Sunday, October 21, 2012

Amsterdam Marathon

Completed my second half marathon in Amsterdam. The weather was ideal and I finished at the same time with Song Yia. It is my personal best! Hope to do more runs in the future!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dam Tot Dam Loop 2012

We heard late on a Friday from our colleagues that there were bibs still available for this years run on marktplaats, a famous dutch classifieds site. Dam tot Dam is one of the famous runs starting from Amsterdam to Zaandam. The main run is 16KM with shorter distances for other runs. It takes you through a scenic route of the Netherlands with cheering crowds along the way. A must if you have never experienced it before.

I was very disappointing at first when our company were not securing places for this year, as we would like to participate in this run ahead of our half marathon. So, we jumped into the opportunity when a charity had some available. We ended up running for the organisation, Stichting Harambee. Check out their website, also available in english to read about the great work they do.

I manage to pace myself throughout the run but hit my wall at 14KM. My feet felt as if they could not function any faster anymore so I carried on with one foot after another. It is too late for me to give up. Somehow, I pushed through and the feeling of achievement when I cross the finish line is so satisfying.

I was as afraid this time as I did the same run a year ago but the lack of training on my part was a concern. Well, it is now less than a month away from my second half marathon and I am indeed looking forward to it.

I will update the post with more pictures and videos as they become available.







I will celebrate this evening with some other colleagues with an Indonesian dinner!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

FUN @ Melkweg

We manage to get hold of tickets to the sold out gig of the band FUN. Thank god it did not clash with Lady Gaga's concert or else Song Yia would have never forgiven me.


A poorly taken picture, hopefully you could make out the letter that spells FUN.

The concert was for about an hour and half and we struggle to get a good glimpse of the stage due to being in the tallest nation in the world. Nevertheless, it was a good experience as he sang his tunes exactly like in their album. He also did not spent much time on gimmicks or talking with the fans which made the concert focused on the band's tunes.

Here are some footage I found of recordings of the concert on Youtube to share the experience. Thanks to moonsster78 for the recordings.



Some Nights - The title track for their album



We Are Young - Their billboard Number 1



Why Am I The One



Carry On

Walk The Moon opened for the band.



It was indeed a great concert to be in and we can't wait till our next one which I believe is Mika!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mysteryland 2012

We got complimentary tickets to this event and will officially be the first ever festival I attend. Top acts such as Calvin Harris, Martin Solveig and Avicii will be performing today. Despite the unfavorable weather, we brave it through to experience this event.

Upon arrival at Hoofddorp, there were bus transfer services to the venue, Haarlemmemeer. We arrived slightly later than the opening ceremony and was welcomed by the rain where we managed to seek shelter in the Big Top. As it is still considered early, there was a lot of room to roam around in the big tent.

The Big Top

The Big Top

Feeling hungry and thirsty, we bought 50 euros worth of tokens using the automated machines like below before exploring the wide range of food available around the stages.

Tokens

There are many stages in this event with different type of music and we were excited to explore them all. Here are pictures I took within the grounds. The first one is a view from the highest point of one of the sections.

View of Mysteryland

Star Club Stage

The Qult

The Q-Dance Stage

I love the randomness of the decorations all over the park.

A Bird



Twitter Look A Like

There was Free Wifi throughout the event courtesy of Vodafone. I guess the satellites below are not for decoration purposes.

Free Wifi

As we could not tolerate the rain anymore, we left earlier than planned as it was becoming unbearable as the crowd keep pushing in to be in the shelter.

To compensate for that, I manage to find a cool video of the closing event at the Q-Dance stage as below which was the most elaborated stage I have ever seen.



Despite the bad weather, I did I enjoy myself at the beginning but left disappointed that I could see watch Calvin Harris performing but at least I saw Martin Solveig from a distance and dancing to his hit "Hello".

For further information, you can visit their official website.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Free Tools That I Use

Thought it would be a good idea to share with my loyal readers if there are any out there about the free tools available on the internet that I use. The question is why pay when you can get something equally as good for free! It has become a common practise for me to do a quick search on google to see what free options are available before I settle down to purchase an application.

Here are some of the top 3 popular applications that I use.

