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.)

Monday, May 31, 2010

A trick learned from the Police?

One night 4 college students were playing till late night and didn't study for the test which was scheduled for the next day.

In the morning they thought of a plan. They made themselves look as dirty and weird with grease and dirt. They then went up to the Dean and said that they had gone out to a wedding last night and on their return the tyre of their car burst and they had to push the car all the way back and that they were in no condition to appear for the test.

So the Dean said they can have the re-test after 3 days. They thanked him and said they will be ready by that time.

On the third day they appeared before the Dean. The Dean said that as this was a Special Condition Test, All four were required to sit in separate classrooms for the test.

They all agreed as they had prepared well in the last 3 days.

The Test consisted of 2 questions with the total of 100 Marks.

Q.1. Your Name........ ......... .......... (2 MARKS)

Q.2. Which tyre burst ?........... ....(98 MARKS)
a) Front Left
b) Front Right
c) Back Left
d) Back Right.....!! !

True story from IIT Bombay


The good, the bad and the ugly of plants...

but first the 'Ugly' because it is a killer:


With kind regards and best wishes, Dr. Kivumby.

Dear all,
Please read below. The message is true. I almost lost my daughter who put a piece of the leaf of this plant in her mouth and her tongue swelled to the point of suffocation. This is one plant but there are others with the same characteristics of coloring. Those are also poisonous and we should get rid of them. Please watch out for our children. As we all leave our children home in the hands of the helpers, we should give them a safe environment where they can play.

"This plant that we have in our homes and offices is extremely dangerous!

This plant is common in Kenya , Rwanda, Uganda in plant nurseries, many offices and homes. It is a deadly poison, mainly for the children. It can kill a kid in less than a minute and an adult in 15 minutes. It should be uprooted from gardens and taken out of offices. If touched, one should never touch ones eyes; it can cause partial or permanent blindness. Please alert your buddies.

The 'Bad' because it is poisonous yet liked because of 'feng shui' or whatever the Chinese believed in:
Do you have this plant at home? Beware!.. 'coz it's hazardous to health! Hey frenz... some of you don't read Chinese but never mind, please take note 'coz this is really too alarming to be ignored & I must share with you guys...
Basically this article warns about this highly poisonous plant... so please be aware that it's health hazardous when placed at home, in the office or anywhere near our dwelling places!
Apart from the poison in the sap of the leaves which can cause irritation, inflammation or swelling of face and jaw when come into contact specially by those with skin allergy. This plant is useless in terms of air purification, absorption of other harmful or even cancer causing gases in the air eg CO2, CH2O(Formaldehyde),C2-H-Cl3 (Trichloroethylene).

Even the soil where the plant grows also turn poisonous! So, don't use the soil to plant veggies. Even, insects, ants will not go near this plant.

It's such a nice strong yet elegant plant liked by many including myself!

Chinese in particular loves this 'good luck' plant due to it's common name "Gold Coin Tree" I guess. It's most popular during CNY period... especially dressed 'em with tiny red ribbons tied to its branches!

Anyway, please be safe; just be "distant admirers" of this lovely plant ya!

The 'Good'!

Fresh Pineapple Has Many Benefits....

The pineapple is a member of the bromeliad family. It is extremely rare that bromeliads produce edible fruit.

The pineapple is the only available edible bromeliad today. It is a multiple fruit. One pineapple is actually made up of dozens of individual flowerettes that grow together to form the entire fruit.

Each scale on a pineapple is evidence of a separate flower. Pineapples stop ripening the minute they are picked.

No special way of storing them will help ripen them further. Color is relatively unimportant in determining ripeness.

Choose your pineapple by smell. If it smells fresh, tropical and sweet, it will be a good fruit. The more scales on the pineapple, the sweeter and juicier the taste.

After you cut off the top, you can plant it. It should grow much like a sweet potato will. This delicious fruit is not only sweet and tropical; it also offers many benefits to our health.

Pineapple is a remarkable fruit. We find it enjoyable because of its lush, sweet and exotic flavor, but it may also be one of the most healthful foods available today. If we take a more detailed look at it, we will find that pineapple is valuable for easing indigestion, arthritis or sinusitis. The juice has an anthelmintic effect; it helps get rid of intestinal worms.

Let's look at how pineapple affects other conditions.

Pineapple is high in manganese, a mineral that is critical to development of strong bones and connective tissue.
A cup of fresh pineapple will give you nearly 75% of the recommended daily amount. It is particularly helpful to older adults, whose bones tend to become brittle with age.

Bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme, is the key to pineapple's value.

Proteolytic means "breaks down protein", which is why pineapple is known to be a digestive aid. It helps the body digest proteins more efficiently.

Bromelain is also considered an effective anti-inflammatory. Regular ingestion of at least one half cup of fresh pineapple daily is purported to relieve painful joints common to osteoarthritis. It produces mild pain relief. In Germany, bromelain is approved as a post-injury medication because it is thought to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Orange juice is a popular liquid for those suffering from a cold because it is high in Vitamin C.
Fresh pineapple is not only high in this vitamin, but because of the bromelain, it has the ability to reduce mucous in the throat.

If you have a cold with a productive cough, add pineapple to your diet. It is commonly used in Europe as a post-operative measure to cut mucous after certain sinus and throat operations. Those individuals who eat fresh pineapple daily report fewer sinus problems related to allergies. In and of itself, pineapple has a very low risk for allergies.

Pineapple is also known to discourage blood clot development. This makes it a valuable dietary addition for frequent fliers and others who may be at risk for blood clots.

An old folk remedy for morning sickness is fresh pineapple juice. It really works! Fresh juice and some nuts first thing in the morning often make a difference. It's also good for a healthier mouth. The fresh juice discourages plaque growth.


Open secret about the location of radioactive waste

I was surprised when I read that Dr. Mahathir did not know where the site where the Thorium Hydroxide was buried, as mentioned in The Malaysian Insider article by Choo Sing Chye:

All those residents of Batu Gajah, Pusing and other towns going to Ipoh using the Ipoh-Lumut highway pass the junction which leads to the site. It is roughly between Papan and Lahat, and in fact, the road on the right leads to Lahat. There are no sign indicating where the road leads to which added to the secrecy, and only occasionally one would notice a vehicle going in for whatever reasons. Of course, I did not bother to find out since it is highly radioactive but I have heard of people working in farms nearby complaining of sore throats. Then there are people employed to guard the place too. Aren't they exposed to the radioactivity?

We are known for third world maintenance and I am sure most people who are against nuclear plants are actually worried about the effects of poorly maintained plants which would happen sooner or later. We can't even maintain rubbish trucks which continue to drip smelly leachate on their rounds!

Some background information on A.R.E. found in Facebook:

Dumpsite danger:


A sign of transformation seen in Sibu...

and I think it is a positive sign that the people want a change. There were similar pictures of non-Muslims carrying PAS flags at a by-election involving PAS candidate too.

Najib had in the past asked us to change our lifestyles and most people told him to change his first.

