Translate

31 October 2012

Noisy Bus

I boarded the bus to head back to my hotel and it just so happened that something at the back of the bus was not secured properly.

It sounded like an loose piece metal panel that when the bus is idling say, at a bus stop or at a traffic light, the vibrations rattled the panel very very noisily.

The loudness of the racket was very bad but I was so caught up with my ebook (Part 3 of the Thrawn Trilogy) that I just sat there ignoring the din.

In fact, it was so bad that everyone got off the bus to take the next one as the rat-tat-tat of the metal was unbearable.

Then this fella seated in front of me decided to stick his fingers into his ear as he attempted to ride the bus all the way to his destination.

I took a photo of him, thinking there is nobody else in the bus.

I was wrong. I later realised (and I supposed I was caught red handed) there was a girl seat at the last row behind me and she was doing the exact same thing as the guy in front.

Elbows up. Fingers in ears.

About a couple of stops later, the bus driver decided that his bendy bus, as a result of the incessant noise, was to be declared out of service and we all got booted out of the bus halfway through our journey.

It was an awkward silence for the three of us, stranded at the bus stop waiting for the next one.

- Voxeros

30 October 2012

Zero Degree Morning


I know we are entering winter as we speak but temperature has always been comfortable hovering around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.

I was greeted with bright sunshine this morning (I sleep with my curtains opened) and I thought it was going to be yet another beautiful morning.

A routine check on my phone's weather app and whoa!

ZERO DEGREES!

Guess what? I don't have any winter clothing. The warmest clothing I have is a sweat shirt and a knitted vest.

I am in one of those awkward situations where I don't want to spend money on warm clothing as I am leaving the Capital this Sunday.

South QQland is must warmer right now at a really comfy 25 degrees and the coldest temperature is at best 5 degrees Celsius.


As you can see from the weather forecast, it will be a frosty send-off for me as I am slated to fly out on Sunday and it says that 5 degrees Celsius will be the maximum temperature on that day.

I won't be surprised if the mercury falls below zero early morning and let's also no forget there is also the wind-chill factor.
- Voxeros

26 October 2012

Fog In The Capital



I woke up this morning and looked out the window, only to see nothing but a patch of whiteness. Initially, I thought it was the condensation on the windows but it turned out that the window glass was clear.

It was heavy fog.

Visibility, as you can see from the screen cap on the right is somewhere between 500m to 2 km.


A check on my phone app (I recommend 天气通 by Sina.com for smartphone users who wants accurate weather for QQland. MyObservatory by Hong Kong Observatory for Hong Kong weather and Accuweather for other parts of the world. The default Weather app is, in my opinion, pretty "meh".)

It is a ritual for me to check the outside temperature on my phone before I head out. First reason is, of course, to figure out what to wear or bring along. The second is more of a mental preparation for that moment you step out the front door.

It's 12 degrees Celsius this morning and for that I consider it warm weather over in this part of the world at this time of the year.

Usually, the temperature will rise as you advance into the day but it was quite nippy today, even at noon as a result of the sun ray's inability to penetrate the thick fog.

I foresee the temperature getting cooler over the next few days and perhaps this is the last we'll see temperature going above 20 degrees Celsius this year.

I was told that the period between 1 Nov and 15 Nov is the worst as the mercury is set to drop but public heating (powered by natural gas) isn't scheduled to kick in until 15 Nov.

Perhaps, it is good timing that I am posting back early November that I'll escape the cold North winter.


- Voxeros

25 October 2012

Street Crossing In The Capital


Over here in QQland, Traffic lights are for reference only.

I have trouble crossing the street coz even if the green man signals for you to cross, you still have to watch out for cars coz over here, cars DO NOT give way to pedestrians, if they can help it.

Initially, I just follow the crowd. They move, I move. They stop, I stop.

But there will be that one ocassion where you are expected to take the lead i.e. you heng heng happened to stand in front of everybody.

So here's my rule of thumb.

As long as you have enough people. You can cross.

Cars do not give way to 1 pedestrian but will cave in if you have 20.

People Power!

So the next time, you are leading the pack, wait for more people to accumulate. Once you reach quorum.

Cross!

Disclaimer: Bear in mind, I am a trained professional and this is just my rule of thumb, which is frown upon severely by the traffic authorities. Do this at your own risk as I will not be responsible for any outcome. 


- Voxeros

24 October 2012

Food And Drink In The Capital Subway


imma badass. I drink in the subway train.




