Temper Test

Posted on Wednesday, 30 April 2008 by haan | 15 comments

Last night I failed a test.

Actually I left office and arrived at the venue in good mood, but started to play badminton very unhappily.

Coz people were late. People had been late for EVERY week, for AT LEAST 20 minutes each time (3 times make up an hour). When all the other five courts had had players starting their session, ours was still nobody. The only somebody was me, sitting there, maybe making some calls to check their location (on the way or still in office), or just allowing the bad thoughts to grow.

Honestly, sometimes the question mark is really HUGE. Why the people from Puchong, Cheras and Shah Alam could arrive on time, but those working in Serdang cannot? (The venue of playing is in Serdang)

Once, I arrived and only Seng Seng (works in Puchong, went back to Kajang to get his badminton stuff) was there. He had shuttlecock so we could play first. When the others arrived, we were already sweating and had consumed certain amount of energy.

I remembered that on the same day, at about 8:50pm (still 10 minutes left), both of us were on one side of the court, thinking to play the last game, but the rest were pushing each other to make up another team. Finally both of us got little annoyed and said, go back la, no need to play anymore.

Another time, someone and I arrived, but the one keeping the shuttlecocks was late. The uncle playing at the next court even gave us 2 shuttlecocks so that we could start first. He said, "play first la, don't waste time."

It has been a lot of times, I wanted to tell Uncle Lim, "Don't be too late. Even a buddha will be angry, and I'm not a buddha." However, until now, I never say that.

Enough is enough. Finally I could not control myself last night.

I actually wanted to leave before playing. But I held on till 8:30pm (formal start time is 7pm), after 2 games and was playing the 3rd. I tried to get rid of my anger by laughing, making fun with them. At the end, all the actions were still useless. When playing the 3rd game, I told them I did not want to play anymore, then packed my stuff and left the place.

I even spoke what I had been suppressing myself from saying for months. I said I hate partnering with one of them!!! Who knows being the opponent is even disgusting!!! So I left. (no question regarding this para, ok?)

While driving home, I actually did not know why could I get so pissed. All this while, I had been able to always ask myself to see it as a trivial matter, and keep telling myself that, any energy wasted to get angry does not really worth it.

Being late is not a good habit - this concept will never change in my mind. Some people might wonder why I take it so seriously. Even during the uni time, when going for grocery shopping during weekend, Mr Tan knew I didn't like others being late. Else, I'd call and ask, have you finished putting on all your makeups? Yes, I'm that sarcastic, in the past, nowadays and future.

I feel punctuality is even more important nowadays, when we work. Seems like they do not think the same.

Of course, a lot of excuses can always be given for being late. Then I'd like to ask - will you be late for a flight? For the more important stuff, you'll make sure you won't be late, and you are able to be on time! Right???

In a nutshell, being late is not something forced to be, it is a choice.

If you THINK you cannot be punctual, then you definitely won't be there on time.

Honestly, I'm not very free at work also. I always think I want to go badminton on Tuesday night, so I can do it every week, even though I've left the previous job in Serdang for 7 months. For a truly busy Tuesday, I'd just shorten the lunch time, or continue the tasks at night, after the badminton session.

"It's often the will that drives your action." This is what I'd like to tell them, in a polite manner, for sure.

P/S: I don't hate them. I'm just telling the fact - I dislike them being late every week. Even though Uncle Lim called just now, I still picked up the phone and talked to him.

Flat Tyre

Posted on Monday, 28 April 2008 by haan | 16 comments

Today (26 Apr 2008), when I got home at around 2pm, the weather was hot and sunny. Therefore, instead of parking the car in front, I decided to drive to the back, which is slightly shaded.

There was then an "emergency call" from my mum before I went into the house, telling that one of my car tyres was flattening. I heard some cracking sound on my way, but I thought that were some woods.

Obviously, I was wrong.

In less than 5 minutes, it became flat.

Taking a closer look, there was a piece of big glass on the tyre. Honestly, if that happened in the past, I'd have gone bananas.

However, I said, no worries, just ask my brother to change the tyre when he's back.

