Category: Around Malaysia

EO Tour de Malaysia

They say in life, it is not just what you know, it is who you know.

I first heard of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) through Marcus Luer, who served as my mentor for MillionaireAsia’s Enterprise Development Challenge two years ago. In fact, joining EO was the very first advice Marcus gave me.

"It is very important that you surround yourself with like-minded individuals," he said. "When you are in the company with other individuals in similar position in life like yourselves, you get access to a whole group of people who supports you, mentors you and gives you opportunity to mentor back. When that happens your whole thinking and approach to life and business changes."

Alright I’m interested. So how do I get sign up for this EO thing?

"Well, you cannot just join like that. They are quite selective about who gets into the organization. First, you must be the founder or shareholder of a company that makes USD $1 million a year."

Okay. Not quite there yet.

"Next, there’s the membership fee, which is around RM8,000."

Once off?

"No, a year."


With that, I put off my thought of joining this elusive club called EO, until late last year when these two letters popped up again.

Joanna Ling, a friend of mine who is probably the only EO member in Kuching, asked if I would be interested to go on an bicycling experience of a lifetime organized by EO called the EO Tour de Malaysia – 5 Days, 4 States, 300+ km, 1 bike.

Sure, why not? After all, what’s there to lose… other than my pair of legs?

With that, I packed my bags and my bike to KL to have a glimpse into what this exclusive organization called the EO is all about.



What do founders and directors of companies making more than US$ 1 million in revenue look like?


Well, they look just like you and me. But one common thing that stood out is how open, friendly and unreserved members of EO are.

Everyone goes out of their way to talk to you or help you out, even if they don’t know who you are. There’s no such thing as who is more senior or who makes more money. Everyone sees everyone as an equal.

When EOers organize events for other EOers, they always seek to create magical moments that money can’t buy. Examples in the past include shutting down Petaling Street for a Chinese New Year celebration, or getting toured around Manchester United by actual former football players.

For the EO Tour de Malaysia, you know this event is highly exclusive when the special guest invited to give a lecture is a Tan Sri from Royal Selangor.

Lesson Learnt: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep on moving.

Malaysian cycling legends honoured by the organizing committee.




Woke up at 5:30am. Just in time to take a selfie clad in lycra.


This is probably the only time in my life I would be seeing 65 company bosses carbo-loading in preparation for a 100km ride ahead.

The morning of Day 1 is a 50km ride around Putrajaya.

It’s such a joy riding in the administrative capital of our country. The roads are relatively flat and the the boulevards wide. As one rider remarked, "Finally, we have found a use for Putrajaya!"

I thought it’s also pretty cool we were given a police motorcade around Putrajaya, like we’re some VIPs in a city with no shortage of VIPs.

Ironically, the official colour of our jerseys for Day 1 is yellow.

Wonder if Najib got worried when he looked out the window, and thought a bunch of BERSIH protestors were riding towards him!

It’s a crime to still look this good after a 50km bicycle ride.

Anyway, we kinda cheated and took a 2.5 bus trip up the North-South Highway to the sleepy town of Teluk Intan, Perak – where the local’s claim to fame is this leaning clock tower.

Of all the designs we could have copied from the Italians, we copied their lousy building construction method.

From Teluk Intan, it’s a 70km bike ride to the Lumut jetty.

It was a tough ride, and the leisure riders have opted to take the bus to the destination instead. The hardcore ones gulped down a few cups of FruitBank juices and continued the journey with no complaints.

The skies turn golden just as we were about to depart for Pangkor Laut.

And after a gruelling 130km first day, we finally "kaw liao".

Time to celebrate in Pangkor Island!

Lesson Learnt: Good entrepreneurs must learn how to take risks.

Snagging a photo op inside a ring of fire probably isn’t one of those risks.



The day barely broke, and we’re already departing Pangkor Island. Some EOers probably haven’t even slept!

Day 2 of the EO Tour de Malaysia commences at Cameron Highlands, Pahang.

Despite being a Malaysian, it’s my first time here and I like it! It’s so picturesque!

Our first stop is the ‘BOH’ Tea Centre in Brinchang.

Like primary school kids, we line up two by two, holding hands, as we visit the very fascinating tea factory to see how tea leaves are processed.


An obligatory group photo before we journey 120km downhill!

The downhill bike ride is super easy. All I had to do was control my brakes!

Lesson Learnt: In life, you must learn to take plenty of breaks and enjoy the smell of tea leaves.

Our next pitstop is my most favourite out the entire trip – the Banjaran Hot Springs near Ipoh, Perak.

I have long heard about The Banjaran, and how it is the only true 5-star wellness retreat in the whole of Malaysia. I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed.

The Banjaran is truly beautiful. Set amidst lush green rainforests and vertical limestone hills, I felt serene as soon as I stepped into the gardens.

Nothing beats soaking my tired legs in these geothermal hot spring waters.

I didn’t wanna leave, but I have to be careful my eggs don’t get cooked.

Massage is not included in the price of entry. But heck, after riding almost 200km in two days, I could care less paying nosebleed prices for a 45 minute treatment.


Next, we were given a tour of Sunway Group Chairman Jeffrey Cheah’s private wine cellar set inside a lime
stone cave.

This was another one of those magic moments that the EO team sought out to create.


When Jeff’s Cellar was first opened, only his families and close friends are allowed to enter. Eventually, he opened it up to his hotel guests, but still, it remained the most spectacular wine cellar in Malaysia that no one has heard of.

Thanks to some "connections" within the EO group, we were able to wine and dine with stalagmites.


Sadly, I had to leave the EO Tour de Malaysia prematurely.

Tour de Malaysia 2013 Century Ride from Kim Boon on Vimeo.

