Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Two-day Trip to Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia

Last Saturday and Sunday, I went to Melaka (In English: Malacca), Malaysia. I went there with two-other friends. Melaka is a historical city centre that has been listed as a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 7 July 2008. Beside for its historical attraction, Malacca is also well-known for its food. Most notable of all is the Nyonya Asam laksa (Nyonya-Baba Cuisine) and Chicken Rice Ball. Nyonya Asam laksa is not made with curry powder, instead, it rich with various spices and taste a bit sour. I like the taste... it’s really good. Another food is Chicken Rice Ball. These rice-balls, about the size of golf balls are taken with boiled chicken flavoured with sauce and sesame oil. The rice itself is best taken with pounded chilli-sauce. We ate Nyonya Asam laksa and Chicken Rice Ball in Jonker Street. I already forgot the name of the shop that sells Nyonya Asam Laksa and Chicken Rice Ball, but in Jonker Street, we can find those two very easily. Another food (it’s a desert actually) that I like in Melaka is Cendol covered with brown Melaka Sugar. The cendol is tasted very sweet.

(from: www.jonkerchickenriceball.com)

Nyonya Asam Laksa


Other than enjoying the food in Melaka, we also went to other places, most of it historical places. We went to Christ Church, which the structure reflects original Dutch architecture and has hand-crafted benches, jointless ceiling skylights, copper replica of the bible, headstone written in Armenian language and replica of “The Last Supper”. Other place that we went to is St Paul Hill, where we saw St. Paul Church which is part of the Malaccan Museums Complex. The St. Paul Church is easy to recognise because it has Statue of St Francis Xavier. St Francis Xavier was Roman Catholic missionary who spent several years in Melaka, serving the poor and sick and translate all simple prayers and instructions to Malay. The body of St. Francis Xavier was interred here temporarily before it was taken to Goa, India. We also passed through the Proclamation of Independence Memorial, didn’t have time to enter the museum.

St. Paul Church

Beside the historical places, we also went to Jonker Street and two modern shopping complexes, Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. Jonker Street (or Jalan Hang Jebat) is famous for its antique goods, foods and carnival-like atmosphere during weekend nights. We went there to taste the food and went shopping.... there is a lot of unique stuff there, and the price is still reasonable. I bought a t-shirt there; the shop keeper said that they only made 1 t-shirt for 1 design and 1 colour. So, there would be no one that has the same t-shirt (in same design and colour) like I do. At Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall, we went shopping again. We bought several items in Padini Concept Store that sell all clothes, shoes, and goods from Padini Holdings brands, which are Padini, Seed, Vincci, PDI, Padini Authentics, P & Co, Miki Kids & Miki Maternity. Padini is a well-known Malaysia-origin brand. Another shopping mall that we went to was Mahkota Parade. We went there just to eat Nandos. One of my friends is really like to eat Nandos, she fall in love with its famous peri-peri chicken. So we went there to eat it. I order ¼ of chicken with very-hot peri-peri flavour. In my opinion, Nandos’s peri-peri chicken is too spicy and that’s all that I can taste. I cannot taste other flavour because it was too spicy. I think for the next time, I will choose mild-spicy flavour, so I can still taste other flavour.

I almost forgot, at night, we took river tour. It is almost the same with River Taxi in Singapore. The River Tour took about 45 minutes to travel 9 KM river. The scenery around the river is very nice, especially at night; all the lights make the scenery more special. During the river tour, we could see the Eye of Malaysia, Maritime Museum, water-wheel and other scenery. I really like the scenery and it made 45 minutes flies.

That is the story of my two-day trip to Melaka, Malaysia. I can wait for another trip ....

NB: All picture (except the rice ball) provided by Helda....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pass with B+

Finally, the lecturer published the result for the DB class. I managed to pass with B+. Luckily…..yey…… Usually (about several years ago when I was doing my undergraduate and master program), I would be furious if I got grade lower than A. But now, I’m happy just to pass the course. Hmmm… does this mean that I’m lowering my own expectation? Or am I not as ambitious as I was before? Does it even matter?

As for my other courses, the results haven’t been published yet. I still have to wait for several more days. Hopefully, I can pass all my courses in this term with good score.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My last week in Term 2

Just finished my last exam for this term. I still have 1 more term paper and 1 more critic essay. The deadline is this Friday. I think I can finish it tomorrow. After that I’m free… yey……

But now, I am worry about my score, especially for DB course. I’m not sure whether I can pass that course. The DB lecturer already posted the score for other assignments beside the exam and the result was not too good. Hopefully I will get enough score at the exam so that I can still pass the course. I just hope for enough score to pass the minimum requirement. Hopefully… hopefully….. But if worse thing happen, hopefully I can accept that too…. Just hopping for the best things to come ..

