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, October 31, 2010

Life's Golden Rule

forwarded to me by Bayi, author unknown...

I grew up in Trenton, a west Tennessee town of five thousand people. I have wonderful memories of those first eighteen years, and many people in Trenton influenced my life in very positive ways. My football coach, Walter Kilzer, taught me the importance of hard work, discipline, and believing in myself. My history teacher, Fred Culp, is still the funniest person I've ever met. He taught me that a sense of humor, and especially laughing at yourself, can be one of life's greatest blessings.

But my father was my hero. He taught me many things, but at the top of the list, he taught me to treat people with love and live the Golden Rule. I remember one particular instance of him teaching this "life lesson" as if it were yesterday. Dad owned a furniture store, and I used to dust the furniture every Wednesday after school to earn my allowance. One afternoon I observed my Dad talking to all the customers as they came in...the hardware store owner, the banker, a farmer, a doctor. At the end of the day, just as Dad was closing, the garbage collector came in.

I was ready to go home, and I thought that surely Dad wouldn't spend too much time with him. But I was wrong. Dad greeted him at the door with a big hug and talked with him about his wife and son who had been in a car accident the month before. He empathized, he asked questions, he listened, and he listened some more. I kept looking at the clock, and when the man finally left, I asked, "Dad, why did you spend so much time with him? He's just the garbage collector." Dad then looked at me, locked the front door to the store, and said, "Son, let's talk."

He said, "I'm your father and I tell you lots of stuff as all fathers should, but if you remember nothing else I ever tell you, remember this...treat every human being just the way that you would want to be treated." He said, "I know this is not the first time you've heard it, but I want to make sure it's the first time you truly understand it, because if you had understood, you would never have said what you said." We sat there and talked for another hour about the meaning and the power of the Golden Rule. Dad said, "If you live the Golden Rule everything else in life will usually work itself out, but if you don't, your life probably will be very unhappy and without meaning."

I recently heard someone say, "If you teach your child the Golden Rule, you will have left them an estate of incalculable value."

Let's be calculative

The term in our local scene, especially to do with 'boy-girl' relationships, has an unfavourable connotation, as in being 'stingy'. But I would rather be stingy than having to live on borrowed funds.

We should understand how companies, no matter how big, depend on earnings to survive. Where the bottom line is in the red, any continuation of the existing conditions will eventually lead to financial collapse.

Some people do not realize that good times are temporary, so extravagance during good times can also lead to financial problems because they are used to their high living even when times are bad. Common among these are those who inherited wealth from parents without knowing the business or at least have alternative investment plans. When properties or investments were sold, the large amounts of monies tend to encourage unnecessary spending on items which do not have residual values. Thousands of Ringgit spent a night in a lounge could mean spending beyond their normal incomes. Larger items like palatial homes (at least this has residual value and could even appreciate over time) and luxurious cars could cause a dent to the inheritance of a beneficiary of an average rich family. The high maintenance of the cars and mistresses (if any) are quite common reasons of their downfall.

I have actually wanted to start on a topic involving small amounts but got distracted in my thought process. It has to do with the free electricity for each household provided by government through TNB. Our unoccupied house seems to alternate between payment of just over Rm20 or free when the bill is below the magic figure. For the month before last, I was indignant when the meter reader came 3 days later which caused me to pay Rm20.70. Though I was prepared this time, like making sure that I did not use for the last few days, the units was just 5 units short of 91 (91x0.218 = 19.84) and the meter reader did not come on the day (28th) as the previous month! When he came on 29th, I was expecting a bill for just over Rm20 which I would have to pay, but was relieved to see the amount was only Rm19.40 (based on 89 units). Now, I am sure most readers would think why I fuss over a small amount, which I am sure most retirees do. Does it occur to those who think so, that the marginal 92nd unit actually works out to Rm20.10 which I have to pay, whereas up to 91 units I do not have to? It might be small change to some, but to the company (TNB) concerned, any effort to ensure those similar cases pay instead could mean extra thousands, possibly millions in revenue. Some people believe that our government might not actually refund to TNB for those whose bills do not exceed Rm20, or even if it does refund TNB, the long delay means disadvantageous cash flow. The other point is: how many households actually use less than Rm20 per month? The Malays would describe it as 'ajak-ajak ayam' or when someone asks you out half-heartedly, and which I likened it as an offer which is actually not an offer! Apparently, it was Proton which decided to do away with the Rm5,000 per vehicle trade-in for purchase of a new Proton. It seems the government has yet to re-imburse them (or if they did, after a long, long time)!

