Monday, October 17, 2011

Joel and Jordan Catching their First Fishes

After watching several episodes of Extreme Fishing with Robson Green, my two sons were inspired. To top if off, they have been playing some fishing game on their mom's Ipad 2. They have both been bugging me about taking them go fishing. And I did just that two weekends ago and here are the results :-)

You can see the disappointment of not catching anything.

Joel with the fish he caught.

Jordan holding up the the fish that Joel caught.

He was worried about not catching anything... after he caught one, he was relief and pretty proud of himself.

A close-up of Jordan and the fish.

Caught four fishes. All tilapia of the cichlid fish family.

Check out the following videos:

First time for everything, Jordan trying to hold a live fish in his hand.

Joel so happy to have caught his fish.

Jordan finally caught a fish too.

Letting all the fishes go.

Now they are constantly bugging me to take them fishing. Unfortunately, the last couple of weekends have been pretty busy. Maybe this Saturday... LOL.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Help! Invest in Gold or Foreign Currency?

In Malaysia, property prices are crazy. Early this year, I have seen the price of a 1400 sq. ft. condo in Vista Komanwel go from about MYR250k to MYR400k; and today I heard that someone is interested to buy that same property at MYR441k.

I am not an expert or even a student of the property market or the economy by any means but that really send warning bells to me that something bad is going to happen in the near future.

In my opinion, I think Malaysian currency is in the process of loosing it's value relative to our neighbouring countries. No matter what the Malaysian government says about our current inflation rates, I think a lot of BS are being propagated and we are not getting the whole picture.

In my opinion, the Malaysia property market is going to get screwed before end of 2013. This property bubble just cannot sustain itself. The prices of properties are just too ridiculous! And that will start the ball rolling for all bad things when the bubble burst!

So what is the next step? For families like mine, where my 3 children are still below ten, what should we do? How will we be able to provide for their education and cost of living? Education insurance? Bank Savings?

Actually I am really at a lost of what is the best thing to do. But two things are for sure:
  1. Must not put savings in MYR!
  2. Must sell all properties to take advantage of the current price.
And so, now I must look for ways to invest to make sure that I don't get screwed. A couple of friends are heavily invested in Gold, which I think is not a bad idea. My current options are:
  1. Gold Investment Accounts
  2. Foreign Currency Accounts
After reading some online articles and exploring various institutional offerings, I think I have to know what my goals are.
  1. Is it to profit from investing in the above two options?
  2. Or is it to maintain the current value of the savings?
The following is the 5 Year Gold Price in USD per oz.

You can see that the general trend is upward with various corrections along the way but still upward. Just something to think about.

Check out the following Forex charts comparing the MYR against various currencies between 12/3/2004 and 9/3/2011. Watch the trend, is it a reliable indicator?

USD is the only currency that the MYR seem to be stronger.

The Renminbi is seen to be the next World currency. But when?

The Singapore dollar is on top of my watch list, not so much for profiteering but rather for security reasons, plus the fact that it is Malaysia's closest neighbour making it very accessible :-)

Still a lot of things to research into. If I can just managed to sell that property of mine at that ridiculous price, then I will need to do some serious thinking and decision making.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Fruits Season in Batu Gajah

April this year, the family went on a weekend trip to Batu Gajah and Ipoh to visit the relatives and for my wife to catch up with her aunt and sisters. For me and the kids, the highlight of the trip was a visit to my wife's aunty's farm around Seputeh in Batu Gajah.

We went there at the right time. It was the start of the durian season. When we arrived at the farm, aunty had already collected 10 durians for us.

Check out some of the photos below.

Durians that ripen and dropped the night before.

The durians still on the tree waiting to ripen. During this time, it is customary to visit the orchard early in the morning to collect the fruits.

While visiting the orchard, we found some more durians that had ripen and dropped.

Serai or lemon grass.

Joel and Jordan had never seen a pineapple plant before.

Pineapples that were ready to be harvested.

A giant pineapple, that aunty kept for us.

