Monday, September 13, 2010

Cameron Highland Revisited

View of Boh Tea plantation from the restaurant

Plucking strawberry on your own pace at the farm
The scenic tea plantation view at Boh Tea

Cameron Highland resort always appeal to me for its natural beauty, scenic landscape and cool weather. This vacation brought my family to visit the highland again since the last trip in 2006. The journey from the foot of the highland to the hill top is both long and winding. Drove up to the Highland last weekend and put up a night stay at one of the private 3 rooms fully furnished apartment at Tanah Rata, the main town of Cameron Highland. The room rate is quite reasonable at RM180 per day. The kitchen is also fully equipped with cooking utensils and the living room and bedrooms are generously spacious.

The highland cool weather is condusive for the planting of strawberry,flowers and vegatables which you cannot grow in the low land of Malaysia .Among the many fruits farm we went was the Strawberry farm where for a sum of RM20 you can pluck the fruits on your own pace but limited to 500 gram per plate.At night went to the Pasar malam ( night market ) at Brinchang, a small town just a few kilometre away from Tanah Rata. There you can find a variety of local fruits and vegetables displayed at the market. Fruits like strawberry and corns are popular to the local tourists. Later have steamboat for dinner at one of the Chinese restaurant at Tanah Rata.

Next morning visited the famous Boh Tea plantation and have breakfast at their scenic restaurant before driving back to Kuala Lumpur. It was an enjoyable and memorable trip for my family.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Vacation in Malaysia and Singapore

Vegetarian lunch in Malacca with parents and mother in law
In front of Resort World Sentosa attractions In front of the Singapore Merlion at Sentosa

In front of Sentosa casino entrance
With Richard at one of the leading hotel in Sentosa

Dinner gathering with parents and sister's family
Reunion gathering of old school mates at Kota Laksama,Malacca.
Qing Ming Qie at Cheng, Malacca with parent and brother.

Was back in Malaysia last month for the annual Chinese Qing Ming festival. It was home sweet home after 6 months away in Abu Dhabi. During the first week went over to Singapore with my family for vacation. Visited the Resort World in Sentosa island where the Genting casino and the Universal studio are located. The casino was opened on the first day of the lunar Chinese New Year 2010 and the Universal studio started business later on the 18th of March 2010. The studio was not fully completed. Singaporean need to pay $100 entrance fees to the casino to discourage the local from gambling. Later took the cab to Orchard road where most of the established Shopping Malls in Singapore are located.
The second week was spent in KL and Malacca. Joined my parent and brother for the Qing Ming Festival in Cheng and Bukit Jelutong in Malacca. Qing Ming Festival or Qing Ming Qie in Chinese means Grave Sweeping Day.Managed to catch up with friends and some old school mates in Malacca and KL and have dinner gatherings with relatives before flying back to Abu Dhabi.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Visit to Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall

Yap posed at Burjuman Shopping Mall
In front of the Chinese section.

Indian section at Ibn Battuta

In front of Egyptian section at Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall

Inside Dubai Metro train on the way to Ibn Battuta

Extensively designed teak wood ceiling finishes at Burjuman Shopping Mall

Burjuman lobby display.

Standing in front of Mahatma Gandhi potrait displayed at Burjuman

Burj Khalifa view from the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway

Went to the much talked about Ibn Battuta shopping mall with Yap last month. We boarded the early bus from Abu Dhabi and disembarked at Burjuman shopping mall, an exclusive elite mall in Dubai. You can find many shops offering high end branded products. The internal decoration of the mall was awe inspiring particularly on the ceiling finishes. So much teak have been used in the mall to create a cosy enviroment.

Later took the Metro train to Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall. The fares was reasonable at only 11 dirham for return journey. It will easily cost you a bomb at about 80 dirham 1 way if you take the cab as taxi fares in Dubai is much more expensive compared to Abu Dhabi.Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall is a collection of all the major country visited by the traveller.The shopping was extensively decorated to reflect the architecture beauty of that particular nation.

On the way back on the train managed to catch the picture of the just completed Burj Khalifa,currently the highest building in the world, standing at 828m high.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter update from the Emirates

Sunset in Burj Khalifa, Dubai UAE

Sunrise in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Seaview of Reem Island, Abu Dhabi UAE

In front of Deira City Center, Dubai, UAE
Mould making demonstration at Abu Dhabi Mall.

