Welcome To Malaysia!

Posted by : foongpc | Monday, July 28, 2008 | Published in


Malaysia – truly Asia. There’s so many things to love about my beautiful country Malaysia. We have great food, great weather, great places to visit and most importantly, great people with unique cultures and traditions which you can hardly find anywhere else! There’s really no place like Malaysia!

If you are non Malaysian, and have never visited my country, let me welcome you to Malaysia. Log onto Tourism Malaysia official site and start planning for your trip because I guarantee you won't regret it!

Now fellow blogger QuaChee has written a new book called 50 + 1 Malaysia (see cover photo below) which will be released for sale on the 31st July 2008. Priced at RM51, it will be packed with information and photos on my beloved country.

But guess what? Bloggers can get the book for free!

How? Just write about what you love about Malaysia. For complete details, go to http://themalaysiapage.com

This contest is open to international bloggers too. So if you are non Malaysian but have visited Malaysia before, and fell in love with the country, don’t hesitate to join in! But hurry, this offer is limited to only 100 bloggers!

Once I get my hands on this book, I will post a review, so stay tuned.

To Eat Or Not To Eat After 8pm?

Posted by : foongpc | Sunday, July 27, 2008 | Published in


In one of my previous posts, How You Can Lose Weight If You Are Not Mariah Carey, there were some debates over my suggestion that we should not eat after 8pm if we want to lose weight.

For many of us, this point of whether to eat or not may simply be a waste of time. But to those who are seriously trying to lose weight, this is a very important matter. As such, I wrote an email to Jayden Chen, a Fitness Consultant, Speaker and Author of the recently released book, Slim Malaysians to clarify on this issue.

Here's his reply to my email...

You have an interesting topic going here. But it is not controversial at all. I would be glad to share my views. Both Reena's and your comments are valid but you seemed to be looking at this topic from a different point of view. Yours, for ordinary or less active peoples' weight loss and Reena's, from a more active persons point of view.

My feel is that this topic is meant more for an average person, which in our society are mostly sedentary people. People who don't exercise a lot. Addressing this subject from this angle, your advice would be most practical and applicable. However, it doesn't mean that Reena's advice is invalid or wrong. It's just that they are more suitable for people who are active. As you notice, Reena mentioned a lot about high metabolic rate, repair and growth. And even consuming some calories at 4a.m. in the morning. People who do these are usually rather active people and more often, bodybuilders.

However, for an ordinary sedentary individual, eating after 8pm or too late in the evening would not be a good idea if one is trying to lose weight. Unless, like you mentioned they sleep real late and would be hungry by then. In that case, some low calorie and easily digested food can be consumed to avoid interrupting our bodies, for example the liver, doing its job. Our body lower its metabolic rate gradually toward sleeping hours to prepare itself for proper rest. That's when your body temperature goes down, digestive system slows down to prepare for sleep. Try doing intense exercises just before sleep will raise your metabolic rate, making you feel warm and alert. You won't be able to go to sleep or at least can't sleep well.

Research has shown that consuming calories at different hours of the day does affect how much of them are burned off. Eat after an exercise session, for example lifting weights, your body would use up almost all of the calories to repair and replenish glycogen stores in your muscles. Some call this the "window of opportunity" for repair and replenishing glycogen stores. But eating in the evening does exactly the opposite (for inactive people). Unless, you have not been eating enough the whole day. Then probably the calories and nutrients you consumed at this late hour will be used for whatever its needed. (so it depends also whether you have been starving during the day, then eating at night would not really matter, as your total calorie intake for the day would be still at a deficit or within your need).

However, an average sedentary person who has a few more extra pounds is already consuming more than enough calories. Or else, why would he or she wants to lose weight? These individuals need to eat less and more healthily and not more. Having not enough carbs or protein to repair muscles etc are the least of their concern. They should learn to eat the right foods and the right amount and at the right time first.

This rule is important because it ensures that an average person would consume most of their calories during the day when they are more active. Walking and thinking during work for example, requires energy.

So, my conclusion is this - Eating late is not a good idea because it's time your body prepares itself for rest and other "cleaning up" process like you mentioned - detox. You may feel tired the next day if you eat heavy meals too late. Secondly, you body uses energy less efficiently at this hour (Unlike eating after an exercise session). And, it also helps set the person's eating habits and timetable right.

