MICHAEL YIP

I AM A

image
Hello,

I'm Michael Yip

I am a video producer and photographer by profession. As a photographer, one of my core skills is in dance event photography, as one of only a handful of photographers experienced in covering dance events, performances and portraits. I got a chance to countries around the Asian region capturing visuals to help participants of the events immortalize their moments. If you are interested in bringing me over to your festivals/events. Just head over to the contact section and drop me a message.

Through GEMNUINE - the idea co., my team and I also provides Brand Management and PR services. Our core expertise is in helping brands evolve and attract the current market. We also provides Digital Marketing and Management services, from web designs to social media management. Drop me an email today at mike@gemnuine.com and let us know how you want us to help you.

If you are stumped by the photo, yes, I dance as well, mainly Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango. I have since stopped performing due to injuries but if you are looking for performers for corporate events/functions/parties/festivals. Do drop me a message as well as I manages some of the dance teams that is currently making the rounds performing for various clients.


Education
Kolej Bandar Utama/Central St. Martin

Diploma in Arts and Design

Kolej Damansara Utama

Diploma in Telecommunication Engineering

SMK Damansara Utama

SPM


Experience
Photographer/Video Producer

MIKE YIP STUDIO

Branding and PR

GEMNUINE - the idea co.

Digital Marketing Solutions

Abood Media Sdn Bhd


My Skills
Photography and Video Production
Brand Management and Solutions
Public Relations
Digital Marketing Solutions

14

Confirmed Bookings for 2018

4

Confirmed Destinations for 2018

6

Confirmed Dance Festivals for 2018

4

Talks Confirmed for 2018

WHAT CAN MY TEAM DO

Photography and Video Production

As our core business, this is what we are good at, capturing visuals that brings out the best for your brand.

Branding and PR

Through GEMNUINE, we specializes in helping brands redevelop, redefine and create a comprehensive marketing strategies reach the target market.

Social Media Marketing

Abood Media Sdn Bhd's core strenght in Digital Marketing Services focuses on Social Media Management and promotions.

Web Design

We also design and revamp websites as part of Abood Media Sdn Bhd's services.

Live Event Streaming Production

As part of a new offering from MIKE YIP STUDIO and partners, we also provides Live Streaming services for Events through dedicated sites or onto social media platforms.

Efficient

We pride ourselves at being good and efficient in what we do and we always try our best to deliver services that exceeds our client's expectations.

I also blogs
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Check your Voter's Status Now for #PRU14


All Malaysian young and old would know by now that the election is scheduled to be held on the 9th of May, 2018.  And if you are above the voting age, you head over to https://pengundi.spr.gov.my and check to make sure your voter's information and polling station is listed down correctly, if you are not a voter, you should also check as there's been reports of voter's details listed in locations they have not been to or registered to before.

If you don't want to use their website, you can also use the SPR's SMS service by texting "SPR semak <IC no>" & send to 15888. They will return a SMS on your polling station.



I've checked mine and all the details are the same as the previous years so it is all good but some poor souls I know are not so lucky, and under the election law, they are not allowed to change the details until after the Malaysia General Election is over. So either they head to the parts unknown to them to vote, or they forego their rights to vote. In any case, do go and lodge a police report if you fall victim to such an incident.

Dear fellow Malaysians, time to exercise your rights. To those of you who are able to vote but didn't bother to register, or simply refuse to vote, you people have no right whatsoever to complain about the govt. You're nothing but a hypocrite and a horrible disappointment to the country.

Unless you're in the medical field and you've patients depending on you, dealing with matters pertaining life and death, you've NO excuse whatsoever if your polling station is located nearby. If you're hundreds of miles away from your polling station and it's next to impossible to apply for leave and travel home and back within 24 hours (since the idiots up there decided to have it in the middle of the bleeding week), I suppose you can't be blamed because of the horrible choice of date.

To those of you who are booking flights, train and bus rides back home although you live so far away, I give you my utmost respect. Thank you for making sacrifices to help make a change for a better future for Malaysia.

*Note: I'm not a politician or am involved with any political parties. I am just a man who wants to exercise his right to vote and want to choose the right people who has the community at heart and not those who only has their own personal gains in mind.

Photos | Miri AfroLatin Fiesta 2018


The Miri AfroLatin Fiesta 2018 has come and gone. A festival that is truly unique, organized and held at a small town in the Borneo island, the #MALF2018 was put together by a small group of dance enthusiasts, bringing in some of the best instructors and dancers from around the world to help build the dance community on the island, of course, those of us from the Peninsular was there as well. Here's some of the photos from the event.

The Free & Easy Moments



The Pre-Party



The Workshops



The Glitter Night



The Hollywood Night



The Traditional Night



That's all for the #miriafrolatinfiesta but do you know that they are currently running a super early bird promotion? Head to Facebook and do a search for Miri AfroLatin Fiesta 2019 and you will see the promo being shared. Will I be seeing you at the next festival?

Vape / e-cigarettes banned in Singapore


Effective February 1st, 2018, Singapore is passed the law to ban all manner of Vaping in the country outright, from sale, import, distribution to smoking it.

Ms Fatima Yusof, 20, a waitress, said of vaping: "I like the flavours and it's cheaper than cigarettes but it's too difficult to find the refills."

With the total ban, Singapore will have one of the world's toughest stances against the controversial products.

Neighbouring countries are moving towards allowing regulated use of such products.

According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand is reconsidering its three-year-old ban on e-cigarettes.

Malaysia has elected three ministries in January last year to regulate the hand-held device that heat flavoured, nicotine-infused liquids to produce a vapour, reported the Malay Mail Online. The Sultan of Johor, however, has vowed to stamp out vaping in the southern state.

