Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Vroom Vroom!

Cars for me is something that gets me from Point A to Point B. But all that changed when I was sent to cover the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia Challenge 2015 in Manila at the end of February this year. My first thought was: What?? Does this mean I have to run?? Like I never run, I hardly walk!! My daily exercise is walking from my carpark spot to the elevator to get to my desk at the office.

But, pheww, much to my relief I just had to watch the region's aspiring young engineers and scientists  show how innovative they were in designing, building and testing ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. I was even given a full-kit to do so!


Here are some pictures from the event:

Pre-event, at the paddock with fellow Malaysian journalist watching Malaysian celebrity Fahrin Ahmad  do a test-run in an urban concept car.


At the launch of the Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015 Challenge.

Some of the Malaysian teams getting their cars ready. 

Representing Malaysia are 14 teams from Malaysian universities: namely Monash University, Malaysia; University of Malaya, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Shah Alam; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; German Malaysian Insititute; Multimedia University Melaka Campus; Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman; Curtin University Sarawak; and Universiti Malaysia Pahang. They were competing against students from universities, colleges and technical institutes across 17 other countries; including 49 teams that made their debut at the competition this year. Competing on home soil are 30 teams from the Philippines’ top engineering schools. 

On the sidelines, there were  a myriad of activities including the show that showcased Shell FuelSave  study on driving habits featuring Fahrin Ahmad and his fellow celebs from Thailand and the Philippines.

And other fun activities.

I didn't stay on for the results and had to leave a day earlier.

But it was fun.





Wednesday, 4 February 2015

School with a lot of heart

Hi, there.
It's February 2015 already? Time really flies..especially when there's so much to see and do, right? Not when 2014 just slams into 2015 without much of a slow-down, for me that is.

Anyway, my January was one that I shall always cherish. After attending a School-In-Hospital conference in November, I was eager to find out more.  For the uninitiated, the School-In-Hospital is a joint collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to provide formal schooling to young patients either warded or those receiving scheduled treatment in hospitals.

So, I wrote to the Special Education Division and sought their permission to visit the nearest hospital in my area that has such a school - Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre.

What came out of it was this feature article published in Learning Curve of the New Straits Times.



The teachers from UKMMC's School-In-Hospital are a dedicated lot. Also the hospital staff. I was truly humbled. They're truly heroes.


Friday, 26 December 2014

Drive-thru Dessert

Is it still raining out there? Am wishing for brighter days - especially with all this news on floods in affected areas around the country.

On a normal sunny day, my favourite dessert would be cendol. Though considered local all throughout Malaysia, cendol - a traditional dessert - is also apparently popular in the rest of Southeast Asia, namely in countries  like Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. 

Cendol is made up of jelly noodles made from rice flour with green food colouring derived from the pandan leaf, shaved ice and palm sugar -- all that drowned in coconut milk, One can add on other ingredients such as as red beans, tapai (fermented glutinous rice), grass jelly, creamed corn, and even a dash of durian. Ooohh, just writing all that is making me crave for some.

 

Anyway, one of the more famous places to get cendol is this drive-thru in Kampung Assam near Kuala Selangor,  which I had the opportunity to visit with my family at the start of the school holidays. It's called Cendol Bakar.  We came through the Bukit Rotan road to get there. Located next to a petrol pump station, the stall doesn't look like much at 11am.  But we were adamant to try the food after all the stories we've heard about it.


Bakar in English is burn but I don't think they burn anything much in their recipe here unless it's some secret ingredients. Read in a news article that Bakar comes from the owner's grandpa's name. Hmmm.. We had Cendol Biasa and Cendol Durian and scrumptious giant curry-puffs. Verdict - Yumms!!!


Many have given their thumbs up to this eatery.


