Advertorial: 5% Tax, 10% Service Charge, 100% Stupidity

You know what I find annoying?

You know how when you walk into your favourite cafe like say, Starbucks, and you see them advertising on their blackboard – Grande Green Tea Frappucinno RM 14.50.

Fine. So you diligently pull out the exact change for RM 14.50 from your wallet – one RM 10 note, four RM 1 notes and 50 sen in coins.

The Starbucks cashier keys in your order and the bill came up to… RM 15.25.

Hang on, wait a minute. How did RM 15.25 came about? I thought the menu said RM 14.50. What’s up with the extra 75 sen, man?
You take a look at the bill, and there it is.

What the hell? Why do I have to pay an extra 5% on top of the RM 14.50 that you advertised on your menu?
Did you give me 5% more milk?
Did you sprinkle 5% more green tea on my frappucinno?
Did the lady on the Starbucks logo show 5% more cleavage?
Then tell me Starbucks, why the buck do I have to pay an extra 5% on my RM 14.50?

If it’s an option I that I ask to add on to my drink, like a syrup maybe, then fine I understand.
But if the 5% is something fixed that I cannot escape from, why don’t you just bucking include that into your menu prices then!? It makes it virtually impossible to prepare for an exact change when you pay for your drink. You ALWAYS have to wait for the cashier to ring up your order on the till before you can find out exactly how much you need to pay.

The worst is when you visit a restaurant like Pizza Hut, where on top of the 5% government tax that you must pay, you also have to pay the 10% service charge.
So a simple meal that’s advertised as RM 12.80 on the menu, after 10% service charge, 5% government tax and minus 2 sen rounding, ended up costing RM 14.70.
HELLO? Like, how the Hut am I supposed to know that?

If you want me to pay RM 14.70 for your pasta meal, then freaking put RM 14.70 on your freaking menu! Don’t put RM 12.80, then say “subject to 10% service charge and 5% tax”!
What do you think we are? Calculus graduates from Harvard? We just wanna eat at Pizza Hut man, we don’t wanna calculate how much each meal is gonna cost before we enter your restaurant.
If I have exactly RM12.80 in my pocket, I wanna freaking go to Pizza Hut and buy that freaking meal for RM12.80. I don’t wanna go to your restaurant with RM12.80, order a meal that says RM12.80 on your menu, then have to bloody fork out RM14.70 for it!
Dammit, why do you have to make it so difficult for us to give you money?!
The worst is when you go out in a group of say 10 friends.

Anybody wanna split this bill?

Some people order a RM40 steak, others just want a RM5 drink and everyone else orders different things. At the end of the night when you try to split the bill, you’re never gonna know who should be paying how much!
WHY? Because the guy ordering the RM40 steak should be paying RM46 and the girl ordering the RM5 drink should be paying RM5.75!
Seriously, this habit of advertising half-arsed prices has gotta stop. Cafes, restaurants and hotels are the most frequent offenders in this category.
But do you know who are the worst offenders?
Airline companies.

We’ve heard all the catchphrases they used in marketing.
RM9 One Way!
And my personal favourite:

How lah like that?
Anybody who’s travelled on our airlines before would know that unless you’re sleeping with the top management, it’s impossible to be paying nothing and still get on those airplanes. Those airport taxes, fuel surcharges, etc all add up to a lot. These are compulsary fixed charges that every passenger MUST pay. There’s no escape of it. But unlike Starbucks, it’s no longer just an additional 5% on top of the actual cost of the ticket.
For a Kuching – KL flight, the advertised airfares could be RM 0, but all the other compulsary airport taxes and fuel surcharges could easily add up to over RM 170. But of course, they never advertise it as RM 170. They would advertise it as ZERO FARE!
Only when you log onto their website, waste your time clicking through all the menus, THEN you’ll find out you have to fork out RM 170 in bloody surcharges.
So essentially, you’re paying RM 170 for a free ticket!
Imagine if you enter a restaurant, and the menu reads this.

It makes no sense right? Imagine if every restaurant does that, how would you feel?
Obviously if one restaurant is advertising FREE FOOD and attracting all the customers, his competitors aren’t gonna just sit around and do nothing. They’re gonna advertise ZERO COST MEALS as well to try to compete. Next thing you know, everyone is offering free food (excluding surchages) and no one would tell you their nett all-in prices.
The stupidity has gotta stop.

