Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Petrol Price Up Up Up

Yup... everyone's blogging about it. Petrol price skyrocketed overnight. 30 cents per liter. That means it will cost about RM70 to fully fill up the fuel tank in my humble Proton Iswara. Several years ago RM50 was all it took. Read it on bernama's website.

Last year the government erected huge billboards to inform everyone how much subsidy they are giving out for every liter of petrol (they're going to spend additional money to change the billboards now!). I'm not sure if the purpose of the billboards is to make you the rakyat feel guilt over the subsidy or to show the rakyat what a benevolent entity the government is. Either way it doesn't work because of one simple fact. Ask yourself this... where does the money for subsidies come from? Yes. A big part of the government's funds are raised from taxes (for those who find all kinds of excuses to NOT pay tax please don't complain about the fuel rise... you are contributing to the problem) and taxes come from your pocket.

Unfortunately it is also a problem that the price of crude oil around the world is rising. Fortunately for us we have something called Petronas; a 100% goverment owned petroluem company. Simple deduction tells us that when crude oil price goes up, Petronas earns more money. Plain and simple right? So what has happened to the increase in revenues from Petronas? Whatever it's being used for it's definitely not being used to cushion the impact of oil prices to the rakyat.

We have a government that likes to make illogical benchmark comparisons often with rural African countries. This time around, to justify the price hike they made comparisons to Asean countries which I must applaud because the comparison sounds justified... except why do we want to compare in the first place? I'm not sure if there's a single person who will be convinced by the comparison argument. I mean if one day your roti canai stall proprietor tells you "Boss, Roti Canai hari ini naik harga 30 sen... tapi jangan marah... Singapura lagi mahal", what would you be thinking? Personally, what do I care if Singapore has pricier Roti Canai. What I know is MY Roti Canai is going to be more expensive. What the rakyat is interested in knowing is how come our petrol prices are not as low as Brunei's.

I think we need to ask ourselves why the goverment cannot afford to absorb the rising fuel costs. I'm guessing it is because of the targeted budget deficit of 3.5%. But the bigger question to ask ourselves is how come we are facing a deficit? Could it be because of the billions we waste in repairing shoddily constructed facilities? Could it be the billions of ringgit paid for white elephant projects? Could it be the rampant corruption that jacks up prices of major public projects? I'm so very tempted to answer yes to all the questions but I don't have the facts. I'll just assume that I have asked the right questions... what do you think?

There's more to write but I've got to prepare for work so I'll stop right here. Wishing everyone improved mileage in their vehicles :)

posted by wyejon at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 (permalink) | 10 comments | trackbacks

Monday, February 27, 2006

Brother Kuan, Bandar Puteri Puchong

This post is several days late and I have been pestered every day by an irritating colleague of mine to blog about it! Well here it is! You happy??? ;p

Brother Kuan is one of those Chinese cut meat restaurants where they serve all manner of cut meat (chicken, duck, pork). My colleagues didn't dare to have any chicken meat because of the bird flu but they happily ordered duck! Bird flu means all birds, ok? Not just chicken :) Anyway we ate up and survived to tell the story. There's no point overreacting to the bird flu scare.

It was a farewell event for one of my colleagues who left the company last Thursday. Brother Kuan offers sets for 10 pax. There are 3 sets with prices around the RM100 mark. We took the most expensive one and it was quite filling. The food was not bad. I'm not normally a duck person but I enjoyed their duck dish so that's a definite recommendation from me.

Roast pork (siu yuk).

BBQ pork (char siew).

Some funny looking fish paste. Not bad.

Five Fragrance Duck. They serve 3 types of duck dishes. We ordered another an additional one called Duck with Superior Soup. Pretty good because they managed to tone down the overwhelming duck taste and mixed it with flavourful broth.

Some kind of vegetable soup. What kind? I don't know ;)

Prawns... sweet and sour prawns I think. Pretty standard fare.

Asam fish. Most of my colleagues didn't touch this dish... they were too lazy to pick the meat off the bones. Actually I don't like bones either!

