B&W Kitty

A tough week has come to an end, it’s time for a recharge. Here’s one for you cat lovers out there.

B&W Kitty

Kittens are sure cute. They’re so adorable and innocent. Same with puppies and other pets. Please show some love to them, and not hurt them! This is a mixed breed of Persian kitten, which caught my attention when I visited the Sunday Market, Satok few weeks back.

I personally love this edit, and will turn this into a print. It’ll be hanging around in my office the next time you visit me. :)

Close Encounter with a Phony Call from a Swindlers

This is a true event which came from my own experience recently.

Often we read about cases how people can lose millions to con men via phone call on the paper, or maybe the Internet. At times, we will receive some phony calls from people with foreign accent who claimed to be someone they are not. Usually, we are smart enough to know steps to avoid such people.

However, in this case, I almost fell for the trick. Almost!

Here, I will try my best to recap how my encounter with this group of swindlers went.

It was near noon, and Mom received a call from someone who claimed to be a collection officer from a local bank, informing there that there are 3 months arrears for her credit card bill. Mom was puzzled, she was very sure that she meets her statement deadline every month, and had not missed a single payment to date. I then took over the phone, and checked with the ‘officer’ what actually went wrong.

The officer explained to me the whole scenario, I then request to cross check information. Soon, I found out that the card this officer mentioned is not the same card which Mom is holding. The billing address was wrong! The registered corresponded address shows some address from the other side of the country. I told the officer that this is wrong, and he has to get this fixed.

He agreed, and suggested that this probably could be one of the suspected fraud cases. (At this point, our conversation was in Mandarin). He advised us that we should make a report to Bank Negara Malaysia, and showed us what are the information needed to lodge report.

Here’s what he had given me:

  • Card number: 5406 0062 1050 2021 (Silver Mastercard)
  • Card Application Date: March 19, 2012.
  • Card applied at a branch located at Jalan Raja Laut (Kuala Lumpur).
  • First Transaction was dated at April 8, 2012, with purchase at Kedai Emas Poh Kwong at Sunway Pyramid, with amount totaled at MYR 3,694.
  • Second Transaction was dated at April 15, 2012, Kedai Barangan Elektrik Seng Heng (Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur), with total amount of RM 2,348.
  • Total outstanding amount due stood at MYR 6042.
  • The credit limit for the card was at MYR 8,000.

So after feeding me with this ‘crucial’ piece of information, the officer said he will transfer the line to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). Before ending the conversation, I requested for his name and his office and department he’s with. He confidently gave me a name, and the office he’s reporting to.

Fine. I did not suspect anything, and waited for the line to be transferred thru.

‘Hello,’ the greeting broke the put-on-hold ringtone on the line. He greeted in Bahasa Malaysia.

I then responded with my poor command of Bahasa Malaysia, and it seems like we’re going nowhere. Seem like he doesn’t understand what I said. So, conveniently, he somehow could speak Mandarin when my mom asked him if he could speak Mandarin.

It took us a while before we told him our intention, and he said he would help us with lodging a report. When I wanted to present what the bank officer provided me earlier, he then quickly brushed me off. He told me the bank officer had already sent the information to him earlier, before he answered the call.

At this point, I wasn’t suspicious of anything yet. All I wanted to do, is to get the things over with.

Then with this BNM officer, he was reluctant to deal with me. He would try to talk to Mom instead.

At this point, the phone call has lasted for almost an hour already, and there was no sign that this conversation is ending yet. Come to think about it, this ‘officer’ at BNM asked a few weird questions, such as:

  • How far is BNM branch in Kuching from your house?
  • Where is the nearest police station? How far is it?
  • And he repeatedly check with me, asked if there is a 3rd party’s presence, other Mom and myself.

To cut the story short, he prepared the report, and said he will submit this to his superior, and that the superior will call us within that day to follow up with investigation. When I asked bout his name, and his contact number, he seemed to be annoyed. The way he responded, seemed like we are not trusting him enough. But my intention was, I just want to know who I should contact in case I need to follow up in future. He even dared me to cross check their phone number with the 103 directory.

In order to prove that they’re genuine officers from BNM, he made call from the direct line, and indeed the caller ID shown on my phone are the numbers from BNM, as registered. So we moved on with completion of the report. This officer then ended the call, and reminded us that his supervisor will call within 15 minutes with investigation.

Some 10 minutes later, they called. I answered.

“Hello, boleh saya cakap dengan XXXX?” she said.

I thought the supervisor was a Malay, and I passed the phone to Mom. Mom couldn’t really hear well, and had tough time conversing in Malay language. She then asked if she could speak in English or Mandarin. And, conveniently, she could!

