Wednesday, December 31, 2008

KL Here I Come!!

Finally, after rushing to the police station this morning to lodge a report on my stolen wallet and also stuffs, I manage to take the Shanghai Subway to Longyang Road where it connects to the MAGLEV bullet train. This is the first time I am using the MAGLEV to travel to Pudong Airport. It's very convenient, and cheap I would say.

If one has an air ticket, discounts will be given. I only paid RMB40 for mine, which otherwise would have costed me RMB60. All I did was just flash my e-Tickets and its done. Pretty neat eh? Anyway the MAGLEV travelled at a very very fast speed (otherwise it wouldn't be called a bullet train LOL). The top speed which the train reached was 431 km/h. It's fast... real fast. 

I am blogging from Pudong Airport now, while waiting for boarding. The flight is departing on 4.10pm and the estimated landing time at KLIA would be 9.40pm. My next blog posting would be when I am back in KL then. 


What A Fu*ked Up Turn of Event

I just realized that my wallet which stored all my RMB was being stolen, and together with some name cards PLUS MY PUBLIC BANK CREDIT CARD!! Lucky me my LV wallet which I use to store all my MYR currency and the rest of the Credit Cards and also Malaysian IC are still with me. 

Now here's the bomb. I fuckin lost the credit card and someone have used it... and now I have to be liable to VISA and pay them a whooping MYR5,700!! I was like -WHAT THE FUCK!!- when I called into Public Bank Credit Card Customer Service Center to report a stolen card. 

Damn I am pissed now... My breakdown kinda indicated that my pocket might have been picked while I was snapping away around Nanjing Road, and with those girls and pimps going around close to me trying to lure me to their dents. FUCK!!! Grrrr...!!! Damn I hate this shit.

Lesson learned (a costly one) - Dont bother splitting currency into 2 wallets, it causes distraction and requires more attention to take care of them.

What an ending to 2008. Fuckin piece of.... arghhh...!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One Night In Nanjing Road

I finally arrived to Shanghai and get myself settled into the hotel which Tan booked for me. This is the 2nd time I am staying in this hotel and it is strategically located within a stone throw away from the famous Nanjing Road. Think of this road as our Bukit Bintang road and you can pretty much imagine how it is.

I almost took the cab from Shanghai Nan Zhan (Shanghai South Station) to Nanjing Road. If I did, then it would have costed me about RMB90 easily. When I turned down the cab driver, he quickly gave discount from RMB90 to RMB80, then finally to RMB60. It's amazing how prices can drop exponentially and drastically fast as I walked further away from them. I ended up paying just RMB4 by taking the subway :)

I finally arrived and checked into the hotel (Nanjing Hotel) around 7.30pm. Took a quick shower and off I went with my MBP and D700 in the backpack. I knew it would be rather too late to go anywhere far, so I just walked and window shop around Nanjing Road.

Within minutes I was walking and snapping away, I was approached by a girl; "Qing wen di tie shi zai na li?", I somehow just answered in English and said that I dont speak Mandarin. But hey hey... surprise surprise, she speaks English. Later a bit I found out that she is some kinda escort and my best hunch would be she would provide "extra services" too. So... I thanked her and moved on... guess what? Within 3 minutes walking alone... another pretty girls came up and asked me some street's direction.

And this kept on until I made a U-turn and walked into an expensive shopping mall. Had a cup of coffee and a sandwich from Starbucks and rested there to keep my mind straight. Haha... what a day. Ok... I am singing off now to rest for a long journey tomorrow. 


Strobed Out Session Before 2009

I think this would be the last strobist session I will have for 2008. Just before I leave for Shanghai tommorrow, Tan and Pey decided to go for a strobist session with one of our fellow colleague - Julina.

It sorta came last minute since we didnt have our batteries to our flashguns charged! I ended didnt shoot much cuz wanna give both Tan and Pey more attempts. They seem very trigger happy and I am glad to see such enthusiasm in them when it comes to photoshoots. Definitely a good way to let go off some steam from the work pressure.

Anyway I'll cut this short cuz I have yet to pack my stuffs and I will be hitting the road heading to Shanghai around 4pm. Enjoy the pics while I continue my countdown... :)


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nilam Puri Condo

I cant help but to wonder on what are the things which I am gonna do to my new crib which I will have access to just in about a week's time. While other new owners have already started to do their renovation and other stuff, I am still stuck here waiting to fly back to Malaysia. LOL. 