But the few days I spent with this bunch of EOers is enough for me to appreciate the unique bond and camaraderie they have with one another.

In a short course of two days, I had met a real estate consultant from Hong Kong who taught me how to "read" shopping malls, a young Harvard graduate who is also a CEO of a drink manufacturer, and a brash businessman who said being in EO "saved his life".

All of them I wished I could spend more time with. All of them have lessons I could learn from. All of them have stories I could be inspired from.

Unfortunately I had to leave because after cycling 2 days straight for 200km – dammit… MY BUTT HURTS!

ADV: Empire Shopping Gallery Grand Opening

When one thinks of a stereotypical Subang shopping crowd, this might come to mind.

Subang Jaya is a housing area where people are down-to-earth and generally live a thrifty lifestyle.

For the longest time, the Subang crowd struggles with the stigma that they are perhaps not as glamorous compared to their counterparts living in Damansara condos or KL area. Back then, it was a common sight to see aunties wearing shorts and slippers, speaking loudly in Cantonese, cruising around Giant supermarkets.

But that was before.

The opening of Empire Shopping Gallery, is a sign that the Subang crowd has actually grown to become… more stylo-milo and upmarket.

Empire Shopping Gallery is a brand new contemporary boutique-style shopping mall located in SS16 section of Subang Jaya.

The mall is located right behind Subang Parade and Wisma Consplant. Unlike the old buildings in its vicinity, the look and feel of Empire is refreshing with contemporary architectural details befitting an upcoming mall the neighbourhood style-makers would soon to call home. Even the skylight ceiling boosts mega style with splashes of red and stylish Chinese dynasty-inspired design for an event recently.

Don’t let the name fool you though. Despite being called “Empire”, the size of the mall itself is quite manageable. It’s large without being overly maze-like and complicated like Berjaya Times Square.

I was at the Grand Opening of Empire Shopping Gallery last Friday. The event was graced by some familiar faces I know in the local entertainment circles.

Former Miss Malaysia Elaine Daly was there.

It’s quite difficult for me to see Elaine in person again after seeing her pose in Singapore FHM like this.

Another former Miss Malaysia, Deborah Henry was there too.

Apparently she took time off from dancing and singing “you can pay your road tax and your car insurance online”.

Rounding up the celebrity presence are Bernie Chan, Atilia, Will Quah and Amber Chia.

Yes, even Amber Chia could not resist bringing her baby bump to the Grand Opening.

To be honest, she looks positively glowing. During the Grand Opening, we were treated to a fashion show by some of the mall’s tenants.

When the child models did their strut down the catwalk, I could see Amber’s face lit up. It’s like she really can’t wait to be a mom.

When introducing his mall, the managing director was upbeat about the prospect.

Apparently, Empire Shopping Gallery is a mixed development for the entire project called Empire Subang. The others are Empire Office Tower, Empire Hotel and Empire SoHo.

The shopping mall itself has already achieved over 90% tenancy, attracting premium lifestyle-brands like Guess, Fitness First Platinum, Ed Hardy, Italiannies, Jaya Grocer and TANGS.

TANGS in Subang? You bet.

Even in its home country of Singapore, TANGS wasn’t built in residential areas. It’s a sign that the Subang crowd is more affluent now compared to ten years ago.

Perhaps in times to come, your stereotypical Subang crowd will no longer look like this.



But more like this.


Wedding Weekend In Melaka

Busy working on a secret project = little time to blog = random photo diarrhoea.

I flew into Melaka last weekend to attend the wedding of a friend of mine.

Pierre is the brand manager at Mamee Double-Decker Group and he’s responsible for a lot of campaigns I did for his company over the past couple of years.

I am always gonna be thankful towards him because this guy gave me so many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I would never have imagined otherwise. Among some of the most memorable collaborations we did was my acting in a TV Commercial for Mister Potato, my meeting with Jay Chou and most recently our M.P.F.C. trip to Old Trafford Stadium to watch the historic match between Manchester United and Liverpool.


Which is why when he asked me to be one of his “brothers” for his big day, I felt so privileged that I agreed without thinking twice.

Little did I expect the horror that was awaiting us in the form of… BRIDESMAIDS FROM HELL.


In Chinese wedding tradition, it is common for the bridesmaids act as guards for the bride. In order for the groom to prove that his love for the bride is real, these girls, in the name of sick sadistic fun, are tasked with torturing the groom and his “brothers” before they would allow him to see his bride.

As loyal “brothers” for Pierre, of course we are happy to take the bullet for him lah.

Until this happened.


No, this is not what you think it is.

This is the most painful torture ever created since the Qin Dynasty.


See our legs? See their hands on our legs?

That, my friend, is a WAX STRIP.

And this is my leg after the wax strip treatment.



Somebody call the World Wildlife Fund. There’s a massive deforestation on my leg!

I was so emotionally traumatised that I chickened out of the next torture. LUCKY I DID!


I ask you hor. Where got bridesmaid so creative until they can come up the evil idea of tying a balloon right behind our ass, then asking the brother at the back to pop the balloon of the brother in the front…


… using their crotch!

Look at how much that chick on the left was enjoying herself with all the entertainment that we provide! What the hell! VERY FUNNY MEH!?

Ok lah, actually quite funny. Especially when you are not the one being tortured.


This is Timothy Tiah, my blog advertising agent and one of Malaysia’s leading young entrepreneur.

This is Timothy Tiah, sharing a “Brokeback Mountain” moment with another one of Pierre’s “brothers”.


I can never have a brotherly relationship with any one of the guys if I had to go through with the balloon-humping or paper-kissing torture.


So I had a piece of WASABI SANDWICH that literally made my throat go through a nuclear meltdown!