This morning, I am surprised to see Yahoo's subject is on savings...

Many young people would scoff at reminders to save money by not buying branded apparels, cutting back on Starbucks, McDonalds or KFC, or to buy from cheaper instead of convenience stores. But as a rich man used to say when asked why he is so thrifty and his children so spendthrift, 'My father was poor, but my children's father is rich' which sums up the reality of the situation.

The young should be made to realize that many 'rags to riches' wealthy people got to where they are today by being careful with their expenses, besides being good in investments. Warren Buffet and Li Ka Shing come to mind, while locally, Lee Loy Seng too. When Tan Sri Lee was Chairman of Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd (by invitation to give confidence when the company was in bad shape), their Company Secretary actually borrowed his old company Merc which was being used by his junior staff member, to send him to the airport, so as to avoid being questioned about buying new company cars unnecessarily! My mother-in-law (dulang washer turned tin miner) once told me to return a bunch of rambutans which she suspected the seller cheated me for a difference of Rm1 (Paid Rm4 for Rm3 bunch) only! I was more concerned about whether it was worth the trouble and petrol! A case of woman's logic, but who was to say since she had proven her capability in business?

The basics of turning around troubled companies and our balancing of household budgets are the same, regardless of the financial size: to increase revenues or incomes and to cut costs on expenditures (eliminate if possible). The difference is in the number of digits only. It applies to sole proprietorships, partnerships, companies or even national budgets which deal in public revenues and expenditures.

In other words, how we wish our civil servants and their political masters would be prudent, (cannot put it as 'more prudent' because they have never been), in spending public funds. It is difficult to expect second and third generation aristocrats like our PM and Home Minister to empathize with ordinary folks. 'Change your lifestyle' was then DPM's exhortation to us, and I wish I could quote Hussein Hamid's reaction...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Delusion of Grandeur: from one generation to the next?

Years ago, when I came back from UK, I wondered about the Komtar building which seemed to stick out of Penang Island like a sore thumb, or a phallus symbol if you like. At the time, it must have been 4-5 times the number of storeys of its nearest rival high rise building.

For years, it was an object of neglect because of it being out of place and especially out of reality during those early years of 70s and 80s when Penang was not ready for such a high rise building. There was even a fire which proved beyond our fire department's capability to handle.

It was launched by Tun Razak himself with a symbolic pile in 1974. Now, 36 years later, his son being the 6th Premier, seems to have a similar urge to launch another tower above all others. Have we not learned from that lesson? Pakatan government was handed this monster of a building to sort out in 2008 and they managed to do a good job. It would have been better without having to have this humongous building to deal with, especially when the objective is to save public expenditure.

Looking ahead, if ever Pakatan Rakyat could take over Putrajaya, many BN leaders would envy in terms of the glamour of the PM living in such a palatial setting, but a sensible PR leader would find the upkeep difficult to justify, unlike our present PM who could even consider a Rm65 million renovation allocation for an already luxurious official residence. I cannot help repeating the comparison with British PM's No.10 Downing Street which is nothing more than a big terrace house! We natives seem to have a higher expectation than those damned colonialists!

Excerpts and pictures from Wikipedia:

KOMTAR (Full Name: Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak), or more accurately KOMTAR Tower (Menara KOMTAR in Malay) is Penang's tallest building and the sixth tallest building in Malaysia. It is located in the heart of George Town. When the skyscraper topped out it was the tallest building in Asia. However, by the time construction was completed it had however been surpassed by Seoul's Korean Life Insurance Building (KLI 63 Building).

