Saturday, December 29, 2007

Photos of Naples and Pompeii

Christmas break was great. I took 4 days off and just relax at home.
And I got some time to revisit my Italy trip photos that I haven't sorted out to post on Picasaweb.

So here they are, Naples and Pompeii.
I only stayed one night in Naples, in order to go to Pompeii. I reached Naples just before dark. Found my way to my hostel. It was a hostel with character. The receptionist are friendly and helpful. She told me where to get the best pizza in town. :) And it was indeed the best I ever had.
But Naples is not good at night. I went to the pizza place called Sorbillo. I ordered a pizza and took it away wanting to find a nearby plaza to sit down and watch people. After 3 minutes walk I still haven't found anything like a plaza, but some chair at the side of the road, so I thought probably I just sit here will do, before the pizza gets cold. So I did. Before I took a first bite of my Margaretta, a guy who's walking his dog walked past and started talking to me in Italian. And eventually he had some English words that I understand, they are - "dangerous here, go home"!!

Then I was a bit scared. I took the pizza and walked back from where I came from. I got back to the pizza place and asked for a place to sit down. (they only have 4 tables). They graciously let me in. I half the Margaretta. It was great! And I ordered another pizza and ate half of it.
The journey back to the hostel is tiptoeing. I found all the bigger, more well-lit road to take and eventually made it back there safely. The Sydney couple I met in my room had started to worry about me. :P

The next morning, breakfast was included. And I had lots of nutella on my bread.

2007_09_17 Naples

I checked out after the filling breakfast and make my way to Pompeii. The ruin is huge. One full day to explore it is definitely worth it. For some unknown reason, the gate wasn't open until about 1 hour late. It was not a bad thing for me as I had all my luggages with me. I found the little shop up the road from the entrance which Lonely Planet mentioned to put my luggage. The young chap there is nice and helpful. I was worried that my laptop will not be safe but I have no choice but to trust the book and him. And it turns out that he is good so I let him keep the change from the storage fee.

Before the door open, there was a guy with a guide tag who was telling people where to go and what was happening. And he said he would get me the 10 euro ticket faster than everyone (so I don't have to queue) and be the guide for 1hour+ for an extra 10 euro. He only took down my name and I don't have to pay until he got me ticket. I thought it was alright so I joint.

The statistics is that 3 million people visited Pompeii every year, so it's about 10 thousand people a day!! So when the gate opened after everyone has been waiting for more than an hour, people rushed in like prison break. It was such a huge chaos there that I could not find that guy. So I paid another guy 20 euros to get in and to join his tour. He gave me a ticket and asked me to wait close to the entrance after I got in. So I got in and waited for him. And I couldn't remember that guys name or how he looked like (Italian all look alike, haha), and eventually the first guy showed up again. So I followed him with an unclear conscience.

The guide showed us to several of the main attractions inside and gave a good explanation of things. When the tour finished, I thought it was unfair to the guide that I followed him but didn't pay him (as I paid another guide and couldn't find him). So I told him and paid him the 10 euro he deserved and felt I did the right thing.
After the tour, I walked to the visitor center to get a map and a guide book (free) to walk around more myself. The map and the guidebook are very detailed but it's not given to you when you get the ticket. So make sure you ask for it if you're going there.

It is a big place. I did not cover everything but was happy with it. And now hit the photos.
2007_09_18 Pompeii

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How I met your Mother theme song

I really like the CBS sitcom "How I met your Mother", so today I decided to play the theme song with my guitar. I did some search on internet for its chord and found that its name is "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids but had no luck with the chords. So I cracked it myself and here is the guitar chord. Sounds pretty like it.

C C#
A C#m F#m A D F#m Bm E


C C#


A C#m F#m A

D F#m Bm E


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yahoo!! Opps, no, I mean Happy^Googleplex (read: happy to the googolplex)!

Yes, we won. We're one of the top 3 finalists in the Google 3D campus competition (Aus/NZ). Hard work was rewarded. :D

Here's what they said in the email:

After much debate and deliberation by our SketchUp competition judges... you have been named one of the "Build Your Campus in 3D" Google SketchUp finalists! Congratulations!!! The judges were truly impressed and we all want to thank you for your hard work and dedication to delivering such a high-quality product.

As one of three finalist teams, you are invited to the all expenses paid on-site trip in February. You will visit our Google Sydney office, listen to a technical talk, and enjoy free time and planned activities, so plan to have a great time! The date is yet to be finalized, but we are shooting for either Friday, February 8th or Friday, February 22nd (depending on when our SketchUp resources are available for a technical talk). I will reach out again to confirm participation and follow-up with travel details.

Now I have a slight problem, I have planned to go back to Malaysia for Chinese New Year which is on 7 Feb, and stayed till end of Feb to help Peter with his Matlab Course in Spore and KL (although that was canceled). I hope eventually the date will be on 22 Feb then I will come back earlier from Malaysia.

Anyhow, it's bloody exciting. Google, here I come.