But nevermind. It’s okay! In the name of brotherhood, we, the “brothers” of Pierre Pang shall gladly stand up for our groom!


It is, after all, his big day. And we saw how happy he was to see his bride, suddenly we felt what we went through was all worth it.

After all, he’s the one giving up his bachelor life forever. Heh heh heh.


We have some free time after the morning session, so Timothy, Audrey and I treated ourselves to some Mille Crepe Cake at Nadeje in Melaka Raya.


Mesmerized couple is mesmerized by the 100 Plus.


Pierre and Lay See’s Parisian-themed wedding was very lavish and well-appointed. No expense was spared and nothing but the absolute best food was served.


It’s the Brand Manager’s wedding, so naturally lots of Mister Potato was served during the cocktail reception.

It’s all about branding!


The groom is also a proud Hainanese, so during the wedding dinner, we were served Hainanese chicken rice as part of the menu.

I thought it was a real nice touch, and a good deviation from the usual food they serve during a typical wedding banquet.

Next time I marry, I’m gonna serve Kuching kolo mee, Sarawak laksa and 3-layer Teh-C-special.


Mesmerized couple is mesmerized by Eiffel Tower wedding cake.


The loving couple, the newly weds.

My hormones kicked in again urging me to start dating. Shut up hormones! No time lah, how to date?


The bride and her loving bunch of friends.


The groom and HIS loving bunch of friends.


Doing the classic Chinese wedding tradition, singing “Ai Pia Jia Eh Yia” (Literally, “Be determined and you shall win”) on karaoke.



Sa hun ti chu tia! Chit hun ko pa pia!



Next morning, with residual alcohol from the previous night running through my veins, I decided to have a morning jog around Melaka.

It was such an enjoyable run! The course I took was mostly flat and there were many cool paths along the rivers and waterways that made Melaka such a pleasant place to run in. If somebody can just organize a marathon in Melaka, I’d be the first person to sign up.

Spotted the Tenaga Nasional shop in Melaka. Don’t you find their slogan a bit arrogant?


Suddenly I have this mental image of TNB workers coming in the morning and dancing to “I’ve Got The Power!” *cues electronic music”

Anyway, after my morning exercise, Tim, Audrey and I negated my efforts running 14km earlier by having chicken rice balls for lunch.

Nobody ever instructed me the proper way of eating chicken rice balls, so this is what I did.


I shall call this, Melaka Sushi!

Visiting My Ancestors In Sandakan

It was the first time I have ever stepped off the plane into an airport so damn hot.

And I don’t mean hot like Megan Fox hot. I meant hot as in, there was totally no air-conditioning at all.
Having been to all kinds of airports, big and small all over the globe. I had no idea I would find one airport in Malaysia that looked as if it were still stuck in the 1970s.

That airport is Sandakan Airport.
Sandakan is a tiny town located on the northern tip of the state of Sabah. I was here with Seet and ShaolinTiger about two months ago for an eco-trip.

Despite having an airport, Sandakan has only just begun receiving direct flights from Kuala Lumpur as recently as two months ago via Malaysia Airlines. Previously, all flight connections had to be made through Kota Kinabalu.

We hired Borneo Eco Tours to guide us around. In a place as under-developed as Sandakan, it is usually a lot easier to engage a local tour company instead of trying to arrange everything on my own.
Sandakan also happens to be the Sabah’s second largest city. When I heard that, naturally I thought that it wouldn’t be that much different from KK.
How wrong was I.

This, my friend, is the town centre of Sandakan.
Not only was the airport stuck in the 70s, the ENTIRE town of Sandakan was stuck in the 1970s.
Old and dilapidated, no buildings in Sandakan are more than 12 stories high. There is not a single five-star hotel in sight. In fact, I was told that the locals don’t even have access to a swimming pool till as recently as five years ago.

Another thing I noticed is that there is a complete absence of those big international chain stores like Starbucks or 7-Eleven. The town is almost completely free from the evil wretches of commercialism and globalisation.
But Sandakan people are smart.

Eventhough they have no 7-Elevens, the locals have already discovered the concept of 24-hour convenience a long long looonnggggggg time ago.

So damn long ago that their 24-hour store is now closed.
Alright, before Sandakanians reading this get offended and whack me with their VHS player, let me clarify that I am not trying to bag Sandakan for being old-fashioned.

The truth is, I find Sandakan a very charming and unique place.
So unique that the first thing we saw welcoming us outside the airport was a GIANT FREAKING CROCODILE.

Steve Irwin would have got his hands full on this one.
As small and obscure as Sandakan is, it is not exactly completely off the tourist radar.

The tiny town attracts a lot of British and Australians, namely because it used to house a detention camp where many of their soldiers died when Sabah was invaded by Japan during World War II.

It was here that the “Sandakan Death March” occurred. Thousands of Allied soldiers were killed. Australian soldiers in particular, suffered the most vicious atrocity at the hands of the Japanese army in Sandakan during World War II.
Last time, when the Japanese came, everybody ran and screamed in fear. These days, when the Japanese came, all the teenage girls screaming in ecstacy.

There’s one thing about Sandakan that made me like it a lot.
Sandakan is so different from anywhere else in Malaysia because wildlife and nature here are so extremely well-preserved.

One afternoon, we were cruising down a mangrove forest in a wooden boat down the Kinabatangan River. But it was not just any boat trip. It was a safari – Malaysian style.

There was so much wildlife roaming around freely in their natural habitat that our guide had a field day pointing them out to us one by one. There were no chains, no cages.
It was nature like I’ve never seen nature before.

I saw proboscis monkeys.