The 65-storey tower is a 12-sided geometric block, 760 ft (232m) tall, sitting atop a 4-storey podium. The complex comprises office and retail commercial space as well as public and recreational facilities. It was designed by Architects Team 3 (AT3) of Singapore.[1]

KOMTAR occupies an 11-hectare site and is the single most ambitious urban renewal project undertaken by Penang Development Corporation, the development arm of thePenang state government. The master plan is divided into five phases for implementation. The complex is named in honour of the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, the late Tun Abdul Razak bin Hussein. The first piling of the building's phase one was done by Tun Razak himself on 1 January 1974. Part of the complex's first phase podium block was completed in 1978.

Today, the five phases of development are still in various stages of completion.

In January 1983, a fire broke out at the 43rd floor of the building and destroyed the floors above it. Firemen were unable to put out the flames as it was too high up. The flames eventually burnt out after approximately eight hours. The building was still under construction at that time and it was the worst highrise fire in the country after the Campbell Shopping Complex and the Bank Bumiputra fires, both of which took place in Kuala Lumpur.
KOMTAR Revitalisation Project

The podium block on which the tower sits on is the KOMTAR Shopping Complex, Penang's oldestshopping mall, the first phase of which was opened in December 1976. The long-time anchor tenant at the mall, Super Komtar, a local department store chain folded in 2005. Another department store, Aktif Lifestyle occupying the adjoining block, has also ceased operations. Both sites have since been left vacant and the KOMTAR shopping precinct continues its demise.

In May 2008, the new Penang State Government reaffirmed its commitment to revitalise KOMTAR by calling off the relocation plan of its administrative offices to Bayan Mutiara. Upgrading works at KOMTAR Shopping Complex were completed in December 2008. A new anchor tenant named 'Pacific' took over as the main anchor tenant. With a floor space of over 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2), business commenced on 17 December 2008. Chief

Minister Lim Guan Eng opened the new Pacific Department Store & Supermarket Komtar. In 2009, Komtar Walk was opened outside Pacific's main entrance. It features food stalls and an open space.


White men tell lies?

True or False? Depends on who you are and how you are inclined to believe, or wish to believe, or wish others to believe...

On Chinese contributions towards development of Malaya, excerpts from:

BRITISH MALAYA – An Account of the Origin and Progress of British Influence in Malaya ” – by Sir Frank Swettenham,
K.C.M.G. (1850-1946).

Late Governor of the Straits Colony & High Commissioner for the Federated
Malay States . LONDON : John Lane

Page 231
“…….I have said that the protected Malay States depended mainly on the tin mines for their revenue, and it was first care of the Government to foster the industry by every legitimate means. As early as 1882 a French company began to mine tin in the Kinta district of Perak, and has extended its operations to the other States. Since then other Europeans have formed companies for the same purpose; but it was the Chinese who began the work, who have continued it ever since, and whose efforts have succeeded in producing more than half of the world’s tin supply.

Page 232
Their energy and enterprise have made the Malay States what they are today, and it would be impossible to overstate the obligation which the Malay Government and the people are under to these hard-working, capable and law-abiding. They were already the miners and the traders, and more instances the planters and the fishermen, before the white man had found his way to the Peninsula. In all the early days it was Chinese energy and industry which supplied the fund to begin the construction of roads and public works, and to pay all the other costs of administration. Then they will and still they are, the pioneers of mining.. They have driven their way into remote jungles, cleared the forests, run all the risks, and often made great gains. They have also paid penalty imposed by an often deadly climate. But the Chinese were not often miners, they were charcoal-burners in the days when they had to do their own smelting; they were wood-cutters, carpenters, and brickmakers; as contractors they constructed nearly all government buildings, most of the roads and bridges, railways and waterworks. They brought all the capital into the country when Europeans feared to take the risks; they were the traders and shopkeepers, and it was their steamers which first opened regular communications between the ports of the colony and the ports of Malay States. They introduced tens of thousands of their countrymen when the one great need was labour to develop the hidden riches of an almost unknown and jungle-covered country, and it is their work, the taxation of the luxuries of they consume and of the pleasures they enjoy, which has provided something like nine-tenths of the revenue. When it is possible to look back upon a successful experiment, it is always of interest to ascertain the determining factors, and how far each affected the result.

