Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remembering a close encounter...near accident!

This morning while I was on my way to work along the Jelutong Coastal Highway right after Tesco hypermarket, suddenly I saw a 'bas kilang' slowed down in front of me. As I was getting closer on my bike, I noticed another proton car was slowing down too with the driver putting on a side signal. The driver was pointing out his finger to the 'bas kilang' driver while their vehicle was side by side. From the hand signal and his action, my bet is that the driver of the car must be scolding the bus driver for cutting the lane or almost resulting an accident. Luckily it was just plain scolding, nothing more than that as I focus back on my riding and continued my way to the office.

The incident brought me back the an accident which I witnessed last Thursday. Again, coincidentally I was also riding bike on that day, just that this time around I was on my way back to home after work. It was around 7+pm, had a tired day at work and tired time after my jogging. At that moment, I stopped at the traffic light at Batu Lanchang Lane while waiting for the green light.

The moment the traffic light on the other side (from Farlim out to Batu Lanchang lane) turned yellow, one bike started to move (let's call him Bike A). The bike in front of me (call him Bike B) was kinda slow, in fact he only move awhile after the lights turned green. I didn't speed past him, but just follow at his back. Basically, Bike A was at the front, while Bike B was second and then it was followed by me. Sometimes at 50 metres ahead, I noticed Bike A suddenly braked and slowed down, from far I can see that he's avoiding something on the road. As my bike's speed was picking up, I moved towards the outer side of the lane. Suddenly, Bike B banged on something and was strucked down. It happened so fast just beside me. There was a loud sound, and as I turned back to see what happened, I saw that Bike B had hit a dog and then lost control and crashed down. There was also a loud cry from the dog. The bike was smashed to the surface of the road as if glass plate was throwed onto the floor. Things scattered around at the same time ( I assumed it must be Bike B's driver belongings and the parts of Bike B ).

It was a lucky escape for Bike A and me. Most likely when Bike A stopped, the dog knew he was in danger and quickly turned it's direction, causing Bike B unable to stop in time and bang onto the animal. Me and Bike A continued our way as some people after us stopped by and give assistance and help (it was logical, I presumed). Upon reached home, I relate the story and incident I had just gone through to my mom. Deep down my heart, I knew it was a close call for me...phew! I just felt thankful and grateful...

Soft Launch of Visit Penang Year 2010 - 2012

Soft Launch of Visit Penang Year 2010 ~ 2012

Date: 1st July 2009 to 31st July 2009

Time: 8pm to 10pm

Venue: Esplanade

(click on image above to save or enlarge)

In conjunction with our soft launch of VisitPenang Year 2010~2012, a diverse programme of performing arts featuring traditional dance performances by Kumpulan Kebudayaan Negeri Pulau Pinang (Penang Cultural Council), Temple of Fine Arts and Spring Production and Art Studios will showcase the unique culture and traditions of Penang on 1st July 2009.

Total of 60 dancers from Penang's 3 elite dance troops will perform non stop fast pace cultural shows that will keep you asking for more.

Experience our Malay, Chinese and Indian presentation in an open concert setting at Esplanade that is absolutely FREE.

For the month of July: A series of events has been planned for this celebration that will keep you busy exploring our city. A full month of performances, handicraft exhibitions, Chingay and dragon boat competitions which give unique opportunity to see why George Town Penang was recently honored as one of the top Asian islands in Travel + Leisure's 2008 World's Best Awards as well as has been chosen as No.2 by readers recommendation in the New York Times “Best Places to Go in 2009”.

Experience the Living Heritage of Penang this July.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Heritage Passport on the way...

THE Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) is set to roll out ‘heritage passports’ to visitors in conjunction with George Town’s first anniversary as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Council president Tan Cheng Chui said it was working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the state to print and distribute the passports from the July 7 anniversary date onwards.

“The passport will feature 25 historical buildings that are all located within the state’s heritage core and buffer zones.

“Visitors will be able to stamp the passports with unique chops at each building and keep the passports as a souvenir,” Tan told pressmen after a full council meeting at City Hall yesterday.

Sun Yat Sen’s Penang Base, Kapitan Keling Mosque, St George’s Church, Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple, Fort Cornwallis and the clan Jetties are examples of stops on the heritage passport, he added.

Tan said the NGOs would be responsible for the cost of prin-ting and distribution of the passports.

“The number of booklets that will be printed is not known yet.

“There will also be a small fee charged for each booklet so people will not just take and throw them away,” he said.

“Proceeds, if there are any, will also be handled by the NGOs,” Tan said.

He added that George Town’s first World Heritage Site anni-versary celebrations would be held in the inner city from Wednesday till July 26.

“The council is predominantly involved with the opening ceremony on July 7 and the grand whole day celebrations on July 25,” he said.

“Over 5,000 programme leaflets with the itinerary of the celebrations are currently being prepared and we will start to distribute them before the end of the month through our departments, the World Heritage Office (on Lebuh Acheh), hotels and the many organisations and associations which are involved with the celebrations,” Tan said.