Shaolin Tigers.
(Not in Sandakan anymore. Last spotted hopping on to a MAS flight and escaped to KL)
For me, the highlight of my trip to Sandakan was the chance to finally meet my ancestors.

At the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehab Centre.
Although I have been growing up in Borneo most of my life, I am ashamed to admit that this is actually the first time ever I have seen an orang utan, live and in the flesh.

At the Sepilok Orangutan Rehab Centre, these endangered creatures are well taken care of and free to roam throughout the park. Some of them even got really close to me, giving me the chance to observe their incredibly human-like behaviour.
Sepilok made the Sandakan trip worth it.

It was real nice hanging with my ancestors.
But I cannot help but to wonder. How did these orang utans ended up in the Sepilok Rehab Centre anyway?

Is this where all drug-addicted orang utans were made to go to rehab, but they say no-no-no?

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Pulau Tioman + Good company + 4 days of doing absolutely nothing = A very, very, very relaxed Kenny.

Tioman is every bit of an island holiday that I imagined it to be.
Powdery white sand.
Swaying coconut trees.
Turquoise blue waters.

For such a popular holiday destination, Pulau Tioman is ridiculously difficult to get to. From the Johor airport, it’s a 2 hour long taxi ride (RM160) directly to Mersing jetty, then it’s another 2 hour long ferry ride (RM35) before we arrived at our final destination – the backpacker’s paradise of Kampung Salang.

The reality of travelling with two girlie girls sunk in when during our taxi ride, Joyce somehow miraculously managed to convince us to take a detour to Toys ‘R Us, where I was miraculously coerced into buying this multi-coloured spinner toy.

It was the gayest thing in the history of gay that I have ever spent my money on. But Kenny Sia is a team playah so I bought it anyways.
No, there’s absolutely no chance in hell I’m gonna post a photo of myself playing with my gay multi-coloured spinner toy.

After years of not knowing what cartoon nickname to give me on her blog, Joyce finally nicknamed me “Doraemon”.
Not just because I am round in shape, but because I was carrying more luggage than Mary and Joyce combined.
Not my fault k? I had to bring along all my diving and trekking gear! All those two had to carry were tubs of beachwear and bikinis.

Bliss is lying on a hammock as the cool breeze gently rocks me to sleep.

At Kampung Salang, our phones were safely out of reception and eventhough there is internet connection, it was slower than dial-up.
It’s a good thing I suppose, because it forced me to take my mind off things for a while.

Mary is brilliant.
She managed to book ourselves a decent 4D3N package at Salang Sayang Resort at a dirt-cheap price of just RM140 per person in total. Not bad, considering it’s long weekend when we were there.
The resort isn’t anything fancy but it sure has a lot of character.
Placed neatly on the reception desk, is a box of limited edition Abdullah Ahmad Badawi branded tissue papers.

Seeing our Prime Minister’s face on a tissue box looked kinda funny actually.
Some may argue that his face should be better printed on tissue paper itself and not on the box. Others would suggest that the tissue box should be for toilet use instead.
But of course, that’s a different story for another time.

Beach babes sunbathing in their pretty bikinis are a common sight at our hotel beachfront.

Almost just as common (but justifiably less attractive), are monitor lizards as big as crocodiles.
Occasionally you can spot some animals doing weird things in Tioman.

Such as this cat giving himself a blowjob in full view of the public.
For Mary, Joyce and myself, our activities in Tioman can pretty much be summarised as follows.

In the morning, we dive/swim/snorkel/lie on the beach and do nothing.

When the sun goes down, we head out to Four-S Cafe, the one and only bar in Kampung Salang to drink, chit chat and be merry.

Although, if your name is JoyceTheFairy, you can continue drinking Tiger Beer for breakfast whilst the rest of us mere mortals just drink Teh Ais.

Our excursion to the nearby Coral Island was the favourite part of our trip eventhough everything that could go wrong seem to go wrong.
First, our speedboat ride from Tioman to Coral Island was so hard and bumpy that by the end of our 30-minute journey, my ass developed MUSCLES.

Secondly, after we arrived at beautiful Coral Island, we realised the boatman had forgotten, of all things, our snorkelling gear!

What a waste, considering how breathtakingly gorgeous Coral Island is.
Luckily, all is not lost because of the great company that we have.

Emilio, Denis and Costantinos are three travellers we met during our diving trip and hit off immediately.

As soon as the last of tour boats left, the six of us virtually had the whole beach to ourselves and we made the best of what we have by snapping hundreds of happy pictures by the beach.

JoyceTheFairy posing for Tourism Malaysia.

Lady Mary posing for Colgate Malaysia.

Emilio posing for Baywatch Malaysia.

Kenny Sia posing for People-Who-Like-To-Pretend-They-Are-Sharks, Malaysia.

Dunno what exactly, but there’s something inexplicably funny about this photo.

Happiest photo of Joyce playing with the spinner on the beach.

Diving in Tioman was quite a disappointment and not as pretty as many of us had expected.
There were so much dead corals surrounding the island that the place was almost like one big friggin graveyard for corals. I don’t know, maybe I was spoiled by the virginity of the underwater world in New Zealand, but I didn’t pay RM90 per dive just to see dead corals.

At least we still saw plenty of colourful tropical fish.

Funny-looking rock formations.

And giant clams that resembled some kinda gross vagina.

All in all, what a great holiday for the long weekend before heading back to the office.

Can’t wait for my next hedonistic island holiday.

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Ipoh Mali Ipoh Ipoh Mali

This entry is a little late, but what the heck, too many people are already protesting that they’ll leave if I continue putting Steven Lim on the front page.

