How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

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


Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

Prevent bullying now!

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

MyCen News

Monday, November 30, 2009

Queen Elizabeth II and 11 Presidents...

Queen Elizabeth II has met 11 Presidents of U.S.A.!

Looking at the pictures, we cannot help seeing her starting from young, maturing over the years, but ever so elegant and charming. She outlives a number of the Presidents and she is around even to meet a black President!

with Barack Obama

with George W. Bush


with Bill Clinton


with George Bush


with Ronald Reagan

with Jimmy Carter


with Gerald Ford



with Richard Nixon

with John F. Kennedy


with Dwight D. Eisenhower


with Harry S. Truman




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Occasion: wedding and birthday plus school re-union

Last Friday, was really a trip down memory lane.

I was at an ex-classmate's daughter's wedding dinner at the Noble Banquet on Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL (which turned out to be also her father-in-law's birthday celebration) and we had a small re-union (7 plus 2 spouses and a girlfriend).

One of us, who recently attended a British university re-union in Hong Kong, commented that it is getting very difficult to organize one and he gave that as an example - once in 10 years!

This time round, one classmate (with all silver hair) kept reminding us that it was also our 60th birthdays though myself and another (incidentally 1 day difference) are actually 59. At our age, the main topic was medical examinations! One said that we should all go for one to check on our big intestines, another suggested heart examinations, and so on. As usual there was a comparison of prices among medical centres as compared with government hospitals. One said he was lucky his wife is a government servant as he is entitled to free treatment. Incidentally, one of our former classmates is Dato Dr. Jacob Thomas, Director of Subang Medical Centre and his brother Dr. George Thomas, an eye specialist at Hussein Onn Eye Hospital, whose patients include my wife! But so far, she has not mentioned to him about his former school.

Anyway, after the end of the dinner, the host came to join us and we chatted until almost 12 midnight! He referred to another classmate and told us about his part in matching him with his wife. Then I said he has the highest KPI. Someone was quick to ask me why suddenly I referred to KPI, to which I said I was referring to Kay Por Index and everyone had a good laugh. Seriously, try telling a politician not to be a Kay Por is almost impossible if he were to be a good one but he is not a politician but a lawyer. Think about it. Anyway, he was trying to do the same match making part to our senior eligible bachelor with a dashing girlfriend... I am still waiting... you see, this good friend of mind was so busy with his girlfriends when young that he forgot about my wedding invitation! I have waited all these years for a chance to do the same to him!

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If you go away...

in another situation when someone lost someone dear:

Another song that touched me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MSoHcxEk9s

Honey by Bobby Goldsboro (written by Bobby Russell)

See the tree, how big it's grown
But friend it hasn't been too long
It wasn't big
I laughed at her and she got mad
The first day that she planted it, was just a twig
Then the first snow came
And she ran out to brush the snow away
So it wouldn't die
Came runnin' in all excited
Slipped and almost hurt herself
And I laughed till I cried
She was always young at heart
Kinda dumb and kinda smart and I loved her so
And I surprised her with a puppy
Kept me up all Christmas Eve two years ago
And it would sure embarrass her
When I came in from workin' late
'Cause I would know
That she'd been sittin' there and cryin'
Over some sad and silly late, late show
And honey, I miss you
And I'm bein' good
And I'd love to be with you
If only I could

She wrecked the car and she was sad
And so afraid that I'd be mad
But what the heck
Though I pretended hard to be
Guess you could say she saw through me
And hugged my neck
I came home unexpectedly
And caught her cryin' needlessly
In the middle of the day
And it was in the early Spring
When flowers bloom and robins sing
She went away

And honey, I miss you
And I'm bein' good
And I'd love to be with you
If only I could

One day while I was not at home
While she was there and all alone
The angels came
Now all I have are memories of Honey
And I wake up nights and call her name
Now my life's an empty stage
Where Honey lived and Honey played
And love grew up
And a small cloud passes overhead
And cries down on the flower bed
That Honey loved

And see the tree how big it's grown
But friend it hasn't been too long
It wasn't big
And I laughed at her and she got mad
The first day that she planted it, was just a twig


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

A drive down memory lane...

Yesterday I chose to drive on the old road up to Slim River before joining the North South Expressway to KL. I was listening to a CD with compilation of 26 old songs sung by original artistes.

I must say I enjoyed almost every song, each bringing back memories of friends and places, but the one that touched me most was this song 'If you go away' by Shirley Bassey, especially those in italics. It seems the English version was based on 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' by Jacques Bres... can't help thinking it sounds like 'Not me quitting Pas'!


Shirley Bassey If You Go Away (Ne me Quitte Pas) Lyrics:

If you go away, on this summers day
Then you might as well take the sun away
All the birds that flew in the summer sky
When our love was new and our hearts were high
When the day was young and the night was long
And the moon stood still for the night birds' song
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away

But if you stay, I'll make you a day
Like no day has been or will be again
We'll sail the sun, we'll ride on the rain
We'll talk to the trees and worship the wind
Then if you go, I'll understand
Leave me just enough love to hold in my hand
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away

If you go away, as I know you will
You must tell the world to stop turning till

You return again, if you ever do
For what good is love without loving you
Can I tell you now as you turn to go
I'll be dying slowly till the next hello
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away

But if you stay I'll make you a night
Like no night has been or will be again
I'll sail on your smile, I'll ride on your touch
I'll talk to your eyes that I love so much
But if you go I won't cry
Though the good is gone from the word goodbye
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away

If you go away as I know you must
There'll be nothing left in the world to trust
Just an empty room full of empty space
Like the empty look I see on your face
I'd have been the shadow of your dog

If I thought it might have kept me by your side
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwGUqx6vngY

Don't you wish you have an admirer singing this song to you? Pity it sounds like unrequited love.
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My nephew standing in for me at Aberdeen University

I did not attend my son's convocation at University of Sydney, he did not attend his son's in University Putra Malaysia, so by attending my daughter's, did it make us less guilty about it?

