How should we judge a government?

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

"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

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: 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
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Why can't a woman be more like a man?

Towards understanding women:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Challenging task ahead on our return flight

Just confirmed that we will be taking charge of my grandniece on our way back from UK. No we won't have the luxury of the vehicle shown in the picture. She is a toddler and quite active.

Before this, my brother-in-law, aged 69, kept asking me if he could follow us on our trip! Problem with our trip is that it will be another family re-union with our 3 children, the occasions being Nee's convocation at Kent University at Canterbury and Cheng's completion of her Master degree in Luxembourg and Belgium.

We are likely to be guests of some friends so it is quite different if we have another guest as well. There are transport and accommodation considerations and UK and Europe are not like BG where we have availability of cars and cheap or even free accommodation.

This is the time when I wish I am loaded to be able to say "welcome aboard!"

Why some Malaysian men gave up on women…


Men: What to have for dinner?
Women: Whatever.
Men: Why not we have steamboat?
Women: Don't want la, eat steamboat later got pimples in my face.
Men: Alright, why not have Si Chuan cuisine.
Women: Yesterday ate Si Chuan, today eat again?
Men: Hmm... I suggest we have seafood.
Women: Seafood no good la, later I got diarrhoea.
Men: Then what you suggest?
Women: Whatever.

2. "Anything"

Men: So what should we do now?
Women: Anything.
Men: How about watching movie? Long time we didn't watch movie.
Women: Watching movie no good la, waste time only.
Men: How about we go bowling or do some exercise?
Women: Exercise in such hot day? You not feel tired meh?
Men: Then find a café and have drink.
Women: Drink coffee will affect my sleep.
Men: Then what you suggest?
Women: Anything.

3. "You decide"

Men: Then we just go home lo.
Women: You decide.
Men: Let’s take bus, I will accompany you.
Women: Bus is dirty and crowded. Don't want la.
Men: Ok, we will take taxi.
Women: Not worth it la. For such a short distance.
Men: Alright, then we walk lo. Take a slow walk.
Women: What to walk with empty stomach woh?
Men: Then what you suggest?
Women: You decide.
Men: Let's have dinner first.
Women: Whatever.
Men: Eat What?
Women: Anything…
Men: I give up!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Before and after make-overs...

To those who are easily besotted with Hollywood stars, do not overlook the girl next door. If you find her attractive, she is, naturally and can be transformed into a more beautiful lady. Recently, my friend could not believe that a girl whom he has met at a Pusing coffeeshop, looking stunning as a bride, like a HK filmstar!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Signs of our time

Meanwhile, in our local Parliament, the next outburst might be: "Shit! Shit! Shit!"

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Small world, yet, so near yet so far...

If we think about it, the world is getting smaller, with jet travel and especially with the internet. But I am also referring to those rich men in business; we may not know them personally, but we do know of someone related to them, works for them, or simply they have a project near us.

The Star’s Bizweek today featured a number of very successful businessmen and the one that caught my eye was Ireka’s founder, Lai Siew Wah. I remember him as someone who worked for Ha Tham Engineering, tractor repairers, when I was a kid. Our house was situated in the middle of a longish piece of land. I used to see him with some other workers walking from the back portion to the coffee stall sited at the front next to Jalan Ipoh. As a kid, my impression of him was someone who walks with big strides but now I find him short! It was a time when Eric Chia used to frequent the place to learn more about tractor service and repairs before he listed United Motor Works. Siah Brothers, Kwee Heng and Kwee Swee used to check on their lorries undergoing repairs by the carpenter.

I last met LSW in the early 80s at a wedding dinner held at Golden Phoenix, Hotel Equatorial in KL. It was my wife’s cousin’s big day and he was then working for him. I approached him to mention about his time at our place and he could still remember my second brother. Actually my wife’s brother is still working for Ireka. While the service apartments next to Westin were still under construction, he took us to view their show apartments, using those construction lifts. If I am not mistaken, the first flyover in Batu Gajah was built by them, at the time when our Sultan was the Agong.