Update 19/12:
  • 3 Finalists: UWA, University of Melbourne (2 teams)
    • The winner will be announced during the on-site event in February
    • Finalists will visit our Sydney office and enjoy a technical talk, office tour, food in Google's world-famous cafeterias, and planned activities in Sydney
  • 33 teams officially registered for the competition,

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Toyata Robot plays violin

From Reuters

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on China Central TV

陆克文总理中央台访问 (November 24, 2007)

Man! I'm impressed! 陆克文's Mandarin is so good! The Chinese journalist Xiaorui is rather snobbish looking though...

Monday, December 03, 2007

African fractals on TED

I stumbled upon this great talk on TED.
Ron Eglash on African fractals.

Try this Cornrow fractal with 250 iterations, 2% starting dilation, 75% translation, 20 degree rotation and 102% dilation.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Computer Network is cool

I used to think computer network is a boring subject back in my EE years.
But recently the perception has changed for me, the networking itself is boring, but what it makes available is really cool.
And this The Hack of the year which I stumbled upon prompted this post.
And I watched Die hard 4 recently, it's hackers too. So much actions. I throughly enjoyed it. And the hacker Mat Farrell kind of look like Nick. (follow the links to compare for yourself. Ahem!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is democracy really the best type of governance for South East Asia

Al Jazeera’s People & Power program

Is democracy really the best type of governance for South East Asia? People & Power investigate in a compelling discussion with four prominent Asians.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Photos of Venice, Bardi, Florence and Pisa

I have put up the photos of Venice for awhile, didn't remember to post it up here.

2007_09_14 Venice

After Venice, I checked out of the nice hotel and started my backpacker travel again. First stop was to went North a bit to meet up with Alessandro. Alessandro came to UWA as an visiting researcher in 2005 and we had some great time together.
He has been back to Italy for awhile and was working at University of Bologna which is 40 mins train ride from Modena. However, we met up at Fidenza which is a bit more North as he planned to drive me to Bardi to see a castle. It's nice catching up with old friend.
2007_09_15 Bardi Castle with Alessandro

After the castle trip, I took a train South to Florence. It was nice to have Alessandro do the talking to get my train ticket.

Florence was my favorite place in Italy. It's so historical, artistic, grand and stylish. I was amazed by the sight of the Duomo when I came across it on my first night. And the city is beautiful at night. Old buildings with very big doors, full length windows showing the latest fashion, well lit plaza with grand gate. I'm just in awe.

Two days in Florence is just enough to know what is available. I want to come back one day. And I met some students from California State Polytechnic University, they were in Italy for the Formula SAE competition, building a car and race it with other universities in the world. When I told them I'm from UWA, they burst out their admiration on UWA Motorsports team. I was quite happy about that.
2007_09_15-17 Florence

I took a short train ride from Florence to Pisa to see the famous leaning tower. It was a rainy day and I was trapped in the rained and had to buy an umbrella at an ultra ripped off price. Anyhow, the leaning tower is cool. And I met a nice Taiwanese girl Han ZhenHui. She asked me to take some photos for her, and she helped me took some also. Then we went off doing other things and met again at the train station. She was reading a travel guide full of pictures written in Japanese (so much cooler than Lonely Planet) and planned to go to another small town call San Giorgnenanmitmkajdsj?@#$. I chatted with her and then decided to tag along since she had it all planned. Eventually we didn't get to the place since there was no bus coming back after we reached the train station that we had to change to bus. So anyhow, we decided to go to a restaurant and eat. The pizza was good!

Coming back to Florence it was after 9pm, and I was still thinking about the pig besides a market that I saw in the morning while I followed a guided tour. The legend is that you touch the the pig then you'll return to Florence one day. Then she accompanied me to fulfilled the Pig quest. And here's her blog in Chinese - Han*Han's A Story.

And here are the photos in Pisa.
2007_09_16 Pisa

Thursday, November 15, 2007

UWA on 3D campus collections

Seems like only 2 campuses had the collection properly done, just us UWA and Melbourne U by someone name Wei Wei.

Where are other schools?

Check it out.
Build Your Campus in 3D Competition (Australia and New Zealand) Collection

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Birthday to me

It was my birthday on Wednesday. I'm 28.

This year birthday came a bit unexpected. I was busy with things and suddenly I realised my birthday was approaching in less than a week's time. I went to get myself a portable hard drive on Saturday as I've been thinking about it for awhile. My internal hard drive is giving me a bit of problem and I didn't have enough storage space to empty it and give it a good formating. I suspect the file index table is the problem as I can copy a file to the drive and read it, but once I move the file within the drive, it will not be accessible anymore... Anyhow.

My lovely housemates Yeeting and David got me a chocolate mud cake at slightly before midnight. It was a surprise. Yeeting and I were watching our new found pastime How I met your Mother in my room while David was studying for exam. And half way through the show David suddenly came in, turned off my light (and I thought "thanks, that'll make the cinematic experience better") with the cake. :D
It was very nice. And I haven't had mud cake for a long time.

It took us 4 shots to get the cake into the photo, haha!