Anyway, here's a list of stuff which I thought of doing to my place. I guess I'll use this as a note which I can tick off in future when I start doing my renovation. :

1. Level up the kitchen area to match dining area (oooh I am just such a bitch to this)
2. I hate electrical extension cords. Will put in more wall sockets where ever they may be needed. Wirings and fuse box change.
3. Add 3 more air cond wiring/piping. Living room, the 2nd and 3rd room as well.
4. Some plaster ceiling and downlights.
5. Kitchen cabinet in dry kitchen and yard (plan to convert yard into a wet kitchen). Cabinet in the yard has to fit a washing machine, and enclosed it.
6. Ceiling-to-floor wardrobe for 2 rooms. 
7. Plans to convert 1 room into a study... so need a cabinet here too.
8. Ceiling mounted clothes hanger at the balcony.
9. Brick work for a support top for bathroom washbasin.
10. If it fits, plan for glass divider for shower area.

Thats all for the moment. While I am sure there will be additional items to be added, I'll just leave this at it is first. :)

Meanwhile, the countdown continues.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Year's Resolution for 2009

I'm sitting at this local cafe in Jinhua with a buddy of mine, browsing thru various Flickr pages and photos - and I kinda came to realize that there are actually many people out there who don't really know much about the power of Photoshop... especially for Digital Photographers.

One of the things that I am gonna set out to do for this blog in the coming year is to provide my readers simple Photoshop Tutorials from time to time. Probably once every month, and on various level of difficulties. I am no professional graphic artist, and all that I will be providing are purely from my own self thought know-how. So spare me the chopping knife if my future tutorials are somewhat noobish.

Anoher project which I am gonna set out to do is to provide monthly calendar page in high resolution which you peeps can download and use as a desktop wallpaper. I am putting a stickie note on my Mac's screen to remind meself of this :) Watch out for January 2009's desktop calendar soon before 1st Jan 2009 hits.

There ya go. 2 simple new years resolution which hopefully I can accomplish.  

Counting Down To Kuala Lumpur

I'll be back in Malaysia for New Year!

I'm definitely happy, and I am counting the days now... although tomorrow and Sunday are working days for me due to project requirements; but I am definitely in the mood to go back after 6 long months here in Jinhua. 

However, I think I am more excited... confused... happy... sad... and all sorts of kind of mixed feelings I am having now regarding this trip back. I guess I know what's in store for me when I am back and it may be an emotional roller-coaster ride.

At the mean time, I am listening to Jay's Capricorn album too.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I would like to take this nice day to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the year 2009 bring us all more joy, an upturn of the global economy crisis and definitely a better health for us and the loved ones.

Taking some time to reflect back on 2008, and it sure does reminisce on a lot of occurings in my life. Some were bad, while mostly are good. Leading an expatriate life in China now sure changes a lot of things, and on top of that it opened up more experiences to me. 2009 is gonna be a challenging year for me - I can already feel that. Challenges from job, to my freelance business is gonna be somewhat major. As for personal life and my surroundings - well, I'm sure changes will come too.

For one which I am very much looking forward to now is to get my condo delivered. It is ready and I am scheduled to go to the developer's office for key delivery and joint inspection this 2nd January 2009. Not a bad start for 2009 I guess. Since my contract in China will be extended until April 2009, I am planning to have renovation and stuffs done by then when I am back in KL. Then probably have the official move-in on my own birthday! 

Anyway, I'll just opt for a wait and see stance since I've just being informed that another full scale project has already being signed and this alone might take us directly into 2010 (based in China). 

Again... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2009! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I just did my first MV slideshow with the applications that came with my new MacbookPro. The iMovie which came pre-installed as a bundle of iLife is pretty nifty. However I find it rather cumbersome initially, when compared to Proshow Producer which I have grown to used to back in PC days. Anyway, here's the slideshow MV and I've titled it : warmth 

It was a rather warmish day when we went out for the shoot. Tan TS and I brought our model, Yingzi to a nearby lake and I commenced the shoot. The sun was setting and the natural lighting was just simply brilliant. All it needed was for me to tweak the WB a little bit to get the warmish golden hues. Simply love this color scheme. And hey, it fits well with her outfit's color scheme as well hehe... plus the dry grass too of course!

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the slideshow MV just as much (if not more) as I spent some time creating it. Cheers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wang Lee Hom - Heartbeat

I am following closely to Lee Hom's upcoming album which one of the songs that will be featured is called Heartbeat. I think its a lovely song and it would be a big hit. Found the latest MV on YouTube, so thought that I would wanna syndicate it and share it here in my blog. :)

Some of the lyrics are kinda meaningful...
Don't really know how to express it... but yeah, these words are definitely meaningful.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What A Weekend...

It's actually far from over - and I do mean the weekend.

I've been partying since Friday evening, right after work. Office organized a Christmas Party in Yiwu, and all the staffs went. Ironically, it was held in an Arabic restaurant called The 1001 Nights. The LOTUS peeps took up an L shaped corner of the restaurant and we had loads of food to chump down.

It was pretty cool to be having dinner there, as there were belly dancing show off and on every 15 minutes or so. Once the peeps got warmed up, some went up to dance off their big beer bellies as well (together with the pretty belly dancers of course! Haha!)

