Wednesday, April 30, 2008

MAF Of The Masland Methodist Church - Life Planning

The picture shows the retreat in progress.
MAF of The Masland Methodist Church took advantage of the Labour Day's break to hold a retreat at Premier Hotel for the benefits of the fellowshippers.

The theme of the retreat is "Life Planning", with Rev. Dr. Su Chi Ann, President of SCAC, as the course speaker.

In his introductory address, Rev. Dr. Su said the Life Planning course is designed to stretch over at least for 20 hourse, but it has been condensed into an 8-hour duration to suit the retreat programme.

Life Planning is essentially about focusing on God-centred life. "God has a wonderful planning for each and everyone of us and our duty is to manage our lives in accordance with God's will", stressed Rev. Dr. Su.

Rev. Dr. Su is perhaps one of the most organised pastors I have ever come across. Way back in 80s, I started reading his writings on church administration which were enlightening. Having him to speak on this subject is more than appropriate.

The picture shows Rev. Dr. Su delivering his talk.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Investment In Gold

When I was at Jalan Central Branch of Public Bank this afternoon, I was being introduced to Gold Investment Account. This new banking product took me by great interest.

Gold Investment Account is a relatively belated investment instrument in the glittering gold.

When the international gold price moved all the way from US$270 an ounce in 2000 to the present US$900, Malaysia was in a complete vacuum of a direct investment channel in the international gold for investors to tap the superbull run.

Gold price is now on the high side. However, there is still upside potential for keen investors to go in.

Gold as a precious metal is scarce, but the demand for it remains rampant. Global inflation concerns, geo-political tensions, high crude oil prices, depreciation of the greenback...all that and more are compelling big investors to shift from equities and treasury bonds to gold. As a direct result, demand for gold is on an all- time high....practically month by month.

As such, a four-figure gold price looks quite feasible given the tight supply-demand situation in the gold market.

Gold is an excellent hedge against inflation. If you are suffocated by the mounting inflatationary pressure, then you may turn to gold to protect your liquid assets.

But before you jump in the gold market, bear in mind that gold is notoriously volatile in price movements.

Have a good time!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Silent Tsunami

The latest issue of The Economist has an excellent coverage on the worsening food problems.

Describing this worldwide phenomenon as a silent tsunami, The Economist reckons that the present food prices are really causing misery and strife around the world. Radical solutions are needed, the editorial concludes.

As consumers, we really need to face up to the onslaught of this worldwide crisis with intelligence and wits!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Homecooking For Healthier Diet

Homecooking is healthier and this is what Yian ardently believes in. But, facing with picky eater like Allen, Yian has to crack her head to come up with creative recipes to induce him to eat a variety of foods.

Yesterday when Yian was preparing for the dinner, she kept mum over the dishes. This kept Allen in suspense!

Yian unveiled them only upon serving the dishes to the table. Wow! It was a surprise - they turned out to be something so unexpected!

Mixed Deluxe In Pockets and Potato Salad tickled our taste buds and we gave a big thumb up to Yian.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Votes Speak Louder Than Words

The charismatic leader of UMNO's Youth Wing Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein came out to apologise to both Malays and non-Malays for his most contentious wielding of Malay keris in the past three years during the annual general assemblies of the Youth Wing.

Despite all the loud public outcry and the overwhelming protests by MCA and DAP, Hishammuddin yielded to no pressure. Pak Lah also kept mum over the highly sensitive raising of sword.

Alas, it was none other than the mighty political tsunami on March 8 that cooled off the overheated heads of the UMNO leaders and woke them up to the reality.

The votes on March 8 spoke a lot louder than words.

Little wonder that more voters in Sibu now wish their votes to speak for them in the next State election on the burning issues!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Local Fruits - Their Prices Are Catching Up Fast

The food inflation is now a global phenomenon and the crisis of it is sweeping across the whole world like a silent tsunami.

At the local front, we have not been spared of and the spiralling food prices have hit hard on the ordinary folks.

local fruits are perhaps one of the latest food stuffs that creep into the market with prices substantially jacked up.

Only at the start of the year, Pisang Sarawak was retailed at RM1.20 per kg. But about two days ago, a fruit dealer told me the price is now prevailing at RM2.00 per kg., quoting the priceier fertilizers as one of the main contributing factors.

The above represents a whopping 70% increase in prices, substantial by any standard to Sibuians.

It seems that the local fruits are fast catching up the imported ones in terms of pricing. In no time we may be forced to consume more imported fruits to fit in our tightening budgets!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Datuk Dr. Soon Choon Teck's Deviated Stand

It came out in a local Chinese daily today, but it might have slipped the attention of a lot of readers since the news item has been relegated to a less prominent coverage.