See those empty bowls... may seem small but sooo satisfying. (Don't mind the reluctant people in the picture.. camera shy laaa)

Well, should you wish to pay Cendol Bakar a visit, here are the details:
Cendol Bakar Assam Jawa Kuala Selangor.
No 1196 Bt 1, Kg Assam Jawa,
Jalan Bukit Rotan, K. Selangor. 10am - 7pm on weekends
www.facebook.com/CendolBakar/timeline

Am told Cendol Bakar also has branches in Port Dickson and Melaka. Go have a try!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Unravelling Make Up Mysteries

Okay.. so it's that time of year where parties abound and we try to dress to the nines and attempt to look drop-dead gorgeous. Well, make up helps but sometimes one just ends up looking dead.

Why make so much effort with make up? (This is a question men especially love to ask though they are appreciative of the results, when well done.) It is because make up is what makes women go through their days after a bad sleep or exhausting evening the night before. However, as fun as makeup is to help women feel more confident in their own skin, there are numerous make up mistakes women make without even realizing it.


One of the most common makeup mistakes is applying too much blusher on the cheeks. This clown cheeks look jeopardizes the natural refresh appearance you are aiming for. The best way to tone down the cheek colours is by blending it in with a makeup brush or dusting it with some translucent powder.
 





The second mistake a woman makes is applying too much powder on the face. Women tend to go overboard lathering up powder on their face to cover their blemishes or spots but it will make the face looks like someone threw flour right at you. Besides that, a full powder face will reveal a difference in your skin tone colour which can affect your level of confidence.

For the ladies who want to fix this problem, opt for a translucent loose powder and avoid the pressed powders. Women can also combat the mistake by using blotting papers to get rid of oil excess throughout the day.

Lastly, women always have the problem of clumpy lashes which occurs mainly due to the reason of repeatedly applying them on. The best way to solve this problem is to apply mascara in a zig zag technique to make it even on your eyelashes.

If you already have clumpy lashes, wait for it dry and remove it quickly with a piece of tissue. This allows you to avoid any smudge and messiness around your eyes which could also ruin your entire eye makeup.

Easier said than done, right? But practice makes perfect, dearies! (Or so, I am told)

If you are looking for new makeup, purchase them online at ZALORA as it offers a wide range of makeup collection for women from various brands. Follow the makeup tips with new mascara, powder and blusher for a new improved beauty look.

Here's wishing those celebrating a Merry Christmas. Have a good break, everyone!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Melancholic Mansion

I've always wanted to visit Kellie's Castle.. and I finally made the trip in the earlier part of the current school holidays with my family. Before we had the North-South highway (in the olden days.. hahaha), cars had to drive on the old road to Ipoh which passed by Batu Gajah and we could spot the ruins from quite a distance away. It was intriguing, mysterious and downright scary from certain angles.




Fast forward today, it is spruced up to become quite a nice tourist attraction.. But don't let all that make-up fool you. Once you step on the grounds, you can feel the melancholy (well..i thought I did) of the place and it is rather surreal.

















Here's a little history from wikipedia:

"William Kellie Smith (1870 - 1926) was born in 1870 in Kellas, Moray Firth, Scotland. In 1890, at the age of 20, he arrived in Malaya as a Civil Engineer. He joined Charles Alma Baker's survey firm, who had won concessions from the state government to clear 9000 hectares of forests in Batu Gajah, Perak. With the substantial profits made from his business venture with Baker, Smith bought 1000 acres of jungle land in the district of Kinta and started planting rubber trees and dabbled in the tin mining industry.


In time, he named his estate Kinta Kellas after his home farm "Easter Kellas" and went on to own the Kinta Kellas Tin Dredging Company as well.With his fortune made, he returned home to marry his Scottish sweetheart, Agnes, and brought her over to Malaya in 1903. They had a daughter named Helen the next year.

In 1909 Smith built his first mansion, "Kellas House" and in 1915 with the birth of his son and heir Anthony he started planning for a huge castle with Scottish, Moorish and Indian architecture. He brought in 70 craftsmen from Madras India. All the bricks and marble were imported from India, too. Included in the plan for the 6 storey tower was Malaya's first elevator, an indoor tennis court and a rooftop courtyard for entertaining.


