The last day of 2009 will end in a few hours. It is time to say goodbye to 2009 and say hello to 2010.

Goodbye 2009

Goodbye 2009

As I look back at the past one year, I honestly think 2009 has been a good year for me. I feel blessed in many areas of my life and I am filled with a great sense of gratitude to all those who have touched my life.

My wife and my two sons have been a source of immense joy for me. My wife has given me full support in what I set out to do and has always been the pillar of my life. My son Clarence has been a source of my inspiration for what he has been able to achieve in his professional career. And my younger son Leslie completed his Bachelor of Commerce in June this year and is now attached to a reputable audit firm. I am really awed by his prudence in money matters. To both of my sons, I just wish to say that I am proud of you two.

This year has seen a few milestones in my life:

1. I started this blog on March 17 of this year so this blog is now almost 10 months old. I am glad that I have persisted in keeping this blog active and updated regularly. In a couple of months, this blog will be 1 year old….I look forward to that day!

2. In April this year, I attended the Global Internet Summit in Penang. That was a real eye-opener for me and I am so glad that I took the initiative to attend it.

3. On October 22 this year, eBay granted me the Top-Rated Seller status. That is a real milestone in my eBay business and I am indebted to all my eBay customers who make it possible.

4. Several of my investments in online investment programs paid off handsomely this year. I am glad that I did my due diligence on these programs and invested in them. Why leave all your money in bank earning a meagre 2-3% per annum when you can get almost ten times that return PER MONTH investing in reliable online programs?

5. I read a couple of books this year that have changed my mentality about money and life, notably “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and “How To Be Wildly Wealthy Fast” by Sandy Forster. I am learning to have a prosperity conscious mind and it has been an interesting journey.

2010 is just a few hours away. I look forward to the new year with great anticipation and I am confident 2010 will be an even better year for me. And I wish you all success in whatever you do in the coming year. May you be blessed!

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Yesterday afternoon my wife and I watched the movie “Avatar” at Star Cineplex at Bintang Megamall. I have only one word to describe the movie: WOW!

Avatar Poster

Avatar Poster

The sci-fi movie is an incredible animation masterpiece. You find yourself transported to Pandora, a fictional Earth-like moon in a distant planetary system. The beauty of Pandora is breathtaking and will have you in awe!

Pandoran Scenery

Pandoran Scenery

The movie is set in the year 2154 on Pandora where humans are engaged in mining the Pandora’s reserves of a precious metal while the Na’vi – the race of sapient humanoids indigenous to Pandora – resist the the expansion of the human as it was threatening the continued existence of the Na’vi and the Pandoran ecosystem.

Jake and Neytiri, the hero and heroine

Jake and Neytiri, the hero and heroine

This immediately brings to my mind the plight of the Penans of Sarawak and their resistance against timber companies encroaching on their customary land and their nomadic way of life. Remember Bruno Manser?

The Penans of Sarawak

The Penans of Sarawak

Bruno Manser

Bruno Manser

As the movie progresses, you can’t help rooting for the Na’vi. And you may even clench your fists during those scenes depicting the atrocities of humans committed against the Na’vi and the Pandoran ecosystem.

The movie is truly a visual feast. It is a movie that you will really enjoy. Just go and watch it!

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On this day fifty two years ago, a baby boy was born in a tiny town called Binatang in the state of Sarawak. Binatang is a Malay word meaning animal. Whoever named that town must have been a animal lover. The town was later renamed Bintangor as the name Binatang has a negative connotation.

Ya, that baby boy is me lah! I’m really getting old.

I wish to say thanks to my wife and my sons Clarence and Leslie as well as Amanda for their birthday cards and wishes.

Birthday card from my wife

Birthday card from my wife

Birthday card from my son Clarence and Amanda

Birthday card from my son Clarence and Amanda

Birthday card from my son Leslie

Birthday card from my son Leslie

This morning my wife and I dropped by Jenny Hiu’s house in Taman Tunku to pick up a kilo of “limpeh bahkua” (barbecue dried pork) made in Singapore. Jenny is an ex-colleague of mine in Teck Guan Group in Brunei. She left for greener pasture in Singapore a few years ago and is now attached to an American oil & gas company there. I had asked her to help me buy a kilo of the famous Singapore bahkua (Lim Chee Guan bahkua) a few days before she came back to Miri on Christmas Day for her holidays. Jenny not only bought a kilo of the bahkua that I wanted but she also bought another packet of the “three-storey meat bahkua” ( something like bacon bahkua) for me. And she refused to accept my payment…..okay, Jenny, I owe you a favour. By the way, your house in Taman Tunku fits the “title” that I have bestowed on you since our days in Teck Guan….I’m sure you know what I mean, hahaha!