Now as PM, he had done the same thing through Idris Jala, warning us that the country would be bankrupt by 2019. But as someone pointed out, he said we could achieve developed status by 2020! A bankrupt developed country within a year!

Before the people would accept any advice on lifestyles, the leaders should show by example but what we see are more and more wastages and leakages through mismanagement.

In The Sunday Times, I spotted this

Liam Byrne, the outgoing Labour budget chief, left a note to his successor saying,
'I'm afraid there is no money. Kind regards and good luck.'

At the rate we are going with unnecessary arms purchase and other big items expenditure without open tenders, the above statement could well be Najib's to Anwar if they are going to lose in the next General Elections!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How long has this been going on?

I spotted this in The Sun Says:

Let’s have more suave and intrepid diplomats

TAN SRI Hasmy Agam, the executive chairman of the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), has done a great service to Malaysia by exposing the country’s “state secret” – that our government officials especially diplomats are often rendered tongue-tied and speechless when they come face to face with foreigners. They probably break into cold sweat when hailed by their foreign counterparts at an investment or security seminar or even at a cocktail reception or informal dinner.

I am not at all surprised because my best man graduated from University of Malaya in 1973 or 1974 in International Relations and was hoping to be a diplomat. He was never selected to be one and he had retired from government service 5 years ago.

My daughter is a graduate of Politics and International Relations from a UK university and she chose Spanish rather than French as an extra language because there are more Spanish speaking countries. She even spent one summer in Mexico to learn the language instead of Spain which is nearer UK. Before this, she spent one year attending high school in Japan and passed Level 2 in Japanese if I remember correctly. Now, in Holland she is learning Dutch as well.

For a Malaysian, her exposure should be a good background for a diplomat, not that she is looking for a job as one. Just imagine her contacts and networking in various countries which should be invaluable to any of our embassy abroad, and especially where she had been before.

The point to note is this: in Europe, there is no shortage of people with knowledge of different languages, but can we say that of Malaysia? Having read the editorial in The Sun, I believe there were no improvement since the days of my best friend way back in the 70s!

Now we all know why...


It all started with the arsehole...

I mean the joke, which leads to golf and beer... and I wonder how many students and lecturers of the university have heard of this! Like the Dutch tale of the little boy who saved them from flooding (the Dutch heard it from foreigners), probably everybody else heard about the joke but not those in University of Sydney!

A professor at the University of Sydney was giving a lecture on 'Involuntary Muscular Contractions' to his first year medical students.

Realizing this was not the most riveting subject, the professor decided to lighten the mood.

He pointed to a young woman in the front row and asked: "Do you know what your arsehole is doing while you're having an orgasm?"

She replied "Probably playing golf and drinking beer with his mates."

It took 16 minutes to restore order in the classroom...


Hard of hearing...

could be the cause of endless jokes but it is no fun having to repeat every word and probably not getting anywhere. The jokes probably help to lessen the frustration.

Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, 'Windy, isn't it?'
Second one says, 'No, it's Thursday!'
Third one says, 'So am I. Let's go get a beer...'

In this case, the communication lost in transition did not matter at all.

A man was telling his neighbor, 'I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art... It's perfect.'

'Really,' answered the neighbor . 'What kind is it?'

'Twelve thirty...'

Would you rather rattle him with your honest opinion of his device? Probably not.

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.

A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.

A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said, 'You're really doing great, aren't you?'
Morris replied, 'Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'

The doctor said, 'I didn't say that.. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur; be careful.'

The Chinese would say this patient 'char soh parn moungh' or pretended to be stupid and hear otherwise.

But if you were a would be beneficiary of an old man, don't assume...

An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%.

The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, 'Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.'

The gentleman replied, 'Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will three times!'

My late mother used to say that she would hold on to whatever she had until she finally closed her eyes. There were far too many cases of children turning their back on their old parents once they had their share of inheritance.

Last day of the guided tour...

and I felt 'knackered'. This word reminds me of Prince Charles because that was what he said and reported many years ago!

A diabetic (my wife) under drug control is definitely more energetic than an ordinary person (me who refuses to know if I am already one). As always, I felt the many places in her itinerary for our Dutch guests will ensure a full day of outing. A day trip will be made full use of, with no consideration for the driver's duty to drive another 2 hours before we could get home! We reached home at 11.00 pm!

The day started early in Batu Gajah. I passed the room where the guests were sleeping and the door was open and I presumed they had got up and gone downstairs. Asked my other half and she said something that gave me the impression they had gone for a walk. Put a cd in the player and switched on my amp and I tried out bass for 'Reflections of my life' by Marmalade, without songsheet. I promised them that I will 'torture' them with a song on the drums before they leave for Penang. Anyway, went over to the other house to set up the player and started playing drums. Once started, I would go from one song to the next and while playing 'Sacrifice' by Elton John, I opened my eyes and saw Arne standing at the door with a big smile of appreciation of the music! I let them have a go with the drums but they gave up after a short while. Then I chose Bee Gees' Island in the Stream and started 'torturing' them. Well they must have been masochistic because they enjoyed the music! Knowing boss is waiting, I packed up and left the room.

We walked to the Indian restaurant nearby for breakfast, as well as showing them how roti canai and thosai are made. By now, they still couldn't get over the numerous different types of food and fruits they had tasted for the first time!

On our way to Penang, SP still wanted to show them our royal town of Kuala Kangsar. We drove to the old palace which is now a museum and I was actually glad that it was closed for the long weekend! Arne got out of the car outside the present palace and took a few pictures.

On our way, SP had decided for them that we should go via ferry to the island of Penang, since they would use the bridge when they continue their journey after Penang. We actually went past the hotel the first time but even after the second time, we had to call them for directions. It was actually an old colonial house right opposite Hotel Malaysia, next to a Shell station. It used to be a Malay residence turned into a hotel. It was a pleasant surprise for us because of its convenient location, nice and clean room and friendly resident manager. We took the first opportunity to use the room toilet before we set off for late lunch. It was already past 3.00 pm and we decided to go to New World hawker centre. Had problems trying to introduce them all the foods before deciding and double-ordering of some.

We then took them on a drive towards the beach. But when we were stuck in a traffic jam just before Tg Tokong, our car got a knock which I first thought was our engine suddenly conked off. But it turned out to be a knock from behind by a Jazz driven by a young Indian. Got down to inspect and found no obvious damage, we drove off.

We went past Tg. Tokong, Batu Ferringhi, Teluk Bahang and End of the World. Then we decided to drive to Balik Pulau and back to Penang Road via Air Hitam. It was at Balik Pulau, while passing some durian estates when Cheng called and she had a chat with Janneke. Before reaching the hotel, SP introduced them to Chew Jetty and its old houses next to the sea. As always, she would point out the Ong Jetty sign but without the jetty, just like Kosongcafe without a cafe.

At the hotel, we had a picture taken of the four of us before we bid farewell. Just three days, we seem to have got on well and probably miss them. But Janneke said they can still be reached by Digi when they are still in Malaysia!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Is it better not to make a sign...

if it is not going to help? But it sure adds smiles and laughter to tourists!

