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!

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan
Was he referring to Malaysia? Seems so apt...

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

How the Chinese control the economy

How the Chinese control the economy

MyCen News

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Repondez sil vous plait

After attending a few wedding dinners recently, I have been noting the pros and cons of each function, just in case I am put in the position as host, though it is not so soon. As the Cantonese saying goes, ‘sap phit, tu mou yat phit’ or literally, ‘out of 10 strokes of the brush, not even one stroke yet’. I like to imagine myself as an event manager rather than playing host myself. If possible, a virtual one.

Now, karaoke sessions during dinners, are relegated to more ‘chinaman’ types, or more likely, to be found in smaller towns and villages. However, a good host in a city venue can still have it with taste by careful selection of singers and songs, and not ‘free for all’. Basically, it is good to have a limited number of suitable songs and the sound system must be good to the extent that it can be clear yet not too loud.

Live bands might be interesting to youngsters but too noisy to most, older folks, unless they play ‘unplugged’. Jazz bands and traditional Chinese musicians are getting popular. Some even opt for classical singers.

Well, it is difficult to cater for all, so complaints are unavoidable. Unless decision is clearly left to either the parents or the bride or groom, disputes are likely in terms of the selection of music and how it should be organized.

In the case of parents who happen to be ex-entertainers, there is also the question of whether he or she should perform at the son’s or daughter’s wedding dinner. Well, in my opinion, as I have always felt, life is like acting out different roles in different situations. They are already in their special roles as hosts, so any popular demand for a performance, should just be one short and sweet number and leave the guests wanting for more! It should not outshine the event itself. But one thing, for sure, the generation gap is very real indeed. What the old man thinks is suitable is likely to be not, to the young man.

These days, unless restaurants are booked well in advance (as early as one year), some opted for wedding lunch instead. This is because of the insistence on having a particular restaurant’s good food. There is also the argument as to whether the venue or the food, which is more important. Some people prefer the ambience or the classy setup in a club or hotel banquet hall, knowing full well that the food is more costly yet unlikely to be as good as a specialist restaurant. They quite rightly put it that it is the occasion, which demands a good setting. Delicious food can be had on other occasions. I know of someone who insisted that food is paramount, whatever the occasion!

In some cases, both families decide to host at the same venue. Just the other day, someone commented that it is not advisable as there is always the possibility of angpows given to the wrong host! How to get it back?

I have attended one with two caterers, one from Batu Gajah and the other from Tronoh. The better one obviously catered for the host family and relatives and closer friends. If you happened to be in the other group, it is difficult not to feel slighted!

It is disappointing indeed to hear of complaints that catering staff of clubs and hotel restaurants are found to be dishonest in that they steal expensive alcoholic drinks. I have personally come across waiters who were slow in serving yet as soon as the dinner was over, they were quick to announce that all the drinks were finished! To overcome this problem, management should allow hosts the option to serve their own drinks. What good is company policy when they cannot ensure proper security?

One easy way out is to do what someone in Batu Gajah did, and that is to toast with champagne for the host table only! The guests were either provided with soft drinks and Chinese tea only, while alcoholic drinks had to be purchased individually from the hotel F&B ala British receptions, which is also the norm in hotel functions. Face-saving hosts would take the trouble to arrange for alcoholic drinks to be provided. Chinese usually have the mindset that if you want to play host, do it properly and not skimp.

One point, which most people agree on, is that the dinner function should be limited in size. Of course, politicians and businessmen, are known to host exceptionally big number of tables – a hundred or more! It is quite meaningless when the size of it means the host families cannot attend to each and everyone in toasting. One solution is to let the groom invite his friends while the parents invite only close relatives.

But then again, even close relatives are relative in terms of relationship. I have come across siblings not inviting each other for any occasion. Therefore, the old mentality of having to invite all relatives across the board seems irrelevant these days. My father believed that such occasions are best to keep in touch with relatives who were out of touch for years. But even my generation will think: if there were nothing in common, why bother?

