Reviews on The Residence @ Bintan resort stay by Gilbert

Gilbert has saved me lots of time to write about the stay! Here’s his review on the stay, which he has posted onto TripAdvisor.

Please ignore the typo errors!

I seldom write hotel reviews, but this place was really one of the exceptionally good resorts that I have been. Me and my 2 friends stayed 3 days 2 nights at a Deluxe beachfront villa with our own private pool on a weekday and we really had a good relaxing getaway. Budget for spending for 3 days should be around USD170 to USD200 including some paid activities but excluding wine or spa/massage, and we felt it was really worth the whole experience from start to end.

ROOM:
– Room was big, spacious, comfortable and very clean, everything was new as the resort is only around 1.5years old.
– Private pool was very clean as well, including the daybeds and the surrounding area and the plants were big enough to have sufficient privacy without prying eyes from our neighbors, leaving a small opening at the front to have an opening to see the sea from our pool.
– Living room was big and could easily sit 8 person and had a bay window sofa which was really cosy. The hotel booklet and table fruits also had small fresh flowers on it.
– Bedroom had 2 big wardrobes and they also provided 3 bathrobes as there were 3 of us.
– Toilet was also very big and had 2 basins, a bathtub, standing shower area and also my favorite amenity which is a plugged-in hairdryer in a drawer.
– There were also big umbrellas and bicycles provided for each villa and their bathroom slippers are also of very good quality. Every single light was working too, as I have a habit of checking all light switches and test how good is the hotel. Other than 2 mosquitoes on the 2nd day, 1st day and 3rd day didn’t have any, perhaps they can increase their frequency of fogging.

SERVICE:
– Housekeeping was good and refilled the bottled water in the room and toilet even arranged our shoes neatly and refilled the tissue in the toilet to full.
– The staff were all very friendly including the cleaners and gardeners and beach staff and you would feel very welcome as they greet you when you roam around the resort.
– Reception at main lobby was very good too as they would usher you to the sofa during check in and check out and bring the documents to you as you sit down comfortably while they explain the details.
– Room service arrived within 5 minutes each time when we ordered for bottled water. When I requested for extra room key, the reception staff delivered to me while I was roaming the gardens, this I consider exceptional service! Not sure is it because we were there on a weekday when there is less crowd.
– I felt that they really extended their service when they asked me on the day before departure on my ferry time and they automatically arranged late checkout for us knowing that our ferry was much later in the evening and picked up our luggage from the villa.
– The bus journey though was 1.5hrs long from ferry terminal to the resort, but when we first boarded they handed us nice lemongrass scented hand towels and served us a small pack of their cookies and a bottle of water. For departure on our last day they also served us ginger which could avoid car sickness and waved us goodbye when the bus left the reception area. When we arrived at the ferry terminal for departure, they staff even got ready our boarding pass and handed to us!

HOTEL GROUNDS:
– Beautiful greenery is all round and the design of the resort is very modern. The toilets all around the resort are all very clean with hand lotion and hand towels and tissue provided too.

RESTAURANT:
– Breakfast which was included in the hotel package at the main Dining Room had a good selection of Asian and Western dishes from eggs and noodles stations to cereals to salad and pastries. Their omelette was really good and I was pleasantly surprised by their pumpkin coconut pudding and avocado chocolate pudding, as well as their quinoa fruits salad with kiwi strawberry apples oranges dragonfruit. Their grilled fish with tomato and olives was great too! They also had papaya and pineapple fruit jams.
– Lunch and Dinner at the main Dining Room also had a long selection of food from grill to Japanese food to burgers and other western and Indonesian food, though it is restaurant price from around USD13 to USD30 per meal, but the quality of the food is also restaurant standard and quality including their wagyu burger and unagi with rice and miso soup. Their grilled snapper even had fish roe on top.
– The restaurant staff would pause and chat with you and they also bothered to find out from the chef when I asked them for the ingredients to their carrot gravy. They also provided nice lemongrass scented hand towels before each meal and also served a complimentary basket of different types of bread together with butter.
– Indonesian Restaurant which was the only other restaurant in the resort, served very delicious Indonesian food and they adhered to my request of changing some of the dishes to non-spicy. I was pleasantly surprised by their lemongrass creme brulee and also a complimentary taster drink which was a concoction of ginger and some other ingredients, also a complimentary small cubes of fruits. We ordered wine and they delivered to our room so that we can enjoy later at the comfort of our villa.