You can find Brother Kuan along the same road as the famous Bumbu Bali Restaurant in Bandar Puteri Puchong. A good place for lunch as it's air conditioned and the food is not too pricey.

posted by wyejon at Monday, February 27, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Victoria Station, Jalan Ampang

I spent Saturday night with cheap (and probably very dangerous ) vodka, Kahlua (White Russian), Chivas and Johnny Walker on the rocks. Sunday was NOT fun! Had to skip a gathering in Midvalley because I was feeling like crap. Thankfully I managed to beat the hangover with the help of a Panadol and some sleep in the afternoon. I think I'll be staying away from liquor for a month of two.

26th of February is an important day to me because it is the day that myself and ST became a couple. That was 6 years ago. We decided to celebrate with a little dinner at Victoria Station in Jalan Ampang which has an actual KTM train sticking out of its side!

All aboard!

The Victoria Station in Jalan Ampang is housed in their little own building. As mentioned before there is a real train sticking out from it's side and inside the train cabins have been converted for dining. However it's strickly for non-smokers only. The smokers get to dine in the hall outside which sucks in comparison to the cabins.

Strawberry Milkshake (RM4.90) and Orange Juice (RM6.00). The Strawberry Milkshake smelled like some medication but that's how I usually perceive the flavour of strawberry drinks anyway. ST didn't seem to mind it though so I guess it's just me.

It is very easy to over-order in "proper" western restaurants such as this one. Their main course is usually humongous but you always get tempted to order some starters and some desserts. This time we practiced some restraint. Just a simple soup and some escargots for starters. A main course for myself and one for ST and no desserts.

Baked Onion Soup (RM6.90). Thick (and I mean really thick) onion soup with a topping of slightly grilled cheese. Personally I love onions and this soup was so full of them. Really great.

Escargots 1/2 doz (RM 14.90). These little suckers are baked with garlic sauce and some cheese if I'm not mistaken. They taste great as long as you don't think of snails while you consume them.

Seafood Au Gratin (RM17.90) which is basically baked seafood (mostly prawns, some crab, some oysters, mushrooms and perhaps some other stuff). It's very rare that I can bring myself to say that I've eaten too much seafood but this is one occasion that I have to admit defeat. There's so much seafood in the bake that after a while the "fishy" smell overpowers your taste buds. This dish is best eaten in moderation.

Dragon Kingdom (RM47.90). A combination of Lobster Thermidor, grilled squids, grilled scallops and fried fish. Lobster Thermidor is basically lobster meat stuffed back into it's shell and baked along with cheese and mushrooms. The lobster was a little underwhelming... perhaps it wasn't as fresh as it should have been. Overall the dish was ok though.

We tried ordering in moderation but I think we still ate too much ;p I wonder if it's possible to order a single main course and share it between 2 persons and not look cheap. At least that way we'll have some room for desserts.


Update: This is what I got ST this year for our anniversary. Another simple crystal to add to our collection.

A read tear shaped crystal.

posted by wyejon at Monday, February 27, 2006 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pic of the Day: Big Assed Proton Satria

All hail the great Proton Satria with an ass so big it needs to be parked in 2 parking bays.

Ok, so how much did you bribe to get your driving license? I think you probably spent more than others.

posted by wyejon at Sunday, February 26, 2006 (permalink) | 1 comments | trackbacks

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cyberjaya Makan (3): The Coast, Alamanda Putrajaya

Alamanda Putrajaya is the only proper shopping complex available to residents of Cyberjaya and Putrajaya but there isn't much there shopping wise. They fare slightly better when it comes to food with many popular chains making their appearance there. Most of the fast food bigwigs are there and they have a massive food court. Alamanda is also host to what is possibly the nicest looking Pizza Hut and A&W store in Malaysia. What's interesting is the area where the fountains are located (outdoor). There are several restaurants operating there and most if not all of them offer the option of indoor or al fresco dining.

In my time working in Cyberjaya I have only had the chance to try 2 of the aforementioned restaurants. I can't quite remember the name of one of them but I was at Alamanda yesterday afternoon for a lunch with some of my team leads at The Coast. It was a farewell lunch for myself and another colleague.

ST once worked with someone who told her that The Coast was run by a former chef of Chilli's. I don't know if there's any truth in that but flip open the menu and you will find food that is very similar to what you can find in Chilli's. Perhaps it's the American diner concept that makes it similar but I digress.

My first time at The Coast was with ST many months back and we were less than impressed then. I remember we were served dishes that were half cold and half warm. For example the burger was served cold (like it came out from a fridge) and the fries were just fried. Odd right? We swore never to go back again but this time I was not paying so no complaints from me :)

Entrance to The Coast.