Anyway, the writer, Thean Lee Cheng must have got the facts wrong somewhere. If Lai is now 67, then he was born in 1940. The Japanese occupation years were 1939-1944, so how could he have done construction works during the occupation years?

There were spelling mistakes too like Yeoh Tiong Lay spelt as Tiang; one of Tan Kim Hor’s sons, Dr. Tan Kan Leong spelt as Gan. Dr. Tan used to be one of my brothers’ classmates in Methodist Afternoon School, Sentul. Being brilliant, he was soon transferred to Methodist Boys Secondary School, Sentul and later left for Australia for further studies.

Before LBS was listed, the name Lim Bock Seng was often heard when I was a kid. His sister’s husband came from the same village as my grandparents. We used to have a little temple, off 3 ¾ milestone Jalan Ipoh. At least once a year, there will be offerings and prayers to the gods followed by lunch for everyone. Each year, the idol would be taken home by someone, selected to look after it. Many years ago, Ong Chah died when he was knocked down by a motorcyclist, while on a morning walk in Sungai Way Village, which is also the base of LBS till today.

YTL’s Sentul Raya project also brings back memories. My father started as apprentice in Sentul Railway Workshop in the 1920s. As a student, occasionally, I used to walk home from school, through the park. When I was working in Jalan Pipit (our house turned into a developer’s office), I used to have lunch at the Sentul Golf Club, as it was affiliated to Kinta Golf Club in Batu Gajah, before it was demolished.

Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam is an old girl of St. Bernadette’s Convent, Batu Gajah, which is also my daughters’ Alma Mater. I happened to know her youngest sister. But as she once said, her sister is in a different league. And her brother and my sister-in-law (also ex-St.BC) were ex-colleagues!

Last but not least, my new friend, BH, whom I have not met yet, works for NK Tong!
Sorry, just thought of some more info to do with the Tong family. My ex-classmate’s family actually bought over Alan Tong’s bus company prior to listing Park May Bhd!

I have actually wanted to write on Lai Siew Wah only and I ended up going on and on by association! Good for the memory I hope.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Falkirk Wheel

Simple idea, amazing engineering, and guts to have carried it out.

In this case, they had two canals coming at each other, one 24 meters higher than the other. Rather than bridge them, they wanted to connect them and allow boats to move from one to the other. But how to get the boats up 24 meters?

The Wheel answers that question by simultaneously lifting 300 tonnes of boat and water while simultaneously lowering 300 tonnes of boat and water on the other side, as it turns. The top boat is spun around to the bottom position and vice versa.

It's said that good engineering, working with nature instead of against it, comes up with naturally beautiful designs.

I know the whole truth...

At school, a boy was told by a classmate that most adults are hiding at least one dark secret, and that this makes it very easy to blackmail them by saying, "I know the whole truth". The boy decides to go home and try it out.

He goes home, and as he is greeted by his mother he says, "I know the whole truth." His mother quickly hands him a $50 note and says, "Just don't tell your father."

Quite pleased, the boy waits for his father to get home from work, and greets him with, "I know the whole truth." The father also promptly hands him a $50 note and says, "Please don't say a word to your mother."

Very pleased, the boy is on his way to school the next day, when he sees the mailman at his front door. The boy greets him by saying, "I know the whole truth." The mailman drops the mail, opens his arms, and says, "Then come give your FATHER a big hug."

Kids’ views

1) This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles. (Kelly, age 6)

2) Oysters' balls are called pearls. (James, age 6)

3) If you are surrounded by sea you are an Island. If you don't have sea all round you, you are incontinent.
(Wayne, age 7)

4) Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She's not my friend no more.
(Kylie, age 6)

5) A dolphin breathes through an asshole on the top of its head. (Billy, age 8)

6) My uncle goes out in his boat with pots, and comes back with crabs. (Millie, age 6)

7) When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes, when the wind didn't blow, the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would have been better off eating beans. (William, age 7)

8) I like mermaids. They are beautiful, and I like their shiny tails. And how on earth do mermaids get pregnant? Like, really? (Helen, age 6)

9) I'm not going to write about the sea. My baby brother is always screaming and being sick, my Dad keeps shouting at my Mom, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write. (Amy, age 6)

10) Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves into chargers. (Christopher, age 7)

11) When you go swimming in the sea, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small. (Kevin, age 6)

12) Divers have to be safe when they go under the water. Two divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other. (Becky, age 8)

13) On holidays my Mom went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water fired right up her fat ass. (Julie, age 7)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Naturally cosy

My youngest used to like my shoulder.

