Monday, September 28, 2009

Congratulations My Friends - MMU Convo 2009

9 August 2009 @ Multimedia University, Cyberjaya

It's been one whole year since my very own convocation. This year around, it's their turn, my varsity friends.

Since some of my working friends were from MMU also, HanChin, WoonLee and I went there together. But later on, splited as we had our own friends to meet.

First of all, my housemates - Eddie and LeongKee. Congratulations to the both of them!

Well, there are other friends that I saw on that day too.

LeongKee and JunHao

ChzeeHau - had quite a few assignments together

Daniel - the brightest guy in class

Daniel missed his convocation last year because he was offered to go to USA for some training program by CISCO. Cool Eh! He was the best student in our course weh! Hehe..



Steven, who took out his robe already.

FungJan, my secondary classmate. Was a surprise to see him there that day too.

There were few of them whom I can't meet (because their convo was on a different day) or I failed to spot them in the crowd.

Anyway, congratulations too all my friends! (though the wish is almost 2 months late now) Still, a wish is still a wish right? Hope that all of you will have a bright future ahead. Cheers! Billy, out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Burstday Cheryl!

23 July 2009 @ Sakae Sushi, Bangsar Village

This should be the very last birthday post for TM gang in this first year of friendship. I can't believe 1 year passed in a blink of an eye.

This time, we are celebrating the "big sister" in the gang - Cheryl, who is also the only Chinese girl in my department aka my colleague.

We decided to have Japanese food this time and we picked a place that's near our workplace, Bangsar Village. There aren't many people in this branch, so the service and food quality was quite good too.

promoting Sakae Sushi

We bought the same cake as we had for Eugene's birthday, the Black Magic or something. It's very rich in dark chocolate. Yummyz~

Present time! Eugene tried to prank her with a Michael Jackson CD as her gift but it turned out that she liked that CD too! Too bad Eugene...

He actually bought the CD for himself and we bought another set of CDs for her. There are 4 CDs in the box that has a wide collection of classical swing music. I'm pretty sure she loved it.

Need no further explaination, tradition continues with photo-taking with everyone present.

Cheryl and Mike

Cheryl and HanChin

Cheryl and WoonLee

Cheryl and JooLi

Cheryl and Me

And we have a special gift! It's Mr. Ee himself wrapped up with a ribbon exclusively for Cheryl. Awww, how sweet~ Haha!

Finally a group photo to mark the happy day.

24 July 2009 @ Office, Menara TM

It's her actual birthday. The office lady ordered some food and a cake for Cheryl. We had White Chocolate Hazelnut (if not wrong) from Secret Recipe. Slurpzz~

That's the last bit of it. I hope that we can continue to celebrate more birthdays in years to come. Cheers for TM gang. Billy, out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blood Cholesterol Controversy - Olive Oil vs Palm Oil

Fried Chicken! Yao Zha Guai! Roti Canai! Cookies! *drooling already*

Yes, oil plays a big role in our daily diet. And I mean edible oil, like peanut oil, palm oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, lard, butter, margarine and etc etc. Can you differentiate them? Can you tell which is the best oil to consume?

Of course, each manufacturer will definitely say that their oil is the best. Regardless of the smell, taste and price, let's look at the essential components of oil - FATS. There are 3 types of fats in each oil, namely saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

So the best oil to consume should be high in unsaturated fat and minimal/no saturated fat. This is due to the fact that saturated fat is often linked to the raise of total blood cholesterol and also the LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol) while unsaturated fat reduces LDL cholesterol and increases the HDL cholesterol (aka the good cholesterol).

You can visit Wikipedia - Cooking Oil to compare the composition of different oils.

Okay, back to my question. Which is the best oil to consume? I'm sure a handful of you would answer Olive Oil. I couldn't disagree with the answer. Olive oil is indeed high in monounsaturated oleic acid (~70%) and high content in antioxidants. No doubt at all, it has been labelled as the gold standard among all edible oils today.

