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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

~ Reflexology ~
the art of making you scream

Had my first foot massage tonight. It was alternating bouts of me covering my mouth from the pain and me covering my mouth to stop me laughing as i'm ticklish. Relaxing yet exhillarating? Is that even possible? I doubt it.

I rounded off the 30mins foot massage with 30 mins neck and shoulders

... And again I promise myself to got for a massage at least once a month... c'mon, you deserve it, champ!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Australia No.2 for lifestyle

AUSTRALIA has ranked second behind France in the 2007 quality of life survey conducted by the American travel magazine International Living.

While France retained first place, Australia moved up a position in the list of 191 countries surveyed.

"Australia is an attractive option, especially if you're young," the magazine reported. "The climate is good ... the lifestyle is easygoing and there are plenty of ways to spend your days living in the great outdoors."

The rankings were based on scores out of 100 in nine categories: cost of living; culture and leisure; economy; environment; freedom; health; infrastructure; safety and risk; and climate. Australia received excellent scores for climate (89), economy (89), and cost of living (73).

Australia came sixth in the magazine's "where you'll live the longest" list. With an average life expectancy of 81 years, Australia was 2 years behind the leader, Andorra.

International Living said France had "superstar infrastructure, solid economy, and the world's best health care, plus a surprisingly affordable cost of living outside Paris ... and one of the world's most alluring and romantic capital cities."

from smh

Friday, January 26, 2007

Worlds oldest blogger (aged 93)
read his blog

Yesterday received my immigration stamp for Malaysia!

Malaysian immigration stamp


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rare shark of the deep snapped

A species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is 600 metres or more under the sea was captured on film by staff at a Japanese marine park this week.

The Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka, south of Tokyo, was alerted by a fisherman at a nearby port on Sunday that he had spotted an odd-looking eel-like creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth.

Marine park staff caught the 1.6-metre-long creature, which they identified as a female frilled shark, sometimes referred to as a "living fossil" because it is a primitive species that has changed little since prehistoric times.

The shark appeared to be in poor condition when park staff moved it to a seawater pool where they filmed it swimming and opening its jaws.

"We believe moving pictures of a live specimen are extremely rare," said an official at the park. "They live between 600 and 1000 metres under the water, which is deeper than humans can go."

"We think it may have come close to the surface because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in shallow waters," the official said.

The shark died a few hours after being caught.

Frilled sharks, which feed on other sharks and sea creatures, are sometimes caught in the nets of trawlers but are rarely seen alive.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Some great art I've found this morning...


visit http://beinart.org/artists/ to discover your own!

Google wants to put you on the map

On current images used in Google Maps, people appear as indistinguishable dots (see red circle, lower right). The new images promise to be as good as or better than this one (inset) taken over The Hague in the Netherlands.

On current images used in Google Maps, people appear as indistinguishable dots (see red circle, lower right). The new images promise to be as good as or better than this one (inset) taken over The Hague in the Netherlands.

Here's a chance to make a spectacle of yourself in front of the whole world on Australia Day.

On Friday, an aircraft hired by Google will be doing a series of low-level swoops over parts of Sydney, photographing the ground and waters below.

The three-seater plane, decked out in Google livery, will have special permission to fly at an altitude of 600m.

Providing the photographs turn out to be good enough quality, the images will be integrated into Google Maps, the free online mapping service used by millions of people around the world.

Usually, people aren't aware when they are caught in aerial photographs that later end up being used in Google Maps. This time however Google actually wants Sydneysiders to do whatever they can to make themselves visible.

The company is encouraging people to wear something distinctive, hold up a sign (face-up), draw in the sand, or even arrange themselves into a "fun formation".

According to Mr Lars Rasmussen, head of engineering for Google Australia and one of the lead engineers for Google Maps, the images will be the highest resolution available on the popular mapping service.

He said the images will add a "few more zoom levels" to the local maps and be between three to four times more detailed than are currently available for Australian terrain on Google Maps.

That would put them on par or better than the Google Map images of the Netherlands where, for instance, one of the aerial photographs shows a woman in a swimsuit sunbathing on the balcony of a low-rise block of units.

The best available resolution images on Australian aerial images allows you to see cars clearly, but people are generally visible as pinpricks on the photos.

"This is the first time we have tried this on any scale," said Mr Rasmussen, one of the original developers of Google Maps, who is based in Sydney. "We have no idea whether it will work, but we thought it'd be fun to try."

The plane is scheduled to begin flying over Centennial and Moore parks at 9am from where it will head out to Bronte Beach. The flight will zig-zag it's way across the inner east, the city, Harbour and the lower North Shore, ending at about 2.15pm.

Google says the experiment will depend on fine, clear weather and that the flyover times may vary depending on prevailing conditions.

A map with times of the flyover can be found at http://www.google.com.au/australiaday2007/ and will will be updated with any changes to the schedule on the morning of January 26.

The images, however, will take up to another six weeks to make it on to Google Maps.