ACTIVITIES:
– Catamaran was fun and they extended the time to almost an hour as there were no other guests and let us sailed longer at sea though we only purchased a 30min package with instructor at USD55. The staff also introduced the various parts of the catamaran and taught us how to maneuver. The catamaran was very new and clean.
– Pool bar was clean and comfortable, and the staff were also very friendly and they provided complimentary popcorn. There was live band duo in the evening for acoustic music and singing and I have to say that they singer was really powerful as she could sing all the latest songs from The Greatest Showman to other classic songs and even Disney numbers. The staff would dry up the daybeds every time after the rain or drizzle.
– Yoga class which is free is also quite interesting and the instructor was very friendly too and they provided water and towel.
– Beach front water is really shallow so you can walk out to the sea to a structure with 2 swings and other structures with hammocks. There was a very shallow ankle deep sandbar 30 meters out in the sea which you could walk front the beach in waters around waist deep. The seabed had some small stones so you have to walk slowly out to sea to take pictures with the above. The beach had cleaners constantly removing leaves and trash that washed up ashore from the ocean which was never ending and I would suggest for the resort to find a more efficient way to clean the beach or hire more workers or increase the frequency of cleaning.
– Fireflies trip was also very relaxing, they handed out water before we boarded. If you fancy a boat ride to see tropical mangroves and some fireflies, can consider purchasing this trip around USD42 per person.
– Due to monsoon season, the weather did not allow us to have island hopping or snorkelin. However, they are also many other activities that you can purchase such as jet ski, ATV, paintball, banana boat etc

Computer Issue Solved

I bought a new computer… not.

During last year’s March, I left my computer for a while to take a break from work and I returned to my computer being restarted. The windows 10’s updates did the ridiculous restart and it had probably given me a few minutes to halt the action while I was away.

Anyway, what happened next was hell. My automation software started becoming lagging and I had to restart my computer in order to put it back to normal. It couldn’t last for a couple of hours before the software became unresponsive. My internet browsers gave way as well.

Instead of restarting my computer once in a few weeks or months, I had to restart it a few times per day. There were times when I didn’t go home, my automation software was as good as on strike. The only blessing was that Photoshop continued to run normally. I was able to play the online game Team Fortress 2 (TF2) and the issue didn’t seem to pose any problem to the game.

Another ridiculous thing was that my computer was a working beast with 32GB of RAM and running on Solid State Drive (SSD). The CPU and RAM usage had been staying comfortably way below 30%. My internet was running on fibre optical network. I ran speed test for the internet bandwidth when my software were unresponsive and it showed that my internet was actually stable.

I went online to search high and low for solutions. I configured the settings of my Windows 10 (including registries), downloaded special software to update all the drivers (some newer drivers weren’t detected by Windows 10), installed software to detect for errors in both my hardware and software, defragmented my disk drives, ran virus and malware scans, and even opened up my CPU to clear away the dust physically. Eventually, I reformatted my Windows 10. I also consulted some IT experts. Nothing worked.

Having to spend long hours in front of the computer everyday, it was hell for me, especially when I was someone who couldn’t stand inefficiency. For example, I would always try my best to use my computer to reply messages because it was much faster than typing on the tiny soft keyboard of my phone.

Although I kept telling myself to focus on my work, every few weeks or month, I would try to go online to search for solutions for hours. I was trained to find solution since young and I had the never-give-up attitude, or some people would say “stubborn”.

After my elder brother bought a new laptop, I installed my automation software on it and I was amazed that it was running smoothly on the Windows 10 operating system. So, I was able to confirm that it wasn’t the software’s fault (lazy programmers).

