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

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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Belly Dancers in Little Penang!


There was no need to go to Egypt to watch belly dancing.

Today, SP had in mind Little Penang, after attending to the oil palm harvest in Selama. Every last Sunday of the month, Little Penang is transformed into a Sunday flea market with musical and other performances. We have been a few times and each time we were pleasantly surprised by some nice entertainment.

We arrived at 2 pm and I was under the impression the jazz session was over. While SP visited the stalls, I walked straight to the centre where there was a makeshift stage for performances. Some expatriates and locals, members of a choir, were getting ready to sing Christmas carols, which included classics like Silent Night, and surprisingly, a French and a Polish carol as well (sung in English, of course).

At the end of the carol singing, I chanced upon Ronald De Leon, a familiar face in Little Penang. I have posted in my blog on March 31, about his two sons, Vince and Lucas, aged 10 and 8, who played keyboard and drums like professionals. I introduced myself as someone who had seen them performed before and blogged about it under Kosongcafe. To my surprise, he said he has read it, and even mentioned that I wrote about the British jazz singer, Andrea Mann!

He was getting ready to perform with Vince and Lucas again, so I decided to sit through the whole jazz performance. Each time I watch, I would be picking up tips on how to play jazz drumming. The only familiar piece I could remember by name was Route 66. I must say, Ronald is passionate about music and seems to be able to play all kinds of instruments – bass guitar, keyboard, saxophone, flute –you name it, he can play it! Even Vince can play a number of instruments, as he was one of the Northern Jazz Ensemble, playing saxophone! It was funny because he was sitting in front of two musicians playing trombones and when one of them stood up to play solo, for certain notes the trombone actually hit his head! I could recognise the keyboardist and trumpet player as part of the resident band in G-Spot.

Somehow, though Vince and Lucas are good at their instruments, I cannot help sensing they do not have the same passion about it like the father. Maybe they are too young and they would rather be playing some computer games or something and be with kids of their age. The reason I mention this is that I made a mistake of pushing my children to play music and my enthusiasm actually put them off! All three would not touch the piano nor learn any of the instruments I have in my studio!

While the jazz music was being played, we had the opportunity of having a white woman letting her hair down, dancing to it, all by herself. We were in for some real surprise when two professional belly dancers came on, dancing to music from their own cd! It was a real treat because we had never watched a belly dance before. The shorter lady was full of expression when dancing but the taller younger one tried to put on a straight face. The latter’s slim face belie her plump waist and I wonder why all that exercise did not seem to reduce it. At the end of their show, they were generous in inviting some ladies and two sporting gentlemen from the audience to join them – free lesson!

Anyway, according to Ronald, in view of the forthcoming Jazz festival (Dec 4 to 7), next Sunday will be business as usual at Little Penang. It seems their countdown to the festival started 3 months ago! He advised us to bring people who are not interested in jazz music so that they can be influenced to like jazz! Tickets at Rm53 each for the Jazz Festival, featuring international musicians, is for the whole day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Earliest IT Helpdesk...

demonstrated:
video

Economic meltdown...

reaches the people in Iceland.

India Got Talent...

waiting to be discovered, but where is Simon Cowell?
video

A bit of info about Chin Peng...

whose real name is Ong Boon Hua.

He is second in a family of 10 (6 boys and 4 girls) if my memory serves me right. The first four sons were given auspicious names: Eng Hua Hoo Kui in Hokien (or Weng Wah Fu Kuai in Cantonese) and it followed that the eldest son was named Boon Eng, followed by Boon Hua, then Boon Hoo and Boon Kui.

Some of Chin Peng’s brothers and sisters are still in Malaysia, though some pre-deceased him and he was known to have remarked, ‘I was the one living a dangerous life and a fugitive, yet some of my siblings living in relative comfort and safety died earlier than me’ or words to that effect.

Nobody, with any sense of fairness would deny that he is a Malaysian with birth certificate, but the document was obviously destroyed by the authorities. In any case, the NRD should have a record of it. So it is ludicrous for the authorities to expect him to come up with one without which he cannot set foot in the country. Why are the authorities still afraid of Chin Peng, an octogenarian? Are they afraid that young Malaysians will treat him like a hero and give him a tumultuous welcome? Or are they afraid that those whose families were affected by the communist insurgency would protest and demonstrate and cause public disorder?

The man in the street seems to feel our government has the habit of suppressing certain information when a more open discussion would better leave the public to form their opinions. With this in mind, I am highlighting this debate between Raja Petra and Negeri Sembilan History Association treasurer Mohd Misan Mastor on the role of Chin Peng.

History seems to be an account of what happened, by this man and that man (his-story) and the truth (third side to a story) that a more open discussion would better lead to a truer version than suppression of information.
http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/15392/84/ (excerpts):

Challenge accepted
Negeri Sembilan History Association treasurer, Mohd Misan Mastor, said Raja Petra Kamarudin is ignorant of history for saying that Chin Peng was a freedom fighter and has challenged Raja Petra to provide proof. The proof that Misan seeks is in chapter 34, PUTERA-AMCJA Conference (1947), in the book, MALAY NATIONALISM BEFORE UMNO: THE MEMOIRS OF MUSTAPHA HUSSAIN.

NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Raja Petra ignorant of history, says historianSEREMBAN: Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin has been described as being ignorant of history for assuming that the former secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya, Chin Peng, was a freedom fighter.

Negeri Sembilan History Association treasurer Mohd Misan Mastor said today the Malays had fought colonialism since the fall of Melaka Sultanate and throughout the Portuguese, Dutch, British and Japanese occupation.

"Chin Peng was not the first man who put up the fight," he told Bernama here.

He was commenting on a recent talk by Raja Petra who said that the country's independence was initiated by a non-Malay, and that Chin Peng was a freedom fighter.

Mohd Misan said the peak of the Malays struggle for freedom was when they thwarted the British effort to introduce the Malayan Union which, among others, would have usurped the powers of the Malay rulers.

He challenged Raja Petra to prove that the independence of the country was due to the efforts of others.