By now, I came to sense now, I started to suspect that this could be a phony call. Looking back at the information given, it was plain weird. I then decided to call bank myself, and verify information. While I was trying to verify information, the lady on the phone told my mom that all account will be frozen for investigation purposes. Mom panicked, of course. Then I heard something like, she offered some faster way to solve the problem, and try to get my mom to go to bank, to do some transaction.

It’s getting more suspicious now.

At this point, I manage to get hold of the right department for verification. I told the agent on the line that there was someone who claimed to be their collection officer, and I wanted to verify the card number given.

As soon as I read out the 16 digits, the first response I got from the customer service agent was, “Sir, this is a scam. Please do not give them any information. You’re not the first person to have faced this, we’ve got a few customers reporting this case to us already.”

OMG!

I almost bought the whole story! At this point, the lady must have run out of patience, since I showed reluctance in going to bank for transaction . Mind you, at this point, the whole call duration from them lasted for almost 2 hours already. Also, these people would never want to end the call, and they want to make sure you’re on the line all the time. The reason being, it is a recorded conversation, and must not be interrupted.

So, after I got off phone with the genuine bank officer, I took the phone from Mom, and told them off.

“We will deal with the bank directly, thank you. We do not want to proceed with the report/investigation.”

She panicked a little, probably disappointed in a way, and she tried to get us back on hook.

The call finally ended, after few hours long! I was so angry, for the fact that I almost fell into the trap! Thank God it didn’t happen.

The reason why I wrote this out, is to share with you what tricks they could use now, to trap you, and probably squeeze all your savings from you, and transfer the money to their account.

It was definitely a close call. It was almost a perfect trap from them, they injected a lot of fear factor, and caused panic. When we panic, we do not think a lot, as we just want to get things over with quickly. So, whatever happens, we’ve gotta keep our heads cool, and make sure we’re in control. Remember that, it’s important!

Few things to take note:

  • When dealing with bank, they’re very particular with numbers. Every single cent matters, they cannot afford to give you a plus minus figure.
  • Banks, cannot transfer/connect calls to BNM directly. When in doubt, you can always check with local branch, if not, look up the customer service number at the Contact Us page in their websites.

I think I’ve written enough. Just be extra careful guys! Be extra alert.

Thank you for reading.

It felt so good in my hand — EOS 1DX

Thanks to Canon and Great Wall Photo, I had a chance to try out on the much anticipated EOS monster. Will be sharing my experience on the brief encounter.

In case you missed out on the previous demo/try out session, there is another session scheduled on July 31, 1:30pm — 6:00pm, at Great Wall Photo.

Brief Encounter with EOS 1DX

My brief encounter with EOS 1DX. A self shot to the mirror in the display cabinet, while Edwin Lay looked on.

Canon plunges into Mirrorless segment

It’s been in the rumor mill for quite sometime, and rumor no more. Canon has launched its very own mirrorless camera, taking a dip into the mirrorless market, which has seen the likes of Olympus and Panasonic excel in this segment with their Micro Four Thirds.

This is exciting, as I am looking forward to see a smaller form factor from Canon. There are many functions where I am dreaded to bring my DSLRs, or pulled out the bulky bodies and lenses even if I had them in bag. I long for something compact for vacations, casual functions, family gathering, or even some food tasting/review. I foresee this to fit my need perfectly! Also, with the 22mm lens mounted, it has focal length equivalent of 35mm, perfect to hit the street for some shutter therapy! Exciting!

I was surprised to see this mirrorless to come in a form closer to the S100 range, instead of a retro look in form of AE-1, or maybe even the rangefinders. Nonetheless, it’s still awesome. Can’t wait for the reviews to come on line. If possible, I would love to have a test unit to play with, and share my experience out.

Below are some images I got from the circulation on the Internet.

Canon EOS M

Canon’s first mirrorless — EOS M: 18 megapixel APS-C Camera.

 

Canon EOS M

Back view of the EOS M, pretty much like a compact, but comes with a APS-C quality images. I hope the touch screen is as good as the one that comes with EOS 650D. Let’s wait for the reviews online.

 

 

Canon EOS M

The 18-55mm lens looks so much nicer for EOS M, much more solid than the one for EF-S.

 

Canon EOS M

The adapter made it possible to use EF lenses on the EOS M body. In this case, it looks like the camera body is mounted to the lens instead. With that, mounting the recently launched 40mm pancake STM lens should be still compact even on this tiny EOS M.

At this point of time, there is no official pricing listed in Malaysia. However, Canon EOS M w/22 f/2 STM is listed at $799, at both B&H and Amazon.

