How should we judge a government?

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

Why we should be against censorship: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan


Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist?

MyCen News

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Fear of flying... the reason

One day at a busy airport, the passengers on a commercial airliner were seated, waiting for the pilot to show up so they could get on the way.

The pilot and co-pilot finally appeared in the rear of the plane and began walking up to the cockpit through the centre aisle. Both appeared to be blind. The pilot was using a white cane, and bumping into passengers, right and left, as he stumbled down the aisle. The co-pilot was using a guide dog. Both men were wearing sunglasses.

At first, the passengers did not react, thinking that it must be some sort of practical joke. After a few minutes though, the engines started revving, and the airplane began moving down the runway. The passengers looked at each other with some uneasiness. They started whispering amongst themselves, and looked desperately to the stewardesses for reassurance.

The plane began to accelerate rapidly, and people began panicking. Some passengers began praying, as the plane got closer and closer to the end of the runway. The passengers became hysterical, and when the plane had less than twenty feet of runway left, everyone screamed at once. At that moment, the plane lifted off and became airborne.

Up in the cockpit, the co-pilot breathed a sigh of relief and said to the pilot, "You know, one of these days they aren't going to scream, and we aren't going to know when to take off!"

My father's 1928 Austin 7

The legacy my late father left behind from his ownership of a 1928 Austin 7, registration No. B 2405, is a silver cup presented by Borneo Motors Ltd on 21st July 1952 and some pictures which I have yet to find, among my increasing pile of papers and documents.

I can still remember back in the ‘60s when I used to see an Indian man admiring our neglected car. One day, he managed to convince my father, for Rm500, to sell to him with his promise to him of a pre-emption right to buy back later, that is, only if he were to sell!

Out of the blue, we received in the post, pictures of the car in various stages of restoration and his descriptions on the back of those pictures.

Fond memories include once, my eldest brother showed us how he could accelerate without touching the pedal. Actually, there was a lever on the steering wheel which acted as accelerator too! Sometimes, he needed to use a crank to start the engine. He also liked to switch off the engine to run on its own momentum to save fuel! Those were the days.

Fast forward 20 years, in the early ‘80s, I got to know one of our tenants, Mari, a keen collector and restorer of vintage cars. He happened to know Mr. Peters and his Austin 7. A mutual friend, David, later told me that his son is the famous guitarist, Alex Peters! It was another 20 years later that I got to listen to Alex’s demo at Bentley in Jalan Bukit Bintang. Pity, we did not stay until he finished and I did not have a chance to talk about it.

Keen collectors can be crafty too, maybe because of their obsession. Somehow, after Peters’ demise, Mari managed to exchange a newer vintage car for the Austin 7. Alex is probably more into Fenders and Hofners than Austin 7 or Morris 8. Mari’s workshop was just below and next to our office and I got to see him working on restoring the car.

A car scrapyard dealer used to complain that Mari cheated him of a registration card which he later used for one of his vintage cars!

Anyway, back to our Austin 7. One day, I was surprised to see on television, the car on display at the old Subang Airport where there was a Motor show!

At the moment, I have no idea where the car is, as Mari has passed on few years ago, nor who owns it.

For sentimental reasons, I am hanging on to the cup and some old photos. Even with pre-emption right then, I could not afford to buy back the car as I reckoned it was worth at least Rm100,000!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Selfish conditional love

One afternoon a wealthy lawyer was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the roadside eating grass.

Disturbed, he ordered his driver to stop and he got out to investigate the situation. He asked one man, "Why are you eating grass?"

"We don't have any money for food," the poor man replied. "We HAVE TO eat grass."

Shocked, the lawyer said, "Well, then, you can come with me to my house and I'll feed you!"

"But sir. I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree."

"Bring them along," the lawyer replied. Turning to the other poor man he said, "You come with us, too."

The second man said, "But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!"

"Bring them all!" the lawyer answered. They all jammed into the huge limo.

Once underway, one of the poor fellows turned to the lawyer and said, "Sir, you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you."

Genuinely touched, the lawyer replied, "Glad to do it. You'll really love my place; the grass is almost a foot high!"

Selfless unconditional love

It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.

He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On examining, found it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation I asked him if he had a doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health.

