Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rush Hour In Washington

Came across "Pearls Before Breakfast" and found the idea intriguing.

As part of an experiment by the Washington Post, Joshua Bell, who easily earns $1,000 per minute, performed as a street musician on his $3.5 million violin one morning in January last year, collecting only $32 plus. The result, published in the April 8 edition of the newspaper, is the buzz of the classical music world in the US and around the world. Click here to read Gene Weingarten's story, complete with audio and video.

My two-cents worth of comment?

First. People rush through life missing the pearls in life. No wonder the Bible has a quote that says, Do Not Cast Pearls to Swines. But for you and me? Seek the everyday pearls in life.

Second. We cheer when the crowd cheers. We jeer and boo when the crowd heckles the lone figure. If the world says it is good, we believe it must be good. We derive our values from the dictates of societal norms. We ARE the crowd. But check out the Word of Life to break free and Stand out for Christ. What does God say? Do you look to God for affirmation or the world for confirmation?

Third. We live like there is no God in heaven. People forget that they don't just do what they like to do and want to do without consequences. Just as we watch the entire episode of the experiment on video, I wonder, how we would behave if we realized for a moment, everything is caught on camera by the angelic crew. No wonder Heb 4:13 says, Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom We must give account.

What do you think? Does it matter?

Yeah, maybe you say, what does it matter....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Fabulous Pictures from Phuket

Catch Janielle's blog for the latest Phuket pictures. And Hwai Tah's blog too.

I'll be posting my perspective of the trip pretty soon.

Jasen!!! Wished you were with us!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sipadan Next! at very good old price still ....

Dear fellow niche divers

You're invited to join me and my wife on a 5 DAY 4 NIGHT FUN TRIP exploring the underworld beauty of Sipadan from July 24-28 this year.

This will be one of your perfect diving adventures.

Since we are staying on a converted oil rig (the only one in the world if I'm not mistaken) that sits in the middle of the sea, we could make daily trips easily to Mabul (1 kilometer away) and Sipadan (20 minutes away), INSTEAD of making repeated long trips from Semporna (if we were to stay on the mainland) to dive.

ON TOP of that, we can make unlimited house-reef dives from the rig.

We get all these at the following price for Malaysians (subject to changes soon) based on Twin Share Basis:4 Days 3 Nights Seaventures Diving Package: RM1560.00 Per Diver

*Every Extension Night (Stay more than 4 nights): RM415.00 Per Diver Per Night
*Sipadan Permit: RM40.00 Per Diver Per Day/Night/Entry
*Excluding flight, equipment, and additional 1 night stay in Tawau.For your information, I'm arranging the following itinerary to optimize dive time and travel comvenience.

Day 1 – July 24 Arrival at dive resort (Lunch/Dinner)Take flight to Tawau Airport. Land transfer to Semporna (about 1 hour journey). Boat transfer from Jetty to Seaventures Dive Resort (about 45 minutes journey).1 orientation dive + 1 boat dive at Mabul Island (Subject to change without prior notice) + unlimited housereef dive with own buddy + night dive (with own buddy)

Day 2 – July 25 (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)3 daily boat dive (Sipadan / Mabul / Kapalai) + Unlimited house reef dive with own buddy + Night Dive at house reef with own buddy

Day 3 – July 26 (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)3 daily boat dive (Sipadan / Mabul / Kapalai) + Unlimited house reef dive with own buddy + Night Dive at house reef with own buddy

Day 4 – July 27 Departure (Breakfast/Lunch)After early lunch check-out & transfer you to the Tawau Airport by flight to Kota Kinabalu then connect flight back to home

OR(THIS IS MY OPTION!) So that we can make another 2 dives since we're not flying on the same day.After lunch at resort, around 1400hrs, check-out & transfer you to Semporna/Tawau Town. Note: No. of dive depend on flight time on next day.(Please bear in mind of requirement for the surface interval before flight on next time.)