My First Songkran Day in Singapore

Last Sunday, I joined Songkran Day celebration in UBT (Uttamayanmuni Buddhist Temple). Songkran is a Thai New Year which is celebrated every year from April 13 to April 15. Songkran was traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends and neighbors. But in UBT, the main activities in Songkran are pray, give food to the monks and (the most exiting thing) throwing water. Throwing water has a meaning of its own not just a fun activity. Throwing water to each other believed as a way to give blessing. The water is considered as “blessed” water because it had been poured over the Buddhas for cleansing. In Thailand, throwing water is used to relieve the heat because April is the hottest month.

For me, without even know the meaning of Songkran at the first time, Songkran festival was really fun. First, we did several chant and gave food (or in my case money, because I didn’t bring any food. It was my last Singapore dollar :(( didn’t have money.. hiks.. ) to the monk. Then, after lunch, we followed the parade around the temple. Before the parade, one lady put a cold white powder in my face, so my face had two streaks in each cheek. The parade was lead by Thai music players and dancers, followed by person that brought money tree and the rest of parade participants. We walked and made a little movement like dance around the temple.

Musical Parade
Traditional Music

After the parade, we poured water to Buddha statues and the monks. The monks were sitting near the Buddha statues, so we can pour water on them. Then they can pour the water back to us. It was considered as blessing. There were a lot of people that waited in line to pour the water, and because at first I didn’t know what to do, I queued at almost in the end of the line. After that, we threw water at each other. Everyone is wet. No one is allowed to stay dry. If anyone still looked dry, people would throw water on him/her. Bhikku Keminda, an Indonesian monk in UBT, didn’t want to lose the chance to throw water on us. After the line was over, he got a bunch of water and threw it on us. Such a fun event.
Pouring Water

Me, Helda and Vivi

Even though I was wet and I felt dizzy (and a bit sick again :(( ) after that, I was really happy. It was really fun. Celebrating Songkran day in the UBT was really fun and I cant wait to celebrate Songkran again…..

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Another Karaoke Journey ................

Yesterday, I went through another a bit crazy journey and full of challenge but we all felt happy :D. Even thought I was still sick, yes, I haven’t healed yet. Still have cough :(. Yesterday, I went to JB again .. for karaoke. :D But the journey was a bit crazy and adventurous. The journey started in Bugis at 9am. We supposed to meet at Bugis at 9am but because I had to find ATM to withdraw money, I arrived at 9.20. But, I was not the last person that arrived. My other friend (RK) arrived at 10 because he thought that we met at 10. (HD already called him the day before and told him to meet us at 9 but he simply forgot........... arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh).

After we all gathered at 10am, we went to buy something to eat first. So, we (me, RK and HD) went to Bugis Junction. I forgot to mention, there was only the three of us that went to JB for karaoke because the Karaoke room in JB only have 3 mic and all of us didn’t want to share the mic, so we decided not to ask other people to join us. So, the journey was only for three of us, two guys one girl. Back to Bugis Junction. We first decided to buy McChicken @ McD, but because it was still 10am McChicken had not been served yet. So, we bought BreadTalk instead.

Then, we went to the bus station to take bus to JB. But, not like what we expected, the queue in the bus station was very long. There are 3 kind of bus from Bugis bus station to JB, first SBS 170, Singapore JB Express (SJE) and CW 2. We thought we should just queue at the shortest one. So, we queued for SJE. But SJE busses were very few, arggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, so we had to wait a very long time to finally get a bus (about 1 hour). The time was showed around 11.30 when we finally got on the bus. So, for the next time, don’t take SJE.... just queue for CW 2. I think its better. This was the first challenge in this crazy adventure. The journey in bus took about 30 minutes.

We arrived at Woodland checkpoint around 12. The checkpoint was not crowded, so it only took a few minutes to pass the checkpoint. Then, we went downstairs to continue our journey to JB immigration using SJE. The queue was so long and disordered. Arghhhhhhh, Yes, this was the second challenge. People queued in any direction. It was not like a queue but it was more like a bunch of people push each other around. Because the queue was already in mess, we decided to follow the mess and just cut the lines :D .... we were not a very discipline people. After 15 to 25 minutes, we managed to get bus..... yey........

