Shout Out From Vietnam

I’m sitting at the departure hall of the airport once again.

Uncle Ho Chi Minh. He looked like some old dude you’d find on the bottles of some Chinese medicine

In a moment I’ll be flying off to Hanoi on a backpacking trip. Hanoi is the last major destination on my 2007 travel itinerary, and the trip gonna be a stark contrast to the 6-star luxury I enjoyed in Macau.

Of the four nights that I’ll be spending in Vietnam, two nights I’ll be sleeping on a train, one night I’ll be sleeping on a wooden boat, and one night sleeping in a cheap guesthouse. On my itinerary is hiking in picturesque Sapa Valley, kayaking at Halong Bay, and dining at the famous Bobby Chinn’s Restaurant in Hanoi.

I’m also curious to try cobra meat, a local delicacy there. Hopefully I’ll live to tell the tale when I get back.

During my absence I’ll be regularly sending travel updates directly to from my phone using PacMee.

PacMee is something similar to Twitter, but cost-wise it works out a lot cheaper because it’s Malaysia-specific. It’ll be useful for me ‘cos I’m gonna be having trouble finding an outlet to charge my laptop on a wooden boat, let alone getting an internet connection to blog.

If you’re on Maxis, you could even subscribe to my shoutouts so anything funny that happened in Vietnam will be sent directly to your phone. Yes, this may be a paid ad, but PacMee is still cool that way.

Just text ON KENNYSIA to 22700. It costs just 25c per month unlimited, which makes it cheaper than keropok. Ok, maybe not keropok, but cheaper than a pack of tissues definitely.

The PA is calling. Cobra meat for dinner awaits. 😛

Take care!

Continue reading

The Venetian Macao

A fortnight ago I was in Macau, enjoying luxury like I’ve never experienced luxury before.

I was one of about 1,250 invited media guests flown in from all over the world to witness the grand opening of the Venetian Macao, an expensive and ambitious project spearheaded the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

These are the same guys who had won the lucrative bid to open the first casino in Singapore, The Marina Bay Sands Resort in 2009. They also operate several casinos and convention halls around Las Vegas, including the original Venetian of which the Macao one is based on.

Throughout my stay here, I could not help but to be in constant awe of the sheer size and enormity of the project.
It was monolithic. Truly unlike anything I have ever seen before.

The hotel lobby

The Venetian Macao is the second largest building in the world and the biggest integrated resort in Asia.

The entire complex boasts a total floor space of 10.5 million square feet. They call it the first true integrated resort in Asia, featuring 3,000 hotel suites, 1.2 million square feet of convention and exhibition space, 1 million square feet of upscale retail space, 550 thousand square feet of casino space, a 1,800 seat theatre and a 15,000 seat arena, all housed under one single roof.

Frankly, I don’t know exactly how big “10.5 million square feet” is either, but imagine this.
Imagine the most luxurious hotel suites in Mandarin Oriental, the largest convention halls in KLCC, the biggest upmarket shopping mall in Starhill Gallery, the entire Genting casino (times two), the whole KLPAC theatre and the whole Bukit Jalil Indoor Stadium ALL COMBINED under one single building.
Give it a classic Venetian makeover and put it at one minute drive away from KLIA, you’ll get the Venetian Macao.

The man behind all these is Mr Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Sheldon Adelson also happens to be the sixth richest man in the world and third richest in the USA according to Forbes Magazine. He ranks in after Bill Gates and Warren Buffet; but way ahead of Steve Jobs, Google founders and all those Hollywood A-list celebrities.

You gotta hand it to him.
Here’s a guy who was born into an immigrated family, started out dirt poor selling newspapers at the roadsides to earn a living when he was 12.
Through hard work and determination, he made his first big break selling exhibition space for a computer convention. Now he owns and runs one of the biggest integrated resorts in the world.