Thankfully, somebody is doing something about it.
Malaysia Airlines has taken the first step launching their “All Inclusive Low Fares” campaign. They now advertised their prices as all-in. None of those zero fares marketing gimmicks anymore
I say it’s about time.

A lot of people assumed Malaysia Airlines is more expensive, but that’s not always the case!
MAS flights from Kuching to KL now costs RM103, including meals and check-in luggages. It’s good value for money and the cheapest in town. Besides, flying MAS is more comfortable since the seats are wider and more spacious. And it’s a lot easier going through KLIA instead of LCCT.
But you know what’s the best thing about flying with MAS?

When you book your flights, you can call yourself a “Datuk”

Even when you’re not really a Datuk!

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Apple iPod Nano 4G Review And An Open Letter To Steve Jobs

Dear Steve Jobs, hello and a fark you very much.

Exactly three years ago, I bought from you the first iPod Nano not long after you released it.
That being the first Apple product I bought, I was naturally very excited over it.
It didn’t matter that your overpriced piece of shit carried an obscene price tag of RM1,269 and yet could only hold at most 4GB of music and photos.
It didn’t matter also that your tiny screen was too small to be useful and that it couldn’t play videos when all the other cheapo players on the market (eg Creative) can do so, and more.
All I knew is that I wanted it and I wanted it BAD.

Mind you, I was not your typical Apple fanboi who upon seeing you, would drop to their knees at the drop of the hat, then stroke your shaft and swallow the gravy faster than you could say “BOOM!”
No, I was not.
I bought it because it was a revolutionary piece of gadget at that time because it came in a design slimmer than Mary-Kate Olsen on a diet.

Fast forward to today, 27th October 2008.
My first generation iPod nano had served me well for three years. The hardware felt like it’s coming apart and the battery no longer lasted as long as before, but those were no reasons for me to change my iPod.
Sometimes I get annoyed when my iPod nano ran out of juice during a long flight journey, but I still see no reason for me to change my iPod. The Nuffnang’s Silent Disco Halloween Party this Saturday requires everyone to bring along an MP3 player, still I see no reason to change my iPod.
That was until my good friend Moorey, owner of the best Apple store in Kuching, called me up telling me to check out the new range of iPod nanos he has in store.

One look at it, and immediately I was sold.
Steve Jobs, you bloody bastard.
Why the hell did you manage to make the original iPod nano, already such an excellent gadget, so much better?

First you put in the video playback feature, which I find extremely useful. Imagine how much p0rn I can put inside.
Then, you also have the foresight to build the iPod nano using aluminium casing, which is excellent against resisting smudge.

You must’ve predicted that as soon as people find out they could watch videos on their iPods, they’re gonna put p0rn in it. And as soon as they put p0rn in it, people are gonna have very sticky hands.
That must be the reason why you made the iPod nano smudge-resitant right?

You took away the boxy design of the original nano, doubled the screen size, made the screen brighter, double the battery life, and made the whole thing lighter than ever.
Then as if sculpting a sexy lady, not only did you made the iPod nano slimmer, you also gave her sweet curves in all the right places.

It is such a beauty I couldn’t wait to bring her home and plug my USB cable into her hole.
But Steve Jobs, you ass, do you know what your worst crime is?

Three years ago, you sold your 4GB iPod nanos at RM1,269 per piece. I was among your first Malaysian customers.
Today, your new iPod nanos has not only improved leaps and bounds, it has FOUR TIMES the storage capacity and yet you’re selling it at RM799.
A freaking RM470 cheaper than the original.
You made me officially iTulan.

Screw you Steve Jobs. You suck!

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Meeting Paris Hilton

What are the chances! I can’t believe I bumped into Paris Hilton!

No, not the blonde bimbo hotel heiress.
THIS Paris Hilton.

To be fair though, I think the hotel version of Paris Hilton shares many similarities with the human version of Paris Hilton.
For example, Paris Hilton has a very wide entrance.

Every day you see people go in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out.

But most importantly, when you see Paris Hilton, you know you’re not too far away from a huge erection.

I went into the hotel, ordered hot chocolate at the bar and the waiter said “Careful.”
“That’s hot!”

