Saturday, 23 May 2015

Amis U



Not long ago I was presented with this gift (a VCD) by a friend who is a friend of Amis U. I have to admit I know not much about this Dayak artiste. Amis U is an Iban artiste to be specific. However, I ever came across his name a few times on social media. If I'm not mistaken he is actively involved in Dayak music industry as a singer-songwriter. I have tried to google some information regarding his singing career but to no avail. Perhaps he is a newcomer in the local music scene that explains the difficulty in researching his musical background. Besides, I have never met him so I do not have the chance to interview Amis U in person. 

I watched every single music video in this VCD and there was one song I thought to be distinguishable from the rest - Lengkaka Mih (Let Go). The music video can be searched on YouTube. It is a nice song. By local standard (as in Dayak music industry), this is a good album. There are still some rooms for improvement though. Well, we do not have to be too hard on newcomers. I mean I have seen how some local music fans being overly critical on our local artistes. We have to acknowledge it is relatively a small industry compared to the country's if not world's music industry. It will take some time for the local musicians to reach such high standard like we all hope for although it has gradually picked up the momentum about a decade ago. Your common sense should be able to tell you that Rome was not built in a day, so does Dayak music industry. So, give it some time to advance. 

I can understand the harsh criticism at times, it is because we have long exposed to world class music ever since our childhood. So, it is not uncommon we have similarly high expectation while listening to our local songs. I know some people would go to the extent of taking a jab at our Dayak artistes just because they often sing at longhouses, pubs or funfairs. Whether you like it or not, they are still making money regardless of the venue where they perform. If you care enough to do a bit more research, you will learn that even international artistes have to go through a humble beginning before they become famous world wide. For example, the legendary boyband - Backstreet Boys. They used to sing at shopping malls, restaurants and schools trying to build their fan base before getting a record deal. Hence, I urge local music listeners to adopt a more positive attitude towards Dayak music. Show some love, show some support. Apart from that, the musicians and artistes also need to work on their professionalism in order to stay relevant and competitive in the entertainment industry. Like Casey Neistat says, ignore praise, embrace criticism

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Earth Hour



It has always been my lifetime wish to see them with my own eyes - the starry night sky and the milky way. I learned from environmental articles places where you can enjoy stargazing are somewhere remote, far from lights pollution. I even thought of going to Bario (Sarawak) after seeing a milky way photo posted on Sarawak Travel's Instagram. Suddenly tonight that dream came true! My family was having dinner when the whole town experienced power outage. Instead of updating status about the blackout on Facebook like most would do, I immediately grabbed my Canon Powershot G7X camera (not a DSLR) and went outside to capture some stunning photos. Just for your information, this was my first attempt on astrophotography without prior knowledge. I wasn't sure what to do but it was spontaneous. The night sky was the most mesmerising thing I have ever seen my entire life. There were countless of stars. They reminded me of a verse in the Bible regarding God's promise to Abraham:

"I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies."
Genesis 22:17

God's wonderful creation is indeed something good to behold. I hope in the future I can travel to other quiet places to look at another starry night sky. I would love to see the Northern Lights too (Aurora Borealis). 




Thursday, 7 May 2015

Backstreet Boys Live Concert in Malaysia #IAWLT


90s was a decade filled with lots of great music and boy bands especially! However, there's one boy band on earth that has stood the test of time and it's none other than the Backstreet Boys. This year the boys or the all-grown-up boys are celebrating their 22nd anniversary. 

Once a legend always a legend. BSB is the best-selling boy band in music history and also one of the world's best-selling artists. Back in the 90s probably it was their looks that caused fan craze, but after two decades it becomes clear that it's their songs which make them truly unforgettable. It's insane to think after 22 years we still can remember the lyrics from their big hits! It was obvious during their recent live concert in Kuala Lumpur, BSB fans had no problem singing all their old songs.