What better way to enjoy rambutan than freshly plucked from the tree.

The rambutan fruit was really of the best quality. See how small the seed of the fruit is in comparison to the edible part.

Papayas waiting to be plucked.

Joel and Jordan with their cousin checking out the fish nursery.

These containers acted as water aeration and filtering system to keep the water fresh for the fishes.

Each of this container contain a baby fish.

The name of this fish in Malay is called, "ikan hantu", which translates to "ghost fish". I believe the English name is Marbled Goby. This fish is highly prized for it taste and can fetch a high price in the market.

The adult Marbled Goby were kept in the larger tank.

Bananas for the picking.

Freshly fell coconuts.

Took me a while to get this bunch to fall.

Using a special rod with a saw at the end to cut down the coconut fruit bunches.

Jordan complaining that he cannot carry the coconuts... LOL.

Needed a ladder to reach the coconuts.

The saw used to cut down the coconuts.

Pandan leaves (Pandanus amaryllifolius) right at the backyard of the house, ready to be used anytime for cooking.

Found a bird nest in the pandan leaves.

Uncle with his shotgun getting ready to go wild boar hunting.

It was great day for the kids and the family to be able to visit the orchard. We were told to go there to collect the durians, but ended up with all kind of fruits to bring back home.

We will be back next year when it is durian season again :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mobile Bar in Bangkok

One of the highlights of our company trip to Bangkok was the mobile pub that we came across when we visited Soi 3 in Sukhumvit at 1:00 in the morning. The bartender was very friendly, the beverages reasonably priced and best of all, reggae music blasted from the Volkswagen van sound system. The catchy tune of "Buffalo soldier..." is still stuck in my my head.

Check out some of the photographs and video below:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vampires in Bangkok Palace Hotel

Last weekend, I was on my company annual holiday trip. Sixty of us were shuttled in two AirAsia flights to Bangkok for four days of bliss and relaxation. Personally, I have been to Bangkok a few times on business-related trips, but this is the second time I was there as a tourist :-)

I was looking forward to the infamous local Thai food and bone-cracking massages. We did the customary tour on the floating market, temples and palaces.

Unfortunately our most memorable moments in Bangkok were not of the wonderful times we had but rather of the "vampires" we encountered at our hotel.

Vampires in Bangkok Palace Hotel

After a long day on the flight, walking around the city and visiting the many tourist destinations, we were extremely tired when we reached our hotel. Our tour company, Mayflower Acme Tours, in arrangement with the local tour operator booked us to stay in Bangkok Palace Hotel.

We promptly went to bed at around 1:00am as we had to wake up earlier for the next day's city tour. At about 4:00am, I was woken up by George, my colleague. He told me that he wanted to change room and he showed me the rashes and swellings around his neck, arms and abdomen.

This is a video showing the bed bugs we caught.

We did not know what caused the swelling and rashes, but George was itching as hell. He said he saw a small cockroach scurrying off his bed. George being short-sighted and was not wearing his glasses, had not realised that the "cockroach" was actually a well fed bed bug. You can read up more about the little blood suckers on Wikipedia.

Photograph of a bed bug from Wikipedia.

George managed to catch it and squashed the little bugger. After removing the bed covers and checking our pillows, we found another four and two of them from my bed. I caught and put them in a glass. During that time, George went down to the reception to request for a change of room.

After about 10 minutes, the hotel staff came up and we showed him the bed bugs we caught. He told us that our new room was ready and that we could move in anytime we wanted. He was NOT even surprised. That really pissed us off.

The "Vampiric" Aftermath

The next morning at breakfast we found out that 8 of our colleagues had the same "vampiric" experience the night before.

We complained to the tour operators and they arranged for some of our colleagues to change rooms as well. If this were to happened to other tourists, I doubted if the hotel could have gotten off so easily.

In any case, this hotel is on our banned forever hotel list! Anyone thinking of traveling to Bangkok, be warned not to stay at Bangkok Palace Hotel, lest you become the next victim of these vampires!

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