Monday, December 30, 2013

PanaHome Malaysia [30/12]

I read online there is a futuristic smart home at the Bangsar area of Kuala Lumpur. It is actually a subsidary of the electronics giant Panasonic. I'm very curious on the technology that is being used to design the smart home. Together with my friend, I contacted them a few months before and managed to arrange an on-site visit to them just a day before New Year's Eve.

We are amazed by the interior design of the house. There are a lot of natural day lights. It has a very spacious feel to it. The office of PanaHome is also here where a few architects are seening working on their respective projects.

We were welcomed by our liaison person - Min Choo. She will be showing us around PanaHome for the next 1 hour. She explained to us on the history of PanaHome and how it traces its history back to Konosuke Matsushita the founder of Panasonic (previously known as National).

PanaHome builds an entire house using special materials. It's construction process is actually much faster. It can be 50% faster than traditional homes. And the frames used are also much more stronger and more steadier. It has been proven in earthquake prone Japan.

It is not only the building materials, but the interiors of the buildings are also designed and project managed by the architects. Here is the dining area, next to an open kitchen.

The vertical white strip to the right of the picture below is actually a ventilation unit.

The tiles being used in the smart home also auto-clean. It auto-clean in the presence of UV light. I experimented with it below, by affixing a stamp onto 4 tiles below. The KiraTech tile as it is called, has the ink evaporating in just 1 minute. The amazing power of nanotechnology!

It started raining when we were in the building. The surprising fact is that we did not know it started raining. The entire building is sound-proof. And this is achieved by some advanced ventilation system (which I mentioned in the picture previously)

We are back to the living room area.

Different materials of woods were also being used. They last longer than normal woods.

We proceed up to the upper levels where the bedrooms are. We were surprised by the absolute sound-proof of the bedrooms. This is definitely very useful for those who live in some residential areas with periodic noises throughout the day.

We went to the roof-top where there are additional energy being gathered from solar panels.

There is a beautiful zen garden against the backdrop of technology.

Next to the zen garden is a tatami mat room which simulates a green-house effect.

Here is the view of the living room from the second floor.

The stairs leading up to the upper levels.

We went back to the living room area and have a seat at the sofa.

To get a better grasp on the height of the house with its special beams, please take a look at the picture below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thailand 2013

January - December 2013

In 2013, I have the opportunity to work with 5 very good colleagues from Singapore office. They are Sayama-san, Khor-san, Baskar, Richard and Benjamin. Work was challenging but we also have good meals together at the end of the hard work.   

In this period, we stayed in different hotels, ranging from luxurious 5-star hotels to normal business hotels. For the most part of the trips, we stay in Salil Hotel Thong Lor. It feels like a boutique hotel with very beautiful design in the hotel.

Dinner time, we will either go for their local hawker fare or Japanese cuisine. The Japanese restaurant where I we patronize more frequently is Imoya below. It serves very good and affordable izakaya style Japanese cuisine.

Thailand is famous for mangoes and there is this shop just around our hotel that sells lots of fabulous mangoes.

  photo 09_Mangos_zpsdf07134e.jpg 

In Thailand, a meal is never complete without Tom Yam and Mango Sticky Rice. I had dinner at Central.

  photo 10_ThaiFood_zps0f8d6235.jpg 

And also did shopping around the shopping mall. There is a Naraya shop where we did my our shopping. Check out the big crowd in there.

  photo 11_Naraya_zpsf1d86e8f.jpg 

Bangkok is an amazing place of great diversity. You can see the bustling metropolis city on the one hand. On the other hand, it still preserves its strong tradition. Below we see layperson offering alms to monks.

  photo 12_Dana_zpsbf6b4d58.jpg 

28th July 2013 (Sunday)
I decided to do a bit of sightseeing around Bangkok on this day. I have not been to Chinatown before, and there is a famous gold buddha temple (Wat Traimit) in Chinatown. So that will be my destination for today. It was drizzling a little when I arrived at the temple. Below is the view from the front of the temple.

