Friday, 3 October 2014

Gunung Tahan extract

This is copied from Gunung Tahan.
I will try to write my own version (if I still remember, later).

After a lapse of three years, the seniors of Victoria Scout Group decided to organize another expedition to Gunung Tahan. It was a time to conquer the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia once again following a former biennial tradition. It seemed exciting to experience the gruelling journey and to enhance further the name of the troop in the ascent. Yours truly decided to participate in this event after returning to V.I. to continue his studies in Form 6. During the first semester break, twelve scouts from VSG, namely, ASM Leong Kwan Eu , SPL Toh Yung Fei, SPL Yam Wern-Kidd, SPL Lin Han Weng, SPL Mohd Shazli, SS Raja Muazam, SS Alvin Chew, SS Lee Kok Chong, SS Liew Ban Hing, SS Wong Kien Keong, SS Chong Kok Weng and SS Yip Yoke Hwa embarked on an arduous adventure to Gunung Tahan.

On the morning of May 29, we assembled at 8.30 a.m. at the Pekeliling Bus Terminal in high spirits, eager to begin our journey. Our luggage was checked to ensure that all necessary stuff was available. We had prepared enough food to last for ten days just in case it took longer to reach the peak. We brought rice, ikan bilis, peanuts and sambal udang which would be our meals for the next few days. At about 10.00 a.m. the bus arrived and it took us three hours to reach Jerantut. From Jerantut, we had to rush to catch the last bus to Kuala Tembeling. At Kuala Tembeling, we had our lunch and continued our journey by boat. The boat ride journey to Kuala Tahan took about three hours. We could see the beautiful scenery, the sunset and animals such as the seladang and buffalo. Finally at 7.00 p.m. we reached Kuala Tahan and made all the preparations for the journey the next morning. Many of us took the opportunity to phone home before we went to sleep in our tents.

DAY 1 (MAY 30, 1997)
We got up at 6.00 a.m. for breakfast and then prepared our lunch. We then proceeded to the park officer's house to have our belongings checked. Each one of us had to itemize the things he was bringing along to ensure that all the items were brought back down later. Otherwise, a summons would be issued. Plastic bags, batteries, slippers, shoes, bottles and clothing were checked. After getting through the inspection we met our guides.

The journey started at 10.00 a.m. sharp. We had a chat with the two guides and they advised us to be strong mentally and to help each other when necessary. We started off happily with everyone walking steadily through the thick jungle. We passed an orang aslisettlement. The leaves of the big trees blocked most of the sunlight from reaching the jungle trails. Before long some of us started to slow down so we decided to cheer up by singing songs. It proved effective and after three and a half hours we finally reached our first camp, Melantai. The name of this camp aptly described what we were experiencing. We took our lunch consisting of rice, ikan bilissambal udang and peanuts to restore our energy.

We had planned to stop there for the day but we decided to continue after discussions with our two guides. We began to encounter steep hills which were totally unexpected and which we found challenging. The hills seemed never ending - after one hill we were only relieved for a while before the next one loomed. Our earlier vigorous training in cycling, running up and down steep hills helped us tremendously in our ascent. At last, we managed to clear the final hill to complete the hike of the Malang Range which comprised 27 undulating hills and a mountain. Kem Tengah was our second destination as we had decided to stop here. The journey took another three hours before we reached Kem Tengah. There we got our water supply from a water source dripping down slowly from a bamboo strip. We ate our dinner and discussed our plans for the next day. Before we turned in, we joked and chatted with each other.

DAY 2 (MAY 31, 1997)
We had to replenish our water supply before continuing our journey to Kuala Puteh. It was not so exhausting as we had already hiked most of the hills the day before. Gunung Raja was our next destination. To hike there we had to push ourselves and give each other motivation because to ascend a mountain is like hiking over five hills. From Gunung Raja, we could get our first view of Gunung Tahan. After Gunung Raja, the journey was all the way down and it was quite easy. We managed to reach Kuala Puteh in three hours. There we had our lunch and took our baths in the nearby river.

Our next destination was Teku. The challenge was really great because we had to cross the same river seven times. One needs to acquire the skill of crossing rivers. You have to balance yourselves with your heavy bag and step on the right stones and not the slippery ones. The strong currents also did not help much but we managed to overcome these by using a staff each to steady ourselves. Three hours later, Teku finally welcomed us at 5 p.m. Most of our socks and shoes were wet because we had to cross the rivers. We met a few wildlife department officers who were doing a census of the number of elephants around this park. We camped at Teku for the night.