If we consider the comments relating to angpows, then we should invite only those who are really sincere in wanting to attend. Much as we can state that there is no need for angpows, just come, ‘face’ will ensure the practice to continue for years to come. I really cannot stand certain people who said that angpows are like ‘saman’ yet would complain to friends that they looked down on him for not inviting.

Some better-organized dinners have prior seating arrangements and unless it is well backed up by efficient persons, it is likely to be unnecessary hassle and waste of time. Even with the best of intentions, the hosts cannot possibly think of who shall seat with who, in every case.

A relation’s wedding dinner was held at a better hotel in Ipoh. A local State Assemblyman was arranged to seat with other Pusing folks. Then when he noticed some MCA colleagues, he naturally asked to be seated with them instead. At another function, an amang factory owner told his host that they would seat according to their own arrangement because two of their fellow association members would rather be seated far apart!

There was once when someone in Batu Gajah had the dinner a hotel in Ipoh. To make it convenient for the guests, he arranged for chartered buses but made the big mistake of having the guests to pay for the fare!

After all that, I am none the wiser as there is no clear-cut formula to organizing a wedding function. Hopefully, when the time comes, my children will remain realistic and make do with minimum fuss, low cost and convenient to everybody. It depends also on their partners and their families!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Da Honeymoon Code

A newlywed couple returned to their apartment after being on their honeymoon.

"Care to go upstairs and do it?" the husband asked.

"Shh!" said the bride "All the neighbors will know what we're about to do. These walls are paper thin. In the future, we'll have to ask each other in code. For example, how about asking, 'Have you left the washing machine door open' instead?"

So, the following night, the husband asks, "I don't suppose you left the washing machine door open, did you?"

"No, I definitely shut it," replied the wife who rolled over and fell asleep.

When she woke up however, she was feeling a little frisky herself and she nudged her husband and said, "I think I did leave the washing machine door open after all. Would you like to do some washing?"

"No, thanks," said the husband. "It was only a small load so I did it by hand."

Back to basic alphabets

Original idea of the name Google?

Go-ogle

Alzheimer's disease?

Two guys, one old and one young, are pushing their carts around Home Depot when they collide.

The old guy says to the young guy, "Sorry about that. I'm looking for my wife, and I guess I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."

The young guy says, "That's OK. It's a coincidence. I'm looking for my wife, too. I can't find her and I'm getting desperate."

The old guy says, "Well, maybe we can help each other. What does your wife look like?"

The young guys says, "Well, she is 27 yrs. old, with red hair, blue eyes, long legs, big boobs, and she's wearing tight white shorts. What does your wife look like?"

The old guy says, "Doesn't matter.....let's look for yours."

Monday, December 25, 2006

Is Malaysia ready for bicycle lifts?

How does a government encourage cycling when the roads are hilly and are difficult to climb? A Nordic country has the answer based on an amazingly simple physics principle. Not only does it aid cyclists, the system helps the older folks up the hill and can be used for other purposes too.

BH sent some pictures with the following comment:

Now, why can't we think of something practical like this for Malaysia? Our local authorities spend hundreds of thousands of ringgit for overseas educational tours and come back with nothing!





My comment: Judging from how pedestrians are being forced by shopkeepers and stalls to walk on the road, we should be lucky if our government can provide and enforce a dedicated cycling lane to encourage cyclists instead of motorists.

If any contraption is to be introduced it has to be more hightech and can be made to appear very expensive to make it worthwhile for politicians to consider.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Warren Buffet (second richest person in the world)

He behaves like an unassuming millionaire next door, though he is worth billions in US dollars. He stands out by being the most humble billionaire. I think no one would be jealous of his huge success.