Smoking allowed here... if you can!
There is something for cows too!
For carnivorous humans, there is fresh pork.
For those with low blood pressure, there are salted pig feet and tail too.
For Polar bears in captivity, there is frozen fish for old time sake.

Extra helpful service...

from extra friendly security guards too:


To do with money...

but don't expect it to be a dissertation on economics...

Gujju taxi driver

A naked and drunken woman boards taxi in London one night.

The Gujju driver keeps staring, and does not start the taxi.

Woman: “Haven't you ever seen a naked woman before?”

Driver: “I’m not staring at you lady….

Just wondering where have you kept the money to pay me"

Poetic justice?

Excerpts from Lim Kit Siang's 'An Inspirational story' by Justin Hong:

I was 18 in 1997, I came home half completed my high school in England because my father was bankrupted. He was a contractor bankrupted because the licensee, Taib’s uncle defaulted on paying royalty to the Government. Pocketed all the money my father gave.

Together with 6 of my friends we went to Komat in Sama Jaya to look for jobs as they only required MCE; to help out the family.

The HR lady was an Iban, on our turn she refused to give us application forms and demanded our qualifications. Without even understanding us, we were turned away. On further enquiry from us, she said, the 250 posts were all filled. It was 10.25am and the application counter just opened at 9.30am. Asked the guard to show us out.

Komat repeated publication for the posts for another week. We went back again and again were rejected. This time she asked us to look for jobs in China.

My uncle promptly help the six of us to look for jobs from his contacts. Ironically, we all ended up in Shenzhen China, working in a micro circuitboard plant.

Today my company has been operating in Penang for 6 months. We are employing 200 people.

I was conducting interviews for senior staff for the jobs. One of the people that came in for the interview was the same Iban lady from Komat 10+ years ago. The lady who turned me away. The lady who told me I was not eligible for the job. The lady who told me the posts were filled when yet to select the first applicant of 250 and the lady who asked me to go to China to look for a job.

I had the satisfaction to tell her all these if I wanted to. Instead I listened to all her talk about how great she had done in her former employment and now she was out on a huge VSS. How well she will do for me with her experience and how much she would like to work for a Chinese boss. She said she is the daugther of an influential bumiputra man and her husband is doing well in business. I let her rave on with her diatribe.

Finally, when she realised she the one doing all the talking and I was not even asking questions, she stopped.

Finally I said, I know her. She was shocked, for now I was properly suited up and not in T-shirt and jeans like the first time we met.

I simply said I like to thank her for asking me to go back to China to look for work. I did, I made it and what she is seeing today and the brochure I placed infront of her is in fact the SUCCESS from disgust and disappointment of being a Malaysian Chinese!!


It was also an excellent example of how an apparent setback in life could be a blessing in disguise! I am sure there are many more such success stories resulting from our unfair system of administration.

The more the government favours certain people, the less fit they become; those discriminated against would come out tougher and get going when the going gets tough.
It is probably the law of nature, and can be seen even in family situations.

Happiness in Marriage is what you make of it...

On a certain occasion, during an elegant welcoming reception for the new Director of Marketing of an important London company, some of the wives of the other directors, who wanted to get acquainted with the new spouse, asked her with some hesitation:

Does your spouse make you happy, truly happy?

The husband, who at the moment was not at her side, but was sufficiently near to hear the question, paid attention to the question, sitting up slightly, feeling secure, even filling his chest lightly in pride, knowing that his spouse would answer affirmatively, since she had always been there for him during their marriage.

Nevertheless, to both his and the others' surprise, she replied simply:

"No, no he doesn't make me happy..."

The room became uncomfortably silent, as if everyone were listening to the spouse's response.

The husband was petrified. He couldn't believe what his wife was saying, especially at such an important occasion for him.

To the amazement of her husband and of everyone, she simply placed enigmatically on her head an elegant black silk scarf and continued:

"No, he doesn't make me happy... I AM HAPPY."

The fact that I am happy or not, doesn't depend on him, but on me.

"I am the only person upon which my happiness depends. I make the choice to be happy in each situation and in each moment of my life. If my happiness were to depend on other people, on other things or circumstances on the face of this earth, I would be in serious trouble!

"Everything that exists in this life changes continually:
humans, wealth, my body, the climate, the pleasures, etc. I could enumerate an infinite list...

"Over my life I have learned a couple of things:

I decide to be happy and the rest is a matter of "experiences or circumstances," like helping, and understanding, accepting, listening, consoling; and with my spouse, I have lived and practiced this many times...

Happiness will always be found in forgiveness and in loving yourself and others.

... It's not the responsibility of my spouse to make me happy... He also has his "experiences or circumstances." I love him and he loves me, often inspite of his circumstances and of mine.

He changes, I change, the environment changes, everything changes;
Having forgiveness and true love, and observing these changes, that can be, big or little, but always happen, we must face them with the love that exists in each one of us.
If the two of us love and forgive each other, the changes will only be "experiences or circumstances" that enrich us and give us strength. Otherwise we would only be "living together".

For some, divorce is the only solution; ( reality it is the easiest...)
To truly love, is difficult,
It is to forgive unconditionally, to live,
To take the "experiences or circumstances" as they are,
Facing them together and being happy with conviction.

There are those who say:

"I cannot be happy because I am sick, because I have no money,
Because it's too cold, because they insulted me,
Because someone stopped loving me,
Because someone didn't appreciate me!"

(Translated into English by Paul Cushman)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Joining the queue...

despite our full knowledge that we should not go to tourist spots on a public holiday.

Against my better judgment, as always once SP decided on the itinerary, it is difficult to change her mind as she would persevere just so that she can convince us that she is always right... so it seems.

We had breakfast of local 'kueh' from the temple because of Buddha's birthday and some local fruits including mango and mangosteen. We then went into the estate to check on the harvesting before heading towards Lumut.

The multi-storey car park was full and the open space car park was filling up with cars. I suggested going to Marina Island Resort to take the ferry as it is still relatively unknown, but she would not budge. Having parked the car, we headed towards the ferry terminal and it was packed with mainly local travellers going to Pangkor Island.

While we stood in queue in front of the welcome sign, I asked our Dutch guests which of the foreign languages was Dutch for Welcome and it turned out to be 'Welkom', after big letters in Bahasa Malaysia, smaller characters in Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, French, German and Swedish, and followed by Spanish! In other words, Dutch was placed second last! Just wondering which criterion they used to place in that order.

