Archive for the ‘places’ Category

October 28, 2013

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

After much convincing from my wife, I finally brought the family to a supposedly ‘educational theme park’ in PJ, called KidZania. And that was only after I got an earful of ‘wonderful stories’ from my wife relating to experiences other kids from the neighborhood had at that place, and how they’ve learned so much about so many great things et al, that they probably averted from going to jail in the future. So I was like, ok let us go there already and there we were.

One thing’s for sure about this KidZania – it’s not as great as the housewives boasted it to be. One thing I learned after visiting this place – is not to be so stupid again. I mean, what a fucking rip off! Everything there is so goddamn expensive! From the entrance fee (parents have to pay 35 bucks per pax just to watch their kids, how about that??), to the food – everything is exorbitantly priced, to the ridiculous level that your great grandparents probably won’t forgive what you’ve paid for some fucking finger food! And all that for ZERO fun!

Initially, I thought this place was like, a bunch of kids role playing in a big carefully coordinated system, you know, just like Dungeon and Dragons or some shit like that (the real RPG stuff, with costumes and all). I imagined my daughter is probably gonna go in there holding a pitch fork playing a part in killing some nasty ass dragon in a pre-arranged plot and come back here to tell all her friends about that rewarding experience. But it was nothing like that (damn… I know, I should have researched about this place before agreeing to go there). The whole thing is actually a bunch of pseudo corporations/companies put together to – allegedly – give the kids some opportunities to experience ‘work’, and learn the concept of earning some moolah to be better in life. Yeah, right… like they won’t get to learn that evarrr, if they do not visit KidZania. Eventually, every kid grows the fuck up and forced to grasp the concept of earning moolah, so this whole thing is just a hokum about being ‘educational’.

And then, there are only a handful of ‘line of work’ available for the kids to choose from. Insurance agents, postman, fire fighter, policeman, you name it. Some of them are age restricted so, that pretty much limits kids under the age of 8 to just some crappy choices. What’s even more frustrating, is that the whole place is so damn crowded, that one has to queue up for ages to ‘get a job’. People are flocking to this place and it’s out of control, so bad that it kinda also makes me wonder what’ll happen if there’s a real fire breaking out in that crowded space full of wild kids? With the pandemonium already going on and the fake fire sound effects blasting from the loudspeaker for the fake ‘fire brigade practice’ – chances are high that most people will get apathetic to any potential danger going on.

The whole thing just doesn’t work for me really. None of ‘line of jobs’ are realistic anyway. Like I said, they’re pseudo, nothing close to the real thing. If you seriously want your kid to learn to do some useful stuff instead of say… playing, just pay that little shit 5 bucks to wash the family car (I’m sure they’d be more thrilled to earn real money), or just observe in a fucking post office for a couple hours. Or perhaps like me, you can subscribe to some documentary channels on your satellite TV, and force them to watch programs like ‘How do they do it?’, ‘Pawn Stars’ or maybe even ‘Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe’… you’d get better value for your money than visiting this shithole that is charging you your hard earned money for something which we can see everyday everywhere.

My Regine – she wasn’t at all impressed with the place either. Instead of enjoying herself, she wanted to bail after only a couple of hours inside it (much of it spent queuing and wandering around the thick screaming kids). When asked, she said it was alright – but we knew she said that just to show her appreciation, and to make us feel better about bringing her there. But deep inside, I know, she hated the place as much as I did. We brought her to the hotel pool the next day and she didn’t want to leave the pool. And that action, speaks louder than her words. A soak at the pool is much better than going to KidZania.

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July 18, 2013

Escape Adventureplay Theme Park, Penang.

I’m sure most of you have probably heard of ‘Escape Adventureplay Theme Park’. It is the first theme park in Penang (like, big fucking deal). At first, I was like “Meh…”, but after a visit there yesterday for a ‘Company T’ teambuilding event, I am now like, “WOW!”. I had a blast there. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed an outing so much.

