Saturday, February 21, 2009

Appeal for a Sane Air-Conditioning

My thermometer reads: 20 degrees Celsius.

The wind howls. Who knows how fast? I wonder what is the wind chill factor like.

Most of the people around me wear jackets.

No, I’m not on holiday in the mountains around Chiangrai. I’m still in the tropics, about 5 degrees north of the equator, and I’m quite sure I’m not too far from sea level. Yes, I’m still in Kuala Lumpur.

In fact, I was in class.

It was absurd. Some people seem to be driven by the thought that more is always good, so the air-con was set to the lowest temperature and highest fan speed. Always. Mercifully, it never seemed to be able to reach 16 degrees which is the lowest possible setting for most air conditioners. I’m not joking, and I have two thermometers to do the measurements: one digital and one dyed alcohol.

I do not understand this obsessive behaviour. Some just dismiss it “kiasu” and leave it at that, but I’m more inclined to believe that in has something to do with the fact that the person who made the adjustments either do not have to stay in class or at least get to walk back and forth in class (not just for warm-up, but also to dodge the blast of Antarctic chill).

I once had a chemistry teacher who does this all the time. It was routine for her to tune down the air-con when she comes in for class; as it was routine for me to turn it back up when she leaves, if I happened to be using the same class afterwards. She claims that the cold would keep us awake and alert. Personally, I have only been able to achieve this by (in one extreme case) wearing the same amount of gear I wore in a late-autumn Wollongong (Australia) plus a thermos filled with hot tea. Minus the gloves of course. The rest of the time, I either shiver and hope that I don’t shake my teeth off its sockets (of course, what the lecturer has to say would be the least of my concerns), or get by with a jacket like everyone else.

Absurd! Absolutely absurd!

Why should jackets even exist in the tropics, other than in the mountains and in the travel shops? Why is this extra waste of energy necessary?

I will never know.

For the record, the air-con in my room is set to 28 degrees and the lowest fan speed. At my home in Kulim, I don’t even need the air-con. The tall ceiling and many windows ensure adequate air flow throughout the building. Being in a relatively undeveloped area full of green helps. Heck, I don’t always use the fan either.

Can we have a sane air-con setting please? I intend to keep my teeth and concentrate in class.

Map picture

Antarctica Kuala Lumpur

It’s so retro!

No, your eyes aren’t fooling you.

Yes, that is me with a compact camera (film, in fact), unreeling a freshly developed roll of film from the spiral. Another roll sits on the table beside the developing tank (the bucket beside the camera). Oh yeah… I’m so gonna get cancer for this xD.

Yes, I’ve mentioned this before, and now you get to see it.

Well, its fun :p

The film was B&W. Ilford Delta 3200 to be precise, and it cost me RM24 a roll. About twice the price of consumer grade film, and also twice the sensitivity compared to my dSLR’s maximum of ISO 1600. However, the camera’s tiny fixed aperture and relatively fast shutter speed negates this advantage. I managed to get a deal on a 2nd hand film SLR, a Canon so it would fit 2/3 of the lenses that I currently have. Caveat is I have to wait for its owner to get back from her studies overseas, time which I would spend throwing money at the piggy bank. Especially since I’ll need a wide-angle lens to go with it. Maybe the EF 24mm f/2.8.

Some sample shots for my first try at B&W film photography and development. These shots were push processed to ISO 6400.

Taman Connaught Night Market

  Taman Connaught Night Market

Taman Connaught Night Market Aftermath

Thaipusam Procession, Batu Caves

Crowd waiting for train to Batu Caves at Sentul Station

Other photos can be found on my Facebook account or a particular photography forum.


Special thanks to my friends for their support and concern in the wake of my grandmother’s passing. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I must have been tagged 3-4 times (2 today alone) over the past week. Sigh. I give in, here you go Ashley. Spare me.


The rules and regulations:

1. Each player of this game starts off with 15 weird things/habits/little known facts about yourself.

2. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 15 weird things/habits/little known facts as well as state this rule clearly.

3. At the end, you need to choose 10 people to be tagged and list their names.

4. No tags back!!


  1. Girls bully me and they do it often. I blame my sis.

  2. Despite EXTREMELY popular demand, I made no attempts to get a girlfriend. I spent Valentine’s day with Häagen-Dazs rum raisin ice cream in one hand, the latest edition of National Geographic in the other, and my internet radio tuned into ABC Classic FM (instead of the usual BBC World Service). So much for democracy :p

  3. I was unanimously appointed group leader for every group project handed down this semester. Maybe I should have kept quiet and sit at the back row.

  4. I spent the past several months studying how to develop film and finally did it. It was fun, but as expected all that studying was no substitute for real experience. I have learned. Experience is a good school, but the fees are high. Very high.

  5. Speaking of film, I’m in the market for film cameras. Got one reserved until the owner can get back to Malaysia and pass it to me :D.

  6. I’m thinking of “printing” photos on leaves next. Should I buy spinach for the job, or pick something from the neighbour’s garden?

  7. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, I made my 9th blood donation. My gift of life to no particular person. I think its a fitting gesture for the occasion, considering how I pay attention to all the nasty stuff plaguing society. Besides, I (plus my bro and mom) do owe blood donors a big favour.

  8. Film developers are carcinogenic, bwahahahaa…. I’m so gonna get it!

  9. One of my favourite tricks: Type out an SMS on the computer, and it gets Bluetooth-ed over to the phone and out toward its intended recipient. No more pesky keypad presses.

  10. For the CNY reunion dinner, I made Whipped Molasses Sweet Potatoes. The same dish was served during Obama’s Inaugural Luncheon. It was a hit.

  11. For some odd reason, I like looking at maps.

  12. 2 Jalur Gemilangs fly proudly in my room.

  13. My feet stinks. Foot powder, activated charcoal and all that doesn’t work. Hmm… let’s try “clean socks”.

  14. I like bitter chocolate, although milk chocolate is good too.

  15. I drink about 2L of water each day.

I’m tagging…

1. Mr. Breakthischain

Friday, February 06, 2009

Me and My Alter-ego

Valentine’s day is around the corner. Naturally, the university is holding some events to spice up the atmosphere. I signed up for a photography competition being held in conjunction with the occasion. The theme is: “Love is in the Air”. There will also be two seminars which would discuss a suitably themed topics which I have also signed up to attend.

Most interesting of all, is the speed date. I did not sign up for that, but as of this morning there are 9 guys and 5 gals on the list. Hmm… there is a bit of imbalance here… I was told there will be more girls signing up, but I’d imagine there will be more guys as well.

As I walked away, two trains of thought raced through my head almost simultaneously:

1. Wow, look at the competition. I don’t stand a chance!

2. 9 guys vs. me, going for 5 girls. Heh, they don’t stand a chance.

When I realised that, wow… talk about being Jekyll and Hyde.

Of course, then came the 3rd train of thought: Am I ready to have a go at romance again? Probably not.

Coward… :(

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