Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Giant On The Street

Have you seen a monster before? Optimus Prime would be soooo jealous...He's after all just a trailer. How can he beat a 400-TONNE MOBILE CRANE?

The crane was spotted along Jalan Binjai last Saturday. It was ordered by my site to load and unload the components of our new luffing crane ( a type of tower crane). Any normal mobile crane just wouldnt fit for the job.

Lifting part of the new tower crane's mast (vertical body)

The 400-tonne (400,000kg) giant took up half of the main road. That was the minimum span. The whole thing can be spreaded as wide as the whole road itself.

Everything about the crane spells HUMONGOUS! Look at the traction gears that err, ejects the boom.

For laymen, dont worry, I'll explain here. You see the almost vertical entity that rises to the sky? That's the boom. It's extendable so it's also known as a telescopic boom.

The partially extended boom.

Extension at full height. So high you cant get the whole pic with a digital camera..
Check out the outrigger (a.k.a kaki lah!). Its to stabilise the crane, btw.

The outrigger is even bigger and higher than the construction worker!

A better comparison would be as shown below. May not be a great shot but here, you can see how the crane fares among cars and man.

The giant will be back next week to install the final tower crane at the site. I will not see any such a huge crane anymore for the next 3 years or more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why I Need Big Bags

I have always been famous for carrying my big sling bag around. To work, to lunch, to shop...basically to almost everywhere I go. Been using that bag for the past 3 years or so and like anything old, it's slowly tearing apart...

My bag

Back elevation. The PVC is peeling off like the fly from The Fly...

Even the magnetic fasterner is no longer intact!

I do have 2 other handbags, but somehow, nothing seem to suit me better than this bag. first, in terms of size, this bag is spacious enough to fit in my fat purse (not because I have lots of cash or coin, but because I cant seem to get rid of all unimportant cards), my handphone, my sunglasses, my panasonic lumix, a small tripod, 2 bunch of keys, some light cosmetics (only compact powder, lip balm and a comb), my apartment card, LRT card and some emergency stuff (you know lah, no need explain here! haha). You see, these are just the bare essentials in my bag which I have to carry ALL the time.

And I must have some more space to accommodate an umbrella or a bottle of water in times of need...

Another thing that I like about my big bag- I can smuggle stuffs inside it! The bag is also known as the Booty Bag which had been used on numerous occassions to stealthily transport in:

1) food and drinks into the cinema. The classic foodstuff that I brought in was McD's McChicken (3 nos in total)

2) Freebies at hotels and malls. Classic example was a few small jars of honey from KL Hilton together with a couple of apples from the guest lounge.

3) A change of clothes for events after work...

Tell me, where can I get such a good bag at an affordable price? I dont think the bag will last to another year.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Curse Of The 7.20 Train

I knew it would happen but I still took my chance and stepped into the cursed 7.20am train. And again, I've been proven right- that the 7.20am train is indeed a runaway train.

I will NOT get into any train arriving at Paramount station at that particular time anymore.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My First Published Writing

My report on the recent programme at Gunung Ledang was published in the company portal. A first for me. It may not be a national newspaper. Or a glam mag. But it is still something to be proud of for me.

I wish I could put the link up here but I am too buta computer to do that! I dont even know if this is possible in the first place. So I painstakingly copied the PDF file and converted it into JPEG format.

I know its small but if you really want to read it, you can try to zoom in.

Anyway, the person who posted this up in the portal clearly doesnt know much about me. I am no longer with Contracts Department and the picture was taken some 5 months ago. And I certainly would appreciate it if I remain anonymous. I am shy. =)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Porches CAN Sell.

The Porche showroom is just opposite my office. I pass by that place at least 8 times a day. And I must say, in the past 2 months that I was here, many Porches have come and go, much to my disbelief. The cars are not cheap ya know, ranging from half an M to more than 1M. How many people can actually buy one in their lifetime?? But yet, the cars are still sellable in our local market. Makes me wonder.....WHERE DO ALL THE RICH PEOPLE HIDE IN KL???

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dont You Just Love Free Lunch?

Today's a good day. I got free lunch again. Not being treated by anyone but a stall just opened t0day and the operators gave out free Biryani rice with chicken curry and other condiments. Taste was not so good, and food was rather cold but the heck, it was FREE.

I saved money on lunch only to splurge it on Click! It's OK to spend on mags once a while. After all its a photography mag, not a beauty read. =)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cookies, Nuts, Raisin and Rum

Somehow, last weekend seem more tiring than usual. I reached home from work at 7pm on Saturday and the night was spent watching 'Finding Nemo' on Disney channel and eating junk food.