I tried “playing” around with some software as recommended in websites/forums, including Microsoft’s. Then, I even changed the LANs cable. I had probably exhausted all the testing and had little luck. The frustration thing was that every changes I made, I had to restart the computer and wait for a couple of hours in order to determine if it was the solution.

Out of desperation, I made a drastic move to uninstall my antivirus instead of temporary disabling it, which I had done before. An hour later, I was very hopeful that my software remained very responsive without gradually slowing down. It was near dawn and I left the computer alone without doing the usual rebooting before going to bed.

How I would describe my feeling was that I seemed to have recovered from nine months of constipation.

Change of Webhost

One of the most recent challenges I had faced was to change the server of my personal blog. The old server was hosting more than just the blog but also other directories.

I bought the package around 10 years ago. It cost slightly over 200 bucks and had unlimited space and bandwidth. I wasn’t sure if the server was old or because the geographical location was far away, loading speed was slow. Anyway, since the renewal price was costly and rather redundant, I decided to give it up.

I didn’t expect it to be hassle-free but neither did I expect it to be so much more complicated.

Initially, it was the back-up of the blog. I had quite a minimum dealing with WordPress and it had always be a maze to me. Exporting and importing the contents alone wasn’t enough. I had to spend some extra time working on some errors.

Next, I had also my own database for some internet marketing and SEO stuff, which I wasn’t even sure was still working. I had to backup the database via phpMyAdmin and then create the new database and user via the Cpanel.

I also got to shift my non-profit website – Smoke For What. I felt lousy because I finally realised that I didn’t update the site properly previously and the database wasn’t connected – some features weren’t displayed for the past few years.

Overall, I got so stressed up more than I had anticipated. There were too many unforeseeable issues.

吳克群 – 像傻子般爱着

人们说爱情是什么
无悔无怨 付出
以前我不太懂
但自从遇见你那刻
心跳 呼吸
全都不由我掌控
像个傻子般的爱着
你的眼神 一举一动 牵动着我
也许我不会是 最后 那个人
也要 化作恒星 守护你左右
爱有多重 伤就多痛 这道理我都懂
你的眼泪 你的难过 全都由我来拯救
我只要你能快乐 的过
剩下的 伤痛 交给我
像个傻子般的爱着
你的眼神 一举一动 牵动着我
我会像是港口 在这 等你停泊
我要 化作恒星 守护你左右
爱有多重 伤就多痛 这道理我都懂
你的眼泪 你的难过 全都由我来拯救
我只要你能快乐 的过
剩下的 伤痛 交给我
爱有多重 伤就多痛 这道理我都懂
你的眼泪 你的难过 全都由我来拯救
我只要你能快乐 的过
剩下的 伤痛 交给我
像傻子一般的 爱着

Charlie Puth – Attention


[Verse 1]
You’ve been runnin’ round, runnin’ round, runnin’ round throwin’ that dirt all on my name
‘Cause you knew that I, knew that I, knew that I’d call you up
You’ve been going round, going round, going round every party in LA
‘Cause you knew that I, knew that I, knew that I’d be at one
[Pre-Chorus]
I know that dress is karma, perfume regret
You got me thinking ’bout when you were mine
And now I’m all up on ya, what you expect
But you’re not coming home with me tonight
[Chorus]
You just want attention
You don’t want my heart
Maybe you just hate the thought of me with someone new
Yeah, you just want attention
I knew from the start
You’re just making sure I’m never gettin’ over you
[Verse 2]
You’ve been runnin’ round, runnin’ round, runnin’ round throwing that dirt all on my name
‘Cause you knew that I, knew that I, knew that I’d call you up
Baby, now that we’re, now that we’re, now that we’re right here standing face to face
You already know, already know, already know that you won
Ohh
[Pre-Chorus]
I know that dress is karma (dress is karma), perfume regret
You got me thinking ’bout when you were mine
(you got me thinking ’bout when you were mine)
And now I’m all up on ya (all up on ya), what you expect
(oh baby)
But you’re not coming home with me tonight (oh no)
[Chorus]
You just want attention
You don’t want my heart
Maybe you just hate the thought of me with someone new
Yeah, you just want attention
I knew from the start
You’re just making sure I’m never gettin’ over you
Ohh
[Hook]
What are you doin’ to me?
What are you doin’, huh? (What are you doin’?)
What are you doin’ to me?
What are you doin’, huh? (What are you doin’?)
What are you doin’ to me?
What are you doin’, huh? (What are you doin’?)
What are you doin’ to me?
What are you doin’, huh?
[Pre-Chorus]
I know that dress is karma, perfume regret
You got me thinking ’bout when you were mine
And now I’m all up on ya, what you expect
But you’re not coming home with me tonight
[Chorus]
You just want attention
You don’t want my heart
Maybe you just hate the thought of me with someone new
Yeah, you just want attention
I knew from the start
You’re just making sure I’m never gettin’ over you
(over you)
[Outro]
What are you doin’ to me? (heyy)
What are you doin’, huh? (What are you doin’, what?)
What are you doin’ to me?
What are you doin’, huh? (Yeah, you just want attention)
What are you doin’ to me? (I knew from the start)
What are you doin’ huh?
(You’re just making sure I’m never gettin’ over you)
What are you doin’ to me?
What are you doin’, huh?

