I have stopped updating this blog, please head to http://xiwenwendy.wixsite.com/xiwen-lunaticus ! :D

Friday, 24 January 2014

Big Bad Wolf 2013

This is not hyperbola, trust me.
I first heard of this event from my best friends in matriculation college. Every time this event was mentioned, they would be thrilled to describe how cheap the books sold there and how awesome the event is. Yes, the Big Bad Wolf book fair, not the one in the red riding hood, haha (I bet you guys know it better than me). So finally I got to attend this 'legendary' book fair when it was held in MIECC, The Mines which is very near to my university. It was held in Penang before, my home town, but I never got the chance to go there. What could I see there were, books, books, books, and people, books and people everywhere! At this hour of time?? It was 9am!

Luckily it was still not considered as peak hour of the book fair and I still managed to get some air-con. It was the largest book fair that I ever attended. You could discover interesting books out of expectation and most probably you would not be able to get the books you have in your mind before you enter the book fair. So, go to Big Bad Wolf with a free mind that you want to look for treasures! I am sure that you won't leave there empty-handed, unless you are not fond of English books. Another interesting view there was you could see people going around with luggages, the one with wheels that you use when you travel! I was quite surprised to see that, no wonder there were people selling luggages outside of the hall, haha. Besides, the book fair was open 23 hours per day and I went there twice, hehe. It's super tiring yet satisfying.

My conclusion about the book fair? Don't buy books at the book stores anymore! Grab everything during the Big Bad Wolf book fair once or twice a year! That will save a lot seriously! The books were very very cheap that I couldn't help to smile when I looked at the price. It was a great chance to buy encyclopedias!

Go green! Use boxes instead of plastic bags! You could see people with boxes of books paying at the counter. 
Hidden treasures. You wouldn't know what books were inside.
Guess what? The total price of these books was less than RM40!

P/S: So, yeah. This is a pretty late post. BUT. Here's another good news! Big Bad Wolf is coming back again in February right after Valentine's Day! See you then!

Monday, 20 January 2014

10 Simple Things that We Can Do for a Greener Lifestyle in UPM (or in any part of the world)

Hey guys! I have decided to blog about something green today. It's not difficult to live a more sustainable life as long as we get used to it and blend it into our daily life. You will feel normal afterward although you might feel awkward at the beginning asking someone to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth (of course in a polite manner, use the magic word 'please'). I am sure that we are familiar with the famous 3R right? Personally I support the concept of 'reduce' more than 'reuse' and 'recycle'. 'Reduce' is the direct way to cut down carbon dioxide emission or any form resources wastage. Here are something you can do in university.

1. Start walking

Student life is packed with all sorts of assignments and tests. Most of the time we barely get sufficient sleep, not to mention exercising. This is what I do: Walk back to college after class at around 4-5pm every day. Maybe you will feel tired after class and all you want to do is to get back to dorm as soon as possible, but it worths the time and energy to walk! You don't have to allocate another time for exercising. However if your class ends after 7pm, it's better for you to take the bus. The surroundings can be quite spooky in dark. I did walk back to college at night with friends before, but still, better don't. Get yourself a pair of comfortable sport shoes can act as the motivation for you to start walking. No one is willing to walk much if the shoes bite, right?

2. Get yourself a bicycle

Travelling around the university can be frustrating and stressful sometimes as you have to wait for the bus which might be late and the passengers might be packed like sardines within the rectangular compartment. It's time and energy consuming! Since there are bicycle lanes nicely constructed in the university, why don't you get yourself a bike? As UPM students we can even get RM300 rebate, thanks to the Green Campus Programme! The scorching sun of Malaysia and the heavy rain might be scary, but don't let them to stop you from going green! It feels good to let the breeze brushing your skin as you cycle, watching others waiting impatiently at the bus stop (counting the probability to board the bus), haha. It is cheaper and easier to take care a bicycle than a motorcycle or car.

3. Bring your own spoon and fork

Some food courts do not provide steel spoon and fork, instead, plastics ones are being used. I really wonder why as it would be costly to discard hundreds of eating utensils each day. Try to imagine the number of students visiting the food court for three times a day, about five days a week. Assume that there are 300 students who regularly visiting the food court. [ 300 x 3 x 5 x 4 = 18 000 ] 18 000 sets of plastics utensils are disposed every month! And it is impossible that there are only 300 studnets in the university (there are 3 291 first year students in UPM this year)! Carrying a set of spoon and fork is a good idea to overcome this problem (if the renders still refuse to take action after complaints are made). You can even ensure the hygiene of the utensils you use besides not having to worry that you might break the spoon. Moreover detergents are provided at the sink! You can straight away wash your spoon and fork after each meal! If you still feel that bringing your own utensils is somehow troublesome, enjoy your meal with hands will give you the same result *wink*.