He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease.

As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late.

He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him. "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?"

He smiled as he patted my hand and said." She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is."

I had to hold back tears as he left, and thought, "That is the kind of love I want in my life."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Licence to provoke

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting.

Well for example, the other day I went into town and went into a shop. I was only in there for about 5 minutes, but when I came out there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.

I went up to him and said, "Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?"

He ignored me and continued writing the ticket.

I called him a Nazi turd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tyres.

So I called him another not so pleasant name. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, I didn't care, because I had come into town by bus, and it wasn't my car. I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired, and my doctor says that it's important at my age.

Seriously, while on the subject of parking ticket, Penang's old system of attendants issuing parking tickets should provide for those who come from out of town.

Recently, at Gurney Drive, it was past 10pm and was too late to pay Rm1.20 parking fees. I had the option of paying by cheque or face Rm10 penalty which can be increased to Rm30 and so on. Then on a short visit, I had a 30 sen ticket and the attendant was no where to be seen. There is no question of unwillingness to pay but where to pay if they cannot be found? Waste precious petrol going round looking for them and get lost in the process?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Iron Lady's husband?

Everybody on earth dies and goes to heaven.

God comes and says "I want the men to make two lines. One line for the men that dominated their women on earth and the other line for the men that were whipped by their women. Also, I want all the women to go with St Peter."

The next time God looks, the women are gone, and there are two lines. The line of the men that were whipped was 100 miles long, but on the line of men that dominated women there was only one man.

God got mad and said. "You men should be ashamed of yourselves. I created you in my image, and you were all whipped by your mates. Look at the single man, who stood up and made me proud, Learn from him! Tell them, my son, how did you manage to be the only one in that line? "

The man shrugged and said, "I don't know. My wife told me to stand here."

Iron Lady vs Little Napoleon

In UK back in the 1970s, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady and her famous quote was “You turn if you want, the Lady is not for turning”.

Few weeks ago, I accompanied my wife who was entrusted with escorting a lorry loaded with tin ore to Malaysian Smelting Corp Bhd in Butterworth.

At the entrance security guard-post, we were told that those wearing slippers (referring to my wife) cannot enter the godown area where the unloading was done. Anyway, we got away without hindrance. At the time, I got the impression it was because of safety reasons and it was confirmed by one of the staff at the godown.

This morning, I accompanied her again on a similar mission. Again we were told she could not enter, even though she came prepared with shoes! Upon further questioning, one of the guards referred us to their superior in an air-conditioned cubicle attached to the guard-post. I asked him under what rules my wife is disallowed in. He explained that women are not allowed in the godown. Surprised at the blatant sex discrimination and upon further prodding, he revealed that the management had set rules disallowing women because some came with their husbands on joy rides and their presence in the godown was a nuisance.

The irony of it all was that I was the one who should not be allowed because I went on a joy ride. I explained to him that my wife is one of the company’s directors, entrusted with ensuring safe transport of the tin ore to MSC; double-checking the number of bags being unloaded and confirming the actual tonnage. If she is not allowed into the godown, then who can? I told him straight that I was unhappy with the sex discrimination rule. Anyway, because she was eager to get the job done, she suggested that I wait in the car instead.

When my wife finally appeared after the deal, I was surprised she actually lodged a complaint to the manager who could only explained that the guards were being over-zealous. He was seen going to the guardhouse apparently to tell off the person in charge.

Hopefully, it was the security chief’s personal prejudice and not the company’s policy that was being covered up.

Honestly, I now worry for the next trip in case I am unable to accompany her. Never know what Little Napoleon can do... like puncturing car tyre and so forth.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jamming with 'erhu'

Last Sunday, I was with my wife at the flea market in Amcorp Mall PJ. Her interest in antiques and collectibles has accumulated a houseful of knick knacks, much to the despair of our part-time cleaner. I am responsible for cleaning the breakables but she had to deal with extra furniture when mopping the floor.

Anyway, to give an idea of how much time we could spend, we arrived before noon and left after 4 pm! The quick lunch took less than half an hour. Over time, even though we are not regulars, we got to know some dealers and half the time was spent on small talk.

