How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

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

When there's too much dirt...

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

Prevent bullying now!

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bought an old Raleigh bicycle for Rm50!

after a test ride...

then tried to figure out how to get it into the Hyundai Accent! We managed to put it on the back seat with the front passenger seat pushed right to the front! It would have been easier if a hatchback. We did not use the pick-up because there was a marble table top at the back to be sent for polishing.

It was unplanned. This morning, I meant to drop by YB Fong Po Kuan's service centre in Kg. Baru Bukit Merah to say hello because she was having a talk by a nutritionist on how to make enzyme from fruit peelings. Wife stayed in the car but YB insisted that she goes in for the talk... how to resist? But knowing my better half, the Ipoh Sunday market is addictive when she is in Ipoh at the right time. Anyway, we stayed for an hour before going to Ipoh.

About the enzymes, I must say the talk was enlightening especially when you are ready to try it out. Many people do not really bother to listen because they are not ready for it. All we need are kitchen wastes like fruit peelings and vegetable cast-offs which would reduce our daily rubbish tremendously. Using a plastic container, fill it 60% with water (filtered or boiled before to get rid of impurities and chlorine). Then fill it with the fruit peelings, until the water level is 80%. Then add brown sugar to make the level to 90% and capped the container. Each day, the cap has to be opened and closed again for a month. The enzyme can be used after 3 months, for cleaning the floor, spraying plants to get rid of unwanted insects, cleansing the body in place of body shampoo, and so on. The leftovers after the enzyme-making process can even be used as fertilizers! Plastic containers (like those used for biscuits) were distributed to those attendees and even brown sugar too!

This initiative reminds me of Don and Mylene's Green Crusaders efforts in educating the public on recycling. If more people are involved in recycling, there is no need for those expensive incinerators.

At the recent DAP National Convention, Don and Mylene were invited to set up a booth displaying an array of containers which are classified as recyclable and non-recyclable. Instead of the usual bags, recycled bags were distributed to delegates to reinforce their policy on banning plastic bags in supermarkets.

I wish Penang would provide a grant to enable them to take it further as a state initiative and ensure success in implementation. How I wish we can have workable recycling system where special containers are provided all over the country. In a European country, we can just throw in a glass bottle into a container meant for glass without having to worry over breakage. Here, whenever we have broken glass, we have to think of the consequences of people getting hurt if left in the bin or when disposed in the wasteland where scavengers are likely to scour the rubbish for anything useful.

Our best friend in need...

a compassionate man to the rescue...
grateful owner...


A long story... but if you insist...

A cop stops a Harley for traveling faster than the posted speed limit, so he asks the biker his name.

'Fred,' he replies.

'Fred what?' the officer asks.

'Just Fred,' the man responds.

The officer is in a good mood and thinks he might just give the biker a break and, write him out a warning instead of a ticket. The officer then presses him for the last name.

The man tells him that he used to have a last name but lost it. The officer thinks that he has a nut case on his hands but plays along with it. 'Tell me, Fred, how did you lose your last name?'

The biker replies, 'It's a long story, so stay with me.' I was born Fred Johnson.

I studied hard and got good grades. When I got older, I realized that I wanted to be a doctor. I went through college, medical school, internship, residency, and finally got my degree, so I was Fred Johnson, MD. After a while I got bored being a doctor, so I decided to go back to school.
Dentistry was my dream! Got all the way through School, got my degree, so then I was Fred Johnson, MD, DDS.

Got bored doing dentistry, so I started fooling around with my assistant and she gave me VD, so now I was Fred Johnson, MD, DDS, with VD.

Well, the ADA found out about the VD, so they took away my DDS. Then I was Fred Johnson, MD, with VD.

Then the AMA found out about the ADA taking away my DDS because of the VD, so they took away my MD leaving me as Fred Johnson with VD.

Then the VD took away my Johnson, so now I am Just Fred.'

The officer walked away in tears, laughing.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Simple instructions made difficult...

by different mindsets...


A simple experiment...

which proves that a person drools in front of a pint of beer...

Easy questions...

Elvis Presley's song (Such An) Easy Question comes to mind:

Do you or don't you love me
Such an easy question
Why can't I get an answer...

There are still many easy questions which we are still waiting for answers:

Why Tesco's make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Why people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Why banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Why we leave cars worth thousands of pounds in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Why they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering..


Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin ?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?

Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn't there mouse-flavoured cat food?

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on planes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Why? Good question.


Friday, January 29, 2010

More hospital tales...

At the beginning of my shift, I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall.

'Big breaths,' I instructed.

'Yes, they used to be,'. . . replied the patient.

Submitted by Dr. Richard Barnes, St.Thomas's, Bath.

One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct.

Not more than five minutes later, I heard her on her mobile phone reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a 'massive internal fart'.

Submitted by Dr. Susan Steinberg Royal London Hosp.

While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient, I asked 'How long have you been bedridden?'

After a look of complete confusion she answered, 'Why? Not for about twenty years - when my husband was still alive.'

Submitted by Dr. Steven Swanson- Maidenhead Royal Kent

Unwittingly appropriate sign:


When old man strikes back...

They always ask at the doctor's reception why you are there, and you have to answer in front of others what's wrong and sometimes it is embarrassing.

There's nothing worse than a Doctor's Receptionist who insists you tell her what is wrong with you, in a room full of other patients.

I know most of us have experienced this, and I love the way this old guy handled it.

A 75-year-old man walked into a crowded waiting room and approached the desk.

The Receptionist said, 'Yes sir, what are you seeing the Doctor for today?'

'There's something wrong with my dick', he replied.

The receptionist became irritated and said, 'You shouldn't come into a crowded waiting room and say things like that. '

'Why not, you asked me what was wrong and I told you,' he said.

The Receptionist replied; 'Now you've caused some embarrassment in this room full of people.

You should have said there is something wrong with your ear or something and discussed the problem further with the Doctor in private.'

The man replied, 'You shouldn't ask people questions in a roomful of strangers if the answer could embarrass anyone.

The man walked out, waited several minutes, and then re-entered.

The Receptionist smiled smugly and asked, 'Yes??'

'There's something wrong with my ear,' he stated.

The Receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice.
'And what is wrong with your ear, Sir?'

'I can't piss out of it,' he replied.

The waiting room erupted in laughter.

Mess with seniors and you're going to lose!


Some changes noticeable when getting old

like when people start calling you 'ah pek'(Hokien) or 'ah pak' (Cantonese), as in uncle but in age older than his or her father.

I can accept that but our Chinese educated Chinese might call me 'uncle' even though he or she is as old or even older than me... that is devastating! Below is a comprehensive compilation (some meant for women) from someone (not me) who is really 'cheah pah siu eng':

~Your kids are becoming you...and you don't like them
...but your grandchildren are perfect!

~Going out is good.
Coming home is better!

~When people say you look "Great"...
they add "for your age!"

~When you needed the discount you paid full price.
Now you get discounts on everything ... movies, hotels, flights, but you're too tired to use them.

~You forget names ... but it's OK because other people forgot they even knew you!!!

