Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Advanced Diver Course with Blue Reef Scuba at Dayang

This is sooooo last minute but I just signed up for the advanced diver course with Blue Reef Scuba.

We're leaving this Friday - I elected for the morning drive - to Pulau Dayang. Don't know why I'm so happy to go back to Dayang - after diving at Sipadan. But I am!

Marcus was advising me that I should go get the advanced certification, esp. night diving, otherwise I may not be allowed to do several of the dives in the Maldives.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Perfect Start to the Ski Season!!!!

Mount Hotham just recorded its coldest day on record. -4.8C ! The max was just  minus 2C. True, that's warm to you North Hemisphere readers... but to us Southerns thats positively freezing!!!

But bugger it... most of my ski buddies have moved on- had kids and twin mortgages etc..

I'll be back in June. Hopefully things will have improved on the business side- and I can say screw it - and hire myself a nice chalet and invite my friends to come over for one big ski party. That'll be hella cool!

Catch more of the action over here at

25 cm of snow and counting!!!

Ultimate @ Sentosa-18 May on Sunday, May 18

Start:     May 18, '08 3:00p
End:     May 18, '08 6:00p
Come over for a game of frisbee at Sentosa-18 May on Sunday. Starts at 3pm. Bring along a couple of sports drinks cos it's gonna be hot like hell. Most likely the game will carry on til 5 or 6pm.

We will be at Tanjong Beach (next to Km8 bar) so come by with lots of sunblock and a pack of Gatorade!

Seven Star Saga - Taiwanese divers miraculous rescue!!!

Miracle rescue for Taiwanese divers

TAIPEI (AFP) — Eight Taiwanese scuba divers have been rescued nearly 48 hours after going missing off the island's south, the coastguard said Monday.

In a remarkable feat of endurance, one of the divers managed to swim ashore and told rescuers where they could find the others, a spokesman said.

"Five were plucked from the sea by helicopters at dawn Monday and at around 10:47 am (0247 GMT) the last two missing divers were rescued," the spokesman said.

"They all remained conscious but appeared exhausted. They are now hospitalised," he said.

The six men and two women, all experienced divers, went diving at 10:30 am Saturday near Chihsingyen (Seven Star Rock) off Kenting national park, but failed to return to their boat an hour later as scheduled.

After a lengthy wait for rescuers, the group's coach Ding Bo-ling set off on a more than 10-hour swim for shore, finally reaching land before midnight Sunday at Taimali, 76 kilometres (47 miles) further north.

The remaining divers saved energy by floating on their backs and held hands to avoid being separated, local ERA TV reported.

(Apparently, they also used the flashes from their cameras to get the attention of the passing rescue helicopters).

Five helicopters and nine patrol boats had been dispatched for the round-the-clock rescue operations, while the divers' relatives also hired fishing boats to join the search.

In a similar accident in the area nine years ago, six divers were washed away by strong ocean currents, and four of them were rescued after 30 hours.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Friendster - Yau ming
Yeah I'm on friendster too... and on facebook.

God and Guns by John Saffron

Video there today! Watch this only if you have a good sense of political satire.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

8 Divers missing off Taiwan "Seven Stars"

From the Scuba Forum: 8 divers (2 female and 6 males) were supposed to surface around 11AM to 11:30 AM this morning at "Seven Stars" dive site. This is an open water pinnicle site with ripping current. Considering the moon phase the site would almost be un-divable at this time. There was a total of 12 missing but 4 were found. 6 years ago the same shop/boat lost 5 divers at the same site. 2 died and 3 were found few days later alive.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Diving Similan Thailand Sunday 27th April to 1st May

Hey to all you divers. I just had an offer to go diving on a Live On Board (ship) at Similan, Thailand next week.

3 full days of diving. Apparently you get to use big stuff like whale sharks.

Cost is S$500. Air fare is S$300+.

Reckon its any good? Some of my other scuba diving friends have told me that the scuba diving conditions at this time of the month aren't optimal- and discouraged me from going...

Shoot the Lawyers first

The justice system in Australia is just getting from bad to worse. The system now favors criminals more than the real victims. Its a total crock of @#$. The torturers and murderers of 3 year old Jamie Bolger are being sent to Australia soon so that they can live their lives safely in anonyomity. I thought Australia stopped being a criminal colony. I guess not.