"It's a bit of an experiment and if it's a success, we'll probably do it in other places [around the world]," Mr Rasmussen said, indicating that Google would work on organising similar flyovers in places like Paris on Bastille Day or over cities in the United States on Independence Day.

...from smh

Monday, January 22, 2007

Houses in Epping

Aussie homes 'seriously' unaffordable

Housing affordability in Australia is among the worst in the world, a further sign that many state and local government polices are inappropriate, the Residential Development Council said.

It said today's release of the Annual Demographia survey rated every Australian city as "seriously" or "severely" unaffordable in a global study of 159 cities, with Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Hobart among the worst 25 cities.

The Residential Development Council, the residential policy arm of the Property Council of Australia, said Australia's poor result was proof that the current policy mix was a toxic cocktail for housing affordability.

"We have four of our cities in the worst 25 when it comes to affordability - surely the message must get through," said RDC Executive Director Ross Elliott.

The Demographia survey, released by the US-based Wendell Cox Consultancy, attributes restrictive land release policies and excessive regulatory and zoning controls, combined with high housing taxes, for the Australian problem.

The survey rates housing "unaffordable" when the median house price passes three times median household incomes.

Housing is "seriously unaffordable" when it passes four times median household incomes and "severely unaffordable" when it passes five times median household incomes.

The least affordable Australian city is Sydney - where median prices are 8.5 times median incomes - even worse than London at 8.3 times incomes and New York at 7.2 times incomes.

"We have maintained that there are three things largely responsible for the worsening housing affordability in this country. Inappropriate land release policies, excessive housing taxes and unfair infrastructure charges, and dysfunctional systems of development assessment," Mr Elliott said in a statement.

"This report now confirms the magnitude of the problem in this country - where with abundant land, there is no excuse for our housing crisis other than bad public policy."

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Evening all.... aah it's good to fall down on the couch. Been shopping all afternoon at Sungei Wang with the girl. I bought a few new t-shirts, actually managing to find some that don't have monkeys on the front... This is actually surprisingly hard to do at times. I think I have four monkey shirts so far. I think that's enough for the time being... don't you?

We had lunch in a place we've eaten once before, a place called "Hot Mama's". It looks like this:

Restoran 'Hot Mama' at Sungei Wang #2

Woke up about 8:30am and called Dad while making coffee... had a good chat for about 15mins. It's the first time I've spoken to him since moving back over here to KL.

Went down to the gym and pool this morning.. rode the exercise bike for 15 mins then swam 10 laps. A good kick start to the weekend. And I'm paying for these facilities, I might as well make the most of them.

Found this little delight in the shopping centre across from 'The Weld'... the executive Davy Crockett look.

strange fashion #2

...great isn't it? I think I might start coming to work dressed like this.

Some more photos I've taken lately...

looking up from poolside at my apartment

looking towards the city from my apartment block

cubist building #2
cubist building as seen from work

stormclouds over KL #2
storm clouds over KL

I've been working on my Cantonese for about a couple of hours a week or so at the moment. Quite proud as someone told me that my pronunciation had really improved. Hmm... perhaps that's because my pronunciation was particularly bad before? Yeh, that's entirely likely actually.

Not that much that is extraordinarily interesting has been happening recently... sorry about that.

... I'll keep you posted as soon as it does.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the burqini

In a lycra revolution, a cover-all swimming costume is bringing Muslim women on to Australian beaches as lifeguards, unzipping racial tensions which divided parts of Sydney little over a year ago.

The two-piece "burqini", popular in the Middle East, is proving key to a reshaping surf lifesaving - once a bastion of white Australian culture and still a heartland of the country's sun-bronzed, heroic self-myth.

"I am Australian so I always have the Australian life style, but now with the burqini it just allowed me to participate in it more. We used to always go to the beach, but now that I have the burqini I can actually swim," said Mecca Laalaa, 22.

Laalaa is one of 24 young Australians of Arab heritage who recently signed up to a 10-week training course run by Surf Life Saving Australia aimed at widening the racial mix on beaches.

The shift follows race riots between ethnic Lebanese Australians and white Australian youths at Cronulla Beach in Sydney's south in the lead-up to Christmas in 2005.

Cars, shops and churches were damaged in the violence, which followed an attack on a pair of white Australian beach lifeguards.

Laalaa, whose ethnic background is Lebanese-Australian, is relying on a home-grown burqini - a compromise between a burqa and a bikini - to keep her covered on Cronulla's sands.

The full-length lycra suit with hijab head-covering is not too figure hugging to embarrass, but is tight enough to allow its wearer to swim freely. It will soon be manufactured in the iconic red and yellow of Australia's surf life saving movement.

"We are surrounded by water all over Australia, it is totally encouraged for us from all the schools, no matter what school you go to," burqini manufacturer Aheda Zanetti said.

"So when these girls decide and choose to wear the veil, they decide to stop doing that. We didn't want to do that."

The burqini is making its appearance during the 100th anniversary of surf life saving in Australia, which began on Sydney's famous Bondi Beach and has grown to count 115,000 volunteers in more than 300 clubs.