There is another oil in the market that caught my attention, the Palm Oil. Do you know that Malaysia is the largest export of palm oil to the other countries? Yet, the palm oil industries is slowly fading and overshadowed by the facts stated by a few parties.
  • The United States' Center for Science in the Public Interest said palm oil which is high in saturated and low in polyunsaturated fat, promotes heart disease.
  • The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, World Health Organization (WHO), and other health authorities have urged reduced consumption of palm oil. WHO states there is convincing evidence that palmitic acid consumption contributes to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
  • A 2005 research in Costa Rica suggests consumption of non-hydrogenated unsaturated oils over palm oil.

If you look at the composition of palm oil, the percentage of saturated fat is high. So if you're just plainly looking at the figures, you may think that palm oil is bad for health. However, Dr. Tony Ng from Malaysia's Institute for Medical Research's head of Cardiovascular Disease Unit Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Nutrition Centre highlighted:
Palm oil has traditionally been labelled as a saturated fat because of its high palmitic acid content (41%). However the oil has only traces of the cholesterolemic villains, -- myristic acid (1.0%) and lauric acid (0.5%), but a high content of oleic acid (40%) and 10% of the n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid. The major fraction of palm oil consumed, palm olein, in fact has 12% linoleic acid, which is certainly higher than in the much-extolled olive oil which has less than 10% linoleic acid. The impact of palm oil on the cardiovascular desease risk profile would then depend primarily on the impact of its palmitic acid (16:0) content. He expressed surprise that WHO/FAO Expert Group concerned has chosen to ignore this.
The snippet above is cited from Wikipedia - Palm Oil. You may visit the site to read more on it.

Here is a little summary for Olive Oil vs Palm Oil:

1. Fats: Olive oil has ~70% monounsaturated oleic acid while palm oil is made up of ~50% of monounsaturated oleic acid. Studies showed that this oleic acid has beneficial effects on cholesterol but no one is sure of the amount needed by individuals. Both olive oil and palm oil showed good result in increasing the HDL (good) cholesterol level, surpassing canola oil.

2. Nutrition: Olive oil is known to have high antioxidant. Palm oil on the other hand has something extra. It contains many potent antioxidants, including beta-carotene, pro-vitamin A carotenoids and tocotreinols, a form of vitamin E. That is why the colour of palm oil is a bit reddish.

3. Flavour: Olive oil has a strong smell, so it doesn't go well with most recipes especially to us - Asian delicacies. Red palm olein however, is virtually flavourless. It brings out the aroma of the food rather than overpowering or influencing the actual flavour of it.

4. Smoke point: Smoke point refers to the temperature where a cooking fat or oil begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids. Olive oil has lower smoke point compared to palm oil. Therefore, palm oil is more flexible for different cooking style as it can stand higher temperature.

5. Price: As oil is quite mandatory in our daily cooking, using olive oil may cost a bomb. However, palm oil is about 1/5 of olive oil's price only (on average).

So next time when you're shopping for your cooking oil and you're concern about your health, why not pick palm oil. It's cheaper and healthier! Billy, out.

1. Healthy Living - Healthy Eating: Palm Oil Rivals Olive for Health Benefits, Beats it for Versatility
2. Palm Oil Truth Foundation - Olive Oil vs Palm Oil
3. Palm Olein... All the Goodness of Olive and More!
4. Cooking oil - Wikipedia
5. Palm oil - Wikipedia

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Broga Hill

4 July 2009 @ Broga Hill

Everyone has been talking about it. Many people posted photos about it. All these attracted my attention. Finally, XinWei and I decided to make a trip to this place too. It's Broga Hill [茅草山] loosely translated as Bukit Lalang.

Two cars, 8 of us met at Semenyih before dawn to hike the little hill. It was still all dark but the entrance is easily noticable with the amount of cars parked there.

We had to use flashlights to follow the tracks to go up. Going up was pretty easy despite the limited brightness we're having. In about 30 minutes or so, we reached the first peak of Broga Hill. And true to its name, lalang can be found everywhere.