First of all, I’d like to stress how glad I am to learn that this first theme park in Penang is such an awesome place. It would surely break my heart if Penang’s first theme park were to be some sissy ass place like that Legoland, Lost world of Tambun or some shit like that. This is a theme park made of creativity and pure fun! Just how fun it is? Well, the easiest way to gauge the fun level of any place, is by measuring the number of times you whip out your mobile phone (to kill time). The more times you whip out your phone, the suckier the place is. And at Escape, my colleagues and I could have gone the whole day without a phone! (if not for the compelling need to whip it out to record some crazy ass videos!)

If you don’t already know, the whole place is sort of like an eco theme park, and everything is close to nature (I like that idea very much – it reminds me of the greener Penang back when Teluk Bahang hadn’t had that damn dam yet). There’s one part of the theme park called ‘Monkey business’, a place where you’d spend most of your time doing what monkeys do best – climbing, balancing and go from tree to tree, through creatively designed obstacles. ‘Monkey business’ is all about ropes, nets, cables, zip lines and tricky steps. Think of it like, being in ‘Prince of Persia’ in real life, with obstacles on trees. Divided into 3 levels, 1 being the lowest and least difficult, to level 3, the most challenging of all. I could only complete level 1 and part of level 2, before I go all exhausted and bent out of shape. Suffice to say, one has got to have a reasonably fit physique and stamina to be able to tackle level 1, 2 and 3 all in 1 go. I now know that I am far from that category of a person. (if you have Acrophobia – extreme fear of heights – this is probably not your shit even if you’re fit).

For those who want to look for a respite from all that climbing, balancing and having to deal with vertigo inducing heights in ‘Monkey Business’ section, they can opt to take an unrestrained glide down a reasonably high slope on a tire, called ‘Tubby Racer’. This is a ride that’ll shrink your balls if you have them. I did a round in this section, and I learned about the dreadful feel of losing control over something you ride on at high speed. Wasn’t really a great feeling but, the adrenaline rush was massive. If you have heart problems, stay away from this thing, otherwise – I’d recommend to try it once. Then there are some other areas with more climbing & balancing, one with only pure zipping across high altitude above the trees, one that regulates a free fall from the height of a 8 storey building, et al. Didn’t get the chance to explore them all, due to the exhaustion from proving myself too damn much in “Monkey Business”. Also, there’s a section for the kids too, but I wouldn’t recommend bringing kids there – because it’s simply not worth the fee, which can be quite pricey (Google for the price).

All in all, it’s a great place to be if you’re into climbing, nature and something different. You’d spend the whole day here, and sleep the whole night well. You’d get muscle aches, blisters and bruises, but it’s worth it. The 2nd phase of the theme park is in construction now, and it’ll be a water based theme park – which I’m sure will make the place even better. I just hope they’d be able to sustain this place of attraction well, and Penang will surely get a shot at being one of the greatest place for eco-tourism…

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November 6, 2012

Langkawi Island

Went to Langkawi for the 5th time last weekend, and thought I ought to write a review about this place.

First of all, the very reason I went there again and again, is because of the booze. It is a duty free island, and the booze there is like, many times cheaper than anywhere else you can ever find in Malaysia. So naturally, miscreants who are looking to get shitfaced like me and my colleagues are attracted to it like flies to a rotten corpse. And a rotten corpse is coincidentally, a right metaphor to describe Langkawi, for it is nothing but a shithole (albeit not as fucking bad as Pangkor Island).

Recently, there has been news about the government wanting to turn this place into a world class top 10 tourist destination or some shit like that. Well, world class my ass. I don’t know how they’re going to do it. To me, it’s like making a bold claim of wanting to turn one of the most heinous looking old hag in your office into a Miss Universe finalist. I guess this will only happen if Langkawi were to be pitched against shittier places like Somalia or a patch of desert in Afghanistan.

