New York City: The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Part II

So after the Egyptian section, I wandered around until I reached a room filled with all sorts of armours.

This is the armour of Emperor Ferdinand I of Germany. It’s been around since the 1500s. The interesting bit of this armour is the part below.

They have an armour for his penis!

The Greek section. Boring stuff. I’m not cultured enough to appreciate it.

2 men playing Liubo, a popular ancient Chinese board game during the Han dynasty. The exact rules of the game are unknown, but it is believed that each player had six game pieces that were moved around the points of a square game board that had a distinctive, symmetrical pattern.

This guy looks like George Bush!

Kwoma ceiling.

Gold pendants from Colombia 1 – 7 century. Still shiny after so many years!

A thousand over years old shoe. I did a throughout check on it to see whether there are any trade marks on it. Apparently, trade marks are used since the Roman days for swords. Interesting!

New York City: The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Part I

When I first heard the name The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met for short), my first reaction was, “Why the F should I waste my time looking at paintings???”. However, there were rave reviews about this place hence I kept an open mind to see what’s there.

There’s an entrance fee of US20 for adults and US10 for students. While at the payment counter, the cashier asked me,

Cashier: Are you a student?
Me: No.
Cashier: You want to pay full price?
Me: Sure.
Cashier: Are you sure? It’s US20.
Me: Yeah, sure.

The “ticket” to go in.

I later found out that you can actually just pay US$1 as a token for entrance -_-

Cool looking cloakroom

The museum is HUGE. I was there since 9am until closing time. I couldn’t even finish looking at everything!

The museum is divided into many sections such as the Egyptians, Greek, Indian, Mesopotamia, US, European, Chinese, Japanese and South American sections. The “art” in this museum was more than paintings. There were thousand of artifacts created few decade to few thousand years ago.

My favourite section is the Egyptian section. There’s a small temple called the Temple of Dendur in the museum. The temple was built around 15BC and and part of it was moved to the museum.

You can see some 19th Century graffiti on the walls.

The original temple.

It’s amazing to see the works of people who lived hundred over years ago. The small amulets found in tombs are one of my favourites. If I’m a designer, I would copy of all these designs and reproduce them again!

Thousand of overs ago, Egyptians worship all sorts of Gods and Goddess. Now people have different religions. I wonder in few more thousand years, will people have other type of religions? Will they be worshiping Doraemon?

When we talk about a “heart” amulet now, we would think of the nice heart shape. But in Egyptians’ heart amulet is the real of a real heart!

I was looking hard for similar Egyptian drawing that I saw in the British Museum many years ago.

But I couldn’t find anything like this.

Mummy with Roman-like alphabets on the feet.

This is awesome. Apparently the person looked like this before he died!

A 2000 years old coffin.

Came with a pair of shoes. It seems that the design of modern shoes hasn’t changed much!

Archeologists found this in a hidden chamber. It shows how Egyptians used to live thousand of years ago.

The place that the things were found.

New York City: Woodbury Outlet Stores

Woodbury Outlet Stores is well known for its low prices for designer brands such Adidas, Banana Republic, Burberry, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, J.Crew, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada and so on. You can literally stay here for 2 days just to shop at this place.

To get there, you can take a bus from Port Authority Bus Terminal. The costs is around US47 (!!!!). You can ask the Information Counter for the counter to purchase the bus tickets. I sat on the Grayline. It takes about an hour to get to Woodbury.

If you look properly, you can see fourfeetnine doing a V sign.

The stores are spread all over the area. There is no covered walkway. If the weather forecasts say its going to rain, bring an umbrella or wear a hoodie.

If you’re planning to buy a lot of stuff, you can bring a luggage bag. Don’t worry about looking odd as you won’t be the only one.

Our shopping spree started as soon as we stepped into Woodbury. I bought some hand bags and the lady at the counter gave a paper bag to carry my stuff.

Halfway shopping, it started raining heavily and I had to walk under the rain. My paper bag started to tear. I then went back to the same store for a plastic bag but all they had was paper bag. The lady gave me two.