PJ Auctioneer, Chew has been to our house once to have a look at the items. One of the things he mentioned was that we should have kept the original boxes of our Matchbox vintage cars! Without them, we lost at least 40% of the value. He has a durian orchard near Batu Gajah and his wife is from Ipoh, so it was during one of his frequent visits.

There is this old man (older than me lah) from Klang who likes to dress like an eccentric in an army-like jacket with badges and with a flatcap. Once he was late because of the infamous flash flood between Klang and PJ. I chatted with him in Hokien. Besides Penang, I think Klang is another place where Hokien is widely spoken. I once bought from him a saraswathy veena with broken frets and missing knobs, but otherwise in good condition, for show. Many people mistook it for a sitar but it is quite similar, but unlike sitar, it is used mainly in south India instead of north

I started writing to tell about my jamming with a guy who plays the ‘erhu’ and I digressed!

Anyway, I saw this regular dealer, Boey, on the third floor who sells ‘erhu’ and other items. This time, he was playing it, accompanying a tune from a gramophone. I started chatting with him and told him it would be nice to jam with him for a change. Got his handphone numbers and promised to contact him.

On Monday morning, I felt that if I did not take the trouble to organize, it would be one of those ‘talk only’ promises. Called Boey to confirm that he would be free and then called my friends in KL to make sure both of them are available.

Met him at the Esso station off Jalan Kasar, then followed his car to his house in Medan Damansara to leave his car and fetch his erhu.

At my friend’s place in Sentul, after introduction and exchange of pleasantries and jokes, we tried out a few tunes. It was quite a let down as I was told he used to have a band and could handle guitar and even organ too. Basically, as usual, we had difficulties choosing songs or tunes suitable for all of us. Main problem being he was out of touch and from memory, he could play lead of some nice Los Indios numbers but we were unprepared and just guessed the chords as we go along. Most of the time, it was like us practising as usual and he tried to fill in the lead whenever he could, especially tunes that he knew.

The other problem was, Boey being English educated, taught himself how to play the erhu. So we could not even suggest any Chinese tunes without us being able to hum the tunes in the first place!

Finally, just to cut a long story short, for example, we were quite happy to alternate guitar and erhu lead for Apache! With Bailamos, I seemed to be the only one familiar, I had to decide between rhythm guitar and drums, and I chose the former so that I could lead them!

The good thing was, we tried something new and Boey promised the next time, he would come prepared to play the banjo! Let’s hope it will be more inspiring then.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

That's the way it is here, always

Sometimes, we need to question why we are doing certain things. We should not follow traditions simply because it had always been done in certain particular ways in spite of changing conditions and situations.

We have higher intelligence and if we did not use it, we are no different from the apes as shown in the famous ape story:

Start with a cage containing five apes.

In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs (or a ladder) under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water.

After a while, another ape makes an attempt with the same result – all the apes are sprayed with cold water.

Turn off the cold water.

Later, if another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes will try to prevent it, even though no water sprays them.

Now, remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new ape.

The new ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes attack him.

After another attempt and attack, the ape knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a new ape.

The new ape goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous new ape takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well.

Two of the four apes that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the original apes that were sprayed with cold water have been replaced.

Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs. Why not?

"Because that's the way it's always been around here."

Seriously, don't we all sometimes behave just like the apes?

Be motivated to give our best, any time

BY shares with us a story that he uses from time to time during his motivation talks or counselling sessions. It is a story used by many counsellors, depending on the requirements of each case.

Here it goes:

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife and to enjoy the company of his extended family.

Of course, he would miss his paycheck but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front door key to the carpenter."This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock. What a shame. If he had only known that he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points, we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. Life is a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Oh Lord! Please don't let me be misunderstood

A farmer is sitting in the neighborhood bar getting soused.

A man comes in and asks him, "Hey, why are you sitting here on this beautiful day getting drunk?"

Farmer: Some things you just can't explain.

Man: So what happened that's so horrible?

Farmer: Well, today I was sitting by my cow milking her. Just as I got the bucket about full, she took her left leg and kicked over the bucket. Some things you just can't explain.

Man: Ok, but that's not so bad. So what happened then?

Farmer: I took her left leg and tied it to the post on the left.