In Indonesia, only businesses that have been certified by the health ministry and whose products meet national standards can import and sell e-cigarettes, The Jakarta Post reported.

The Health Ministry considers them gateway products that get users hooked on nicotine, which then leads to cigarette use.Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist in private practice, said e-cigarettes can be a boon or bane, depending on the user's motivation.

If they were given to people who are not motivated to quit smoking or to initiate non-smokers into the habit, they, particularly the youth, may become hooked, he said.

"Their consumption may increase for them to get the same amount of kick, especially when they are stressed out."

But those who are motivated to quit can moderate their nicotine intake by "titrating downwards very gradually and conveniently", he added.

For sales executive Matthew Goh, 25, who has been smoking since he was 18, the ban on e-cigarettes will not change his habit. But he does see the good in the ban.

"I've seen teenagers in their school uniforms using the e-cigarettes, and I think it's difficult to accept (the sight of them)," said Mr Goh, who had tried e-cigarettes for a few months and thought them to be a cheaper alternative. He then went back to his old habit.

"I cannot quite compare the effects, but I think I'm taking in more nicotine with the e-cigarettes because it's hard to keep count, unlike regular cigarettes."

Under section 16(2A) of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act (TCASA), it is illegal to possess, purchase and use vaporisers in Singapore as of 1 February 2018. This includes e-cigarettes, e-pipes and e-cigars as the TCASA covers any toy, device or article:

  • That resembles, or is designed to resemble, a tobacco product;
  • That is capable of being smoked;
  • That may be used in such a way as to mimic the act of smoking; or
  • The packaging of which resembles, or is designed to resemble, the packaging commonly associated with tobacco products.

Persons found guilty of this offence can be fined up to $2,000.

In addition, under section 16(1) of the TCASA, it has been illegal to import vaporisers from 1 August 2016 onwards.

This means that buying vaporisers online and shipping them to Singapore for personal use is illegal. Those guilty of the offence are liable to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 6 months’ jail. Repeat offenders are liable to a fine of up to $20,000 and/or to 12 months’ jail.

As advised by the Health Sciences Authority in a press release on 13 July 2016, members of the public should refrain from using vaporisers, and discard any vaporisers they may own, to avoid breaking the law.

So, now you know, if you are traveling into Singapore and intend to bring your e-cigs with you, leave them back in your own country or be prepared for it to be confiscated upon entry into the country.

5 Tips to save more on your next flight ticket


Everyone wants to save as much as they can when they travel. So do I, and I'm sure you as well. So here's 5 tips to maximizing your savings when you plan your next destination holiday.

1. Time it right

Airline fares are always going up and down in price depending on supply and demand.

And according to Which?, choosing the exact right moment to book flights is crucial if you want to save money.

Its consumer experts suggest that signing up to price alerts is the best way to know when fares are cheap.

This is because websites will email passengers and notify them when the flight price drops. 'Simply click the price-alerts button on the results page of your flight search and enter your email address,'

2. Be flexible

Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to travel.

Be flexible with travel dates, travelling before or after, in order to save money.

Instead of traveling on a Friday and return on Sunday, why not time it a day later on both ways? The flight cost can be greatly reduced.

However, if the dates are set in stone, the consumer experts say travelers could be flexible with their destination instead.

Several websites such as Momondo and Kayak, where you can enter your dates and budget and they will come up with a destination for you.

3. Look for alternatives

Booking flights usually means flying from and returning to the same airport using the same airline.

However, If you don't mind moving around a bit, sometimes money to be saved by using multiple airports and airlines.

With a bit of research, you can easily find flights with different airlines giving you lower prices as most airlines like AirAsia would normally give you a low fare on way and a higher fare on the return trip.

And on long-haul, consider going indirectly.

4. Be in the know

Many websites scour the internet looking for cheap deals on flights.

And you do travel frequently, sign up to them so you are kept informed of deals and offers.

5. Avoid airline extras

Many low cost carriers making their money through charging for extras such as checking in luggage, printing boarding passes and on-board food.

However, being aware of these charges allows you to plan in advance to make sure you aren't stung by them.

But if you need to check a bag, I would suggest pre-booking this online to get it at a cheaper price than arranging this at the airport.

Downloading an airline's app on to your phone means you can sometimes download your boarding pass on to it.

Most people won't be surprised that a bit of forward planning and flexibility can help cut the cost of your next flight - but probably won't realise just how much they can save.

Flying Saturday and Monday rather Friday and Sunday, using price alerts and shopping around airports as well as airlines can knock hundreds off your fare.

Hope these tips helps, have a safe travel!

Did You Know? You can't bring your Vape/e-cigarette into Thailand


Travellers heading to Thailand have been warned they risk 10 years in prison for taking an e-cigarette into the country.

Experts say as the ban on vaping introduced in the Land of Smiles in 2014 is little known, holidaymakers unaware might find themselves facing prosecution for having a drag and being fined or sent to jail.

Millions of tourists visit Thailand each year, according to the Foreign Office, and the South-East Asian country is a favourite among backpackers and gap-year students, for its accessibility and affordability.

Advice for tourists on the Foreign Office website states: “You can’t bring vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) or refills into Thailand.

“These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted.

“The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to five years imprisonment if found guilty. Several Tourists have been arrested for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.”

There is no actual law against vaping or vapor products in Thailand. Instead, vapor products fall under customs law in a category called “goods that have not been taxed”. Here are the applicable laws:
  • Customs Act 27 states that avoiding import duty taxation is tax evasion and against the law. Violating Customs Act 27 is punishable by fines, five years in jail or both. The fines are calculated based on the cost of the products that evaded taxation and they can be steep. The five years in jail is obviously the source of reports of going to jail for vaping.