With the sarong kebaya, we are proud to be Anak Bangsa Malaysia!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Pushing the frontiers of technology...

in audio visual capabilities.

A few years ago, they did it with Natalie and her late father, Nat King Cole, singing his classic Unforgettable. But that was just audio and it was considered amazing.

Now, we can see what appears to be a duet between Celine Dion and the late Elvis Presley on American Idol, singing a 1968 song (year Celine was born) with America's greatest Idol of all time!

Did Elvis dream the impossible dream then?

If I can dream
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO10pkOLERQ

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Better be safe than sorry...

The following warning had been going round for a number of years and I think most people are aware of it. But since I have seen the video clip on how the heat energy generated by a mobile phone when a call is directed to it could make popcorns, I believe there is some truth in it. Fortunately, despite many people found guilty of using mobile phones at petrol station out of habit, there were hardly any cases of fire resulting from it.

Shell Oil - Safety Alert!

Here are some reasons why we don't allow cell phones in operating areas, propylene oxide handling and storage area, propane, gas and diesel refueling areas.

The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones) ignited fumes during fueling operations

In the first case, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.

In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to his face when fumes ignited as he answered a call while refueling their car!

And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in his pocket, rang while he was fueling his car.

Mobile Phones can ignite fuel or fumes

Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition

Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, etc.

Mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust, (ie, solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc....)

Four Rules for Safe Refueling:
1) Turn off engine
2) Don't smoke
3) Don't use your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it 0ff
4) Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling.


Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of 'static electricity' at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires.

His results were very surprising:
1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women..
2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static.
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
7) There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
8) Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas.
If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.



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Man's best friend...

'Orangutan' or 'orang hutan' is actually Malay for 'jungle man'. A friend who used to work in the Forestry Department or 'Jabatan Hutan' has been referred to jokingly as 'orang hutan' - loosely to mean 'man from forestry'.

Anyway, being one of the closest primates to man, it is small wonder that man's best friend can relate to him too! Here's the story:


Suryia and Roscoe live at the Tigers sanctuary in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The orangutan was in the rescue center and was not doing well. This old hound wandered in truly emaciated and the orangutan took to him the moment the dog arrived. He stayed with the hound night and day until he was well and during the process found a reason to live. They are now inseparable.





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Does it make sense?

Defense Attorney:
Will you please state your age?

Little Old Lady:
I am 94 years old.

Defense Attorney:
Will you tell us, in your own words, what happened the night of April 1st?

Little Old Lady:
There I was, sitting there in my swing on my front porch on a warm spring evening, when a young man comes creeping up on the porch and sat down beside me.

Defense Attorney:
Did you know him?

Little Old Lady:
No, but he sure was friendly.

Defense Attorney:
What happened after he sat down?

Little Old Lady:
He started to rub my thigh..

Defense Attorney:
Did you stop him?

Little Old Lady:
No, I didn't stop him.

Defense Attorney:
Why not?

Little Old Lady:
It felt good.. Nobody had done that since my Albert died some 30 years ago.

Defense Attorney:
What happened next?

Little Old Lady:
He began to rub my breasts.

Defense Attorney:
Did you stop him then?

Little Old Lady:
No, I did not stop him.

Defense Attorney:
Why not?

Little Old Lady:
His rubbing made me feel all alive and excited. I haven't felt that good in years!

Defense Attorney:
What happened next?

Little Old Lady:
Well, by then, I was feeling so 'spicy' that I just laid down and told him
'Take me, young man. Take me now!'

Defense Attorney:
Did he take you?

Little Old Lady:
Hell, no! He just yelled, ' April Fool!' And that's when I shot him, the little bastard!



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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Making sense of...

this driver has no sense...

So was KTMB's choice of new railway station which did not consider people's convenience.

Do the following make sense to you?

1. If time doesn't wait for you, don't worry!
Just remove the damn battery from the clock and enjoy life!

2. Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.

3. Beauty isn't measured by outer appearance and what clothes we wear, but what we are inside. So, try going out naked tomorrow and see the admiration!

4. Every lady hopes that her daughter will marry a better man than she did and is convinced that her son will never find a wife as good as his father did!

5. He was a good man. He never smoked, drank and had no affair. When he died, the insurance company refused the claim. They said, he who never lived, cannot die!

6. So many options for suicide: poison, sleeping pills, hanging, jumping from a building, lying on train tracks, but we chose Marriage, slow but sure!

7. All desirable things in life are either illegal, banned, expensive or married to someone else!

8. 10% of road accidents are due to drunken driving.
Which makes it a logical statement that 90% of accidents are due to driving without drinking!