Page 233
The reader should understand at once what is due to Chinese labour and enterprise in the evolution of the Federated Malay States . The part played by the Malay has already been told: it was mainly negative; how far the Government officials, the European planters and the Indian Immigrants contributed to the general development of the Country and the position it now occupies will be described in the subsequent chapter...”


Court grants 'holy day' for Atheist

In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover Holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians and Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, "Case dismissed!"

The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honor, How can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays."

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant."

The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."

The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that, if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned."


Friday, October 29, 2010

We should know the true history of Malaysia...

"The time has arrived for us to record our history as the facts tell us and not as we would like to wish it. The truth will never hurt anyone. Lies, always will." - LEE Ong Kim (Dr) Associate Professor and Head, Policy and Leadership Studies, National Institute of Education, An Institute of Nanyang Technological University.

Why Kota Gelanggi (lost city) touted as earliest civilization in Malay Peninsula news were banned as they were Buddhist.

The Johor find of 2005 which was quietly dropped was none other than Kota Gelanggi lost city reflecting Srivijaya and its Buddhist splendour.

But they deliberately disregarded it because that would have sidelined Malacca Empire and Islam which was smaller and came some 500 years later.

I met Dr Lee Kam Hing, a former History prof at MU in Singapore recently at a seminar. Dr Lee, who is now Star research director, told me he was trying his best to highlight Kota Gelanggi, but that the govt killed it off.

This is clearly another case to cover up the real history of Malaya and fool the younger generations into believing that our history only began from Malacca 1400.

Not only that, they try to show Parameswara as Malay and Muslim, but actually he was Hindu!

A small piece of History for our future generation, Hitler's public relations manager, Goebbels, once said, 'If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.'

Once again our government wiped out any references to a famous Melaka prince as being Hindu and belonging to the powerful Hindu empire Sri Vijaya. So all of a sudden our museums, school text-books etc. all refer to Parameswara as a Malay prince.

What race ruled or did not rule is besides the point. What is important is not butchering history to create your own truths. You cannot change your race even if you convert - Parameswara could have been responsible for Umno's proud heritage of 'Ketuanan Melayu'.

If this is what it is based on, there is no ' Ketuanan Melayu '. The lineage of Melaka Sultans are Indians, not Malays. It is no secret that Parameswara was an Indian and a Hindu prince.

It is clear from records that Parameswara never converted to Islam. He was an Indian Hindu who fled Palembang in Sumatra to eventually found Melaka circa 1400 AD. It was Sri Maharaja who converted himself and the court of Melaka to Islam, and as a result took on the name of Sultan Muhammad Shah sometime after 1435.

The most famous of Indian Hindu Kings were Raja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola who invaded Southern Thailand, Kedah, Perak, Johor and Sumatra about 1000 AD. This is Raja-raja Chola - the Indian/Hindu kings and not Raja Chulan - a Malay king. But what is really sad is that our children are taught as though Malaysian history suddenly began in 1400 with an Islamic Melaka.

We are led to believe that the Indians and Chinese first arrived on the shores of Malaysia in about 1850 as desperate indentured labourers, farmers and miners. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The cultural influences of India in particular, and China, in South East Asia span over 2,000 years, starting with the arrival from India of the Brahmanical prince/scholar - Aji Saka in Java in AD78, through to Vietnam, Cambodia (Indo China), Thailand,Burma, Indonesia, Bali, Borneo, Brunei and beyond.

The findings at Bujang Valley speak of an ancient Indian/Hindu presence in Kedah. There were Chinese settlements in Pahang and Kelantan around the 13th-14th century and in 12th century in Singapore .

The early Brunei Sultanate had a Chinese Queen.

One need not ponder at length the implications of Angkor Wat and Borobudur or that 40%-50% of Bahasa Malaysia comprises Sanskrit/Tamil words.