I'm glad I made the right decision to be at BSB concert this time. My teenage dream finally came true, yay! Back in the 90s it would be impossible to realise this dream due to age, distance and financial constraint. I was only in lower secondary school at the time. It's going to take a lot of preparation to go to a concert held in KL, especially for those who are living in Borneo Island. Just to get to the concert, it took me three hours to drive to Kuching International Airport. Then, boarded another two-hour flight to KL. But for the love of BSB, all that didn't matter. I was looking forward to have a blast with my family at their concert. 

As I observed, majority of the crowds consisted of those born in the 70s and 80s. Who would have guessed we all could party hard like back in the 90s, and for once in our adulthood we felt like teenagers again! You'd see some jumping, waving, screaming, singing and dancing throughout the concert. So unbelievable their behaviours were no different from either Justin Bieber's or One Direction's young fans! 

I think what makes the 'In A World Like This' tour a memorable one is simply because we can sing their popular hits together. It's a lot more entertaining if we can sing along rather than just standing there watching the artists perform. My favourite number would be 'As long as you love me'. The whole concert sort of walked us down the memory lane and reminded us how life in the 90s was very much enjoyable for many teenagers although we didn't have smartphones. Those were the days when we saved our pocket money to buy BSB posters, merchandise, magazines and particularly their cassettes! Yes, CASSETTES. We didn't have CDs, MP3 or iTunes back then. We listened to BSB songs on a radio or a walkman. There was no YouTube to watch their music videos, either they were aired on television or we bought the video cassette. Don't you miss the good old days? 

The concert lasted for two hours, too bad it was such a short time. We all wished it could be longer than that. The Backstreet Boys also made an announcement to the fans they are coming up with a documentary movie of the band and they will be going back to the studio in summer to record a new album, how exciting! I would love to watch the movie. Besides, they will come back for another world tour in near future, to promote their new album. Fingers crossed, hope I can make it. For those who missed the recent concert, you can watch the video I recorded down below. I apologise for the shaky video, I was dancing, singing, waving and recording at the same time. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the show. 


Thank you Backstreet Boys for making my teenage dream came true! 


Photo source: Backstreet Boys Facebook Page


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Pesta Benak 2015


The Tidal Bore Festival is held annually at Sri Aman town (Sarawak state) and it is better known as Pesta Benak to the locals. It is the only Tidal Bore Festival in Malaysia. Visitors can witness the sudden surge of water in Batang Lupar river at Panorama Benak or waterfront. It occurs twice daily, morning and evening. The king tide is causing water to fill the river and form waves that can be surfed. 

The festival is able to attract thousands to the little and peaceful town, both locals and foreigners. Mostly are here to either participate or watch the side-events such as long boat and speed boat race, beauty pageant, body-building competition, exhibitions, cultural performance and many more. For 2015 it was quite special as Fort Alice opened to the public for the first time. The fort was restored to its former glory as a heritage museum for conservation. 

The main attraction is always the Benak itself. It captures the interest of both local and international surfers to ride the waves in a crocodile-infested river. Fret not, there has not been any incident reported. According to the local belief, the reptile will not be anywhere near when there is Benak in the river. 

To get to Sri Aman is about 2-3 hours ride from Kuching city. If you are from out of town, it is highly recommended to book your hotel early as accommodation is limited during the festival. It is better to stay a night since the Benak usually occurs in the evening. 

These few years I have tried to produce a proper recap video for the event and I finally did it. Do take a look at it to give yourself some ideas what the festival is like. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local council for giving me the photographer pass these few years to capture the moments at the Tidal Bore Festival. 








Sunday, 5 April 2015

Love For Sports


As a student (kindergarten-primary-secondary-college-university) I was pretty good at one thing, sports. Throughout my growing up years I had gotten myself involved in all sorts of sport activities. It was the only thing I was truly passionate about. I played netball, volleyball, handball, softball, badminton, football, futsal and took part in athletic sports from primary school up to university. There is one particular hilarious memory regarding sport which I will never forget for life - being forced to be the second runner for 4x100m event when I was studying at UKM. Guess what, we won the silver medal! Yes, judging from my current physical form you will find it hard to believe this ever happened. Well, I have a certificate to prove it. Besides, my body does evolve from time to time like any other human on earth. 

