Tuesday, 11 December 2007

tapir torch

malayan tapir, originally uploaded by dckf_$êr@pH!nX.

Someone on Flickr asked about this photo recently and I thought the story behind it is quite interesting, so I decided to blog about the incident.

This photo was taken on a trip to Taman Negara in 2003. There were four of us on the trip, but only three of us made the trip to the hide where this photo was shot, as one guy left us for KL a day earlier. It was our last full day of the trip. We had to leave the next morning.

A guide had told us that Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus) had been spotted recently at Kumbang Hide, so we decided to spend the night there and check it out for ourselves. Kumbang Hide was supposed to be an easy 5-hour hike from the park headquarters or an even easier 45-minute hike from Kuala Trenggan. Since we did have the whole day, we decided to hike from the park headquarters and arranged for a boat to pick us up at Kuala Trenggan the next morning.

The day started off well; the weather was good and we found out that it only costs RM5 per person to spend the night in the hide and there were vacant bunks for us. We started our hike late in the morning and soon came across a crested fireback pheasant (Lophura ignita) in our path. We had only been walking for about an hour when we decided to stop for lunch at a little jetty by the river. I can’t remember what we had, but it must have been something simple we had packed earlier.

After a refreshing rest, we continued on our journey. If I remember correctly, it only started raining after lunch. Soon, the hike became torturous in the rain and our backpacks started to feel like they weighed a tonne, and we were getting bitten by lots of leeches. I don’t usually get bitten by leeches as I can usually feel their cold bodies crawling on me, but I just couldn’t feel them when I was drenched in sweat and rain.

There was some occasional reprieve whenever the rain stopped momentarily, but the mud and leeches were still annoying. Our spirits were really lifted when we came across some tracks left by Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), including juveniles. At that time, that was the closest thing to a wild elephant any of us had ever seen.

The map that we had was very straightforward, showing a single trail along the river which veered away from the river and crossed a little stream. However, the trail we were on split occasionally and was sometimes ambiguous. We were definitely not very sure that we were on the right trail but were fairly confident that we were walking in the right direction and just made guesses whenever the trail split. We thought we had crossed the stream until we came across another stream, and then another. By now, we were getting a little worried that we might be somewhat lost as it was going to get dark soon.

Eventually, we came across a river and realised that that was the ‘stream’ in our map. It qualified as a stream I guess, but what I had in mind was more like a brook. I remember it to be about thigh deep and about 10 to 15 metres wide. I think there was a rope to help us get across. It certainly wasn’t an easy task, but not altogether life-threatening.

Now, if the trail before the river was ambiguous, the trail after the river was downright puzzling. If memory serves me well, the map showed a straight trail broken by a stream. However, after crossing the river, there was little clearing and two trails leading to completely different directions, none of which were straight ahead relative to the trail before the river! Suddenly, we were again unsure if we were on the right trail. I can’t remember which trails we took but we did eventually get to Kumbang Hide, albeit via a different trail, we suspect.

When we arrived, after 7 hours of hiking, I counted over 30 leech bites on my legs, which were oozing with blood all over. As expected, the shower was cold, but the door was missing, and it faced the steps up the hide, i.e. the first thing one sees when climbing up the hide is the doorless bathroom, and perhaps a naked bum. However, we were covered in sweat and blood, at least I was, and badly needed to shower, so we took turns to shower and no one walked in on us up the hide.

After we had cleaned up, a family arrived at the hide. They had come from Kuala Trenggan and had taken the correct shorter trail and gave us directions on how to get to jetty at Kuala Trenggan.

We were seated at the viewing window of the hide and waited in the dark. We were not sure if we were supposed to be shining a light around or just wait to see something in the dark. I already had on hand a rather large torchlight which I had bought for the trip. We were sure we weren’t going to see much in the dark but thought that perhaps light would frighten any animals away, so we waited a little while.

Hmm…to shine or not to shine, that is the question. We finally decided to just try shining some light around just for a while, just to take a look. So I turned on my torch and shined it in front of us. Lo and behold there stood a tapir before us, completely unbothered by the light. It didn’t stay long after we spotted it but soon another came along and this one stayed for over half an hour. This is the animal photographed above and the light was supplied by my trusty torch now christened the ‘tapir torch’.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

photo (as yet untitled)

IMG_2291a, originally uploaded by dckf_$êr@pH!nX.

This photo was from my recent flight to Cape Town. It was taken at Hout Bay.

Monday, 19 November 2007


It just occurred to me recently that the Malay word paha is not pronounced in the standard way KL Malay deviates from bahasa baku. Usually only the last syllable is “modified”, but the case of paha, both syllables are “modified”, i.e. it is pronounced “per-her” not “pah-her”.