~The 5 pounds you wanted to lose is now 15 and you have a better chance of losing your keys than the 15 pounds.

~You realize you're never going to be really good at anything .... especially golf.

~Your spouse is counting on you to remember things you don't remember.

~The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don't care to do them anymore.

~Your spouse sleeps better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than he does in bed.
It's called his "pre-sleep".

~Remember when your mother said "Wear clean underwear in case you GET in an accident"?
Now you bring clean underwear in case you HAVE an accident!

~You used to say,
"I hope my kids GET married ... Now, "I hope they STAY married!"

~You miss the days when everything worked with just an "ON" and "OFF" switch..

~When GOOGLE, ipod, email, modem ... were unheard of, and a mouse was something
that made you climb on a table.

~You used to use more 4 letter words ... "what?"..."when?" ???

~Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it's not safe to wear it anywhere.

~You read 100 pages into a book before you realize you've read it.

~Notice everything they sell in stores is "sleeveless"?!!!

~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.

~Everybody whispers.

~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet .... 2 of which you will never wear.

~~~~But old is good in some things: old songs, old movies, And best of all OLD FRIENDS!!

Friends do not let friends go through trials alone!


If in doubt... test it out...

Try An Experiment With Your Mother-In-Law
By Richard Altschuler

Does the expiration date on a bottle of a medication mean anything? If a bottle of Tylenol, for example, says something like "Do not use after June 1998," and it is August 2002, should you take the Tylenol? Should you discard it? Can you get hurt if you take it? Will it simply have lost its potency and do you no good?

In other words, are drug manufacturers being honest with us when they put an expiration date on their medications, or is the practice of dating just another drug industry scam, to get us to buy new medications when the old ones that purportedly have "expired" are still perfectly good?

These are the pressing questions I investigated after my mother-in-law recently said to me, "It doesn't mean anything," when I pointed out that the Tylenol she was about to take had "expired" 4 years and a few months ago. I was a bit mocking in my pronouncement -- feeling superior that I had noticed the chemical corpse in her cabinet -- but she was equally adamant in her reply, and is generally very sage about medical issues.

So I gave her a glass of water with the purportedly "dead" drug, of which she took 2 capsules for a pain in the upper back. About a half hour later she reported the pain seemed to have eased up a bit. I said "You could be having a placebo effect," not wanting to simply concede she was right about the drug, and also not actually knowing what I was talking about. I was just happy to hear that her pain had eased, even before we had our evening cocktails and hot tub dip (we were in "Leisure World," near Laguna Beach, California, where the hot tub is bigger than most Manhattan apartments, and "Heaven," as generally portrayed, would be raucous by comparison).

Upon my return to NYC and high-speed connection, I immediately scoured the medical databases and general literature for the answer to my question about drug expiration labeling. And voila, no sooner than I could say "Screwed again by the pharmaceutical industry," I had my answer. Here are the simple facts:

First, the expiration date, required by law in the United States, beginning in 1979, specifies only the date the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of the drug -- it does not mean how long the drug is actually "good" or safe to use.

Second, medical authorities uniformly say it is safe to take drugs past their expiration date -- no matter how "expired" the drugs purportedly are. Except for possibly the rarest of exceptions, you won't get hurt and you certainly won't get killed.

A contested example of a rare exception is a case of renal tubular damage purportedly caused by expired tetracycline (reported by G. W. Frimpter and colleagues in JAMA, 1963;184:111) . This outcome (disputed by other scientists) was supposedly caused by a chemical transformation of the active ingredient. Third, studies show that expired drugs may lose some of their potency over time, from as little as 5% or less to 50% or more (though usually much less than the latter). Even 10 years after the "expiration date," most drugs have a good deal of their original potency. So wisdom dictates that if your life does depend on an expired drug, and you must have 100% or so of its original strength, you should probably toss it and get a refill, in accordance with the cliché, "better safe than sorry." If your life does not depend on an expired drug -- such as that for headache, hay fever, or menstrual cramps --take it and see what happens.

One of the largest studies ever conducted that supports the above points about "expired drug" labeling was done by the US military 15 years ago, according to a feature story in the Wall Street Journal (March 29, 2000), reported by Laurie P. Cohen. The military was sitting on a $1 billion stockpile of drugs and facing the daunting process of destroying and replacing its supply every 2 to 3 years, so it began a testing program to see if it could extend the life of its inventory. The testing, conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ultimately covered more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. The results showed that about 90% of them were safe and effective as far as 15 years past their original expiration date.

In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, said he concluded thatexpiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. Mr. Flaherty noted that a drug maker is required to prove only that a drug is still good on whatever expiration date the company chooses to set. The expiration date doesn't mean, or even suggest, that the drug will stop being effective after that, nor that it will become harmful. "Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons," said Mr. Flaherty, a pharmacist at theFDA until his retirement in 1999. "It's not profitable for them to have products on a shelf for 10 years.. They want turnover."

The FDA cautioned there isn't enough evidence from the program, which is weighted toward drugs used during combat, to conclude most drugs in consumers' medicine cabinets are potent beyond the expiration date. Joel Davis, however, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, said that with a handful of exceptions -- notably nitroglycerin, insulin, and some liquid antibiotics -- most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. "Most drugs degrade very slowly," he said. "In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years, especially if it's in the refrigerator." Consider aspirin. Bayer AG puts 2-year or 3-year dates on aspirin and says that it should be discarded after that. However, Chris Allen, a vice president at the Bayer unit that makes aspirin, said the dating is "pretty conservative"; when Bayer has tested 4-year-old aspirin, it remained 100% effective, he said. So why doesn't Bayer set a 4-year expiration date? Because the company often changes packaging, and it undertakes "continuous improvement programs," Mr. Allen said. Each change triggers a need for more expiration-date testing, and testing each time for a 4-year life would be impractical. Bayer has never tested aspirin beyond 4 years, Mr. Allen said. But Jens Carstensen has. Dr. Carstensen, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin's pharmacy school, who wrote what is considered the main text on drug stability, said, "I did a study of different aspirins, and after 5 years, Bayer was still excellent. Aspirin, if made correctly, is very stable.

Okay, I concede. My mother-in-law was right, once again. And I was wrong, once again, and with a wiseacre attitude to boot. Sorry mom.

Now I think I'll take a swig of the 10-year dead package of Alka Seltzer in my medicine chest -- to ease the nausea I'm feeling from calculating how many billions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry bilks out of unknowing consumers every year who discard perfectly good drugs and buy new ones because they trust the industry's "expiration date labeling."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Being lucky

is a state of mind, at a moment in time.

A friend had a 30-year old car which he bought new in 1977. He decided to sell it to buy a new Proton Persona. He sold it for Rm900.

Soon after, because of the big increase in fuel prices, the government decided to pay a rebate of Rm675 to owners of cars below 2000cc, and he felt the timing sucks and of course, considered himself unlucky.

Then came the announcement that for those who owned cars of whatever make can trade in for Rm5,000 when buying a new Proton! He was 'devastated' where luck is concerned.

