Getaway at Pantai Kerachut

Three months have passed since my trip to the Pearl of the Orient (Penang). I’m going to write about my little time spent at Pantai Kerachut. Penang National Park, is lesser known compared to the other national parks in Malaysia, such as the Taman Negara which span across three states (Pahang – Kelantan – Terengganu). Covering an area of 1213 ha of land and sea, it is of importance for researchers and nature lovers.

TNPP entrance

TNPP guide

I went there with a group of colleagues. We arrived on the Penang Island in the afternoon upon which we got clearance from the national park administrative before taking a boat cruise to our destination – Pantai Kerachut. The boat fare is RM80. Another option is to take the trail hike, it was just that I wasn’t feeling very adventurous on that day.

TNPP boat ride

The boat ride took about 15-20 minutes. I was mesmerised by the rock formation along the shore of the island. Nature work wonders, just like an artist, ‘carving’ the rocks into the shape of rabbit, turtle and crocodile head. The national park is also famous for its green turtle and Olive Ridley turtle conservation by the Fisheries Department.

TNPP natural rock

Pristine, undisturbed and tranquility is what best to describe Pantai Kerachut. Far away from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown.

TNPP beach

TNPP Kerachut trail

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Looking At The Sky Soothes Me

Cotton candy sky

Clouds can take form in many shapes and sizes, this was taken on a lazy Saturday morning. It is like thousands of cotton candy being made and flew up to the sky, except they are pure white, not those colourful candy we used to see in the carnival.

Well, lately I’ve been feeling quite a bit exhausted due to a lack of sleep and stress coming at me from every which way.Ā With design project deadlines to catch and having to deliver a few lectures in the past months, indeed I was being less jovial in my handling of day to day living. Like any other problems, there are always some solutions. Mine is simple, just looking at the blue sky gives me this soothing and therapeutic effect.

These were taken during my flight to Kuching. The plane hovered across the Santubong peninsula and Sarawak River.

Plane over Sky

Plan over Sg Sarawak

Plane over Santubong

These were taken on the way back to Kuala Lumpur, overlooking the Straits of Malacca and the planned garden and intellect city of Putrajaya.

Plane over Selat Melaka

Plane over Putrajaya

Sunset Langkawi

My favourite? The sunset. I like to be reminded that there is always an end to everything, sunset seems to tell me that ‘hey, it’s going to end and it’s the happiest time.’

Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer to your goal.
Elbert Hubbard

Switching from iPhone 5 to Samsung Galaxy S4

Three years of using the iOS and I feel that it is becoming a bit stale for my taste, so I decided to take a little faith and make that huge leap to Android. Mine was the Black Slate iPhone 5 before switching to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Yes, I got the Galaxy S4, white colour this time since I have never been a fan of black. I convinced myself that I am going with this “plastic” phone and ditched the metallic iPhone 5 for a change. Apple made the iPhone, which is without a doubt an amazing phone in terms of built and quality.

Here are some of my thoughts as a new Android user.

Making the Switch

After the change, I managed to worked out the kinks such as transferring my contacts, calendar and media to the new device. All I needed was a Google account to start using Android. Then I exported the contacts from my iCloud to Google andĀ used theĀ Android File TransferĀ to transfer the media to the device. Later on I installedĀ Samsung Kies (equivalent to iTunes) on my Mac to sync the device and my Mac. Hola, had the new phone set up within less than an hour. It wasn’t that scary at all, no hiccups, no sweaty palms.

The huge difference I notice is before this I have to sign up for an iTunes account and was given an iCloud emailĀ by default which I rarely use. With Android, I only have to use my existing Gmail to set up the device and was hooked up quickly to Google Play store.

Size Does Matter

All these while I’ve been depriving myself with a 4-inch display. Life is more beautiful with a 5-inch display. Anything bigger than 5-inch is just too big to hold in one hand, I can still hold and type text on the Galaxy S4 with one hand, the advantages of having longer fingers and bigger palm. As for the display, I’m satisfied with the colour though some might argue the iPhone has brighter display thant the S4. Super Amoled or Retina display, it doesn’t matter muchĀ because the standard human eye will not be able to discern the individual pixels .

Being Notified

I very much welcome the notification light on the S4. The red LED light indicates the device is charging or when the battery level is low. The green LED light indicates the phone is fully charge. When I’m doing voice recording, it shows blue. Missed calls, messages and events alerts are also indicated with LED light. Reminds me of my old Blackberry Curve 8520. This feature is very useful since I don’t have to turn on the screen, especially during a conversation or while watching movie just to check if I missed any incoming messages or calls. Thumbs up.

Lesser Taps

One thing I always complain about the iPhone is I need to go through a lot of steps to get things done. On the iPhone, you have to dig deeply into the main settings menu.