 photo 01_GoldTemple_zpsea7af0ef.jpg

There is a museum at the second floor which explains on the history of the area - Chinatown. 

 photo 02_Museum_zps0eaf585b.jpg

There are also explanations on how the Gold Buddha has been discovered. It has been quite a recent discovery. It was actually plastered out centuries before to prevent Burmese invaders from discovering it.

 photo 03_Buddha_zps352b9413.jpg 

Here is the majestic Gold Buddha. Namo Dassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa

 photo 04_GoldBuddha_zps25d0af65.jpg

3rd October 2013 (Thursday)

Everyday while traveling back from the Chachoengsao region towards Bangkok city, we will travel past along a market the last 1 year. Today we decided to just alight and buy some stuffs from it. It sells a wide variety of fresh products. 

 photo 05_Market_zpsc0e77672.jpg

And some pretty amazing corn at affordable prices. I bought 2 corns.

  photo 06_Corn_zps02a6cca8.jpg 

I am together with Bobbie in this trip. At night, we decided to check out the cool sushi place which is a 10mins walk from our hotel. It certainly look quite exquisite. 

  photo 07_Sushi_zpsf914d0ff.jpg

The price of the sushi are also exquisite. It cost me S$80 for this meal. Bobbie's meal came up to S$200. But the sushi is definitely extremely good quality.

 photo 08_Sushi_zpsd91b6ff6.jpg 

18th December 2013 (Wednesday)
Today is the last day we are traveling to Bangkok this year (and possibly for the project). The place where we are working in is close to Chachoengshao town. (20mins by car to be exact).

Our local colleagues told us the town is famous for a temple (Wat Sothon). We decided to explore it.

  photo 13_WatSothon_zps5663b2d9.jpg 

It has very beautiful Buddha statues in there.

  photo 14_GoldBuddha_zps5ec68f27.jpg 

Here is our group photo. From left we have Benjamin, Sayama-san and myself.

The exterior design of the temple is also amazing and captivating.

  photo 15_BackTemple_zpsd295b4d6.jpg 

There are very cute statues of monks below at the large park next to the temple.

  photo 16_CuteMonks_zpsd7c7116a.jpg 

Here is the beautiful park just next to the temple.

  photo 17_Courtyard_zps8b5d3714.jpg 

And the river next to the park.

  photo 18_Temple_zps15b3d08e.jpg 

 Another scene of the river.

  photo 19_River_zps6d609df4.jpg 

Before going back, we took a walk along the market which is just next to the temple.

 photo 20_Market_zps95a7b3a4.jpg

Looking back, I realize time really flies and one year has past. I updated this blog in August 2014 and it has almost been 8 months since I went to Bangkok with my Singapore friends. Many of them have went their separate ways, but I hope the photos we have captured will serve as nostalgic memories when we look back at it now.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Philippines 2013

February 2013 - March 2014

Prior to spending a year in Manila, I do not know much about the culture and the people of the Philippines. But this one year stay in the Philippines has open up my perspective to a completely new dimension. I remembered during my first few weeks there, when I visited a local bookstore (National Bookstore) and browse through their books. There is an interesting book which mention on the top 10 traits of Pinoys. In the first few pages of the book, there was a quote by Lee Kuan Yew which mentioned the Philippines culture is very unique.

Over the months here, I find the people of Philippines are the most hospitable I have seen. Their service is truly number 1 in Southeast Asia. I remember reading on rankings which list Philippines as one of the happiest country in the world. It is true. The people are really a joyful community. Their smiles are genuine which comes direct from their heart. They are also a very resilient group of people. Their country is located at the pacific rim of fire which are prone to earthquakes, volcano eruptions. And not forgetting the annual typhoons that will first make headway first towards Philippines and the floods that come after.