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Progress at the expense of convenience?

According to this old map of Batu Gajah: notice the proximity of Majlis Daerah Kinta Barat next to the yellow sign A108, Stesen KTM Batu Gajah above road sign A15 and Jalan Pejabat Pos where the new Post Office remained where it was. The other two moved to grand buildings away from the town centre, and I am pretty sure not because of the lack of space but because of the glamour of big and modern buildings.

The new railway station is now further south (not in the map) off A15, in Kg. Pisang (shown inset).

In comparison, the old Kuala Lumpur railway station remained as a schedule stop despite the move to the new integrated KL Sentral. In fact, there are 12 scheduled stops within KL: Sungei Buloh, Kepong Sentral, Kepong, Segambut, Putra, Bank Negara, Kuala Lumpur, KL Sentral, Mid Valley, Seputih, Salak Selatan and Bandar Tasik Selatan.

Logically, the move to the new station to be near the new KTM Complex in Batu Gajah should provide a stop for the old station since the new is inconvenient compared to the old. Similarly, where the old Railway Workshop used to be in Sentul, there was no need for KL main station to be anywhere near it. Why our new station has to be near the workshop seems illogical to me.



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Our grand KTM Station Batu Gajah...

near the KTM Complex which houses its Workshop (moved from Sentul, Kuala Lumpur) and apparently a Railway College too, but 2 km from the main road, Jalan Tualang. In other words, away from most train travellers... is it meant to serve KTM staff or customers?


Flashback to more than 5 years ago:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=149824&page=2

Minister Officiates The Ground Breaking Of Batu Gajah’s New Railway Station - 18th March 2004

The Minister of Transport Dato’ Sri Chan Kong Choy officiated Batu Gajah’s new railway station at a ground breaking ceremony at Kampung Pisang Batu Gajah, Perak.

In his speech he said the KTM Berhad's Central Workshop and Railway Training Centre would be set up there to help boost Batu Gajah town as the hub for major railway-based activities in the country.

Two complexes, would be developed on the 160-hectare site and are expected to be completed in 2008 at a total cost of about RM400 million. They would have a combined workforce of 500.

The first complex, i.e the central workshop, would replace those found in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. It is a part of the new Rail Infrastructure Development Project, and would undertake major maintenance and overhaul on KTM's rolling stock.

Another important complex would be the new railway-training centre, which would accommodate the growing demand for expertise in the railway sector and to enhance manpower skills.

The project is one of the 12 under the electrified double-tracking project connecting Rawang and Ipoh. The others are in Serendah, Rasa, Batang Kali, Kuala Kubu Baru, Tanjung Malim, Behrang, Slim River, Sungkai, Tapah Road, Kampar and Ipoh.

Dato’ Sri Chan added that the proposed training centre could also play the role of "centre of excellence" that could benefit other railway authorities in Southeast Asia.

The Railway Infrastructure Development Project as a whole would also act as a catalyst for downstream activities in the area. This will create the much needed employment opportunities and raise the quality of life of the people of Perak, and Batu Gajah.

Also present at the function were Barisan Nasional candidate for Batu Gajah Datuk Ong Ka Chuan, Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zaharah Shaari, KTMB chairman Tan Sri Thong Yaw Hong and KTMB managing director Encik Mohd Salleh Abdullah.

DRB-HICOM Berhad is the main contractor for Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) electrified double-tracking project.

What used to be our exit to board KTM trains...

good enough for years, yet not so for another scheduled stop?


Batu Gajah, if translated literally means 'Elephant Stone' but most people would assume it to mean 'Stone Elephant', a confusion common with words like 'pisang goreng' or banana fritters, mistaken with 'goreng pisang' which means the act of 'frying banana' rather than fried banana.

Batu Gajah is likely to be better known for 'white elephants' like the new train station and new council building, in terms of huge costs yet inconvenient to the local users. People will use them because there is no choice, but each time they will wonder what the planners and decision-makers were thinking when dealing with the projects. 'The bigger the contract, the bigger the profits to some' seem to be the rationale, 'to hell with what people think'.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why using the mobile phone while driving can be dangerous...

Can you see the motor bike? You can't...
because it is in the car!

The Honda crotch rocket rider was travelling at approximately 85 mph. The VW driver was talking on a cell phone when she pulled out from a side street, apparently not seeing the motorcycle. The riders reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident.

The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them. The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 20 feet from where the collision took place.

All three involved (two in the car and the bike rider) were killed instantly. This graphic demonstration was placed at the Motorcycle Fair by the Police and Road Safety Department.

Pass this on to car drivers or soon to be new drivers, or new motorcycle owners AND ESPECIALLY EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO HAS A CELL PHONE! A picture is worth a thousand words.

Wake up people , Stop talking on Cell phones and Texting while trying to drive.

The above case showed that driving slowly is not good enough if you do not concentrate while driving. The other problem, more obviously, is when driving fast, any emergency braking required might not be able to avoid hitting an object.

The other day, I had this conversation with a young shop assistant and I was really put off by her smug reply on why she would drive above 100kph even on country road, "To me, driving at less than 100kph, the car does not seem to move!" She was commenting on how she noticed a doctor following her car and she stepped on the accelerator to 110kph, and still he was quite close, but when she went up to 120kph, he was far behind!
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Customer is always right...

even if she asks the same question over and over again?