At 74 years of age, Sheldon Adelson shows no signs of slowing down. His first Asian project, the billion-dollar Sands Macao Casino broke even in just one year. Over the next few years, Las Vegas Sands Corp will continue to invest heavily in Macau, China and Singapore.
Here’s a guy who predicted that revenue in Macau will soon surpass that of Las Vegas, famously saying that “Las Vegas should be called America’s Macau”

As amazing as the Venetian Macao already is, it is only the first phase of development among a much more grandoise scheme. They build the resort on a reclaimed land, by filling up the sea with enough sand to build the Egyptian Pyramids.
The new land is called Cotai, and The Venetian Macao is the crown jewel of a stretch of road nicknamed the Cotai Strip – the stretch of road that will bring Las Vegas to Asia.

In the years to come, Cotai Strip will be populated by seven other famous resort hotels, greatly expanding the casino, convention and retail space.
At the moment, Macau is mostly a side-excursion when people go to Hong Kong. Travellers to Macau rarely stayed for more than a day. But the Cotai Strip is gonna change that, and Macau is gonna radically transform into a place where people would stay longer and spend their big money at.

Have you ever seen escalators that curve?

Despite the sheer magnitude of the resort, somehow they managed to keep everything within close walking distances to each other.

This is my hotel suite.

From here, I’m only a lift ride away to the entrance of the World’s Largest Casino.
As huge as the casinos are, they are only a tiny part of the entertainment they have on offer. There are so much more things to do there besides gambling.

If there’s something going on at the convention halls or the Arena, I’m just a few steps away to watching it live.
Already, Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras and an NBA basketball match are scheduled in the Arena.

Like on the Grand Opening night, we were treated to several surprise performances by well-known Taiwanese and Hong Kong singers.
But that event deserves an entire post on its own, another day.

If I feel like a bit of retail therapy, the Grand Canal Shoppes are close by on the second floor, carrying everything from affordable brands like Bossini all the way to cutthroat expensive ones like Tiffany’s.

The retail space at the Venetian is larger than any shopping malls in Hong Kong. Considering how big shopping mall already are in Hong Kong, that’s saying a lot.

The resort has gone through great lengths to actually fool you into believing that you are shopping in old time Renaissance Venice, Italy when you’re not.

It’s beautiful. They even went as far as to have artificially hand-painted blue skies onto the ceiling. I kid you not.
So even if it’s pitch dark or raining heavily outside, you’d still happily think its cool and sunny inside.

Of course, the fake skies can cause a bit of problem when it comes to stray helium balloons though. 😛

The signature of the Grand Canal Shoppes is three 490 long water canals along the cobblestone walkways. They even have Italian gondolas and serenading gondoliers to transport you around.

It has become quite a trend of newlyweds to take the graceful and romantic glide down the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy and here they have faithfully re-created the experience.
Yes, I know there are Venetian gondolas in Genting too, but these ones are so authentic, they make the gondolas at First World Plaza looks like some cheap 20 cent children’s ride.

What I love about the Grand Canal Shoppes are not the shops, but tireless street performers present all day long to entertain the shoppers.
As much as this whole “Disneyland for Adults” is artifical and man-made, you gotta love their elaborate costumes and attention to detail.

There are opera singers, stilt walkers, jugglers, and my favourite… a human statue.

The purpose of the human statue is to just stand there and not move at all.
Like a statue.

After 15 minutes.

After 30 minutes.

1 hour.
I swear I heard him snore.

Such an easy job.
When I grow up, I wanna be a human statue too.

Continue reading

Chipster Makes Normal Humans Do Stupid Things

This one is too good to pass up.

Found out that Twisties Chipster is holding this online contest. They give you a background picture, and you super-impose a photo of you holding a pack of their Chipster onto it using their online tool. It’s real simple. They even have special prizes reserved for bloggers. Wackiest photo wins.
One of the background choices is a picture of a great white shark swimming in the ocean with its jaws wide open. As soon as I saw that picture, I knew straight away that this contest was made for me.
Against my better judgment, I went home, dug out my snorkelling gear and took this photo.

Behold, my contest submission.

Heck, even if I don’t win first prize in this contest, maybe I could at least get an award for looking like The Biggest Idiot On Planet Earth?.

hit counter html code

Continue reading

One Big Fat Freaking Conspiracy

Happy (belated) National Day, my fellow Malaysians!

