Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu: Know Your Enemy!

For the benefit of all, I tried to simplify a long literature about swine flu in a hope that we get an idea of it at single glance. There's a saying: To defeat your enemies, you must know them well.
What is it? A respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Here are some of the facts all of us need to know about the flu:-

Can humans catch swine flu? Yes, although not normally. Most cases involve people with direct exposure to pigs.

Symptoms of swine flu in humans - fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Signs of swine flu in pigs - fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed.

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork? No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. One can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe.

How does swine flu spread? When people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur.

Available edications - 4 types approved by the US so far: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir.

Spreading of swine flu among pigs - mostly through close contact among pigs and possibly from contaminated objects moving between infected and uninfected pigs.

So far, there is no reported case of swine flu in Malaysia and the Government is preparing itself to counter the spread of the decease from arriving at our shore. Be better equipped and stay away from swine flu.

Further readings (here) - *hyperlink removed due to bad link*

Giggs: PFA Footballer of the Year

My all time Welsh football player, Ryan Giggs has finally been awarded PFA Player of the Year by fellow professional footballers in England. He started just 12 games this season for his club, Manchester United but he contributed some crucial goals towards maintaining United's lead in English Premier League.
So, I think it is more of a reward for Giggs 18 years of glittering career which he started at young age in 1991. But, hey he deserves it and I think many will agree with me that he is one of the more talented footballers in the UK, for a long long time.

Some of the 35-year old's achievements:

  • 10 Premier League titles,
  • 4 FA Cups,
  • 3 League Cups,
  • 2 Champions League medals.
Giggs said "It's right up there, with personal accolades it's the best to have as it's voted by your fellow players, I've been fortunate to win a lot of trophies, I won the young player award twice, but this is the big one.''

So, Congrats Gigsy! I'm sure you still have some good stuffs up your sleeve even at this age.

Rayn Giggs' Profile

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Park at Your Own Risk!

Have you experienced any of the followings while your car was parked at a paid parking bays?:

1) Missing items from car,
2) Car dented or hit by other vehicle,
3) Car was visibly broken into,

and you were unable to pursue your claim due to the disclaimer signage or hindered by the car park Operator's "terms and conditions"?

If the case in Georgetown Penang is to go by, you can now haul up the Operator to court and seek justice. Well, at the very least try to iron out terms and regulations that you think are unfair to you as customer. The Georgetown case involved a landmark decision of a RM1,688 award to a lawyer who challenged the "park at your own risk" validity when items were stolen from his car.

Lesson to learn here is that Operators can not run away from responsibility to care for vehicles parked in the area under their care.

Come on, you can not expect me to pass by your gate barrier, collect RM2.00 and assume nothing, can you?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Learn Chinese in 5 Minutes!

All work and no play makes Jake a dull boy. So, a joke a day shouldn't be too much, yes?

Here goes...

This was sent to me by a Chinese friend, on fast-tracked learning. Go ahead, say it out loud in front of your audience and break the ice:

Guaranteed: by the time you finish reading this, you'd be one step ahead of others in learning Chinese.

Feel free to share this with friends. Best of Luck!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Subsidised Solar Power?

This may sound too good to be true but while you are reading this, the Government is already subsidising the cost of installing energy producing solar panel (Photovoltaic, PV). In my earlier writings the Government has given the first tier of subsidy through Suria 1000 initiative by Pusat Tenaga Malaysia.

The second tier is to push through a set of Acts that would "force" the utilities to buy excess power produced by the BIPV participants at 4 to 6 times their selling price. Fingers crossed, let's hope this will be passed in the Parliament soon.

A glimpse at the perks that the one can get from the subsidy:

Household power requirement: 4kWh (urban)
Cost to install 4.2kWp of BIPV: RM100,000
Govt subsidy (Suria1000): RM50,000 (50% of the total capital)

Govt will spend RM5bil in subsidy if it is to target 100,000 household with BIPV installed and that is a mere 0.4% of the population. There goes our stimulus package of RM5 billion. Pass the proposed Bill and our Government could fork out another RM80 to RM100mil monthly to pay up the claims from Utilities.