Today's travel

Hand luggage

Customs check

Chotto Matte...

Nelson Mandela is sitting at home watching TV and drinking a beer when hehears a knock at the door. When he opens it, he is confronted by a little Japanese man, clutching a clipboard and yelling, "You Sign! You sign!" Behind him is an enormous truck full of car exhausts. Nelson is standing there in complete amazement, when the Japanese man starts to yell louder, "You Sign! You sign!"

Nelson says to him, "Look, you've obviously got the wrong man", and shuts the door in his face.

The next day he hears a knock at the door again.When he opens it, the little Japanese man is back with a huge truck of brakepads. He thrusts his clipboard under Nelson's nose, yelling, "You sign! You sign!"

Mr Mandela is getting a bit hacked off by now, so he pushes the little Japanese man back, shouting: "Look, go away! You've got the wrongman. I don't want them!" Then he slams the door in his face again.

The following day, Nelson is resting, and late in the afternoon, he hears a knock on the door again. On opening the door, there is the same little Japanese man thrusting a clipboard under his nose, shouting, "You sign! You sign!" Behind him are TWO very large trucks full of car parts.

This time Nelson loses his temper completely, he picks up the little man by his shirt front and yells at him: "Look, I don't want these! Do you understand? You must have the wrong name! Who do you want to give these to?"

The little Japanese man looks very puzzled, consults his clipboard, and says: "You not Nissan Main Deala?"

This reminds me of what I read years ago in the Readers' Digest. When told that he had 'cataract' the Japanese replied, "No, I have Lincoln Continenta".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Effective tourists repellant...

The Sun
"Foreigners flee durian-eating contest"

Penang: They came, they took a whiff and they fled.

"That was what 18 foreign tourists did at a durian-eating contest organised for them at the Penang Fruits and Food Festival at the Pesta Site here yesterday.

Just as they got into the hall, they took a whiff of the fruit and refused to go any further. They only agreed to look at the thorny fruit from a distance."

Durian is known locally as 'king of the fruits' and it is not for nothing - you either love it or hate it. Somerset Maugham described it as like 'having strawberry and cream next to the toilet' or something to that effect.

Our ex-Malaysian friend, Alex (banana: yellow on the outside but white inside) actually bought >Rm200 worth of durians on one of his 'during-craving' tours in Malaysia.

Imagine having him take part in the contest!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Dogtor of Philosophy
Tends to be too dogmatic.

Honorary Dogtorate
For owning a K9U

Put there, worried over too many dogtorates around.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Distant relatives...

of Polar and Penguin.

Suicide bomber?

During a bird flu outbreak, this would appear to be so.


A grandmother was pushing her little grandchild around Wal- Mart in a buggy. Each time she put something in the basket she would say, 'And here's something for you, Diploma.' or 'This will make a cute little outfit for you, Diploma.' and so on.

Eventually a bewildered shopper who'd heard all this finally asked, 'Why do you keep calling your grandchild Diploma?'

The grandmother replied, 'I sent my daughter to Virginia Tech and this is what she came home with!'

I asked two Chinese educated ladies how to say it in Cantonese, Masters and Doctorate. I was told "Pok Si" and "Sek Si" respectively.

A few days ago, I was at a wedding eve dinner and chatted with some women in their fifties, who probably had only primary Chinese education. They told me it should be "Sek Si" then "Pok Si". I have just reconfirmed with someone else that the earlier version was correct! I am confused but would then to agree with the first version.