Day 5 – July 28 Home Sweet HomeRelax after a night's rest and take either morning flight or afternoon flight according to your schedule and personal flight arrangements.TOTAL NUMBER OF PROJECTED DIVES: 10 day dives + 3 night dives (or more depending on YOU and DIVE CONDITIONS)

Note:Sipadan Permit is subject to availability. Once permit is booked, subject to 100% cancellation charges. All daily entry to dive or visit Sipadan Island will be subject to approval by Sabah park Management, which is in control of issuing the entry permit. Should the entry permit to Sipadan Island is not approved, we will make alternative diving at nearby island such as Mabul, Kapalai Island...etc.

Diving is subject to coincide with our scheduled transfer or subject to charge accordingly.
- 15% discount for the non diver from the diver rate
- 50% discount for the children below 12 years old (non diver)
- Dive scheduling and grouping arrangement of divers shall be determined by the resort staff
- All the diving schedules are subject to change without prior notice & subject to sea and weather condition

Package Rates includes:
1. EX-TAWAU Package: Return land & boat transfer between Tawau Airport/Tawau Town - Seaventures Dive Resort
2. Fullboard Meals & Beverage (Excluding alcoholic & carbonated drinks)
3. Twin share accommodation in fully air-conditioning cabin attached bathroom with hot shower.
4. 3 Daily boat dive ( 2 boat dive at Sipadan Island + 1 boat dive at Mabul/Kapalai Island) + night dive at house reef with buddy system.
5. Tanks, weights and weight belt.
6. Unlimited housereef dive with buddy system.
7. Free use of internet broadband services.

Equipment Rental Rates (Per Day)
1. BCD RM25.00
2. Regulator W/Gauge RM25.00
3. Mask & Snorkel RM15.00
4. Fins RM10.00
5. Wetsuit RM25.00

* Full set Equipment Rental Rate (Per Day): RM100.00

For Unscheduled Return Transfer:• Land Transfer: An additional of RM120.00 Per Person • Boat Transfer: An additional of RM300.00 Per Person Facilities:* Accommodation with fully air-conditioned & attached bathroom with hot shower* Karaoke Lounge with VCD movies* Sundeck Lounge (also serves as open-air area)* Maindeck Lounge (also serves as open-air dining area)* Restaurant* Game Room - Pool table* Fully equipped Conference Room (accommodated 60 persons)* PADI Diving course (up to Assistant Instructor Lavel)* Internet AccessYou are require to provide full name according to passport, passport number, gender, nationality & flight details of the guests. All guests are required to sign a liability release (waiver) and express assumption of risk upon arrival and abide by all diving and safety rules. Unused portions of tour packages are not refundable once tour commences.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Congratulations to Hwai Tah, Sherene, Jacky, and Janielle for completing their PADI Open Water Diver certification! Posting some early pictures before I get the rest from the others.

STREET MAGIC: Nataly taking a peek under the funny man's dancing cocacola bottle to figure out how this magician does his act!
DON'T PLAY PLAY: Jacky walloping down his favourite extra-spicy everything-mixed-in authentic Thai beef noodles at only 60 baht!
COOL DUDE: Nataly and Janielle flanking this dude who runs the beef noodle stall
FOOD GALORE: Land piranhas tearing at Thai pancakes with a variety of toppings and flavour

TUCKING INTO NUM TUK: Andrew and Jacky stuffing down strips of delicious BBQ pork drenched in special lemon coriander mint leave chilli sauce.

SECOND DAY DIVING: Splendid sunset after a wonderful day's dive at Phi Phi Island

WHOSE ANGELS? Posing at Bida Nok

READY TO GO: Hwai Tah raring to experience the weightlessness of the underwater world

TITANIC POSE? Hwai Tah and Sherene at the bow of West Coast Diver

INTO SHORTIES: You don't have to only jump off a boat when it sinks. You can do it when you like - if you're a diver!