When we grow older, the flame of anger becomes less strong compared to when we were young :)

Thinking from the positive perspective, I'm lucky because:
a) I discovered that today, not tomorrow or the coming Monday
b) only one tyre was spoilt
c) such incident happened here (my hometown, Sekinchan) and now (weekend), not in KL or during the weekdays

I really can't understand why those people (my neighbour next door) are such inconsiderate (and of course, stupid) to throw the unused big pieces of glass just near the road.

Apart from that, at the front side, they also never put their rubbish nicely by covering it, causing a total mess when the wild dogs "had some treasure hunts" over the night. Sometimes it's truly annoying to see the scattered pampers on the road early in the morning.

I used to ask my dad to speak to them regarding this. My dad talked to both the older and younger generations, but nothing changed. That's why when we have chance to meet face-to-face, I don't even bother to greet them. Coz I HATE THEM.

I feel I'm brainless too if I talk to them.

Once, I overheard my neighbours' conversation, about their baby son/daughter. At that time, I told my mum..

What for having so many kids? In the future, there will only be more dumpage-worms (垃圾虫, or "Lap Sap Cong" in Cantonese) in the world, which is a big threat to our earth.

I know I'm having a bad mouth sometimes by speaking ill of others, but I don't think I've spoken anything wrongly. Some may say, I'm a very "black and white" type of person that doesn't allow any grey area.

These are not important. I just judge according to what I know, what I see and what I experience.

When my elder brother reached home, I told him what happened (and he'd know what's my "hidden meaning"). Then, only he said he already experienced the same thing twice.

I was thinking to remove the glasses, but since my dad said, a lot of people had complaint that they should not take up more than half of the road to hang their clothes but they still do that, I decided to leave the glasses there and "hopefully" they will experience similar flat tyre case soon.

Sometimes it's a big headache when you meet people with no common sense.

Conclusion: Another RM105 was spent to replace the front tyre, which had been used for only about 4 months. The rear tyre was amendable.

Related Reading: Tips on Tyres

Mizi Shabu-Shabu, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Posted on Saturday, 26 April 2008 by haan | 8 comments
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Shabu-shabu is a Japanese style hot pot. It's shame to say that, I've never tasted it although I've been hearing about it for years :)

We had a dinner appointment on Thursday night, 7:30pm, at the Mizi Shabu-Shabu. Among the shoplots opposite the Giant Puchong, Mizi is located just behind the Bumbu Bali.

Address: 17, Jalan Puteri 2/5, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor.
Tel: 03-8060 3221

Thanks Sam for hosting the dinner, and of course, YH as the trigger point and AM (Auntie May) as the initiator.

As opposed to steamboat, we could have personalized pot, soup and choices of ingredients. I'm not too sure if all shabu-shabu is like this, or it's only a specialty of Mizi (apologies for my ignorance).

You can choose to have Tomyam soup, herbal soup, or just the normal soup. For example, if you want ginseng herbal soup, there will be a sachet for you to put into the soup, which costs only RM3.50 each.

An interior shot taken upon arrival.

There are a lot of sets on the menu to be chosen.

Mutton, beef, chicken, prawn, pork, fish, seafood mix etc. Which is your preference?

The service was fast. This was really appreciated as almost everyone was hungry! When seeing a photo taken by others, only I realized that the ingredients are prepared beforehand for waiter's grab once an order is placed.

I'm a sauce lover, no matter it's in a Western or Oriental style. Each set comes with 2 types of sauce - red chili sauce; another consists of sesame, fried onions, spring onions, finger chillies, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce.

Each person has a separate pot. It's much hygienic, and everyone can just "mind his own business".

It's very convenient to control the heat, with a user-friendly control panel. NO GAS but only electricity!

Sam's Mutton Slice set, RM18.90, together with the following...

...sliced mutton.

The Crystal Bean Curd (Yeoung Tau Fu) set, RM16.90 each. YH and AM ordered this.

Traditionally, Shabu-shabu is made with thinly sliced beef, though the modern preparations also use pork, chicken, fish and various types of seafood. In addition to the mentioned, vege set is also available.

Shabu-shabu is usually served with tofu and vegetables, such as chinese cabbage, cabbages, lettuce, carrot and mushrooms. While vegetables are cheaper and always be the candidates to be "abandoned" (if one is stuffed), cooking them before others ingredients actually makes the soup tastes better.

Basically, the "big plate" of every set doesn't vary much.

The waiter called the noodle as "Yee Min". Come on, it's mini maggi (a lot of brands have become a noun)!