Datuk Dr. Soon Choon Teck yesterday declared an open support for UCA on its stand on dredging Rajang River to alleviate the flooding problem.

This might easily be construed as just nothing more than Datuk Dr. Soon seeing dredging as a solution in Sibu perspective.

But if you hook it up with Dudung's stand-off with SUPP's Sibu Branch, then you may smell something fishy.

Soon apparently deviates from the stand of Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh. In the spirit of SUPP, Datuk Dr. Soon is supposed to maintain a common stand with Datuk Seri Wong to show unity within the party.

Choon Teck clearly sought to capitalise on the sticky dredging issue by siding with UCA. This highly political move is to win the affection of the Chinese community.

In politics, it is perfectly appropriate to be a vulture. Again, it depends on how you go about playing the games.

The above pictures are by courtesy of and .

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sibu Flood Treatment Project

The ongoing debate over a more permanent and effective solution to the flooding problem in Sibu is getting very heated up.

Actually the whole issue is just a matter of conflict of interest.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

e-Filing - Have You Tried Out?

Have you opted for and tried out e-filing this year? As per the statistics of IRB, just about 50% of all the personal taxpayers have e-filed their tax returns. If you are still not on the trend, take up and try out - it is a lot faster, safer and more convenient, and if your tax position is repayable, then you have been promised by DG of IRB to have speedier refund.

Located on Level 5 of Wisma Vasty, this e-filing room has a classroom set-up with more than 20 computers in full operations. Here a lot of first-timers position themselves with stern faces in front of the computers trying out to e-file their returns.

IRB assigns a few helpful officers to go on duty to guide the filing. As the taxpayers set their forefingers on the keyboard and press with fright and clumsiness, the officers painstakingly lead them through with a smiling face.

I e-filed for the first time and I was much impressed by the friendly disposition of the officers on duty. This taxpayer-friendly approach is an excellent effort by IRB to educate the public to fulfill their noble duties as citizens to pay tax.

IRB, keep up your good work!
The above pictures show the e-filing room in Wisma Vasty.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dredging or Daming?

Sibu has been much troubled by the flooding problem. Socially, it is a burning issue; politically, it is a sticky hot potato. Is there a solution to it that is within our reach?

Dam it, said the Sibu Visionary Team and the five DI (drainage and irrigation) experts all the way from PRC.

Dredge it, cried out the disgruntled Sibuians.

Dam and dredge it,a frustrated GP told me in his clinic.

Damn it, a furious kopitiam tawke burst out, expressing his disappoinment with years-long of lip-service.

It appears that we are all one step short of getting down to the crux!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

You Are A Shining Star

You are a shining star in the dark, giving out light to brighten up the world.

As children of God, you are bestowed with the noble duty to shine upon others through your life to bear testimony to God.

"Hold out the word of life and testify to the world your personal relationship with God," Pastor Ting Yee Ling shared with the congregation in her sermon this morning in The Masland Methodist Church.

Quoting Philippians 2:14-16, Pastor Ting called on the church members to shine to the glory of God.

The message this morning was touching and thought-provoking.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tax Subnission For 2007

It is time again for all Malaysian tax payers to submit tax returns to Inland Revenue Board to fulfill their noble duties as citizens of the nation.

In the past few years, it had been a frustration to the extreme to claim refunds from IRB for the tax overpaid. I personally had encountered nightmarish experiences of having accumulated refunds overdue for years.

I was not alone in going through the absurdity - in fact, the refund woe later became a nationwide concern.

Fortunately, IRB made encouraging progress in speeding up refunding the tax payers last year.

The DG of IRB promised last week to refund within a month of submission for those who opt e-filing.

A big thumb up to IRB!

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Home Minigym

Sidney has quite a lot of excesses to trim off and I have to exercise harder to prevent from getting fleshy - all these call for more strenuous workout to sweat off.

These two lovely exercise bikes have taken me through years of daily keep-fit schedule. Outwardly old as they appear to be, the bikes function fantastically well and they work wonder for the flabby ones.

But this sort of stationary bike is fearsomely monotonous. Boredom sets in fast and unless you are persistent and strong-willed, you might get down as quickly as you get up to it.

I have to put on hot music to drive me on - and it works well. The whole workout has become a lot more interesting and the fearsome boredom is killed off.

Exercising together with Sidney is such a fun! We simply drive each other on to burn off that extra calories. It's a fabulous family time together through working out!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Halal - It Is More Than Just Pork-Free

On April 15, I went on a day trip to Kuching to attend Halal Certificate Presentation Ceremony held at Sarawak Islamic Council Hall. The function was graced by Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman.