Anyway, it is common for new car buyers to buy 4-D lottery of their car registration numbers. He bought Rm5 Big and Rm5 Small and struck second price which paid some Rm15,000!

Was he being compensated by some divine soul for having been unlucky twice? For crying out loud, he was subjected to constant friendly tease for being unlucky which might have evoked divine intervention.

Recently, another friend got into a fight with someone's husband who came to coax back his wife. The wife was physically abused and sought refuge in a relation's place. All he did was telling him not to raise his voice and the husband grabbed a bottle which did not break as he intended and grabbed a knife. Anyway, this friend received a few cuts as a result.

The next day, his elder brother died in a road accident in Johore. He went with his mother for the funeral. News got distorted and there was even some who thought he was killed by someone, based on the fact that Madam so-and-so's son died.

This made him realized that a twist of fate could have saved his brother. For example, if he were killed one day before, his brother would have come from Johore and might not got himself killed in the accident!


Coffee is a health drink?

I am more of a tea drinker and social coffee drinker as in 'drink white coffee in its place of origin'. I feel uncomfortable after a Nescafe and I wonder what is in it.

My health conscious friend would insist on drinking water after a cup of coffee to reduce its acidity. This is what he has forwarded to me from Australia:

A Cupful of Health Benefits
Patients coming to the Whitaker Wellness Institute sometimes express surprise that we serve coffee. Doesn't it increase the body's acidity? Aren't health-conscious people supposed to drink tea instead? Isn't caffeine bad for you?

If coffee were harmful, then every morning emergency rooms around the world would be choked with people suffering the ill effects of our favorite breakfast beverage. Of course, this isn't the case. Coffee is not harmful. On the contrary, I consider it to be a health food, and hundreds of studies bear this out.

From Protection Against Parkinson's...
Research shows that drinking coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson's disease by as much as 80 percent and protects against other neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's. It increases insulin sensitivity, and a high intake- at least six cups a day- lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by 54 percent in men and 30 percent in women.

Coffee improves concentration and alertness, boosts mood, and decreases suicide risk. In fact, just the smell of coffee relieves stress in animals. This popular drink also controls asthma and can even halt a full-blown attack in its tracks. Additionally, coffee can stop migraine headaches, curb appetite, prevent tooth decay, and increase the effectiveness of aspirin and other analgesics (Anacin and Excedrin both contain caffeine). And if you drink it before working out, your endurance will improve and you'll have less exercise-induced muscle pain. Increased Longevity
Compared to people who avoid coffee, those who drink at least two cups a day are 80 percent less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver (even if they drink a lot of alcohol), half as likely to have gallstones, and 25 percent less apt to get colon cancer. Coffee is also protective against cancer of the liver and kidneys, and although it's long been suspected of increasing risk ofbreast cancer, a recent study spanning 22 years and involving nearly 86,000 women found a weak inverse association between the two in post menopausal females.

Finally, coffee may even increase longevity. A large 2008 study found that drinking up to six cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee daily is associated with a slightly lower risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and other causes.

What Makes Coffee So Healthful?
So what is it in coffee that provides such remarkable benefits? First, that cup of java is a terrific source of protective antioxidants. Researchers evaluating both the antioxidant levels of various foods and drinks and the frequency with which those items are consumed have found that the average amount of coffee consumed by American adults per day- 1.64 cups- provides 1,299 mg of antioxidants. Tea, the second richest source, supplied only 294 mg, followed by antioxidant-rich (but sparingly eaten) fruits and vegetables, which provide fewer than 75 mg each of antioxidants per day. Believe it or not, coffee even contains fiber- nearly 2 g per cup.

But these aren't the only components that make coffee a health food. Although some studies reveal that regular and decaffeinated coffee both have benefits, oft-maligned caffeine gives the drink much of its oomph. In addition to perking up the nervous system, caffeine increases the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine and enhances delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and brain.

So, the next time you feel like a cup of Joe , indulge yourself. It's a good way to boost your mood, your energy, and your overall health.

Schardt D. Caffeine: The good, the bad, and the maybe. Nutrition Action Health letter. March 2008.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Optical illusion way to slow down drivers

Speed controls being used in Eastern Canada:
Almost certain to slow down drivers, though I can imagine the most likely complaint would be the unsightly aspect.

Can be moved to another road too!


Slip of the tongue?

For those who know what a skunk is synonymous with, will laugh out loud.

A man and his wife were driving home one very cold night when the wife asks her husband to stop the car. There was a baby skunk lying at the side of the road, and she got out to see if it was still alive.

It was, and she said to her husband, “It’s nearly frozen to death. Can we take it with us, get it warm, and let it go in the morning?”

He says, “O.K., Get in the car with it.”

“Where shall I put it to get it warm?”

He says, “Put it in between your legs. It’s nice and warm there.”

“But what about the smell?”

“Just hold its little nose.”

The man is expected to recover, but the skunk she used to beat him with died at the scene.


A post worth repeating

This is the time of the year when we have to start looking for documents necessary for the filing of our tax returns. The ordinary taxpayers perception of the Inland Revenue is that of an uncompromising debt collector waiting for their dues. When you take risks and lose money, it is none of their business. But when you are making money, then they want a share of it.

Much as our Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri wants to change our perception of it - to make it more friendly, the tax laws remain to the dismay of many a taxpayer. Try telling them that their office and travelling expenses, which are commonly thought of as necessary for a small business, are disallowable for tax purposes and see their reactions. Fine them for disclosing something out of honesty and they will think, 'why did I do that, might as well wait for them to find out!'

As we all know, oil palms are susceptible to the vagaries of nature and palm oil prices are highly volatile. Yet we have provisions for estimates of profits which are not supposed to be out by more than 10%. Any deviation from that is liable to fine based on the 'under-estimated income'. So in effect, one has to be able to predict future prices too! Then, there is the added problem of thefts of fresh fruit bunches whenever the palm oil prices are high enough to make it worthwhile.

Anyway, this is one of my favourite jokes about the tax man or woman:

A father is in a restaurant with his son. The young man is demonstrating how he can catch a pound coin with his mouth after flipping it in the air. Suddenly, he starts choking, going blue in the face. The dad realizes he has swallowed the coin and starts panicking, shouting for help.

A well dressed, attractive, but serious-looking woman in a blue business suit is sitting at a coffee bar in the mall, reading her newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee.

At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down on the saucer, neatly folds the newspaper and places it on the counter, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the restaurant.

Reaching the young man, the woman carefully unzips his pants takes hold of his testicles and starts to squeeze, gently at first and then even more firmly. After a few seconds he convulses violently and coughs up the pound coin, which the woman deftly catches in her free hand.

Releasing the lad, the woman hands the coin to the father and walks back to her seat in the coffee bar without saying a word.

As soon as he is sure that his son has suffered no lasting ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her saying, "I've never seen anybody do anything like that before, it was fantastic. Are you a doctor?"

"No," the woman replies, " I work for the Inland Revenue."


Innovation: from mundane stuff