  • Customs Act 20 gives Thai law enforcement arrest powers without a warrant if you are deemed to be breaking the law. Basically, this provides the legal basis for arresting someone in possession of vapor products. Similar to “probable cause” in the United States.
We can debate the merits of the vaping laws in Thailand all day. At the end of the day, we are visitors in someone else’s home. Whether or not you can get away with it shouldn’t be a consideration. It was made clear to me by an official from the Royal Thailand Consulate that electronic cigarettes are against the law and not allowed. As visitors to their beautiful country, we should respect that.

That’s really the final analysis. First, we should not abuse the privilege of visiting Thailand by flaunting their laws. Second, there are potential consequences including arrest. Don’t vape in Thailand. Leave your vape gear and e-liquids at home. They will be there waiting for you when you get back.

US wants Airlines to Ban Cameras in Checked Bags



Recently, the buzz that got around the photography world is that the American government is encouraging the Airlines around the world to ban cameras, laptops and various other electronic devices from checked luggage, citing risk of batteries causing fires.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the recommendation was made in a paper that was recently filed with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency that’s part of the U.N.

The FAA conducted tests that involved placing a heater against a fully-charged laptop’s lithium-ion battery, causing the battery’s temperature to continually rise. The agency found that overheating batteries and aerosol cans in close proximity to one another can cause fires and explosions in less than a minute — events that could bring down a passenger plane.

Batteries packed with other permitted items such as rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and nail polish remover also caused large fires. These fires can burn up to 1,100 °F (594 °C), close to the melting point of aircraft aluminum, and are responsible for 3 cargo jet crashes and 4 pilot deaths since 2006, the Associated Press says.

As a result of these findings, the FAA is recommending that electronics larger than a smartphone should be banned from checked luggage unless they’re specifically approved by the airline. Other major agencies and companies, including the European Safety Agency (the FAA’s European counterpart) and Airbus, agreed with the recommendation.

The ICAO is responsible for creating global airline safety standards, which may then be adopted by member countries and airlines. This proposed ban will be considered during an ICAO meeting within the next two weeks.

Here’s the proposal that was submitted by the FAA:



If the ban goes into effect for international flights around the world, it could cause issues for photographers who need to transport large amounts of camera equipment in checked baggage. One possible solution, however, might be to separate your lithium-ion batteries from your cameras and equipment and bring them into the cabin with you in carry-on baggage.

Transporting camera equipment on flights has become much more regulated in recent years due to safety and terrorism concerns. The US temporarily banned cameras in the cabins of planes from a number of Middle Eastern countries earlier this year, and the TSA recently started requiring a separate screening of cameras in security lanes.

(via Chicago Tribune)

Accommodation: Grandpa Resort, Bali

On a recent visit to Bali, I stayed in Canggu, slightly away from the usual tourist haunts as I was also involved with the Latin Experience Bali and the studio that is hosting the workshop is located about 15min walk from where I stayed. The venue of choice is this Resort/Guest House named Grandpa. Yup, kid you not. It's Grandpa Resort. To find the place is quite tricky too as the road turning into the area is like a small back lane stretch but it opens up to a wider space with paddy field to the left and right.


Of course, tourist development would take a foothold of the area as that's one of the island's main source of income and guest houses and villas sprout up left, right and center. There's not much signs along the road that indicate that you've arrived at the guest house. Even the one at the entrance of the road is tiny. If you intend to drive to the Guesthouse, it's safer to go by Bike. Taxi/Grab/Uber that goes in there had to navigate their way out of the road in reverse. Not an easy feat to do, especially at night with no lights lighting the path. Hopefully, as the Guest House improves itself, they will light up the road as well.


There's limited rooms in the Guest House, by my estimate, about 20 rooms are available? There are several tourists there that's on long-stay so if you plan to stay for months, can always ask them for a special rate. The staff are quite accommodating so they sorted out my check-in in quite a quick manner.
Verdict: 




The area looks clean but then, they do have a few housekeeping staff constantly roaming around cleaning the garden area when the guests are not ready for them to clean the rooms. There's also a pool in front of the entrance/reception area and just below it is the cafe area where our breakfast are prepared. Didn't get to chill in the pool though as the only time I was at Grandpa was to sleep and recharge my equipment. But overall, the place feels comfortable to relax in, felt like I was staying in a private villa with my own team of servants. As the staff was always around when you need to ask them something or request for things.
Verdict: 




The rooms are huge! For a single person to stay in there. It's even bigger than my room back home. Comfortable bed, plenty of lights coming into the room thanks to the floor to ceiling window but the walls are not that thick so what happens in the next room, if the volume is slightly high, can be heard in the room. Only thing I'm not so sure about is the pillow, not sure how often they change the pillow cases between guests so even though it was comfortable, I had to drop the rating as 1 of the 2 pillows had smell of sweat.

Verdict: 




The wash basin is located within the room itself but that is ok, especially when the ones in the room are the one using it and you are not expecting to have crowd of people in the room. The toilet itself is quite spacious, strong shower but of the 4 nights I was there, the 1st 2 days, the hot water heater did not work so it can be a bit torturous especially after a long day out and you want to have a nice hot shower to relax the body before bed. Other than that little problem, it served the purpose it was build. 

Verdict: 



Overall, the place is quite nice, beautifully designed, cozy as there's only limited rooms and waking up to sunrise across the paddy field is also wonderful for a change. Price wise, the rates when I got the place is quite reasonable too. But because there's so many other villas and guest houses in the area, if I were to be in Canggu area again for work, I might not stay in Grandpa again and check out the other GH or Villas around the area.