Stayed up late that night and Liangliang called me at 2am+ as she got the daylight saving the other way round. Haha!

I didn't go to lab as testified by Shih Ching on the day. Had a bit of Birthday blue thinking about my life, uncertainty and work after PhD.
In the evening I went for a cycle along Matilda Bay. Fantastically refreshing.

Then I decided to have Stuzzico pizza at East Perth. So David and I drove there at 6:30pm and found it's closed by 6pm. Bugger! Then I remember there's another branch on Hay Street closer to the city, so we went there and found out that they are close too.
Disappointed, we walked about that restaurant area and found the Love and Care Cafe which often caters for Malaysian event. So I decided to give it a try. We had Mee Goreng (fantastic, spicy, the sauce is great. 5/5), Mee Soto (Ok, rice cube a bit tasteless, 3/5) and a Nasi Goreng L&C (fantastic, fluffy rice, 5/5) and air bundung with cincao.
The serving of food is quite small, so two of us easily finished the three mains. It was very satisfying.

Then at about 8pm, Rina, Shih Ching, Jason, Lilian and later Alex came with a homemade cake by Rina. Rina called me and let me know she'd come but I didn't think about what to expect. So it was a crowd and a cake I didn't expect. Thank you so much.

Green tea icecream cake with my name in chocolate. :D~

I thought this shot is really cool - two different shirts about PhD and me caring about nothing but the cake.

The cake is really delicious with full flavour of green tea. If you want to taste it, check this website for Rina's new venture - cookies2sushi.
To my nerdy brain, the name sounds like a program that takes cookies and chucks out sushi. Ooo... look at the inside of the cake.

Thanks everyone who send me blessings through sms, msn, phone, email, physical gifts, transferred hug, and telepathy thoughts.

p/s: I went to Stuzzico again today to nail the pizza I missed. The rocket/salmon pizza is absolutely awesome! Highly recommended. Best pizza outside of Italy I had. I'll try the prosciutto pizza and panini next time.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

PSA quiz night photos

Some photos on PSA quiz night last Friday

Our CSSE team - Tone, Jason, Rina, me, Shih Ching, Bob, John and Minh

The CSSE team 2

Broadway Pizza was great!

The Wong

The pretzel coaster that spoke my feeling

We won the Australian citizen test.

That was a lot of wine.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

PSA quiz night last Friday

We went to Quiz night organised by the Postgraduate Students Association (PSA) last Friday. There were two teams from CSSE, and one of them emerged to take the second place (tied). Fun!

Read PSA Quiz Night and Tied for Second on Shih Ching's blog.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

UWA in 3D

It has been a crazy week for me preparing an entry for the Google 3D campus competition (Aus/NZ). We decided to put a team together since we already have a team interested in modelling UWA in 3D. But modelling for Google Earth is a bit different because of the bandwidth and complexity constraint. So there are some considerable effort put in to make the models smaller in size and lesser in geometry. Most of the models are simply an empty shell with texture. anything that cannot be seen are to be taken out.
We applied some good tricks like using transparent texture to replace complex fences or row of pillars. Taking a snapshot of a complex windows structure of the model and replace the geometry with the snapshot works very well too.

The entry closed on 31 Oct 2007 midnight EST. And we hit the submit button at 9:35pm WST on Chris's laptop in his office down in G.(don't know which number, there has been some office shuffling recently). The historical moment was witnessed by Chris, Minh, Jonathan and myself. Chris has been a long captain in the team followed by me as the lead 3D modeller. Minh joint in couple of weeks ago and did some incredible work, and Jonathan came in like couple of days ago and did a great job with the business school, though a bit intensive on the geometry.
Others on the team includes Jayjay who initiated the whole UWA in 3D idea, Michael my fellow 3D modeller, Evgeni the quiet achiever, Bradley who did it the proper architect way, and John who took many great shots for the texturing.
Many other not on the 3D campus team gave us tremendous help to, thanks go to Louisa for keeping us informed on what is going on with ourselves, Leondro, David, Juan, Ashley, Ryan and Jeff for various help.

The madness was on Tuesday, me and Minh worked through the night in the lab to finish up as many models as possible. I started in the afternoon of 30/10 at about 2:30pm and persevered until 9:30pm of 31/10. About 30 hours of modelling. Wickedly fun! I heard Minh did longer!
Anyhow that night I hit my bed at 12:30am and recharged for two night worth of sleep until 4:30pm. Mad!!

Check the models out on 3D warehouse. You can see them either in Sketchup or Google Earth, both need installation. If you don't want to install a big software, use this 6MB SketchUp Viewer.
If you already have Google Earth installed, this 3D Warehouse network link will put a link to 3D model in Google Earth.

Several must see are:

Winthrop Hall


And unbelievably detailed Engineering buildings and Architecture.

Also check out the very clean Octagon Building and spiral staircase at Reid Library.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Amazing Way to Tie Your Shoes

I received an email attachment from my brother about shoelace. I usually do my shoelace once when I buy the shoes, and never again. But I'm still amazed by how cool some of the methods are.