Had a sip of Bailey's too.

Sunday was much better. Went to check out Setia Alam with my sister. The prices are fair but the location is a bit too far....Unless I jump to SP Setia and work at their headoffice. Haha.

This morning was bad. I was caught in a jam on LDP at 7.00am. yes, 7.00am! Those who work at 9am should just leave at 8am lah and give us early people the chance to travel to work smoothly.

And because of the jam, I was late to the LRT station and have to resort to parking on an illegal spot. Hopefully nothing will happen to my car.

Songs in my mind:

1. Bailamos by Enrique Iglesias.
2. Makes Me Wonder by Maroon 5. Did you see the video? Nothing grand about it, just that Adam Levine seems pretty um um with the guitar..Hehe

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Gunung Ledang- From A Committee's Eye

After hearing a lot about the mysterious-ness of Gunung Ledang, I finally get to go there. Not for a day, but for 5 days!

For those who dont know where and what is Gunung Ledang, here's a little introduction. The 4,186 feet high mountain colours the backdrop of the little town of Tangkak, Johor. This mountain kononnya was the residence of an ancient Javanese princess who had wanted to elope with Hang Tuah, the main henchman of Sultan Mahmud of Melaka. The couple, however never got together because Hang Tuah was too much a loyal man to betray the king, who wanted to marry the princess himself after she was offered by her brother as a sign of gratitute to the sultan for helping him shoo external forces that threatened his kingdom. (Ps: the story might defer a little from other sources but hey, this is what I learnt from Puteri Gunung Ledang-The Musical!)

Ok stories aside, let's get back to Tangkak. Pekan Tangkak.

As you exit from the Toll Gate, you will be greeted by this big sign that says "Welcome to Tangkak". Bet they dont anticipate much traffic coz there isnt any traffic light at the junction- only a roundabout. Tangkak is famous for its textile industry. If you drive down the only main road of the town, you can easily find at least 80 shops selling cloth. And they are filthy cheap.

Shops like this one colour the streets of Tangkak.

So many shops that it is not a surprise to see a familiar name at the signboard of one of the shops.

Eng Chuan was my colleague from Contracts Department.

Anyway, walking in the shops in Tangkak brings back memories of my childhood days in Taiping and Kampar. Tell me, where else on earth can you find this kind of keropok?

My God, I miss them! When I was a kid, my late father used to buy these for my sister and I. We especially like the ones with honeycomb in the middle- a little like keropok roda. Aww...I miss those days.

And then, there is this:

Chinese bahulu. My late granny used to buy us this when I was young. I didnt quite like it though, for a reason I cant explain in words. Perhaps I get bored of bahulus fast. I dont miss this food, I just miss my childhood days and granny, of course.

As we were stopping at the traffic light, I saw a pickup truck that had very interesting stuff on it. Like this.

Wild boar and dogs, just caught from the woods. Looks like somebody gets to eat wild boar curry that night and I am so jealous! Darn!

Perhaps one of the reason why I was fascinated with the scene is my late grat-grandfather was a hunter. So dont play-play, I have hunter's blood in me! hehe........

Anyway, we, the committee of the entire project (Which I think I didnt mention earlier...OK, my company organised a charity programme to clean up Gunung Ledang as well as to give out donations to the underpriviledged of the surroungding area) had to go down Tangkak much, much earlier than everybody else to do some preparation work and all that.

Kolej Matrikulasi Johor (KMJ) is where our participants put up their first night.

We took the estate road to Gunung Ledang, which passes through a dam. For the first time in my entire life, I actually saw a dam! And it's beautiful.

The dam and I

We spent a night at the mountain and slept in tents pitched by the roadside. There were only 2 girls in the team, Yannie and I so we stayed in the same tent.

Can you tell which is my tent? There's a clue in the picture....

The first night was more of camping than working coz it was already pretty late by the time we reached the campsite. So we rested and barbequed our dinner. The guys made Yannie and I prepare the food for them! So bad! But the two park rangers barbequed the food lah.

We had grilled chicken and fish. The chicken was marinated in a special sauce, onions and salt. The chicken came in huge chunks so it took quite a while to cook. If you are a toxic freak, you DONT want to touch it coz some parts can be quite carbonised (aka burnt). But I tell you, the burnt part tastes the best! Salty and um...

I cooked too =)

That night, after dinner we went for a night walk to the Telecom tower and the plateou where the participants will be camping upon their arrival. The night was beautiful I assure you, and very, very cold. Dew were dropping like KL drizzle. I so wished that I could capture what I saw and experiece that night on camera but all pictures were pitched black. I so wish that there is a camera that could capture exactly what the eyes see...

