Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Not Today


June is coming to an end and it's odd how the weather isn't that hot. It is usually either too dry or hazy at this time of the year. Not a surprise when global warming is at its prime time, causing change in weather pattern. We still get plenty of rain besides seeing flash floods or strong winds reported all over the news. 

Right, I haven't written many blogs this year. I'm still in my recuperating season honestly. It's going to take at least a year before I can resume an active lifestyle after a major surgery, which due to sport injuries. I just need time to heal. After half a year, I'm still feeling a little pain on both my knee and spine. As the doctor said, the pain can never be totally eliminated. I never let it gets the better of me, it helps me to prioritise instead. 

This journey to recovery truly makes me see things from a different perspective. I used to care so much about pleasing others, now I'm learning to focus more on myself and learning to say "No" politely. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being selfish. Sometimes when we worry too much about pleasing our family, friends and colleagues, we tend to forget ourselves in that process. Pleasing people can be exhausting and detrimental to life itself in a long run. 

I finally had my revelation after waking up from the most excruciating surgery, it was a life-changing experience. I've worked hard to realise my family's dreams for three decades, and now is the time I should think more of myself. Lying on a hospital bed alone for a few days had me thinking hard what were the things I'd regret not doing if I were to wake up to a paralysed body. Prior to my surgery, I was told I could suffer such irreversible consequence if I took a hard fall. Thank God, it didn't happen.

I remember reading an article about five things people on their death beds regret not doing, one of it is the wish of having the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life that others expected of them. I did exactly the opposite for my entire life. Well, not anymore. Not after waking up from my sixth surgery. It was a matter of life and death at the time. What if I couldn't walk anymore? So many questions popped up in my mind as I stared into the clouds through the window.  

This sudden realisation just got me thinking what I would do to make my life more meaningful and worth living. One of the things in my list is to go for a road trip to places I've never been. I don't want to travel in such a very touristy fashion because I know it won't excite me for long. The idea to ride a bike, mingle with the locals, camp out and stargazing is a lot more appealing than just being a tourist. So in order to make this dream come true, yes, I need to plan. It won't happen overnight, it might take years. 

From now on, I'm gonna live this life for myself. I don't live it because someone wants me to. Just keep asking yourself this one question, "What if today is your last day on earth and what would you do about it?" 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Dead Town, Astrophotography Heaven


The photo above was taken on 08.05.2016 at approximately 12.15am. It was just right after Sarawak State's election, the night the results was announced. I didn't have the intention to go out of the house to get some shots, but upon seeing many stars I decided to take out the camera. The Milky Way wasn't obvious at first. I took several shots of the night sky at random directions and found it. It was right in front of my parents' house. 

While capturing the Milky Way photos, many things came to my mind. I know people who don't do Astrophotography would wonder about my Instagram post which I tried to relate to the political scene in a 'Dead Town'. Sri Aman or formerly known as Simanggang was dubbed the Dead Town ever since my childhood for a reason. Despite being governed by the same old ruling political party for decades, not much seem to change. The town itself barely expands since I was a kid, life is moving at a slow pace and pretty relax. Still very much a suburban area with little light pollutions. 

Those who are into Astrophotography know one needs to be away from the city lights as far as possible if you intend to see the Milky Way. I never have to go that far to get the shot because there's not much light pollutions around the town. I can just take the shot from the parking space at my parents'. This is an indication the town is not that developed, yet. Human can claim they have done a lot to bring development into this sleepy town but the stars in the galaxy don't lie. The Milky Way and the stars tell you the truth. 

For as long as we still can enjoy the ever mesmerising starry night sky in Sri Aman from our own backyard, you know the town isn't going through much transformation. Don't be easily swayed by the promises made at every election, words are cheap. So here's my suggestion to the locals, since the only thing that attracts outsiders flocking this Dead Town is the Benak, why not turn it into a heaven for Astrophotographers too. I'm sure you are smart enough to figure out effective ways to promote this outdoor hobby and generate income for the town through tourism. At least people don't have to travel all the way up to Bario or Mount Kinabalu to capture the stunning Milky Way. Never underestimate the beauty of night landscape, explore the Instagram and its Astrophotography communities, you'll know why people love to travel to a few Northern countries just for the sake of witnessing Aurora Borealis with their own eyes. Norway, for instance, turns it into tourism opportunity not only for the locals but also for stargazers and astrophotographers from around the globe. 