Right on after dinner was a KTV session, and I stayed on over night in Yiwu together with Tan. Decided that I wouldnt wanna take the 1 hour journey in the middle of the night, and after all I could do some shopping in Yiwu as well the following day. So... ended up buying nothing much more than just 1 BALENO sweater, and thats about it, for when shopping list is concerned. Tand and I had to rush back to Jinhua for a second session of clubbing - and by 9pm or so, we were down at BAIDU Club. Not a very exciting night... but kinda had sh*t loads of beer without knowing or realizing it. Haha. Happy endings after that.

And now, its 4.07pm Saturday... havent makan yet. Woke up a couple of hours ago. Watched 2 movies. And planning to get some food before heading down to another club. :P Bloody hell... I'm partying so hard I think I will soon pass out and forget what the hell is going on with my life. Hahah...

Wait a minute, have the alcohol passed on over yet?

Bah... might as well just catch some sleep now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

REVIEW : The New Unibody Macbook Pro

Now that I finally have some time to write about my latest gadget. Pheewww... Anyway here's a quick technical spec breakdown on my new Macbook Pro (MBP) which I bought for RM8,450.

- Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.53GHz, 6MB L2 Cache & 1066MHz FSB
- 4GB DDR3 1066Mhz
- 320GB 5400rpm HDD
- NVidia GForce 9400m GT @ shared VRAM 256MB
- NVidia GForce 9600m GT discreet VRAM 512MB DDR3
- Single Aluminium Unibody
- Full size backlit keyboard & a huge glass trackpad
- Glorious LCD screen with glossy glass layer
- iSight camera
- Bluetooth & 802.11N WiFi

After using the MBP for a week now I can say that its been a pretty breezy experience. Although the initial start up was a bit of a struggle, due to the various differences the OS-X has compared to MS Windows - I somehow manage to balance it all out and get along. Icons are clear, big and beautifully designed. It's kinda pain to have to hunt for torrents or installers to find those 3rd party software for Macs (ie. Photoshop, Office etc). But I soon realized its not really that bad actually since there are many alternatives to certain applications. For an example, I am currently using a FREE Office application called NeoOffice and it works and looks just as much like the Microsoft version!

One thing I love about the OS-X is how easy it is to back up my system. With just an external hard drive plugged in, and a flip of a button it auto backups my system. This is of course thanks to the feature called Time Machine. Love feature I must say :). There are many other nifty features such as this which sure makes life a much easy one, and a definite heart capture for those who just switched to Mac from PC.

I've yet to encounter any pop ups while surfing the web with Safari (MS Internet Explorer equivalent), and this alone I am sure is a value for money attribute. Connecting to my workplace server was a breeze, which I never would have thought how to do so when I was on PC - LOL! Same goes with setting up the email server. And here's the best part... INSTALLING and UNINSTALLING external applications/programs. It appears to me as if there is no such thing as REGISTRY like how MS Windows is being operated with. Thus, Uninstalling applications was just as easy as Installing them. All I gotta do is just drag the darn application and drop it into the Bin. Wahhlaaahh its done! No more "Windows cant remove certain .dll files due to it being shared by other programs" Haha...

Overall, I can say that this has been one of the best buy gadget I've made so far. For those who are looking for a new notebook PC and have a budget of about RM5,000. My advice is go for the 13.3" Macbook which comes with the NVidia GForce9400m GT intergrated graphics card. I personally think this baby should be more than enought to meet daily computing needs. Unless you would want more 3D rendering capabilities, then you ought to go for the MBP.

Overall ratings : 9/10

Minor nicks : I wish there are more USH ports. At least one more on the right side of the unibody. The Kensington lock slot is definitely not being well located. Lock your MBP and you can't use the SuperDrive anymore. Apple should provide some kinda soft cover bag for this baby with the purchase!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Karide KTV With Leong

Finally me and Leong, 2 banana guys went to Karide KTV with a mission in mind. Sing some Chinese songs! Can you imagine? 2 blokes who can't read chinese fiddling around with Chinese Language based GUI (Graphic User Interface) trying to pick and choose chinese songs. These chinese characters know me more than I know them. LOL. Yet, we managed to scrape thru and sang our heart out. 

Leong and I had this idea of practicing chinese songs on our own for some time now. So, we both set out a couple of weeks ago to accumulate as many chinese songs' lyrics in pin yin (romanized chinese words) from the web. Its pretty simple actually, especially when the web has everything you wanna find. As for myself, I kinda narrowed down my pin yin lyrics library to only 2 artistes - Wang Lee Hom and also Jay Chou.

Song of the night which I enjoyed singing most, and kinda brought some feel while singing is Lee Hom's Forever Love. Leong and I sang for almost 2 and a half hours and the bill came up to RMB120. Pretty cheap for 2 person to let go off some steam from the few weeks non stop work.

