How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

How the Chinese control the economy

How the Chinese control the economy

MyCen News

Monday, August 31, 2009

Comment from Michael Roberts on Internet Libel...

I feel compelled to post this response from him in response to my earlier post:

Michael Roberts Internet Libel Victim's Advocate has left a new comment on your post "How to become famous in blogosphere":

Anonymous free speech is a wonderful privilege and should be preserved at all costs, however like all good things is subject to abuse. The accessibility and efficiency of anonymous blogging technologies has caused this good thing to be abused in terrible ways.

I personally had my career, business, relationships, and job prospects utterly devastated by a relentless and malicious anonymous blogger. Although I have positively identified the individual, (who has been recently jailed for other charges and is awaiting trial in two states), the legacy of destruction persists. Thankfully I was able to turn adversity into opportunity and now earn an honest living assisting other victims of Internet libel; most people are not so fortunate.

I am passionately committed to improving community awareness of this problem. I like to use the following analogy to help “future victims” of Internet libel understand the anguish and destruction that comes with this 21st Century pandemic:

Imagine if you will a farmer who has had his or her livestock destroyed and barns and fields burned by a vandal; the devastating effect on his or her livelihood does not take Einstein to imagine. Whereas, a white-collar worker, fashion model or other intangible service provider who relies on his or her reputation to find new business, and for that matter keep existing business, can be as utterly destroyed as thoroughly as the farmer described above as a result of an effective internet smear campaign. The difference being that the community and judges can more easily relate to the farmer’s calamity.

An inherent weakness of anonymity is that it has less credibility when considered by intelligent and objective readers. Notwithstanding, there is a new dynamic with this problem of malicious anonymous blogging. Although the assertions and allegations may lack credibility, when it comes to the victim being considered for employment or contract awards, the person carrying out due diligence needs to look at the risks associated with attaching themselves to the victim. Although they may see through the diatribe, the decision maker needs to consider what their customers will think if they are not so sophisticated or objective.

Respectfully submitted, Michael Roberts. (Anonymous blogger bounty hunter)

http://www.Rexxfield.com

Thanks Michael, for taking the trouble to enlighten me on the serious effects of internet abuse. I was cynical with how people associate million hits with popularity but which in effect could be due to unwanted publicity on personal scandals or malicious libel as you have noted. I hope with more publicity on this matter, the public would be more aware of what is genuine and what is not, what is personal where privacy should be respected, and what is malicious so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.
Link

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prelude to Hari Raya


This morning at Ipoh Sunday market. Did not interrupt the Raya mood.

The orignal post was via my handphone. I did not wish to interrupt the Hari Raya mood shown by the two Malay musicians, in this picture taken with the boss of the shop.

He said he was expecting me last week when there were some good musicians around. But it was the usual case of either no one to take over or too many wanting to play. I brought two CDs for just in case, but seeing them playing Malay songs which suit the festive air, I chose not to spoil their mood. In fact, a couple actually danced for a few minutes!

With the enthusiasm of the boss, this 'jam session' is likely to be a regular feature of the Ipoh Sunday market, and with that, more musicians will make it a point to jam. I can say goodbye to 'drumaoke' for now!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to become famous in blogosphere

Just the other day, Cheng mentioned about this case and I was hoping to look it up. The Star has it in the following link:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/8/29/focus/4603131&sec=focus

Last week, Google was forced to reveal the electronic identity of an anonymous blogger who had defamed an international cover girl online. While cyber victims welcome the move, some Internet users are outraged at the invasion of online privacy.

UNTIL recently, few people had heard of Liskula Cohen even though she has appeared on past covers of European Vogue and Elle.

Last week, the blonde Canadian-born model made the headlines in the US media and became a household name on the Internet and in the fashion world when she won a court case to compel Google to reveal the IP and e-mail addresses of an anonymous blogger who called her a “skank”.

Google initially refused to unmask the blogger, whom Cohen, 37, claimed defamed her by posting words like “skanky”, “ho”, and “whoring” beneath unflattering photographs of her. (The Urban Dictionary describes skank as a derogatory term implying trashiness or tackiness, lower-class status or promiscuity)...

Just like the beer-drinking Muslim girl in Malaysia who is supposed to be caned, one can become really well known without having to use any knowledge of marketing or web design skills. In her case, her picture and news was even published in The Wall Street Journal in USA and Financial Times in UK! Malaysia did not have to employ expensive Public Relations consultants to get worldwide attention. If she is a blogger, I can imagine the number of hits her blogsite would have received, just like the two models in the ‘skank’ case.


Link

Compassion and envy

I believe those who have pets are certainly more compassionate than those without. Why did I say that? Each time, at a restaurant, we think of our 2 dogs and a cat whenever we are unable to finish the food. It might not be nice to some people, to ask for ‘doggie bag’ especially having known the joke about the request following that, ‘please add in some chili’ which becomes obvious who really want the leftovers!

In a country restaurant, we have even taken home fish head and spinal bone, having seen how our cat could tackle them. Our dogs are mongrels, and not pedigrees which require really proper food and attention. They love all kinds of bones, which are ‘no-no’ to those serious pet owners.

Each time I saw some foreign workers riding bicycles or walking along the roads, I would think of our years in UK. We were not different from them here, having limited allowances or salaries to spend. We have lugged heavy luggage when moving from one place to another, as well as carrying big and heavy items instead of using hired transport.

Even the locals in UK had to do tough jobs. I can still remember when we moved from a working class area to a slightly better area (almost middle class), a white kid offered to carry a dryer for a ‘fiver’! I can also remember how my father found so unbelievable seeing white men as rubbish collectors because in Malaysia, they were seen only as bosses or ‘Tuan’ in his time.

Focus on your blessings

Joan and Natty were two young mothers who lived across the street from each other. From their living room windows, each woman was able to observe the activities of the other woman's family.

One day, Joan confessed that she'd been watching what went on in Natty's front garden and that she envied her. I don't know what you mean, Natty said with puzzled look on her face.

Well, I often see your husband out in the front mowing your lawn, and I wish my husband would do the same thing, Joan said. Your garden is beautiful!

Natty laughed and then made her confession. I have been doing the same thing, Joan, she said. I watch your husband in your front garden - and I have envied you! Joan shook her head with disbelief. What on earth do you mean? She asked.

Natty replied, I see your husband playing ball with your toddler so nicely. How I wish Keith, my husband, would do the same thing! He never wants our boys in the way when he mows.

Be honest Joan. Would you rather have your husband play with your son than have a well-manicured lawn?

I had not thought of that before, but you're right, Natty. I may have tall grass, but Eric, my husband is right about playing with little Johnny, Joan concluded.

Very often we are blind to our own blessings that are so obvious to others. Let us cultivate the habit of concentrating on our blessings rather than brooding over what others seem to have.


Link

Yin Yang or the balance...


God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael, the archangel, found him, resting on the seventh day.

He inquired, "Where have you been?"

God smiled deeply and delightedly pointed downwards through the clouds,

"Look, Michael. Look what I've made."

Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, "What is it?"

"It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a place to test Balance."

"Balance?" inquired Michael, "I'm still confused."

God explained, pointing to different parts of earth. "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over here I've placed a continent of white people, and over there is a continent of black people. Balance in all things."

God continued pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a land area and said, "What's that one?"

"That's Washington State, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills, and plains.

The people from Washington State are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to travel the world.

They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats, carriers of peace, and producers of software."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then asked, "But what about balance, God? You said there would be balance."

God smiled, "There is another Washington. Wait till you see the idiots I put there."

Btw, fyi, in Malay, the description 'Bodoh sombong' comes to mind.
Link

Too mercenary can be a turn-off...

in my own personal opinion.