The third challenge was on the bus. The bus took almost 45 minutes to reach JB immigration. :( It was a very long journey because the traffic was very crowded and jammed everywhere. The bus was very hot too; I thought the AC was not working properly. So, it was like “sauna” in the bus. All sweating, we arrived at JB immigration checkpoint where another challenge took place. The condition there was not that good also. The queue was very long and also disordered. We took the shortest line as always, but it turned out that the line was merged with another line, so it was also a very long line... and it took us almost an hour to pass the checkpoint. :(.... all my cloth was wet and sticky because of sweat. :( When we finally got through the checkpoint it was already 2pm and we all starved.

We went to have lunch at City Square, only a few minutes walked from JB checkpoint. We ate Sudanese food and after that went around shopping a little bit. I bought a new pair of shoes and several t-shirts.

After we finished shopping, we want to go to another shopping mall, Pelangi Plaza, to karaoke. I didn’t realize it was raining heavily outside. We tried to find a taxi to go to Pelangi Plaza. In the taxi stand, there was no queuing; everyone was tried to in to the taxi first. It was a bit chaotic there. I realized that HD and RK would never get a taxi because they not used to do that. Especially if they have to grab a taxi from other women. So, I had to find taxi for us. I tried not to go too far and too front from the taxi stand shelter because it was still raining. But if I not went to the front, I would not got a taxi. It was such a heavy job. Before all my cloth got wet, I finally managed to grab a taxi for us and up we went to Pelangi.

We arrived at Pelangi at 5.30. We went directly to Red Box, karaoke place. After asked the receptionist, we had to wait about one hour to get karaoke room. I went to the toilet to change my t-shirt. Did you know that to go to the toilet we had to pay 20 cent per person? In JB most of the place is like that. We had to pay to go to the toilet.

To spend one hour, we went around the Pelangi Plaza. But there were not a lot of things to see in there. At 6.30 we came back to Red Box and after a bit negotiation on the price and member card, we were ready to karaoke. We managed to get 1 student price and member card. We can use the member card next time to get a 1 free entree. We also had a dinner buffet. It was already included in the karaoke price. The food in the dinner buffet was delicious. I ate tepanyaki, the soup, the ice cream (even thought I was still cough :P), the fruit etc..... we spent more than 3 hour there. Even thought I still cough, I can sang ..... yey....

After karaoke, we came to the last challenge. The last challenge was how to get back to Singapore. It was already late... around 10.30 when we arrived at JB immigration checkpoint. Luckily, the queue in JB immigration was very short. But, that was not the problem here. The problem was how to get back to Singapore. We didn’t know which bus was still operated. The queue for the bus was also very long. So, we queued in two different lines. I queued in smrt 950 bus and RK queued in CW 2 bus, while HD tried to find some information about the buses. HD talked to several bus officers there to find out which buses still operated. They said that CW drivers and officers were no longer there so it was very likely that there were no more CW operated. Then, HD tried to look around and tried to find the shortest and the fastest bus that can take us back to Singapore while I and RK stayed at the queue. HD finally found SJE (Singapore JB Express) bus that already ready to go to Singapore and the queue was short. He called us to go to the queue and we all finally managed to get in to the bus, even thought there was no more seat, so we had to stand ..... but we were on our own way to go home to Singapore ... yey ..................

The bus stopped in Singapore checkpoint at almost 11.30pm. We started another queue in the Singapore Checkpoint. Because I cannot scan my passport like HD and RK, so I had to go in separated queue. As usual, I chose the shortest queue, but again, it was not a best one. My queue was moving very slow. The immigration officer was working very slowly. She only finished checking one person while the other officer in the other line finished checking five people. So, it was a very long queue.

At the time I passed the immigration it was already 12am. After immigration, we needed to find SJE bus again to continue our journey to Bugis. Luckily, there was one SJE bus waiting to go to Bugis. So we run the stair and followed the queue for that bus. We got in the bus and started 30 minutes journey to Bugis. I tried to sleep for a while. We arrived at Bugis at around 12.40. Because we wanted to go to the toilet, we walked to Raffles Hospital. From the hospital, I took a taxi to go home while the others walked to their home. I arrived about 10 minutes later and felt very tired.

That was my journey that day. A crazy and challenging Journey................

Sunday, April 05, 2009

My one week sick....

