Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Paradigm shift

We just did an unconventional thing by selling our own home without any discernible rhyme or reason except that the price that was offered was attractive enough for us to sell it. Something which started as another crazy idea became a serious paradigm shift for us. Some friends and even family member couldn't fathom why we did it. Most think moving is something they will never do in their lifetime. My brother who owns a lovely 3-storeys semi-D still lives at his link-house end lot as he hates moving.

We put our house of 7 years on the market as the price was starting to rise in our neighborhood. The toll that I have to pass on the way to the office which cost me around RM2.20 per trip was just one of the bane which I would love to get rid off. We did worry about the cats and how they will adapt at the new place. I actually asked for a ridiculous price for our house with 30% more than the current market price around the area. People made offers and we sat on it for the longest time. 

Goodbye greenery
When someone offered the price lower by just a few thousands than the price I wanted, we actually refused to sell. Until a second offer within the same price-range was offered. We discussed it and accepted the offer with a few caveats. Just to make sure we don't have to move until we are ready, I inserted a clause in the Sale & Purchase Agreement which ensure that we will only move by 1.1.2013.

Now, we need to look for a new house which is a bit nearer to our current offices. Being childless and with flexible working hours, we are doing the house hunting whenever we feel like it. We have actually identified the neighborhood which we consider as the best place to settle down but not the specific house. Offers are being made but we don't want to commit too fast.

The next few months will be very interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An ode to friendship

I am not really an extrovert person. Those who know me will beg to differ. My wife just recently had this idea of me being the big bully who loves to pick on the defenseless and makes fun of them. Then there are the dirty jokes/words/inferences I like to tell. Still, even with my public persona, I actually love to just sit at home. Writing, watching television series, read a book and sometimes, just sleep. And that's why I love travel. In a foreign setting, you rarely have to talk to other people except the companion you are with.

However, life has change a bit for me a few years ago. One was due to the social media environment in Malaysia. I started out as a blogger. I joined everything that were related to blogging. Meet-ups, events and such. It was fun and it helped me in my writing career. If not for blogging, my book will have been published in 2010. That year was one of the milestone of my life. A book and a second degree. I would never have guessed I have it in me. It was mostly thanks to my best friend, my wife.

After blogging, comes Twitter. I got to know more people. I crashed a few parties and even gatherings I don't think I was really welcomed but I made new friends. Friendships then become cliques and the rest as they say, if any biography is ever written of me, was history. We lost a few friends along the way. Some changed due to various reasons and we don't meet as much.

I don't really have lasting close friends in life except one who is now too busy with his own life and another who becomes my business partner. I rarely talk to the former anymore and the latter is someone I meet every day due to business. Close friend whom I confide everything? Just my wife. 

What I am trying to say here is that those friends I met on Twitter are now the closest thing to close friends that I have. I am writing this as for the past week they have been quite busy with work and life. When you have free time on your hands and you consider yourself a writer, you write. I am now appreciating the friendship we have as we currently are too busy to meet and discuss. I don't even need to say their names or what their profession is as when we are together none of these matter.

You always know that they are there when you want to have a laugh or want to be yourself. You will be made fun off. Be ridiculed. But you just can't stay away as you know they will always be there if you need them.

Here's to friendship. May it last into the next life.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What to do in Perth, Western Australia....

Although the trip at the end of April, last month, was my fourth time to Perth, Western Australia, it was the first time I really explored the biggest city in Western Australia and is said to be one of the quietest city in Australia. It doesn't have a night life except on Thursday, Friday and Saturday whilst most shops and restaurants closed at 5pm. So, how do you enjoy such a city?
1. Perth has a lot of parks and trails. So, walk. Or ride a bike. As I arrived at 5.25am Western Australia time from Kuala Lumpur at the Perth Airport (which has its own meditation room near the Hertz counter), I had to kill nearly 5 hours before I could check-in into my hotel. I asked to be dropped at Kings Park. It has one of the best view of the city of Perth. 

Perth at 7am
After we had breakfast at the Botanical Cafe (which has a rare free wifi and delicious waffles), after walking the Frasers Avenue, a road lined with hundred years old Eucalyptus trees, we walked around the park to see war memorials. Then we went down one of the historic trail of Kokoda walk which has Australian soldiers fighting the Japanese nearly a hundred years ago.

Eucalyptus tree at Kings Park
Then we came down to the edge of the Swan River where there's a trail to the Old Brewery. There's Zafferano Restaurant there where we planned to have dinner but didn't managed to. Then we made a u-turn and walked more than 2 kilometers by the Swan River watching birds, lovers and dodging bicycles to the Bell Tower, a landmark in Perth which is shaped like a bell.

Here is the link to some trails in Western Australia to enjoy other than the one we've walked : Top trails in Western Australia and the link to Kings Park website : Kings Park and Botanical Garden.

2. Eat. Perth is a city by the river. People fish and eat their catch. Other than Perth city, Fremantle is just a 30 minutes drive away and has more scenic restaurants. We ate fish and chips at Fremantle, lobsters or crays as they are known there and we ate rack of lamb too. 

Our first breakfast of waffles in Perth
Fish and Chips at Kaili's, Fremantle
Dunked apples at E-Shed, Fremantle

Fresh fruits (persimmon) at the end of its season

Royale Cray at Red Cray Restaurant (Malaysian owner)

Rack of lamb with potato salads and fries at Chicken Charcoal (Middle eastern owner)
Australia is an agriculture country. Most fruits and meats in Malaysia come from Australia. It is easy to look for halal food in Australia and most are served like dishes in Australia should be. I hate eating food from my own country when I am abroad although in Perth there are more than 10 Malaysian restaurants. Oh, for Malaysian who suddenly get the hunger pangs after 10pm, go look for Fast Eddie, a 24 hours restaurant in Perth.