For example, I want to switch of my cellular data, I have to adjust the setting by going to:Ā Settings > General > Cellular > Toggle On/OffĀ or to turn on/off the WiFi: Settings > WiFi > Turn On/Off

The same goes to adjusting the brightness, sound and turning on/off bluetooth and location. Many redundant steps are involved. Whereas on Galaxy S4, I just have to pull down the Notification Panel from the top and just select the things I want, whether turning on or off WiFi or cellular data and even adjusting brightness. These short cuts are very convenient and handy.

Cool Stuffs

I found out the Samsung Galaxy S4 can do a lot of cool stuffs, for example answering a call with just waving your hands, pausing the video when I look away, scrolling the webpage by swiping my hands over it or even controlling the TV in my living room. Air Gesture, Air View, Smart Stay, Smart Scroll and Multi Window are packed in the device waiting for me to explore. Even the iPhone lacks the Near Field Communication (NFC). There’s an alternative, what I did was installing Bump to transfer photos by dry humping my phone with another friend’s phone.

Google Play Store or App Store

I did invest on quite a number of apps on the App Store, like Garmin StreetPilot, Tweetbot, Documents To Go, just to name a few paid apps. The transition from iOS to Android means I have to invest on the paid apps again. Nay. Anyway the Google Play Store just got a revamped and browsing through the apps are very convenient, furthermore the collection of apps are fast catching up the App Store. I would want to have Tweetbot for Android one day fingers crossed.

Customisation

What staleĀ me is the lack of customisation on the iOS. Everything looks pretty much the same starting from day one though I can arrange the apps and create folders. On my Galaxy S4, I can add widgets, arrange the apps the way I want them, customise the lock screen, choose how I want to protect the phone (swipe, pattern or PIN) and many more. Explore different features is what keeps Android so customisable.

Camera

The iPhone 5 camera is something I definitely miss. Although the Galaxy S4 takes good pictures with its 13MP camera in outdoor and under sufficient lighting, it performs rather badly in indoor and low lighting condition. The field of view (FoV) is noticeably smaller than the iPhone, meaning I would need to step a few steps back in order to capture the exact view the iPhone could. Then again, Galaxy S4 has packed in a few features in the camera, Drama Shot, Sound and Shot, Dual Shot, Panorama, Night Mode, HDR and also object removable. Plus points.

More Juice

I can whack up the juice on my iPhone 5 in less than half a day. On the new Galaxy S4, the battery life is generally better. I no longer have to plug in the phone to the charger during office hours, instead I have the S4 dock in just before I retire to bed. I think the S-view flip cover plays a role here, when the cover is closed the screen display turns black. Unlike the iPhone notification system where incoming alerts pop up and the screen lights up for a good few seconds, the S4 notification (with the S-view cover on) will only show briefly on the black screen through the view window.

What sold me?

Back in 2010, I was really taken aback with what the iPhone can offer. The iPhone is superior at easy to use on day one, but plateaus after a while.Ā I like being wowed with new features and functions. It’s 2013 now, the iPhone simply no longer suitsĀ me,Ā thatā€™s all. That said, the switch from iOS to Android is something new to me and I don’t foresee myself declining to try out devices made by other brands/powered by other OS.

P.S.: I still love my MacBook and have no plans to change it.

Want to Sell iPhone 5

UPDATE: THIS PHONE HAS BEEN SOLD ON 16 MAY 2013.

If you don’t already know, I have expressed on my twitter and facebook account that I intend to let go my iPhone 5 in exchange for an Android phone.

Sell iPhone5

Bumper

What’s the catch? Nothing, really.

It is a 32GB Black iPhone 5 that I bought in Dec 2012, 5 months old. Another 7 months warranty with Maxis. Phone is in top condition since it always stay in its casing. Asking price RM2100 (negotiable). Comes with original box, earpod, lightning adapter, screen protector and bumper (Air Jacket). Drop me your request here.

Who to vote for?

It is just 19 days away from the day Malaysians get to exercise their right to vote in the 13th General Election. Like many first time voters, I am, so to say, rather anxious as I booked my flight ticket home on the day the Parliament was dissolved.

May 5! Mark down your calendar. Take a day off, go home and vote for your country, for your community, for yourself, and for your next generation.

In case anyone of you are still reading this blog, here’s a video for your reflection. Though the title says “A Christian’s Reflection”, it does paint a picture for us all to reflect upon some of the key issues very dear to us as a nation.

Who to vote for?

We vote to ensure that our nation is guided by the ethics of respect for the human dignity and the principle for the common good.

Apart from the video, I’ve also made downloadable the 13th General Election Manifesto unveiled by the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. I am still hoping for some kind soul to do a head-to-head comparison of what both coalitions promised.

BN’s Manifesto – Menepati Janji, Membawa Harapan (Download BM, ENG)

PR’s Manifesto – Pakatan Harapan Rakyat (Download BM, ENG)

God bless Malaysia!