Lunch in Cantonese (apologies to those who can't understand, even for those who can, they will find it difficult because of the speed in reciting the menu!)...
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video

The customer is always right...

even if he talks nonsense? What is the difference between flying First Class and Economy?


Airline reservation by Siva Choy (sorry no images, just dialogue, but very funny indeed)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY2VqFg7eyo
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Who is the wise guy then?

WOMEN WHO KNOW THEIR PLACE

Barbara Walters, of 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict.

She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands. Despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to, and are happy to, maintain the old custom.

Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, 'Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?'

The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said, 'Land Mines.'

Moral of the story is (no matter what language you speak or where you go):

BEHIND EVERY MAN, THERE'S A SMART WOMAN

Have a Great Day!


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We got it right all along, before this report...

Dirt can be good for children, say scientists

Children should be allowed to get dirty, according to scientists who have found being too clean can impair the skin's ability to heal.

Normal bacteria living on the skin trigger a pathway that helps prevent inflammation when we get hurt, the US team discovered.

The bugs dampen down overactive immune responses that can cause cuts and grazes to swell, they say.

Their work is published in the online edition of Nature Medicine.

Experts said the findings provided an explanation for the "hygiene hypothesis", which holds that exposure to germs during early childhood primes the body against allergies.

Many believe our obsession with cleanliness is to blame for the recent boom in allergies in developed countries.

'Good' bacteria

Researchers from the School of Medicine at University of California, San Diego, found a common bacterial species, known asStaphylococci, blocked a vital step in a cascade of events that led to inflammation.

By studying mice and human cells, they found the harmless bacteria did this by making a molecule called lipoteichoic acid or LTA, which acted on keratinocytes - the main cell types found in the outer layer of the skin.

The LTA keeps the keratinocytes in check, stopping them from mounting an aggressive inflammatory response.

Head of the research Professor Richard Gallo said: "The exciting implication of the work is that it provides a molecular basis to understand the hygiene hypothesis and has uncovered elements of the wound repair response that were previously unknown.

"This may help us devise new therapeutic approaches for inflammatory skin diseases."

The lobby group Parents Outloud said the work offered scientific support for its campaign to stop children being mollycoddled and over-sanitised.

A spokeswoman for Allergy UK said there was a growing body of evidence that exposure to germs was a good thing.

But she said more research was needed.

"Rates of allergy have tripled in the UK in the last decade. One in three people now has some kind of allergy.

"Some of this might be that people are better informed. But a lot of it is genetic as well as down to our environment," she said.

From our personal experience, we used to laugh at parents who are exceptionally careful with their children in terms of hygiene. Our reasons are simple, we have been through years as children when parents were poor and children neglected most times... and we survived!

Compared with others who are exceptionally careful with their foods, eg. eating in hawker centres where cleanliness is questionable, we have no problems most times which is further proof of our ability to take on many kinds of bacteria.

Personally, I am allergic to many things and this was confirmed when I had sinus problem and before that, there was a routine check on allergies - all positive! Then, our son had eczema as a baby and allergic to cow's milk and eggs. Fortunately, under NHS, he was provided with Prosobee (made from soya beans) until he had gone off that allergy. But the egg allergy lasted for a number of years. He would get eyes swollen after eating an egg or when he had contact with a dog or cat.

Then, back in Malaysia, my elder daughter even had asthma. But I would think it was allergy to the more than 20 cages of birds belonging to my father-in-law. The room was next to an air-well where the birds were kept.

Of course, we are living in different conditions these days, with the many new chemicals introduced in products and used in feeding livestocks, and the viruses being discovered. Honestly, most times we are treading dangerously!
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Some facts on cats...

One baby's security blanket is another baby's nightmare...

First of all, I must say that 'cat' in Malaysia can mean something else, because in Bahasa Malaysia, it is pronounced as 'chat' and it means 'paint'! It is small wonder some of our students get confused over spelling.

The cat lover is an ailurophile, while a cat hater is an ailurophobe. But I don't think such a question will be set in the school examinations, but cool to show off to some friends. Maybe, it is useful to know how to spell them, in case you are taking part in a spelling competition, as shown on television lately.

The biggest member of the cat family is the male lion, which weighs 528 pounds (240 kilograms). I actually dislike description like this because it is too precise in weight... are we to expect every male lion to weigh exactly 528 pounds?

Cats respond most readily to names that end in an "ee" sound. Now we know why names like 'Kitty' and 'Cutie' are common. I wonder if they actually test the names before they are given. Our Kitty comes to me when she smells my cooking, no need to call. I can be as stealthy as possible hoping to eat in peace, yet it would not escape her sense of smell.

A cat cannot see directly under its nose. This is why the cat cannot seem to find tidbits on the floor. I used to think our Kitty was blind before reading this part. This picture seems to disprove the above information, but I would take it as true.

Cat's urine glows under a black light. I don't really know what is meant by black light... maybe someone out there can enlighten us.

Cats have more than one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten. Now we know why they can be so irritating to some people, especially when about to mate. I have to dig out that video clip which someone sent me.



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Are ducklings colour blind?

Not if this picture is anything to go by...



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Suitable signs?

