Sunday, June 27, 2010

Academically Speaking

This evening, I made a discovery. Of the academic sort.

I was on Facebook and out of sheer not-knowing-what-else-to-check, I keyed in the name of my former uni coursemate.  I have been searching and trying to connect with her for quite some time now.  But still, the search results returned nothing.  I then keyed in the name of one of our lecturer/supervisor.  I do this from time to time - just to find out if there are any new news worthy news.  (Hmm?) (On that note, I wonder if any of my former students do this..) Well, the search returned a few links which my ever so nimble fingers quickly worked on.

And click upon click, I find out that this lecturer whom I'll call Dr S, had written a paper based on his research of the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11.  It was to be published in a Journal of Engineering Mechanics.  Impressive, I think and true to his line of interest from the time I was at uni.  He was a rather cool fellow, young, interesting, err not bad looking (yes) and he had great ideas.  He was then interested in fractals and collapsible and smart structures.  Great, I think.  I'm happy for him that he is doing well.

But as I continue looking into the other links, I realize that he is/was actually in hot soup for that paper he wrote. The paper was dated 2007.  I downloaded it (I'm not entirely sure why.  But I guess, there was some interest and intention to hopefully read it some time).  In fact, I had actually discussed the topic of the collapse of the twin towers in my Strength of Material classes last time, when we studied buckling.

So anyway, I was so surprised by what I found.  Dr S' paper was being highly criticized and commented on.  There were forums  discussing the paper, there were blog posts by other scientist, engineers and academicians all denouncing the findings of his paper.  There was even some sort of petition requesting the university where he is currently employed (he's no longer at the uni where I studied) to look into and correct his work.  Some of the words being used were not particularly nice. There were accusations that he had written the paper out of political reasons and to seek fame.  The were alleging that the assumptions that he had made in his research deemed it to be not just inaccurate but incorrect altogether.  Ouch...that's serious.

I don't know how that concluded but I wonder what impact that has had on his career as an academician.  He was a great lecturer really.  Just goes to show that life in academia is not all bed of roses.  There is politics involved and I guess if you are going to write any research paper, you pretty damned well have to be ready to back it up.  There were some complaints of how the paper could have made it into acceptance for publication.  Weren't there referees reading and checking the paper beforehand. Well, from my experience last time, sometimes the papers aren't even really read properly by those people are supposed to read it.

So now, my Dr S, whose image in my head before was pretty much that of a brilliant saint, these findings have now altered the image somewhat.  If I hadn't gotten itchy fingers and went a browsing, I never would have known all of this.  And they say what you don't know doesn't hurt you.  Ignorance is bliss.  The lesser of the two evils.  Ah well.  He's still my Dr S.  This could either be a small bump in his career else he's probably going to do something uber brilliant after this and be the stuff of legend.  I wish him well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Daddy Day

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter. All opinions are 100% mine.


How was your weekend?  Did you have a good one?  And how was your Father's Day?  At the stroke of midnight on Sunday (and even earlier actually), people had already started putting out their Father's Day wishes on Facebook.  I thought about it, but didn't.  I just gave the other half a little peck on the cheek and wished him so and reminded Yasmin to wish him the same as well. I called up my pa and wished him but his response was the usual Oh, yeah..Happy Day. Heee...that's pretty much his response when I wish him Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, etc. He's not much into these celebratory things.

Our day on Sunday was spent quietly.  We wanted to eat at our favourite place but found out it was closed for a private function.  So went for lunch at another spot and back home it was for a nice afternoon siesta. Hehe..