Rosso clinches 100th MotoGP win

Valentino Rossi stormed to his 100th grand prix victory at the Assen MotoGP in the Netherlands on Saturday.

The Italian, riding his Yamaha to the landmark win.

Starting on pole position, the scene was set for Rossi to chalk up his 100th MotoGP win. But Casey Stoner - who won at Assen last year - surged up from third to take the lead at the first bend.

The man they call 'The Doctor' was not to be denied. However, a lap later, Rossi wrestled control back from his Australian rival and pulled away - the race result as good as settled.

Tony Elias and Randy de Puniet did their best to liven things up with a tussle for position in the middle of the field. The pair finishing in seventh and eighth places respectively.

For Rossi it was all too easy, compiling a huge advantage over the rest of the field

Now, if only Loris Capirossi could have shown the same masterful control, as a late error sent him veering off track and out of the top six.

Way to go, Rossi...hoping for you to break all time record of 122 wins...hehe :)

Goodbye King of Pop Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009

I still couldn't believe that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson has left us. I was on the road to office on Friday morning at 6+am when the deejay on the radio broke out the news that Michael is found dead from cardiac arrest. My first reaction was..."huhhhh, is it for real???" When I reached office, I quickly went online and the news was splashed out across every single international info website.

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop as we all know him was the greatest ever singer that captured the world. Nobody especially us the 80s baby will not know who is him, he's simply awesome with his dance and singing. My dad used to always said, "If you ask an American kid who is the US president, they might not able to identify Mr. President, but if you ask about Michael Jackson, everybody sure knows the King of Pop :)

On my way home on Friday, at a very same time, 4 out of the 6 preset radio stations are playing Michael Jackson's songs. That shows how popular he is and how he's rated among us. Tons of tribute across the world poured in from all walks of celebrities. Everyone is shocked and puzzled about his sudden death. He's planning a comeback, a 50 concert shows which was originally supposed to be held this year but was delayed till next year since it was reported he's still not up to the required fitness level. In March this year, he was given a clean bill of health during a medical body check, and prior to his death, he has been training 3 hours daily for his comeback tour.

Yesterday night there was a special show in memory of Michael Jackson on 8TV, showing his concert in Bucharest. I watched the whole show until almost 1am. It was simply awesome, I'm speechless especially his dance moves. It's not just his moon walking, but every single steps he made. His feet is simply unbelievable. I doubt we can see another person in this earth that can perform what Michael did. I salute you, Michael...

King Michael, you amazed us with your music, yet you shocked us with your departure. May you rest in peace. Your music and memory will leave on in us forever... Thank you and Goodbye Michael Jackson...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WOW...minimum wage?

This is an interesting piece of news...We have that too in our government BUT....it was never under transparent execution...sadly to say it out but it was very true...

Hong Kong aims to introduce a minimum wage by early 2011 to protect low income groups as pay continues to be depressed by the loss of jobs to lower cost mainland China.

Economic recession is putting further pressure on wages and the government said yesterday that it would table a minimum wage bill to legislators on July 8, but did not reveal the proposed wage level. – Reuters

Cheaper AirAsia tickets AGAIN ..... hooray!

AirAsia Bhd stands to lose up to RM400mil a year at the group level with the abolishment of its administration fee from its fare structure but the airline says it will replace lost revenue with income from higher passenger growth and its ancillary business.

“Reducing the cost of fares is the only way to get people to travel. We believe this will help increase our load factor and make us even more competitive,” group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said.

There are also other ways of generating income, such as hotel, food (onboard) operations and priority booking, he added.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday to announce the administration fee abolishment – a first for a major airline – Fernandes said scrapping the charges would create savings for passengers who now only have to pay the seat fare and airport taxes.

The administration fees range from RM22.50 to about RM43 per route (one way).

“We scrapped fuel surcharges last year and still managed to make record profits. We feel the same way about this ,” he said

AirAsia Bhd returned to the black with a net profit of RM203.15mil in the first quarter of 2009, after two consecutive quarterly losses previously.

Revenue increased 33% to RM714.2mil due to better ancillary income and stronger passenger growth.

“The past six months were tough for airlines all over and AirAsia has only grown stronger.

“None of our targets have been changed despite the economic conditions and outbreak of the A(H1NI), we are not affected by the recent flu scare; we are doing well and growing our capacity,” Fernandes said.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Penang bans polystrene at state functions to cut dengue spread

The state government has banned the use of polystyrene cups and plates at all state organised functions with immediate effect as part of measures to contain the outbreak of dengue here.

In Penang, one of the top breeding grounds for the carrier of dengue- the aedes mosquitos, are discarded plastic bags and polystyrene dining ware, said state Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

In a press release, Phee said the state has 539 confirmed dengue cases for this year with the latest been, 31 recorded for the week of June 14 till 20.

Phee said the ban was needed to educate the public about cleanliness as discarded plastic bags and polystyrene cups and plates were coming back to haunt residents here as they breed the aedes mosquitos.

‘‘Now, we will also inform hosts of private outdoor events and gatherings to not use polystyrene material when they invite state dignitaries.