Limpeh bahkua from Singapore

Limpeh bahkua from Singapore

Simply delicious...

Simply delicious...

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I have been planning to make a trip to Brunei for quite a while now but last minute circumstances forced me to postpone my trip on two previous occasions. This morning I decided to just make the trip so my wife, my younger son Les and I left Miri for Brunei at about 8.45 am this morning.

It has been quite a few months since my last visit to Brunei. Arriving at the Malaysian side of the Sg Tujoh border, I was surprised to see the many new shophouses under construction. A lot of the existing shophouses there seem to be “white elephants”. Maybe the new shops will boost the economic activity at the border once completed. I would not be surprised to see restaurants, pubs and so-called “foot reflexology and spas” commencing operations there. These “foot reflexology and spas” are all over the places in Miri and have given rise to a lot of complaints especially from housewives whose husbands seem to be coming home late nowadays. The population of “dragon ladies” or ladies from China have shot up quite a lot in tandem with the mushrooming “foot reflexology and spas”.

We went through the Malaysian immigration and custom checkpoints without much delay but it was a different story on the Brunei side of the border. We got through the Brunei immigration checkpoint quite promptly but getting through the Brunei custom checkpoint was a test of your driving guts. They had three immigration checkpoints open but only one custom checkpoint was open. So cars from the three immigration checkpoints all converged on one custom checkpoint. You need a bit of driving guts to manoeuvre your way into the queue. From my past experience, I was able to get my car to the checkpoint quite quickly. I was asked to fill a vehicle registration form so I had to park my car and fill the form. I guess that slowed down our journey a bit.

Cars from three immigration checkpoints converging on a single custrom checkpoint

Cars from three immigration checkpoints converging on a single custom checkpoint

We arrived in Bandar Seri Begawan at about 10.30 am. We went to Hua Ho Supermarket in Yayasan Complex where I bought some chocolates for my ex-colleagues in Teck Guan Plaza. I went alone to the fifth floor of Teck Guan Plaza intending to give my ex-colleagues there a surprise. But instead I was in for a surprise! The boss had given them the day off today. Luckily my previous assistant Marissa was doing overtime and we had a good chat for over half an hour.

Teck Guan Plaza where I worked for 10 years in one of the offices on the top floor

Teck Guan Plaza where I worked for 10 years in one of the offices on the top floor

After leaving Teck Guan Plaza, I went to the waterfront to take some photos of Kampong Ayer (Water Village) where people live in houses built on stilts above the river. This is one of the major tourist attractions of Brunei.

Kampong Ayer

Kampong Ayer

Water taxis with a royal palace in the distant background

Water taxis with the awter village and a royal palace in the distant background

A woman boarding a water taxi to go to Kampong Ayer

A woman boarding a water taxi to go to Kampong Ayer

Proceeding on to Yayasan Complex to meet up with my family, I took some photos of Yayasan Complex and the famous Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is one of the most spectacular mosques in Asia Pacific and is one of the major tourist attraction. The mosque is constructed on an artificial lagoon near the banks of the Brunei River. There is a marble bridge connecting the mosque to a ceremonial ship-shaped structure. The main dome of the mosque is covered in pure gold! The weather was very hot and I was sweating profusely on my forehead when I finally met up with my family.

Yayasan Complex with the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in the background

Yayasan Complex with the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in the background

Another view of Yayasan Complex and the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

Another view of Yayasan Complex and the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

The famous Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

The famous Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

Another view of the mosque

Another view of the mosque

The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque and the ceremonial ship

The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque and the ceremonial ship

We went to Teo Poi Hoon Restaurant in Kiulap for lunch. We opted for the set lunch for three consisting of sweet corn soup, fried broccoli, salad prawn and butter chicken plus iced “cincau” (grass jelly) for dessert. This set lunch was very reasonably priced at B$38……we enjoyed the food.

Sweet corn soup...nice!

Sweet corn soup...nice!

Brocolli fried with carrots and mushrooms

Brocolli fried with carrots and mushrooms

Salad prawn with papaya and winter melon.....yummy!

Salad prawn with papaya and winter melon.....yummy!

Butter chicken.....a bit too sweet but still not bad.

Butter chicken.....a bit too sweet but still not bad.

