8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival 2011 (video)

My previous post covered only pictures of the 8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival. Here are the videos!

Primavera (Part 1)

Primavera (Part 2)

Primavera (Part 3)

Primavera (Part 4)

Danilo Rea and Falvio Boltro Duo (Part 1)

Danilo Rea and Falvio Boltro Duo (Part 2)

Danilo Rea and Falvio Boltro Duo (Part 3)

Danilo Rea and Falvio Boltro Duo (Part 4)

Dhafer Youssef Quartet (Part 1)

Dhafer Youssef Quartet (Part 2)

Eli Degibri Quartet (Part 1)

Eli Degibri Quartet (Part 2)

Jazz Concours Participant

2011 Seoul Lantern Festival

The 2011 Seoul Lantern Festival was held from 4th to 20th November at Cheonggye Stream. Highlights of the festival includes a 1/2 scale model lantern of Namdaemun Gate (Fortress Gate of olden day Seoul), traditional Korean lifestyle, giant peacocks, lanterns of popular animated characters including Batman, Spiderman and Superman.

There are over 30,000 huge and tiny lanterns on display, stretching more than 1km along the Cheonggye Stream. My personal favourite is the fire-breathing peacock!

8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival 2011

The 8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival was held from 1st – 3rd October at Gapyeong province. Jaraseom literally means Jara Island, an island formed on Bukhangang River as a result of the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam. I found out this event through the Visit Korea website and CNNGo Link.

When I check the online ticket purchasing site, it was all in Korean and they only accept Korean Bank transaction. Fortunately, I managed to get my Korean colleague to help purchase a 1-day ticket for me. From Seoul, I took a subway to Sangbong Station. Then changed to Gyeongchun line (Grey Line) towards Gapyeong. As there are so many people boarding the train to the Jazz Festival, I have to sit on the floor of the train for almost 45 minutes!

This is the first time I attended a Jazz Festival and I find it rather special. Instead of one performance stage, there are actually 9 different stages located around the island and one just outside of the subway station! The performances were held at the same time on different stages. Therefore, you need to choose which one you want to go. Ironically, I found out that the ticket I purchased is for the performance at Jazz Island and Part Stage (a bigger performance stage located on a separate smaller island at Jaraseom). Other than that, the rest of the performances are open to public for free. Video post added!

Things You Wish You Knew Before Visiting Malaysia

Being a frequent traveler, I often wish to know the “safety precautions” of a country that I’m planning to visit. Not just it helps to ensure I have a pleasant journey, but also to plan my expectation. As a Malaysian, I think it would be interesting to write up a blog post about tips that backpackers/travelers should know before visiting Malaysia.

KTM Station Signage in Kuala Lumpur

1. Communication. Most Malaysian speaks English, unless you plan to escape tourist trail and to visit rural areas (experience the simple life of rural Malaysian; staying at homestay, etc), you may try your luck but a simple pocket English-Malay translation guide is advisable. If you have an iPod Touch / iPhone, you should try this language guide.

2. Commuting within the city like Kuala Lumpur (KL) is convenient with Light Railway Transport (LRT) or public buses like RapidKL. Unless you want to travel to places which are not reachable by LRT, taking taxi is the fastest and most convenient way. However, be sure that the taxi you are hopping in uses a meter, or simply read this blog post. If you plan to travel around the country, express bus or inter-city coach services are available at Puduraya Bus Terminal (assuming you are at KL); make sure you only buy ticket at designated sales counter to avoid paying extra to ticket touts. An alternate way is to travel via low cost airlines like Air Asia or FireFly.

Look for this sign and hop in a metered taxi

3. Emergency Number. In case of emergency, you can dial 999 from any public phone; the worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112 will be redirected to the 999 call center.

4. Personal Hygiene. Malaysia is a tropical country where diseases like Influenza and Dengue Fever are common but preventive. To prevent flu, make sure you keep your hands clean by having a hand sanitizer with you at all time. To avoid dengue fever, avoid being bitten by infected mosquito, or simply read this article.

5. Wear modest attire and keep away your Gucci and LV bags. You don’t want to portray that you are rich, and say “Come Rob Me!”. Not to say that Malaysia is not safe, but it’s better to be cautious with personal belongings. Check if you need a travel insurance too. Generally, Malaysians are friendly.

Rainy season in Malaysia

6. Weather in Malaysia is fairly hot and humid (sometimes wet) throughout the year. Temperature ranges from 21┬░ to 34┬░ Celsius. If it’s rainy season, make sure you have an umbrella (or raincoat) with you. Sometimes there will be heavy downpours with thunder and lightning.

7. Drug offences in Malaysia can be severe: trafficking (defined here as the possession of a certain quantity of drugs) incurs a mandatory death penalty; possession incurs a custodial sentence and possible whipping.

8. Ethnic Malay group are Muslim and hence they only eat Halal foods (i.e. NO pork and NO alcohol). During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast during daytime.

Urban Black and White

Another photo outing project, initially meant to shoot Urban Long Exposure, with moving cloud above tall buildings, and traffic trail lights, ended up shooting night architecture presented in black and white. This was partially due to a “No Cloud Night” and the location chosen was not having heavy traffic today. All shots using 50mm prime lens.