There were 5 of us and we ordered a starter to share. The starter was called the Trio Dip which as its name implies consists of 3 appetizers with 3 different dips. I have no idea what you call those 2 breaded appetizers but those at the back are chicken drummets marinated to be a little sourish. I can however tell you what the dips were; garlic cream, tomato salsa and some kind of cheese.

The Trio Dip. Quite good... worth a try.

For myself I had a burger with cheese and mushrooms. Surprisingly this time around I have nothing but praises for the food at the Coast. The beef patty was about an inch thick and it was ever so juicy. Coupled with sauteed mushrooms and melted cheese it was sinfully delicious. Damn... I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Thick and juicy burger with cheese and mushrooms.

My colleague who had the fish and chips however didn't enjoy his meal. It did look pretty bland to me too. So what's the conclusion? I guess they are worth trying out at least once. They have some reasonably priced set lunches that go for less than RM10. If you're looking for the Chilli's/TGIF experience within the Cyberjaya/Putrajaya area you might want to consider coming here.

posted by wyejon at Thursday, February 23, 2006 (permalink) | 6 comments | trackbacks

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cyberjaya Makan (2): Wei Dao Hao - Bak Kut Teh in Dengkil

BKT = Bak Kut Teh

Dengkil is a small town neighbouring Cyberjaya. I've never ventured deep into the town so the only part of Dengkil I know is the short 2 or 3 km stretch of (main) road where we usually go for lunch. Bak Kut Teh seems to be a Dengkil favourite. I know of at least 3 restaurants that serve it but there's only one place that we go for our fix and that is Wei Dao Hao (which means Good Taste in Chinese). If coming from the direction of Cyberjaya look out for this restaurant on your left. It is located in a corner lot. Formerly they were placed in a zinc shack on the opposite side of the road from their current location.

BKT for 3 persons.

Yam with Pork

As with most BKT places they don't just serve BKT. They also have curry chicken, curry fish, vinegar pork, yam with pork, sweet and sour pork and various types of vegetables. Their yam with pork used to be really good. This was back when they were still housed in the old shack. Nowadays I wouldn't bother with it. From what I hear they didn't make their own yam with pork back then. Now they do and it sucks.

The million dollar question is "How does it compare to Klang BKT?". To that I answer I don't know because I have never been to Klang to eat BKT. In fact I only started eating BKT when I joined my current company. However I do enjoy eating BKT here and I guess you probably will too.

posted by wyejon at Monday, February 20, 2006 (permalink) | 10 comments | trackbacks

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Keroro Gunso Key Chains


Having watched Densha Otoko last year (which IMHO is the best J-dorama ever) some of the figures shown in the series really caught my eye. In particular the rabbit eared, carrot rocket propelled Mina from the opening sequence and Keroro Gunso the green frog character that you see being carried by Yamada a lot.

Now Keroro Gunso is extremely obscure in Malaysia. Heck even the fansubs don't go past episode #8. I guess I was quite lucky to find these keychains in a pasar malam in Jinjang.

Sergeant Keroro, Private Second Class Tamama, Corporal Giroro, Sergeant Major Kururu, Lance Corporal Dororo.

I actually bought 6 of those figures. However the 6th one was a Tamama (right) with the wrong colour but a much nicer expression.

I also bought myself a Keroro Gunso handphone strap. Attached it to my phone, took a picture and promptly detached it. Too big :)

posted by wyejon at Sunday, February 19, 2006 (permalink) | 6 comments | trackbacks

Friday, February 17, 2006

Pic of the Day: Fist of the Praying Mantis!

That last chicken drumstick is mine!

posted by wyejon at Friday, February 17, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Terminal 2, Bandar Puteri Puchong

The shoplots opposite the road from the Giant Hypermarket in Bandar Puteri Puchong house some of the better restaurants in Puchong. Perhaps I have to retract my statement that there is no good food in Puchong :)

ST brought me to this Hong Kong styled restaurant called Terminal 2. She had been here with her colleagues before and found their noodles to be pretty good.

You can find Terminal 2 along the same road as the Bumbu Bali restaurant.

The typical Ying Yang drink except much larger than most other establishments (RM2.80). The restaurant also serves some good looking tea in a jar.

