31 December 2010

Carnavon Street Loh Mee and Char Koay Teow

Just a short post today. It's my last day of work at my current company and I'm busy clearing things out!

Most have their favourite Loh Mee and Char Koay Teow stalls. I'm sharing one of mine, both situated under the same roof at a corner coffeeshop along Carnavon Street, near Prangin Mall.

They are open in the mornings for breakfast.

It comes with lots of pork slices and spare parts. Ask the uncle to hold the spare parts if you are not keen.

3 medium sized shrimps with duck egg

29 December 2010

Job Hunt Begins

Note: This is in the series of blog posts I wrote about my preparation to move to New Zealand. The original date stamps will give you an idea of how time-consuming migration takes. The 'New Zealand' tag will bring up all related posts.

[Originally written on 18/8/2010]

After my visa was approved, I began paying closer attention to my Seek RSS feed. The great thing about Seek is that you can save a job search (".Net" in my case) as an RSS feed, so you can be notified instantly of new openings. I noticed an uptick of relevant job vacancies, so I spent about 3 days re-writing my CV for the New Zealand market. According to my research, recruiters prefer longer CVs rather than short summaries. By putting in all the major experiences I've had along with generous whitespace, I managed to pull it up to 8 pages.

Till date I've submitted to almost 20 vacancies. I've had 2 outright rejections, and another one informing me that none of his clients will hire over Skype or video conferencing. That's the market these days - plenty of candidates in NZ itself. But a hopeful story emerged on ENZ forums last week. A fellow Malaysian managed to get multiple job offers by going on a 4 week recreational trip so I know the job market is receptive right now.

Dad has been urging me for the longest time to do the same thing - go for a recce (recreational) trip to scout out interviews, but I am reluctant to do so. What if I fail to secure an offer within that month? Will I have enough funds to go on another interviewing trip? But if I wait till next January to formally begin my 6 month hunt, will the jobs still be there?

Decisions, decisions...

[End of original post]

As I'm reviewing this post at the end of December, I'm glad to report that the jobs are still there. While there was a sudden decline last month, things have picked up again and I'm seeing many ads for hiring in the new year.

I've also pared my CV down to 6, and then 4, pages. While their preference for longer CVs remain, there's no point being overly wordy or having too much white space. I went back each time with more brutal rewrites and omissions of details I deem unnecessary. I'm quite happy with the 4 page version which conveys the same amount of fact as the original 8 pages.

27 December 2010

Second Look: Straits Quay Mall Penang

If you missed the day shots, check out my first look at Straits Quay Mall.

Have you checked out the huge Christmas tree at Straits Quay Mall? If you haven't you've only got a few more days to camwhore with it! I went back recently with Dad to capture the look at night. All photos are courtesy of my Dad. Enjoy!

25 December 2010

Pulau Payar: Trip Review

This is a wrap-up and overall review of the Pulau Payar trip I went on, courtesy of Langkawi Saga Travel & Tours Sdn. Bhd.

There are basically 2 categories of travelers - those who love long vacations (14 days in Europe) and those who prefer shorter sojourns (a weekend in Bali). Obviously you can't have too many long vacations but you can definitely afford several short holidays in a year. This is where Pulau Payar fits in - a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of Penang into more relaxed surroundings.

In honesty, your experience on this trip will very much depend on the weather (what trip isn't?). It was unfortunate that we met with rough seas on the ferry ride there. Seeing our conditions, the crew quickly distributed black plastic bags for us to puke into. I didn't vomit but I kept my eyes tightly closed and focused on how the catamaran swayed up and down.

I was still a little dazed after reaching the platform, and the fact that the platform is out in the sea and has a slight wobble didn't help. The inclement weather worsened and poured buckets of rain on us. Luckily it cleared up in 30 minutes and we had decent sun for the rest of the day.

Again, due to the fact that it rained cats and dogs earlier, the water was pretty murky and I couldn't see right to the bottom when I snorkeled. The same was true for the underwater viewing tunnel. Having been to Redang Island, I do not see as many colourful or varied corals. As of the time of writing, global warming has caused some coral bleaching. As a precautionary measure the authorities have closed off certain parts of the marine park to preserve them.

