While doing window shopping at Imperial Mall in Miri today, I came across these “internet-themed” flippers at one of the shops there. I saw Google flippers, Facebook flippers, Yahoo flippers, Twitter flippers and YouTube flippers.Obviously these are marketed without the permission of all these online iconic companies. But what the heck! Go get yourself a pair now!

Which one do you prefer? Youtube? Google? Facebook? Yahoo?

Or do you want Twitter?

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The internet is inundated with claims that that there will be “two moons” in the sky tonight as Mars will grow to the size of the Full Moon. Is there any truth to such claims?

In a hoax dating to 2003 and the great Mars opposition of that year when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in about 60,000 years in August, the claim wasn’t true then and sure isn’t true now. Yes, while Mars got brighter that year, it didn’t even get as bright as Venus.

Don't be duped by the 2 moons rumor.

The Mars/Moon hoax came back into the forefront when Mars came to a far less spectacular opposition this January and, now that it’s August, it is resurfacing again.

The August 27 2010 two moons is a rumor spread through emails. The story behind the rumor is that in August 2003 Mars came so close to our earth that it appeared on the sky like another moon. Since then these emails are spread by the people in every August. The event that took place seven years ago shall not take place this year so there would not be two moons 2010.

Don’t be duped, ok?

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Teen singer Greyson Chance finally met his idol Lady Gaga backstage at Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball concert at Oklahoma City on July 20 2010. It was a dream come true for the 12-year old internet sensation whose YouTube video of him performing Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi has been viewed more than 27 million times!

Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour

In his tweet with a photo of himself and Lady Gaga backstage, he gushed: “I met @LadyGaga! She was so kind, gave me some great advice and put on an amazing show!!”

Greyson Chance meets his idol Lady Gaga

On one of his appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres show, Greyson received a surprise phone call from Lady Gaga who gave him the following advice: “Work really hard, and stay away from girls and be focused.”

Just weeks after Greyson’s debut, Ellen announced that she had started a record label, with Greyson as her first signing. “Greyson inspired me to start a record label called eleveneleven,” said the famous talk show host, “He is my first artist and we are making a record together.”

Greyson’s music teacher from Cheyenne Middle School in Edmond, Oklahoma, told Pop Eater earlier this year, “I have never seen anyone with his level or type of talent. We really hope he comes back to school for the rest of the year, but after this video, who knows what his future holds.”

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The Internet is abuzz about author and pastor Rick Warren being temporarily blinded by firestick plant sap. Rick  was pruning a firestick plant in his yard when he got some of the sap on his hands. According to publicist A. Larry Ross, “He went to wipe his brow and immediately experienced excruciating pain in both eyes.” The sap of the Firestick plant, or Euphorbia tirucalli, is corrosive and extremely toxic.

Rick Warren on the cover of Time Magazine

The pain was so debilitating that his wife Kay had to call 911 and Rick was zipped to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo because he couldn’t articulate to his wife what had happened. He was attended to by an eye specialist, kept overnight and released the next day.

After returning home, Warren took to Twitter, asking for prayers from friends, family and members of the Saddleback Church where he serves as a Pastor. Rick is the author of the international bestselling book “The Purpose Driven Life.”

Cover of the Purpose Driven Life (English edition)

Cover of The Purpose Driven Life (Mandarin edition)

It’s not uncommon for such a sap related problem to arise, thus the Firestick Plant being nicknamed the “Blinding Tree.” The Firestick plant is also known as Indian Tree Spurge, Naked Lady, Pencil Tree, or Milk Bush. It is a shrub that grows in semi-arid tropical climates and has red tips resembling sticks on fire. It is indigenous to tropical eastern and southern Africa.

A firestick plant

Firestick plant

All parts of the firestick plant ooze a milky sap when damaged or cut. Skin contact with the sap causes severe burning. Contact with the eyes may cause severe pain and temporary blindness for up to 7 days.

The milk bush has been used in traditional medicine in cultures of Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malabar, and Malaysia. It is thought to treat cancers, warts, asthma, rheumatism and toothache.

If you have firestick plant in your garden, please be warned. You would not want to experience what Rick had gone through.

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The day the world has been waiting for is finally here. The world’s greatest soccer tournament starts today. …and over the next few weeks, soccer fever will grip the world and productivity will take a big hit. You will see lots of “panda eyes” in the work place.

Which player will ignite the tournament and carve his name in soccer history as a world cup legend? Will it be Cristiano Ronaldo? Lionel Messi? Wayne Rooney?  Kaka? Xavi? Fernando Torres? David Villa? Andres Iniesta? Steven Gerrard? There is bound to be controversies but hopefully the tournament will not be marred by any “hand of God goals”, violence or untoward incidents.

Waka waka……this time for Africa…..yeah! let the show begin! Let Shakira turn you on….I mean turn you on to the soccer fever…what were you thinking of?

Sexy Shakira

This is the Spanish version of the song…..watch the video and be amused!  It makes me wonder how they made this video.  Maybe James Cameron was behind it, lol!

