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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tony Fernandes is Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Tony Fernandes - CEO of AirAsia - is being conferred the title Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace yesterday.

The only other prominent Malaysian to have being conferred a British title was shoe magician Jimmy Choo with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

A commoner can be bestowed these awards:
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE)
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) or Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

And the top two awards will automatically make the recipient a British knight or dame.

Such great achievement indeed. Now everyone can be proud.

Lynas Rare Earth Mining in Malaysia

Australia-listed Lynas Corp Ltd had received approvals to build a rare earth refinery in Australia and China but had picked Malaysia as the “preferred location” given its “proximity to market, access to high quality chemicals, utilities and engineering skills' coupled with its transparent regulatory framework,” said the company.

Lynas said it had initially obtained all approvals for this project in Australia but several factors in the country made it not favourable such as water shortage, difficulty of finding a suitable location that met with all its required infrastructure needs, lack of industrial land and port capacity, short supply of engineering and construction skills and the relatively high costs.

China which produces 97% of the world's rare earth supply, according to Lynas, had previously approved its plan to set up the processing plant in the country but the Chinese government had later imposed export limits on all final products as well as export taxes. “The Chinese government now controls and restricts export of all rare earth materials and also applies import and export taxes of up to 25% specifically for rare earths. Lynas was unwilling to invest in China and then have the export of final products controlled by the Chinese government,” Lynas said.

In recent weeks, protests over Lynas' project in Kuantan have gained strong momentum; the project has drawn much flak on the back of concerns over its potential health and environmental risk from the radioactive waste. “By all international standards, the Lynas raw material is classified as safe, non-toxic and non-hazardous,” it reiterated.

According to Lynas, the project's operating expenditure is estimated at RM350mil a year while it expects to rake in export revenue of RM880mil a year. It said the project would create over 350 skilled and semi-skilled job opportunities.

In an attempt to clear the air, the supplier of rare earths said it had initially proposed to set up its RM1.3bil plant in Kemaman, Terengganu as per the advice of Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) in 2006 and had designed the plant for that specific location, having obtained all relevant approvals from AELB, DOE and the Kemaman municipal council.

However, while waiting for the Terengganu government to allocate the land, Lynas said Mida had asked the company to consider relocating the plant to Gebeng, Pahang, which is where it is currently being built. Kuantan, the company elaborated, is well-equipped with multi-port facilities, available industrial land, plentiful water supplies, natural gas pipelines and stable electricity supply and it also has diverse chemical, high quality chemical supplies which the company can purchase from local companies.

“At no time did the Terengganu government reject approval for the Lynas plant.

“Lynas feels an obligation to respond to recent public statements made about the Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Malaysia statements we believe are factually incorrect, statements which are taken out of context, and statements which are misleading to the public,” it continued.
Aim High!: Thorium energy cheaper than from coal solves more than just global warming.Extractive Metallurgy of Rare Earths
The Lynas plant will process raw material sourced from its mine and concentration plant in Mount Weld, Western Australia which will be transported to the facility in Pahang.

“This is very different to the raw material processed at the Asian Rare Earth Plant in Bukit Merah which used tin mining tailings as its raw material. This contained high levels of thorium, which was the source of high levels of radiation, and ultimately this plant's closure.

“Under current regulations, the raw material processed at Bukit Merah could not be processed in Australia, Malaysia or China today,” it said, adding that by contrast, the Lynas raw material contained naturally low levels of thorium 50 times lower than the tin tailings used by Asian Rare Earth.

A Thousand And One Nights in Saudi Arabia by Air Asia X

Air Asia X is awaiting regulatory approval to fly into Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. So a likelihood to see the land of "A Thousand And One Nights" or "Arabian Nights" will be a possibility soon.

It seems like a riskier move than going into Sydney or Japan - or any little city in China or India. The management's viewpoint is there is a huge demand during the summer months June, July and August and will be a gateway for Middle East travellers to use Air Asia X into Kuala Lumpur, and then go onward flights to the hundred over routes served.
In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi KingdomLonely Planet Saudi ArabiaLonely Planet Middle East (Multi Country Guide)
Personally, even flight into Tehran seems out of place. To put a foothold into the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), would need more homework and research. The travelling culture is very different. The first try into MENA by flying to Abu Dhabi was not fruitful, and the route was scrapped after several months.

To weigh in the options, the destination has to have a purchasing power or travelling power. Stable in both politics and finance. Potential traffic. So for MENA, it is definitely a tough decision to qualify a destination, simply because there is not many. Even the finance centre of Dubai, the local population is very small. And most of the people who work there, or based there, are fed by their big corporate account, bonuses, and literally paid to travel Business and First Class. There simply is no backpacker or budget traveller mentality nor low cost culture.

Air Asia wants to be a budget carrier and it is a budget carrier. But it should not misplace that idea and lump it into shuttling third-level workers, miners, maids or construction labourers.

