Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gathering before Leaving for Chinese New Year 2010

Here in Singapore, it just doesn't feel like Chinese New Year without going to the Chinatown, almost like the only place where you see CNY decor, the competitive screaming between the 麻薯,果冻 stalls, the squeezing crowd, and the many many 年货.

The many shops selling Chinese New Year decorations
So we, the XQ gang, meet up for dinner at a Chuan Restaurant called 老四川 to pre-celebrate 团圆饭.
Quite long time didn't have gathering with so many people d. =)

The dishes we ordered

Wow! What coincidence!!!
After the dinner, we roam around Chinatown to immerse ourselves in this festive seasons. Different from the other festivals, CNY always give me a feeling of being very very 热闹. I think that's what the chinese are very good at. =)

The Decorations at Chinatown at night
Then on our way to Clarke Quay, we manage to catch a glimpse of some fireworks, before proceeding to our night activity...
Beer at Brewerkz. =)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Boeing 787 Dreamliner High in the Sky

Woo Hoo!
After much MUCH MUCH delay, Boeing 787 Dreamliner is finally entering it's test flights.

Hope to see you in the airlines soon!


Boeing 787 soars above the clouds...

Interior of the Dreamliner
More pictures of the 787 Dreamliner here.
Boeing 787 wiki

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Renew Passport at High Comm of Malaysia in Singapore

Updated Post: 5 October 2015
After 5 years, I just recently renewed my passport at the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore.
I am surprised by the number of views this post has garnered. I am very thankful for the many useful comments from all of you, and I have consolidated them below. Credits to all who have contributed.
Now that the processes have been very much streamlined, I think I should update the contents of this post.

Malaysian High Commission in Singapore

Location:
High Commission of Malaysia,
301 Jervois Road,
Singapore 249077
Hours(Mon-Fri):
Submission: 8am - 12:00pm
Collection: 2:30pm - 4:00pm


Procedures for Malaysian International Passport Renewal
Things to prepare beforehand:
  • Malaysia Identity Card (Original & Photocopy)
  • Singapore IC: PR / Employment Pass / Work Permit / Student Pass (Original & photocopy)
  • Existing Malaysia Passport
  • Exact Cash S$66 (as of November 2016) S$66 (as of October 2015) S$84 (as of April 2015) S$124 (as of January 2015) 
  • Note: NO NEED to pre-print any form; NO NEED to bring photograph
  • Note: Cash amount subject to change according to current exchange rate. As I only renew once every 5 years, the amount posted here are based on readers' comments.

How to get there:

5 minWalk 218 m
Walk to the bus stop at Opposite Orchard MRT, Orchard Boulevard.
6 min
+7 min
Bus 14, 65
Board at Opposite Orchard MRT (09022), Orchard Boulevard in about 7 min. Alight at Valley Point Condominium, River Valley Road, 4 stops later.
7 minWalk 323 m
Walk to Malaysian High Commission.

(Google Maps link here)

Process:
Day 1-Morning (8:00 am - 12:00 pm)
  1. Exchange ID (anything except Malaysia & Singapore IC because you need it for the application) for a visitor pass at the guard house. You will receive a very much simplified A5-sized form (see image below).
  2. Queue (Counter 11) to have your documents checked and queue number issued (see image below).
  3. If everything is ok, Wait for your number to be called and have your photo taken on the spot (Counter 3-9, but only 3 camera).
  4. Submit your documents and passport and make payment. A 48-page passport now costs SGD66 (as of November 2016). A 50-page passport costs SGD124 at the time of my application, but it is subjected to changes due to currency fluctuations.
  5. Note: Although the official website says it is ready for collection after 3 working days, the officer at the counter asked me to come back the next day to collect. 
New passport renew form
New form
Day 1 Queue Number
Day 1 Queue Number


Day 2-Afternoon (2:30 pm - 4:00 pm)
  1. The next day, come back at 2.30 pm, exchange ID for pass. This time, the number on your pass is your queue number (see image below)
  2. Queue (Counter 7-9) for your visitor pass number to be called.
  3. Collect Passport and activate biometrics
Day 2 Visitor Pass/Queue Number
Day 2 Visitor Pass/Queue Number














--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I reached the High Commission at 8:45 am on a Thursday, got the number 1040. Finished everything by 9:23 am. Surprisingly fast.
The next day I got the queue number 14. They started calling the number at 2:30 pm sharp and the line moved rather fast. I gotten my new passport at 2:46 pm.
Kudos to the High Commission of Malaysia for making it so much simplified.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Original Post: 26 January 2010

With my very 1st passport expiring on May this year, I went to the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore to renew it.