File Compression

7 zip

I started using 7-zip to compress my files that I host on my cloud server. This is of course to save space and it performs as well as WinZip or WinRar.

FTP Client

I have been using Filezilla for as long as I can remember when I started to get serious with online development. I can't exactly remember why I switch from WS FTP but it might be due to the nicer user interface. Just remember to download the client version if your intention is to upload files or pages to your web server.

E-Mail Client

Thunderbird

I use Thunderbird to read all my e-mails from most of my main websites. This tool is brought to you by the same good guys that created Firefox Internet browser. One selling point of thunderbird is the wide amount of free add ons available to extend its features. This is definately much better than Microsoft Outlook in my view.

There are endless amount of applications available online and I highly recommend you do your research to ensure you download from reputable sources to avoid spy or adwares.

Click here to visit a one of the better list of softwares and applications available.

Enjoy!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dappermarkt Amsterdam

Another weekend and I continue on my expedition of visiting the street markets of Amsterdam. According to my research, this is meant to be the cheapest market in terms of price. I guess it must be where the bargain hunters frequent and being a distance from the city center also places it out of reach for most.



Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the orange stripes hanged throughout the length of the market. It boasts a wider road (Apparently the place was designed for a market) and have a slightly larger selection of surrounding shops than Albert Cuyp but everything looks similar.

You can reach this market using tram number 3 at the stop Dapperstraat.

I did not spent as much time as I would have liked here as I was looking out more for flea markets.

This market is quite a distance from the city center so I would recommend you to visit Albert Cuyp Market instead which is much more central.

You can find out more details of this market at their official website. The markets is open daily except Sundays from 10:00 - 16:30.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

London Olympics Closing Ceremony

Well done to the UK for hosting a successful Olympics. Despite me following closely the scandals, I was happy with the use of technology like Youtube to share the highlights of each sports.

Olympic Mascot

I am also celebrating the fact that Malaysia took two medals home with a hard a fought match in Badminton for a near first gold medal by Dato Lee Chong Wei. A big shout out to Pandeelela for breaking several national records for delivering the first women's and diving medal. She might be also the youngest Olympian to do that for the country.

The Dutch male gymnast, Epke Zonderland performance in the high bars also deserves a mention here. Search a youtube video for it.

Back to the closing ceremony, one of my highlight of the ceremony is of course the performance of Spice Girls. Yes, I admit it that I am a fan and especially Melanie C. See their performance here of a combination of Spice Up Your Life and Wannabe.



The closing ceremony was a medley of the best of the UK music from all generation including the legends. Yea, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury made an appearance thanks to the use of technology.

I did not stay up long enough to watch the fireworks but thanks to the footage on youtube like embedded below, I am able to stream the whole closing ceremony like I did with the opening.



That's all for now. See you all in Rio in 4 years time!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Surprise Birthday Gift For Song Yia

Thanks to technology, I was able to give Song Yia a surprise for her Birthday. I ordered her favourite flowers over the internet to be delivered in the morning and it worked! Here are the pictures.





Happy Birthday Song Yia!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

PSY - Gangnam Style

I discovered this video after surfing Youtube for the 100 music videos and it was in the top 5. Out of curiousity, I viewed the video and was entertained throughout.



I find it hilarious in the comments especially from the Koreans trying to explain to the ignorant ones that it is not Japanese. I can imagine the association that might get some pissed off.

I recognise the girl in the video as Hyuna, a member of Korean K-Pop group 4Minute. I know her from the super hot video clip below for the song Bubble Pop.



Besides this video going viral, K-Pop have certainly gone international with Wonder Girls, 2NE1, Bing Bang, Super Junior, Girls Generation among many others getting huge success internationally.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Kissaten @ IOI Boulevard

It has become almost of a routine every time I am back home to hangout with my friends. I have known most of them in high school mainly through scouting. Johnny Low on the other hand is someone that I have grewed up with since primary school and it will indeed be a sin if I don't catch up with him every chance I get.

He recommended this Japanese place for dinner this evening which is a convenient drive for me.

After struggling to locate the facebook page of this establishment to like for a free Ice Lemon Tea, I shared a main with Song Yia which as this fussion type Pizza.