The day after I completed the Penang Bridge Marathon was the day I free myself from all that stringent training I had to put myself through.
After four months of internal struggle resisting every piece of fried chicken wing thrown at me, there is only one way to celebrate this momentous occasion… by going on an Ultimate Ipoh Food Tour™

I didn’t expect Ipoh to have much tourist attractions, but turns out that this trip was more fun than I had imagined.
Joining me on this trip is travel junkie and regular Nicole Tan.

Travelling around Ipoh on foot after doing a 42km marathon isn’t gonna be much fun, so the first thing we did was to get our rental car from the Penang International Poikeeteo.

A Proton Wira with auto gear costs RM148 a day (always ask for discount).
I wanted to be the driver because I have no faith in Nicole’s driving skills and I wanna live till at least 70 because I am a gentleman and a gentleman should always drive.
Before I could do anything Nicole hopped into the driver seat and shot me back this look.

Hokayyyy, better back out then. 😛 So off we go on our little road trip to the land of Pomelos, Chicken Rice and Michelle Yeoh.
Penang to Ipoh is just two hours by car.

But it wasn’t until 4 hours that we finally reached our destination – thanks to Nicole doing a good 70km/h on the North-South Highway.

Of course, the important thing is that we reached our destination.
Still feeling sore from my race, we straight away checked in and rested, ready for a full day of exploration tomorrow.

Ipoh reminded me very much of Kuching, except they have more mountains.

The old school way of making a chair

It’s a small, quiet, slow, and very laid back town.
It is exactly the kind of place where every young people can’t wait to move out from and where old people woule wanna retire to.

Modern Photo Studio… not very modern right?

Ipoh grew up as a rich tin-mining town in the early days, but since the closure of the tin mines the growth of the city has stagnated some what.

This is Ipoh’s famous Mistress Lane.

Last time, rich businessmen used to hide their mistresses in the small houses here with a narrow lane. This is so that their wives driving around with their big Mercedes wouldn’t notice them there.
How times have changed. Nowadays, the mistresses are the ones driving around in Mercs and the wives are kept in the small houses instead.

Most buildings in Ipoh are very old and run down, lending it a certain quaint old town charm.
We didn’t exactly know where to go in Ipoh for good food, but luckily enough we had local Ipoh guy Rick Cheah bring us around.

This is what they call a Kip Chai Fun, from Greentown Food Centre. Basically fried beehoon with dunno-what-thing inside. Very dry but very filling.

Some famous Ipoh White Coffee for an extra strong caffeine kick from homegrown coffee shop, Sin Yoon Long cafe.

Ipoh is popular for their big ass bean sprouts, and the best big ass bean sprouts chicken is at Onn Kee.
It’s fat and crunchy and goes very well with chicken rice. We managed to still finish our meals eventhough we’ve been eating non-stop since morning.

Chicken drumstick from Sun Seng Fatt cafe. This plate of chicken meat costs RM8! But they’re very silky smooth and delicious so its worth it.
This place is damn cool. Their waitress came and took our orders with a PDA. Even waitress also got PDA!

You don’t see a lot of kopitiam where they take your order with a freaking PDA.
Most of the time, they’ll just shout halfway across the coffee shop with a voice louder than thunder, “TEH C PENG JIT PUEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! KOPI O JIT PUEHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! “

While walking back to our car, we came across this delightful old man trying to sell us lotus flower pods
I didn’t know you could eat the lotus flower seeds!

We don’t get a lot of these stuff in Kuching so I decided to give it a try.
I asked the uncle to demonstrate eating lotus flower seeds for us, but the poor man replied, “I cannot eat lah. I have no teeth lah!” Haha.

I gotta say eating lotus flower seed is a strange but interesting experience. The seed tastes fragrant, but it was nothing close to enjoyable. Guess I was worried about getting some virus from eating it raw.
After lunch, we decided to do some sightseeing around Ipoh.

There wasn’t much to see in terms of sights in Ipoh, but we did manage to drop by some majestic temples that seem to be built right into the rock walls of the mountains.
The temples here look really different. For one, the lions guarding the temples are smiling.

So cute right?
Don’t know about you, but I’m used to my temple lions looking mean and angry like this.

Maybe it’s to make the tourists feel more welcome.
Even the statue deities here look so slim and svelte, as if they’ve just gone on a 4-week program with Osim uZap and iGallop.

The temple is called Ling Sen Tong. With so many statues placed throughout the frontyard, the place looked more like a children’s playground than a respectable temple.
I still did my part in giving them some well-deserved donation though.

That’s my Chinese zodiac sign, The Dog.
For some reason, they made The Cow looked like an idiot.

Look he’s smiling at you!

Over at the temple, I met my half-brother, the Monkey King aka Kenny Beckham Sia.

And his piggy sidekick Zhu Ba Jie.

There are a lot of animal statues built like they’re meant for parents to put their kids on there.
Nicole couldn’t resist it and climbed on a camel.

I couldn’t resist it either and climbed on a…

Baby deer?

Doesn’t look like the deer was enjoying the ride as much as I did.
Wait. That sounded kinda wrong.

Don’t know what the heck this sign board means

Not far from Ling Sen Tong, is another amusing temple called Sam Poh Tong.
The main attraction here is a little pond where they breed hundreds of tortoises in there. Feeding is allowed if you bought some vegetables from an auntie at the entrance for RM5, which we did.

We had no idea how many tortoise there are at the pond, until we saw this.

The place was crawling with those creatures. LITERALLY!
We were so excited.

There was a baby tortoise far away from the pack. Nicole was trying to feed him with her outstretched arm, but the poor fella was struggling to even move. Even after like 15 minutes of cheering him on, the tortoise wasn’t making much progress.
He was so slow he probably took three days two nights just to crawl away from the pool and he’s probably gonna take ages more to reach that piece of yummy vegie in front of him.
We tried, but we gave up. Not gonna sit there to wait for him forever.