"This is what happens when the Malays lose their spirit of nationalism and become ignorant of history," he added. (Bernama)

The fight for Merdeka started before the Second World War and continued all through the Japanese Occupation of Malaya. After the War, all the races, members of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) included, joined hands to fight for Merdeka. Only when the British refused to accept the Malayans’ terms for Merdeka did the CPM take to the jungles to continue their opposition to the British. But it was not only the members of the CPM who took to the jungles. Many non-Communists did as well and they filled the ranks of the CPM guerrillas.

The struggle for Merdeka was not an exclusive Malay affair but an effort by all the races, as the following piece shall show. It cannot be denied that, before that, many Malays did oppose the British and some died because of it. But it was not until the Second World War, during the Japanese Occupation, when the idea of Merdeka was finally taken to a higher level of a united Malaya or Federation of Malaya -- a Federation comprising of the Straits Settlements, Federated Malay States and Unfederated Malay States. Before that, all the states were independent of one another and no nation, as we know today, existed.

Lord Mountabtten shaking hands after giving Chin Peng the Burma Star Award.

Bold and umambiguous message and some acronyms



Four guys and a woman are stuck in an elevator.

While they are stuck, they strike up a conversation.

The first guy says, 'I'm a Y.U.P.P.I.E., you know...

'Young, Urban, Professional, Peaceful, Intelligent, Ecologist.'


The second guy says, 'I'm a D.I.N.K.Y, you know...

'Double Income, No Kids Yet.'


The third guy says, 'I'm a R.U.B., you know...

'Rich, Urban, Biker.'


The fourth guy says, I am a D.I.L.D.O, you know...

'Double Income, Little Dog Owner.''


They turn to the woman and ask her. ''What are you?''

She replies: 'I'm a WIFE, you know...

Ideal for blogger with incontinence problem

when using desktop computer at home:

when using notebook at a remote location:

Sneaky TNB

Our next house is vacant with some basic electrical appliances. Last month’s bill was below Rm20 and it was free, as promised by our caring government. By the way, how many occupied houses could take advantage of this special offer?

I have just received this month’s bill and it was Rm20.50! How convenient! I double-checked the reading and it was correct, except the reading was 4 days later!

I am using this borrowed cartoon to express how I feel about this special offer:

Any takers for Matthias Chang's bet?

"I am willing to take on anyone from the Badawi regime and Bank Negara that by H1 of 2009, the KLCI will drop below 700. If I am wrong in my analysis, I will pay the first five individuals from the said Badawi regime and or Bank Negara the sum of RM5,000. These five individuals must within a week register at my website that they are willing to take me on in this challenge."

"They have to provide their full name and address in accordance with their NRIC/MyKad and their designation.If they lose to me, they must pay me the same amount!"

Among other things, he predicts the following:

"Here are my warnings for 2009:

By 2nd Half of next year, the automobile industry will go into a tailspin and suffer massive losses.

By 2nd Half of next year, credit card debts will soar, credit limitswill be drastically reduced (worse than 1997/1998) and interest rates on outstanding will increase sharply. It is already happening!

By 2nd Half of next year, shipping rates will drop drastically andthis is also happening. Our ports and shipping companies will suffer.

By 2nd Half of next year, our housing market bubble will burst notwithstanding all the stimulus and pump-priming. Arab investors will not be coming. Dubai and Abu Dhabi is already in a financial property gridlock! Why would they come here when they have to save their own asses?

By 2nd Half of next year, our exporters will be in tears, when Letters of Credit (L/Cs) will not be honoured and inventory stacks up at ports and in factory premises. Chinese exporters are already stipulating what LCs from which global banks will only be accepted.

By 2nd Half of next year, FELDA settlers will also be in tears. Having spent their windfall early this year (because of Badawi regime's false optimism), their savings will be down and they will bleed.

By the 3rd Quarter of next year, corporate NPLs will shoot up!Relaxing mark-to-market rules will not help.

Malaysia will have a huge immigration problem when these hardworking people are thrown out of work and have to compete with the swelling ranks of Malaysian unemployed.

In the meantime capital outflows will continue."

Friday, November 28, 2008

If not for the antics of certain BN MPs...

the watershed marked by the March 8 General Elections would not have been possible. In a way, we should be grateful for their continuing arrogance as described in The Malaysian Insider article:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/13365-rude-crude-and-obscene-and-untouchable

As to Pak Lah's or Najib's possible action, this cartoon by Randy Glasbergen, though in a different context, sums up best:

Why we need a second opinion...

sometimes, a liar could pass a test by sheer luck.

I was a very happy man, my wonderful girlfriend and I had been dating for over a year, and so we decided to get married.

There was only one little thing bothering me, it was her beautiful younger sister.

My prospective sister-in-law was twenty-two, wore very tight miniskirts, and generally was bra-less.

She would regularly bend down when she was near me, and I always got more than a nice view. It had to be deliberate, because she never did it when she was near anyone else.

One day her 'little' sister called and asked me to come over to check the wedding invitations. She was alone when I arrived, and she whispered to me that she had feelings and desires for me that she couldn't overcome. She told me that she wanted me just once before I got married and committed my life to her sister.

Well, I was in total shock, and couldn't say a word.

She said, “I'm going upstairs to my bedroom, and if you want one last wild fling, just come up and get me.”

I was stunned and frozen in shock as I watched her go up the stairs. I stood there for a moment, then turned and made a beeline straight to the front door, I opened the door and headed straight towards my car.

Lo and behold, my entire future family was standing outside, all clapping!

With tears in his eyes, my father-in-law hugged me and said, “We are very happy that you have passed our little test. We couldn't ask for a better man for our daughter, welcome to the family.”



And the moral of this story is:

Always keep your condoms in your car.




Changing tastes...

I find it convenient to browse through advertisements in websites just to see what is available for sale and at what price, while fantasizing about tastefully designed houses and certain cars that I fancy.

Believe me, I am actually attracted to small cozy places where nobody would take a second look at, yet it serves what I have in mind – items placed at convenient spots and not having to displace them because of cleaners or wife’s displeasure. I think this has to do with advancing age.

Instead of luxurious or sporty cars (not that I can afford them, heavy maintenance comes to mind) a simple Getz or Myvi seems so practical for getting in and out of, especially with my stiff neck.
If I were to imagine what type of wife I need now, it would be a caring wife with devotion and with likely immobility in the future, what I have in mind is someone like maid or nurse who would care for people like it is her second nature.