If the bottom part of this notice is meant for the dogs to read, then dream on:

But if there is a picture, then probably a dog just might be able to understand... and react too!


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This can only come from a woman...

Why Women Are Crabby

We started to 'bud' in our blouses at 9 or 10 years old only to find that anything that came in contact with those tender, blooming buds hurt so bad it brought us to tears. So came the ridiculously uncomfortable training bra contraption that the boys in school would snap until we had calluses on our backs.

Next, we get our periods in our early to mid-teens (or sooner). Along with those budding boobs, we bloated, we cramped, we got the hormone crankies, had to wear little mattresses between our legs or insert tubular, packed cotton rods in places we didn't even know we had.

Our next little rite of passage was having sex for the first time which was about as much fun as having a ramrod push your uterus through your nostrils (IF he did it right and didn't end up with his little cart before his horse), leaving us to wonder what all the fuss was about.

Then it was off to Motherhood where we learned to live on dry crackers and water for a few months so we didn't spend the entire day leaning over Brother John. Of course, amazing creatures that we are (and we are), we learned to live with the growing little angels inside us steadily kicking our innards night and day making us wonder if we were preparing to have Rosemary's Baby.

Our once flat bellies looked like we swallowed a whole watermelon and we pee'd our pants every time we sneezed. When the big moment arrived, the dam in our blessed Nether Regions invariably burst right in the middle of the mall and we had to waddle, with our big cartoon feet, moaning in pain, all the way to the ER.

Then it was huff and puff and beg to die while the OB says, 'Please stop screaming, Mrs. Hearmeroar. Calm down and push. 'Just one more good push' (more like 10), warranting a strong, well-deserved impul se to punch the %$#*@*#!* hubby and doctor square in the nose for making us cram a wiggling, mushroom-headed 10 pound bowling ball through a keyhole.

After that, it was time to raise those angels, only to find that when all that 'cute' wears off, the beautiful little darlings morphed into walking, jabbering, wet, gooey, snot-blowing, life-sucking little poop machines.

Then come their 'Teen Years.' Need I say more?

When the kids are almost grown, we women hit our voracious sexual prime in our early 40's - while hubby had his somewhere around his 18th birthday.

So we progress into the grand finale: 'The Menopause,' the Grandmother of all womanhood. It's either take HRT and chance cancer in those now seasoned 'buds' or the aforementioned Nether Regions, or sweat like a hog in July, wash your sheets and pillowcases daily and bite the head off anything that moves.

Now, you ask WHY women seem to be more spiteful than men, when men get off so easy, INCLUDING the icing on life's cake: Being able to pee in the woods without soaking their socks...

So, while I love being a woman, 'Womanhood' would make the Great Gandhi a tad crabby. You think women are the 'weaker sex?' Yeah right. Bite me.


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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Might as well include 'No Customers'!

I thought the sign (with 12 Nos) at Batu Gajah railway station is bad enough, but this one outside a shop in India is even worse!

This reminds me of the sign 'No spitting' in old coffee shops in Malaysia, especially when they used to provide a special pot for the purpose. Some signs with graphic would even show a person spitting something red - a habit of some Indians chewing betelnut!
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kebaya again, the tradition continues...

Recently, I had posted a kebaya and a tube at the post office in Batu Gajah (postage Rm11) to my daughter in Aberdeen, which she received after a full 2 weeks. The second week bothered me simply because it is so important to her and I did not register the parcel! I was encouraged to do so because only recently, I had posted her mouth guard at the Post Office in KLIA unregistered (postage only Rm2) which she received in 4 days!

I have seen old pictures of my mother-in-law wearing 'sarong kebaya' at her children's convocations. My wife decided (my son would laugh at this, because she decides on everything!) she would continue the tradition at my two daughters' convocation. But she didn't at my son's convocation at University of Sydney, which I did not attend (on the premise that having given up my job, I had to live within my means and that included forgoing foreign travel).

I attended my elder daughter's because she would have been greatly disappointed having obtained First Class Honours plus achieving the best dissertation in the course. Then, I did not have the heart to disappoint my younger daughter who obtained Second Upper. Sometimes, decisions are difficult to make because they affect others' feelings.

This coming November 24 is my younger daughter's convocation day when she will be receiving her Master in International Health Management at Aberdeen University, Scotland. This time, both of us will not be attending! It would appear that I cannot afford to travel, yet can afford not to attend because I had 'been there, done that' before, which some parents might be envious over! Excuse me for showing off, because I have nothing else to show!

To be honest, besides financial reasons, for the past few weeks I had problems with my right knee and it would be agony if I were to travel, having to lug luggages and bags. My wife's reason is mainly the cold weather now that it is winter and it being northern part of United Kingdom. But my daughter has invited my nephew (the one who looks most like me) and his wife and daughter, Jun (the lucky one who had seen Queen Elizabeth face-to-face as a baby!) for her to aspire to be a graduate (in her mum's own words).

How to make popcorns from your handphones...

Just watched this video clip in Hussein Hamid's blog:

http://steadyaku-steadyaku-husseinhamid.blogspot.com/2009/11/mobile-phones.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Steadyaku47+(steadyaku47)

It shows the amount of heat energy generated by our indispensable mobile phone when a call is directed to it. Scary, isn't it?

