Thursday, April 30, 2009

H1N1
If the title confuses you, it's because this is the scientific term for the latest flu, the swine flu. Remember the bird flu? It was called H5N1 virus.

Some quarters are saying that it's inappropriate to call this new strain of flu 'swine flu', mainly because there really is no evidence the flu originated from the cute little fat piggy. Hence the scientific term would be more appropriate, or maybe even the term 'Mexican flu', since Mexico seems to be ground zero from this virus.

I also read that in some countries, sale for pork has also been affected. People are not buying because of the fear of the getting the virus. Egypt has announced they will be slaughtering roughly 300,000 pigs in the country.

From all the readings I've been doing so far about the virus etc, the H1N1 virus spreads like the common flu: Through tiny droplets which are inhaled when people cough and sneeze. No where does it say you get the virus from eating pork. In fact, in some reports, the H1N1 virus is a combination of pig, bird and human flu. And some experts also add that birds are an even greater carrier of viruses than pigs.

I'm still going to eat pork regardless, ahaks! But lately there has been some sick people at my workplace coughing and wheezing, so I'm gonna be bringing some extra masks to protect myself because I don't want to catch the common flu LOL!

Tsk, viruses these days are getting stronger and stronger. Could this be the price to pay for development and the way we human beings mistreat Mother Earth?

AirAsia's Silence
After several attempts to get some answers from AirAsia regarding our 4-hour flight delay and their really lame excuse of "bad weather", which they called hubby direct instead of replying via emails (to avoid black & white evidence perhaps?), they have decided to totally ignore our emails.

Yup. Ignore your customers. Ignore your complaints. Just keep quiet and everything will be forgotten.

Sigh~~~ Crap....!!! Tak guna mia airline and the big shots running it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Japanese Virgin
Later this week, a group of us are going for Japanese lunch. It's actually a farewell lunch for a colleague of ours, and we're going dutch. I can never say no to Japanese food, ahaks!

But this lunch is special. Special because for my colleague who is leaving, it's his very first virgin trip to a Japanese restaurant. Now before you gasp in despair and shock, allow me to share with you that he's a foreigner working in our country.

Now that you've gotten over your initial shock, lets talk about lunch :D

Since we're gonna devirginise this Japanese food virgin here, it would be a good idea to get a good mix of Japanese dishes for him to try and experience. Some sashimi, sushi, soba, udon, tempura, teppanyaki etc, just to name a few. He's fairly excited over the entire experience, or maybe even a little bit terrified (but he won't admit it, HARHAR!).

A manager has this idea of ordering this special bento set for our esteemed virgin here. It's called a Rokaku bento, comes in 2 bento boxes with a variety of food stuff to savour your taste buds.

Photo taken from here.

This lunch is going to be fun. We're going to introduce him to sashimi, sushi, wasabi, ramen and everything Japanese. Come prepared, Chuck!

*Updated: Chuck absolutely *hearts* his bento and in his own words "What the hell have I been eating for the past 7 years?!?!?!"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Krispy Kreme

I'm sure this logo is familiar to many of you donut lovers out there. In case you haven't heard, Krispy Kreme would be gracing our shores on the 27th April 2009 @ Berjaya Times Square, KL (the MidValley outlet will open in May).

Do I hear some gasps of shock and awe? Hehe...!

I had my first taste of this donut not too long after joining my current company. A colleague who frequently traveled to London would bring back a box or two of this sugary sinners. I'm not a fan of donuts, nor am I a fan of anything sweet really. So if you tell me today that Krispy Kreme or J.Co is opening an outlet right next to my house, I wouldn't even be bothered ROTFLMAO!

So how did I find Krispy Kreme donut? Well, to tell you the truth, even after the long flight back from London, the donuts still tasted pretty nice. Would be nicer if it was straight from the oven, I reckon. I've only tasted the glazed ones, so I can't comment on the others. I can only take one piece, a 2nd piece would be way too sweet for my taste buds. Also, I wouldn't know how to really compare it with other donut names like J.Co, because to me, as long as you eat the donut when it's piping hot, it would taste good.