Man: and then?

Farmer: Well, I sat back down and continued to milk her. Just as I got the bucket about full, she took her right leg and kicked over the bucket. Some things you just can't explain.

Man: So, what did you do then?

Farmer: I took her right leg this time and tied it to the post on the right. I sat back down and began milking her again. Just as I got the bucket about full, the stupid cow knocked over the bucket with her tail. Some things you just can't explain.

Man: So, what did you do?

Farmer: Well, I didn't have any more rope, so I took off my belt and tied her tail to the rafter. In that moment, my pants fell down and my wife walked in... Somethings you just can't explain.

Does management know their staff?

Some 20 years ago, I visited a brother in Wisma MBA. On the way up, in the lift, I recognized Tan Sri Low’s sister, Judy Tan and wished her “Good morning”.

Not knowing who I was, she looked at me sternly, thinking I was one of the staff, and said, “You’re late.”

On walking into the factory, the MD noticed a young guy leaning against the wall, doing nothing. He approached the young man and calmly said to him, "How much do you earn?"

The young man was quite amazed that he was asked such a personal question, he replied, nonetheless, "I earn $2000 a month, Sir. Why?"

Without answering, the MD took out his wallet and removed $6000 cash and gave it to the young man and said, "Around here I pay people for working, not for standing around looking pretty! Here is 3 months'salary, now GET OUT and don't come back."

The young man turned around and was quickly out of sight.

Noticing a few onlookers, the MD said in a very upset manner, "And that applies to everybody in this company". He approached one of the onlookers and asked
him, "Who's the young man that I just fired?"

To which an amazing reply came, "He was the pizza delivery man, Sir!!!"

Con artists

Ambitious businessmen are eager to have pictures taken with royalties and political leaders, to show how close they are to them, compared to us ordinary mortals.

Some are habitually dropping names of VIPs, who they claimed to know, and it is surprising how it helps in business deals. It is as good, if not, better than actual track record.

Came across this in Screenshots:

How a deal is done, selling short

Jack, a smart businessman, talks to his son.

Jack: "I want you to marry a girl of my choice."

Son : "I will choose my own bride!"

Jack: "But the girl is Bill Gates's daughter."

Son : "Well, in that case..."

Next Jack approaches Bill Gates.

Jack: "I have a husband for your daughter."

Bill Gates: "But my daughter is too young to marry!"

Jack: "But this young man is a vice-president of the World Bank."

Bill Gates: "Ah, in that case..."

Finally Jack goes to see the president of the World Bank.

Jack: "I have a young man to be recommended as a vice-president."

President: "But I already have more vice-presidents than I need!"

Jack: "But this young man is Bill Gates's son-in-law."

President: "Ah, in that case..."

This is how business is done!!

Thanks Radha K Vengadasalam for sharing.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Generation gap

Wednesday morning, I had a look at a folder of CDs (frequent use category) which my son brought back from PJ. In the course of sorting out his belongings, this is one of those which are to be kept in our house when he will be in UK this May.

I could hardly find songs that I know, though I was sure some I know by tune but not the song title.

Then I bought The Star and started reading it while having breakfast and tea at a local Indian restaurant. When I came to Zits in the comics section, it has the following conversation, which really surprised me:

“Here you go, dad. I burned a cd of oldies for you.”

“Wow! Thanks, Jeremy!” “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World. “Superman” by Five For Fighting. “Here is gone” by Goo Goo Dolls. “Drive” by Incubus…Hm.

“Problem?” asked mum.

“These oldies are too new for me to have heard of them.” replied dad.

In a blog that highlights views and news that do not matter, this coincidence is considered amazing.

For time watchers

For those Cheah Pah Siu Engs who wanted to know, on Thursday, May 4th, at two minutes and three seconds after 1 o'clock in the morning, the time and date will be shown as:

01:02:03 04/05/06

For Elvis fans, 1 for the money, 2 for the show, 3 to get ready, 4 go go go!

Boon or bane, the internet sure is an outlet for those who have nothing better to do!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Time is of the essence

Many years ago, I heard about this rich man who asked his son, a practising lawyer, over the phone on some matters. A few days later, he was shocked and disgusted when he received a bill from him!