Bangkok to Bali Fares Including Taxes

To have a good comparison of how Air Asia airfares fare, I made some comparison with the competitors. These are prices by major commercial airlines and prices includes taxes and fuel surcharges (prices are in THB Thai Baht). The front fare is One Way and the other is Return Fare:
Garuda Indonesia Airlines - GA via Jakarta 10,900 13,000 5 days Depart Bangkok within 31 Mar 11
via Jakarta 10,900 17,500 10 days Depart Bangkok within 31 Mar 11

Malaysia Airlines - MH via KL 9,200 16,000 1 month
via KL 9,200 14,800 1 month/GV2 Min 2 paxs travel, rate per person

Singapore Airlines - SQ via Singapore 12,200 15,200 1 month minimum stay 5 days
via Singapore 12,200 16,500 1 month no minimum stay required

Thai Airways - TG Direct flight 17,900 16,100 1 month/low/GV2 Min 2 paxs depart 03Jan-09Apr, 14Apr-30Jun,01Oct-25Dec
Direct flight 17,900 18,100 1 month/high/GV2 Min 2 paxs depart 10-13Apr, 26Dec-02Jan, Jul,Aug,Sep
Direct flight 17,900 18,600 3 month/low depart 03Jan-09Apr, 14Apr-30Jun,01Oct-25Dec
Direct flight 17,900 19,600 3 month/high depart 10-13Apr, 26Dec-02Jan, Jul,Aug,Sep
Direct flight 17,900 22,600 6 months/low depart 03Jan-09Apr, 14Apr-30Jun,01Oct-25Dec
Direct flight 17,900 25,200 6 months/high depart 10-13Apr, 26Dec-02Jan, Jul,Aug,Sep

On average the price is over 13500 Baht for a return flight. The lowest price by Garuda goes via Jakarta and has a absurd limit of 5 days duration.

So Air Asia still is unbeatable. Current prices without those discounts are hovering around 7000 Baht for a return flight.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kencana Petroleum Target Price RM3.05 by OSK Research

OSK Research is maintaining its Trading Buy on Kencana Petroleum while its target price remains unchanged at RM3.05, based on the existing PER of 23x FY12 EPS.

It said on Wednesday, March 30 that Kencana remains one of its top picks for the O&G sector with its impressive delivery track record.

Kencana's unit had secured a'' RM216 million contract from Petrofac Malaysia Ltd for the CONSTRUCTION of well head platforms for the Cendor oil field off the coast of Terengganu.

'Given that Kencana already has a tie-up with Petrofac on the Berantai field and also recently secured some jobs for the Sepat field, we are not surprised that Petrofac has again awarded to it the EPC job for the Cendor oil field, as long as Kencana has the capacity and manpower to undertake the job.

'We understand that Kencana's current utilisation rate is slightly above 60%. Also, we think Petrofac would prefer

Kencana over its other peers since the latter has worked on several projects with the multinational company and is well-versed with its requirements,' it said.

OSK Research said there was no change to its FY11-12 earnings as it had earlier assumed this orderbook replenishment for the company. This new contract will boost Kencana's orderbook to RM2.2bn, which should keep the company busy for the next 1.5 years.

OSK positive with AirAsia and Expedia collaboration

OSK Research is fairly optimistic on AirAsia Bhd's new joint venture (JV) with Expedia, the world' largest online travel agency, as the companies leverage on each other's strengths to create synergy.

In a note today, OSK Research said the JV would give AirAsia a bigger distribution channel to market its route offering and its holiday packages in an attempt to boost ancillary income moving forward.

"This JV will boost AirAsia's ancillary income and improved margins over the longer term," it said. OSK Research has maintained its 'buy' recommendation on AirAsia at an unchanged target price of RM3.42.

"Although there is a lot of room for growth for the JV, we still think it is too early to make any upward revisions in our forecast as we have inputted a fairly reasonable ancillary income growth assumption going forward," it said.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Electronic Business Future Megatrends 2011

In January 2006, while on a FINNAIR flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong, one article in their inflight magazine - Blue Wings - took my attention completely.

China's Megatrends: The 8 Pillars of a New Society  ChurchMorph: How Megatrends Are Reshaping Christian Communities (Allelon Missional Series)More Facebook Friends T-shirt MB M
It was talking about megatrends. Finnish Futurologist Mika Mannermaa ( was summing up 10 megatrends that will happen in the near future. So five years on, or half a decade's time, here is the list of what he researched on and came up with:
1) The struggle between various ideological social and cultural models for global influence. The American neo-liberal market economy, the European model and Asian model of the China-Singapore-Korea-Japan axle will compete among themselves for global influence in the world economy.

2) The technological development of the information society will rise to a new level where the focus is on consumers' needs, services and content.

3) The Woody Allen society. In the 24/7 future, the social concept of time will change. Our usage of time will be more independent. The pace of our lives will be dictated less by external requirements and restrictions.

4) Suburbanisation. Soon we will all live in the urban areas, centres or their immediate vicinity. Sparsely populated areas will be vacated.

5) Senior citizens will rule. The baby boomers will become significant consumers. They will behave in unexpected ways, for instance, setting up new companies at the age of 65.