Did you have any gifts for the dad in your life?  Not another necktie or pen, hopefully.  Well, those are not bad really. It's the thought that counts, right?  These days gifts have gotten quite a makeover - how about giving dad digital access to the shows and channels he loves? Astro Beyond perhaps? Especially now that it's the World Cup season. He's sure to want to hog all the sports channels and get up to date information on his favourite teams. For those of you in the US, Charter has special deals for this Father's Day. You can get a gift card to The Home  Depot or other retailers worth up to $300 when you bring home one of Charter's best bundles!  Plus, 100 winners will be chosen to win an 8GB iPod Touch - Charter's way to show off their new mobile application for the iPod, iPhone and Blackberry. With this new application, the world is literally at your fingertips.  That would be a great Father's Day gift indeed, don't you think? Enter now to win an iPod Touch! If only it were available here.  I'd sure love one of those babies too.

A video of the Charter application is available here. Alternatively you can also get updates, fun extras, and facebook only deals on Charter’s Facebook page.

Happy Father's Day to all you daddies out there.  Hope you had a wonderful day. Know that you are our unsung heroes and that you are surely much loved and looked up to.  We might forget to tell you or not show it to you at times, but you are.

Visit my sponsor: Charter is mobile Father's Day

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bon Apetit!

Julie & JuliaTaking a break from my A to Z guide to talk more about two of my favourite things - FOOD! And the movie Julie & Julia.  Have you seen it?  

I have to say, Julia and Julie were right when they said that BUTTER is the most delectable and exquisite thing in the world! Heeee... Over the weekend, I managed to cook up a lunch of Butter Prawns.  Not something cooked by the two J's of course, but nevertheless with their favourite ingredient as the key.  I learnt how to cook the dish by watching a youtube video, believe it or not! Hahaaaa...and it turned out good.  I managed to make the golden crispy flossy bit and it tasted yummy!! Look see below:

The only thing, since I am not quite accustomed to cooking prawns - I'm usually just on the eating side..heehee - I didn't know how much of the prawn's head to cut and clean off before cooking.  I started out cutting up some bits, up to the eyes but then wasn't sure if it was enough then ended up taking off the whole head.  Took out the black veiny bit at the back.  Left the shell on though. I'm wondering how much of a difference taste-wise does it make, by leaving the head on or taking the shell off?  Anyone can share?  I am of the opinion that eating should be as easy and as pleasurable as possible and sometimes having the head and shell on can be a turn off - to those that malas mau buka, sometimes me.

Also had yummy roti kawin on the same day. More butter...nyum nyum!  Hehe..Yummy yummy but I'll need to be looking at a new exercise regime at this rate.  Since I can not foresee myself giving up the butter!  Heeeee

So Julie & Julia - the story is based on two true stories.  That of Julia Child, her journey to becoming a cook and an author.  And that of Julie Powell, who was inspired to challenge herself to cooking all of Julia's recipes in the span of one year and blogging about it.

I love this movie because:
1.  Both Julia and Julie were writers
2.  I love cooking and eating!
3.  Julie's blog got turned into a book and then this movie - a blogger/writer's dream come true!

Superb performances by Amy Adams and Meryl Streep as Julie and Julia respectively.  The movie is delightful.  If not, it will inspire you to either - cook or blog :)

If you check, Julie Powell still blogs today and her original blog aptly named The Julie/Julia Project is also still online.
Paul Child (Julia's husband): What is it you REALLY like to do? 
Julia Child: Eat!
Me too Julia!  Heeeee!

Incidently, we were at Times Bookstore last week when I saw Julia's book Mastering the Art of French Cooking there.  This is the book that was the gist of the movie. Hubby sweetly offered to buy it for me.. until he turned the cover and saw that it cost a whopping RM300+! Hahaaa.... I think that must have been the hardcover version - with two volumes.  There was another version at RM70+. Ahemmm... hi hubby! Butter prawn?? 

Monday, June 14, 2010

An A to Z Guide to Kota Kinabalu: Part 2

If you have read my previous post, An A to Z Guide to Kota Kinabalu: Part 1 - thanks!! - and here you go, here is Part 2.  The list continues...