I was taken aback when told of this rich relative who said that if he were to be sent to an old folks home, he would rather commit suicide! Somehow, I could not help thinking he was hinting to his wife, but she did not appear to have taken it.

Anyway, I seem to write what comes to mind and it all started from these pictures sent by Bayi:

Tokyo's limited living space




Land in Tokyo is a much prized possession, and as such, people have to pay a pretty penny to purchase some. A situation that means even the most meagre amount of land is likely to be built upon, making monolith-like lodgings a must.
Which, while small, do get some amount of sun, have a certain sense of style, and conveniently boast of just enough space for a suitably sized car.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Con-tricks...

how one thing leads to another and we get carried away.

These days we are warned of so many things that I wonder how simpletons cope, or is it true that 'ignorance is bliss'?

I have come across warnings not to stop and listen when approached by strangers. You might be hypnotized, poisoned (just by accepting a chemically treated calling card) or just being sweet-talked into doing silly things (like handing over cash or even withdrawing money to hand over) and so on and so forth.
The following joke reminds me of how easily we can be conned (though the storyline is too far-fetched):

Weight Machine
While waiting at a bus stop for a bus, a woman stepped onto a weight machine that told your fortune and weight for a quarter. She put a quarter in, and out came a card that read, "Your age is 32, you weigh 135 lbs., and you play the fiddle."

She found the fortune amusing, since she didn't play the fiddle, but it did have her age correct. About that time, an old gentleman walked up carrying a fiddle. She asked him if she could see his fiddle. He agreed, and to their amazement, she started playing the fiddle with great natural skill.

She wondered if the fortune machine had actually known something about her that she didn't. She thought about it, and decided to try the weight machine again. She put another quarter in the machine, and out comes the card that reads: "Your age is 32, you weigh 135 lbs., and you have gastritis."

She found this one to be absurd, as she was in perfect health, so she goes back to the bus stop to wait for her bus. While sitting there, she develops abdominal pains that continue to get worse until all of a sudden she farts.

She wondered about the fortune, and again was curious if the machine was capable of knowing stuff about her that she didn't know. She puts another quarter in the machine, and out comes a card that reads: "Your age is 32, you weigh 135 lbs., and you are about to have sex."

She laughed out loud, as she had been trying to find a decent guy to screw for weeks, with no luck. She is sitting there waiting for the bus, when this attractive young man sits down and immediately their eyes locked, and they both knew that they were right for each other. They quickly ducked down an alley and began to screw like two teenagers.

The woman was so simply amazed at the ability of the machine that she had to try it one more time. She stood on the machine, put her last quarter in, and out came a card that read: "Your age is 32, you weigh 135 lbs., You've Fiddled, You've Farted, You've Screwed around, and now you've missed your bus."

Classic Toilet poems revisited...

Unusually subtle signs:

This sign leaves no doubt at all:
Toilet Poems

A budding poet trying his best…

Here I lie in stinky vapor,
Because some bastard stole the toilet paper,
Shall I lie, or shall I linger,
Or shall I be forced to use my finger.

Before he graduated to be a poet, he wrote this…

Here I sit
Broken hearted
Tried to shit
But only farted

Someone who had a different experience wrote,

You're lucky
You had your chance
I tried to fart,
And shit my pants!

Perhaps it's true that people find inspiration in toilets.

I came here
To shit and stink,
But all I do
Is sit and think.

There are also people who come in for a different purpose…

Some come here to sit and think,
Some come here to shit and stink,
But I come here to scratch my balls,
And read the bullshit on the walls…

Toilets walls also double as job advertisement space….
(written high upon the wall)
If you can piss above this line, the Singapore Fire Department wants you.

Ministry of Environment advertisement.

We aim to please!
You aim too! Please

On the inside of a toilet door:
Patrons are requested to remain seated throughout the entire performance.

And finally, this should teach some a lesson…
Sign seen at a restaurant:
The hands that clean these toilets also make your food…please aim properly.

Customized Haircut...

as the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. This 'haircut' was done without scissors. No wonder those unisex salons prefer to be known as hairstylists.

This reminds me of the menu in this Chinese restaurant behind Lewis's departmental store (last year it was undergoing reconstruction) in Leeds, with a heading '3 ways to a duck' which my colleague (Englishman) was quick to suggest, 'I know a fourth way' and it was really funny then.

So is this video clip:
video

A look at some wannabees...

Future M Monroe:

future macho man:

future sumo wrestler:

future gymnast:

future Superman:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rich or poor...

who is who, depends on our perspective.

In Malaysia, we are fond of saying we can take every Tong, Teck and Ah Lee from the village but not the village from them. While we admire people moving up the social ladder and living in upmarket, gated residential enclaves, who is actually having a better quality of life depends on our perspective.
The following story has been going round for sometime but is worth repeating for the benefit of those who have not read it before:

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from the trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’

‘It was great, Dad.’

‘Did you see how poor people live? the father asked.

‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.

‘So, tell me, what you learned from the trip?’ asked the father.

The son answered:
I saw that we have one dog and they had four;
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end;
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night;
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon;
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond;
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs;
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.

The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added,
‘Thanks Dad, for showing me how poor we are.’



One hole behind you

Guy was playing golf one day and he got lost. He saw a lady up ahead of him and went to her and said, 'Can you please help me, I don't know what hole I'm on.'

She told him 'You are one hole behind me. I'm on 7; you're on 6.' He thanked her and continued playing golf.


Later he got lost again. He saw the same lady and went to her again kind of embarrassed. 'I'm sorry to bother you again but I'm lost again, can you please tell me what hole I'm on.'


She told him 'you are one hole behind me. I'm on 14; you are on 13.' Again he thanked her and continued playing golf.


When he finished he saw her in the clubhouse. He went up to her and asked if he could buy her a drink for helping him out. She accepted. As they were drinking and talking he asked her what she did for a living.


'I'm in sales.' she said.


He replied, 'no kidding so am I. What do you sell?'


She said it's too embarrassing to tell. But after he kept pleading to know what she sold and finally, she said she'd tell him if he promised not to laugh. He promised.


She said, 'I sell WHISPER (Sanitary Napkins)'.


He immediately fell to the floor laughing hysterically.