This confusion reminds me of the surgeons being called "Mister" instead of "Doctor" in UK. To others, they cannot imagine going for further specialization and being reverted to Mr.!

To the layman, the confusion will go on and on. Only those in the profession or in academia would know and appreciate the difference.

Just yesterday at the coffee shop in Pusing, soon after a housewife explained to me, her husband said, "those who study until Sek Si are those who studied until they are "ngong chor"! Almost immediately, the wife asked me what level my daughter is studying and I replied, "ngong chor"! She felt embarrassed at what her husband had just said.

New Sign of a Stroke: Stick out your tongue

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters ... S.T.R.

During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid’s husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00pm, Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ.

Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don’t die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Thank God for the sense to remember the “3″ steps, STR. Read and Learn!
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the person to TALK to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. It is sunny out today)
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

NOTE: Another ’sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ’stick’ out his tongue. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 999 immediately! And, describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

Years ago, my dad was having lunch at Pun Chun, Bidor, on our way to my sister-in-law's wedding dinner in Ipoh. I think he had a stroke then as the noodles kept coming out from his mouth. Ironically, we were on our way to two doctors' wedding. Had we known the symptoms then, he would have had a better chance of recovery.

Got this from Lim Kit Siang's blogsite.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life is short. Get a divorce

Saturday's paper shows a buxom lady standing in front of a poster with such a message. It was divorce attorney, Corri Fetman’s new advertising campaign in Chicago, Illinois.

‘Road to prosperity’ in New Sunday Times caught my attention, in which comments by recently divorced Puan Sri Tessie Lim was published. Well, for someone who got Rm11 million and gets to keep the title, her smugness shows. But I would agree with her on this:

“There are a million jokes about gender differences, about relationships between men and women, about marriage… and I’ll wager the best ones are written by those who are in most pain. Developing a sense of humour comes in handy, especially when your other senses are dulled with hurt and your present frame of reference is too depressing.”

Monday, June 11, 2007

Taking aunt round Luxembourg and looking for a room in Maastricht (for Ph D)

How time flies! This time last week, I was in Trier (the German city bordering Luxembourg) with Si Yi. She really enjoyed the city that was bustling with local people doing their Saturday shopping and tourists.

Trier being the oldest city in Germany was founded by the Romans and later became one of the Western Roman Empire capitals (together with Milan and York). There is nothing much of the old city walls left like in York, but there is the well-preserved Porta Nigra (literrally, "Black Gate"), Constantine's Basillica, St Peter's Dome, an amphitheatre, and the ruins of a Roman bath. Of course, don't forget Karl Marx's birth house, which attracts countless Chinese tourists every year.

Trier was a stark contrast to Nancy, a city in the Lorraine region (sounds familiar? think "Quiche Lorraine") of France on Sunday. Instead of ancient Roman architecture, we have grandiose 18th to 19th century buildings neatly designed by urbanist architectures of the time (Emmanuel Héré is almost an institution in Nancy). Most of the shops were closed. The four of us (including my Vietnamese classmate and her friend) were surprised to find most restaurants closed after 2pm, to be reopened later in the evening at around 6-7pm. For lunch, we relished the delectable Lorraine pastry from the bakery. Two other highlights of the day include the quaint antique flea market in the Old Town of Nancy and the rose garden where different types of roses were at the height of the blooming season (I wanted to attach a picture of us at the garden but it was too big for TMNet!).

Ironically, we didn't see as much of Luxembourg city (although we did manage a short walk around Differdange when we missed our train to Nancy on Sunday). On Monday, we simply took a bus to Kirchberg (the "New Town" of Luxembourg) where all the banks and European institutions are located. Just after noon, we were back at the train station for Si Yi to catch her train to Brussels. I mentioned to Si Yi that she actually had a *true* Luxembourgish experience, which would have otherwise been incomplete without a visit to its neighbouring countries.