Say, rural households only require half of the average urban households consumption. The amount can benefit less than 0.8% of the population. By and far this technology is reachable only to the privileged few because no average income individual will be able to come out with RM50k to pay for their electricity bills 15 to 20 years in advance.

The current subsidy structure, apparently, only benefits the rich; not even the middle income group can afford this. It is felt that, the Government can actually setup an integrated BIPV or even a dedicated PV structure for a group or groups of household in the rural areas, make the people pay a bit of monthly fee and maintain the system for continuous supply without costly maintenance.

By the same calculation RM2mil can supply electricity to 40 households (limited to 2kW per household), this will provide sufficient power supply for basic necessities such as lightings, fans and small sized refrigerator. All in all, RM3mil should be sufficient for a the whole village of 40 households. This can just be another SPNB project by the Government.

If it can be done in the case of building low-cost houses foo the hardcore poor, where participant pay somewhat RM140/month, it can also be implemented for electrifying the remote villages. It is returning the investment, in a long run.

Harvest Festival 2009

Tahun ini perayaan Pesta Kaamatan peringkat Negeri Sabah diberi tema:


Perayaan-perayaan peringkat Daerah akan diadakan seperti berikut:
*Senarai di atas adalah setakat 17 ac 2009 dan belum muktamad

Acara pembukaan tahun ini diadakan di Dewan Masyarakat Baru, Papar pada 1 May 2009 dengan penganjurannya dipengerusikan oleh Pegawai Daerah Papar, En. Iman Ali manakala Setiausaha Penganjur adalah En. Benjamin Yundang.
Semasa upacara ini, selain daripada ritual tetap yang sudah sinonim dengan perayaan Pesta Kaamatan, juga diadakan beberapa acara penyeri seperti hidangan makanan tradisional, tapai, lihing, dan permainan-permainan tradisional kaum Kadazan dan Dusun. Jangan lupa, ketika itu jugalah pertandingan ratu pesta, Unduk Ngadau, akan diadakan bagi daerah Papar.

Acara penutupan pada 30-31 Mei 2009 yang juga merupakan kemuncak perayaan selama sebulan Pesta Kaamatan akan diadakan di Hongkod KDCA, dianjurkan oleh Kerajaan Negeri Sabah.
Untuk keterangan lanjut sila hubungi:
TEL: 6 088 713696/713337; FAX: 6 088 713350
EMAIL: kdcahq@yahoo.com or koisaan@yahoo.com

Anda juga boleh melayari laman web KDCA di sini.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sunday Tamu @Gaya Street

Gaya street is well known for its tamu or street fair. The weekly tamu stretch from the Old Post office, present day Sabah Tourism Board, STB, and ends towards Dataran Deasoka, near DBKK building. STB was built in 1916 by the British and well preserved until today. The first sight at the street tamu would be the Jesselton Hotel, a comfortable two-star hotel, also built during colonial times. Gaya Street is sandwiched between two rows of old but well preserved 2-storey shops where one can find many backpacker hostels and budget inns.

The tamu starts as early as 6.00am and by 1.00pm most stall owners would start packing their merchandise and ready to call it a day. One would be able to find almost anything from, ancient craft and modern handicraft and DIY hobby stuffs to aquarium fishes to pets such as rabbit, dogs and cats to foodstuffs to flowers, you name it they may have it. On most weeks visitors can enjoy foot massage by the disabled for a fee/donation.

This gentleman is playing the Kulintangan passionately and he welcomed his audience to take pictures of him.

Colourful selection of decorative vases

One of the many handicraft stalls

Freshly roasted coffee popularly known as Kopi Tenom. It says "roasted with mangrove charcoal"


Washed-up and polished shells attract many admirers and are sold cheaper here

Flower pots usually occupy considerable amount of space and that is why one wouldn't be able to see the full selection at the tamu.

Fresh honey and herbs claimed to have health benefit to both men and women, by the stall owner

Taman Awam Teluk Likas

Taman Awam Teluk Likas, also known as Likas Bay Park is located along Tun Fuad Stephen road stretching from near Tanjung Lipat to Likas bay. This is a seafront recreational park, officially opened to the public in December 2008. The Government spent about RM4mil to build the park which boasts of facilities such as children's playground, fitness station, nicely paved pedestrian pathway, plaza, gazebos (resting huts), public toilet and car parks.

