Monday, June 30, 2008
The Word of the Lord contains so many truths for living. The passage above prescribes family principles. These days, broken families are so prevalent. May we turn back to God's principles to heal broken relationships.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
When we first went to Bali, part of the package were complimentary airport pick-up and a half-day Ubud tour conducted by the same tour company. We did not have a pleasant experience. The pick-up did not arrive (apparently there was a mix-up regarding our arrival time) and all we saw of Ubud were 1 woodcarving shop, 1 batik shop, 1 art gallery and 1 silversmith shop). The reason is that the tour guide gets a commission from these shops. When we wanted to add a Kecak dance to the itinerary, they charged us more than double the price of the ticket!
This time round, I opted to hire a driver and a car. The tour agencies also provide driver and car hire services. However, a friend recommended Ma-de Murtika (Pronounced as "Ma-Day") to me. She had used his services and found him to be reliable and trustworthy. I have to agree. I contacted him on his mobile (+62 081 23997613) and was glad that he was free the following day to drive me around.
Ma-de was waiting at the hotel lobby for me before our pre-arranged pick-up time. Based on tour brochures picked up at the airport, I had already decided where I wanted to go - Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Barong Dance, Ubud & Kintamani Volcano. I had a wonderful time chatting with him during the journey which gave me a chance to practice my Bahasa, which was rather rusty. (He can also speak some English, German and Japanese). I also had a glimpse of life in Bali as he shared about Balinese culture and history.
What I liked about Ma-de:
1) He did not attempt to persuade me to go to any shops for commissions
2) He did not try to hit me with extra charges (we had agreed on a fixed price for a day's services, which included petrol and parking charges).
3) He also agreed to extend to after dinner without extra charges (pre-agreed). Some drivers charge extra after 5.30pm.
4) I can decide my own itinerary!
5) He took me to the best place for Babi Guling (Roast Suckling Pig) in Ubud (watch out for this on my next post).
Meals and entrance fees were on my own account. I also gave him a tip at the end of the journey. I'm glad I opted to hire a driver as I experienced the "real Ubud" this trip instead of just going to designated shops.
BTW, "Ma-de" is a very common name in Bali. It means 2nd child in the family. So, usually, you would use the full name when calling a person.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
At the restaurant, the kitchen staff greeted each guest with a cheery "Selamat Malam" or Good Night (which in Bali, is used as a welcome greeting as opposed to in Malaysia where it is used as a farewell greeting). The guests, both male and female are given a frangipani to be worn on the ear.
Sate Babi, Ayam, Lilit (Pork, Chicken and Seafood Sate)
Lawar - Vegetable Salad
Cram Cam (Clear Chicken Soup with Shallots)
Ayam Betutu (Roast Chicken in Banana Leaf)
Be Celeng Base Manis (Pork in Sweet Soy Sauce)
Be Sampi Mebase Bali (Braised Beef in Coconut Milk)
Kambing Mekuah (Lamb Stew in Coconut Milk)
Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish Fillet)
Pesan be Pasih (Diced Fish Grilled in Banana Leaf)
Sayur (Selection of Daily Vegetables)
Nasi Kuning, Merah, Putih (Yellow, Red and Steamed Rice)
Verdict: Each dish was simply oozing with flavour. The lamb stew and braised beef literally melts in your mouth. The fish and seafood dishes were very fresh. The pork in sweet soy sauce tastes very much like the Chinese style dish we have in Malaysia.
Kueh Bali (Selection of Balinese Cakes)
Bubuh Injin (Black Rice Pudding)
Jaja Batun Bedil (Glutinous Rice Flour Dumplings in Palm Sugar Sauce)
Buah-Buahan (Seasonal Fruits)
Balinese Coffee or Tea
Verdict: At this stage, we were already quite full. But, we couldn't resist sampling the dessert. My favourite dessert is the Glutinous Rice Flour Dumplings in Palm Sugar Sauce. It was absolutely delicious and not-to-be-missed. The dumplings had a soft chewy texture and the palm sugar sauce was so fragrant. The black rice pudding is similar to what we have in Malaysia (not surprisingly since there are similarities in our cultures).
Final verdict: I'm glad we managed to taste the food at the Bumbu Bali this trip. Absolutely delicious!
Monday, June 23, 2008
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I love this blessing. The Irish certainly has a way with words.