I have come across ladies who are obviously opportunists when it comes to...well, opportunities to make money. Like for example, a property development much in demand. The clamour for one really put me off. One who got it, later told me that it was her seventh house purchase! She was obviously a speculator and with connections, got one at the expense of a first-time buyer. Suddenly, friends and relatives who normally never bother about you would start visiting and claimed to be such good friends with your parents or siblings. Be prepared for scorn when you are unable to oblige! To me, the best way to deal with them, is to ask them, 'would you have help in buying one if we find it difficult to sell?' Anyway, this has got nothing to do with the joke that follows!

Bob, a 70-year-old, extremely wealthy widower, shows up at the Country Club with a breathtakingly beautiful and very sexy 25-year-old blonde-haired woman who knocks everyone's socks off with her youthful sex appeal and charm and who hangs over Bob's arm and listens intently to his every word.

His buddies at the club are all aghast. At the very first chance, they corner him and ask, 'Bob, how'd you get the trophy girlfriend?'

Bob replies, 'Girlfriend? She's my wife!'

They are knocked over, but continue to ask. 'So, how'd you persuade her to marry you?'

'I lied about my age', Bob replied.

'What, did you tell her you were only 50?'

Bob smiles and says, 'No, I told her I was 90.'

I would be more concerned about the lack of sincerity in the trophy wife who is obviously after the money. Maybe that is why I am not in that kind of situation for the lack of it! There is also the worry that she is already seeing someone else on the side. 'Suffering' - the Buddhists would put it

Friday, August 28, 2009

A piece of cake

Yesterday, after a light lunch at a home-based eatery in Selama, I saw some individually wrapped pieces of butter cake. It reminded me of my young days as a kid, craving for those put on the table in coffee shops selling for 15 sen each. With inflation, one piece costs Rm1 now.

Today, I decided to try my friend's butter cake selling at Rm5.70 each and he even gave me a discount of 70 sen. He cut it into 10 pieces and it works out at just over 50 sen each (without discount). Sometimes, what we crave for are simple things in life, not those elaborate and expensive stuff. My wife made her own wedding cake and wedding dress (her childhood wish) but would rather buy me new shorts instead of sewing buttons that came off. My elder daughter is coming back for holiday and she can bake nice cakes, but it is easier buying than wait for her! She has already planned going places when back. A brother-in-law reminded me that she should look him up. My sister, celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary, chose a date which coincides with my daughter's ex-classmate's wedding! We were invited as well, but I would have to go to my sister's instead. Just imagine, celebrating 50th golden wedding anniversary at the age of 66!

Anyway, I need jokes to keep me going:

A Doctor was addressing a large audience in Tampa.

'The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. However, there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have eaten, or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?'

After several seconds of quiet, a 75-year-old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, 'Wedding Cake.'
Link

Getting the right people to play music can be difficult...

I know from experience that choosing a song that is well liked by all, and can be played well by all, can be a problem. Some like hard rock, some like ballads while others like classical. One might be very familiar with a particular song, another might not be or not enthusiastic about it. Musicians who read music do not have these problems. My friends and I do not read music, and that accounts for most of our problems.

The other night we were discussing entertainment for the dinner and it was then that I realized that the saxaphonist is actually a music teacher who plays the violin as well...and probably some other instruments. He related to us about a wedding event which specified a white grand piano. A check in Ipoh found only one in the top floor of a hotel! The rental quoted was Rm1,500! Anyway, the point I am trying to make is, can an amateur drummer play something with a proper musician? He said he can play anything provided there is a music sheet or whatever is the proper term for it. Suddenly, everything has to be proper. Then we have a singer who has his pre-recorded songs minus the vocals for his singing! I was expecting something impromtu like a jam session, but with a proper musician, it is going to be difficult. Earlier, not knowing his standard, I even suggested playing simple bass to accompany him, but having heard him used to playing with a double bassist, I am not going to even try!

Earlier, I half-jokingly said I will play drums solo, but I have tried and found it really tough without a proper plan. One has to be really good to play drums solo because hitting drums and cymbals and hi-hat is just making noises and without music, it can be terrible! This reminds me of the Elvis of Malaysia who refused to sing because there was no music to accompany him in those days when karaoke was unheard of. Therefore, with this in mind, I should stay clear of drums solo!

My suggestion was some music to liven up the evening before the dinner starts. If the performers are own members, then even if there were no chance to play because of time pressure (expected long political speeches), it would be ok.

If the three of us cannot combine, then it might be 'to each his own': me playing drums with a CD, singer accompanied by his pre-recorded music, and saxaphonist playing solo!
Link

Habit of swearing...

I grew up in a vehicle repairs (including those of buses, lorries and tractors) environment. Admittedly, the workers consisted mainly of school drop-outs and some of them later became gangsters. I used to hear stories of so and so, working in the same compound by day, but fought as opposing gang members at night! One thing in common was the foul language spoken, mainly in Cantonese. Strangely, despite all the exposure, I did not acquire the bad habit.

Recently, someone sent me a recorded telephone conversation in Cantonese, of a caller and the person who answered the call, in Hong Kong. I forwarded it to a shop manned by three young ladies, who have the habit of using foul language whenever it suited them. Now and again, one of them would switch on the recording and everyone would laugh about it. It was like revision to improve on their foul language skills! Sometimes, even Indians or Malays would laugh because they too know some common phrases. In fact, in Perak, there are many Indians who can speak Cantonese or Hakka, just like the Chinese, or even better than some, like my wife who speaks Cantonese with a mixture of Hakka.

Anyway, here is the joke:

A man went to church one day and afterward he stopped to shake the preacher's hand. He said, 'Preacher, I'll tell you, that was a damned fine sermon. Damned good!'

The preacher said, 'Thank you sir, but I'd rather you didn't use profanity..'

The man said, 'I was so damned impressed with that sermon I put five thousand dollars in the offering plate!'

The preacher said, 'No shit?'


Link

Thursday, August 27, 2009

When in power, anything was possible...

even unreasonable deals which favoured the private at the expense of the public.

Some insight (to most of us) into our secretive North-South Expressway contract by Hakim Joe in Malaysia Today: It’s a long road

It was not until Samy Vellu’s inadvertent revelation in Parliament that it was known that the four trustees of Hatibudi Sdn Bhd were (drum roll please) Mahathir Mohamad (PM), Ghaffar Baba (DPM), Daim Zainuddin (Finance Minister) and Sanusi Junid (Agricultural Minister and UMNO Secretary General).

http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/26148/84/

Excerpts (public knowledge):

On 18 August 1987, LKS filed a suit at the Penang High Court for an interim injunction to restrain the Government and UEM from signing the NSE contract. Justice Edgar Joseph Jr. refused the application for an interim injunction.

On 24 August 1987, Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman had wrote in The Star that, “I consider it improper and irregular for a leading political party to make use of its power to amass wealth at the expense of other business ventures.”

On 25 August 1987 and on appeal to the Supreme Court, Tan Sri HH Lee (Chief Justice Borneo), Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Tan Sri Wan Hamzah ordered the interim injunction to be issued with liberty to apply and at the same time directed an early trial of the suits.

On the 29 August 1987, PM Mahathir had this to reply to Tunku’s statement, “We agree…but who is going to pay the RM360 million for the UMNO complex?”

On 5 October 1987, Justice VC George rejected appeals by Government and UEM to set aside the interim injunction.

On 27 October 1987, Operation Lalang began in earnest. 106 people were arrested under the ISA and three newspapers had their licenses revoked (The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan.) Prominent people arrested included Opposition leaders LKS and Karpal Singh, ALIRAN President Chandra Muzaffar, PAS Youth Chief Halim Arshat, MCA Vice President and Perak Chief Chan Kit Chee, UMNO Youth Education Chairman Mohamed Fahmi Ibrahim, Publicity Chief of the Civil Rights Committee Kua Kia Soong, Chinese Education Association Chairman Lim Fong Seng and Women's Aid Organisation member Irene Xavier.