The day after Si Yi's departure, I travelled to Maastricht to "see a room"
("kijkavond", read this interesting article University accommodation is almost non-existent in the Netherlands as student accommodation is regulated by the private sector. I was recommended to a website where upon registration (and a small fee), I could respond to the room-for-rent adverts. It was a steep learning curve for me after four years of university or programme-arranged accommodation. Competition to find a room is fierce, especially with the *official* room shortage until November. After weeks of no success, I was relieved when Marcela, a Dutch student interested in subrenting her room for six months, emailed me. Honestly, finding a room in Holland feels more like a job interview or dating service where we provide a short letter with some information about ourselves (the 101 reasons why they would want us to rent their rooms) and even a photograph (significantly improves the response rate if you happen to be female and/or pleasant looking).

The room was a neat room (roughly the size of Ko's room in BG), located on the first floor next to the living room, a snug little kitchen and toilet. I get to borrow Marcela's furniture (another relief!) and I immediately took a liking to its large window facing a quiet shopping street. It reminded me of "199" as the "house" is made up of the first and second floors (with a separate entrance) while the ground floor serves as a shop. There are five other students living in the second floor, where the combined shower and toilet room is located. The house also has a small backyard shared with the landlord living next door.

I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the city centre. Maastricht is relatively small so it normally takes five to ten minutes by bus or bicycle from one point to another. In fact, travel any further and you would end up in a different country (as it borders Belgium)! Most notably, there is the grand river Maas flowing through the city. The atmosphere is rather lively with students - so far so good! *HUGE grin*

It is a quiet weekend in Differdange after all these travelling.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Have you ever been this tired?

I am really glad to know he is not my son. Not that I am happy that someone else's had to be in that situation.

5-word limit on acceptance speeches

Just read about the 11th annual Webby Awards, the "Oscars of the Internet", recognising achievement in everything online, from political blogs to advertising.
Never heard of it before.

The awards received a record 8,000 entries from more than 60 countries this year and saw prizes in almost 70 categories, making the evening an almost constant stream of speeches, which makes sense on the 5-word limit on acceptance speeches.

David Bowie, who picked up a lifetime achievement award for UltraStar, for pushing the boundaries of art and technology, said "I only get five words?" before continuing: "Shit, that was five. Four more there. That's three," winding up with: "Two," before rapidly exiting the stage.

Our local politicians should start something about limiting their speech, "Yang Amat Berhormat dan Yang Mulia" that's six already; "Dato Seri Tengku Abdullah" that's four and so on. Multiply that to tens of VVIPs then it is not surprising that the cameraman would show someone with eyes closed or yawning during the event. Most of the audience are likely to be civil servants, obligatory to be there to make up the numbers and to fill up their time so that they continue to be slow in delivery.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Son-in-law hogging the limelight?

My wife missed Wednesday night’s television news on Pak Lah’s announcement of his wedding, so she bought a copy of The Sun this morning, just to see a picture of Jeanne.

Actually, Raja Petra had published news about the romance way back in February, so it was just a case of ‘rumour’, as alleged by Pak Lah, which turned out to be true. So Zam’s take on bloggers was incorrect and in fact, they are more up-to-date and accurate than his official spin.

To me, there was a conspicuous absence of pictures of son and daughter or their personal comments, neither on national tv and nor mainstream media. In fact, we would expect at least a group picture of them with Jeanne and Pak Lah.

So it was left to the famous son-in-law to issue comments on their behalf. Strange.

As quoted in one of the newspapers - Khairy on his father-in-law:
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Abdullah's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin said the wedding would 'bring a lot of joy to the family'. 'I, my wife Nori, my brother-in-law and his wife are happy with the news. We fully support his decision.'

Bernama also quoted Mr Khairy as saying: 'We have known auntie Jeanne for a long time and we are very close. 'He consulted all of us and we have given our blessing.'

Anyway, as a citizen of Malaysia, I wish Pak Lah and Jeanne “All the best”! We deserve a happy Prime Minister.

5 words to success...

"Sir, What is the secret of your success?" a reporter asked a bank president.

