Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Take-Away Meal For Convenience

I was busy with Yian for the later part of the afternoon. When it was time for dinner, we decided to fix a quick meal by redeeming the KFC vouchers for some take-away for the family.

We went to KFC Restaurant at Wisma Sanyan for convenience. At 6:00pm, the outlet was still slow and we hardly had to queue up. After a quick glance, we decided to settle on 12-piece family dinner plate.

Together with Yian's homecooked potato wedges, an otherwise simple take-away turned into quite a sumptuous meal.

If you cast aside the health-count, KFC meals are really yummy! But for the fun of the family life, it is worth to pamper yourself and your dear ones occasionally. You may educate your kids on healthy living, but avoid to go to the extent of depriving them of basic enjoyment like dining out at KFC.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sibu Tourist Map - Now Badly Out Of stock

Information plays a pertinent role in tourism promotion. With easy access to crucial information, travelling would be made a lot easier and more convenient.

Sibu Tourist Map is a tourist information leaflet published by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB). Copies of this publication are freely available to all hoteliers for distribution to hotel guests for easy reference.

This map is a helpful guide for travellers. Demand for it is brisk and we have to seek replenishments from Visitors' Information Centre Sibu (VIC Sibu) quite regularly.

But the awkward stock shortage for the map has been going on for more than 3 months. VIC Sibu is apparently not sufficiently stocked up.

This afternoon, I called up VIC Sibu personally and was most appalled to be informed that the stock level has gone down to so critically low level that I may get nothing more than 5 copies of Sibu Tourist Map.

Tourism promotion - we just have to go down to the very bases!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gawai Shopping Spree

KKDC is in Sibu to partake of Gawai shopping spree!

The roadshow, to be held at the lobby of Premier Hotel, Sibu, is scheduled to cover the coming season.

Sibu has never been missed out by jewellery roadshows. One of the pioneers in this line was DI (Diamond Industry) which ventured into Sibu about 15 years ago. Then KK spread its wings from Sabah to Sarawak, aggressively building inroad on the Land of Hornbill through roadshows. After more than 10 years, KKDC is well established now as a jewellery dealer. I met Kenny in the lobby when he was busy setting up his counter. "I am optimistic on Gawai season," Kenny looked radiant as he shared with me.

Come and let KK brighten your days up!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gawai Dayak Celebration In A Single- Parent Family

Renang is a veteran staff member of Premier Hotel, presently holding the post of Bell Captain. For more than 20 years, he has pledged his loyalty to us.

Renang stands tall as a single father. With tenderly love and care, he has brought up two daughters and a son in his dual role as father and mother. In no small way he deserves less respect.

Felicia Esah (daughter, 17), Fresma Ellen (daughter, 13) and Flavius Erddy (son, 11) are obedient and diligent. They are surprisingly well groomed up in a lot of aspects. Maybe you wouldn't believe that they come from a single- parent family with a working father.

Gawai Dayak is a joyous occasion for this family. Renang told me he has to plan out his budget well to let Felicia, Fresma and Flavius have a meaningful Dayak festival. In short, Renang wishes very much his children to celebrate Gawai in no small way less enjoyable

Shopping is the highlight on the run-up to the festive occasion. It is not so much the material pleasure that they are pursuing - it is the fun of it that is exciting.

Every time I see Renang taking his children out for shopping, I never fail to compliment him.

Renang, you are a great father!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gawai Visits - Flashbacks

Malaysia has a fine tradition of having festive visits among the racial groups. Through this sort of festive open-house practice, the harmonious relationships in this multi-racial nation is greatly enhanced.

In the past few years, we had organised several Gawai visits to Kg. Tutus. Located at the lower Batang Igan, Kg. Tutus is the home-village to a few of our Iban staff members. During those days, there was no access road to the place - the only means to reach there was by river transport.

We used to go by speed-boat and the journey took about 40 minutes.

Now the infrastructure has been greatly improved with a road accessible to Kg. Tutus, even though a major part of it is linked up by a plantation path.

This year's Gawai visit is still on our drawing-board.

The picture shows our DCM Tan Sri Afred Jabu being spotted swaying whilst performing a ngajat. (Picture:Philip Hii)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Gawai Dayak 2008

We are ushering in Gawai Dayak with our symbolic decorations in the lobby. Though not elaborate by any standard, it conveys a strong message of wishing "Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak" to all dayak friends.

As usual, Sibu has started getting heated up with Gawai mood. The air is filled up with Gawai songs and the town gets thronged with festive season shoppers. Simply put, Sibu is livened up.