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How To Break Into A Small Padlock Using A Paperclip

This must be the first how-to guide I’ve posted on

When I came back from Sabah earlier this month, I found myself in a position where I had to break into the lock of my own luggage bag.
In my absent-minded stupor, I must have misplaced the keys to my luggage, leaving my smelly post-marathon clothes fermenting with sweat inside my luggage bag. I didn’t have a choice. If I didn’t break into the lock of my luggage bag, I’d be collecting mushrooms from my running shorts today.

What surprised me was how easy it was to break a padlock.
On my first attempt, I managed to effortlessly pick the padlock in just 5 minutes. The only “tool” I used was a regular paperclip that costs not more than 70 sen for a box of 100s.
I’ve made an “instructional” video here, so in case anyone found themselves in the same situation as I was, don’t panic.

Disclaimer: will not be held responsible for any panties stolen from your luggage bags as a result of this video.

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Datukship For Jessica Alba

Every year on their birthdays, the State Governors in Malaysia give out presents on their own birthdays.

The birthday presents come in the form of state titles, or “Datuks”. It is a major honour to be named “Datuk” by the State Governors. “Datuk” in Malaysia is the equivalent of “Sir” in the UK.
“Datuk” is also Malay for “Grandpa”. Actually, no one knows for sure why they wanna reward people by calling them “Grandpa”, but I think it’s because the State Governor doesn’t wanna feel too old on his birthday.

Recently in Malacca, their State Governor took the unusual step to award Datukship to famous Indian actor Shahrukh Khan.
The reason they gave was that a few years ago, Shahrukh Khan (of Kuch Kuch Hotha Hai fame) filmed a movie in Malacca and many tourists visited the place as a result. A lot of people wasn’t happy because they thought that it doesn’t make sense to give such an important state title to a foreigner who hadn’t really done that much for us anyway.
However, I for one would like to state that 100% supports giving Datukship to Shahrukh Khan!

Meanwhile in Sarawak, our State Governor’s birthday is coming in a few days time.
I thought, while we were on a roll giving out state titles to foreign actors, perhaps I could add one more suggestion on who else to award the “Datuk” title to.
Well, there could only be one person.


Now I know what you’re thinking. What exactly has Jessica Alba done for Sarawak anyway?
Well, to that I say, PLENTY!
A lot of people do not know this. But many, many years ago before Jessica Alba became famous starring in big movies like Sin City and Fantastic Four, this sweet-looking Hollywood actress was actually in Sarawak filming a very low budget unknown movie called The Sleeping Dictionary.

Yes, Jessica Alba, one of the sexiest women in the world, was in my home state of Sarawak, perhaps even in my own back yard filming a movie. And I didn’t even get to meet her! *#&^$@!

You see, The Sleeping Dictionary wasn’t exactly a well-known movie even in the US.
It didn’t even get released in the cinemas, going straight to DVDs instead. For that reason, a lot of Sarawakians never knew about the movie. It is a real pity, because it is not everyday that one of the biggest names from Hollywood come here to do a movie.
But make no mistake about it, this is indeed a very “special” movie. It’s way better than whatever that One Two Ka Four movie that Shahrukh Khan did. So if his stupid movie can earn him a Datuk title, then I say The Sleeping Dictionary should at least earn Jessica Alba AT LEAST a Datuk, a Datuk Seri, a Tan Sri, a Tun and an Oscar all at one night.
And I’ll tell you why she deserves it.

For those who haven’t watched the movie, The Sleeping Dictionary has pretty much copy-and-pasted the script from the Disney movie Pocahontas.
In short, British white boy with a stiff upper lip goes deep inside the jungles of mystical Asian country, falls in love with a local native girl, then defies all customs and conventions to be with her.
But that’s where the similarities end.

First of all, the native Iban girl is played by none other than Jessica Alba.
Nevermind the fact that Jessica Alba is the most angmoh-looking Iban girl in the whole Sarawak. Just accept that JESSICA ALBA = IBAN ok?

Secondly, while every other Iban girl in the movie wears a traditional one-piece sarong, Jessica Alba’s outfit is a sexy modern two-piece sarong designed to show off her bodacious bod!

As if those two reasons are not good enough to call immediately her “Datuk Jessica Alba”, check out the kickass story line.
In the movie, the white boy’s mission to educate the uncivilised Iban villagers. At the same time, white boy is introduced to Jessica Alba, who happens to be his designated “Sleeping Dictionary”.
What exactly is a “Sleeping Dictionary”?