Unfortunately, the two paper bags didn’t last. As we were about to leave, my last paper bag broke and all my stuff dropped out. A passer by was kind enough to give me his paper bag (of a cheaper brand!). The paper bag lasted me throughout the entire journey -_-

Our bus trip back was a bit dramatic. The line into the bus was long. Tim and fourfeetnine managed to squeeze into the bus and got themselves a seat whereas I was stuck behind. The bus had no more seats when I was about to board. Fortunately, Tim persuaded the bus driver to let me in. I told the bus driver that I’m willing to stand for an hour. Bus driver allowed me in!

Tim and fourfeetnine were nice to let me share their seat with them! But the seats were so small that I only had a quarter of my butt on it. -_-

New York City: Manhattan – Part III – 5th Avenue

After our trip to Empire State Building, we ran out of places to visit. A friend of mine suggested that we check out Abercrombie and Fitch at 5th Avenue. Tim said we must check the place out. According to him, he went to the Abercrombie and Fitch in London and it was an eye opener! They apparently hire good looking models to run all over the place. The girls would be skimpily dressed and would dance to the music in the shop. It’s like a club according to Tim. At that moment, I said to myself, “I MUST GO THERE AT ALL COSTS!!!!”.

But the walk from Empire State Building to 5ht Avenue was torturous. My legs felt like it was about to drop off. I guess its because we walked a lot in the morning.

1 hour later..we finally reached 5th Avenue…

There was a queue in front of Abercrombie and Fitch. It’s like lining up to enter a club.

Then when we enter…no skimpily dressed girls.. no girls dancing to music. But there were many muscular guys around. GAAAHHH

Anyway, the famous Trump Tower is opposite Abercrombie and Fitch. If you don’t know, Trump Tower is the place where they shot the reality TV show, “Apprentice” featuring billionaire Donald Trump.

I visited the building during my trip back from Boston. Almost the entire lobby is gold in colour. Most of the name of the shops would have the name “Trump”. Trump this, Trump that. There was also some merchandises using the brand name Trump. Donald Trump must love his name so much.

Trump Cuff links

Trump Vodka

We took a bus back to our hotel to meet up with fourfeetnine and her brother, Ooib.


We then met up with Raymond, one of Tim’s blog readers. Raymond is a Malaysian but currently living and working in New York.

Raymond is a New York foodie and he knows the best places to eat in NYC. Whenever I wanted recommendation for places to eat in NYC, I would text Raymond telling him my current location. He would then reply me with the recommended place to eat! Better than!

So anyway, we went to this place called Lombardi’s. It is the oldest pizzeria in the United States! Will blog more about this place in my NYC Food Guide entry later.

After that dinner, I moved my stuff to my hostel in Brooklyn. It’s nicely decorated but my room is quite small although it is actually meant for 2. It was just nice for me.

Each room has different pictures

What to do when you check in..

The place is nicely decorated as well. But I hardly saw anyone around.

Next entry, Woodsbury Outlet Store!

Keeping it Private

w00t! I’m featured in The Star newspaper!

Keeping it private

The pluses and minuses of the Personal Data Protection Bill 2009.

It is past midnight and you are sleeping soundly. Suddenly, an SMS beeps in. It turns out to be a message from a hotel, which you have never been to in your life, giving away a free one-night stay. Annoyed, you go back to bed. But you toss and turn. You can’t get back to sleep and get even more irritated.

Many of us have experienced similar ­incidents with these unsolicited phone calls, SMSes and e-mail messages. And many have also noticed that these nuisance calls or messages are almost always after they had divulged their personal contact information.

It could have been a warranty card you filled up, or you handed over your business card to participate in a “lucky draw” ­somewhere, or you had just subscribed to some service. In any case, someone either sold your contact information or is misusing it.

At the very least, such misuse means you are inconvenienced or irritated by sales ­pitches. But more worrying is that your ­information could be used for more ­nefarious activities, such as scams, identity theft, and cheating.

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2009, which was passed in the Senate (Dewan Negara) recently, is aimed at putting a stop to such misuse of your personal information, as well as the malicious use of the data.

Abu Bakar: It makes it illegal for anyone – ­companies or individuals – to give out or sell someone else’s personal information without prior consent.