Our hotel stands to benefit from the run-up to the festival. We are receiving more walk-in guests, quite a lot of whom are Dayak coming home for the season from working far away in JB and Singapore.

I noted a few years ago a surge in spending power of this group of Dayak. They represent the younger generation with higher income brackets.

Malaysia is blessed with harmonious muti-racial groupings. It has long become our tradition to learn to respect and tolerate the cultural heritage of each racial group.

This is the fascination of Malaysia.

The picture shows Premier Hotel's lobby.

A Dayak girl in the traditional costume. (Picture: Philip Hii)
The traditional ngajat by a warrior. (Picture : Philip Hii)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ringgit's Valuation And Movements

Two days ago, Pak Lah publicly refuted in Tokyo at an international forum the American Treasury's claim that the ringgit has been undervalued. Pak Lah did the right thing and he served it right on the Americans. The United states has been pressurising the Asian nations to appreciate their currencies at a faster pace in a hope to help the global giant to alleviate its alarming trade deficit problem.

Way back on July 20, 2005, Pak Lah's government made a dramatic move to unpeg the ringgit with the dollar. Coincidentally, China announced its shift away from its fixed exchange policy with the dollar to that of a managed float policy just hours before Malaysia made known its change of foreign exchange policy. Apparently, Malaysia moved in tandem with China, although Pak Lah flatly denied it.

In a matter of less than three years, ringgit has appreciated against the dollar by more than 25%. This weighs heavily on exporters, as one prominent entrepreneur poured out to me at a church function.

But Bank Negara Malaysia is adamant to let our currency to go uptrend in a move to contain the worsening inflation in Malaysia.

Officially, based on CPI, Malaysia's inflation rate is presently at 3%. BNM has options open either to jack up our rate of interest or to let ringgit to appreciate against the greenback.

Considering the bearings it has on our GDP growth if the interest rate is raised, BNM holds preference to float upwardly the ringgit.

Strong ringgit policy is nightmarish to the big exporters for a very simple reason: Malaysian products are now priceier in world markets.

Pasted herewith is my article on the trend of the ringgit. It came out in The Chinese Methodist Message No. 673 dated January 20, 2008.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cooking Competition - It Was Live And Hilarious

On May 16,MAF and MYAF of The Methodist Masland Church jointly organised a live cooking competition at MPI's compound. Altogether a total of 7 teams took part, all composed of the fellowshippers of the MAF and MYAF.

One thing unique about the competition was that it was absolutely live - from preparation to finishing stages. At the participating teams' own arrangement was a complete set-up of their individual cooking stations.

The marking criteria included taste, presentation, visual appearance and relevance of the biblical message carried. Also included in the matking was an overall cleanliness of the cooking station.

Rev. Kong, Mdm. Yii and Pastor Ting Yee Ling were invited to be the judges. Mdm. Yii is a locally renowned gourmet.

It was a hilarious time that we were together cooking to the best of our abilities. When the dishes were brought forward for display, there was wow all over. Much to my admiration was the creativeness exhibited by each team.

After display, each team was required to come on stage to give a presentation on the biblical message carried in the dish.

The competition spurred on a spirit of togetherness and creativity in thinking. It was considered a success.

The picture shows them putting their hands together to come out with "God's Creation On The Fifth Day" dish.

It was really an opportune time to show off!
The two sisters took it very seriously!
The competition spurred on a spirit of togetherness!
God's Creation On The Fifth Day.
Noah's Ark.
In Christ We Are together.
Five Loaves And Two Fish.
Judging time - In full attention were Rev. Kong, Mdm. Yii and Pastor Ting Yee Ling (L to R).

A Caring Visit

By a slip of one foot step on ladder at my backyard, I fell off and sprained my left knee joint two days ago. Straight after the self-inflicted accident, I went for a traditional treatment. The Chinese physician bandaged up the injured area with herbs for speedier recovery.

Later on, the pain became acute and I could hardly walk even with support. For the whole of the night, the sting and discomfort kept me lie awake.

This morning my good friend recommended me to another Chinese physician who is a bone specialist. Wow! His masterly skills worked wonder. After close to an hour of treatment. I could get down and walk on my own.

It was a relief with the pain subsided. Thank God for putting my strength back.

In the afternoon, I received a visit by Tang Sioh Liik and Lau Hua Sieng who represented MAF of SCAC.Their brotherly and sisterly care was truly a warmth in my heart.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ah Kin's Chicken-Rice Stall

A Chinese junior one drop-out, Ah Kin is now on his own business running a chicken- rice stall.

