April 24 was the 2010 Curtin University of Technology (Miri) Graduation Ceremony Day. It was a special occasion for my family as our younger son Leslie received his Bachelor of Commerce degree (majoring in Accounting & Finance) at the convocation. Leslie completed his degree in June last year. Curtin Miri holds graduation convocation only once a year so Leslie had to wait till this convocation to receive his degree.

My elder son Clarence flew back from Penang on April 22 to attend Leslie’s convocation. He is having his study break to prepare for his final CPA paper exams. Upon completion of three years’ working experience in a couple of months’ time , he will be a full-fledged CPA. Leslie will also be pursuing the CPA qualification like his brother.

To Leslie and Clarence, mum and dad are proud of you both. It has been such a joy to see you both grow up into such fine adults.

A scene from the convocation

Graduates throwing their graduation hats in the air

Graduates throwing their graduation hats in the air

Leslie receiving his degree from Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. George Chan Hong Nam

The happy graduate

Me, Clarence, Leslie & my wife Jennie

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I saw this man with the longest beard I have ever come across. The beard literally touched the ground. He looked like a hermit who had just emerged from a very long exile in some remote jungle. Or maybe he belonged to some unknown tribe that has not yet been discovered.

Then I realised that he was stark naked with only the beard covering his body. Is it because that is how they live in the remote jungle? Or has he gone bonkers after being cut off from the civilized world for so long? Why had he decided to come back to society after such a long exile? Was it because of the deforestation by the timber companies? These thoughts ran through my mind as I watched him.

I quickly took out my camera and snapped a photo of him. When he saw me taking photos of him, he lifted his beard and flung it backwards so that it covered his face and revealed his naked body. Oh my, what have we got here? A flasher! I quickly took another photo of him.

Be prepared as I am sharing the photos with you. Make sure there are no kids around as you view the photos below, okay?

Here are the photos…..

If the kids are still around, chase them away first.

Okay, that is better.

Now for the photos…….

The hermit

The flasher

The flasher

Caught you there……do you think I would put photos of a real flasher on my blog? Ha ha ha!

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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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Anew singing sensation is causing such a stir on the Internet that a lot of people are asking if he’s the next Susan Boyle. He is Taiwan’s Lin Yu Chun.

Lin, repeatedly referred to “xiao pang” or “little fatty” on the show and whose name means “educate the masses”, gave a stirring performance of “Amazing Grace” in the first round of the Taiwanese singing talent show “Super Star Avenue” to advance to the second round.

In the second round, the 23-year old Lin blew away the judges and the audience with his soaring rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. The YouTube video of him performing this song has become a runaway hit, spreading like wildfire with almost a million views right now as I am writing this. And the video clip was released only two days ago!

The song was first written and performed by Dolly Parton but it became a monster hit for Whitney Houston when she covered the song for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.. The immense online buzz surrounding Lin’s YouTube video is due to Lin’s pitch-perfect rendition of Whitney Houston’s version. Lin’s feat has received massive coverage even in the United States in prestigious media such as Billboard.com, CBSnews.com, Chicago Tribune.com. TMZ.com, Huffington Post, etc.

If Lin Yu Chun wins the competition, he will reportedly earn $1 million and the chance to release his own album. Go for it, Xiao Pang!

Click on the video below to see his jaw-dropping performance:

Now compare it with Whitney Houston’s performance:

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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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Malaysian men are flocking to join Mana Cari Amoi club or MCA in short. According to an MCA spokesman Yu Ren Jie, they have been overwhelmed by the response and may soon have to close their door to new members.

The MCA offers 3 membership levels:

(1) Ordinary member RM32.78 annual membership fee

(2) Prestige member RM327.80 annual membership fee

(3) VIP members RM3,278.00 annual membership fee

Membership benefits vary with the membership level, the higher your membership level, the more opportunities for the member to get to know “amoi” or girls. The club will be setting up offices in all major towns in Malaysia and will be affiliated with the leading lounges, KTVs, pubs and foot reflexology & spa centers in these towns.

As membership will be closed soon, you better hurry if you intend to join. You can contact Yu Ren Jie at 016-32783278 for more information. As the line will be very busy most of the time, you need to be patient and keep trying. But if you are fed up with hearing an engaged tone every time you try, just email Yu Ren Jie at yurenjie@afd.my.

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