Thursday, September 10, 2009

How the Selangor Govt can Take a Shitting and Come Out On Top

I read in The Sun newspaper this morning that 2,000 Selamat Hari Raya cards posted by Khalid, the Selangor MB, to his constituents were found dumped outside an apartment. Instead of anyone getting all pissy about it, I think the Selangor government can greatly benefit from this by turning this into a memorable Public Relations exercise.

Here's what I suggest:

1. MB Khalid writes a short and sweet press release with the following points:
  • Pada bulan Ramadhan suci ini, dengan hati yang tulus ikhlas, saya memaafkan Pos Malaysia atas kesilapan ini. (In the spirit of this Holy Ramadhan month, I forgive the postal service for this error)
  • Selamat Hari Raya kepada Muslimin dan Muslimat (I wish all Muslims a Selamat Hari Raya)
2. Post this press release on all PKR's members' blogs

3. Encourage ALL Malaysian bloggers to copy the text of the press release and post it on their websites.

4. Ask all Malaysians who know about this story to wish each other a Selamat Hari Raya, with love from MB Khalid.

5. Social media wins.

Note : *excuse my bad Malay :P

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Millennium Hilton Bangkok Photos

Am staying one night at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok and I'm thoroughly impressed by the hotel's restaurants & bars. Thanks to Pui and team, our gracious hosts.

Walkway into the Hilton

Lobby area

Newly-completed outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the Chao Phraya river

The Beach - outdoor swimming pool and sun deck. Walk across the water to your deckchair!

Yuan, the Chinese restaurant serving Cantonese cuisine

A magnificent centrepiece greets you before you step into the dining area at Yuan

Tea packages at Yuan

The only Cheese Room in South East Asia. They hold cheese & wine pairing sessions every week. This room is part of the Flow restaurant which serves an international buffet

Inside the Cheese Room, temperatures are kept at 18 degrees to preserve freshness

Dine inside or outside, facing the river at Flow. On weekend nights, contemporary Thai dancers leap up here and put on a performance for guests

Zeta Bar, just like the one in Kuala Lumpur

Prime, the steakhouse which was awarded Best Steak Restaurant in Bangkok for 3 years running by Thailand Tatler

The rich decor inside Prime

Top view of The Beach from the glass elevator. The elevator goes up to the 31st floor, where you step out into the Three-Sixty Lounge

The Three Sixty Lounge offers 360-degree views of Bangkok.

The amazing Robusto Mojito uses Cuban cigar-infused gold rum.

The twinkling lights of Bangkok, viewed from the best seats in the Three Sixty Lounge

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lunch at Genji, Hilton Petaling Jaya

I have only three words:
NOM;

NOM;

NOM.

Genji Japanese Restaurant Hilton Petaling JayaGenji Japanese Restaurant, Hilton Petaling Jaya

SashimiSashimi including Salmon and Tuna. The yellow flowers are flown in from Japan

Eel and CucumberEel and cucumber slices on rice

Eel and CucumberEel and cucumber on rice

Kaki Chili Mayo - Oyster with Chilli MayonnaiseThe House special, Kaki Chili Mayo. Oyster with Chilli Mayonnaise. The pink thingy is preserved ginger, flown in from Japan

Beef with AsparagusBeef steak with asparagus and mushroom. Cherry tomatoes on the side

Garlic RiceGarlic fried rice

Black Sesame Ice CreamBlack Sesame Ice Cream

Random table view

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Magazine Writing : Evolve or Become Extinct?

I recently re-discovered a love for copywriting by writing a piece called "Top 5 Things to Consider Before Getting Married". I'll publish it here another time, but for now, I'd like to share a blog post on a magazine called Wired.

Welcome, Wired. We call this land "Internet"

Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking about the relevance of magazines to their target audiences, including how the length of an article can either draw a reader's attention or put them off completely. This is especially true of a magazine's target audience who ranges in age from 20 to 40 years, who are accustomed to, and expect their reading materials to get to the point, fast.

Working with the web for over four years has conditioned me to find ways to convey a message in the most concise manner possible, including making sure each word present in the website / banner advertisement / blog post is absolutely necessary to get the message across.

Friday, May 08, 2009

#TweviewThursday

In the vein of #MusicMonday and #FollowFriday, I'd like to suggest the Twitter Universe add a new one called:

#TweviewThursday

Rules:
  1. #TweviewThursday will be a day for reviews (tweviews)
  2. Tweview your recent experiences on Music, Movies, Books, Websites
  3. All in 140 characters, obviously.