Spread the Love – June 2017

Luckie’s birthday fell in June. My elder brother and wife took the trouble to prepare for the mini party. Initially, I was supposed to help to collect Luckie’s cake but my sister-in-law settled it. My mum and younger brother took the train over with me and happened to encounter a terrible train “delay”. Although we didn’t stay for long, I was glad to have the mini family gathering over there.
I tried my first “massage” from “ah hun”, and she helped to relieve a lot of pain from my right shoulder. The improvement was significant.
Nancy hosted the volunteers gang a gathering at her place. She fed us well. Yonghao was generous with his new dimsum making skill. As I wasn’t feeling well, Huiting prepared porridge for me – she prepared extra for me while cooking for her mum.
Gilbert and I gave Wanling a belated birthday celebration. Gilbert was the chauffeur again and also planned the dinner.
During Joy’s book launch, she gave me a two copies of her book.
Since the venue of Gold’s Gym outlet at Lim Teck Kim Road was going to be handed back to the landlord, Bobby suggested lending me a space in the Joo Chiat outlet. He picked me up from my place and sent me over. He also treated me to early supper over there.
I had an implied nude yoga shoot with Karina and I was flattered by the trust she gave me.
 

How to lose your sense and friends – MLM

I have this friend of more than 10 years together with her twin sister. They were the famous “Boonlay twin towers” during the great old volleyball days.
Many years ago, Peiyun asked me out to catch up. She suddenly told me she had a talk to attend and requested me to accompany her. We reached the place near Hong Lim Park very soon (that was the reason for her to pick our original meeting place) and to my disgust, it was a MLM talk. She then told me her brother had joined and she was still considering. I was very traumatised by the speaker and the devoted (like a cult) audience that I left the room. Peiyun’s friends who were outside had a conversation with me and I was told that she had already joined the MLM company. Then, I realised it was a trick to lead me there, in the hope of persuading me to join. I pretended nothing had happened (she had conned me) after that.
Recently, Peiyun started contacting me again to offer to give me “free software” for my company because she wanted to “help a friend”. I knew it was not so simple and managed to dig out the fact that she was working in a company that was tapping into free government grants like PIC and ICV. I finally agreed to catch up with her to meet her and another entrepreneur whom Peiyun claimed might help me in my photography. I did not take up her offer for the “free software”. The meeting wasn’t bad.
Not long later, she contacted me to meet up urgently but refused to tell me what it was. I turned her down. Days later, she contacted me again and told me she had quit her job to start a new company with a friend. Then she told me she needed a photographer to cover an important event for her new company. She then tempted me with a second event and told me to meet up for discussion for future photography services. Eventually, she changed the appointments with me many times at the very last minute.
It was only until one busy day for me, she contacted me in the late afternoon and proposed to come over to my place instead. Late at night, she came over to Bugis to meet me after I parted with my friend. She led me to a table at the McDonald’s where a man was sitting at and I initially thought she was just sharing table with a man who was trying to be friendly. It took me minutes of her meaningless introduction for me to finally realise that guy was her partner and that was a little creepy. At that time, she was passing me over to him and that was how I could confirm his status. He started doing a presentation to me on his laptop and I thought he was just trying to explain about their business so that I could judge whether if I wanted to collaborate with them for my photography services, which she had claimed. That guy was weird and soon, I realised he was trying to sell me something instead of getting my photography services. When I took a glance at Peiyun, she was nodding like she was doped and that was very scary. On one of the Powerpoint slides, I could see “World Ventures” at the top right corner and then I confirmed it was totally a scam by Peiyun to trick me down for sales talk. It was the second time I was conned by her and this time was a more terrible one-on-one hard selling and not a “mass lecture” that I could escape immediately.