Anyway, I estimate each ferry could take around 200 passengers and 4 ferries came one after another to pick up the passengers. The ferry took 20 minutes to cross to the jetty on Pangkor Island. But before that, we could see a smaller ferry leaving Marina Island Resort and it reached the jetty before us! So it was quite true what they advertised as 5 minutes to Pangkor! For the first time, our ferry had to wait its turn to dock! Just for the information of would be travellers, the ferry from MIR costs the same at Rm10 return but it requires membership fee of Rm5 which is valid for 1 year. In other words, we would need an extra Rm20 for the four of us to get over faster instead of waiting among the big crowd.
View from the jetty while walking towards the island

Taxi fares on the island were unofficially increased to take advantage of the crowd. It costed us Rm20 to get to Coral Bay and an additional Rm10 to take in Kota Belanda (Dutch Fortress) because of our Dutch friends! They had a swim in the open sea while I looked after their belongings. How could I nap when I had to keep an eye? I rushed them to get ready because we were told the last ferry leaves at 8.00 pm. SP could not stand without having a bath and a primitive bathroom costed Rm1 for that privilege! Arne managed to take pictures of a monkey and a hornbill.

After crossing back to Lumut, we drove to Sitiawan to our favourite hawker centre. SP took them round to each stall and explain in detail before they decided what to have. He said he had never tried so many foods within such a short period of time!

Anyway, Arne noticed our car's canopy had a sign 'SUV Plus' and it was funny to him because in Dutch 'Suf' means 'slow' (mentally) and 'Suf Plus' would mean 'Extra slow'!

The following pictures (not taken in Pangkor) from another site, added for variety:

But this sign looks Malaysian to me!

Some ironic signs

which speak for themselves...


Let's go Dutch

seems generally known to Malaysians as paying for your own food and drinks, or whatever it is that a group of people is going to have.

I asked our Dutch guests and they too knew what it means, so it is universal. But nobody knows for sure how it came about.

Anyway, the night when we had 'nga choi kai' or bean sprouts and steamed chicken, which Ipoh is famous for, Arne actually liked the 'kwaytiau' so much that he ordered another bowl. When he offered to pay for the meal, my wife obviously would not have any of that, and used the by now well worn reasoning that he could pay for meals when she goes to Holland. This is obviously an advantage to Malaysians because of the higher exchange rate of the Euro. Then I joked that he could then say, 'Let's go Dutch since we are in Holland' and get away from that!

Anyway, today we took the arduous drive (though less so with the new route) to Cameron Highlands. A brief stop (actually to go to the loo) at a nursery next to Avant Chocolate and I was tempted by the cheesecake because I was feeling hungry. Asked if any of them was interested and the answer was no, but I was really pissed off when my wife told me off like a small kid, 'No! how are you going to eat it? We are in a hurry because they are going for jungle trekking...' How much time do I need to eat a slice of cheesecake even if by myself?

By the time we reached Boh Tea plantations it was past 2 pm and yet she was set to show them the factory first while I had a quick snack at the really nice tea house overlooking the tea plantation. We spent time chatting and enjoying the panaromic view while they had late lunch of sandwiches. By the time we reached Tanah Rata to ask about the trekking they could only set off at around 4.30pm for a quick round. A guide to ensure they come back without getting lost in the jungle costed them Rm100 which I described as 'paying to suffer' but they seemed to enjoy it.

Anyway, while chatting I asked Jannake whether she had heard of the Dutch tale of a small boy who saved them from a big flood when he put his hand into a leaking hole he found at a dyke until he slept overnight. Then Arne said he heard the same story from an American, and that everybody else seems to know the story except the Dutch!

Anyway we waited for them to come back from trekking until 7.20pm before we could start our dinner at Mayflower, a family owned restaurant run by my wife's childhood friend from Pusing. While we were having steamboat, an American couple came by and I told Jannake to tell them that the food was good. Later, the man actually asked us how to go about cooking the food and SP had to show them. On my way out, I told them that the main thing to know is the cooking time of each item and to let the item with the longest cooking time go in first, followed by the next and so on. The Cantonese would describe my action as 'sik siew siew parn toi piu' or know a little yet pretend to represent something!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Returning a favour

Just told our Dutch guests (Cheng's friends from Maastricht) after we were thanked for showing them round, that we were just returning a favour because Cheng is under a Dutch scholarship!

In KL, Nee took them to Putrajaya, then they were left on their own. Then last night a sister-in-law gave them a Chinese dinner at Jaya 33. Today, we were at the Batu Gajah railway station to receive them. By the way, there were a couple of travellers who had to walk all the way out to the main road.

My wife took the trouble to cook Hainanese chicken rice for lunch, against my advice to just have it in the shop. Then we took them to the heritage Tin Dredge which is our favourite for foreign guests. It is tilted and is under consideration by the Perak State Government as to how best to deal with it. Steven was around and even showed us his Australian specie custard apple orchard next to the dredge. He selected 3 custard apples for us which weighed in at 1.2 kilograms. He is trying to save a few to try to achieve 1-kilo fruit and I wished him luck!

Then we went to Kellie's Castle which we had not been for a long time, since Steven was managing it. Now, the charges are Rm5 for foreign tourists and Rm4 for locals! To make the uncompleted building safe, the restoration work seemed more like renovation which to me, make the building less of an old relic.

We then headed towards Gopeng for Adeline's Guest House which is now famous for 'back to nature' holidays among foreigners and locals alike. This time we were lucky Adeline was around. She has added a new section which has modern amenities like air-condition and other convenience which can feed 30 persons. The original guest house can take in 100! Charges are Rm188 per head for the new which is scheduled for June 1 opening, and Rm138 per head for the old section. When complained about the steep charges, she was quick to add that it includes breakfast, lunch and dinner! Anyway, we were lucky because a big durian just dropped from a tree. Adeline promised to treat us. But because Jannake and Arne just tried and did not go for further helpings, we managed to eat only two small durians, leaving the big one untouched (partly because it was too fresh that I could not open it). In the farm, there were starfruits and jackfruits and even rubber trees for the Dutch tourists to see for the first time. It seems Adeline's mother at 76 still comes to tap the rubber trees which was her original intention when she bought the 5-acre land for only Rm1,900 an acre! Adeline bought the new 7-acre land for Rm40,000 each! Her success had brought in new competitors like My Gopeng Resort next to hers.

Can we judge a nation by its top jokes?

Not in any joking order:

Top Joke in Australia

A young man went to his father one day to tell him that he wanted to get married.

His father was happy for him. He asked his son who the girl was, and he told him that it was Samantha, a girl from the neighbourhood.

With a sad face the old man said to his son, ''I'm sorry to say this son but I have to. The girl you want to marry is your sister, but please don't tell your mother.''

The young man again brought three more names to his father but ended up frustrated because the response was! still the same.

So he decides to go to his mother. ''Mom I want to get married but all the girls that I love, dad said they are my sisters and I mustn't tell you.''

His mother smiling said to him, ''Don't worry my son, you can marry any of those girls. You're not his son.

Top Joke in Northern Ireland

A doctor says to his patient, 'I have bad news and worse news'.

'Oh dear, what's the bad news?' asks the patient.

The doctor replies, 'You only have 24 hours to live'.

'That's terrible', said the patient. 'How can the news possibly be worse?'

The doctor replies, 'I've been trying to contact you since yesterday'.

Top Joke in UK

A woman gets on a bus with her baby.

The bus driver says: 'That's the ugliest baby that I've ever seen. Ugh!'