Moroccon dancer on stage performing in Abu Dhabi Mall

Aid Mubarak display at Abu Dhabi Mall

Abu Dhabi Police motorbike on display at Marina Mall

Time passed really fast and now I have spent my second winter in Abu Dhabi.Life is quite routine except for ocassional trips to Dubai and weekend shopping in the malls of Abu Dhabi.Taken some nice shots of interesting places and scenery for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pakatan pledges sweeping reforms- Malaysiakini

The battle for Putrajaya has been raised a notched with the Pakatan Rakyat coalition today unveiling its common policy platform, containing promises of sweeping reforms and equality. In a direct response to its race-based rival Barisan Nasional, Pakatan's common policy promises to reduce race-based policies and enacting a Race Relations Act.
It further pledges to practice needs-based affirmative action, enact a Equal Opportunity Act and other merit-based policies, such as in the case of government scholarships. Special reference to the state of Sabah and Sarawak - where Pakatan has little influence - promises greater access to oil royalties and resolving long-standing problems faced by natives. Further promises include a royal commission to resolve the outstanding issue of illegal immigrants, which have been largely ignored by the federal government.
Reaching out to the two East Malaysian states is crucial to Pakatan's bid to wrest federal power from the BN as two states command about a quarter of the total number of parliamentary seats. Also addressed is the thorny issue of religion which had in the past caused schisms between the Islamic-conservative PAS and the secular DAP. Most prominently, the coalition pledges to establish a “comprehensive mechanism” to resolve cases where there is an overlap of civil and syariah law. A royal commission has also been pledged to “deeply study” issues related to this.
Decentralising state economy At the institutional level, Pakatan pledged to ensure full independence and transparency of the Judicial Appointment Commission to restore public confidence in the judicial system. Other reforms proposed include making the Election Commission, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), Petronas and other major government institutions directly accountable to Parliament. This would include having Parliament as the approval body for the appointment of important government posts such as the inspector general of police, attorney-general, MACC commissioner and auditor-general.
On the economy, Pakatan aims to decentralise state economic management which the policy document said will boost efficiency, productivity and balanced geographical development. This proposal involves distributing economic and administrative power and the implementation of infrastructure work to the state government. The one-day maiden Pakatan convention, held at the Shah Alam City Council auditorium, was attended top opposition leaders.
They are joined by 1,500 delegates - 500 from each component party - of whom 15 are to debate the common policy paper today.
The crowd, which comprised all races, turned the auditorium into a riot of colours with their green, red and blue party uniforms.
Salient points in common platform
Below are excerpts of other key areas of the policy statement:

Healthcare - Establishing a National Heath Commission to improve public healthcare.
Women - Ensuring 30 percent representation at the government's decision-making level.
Police - Establishing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.
Culture - Liberalising restriction on performances by artistes.Language - Promoting Bahasa Malaysia as the regional lingua franca but protecting mother tongue languages.
Labour - Minimum wage policy. Social security - Establishing a National Retrenchment Fund.
Elections - Redelineation of electoral boundaries to fulfil concept of 'one person, one vote'.
Public transport - Study the possibility of buying back North-South Highway and renegotiating highway concessions to reduce toll prices.
Media - Amending the Printing Presses and Publishing Act and enact a Freedom of Inforamtion Act to ensure media freedom

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eid Mubarak in Dubai

During the recent Aid Holidays, went over to Dubai for vacation with my wife. During the 2 days stay,visited some interesting places like the Dhow Cruise, Deira City centre, Mall of the Emirates and Atlantis . Took the luxury bus service from Abu Dhabi to Dubai which cost only AED15.Upon reaching Dubai bus station, took the boat ride across the river to old Dubai. There we walk to the Dubai Chinatown where we had our lunch at one of the Chinese shop situated in Dubai Chinese Association building popularly known as Shoe City.

Joined the Dhow Cruise Dinner in the floating restaurant where Continental and Arabic buffet were served with some light music and entertainment. It was a memorable evening as the boat cruise along Dubai Creek by moonlight.

The next day took the Dubai Metro train to The Mall of the Emirates for breakfast before boarding a cab to Atlantis at Palm Jumeirah. Paid AED100 for entry to the Lost Chambers of Atlantis. It was an unforgettable themed marine experience in Ambassador Lagoon at the heart of Atlantis, 11.5 million litres of water and home to 65,000 marine animals in 22 different displays and habitats. It was really an awe-inspiring showcases of underwater world. During the construction of the resort, a complex series of passages was discovered, thought to have been buried thousands of years ago by the waters of the Arabian Gulf.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Malaysian Aide's July Death 'Probably Homicide'- Asia Sentinel

Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand

A Thai pathologist testifies that opposition aide Teoh Beng Hock was probably thrown to his death Appearing before a coroner's court in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, a respected Thai pathologist testified that an aide to an opposition leader whose body was found on July 16 under mysterious circumstances atop a building next to the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission probably was murdered.

Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand said the odds were about 80 per cent that the death of Teoh Beng Hock was not a suicide although two government pathologists testified earlier that Teoh apparently had killed himself. Marks on Teoh's body, she testified, indicated he was probably beaten and sodomized with an unknown instrument before his death. Nobody has figured out why the 29-year-old aide, a former journalist, would have killed himself, since he was expected to marry his fiancé, who was two months pregnant, on the following Saturday.

Teoh's death is not the only one that Malaysian authorities have been studiously ignoring or put on the back burner. Earlier this year, the Indian community was inflamed by the case of a 20-year-old male named Kugan Ananthan who died in police custody five days after he was picked up for questioning in connection with a car theft case. A post-mortem indicated he had endured several severe beatings prior to his death. Other cases of extreme police brutality, visited upon Malays, Chinese and Indians alike, have been brought to public notice by families, only to have them ignored by authorities.

Dr Pornthip, 54, acknowledged that she had not examined either the site where Teoh's body was found or the body herself, but rather depended on auopsy pictures taken by Malaysian officials. She was hired by the Selangor state government, which is held by the Pakatan Rakyat opposition. That had some critics in Kuala Lumpur charging that she could be biased as a witness.Nonetheless Pornthip, the director-general of Thailand's Central Institute of Forensic Science, is the highly respected author of textbooks on autopsies.

She has carried out more than 10,000 autopsies including one on the actor David Carradine, who was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room closet earlier this year after apparently strangling himself in an act of autoeroticism. She was also involved in identifying victims of the disastrous Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. She said she has conducted more than 100 autopsies on individuals who had fallen from high places. Although she has been called a publicity seeker by Thai police, who have clashed with her on many occasions, her work has been praised by outsiders. She was the first to go public with accusations that 80 men had died of suffocation in the southern Thai city of Thakbai five years ago after they had been trussed up and piled on top of each other in army trucks.

Teoh, she testified, was apparently alive but unconscious when he hit the roof, judging from the lack of reaction wounds on his arms and legs that would have shown he instinctively tried to soften his fall at the last second, as victims are likely to do. According to local media, she said the aide's injuries indicated he could have been strangled.Teoh was being questioned over the use of RM2,400 (US$710) in public funds by his boss, Selangor State Executive Council Member Ean Yong Hian Wah, to buy flags for a Merdeka (freedom) Day celebration. Teoh drove himself to the inquiry, police said, adding that he had volunteered to appear for questioning. He had been questioned continually for several hours over the night and, investigators said, had asked for time to rest before driving himself home. No one apparently saw him after that.

The death has caused outrage across Malaysia, particularly in the Chinese community, which largely believes Teoh died in an interrogation gone wrong. According media reports, Pornthip testified that the tear in Teoh's anus, which measured 6 cm wide and 2cm long, appeared to have been caused by an object inserted forcefully into him. She noted that pathologists Khairul Aznam Ibrahim from the Hospital Tengku Rahimah Ampuan in Klang and Prashant Naresh Samberkar from the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur had previously called attention to the laceration, although they testified Teoh had probably committed suicide.Pornthip also testified that several stripes on Teoh's upper thighs just below the buttocks were inconsistent with injuries caused by a fall. The lines, she suggested, could have been the result of a beating with a stick. She also pointed out several bruises on Teoh's neck, which could have meant he had been strangled.

Teoh's skull fracture, she was quoted as saying, was not typical of an injury from a fall, but more compatible with the result of blunt force applied directly to the skull."I found contusions on a fracture line, so the fracture could be caused by blunt force injury directly on the skull," she was quoted as saying. Khairul and Prashant previously testified that Teoh might have sustained the head injuries in the fall from the 12th floor of the MACC Selangor headquarters. But, she said, acccording to local media, "For transfer of force, (you) only find ring fractures at the base of the skull along (the) spinal column, not a linear fracture and not a cervical spine fracture." She also contradicted the idea that one of Teoh's shoes might have come off from the impact, Instead, she said after inspecting the shoes, he might have been dragged to the window where he was thrown over.

Pornthip's testimony dovetails with accusations made in an anonymous letter written in Malay language on MACC stationery sent to the Teoh family's lawyer in August, charging that Hishamuddin Hashim, a top commission official, had conspired with Mohammad Khir Toyo, a leading united Malays National Organisation politician, to conduct corruption probes into opposition politicians, and that Teoh had been brought in for questioning as a part of that effort. The letter stopped short of accusing either Hishamuddin or other offices of being involved in the death. Since that time, opposition politicians have complained that the files of seven Chinese lawmakers were confiscated by MACC investigators on allegations of misuse of their annual office allocations and so far while the MACC have left Barisan Nasional lawmakers alone.