We popped in to the nearby Hua Ho Supermarket to continue shopping……ended up buying quite a bit of foodstuff and tidbits including a cheese cake and a kahlua cake.

On our way to the Gadong SupaSave, we stopped at NBT to take photos of their impressive Christmas decor. NBT Brunei has always put up very creative Christmas decor every year. And I must add that I have not seen such nice Christmas decor in Sarawak.

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At Gadong SupaSave, we bought some foodstuffs and tidbits again before popping in to the Sin You Me Restaurant to have a drink and to wait for my friend Ken. After chatting with Ken for half an hour or so, we began our journey back to Miri. We left Bandar Seri Begawan at about 4.30pm and arrived home in Miri at about 6.00pm. Because it was a day trip and partly due to the hot weather, we were real tired on reaching home.

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“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

~ Norman Vincent Peale

It is Christmas and I wish all of you a very blessed and happy Christmas and may 2010 bring you an abundance of joy, love and peace.

May Your Christmas Be As Lovely As This Baby Santa!

May Your Christmas Be As Lovely As This Baby Santa!

Christmas is about giving. If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away.

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.

To an opponent, tolerance.

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.

~ Oren Arnold

Keep this in mind:

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”

~ Burton Hillis

Have a fun-filled happy Christmas……….ho ho ho!

If you do not see Santa Claus this Christmas, maybe this is the reason why.

If you do not see Santa Claus this Christmas, maybe this is the reason why.

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Today is not only Christmas Day but also my 27th wedding anniversary. How time flies! I can still remember my wedding held in Kuching. And the wedding photos we took at Monica Salon in Kenyalang Park now looked really “outdated” compared to the stylish wedding photos we see today.

My 27th Wedding Anniversary

My 27th Wedding Anniversary

Wedding anniversaries are the remembrance of the most special day in a persons life when he or she agreed to share his or her life with that special someone. When two persons exchange marriage vows it is a solemn and sacred rite which binds these two persons in holy matrimony for the rest of their lives. Sadly in our modern society these very same vows are not treated with the respect that they deserve. Nowadays a lot of marriages last only for a short period of time. This sorry state of affairs threatens the very sanctity of marriage institution. Anyway for those few couples who make it through their first year of marriage they have every right to celebrate their wedding anniversary.In fact every year of a wedding anniversary should be celebrated in a special way.

Candlelit dinners, romantic holidays, gifts and bouquets of flowers are all commonly associated with wedding anniversaries. A carefully planned and executed anniversary will no doubt show your spouse how much you still love him or her

As the old saying goes its the thought that counts. The most important thing is to remember the wedding anniversary date itself. Woe betides any spouse who forgets this day as there will be hell to pay later.

Here are the corresponding symbols and gifts for each Anniversary:


1st Wedding Anniversary — paper

2nd Wedding Anniversary — cotton

3rd Wedding Anniversary — leather

4th Wedding Anniversary — flowers or fruits

5th Wedding Anniversary — wood

6th Wedding Anniversary — sugar or candy

7th Wedding Anniversary — wool

8th Wedding Anniversary — bronze

9th Wedding Anniversary — pottery

10th Wedding Anniversary — tin

11th Wedding Anniversary — steel

12th Wedding Anniversary — linen or silk

13th Wedding Anniversary — lace

14th Wedding Anniversary — agate

15th Wedding Anniversary — crystal

16th Wedding Anniversary — silver hollowware, peridot

17th Wedding Anniversary — furniture, watches

18th Wedding Anniversary — porcelain, cats-eye

19th Wedding Anniversary — bronze, aquamarine

20th Wedding Anniversary — china

21st Wedding Anniversary — brass or nickel

22nd Wedding Anniversary — copper

23rd Wedding Anniversary — silver plate

24th Wedding Anniversary — musical instruments

25th Wedding Anniversary — silver

26th Wedding Anniversary — original pictures

27th Wedding Anniversary — sculpture

28th Wedding Anniversary — orchids

29th Wedding Anniversary — new furniture

30th Wedding Anniversary — pearl

31st Wedding Anniversary — timepieces

32nd Wedding Anniversary –conveyances (including automobiles)

33rd Wedding Anniversary — amethyst

34th Wedding Anniversary — opal

35th Wedding Anniversary — coral or jade

36th Wedding Anniversary — bone china

37th Wedding Anniversary — alabaster

38th Wedding Anniversary — beryl and tourmaline

39th Wedding Anniversary — lace

40th Wedding Anniversary — ruby or garnet

41st Wedding Anniversary — land

42nd Wedding Anniversary — improved real estate

43rd Wedding Anniversary — trips

44th Wedding Anniversary — groceries

45th Wedding Anniversary — sapphire

50th Wedding Anniversary — gold

55th Wedding Anniversary — emerald or turquoise

60th Wedding Anniversary — diamond

65th Wedding Anniversary — diamond

70th Wedding Anniversary — platinum

75th Wedding Anniversary — diamond

To my wife Jennie, I just wish to say this:

After 27 years in this sacred institution of marriage, I can safely say: There is no one with whom I would rather be institutionalized.