Since his drop-out from school,he has been in food line, initially as a kitchen helper and now a stall operator.

His keeness in food took him from Sibu to KL to enrich his exposure in restaurants. Eventually he decided to give it a try himself- and here he is, in Palace Cafe at Workshop Road.

Ah Kin offers mixed roasts with rice daily, all at fairly priced deals.

If you are a gourmet, then Ah Kin's Chicken-Rice Stall is the right place for you to tickle your taste bud.

Duck, chicken, pork and sausage, all roasted to perfection, look extremely tempting.

Come and try out to give this business-minded young chap a support in his new start-up!

The picture shows Ah Kin at his stall.

The picture shows some roasted ducks and chickens.
It looks irresistibly good - rice with mixed roasts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad Quitted UMNO

Yesterday Mahathir dropped a bombshell by announcing his resignation as a member of UMNO. This instantly sent a vibration throughout the nation, leaving the rakyat wide-eyed! By any standard, it was a shock.

The immediate question that cropped up generally is : Why did TDM resort to such a highly political move?

Simple - TDM has to move on since he was the one who initiated the game. He can't possibly call it off now - as we all probably have known, TDM never played a half-baked game throughout his political career.

Surprisingly drastic -It was of course a shock! If every step of TDM is within our palms, then he wouldn't have been the widely acclaimed Dr. M.

By departing UMNO, TDM took a step further to exert political pressure on Pak Lah. It appears to me that TDM has raised his ante in this politic game.

Let's all stay close to the ringside.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Homecooked Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak is a popular traditional cuisine which has long become a must for local food lovers.

Sometime ago, Allen and Pauline fell for it. Since then, they have been craving for homecooked version, earnestly looking forward to sampling their mom's culinary skill.

Yian took it up this morning to homecook this Malay food for lunch. It was a delight for everybody.

Wow! Her version of nasi lemak turned out to be very authentic in taste and presentation. Deliciously good, Sidney, Allen and Pauline all gave big thumbs up to Yian's homecooked nasi lemak.

The picture shows the homecooked set of nasi lemak.

Yian painted this feeding time for Pauline solely as a reference in her preparation for her school's art test on coming Thursday. The painting is very telling in conveying a message of motherly love. Incidentally, it reminds me of Yian's untiring part in bringing up Sidney, Allen and Pauline. To this, I wish to say to Yian: Thank you!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Economic Trends As I See Them

I started contributing on regular basis articles on economic trends to The Chinese Methodist Message way back in 2001.

As I blogged before, The Chinese Methodist Message is a de facto official publication of Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference, in Mandarin on fortnightly basis. It has a sister periodical "The Connection" which is published monthly in English.

Upon earnest invitation by Meng Lei, I started penning twice monthly for the message and the first article came out on February 15 2001 in issue No. 466.

Through these years, I have published not less than 150 articles on contemporary economic issues affecting locally, regionally and internationally.

The latest one appears in issue No. 689 dated May 18 2008 touching on the medium to long-term prospects of gold.

The article is pasted herewith for the benefits of those who are Mandarin-literate.

You comments are welcome!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New Creation Band With The Press Friends

This morning we called in the local press friends to cover the publicity of New Creation Band.

I made it less stereotyped - in fact, I threw it open to turn the press release into more of a chit-chat session. A formalised press meet is too rigid and it makes everybody feel restrained and under stress.

Tess, Anne, Ricky, Jen and Nice had had a good time chatting away with Roger (Eastern Times), Betty Lau (United Daily), Lai Wei Ping (Sin Chew Daily), Gaing (The Borneo Post) and Ling (See Hua Daily).

To the press friends - thank you for the wonderful press session.

The picture shows New creation Band at the meet-the-press session.

The picture shows Roger of Eastern Times chatting away with the band members.
The picture shows Ricky taking questions from the press friends.
The picture shows Roger posing with Tess, Jen, Ricky, Nice and Anne for a shot after the press release.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Satellite Television Antenna - An Irrelevant Issue In The Present Era

Out of the blue, our satellite receiver set broke down completely. We tried in vain to get the signal back.

The break-down turned our otherwise orderly life slightly going off the track, with my mom missing badly her favourite programmes after lunch and dinner.

I called a technician for service and the operation was resumed after a part was being replaced. Instantly it brought entertainment back to us. Looking at the antenna, a sea of memories flew back on its legal technicality.