With the kind of facilities, participants of the popular Sabah Dragon Boat Race and spectators alike will expect better organising and have more fun this year. Bird lovers would find this park a place to rest before going on foot to the nearby bird sanctuary. Likas bay is known to be resting place for migrating waders and other water birds.
Picnickers usually throng this park on weekends and I have, on one occasion seen a considerably large number of people taking dip at the beach in an apparently bad luck ridding ritual. I asked around and found out that they are from the Bajau Suluk ethnic group and they are known to have carried this on from generations. People come here for many reasons, so it is not my prerogative to judge anyone.

During weekdays the park is not too crowded and is just nice for people who just want to spend some quiet time sitting around with nice seafront view. Ideal for practicing yoga.

You can enjoy sunset from here, just as you'd do at Tanjung Aru Beach

Ample parking space and place to do your activities
  The park seen from rock-filled shore, popular among anglers

Tanjung Lipat seen from far end of the park

Long beach to accommodate large crowd

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Solar Power Part II

By virtue of its name, Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) refers to solar power system that is integrated to the building structure that forms part of the building itself. In most cases the roofing.

I have mentioned in my earlier posting "Solar Power, a Viable Option?", that under Suria 1000 programme, the public get a rare opportunity of generating their own solar power. Called BIPV system, the Government give discount of up to 75% of the capital price. Meaning, you come out with 25% of the capital and the remaining 75% is from the Government. There is a catch though - you have to bid for the system.

The higher you bid (i.e. the higher amount that you are willing to contribute to the capital) the higher the chances of you getting it.

Main issues concerning the BIPV are:

1) Solar panels or the PV modules (60% - 62% of total price)
2) Inverter (8% - 10%)
3) Mounting structures (varies depending on complexity, estd 18%)
4) Electrical works and others (10%)
  1. PV modules are normally rated at standard wattage, e.g. 175Wp (Watt-peak). Thus, in order to install a 3.5kWp BIPV system, you will need 20 units of PV.
  2. Inverter refers to a module that converts DC to AC power. In the case of grid connected system, the inverter needs to be fed back to the local utility, e.g. SESB grid.
  3. As PV modules do not exactly act as roof, they need to be installed on mounting structures, preferably SS, above the roof.
  4. Depending on space, the PV modules can be connected in series, parallel or combination of both. Total power generated is the number of modules multiplied by the PV power rating.

Other issues that you need to consider upon installing BIPV are close monitoring of the system performance for a certain period and maintenance of the PV modules, although experience showed this to be minimal.

Malaysian Standards, MS 1837: 2005 provides guidelines for installation of grid connected PV system.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bursa Malaysia Journal II

As we read the commentary in the business sections of the mainstream media last couple of days, most of them talked about correction looming. Yet today the KLCI chalked up another double digit increase to close at 953 points, yet another milestone since October 2008.

I read analysis by brokerage houses not to look for their recommendations but looking for reason not to buy. That's my personal view. Looking to take some profit now if target price is reached for both MMCCORP and MRCB:

Next resistance for MMCCORP seem to be RM1.75 - RM1.80, targeting to dump if this ceiling is reach in few days time, otherwise let correction take place and hold.

Say, the sentiment is correct and MRCB benefits from the stimulus package MRCB should be going all the way to a target price of RM1.15. Right now the stock is trending up - for the last 11 days, and it should to be noted that this is already way past the 20d, 50d and 200d MA. So, if it touches RM1.15 would definitely dump some.

Acquisition target is if SCOMI corrects to RM0.365 (currently RM0.41) but otherwise put a ±0.025 blanket on the price, follow through the movement tomorrow and accumulate this one. RHB Research said that the odds of a pullback to neutralize recent gains have increased - let's see if that materialises. Interesting to watch if the hangman candle formed yesterday would see a reversal later this week.

Note: technical analysts say next resistance is at 980.

Green Granny

I was watching Biz@502 (Bernama TV) today and at the end of the half-an-hour program, the presenter mentioned a mervelous job done by a granny, Barbara Warmsley in giving tips on how to save money that would consequently enable you to live better.