Last but not least...

last moments...of regrets:





We have heard of DNA found on a corpse which were from the previous corpse, I bet the following case would puzzle Dr. Porntip:

Dorothy was very upset because her husband Albert had just passed away.

She goes to the mortuary to look at her dearly departed, and the instant she sees him she starts wailing and crying.

One of the attendants rushes up to comfort her. Through her tears she explains that she was upset because Albert was wearing a black suit and that it was his dying wish to be buried in a blue suit.

The attendant apologizes and explains that they always put the bodies in a black suit as a matter of course, but he'd see what he could do.

The next day, Dorothy returns to the mortuary to have one last moment with Albert before his funeral the following day. When the attendant pulls back the curtain, Dorothy manages to smile through her tears as Albert is now wearing a smart blue suit.

She asks the attendant, "How did you manage to get hold of that beautiful blue suit?"

"Well, yesterday afternoon after you left, a man who was about your husband's size was brought in, and he was wearing a blue suit. His wife explained that she was very upset, as he had always wanted to be buried in a black suit," the attendant replied.

The woman smiled.

He continued: "After that, it was simply a matter of swapping the heads around".



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Beware of hanging televisions in restaurants and coffee shops




The cage, as can be seen on the right hand corner of this picture, holds an old-fashioned television outside this coffee shop in Batu Gajah. Those who walk along the corridor are likely to walk past it. Some like me, will make an effort to avoid walking under it. Why?

A few days ago, I advised a friend who has a stall selling Economy Rice in Lung Fatt coffee shop. I said, 'Your good friend's restaurant should not place a table and chairs under the television set, it looks dangerous. Once I saw my brother's ex-classmate and his wife sitting right under it and I was tempted to say it out but didn't. There were at least 10 empty tables and I do not see why they chose that one. If he did not place a table under it, nobody would sit there.'

Two nights ago, I went to the restaurant and the owner in a gesture to hit me, jokingly said, 'You said it will fall down, it fell!' One of his workers was about to adjust something and the television set fell onto the table, breaking it and he was slightly hurt.

Let this be a warning to owners of restaurants and coffee shops with such hanging television sets that they are not 100% safe. The least they could do is to avoid having a table and chairs underneath it. Customers should avoid sitting under heavy objects regardless of what people assure you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A classic letter of recommendation...

1 Trevor Adams, my assistant programmer, can always be found
2 hard at work in his cubicle. Trevor works independently, without
3 wasting company time talking to colleagues. Trevor never
4 thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always
5 finishes given assignments on time. Often he takes extended
6 measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee
7 breaks. Trevor is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no
8 vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound
9 knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Trevor can be
10 classed as a high-calibre employee, the type that cannot be
11 dispensed with. Consequently, I truly recommend that Trevor be
12 promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be
13 executed as soon as possible.


**Addendum
The idiot was standing over my shoulder while I wrote this report.
Kindly re-read only the odd numbered lines.

If only Bala had a way of telling us to ignore the 2nd Statutory Declaration!
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A Collector's Dream...

There are disposers and there are collectors.

The former are likely to be very particular about cleanliness and tidiness, bordering on Obsessive Cleanliness Behaviour.

The latter are likely to be hoarders, for one reason or the other, for just in case the item might be needed, or that it will become a collector's item. Such people can never be really tidy because of the superfluous number of items waiting for attention, be it touching up, awaiting a missing item or re-arranging into a set. Cleaning in terms of normal standard of cleanliness is out of the question because it is just not practicable. So, disorderliness and messiness would seem to be the order of the day. Many collectors would prefer cleaners not to touch the items in case they are broken, they themselves are unlikely to have the time to do so.

It is every collector's fantasy to buy something which turns out to be a real collector's item with immense value. Unless descendants are aware of the values of items collected, most would dispose of unwanted items indiscriminately ranging from throwing into the bins or selling at any prices offered.

Now and again, a collector would discover a bargain which pleases him or her immensely. But to discover literally 'an Aladdin's treasure trove' is definitely hard to come by, but it happened! Here is the story forwarded by a friend:

A recently retired New York man wanted to use his retirement funds wisely, decided to buy a home and a few acres in Portugal.

The modest farmhouse had been vacant for 15 years; the owner and wife? Both had died, and there were no heirs.

The estate was being sold to pay back taxes. There had been several lookers, but the large barn had steel doors, and they had been welded shut. No one wanted to go to the extra expense to see what was in the barn, and it wasn't complimentary to the property anyway... So, no one made an offer on the place.

The New York gentleman bought it as is, paying just over half of the property's worth; moved in, and set about to access the barn... curiosity was killing him.

So, he and his wife bought a generator and a couple of grinders... and cut through the welds...

Amazing...

Total value of all vehicles: over 35 million!
The man and his wife had full title to the complete lot of vehicles!

The barn:
The doors were welded shut, but a grinder took care of that. What was in the barn?
A warehouse full of vintage high performance cars! which includes the following:
Aston Martin, Opel GT, Lotus Elan FHC, Lotus Super Seven Series IV, Lotus Elan DHC, Porsche 356, Austin Healey Sprite Mk II, Volvo PV 544, Ford Y, Giulietta Sprint, Giula Sprint Speciale, Nash Metropolitan, Alfa Giuletta, Lotus Europa, another Lotus Elan FHC, Matra Djet, Lancia Flaminia Coup, Abarth 1300 Scorpione, Peugeot 504 cabriolet & 404 cabriolet, Mini, Alfa 1900 Super Sprint, Balilla, Fiat Topolino II, Triumph TR4, Peugeot 202, BMW V8, Formula racers, Chryslers, Mercedes, Austin A30...