It started one week ago. In rainy Sunday afternoon. I went home from temple and lunch with a friend and get caught up in the rain. I went home with a bit wet cloth and wet hair. When I opened my room door, I saw something that I didn’t expected. I can’t go in to the room. So, I stayed in front the room and after that went to the toilet. It was really an unexpected thing. Because of it, I can’t directly took bath and hit the bed as I planned before. So, I managed to go inside my room and took my laptop and went to the study room. The AC in the study room was really cold and directly hit my head.

A day after that, I started to get a cold and fever..... after the ISM class, I went to see the Doctor. He gave me 3 kind of medicine, one is Decolgen for my cold, I think, one is some menthol for my sore throat and another one is cough syrup. I drank all of that obediently until the medicine is run out. But, after drank all the medicine, I had not recover from my illnesses. I still got cold and fever... hm... Maybe the medicine was not strong enough for me. So, yes.. I’m still sick, until now, when I wrote this.

Even thought I felt sick, I still had to finish one my term paper last Friday because the due date was on Friday midnight and on that Friday, I also had to give presentation for another term paper. At Thursday I also had to meet my supervisor to discuss my further research. So, it was a busy week. I don’t know was it because of the illness or because I was just too lazy, from Tuesday to Thursday, I could not write anything to finish my term paper. On Thursday, I only managed to finish my presentation for the day after. So, I thought I was in a real problem. On Friday, I presented. Even thought not went as well as I want it, but at very least I managed to present my term paper. Then, after the class, I had to rush to do my other term paper, which was due that night. So, I used about 7 hours (from 4pm to 11pm) to finish the term paper. It was not as good as I wanted, but I at least I finished it. Hopefully my prof would satisfy with the idea and the result in that term paper and give me a good score. Man, I really need a good score, because I a little bit mess up when I gave the presentation for this term paper. Why my life is become bits mess up lately? What happen to me??

Back to my sick week, at Friday also, Bhante Kheminda called me to ask me how my condition was. He already knew that I was sick. I said that I’m still sick and cannot go to the Friday meditation class. Well, despite of my illness, I was also had to finish my term paper. That is why I cannot attend the meditation class. Sorry Bhante, I was not in my best shape lately and thank you for all your advices. He told me to buy vitamin C, which I followed the day before.

Still on Friday, after finished my term paper, the time was already a few minutes passed 11 pm. Couple of friends already waited for me in the park to go somewhere and chat. Sorry friends, I cannot go anywhere that night. After I finished my term paper, I started to get fever again and my head started to spin. All I wanted to do is go home. So I excused myself and went home. In the way home, my other friend called me; he wanted to give me back my laptop which he borrowed from me. I met him that night; he bought me a something to eat. I really didn’t want to eat. All I want was sleep. I ate only a little and took the rest home. So that how my Friday ended. But before I went to sleep, I was worry very badly about my term paper. I was very worry that I could not get good score ..... I got so many things to worry about.

On Saturday, I slept almost the whole morning. I woke up at 12, had lunch, felt bored just stayed at home. Unfortunately, the internet was having a problem, so I cannot online. :( I really hate that.So, I spent the day by watching Japan dorama. I went out to buy things that I wanted to give to the temple for the next day. Because this Sunday was an offering day. And continue to watch movie until almost midnight. And then, I went to sleep.

Today, I woke up at 7 am and felt a bit fever and my coughing still continues. I decided not to go to the temple; because I was afraid I would make myself worse and made other people uncomfortable because of my coughing. I continued to sleep and woke up at 12. I bored again ... so, I decided to watch dorama again. At the same time, the internet was fixed. So I can online again. So I chatted with some of my friends and tried to stream a movie. At 4pm I felt dizzy and fever again. So, I went to take a nap. At 5pm, I woke up and felt it was a good time to take a bath, which I had not done for almost 2 days.... Yes, I’m very lazy to take a bath, especially when I’m sick. So I took bath and went to find dinner. I ate porridge for diner and decided to buy some medicine for my cold. Because my cold is not getting better. So I bought Panadol for Cold and Flu and took two pill at once and tried to sleep. I think the medicine was working. I was sweating. But, I cannot sleep. Maybe because I already have so much sleep that I cannot sleep again. So, I decided to write my sick story in my blog.

Hopefully, tomorrow I will feel better. I will go to Doctor again tomorrow. Hopefully, my sick day will be over tomorrow.

By the way, I didn’t tell my parents or my sisters that I am sick. My sister called me on Saturday, but I didn’t say anything about my sickness. I just don’t want to make them worry. Hopefully I did the good things......