University Malaya law professor Abu Bakar Munir, who played an advisory role in the drafting of the Bill, said it plays a crucial role in protecting a person’s details in commercial transactions whether online or offline.

“It makes it illegal for anyone – ­companies or individuals – to give out or sell someone else’s personal information without prior consent,” he said, adding that it stipulates penalities for such ­transgressions.

The Bill is expected to be gazetted into law this year. When it is, Malaysia will be among the first in Asean to have introduced such legislation.

Personal information, under the Bill, means any data that can identify an ­individual – name, age, MyKad details, photo, passport number, video and images captured via closed-circuit television.

“If you receive any unsolicited direct marketing messages or advertisements, you will be able to lodge a complaint with the personal data protection commissioner, who will investigate,” Abu Bakar said. At the time of writing, the mechanism for lodging such complaints had yet to be set up.

Those found guilty of contravening the rules could be fined a sum not exceeding RM200,000 or be jailed for a period not exceeding two years, or both.

Abu Bakar believes those penalities should be sufficient to dissuade anyone from illegally sharing someone else’s personal information.

Foong: Companies need to ensure that their customer forms have a section that seeks consent from the customers to collect their personal information.

Wide impact
But the ramifications of the PDP Bill 2009 becoming law has great depth and breadth. Foong Cheng Leong, an advocate and solicitor with Lee, Hishammuddin, Allen & Gledhill, sees it even affecting the way ­businesses and other organisations store the personal data of their customers.

He said the contents of the Bill would apply to local and foreign companies ­operating in this country, as long as the personal ­information in question is being processed in Malaysia.

It will require businesses to clearly tell customers that their personal information is being collected, why the data is being amassed, and what they want to do with the details.

“By doing this, the personal information of the customers is protected and it helps to control abuse of the data, such as selling the contact numbers to a third party,” said Foong, who specialises in intellectual ­property and information technology legal issues.

“It also forbids the businesses to transfer the personal information outside Malaysia without the consent of the customer or the designated countries which is provided by the personal data protection commissioner,” he said.

In this way, the customers will know where their personal information is ­residing.

According to Foong, it would be in the interest of the companies and organisations having people’s personal information now to already start ensuring that their data-­collecting mechanisms are in sync with the requirements stated in the Bill.

“For a start, the companies need to ensure that their customer forms have a section that seeks consent from the customers to collect their personal information, as well as stating why the data is needed and what it will be used for,” he said.

“Any company that has been collecting such information before the law comes into force must still comply with the provisions of the Bill within three months thereof.”

Also, under the Bill, a customer can ask the company, from which he or she has bought products or services from, to show what personal data it has collected on him or her.

But there are exceptions to this rule, according to lawyer Tong Lai Ling, a partner at Raja, Darryl & Loh.

Tong said one exception is when providing that information will disclose confidential commercial data, in which case the company is not obligated to meet the ­customer’s request.

“Another exception is when the burden or expense of retrieving the data is disproportionate with the risk to the ­customer’s privacy in relation to personal data,” she said. Tong has 10 years of ­experience in cyberlaw.

Under the Bill, the collection of sensitive personal data such as medical reports, ­political ­affiliations and religious beliefs is also subject to conditions.

“For example, a housing ­developer cannot ask for a medical report when entering into a sales and purchase agreement with a buyer,” she said.

Not perfect

The Bill isn’t as encompassing as it could be, said Tong at Raja, Darryl & Loh.

“For example, it only applies to personal data gathered as a result of commercial ­transactions. As such, it would seem that only companies, religious bodies, ­political parties and charitable organisations that engage in ­business will be subject to Personal Data Protection rules if they collect customer data,” she said.

The general consensus is that any and every organisation that collects your personal data should be subject to the rules in the Bill.

Also, it is not easy in some ­circumstances to draw a line between commercial and non-commercial transactions, said Foong at Lee, Hishammuddin, Allen & Gledhill.

He and Tong pointed out that according to the Bill, information collected by federal and state governments is not subject to the ­stipulations provided for.

“What if the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) forms a business joint venture with the Government.

“PKNS, created under the Selangor State Development Corporation Enactment, 1964, means it should be treated as a separate legal entity,” said Foong.