The entire set of Sam. Do not miss out the glass of chlorophyll in his hand.

This set served in round plate was CT's Japanese Superior Mix Set, RM20.90. There were "bunches" of enokitake mushrooms, cute!

As mentioned in Wikipedia,

The dish is prepared by submerging a very thin slice of meat or a piece of vegetable in a pot of boiling water or dashi (broth) made with kombu (kelp) and swishing it back and forth several times.

The familiar swishing sound is where the dish gets its name. Shabu-shabu roughly translates to "swish-swish". Cooked meat and vegetables are usually dipped in ponzu or "goma" (sesame seed) sauce before eating with a bowl of steamed white rice.

Once the meat and vegetables have been eaten, leftover water (now broth) from the pot is customarily combined with the remaining rice, and the resulting soup is usually eaten last.

At Mizi, the sets do not come with any rice, just some noodles, which are more than enough.

This is my Fish Slice Set, RM17.90.

Sometimes the effort in arranging the ingredients can't be denied. It really makes stuff looks much better.

Shabu-shabu originates since the 13th century as a way for Genghis Khan to feed his soldiers. Due to limited supply of fuel, the thinly slices meat was to shorten the cooking time. In the past, the Mongol troops would have gathered around large pots and cooked together.

The dinner for five cost Sam RM117.18, inclusive of 5% service charge. Thanks for the satisfying meal and a new experience :)

More photos here
Read Sam's entry here

Hill Tribe - Big Ear Karen

Posted on Friday, 25 April 2008 by haan | 8 comments

...previous (Akha Hill Tribe)

Curious: Hi guys, the recent posts have fished no comment at all. Is the Thai-related stuff really that mundane?

Compared to the Long Neck Karen (a.k.a. Padaung) custom, large earring, which is another aspect of the Karen culture, seems to be less visually striking hence getting less attention.

However, it’s undeniable that large earrings play a dominant role in ornamentation.

Karen is the largest hill tribe in Thailand. Within the Karen, there are 3 main sub-groups:
  • White Karen (Sgaw)
  • Black Karen (Pgo)
  • Red Karen (Kayah)

Majority of Karen nowadays lives in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. However, they are also found in Phrae, Chiang Rai, Lampang and Tak. (Refer to the map of Northern Thailand here)

A woman with all the "applicable" ornaments.

She tried to ask her daughter for a photo together.

She was like asking me, who are you?

Finally she presented an adorable smile ^_^

According to the information I read from the Internet,
"These Karen tribes display their beauty and their status as married women, by wearing carved elephant tusk in their ears. When a woman is married, her ears are pierced and an elephant tusk of one to four centimeters in length is inserted."

Nevertheless, I don't think the following lady had got married.

She's at most 15 years old, although I'm usually not good in judging one's age.

Karen villagers occupy lowland areas instead of living high in the mountains. They engage in agriculture, such as rice cultivation. Among all hill tribes, Karen is the most environmentally conscious. They practice crop rotation, thus preserving the forest.

The men are often skilled mahouts, whilst most women are skilled weavers.

The weight of tusks gradually weighs down on the earlobe. As a result, the ears get larger and longer. It seems so easy for them for put the earlobe on and off, but I felt kinda scary!

The married women wear these ear pieces for life. They have to bear with extremely elongated and floppy ears.

This seems very familiar? The similar was shown in the Padaung post previously.

Lanna Noodle

Posted on Tuesday, 22 April 2008 by haan | 3 comments
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Reminder: Today, Kun corrected me - we say NOD the head. Thanks for correcting! Another common mistake is "one year once", which should be ONCE A YEAR. Only Chinese-educated people will make these mistakes, due to direct translation from the beautiful language :)

On 28 Jan 2008, the local Thai girl, Love, brought us to taste Lanna Noodle after the Safari tour.

This was the restaurant we went - Khow Soi Lamduan Faharm. I don't know what the last 2 words mean.

Truly local... by having NO ENGLISH at all on the menu.

The Lanna Noodle mentioned by her, is actually the Khow Soi, which is known as curry noodle soup by foreigners.

Lanna was a kingdom in northern Thailand since 1259. Sometimes it's also referred to as "Lanna Thai".

We ordered tea, khow soi, as well as grilled pork.