The Star was given its publishing license back after a few months but was now under new management (installed by UMNO). Tunku Abdul Rahman’s weekly column “As I See It” was discontinued and almost all the former staff were laid off. From then onwards The Star became a pro-BN Government mouthpiece.

On 16 March 1988, the Supreme Court (by 3 to 2) upheld the appeal of the Government and UEM and discharged the interim injunction. In favor were Tun Salleh Abas (Lord President), Tan Sri Abdul Hamid (Chief Justice Malaya), Justice Hashim Yeop Sani while dissenting were Tan Sri Abdoolcader and Datuk George Seah.

On 18 March 1988, the Government and UEM signed NSE contract. Both LKS and Karpal were incarcerated without trial in Kamunting by then. UEM, from a company that had a poor record and was suspended by the KLSE, now has the potential to reap between RM30 billion and RM45 billion from the NSH concession contract alone. Accordingly, Hatibudi would share half its spoils.

The rest is history.

Link

Dealing with new situations...

The mother of a 17-year-old girl was concerned that her daughter was having sex.

Worried the girl might become pregnant and adversely impact the family's status, she consulted the family doctor.

The doctor told her that teenagers today were very wilful and any attempt to stop the girl would probably result in rebellion. He then told her to arrange for her daughter to be put on birth control and until then, talk to her and give her a box of condoms.

Later that evening, as her daughter was preparing for a date, the woman told her about the situation and handed her a box of condoms.

The girl burst out laughing and reached over to hug her mother, saying, 'Oh Mom! You don't have to worry about that! I'm dating Susan!'

Life is Stressful...with real and virtual viruses.

Not sure if this is true, but better be safe than sorry…

Dear All,

Caution please! This information arrived this morning direct from both Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet. You may receive an apparently harmless email with a Power Point presentation
'Life is beautiful'

If you receive it DO NOT OPEN THE FILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, and deletes it immediately. If you open this file, a message will appear on your screen saying:

'It is too late now; your life is no longer beautiful.'

Subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC and the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name,
e-mail and password.

This is a new virus which started to circulate on Tuesday afternoon. AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the antivirus software's are not capable of destroying it. The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself 'life owner.'

PLEASE SEND A COPY OF THIS EMAIL TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS and ask them to PASS IT ON IMMEDIATELY!

This email has been going round for some time, most people would have received it more than once. Just imagine that if everyone is aware of this, and there is someone who did not realise it but send to someone a Power Point file with the same title, 'Life is beautiful', obviously the recipient would not open it. In other words, this title would be condemned!
Link

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

'Push pocket' is worse than 'pick pocket'

I am sure you all have heard of 'pick pocket'. A new trend is 'push pocket'. When your pocket is picked, you would lose your wallet, containing the usual stuff like ID card, ATM and credit cards and so on. But when someone else's wallet is found in your pocket, it is very serious indeed!

Somebody slips a hand-phone into your pocket, sometimes it could be just a wallet with an identity card and a few ringgit.

A few minutes later, the 'owner' comes up and confronts you, the 'thief '. He makes a big commotion that you stole his stuff. You, caught unaware, are then pulled aside by the 'owner' for a settlement. You are intimidated and threatened that if you do not pay up the police will be brought in. If you pay up, this 'owner' lets you go. If not, the police are brought in.

Another strange thing is that there always seems to be a 'witness' to your 'theft'.

I am told this often happens to foreigners at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or even at LRT trains. Given that you're 'guilty until proven innocent' as far as the Malaysian police are concerned, I understand some poor people are in jail for these 'offences'.

At the KLIA, the 'owner' throws his hand-phone and wallet with the few ringgit notes into the luggage trolley of a just arrived passenger. The drama unfolds a few minutes later. The real culprit has easily convinced our Malaysian police to arrest the real victim (if he has not paid up the 'settlement' demand). This is a very serious matter.

This is another form of extortionists operating in broad daylight. They are disgusting criminals who will do anything to rob and steal. The sickening part of the whole scenario is that unless you pay the 'quoted settlement' money, they will put you in real trouble by calling the police.

The real culprit gets back his hand-phone and wallet but the real victim ( i.e. could be any one of us) is thrown into the police lock up and charged in court.

So do be very careful, otherwise you may end up as a 'thief' as you have no way to prove your innocence.

Hopefully, with cases being highlighted in the press and internet, the police would be more understanding when carrying out their duties, unless they are in collusion with the criminals!
Link

This blonde tried to improve, but...

A blonde decides one day that she is sick and tired of all these blonde jokes and how all blondes are perceived as stupid. So, she decides to show her husband that blondes really are smart.

While her husband is off at work, she decides that she is going to paint a couple of rooms in the house.

The next day, right after her husband leaves for work, she gets down to the task at hand.

Her husband arrives home at 5:30 and smells the distinctive smell of paint. He walks into the living room and finds his wife lying on the floor in a pool of sweat.. He notices that she is wearing a heavy parka and a leather jacket at the same time.

He goes over and asks her if she if OK. She replies yes. He asks what she is doing and she replies that she wanted to prove to him that not all blonde women are dumb, and she wanted to do it by painting the house.

He then asks her why she has a parka over her leather jacket. She replies that she was reading the directions on the paint can and it said

"FOR BEST RESULTS, PUT ON TWO COATS."

Link

Education - why bother to try and improve...

when the people responsible for it, do not wish to?

If even examination questions for Standard Six have many grammar mistakes, what do we expect from the students?

Blow to whistle-blowers
R. Nadeswaran

http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=37252

(Excerpts):

Now, to the issue of education. I have read and scrutinised the answer scripts of at least 20 wannabe lawyers which was the subject of this column last Wednesday. I described them in some detail. At least 18 of them will fail the simple test we have for those wanting to become a journalist. I wouldn’t even employ them as our office boy! Malaysians have a right to be worried. Are these the qualities of future magistrates who are going to sit and decide on our fate? Are these the people you turn to for justice and fair play? It is a frightening scenario indeed. Everyone I talked to washed his hands by saying: “This involves the national education policy. No one can do anything.” But this policy, although giving priority to sections of the community, does not encourage the setting up of “sure-to-pass” universities. Neither does it specifically state that incompetent students must be made to pass by altering marks or lowering standards. Are our educationists interpreting this policy wrongly? I don’t know and answers must be forthcoming.

Last Monday, I wrote about the Mathematics preparatory examination paper for Standard Six pupils and the amount of grammar mistakes in it. I did get a response – a call from the Selangor Education Department. All the caller wanted to know was where I got the examination paper.

Yang hantar itu guru atau ibubapa?” (Who sent it to you, a teacher or a parent?) she asked. I had to explain to her that it arrived in a brown envelope, sent anonymously. Is there going to be an official response? “Itu Pengarah akan jawab. Saya hanya ditugaskan untuk mengenal pasti macam mana kertas soalan boleh dapat diedarkan.” (It is for the director to reply. I have been tasked to establish how the examination paper was circulated.”

Thirty-three mistakes were identified in 40 questions and all the authorities are worried about is finding out how it ended up in the hands of this writer! Someone should explain how the mistakes came about; someone should trace the teachers responsible for the mistakes and the supervisor who is responsible for the lapse. All they are interested in is nabbing the whistle-blower!

At a time when our leaders are going on lawatan sambil belajar to make Malaysia the regional education hub, we have subordinate officers making our standards a laughing stock.

How many officers do you need to investigate the source of the mistakes? A dozen – 11 to find the source of the leak and one to sign the disciplinary note against the whistle-blower. So much for an integrated learning system!
Link

Good Advice to prevent H1N1 from Dr. Ashutosh

Friends,

Thanks to media hype about H1N1, several people who trust me have either approached or called me to advise. The hype in media about the utility of face masks and N95 respirators as a tool for general protection against H1N1 can't be deplored enough.