F is for FOOD!  As with any other Malaysian city, KK is a haven for food - of all types, from the street hawkers under the pedestrian bridge in Segama, to the now famous kopitiams, to international cuisine, to fine dining at a revolving restaurant. Macam-macam ada.  It used to be that whenever we went to KL, it would be an absolute must to go searching for cakes at Secret Recipe, honey barbecue chicken at the Chicken Rice Shop, sushi and bentos at Jusco - now, it's all here in KK!  When it comes to local delicacies, there are a few must tries.  For sweets, there are kuihs like penjaram and kuih cincin.  For savoury dishes, there is ikan ampap (fish cooked with chilli, turmeric and asam keping), oxtail assam pedas and ayam masak lihing.  And then there are the condiments and side dishes like bambangan, tuhau, hinava and durian merah - all of which I have tried and love!!  There is one thing I haven't and probably would never try - the butod! It's those fat and wriggly sago grubs which can be eaten cooked or alive - GULP!


For food around KK, these are some my favourites:

Favourite Italian - Little Italy (not just for the food, but the hospitality and great service!)
Favourite Kopitiam & Best Roti Kawin - Fook Yuen at Kompleks Asia City and this place is halal certified!
Favourite Chicken Rice - Rohayu Cafe (near the mosque roundabout)
Favourite Indian Food - Choice Restaurant (near Taman Millenium near KKIA, they also have branches at Suria Food Court and 1Borneo) Yummy mutton biryani!
Favourite Japanese Food - Japanese Dream Food at Palm Square, Centre Point
Favourite for Kuih Muih and Snacks - Bits & Bites in Wisma Merdeka and Kak Nong in Bundusan
Favourite for Lauk Pauk yang sedap for Nasi Campur - Malindo Restaurant in Api-api Centre

As you can probably tell, I love my food! Heeeee

Gaya Street, one of the main streets in downtown KK, housing many of the old traditional Chinese shops, most of the major banks, a lot of eateries and also KK's infamous Sunday street market.  I love the Sunday street market - I haven't been in a while though. They have everything from food to fresh fruits and veggies, to fabrics and plastic ware, to plants and even pets.  Back in those days when my mom was flower crazy, she used to drag me out there even before the crack of dawn.  Yes, in that darkness, she and my aunts still seemed to be able to see the flowers and choose those that they wanted.  They were literally taking the phrase the early bird catches the worm, to heart. In this case, it was flowers.  I think they were just being a bit kiasu. And the daughter became the victim. Heh. After that though, we would retreat to one of the nearby restaurants for breakfast.  Gaya Street Fair on Sunday, a must see for visitors and a great morning out if you haven't been in a while.

Harvest Festival.  May is the favourite month for most Sabahans.  It is the month where we celebrate our cultures and share in the celebration of the Kadazandusun's Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Festival).  It is the month with the most holidays for us!! Weeheeee!!  A fantastic array of cultural events are usually on show in May, culminating with the Harvest Festival holidays and crowning of the Unduk Ngadau at the end of the month. Pic: Hubs & Yasmin attempting to play a giant sompoton

Islands - Beautiful islands, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters are a mere 20 minutes boat ride away from KK.  Perfect for a weekend getaway or a day break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Manukan, Sapi, Mamutik, Gaya.  Further away for the more adventurous, there is Dinawan, Pulau Tiga, Mantanani, Mabul and Sipadan.  Best kan? Great for water babies and for finding nemo :)

Jesselton - KK's second former name, after Api-api. It was renamed Jesselton,  after Sir Charles Jessel, the Vice Chairman of the British North Borneo Company.  One of the focal points in KK now is Jesselton Point.  It is the ferry/boat terminal to go to the nearby islands and also for ferry rides to Labuan.  Jesselton Point houses several eateries including a Nasi Padang restaurant (not bad but a little too salty for my taste) and an arabic fast food restaurant , Aladin, that my friend Maria says has delicious food.  Must try soon.  It also houses a futsal centre and has bcome the location for a monthly bazaar/flea market.  


