the great penang getaway: august ’09: day one

Penang Aug 09 - 01 MAS plane *Note: This trip was partly sponsored by Malaysia Airlines. Go check out the best fares at www.malaysiaairlines.com

I was in Penang last month for a short holiday + attend Peter Tan‘s wedding dinner. I asked my dear Shirley to come along with me because we were in Penang the same time last year and it could be an annual thing! Provided she doesn’t do something like migrate to somewhere really far away lah. Who knows, women… hearts very far away one :P

My flight to Penang was at 10 something in the morning. As usual I took my own sweet time getting ready. Sis sent me to a nearby LRT station, I stopped at KL Sentral and went on the KLIA Express to get to the airport. The line at the MAS counter was pretty long and I panicked for a bit. Out of time mah. Then I heard an announcement for my flight’s final call which led me to an empty desk, and wahey! I made it on time! Go me :P

(But okay, next time I’ll start getting ready earlier.)

Penang Aug 09 - 02 Inside the plane Penang Aug 09 - 03 Going Places magazine

I’ve not been on a MAS aircraft for a while. So when I stepped into the plane, I was a bit surprised by the colourful seat covers. Quite nice lah, makes the atmosphere happier. My sister went to Bangkok not long ago and she also commented on the covers. She also took a photo of herself camwhoring with the seats but I don’t have her permission to post it here. If you ask her nicely, maybe she’d show you. Just maybe.

It was a short flight, drinks were served, reached Penang International Airport in less than an hour. Waited around for Shirley’s flight from Singapore to arrive. Called Hot Chick to let her know I’m in her state, and the woman swung her car around (she was nearby the area) to pick us up. That was so nice and generous, thank you so much!

Called Cheesie who was in Penang that day with Taka, but leaving for KL in the afternoon. Still had time for one last meal, so we went to Padang Kota Lama for…

Penang Aug 09 - 04 Hameed's stall  at Padang Kota Lama Penang Aug 09 - 05 Hameed's mee sotong at Padang Kota Lama

Mee sotong!!! Oh man, Hameed’s mee sotong at Padang Kota Lama was the first thing Shirley and I craved for when we returned to our respective homes last year. Took us one whole year to be able to eat it again, and it still tasted GREAT! Slightly spicy with a generous serving of cuttlefish. Super delicious, RM3.50 a plate. Goes down well with our coconut shake from the drinks stall nearby.

Padang Kota Lama’s food court is just next to Fort Cornwallis. The place looks a little run-down, but then that’s where you get the most yummy food! ;) GPS coordinates: 5.4206, 100.3429.

After our (first) lunch, Hot Chick dropped Cheesie and Taka off somewhere because they needed to catch their flight home. We then went to Jalan Hutton because I’d booked a room at Hutton Lodge for the night. Why? Because I rely a lot on Trip Advisor, that’s why. A restored heritage building in the middle of Hutton Road, Hutton Lodge is clean, minimalistic and inexpensive. A twin room with an attached bathroom costs RM90 and dorm beds go for RM28 a night. Cheap or what? GPS coordinates: 5.4196, 100.3308.

Penang Aug 09 - 08 Hutton Lodge Penang Aug 09 - 12 Hutton Lodge, twin beds room

While Hot Chick was finishing up some work, Shirley and I walked along Hutton Road to check out the neighbourhood. By the way, I can safely say that Hutton Lodge is pretty much in the middle of town and it’s a good place to stay, location-wise.

Bought some drinking water at a 7-11 and spotted loaves of Gardenia Butterscotch bread. Shirley never had it before and wanted to try, so we got a loaf. Don’t think she was all too impressed, heh.

Penang Aug 09 - 16 Shirley with Gardenia Butterscotch bread Penang Aug 09 - 17 Shirley trying a Gardenia Butterscotch bread

After Hot Chick was done with her work, she took us to Lorong Selamat for… what else? Penang char kuey teow lah!

Penang Aug 09 - 19 Lorong Selamat, Heng Huat Char Kuey Teow stall Penang Aug 09 - 21 Extra spicy Char Kuey Teow, Lorong Selamat

The famous unfriendly auntie was still there, now operating next to an open car park. Apparently she is less unfriendly now (note the difference between friendlier and less unfriendly) because it’s her own shop and she can’t go around offending people, can she?? RM8 per plate, I think it’s worth it for a tourist like me. I know many Penang-nites would shake their head and refuse to pay that kind of price, but we don’t have the luxury of living in Penang okay! Of course the char kuey teow was super delicious! But I suppose most of you who have been to Penang have eaten there. GPS coordinates: 5.4171, 100.3247.