“If they do, we would consider not consuming the food served on such material,’’ he said when contacted later.

John Master proposes to sell entire business via open tender

Apparel manufacturer John Master Industries Bhd (JMI) is proposing to sell its entire business and undertakings, including all of its assets and liabilities, via an open tender process to be satisfied wholly in cash.

The company has also proposed a capital repayment via a capital reduction exercise and/or cancellation of retained earnings and/or share premium reserves.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia on June 23, JMI said the disposal could only be determined based on the winning bid upon completion of the open tender. It appointed Ferrier Hodgson MH Sdn Bhd (FHMH) as the independent tender administrator to manage the open tender.

Concurrently with the open tender, the company wil appoint an independent financial valuer (IFV) to undertake an independent valuation of the businesses of JMI and its subsidiaries, which will be considered by the Board prior to determining the winning bid.

The entire proceeds resulting from the proposed disposal will be utilised for the purposes of returning capital to the shareholders of JMI pursuant to the proposed capital repayment, the company said.

JMI said the proposed disposal was after taking into consideration factors including the uncertain outlook of the company's future financial performance as well as the challenging outlook and prospects of the industry in which the company operates.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A very hazy Penang

I was thinking that last week's haze is very serious, but I was wrong. The fact is, I'm waking up to the new week today with much more serious haze. It was early of the day when I set myself out to office and I could see that the situation is even worse than last Friday, Saturday or even Sunday.

To make matter worse, with the hazy days, it was merely early of the day that everyone in the office are already feeling the 'hot' in the environment as if the air-conditioning is not working !!! There was a heavy downpour during lunch time, but it was at the town area (Perak road there) and none in Bayan Lepas area even though we could see dark clouds and skies above us.

Hopefully the haze will faster go away, hot days will go too because I'm seeing more and more people getting sick and uneasy with cough being heard everywhere...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Insurance premium rebates from July 1

Come July 1 2009, individuals purchasing general insurance covers directly from insurance companies will enjoy rebates, Bank Negara Malaysia says.

Direct purchases include via walk-in, through the Internet, direct mail and telemarketing channels.

The quantum of the rebates will depend on the type of insurance cover purchased.

For motor insurance, individuals will receive a 5 per cent premium rebate in the first year of implementation, and 10 per cent thereafter.

For others including businesses, insurance companies have the flexibility of providing rebates.

The announcement came amidst protests by insurance agents, who were first alerted by the move when a circular to General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) from Bank Negara leaked out to the press in May.

Insurance agents were concerned that with the new incentive, individuals will stop using their services. Insurance agents receive commissions from selling insurance covers.

Yesterday, Bank Negara deputy governor Datuk Mohd Razif Abd Kadir said it will go ahead with the implementation of the policy despite the pressure from insurance agents, "because it is only fair to the consumers".

He said the new policy is part of Bank Negara's ongoing reviews of its policies, as well as from feedback from consumers.

PSDC 20th Anniversary Charity Run 26th July 2009

Date: 26-July-2009 (Sunday)
Time: 7.30am
Venue: PSDC FIZ, Penang
Distance: ~ 6.5km
Entry fee: RM10
Closing date: 28-June-2009
Website: www.psdc.org.my

For those that didn't have exercise for a long time, this is a great chance. It's just 6.5km, you can finish the run in 40 mins if you are a slow joggers. For fast runner, you'll finish the run and cross the line in no time (referring to my hiking gang and few other runners I've known). Also take this opportunity to chit chat and have funs with colleagues and friends whom are working at the FIZ area. Plus, this is a very meaningful event - FOR CHARITY!!! Go go go ...

For contest details, registration and info, please pay a visit to the psdc website attached above...see you all there!

Friday, June 19, 2009

ICT Scrabble Penang Open 2009

Period 19th June 2009 (Tuesday) 8.00am - 1.30pm
Venue Bayview Hotel George Town
Organiser Malaysia Scrabble Scene

Dr Adele Tan adele@hlwe.com
Dr Ng CE ngce@hlwe.com
Ms Jackie Cheah jacqcheah@gmail.com

More Info


# only for Malaysians with MSA ratings < 1400.
Dictionary: Collin's Scrabble Dictionary
Challenge Rule: Free challenge
Rounds: 5 games, no repeat
Entry fee*: RM30 (RM25 for PSC members)
* inclusive of 1 buffet dinner at hotel on 19 Jun 2009

Schedule: 0800 hrs Registration
0830 hrs – 1330 hrs Games 1 to 5
1330 hrs Prize presentation
Prizes: Champion RM150
1 st runner-up RM100
2 nd runner-up RM75
3 rd runner-up RM50
4 th runner-up RM30
5 th runner-up RM20

Note: All players are advised to bring own clocks, boards and tiles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Snap! Penang - Penang Postcard Competition 2009

This competition is jointly organized by Penang State Tourism Development, Culture, Arts & Heritage and KDU College Sdn Bhd, Penang. The objective of the Penang Postcard Competition is to use the postcard competition to generate interest in Penang tourism, culture and heritage.