why didn't we think of that!

The Royal College of Art's graduate show has opened, and this year, the show-stopper was actually -- a plug. Min-Kyu Choi impressed every passerby with his neat, apparently market-ready plug that folds down to the width of a thin mobile computer.

"Many of today's mobile computers have become wafer thin but here in the UK , we still use the world's biggest three-pin plug," says Choi.

Enter Choi's slimmed down British three-pin plug wonder.

It's so plausible and so obvious a product that it should produce a few red faces; how many more years are we going to endure attaching our palm sized mobiles and wafer thin laptops to an object that's barely been touched since its first design in 1946?

Choi picked an everyday product that most other designers might have found too mundane to dabble with and drastically improved it - exactly the kind of thinking that we should be celebrating right now.

Meanwhile, his surname reminds me of a Yemeni's version of Seasons in the sun by Terry Jacks when we were staying at the Methodist International House in Leeds (1973/74) :

"We have Choi (actually spelt Tsui from HK), we have Chan (from Malaysia), we have Susan (cleaner's daughter) in the kitchen..."

It was funny then, and now only those who were with us then would be able to relate to it.

Incidentally, our Yemeni friend who finished his doctorate in Leeds University should be in a very responsible position now.

Tsui at the time, was with a group from Hong Kong who did their first degree, master degree as well as doctorate, mostly in textile related courses. Their university mates would have included the well known singer - the late Leslie Cheong Kwok-Wing, who died in 2003.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Malaysian films competing in international film festival

Cheng laments about the lack of publicity about our filmmakers.

"I was surprised to see the wave of Malaysian film makers making their mark in recent years. It's too bad that their successes (include that of the late Yasmin Ahmad) have not been adequately acknowledged in Malaysia..."

For example, 'My daughter (Li Fa Dian De Nu Er)', a Malaysian film by Charlotte Lay Kuen Lim, is competing in the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Tan Chui Mui's short entry this year dissects inter-racial relations in South Africa from her Malaysian perspective:

CRTV.NL Filmmaker Tan Chui Mui:

I have enough problems of my own to deal with

Just going about my daily routine, living a life of a typical retiree, I come across many problems which I need to sort out. While some may accept whatever that comes along and rather not pursue the matter, I feel it necessary to find the reasons why it happened, how it happened, and hopefully find a solution so that in future the problem will not recur.

Yesterday, our part-time cleaner asked me to find out why her current water bill (Lembaga Air Perak) shows arrears when she had paid it at Telekom.

My first thought was the 7-day grace to pay the water bill and it could be because she did not pay in time. But water usage is billed every two months so whatever slow accounting and/or transfer from Telekom to LAP would have been sorted out.

First, I went to LAP and asked the cashier to check their computer record and she confirmed what was stated in the current bill, ie. no payment in November and last payment was in September.

Then, I went over to Telekom to enquire, and without the previous paid bill, I looked stupid even asking for information. Anyway, the man confirmed that usually all monies collected are remitted within 3 days and they do not keep the bill counterfoils which are returned to LAP.

This morning, our friend was happy to show me the paid bill which she had found, and I am glad for her because I have something to work on. It showed Rm17.85 paid in cash to Telekom.

Right now, I am making a guess before I go back to Telekom which I think is where the problem lies. No, I have nothing against them.

Where cash is concerned, there is always the possibility of theft: by cashier or whoever is in charge after the cashier before the money is remitted to the rightful party, in this case, LAP. Or to be kind, I should consider it as a mistake and the possibility that a counterfoil went missing and therefore LAP could not credit the account concerned. This could also have happened at LAP, and I am about to find out more.

An auditor would say that even a small amount is significant if it involved weaknesses in the system of internal control.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I see things differently...

I see Pakatan Rakyat in its infancy with its three coalition partners!

But jokes aside, I believe Pakatan Rakyat is a force to be reckon with, as evidenced from Anwar being disallowed to even speak at a ceramah - so much for being irrelevant.

I also agree with some that it is more than Anwar Ibrahim now, and looks unstoppable.

Looks like, seems like, but not a Palindrome...

A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward. Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite.

This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant. Make sure you read as well as listen…forward and backward.

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was titled "u @ 50" by AARP. This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

Full body scanners: truth and perception...


Invasion of the Body Scanners

In Canada:

Toronto airport starts virtual strip-search

Body scanners at Pearson International target U.S.-bound travellers


But could this be one of the worries according to public perception? :

BN - Buli Nasional?

Seems like it, according to this article in Malaysian Mirror:

What surprises me is how they are able to get away with it, time and again. I thought being 'Fixed Deposit' to BN should be a good reason to treat the people of Sarawak well. But it looks like 'benefiting a few at the expense of many' continues unabated.

Phishing gets more fishy

In my last post on phishing, I mentioned if URL shows the name of the bank, then it should be ok. Now, I am not too sure!

Just received one email this morning which looks very authentic indeed, relating to M2U. The only difference seems to be this:

When we first visit the M2U site, the URL shows "http://...", then where we are supposed to log in, it would show "https://...".

In this case, when I put the cursor on the hyperlink in the email, its URL shows "http://..."

From what I understand, where it shows "https" it means a secured site and this is where we are supposed to login. In this case, though the description in the hyperlink mention Login, it shows only "http"!

As far as I am concerned, in this case, it is 'if in doubt, leave it out'!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

'Don't come home, Son'

could well be my call to my son, multiplied by thousands of others in a similar situation.

I just could not resist posting this letter, lifted from Malaysia Today. There are easily hundreds of comments by people irritated by our Deputy Minister Husni's latest statements - on Malaysians emigrating overseas and/or just buying expensive properties overseas, in various online news portals.

We all know the reasons, government leaders know but pretend not to, as to why there was this continuing brain drain. Unless the situation is rectified, the leaders have no moral right to question those who decided to migrate overseas.

As to properties, only those who could afford would have done so and if they were purchased as a 'just in case situation got worse', so what? Isn't it natural that at the end of the day, self interest comes first no matter how we try to be politically correct.

If we were to question investments overseas, then Petronas and other big Malaysian corporations would have to forget about expanding overseas. What about Daim's overseas empire? Many ordinary folks question why Robert Kuok appears to be withdrawing from Malaysia. Genting's move seems quite obvious in case they lose their casino licence.

Anyway, here is the letter:

Sometime in 1980, when I was a final year student in London, I had a very short tele conversation with my father. In those days, there were no call cards, Skype or the like and calls were expensive. He had a very simple message - "Dont come home, Son".

By "Ice Cream Seller"

To Deputy Minister Husni,

A story (true) in response to your statement about emigration by ingrates.

Sometime in 1980, when I was a final year student in London, I had a very short tele- conversation with my father. In those days, there were no call cards, Skype or the like and calls were expensive. He had a very simple message - "Dont come home, Son".

Now almost 30 years on, I see where he was coming from.

He advised me to stay on in the UK or if I found the weather not to my liking, told me to go to Australia - even if it meant that I may eventually marry a "white girl" as he put it. I was 23 and marriage was certainly not on my mind.