Hot Chick ordered a bowl of laksa lemak from the opposite stall, a mix of assam laksa and curry mee. It was superb! The gravy was super addictive and they were generous with the fish. RM4.50 per bowl, very worth it! Of course cannot eat this everyday lah, it’s akin to inviting a heart attack.

Penang Aug 09 - 23 Laksa Lemak, Lorong Selamat Penang Aug 09 - 24 Auntie selling meat floss, Lorong Selamat

An auntie came around our table to sell her goods, pork floss. She was really funny: went into songs and rhymes of how delicious her pork floss is, how you would be beautiful and wonderful after eating her ‘bak hu’, that she went to school and didn’t study so cannot be ‘cikgu’ (teacher) hence have to sell ‘bak hu’… It was quite delicious so we bought some from her. Of course her charms and saleswomanship were the more influencing factors, heh. She also readily posed for photos and told us to catch her on TV.

More food? Yes please. Shirley wanted some fehmes Penang cendol, so Hot Chick took us to Penang Road for THE famous cendol. GPS coordinates: 5.4171, 100.3306.

Penang Aug 09 - 25 Penang Road cendol Penang Aug 09 - 26 Suanie and Shirley eating cendol at Penang Road

It was nice, but I prefer Melaka-style cendol along Jonker’s Street. If you’d notice, they have a photo of Gurmit Singh as Phua Chu Kang eating a bowl of cendul at their stall. Think Shirley took a photo of that to show her dad.

Went back to Hutton Lodge for a short rest before dinner. I think we were knocked out for a bit. A couple of hours later, Hot Chick and Aaron came to pick us up for MORE food. We went to Zealand Seafood restaurant along Gurney Drive, which is owned by a friend of Aaron’s. Next door was also a restaurant with a stage for people to display their… uh, limited vocal abilities. Surprisingly they got a lot of customers that way. Anyway, check out our dinner!

Penang Aug 09 - 27 Seafood along Gurney Drive

Balitong, mantis prawns, kum heong lala, frog’s legs (which I didn’t touch), vermicelli, drunken prawns and grilled crabs. Fresh, delicious and inexpensive, though I suspect our bill was discounted because of Aaron. Check out the sign at the female toilet!

Bloody bottomless pits for stomachs we have, right? Here’s dessert! ;)

Penang Aug 09 - 33 Mango crepe with mango ice cream, Crepe Cottage Penang Aug 09 - 34 Strawberry crepe with strawberry ice cream, Crepe Cottage

We walked down Gurney Drive to The Crepe Cottage, kononnya want to walk off dinner so we’d have space for dessert. Don’t think it worked very well, but we downed everything at The Crepe Cottage because it was very yummy! Also had a lot of fun photographing the resident fat cat.

Penang Aug 09 - 32 Satanic cat

Can you eat as much as we did in one day? Heh. Second day in Penang: Parkroyal Penang and more food, of course.

More photos at my Flickr set for Penang, August 2009 here.

twestival kuala lumpur 101. come join us!

About 3 weeks ago, David asked if I’d be interested to help organise Twestival Kuala Lumpur along with Ling and Niki. In a moment of madness, I said, “Sure I’d love to!” So here I am, almost 3 weeks later, blogging about Twestival KL. This is a slightly long post, so please bear with me.

Twestival KL

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social media tool where you update your status in 140 characters or less. Facebook has since made its status updates look like Twitter’s (it wasn’t before) with no character limit. However Twitter is still very popular and its reach ever expanding, well-known for being pimped by celebrities who use Twitter to connect with their fans. People on Twitter update their Twitter followers on their everyday ongoings, they share information and news about brands, companies, events, they have conversations about everything under the sun. It has proved to be one of the social media tools that has longer staying power.

What is Twestival KL?
Twitter + Festival = Twestival! In short, it’s an event where social media users gather and raise money for charity. Some people say Twitter is useless, people on Twitter eat full nothing to do and only tell everyone what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well, now we tell everyone what we had for breakfast, lunch and dinner AND raise money for charity!