Just like any athlete, he or she has to specialise in certain event. I was good at shot put, discus and javelin. I won many medals each year. Therefore, I always focused on improving myself in these three events. I loved the feelings of breaking a personal record during a competition. It was not just about winning, but trying to be better at things I did. I often told the younger me it was experience that mattered the most. Looking back at all those years, I'm glad I made good use of my leisure time and gained invaluable knowledge through sports. I learned a lot about physical training, friendships and hard work. 

Year 2015 is my first time being a coach for a school athletics team since my transfer. I used to represent this school in athletic meets when I was 16 and 17 years old. It has always been my dream to pass on my knowledge and skills because I do not see the point of keeping them to myself. Besides, I do feel I owe the secondary schools' teachers/coaches for my tertiary academic achievements. If it was not for them, it would not be possible for me to pursue my first degree with a full scholarship. So, by sharing and passing on what they have taught me to the current generation of students, it will keep their memories alive. Without their dedication in coaching, I will not be what I am today. These names will be remembered for life: cikgu Ahmad Faizal, cikgu Peter Woods, cikgu Gibson, cikgu Suhaimi, cikgu Adam and cikgu Embau. 






All photos credit to: SMK MELUGU
Photos taken during MSSB Sri Aman 2015

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

GRADUAN INSPIRING GREATER ASPIRATIONS IN EAST MALAYSIA


What would you get when you bring some of Malaysia's leading corporations and top talents together with exhilarating activities? A stimulating day of networking and talent matching, of course! That is exactly what is in store this March at the GRADUAN ASPIRE BORNEO CAREER FAIR, to be held in Kuching, Sarawak for the second year running. 

GRADUAN® ASPIRE: 5 years on


A highly anticipated career and networking fair, GRADUAN ASPIRE was first conducted in Kuala Lumpur in 2011, and has since been receiving enthusiastic response from talents and industry leaders alike, attracting thousands of visitors to its booths annually. There, job seekers as well as those wishing to pursue their post-graduate studies have the opportunity to meet, interact and glean first-hand information from renowned corporations and institutions in their chosen fields. More than that, talents are also given greater industry exposure and a chance to impress prospective employers with their skills set through the many exciting programmes held throughout the fair. 

Recognising the potential to unearth and inspire even more talents, GRADUAN ASPIRE extended its reach to East Malaysia last year. Its debut in Kuching saw more than 5,000 talents learning more of the opportunities available to them, whilst some of the country's leading corporations including Nestle, Shell, Alliance Bank, Maybank and PETRONAS were able to source for the most promising talents in Sarawak to join their organisations. The inaugural GRADUAN career fair in Kuching was also highlighted by an Inter-varsity Battle that presented participants with a challenge to globally market Sarawak's unique foods and products.


Bigger and bolder

This year, the GRADUAN ASPIRE BORNEO CAREER FAIR returns to Malaysia's Cat City with an extended list of participating exhibitors and partner institutions; featuring 30 prominent corporations including ASTRO, CIMB, Maybank, Shell, Sarawak Energy & NAIM along with partnership with 13 renowned education establishments such as Sunway College, Swinburne University of Technology, UNIMAS and UiTM Sarawak. 

The fair will also once again incorporate the sensational Inter-varsity Battle where five short-listed teams compete on centre stage, this time to present a winning pitch to promote Sarawak tourism on an international scale. Other highlights of the 2015 GRADUAN career fair include an exclusive talk by an industry leader on making the right choices for a successful future, as well as a lucky draw to win exciting prizes such as a GoPro camera and iPod shuffle. 


Save the date

With offers of unparalleled access to some of Malaysia's biggest corporations and institutions as well as exhilarating activities to boot, the GRADUAN ASPIRE BORNEO 2015 is surely one of the most engaging career fairs ever to take place on Malaysia's Eastern shore. It is an occasion not to be missed, most especially for talents wanting to stand head and shoulders above the rest!

Organised by GRADUAN, the GRADUAN ASPIRE BORNEO 2015 will be opened to the public on 14th March 2015, from 10am to 5pm at the Pullman Hotel in Kuching, Sarawak.