4. Don't be lazy

Honestly, laziness is the largest obstacle that we face when we want to go green as it can be inconvenient to do so. We might have to spend extra time and energy to walk instead of driving; we might have to sort the rubbish into recycling bins which might be located a bit further away compared to other regular dust bins; we might have to carry our own lunch box (which takes up some space in our backpack) instead of just going to the cafe empty-handed to pack our meal etc. As human we often succumb to laziness, but, think the other way round. Think about what we can do to little by little each day. Persevere and you will eventually make it a habit to go green. You will feel that it is effortless. It could even be strange if you don't do so. Trust me, you just need some time to adapt the greener lifestyle.

5. Avoid take-away 

People used to think that eating alone in the food court is awkward (I do feel that way too but I insist in dining in because I'm lazy to do the clean up in my room, haha. But I believe that I will get used to that feeling) so taking away food has become a trend of many university students. You can see stacks of plastic food containers (or even worse, polystyrene) being provided unlimitedly in the food court. This situation is somehow similar to the plastic-spoon-and-fork problem, but it is slightly better as I can see students bringing their own food container (we can get RM0.20 rebate each time we bring our own container for taking away in university). But this does not apply to the situation outside the university! Polystyrene containers are still being brought into the university despite the ban of polystyrene containers. You might say that we can use biodegradable containers to carry our food, but at the end, the container will still end up in the rubbish bin, contributing as part of the rubbish. Thus, back to the main point, reduce unnecessary wastage of take-away container in general.\

6. Take as much as you can eat

Food wastage is always one of the major problems in Malaysia especially during festival celebrations. Maybe we should just focus on our daily eating habit first. The food we order might come in a large portion and it's not our intention to waste the food sometimes. We can ask the food vendors to half the amount of the food or tell them what you do not want in your food (for picky eaters like me). For chain restaurants where it is quite difficult to voice such request (as you will not see the cook and the waiter will happily reject your request), you can share meals with your friends or family. Sharing is caring after all. I have a habit of finishing everything on my plate that you can barely see a rice on it. Everyone in my family does that. It became a tradition to eat everything in our plate. So there is no wastage and it's easier to do the dish. Eating a smaller portion meal can ensure that you finish all the food and it is good for your health, too.

7. Turn off the light which is not in use

The sun has risen and shone! This indicates that it's time to turn off the light as you won't need it anymore unless your dorm or classroom is really dark (a sustainable building should let natural light to lit up the inner spaces, but well, we can't change that). Make it a habit to check whether the light is still on or not in broad day light even if it is not your room. The corridors belong to everyone! With just a flip, you can save a lot of energy. When it is bright, we can hardly notice that the fluorescent light is still on. But I have the strange habit of checking the light wherever I go, haha. If I found that the light is still brightly lit during the day, the most frustrated thing is that I couldn't find the switch. It is not that difficult to save energy. Just a flip to switch it off and it can save a lot.

8. Use water wisely

We are indeed very lucky to have convenient and clean water supply which is within reach. This makes us forget how precious water is for life. Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth or applying shampoo on your hair. Use a bucket to wash your clothes instead of washing them under running water. Make sure that the tap is tightly turned off so that there is no dripping of water (here is another case: when the water at the toilet won't stop flowing, check the button whether it has popped back up after being pushed, sometimes it's just this tiny problem that causes this 'false' leakage which can be fixed immediately). Everyone knows how precious water is but most of us have got used to the wasteful way of using water. Just bear in mind that, every drop counts.

9. Report any cases of unsustainable happenings

The 'unsustainable happenings' here mean incidences that lead to pollutions or wastage of resources such as pipe leakage and open burning. What you have to do is to reach for your phone and inform the authority in charged as soon as possible. Don't wait! The longer you procrastinate the bigger the problem becomes. Just do it without hesitation. You might think that 'maybe someone else will call' but you are actually the one! The more people who show concerns towards the incident, the more stress is given to the authority to take action to make the situation better. So, take action before you hesitate. It takes a little bit of time for you to feel the hesitation in your heart (this is true! Try it!). Another problem is, who to contact. In UPM, you can call the BHEP (students' affair division) during office hour 03-89466064 and tell them about the case. Do keep the case updated to see whether the problem has been solved. You might sound like a busybody but hey, it's better than those who act like they see nothing or simply give a face 'oww that's awful' and walk away. 

