Category Archives: Travel

Weiqi and Surfing

Back from a 5 day trip to Bali which was very enjoyable. It is such a culturally strong place and I thoroughly enjoyed myself basking in the sun surfing the waves and immersed in Balinese culture which is strongly influenced by Hindu culture.

At the same time I was in Bali, the 29th World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC) is being held in Japan and Zaid Zulklifi is representing Malaysia in this top Go event of the year. Last year Boon Ping went and achieved a very good result and Zaid looks like doing quite good after the first 3 rounds. He is ranked 5 dan and have been playing Go for only the past 5 years. As such his achievement is rather good after picking up the game while studying in London. Read his own account of how he started playing Go here: http://msiago.wordpress.com/

As for myself, I am now in the midst of preparing myself for the Beijing Go event this October and begin to start to study and play more seriously. Have been slacking for the past couple of years or so. Am now working on the Train Like A Pro series and replaying pro games, plus games on KGS (under a new name so no one will recognise me and interrupt my games and/or start to comment on my moves which most of the time I don’t think is valid comment and uncalled for). I hope to achieve 4dan with this new KGS account by this October.

On yet another note on Go, there is a couple of “tests” designed by a Alexander Dinerchtein, a Russian Pro with a ranking of 3danprofessional from Korea. One is a test on an estimate of your Go strength and the other is a test on your Go playing style.

I took the test and here are the results:

On Go Strength: http://play.baduk.org/

*****
Thank you! Your score is 148 from 200.
You are about European 1-dan (you can convert this grade to other ranking-systems by using this table )

Please don’t be disappointed if this mark is lower than your real grade.
We were mainly trying to test your understanding of the game.

Your actual rank depends on your reading skill, your ability to make decisions under time pressure, your state of health and many other factors.

*****

Based on the rough estimate of Go strengths, European 1 dan is more or less equivalent to Japanese 4dan, American Go Association’s 3dan and KGS 2dan. This looks like about right but when we discuss on Go strength, it is always an estimate and like the disclaimer in the test above, it really depends on your reading skills and decision making under pressure.

On Go Playing Style: http://style.baduk.org/

*****

Your style is flexible

Your Go style is flexible: you can play for territory as well as for influence.
Usually you make such decisions according to the whole-board situation or the playing style of your opponent.

You may force him to choose the strategy he hates. For example, if he likes moyos, you can play for influence yourself, just for making him angry.

Your Go style is actually the best one.

You may improve your Go by studying different things, but I suggest paying attention on yose and positional judgment.

*****

Sounds like the test is quite accurate but that i probably because it says my style is actually the best one. But the truth is that the suggestion that I should pay more attention to yose (end game moves) hits right on the point. I have a huge problem wrapping up a won game.

Well, sounds like a lot more to do before hitting 4dan on KGS by this October (i.e. roughly equivalent to European 3dan, Japanese 5-6dan and American 5dan).

Like they said in the book Built To Last, we must aim for BHAG!!!

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Some Photos From Cambodia

Here are some photos from our Cambodia trip, taken by my wife


Beautiful Angkor Wat at sunset.


An apsara at sunset in Angkor Wat


The wonderful Ta Phrom


Some of the carvings on the walls of Angkor Wat


Many headless Buddhas stolen by art thieves. One reason I cannot stand seeing the Buddha head being displayed at some places, even if those are just replicas.


Cambodian children very happy with sweets we gave them. Bring lots of sweets and pens to give to them.


Children playing with the water on the Tonle Sap lake.


Entrance to Angkor Thom


Some of the huge carvings at the Bayon


The Happy Herb restaurant at Siem Reap

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Back from Cambodia and All

Well, not exactly to Cambodia as in exploring Cambodia but just to Siem Reap mostly for the Angkor temple visits. Would love to spend more time to explore Cambodia but maybe this will happen only the next time. Have been reading a lot about stuffs to do, eg. in Phnom Penh to shoot a real AK47 and to witness for myself the absolute evilness that the human heart is capable in the Killing Fields. Also to explore Cambodia’s seaside towns and enjoy the great seafood promised by our tour guide.

One of the highlights of the trip is the eating of the “Happy Herb” pizza at the happy herb pizza restaurant. You have to specifically ask for happy herb and after eating that, we were very happy indeed :)

Next up, I am now a citizen of Facebook and this is taking up quite a lot of my time but is quite fun sometimes.