She normally greets you like this:

"Hello - I'm Barbara, your Green Granny. I'm here to share a tip or two about how you can save cash and live better."

BTW, all her tips are on video, you can find them at YouTube.

I've seen many of the videos and find them full of practical ways to make the most of what you buy. With the economic glooms currently filling the news it is certainly clear that being thrifty and saving for a rainy day are the obvious things that we want to do.

For me, the best bit about all of this is that you get to do your bit for the planet and save some cash at the same time.

You can watch her here.
Good luck!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Congratulations Mr & Mrs Federer

My all time favourite tennis player, Roger Federer wrote this in his website:

"Earlier today, in my hometown of Basel, surrounded by a small group of close friends and family, Mirka and I got married. It was a beautiful spring day and an incredibly joyous occasion. Mr. and Mrs. Roger Federer wish all of you a Happy Easter weekend. Love, Roger"

Roger Federer and Miroslava Vavrinec (Mirka) first met at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. At that time Mirka was herself a Women's Tennis Association player, and there's where the love story started between them. In March 2009, Roger announced in a post on his website that he and Mirka will welcome their baby later this summer.

Many many congratulations to both of you Roger & Mirka, wishing you all the very best in your life together!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Visitors?? at Salut Seafood Restaurant

The restaurant is about 20 minutes driving from Kota Kinabalu and is also accessible by sea, well, that is if you have jetski or boat to add thrill to your seafood endeavour. You can get just about everything from shell foods but a bit limited in fish selections.

You can see this giant clam shell at the entrance but not really sure if any of the patron actually consumed them. Hmmm...

If you are regular diner at Salut Seafood Restaurant, chances are you would be joined by fellow diners who travel via road. That afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to see a convoy of 10 private water crafts (PWC). They came all the way from Miri Sarawak and dock right infront of the restaurant jetty.

Some of the PWCs of the faraway diners. We have Yamaha WaveRunners, Kawasaki JetSkies but I did not notice any Bombardier?

One for the album. Preparing to leave now.

Mr. Convoy Leader reminded everyone of the shallow water on the left of where he is standing.

Some macho poses by the convoy participants:

"Okay, see ya! We will definately come back"

Dia ni lah yang paling friendly! Wanted his pics taken again and again..heheh

He said "Thank you, it was a very good reception and good services". Errr...did not really catch what he meant by the two last words.

And a showtime before they eventually headed for Kota Kinabalu:

Some circling circus, play catching, and whale-water-fountain actions.

Adios! See ya.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kota Kinabalu PC Fair 2009

That happened on 3 - 5th April 2009 at Centre Point Sabah(CPS). This one, being outside the PIKOM schedule of event, was themed PC Show 2009 by CPS management. I went there on 4th April and gosh! it was bumper-to-bumper for both outside and inside of CPS. It was awfully difficult to get empty parking bay but once inside the shopping mall, it was all smile and satisfaction; well at least for a PC-fair hunter like me.

I can tell you it was very crowded, you can practically become "glued" to the person in front of you. Best bet a pervert can go for to quench some thirst!

Crowded it was..but I can see you, MU fan with nice black t-shirt. Hehe

"And you, yes you! I can see you", he spotted me taking pic. He should be proud, a lot of lenglui visited his booth. I think.

"We've got everything from big to small. What colour would you like ma'am?"

He was fondly talking to the lady in the laptop's web cam (look at the Laptop) before I came in to "interrupt" them. I was damn jahat ler. He willingly smile for the album tho.

MiSS was the word of the day during the 3-day PC Fair. MiSS stands for Maxprint ink Supply System, claimed to be able to print up to 2000pages before you need to replace the cartridge. That's amazing 2cents per page for black and 6cents per page for colour print. Some booths called it CiSS (Continuous ink Supply System)

There you go, Canon MP145 comes with MiSS costs you only RM239. Just next booth you'll find similar item for RM259. I got myself an All-in-one Printer, Canon MX318 for RM399. Next door you'll find yourself setbacked at RM459. It really pays to take the trouble to visit every booth and get yourself bumped, literally, in the process!

And i got to meet these beautiful people to collect my surprise gifts (a shopping trolley and a sling bag) for buying Canon products. (p/s: the guy isn't me, he is one of the crew manning the Canon service centre)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Solar Power a Viable Option?