A dog ran into a butcher shop and grabbed a roast off the counter.
Fortunately, the butcher recognised the dog as belonging to a neighbour of his. The neighbour happened to be a lawyer.

Incensed at the theft, the butcher called up his neighbour and said,
"Hey, if your dog stole a roast from my butcher shop, would you be liable for the cost of the meat?"

The lawyer replied, "Of course, how much was the roast?"

"$7.98."

A few days later the butcher received a cheque in the mail for $7.98.
Attached to it was an invoice that read: Legal Consultation Service: $150.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Life's journey: different perspectives same objective

There was once an American businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Mexican village. As he sat, he saw a Mexican fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore and noticed that the fisherman has caught quite a number of big fishes that is known to be a delicacy. The American was really impressed and asked the fisherman, "How long does it take you to catch so many fishes?"

The fisherman replied, "Oh, just a short while."

"Then why don't you stay longer at sea and you could catch even more?" The businessman was astonished.

The fisherman simply does not agree. "This is enough to feed my whole family," he says.

The businessman then asked, "So, what do you do for the rest of the day then?"

The fisherman replied, "Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fishes, then I would go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I will take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I will join my buddies in the village for a drink, we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night. My days are ever so complete and carefree."

The businessman does not agree with his way of life and offered a suggestion to the fisherman.

"I am a PhD holder graduated from Harvard University, specialising in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you have to spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fishes as possible. And when you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fishes. As you go on, you will be able to afford to buy more boats, recruit more fishermen and lead a team of your own. Soon you will be able to set up your own company, your very own production plant for canned food and do direct selling to your distributors. At that time, you will have moved out of this village and to Mexico City, and then expand your operation to LA, and finally to New York City, where you can set up your HQ to manage all your other branches."

The fisherman asks, "So, how long would that take?"

The businessman reply, "About 15 to 20 years."

The fisherman continues, "And after that?"

The businessman laughs heartily, "After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, by then you will be rich, your income will be coming in by the millions!"

The fisherman asks, "And after that?"

The businessman says, "After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning and catch a few fishes, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!"

The fisherman was puzzled, "Isn't that what I am doing now?"

So, what does one really hope to achieve in life? Do we really need to work so hard in life? What do you hope to accomplish in the end?

Cafe? Au lait s'il vous plait

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old University of Notre Dame lecturer. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups, porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."

"Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change."

"Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Grandfather rockers can still teach us a thing or two

My ex-classmate since Primary 1, ex-band organist, now retiring age, was still awed by the Rolling Stones in concert recently in Sydney. Here is his report to his ex-band members:-

Hi Guys,

WOW !!! What a fantastic show !!! Don't miss it if the Stones comes to your part of the world. It seems this show is the best ever – Bigger Bang!

The intro to the show was simply awesome! Fully packed to the bream, this football stadium in the Olympic park.

Yes, the intro was something like this….just imagine the packed stadium including the field itself all fully packed and the lights were all switched off, of course the women all screaming and whistling, and then all of a sudden you can see on the big giant screen a missile/ meteorite slowly approaching direct to you together with the accompanying sound effects and as it reaches you, a monster of a BANG ! really really load bang – you can almost feel your heart jumping out of your chest, everyone sort of looked at each other with a kind of pleasant shock, then another same one followed, this time, the BANG was accompanied with fire works explosives and then, the last one…………….just imagine an even BIGGER BANG with even much louder fire works explosives – you might think someone exploded the whole stadium, just as the fire works almost fizzles out, suddenly the spot lights came on the centre stage (none of us could see that all of them the Stones were actually there on the stage already) and Keith Richards struck the first chord of Jumping Jack flash and like WOW! everyone (including myself) jumped out of their seats.

Overall a really really enjoyable time, would be even better if all of us could be there, plenty of women, all having a really good time. No fun just going with the wife, better with your mates, have a few beers – ( get to a stage where you are only slightly "high") dancing & singing and watching the show. Almost everyone around us sang all the songs and on each occasion, when Mick Jagger comes near to our end, all of us would stand up and all the women screaming and frantically waving to him as if trying to catch his attention.

