Sunday, January 23, 2011

Malay Reserve Land

I went to look for another new house the day before. Quite near to my present house, good looking and much much more cheaper. I walked in to the developer’s office. The staff immediately informed me that this is a Malay Reserve Land, and cannot be sold to non-Bumi. In Malaysia, Bumi is referred to those genuine Malay who claimed to be the aborigine on this Malay land.

I asked if it is possible to buy it on used properties basis. He replied, “No, never, only for Malay.” Not fair, I cursed a bit. What can I do, their privileges was noted in our laws.

Damn the speculators (mostly the money minded Chinese) who fry the housing price high. Please… someone please burst the properties bubbles!!!

Sudan Referendum 2011

While I was working in Sudan from 2001-2005, the conflicts (civil war) between the Sudanese central government (north Sudan, majority Muslims, Arabs) and “Sudan People’s Liberation Movement” SPLM (south Sudan, majority Christians & Animists, black Africans) who was termed “rebels” continuously erupted. The southerners accused the government’s tactics of suppression, marginalization and unbalance wealth distribution. Both parties eventually signed the Naivasha Agreement in 2005 and truce was called. The agreement was to develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable for Southerners independence referendum in 2011.

At that time, I had predicted the country/ the 2 parties would split up in the end, based on the factors of widely different cultures, traditions, mentalities, high illiteracy, lasting poverty, corruptions, contradictory political philosophy etc. This 6-year transition period was too short to change the mentality.

The initial polling result of the referendum announced up to 98% of the votes opted for independence. The Central government led by Omar al-Bashir by no mean would agree to split this largest African country into 2, the government would never let the fertile and resources rich southern lands out of their grips.

The next step, I predict the government may do some tricks to agree with concession to buy time and plan to strengthen their hold in the South. They can’t afford to initiate next round of civil war to jeopardize the booming economy. No matter how, President al-Bashir wouldn't give a damn to the world for his humanitarian accuse.

In case that the Southerners succeed to claim independency, I’m afraid the new land would probably turn out to be another Congo, and another outlaw sooner or later.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thaipusam 2011

The neon light illuminated cart is no longer drawn by cows.

Smashing coconut... can't remember the meaning. Sort of expelling evils.

Tomorrow will be the Thaipusam festival, celebrated mostly by our Tamil countrymen. Malaysia is hosting yearly the world largest celebration, particularly at Batu Caves.

The parade has started today. Not feeling well lately, couldn't join the devotees tomorrow to participate in this "exotic" and colourful festival. Some wonderful photos can be seen here or here or try google it.

Want to complain that, rubbish was found scattered along the whole stretch of roads where the parade marched through. The coconut (offering) shells are fine, but why all styrofoam containers? Why can't people be more environment concious in this 21st century?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Photos - Rwanda

Just found out I have forgotten to put a link to Rwanda photo gallery. Pls refer to my Travelogue.

Photos - Hong Kong & Macau

The photos of Hong Kong and Macau trips have been uploaded to my Travelogue.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

20110110 Macau

Conveniently accessible by an hour ferry ride from HK.

Macau is a magnet to gamblers. This tiny city is heavily packed with casinos. Each one is competing to be grander and larger, providing free entertainment and lucky draw to casual players. All major casinos provide free shuttle service at ferry pier and airport to transport guests the very first hand to their own premise.

Each casino has its own character, while Venetian is the most unique. It copies the scenic view of Venice into it, has the most beautiful deco with water canals and huge shopping mall. Coupled with the world class Four Season Hotel, the flow of tourists never cease.

Chinese gamblers (mainly from mainland China) dominate almost the entire gambling industry. Chips on their hands seemed to be worthless. They throw on the table in stacks. While the luxurious boutiques around are frequented mostly by them too. The consumption power of the Chinese has reached an unprecedented significant.

Lots of watch and jewelry shops sprouted around the casinos, but the price tags were ridiculously high. Probably the winners from the gambling do not mind to waste some easy fast money to flash around.

There are a few world heritage monuments on this former Portuguese colony. Largo de Senado has the finest example of Portuguese architecture influence. The black and white waving pave walk is elegant.

The iconic Ruins of St.Paul is a must visit to most tourists. Nothing much left after the fire eruption in 1835. The majestic stairway certified it was once an important Christianity centre in the past.

Macau is less developed compared to HK, but the culture is quite similar. It has no short of delicious cuisine. Don’t miss it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

20110107 Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a metropolitan, an international financial hub, paradise for shopaholics, famed for cuisines, previously the Hollywood of Chinese movies… all these factors form an unique character of this city and attracts lots of tourists.

After this trip, I have changed many opinions on HK positively. It is more organized and disciplined than I thought. People, mostly are friendly. The transportation system is absolutely efficient. Local foods are reasonably priced. The drawback was the hotel rooms are far too expensive.

There are not many sights to see. Am not interested with the temples, no spectacular sceneries… but the suburban like former fishing village Tai-O was attractive with its personality.

Foods were good in general. A bowl of noodle under EUR1 is still available; some exotic restaurants tucked in narrow lanes secretly only be known to local people; snacks and desserts can be found anywhere… international cuisines, you name it, you get it. My stomach got no chance to feel hunger throughout the trip.

Shopping… international signature boutiques flagship stores studded mostly at Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. Lots of variety and the demand was strong. Imagine customers have to queue up patiently outside LV store waiting for their shopping spree.

Compare to Lan Kwai Fong where pubs filled with executives after works at Central, I prefer SOHO at stone throw away. It has more character and wider choices.

My trip wouldn’t be so memorable without the assistance and hospitality of my local friends Jimmy, Ivan & Tung. Thanks again! I will definitely visit again!

p.s. On my first night of arrival at HK, we walked past a crime scene near to our hotel with police and reporters gathered around. A dead body was seen. Someone jumped off from a building. I reckoned it was quite unlucky superstitiously. On the way back, a woman kept pointing and reminding us a corpse was there. Weird people, was it exciting to her?! The newspaper next day reported the case saying that the limbs of the person were found scattered around. Was he dismembered or the momentum of falling torn the limbs apart? Scary…

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Photos - Indonesia

Have uploaded the photos of Indoensia trip to my Travelogue.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Looking back year 2010, it was a good one. The 1st half was hectic with works, while the 2nd half was a total leisure vacation. Felt like wasting my time luxuriously. I possessed and enjoyed my freedom that I dreamed of. Unfortunately I had neglected the most important aspect – health. The blood test identified my cholesterol exceeds healthy range. Not a big deal but I have to control my diet stricter from now on.
I wish to have a fruitful and happy new year.