Back to Krispy Kreme Malaysia. I first heard about the folks in Berjaya having successfully bring in the franchise from a friend, but couldn't confirm the news. Well, things are looking set for Krispy Kreme's very first outlet here in Kuala Lumpur, and where else but Berjaya Times Square. So, if you're a donut lover, and particularly a Krispy Kreme donut lover, head on down to Berjaya Times Square on the 27th April 2009 and be the first few lucky people to get their promotions:
  • 1st customer gets a Golden Ticket (1-year supply) - OMFG!
  • 2nd customer gets a Silver Ticket (6-month supply) - OMFG!
  • 3rd customer gets Bronze Ticket (3-month supply) - OMFG!
  • 4th till 100th customer gets a month supply - OMFG!
  • 101th till 300th customer gets a mug - Ok, that's pretty normal
Imagine getting one year's supply of donuts! Geez! I would really like to see who's the first in line for this gimmick! Would we be expecting to see people setting up tents 2 days before the opening, all for free donuts?

Actually, I'm more keen to see just how far this donut craze can go, and how they're going to price Krispy Kreme ehehehehehe! I remember when Big Apple first came, the craze was tremendous. Then along came J.Co, and even crazier craze. I've heard of people driving all the way to Pavilion (their first outlet) just to queue to buy the donuts. I've seen for myself the massive queue at J.Co itself, and the dozens of boxes people carry with them.
I've had J.Co a couple of times, and each time only 1 piece, at most 2. Donuts are nice when they're piping hot from the oven :)

*Note: I just found out that the 1st guy in line had been queueing up since 5pm Saturday evening ROTFLMAO!!!

**Updated: This chick and her friends actually cut school to queue for donuts. Wonder what the school has to say about this plan? Parents, would you let your kids cut school for such an event?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sial
TENSION SIAL!!!
BOLEH NAIK GILER~!!!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just One Of Them Days~
When I feel crappy about myself.
When I feel sad about myself.
When I feel like staying away from everyone and everything.
When I just wanna tell people to shut up.
When I need someone to tell me to count my lucky stars.
When I need someone to assure me that everything's gonna be alright.
When I need a big big hug.
When I just wanna be left alone.
When I just feel unfairly treated.
When I just need to remind myself of my good life.
When I just...

Off to play with my virtual pet now...~

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Room 18
Possibly the latest addition to the Tai Thong group of restaurants, Room 18 @ Tropicana City Mall. It's so new, even Tai Thong's website hasn't list them down LOLOLOLOL!!! :P

Since we've been doing our weekly groceries in this mall (Carrefour is downstairs), sometimes we will just have our lunch here before proceeding to Carrefour. And when I saw Room 18's main door opened, my first reaction was... "Hmm, yet another Canton cuisine restaurant to join the crowd." That pretty much sums up Room 18, Cantonese cuisines.

Set lunches priced at RM 12.80++, dinner at RM 18++. The set changes daily.

Hubby and I checked out Room 18 one weekend and saw that they offer set meals for both lunch and dinner. A quick flip through the menu saw the restaurant offering quite a wide range of dim sums, noodles, rice and other Cantonese cuisines. Prices are pretty ok considering the location, some of their noodle dishes were similarly to priced with Ducking.

Interior of Room 18.

Since it was a weekend, there was generally a crowd in the restaurant. It's very much a family oriented restaurant, so the deco is kept minimal. All the restaurants employees were pretty busy as the crowd turnover was pretty quick.

Custard bun. Yum!

We ordered some dim sum just to give it a try. First to arrive was the custard bun. the buns were pretty ok, not too hot on the tougue. Of course it can't beat the custard bun we had over at West Lake Garden, Sunway Lagoon Resort hahahahaha!

Soup noodles, which was relatively ok only.