The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming.

She says to a man next to her: 'The driver just insulted me!'

The man says: 'You go right up there and tell him off, go ahead,

I'll hold your monkey for you.

Top Joke in USA

A man and a friend are playing golf one day at their local golf course.

One of the guys is about to chip onto the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course.

He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows down in prayer.

His friend says: 'Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man.'

The man then replies: 'Yeah, well we were married for 35 years.'

Joke in England

Two weasels are sitting on a barstool. One starts to insult the other one.

He screams, 'I slept with your mother!'

The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do.

The first again yells, 'I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!'

The other says, 'Go home dad you're drunk.'

Teachair rules, ok?


Well, if you don't have a proper ruler, this will do.

Maybe teachers in our infamous co-ed school in Rawang should use this chair-ruler... good enough for defence in case of gangster students' attack.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First plane...

running on 22 manpower!


Ultimate driving machine...

live! First prototype with 1 asspower.


King Cock... Ruler of the Roost

... full of confidence.


Flashback to 1945: footage of Japanese Surrender

This is a must watch film on how the Japanese surrendered in the year 1945 when many were not born yet.

It happened after USA dropped 2 atomic bombs in Japan. Don't play, play with the yankees!

Today may be different with OBAMA (Originally Born in Africa Managing America ).

This is a 'must see' for the WWII history buff or anyone interested in history. Interesting the other signers to the document, from New Zealand/Australia to Europe/Russia.

This is an actual film made of the surrender ceremony of the Japanese to General McArthur in Tokyo Bay on September 2,1945. Actual voice of the General. Never been shown to the general public before. We always saw the "stills" but never the film itself.

Historical Footage: Japanese Surrender Signing Aboard Battleship Missouri Sunday Sept. 2, 1945.

Coming to terms with being Old...

A friend who is 60 said he always think he is 25. I know of some retirees who are fond of criticizing women's appearance while not realizing they are not in their former youthful forms. Which is why sometimes, we should look at ourselves in the mirror before we think of being critical.

Some signs of getting old come in the form of how you are being addressed. Many years ago, strangers called you 'brother', then came the first time when someone called you 'uncle' and you might not realize it at first!

In Chinese, Cantonese for instance, there is even a distinction when you upgrade from being called 'ah sook' to 'ah park' which rightfully should mean you are younger or older (respectfully) than the caller's father! Until you come across those who are not educated in English who are used to calling people like you 'uncle' when they are of your age! That's when you lose self confidence by a few notches.

But then again, we should understand that in Chinese custom, there are some who would call you older out of respect! My third sister-in-law used to call me 6th uncle just like how her children would call me, even though she is 10 years older! I think most of us would opt for not having this kind of respect, don't you think so?

By the way, some of us Chinese are still uncomfortable with westerners calling their fathers and mothers by name. The following are some stuff forwarded to me which most people would have come across them:

Some advantages of being old:
In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.
Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them.

Sex manual for old Dummies:
1. Wear your glasses to make sure your partner is actually in the bed.
2. Set timer for 3 minutes, in case you doze off in the middle.
3. Set the mood with lighting. (Turn them ALL OFF!)
4. Make sure you put 911 on your speed dial before you begin.
5. Write partner's name on your hand in case you can't remember.
6. Use extra polygrip so your teeth don't end up under the bed.
7. Have Tylenol ready in case you actually complete the act.
8. Make all the noise you want... the neighbors are deaf, too.
9. If it works, call everyone you know with the good news!
10. Don't even think about trying it twice.

'OLD' IS WHEN... you should know your own limitations and need new meanings to old sayings:
Your sweetie says, 'Let's go upstairs and make love,' and you answer, 'Pick one; I can't do both!'
Your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and you're barefoot.
You don't care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don't have to go along.
You are cautioned to slow down by the doctor instead of by the police .
'Getting a little action' means you don't need to take a laxative today.
You cannot take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
'Getting lucky' means you find your car in the parking lot.
An 'all nighter' means not getting up to use the bathroom.


Monday, May 24, 2010

We used to be concerned about IQs, now EQs...

There was an British joke about a man thinking Low IQ is the name of a Chinese take-away!

Anyway, just did a quick search and found that IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient and EQ is supposed to be for Emotional Intelligence (Quotient?)! Now you know why I checked, as I would have assumed EQ stands for Emotional Quotient.

A man bought a new pair of trousers for his primary school mates reunion dinner. When he tried out at home, he found that the trousers were too long by 10cm.

He asked his mother to help him shorten the pants. His mother said she could not do it as she was not feeling well and would like to rest early.

So the man approached his wife to shorten his pants. His wife said she was very tired and had a lot of work to do that night, so she could not help him to shorten the pants that night.

Then the man asked his daughter. His daughter apologized for not able to do it that night because she had agreed to go dancing with her boyfriend.

"Ah well!" The man thought and decided he could wear his old trousers to the reunion.

Later that night, his mother thought to herself, "My son has been very nice to me. I'll just help him to shorten his pants before going to rest." So she shortened the pants by 10cm.

Then his wife finished her work and thought," My husband knows I am always very busy and seldom asked me to help him. I would oblige him today." So she shortened the man's pants by another 10cm.

His daughter came home from dancing, and thought, "Papa loves me very much and when I declined to shorten his pants, he was not angry at all! I would help him to shorten his pants." So she shortened her daddy's pants yet another 10cm.

On the next day, the three ladies told the man that his pants were shortened. He tried them on and found that his pants had become shorter by 30cm!

His reaction:

He laughed heartily, and said, "I must wear this pair of pants to show my schoolmates that my mum, my wife and my daughter are such loving people." At the dinner, his old classmates were very envious of his loving family. His mother, wife and daughter were very happy to learn about his classmates' reaction.

What would you do if it happened to you?
Very often, many would have lost their temper.

How many of us has the "EQ" of this man?
Many of us has "High EQ" when dealing with people outside the family,
"Low EQ" when dealing with our own family member!

From this moment, can we learn from this "man"!

I borrowed the following graphics to illustrate the evolution of 'Wife'

You are lucky if you found a wife of yester years; Are there any still around ?
'All those who have sons now, my sympathy...
Those who have daughters, my congratulations.' to quote someone.

I can still remember my wife wished for a first daughter and was visibly disappointed when told it was a boy! A big one at 10lb 2 oz! Her specialist at St. James's Hospital commented that the baby had a headache and needed some time in the incubator. A friend in the ward commented that he needed size two babywear!

Anyway, I would agree with those who said that by having a daughter, you are likely to gain a son (someone's), because men of today are likely to follow the wishes of their wives... like yours truly.

Mistakes in different guises

All of us made mistakes at one time or another.

Late Saturday night, after a nap and while feeling sleepy I opened my mail and got message from my daughter that she lost contact with her sister's friends from abroad on a visit because she left her phone at home when attending a wedding. On Sunday morning, I re-read the message and discovered it was an urgent message, more of despair that she had lost it after the wedding!