As we know, the northern part of Thailand stretches up to the Mekong river, as well as the border of Loas and Myanmar (Burma). It is known as Lanna (ล้านนา), which means "one million rice fields".

In 1262, the King Mengrai founded the northern city of Chiang Rai, which then grew quickly. Later in 1296, Chiang Mai was established and the city wall was built.

Not only these, they came with quite a number of side ingredients...

You can add in what you want to the Khow Soi. I will normally squeeze all the lemons, but maybe not finish all salty veges and onions.

The Lanna Kingdom had its heyday between the 13th-16th centuries, emcompassed all of northern Thailand and parts of the present Loas and Burma/Myanmar.

These came with the grilled pork. Quite similar to our satay, but there is no peanut in the sauce dip.

Similar to the Lanna alphabet, Lanna cuisine differs from that of modern Thai. Its sticky rice and pork sausages remain distinct from the cooking of southern Thai.

The Chiang Mai staple Khow Soi testifies to Lanna's hybrid origins, with its blend of Indian-style curry broth and crisp Chinese noodles.

See the crispy noodles?

However, Lanna made its greatest mark in art and architecture, so that the temples in the northern Thai are more modest than those in Bangkok. Perhaps we talk about this next time :)

Lastly, I'm not too sure of the price, coz someone else paid the bill, not me ^_^

Tuk Tuk and Samlor

Posted on by haan | 2 comments


Compared to Song Thaew, Tuk Tuks are much more expensive, and can carry only 2 people.

Talking about Thai, thinking of Tuk Tuk?

The covered three-wheeled motor with a back seat is more like an open-air taxi, which delivers you directly to your destination. One good point of Tuk Tuk is, its smaller size allows for more flexibility to move around, and perhaps, to make illegal turns as well.

However, I was warned to not befriend Tuk Tuk drivers, and I kept that in mind.

View from the back. It serves as a moving ad board as well.

On my first day in Chiang Mai, when I was walking in the city and felt a little tired (no shop around sold mineral water), a Tuk Tuk driver approached me. He suggested driving me to few destinations (pointing on the map) then sending me back to the pick-up point.

He charged me only 50 Baht, so I agreed without much bargain. That’s the cheapest ever Tuk Tuk trip I had. That might be because he thought I’m a Thai doing some kind of research or photography. He drove me to those artistry places, asked me to take my time and said he’d wait for me.

He's normal, by wrongly thinking that I'm a Thai.

Things were fine. At the end, I asked whether he could directly send me to night market, he said yes. When I got down, I found I was at Chang Klan Road instead of the Saturday Night Bazaar I had in mind.

That’s not entirely his fault also, coz there are so many night bazaars around and I did not specify clearly.

This is how I could take photo of myself, hehe!

According to the information from the Internet, if you go to the airport by Tuk Tuk, the minimum fare is 50 baht.

I only went to the Arcade Bus Station by Tuk Tuk, not airport. I was charged 120B for the not-long journey. Compared to the abovementioned multiple-places-inclusive-of-waiting-time Tuk Tuk trip, that was far more expensive. But I finally paid the amount.

That was my fault. I didn't ask for the price before hopping on.

Apart from Song Thaew and Tuk Tuk, there is another type of transportation in Chiang Mai - Samlor.

It’s more commonly known as rickshaw in the other countries. I didn’t experience it in Northern Thailand (the last time was in XiTang, China).

To be honest, it’s sometimes weird to have an old, thin uncle making someone move by straining every muscle in his body.

Sitting in the carriage at the back of his bicycle, I’d feel there is kinda lack of humanism.

Encounter with Song Thaew Driver

Posted on Sunday, 20 April 2008 by haan | 3 comments

As mentioned previously, I had my first Song Thaew trip to Doi Suthep.

Doi Suthep is one of the must-go destinations. So I went to take a look.

Before hailing one, I always reminded myself about what I read – not to negotiate the price but just tell the destination.

I hopped onto one. At that time, only one lady passenger was at the front seat. I was the only one at the back. Not long after, she got off. Then I moved myself to the front seat, due to the wish to take photos (better view from that side).

The Song Thaew driver.

The driver was an old man, with pretty friendly smile. He asked me some questions, though the communication was not really smooth. I admired his ability to speak a little bit of English. Being in Chiang Mai, the 2nd largest city of Thailand and a heaven for travellers, he did take initiative to improve himself. Good!