Next up was my "Two combination noodles". I have a choice of mixing 2 different types of meat: duck, chicken (steamed or roasted), roasted pork belly (siew yuk), BBQ pork (char siew) and also suckling pig. I decided to try their char siew and siew yuk.

Char siew & siew yuk combination.

Their char siew wasn't very good. In fact, it was a bit hard on the underside. Sorry Room 18, but thumbs down for your char siew. The siew yuk was so-so as well, but that's because we can already make our own siew yuk at home and it taste superb HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Pork chop rice.

Hubby's pork chop rice was not bad. Pork chop marinated until tender, then deep fried and coated with sweet sauce. You have a choice of type of rice too, either white rice or butter rice (yau farn).

Prawn dumplings.

My favourite dim sum of all, prawn dumplings. Now what's crucial in making a good prawn dumpling is of course, the thickness of the dumpling skin and the freshness of the prawns used. The skin has to be translucent, and the prawns springy when you bite into them. In the case of Room 18, they scored 0-1 for each category. The skin was a bit too thick, but the prawns were fresh.

If you head to Room 18 now, you're entitled to an 18% discount of their ala carte items. I think they're also give out vouchers on a daily basis, limited to the first 50 customers or something along that line.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tak Suka
Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Tak suka.

Hmph! X(

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Air Asia's On-Time Guarantee: A Reply
I sent a lengthy email to Tony Fernandez, in regards to their on-time guarantee policy and about our flight delay from Kota Bharu a couple of weeks back. Guess what? We got a reply from tony@tonyfernandesblog.com, and whoever sitting at the other end of the desk said another person will revert back to us. That other person, whose name I will not disclose here (yet), as also CC-ed in the reply. Let's just call this person Suki.

So after 2 days, Suki sent an email to us via Blackberry, thanking us for the booking info, and said they will assist on this issue. The very next day, Suki really did call hubby up regarding this matter, and guess what their reply was...?

Suki said the delay was due to bad weather, hence we're not entitled to the RM 200 voucher because bad weather is not covered in their policy.

WTF?!

Hubby emailed back to this Suki, asking if there was any proof that bad weather was the real case for the delay. AirAsia is obviously trying to squirm its way out of this way. It took them a span of 1 weeks to get back to us with a reply of some sort, and we probably wouldn't get any reply had we had sent via the AirAsia feedback form (all your comments probably goes to some black hole somewhere, so don't bother trying).

I'm kinda dissed with the way AirAsia managed the entire issue.
1) Flight was delayed twice, but the ground crew in Kota Bharu assured everyone that inquired we'll be entitled to the RM 200 voucher.
2) According to AirAsia's on time guarantee policy, they will contact the affected passangers regarding the voucher within 3 working days.
3) After 3 working days, no reply at all (not even a fart).
4) I had to bombard Tony's email instead with a lengthy email, which got us a one-liner reply, and the matter was taichi-ed to Suki.
5) Suki calls hubby and taichis the flight delay to bad weather (or some might say, God's will).

Tsk! Some airline AirAsia is turning out to be. I've never had any real issues with AirAsia before. We've had experienced flight delays (30 minutes to an hour), but with their on time guarantee policy, you reckon they would improve a bit on their timing. 4 hours is a long time, moreover 2 delays on the same flight was a little too much for some. And to add salt to injury, the way AirAsia is treating this issue, I think they're hoping everyone will just rant it out somewhere, than forget about everything and they get away with it (and possibly, repeat the same thing on other flights).

I would like to know, just how many of you out there, have been through the crap AirAsia gives out to its passengers? I can also hear some of you saying, "Hey Oli, it's a no-frills flight. You get what you paid for, so shut the fuck up lah!". Or maybe even "Don't waste your time leh, they don't care wan."

AirAsia should change their tagline: Delayed flights, but we don't care!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lunch @ Mizu, Bangsar Village I


I had a chance to dine at Mizu recently, courtesy of a friend (he paid for the meal, muahahaha!). I've heard of this Japanese restaurant before, but have never really embark on giving it a try mainly due to the fact it is located in Bangsar Village, a place I hardly ever step foot in. Then I found out they also have an outlet at TTDI plaza, heh! Another fact was because the words "Japanese fine dining" conjoured up imageries of exquisite Japanese dishes with really expensive price tags :P

Some wine and sake selections available in Mizu.

