Friday, July 31, 2009

Skywatch @ Friday: Church of the Good Shepherd

There is an Oxford and Cambridge in the North Island Of New Zealand. Oxford was named after Oxford, the English town. But confusion led to the change to Oxford North and then in 1895 it took the name of a prominent hill in the area, Tirau.

The church has a big corrogated statue of a shepherd. Further down the church at the northern end of town is the Tirau i-SITE Visitor Centre (The big dog), with it's decorated walls and lead light window. Alongside is the Big Sheep Wool Gallery. Both dog and sheep are made of the same material.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photohunt: Rocks


We traveled up the river by long boats powered by outboard engines. At certain places, it was too shallow, so the boat man had to use poles.

These giant rocks were sometimes a little too close for comfort, when there is a gap of ten feet for the boat to pass through.

Our WorldTuesday, Borneo: Miri City


The seahorse is the mascot of Miri city. Miri is the second largest city ine state of Sarawak. This oil rich city was first mined for oil in 1910 by the Shell company.

From Miri, you fly half an hour to the Mulu Caves which has the biggest cave chamber in the world. It is also known as famous Gunung Mulu National Park which is one of the favourite eco-tourism destinations. Miri is also the main tourist gateway for the Loagan Bunut National Park, Lambir National Park, and the Niah Caves. Miri is lately known for its exotic coral reefs as well.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scenic Sunday: Borneo Bario

As I was checking in for my flight in Miri to Mulu, there was a group of London Students on their Borneo tour to Bario. I told them that it was a pity my sister Elizabeth and Kallang had just left bario. Otherwise they would provide great hospitality. Indeed, Elizabeth had told me many a tourist had past through their long house, and some even went to their kitchen.

Bario is the home of my brother in law Kallang and Sister in Law Elly. They belong to the tribes of the kelabits. Bario is a nice place to visit as it is very cool because of it's high altitude and the people are very friendly.

The most convenient way to the Bario highlands is by twin otter plane. My sisters had told me before you board the plane, both you and your luggage had to be weighed. This is to make sure that the plane doesn't get overloaded. Kallang is a big man and Elizabeth is a small woman. So their weight balance out. Things are very expensive in Bario. People try to pack as much as they can.

I spoke with a very friendly girl as they waited for the rural flight service.

You can see the students having fun as they weigh themselves.


Friday, July 24, 2009


Welcome to ABC Wednesday Round 5. A fun project, now in it's third year! If you have something to share, be it a photograph, piece of art or poetry please post in on your blog and sign up here with MckLinky 8pm onwards Tuesday, British Summer Time.


This is Tongkat Ali, literally translated as the walking cane of Ali.

Other Names: Eurycoma longifolia, Longjack

Tongkat Ali is a tree native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The part of the tree used medicinally is the root.

Why Do People Use Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali was dubbed the "Asian Viagra" in a May 1999 report in the New Sunday Times.

It has been used in Malaysia for many years by men to increase sexual desire, libido, sexual performance and to treat erectile dysfunction.

Tongkat ali appears to work by increasing levels of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is primarily responsible for the growth and development of male reproductive organs.

Because of its testosterone-enhancing properties, tongkat ali is also used by bodybuilders to increase muscle mass and strength. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/tongkat_ali.htm

My uncle Albert, the owner of this root herb however tells me otherwise. It is a misconception that Tongkat Ali is an aphrodisiac. His native doctor tells him that it is a cleansing herb. Once your body is cleansed, you will be healthy all round. This is the root of a very big tree found in the deep jungles of Borneo. It is valued more than 5 million dollars. Even then, he would not part with it. Usually people get only a small tree.

***After thought*** The root as a whole would be more than MR10,000. If it is grounded into powder and sold as a Tongkat Ali "coffee" in an organic herbal bar, you could get $5 million. At any rate, it is not for sale.

Thursday, July 23, 2009



Here we were at Mulu Caves which has the world's biggest cave chamber. Behind us is the opening where bats fly out of the Deer Cave. There are several million wrinkle-lipped bats. Unfortunately for us, the day the guide Antoli took us, it was pouring dogs and cats. The bats decided not to go gallivanting.

We were not disappointed as we saw beautiful limestone structures. We walked the 3.8km boardwalk back in the dark in the jungle. That day, I had covered more than 8 km carrying a heavy bakpack, a feat I haven't done for years.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Double Trouble:Two phone boxes


In Malaysia, the public phone boxes are vey colourful.

mytownshootout.blogspot.com:Yard Objects

Yard Objects, in many houses in Malaysia, there are large satellite dishes in the yard.

Here's an unusual cane flower pot holder in my sister in law's yard.


Our world Tuesday: Mosque in Malaysia


This is a mosque, the place of worship for Muslims, in a town in Malaysia. Islam is the official religion in Malaysia. The Muslims are called to worship five times a day. The Muslims do not eat pork, and their food must be Halal.

When I was little, when Dad had a dinner party, and if he invited Muslims, he would have a Muslim friend come to slaughter the poultry. The "butcher" said his prayers and faced toward Mecca before he did his job. He alo brought some yellow soil to cleanse our cooking pots to rid of any non halal food residual.

In the hotel rooms, you can look up the ceiling and see an arrow pointing towards Mcca. The Muslims face that direction when they pray.

In many places, like the Brunei airport and even shopping malls, they have a room called the Surau for the Muslims to pray aka as Sembahyang.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mellowyellowmonday: Pineapple


Arriving from a cold winter to a scorching 32 degrees in Singapore, these slices of Sarawak pineapple are very refreshing and thirst quenching.

scenicsunday:High rise buildings in Singapore


Sam's friends in New Zealand could not understand how four and half million people could live in Singapore in an area which can fit into our biggest lake, Lake Taupo. Sam explained that people lived up, like lego bricks. As most people in New Zealand live in single storey houses, it is quite difficult to conceptualise. This photo will explain better.

Skywatch@Friday: Raffles Country Club


I was guest to my friend G, LH, and CH. We had lunch at the Raffles Country Club at Jurong in Singapore. It's been three years since I saw them. The local food we selected from the menu were yummy. We had fried rice, mee goreng, kwei Teow, ice kachang and chengtoh. The food was great, but the friendship is better.

The view was spectacular. The lake is man made. If only the weather wasn't so hot. There was a golf tournament.

Saturday, July 11, 2009



I was visiting Singapore and saw this human powered rubbish removal vehicle along the side of Orchard Road at CKTang and Merriot Hotel. Ka Pai and thumbs up fro saving the world.