Another interesting part of the show was that the centre part of the stage actually detach itself and glided from one goal post to almost reaching to the other goal post area with only the backup singers and the wind instruments left behind on the main stage – maybe for those who paid A$399 sitting on the ground section near the other goal post end to benefit.

Also very happy with the organizers, the train services was free and very little time spent waiting for trains and crowd control were well maintained and orderly – what do you expect from crowds our age – eh?

I was hoping they play Ruby Tuesday, but very happy with lots of oldies sang especially Charlie Watts drumming out his roll in "Get Out of my clouds" and Honky Tonk, and as usual ending the show with Satisfaction and more fire works after that to end the show.

We must all go together to the next show if it happens in KL or S'pore.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mutual admiration and idolization

I used to described friends who met each other at functions, extolling each other’s wealth and position, as members of the Mutual Admiration Society.

Recently, when Sharukh Khan was in Malaysia, he met with Tun Dr Mahathir. Each said he admired the other. Dr. M must have wished he could be idolized by millions of fans of Bollywood, while Sharukh wished he could be lord of all he surveyed.

Regardless of age, it must be exciting to meet one’s idol, like when a friend who recently met Santana backstage in Singapore through an American girl. Santana even played his PRS guitar and autographed it twice… the price being a kiss from the lass each time! He felt like a VIP being envied by others who wondered who they are. Thomas is a talented lead guitarist and it would have been nicer if he had the chance to ‘guitar duet’ with him, like what BB King did with another famous guitarist. That would be asking too much.

But I still could not get over the busker’s luck at St. Paul’s hill in Malacca. A tour guide took Lobo there but before he appeared, the guide requested the busker to sing a Lobo song. After a few lines, he was joined by Lobo himself!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sincerest form of fidelity

Jack wakes up at home with a huge hangover. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose!

Jack sits up and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed.

Jack looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house. He takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror, and notices a note on the mirror: "Honey,breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping - love you!"

He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table. Jack asks,"Son...what happened last night?"

"Well, you came home after 3 A.M. , drunk and out of your mind. You broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and got that black eye when you ran into the door."

"So, why is everything in such perfect order, so clean, I have a rose, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"

His son replies, "Oh THAT! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone, lady! I'm married!"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Be careful who you claimed to be

A travelling salesman was about to check in at a hotel when he noticed a very charming bit of femininity giving him the eye.

In a casual manner he walked over and spoke to her as though he had known her all his life. Both walked back to the desk and registered as Mr. and Mrs.

After a three-day stay he walked up to the desk and informed the clerk that he was checking out. The clerk presented him with his bill for $1600.

"There is a mistake here," he protested. "I have been here only three days."

"Yes," replied the clerk, "But your wife has been here a month."

Friday, April 07, 2006

All in the family

Two priests decided to go to Hawaii on vacation. They were determined to make this a real vacation by not wearing anything that would identify them as clergy.

As soon as the plane landed they headed for a store and bought some really outrageous shorts, shirts, sandals, sunglasses, etc.

The next morning they went to the beach dressed in their "tourist" garb.They were sitting on beach chairs, enjoying a drink, the sunshine and the scenery when a "drop dead gorgeous" topless blonde in a thong bikini came walking straight towards them. They couldn't help but stare. As the blonde passed them she smiled and said "Good Morning, Father. Good Morning, Father," nodding and addressing each of them individually, then she passed on by.

They were both stunned. How in the world did she know they were priests? So the next day, they went back to the store and bought even more outrageous outfits. These were so loud you could hear them before you even saw them! Once again, in their new attire, settled on the beach in their chairs to enjoy the sunshine.

After a while, the same gorgeous topless blonde, wearing a different colored thong, taking her sweet time, came walking toward them. Again she nodded at each of them, said "Good morning, Father. Good morning, Father," and started to walk away.

One of the priests couldn't stand it any longer and said, "Just a minute, young lady."

"Yes, Father?"

"We are priests and proud of it, but I have to know, how in the world do you know we are priests, dressed as we are?"

She replied, "Fathers, it's me, Sister Kathleen."

Koon Yeean or Government department's rubber stamp

Before my scheduled trip to KL last week, our ex-company secretary had been frantically looking for me because of a Form E from Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri addressed to our company, which I am presently liquidating. I was told if I missed the dateline, which was March 31, our company would be fined Rm1,000.