10. Be brave and determined to say NO

''I take it because they give it to me! (for free somemore)'' This sentence is a quite general answer to the question ''why do you use plastic bags?''. Of course it is not just about plastic bags. It's about everything that is not useful or unnecessary to you such as brochures that you won't even flip through (it happens when there is an exhibition and people are like brochure-collectors), advertisement (just kindly say no if you are not interested, laminated papers are not recyclable), packets of ketchup at fast food restaurant (return them if you are not going to eat them) and so on. It is not something usual to do, but after practising this for some time you will realise how much space in the rubbish bin you have saved.

P/S: Peer pressure might be an obstacle that pull you back from doing your part in going green as your friends might think that you are silly or wasting your time and energy. But hey, why don't you make yourself a peer pressure so that they do it with you? The more the merrier! Gang up and we will have more fun doing these!

Intervarsity Wushu Competition 2013

This was the most exciting event of all for the last semester (but yet, I posted it in 2014, oh procrastination), the Intervarsity (Inter-university) Wushu Competition 2013 which was held in University Science Malaysia Health Campus in Kelantan. I had never taken part in such a big wushu competition before which involved many universities from all over the countries including UTM, MMU, USM Penang Campus and the list went on. To get ourselves ready for this competition, we started training two months earlier. I would like to thank my friend, Richie for telling me about the competition. I began attending wushu activity because of event, haha. As I was in Wushu Club before during my high school time, I could skip the tough work of memorizing and getting used to the pattern or else I would not be able to make it within two-month time. The wushu I learnt before is not the same as this one. In the past, complexity and uniformity were not the priority in my performance. But this one, I admit that I had a very difficult time to work on my stamina, flexibility, speed and strength. Thanks to our coaches who willingly spent their time training us to bring out our best.

Our team going to Kelantan consisted of one coach, 16 participants and one very dedicated supporter a.k.a. cheerleader (hahaha). The journey going to Kelantan from our university was a tedious one. We were packed into a mini bus with our luggages and weapons for a about 10 hours journey. And the condition of bus was quite bad that it was impossible for us to get a good night sleep there. So we spent our time playing games until late at night in the 'unstable' condition.

Our bus on the left. Compared to other buses, it's cute, right? Haha.
Finally we reached Kelantan!
To be safe, we departed on Thursday night as the competition was held for two days, Saturday and Sunday. We reached USM early in the Friday morning at around 7am where the university compound was quiet and empty. While waiting for the organizers to reach here, it's photo shooting time!!! (YAY)
(credit to Pei Wu and Kharyee)
(credit to Pei Wu and Kharyee)
This is called 站桩, one of the basic training in taiji. We had been standing like this for only 5 minutes and it's killing our legs!! (credit to coach Chai and Kharyee)
Our first breakfast there - roti cotek, exclusive in Kelantan! It's actually roti canai with a soft-boiled egg placed in the middle, flooded with curry. It was damn nice man! Luckily my stomach was strong enough to handle this. 
After seeing the schedule for the competition, I was so speechless. I took part in 'girls traditional long weapon' only which was held in Sunday morning, which meant that I would be free for the whole Saturday, being a full-time supporter like Pei Wu (haha). It's not a really good thing as I have to carry the stress until the next day when there were only four of us taking part in the competition (and the rest became supporters, haha).

This was where the competition was held. First of all we had to get used to the carpeted floor and the air-conditioned surrounding.
All the best, guys! (credit to Pei Wu and Kharyee)
This was the first day of the competition. We stayed in a nice hotel near the university and bus was provided to send us there. (credit to Kharyee)
Celebration in McD after the first day of competition. Cheese~
There were only four of us who could not have cold drinks and ice creams. Boohoo...
Those who had finished their competition. See what are they doing? Ugh...
The competition ended well. Our team obtained four gold, five silvers and three bronze in total and the first runner up in overall just like last time. Credit to Kharyee for photos below. We turned our jackets inside out as celebration. Love this jacket very much, going to wear it to class starting next semester! ^ ^

This photo was taken by me on the second morning of the competition in front of the hotel while waiting for the bus. Haha. Our tired cheerleader.
I placed most of my passions in Wushu at the near-end of last semester. It's not because I love Wushu so much, but you guys, my teammates, had given me motivation and inspiration to carry on. We really had lots of fun for the last semester. I feel like home again. To end this post, I present the participants representing UPM here (once again, credit to Kharyee for the nice photos).


