Still Here


An interesting email dropped into my inbox today – it is from my weekly Chinese horoscope and interestingly it said “Early November is overflowing with the scribbling of lists and organizing of schedules”. Interesting because I just completed a long checklist and finalize project schedule for the weekend

Sorry for long absence – one was due to work but the other reason is that there is a “great wall” blocking access to Facebook, blogs and Twitter, So, I have do without those for now and update only after I come back.

P.s. photo caption – the view from my room at night – taken with a N8

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It’s A Cold Night


Took this shot using N8 – it was raining and it was cold but otherwise the weather has been great. More to come when I am free to do a long post on this

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Brisbane Flood


Click here for more stunning, interesting photos

(An aerial view of the submerged runway at Rockhampton airport on January 6, 2011 in Rockhampton, Australia – Photo by Jonathan Wood/Getty Images)

The last time I saw something similar is when I was flying over from Dubai and we had to stop at Dhaka on transit. Bangladesh had seen one of the worst monsoon season just couple of days earlier and as we neared the capital, all we could see is brown, murky water.

There were patches of land, occasionally on the sea of water and there was people, cattle and everything that the people managed to save in time on this small patches of land. In fact, there was way too much water all around us, I thought we just going to pass over the airport. At the end, we did land but I realized that the airport is only part of the land that was not flooded.

We were even surprised to see a long line of passengers waiting for the plane – some even boarded with wet clothes and bags and a sad face that explains it all – leaving the loved ones with an uncertain future whilst they fly away from the flooded city. Due to the worsening flood, we did not wait for long and soon we were back on air, leaving the flooded country with a sense of relief.

Brisbane fared slightly worse with the runaway sticking up like a sore thumb but things are still bad over there with 200,000 people affected. Back at home, we have not been doing too good either.

Creepy Moonlight


This was creepy when I opened the window for a cool breeze and the full moon light up the clouds up ahead.

I don’t know what happened but I found myself staring at the moon and the way the clouds was moving slowly across the sky. I felt humbled and peaceful – and I could have easily looked at the moon for hours.

Higher resolution and another shot in my photo blog here

Chennai Trip – Part 7


Follow Part 1 onwards from here

(The main entrance to the 300 plus years old temple – Click for higher resolution photo here)

A trip to India will not be complete without a trip to the majestic and historical temples, right?

So, even though our mission in Chennai was purely for shopping and other non-religious activities, we decided to visit at least one temple so as to “complete” the trip to India. We decided to visit the nearby Kapaleeshwarar Temple which was “walking distant” from the apartment.

It was rather a historical temple as per the entry below:-

The age of the temple is the source of much debate. The commonly held view is that the temple was built in the 7th century CE by the ruling Pallavas, based on references to the temple in the hymns of the Nayanmars (which however place it at the shore).

It is an example of the beautiful architecture of Pallavas. Further, the architecture of the temple appears to be 300–400 years old.

The scholarly view that accounts for the discrepancies is that the original temple was built on the shore at the location of the current Santhome Church but was destroyed by the Portuguese, and the current temple (which is 1-1.5 km from the shore) was built more recently. A small minority of people believe that the original temple was indeed on the beach, but that the sea has receded over centuries.

The Vijayanagar Kings rebuilt the temple during the 16th century. The original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese.

(Source: Wikipedia)

(The door in the interior part of the temple certainly looks old…very old. I was afraid to touch it)

An inscription at the entrance of the temple states this:-

Ptolemy, the great Geographer (AD 90-168) has referred to Mylapore in his books as Maillarpha, a well known sea port town with a flourishing trade. Saint Tiruvalluvar, the celebrated author of Tirukkural, the world-famous ethical treatise, lived in Mylapore nearly 2000 years ago.

The Saivite Saints of the 7th century, Saint Sambandar and Saint Appar have sung about this shrine in their hymns. St.Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus, is reported to have visited Mylapore in the 2nd Century A.D

Mylapore fell into the hands of the Portuguese in A.D.1566, when the temple suffered demolition; the present temple was rebuilt 300 years ago. There are some fragmentary inscriptions from the old temple, still found in the present shrine and in St.Thomas Cathedral

The temple was indeed old and historical and since we are already staying nearby and it is “off-peak” season, we decided to visit it despite busy with shopping.

(The sun was not that high but who want to walk bare feet on hot rocky floor? The “mat” helped a bit but we had to run, not walk to get to the other part. Malaysian temples fared better with proper roofing and beautiful cooler tiles)

We started early in the evening when the sun is not high and there was a cold breeze. Just when we were about to enter the temple, my son wanted a drink. We looked around and found that 5 – 6 shops that were facing the temple were selling nothing but religious things. None of them was enterprising enough to sell bottled drinking water. I had to walk all the way to a small sundry shop near the main road just to get couple of mineral water bottles.