She said, 'You promised you wouldn't laugh'.


He replied (still with tears in his eyes), 'I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it. I sell toilet paper..... I'm still one hole behind you.'

Credibility at stake



Watching the video clip of YB Gobin Singh Deo, Puchong MP, losing his cool with the Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament, many of us could sense the frustration and hopelessness Gobin felt when dealing with a biased Speaker or Deputy Speaker, time and again. It goes beyond whether Nazri apologise for misleading the House.

In my opinion, the frustration felt by the people time and again where there were double standards in enforcement, be it by the Police or ACA, and even in prosecution by the Attorney General, is manifested in the videos, available in Lim Kit Siang's blog: http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2008/06/30/gobind-singh-deo-two-day-suspension-from-parliament-video/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On old cars and how history repeated itself...

43 years ago, my dad had a Riley which was used occasionally to take us to school. I used to cringe at the thought of having to travel in what looked like a car used by the Germans during World War 2.
Riley RME Saloon 1.5 :
Sunbeam Alpine Series V:
Just over 10 years ago, I managed to get one of our two Sunbeam Alpines going and took it to school to fetch my daughters. Nee actually told me that she is not getting into the car if I used it again!
My most memorable (more like harrowing) experience with the Riley was when I stopped to post a letter. I forgot to release the handbrake and this had the effect of disabling the pedal brake (I think) because when I reached the trafffic lights at Sentul police station (along Jalan Ipoh towards town) I realised the pedal brake did not work. Fortunately, the motorcyclists saw my expression and let me pass the red lights!
A rich lady who lived in Jalan Madge borrowed the Riley for a few days but liked it so much that she did not return it till we asked for it after a month!
The Riley was sold to our tenant, Ha Tham of Ha Tham Engineering Works, who used it for a number of years before it was scrapped, I think. Ha Tham was acknowledged by Eric Chia to be his sifu when he used to visit the workshop to learn more about repairing tractors, before he went big on Komatsu tractors and listed UMW.
I am surprised the Sunbeam Alpine V was featured in the first James Bond film. If only we could restore them again. The thought of inspection by Puspakom puts me off. I remember writing a letter to a newspaper motor journalist enquiring about using a Japanese engine instead. Soon after, I received a letter from JPJ asking to inspect the car, suspecting that the engine had been changed! Don't under-estimate the power of the press!

You have 2 choices

unlike a dilemma...: (Disclaimer: cartoon does not come with this example)

Someone has come up with this motivational example of how essentially, we have two choices in any given situation. At the end of the email which I received, I was posed with a similar question of either to forward or delete. As my email function is not working properly, I have a choice of typing it out (after copying in long hand!)or delete, because I am not savvy enough to upload PPS in my blog nor able to type directly from PPS mode, if at all either is possible. I would like to think I am sharing a motivational lesson, which makes it worthwhile.

You have 2 choices
Jerry is the manager of a restaurant. He is always in a good mood. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would always reply: “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

Many of the waiters at his restaurant quit their jobs when he changed jobs, so they could follow him around from restaurant to restaurant. Why? Because Jerry was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was always there, telling him how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him.
“I don’t get it! No one can be a positive person all the time. How do you do it?”

Jerry replied, “Each morning I woke up and say to myself, I have 2 choices today. I can choose to be in a good mood or I can choose to be in a bad mood. I always choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be victim or I can choose to learn from it. I always choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaints or I can point out the positive side of life. I always choose the positive side of life.”

“But it’s not always that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” Jerry said.

“Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk every situation is a choice.
You choose how you react to situations.
You choose how people will affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood.
It’s your choice how you live your life.”

Several years later, I heard that Jerry accidentally did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business. He left the back door of his restaurant open.

And then in the morning, he was robbed by three armed men. While Jerry was trying to open the safe box, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him.

Luckily, Jerry was found quickly and rushed to the hospital. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body…

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied,
“If I were any better, I’d be twins. Want to see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.

“The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door.”
J replied.

“Then, after they shot me, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices:
I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

J continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine.
But when they wheeled me into the Emergency Room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘He’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was a big nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.”
“Yes, to bullets,” I replied.

Over their laughter, I told them:
“I’m choosing to live. Please operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Jerry lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.
I learned from him that every day you have the choice to either enjoy your life or hate it.

The only thing that is truly yours – that no one can control or take from you – is your attitude, so if you can take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier.

Another reason why some people cannot do Yoga...

some moms, I mean, nothing to do with religion.
video
This video was forwarded by Bayi some time ago (original date of video was 15.1.94!). It must have been circulating in the net and half the population have seen it. Just to share it with the other half. Thanks to the owner.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Possible for Pak Lah to lead Pakatan?

I read Raja Petra's unlikely scenario of how it is possible for Pak Lah to lead Pakatan to prevent Najib from becoming PM and I could not find it again. I knew it must be either in 'No Holds Barred' or 'Corridors of Power' but never expected it to be under Bala's SD revisited!:

Access Malaysia Today at http://mt.m2day.org/ - Balasubramaniam’s Statutory Declaration revisited

(excerpts):

The Federal Constitution of Malaysia does not state that the Umno President must become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. What it does say is that the Agong must appoint a Member of the House (one of the 222 Members of Parliament) who commands the confidence of the majority of the Members of the House as the Prime Minister.

NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

I am actually looking forward to this trial because this will give my dozen witnesses and me an opportunity to reveal what we cannot say under normal circumstances. Let us see, after this trial commences, whether Malaysians would still want Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign in March 2009. My suspicion is most Malaysians would regard Pak Lah as the ‘lesser of the two evils’ and will beg him to stay on till the end of his term on midnight of 7 March 2013.

By the way, the Federal Constitution of Malaysia does not state that the Umno President must become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. What it does say is that the Agong must appoint a Member of the House (one of the 222 Members of Parliament) who commands the confidence of the majority of the Members of the House as the Prime Minister. And Pak Lah already has 82 Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament with him plus 20 from Umno. All he needs is ten more and MCA, MIC and Gerakan have 20 combined. So, even without the Sabah and Sarawak Parliamentarians, Pak Lah can still remain as Prime Minister of Malaysia.That is the reality of the situation and this is what the law says. So let us not celebrate the new regime of Najib Tun Razak just yet as it may not happen after all. One week is a long time in politics, let alone four months. So many things can happen. And there are many things that are going to happen over these next four months even if they win their appeal against my release from Internal Security Act detention and succeed in sending me back to Kamunting.