See Spider-Man in Your Daily Routine?

Spidey vs Green Goblin

SPIDER-MAN vs GREEN GOBLIN: It’s mid-year, and this is the time when some of the largest Hollywood Blockbusters go on screen. Coincidentally, this pair of parrots has the color scheme for both the Marvel Comic’s red-blue hero and the villain.

I shot this image in one of my recent visit to Kuching’s unique weekend marketplace at Satok. The birds’ color are lovely, unfortunately the cage was so small, and I couldn’t do much bout the cage which got in the way.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Goodbye Knicks, I love NY no more.

(Note: Pardon me, this isn’t a write up in regard to photography. I just had to have some say on the subject matter.)

When the news broke out I was out of town, and I had little access to news resources. I couldn’t follow the update. As the deadline for NY Knicks to match the offer sheet to keep their most popular player approaches, I became more anxious. Trying to get updates and confirmation on the deal at all means, hoping Knicks to announce Jeremy to return as a Knick come this October.

Goodbye Knicks, I love NY no more.

Jeremy shone brightly at NY last season. (Photo by Darren Abate, AP via Yahoo! Sports)

All those, didn’t materialize. With that, I once again, bid goodbye to NY Knicks, again. Just because of the ‘Linsanity’ frenzy back in February, I became instant fan of Lin’s work rate and attitude. Without a single doubt, he sets good example for everyone else to follow. Traditionally a Lakers and Bulls fan, I never really admire Knicks. The last time I followed Knicks’ game was during Patrick Ewing era, when Larry Johnson was there, and John Starks lighting up the broadway with his streaking three pointers. Allan Houston added another flair.

The post-Ewing era, I find it difficult to follow Knicks season. They’re often loaded with overhyped talents, and fading stars.

It was Jeremy, the undrafted Harvard graduate, that drew my attention to New York. It was him, who made Knicks interesting to watch again. All those, officially ended when James Dolan, the ill-minded Knicks owner and his top management team decided to let Jeremy go, after he agreed to Rockets’ 3-year-deal for $25 million. They say, it’s hard to match.

Hard to match is hard for me to believe. James Dolan and the GMs are prone to make not-so-intelligent investments over the past years, they somehow could afford those luxury tax for the overhyped and fading stars. How could they not afford to keep this gem?

Goodbye Knicks, I love NY no more.

Linsanity took of at NY, and will depart for Houston next season. Houston, we have Lin coming. (Photo credit: AP, via Yahoo! Sports)

There are a few things which I strongly disagree with Knicks, especially the points cited by ESPN columnist, Stephen A. Smith. Stephen seem to be so defensive for Carmelo, and had been ever against Jeremy. I’ve seen his debate against fellow sports writer Skip Bayless. I find Stephen’s argument and claims haven’t been consistent.

For both basketball and financial reasons, it is very obvious to let Jeremy walk away for almost nothing.

Goodbye Knicks, I love NY no more.

Photo by Frank Franklin II, AP, via Yahoo! Sports

Many of us thought it would be Knicks top priority to keep Lin, after his breakout last February. It’s not rocket science to understand that. A young point guard with potential, and limitless boundary for global branding. A win for both basketball and business side for Knicks organization.

Lin has his share of problems on basketball side. He is prone to make turnovers in his game, too many for some’s liking. But hey, he’s a guy who has been scarcely used in previous seasons, and not to mention that he was twice cut off by teams, before landing in Knicks. I remember watching Lin’s game against John Wall, who is considered one of the quickest point guard in the league, in a scrimmage. Boy he owned John Wall in the match up. It maybe a scrimmage, but who would have ever imaged the breakout he have had last February. Carrying Knicks on his shoulder, running the team offense in the absence of their top two highest paid stars — Amare and Carmelo. Mind you, Knicks defeated the likes of Dallas Mavericks, then defending champions, and LA Lakers.

Some might have argued, Lin is a mere product of Mike D’Antoni’s offense system. Sure, he might be. But if you think anyone could just fit into a coach’s system and run a show, think twice. Last season, Knicks have had few other point guards under contract. They started the season with Tonney Douglas as their starting point guard. Then they have veteran Baron Davis at their disposal, and also another veteran in Mike Bibby. Both Baron Davis and Mike Bibby were good point guards in their earlier days, but they just couldn’t lead the team to winning. When Lin was given the opportunity, he went for it. He gave his all, fighting fearlessly, and so ever determined to give his best for the team. Along with that, the other role players blossomed. Most notably, Steve Novak, who went from a rarely used piece to becoming NBA’s league leading 3 point percentage  shooting. Iman Shumpert (at times he is deployed as PG, but I think he’s more of a 2-spot, or a SG), he’s played so much better alongside Jeremy, and not to mention Tyson Chanlder hitting those high percentage shots at the receiving end of Lin’s assist.