Loving Couple Sculpture

Loving Couple Sculpture


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Chen Shui Bian, the former President of Taiwan, has fallen out of grace and is in jail. Now they have come out with this designer bag ……………poor Ah Bian!

Chen Shui Bian designer bag

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Today is Dongzhi or Winter Solstice Festival. This is a festival celebrated by the Chinese on or around December 22 every year. For countries in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has the shortest day and the longest night of the year. This phenomenon is more obvious further north. After the winter solstice, the northern hemisphere enters its coldest period. From that day onwards, people in China divides the next 81 days into nine periods. The coldest days begin with the third period. After the nine periods, spring begins and farming begins again.

The festival is a time for families to get together. The most important activity is the making and eating of tangyuan which are balls of glutinous rice symbolizing family unity and prosperity. The balls, which may be plain or stuffed with condiments, are cooked in a sweet soup. A lot of Chinese in Malaysia also prepare and eat the tangyuan coated with peanut and sugar.

Tangyaun in sweet soup

Tangyuan in sweet soup

Tangyuan coated with crushed peanut and sugar

Tangyuan coated with crushed peanut and sugar

Many Chinese, especially the elderly, insist that one is “a year older” right after the Dongzhi. Oh dear, that means I will be one year older tomorrow. No wonder more and more white hair are appearing on my head….at this rate, I will look like “pehmo” (white hair) in a couple more years!

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A construction crew was building a new road through a rural area, knocking down trees as it progressed.

A superintendent noticed that one tree had a nest of birds who couldn’t yet fly and he marked the tree so that it would not be cut down.

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Several weeks later the superintendent came back to the tree. He got into a bucket truck and was lifted up so that he could peer into the nest. The fledglings were gone. They had obviously learned to fly. The superintendent ordered the tree cut down.

As the tree crashed to the ground, the nest fell clear and some of the material that the birds had gathered to make the nest was scattered about. Part of it was a scrap torn from a Sunday school pamphlet. On the scrap of paper were these words: He careth for you.

casting-all-your-care-upon-him

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I watched the China movie “In Love We Trust” (the mandarin title is Zuo Yu meaning left right) a few days ago. The movie won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival.

In Love We Trust

In Love We Trust

The movie is a drama about a young girl who was diagnosed with leukemia that requires a bone marrow transplant or else she would have only a couple more years to live. The girl’s birth parents are divorced and she is staying with her mum and her mum’s new husband who both love her dearly. The girl’s father has remarried an air hostess.The girl’s parents’ bone marrow was found to be not a match and the doctor advised that the girl can only be saved with stem cells from a sibling. So the girl’s natural parents decided to have another baby through artificial insemination. This failed though they tried three times. They wanted to give it a few more attempts but the hospital declined as it was deemed a waste of time. The mother, at her wit’s end, asked the ex-husband to sleep with her to get her pregnant again. The mother’s fierce love for her daughter blinds her to the potential damage she is doing to everyone around her. That is the gist of the story.

The movie is very slow-paced and is quite sad. However I laughed a lot during the course of the movie. You are probably thinking that I am contradicting myself. Laughing a lot watching a sad movie? Am I going bonkers?

I laughed a lot because of the atrocious English subtitles. Quite a lot of the subtitles will have you in stitches. And some of the subtitles had me scratching my head trying to make head or tail out of them.

A sample of the “gems” :

My horse go up (direct translation from the Mandarin words meaning I will go immediately).

I beat to you (direct translation from the Mandarin words meaning I will phone you).

You good you good (nihao nihao).

Do you stir my telephone? ( Did you phone to me?).

Eat point more, the disease likes quickly (The Mandarin words mean eat a little more and the illness will go away faster).

Since today, you can’t cry again, be the kid’s noodle especially ( In essence, the dialogue in Mandarin means from today onwards, don’t cry in front of the kid……the Mandarin word for face can also mean noodles).

Fill this watch ( The Mandarin dialogue means fill this form….the Mandarin word for form can also mean watch).

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