Classic Insults

These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words. If you like this sort of humor - you should watch period films like Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version starring Collin Firth), and Topsy Turvy: the Gilbert and Sullivan story and of course, the famous BlackAdder series.

Here are the insults:

The famous exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:
Lady Astor to Churchill: 'If you were my husband I'd give you poison,'
Churchill to Lady Astor: 'M'dear, if you were my wife, I'd drink it.'

An MP to Prime Minister Disraeli: 'Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.'
Disraeli: 'That depends, Sir, whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.'

'I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great  pleasure.'- Clarence Darrow

'He can compress the most words into the smallest idea.' - Abraham Lincoln

'I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.' - Mark Twain

'He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.' - Oscar Wilde

'I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here.' - Stephen Bishop

'I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.' - Irvin S. Cobb

'Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?' - Mark Twain

'His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.' - Mae West

'Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.' -  Oscar Wilde

'He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination.' - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

She's the biggest show-off since Lady Godiva went to town claiming she had nothing to wear. - BlackAdder

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Sound of Tropical Rain

I love the sound of the rain in Singapore. Maybe I wouldn't if I was working outdoors. We get so much volume in the rain that it sounds like a waterfall, a large waterfall. Visibility is even reduced to about 5km, a lot of the skyscrapers disappear in the pretty rainy haze. Temperatures at the top levels of the tall building actually drop 5+ degrees during these wet storms - bringing a very welcome cool relief.

Its very rare that we get this sort of rain in Melbourne- even during our wet seasons - in fact, we get so little rain that the sun turns blood red during the day (on account of the dust particles in the air).

I don't know how we could live without the rain. The land is so humid here- I'm sitting in my room and I'm starting to sweat already.
Each time it rains here- it feels like God is giving the land a good wash.

Muslim call to adopt Mecca time

Muslim call to adopt Mecca time

By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC Arab affairs analyst

File photo of Muslim pilgrims attending prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
One cleric said science had proved Mecca to be the centre of the Earth

Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth.

Mecca is the direction all Muslims face when they perform their daily prayers.

The call was issued at a conference held in the Gulf state of Qatar under the title: Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice.

One geologist argued that unlike other longitudes, Mecca's was in perfect alignment to magnetic north.

He said the English had imposed GMT on the rest of the world by force when Britain was a big colonial power, and it was about time that changed.


What rubbish. Every true believer knows that the centre of the world is Israel. lol. Silly Arabs- despite all their wealth and power  and numerical superiority they can't defeat the Jews. Best way to get the oil price down is to foment a war between the two parties which will force the Arabs to pump more oil to fuel the war.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Manado, Celebes Sea Scuba Diving Trip

Start:     May 9, '08
End:     May 14, '08
Its like GO for the diving trip to Manado- located on the Orchid shaped Island of Celebes (now known as Sulawasi). Thank you Spencer!

Four full days of diving- with the possibility of seeing huge creatures like the Manta Ray and Hammerhead sharks.

Accommodation : Bunaken Cha Cha Resort situated on top of the coral reef.

So far 3 people are going- confirmed.

Meals Included : Full Board (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Transfers : Manado Town and Airport to Cha Cha and Cha Cha to Manado Airport

Diving Days : 4 with two morning boat dives to include tanks, weights, boat transfers to dive sites and guide. Plus 4 afternoon dives

Total Dives per person : 12

Package price S$860.00 Net (per person)

(Roughly AUD$550)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why Shopping alone can be bad experience

I just bought my first wetsuit. I wanted to get the BARE - but it was out of stock. And the shop owner whom I'm familar with- sold me a AKENO Large size - longs (meaning the suit covers the ankles and wrist area). It felt uncomfortable. Usually I wear shorties so I don't know how it feels.

There wasn't a full length size mirror so I couldn't see myself.

Its a bit loose in some areas- waist. But having only the store owner's opinion. I didn't have much else to go on.

He explained away the loosness by the fact that its dry.

I was just dead keen to get a wetsuit- over the weekend, I went for the Asian Diving Expo but it was so crowded that I didn't get a chance to try it on. I went to the shop expecting the man to still have the same one. But he didn't. In these sorts of cases, I sometimes develop tunnel vision and end up buying or doing something where prudence calls for a 2nd take.