“But it is not clear whether or not PKNS in such a situation would be bound by the data protection rules in the Bill. A ­similar ­predicament arises with any other local ­authority, statutory body, or state corporate entity.”

Also, the fact that the Bill exempts the Government from personal data protection rules should be of great concern to everyone, he said. “The Government is the biggest ­collector of personal data – from the time we are born to the day we die.”

Foong believes the Government should play its role as the ­protector of the personal ­information of its citizens.

He said the Government has stated that it has its own mechanism for protecting the ­personal data of its citizens. But it has not revealed if the mechanism is as extensive as that set down in the Bill for the handling of personal data.

The Bill stipulates seven ­principles ­governing the handling of such data – ­covering ­everything from getting permission from the citizen to why the information is needed, to what can be stored, to how long it can be stored, and to how much of it can be shared.

University Malaya’s Abu Bakar ­recommends that the Government develop a set of rules and ­regulations, i.e. a code of ­practice, to protect the personal ­information of the rakyat, or have separate ­legislation to that respect.

Last bit

Despite some shortcomings, the Personal Data Protection Bill 2009 is still a good start towards empowering Malaysians to ­maintain their privacy.

When it becomes law, it will need to be finetuned from time to time so that it provides better protection and does not become antiquated.

So, the next time you get an SMS or phone call in the middle of the night or any other time for a free night’s stay or another ­unsolicited service or product, it could be the other guy that gets the wake-up call.

Note: The Personal Data Protection Act 2009 has received the Royal Assent on June 2, 2010 which now makes it an Act. However, the Act will only take effect when the Government gazettes it.

New York City: Manhattan – Part III – Empire State Building

After lunch, Tim and I walked to the Empire State Building. We were immediately greeted by a man that was trying to sell up some tickets to go up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. The tickets entitle us to go for some sort of ride and then skip the queue to the observation deck. According to the man, there is usually a 45 minutes queue up to the deck.

Sensing that it was all bullshit, we asked the man to F off and we headed straight to the building.

The lobby of the Empire State Building.

There’s a special lift up to the observation deck. There’s a US$20 entrance fee. Farking expensive.

We also found out that there was no 45 minutes queue. It took us less than 45 minutes to get to the deck. Perhaps it was not crowded because it was a weekday.

Concrete Jungle alll thee wayyyyyyyyy!

Somehow reminds me of SimCity 2000. Awesome game. Give me a pleasant feeling whenever I think of that game!

And the view was awessooomeeeeeeeeeeeeee

The observation deck doesn’t have a roof. All they have is some metal barricades. Good place to jump off to commit suicide. Die in style yo.

There’s a small souvenir shop which you can visit after the visit to the observation deck. Plenty of Empire State Building merchandises. I remember Dad bought me a small metal Empire State Building with a thermometer next to it when I was small – which I still keep until today. Unfortunately, I broke the thermometer a week after getting it.

Empire State Building made of Lego.

After Empire State Building, we made a long long journey to a place…stay tuned for updates!

New York City: Manhattan – Part II – Wall Street & WTC Memorial

On our way to the World Trade Centre (WTC – when typing WTC, I kept typing WTF) memorial, we passed by the famous Wall Street.

Lunch in a park

The Tribute WTC Visitor Centre is located in a small building next to the site where WTC use to be.

It is quite small but yet very interesting. Upon entering the memorial, we were greeted with a wall full of posters. The posters were posters made by people who were looking for those lost during 9/11. There were also numerous billboards containing quotes of those involved in the 9/11 attack. The one which caught my attention was the quote of Brian D. Sweeney, who died in the the ill fated United Airlines Flight 175 which crashed into one of the Twin Towers of WTC.

Imagine hearing this from a loved one 🙁 And then it gets deleted automatically. GAAHH

United Airlines Flight 175 departed from Boston before crashing into South Tower of WTC – 18 minutes after the first attack. The hijackers took 30 minutes to breach the cockpit of the flight and killed the pilots thereafter. Coincidentally, my flight from Boston to NYC flew from the same airport as Flight 175. It only took me an hour to get to NYC. I always wonder why didn’t the passengers of Flight 175 fought off the hijackers just like United Airlines Flight 93. I guess there were nothing much they could do because Flight 175 crashed into WTC about 20 minutes after the hijacking.