Well, actually to be frank, eating and drinking aren't banned the subway system here. Well, either that or nobody is enforcing the rule.

Eating and drinking is fairly common in the trains here in the Capital. As terrible as that may sound, I hardly see any litter, crumbs or spillage on the ground inside the train. With the kind of passenger traffic here, kudos to the subway system staff for keeping the trains and station very clean. Kudos also to the city's people for playing their part too.

So it got me thinking about our own ban back in Singapore as well as the MTR system in Hong Kong. Is banning of food and drinks over-zealous?

Recently the tension between Hong Kong residents and the overwhelming influx of QQland tourists boiled over and an argument broke out between the two parties. As you would have guess the trigger was over the incident of eating in the train. With the combo of smart phones and mobile internet, it was all over cyberspace instantly.



I agree that the ban of food is essential to the hygiene and cleanliness of the trains. Heaven forbids someone tabao prata and curry and start eating in the train!

However, I am thinking a meeting at halfway point perhaps? Perhaps drinks that has a lid on it would be permitted?


- Voxeros

23 October 2012

Morning Fireworks


I got off the bus, on my way to the warehouse one morning, and was greeted by fireworks right before me.

At 8am in the morning.

HAR?

Daytime set off fireworks for what? You can't see anything at all against a sun-lighted back-drop what?!

We have been getting these fireworks every other day recently. Either someone is getting married or some company shifted in an started business that day.

What I don't understand is why don't they use the traditional fire crackers (鞭炮) instead? It's louder and most certainly cheaper.

My staff took a stab and guessed that it is to show off that they can afford fireworks instead of the cheaper fire crackers. Also, like a distress flare, people will be able to see where they are.

No logic leh....

My guess is that with fire crackers you will need to clean up since all the debris will remain whereas all the remnants from the fireworks goes somewhere else as they drift away into the sky and it'd be someone else's rubbish to clear.

- Voxeros

22 October 2012

Bastardised Mandarin

I didn't notice this until recently when I took a subway train and a public bus in quick succession before I notice the difference.

One think I like about the buses here is that they have PA announcements then next impending stop. LED ticker tape screen aren't effective when the bus is packed with people and you can hardly see across the bus, let alone read the screen for information on the next time.

Hence, the PA announcement on the bus.

Here. Take a listen to one of a subway announcement and the other of bus.




--> Public Bus Announcement




--> Subway Train Announcement




You would have noticed that, when it comes to the English announcement, the name of the destination in the public bus announcement was pronounced accurately.

The subway one is a totally different story. The pronounciation of the destination name in the subway station was altered such that the Mandarin name has a slight English twang. Reminds me of the bad dubbing of the 80s Hong Kong movies where the Gweilo actors speak in the weird accent to show that they are foreigners.

I mean why is there a need to bastardise our Mandarin name just to suit our English-speaking visitors? Can they not make an effort to learn the proper names of the place that they are visiting? Why should we bend over backwards for these folks? You don't see us mispronouce Mallorca as Mer-loker or Quebec as qway-beck, do you?

So, if we were to make the effort to get other people's names right, I think we deserve the reciprocity that our visitors make the effort and learn to get our names right too.

However, it is not to say that our visitors aren't doing so but the fact that whoever is in charge of the subway PA annoucements is not helping at all.

Image Credit: http://assets.diylol.com; http://www.designdownloader.com

- Voxeros

19 October 2012

Long Table Food Court


This is a food court at a business district, two subway stops away from me. It's one of my favourite lunch places on a Sunday just because it is deserted.

Strangely, the place only have four to five stall of which one offers Vietnamese pho and the other Bak Kut Teh. Granted both tasted a vast departure from the "real thing" but it is unfortunately the closest that I can get over here.

As the old saying goes, "Mai Hiam Buay Pai".

Like I said, it is strange to have such a large food court with so few stalls and so when the business crowds are away for the weekend, I love the large quiet space that the place have to offer. A welcoming change from the awful hustle and bustle of the capital.

Across the walkway from the food court are the restaurants of which one offers Peranakan cuisine which I go from time to time to get my rendang fix. The food is quite good and close to what we get home. The otak otak is just one of the very few that disappoints, the other being gado gado.

An interesting thing here in the capital is that all restaurants provides free wifi and it has become a habit, even for me, to ask for wifi password the moment I take my seat.

My regular seat is across FatBurger where I have been there once. The burgers are pretty awesome but at around RMB 65 (SGD 15) for a burger, rings and a drink., it's not my first choice place for burgers. I rather spend a little more and get a more decent one at restaurants.