I brought it back home. Tried it on. Even with water it feels tight around the shoulders/chest and a bit loose around the hips and lower torso. Length wise - the legs are slightly too long. Its really made more for a European size, ie. long legs, slightly longer torso.

Usually if you bring along a friend- they'd be able to tell you these things- and you avoid buying non-fitting stuff. But when you don't...
you end up buying the wrong thing.

Dangers of joining gym - read the fine print

Two years ago, someone got me to join a gym in Australia. "The first two months are free!!! And it only cost $15." Crock of crap. Honestly, I didn't want to join the gym.

It was one of those unprofessional club gyms- a rent a hall... a dozen running machines, TV, personal trainer mafia, and a set of chrome weight machines.

Why join when you can run to the park? But she signed me up for it. Later I had to go back to Singapore. I wrote them a letter instructing them to cancel the membership. Fast forward 12 months. I came back to Australia, and noticed that I was getting direct debited on my credit card from an ezypay service. Whats that? I thought it was a payment for one of the household expenses. I rang up the bank- and they said its probably from... your gym. WTF???

I went down to the gym and found out that my membership wasn't cancelled- and they claimed they didn't receive the cancellation letter. Besides- the contract apparently stipulated that I had to show up in person to see the bloody manager to cancel.

In other gyms, its much worse. They sign you up for a one year contract- and they usually have a chicken shit clause whereby you can only give notice to cancel in the last month, not before. If not, they roll you over for another 12 bloody months.



Bloody hell. I just checked my credit card and they are still debiting cash from my credit card. WTF??

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Inappropriate Gender Questions

Woman asks Man: "So how much money do you make a month?"

 Man asks Woman: "So are they real?"


Woman tells Man: "You should get a higher paying job! And why aren't you seeing more of me?"

Man tells Woman: "You're fat. You need to join a gym."


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Manado Dive Trip 7th May - 12th May Wednesday to Monday

Do you like the photo? I took that at the last Sipadan trip. Manado apparently is also very good! Last minute notice, Spencer is organizing a dive trip to Manado, Celebes, in the 2nd week of May and looking for more people to join up.
Manado is heading east pass Sipadan, on the Indonesian Island of Celebes.

Below are highlights of trip. We will be staying at the Bunaken Cha Cha resort: Click Here for their website.
Highlights of the plan

1) Manado is reputed for having stunning coral life and great visibility as well as your usual pelagic/macro sea creatures (killer whales have even been spotted there before)
2) We get to live and dive within the marine park itself, no need to take long speedboat rides. You can walk 30m out of your door and start diving off a drop off. (just like Sipadan 8 years ago where the you could live on the island)
3) Direct return flight to Manado, no waiting in transit
4) In the middle of diving season @manado
Costs / Schedule
Note: we are not going through a dive operator, we are coordinating directly with Bunaken Cha Cha resort so there are no extra commission charges involved
Estimated Cost: SGD1,200 (inclusive of Silkair flight)
Date: 7th May - 12th May (Effectively, 4 days of leave needed)
Days: 6D5N
Dives: 12 (excluding night dives)
Location: Bunaken Cha Cha Resort (only resort based on bunaken island marine park with hot water)
Interested parties, please confirm by this weekend or meet me at ADEX, the Asian Diving Expo, Suntec City, this saturday afternoon.
For more info contact Spencer mobile: 98260165

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Barracuda Tornado, Borneo Sipadan April 2008

Visibility was poor but I got this great video shot by swimming into the fabled Barracuda Tornado. I believe there were two groups converging into one massive swirl. That's over several thousand barracudas there. Being vicious predators, they are extremely dangerous but in this formation they seldom attack.

The video was taken at a depth of 4 - 7 metres with my FUJI F31D Camera. The sample you see is an edited low-resolution version of the original.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sipadan 08

Taken at Depth 25m. The sharks were at a higher level, possibly 5m. An awesome sight, looking up!

Stayed at Mabul... visibility wasn't so good this time around. But it was still a beautiful holiday.