Friday, June 20, 2008
It really is a very useful resource to help new bloggers like me enhance our blog. I've used it before to add the "Recent Comments" page element to help me see who has made comments on which post at one glance. Today I used it to add another column to my blog for more versatility. And it's all really simple. I can't wait to try out the other tips!
12 Tips To Save Petrol !
1 ) Pump up your tyres. Keeping your tyres inflated is one of the easiest and most important things. If a range is recommended by the manufacturer, the higher pressure should be used to maximize fuel efficiency. Deflated tyres run hot and jeopardize safety. It will also cause the tyres to wear out prematurely, affect the vehicles adversely, and hurt the fuel economy by increasing the rolling resistance. Tyres lose about 1 psi pressure per month due to air loss caused by the tyre hitting holes, bumps and kerbs. Therefore, the tyres should be checked at least once a month. Just 1 tyre deflated by 2 psi will result in a 1% increase in fuel consumption.
2) Drive at moderate speed. Avoiding high speeds on open roads results in safer driving and better fuel economy. In highway driving, over 50% of the power produced by the engine is used to overcome erodynamic drag. Drag and thus fuel consumption increases rapidly at speeds above 90km/h. On the average, a car uses about 15% more fuel at 100km/h, and 25% more fuel at 110km/h compared to when it is doing only 90km/h. However, this should not lead one to conclude that the lower the speed, the better the fuel economy - because it is not. The fuel consumption of an average car increases sharply at speeds below 50km/h.
3) Clean the air-filter regularly. Clogged air filters increase fuel consumption by restricting airflow to the engine, and thus should be cleaned/replaced when necessary. Clogged air filters can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%.
4) Use thinner tyres. Tyres with thick width will improve the handling of your car. However, it will also increase your car's fuel consumption. Thicker tyres mean more rolling resistance, and thus will consume more fuel.
5) Start up the car properly. With today's cars, it is not necessary to prime the engine first by pumping the accelerator pedal repeatedly. Do not crank the engine excessively This only wastes fuel. When starting the engine, idle it no more than 30 seconds to warm it up. An engine will warm up faster on the road. However, avoid sudden acceleration before the engine has warmed up sufficiently.
6) Drive in high gear (overdrive). The engine runs most efficiently between around 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. To maintain these low revs you should change up through the gears as soon as practical and before the revs reach 2500 rpm. For automatic transmission cars, you should always switch on your overdrive to help save fuel. Overdrive will allow your engine to change gears at lower revs. It also puts your transmission into an "economy" mode and lets it engage the final "overdrive" gear when cruising to keep the rpms extra low, thereby increasing fuel economy.
7) Travel light. Avoid carrying any unnecessary weight in your car. On the average, every 50kg added load in your car will increase fuel consumption by 2%.
8) Anticipate traffic ahead. A driver can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10% by anticipating traffic conditions ahead and adjusting the speed accordingly, and avoiding tailgating and thus unnecessary braking and acceleration. Accelerations and decelerations waste fuel. Braking and abrupt stops can be minimized by not following too closely and slowing down gradually when approaching a red light. It takes up to six times as much fuel to move a car from a dead stop than it does for one moving at just a few km/h.
9) Avoid strong acceleration. The fuel consumption remains at a minimum during steady driving at a moderate speed of about 90km/h. Keep in mind that every time the accelerator is hard pressed, the engine goes into a "fuel-enrichment" mode of operation that wastes fuel.The vehicle should always be gradually and smoothly accelerated. Using cruise control on highways can help maintain a constant speed and reduce fuel consumption.
10) Minimise aerodynamic drag. Additional parts on the exterior of a vehicle such as roof racks and spoilers, or having the window open, Roof racks are bad for fuel economy increases air resistance and fuel consumption, in some cases by over 20%.
11) Don't let your engine idle. Minimize fuel wasted in idling by stopping the engine whenever your car is stopped or held up for an extended period of time. Idling more than a minute consumes much more fuel than restarting the engine. By having the engine switched off, you will save more fuel than is lost from the burst of fuel involved in restarting the engine. The net increased wear and tear from this practice is negligible.
12) Use the air-con sparingly. Air conditioners can use about 10 per cent extra fuel when operating. However, at speeds of over 80 km/h, use of air conditioning is better for fuel economy than an open window.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Ai and I bought up 1 whole tray. Shows how much we love it.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
1) Pump petrol in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground, the denser the fuel, when it gets warmer petrol expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening.... your litre is not exactly a litre.
