Mukah: Part 1

Since I had a few days to spare in Kuching before celebrating Chinese New Year, I dropped by Mukah to visit a good friend. This will also be the second time that I’ll be flying on the Twin Otter, previously during my trip to Mulu a decade ago.

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I bought a standby ticket to Mukah after lunch and was on standby for the 3:45pm flight. Bookings for that flight was full, but after I packed and went back to the airport, they managed to get me a seat on that flight.

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It was raining so umbrellas were provided. No aerobridge to get you to the cabin.

I almost forgot how small the aircraft was. There are no seat numbers so it’s free seating. No cabin crew to serve drinks either. There was no requirement since the aircraft seats 19 people or less. There were 11 passengers on my flight.

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Small cabin.

Getting to Mukah was an adventure itself. Flying in a small plane means you’re pretty much at the mercy of the weather. The takeoff roll was very brief. It was raining in Kuching and visibility was not very good. But once we broke through the rain clouds, it was all clear and sunny. And soon we were climbing to 7500 feet. The aircraft is unpressurized so it cannot fly too high. So there’s plenty to see if you look out from the window.

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The many rivers of Sarawak snaking inland.

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Flying at about 7500 feet at 300km/h.

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Houses can be seen as we approached Mukah.

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Sharp right turn as we approached Mukah. Flaps down in this photo.

The plane came down very fast during landing. The pilot then made a U-turn and headed back to the terminal. After the passengers left I talked to the captain and pilot. I asked them how they navigate the route and they say mainly VFR (visual) and GPS. They had about 15 minutes before taking off again to head back to Kuching.

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Very simple flight instruments.

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Very small cabin.

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Admittedly, I got lost in this airport when I arrived because they had closed the front doors by the time I got down from the aircraft.

More to come. Stay tuned!

Ipoh Flea Market

I was in Ipoh this morning with virtualmystic to check out their flea market. Rumour has it that the flea market contains antiques and old stuff, including vinyls and technology from the yesteryears. It is also said that some things from there are stolen goods. Judging from the number of car players for sale, I won’t be surprised if that’s true. The flea market is located on Horley Road and Lim Bo Seng Road. Your GPS should be able to bring you there. If not, nearby landmarks include the Ipoh City Hotel, Grand View Hotel and The Store shopping center.

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The first part of the flea market we visited sold mainly new and modern things, not unlike your local nightmarket. The other part sells almost everything under the sun. We were interested in that part.

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Items for sale includes (clockwise from top) very old PC parts, parts from a bike, engine parts.

The things that you can find here is amazing. If you ever need something, this is the place to go to. It’s like a junkyard, a tinker’s heaven.

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New and sealed floppy disks! Each holds an amazing 1.44 MEGABYTES!!! WOW!!!1111. Also seen here: ping pong bat, ADSL modem, PSP casing, socks. Very random.

The flea market also doubles as a free history museum. You can should bring your children there to educate them about the olden days. I’m sure they will be amazed by how people used to live without computers, mp3 and the Internet.

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Assorted parts.

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Assorted car parts.

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Here they have a collection of old tape players and amplifiers.

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Old telephones, second hand tools, hi-fi sets and lamps. I even saw a chainsaw for sale. Perfect for Halloween. Not sure if they will allow that into a party.

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Again, a lot of assorted parts. I saw hundreds of Sony Walkmans for sale. Perhaps they will become more expensive over time since Sony has announced that they will discontinue making them.

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Memory Lane. How true. “Macam-macam ada” (assorted selection).

Really enjoyed the trip there. There were so many things to see. Like I said earlier, it’s like a museum, and I absolutely love looking at old stuff. Things that you may be able to buy here (other than the ones mentioned above): clothes, shoes, belts, old books, magazines, kerosene lamps, very old handphones (think Nokia 3310 and before), electrical items from the colonial era, 8-track, audiotapes, CDs, finished liquor bottles and cases, old cameras, video cameras, knives, broken guitar necks (no idea why anyone would want one), and almost anything that you can think of.

I got a few vinyls for my recently acquired turntable. Managed to get the Carpenters, Bee Gees and a Beatles’ single for bargain prices.

Later we had lunch at Kong Heng chicken rice shop.

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Amazing white coffee.

All photos here taken with an iPhone 4. Didn’t bring my D90.

Will be posting up my Melaka trip weeks ago with Zoe Yve soon. Stay tuned!

Blast from the Past

I was browsing through some photos yesterday while writing about my cat and I found some interesting photos that I took a while ago.