But for an active individual or a person who has a better idea of their calorie count (which most people don't) a light meal, like yoghurt, milk, or protein shake, would be fine if taken before bedtime. (I do that too, by the way but I exercise 3 - 5 days a week with a combination of weights, martial arts, training for 10km runs, swim etc.) Having said that, even some active individuals put on weight because of over consuming calories in their 6 - 7 meals a day. So, eventually, it's really a matter of whether you consume in TOTAL more than the calories you need or not.

Therefore, following the general rule of not eating too late for an average sedentary person who is trying to lose weight will prevent them from overeating. As they most likely already have.

Jayden Chen

Song From A Secret Garden

Posted by : foongpc | Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Published in


The other day, I was browsing through some books in Popular Bookstore at Ikano Power Centre when I heard this beautiful song being played. I remember hearing this song some time back (probably one year ago) but have forgotten all about it.

I quickly went to enquire at the CD section and learnt the song is called "Song From A Secret Garden", originally from the album Songs From A Secret Garden. It's now available in the compilation CD called "Arias".

Here's the song with a nice video from Final Fantasy X. Enjoy!!

How Fast Is Your Internet Connection?

Posted by : foongpc | Monday, July 21, 2008 | Published in


Want to watch your favourite TV shows on your computer or laptop? Yoonic has just launched its first nationwide broadband TV service and it’s free for now. This sounds good because all you need to do is download Yoonic player software and you can have access to over 50 channels.

Goodbye to Astro? Wait! Not so fast!

It all depends on how fast is your Streamyx broadband connection.

And believe it or not, my Streamyx broadband is currently slower than dial up! No kidding.

I really do not know if I’m alone or everyone else is suffering from this recent phenomenon.

When I first signed up for Streamyx broadband many years ago, it was a huge relief because I was frustrated with the slow dial up service provided by Jaring. I mean, how to surf the web when every click of the mouse entailed you to wait for no less than 2 minutes?

With Streamyx, it was a breeze. I could surf countless websites, log into my emails and download stuffs without much effort or should I say, waiting.

Unfortunately, that’s no more the case today. It took ages for me to log into my Gmail account. It took ages to watch a YouTube video with countless buffering taking place. And it took ages for my blog to appear on the screen so much so that I did not bother to write any new post for the past 1 week.

And you want me to watch TV on my computer?

I laughed out loud when I read somewhere that the Government is planning to increase the broadband penetration rate in Malaysia.

No doubt, Malaysia’s broadband penetration stands at only 16 percent of households, compared to an amazing 93 percent in South Korea or 80 percent in Hong Kong. 10 years ago, both these countries had only below 10 percent penetration rate.

The question I want to ask is how is the Malaysian Government going about increasing the penetration rate when TM (Telekom Malaysia), the Streamyx provider is monopolizing the market? Without much competition, it is no wonder that their service is below standard.

Also, TM is still using copper infrastructure when it should upgrade to fiber networks like what countries like Japan and South Korea had done.

But the main reason for the slow broadband uptake must be the very expensive subscription cost. I’m currently paying RM88 per month for Streamyx which offers a speed of only 1Mbps (megabit per second).

Compared to Japan which cost only about RM2 monthly per Mbps, don’t you think we are overpaying for our broadband connection? Most other countries do not charge more than RM6 per Mbps, so I have to say Malaysia have one of the most, if not the most expensive broadband connection in the world!

You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out that we are paying more than 10 times higher than most other countries. And we are all making such a big fuss over the petrol price hike!

Not only that. Many countries are already offering speed up to 10Mbps or higher and we are still stuck with the dinosaur era of 1Mbps!

Streamyx recently offered 4Mbps broadband but with a ridiculous price tag of RM268 per month. Tell me who can afford that! Even if you are loaded, would you want to pay that kind of price when it merely costs RM24 or less in other countries?

Now if I cannot log into my Gmail account at 1Mbps, I have no choice but to conclude that Streamyx sucks big time!

A Rotating Tower in KL?

Posted by : foongpc | Monday, July 14, 2008 | Published in


I am not an expert at architecture, but I just marvel at these architectural wonders.