He was a 'pendatang'. This pendatang however secured a scholarship to study in Raffles College (the pre-cursor to the University of Malaya) and served some 30-odd years in various senior teaching positions culminating with the last few years in the Malay College. Amongst his students - a list of past and present ministers and opposition figures.

I didnt heed his advice till last year and spent the last 28 years in Malaysia. However, it became increasingly untenable to work here without compromising my values, integrity and conscience.

Why did he advise me such?

With hindsight, I saw his foresight. As an educationist, he saw we were heading to be another Ceylon (from where he was sent when orphaned), Burma, Philippines and in today's scenario, Zimbabwe.

He saw what the outcome would be when we mess up education with politics.
He saw that religion would be a divisive factor in years to come (he even encouraged me to learn Jawi as a 9 year old).
He believed that in a country like this, mixed marriages would help cement society.
He saw in some of our leaders of yesterday that even in their youth, they had unbridled cunning and only needed an opening to exploit that trait.
He saw in some of his students potential to be PM but said that would never be because they were "too smart for UMNO's liking".
He saw that given our racial demographics, religion would be used as a means to ensure the survival of a particular group.
He believed that eventually, the Malays would have a class war amongst themselves.
He said that even amongst the Malays, many of the English educated would opt to live away from Malaysia.

He told me promotions won't necessarily be given for competence. These are usually won in the Clubs (read political party today) and over a few drinks. Being a bit of an introvert myself, he encouraged me to join clubs, associations and play sports and travel. He said honesty doesn't necessarily pay in this world but still better to be honest and live with dignity.

Our home was (at different times) home to 3 delinquent Chinese boys - sent by the Juvenile court. He volunteered to take them in. Add to that a few other Indian boys. Though not my mother tongue, I spoke to my parents in Malay till I was about 10. We took in a Chinese lady injured during the war and she lived with us for about 40 years till she died. My father referred to her as his mother in law. I thought she was my grandmother even though my mother was not Chinese!!

By the late 70s and early 80s, he saw that this scenario would not likely repeat in the years to come. When he died in 1982, we were pleasantly surprised to see some of his students (by then in their 50s) come from different states for his funeral. One told me that it was my father that made sure he spoke flawless English and another told me how my father would bring the 6th Formers home from the hostel and used our home for dinner and to teach them social graces - including dancing (taught by my mother). Partners were arranged from the convent school with the blessings of the headmistress!!!

29 years on, I view his foresight through the same prism and now agonise as to whether I should tell my children the same. For now, I am allowing my eldest to pursue his tertiary education overseas. Maybe when he finishes, he may not be as shortsighted as I was. Pray God grant him wisdom and vision.

Last year, I resigned from my job, returned the company car and driver, said goodbye to my executive package and moved to Australia where I now live with no maid, no driver, no Audi 2.8, no golf, no teh tarik seessions, no bonus etc but am rediscovering humanity running a humble ice cream shop.

Sometimes we learn very late.

An ice-cream seller


Secret Code of September 11?


This is actually really freaky!! (mainly the end part, but read it all first)

1) New York City has 11 letters
2) Afghanistan has 11 letters.
3) Ramsin Yuseb has 11 letters. (The terrorist who threatened to destroy the Twin Towers in 1993)
4) George W Bush has 11 letters.

This could be a mere coincidence, but this gets more interesting:

1) New York is the 11th state.
2) The first plane crashing against theTwin Towers was flight number 11.
3) Flight 11 was carrying 92 passengers. 9 + 2 = 11
4) Flight 77 which also hit Twin Towers, was carrying 65 passengers. 6+5 = 11
5) The tragedy was on September 11, or 9/11 as it is now known. 9 + 1 + 1 = 11
6) The date is equal to the US emergency services telephone number 911.

9 + 1 + 1 = 11

Sheer coincidence..?! Read on and make up your own mind:

1) The total number of victims inside all the hi-jacked planes was 254.

2 + 5 + 4 = 11.

2) September 11 is day number 254 of the calendar year.

Again 2 + 5 + 4 = 11..

3) The Madrid bombing took place on 3/11/2004.. 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 = 11.
4) The tragedy of Madrid happened 911 days after the Twin Towers incident.

Now this is where things get totally eerie:

The most recognized symbol for the US , after the Stars & Stripes, is the Eagle. The following verse is taken from the Quran, the Islamic holy book:

'For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced: for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah and there was peace.'

That verse is number 9.11 of the Quran.
unconvinced about all of this Still ?!

Try this and see how you feel
afterwards, it made my hairs stand on end:

Open Microsoft Word and do the following:

1. Type in capitals Q33 NY. This is the flight number of the first plane to hit one of the Twin Towers ..
2. Highlight the Q33 NY.
3. Change the font size to 48.
4. Change the actual font to the WINGDINGS

What do you think now?!!

(Author unknown)

Midas wannabe... story of the Touchstone

When the great library of Alexandria burned, as the story goes, one book was saved. But it was not a valuable book; and so a poor man, who could read a little, bought it for a few coppers.

The book wasn't very interesting, but between its pages there was something very interesting indeed. It was a thin strip of vellum on which was written the secret of the "Touchstone"!

The touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold. The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles that looked exactly like it. But the secret was this: The real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold.

So the man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing pebbles.

He knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebble hundreds of times. So, when he felt one that was cold, he threw it into the sea. He spent a whole day doing this but none of them was the touchstone. Yet he went on and on this way. Pick up a pebble. Cold - throw it into the sea. Pick up another. Throw it into the sea.

The days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months.

One day, however, about mid afternoon, he picked up a pebble and it was warm. He threw it into the sea before he realized what he had done. He had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away.

So it is with opportunity. Unless we are vigilant, it's easy to fail to recognize an opportunity when it is in hand, and it's just as easy to throw it away.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Watchdog and the Bloodhound

I have this image in my mind of two frogs hugging each other on top of a mountain, one looking at one side of the world and the other looking at the opposite side, which I had seen as a kid in a story book.

I Googled 'fairytale of the two frogs' and among other links, led me to this adaptation from Andrew Lang's Japanese fairytale of The Two Frogs:

Actually, the story is irrelevant to my piece, just the picture of two animals looking at different sides of the world.

In fact, it would be more relevant to use the examples of a Watchdog and a Bloodhound.

From what we have gathered from MACC's operations, it appears to have two sides, one looking after Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition and the other, looking after Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition.

The so-called Watchdog in charge of BN appeared to be either near-sighted like Mr. Magoo, or what the British would describe as 'close one eye and shut the other', where he could not even see a big elephant passing by. What PKFZ? What mansion? We are busy doing our job... investigating and cannot disclose what we are doing, ok?

On the other hand, the Bloodhound which is in charge of PR, appeared to use a magnifying glass wherever he went. He can and is especially interested in minor activities which might remotely be of use to charge the representatives of PR. So what if it failed, the highlighted publicity in the mainstream media would do enough damage to make it worthwhile.

Examples were the cows bought for the people by YAB Khalid Ibrahim; Rm2,400 expenses incurred by Teoh Beng Hock which ended in tragedy; the birthday cake for YAB Nik Aziz; and now more rubbish are being dug up, what with the powerful magnifying glass being used.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Our brain dead Brain Gain programme...

where promises are meant to be broken...

The Brain Gain’s Poster Boy Wants Out


