Phase Ignition!

"Quod Scripsi, Scripsi."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Long post, Part 2

Sin Nien Quai Ler!

Yep Happy Chinese New Year ! The Year of the Dog was ushered in Sarikei with not only a bang but a hundred thousand bangs. Starting at around 9-ish, the fireworks began to itensify by 11:30 pm and until around 1 in the morning, the whole place sounded like one wild night in Beirut! I actually took a shaky, vertigo inducing, non-clear video of part of the event, lemme see if i can include it into the blog. Other than that, CNY was mostly about eating, eating every 2 hours, rice for breakfast and chicken in every meal. My Mother in laws cooking is good but with the volume of food, gosh, i think i put on even more weight! We had Crab, chicken, tiger prawn, pork (in various incarnations), top shell, beef tendon, deer tendon. Then I got introduced to a whole slew of uncles and aunts. Super nice people even if they can't really communicate with me. They tried tho, but i guess my Iban is no good, so we stuck to wifey translating. Strange that their children didn't dare to look me in the eye and chit chat. I even have one relative who is malay! Wow! talk about muhibbah.

Apparently, the custom around here is that when you visit someone's house, on top of the biscuits and cakes, you get soh meen (noodles, rather fine. Usually served for your birthday if you're chinese. Longetivity noodles I think. I'll double check). So imagine visiting 4 houses before lunch, aiyoo! thank god we didn't do much visiting.


Ah, such a quaint, quiet town. Green all around, the town is filled with giant bungalows built by timber and pepper tycoons. Nice buildings all around. Lots of Banks and after so many years of having only one Shell petrol station, they have lots, including one Petronas that just opened. As far as newspapers are concerned, you get the Borneo Daily everyday. If you want the Star or NST, you can get yesterday's issue at full price today. There ain't no big supermarkets etc. Most of East Malaysia is controlled by a chain of small (as in Fajar-sized) supermarkets under the name Ngiu Kee (recently listed in Bursa Malaysia)

This town is FULL of 2 things, old time coffee shops and disturbingly, hand phone shops. Its a little bit more expensive (I'm talking about phones) here. The Coffee shops however had all kinds of food and drink (most of which i tried in 2004 when i first visited). Charming old world-style shops that would put Yut Kee out of business ASAP. Best of all, most of them have signs like these:

"When cigarettes and alcoholic is send, Please pay up."

oooh... profound.


In Sarikei, one would encounter many peoples (deliberately misspelt) of Iban origin. There are even Masses in the Catholic Church said in the language. A strange custom here is that during CNY, groups of women (3-5 in every group, accompanied by an army of kids) walk around with a huge basket on thier backs. They come into your house if the gate is unlocked and make themselves right at home and wont leave til that basket is filled. If youre not careful, your shoes go missing as well. Lak-khian is the Foo-chow word for Ibans.

Not all Ibans are bad tho, i have met many who are loyal, honorable etc etc.. guess its one of those customs they have there.

Ok.. end of the long post. When i have the time, i'll be back with stories of my new phone, DarkThrone and ... (drumroll pls...) The return of Mudslide!

A post Loooooong overdue

yeah.. it has been a long time eh? Here's the extra long post. Post CNY.

Not making ANY apologies for not updating. I've been busy as heck trying to get work done before i go off for my first CNY in my in-laws place in Sarikei, Sarawak. hmm.. guess by the time time you're reading this, (I'm guessing 8th of Feb I think), there'll be some incoherence as far as time is concerned. However, i'll faithfully reproduce whats been happening since then. First, this entry is being written on my laptop (Yes! i had to bring this all the way here cos i had to email some sildes to the bosses.. more on that later..) on the 30th of Jan, in my in-laws place in Sarikei so details since the last post will be reproduced as much as i can remember them. For the sake of the establishment of some sense of ORDER (yes, that thing), I'll attempt to write all of this down in categories, or sections, or whatever you call those blasted things!.. and yes, i'll ramble in between.

Windows? Mac?

Yeah! I finally found the time in between fixing the proposal template and the e-brochure to get myself to re-install Litestep (version 3.0.2 by Omar Hussain) and Y'z Dock (ver 0.8.3 by M.Yamaguchi) to fix up my windows interface so now its looks like a Mac! (sorry, totally clueless about the OS version - haveta check with Mr Mac who sits opposite me) have a look at these screenshots, one look and you wont believe that the orginal specs (Still unchanged) look like these:

and now it still runs on the original specs but looks like a Mac! 2 screenshots pls Maestro!

So, what do these 2 proggies do? well, lets take the first, Litestep. Introduced to me in 1998-99 (tho i only got around messing around with it in 2003!) this is a windows shell replacement program. What does that mean? well, essentially that means Litestep pushes Windows explorer into the substitution bench and takes over as THE GUI (Graphical user interface) that you, the user would eventually use. No taskbars, No Start menu, No desktop cluttered with icons, No more boring old system colors, none of that stuff! I can even go as far to say that Litestep runs at a mere 12 Mb as opposed to explorer that runs at 20+ Mb.
There are literally thousands of LiteStep Themes you can download at (registration required but use if you don't want to register) and thousands of different ways to configure your Windows GUI. The cost of all of this? Free.

Y'z Dock was written by a Japanese dude named M (i think its Matsuda or something like that) Yamaguchi and faithfully reproduces the Dock from Mac OS. When I mean Reproduces, i mean EXACTLY 100% Reproduction of the Dock from the Mac. Drag and drop .exe files to create "shortcuts" on the Dock Bar. Animations behave exactly like in a Mac and there are 2 choices in terms of icons used to represent proggies. You could use the system recommended icons (yecch! they look "rough" when they expand) or you could download entire sets of Dock Icons from Try it!

KLIA wifi-less?

ok, blame me for not having a working battery but if youre on a domestic flight, forget about wifi in KLIA. I may be wrong here in that maybe I really didnt look around but i asked everyone in McDonalds, KFC, Burger King downstairs at the arrivals and a few other places all around. Nope, nothing, zip. Guess where I started my search? Your friendly neighbourhood information counter. This is what I got as an answer: "You try and sit in a few places and on your laptop-lah.. maybe you might find something." Yeah. Sure I will. "Try Starbucks in the International Departure Satellite Building." Hello, i'm taking a flight to SIBU, as in Sarawak. So what, that means that if you're takin a flight within your country no wifi issit? best part is, some people i asked did not even have a blinking clue what wireless or wifi was all about.

Prior to getting to the airport, (a splendid, Ayerton Senna performance by our abang teksi. KLIA in 28 mins from Serdang. The 3rd taxi we called after the other 2 couldnt find our house! Abang was so good that I voluntarily paid him 80 bucks for the effort!) me and wifey spent some useless minutes in Mines Shopping Centre looking for Wifi or a Starbucks. Nope, nothing there. For all its splendor and hugeness, no wifi. Wifey suggested HALO cafe in South City Plaza but i declined, not wanting to be disappointed again.

The conclusion of all this? Get Streamyx for the house. (i know i know, another universe of pain to deal with when that happens!)

Continued in the next post....