Yesterday, a friend who listened wanted me to write down briefly what I advised so that he could tell others in similar words. Hence this short email to friends whom I have advised recently (and others whom I haven't yet). Please realize that this is not an official advice, especially the one about face masks or N95.

Most N95 respirators are designed to filter 95% particulates of 0.3µ, while the size of H1N1 virus is about 0.1µ. Hence, dependence on N95 to protect against H1N1 is like protecting against rain with an umbrella made of mosquito net.

Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates (only) there. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/ throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps - not fully highlighted in most official communications - can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. "Hands-off-the- face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat or bathe).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

7. All these are simple ways to prevent, within means of most households, and certainly much less painful than to wait in long queues outside public hospitals.

Happy breathing!

Best regards.

Dr.Ashutosh Mundkur
Link

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Too willing to share...

A tour bus driver is driving with a busload of seniors down a highway when he is tapped on his shoulder by a little old lady. She offers him a handful of peanuts, which he gratefully munches up.

After about 15 minutes, she taps him on his shoulder again and she hands him another handful of peanuts. She repeats this gesture about five more times. When she is about to hand him another batch again he asks the little old lady, 'Why don't you eat the peanuts yourself?

We can't chew them because we've no teeth,' she replied.

The puzzled driver asks, 'Why do you buy them, then?'

The old lady replied, 'We just love the chocolate around them.'

Link

A typical Buddhist response...

Somehow, I always associate Tai Qi's self defence with Buddhist teachings in that it should be used only for defence and not for attack.

By the way, when we are required to state our religion, Buddhists will be stated as 'Buddha' in Malay! But not every Buddhist can be a Buddha! One has to be enlightened to be considered one. There are those who meditated for years without being able to 'see the light' while some could, after the first session! The mind has to be pure first before one is able to be enlightened. Anyway, the story goes...

One day, Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him. "You have no right teaching others," he shouted. "You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake.

Buddha was not upset by these insults. Instead he asked the young man, "Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to which the gift belongs?"

The man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, "It would belong to me, because I bought the gift."

The Buddha smiled and said, "That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself."

If you want to stop hurting yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving instead. When you hate others, you yourself become unhappy. But when you love others, everyone is happy."

Link

The funny, familiar, forgotten feeling is back...

Yes, the magician is back. Then, Radhzi quits PKR (but wants to retain his Exco post – some people has no shame in them). Rohaizat’s partner suddenly blames himself for all the firm’s trouble (you mean, the Bar Council got it wrong?…serious indeed). Deja vue a la Perak.

Personally (and hopefully there are many others like me), I would like all those who wish to leave, to leave now, so that we can have only sincere people going for a change for the better. I always maintain that to be a State Assemblyman or Member of Parliament is already an achievement. To be an Exco member is an added responsibility. For anyone, especially an unknown, to leave this position, I need to be better convinced that he is not going for wealth from an obviously richer incumbent federal party.

I sincerely hope Permatang Pasir results would show the continuing trend for change. Let them have more froggies until the next General Elections. We need them to keep us going for a big change.

I am disappointed with mankind.

The Whale has got more feelings:

A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her -- a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

Monday, August 24, 2009

This year's Creame de la creame at Oxford

Three Singaporeans topped their respective courses at Oxford University this year, in a rare and extraordinary showing. They did politics, philosophy and economics (PPE); physics; and law. And one of them is the grandson of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

Li Shengwu, 24, whose father is Fraser & Neave chairman Lee Hsien Yang, took top spot in his PPE class of 240 students. Shyam Srinivasan, 22, was first among 70 who did physics, while Colin Liew, 23, scored first in law.

Liew’s achievement was reported in The Sunday Times on July 26. The three top scorers are among 13 Singaporeans who graduate from Oxford this year.

The trio’s achievement is unprecedented, said Chim Yi Hua, a fellow PPE graduate with Li. The former president of the Oxford University Malaysian and Singaporean Students’ Association said he could not recall such an unusual outcome in recent years.

“It’s not easy to top one’s cohort — not at all. To have three this year is very rare,” said Chim, 22. Added Li: “It’s one of those things where the element of chance featured a great deal in the outcome.”

Srinivasan said he was not overly surprised by the coincidence. “Singaporeans generally do very well in Oxford.”

Besides topping PPE, Li was named the top overall economics student across Oxford’s 30 colleges that offer PPE and 18 that offer a joint degree in history and economics. He received the Hicks and Webb Medley prize and £300 (RM1,710) in prize money for his achievement.

Li, who is not on a government scholarship, graduated from Balliol College. He attributed his performance in the examinations to the quick-thinking and cool head honed by many years of debating since secondary school.

At the college, he debated with Oxford Union, the university’s debating club whose famous past members include the late former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former British Prime Minister Edward Heath.

Said Li: “Oxford exams reward people who can write off the cuff. In that sense, debating has some overlap with it. You need to organise information and come up with ideas quickly under time pressure.”

On Aug 5, he and a fellow Oxford debater won the European Universities Debating Championships, outperforming 163 other teams in the English as first language section.

His parents are both graduates of Cambridge University. His father got first class honours in engineering while his mother, corporate lawyer Lee Suet Fern, took a double first in law.

Lee Hsien Yang credits his son’s self-driven and independent nature for his achievements. “Whatever he’s done and accomplished, he’s done on his own and it’s very much to his credit,” he said.

Li returns to Oxford’s Keble College next month to pursue a Masters in Economics. He said: “I liked both philosophy and economics, but I’m specialising in my comparative advantage — I am relatively better at economics.”

As for Srinivasan, a former Indian national from Chennai who became a Singapore citizen in 2006, his interest in physics was sparked at an astronomy competition during his years at Geylang Methodist Secondary School.

The holder of an Overseas Merit Scholarship for teaching was “very stimulated and encouraged” by his tutors at St Hugh’s and hopes to inspire his students later.

“Physics isn’t a popular subject, but it has a lot to offer — the chance to probe fundamental scientific processes and how to explain things right from first principles.”

He will return after completing his Masters in Applied Physics at Columbia University in the United States, and embark on a teaching career after he does his national service.His passion for physics culminated in the Scott Prize for best performance in physics and £300 in prize money.

While the prizes are given out every year, none of the numero unos had aimed for the top spot from the outset. Said Li: “I knew academic prizes existed for top students, but I didn’t make it my goal. My only goal was to do as well as I could.”

Added Srinivasan: “In the end, it was the support from parents and friends, the little things, like a friend cooking for me during the finals, that helped us out.”


Link

Re-visiting Pinang Peranakan Mansion

This morning, we brought along a friend from Australia, to Penang.

After a quick breakfast in Ipoh, a wise choice of Hakka noodle and a mixture of ‘liu’, which were served within 5 minutes! I had to forgo a planned drums demo at the Sunday market where I intended to bring along a CD with Smoke on the water and/or Sweet Child of Mine.

Anyway, the weather was gloomy, with the haze as well as rain, almost all the way to Penang. While discussing on a certain subject, I missed the new turnoff to get to Penang Bridge, and had to contend with a ferry ride instead of making a U-turn requiring a few kilometres. It was only later on our way back that we realised, it was a ‘blessing in disguise’ because this lady had not used the ferry since more than 20 years ago, and it was her first on the Penang bridge!

Our first stop in Penang island was Pinang Peranakan Mansion on Church Street, a favourite of my wife, who is a keen collector of antiques and collectibles. We have been a number of times, and each time, she would find certain things new, or more likely, things she did not observe before or the owner had made some changes to the arrangement of things.