Oh by the way, I am slowly adapting to my new Macbook Pro's OS X interface and all that. It's really kinda user friendly. No more messy and weird installations and also un-installs which one normally gets from Windows based PCs. And the best thing is - I've yet to need to press the dreadful CTRL-ALT-DEL to terminate any programs which hangs halfway! Haha... makes me wonder what the heck have I been doing meddling with Microsoft Windows all these years.

Anyway, here's to another long week. 4 more days to go before I hit the weekend where our company will be having a Pre Christmas Party in Yiwu. Let the countdown begin! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Counting Down To Being A Mac

The wait has been kinda long. Although it has been like just 2 days ago when I gave KC the nod that I am confirming the purchase of a new gadget... but the wait has been a very very long one. Or at least it felt long. Desmond is back in KL and he will be bringing my new baby back to Jinhua tomorrow or latest by Tuesday. Sigh... still so many hours to go.

And while I wait, I just can'l help but to browse YouTube for videoclips of "unboxing ceremony" by the many proud owners of the highly acclaimed Mac. To be honest, coming from using a PC for so many years; this sure feels like taking a step off the cliff without knowing what's beneath the abyss.

Consider the video clip I am attaching together with this posting, and I just have to list down the many features which I am definitely impressed with my new purchase.

1. Solid and rigid unibody machined from a single slab of aluminium. I've had enough of filmsy compaq notebooks which warps.
2. The awesome Mac screen. 15" of pure rich colors which I am sure will please my future clients who are gonna be seeing their photos on this baby.
3. 6MB L2 Cache with 1066MHz FSB, with matching 4GB 1066MHz DDR-III.
4. Dual graphics card which is gonna make life more flexible - I can then choose between power saving mode, or uummmpph mode. ;)
5. Gone will be the days when I have to feel around and stress my eyes to see the keyboard in the dark. Backlit keyboard baby - oh yeah!

I am sure there are many more pros which I will find out once I started using it. I am still kinda skeptical on the switch, and it kinda rekindles the time when I moved from Canon to Nikon. However, I believe this decision should be a right one. Only time will and can tell.

So... 1 more day of waiting...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Party @ World Trade Hotel

Pheww... we had a Thanksgiving Party which was held at Jinhua's World Trade Hotel last Wednesday. Most of my colleagues were present, minus those who were enroute back to KL. Anyway, it was certainly a fun filled night. World Trade Hotel had their main lobby and restaurant all decorated and also arranged some of their staffs all dressed up based on Chritsmas theme. Couldn't help it but to rush back to my place to grab my camera.

Anyway, here are some photos which I took (some were shot by colleagues and also Tan TS.) and edited to add some snazzy spazzy element of humor to it. :)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Photoshoot : Qian Hong Yu

I went out for a quick photoshoot with Tan TS about 2 weekends ago. This time Tan arranged the shoot with a local lass who owns a hair saloon. She is a natural poser, and thanks to her tall and slender physique, she just flows in front of the camera.

It was a rather foggy and overcast morning, and Hong Yu brought along her daughter (yes, she is married with a daughter!) for the shoot. I guess the little girl did keep Tan busy for a while with her antics and also running up and down. So, while I was snapping away at Hong Yu; Tan was trying to be a nanny! LOL.

The shoot was pretty simple and it took place at this park called : Bing Hong Gong Yuen. I didn't pack heavily and was relying on shady areas for a more contrasty photo between lights and shadows. Also, seeing the overcast and foggy ambience kinda made it senseless to bring along a huge reflector. So, all I packed was my D700 and also 2 lenses - which was the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8, as well as the faithful Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8VR.

Here's the funny part. While waiting for Hong Yu to arrive, I kinda had urgent nature's call. A quick hunt for toilet at the park and a bunch of "emergency" toilet paper from Tan; off I went. I have to say that this has gotta be the worst public toilet I've ever encountered thruout my stay in China. While I've heard of horrific and even worse toilet conditions, never did I thought I would encounter one myself.

Simply put it this way : the loo has got no doors, no lights, no flushing system, no water for cleansing, and definitely no toilet papers/rolls. It is a simple toilet bowl (yeah one gotta squat for the business) with 3 wooden (more like plywood) walls around it, with no doors. To make matters worse, ya gotta actually thread around carefully so that ya wont step on any residue or pee or shit-splat. Sounds eewww right? But when urgent matters calls and when ya gotta do for it - there's just no time for other options.

Now this is what I call - shite.... LOL. A definite "shitty" experience.

Anyway, here's some photos of Hong Yu which I took after relieving myself. Hahah...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Sound System : Edifier S530D

When I am under immense stress, I do get off some steam by pumping out some bassy tracks. I used to be able to do it with a set of old Altec Lansing, but that was ages ago - even it still works great. But, since nowdays I am on the move a lot, I ended up with a pair of Sennheiser headphones which to be honest does the job very well.