"Two words"

"And, Sir, what are they?"

"Right decisions."

"And how do you make right decisions?"

"One word."

"And, sir, what is that?"


"And how do you get Experience?"

"Two words"

"And, Sir, what are they?"

"Wrong decisions".

However, there are other ways too…

A guy walks into a post office one day to see a middle-aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing "Love" stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. He then takes out a perfume bottle and starts spraying scent all over them.

His curiosity getting the better of him, he goes up to the balding man and asks him what he is doing.

The man says "I'm sending out 1,000 Valentine cards signed, 'Guess who?'"

"But why?" asks the man.

"I'm a divorce lawyer," the man replies.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I have an Iraqi driving licence

Can you tell if the picture is not of me?


When you see geese flying along in "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone - and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed the same way we are. When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.
Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. What messages do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally - and this is important - when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Unusual tale from Sayap

The few years when I was still working in Kuala Lumpur, my father-in-law took care of my son’s transport, ferrying him from Batu Gajah to Anderson School, Ipoh and back. Naturally there was a certain bonding between grandpa and grandson, which seemed special compared with those cousins who lived in KL, or even the one in Ipoh.

Some say, it was evident in his male chauvinism, others say in his recollections of the old man’s tall tales and jokes. Anyhow, my son is closer to my in-laws than my own relatives. With his penchant for things Hakka (also due to his domineering mom), he referred me to a Hakka website and I chose the following story:

Tales of a Hakka town (5)

The Hakkas, living in the area between the two small towns of Pusing and Siputeh, which are about four kilometers apart, were mostly immigrated from Dongguan county in Guangdong province. They were either rubber tappers or tin mine workers. They called their little village Sayap which was a Malay name.

All the babies born in this village were home delivery and none of them was born in a hospital. This custom was common among the Hakkas. Therefore the babies were not registered in the hospital. Although the birth of a baby could be registered in any police station yet none of the Hakkas did so because it required a token fee for the registration. They argued that they never registered their babies with any authority in Tang Shan. So why should they bother themselves? and besides, they could save the little registration fee.

In 1941 the Japanese conquered Malaya and occupied it for three years and eight months. The Japanese surrendered in August 1945 and the British came back to Malaya. All the schools were reopened in 1946. Most of the children in Sayap village went to enroll in either the Pusing or Siputeh Chinese schools.

The enrolment required the birth certificate to prove the identification of the child. This was a new regulation imposed by the British Military Administration. Since in Sayap none of the children possessed a birth certificate the teachers in the Chinese schools told the parents of these kids to go and register them in either the Pusing or the Siputeh police stations.

The policemen were surprised to find out that the children wanted to register their births after seven or eights or even over ten years late.

What the policemen did was to enter in their registration books all the names of the children with the same hour, the same day, same month but seven years before. In order words, according to their birth certificates those children were all born at the same hour, same day, same month, same year and in the same village. Worst still, some of the parents wanted to save the few cents took up only one birth certificate for their children.

It was not unusual to see a brother and a sister or two or three brothers sharing only one birth certificate. This created a hell lot of problems when they grew up. This was the major problem for that generation in this small town.

CHUNG Yoon-Ngan

Our Father who art in heaven, hello what's your name?

Papa said yes, mamas said no...

This beauty is from China. I guess she is a model.

Anyway, young women coming from China are called ‘siu loong lui’ or ‘little dragon girls’. Though most of them are not as beautiful, they came, they saw and they conquered. They are believed to have caused many broken marriages and left men in financial ruins.

‘Give Chinese maids a chance, urges Papa’ The Star headlined. Not surprising, is it? And who would object? The mamas, of course, especially Wanita MCA leaders, who cited many cases of husbands leaving their wives for the ‘China dolls’.

Actually, Papa, in this case is the initials in Malay, of the Malaysian Association of Foreign Housemaids Agencies: Persatuan Agensi Pekerja-pekerja Asing, I guess.

If the maid is as beautiful as this, many husbands will leave their homes, or more likely, make their wives leave their homes!