The 1st Twestival Global was held earlier this year, the theme was ‘water’. Over USD200k was raised by participating cities around the world and the money has since been used to build wells that will benefit 17,000 people in Uganda, Ethiopia and India. Since then there has been a host of Twestival Locals, where the chosen charities are closer to home. In September, Twestival Locals will be held in a bunch of cities, among them Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Twestival KL’s charity home
… is Destiny Starting Point, a home in Klang for delinquent juveniles to give them a second chance in life. Last week a bunch of us visited the home and it was covered by The Star R.AGE yesterday. Click here to read the article. Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

All monies collected from Twestival KL will go to Destiny Starting Point. Initially we wanted to buy them a computer and a year’s broadband access with the money (you know, give them a fishing rod instead of just the fish) but DiGi Broadband stepped in and said they would sponsor TWO desktop PCs to the home. So the money will go to the home’s utility bills, everyday administration. My personal hope is that the boys would get new mattresses to sleep in but we’ll leave it to the home’s founder and admins to decide how to spend the money.

When and where is Twestival KL?
This Saturday, 12 September 2009, 7 pm onwards at Mist Club in Bangsar.

What’s happening at Twestival KL?
Err… me? :P It will be a gathering of people who use social media. Meet new people, make new friends. You know, just like any friends’ gatherings…

There will be light refreshment served, thanks to our kind sponsors. 1901 Hot Dogs is setting up a push-cart so you could get your food fresh and warm, New Zealand Natural is bringing a HUGE freezer to give you free ice-cream, The Cupcake Chic will feed you delicious cup cakes, Yeo’s Malaysia is giving us 150 cartons of Just Tea and there will be Tiger beer thanks to GAB. If it’s not enough for you, feel free to order a more substantial dinner from Mist Club on your own account :P

Twilight Action Girl will be spinning at Twestival KL. Will Quah will be the MC for the evening. Elaine Daly will be there to auction off a few items, all proceeds go to Destiny Starting Point!

Lots of lucky draw items, thanks to Crocs Malaysia, Boost Juice Malaysia, Maya Hotel, Starbucks Malaysia, New Zealand Natural, PC.Com, The Little Trinket Co and Exabytes among others. Also in the lucky draw, exclusive Moleskine planners thanks to Czip Lee, air tickets to HCM thanks to Air Asia, a photo shoot worth RM500 courtesy of RawPixelStudios and an awesome C300 All-In-1 Desktop PC thanks to Lenovo. Bring along your lucky charm!

The first 150 attendees at Twestival KL will receive a goody bag containing movie tickets by Golden Screen Cinemas, Starbucks vouchers, Boost Juice Malaysia vouchers, New Zealand Natural vouchers, and merchandise from Crocs, DiGi Broadband, A1 and Little Tree.

DiGi Broadband will also set up Wi-Fi access points around Mist Club so you can Twitter or even blog during the event!

At the moment, we are auctioning off a couple of items for Twestival KL. DiGi Broadband has sponsored a HP Mini netbook worth RM 1,499 and we are starting the auction at RM 1,000. At this moment, David Lian is leading the bid at RM 1,100. Go outbid him! More information: click here.

More auction items from Nooka and Air Asia coming up!

How do I get a ticket to Twestival KL?
Pre-door tickets cost a minimum of RM30 per ticket, feel free to top up ;) Door sale tickets cost RM40 per ticket. If you wish to purchase a ticket, please contact me here, or my e-mail or give me a shout out on my Twitter, @suanie. I’m taking Friday off to run errands, so most likely will be able to deliver your tickets. Let me know soon!

Other ways to get in touch: Twestival KL website, @TwestivalKL on Twitter, my phone number if you have it etc. If you know David Lian, Niki Cheong, Radiance Leong or Ling, they will be able to hook you up as well.

Come come, all and sundry! It’s for a good cause (remember the part about the fishing rod and not the fish? ;) ) and there will be plenty of familiar faces around. If not, get to know new people! See you on Saturday!

mcdonald’s and mccurry

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that McDonald’s lost the court case against McCurry. I just glanced through the articles and I don’t claim to know 100% of the details. I think it’s something along the lines of McDonald’s claiming that McCurry is infringing on their trademark.

I’m like any other David, I love a good triumph over Goliaths. But sometimes I feel that certain Davids are merely opportunists, and when confronted they would argue that the Goliaths are major international corporations and have endless money, hence could afford to bully them. Of course there are many Goliaths who do that and should be stumped, but in some cases the Davids are no better. When it comes to McDonald’s vs McCurry, I feel that this is one of them.

