Friday, February 27, 2009

Cars of the future

Remember all the movies about the future or events set in the future.
One item that they always tried to show there, was the cars of the future. The vehicles that we would be driving around in. In some movies the future would be only as far as 25 year away and the cars of that time are really far out.

Here is proof that those weird looking cars have arrived. At least the first models.
Remember this clip so you can talk about it in the next twenty years.

Follow thew link;
And they don't look too weird. Maybe all those movies familiarised us!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kenny G, The Moment, Video

I know this is an old one.
But it is an all time favorite for me.
And for many like me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

May it be-enya - Eectric Violin

As I said, I'd be surfing the net this Sunday and this iswhat I came upon.

The song May it be by Enya.
By electric violin,
Could someone tell me who she is!
Her performance has made my Sunday.

All the best wishes for this talented person.

Could I take up the violin now and someday become like her?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yes We Can Obama Song By Will.I.Am

I chanced upon this amazing MTV.
Here for all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Golden Duck Restaurant, Mandalay Review

I have been patronising this restaurant for years now. At least since 1998 if I remember clearly.
(I would drop-in and pick a whole roast duck and drive 4 hours to home where, gentle wife would be waiting and the duck would be merely bones in a good single meal.)
Little has changed through the years. The flagship roast duck is as excellent as ever.
I had one on the 6th of February 2009, night. Yes, the quality maintained. A tribute to the close attention of the management.
Besides the duck, my all time favorite is crab and prawn fried rice. I can never get enough of that tantalizing food (my mouth water just writing about it).
Air condition the restuarant is, one cannot imagine a Mandalay summer without airconditioning.
Book a table early to ensure you get a scenic table, try to go while there some sunlight to enjoy the view of the place moat and wall. And tell them that you are going order their roast duck. (It seems that the duck tastes even better).

Indeed it is one of my favorite dining places in Mandalay, and very rarely there is a trip to Mandalay where I do not dine at this restaurant.
My every recommendation!

Golden Duck Chinese Restaurant
No. 192, Corner of 80th & 16th St, Mandalay

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Keep Your Camera Ready

I was in Myanmar for the first two weeks of February.
Between appointments, I came upon a movie shoot in the middle of Yangon in a Shopping Mall.
So I took a few minutes, to get myself photographed with the stars.

And they wear so such nice and sweet people.
Wishing them all the best for their movie.
My advice - keep your camera all the time for moments like these.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Halo - Beyonce

Man! I was blown away
And took me a while to find the lyrics video (then I found hundreds of them).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (10)

The next day was more or less of the same temple trudging for me. The names elude me now, but there is one I do remember: Neam Preak : it's a man-made lake with a horse in the middle of it and in the middle of the jungle. It is forever etched in my mind, cos the walk there was the longest and most gruelling.... like walking on hot embers or stakes of iron.
Was dehydrated, in need of constant liquid replenishment and to be honest I had had enough of the temples. Had a picnic lunch of stuff I'd bought at the shopping mall (try that it's cheaper and much more convenient). Back to the town, but first, a final look at Angkor again.
Hordes of tourists were descending from buses upon one of the wonders of the world. The walkway to the temple was full of them. There was a Cambodian child in pram with a deformed and enlarged head. My mum who had once worked as a nurse in hospital children's ward said she had seen children like that and that their lives were short. She stopped to play with the child. It made gurgling sounds and gave us what we thought was a smile.
Some local girls in Cambodian dancer dress were lined up by an enterprising guy who was charging 10 dollars to photograph them or topics with them. My mum took a pic of them not realising it was a business venture and when the guy asked for some money she promptly erased the offending photo in front of him.
So to the swelling crowds, the dust and heat and famed temples of Angkor, I bid farewell. We were satisfied.
Ankgor had been good.
The carvings extrordinary. Certainly a place one should visit. Was a bits orry to say goodbye to the stone faces of Bayon and the Victory gate.
They were my favourite stone figures.
Maybe I will visit again one day.
One last trip to the tourist trinket market in the Old quarter of Siam Reap full of stuff mostly from Thailand. The multi-coloured rice-sack Saigon chique handbags were nice. But I really think the Cambodians should try a bit harder and produce stuff that is more of Cambodian origin.
Now it was for us to continue on to Ayutthya. The Cambodians say a lot of stuff was taken from Angkor and environs to Siam. So we were to go see on the morrow the remains of the place that had sacked the place we were in now.
We jump forward to Bangkok!