Location:
High Commission of Malaysia,
301 Jervois Road,
Singapore 249077
Hours(Mon-Fri):
Submission: 8am - 11:30am
Collection: 2:30pm - 4:15pm


Procedures for Malaysian International Passport Renewal
Things to prepare beforehand:


  • Form IM.42
    Download from this site (http://www.imi.gov.my/index.php/en/information/downloadable-forms) or press HERE ), MUST print doublesided
    Alternatively, queue for the form at the High Comm
  • 2 passort photo (blue background, size:3.5 x 5cm)
  • Malaysia Identity Card (Original & Photocopy)
  • Existing Malaysia Passport
  • Singapore IC: PR / Employment Pass / Work Permit / Student Pass (Original & photocopy)

How to get there:

5 minWalk 218 m
Walk to the bus stop at Opposite Orchard MRT, Orchard Boulevard.
6 min
+7 min
Bus 14, 65
Board at Opposite Orchard MRT (09022), Orchard Boulevard in about 7 min. Alight at Valley Point Condominium, River Valley Road, 4 stops later.
7 minWalk 323 m
Walk to Malaysian High Commission.

(Google Maps link here)

Process:
Morning


  1. Exchange ID (anything except Malaysia & Singapore IC because you need it for the application) for a visitor pass at the guard house
  2. Queue (Counter 11) to have your documents checked and queue number issued
  3. If everything is ok, wait for your number to be called and submit your documents and passport (Counter 7-9)
  4. Queue (Counter 6) to make payment. A 32-page passport costs SGD124 at the time of my application, but it is subjected to changes due to currency fluctuations

Afternoon


  1. Come back at 2.30pm, exchange ID for pass
  2. Queue (Counter 7-9) for your visitor pass number to be called
  3. Collect Passport and activate biometrics

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I reached the High Comm at 8.30am, queued for ~2 hours and finished everything at 10.30am.
Came back at 3.40pm, thinking that I only need to collect, but queued for another hour just to collect my passport and activate the biometrics.
The speed.. the attitude.. Man, I'm back in Malaysia.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Complete Set of Doraemon Chinese Horoscope Toys

Bought the last 3 Doraemon soft toys just now.
The customer traffic at McDonald@NUS during holidays and term time really differ a lot. In the holidays, I can still buy all 3 toys released that week after a few days. After school starts, by the time I reached McD after work, all 3 were sold out on the day of release...

My Complete set of Doraemon Soft Toys

'11' 生肖 + 1 Cu-Pig
Anyway, I'm bit disappointed that pig was not included in the set of Doraemon Chinese Horoscope soft toys. They changed the Pig to Cupid, a Doraemon holding a heart (instead of wearing a pig costume).
Well.. They can reason that it's because this year's Chinese New Year falls on Valentine's Day that they are riding on the Valentine's Day gift frenzy. But they could have release the Cupid as a 13th Doraemon.
Which leads the wide public to speculate that it has to be because McD is afraid of offending the Malay community, or it has something to do with their Halal license.
Never expected things like this to occur in Singapore.
If it happens in Malaysia then I'm not so surprise... But here in Singapore?!?

Oh ya! Not sure about the other places in Malaysia, but the Chinese Calendars I used to see in Kuching don't even have picture of Pig, instead the chinese character '猪' is printed. As if looking at a pig is a taboo that can blind them...

Attachment: 2010 Calendar no pig.rar

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finally Got My PR IC

After waiting for waiting for 5 months, I finally received my PR Acceptance Letter at the last few days of 2009.
Went ICA last week to complete the PR formalities, but the ICA officer didn't accept my photo, and ask me to go take another one at the photo room just outside. Damn 衰 the pimple on my chin burst that morning, making me look like I have a mole on the black & white photo...
Sien... Looks like this 'mole' will stay with me for a very long time..