During construction, a virulent strain of Spanish Flu struck his workmen. When his workmen approached him to build a temple nearby Smith readily agreed. In return for his generosity, they built a statue of him beside the other deities on the temple wall. It is believed that a tunnel was built to the temple from the castle.

Smith's mansion is accessible from the main road through a bridge running across a stream. His house was so unique that it was even mentioned in the London Financier newspaper on 15 September 1911.

Unfortunately William Kellie Smith died at the age of 56 due to pneumonia during a short trip to Lisbon, Portugal in 1926.


William's wife was devastated and decided to move back to Scotland. In the end, Kellas House, later known as Kellie's Folly or Kellie's Castle, was sold to a British company called Harrisons and Crosfield."

For me, definitely worth a visit. Find out more at: http://www.tourism.gov.my/en/my/places/states-of-malaysia/perak/Kellies-Castle




Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bewitching Spells!

Is spelling your thing? For me reading is, but not necessarily spelling..

So I was certainly bewitched and mesmerised when I attended the RHB-New Straits Times National Spell-It-Right Challenge 2014 finale a few months back (yup..you guessed it..delayed telecast happening here).

Why, you may ask? Well, because these kids ranging from 11 to 17 years old are crazy spellers!

Like can YOU spell “polyphiloprogenitive”, “gesundheit”, “rhathymia”, “echt” and “poltroon” off the bat and get them all correct? This was what Secondary School National champion 17 year-old Kenneth Wu did to clinch the title. And he has been winning since he was 12.. hats off to that, huh.

Anyway, the finals was held  at the Plenary Theatre in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre with an intense showdown between 28 State champion spellers — 14 each from the Primary and Secondary categories. The whole affair took close to 12 hours to complete..

Here are some behind the scene pictures of the rehearsal and the real competition day.

Rehearsal time the day before.

 Let's practice where to stand and sit.


testing..testing..

8am on the real day and all set to go.

9am: ready to start..both contestants and supporters.

Primary School Category winners.

Natasha Sass wowwing the crowd.

To know more, do go ahead and click on http://www.nst.com.my/node/44205.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Siem Reap Part 7: Riders to the Lost Tomb

Hehehe..just wanted to feel fancy - the title, you know. Anyway, this is my last Siem Reap entry.
This one is about how my fellow travelers rode on bikes to Bayon Angkor Thom. Nothing like adding some fun and physical to history learning.





Here's some history bits from wikipedia:
"Angkor Thom (Khmer: អង្គរធំ; literally: "Great City"), located in present day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman's state temple, the Bayon, with the other major sites clustered around the Victory Square immediately to the north.

Angkor Thom was established as the capital of Jayavarman VII's empire, and was the centre of his massive building programme. One inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman as the groom and the city as his bride.[1]:121

Angkor Thom seems not to be the first Khmer capital on the site, however. Yasodharapura, dating from three centuries earlier, was centred slightly further northwest, and Angkor Thom overlapped parts of it. The most notable earlier temples within the city are the former state temple of Baphuon, and Phimeanakas, which was incorporated into the Royal Palace. The Khmers did not draw any clear distinctions between Angkor Thom and Yashodharapura: even in the fourteenth century an inscription used the earlier name.[1]:138 The name of Angkor Thom—great city—was in use from the 16th century.

Faces on Prasat Bayon
The last temple known to have been constructed in Angkor Thom was Mangalartha, which was dedicated in 1295. Thereafter the existing structures continued to be modified from time to time, but any new creations were in perishable materials and have not survived. In the following centuries Angkor Thom remained the capital of a kingdom in decline until it was abandoned some time prior to 1609, when an early western visitor wrote of an uninhabited city, "as fantastic as the Atlantis of Plato".[1]:140 It is believed to have sustained a population of 80,000–150,000 people."







Read more about the Fairview International School expedition here:
http://www2.nst.com.my/business/latest/lessons-outside-the-classroom-grooming-global-thinkers-1.599744/facebook-comments-7.877068