I'd like to start with:
#TweviewThursday #StarTrek was great but Harold, to me, you will forever be the dude who gets stoned, then eats a burger.

*Find out what #followfriday means

Monday, March 09, 2009

ZestPJ : Win Vouchers to dine at the Hilton Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

My company recently launched a blog for the Hilton PJ - all about the 4 restaurants and bar at the establishment. Pretty or wot?!


To kick off the blog, we've launched a sweet contest today: Answer 5 Trivia questions correctly and win a dining voucher to one of the restaurants. The contest will run for about a month, and there are 50 vouchers up for grabs.

It's easy and fun, and the food is awesome. My personal favourite is Genji, the Japanese restaurant. And whaddya know, the 1st - 10th winners of the Trivia win a Sunday buffet at Genji, valued at 79 Ringgit.

Here's one of the specials at Genji, which I tasted a few months ago:

I believe this is one of their specialties - the Kaki Chilli Mayo

Click here to join the Zest Trivia contest!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Take Nothing but Photographs, Leave Nothing but Footprints : National Park, Malaysia

I went to Malaysia's National Park, Taman Negara, in Pahang over the weekend with my mum, aunt and 19 of mum's colleagues from the company Sports Club. Four of us went in one car - Mum and I, Aunty Lina and Mum's colleague Syamilah. This is my second trip there, and it was just as awesome as the first.

We left on Friday morning and took a leisurely drive East into Pahang state. We turned off into Bentong town to rest and found a sign leading to the Chamang waterfalls. An 8km drive along bendy roads eventually brought us there. The waterfalls were a magnificent sight! Here are the photos:

View of the waterfalls from the car parkView of the waterfalls from the car park

Pulai tree towering above usPulai tree towering above us

The furious waterfalls, emitting a refreshing sprayThe furious waterfalls, emitting a refreshing spray

Danger markers in yellow stone. People have drowned in these falls before.Danger markers in yellow stone. People have drowned in these falls before.

The view downstreamThe view downstream

A rock shaped like a toadA rock shaped like a toad

Mum and I floated around in the pool further downstream from the falls, which was awesome because it was a hot day and the water was icy cold. After an hour or so, we got out and looked for a bathroom to change. We spotted a small brick building and were approaching it when a local guy came out and asked where we were going. We told him we wanted the toilet, and he told us it was 20 cents per person.

Well, we only had our towel and clothes and no money, so we said we'd pay later. What a crappy bathroom it was! The ceiling was leaking, the toilets didn't look remotely clean and there was no shelf to hang our clothes. It was so awful, we decided to change with the doors open because the doors were too gross to touch! Good thing there was a shady tree and a wall to block the view.

Soon enough, we were back on the road, hungry and looking for a place to eat. I remembered that Reyhan and Denise had told me about a famous ice-cream shop in Bentong, so I started looking out for it. We stopped in front of a shop selling ice cream, but it wasn't the right one. I phoned Reyhan to ask for the name of the shop and for directions, but couldn't make out exactly what he meant, so we decided not to waste any time and to just continue the journey.

We drove by a row of shops and suddenly, Syamilah spotted the ice cream shop, Kow Po! I took a quick left and parked at a gas station. Luckily for us, there was also a restaurant on the same row, so we decided to have lunch and ice cream later.

Delicious Kow Po Peanut Ice CreamMy favourite part of every meal - dessert! This is the famous Kow Po ice cream in Bentong. Clockwise from left: a scoop of chocolate and one of peanut-flavoured ice cream, Ice Kachang, and just plain peanut ice cream.

Inside the ice cream shopInside the ice cream shop

Mr and Mrs Tan Kow PoMr and Mrs Tan Kow Po, who believe in cleanliness first for their ice cream shop

Outside the Kow Po ice cream shopOutside the Kow Po ice cream shop. Now you know the sign to look for when you pass Bentong!

After the yummy ice cream, we made our way to Taman Negara, a two-hour drive away. We stayed at the Woodland Resort, which is on the 'mainland' side of the Tembeling River.

The twin-sharing dormitoryThe twin-sharing dormitory

The twin-sharing dormitoryOops, a little blurry, but you get the idea

Twin-sharing bathroomDecent bathroom but water pressure is low

Mum, Aunty Lina and I shared the triple-sharing chalet. It's a little small, but that wasn't an issue because we're not in the room much. The triple-share has a fridge, which the dorms do not. Good thing too, as we had chocolates which needed chilling!

Triple Sharing ChaletThe triple-sharing chalet

TV and fridge in the chalet

Floating Restaurant, Tembeling RiverDusk at Tembeling River, with a boat and floating restaurant in the distance.