Langkawi has literally nothing there. Trust me. I’ve been to all the tourist spots there – most of them suck donkey cock. Most of them are poorly maintained and holds little or no entertainment value at all. Examples:
– There’s an aquarium that looks like the old Pudu bus station (minus the Banglas).
– There’s a hot spring place that has dead water and shit floating around, that looks more like a massive breeding ground for mosquitoes.(photo proof)
– Shitloads of seedy & run down eateries that charge exorbitant prices for bland tasting food.
– A few waterfalls with garbage strewn all over and rotten amenities. Eco tourism fail.
– A small crocodile farm that looks like a red light district for terminally sick animals. (go to see it for yourself)
– A go-kart circuit that looks abandoned.
– Sight-seeing around the island will reveal a giant cement plant that looks out of place, and a giant landfill with incinerator facility bigger than its airport.
– Airport that brings you back into the 70’s. Considered a shame as it is suppose to be a major place for the annual LIMA event.
– There’s a cable car ride up a mountain called Mat Chinchang, which offers a somewhat mediocre view of the island. (but nothing else).

The only few places worth visiting are the vast stretches of beaches, which is quite spectacular if you’re into beaches. But then, the sea water isn’t very clean to begin with, so it is just really being mediocre. (You can opt to island hop on a boat ride or something, for a fee, which can be quite pricey depending on where you’re from, if you know what I mean).

So, Langkawi is really just a beach joint with cheap booze. If you’re into boozing and lazying around the beach looking and listening to the waves, then this is a place just right for you. World class top 10 tourist destination? Nuh uh. In another world perhaps.

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July 10, 2012

Penang Hill

I have not been to the Penang Hill for such a long time, that I have totally forgotten how shitty it is. About a week after I have joined Company T, the department organized a teambuilding up there on Penang Hill for a treasure hunt event and yes, I have confirmed it again – that place is a shithole.

A lot of people out of state always ask me about Penang Hill, and I always tell them that Penang Hill is a shithole. There’s nothing to do there. Like literally. No theme park, no mall, no nothing. I really don’t understand why would anyone want to go up there. There are only a few ordinary buildings there which hold no entertainment value at all. Eg.
– an Indian temple (Ordinary at best. You’d pretty much get more awesome temples with more historical value around the town than this one)
– a mosque (Same thing – you can get more awesome mosques around town – check out Kapitan Keling)
– several eateries (Overpriced and bland. Any shit down the hill is better)
– a hotel (That looks like it’s a working place for cheap geriatric hookers)
– an owl museum (Tourist trap. It’s not even a fucking museum)
– a police station (That looks deserted and a bit dilapidated.)
– a posh looking restaurant overlooking the ‘view’ (that’s about as ordinary as seeing white hair on an old geezer’s head)

Some say it’s a great place to hang out because the air is cool there. But that’s a complete bollocks. It’s not any cooler than my car air con at its worst condition. Some people say that the view’s awesome (or something along that line). But it’s just a view of the city, which most of the time is blurred with smog from the pollution and haze. So, without (or lack of) the view, the coolness, and places of interest, Penang Hill is reduced to nothing but a massive shithole.

The most interesting thing is probably the train ride up and down the hill. The new train is pretty fast, which makes ascending/descending the slope a little bit of an exciting event. But what’s the point if its sole purpose is to transport you up a giant stinking shithole? It’s sad really. Penang the fucking Hill. The only way to redeem its sad existence is to probably to pimp up the train to become a roller coaster, that meanders up and down the hill for a fee. Maybe to spice things up, we make it go under a fake log, throw in a few areas with close proximity with wild local animals and perhaps a couple of fake paranormal effects (hill spirits) or something like that. It’ll be a bomb. Or at least better than a stupid train ride up into a shithole. But alas, I’m not the government so, it’s still a shithole. Don’t go there.

(I see it more as a fancy rest stop for hikers hiking from the Penang Botanical Gardens. But if you’re going there by the train and expecting it to be interesting, you’d be disappointed)

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December 18, 2011

trip to Korea

Went for a winter vacation at Korea for a week with my wife and kid. Was it good? It was alright overall. Not world class but, it was ok for the price we paid. 