For more information or to register for Malaysia’s premier career and postgraduate fair, log on to graduan.com/aspire 


List of participating exhibitors:
AEON, ASTRO, AXIATA, BANK RAKYAT, BIOTECH CORPORATION, BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO, CIMB, DRB HICOM, ECO WORLD, HGST, INTEL, LAFARGE, MAYBANK, NAIM, PRESS METAL, PRUDENTIAL, PUBLIC BANK, SECURITIES COMMISION MALAYSIA, SARAWAK ENERGY, SHELL, TAYLOR’S EDUCATION GROUP, TEACH FOR MALAYSIA, TELEKOM MALAYSIA.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Fake or Original Ray-Ban?

 Ray-Ban New Wayfarer Classsic (RB2132)

Other than shoes, I also love eyewear. I've been wearing the same Calvin Klein sunglass with polarised lenses for many years. Just for a change, I recently purchased an original Ray-Ban New Wayfarer Classic. I'm a fan of Wayfarer glasses. However, it took me a very long period of time to educate myself how to differentiate between an original piece and a counterfeit Ray-Ban. As we all know there are plenty of fake Ray-Ban out there sold for a much cheaper price. It's unbelievably identical from the packaging to the finished product. If you look carefully, indeed there are some noticeable differences. 

1. The Retail Box - The original box is not glossy but feels and looks 'matte'. Besides, there's a label or barcode at the side which you can use the smartphone to scan and check if the information is relevant and matched the Wayfarer. 

2. The Carry Case - The most obvious difference about the carry case is the button, it should be engraved with the word Ray-Ban. The fake ones don't have that and the cases usually come in brown colour for Wayfarer. The Ray-Ban logo is always written in gold font. Apart from that, the case should have a premium feel to it and hard on the front. 

3. The Manufacturer's Information Note and Cleaning Cloth - The information note is printed clearly on glossy quality paper. The manufacturer's address should be at the very bottom of the paper, not in the middle. The back of the note is supposed to have entirely black background, the counterfeit one will have white background at the bottom half. Besides, the cleaning cloth should feature the red Ray-Ban logo which also includes the registered circled trademark 'R'. 

4. The Gold Sticker and Left Lens Etching - There should be a glossy gold sticker on the lens and it uses static to stick. The fake one has a matte gold sticker. The original sticker words are clear and sharp. Also notice the silver beads at the sides are in small size and oval. If you look close enough, the left lens has a small etching 'RB' which is subtle and soft.

5. The Temple Arms - The temple arms curved inwards if viewed from on top. The fake ones are straight, it makes your sunglass slips off easily. Normally Ray-Ban sunglasses have metal built inside the temple arms to reinforce the sturdiness. 

6. The Badge - It should be attached into the arms and not glued. The words are shiny and small. 

7. The Temple Arms Information - Do check the model information printed on both arms. If you don't see any model number, "MADE IN ITALY" and "CE", then you're certainly getting a knock-off Wayfarer. The number 52-18 shows the size of your sunglass. 52 means 52cm lens while 18 means 18cm arms. 3N is to indicate the category of filter. 3 means high while N means it's a normal filter. The words should be printed nicely and clear. 

8. The Hinges - Hinges at the corners should be made of good-quality metal construction. They are cleanly bolted to the glasses, not glued. Besides, the hinges feel tight when you try to fold or unfold them. 

Nevertheless, bear in mind just because your Ray-Ban doesn't have certain indicators as I've mentioned above it doesn't mean yours is the counterfeit sunglass. When you are getting one, it should feel authentic and you can tell from the build quality. It shouldn't feel or look cheap. Be extra careful when you shop online for a pair of Ray-Ban sunglass. The best is to visit an optical shop and inspect the sunglass yourself before buying. I've seen online sellers offer online shoppers the replicas of Ray-Ban. You should know the fact that none of the original Ray-Ban sunglass is sold for as low as RM150. I hope this sharing helps to guide you in purchasing a Ray-Ban sunglass.