My favourite - Lattice Lacing

See more at Ian's Shoelace site.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Miniature Earth

If the world's population were reduced to 100, it would look something like this.

You and me are really really fortunate.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Maaf Zahir Batin

It's the end of Ramadan today and the celebration starts. In Malaysia, we call it the Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

I take this opportunity to learn a bit more about this festival and its meaning. I found this article that explains the meaning of Maaf Zahir Batin, which means "forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)".

I seek your forgiveness for things that I have done wrong in the past. If I have offended you in anyway, that was never my intention.

Selamat Hari Raya Puasa.

And then I'm thinking about Ketupat and Rendang

Images from Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

VideoTrace: Rapid interactive scene modelling from video

Cool 3D modelling application developed at Adelaide U, appeared in Siggraph 2007.
VideoTrace: Rapid interactive scene modelling from video

Thanks Danno.

Conference photos at Modena are up

Four days of the International Conference of Image Analysis and Processing (ICIAP) in Modena.
I split them into two albums, first one is the conference part - talks, posters, my presentation, my hotel, cool buildings, interesting toilet, etc. and the second one is the highlight of welcome cocktail at the Ferrari Museum and the very grand conference dinner.

2007_09_10-13 Conference days2007_09_11-12 Galleria Ferrari & Conference Dinner

If you want more, there are more photos on the conference website photo page.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

6.7% interest RaboPlus + $50 cash

Damned! I've already had an account with them as I blog about it here and here.

Anyhow, you the reader can take advantage of this:

As an SMSPup member, apply for a new 6.70% pa RaboPlus online savings account between Sunday 7th October and Saturday 13th October 2007 and we'll kick start your savings with $50 when your account is opened.
Important Note: To take up this offer, please quote SMS1007 in the promotional code field when you apply online. Conditions apply**.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Amsterdam Photos are up

Yeap the photos are up.

Let me recall on the trip a bit. Before I set foot on Amsterdam, I had on my list several things I know about it - Tulips, Van Gogh, Red light district and diamond. I set out to see the later 3 and I did.

I reached Amsterdam late at night. It took me some effort to get to the Shelter City hostel as it's all dark and I didn't have a proper map of the area. But luckily a nice officer at the train station helped me up. Dutch people are nice. :)

Then I checked in the place, pretty crowded 8 beds dormitory. All other beds are already taken. I got a bed on top. The locker is outside the room. So I chucked my stuffs in the locker and went out for a night venture.
It's funny that the hostel is a Christian hostel with big "Jesus loves you" sign on the wall to greet the guests. But I found it rather strange that it is actually located within the red light district. And some of the girls' business locations are just besides an old church. Sin and savior have never been so close together. I have this irony in mind and one of the volunteer (a nice German girl with fantastic voice, and she played the guitar singing one song she wrote. I'm like melted) there shared a great vision with me that the church should really be at the dirtiest or sinnest place on earth, those people are the one most in need of salvation. I was awe struck, well said!

Anyhow, I did go deep into the redlight district as an observer of life in the very different part of the world. Lots of girls dressed in bikinis pose in their own windows to get business. Some are really good looking, but there are also some which made me pace faster. The good thing there I guess is the "No pimp allowed" law there, so all the girls will get what they get paid for without another layer of exploitation.
Another surprise I get is that I actually felt quite safe walking around there alone. It's very different from my imagination of mafia, sex trade, gang fight, guns and marijuana. I did see people rolling marijuana and smoking it in pub.

I took a boat trip on the day. It's a great way to experience the many canal and see the leaning buildings. They say "Nothing is straight in Amsterdam", the road at funny angles with each other, the buildings are leaning left and right, and even the people, hehe, it's the gay capital!

I went to Van Gogh Museum and learnt that he's another very sad and depressed artist. Artistic wise, there are nice paintings to see. That's all I can say. Haha! Oh, a surprise is that there are some Japanese geisha painting (typical Japanese style) that Van Gogh drew to learn different style of drawings.

I went to a diamond polishing factory to admire many diamonds and unexpectedly caught a Chinese tour group. So I got some free guided tour with an exclusive diamond sale behind locked security door. The factory has some Chinese employees to take care of the rich Chinese buyers. It's good to be Chinese. Haha! A random Caucasian tried to sneaked in like me and got told off without much difficulty.

After the diamond tour, I had all the things I wanted to see checked off my list!

Another interesting thing was the dinner. I went to a pub to have dinner - some sort of chilli mussel with salad, for 10 Euro. I ordered it and got myself a Heineken to sip. When it finally arrive, it's a huge pile! Pretty tasty, I can't help but to count them, it total at 70+. Great dinner!

I think that's about it for my Amsterdam 2 nights 1 day tour. Now go hit the photos.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dinner with my aunt and cousin

My Aunt (I call her San Gu, 3rd Aunt) from Melbourne just went to Malaysia and came to Perth to visit my cousin Siong for a week or so for the first time. She loves Perth.
She was scheduled to fly back to Melbourne on Tuesday, so we had a dinner on Sunday, 1 day after I got back.