My thoughts:

1. McDonald’s first outlet in Malaysia was opened in 1982. McCurry opened its doors in 1999. That’s 17 years for McDonald’s Malaysia to brand their company, products and outlets before the owners of McCurry decided to call their restaurant as such, accompanied with a huge red signboard with white lettering.

2. McCurry is supposed to mean “Malaysian Chicken Curry”. If it wasn’t reported in the papers, I wouldn’t have known it lor. Maybe I was already imprinted, but to me ‘McCurry’ indicates fast-food curry. They could have named it MCC as a better abbreviation.

3. There are many people named McCurry but the owners are not one of them.

4. Neither are they Scottish.

5. So it’s a bit weird to pull the ‘common Scottish name’ argument when they are selling Malaysian food.

6. Malaysian chicken curry or any other traditional Malaysian food does not taste anything like Scottish food.

7. So in fact, there’s no commonality with the prefix of ‘Mc’ .

8. Which again, to me does not tell me that it stands for Malaysian Chicken.

9. McCurry’s signboard’s font and colours are disturbingly almost similar to that of McDonald’s. Can you honestly say that it’s not intentional? That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the signboard many years ago.

Maybe McDonald’s Malaysia wants to start selling rice and curries, hence the stake on McCurry. Maybe when the owners of McCurry started their restaurant, they were just taking the cheek. It’s good news for all the McDonald’s and McCurry’s of the world because they can now operate a restaurant and call it after their namesake. Plaster it against a red signboard for all they care, as a court has ruled that you can do that if you are not selling hamburgers and such. But morally speaking, I still feel that McCurry was riding on the brand/name popularity of McDonald’s. What do you think?

original bootcamp malaysia: s02e01

Original Bootcamp Malaysia - Tyres that may have been S02E01 would be my 2nd month, 1st session. Experimenting with tagging it like TV series, will see how long that lasts. By the way, the monster truck photo on the left has tyres like the one we use at OBM. I’m just adding it here so Fireangel may see it then curse and swear at me again, heh.

Yes, I signed up for my 2nd month of Original Bootcamp Malaysia. How long will I do this for? I don’t know, I suppose until I get fed up with waking up so early. At the end of the day, it’s the morning part that kills me because I like to stay up late at night to do my stuff. At midnight, my brain wakes up from its slumber and starts working until 3 a.m. So this is a real bummer, having to force myself to sleep early, sometimes tossing about for a couple of hours before I can successfully drift off to dreamland.

There’s a trick to it though. Sometimes I make up long scenarios in my head and they usually consist of a huge beach house by the… uh, beach, endless travelling around the world and John Mayer. Don’t ask.

Anyway, this morning was our first session of the month: the assessment. 1.2km of running (okay, slow jogging for me), 45x push ups on knees, 30x grunts, 45x half sit-ups. The first month I clocked in at 26 minutes. I was sure that I could do better this month because… come on lah, 26 minutes is pathetic. So it was an easy benchmark for me this time round ;) This morning I clocked in at 14m 35s. Not bad lah! Not going to talk about the 1.6km run after because that’s just crazy!

Much thanks to my fellow PJ Bravo platoon! Their cheers and encouragement really helps and makes the whole thing fun. Much thanks to the Sergeants and Corporals for their, uh… words of love :P

Here are some photos from last Saturday’s August Graduation drinks. As you can see, I have a cert in my hands for ‘Improvement Award – in recognition of your drive and determination’ which is given by the instructors. Quite funny actually because most times during OBM sessions, the only drive and determination I have left are hardly enough to poke a snail.

Original Bootcamp Malaysia - August Graduation drinks 01 Original Bootcamp Malaysia - August Graduation drinks 02
With Megaa, Ai Lee, Derek and Sergeant Sim

Original Bootcamp Malaysia - August Graduation drinks 03
With Corporal Jason, Ai Lee, Sayshan, Jida, Sharon, Lina, Gerry, Kevin, Tricia, OC and Yvonne

Original Bootcamp Malaysia - August Graduation drinks 04
Derek and Tock

Here’s to September! Hoo yah!

happy birthday twins!

Today’s my older twin sisters’ birthday.

Happy Birthday Twins!

Happy birthday! Mwah.