Saturday, March 28, 2009

Moore river, Guilderton

Guilderton is a small coastal town north of Perth at the mouth of the Moore River in the Shire of Gingin. It was originally known as Gabbadah, an Aboriginal term meaning "mouthful of water" until its gazetting as a town in 1951. The river mouth regularly opens and closes depending on the seasons, and alternates between a closed lagoon and a tidal estuary.The town is a popular holiday destination for Perth residents who commonly refer to it as Moore River.

See a hut at middle left of the pic? That was our destination.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sand boarding at Lancelin Sand Dunes

Lancelin is a small fishing town nestled between the ocean and sand dunes which is about an hour drive or 94 kilometres north of Perth. The town stretches along the edge of a natural bay which is protected from the Indian Ocean by outer reefs and islands. The protected waters of the bay are ideal for swimming, fishing, boating and using small watercraft and water activities dominate the town’s leisure activities.It is also the safe anchorage for a picturesque fleet of rock lobster boats, which creates a hive of activity during the day around the two jetties. The reefs provide the perfect environment for snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and wave sailing. Equipment for all activities can be hired in town. There are also many shipwrecks for the experienced scuba diver to explore. Lancelin is the gateway to a world renowned dive trail. There are 14 wrecks along the coastline allowing for spectacular diving. Lancelin is an international mecca for windsurfers due to the ideal wind and water conditions. To the east, the town is bordered by endless snow-white sand dunes, which are heaven for sand boarders, dune buggy drivers, motor bikers and four wheel drivers. Dune buggy racing in the sand dunes is a popular recreational pastime. The peaks of these sand dunes give a spectacular panoramic lookout over the township, surrounding sand hills, farmlands, coastline, islands and ocean. Around the point, Back Beach is safe for body-boarding, surfing and swimming, with plenty of hideaways for sunbathing. There is an abundance of marine wildlife. Sea lions reside on Lancelin Island and regularly inspect the activities in the bay. Lancelin is also home to dolphins that frequent the bay daily and are only too willing to show off their catch of fish to spectators. There are also huge pods of dolphins and the occasional seal outside the bay, pleasing locals and tourists alike. Birdlife and wildflowers are plentiful, with bird sanctuaries on the islands and nearby nature reserves ablaze with wildflowers during spring.
Our destiny was to board this world's largest 4wd tour coach which was tagged with the slogan 'experience is bigger than the bus itself'. Besides, we were going to learn sandboarding on mountainous white dunes white panoramic views of the beaches on the coast line of Indian ocean.
Before taking the tour coach. This is a gigantic coach about twice of my height. It's always advisable to wear sandals.
The sand here is claimed to be very fine texture in which dropping of camera accidentally can break the screen of the digital camera. The bus coach had reminded us to be extra careful in handling our camera or else you can straight away dump it into the dustbin should it dropped.
The journey began.
I was sitting next to the window. All of us were assigned to specific rows in the bus to ensure gravity & weight balance. Children were required to seat at the most back rows.
Top: The seat was like those movable kids ride in McD with spring attached on the seat. So, along the journey, you get yourself bounce up and down continuously as the white dunes was not flat of course. Bottom: Everyone was enjoying the ride, screaming loudly & holding tightly while listening to the loud musics played.
Top left: Riding on the white dunes Top right: See the tip of the dunes on the most left. We were going up to the PEAK. Bottom left: We were 'flying down' at the great height & with bouncy seat. OMG!!! Ahhhhh!! Bottom right: That was the peak that we had just gone down. Well, it was a fun experience. It was totally different from roller coaster. When the giant bus moved down, the great weight caused the the bus namely the 4 tyres to went deep into the dunes. Thus, the momentum when coming down for peak is not that speedy 'drop' but instead 'slow, slightly bend & bouncy'.
I love this picture, As mentioned, the sand dunes is located near the beaches and the Indian Ocean.
There was a lot of flying movable objects in the ocean which was suspected to be of dolphin. Well, at that point of time, I didn't know much of this place. Perhaps, it was correct~
Me and my mum~~ We stopped after some 10 minutes journey in which now we have the oppurtunity of a lifetime to learn and play sand boarding. Looked at my flying hair due to the windy conditions. Saw my initial?
The extremely bad tampered coach ordered us to make a semicircle in front of him. Nonetheless, nobody seemed to understand as most do not speak English except the young ones. This further agitated him and everyone was scared when he raised his voice. From the picture, the coach was teaching us how to hold a sand board properly usign 2 hands and how to 'surf down' the dunes.
The fist lucky person to go down was Mr. Akhbar wife. They were the sole non Chinese in our trip but this wasn't new for them. Check out the position of your leg and hands. Looking at the great height from the peak, many elderly do not have the courage to play this. Sad for them but it was understandable.
And here she slided down on the sand board. This was a great experience and was not dangerous or hard to performed. I could never forgot such experience. It was fast, simple and were like flying down.
Me on my very first time sand boarding~ Backview.. thanks jie jie for taking this photo.
Hello every one... I was enjoying my holiday to the fullest here. Between, I tried very hard to open both of my eyes as big as it can. However, the weather here was warmer than in our own country.
This was how we were arranged in the bus. I was sitted beside an uncle who screamed all the time. Bye bye. Gonna miss you!
Location? Desert Storm Tourism Tel: + 61896552550 Bookings: Tour duration is 1 hour and tours are conducted based on bookings of which a minimum number is required. (I think above 20) Tours depart from the tourism carpark in the sand dunes of Lancelin of which you can find 3 big tyres ar the entrance. Prices: Adult: $ 60, students: $ 50, children (2-14 y.o.):$ 40 (wow.. it didn't know it was so expensive) All prices including GST.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Place, Bar & Restaurant, Perth