Monday, 12 November 2007

flickr paralysed

Arghhh! I’ve been trying to upload photos to Flickr for the past few days but have been encountering problems and it seems that I’m not the only one.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

durian runtuh

I was rostered for a flight to Shanghai recently which was later cancelled, and I was put on standby instead. I was extremely displeased by this arrangement as I had already bought a ticket to watch Wangi Jadi Saksi, a play directed by U-Wei, on the day I was supposed to return from Shanghai, but now my plans were all up in the air.

Much to my delight, on the day that I was on standby, I was called up to operated a flight to Malé, as I have always dreamt of visiting the Maldives. But that’s not all; one of my best friends was also operating that flight, and she had swapped her rostered flight much earlier to be on this flight. We were just talking over dinner the night before about how wonderful it would be if I were to be called up for her flight, but we both dismissed it as wishful thinking. But I did get called up for her flight! What are the odds of that?

How wonderful it was to get to go to the Maldives with my friend for work! It was also our first flight together.

To top the cake with icing, I did manage to catch the play after all as I arrived back in Singapore on the same day as I would have if I had operated the Shanghai flight.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

local food

Food is usually good where it comes from. Thai food is good in Thailand, Indian food is good in India, Japanese food is amazing in Japan, as is Italian food in Italy. Penang food is nothing short of heavenly in Penang. So why then can Chinese food be soooo baaad in China?

Friday, 26 October 2007

no lift landing

In my Singapore residence, my floor has no lift landing. I live in an HDB flat block with ancient lifts that stop on certain floors only. Evidently, designed by some fuckwit. I’m on the second floor (third floor/level/storey in Singapore) and the lifts stop at the ground, fifth, tenth, and fourteenth floors only. So, when I got back from Frankfurt this morning, with a cabin bag and a huge cargo bag, I had to go through quite a bit of trouble just to bring my bags up.

After getting out of the taxi, I wheeled both my bags to the lift lobby and had to carry them up a few steps to the lift landing (another stupendously moronic design). I then went up to the fifth floor, carried them down a few steps from the lift landing to the general floor level, wheeled them to the stairwell which would bring me to my flat, and carried them up a few steps to the stair landing. I then locked my cargo bag to the banister with a bicycle lock and carried my cabin bag three floors down to my flat. After depositing my cabin bag in my flat, I then went to retrieve my cargo bag. Whenever I travel without a cargo bag, I just use the stairs and carry my bags up two floors.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

my 1st pc

Finally, after months of saving, I’ve purchased a Sony Viao FZ VGN-FZ17G. This is the first PC I’ve bought with my own hard-earned money. Now that I’m connected online at home, I should be able to blog more often….

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

merdeka! merdeka! merdeka!

Selamat Hari Merdeka everyone! Sorry terlambat….

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

what’s changed since…

I’m back in KL for the second time in four months. What has changed since? Two friends got engaged (to each other), one of them changed her job, a friend’s going to pursue his Masters, another friend now works for WWF, the Universiti Roundabout no longer exists, and there’s no more flat-rate parking at Mid Valley. Everything else seems pretty much the same….

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

a week off

I’ll be off for a week from the 29th of June. I’ll definitely be back in KL, but I’m planning to drive down to Singapore with boxes of stuff and driving back up to KL before taking a bus back to Singapore. This leaves me very little time to spend in KL, but that’s the plan for now….

Monday, 30 April 2007

cantonese banned in singapore!

Believe it or not, all non-Mandarin Chinese dialects are banned in cinemas and free TV in Singapore! All Hong Kong films are dubbed into Mandarin, and apparently, this is sometimes done very poorly resulting in lost nuances at best, lost ambient sound at worst! Some Singaporeans actually troop to JB to catch Hong Kong flicks!

first flights

My first training flight was supposed to be to Sydney on the 26th of May, but now it’s been changed to Tokyo on the 25th of May due to reasons I can’t disclose on any blog (not allowed to blog about work-related stuff). I’m scheduled to fly to Auckland on the 30th of May and Nagoya on the 15th of June.

Lot’s of interesting stuff has happened at work. How unfortunate that I can’t blog about them. I’ll tell you personally if I’m in the mood.

cybercafe nearby

Yay! An affordable cybercafe has finally opened near my apartment. Finally, convenient Internet access!

Monday, 2 April 2007

back for good friday

Yay! Good Friday is a holiday here in Singapore. That means a long weekend and a good time to go back to KL. Unfortunately, it’s peak period and most of the bus tickets have been sold out, so I’ll be taking a shuttle bus to Larkin and trying my luck from there instead. If all works out well, I should be back in KL by Friday morning….

Posting on this blog has been difficult as I don’t have convenient access to the Internet and each time I’m actually online, I don’t really know what to blog about, since so much has happened in between I don’t even know where to start. I think I’ll have to start jotting down my thoughts on a notepad and refer to it eacxh time I have the opportunity to blog….

Saturday, 24 March 2007

blogger snafu

I’ve been trying to post from Singapore three of four times before this but something seems to be wrong with Blogger. Let’s see if it works this time….