So why die die must sit across from FatBurger?

Coz, they haven't change their wifi password from my last visit mah. Haha.

- Voxeros

18 October 2012

Lost In Translation XIII

Was at the cafe at Chengdu airport while waiting for me flight when I saw this menu placard selling Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

"Colorful Ice Powder (Flavor Optional)".

Win liao.


- Voxeros

16 October 2012

Cat Ears


I ate cat ears for lunch today and they were delicious!

I saw this sign the day before and I jaw dropped. I know the Ch1nese are famous for all kinds of weird stuff but I thought cat ears would be up there near the top of the list.

And so in case anyone wonders why Doraemon doesn't have ears, it's because I ate them!

Hahahahah!

Obviously, curiosity killed the cat (sorry. can't resist) and I asked the TowkayNeo if it were really ears of the cat.

TowkayNeo rolled her eyes at me and I swore I saw her mouthing "stupid foreigner" under her breath.

Apparently, cat ears is a type of noodle originating from ShanXi (山西) . I did a bit of research on the web and noticed that the Italians have a similar pasta called orecchiette which translates to "little ears".

Ahhhh.... so desu ne!

So anyway, I ordered the cat ears and it was done stir-fry with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and egg.

Perhaps, one of the few noodle dishes where it is eaten with a spoon instead of chopsticks

Very nice!!


Image Credit: http://www.catsparella.com

- Voxeros

15 October 2012

Kavalan Single Malt Whisky

Remember my earlier entry about the Kavalan ConcertMaster Single Malt Whisky?

I had the opportunity last night to try their Kavalan Single Malt Whisky which is supposedly the better grade of single malt in the Kavalan product line.

I tried it and I didn't like it. The ConcertMaster was smoother than this one.

Heck, I would even go to the extent of saying this one is pretty rough by single malt standard.

I reflected this to the Kavalan folks much to their protest.

Meh.

The ConcertMaster as I have mentioned in my previous entry was price incorrectly i.e. too expensive.

This one is more expensive albeit marginally, which make this lagi less value-for-money.


- Voxeros

12 October 2012

The Green Fire Safety Officer


It's been close to 10 years since we last see The Mask.

I recently spotted him again in the lift lobby of the hotel where I am staying.

He is now a fire safety officer.

From a movie star to now a fire safety office.

Well, times are bad but a man still gotta eat.

Bor bian.

Haha.

p.s. Well, either that is The Mask or maybe that is The Incredible Hulk. *shrugs*

Image Credit: http://images5.fanpop.com

- Voxeros

11 October 2012

Scoot Air - Outrage At Upgrade

The article (click on the image right for a full size copy) on the right is an extract from the October 2012 issue of the Business Traveller Magazine (Asia-Pacific Edition) which I am a subscriber.

Over the years, low-cost carriers (LCC) like Tiger Airways have been receiving negative press for their less-than-satisfactory flying experience.

I, for one, can attest to that. I hated it. Won't fly them again. Ever.

After reading the article on the right, I doubt if I am going to try Scoot Air, if I can help it.

Granted that I fly full-service carrier (FSC) almost exclusively but there will be that odd occasion where I will need to drop a notch to LCC.

I have to say not all LCCs are bad. I have some very good experiences with some LCCs like Southwest Airlines and AirAsia (See letter of commendation below).

Silkair? That is a category on its own otherwise known as ripoff category.

My last experience was a few years ago when I book via SQ's website, thinking I was going to fly via Singapore Airlines to ShenZhen.

Lo and behold when I got to the boarding gate, I saw a Silkair Airbus parked there. As I found out later, both Silkair and SQ's websites published the same fare for that sector.

Expensive lesson learnt that day.

To classify Silkair as an LCC, it would be a blatantly expensive fare. To classify it as a FSC, the whole flying experience falls short of what I would expect of SQ which I felt I am entitled to, since I am paying the same price. No?

So my advice to Mr Blackman of NSW, Australia, stick to FSC or throw all expectations out of the window if still insist on boarding an LCC flight.

- Voxeros

10 October 2012

Beijing Open 2012 - 07 Oct 2012


The Djokovic doing a rendition of the Oppa Gangnam Style to celebrate his China Open victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.


It was a tight neck and neck race all the way to the tie-breaker at 6-6.


After Tsonga was down 1-4 in the tie-breaker, it was all downhill for the Frenchman following a dispute with the umpire

It was disappointing to see Tsonga throw the game like that but then again, this is only an ATP 500 event. The bigger ATP 1000 Shanghai Open is the week after.