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (9)

After a forgettable foot massage, I chatted online for 10 minutes to my bro in S'pore. Now internet access is cheap 50 cents an hour. So have some of that Cambodian money on you or you'll have to pay a dollar. Some places just do not want to give you change at all. Siem Reap is hot, muggy ..humid even in December. There is no cool season there at all. At least here in Mandalay we have about three and half months cool season and its even a bit chilly in the mornings. 42 miles from Mandalay, there is a hill station where it can get a bit freezing at night. But Siem Reap is just plain hot. So if you are ever going there pack those shorts and T-shirts. How long a stay should I stay in Siem Reap? I hear you ask! Well, for those not really into culture / archeology / social work / cooking classes, I guess about three days should be just about right. Two days for the temples and one day for exploring the town. They say there are other places like lake-dwellers communities and faraway temples but you would need about another 2-3 days to visit them all. Siem Reap has a newish shopping mall and I think I also saw about 2 others in various stages of development. When I told my friend Chris when I got back from Cambodia, he was astounded. What? Shopping malls?
Crikey !
Cos there weren't any in 1994ish when he was there. Man, " Only Angkor was open to the public then and we had an armed guard and they were still clearing landmines, so all the other temples were off limits. "Well" I told him "Times have certainly changed." Yes the town and temples and number of tourists has certainly changed.
But what of the people? Especially the younger ones? And orphaned ones? I am sure there are respectable organizations working in those areas, but I saw some very badly written (in English) fliers distributed by 7-8 year old kids who said they were from orphanages with donation boxes in front of the Romulus temples asking for donations. Shouldn't these kids be doing lessons? And I guess so many tourists has sadly turned some kids away from going to school, but starting off careers in tourism by beginning with asking for a dollar for stuff like rearranging your flip flops at monastery door unasked. The "one dollar please" here, and "one Dollar" there can be a nuisance. I had to borrow a pen off one lady tourist in a temple and she sarcastically said, "One dollar" as she gave it to me. But enough of this stuff. Who am I to criticize others ?
But anyway, I advise you to check out credentials in depth / detail, any orphanage anywhere in Asia ( or the whole world for that matter ) as some people try to make a living off being a " Director of so-and-so Orphanage ". You know, kind of like the kids are like the Giraffe women of Burma on display in pseudo villages for tourist perusal in Thailand. I mean the kids are brought (with consent of parents ) from genuinely poor families ( so not technically orphans )and fed and taught badly and then discarded or sent back without the means to make a livelihood when about 15 years old to make way for the younger ones who will bring in more donations and cement the livelihood of the so-called directors or founders of the place.
It's sad.
In the morning as we were off to the Romulus group of temples we saw an on-foot procession of locals, proceeding to the monastery with offerings all carried by hand. The town gentlemen were in smart trousers and shirts, the town belles were all made up, coiffured and in silk sarongs. My mum remarked she was getting a Cambodian sarong after seeing their nice colours.
It was wonderful that customs like that are still in existence.
Written By Mr. Soe Lwin, Principle of BEST Language School in Mandalay.
These posts are relayed from Singapore.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (8)