If you are feeling adventurous and know how to ride a bike, you can also rent a bike at the reception area. I didn't ask about the price as I had my own car to drive around while I was in Bali. Well, it's been a long time since I last been to Bali, there's so much changes over the years and so many places yet to be rediscovered that I do hope to travel back there again soon, to visit friends and to check out more places. in the beautiful island.

Grandpa Resort Bali

Gg. IV No.2, Tibubeneng, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 822-3618-3607
Waze: https://waze.com/ul/hqw3yu7sv5

Ratings :

Service :


Comfort :


Cleanliness/Ambiance :


Security :


Value For Money :



Map :

Travel Advisory : King of Thailand's Funeral Ceremony


If you are planning to pay a visit to Thailand towards the last quarter of October, here's a travel advisory for you to take note. The Royal Cremation Ceremony will be held in Bangkok from October 25-29. It will be a sad time for Thai people, but the country will remain as welcoming as ever for tourists and you will still be able to enjoy your trip. Although there is no need to change travel plans, please be respectful and if you are visiting Bangkok or other areas of Thailand in October.

The funeral ceremonies for HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej will take place in Bangkok from October 25-29. The actual cremation ceremony will be on October 26 at Sanam Luang, the ceremonial ground in front of the Grand Palace. This has traditionally been the venue for royal cremations and is where the intricate funeral pyre has been constructed by specialist workers and skilled artisans. Replicas of the Royal Crematorium will also be on display in every province in Thailand and candlelit services will be held in every town and city around the country during the funeral period.

Antique gilded chariots will be used in the royal processions that carry the funeral urn to Sanam Luang. The largest chariot used in the procession is so big and heavy it will require more than 200 men to pull it.


Key dates for October 2017
October 5: Awk Phansa Buddhist holiday. Public holiday nationwide.
October 13: First anniversary of King Bhumibol’s death. Public holiday nationwide.
October 25: Funeral ceremonies for the King commence in Bangkok.
October 26: Cremation ceremony for the King. Public holiday nationwide.
October 27-29: Religious ceremonies continue in Bangkok.


*Timeline for the cremation ceremonies:

  • October 25

A royal merit-making ceremony will be held at Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace complex at 5.30pm. This is to prepare for the moving of the royal urn the following morning.


  • October 26

At 7am the royal urn containing the King’s body will make the short journey from Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to the Royal Crematorium on Sanam Luang. The Royal Cremation Ceremony is scheduled to commence at 5.30pm. The actual cremation is scheduled for 10pm. In final tribute, there will be performances of traditional khon masked dramas and orchestral performances from 6pm on October 26 until 6am the following day.


  • October 27

The collection of royal relics will take place at the Royal Crematorium on Sanam Luang at 8am.


  • October 28

At 5.30pm, a merit-making ceremony will be held for the royal relics at Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace complex.


  • October 29

The royal relics will be moved at 10.30am from the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall and will be enshrined in the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall. Later in the day at 5.30pm the royal ashes will be enshrined at two temples in Bangkok; Wat Ratchabophit and Wat Bovoranives.


  • Other dates

Rehearsals for the royal procession are scheduled to be held at Sanam Luang in Bangkok on October 7 and 15.

Etiquette

If you’ve visited Thailand before you will already know the immense amount of love and respect there is for King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The late King was regarded as the ‘Father of the Nation’ and for many Thais his death was like losing a member of the family. Please do not underestimate how much the King meant to Thai people and do show consideration during this time. Some Thai people have been wearing black since the King died. Others did so for a month during the official mourning period last year. With October 13 marking the anniversary of the King’s death, the majority of Thai people will again be wearing black from this date until the cremation ceremony is complete. Visitors won’t be expected to do the same, but out of respect for the Thai people and the late King, please do try to wear a black top or a white top with a black ribbon on October 13 and October 26. But if you can wear a black ribbon throughout the period from October 13-27 that would be a lovely gesture and one that will be appreciated by the Thai people you meet. After the King died last year, black ribbons were handed out for free to tourists at airports, hotels and shops and it is likely that this will happen again ahead of the funeral.

On the beach, the simple advice is to wear what you normally would. Don’t sunbathe nude (which has never been polite in Thailand) and use some common sense when you are away from the beach. Many Thai islands and beach resorts are heavily reliant on tourism so there is likely to be more leeway compared to if you are in a city like Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Despite that, visitors should still be sensitive to the fact that many restaurant owners, hotel staff and store owners will be thinking about the late King. When you go out in the evening wearing a black ribbon or muted colours will be appreciated, but not demanded. To a certain extent, follow the lead of the Thai people around you and assess the mood. It may vary from location to location so use your own judgement. If you are travelling with children the most important thing for them is to be comfortable in the heat. There is no need to make any changes to what you are planning to pack for younger children. For older children and teenagers, try to explain why Thai people are wearing black tops or black ribbons. If your children want to wear black ribbons too, it will reflect positively on you as a parent and won’t go unnoticed by appreciative locals.

Tourist attractions

Most tourists attractions will be open as usual in Thailand throughout October. The notable exception is the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha which will be closed to tourists from October 1-29. On October 26 some other venues in Bangkok and around Thailand may close for the day or close early to allow workers to watch the funeral on television. On all other dates, tourist attractions around the country should be open as usual.

Note: some attractions in Bangkok such as the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and Vimanmek Teak Mansion will be closed for restoration work

Transport

If you are travelling around Thailand you can expect flights, trains and buses to run as scheduled. However, there will be extra demand on all transport services into Bangkok ahead of the funeral and out again after the funeral and you should take this into account when planning travel. Vast crowds are expected in the vicinity of the Grand Palace for the funeral with people travelling from across Thailand to pay their last respects.