We stayed at Aarons Hotel throughout the stay in Perth. There is a bar & restaurant named My Place on the ground floor, next to the lobby. We had complimentary breakfast daily at this place.
Just need to tell them your room number and find your seat to be served.
Each of us was given this breakfast meal consists of 2 pieces of 'salty' bacon. a hotdog (with very strong meat smell), 2 smashed tomatoes and 2 special boiled plain taste eggs. That's it! My mum cannot adapt to the salty and 'smelly' food, neither do I. We had the same breakfast the next day till we made complaint to our tour leader. Pathetic meal. However, looking to the menu, this set of meal costs AUD $ 12.00.
Each of us was given 2 pieces of bread as well. You can choose to toast it or take it as it is. Bread toaster
I never used such toaster before. We placed the bread on one side which then they will slide down passing through the heat source and come out on the bottom just like a printer.
There is a lot of variety of jems including butter and honey for you to choose to be applied on the breads. This is edible for us but 2 pieces of bread wasn't enough. Many elderly choose not for the set meal but opt for a change to breads. Pathetically, only additional 2 pieces of breads on top of the current 2 were given.
Coffee is an essential drink for Western people. They drink it like the plain water. Despite not a coffee drinker, I did drink for the sake of trying the different taste of the West. It do seems better.
Besides coffee, there is wide variety of juices including FRESH AUSTRALIAN milks. Due to my cough condition, I did not try any but do have few sips from my mum drinks although continuously being told not to do so. Fruit juices include tomato (the Western favourites), orange, apple and mango. It is all free flow.
This is the sideways dining area close to the washroom. As mentioned, this is a bar as well which of course open at night time. Spotted this man cleaning up the bar area early in the morning. WINES!! Managed to grab his photo. Nice pic~ The setting of the place. Almost all the hotels are equipped with a bar & restaurant type in which extended to the walkways. View from outside the walkways.
Took picture with the bus driver cum tour leader. In most of the Western countries such as Australia and UK, the bus driver has double tasks which also act as a tour leader. It isn't easy to explain and introduce places to the tourists and at the same time focusing in driving.
Wednesdays Wednesday nights are DJ nights with fantastic cocktails.
Karaoke If you enjoy a sing along to some of your old time favourites, or a dance to popular new music, drop into My Place on a Friday evening from 8pm. Bring your friends, or come on your own - the name of the game is having a good time!
DJ Night Get ready to have some fun! Come on down to My Place on a Saturday evening from 8pm and enjoy the music provided by a DJ who plays YOUR songs.
Special; Wednesday cocktails
Wednesday evening drop into My Place for some great $7 cocktails. There will be a live DJ, so you can dance the night away with your pina colada, harvey wallbanger, Singapore sling or toblerone. Special: Karaoke deals
While you are singing your heart out every Friday night enjoy the fantastic specials. Cocktails, Jagerbombs and Vodka Red Bulls are all only $7. It’s all about having some fun so bring your mates or work colleagues.
Prices of some food: Breakfast: Continental Breakfast: Toast with Jam, Marmalade, Vegemite or Honey Cereals, Fruit Juice, Coffee and Tea, Fruit Salad and Yoghurt ==> $12.00 Basic Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs, Sausage, Tomato and Toast ==> $12.00 Full Breakfast: Toast with Jam, Marmalade, Vegemite or Honey, Coffee, Tea and Juice, Grilled Tomato’s, Baked Beans, Sausage, Bacon & Eggs, Hash Brown ==> $18.00 Mega Breakfast: Continental and Full breakfast ==> $25.00 Starters and snacks Garlic & Herb Bread ==> $7.00 Turkish Bread: With olive oil, Olives and dukkah ==> $10.00 My Place Bruschetta: Chopped Tomato, red onion, Basil, Feta Cheese Crumble, lightly Grilled on Garlic bread ==> $10.00 My Place Mix plate: Selection of Tapas, Artichoke, roast capsicum, feta, marinated olives, chorizo sausage, Turkish bread, olive oil and balsamic glaze. ==> $20.00 Nachos: With fresh salsa, melted cheese and Guacamole dip. ==> $15.00 Main Old Fashioned Fish & Chips: With Beer Batter and Salad, Tar tare sauce ==> $15.00 Seafood Platter: A selection of deep fried Seafood and fresh whole Prawns served with Chips& Salad And Tar tare Sauce ==> $24.00 Fish of the Day: Grilled as is or with Lemon Pepper Crust, Chips &Salad or vegetables ==> $20.00 Grilled Salmon: with a balsamic glaze on a bed of mash Potatoes plus steamed Vegetables or fresh Salad. ==> $29.00 Chili Mussels Napolitano: Tomato, herbs, Garlic and Chili sauce, Turkish bread And mayonnaise on the side ==> $20.00 Pasta of the Day: Chef’s freshly made pasta ==> $17.00 Burgers & Sandwiches Grilled Chicken Breast pieces with Cheese, Salad, Mayo and Chips ==> $12.00 BLT: Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and mayo with Chips ==> $10.00 Chicken, Bacon and Cheese Foccacio with Chips ==> $12.00 Ham, Cheese and Tomato Foccacio with Chips ==> $12.00 Steak Sandwich: Steak, Grilled Onion, Iceberg Lettuce, Tomatoes, Beetroot With Tomato Relish or Aeoli and Chips ==> $12.00 American Style Cheese Burger: Big Beef Pattie, double Cheese, Pickles, Onion Jam & Ketchup served with chips ==> $12.00 Pizza Margarita, $20.00, Seafood $25.00, Meat Lovers $25.00, Continental $25.00, Chicken $25.00 How to get there? Address: 70 Pier Street, Perth Western Australia 6000. Phone: 08-92556665 Sources: 64