Good job I brought along our company rubber stamp. I was advised that it would be better to hand it in with a photocopy for acknowledgement. For me, being the person responsible, as well as for our company, this acknowledgement by LHDN makes the difference between whether we would be penalized Rm1,000 or not. So easy for our government to make money, just send out forms, even to a company that had never employed anyone and which its liquidation process had started last May! Any miscommunication, FINE!

A brother, who had just retired from a bank, offered to accompany me by LRT just to find out where is this chosen destination of at least hundreds of thousands of Income Tax forms.

According to the self-addressed envelope, we should be looking for Pandan Indah. My brother downloaded from the LHDN website and confirmed that there is an LRT station called Pandan Indah! We actually thought that the building must have been chosen for its proximity to an LRT station. How terribly wrong we were, as we were to find out on Friday! That Thursday’s Star newspaper actually carried a letter of complaint from someone who asked why we had to submit the tax forms only at Pandan Indah which was always congested and I was therefore not actually optimistic.

I stayed over at my brother’s in Taman OUG, and after breakfast, he showed me the place where he used to catch a feeder bus to Seri Petaling station. From there, we took the train to Pandan Indah. We were expecting a high-rise building nearby but none at all. We asked a feeder bus driver and he said we should get off at the next station, Cempaka, where there is a feeder bus that passes MPAJ building. Back we went to the station and we had to wait for the next train as we had just got off.

When we arrived at Cempaka station, again, we were looking for some high-rise buildings within sight, and again, we were disappointed. Even though there were about 10 taxis waiting at the station, my brother who must have had bad experience before, refused to go in one. We waited for the feeder bus and the driver was kind enough to point to us the MPAJ building.

Actually, we used MPAJ building as a landmark only. The tax form showed a Menara C which is next to it. At MPAJ lobby we got direction to it and we had to pass the podium section which was supposed to have shops but all seemed closed and run down. Both the lifts on each end of the block were not working. The cleaner told us to go to the front where there are 3 lifts in operation. When we reached there, we could see people milling around and realized that we could choose either to drop the envelope in the transparent perspex boxes or we could have our duplicate rubber-stamped as acknowledgement. Of course, we chose the latter which was why we took all the trouble.

The journey from Taman OUG, off Jalan Kelang Lama, to Menara C, Pandan Indah, took more than 2 hours! Because my brother had lunch appointment with his ex-colleagues, we took a taxi back to Cempaka station and it costed Rm3.90! As I was given a touch-n-go card, I did not take note of the train fare. The journey involved changing train at Chan Sow Lin station.

The long journey notwithstanding, the question that nagged me till today is, who made the decision to have the LHDN collection center at Menara C, Pandan Indah? It was not even near an LRT station and the nearest station was not even the station called Pandan Indah! Coming out to the main road fronting MPAJ building, there was not a single bus-stop or taxi stop nearby. To cross the road, one has to use the overhead bridge which was 2-storey high and not surprisingly, nobody uses!

Our policy-makers surely need a course in Common Sense before everything else!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What lawyers learn in law school

Before training:

"Here's an orange."

After training:

"I hereby give and convey to you, all and singular, my estate and interests, rights, claim, title, claim and advantages of and in, said orange, together with all its rind, juice, pulp, and seeds, and all rights and advantages with full power to bite, cut, freeze and otherwise eat, the same, or give the same away with and without the pulp, juice, rind and seeds, anything herein before or hereinafter or in any deed, or deeds, instruments of whatever nature or kind whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Frankly speaking, from one speck to another

I found the right chord in the following article by Ng Tze Yen of The Sun, presently and relatively, the most independent English newspaper in Malaysia, in terms of editorial comments, especially council bashing:

Power of the speck

This is the conversation I usually have with myself when I think about the depressing state of the world.

Me: "The world is s***."
Mirror: "And you can't do anything about it, you are just a speck, insignificant. You are a nobody. You have no money, no power, you can't change anything."

Yes. War; famine; pollution; HIV/AIDs; violence against women; trampling of indigenous people's rights; trafficking of women and children; all the usual suspects on population control. And I can't do anything because I am a mere speck in the grand scheme of things.

