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Sunday, 22 March 2015

‘Sakura’ in Malaysia

Imagine a gentle breeze gently tugs at them, causing feather-thin petals falling from the branches of trees above you. This silent shower of pink or white, bell- shaped blooms is like a magical scene from a dream or a fantasy , except it's really happening.

As certain it will fall like snowflakes, laying a romantic fragrant carpet of petals scattered around the floor.

If only for the briefest of time.Spring has sprung, and with that follows a plethora of flowers eager to blossom and keep us in awe and appreciation for the beauty of Mother Nature.

Some of us may have mistaken appearances of cherry-blossom trees and will continually make this mistake...but of course but if you look closer, it's not gonna be the real Sakura since Malaysia climate is not suitable. Instead we have Tabebuia rosea(aka Sakura's twin sister).

In Malaysia, it is  commonly known as "Cherry Blossoms or Sakura" tree and "tissue-paper" tree. Nicknames related to physical characteristics of its thin petals.

Tabebuia has more than 100 species, and in Malaysia, Tabebuia pentaphylla is most common and often planted along  residential streets and in gardens, parks and recreation areas. The most common variety of colours most often seen are from the pink and white varieties.

And if you’re anything like us, you’d be dying to fly off to those areas to personally view nature close-up and view the sakura flowers (cherry blossoms) in Japan. But let's get back to reality since that travel is expensive and money doesn't grow on trees. You would most probably have to  erase these dreams until you save enough money to travel.

You might not see beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan but you can be compensated by witness the the cherry blossom locally. Both flowers look equally beautiful to me, just my opinion.

The Tabebuia is native to Central and South America and the local people there called it ipê rosa, apamate, matilisguate and maquilishuat. It is the national tree of El Salvador. This elegant tree is commonly known in English as Pink tabebuia, Pink tecoma, Pink poui, Pink trumpet and Rosy trumpet.

Usually I will  zoomed past this road at Beranang but when it comes to "Malaysian Sakura"season, I will  slow down and admire the beauty of these beautiful blossomed trees. 

It was as if I'd entered another world. Scenery here never fails to take my breath away.

The trees bloom twice a year, usually around March and in June or July and come in hues of white, offwhite, light pink, lilac and pearl. Tabebuia requires a distinct dry season in order to burst into bloom

 Local version have given you some ideas of what it may have been when you
 experience Japanese Hamani (“flower viewing”)

Thin and translucent petals very much like facial tissue-paper

 It takes up to 2 days to dry up. Beauty is only temporary, but your mind lasts you a lifetime.
Beautiful Yellow Flower, Tabebuia chrysantha

There is also this  type of thin flower, like paper commonly found here. Bougainvillea, it locally called "Bunga Kertas" or Paper Flower in Malaysia.  We have all kinds of colourful flowers blooming all year round

 Magnificent blossoms

When blooming like you can see on the picture, you can been mistaken in Japan. It is more or less the same as in Japan  cherry blossoming days come at the same time .

Most  authentic sakura come into bloom once a year in Spring (March-April-May). Many cherry trees have no leaves when they bloom. After all the blossoms have fallen, whole tree is covered with new green leaves.
Locals believe that when our ‘Sakura’ flowers start to fall, it marks the end of the dry season. A popular belief by Chinese tells how it rains heavily when the annual Qingming Festival comes around.

Well most of us enjoy the view and appreciate the beauty of Tecoma trees (Tabebuia rosea) but to sweep is a problem as the flower is wet type when drop from the tree. Moreover it is not easy to sweep as the flower is soft and stick to the ground.

For those who  maintain the cleanliness such as our local council,it will be a nightmare and they're glad it's over. As the old saying goes, One Man's Treasure Is Another Man's Trash.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Chinese New Year commercial 2015 - Share The Light

Every year nearing festivities, we always look forward to new TV commercials for a good laugh. This year TNB has released a two-minute short film titled Share The Light in conjunction with the Chinese New Year Celebration.

The ad depicts a tale of two neighbours trying to outdo each other in putting up the most creative Chinese New Year decorations to usher in the Year of the Goat. A hilarious story about neighbourhood rivalry!

