Minor updates on Blog-Script

Sunday, July 31. 2005

I got to admit, that I didn't spend too much time improving the basis of my blog during the last weeks. Since I moved to the Tiara Damansara Condo I didn't have too much access to unrestricted Internet too often. So editing things via FTP were not possible. I would like to have the header picture changed mor often too, but that is a vicious circle i would need some time with ftp access to figure out how to chance the script to upload new header pictures via www, but i don't have this time... Probably tunneling via port 80 might work, but no one has time to set that up for me..

So it seems, that you will have to live with the few chances I could make via www, or with the help of Sebastian and Christian M.:

  • Added Favorites-Icon
  • Installed Linkings to previous and and next articles, while reading articles
  • Added and Deleted Google-Ads
  • Installed module to sent updated sitemap to Google permanently

Btw. Made some quite interesting discoveries. The MSN Spider, which searches for new content on Websites seems to like my page. It seems like it crawled my entire image gallery. Try a search on "site:in-malaysia.de". It is getting me some 4774 results, where Feki.de only gets 1477. Seems like MSN didn't want to index Feki.de's message board yet. Searching Google I get 3400 results for in-malaysia.de and 4920 for feki.de.

I also managed to earn a Google-Pagerank. Don't know exactly how there system works, but obviously it likes, that some of my friends linked my blog. Thanks to my friends for that!

Lake Temenggor

Friday, July 29. 2005

Lake TemenggorI targeted Lake Temenggor, because I saw a report on Malaysia, and it appeared to be a spot were you would get some insights into the pure nature of the country - for sure. It was although said, that we could get some tours to the natives, but since we already had managed, to do this in the Cameron Highlands, our program was freed of the stress that we'd have to do this at Lake Temenggor. And it was a really good development - we met some travelers at the Banding resort, who talked about their journey into the wild. And it was a interesting experience for them for sure.. But their guide didn't speak any English - so they could only see.

Rainforest East-West HighwayFor us the Banding resort was just transit - so we considered the journey in getting there and away as the most important thing. And there was a lot to see. The East-West highway (which can't really be called a highway, since it is only a two lane road for most of the time) cuts deep through the rainforests of center Malaysia - before it was build the only way to get from Penang to Kota Bharu would have been to go through KL!. So it is a big advantage in terms of infrastructure, that you can travel directly now. But a disadvantage is, that now the jungle that was protected by itself can now be easily accessed by the road. So You see a lot of plantations on the way, and although trucks with loads of mammoth trees. On our way to Kuala Besut we also had a look on some parts of the Temenggor damn.

Temenggor DamnSo If you need to cross the country in the north, a short visit of Lake Temenggor is a good place for a short rest, but you might not want to spent too much time there. If you want to visit the rain forest there are most probably better spots, like Taman Negara.

Penang / Georgetown

Thursday, July 28. 2005

Beach in Georgetown Since Penang - the next part of our journey has sooo much to offer we intended to start early in the morning and arrive there by late noon. But we didn't manage to get up that early - and we couldn't find the high quality tea in Tana Ratah as promised. So Bianca and Christian decided to trade some of our time, to get some of that tea at the plantation... At least driving up the plantation was not as bad as expected - if you go slow enough, it is also not really dangerous. The lucky thing going up again, was that we saw some tea-pluckers this time. Although they are no longer plucked (only the leaves for the premium quality tea still get plucked manually) so Christian managed to get some pictures of the workers with their big scissors, which cut the uppermost layer of the tea plants.
Heading out of Cameron it was already noon.. so, if you are one of the lucky ones who get the chance to try the premium quality tea we bought - you now know what it took us to get it.

Mission sucess: Checked in!On our way to Penang I tried to make up some time at the road but this was not very successful, and probably no good idea at all - but that is a different story. Reaching Penang we already had advanced afternoon. I told Christian and Bianca to find a hotel or hostel to stay in Georgetown on our way in the car. With 3 different guide books on that island this shouldn't be a problem - that was at least what I thought. But why just book something relying on info giving in a book? So the first thing we did in Georgetown was to brose through about 7 different hotels to chose one...

When we finally checked into Cathay Hotel, it was almost 6 pm - so not too much time for sightseeing left. (Lessons learned: Next time minimize the degrees of freedom and pre-book a hotel - you might get some complaints but saves a lot of time!).

CemeteryThe good thing about Georgetown is that you can tour the most important sights in a very short time. We were too late for a tour of the Mansion of Cheong Fatt Tze, which is opposite of our hotel (tours are only given at 11am and 3pm) so the first target of our little tour through the city was the Christian cemetery, which contains the grave of Sir Francis Light, who did some great work in developing Penang to an important spot on the map. But that place was not very comfy, since it seems to be a favourite hideout for mosquitos. So everyone of us got his part of stitches..

Cathedral of AssumptionThen we carried on sightseeing and saw: Cathedral of the Assumption, St George’s Church, The City Hall, Fort Cornwallis and the Victoria Memorial Clocktower then we ended in some Chinese Café which offers space to study and reflect. Since we got quite hungry we had some Nasi Lemak on our way to Little India and China Town. There we visited first visited a Hindu Temple, ran into the opening ceremony of a Chinese Temple and went to see the mosque.