1) He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
(just wondering if he started a year earlier, whether he could have been the richest)

2) He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.
(cannot imagine today's kids doing the paper rounds, especially with their different time zones)

3) He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.
(now we know why some Chinese millionaires refused to move from their first house)

4) He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.
(wonder what car he drives)

5) He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.
(Malaysia should welcome him instead of Soros, especially to give talks to our politicians)

6) His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis.
(so video conferencing is unnecessary)

7) He has given his CEO's only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your share holder's money. Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.
(ie. his money because he is the largest shareholder)

8) He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch television.
(how to make money from him?)

9) Bill Gates, the world's richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.

10) Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.
(no wonder Bill Gates thought he has nothing in common with him, apart from his wealth)

11) His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.
( I agree, I just found out that an outstanding balance of 1.52 incurs penalty of 5.00 and if the cardholder is overseas, it accumulates. They would rather no action is being taken)

Goes to show how little our needs are, if only we lead a simple life.
But there is a belief that when one is in luck, one cannot even stop the force of money coming in!

Religious dog



"Our father who art in heaven, hello, what is your name..."

What a coincidence! The dog in the picture resembles ours, but influenced by the Muslim early morning Azan prayers. Every morning she howls trying to imitate. Pity she did not know how badly it turns out... like some karaoke singers!

South Indian Boy on his First Day at school in USA

It was the first day of school in America, and a new student named Chandrashekhar Subrahmanyam entered the fourth grade.

The teacher said, "Let's begin by reviewing some American History. Who said 'Give me Liberty , or give me Death'?" She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Chandrashekhar, who had his hand up: "Patrick Henry, 1775" he said.

"Very good. Who said 'Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the Earth'?"

Again, no response except from Chandrashekhar: "Abraham Lincoln, 1863" said Chandrashekhar.

The teacher snapped at the class, "Class, you should be ashamed. Chandrashekhar, who is new to our country, knows more about its history than you do."

She heard a loud whisper: "F**k the Indians."

"Who said that?" she demanded. Chandrashekhar put his hand up: "General Custer, 1862."

At that point, a student in the back said, "I'm gonna puke."

The teacher glares around and asks "All right! Now, who said that?" Again, Chandrashekhar says, "George Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister, 1991."

Now furious, another student yells, "Oh yeah? S*ck this!" Chandrashekhar jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher, "Bill Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!"

Now with almost a mob hysteria someone said "You little shit. If you say anything else, I'll kill you."

Chandrashekhar frantically yells at the top of his voice, "Gary Condit to Chandra Levy, 2001."

The teacher fainted. And as the class gathered around the teacher on the floor, someone said, "Oh shit, we're f**ked!"

And Chandrashekhar said quietly, "George Bush, Iraq , 2005."

Forget about gender equality

Men and women are, by nature, just too different.

1. NAMES
If Jane , Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara go out for lunch, they will call each other Jane , Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara.
If Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Scrappy.

2. EATING OUT
When the bill arrives, Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

3. MONEY
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

4. BATHROOMS
A man has five items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Marriott.
The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

5. ARGUMENTS
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

6. CATS
Women love cats.
Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.

7. FUTURE
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

8. SUCCESS
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

9. MARRIAGE
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change and she does.

10. DRESSING UP
A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the garbage, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.
A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

11. NATURAL
Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

12. OFFSPRING - Ah, children.
A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.
A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

13. THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The simplest of pleasures really are the best...

It's been a long while since I last felt good weather in Malaysia. But then again, one would expect, warm, gentle winds after more than two months of continuous Monsoon rain. It was during work when I decided to step outside of the cafe. Strangely enough, the wind that blew that day wasn't a violent gust of wind, which was usually a sign of a coming storm. Instead, the winds that passed through the area was no more than a whisper; something that could be heard, but still not strong or loud enough to put you off. I was so relaxed with the feeling of the wind, that my boss came out and asked me, "John, what are you doing?"

I looked at my boss, pondering the question before answering:

"I don't really know actually. I believe that I'm merely enjoying what little joy this world can offer me, lest I take it for granted."

