Hong Kong . . . .

9 02 2011

It’s been 6 years since I left this wonderful city and now I am back again. This time  for a relatively short 8 day holiday with plans to meet up with old friends, shopping and least but not last, to do a bit of hiking. Not known to many people, Hong Kong is actually a great place for outdoor sporting activities and of these I love hiking the most.

The pictures above shows you two different faces of Hong Kong. One is of the district of Mongkok, probably the heart of the shopping district and another the the coutryside as seen from a hiking trail on Lantau Island. I loved them both.

After I started this blog I had wanted to write about Hong Kong but I thought it would have been inappropriate as I was no longer livng in this city that never sleeps. Yes I can attest to this, the city or at least what the world understands as Hong Kong never sleeps. I could find food, entertaiment and transport any time of day. I could find busses to take me from the Airport where I worked to my home which was in North New Territories even at 3 a.m in the morning.

Now that I am back, I thought I would start writng about Hong Kong and my experiences while I was staying here. This post will be the start of my Hong Kong series.


Ipoh Flea Market

31 10 2010

Last night Tzy Wen invited me to go to the flea market in Ipoh. On an impulse I said Ok. So at about 8.15 this morning we found ourselves on the North South Expressway driving towards Ipoh.

We made Ipoh in less than 2 hours even with a stop at Rawang for a quick breakfast. Admittedly the driver was pushing it a little bit. I swear I thought we were about to reach warp speed. We found the flea market easily with the use of the onboard GPS that Tzy Wen had installed. Quite cool actually.

I have been to Ipoh many times before but never knew there was a flea market in town every Sunday morning. I did not take many pictures as I was quite amazed at some of the stuff found there. The Flea Market is spread over 2 streets which intersect each other in a T junction. One street holds lots of household and clothing items much like a “Pasar malam” anywhere in the Klang Valley. This gentleman above was seen on this part of the market selling models of traditional Malay houses. He can be seen working on onel whilst displaying the others for sale. i never really enquired how much they were going for. Personally I thought he should have made them a little smaller.

The other street is where things got a little interesting. This is where tzy Wen found what he was here for. This particular street held a lot of 2nd hand electronics and “antiques”> I use the word antique very loosely here as these items are more often than not more like junk which people throw out or discard. Some items here, like car radios and shoes for example have a reputation of being stolen goods. So beware.

There are things here that boggles my mind. Not due to their novelty or uniqueness but take the stack of horseshoes above. Now who would buy a horseshoe?  Even if you owned a horse I am quite sure you would not be so cruel as to shod it with a set from this collection of rusty horseshoes.

There were just too much to take in in the few hours we had allocated ourselves. Just look at the strange collection of goods this vendor had on display. There are even 2 handlebars from a couple of old Vespas. Of course there were more usable and down to earth items like old phonographs, turntables, vinyl records, brass ware and even small furniture. Some vendors were seen asking for exorbitant prices for their wares.

I ended up purchasing a few items myself. One of them was a rather unique looking letter opener. I also managed to find a few old vinyl records that brought back memories of yesteryear. I left those with Tzy Wen who had recently bought himself a turntable!You can see it at his blog by clicking on the links provided on this page.

Was it worth the drive up? Well, with nothing else planned for the Sunday, I would say it was a worthwhile journey. Only the next time I will probably put a little forward planning and take my time driving up to Ipoh and back. Speeds in excess of 160 km/h should be reserved for the race track or much larger vehicles. hahahaha!

The Video Killed the Radio Star

18 04 2010

While watching the television today my 6 year old nephew asked me, “Uncle, when you were young like me, did you have Astro?”.  He was referring to the only (legal) Malaysian company that provides satellite television service that brings him his cartoons and entertainment when he is not in school. That really broght a smile to my face. I had to tell him, “No, I never even had a television to watch”. He was so surprised. It’s true, back in the early 70’s our house did not have a television. I remember the only source of entertainment my grandmother had was a radio.