This is the best night shot for that night. Afiz was sms-ing while awaiting for the walk to continue.

That night, it rained heavily. My tent was flooded and my fingers were stinging from the chillies that I chopped earlier in the afternoon. I couldnt sleep. But only one good thing about the flood- I could soak my fingers in the puddle of water to cool down the sting. We later switched tent with another guy. I woke up with cold and damp feet and a stray underwear beside me. One of the guys must have left it outside his bag in the tent that Yannie and I slept coz that tent also doubled up as a store room.

After the rough night, we were sent down to help another team with their ground work.

Branches that fell after last night's heavy downpour.

Seeing a proper bed made me feel so glad that I could actually sleep! Haha...The hostel room of KMJ reminded me of my varsity freshman days when I was staying in 9th college. My room back then was also as cozy as the one I was staying in for 2 nights.

Yannie and I slept like we have never slept before! 9.30am to 12.30pm, and then 2.30pm to 5.00pm. a vacation only! But we'd rather be up at the mountain than rotting in the room coz we cant go anywhere and do anything.... But then again, it was still good to sleep in all day and dry our stuff that got wet from the rain.

From ground level, the mountain can be seen standing so mightily. This is my favorite shot.

We contributed some stuff to the kids of Sekolah Kebangsaan Paya Mas. The school is a small one, having only one class for each level of education. All the kids there from the surrounding kampung.

We donated 10 bicycles for the top 10 kids in school. When the bikes arrived, the kids were so excited and were surrounding us and the library (where we store the bikes) to have a glimpse of the stuff. I know their feelings- it was the exact same feeling that I used to have when I see new bicycles in the shop, wondering when I will own one. I still feel it till today.

Yes, I am a bicycle person. Despite not riding for almost 10 years, I still can cycle and balance myself on 2 wheels! How do I know this? Well, I tested one of the bikes....Hehe

Bikes with IJM stickers.

You may think its so embarressing to be cycling around with the company logo but the peeps in the kampung dont think so. In fact, some of them even requested for our stickers to be pasted on their cars, house, etc. Man, here in KL, we only paste the stickers on safety helmets, cranes and machineries! Certainly NOT on our cars.

The kampung folks were very supportive of our activities. They even organised a convoy to welcome our participants from PJ!

Cops, villagers young and old, committees. All part of the convoy from the toll gate to KMJ.

I noticed that these people are so darn patriotic. They love their state and the are not ashamed to carry their state flags all the way!

I guess they are simple people. They love to have guests coming over to their humble village. They are warm and hospitable people.

More pics of the convoy.

Putting up the IJM banner

The arrival of the 2nd bus. The convoy begins!

Our particpants seem excited with the whole Ledang thingie and were eager to see what;s lined up for them.

Registration counter

The whole event kicked off with a friendly netball match between the kampung folks and us. everyone was supposed to be wearing fancy clothes to play but somehow our players forgot about it and were wearing proper attire instead.

But the kampung folks were such as sport and they continued on with the game.

We scored the first goal. I think we beat them 3-1 or something like that. I was too busy taking photos, didnt have time to count.

Anyway, it was very beautiful to see people from different backgound coming together as friends.

The guys were more serious about fancy clothes and football. The team's theme was 'All Black'. Cool.

I guess they were inspired by the image at the back of their busses.

They even came up with their own version of the 'Haka'.

Discussing strategies.

The game begins. I like this picture. People playing football with Gunung Ledang at the back.

The ketua kampung was such a sport. He played with his Baju Melayu complete with a songkok. He still managed to save some goals but still, we won. Hehe..

Everyone had a great time.

That night, we were presented with silat and kuda kepang, a Johor cultural dance. Both involved a lot of spiritual elements and I must say that it can get pretty scary sometimes. But more disturbing than scary to me. They came complete with Tok Batins and Pawangs.

I didnt take any shots of the Kuda Kepang because I dont want to bring home any spirits. Too complicated to explain here. Besides, everything can get pretty haywire when the kuda jumps over and starts attacking people...Gotta save my camera!

After the performance, we went to bed early to rise early the following day. Adequate sleep is required for the big climb!

I thought there will be problems for the people to standby by 7.00am. I was wrong.

Everyone was already waiting for breakfast and the trucks to transport them to the mountain. They dont need to carry up their bags, we'll do it for them.

That morning, we the committees had to wait a good 1 hour 30 mins before the truck arrived to carry us to the campsite at the mountain. We were famished. Thank God there was a Pajero so we took it to pack breakfast for ourselves.

Darn the army fellas for that.