• Themes
The themes of the Penang Postcard Competition are:
• Penang Heritage & Culture
• Penang Scenes of Every Day Life
• Penang the Modern Quirky and Humorous Side
• Penang Food
• Penang Flora and Fauna
Participants may send in as many entries/themes as they wish. However, a participant can only win one (1) prize.
• Conditions
The photos submitted by the participant must be an original work that has not been previously exhibited, published, reproduced or shown in any manner whatsoever. All entries must be submitted by hand or by post on a CD-ROM (jpeg or TIFF format only) containing the artwork and printed in 10R (10”x12”) and mounted with 1” x 1” borders. The resolution must be in 300dpi. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. The CD must be labeled with the entrant’s name, entrant’s NRIC, entrant’s registered username and email address. Entries will not be returned.
• Prizes for both categories
• 1st Prize – RM2,000
• 2nd Prize –RM1,500
• 3rd Prize – RM1,000
• 2 Consolation Prizes – RM500 each

An official prize presentation ceremony will be organized at a stipulated date at KDU College Sdn Bhd Penang campus’s foyer for which selected participants shall be invited to attend.
Rules and Regulations

• Eligibility
The Penang Postcard competition is open to all Malaysians citizens and foreigners. There are 2 categories – Students Category and Open Category. Students category includes students from primary school, secondary school, college and university. Open Category is for adults.
• Official Entry Forms
Official Entry Forms may be obtained from KDU College Sdn Bhd, Penang campus at No. 32 Jalan Anson, 10400 Penang. The downloaded copy can be found at KDU website www.kdupg.edu.my
• Date
All Official Entry Forms and photos should be sent to KDU College Sdn Bhd Penang campus, No. 32 Jalan Anson, 10400 Penang before 31 August 2009. Submission of Official Entry Form and photos after the stipulated date shall no longer be entitled for participation.
• Rights of the Organizers
• Official Entry Forms which are incomplete, late and/or illegible and photos that do not comply with the Rules and Regulations shall be disqualified.
• All decisions made by KDU College Sdn Bhd, Penang and/or the Penang State Tourism Development, Cultural, Art and Heritage (thereby known as Organizers) with regard to this competition shall be final.
• The Organizers reserve the right to vary, modify and/or amend any of these Rules and Regulation at any time.
• Ownership of all photos submitted pursuant to this competition shall rest on the Organizers who shall thereafter have the exclusive right to retain, reproduce, publish or exhibit the photos, or otherwise deal with the same in any manner it deems fit including carrying out any promotional or publicity events without having to pay, compensate and/or reimburse the participants for their photos.
• On completion of the competition, the Organizers may at their absolute discretion, select and/or commission participants of the competition to produce further photos on terms to be decided thereat.
• The Organizers reserve the absolute right to cancel or postpone the competition at any time without any notice and without any liability whatsoever to whosoever.
• Exclusion
Members of the Organizing committee and their immediate family members from the Organizers are not allowed to participate in this competition.
• No Waiver
No failure or delay by the Organizers in exercising or enforcing any of the Rules and Regulations herein shall operate as a waiver of such power, right or provision nor shall the knowledge or acquiescence of the Organizers hereto of any breach of the Rules and Regulations constitute a waiver of the Rules and Regulations.
• No Publicity
Participants shall not now or after the competition publicize or make available in any medium including newspapers, magazines, television or radio their photos or copies thereof, unless it is with the written consent of the Organizers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nadal and Safina seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon

Defending champion Rafael Nadal and top-ranked women's player Dinara Safina were seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon on Wednesday.

There were no big surprises when the All England Club announced the seedings for the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, which opens Monday. The draw will be held Friday.

Wimbledon stuck closely to the world rankings in determining the seeding lists for the two-week tournament.

The top six spots in the men's list follow the rankings - headed by Nadal. Five-time champion Roger Federer is No. 2, with Andy Murray at No. 3. Murray won his first grass-court title at Queen's Club on Sunday, becoming the first Briton to win the tournament since Bunny Austin in 1938, who then went on to become the last British men's finalist at Wimbledon.

They are followed by No. 4 Novak Djokovic, No. 5 Juan Martin Del Porto and No. 6 Andy Roddick. Eighth-ranked Fernando Verdasco is seeded No. 7 ahead of Gilles Simon.

Marat Safin, a semifinalist last year, is the No. 15 seed despite being ranked 23rd, while the big-serving Ivo Karlovic is at No. 23 while having a ranking of 31.

Among the women, Safina of Russia is followed by Serena Williams and defending champion Venus Williams.

The only major change from the rankings is 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova as the No. 24 seed despite being ranked 59th.

Sharapova has plunged down the rankings after nine months out with a shoulder injury but reached the semifinals of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham last week.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Penang to have Special Transport Unit

A SPECIAL transport unit will be set up as one of the measures to improve traffic flow.

Penang Local Government and Traffic Management Cpommittee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the unit would be placed under the State Secretariat.