MosqueGeorgetown has one of the mosques in the country with the most historic value. So we had to visit this one of course. There we met some really friendly Muslims, and they were happy, to get a chance to talk to us about their faith. Catching up on a few issues raised in that talk will not fit into this travel story, but I will catch up on that some other time, for sure. But after this intensive talk I was really up for some beer. We got a bottle of tiger at the next 7-11 and enjoyed it in front of our hotel. There we could see the guests arriving for the health club at the back side of our hotel, which actually is nothing else that a brothel.. We although heard the story of our hotel boy. With our beers finished we left for our beds.

The next morning was scheduled to be quite with having some breakfast, and afterwards start heading for Lake Temenggor. Something we learned that morning is, that Lonely Planet is good, but not perfect. Bianca had a restaurant chosen for breakfast, and we were told be an Austrian, that it was already closed for 3 years(!). But he recommended another place, and we got decent breakfast there! Walking back to the hotel we admired the beautiful doors of some houses in Penang. round noon we then left for Temmenggor.

Cameron Highlands

Tuesday, July 26. 2005

Bianca in front of the tea plantationThursday evening we headed for the Cameron highlands. Initially I planned that we would start a around half past four from PJ. Since PJ is a little remote from KL, it is no problem to reach the North-South Highway from there. But Since Christian and Bianca didn’t manage to collect the car in time they got stuck in the daily KL-Traffic, which starts jamming the whole city after 4 o’clock. So they reached PJ at 10 to 8, and we finally started our tour at quarter past eight (Quoting the movie “Der Schuh des Manitu”: Jetzt geht jeder nochmal auf’s Klo, und dann reiten wir los!). The journey on the Highway was smooth, and not too much traffic on the road. But fun started almost immediately after the exit for Tapah. The winding road, which leads up the highlands to Tanah Rata is not much fun driving - Especially at night time. At the steep curves you won’t gain any advantage by being able to recognize the lights of oncoming traffic, and crash barriers seem not to be invented in Malaysia, yet. At half past eleven we finally hit Tana Ratah, and found our hostel almost immediately.

Tea fieldFriday we had a whole day scheduled for the Cameron Highlands, but there is more to see there than just for one day. We had chosen to take a guided whole day tour. So we started at the 9am with a visit of the smallest part of the Boh-Tea plantation

, which also included a visit to the highest spot in the area and a walk into the mossy forest. We drove a little more up the Highlands and entered the area of the tea plantation after Brinchang. The road leading up to the mountain top and the plantation was a really narrow one and Kumar our guide used his signal on every curve to signalize, that we were driving, to any oncoming car. After reaching the first fields of the plantation we got the chance to take a few beautiful pictures of the fields, and learned about past and presence of the Boh tea estate.

Our guide Kumar describing algaeOur next station was the top of Brinchang, and we were told that we would have a chance to have a view out until to the ocean (on 20% of all occasions). Unfortunately we hit the remaining 80%(!) and we could only see the nearest valley on from one side of the viewpoint, and the London tower bridge on the other one. It was still nice impression.

Heading down the hill again, we stopped somewhere in between, to hike through a little trail, were a the special features of the mossy forest were explained to us. On some points it was just too much input, and the lack of English vocabulary concerning biology and plants handicapped us a little bit, but since our guide was very patient in explaining things even a few times, we understood the most of it.

Different kinds of tea at the gift shopBack at the jeep we headed for the of the tea plantation, there we could see step by step how the tea was processed, we also now know the difference between Chinese tea, green tea and black tea - which depends on the fermentation (actually oxidation) time of the tea leaves until they are dried. After the factory tour, which didn't take too long, we had the chance to taste the different kinds of tea, and - of course - buy some of the different flavors as a souvenir. Quite a good promotion, you even pay to taste the products at the small café, and afterwards you just have to buy some since the tea is fantastic. After learning so much about the tea, and wandering the beautiful fields no one can resist in getting some of the tea for home use. But we were told that we could buy the tea later in town, too - so we decided that we didn't want to carry some tea at this time.

Before starting our afternoon tour we went back to Tana Ratah, to have some lunch there. Our guide brought as to a cheap Indian restaurant - so nothing really special for me (since I get food like this every working day at Phileo Damansara). But for Bianca and Christian it was more interesting trying different dishes.
Village of the natives hidden through treesThe main event for the afternoon was a visit to a village of Malaysia’s natives. Those natives are the Orang Asli and some of them are still living in a very traditional way. So we had a point on our tour every tourist visiting a country with jungle might want to check out - see natives, who actually survive in the jungle. On our way to the village we got some sweets for the Orang Asli kids, and of course got some mor photos on the way. Not too far away from reaching the Orang Asli village we already saw some of the kids, taking a bath in the fresh water of some river.

