Macau, 2013

In early November, we made a short trip to Macau.

Our Air Asia flight took us 3 hours 45 minutes with no in flight entertainment. I slept throughout the flight.

One of my hengtais, Umeng moved to Macau from Brisbane two months ago to work as an architect. He now works in the casino construction industry which is booming in Macau. I read somewhere that says 1 in 5 locals work in a casino. That’s no surprise as there are now 35 casinos bringing in gross gaming revenue of MOP 304.1 billion (Macau Business, pg 79, October 2013).

Casinos are still being built in Macau. There are currently 6 major casinos in Macau.

When we arrived at the airport, we were supposed to be sent to the hotel with a shutter bus but the bus was delayed. A middle aged couple, who happens to stay in our hotel, suggested that we share a taxi to our hotel.

Umeng then offered to pick us up and we also invited the couple to squeeze into the car with us. However, there was not enough space in the boot hence we had to put our luggage on our laps.

One thing I do whenever I meet new people is to learn something new from them. This middle aged couple was an inspiration to all couples that they can still travel together regardless of age.

On our first night, we stayed at Hotel Royal Macau. It was okay. Nothing to shout about.

For the rest of the holiday, we stayed at Hard Rock Hotel. Its connected with City of Dreams – another casino.


Hard Rock Hotel reception

Our first meal in Macau was street food. Umeng brought us to a night market where we tried takoyaki, curry fish balls, barbecued fish, lamb and cuttlefish, and beef and cow spare parts. We washed them down with a bottle of coke.


A group of people were dancing on the streets. Nice


Umeng ordering barbecued fish, lamb and cuttlefish


Beef and “spare parts” stall

Umeng was back in Kuala Lumpur for a few days few weeks before he came to Macau. We went to Hen’s house for a home karaoke session. I had so much wine that I had a massive hungover. Umeng on the other hand vomited everywhere when he got home.


Me and Umeng in various places taken by my wife.

Umeng borrowed a car from his “future” brother in law and ferried us around.

Getting around Macau with a car is quite a hassle. Although we could get to our destination easily, the hardest part is to find a car park. Carparks were usually full and we had to go round and round to find one.

We also visited Umeng’s “parents in law” (girlfriend’s parents) shop selling precious stones in mainland Macau. It’s a small shop in a quiet neighbourhood.

I quite like the neighbourhood around the shop. It has small roads but tall flats.

Their dog, Fei Mui, lives in the shop.

Me “hamburgering” Fei Mui’s face.

We saw a man cutting and burning some chairs in a shop opposite the shop while we were there. We were later told the shop burnt down at night. /(*O*)\

Fortunately, Fei Mui was unhurt.

On our last day, we visited the Venetian. It’s a large casino cum shopping centre. There’s a large food court inside Venetian. Food sucks big time and very expensive. Avoid it!

There are other restaurants in the Venetian. Lord Stow’s, well known for their Portuguese egg tarts, has a branch here.

We were able to experience the quaint and quiet life of Macau and also rubbing shoulders with tourists and gamblers. It was a short and sweet trip. I don’t mind going back to Macau again.

KL Bar ITPC Startup and Business Law Seminar

The Kuala Lumpur Bar Information Technology and Publications Committee (ITPC) organised a seminar called “Startup and Business Law Seminar” at the KL Bar on 26 November 2013.

It is the KL Bar ITPC’s tradition to hold a yearly IT law forum. The forum usually relates to IT law. However, our IT law forums usually do not attract many participants.

When I took over as the chairman of ITPC this year, I thought of organising something different and current. I initially thought of having a IT fair for lawyers so that they can buy their IT equipment at a cheaper rate. However, I am told that another committee organised an IT fair and the turnout was poor.

Then the Malaysian tech startup buzz came along. I thought it would be a great idea to have a seminar to teach them about Malaysian laws. I’ve met many startup entrepreneurs and many of them have posed many law related questions to me.

However, we initially had a setback. Only 12 people signed up for our event a week before the event!

I had to contact some friends from the tech startup community and also Digital News Asia. The latter had kindly featured our event in one of their articles. BFM radio station also had a short mention of our event. You can scroll to 13:30 at the BFM podcast for our mention.

Fortunately, the number of participants shot up over the weekend and we had 50 over people at our event. I believe about half of them were from the tech startup community! It was the 1st time the KL Bar had something like this.

We covered topics relating to basic company, data protection, e-commerce, tax and cyber laws. Our speakers were a mix pf young and senior lawyers and also a law professor from a local university.

Other than educating the tech startup community on Malaysian laws, I also wanted the event to be a networking event for lawyers to meet people from the tech startup community. I hope that a mutually beneficial business relationship came out from this event.