Better to conserve the energy and focus on Shanghai (and possibly Paris as well end of October 2012) as Tsonga needs to do relatively well to stay on the path for a place in the November 2012 ATP World Tour Finals in London with an estimated purse of USD 4.5 million. Now that's where the big money is.



The ladies final was played at 7:30 pm (the Men's Singles Final was at 4 pm). It was a match between two scream queens. However, if you look at the video above, it sounded more like howling than screaming. I was most amused.

Like the men, it was just as one sided as Azarenka effortlessly raced to a 4-0 lead in the first set before tying it up 6-4 after beating off Sharapova's late challenge.

Despite a strong fightback from Sharapova, it was beyond any doubt that the first set was to Azarenka. You can't give away 6 double-faults at this level and still expect to take the set.


The second set was a carbon copy of the first as Azarenak again raced to a 4-0 lead. The current world No. 1 was less charitable this time as she sewed up game, set and match. 6-2 in the second set.

--> Click Here to see rest of the photo set.

--> Click Here to see video clips from the Beijing Open 2012.
- Voxeros

09 October 2012

Dumbass Of The Week XIX


The news actually starts from 0:18.

Apparently this uncle who professed to be a Akido teacher, was upset at a bunch of unruly youths for not parking their bikes properly and making a ruckus late in the evening.

So he went back to change into his Akido garb armed with a wooden sword to want to "teach" these youths a lesson.

What ended up as most would have expect was that this uncle got beaten to a pulp.

So much for being an Akido teacher.

Dumbass.

p.s. In case, the video clip got pulled, click here for a backup copy.

- Voxeros

08 October 2012

Photoshop Fail


Ever since Li Na won the French Open in 2011, her commercial endorsements started popping up everywhere here in the country. This particular mineral water endorsement can be seen all over the Capital's subway system.

But here is the thing. That girl above looks nothing like Li Na.

Here's a picture of her below.


Walau. Photoshop overkill liao lah!

FAIL!

p.s. Click here to see another Li Na photoshop fail. Scroll down to see the player introduction on the Jumbotron.

Image Credit: http://edition.cnn.com; http://www.kls-china.com

- Voxeros

06 October 2012

Beijing Open 2012 - 05 Oct 2012


I "ate snake" from work to go catch the Beijing Tennis Open 2012.

I initially went to their website to try to book the tickets online by it was all sold out to my dismay.

Undeterred, I decided to still go and try my luck at the gate.


Strange thing as I was walking towards the ticket booth, I was greeted with many touts who were not trying to sell me tickets but instead, trying to buy from me.

As I later figured out, they were looking for day passes and were hoping that you decided to leave the stadium prematurely and hence there is still value for these tickets i.e. still have a game or two more to watch.

They will buy the tickets and then offer them to the next person at a lower price than the original ticket price (since a game of two has already lapsed), with their cut included, of course.

Anyway, as you can see, I spent closed to RMB 2500 (SGD 500) of these two tickets and I guess my whisky budget is gone for the months of October and November. :(


The first game of the day was local boy qualifier Zhang Ze (ATP Rank: 165) doing his fairy tale run against Germany's Florian Mayer (ATP Rank: 29).


There was this American-born Chinese (dark cap with red rim next to the ginger Ang Moh), judging from his accent, that kept cheering for Mayer, much to the displeasure of the local spectators who were obviously rooting for their home boy

It is one thing to be cheering for a good winner or a great shot but it is another thing to be cheering at Zhang's mistakes or double faults. Could see everybody staring daggers at him. I scared the fella later kena hantam. Haha.


This family in front of me damn cute. The mother was hogging the iPad and video taping the match. Pirate Alert!! Anyway, I took a shot of them taking a shot of the match. Tennisception!

The father quite nice guy, patiently explaining rules of tennis, to his daughter, as the game went on. Father-daughter bonding. Awwww.... *melt*

But the cutest part is the father super kancheong whenever there is a changeover i.e. a 2-minute break for the players. During this time, the cameras will zoom in on a random section of fans that will be displayed on the Jumbotron above.

The kancheong spider kept nagging his wife and kids to sit properly in case the cameras panned unto them. Haha...

Hate to break it to them but the camera only capture those in the VIP seats.


The Sharapova-Kerber game was up next and I tell you, Sharapova is damn chio in real life. Damn those widescreen TVs for not giving her slender *drool* legs enough credit. 