It was an utterly powerless and frustrating existence.

Sometimes the frustration and helplessness would translate into rage. Rage at discrimination based on gender, class, creed, sexuality and ethnicity. Rage at harsh inequalities created by the deliberate exploitation of human beings, animals and the environment. Rage at blatant abuse of power; such as taking away fundamental rights such as freedom to information and expression, just to advance one's self interest.

My fits of rage were more often than not, expressed through rants and raves peppered by colourful language.

I was, I supposed, angry too, at myself for just being a foul-mouthed speck of dust. The feeling of disempowerment was both suffocating and incapacitating; feeling like my life was being strangled. Something had to be done, but I was too overwhelmed with the magnitude of what needed to be done, and my inability to do it as I was a mere speck.

Salvation came March 2005 in the form of a workshop for young women writers who were interested in effecting positive change under the "Writers for Womens' Rights Programme", conducted by the local NGO All Women's Action Society (AWAM). This visionary programme aimed to empower young women between 18-32 through the power of the word. The sessions centred on developing our understanding of gender and women's issues; and of course as the programme indicated, guided us in our understanding of media issues to sharpen our writing skills.

Far from completing the workshop with the feeling that I could now right all wrongs with a flick of my pen, I left with the affirmation that I'll always be a speck.

But, I am now an empowered speck. And, as an empowered speck, I;

Can't wave my pen and repeal the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Act 2005 (IFL), but I can, and did write letters to newspaper editors stating my points of protest and signed the petition against the IFL.

Can't ensure that the Broga incinerator, of which the authorities had made dubious claims that it would cause minimal negative impact on the environment and citizens' health, won't get built, but I can and did help make copies and distribute copies of the documentary "Alice Lives Here" that put forward the Broga residents' many reasons for opposing the incinerator which was minimally covered by the media.

Can't erase existing repressive laws, but I can, and did volunteer time and energy as a facilitator at a subsequent Writers for Women's Rights Workshop, thus helping to continue to provide a space for young women to think, speak and create.

Can't stop deforestation by chaining myself to a tree but I can, and do make sure I reuse and recycle the best I can.

Can't make all the injustices go away this lifetime but I CAN, and WILL continue sharing with other specks the realisation that I had the good luck to come across. We all specks, but we have "speck power" to effect positive change. We CAN create enough momentum for change, we just need to start with the doing.

And it doesn't even have to be anything big; we don't have to be powerful politicians or philanthropists, it is the simple and small acts such as carrying a shopping bag to reduce the usage of plastic bags; writing letters to the editor to speak out; using a reusable food container for take-aways; volunteering at an animal shelter; speaking out against derogatory remarks made on people for being different; simple everyday acts that will effect positive change.

Here's to all of us specks out there. Speck power!

The writer is a feminist who's becoming less jaded as she grows older. She's really older than she looks.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Game over. Restart...

There are times when we wish the ground will open and swallow us up.
How we wish we can treat it like a game and when it is over, we just restart and replay.

A young man goes into a pharmacy and says to the pharmacist, "Hello, could you give me condom. I'm going to my girlfriend's place for dinner and I think I may be in with a chance!"

The pharmacist gives him the condom and the young man leaves. He soon returns and says, "Give me another condom because my girlfriend's sister is very cute too. She always crosses her legs in a provocative manner when she sees me and I think I might strike it lucky there too."

The pharmacist gives him a second condom and as the boy is leaving he turns back and says,"Go on, give me one more condom because my girlfriend's mum is still pretty cute and when she sees me she always makes eyes, an d since she invited me for dinner, think she is expecting me to make a move!

During dinner, the young man is sitting with his girlfriend on his left, the sister on his right and the mum facing him.

When the dad gets there, the boy lowers his head and starts praying, "Dear Lord, bless this dinner and thank you for all you give us."

A minute later the boy is still praying; "Thank you Lord for your kindness."

Ten minutes go by and the boy is still praying, keeping his head down.

The others look at each other surprised and his girlfriend is even more surprised than the others. She gets close to the boy and says in his ear, "I didn't know you were so religious."

The boy replies, "I didn't know your dad was a pharmacist!"