COOL ANDREW: Old faithful promoting RR in Phuket.

EASY AS ABC: Jacky and Hwai Tah finning into their buddy positions awaiting the rest of us to jump into the waters at Phi Phi.

I'M OK! Close up of Hwai Tah gleefully giving the OK signal

SURFACE INTERVAL: Divers fooling around after lunch awaiting the next plunge into the water world.

It was my privilege to work through the training with this bunch of enthusiastic and determined divers who didn't flinch when facing a thunderstorm and choppy waves amid wafts of cold wind on the second day of their dive training.

It was even cold enough for me to abandon my swimming trunks and T-shirt in favour of shorties. What more for them as new divers!

On the third day aboard Sea Fantasy II, all of them practically enjoyed their dives 5 and 6 with excellent buoyancy control as we explored the depths of Racha Yai.

PIECE OF CAKE: Janielle and Sherene chowing down pancakes drizzled with chocolate and cinnamon sauce and syrup after the second day's dive at Bida Nai and Bida Nok in the vicinity of Phi Phi.

ALL OK: Janielle, Sherene, and Hwai Tah giving the OK signal after they giant-stepped off the boat

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last Trip to Phuket This Year

Hwai Tah, Sherene, Nataly, and Jacky will be taking a cab to LCCT tomorrow while Andrew will join us on his own. Janielle will get to complete her Discover Scuba stint a year back and get certified on this trip.

Feeling a bit nolstagic already, having been to Phuket quite often, and each trip was filled with different memories.

The best were when Jessica and the girls joined me midway while I was spending a couple of weeks doing my dive training last year for two long stretches. You know, when you're away for a spell from those you spend your life with everyday, ....


Diving conditions are challening this season. The latest update today describes good diving and sunny weather so far, even though the seas are expected be rougher. That means the big fish are aplenty.

Interesting huh. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. That's when you see less of the wimpy and small fries. Hmmm. Life's like that huh.

Latest update:

17 June 2008Weather After a nice high season, some unusual rains in April though, the wind has shifted. After this wind direction change we always have some unsettled weather, which happened in the middle of May. We are having very nice weather lately; today it is sunny, there is a slight breeze, the seas are very calm.

The diving is very nice at the moment, with quite lots of ghost pipe fish, frogfish and seahorses at Shark Point, Bida Islands and Koh Doc Mai.

Also plenty of sharks in the area, both leopard sharks and black tips at the Bida islands, lots of jacks, and we even saw a whale shark at the King Cruiser wreck and at Racha Yai a few days ago.
Temperatures of appx. 34 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit), sea temperatures of 29 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit).

The visibility is ok at the moment. On average: Racha Noi 20 meters, Racha Yai 15-20 meters, Phi Phi 10-15 meters, Shark Point area 10-15 meters, Hin Daeng/Muang 15-20 meters, no diving at Kata Beach or Similans. Visibility in the area varies a lot day by day.

Sightings Besides the usual things to see, there are lots of leopard sharks at the moment, and also the number of white tip and black tip reef sharks has risen dramatically since last year. And there are of course the usual things to see.

At Similans, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock there are apart from the pretty standard nursesharks, leopard sharks and reefsharks also humphead parrot fish, Napoleons and quite a few turtles.

At these sites we also see nice small life like harlequin shrimp, nudibranches, etc.
At Shark Point: seahorse, nursesharks and of course leopard sharks; at Anemone Reef turtles, nursesharks and quite often a leopard shark in the 5 meter range; at Koh Doc Mai 2 seahorses and a frogfish; 3 different shark species, plenty of scorpion and lion fish and also a turtle at King Cruiser.

Turtles, see needles, a frogfish and frequently manta rays at Racha Islands; turtles, leopard sharks, seahorses and different types of reefshark at Phi Phi.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Obama on Israel

Is Obama going to be the next US President?

