Thursday, November 23, 2006

Amazing Race Asia to Jakarta and Bali

I'm sorry if I have to write another article about my favourite reality show, Amazing Race Asia, after my previous article with regards to the show. It's because on its second and third leg of the race, they are going to my home country, Indonesia. Jakarta and Bali, to be exact. I was wrong when I predicted that they went to West Sumatra, after seeing the Minangkabau-style houses and the "plate dance" (tari piring) show. It turned out to be that they performed the dance at the West Sumatra pavilion of the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, instead.

On the second leg of the race, which I watched last week, all teams left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. Using Asia's biggest budget airline, AirAsia, I believe that it's Mr. Tony Fernandez -- AirAsia's CEO -- himself, who greeted one of the teams at the tarmac before the team boarded the plane. After touching down at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, all teams were on a taxi race on the busy highways of Jakarta, to Ragunan Zoo on the south outskirt of the city. The taxi race really shows the "turmoil" of Jakarta's traffic, with most of the taxi drivers were speeding and used the road shoulder to overtake other cars.

At the zoo, all teams would have to go inside a snake pit to get their next clues. The Indians Prashant and Sahil took the fast forward by going to SMA Negeri 60 school, which is located at Kemang Timur, not really far from Ragunan. This fast forward brought Prashant and Sahil to become the first team to arrive at the pit stop, the National Monument (Monas) of Jakarta. All the other teams went to the West Sumatra pavilion of the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah to perform "plate dance" (tari piring), a Minangkabau traditional dance. Once done, they then went to Kebayoran Baru area, around Jalan Panglima Polim, to be exact, to perform the detour, Push or Sell. Yud, I believe it's somewhere near your house? :) :)

The detour is related to bakso, or meatball soup, a popular Indonesian dish. In "Push", the teams had to push bakso pushcarts without spilling any soy sauce, while singing the "Abang Tukang Bakso" song, an Indonesian children song popularised by a (then) Indonesian child singer, Melissa, about a decade ago. Not too sure why they called it an Indonesian traditional song. It's not, actually. In "Sell", the teams would have to try selling 15 bowls of bakso for 2,000 rupiah each. Once they finished the detour, they have to go to the National Monument (Monas) as the pitstop of that second leg of the race. The Indonesians Mardy and Marsio become the second team to arrive (after Prashant and Sahil who took the Fast Forward) and my favourite team, Malaysian Zabrina and Joe Jer were the fourth team to arrive, while Filipino Ernie and Jeena become the first team to be eliminated on the race.

On the third leg of the race, which I just watched earlier this evening, all teams headed to Bali, again by using an AirAsia flight from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Once touched down at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport, they headed straight to Kuta beach to perform their roadblock, digging the sands. The task was quite tiring, causing 5 (read: five) of the teams gave up digging and chose to take a 4-hour penalty instead. After accessing the Internet in an Internet cafe nearby to find the next clue, all teams went to Ubud.

In Ubud, they needed to explore the Ubud Monkey Forest to find the next clue, which leads them to a detour: Wet or Dry. In "Wet", they need to perform white-water rafting down the Ayung River while in "Dry", they need to ride an elephant at the Elephant Safari Park nearby. From Ubud, they needed to go to the southernmost tip of the Bali Island, Uluwatu, and went inside a cave near a surfing centre there to get their next clue. The pit stop of the leg of the race is the Tanah Lot temple, located at the southwest coast of the island.

In this leg of the race, the Sri Lankan team Howard and Sahran came first, since they were the first team who find the "treasure", which is a small wooden surfboard, while digging the sands of Kuta beach. Zabrina and Joe Jer came in the fifth place, while Marsio and Mardy came in the sixth place, because both teams didn't finish the roadblock and chose to take the 4-hour penalty instead, which was served at the pit stop instead of at the roadblock's scene.

The good looking Filipinos, Aubrey and Jacqueline, become the second team to be eliminated from the race, following their fellow countrymen Ernie and Jeena. No more team from the Philippines remains in the race! The only Singaporean team Sharon and Melody came in the third place because they never gave up and managed to finish the roadblock and avoid the 4-hour penalty. Two thumbs up for their perseverance!!

Based on the trailer, it looks like all the teams are heading to Sydney, Australia for the fourth leg of the race. Well, I'm not too sure whether I would be able to watch the next week's show since I'll be in Jakarta, Indonesia next week. Let's just hope that I would be at my parents' place (which TV subscribes to AXN Asia), and not at my mother-in-law's place, at that time. :)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Amazing Race Asia

My favourite reality show, Amazing Race, now has its own Asian version. Amazing Race Asia, its premiere was shown by AXN Asia just now. There are ten teams competing on this race, including one team from Indonesia, one team from Singapore, two teams from Malaysia and some other teams from other parts of Asia. The show is hosted by Singapore-based Allan Wu, who has participated in the US reality show, Fear Factor.