DAY 3 (JUNE 1, 1997)
The next morning we started early at 7 p.m. after having breakfast. The journey was very taxing as we had to climb many steep hills that were steeper than the ones at the Malang Range. Our stamina was severely tested. The journey to Wray's Camp seemed never ending and we had to really push ourselves to our limit. I noticed the types of plants here were different because they had smaller leaves and were much shorter. After four hours of hiking, we finally reached Wray's Camp. It was very inconvenient to get our water supply here as we had to take a 10 minute walk down the hills to a stream. We continued our journey to Pangkin Bawah, an uphill journey again. It was not too difficult by now because our bodies had adapted to the taxing demands. Pangkin Bawah was reached after two hours of hiking. We met a group of students coming down and we asked them about the journey up. They encouraged us and said that the journey up was not so difficult after all. We camped there for the night and looked forward to reach the peak of Gunung Tahan.

DAY 4 (2nd JUNE 1997)
The day we had waited for finally came. We moved to our next destination, Padang Camp. With the thought of reaching the peak in our mind, it took us less than four hours to reach Padang Camp. To do so, we had to climb a 100 metre vertical, grasping our ropes and tree roots to reach the peak of Gedung. This was so far the toughest part; this steep route could be seen from afar and one needs to be very careful while climbing. We enjoyed a bath at a nearby stream which really was very cold and later filled our tummies with the water.

At 1 p.m. sharp we started on the journey to the peak. All of us were in very high spirits. We had to conquer a final mountain, Gunung Berapit, before reaching the peak. On the way to the peak we were suddenly attacked by a swarm of hornets. A few of us got stung. A senior was stung eight times, yours truly once, but we still continued our journey, although in pain. With the peak in mind this minor setback was forgotten. We reached the peak of Gunung Tahan at 4 p.m. after three hours of walking. At last, the summit was right in front of us after four gruelling days. Our tiredness disappeared as we took photographs and enjoyed beautiful view plus the cool breeze. We really felt on top of the world and we will cherish this historic moment all our lives. The sense of pride and the ability to lift the name of the Victoria Scout Group was really rewarding. It was an invaluable and rewarding journey for the great effort and team spirit put in. This expedition marked another milestone in the quest of success for our troop.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Xiaomi mi3 Unboxing

This is the unboxing of the so-hyped mi3 from Xiaomi. With the specs so similar with other flagships of overpriced "mainstream" brands; the pricing of the mi3 is definitely a killer.
I was skeptical of the OS, but seeing the price, why not? At least I wont be paying through the nose for a problematic/frustrating user experience.

Without further a due, the unboxing.

The package arrived way earlier than expected. Definitely a welcome, although the credit is more to Fedex, but kudos for Xiaomi for choosing Fedex as their delivery partner.

The box have sharp edges, which is fairly new for me. Perhaps to make the appearance a little "smarter" or "formal". The cardboard used is sufficiently thick.

A small touch by Xiaomi to protect the contents during delivery. The smaller boxes fit nicely in the bigger box preventing them clashing with each other.

The actual box containing the mi3; with the same sharp edges characteristic. Very "smart" but will end up in the store anyway.

The pin and instruction booklet provided inside the envelope. Space usage/arrangement is definitely commendable for the accessories.

The charging and data cable looks promising. It is quite sturdy. There are also plenty of spaces for the thumb so that cable tugging is unnecessary. I would expect a better lifespan for the cable compared to iphone's.

The specification of the mi3 is shown at the back of the box. As mentioned, it is comparable to other "mainstream" brands flagship models. It is not a top heavyweight contender, but it is definitely not lightweight.

The phone itself also feels sturdy. Nothing plasticky or cheappo feel from it. It also feels light despite me using iphone5 all this while.

The buttons are really limited. Only the volume and power button at the right side. Physical button shortcut will be very limited by this. Perhaps will need to be used to using widgets or shortcuts at the main screen.

The slot for mobile simcard. mi3 accept a full-sized simcard. Xiaomi also provide a converter for micro-sims for easier porting.

I powered the mi3 straight without charging. It has sufficient battery power in it for basic set up. For this test, I only keep pressing "Next" or "Skip".

And there, its alive!!!!

But Wait!!!!!! Iphone5 was using the nano-sim. The converter provided is for micro-sim. Haihs. I went to buy a converter nano-normal sized sim. Luckily, it is working fine.

This is the information provided by the phone. Latest stable ROM is used. Not going to go through all the hassle for problematic developer ROMs, yet. This is definitely one department for me not wasting money on other flagship androids phones. Every update, they will say everything is fixed...every single update, same words, same problematic problems.