This is where it gets interesting.
A “Sleeping Dictionary” is a local girl whose job it is to teach white boy everything he needs to know about the Iban culture and language… BY HAVING SEX WITH HIM!

Now isn’t that awesome?! A missionary from London went to Sarawak, but ended up in a missionary position instead?
Of course, how exactly she plans on teaching him the Iban culture and language by sleeping with him is the biggest mystery of all time.

Maybe Jessica Alba’s pussy is a USB port and white boy’s dick is a USB cable, then when he’s plugged into her he can download all the information onto his “external hard drive”.
So anyway, after white boy pumped his “Sleeping Dictionary” long and hard, suddenly he found out that he had learnt a new language through Jessica Alba’s vagina. Behold the mighty power of the pussy!

Kinda reminded of this Aussie guy I once knew who dated a Japanese girl. Before this, he was just like any other Aussie guy I knew.
After just two months of dating this Japanese girl, suddenly he was spurting out crap like “kimochi” and “bukkake”. So I guess it really worked.

There were plenty of sex scenes in this movie which is extremely rare for a movie set in Malaysia.
Of course as far as the storyline goes, eventually white boy fell in love with the girl, adopt the local customs and gradually let go his British stiff upper-lip demeanour.
Apparently all the stiffness went down to his other body part.

So with a story line THIS good, how can you NOT give Datukship to the sexy sultry Jessica Alba?

If we promoted The Sleeping Dictionary right enough, I bet ya tons of tourists will be flocking into Sarawak wanting to learn a new language!
And when that happens, we’ll all be asking, “Datuk Shahrukh WHO?”
Enough bullshit.


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Borneo International Marathon 2008

I did it in 2 hours 42 minutes!

No, that was not how long I have to queue up at the complaint desk at StreamyX.
That’s the time it took me to complete 21km at the Borneo International Marathon in Kota Kinabalu last Sunday. My body is sore all over and now I’m walking like a freshly sodomised pondan.

KK is as beautiful as I remember it last year.
I always say that those Sabahans up north from us have it good. Whatever we in Sarawak has, Sabah always seems to have the better version of it.

If you want beaches, we have beaches here. But Sabah’s beaches are CLEANER.
If you want mountains, we have mountains here. But Sabah’s mountains are TALLER.
The only thing we have in Sarawak that’s better than Sabah is our Mulu Cave. Then again, the last thing you wanna do is go around telling people, “Hey, come to Sarawak. Our hole is BIGGER!”

Well, Sabah can now add one more to their list of triumphs. The Borneo Marathon I did was not just a very good running event, it was without a doubt the best running competition I have ever took part in, bar none.
Yes, even the ones I did in KL and Penang cannot compare to how much I enjoyed this run. And that wasn’t just my opinion alone. Many seasoned runners who have completed in races all over the world raved about how well-organised this event was.

My weapon of choice: the adiZero CS shoes and thick cushion socks from Thorlos

Sunday morning, I woke up bleary-eyed at the un-Godly hour of 4am and made my way to the starting line at Likas Stadium.

My running essentials: Energy gels, muscle rub and Nike+ hooked up to my trusty first generation iPod nano. Yes I know my iPod is ancient history, but I plan to upgrade soon as soon as Moorey got them new 16GB ones in stock.
The half-marathon race was slated to begin at 6am, and I got a good one hour to mingle around and socialise with the other partipants.

This is Jenap Said from Singapore.
When everyone else was wearing singlets and shorts for maximum airflow, she instead chose to run in a full Catwoman costume! Halloween seems to have come early for her. To top it off, Jenap had to observe the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan and did not start proper training until ten days before the event.
But even with so many factors working against her, the 49-year-old lady still managed to kick my ass by at least 20 minutes!

This is a photo I took with the winners before the race.
Actually I don’t even know if they are the winners because the race hadn’t even started. But I assume they’re the winners because they’re Kenyans and the Kenyans ALWAYS win.

The race course in KK was a lot better than the ones I did in KL and Penang. It is a beautiful run.
The course is pleasantly flat all the way from Likas Stadium, along the waterfront to Sutera Harbour Resort, Tanjung Aru and then back. Along the way, we were treated to funky smells of the fishy central market and fascinating sights like sunrise at the water villages near Sutera Harbour.
The traffic police took care of us very well.