Wasn't that deserving of a big celebration and ... a barn dance?

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Why I am nostalgic about Keretapi Tanah Melayu


My father's first job was as a golf caddie in Sentul Golf Club in the '20s which served the Sentul Railway Workshop staff. It was one of the oldest, if not the oldest golf club in Malaya, until it was taken over by YTL Land which continued the Sentul Raya project which was started and stalled by Taiping Consolidated. YTL closed down the club amid protests by club members. Its plans for more condominiums were not approved and they capitalized on the park, comparing it with St. James's Park in London.

Through recommendation by a railway engineer, my father got a job as apprentice in the railway workshop, working under Dato Wong Seng Chow's grandfather; and father of octogenarian, Ng Sek Kong who was also my school senior in Methodist Boys' Secondary School, Sentul. In fact, he was senior to even my eldest of brothers! I used to meet him in Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, and like me, he will repeat some old stories. Many of my former school mates were children of railway employees who live in the railway quarters which were being re-developed by YTL, like my old friend since Standard One, now in Sydney's Matraville.

Occasionally, I used to walk back from school, passing through the compounds of Sentul Railway Workshop. After we have moved from Jalan Ipoh to Jalan Pipit in the '60s, our house was even nearer to the golf club. In fact, for a number of years, my membership in Kinta Golf Club, Batu Gajah was used to patronize the Sentul Golf Club for lunches. My second brother's house is adjoining the fence at the back of the club house!

Just to make it interesting, our house is just a stone's throw from Samy Vellu's house off Jalan Ipoh, which in turn, is just a stone's throw from Teresa Kok's parents house in Rainbow Garden! But I had nothing to do with the molotov cocktails, ok?

Even when we were living in Jalan Ipoh (3 ¼ mile, to be precise, it being a long road), as a child I used to hear the distinctive siren of Sentul Railway Workshop calling its workers to start or stop work!

By strange coincidence, after I have moved to Batu Gajah in 1995, there was talk that the railway workshop will be moved from Sentul to Batu Gajah! Even the workshop decided to follow me! Now there is even talk that the Batu Cantonment, off Jalan Ipoh, will also be moving to BG! One thing for sure, I won't feel lonely here!

When my family was staying with my in-laws, the sounds of passing trains moving on the wooden sleepers were something we had got used to. Even now, our house being behind my in-laws, we can still hear the sounds of any train passing. Some people could not sleep because of it, but to us, it becomes a lullaby!

For those who have watched Agatha Christie's Murder on the Oriental Express, train journeys can be both nostalgic as well as romantic. When we were in Belgium, some of the older trains really reminded me of Oriental Express! The current Chanel advertisement on television captures the fantasy of romance on an overnight train journey best.

My son is secretly wishing that one day, he can actually come home on his own, taking the KLIA Express to KL Sentral, and then to Batu Gajah and walk home! This is subject to the success of my Petition to KTMB to have a scheduled stop at the old station! But believe me, this was not the reason why I am harping on it! I am sure, many people will thank me, if only KTMB management have a heart and listen to us.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Formidable task...

unless you are fit as a fiddle.

This afternoon, giving a lift to my wife who was to take the 1.38pm train to KL, I had taken this picture of the 'coming down' part of the overhead pedestrian bridge of our new Batu Gajah train station.

Without stretching your imagination, the other side would look similar, and passengers coming from the south had to face the hurdle of going up a similar staircase and cross the wide double-tracking lines and coming down this staircase. Now, can you empathize someone who is old, or of any age but with mobility problems and has to use a frame walker or in a wheelchair? Have a heart, KTMB, will you?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lessons learned from my Petition to KTMB

First of all, I am surprised at myself for initiating the exercise. I am known for being laid back. But after our Deepavali lunch at Kg. Wellington (formerly Wellington Estate) which is a left turn off the Ipoh-Lumut highway at the junction to Pantai Remis (right turn), I decided to do something.

Before lunch, youngman Honasegaran was sitting in a wheel-chair, chatting with us about his life at a disabled centre in Rawang. He was disabled as a result of a motor accident a few years ago, which case is still pending court decision. In a way, he was lucky to have spent almost 3 years at the centre which taught him, among other things, cooking, riding a special motorbike (for disabled), driving a special car (for disabled) and even learning how to use computer. Generally, he learned how to look after himself as well as cooking and sharing with other disabled residents of the centre. Other than being unfortunately disabled, I think he learned more in Rawang than if he were studying like the other students near home. He told us he is actually financially independent, using a special motor bike converted into a hawker stall, selling drinks and cut fruits. He will be moving out of the centre to make way for others, but continue to live in Rawang.