I guess the old saying is true: "The simplest of pleasures really are the best pleasures in life". But I wonder, does it really apply to other people? Do people really take things for granted, or are most of us just looking at the wrong people and things at the wrong time?

John

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Taking my freedom a bit too far...


Britney Spears


Beat me, Spears!

Is it too short or too long?

Reality toys

A Lady goes to Toys R Us to buy a Barbie doll.

She tells the clerk that she needs to buy a Barbie but doesn't know what's available or price.

The clerk replies "We have Tennis Barbie and she's $28"

Lady asks "Well, anything else?"

"We have an equestrian Barbie, and she's $28".

Lady asks "Anything else?"

"Well, we have divorced Barbie and she's $250"

The lady replies "I don't understand why divorced Barbie is so expensive. The others were only $28. What is so special about divorced Barbie?"

The clerk replied "Simple, she comes with Ken's car, his house, and all his other stuff."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Report from Prague (Praha, Ceska Republika)

After two sunny but zero-temperature days, today in Prague is all clouds. Just as I was getting hopeful!

Prague is heaving with tourists this time of the year (maybe it's an all-year thing?). Many Americans, English, Italians, French, Germans and Japanese. Quite a few Aussies too. You get all sorts - teenage backpackers, middle-age tour groups, to thirty-something stag night blokes. I am glad that I stuck to my relatively isolated boathouse hostel by the River Vltava. It's 20 minutes by tram from the centre but I am enjoying the daily tram commute. It's quiet this time of the year (apparently it gets busy as the temperature rises) so I got a whole room to myself for the price of one bed! *wink*

The city is really pretty and rich in history, culture and art. I spent some time at the Prague Baroque and Mannerism (neo-Renaissance) Gallery, which exhibits paintings and sculptures collected by the eccentric and art-loving Habsburg King (who is also King of Bohemia), Rudolf II. It puts a lot of Prague's architecture in their respective context, e.g. a Baroque church reconstructed during the Counter-Reformation years compared to a Gothic church built a century earlier. By the way, the Catholics here won the war against the Protestants, although now, Czech Republic is one of the most secular countries in Europe.

I booked myself a ticket to a short ballet sketch before my trip. While cultural performances are relatively cheap here, I know of my less 'cultured' character that will prevent me from enjoying a full length opera, concert or ballet *wink*. So, I purposely selected a one-hour performance at the delightful 18th century Estates Theatre, where Mozart happened to premier his famous Don Giovanni opera.

Czechs on the streets have been friendly. Less so those who are actually in the service sector, maybe all these pesky tourists are starting to annoy them, hehe. There is a big Christmas market in the middle of the old town square. Like Germans, they like their pork sausages and beer a lot. Generally, prices here are not as cheap as they used to be (I call this 'Westernisation') although it is still cheap when compared with other West European capital/tourist cities. E.g. you get a grilled sausage and bun on the street for 1 euro, pay two euros extra and you get a warm meal in a cafeteria.

There are many crystal shops here, apparently Bohemian glass and crystal are world renowned. Garnets too, (at exorbitant tourist prices!). Slavonic souvenirs like matrioshka (nesting dolls) and Kafka-related memorabilia make up the standard souvenir shop.

Predictably, I brought a Kafka novel with me (The Trial). Halfway through, I am wondering if a full length Kafka novel is stretching the surreal context and mundane descriptions a bit. I've read shorter works of his that were enjoyable at that length. We will see...

Plans for today? Well, I have covered the main attractions: the castle and surrounding area, and old town plus the old Jewish Quarter. I will probably walk along the river today, take an extended tram ride around the city before going for my film at 5pm. Fortunately, films here are not dubbed like in Germany while cinema tickets are half the price of those in Luxembourg. Then it's back to my hostel to retrieve my big backpack before leaving for my Budapest bus at 10.30pm. I should arrive tomorrow morning at 6am.

Alright, that is all for now. Take care and will write soon.

lots of love
cheng

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Value the Present

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day today. Every evening it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as
lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.

