November 21st, 2013 / No Comments » / by Bee
Have you ever seen a Rangoli? Rangoli is an Indian sandpainted design often seen in Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Rangoli can be any size and can use a wide variety of materials. Most of the time I see it made with colored rice.
A few years ago I had the chance to see how Rangoli was made. It was our University’s light festival and a bunch of students gathered together to create this beautiful artwork. It took a lot of preparation… and hours of intricate work to come up with beautiful rangoli designs. As soon as they were finished, the Rangolis were left on the floor just like and that. No warning sign were made to warn people of their existence. I thought that perhaps since they’re so beautiful and big… people would’ve notice and would try to not to walk all over them.
I was wrong. Not a few minutes later a bunch of students walked all over them, destroying these beautiful artworks in matter minutes. As I watched this happening,I wonder if those students who made the rangolis should’ve put up a notice to make people aware of their artworks?.. and then I noticed some of the students did see the Rangolis… but they just didn’t care!
A few lessons were learned that day :
The first lesson is, if you are on top… you tend to not see what’s below you. Sometimes, people just stare up ahead and they forgot to see what’s around them. Don’t make this mistake. In life, you should be aware of your surroundings. Look around. Appreciate beauty and kindness… and if you’ve climbed to the top of the mountain, don’t just spend too much time staring at the sky. The sky may be beautiful and blue .. but there’s a vast beautiful world below you. Look down. You might see beauty. You might meet new friends. You might discover new things.
The second lesson is to know that awareness is important. If you are doing something, make people aware of what you’re doing. Especially if it is something important. Don’t just leave your work on the floor for people to walk all over it. Put up a sign. If you value something, make sure that you let people know that you value it. Like ‘time’ for example. You may hate waiting around for people. So let them know. If you don’t, people wouldn’t know that you value it so much and will unintentionally waste your time.
The third lesson, sometimes, you will meet people who just don’t value things. These people could see beauty and not appreciate it. They will see injustice done and not do anything about it. Not because they can’t. But because they just don’t care. Avoid this people. They will bring you down. …. Also make sure you are not one of these people. Not caring, is the worst thing to be in this world.
Choose to be aware. If you are not aware of the world around you, it would be hard to be grateful.
November 20th, 2013 / No Comments » / by Bee
How to be happy? A lot people seem to know what happiness is and how to find it. We have these weird ideas that the only way to find happiness is by achieving all the things we wanted to achieve when we were younger. Some people want to be rich. Some people want fame. Some people want love and friendship. Those are the universal image of what happiness would be like. But happiness is trickier than that. Usually we would come to a point where we realized we have achieved everything that we thought would bring us happiness and we are still unhappy. Why are so many rich people unhappy? Why do famous people kill themselves? Why do marriage fail and friendship broke apart?
Most of us have a misconception about happiness. But it is not our fault. We were raised to believe that happiness is closely related to what we can achieve, what we have and the people we know. When the truth is, true happiness should come from within ourselves. Not from things… or other people.
The easiest path to happiness is to be grateful for the little things that you do have. If you complain a lot, you don’t have time to be grateful. If you’re grateful you don’t have time to complain. Let God deal with all the monkeys and politics in the world. Concentrate on making our lives better from the inside.
But really, it’s easier said than done.
Take a breather. Stop complaining about things you can’t control. Eat slowly and choose happiness.
Also visit the Gratitude Project.
November 18th, 2013 / No Comments » / by Bee
I attended the first ever GDG DevFest in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. It was an event sponsored by Google and Sabah State Government held in conjunction with Sabah ICT Month and DevFest Season 2 2013. The tech talks covered everything from Google Communities to the latest trends and technical knowledge in Android, Google Cloud Platform, Google Chrome, HTML5, Google Maps API, YouTube API and other Google developer APIs.
I am not going to go into much details about the DevFest. So let me just highlights a few new and interesting things to check out. Google’s Goggles! Have you ever heard of it? Running on image-recognition algorithm Goggles is an Internet search feature that bypasses keywords for camera snapshots instead. In short, it’s a type of image search. Let’s say you’re wandering in foreign land and saw a very familiar looking landmark, but you can’t quite remember the name of the landmark. Snap a picture and then let Google’s algorithms do the brainstorming to figure out whatever it is that you see.
Google eventually wants the app to be a universal visual search tool. But Goggles is still in development, like any major technology… it need some major fine tuning. For now, Google emphasizes that Goggles works its magic best on iconic sights, such as landmarks, book covers, bar codes, wine bottle labels, corporate logos and artwork. Sebastian did a short demo with Goggles at GDG DevFest KK. Apparently, Goggles could take an image of characters written in foreign language and translate it with Google Translate! How cool is that? No more getting lost when travelling in China! Not impressive enough? How about solving a Sudoku Puzzle for you?
That is SICK! Right? But in a good way! I am really forward to test this out in the near future and see how fast this the recognition algo is! Interested? Android devices running Android 2.2 and above can download Goggles from Google Play. iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 devices with the Google Search App.