Women were only allowed membership in 1980 and some clubs patrol inland lakes, including Lake Jindabyne near the snow-capped southern Australian Alps.

Zanetti, who sells her burqinis for up to $A200, hopes to widen the garment's appeal beyond Muslim women at the beach.

"We are also encouraged in Australia to cover up not due to modesty but for sun protection, so this is not just a modesty aspect swimming suit, it is also a protection against the sun, surf and sand," she said.

from smh

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Back in KL

Back in KL.
It's my 4th night in my new place, and i think I've finally got all the essential paraphernalia that will allow me to survive. When I was in the last apartment at the Maple Suite, everything was provided. In this new place, there were pillows, but no pillow cases or bed sheets, no iron, no ironing board, no plates, cutlery,no frying pan, saucepan or towels. So I've been running around for a couple of days, but I think I'm pretty much sorted now. Yay me.

Oh, thought you might get a kick out of this... I found it while looking for my address, just to show you how much I'm roughing it over here:

"Nestled comfortably in the exquisite tranquil setting of undulating softness of Bukit Ceylon, ANGKASA IMPIAN 2 truly lives up to its name - a dream city living experience come true. One of the last residential parcels in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, this prestigious city garden enclave offers serenity from the hustle and bustle of the city, a haven for tired minds and body, whilst rejuvenating the soul with its soothing tropical-themed aesthetics.

... just a stone's throw away from KL's finest.

Found in the intersection of Changkat Bukit Ceylon and Jalan Sahabat, Angkasa Impian 2 is surrounded by the best KL has to offer - an unlimited array of dining pleasure, shopping that's to die for, offices and commercial centres, tourist and recreation sites and a pulsating nightlife; all within walking distance of this urban tropical haven. Where the wealth of choice is right at your doorstep.

Relish the sheer luxury of resort-style city living ...

Careful consideration has been put in to ensure that you enjoy only the absolute best in comfort and indulgence. This is evident in the extensive landscaping - from the well-planned tropical themed ambience complete with milieu of exotic plants and water features to the overall layout of individual units to the choice of quality finishing. The essence of nature, and momentum of the city co-mingled in a harmonious living experience.

No expenses has been spared in providing you with a full range of services and amenities to ensure a luxurious living experience. Complete with resort-style facilities amid a tropical-themed landscape. Designed for your comfort and convenience.

• Swimming pool
• Wading pool
• Multi-purpose function room
• Recreation deck
• Gymnasium
• 2 Squash courts
• Tennis court
• Launderette
• Surau
• Kindergarten
• Restaurant
• Sundry store
• Carpark"

I've been swimming every day in the pool here, even if it's just a bit of a paddle to wash off the day. I was gazing over the edge of the pool area yesterday and I swear I saw a squirrel running around on the ground in the place next door. Are there squirrels in Malaysia? I have no idea. Certainly looked like a squirrel to me. Can anyone confirm or deny?

Chris from the HP account in Sydney is here for a month, so it's now my turn to show the new guy around the place. Hehe. You know, I think I'm actually starting to be able to find my way around Sungei Wang without getting lost. Wonders will never cease.

Today I picked up my stuff that I'd dumped at Frank & Andrew's place while I went back to Sydney. Thanks for holding onto it for me guys, I really appreciate it. Y'know, one thing that has really made itself clear since I've moved over here is how little 'stuff' we actually, honestly need. While there are plenty of memories stashed away in my possessions now in storage in Sydney, right here and now, I have everything I require and while I wouldn't want to lose all that stuff in a horrific factory fire, the actual impact on my daily life at the moment would be approximately nil. It's funny the lack of attachment that I'm growing towards all my worldly possessions... I guess most people don't find themselves in situations where they essentially have to start again from scratch. It's certainly an enlightening experience.

I downloaded the movie 'The Corporation' via Democracy when I was over here previously, and just watching it now... Really quite interesting stuff. It basically revolves around the idea of the lack of any meaningful corporate morality and the effect that this has on the various external and internal environments that interact with that corporation. Highly recommended.

Thinking about getting a Nintendo DS Lite... for no other reason than just fun. My previous housemate Brian's gf has one and she was showing me the Training, and for that alone it looks quite cool.

Since my return to KL, there has been no other food stuff that has held pole position more than the humble Jaffle. For those poor uninitiated, the Jaffle, or toastie, breville or hong kong pie is a hot sandwich prepared in a special clam-like toaster that squashes everything together and cooks it. Typical ingredients are cheese, ham, tomato, but anything really is a contender. I like the name: 'hong kong pie' myself, that's what I've seen it referred to over here. My girl and I were out at lunch a while ago and noticed it on the menu, so she decided to try it and liked it. I bought one of the sandwich presses the other day, and we've been happily making jaffles ever since.

The aforementioned girl has also somehow convinced me to let her shave off my goatee of 4 years too. My hesitation at shaving it off was seriously offset by the fact that she was going to be doing the shaving... i mean, come on, having someone else shave you is a sexy, sexy experience. If you haven't tried it, do so now, right now. Now!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Some pics from the Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks display..



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