Kinabalu - From WikipediaKinabalu derived from the name Aki Nabalu meaning the "revered place of the dead", in which, Aki means "ancestors" or "grandfather", and Nabalu being a name for the mountain in the Dusun language.  There is also a source claiming that the term originated from Ki Nabalu, where Ki meaning "have" or "exist", and Nabalu meaning "spirit of the dead".  Which is why there are stories about guardians of Mount Kinabalu and that climbers need to be respectful when ascending the mountain.


Yes, Mount Kinabalu - our pride and joy.  Something you might not have known or guessed about me - I have climbed that mountain 3 times!! Yeah, it surprises me as well!! Hahaa....well, that was in the days when I was still semi-fit.  It was always a love-hate climbathon - I'd love the views but when it got tiring I'd think why oh why was I doing it again but then when I got down, I'd think let's go again. Hahaaa...I think 3 times is enough though.  I find that many visitors still get it wrong and call the mountain as Mount KK :O   Kinabalu National Park/Kundasang is a great weekend getaway.  Personally, me loves Kinabalu Pine Resort.  It's cosy and you have a gorgeous view of the mountain right smack in front of you. Oh, the picture above was taken from Desa Cattle & Milk Farm in Kundasang. Mooooo!

L  is for Luyang, Likas and Lintas - 3 of the major areas in KK.  I live in Luyang, so does my family and my hubby's family.  My aunt also lives in Luyang.  My dad's former workplace was also in Luyang.  So I guess you can say that I am orang Luyang.  Luyang and Lintas are hubs for offices, residences and quite a few great hang outs like Upperstar (both in Damai and Lintas) and City Mall. Likas is more residential, there are quite a few schools there and there is also the Likas Sports Complex for...err..sporting activities.

Part 3 soon!!  Depends on how long and how often my kid hogs the laptop heehee... Much love xoxo

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

An A to Z Guide to Kota Kinabalu: Part 1

I suddenly felt inspired to create this list - an A to Z guide to my city Kota Kinabalu.  This is partly inspired by a similar list I saw in Emila Yusof's blog and also an article I read in a magazine.  It is something I have thought about writing for some time now.  Today, I got the nudge.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide about the city, nor will I say that it is the most precise and accurate in all it's information.  It is KK as I see it.  It can be a rough guide for those visitors and a nice tribute (I hope) for those KK city folks.  It is a guide encompassing the city itself and its surroundings, some history, some places of interest, some about culture and the inhabitants and our quirky ways.

My original intention was to write the entire list as one post.  Partly because I knew if I didn't, I probably wouldn't finish this thing!  I even started out by listing the entire alphabet first.  But as I began enjoying myself in writing this out, I realised there was a lot to say and if I did the full list in one go, this is going to be one heck of a long post.  So to be kind to your eyes my darling readers, I have decided to divide this up into a few parts.  I solemnly promise though (three fingers raised) that I shall finish this, what I have started. 

So here it is folks, here is my A to Z guide (Part 1), my little tribute to Kota Kinabalu, the beautiful place that I call home.  Enjoy! And comments, please! Cheers.

Let's start from the beginning, A is for....

Api - api :  The original name of the city,  apparently named as such by the mainly Bajau locals to denote the blazing of the first British administrative office in Pulau Gaya instigated by Mat Salleh in the late 1890s. Api means fire.  The name is still used quite commonly.  One of the main commercial/residential buildings in the city is called Api-api Centre, various clubs are named Api-api *something something* club.

Bah/Buli Bah Kalau Kau! are two terms that you will commonly hear said by the locals.  Bah is an exclamation of emphasis, it can also simply mean yes, it can also be used at the start of a sentence to mean something like 'so'.  Examples:

For emphasis - Ya bah! (Ya really!)
To mean yes - Let's go to eat.  Reply: Bah! (Yes)
At the start of a sentence - Bah, how are you? (So, how are you?)