6) The John Wayne society. More people will operate as wandering professionals of the information society, working alone or as a company with a few partners rather than seeking work for large hierarchical organisations.

7) From majorities to minorities. Majorities will disappear. We will shift to an era of small heterogenic tribes and virtual networks. (Facebook!)

8) The complex risk society. The information society will become more complicated, including all of the material risks of the industrial society but also a growing set of immaterial risks. An electrical blackout or the collapse of an information system may paralyse all of the central activities of a society.

9) Globalisation includes various phenomena and uncertainty factors that occur at different rates. The vulnerability of the world economy, cultural conflicts, environmental and development problems of developing a worldwide democratic global administration, which has so far only been realised in some countries. There will be a lack of universal rules of the game.

10) The importance of information and communications technology in society will grow. The rising new technologies will be biotechnology, material technology, and nanotechnology.

So far, what is your mind telling you from the current world affairs, events and economic situations?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Air Asia Hot Spot Destinations and Destiny 2011

Air Asia flew over 100 million passengers late last year 2010, achieved several awards, expanded more routes, and increased its total fleet to over 100 Airbus jet planes.

Destiny or not, Air Asia started off as an impossible dream. Bought for 35 US cents from a failed airline initiative chaired by some dubious phantom Datuks that performed little and waiting for a government bailout - and transformed by Tony Fernandes to something big and red, throughout Asia.

That destiny of going through impossible hardship is evident more so today. To beat the US Financial Crisis and then more. So here is a short-list of turbulence that Air Asia must and will certainly overcome:
1. US Financial Crisis - since 2008 where demand was sluggish and Air Asia fought back with dozens of new routes, new planes, new low fares.
2. Double Christchurch Earthquake 2010 and 2011 - one of Air Asia's most touted and demanded new route being devastated by earthquake.
3. Miyagi Tsunami Earthquake 2011 - another prominent first route into Japan via Haneda Airport now in a turmoil as demand turns unpredictable due to concerns of health safety from nuclear fallout in Fukushima.
4. Iranian Political Turmoil 2011 - yet another route that Air Asia made last year to put a new foothold into the Middle East after the pullout from Abu Dhabi.
5. New Oil Escalation 2011 - fuel cost that breached $100 USD can either break or make - whether USD itself will be devalued or a stronger Asian currency to mitigate any further rises in the USD based oil prices.

These hot spots are indeed challenging. And here is a look at how Air Asia had jumped other hot spot hurdles before:
1. Bird Flu and SARS Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Crisis
2. Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004
3. Volcano Eruptions in Indonesia
4. Bangkok Yellow and Red Shirt Protest, Airport Shutdown, and The Burning of Bangkok Episode 2010.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gamuda rated Buy $4.50 Target Price

Just this week, Gamuda has been rated at Buy by 3 research house averaging a target price of $4.50.

OSK rates a high 4.96 target price stapling the imminent underground MRT ETP as the basis.

CIMB rates it higher at 5.60 target price.
It said on Friday, March 25 that it expects 2H11 to be stronger due to the gradual rise of CONSTRUCTION  margins as key projects enter their mature phase.

'The reason for the deviation was our underestimation of EBIT margin. We now up our FY11-13 EPS forecasts by 8-10%, which raises our RNAV-based target price from RM5.45 to RM5.60,' it said.

CIMB Research said these strong results could catalyse the stock, along with project awards and newsflow on the MRT project for which Gamuda is the PDP and potentially the contractor for the tunnelling works. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Basics of Selling on eBay Instructor Disk

Many years ago, I qualified as the official eBay Education Specialist Program.

Congratulations! Your item is listed for sale.

View your listing: Official The Basics of Selling on eBay Instructor Disk - 250792064147
This listing will end on 30th March 2011.

The Basics of Selling on eBay - Official Instructor Disk (see photo)
Official material for: to train to become eBay Education Specialist
Learn all the tips of becoming a top eBay seller
Train the Trainer - learn to train others all the official tips and syllable
Learn all there is to learn and un-learn and putting it into practise
Start your own business sucessfully - Apply the training to yourself or others and start making money directly (selling products that work) or teaching others how to sell in eBay
Do what the "4 Hour Work Week" book says - get out of the rut, get out of traffic jams and working for others.
Emancipate yourself, your potential, and spend more quality time on things that matter most instead of waiting until retirement
"Retire now" yet feel the freedom to learn and teach and apply from this invaluable material
See actual photo of the item. Will be packaged securely in bubble wrap and sealed.
I had previously signed up for the eBay Education Specialist program in 2008.
Last checked a regular Official eBay Training Course amounts on average 100 to 200 USD.

Chef Jay Littman Humble Protein Bar Man Talks

Chef Jay brief interview here talks about how he started the business. In his kitchen making his own food. This is truly a down-to-Earth man, humble in his speech. Even when it newscaster showed his before (400 pounds photo) and after photo - he was thankful, never boastful or try to up-sell his products or himself.