As long as there is sunshine, there is energy to be harnessed.
It is possible to power the world with solar energy - that was what came out as answer to a curious question posed to the speakers during the two-day International Energy Agency Task-1 meeting at Kinabalu Hyatt Regency in March 2009.

Technical competence is there and apart from the cost, there is nothing that can hinder the full utilisation of this technology. Ahmad Hardi Haris of energy centre Malaysia compared this to the cost of generating electrical power using coal-fired plant:

Cost per kilowatt:
coal-fired plant - RM3,000 to 4,000
PhotoVoltaic - RM25,000 (RM27k-30k in 2007)

RM25k is equivalent to 10 years of electricity bills of RM210 per month. Wow! no kidding, this is no doubt very expensive, but with the right approach from both the government and power utility companies (TNB/SESB), it is a viable option.
Why so?
Firstly, at the moment there is an incentive program by the government through PTM (Malaysia Energy Centre) called Suria 1000, whereby the government gives the public rebates of up to 75% to make it more affordable to install a BIPV system in their homes.
Secondly, implementation of the Feed-in Tariffs. If such Act on Feed-in Tariffs is to be enacted, utility (e.g SESB) will pay Feed-in Tariffs to households and commercial solar service providers between 4 to 6 times their selling price. Then utility will recover this amount from the Government.
Interesting, although it will still be beyond reach of the Malaysian masses; at least for the time being. Consider this: for a medium sized semi-detach or bungalow, typical power requirement is 4kW which means RM100,000 is needed to fund the BIPV systems. Minus say, 50% subsidy/bidding and you still need to pay like RM50,000 upfront for your 20 years of energy consumption. Oppssss!!

A simple, small PV solar power (not BIPV) used to power up public phones in the interior of Sabah


Note the 3 units of Mitsubishi Electric solar modules to "collect" power from the sun and transmit it to the inverter.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Deservedly Sabahan Hero

Tambunan: Some 200 residents of Kampung Libang Laut, a half hour's drive from here, have farmer-cum-handyman Hamid Jasmin to thank for now that they can enjoy 24-hour virtually free power supply. The 42-year old Hamid managed to build two working mini hydro power generators at the village that supplied power for 16 households in the village for the past five years.

Something that the Sabah Electricity Board (SESB) could not do in all its years of existence as the State's utility supplier for various reasons. His ingenuity did not go unnoticed when Sirim Berhad and non-governmental organisation World Association Industrial and Technological Research Organisation (Waitro) with the collaboration of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) decided to take Hamid's idea a step further to enable the whole village to enjoy power supply.

In February 2009, the newest mini hydro power system with a capacity of 40kW in the village costing around RM300,000 funded by Waitro was unveiled in a ceremony officiated by Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Rural Development Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

The heroic work of the humble handyman is so inspiring, I wanted to visit this hydro-electric generator (Hygens) so badly. Earlier, I wrote to TV3 to obtain more information about the mini Hygens at a remote village in Ranau, covered by TV3's Karam Singh but I never really get any help from them. I think the "caring" TV station isn't so caring after all.

Road junction leading to Kg Libang Laut. It is a gravel road all the way, except for short span of tarred section.

Sometime in March 2009 we managed to make some arrangement to visit Kg Libang Laut and we were supposed to meet Mr Hamid and his DIY Hygens. Unfortunately he was not around at that time, but his son and another gentleman were there to show us around and we felt very welcomed by their warm friendship and willingness to answer our every question.

Conceptual diagram of the new hydro power system

Waterwheel of the older Hygens (above), and the second Hygens (below). The single phase generator gives about 180V to 190V of electricity.

The latest mini hydro power system (pic below) with a capacity of 40KW costing around RM300,000 was funded by World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organisation (Waitro)

The 4-stage speed control mechanism (pic below) in the newer Hygens is very 'heavy' and could result in much shorter lifespan of the rotating elements. In fact, during our visit some bearings have already worn out. They may want to consider increasing the size of the UCP bearings.

The speed-increasing gears (stage one located outside the building) consist of sprockets and 4-way pulley for final transmission.

Tambunan town (pic) is about 30 minutes from Kg Libang Laut.