The most interesting bit of the memorial is the collage of pictures of those who died in WTC. A lady gathered the visitors including Tim and I and told us about WTC before the crash and after the crash. She also revealed that one of the victims was her son, who was a fireman who went to safe those in WTC. The impact of the collapse of WTC was so great until many bodies were shredded into pieces. The body of the lady’s son was never found except for his pendant. His picture is placed among the collage. It was a heart wrenching story. I guess this is one of the ways for the lady to heal herself from the pain of losing her son.

The site where WTC used to stand is now barricaded and being rebuild.

After visiting the Tribute Centre, Tim and I went to search for a place recommended by Lonely Planet for lunch. When we arrived, we found that the place no longer exists -_-

We ended up eating in a typical American diner – burgers and coffee.

DIY Coffee.

Next stop, Empire State Building!

New York City: Manhattan – Part I – Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Since Tim and I had jet lag, we woke up at 6am to start our day. Breakfast was at Dunkin Donuts. I didn’t know they serve breakfast there.

I had sandwich with melted cheese, bacon and ham and also super sweet coffee. Damn sinful.

To get to Statue of Liberty, we took the subway to Bowling Green. From Bowling Green, we walked to Battery Park where we purchased a ferry ticket to Liberty Island (where Statue of Liberty is located) and Ellis Island. The cost of the ticket is US$12.

Although we were there extremely early, the queue was bloody long. We had to go through security – with metal scanner and xray machines. Fortunately, it didn’t take long.

The 2-storey ferry was packed with people!

Statue of Liberty was smaller than I thought. It looked so much bigger in movies. Initially I thought they brought us to see a fake Statue of Liberty – like the fake floating market in Bangkok.

At Liberty Island, we got to see the Manhattan skyscrapers from far.

We didn’t bother to enter Statue of Liberty but managed to snap loads of photographs of it.

Our next stop was Ellis Island, which used to house US’s immigration station. Those who had entered New York in the 1800s would have to passed through Ellis Island’s immigration centre.

Great Hall, where immigrants were processed

The Great Hall, in the early days

The main attraction of this place is the museum. Many former immigrants’ stories and documents were documented and displayed in the museum.

Old Passports!

Anti Chinese publications were quite common in those days. I wonder why those guai lous hate Chinese so much last time.

The entire trip took us half a day to finish. We moved on to explore Manhattan thereafter. Next stop, Wall Street, World Trade Centre Memorial, Empire State Building and 5th Avenue!

New York City: Day 1

If you didn’t know, I had to bunk over at TimothyTiah‘s hotel because I didn’t book a place to stay in NYC on my arrival night because I thought I’ll arrive the next day. All my travel schedule throughout the entire trip was a comedy of errors. I think I can have one blog entry just to blog about all the wrong things I did. I really need a PA.

Anyway, after touching down in JFK airport, I took a bus to Manhattan. It took around 40 minutes and it only costs me USD15. The bus dropped me in front of Grand Central Terminal on the 42nd Street.

And I had no idea where Grand Central Terminal was. Thank god the roads system in Manhattan were easy to understand.

Tim’s hotel is about 20 streets away hence I dragged my luggage to his place. So upon arrival at Tim’s hotel, I dropped my stuff there and we headed to Times Square thereafter.

This is Tim’s hotel room. Comes with a small toilet with frosted glass walls. Niama can see Tim’s nekked silhouette.

We had a hot dog while on the way to Times Square. I had ketchup, mustard and onions on it. It tasted awessomeee! Mustard was extra sour!

Although there was an attempted terrorist in Times Square few weeks before, the place was packed. The buildings had magnificent amount of lighted and illuminated billboards in all sorts of shape and sizes.

Even the police station and McDonalds bling-ed their signboards!

We passed by Toys R’ Us. They have a Ferris wheel inside /(*O*)\

Not to mention live size Hello Kitty with an old Asian lady dancing innit. (Picture from Tim’s cam)

That’s all for Day 1 folks!