The organizers did a great job because there was never a shortage of liquid. 100 Plus and water stations are available almost every 20 minutes or so. The only thing they were short of were paper cups, but that’s ok. When they ran out of cups, we drank straight from the bottle.
When you’re thirsty, no one really cares anyway!

I told Shan that the only thing the organizers didn’t do well is that… IT’S TOO FREAKING HOT!
The organizers should’ve asked the sun to not be so hot!
We were well-shaded from the sun’s attack for the first 10km or so. But after 10Ks, it’s as if Kota Kinabalu was serving barbequed marathoners for lunch.

Photo credit:

The scorching sun was sucking up every remaining ounce of energy in us and it became harder and harder to push through to the end. At 18K I felt like dying. I’m just glad I didn’t do the 42km race.
Funniest thing I saw was this guy doing the marathon while holding onto an umbrella ella ella eh eh eh.

Photo credit:

Overall, I’m very happy with my run.
I maintained a decent pace of 7 mins/km for most part of the journey except towards the end when I slowed to 9 mins/km. I may be 82kg heavy, but still I managed to stay ahead of many other runners smaller in size and more athletic than me.
My diet of bananas and yoghurt must’ve worked – no cramps in my legs nor stitches on my sides.
21km in 2 hrs 42 mins is still my personal best thus far. I crossed the finishing line feeling like I could still go on further.

However, this 21km run is only just a warm-up.
The big race for me is still the 42km Singapore International Marathon that’s happening eight weeks time. Given my results, I’m reckon I could tackle it in 5 hrs 30 mins this 7th December. But we’ll see.

Bring on the Singapore Marathon, baby!

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A Series Of Unfortunate Events From London To Paris

Before I was in London for Tiger Translate, I wanted to go for a little detour.

Since my flights to London were all sponsored for by Tiger Beer, and I thought why not make use of the opportunity to visit another country nearby. After all, it’s not everyday I get to travel to Europe.
The good news is, London is surrounded by many fanscinating cities. But inside me, there is only one place I really wanted to go.

The City of Lights. The City of Love. The City of Fashion.
The city where if people insult your mother, you can headbutt them in the chest.

I went to Paris with Dawn and another friend of ours *Belinda (not her real name ‘cos she’s shy and wanted to remain anonymous).
Obviously, we were very excited in the days leading up to our trip. Who doesn’t want to go to the home of champagne, Louis Vuitton and Ratatouille?
Paris is a city crammed with plenty of attractions. Since we’re only spending four nights there, we wanted to make the best of it. Being the anal travel planner that I was, I spent TWO FULL DAYS doing intensive research on the Net and came up with… Kenny Sia’s Most Kickass Too Fast Too Furious Superman Paris Travel Itinerary.

It was the best travel plan I have ever prepared.
I’ve got my tickets, accommodation and schedule all sorted out and deposits paid for before I even stepped on the plane. I showed the girls what I have prepared and needless to say, they were impressed. They even said to me, “Wow Kenny, you’re good!”
And to that I say, with a wink, “Yes ladies, I know. I get that a lot.

However, the trip didn’t start off as well as we hoped it would.
Getting from London to Paris was supposed to be the easiest part. The two big cities are connected by high-speed Eurostar train, which runs from the centre of London, through the undersea English Channel tunnel, right to the middle of Paris. If you book early, you can get tickets real cheap. I got mine at 49 pounds (RM300) return, which is even cheaper than flying from Kuching to KL.

But if there’s one thing I learnt in life, it is this.
No matter how good your plans are, the things you LEAST expected could happen and everything you planned for could very well… fuck up.
Pardon my French.

The first unfortunate event happened even before our trip started.
Two days before I was set to depart, we received this wonderful piece of news in the papers.

My heart went crashing down further than the US stock markets.
I was in a state of panic. The fire in the tunnel was still going on even as I boarded my flight to London. Throughout my 13 hour journey, all I could think was whether or not I might lose my deposits for our accommodation booking.
I even checked the live news report on the plane’s computer continuously to see if the fire has been extinguished. More importantly, if my train to Paris has resumed.

As soon as I touched down London Heathrow, I shot a text off to Dawn and Belinda to find out their whereabouts.
Belinda informed me that train services have only partially resumed. She was lucky enough to grab hold of a seat and managed to get to Paris. Dawn was still stuck in London. Because our original trains were cancelled, we’d have to catch the replacement train the next day.
I myself had to scramble for a place to stay in London last minute because I hadn’t had any booking. Needless to say, I had a crap sleep.
Moral of the story is: buy travel insurance.