After some conversations, he asked me, how would I go down later. I said I’d take another Song Thaew. He then offered to also send me down at the price of 100B for a return trip. I asked if he’s staying on hill and was going home for lunch (I assume he would just like to have another “confirmed” business on the way down, so his car wouldn’t be empty).

This is Feng's book, but become temporarily mine, since she's flying to NZ today, and will be there for at least 6 months.

I doubted he didn’t 100% understand my question, however he nodded. Without double-confirming if he really got what I mean, I then agreed with the offer. I checked the price from the Lonely Planet Travel Guide before departing. It says it should cost around 40B to go up, and 30B to come down. Assuming the information was few years ago, 100B is reasonable nowadays.

On the way, there were people hailing the Song Thaew, but no one hopped on. I thought perhaps their destinations did not match with mine.

Hire a motorcycle to go around is pretty common in Chiang Mai. This guy was going up to Doi Suthep too.

The driver had been quite friendly to me. Seeing I was holding a DSLR, he’d stop at some lookout points with nice views, for me to snap some photos. He actually didn’t know how to say that in English, but just conveyed the message via gesture (pressing shutter using finger).

A bird eye's view of the beautiful Chiang Mai city.

He suggested my visit time at Doi Suthep to be 1 hour, and fixed a time when should we meet again. I requested for longer (I didn’t like to rush), which is 1.5 hour, and he agreed. I didn’t request for too long, thinking that if he could go down to city earlier, he could earn more money, instead of spending all his time to wait for me.

He also asked me to take a picture of his Song Thaew for easier identification later (they were a lot around the area). We agreed to meet again at 2:30pm, which was the “2 o’clock 30 minutes” he meant.

This car plate number scared me for quite some time afterwards!!!

I was already making a charter but the silly me was not aware of that. I still stupidly thought that I was making a good deed to an old man, coz I really didn’t need anyone to wait for me.

As promised, I went down by his Song Thaew again back to the city. I was kinda curious why he didn’t try to get more people into his car, but that question faded away quickly.

Before hopping down, I paid him 100B, as both agreed. He then told me, it should be 500B, not 100B!! I didn’t expect that at all, hence was quite amazed with what I heard. I started to defend myself and said, you told me 100B just now, how come now you increase it to 500B?

He insisted that he told me 500B. But honestly, I heard 100B. Was there any communication error in between?

For myself, since I heard 100B and agreed with 100B, it’s impossible I’d pay anymore than that. Moreover, I didn’t have much small notes with me that time. I only had 1000B note, which was reserved for accommodation payment (wanted to pay that morning but the boss was not around).

He offered himself to take photos for me. I only had the courage to pass him my compact camera.

Since he’s an old man, I didn’t want to argue much and claimed he’s dishonest etc. I tried to solve it in an amicable way, by showing him the almost empty cash bag after paying (my 1000B note was put separately). I even gave him all the coins I had in the bag, and said, that’s all what I got. He suggested driving me back to where I stayed to get money.

Do you think I’m that dumb till bringing him back to where I stayed? Sure no.

Out of no way, I opened the door, got down and fled! There was a market nearby. So it was pretty easy for me to disappear myself into the crowd. Though it didn’t seem to be easy for him to park his car, get down and chase me, the possibility still existed.

I never imagine I would need to "flee into market"! Seems like only the bad guys need to do so!

Before getting myself to a “safe” place, I was actually quite worried that he’d chase after me, or asked the people around to stop me. Very luckily, that didn’t happen. I was really quite scared that time.

Finally, with not much money left, I had to walk all the way back to Kanyala Guesthouse from the market. I was always taking note of the passing-by Song Thaews on the road. I was afraid to get caught by the old man, somewhere, sometime. I was still not sure if I was conned, or it was due to misunderstanding resulted from communication problem.

When I checked with others later, I realized that I had paid the old driver less than the market price (150B). I suddenly feel sorry to the old Song Thaew driver.

However, what can I do to compensate?

Lesson Learned: Those who are nice to you, must come with a reason. Judge before you draw any conclusion. (reluctant to say so, but sometimes it's so true)

Read the original write-up here.
See the Tomlamyai and Warorot markets that "saved" me.



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