Perhaps it's best to not wake this town up from its current state, or do we have to? Either way, is it good?  I don't know, time will tell. For the time being, I think I can live with the fact I still can enjoy looking at the Milky Way from the comfort of my parents' home. Whatever it is, I hope the newly formed State's government will run this state with transparency and fulfill all your promises within these five years. Otherwise it is just another failed attempt to impress.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Disconnected


Okay, this is my first blog of the year. I used to write once a month in 2015, but that is not the case for 2016. It was a goal back then. I have decided to do it at a slower pace this year due to work and my own health. As you know I had a major surgery four months ago, so I need to learn to prioritise and minimise my movement. 

Despite having physical limitation, I always try not to think too much about it. I will tell myself to give the best in whatever I do. In 2015, I was assigned to coach students for divisional inter-school athletics games. This year instead of being a coach, I was given the task to be a judge. Not everyone would enjoy this job as we would have to carry out our duties in unpredictable weather. It was sunny most of the days. Suffering sunburn was a sure thing. 

This year we had to stay at a remote residential area where there was no mobile network coverage. Batang Ai Dam to be exact. I was literally disconnected from the rest of the world, from sunset to sunrise. No internet, no television to watch. Every night my colleagues and I would gather at a place sharing food, chit-chatting and making jokes just to kill time. 

The experience itself taught us to really enjoy each other's company instead of staring at the phones or 'phubbing'. I guess not being glued to the smartphone once in awhile has its own benefits. I slept early and I paid more attention when people were talking. Those silly jokes, laughters and long conversations were truly unforgettable. Besides, living at remote area also means there is not much light pollution. So, I took the opportunity to do stars time lapse and astrophotography. If I have to do this again in the future, I bet I will not have much hesitation as I did before. 


The Orion's Belt Time Lapse


Friday, 25 December 2015

Konsert ERA Sayang Sarawak 2015


To show their heartfelt gratitude, ERA FM Sarawak had recently held its first ever concert for their loyal listeners at Padang Merdeka Kuching on the 12th of December, 2015. The Konsert ERA Sayang Sarawak (KESS) was mainly sponsored by Emeron and supported by Technology College Sarawak. ERA had lined up some eclectic artistes from both local and international to perform for their radio station supporters. Among them were Afgan, Akim & The Majistret, Black, Stacy, Altimet, Lawa Nie Gang, Deasy Natalina, Mal Imran, iR Radzi, Nana Sheme, Wanie Kayrie and Nadhar.

Press conference and a Meet-and-Greet session for the fans were held before the concert at Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suite. The artistes who came to the press conference gave an insight to what their fans could expect from their performance later that night and updates on their singing career. Fans who won special passes for the Meet & Greet had their posters and CDs' signed. They also had the privilege to take photos with their favourite artistes.

The concert kicked off by the famous trio JoHaRa (Johan, Haniff, Ray) from the Sarapan Pagi ERA FM JoHaRa Pagi ERA segment. They were famous for their spontaneous and humorous punch lines that could evoke laughter or amusement amidst their listeners. Apart from that, those who attended the concert had the chance to win some interesting prizes which were given away in between performances.

On average each artiste perform three songs except Afgan. Afgan sang five of his smash hits and one of them was his latest single, Knock Me Out. He also sang a duet with Wani Kayrie in Kamu Yang Kutunggu. Wani did a great job trying to deliver the song like Dato' Rossa despite her age which was only 15! She is a force to reckon in the music industry in our region especially, the future seems bright for this young lady with a superb vocal. Others were equally entertaining throughout the night with each of them successfully delivering their own hits and energetic performance. The concert came to an end at about one o'clock in the morning with Afgan as its last singer. Crowds stayed till the wee hours because they were excited to see the Indonesian international artiste performed live. It was a golden opportunity for many of his Sarawakian fans since it would be costly to attend his concert even in Kuala Lumpur. We are forever indebted to ERA FM as they managed to get him to perform in Kuching not just once, but twice.

Kudos to ERA FM Sarawak for pulling off a huge yet successful concert. Having 15,000 people came for the show was an indication ERA radio station has a lot of listeners in Sarawak alone. Hopefully this is a great beginning to many more fun concerts that will be held in our state by ERA FM. It would be awesome if this becomes an annual event for the radio station to celebrate its fantastic and fruitful year with their much cherished listeners. ERA FM sure knows how to spoil their supporters! Lastly, thank you so much ERA FM Sarawak for inviting and trusting us to cover this marvellous event.