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The 2010 FIFA World Cup is all set to kick off tomorrow in South Africa. This will be the 19th FIFA World Cup and this is the first time that the tournament will be hosted by an African nation, after South Africa defeated Morocco and Egypt in an all-African bidding process. The tournament is scheduled to take place between June 11 and July 11.

2010 FIFA World Cup

This is the first World Cup that does not include any teams that are qualifying for the first time, although two of the qualifiers (Slovakia and Serbia) have previously appeared only as parts of former competing nations. Slovakia was previously part of Czechoslovakia, and Serbia has competed as part of Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro. In both cases FIFA considers these teams to have retained the earlier nations’ records.

The 32 qualifiers are South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England, Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Honduras, Mexico, United States, New Zealand, Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

The tournament will be held at the following 10 venues in South Africa.

Cape Town Stadium, Capetown

Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Mbombela Stadium, Nelsprint

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Soccer City, Johannesburg

Soccer City, Johannesburg

Zakumi, an anthropomorphized leopard with green hair, is the official mascot of the tournament. “Za” is the international abbreviation for South Africa and “kumi” is an African word that means “ten”. So Zakumi stands for South Africa 2010.

Zakumi...official mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The official song for 2010 FIFA World Cup is “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)”, in English, and “Waka Waka (Esto es Africa)” in Spanish. Waka means do it. It will be performed by Shakira and South African group Freshlyground at the closing ceremony before the World Cup final on Juy 11 in Johannesburg Soccer City Stadium.

Shakira

Who will win the coveted World Cup? Being a fan of English Premier League, I would be ecstatic if England wins it. But I seriously doubt England can pull it off as England always seems to falter at World Cup tournaments. I am putting my money on Brazil and Spain.

Let the world cup begin……Waka Waka!

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Binatang…..that is the name of the town that I was born in.  I don’t know the ” who how why what” behind that name.  Whoever gave the town that name must have been an animal lover because Binatang is a Malay word meaning animal. The town was renamed Bintangor due to the negative connotations of the “animal” tag. What do you call the inhabitants of a town named Animal?

I have fond memories of my life in Bintangor where I lived till I was 17. I had my primary and secondary school education at St Augustine Primary School and Kai Chung Middle School ( its name at that time) respectively. In a small town, everyone seemed to know each other.  Growing up in such a small town is truly a great experience. As kids, we played hide-and-seek and cop-and-robber around the town without any fear of being knocked down by cars as there were so few cars then. We swam in the Rejang River……we dived from the wharves into the river, often trying to show off our diving skills like doing a couple of somersaults before hitting the water.  As we swam, we waved at passengers on MV Pulau Kijang and MV Rajah Mas when these ships passed through Bintangor.

During my trip back to Kuching for Ching Ming Festival early this month, I asked my brothers and my mum whether they had any photos of mine when I was a kid.  I only have a few such photos and I was hoping to add more to my collection.  What a joy it was when my eldest brother said he had a few.  Upon returning to Miri, I asked my brother to lend me the photos so that I could scan them.

These photos really sent me on a trip down memory lane…….here they are…..don’t laugh at my hair style or the way I was dressed….bear in mind, these photos were taken in the 1960s.

Sitting on my dad's one-of-its-kind tricycle

Posing near Rejang River

Playing with a honey bear

Playing with a honey bear

Taken in my dad's orchard....cool pose, haha!

Taken near my dad's kerosene storage depot

Taken with my mum and my third brother in front of our shop.

Taken with my parents, my third brother, my sister and my "adopted" brother just before he left for Canada

Taken with my parents, my third brother, my sister and my "adopted" brother just before he left for Canada

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I have been contemplating about buying a DLSR for quite a long time. Three days ago, I finally took the plunge and bought the Canon EOS Rebel T1i 500D DSLR packaged with a Canon zoom lens EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens.

I have been using a Sony Cyber-shot for several years. Though the Sony has been very useful especially for my eBay business, I often feel frustrated by its limitations.

It will take me a while to try to get the hang of the DSLR but I am not worried as I have a couple of good digital photography ebooks plus the the camera instruction manual to refer to.  But it would be more fun if I can learn from someone in Miri. I am not sure if there is a photography club in Miri. I will try to find out and if there is really such a club, I will most likely join as a member.

I will be using some of the photos taken with my DSLR  in my blog entries from now on.  But please don’t expect high quality photos as I am still so new to DSLR.

I know it will be fun learning digital photography. …so let the fun begin.

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I went to Kuching on the morning of  April 2 for Ching Ming Festival and returned to Miri last night.  I had an enjoyable three days in Kuching where I stayed with my second brother. My eldest brother flew to Kuching from Miri a day earlier than me. My two brothers, my mum and I talked a lot about our younger days in Bintangor and our family history.