Take Petronas Twin Towers for example. I've not stopped admiring this concrete skyscraper which changed the Kuala Lumpur's skyline since it was completed in 1998. It was at that time the tallest building in the world and I was so proud. I still am.

Here's a stunning photo of the Twin Towers taken from Richard Renaldi's Photography Blog.

Credit must be given to Tun Dr Mahathir for getting this project off the ground. A lot of Malaysians had criticized him for wasting money on such a lavish project but I really beg to differ. If not for him, we won't have such a prestigious landmark that is known the world over. Nowadays, tourists who come to Malaysia make sure that they have photos taken with the looming Twin Towers in the background.

Even the current tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 doesn't quite match the beauty of the Twin Towers. Don't you agree? Look at this picture of Taipei 101 taken from QuaChee's blog.

Even the upcoming Burj Dubai which is going to overtake Taipei 101 as the tallest building in the world when completed in 2009 don't quite measure up to our Twin Towers. At least that's what I think at this very moment since I have not seen the completed building yet. Below is the Burj Dubai still under construction taken from the Burj Dubai official website.

But the latest architectural wonder that left me gasping in awe must be none other than the incredible rotating tower in Dubai designed by renowned Italian architect, Dr. David Fisher. When I first heard the news, I did not believe it. A building where each floor rotates independently so that the whole building appears to be constantly changing shape must be out of this world!

This picture taken from Dr Fisher's Dynamic Architecture site shows how a rotating tower looks like in motion!

How would you like to stay in such a building? Can you imagine every hour you look out the window you see a different view of the city landscape?

Not only that. This rotating tower is environment friendly too. It is the first building in the world to generate its own electricity using wind turbines fitted between each rotating floor! Wow!

It seems that the first building to be built in Dubai will be closely followed by a second one in Moscow and a third already planned for New York.

Will Kuala Lumpur get a rotating skyscraper in the near future?
How I wish!
I guess the chances are pretty slim because firstly, the price of petrol and everything else is rising. Secondly, people are already complaining that the Government is spending unnecessarily on useless projects. Thirdly, this is not Dr M's era.
If Malaysia is still under Dr M, we may just get to have a rotating tower in KL!

Don't Worry Be Happy

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | Published in


Are you one of those people who always worry? Are you always asking yourself “What if…” questions?

What if I say something stupid?

What if people laugh at me?

What if my boss fires me?

What if I fail in my exams?

What if my husband leaves me for another woman?

What if the stock market crashes?

What if the petrol price continues to rise?

What if I can’t make ends meet?

What if the doctor finds out there is something wrong with me?

What if I run out of topics to post on my blog?

What if…..

Sounds familiar?

Let’s face it. Most of us worry. We are worried about so many things that if we were to list out all the things we worry about, we can fill up a whole book!

But have you ever ask yourself – is it necessary to worry? Why worry at all?

When we worry, we are not happy. Happiness and worry cannot exist side by side.

If you watched Kungfu Panda recently, you would most probably remember the character Grand Master Oogway mentioned this enlightening quote.

Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift.

That’s why it’s called the present.

What does that tell you? Don’t worry about the past because it’s over and there’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t worry about the future because it has yet to happen and you don’t know what is in store. However, you can do something about the future. You have the power to change the future by focusing on doing the right things now. At this very moment. The present.

Instead of worrying about the future, the "What ifs", focus on the present. Live by the moment.

Have you ever ask yourself “What am I worried right this second?” You’ll be surprised. The answer is nothing. You are at peace now. You are only worried about things that might or might not happen in the future. Why waste your energy worrying about things that may not happen?

Live moment by moment. If you notice, most of us are always thinking about the past or the future. What happened yesterday or last week and what will happen tomorrow or next week. That is why we are always worried. We rarely think about the present.

If you practise being aware of the “Now” you will find yourself at peace and happy. Try it today. Spend some quiet time with yourself being completely aware of the present. Don’t you feel the calmness? It’s almost enlightening!

Now forget about the past and don't think of the future. Just sit back, enjoy this very moment with this song popularised by Bobby Mc Ferrin.

Don't Worry. Be Happy!

How You Can Lose Weight If You Are Not Mariah Carey

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, July 4, 2008 | Published in


Mariah Carey did it! Do you think you can do it just like her?

