Sunday, September 14, 2014

(Local) Places of Interest To Visit In Kuching, Sarawak

This post is dedicated to those who are planning to visit Kuching, Sarawak. Occasionally, I do have friends or relatives visiting Kuching for the first time. Usually, they will request to visit places of local interest. Sometimes, they will request to experience the life of local Kuching people. I guess, if it's me, I would prefer to visit and experience the life of the local place as well, rather than just follow the itinerary provided by tour agencies. So, here I listed down 8 places of interest with some 'Kuching feels'.

1) Sarawak Muzeum
Based on the name, you already roughly have an idea about this place. Located within Kuching city centre. A visit to Sarawak Muzeum will enhance your knowledge about the life of the local people, their culture and its history.

2) Ewe Hai Street
I usually see a lot of tourist along Ewe Hwai Street. You can easily locate Ewe Hai Street or Jalan Ewe Hai from Google Maps. Along Ewe Hai Street, you will see many Bed & Breakfast, Lodge, eateries, cafe and other local shops. You will be able to find the tourist-famous local coffee cafe, Black Bean Coffee & Tea Company. You will be able to smell the freshly brew coffee from far away :) Black Bean Coffee & Tea is famous for its Sarawak gourmet coffee. These coffee beans are planted by the local Bidayuh and it's organic. I would say, the coffee has a very special taste and my bro-in-law from Taiwan loves this coffee very much. If you're a coffee lover, I would strongly encourage you to give our local coffee a try.

3) India Street
This is a very busy street located within Kuching city centre. It's famous for its textile and spices. Other than that, there are many other shops as well. You will experience many different layer of Kuching people here.

4) The Pasar Tani MJC, Batu Kawah (MJC's Farmer's Market)
Whenever I have the chance, I would visit Pasar (Local language for 'market') Tani ('Farmer) MJC (a local town in Kuching developed by MudaJaya Corp). I love to see the fresh produce from the local farmers, the different walks of life of Kuching people and the many local foods only available in Kuching. So far, I don't see many tourist visiting this place. But, I would strongly suggest you pay a visit to this place. It's located about 20mins drive from Kuching town. Take note, it only open on Thursday and Friday, 1pm-10pm. It is better to visit on Thursday as there're more traders on Thursday compare to Friday.

5) Jong's Crocodile Farm
Jong's Crocodile Farm is a famous place of interest among the local as well. Located along Kuching/Serian Highway, you will need about 40mins drive from Kuching city centre. Most travel agency will arrange for its tour for a visit to Jong's Crocodile Farm. You will not only expect to be entertained by the crocodile show but also have the chance to see  many other unique animals as well. I would strongly suggest you visit during crocodile feeding time, 11am and 3pm daily. There are entry fees applied.

6) MBKS (Council of the City of Kuching South)
This is the administration centre of Kuching City South. But, I am not suggesting you to visit the administration office :) Late in the evening, between 5pm-7pm, I would suggest you have an evening walk at MBKS. You will see many local Kuching people from all walks of life also taking the opportunity to jog, have an evening walk, bringing their kids to the playground and some old folks chit chatting at the garden along MBKS buildings. You will be entertained by the local flora and other plants as well.

7) Semenggok Orangutan Rehabilation Centre
This is another famous tourist attraction, located about 25mins from Kuching city centre. I myself have been here a few times. If you are lucky, maybe you will be able to have a wefie with the orangutans. Open from Mon-Fri only, 8am-5pm. Remember to visit during feeding time, 9am and 3pm.

8) Local Pottery Shops along Jalan Penrrisen
Along the journey to Jong's Crocodile Farm and Semenggok Orangutan Rehabilation Centre, you will passed by a number of pottery shops along Jalan Penrissen. I would strongly suggest you drop by these local pottery shops to see the different design of Sarawak pottery. You will be able to find local Sarawak souvenir at very reasonable price too. 