3. Shop. Australia has its own famous brands around the world. They have a lot of street malls. Murray Street Mall and London Court are just a few of these malls. As our hotels are also in front of Harbour Town, a growing off season brands mall in Perth, we did a little shopping while we were there. There are the normal brand like Nike, Adidas and such. Just remember that pay day in Perth (and most Western Australia) is Thursday as workers have weekly wages and in most days, shops close at 5pm.

Harbour Town Perth signboards

Lamb and kangaroo skin anyone? Found at E-Shed, Fremantle

London Court Street Mall

Murray Street Mall

4. Go explore nature and suburbs. There are places with amazing natural wonder like The Pinnacle which are jutting rocks made by nature. Along the way to the Pinnacle, there's beaches like Lancelin where you can see Edward Island and we managed to play with wild dolphins there. Sandboard in the cold desert sand (my first time). We did these in just one day and if you have time take a drive either north or south and experience more. I read somewhere you can even play with whales if you go further north. There's also Mandurah where you can take a boat ride behind millionaires holiday homes, awe at the boats and yacht and look at birds and dolphins too.


Sandboarding in Lancelin

The Pinnacle

As the sign says
5. Visit historical sites and marvel at the old architectural style. If this is your cup of tea, there are the Fremantle Prison, so many memorials, amaze at the change in usage of old buildings which are now restaurants, offices, shops and clubs.

Western Australia Parliament

Memorial Hill

Fremantle Prison

Street of Fremantle near Fremantle Market

Old Brewery by the Swan River

Look at the architecture

6. Pet some animals. We went to Caversham Wildlife Farm and thoroughly enjoy our day of frolicking with lambs (with the intention of eating one of its kind later that night), koalas, kangaroos, wombats and a few other animals indigenous to Australia. We can even say we enjoyed it better than when we went to Tarongga Zoo in Sydney as we can touch, pet and feed the animals much easier in Perth than the one in Sydney. 

Feeding the kangaroos


A feast of eucalyptus

Sleeping koala

Wild dolphin at Lancelin

Seagull by Swan River

Those are just some of the things you can do in Western Australia and specifically around Perth. My holiday was hosted by Jutawan Tours, a Malaysian linked company owned by a retired fighter pilot. You can find them here : Jutawan Tours website. Do try them as they are flexible in the packages they offer.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Malaysia Social Media Chambers

I was a part of a collective who organised the Malaysia Social Media Week 2012 which was held between 13th and 17th February 2012. We are known as Malaysia Social Media Chambers which is currently in the midst of being registered with the Registrar of Society. It is a collective of people who are active in social media and all are welcome. 

Currently we have a few like-minded people like Stephen Doss (@stephendoss), Christopher Tock (@spinzer), Anis Nabilah (@anis_nabilah) and Altimet (@altimet), among others. They have their own reputation on social media. If you are on Twitter or at least Facebook, you should know them. Discover them by joining the Chambers.

The Malaysia Social Media Week or MSMW 2012, as it was known, was held at Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur and a few other venues within Kuala Lumpur. There were a Social Media Week Summit, social media games like Social-Poly, Gadgets Galore and even a launchpad showcase at Zebra Square where applications developer pitch their ideas to would-be investors.

As success goes, the event may not be the knocking-on-the-door-trying-to-get-seats type of events but we did try. We promoted the event nearly everywhere, which kind of ironic because personally I would have thought we may want to stick to social media channels next time we hold a social media events. However, the idea was to get people to join social media even if they are NOT on social media. You can't deny the fact that traditional media still hold power over certain demographic of Malaysia populations.

We will be hosting Malaysia Social Media Week 2013 next year and what we want to know is what to improve on any shortcomings that had occurred during the event. We still have the Social Media Awards Night 2012 to look forward to for the best of social media to come out and receive their awards for the social media contribution. Here are the Social Media Awards winners list.

And even if your comments are about there is no need for Social Media Chambers in Malaysia, can you at least give a reason why....

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The end of my #365 makan project

In 3 days time, I will finally finish filling up the Facebook albums (3 in all) which shows what I had for lunch. This was my entry on 2nd February last year announcing the project : My #365 makan project

It was supposed to be mostly what I eat in Malaysia. However, I went to Jakarta, Mumbai, and Kazakhstan in 2011. I included a few of the lunches I had there and I managed to experience for the first time eating horsemeat (a bit tough but just as yummy) and horse milk (so very sour like drinking vinegar). Some food I ate during lunch like apple, bread and junk food are in the album too. I think I only had one or two buffets. And I relearned how to appreciate rice. How I ate rice the whole year of 2011. Basmathi, briyani and white rice. My rice album is here.

If you are curious what I eat the whole year of 2011 and certain part of 2012, just see these albums on Facebook :

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Adult holiday

It is not really of going away with a group of friends but it was a kind of a unique holiday. All of us travel in twos or threes or with our own companion, family or friend. We arrived at the designated area. Did the one thing we have set ourselves to do, which was to celebrate the coming of the new year 2012. Did a few other stuff together, sometimes with only half of the whole group, sometimes just me and my wife, then we fly off separately again. And all are these friends are from Twitter and we are connected through various social media tools. Within minutes and even during the trip, we are already sharing photos and videos of the holiday.

It is unique as we don't need to meet-up in KL, setting the time for the flight so we can travel together, check-in together, wait for everyone to be ready so we can have lunch, dinner and breakfast together, have fights or sulking due to some who does feel he or she not getting his or her money worth and then all the logistical nightmare you have to deal with when dealing with more than 3 people traveling together.

I am so going to do this kind of trip again....

Look at the happy us :