“There aren’t many bodies to support the (main state) committee in carrying out our duties except for the state Public Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee and a few officers from the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) traffic department.

“Last month, we formed a transport council comprising experts from various fields. They already started work but will only be officially appointed next month.

“Next, we will then set up a special transportation unit to assist the state,” he said.

MPPP is conducting a small-scale study on certain areas to improve traffic flow in the state.

“We are calling for a tender for the study. This is a short-term measure until our transportation master plan is ready,” he said, adding that the master plan was necessary to provide a clear direction for the state.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rossi beats Lorenzo in final corner...

Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo dominated an incredible Catalan Grand Prix on Sunday, delivering a show-stopping performance from start to finish at Montmeló in front of a packed house. It was the reigning World Champion Rossi who finally emerged the winner, taking a memorable 99th career victory after a stunning last-corner pass on his 22-year-old team-mate, but the Fiat Yamaha pair were separated by under one hundredth of a second after 25 thrilling laps.

Wow...my heart was almost jumped out watching the race...simply incredible! Well done Rossi, you are a true champion, a rare breed!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strucked Down...

Haiz...weekend is over again. Tomorrow is Monday again....another week starting. Was supposed to have my ordinary weekends, meaning with hiking, badminton, and some good times with my family and gf. But instead, i was shot down to my bed...by fever....

It all started after my bath on Friday night...I thought I would be fine after taking medicine and a good sleep, so I still wake up as per normal on Saturday hoping to go for my regular hiking. Somehow my head was still hot (meaning I'm still having fever :(...) and then my joints was feeling pain and weak, so no choice but to sms my friend to inform that I'm unable to join. As the day getting by, my fever got worse even after I went to visit the doctor, so I knew I have no choice but to skip badminton as well :(

Luckily my fever has gone, else like what the doctor said I will have to go back on Monday to have my blood test to see whether I'm diagnose with 'denggi' or other disease. So ended up the whole weekend I was resting at home doing nothing...hopefully my weekend will be back to normal come next week....then again have to remind myself to keep away from fried and 'heaty' food for the time being...

Cleaner air, thanks to heavy rains....need more please!

The haze eased up over parts of the country, thanks to heavy showers yesterday morning.

The Department of Environment's (DOE) Air Pollutant Index (API) in Klang, which had the highest reading, improved from 136 on Friday to 89 as of 5pm yesterday.

Other areas with high readings that had improved API were Cheras (from 109 to 76), Kajang (100 to 71) and Shah Alam (120 to 74).

Petaling Jaya improved from 93 to 74, Putrajaya (92 to 63), Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur (99 to 75), Kuala Selangor (80 to 74), Port Dickson (74 to 56) and Miri (71 to 69).

API readings of 0-50 units are classified as good, 51-100 as moderate, 101-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy and above 301 as hazardous.
The DOE listed 24 locations, or 48 per cent, as having good API, while 25 locations, or 51 per cent, were classified with moderate API readings.

Please please please...more rain pls...it's so hottttt....I'm sick already :(

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bye Bye Ronaldo!

Manchester United have agreed to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for a world record 80 million pounds, the club said Thursday.

"Manchester United have received a world-record, unconditional offer of 80 million pounds for Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid," said a statement on its website, under the headline "Reds accept £80m Ronaldo bid."

The statement continued: "At Cristiano's request - who has again expressed his desire to leave - and after discussion with the player's representatives, United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player.

"Matters are expected to be concluded by 30 June. The club will not comment until further notice."

So...one of the longest football transfer saga is coming to an end very soon. Real's interest in Ronaldo since the 2004 season will end with them getting their man for a world record. For me, only a stupid person will reject such a bid. With 80 million pounds, ManUtd can buy a few good replacement in Valencia, Ribery, Villa and many more. It's a logical move and a wise one for players like Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Van der Sar are facing curtains down on them. So long to Cristiano Ronaldo....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

EPF 1Q investment income down 10.47% to RM3.26b

When EPF is making money in their investments, then we are all happy. But when they are not doing so well with their investments using our money, then your heart will beats faster and your legs start to shake...
The Employees Provident Fund recorded a 10.47% decline in its unaudited total investment income of RM3.26 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009 (1Q09).

The EPF said on June 11 the decline from RM3.64 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 (4Q08) was due to “lower investment returns from both fixed income instruments and equities”.

Loans and bonds were the highest income contributor in 1Q 2009 at RM1.78 billion, but this was a decline from RM1.82 billion in 4Q08.

As at March 31, it said 36.82% of the loans and bonds investments were in companies with AAA credit ratings and 49.97% in companies with AA ratings.

It added that in 1Q09, equities contributed RM223.83 million after investment provisioning resulting from the decline in equity prices, compared with RM342.54 million in 4Q08.

It's the king of fruits season!

The durian season is back !!! In Penang, i'm sure you will notice there are many durian stalls along the roadside everywhere near the market, pasar malam or even along some busy streets. Then again, the seller will try to recommend to you all those famous 'brands' which comes with a dearer price tag.