On my first night in Kuching, my second brother treated us to a sumptuous meal at a seafood restaurant. My sister, my brother-in-law and their youngest daughter were there. And I met Pending State Assemblywoman Violet Yong in person for the first time. She was sitting in a table near us and she came over to say hi as she knows my sister well.

Photo of Violet Yong from sarawakupdate.com

Photo of Violet Yong from sarawakupdate.com

We went to our father’s grave at about 7.10 am on  April 3. We did the customary chores of cleaning up the tombstone and removing the weeds. My sister even bought 2 paper shirts and a pair of paper sports shoes for my dad. My sister said she wanted to encourage my dad to exercise in the other world, haha!

Some time around noon on April 3, my friend John Wong came to pick me to meet up with another ex-schoolmate Goh Leng Yew. We had a simple nice lunch by the poolside at Sarawak Club. We shared our experiences, reminisced about my time at Kolej Tuanku Bujang in Miri, exchanged news about other schoolmates of ours. John is a mechanical engineer attached to JKR while Goh is a successful businessman who owns an engineering consultancy firm and a  mineral water factory in Kuching. Leng Yew, thanks for the treat! And John, thank you too for always finding time to meet up with me whenever I am in Kuching.

When John sent me back to my brother’s house, I met my grand nephew Derek Cheu for the first time.  Derek is the son of my niece Angel Lim (my second brother’s daughter). He is such a cute baby who is not shy of strangers. He didn’t mind at all when I carried him.

Little Derek

Little Derek

That night, my sister and my brother-in-law treated us to another sumptuous dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  I met my grand niece Janice again…she has grown a lot since I last saw her almost a year ago. She is such a smart little girl. Though she is not even three, she can speak and sing very well. Now that I have a grand nephew and 2 grand nieces, it is a sure sign that I am  getting old!

My sister and her granddaughter Janice

My sister and her granddaughter Janice

My brother, Derek and my mum

My second brother and his grandson Derek

After dinner, we went to my sister’s house to watch the Manchester United-Chelsea clash. Oh, it was so disappointing to see MU lose due to a controversial offside goal. MU’s hope of retaining the English Premier League championship has been very seriously dented now, thanks to the linesman.

My good friend Poh Ted Ang dropped by my sister’s house to pick me up for a chit-chat. He decided to go to Oriental Pearl Reflexology for a one-hour reflexology session. By the way, before you start jumping to the wrong conclusion, this reflexology outlet offers genuine reflexology and not what some of you may be thinking. We were each served by a male masseur from China. The masseur put a basin of hot water containing some herbs in front of me and asked me to immerse my legs in the water. The water was quite hot and I instinctively recoiled with shock when I put my legs into the water, haha! The masseur started by massaging my neck and shoulders. Oh gosh! There were times that I felt like screaming in pain! But I know that if I can endure the pain, I will feel so much better once it is over.  When the session was over, I really felt very relaxed. Thank you for picking up the tab, Ted Ang!

Yesterday morning, my eldest brother and I went shopping for butter cakes and “kompian”. I bought several butter cakes at the Mita Cake House at Satok. The shop was enjoying brisk business when I popped into the shop. Its butter cakes are tasty as they use a lot of butter unlike a lot of other cake shops that scrimp on butter when making cakes. After that, we went to buy the Foochow delicacy “kompian”.

Yesterday afternoon, as I had to meet someone near Sunny Hill Ice-cream, I thought of tasting the famous Sunny Hill ice-cream. But there was a queue of people waiting to be served and the queue was moving at such a slow pace. I gave up  and went back to my brother’s house after meeting the person that I had an appointment with.I guess I will try the next time I am in Kuching as my brother’s house is quite near Sunny Hill Ice Cream.

The slow-moving queue at Sunny Hill Ice Cream

The slow-moving queue at Sunny Hill Ice Cream

I left Kuching at about 7.40pm and arrived back in Miri at about 8.35 pm. Being rather tired, I retired to bed after a quick dinner of “char kuay teow” that I had bought at Pelita Commercial Center on the way from the airport to my house. I think I was sound asleep within a few minutes after hitting the bed!

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In Japan, farmers have been creating stunning giant living works of crop art made by the careful planting of different varieties of rice. Although the images may look as if they have been digitally created in an image manipulation program, they are in fact real and are indeed created from rice plants. Farmers creating the huge displays use no ink or dye. Instead different colours of rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields. As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.

The rice field art tradition began in the Japanese village of Inakadate in 1993 but has now spread to other areas of Japan. Villagers and volunteers help plant four varieties of rice that grow in different colours. The farmers use computers to plan their art before planting so that they know exactly where to place the different coloured rice plants in order to create the giant images. Planting generally takes place in May and the images look their best by September. Each year a different design is on show and more than 15,000 visitors travel to see the creation.

These Japanese farmers are truly astonishing for creating such stunning and unique work of art. Hmmm……maybe our Malaysian rice farmers can learn from them…but I am probably just dreaming….Malaysian farmers using computers? Boleh kah? Nay, our Malaysian farmers know only one type of mouse…the type that eat their crops!

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