Flights
International and internal flights will operate normally. There will be extra domestic flights with carriers including Thai Airways and Thai Smile announcing additional services to and from Bangkok to facilitate mourners. With temporary road closures and the potential for extra traffic congestion between October 25-29, do allow extra time to get to and from both of Bangkok’s airports.

Roads in Bangkok
There will be temporary road closures and extra security in place around the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang area which could have a knock-on effect for traffic in other areas of Bangkok. Allow plenty of extra time for journeys between October 25-29.

Trains and buses
Train and bus services on many routes into Bangkok are expected to be busier than usual ahead of the funeral. Book seats in advance if possible. In Bangkok, some of the local bus services that serve Sanam Luang and the Grand Palace area will be free of charge. Bangkok transport authorities will also provide shuttle buses on a number of routes into Sanam Luang.

The airport rail link that serves Bangkok Suvarnabhumi will be free for passengers on October 25 and 26.

Bangkok Skytrain (BTS), Metro (MRT) and Trams (BRT)
There will be free services on all routes on October 26. Some routes will also run free services on October 25. There is likely to be congestion at interchange stations and at other major stations including Saphan Taksin where people connect to boat services to Sanam Luang.

Boat services
There will be additional boat services along the Chao Phraya River for the funeral period. Extra staff will be on duty to maintain passenger safety and access to some piers may be temporarily restricted to ease the flow of people.
Chao Phraya River boat routes »

Taxis and tuk-tuks
Taxis and tuk-tuks will still be available in Bangkok, but road closures will be in effect around the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang which may result in traffic congestion in nearby areas. Allow plenty of extra time if you are travelling to or from the airport during the funeral period. With October 26 being a public holiday there is a chance that traffic in Bangkok could be lighter than usual, but don’t bank on it.

Hotels

There will also be increased demand for accommodation around Bangkok from October 25-29. Many hotels and guest houses in the vicinity of Sanam Luang and the Grand Palace are already booked out. Although there shouldn’t be a problem finding a room in other areas of Bangkok, it’s advisable to book accommodation in advance. It will be an emotional time for Thai people and that includes the workers at your hotel or guest house. If they can’t be at the funeral in person the next best thing will be watching the coverage on television or their smartphone so don’t take it personally if staff appear distracted.

Shops and restaurants

Shopping malls, stores and restaurants will all be open. Some independent stores or family-owned restaurants may close earlier than usual on October 26 to allow staff to watch coverage of the funeral ceremony on television.

Entertainment and alcohol sales

At the time of writing, there has been no announcement of any formal bans on entertainment or alcohol, but the military government have announced guidelines asking entertainment venues to show discretion and respect, especially on October 26. It’s probable that many bars and clubs around Thailand will decide to close on October 26. For other days during the funeral period (October 25-29) it’s possible that music may be toned down and lights dimmed. With the funeral taking place in Bangkok, it will be in the Thai capital where authorities will be particularly keen to see restraint from bars, clubs and entertainment venues. The situation is likely to vary depending where you are in Thailand and may not be decided until nearer the time. Pubs and bars in a city like Chiang Mai will probably be closed on October 26, but small beachside bars on a tourist island like Ko Phi Phi may still be open. Different business owners and police chiefs will interpret guidelines differently, but be prepared for some temporary restrictions on entertainment during the funeral period, especially on October 26.

The above is also true for October 13 which marks the anniversary of the King’s death. Restrictions on entertainment and alcohol sales may also be in place in some locations on October 5, but that is for the Buddhist holiday of Awk Phansa and is not related to the funeral arrangements for the late King.

Hotels will have more leeway for serving alcohol on all of these dates, but again it will depend on the hotel management and agreements in place with the local police.

Media

There will be changes to Thai television schedules ahead of the royal funeral. Light entertainment programmes will be suspended and some broadcasts will switch from colour to black and white. From October 21 to 24, special programmes will be shown to honour His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. There will be live coverage of all the cremation ceremonies from October 25-29.

During October, many Thai websites will also switch their default settings to black and white. This will also extend to social media with Thai companies and private individuals changing their profile photos to show respect for the King.

Visitors to Thailand are politely reminded that the monarchy is a revered institution in Thailand and there are strict laws in place which also extend to visitors.

Attending the funeral

Sanam Luang will attract massive crowds for the Royal Cremation Ceremonies. There is nothing to say tourists can’t attend, but if you do want to go there are lots of rules of etiquette involved. You will need to wear black and be aware that there are restrictions about who and what you can and can’t photograph without causing offence. It will also be a day that will severely test your stamina. The Sanam Luang area will be hot, potentially rainy and extremely crowded. Thai mourners will arrive early and wait patiently for many hours to try and secure their spot. If you are still intent on going it would be helpful if you attended with a Thai person or somebody who can speak Thai and has a good knowledge of Thai culture.

This is also an event that will be attended by heads of state from around the world and security will be heightened. You will probably be asked to show your passport before gaining access to Sanam Luang. Thai people are required to carry ID cards.

As an alternative to attending the actual cremation ceremony, you could attend the full dress rehearsals for the royal procession. These are scheduled to be held at Sanam Luang in Bangkok on October 7 and 15.

After the funeral

An exhibition will be held at Sanam Luang from November 1 to 30 allowing visitors the chance to learn more about the funeral ceremonies and traditions involved. The Grand Palace is scheduled to reopen to tourists on October 30.

An announcement is expected in the weeks after the funeral to confirm the date for the formal coronation of the new monarch, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.

Life goes on

There is no need to change travel plans, but please be culturally sensitive. This doesn’t mean that you can’t laugh and enjoy yourself during your visit to Thailand in October. Life goes on and Thai people will want you to enjoy your trip. Just use discretion and common sense. This is an historic occasion and it will be a privilege to be in Thailand and experience this once in a lifetime event as Thais bid a final farewell to the man they call the Royal Father.