We eventually got there after the long wait. Undarn the army fellas for this.

The trail to Ledang passes through a palm oil estate. Road was extremely bad but I managed to get really, really good shots of the cars behind us. Thanks to my Panasonic Lumix. I highly recommend that camera to all photograpy enthusiasts.

At the foot, was the estate road.

As you move on, it was tarmac road.

It wasnt my light setting to the camera that caused the pic to look like that. It was the environment itself, misty and windy.

We reached the campsite, did some packing and headed straight to the Telecom tower which is also a gateway to the peak.

I find it rather peculiar to have the welcome signboard on a supposedly restricted area.

We tracked up to the peak while waiting for the participants to arrive. The last stretch for them was quite daunting, having to climb a stream of ladders. But I heard the worst was the wall where they have to climb with ropes.

I so wish I could join them. But duty calls.

My team and I managed to reach the peak... It was beautiful. But the weather was windy and cloudy and nothing much can be seen from the peak.

But I still managed to get a few shots.

I think this is the aerial view of Pakan Asahan.

Somewhere in Johor I believe

To prove that I actually reached the peak, here's a shot of me taken at the papan amanat at the peak.

Part of my team and I

More shots of myself. Nice or not??

At the peak

Rock climbing

At the cave.
The carvings on the stone says smething like "Tok Guru Mengajar Pakai Kain Pelekat Cap Gajah'. Dont know if its true but that's what the Park Rangers said. I dont read Jawi. But I have the feeling that I just got conned....Hehe

After the brief visit to the peak and the cave, we were back to our checkpoint, the final one for the participants. We waited and waited and waited until.....
The first batch arrived! With their rubbish bags and stained outfits!

They were happy to have made it to the peak! They've done it!

From where we were the secenary was breathtaking.

After that it was all back to the campsite. Committees get to sleep in covered tents because they deserve it for all the hard work they did! So others cannot complain ok!

As for the participants, they sleep in poncos.

Here at the open campsite you get to see many charactors of people. Like this guy.

A full grown man still in a Doraemon towel!

Men bathing with just their underwear and towel. If this is not Malaysia, probably you can see ladies bathing there in their undergarments too.

Nightfall was even more beautiful. We didnt use electric lights. But it was bright enough for everyone to move about comfortably. We had a fun quiz session before bed.

That night I was supposed to be on guard that night. But seems like the others guys didnt wake up so I just went out to take photographs of the moon and night view. It was beautiful but unforfunately, I cant get any good shots because I dont have a tripod or any good place to place my camera on.
So again, 1 good photographic opportunity missed. I went back to bed (or sleeping bag) soon after.
I vowed to wake up early to catch the sunrise. And I got it.
6.40am...The sky was still blue-ish, grey-ish with a hint of orange.
7.10 am. The sky was relatively brighter now.

7.30am. The sun can be seen at the horizon.

8.30am. The sun was up and shining mightily.

Everybody went down to the school field for the closing ceremony by army trucks. I was with the last group which left like 9.30am? The wait was long and we spent our free time chatting and munching on junk food...

To be honest, I have not been into an army truck prior to this. And I never imagined how the driver's area looks like. I was surprised to see that....

They run on automatic gears and equipped with power steering. Got air-cond also! But no radio or CD player. The only form of entertainment was the singing of the soldiers as we were travelling down the road.
Though they were pitchy but somehow, when they sing words from their hearts, they sounded beautiful.

We were late for the breakfast with the VIPs but still managed to get the last few packets of nasi lemak anyway. But I had to leave my food when the Tengku Mahkota Johor, TMJ came for the opening ceremony coz I wanted to take photographs. Hey, its not everyday that you get to see somebody from the royal family (although I dont fancy them that much).

Can you find me? I was standing somewhere near TMJ (the guys in military outfit)
TMJ challenged our dato KT to a sumpit contest. Of course lah, TMJ scored better.

Finally, after everything was over, we took a group photo. I dont know why I get to sit with the main committees and VIPs.
Dont borther searching. I was damn small in the pic.

We left at approximately 12.30pm, when the weather was scorching hot you feel like every bit of sweat you have is evaporating like water in a hot kuali.

I returned home happy with some sunburn on my arms, neck and face. And needless to say, tonnes of work on my table, waiting for me to process.

So burnt you can see the watch strip on my arm!

After the whole thing, I realised that I have an interest in photojournalism. My shots are not bad eh? Unedited some more. Perhaps I should consider photography as a hobby. But first I need to learn how to use photoshop.
Oh ya, more photos can be seen in my Kodak gallery. Too many pics to put in Flickr.