Now that I am in China, and my room is kinda... well... empty, so I decided to get a pair of "stress relieving machine". A couple of stroll down the local IT Mart kinda helped narrowed down the choices which I had. I was looking at Edifier, Altec Lansing, Creative Labs, and also some local Chinese branded speakers. They are relatively cheap since they are all mostly made in China (heck what IS NOT MADE IN CHINA thesedays? LOL).

Anyway after a few rounds and a couple of hours spent on thinking and testing the speakers, I ended up taking home a set of 2.1 speakers. I just decided to jumped on the Edifier S530D which features some massive and whalloping specs. *grin* The S530D is apparently a very much sought after set of multimedia speakers amongst avid gamers and audiophile back in KL (source: Low Yat Forum). Anyway, the Edifier S530D packs the following :

Power output
Satellite : RMS 35W x 2
Subwoofer : RMS 70W (THD=10%)
Signal to noise ratio :  85dBA
Input sensitivity : PC: L/R: 600mV +/- 30mV
SW: 200mV +/- 30mV
CD: L/R: 720mV +/- 30mV
SW: 330mV +/- 30mV
Frequency response : L/R: 158Hz ~ 20kHz SW: 20Hz ~ 130Hz

Okay, I know some of these figures doesnt even make any sense to myself. LOL. As far as I am concerned, the wattage of the speakers alone is enough to rock my room back to stoneage. Yeah it is that full filled with uummmpph! Just put it this way, the maximum volume I can crank this baby up is up to 50, and when plugged into my notebook with WAVE and MASTER set to about 50%... all I needed is just turn the volume on the speakers to about 23-24 to have some vibration feel pumped into my bed! The windows and walls start to rattle at around 28. I can imagine how many people and neighbors will hate me for the immense noise when I am pumping Linkin Park out! Haha...

Oh, and the damage done to the pockets - RMB1520. I guess the headache now would be how the heck am I gonna ship this baby back to KL when I am done here! LOL.

Friday, November 21, 2008

To Mac Or Not To Mac

There is an urge for me to go and grab that beautifully done Macbook Pro 15" and switch to using it for all and whatever tasks I need to do. My aging Compaq 15" is really taking a beating from the crunches I put it thru. Even with that extra 1GB memory, its still pretty slow. Here's to what I would do with a new Mac if I were to get it:

1. Post processing photographs
2. Making DVD slideshows for clients during their wedding day
3. Plan to run Windows XP just for the sake of using CATIA V5R17 - so I can use it to do 3D models of engineering parts and systems.
4. Play some simple games such as DOTA.

The new 15" all aluminium Macbook Pro will cost about RM9,000/= and it sure is a bang. I already have a PC which runs on an Intel Quadcore but mobility is something I require thesedays especially when I am on the move so much.

So, what do ya'll think?
I've posted a simple poll on the sidebar for this purpose - help me decide.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Graceful Art of Tai Chi

I come across all sorts of people from time to time, and from places to places. However, tai-chi practitioners are not a common sight back in Malaysia, or maybe I should say - due to my lifestyle back in KL, it's kinda hard to actually come across people who practice tai-chi in open public. I know for certain that there are people who practice it as a form of exercise... but here in China, its very much different.

I've met people of various age groups who actively practice the art of tai-chi, and they do so either in a group or on solo basis. The best part is, most of them normally go on their tai-chi routine in full costumes which made them even more like a kung-fu master. How cool is that?!

Last weekend when I was out shooting random people and also various street themed shoots, I came across this slightly aged man who was gracefully tai-chi-ing his way around. The whole setup was just made for photography, so I cant help it but to snap away. Here's what and how the whole scene was :

1. Sun was down casting on a very nice angle due to the fall season. Warm and shades from nearby trees adds drama to the whole background scene.
2. Tai chi man didnt mind his photos taken even I was just about 10 meters away from him.
3. He's aged. He wore the costume. And he gracefully moved.

To be very honest, I am amazed at how this man could move himself with the slow-mo movements. Its graceful, and at times ends a certain punch or spear hand jab with such inner strength which made his whole body jutters. I can certainly hear that breath of "hmmphh!" whenever the swift and slow punch ends with a suddent force. If the punch is really filled with inner strength forces... I dare not think what it could potentially do to a human body.

Either way, it was certainly interesting, and here are his photos which I am sharing with ya'll.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Trishaw Man

One of the many distinctive features of transportation services in Jinhua City lies in the trishaw services. Well of course this comes after the daily suicide-mode taxi drivers who fetches me to and from workplace. There are plenty of trishaws peddlers who will fetch you to not-so-far areas for a small fee. The interesting part is, none of them will ever cross the bridge - meaning to say, trishaws from North will not service to South of Jinhua City and vice versa.