These are among the local places of interest which I think will be able to give you the 'Kuching feel'. I hope you will enjoy your stay in Kuching. Feel free to drop me a message if you would like to know more about these places.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It Is Not How Much You MAKE but How Much You SAVE Matter

Would you agree when I said that it's not how much you make matter, but it is how much you save that matter most? You can have monthly income of RM10K but, if you spend all your income of RM10K, you have nothing left. Maybe my monthly income is only RM2K, but if I manage to save 10% of my monthly income, in one year, I will save RM2400. And if I continue to save 10% and invest my savings, in a few years time, I will see quite a substantial amount in my saving. And for your case, even if your monthly salary increased to RM20K, but somehow you still can't control your spending habit and spend all RM20K, then you will have RM0 savings. I know there are cases, whereby a person make RM10K per month, he spend it all and worse, he still borrow his future money to spend (credit cards, personal loans).

Of course, the perfect situation would be, one able to earn big income and at the same time, consistently save a portion from his income.

Nowadays, I understand that it's not easy to save a certain portion of our monthly income. But, it still can be done. With strong determination and proper self discipline, you will be able to do it. Do not be too hard on yourself, start by saving a small percentage and when you feel more comfortable, slowly increase the percentage of savings. In a few months time, you will be amazed with the amount saved.

In financial planning, it's not how much that we make matter, but how much we save matter most.

photo credit: ota_photos via photopin cc

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Mini Retirement

Reading this article from MSN Money, I would really love a mini retirement. Well, just before the actual retirement in our golden ages, wouldn't it be nice if we can take a long break from work and do the things we love to do? What I meant by a long break is probably a few months or maybe a year or two :) To have the time to enjoy little things in life, like spend more time with our loved ones, finding new hobbies, go visiting to other places or maybe just chilling at home. Or perhaps just taking a stop from the everyday busy life, well you know... the kind of robotic life (wake up, go to work, lunch, work some more, go back home, dinner, sleep, wake up again and the circle continues), and spend some time thinking on the next direction of our life? We all know, we only live once and time is limited.

Are you thinking of a mini retirement too?

photo credit: wolfnowl via photopin cc

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Recommended Eye Specialist Clinic in Kuching

On the early morning of 15 July 2014, I was shocked when I looked at my right eye in the mirror. The white part of the corner of my right eye was very red and it seems like there's traces of blood inside. At first I thought it was due to shampoo but it doesn't look exactly like that. I quickly get my hubby to check on my right eye. Hubby said looks like something wrong with my right eye. But, there's no pain, just slightly uncomfortable for my right eye. I told hubby I will wait till noon, if the redness still there, then I will go to see a doctor.

When I arrived at office, my colleague was shocked when she noticed my very red right eye. Actually, I think my eye looked scary. She told me to see a doctor immediately. Around noon time, I decided to see Tiong Eye Specialist Clinic. When I arrived, the clinic was quite full. The receptionist is very friendly. When she looked at me, she roughly know my eye problem. She said not a serious problem, but the redness will expand within 24 hours. While waiting for my turn, I chit chat with 2 aunties who's also waiting for their turn. One of them was doing a follow up after a cataract surgery. Her eyes are looking great. The other one was accompanying her husband for eye boils removal. I asked them about the services provided by the clinic, both of them said the service was good but some time have to wait for quite long due to long queue.

When it was my turn, the first nurse asked me about my eye problem and some questions. She checked both of my eyes. Then, another nurse checked both of my eyes. Then, finally the specialist, Dr Tiong checked my eyes. He thoroughly checked my right eyes using some tools and told me there's no big problem. My eye problem is called 'bleeding eyes' or Hyphema in its medical term. Knowing that, I feel relief. But, Dr Tiong said there're possibilities that the redness will get worse within 24 hours.When I asked him, what had cause my 'bleeding eyes', he said it was caused by broken eye capillaries. Just like bruises on our skin. There's no specific reason why it happened. Maybe due to heavy stretching. Or it could be I accidentally 'hit' my right eyes when I was asleep. He said the redness will be gone in a week time and it will not spread to the other eye or to other people. He prescribed a small bottle of eye lotion to remove the uncomfortable feeling in my right eye.  Total bill is RM60.00 (RM50 for specialist fee and RM10 for the eye lotion).