Timeline:
5 Aug 2009   Went ICA to apply for PR
4 Nov 2009   Waited for 3 months with no reply, went ICA to renew Temporary Employment Pass (TEP)
22 Dec 2009   ICA approved my application and sent the Letter of Acceptance
25 Dec 2009   Opened my mail box and received my 'Christmas Present' from ICA
4 Jan 2010   Started preparing the remaining documents needed to Complete the PR Formalities
        - Book appointment slot
        - Fill forms
        - Request HR to certify my employment
13 Jan 2010   Went ICA for Completion of PR Formalities
21 Jan 2010   Went ICA to collect my PR IC

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Things Once Thought Impossible are Coming to Real Life

Things once thought of as science fiction and film fantasy, were slowly becoming reality...

Although there should be some time before this technology is fully mature, taking photo with a simple hand gesture is just so COOL!!
Looking forward to seeing the MIT 'Sixth Sense' device in the market.
Then I can be like Tom Cruise in Minority Report


More on Sixth Sense Here & Here

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Can't Wait for Diablo III? Try Torchlight

After the release of Diablo II in 2000, I believe many gamers like me had been eagerly waiting for the release of Diablo III. Blizzard announced it in 2008, but year after year we see the release date being postponed. I had played Titan Quest, another Diablo II-like hack-and-slash, but none is as comparable to the Diablo series.

Not until now...
The release of

Developed by Runic Games, the veteran team who lead the Diablo project, Torchlight is a new action RPG that is bound to quench the thirst of many Diablo fans.

The Story
Set in the mining boomtown of Torchlight, built above a rich vein of Ember, adventurers and miners are drawn here, seeking the magical substance. However, Ember has a corrupting influence that had led to the fall of many past civilizations. Now, the heroes, upon arrive in town, is recruited by Syl, a sage who is searching for her mentor (giving you quests, very much like Deckard Cain in Diablo). And as the hero ventures deeper into the chambers below the mines, he has to face more dangerous monsters, and ultimately uncovers the secret behind this corruption.

The Heroes
Torchlight features three character classes.
  • The Destroyer: a typical barbarian + warrior class, skilled in melee combat
  • The Alchemist: a typical spellcaster, capable of firing blasts of magic and electricity. Most importantly, he can also summon imps and golems to aid in his battle.
  • The Vanquisher: an amazon-like character, specialized in ranged weapons. She can also use traps against her foes.
Gameplay
The interface is almost identical to Diablo. But even if you are new to this kind of games, it is easy to master.
For a game that set such low system requirements (I can even play on my laptop with a integrated graphic card), the graphics is superb. From classic dungeon, to fallen wetland civilisation, to burning lava-flowing cavern, to deep insect-crawling crypt, every single one of the level has its unique background graphic, monsters, BGM, etc..
Furthermore, the levels are generated randomly, thus giving you unlimited replayability.
You also get to choose either a wolf-like dog, or a lynx-like cat at the beginning of the game. And this loyal companion of yours will level up with you, help you in battle, carry items, and perform a variety of helpful services, such as selling your items. (no more traveling back-and-fro the town to sell unwanted items. Woo Hoo!!)
One more thing worth mentioning is the encouragement of modding. The game editor is included in the package, and with it, the modding community can create and design their own content. Download these mods from the Runic Games Forum (http://forums.runicgames.com/). But as with any modificaiton, before you try the mods, make sure to back up your existing game data - just in case anything goes wrong. =)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Celebrate an Enchanting Festive Season on Facebook Games

Everywhere in the shopping malls you see shop owners decorating their stores and offering sales and discounts to attract more customers.
Everywhere in Facebook you see developers of the FB apps squeezing their brain juice to churn out the most attractive games and applications to suit this festive season.

Here's some screen shots of two of my longest-playing FB games

MouseHunt
click here to play
The different festive mice
The Christmas Loot dropped by the mice. Can be used to craft a limited edition trap.
The different limited edition traps

And the other game from one of my favourite FB developer, Playfish
Country Story
click here to play
The different Christmas and New Year decorations offered