He told us that he had been back 4 times by train, from Rawang to Batu Gajah. He described how he had to use his wheel-chair going on the platform parallel to the railway lines for quite a distance before his father could pick him by car. This was to avoid the high pedestrian overhead bridge across the new double-tracked railway lines. He seem resigned to the hassle adding that there are only a very small number of disabled using the train and never expect KTMB to listen to their problems. This was the part which riled me and spurred me to action. Because of his disability he had no option but to use the train, and his father had to travel about 50 km to BG, AND, face the hassle of pushing the wheel-chair bound son for a distance just to avoid the high overhead bridge. The least KTMB could do is to have a scheduled stop at the old station for trains arriving from the south, for the benefit of senior citizens, those with mobility problems as well as those who are physically handicapped.

A few years ago, I knew and was disappointed when I heard about the plans to build a new railway station despite complaints about the 'out of the way' location. The construction was completed ahead of practical usage and when it was open to the public, even my son on his first visit, noticed the signs were already faded.

Before it was open for use, when the new approach roads were not completed, I have been there a few times going through a village and got lost most times! The most surprising was even with the new roads leading to it, a Batu Gajah resident said he could not find the way once and had yet to have been there! An Australian visitor to the God's Little Acre cemetery, upon arrival at the new station, described it as 'in the middle of nowhere'!

I have mentioned elsewhere that the new station is 2 km from the main road (Jalan Tg. Tualang) compared with the old station which is just next to the main road (Jalan Pusing). Another surprising fact was that a few people said they would advise arrivals at night to get off at the Ipoh station instead for security reasons. This has made the location ludicrous because some people are prepared to travel 20 km (to Ipoh) instead of 2 km (to new station) to fetch their relatives or friends! Similarly, these people mentioned that they would rather leave their cars in Ipoh than BG, again for safety reasons.

As for the people I have approached to support my petition, I am grateful to those who willingly provided their names. I can honestly say that almost all, if not all, agreed that the new station is very inconvenient compared to the old, though some are reluctant to use their names for some irrational fear that it has something to do with politics, that they are civil servants or retired pensioners.

To KTMB, I hope someone in the company who is in a position to make a difference, will seriously look into our existing problems with the location of the new station, and think of a way out. Just think of the happiness of train travellers when this is done, I am sure you will feel good too.




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A good Buddhist philosophy...

and some of our leaders seem to be practising it!

Lord Buddha was sitting under a banyan tree.

One day, a furious Brahmin came to him and started abusing him. The Brahmin thought that Lord Buddha would reciprocate in the same manner, but to his utter surprise, there was not the slightest change in the expression on his face.

Now, the Brahmin became more furious. He hurled more and more abuses at Buddha. However, Lord Buddha was completely unmoved. Actually, there was a look of compassion on his face. Ultimately the Brahmin was tired of abusing him.

He asked, "I have been abusing you, but why are you not angry at all?"

Lord Buddha calmly replied, "My dear brother, I have not accepted a single abuse from you."

"But you heard all of them, didn't you?" The Brahmin argued half-heartedly.

Buddha said, "I do not need the abuses, so why should I even hear them?"

Now the Brahmin was even more puzzled. He could not understand the calm reply from Lord Buddha.

Looking at his disturbed face, Buddha further explained, "All those abuses remain with you."

"It cannot be possible. I have hurled all of them at you," the Brahmin persisted.

Buddha calmly repeated his reply, "But I have not accepted even a single abuse from you! Dear brother, suppose you give some coins to somebody, and if he does not accept them, with whom will those coins remain?"

The Brahman replied, "If I have given the coins and not needed by someone, then naturally they would remain with me."

With a meaningful smile on his face, Buddha said, "Now you are right. The same has happened with your abuses. You came here and hurled abuses at me, but I have not accepted a single abuse from you. Hence, all those abuses remain with you only. So there is no reason to be angry with you."

The Brahmin remained speechless. He was ashamed of his behavior and begged for Buddha's forgiveness.

Lesson to Learn from This Story:

Inner Calmness and Peace are Keys to a Contented Life. You know who you are and what you want in life, so don't respond to what person said about you in anger. Control your anger with patience and calmness. That is the biggest strength of a wise man.

Never take someone for granted, hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.

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What's in a name?

Starbucks can be cheap... if you know where to find one:

so is a VIP... or rather VIP toilet:


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Optical illusions...

Someone's clever artworks:

When you look through 'me' you will see 'you'!


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Different perspectives...

Those who lead and those led... never a twain shall meet?



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Middle of the Road - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

This song should bring back memories to my daughters.

For 12 years, between 1982 and 1994, I was working for my family in KL and my wife for hers in Batu Gajah.

As was common, or nature would have it, children (started with one, then two and then three) followed mummy and I had to do most of the travelling, almost every weekend: Saturday afternoon leaving KL (and my own mum) and Monday morning leaving BG (leaving family). When my daughters were still very young, my wife used to start work very early, leaving the house at 6.30 am, so the little girls used to wake up missing their daddy and mummy. I used to sing part of the song which I changed the lyrics to:

Where's your Mama gone? (Mang chong, as in Amang factory in Hakka)
Where's your Papa gone? (Kuala Lumpur)
Far, far away ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWgh2LRTMYo
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Not sure if this sales strategy worked...

maybe too well, judging from the response! But if it was meant to be publicity without too much free gifts, then it could have backfired instead.

Advertisement of opening of a sports shop 'Decathlon' in Germany:

'Get dressed for free, from head to toe, first come first serve. Only condition: come naked.'






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