Satellite receiver, being illegal, was one time hotly debated in Malaysia. More than ten years ago, our government launched stern actions in Sarawak to demolish all the illegal satellite antennae. It was subsequently aborted due to both legal and practical problems. Although installation of satellite receiver has never been legalised, it has now become irrelevant for enforcement in the present era of information technology.

It is high time for our government to consider to legalise it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Medan Selera Tanah Mas - Face-lifted

This SEDC-managed food centre is a popular spot in Sibu. It is located adjacent to Premier Hotel ( ). Recently SEDC gave a face-lifting exercise to give the centre a fresh appearance and renamed it Medan Selera Tanah Mas.

Established about 20 years ago, the centre was initiated with the noble objective to spur on bumiputras to be on their own business. With that, more than 95% of the lots are bumiputra-operated, making it a renowned native hawker food centre.

The face-lifting exercise included painting the whole octagon-shaped building, rebuilding the public rest rooms and beautifying the miniature garden. Lastly, a new oblong-shaped signboard was erected this afternoon to signify the inception of a new phase.

Perhaps in the whole of Sibu town, Medan Selera Tanah Mas, as it is called now, is the only food centre with octagon-shaped building. That makes it unique - easily recognisable in the bustling town centre of Sibu.

If you happen to pass by, don't miss it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Home-gardening To Beat Inflation

Inflation is a worldwide phenomenon now. You may feel shitty about it, but the reality is that you have got to to live with it. As Pak Lah pointed out of late, Malaysian consumers have to learn to outsmart the worsening inflation.

Yian has been ardent believer of home-gardening. She agreed whole-heartedly with Pak Lah on being smart consumers to stand up to spiralling prices. "Home-gardening is not only environment-friendly, it beats inflation in the present circumstances," she shared with me on numerous occasions. As such, Yian has been making every little effort not to let the backyard lie idle.

Three years ago, we came across a buah nona-like fruit at the market. We bought to try out and found it luscious. Yian then wasted no seeds for planting - and, here they are - three fully grown fruit-bearing trees.

Yian is proud of her home-grown organic fruits. Yes, they are organic in the strictest sense, with no chemical fertilisers being used in the growing.

But what has been curious in our minds is the name of the fruit.

Please enlighten us if you are knowledgable about this buah nona-like fruit.

The picture shows the fruit-bearing tree.

The picture shows the fully grown tree.
The picture shows the buah nona-like fruit-How is it called?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquake Ravaged Sichuan

A powerful earthquake struck a mountainous region outside Chendu, capital of Sichuan province on Monday (May 12), killing at least 12,000 people.

The quake, which was estimated preliminarily to have had a magnitude of 7.9, toppled thousands of homes, factories and offices. It was believed to be the country's worst natural disaster in three decades.

The news of the disasterous quake shocked me. As I read through it, I felt heart-rending to see the torment and sorrow of the Sichuanese in pictures. O Father, please have mercy on them, I almost cried out!

Loving God, when the Sichuanese face difficult times, give them peace in knowing you are there helping them along the way. Amen.

Monday, May 12, 2008

SUPP's Party Elections - The Race Has Just Started

SUPP's party elections are due to be held towards the end of the year. On the run-up to the elections, the party has started to get stirred up. From the top leaders to the branch levels, a wave of heated excitement is blowing across. This is primarily prompted by the planned step-down of Tan Sri Dr. George Chan as the chief at the year-end elections.

On the face of it, the event seemed to take a dramatic turn last week when Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh announced his support for Tan Sri Dr. George Chan to continue to lead the party. The reversal took a lot of political watchers by surprise.

Is the storm in the party now over? Some political pundits read the latest development as just a disguise. The race for the party leadership has just started. Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh's calculated move was to consolidate his foothold in the party. But he never conceals his ambition to move higher. As such, he may put his card on the table any time if the event turns right for him.

A wind of change is blowing hard in SUPP. Stay tuned in to the developments.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Creation Band - All The Alluring Smiles

The picture shows Tess, Anne, Ricky, Jen and Nice (from left to right) posing for a shot.
Unwinding yourself over chilled beer with voluptuous music by New Creation Band is not lavish by any standard. If you are after a hang-out with soothing ambience at affordable charges, then Bamboo House ( ) is the place for you to pop in to laze away.

New Creation Band is our latest resident band, performing live nightly to give you entertainment of vibrant showmanship.

We arranged a photoshooting session for the band members for publicity purposes. Need Lee and Philip stretched their photography skills to the fullest to snap the singers in their best poses. Tess, Anne, Ricky, Jen and Nice were given liberty to pose to the best of their masterly skills. Wow! It was fascinating.