The sky was getting bright when we reached the place where most people gather to enjoy the view. It's not the highest peak yet but it's good enough to take some photos all around.

The weather was quite cooling up there with slight chilly breeze. That was before the sun rise to the top.

Little boy sitting on the rock

A group photo is a must after successfully conquered Broga Hill. This time we have a special guest - a cute little doggie who is running around on the hill. [Note the owner of the dog is in the photo as well]

Me, ChinNam, Denise, DeYan, PeiSi, JooLi, XinWei, ShinKeat

After hanging around for some time, the sun slowly rises from the back of the surrounding hills. It was nice but it wasn't WOW. Anyway, we continue taking more photos while the sun was climbing to the top of our heads.

The four of us decided to take some jump shots with different difficulty levels.

Level 1 - Just Jump

Level 2 - The Buddha Jump

We had to take a few shots to get this most synchronized and best posed shot.

Level 3 - Chop the Watermelon Jump

We then decided to continue walking towards a higher peak. Some were slightly demotivated as the hill looks really high up.

When we reached halfway to the other peak, the girls made up their mind not to continue as the slope looks really steep. They might have problems going down later on. The boys however, made it to the top.

We took photo to mark our achievement and go back down.

can see the lower peak from here

As you can see the picture below, it was really tough to get down. One slip and you might find yourself tumbling downhill. We had to use all four limbs and even our butts to help us balance ourselves all the way down.

The sun was getting hot and we wouldn't want to turn into roasted pork. Very quickly, we headed back towards our cars. On the way back, we saw a big rock and couldn't resist taking photo with it.

Okay, it was only a few quick shots and down we go! The path down was steep and slippery too. It's really not advisable to come to this hill on a rainy day.

Hogging everyone behind us. Haha!

We took our own sweet time to walk down as we don't want any accidents or injuries to happen. At the same time, we were also hogging the crowd at the back of us. Oh they overtook us at one point of a time though.

We then went for brunch and bid farewell to my friends.

I'd rate Broga Hill a nice place to go if you like hiking, have strong legs, have good shoes with good grips and wouldn't mind dirtying your pants. Because other than the fact that it has steep slopes, the sceneries were nice and it's very cooling. You can probably plan a picnic up there too! [There's ample space for picnic] Billy, out.

Note: Some photos are courtesy of ShinKeat. Thanks.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Burstday Woon Lee!

10 June 2009 @ Tony Romas, Midvalley Megamall

It's birthday celebration for one of the TM gang members again! This time, we went to Tony Romas to celebrate WoonLee's birthday.

It was my first time dining at Tony Romas. I've heard praises and recommendations from people around me. No doubt, the food was good, the portion was big and the price was hefty too.

After dinner, it's cake cutting time! We had a Baskin Robbin ice-cream cake [my first as well]! It was kinda special. The strawberry flavoured ice-cream were scooped into balls and put them inside a fence of shortbread. The taste was heavenly.

Then, gift time! We bought her a camera. Not any odinary camera, it's a lomography camera that she's been dreaming of having one. Now, we made her dream come true. [check out her first few lomo attempts at Penang].

camera model who likes to model with her head

As tradition, the birthday girl has to take photo with each person there.

WoonLee and her boy, HanChin

with Uncle Ee

with Cheryl (dancing?)

with Jacky

with Mike

with JooLi and Patrick the dog

with Me and Patrick the dog

In addition to the lomo camera, JooLi and I bought her a little stuffed toy - Patrick, the red dog. Apparently, this little doggie was quite famous and I don't know a thing about it. Well, hi Patrick, now I know you! Haha..

As the birthday girl requested, I personally gave her 2 pieces of chocolates. These chocies were taken out from my treasure box inside the drawer at my office. She's lucky to get 2 of 'em.

WoonLee and her pressies

Last but not least, a big happy family photo - TM Gang. Cheers! Billy, out.
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