I didn’t expose her immediately until she suddenly asked me how did I feel (about the MLM scheme) and none of them would have expected me to say “I’m feeling very uncomfortable”. Of course, none of them was intelligent to know I was more uncomfortable about being conned to meet up with them. The guy (I didn’t know his name) closed his laptop immediately and said that was no point carrying on, and I thanked him (for stopping his bullshit) which he likely didn’t know why. We stood up and I was clapping inside my heart. However, I realised it was just his tactic and he didn’t plan to end his hard selling. He started to lecture me for giving up the opportunity. He talked about me being selfish for not wanting to bring my parents overseas for holidays and give them good life. He talked about me not able to start a family. In his harsh tone that he was trying to scare me into giving in, he claimed he wasn’t angry but was simply feeling sad for me. As he continued to lecture me, he also tapped my trolley, which made me even more comfortable. We probably stood there for around 10 minutes or longer for him to end his miserable night of failing to con another guy into joining them. It was a relief for me finally that I didn’t have to smell his bad breath (he was likely a smoker).
Peiyun has taught me well not to trust any friend too much, especially someone with a bad track record and only approaches me when she has a selfish agenda, which she twists the fact that it would benefit me. Well, I could have started a $10,000 photography course that would benefit all the participants and does it mean she has to sign up? Eventually, I’ve learned to lose such “friend”. Hopefully she would not ever try to contact me again even though I have already blocked her.
One scary thing that I have noticed is the evolution of MLM tactics. In the past, they would use freebies to trick people down to listen to their sales talk. Then, they learned to get friends to “accompany them” down for talks/seminars. Eventually, more people are being tricked and aware of their tactics and thus refusing to waste their time for “meet-up”. They start resorting to con businessmen to meet-up to discuss about the businessmen’s products/services but the meet-up is only about their MLM scheme.
Not all MLM schemes are scams but many MLM “players” are scammers. Of course, they would claim they aren’t MLM because of some internal structures. _|_

Spread the Love – May 2017

I went to Marsiling around three times, mainly to help to babysit Luckie and my elder brother took good care of me. He tried to pay for my meals. My sister-in-law also helped me to buy lunch. Eventually, I felt I had not contributed much.
During the day of the bike shoot with Boon Hui, she bought me drinks from Starbucks and helped me to press some of my acupuncture points to relief some pain from my shoulder injuries. She refused to split the cab fare and then insisted in giving a treat to her friend who was loaning us his bike. After the shoot, she suggested me to take a cab home and offered to pay for me.
My mum helped me to apply medication oil every night. Even though she was clueless about pressing the acupuncture points, it more or less would have helped in making improvement.
My ball-bearings for my trolley from Ebay arrived. I brought it down to Bike Culture and my elder brother and Fattie helped me to replace the old ones.
Gilbert brought me to the Fitness First gym at 100AM. As he was a busy person, it was not easy for him to fork out time to catch up with me.
I had a photoshoot with Cheryl Chua. She took the initiative to do a video discussion with me. As the shoot was a little revealing, I was glad of the trust she had placed on me.
During the shoot with Sharon Ng, she bought some delicious bread from ToastBox for me. She was also very patient with me to try out the yoga moves.