Friday, September 29, 2006

Sudden Appearance

I have posted a blog entry on how messy and terribly disorganized certain shops in Malaysia can be and how much of an eyesore can those ignored mess be, being proudly displayed virtually everywhere. That was just before I left for Perth this year, and now I have returned, much to my disappointment, nothing much changed. In fact, things got much worse.

Have you ever felt that you needed to get something quickly and urgently, rushing to the nearest supermarket near you, walking rapidly straight to the department selling the product of your need, and when you actually arrived at that very spot, that section was being closed down for restocking/rearrangement? All you saw was the hell of a mess and junks of God-knows-what piling up everywhere, and you just could not seem to get what you were looking for so desperately !! Goodness Gracious, why can't the staff do the restocking off the office hours instead of trading hours? Why do they have to leave all those unattended junks around all over the places? And honestly the mess is not good looking at all. I have plenty of nasty pictures here but I figure it is not my place to publicize something so unique yet ugly looking.




Sometimes, things could get rather interesting. Those people can be so annoying that they can just appear in front of you so suddenly while they are doing their maintenance/rearrangement works. Serious.. they APPEAR, and they actually can beg your pardon for that. Maybe they will disappear shortly after that too.. sheeessssssshh !!!

So boys and girls, be prepared, and do not scream when you see someone suddenly appear in front of you out of the thin air. Please, excuse their appearance !!


Side note: I believe the right word for that would be "presence"? Please excuse our presence, no? If you have any better suggestions please feel free to say it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Char Kueh and ABC

There are many places to choose from to go for a light tea break or before dinner/after lunch meals in Kuching, and one of my favourites has always been the Song Kheng Hai food market. I gotta tell you, truthfully, most of the food available there are the best of the best, and yet the cheapest of the cheapest you could find in Kuching. There is this stretch of shops aligned in a long row at the back of the market that only operate in the afternoons (2.30pm-5pm) only, and the entire place would be stormed by forever-hungry people from God-knows-where, everytime. It has always been difficult to find vacant seats if I were to eat there, and most of the time we ended up waiting patiently for a vacant spot, or just simply tah-pow (take away) the food and have it at home.



Just take a look at those vultures, goodness gracious...




Anyway, the famous food served in Song Kheng Hai market in the afternoon (the specific stretch of shops) include Belacan Bee Hoon, Rojak, Cuttlefish and KangKong, and of course, my all time favourite: Char Kueh and ABC Special. All the food there are lowly priced, and served in reasonably generous portion. And that goes without saying, the taste is out of the doubt, they are known to serve the best foods in Kuching !! The place being flooded is the sole evidence to justify that fact.

The forever busy people preparing delicious food...




Kuching is heaven for kids, they get all those heavenly food..




There was one Saturday afternoon, I was out with a group of friends visiting Swinburne Carnival/Open Day/Food Festival/PC Fair/and God knows what else was there. We did not find anything worth buying there (Sorry Swinburnians, but that was true) and none of the food sold screamed our attention. We left empty handed, much unexpectedly, and so I decided that we head down to Song Kheng Hai market after the Swinburne multi-fest and have a good round of decent meal to fill our ever-hungry stomachs. Yes, I have a round, and forever-growling stomach. I just do not know why, I am born this way.

So what did we have??

Of course, ABC special....




Cant see whats inside the thick crushed ice?? Here is a sneak preview... *slurp*




And of course... CHAR KUEH !!! (For the weirdest reasons, Singaporeans call it Chai Tow Kueh)




Anyone getting hungry already?? Lets go Song Kheng Hai food market now !!! I am always ready for more char kueh... yummy.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

robinwong [dot] TK

Tired of typing the loooooooooooooooooooooooong and troublesome URL w w w [dot] robin wong [dot] blogspot [dot] com ??

Well, save yourself some misery, and..

Why not try ....

w w w [dot] robinwong [dot] t k

I know, there are many ways for Internet users to get into my blog address via superbly convenient methods, like clicking on a link somewhere, through the Internet Explorer's favourites, through feed burner, from online services like Bloglines... but still none of those can truly compete with the true satisfaction of opening up a fresh new browser, emptying the URL bar, and using the old fashion way of getting into where you want to go.. type in manually www.robinwong.tk, and hit with a sharp tap on the execute button : ENTER !!!