The picture shows Need Lee and Philip in action.

Friday, May 9, 2008

In Deep Memory Of My Dad

The picture shows dad and mom in Japanese kimono during their trip to Japan.
My dear father was called to rest by Lord ten years ago today. We were overcome with grief when dad departed peacefully. But, knowing that dad was in the warm arm embrace of God and that we were all due to be in reunion one day in heaven, we felt comforted.

Outwardly dad maintained a grave and serious disposition, but inwardly he was tender in sentiment. One occasion that I particularly cherish was when I left for further studies in Australia.

Dad saw me off at Sibu airport with calmness. But when the boarding time came, dad burst down to tears, saying he was going to miss me. I was so very moved by dad's show of love that my eyes turned moist. That affectionate moment has been a living memory.

Thank you, dad, for all that you had done for me!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Philip Hii's Blog

I just learned that Philip Hii also has his own blog. It was at a photoshooting session last night for our hotel's New Creation Band that he disclosed to me his blogging interest.

I read about Philip way back during my school days at Chung Cheng Secondary School when he acted as a freelance writer for The Borneo Bulletin, a weekly English publication. Philip's specialty was in feature writings, covering mainly the inland places of interest.

Philip's flair for writing was admirable. The Borneo Bulletin was my favourite during those school days and Philip's superb photography and fine writings made his articles a pleasurable reading. I never missed Philip's column.

Then in 90s I met Philip in person when we were both in the tourism industry. His rich exposure in Sarawak's nature and ecology became my source of learning. Philip's friendly and magnanimous disposition has made him approachable, benefiting me in many aspects.

Calling his blog purely photograpy, Philip hopes to share his rich collection of shots with friends through blogging. Besides posting all the classy photos, I hope he can pen a little bit more!

Keep it up, Philip!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blogger Jailed - RPK Facing Sedition Charge

A renowned blogger and an editor known for running the Malaysia Today website, Raja Petra Kamaruuddin (or RPK as fondly called) was charged with sedition, and on refusing to post the bail of RM5000 was taken to a detention centre.

RPK is thus far the first blogger to be handcuffed and sent to jail.

This episode is a slam on our efforts on freedom of speech!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Myanmar Cyclone-Cries From Hell

Myanmar was ravaged by Cylone Nargis. The tragedy claimed tens of thousands of lives, leaving the nation in a pathetic state.

The onslaught of the cylone is most terrific. Myanmar's military government raised its death toll to nearly 22,500 with a further 41,000 missing, nearly all of them from a massive storm surge that swept into the Irrawaddy delta.

God of all comfort, help us to hear the pathetic cries of the suffering people in Myanmar. Soften our hearts that we may respond, and give us courage to act in the name and power of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The pictures are by courtesy of Reuters News.

Monday, May 5, 2008

All Smiles

Pak Lah and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad bumped into each other yesterday. They posed with all smiles for the reporters.

Both of them had their own causes to beam with satisfaction.

At a press conference after the 12th General Election, Tun publicly denounced Pak Lah for the stumble.

After forming the Federal Government, Pak Lah gave assurance to the nation, saying, "I still stand firm and strong."

The two heavyweights have their individual agenda. As such, the game of wits between them has to go on! Stay focused on the developments.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

The picture shows the cake for Mother's Day-Strawberry-flavoured Sponge Cake.
The month of May is warmly filled with jovial mood of celebration of Mother's Day.

Worldwide Mother's Day has been fixed on the second Sunday of May. The season is for us to express our gratitude for the hardships our moms bore in bringing us up.

Actually our love for our moms is an all-year-round show of filial piety - it should not be just confined to Mother's Day in May. But Mother's Day has its profound meaning - it is an internationally recognised day dedicated to mothers for their significant and great role. Celebrating Mother's Day is therefore our honour which we can't afford to miss.

In Sibu, Mother's Day has been popularised and commercialised, with celebrations for the season penetrating practically all sectors of the community. There is nothing wrong with commercialisation so long as we maintain the spirit of love and affection of Mother's Day.

Yesterday was all the warmth in the hearts for my mom and Yian's mom when we threw them a hearty lunch to celebrate Mother's Day. We did it earlier to fit in the travelling schedule of Yian's mom.

Wow, it was absolutely all homemade and home- cooked, making it a wonderful show of affection. Yian put her hands in for the whole of the morning to come out with the delightful dishes, giving everybody a hearty meal.

Happy Mother's Day!

The picture shows Yian, Yian's mom and my dear mom - it was all the warmth in the hearts!