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Rajah Rasiah once considered himself a fortunate man. At the age of 45 he was a full professor at United Nations University, in Maastricht, the Netherlands, earning more than $150,000 a year, tax-free.

A popular conference speaker and prolific author of papers on new technologies, the economist was often jetting around to the world’s capitals. With a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, his children in an elite private school, and two Mercedes-Benzes in the garage, he was about as far away as he could get from his impoverished childhood in Malaysia, where a knife wound had left him blind in one eye.

Despite his comfortable position in Europe, Mr. Rasiah was intrigued when the government of Malaysia began courting him. He was exactly the kind of dynamic academic that the government’s Brain Gain scheme hoped to lure home to infuse new life into its university programs.

With aging parents back in Kuala Lumpur and his wife unhappy living so far from home, he thought perhaps it was time to move back permanently. Considering how eager education officials were for him to return, even though their ethnic policies had once prevented a Tamil
Indian like himself from advancing, Mr. Rasiah believed the university environment would be a place where he could thrive.

He had no idea how wrong he could be. “I should have never come back,” says Mr. Rasiah, who accepted a teaching job at the University of Malaya in 2004 at one-fifth the salary he was previously earning.

Barely a Pulse

Few of the benefits that the Brain Gain scheme had promised materialized. Though he was told he wouldn’t pay income tax during his first two years here, when he went to file his taxes the authorities said they had never heard of the Brain Gain program. While waiting for hours in lines to register his cars, Mr. Rasiah met other academics who were getting the run-around from government bureaucracies.

“People were already regretting moving back here,” he says.

Indeed, most people who returned under the programs have left. According to the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, the first Brain Gain program, begun in 1995 and run until 2000, attracted just 94 scientists, only one of whom remains in Malaysia. A second Brain Gain scheme that ran from 2001 to 2004 was intended to attract 5,000 “extraordinary world talents” a year. Fewer than 200 took advantage of the offer. Today Mr. Rasiah is one of the few known to
remain in the country.

Money never was the issue, says Mr. Rasiah, who supplements his professor’s salary with consulting jobs at the World Bank. But he has been shocked at how unprofessional the universities are, and how difficult it is to work here.

The research environment barely registers a pulse, he says. There is little emphasis on publishing, let alone teaching. What matters is pledging fealty to the university administration, which is appointed by the government. “Malaysian universities are structured on the feudal system,” says Mr. Rasiah. “If you want to hold senior positions you have to hold the party line.”

With his elderly parents to care for, Mr. Rasiah will stay in Malaysia for the time being. But he is not happy about it. For a country that so badly wants skilled professionals to come home, he says, “they certainly don’t make it easy for people.”


A primitive test of honesty

First, you need a scale... like what is shown on Barisan Nasional logo...

The following story shows how:

There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to the baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting a pound and he found that he was not. This angered him and he took the farmer to court.

The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure.

The farmer replied, "Your Honour, I am primitive. I don't have a proper measure, but I do have a scale."

The judge asked, "Then how do you weigh the butter"

The farmer replied "Your Honour, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker."

Someone's opinion:

What is the moral of the story? We get back in life what we give to others.

Whenever you take an action, ask yourself this question - Am I giving fair value for the wages or money I hope to make ?

Honesty and dishonesty become a habit. Some people practice dishonesty and can lie with a straight face. Others lie so much that they don't even know what the truth is anymore. But who are they deceiving? Themselves -- more than anyone else.

Honesty can be put across gently. Some people take pride in being brutally honest. It seems they are getting a bigger kick out of the brutality than the honesty. Choice of words and tact are important.


Honesty is hard to find

When it comes to honesty, my mind will be filled with the chorus of Billy Joel's song...

'Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue...'

On December 30, the day my three ex-schoolmates were supposed to return to KL, I took them to Clearwater Sanctuary, especially because one of them (Australian now) is a keen golfer and he has yet to set foot there. For a quick round before lunch, the driving range seemed suitable though the other two were not keen at all.

The golfer asked for two clubs - 3 and 7 irons but had to settle for 3 and 8 instead, from what I had in my half set. He watched me and gave some useful tips, but as usual it did not help because my body and limbs would not listen to instructions. One of the two said he gave up because he sprained his wrist once because of it. After much cajoling, this part-time Taichi instructor did it Taichi style and impressed the golfer! He tried and agreed it helped in a way provided it did not clash with his own style.

After finishing the 100 balls, one of them reminded me to drive the car under the shade, while I was supposed to take them to the fishing area, my favourite because most times nobody would be fishing and I usually have the place to myself for a nice chat amid the lake and serene surroundings, which we did. I took them to the chalets, hoping to have a pre-view of the suites but it was fully occupied because of the holidays. Next we headed to Menglembu for lunch.

Did we forget something? Yes, of course!

It was in the morning of January 1, two days after, that I realized I did not remember collecting the two golf clubs from a plastic chair when I returned the two buckets and 2 rubber tees. I have learned that because of my forgetfulness, I should be more focused on what is important ie. the clubs instead of being good as instructed, ie. to return the two rubber tees normally attached to the mats. It should have been a warning sign that things get stolen.

I reported by phone and a lady and a gentleman, on separate days, promised to check with the driving range supervisor. Then I was advised to lodge a formal complaint. Two ladies were very helpful in promising to investigate. But I had my doubts and still do, because who would admit to theft, especially if a staff member had conveniently taken them?

Those were old clubs and not worth much, and as my friend was telling me, that I should get new lighter ones instead of those heavy ones. But my disappointment was more because of the lack of supervision. A properly managed one would have keen staff members to remind members or guests if they left anything behind. If not, then anything left behind should, as a rule, be handed to the Pro shop in case someone asks for it later.

It had been 3 weeks, and still no news, which means bad news.


Yoga or Yee Kah (in Cantonese)

is getting very popular among ladies, judging from the many centres being set up in the housing estates. But if the instructor is a man and does not even look like a fit yoga man, BEWARE!


Beware of internet banking phishing

For the past few days I have received emails purportedly from banks, some of which I do not even have any account! So far, I have received from Maybank, CIMB and Public Bank, with all the logos to appear authentic. It served to show that they sent to all and sundry and even a very small percentage response is good enough for their simple button-pushing exercise.

I think it can be very lucrative for some IT savvy guys to indulge in this illegal activity. Talking about teaching a person to fish and he will take care of himself for the rest of his life. Now, if he knows how to 'phish', he can even be filthy rich!

The best way to test whether the site is genuine or not (coming from someone with 2-cents' worth of IT knowledge), is to put your cursor over the phrase you are supposed to click and see for yourself, the URL shown in the address. If it shows anything other than the bank in question, then it is certainly from a 'phisherman'!

Dominant or be and not to be...

With internet, it is often we get news which travelled across the globe before it reaches us. In this case, it is due to a simple boycott of some mainstream newspapers. A case of so near, yet so far. The following article was forwarded by a friend from Australia!

An excellent write-up from a very fair minded Malay on the current Malaysian scenario !!

Datuk Dr Agoes Salim's View