The redness spread slightly in that evening but slowly disappear. Within one week, it's totally gone.  

I am pleased with the service provided by Tiong Eye Specialist Clinic. The receptionist, the nurse/assistant and the specialist himself are very professional and friendly. I can tell, they are a group of people with good teamwork and with very good experience. As for the charges, it is very reasonable. For those from Kuching and if you are looking for an eye specialist, I highly recommend Tiong Eye Specialist Clinic, located at Timberland Medical Centre, Kuching. The contact number is 082-425322. Clinic hours from Mon-Sat: 8am-1pm. Mon-Thurs:1pm-5pm (Surgery).

photo credit: Michele Catania via photopin cc

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How To Check LHDN @ IRB Travel Blacklist

Yesterday, I read from The Star Online here and here that Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) @ Inland Revenue Board (IRB) is barring tax evaders from leaving the country at Immigration counter or airport auto-gate. It looks like now, the IRB has engaged the support from Immigration Department to enforce travel 'blacklist' for those who didn't settle their tax accordingly. I can't imagine the trouble of being stopped at immigration counter or auto-gate when we are ready to board the flight somewhere for a nice vacation which we had been waiting for so long. Can't imagine had to tear off the boarding pass :(

So, if you suspect you are one of the the tax evaders, it's better to check whether you're in the LHDN @ IRB Travel Blacklist or not, before you proceed with your travel arrangement. You can check for LHDN @ IRB Travel blacklist here. Just key-in your 12 digits Malaysian Identity Card (IC) Number will do. From the reply, you will know whether you're valid to travel or had been restricted to do so. If you're restricted to do so, there're possibilities that you're blacklisted and you must contact Immigration Department for further information.

Paying taxes is part of our duties as Malaysian citizen. Just make sure you file your yearly tax accordingly, to avoid being blacklisted by LHDN @ IRB.

photo credit: Walt Jabsco via photopin cc

Friday, August 22, 2014

How To Reduce Your Blood Sugar / Glucose Level By Using Natural Way

(photo credit: USDAgov via photopin cc)
Today, I am sharing something not so related to finance. It's related to health. Yes, it's about how to reduce blood sugar level naturally or using the natural way. Last month, during a general health screening, hubby found out that his blood sugar level has increased and it's slightly more than the normal acceptable range. He's quite worried. The reading as below:

Date: 11 July 2014
Glucose / Blood Sugar Level: 5.6 mmol/L (result with fasting. normal range is 3.9 - 5.5 mmol/L)

So, hubby went to a few pharmacies and drugstores, asking these professional if there are ways to reduce blood sugar level. Some of the advice are to reduce the carbohydrate intake, to limit consumption of fruits like banana, exercise more and of course to avoids sugary products such as cakes, sweets and biscuits. A few days later, hubby went to a local drugstore and asked the owner if there is any natural food to reduce blood sugar level. The drugstore owner get hubby to buy a small packet of 'Sky Fruit Seeds' (also know as Mahogany King Seeds - refer to above picture for the physical look of the seeds). It cost him RM15 for about 50g. The seeds are very light. There is about a few hundreds seeds in that small packet. He said there're quite a number of good testimonials from these Sky Fruits Seeds. Since this is a natural food, so hubby thought there's no harm to try. Before this, we're informed by my parents that these Sky Fruit Seeds is good for reducing cholesterol level. It does work magic on my father's cholesterol level. The drugstore owner told hubby to take 2 small seeds every morning (empty stomach) with a glass of filtered water. So, for the first one week, hubby took 2 small seeds every morning. Then, on the second week, hubby reduced to only 1 seed every morning because hubby said he feel a bit weaker. I noticed that hubby's tummy become flat. The third week onward, hubby reduced to only a half of the seed every morning.