Knicks looked so lost at that point, but in Lin, they saw glimpse of hope. Thereon, the climbed up to .500 for the first time since a long, long while. Remember, this team boasts Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudamire in their lineup. Yet, they played way below expectation.

Now that the season has concluded, we thought Knicks will be making effort to keep Lin. Then came the talks of bringing in the likes of Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd, not only to help the team, but also to mentor this young PG. Both Nash and Kidd are going into their 40s, so do not expect them to be team’s long term solution. The mentorship is a nice idea, I thought. Nash eventually chose to join force with Kobe in Lakers. But they managed to snap up Jason Kidd.

Goodbye Knicks, I love NY no more.

The two veterans joined onboard. Knicks bringing Kidd on board, with initial idea of having him to mentor Lin. Camby returns for his second stint as a Knick.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

There were still no news by Knicks, whether they’re keeping Lin or not. Then came the news of Lin signing offersheet. (I might have the orders wrong, but it doesn’t matter).Then Knicks announced they’re bringing in veteran center in Marcus Camby. I liked this guy, at this point, I had no idea how much money was involved. Then, came Kurt Thomas , who is also a 40-year-old Power Forward, along with Raymond Felton, who just had the worst season off with Portland Traiblazers. These few fella combined for $11million on the third year, only $4million less than the contract offered by Houston Rockets). But really? $11million for 3 guys who are in their 40s, and another one who is going down slope in his games? I don’t think Raymond Felton is an upgrade if compared to Jeremy. I watched few of his games last season with Portland, and he was really disappointing.

If I were the GM, and if I want to let Lin go, I make sure I get something in return. Lin is 23 this year, and has so much more to offer if compared to those four I mentioned. I doubt Kidd can give you 40 minutes night, it clearly showed in his stats with Dallas last season. Kurt Thomas, can give you good 15 – 18 minutes playing time. Same goes for Camby, probably 25 minutes at most.

Knicks, what the hell were you thinking?

Carmelo Anthony went public claiming it was up to the management to match the ‘ridiculous’ offer by Rockets. Hey, who are you to decide if the deal was ridiculous? You’re just a player, your job is to play the game, and lead the team to winning. Houston Rockets offered Lin a 3-year deal worth of $25 million, where Lin could net about $15 million in the third year of the contract. I think that’s quite a good contract, I really don’t know, I’m no GM, I am just a fan. When you compared to what Nuggets offered to keep Javale McGee, 4-years-deal for $44 million. Isn’t that more ridiculous? McGee played well in the playoff against Lakers. Yes, that’s true, but this guy isn’t a go-to guy. In my opinion, he’s a hustle player, and he makes even more stupid mistakes. You can check those out in the youtube, just type in his name, and you’ll see plenty of those videos.

Goodbye Knicks, I love NY no more.

JaVale McGee made more impact with his blunder than his contribution, despite his much improved play as a Nugget. His more notable contribution came in the playoff series against LA Lakers in the 2011/12 season. (Getty Image)

Ridiculous huh? In the Knicks franchise history, I think it was ridiculous for them to sign Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis and even Carmelo Anthony, with all the money they have paid for. I thought, the only way to get Knicks to improve is to trade Carmelo away, and to change owner/GM. But I think those two are not even close to possible. What can we do?

As of now, Lin has landed in Houston, joining Kevin Martin in a formidable backcourt. Rockets are pushing to sign Dwight Howard, but I think that is pretty difficult. But if they could land one of those quality big man, I think Rockets can do no wrong. They were in fighting position for playoff last season, in the ever competitive Western Conference. On the other hand, Knicks future look bleak after shaking up their roster. I don’t see them doing much progress after the Lin saga. With Lin gone, I think Carmelo better start to deliver. There is no one else to steal limelight away from him in the broadway of NY.

Goodbye Knicks, I love NY no more.

Jeremy Lin took off against two Bucks defenders in his breakout season as a Knick. (Photo by Morry Gash, AP, via Yahoo! Sports)

So long Broadway, along with Lin’s departure, Knicks will have one fan less in me. As for Lin, he has my support in Houston, and I am sure he will return as a better player!

Once again, I am no sport journalist, I do not have insider information about the league and its players. I am not expert in the business, I do not have the figures from the deals involved, nor do I understand the complexity of the deals.

I am just a fan with passion. I love basketball. Basketball never stops.