For more photos of KESS 2015, kindly click on this link:
To watch the recap of KESS 2015, click on Youtube video below or click on this link:



Monday, 14 December 2015

Nando's Kuching


Want to eat healthy? Then head to Nando's in Kuching. The first Nando's restaurant in Sarawak was officiated on the 12th of December, 2015. Some of Sarawak Bloggers Society members and their families had the privilege to join the grand opening at Vivacity Megamall on the auspicious date. 

From a humble Portuguese eatery in the heart of Rosettenville, South Africa, Nando's has grown into one of the world's leading fast casual restaurant brands. With restaurants located in over 30 countries across the world, it's no wonder why everybody's getting a piece of the hot action. From the world's inspiring leaders to celebrities, Obama, Rihanna, David Cameron and Taylor Swift, there's a Nando's fan in every corner of the world. 


All the recent hype about a mystery giant egg roaming around Kuching carrying the hashtag #KuchingHatching had Kuchingites wondered its purpose and many took it to social media sharing the teaser. It was finally revealed that the egg belonged to the much loved flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken connoisseurs Nando's. 


Our experience at the grand opening was nothing short of excellent service and delectable food. For starter, we were served the 'Appeteasers' which consisted of Spicy Mixed Olives, Red Pepper Dip, Hummus with PERi-PERi Drizzle and warm pita. 


For the second dish, we get to try the side dishes such as Coleslaw, Spicy Rice, Mediterranean Rice, Grilled Veg, Corn-on-the-cob, PERi Chips and PERi Wedges. I would highly recommend anyone to taste the Mediterranean Rice. The fragrance of the rice made the dish so appetising. 


The main dish was undoubtedly the star of this casual dining experience - PERi-PERi Flame-Grilled Chicken. A bite can leave you mesmerised and longing for more. In preparing the chicken, Nando's use only A-grade chickens, trimmed of excess fat and marinated for 24 hours. Besides, they also use 100% natural ingredients for PERi-PERi sauce and marinade. The chicken is flame-grilled for a healthier touch. Most excess fat is burned during this process. To add a little adventure, Nando's has included different levels of heat for the sauces. Diners may choose either Garlic, Mild, Hot or Extra Hot sauce. As for the 'Sweet Endings', we were served the Chocolate Crunch Roll. The dessert was made of melted milk chocolate mixed with biscuits. I must say the Chocolate Crunch Roll was delightful, it neither too sweat nor bland. Just the right amount of sugariness and it definitely gave the taste of heaven. 


I would recommend Nando's Kuching to anyone for its excellent hospitality, great food and appealing restaurant. So what better place is there to host your gatherings, meetings or even parties if it isn't at Nando's. To host your event, just pop by or call the restaurant to talk to their Patraos. To get more details on their menu and price, kindly visit Nando's website or follow them on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @NandosMY. Thank you Nando's and MilkPR for inviting us to your grand opening and the goodies bag, I had a pleasant and unforgettable dining experience for sure! 





Some gifts from Nando's 


Thursday, 10 December 2015

JoHaRa Bakal Temui Peminat Sarawak Sempena Konsert ERA Sayang Sarawak (KESS) Sabtu Ini!



Kuching, 7 November  2015 – Pastinya peminat tidak sabar untuk menyaksikan persembahan artis-artis kesayangan mereka untuk Konsert ERA Sayang Sarawak diserlahkan oleh Emeron dan disokong oleh Technology College Sarawak dengan mempersembahkan artis-artis terkenal tempatan dan antarabangsa seperti penyanyi popular Indonesia  Afgan, Akim & The Majistret, Black, Stacy, Altimet, Lawa Nie Geng, Deasy Natalina, Mal Imran, iR.Radzi, Nana Sheme, Wanie Kayrie dan Nadhar. Buat julung kali diadakan, Konsert ERA Sayang Sarawak yang bakal diadakan pada 12 Disember 2015, bertempat di Padang Merdeka jam 7.30 malam ingin memberikan hiburan yang terbaik buat warga Kuching.