I would recommend any foreign or local visitor to Penang to visit this mansion, which once belonged to Kapitan Cina, Chung Keng Kwee. The new boss, Peter Soon, has placed his fine collection of antiques in this remarkable building, which enable visitors to re-live the grandeur of yesteryears. At Rm10 per person, it is really worth it. Actually, I opted out of the guided tour this time. Then, I was told, that I am allowed to go round without having to buy a ticket! I told my visitors that they must have pitied this poor driver, to which my sister-in-law said, ‘maybe they thought you are a tourist guide bringing in visitors’.

Later, on the guided tour by the same guide before, he said ‘the boss is here, pointing to the entrance’. Then it clicked on me, that it was the boss himself who decided that I should be given a free tour! Later, I found out that the mansion is available for hire at Rm50 per hour, to those newly weds for photo sessions, and even for a dinner function for 200 guests, for Rm3,500, excluding food of course! Well, as far as I know, it was used for the filming of certain scenes of ‘The Iron Lady’ which was shown on NTV7 a few months ago, see my earlier post: http://kosongcafe.blogspot.com/2009/04/iron-lady.html.

For more information on the mansion, visit their website: www.pinangperanakanmansion.com.my

(Peter had been most kind to have offered me a free visit, so it is only fair that I return a favour by putting in a good word!)
Link

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Direct line to God?

Is it a bird? No! Is it a plane? No! Then it must be a Twitter!
Come on, let's twit again, like we twit last summer...

Twitter site offers followers line to God
Tue Aug 18, 6:25 pm ET

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Want to tweet God?
An Israeli university student has opened a Twitter site, twitter.com/thekotel, where prayers can be sent for placement in the crevices of Jerusalem's Western Wall, a Jewish holy site that faithful believe provides a direct line to the Almighty.
"I take their prayers, print them out and drive to Jerusalem to put them in the Western Wall," said Alon Nir, a resident of Tel Aviv.
He said he hoped his initiative on the popular Internet social networking service, where users post brief messages known as tweets, would be "beneficial to people all over the world."
Nir promises to deliver the prayers -- each no longer than a tweet's maximum 140 characters -- on a regular basis.
Prayers, which are sent via a direct message link on Nir's Twitter site, cannot be viewed by the public.
At the Western Wall, where he placed some 1,000 rolled-up papers, Nir told Reuters: "People trusted me with their innermost feelings and secret thoughts ... and it's my duty to provide them with what I promised."
Several services deliver prayers sent by email, text message or fax to the wall. Israeli postal authorities say prayers also arrive from overseas by regular mail, some in envelopes addressed "Dear God."
(Reporting by Lianne Gross, Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Janet Lawrence)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090818/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_twitter_jerusalem

Friday, August 21, 2009

Faster than expected...

Some young men and women might have fantasies about picking up strangers at certain places. Apartments seem to have this allure of many people going in and out of the building, and presumably nobody notices or bothers about who is going in or out of certain units. But of course, once is an accident, twice a coincidence, but three or more times, and people would gossip, but still, who cares?

Anyway, in the following story or joke, the young man must have thought, "I have heard stories about adventurous women, but this is happening faster than I thought!"

A young man moved from his parents home into a new apartment of his own and went to the lobby to put his name on his mailbox. While there, an attractive young lady came out of the apartment next to the mailboxes, wearing a robe.

The boy smiled at the young woman and she started a conversation with him. As they talked, her robe slipped open, and it was obvious that she had nothing else on.

The poor kid broke into a sweat trying to maintain eye contact. After a few minutes, she placed her hand on his arm and said, 'Let's go to my apartment, I hear someone coming.'

He followed her into her apartment; she closed the door and leaned against it, allowing her robe to fall off completely. Now nude, she purred at him, 'What would you say is my best feature?'

Flustered and embarrassed, he finally squeaked, 'It's got to be your ears.'

Astounded, and a little hurt she asked, 'My ears? Look at these breasts; they are full and 100% natural. I work out every day and my butt is firm and solid. Look at my skin - no blemishes anywhere. How can you think that the best part of my body is my ears?'

Clearing his throat, he stammered ..... 'Outside, when you said you heard someone "coming".... that was me!
Link

Do-it-yourself - some desperate examples...

If this was the original car air-conditioner, then we have come a long way indeed.
Our workshop, 40 years ago, did a better job than this.
This wooden bumper would do, rustproof but beware of termites.
Forget about safety (no pillar), minimum wind resistance too.
Ah! when the chips are down (or gone), this serves as air hose too. Can last till you reach home.
Crack showing? Tape it then!


Link

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How dirty are handbags?

Do you know what is on the Bottom of your handbag?

Have you ever noticed girls who set their handbags on public toilet floors, then go directly to their dining tables and set it on the table?

Happens a lot! It's not always the 'restaurant food' that causes stomach distress. Sometimes 'what you don't know will hurt you'!

Mom got so upset when guests came in the door and plopped their handbags down on the counter where she was cooking or setting up food.

She always said that handbags are really dirty, because of where they have been.

It's something just about every woman carries with them. While we may know what's inside our handbags, do you have any idea what's on the outside? Women carry handbags everywhere; from the office to public toilets to the floor of the car.

Most women won't be caught without their handbags, but did you ever stop to think about where your handbag goes during the day.

'I drive a school bus, so my handbag has been on the floor of the bus alot,' says one woman. 'On! The floor of my car, and in toilets. ''I put my handbag in grocery shopping carts and on the floor of the toilet,' says another woman' and of course in my home which should be clean.'

We decided to find out if handbags harbour a lot of bacteria. We learned how to test them at Nelson Laboratories in Salt Lake , and then we set out to test the average woman's handbag.

Most women told us they didn't stop to think about what was on the bottom of their handbag.

Most said at home they usually set their handbags on top of kitchen tables and counters where food is prepared.

Most of the ladies we talked to told us they wouldn't be surprised if their handbags were at least a little bit dirty.

It turns out handbags are so surprisingly dirty, even the microbiologist who tested them was shocked.

Microbiologist Amy Karen of Nelson Labs says nearly all of the handbags tested were not only high in bacteria, but high in harmful kinds of bacteria. Pseudomonas can cause eye infections, staphylococcus aurous can cause serious skin infections, and salmonella and e-coli found on the handbags could make people very sick.In one sampling, four of five handbags tested positive for salmonella, and that's not the worst of it. 'There is faecal contamination on the handbags' says Amy.

Leather or vinyl handbags tended to be cleaner than cloth handbags, and lifestyle seemed to play a role. People with kids tended to have dirtier handbags than those without, with one exception.

The handbag of one single woman who frequented nightclubs had one of the worst contaminations of all. 'Some type of faeces, or possibly vomit' says Amy.

So the moral of this story is that your handbag won't kill you, but it does have the potential to make you very sick if you keep it on places where you eat.

Use hooks to hang your handbag at home and in toilets, and don't put it on your desk, a restaurant table, or on your kitchen countertop.

Experts say you should think of your handbag the same way you would a pair of shoes. 'If you think about putting a pair of shoes on your countertops, that's the same thing you're doing when you put your handbag on the countertops.'

Your handbag has gone where individuals before you have walked, sat, sneezed, coughed, spat, urinated, emptied bowels, etc!Do you really want to bring that home with you?

The microbiologists at Nelson also said cleaning a handbag will help. Wash cloth handbags and use leather cleaner to clean the bottom of leather handbags.

Link

Buddhism Won


My Buddhist friend told me that Buddhism is not a religion but a way of life. I can still remember certain aspects like 'attachments' and 'sufferings'. From the little I know, we suffer because we are attached to people and material things in the sense that because of the attachment, we would suffer when we lose the person or precious material.

To a certain extent, if one were to follow strictly the Buddhist ways, it is unlikely we can excel in business because of the lack of drive to succeed, and the lack of need for material wealth means no necessity for accumulating assets or earning big incomes. But of course, we still see rich Buddhists and I would expect a good one to be simple and humble despite his wealth.