As the KL Bar IT Chairman, I’m always thinking of ways to improve our legal practice with the use of IT. Sometimes I think of wild ideas like putting bar codes on hard copy documents (e.g agreements or pleadings) so that one can just scan the bar code to obtain the entire text of the document without having to type everything again or scan it using a OCR software or OCR enabled device. Even something simple like case management using emails instead of appearing before the Judge or Registrar (practised in Sarawak). I’m also planning to upload the talks held at KL Bar on YouTube for members’ viewing. Let’s see how it goes!

Hampstead, London 2013

My wife used to work in Hampstead when she was a student. I must say that it looks very different from other parts of London. It looks more posh than the rest.


Walked into a book shop with a small section for kids and Asians.

We took a stroll from the Hampstead Heath tube to the Hampstead High Street. Our main destination is the La Crêperie de Hampstead, a small stall well known for its crepes. It’s located outside a pub.

La Crêperie de Hampstead seems to be in a dispute with the operators of the pub. The former posted messages saying that they will be evicted and had asked for support by signing a petition. My wife and I put our names on it.

However, at the back of the stall, the pub operators also posted a very small notice explaining the situation. They explain that they are not evicting La Crêperie de Hampstead but were asking the Creperie to move their equipment out. More details here.

Notwithstanding the fight, I must say that our Belgian chocolate and banana crepe was really nice. It was worth the wait. The only complain that I have is that one of the cooks rudely asked us not to take pictures of her.

Bratislava, Slovakia 2013

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is only an hour away from Vienna by train. We took a train from Simmering train station to Brastislava hl. st for only 15 Euros.

Upon arrival, we were clueless on how to get to the Old Town (where all the nearby attractions are). We managed to get directions from some cops who spoke broken English.

According to them, Bus X13 will bring us to the Old Town. Tickets can be purchased from a machine at the bus stop. Funnily, the bus tickets go by minutes. The cheapest is 70 cents which is only for 15 minutes. Taxis on the other hand seem expensive.

English is widely spoken by the younger Slovaks. Hence getting around is pretty easy.

The Old Town is filled cafes and restaurants. Each corner is serenaded with music played by violinists and guitarists. Our day consists of walking around the Main Square and its surroundings. Central European interests me a lot. Food is interesting. Lifestyle is laid back. Girls have big boobs.

Free WiFi is also ample. Most of the WiFi connections were provided by restaurants and cafes.   

Most of the buildings of a street is individually built. That means each building is special on its own.

There are many small alleys to explore around this road. I wandered into some of the alleys to take pictures.


Stumbled upon this at one of the alleys

I found an eco shop at one of the alleys. It has a grapevine grown outside its premise.

Some of the obscure alleys had retail outlets and restaurants – I wonder how would their business survive considering that location of retail business is paramount. Speaking about location, there was one Chinese restaurant located at a busy junction. However,  it had no customers and a waitress was seen sleeping outside the restaurant. 

We walked to the Korzo, the pedestrian only zone of the historical city centre. It was filled with cafes and restaurants.


A cafe

We bought a painting made from aerosol spray cans. The artist signed his name on the artwork. I hope he becomes famous one day so that we can sell the painting for millions. In fact, while we were walking around the town, one street painter walked up to us and asked us who made the artwork!

We had lunch at a place called Slovenská Reštaurácia U Prasiatka. We chose this restaurant without doing any research about it. It has a huge statute of a pig with a crown. Any restaurant with a pig statue outside should be good!

I ordered the stuffed potato dumplings with smoked meat. It was awesome.

My wife ordered the trout. She loved it!


Awesome beer


Cool urinals!

No visit to Slovakia is complete without a visit to one of the castles. Hence, we headed to Bratislava Castle which is located up a hill. We walked from the city centre all the way to the Castle. A taxi driver said it will cost us 15 Euro to get there and it is far, far away.

We decided to walk and it only took us 15 minutes. Bloody conman.


The famous Cumil – Man at Work Statue. A symbol of reconstructed Korzo.


What da fak is this..


What da fak is this..!


Walkway up to the Bratislava Castle

We had to walk up some steep stairways to get up to the castle.

From the hill, we could see a panoramic view of the city. I couldn’t see a single skyscraper but medieval buildings,  apartments and forests.


Danube River. Sounds like The Noob River.

The castle was almost empty as most of the exhibitions were closed. We walked into the castle to find a huge courtyard the castle. It looks like an ideal place for a rave!

After our trip up the castle, we had dinner at Modrá Hviezda at the foothill of the castle. There is a small cave inside the restaurant called Cave Igo. Their food is highly recommended by TripAdvisor but we were too full to have anything.

We had to rush back to the train station to catch the 2nd last train. If we miss this one, we will need to wait for 2 hours for the last train. After deciphering some Slovakian words, we found our bus X13 again to the train station. But before that, we were pretty worried that bus X13 wouldn’t show up!