20120806-235233.jpg

The semi finals of the Olympic badminton game was also shown on the big screen which made it a convenient topic to talk about. It ended with a high as Malaysia moves on to the finals.



20120806-235728.jpg

Thanks again to Jessie and Johnny Low for taking time from their busy schedule to catch up.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Thai Thai @ Sunway Pyramid

Sunway Pyramid is my usual hangout whenever I am back in Malaysia. I remember the younger days when we will make our annual trip to Johor from Penang for Chinese New Year and making a pit stop here.

Well, we decided to head here for dinner with my dearest Mum. We were looking for Thai food and ended up at Thai Thai. (I guess the founders couldn't think of a more obvious name). I never have too high of an expectation of restaurants in malls but this looked promising as there was quite a decent size crowd seated in there although it being quite late in the evening. It might be due to some breaking fast.

Here is a picture of the prawn Phad Thai I had. It does not do the dish justice but wanted to share my dining experience.



I am not a huge fan of spicy food but this catered to my taste buds.

Also worth noting, this is the first blog I am making using the apple app. I blogged using my blackberry previously when I was in Hungary. You can call me a late adopter of technology but somehow I have started to embrace it.

Till my next post, goodbye for now.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Big Day Arrives

Finally, the big day for Yoges and Chathuri arrives. The wedding was held Cinnamon Grand Colombo which was a stone throw away from where we were staying. This venue must be making a fortune on weddings as two just ended earlier and there is one happening in parallel. The day already started early for us best men as we pose for pictures for their wedding albums. I will share the pictures when they are ready.

The ceremony itself started sharp at 17.30 with traditional dancers escorting us to the main hall and stage. It was later followed by the arrival of the bride's family. The religious ceremony than started with it lasting over an hour according to memory. Below was a picture of me and the gang observing the lighting the oil lamp.

Wedding

We only started eating at roughly 9.00 in the evening. The food was no doubt delicious! Well done on the menu and selection.

After several dance and laughters, the evening ended with the bride and groom exiting the venue. It was mayhem as we started throwing and spraying confetti. You can look at the damage it cost the groom in the picture below.

The final picture in the evening

So, my adventure to Sri Lanka comes to an end. It was a worthwhile trip and I am thankful for the new friends I have made. Pictures above are courtesy of my new buddies via facebook.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Temple Of The Sacred Tooth @ Kandy

Located approx 116 km away from Colombo, we took off on a van to the old capital, Kandy. Although the distance seem reasonable, the journey took us close to 4 hours and this included the less busy traffic on the weekend.

We hired a van instead of using a tour company and pushed off early at 8.00 (Well, we were running about an hour behind due to having a late night previously)

Upon reaching the venue on top of the hill, it was magical. You will need to make sure that you are properly dressed with skirts or shorts covering up to your knees at least. For the ladies that have mistaken this, there are sarongs for hire for about 200 rupees.

A brief walk after the security gates you will arrive at the entrance as shown below where you can purchase your entry tickets along with leaving your shoes behind. You will be able to see a few further pictures of my highlights here.



Once through the main entrance, you will come to the base where the tooth relic is stored. Thankfully we got a guide which kept us informed.



You can catch a glimpse of the roof that has the ceiling decorated with golden lotus flowers.



The picture below shows an artist impression of the princess hiding the tooth in her hair while taking it to Sri Lanka from India.



Within the grounds, there is the old palace.



One of the elephants that greeted us as we enter the site. They are getting reading for the procession in the evening.



The beautiful lake situated in Kandy with an island in the middle.



It was a worthwhile journey to get here but a bit too long of a drive especially if you are on a strict schedule like we were. It was also a bit dissapointing that you can't actually see the tooth as it is covered and in a room that is out of sight. The closest chance of you getting to view it is within its protective case being paraded on the elephants at certain times of the year.

It is also worth noting that there is apparently a ceremonial bathing of the tooth every Wednesday but I am unsure if it is open to public.

That's all for this post, I will be back in Colombo in the evening for a barbeque and a wedding the next day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Colombo Sri Lanka

Flew in early this morning to Colombo, Sri Lanka for the first time to attend my friend's wedding. Started early in LCCT this morning and we took off with Air Asia in a group of 9 pax.