Our hotel ( ) was one of the 22 recipients of Halal certificates issued by Jabatab Agama Islam Sarawak (JAIS). An Islamic law was enacted four years ago to give the State government the jurisdiction to give certification to Halal. With that, we are presently covered by the State law on Halal matters.

Datuk Daud made it very clear in his speech that the strict Halal standards shall in no small way be compromised. I gave a thumb up to his stand.

Halal is actually much more than just having pork-free or non-alcoholic contents. The standards require all ingredients that go into food preparation to be from sources that carry Halal certification. On top of that, it calls for kitchens to be in top hygienic conditions and an environment conducive for food production.
I took a picture with Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman (centre) and MIS president Datuk Putit Matzen (second from right) after the ceremony.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pauline Turns 14 today!

Pauline with her birthday cake.
Light Cheese Cake With Chocolate Topping.

Days before her birthday, Pauline had been cooing to Yian about having celebration on her b-day. She seemed to remember it better than anything else.

Yian decided to confine it to just our family's affair and threw some simple surprises to Pauline - all home-made in their strictest sense.

We took long-life noodles in chicken soup for our lunch today. The deep-boiled kampong chicken soup with mushrooms was delicious and it went excellently well with boiled long-life noodles. Served with a hard-boiled egg and topped with succulent chicken piece, the dish was irresistibly yummy.

This authentic Foochow food has auspicious meaning - it signifies long life. As such, it is being well liked by Foochow group.

Pauline loves to have a cake for her birthday. Yian put her hands on to dig up all the left-over ingredients from Chinese New Year and came out with Light Cheese Cake With Chocolate Topping for Pauline . Her modified version of cheese cake is lusciously good and it appeals to the whole family.

After a thanksgiving prayer, Pauline blew off the candle to mark the turn of her age.

Happy birthda, Pauline.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Halal - It Is Business

Halal simply refers to foods that are permissible for consumption by Muslims according to Islamic laws.
It is estimated that 70% of Muslims worldwide follow Halal standards and that the Global Halal Market is currently a USD 580billion industry.
So Halal foods is a huge market for industry players to tap. No wonder our minister put it in that catchiest way a few years back that Halal is business. The YB certainly made sense.
Our hotel ( ) has been certified to be serving Halal foods for more than 10 years. Initially the accreditation came from Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) which is a Federal department.
The picture shows a sample copy of Halal certificate.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bursa Malaysia - Be Prepared For Volatile Trading

In the week to come, Bursa Malaysia is projected to be volatile on the onslaught of both internal and external negative news.

The subprime crisis appears to be worsening, hitting hard on GE in the States. The consumer confidence index in USA dwindled to a new low, touching on the lowest point in 26 years. This adds to the market perception that the slow-down is deteriorating, thereby causing Dow Jones to slump by 2.04% on last Friday's closing. The vibrating effect is expected to spill over to Bursa Malaysia on Monday.

The external shocks and the internal political vibrancy are going to keep the trading volume thin.

Following the near certainty that the States is staggering into recession and the strengthening of Ringgit against the greenback, foreign funds are again at the doorstep, hoping to make an influx to reap the pportunities. But the funds may not necessarily be channelled to the vibrant Bursa Malaysia.

Let's hope for the best in the week ahead!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The authority set up by the State Government to oversee the implementation of SCORE project is Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA).

RECODA is entrusted to ensure that the laid-down objectives of SCORE are achieved as planned. Broadly speaking, SCORE aims to increase quantity and quality of available human capital, accelerate the utilization of natural resources and increase employment opportunities.

With a total investment of RM334billion, our government projects to increase the GDP of the Central Region by 5 times by 2030.

Ambitious, indeed, is SCORE in terms od its projected capital outlay and growth achievement. But is it a reason good enough for Sarawakians to pin their hopes on this project?

You may visit SCORE's website at .

The picture shows the booth of once contentious and hotly debated Bakun Hydroelectric Project.

Friday, April 11, 2008


The roadshow is housed in a huge tent erected on the open ground at Pintu Gerbang Sibu. It is for a duration of one week from 7th to 14th of April with the objective to open the eyes of the dear Sibuians to the mammoth project benefiting primarily the Central Region.

Before I popped in, I dwelt on the impression that Sibu would stand to reap from SCORE.

But the roadshow cooled off my initial zeal. SCORE seems to centre on Mukah and Bintulu, with Sibu appearing vague on the drawing-board.