Alright, I know [dot] tk may not be the best looking domain name out there in comparison with [dot] com or [dot] net, but heck, it is completely unique and extremely rare. None, so far, I believe, not even one blogger I know of has used this domain name before !! I am the first in this circle of blogosphere (a rather small circle, but still a circle) to use [dot] tk. It may not be the most popular choice out there, but surely it sounds cool and uniquely intriguing. Afterall, it is FREE !!

So ladies and gentlemen, from now onwards, log on to www.robinwong.tk for your latest updates and dosage of everyday blog fixes !!

Side note: The old URL of this blog, http://robinwong.blogspot.com is still useable, and it remains as the original source of this blog. However, please note that I am using the new domain name as a trial for a period of time. Should any problems and difficulties arise with the new domain name, I would consider canceling it off and use the original source URL. Please feel free to comment, and report any errors or bugs.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Sio Bee

Since I have just got back home from a far away place, being away for so long, I just could not resist but to attack all the Kuching food as much as I can. Since I have limited cash while I am here, I had to refrain myself from doing anything overly crazy or go to fancy places. Thus, the only thing that could make my time pass worthily and suffice my blogging needs: cheap delicious Kuching food. I hope you guys, especially those not from Kuching, and also those from Kuching but currently away somewhere SUFFER drool over what I will be posting in my blog in coming few entries or so. It will all be nothing, but food food food, and more Kuching food, until I am sick of it, then I blog with my usual pattern. Cynthia, its pay-back time.

There are many places in Kuching worth noting for their cheap yet famous and yummy food, one of those places being the Open Air market right opposite the Elektra House. That place of course is mainly well-known for its Gubak Mee (Beef Noodles) and Sio Bee (Errmm... I have no proper translation in English). Last Tuesday night, Hong and Laksa Diaries asked me out for a round of movie at Star, but this poor soul writing this blog entry had to kindly decline the offer... RM8 for a movie is kinda heavy considering how much Kuching food I would have been able to buy and gobble down with that much amount of money !! Ok, I know its not much, but still, it seems a lot when you are poor.

And so we settled down at the Open Air, ordering their famous food: Sio Bee and Fresh Cold Soya Bean Milk drink while we all chat and chat.. well, more like talking cock with each other. Well, that's people at kopitiams are supposed to do right??? Talk Cock to each other?? No? hmmm...

The Fresh Cold Soya Bean Milk Drink.



Is it just me, or the glass of the drink seems to shrink every single time I come back from Perth?? I remember it being much taller and bigger than now.. maybe it was just me being used to larger portions of everything overseas, but somehow, it felt smaller this time !! Much smaller !!


Count the Sio Bees....



This place serves Sio Bee, selling them much faster than hot cakes. Well, seriously I do not see anything that special in the Sio Bee they produced, it is rather a little too dry, and oddly overly sweet for my liking. No, I am not saying its bad at all, just something odd, and could have been better. I'm sure you can find better Sio Bees elsewhere, but what makes the Sio Bee here so darn successful?? I am deeply puzzled...


One Sio Bee...



Oh Gosh, it does look good doesn't it? And one only costs 50 cents !!! Thats less than 20 Cents Australian in comparison... CHEAP !!


Half Sio Bee...




Have a peek of what is inside the pale white skin....

And of course, something as good as Sio Bee... Where would it end up at?




Yummy !!! Just right for supper, not too heavy, not too light either !! If it is not enough, one can always order more.

Next attack, Song Kheng Hai Food Maket... Muahahahahhahhhaa


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Monday, September 18, 2006

Kuching Waterfront

I was back in Kuching on the 30th August, which was the day right before the nationwide celebration of Malaysian Independence Day took place, coincidentally in the humble town of Kuching this year. As a blogger, what did I do? After long hours of flights, and tiring activities and rushing from places to places, I chose to sleep through the entire next day. Yes, the most happening, probably the largest central nation celebration which was rarely held in my hometown, I was back in time for the celebration, yet I chose my beauty sleep. Darn it, I may be a blogger, but I am no reporter. And I may be a blogger, but normal human being needs rest and sleep !!! I just have not had enough lately.