Datuk Dr Agoes Salim is an an economist and first secretary-general of the National Unity Ministry. He is also former chairman of Bank Pertanian. He was on the public service secretariat of the National Operations Council following the riots and helped draw up both theRukun Negara and the NEP

A Very Wise View

Dominating role not healthy for nation

I THINK we are farther apart now than we were in 1969.

But you have to remember that I grew up going to an English school, to a university where there were people of all races. At that time, although we did think in terms of race, it wasn’t in the way people do now. We felt that we were Malayans. We socialised much better than we do now.

Bahasa Malaysia can be a unifying factor. But it can be a factor separating people, too.

As Sukarno would say, “The important thing is the jiwa.”
You don’t have to have a common language, if you have the same jiwa (heart, spirit, passion, devotion). This is what we don’t have right now....

In 1956, the historical society of Universiti Malaya went to India .
There were lots of Indians in the group, but they didn’t think of themselves as Indians, they thought of themselves as Malayans. That’s the jiwa.

But later on, because of certain reactions, suddenly people stayed away from this jiwa — they don’t feel as though they are fully Malaysian. They are made to feel that way.

When I was in the service, there were lots of non-Malays in the civil service, holding good positions.. But do you see them now? If you go to the universities, where are the non-Malay professors?

After 1969, suddenly there was this drive to make sure that all university vice-chancellors and faculty deans were Malay. So, in the end, we chased away all the best brains among the non-Malays.

When schools say you must start school with a doa (Muslim prayer recitation), you push away all the non-Muslims. When I was at school, we never had any prayers. Whatever we learnt in religious class was a separate thing.

I think it’s more important that we bring people together, rather than pushing religion so hard that it alienates other people. This is what’s happening. I can’t blame the Chinese and Indians; why should they go to a sekolah kebangsaan (national school), when they have to do all these things?

All the things are breaking down. Our school system is not as it used to be. We are producing supposedly so many students with so many As, but what do they know? Are we happy about it? The leaders seem to be happy about it.

We came up with the Rukun Negara because, after 1969, there was the feeling that the nation was breaking down. People had forgotten what it was all about. So, we thought we could bring people back together — unite them. That’s what the first part of the Rukun Negara is about: the objectives of the nation.

Unfortunately, we did practically nothing to promote an understanding of the Rukun Negara. And when schools make mistakes, nobody corrects them. That should have been the role of the Department of Information.

In the beginning, Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie did try to apply the test of whether something was in consonance with the Rukun Negara or not. But then, the government just forgot about this.

We are supposed to be a united nation, not only in terms of state, but also in terms of people: that they would all consider themselves as Malaysians, and that this was their country and their nation. We wanted all these people to share the wealth of the nation.

One of the things we thought contributed to ’69 was the economic disparities, joblessness.

The New Economic Policy was a policy for all Malaysians; not just for the Malays. But we wanted to restructure the economy so that the Malays would come out of the rural agriculture sector into the commercial sector.

We wanted Malay participation at all levels of economic activity. We wanted to uplift the Malays without reducing the position of the others.. — “eradicating poverty regardless of less”.

And this was supposed to be in a situation of growth. Not just sharing the existing cake, but the cake must grow, so that these people also have the opportunity to grow.

At the same time, we also hoped that the Malays would grow a little faster. So, they set this target of 30 per cent equity in 20 years. I was not much in favour of that because I didn’t think it was achievable. I felt that participation was more important than wealth.

We never thought that we would produce multi-billionaires. That was never the intention of the NEP. If some people can come up as everyone comes up, it’s okay. But it wasn’t supposed to be about some people getting contracts.

We did say that we should have Malay millionaires just as we should have Chinese and Indian millionaires, but not so much so that you don’t have to do anything.

You must differentiate between dominance and domination. As Tun Dr Ismail said, “We want to be dominant, but we don’t want to dominate.”

Dominant in the sense that we wanted the Malays to be everywhere; but not to dominate all the others.

But we seem to be dominating; and I don’t think that’s healthy for the nation. It’s not about taking your share and not caring about the rest.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Think... before we ask ourselves, 'Why not me?'

We tend to compare ourselves with those 'fortunate' people who seem to have everything we wish for. Perhaps, we are thinking, 'Why are we not as fortunate as those people?'

Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS because of infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983.

He received letters from his fans the world over, one of which conveyed: "Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease?"

To this Arthur Ashe replied:

"The world over -- 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals, when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD 'Why me?'.

And today in pain, I should not be asking GOD 'Why me?' "

156 Countries Sing Together for the Starbucks Love Project

All you need is Love...

It is so easy to miss a country, each having less than 1.5 seconds: Singapore came in at 3.01, India at 3.11 and Malaysia at 3.30 of the 4-minute video clip

Stereo-typing the Chinese

When we watch old Western movies involving a Chinese character, we are likely to see the actor speaking in a manner which Westerners expect us to speak. Sometimes, even if the actor can speak fluently like an American or British, he would be told to speak like a Chinese.

By the way, this reminds me of an old British joke, “I thought Low IQ is the name of a Chinese take-away!”

Anyway, here are some examples, not really relevant, but more for show only, which I got from an email forwarded:

Ai Bang Mai Ne - I bumped into the coffee table
Chin Tu Fat - You need a face lift
Dum Gai - A stupid person
Kum Hia - Approach me
Moon Lan Ding - A great achievement of the American space program
Tai Ne Bae Be - A premature infant
Tai Ne Po Ne - A small horse
Ten Ding Ba - Serving drinks to people
Wa Shing Kah - Cleaning an automobile
Wai So Dim - Are you trying to save electricity?
Wai U Shao Ting -- There is no reason to raise your voice

So, if the Westerners were to produce a film on Malaysia involving Raja Petra, a Chinese police officer might ask a suspected sympathizer:

Hu Yu Hai Ding? - We have reason to believe you are harbouring a fugitive.


I feel good... do you mind?

He's 80, she's 20. It was the stir of the town when an 80-year old man married a 20-year old girl.

After a year of marriage, she went into the hospital to give birth.
The nurse came out to congratulate the fellow saying, "This is amazing. How do you do it at your age?"

He answered, "You've got to keep the old motor running."

The following year, the young bride gave birth again.

The same nurse said, "You're amazing. How do you do it?"

He again said, "You've got to keep the old motor running."

The same thing happened the next year.
The nurse then said, "Well, well, well! !! You certainly are quite a man!"

He responded again, "You've got to keep that old motor running."
The nurse said, "Well, you better change the oil. This one's black."


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Animal farm... a stoli with a twist...

Dreaming of raising thoroughbreds, a Chinese farmer invests all his savings into buying one that became very ill within a month.

He brings in the best vet he could afford to examine the horse and is told, “He has been infected with a very dangerous virus. Here is the medicine you need to give him twice daily. I will be back in 3 days – if he is still unable to walk at that stage he will have to be put down.”

This was overheard by a piglet that shared the stables with the horse. Alarmed with this news, little pig went to the horse and pleaded with him: “My friend, please try to get up!”

Day 2 – no change... piglet kept on pleading with the horse: “Please get up or they will kill you!”

Day 3 – farmer administered the medicine but the horse is still on the ground.

Vet examined the horse and walking out of the stables sadly said: “There is no choice – or the other animals could get ill.”