Home cooking is best!

Pork ribs with chestnuts and mushroom, yummy.

Siong Ko's pudding dessert with caramel and pineapple. He must have a better photo and perhaps recipe on his website.

A photo together to mark the occasion.

I had so much food, and it's so great to see SanGu again, the last time was 2002 in Melbourne. And Siongko is going to Italy to meet up with his partner. They have a great page on Italy travel tips here.

Sneak peek of my trip photos

I arrived back to Perth last Saturday. Spent the last couple of days adjusting jet lag, unpacking, doing laundry, going through 2500 photos, stack of receipts, etc..

Here's a sneak peek of a collage of some of them.

I've put photos of the first 3 days up on picasaweb already. See below for links, or simply scroll down.
Flying with Emirates and landed in Dubai
London Day 1
London Day 2

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Venice is fantastic, Florence is stunning

Went to Venice on Friday. So happen that I bumped into Wojceich from Adelaide U at breakfast and he decided in 1 minute that he'll come with me to Venice. So we did and had a jolly great time with some 200+ photos. Venice is very beautiful. The water is greeny and looks clean. It is fantastic to go with someone.

Saturday, I met Alessandro at Fidenza and he drove me to a castle on a mountain at Bardi. It's not a touristy place so everything is in Italian and there castle is not super impressive like those with lavish paintings. The torture chamber is grouse. But I really enjoyed the alternative tour, seeing the country side from high up, and of course catching up with Alessandro.

We parted at about 3pm and I took a train down to Florence. It's already dark when I checked in and get myself settled, but I decided to went out for a walk. And the Duomo (cathedral) is simply jaw dropping. It literally stopped me and drew me to see it closer. I took some nice long exposure shot using only the floor as support without tripod, most shots turned out quite good. And there was a Charlie Chaplain buskler at one of the plazam very funny and entertaining.

Florence is currently my top ranked Italian city so far. Somehow, I just love it much more than other places.
Also the youth hostle I stay in (which is where I'm using the free internet) is great too. It is decorated vby many copies of paintings and sculptures by some local arts students. Very nice.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yes! Presentation is done

My first international presentation. Spent the whole day flashing up the presentation so that it makes more sense.

OK, they need to close the room now.

In short, it's done, and I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Amsterdam and no internet

There's no internet in the hostel I stayed in Amsterdam and I'm dead tired to write anything on the first night after a whole day of cycling in London, and a whole day of walking in Amsterdam the second night.

Now I'm in Modena, Italy. Conference is going on well. I'm very lack of sleep for many days due to flight schedule, and a long dinner last night that finished at around 1am. It was good though, a new Bologna friend took me and another new friend from Uni Malaya to a local italian restaurant and tried some authentic Modena food.

My presentation is at the last session tomorrow, shall prepare for it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

London Day 2

8/9 Sat

I woke up after 6 hours of sleep at 7:30am, got myself ready and the luggages packed. Woke Sylvia up to let her know I'm heading off at 8:30am and let her know what happened the night before. Then she sent me to the tube at Turnham Green to catch the underground to Liverpool Street where I'll meet YikGio. The trip was smooth and I got there 15 mins earlier so I called Tanliang up for a chat.

YikGio showed up at 9:30am and I followed him home. His place is just <10m mins walk from the Liverpool Station, fantastic location. I dropped my luggages there and we set out for a whole day of bicycle tour of Central London.

It is awesomely awesome to see London on bicycle with a good friend who knows the places quite well. Wow, where do I start, we went to so many places. I think we started off at the Tower Bridge and ended at the National Museum. In between there were the Big Beng, Packingham palace, Westminster Abbey, Thames River, London Eye, Bolough Market, lunch at Chinatown with his landlord Paul, St Peter's Cathedral, etc..

The funny thing is that I didn't learn all these places in English, so the names really do not mean anything to me at all. It's until I translate it into their Chinese names, then I go "Wow! I'm at XXX!! It's unreal." Like the da ying bo wu guan, tai wu shi he, etc..

Cycling around London is fantastic although it could be a bit scary at times too. But it's a really efficient way to see the place. There's no way I could have covered so many landmarks in London in such a short time if not by cycling. And YikGio is a fantastic tour guide, he took many photos of me in front of the landmarks, which is something I don't get very much as a lonely traveller a lot of the time. Thank you very much my friend.

I'm now on my way to the Stansted airport to catch my flight to Amsterdam.
Photos should follow when I get time to load them up.

Photos in my picasaweb

Windsor Castle, Oxford and dinner with Winson

As the title said, that's what I did today. Took quite some photos today. Need to sleep now. Watch this space for photos and details.

Friday, September 07, 2007

London Day 1

7/9 Friday

My first morning in London. The jetlag did not bother me much and I'm well adjusted from a late-nighter to a early-morninger by the jetlag. I woke up at 8:30am, Sylvia went out for an appointment already so I had some organic honey muesli myself.