Basically, Pg is being promoted as a durian hunting destination among other states in our country, hence, no wonder there're price hike for the durians here. At this moment, a D2 brand or a "Ang Hea" can cost you up to rm20 per fruit, so if you wanna enjoy cheaper and nice durian in Penang, then you will have to be patience and wait for the durian season to reach mid-season.

Bear in mind that while most of us are durian lovers, they are...very heaty indeed. Many people fall sicks after having a durian feast, so make sure you drink plenty of salt waters or any other food (such as herbal tea, 'cold' fruits) to reduce the heat in our body. Also please take note of the smells from our mouth after the durian session, you don't want to have situation like in the comic I attached from Kee's World to happen to you!

Happy durian hunting yea to everyone out there! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Penang Hydro Majestic Hotel for sale...

The four-star Hydro Hotel Penang in Batu Ferringhi is up for sale for an estimated RM100 million, sources say.

The property, previously known as Hydro Majestic Hotel and before that Ferringhi Beach Hotel, was bought by the Mah family of Penang in early 2006 from Asia Pacific Land Bhd.
The 350-room property, now 28 years old, was bought for RM43 million.
It is understood that Hydro Hotel underwent a RM20 million facelift after the acquisition.
The Mah family, whose activities include property development, has been in the hotel business for over 10 years, with hotels in Australia and China.

Nick Mah Siew Chean, the executive director of his family's group of companies which include the Mercure Majestic Hotel in Kunming, did not deny that the property was up for sale when contacted several weeks ago.
He said that it was willing to consider the sale if the price was right.
One source said that the owners had voiced their intention to sell the property almost a year ago and that several potential buyers had viewed it.

Croc, a victim!

Found this in the NST online front page photo...a bit shocked as who would kill a croc for it's head and genitals??? For most of us, seeing a croc will make us run as quickly as you can....but this is totally the opposite way...
Caption for the photo:
CROCODILE CAPER: Whether it was compelled by a strange ritual or medicinal needs, this bloated crocodile carcass was found in the Miri River in Sarawak with its head and genitals missing. Villagers at Kampung Pujut, like Ingkai Sulaiman (pic), who found the floating carcass, are mystified as to who would want to decapitate a crocodile's head and for what practical use.

Monday, June 8, 2009

POST Penang Malakoff 26km Run 2009

Hmm...this was not an intended run for me. In fact, I only made up my mind few days before the registration closed that I'll be joining the run. The Penang Malakoff 26km it's in the 2nd year running and I have heard much before this from my fellow kaki's comment about the race. 26km is definitely tough for me as I have never joined anything beyond half-marathon before. To me, the reason I join is just to test out myself after 6+ months without running >10km. I had only 1 wish for the race, that is to complete the race in 3 hours without getting any serious cramps!

So fast time flies, the race is come and gone. Without realizing it, I had already completed the race yesterday morning! I do not have the official time yet, but I hit slightly over 3 hours due to walking instead of running for the good last ~8km of the race. My legs this time did not have any serious cramps, just some slight muscle pulling after running for about 17km. At that moment, I remembered that I promised my gf not to push myself too hard and ended up cramping and suffering all the way to the finish line if I keep on running with more cramps developing, so I just stop and walk all the way till the end :) I'm quite OK with myself for this run, even though I wish I could run all the way...haha.

So, here are some comments about the race and organizer from my own point of view:

1. Lack of manpower; No people giving direction or co-ordinating the traffics as most of the running had to "self-service" when crossing the roads.

2. Short of sponsors; Only drinking water along the way even though there were 5 drinking stations for 26km runners. At the finishing line, we were only served with watermelons, a pack of fried mee/nasi lemak and a bowl of dessert and then far at the parking lots were Milo and cornflakes. That's it???

3. I noticed there aren't any official to guide the runners after the finishing line. You are just about to help yourself with the food and then quietly go off. No official announcements for race ends or prize giving ceremony.

4. What a bad luck I had. When i reached the finishing line, like every other runners, we were handed a pack of stuff which includes our medal, a pack of sweets and some vitamin pills together with food coupon. I didn't check most of the stuff until I reached home, then only I realized that my medal was printed with "6km" finisher instead of 26km!!! I quickly text messaged one of my friend to confirm, and he said his medal was all right.

Aikssss....like what my friend said "Run so hard, but get the wrong medal in the end!" !@#$%^&*

Gurney Plaza plans budget hotel near shopping mall

GURNEY Plaza Sdn Bhd, via subsidiary G Hotel Sdn Bhd, is planning its second hotel on Penang island.

The company, which owns the five-star G-Hotel fronting Penang's famous esplanade, Gurney Drive, is looking to build a budget-cum-boutique hotel near its existing property.

The proposed 204-room hotel will be sited on a 0.4ha plot and the company is budgeting between RM70 million and RM80 million for the project, Gurney Plaza Sdn Bhd director Phuah Choon Meng said.

"We are awaiting approval from the local authorities," he told Business Times in Penang.

Phuah said the proposed hotel is set to be completed by 2010. Its developers are aiming at the rise in visitors to Penang island, since George Town made it to Unesco's World Heritage List.