We were seated at a corner of the restaurant, and the overall ambiance of the interior was a little dim, with spotlights focusing on each table. Rows of wine glasses and wine selections will greet you upon walking into the restaurant. Service was pretty prompt at first, with the waitress asking what our beverages choices would be. I took a glance at their set lunches and found their pricing to be very much the same price range was other Japanese restaurants like Rakuzen and Kiku Zakura (RM 28++ onwards for some sets). The Friday lunch crowd was mostly working executives and tai-tais catching up with juicy gossips perhaps, hehehehe! Just kidding...

My friend just told me to order anything I want from the menu, heh! I was pretty much contented with a lunch set, but he was more adventurous and wanted to also order a few other items from the more premium menu. "Let's try this... ok ok?" he pointed to a few items, to which I nodded with agreement. While waiting for the mains to come, we were served some appetizers, mash potatoes with a small salad.

The first item that came was the Mizu Maki, one of the recommended rolls. The roll has tempura prawns, unagi, aloe vera slices and some other stuff I can't remember. I must say that the roll was very nicely done. You know how sometimes when you try to pick a roll up to dip into the shoyu (soy sauce), the rice tends to crumble and the roll just starts falling apart? Well, this Mizu Maki has a pretty firm consistency, which gives it a plus point. I believe this roll is priced at RM 35, pretty pricey for a maki, but the quality is definitely there.

A close-up shot of the Mizu Maki.
Next to arrive was the capaccio (can't remember which fish this was already). Thinly sliced fish served with some vinegar and topped with ikura (salmon roe). Presentation was pretty nice (ahem, fine dining...), but what about the taste factor? Well, the fish slices blended quite well with the ikura, you have to eat them both together and make sure you pop the roe so that the juices mix with the fish in your mouth. The combination of fish, roe and vinegar was actually quite refreshing ("hoi wai" as well, opens up your appetite).

A close-up shot of the capaccio, watch the chilli padi though!

The following dish was quite fusion, with a mixture of chinese style cooking and western presentation. Two thick pieces of foie gras, marinated in sweet sauce and sautéed on the outside, and the base was a thick cut of radish which was stewed in a broth. We both quite liked this dish, very unique, and the taste of it actually reminded me of my late grandma's cooking. Even though the foie gras was a little over cooked, this dish was pretty good (and pricey too!)

A close-up shot of the foie gras.
My friend's main dish: Cha soba. See the very cute quail's egg?

The assorted sashimi set I ordered, thick cuts of sashimi indeed.

It was most certaily a very filling Friday lunch, and a long one too! It started raining cats and dogs while we were in the restaurant, so we ate slowly to enjoy every morsel that was ordered. The rain got so heavy, I thought the roof of the restaurant was going to collapse on us! So much for "fine dining ambiance", HARHAR! The rain was battering the rooftops so loud, it got pretty hard to have a decent conversation, you practically had to raise your voice to talk! :P

The bill came up to over RM 200++ for the both of us, yikes! Well, actually if you stick to the set lunches, RM 80 would cover 2 pax, with some change left. It was the premium items from the menu which we tried that pushed the bill upwards. Mizu's prices are definitely on the high side, but their food quality was not bad (with the exception of some really funky items in the memu i.e: foie gras with fried rice? Errrr...!). Although I can't say the same for their service. We had to constantly ask the waitresses to refill our cups with hot ocha. We both agreed, with such price tags, service could be better.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Predictions
I had to blog about this, mainly because it's funny how some people like to play prophets.

I received a forwarded email today regarding a tsunami prediction. The email reads like this:

I just received this message from a colleague. I don't know the source of the message; I also don't know the credibility of the content, but just beware.