The other notable point is their unwillingness to kill anything, sometimes, even mosquitoes! They are likely to end up as vegetarians, either part-time (1st and 15th day of the lunar month) or even full-time. Anyway, the news report:

Buddhism Won “The Best Religion In The World” Award
15 Jul 2009, Tribune de Geneva

The Geneva-based International Coalition for the Advancement of Religious and Spirituality (ICARUS) has bestowed "The Best Religion In the World" award this year on the Buddhist Community.

This special award was voted on by an international round table of more than 200 religious leaders from every part of the spiritual spectrum.

It was fascinating to note that many religious leaders voted for Buddhism rather than their own religion although Buddhists actually make up a tiny minority of ICARUS membership. Here are the comments by four voting members:

Jonna Hult, Director of Research for ICARUS said "It wasn't a surprise to me that Buddhism won Best Religion in the World, because we could find literally not one single instance of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, in contrast to every other religion that seems to keep a gun in the closet just in case God makes a mistake.

We were hard pressed to even find a Buddhist that had ever been in an army. These people practice what they preach to an extent we simply could not document with any other spiritual tradition."

A Catholic Priest, Father Ted O'Shaughnessy said from Belfast , "As much as I love the Catholic Church, it has always bothered me to no end that we preach love in our scripture yet then claim to know God's will when it comes to killing other humans.
For that reason, I did have to cast my vote for the Buddhists."

A Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad agreed from Pakistan via his translator. "While I am a devout Muslim, I can see how much anger and bloodshed is channeled into religious expression rather than dealt with on a personal level.

The Buddhists have that figured out." Bin Wassad, the ICARUS voting member for Pakistan 's Muslim community continued, "In fact, some of my best friends are Buddhist."

And Rabbi Shmuel Wasserstein said from Jerusalem, "Of course, I love Judaism, and I think it's the greatest religion in the world. But to be honest, I've been practicing Vipassana meditation every day before minyan (daily Jewish prayer) since 1993. So I get it."

However, there was one snag - ICARUS couldn't find anyone to give the award to.

All the Buddhists they called kept saying they didn't want the award.
When asked why the Burmese Buddhist community refused the award, Buddhist monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta said from Burma , "We are grateful for the acknowledgement, but we give this award to all humanity, for Buddha nature lies within each of us."

Groehlichen went on to say "We're going to keep calling around until we find a Buddhist who will accept it. We'll let you know when we do."

Link

God is improving his services to mankind...

Customer Service Calls to God
A parody by Ryan Garns

Support Rep: Good afternoon. Thank you for calling God. This is Reshawnda speaking. How may I assist you today?

Woman Caller: (Distraught) I-I need to speak to God.

Support Rep: I'm sorry, everybody does. Perhaps there's something I can assist you with?

Woman Caller: M-My father... he's... in a coma.

Support Rep: Okay. May I get your ID number, ma'am?

Woman Caller: What? I don't have...

Support Rep: It's on the back of your bible.

Woman Caller: (The receiver is jostled. Pause) ...56839?

Support Rep: Okay, ma'am. Are you somewhere close to your father where you can also hold the phone?

Woman Caller: Yes. Please, I-I just want to ask God... to look out for my father... and... deliver him from--

Support Rep: Okay, ma'am. I just activated your father. Try him now.

Father: (In background) Mary? What's going on?

Woman Caller: Oh my God! He's awake!!

Support Rep: Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Woman Caller: Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Support Rep: You're welcome, ma'am. May I ask you to take a few moments to participate in a brief sur--
(Line goes dead.)

***

Support Rep: Thank you for calling God. My name is Todd. How may I assist you today?

Male Caller: Yes, I would like to submit a complaint. I recently--

Support Rep: Please hold. ("Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett plays over the line. The song fades out...)
Recording: Did you know that you can now pray to God online? Just log on to god-online.com/pray. It's free and easy. Try it today. ¿Sabías que puedes ahora rogar a dios en línea? Apenas señalar--

Support Rep: (Cuts in) Complaints. This is Janice.

Male Caller: Hello, Janice. I recently submitted a prayer to God asking that the Phoenix Suns win the divisional playoffs. And they were knocked out in the first round 4 to 1.

Support Rep: Can I get your ID number, sir?

Male Caller: 83628. And I'm very upset because I had season tickets and we had a whole trip planned to--

Support Rep: I'm sorry, sir, but your account status doesn't cover frivolous prayers such as lotteries, stock portfolios or sporting events.

Male Caller: I see.

Support Rep: Would you like to upgrade to Evangelical?

***

Recording: Hello, I'm an automated operator. In order to properly direct your call, please say the name of your religion.

Caller: Buddhism.

Recording: Sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you say it again for me?

Caller: Buddhism!

Recording: Sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you say--

Caller: BUDDHISM!

Recording: Sorry, I didn't catch that. Could--

Caller: BOO-DIZ-UMM!!!!

Recording: Sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you say it again for me?

Caller: (Sighs) Christianity.

Recording: Very good. Let's proceed...

***
(something on Buddhism in my next post)
Link

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feeling bored? Don't yawn in a courtroom...

The main reason I do not like being in a courtroom or in a theatre, is the necessity to be absolutely quiet. There are times when I need to clear my throat or cough, or even to stretch my legs to prevent numbness...very uncomfortable after half an hour or so.
Sometimes, when tired, I yawn frequently and this can be a problem, a big one if like some, with a loud ‘ho hum’!

Ill. man jailed for yawning freed after 3 weeks
Thu Aug 13

JOLIET, Ill. – An Illinois judge has freed a man who had been in jail for three weeks after letting loose a loud yawn during a sentencing hearing. Thirty-three-year-old Clifton Williams of Richton Park was found in contempt of court and jailed on July 23 after yawning in Will County Judge Daniel Rozak's court. He could have been jailed for six months.

Williams was in court for his cousin's sentencing on a drug charge. A prosecutor in court at the time described the offending yawn as "loud and boisterous."

As Williams stood before the bench in shackles on Thursday, the judge gave him a short lecture. He told Williams he wasn't in custody for simply yawning but for making a sound "that was offensive to the court."

Just wondering what would have happened if someone lets out a loud fart, or a series of farts? You see, at the right moment, this can be deliberately controlled too!

Link

Lament of a blindman's dog

Wish I can upload the one on 'why men cannot multi-task' which shows a man brushing his teeth and peeing at the same time.
But this explains it, though he was referring to another function:


Link

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Permatang Pasir - candidate without integrity

For a practising lawyer, his Clents' Account must be fully accounted for. A separate bank account is opened for the purpose of receiving monies from legal transactions, awaiting transfer to the rightful recipients like sellers in a Sale and Purchase Agreement. The legal firm is allowed to earn interest from the balance in the account. Auditors carrying out audits on solicitors' clients' account are supposed to be uncompromising to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the law. The lawyer can fool around with his own Office Account, but any money relating to legal transactions of his clients, cannot be touched under any circumstances.

Can we trust a candidate for a State Assembly election who cannot be entrusted with Rm161,000? I will leave it to the electorate of Permatang Pasir to form their own opinion and vote wisely.

Spotted this in Malaysia Today:

Clarification regarding UMNO Candidate for Permatang Pasir By-election, Rohaizat Othman
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 17:17

In response to inquiries from the media, we wish to clarify Rohaizat Othman’s status as an advocate and solicitor.

The Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board struck Rohaizat Othman off the Roll of Advocates and Solicitors on 7 March 2008 after he was found guilty of misconduct. The Disciplinary Board’s decision arose from an investigation into the complaint lodged against Rohaizat Othman by the purchaser of a piece of real property. According to the complaint, Rohaizat Othman failed to refund almost RM 161,000 to the complainant after the transaction was aborted.