Even talking about nutrition, he says it fairly, how he achieved his fat loss campaign - with exercise, and nice healthier diet.
We make our products in small batches.
Diet and exercise, but everybody eat sweet tasting products but to eat something a little healthier.
I created it; I used to make it in a kitchen at home until my wife got upset.
Lower in sugar. Lower in carbohydrates. A lot more protein.
We should eat a protein based lifestyle.
We are donating $15000 of these products to the Clark County School District - putting snack in every lunch for every kids that are 10 and under.
We like to support our firefighters.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chef Jay Protein Bar and Cookies Diet

Just read an amazing story about a chef who transformed his life. I stumbled upon his product, Tri-O-Plex Protein Bar while browsing for some health products. It was simply delicious. And it adds on well to my new food system. Reducing carbohydrates while increasing protein.

About the chef: "After cooking for area Las Vegas hotels, I bought a little muffin shop and eventually started providing local health clubs with healthy style bakery goods. One item was a health bar made of oats, raisins and honey. Soon I started getting calls from people outside the Las Vegas area who wanted me to ship them my "delicious bars". Since then I have devoted my life to producing the best tasting, healthiest bars available. I still make them myself (with a lot of help from my team members) in the heart of Las Vegas, although I have since moved out of that muffin shop and into that dream kitchen and facility that I have always wanted. I hope you enjoy eating them as much as I enjoy making them."

Each bar is hefty: 118 grams! You can feel the weight of it when handling or picking it up. Which is good. This guy knows what people wants - a nice big bar that will be a respectable food supplement. Many protein bars or health bars I seen are light at 50 grams or up to a maximum of 90 grams.

The taste is awesome. The one I bought was Banana Walnut flavour.

“Since each product is produced in a relatively small batch, in comparison to larger companies who produce similar goods, Chef Jay’s Food Products are delivered with that just-baked taste,” said Chef Jay’s Food Products founder, Jay Littmann. “We pride ourselves on producing the best product available that delivers what our customers have come to expect – a snack that not only provides a good amount of protein but also tastes great.”

You may be amazed at just how good something that tastes so good can be for you, but his true story will inspire you. Jay Littmann became an addict when he was just twelve years old. Thrown out of his home when he was 17, he succumbed to a downward spiral. With stints on the street, in jail, and in rehab, he spent the next 12 years controlled by a bottle or pipe, developing a serious weight problem and diabetes. In How to Get From There to Here, Littmann details his life of drugs and crime and his turning point, his moment of clarity. He finally got clean for good when he was twenty-nine. Searching for financial independence, he purchased a muffin shop just off the Las Vegas Strip, a move that would dramatically change his life. When Littmann bluffed his way into a sale of his healthy oat bar to a nationally recognized chain, he had to fill the order for thousands by hand. Thus was born Chef Jay's Food Products, now an internationally recognized brand that sells millions of healthy products each year. Jay has been clean and sober for nearly two decades, is in the best shape of his life, and no longer suffers from diabetes. Scott is very pleased to share teh real life story of one of America's healthy lifestyle leading lights, Chef Jay Littmann. World renowned for his line of incredible healthy snacks and foods, now Chef Jay Littmann shares his real story in How to Get From There to Here. Chef Jay's memoir is more than just a story; it's a blueprint for how to succeed even when it seems the chips are stacked against you.

As Jay approached his 30th birthday he knew he needed help, and fast. After spending 14 nights in rehab (something he had done several times over preceding years) and a further few at a Salvation Army shelter, he moved to a halfway house. There he began thinking seriously about the future, his future. And he needed skills to accompany his natural, albeit wrongly utilized, industriousness.

After graduating magna cum laude from the Newbury College of Culinary Arts in Brookline, Massachusetts, Jay relocated from Mass to Las Vegas, worked as kitchen staff for two years and eventually opened a humble muffin shop.

Eventually one of his products, an oat bar - the forerunner to his now famous Tri-O-Plex bar - became a big seller and Jay's name and products were elevated into the consciousness of those wanting quality, advanced nutrition.
Chef Jay's TRI-O-PLEX DUO Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, 12-Count, 3.5-Ounce Whole Grain Protein BarChef Jays Tri-O-Plex Cookies, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, 12-Count Packages
He is now head of a thriving supplement and natural foods manufacturing plant, the poverty he experienced years' earlier nothing more than a relic of a misspent past.

But Jay wasn't completely in the clear yet. As chefs, even extremely rich ones, all want to do, Jay worked long hours and ate erratically - he'd consume very little all day and would often eat a massive meal at night followed by an equally prodigious desert. His weight ballooned out of control.

Peaking at 416 pounds in December of 2007, Jay's weight rivaled his bank account in terms of sheer size. With obesity related Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an ulcer to contend with he decided to triumph on yet another front: he would undertake one of the most impressive transformations ever recorded. He succeeded.

Now a comparatively streamlined and muscular 225 pounds at 14 percent body fat, and having eliminated all of the medications he needed to survive clinical obesity, Chef Jay has a lot to smile about. The new Ferrari parked in the drive of his 6000 square foot dream home - the trappings of the kind of success oriented mindset necessary for such dramatic weight loss - might also have something to do with his newfound happiness.