What went through my mind as a concerned parent included whether to contact her nearest aunt to check her out, my friends or her friends if I have their numbers, etc. and the thought of the unlucky timing when her brother (who has just taken on the role of a big brother living with her) is away attending another wedding in Singapore!

My suggestion to wife to call her sister was responded with her alternative suggestion (as always) that she goes to Selama in the north (work) while I go to KL to see what's happening, especially our promises to those European friends to make their visit memorable.

It was a good job I did not act on impulse. I could have just got my bag of clothes and start my journey as what any anxious dad would do, but I told my wife to wait for new developments after I had called her phone twice (rang but followed by 'cannot be reached' replies), left message to finder (even though chances next to zero if found by others), emailed her, and even messaged her in Facebook! My wife was anxious to leave for Ipoh flea market on the way north (some priority) and it was left to me to decide whether to go to KL! By 9.30 am, I got a call from her mobile phone! Positive results from my message to finder I thought... and it turned out to be the owner! She was complaining about my over-reaction at only 9 am and for not giving her a chance to look for it again!

We have come to the stage of accepting the mobile phone as so important and necessary that losing it and the communication that comes with it (the all-important contacts in memory card too) can cause so much anxieties! Without instant communication, our expectations were much lower and ignorance seemed bliss. When I was in UK in the early 70s, we relied on snail mail and calling home was a luxury reserved for special occasions or emergencies.

Coming back to the original topic of mistakes:

If a BARBER makes a mistake, it's a new style.
If a DRIVER makes a mistake, it's an accident.
If a DOCTOR makes a mistake, it's an operation.
If an ENGINEER makes a mistake, it is a new venture. (I would prefer structure)
If a POLITICIAN makes a mistake, it is a new law.
If a SCIENTIST makes a mistake, it is a new invention.
If a TAILOR makes a mistake, it is a new fashion.
If a TEACHER makes a mistake, it is a new theory. (which you continue until someone points out to you later in life)
If a STUDENT makes a mistake, it is a "MISTAKE"! (because the teacher said so?)

I wish to add that if a parent made a mistake, it was over-reaction!


A subtle difference between two tele-conversations...

first man did not know who he was speaking to while the second man... also did not know who he was listening to?

A man checks into a hotel in Wainwright Alberta while on a business trip and was a bit lonely.

He thought of one of those girls you see advertised in phone booths when you're calling for a cab.

He popped into a phone booth near the hotel and found an ad for a girl calling herself Erogonique, a lovely girl, bending over in the photo. She had all the right curves in all the right places, beautiful long wavy hair, long graceful legs...... well, you get the picture! He copied the phone
number and returned to his hotel.

When back in the room he figures, what the hell, give her a call.

'Hello,' the woman says.

God, she sounded sexy.

'Hi, I hear you give a great massage and I'd like you to come to my room and give me one... No, wait, I should be straight with you. I'm in town all alone and what I really want is sex. I want it hard, I want it hot, and I want it now. Bring implements, toys, rubber, leather, whips, everything you've got in your bag of tricks. Tie me up, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything you want! Now, how does that sound?'

She says, 'That sounds fantastic, but you need to press 9 for an outside line.'

Hillary goes to her doctor for a check-up, only to find out that she's pregnant.

She is furious... Here she is in the middle of her first run for President ... now this has happened to her. She calls home, gets Bill on the phone and immediately starts screaming:
"How could you have let this happen? With all that's going on right now, you go and get me pregnant! How could you? I can't believe this! I've just found out I'm five weeks pregnant and it's all your fault! Well, what have you got to say?"

There is nothing but dead silence on the phone. She screams again, "Did you hear me?"

Finally she hears Bill's very very quiet voice, in a barely audible whisper, he asks:

"Who's speaking...?"


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Are we actually envious of Israel?

We can rant and yell at anything Israeli but can we do without their inventions, music compositions, scientific discoveries and a multitude of things which we take for granted in our everyday lives?

This is not to glorify Israel, but the facts speak for itself. I have never been there, not with a Malaysian passport that specifically disallow any visit to Israel. But I have worked for Jewish bosses and therefore have come across references to synagogues and barmitzvahs. Typical of Jews, one day I was walking in the street while on a 14-day medical leave for Chicken pox and my boss saw me. The next day I got a call from him asking why I am not back at work!

There is the famous joke of a very ill Jewish old man on his bed, surrounded by his family members. He called each of them who answered him immediately after each name was called. Then he shouted, 'Then who is minding the store?'

A friend forwarded the following information which is nothing short of amazing by any standard!:


Israel is only 1/6 of 1% of the landmass of the Middle East. Israel is roughly half the size of Lake Michigan. The Sea of Galilee , at 695 ft. Below sea level, is the lowest freshwater lake in the world. The Dead Sea is the lowest surface point on earth, at about 1,373 feet below sea level.
Israel is the only nation in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in it's number of trees. Jericho is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world. The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is the oldest, continually used cemetery in the world.

Israel 's population is half the size of Metro New York City.
Israel has only 2% of the population of the Middle East.
Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees per capita in the world.
Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation in the world - by a large margin.
Israel has the highest number of scientists and technicians per capita in the world - by a large margin.
Israel has the highest number of engineers per capita in the world.
Israel has the highest number of PhD's per capita in the world.
Israel has the highest number of physicians per capita in the world.
Israel has the largest percentage of it's workforce employed in technical professions in the world.
Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation in the world, per capita.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown over the last 50 years.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians, Muslims and Jews are all free to vote.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East where women enjoy full political rights.

Israel has the largest number of startup companies per capita in the world.
Israel is the world's largest wholesale diamond center, finally surpassing Antwerp in the 1970's. Most of the cut & polished diamonds in the world come from Israel .
Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies outside of the US and Canada .
Israel was the first country to have a free trade agreement with the United States .
Apart from the Silicon Valley, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world.

The cell phone was developed in Israel at Motorola's largest development center.
The Voice Mail technology was developed in Israel .
In the early 80's, IBM chose an Israeli-designed computer chip as the brains for it's first personal computers.
The first anti-virus software for computers was developed in Israel in 1979.
Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed in Israel by Microsoft.
Both the Pentium-4 and Centrino processors were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel . The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.
Israel has the highest number of home computers per capita in the world.
The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ was developed in 1996 by 4 young Israelis.
Israel was the first Middle Eastern country to launch a satellite, the Ofek 1, on September 19, 1988 .

Hebrew is the only case of a dead national language being revived in all of world history. Hebrew had not been spoken as a native tongue by anyone for centuries. Today it is the native tongue of millions of people.
Israel has more museums per capita than any other nation in the world.
Israel has more orchestras per capita than any other nation in the world.
Israel publishes more books per capita than any other nation in the world.
Israel publishes more books translated from other languages than any other nation in the world.
Israel reads more books per capita than any other nation in the world.
The most independent and free Arabic press in the Middle East is in Israel .

Israel has the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the US .
Israel has the world's most impenetrable airline security.
Israel spends more money per capita on it's own protection than any country in the world.