When I first read the article, I thought the part of the sentence in red was a mistake, and I had to re-read to get the idea, especially when I was under the impression it was all about Bala's SD.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to appear walking backwards...fast


Don't pray pray...

The humble MP3 player seems like answering shippers prayers on how to counter Somali pirates who are getting bolder and demanding more ransom from tankers seized, according to this recent AFP report:

Pirates thwarted with MP3 sonic blast
LONDON (AFP) — Gone are the swashbuckling days of repelling pirates with cutlasses -- a British firm is spearheading use of a high-tech "sonic laser" to beat bandits on the high seas.

The piracy problems of shipping firms running through the Gulf of Aden and down Africa's east coast have been thrown into the spotlight this week by the seizure of the Saudi Arabian super-tanker Sirius Star.
But help could be at hand in the form of a long range acoustic device (LRAD) -- hooked up to a humble MP3 player.

About the size of a domestic satellite dish, LRADs blast the target with a precise beam of sound -- warning messages, noises, sirens -- which can be turned up to excruciatingly painful levels should an attacker get too close.

British private firm Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions (APMSS) hires out three-man teams of ex-military personnel bearing LRADs on ships and has been inundated with work as the piracy problem off Somalia worsens.

"You'll be in absolute agony," APMSS chief executive Nick Davis, a 38-year-old ex-army man, told AFP.

"They're loudhailers that are coupled up to an MP3 player.

"It's very effective up to 1,000 metres and excruciating if you get within 100 to 200 metres if it's at full power. It would give you more or less permanent hearing damage."

With close to 100 attacks on ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean this year, pirates pose an increasing threat to international trade.

Heavily in demand, APMSS will have its full complement of 10 three-man security teams operating on ships in the Gulf of Aden next week.

Hiring a team with all the equipment for a three-day journey costs around 14,000 pounds (21,00 dollars, 16,500 euros) inclusive of insurance and travel costs.

Davis said his firm uses a "non-lethal approach", adding: "but you've got to get very close to lethal for it to be an effective deterrent".

"The operator can point the dish towards the incoming pirate boats and initially give them warning tones and then messages to make their intentions clear.

"If they continue coming, they give them a warning in their native language," he said.

An APMSS crew thwarted a pirate attack on a chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden last Thursday, just 15 miles (24 kilometres) off the Yemeni coast.

Three skiffs hurtled towards the vessel, but were spotted by the team at five miles away, triggering a full response with evasive manoeuvres, water cannon, an alert to coalition forces -- and the LRAD.

"At two miles they sounded the general alarm. The pirates slowed down at around 600 metres and continued to 400 metres, waving AK47s," Davis said.

But the sonic blast put them off.

"The pirates then turned away and went to the vessel without security that was three to four miles behind ours," he said.

"They fired against the vessel, by which time, luckily, the French navy were only 40 miles away. A Lynx helicopter was dispatched and when the pirates saw that they diverted towards the Yemeni beach.
"That attack was foiled. A good encounter."
On the Net:
· Anti Piracy Maritime Security Solutions: http://www.apmss.co.uk/index.html

Nightmare before work

Imagine this lady going to work, being dropped off at the carpark.
video
Just wondering if she managed to get him to stop in time. Of course, there is still the handphone, if both had them at the time.

Autumnish greetings from Milan

Ciao from Milan! The weather has been unexpectedly warm (13 degrees is fab for this time of the year) and sunny. It feels more autumnish and I half regret bringing along my winter coat (the weather forecast predicted 3-6 degrees this weekend). Dominik and I arrived last night and together with his friend/ex-landlord, Paolo, we had pizza and pasta at the local restaurant for supper.

This morning, we predictably woke up later than our alarm setting. Still we managed to make it to the Santa Maria delle Grazie church for our precious 15-minute viewing of Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" painting. It was quite nicely restored in some 20 years. What could not be saved after more than 400 years of deterioration were Christ's legs below the table, cruelly cut off by a door installed when the painting was beyond recognition.

Later on, we visited Castello Sforzesco, the castle of the Sforza family which, according to Dominik, had one of their princesses marrying a Polish king and brought with her some Italian influence to the bland Polish cuisine. Dominik also commented that Ko had taken a picture with the castle in one of his Milan pictures (is that true?). We then made our way to the "Duomo" (Milan cathedral), beautifully restored with its golden "Madunina" on top and the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele across the piazza.

The most interesting event of the day must go to our visit of the Galleria Arte Villa Reale which featured some "artistic" (in its loose interpretation) performances set up by Tino Seghal. Tino himself was not in the gallery but his performers which consists of a band of boring uniformed gallery officers who would tell you utterly irrelevant information (the oil price has dropped below five dollars), dance and sing ("it's contemporary art"), and even strip (every male gallery visitor's fantasy?)! Ah, all in the name of "art". At least we left thoroughly amused.

Ok, we are about to leave for "aperitivo" with some of Dominik's ex-classmates in Bocconi.

cheng

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Religious rivalry over dog...


(Click to enlarge picture to enable reading of text)

A dog named Sex

Came across this hilarious news report in 'mylivingwall' blogsite.

(click to enlarge picture for reading the text)

Lucky...

the dog I love to hate. Looks and behave like a mousedeer, very sensitive and afraid to go near people. Good at raising my blood pressure. This picture was taken before he went missing 24 hours recently.

Mansor Puteh's shallow research on Chinese

I would be most surprised if anyone reading Mansor's latest in Malaysia Today, is impressed by his so-called research on the Chinese. Please give me a break. If you are a scholar in Chinese Studies, with years of research into Chinese history, maybe I might be impressed with your credentials, and that also, not necessarily your viewpoint.

Anyway, I am sticking my neck out by just questioning his first point - ‘MALAYSIAN CHINESE ARE STUPID! – MICHAEL CHICK.

I hope somebody can confirm this: Chick can be a Chinese surname because I know of a car repairer in Segambut, Chick Yan Poh, as well as a LHDN officer with that surname. Just imagine if I am right and that Michael Chick is actually a Malaysian Chinese and Mansor thought that he is English! It would really make my day!.