So here is the Cookies and Protein Bar Diet:

Here is his book (from Amazon):
How To Get From There To Here: One Man’s Triumph Over Addictions, Obesity, and Being Down and Out
How to Get From There to Here: One Man's Triumph Over Addictions, Obesity, and Being Down-and-Out

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Chinese Are Coming by BBC Negative Propaganda

Recently, BBC produced a two part TV "documentary" titled "The Chinese Are Coming". The so-called documentary portrayed in a very bias way how China's citizen are going to Africa to do business, create factories, create chicken farms and sell chicken meat, and buying over a British (read colonial slavery) copper mine in Zambia.

The BBC and certainly the British government and perhaps intelligence were attempting a psychological warfare manoeuvre. Alas, it suffered a deep backlash simply because today's human population know how well the true historical tyrants and manipulators were. The British / English themselves. What irony.

They are the ones who plundered jewels, diamonds, natural resources from a third of the world for centuries. They are the ones who systematically sold drugs (opium) and declaring proudly a "true business". They are the ones who used trickery to get foothold into China, South East Asia and many other African nations.

Have you read about the history of Hong Kong? What a shame. Why is there such a bank called "Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank" - peculiar isn't it and it's run by the British?

Do you know in the top STI Index Stocks are remnants of those from the era of pillaging?

And truly I am very sure the late Bruce Lee was killed by some of these clandestine government bodies, simply because in the 70s, and being such an influential person originating from China, with clear philosophical views, poses a threat once again to their "freedom".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Win Free Qatar Airways Flight 2011

Step 1: Enter the contest here.
Win Free Qatar Airways Flight 2011.
Celebrating 100 Destinations with 100 flights to be won.

Step 2:
Plan and book your hotel.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cave Man's Diet

Prehistoric movies. Huge creatures. Sabre tooth tiger. Mammoth. Perhaps some dinosaurs. Huge moving creatures. Huge plants. Huge caves. The invention of fire. The invention of the wheel. The invention of the word clobbering. Savages discovering how to become human and in turn humanity.

That movie "10 000 BC" sort of sums up many of those concepts intelligently with a nice combination of adventure and a storyline. Or not? Well, we just have this caveman instinct to want to know what was it like 10000 BC. What was the world, the nature, the social network like in the caveman time. Living in caves literally - and more.
10000 BC IMDB info page :

Our ancestors were virtually cavemen.

Now put your thoughts to their daily diet. What could they be eating?

Crackers? Rice? Potatoes? French fries? Chow mein? Corn flakes? Croissant?

No. None of the above. Imagine there was not enough invention yet to even come up with "flour". Rice was like some weed or tall grass plant that the caveman overlooks while hunting and hiding. Potatoes were hidden well beneath their running man feet.

They ate meat. They hunt. They ate berries, some fruits. They forage. Examples that I can imagine: all sorts of animal meat - kangaroo, rabbit, possum, antelope, deer, slower moving creatures perhaps the cow, ducks, fish. Picking berries, bananas, whatever birds were eating at that time.

Was there any sign of carbohydrates? Yes, and very little. Bananas. Papayas. Pineapples. Yet none are refined carbohydrates. None are laden with sugar. (Yes who invented sugar?!) None are processed through to make them "white".

Caveman were strong. Hunters. Always on their feet. They could climb trees, caves, rocks. They could and should outrun several fast animals. And have strategies to hide or rest. They have to fend off tribes. Get more into their own tribe. Protect their tribe from creatures and insects. At night, they were alert.

There is no afternoon tea. No sugary pastries. It is all up and going. And they perhaps were like running or going about 1-2 marathons per day. Did they need to load on carbs? Did they need some so-called "fuel"? Not much.

The past 100 years or so, with the invention of many tools, machinery, and farming ideals, we now have corn flakes. Pastries, croissant, cupcakes. Rice flour noodles, flat noodles, yellow noodles. Crackers and potato crisps. The technological advancement in chemistry provided all sorts of additives  that will prolong the life of the products. Make them taste similar to "strawberry, banana, vanilla". Make them have the same colourful colours like pink, brown, cream, green. Green tea!

How do we solve it and go back to the Caveman's Diet which is so much healthier and the original diet of our ancestors?
Think of ways to gradually reduce those refined and processed food. Start to be conscious of labels. And now with super Google, take a few minutes to find out more backside story of the contents on various food products in the shelves, in the cans and displayed temptingly everywhere.

Discover what is BPA. What will hydrogenated oil do to your body? Where is that pink colour in my strawberry ice cream came from?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Asia Green City Index - Category Water 22 Major Cities

Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Siemens, this is a study on 22 Major Cities in Asia measuring their environmental performance and their commitment to reducing their future environmental impact and gives a concrete view of the current situation.

First Category is Water:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Track Flight Status and Airport Delays

With the advent of low-cost airlines such as AirAsia, RyanAir, Air Berlin, Jetstar, Tiger Airways – the way consumers use the internet to plan, search and book for these flights have increased tremendously. Similarly, the tools and information related to air travel increased complementing the demand.