Moments later, we saw that stupid tortoise strolled nonchalantly back towards the pool area like nothing happened! That bugger.
While we’re enjoyed watching the tortoises’ antics, something interesting happened. Out of nowhere, we heard a series of loud knocking noises.

It was like someone was knocking on the door really loudly, except there were no doors nearby at all. A short while later it came again.
What could that possibly be?
After listening to it closely, we realised that the sound came from the pool. As it turned out, that was the sound of two tortoises having sex.

Yes boys and girls.
When humans have sex, we go “Ah ah ah!”
When tortoises have sex, they go “Knock knock knock!”

Meanwhile, something even more amusing was taking place. The male tortoise was trying to mate with the female tortoise. You can see him mounting from behind her, all horny and ready to go. But apparently, the female tortoise wasn’t exactly in the mood for it.
Normally, when human girls wanna hint to their partners that they’re not up for it, they have to go through a lot of effort coming up with some pity excuses like “I have a headache” or “I’m too tired” so that the boys would stay away.
But if you are a female tortoise, you don’t even have to bother with all that lame bullshit.
If you’re not up for sex, forget about arguing. JUST SHRINK YOUR HEAD BACK INTO THE SHELL!

Imagine a guy making sweet love to his wife or girlfriend, and halfway through she just sinks her head and limbs into her body liddat. Can you imagine how crap he must have felt?
The male tortoise must be feeling so frustrated, however he still kept going at it.
Eventually one of the older tortoises (presumably the female tortoise’s dad) got really fed up by the horny tortoise’s persistency. He had had enough of it, so he approached the hot-blooded male from behind.

Then the old fella opened up his mouth real wide, took careful aim…

Only then did the fella decide to move away.

I swear I’m not making this up. The whole episode really amused the hell out of me. You can even check out Nicole’s blog for the video.

You know your life is really sad when you get excited talking about tortoise porn.

It wasn’t long before it was time for us to leave Ipoh. Nicole and I spent whatever remaining time left camwhoring in front of the beautiful Ipoh Railway Station.
First, it was her. And she posed like this.

Like this.

Like this.

And then it was my turn.
At first I was just posing like this.

Suddenly, Furong Jie Jie‘s spirit appeared and took control of my body.
I was possessed.

Before I knew it, I was posing like this.

Like this.

And finally, like this.

Damn, that Furong Jie Jie spirit was evil.

She went to Ipoh and created a Furong Kenny.

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Mt Kinabalu Expedition

It all started when I wrote as part of my New Year’s Resolution that I planned to climb Mt Kinabalu before the end of this year.

Su Ann of had sent me an e-mail saying that if I’m going, she’d wanna tag along.
Though I was initially skeptical of having an 18-year-old school girl climb a mountain with me, I thought I could use some company. After some planning together over e-mail, we’re on our way to our first ever mountain-climbing expedition.

The coolest drink I’ve ever had in KK. Coconut Shake at Anjung Senja

Our trip didn’t exactly start off on a good note.
Because it was already close to midnight when I touched down at Kota Kinabalu, I thought it would be a better idea if I hired a car instead of paying ridiculous charges for a taxi to take us to Kinabalu Park, located some 2 hours away.

I got a Proton Wira for RM170 a day, which is all fine and dandy.
There’s only one problem though. As if it isn’t difficult as it is to drive at an unfamiliar place at night, Sabah doesn’t exactly have the best street signs to direct us to Kinabalu Park.

LOST AND FOUND: Camwhores in Sabah

As a result, we got lost and ended up in a quaint little town called Tuaran. Lucky its called ‘Tuaran’ and not ‘Tua lan’. Heck, I wouldn’t wanna get lost in a town where all the men have huge testicles.
When we finally arrived at our destination some four hours later, it was already 4:30am. Great. Just two hours of sleep before we have to trek six hours up the mountain.

The view from Hill Lodge at Kinabalu Park. Accomodation is cheap at RM110/night.

A lot of people think that Mount Kinabalu is South-East Asia’s tallest mountain, but that is not true. According to Wikipedia, it is only the third tallest after Myanmar and Indonesia’s.
Still, at 4095m high, it is by no means gonna be a walk in the park, especially for beginners.

After registering ourselves at the Park HQ (costing us about RM70 per person for guide, porter and park fees), we set out to Timpohon Gate at 10am to begin our ascend.
Our guide-cum-porter is a friendly local by the name of Jikon Michael. As Su Ann and I later found out, he’s probably the best guide beginners like us could ever wish for.

Most people take two days to ascend and descend the mountain, staying overnight at Laban Rata resthouse (RM50 per dorm bed) before the final attack of the summit.
The first thing that we passed by is a signboard telling us the fastest recorded time up and down Mt Kinabalu. Apparently, some crazy Mexican called Ricardo Mejia managed to complete the mountain in 2 hours 50 minutes!
Who does he think he is? Speedy Gonzales?!

The first kilometre of the climb was fairly easy. We passed by a beautiful waterfall and strolled along well-defined paths amid the lush rainforest that Kinabalu Park is famous for.

Yea, right now you see us goofing around acting like we’re damn tired in this photo. Later on we didn’t even need to act ‘cos we were really damn exhausted.
The whole journey up to the Laban Rata resthouse is about 6km, which should take us about 6 hours.

Along the way, we were treated to spectacular views of rare plants and vegetation.

It’s not uncommon to spot some hungry wildlife looking for food as well as well.
Mt Kinabalu is described as one of the most accessible mountain, and rightfully so. Every 800m or so, there are pondoks or huts where you could rest your feet and drink fresh untreated rainwater in tanks.