There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow". You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success!

The clock is running. Make the most of today.

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.

Treasure every moment that you have!
Remember, time waits for no one.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Update and Greetings from Luxembourg

Dearest!

Can't believe that it has been more than three months since my arrival at Differdange, a sleepy steel town in Luxembourg. Student life is a lot more demanding than before, but it has kept me motivated (if not more) in the research field of social policy. Perhaps, it was a true blessing in disguise to be located here instead of a bustling university campus or a big city *wink*. The research institute environment + sleepy town combination worked well to keep one focused on the course!

Anyhow, most of next term (February till April) will take place at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. I've just confirmed my dissertation topic, which deals mainly, with the 'coverage gap' of social protection in Western European countries. Personally, the research method itself is as interesting as the topic, so I do see myself focusing on quantitative (statistical) research for a while. Good news is, funding and work/study opportunities favour such research *grin* but of course, I would have to keep myself busy with applications as early as January next year.

My course-mates are an eclectic bunch, although there is a slight over-representation of Central and Eastern Europeans (Czech, Romanians, Bulgarians, Hungarian) and Italians (three out of 17). The rest are from Belgium, Vietnam, America, Turkey, China, Ecuador, and Kyrgyztan. Our common work and social space is at the 5th floor of the research institute. With that plus six hours of classes Monday to Friday, it's a surprise that we have not started getting on each other's nerves and launched World War III! ;P

For a visual inspection of a student's life in Luxembourg, visit: impalla0607.multiply.com
It gives a decent summary of what this term has been like, minus those sleepless nights working on a report, or mundane hours reading on applied data analysis. =.)

Before I rush off for my Christmas hols (starting on Thursday night when I board that Eurolines bus), I would like to wish you the *warmest* greetings for Christmas and the New Year wherever you will be... Have a great 2007!!!

Take care and keep in touch!

Lots of love from tiny Luxembourg,
Cheng

Monsoon Cup - Pic 2



From Malaysia Today... redirected...

Monsoon Cup - Pic 1



Lull before the storm?

No. Just Cambridge puntings.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Why certain words are in English

In case we wonder why in Putrajaya, the Justice building is known as Palace of Justice instead of Istana Keadilan. It is a definite no-no, as it will glorify the opposition party.

Why Malaysian Government insists on using English for math and science?
This is because the whole world uses the language as an information and/or technology language. How dangerous it will be if we try to use Bahasa, especially in school. See example below:

Hardware = barangkeras
Software = baranglembut
Joystick = batang gembira
Plug and Play = cucuk dan main
Port = lubang
Server = pelayan
Client = pelanggan

Try to translate this into ENGLISH:

That server gives a plug and play service to the client using either hardware or software joystick. The joystick goes into the port of the client.

Now in BAHASA:

Pelayan itu memberi pelanggannya layanan cucuk dan main dengan menggunakan batang gembira jenis keras atau lembut. Batang gembira itu dimasukkan ke dalam lubang pelanggan.

Now you know...WHY.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dress code

A fleeing Al Qaeda guerilla, desperate for water, was plodding through the desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he walked toward the object, only to find a little old Jewish man at a small stand selling neckties.

The Arab asked, "Do you have water?"

The Jewish man replied, "I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5."

The Arab shouted, "Idiot Jew! Israel should not exist! I do not need an overpriced tie. I need water! I should kill you, but I must find water first."

"OK," said the old Jew, "it does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie and that you hate me. I will show you that I am bigger than that. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a lovely restaurant. It has all the water you need. Shalom."

Muttering, the Arab staggered away over the hill.

Several hours later he staggered back, near collapse. "Your brother won't let me in without a tie."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Cohones de Toro... (sometimes the bull wins...)

A big Texan cowboy stopped at a local restaurant following a day of drinking and roaming around in Mexico. While sipping his tequila, he noticed a sizzling, scrumptious looking platter being served at the next table.