Israel 's dairy cows are the most productive dairy cows in the world. They average 25,432 pounds of milk per cow per year, compared to just 18,747 pounds from American cows; 17,085 from Canadian cows; 13,778 from European Union cows; 10,207 from Australian cows; and 6,600 from Chinese cows.
Israel has more in-vitro fertilization per capita than anywhere in the world, and it's free.
Israelis, per capita, are the world's biggest consumers of fruits and vegetables.
Of the 175 UN Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel . Of the 690 UN General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

Love it or hate it, you cannot get away completely from anything to do with Israel.

Thailand's secret weapon for the World Cup?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

An Indian astronaut?

Is he a bird? Nooooo! Is he a plane? Noooooo! Then he must be an Indian astronaut who has just returned to earth... a.k.a. a down to earth man?


Is there a dress code in a House of God?

One Sunday morning an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. The old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean -- jeans, a denim shirt and boots, all worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn out old hat and an equally well-worn Bible.

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and jewelry.

As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.

As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor: "Before you come back here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.

The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same old jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again, he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church."

"I did," replied the old cowboy.

"If you spoke to God, what did He tell you the proper attire should be for worshipping here?" asked the preacher.

"Well, sir., God told me that He didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said He'd never been in this church."


Something we can learn from America...

Everyone concentrates on the problems we're having in this country lately: illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, and alligators attacking people in Florida.

Not me. I concentrate on solutions for the problems. It's a win-win situation.

+ Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.

+ Send the dirt to New Orleans to raise the level of the levies.

+ Put the Florida alligators in the moat along the Mexican border.

Any other problems you would like for me to solve today?

Think about these:
1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq .... Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this:
You cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

Also, think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone-- YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

It is Time for America to speak


The Promised Land

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel "pick up your shovel, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land".

Nearly 75 years ago, Roosevelt said, "Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land".

Now Obama has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels, and mortgaged the Promised Land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, the wars, health care plans, Wall St, lost jobs, savings, social security, retirement funds, etc. So, I called Lifeline, the suicide help-line.

Got through to a call centre in Pakistan and when I told them I was suicidal, they all got excited and asked if I could drive a truck...

But for those who are still looking for the Promised Land, we have modern technology to help get you there:


Some paradoxes of our time...

Today we have bigger houses but smaller families,
more amenities but less time.

We have a higher education level and more knowledge,
but less common sense and competence to judge.

We have more experts, but more problems.
More medicine but less health.

We multiplied our properties and estates but we reduced our values and morals.
We talk too much, love too little and lie too often.

We learned how to make a living but not how to live,
We have years to live but can't add years to life

We have higher buildings but lower tempers,
We have wider streets but narrower points of view

We spend more but have less,
We buy more but enjoy less

We went all the way to the moon and back,
yet we can't cross the street to meet our neighbours.
We split up atoms but can't break down our own prejudices.

We write more, learn less,
Plan more but finish less,
We rush and cannot wait.

We build more computers to obtain more information,
but to have less personal communication.

We have more quantity than quality,
More spare time but less fun,
More kinds of food but with less nutrition,
Two incomes but more divorces,
Nicer houses but broken homes...

... are we progressing or regressing?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A chance meeting with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

I have mentioned it before but was unable to get a copy of this picture. Asked my nephew for it in Facebook and finally he uploaded it.

The occasion was a Royal visit to Camden Chinese Community Centre, London, where Angie works. It was arranged that Jun present a bouquet to the Queen while William holds her.

A recent picture of Jun:
How many of us can claim to have met Queen Elizabeth face to face? Lucky girl.

What nothing means to a homemaker

It is often said that the easiest job is that of a housewife... and if you happen to be man, then that of a househusband. To make it more palatable, they coined a new word 'homemaker'.

I found these two sayings from relevant to a homemaker's cynical reaction to people's perception:


China's Quarry Hotel and our equivalent...

This stunning design sets a hotel constructed in a water-filled quarry in China:Atkin’s Architecture Group recently won the first prize award for an international design competition with this stunning entry. Set in a spectacular water filled quarry in Songjiang, China, the 400 bed resort hotel is uniquely constructed within the natural elements of the quarry. Underwater public areas and guest rooms add to the uniqueness, but the resort also boasts cafes, restaurants and sporting facilities.The lowest level runs with the aquatic theme by housing a luxurious swimming pool and an extreme sports center for activities such as rock climbing and bungee jumping which will be cant ilevered over the quarry and accessed by special lifts from the water. With a stunning visual presentation as shown here, it’s no wonder this project took home the first prize. This is a fine example of an ultra modern facility co-existing amongst its natural environment.

Add Image
Malaysia has its equivalent in Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel, Sunway Pyramid Mall and so on, all built on an abandoned former tin mine. The son of the miner had the foresight and capability to transform it into an admirable successful complex of sorts.


Some inventions that I like...

My son and daughters are impressed with the ease in renewing their driving licences, passports and recently, my son was pleasantly surprised when checking his account at the EPF branch in Ipoh. So we should give credit where credit is due and not always criticize anything that is Malaysian.

Anyway, in most government offices, banks and other places where large numbers of people are expected, the 'Queue system' really stands out as the most efficient way of dealing with them. There is no discrimination, strictly on a 'first come first served' basis unless some insiders manipulate the system to work in cahoot with touts.

Then there is the new traffic light system which shows the 'seconds count down' which takes away our guessing while driving. Without this feature there is always the decision to make as to whether to speed up or to slow down at the traffic lights.


Necessity is the Mother of Invention...

and improvisation.

I can still remember in the 60s when a cousin (without professional training) managed to convert conventional lorries to dumper trucks by installing a hydraulic pump to the base of the wooden body. He made good money and even built a two-story building which still stands in Jalan Segambut, Kuala Lumpur. But soon after, it was discovered he had leukaemia and died within months. He was only in his thirties. The following pictures remind me of him because he used to convert all kinds of vehicles which are common today, like those forklifts converted to mini shovel loaders used by oil palm harvesters for instance:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kee Thuan Chye's response to Utusan Malaysia


I wish to emphasise here that I am replying not as a Chinese Malaysian but, simply, as a Malaysian. Let me say at the outset that the Chinese have got nothing more than what any citizen should get. So to ask “what more” it is they want, is misguided. A correct question would be “What do the Chinese want?”

All our lives, we Chinese have held to the belief that no one owes us a living. We have to work for it. Most of us have got where we are by the sweat of our brow, not by handouts or the policies of the government.

We have come to expect nothing – not awards, not accolades, not gifts from official sources...

We have learned we can’t expect the government to grant us scholarships. Some will get those, but countless others won’t. We’ve learned to live with that and to work extra hard in order to support our children to attain higher education – because education is very important to us. We experience a lot of daily pressure to achieve that. Unfortunately, not many non-Chinese realise or understand that. In fact, many Chinese had no choice but to emigrate for the sake of their children’s further education. Or to accept scholarships from abroad, many from Singapore, which has inevitably led to a brain drain.