Rohaizat Othman appealed against the decision of the Disciplinary Board to the High Court, and the appeal was dismissed on 12 August 2009. He is therefore legally disqualified from practising as an advocate and solicitor.

The finding of misconduct is personal to Rohaizat Othman, as the Disciplinary Board would not hold a lawyer liable for the actions of his/her law partner(s).

George Varughese
Secretary
Malaysian Bar

Link

Desperate parker needs desperate measures...

when you have the will, you will have the way:
Link

video
Ludicrous!

In Malaysia, there is no need for such extreme antics. Just double or even triple park, and when you hear incessant honking, just look out if you happened to be the problem. I am unable to do that. To me, parking properly would ensure peace of mind, which is invaluable. I would rather walk further if necessary.

That reminds me, when an old friend (ex-classmate) from KL came to stay at Heritage Hotel, Ipoh. He invited me for a drink and encouraged me to simply park along the road, in front of the hotel, off Jalan Tambun, and even suggested that if I got a ticket, just give it to him. It was around 10 pm, and I did that against my better judgement. When I got back, I got a ticket which made me Rm40 poorer! For a born loser, it was a case of just once, and I would get it and I got it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rail transport of goods and passengers...

helps to take the load off highways and expressways.


Coming back from the north, off the beaten track of the North-South Expressway, like the chance of striking lottery, we were stopped at Pondok Tanjong railway crossing to allow a very long goods train to pass. It was travelling very slowly, around 40 kph, and some of the goods appeared to be sugar, based on the inscription, ‘MSM and Gula Perai’.

I missed the chance of counting the number of containers. However, I was given the chance at Kamunting railway crossing... yes we met again! While waiting, I actually counted the number of TEUs (don’t mean to be funny, but cannot help each time I come across this description, to remind myself not to think in Cantonese!) were 76! They were set in two containers each, which obviously were meant for 38 trailers to continue to their final destinations.

My mind started to compare rail transport and road transport, and would conclude that we had been missing a lot in neglecting rail transport. Having been to the Benelux countries of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, and enjoyed their efficient railway systems, which seemed so smooth in operation even cutting across different countries, I wonder why we waited until now for double-tracking to be put in place. Lack of funds? Yeah, like what YB Lim Kit Siang just posted, Rm500 million in commission seemed ok in defence contract. Where was MACC (ACA) when we needed you? Even if legally right, it would have been morally wrong.


Link

MACC still did not get it...

so is Nazri, when he said that if you are not guilty you should not be afraid of MACC.

Sim Kwang Yang has a few, in fact, many relevant questions for MACC, like for instance:

The Star headline on Sunday reported that MACC officers went to Tiong King Sing’s office and interviewed him from 2 pm until 6.30 pm in the presence of Tiong’s lawyers.

Why was Tiong NOT summoned to the MACC HQ and denied legal assistance, as was done against several aides to DAP dignitaries in Selangor? Why was Tiong not summoned in the evening and questioned for 10 hours till early the next morning in the way Teoh Beng Hock was interviewed?


Why was Tiong not immediately arrested as a suspect, and if he resisted arrest, immediately beaten up, as was done to Wong Chuan How, personal aide to Ronnie Liew?


Is it because Tiong King Sing is a powerful Barisan National personality and a rich person in his capacity as the CEO of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd that he was given courteous treatment that was denied to those opposition people?


More, in his site: hornbillunleashed (click link below)




Link

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hartalmsm - a watchdog on mainstream media and blogs?

From hartalmsm.wordpress.com:

You can never win with a bigot – my response to “OutSyed the Box: Is The DAP A Chauvinist Party?” «

(Excerpts):
Bigotry is spreading fast in our blogosphere, on both sides of the political divide; I believe that SAA’s blog entry of 31 July 2009 is but one example of it. The purpose of the post in question seems to be to imply that the DAP is chauvinist, anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
Let’s look at some of the things SAA wrote, beginning with this about Lim Guan Eng (LGE): “Lim Guan Eng made a public display of standing up for a young Malay girl because the fellow involved was Rahim Tamby Chik, Guan Eng’s nemesis in Melaka at that time. Would Lim Guan Eng have made the same stand if it was not Rahim Tamby Chik? What if it was Chua Soi Lek?” So, according to SAA, if someone like LGE speaks up for a Malay girl, he/she is only motivated by political and/or racial motivations, never by principle or more nobler aims.
Yet, five paragraphs later, he is taking Theresa Kok to task for (supposedly) doing the exact opposite: NOT speaking up for a Malay girl! He writes: “Then it came to pass that the girl was not Chinese but actually a Malay girl, also wearing a tudung, who was a suspected drug addict. Not surprisingly that also marked the end of Theresa Kok’s involvement in the matter. She dropped the case like a hot potato.“
Doesn’t it seem like whatever a DAP politician says or does, SAA can find a way construe it to imply that they are opportunist, racist and/or worse? How convenient!
Let’s look at another example of SAA’s logic. Of LGE’s conviction for sedition over the case allegedly involving Rahim Tamby Chik, he wrote: “By the way none of his lawyers (or even DAP) spoke of conspiracy, crooked judges etc after the verdict. Does anyone know the name of the judge who jailed Guan Eng? Crooked judge? How come DAP never said so?” He seems to be implying that LGE, his party and his lawyers have implicitly admitted his guilt because they (supposedly) did not dispute the judges verdict. Yet, in his post “The Solution To The Perak Crisis” of 12 May 2009, SAA criticised Perak PR leaders for disputing court decisions that were unfavourable to them!
There’s just no way to win with Tuan Syed, is there? We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t! Would it be in any way unreasonable to suspect that SAA would have found a way to criticise LGE, even if he (LGE) had disputed his conviction?
SAA’s arguments that I’ve described above, are all based on just one of the 38 dishonest tricks commonly used in arguments, namely no. 38: attributing prejudice or motives to opponents, without any evidence in support. That’s easy to do, but by neglecting to go beyond smear tactics, such an argument does not consider the action or argument on its own merits. It also ignores the various possible real reasons a person acts or speaks in a particular way.

Link

Malaysia's best known fugitive...

unlike, Bala, who disappeared (with encouragement and approval?) and not on the radar screen.

Where did he go?


Synonymous with this site, which just celebrated its 5th Anniversary. Tempus Fugit (Latin for time flies, for the benefit of Utusan Malaysia's reporters) :

Friday, August 14, 2009

MACC becomes a most feared institution

Having watched the news video clip on how Wong Chuan How was being arrested, it was obvious to me that he panicked, not because he was afraid of the arrest, but by the thought of Teoh Beng Hock’s death while in the custody of MACC!

There was practically no tact at all, no public relations skills, despite the death of Teoh Beng Hock in their custody. Why the urgency to go after the Pakatan representatives, if not, as is widely believed, there is a political agenda to destabilize the present state government, and force a take-over?

PKFZ had been under investigations for years, without any outcome, and with the recent reports by special auditors and task force, there appears foot-dragging on the part of the MACC. Khir Toyo’s administration’s excesses seem untouchable. Yet, the comparatively small amounts spent by Selangor state representatives warranted immediate high-handed arrests and custody.

MACC has earned itself, an infamy, not only as a blatantly bias government institution, but a dreadfully perceived execution unit, as evidenced from Wong Chuan How’s fearful reaction to the forceful arrest.

My wife, an MCA life member, kept asking, “When is MCA getting out of this government?” and that Chua Jui Meng was wise in getting out of the coalition himself.
Link

Putting countries in the right perspectives

In terms of land area, Australia is much larger than the whole of Europe, as shown very clearly when the map of Europe is placed on that of Australia, using the same scale.

But in terms of population, Australia has only 21 million people (2008) while that of Europe is estimated at between 600 and 850 million, depending on definitions.

Malaysia is only slightly larger than Italy in land area, but its population at 28 million, is larger than Australia!