Sipadan 080408

One of my better shots. It also helps that the clownfish obligingly stays in roughly one area.

The best part of my trip was swimming in the Barrcuda tornado. I got within kissing distance of the buggers. An awesome experience but I screwed up my dive profile by ascending 10m too quickly; I was following the fish and did not have a dive computer. So far I'm fine. All the photos were taken with my trusty Fuji F31D camera.

Borneo Divers Mabul

We stayed at Borneo Divers Resort- based on Mabul Island. As you can see from the photos- its really beautiful and well maintained. Wireless internet service, Aircon rooms, large dining hall, Modern Toilets. Sheets changed every day. The works. I still prefer Kapalai Water Village though. Unlike Kapalai, Mabul felt rather muggy (probably because its on an island).

Compared to my last trip here, visibility was poor. Plenty of sand particles and minute coral debris in the currents. A lot of the photos had to be culled as a result. Apparently there had been a storm prior to our arrival which unsettled the sea.

Back from Mabul, Sipadan

Hey everyone. I'm back from the scuba diving trip. It was pretty good. But the poor visibility, wet weather, and rough current conditions mucked it up a bit.

Visibility at some sections was down to 3 - 5m. Plenty of minute debris in the sea; probably stirred up by the strong currents. Couldn't see a lot of stuff unless you were up close. The strong current made swimming a lot harder. The fish didn't like it either and many stayed away. Not as fun as my last trip to Sipadan back in May/June last year.

(According to one of the local divers, the best time to come to Sipadan is in Feb/March and May/June.)

I still got a few good shots notably of the fabled Barracuda tornado; I swam in it! Being in the moment brings dangers of its own. Entranced by the sheer beauty of the event, I forgot to check my depth; I rose from 20m to 13m undersea to possibly 3m in a 5 minutes. My friends were banging their tanks angrily to get my attention but I was totally oblivious. Right now, I don't feel like I have decompression sickness. But if my joints start to hurt then I better seek medical attention.

Anyways check out the photos and the video.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

40 hours countdown2 Sipadan Scuba Diving Paradise!!!

I woke up this morning and thought... "OH F@#$ I missed the plane!!!" Then I realized its still the 9th...

Only just 40 more hours before I arrive at Sipadan. This trip is being organised by Wendy.

The last time I went - it was good! See the photo of Jo there.

Got my new pair of fins from Marcus... 2nd hand Atomic Splits. Looks cool. S$130

Haven't yet packed. I couldn't find my scuba diving bag. I guess I will have to hand carry the fins with me. I'll look stupid lugging the things around but at least I won't have to put anything in the cargo.

Had to finish some important work this afternoon. Plugged in the figures, did the calculations (since last night), just about to mail it off and then WHAMP, WTF??? The power went dead. The switchboard won't turn on; I looked at my meter and it looked black and screwed. I asked my neighbor whether they also had a power failure... nope... OH CRAP.

It looked way too coincidental. Maybe its the proverbial Hand of God trying to stop me from going. I actually sat down and started praying. It'll take way too long for the electricians to fix the problem. And if I don't send this in, there will be hell to pay.

I called my friend Nick and he told me not to sweat it. Just turn off all the power and see whats the matter. As I was doing that I noticed that my washing machine, which I had turned on 20 minutes ago, had drenched the power wire. ... ^.^ ... I turned that off and all was cool.

Sent off the work and I'm all ready to pack!! But first some dinner.

Ahhhh.... I can't wait to go. I hope I can get along with the other divers in my group, I have not met the other 2 fellahs yet.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Meets Singapore's very own Batman n Superman

Most likely a photoshop job- but this is still funny.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Free at last Free at last Thank G...

Well not exactly. But its nice to wake up in your own home without having to mind the courtesies.

Got to bed real late at 5am, it took ages to setup the secure wireless connection here. Got hungry in the middle of the night and wandered down to the old Indian food cafe at Bencoolen street. Roti-prata at 2am. lol.
One of the best things about Singapore- is that everything is so lush and green. You don't know what you're missing unless you live somewhere else - like in Melbourne where its so dry it doesn't rain for months and everything turns all brown and yucky.

My place is near the Istana. Its quite quiet and very green. Except for the St. Nic's primary girls school next door and the incesscestant re-building of the apartment blocks.