2)When you're filling up, squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a slow mode. If you look, you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode, you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapours that are created, while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapour return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapour. Those vapours are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.
3)Fill up when your tank is half full. The reason for this is, the more fuel you have in your tank, the less air occupying its empty space. Petrol evaporates faster than you can imagine. Petroleum storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the petrol and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.
4)If there is a fuel truck pumping into the storage tanks, do not fill up - most likely the petrol/diesel is being stirred up as the fuel is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.
Of course, you could save even more petrol by switching from your car to your bicycle, public transportation or rely on your own 2 feet. But somehow, I don't think we're willing to give up our cars yet...
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Companies who are serious about customer service will seek to measure the customer experience. Apart from customer survey, another method that is increasingly being used is mystery shopper. Mystery shoppers are hired to visit the shop and service centre and phone-in to the call centre to test out the company's level of service. The mystery shopper will be given a survey sheet to grade the service level of the staff. Based on the feedback from the mystery shopper, companies can re-adjust training and re-think their strategies. It also keeps customer service personnel on their toes as they do not who the mystery shopper is. It's a win win situation for both the company and the customers.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I love to travel. It broadens my mind. Changes the way I view people, places and life.
Friday, June 13, 2008
ii) Fill in the blanks: In a bid to save a gray whale, Hancock heaves it out to sea, only to see it smash a sailboat.
Review of Hancock
Hancock - From drunk to sober? Sloppy to cool? Hated to beloved?
If ever there was an atypical hero, Hancock is it.
If ever there was a candidate in desperate need for a makeover, Hancock is it.
And since everyone loves a good makeover (judging by the success of makeover shows ranging from personal looks, to homes, to restaurants), just on that basis alone, the movie Hancock will draw in the audiences. Add Will Smith (of Bad Boys and Men In Black fame) to the equation, and you'll have a box office hit.
Hancock is a hero that leaves a trail of destruction (sounds familiar?) whilst saving the day. He's rude, drunk, sloppy and homeless. Perfect candidate for a makeover. In comes Ray, the PR guy, who wants to do the job. So, off to jail Hancock goes (they reckon that the people will miss him when he's not around to fight crime). It works...Out he comes again, complete with a brand new super hero look - tight leather outfit and all that jazz...Does it work? Can our atypical hero be transformed to the perfect superhero? Watch the movie and find out.
Want to enter the contest too? Click on AllMalaysia.Info.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
They benchpress in the open-air gym. swim laps in the pool or play tennis. In the mornings, the older folks meet at their regular spots for a game of mahjong and breakfast. In the evenings, the office workers come for free aerobic sessions. During Loy Krathong, Thais gather to release their boats on the lake. The park's wildlife inhabitants co-exist peacefully with the human visitors.
Lumpini Park really is a charming hodge podge of people, wildlife and events that adds to Bangkok's fascinating facet.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Growing up, we’ve always had a garden full of plants. In fact, our house was like an orchard sometimes. At one time, when dad went through his cactus phase, our garden resembled a desert in Texas.
We don’t always realize the lasting impact our parents have on us. Honestly, I hardly spent any time in the garden during my childhood. When I grew up and had my own home, it was dad who gave us our first plants for our home. The red palm is still with us many years later (provided Kess, our beagle doesn’t chew it up. She has already mangled its twin).
As a result, unlike some Malaysian homes, we decided to keep our front garden instead of tiling it up to make space for another car park space. In fact, we did the opposite to our back yard and converted the cement floor into a garden. We like to do our entertaining at our back patio and enjoy the little garden we have out back. Unlike dad, I don’t really have green fingers but I do enjoy puttering around the garden. Sure, it takes work. Weeding, trimming, watering, fertilizing. But the fruits of the labour is worth it.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
This week, I picked a verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 on encouragement. So often, we underestimate the power of encouragement. Even a simple "Thank you" for a job well done, for a favour, for an act of kindness can do wonders to warm the heart of the person on the receiving end. It's a basic human need to want to be appreciated.
In the blogging world, I am grateful to you dear friends who have taken the time to share your thoughts with me and Kess. You are an encouragement! Have a great week ahead.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Visit the site and click on the pink button as many times as you can. Remember each click you gave will give hope to a woman in getting free mammogram. Do join us by continuing the tag and click on.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
A short bus ride away, we arrive at the children's favourite stop. Be entertained by the clever Chok Chai dogs. There are lots more pictures on Kess' blog.
Fulfill a child's dream to ride on a pony.