I am told that there are many other  beautiful castles outside the city. I wish I had more time to explore Bratislava. We will certainly go back to Slovakia again to see them!

ThinkPartyThoughts @ Markets, Jaya One

On 5.10.2013, ThinkPartyThoughts (wife and her partner’s little start-up selling partywares) set up a booth at Markets @ Jaya One. It’s a quarterly bazaar held at Jaya One with numerous stores selling all sorts of stuff like clothes, accessories, food and handicrafts.

It was their second time setting up a booth there and I had to help them carry their stuff (I’m their coolie).

They now have a permanent spot at Sunday’s, Bangsar Village II. Ms. Helen Read (founder of local fashion plus size boutique, Ms Read) liked their product and gave them a spot.


At Sunday’s.

Anyway, the traffic in Jaya One was not bad. We had a steady flow of traffic and we got a good spot in front of Starbucks. Hence, we took two tables to accommodate our friends who came to visit and hang out. I cant remember how many drinks we bought from Starbucks.

We were there from 9am to 6pm. It was fun in the beginning but started to get draggy towards the end. Sales were mostly made in the afternoon but slow in the evening. Anyway, the purpose of setting up the booth was for exposure and publicity purposes. I think they achieved that in the end.

It was nice change from working as a lawyer to a retail outlet coolie.

My Birthday 2013

This year’s birthday celebration was pretty quiet. No house parties, just meeting up with friends for meals. I even spent half a day in the Court of Appeal waiting for my case to be called.


When the clock struck at 12AM, my wife and her sister presented me with a green tea cake. YUM.

Aakiang and I celebrated our birthday together at Daikanyama, Changkat Bukit Bintang on a Monday night. Great food and we had two bottles of Umeshu before moving to Magnificent Fish and Chips for drinks. It was also our first time having dinner with the newly wed couple Ping and Yoke Chin as husband and wife. They had their wedding ceremony a night before that.


Aakiang admiring his drink.

My wife brought me to Prime at Le Meridian for dinner. They are known for their steaks. I had a Wagyu beef steak, which was awesome, whereas my wife had lobster. Complimentary bread with three types of butter were served. Food was really good but it was extremely pricey. My steak cost me a few hundred bucks.


4 different types of sauce + mash potatoes.

I told my wife that we should take home some cutlery to compensate for the high prices. She covered her face in shame.

Umeng came back for the weekend. He moved to Macau from Brisbane and he’s designing casinos now. KF, WK, Umeng and I gathered at Hen’s place for wine and karaoke. He has a karaoke room in his house!

We went home around 5AM. I don’t remember the last time staying up later than 3AM. I had a hangover the next day!

On the same day, my West side friends held a joint celebration for Eric C and I. We had dinner at Fish Village Steamboat, Puchong. Will write more about this place in a separate post.

Instead of heading to Mid Valley, My parents, my wife and I had dinner at Padi House, Seri Petaling for dinner. My Dad bought me a book called, “Richest Man in Babylon”. I’ve heard of the book but I’ve not read it. Dad left a note there stating, “Be Inspired”.

My friends from the West Side joined me and Eric C for dinner to celebrate our birthday at Restaurant Fish Market Steamboat, Pusat Bandar Puchong. Eric C’s birthday was on the 19 September while mine was 24 September. Thus, 22 September, which falls on a Sunday, became the most suitable date for us to celebrate our birthdays.

Eric’s best man, Charles, ordered the best dishes from the restaurant. Salt baked crab was the highlight of the night. It was humongous and tasty.

Steamed Prawns were also good as well. I love the sauce that came with it.

Lala fried noodles is also highly recommended.

We supplemented our dishes with a big bowl of steam boat!

There’s always room for dessert. We drove to Tang Shi Fu at Puchong for some dessert before heading home. It was an alcohol free night for me!

It’s amazing how time flies. It’s October now and 2014 is approaching. Have a good year ahead everyone!

Vienna Food Guide

Vienna is awesome place for food in particular pastries and meaty meals. There are all sorts of pastries to try. It felt like I just died and went to cake heaven. 


Bought this off a small bakery. Quite tasty. Recommended by the cashier.


High-tech coffee machine found at a convenient store.


Didn’t try this but the whole shop was selling this.


Awesome!

Although coffee culture is big in Vienna, I didn’t like their coffee. I still prefer Melbourne styled coffee.

As mentioned before, food in Vienna is not cheap. Portion is not extremely big but one dish should suffice to feed two Asians.

Figlmuller

A recommended restaurant with over 100 years of history. It was tough to get a place for dinner as it was full. Fortunately, they have an outlet few metres away which had plenty of seats.

Snitzel is highly recommended here. The restaurant claims to be the first to come out with a large snitzel using the best pork and cuts. Snitzel is basically boneless meat, thinned, coated with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs, and then fried.