For Chinese New Year, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) aims to inspire all Malaysians to be a part of the joyous celebration.

The ad narrated by Tan who loves his neigbourhood, the best time of the year is New Year.

The least favourable neighbours is Mr. Chong whom is actually harmless but is jealous when
  other person achieves something better than him.

Mr Tan had enough of his antics. No more nice guy.

The green-eyed monster sabotaged Tan decoration.

Chong win neighbours' praise. 

Both try to outdo each other.

When one neighbour has a golden goat, the other tries to outdo the other with a live goat.Now Try To Beat This ! 

The praise goes back to Mr. Tan.

Both then tries to compete to see who has brigther lights and louder sounds

Chong gets rude awakening of sound of drums and gongs from lion dance group hired by Tan.

Now You Try To Beat This ! Lion dance with led light up costume.

Both start to strive to outdo each other with lavish festive decorations 

It's a tie!

Now start meh argue

I love the ending, when they start arguing with each other.. Meh ah, Meh ah, then a goat appear out of nowhere. 

Little girl praised both neighbours for clever decorating ideas by giving two thumbs up. Previously their neighbours will give  a thumbs up sign to either one at a time.

OK, so this may be a little bit exaggerated, but this a movie ad.

After all the enmity, they're now amazingly compliment each other.

All's well that ends well as both neigbours are back on good terms. They shake each other's hands and wish one another  a  prosperous new year or "Kung Hei Fat Choi".

I believe the the TNB ad may  get inspiration from the movie "Battle of the Bulbs". This show is about an unhealthy war of competition to  have the brightest and most festive house in his neighborhood.

The final part lead to an act of good will and love as their bet will lead to an amazing good deed. Using both creativity ideas would help their elderly neighbour win the cash prize for the best decorated house..who is in jeopardy of being evicted from home due to unable to pay off the back taxes.

The fight is on when they declare war for the best Christmas decoration display in the neighbourhood.

This kind of rivalry in this neighborhood happened not only in CNY but other festival as well. Why does it bother you if some other person achieves something better than you? When we are really humble, we do not need to worry. 

One of the best Chinese New Year Tv ad festive commercials over the years. You can watched the TNB ad over and over, it gets better and you'll never get bored. Oh boy! but somehow I miss Yasmin Ahmad touching Petronas ads shown on TV during Chinese New Year and Raya . 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

How to Change a Tire

Having a flat tire and didn't know how to change it can make you feel pretty helpless. Even if you know how,  you need to brush up your knowledge. Chances are you've forgotten  some of the stuff that you learned in the past due to getting a flat tire are pretty slim.

Just like why we have an annual fire drill in the  factory is to refresh our  memory of the fire procedures.

Don't wait around for someone to come to save you like a damsel in distress, there are times when you find yourself in a remote location and not many are willing to stop and help.

 A damsel in distress..."Here I come to save the day! 

 Ah, why do I need to learn this? All I have to do is make a call to someone to fix this for me but think again what if no mobile signal can be sent in or receive?

Changing a tire is easy enough for those who know how, and everyone should have a clear idea of what's involved:

Before starting to change your wheel,  think about safety first!

It is necessary to take the necessary safety precautions:

-  First, turn on your emergency flashers or  hazard lights. This will alert passing motorists that you’re there as well as you need assistance.

Some driver turning on their car's hazard warning lights during a heavy downpour which used incorrectly. The purpose the hazard light may be used only when the vehicle is stationary.

-  If you have children with you make sure they stay with you at all times. Never know when they will be run into the road.

- Place emergency triangles behind your vehicle to alert other drivers.
At least one emergency warning triangle should be carried in every vehicle. You place the  warning triangle on the road at least 50 yards/ 45 meter(3 cars) behind your vehicle.

- If you do not have a emergency triangle,  use tree branches as warning triangles, this is usually fine in daylight but do remember to remove it afterwards.

- Secure the vehicle so that it won't roll by:

1. Make sure the parking brake is set firmly.
2. With manual always parked in gear,  if facing uphill it is best to use reverse, and if facing downhill, use first. Automatics usually have parking pawls that engage when the car is in "park"mode.(either downhill or uphill)
3. As a safety precaution, I always keep in my car, a wooden wedge to block the wheels at the opposite end of the car from the end that is to be raised.