Monday, 5 March 2007

bye bye kl

I should be leaving for the airport in less than 2 hours. I don’t know if I’ll have regular access to the Internet in Singapore, so this may be my last post for a while….

Friday, 2 March 2007

bijan mmm mmm

Had dinner in Bijan last night. The food was excellent, the price not so. Definitely the best Malay food I’ve had in a nice restaurant and the best Malay food in KL. The rusuk panggang at RM55++ was heavenly; it was almost like pork!

Tuesday, 27 February 2007


I enjoyed watching Apocalypto and would recommend it to anybody who’s not a Mesoamerican historian. I really liked the colourful depictions of the Mayan city.

Apocalypto official website and on IMDB.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

another photo blogged

Another photo of mine has been blogged here and here.

Friday, 23 February 2007

censorship goood, communists baaad

Malaysia has banned another Amir Muhammad film because it “distorts historical fact”.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

front page news

Guess what? I’m on the front page of The Star today, together with hundreds of others, no thanks in part to my soon-to-be employer. See if you can spot me….

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

the departed should be interred

I watched Martin Scorsese’s The Departed recently. A rather decent movie on its own, but it pales in comparison to the original Infernal Affairs, directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. Why, oh why would anyone remake an excellent movie that was released barely 5 years ago? It was not just inspired by Infernal Affairs, it is Infernal Affairs combined with some parts of Infernal Affairs III, set in Boston instead of Hong Kong, and with a slightly different ending. Very, very disappointing.

If it wasn’t based on a vastly superior original, I would have given The Departed a score of 6.5 out of 10; but since we already have the very well-made Infernal Affairs series, I would give it a 2 out of 10. It shouldn’t have been made in the first place…what a waste of precious resources! By comparison, I would rate Infernal Affairs 8.5 out of 10, Infernal Affairs II 8 out of 10, Infernal Affairs III 7 out of 10, and the entire series a solid 9 out of 10 (that's synergy there).

So, if you haven’t watched The Departed, I would highly recommend that you watch the entire Infernal Affairs series first if you have not already done so. If you have already watched The Departed, and have not watched the original Infernal Affairs series, please watch the original Hong Kong version as well (and let me know what you think).

The Departed official website and on IMDB
Infernal Affairs official website, US distributor website and on IMDB
Infernal Affairs II official website and on IMDB
Infernal Affairs III official website and on IMDB

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

anjing pegi, babi mali

My favourite SMS greeting of the season:

Anjing pegi, babi mali,
Sueh pegi, ong mali,
Untong-untong manyak kali,
Hali-hali suka hati,
Kena ekor, kena loteli,
Gongxi gongxi lu sama famili!

Saturday, 17 February 2007


[untitled][untitled] Hosted on Zooomr

Happy New Year everyone! Will be off for the reunion dinner soon. This will probably be my last family reunion dinner for the next 5 years as I probably won’t be granted leave during Chinese New Year….

Friday, 16 February 2007

my photo was blogged

Yay! To my knowledge, this is the first time that a photo of mine has been blogged.

Monday, 12 February 2007


[untitled][untitled] Hosted on Zooomr

The whole log-in merge with Yahoo! issue has put me in a predicament. I used to really like Flickr but I really hate the idea of having to use a Yahoo! ID to log in and I haven’t been entirely satisfied with the way the issue has been handled. So while looking around for an alternative, I found Zooomr! It’s not perfect, and it’s still beta (and this can be quite evident), but it’s got lots of potential and promise. I’'s got some pretty cool features not found on Flickr, and best of all, I get a free pro account for a year for linking this post!

summer in singapore?

The following line is from "The Photographs" by Saskia Louise Schafer, on page 171 of Silverfish New Writing 6, edited by Dipika Mukherjee, published by Silverfish Books, Kuala Lumpur:

…"She knows everything?! That we’ve been seeing each other since summer? That I’m here now?" His voice was filled with horror….

"She" refers to his wife, "he" is a man from KL, and he is talking to his lover, "here" is Singapore, where their relationship is based in, and "summer" is apparently a season that Singapore has….

Friday, 9 February 2007

divine diving talents

Most amusing read in the papers this morning: "Liverpool should spend their megabucks on a world-class diver if they want to compete with Chelsea and Manchester United".

Read it here.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

into the tiger’s mouth i go

From the Malay saying, "terlepas dari mulut buaya, masuk ke mulut harimau", literally, "escaped from the crocodile’s mouth, into the tiger’s mouth", not quite the same as "out of the frying pan, into the fire", but similar….

So what’s this pepatah got to do with anything…? Well, I finally got a starting date with the new job in Singapore: 12 March. So I guess I’ll be moving to Singapore after all.

Hence, I begin my blogging life, as a soon-to-be migrant worker….
Succumbing to my wanderlust…
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