Piglet having heard that raced over to the horse saying: “GET UP NOW! The vet is on his way. It is NOW or NEVER!”

Gathering all his strength the horse stood up and raced out of the stables.

Farmer started jumping for joy and yelled out to the farm hands: “This is a miracle! This has to be celebrated properly!”

What have we learned here?

Always mind your own business and don't meddle into things that do not involve you!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Herd mentality

This 20-year old cartoon is as relevant now as before.


Who creates a good man?

This is not a beer advertisement, but could do for this purpose:


A fool and her husband's money will soon be parted...

I cannot help being a busybody when I overheard a shop assistant's conversation with someone from a vehicle service centre.

“See what needs doing and give me a quote.” she instructed the guy. I can imagine him rubbing his hands in glee and thinking, 'sui yee' (or 'water fish' literally and supposed to mean turtle, but somehow, it is a slang to mean someone who is easy to con for her money).

I offered advice by saying she had given the impression that she had given an open cheque to him, and each time, a friend at the side would advise me that she would not like it. Pride at stake, and what good was it by saying that she is also in business and knows how to check prices with others?

This reminds me of a relation who thought she did a good job by reducing the amount stated in a bill, without realizing that the next time, they would just up the amount expecting a reduction!

Back to the case study. The most practical way is to have someone who is knowledgeable in vehicle maintenance ( a trusted mechanic would be a great help) to do a quick check and spot any vital part that needs servicing. This is after the warranty period and it is cheaper to have repairs done by others.

Vital parts would be tyres, brakes, timing belt (not chain) and other belts, etc.

Oil changes (engine, gear, brake, power steering, would depend on manufacturer's or other recommendations).

For a car over 5 years' old, an instruction to service all that is necessary would tempt the mechanic to suggest a long list of things, which was what actually happened:

Fully synthetic oil, top grade gear oil, spark plugs (at Rm50 each!), stainless steel air filter, alignment (even though there was no complaint earlier, anyway it is subjective), expensive brake linings, etc. and shock absorbers! While the car was at the workshop for a few days, each day came recommendation for different items. I actually heard the amount went past Rm1000, then Rm2000 and if not mistaken, Rm3000! Though she has yet to confirm, reserving the right to check the prices first. But with the car in their hands, no way are they going to let go without hassle.

She said her reason for telling them to do what is necessary was because she has no time to take the car for minor repair each time and would prefer everything done in one go!

I was discussing with a gentleman who was asked the prices quoted and he certainly did not like the idea of fully synthetic engine oil, the Rm50 each spark plugs, the stainless steel air filter. He also agreed with my point that the new shock absorbers might not be necessary. He found the brake linings expensive and again agreed with me that we would not know what type are being fixed. There is always the possibility that prices are quoted for original parts but fakes fixed and it would take a few months before anyone realizes it. I even warned of the danger of other good parts being changed while the car is at the workshop! Such is the level of distrust people have of mechanics in general.

Anyway, I am becoming unpopular for being a man with a high KPI (Kay Pochi lah)!


Chiao Po - endearing pictures of a dying Chinese tradition?

I have selected just 5 pictures out of over 60 pictures of an old couple, taken by their son in 1974 and which were shown in US in 1998 and won highest award in Mankind Contribution category. A classic example of a traditionally arranged marriage, which remained loving till the end. I believe it was due to the focus on 'till death do us part' without the distractions of our modern world, which made it work.

'In accordance with our village culture, my parents slept with legs touching each other.'
I used to wonder why the old Chinese beds were almost squarish rather than the usual rectangular, now I know why! Now we know the origin of 'playing footsie'!

There were scenes which are endearing because they never seem to change!
'Higher...higher... a bit higher. Did you year?' Even my son enjoys this bit!

Preparing for Chinese New Year feast... this remains till today!

Anxiously waiting for son's return...probably waited a few hours already!

Giving advice to grandchild leaving for further studies!


Firsthand account of Haiti earthquake...

Sometime in the morning, maybe around 9am, a small helicopter landed outside and we went down to see who it was, as it did not appear to be UN or anyone else for that matter. It turned out that this was a private helicopter, chartered for a neighbor's wife and three small children by his father-in-law, who apparently had connections with the Dominican Ambassador. We asked the co-pilot, who had emerged to look for his human cargo, if the helicopter could come back if we paid them, or if they had a larger helicopter they could send to us, but the answer was rather vague, something to the effect of, 'I'll radio back and see.' Throughout the morning, helicopters touched down and left, including the long-awaited UN chopper and two more private helicopters arrived to evacuate people who apparently knew other well-connected people. Stephane tasked me with doing an Internet search for Dominican helicopter companies and I spent a lot of time sending SOS messages to charter companies.

As they were taking up their positions and inspecting the area, they discovered that there were thousands of residents gathering at the north end of the golf course. A large wall had fallen on that side, thus creating a breach through which tumbled person after person, creating an ever-encroaching mass of people who would normally not be allowed on the grounds of this exclusive club. The helicopters had attracted their notice and, believing that the choppers were delivering food and water that was not being distributed to them, the people decided to come find it themselves. While this is completely understandable given the situation, it is not a good feeling to find yourself facing a growing number of hungry, scared, desperate people. The UN soldiers were quite edgy and began to indicate that they might not stay the night. Even if they did, we did not feel that we could stay there and so began to decide where to go next.

We passed the same crumpled houses we had passed in the night, only now there were bodies, usually covered, sometimes not, placed outside of the houses on the sidewalk. One house had what looked like an entire family laid in front of it. I sort of stopped looking anywhere but at the back of the person directly ahead of me; there was just too much awfulness on all sides.

When we came to Stephane's lawyer's office, we paused for a moment. The building, which housed several more white-collar businesses, had been four or five stories and pretty good-looking, for a building in Haiti. It was now reduced to 10 ft-tall pancake, its stories so compressed that I initially thought I was looking at a different building, even though the sign proclaiming 'Moulins d'Haiti' was still standing next to it. I later learned that our chauffeur's daughter was likely crushed within that wreckage, as she had still been at work inside when the quake hit. The husband of one of Stephane's cousins also worked in there, but happened to have stepped out just before, a perfect illustration of the capriciousness of who died and who didn't.

For dinner, Stephane and I each had four crackers and half a piece of cheese. I'm not sure if Babeth and her mom ate at all. Everyone else was eating as if we could go to the store tomorrow, prompting Stephane to ask them what the hell they were thinking. We also discovered that our landlady had apparently gone into our house while we were away and had taken a full 5gallon container of water (the last potable water we had), as well as a $40 bottle of wine that had been a Christmas present for me from Stephane, and Stephane's only pair of flip flops. Her taking the latter two items was just a bit offensive; the theft of the former item was quite serious, as we needed to have water for at least 11 people. Had she mentioned to us when we arrived that she had taken the water, we would have understood -- it is an emergency, after all -- but the fact that she cached it away and didn't feel compelled to tell us where until we asked was over the line. This is the same woman who keeps a shrine to the Virgin in our driveway, but who had not paid her own staff for more than two months prior to the earthquake even though she had the money (yes, we know she had the money). Lovely woman.