I was in Manila when Typhoon Yolanda (the most devastating in the history of Philippines) landed in Philippines. I also express my grief together with the local people and made a 4-figure donation (Sing dollar) to help the victims. Under good government leadership, there is no stopping on the economic growth of the country. When I first arrived in the Philippines in February, I felt a strong vibrancy and optimism in the country that I could not feel elsewhere. I keep telling my colleagues that Philippines will be the next economic miracle in Southeast Asia. That was even before the GDP figures start coming out towards the second half of 2013.

I write this note above in the August of 2014, and I miss many of my friends in the Philippines. Though I was very busy during that period, but there are always moments when fun and work comes together.

The hotel which I stayed most of the time is at Richmonde Ortigas, located at the Ortigas area (lots of banks in this area). It is very near to Taytay where my workplace is located.

1st June 2013 (Saturday)

On this day, we visited to Tagaytay. It is famous for islands in a lake. This whole view is breathtaking. What we are seeing below is actually the entire crater of a volcano.
 photo 19_Tagatay_zps78c2ccd7.jpg

Next we proceed to the famous Mushroom burger around Tagaytay.
 photo 20_MushroomBurger_zpsdd8b4c9f.jpg

2nd June 2013 (Sunday)

In the months from June to August, I will be staying at Santa Rosa most of the time. From the hotel Paseo Premiere, there is a very good view of the Paseo de Sta Rosa Mall.
 photo 01_HotelView_zps665d4507.jpg

Here is how the evening sky looks like.
 photo 02_EveningView_zps215ae6fa.jpg

A 10mins walk from the hotel is the market.
 photo 03_Market_zpsfd1ad2d4.jpg

It sells plenty of fruits.
 photo 04_Fruits_zps40dce4ec.jpg

From the hotel, there is a shuttle service to Nuvali. There are plenty of local restaurants there.
 photo 05_Meals_zpse5b31958.jpg

We chanced upon a property launch. And decided to explore it.
 photo 06_Nuvali_zps169e3c31.jpg

We visited one of the showflat.
 photo 07_Property_zpsf121d703.jpg

It has pretty good views.
 photo 08_View_zpscb4cb9d3.jpg

The interior designing is also nice.
 photo 09_Interiors_zpse2292249.jpg

16th August 2013 (Friday)
This evening, we decided to go for BBQ pasar along Mekati.  photo 10_Meals_zpsa1d04f3a.jpg

This is the local BBQ. There is a combination of pig's ear, pig's intestines, etc.
 photo 11_BBQ1_zpsb58c84e4.jpg

And also a combination of different seafood.
 photo 12_BBQ2_zps984ad652.jpg

There is live music.
 photo 13_Stage_zpsfd811124.jpg

Here are the food we have ordered.
 photo 14_WeOrder_zpseaeb56f2.jpg

Check out the crowd!
 photo 15_Diners_zpsde673185.jpg

31st August 2013 (Saturday)

On this day we visited a local country-style cafe for lunch in Santa Rosa. From left we have me, Arnel, Larry, Melo and Mike.

About Philippines Shopping Mall
There are stringent security check when we enter the malls. It can get really crowded sometimes.
 photo 16_Queuing_zps86a09467.jpg

One of the favorites is Jollibee.
 photo 17_Jollibee_zps3d3572fb.jpg

Here is 2 x Chicken Joy set!
 photo 18_Jollibee_zps7a741c60.jpg

6th February 2014 (Thursday)

On this day we have a new year party. We visited to the popular seafood place around Ortigas.

Check out the wide selection of seafood.

After we have placed our order, the chef will cook it base on our selection: Grill, fried, BBQ, etc.

Here is the group, from left: Robert, Ronnie, Manalastas, Mike and Fred.

12th March 2014 (Wednesday)

On this day we are celebrating George's birthday at a local steamboat place at SM Mall. From left we have Justin, George, Dudes, Mike and me.

I have a feeling this maybe one of the last dinner I will be having for this project. It is true indeed...