The journey from the airport to the hotel took about an hour. It wasn't the distance that made the journey long but more due to the traffic and the road. I would not be caught alive driving here as I will be a hazard to everyone and risk getting banned.



We are staying in the Samudra Hotel which is part of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. A good value hotel and the one closest to the beach that I can see and the above is the view from our balcony. The tower is apparently occupied by the military and there is a train track in between that separates the beach from our hotel.



We did a short city tour in a van. We passed through a few temples and the old parliament. It seems to be a religious country with statues of buddha and other religious figures spread around in a roundabouts and next to the roads. We visited the temple below which I did not manage to catch the name but it was a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.



We ended the evening at Lavinia in a place called Bu Ba Beach Seafood Restaurant for drinks. It was located on the beach across the train tracks where the Tsunami previously hit. It is great to see that things have moved on since. The drinks are not exceptionally good but the atmosphere was nice. It is located quite remotely in and we would have never found this place without a local driver.

Everything is amazing so far and a new experience. Will be spending the next few days here and will keep you posted on my adventures here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Another day back home and as my family are back home, we decided to head to the cinema at Paradigm to watch Batman. XR was speaking so highly about it.

Like many other movies, they have posted a snippet of the movie on line. As their movie runs for over 2 hours, they could afford to post a 15 minute scene from the film. I did not watch this but be great for those to get a preview. Click play below to enjoy.



I did not find the movie to be that great as I enjoyed the last one, the Dark Knight and I recall watching it in a English cinema in Hamburg. I guess the previous set the bar too high. However, Anne Hathaway as cat woman makes up for it. There were moments in the movie where my attention seem to have drifted away, unlike the previous movie where I was glued to the screen.

If you have already watch the movie, please read on. If you haven't I urge you to stop and leave this post to avoid some spoiler. I am posting the poster of the movie to avoid you from reading what I have to say, so you have a few more scrolls to make up your mind.



Ok, you have had your chance. Well, if the nuclear bomb exploded at sea approx 6km away... Why wasn't there a tsunami? I also expect some effects of radiation in the next movie with a guest appearance by Godzilla or something alike. Just something I needed to get off my chest.

Well, till my next post... Take care!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Birthday Of Adeline Ong

Back in time for my loving sister, Adeline Ong's Birthday! We celebrated with a quiet dinner in Gourmandis at the new Citta Mall. Well, not so new but for me at least. This is one of the many malls mushrooming around since the last time I was back.

The service was not that great but the food was much better. Here is a picture of the pizza we took.



It was a Seafood pizza and I particularly liked the thin base and crust. The lamb combo was also yummy!

Last but not least, the birthday would not have been complete without a cake. Here is a picture of a small Red Velvet cake from Wondermilk that my other sister, XR bought!

Adeline Ong

Picture above taken on instagram by XR.

It was an enjoyable evening and it is so nice to be back home.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Artis Zoo @ Amsterdam

The weekend is here and what better way to spend it than in the Zoo. Thanks to a corporate arrangement, we have free entry tickets to the Zoo. It is the second year running that we are here and it is definately much better as I can last recall as it was going under some refurbishment the last time I visited.

Here is a nice picture I took of a brave Prairie dog that was standing in front of its colony against a crowd of people looking.

Prairie dog

Well, maybe it is just occupied with eating. Also, I learned that these Rodent family are called Dogs because they make barking noises. Did not manage to hear any of them though so I had to trust whatever is written on the sign.

It is always inspiring to see what mother nature has to offer but equally sad to see the animals being caged or in a confined space. So, I will be neutral on this topic and more against the animals in the Circus.

For more information and planning a visit to this Zoo in the city, click here to visit their official website.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Seafood at Visaandeschelde in Amsterdam

This restaurant lived up to expectations as one of the best seafood place in Amsterdam. It was walking distance from where we live in Amsterdam and we have always wanted to give it a try and a Friday evening meal was perfect.

Here are some quick snapshots of our meal for the evening. As we went for the 3 course menu, the dishes are in sequence from starters to dessert.

Assortment Of Cucumbers and Miso Mayonaise

The starters was a combination of fish with a variety of cucumbers based sides. It included a cucumber sorbet and jelly.