A little knowledge of anything is very dangerous indeed...

The recent hearing of YB Karpal Singh's sedition case brought out the truth about Utusan Malaysia reporter's misunderstanding of the legal term, 'ultra vires' which he mistook for 'insulting' and it caused untold damage to YB's reputation and created unnecessary tensions among the Malays.

Even with different dialects, like for instance, my Hakka wife used to mistook 'harm sub' (Cantonese for 'having dirty mind as in sexual innuendoes') for 'kiam siap' (Hokien for 'stingy')! Till today, she treats Fook Chau dialect and Teochew dialect as inter-changeable! Just imagine, Fook Chau is Greek to me and Teochew is quite understandable to me because of its closeness to Hokien. So carelessness in language can be a problem.

Recently, a Malay described someone as 'harm sub' and when asked, he was so sure that he knew the meaning. Yet, for all the descriptions I can only surmise that he meant, 'larn si' which literally actually means 'sperm' in a loose sense (I think) and generally meant to describe someone as 'cocky' as in rude and conceited! Now, the big difference is that a Chinese would not mind being described as cocky but 'harm sub' can be terrible in the sense that people can get the impression that he has itchy hands, and likes to take advantage of women by touching at every opportunity!
Link

Kee Thuan Chye on our ways to improve English

"At the meeting, no one suggested bringing back the English-medium school or making a pass in English compulsory for passing SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia). Most of us thought this would be pointless, anyway.

After all, Dr Mahathir floated the English-medium school idea briefly when he was prime minister and then backed off. And only recently, Deputy Prime Minister and new Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin sent up a test balloon regarding the compulsory pass but nothing has come out of it since.

To me, that meeting was a sad reflection of what we are – a people who are rich but are afraid to cultivate our wealth and let it blossom, and all because of our insecurities. We fear opening our minds so we deny our children access to our vaults. Each time a new education minister comes into office, there will be an attempt at some stock-taking and cursory spring-cleaning, but this is then followed by the same old business as usual. We pay lip service, we opt for eyewashes.

Will this time be different? I much doubt it. So, as has been happening over the years, those who have the means will find ways to improve their English, mostly outside of the school system, and those who don’t will lag behind. And when it comes time for university graduates to attend job interviews, that’s when the difference will be telling. Still, at the end of the day, these will just amount to being mere statistics. It’s the outcome at the elections that matters more.

It is, as we say, the Malaysian way."

Kee Thuan Chye, who retired from journalism in May, is an advocate of good English, having edited a column on the subject in a national paper for years. He also authored the book March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up, which has been translated into Chinese. Comment: letters@thesundaily.com.

The article as appeared in The Sun:
theSun: The Malaysian way to better English
Link


End of the World - Year 2012!

No, this has nothing to do with our expected 13th General Elections. To pessimistic Umno members, 2012 might be the end of their world as political masters of our universe (in Malaysia, I mean). I know this is wishful thinking on our part, just hope they can take jokes because they have been ultra-sensitive lately.

But others have other things to worry about, looking at not only the larger picture, of the world at large, but involving the planets and age old predictions.

Just read this morning’s comic, B.C. by Johnny Hart, in The Star:
Interviewer: Would you care to comment on how your company is affected by the global market?
Man at Peter’s Oil: I think being located between Venus and Mars makes for unique trading potential.
The interviewer went off in a huff.

So, under the foregoing context, we shall have a look at what my friend just sent me:

IT MAY TURN OUT TO BE TRUE, SO WHAT CAN WE DO...???

That is also the year when the planet Marduk(Tiamat) will reappear. This is the 12th.Planet that I had been talking about..It is the beings from Marduk who came to earth (each orbit is 3600 years) and created the homo sapiens. 2012 is the next orbit of Marduk. Maybe something serious might happen. So what shall we do about this.?

Subject: END OF THE WORLD !....A SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION...(included)
End of the world - Mayan Prediction.

Subject: Yet another prediction: 2012 - end of the earth ?!

So what are we doing here worrying about the economy and slaving away trying to build a nest/fortune which we are not going to have the opportunity to enjoy???

How true these predictions will be, no one knows for sure, but this is interesting to read......take it with a pinch of salt.

Several experts from across the globe are predicting that the earth is likely to end by the year 2012. The reason could be a human effect or natural disaster. From Chinese theories to scientific predictions the most likely date is the year 2012.

SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS from around the world are predicting that five years from now, all life on Earth could well come to an end. Some are saying it'll be humans that would set it off. Others believe that a natural phenomenon will be the cause. And the religious folks are saying it'll be God himself who would press the stop button. The following are some likely arguments as to why the world would end by the year 2012.

Reason one: Mayan calendar

The first to predict 2012 as the end of the world were the Mayans, a bloodthirsty race that were good at two things -- building highly accurate astrological equipment out of stone and sacrificing virgins.

Thousands of years ago they managed to calculate the length of the lunar moon as 329.53020 days, only 34 seconds out. The Mayan calendar predicts that the earth will end on December 21, 2012. Given that they were pretty close to the mark with the lunar cycle, it's likely they've got the end of the world right as well.

Reason two: Sun storms

Solar experts from around the world monitoring the sun have made a startling discovery. Our sun is in a bit of strife. The energy output of the sun is, like most things in nature, cyclic and it's supposed to be in the middle of a period of relative stability. However, recent solar storms have been bombarding the earth with lot of radiation energy.. It's been knocking out power grids and destroying satellites. This activity is predicted to get worse and calculations suggest it'll reach its deadly peak sometime in 2012.

Reason three: The atom smasher

Scientists in Europe have been building the world's largest particle accelerator. Basically, its a 27 km tunnel designed to smash atoms together to find out what makes the universe tick. However, the mega gadget has caused serious concern, with some scientists suggesting that it's properly even a bad idea to turn it on in the first place.. They're predicting all manner of deadly results, including mini black holes. So when this machine is fired up for its first serious experiment in 2012, the world could be crushed into a super-dense blob the size of a basketball.

Reason four: The Bible says it

If having scientists warning us about the end of the world isn't bad enough, religious folks are getting in on the act as well. Interpretations of the Christian Bible reveal that the date for Armageddon, the final battle between good an evil, has been set for 2012. The I Ching, also known as the Chinese Book of Changes, says the same thing, as do various sections of the Hindu teachings.

Reason five: Super volcano

Yellowstone National Park in United States is famous for its thermal springs and old faithful geyser. The reason for this is simple -- it's sitting on top of the world's biggest volcano and geological experts are beginning to get nervous sweats. The Yellowstone volcano has a pattern of erupting every 650,000 years or so, and we're many years overdue for an explosion that will fill the atmosphere with ash, blocking the sun and plunging the earth into a frozen winter that could last up to 15,000 years. The pressure under the Yellowstone is building steadily, and geologists have set 2012 as a likely date for the big bang.

Reason six: The physicists

This one's case of bog -- simple maths mathematics. Physicists at Berkely University have been crunching the numbers. They've determined that the earth is well overdue for a major catastrophic event. Even worse, they're claiming that their calculations prove that we're all going to die, very soon. They are also saying that their prediction comes with a certainty of
99 per cent; and 2012 just happens to be the best guess as to when it occurs.

Dr. Archana. A. Dethe

Reason seven: Earth's magnetic field

We all know the Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that shields us from most of the sun's radiation. What you might not know is that the magnetic poles we call North and South have a nasty habit of swapping places every 750,000 years or so -- and right now we're about 30,000 years overdue. Scientists have noted that the poles are drifting apart roughly 20-30 kms each year, much faster than ever before, which points to a pole-shift being right around the corner. While the pole shift is under way, the magnetic field is disrupted and will eventually disappear, sometimes for up to 100 years. The result is enough UV outdoors to crisp your skin in seconds, killing everything it touches.




Link