One funny thing happened before I went there though. A couple days before I flew there, I called up the bank to activate my card for my ‘vacation in Korea’. I didn’t bother mentioning which of the 2 Koreas, but the attendant had to ask if it was ‘North or South Korea?’.. like that. I was totally dumbfucked – does that mean that people actually go to North Korea for vacation? Or was the attendant just being retarded? I don’t know. Anyway, it was South Korea that I went to, if one has to ask. It was an 8-day vacation and at times, it felt like forever. Why? A few down points made me felt that way:

1) Food
There’s one thing very prominent about Korean people – they suck at making food. We’ve been introduced to heaps of ‘famous’ Korean delicacies and in my own observation, they’re basically comprised of only 3 types of food – barbecue, steamboat and kimchi. You just dump in different types of meat into the barbecue grill, or a pot with soup, and slap it with a fancy name – chances is high that it is a type of Korean food. Any vegetable or fruit can also be made into kimchi. So, it’s just maths from thereon, you just combine your meat vs vegetables vs fruits vs the either barbecue/steamboat/kimchi – you get a whole culture of Korean food. They’re more or less the same. It’s fucking depressing really (for Penang people, especially).

2) Language
I was told that English is a compulsory subject in Korean education. But to my opinion, that is a complete bullshit (well, either that or, everyone failed their English). Unless you speak Korean, you’ll never get your shit together there. Road signs, maps, amenities, they’re all in Korean hieroglyphics. Communication is a big major cockblock there, so, backpacking is totally out of the question (unless you speak Korean or good at figuring out alien languages at warp speed). I was thinking, why do we humans even bother beaming binary messages to outer space in search for extra terrestrial intelligent beings out there in the universe, when we can’t even fucking get around understanding the Korean people in planet Korea. 

3) Weather
I am a cold person. I like cold weather. But that’s about it. Having to weather the dry and sub zero temperature is not my idea of having a relaxing vacation, as I have to laboriously lug along thick winter clothing in and out of the chill and in between heated environments. It wouldn’t had been that bad if everywhere’s cold, because I could just keep my clothing on. But it had to be cold outside, and extremely warm indoor. So it’s either freezing to the bone, or hot to the core. That’s the part I hate most, adding and removing the layers as you go to places. It sucks and makes me appreciative of not having to worry about carrying extra clothing everywhere I go… here in Malaysia. 

4) Old people
Young Koreans are beautiful (plastic fucking surgery), but the old ones are on the exact opposite end of the distribution curve. They’re rude and ignorant. In the span of 8 days, I’ve been shoved and elbowed by old Korean hags (with oddly familiar cauliflower hairstyles) for not less than a dozen times. They would walk into my line of sight every time I wanted to take a photo and they do not bother to give any fuck. If you ask me, this seems to point to a disturbing trend – old people, they’re fucked up no matter which culture they’re from. But Korean’s worse because of the remnants of silicon and overly ebony wig, which give them the appearance of a stop-motion special effects creature from the past. 

And that’s about all I hated about Korea. Otherwise, it would be an epic vacation. The landscapes there are no doubt beautiful – I particularly enjoyed the view at a place called Seongsan Ilchulbong, at Jeju island – it’s basically a dead volcano by the ocean, and is a UNESCO listed site or something. Then there’s this place where we took a cable car up a mountain range at Seoraksan National Park, with a view to die for. Also, went to a fake island with a bunch of trees and stuff where a purportedly famous Korean love drama was made – it was just alright but nevertheless, better than something like our Cameron Highlands. Then there’s the ski thing we did, it was alright. We were also brought to a theme park owned by Samsung called ‘Everland’, which records one of the happiest episode of my daughter’s life. 

Also, I would like to mention this – I’ve never encountered a dirty public toilet at Korea during the entire trip. This is a feat that is hard to achieve in my humble opinion. Maybe I’ve been to only the good places but, they seem to be on the better scale than most people (I’ve seen bad toilets even in the U.S.). They have the respective janitor’s picture with contact numbers posted in each of the restroom, which I think could be the trick. They make the janitor own the fucking toilet like it’s his joint. The guy’s a phone call away from cleaning your shit and he can’t go very far – I think we needed that in our country because our state of public toilet is downright abysmal. It’s little thing like this that makes a whole lot of difference, don’t you think?

After we came back home, my wife and I agreed on one thing, the visit to Korea actually made us appreciate our home country more. We whooped some Hokkien Mee the first chance we had back home and 2 back-to-back meals of chicken rice for Regine. It’s one thing about saying ‘there’s no place like home’, feeling it is an entirely different thing. We needed this vacation and we had it alright.

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