Not only did it look good, the smell was wonderful. He asked the waiter, "What is that you just served?"

The waiter replied, "Ah senor, you have excellent taste! Those are bull's testicles from the bull fight this morning. A delicacy!"

The cowboy, though momentarily daunted, said, "What the heck, I'm on vacation down here! Bring me an order!"

The waiter replied, "I am so sorry senor. There is only one serving per day because there is only one bull fight each morning. If you come early tomorrow and place your order, we will be sure to save you this delicacy!"

The next morning, the cowboy returned, placed his order, and then that evening he was served the one and only special delicacy of the day.

After a few bites, and inspecting the contents of his platter, he called to the waiter and said, "These are delicious, but they are much, much smaller than the ones I saw you serve yesterday!"

The waiter shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Si, Senor. Sometimes the bull wins."

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Tortoise and the Hare ...continue their race...

We all know this story don't we? Well, there is more to it.

The moral- "Slow and steady wins the race". This is the version of the story that we've all grown up with." THE STORY DOESN'T END HERE

The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul-searching. He realized that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.

The moral - "Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady ". It's good to be slow and steady; but it's better to be fast and reliable. THE STORY DOESN'T END HERE

The tortoise did some thinking this time, and realized that there's no way it can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted. It thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route. The hare agreed.

They started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a couple of kilometres on the other side of the river. The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race.

The moral - " First identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit." THE STORY STILL HASN'T ENDED

Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could.

The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realized that the last race could have been run much better. So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time. They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the riverbank.

There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they'd felt earlier.

The moral - "It's good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies; but unless you're able to work in a team and harness each other's core competencies, you'll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you'll do poorly and someone else does well".

In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort. Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it is appropriate to do both.

The hare and the tortoise also learnt another vital lesson. When we stop competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation, we perform far better. To sum up the story of the hare and tortoise has much to say:

Chief among them are that fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady; work to your competencies; pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers; never give up when faced with failure; and finally, compete against the situation - not against a rival.

(Perhaps this is a hint to our political leaders?)

Apartment To Let

A businessman met a beautiful girl and agreed to spend the afternoon with her for $500. They did their thing, and, before he left, he told her that he did not have any cash with him, but he would have his secretary write a cheque and mail it to her, calling the payment "RENT FOR APARTMENT"

On the way to the office, he regretted what he had done, realizing that the whole event had not been worth the price. So he had his secretary send a cheque for $250 and enclose the following typed note:

Dear Madam:
Enclosed please find a cheque for $250 for rent of your apartment. I am not sending the amount agreed upon, because when I rented the place, I was under the impression that:
#1 - it had never been occupied;
#2 - there was plenty of heat; and
#3 - it was small enough to make me feel cosy and at home.

However, I found out that it had been previously occupied, that there wasn't any heat, and that it was entirely too large."
Upon receipt of the note, the girl immediately returned the cheque for $250 with the following note:

Dear Sir:
First, I cannot understand how you could expect a beautiful apartment to remain unoccupied indefinitely. As for the heat, there is plenty of it, if you know how to turn it on. Regarding the space, the apartment is indeed of regular size, but if you don't have enough furniture to fill it, please do not blame the management.

Please send the rent in full or we will be forced to contact your present landlady.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

RIGHT? WRONG? DUNNO???

All through my life, my parents have always told me the same thing: "Life isn't easy...You have to work hard in order to obtain whatever it is you want....If you cut open a coin, you can see all the blood, sweat and tears that people put in it...".

Yeah....that kind of thing. It's not that I don't want to listen to the advice. I merely have different principles in the heresays of my daily activities. Like many people, I do what I think is right, not what the other person perceives to be right, as well as condemning my choice of actions. But then again, that age old question seems to pop up: What is right, and what is wrong? Not a very easy question to answer, eh? Heh......Such a simple question, yet such philosophical value it holds, doesn't it?

Anyway...