Place the wedge in front of tyre of back depends on whether your car facing uphill or downhill
2  Loosen the lug nuts.

Loosen in a star-patterned order

Take advantage of gravity to loosen the lug nuts while the car is on the ground 
Remember left turn (counter clockwise) is loose, right (clockwise) is tight remember that and
you'll never have a problem with any lug nut

 Apply all your weight to the bar on the left. This action starts turning the nut in the opposite direction the nut or counterclockwise, which loosens it. Don't remove the lug nuts completely at this point. Simply loosen them,  until it's enough to remove with your fingers.

If you have stubborn locking lug nuts stuck on because of rust, over-tightening,hit it with a rubber hammer or put some WD-40 on the lug nuts and let them sit for about an hour to loosen the joint. (Use this only as a last resort.)

Jack up the vehicle about 6 inches off the ground. Ensure the vehicle is park on a solid level surface.

Vehicles come with either a scissor or a bottle jack.  Place the jack securely under the edge of the car. When using your jack, they must be placed in certain spots. These spots can be found in your vehicle's owner's manual,  for the right places.

Most cars can be jacked on the outside frame, or the thin lip around the bottom of your car. Position the jack so that the side where the metal bar is inserted is facing you.

If you car using a scissor jack(above pic), insert the rod or wrench over the knob, and then crank but if you have a hydraulic jack (image below), place the handle into the correct location and pump up and down. Use nice, even strokes until your flat tire is dangling or wheel is just clear of the ground.

4. Remove the flat tire.

Take the lug nuts completely off by hand.

As you pull the flat off, it should slide along the bolts until it clears the end of the bolts and you find yourself supporting its full weight. Roll the flat along the ground to the rear of the vehicle to get it out of the way.
Put them in a safe place,somewhere they won't roll away.  Alternatively, you can place it under the car, just in case your jack gives way and drops your car.

5. Lift the spare onto the lug bolts.

Use your feet to help lift the spare tire onto the wheel studs.
Because tires are heavy, you may have a little trouble lifting the spare into place — especially if you're not accustomed to lifting heavy things.

Place your spare tire in front of the wheel, align it with the wheel bolts, and then add your lug nuts. Turn the lug nuts clockwise by hand as tightly as you can with only your hand.

6. Lower the vehicle and tighten the lugnuts.

Lower the car back to the ground using the jack. With the car back on the ground, you can now start tighten the lug nuts. Use the wrench to tighten the nuts following the sequence directed by your owner's manual. If you do not have an owner's manual follow the sequence as shown.

Note: There are different tightening sequences for 4- and 5-lug wheels. Tightening the nuts in the proper sequence ensures that the wheel mounts properly and that the stress is evenly distributed over the wheel.

Wait Wait...I'm Not Done Yet! 

7. Replace the wheel cover or hubcap.

If your car has wheel covers with a delicate finish, the owner's manual should provide instructions for replacing it. If your car has hubcaps, place the hubcap against the wheel and whack it into place with the heel of your hand. Cushion your hand with a soft rag first so that you won't hurt it. And don't hit the hubcap with a wrench or hammer, you'll dent it.

Caution: Nowadays spare tires are not full-size, normal tires. These smaller spares can't be driven at normal speeds and should only be driven for short distances. After changing your tyre, make sure you send your punctured tyre to your local tyre shop  at your earliest convenience, you wouldn't know when is the next  flat tyre going to happen.

Getting a flat tire every now and then might be unavoidable, but you can  decrease your chances of  flat tires on a road by simple ways:

1. Always check your tyre pressure approximately once a week and the make sure the wheels are properly aligned. Get a tire-pressure gauge to measure the pressure of tires on  all wheels when your tyres are cold.

 A tire- pressure gauge is a relatively inexpensive tool drivers should own to alert drivers their
air pressure was low. You simply cannot guess by  kicking a car-tire with your foot or pressing your hand against the tire to estimate how much air pressure is inside.

2. Don't forget the spare! I always had that 'quick peek' to make sure the tyres are fine every morning before I drive off.