No, I don't mean marrying a younger man. In case you don't know, she just got married a few months back, and yes, to a much younger man. (Read my previous post Mariah Carey Married?)

No, no. no. I am talking about how my favourite singer managed to slim down to her former glory and looked all toned and fit. Even if you are not a fan, you would have seen her getting quite plump the past few years. It's not very flattering to be plump and wearing so little. But I forgave her because she made it up by singing really well.

That all changed this year. Nowadays, I am full of admiration when she goes on stage. Want to know her secret? Just read all about it at Mun's Blog.

And that brings us to today's topic. How you can lose weight even if you are not as rich as Mariah and cannot possibly afford a personal trainer who also doubles up as your chef and have a say in what you can or cannot eat!

OK, if you are a man and cannot identify with Mariah, how about reading how you can build a body like Will Smith?

Now in case you are the type of person who says you are comfortable being fat and don't have the slightest desire to lose weight, let Merqury tell you 10 good reasons to slim down.

Although I’m not fat or overweight, I know a lot of people who are. What’s more, Malaysia has the most number of fat people in the ASEAN region, and the number is increasing.

Most Malaysians attempt to slim down by going on a diet and also exercising. But they may be doing it the wrong way. Learning how to lose weight from books mainly written by authors from outside Malaysia does not really help because these books usually do not take into consideration our culture and food.

Which is one reason why I recommend this newest book called “Slim Malaysians” by Jayden Chen which I found at MPH bookstore. This book is specially written for Malaysians in mind and gives very good advice on what Malaysian food to eat and to avoid in order for us to lose weight.

And so, let me present you 5 sure-fire ways to trim those fat and lose weight.

1. Eat more frequently and in smaller portions.

Instead of eating the 3 main meals daily ie. breakfast, lunch and dinner, switch to 5 or 6 meals a day. However, for each meal, eat smaller portions of what you usually eat. The advantage of this is three fold.

Firstly, by eating frequently, you will not go hungry and therefore won’t binge or overeat on your next meal.

Secondly, by eating frequently and less at every meal, you are in better control of your blood sugar. Your blood sugar won’t suddenly spike and make you feel lethargic. You’ll be more energetic throughout the day. (By the way, this is especially useful for diabetics)

Thirdly, by eating in smaller portions, your body can make use of the food instead of storing excess food as fat in your body.

A great way is eat every 3 hours, eg. 7.30am, 10.30am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm.

Warning: You must eat much smaller portions for every meal, or else you’ll be eating more than what you did previously and become much fatter than before!

2. Do high intensity interval exercises 3 times weekly.

Instead of your usual 1 hour aerobic exercises daily, switch to high intensity interval training for just 20 minutes every other day or 3-4 times a week. When you jog continuously at the same speed for 1 hour, you will lose fat during the exercise, and that’s about it! If you start to overeat after your exercise, the fat will all come back!

In contrast, if you do high intensity interval training, you will raise your metabolic rate and your body will continue to burn fat hours after your exercise! Would you rather burn fat all the time or just during exercise?

A very simple way to do interval training is this. Let’s say you choose jogging. First you run as fast you can for 1 minute, then you jog slowly for the next minute. Keep alternating between running at high intensity and jogging slowly every minute for the next 20 minutes. You can adjust the intensity and duration depending on your fitness level. For example, if you are just a beginner, you may want to jog for 1 minute, then walk slowly for 2 minutes and keep alternating for the next 20 minutes.

Research has shown that interval training not only helps you to lose weight more effectively, it is also more efficient at strengthening your heart than if you continuously jog for 1 hour at the same rate.

You may ask, why limit to 20 minutes? Why not 1 hour? Well, the answer is simple. Because of the intensity of this kind of exercise, you cannot strain yourself too long or else your immune system will suffer. Anyway, why exercise for 1 hour when you can see better benefits for just 20 minutes?

3. Lift weight and build some muscles.

This is the BIG secret not many people know about! Most people think that weight-lifting only helps you to build muscles and has nothing to do with weight loss. How wrong they are!

Now here’s a shocking revelation – building muscles will boost your metabolic rate to such an extent that you will burn fat even while sleeping! It’s not wrong to say that the more muscles you have, the more calories you’ll burn daily!