Sylvia came back at around 9am+ and she made me some very nice omelette with smoked salmon, avocado and spring onion, on toast. It's fantastic. Then we decided to go to Windsor Castle together and after that I'd go to Oxford myself and come back to meet Winson at Fulham Broadway.

1 hour in Oxford, rush like mad. Saw a girl who looks like RongZuEr on train. Met Winson and his A level friend Jeff (a Medical researcher from from Malaysia living in Ireland).

Night back late, stucked at Earl's Court for half an hour got home at about 12:30am.

Photos in my Picasaweb

Arrived London

I touched down London at 8:15pm local time. Took about 1.5 hours to clear the custom, so many people.
My cousin Sylvia came picked me up and we reached her home at 10-ish. Relaxed a bit and bath, now it's mid night at London, which is 7am Perth time. I was still rather hyper active when I reached London, I think I'm ready to collapse anytime now.

Good night world.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Flying with Emirates and landed in Dubai

Emirates airline is fantastic. Movies, TV programs on demand, huge selections, altogether aboutmore than 500 channels to choose from! The screen is bigger than MAS and SIA and its a touchscreen! In addition, there are two live camera I can watch, one looking infront of the cockpit and another looking down to give a bird-eye view.

The air stewardess are very pretty and friendly too. Haha.
I got a window seat, but it really didn't matter because all three seats are empty, so I got 3 seats to lie down and had a good sleep. :)

The food are great. Breakfast was some cheesy crepe with salmon and baked tomato. I forgot to take a photo of the menu. :(
And the lunch was fried Hokkien noodle with seafood, and some salad with two small pieces of cooked salmon.

I watched a romantic pseudo musical "Because I said so" and half of Aaron Kwok's award winning "Father and Son" (After this we exile(?) was the proper name).
In the 11 hours flight, I slept (probably 5-6 hours), watch 1.5 movies, had two meals and went to toilet 4 times.

Oh by the way, there's WiFi on the aircraft also, and it's free to preview the inbox. To use it for 4 hours costs 10 USD. I didn't try.

Before landing at Dubai, I looked out the window, the sight is amazing! It's all sand, just a huge desert. And there are clusters of houses here and there connected by roads that looks like highways from the plane. And there are power line as well stretching vast distance. When it get close to the airport, suddenly there are patches of greens and knife-cut built-ups. The sight is just amazing! It's amazing that in the middle of a desert, a city is build and is flourishing.

Walking out of the aircraft was another shock. 35 degree celcius with high humidity. But tht only lasted for 20 seconds before I walked into a shuttle bus that took me into the airport.

The Dubai International Airport looks like any western airport with dutyfree liquor, cigar, perfume, huge posters, etc. The only difference is the people, many dressed like Arabic - white over cloth for man or black overcloth with veil covering everything except for the eyes for lady. Strangely, it looks to me that it is just as acceptable as any other clothing. The cultural/religeous stereotype somehow become relaxed when people are in a foreign land. This is probably my first bit of eye-opening experience on this big trip.

It's 2:30pm in Dubai now, 4 hours behind. I have another half an hour until boarding.

Updates 25/09/2007:
Photos are up at my picasaweb

Big trip Italy

I'm at the airport now, 5am in the morning. The flight is at 6am. 11 hours to Dubai, then transit for 2.5 hours, and the another 7.5 hours to London Heathrow. This will set a new reocord for me as the longest flight.

I'll spend 2 days in London, staying with my cousin Sylvia and will meet up with my Hobart housemate Winson and highschool mate Kenny (Yu4 Jie2).
After 2 days in London, I'll be off to Amsterdam for 2 nights 1 day. Then flight to Milan and make my way down to Modena where my conference will be.

The conference is 5 days, first day I'll only attend the afternoon session which is tutorial. I didn't plan to attend that as it cost 150 Euro and I didn't know who was presenting. But later the price dropped to 50Euro and Mubarak Shah is presenting. He's a leading researcher in my field and I read and use some of his papers. I'm very excited to be able to attend his tutorial.

Then it's 3 days conference. I'll be presenting my paper on Wednesday last session. (haven't brush up my last bit of presentation yet). Then I'll go to Venice for a day, Florance, Pisa (leaning tower) for 2 days. Naples (Pompeii) for a day and Rome for 3 days.

More updates will come with photos. Hope internet will be good.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Golden Rules for Career Success

I got this from my brother.

Golden Rules for Career Success - Richard Moran

Working as a business consultant all over the world, I have discovered some basic career-related rules that everyone should know—but many don’t.