We also had veal goolash (some sort of stew) with butter dumplings.

They were all very nice!

Website: http://www.figlmueller.at/

Sacher Cafe

This cafe claims to be the origin of Sacher-Torte cake, a chocolate cake covered with a layer of chocolate and a thin spread of jam. Whipped cream is served on the side.

Sacher started off as a cafe but eventually grew into a hotel. The recipe for the cake is said to be 180 years old and has never changed since then . It’s interesting to have a cake ate by people 180 years ago.

Although its famous in Vienna, I’m not a big fan of it as it is a little bit dry. But it’s something one should try when in Vienna.


We also had sausages and Sacher toast. They were nice.

To get there, stop at Karplatz station. There are a few exits hence take Exit A  – Kartner StraBe. This exit is the nearest to the cafe which is behind the Vienna Opera House.

Website: http://www.sacher.com/sacher-cafes/

Cafe Diglask

Another famous restaurant. It was recommended by our tour guide while passing by the place.

We had typical Viennese breakfast and their apple strudel. The latter was good.


Coffee was so-so.


I was extremely interested with this pink coloured cake. But when I was told that it was made from marzipan, I want to put this cake on a plate and flung it out from the restaurant.

We bought some cakes back to London for Sow. But Sow said the cakes were not flight proof. The cakes looked like it rolled down the stairs when it got to London.

Website: Google+

Demel
Founded in 1786, Demel is a famous pastry shop and chocolatier. This is apparently the birthplace of Sacher Torte cakes.

We had their famous Anna Torte and Sacher Torte cakes. The former was good but the latter was just so-so to me. It was pretty dry. I guess I’m not a fan of Sacher Torte.

I ordered a Melange (small espresso with milk and foam). I didn’t like it too.

Website: http://www.demel.at/

Examination Question

One of the best things about blogging in the early days is the friends one would make. It was great to meet new friends and build a community around the blog and friends’ blogs.

I met fellow Kiwi and reader, Andrew, few years ago when he visited Malaysia. He even attended one of our bloggers meet up sessions.

Years passed, Andrew sent me a message few weeks ago. Andrew is now a university lecturer in New Zealand (I think!).

He told me that I became his source of inspiration for an examination question. Andrew had my experience had a blogger in a form of an examination question!

Daniel is a student studying politics and law at Victoria University. In his first year of study (2010) he started a “blog” on the internet writing weekly articles on political events in New Zealand posting them to his own web site.

After 12 months of blogging with little readership, attention was suddenly drawn to his web site when it was mentioned in a popular newspaper column. As a result the number of readers started to rise significantly. He then decided to set up a Facebook page to attract more attention to his blog. Soon he had over 3,000 followers on Facebook.

The costs of hosting his web site really started to increase during the second year so at the beginning of this third year (February 2012) he thought he should arrange some advertising on his web site to defray costs. He found a company called Nuffnang which arranges advertising for blogger’s web sites and pays commissions if the number of hits to a web page exceeded a specified number each month. Daniel engaged Nuffnang to place advertising on his web site.

In December 2012 Daniel received a cheque from Nuffnang for $7,000. This met the costs of hosting his webpage ($1,000) that year and gave him some spare money for his fourth year at university. He was looking forward to a bigger cheque from Nuffnang in December 2013 as his blog attracted yet more readers.

[Examination questions redacted]

One of the things that I’ve never thought I could achieve is that I will become a source of inspiration for an examination question.

Achievement unlocked!

Hunderwasser House @ Vienna, Austria

We visited the Hunderwasser House. It’s a building built after the concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser with architect Joseph Krawina. These buildings have weird but interesting concept. Floors are uneven, the walls are colourful. Trees are grown inside or attached to the buildings. It stands out from the traditional stone buildings of Vienna. There are people living in the building.


Toilet of Modern Art…you need to pay to get in


I guess these people got fed up with tourist knocking on their doors thus this sign.

A few blocks down the road lies KunstHausWien, also another building built after the concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. This one is a little bit smaller and has a museum exhibiting Hundertwasser’s works.


There’s a background story to this pose but let’s leave this to another day


Uneven floors.

There is a garden and a small cafe at the back of the museum. I didn’t like the place much as it was dark and damp. Further, I dislike the uneven floors.

Schonbrunn Palace @ Vienna, Austria

We also visited Schonbrunn Palace. It is a place to visit if one likes massive imperial gardens – very nice scenery and filled with joggers. If I had my jogging shoes on, I would definitely jog around the palace. We wandered around the garden and took some pictures. We wandered around the garden and took some pictures. We didn’t enter the palace as it was closed.

I wonder when would our Government open our old palace at Jalan Istana to the public. It looks like a pleasant place for public activities. I am told that there is a stream inside the compound of our old palace.