Anyway, I was strolling around with Tan TS and we decided to hunt for a trishaw peddler to shoot. It is rather uncommon for local Chinese men to sport moustache and also beard. I dont know why this is so, but lets just say that I was looking for a male trishaw peddler with a character - and this must come with some form of facial hair!

So there we were, 2 funky dudes with DSLRs walking from streets to streets, and eyeing on trishaw peddlers. Finally we came across one, and decided to ask him to fetch us to a nearby park. The journey took about 10 minutes, with some sloped roads which sure made him peddled even harder. And mind you, for such a journey, all he was asking for was just RMB5 (for comparison sake, a can of coke cost RMB3).

While taking the ride, we asked the man for a 10 minute photoshoot, and he declined. Understanding that time means money, and more so for this trishaw peddler I decided to offer him some monetary compensation for his time. He obliged at RMB20. When we reached the park, Tan paid him RMB30 instead and he was very very happy. And nothing beats a happy man from posing for our cameras! :)

So here they are some of the photos of this great man, who works hard everyday... regardless of rain or shine, hot or cold, winter or summer. He's out there ferrying people from places to places.

ps. I saw him the next morning while I was walking to a taxi stand. He recognized me and waved at me and gave me a friendly smile. It made my day knowing that I once made him a happy man. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Congratulations Amin!

A fellow buddy of mine here in China just decided to quit smoking. It happened kinda out of a sudden, and he just did it. Its been almost 2 weeks now since he touched his last stick, and a lot of us friends are giving him plenty of encouragements. Apart from that, he has been hitting the gym and also pumping a lot of iron. He said that while it definitely improved him awareness instead of always feeling lethargic, most importantly he also feels very healthy now. I somehow do noticed that he's kinda energetic these days and decided to give him a little encouragement too. Here's how I did it.

I gave him a photoshoot. :)

I hope that these shots will remind him of how he would look better without having to smoke his lungs out. :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Totting My Nikon D700 Around

Okay, reporting time on my newly acquired Nikon D700. A Nikon full frame DSLR which costed me almost an arm and a leg; together with an accompanying Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 Nanocoat zoom lens. Nanocoat... uh... whatever.

Anyway, I was testing out the high ISO noise level of the D700, and I am pleased to announce that boy it was great! Simply put it this way, if my acceptance level in terms of noisy images from the previous D300 could be up to that of ISO1600... this baby can make me wet even at ISO6400! Yerp! I can accept the noise level from D700 which is shot at ISO6400. Which means, shooting at ISO1600 is no longer a threat to me now. This is simply superb.

I took the DSLR down for dinner a couple of days ago, and subsequently went to a snooker center to play a game of pool with a friend. The ambience was rather dark and these nasty fluorescent lights which is made to illuminate the pool table doesnt help much either. I cranked up the ISO to 1600 and shoot with the 24-70mm f2.8 attached. So, here are some photos which was obtained and post produced with Photoshop CS2.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Big Leap

I've been meddling around with Nikon DX format DSLR for quite some time now. The very first Nikon which made it possible for me to switch sides from Canon's EOS series is the Nikon D300. It has been my workhorse for wedding photoshoots all these while and I must say that the migration from Canon EOS was a choice which I have yet to regret. The D3, which is Nikon's flagship pro series DSLR was introduced as Nikon's FX format system. It was introduced together with the D300 and both took the photography world by storm, by being able to produce significantly low noise at high ISO. This was made possible probably by the usage of new CMOS sensors plus some other funky tech stuff Nikon threw into them.

Now the famed performance of the D3's FX image was also packaged into a smaller form factor - Nikon D700. It houses the same CMOS sensor as the D3 and is powered by Nikon's EXSPEED processor, which gives it the power to perform supremely very well under low light condition. I've seen images from D700 which was shot at ISO6400, and I must say that the cleanliness of the noise generated simply just wowed me.

Given this choice (or more like given me no choice) to upgrade, the D700 comes at a pricetag of RM8,500. Best thing is, the whole DX range of lens which I already have must also be changed in order to fit the FX format of the D700. Basically, I have only 2 DX format lenses; one is the Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8 and the other is the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. This upgrade comes at a time where I feel the requirement for low noise, high ISO images are something which I really crave for.

23rd Oct 2008 - KC kept on SMS me asking me the same question over and over again : "Jay, ON or not? D700 and also 24-70mm f2.8N?". Else it would be, "Only JOne has stock of the lens."

I took the big leap. Sold off my Nikon D300, Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8DX, TOKINA 11-16mm f2.8, and also a SB600 to fund for this FX leap of faith. Total cash gained from this was RM10,500. Not bad considering I made a loss from depreciation of approximately RM2,000. This amount was long recovered from ROI. How much did I need to cash out for the FX jump? Well, the D700 body costed me RM8,500 and the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8N came at a price tag of RM5,200. I am surprised on how Malaysia could be pricing this lens at such lower price. Scouted on China and HK units and they all came around RM6.5k easily.