We walked in after “surrendering” our shoes to the shoe guardian at the front – no token was given and the shoe guardian was busy chit-chatting with his friend. We were expecting our shoes to go missing when we returned. We realised that there was no place to wash our feet – people just walk in (from whatever place they had stepped on earlier) and start doing their prayers. We felt it was odd since in Malaysia, every temple would have a place to wash up before we can start with the prayers. Here we have one of the famous temples in the area and no place to wash our feet before doing prayers. It was no wonder the temple ground looked dirty especially those surrounding the deities. Clearly someone has missed the part on cleanliness but then again, we remember that this was India where anything goes.

With no place to wash our feet, we used some of the mineral water that we had and we opted to wipe our feet on a sorry looking rag and with a heavy heart, proceeded to do the prayers.

(Sorry for low resolution, poor quality photo but those f@#kers at the front insisted us on paying a load of money before we can take photos. A load of rupees may mean nothing to wealthy Western tourists but not for budget concerned Malaysians. Good thing that hand phones these days comes with a reasonable quality built-in camera)

There were plenty of signboards forbidding people from taking photos in the temple grounds. There were also signboards that stated that if one pays x amount of rupees, photography is allowed. We smell sham miles away and I instead opted to snap the interior on my mobile phone (I only took out my DSLR as we were walking out and even so, got into an argument with a guy who insisted us to pay. Thankfully a holier looking man came to our rescue and told the guy off. He too questioned the notion of charging people for taking photos. He then smiled at us and we thought an angel had come to our rescue).

The architecture of the temple structure is simply brilliant and there was an aura of mystery and historical. I loved the carvings on the wall and ceiling and wondered how craftsmen hundreds of years ago have worked on it. Most looked too ancient especially the part when it is said that made from the older structure. There was a feeling of a magical aura surrounding us when we stepped into the interior. When we walked in, we thought we were already been transported to ancient India.

(The very interior of the temple – I was speechless when I saw the sunlight rays beaming in from the small opening in the roof. The interior air smelled ancient but it was not that bad. It was not that crowded as well – thank God! If it has been during major religious season, the crowd inside this small area would have been lethal – there is only one small entrance for way in and way out)

We walked around, completing our prayers and felt somehow fulfilled. Since the ground is not clean to sit down and take our breath (and say silent prayers), we decided to leave the temple earlier. We walked out and noticed a couple of souvenir shops – we decided to hop over and check it out (some prayer items in Malaysia can be too expensive, so better to buy cheaper ones in India). We bought some items – it was cheap but not as cheap as we found out later – the fact that we were foreigners meant the prices of the items to increase immediately.

To be continued…

On Time! Maradona


In case you missed this during the Argentina – Nigeria match…

(Maradona after his team one up – note his hands. Image source: (AP Photo/Luca Bruno). More photos here)

Maradona with watches on both hands!

By the way, the Nigeria goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama was a class on his own against the agile, fast and skilful Argentines. We should have been at least 5 up against the Nigerians – damn!

Largest Oil Spill


Photo caption: A May 17, 2010 satellite image provided by NASA shows a large patch of oil visible near the site of the Deepwater oil spill, and a long ribbon of oil stretched far to the southeast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that a small portion of the slick had entered the so-called loop current, a stream of fast moving water that circulates around the Gulf before bending around Florida and up the Atlantic coast. (AP Photo/NASA). (Image source and more photos here)

In case, you been busy with other matters

BP’s COO Doug Suttles has announced that operation Top Kill, a plan involving the pumping of heavy mud, concrete, and junk into its gushing oil well 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico, has failed.

The next step, the New York Times reports, is a “lower marine riser package cap,” in which workers plan to saw off the riser and put a device on top to capture the oil. So far, the leak has resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Experts say anywhere from 504,000 to 4.2 million gallons a day are escaping from the well that ruptured after Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon platform (leased by BP) exploded on April 20.

Recently, scientists have discovered that a massive amount of the oil has not risen to the surface and could be lurking 1,000 feet or more under the surface of the gulf. One plume is an estimated 22 miles long. PBS has a running estimate, based on several evaluations of the flow rate (BP has not acknowledged a definitive figure).

(Source: Fast Company)

504,000 to 4.2 million gallons a day or estimated 180 million gallon leaked todate or 681 million litres (1 gallon = 3.78541178 liters). That is enough to cover a full tank for 17 million cars (rough estimate).

Meanwhile, we are having same problem over here:-

The Department of Environment estimates that 16km of shoreline have been polluted by the oil spill from the collision of two vessels in the Singapore Strait.

DOE director-general Datuk Rosnani Ibarahim said clean-up efforts were in progress and over 18,911 litres of oil had been collected so far.

(Source: TheStar)

More oil spill means shortage of supply to end consumers and that is seriously affect the oil price.