Ten priority industries have been identified for potential developments, namely tourism, oil-based, aluminum, metal-based, glass, palm-oil, marine engineering, timber-based, livestock and fishing/aquaculture. Of the ten jewels supposedly hopeful for the region, it is crystal clear to Sibuians that Sibu has scant benefits to derive from SCORE since majority of the identified industries are based outside Sibu.

When I stepped out of the exhibition tent, it suddenly struck me that there is little wonder that Sibuians have been rather lukewarm about SCORE.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SCORE - A Mega Economic Development Project

SCORE is an abbreviation for Sarawak Corridor Of Renewable Energy. In short, it is a mega project to lift the Central Region up in economic development to be on a par with other regions.
SCORE was launched on the run-up to the 12th General Election in Bintulu by Pak Lah. Prior to that, our PM had already officiated the kick-offs of a few corridors in West Malaysia, all meant to elevate Malaysia to a more developed status!
Despite all the goodies, the electorate in the West still backed away from BN, giving the national front a disasterous set-back in the electoral show. Well, let's not get side-tracked.
The vision of SCORE has been greeted with a lot of cheers. It covers for a period from 2008 to 2030 and aims to turn the Central Region into a primary economic powerhouse by the end of the period.
This very far-sighted vision is most heartening to those Sarawakians in this region.
The picture shows the booth of GGIFA International College Of Aviation.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

SCORE - Roadshow Now In Sibu

When this huge tent was first erected, I encountered not less than ten curious-minded Sibuians coming up to me with eager faces, asking: What on earth was Sibu preparing for? I gave them a plain and told them I was no wiser than them.

Then later I learned from the promotional banners hanging around the town that it was meant for the grand roadshow of SCORE. That took me by excitement.

SCORE's Roadshow - it is now in Sibu at Pintu Gerbang Sibu!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Expat For The Expatriates

A magazine primarily aiming at the expatriates living in Malaysia, The Expat has a style of its own with an innovative product range to create multiple channels to provide information and support to resident expatriates, newly arrived expatriates and foreign visitors to Malaysia.

I love this magazine for its splendid coverage on Malaysia. With contents principally related to tourism, The Expat is essentially a promotional publication for Malaysian tourism industry. It also complements our government's efforts to lure expatriates to come here to build up their second home.

Besides The Expat, the product range also includes 7 other publications with varied frequencies and target audiences to meet a wide spectrum of needs.

Andy Davison, the publisher, has extensively rich travelling experiences. He notes the wide usage of internet in developed countries and, as such, he has developed a portfolio of websites to enable readers to reach their international audience.

If you wish to market your products to the expatriates in Malaysia, you may reach out to them through The Expat.

You may visit their website at

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sarawak Convention Bureau - Think Conventions. Think Sarawak

SCB was established in 2006 by the State Government of Sarawak to grow the state's fledgling meetings industry.

A non-profit company limited by guarantee, SCB provides advisory services to meeting planners. It acts as an impartial and unbiased information source between buyers and industry suppliers.

In short, SCB aims to promote Sarawak as an ideal venue for meetings, incentive, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) , all of its own style and charm.

MICE accounts for an integral part of the local hotel business. As such, Ministry of Tourism (MOT) sought to broaden the earnings base of the industry by creating a thriving sustainable meetings industry. With SCB, MOT hopes to turn Sarawak into an internationally recognised and competitive destination for meetings over the next 5 years.

I attended SCB's briefings which left me with deep impressions. As an industry player, I give my wholehearted support to the Bureau.

Truly for Sarawak, by Sarawak and of Sarawak, SCB touches me greatly with its motto: Think Conventions. Think Sarawak.

Keep it up, SCB!

The picture shows the cover of its Meeting and Incentive Planner's Guide (Volume 1/2007).

You may visit SCB's website at:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bursa Malaysia - Heavy Profit-taking Pressure Ahead

The lackluster trading last week is expected to continue with impacts from both internal and external sources. The most noteworthy of all is the unsettled political anxiety which has sent investors to take a caution stand. As such, the trading in the coming week is anticipated to be quiet and to fluctuate within a tight range.

Last week witnessed a big slump in plantation stocks. In the week to come, the commodity price movements are expected to continue to lead the market. Least expected, however, is the likelihood for the stocks to plough back the lost ground. The fund managers are going to be there to take profits on any recovery.

Regionally, the markets are filled with an atmosphere of optimism spurred on by positive news. However, at the domestic front, a wind of caution still rules over Bursa Malaysia. As such, there is an upside limit for gain. In the week ahead, Bursa is very unlikely to get out of the straits.