There you go, do take note on the dates and please respect the ceremony. As tourists, that's the most we can do when we travel.

Customs Department to Implement Tourism Tax to Malaysian Hotels on Aug 1


The implementation of the Tourism Tax (TTx) will begin on August 1 this year, as announced by the Customs Department on their website.

Prior to the enforcement date, operators of accommodation premises are required to register their businesses starting July 1.

Regulated by the Finance Ministry and the Customs Department, the tax is charged at a specific rate on tourists staying at any accommodation premises provided by an operator of the said accommodation premises.

These accommodation premises are buildings including hostels, hotels, inns, boarding-houses, rest houses and lodging houses, held out by the proprietor, owner or manager, either wholly or partly, as offering lodging or sleeping accommodation to tourists for hire or any other form of reward, whether or not food or drink is also offered.

Tourist accommodation premises are any accommodation which have been registered by the Commissioner under subsection 31C (1) Tourism Industry Act 1992.

It is stated in the announcement that this tax is implemented using a mechanism of cooperation between the government and the industry to enhance tourism experience for tourists.

Tax returns will be used to develop the tourism industry, namely the enhancement of tourism infrastructure and facilities, tourism promotional activities and campaigns.

Implementation of this tax is also an effort to protect, preserve and conserve Mother Nature, culture and heritage for the benefit of the present and future generations.


According to the announcement, tax rate is fixed at RM20 per room per night (five-star), RM10 per room per night (four-star), RM5 per room per night (one-, two- and three-star), RM2.50 per room per night (one, two and three Orchid) and RM2.50 per room per night (non-rated accommodation premises).

Whether Malaysian nationals or otherwise, a “tourist” defines any persons visiting any place in Malaysia for purposes including recreation or holiday, culture, religion, visiting friends or relatives, sports, business, meetings, conferences, seminars or conventions, studies or research, any other purpose which is not related to an occupation that is remunerated from the place visited.

Under the TTx, the registered operator is liable to collect tourism tax from a tourist upon his or her departure and pay the tourism tax collected to the Customs Department in respect of his taxable period.

The announcement also stated that an exemption of the tourism tax is available for ‘homestay’ registered with Ministry of Tourism and Culture (Motac), ‘kampung stay’ registered with Motac, accommodation premises established and maintained by religious institutions not for commercial purposes or accommodation premises with less than 10 rooms.

Accommodation premises operated by the Federal Government, State Government or statutory body for training, educational or accommodation not for commercial purposes are also eligible for the exemption.

Places to Dance in Hong Kong – Updated May 2017


Since meeting some friends from Hong Kong at the recent dance festivals, and having promised some ex-colleagues that I'd go back to the island to visit them, I've been wondering about the places I can go to dance when I'm there.

Well, guess I don't have to wonder much further, and have since compiled a list of places to check out the local dancing scene. If you feel that there's some changes I need to put in, do feel free to let me know.


MONDAY

Rula Bula
58-62, D'Aguilar Street
Central
Time: 8pm til late.

Dance: Salsa
Entry: Free Entry


Kizomba Social
Picada, 2F, LKF29, 29 Wyndham Street
Central
Time: 9pm onward
Dance: Kizomba
Entry: Free Entry



TUESDAY

Viva La Salsa
Volar, B/F, 38-44, D' Aguilar Street
Central
Time: 8pm - 1am
Dance: Salsa
Entry: HK$150 (includes 2 drinks)
 

Afro-Latin Party
Mezcalito, 27/F, 18 On Lan Street
Central
Time: 9pm until late 

Dance: Kizomba, Bachata Zouk & Salsa
Entry: HK$130 (includes 1 drink)
 
La La Latin
Picada, 2F, LKF29, 29 Wyndham Street
Central
Time: 8.30pm onward
Entry: HK$120 (includes 1 drink)


Cuban Nights
Ce La Vi, 25/F California Tower
32 D'Aguilar Street

Central
Time: 6.30pm - 11pm
Dance: Salsa
Entry: Free Entry



WEDNESDAY

Sensual WedNite
Bar Six, 6/F Parekh House,
63 Wyndham Street, Central
Dance: Bachata, Kizomba & Zouk
Entry: HK$100 (includes 1 Drink) or HK$150 (includes 2 Drinks)


The Funkiest Salsa Party in TownFire & Ice, 9 Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Time: 9pm until late
Dance: Salsa
Entry: Free Entry

THURSDAY

Kizomba Party
Danzstage, 20/F, 148 Electric Road, Tin Hau
Time: 10pm until late
Entry: HK$120 (bring your own drinks)

Salsa Night
Rude Bar, pper Basement
79 Wyndham Street, Central
Time: 9pm - 1am
Entry: Free Entry



FRIDAY

Salsaman Social
Danzstage, 20/F, 148 Electric Road, Tin Hau
Time: 8.30pm until lateEntry: HK$120 (bring your own drinks) 

Salsa FeverMorrison Restaurant & Bar
284 Queen's Road Central
Time: 9pm until late
Entry: Free entry 


Latin Beat PartyMahalo Tiki Lounge, 29/F, QRE Plaza,
202 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai
Time: 10.30pm to 2am
Entry: HK$120 (includes 1 drink)

SATURDAY

Saturday Night Live Salsa Party
20/F Richmond Plaza
496 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay
Time: 10.30pm - 2.30am
Entry: HK$120 (bring your own drinks)


Saturday Night Latin Fever
Picada, 2F, LKF29, 29 Wyndham Street
Central
Time: 10pm - 2am
Entry: Free Entry



SUNDAY

Las Noches Locas
Mazu, UG/F, 8-11 Lan Kwai Fong
Central

Time: 7.30pm - 1am
Entry: Free Entry

Salsa Fusion
Rula Bula, 58-62, D'Aguilar Street
Central
Time: 9.30pm til late.