Woke up this morning at 10. One of my buddies rang me up and went for lunch with him.

Sweet- turns out that old Malay food canteen that closed down when I left in 2007- is back running up again! Hurray!!! They serve the best food in generous servings. And its not so busy and noisy unlike the Chinese stalls.

I found a mysterious parcel from TCC - the coffee club. It was nicely wrapped- cool! Perhaps a block of coffee grains from Timor or Java??? Nope, just a diary.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Back to Singapore

Flying back to Singapore tomorrow. Get home, wash up bedsheets from the accumulated dust.

First thing on Monday morning I'll head to Tekka and have a cup of kopi with a hot hum-cheem-pang (a Chinese Cinanamon doughnut).


Then a hearty lunch at the Malay foodstall.... ;) 

Friday, April 04, 2008

Tortured and Murdered by her own Father and Uncle

This 20 year old woman was tortured and killed by her own family after walking out of an abusive marriage.

I remember what some idealist told me once- "It takes two to tango. And there is always another side to the story." In a number of instances, however, his naive statement fails to comprehend the brutality of people.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Vantage Point: Worse Movie of the Year

Genre: Action & Adventure
Don't watch it. Its a waste of time. Better to watch it on video borrowed from a friend - so that when you get bored you can do something else and go back and watch it again. Give the extended version of the DVD to your enemy.

This film that is told from Seven vantage points - and retells the story Seven Times. Thats right- the same footage recycled 7 times!!!!

So you get to see the motorcade pull up 7 times, you get to hear the annoying soundtrack 7 times, you see the President shot 7 times. You get to see the stupid gullible policeman run and get bashed 7 times. You get to see the stupid little girl cross the highway and stand in the middle of it 7 times (or so it seemed). And worse, you get to hear the welcoming speeches 7 times!!!! ARGHHHH!!!!!

You see the scene from the views of

1. From the TV Crew HQ
2. The Gullible Stupid Policeman
3. The Shaky Hand Secret Service Hero
4. The Accidental Tourist, Forest Whitaker who captures it all on his Sony HandyCam.

(On that point it seems the Advertising Office for Sony wrote in Scene No. 4 because it looked like a bloody Sony HandyCam ad inserted with a blunt butter knife into the middle of the movie).

5. The President

6. The Terrorist Group

7. The extremely gullible "WHERES MY BRO, BRO??" Assassin

8. The 7 year old girl

9. Her pet dog

10. The flea on the dog's left testicle

Unfortunately, most of it is the same film - recycled.

Its like watching Groundhog Day but without the humor and comedic talent of Bill Murray, instead its Al Gore.

The ending was totally laughable. The 7 year old girl runs around, screaming for her moma, then finally walks in the middle of highway and stands there just in time for the murderous terrorist to come along and brake and crash their car. Of course, it makes sense that these same morons who have just killed 1000 innocent lives suddenly develop a conscience and decide to brake and crash the van... all in slow mo.

I nearly died laughing.

And just when it couldn't get any more cheesier, the shaky hand hero comes onto the scene, opens the ambulance door and shoots one of the terrorist who wakes up and tries to kill the President. Ya! he saves the president...again and his shaky hand is cured!!! See the director spent a whole 5 minutes filming the hero staring at his own hand!!!

Then the hero and the president stare into each other's eyes for another time wasting eternity and hero says, "I've got you!"

I wish I could lock up the Producers, Directors, Editors, script writing team in a small room and force them to watch the show 7 times after forcing them to drink 20 cups of coffee. Maybe they might learn something or two.

If it was given a good hard edit and eliminated the Accidental Tourist/the idiot Police/the Gullible Terminator scene, and got rid of 1 hour worth of fluff in the film, it might be decent.

Mind you, I've seen similar shows before like Rashomon, Groundhog Day, and Run Lola Run - those shows were absolutely brilliant, unfortunately, this movie fails miserably due to a serious problem in the editing, writing, and directing part.

Temple of God

I felt God impressing upon me this evening - this fact.

We are meant to be a temple for God - the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

16Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16 -17

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" I Corinthians 6:19

And so, we should be mindful of what we do, what we see, what we say. The Holy Spirit dwells in us.