One big scenario passengers dread is a delay in a flight. Or a flight been changed. Re-routed. Or simply cancelled. Yes the second most important advise is to buy travel insurance. And even yearly travel insurance cost around just 100 USD in most Asean countries.

While why not tap on our fingers and try to get the flight status of our designated flight from the comforts of the internet? My favourite site is – checking on flights is a breeze.

Check by flight number, by Airline, by destination – and surprisingly very fast output and results. Can’t imagine how the underlying system works. With hundreds of airlines databases, airport databases and almost instant updates on flight delays, estimation and even expected delays. They probably have a tie-in with the weatherman!

Checking the flight your family or friend is on is also a breeze. Plus detailed estimation of arrival time.
Track Flight Status, Airport Delays and other Flight and Airport Information.
AirAsia flight delay, AirAsia flight status, flight estimation, Flightstats, Track Airport Delays, Track Flight Status

Free 2 Weeks Homestay in Taiwan August 2011

Are you between 18 to 40? Love travelling? Love to experience some authentic lifestyle of the Taiwanese people in Taiwan? To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Taiwan, the Council of Cultural Affairs is giving the opportunity of a lifetime to 250 individuals from across 100 countries to stay and experience Taiwan for the span of 2 weeks this August 2011.

The event aims for the international guests to find out a lot more about Taiwan and its influence on the world and at the same time, to experience the good nature of the Taiwanese culture. This event encourages international guests to travel all around Taiwan, noting down their travel experiences and share them on social media (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) so people around the world can find out more about the culture and the friendliness of the Taiwanese people.

The international guests and the world will be able to witness Taiwan’s various achievements after 100 years of development, sharing the joy of the centennial founding of Taiwan. This will open the door for the rest of the world to have more interaction with the Taiwanese people.
The main goals in which the “Republic of China (Taiwan) International Youth week - Centennial Homestay” event is looking to achieve are illustrated below:

We hope to successfully create a cheerful atmosphere for the international guests and the world to share the joy of the centennial founding of Taiwan. More importantly, by having the international guests touring Taiwan and share their tour experiences, the world will be able to witness the strong attachment that the Taiwanese people have on this land. The citizens and the government will be working together to create a better future for Taiwan and thus, will benefit the future the whole world as well.

The international guests will be able to experience Taiwan’s various lifestyles and get a taste of the most valuable characteristic of the Taiwanese people- their human touch, which will leave the visitors great memories. This will be the best way for the world to find out more about Taiwan’s soft power; together with the synergy of the integrated marketing, the world will be able to gain more know ledges about Taiwan.

Lonely Planet Taiwan (Country Guide)  Lonely Planet Taiwan (Country Guide)  National Geographic Traveler: Taiwan 2nd Edition
The locations of the host families in this event are not only limited to one City, County or region, we are hoping that the international guests will be able to experience the real beauties of Taiwan, Through integrated internet community and effective media channel, the world will be able to witness the achievements, multi-cultural acceptance and diversity of Taiwan after 100 years of development - great for promoting for the Taiwanese tourism industry, cultural exchange and the sustainable development of other Taiwanese industries.

Participants and Eligibility:
Elite internationals aged between 18 and 40, male or female. Those who have experiences in international competitions, international events, have received awards, or have made special achievements in certain areas will have priority. Fluent in English/Chinese (either one).  Proficient in using blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.

Rights and Obligations:
1) During the entire period of visiting Taiwan, the selected individuals must participate in the activities arranged by the organizer.
2) During the visit, the roundtrip economy class ticket for the international flight to and from the city of origin and Taiwan, host family accommodations in Taiwan, and transport for fixed itinerary, including local public transportation, will be subsidized by the organizer. Remaining costs for board and lodge, transportation and self-travel shall be subject to the individual. All other matters are subject to notice by the organizer.
3) During the stay in Taiwan, the participant must update the blog on the event website as well as their personal blogs, Facebook, and Twitter with text, pictures, video, photos, etc., regarding their experiences in Taiwan.
4) Within one month after returning home, at least one article must be published on the blog of the event website as well as their personal blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to share their experiences in Taiwan, or to share pictures or text regarding the Taiwanese culture, and to share their impression of Taiwan.
5) All participants must agree that all images, texts, and audio-visuals shared for this event by participants on their social media, can be utilized as promotional materials on the event website or as the event organizers seem fit. Participants must agree to not claim moral rights on the organizer or a third party who is authorized by the organizer.

Event period:
August 12, 2011 to August 25, 2011, Taiwan time (GMT + 8:00)
In case of arrangement difficulties due to international routes or force majeure, the selected participant may arrive in Taiwan before the arranged date specified by the organizer.

Closing date is 15th of April 2011.