Below is the content on the message:

"Hello there. I just wanted 2 let you know that please stay away from the beaches all around in the month of July. There is a prediction that there will be another tsunami hitting on July 22nd. It is also when there will be sun eclipse. Predicted that it is going 2 be really bad and countries like Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak), Singapore, Maldives, Australia, Mauritius, Si Lanka, India, Indonesia, Philippines are going 2 be badly hit. Please try and stay away from the beaches in July. Better 2 be safe than sorry. Please pass the word around. Please also pray for all beings."

Thanks and have a nice day.

Bless you~

I couldn't help but grin to myself after reading the email. I did some Googling and found this site which the person shared with the rest of the world his eclipse quake theory. An exert taken from the website:
The eclipse quake theory is as follows, When the gravitational force of the sun and moon are both pulling on a plate that has not had series of recent earth quakes, the extra pull is all that is needed to "pop the seam" and cause a major quake. I used the theory to predict the biggest magnitude of earthquake activity, and it happens to be in Southern Japan. Japan sits on or near the epicenter of 4 tectonic plates

Allow me to share my thoughts on viral email:
  1. It's predicted that a tsunami will hit Japan on 22nd July 2009. How do you predict a tsunami without an earthquake?
  2. Can an eclipse cause an earthquake? Sure boh?
  3. The picture above which came with the email shows that Japan would be hit by a tsunami, so people should stay away from the beaches there. But we all know that tsunamis can reach inwards regardless.
  4. The viral mail also states that countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Philippines would be badly hit by this tsunami. Which means that the freaking tsunami is so huge and powerful, that it would wipe out all these countries skali gus from the world map (all the way to Mauritius too!). Which also means that even if you're not standing on the beach, you're a dead duck anyway.
I don't know much about all these science and astronomical stuff, but I do know that there are many out there who would gladly spread panic for the sake of spreading it. No one can predict what's going to happen in the near future. If you are able to predict such things, then you wouldn't be mingling with us mere mortals. If the heavens really want to wipe the entire human race of the face of this planet, there's nothing we can do to stop that either. Oh wait, we're already doing a good job by killing outrselves already (war and destruction).

I think we should just concentrate on living for the moment right now, hor?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Less, Less, Less
Since getting hitched, I've been following hubby back to his hometown up north for the annual ChingMing ritual (All Souls Day). The family would usually be busy preparing all the food stuff a few days before, and some of his aunts will be in the house helping his step-mum with all the preparations. Sometimes, one or two of his uncles will fly in from Germany for the yearly ritual.

The very first time I followed hubby and his family to the graves, it was quite an eye opener. The main reason here is that my family does not observe ChingMing at all. There are no grave visits, no major preparations. My family observes the 7th lunar month by going to the temple to offer prayers, that's about it. Clean and simple. Simply put, ChingMing has little significance to me LOL (yes I'm being blunt here).

Hubby's family practises Taoism, so there's a heck lot of preparations when it comes to ChingMing (CNY as well). Waking up at dawn, carrying all the food and paper merchandise, driving to the grave sites, finding the correct tombs, cleaning the area, arranging the dishes and offering our prayers, all part and parcel of the tradition of ChingMing. It's like a family picnic too, with the many aunties, uncles and cousins that would come along. Lotsa chattering and commotion everywhere.

The paper merchandise that would be burnt during the ritual is also a story on its own. There's paper money of course (they run in the millions!), paper clothes, paper shoes, everything we have here, they have it too (in paper of course). Mobile phones, jewelery, passports, credit cards, computers, notebooks, the list is endless. There would be clouds of smoke coming from thousands of grave site across the hills.

I just wish there was some other way to observe ChingMing. Another cleaner alternative, without all the burning. I know I know, some would probably say this is an age-old tradition. To break it is to defy the rules of tradition. All I'm saying is that, it would be great if there was a "less polluted" way to observe ChingMing. Less smoke, less burning, less littering.