Next morning, I headed to the Eurostar station bright and early to meet up with Dawn. That was when the second of our series of unfortunate events occured.
As if it wasn’t bad enough to not have slept all night. I was tearing out my hair because: 1) Dawn was nowhere to be found, and 2) she was not answering her phone either!

I was frantically searching for her all over the Eurostar station and just as I was about to give up, Dawn suddenly appeared out of thin air and tapped me from behind.
Kenny: “Where did you go? I’ve been trying to call you!”
Dawn: “I dropped my phone in the cab!”
Kenny: “WHATTTT!!! How now!?”

The cab driver was nice enough to deliver her phone back eventually, but that was too late to save me from heart attack.
It was only the start of our trip and already it is turning out to be quite a chaotic nightmare.

Despite the earlier mishaps, taking the Eurostar train across the English Channel was fun. One moment you can see English signboards, then it’s complete darkness for a while inside the tunnel.
Next thing you know, sunlight shines through the windows and everything is in French.

Welcome to Paris!

We lugged our heavy luggages through the massive Parisian subway stations, got off at the Jewish quarter and arrived 13 hours late to meet Belinda at our rental apartment.
Finally, some decent rest at last!

This was the apartment we stayed in. It is small, but very clean and modern.
The apartment has only one bedroom with a queen sized bed.

This was the bed that Dawn Yang and I slept in.
For four nights, we shared this bed, made love all night long and performed hardcore kinky sex utilising every single sexual positions known and unknown to men. We made a lot of noise when we did it missionary, cowgirl and doggie style.
We even tried the difficult ones like The Wheelbarrow.

The Helicopter.

The Windmill

…at least that’s what the busy bodies in the gossip forums would like to believe. 😉
Apparently if I travel with a girl and the place we stayed has double bed, automatically those people would jump to conclusion and think that *gasp* we must be screwing each other! RIGHT?
Sorry guys, but unfortunately the truth is far less interesting than made-up fiction. In actual fact, Dawn and Belinda shared the bedroom while I slept on the sofa bed in the living room alone.

All jokes aside, there was one thing we did correct in this trip. We made a smart decision to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel.
Accommodation is bloody expensive in Paris. Even with a 50 Euro (RM250) a night budget, the best I could find are smelly and old hotels in the red light district of Montmarte. It’s too far away from all the attractions and too unsafe for the girls.
Considering there’s three of us and staying for four nights, the rental apartments are a better deal.

We booked our apartment through for 135 Euros (RM675) per night. Split among three, each of us paid 45 Euros to stay in a clean and centrally-located swanky apartment.
Throw in free internet, a kitchen and a washing machine, it’s a damn good deal by Parisien standards.

An old Jewish man handling the cash register at a shop outside our apartment

Anyway, we were determined to start our holiday after a bad start to our trip. With our late arrival throwing the spanner in the works, the kickass itinerary I planned earlier was as good as used toilet paper. Still, we compromised and tried to make the best out of it.
We got changed and got out of our apartment. Two steps out our doorway, I heard the two girls screamed “VINTAGEEEEEE!!!” and immediately they scuttled into this old-fashioned vintage store like rats in Ratatoille.
Then they proceeded to stay there for ONE HOUR.

Note to self: remember to keep the girls far far away from shopping.
Our first tourist stop is not in Paris, but in Versailles. Versailles is the old capital of France located 40 minutes away from Paris. There’s a Palace there where French kings used to stay many centuries.
We arrived in Versailles after a long train ride. First thing we noticed is that for some strange reasons, everybody seems to be walking OUT of the palace gates.

When we went to purchase our tickets at the reception, we encountered the third unfortunate event of our Paris trip.
Due to a private function, the Palace was closed early and we couldn’t go in!

That means we just wasted 2 hours travelling back and forth to Versailles for absolutely nothing! By now the girls were probably thinking what a lousy tour guide this Kenny Sia person is. First trip with him and already everything was going wrong.
Dejected, defeated and utterly disappointed, we made our way back to Paris.
Got off at the Palais de Chaillot, and that’s when we saw it.