Let's look at his position on Israel and second guess where the world is headed. Because, at the end of the day, the world leaders in power will play key roles with Israel and the middle east center stage in the end times. So what Obama stands for will certainly give us a glimpse of what lies ahead.

Recently, Obama declared that whatever peace accord contemplated, Israel's identity as a Jewish state must be preserved, and "any negotiated peace will involve the Palestinians relinquishing the right of return."

Like Bush, he has given his unequivocal support to Israel's rejection of the 40 years old demand by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) - endorsed by the 22 member States of the Arab League - that millions of former Arab residents or their descendants be allowed to emigrate to Israel.

For Hamas - the Islamic Resistance Movement - that right of return is non- negotiable and inviolate and will be pursued until the complete destruction of Israel's identity as a Jewish state is achieved.

Article 11 of the Hamas Charter states clearly that:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day."

Any attempt therefore by any Arab leader to abandon negotiate away or compromise on this issue would bring swift retribution from Hamas.

"Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation."

When push comes to shove this claim to Arab ownership of Palestine to the exclusion of the Jews will bring any negotiations crashing down to an ignominious end, since American support for the Arab position is absolutely essential if any kind of pressure is to be put on Israel to moderate its opposition to the demanded right of return.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Immigrants and Second Third Class Citizens

Are you an immigrant? Are you Second or third Class Citizen in Malaysia?

But what does it matter to you?

Raja Petra Kamaruddin blogged saying: Last month, Umno Johor said that the greatest mistake they made was in giving the non-Malay immigrants citizenship in August 1957. Now that they have been given citizenship they show their ingratitude by voting for the opposition. Yes, non-Malays, even those born in Malaysia, are immigrants. And, being immigrants, they must vote Barisan Nasional. And if they do not vote for Barisan Nasional then they are ungrateful.

It seems then that the Malays can vote for whomsoever they would like to vote for because the Constitution allows them to do so. Malays, therefore, can vote for the opposition. But, if you are non-Malay, then you must vote for Barisan Nasional because you are an immigrant.

Tun Dr Mahathir’s father was born in India. But Tun Dr Mahathir can vote opposition. He can even oppose Umno like he is doing so now. In fact, he can even become the Prime Minister. He is not an ungrateful immigrant who should be sent back to India. Tian Chua, however, can’t oppose Umno. Tian Chua, whose family settled in Malaya long before the Portuguese came in 1511, is an immigrant. And if he is not happy and if he opposes Umno then he should go back to China. And Umno Johor regrets giving Tian Chua citizenship in 1957 but does not regret giving Tun Dr Mahathir citizenship.

Why? Because Tun Dr Mahathir is Muslim while Tian Chua is not. But if Tian Chua circumcises and takes on the Muslim name of Musa Bin Susah and marries a Malay woman, then he need not go back to China and Umno does not regret giving him citizenship in 1957.

My bro-in-law who is a Mat Salleh who previously married a Muslim and now has a Muslim name is more Malaysian than I am. In fact, by constitution, he is a Malay. Because if he speaks Malay, and he practises Islam, then he is more than a Malay - he enjoys Bumiputera status. Son of the soil. Although he was born in France, he is closer to Malaysian soil than me or my children (2nd and 3rd generation immigrants).

But I can beat him at his game. Convert and be a Muslim. Then I become a son of Malaysian soil. A yellow-skinned bumiputera.

But I don't care. Because my citizenship is of another land. Another time. Another world. Meanwhile, I can go where I like and travel where I want to. Settle where I choose to. All I need to do is move.

But what does it matter to you?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Is the Gospel magic or what?

Some people say magic is the devil's stuff and should not be dabbled with.

Illusionists, known commonly as magicians, are scorned because the latter label is seen to have negative impressions on people - especially nowadays when so many movies and TV shows portray the dark side of magic so attractively.

What happens when Christians use illusion to share the Gospel?

What do you think?