UNDERSTANDING THE THINKING, MENTALITY AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE CHINESE
Posted by St Low
Saturday, 22 November 2008 11:52
I have to say here that I do not read people's comments since they are too scared to reveal what their level of intelligence and standing in society is. If they do not have an identity, they do not have any views worthy of anyone considering. Worse, one cannot use these comments in one’s research on the subject.
Yes, I am brave enough to sign my name on this article.
by Mansor Puteh

‘MALAYSIAN CHINESE ARE STUPID! – MICHAEL CHICK:
It is unlike Michael Chick, who has an English name, who has written another article with a weirder title - ‘MALAYSIAN CHINESE ARE STUPID!’ which was published in Malaysia-Today. Yet, he was not condemned.
Shockingly, there were many Chinese commentators who agreed with him. The reason being the writer is English. If he was Malay, he would have been condemned.
Many Chinese and other non-Malays have tried unsuccessfully to define what and who the Malays are but all of them fail because their thinking was clouded by their own prejudices and biases.
So Michael is lucky because he is English and his views are considered by the commentators to be superior.


The rest of his article in Malaysia Today:

Understanding the Thinking, Mentality and Philosophy of the Chinese http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/15197/84/

Illogical logic or logical illogic

Razak Baginda said Najib does not know Alantuya… How? ‘Because I know!’

“So what on earth was he trying to do with his statement? You see, one can also swear to his God that he knows if someone is involved, but he can never be sure if that someone is not involved.
Why did he come out now and say something this? He had made the whole case smell even more so fishy now.” – Society Manner


This reminded me of how the AG said there are only three suspects…because ‘he knows’?

Some examples of our latest:

No sincerity on offers:
12am to 7am for 10% discount on Plus highway.

Free electricity for those whose monthly bills are less than Rm20! In other words, only vacant houses are eligible!

It pays to procrastinate:
50% discount on summons for those who did not pay within the time given.

Lucky draws for those who did not pay assessments within the stipulated period.

How to inconvenience the majority of the people:

EPF option for reduction of contribution from 11% to 8% but instead of those who want to opt for it to fill a form, those who do not, have to!

Because of a few cases of cars, which are found to have been joined from half-cuts, all the rest of the car owners had to have their vehicles inspected by Puspakom before the transfer could be done! Most people complained that the inspectors were rough in pulling down the rubber linings round the sill of car doors that they had to get professionals to put them back.

Because of a few unscrupulous company directors, all the others have to attend compulsory courses. There were a few cases of people standing in for others!

Crocodile Rock

sorry, got mixed up with Daniel, also by Sir Elton John:

Daniel is travelling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for spain
Oh and I can see daniel waving goodbye
God it looks like daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes...


Just helping to spread Zorro's message about Daniel. His story is inspiring:

Daniel and sifu Teh

HOW AND WHY I STARTED BLOGGING


When I was in the hospital right after my laryngectomy surgery (I had cancer of the throat), a good friend, Teh suggested that I should start a blog as a mean of communication since I am not able to talk due to the surgery. He said he will set up the blog for me and asked me to suggest a name for blog. The first name that came to my mind was DYKL but then the name has been taken. So I settled for DanielYKL, it sounds pretty cool anyway. So with that www.danielykl.com was born.


I have no idea how and what blogging is all about. I don’t even know how to post up my articles. So for the first couple of weeks I have to depend on my friend to do the posting. He was very patient with me, taught step by step on how to blog and manage my blog. I was never a computer savvy. I just know how to do the simple stuff on my notebook but of the blog I have to force myself to learn and experience through trials and errors about blogging. Now after 14 months I think I am getting the feel of it.


I started writing about myself and about the progress of the post-surgery. And I have plenty of time to do that, as I spent about a month at home recovering from that 10-hour surgery.Then I realized that after a while, people or friends are not interested to read about you. They get tired reading the same old thing about how I have recovered and my progressed. And not only that, I ran out of topics to write, hehe!!!


So I started to learn from other bloggers on how to pick up topics and make the blog interesting and informative - (I hope I have achieved that, but if I have not, be patient with me.) I then started to add photos and pictures along with the articles. Now the blog looks more colourful and attractive. Then I saw the Mob’s Crib’s blog. In the blog he did a lot of photoshop stuff from movie titles and others - I said to myself, ”that I should do.” So I got a book on Photoshop and started learning the tricks. Well, not that I have mastered it but then there has been some improvement and it gets the work done.


But the real motivation and challenge came just a few months before the 12th General Elections. As I read through the press and blogs, especially from Malaysia Today, Susan Loone, Malaysiakini, etc… just to name a few, I find that there are inconsistency and flaws in some of the issues made by the politicians and the government. So I thought, hmmm!!!, political blogging could be interesting and it will never run out of issues. So that started blogging about political issues. Not from someone who studied Political Science or with any politcal skill but from a view of ’an ordinary man on the street.’


And of course I write other stuff too, whatever that I think is worth writing. Anyway, I realized that blogging is very ‘addictive’ - once you start you can’t stop. Now since I am unable to talk, my blog has been my voice. It’s a place for me to voice my thoughts, opinion, views, expressions, inspiration, and belief. And sometimes my frustration, exasperation, and disappointments. I hope this blog has and will serve it’s purpose.



I am hoping retirees, especially, should go further than just reading and forwarding emails by starting a blog. Take it from me, it is really worth the trouble learning a few new tricks, and I must admit I learn very slowly at my own pace. Being rushed into anything defeats the purpose. To those who still cannot get past switching on the computer yourself, ask your spouse to give you a kick in the butt! A pensioner said he did not know how to switch off the computer, logged on by his daughter!

Friday, November 21, 2008

If you are willing to pay...

this Chinese restaurant always has something for you
at a price of course!
(not to be taken seriously, just a composition of unrelated pictures...in case the owner really has something for me...like a lawyer's letter!)
I'm sure Cheng can tell the second picture was taken in Japan.

Croc taken for a ride


But if you don't pay for it...

Why 'No more Bush'


I still don't believe Confucius said this...but who cares?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Be careful at the lake...

especially with a child. If you think you are likely to fall into it, do it carefully, ok?