The Eiffel Tower!
We hugged each other, wiped the tear off the corner of our eyes as we gazed upon the 325m of iron structure in front of us, recognised all over the world as the definitive symbol of Paris.
It is so beautiful.

Finally, that’s one thing crossed off the list of things I wanna do before I die. 🙂

“We’re going to Paris tomorrWOW! No… actually, we’re already there.”

When we had enough camwhoring at Trocadero, the three of us rented a bike for only 1 Euro (RM 5), then cycled down to the base of the Eiffel Tower during sunset.

It was a quintessential Paris experience, and I highly recommend everyone to get on a bicycle when you’re in Paris.

No matter how many times I look at the Eiffel, I can never get tired of it.
At night, the tower lights up and it looks even more spectacular.

We were satisifed at last.
The beginning of our trip was the worst nightmare anyone could ever imagine. Train got cancelled because tunnel caught fire, phone dropped in cab and the only tourist attraction we went to closed early.

But as soon as we saw the Eiffel Tower, it’s as if all our earlier disappointments just instantly vanished.
Such is the magic of the Eiffel.

Sure beats the “Eiffel Tower” we have on Batu Lintang Rd in Kuching.

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My Favourite Interviews

Been doing quite a number of interviews lately!

It has come to a point where now I keep a file called Standard Interview Replies.doc on my desktop, just so I could copy and paste my answers to my interviewers.
(In case you wondered how come my interviews in different publications all sound the same, now you know.)
But occassionally, the writer is someone who knows me so well, she can skip the interview altogether and still do an ass-kicking write-up about me. JoyceTheFairy did just that in September’s issue of KLue magazine.

(I know I’m a bit late plugging the mag now, but we are KLue-less here in Kuching. The only KLue we have are in Starbucks, and even those are from April 2008.)
I was featured in KLue’s 20 Under 40, a list honouring 20 of KL’s biggest movers and shakers.

Seriously, I do not know how exactly I moved or shook KL.
If I remember correctly, the only moving and shaking I did was when I went jogging in Lake Gardens last time.
I was so freaking fat that every step I took, the entire KL moved and shook.

The 20 Under 40 list included more worthy inductees like Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah, MDG boss Jerad Solomon and Malaysian spaceman Sheikh Muszaphar. Alongside them, I look like a complete waste of space on page 61.
Still, it’s quite a honour to not only be mentioned, but also have the “Carrie Bradshaw of KL” write about me. I cannot think of a more suitable person to do the write-up, so thank you Joyce! 🙂

If I had to do an interview though, most of the time I still prefer face-to-face over e-mail interviews. It’s a lot more personal that way and I get to express my emotions a lot better. Like what I did recently with Georgette Tan.
The interview, which was published on The Sunday Post‘s POSTmag, has gotta be up there as one of my most favourite interviews to date.
(Although I reckon she could’ve chosen a better front cover picture of me that doesn’t look like a vampire version of William Hung.)

New Media Man
By Georgette Tan, POSTmag, 13 July 2008.
There’s scarcely an Internet savvy person in town or around Malaysia who doesn’t know who Kenny Sia is. The 26-year-old IT manager started a blog three and a half years ago for reasons most people did at the time. “It was meant to be a personal diary,” said Sia. “It’s kinda deviated from that since!”
Sia was living in Perth, Australia at the time was born. He then returned to Kuching because his fater was ill. He knew there were going to be hard days ahead and so the blog became an outlet, a way of recording the changes his life was going through and a means of letting his friends around the world know what he was up to.
“I’ve always wanted to start a website. The invention of blogs made things really easy,” he said.
As blogs have taken over the Internet and become an undeniable part of online technology, Sia has gotten invitations to share his varied experiences with college students. He even served on a panel of last year’s Singapore Writers Festival. It was an example of something he never expected to end up doing when he started blogging.
“That was crazy!” he recalled. “I went there, babbled through my session and got paid for it!”