Furthermore, if you don’t lift weight, and only do cardio and diet to lose weight, you won’t look very good even when you have slimmed down. You need weight-lifting to tone you up.

4. Eat your breakfast.

Don’t ever, ever skip breakfast. If you want to lose weight, you simply cannot afford to ignore this rule.

The reason is one, when you eat breakfast you raise your metabolic rate for the day. That helps you to burn fat.

Secondly, by skipping breakfast, your blood sugar will drop and you will start craving for sweet stuffs the rest of the day. You also tend to overeat for your lunch!

By the way, never skip any meals and remember to eat every 3 hours to keep your blood sugar stable at all times.

5. Do not eat after 8pm.

This cannot be over emphasized. Although it’s hard to do this everyday, if you can do it 5 times a week, it’s good enough.

One way is to brush your teeth right after dinner so you won’t be tempted to eat anything after.

The reason for this is any food taken in excess at night will very likely end up as fat because you are mostly inactive a night and the body’s metabolic rate also dip at this time. As such, your ability to burn fat is compromised.

Another reason you should not eat late at night is because your liver is working hard to detoxify itself at this time and you do not want to make its job even harder by adding food into your system.

If you really must eat something after 8pm, choose low calorie, easy to digest food like fruits.

Now if you seriously put the above 5 rules into practice, you will definitely see a more slimmer you. No need to be jealous of Mariah or Will Smith. You can do it too!

My Favicon

Posted by : foongpc | Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | Published in


The other day, a blogger asked me why I did not install a favicon.
Favi-what? I blurted out.
Knowing full well that I am a newbie and a complete dummy at internet and blogging, he repeated the word.
It seems that favicon stands for Favourites Icon.
OK, so I learnt something new. I didn’t even know such a word or such a thing exist! Favicon is a website icon associated with a particular website or webpage. If you are one of those who don’t know anything about favicon, do read it at Wikipedia.
Anyway, if you notice, I’ve added a favicon right next to the URL on my blog above. I used the alphabet F for my favicon for a number of reasons.
F stands for many things like ....
FOONG – which is my name of course.
FIRST – which is my first attempt at blogging, and my blog is known as My Very FIRST Blog.
FREQUENT – which is how often I try to post on my blog. Of course, the definition of “frequent” is different for different people, er, I mean bloggers. But let me get this straight out – anyone who posts on his or her blog six times a day is a total loony!
FANCY – which is what I post ie. any topic I fancy! Except topics that can possibly put me behind bars – that’s a big NO NO!
FRIENDLY – I’m friendly, and I welcome all bloggers to read my blog and leave comments! However, I may not be as friendly off line. Haha!
FACTS – I write mostly facts, but not all the time. Sometimes I write nonsense, but you will be able to differentiate between the two .... I hope!
FAMOUS – Not me, but my Blogroll list contains some of the most famous bloggers in Malaysia. Notice I said some, so please don’t be too pleased if you are in my Blogroll. By the way, I don’t like to call it Blogroll. I call it Recommended Blogs.
FANATIC – That’s me, a fanatic at blogging. Or a blogging addict. That includes not just posting blogs but reading blogs!
FREE – My blog is free to read, and you are free to subscribe and free to comment. Please do, please!!
FENG SHUI – Not that I’m an expert, but I may want to blog about feng shui in future. That should give both Lillian Too and Joey Yap a run for their money!
FAVOURITE – Blogging is my favourite past time. So is eating and sleeping.
FASHIONABLE – I definitely don’t mean my blog’s layout. I mean blogging is the trend, it’s fashionable to blog nowadays.
FARAWAY- Yes, my blog can be read from as far as England, or Africa or Mexico. In fact, anywhere as long as you can get online.
FITNESS – I’m into fitness, I like to be fit and I want to be fit. But I’m not there yet, so what to do? Blog about fitness, that’s the next best thing!
F#^K – OK, this is a bad word, but a word is still a word, bad or otherwise. You can add words to this word like F#^k-off, F#^k-up, F#^k- it!, What d F#^k?! Please do not use this word in its proper spelling on my blog because my blog is ahem!…read by children too.
But leaving comments like “This is a f#^king good post!” is perfectly acceptable.