If you want to, you could even use the toilets.
And it even comes with flush!
And you don’t even have to pay twenty cents!

Apart from some light rain, the weather has been kind to us for the better part of the journey. Su Ann and I chatted along the way to keep each other entertained. We were wondering why there were people who made it to Laban Rata but chose to gave up before reaching the summit. A bit wasted, right?
3km in, we started to notice that our surroundings are getting a bit misty.

The mist gives us an illusion that we’re in some kinda surreal alien world, which is actually not so far apart from the truth.
Everything around us didn’t feel like anything we were familiar with. It was like we’re transported into a completely different dimension.

A bit further down the tracks, we spotted some strange-looking trees that look like they come from straight out from a horror movie. You know, the type that have tree branches grabbing you from behind when you’re not looking and strangle you to death.

Slowly, the path we trudged on changed from soil to rocks.

We started to feel the punishment on our bodies. Our legs were sore and every step just seems to get harder and harder.
A drop in temperature as we go higher in altitude meant that we cannot stop to rest for too long or we’ll get really cold and slow down easily.

This is what Su Ann looks like when she’s cold

5km into the journey our worst nightmare happened.
It rained again. First it was just a few drops, then it was like the water pipes at the Malaysian Parliament building just broke.
Mother Nature has well and truly turned the taps on.

Under such heavy rain, the final 500m trek up to Laban Rata resthouse was so difficult that I could sense the exasperation on Su Ann’s voice. Instead of climbing up rock staircases, we were climbing mini waterfalls.
It was cold, wet and we were all very, very exhausted.

“How long more to goooooo?” she asked with a tinge of frustration.
“Just a little bit more. Real food and hot showers ahead!”
That is the only encouragement I could give. Fact is, I was just as frustrated as to why I am subjecting myself to this sort of torture.

By the time we reached Laban Rata, we were soaking wet from head to toe. Su Ann took a well-deserved hot shower and hung out with some climbers she met along the way.

I could only managed to change into my semi-dry clothes before falling into a heap on my bed and pass out.

Later that evening I developed a fever. Maybe its the rain, but my body temperature shot up so high it’s not funny. I was weak and miserable.
All through the night, all I could hope for was that I would be in a good enough condition to climb to the summit the following day.

For a tourist accomodation that has been established for such a long time, it is disappointing that Laban Rata doesn’t even have basic drying facilities for our wet clothes and shoes.
We were not allowed to but because we had no choice, Su Ann and I dried our wet socks and shoes over our in-room heater.

*sniff* *sniff* “I think I smell rubber burning…” — our European roommates.

Lucky Laban Rata didn’t burn down.
Because my sports shirt was still wet and cold, I folded it into a rectangle and placed it over my forehead to ease my fever. It helped.

I always thought I look kinda weird wearing a beanie

After barely 4 hours of sleep, we woke up around 1am and got suited up for the second part of our climb.
And that’s Su Ann putting the G-string torchlight over her head. Haha!

Not a lot of pictures here, but suffice to say this was definitely the most gruelling part of the climb. The rocky path up to the summit is unforgivingly steep. At some point, the level of inclination was almost 70 degrees, with only a rope separating us between life and certain death.
The weather up here is icy cold and although I was wearing four layers (windbreaker + sweater + thermal underwear + my layer of fat), it was almost impossible to stay warm and focused. My lack of sleep, fever and the lack of oxygen as we go higher makes mobility even more difficult.

At one point Su Ann and I were practically walking every ten steps and collapsing, walking every ten steps and collapsing… until we almost felt like giving up.
“Never again…” she muttered lifelessly as she sprawled down next to me.
We had not even a single ounce of energy left in us. Now we know why some people turned back even when they were so close to reaching the summit.

But we’re not ready to give up. Not just yet.
Somehow, we managed to dig down deep inside ourselves and stand up.
And we kept going.
Relying on nothing mroe but 100% pure determination alone.
We really, really wanted to reach the top.

By 5:30am, we witnessed the break of dawn.
One by one, the many famous features of the Kinabalu’s mountain peak began to reveal themselves. It was a sight to behold.

The magnificent faraway landscape.

The South Peak. That’s the image at the back of the RM1 note.

The St John’s Peak.

And the grand daddy of ’em all, The Low’s Peak. The highest point in the whole of Malaysia.
Su Ann got a sudden surge of adrenaline and pushed forward. For me however, the fever and altitude sickness were starting to consume me.

Only 15 metres left to go.
As she pressed ahead towards Low’s Peak, I followed slowly behind trying to stay conscious. I was as pale as a ghost. Many times I felt like vomitting, but nothing came out.
Su Ann was waiting for me. I dragged myself towards to sign post.
And finally, we reached the peak!

Then we took this photo.

Yes, after two days of hiking, battling sickness, climb 8.7km up the tallest mountain in Malaysia, our moment of pride was ruined by a Japanese photographer in the background and a silly-looking Chinese lady wearing a puffy jacket in the front.
Here’s a better picture.

I felt awesome to have made it to the top. I have never climbed a mountain before on my own. This is the first time I did it and I felt so damn good about myself.
I felt exactly how it feels like to be standing at Low’s Peak… on top of the world!

Unfortunately for Su Ann, things took a downhill from there. No pun intended .:P
As she was making her way down from Low’s Peak, the girl sprained her ankle. Badly.

It was so bad, our guide-cum-porter Jikon had to piggyback her down to Laban Rata. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the girl had to be put on a stretcher to be carried down the the foot of the mountain. A lot of climbers who saw the incident must have thought that someone died. Haha!