Why did the Chinese by and large not vote for BN? Because it’s corrupt. Plain and simple. Let’s call a spade a spade. And BN showed how corrupt it was during the campaign by throwing bribes to the electorate, including promising RM3 million to the Chinese school in Rasa.

The Chinese were not alone in seeing this corruption. The figures are unofficial but one could assume that at least 40 per cent of Malays and 45 per cent of Indians who voted against BN in that by-election also had their eyes open. So, what’s wrong with not supporting a government that is corrupt? If the government is corrupt, do we continue to support it?

To answer the question then, what do the Chinese want? They want a government that is not corrupt; that can govern well and proves to have done so; that tells the truth rather than lies; that follows the rule of law; that upholds rather than abuses the country’s sacred institutions. BN does not fit that description, so the Chinese don’t vote for it. This is not what only the Chinese want. It is something every sensible Malaysian, regardless of race, wants. Is that something that is too difficult to understand?

Some people think that the government is to be equated with the country, and therefore if someone does not support the government, they are being disloyal to the country. This is a complete fallacy. BN is not Malaysia. It is merely a political coalition that is the government of the day. Rejecting BN is not rejecting the country. against UMNO is also voting against a party, not against a race. And if the Chinese or whoever criticise UMNO, they are criticising the party; they are not criticising Malays. It just happens that UMNO’s leaders are Malay.

It is time all Malaysians realised this so that we can once and for all dispel the confusion. Let us no more confuse country with government. We can love our country and at the same time hate the government. It is perfectly all right.

I should add here what the Chinese don’t want. We don’t want to be insulted, to be called pendatang, or told to be grateful for our citizenship. We have been loyal citizens; we duly and dutifully pay taxes; we respect the country’s constitution and its institutions. Our forefathers came to this country generations ago and helped it to prosper. We are continuing to contribute to the country’s growth and development.

You see, the Chinese, like all human beings, want self-respect. And a sense of belonging in this country they call home. That is all the Chinese want, and have always wanted. Nothing more.

Have we been honest with our kids?

I have observed how parents cope with questions, especially embarrassing ones, from inquisitive children. Some are put in difficult situations simply because of language.

For example, an English educated parent trying so hard to converse in Mandarin because the children are studying in Chinese school, and vice versa. Sometimes, it is better not to teach obviously wrong things, and to leave it to the professional teachers.

But we cannot escape answering questions when we are least prepared, as shown in the following examples from Calvin and Hobbes:


Startling discovery?

What common English word is 9 letters long, and each time you remove a letter from it, it still remains an English word... from 9 letters all the way down to a single remaining letter?


... at the end of it all, I remain!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ipoh was more than a food paradise...

As a migrant from KL, and not a bibliophile, most of my facts or anything that pass as such, are derived from others. A friend forwarded the following article (after my introduction), the story of which is not new but I believe many do not know much about it.

Ipoh was named after a tree and there are some rare ones left, one of which I think is in front of Ipoh Railway Station. I watched Ip Man recently and while some people (who just read the title) might think it related to Ipoh, nothing is further from the truth!

There is one real tin dredge (tilted and could be unsafe for visits by now) left on display to tell the history of the tin industry. The recent relatively high price of tin (since the big crash) has seen the re-opening of some uneconomical tin mines. For some years, amang (tin tailings) factories have been processing old stocks bought years ago from tin mines. Malaysian Smelting Corporation (a subsidiary of MMC) seems to be the only smelting plant (monopoly) left and it buys tin ore from various amang factories. It is conveniently situated (for itself) in Butterworth, Penang, next to the sea, for easy export of tin ingots (its finished product) as well as receiving tin ores from neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Thailand. Just to give an idea, a lorry with say, 7 tons of tin ore at today's price is worth over Rm200,000!

How Ipoh Was Destroyed !

From a Billion Ringgit Tin Mining Industry to Nga-Choy-Kai Industry

Ipoh has changed so much over the years since the Tin bust, nobody seems to know that Ipoh used to be synonymous with tin.

The last time I met a friend who was born after the Tin-bust, I asked him in jest, “Do you know what Ipoh is famous for?”

He gave me a blank look. Anyway, not wasting any time, I told him, “Tin-lah.” “If there is no tin, Ipoh wouldn’t be here. It would be just another Orang Asli settlement.

He squinted his eyes and responded, “Are you sure? I thought it was Nga-Choy-Kai.”

Thanks to Barisan Nasional for single-handedly transforming Ipoh from a rich and bustling Tin-City to a Nga-Choy-Kai (Bean-Sprout Chicken) industry. Ipoh never recovered from this fatal stroke of incompetence and greed to corner the World Tin Market. As a result of this, the once vibrant Tin Industry was totally wiped out.

It all started with a shady Egyptian tin trader by the name of David Zaidner. He worked for the commodities firm Marc Rich & Co in Switzerland .

Actually, he first approached the Indonesian government thinking that they were stupid enough to buy his idea of cornering the tin market. But the Indonesians smelled a con job and had him kicked out of the country.

Next, he couldn’t believe his lucky stars when his idea was accepted with enthusiasm by our then brand-new Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir. A plan was quickly hatched to corner the World Tin market.

In December 1980, the state-owned Malaysian Mining Corp. Bhd. named Marc Rich as its trading agent in a move that would shock the world commodities industry.

Secret large tin purchases were made on the London Metal Exchange and went unabated throughout 1981, inducing a worldwide price increase. The strategy was cheap and simple. Malaysia had to only pay a 10 percent deposit against three-month' s forward purchase contracts.

When the price of tin shot up in the world market, the Malaysian government thought it had scored a huge victory. But unexpectedly, the price increase attracted many world producers to increase tin production and even the United States began selling from its strategic stockpiles to take advantage of the Malaysian-induced price rises.

Subsequently, Malaysia amassed about 50,000 tons of tin and had no other choice but to keep buying just to keep prices up. Production continued to soar and even unheard-of suppliers started to turn up to cash in on the high tin price. The world tin market went berserk and it crashed.

Malaysia lost an estimated US$250 million on its failure to honour forward contracts, and another local bank lost another US$1 billion in separate losses on loans it had made covertly out of its Hong Kong subsidiary.

For five years Mahathir categorically denied that Malaysia had anything to do with the plan but as outside pressure mounted, Mahathir finally revealed the details in 1986.

Marc Rich was finally indicted and arrested then extradited to the United States and convicted of massive tax fraud.

Think of the billions of ringgit taken out of our economy in Perak when the tin price went bust. Had Mahathir not meddled with the tin price, we wouldn’t have lost 30 years of Tin export income. Perak wouldn’t have been relegated from one of the richest states to a poor one like today.

Another good example akin to the Perak demise is Terengganu. If all the oil royalties go to the people of Terengganu, Terengganu would be an advanced state at par with Selangor. But unfortunately, these royalties go to the pockets of BN politicians and cronies in the form of “Duit Ehsan”.

By Choo Sing Chye
Researched from Steven Schlossstein’ s book, Asia ’s New Little Dragons.