How many of you uses Google Apps? Gmail is just one of the of the many Google Apps out there. Perhaps you’ve also heard of Google Calender, Google Docs, Google Sheet and Google Slides. But how many of you actually use these free technology to make your lives better? I used the Google Sheet as a data sheet and used Google Form as a data collection form to store METAR Data. They’re stored in my Google Drive and since they’re in a cloud I don’t have to worry about losing them, ever. I could also collect data when I am on holidays without having to remotely connect to my computer at work! How sweet is that?
There’s also Google Sites. Google Sites is an easy way to create and share webpages. It offers single-click page creation with customizable look and feel plus dozens of pre-built templates complete with settings for accessing and sharing information. And it’s free!! Now you don’t have to be a web-designer to be able to get beautiful and functional website. You don’t have to worry about web hosting or domain hosting… you can get it all for free by using Google Sites!! Pretty amazing, right?
There are lots of cool stuff to write about the event but of course I don’t want to bore you with boring stuff. Suffice to say if you haven’t tried any of Google’s Apps mentioned above go ahead and check them out now!
Anyway, I wanted to talk about Ingress too. But let me save that for another day. ;p
November 18th, 2013 / No Comments » / by Bee
We were suddenly aware of something heavy sort of grabbing on to our tuk tuk from behind and having read too many travel blogs / journals on the internet, my first thought was.. is it a monkey? Or maybe snakes falling from trees? How non-Asian of me right? But I could swear that I have seen a video of a snake falling on top of a cab somewhere on the internet! and being in a foreign land and in a foreign environment… I immediately assumed the worst! But of course it was none of the above… it was this crazy skateboarding dude…
Apparently he traveled around on his skateboard and he latched on to tuk tuks when he got tired. I thought it was cool that he could move in traffic without being ran over by a truck or something. I mean, really, the traffic in that part of the world is just INSANE! Malaysian drivers couldn’t stand a chance against these crazy drivers in Cambodia! If someone had given me a car for free there, I would decline and choose to walk instead. That’s how the traffic there scared the living daylights out of me.
But anyway, why am I writing about this person? I don’t know. But something happened to me back then; looking at the crazy skateboarding dude maneuvered his way through traffic I felt a new void suddenly revealed itself in my chest. A feeling of loss that I can’t quite describe. There I was staring at the back of a person who was living on the edge of life and he was living it however he wanted… I was envious. I saw the edge right in front of my eyes and knew that it was not for me and knowing that left a black void inside my soul.
November 16th, 2013 / No Comments » / by Bee
I didn’t write yesterday because I was too busy to think about what to write.
I am sorry. I missed a day.
I will make up for this next week.
November 14th, 2013 / No Comments » / by Bee
Recently I’ve been looking for a budget place to stay in Brunei and I am amazed to find out that it is absolutely hard to find a budget accommodation in Brunei! Hotel rates ranged from 60BND to 400BND. More than the normal rate I am willing to pay when I travel.
So, I went to Tripadvisors. Many recommends the Youth Hostel or otherwise known as the Pusat Belia Youth Hostel. It is a highschool-like dorm facilities that is a favourite among travelers looking for a cheap place to stay. Unfortunately the hostel is closed for renovation until further notice. Some say it will open in 2014 but I have tried contacting the dorm supervisor to confirm its availability and received no replies. T
The second budget accommodation recommended by travelers is K.H Soon Resthouse that only take reservation inquiries by e-mail. But the problem is, the e-mail address is non existent. I suddenly have a bad feeling about this one because what kind of business are they really running? They build a website and they didn’t even bother trying to update their website with relevant information. Even looking at the garish red they decorate their website with gives me the creep. Plus they don’t put any photos of the rooms or the resthouse anywhere in the website.. it is highly suspicious. I mean I have had my share of walking into rooms that look nothing like the pictures shown in their website, I wonder how this resthouse really look like if they are not even bothered to upload a picture? *shudders* I bet they have bed bugs!
There’s also Nazira Guesthouse. But the rate is between 90BND and 150BND. I may be okay with this but my travelling companions is rather reluctant to pay what they described as a price of a decent hotel in third world countries. So I am all out of cheap options. Right now I am thinking about settling for the cheapest option possible which is to crash at my family’s place. But that also makes me think twice about going to Brunei because the reason why I searched high and low for a place to stay is because I don’t want to consider the last option.
So what now? Couchsurfing? But that would be the same as taking the last option…. I am stumped.
Looking at this from a business point of view, I think that if there’s a chance of getting a cheap run-down commercial or none commercial property in Brunei, there’s some good money to be made by targeting the tourist industry in this country. But of course one has to consider the fact that there might be no hope for a booming tourism industry in Brunei. What do travelers do in Brunei anyway? Stalk the royal kids? I don’t know.
November 13th, 2013 / No Comments » / by Bee
I don’t listen to the radio and I don’t really watch the telly. So it is very hard for me to stumble upon a new song. A friend shared this on FB and it really caught me. I’ve been listening to it a lot. It’s about a guy warning a significant other about his demons (flaws).
We all have our demons. Sometimes we just can’t see that underneath everything else, everyone is struggling in their own battles.