Soup Noodle with Meat and Szechuan ... (name incomplete because it didn't fit into the receipt, RM 5.90). This is your basic "Za Chai Mee" which means a salty noodle dish which is surprisingly appetising. The noodles they used are very similar to the ones served by Taiwan Noodle House.

Soup Noodle Drunken Prawns (RM13.90). A noodle dish served with 5 medium sized prawns (quite fresh too). The soup is laced with Chinese cooking wine (hence the word drunken in its name) and boiled with several types of Chinese herbs. This dish took a long time to prepare perhaps because of the herbs as they take some time to cook. I really liked this dish and heartily recommend it.

An oddity in the menu; Terminal 2's menu list some items as "pie" but they sound suspiciously like sandwiches (e.g. Ham and Cheese "pie"). That's because they are! Basically they are sandwiches made using a special toaster which presses the sides of the bread together making them into a sort of "pie". Did you notice the quotation marks in the word "pie"? That's exactly how it's written in their menu :-)

posted by wyejon at Thursday, February 16, 2006 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Valentines 2006

I trust everyone had a good Valentine's Day celebration. Me and ST aren't believers in Valentine's Day but I did want to bring her to a nice place for dinner. Too bad... it was not meant to be.

I started my day by getting stuck in traffic for over an hour on the way to work. We're not sure what happened but anecdotal reports suggest a motorcyclist was killed near the Puchong toll plaza on the LDP.

Because I started work late I had to leave the office much later than I usually do. I expected traffic congestion but I didn't think it would take me an hour and a half to get to ST's place. By that time it was already 9pm.

Not too late for dinner perhaps but we wanted to avoid the crowds and hassle of looking for parking so we had some delicious Hokkien Mee in Jalan Ipoh instead :) Yes, really... Happy Valentines Day dear.

The noodles were great... too bad I didn't get the name of the place. Maybe I'll do a proper review next time.

It looks like the Hokkien Noodles I blogged about sometime back. Definitely above average although not as good as Ming Hoe.

Loh Mee... actually this was pretty big. Couldn't finish it. I love Loh Mee with lots of vinegar. Reminds me of eating Sharks Fin soup :p

ST and Hong Hong. Hong Hong is a kid that ST's mum looks after. If I take ST out during the weekday nights I usually have to bring him along too. If I don't he cries and makes me feel really guilty.

Here's a Carnation that we got last Sunday from someone distributing Lasik pamphlets in Mid Valley. The flower is in full bloom today... perfect for taking a picture.

So as you can see I don't really take Valentine's Day seriously. There's a far more important day that I celebrate every February and you'll probably read about it later this month.

posted by wyejon at Tuesday, February 14, 2006 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Monday, February 13, 2006

Beard Papa's, Mid Valley Megamall

I'm probably the last "food blogger" to try these famous Japanese cream puffs. I've had the urge to try them ever since reading about them some months ago but nowadays I frequent One Utama a whole lot more than Mid Valley. Alas I finally had the chance to savour these delicious cream puffs last Sunday when me and ST went to GSC to catch Fearless (which I might review later).

Beard Papa's is specialty chain which sells only cream puffs. It is said to originate from Japan. The Japanophile in me could not wait to try them out. You can find Beard Papa's on the Lower Ground floor of the mall right opposite Bloomings.

The cream puffs aren't cheap. A single cream puff will set you back RM3.30. They started out offering only vanilla cream fillings but they recently introduced chocolate flavoured cream fillings.

Each cream puff is topped with some fine sugar. The chocolate flavoured ones are topped with some additional chocolate powder.

Look at those ample fillings. Full of flavour and not too sweet. Well done. Both flavours are equally satisfying.

Photo taken from their paper bag. Muginoho is the company that owns the Beard Papa's chains.

Beard Papa's are well known for having long queues but unfortunately for them (fortunate for us) there are no lines to speak of. Maybe RM3.30 for a cream puff is really too much to ask for after all :) I wouldn't mind having them again though.

posted by wyejon at Monday, February 13, 2006 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Cyberjaya Makan (1): Ericsson

I'll be changing jobs next month so this will be my last month working in Cyberjaya. I'll be taking this chance to introduce you to some of the makan places that I have been frequenting for the past one and the half year. Today I bring you to the Ericsson building. If you work in Cyberjaya you probably already know where this is. The Ericsson building is located directly opposite of the TM (Telekom Malaysia) building.