Beware of the dogs' owner...

What I would like to put as a Warning to SYS students passing by:

Beware of the dogs’ owner

He is always in, with a camera in hand, in case his CCTV is not working;
Unless you want your picture on the intenet

If you are not a dog, please do not behave like one;
Only dogs bark, humans don’t

Dogs are colour blind;
They retaliate according to uniforms you wear,
blacklisted by a few of you who don’t care;
or motorbikes, because of a postman
who used to shoot rubber bands at them

And please do not stomp your feet when passing by,
There are no landmines for you to test, otherwise you will be maimed
If you like to practise your discus-throwing skill
You can be sure a discussion with your parents is not what I have in mind

…on the other hand, the sarcasm in my message is unlikely to get through and perhaps the following sign is more appropriate!:



I would not try this, knowing how students behave these days!

"Say 'Cheese'!"



…what else do you expect me to say? No more Bush?

I am in the company of retirees in their sixties and they are the ones who like to share sex jokes and passing ‘rude’ comments among ourselves, and sometimes I felt embarrassed if within hearing distance of others.

Because of poor memory, often the same jokes are repeated several times. Like this ex-civil servant who mentioned about a doctor’s pregnant wife who took her time checking her bills while getting off from the car and gave them an eyeful. It seems in those days, pregnant women are likely to go without panties! The car was a Fiat 1100 with front doors opening from the front! What were they doing? Thought they were supposed to be working instead of looking out the windows!

Maybe I should include a warning about the content in my blog!

Spider eating bird?

Seeing is believing. I thought a bullfrog eating a sparrow was unusual enough, now this:

Aussie Spider
Australia has a reputation for some nasty wildlife. Things that bite like, Crocs and Sharks, or venomous bites like Snakes and Spiders.
Of course humans, being the self centered creatures we are, are most concerned with the dangers to ourselves. We rarely think about the dangers these nasties pose to other critters, except our pets. As a result, when one of these pictures comes along, it sort of jars our reality.
This picture from Atheron, is a native finch called the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, caught in the web of a Golden Orb Weaver.

Lucky is back! That's the spirit!

Last night, amid dog barks now and again, I thought I heard a familiar one. It gave me a bit of hope but at the same time, not to expect too much.

Early this morning, at 4 am, I heard what seemed like Lucky's bark. Normally, I wouldn't bother as I can tell if it is just a stranger passing by, a strange dog or a cat. But since I was hoping for him to come back, I went downstairs to check it out and sure enough it was him outside the gate! After I had let him in, he went straight to the terrace for a drink and then look at our tin of biscuits and barked a few times, obviously hungry. SP wondered why I could hear his bark. I would put it simply as the difference between a sensitive and a non-sensitive person.

Knowing Lucky, I could tell he must have been unable to get out of wherever he was in, either accidentally or being kept captive. When I uploaded the video clip, under my post 'Sheer Determination', I could not help comparing the puppy's spirit with that of Lucky, although I did not mention it. I have tried a few times using a 4ft high fencing to keep him at the back of the house, to prevent him being near the students passing by, without success. He would either climb over or squeeze under, depending on whichever was possible to get past it. Chaining him would cause incessant barking and annoy the neighbours.

Meanwhile, I have to get used to living with him again! Unlike the song, "Living next door to Alice".

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas carol for this year

Someone had already come out with this recessionary carol:
You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town.

It's hitting you once,
It's hitting you twice
It doesn't care if you've been careful and wise
Recession is coming to town

It's worthless if you've got shares
It's worthless if you've got bonds
It's safe when you've got cash in hand
So keep cash for goodness sake, HEY

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:

Recession is coming to town!
Finance products are confusing
Finance products are so vague
The banks make you bear the cost of risk
So keep out for goodness sake, OH

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town.

Looks like us but I have this strange feeling he is not one of us

Family reunion at wedding of grand nephew

My eldest brother’s eldest son’s eldest son had his wedding reception last night, which we attended as a day trip. We did not attend their buffet last Friday.

Though my nephew is five years younger, his eldest is of same age as my son. A few years ago, his second son already had the honour of being the first of our grand nephews to get married. Then my eldest sister’s eldest daughter’s son got married and they are expecting a baby due in June, who will be our first great grand nephew or niece!

Because of our infrequent get-togethers, most of us do not know who is doing what and so on. Even the number of children and their names are not remembered. Cheng commented before that we should have a family tree compiled and last night, I gave my email address to three different families to gather information like names and dates of birth of members of their own families, to start the ball rolling. I have a niece married to a Kelantanese Malay and they have five adorable children - four boys and a girl - the last two (boy and girl) are twins! So, do you think I can be anti-Malay? My eldest brother used to be really good at 'ronggeng' during the days of BB Park! While myself used to play football with a group of Malays behind a sawmill on soft sawdust next to a smoking charcoal-making mound and drink from the tap when thirsty. We were lucky to have had a player from 'Sunrise Club' I think, to teach us some finer points which I used to surprise some classmates in school because of my nerdy personality. I still remember a few Malays known as 'din' for Baharuddin, Kamaruddin and so on.

Age is catching up. I thought I would have no problem driving after the dinner at Flower Drum in Jalan Bukit Bintang, which started really late, (9.00pm!), because of the traffic jams all over KL and PJ. Anyway, they managed to squeeze in an impromptu tea ceremony to get to know the elders like myself. One of the unexpected entertainment was the lady mc singing the well known 'Rose Chan's striptease' song... 'apple blossom...' offhand cannot recall the full name. (Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White)

It is a pity I did not take a picture of my fourth nephew because many of us agreed that he looks like Najib! Can probably stand in for him while he is away overseas!

Anyway, SP was well in dreamland before I even got out of KL and I got sleepy even before Tg. Malim. I carried on until Slim River and stopped along the entry road leading to the expressway. I got out to exchange seats with SP. She is one for fresh air and decided to open some windows. I was worried about her driving as I felt the car veering now and again and it was impossible for me to really sleep. Just before reaching Gopeng toll, I looked for the ticket and panic (heard about the penalty before) – no sign of it at first glance and everywhere that I looked at. Immediately I realised that it must have fell from the usual place (visor) on to my lap and dropped when I got out of the car! What to do but to pay the penalty for it – you are presumed to have travelled from Johor Baru! Rm68 instead of the Rm23.50 and it really put me off the rest of the journey. Though we are given a grace of 3 days to find the ticket, I searched all over a few times last night as well as this morning without success.