The race started at the Dataran Merdeka (or Independence Square) of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Their first destination was the Berjaya Times Square shopping mall, and Sahran, one of the participants from Sri Lanka, cried when he learned that he would need to climb down the void of the shopping mall, from the 8th floor down, using a rope. But he finished the task, eventually!

I was also laughing to see the contestants from Indonesia, brothers Marsio and Mardy. Looks like they are not "too athletic" enough for the race, seems to be already exhausted while reaching the mall, even though they took the cab from Dataran Merdeka to the mall. My wife even commented that the Indonesian brothers wouldn't be able to even pass the second or third leg of the race.

From Times Square, all the contestants had to go to Kompleks Kraf (Craft Complex) for their detour, either batik painting or pot making, using pottery wheel. Once they completed the detour, all the contestants headed to Shah Alam Stadium for a gokart ride, before going to the pit stop at the top of Menara Kuala Lumpur (the KL Tower). And I was very surprised to see that the Indonesian brothers, Marsio and Mardy, managed to take the lead and become the winner of this leg of the race! Well, actually the Malaysians Andrew and Syeon were the first to arrive after overtaking Marsio and Mardy on the last race to the pitstop (of course!), however they didn't follow the instruction on which route to use to go to the tower, so they had to redo their steps, and Marsio and Mardy became the winner.

It's quite difficult to predict who will be at the top three at this stage. The Singaporean girls Sharon and Melody seemed to be quite difficult to keep up, and came to be the sixth to arrive. My favourites are the Malaysian girls Zabrina and Joe Jer, who were actually the first team to arrive at the Times Square and finished the detour at Kompleks Kraf, but were being overtaken by Marsio and Mardy on their way to Shah Alam.

For the second leg of the race, based on the next week's trailer at the end of this week's show, it seems to me that they are going to Indonesia, West Sumatra to be exact, because I saw some Minangkabau-style houses and "plate dance" (tari piring) show, which is Minangkabau's traditional dance. But I guess, we'll only be able to find out next week!

So, now, I have marked two important times of the week: Monday 9pm (Singapore time) for the Amazing Race 10 show, and Thursday 9pm (Singapore time) for the Amazing Race Asia show. I had to rely on AXN Asia to watch the show now, since Mediacorp's Channel 5 is no longer showing the latest season of Amazing Race, not too sure why. Thanks AXN Asia!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

FeedWordPress and Multiply, WordPress Upgrade and Akismet

FeedWordPress and Multiply

For the first time, I tried to syndicate a Multiply-based blog into Planet Singapura, an aggregator blog which uses FeedWordPress. Even though I can syndicate the RSS feed successfully, however the output is a bit different from others. Usually, a hyperlink from an article will point to the permanent link at the origin blog, however, for Multiply-based blog, the hyperlink will be pointed to a page within Planet Singapura itself.

For example, an article titled Planet Singapura by one of its contributors has its hyperlink to be pointed to a page within Planet Singapura itself ( instead of to the original permanent link at the contributor's blog (, not too sure why. The non-existence of a link to the original blog causes difficulties for Planet Singapura readers to read the full article and add comments, especially since I turned off the comments option on Planet Singapura, to encourage the readers to post comments on the original contributors' blogs instead.

WordPress Upgrade to 2.0.5 (Ronan)

I also have upgraded all my Wordpress-based blogs (Minda Indra, Planet Indra and Planet Singapura) to version 2.0.5. Not too sure why they named this version "Ronan", its website said that they would like to congratulate Ryan Boren (who is Ryan Boren anyway) on his new son, Ronan.

Upgrading WordPress, as usual, is a breeze. The website provides detailed instruction on how to upgrade from version 2.0.4 to 2.0.5, which is exactly the same method as when I upgraded from version 2.0.3 to 2.0.4.

Akismet Activation

Earlier today, I read an article on JalanSutera regarding how the Wordpress-based blog fights spam using Akismet, an anti-spam plug-in for Wordpress to fight spam comments. Pujiono, JalanSutera's administrator, mentioned that the number of spam comments received by the blog reaches 10,000, and thanks to Akismet, all the spam comments were caught.

This reminds me that every day, I also need to delete at least 100-200 spam comments on Minda Indra per day (not reaching 10,000 though), and such spam-deleting work is really time-consuming and irritating. I have heard about anti-spam plug-ins such as Akismet or Spam Karma, but I also received some reports about quite a lot of false-positive incidents on both plug-ins, discouraging me to activate or install such plug-ins.

However, something needs to be done to resolve this, and I tried to activate Akismet on Minda Indra today. To activate Akismet is very easy, I just need to go to Dashboard > Plugins, and once activated, I need to key in my WordPress.Com's API key to get it running. I don't have any issues in obtaining the key since I already have an account on

So far, the Akismet has caught 28 spam comments since it was installed several hours ago, and I have checked, no false-positives so far. Hopefully this will make my blogging life much easier. :)