What our tour guide Jafri mentioned is true though - what Payar Island lacks in corals, it makes up for in marine life. I definitely see more fishes, and they are bigger too. When I was at Pulau Redang, I remember catching a glimpse of a baby black-tip shark at a distance and tried to get closer to no avail. But over here in Pulau Payar, you can see so many of them easily in low tide:

I would like to give kudos to the buffet lunch as well. I didn't expect such a large variety of food, and quite decently cooked too. Don't expect Michelin-star quality, but at least it's not under/overcooked, too oily, too dry, too spicy... etc. The braised lamb was tender and delicious, and the spaghetti bolognese sauce was tangy enough to my liking (meaning they didn't skimp on tomato puree). The local kuih, however, was not too my liking and the fried fish nuggets were a bit bland.

I felt much better after getting to the island - the solid ground helped me regain my sense of stability. The sand on the beach is quite fine grained, so you can walk bare-footed but watch out for dead corals and sea urchins. Jafri even managed to catch a sea cucumber (not the edible type) just a few steps into the water.

In conclusion, Pulau Payar makes for a great day trip from Penang when you want to get close to sea life without having to cross the peninsular to the Perhentian Islands. And Langkawi Saga is running a promotion for locals, so it's even more affordable for Malaysians to see a side of their country without burning a hole in their pocket.

Many thanks again to Langkawi Saga Travel & Tours for sponsoring the trip for me and and other bloggers.

Check out my other posts on Pulau Payar

24 December 2010

Pulau Payar: Marine Park

The Marine Park obviously encompasses the island and the waters surrounding it. If you are going straight to the island and skipping Langkawi Coral's reef platform, this post will be of use to you.

There is a separate RM5 charge for adults that goes straight towards the running of the marine park. Before going please verify if this RM5 is included in any fare you pay.

View of the island from the pier

The great thing about Payar Island is the sheer number of fish in shallow waters. You don't have to walk very far out to see many fishes:

Snorkeling and fish feeding

According to Jafri (tour guide), it would be even better if we came during high tide. I believe that's true. If this is what I can see in low-tide, just imagine what I might see if there were deeper waters:

OMG Black-Tipped Sharks!

OMFG even more sharks!

The juvenile sharks were swimming happily (and rapidly) among their prey. I even managed to see one shark feed on a smaller fish.

Marine Park Information Centre

View of the pier from the island

There are other things to do besides snorkeling here. For one, you could try a short jungle trek. We didn't attempt it, but at 183 steps it wouldn't be very challenging and you might get to a more secluded beach.

A short jungle trekking track is available

According to Jafri, there were a few lodgings that were built without obtaining prior permission, and so they have been abandoned even though it's finished. In a way I'm glad as this helps preserve the environment.

Abandoned constructions

Abandoned constructions

There are showers and toilets just next to the Information Centre, and life guards are on duty.

Clear waters

Check out my other posts on Pulau Payar

23 December 2010

Pulau Payar: Food Options

I didn't notice any food stalls when I visited the island, which basically means that you have to bring your own food... unless you join Langkawi Coral's packages which come with a buffet lunch. The buffet spread begins at around 12.30pm and since there was a huge crowd on Sunday, 2 buffet lines were set up and a nice variety of food was prepared.

Let's get 2 things out of the way: the food is Halal-certified and there are vegetarian set meals available (pre-order required).

The vegetarian set meals are not buffets, but there's still plenty of different dishes in chinese-style cooking to fill up even the hungriest visitor:

Vegetarian set meal

As for the main buffet, here is a quick pictorial on what was cooked up that day:

Cold tuna salad


Corn and sausages salad

Fruit and beans salad

Buns (Butter available)

Fresh vegetable salad

Fresh vegetable salad

Spring rolls

Loh Bak (5 spiced meat rolls)

Cabbage soup

Fried rice

Fried mee hoon

Spaghetti bolognese (I believe minced chicken is used)

Stir-fry vegetables

Braised lamb with green peas

Potato wedges and cocktail fried fish

Fried chicken

Sweet and sour prawns




Traditional Malay kuih

Jelly (agar-agar)

Chocolate cake


Bon apetit!

Check out my other posts on Pulau Payar