Yesterday early morning, hubby went for another blood test for his blood sugar level. In the afternoon, hubby was a bit surprised to see his result as below:

Date: 21 Aug 2014
Glucose / Blood Sugar Level: 4.6 mmol/L (result with fasting. normal range is 3.9 - 5.5 mmol/L)

Amazingly, these Sky Fruit Seeds really help hubby to reduce his blood sugar level to the normal range. Actually, we didn't expect much from this seeds. So, now, hubby still continue taking these seeds every morning. In addition to these Sky Fruit Seeds, after the earlier blood test, hubby also reduce his carbohydrate intake. Perhaps, these combination really work for hubby to reduce his blood sugar level.

At the moment of writing, hubby and me were not being informed and unaware of any side effect of these magic seeds. Really hope that there will be more research done on these wonderful seeds. Since this seeds has helped my husband to reduce his glucose level, I am hoping that this will help others too.

Some additional info:
-In Kuching, these Sky Fruit Seeds are easily available at Chinese drug store. 
-These Sky Fruit Seeds taste really bitter. The first time I took this, the bitterness stay there for half a day. But, as you get use to it, the bitterness become less and less significant.
-Must chew the seeds thoroughly before swallow with a glass of water. I am not sure if swallowing the seeds without chewing will produce the same result.

Updated on 25 Aug 2014:
We are glad to share the blood test result as below:
(Date: 11 Jul 2014 - Before Taking Sky Fruit Seeds and Before Reducing Daily Carbohydrate Intake)

(Date: 21 Aug 2014 - After Taking Sky Fruits Seeds and Some Adjustment in Daily Carbohydrate Intake)
Note: This is just for sharing purposes. It works on my hubby but it might not works on everyone. Feel free to leave your comments.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Many Malaysian Are Still Without Insurance Policy @ Uninsured?

How many of us have more than one insurance policy? I think not many. In fact, there are many Malaysian who is currently without any insurance coverage. This is a very sad situation.

I think, among the reasons why there are many uninsured Malaysian is because of low financial literacy. Because they are not aware of the importance of insurance in their financial planning, so, insurance is always not in their list. Until something such as a serious health problem or an accident happened to a family member or a friend, then they realised the importance of getting an insurance policy. An improved financial literacy will be able to guide these people to get insurance policy as early as possible, not to wait till something happened, which by that time, it might be a little bit too late.

The second reason I can think of is inadequate fund. Life as an average Malaysian can be quite tough (financially). After taking care of the housing loan, car loan, monthly utilities bills, daily necessities and other basic needs, most of the time, not much money left. So, insurance is always left behind. By right, they have to reallocate their budget or spending plan. Try to adjust somewhere so that they can squeeze in a basic policy especially for the bread earner of the family.

The third reason why many Malaysian are still uninsured is bad experience with insurance agent. My own brother had a bad experience with his previous insurance agent. He was told that he only need to pay his  insurance premium for a number of years, and then his policy will be active and he will be protected. Many years later, he found out his cash value is not sufficient to cover for his monthly premium anymore. He was quite angry and try to contact his insurance agent. But he was informed the agent is no longer an active agent. I told my brother that partial of the problem come from him because he didn't try to understand the policy that he signed, and he rely too much on the insurance agent. The other part of the problem is because of unreliable insurance agent providing misleading information. In short, these insurance agents are only interested to close the sale and thinking of their monthly commission.

The last reason which I can think of is also related to insurance agent. Some of the insurance agents are not proposing the policy according to the needs of their clients but instead based on their own needs, resulting the clients cannot afford to sign for a policy. Some may wish to get a policy but not able to pay the high monthly premium. A good insurance agent will try to understand his clients situation and needs before submit his proposals. He should propose a policy with the lowest premium but highest protection. I believe there's always a good policy which is suitable for each person accordingly to his age, lifestyle and his financial needs. So, try to get a good and reliable insurance agent.

Note: At the time of writing, I am not an insurance agent. I just feel that I need to share my views and hopefully I can open the minds of those who has not been insured, to start gathering more information about different policy and try to get an insurance coverage for themselves and for their families. Also, I hope that there will be more professional and reliable insurance agents out there to better serve all Malaysians.

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