Recently I have manage to procure a full-time job for myself (at least until I get back into my term. You see, I'm actually a student) at a cafe/restaurant located within the suburbs of an area called Damansara Perdana. Never have I seen anything so posh; Two story condo units, garden equipped, a nursery....the whole works. "This is definitely the holy land for those rich bastards..." I thought to myself. But I digress.

I've only been there for a little over a week, and the Head Chef has been more than kind enough to teach me the tricks of the trade. One day, as I was serving a customer, this group of three walks in. As the place was short-handed, I was charged to see that every customer was to be served. As I ushered them to their seats, another member of their party comes just in the nick of time. And wouldn't you know it, it was a woman I knew. Even better, we had gone past third base some 4 months back! The conversation had gone a little something like this:

N: John!..........Where have you been?

Me: I work here. I'm a waiter here........

*Just then, one of the two guys in the group came up smiling at both me and her. Nice chap, introduced himself.*

H: Hey honey. You just got here?

N: Hey.....*kisses him*....yeah, I just got here. I was just talking to an old fla-friend.

Me: Hi. How do you do? I'm John. I'll be your waiter tonight. So....Um.....You are.......

N: John....This is H....he's my fiance.

Me: Oh.....alright. That's great. So...uh....how long you two been engaged?

H: Oh. About 5 months, going on 6 now. We tie the knot next February (he says this with the biggest smile I've ever seen)

At this point, my whole face went pale, and my body just shifted into a phase between torpor and shock. 5 months? I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it to some degree: I slept with an engaged woman! The only words that ran through my head was "Oh Dear God.....". Not wanting to make a scene, I quickly ushered them to their seats and served them accordingly. When they were leaving, she turned her head back as she walked off, arms around her fiance's, she silently moved her lips to form those words I hoped never to hear from her: "I'm sorry..."


I'm not the type to cry over something like this. However, I actually thought of some things. Was it wrong of me to actually act as though there was nothing wrong throughout the whole time I was serving them? Was it wrong of her to NOT tell me that she was engaged? Was it wrong of her to say sorry to me as she left? Then again, the more important question would be: Was it wrong of ME to have slept with an engaged woman?

John

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fanagrams

When you rearrange the following words:-

PRESBYTERIAN: BEST IN PRAYER

ASTRONOMER: MOON STARER

THE EYES: THEY SEE

THE MORSE CODE: HERE COME DOTS

SLOT MACHINES: CASH LOST IN ME

ANIMOSITY: IS NO AMITY

ELECTION RESULTS: LIES - LET'S RECOUNT

SNOOZE ALARMS: ALAS! NO MORE Z 'S

A DECIMAL POINT: IM A DOT IN PLACE

THE EARTHQUAKES: THAT QUEER SHAKE

ELEVEN PLUS TWO: TWELVE PLUS ONE

and finally:

MOTHER-IN-LAW: WOMAN HITLER

Yep! Useless information from someone with nothing better to do!!

In Hokien: Cheah Pah Siu Eng.

Pennywise, pound foolish?

There was a small boy who, when walking down the street one
day, found a bright copper penny. He was so excited that he
found money and it didn't cost him anything. This experience
led him to spend the rest of his days walking with his head
down, eyes wide open, looking for treasure.

During his lifetime he found 296 pennies, 48 nickels, 19
dimes, 16 quarters, 2 half dollars and one crinkled dollar
bill. For a total of $13.96.

He got money for nothing. Except that he missed the
breathless beauty of 31,369 sunsets, the colorful splendor
of 157 rainbows, the fiery beauty of hundreds of maples
nipped by autumn's frost. He never saw white clouds drifting
across blue skies, shifting into various wondrous formations.
Birds flying, sun shining, and the smiles of a thousand
passing people are not a part of his memory.

Who do you know that is living like this? Head is bent
down, burdened with trivial things, afraid of pain and
criticism and fear of things that never happen hoping to
find that copper penny...for nothing.