Fish, Squid and Ratatouille

The main course was a fish, squid and rataouille that was served apart.

Chocolate Brownie

The chocolate brownie included a long tube of cherry jelly and chocolate crumble with gold leaves. Yummy!

I hope the pictures of the amazing dishes did justice. Besides the food, the atmosphere and courteous staff contributed to the experience. The price was also of good value working out to be around 50 Euros per head which included beer and wine.

The dinner was relaxing and a good end to a busy work week.

For more information, visit their english page at http://www.visaandeschelde.nl/eng/

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Far East Movement @ Paradiso

Dirty Bass European Tour. As part of their new album, the Asian American team have decided to grace us in Amsterdam once again with their presence. It is not the first time they have been here in Amsterdam this year but definately the first time I have seen them. Was never a huge fan of their main hit "Like A G6" but the song grew on me.

Far East Movement

They sang their hits Turn Up The Love, Rocketeer and Live Your Life among others. It was an energetic performance with an intimate crowd. They even paid tribute to Beastie Boys which apparently inspired them. There was a lot of interaction with the crowd such as showering everyone with champagne (thanks to the tall Dutch who shielded me for most) and crowd surfing by the performers.

Here is a nice picture of me and Song Yia courtesy of the good folks at ASN-Online.nl. An asian social community site in the Netherlands.

Far East Movement @ Paradiso

Haven't had the chance to upload the videos I captured but here are some I have found from Youtube. It is amazing that some youtubers even recorded the whole show.



Waited an hour after the show for the meet and greet but decided to abandon our efforts after it became packed.

In general, it was an amazing experience. A bit short concert as the true performance only lasted a bit over an hour. Was not to fond of the opening acts but had tons of fun.

Till next time, can't wait for my next concert in Ziggo Dome for Lady Gaga!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Caving In Pecs

Started the day at 0830 when we headed over to the first cave at Orfu to do proper caving. The tightest spot and squeeze I have ever been in. We made a descent of only 40 meters in a group of 8. I completely lost the sense of time as I was battling my fear of heights at some drops. Couldn't help it by imagining everything that can go wrong (Thanks to bloody movies such as Final Destination)

Unfortunately, I couldn't bring my camera in there.

We headed to a second cave after lunch. This was more of a stroll and the cooling atmosphere inside was refreshing.

Still the evening to go before I head back to rainy Amsterdam. I imagine we will have a feast of meat and wine.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sensation 2012 Amsterdam

Had the opportunity to join over 40,000 people at Amsterdam Arena for Sensation. This year's theme is source of light. The cool part of Sensation (formerly known as Sensation White) is that everyone dresses in white.

Here are two videos that I have captured of that evening's stunning performance:





The event started at 10.45 sharp and I stayed till 4.00 in the morning. A new record for my endurance. Not a very seasoned individual when it comes to such events. Regardless, no regrets.

This event started out in Netherlands have since gone global and tours the world. Click here to visit their official website.

An experience that I highly recommend if you ever have the chance.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman

Saw an advert on a billboard yesterday evening that this movie is "nu in de bioscoop". That is dutch for Now In The Cinema. The good thing about cinema in Netherlands is that all English movies are available in their original language unlike Germany where I had to go to an English Cinema for that.

Well, take a look at this special 4 minute preview if you haven't had the chance to watch this!



Trust me, it is an amazing movie in indeed. Marvel seems to be having a great year with blockbusters after blockbusters. I particularly enjoy the cameo appearances by Stan Lee in all Marvel movies.

Check out a picture I took of Spiderman upon my exit of the Wax Museum in Amsterdam not too long ago.



Not too sure if Tobey or Andrew was a better Spiderman but nevertheless I did enjoy both versions.

Friday, June 29, 2012

24 Years Ago

The below set of pictures was taken of me in Amsterdam and based on the date on those picture, it is 24 years ago. Can't believe I manage to end up here. Looks like I still have not lost most of my baby fat. ;)

Childhood Dreams

If you are wondering why I am in pink, it was a hand me down from my sis and the other boy is a childhood friend of mine, Felix. The picture is taken by Uncle Albert while we are on transit either to or back from Liberia, Africa where my Dad was working.