Monday, March 23, 2009

UCSI University: Fee increment is just a rumour!

UCSI University
Another rush hour day. I slept very late the day before but not going to reveal here. I had earlier set my alarm to 7.30 am and multiple alarms in my handphone with different times. When I first opened my eyes, I smiled at myself for having a nonsense dream and happily looked at the alarm clock. It was 8.40 am. Oh…WHAT@@!! I had an important appointment with some others at 9 am. Gosh! I will be surely late! And the person I was going to meet was not a simple but a high rank person in UCSI University which was the Vice President for Academics, Prof. Kwan. For some unknown reasons, I finally uttered the word ‘shit!’ accidentally.
I reconfirmed to myself. Was the appointment at 9 am? Yea.. it was.. and without further delay, I rushed to the washroom and quickly bathed. I do shave and the ‘fast and furious’ movement caused some bleeding. I guessed I seriously need an after shave cream/oil but the price at Watsons is about RM 20 for a small tiny bottle. Next, I was about to call Han Boon but he managed to call me instead. A salute to him for being calm to know I just woke up and with a nice tone, he told me they will be going up first. We were planning to meet Prof. Kwan to hand in our petition on the passing rumours about increment of the tuition fees which was about 10% or nearly 2K increment. However, the petition letter signed by all students was with me at condo. It was great attitude shown by Han Boon which never can be easily learnt by the rests. He is indeed a good class rep and a good leader as he was the one who plan and lead the group of 11 (but turned out to be 8) to voice up the dissatisfaction from the fellow friends. Again, a big courage and determination were needed. I speeded from condo to university assuming that I was in the final lap of a 4 x 100m race. When I reached to the 3rd floor, I was greeted by the receptionist who then asked me to enter a room she pointed. HUH.. How did she know who I wanted to meet? Then, I saw all of them waiting quietly in the Prof. Kwan room. I was so relief that I wasn’t late at all and started chatting around to cheer up the tense moment. About 10 minutes later, Prof. Dr. Kwan Teck Kim and his aide, senior assistant Mr. Abu Bakar Jalaluddin, Senior Director, Academic & Corporate Legal Affairs came in. It was the first time I meet both of them and they greeted us nicely. After an introduction about us led by Han Boon, he then pointed out 3 main issues for the meeting which was the confirmation of fees increment, petition of increment should it was real and the improvement of facilities. Mr. Abu Bakar was the one who answered most of the questions as he seemed has more experience with the university than the newly promoted Prof. Kwan. He then assured all of us that the increment of fees was just irresponsible rumours of which the university is finding its way to track the people that spread it out to the rests. Accordingly, any fees increment procedure involves duration of a semester of 4 to 6 months before it is implemented. At such, the university will open its ear to feedbacks from various parties during the period before a final decision is made.
In addition, Mr Abu Bakar also acknowledged us that increment is necessary and can’t be prevented in the current economic crisis faced by the world and Malaysia as well. He told us that CPI in Malaysia was 8.0+ in the last month. THAT shocked me as the highest so far that I knew was 7.6%. He also highlighted on the increment of transportation costs as well as the many costs covered by the university since the 5 years back when no increment was implemented. However, the university survived and managed to not put the expenses to the students’ fees. So, few of us addressed on the concern on the increment which might not be able to borne by our parents. Besides, the Marketing and Finance Department had earlier reaffirmed to most of the students that they will pay accordingly to the figure stated when applying entry to this university and any increment will be imposed to the new batches. At such, Mr Abu Bakar acknowledged that increment is an unavoidable event BUT he assured that increment will not be too fast or the coming 2-3 years time. He told us that many from different faculties do face the similar problems and some had some evidences with parents EPF and financial constraint to him as well as others. At such, the university despite is a business will not want to see nay dropout just because of such issue and will try their best in finding a solution. He acknowledged us that anyone of us can meet them personally should they face any difficulty regarding with finance provided with genuine evidences. However, they can look into your problems BUT do not guarantee any definite solution. At such, with the examples given by him, I found the university still considerable OK as they do look