Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chap Goh Meh

Alas, the Chinese New Year celebration has come to an end. The 28 February marks the 15th and final day of the Chinese New Year. On this day, Chinese girls will head to the seafront or maybe nowadays anywhere where there is a pool of water to "toss mandarin oranges" into the water. It is believed that by doing so, the girls will be able to find a suitor and do not have to end up a spinster.

How do the girls not end up being spinsters just by throwing mandarin oranges into the water? Well, the eligible bachelors will scoop up the mandarin oranges from the water and then somehow miraculously scout out the girl that threw it. In order for that to happen I suppose the girls would have to write down their contact details on the mandarin oranges. Or better still, get tech advanced and attach some GPS to the mandarin oranges for easy tracking.

Wouldn't it be easier to just give the mandarin orange directly to the person that catches the eye rather than throwing it into the sea and having the mandarin oranges mixed up with others? Besides, the only people that would be able to scoop out the mandarin oranges from the water would most probably be fishermen. Which CEO, CFO, COO, doctor, accountant, lawyer, engineer, architect or businessman would go to the sea to fish out oranges? Besides, if no one scoops out the mandarin oranges from the sea then that would be pollution now wouldn't it? Turtles might choke on the mandarin oranges and die as a result. Then we would indirectly be killing the already endangered species.

Anyway, back to the mandarin orange tossing. Nowadays, not only mandarin oranges are tossed into the sea (or water). An article in the papers states that bananas are being tossed into the sea by single men apart from the usual oranges by girls. Not too sure whether other variants of fruits will have the same effect as mandarin oranges. As I keep mentioning throughout this entry, mandarin orange are used because it is the norm to toss mandarin oranges and not oranges. I suppose since it's a celebration on the final day of Chinese New Year, it is only right to use the Chinese fruit. Maybe it could be because there are leftover mandarin oranges from Chinese New Year, so might as well put them to good use {laughs}. Smart thinking the Chinese have there. Being thrift.

So single ladies, prepare your mandarin oranges and head to the nearest seafront or pool of water and try your luck on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year. Suitors not guaranteed. Happy Chinese Valentine's Day and Chap Goh Meh.

*Don't ask me who came up with this whole mandarin orange tossing thing. I don't know and I am not the one that created this.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Horrible Bus Ride

I had been pretty preoccupied the past two weeks with the reunion road trip and Chinese New Year celebration and a little shopping here and there. Hence the lack of blogging for the past few weeks. Back to the story. This time around, a consensus was reached for our trip ; that is to take the bus instead of driving (which we normally do). Our bus ride at the beginning of our trip was fine albeit the noisy squeaking the the bus produced throughout the journey. Two days ago, we took a bus home after our Chinese New Year holiday away.

We bought the tickets to the destination as well as the return tickets together. We chose our seats and that was clearly printed on the tickets for both ways. On the day of departure for the journey back, when we boarded the bus and were then told that it is free seating. What do you mean by free seating when we have pre-booked our seats when we purchased our tickets two weeks ago? We have selected our seats and paid for the chosen seats when we purchased our tickets. That is the "contract" that is agreed upon between us and the bus company (Plusliner) when we paid for the tickets. That is tolerable as we still managed to find seats in the lousy disorganised bus.

A few minutes prior to departure, the conductor ascended the bus and started doing a head count. There was a discrepancy in the number of passengers on-board and the number on the list of expected passengers. So the conductor asked "Who has the 1 o'clock ticket". No one replied. Left with no choice he has to check the tickets again. The culprit turns out to be an elderly Malay lady. Immediately her daughter got into the bus to her defense. Her daughter claimed that she had purchased the 10 o'clock ticket but the ticketing person issued the wrong ticket. The conductor politely asked the Malay lady to descend the bus but both mother and daughter refused to budge claiming that it is the bus company's fault. The bus driver then ascended the bus and asked what the commotion is about. Upon seeing that they are of the same race, the bus driver told the elderly Malay lady to take a seat, and if there is no one coming up the next few minutes, she can take this bus instead of the 1 p.m. bus. Clearly she was one lucky lady. Although the bus was full, she still managed to retained the seat although she should have descended and take her designated 1 o'clock bus.

Two hours into the journey, the bus suddenly took a turn into a small town. we though the bus was stopping at a rest stop for a toilet break. Instead the bus kept going without stopping. After a while "touring" the small town, the bus turned into a bus terminal and parked at the parking bay. We thought it was the usual stop for toilet break so we hurriedly rush to the washroom. We had to climb up a flight of stairs just like the Batu Caves to get to the washroom. Upon reaching the entrance of the washroom we were caught with surprised that we need to pay 30 cents per person to use the washroom. We were surprised not because of the amount but because the usual PLUS rest stops does not require a fee for the use of the washroom. Not only did the Plusliner bus not stop at the PLUS rest stop as they normally do, we had to pay to use the stinky, lousy washroom.