Looking at Sharapova's ground strokes, she was definitely the harder hitter than Kerber. I dare say even stronger than Mayer and Zhang. Hence, this game was even more entertaining than the Mayer-Zhang game earlier. 

Sharapova whitewashed Kerber 6-0 in the first set. Ouch.


This other cute little girl sitting next to me was telling her mother, "Mommy! Mommy! Sharapova is winning!"

"Why do you say so?" asked the mother.

"Coz Sharapova got 62 points and Kerber got 0!", replied the girl smugly.

Aiyoh!! So cute lah!! But at the same time damn facepalm. 

Anyway, Kerber retired after trailing 0-3 in the second set. I think Kerber had some kind of injury prior to the match which explained the lopsided score. Some spectators were booing at the premature ending of the game which I felt is not right.

To me, I think it was the right thing to do as any risk may jeopardise the chance to play in the WTA Championships in Istanbul at the end of October 2012 which obviously holds a much bigger purse.


The last match of the daytime schedule was perhaps the match that all the locals were waiting for. Li Na played Agnieszka Radwanska.

I did a double take when I saw Li Na's photo on the Jumbotron.

PHOTOSHOP OVERKILL LAH!!!

Piang oi!!

Well, either that or some idiot uploaded the wrong photo of a whole different person.


Li Na played better than last round as she was more patient biding her time on the court and not rushing to try for winners. That was the mistake that she made during the last game making lots of errors and gifting points to her opponent extravagantly. 

The crowd ROARED as Li Na closed the first set 6-4 after a grueling 56 minutes. Got the whole stadium on their feet...... to go toilet.

  
Game, Set and Match. Li Na. 6-4, 6-2 as the crowd cheered as home girl is through to the semi-finals!
Congrats to Li Na as the points from the quarter-final win consolidated her place in the WTA Championships where only the top 8 players qualify. And as you would have guessed it, Li Na was ranked No. 8 coming into this tournament and is confirmed to remained as No. 8 this month.

--> Click Here to see rest of the photo set.

--> Click Here to see video clips from the Beijing Open 2012.

- Voxeros

03 October 2012

Dumb Big-Assed Mobile Phones

 Was in Hong Kong when I spotted this chap using the Samsung Galaxy note tablet as a mobile phone.

Harlow..... the phone as bit the small right?

I not against making phone calls but if the bladdy thing is so goddamn big, use a hands-free kit instead of pasting the gigantic thing against your face lor.

If only the fella can see how ridiculous he looks.

I can only describe this in two words.

Kum Lan.

p.s. I wonder if there is anyone lagi more kum lan pasting the iPad to his face. I mean the new iPad can make phone calls right?

- Voxeros

02 October 2012

My Existence In Three Bags


That's the same three bags (right) that I came to the Capital with and now that I am on the move again, it's the same three bags again.

As you would have known by now, I was previously staying in my office/apartment partly to save costs but also due to the fact that I will be moving again soon as the current lease expires end of September 2012. As such, I was not able to commit to any tenancy agreement until we firm up where the office location will be shifted.

I headed back to HQ leaving my packed luggage in the custody of my manager as he handles the clearing out of the apartment.

When I get back the week after, I hope we would have found a decent apartment for me to move in with my 3 faithful bags.

We went apartment-hunting a few days before I flew south for the holidays. I saw a couple that I liked but management has been bitching about the cost of the rental which I thought was downright stupid. The location is already ulu enough that I have no immediate access to subway network. I was willing to trade off the convenience of transport (take bus lor) for the sake of saving a few rental dollars.

What the idiot at the helm failed to understand the Capital is a place where cost of accommodation is god-awfully expensive and yet he chose to bury his head in the sand, using south Ch1na as his benchmark.

Dumbass.

- Voxeros

01 October 2012

A Tale Of Two Climates


It's Mid-Autumn yesterday which marks the end of summer and mercury will start to drop. The picture above was taken a few days ago. It was a beautiful sunshine day in the Capital where the sky is blue and not a cloud in the sky.

The temperature? Single digit in the morning coming up to 15 and eventually settle at a nice 25 degrees Celsius. Perhaps weather to get out there and whack some tennis balls.



I flew down to South Ch1na for the holidays and my gawd, it was sooo hot!! That's me above hiding in the comforts of Gecko's air-conditioned restaurant.

Interesting how two cities, only 3 hours flight apart, can vary so much in climate.

- Voxeros
There was an error in this gadget