through the problems faced by the students. Well, almost ALL private institutions are money sucking as people claimed but the extent is the major concern. Some voiced out on the lack of lab equipments such as tabletting machine, HPLC, Coulter Counter and etc. Wow.. the list was so long. Both Prof. Dr. Kwan and Mr. Abu Bakar agreed that the issue was not something new and they will look further into the issues. He even asked us to write detail problems with the facilities and give recommendations to purchase a newer one that deemed suitable together with the model number. At such, some pointed out that we need to share and waited very long to perform our experiment which was then countered back with the fact that anywhere you went, you still need to share. As for me, I do not know why they asked for increment of so many lab machines. For example, what are the benefits for having two Coulter counter machines? It is a matter of time preferably an hour wait before your turn to use the machine and you can save few hundred thousand with the wait. Is that significant? As for HPLC, as Dr Gabriel had mentioned, we considered very good as the most owned was USM with 4 such machines. On top of that, we are not going to use them all the time but preferably one or two for the whole 4 years. Although, any additional machines are good for us. So, I voiced out on different views. I stressed that if the increment is justified with good facilities and services, the students will still object but it will be a minority voices. I will pay for the good ‘lecturers’, good lab machines and good overall facilities of the university WHICH are not seen yet. In addition, I enlightened them with the high parking rates, difficulty in finding parking, lack of books in the library, no time restrictions for printing use due to stupid uncivilized students printing their whole semester notes spending about 1 hour with the printing, lack of sports facilities eg the basketball/badminton court and the stupid high fees charged by the university bus service. The response was the RM2 paring rate was unavoidable to the claimed ‘security, insurance fees & etc’. Wait.. I thought PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK. Since when the parking is covered by insurance? The issue wasn’t new to them and there might be multistory car park on its way soon. MIGHT… and can you think how much the parking rate will be? The current burden was to climb up hills burning a lot of petrol and then climb down on foot for some distance under the very hot sun. Should there is a multistory packing which is good but unsure the rate yet, one might take at least 15 minutes to travel up by car and down by foot with confirmed sweating~ Regarding on book issues, each and anyone of us is required to purchase textbook by your own. The reason there is only roughly five books per title is to provide various references for students. Should students need increment of text books, you must bring up the issue during your own school’s board meeting. Regarding about the abandoned field or better known to be used by the Africans and some Malays from A Level, there is a suggestion to use some part of the field as parking bays. However, this is in process of greeting agreement as driving on the green field will cause distortion and damage the structure of soil as well as plants. On bus services which charge abnormally high than the outside provider, please forward to the Logistic Department. They forgot about my suggestion of 15 minutes time restrictions on the use of printing. Anyhow, it is not related to the Academics Department. Conclusion. No further increment as for NOW. Increment is unavoidable in near future but the university reserves the right to do so as stated on the disclaimer on the brochures as well as the fees schedule. If you have the letter from DVC on the promise of no further increment, keep it safely as it might be useful. Regarding on improving the facilities of the school, there is new division headed by Mr. Shanker Sathivellu, Senior Director, External Communications & Quality Assurance. The scope of this department is to evaluate basically everything in the university as ‘check and balance’ which is going to ‘audit’ the university and wherever necessary, provide suggestions for improvements. Messages from both Prof. Dr. Kwan and Mr. Abu Bakar; ‘Stop the rumours!’. In another point of view, such meeting was absolutely good as one can voice up their dissatisfaction, opinion, problems and etc. to the university so that their issues will be looked into. I am not sure about other university regarding about meeting with a senior personnel in the university. As for UCSI University, they do take the opinions from the students but whether they will implement the suggestions are totally depend on their judgment.
UCSI University
Photos from: UCSI University official website
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