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House warming present: a roll of tissue paper. Bet that lasted a long time. Can’t even remember when this was taken.

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Our very own Oktoberfest a few years back.

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Breaking fast at Flamming BBQ Sunway with colleagues.

I was really into photography when I acquired my first DSLR. I had the time then to experiment with a lot of things, and organize outings with friends. I might need to put more time into it.

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Experimenting with lighting.

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I was also into filters, especially the graduated neutral density type.

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This was during a break from shooting at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). House of the dead.

And for a while I was into HDR:

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Kuching International Airport

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@tmosphere at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Will be digging up more old photos in the future.

RIP Cat

My mum just informed me that my younger cat back at home has been put to sleep due to kidney failure.  He was already feeling sickly the last time I was back (end of August). His condition didn’t improve and by today he was unable to walk. I guess it was best to end his suffering peacefully. He has had a very good life (read: salmon for dinner) and I guess it was just time for him to go.

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Cats are most adorable when they’re asleep. That’s because they’re not bothering you to feed them for the third time in an hour.

I don’t really remember how long he has been with us. But I would guess in excess of 10 years since we brought him home as a kitten. How time flies. All my cats have been like family to us. And he was no exception.

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Very early photos of him. These were shot in film, not digital so you can imagine how old they are. He’s in the top left and middle right photo.

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His favorite food was cat biscuits. He would rub himself against the biscuit container until you feed him or he’ll mew so pathetically that you would feel sorry and feed him. It is true when they say cats have control over their owners. Even so, he’s still always trying to jump on the dinner table during our meals.

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During his better days. I like him because he doesn’t complain much. You can carry him around and he wouldn’t mind. Unlike the other cats. He makes a funny sound when you drop him from high above. Dropping here means making a rapid downward movement while cradling him, not actually letting him freefall down.

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Spends most of the time sleeping near you when you’re busy doing something. He would just snuggle up to you when you’re clearly not free for him and he would only go away after repeatedly putting him down. Most of the time he just wants to be fed. At other times he just wants your attention. Once he’s satisfied you’ll find him curled up in a ball fast asleep.

Sometimes while watching TV, he would just jump up on the sofa and curl himself around you to sleep. Sometimes if you’re unlucky you’ll have to entertain him and shower him with some attention before he will leave you alone. But he wasn’t too annoying. Just the right amount of annoyance to make himself important enough not to be ignored.

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He’s even in our family portrait! Bottom left if you can’t recognize cats.

The following were the last photos that I took of him while I was back in August. He was getting quite sick already but he was still around and his presence was still felt, i.e. still annoying as usual.

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He was starting to grow thin and his fur was unkempt. Here seen sleeping on my bed.

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Not in sequence.

I’m sure I have a lot more of his photos if I go back to Kuching and dig them from the photo archives. I haven’t been taking much photos of him since I moved over to KL. And needless to say I wasn’t there when he was put to sleep. And I think it was for the best, because it would have been hard for me to let him go.

What wouldn’t I give now to have him for another day.

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RIP.

Weekly Update

I attended a 3 day “Excellence at Supervision” course at MAA Kelana Jaya as part of my training program. It’s a leadership course that teaches us how to manage people and deal with situations at work. I find it more like a team building exercise because we need to work together to solve problems and come up with solutions. It’s a very hands on course and it’s a lot of fun.

There’s a big difference between dealing with people and dealing with machines. With machines it’s simple. You just need to give it exactly what it needs. The machine is build to a certain specification and it will never run away from that. Humans are different. We are all different and we all have different personalities. So if you have 20 people that you need to lead, you will have 20 different ways of interacting with each of them. And you’ll need to figure out their styles, preferably when you first meet them.

We also learn of the different ways of dealing with situations. Instead of the blame-culture that we are all so familiar with, we were taught the “proactive” way of approaching a situation. In the proactive approach, we ask these 3 questions:

  1. What went well?
  2. What can be improved?
  3. What did I/we learn?

As you can see, the proactive way is a very positive way of approaching a situation. The opposite of proactive is reactive, which is to start blaming people.

Although the concept is good, implementing it in real life may be difficult. It’s difficult but not impossible. But it’s definitely easier to blame others for any thing that goes wrong.

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We also learned how to be better leaders. And the difference between leaders and managers. There’s a fine line between them but leaders are the ones who will always put their team first because nobody can run a one man show. Leaders will also need to have integrity and be ready to admit their mistakes.

I truly believe that if we all follow the teachings of the course, the world will be a better place. One way or the other, we are all leaders. Setting a good example to those following you will have a profound impact on your team and people around you.