  • Business is made up of ambiguous victories and nebulous defeats. Claim them all as victories.
  • Keep track of what you do; someone is sure to ask.
  • Be comfortable around senior managers, or learn to fake it.
  • Never bring your boss a problem without some solution. You are getting paid to think, not to whine.
  • Long hours don’t mean anything; results count, not effort.
  • Write down ideas; they get lost, like good pens.
  • Always arrive at work 30 minutes before your boss.
  • Help other people network for jobs. You never know when your turn will come.
  • Don’t take days off sick—unless you are.
  • Assume no one can/will keep a secret.
  • Know when you do your best—morning, night, under pressure, relaxed; schedule and prioritize your work accordingly.
  • Treat everyone who works in the organization with respect and dignity, whether it be the cleaner or the managing director. Don’t ever be patronizing.
  • Never appear stressed in front of a client, a customer or your boss. Take a deep breath and ask yourself: In the course of human events, how important is this?
  • If you get the entrepreneurial urge, visit someone who has his own business. It may cure you.
  • Acknowledging someone else’s contribution will repay you doubly.
  • Career planning is an oxymoron. The most exciting opportunities tend to be unplanned.
  • Always choose to do what you’ll remember ten years from now.
  • The size of your office is not as important as the size of your pay cheque.
  • Understand what finished work looks like and deliver your work only when it is finished.
  • The person who spends all of his or her time is not hard-working; he or she is boring.
  • Know how to write business letters—including thank-you notes as well as proposals.
  • Never confuse a memo with reality. Most memos from the top are political fantasy.
  • Eliminate guilt. Don’t fiddle expenses, taxes or benefits, and don’t cheat colleagues.
  • Reorganizations mean that someone will lose his or her job. Get on the committee that will make the recommendations.
  • Job security does not exist.
  • Always have an answer to the question, “What would I do if I lost my job tomorrow?”
  • Go to the company Christmas party.
  • Don’t get drunk at the company Christmas party.
  • Avoid working at weekends. Work longer during the week if you have to.
  • The most successful people in business are interesting.
  • Sometimes you’ll be on a winning streak and everything will click; take maximum advantage. When the opposite is true, hold steady and wait it out.
  • Never in your life say, “It’s not my job.”
  • Be loyal to your career, your interests and yourself.
  • Understand the skills and abilities that set you apart.
  • Use them whenever you have an opportunity.
  • People remember the end of the project. As they say in boxing, “Always finish stronger than you start.”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stack of photos from phone

I've downloaded a stack of photos from my phone.

On June 18, I received this RaboPlus hardware pass code generator for their internet banking. Read Rabobank 6.6% online saving account for details.
Oh, recently Australia has increased the interest rate again. The Howard government does not particularly welcome that as election is coming soon. But I'm happy as most banks followed by increasing their rate too. At this time, Raboplus is standing at 6.7% while BankWest at 7% (12-month introduction rate)!!

On July 6, I received a very heart warming gift from a Malaysian auntie, ChoonHo's mom. She was here on holiday for 2 months, I was the first new friend she met here in Perth and we had 4-5 good chats altogether. And before she left for Malaysia, she knitted me this scarf as a gift. Each knot is a blessing, she said. I'm so touched. I'm so blessed.

On July 7 (obviously), I got this cool parking docket.

On July 19, I witnessed a police chase. Some car thief was chased down by 8 police cars. It was raining and didn't want to get wet. So I only got a photo of the channel 9 news car illegally parked on verged.

That night, I had dinner with my housemates at HKBBQ. The tofu dish is fantastic!

So is the BBQ

and the squid.

On July 26, I took a panorama of my desk using the stitching program that come with my k800i.

Big Bowl Noodle House on William Street

I've downloaded a stack of photos from my phone.

On 18/6, I went to Big bowl noodle house the first time. It's fantastic! Big bowl. It's extra noodle is FREE! Very satisfying.
My favourite is the beef noodle soup.

The beef stomach noodle soup is great too.

Minced pork noodle is good too, just a pity that there is no vege.

The seafood one is pricey and ordinary. The cheese baked noodle are pretty good too, good to share, a bit too heavy for one person consumption.

Oh ya, the best bit is the chilli! Very very good sambal chilli. The price ranges from $8.90 to $14.90. Recommended!
And the friendly identical twin waitresses added a bit of fun too.

And when I googled to find more information about the shop, I found this blog that has many photos of the place, and a closer look reveals that it's actually a friend of mine, Kok Wei's blog. Hi! Kok Wei.
It has the address and shop front photos there if you'd like to try it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman

As part of the National Science Week activities, there was a public lecture by Prof Richard Wiseman titled "The Luck Factor". Richard is a professor of Psychology he was a magician before that part of his career started. It was a very entertaining lecture with magic tricks and public psychology experiments. I was fooled too! Fun!

Jason found one of the experiment online. It's an experiment to count the number of basketball passes among 3 white-shirt players. It's hard to get it because there are also 3 black-shirt players to confuse people.

There are some more cool experiments by Richard Wiseman on youtube and his quirkology website. I was fooled by the colour changing card tricks!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Transforming the Mind, Yunus-style

Transforming the Mind, Yunus-style by Marina Mahathir.

There I listened to Dr Jonathan Mann articulate a very new concept to me, that a person's health is directly related to the human rights he or she is able to enjoy.