You know, sometimes people question me about my loyalty towards my country.
It’s no secret that I often poke fun at the way things are being run in our country, what with RM400,000 spent on public toilets and all. True, there are a lot of funny things in the country happening right before our eyes.
But make no mistake about it, despite the presence of some idiots managing this country, I still do love Malaysia.

Malaysia is my home, and it is the only place in the whole world that I can identify with.
I would say that I am patriotic.

I am so patriotic, I have a Malaysian flag on my car.

Fine. Maybe not as patriotic as this guy, because he has TWO flags on this car.
If patriotism is defined by how many flags you put on your car, it means this guy is TWICE as patriotic as I am.

Or this guy. He is SEVEN times more patriotic than me.

Ok fine. I accept defeat.
I may only have one flag on my car, BUT I’m still considered patriotic, alright?

I am patriotic. I love my country. Some may say that because I am a blogger, and bloggers are traditionally left-wing social activists who like to voice out against the might of the government, that I might actually be “anti-government”.
That is not true.
It’s true that many socio-political bloggers in Malaysia are activists, but it doesn’t mean that I always agree with them.

The problem with us bloggers is that we often have the habit of stretching the truth and jumping to conclusions. It can cause problems if people felt they were being defamed.
I should know. I myself have been wrongfully accused by other bloggers before. Once for alleged plagiarism, and the other time for supposedly not offering my help during a car accident I witnessed.
It felt like crap when you were accused for doing something you didn’t do, so I can totally understand why some people get their panties up in a twist and started suing bloggers.

Two years ago there was this big hoo-haa leading up to national day.
Apparently, some antique collector found out he has this song on vinyl record called “Mamula Moon”. It was a 1940s Hawaiian love song, but the chorus sounded eerily similar to the tune of our national anthem “Negaraku”.
Negaraku = Mamula Moon!
Immediately, a lot of Malaysian bloggers jump on the bandwagon and accused the government for plagiarising the Hawaiian song Mamula Moon and made it into our national anthem. Everyone was angry. Many questions were asked. But sadly none of those questions is the question I want to ask.
And the question I want to ask is… Can someone tell me what the hell is a MAMULA?!?

Click to play “Mamula Moon”

Personally, I think to say Negaraku is plagiarised is a bit too harsh. Perhaps the correct word to use here is “adapted”.
You see, the whole concept of copyright probably never existed back in the 1940s. They didn’t even have stuff like “blogs”, or “Youtube”, or “Limewire” to pirate MP3s around back then.
Whoever it was who wrote Mamula Moon probably never would’ve thought that some Malaysian could took his creation and made it into a Malaysian national anthem. And whoever it was who made Negaraku our national anthem probably also thought that no one would ever find out.

And if Mamula Moon is never copyrighted, it’s fair game for anyone to copy it and adapt it into their own.
So Malaysia’s national anthem Negaraku is adapted from the Hawaiian song Mamula Moon. Not plagiarised.
If you consider THAT plagiarising, why not state the immediately obvious?

Why not say that the Malaysian flag is plagiarised from the American flag?
One more thing.
Malaysia’s national flower is the hibiscus.

Hawaii‘s official state flower is also the hibiscus. Why not say that our national flower is also plagiarised from Hawaii?

Hang on.
Wait a minute.
I think I see a pattern here.
Malaysia national anthem Negaraku = Hawaiian song Mamula Moon.
Malaysian flag Jalur Gemilang = American flag. Hawaii is a state of America.
Malaysian national flower = Hawaiian state flower = the hibiscus.
COINCIDENCE?! I think not!

Call the X-files. Something looks wrong here. The truth is out there!
It’s all one Big Fat Hawaiian Conspiracy!
Behind the scenes, our country is secretly controlled by an evil Hawaiian dictator! There’s no prime minister or federal parliament. All those are fake. We are all plugged into some kinda Matrix world and all those things you read in the newspapers is just some propaganda bullshit designed to cover up THE TRUTH!
I did some investigation. Behold, this is the rare image of the Hawaiian dictator!
His name is… CAPTAIN MAMULA.
And this is how he looks like.

Yeah, that explains why the country is so screwed up sometimes.

Continue reading