Paling menarik dan bakal mengejutkan warga Kuching, peminat bakal berpeluang menyaksikan celoteh penyampai segmen Sarapan Pagi ERA fm JoHaRa Pagi ERA (Johan, Haniff dan Ray) yang sudah lama tidak menjejakkan kaki di Sarawak! Bukan itu sahaja, sepanjang menyaksikan Konsert ERA Sayang Sarawak pada hari Sabtu nanti,  penonton turut berpeluang memenangi  hadiah-hadiah menarik.

Konsert ini dibawakan khas buat semua pendengar setia ERA fm Sarawak sebagai tanda penghargaan kepada mereka di atas sokongan yang telah diberikan kepada stesen ERA fm Sarawak sepanjang tahun ini. Para pendengar ERA fm Sarawak dan juga seluruh penduduk Sarawak dijemput untuk memeriahkan lagi acara ini dan masuk adalah percuma. Ini juga merupakan masa yang amat sesuai buat penduduk Sarawak bagi memulakan kemeriahan sambutan pembukaan awal tahun 2016 iaitu dengan menghayati persembahan anak kelahiran bumi mereka sendiri.

Sebelum bermulanya persembahan, Skuad ERA akan bersama pendengar di atas pentas untuk lintasan istimewa dan sekaligus berpeluang memenangi barangan eksklusif ERA fm. Dengarkan frekuensi ERA 96.1FM di Kuching, 101.3FM di Miri dan layari laman web, www.era.fm, fbsarawak.era.fm  atau ikuti Instagram erafmsarawak untuk maklumat lanjut mengenai Konsert ERA Sayang Sarawak ini.  




Monday, 7 December 2015

The Vlog Godfather Is Coming To Malaysia!




I've been watching Louis Cole's vlogs for a few years and I must say he is my favourite travel vlogger on Youtube. Louis is well-known for his Youtube Channel which is FUN FOR LOUIS with over 1.6 million subscribers. His 'job' is to travel the world and share his experience with us via his daily vlogs. I love watching his vlogs because you get to see many different countries from a traveller's perspective and sometimes we can see places in 360 view! So far he has been to 65 countries, that's impressive.

Being an avid traveller gets him to places which are not often visited by tourists. He has this idea of travelling the world since returning from his first trip oversea. After almost two decades, Louis and his whole family have decided to come back to Malaysia this year for a family holiday. Yeah, he just announced it on his vlog (which is at the end of this write-up). However, he hasn't informed us specifically which part of the country he will be visiting. Hope he'll drop by Sarawak, fingers crossed! Usually his followers will know in advance his next travel destination. So, it won't be a surprise to see some fans end up on his travel vlog later. 

It's Louis who inspired many people around the world to jump on the vlogging bandwagon. I always find his travel vlogs are a lot more entertaining than the television travel programmes because his videos are the 'raw' stuff and not so 'touristy'. Due to his fame, he always gets invited to give a talk at social media or tech conferences all over the world. Sometimes we can see that his travel is organised and sponsored by travel agents or organisations which need him to promote their causes. I've seen Jamie Oliver, Casey Neistat, Kanye West, Russell Brand, Dr. Scott Kelly, CEOs and many more end up on his vlogs. 

One thing I learn from YouTube vloggers is in this internet era, you can make a career out of your passion. As Confucius says, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life". Any famous Youtuber will tell you to keep pursuing what you love to do most and the money or sponsors will come later. You just need to put up quality contents or stories, don't worry about the gadgets that you're using. Well, just letting y'all know that's how I eventually decided to get myself a Canon G7X camera which is owned by vloggers. Not that I want to become one, but I love what the camera can do in different situations. They call it the vlogging camera, famous vloggers like Ben Brown and Casey Neistat have it too. It's an amazing camera! 

So, being a famous vlogger also makes you an influential person. Everything you say, use or wear can easily become a trend. I guess that's why vloggers always get freebies from top brands to promote their products. Besides, vloggers nowadays are really smart too. Not only they are techno-savvy, but they do collaboration to help promote one another. Being a famous figure on social media also has it's own drawback. The more famous you are, the more haters you're going to have. That's something you need to know how to deal with if you decide to vlog. But when you have millions of followers, you have gotta laugh all the way to the bank and forget about those hateful comments!

Peace Out, Enjoy Life, Live The Adventure. Boom! 

Fun For Louis