So after a quick chat with KC over the phone, and a SMS of "ok KC. ON. Buy it"... it was finally done. Total was RM13,700; and I decided to buy another SB800. All in all, the whole package was RM14,800. Total damage done to myself : RM4,300. Not bad considering a FX body now. :)

I will post up some first hand reviews later.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Photoshoot : Li Yu @ Longbridge Cafe

Tan and I manage to get together and organized a photoshoot a week or two ago. It was rather pretty much a last minute thing. We got hold of a local friend who wanted to have her own photos taken in a unique way. So, I had a quick solo brainstorm and came up with the location of a cafe setting as background.

Longbridge Cafe is a restaurant located just beneath my apartment. Its got these small VIP rooms which can be booked based on minimum spending. It costed us RMB800 for the largest room, and we can use it for the whole day (since we are kinda close with LB's boss, Tony due to our constant presence eating in there). So, its kinda like a pre-paid credit of RMB800 worth of food. Yeah, thats a lot of FOOD.

So after tucking into a couple sticks of BBQ lamb meat, some ice cream and so on so forth, I quickly setup the flashguns and also reflectors. The lights in the VIP room was dead yellow/orange due to the tungsten bulbs coming out from the chandaliers. So I had to gel my flashes. Anyway, here are some photos of Li Yu after a whole day of shooting :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Is My Current State

It has been a couple of months now since I first landed in Shanghai, China; then moved on to be based in Jinhua (Zhejiang Province). Life has been a roller coaster ever since then, with many ups and downs, twists and turns. One thing for sure is that there are many new events and things which definitely make me open up my eyes wider.

Many has been asking me questions regarding my personal life. Things like hows those "Little Dragon Girls", living an expat life here in China etc etc. Well, what I can say is, while it is definitely a good life which I am living in right now, I did forsake and gave up some other forms of qualities. Simply put it this way, here is to "what is my current state?":

1. Life is good when I have 20,000 Yuan to spend monthly, compared to a local engineer who is being paid a monthly wage of 1,400 Yuan - and, needed to work for 6 days a week.

2. I stay in a condo which cost 40,000 Yuan/year (thats about 3300 Yuan/month) when locals stay in an average studio units which cost 250 Yuan/month. And, I've got a cleaner who comes to clean up the place on weekly basis.

3. I eat in restaurants and cafes which cost an average of 60 Yuan/meal. Most of the local yuppies hang out here with their Maseratis, BMWs and Mercs parked aside.

4. Girls do come to you naturally when you are an expat. You would be like a walking magnet who goes thru a field of metallic coins. Its a no brainer.

5. Nope, I am not hooked up with any local girls here... neither serious, nor for fun. I am single and very much self made unavailable.

6. KTV and beer has become normalcy now. Arrangement for entertainment for clients, bosses and fellow colleagues who cant speak mandarin is like a part time job.

7. I do enjoy travelling alone, to Shanghai, Yiwu and also exploring other new places now. Taking time to shoot photos of people, scenes and all that. Its pretty cool and amazing.

There are more if I were to go on stating what's been going thru my life now at this point of time. Life is good financially speaking, but it sure does feel empty at times. I guess one just cant have the best of both worlds - at least not for now. Many friends asked me if I am gonna get a Chinese wife here and my answer for them now is : "come here and see for yourself" :P LOL. For me, its kinda simple... I'm just not ready for marriage and all that family thing.

So, mom... dont expect any grandchildren from me anytime soon. Hahahaha!!

-- up next in the coming posting : Localization Programme : Settling In With A Chinese Girl --

Monday, September 22, 2008

When Head Starts Spinning

Owh darn... what a Monday. I'm not sitting at home, feeling like I've been strucked by a brick into my face, and having this head spinning around. I cant see the lights out there cuz it hurts my eyes and sends a shivering signal into my gray matters. Sigh... migraine.

Anyway, the Shanghai trip over the weekend was kinda splendid. I did some shopping and lavishly bought some neat stuff for myself. Got a brand new Timberland shoe which costed me 1,400Yuan when I know for very certain that the same shoe is being sold for US$100 only. However, after taking shipping cost into consideration - it would have ended up pretty much the same. So, what the heck. Then some shopping at Shanghai Science & Technology Museum Arcade (this place is a fad for counterfeit goods ;P) and bought more stuffs here which I dont wanna go into details haha...