Application Process:(NOTE: All content must be completed in English or Chinese)
 (1)Personal Information.
(2)Provide a description of your proposal on how to document and publish the exciting features of the events on your personal Blog, Facebook, or Twitter to share your impressions of Taiwan. For those who have experience in using blogs, Facebook, or Twitter, please submit the relevant URL of your personal web page, or social media used.
(3)Provide a 3-5 minutes self-introduction video. (optional)
(4)Provide a valid passport at least 6 months.
(5)A letter of recommendation and relevant documents that will contribute to the selection process (limit to 5 documents per application).
(6) Access the site ( to complete the application and upload the required documents or send the application via mail.

Win Flights 2011:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eat Pray Live

New Year's Resolution was likely a water cooler chat small talk, is that right?

Well perhaps. And perhaps not. Since I don't have a water cooler to socialise about, I made my plans not with respect to the impending New Year 2011, but the impending boom in my waistline and the choices of clothing becoming strangely undersized (again).

So I started right when I said start somewhere end of November and actually kept track of things from 1st of December 2010 - which was about 3 months ago.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything. Elizabeth Gilbert  Vicky Cristina Barcelona  Eat Pray Love (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Eat we must. But I made sure this time I read fully those nutritional facts. I made research on various issues pertaining to what the body needs. For example the body needs protein to create cells. Carbohydrates as a source of energy. Fat or oils for the process of cell and hormone creation. Then I made historical points of extrapolation - with regards to how much we need in the ultra-modern world. The modern world ended circa year 2000. And thus we are now at the ultra-modern world.

Therefore I want to share these new findings and compilation of science, research, and ideas plus the full practise of it. Meaning as expressed by myself onto myself. And hence I started writing several Posts on health, and losing fat.

Pray we must too. The world is a crazy place. Perhaps a prayer can give a connection to the greatness of life. And yet the humbling of life as well. We are humbled like mere ants and we can see the greatness. Prayer is also about hope. Do you know that based on real life research and history, those who survived severe and extreme conditions have a "lingering hope" that got them through their darkest hour. Such as those who were building Hell Fire Pass; the guy who survived in the open sea for months (Poon Lim), even Che Guevara who survived and see real life while doing his motorcycle trip with his best friend. He saw true suffering of the most common and lowest rung of society. And he began formulating hopes for them.

Life is to be lived. Alive is living in life.
Yes I created that phrase. It's confusing or not - perhaps that is the meaning of life. We are at the cusp of craziness and tranquillity. And we live it.

Below is an excerpt I wrote recently to a fellow traveller:
Travelling is indeed another form of living life. Especially when done in a longer number of days, living at the place as a local would. Not rushing or hurried to go on the next bus or train. Some days might be uneventful to others, but that's ironically the most "local" way to experience life. Some years ago, I moved to the floating village do to art and photography. In the weekends, the place is bustling with crowds of people. I had a kayak I'd paddle out to the river, looking at the scene. Weekdays, there's almost zero visitors. The water is calm. The old folks doing their washing in the river and bathing. I'll be washing my own clothes and thinking of the best time and spot to hang them. Some days it rained. Some it didn't but the clothes weren't dry and had a smell.

I had to time my bicycle rides because after 8:30pm, the dogs will bark and chase "strangers" in the small alley to the place I rented. Time was going very slow. Yet in the day, I can do photography of real people, real life, sleepy life, dogs and cats doing their animal antics, looking at the canal and rivers - change colour twice. When it's brown and murky, the river is going upstream because of the changes in the moon phase. When it's green and fresh, river from Kanchanaburi is flowing down. It's time for a swim!

Some days I'd watch my friends fish in the canal. Watching, waiting. They plan to go at night to get prawns. And some fishes are too small and released back into the river. Some nights we'd have barbeque-d fish, and we buy some fresh scallops and make a little party.

When the water is at the highest, where the ebb and flow is at a balance, the water is still. It's the best time to kayak. No more fighting with the direction of the water - whether upstream or downstream. It's purely floating on the water, paddling whichever way. The time is short-lived maybe for an hour or less. It changes daily. It's exciting to be at the right time.

I didn't know too. Perhaps that was my goal at that time. To find the balance in the river of life. And living in it even just for an hour a day. That balance is so beautiful. Sliding my kayak into the canal was effortless. Climbing onto the kayak was smooth - I am not anxious the boat will float away. Then just bouncing on the water. Laying completely flat on the kayak, hands outstretched, the sun above with clouds. Everything is in balance.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Losing 7kg of fat in 9 weeks effortlessly

Two weeks ago, I was away without my routine Body Pump exercise for 9 days. I did some cycling. And mainly had some reward in Mexican food. I like it. I know it's not that create after my research on the best nutritional intake - whereby lowering the intake of carbohydrates is key. But I guess it was my reward week. And I was away in a nice cosy place. And made a point to visit several Mexican restaurants.

New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.  The Atkins Essentials: A Two-Week Program to Jump-start Your Low-Carb Lifestyle  Atkins for Life : The Complete Controlled Carb Program for Permanent Weight Loss
I thought I might have gained whatever I lost in those 9 days.

When I did a check after I was back, my weight was the same as when I left.