Though I may have missed the largest event held in the eve and consecutive morning of 31st in the Padang Merdeka, I sure made some time to walk around Kuching, experiencing the residues of the celebration. Since the nation-wide celebration takes place in Kuching, the city council clevely organized an array of side events all around the places to attract and entertain more tourists. One of the places that I fortunately happened to pass by was Kuching waterfront.



Well, to be honest Sarawak River has nothing to brag about. The river is not that huge, and the water cleanliness has always been an issue. The view has nothing spelled spectacular or breathtaking, but rather brownish and well, just an ordinary river with very little care poured on it. However, this did not stop the river bank which was developed into the waterfront being the place where Kuching citizens would flood into. Many happenings would take place at the waterfront, and when such events appear, miraculously people from God-knows-where would suddenly appear too.



In conjunction with the Merdeka celebration (which I did not see much connections) there were at least two major activities happening at the waterfront, namely the Sarawak Regatta and also the Traditional Handicraft Exhibition and Carnival. Not that I would exhibit much interest in the events mentioned, but since I was there, and witnessing the impossibly crowded people flooding all around the places, I decided to join in the cheer and fun. Well, just a brief walk around, and it has always been pleasurable seeing things, different things. It is not an everyday event for those happenings to happen in Kuching you know. Rare, but lively and well-celebrated.





There was even a place dedicated to educate the young kids on how-to-create-your-own clay moulds, much to my surprise the kids whom obviously either being forced by their teachers or parents to join the class somehow were very much attentive and drew deep into their mouldings. It was interesting to note that the kids did enjoy what they were doing. Well, art has always got a place in the hearts of young children.



Look at the places, goodness, people and people everywhere, and believe me, people just go there to "see" things, very few can you find them actually buying things. This is, in fact a very natural habit of people from my home place. See, touch, smell, taste, but do not buy. Just for fun. Very exciting, indeed. Woo Hoo... And I am proud to admit myself as one too.





Some of the people selling the stuff there can be very energetic and screams at the top of their lungs to get attention and finally get their items sold, whether effective or not, no one really cared. But some, would just doze off, and promote the beauty of sleep in the hot afternoon weather.



If I were in his shoes I would do the same too. Would you not?



And the event that everyone has been waiting for... err... not exactly regatta... but the racing of water motorsports. Motorboats from all over the places in the country rallied here in Sarawak River to display their talent and speed. Nothing really impressed me that much, just boats speeding and splashing water... well, enough to make the kids and some uncles and aunties went Gooo Goo Gaaa Gaaa..... I never quite understood how. But t happened, and so I witnessed.



There you go, the Sarawak River, Kuching Waterfront and its rare chains of events taking place, drawing people from all over the places. And the blardy MC of the event blasted off the loudspeakers with over-repetitive reminders like "Please do not throw rubbish into the rivers, our river is beautiful, it is our pride and it is our duty to keep it clean", as if he was talking to primary school or kindy students. My goodness, don't any of you think that people should know what they should and should not do as a citizen? I find such reminders rather annoying, maybe not overly so if it was not repeated again and again.

Kuching is the place where I grew up and spent my entire childhood at. The waterfront has a place in my heart, though it may not have blue waters, or dolphins swimming in it. Many memories worth cherishing happened there. Walking along it once again, made me feel like I am really home, at last.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Home sweet home

It was a long journey back home from Perth, and the stopping for 4 days in KL dragged the entire never-ending trip back home even further. However, on the day before merdeka (Independance Day of Malaysia) I took a flight back to Kuching from KL, and safely touched down, and found my steps back to my family that I love so much. Somehow, there was a sense of relief reaching home, and I am happy to see that things have been good since I was away.

Nevertheless, being away for so long, one could not help but feel a little out of place returning home. I was not excluded, and it was still a little shocking for me to be home so abruptly, having plans being changed at eleventh hour. Part of my mind, even my heart still thought that I was in Perth, and refusing to leave the environment that I have started to find comfort in. Alas, home is always sweet, and it did not take long to make me realise, that I am indeed no longer in Perth, but back to Kuching. How? Just walk, and take a good look around. Nothing much changed in Kuching. Nothing apparent to say the least.

Small is small tiny

In Australia, when you order something in the size of small, it means medium, and when u order medium, it means large, and if you order large, it simply means HUGE !!! In Kuching, when you order something small, it really does mean small in literal words. No, actually, smaller than small.



"Tiny" would be the right word to describe the size of the popcorn chicken at KFC in Kuching.


Traffic jam is a norm



The roads at Saberkas will forever be packed and jammed with vehicles from God knows where...


Horrible public transport



The buses are never punctual, and the drivers and bus conductors somehow had vinegar stuffed on their faces... and whats worse, there has been a significant hike in bus fares.. WTF.. seriously, for such crappy service, they had no rights to raise their prices at all !! No wonder freaking everyone in Kuching owns a car.


Terribly confused minds

There is no logic in the pricing of the products at retail stores....



a 5 MP (kodak c340) camera selling at the price of RM499, while its brother of the lower capabilities in the category 4 MP (Kodak c330) selling at a whooping RM688.....


And ultimately, this has to convince that I am indeed in Kuching.....


The glory of trash...



More...



and more...



Man, such decorations along the streets in Kuching, how flattering.




Ah my sweet Kuching, boy, am I glad to be home !!! Someone please throw a welcome me back party already !!!


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Friday, September 15, 2006

Meet Shaz and Gang

I know I may have upset a lot of people when I arrived in KL unannounced. Allow me to explain my part, and make myself clear before any more misunderstandings spread further. It was not my original plan to stop by at KL on my way home to Kuching from Perth, and it was a very last minute decision to stay back in KL, and I made the confirmations on the flight details on Thursday (24th August). I had very little time left for myself, to pack properly, to do going home shopping, to arrange and settle going away stuff, and not to mention my long episodes of farewell series !! Heck, I did not even say proper goodbyes to everyone in Perth.

I did BLOG about my return and jot down the EXACT details of my departure and arrival details beforehand (click). Of course it was such a short notice and I did not expect that to reach everyone so soon. It was such a rush that I did not have much time for myself to go online. Therefore, I have missed out many people, relatives, friends, and bloggers, some until this day may still do not know that I was there in KL for a short 4 days visit. My sincerest apology to Smashpop, Choe, Cheng Sim and Hijackqueen. Everything was rather unexpected, and I do very much desire to meet up with everyone, but given my circumstances, it seemed rather impossible, no? I am awfully sorry, and I will make amends in any way I can the next time of my visit to KL.

There was nothing much I could do, for extremely restricted time I have in KL, and not to mentioned limited cash. I would stay longer, but to be honest my wallet is literally very very thin when I arrived in KL. Thankfully I had Chun Chow who was wlling to lend this poor soul some money to survive, or else I would have all my meals eating grass by the roadside. Wait, are there any clean grasses in KL??



I have followed the blogs of the KL people, whom stood out proudly and prominently, mainly for the ever-so-popular-and-happening activities. My goodness, there seemed to be a party almost every single freaking day of the week, either for lunch meet, or dinner, or supper.. practically at any hot-spots in the big city. Some of the have become friends, and we exchange instant messages through MSN. That is one of the wonders you get in blogging, you get to connect to people. I have always admired the KL bloggers, for their interesting take and outlook on their big city lives. Practically everyday is a day to paaaarrrttyyy !!!

Thanks to my dear friend Ivan, I was given an opportunity to meet some of those wonderful big city bloggers. It was the Sunday afternoon, and everyone met up at Mid Valley. It was not very difficult looking for the giant Shaz !! And off we went to Burger King, that I prefer to call it Hungry Jacks (alternative name used in Australia). More people showed up, and we had trouble looking for enough seats for everyone.

And, here are the people, I do hope I won't mispell or worse, confuse the names with the faces...

The big guy, Shaz of http://shazfx.blogspot.com (dude, sorry for the flash distortion at your chin, blame it on my crappy cam)




Kingsley of http://hopeless-romantic.blogspot.com




Michel of http://splashmilk.com




Vincent (sorry, I do not have the url, anyone help please??)




Asyraf of http://asyraflee.blogspot.com




Ivan of http://talesofagecko.blogspot.com




Jack of http://jacksquare.blogspot.com and me

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us



I am not entirely sure if I did include everyone in the photos, if there is anyone left out I am terribly sorry.

After Burger King we went off to Starbucks for coffee. Everyone was sitting at the outdoor area, and I was sweating like a pig. It was my day two of return to Malaysia, and I still had difficulty adjusting to the humidity. I was wet all over (now do not start with the wild imaginations) and feeling rather uncomfortable. Having oily face and extremely worn look on the face is not exactly the good impression.

It was a good chance for me to have a glimpse on what bloggers in KL would usually do and I guess it was a lucky experience to see the happening life in KL. The conversations ranged from all sorts of topic, which I had a lot of difficulties to blend in (weird, because I seldom have this problem). I shall not elaborate further, maybe there was something wrong in my part, being away for so long and blending in a different environment altogether, it takes time to adjust to things. After all, I believe this is just normal, since everyone practically knew everyone else there except me, the stranger, and everything was perfectly fine. Maybe things would have been loose and easier if I have stayed longer, which by all means I wished I could, but like I said, time is limited, and I have things to do and places to go. And poor Ivan had an exam to study for !!!

Nevertheless, it was an afternoon well spent, and it is indeed always a great thing to meet other bloggers. Like I have mentioned many times before, bloggers are wonderful and interesting people. Thanks for meeting me up everyone, and I hope we do cross paths with each other again in future events.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Of Visiting Kuala Lumpur

Since useless and over-priced Malaysian Airlines 'cleverly' cancelled direct flights from Kuching to Perth, the route I took travelling from Perth to Kuching made an interesting stop/transit at Kuala Lumpur, the heart of Malaysia. I have never really fancied that overly congested, fast paced, heavily air-polluted and busy huge city life in KL. However, since the flight does stop in KL, I arranged my following flight back to Kuching to be delayed a few days later, allowing me sufficient time to stay back and do imaginative things in KL while I am there.




Upon arrival I was greeted by two wonderful old friends, Chun Chow (click) and Wendy, whom I stayed with in the following days in KL. They have been kind to bring me around and accompany me all the time. And on top of that, it was really awesome being able to meet up with them after not seeing each other for so long, and have long chat catching up with each other over the lost times. It was refreshing to find both of them doing well, and I am happy, like usual to be with friends I care. I reached KL at very late night, and we went for a simple supper before heading back and had some rest.



Ah, my first drink back in Malaysia, Teh-Peng !!! (Iced Tea with Milk)

Came morning, and off we went to find food. If you had followed my blog, by now anyone would have known that I would prioritize food over anything else here, hence here comes the first proper meal I had in KL.. Yong Tofu !!






Ahhh... the old kopitiam (coffee shop) feeling. I love kopitiams, those are unique places in Malaysia, you do not find them in Australia. Why kopitiam stands out from the rest of the eateries?






You can just dress in Ts and shorts, as simple as it gets, to a kopitiam, nothing fancy..
You can talk as LOUDly as you intend in kopitiam...
People actually do come and serve you in kopitiam, no tipping needed, free service !! Screw those self service restaurants..
There will always be cats wondering around. the kopitiam especially the ones with outdoor settings, begging for food, I adore cats a lot.
And best of all, kopitiam hosts a variety of good local dishes, at very very cheap prices too !!

Ohh goodness, it has been years since I last had Yong Tofu..



And what better way there was but to wash down delicious breakfast with refreshing lime juice with errm.. a hint of "very healthy" herbal ingredients.


I only stayed for 4 days in Kuala Lumpur. I did not go to many places. No, I did not shop at all, though it was Mega Sale Carnival going on that time. Though time was limited, and obviously restricted cash too, I find myself having a very good time there. I shall highlight a few happenings while I was in KL in the following entries:
Meet Shaz and Gang...
Meet Mervyn and Ivan..

Thanks so much Chun Chow for letting me stay at your place, and Wendy for being so helpful on everything. Will look for you guys again the next time I travel to KL.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Flight Away from Perth

I consider myself fortunate to have Ruthie and Mark to drive me all the way to the Perth International Airport and see me off there. I would usually prefer to fly off alone to avoid all those unnecessary tears and heartaches, but this time around, somehow it felt different. I just need to have people around me, and knowing the fact that friends I have made in Perth are real, having them sending me off is truly an honor. Right after the dim sum lunch with the Perth bloggers (click) Charmaine drove me and Khee Hwa back to my place, and I had just enough time to take a quick shower and fix up a few last minute packing spots on my luggage.