We hurried back to the bus within 5 minutes. Upon entering the bus we were surprised to find no one in the bus. We were then told that we are supposed to board the bus that is parked next to the initial bus. Shocked and surprised, we quickly took our hand carry and descended the first bus. We asked to retrieve our luggage from the luggage compartment but was told that all luggage has been transferred to the next bus. Not wanting to take things for granted, we asked to checked whether our luggage has been transferred. Initially reluctant to let us do so, the Plusliner man finally agreed. We then asked to check whether our luggage is in the trunk of the second bus. The Plusliner man refused again. I gave him an irritated look and he reluctantly agreed again. He opened two compartments for me to check. I saw two of our luggage but couldn't seem to find the third. I asked to check the third luggage compartment. The Plusliner man refused to open the final trunk compartment claiming that "Itu Melayu punya" (meaning that is the Malay's luggage compartment). So much for the 1 Malaysia spirit. Here our government goes about instilling the 1Malaysia spirit, there the people go about discriminating Chinese, Indian and Malay luggage. I was really irritated by then and clearly that showed on my face. He then reluctantly opened the final luggage compartment for my inspection. Upon seeing my luggage that has been perching precariously on the other luggage, I told the Plusliner man that that is my bag and he closed the trunk.

Upon entering the second bus, I was even more angry as there were no seats left. We booked 3 seat when I purchased the bus tickets and chose the seats. The seat numbers were printed on the tickets but now it is simply random seating and our seats were clearly taken. I was moving back and forth in the bus in search for a seat but there was none. Then a passenger pointed to a vacant seat next to a fat guy. He sat there like a mountain and did not bother to signal that there is an empty seat next to him. Such a selfish person. If it is not because of his humongous physique, I would have found the seat. I am not being mean or discriminating but this selfish behaviour of these people really gets on my nerves. There I was baking in the sun for the next two hours as the curtain failed to cover my seat. I ended up with a headache when I reached home.

If the tickets for the other bus companies were not sold out, we wouldn't have bought the Plusliner tickets. Never in the history of a bus ride were we required to change bus without notice. Plusliner should have told us that we are required to switch buses when we purchased our tickets. They should get our consent prior to the sale of the tickets and not after the sale. Customers should be notified beforehand, that it is free seating in the bus and they are required to switch buses and if they do not wish to go through that, then the sale of tickets should not have been closed. It is wrong for Plusliner to issue tickets with designated seat numbers to customers and not inform the customers that the seat numbers means nothing for it is free seating anyway and that they are required to switch buses halfway through the journey. What's the point of issuing tickets with seat number when it is free seating? Redundant. What's worse is that there is no toilet break which means everyone are suppose to be camels when they travel. This is by far the most horrible bus ride that I have ever taken. Even a "dancing" bus ride is much more pleasant than this one. At least I know for sure that I do not have to worry about boarding the wrong bus or having my seat taken.

Friday, February 12, 2010

CNY & Valentines 2010

What a coincidence that Chinese New Year and Valentine's day falls on the same day this year. Tomorrow is the eve of both Chinese New Year and Valentine's. The buzz that has been ongoing is how would you spend February 14 this year? Celebrate Chinese New Year with your Family or Valentine's with your beloved other half?

Most people try to show their filial side said that they would celebrate Chinese New Year with their family since Valentine's can celebrated annually. Well, Chinese New Year is an annual event too.

Some said they would celebrate Chinese New year with their family during the day and Valentine's on the other half of the day. Personally, I think this is the wisest solution. Well, you can collect red packets and at the same time, spend time with your other half without having to sacrifice either side. The money collected from the red packets could be spent for Valentine's too. Since it is really rare that both events fall on the same day and we won't know when the two events will fall on the same day again, it is best to celebrate both. This is what you call having the best of both worlds.

Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Valentine's day. This will probably be the final post for the year of the Ox. The next post will probably be in the Year of the Tiger.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Monsters In The Lake

A long long time ago, someone in Scotland claimed that there is a monster in the lake. That claim has made that lake a tourist attraction to this day. There's even a man who quit his job and camp by the lake just to catch a glimpse of Loch Ness or as it is widely known today, Nessie, the monster residing in the lake. Many has refuted that claim that there is indeed a monster in the lake, saying that it's a hoax, and that the person that made that claim, said it just to gain publicity. This remains a myth to this day.

However, locally,in recent years, people start claiming that there are monsters in the lakes in our country. Not so long ago, there are reports in the newspapers that anglers who went fishing in the lakes drowns because they have been "thrown" into the lake while fishing. What has caused the anglers to fall overboard? Some expert anglers claimed that it's the huge fishes that reside in the lakes.

Are there really monsters in the lakes? Or are these just stories told for fun? Be it true or false, the monsters in lakes might very well be gigantic fishes. There was this photo (below) in the papers of three men carrying a huge, monstrous, hideous looking creature that resembles a shark. The article carried a title like "Monsters In Our Lakes", or something similar to that.

The photo of the "monster" in the lake. What a hideous looking creature. I applaud these men for having the courage to hunt down these monsters.

There was a documentary on National Geography about sharks venturing into shallow waters, and attacking people in the river in India. Researchers went to India to conduct that research. They interviewed the victims that has been bitten and survived the attacks. The researchers asked the victims whether they were attacked by crocodiles or sharks, and were told that it was sharks. Thinking that the traumatised victims have confused a crocodile with a shark, the researchers drew pictures of a crocodile and a shark and asked the victims to point out which animal was it that has attacked them. All victims pointed at the shark picture. How is it possible for a salt water fish to live in fresh water? Err...someone kindly answer this question.

My point is, could the "shark" that ventured into the river be possibly the monster-like gigantic fish shown in the picture above, instead? Looking at the "monstrous fish's" appearance which resembles a shark, the victims when being attacked, were pretty much terrified. They might have thought that it's a shark, when it is in fact a monster fish. To simplify, the victims might have been attacked by a gigantic fish that resembles a shark. The answer to my queries could only be given by researchers that hunt these monster out. Just an entry on my curiosity.