, we had to first run the PVC pipe to the third water tank to hook up with them. I was surprised to find out that behind the dirt road is primary jungle!

primary jungle

I got quite a few mosquito bites from that but it’s all good fun.

toolbox

We also had a toolbox which contains cutters and all the piping necessities to build the rainwater harvesting system. I assigned myself to hook up the piping to the tank itself…

pipe installation

…and also the last mile where I joined the PVC piping to a steed rod and a pipe with a lot of help.

last mile piping

The box of tools has somehow been taken back to base camp, which is at least 500 meters away, and none of us wanted to make the trek back (which would tell you how far the villagers have to go for water every single time they wanted it – and get it back) so I used a huge stone to bang the steel pipe into the hard packed earth.

zip tie pipe

It worked even better than a hammer! The principle is much like that of piling in construction. I hefted the rock and let it go while another guy from PDB held it steady. In a minute or so, we managed to drive the entire steel rod in to hold the rest of the PVC and pipe!

orang asli hut

Orang Asli hut! It’s barely 1 meter tall.

orang asli family

There’s actually people inside, preparing for lunch. They’re peeling bamboo shoots, which grows in the wild here.

rompin water for life

Managing Director and CEO of Petronas DAGANGAN Berhad, Aminul Rashid Mohd Zamzam with Malaysian Nature Society and the village head of Kampung Jemeri in Kuala Rompin.

candy kids

Handing candy out to the local kids.

kampung jemeri

The entire rainwater system with proper filtering was tested and water flowed smoothly…

petronas water for life

…so all that was needed is to wait for the 4 tanks to fill up.

orang asli feast

The Orang Asli villagers at Kampung Jemeri held a veritable feast for us, with local delicacies like ikan tenggiri masak tempoyak. There’s also a fiery sambal that Dina asked me to try and I immediately got hooked on. I ate a lot of that homemade sambal with ulam (raw vegetables).

group photo

However, the best part of the day was getting dirty and sweaty in helping these less fortunate folks get one of the basic necessities of life – water.

orang asli kids

I’ve gotten a glimpse of how the Orang Asli in Kampung Jemeri lived and I’m glad I was part of the Water For Life initiative to help then get clean access to water.

water for life rompin

It’s a very good feeling, doing community work like this.

Ramen burger + short mention

ramen burger

This is a homemade ramen burger that my better half made for me during our anniversary. It’s not burger in ramen but the other way round – the bun in the burger is substituted with ramen noodles! Thus, the patty is encased in ramen noodles instead of a regular burger bun.

ramen

I hear it’s all the rage and she managed to do it on her first attempt. You need to cook the ramen noodles, add a bit of the seasoning, and mix an egg inside (once the noodles have cooled) before sealing it in Glad wrap in the fridge overnight for it to set.

ramen burger bun

The ramen burger is delicious! You have to fry the ramen burger after it’s formed and set before using it as a bun replacement. It stayed intact throughout the eating process so I’m very impressed – the “ramen bun” didn’t fall apart. I’ll love to pick her brains and do this again myself during the weekend!

Just writing about it got me hankering for burgers!

Short mention:

It’s difficult to explain. Words just doesn’t do it justice. You’ll be better off watching the video above of two grown men talking in a totally heterosexual manner (one on the porcelain throne, the other submerged in the tub) in an attempt to describe the awesomeness that is the KFC Crazy Crunch. It features Reuben Kang so expect his classic humor to shine through!

There’s a parody out on Facebook by Shaheizy Sam (not sure who this dude is) and I personally don’t think it’s funny but it has gotten a quite a few Likes so maybe different people have a different sense of humor. I apologize in advance for wasting 16 seconds of your time that you’re not going to ever get back (watch the first Germani Network video instead) but it just goes to show – is the KFC Crazy Crunch really that hard to describe?

Hmm…

Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge @ Sunway Pyramid

slide out

I literally *slid* out feet first, like a baseball player sliding into the home plate. I wanted to get out of the obstacle house within 5 seconds so that I could win an instant RM 50 note and an adult ticket to Sunway Lagoon. I was at the Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge at Sunway Pyramid and I really wanted to win!

rm50

I had analyzed how the previous people who attempted the challenge did on the LCD video screen outside. There’s a camera attached to the helmet of every person who went into the wet adventure tent and live footage was beamed to the TV.

drumstick extreme challenge

The rules are simple – get out within 5 seconds or less.

gearing up

I geared out in safety knee and elbow pads, donned a helmet with a small camera attached and got ready to dash into the tent. I had only seen one guy who managed to get out within the allocated 5 seconds…all the others took slightly longer.

safety gear

It was really dark inside – I had to take a second to orient myself but I knew the countdown wouldn’t start until I actually picked up the Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC.

I saw the “treasure chest” (which is actually an ice cream freezer) in front of me and rummaged around for the single drumstick inside. I looked back at the exit to plan a speedy exfil.

helmet

That was my mistake. The countdown started and I frantically swiped around, got the Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC and ran hellbent for leather.

run in

5 seconds….

I had planned to just muscle through all the obstacles – after all, I had enough safety gear on to push through the padded obstructions.

4 seconds…

That plan went south however, since I tripped on a wet patch. I had been warned that I’ll need a change of clothes since the theme of the challenge will involve water.

3 seconds…

I tried to get up quickly and was slimed with starch and powdered with several handfuls of flour.

2 seconds…

I managed to get up on one knee, with a slightly mashed Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC clutched tightly in my hand – the exit was in sight!

1 second…

…and flew through the exit feet first!

slimed

It turned out that I had clocked 6 seconds so I didn’t qualify for the RM 50 note. However, everyone who attempted the Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge got an adult ticket to Sunway Lagoon and the new Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC – that’s a great consolation prize. :)

win

This challenge was held on a Sunday at Sunway Pyramid and there are still heaps of prizes to be won! There’s mini tablets and Sunway Lagoon Entrance Passes up for grabs each week in addition to the RM 30,000 cash grand prize with RM 10,000 and RM 3,000 for the first and second runner ups and RM 300 consolation prizes for 97 people! You just need to text:

DRUMSTICK ADVENTURE CODE POP CODE MyKad

contest

to 36300 the first time to register yourself. After that just send:

DRUMSTICK ADVENTURE CODE for the Grand Prize and
DRUMSTICK POP CODE for the Weekly Prizes.

rules

The Adventure Code is the alphanumeric code that can be found on Nestle Drumstick Ice Cream Freezer in various stores. The POP Code is the code you find under the top cover of your Nestle Drumstick. The campaign period for the contest ends at 10 November 2013 so submit your entries now! I have eaten quite a lot and submitted all the entries.

extrem choc drumstick

The new Nestle DRUMSTICK EKSTREM CHOC is sinfully delicious too! There’s lots of chocolatey goodness inside that ice cream plus you’ll get a chance to win those nifty prizes while you enjoy the latest offering from Nestle Drumstick! Get more details at the Nestle Drumstick Facebook and the Nestle Drumstick Most Adventurous Challenge Website.

This is a paid advertorial by Nestle.

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