Entry: Free Entry


Again, if you feel that I left out any locations to dance, do drop me a message at info [at] mikeyip.com or message me on Facebook. Until then, I'll see you on the dance floor.

Reporting Lost MyKad or Passport via Online for Klang Valley Folks


For people in the Klang Valley looking for faster ways to lodge police reports for non-criminal cases such as lost identity cards or passports can do so online now. The Online Police Reporting System, which is available at http://ereporting.rmp.gov.my, means complainants no longer have to go to the police station to make a report. E-reporting is open for Malaysians aged 18 and above.

“In 2015 and 2016, 80% to 90% of reports lodged in Kuala Lumpur involved people losing their IC or passports, misplacing handphones, and runaway maids,” said City police chief Comm Datuk Amar Singh. "E-reporting would make the process easier for these people."

“There was positive response, so we decided to expand it to the whole contingent in Kuala Lumpur. “Perhaps in the future, it will be open for the whole country,”

Besides e-reporting, there is also the Online Checking System at http://sso.rmp.gov.my, which allows people who have lodged police reports to check the progress of their case.

What about those of you who wants to apply for Replacement of lost Identity Card (MyKad Or MyPR)? You can use JPN's portal to do it at http://www.jpn.gov.my/en/kp/permohonan-gantian-hilang-kad-pengenalan-mykad-atau-mypr/

I tested it over the weekend as the chip on my MyKad is faulty but there was a bit of bounced connection from the site. Hopefully they will improve on the backend to keep up with the incoming traffic.

Le French Festival is back for the 2017 edition


Bonjour, Comment allez-vous? Ça roule? Anyway, The 16th edition of Le French Festival (LFF) is back, an eagerly anticipated event on the annual Malaysian cultural agenda. This year looks to be the most packed as they will be celebrating the LFF in 3 states, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu! I still remember the first time I attended the event and it was held in a small space at HELP college (which is now a big pile of rubble next to the Pusat Damansara MRT station). How they have grown over the years and getting stronger is amazing.

From the 4th of May to 18th of June, audiences in Malaysia can look forward to a selection of the latest French films, live shows with a number of visiting French artists, exhibitions, gastronomy events and a series of Live concerts (the list goes on but these are the ones I'm interested in)! You can check out the complete listing of events and activities at their website (click here).



A quick rundown for those of you that's unfamiliar with the French Festival, it's organized by Alliance Française and the France Embassy supported by the Institut  Français. With the roots and cornerstone of the festival being the Film Festival, they partnered with GSC to feature some amazing line up of movies across their cinemas in the Klang Valley, Penang and Kota Kinabalu.

I've got a head start and caught the movie Monsieur Chocolat and I have to say it's one of the movies you should catch. It tells the story of Rafael Padilla, a former slave that became a star clown in PAris. Changing the way clown works and perform with his friend George Footit. Of course, when there's a high, there's also the low point in the movie, watch it and you'd know. Don't want to spoil movie for those that has yet to watch it. T’sais?



The other movies they'll feature is Cigarettes et chocolat chaud, La Vache, Rosalie Blum, Nos Futurs and L'Odyssée. Gustave Kervern (Actor/Filmmaker) that is acting in Cigarettes et chocolat chaud will be in town for meet & greet on the 5th of May at GSC Pavilion. Want to meet him? Head there at 9pm to see him.

There's also Live Events and Shows, from concerts to dance and Performance Arts, again, visit their website for the complete list. For those that's into architecture, Jacques Ferrier will be in town with his exhibition from the 18th of May to 1st June. There'll also be a conference with Jacques but it's by Invite-Only.


Lastly, there's the gastronomy & lifestyle events, with mixology workshops to champagne & cognag tastings. For those that wants to learn how to cook french dishes, there's also some cooking classes you can attend. I'm most attracted to the Wine Tasting with Chateau de Lafont at AFKL. After all, it's wine! And there's the Flea Market at AFKL on the 20th May which is dangerous for me as my hands tend to go for eccentric stuff. It's looking to be quite an interesting May and June with all these activities in store. Can't wait!

Visit http://lefrenchfestival.com.my/ to find out more. Until then, time for me to plan out my timing so I can visit at least one or two of the activities that I have my eyes on. Ça te dit?

AirAsia enforced 7kg limit for carry-on luggage


Travelers flying with AirAsia departing from KLIA2 do take note, AirAsia is enforcing the 7kg luggage limit for carry-on luggage. Which means, you are only allowed to bring a TOTAL of 7KG worth irregardless of how many bags you are carrying.

In my case, I have to think twice if I were to fly AirAsia as even my camera bag and computer bag combine would have exceeded 7KG and I don't trust the ground crew enough to check in the bags. So either I don't fly with AirAsia or I have to play properly on the best scenario to enable my gears to get into the plane with me without fear of it being damaged or stolen.


I was told that there's weighing machine at the departure lounge that all passengers have to go through to weight the luggage before they can board their flights. So if you are planning to fly with AirAsia, make sure you get to the airport at least 3 hours ahead of time. There's scenarios where friends have missed their flights because of what happened.

The ruling has been around for quite some time, the airline was quite relaxed until recently which caught a lot of flyers off guard and most of them vent their frustration social media.

Hopefully by the time you are flying in or flying out with AirAsia, they would have sorted out the issues and have a smooth transition for passengers (so you don't miss your flight).