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Some Photos

As mentioned in my earlier post, we were visiting Kerala over the last weekend and visited Munnar and the Backwaters at Alleppey. Here are some photos.

The Backwaters:

Munnar:

All the above photos were taken by my wife.

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Filed under India, Places, Travel

All Dinners Must Come To End



Green mountains range beyond the northern wall.
White water rushes round the eastern town.
Right here is where, alone and restless, he
Begins a journey of a thousand miles.

While travelers’ intents are fleeting clouds,
A friend’s affection is a setting sun.
He waves good-bye, and as he goes from here,
His dappled horse lets out a lonely neigh.

-Li Po, 701-762

Ah, finally the day has come. As the Chinese says it, “Under the sky, there are no feasts that will go on forever”. I take with me the fondest memories of many great people whom I can proudly call my friend. I shall miss them and the film business so very much.

Tomorrow shall see me on my way to London and Paris for a short holiday before starting work in Hyderabad and I am looking forward to the holiday so very much, the music (Haitink conducting Beethoven at the Barbican Рbut no Mahler!!!), the musical (Les Mis̩rables at The Queens Theatre), and especially to re-trace the locations where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy walked in the film Before Sunset, one of our favourite films.

I shall update this blog as often as I can, on the travel and also on India. It is all so exciting. I hope and pray everything turns out well.

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Paris London

Some photos from the trip:

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There must be something about rain

If I tell people who knows Malaysia that I am going to the east coast at this time of the year for sort of like a holiday, they must say that I am crazy. It is the monsoon season and there is really nothing much to do except to sit in the room, read a good book, lay back in bed, go for a massage, have good and cheap seafood meals (the curry crab was undeniably superb!), listen to some nice music, talk to my wife and catch up with each other,…… errm…… okay, that sounded like it was nice. But it is true, it rained everyday and at almost every hour.

We stayed at the Eastern Pavalion, Holiday Villa in Cherating and it is really a very nice place. Comfortable and hospitable. Only thing is do not eat at their in-house restaurant. The food is not good and very expensive while really good and cheap food is available just outside the resort’s gate. The stay at the resort was actually a prize my wife won in a photography competition and had to be used by end of January 06. We therefore had no choice but to go during this time instead of wasting the coupons.

The rain is a very weird thing and we human beings can really tolerate it. Like Sai observed in “Hikaru no Go” in one of the scenes involving rain, if human beings can go to the moon, how come an umbrella is still an umbrella? Yes, it is amazing that the umbrella technology did not improve very much in the last 100 years or so. I am not talking so much as the technology in making better umbrellas but the fact that umbrellas are still not doing a good job in making sure that we do not get as wet as we get now.

For example, the umbrella only shields your head from rain but from your belly downwards, you get all wet. When you get into the car, the umbrella will ensure that the side of your car gets all wet because the folding of the umbrella is so clumsy. In the car, the umbrella drips and your car gets all wet. When you take an umbrella for two persons, it is almost certain that each person will get half their body wet. Sometimes, it is so frustrating, we might as well get rid of the umbrella and do the “Singin’ in the Rain” dance sequence and sort of try to enjoy the rain instead.

How is it possible to make an umbrella or something to that effect, call it rain coat (which is also not very effective but I somehow enjoy wearing a rain coat. It makes me feel more powerful for reasons I could not understand) that fulfills these requirements?:

1. When put into effect, this article will shield the human body completely from getting wet, even the shoes

2. This article must be easy to carry (best is no need to carry), easy to store (best is no need to store), easy to put on (e.g. you can put it on easily in the car before going into the rain).

3. This article must be made affordable to the common people.

4. Water does not stick on this article. Therefore, for example, when you go into your car, you will not be afraid that your car seat will get wet while wearing this article because it is completely dry no matter how you soak it in water.

5. The raw materials for making this article must not be too scarce (it is as common as say, making soap or the modern day umbrella).

6. This article, when put on, must not obstruct movement and communication. People can still talk to each other, can still touch each other, can still hug each other (without getting wet, of course), and if, say. attacked by a dog, can still wave a stick and hurt the dog.

Oh, by the way, if you will, you can check out the history of umbrellas in William Sangster’s “Umbrellas and their History”.

I hope the rain is not getting too deep into my skull…… if I get to invent this thing, I will try not to charge you guys too much money for it……


A good book, freshly brewed coffee and good company are all you need in bad weather

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