I have no idea on how to gauge performances in mobile phones. I only know how to benchmark Computers. Overclocking, Underclocking, playing with the voltage, testing stability and all.
So I just rely on the stock version and AnTutu for benchmarking.

The Higher the better - the figures.

I have no idea on how to interpret the stability result. Is is ok? Is it not ok?
It didnt hang, or have excessive heat during the test. So I guess its ok.

Well built.
Camera....not so promising as it losses out to the Sony Z2, and also Iphone5. Maybe more on this later.
Price is definitely a welcome. I think this is a suitable price for Android devices if compared to Apple devices. Similar spec Android devices are just not worth the price they are asking, period.

I guess I am satisfied with the overall performance from the mi3, apart from the camera.
Given the hardware, a better software can definitely improve the quality.

Battery life is ok. If you use the phone extensively, then of course the battery will drain, within the day, or even half a day.
On idle, it can last longer than the iphone5. Iphone5 on idle can last for days, almost a week. On extensive screen usage, only 3 hours. mi3 on extensive screen usage can last around 6 hours.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Maldives - 1st Nov - 6th Nov

Ah, a belated post again. I am not going to spam Maldives photos in this entry. They are already abundantly available in Facebook. I will still spam them here though, perhaps in a later date.

Actually the trip is sort of like 6 nights 4 days if you minus out the arrival and departure nights.
We spent the 1st night in Male as MAS is taking the odd hours for its flights here. The airasia schedule is a bit more forgiving, maybe. It would have saved spending 1 night in Male. Not that the stay is unwelcome, but its not far from unpleasant. We are guilty of not taking the extra time to explore, though there is nothing much to. I couldn't catch a wink as the hotel we booked is not entirely honest with the reviews and pictures shown at their website. Relatively more expensive too.

The main reason we came - the island resorts are ok though. We chose one of the water bungalows. I see no compromise in this area since we flew all the way here. The brother actually thought of budget hotel, which would have spoil the entire "Maldive experience". The hospitality is not great, which will be highlighted later, or not. Club Rannalhi was our resort, seems matching for budget and expectation wise.
The sea was great, the beach was great, the resort was great. Overall its a satisfying experience coming all the way the the Maldives.

We had a bit of luck running into a school of dolphins when we were island hopping. Normally you would have to take a Dolphin Sighting Excursion of the sort to find them. I am mentioning luck because not only we ran into them, but we ran into a rather entertaining school. They did the somersaults, back spins, front spins, drilling frontal missile spins and other stunts I cant really name. Cant believe they are wild!!
Other than that we also swam with lots n lots of fishes, manta rays, turtles, cicak kubing, human, sharks etc etc. It is still rather exciting for a non-diver.

The other activities we spend our time with is photo taking. The process was rather elaborate, and time consuming - something plentiful when you are in these sort of vacation. The results are not disappointing, so its good.

To wrap things up, just a few sneak preview is forgivable.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Project Maldives - Results

Finally its the end of 4th week liau!!! Another 2 days and I am off to the Maldives.
From the photo above, you'll know why I started the 4 weeks regime. I am not Cheong Kar Fai but at least I am not like Day 0. Nanti spoil saja all the pics there. Maybe will spoil also because of all the buffet!!!

Im pretty much satisfied with the result despite all the limitations. It is all possible if you put your mind to it, and stick with it. Below is the progressive results.

So it is definitely doable. I almost gave up after week 2/3. There is so little progress, and there is no gym at my area for more intense workout. I had to stick with home workouts, but Im glad I stuck with it will week 4. Small little difference do matter.

Next up - Maldives itself!!!!!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Project Maldives

No time to update backlogs, so might as well start off with the ongoing.
I am currently in Project Maldives. Yups, the Maldives. Will be flying there early November. Woohoo!!!
Pre and Post Wedding Honeymoon. Pre because I havent legally register the marriage, Post because I've done all those (well, not all) Chinese rites and rituals.

So what is this Project Maldives?
Well, Maldives, like everyone knows, is about beaches, islands and seas. Places like these involves the lack of clothing and Maldives is supposedly very scenic. I do not want my un-scenic body to ruin whatever is scenic there. Here is my early month photo for you to judge.

No good right? Dem spoil man.....
Which is why I undertook this Operation Maldives. Im gonna go on a self-imposed, self-constructed 4 week program to get back in shape.

I don't think I can build mass in this short month. Neither I can achieve anything Baywatch-worthy. But anything than the above is okay right? Anything better I mean.