The cafe at the Ericsson building serves an incredible variety of food ranging from Indian styled rice and lots of Western food. Till this day I have not tried their rice offering but I very much enjoy their Western food. There's only one complaint I have with this place and it's the price. Trying out their Western meals would usually cost you about RM10 per person... but then again something equilavent would probably costs a lot more in "proper" restaurants so it's all good. A word of warning though... I think the owner sometimes charges according to his mood. You can take the same dishes and portions as your friend and get charged more. This occasionally pissed me off when I first started eating here.

On their daily Western menu are panini sandwiches with a variety of fillings including egg and roast chicken. They also serve some kind of pasta daily. Occasionally they come up with something special like the Chicken Enchilada I had (see pictures below). I remember once they had home made burgers which were heavenly. A really great place for Western food... if you work in/near Cyberjaya you owe it to yourself to try this place at least once.

Egg sandwich with some salad. They changed the bread some months back. I don't quite like the new type. The bread's taste is far too pronounced which overwhelms the taste of the filling plus the bread is extremely dry.

Cheese Baked Beef and Pasta + Chicken Enchilada. Nice + nice... yum yum. Try out their pastas. Occasionally they also serve risottos and various types of bakes inluding pies.

posted by wyejon at Monday, February 13, 2006 (permalink) | 10 comments | trackbacks

Sunday, February 12, 2006

One Thousand Bloggers

Check it out... a website just like www.milliondollarhomepage.com except it's for bloggers and it's free! I'm in slot 542 within an earshot of Kenny Sia and Swifty :) Click on the image below to find out more.

Join One Thousand Bloggers

posted by wyejon at Sunday, February 12, 2006 (permalink) | 9 comments | trackbacks

Pic of the Day: Pam Monopolises the Sofa

Pam takes a break on the family sofa.

I've never actually written much about my dog Pam. She's our family's first dog and we took her home from the S.P.C.A. some years ago. By some estimates she's about 70 years old (in human terms) now :) We can't really be sure though because no one knows her exact date of birth. She's blind in one eye and drops fur like no tomorrow but we don't love her any less for it. She's got this habit of taking over the sofa when no one's at home. Sometimes you can find her on top of beds as well! Don't ask me what breed she is. Even the S.P.C.A. doesn't know... they labelled her as Spitz-X.

posted by wyejon at Sunday, February 12, 2006 (permalink) | 2 comments | trackbacks

Sony DSC-T3 Magnifying Glass Mode

Didn't have anything better to do so I played around with the T3's Magnifying Glass mode which is supposed to give you a minimal focal length of 1cm! Works quite nicely actually except lighting is a really big problem because the flash overwhelms the picture at such close distances so ample external light sources is a must. Have a look see at some of my succesful experiments.

Picture from a newspaper article.

Fabric from my pants.

Fabric from my shirt.

A wallet (jeans material).

Take a guess :)

posted by wyejon at Sunday, February 12, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Friday, February 10, 2006

Lo Yee Sang

Just a quick post... I'm having an awful headache. I'll edit this post when I feel better.

Yee Sang = Raw Fish
Lo = Toss

A Chinese New Year tradition in Malaysia is the tossing of raw fish with crackers and various types of sliced vegetables topped up with seasoning and plum sauce. Yee Sang is said to bring particularly good luck to those in business.

Watch the video and find out how Joey lost one of her chopsticks ;)

And the attendees were:

Yoke Harn, Ming Han and Tuck Wai

Boon Leng and Wong

Yeng Ling, Joey and Boon Leng (who also appears above)

Marcus and his lovely "tiger"

And myself as well lah... but I didn't take photos of myself :)

posted by wyejon at Friday, February 10, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pic of the Day: Big Brother is Watching Me!

View from the Security Control Room (the arrow marks where I sit).

A few of my office mates and my own office access card expired last week so today we went over to the Security Control Room to get the head guard (a Nepalese fella) to reactivate the cards. Shock, horror... I saw one of the surveillance cameras pointing directly to me! Maybe I should stop picking my nose in the office :)

posted by wyejon at Monday, February 06, 2006 (permalink) | 8 comments | trackbacks

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