Then that's it. Took a MAGLEV bullet train back to Jinhua and there goes the weekend. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pin Me Up

I just went for traditional Chinese acupuncture treatment for my bloody sore and aching ankle. It involved some weird electro-therapy which I must admit sure kicks some adrenalin for first timer like me. :P

Anyway, the very first step the doctor did was actually stick some pins up my but... I mean wrist. Yes, wrist! I mean... come on man... it's my left ankle which hurts like hell... not my wrist! Somehow, the pins or needles if I may call them probably initiated some blood flow down in my ankle and it feels a little relieved.

Next step. Electro massage. This dude (another therapist) applied some kinda plate on my lower tummy and started massaging my ankle. And that thing keep on electrocuting me with what I percieve as low voltage and low amp current. It sure did pull some veins back into the right places. Altho the process was excruciating painful when he pressed deep into the veins. When it was all over after what seemed to be a very long 20 minutes, I was asked to limp to another bed for more electrocuting!

This last stage involved more pins and needles stucked into my ankle area. Then some circuitry was connected to the acupuncture needles and a very very mild and low current was passed thru them. It made my toes twitched, contracted and relaxed. I laid there with loads of other patients next to me; some of them has got a whole back full of needles! :P

After about another 20 minutes or so, it was all over. Limped to the counter and paid RMB35 (RM17) and was asked to return there daily for a week. I was skeptical at first and wondered WTF have I done to my leg since I cant feel a damn thing down there. I mean down on my left leg ok! :P

But now, after about an hour rest in a coffee shop... I am proud and happy to report that I hardly feel the pain and in fact the veins and all are very very relaxed. I could even walk up the stairs without the need to have the support of the handrail! So... GHETTO CLINIC... here I come tomorrow!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Cars

Of lately I've been eyeing on some of the meanest and fastest RC machines. I've been racing with the replica of KYOSHO Inferno for the past couple of weeks. Its one helluva bad-ass race buggy which can do 90km/h in a breeze. But the nitro engines are making too much noise and its causing me and some of my RC kakis to have to move about to play it - due to complaints from various residents in our condo area.

Thus, I'd need to move to EP (Electric Powered) cars now. There are various models which I am looking at... And I am particularly very much diggin' the TAMIYA ARTA Garaiya GT300. However, the following cars are also very cun... so much so they make me think over and over again to choose. Heheh... Will have to think very deep over this.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Breaking Silence

Well, I've been keeping silent for a longer period of time than I should have. I dont know what got into me, but I've had the last few weeks of some serious soul searching and just decided to keep low (or more like total disconnection) from this blog. It was more or less a pretty much needed time off from any form of connection. And ahh... it certainly feels refreshing to this mind of mine.

Anyway, plenty of things happened over the span of time since I keyed in my last blog entry. Just to name a few :

1. I got promoted. :) More money = more job responsibility. But hey I ain't complaining.
2. I went to Shanghai for a weekend visit. Did some crazy shopping and burned a few grands in a day. So-so dinner at The Hooters. Sobered night at a German Pub along the Shanghai Bund. Followed by missing the train back the following day. Sure certainly felt good too.
3. Found a new hobby in racing radio controlled-nitro powered buggy; of which I crashed it during the first day I play with it :P
4. Started playing paintball and got my arms all in blue black spots.

So yeah... plenty much has gone thru the last few weeks... even went thru a phase where certain occurance are so much so affecting my life's course. I'm pretty much looking forward to every single day of the future rather than looking back. So its cool.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Some Street Shoot

I went out today around 11am with Gu (who just arrived) to the old city side of Jinhua. Apparently there was a fort like setup for the ancient Jinhua city. So, we went to the wall remnants which used to be a perimeter to keep the city secured from foreign intruders. To be honest I was kinda appalled by how long the history actually spanned back. The age of the building which I was in is about 1600 years old. Yerp... it spanned in the thousands of years old. Sure did joggle my mindset a while for comparing Malaysia's 50 year old history against this, not-so-famous city of China.

Anyway the perimeter wall surrounding the ancient city was long gone now. What is left is a structure which was once the main entrance to the city, and also a guard tower which has been turned into some kinda city owned museum. It cost 10Yuan to enter this small museum. There are some really old relics in there, but all descriptive notes and writings are all in Chinese, so its kinda like groping in the dark to know what's what. However, I must admit that the feeling of standing on a 1600 year old stone building is really something. You just have to stand in there and think of the amount of history the place has gone thru.

Apparently from the latest maps, a few blocks of newer shops (new in China means 50-100 years old) is now surrounding standing in place of what was once the perimeter walls. Some local traders swarm this place and turn it into some kinda flea market. However, most of the stuff they sell dont really attract me. Antiques, stones, paintings... that kinda stuff. It is worthy to note that one has to be careful with such items, as there are many many counterfeits floating around.

Street photography is something of real abundance here. The place is old. Its eccentric. And its got a character of its own. I'm looking forward to try to have a full day's outing around this local vicinity again soon. For today, I shall lay my camera to rest since its a hot and sunny day - and I do mean it!