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Aquaria Trip with Family 2013

This post should be written about a month ago, hehe. I was still in university and my family paid me a visit in Serdang for three days. They had a tedious journey finding their way there due to the complicated networks of highways and roads in KL. Once you miss the junction, you have to go for a very long way to reach a U-turn point. Me and See Yen decided to take them to Aquaria, a renowned underwater world in KLCC. 

Glass shrimp, boxer shrimp, camel shrimp, skunk shrimp and fire shrimp. I have confused about their names, so I can't recall which is which, haha. They are gorgeous, right? Feel like getting myself a aquarium with guppies and shrimps, because fish is just too mainstream. Hehe.
A school of well-fed Piranhas the size bigger than palm. Woo~~~ But I don't see any visible teeth though.
Touch pool! One of my favourite sections! Do you see the sea cucumber? We get to touch the sea creatures which are not dangerous like sea cucumber, starfish and horse shoe crab.
The horseshoe crab. It is easily overlooked and inattractive but when you see the little 'legs' underneath, you will be like 'eww this is disgusting', haha. It really looks like alien.
Electric eel. Feel the current? *spark* 
Water rat with the size of a cat munching on a piece of wood, haha.
Alligator snapping turtle turning away from us. It's super strong jaws can easily snap our finger into half.
Mata - mata. The body structure except its head looks like alligator snapping turtle's. I am still wondering why does it call mata-mata.
Rajah Brooke butterfly. The largest butterfly in Malaysia.
Attacus Atlas. The largest moth in the world. The live ones are always better than the specimens. Oh wait, why do we have insects in underwater world?
green eyed gecko. 'I am watching you'
Elephant trunk snake.
Cave snake.
Gliding gecko. What a strategic place for posing, haha.
Oriental whip snake. 
Blue tongued skink. It just does not want to show its tongue. *blek*
River toad. Slightly bigger than the one we usually see.
Ball python. Its head is in the middle of the coil. Famous exotic pet.
Umm... It seems that I left out this fella's name. 
Milk snake.
White lined gecko.
Albino burmese python
Iguana. It is really huge, don't get tricked by the photo.
Mad barb.
Alligator garfish.
Arapaima with a monstrous size.
Silver arowana. Easily blend into the water with its silver appearance.
Tropical flooded forest. I wonder there is such forest in Malaysia?
Coconut crab which occupies coconut as shell.
Lion fish. Familiar enough?
Shame crab or box crab. Looks exactly like a rock. Recently people make them as pets.
Archerfish. It will aim and shoot water droplet at its prey above water surface. They move very fast that it's difficult to get a clear shot of their photo.
Japanese spider crab with its uniquely long legs.
Tropical seahorse.
Pinecone fish. They are cute, right?
Marine eel. Creepy-looking.
Chambered nautilus. Looks like living fossil pokemon, haha.
Moon jelly jellyfish.
Sea nettle jellyfish. Sounds graceful.
Pot bellied seahorse. The papa will carry the young for mama.
Artemis. Tiny creatures as food source for many fish.
False clown fish and blue coral fish. I don't know why they are known as false clown fish although they look exactly like clown fish.
Ok... I left out its name too. It is beautiful! Pokka dots!

Stone fish. There are actually two species of fish there. Another one is the purple colour one.
Spotted garden eels sticking out half of their body from the sand looking like sea bed plants moving according to water current. One of my favourite fish there. They are just so so adorable!!! 
Dory, Nemo's friend, haha. Fish living in the sea is mostly brightly coloured but no way I am going to keep them. Too much work to do to make sure that the aquarium is similar to sea water environment and is comfortable for them to live in.
I went to the Aquaria for the first time during my matriculation time with Art Club's members. It is a wonderful place for animal lovers like me. It's better if you visit the Aquaria in one whole day during weekday as there will be less people blocking your view. Don't miss out the feeding session too! There will be feeding session from time to time, just refer to the schedule provided in the handout. I will come back again someday without time limitation, hehe. There are a lot of things to learn regarding the behaviour of the sea creatures and reptiles.
(sorry that there are not much information regarding the creatures there as I didn't have much time to carefully read the introduction of each species)

P/S: To get a cheaper ticket, you guys can visit the website Groupon, you can save a lot!