3. If your steering wheel does not return easily after a turn, your tires are often the first indication that something is wrong with your car.

4. If your tire pressure drop not long after you have top up your tire pressure, this symptom will indicate your tyre hits a sharp object, usually an old, rusty nail but leaking slowly. Go to your tyre shop and ask the foreman to check. Usually they will pour a little of this soap water onto the tire to notice whether there are any bubbles appearing in one place. If a confirm they still have to take out the tubing and fill it and quickly put it in a filled bathtub or pool cause you never known there is more than one spot that leaking. After locating the hole(s), patching the tube can be done confidently.

Lastly, make sure your tyres there is plenty of tread, this is due to the only part of the vehicle that grips the road. Also rotating the tyres between front and back can also ensure your tyres last longer.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Clock Feng Shui

At first glance, hanging a clock on the wall seems like an easy task.

Gweilo is not fussy about choose the ideal place in their home to hang your wall clock, it is a matter of personal opinion but for Chinese common customs and traditions, you can't enjoy simple pleasures like that without apply the Feng Shui techniques on where is the best and where is the worst place for displaying clocks.

Feng shui rigid rules precede the eye of the beholder, in other words whatever you think nice take second fiddle.

So desu ka or meaning I see, there are rules to be observed as I learnt.

So you think Chinese peoples are very superstitions? Nah even  for many in the West have believe in superstitions like a black cat crossing your path is considered bad luck or has a fear of the number 13 to the extent of many high rise buildings will eliminate at 13th floor.

It's a different perspective for Chinese. In fact,  the number 13 is considered lucky. The number's pronunciation in Chinese is similar to the word. In Mandarin Chinese, the number 13 is pronounced shisan, and can mean either “definitely vibrant” or “assured growth.

For the rest of the world a clock is just a mechanical or electrical instrument for measuring time or indicating time by hands on a round dial or by displayed figures.

Are you aware of there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to feng shui and your clock?

In Chinese thought, clocks aren't deemed auspicious in feng shui. They generally believed to have originated because the character for clock (钟) is pronounced ‘zhong’, which ... sound like death or sounds like 送終 (sòng zhōng, the funeral ritual).

How do you hang a wall clock?

Just peel, place, press and you have an instant hook ready for use. Well isn't that convenient for you? Then, as time goes by, the adhesive will start losing strength.  A year after, one of my wall clock using this method just eventually loses its gripping ability and my clock  came crashing down on to the floor. CRASH-KABOOM.

If using a nail or a screw into the wall for the usual hang on lightweight plastic clocks, you would have no problems but chances are the hanger is not strong enough to hold the heavier clock. Immediately after hanging it will literally rip a nail or screw out of the drywall.

Recommended Procedure to hang a heavy wall clock:

1. Find a good place to hang them in keeping with the principles of feng shui.
2. Get a stud finder to determine the wall locations are empty of water pipes and electrical wires.

To prevent a calamity like drilled into a electrical cable or others
3. Use a measuring tape, locate the centre point position of the clock correctly to properly hang and align.
 Find the exact middle point
4. Mark the exact spot where you want to drill your hole. X's mark the spot.
5. Drill into the spot you marked with an electric drill. Always use the drill bit and screw size recommended by the wall plug manufacturer.
6.  Pushed the plug into a hole that you have pre drilled in the hollow wall
Add caption
7.  Place a long countersunk wood screw into the plug and insert the screwdriver blade into the screw slot and start twisting lightly into place in clockwise direction. Typically .... #8 Screw. #10 Screw. #12 Screw.

The screw should stick out 1/4-inch gap to insert through the case, to allow the hanger
 on the clock to position securely on the screw.
8. Slip the clock's hang holed over the head of the screw. If need be, give it a good tug to ensure proper placement of the screw is deeply embedded in the stud.

Auspicious shapes for a wall clock.

The best shape for clocks are round, hexagonal and octagonal. Again it’s the sound of the Chinese letter wording which influences the decision of FS shape.

Eg. Zero  or the character ling which denotes ”nothing”. It’s the neutral number. The absolute number and so it’s left aside as a number with no negative and no positive”energy”. It’s a safe number, it mean nothingness or completion.