Jetty and entrance to Mutiara Taman NegaraThe Jetty and main entrance to Mutiara Taman Negara

Mutiara is the only resort in the National Park. If you're planning to stay at Mutiara, be prepared to lug your bags up the steps. The lights toward the left is the resort's dining area.

Boat to Cross to Taman NegaraThe boat to cross the river and enter the National Park. 1 Ringgit per head.

Once we reached Woodland and unpacked, we got ready to walk to the river for dinner at one of the floating restaurants. The food was simple Malay-style cooking, but special mention goes to the fish, which was so fresh I almost expected it to jump out of the bowl and splash back into the river!

After dinner, we went for a night jungle walk, where a guide showed us lots of little night-time critters such as stick insects, spiders, ants one-inch long, grasshoppers, moths and fireflies. We walked to a hide in the jungle which overlooked a man-made salt lick.

The hide is a two-storey hut which people use as a lookout point to spy on wild animals, and a salt lick is a salt deposit which these animals find and lick in order to get their nutrients. In the pitch black of night, the most you usually see is a pair of eyes reflecting the light of your torch but that night, we were lucky enough to see a deer come out of the foliage. We also saw a gecko on the ceiling of the hide which was, I swear, as big as a kitten *shiver*. If one of THOSE fell on me...

I went back to the chalet that night pretty happy with the adventure.

We had an early start the next morning, walking out of our chalet to this view:

Morning MistMorning mist behind the Resort

Morning Mist and Rubber TreesOur chalet, palm trees on the chalet property, and further back, mist over rubber trees.

After breakfast, we grabbed our bags and headed over the river and through the Mutiara resort into the day's adventure - a 4.5 hour trek through the jungle.

Entrance to Jungle and Canopy WalkThe entrance to the jungle.

Here I am on the Canopy Walk, 25 metres above ground.

At 400 metres in length, it is the longest Canopy Walk in the world. There was a half-chopped tree along the way below me, and sitting pretty on it was a giant iguana happily sunning himself. I couldn't take a photo of it though, because I needed both hands to grab onto the ropes.

After the trek, we had lunch and then took a boatride upriver to Lata Berkoh. There's a really nice part of the river which is great to swim in, complete with natural water massage. After sweating off the pounds from the morning's jungle trek, the dip in the river was just awesome. The boat back was great as well because it began to rain and the wind and water in our faces was a nice new experience.

That evening, some of us had dinner at the Mutiara Resort where I tucked into a buffet of mussels, lamb, pasta and chocolatey desserts. Mum bought our tour guide, Aliff, dinner because he was a really nice guy - very knowledgeable, patient with us city people huffing and puffing up hill and down dale and was quite obviously passionate about his job. He even had a nickname for me, the cheeky guy. He called me Laila throughout the trip and teased me a lot. I guess it was because I was such a retard at the outdoor thing.

The next morning, we went rapid shooting - riding in a boat over choppy waters and getting smacked in the face by pillars of water. We also stopped at a little cove and splashed about in the water, before heading home to shower, change and check out.

One-inch BugA bug about an inch in length buzzing around on the ground in front of our chalet.

Two chalets side-by-side

Action by the riverAction by the river.

Local Kids crossing riverLocal kids taking the river-crossing boat.

I paid 385 Ringgit for the two-night stay at the National Park plus all activities. If you'd like to experience Taman Negara for yourself, these are the rates:

Triple-sharing room at Woodland Resort : RM192 per room per night, incl. breakfast for three.
Aliff told me that our activities cost about RM100 per person:
  • Night jungle walk
  • Daytime jungle trek up Bukit Tembeling
  • Canopy Walk (this costs RM5)
  • Kelah fish sanctuary and Lata Berkoh waterfalls
  • Rapid shooting
We had relatively cheap tea at the floating restaurant, and arranged our own lunch on the last day. We were quite surpised to pay RM75 for lunch for four though : a fish dish using a whole fish, chilli prawns, mixed vegetables, omelette and rice, plus four fruit juices. There are about 3 floating restaurants, one burger stall which seems to only open at night and a little shop on land
to choose from. Our buffet dinner at the Mutiara Resort cost RM65++ per person. I imagine you'll have to make a reservation if you'd like to dine there, though.

I'll update this post later with Badrul's contact details. He's the manager of the Woodland Resort. Or check out Mutiara Taman Negara's site if you'd like something more cosy and classy.

If you'd like Aliff as your tour guide, don't forget to mention that Laila recommended him ;)
His details:
Name: Mohamad Aliff bin Abdullah
Mobile: +6017 966 9221