"This proposed hotel project will be good for the Penang since we will be able to generate new jobs and more business for contractors and suppliers," he said.

Phuah said the proposed hotel will front Jalan Kelawai in Pulau Tikus and is within walking distance to the Gurney Plaza shopping mall and Gurney Park Condominiums.

"We are hoping to offer an unusual lobby and decor for the new hotel," he added, "along the lines of G-Hotel."

G-Hotel was last year recognised by the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) the best 2008 Hotel Development category at the Malaysia Property Award.

Last week, it emerged first runner-up in the hotel category of the Fiabci Prix d'Excellence Awards 2009 international property awards.

Federer seals career Grand Slam, equals Pete’s record of 14 majors

After coming in second three times to Spain's Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer finally claimed his first ever French Open title.

“It's nice to stand on the podium as a winner for a change” said Federer.

The Swiss tennis champion overpowered the Swede from the start, breaking him twice in the first ten minutes of the match. Another break closed the deal, 6-1 for the Swiss after just 23 minutes.

The second set, however, was a tighter affair, with both players holding their serve until the tie-breaker. But Federer is the master of tiebreaks, and he confidently raced away with a 2-0 set lead.

When Federer started the third set with another break, all hope was gone for Söderling.

Federer won the match with a service winner and sank to his knees in tears after two hours of dream tennis. Söderling managed to keep up at times, but the outcome was clear since the beginning of the match.

The final score was 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.

At the post-match ceremony, it was Andre Agassi who handed over the trophy to Federer. Ten years ago, Agassi completed his own career Grand Slam after winning the French Open.

Federer has now officially become the sixth man to win all four majors at least once.
He also ties the record of Pete Sampras, who also won 14 career Grand Slams.

Now the Swiss Maestro will try to extend the record by winning Wimbledon next month.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What a weird Saturday...

Hmm...how should i say...or where should I begin from. Well, Saturday is normally a sport activities day for me with my regular hiking and badminton but today I just felt so weird. Reason: no sport activity at all today!!!

At every other Saturday, my day will begins with Pg Hill hike in the morning and then rest back at home before badminton session in the evening. Somehow, because of the Malakoff Run I'm joining tomorrow, therefore today have to rest my legs and body. It was just an usual early morning for me, going off to pay and take my running vest at Youth Park (now known as Taman
Perbandaran) and then went to Citibank to pay my credit card bill.

After lunch at home, I just stay lazy with my newspaper and took a short nap before heading to PISA with my gf for the HomeDec exhibition. Boy, it was crowded with lotsa people! Well, as expected, I'm a bit disappointed with it as what's on showed and displayed are mostly targeting high earners. So ended up didn't really see anything. It's ok, I just tell myself it was just a normal outing spending time with my gf. Indeed, we just love each other's company :)

After dropping off my gf, I went back to home, then rest while watching the final 2 sets of the Federer-Del Porto semi finals (I watched the first 3 sets of the 5 set thrillers yesterday, then can't open my eyes anymore and went to sleep at 130am). Not forgetting my dinner and watching the F1 qualifying live (Vettel on pole for tomorrow's Turkish GP). As of now, it's the women's single final between Safina and Kuznetsova.

Another thing is, normally Saturday night is football night, but with FA Cup finals on last Saturday, today is the first Sat without live football on TV until August when the English Premier League starts back. I'm going to go to bed soon (hopefully can sleep) coz I need to wake up 4+am tomorrow for my 530am race. Pray hard and fingers crossed for me to be able to finish the race in 3 hours and not getting any serious cramp. Till the next time, cya on this weird Sat...

Friday, June 5, 2009

REMINDER: Monday is NO PLASTIC BAG day starting July 09

It's confirmed, our state will launch the no plastic bag campaign starting next month for every Monday of the week. Please always have your own groceries bag with you whenever you do your shopping in order not to pay extra for the use of plastic bag. Read on the latest news update from the Star today:

Penang will make every Monday a “No plastic bag day” from next month in a bid to become the country’s first ‘green’ state.

It is learnt that shoppers who do not bring their own reusable bags will be charged 20 sen for each plastic bag when making purchases from shopping complexes and hypermarkets.

The money collected from the sale of plastic bags will go to the fund to help the state’s hardcore poor, a state government source said.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said shopping complexes and hypermarkets have agreed to the state government’s initiative but there must be wide publicity to make it a success.

The state had distributed declaration forms to shopping complexes and hypermarkets to secure their commitment to the “No plastic bag day”, he told reporters after chairing a meeting with some 20 shopping centre representatives.

Phee said the first batch of “No plastic bag day” posters would be handed out to shopping centres a week before the end of the month.

Among the issues raised during the meeting were the high cost of giving out eco-bags and whether it was appropriate to use them for fresh produce.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ALAMAK...another blunder!!! ~!@#$%^&*

Well, after the high profile error by USM admin last week for sending wrong info to unsuccessful applicants telling them they have been offered a place in USM, we have another fresh issue involving another high profile department. This time it's none other than our IRB. Read on...