So I studied a few websites and wrote down some special diet for myself for this 4 weeks. Not those diet, tak makan, or only makan buah type, or starve urself kinda program. Actually in certain days I pretty much stuff myself. I do carb-cycling in which 2 days I have very low carb intake, 3 days of slightly lower than average carb intake, and 2 days of high carb intake.
I don't have any weights training equipment or a nearby gym with me. So my Project Maldives diet makes up to 80? or 90? percent of my plan.
I think they pay off pretty far....

So this is my progress photo.
Should be OK gua for a beginner without proper guidance. I am not into competitions so I don't really restrict myself too much. I do pace around the diet. Unexpected meals and buffets, sudden carve for desserts. Its all in there.

I am not sure how I will progress beyond week 2. There is still 2 more weeks to go, and I am starting to slack off. My meals intake is getting more random and unpredictable. Damn...gotta stick in to the discipline and hang in there!!!

My wifey Irene is also doing something similar; but more tailored towards her needs. Thing is, no one is the same, furthermore the difference is more between male and female.

I shall post the final outcome before I fly off. And hopefully I don't disappoint. ;)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Slow update

Its been too long, and it made the keyboards lazier to type.
It has been a few countries and keyboards since the last update.

Have to update on quite a few of things.

  • The braces (backyard invisalign) I haphazardly done, but Im content with the result - Will make more detailed posts.
  • The oversea trips.
  • The job changes.
  • The marriage - deserves more extensive coverage.

Im sure there is more..but just to jot down a few important ones 1st. 
Easier to refer when the keyboards get rusty, and needing some pressing.

This entry is to motivate myself. 
To get myself started on a 30-day express diet for my Maldives getaway. Dont wanna ruin the scene/photograph with current self.

Finally did some searching, a lazy quick search on a regime to follow. I dont think I will dwell too much on the technicalities. I intend to follow 100% (if I can). 
Doesnt have those intend-to-know-all desire lately. Good for myself I think.
Doesnt have the luxury of time. Better focus on career-related stuffs.

Blindly following a "proven" regime is better than spending hours n days n weeks learning the curve to achieve a side "hobby". At this moment at least.

Well....hopefully the discipline stays for the 30 days.
Till the next entry ;)

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Hand in Need

I was travelling way way too much this few weeks. Up and down KL-JB-KL-JB several times in a week. It is almost like I am working in JB and living in KL. This of course took a toll on the body - dem bloody sleepy whenever I was on the road.

There was one day when I was totally exhausted. I bought a couple of Redbull at my usual R&R. The last and only time I ever take a redbull is when erm... SPM or STPM time. To cramp 2 years worth of 'learning' into that few hours I have.
So there I was, with my redbull, ready to get on the road again that night. When suddenly, "knock knock" and I looked, an Indian guy was knocking on my passenger window. I slide it open a lil to hear what he had to say.

He was explaining about his misfortune of his faulty ATM card, and he was on his way to see his ailing father, and how he is short of fund. He also explained that his family (inside the car, Exora) havent have any proper meal for days. I took a short glance and can see that there were 4-5 teenagers in the car waiting anxiously for their father's return. I also concluded that for him to be asking for money in an R&R, it is not your usual scam, but a case of pure emergency.
It also ran through my mind that he should have planned properly, and obtain his fund way before getting on a highway - which requires fuel and toll. While I can deduce all I want, it cannot escape my mind that it is still a pure emergency and sad case that can happen to anyone, including myself.

I planned to hand him a few red dollar bills. At least he can fill up some petrol. But as I scanned through my wallet, there was no red dollar bill. Plenty of 50s, and spare change of 9 bucks. I gave him all of my 5's and 1's; which is 9 bucks. I knew it will not be enough. But the devil in me didnt want to pull out a 50. A battle of conscience took place and the devil still won.
The guy said it was not enough, and he requires a 50. 30 for petrol and 20 for food he said. In my mind and heart, I said I know. At my mouth, I say I only have this much to offer. After a few minutes of pleading from him; he walked back to his car; and I continued my journey.

Remember I said I was very very very exhausted? I was ready to sleep n drive before the stop. But after that incident; guilt couldnt escape from my mind. I could've help the poor guy. I could've been a good Samaritan
Tears actually almost burst out. Yes he might be a scammer. But he wont resort to this if he was not stranded at the R&R. I could've pulled him out of that situation.
I couldn't stop blaming myself. For my selfishness.
What is the use of driving a comfortable car if you cant even help a person in need?
What is the use of dining in a nice restaurant if you cant even feed a person in hunger?
What is the use of living in a luxurious house if you cant even shelter a person in cold?
I know I cant help everybody. But cant I help a person who approached me?
I couldnt sleep however exhausted I was.
I couldnt stop thinking........what am I....why am I here? Am I...heartless.