This morning, while at breakfast, my brother-in-law phoned me to ask what time we reached home. When told about our unlucky incident, he said he got a police summon yesterday morning! Immediately, I told him that both of us were born in the year of the Tiger, he is older by 12 years, if there is any explanation for them.

Last night (actually early morning), when we reached home, SP opened the gate for me to drive the car in and she let the two dogs out for a run. This morning, I was told one of them did not come back. His name is Lucky and I am not sure if he is lucky to be free or me. Though I have tried to get SP to transfer him to the factory before this, I feel sad he is actually missing. Though he is spayed, we are hoping he is temporary being attracted by a bitch in heat or something and will be back in a couple of days.

Though I cannot explain the strange happenings, to make me feel better, I would think of it as a 'blessing in disguise'. Instead of fretting over 'losing Rm44.50' when we switched drivers, maybe we had avoided an accident had I decided to continue driving while feeling sleepy. But losing another dog by letting him out and expecting him to come back, seems like a lesson not learned by my dear wife. How am I going to explain to Nee?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama campaign started 20 years ago?

Obama and the White House must be one of the most frequently quoted jokes and there is even one cartoon of it.
But that should be the last thing on his mind as he prepares for Presidency of the USA if the following report going round the web is anything to go by. I would put it as genuine caring nature which cannot be pretended by those opportunistic politicians striking while the iron is hot:

I checked this on Google and found it was indeed published in the Norwegian newspaper. Unless the newspaper was duped into it, this is not a hoax, and I am sharing this inspiring story with you.


Oct 05, 2008
The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a newly-wed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge.
The blog 'Leisha's Random Thoughts' has translated the story:

It was 1988, and Mary Andersen was in line at the Miami airport checking in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband. When it was finally Mary's turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness."You'll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway ," the man behind the counter said.

Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway , and she had no one else to call.

"I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions," says Mary.As tears streamed down her face, she heard a 'gentle and friendly voice' behind her saying,

"That's okay, I'll pay for her."

Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before. He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive.

"The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?"

Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man. He was nicely dressed, with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.

She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

Who was the man? Barack Obama.

Twenty years later, she is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the airport may be the next President and has voted for him already and donated 100 dollars to his campaign:

"He was my knight in shining armor," says Mary, smiling. She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway . At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker in Chicago , and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.

Mary even convinced her parents to vote for him:

In the spring of 2006 Mary's parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier. And Obama replied.

In a letter to Mary's parents dated May 4th 2006 and stamped "United States Senate, Washington DC ' Barack Obama writes:

'I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I'm happy I could help back then, and I'm delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway . Please send her my best wishes.
Sincerely,
Barack Obama , United States Senator'.

The parents sent the letter on to Mary. Mary says that when her friends and associates talk about the election, especially when race relations is the heated subject, she relates the story of the kind man who helped out a stranger-in-need over twenty years ago, years before he had even thought about running for high office.

UPDATE: Also, remember this was 1988, when 100 dollars was quite a bit of money, compared to today's value. Truly a wonderful story, and something that needs to be passed along in the maelstorm of fear-and-smear politics we are being subjected to right now. The Ladner Report http://theladnerreportblog.blogspot.com/

Marital strife manual

Someone somewhere must have compiled the following examples (certainly not exhaustive) for our information, or is it entertainment?:

101 ways to start a fight (my suggestion for a title)

My wife sat down on the couch next to me as I was flipping channels. She asked, 'What's on TV?' I said, 'Dust.' And then the fight started...
>-------------------------
My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She said, 'I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds.' I bought her a scale. And then the fight started...
> ------------------------
When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her someplace expensive... so, I took her to a gas station. And then the fight started...
> ---------------------------------
After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later.
The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'. So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' and she processed my Social Security application.
When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office. She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too.' And then the fight started...
> ------------------------------
My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table. My wife asked, 'Do you know her?'
'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since.'
'My God!' says my wife, 'who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?' And then the fight started...
> -------
I took my wife to a restaurant. The waiter, for some reason, took my order first. "I'll have the strip steak, medium rare, please."
He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"
" Nah, she can order for herself." And then the fight started...
>--------------------------------- --------------------------
A woman is standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, 'I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
The husband replies, 'Your eyesight's damn near perfect.' And then the fight started.....
>-------------------------------------------
I tried to talk my wife into buying a case of Miller Light for $14.95. Instead, she bought a jar of cold cream for $7.95. I told her the beer would make her look better at night than the cold cream. And then the fight started....
>---------------------------------
My wife asked me if a certain dress made her butt look big. I told her not as much as the dress she wore yesterday and then the fight started.....
>-------------------------------------
A man and a woman were asleep like two innocent babies. Suddenly, at 3 o'clock in the morning, a loud noise came from outside. The woman, bewildered, jumped up from the bed and yelled at the man 'Holy crap. That must be my husband!'
So the man jumped out of the bed; scared and naked jumped out the window. He smashed himself on the ground, ran through a thorn bush and to his car as fast as he could go.
A few minutes later he returned and went up to the bedroom and screamed at the woman, 'I AM your husband!' The woman yelled back, 'Yeah, then why were you running?' And then the fight started.....
>-------------------------
Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, grabbed the dog, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the truck, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, 'The weather out there is terrible.'
My loving wife of 10 years replied, 'Can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?' And then the fight started ...
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I asked my wife, "Where do you want to go for our anniversary?" It warmed my heart to see her face melt in sweet appreciation. "Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said.
So I suggested, "How about the kitchen?" And that's when the fight started....
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My wife and I are watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed. I turned to her and said, "Do you want to have sex?" "No," she answered. I then said, "Is that your final answer?" She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying "Yes." So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend." And that's when the fight started....
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When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first: the truck, the car, e-mail, fishing, always something more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point.
When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a few minutes. When I came out again I handed her a toothbrush.
'When you finish cutting the grass,' I said, 'you might as well sweep the driveway.' and then the fight started...