But Sia recognises an appreciative audience when he is faced with one.
“I like talking to students the most,” he said. “It’s more enjoyable because being bloggers themselves, they are more interested and ask valid questions.”
Sia commented that he is more recognised in Kuala Lumpur than he is in Kuching. However, he is very much a Kuching boy at heart. A good number of his entries are about the prides and peculiarities of Kuching, especially during the first year or two after coming home from Perth.
“I’m very proud of Kuching,” he stated.
Sia’s blog has delighted readers everywhere because of his tongue-in-cheek style, which often pokes fun at himself.
“People need to laugh at themselves. There’s a time to let go and a time to stay serious.”
While some other Kuching blogs are only beginning to gain recognition as part of the alternative media, Sia has had to lay down some ground rules for himself to prevent advertorials from taking over his blog content.
“I want to focus on content, so I won’t do more than three sponsored posts in a month, but sometimes this is hard to control.”
He went on to explain that he may yes to three ads, but some jobs get postponed to the following month.
“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “People often don’t realise how many ads I had to turn down in a month.”
Sia has had several opportunities to play a member of the media, mostly on an official basis.

His first, however, was decidedly unofficial. He infamously crashed the Miss Tourism Pageant 2005 grand finals at a major hotel in Kuching, and came away with photos, videos, and a candid report.
“I thought it would be interesting to cover it for people who never had the opportunity to attend such an event,” he said.
Last year Sia wrote to Sarawak Tourism Board CEO Gracie Geikie to ask if he could cover the 10th Rainforest World Music Festival for his blog. He was thrilled when she sent him a media pass.
“All it takes is one event,” he said.
Since then, Sia’s been busy, blogging huge concerts (we’re talking Black Eyed Peas and Jay Chou), playing a cameo role in a Mister Potato TV ad shot in Thailand, and making guest appearances at various other events.

His favourite was getting invited to cover the opening of the Venetian Macao together with 2,500 other members of the international media.
“It was mind-blowingly awesome. I never expected to find myself in that position,” he said.
The organisers of that trip realised the value of a well-frequented blog. “A lot of people who went there were referenced by my blog,” Sia said.
“I managed to reach that audience that stays in front of the computer.”
Sia also got to be a judge for the Internet-based reality TV show Malaysian Dreamgirl.
“I had a small role in that, but I got to hang out with cool people!” he enthused.

He scored himself more infamous points on the show, slipping into the “Simon Cowell role” by the first episode, something that may have surprised people who know him to be a cheerful and friendly chap. It was also something that caused him to apologise profusely on his blog after the show was over.
“People started watching the show after they heard about what happened in the first episode,” he said, fully aware that any publicity is good publicity.
A second season of Malaysian Dreamgirl is in the works and Sia has been invited back as a judge. Regarding the show’s venture into uncharted territory, he feels that the whole thing is new and things could have been done better.
“But it’s a step in the right direction,” he concluded.
Sia also ventured into new territory earlier this year when he interviewed the then Bandar Kuching candidates Chong Chieng Jen (DAP) and Alan Sim (BN-SUPP) before the elections.
“I was lucky I got to speak to the both of them,” he said. “I think it’s important to know what they stand for and I didn’t until I talked to them.”

Members of the opposition party DAP have started utilising the blogging arena to further their cause. Sia believes that this played a role in their recent election victory.
“The Malaysian media is very strict, and a lot of opinions are not portrayed accurately,” he said. “Eventually, people stop believing in the mainstream news and started looking for other news sources. When you see things happening around the country, the opposition blogs become easier to believe.”
And then, other bloggers start talking.
“Most people keep quiet because they believe they are the only ones who think that way,” Sia theorised. “When similar opinions get aired on other blogs, they suddenly realise that they are not alone.”
The popularity of means that his blog is far from the personal journal it was originally meant to be. Although Sia had the choice of charging ahead regardless of who is reading, with viewers of all ages he decided to exercise sensitivity instead.
“Having to self-censor is the worst thing that can ever happen. The blog is not very personal anymore, but I give myself generous leeway,” Sia reflected. “And things can get out-of-hand and exaggerated online.”
This is why Sia is careful and checks with people to see if it’s all right for him to write about them.

“The toughest part is satisfying everyone. But no matter what you write, there will always be opposing opinions,” he said. And there are usually plenty of opinions and assumptions no matter what the subject.
Sia takes the pragmatic approach. “You can’t control what people say about you, but you can control how you react to it.”
However, he admitted that some opinions are more important than others.
“I value the opinion of people who know me. I would matter more if family and friends get upset. Apart from them, I have learnt to ignore the rest.”

Coincidentally, that issue of POSTmag was the final one for The Sunday Post.
I guess they ran out of people to interview, had no choice but scrap the bottom of the barrel and find me.

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