Now that I think of it, Bah can actually be used in a lot of other contexts.  Only true Sabahans (or those who have lived here long enough) would know and get it right.  Many a times you can spot a non-native by their incorrect attempt of the use of their Bah! Heeee... For example, bah does not need to be used in every sentence.  Gotta commend the attempt though :) By the way, for your information, bah is also officially listed as an English exclamation word in dictionary.com

Buli Bah Kalau Kau translates as For you, sure!  It's a term coined by the team at borneoutara.com that has achieved somewhat of a cult status here.  They have t-shirts and all! What they actually do, I have no idea really! Check out their site.  But you will frequently find locals replying with this line or just the abbreviation BBKK in their daily conversations.  Cute eh. And very very Sabahan.  

Centre Point is one of the biggest and older shopping malls in Kota Kinabalu. I remember when they first opened sometime circa 1990, we were in form 2 and we had this outing with school friends to go eat at Pizza Hut (it was the first one in KK at the time) and the place was packed! Kebaruan* bah. Now, despite the rise of many other newer shopping malls, Centre Point (CP) remains busy and packed, anchored by the departmental store Pacific NgiuKee and main eateries like KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and other smaller cafes and restaurants.  There is also Palm Square on Level 4, with the more posher shops and branded outlets and a cinema as well.  Places of note: Japanese Dream Food, Kobe Cream Puff, Daiso.. oops, all Japanese pulak and all at Palm Square.

*Kebaruan translates as being wide-eyed, jaw dropped and awe struck because it's the first time you did something or tried something. Heeee

Damai = Peace.  I remember when the radio station MixFm were conducting one of their big money giveaway contests a few years back.  Their agents were all over the country and at one time they were in KK. I knew they were from previous clues they had dropped.  But to find their exact location that day the clue given was peace.  Arrghhh! Was too late in figuring it out.  I'm at Damai probably more than 3 times a week. (Ooops, I've told you how to find me).  Hubby works there.  A lot of nice eating places there.  But it's busy and notoriously notorious for parking especially during working hours.  Places to try out - Upperstar, Maple Cafe, FookYuen for their yummy roti kahwin (bread+cold butter+coconut cream jam).  Damai is located in the area of Luyang about 5-10 minutes drive from KK city centre (depending on traffic and the notorious parking, of course)

Easy Going. KK is.  There is a very relaxed and easy going pace associated with life here.  Sure, there's hustle and bustle, here and there. But nothing as hectic as, say KL.  There's no real hurry.  (So much so that you can find that some things that need hurrying still get done at this laid back pace).  Places are packed, but there's still space or there are other places to go.  Beaches, islands, the highlands..are a close drive away.  People are (mostly) nice and considerate.  You can almost imagine people walking around dressed in Hawaiian shirts, hair blowing in the wind, playing the ukelele singing What a Wonderful World. Ya man! (Jamaican style). I love this about KK.  I hope it doesn't change. 


Look out for Part 2 soon.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Emotions

Hi my friends.  Hope you are all doing well.  Thank you for dropping by and reading and sharing your comments.  I am somehow comforted just by knowing you are there.

It's been a rollercoaster of emotions the past few weeks.  I think I've experienced everything from immense joy to sadness to anger and frustration.  High and low and everything in between.  And amidst that other emotions crept in - tiredness, confusion, just-wanting-to-sleep-ness, all types of hormones suddenly going on overdrive.  And having to make decisions at the same time?! Awww...sometimes I wished I didn't have to make any decisions at all.  Wouldn't that be great?  Everyday... all the decisions have already been taken care of.  Like living in the matrix.  Especially those decisions pertaining to business.  I wished there was a great big book that said, 'In so and so situation, this is absolutely what you have to do..' or if someone made all the decisions for me.  Kan senang?  But then again..after a week or so, I think the renegade inside of me would start to rebel and say, 'Hey, I didn't want to wear black today...' or 'I want to eat nasi lemak la today not rojak again..' hehe... I guess there is a blessing in being able to make your own decisions.

Happy weekend folks.