What underlies Prof Yunus' motivation is something extraordinary in these cynical times: he has total faith in the human spirit.In believing that every human being is at heart an entrepreneur and has skills that are under-utilised, Prof Yunus revolutionized the way we look at the poor. No longer are they to be looked down as incapable, unreliable, too ill-educated to better themselves. They are human beings who happened to be born in difficult circumstances which are no fault of theirs. As Prof Yunus likes to remind people, "Poverty is not the fault of the poor".

Sunday, August 19, 2007


It's Open Day again. This is my 5th time volunteering at the open day, and it's the last time also.

I helped set up most of the vision demo in the morning and talked to visitors about all these projects that I seems to know from listening to the creators explaining about them in previous years.

Most of the demos are from last year or year before. A couple of interesting thing to note:
1. A really cool face recognition system using a simple webcam that we downloaded from here. Visitors just love it. If you have a webcam, you can test it out too.
2. On last Friday 5pm+ I decided to print out a huge poster of Chinese Ascii arts to cover a big white wall in our demo lab. So I go to the code that I haven't touched for more than a year and got it to do what I wanted in 20 mins. Felt pretty good about myself. The end result is a 8x8 A4 sheets of Winthrop tower made up of Chinese characters. A couple of visitors were very impressed by that. One of them said "It's the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life!". I was happy with that.

More photos are on my photo gallery

Online Virtual UWA

A quick note on the virtual UWA project I've been involved. It's launched last Friday and well received. All the ungodly hours spent on the 3D modelling was glorified.

Read the story here.

This Winthrop Hall model is one of my work.

The virtual UWA is online at and you can choose an avatar and see many panorama views of UWA. Need to download the BS Contact to see it, the instruction is on the site.
At this moment, the 3D models are not up yet. Eventually they will.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Meeting with my minister

Last Friday I was invited by Somun the student coordinator of AMBC to attend a meeting with the minister of International Trade and Industry of my country - the YB Rafidah Aziz. She and her team of representatives are on a trade mission to Australia and Perth is their last stop.

She speaks well, with a sense of humour and a no-nonsense kind of attitude. Her directness is quite funny at one time when she was directing the delegates' attention to one of the information CD and here's what happened - she took out the CD, looked at it and said "What is this CD about? I can't even read the title, the title is too small! Who prepared this?" and she looked at her subordinates, "These people just played with graphics, what's the point of putting the twin tower, fireworks so big and you can't even read the words!"

The lunch was great! Well, it's at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

And it's a courtesy of the Malaysian government. I felt a bit uneasy about that so I made it a point to make some contribution out of my attendance.

Over lunch I got a chance to talk to the director of a software company in Malaysia that just signed a partnership contract with an Aussie company. They might be able to get me a job when I get back. I also got in contact with the treasurer of MASCA WA, Everlyn, a nice young curtin student, I also caught up with Kay Sen, ISS liaison officer at UWA.
(ya, it's more natural to look at the LCD instead of the lens)

After the lunch, that's the student meeting with minister and 4 members of parliament who came along with the trip. The minister seems down to earth during the dialog, she made it very safe for us to ask questions and express our concerns, by asking us to address her as Auntie Rafidah and treat her like an elderly relative. That worked quite well and many Q&A was exchanged. One student got a smack on the hand by addressing her straight as Rafidah. One asked her about the state of Proton and why the import tax for cars is still so high and she shared some interesting stories about the past managements which I won't reproduced here.
Another student touched on the education system that focuses more on paper than practical and she answered as it's a culture that is ingrained and needs to be changed.

I got my guts up and ask her opinion on the concern that I have which I think is shared by many young non-Malay professionals who are currently overseas, ie I'm going back (or some are thinking about going back) to serve the country but am deterred and frightened by the many racist remarks of ministers and unfair racist incidents towards the non-Malays. Her answer was along the line of - "for god's sake, please do not ever look at any issue as Chinese or Malay or Indian! We are all Malaysian! There are some idiots who said something inconsiderate and that does not represent the mass of the parliament and the government's view." I hope it's the true words and not just lips service.

Then another student raised the issue that they don't have a venue to organise event for Malaysian students, the Consul General briefed that there's a plan of Malaysia House under AMWA to accommodate this need. With much hesitation, then being pressed by the minister, the student expressed that AMWA members are mainly Chinese... And "Auntie Rafidah" straight away told off the student right on the face that "Do not ever think of going down that path!". And she reiterated that Malaysian is Malaysian, not Malay or Indian or Chinese! If there's to be a Malaysia Hall, it will be for all Malaysians.

Seems like we still have a long way to go for the nation building, but I'm glad that the minister took the strong view of "all Malaysians" and taught the student a lesson! The director of the Malaysian Student Department from Sydney also reiterated that its department is there to help all Malaysian students, not just the government sponsored ones.
Also, a new officer to look after Malaysian students here in Perth was requested as Perth has about 4000 Malaysian students, the second largest in Australia, and the minister was supportive about it, and it may just happen next year.

At the end, we took some happy snaps. Overall, it was a great meeting.

More photos are on AMWA photo gallery, which I maintain.