If you want to get more details about the Baggage ruling, you can read about it in their website (click here).

New Thailand Ruling on Foreign Vehicles Entering The Country


This is something to take notice of especially to those that drives into Thailand. There's a new declaration form with barcodes that is being used at the Thailand borders and those who lose the barcodes on declaration forms risk a RM2,000 fine imposed by the Thai authorities.

According to Titi Tinggi state assemblyman Khaw Hock Kong in the Padang Besar parliamentary constituency, the new ruling was implemented by the Thai authorities in mid-March.

“I understand that each vehicle to be taken to Thailand must be declared to the customs and immigration departments, including the number of passengers, which was previously not practised.

“A barcode would be posted on the declaration form. Drivers who lose the barcode will not be allowed to leave unless they pay a fine of RM2,000,” he told reporters here yesterday.


He said he was informed that many Malaysians who entered Thailand through Padang Besar in their own vehicles were not aware of this ruling and were warned by the Thai authorities during the early stages of the implementation.

“I want to advise our people to observe the laws of that country so that they do not face any problem, including having their vehicles impounded,” said Khaw.

There's no plans for the Malaysia-Thailand border gateways to be opened round-the-clock as well as majority of people in Padang Besar did not agree with the proposal. They felt the move would only create more problems to the country when the issue of security should be the priority.

Currently, the border gateways are opened from 6am to 10pm.

I'm not sure if this ruling only applies to those entering the country from Malaysia or also applies to those that enters the country from the other borders.

Using Public Transport vs Personal Transportation - My Take


I was asked by friends to write about my experience comparing driving and using public transport (including GRAB/UBER). Why? Because since the start of 2017, I've been using the public transport (MRT) a lot as there's a feeder bus in front of my residential area and the MRT was fully operational between Sungai Buloh and Semantan (Bukit Damansara).

With the convenience of the public transport + uber/grab, I don't have to think about traffic congestion (especially during peak hours) and parking cost/spaces at the destination. Do I still drive? Yes, when I need to go pick up my children from school/tuition or when I need to go groceries shopping at the market (as a single dad, I have to be the maid as well). Aside from that, going to meetings in KL is mostly via Public Transport.

Doesn't it take longer time to get to the destination? Of course, but having used the MRT+Feeder Buses for 4 years while I lived and worked in Singapore, I'm used to planning ahead of time if I need to get to my appointments at a certain time. So far, the only time I gotten late to an appointment before was when I drove as I got stuck in a post-rain jam despite leaving my home early.

For now, the MRT only reaches Semantan (Wisma UN) area at the time of this post so I will update this part once they have open up the rest of the route (remind me if I didn't update this post when you stumble upon this)

For this post, The destination of choice was Publika in Solaris Damansara which is 16 km away (from my home according to waze) which usually takes me about 30 - 40 minutes (during non-peak hour) and 1 hour to 1 1/2 by car. Also, this post does not include BIKES as it's cheaper to move around if you are riding a small cub bikes as a full tank of below RM10 can get you far and most malls and offices charges a flat rate for bike parking space.



Public Transport

Duration: 55 min (Per Direction)
Transportation Cost:
Feeder Bus : RM1
MRT : Kota Damansara - Semantan : RM3.20
Feeder Bus : RM1
Total Per Direction: RM5.20
Total For Entire Trip: RM10.40
(I usually don't have to wait long for the Feeder bus as it goes by my area every 15 minutes and I can roughly gauge the timing so I can head out just in time for the bus)


Using UBERX: RM17.42 (Both Direction: RM34.84)
If you to use UBER and have not signed up before, use my invite code: uberzique.

Using GRAB: RM22 (Both Direction: RM44).
If you to use GRAB and have not signed up before, use http://invite.grab.co/A69F66.

The prices for UBER/GRAB are what I got when I request for ride at the time of the screenshot. It also varies depending on surges/peak periods.

I also use a combination of the MRT/LRT with GRAB/UBER as the timing RapidKL bus that goes by my place to the Kelana Jaya LRT Station is not consistent. At some time, I've seen people waiting for an hour before we see the bus in the area and on some occasion, the bus totally bypass the route as they assumed that there's no passenger in that route. I hope the Feeder Bus will remain consistent for my area as the 15 minutes between each bus is just nice. According to the bus driver, they'll still go into the area even if there's zero passenger at the time of their shift.

This is just an estimate based on the taxi calculator website

TAXI: RM16.76 (This is just an estimated fare, we'll round it up to RM17 for easy calculation)
Toll: RM1.80 (You'll have to stand-by small change if you know you are using the toll)
Total Per Direction: RM18.80
Total For Entire Trip: RM37.60

Do request for the Taxi to always use the Meter before you get into the taxi. If you don't want to risk it, use the GrabTaxi app as the payment is paid based on the rate shown on the app and you can immediately lodge a report via the app if there's any issues.


Own Car

Duration: 35 min + 15 min searching for a parking space
Petrol Cost: RM2.65 (estimated)
Toll: RM1.80 (Kota Damansara - Jalan Duta)
Parking: RM4 (I was there for 4 hours) (RM2 for First 2 hours + RM1 every subsequent hours)
Total Per Direction: RM4.45 
Total For Entire Trip: RM12.90 (including RM4 parking charges)

Proton because Support Malaysian Made Products!

Now does it mean that it's better to just drive than to use the Public Transport? Personally, it's a preference. There's no right or wrong. If I know it's easier to go by Public Transport without the hassle of traffic jam then I'll do that. There's times I know I'll be out until late, only then will I drive.

So tell me, do you prefer to use the Public Transport or drive yourself?

Want to know more?

Contact Us
MICHAEL YIP
fb.com/mikeyipdotcom
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia