Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Coffee at Tao

On one of the nights of going out and having fun with awesome people while hopping from place to place in town, there was this one particular place that I have not fully blogged about, it was Tao Padungan. I was with Hong, waiting and killing an hour over before meeting up with other cool people at Bing, another coffee place not too far away. Tao is a very cool coffee place, newly opened, and has gained popularity in such short time. Since it was just the two of us, and that night the place was not crowded, it was just the right time to take out my camera and have good snaps of the entire place, without too many eyes staring at me with that one kind weird look, as if I was an alien from Krypton or something. Geeeez, people, can't anyone take pictures with peace nowadays? Thank God I was just using a compact camera, having a D-SLR would just have more eyes popped open wide.

Tao serves an array of beverages ranging from hot to cold, fresh juices and nice blends of all other weird never seen before drinks. They have really expensive food in their menu, and most of them are extremely over-priced. This is Kuching, having something more than RM5 on a plate is considered over-priced, yeah, go figure. Atmosphere wise, the place is extremely unconventional. Though having the usual dim lighting and comfy furnishings in the sitting/dining area, what gives the place an extra edge is the entire Buddhism themed decor surrounding the whole room. Just looked at every corner, your eyes cant miss any decor suggesting Buddhism, statues, Buddha heads, coils.. paintings... anything, anywhere !!! I do not know what the motive of the interior design is, maybe to provide peace and calm to the patrons, but heck, I felt a little out of place sitting there for a while. But hey, one can just complain less and enjoy the rest of the evening, right? The place may be weird, but it was certainly unique in its own way.

Pictures of the place...

THE FRONT BAR




THE INNER SIDE




THE FRONT ENTRANCE





Hong had not had dinner, so he ordered a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese. My goodness, it came in such a small portion that even cannot satisfy a hungry kitten. What is with Kuching and serving food in very stingy portions.. I know Kuching is a place with all the good food, but everything comes in rather limited servings, and I never really filled my stomachs with them. Ok, maybe somethings wrong with my stomach, but heck, for Tao, and their overpriced food, does it hurt to have larger portion?







Me and my favourite Flat White. Would have gone for Latte, but Flat white is far rarer in Kuching, and I havent had one since my days in Perth. It was good, with the right strength of coffee in it. I added a lot of sugar, like usual; to blend in the aroma of caffeine. Sweetness and bitterness come together just nice.


It was a Friday night, a freakin Friday night, what was I doing at Tao? We went over to Bing later meeting other friends, and what were we doing there???

Sigh...



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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Of Hari Raya and Friends

As promised earlier on, this entry shall be dedicated to the handsome and hunky lads I know and had the chance to meet and catch up with during the Hari Raya house hopping sessions few days ago. The next best thing after food during the festive season would definitely be people. I have such privilege to know and made friends with this wonderful group of Malay folks, and yeah, over the years, many things have changed, people got married, some made babies, some grown rounder, some have gotten themselves cars, and some just, well, disappeared. Nonetheless, it was Raya, the most auspicious celebration for the Muslims, and this was just the right time being back in Kuching, and meeting them after my absence for such a long time, it was truly refreshing and warm to the heart.

Selamat Hari Raya People !!!!




ALAN, a dear friend whom I went visiting with...




I guess almost everyone was equally shocked or surprised to see me, since I have been away for years, and some of them may have last seen me since 2002/2003 when I was still studying in Kuching. I miss many of my friends back in Kuching of course, maybe not as much as the food and hot chicksbut yeah, I find my own little surprises here and there too seeing everyone again. Most of those friends I have known from my high school time, many of them being my classmates, and spending so many years together somehow gave us the chance to know each other so well, that no matter how much we have changed over the years, we still recognize the inner parts of each other that developed during the years of growing up together. Smiles of familiar faces and sincere innocent laughters filling the atmosphere of the wild celebration were truly something therapeutic and soothing at the same time.

On the second day of raya, me and my dear friend Alan met up and throughout the entire afternoon till night, we visited a total of 7 houses. We could have gone for more the following day, but heck, my holiday has run out, and I need to resume working, Man, how tempting it was for me to just call in sick and go on out with my friends having once in a year fun, but I believe that to be rather unethical and would bring me undesired consequences should anyone from my work place find that out. Yeah... it sucks.

Here are the photos of the handsome and hunky guys I have visited during the Raya house hopping. Why no girls? I come from an all-boys school. St Thomas Secondary school. Go figure.


NASRUL



Nasrul holding his nephew and Alan trying to make him cry.


NAJIB



The shy guy (act shy only lar, konon) who refused to be taken any of his photos. I took this silently, hehehehehehe, he doesn't know, ssssshhhh


ZAKI



The bald guy, who smiles with a dazzle.


HAZRY



Another good friend, whom I have lost contact over the years.


ZAIM



Hitam manis (dark and sweet), just like chocolate.


And finally, FIZZY..



The guy who think himself being overly charming. Right.



It was so great meeting each and everyone of them again. Everyone had so much fun, indulging in good food together, and sharing lost experiences like we have not seen each other for 10 years. Of course, we do gossip about others, and yeah, who doesnt?

Some random shots of the people dining...








And finally, fitting almost everyone in the frame...



It was indeed a day well spent. I was extremely worn out, and boy was it difficult to find Fizzy's house. It was worthwhile, and somehow there was a hint of regret not continuing on the visits the following day. I just could not help it, I was new to the job, and asking for leave may just leave a bad impression. For the friends whom I could not make it for visit this time, I am terribly sorry, I tried my best, and hopefully I shall patch things up the next Raya round. I wish you all the happiest of celebration and the coming joy of life !!!

Anyway, I shall end this entry with few snaps of kids playing with fireworks at Fizzy's house. Man, a celebration feels more real with bright lights and colors.





Observing those children, it reminded me of my own childhood, during Chinese New Year times. Man, I am getting old, and now I understand why people would give anything to be young again.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Of Hari Raya and Food

Sorry for the late update, been tied up with some "stuff" lately. Anyway, this will be a picture overloaded entry, which I shall try to avoid doing again in the future.

It was refreshing to have Hari Raya being celebrated here in Malaysia, the outcome being extra a couple of days holidays for me, and this was my very much needed break from work. I myself have a group of Malay friends, mostly from my high school times, and much to my surprise their network is still very active, and almost everyone within the Malay circle of friends still keep in contact till this very day. Undoubtedly everyone is scattered everywhere in Malaysia, some possibly out of the nation, but one thing is for sure, when it is Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim's largest celebration) everyone would come back at once to their family, mainly to their hometown, and this is the right time of the year for huge gatherings and do some catching up.




Alan my dear friend, enjoying his food.

Of course, like I mentioned countless times before, where there is great celebrations, there is great food. Besides meeting up old buddies and asking if anyone has already gotten married and made babies, I for one would definitely attack the specially made food for the very auspicious occasion, happening only once a year. This entry, is particularly dedicated for the food I ate only, and there shall be another entry on my friends which I choose to blog separately, for the reasons of too many photographs taken, and undeniably, prioritizing food over anything else !! You all should know me by now. I said I live to eat, remember? Ok, I admit, I am fat.. well, who cares? Alright, maybe I do, a little...

Visiting houses, hopping from one place to another, I am very amazed to find different varieties of food everywhere I go. I supposed people are getting more creative nowadays.

In ALL houses of Muslims who celebrate Hari Raya, there will be plates and plates of goodies and nibbles served on coffee table adjacent to sitting areas, such as extremely COLOURFUL cakes, cookies, biscuits, peanuts, crackers and so on. It is a combination of many elements, sweet, sour, crispy, mushy, soft, or even creamy stuff. I particularly love jam tarts, and keropok with acars. Below are the few highlights of those light servings, yet compulsary at any house, screaming the attention of anyone looking at them. They can be eaten, without sacrificing much of stomach space, since most of them come in small size and portion. One can take more if one feels that the particular food is yummy !!

All variety of cakes, you name it, they have it !!




Butter Cookies... this somehow feels so CNY..




Finger food, crispy and sweet and salty !!! Sluurrrpp... love the crunch under my teeth !!




Look at their cute sizes !!! So adorable and yet so temptingly delicious.




Usually on the first day only, of some exceptions for certain people who choose to extend their main-dish to the second or third days, there would be an array of freshly cooked Malay food served for heavier consumption. Usual yet popular dishes would be curry, rendang, fried chicken, fried noodles/rice, ketupat, satay, lemang, and so on. I do not quite understand how yet, but my stomach could automatically expand itself during these festive season, and somehow take in 3-4 times more food than I usually can without feeling overly irritable or uncomfortable. Somehow, I just felt like I have fasted for one month like normal Muslims did before the day of celebration, and deprived of good Malay food. Man, I can just eat and eat and eat and eat...


Ketupat !!!!!




Something like... lemang??




Rendang...




Dry kind of curry?






And oh Lorinda, you will LOVE this... SATAY.....




Closer look for you darling..



slurrrppp.... tender, juicy, freshly barbequed...beef and chicken, you can even lick the sticks clean.. OMG DELICIOUS !!!


There are however some unique homes that serve western food.



Yeah, spaghetti bolognese for Hari Raya.


Man, seriously I did not quite know how much I have eaten, but still, I gotta say I did enjoy myself tremendously. What more to say, I was with my good old friends, from good old high school, and having great food with great friends, truly equates to great moments !! (will not over-congest this entry with faces of extremely handsome lads, which will come soon anyway) I am truly glad that I am back this year in Kuching for Hari Raya. I was away last year, my useless university had the final exams that time that I just had to skip the entire celebration. Imagine doing last minute revisions while having all those thoughts and images of mouth watering food flashing through your minds, man, it was just so torturing and being away from home just never helped at all.




Me, indulging myself.... hhmm hmmmm.. *burp*

To all my dearest Muslim friends, and to all readers of robinwong.tk, I wish you all Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri !! Maaf Zahir dan Batin...


Coming up next: Of Hari Raya and Friends.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

What happens if Malaysians try to be Australians?

You see, Australia and Malaysia are two extremely different countries. I know, because I was raised in Malaysia, and had my tertiary education in Australia. Being there for many years now, I realize there are some Australian living styles and culture that will never blend in Malaysia. I would say the same goes vice versa.

Allow me to illustrate.


In Australia, you go up the bus, you say hi to the driver, same as you leave the bus, you say thanks or cheers or bye. You meet someone in the park, random people at all, you say hi, and nothing wrong to spark a conversation spot on. You smile wherever you go. Walk up to the cashier at any stores, they will greet you like their friends and talk to you in a way that you feel like you are the most auspicious person in the world.




In Malaysia, you go up the bus, you say hi to the driver, everyone will blardy stare at you one kind, and if you say thanks or bye leaving the bus, people will label you insane. If you are an incredibly sexy girl jogging in the park and saying hi and spark a conversation with a random guy, high chances you will get raped in the end, because the guy will most probably think you are leading him on and wanting to have sex. If you smile, at anywhere at all, you smile alone. And if you ever tried being nice and chatty with the cashier at any place, you will feel sudden rush of coldness as if the temperature dropped to minus 35 degrees and hear a growl of hungry lion if you are unlucky enough.

The list can go on in other terms, even politically and many more. Nevertheless, all this can so clearly be observed on the roads.

In Australia, cars will stop if anyone, or anything, I reiterate, anyone, or anything at all crossing the road. Pedestrians have such respect, and I genuinely admire the courtesy and very pleasing attitude of the road users in Australia.





And so you ask: What happens if a Malaysian tries to be an Australian?




Same thing that happens to cats and dogs in Kuching. Sadly.


Poor mate. Some things will just never make it in Malaysia. NEVER. No wonder Kenny Sia (click) wants to return to Perth.



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Thursday, October 19, 2006

NOKIA Latest Model, SYOOOK !!!

I am not a huge fan of handphones or typical other electronic gadgets, I do not know why, maybe there is something wrong with me. A sexy expensive latest model handphone that comes with all the coolest designs and features, just can never quite impress me and turn me on. After all, to me, a phone is just a phone, for sms and make calls to communicate. They serve their primary functions, that is the way I see it. What for having integrated camera? I have a cheap budget digicam that fares much better than the camera built in the most expensive phone. What for having games on the phone? I can play computer games on my 14 inch LCD monitor screen, with sound connected to amplified speakers with an active woofer. What for listening to mp3 on the handphone? I own M:robe, that looks and sounds so cool, and sexy that 9 out of 10 people have mistaken it for a handphone instead of an mp3 player.

My M:robe





Alright, back to the point I am making, I do not need my phone to have all the unnecessary features and controls. I know, that is just me, and everyone has their own preferences. I can go on and on about how I hate football, and how I do not fancy cars and motorsports like normal ordinary living boys would. But thank God my dick would still erect if a sexy girl stops and flashed her boobies in front of my face. That sounded harsh, I know, but after all, I am an ordinary boy, just do not get me wrong.

Anyway, while I was doing some grocery shopping with mum in the newly open 20cent Discount store nearby my place, I came across this Nokia model. It looks, very very different and unique. It is like nothing I have ever seen before. This is surely out of the world, and would make any Nokia lovers squeeze their buttholes looking at this model.

Behold, the latest Model from Nokia, never been seen elsewhere...







Take a better look....




OMFG !!!!! It is a FREAKING SHOE !!!!











Nokia.

Connecting People.

Now they come in pairs.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Loud, Happy, Protest.

On last Saturday, I woke up early (though it was a non-working day) and dragged my huge heavy ass down to city to meet up with this cool awesome blogger fellow Aaron. I met him and chatted briefly at Mojo few weeks ago on the Poetry Night, and we decided to meet up and hang out at Coffee Beans. Yeah, why Coffee Beans you ask? Because, we both are bloggers, and bloggers need internet to read blogs, and make our entries !!! All to serve you guys reading our blogs out there. And Coffee Beans has got wireless hotspot, and yeah, you can tell, we brought our laptops along.

AARON from http://aaronparan.blogspot.com




Aaron was such a nice and sweet guy !! We chatted and chatted and talked about blogs and general stuff all morning till afternoon. It was so great meeting another cool blogger, and yeah, Kuching is the place where all the good bloggers come from besides Perth !! Muahahhahahaaa

While we were busy doing what we were doing, suddenly we heard screams and loud music and chanting coming from a near distance. As curious as any normal person can be, I took out my cam, and ran out of Coffee Beans, and towards the source of the noise. It was not too far away, only two streets apart, and surprise surprise, it was happening at Standard Chartered, next to the Riverside Shopping Mall, and also Bumiputra Commerce. Goodness, there was a huge pool of people flooding the entire front part of the building, getting together in unity, shouting God knows what words, protesting loudly, but in a mild and non-violent manner. Yeah, you got that right, there was a freaking demonstration going on right there, and it was my first time witnessing something like this happening in Kuching, over my pathetic 21 years of existence.

At the front of Standard Chartered....



No wonder there was traffic jam along the road, all the cars slowed down to have a peak on the noise and fuss happening there. Kuching people are curious, like kucings (cats).




Freedom of speech, or freedom to voice up our dissatisfactions towards issues or anything at all has been extremely restricted and well "marginalized" in this so-called believed to be a nation of democracy. Democratic indeed, and once spoken on something so TRUE and HONEST and REAL but against the policies set up by certain group of people "above", no talk or negotiations, straight into the jail you go. Therefore, it is a rare case for street protests or demonstrations happening in Malaysia, especially those involving politics in general. The happening last Saturday, was indeed an interesting and eye-opener for me. I have seen similar things in Australia, but this was my first in my own hometown !! And gosh, those people were sure full of hatred and anger. You can feel their emotions radiate through their chantings and movements.


Closer look on the people...



Wait a minute, but somehow I have got an impression that half of the people there were actually smiling and chatting and enjoying the time there !!! They were blardy enjoying themselves in the midst of a protest !!






It is good to see that freedom of speech is still exercised in this land. I did not go in and find out what the entire fuss was all about, what caused the whole thing and on and on. The apparent point was, Standard Chartered is in deep shit. No kidding. Tired of still pictures, here is a short clip I recorded, viewable exclusively on robinwong.tk only. Ok, thats not true can also find in you-tube, under my uploads.



Man, I do not know how effective demonstrations or mogoks (In Malay terms) may change the course of actions or judgements by the respective authority, but one thing for sure, people have their own voice, and their voice can be very loud at times. If their needs are not addressed and badly abused, I believe their voice will just get louder. After all, we Malaysians are famous for talking loudly, no?


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Monday, October 16, 2006

Stroking the Balls

Like I have repeatedly mentioned before, Kuching is not exactly the ideal place for night entertainment, and there are very limited activities to do or places to go for a group of friends who have nothing better to do and trying hard to kill time. Though I primarily believe that the people is the major fun factor setting everything else aside, but the restrictions in Kuching slowly creep their way into the sad lives of Kuching people, and somehow, at times, it could be rather dull here. Its a small town anyway, nothing similar in comparison to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. It is after all a place where crocodiles still walk along the roadside and we keep monkeys as pets.

It was Saturday night, my friends and I just run out of idea of things to do, besides sitting at the coffee shop whole night feeding our precious blood to the ever-hungry and annoyingly present mosquitoes out in the haze polluted air. Not a very good suggestion, but we are not the group of people who would spend hundreds of cash on meaningless alcohol just to get high in a club and puke everything out in the end. Man, Kuching can be darn boring on Saturday nights if one choses not to join the wild crazy party down at the clubs and pubs. Even those places got raid so very often, and now is so near the Hari Raya, the precise time of the year when some "officers" would do "over-time" work earning some "extra-cash" for the coming celebration. Them being hardworking means us being miserable. Not that we are not miserable enough.

And Moses suggested something.

Lets go Tuk Bola. (Poke Balls)



It was not like there was anything else we could do, and we have not played pool or snooker for quite some time. Snooker or pool used to be like our weekly activities few years back, and somehow since everyone has been gone the routine kinda stopped. So we went down to Watana, one of our favourite spots for snooker and had a few rounds of pool.

Here are the ball strokers, I believe they are all featured in this blog for the first time.

MOSES




DANIEL





KIM HAN




And of course, yours truly.. ROBIN.. Muahahahhaa...




I played two rounds, and stopped to take pictures. Hey, a blogger has to do what a blogger has got to do, ok?

It was a night of fun, simple joy of hitting and stroking the balls. I am not overly crazy on snooker or anything, but the sensation of forcing the ball into the pocket with a loud slam can just be the perfect therapy when I get really stressed out at anything. Sometimes, I do not care so much of pocketing the balls or playing with strategies at all, I just want to "feel" the ball pounding the edges of the table and somehow it just feels good. I do not know how or why, they just feel darn good. Thats why I like pool or snooker so much.




Moses, using the HUGE LONG stick to poke the ball..

I may not be a pro, but I sure can play. So anyone in Kuching wanna play with me?? Find me, anytime.

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