Ok, so my travel partner was carried away by our guide.
How about me?
I was left alone to make my way down the treacherous Kinabalu mountain peak carrying TWO bags!
My bag and HIS bag. Hey, I thought you’re supposed to be my porter!

I still wasn’t feeling well. To make things worse, halfway down my walking stick was broken.
So much for a canggih-RM42-metal-alloy-walking-stick-with-suspension-spring-somemore-dun-pray-pray.

When I arrived downhill at the 4km point, Su Ann Lim, being the one tough cookie that she is, managed to get off the stretcher. Joining me, she even managed made it all the way down the mountain by herself, sprained ankle and all.

It was raining all the way down too. But heck, does that even matter? We’ve already made it all the way to the top of Mount Kinabalu. And we are ROCK STARS! 😉

Looks like the front cover of my Form 3 Geography book

Though Su Ann and I had never even met before this, I reckon she has been a fantastic travel partner to be on my side. Thanks for a memorable experience and for being such an absolute legend! Looking forward to travelling together again.
Here’s a video of our Mt Kinabalu trip.

I learnt a lot of things about this trip. When we went to Mt Kinabalu, we were exposed to the spirit of comradeship. We gave each other encouragement and worked as a team until we successfully completed the journey. The expedition had changed me and I believe I am now a better person.
Oh, and I learnt all these without even having to jump out of a plane in North Pole.

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The Day Before I Climb Mt Kinabalu

Six weeks before I am about to run on Malaysia’s longest bridge in a 42km race, I am setting myself a physical challenge by attempting to climb Malaysia’s tallest mountain.

I am now in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
In a short while, I’ll be meeting up with my travel buddy and head down to Kinabalu Park together, where we’ll catch some sleep before waking up at 6:30am the next day to prepare for our climb.

Technically speaking, this will be my second time climbing a mountain. My first attempt was 2,200m Mt Sinai in Egypt, where my legs eventually gave way and I cheated by hiring a camel to take me 3/4 way up to the top.
I was desperately underprepared back then (all I wore was a piece of sweater and jeans), so hopefully I could redeem myself this time round by going all the way without the assistance of some four-legged desert beast.

I certainly won’t be underprepared this time round.
My packing list includes:
– Sports shorts and shirts

– Long johns or thermal underwear: Looks damn ugly but supposed to keep you warm
– Sweater and trackpants
– Windbreaker with waterproof hood

– My adidas Cardrona outdoor shoes: Heel and ankle support is so important when you’re about to climb a total 18km up and down the mountain. Good traction on the soles when climbing up the smooth rock wall could mean a difference between life and death. My collection of running shoes just wouldn’t cut it.

– Carbohydrate-rich energy bars and electrolyte powder. I use Powerbar.

– Water purification tablets: There’s only rainwater on the trail to Mt Kinabalu, and I ain’t keen on drinking rainwater. Not in Malaysia anyway.

– Panadol: For altitude sickness.
– Tiger Balm: my trusty all-purpose Chinese medication.
– Flanal analgesic cream

– Gloves and beanie

– A RM42 metal-alloy walking stick. This one got suspension spring somemore dun pray pray.

– Headlamp: ‘cos on Saturday I gotta wake up at 1am to climb. You’re supposed to wear the straps over your head, but I thought it kinda look like a G-string. Makes me wonder if there are actually people wearing it like a G-string, and more importantly, for what purpose.
– Raincoat or poncho: I seriously hope I don’t have to use this.
The weather forecast for Friday 11th May is “scattered thunderstorms”. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

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Khoo Kongsi Is Cool

When I was in Penang, I dropped by and visited the Khoo Kongsi clanhouse temple.

The concept of ‘clanhouses’ used to be quite important popular in the olden days. When Chinese people migrated from China to the then Malaya, they banded together loosely and form kongsi’s, or clans. A clanhouse is basically was where a bunch of people with the same surnames get together and talk about how cool it is to be related to one another.

Things used to be a little a lot better back then. In the past, clanhouses developed their own self-government system and handled important social and welfare duties for the good of their members.
Clanhouses still exist today. But nowadays, all they seem to do is organise boring dinner functions and sing karaokes.

The Khoo Kongsi clanhouse temple is one of the most intense and ornately decorated buildings I have witnessed in Malaysia. Walking through the ancient halls looking at the intricate carvings was a surreal experience. A lot of credit goes to the trustees of the board, one of whom is, interestingly, called “Kay Por”.

There’s more evidence of how different things were back then in the Khoo Kongsi’s “Hall of Fame”.
Last time, having someone in the family graduated from University was such a big deal. If your surname is Khoo and you graduated from college with a diploma, you get a huge ass banner to show off your achievements, proudly displayed in the Khoo Kongsi’s Hall of Fame.

But these days, every other person and their pet cat has a qualification from college. It’s so easy now to get a degree that if you want, you could even buy one over the Internet. So the Khoo Kongsi stopped putting up huge ass banners, and all they have is a long list where every graduate’s names goes in.
Perhaps the most amusing part of the Khoo Kongsi clanhouse temple is found at the front of the building.

I understand that the front of the temple is made to look like a ancient Chinese courthouse, complete with placards and weapons and all.
What I don’t understand is, what exactly is this weapon used for?

My guess is that a long time ago, a teenage boy from the Khoo Kongsi attended his first ever Beatles concert.
He figured he needed to bring something that would make him stand out from the rest so that the band performing on stage could notice him. So he invented this nifty tool and brought him along to the concert. Sure enough, John Lennon spotted the boy’s distinctive gold-hand-on-a-stick from the crowd and Lennon was so impressed that he invited the boy to the Beatles penthouse later that night and have a big private party with lots of hot chicks.

And that, my friends, is why people perform this hand gesture all the time during rock concerts. True story.

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