Then we moved to a new house my father bought and sometime in the mid 70’s we had a television! It was black and white. There was only 1  television station broadcasting only 1 single channel, RTM which stands for Radio dan Television Malaysia. And their transmission only started at 5 p.m everyday. But I still remember listening to only radio. I used to listen to some dramas over the radio. I cannot remember exactly, but books were read over the airwaves. Even when I wa sin my mid teens I used to tune in to the BBC (British Braodcasting Company) for some of their radio shows. But those days are over, Indeed, the Video had Killed the Radio Star. Here is a song that was written way back in 1979 celebrating those glory days of radio. In fact this music video happens to be the first (yes the very first) one played on the now famous MTV on the 1st of August 1981.

Goodbye 9M-MGG

23 01 2010

The company I work for has recently started an exercise which will see it’s fleet of aircraft renewed. Just like the last such fleet renewal exercise which  took place when I just joined the company, this exercise will take several years to complete. One of the first fleet of aircraft to be renewed is the Fokker 27 Mark 50 or more conveniently known as the Fokker 50. The Fokker 50 came into service sometime in the early 90’s which makes some of these aircraft 20 years old. hard to believe that I saw these aircraft when they first landed in our facility all those years back.

This fleet is now being replaced by the ATR-72. Apparently there are only 3 Fokker 50’s left in the fleet, With the exception of 9M-MGH which crashed in Tawau on the 15th of September 1995, the rest have been sold.

A few days ago I saw 9M-MGG being towed to the tarmac just outside the hanger where I am currently working. Almost everything in the aircraft has been salvaged by the current owners leaving the bare hull as you see it in the picture above. I heard it is soon to be cut up for scrap. It’ll be interesting to see that happen and i hope I will be around when it;s being done.

As you can see there is almost nothing left in the cabin except for the insulation blankets which still adorn it’s interior like old wall paper. Even it;s floorboards have been removed. I guess someone has some use for them. The aircraft is so light now that ballast weight in the shape of water filled barrels had to be used before it could be safely towed to it’s present location.

After the GoldRush

18 11 2009

As a young man in the 70’s I used to day dream a lot. I remember lying on my bed in the warmth of the  afternoon sun withthe radio listening to Neil Young.

This is a rather strange song. I have never been able to figure out what inspired Neil to write these lyrics but it allowed anyone listening to them to imagine. Some of the words he wrote comes back hauntingly, lyrics like  “We got Mother Nature on the run in the nineteen seventies”. Now some 40 years later, look at what we have done to Mather Nature! I guess the man saw what was coming. We just did not listen.

The Sand and the Foam

5 11 2009

I grew up in an era in which songs had very meaningful lyrics. Simple melody and wonderful and meaning ful lyrics that one can often relate to. One of the singer/songwriters that filled my younger days with music was the late Dan Fogelberg. Here is a video in tribute to his life and the music he brought to the world.

“Gone are the pathaways

The child followed home

Gone like the Sand and the Foam”

How these words ring so true to me now. The place I grew up has long changed. The paths and parks where my friends and i once roamed are no more. replaced by ever widening roads, ungly buildings and ever growing number of houses. All in the name of progress. But sometimes I ask myself “How far have we gone forward? ….and at what price?” or have we actually taken a few steps backward?

I hope this song brings back memories of the simpler times in your  lives and that for you the pathaways are still there for you to walk down.

20th Anniversary

10 08 2009

Last Saturday I attended a lunch with about 18 of my colleagues to celebrate 20 years of joining the training scheme which would see us become engineers 3 and a half years later. That was 3rd July 1989.  20 years have passed by so quickly.

Group Photo

Group Photo

That’s us. Some came back from as far a Abu Dhabi and Singapore to celebrate this event. Bong Choon Ping made a day trip flying from Kota Kinabalu and back over a period of 12 hours. Holding the cake is Ronald Eward Whiting (everyone calls him Ron) who was our instructor for the whole duration of our training while in Malaysia. We owe a lot to this man for passing on his knowledge ungrudgingly. To him teaching was not only a vocation but a passion.