Ruthie and Mark came to my place to fetch me and Khee hwa, and the journey to the airport this time seemed a little slower and further than usual. The less than an hour driving time felt like slightly more than two hours. Maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me, with everything happening at such a sudden pace and I had not have the time to really sit down and digest things. Maybe I was not ready to leave yet. Maybe some part of me was still wishing the hope that I could still remain there in Perth, for just a few more days... maybe I did not have to fly at all...



I realized that I will have to face whatever that comes my way, whether I like it or not, and I just could not hide or run away from it. Reaching the airport, my heart raced like a horse pounding madly on the ground. I thought this could be the end, and it could be the very last time I saw that place, ever again, if I screw things up. Will I screw things up? I have fought so hard to be where I am standing at, and I have come so far, and it is just so not fair if everything just slips away and vanishes just like that. I am not ready to give up, and I am certainly not giving in. This may be the smoothest and simplest path, but if I need to travel along, I will do so. And I will get there no matter how difficult, how long, and how painful it will be. This is not goodbye. I know somehow I will return to this place once again, some day.

Thanks Ruthie and Mark...




And Khee Hwa...




Boarding the plane, I realized that there was something different with the plane. It was a 777, which was by far the second largest plane model owned by MAS. The seats were somewhat much more spacious, and the one obvious bonus being on this flight was having individual LCD screens in front of each seating positions, with full arrays of entertainments to select from, movies, games, music, etc. It comes with remote control too... really really.. cool !! My first time on 777, and I had some rights to go Oooo Aaaahh....






I sat next to this girl whom was part of a large group of Form 4 students from KL that did an exchange student programme to Perth during their one week school holiday. It was their trip back from Perth. I could not remember her name, nor have I taken any pictures of/with her. But my conversations with her throughout the flight would be a memorable one. I asked her what she thought of Perth. Like everyone else on the exchange programme, she liked it a lot, and wished she could stay longer. She said she just loved everything, the weather, the people, the culture, the places, the food... and confessing that Perth is one destination to be in strong consideration for further education right after finishing high school.

I could totally relate to her, though she was only in Perth for only one week, in comparison to me being in Perth for many years now. I started to share wonderful stories and adventures that I have stumbled upon while I was in Perth, the fun, cherish able moments with friends, the funny episodes, the bitterness of university lives, and just about anything random that could jolt out of my memory at that time. It was like a disorganized trip down memory lane, playing in no particular sequence on my time in Perth. She enjoyed my stories, (which I choose to assume than otherwise) and somehow I hope she did not notice the sadness in my tone, or the drops pf tears forming around my eyes, waiting to trip down my cheek. She was there, listening in awe of my stories that I lived, being fascinated by what will be if she takes the path to Perth in the future, but there I was, trying so hard to suppress my feeling of unwanted discomfort and unsettlement of leaving Perth at such a wrong time. I guess that added the flame to my stories.



The food served in the plane was horrible to say the least. I have never complained about the food served by MAS international flights before, but this time, it just could not make it. As sad as this sounds, the beef was just overcooked and the taste was too sour to my liking. I should be able to cook better.



Of course, my stories of Perth adventures could only last an hour or so, and after that I was pretty sure the girl next to me was already bored of it, though she did not show it. So I decided to put a full stop and dug out a book that I newly purchased via Charmaine. The book is written by Yvonne Foong, which I have blogged about not too long ago. I was hoping that the book could last me the whole 5 hours flight, unfortunately it lived for less than two hours. I enjoyed the book tremendously, there was so much passion and heart wrenching confessions made by such young lady in her battle for leaving a normal life. My neighbour who was taking her nap has been often nudged off her slumber by unexpected sudden reactions from reading the book. I shall write a review on that book on my future entries.




Like the car ride to the airport, the flight from Perth to KL felt a stretch longer than what I usually would anticipate. I had a heavy heart. But I must walk on, no matter what happens. And not everything has been bad. Upon arrival in KLIA, I took a train down to Putrajaya and I met up with two wonderful friends, Chun Chow and Wendy, and from there on begins another set of episodes which lasted 4 days, in KL, which I shall blog soon in the following entry.

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