If my in-laws were to read this entry. they would probably hate me ROTFLOL. I'm not trying to change anything here. I'm just having some thoughts about the idea. Yes, we should pay homage to our ancestors. I just wish there were other cleaner alternatives for us to do so.

Monday, April 6, 2009

AirAsia On Time Guarantee Is Bollocks
All the jive about on time guarantee from AirAsia is pretty much ho-hum for their customers these days. I think everyone who has taken AirAsia would've experienced some form of flight delay (or in AirAsia's term, "re-timed").

AirAsia says that should your flight be delayed more than 2 hours, you're eligible to get the RM 200 voucher and that they will contact you within 3 working days.

It's been a week since our flight delay from KB - KUL. And not a word from AirAsia at all, not even a fart. Calling their customer service hotline have proven to be a futile attempt, as you'll be put on hold for so long, the line will eventually be cut off. Ah, yes... Cheap airlines with even cheaper customer service support!

Some of my friends have been telling me that it's hopeless and that we won't be receiving the RM 200 vouchers, so I might as well just give up trying to contact AirAsia. There isn't even a proper form or section in their website to submit the claim, only a general feedback form, which probably goes to some black hole. But keeping quiet and just sucking it up would be equivalent to letting AirAsia get away with their pathetic excuse of an airline. As paying customers, no matter how small, I believe we should be treated better. What more with the bold promises the airline has made.

Ok, I can hear some of you saying don't waste your time, it's hopeless yada yada. Sure, we could take another airline for our next trip. In fact, when we made our bookings, AirAsia wasn't the only airline we had in mind. We had actually compared the ticket prices of 3 airlines: AirAsia, MAS and FireFlyz. Just so happen for the dates we were looking for, AirAsia had the lowest fares. Had MAS had the lower fares, we would've gone for them.

Some of you might also add, you get what you paid for. Cheap fares means cheapo service, so suck it up. Does that mean that everyone that takes AirAsia deserve such treatment? The reason AirAsia focuses on making their fares lower than other airlines was to give everyone a chance to fly, wasn't it? Irregardless of your wealth/status, AirAsia tries to give low fares so that everyone could enjoy traveling on a lower budget. But this also goes to show that, with the low fares, your customers will also be showed extra low service (or no service sometimes).

It's not so much the value. It's more of the principle.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Perhentian Island Retreat
Hubby and I, together with a couple of good friends (neighbours of ours) took a few days off and whisked away to the east coast islands for a well deserve break from the hustle and bustle of city life. We headed to Perhentian Island, one of the many gems our country has.

The last time hubby and I were at this island and resort, was 6 years ago. At that time, Tuna Bay Island Resort had only been around about 2 years, relatively new, and their guests were mostly locals (Malaysians). This time around, 88% of their guests are Europens. Never the less, the management has maintained the resort pretty well, and this is something we're happy about.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves :D For more pictures, visit my online gallery here (click on Perhentian link).

Arriving at the resort's jetty around noon.

Tuna Bay Island Resort, located on Perhentian Island Besar.

Don't you wish you were here? :P

A view of Tuna Bay's garden chalets. There are 45 chalets altogether.

Clear waters right in front of the resort. There's a long stretch of coral preservation here, so you can snorkel anytime.

Sun set view taken from the beach Tuna Bay is sitting on.

A view of the resort taken from a nearby pier. Note the stretch of corals in front of the beach (in a darker shade).

My girlfriend taking some photos by the soft sandy beach.

Universal Diver, located right next to Tuna Bay. I met up with a long time friend who was working here :)

The huge standing Buddha statue in one of the temples on the way to Kota Bharu airport. It's HUGE!

Savouring some local delights, nasi kerabu ayam percik. Our local driver brought us here to have a taste of this famous dish.

All 4 of us came back with a tan, ahaks! The only thing lacking was an underwater camera. Maybe next time we'll try to borrow one from a friend. Nice resort, good food, great company. I'm missing the beach already.... sigh~ :P We'll see you soon, Perhentian Island! We'll be back!!!