So I continued my usual routine. ( see my previous posts by Clicking the label "Losing Fat")

By a week plus, and total of 12 weeks - in between I had one 15 day "break" and another "9 day break" so the actual days I did my routine was 12 minus 3 weeks so more or less 9 weeks. It was effortless. Not so about hard work. Yes I did my gym routine which was a standard Body Pump class. It's a workout. Some days are with some walking, treadmill or bicycle.

The unbelievable part was changing my food intake. I made a conscious effort. But amazingly it was quite effortless once I had a routine made up and love it. Eggs - 2-3 for breakfast. I went to look for those free-range eggs Jumbo Sized (Size 0) with 70 grams of weight. Then the ginger fried chicken one large piece, eating it while on the way to the gym.

Evening mainly 3-6 strips of KFG (Kentucky Fried Gai) and Thai salad.

I did have Pepsi Max. The zero calorie Pepsi, which tastes much better than Coke Zero. Coke Zero gives a strange after-taste, and some times perhaps combined with the enzyme from the mouth, has some weird smell on the bottle. So I switched to Pepsi Max. When I feel hungry, or itching for some snacks, I get 1-2 eggs and put them in the microwave.

From the BMI calculations, ideally I should lose another 7 kg of fat. Which wasn't attainable before. But now looks much more promising.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

KUL HAK and PEN MCM flights suspended 29th March 2011

Two more flights suspended:
Kuala Lumpur - Haikou (KUL-HAK) Flight AK 62 and AK63.
Penang - Macau (PEN-MCM) Flight AK5072 and AKL 5073.

Lonely Planet Hong Kong & Macau (City Guide)

Bangkok Taipei Flights Suspended 27 March 2011

Flight FD3656 from Bangkok-Taipei and flight FD3657 from Taipei-Bangkok will be suspended indefinitely effective 27 March 2011. 

In view of Bangkok-Taipei suspension, please note that the following options are available for our affected guests. These options are strictly for traveling dates from 27 March 2011 and onwards.

For affected guests, we kindly suggest the following options: 
Option 1 Refund

Option 2 Change of destination (re-routing) allowed, penalty will be waived but fare difference (if any) will apply. Please note that there will be no refund if the new flight sector is of a lower fare amount.Option 3 Credit Shell can be applied and strictly valid for three (3) months only.

Note: Taken from Air Asia announcement page. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chinese Finance Fengshui 6 Mar - 4 Apr Wood Rabbit

Not exactly a turn up for the books, but at least that strong southerly should have blown itself out. Not quite a turnaround, but we’ll be heading east at least, now that the Rabbit has found its feet (albeit not yet its lucky one). Although the over-all direction is horizontal, expect plenty of bunny-money bounce on the bourse.

Chinese Astrology for 2011
Beware those slides of March especially, and watch your sox at the equinox. The month is amok with doubles both good and bad: wealth in the northwest; celebration in the west; robbery in the north; plus a ‘cross-swords’ killer combination in the centre that could lay you low with the ‘dreaded lurgi’. Not unlike healthcare reform, this month repays patience, particularly as it peters out.

Overall: Good
Carrot days: 9, 18, 29 Mar, 2 Apr
Sticky days: 8, 15, 21, 23 Mar, 1 Apr

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Air Asia's Next Destination Guessing Contest 2011

Today while at the LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal), and while having a meal, I saw a group of Air Asia trainees. They were wearing tidy regular clothes (jeans) and with an Air Asia tag. There was someone leading them entering the Food Garden, and was asking "what food do you recommend?"

Obviously they are from another country. They are trainees because all of the ladies wear make-up as would a cosmetic sales staff would, and there was only 1 guy there out of the group of about 20.

These trainees are in Malaysia for their Flight Attendant training and possibly their first time.

Where is Air Asia's next new exciting destination? This group of travelling trainees is the answer. Therefore the next question is where are they from? Where are they possibly from based on the limited clues and facts?

More clues: They have black Asian hair. They have pale skin comparable to Japanese, with thick black eye brows. No Japanese. The tell tale sign of Japanese is their idiosyncratic bowing - and "so desu ne" - you can gently hear from afar. They are not Thai. I would need to hear just 1 Thai word for a confirmation. Ka. But none was uttered.

They are taller than the average Asian women. But alas, this is a Flight Attendant training, so likely those who passed are the top of their peers, in terms of presentation, height and other essential factors.

China? Taiwanese? Singaporean? Indonesian? Balinese? NO no no. All no. And all are currently in Air Asia's team of crew. What do you think based on the limited information above?

Lonely Planet Mongolia (Country Guide)   Lonely Planet Bhutan (Country Guide)   Lonely Planet Central Asia (Multi Country Guide)
My personal take: Could be Mongolian. The only male in the group looks very tall, much like Mongolian. Bhutan. This is a long shot. But possible. And finally a bit further off, some Central Asian country such as Kyrgyzstan. Many years ago, I met someone from there, who really looked like Japanese but with taller features, and that distinctive firm yet pleasantly balanced eye-brow.
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