Internally, our political situation might be subject to upheaval which, presently, is still the prime concern of the investors. The ongoing political challenge to the status of the party leaders and the overwhelming negative remarks by the political parties would scare off the investors.

In the week ahead, trade with caution and watch out for the politically-linked stocks. The worst is far from over. In the months ahead, Bursa Malaysia might dip further in the wake of any worse than expected scenario.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fu-Goa Peanuts - Great Time, Great Taste!

Crisp and irresistibly delicious, Fu-Goa peanuts are our favourite. These crunchy nuts take us through good times after dinner when I chat with Yian on diverse topics over cracking and crunching them. Sidney never misses to join us.

Cholesteral-free as stated on the cover, this product of Shandong seems to be a health food. However, according to the nutritional facts, the calories are pretty high. As we are sensitive to calory-count, we only pamper ourselves with restraint.

This nice tit-bit plays such a fabulous part in our family life as we crunch through the great times!

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Visitation To MAF of Doh Ang Methodist Church

MAF of Sibu East District went on a visitation to MAF of Doh Ang Methodist Church this evening.

Located at Telok Assan, Doh Ang Methodist Church is set in scenic outskirts of Sibu. Very much country-like, Telok Assan is serene and refreshing. The moment you step in, you feel a refief to be away from the bustling town.

The gathering of the evening was a study on Zechariah covering chapters 3-5. Rev. Toh Hong Yong highlighted the importance of leading a winning life for all Christians.

All the fellowshippers seated in a circle and the session was open for sharing and discussion. It was a wonderful time that we gathered together in this manner in the name of our Lord.

In conclusion, Rev. Toh quoted Zechariah 4:6 to encourage the brothers and sisters on our service to God: "Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit."

The gathering ended with a tea reception. We were treated to home-made tapioca kueh, meat dumplings and refreshing Chinese tea.

Praise Lord for the very fruitful evening!

The picture shows us sampling the home-made delicacies!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pakatan Rakyat Versus Islamic State

A two-front system is looming large in Malaysia!

Following the astounding success of the opposition front in the 12th General Election, PKR, DAP and PAS came out with a proposal two days ago to form a coalition front called Pakatan Rakyat to stand united in facing up to BN.

This is a very healthy progress in the democratic development in Malaysia. A coveted move, the coalition would certainly take our nation one step further in political maturity.

Amidst all the cheers and applause, there is just this tricky issue to cope with - an Islamic state in Malaysia. Whilst PAS has a clear constitutional provision to establish an Islamic state, DAP and PKR have strong objections to its formation.

The proposed Pakatan Rakyat has got to settle this sticky difference in political ideologies!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

UMNO - Internal Squablings Unveiled

A forum yesterday organized by at a hotel in KL kick-started internal squablings in UMNO.

Aptly called "UMNO Post 12th General Election: An Assessment", the forum seemingly was more like a platform to come to a showdown with UMNO's leaders, with target chiefly on Pak Lah.

Yesterday's scene, explosively thunderous, was a rarity in the whole history of UMNO.

UMNO has a fine culture to practise the traditional utmost respect to seniority and rankings within the party. However, when power-struggle intensifies and factious split surfaces, heated words are taken to open with little regard to the party's culture.

BN under the leadership of Pak Lah flopped badly this time in the 12th GE. The disasterous failure provided Tun Dr. Mahathir a golden platform to take Pak Lah to task.

In the past, Pak Lah could conveniently brush Mahathir aside, saying his harsh comments were very much personal in nature. But now Tun's critical remarks are getting more echo and he has built up wider solid base, so much so that the leaders of UMNO start to feel intense pressure.

If the snowball is let to roll wild, it might turn into a crisis in no time for Pak Lah to face.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rice Is Gonna To Be Priceier

Rumours of a further hike in rice price started mongering around even before the 12th General Election.

The market talk gathered more heat in the last few days and it eventually came out in the headline today that our rice is gonna to be priceier.

It instantly cast a chill over the market, sending consumers at large to a state of fret.

Coupled with the price talk was a widespread scare of a possible scarcity of supplies in the market. This imbalance position is definitely going to exert pressure on pricing.

Fortunately rice is a controlled item in Malaysia. This policy assures rakyat that the market price of rice is being capped by the government for the well-being of the rakyat.

But the price surge is not confined to Malaysia - it is a global phenomenon. Imposition of control implies that our government has got to fork out to subsidise for the price to stay put.

The Federal Government is presently on deficit. With the surging rice price globally, extra burden is going to build up on the nation's coffers.

It is time again for us to review our policy on self-sufficiency on rice. Our vast land resources are truly our nation's most valuable assets. Seriously, they ought to be put to better use.