The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) is withdrawing all cheques issued to taxpayers over the past one week.

In a press statement released Thursday, its public relations officer Najlah Ishak said the cheques were withdrawn on technical grounds.

The affected cheques were issued to taxpayers for the refund from Mei 27 to June 2, she said.

She urged those who have received the cheques between this period to return them to the IRB headquarters at Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia, Bahagian Perakaunan Hasil, Jabatab Pungutan Hasil, Tingkat 5, Blok 9, Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan, Jalan Duta 50600 Kuala Lumpur.

She promised that replacement cheques would be sent to taxpayers via post before June 10.

My oh my...why can't they do checking and verification before proceed with the actions??? When can we have better service and quality? Do remember, this time it involves our money !!! This is really sucks management...

Penang HOMEDEC '09 5th - 7th June 2009

Date: 5 June 2009 - 7 June 2009

Event : HOMEDEC 09 (Home Decoration Exhibition)

Date : 5th to 7th June 2009

Time : 11am to 9pm

Location : PISA

HOMEDEC Penang will kick off at PISA, Penang International Sports Arena from 5-7 June.

Get the latest information and design in house renovation, redecoration, and refurbishment. You will be amazed by trendy ideas and various product categories available in the exhibition. We will definitely make your visit to HOMEDEC a worthwhile experience.

For all those new home owners, please make sure you do not miss this exhibition. Even if you are not new house owners, you can still pay a visit there to get more ideas, and even bargains on how you can make your house look nicer, more comfortable and have the "home sweet home" feel. I'm looking for PISA visit this weekend :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Hard Rock Hotel in Malaysia to open in September

HARD Rock Hotel Penang is offering fabulous packages to celebrate its opening come Sept 19.

Take a break and soak in the sun during the day, and watch live band performances and party during the night as Hard Rock Hotel Penang promises the ultimate fun-filled vacation for holidaymakers by infusing elements of Rock ’n’ Roll music and entertainment.

Featuring a modern structural design with a rockin’ edge and memorabilia from rock stars around the world, the hotel – the first Hard Rock Hotel in Malaysia – is offering an Opening Special Package that starts at RM368++ for Hillview Deluxe and RM418++ for Seaview Deluxe, valid from Sept 19 until Dec 18, 2009.

These packages include accommodation for one night, breakfast for two adults and two children (below 12 years old) and a Limited Edition Platinum Record Souvenir.

“To celebrate the opening of this hotel, we are offering the Opening Special to allow everyone to walk this journey of entertainment, fun and music with us. It’s more than just a vacation at Hard Rock Hotel Penang,” said Hard Rock Hotel Penang general manager John Primmer.

Located at the famous Batu Ferringhi in Penang, Hard Rock Hotel Penang boasts 249 chic rooms and suites with unprecedented view of the hill and sea.

All rooms are fully equipped with DVD/CD players, a 32-inch LCD TV, iPod Docking station, Wi-Fi connectivity, IDD telephone, in-room safe, mini bar, hairdryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities and iron and ironing board.

For an exceptional dining experience, the hotel features five food & beverage outlets, including the famous Hard Rock Cafe serving authentic American food; Starz Diner, an all-day dining restaurant featuring Asian and International Cuisine; and the Pizzeria by the poolside. To enjoy a chill-out session, relax at The Shack pool bar or at the Lobby Lounge.

A wide selection of facilities are also available at the hotel, including the Rock Spa, Lil’ Rock Kids Club, Teens Club, a fully equipped gym, Hard Rock merchandise stores and a 2,416 sq m (26,000 sq ft) free-form swimming pool – the largest swimming pool in Penang.

So get ready to rock! For reservations, book online at www.hardrockhotels.net/penang or call the hotel’s toll-free line at 1800-88-ROCK (7625) and request for the Opening Special Package.

FIFA latest ranking

European champions Spain completed a year on top of FIFA's world rankings while the Netherlands moved up to second place for the first time in almost four years when the latest list was released on Wednesday.

After no movement in the top 39 places last month, there was plenty of activity this time with world champions Italy moving up a place to fourth, Germany down one to third, Brazil down one to fifth, England up one to sixth and Argentina down one to seventh.

Paraguay, top of the South American World Cup qualifying zone, were the biggest movers among leading nations, jumping up from 17th to 13th while Serbia and Ukraine moved into the top 20 at the expense of Cameroon and Bulgaria.

The rankings are based on team's performances over the last four years.

FIFA RANKINGS (last month's positions in brackets)
1. (1) Spain
2. (3) Netherlands
3. (2) Germany
4. (5) Italy
5. (4) Brazil
6. (7) England
7. (6) Argentina
8. (8) Croatia
9. (9) Russia
10. (10) France
11. (11) Portugal
12. (14) Turkey
13. (17) Paraguay
14. (15) United States
15. (12) Czech Republic
16. (18) Switzerland
17 = (13) Greece
17 = (16) Uruguay
19. (22) Ukraine
20. (23) Serbia
ESPN Soccernet