Personally, I have no idea on "how to go about being a tourist". Seems funny doesn't it. Going all the way to Angkor and saying that! Yes, laugh all you want. But I really mean it. I mean some people do or I think they do know how to go about it. You know, some strut, some explore meticulously, some romance through or look for it in places. Some looked bored or exhausted. Some try to interact with the locals. Some try to have the wildest hedonistic times of their lives. Some pretend they are Audrey Hepburn and (forgot his name) waltzing thru the Cambodian forest on a tuk-tuk (in lieu of a Vespa). OK, OK, I trudge through places, I guess that's my style. Anyways, then came the question of how the local people of the "tourist places " in Asia identify me as a tourist from a thousand paces. Me, I am as brown as any of them. Not particularly sophisticatedly dressed either. I am in cheap Chinese made togs like the locals too. Same haircut and etc. But then the answer strikes me. My looking at ordinary everyday stuff for them with interest, my furtive glances in all directions at a crossroads and hesitation before choosing a direction, my very presence at places where no locals go except shopkeepers go and then the big one: THE LOCALS HAVE NEVER SEEN ME BEFORE!. They (Asian locals) may not be able to differentiate the subtle (or not so subtle) differences in Caucasians, blacks etc but they do know whether my Asian mug is one they've seen before, whether it's one that grew up in that town or not. And there must be more signs that rule me out from being one of their own.
Now in Siem Reap, lots of eating places, that any tourist sheet can tell you. But what I ate was more local. And cheap. Forgot how much but was cheap. It was some instant noodles done up in a soup and with pork and veggies. In other Asian countries it will be locally freshly made noodles but there in Siem Reap, the noodles came from a packet. That I did not like. Taste-wise I dunno cos was so laced with MSG and got me thirsting for the next 3 hours. After the whole day trudge. My feet were killing me. Like walking of nails or raw bone. I soaked my feet in hot wate, I kneaded them myself. I poured myself a gin-medicine-painkiller and rushed it down my gullet. And then another one. And then, only then, I realized the significance of all those " FOOT MASSAGE AVAILABLE" signs.

Written by Mr. Soe Lwin, Principle of BEST Language School in Mandalay. He is my brother, he took a trip to Cambodia and Thailand with our mom last December and these are the records of his travels.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (7)

Next day at dawn there we were at the mythical Angkor. From the car approaching we could see the enormous moat surrounding the temple complex. Our guide started to explain about the place. My mum tramped off on her own leaving him with me. The day was a bit cloudy, you know murky, so there was not a grand hit-you-in-the-face first view of the Angkor. But it was good enough, the first sight of the place. Beckoning one forward to the mysteries of its interior and history. Actually Ihad not read up much on the place at all. Some people like to read in advance about everything about a place. Some like to read 'n look. I like to read everything afterwards. That way I get to kind of like, visit the place twice. Match the scenes and views in my mind with the opinions and information of the books. I leave the names and places of the various temples for your perusal of guide books, in the information on the internet and expert analysis for the… the..experts. I will just tell you that we took the "Mini-tour" the first day which means all the "must see places". But I tell you the temples, murals, art, architecture was fabulous. The names I remember: Angkor Thom, Bayon, Terraces of the Leper King and Elephants and the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider temple and whole lot more. All with their own large compounds, heaps of fallen stones to negotiate and crannies to explore and photograph. And take photographs we did. Of ourselves, in turn. Me and my mum's photos snapped by otherpeople. Other people by us. It was eerie, strangers from many foreign lands exchanging modern cameras in ancient temples, and capturing their souls and those of the temples to take home with them for display on screens if anyone would look at them photos. Sharp photos, murky outta focus ones, pics showing sweat smears on the lenses, all were taken back as booty from our own personal tomb raids. Cameras of all shapes, lengths, and sizes were out of their holsters and "shooting" away. We needed to record our journeys to one of the wonders of the world and record we did. That digital archive by all of us will remain until the end of time or until digital records are destroyed by some computer virus.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jigging in Myanmar

Got back yesterday.
Great trip!
Now I am full of confidence for the next few weeks.

Just a little jig to show how happy I was during some stages of the trip.