Bamboo BridgeTo get to the village we had to cross an interesting bridge, and on the other side we were immediately welcomed by a crowd of kids, who seemed quite happy to get our sweets. It was not yet time to stay with them or visit the hut of the chief of the village. We started for some more jungle first. Since we were now in some lower altitude, there were many new parts of the vegetation to explain in that part of the rainforest. At the end of the trail we were following appeared a beautiful little waterfall. Here we could use the fresh water to get some refreshment - and of course plenty of time to get pictures again.

KidBack to the village we were invited into the hut of the chief and had some nice talking there about the life of the Orang Asli, and we learned what they do for their living (actually they don't seem to be too ambitious - they just live from one day to the next and do only the immanent things they need to survive.) After leaving the hut we got a chance to practice the use of the blowpipe with the chief and our guide. We were not very accurate at start but only aiming on a distance of five meters we managed do hit the old sandal, which formed the target, at our later tries. The probably most exciting part was to watch the children of the village playing afterwards. We were granted time to take a look around and the kids were just cute. ("Ach guck mal is der niedlich" to quote Bianca).

More tea plantationThe way back took us through some other part of the tea plantation. We wanted to view the sunset from some view point at the southern Boh tea plantation. But the weather was not with us, and we got only clouds. At least we had some more biological insights - and who wouldn't want to see a poinsettia which grows like a tree.
Back at fathers guest house it was already late and we were really up for some dinner. Luckily the meals are really ok there, and we got some good dinner.

Back to work

Tuesday, July 26. 2005

After an eventful weekend I returned to work today. Expect some really interesting reports on our journey to the Cameron Highlands, Penang, Lake Temenggor, Kuala Besut and Kota Bharu during the next days. I'm right about to sort through the pictures and upload them step by step, but since there is sooo many of them it will just take a while. Although work seems to become quite interesting right now, since some German specialists in Sector development have moved in, and are going to aid us here, to do a better job.


Sunday, July 24. 2005

It seems like people around here are really obsessed with abbreviations. One of the first things I had to learn at Siemens where the meanings of the abbreviations for the different business departments. Speaking of those we deal with horizontal:

  • L&A – Logistics & Assembly Systems
  • I&S – Industrial Solutions & Services
  • A&D – Automation & Drive
  • SBT – Siemens Building Technologies
  • PG – Power Generation
  • PTD – Power Transmission & Distribution
  • COM – Communications
  • IBS – Integrated Business Solutions (Malaya Version of SBS – Siemens Business Services)
  • TS – Transportation Systems
  • HR – Human Ressources
  • SM – Strategic Marketing
  • CCOM – Corporate Communications
  • BEA – Business Excellence & Administration
  • CF – Corporate Finance
  • CIO – Corporate Information Office
But after becoming accustomed to their meanings it only takes a short while until you use them carelessly.. by mistake I might have used a few of common Malayan abbreviations here in my blog, too. But better late then never I will try to explain those to you.

Since there are only few major cities in Malaysia, everyone here tends to use only the initial letters to abbreviate those. Therefore we use the following abbreviations:

  • KL - Kuala Lumpu
  • PJ - Petaling Jaya
  • PD - Port Dickson
  • JB - Johor Bahru
  • KB - Kota Baru
  • KT - Kota Terrenganu

Friday – the Button Day

Friday, July 22. 2005

… or the story about casual wear in office. During the week it is advisable to wear some reasonable clothes – e.g. black trousers and shirt. As an intern not necessarily a tie. So I stick with my black trousers or my black jeans from Monday to Thursday. But Friday is casual! So finally I get the chance to wear one of my two Jeans I brought and a T-Shirt. You would not wear short trousers on Friday, since those are more than casual.. Short trousers are only adequate at the weekend, when you would usually not supposed to work. So I wear one of my jeans every Friday, enjoying the Freedom of causal Friday. Since both of them does not have a zipper, but buttons I get reminded every time at the toilet, that it is “Button-Day”.
But today it I guess I’m wearing my most valued short trouser on my way to the Cameron Highlands ;-)

FFF - F*** for Forest

Thursday, July 21. 2005

Today I read an article about an idealist Norwegian couple, who is very eager to help the rain forests in this world. But their way to achieve this is a little extraordinary. They chose to take one of the easiest opportunities to make money on the internet to raise funds - they opened a pornographic web-site. For the contents on this site they claim:

"What we do is about sexual joy, and about freedom of expression," says Ellingsen. "That's not porn -- it's people having sex together. If people would just be more open about sexuality, there wouldn't be so many problems in the world. We came up with the idea (of FFF), and we just knew it was the right thing to do."

They managed to raise some US$ 120000 yet - more to come for sure, since over 1000 people subscribed to their web site. But getting the money to the tropical rain forest areas where it is needed seems to be about the same problem my student community had raising funds for the university with a erotic nude calendar.

In conservative catholic South-America money from a project like this is not wanted by the organisations supporting the rain forest there. Although the project goes much further then the really artful nude calendar mentioned above, I think the problem relies on different opinions what kind of art/self expression/life style is accepted by the society and which is not. Would be nice to get some Malaysian oppinions on that subject.