Hexagonal (6 sides) or the character 流 (liú), also means “to flow".   This is considered lucky in business. this number or with the string with three 6 in a row are considered very lucky, and people will try to buy such things (such as phone numbers 666. So don’t assume rich car owners of these are Antichrist or the devil in popular culture.

Octagonal (8 sides) or the character 发(ba).The luckiest of all the Chinese numbers.
It has the similar pronunciation with Fa (meaning wealth or fortune).
Which bring us back to the most inauspicious Chinese number which
4 or 四 means death or No that means no square wall clock to be hung? Rubbish!

A cuckoo clock is a clock, typically pendulum-regulated, that strikes the hours with a sound like a common cuckoo's call.  Oh , how time flies so fast. The price has gone mad or  cuckoo from merely Rm80 has inflated to Rm700

The first thing we want to do is what shape and size you might buy?

Too many I like to choose

Some clock and watch dials are made of phosphorescent material which absorbs the light.

The clock face glows for 3 hours after lights are off, then slowly fades out. I skip this as I found out the clock was not permanently visible at night as when you wake up in the middle of the night and need to look but couldn't once the glow in the dark die.

How to use wall clocks for good feng shui in your home?

DO make sure your clocks are not too huge or a little too dominant.

DO hang clocks in hallways, living rooms or the kitchen.

DO make sure alarm clocks beside a bed are small and not dazzling, if they’re electric.

DO make sure clocks in the bedroom wake you to a pleasant melody that you enjoy, such as chimes.

It can get rid of your home negative vibes.  The entire house should not be too very dull or quiet as it can  attract that bad negative energy or ghost into your home. A little bit of noise is good for cleansing for the home. Yo make some noise!

Remember: metal makes water (in Chinese means wealth)! So by having a clock chiming and swinging in your home is a terrific way to activate some of the most beneficial energies in feng shui!It like saying money comes to me, money comes to me.

Let's Make Some Noise and  let's live it up 

DO hang/place clocks in out of the way locations so the pressure of time isn’t over emphasised.

DO hang clocks in the direction of west, northwest and north corners of the house or living room.

1- DO Not ever give to a Chinese a clock, which represents the ultimate Extremely Taboo gifts to avoid in Chinese culture . It's the bad thought that counts here as you indicate you want someone dead.

Similarly, a good friend moved to a new house, you want to make such a good impression and send a  great-looking clock to them, but people may misunderstand.

 Having said that about giving a clock as present, I came across this..
"A beautiful double side clock from my dear brothers & sister. I like it much much much.", quotes from a face book user.
As long as the receiver feel comfortable about the gift, I guess it's OK then.

2 - DON’T hang a clock approximately too close to the front door because it was considered "an unlucky or bad omen " for people to enter your home and the first thing they see is a clock. In other words,  it must be obscured from viewing from main door. To be precise, do not display clocks so that you can see them first thing as you enter the house.

Initially,  I also wanted to place the wall clock to be able to view easily when I open the door but learning the bad omen, forbade me to do otherwise. 

I love the vintage look at this clock and its antique style

3- Always make sure the battery is good condition  and time is displaying correct time, broken clocks represent stagnate time, toss it away.

Memories: A stopped clock adds to the eerie sense, when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, all the clocks stopped, and time stood still at 8.15am on August 6th 1945.

4- Do not display big clocks in the bedroom, or, even worse feng shui, do not display several different clocks in your bedroom. The bedroom is the place for absolute relaxation, the place where time "slows down", so to speak, and it has to be ruled by a different clock - your own body clock.

DO make sure your clocks are not over sized or dominate your room, stress and
anxiety can make it difficult to sleep soundly

I heard from clock smith and clock dealer guy telling me not to use alkaline battery for any clock. Alkaline batteries are not well suited for use in clocks, they do not last any longer than standard zinc batteries. Since clocks are slow-draining devices, it consume a very small amount of energy. Always use normal zinc battery (heavy duty) than alkaline batteries which can damage equipment.

Finally, and most importantly, you should not keep clocks or other timepieces that are broken or have stopped. This is considered very unlucky and disturbing to your life path. It's like saying this is your time is up or in Chinese 时间到 You're Dead!