To illustrate, some of these word are :

bumi = boomi
putra = putran
raja = rajah
desa = thesam
syakti = sakthi
kolam = kulam
bahaya = abahya
jaya = jeya
maha = maha
aneka = aneha
nadi = naadi
kedai = kadai
mahligai = maaligai
mantra = manthrum
tandas = sandas
(This list can go on)

An extremely important archeological find that pointed to one of the greatest empires in history - the Raja Chola empire that ruled from the Maldives through India, Sri Lanka and right down to South East Asia found deep in the jungles of Johor a few years ago and made headlines in the mainstream newspapers in 2005, suddenly disappeared from the news.

The time has arrived for us to record our history as the facts tell us and not as we would like to wish it.

The truth will never hurt anyone. Lies, always will .

National Institute of Education (Singapore)


The cheek of Michael Chick...

In an apparent response to our Education Minister cum Deputy Prime Minister's proposal to make History a compulsory subject in school, a number of articles have been circulated in the internet.

Books written by British provided facts which seemed contrary to those found in our history books written by local historians. So your guess is as good as mine as to which version will be adopted in our schools.

Michael Chick poked at Prof. Khoo and our description of 'Tanah Melayu' and his main points are as follows:

"Michael Chick goes back to old Arabic maps to find that Tanah Melayu was actually called Barr Chin or Tanah China.

Who says that the Peninsular was ALWAYS called "Tanah Melayu"? This is a recent British Term!

Prior to "Tanah Melayu" being a British Tag in the 19th century, the peninsular was formerly known as Malacca in the 15th century. The newly-renamed book "Sejarah Melayu" (previously known as "Asal-Usul Raja-Raja") mentions every other place from India to China, including the tiny-speck-of-dirt called Temasik EXCEPT "Tanah Melayu". Why was Tanah Melayu NEVER MENTIONED in Sejarah Melayu? Simple!! Because that was not its name!!

Tanah Melayu was NEVER the name until the British came and colonized the Peninsular.
(please see map below)

Only in the 19th Century was The Peninsular known as "Tanah Melayu".

In the 15th Century, the Peninsular was known by no other name than "The Malacca Peninsular".

The Peninsular was known as "Barr Kra" in the 10th Century. Before that, the Peninsular was known as the "Golden Chersonese" since the 2nd Century. "Golden Chersonese is the ancient name to refer to the Malay Peninsula by Claudius Ptolemy or Claudius Ptolemaeus (Greek: ; c. 90 - c.. 168). Known in English as Ptolemy, he was a Greek-speaking geographer, astronomer, and astrologer. During Roman times, the Malay Peninsula developed an international reputation as a source of gold; hence the name was given."

By the way, "Barr" simply means "Land" in the Persian Language. And Barr Kra above, means " Land of Kra " (as in reference to the Isthmus of Kra ).

The earliest known Arabic Maps refer to the Peninsular as "Barr CHIN". Where Chin refers to CHINA ! Why did the Arabs call this Peninsular "Tanah China" instead of "Tanah Melayu"?

The oldest known Arab Maps called the Peninsular "Barr Chin"; which translates to "Tanah China ", or " Land of Chinese ". BTN can now implement this new found knowledge into their syllabus. You cannot deny that you don't know it now! Perhaps if you spoke Hokkien, dressed like a Hokkien, and practised Hokkien Customs, the Hokkiens might be gracious enough to accept you. Sounds absurd? Absolutely; and so does the other "Great Race-Changing Trick" practised by UMNO. And I quote Prof Dr Anthony Milner (ANU), "If it's so easy to join a race, it must be equally easy to 'un-join' that race ..."


Since God has His creation in Facebook...

it is only a matter of time before all our Malaysian Prime Ministers got into it as well:

I believe someone else could probably improve on this!

Why collecting old stuff is meaningful...

especially in this modern world where most people go for new and throw the old, because everyone seems to be in a hurry and no one has the time to reminisce...

TOKYO – For decades, the faded photograph of a baby Japanese girl and a child's colorful drawing hung on a wall in the home of Franklin Hobbs III in America.

As a 21-year-old U.S. soldier fighting on Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, Hobbs found them in the pocket of a fallen Japanese soldier and took them as a souvenir.
Until recently, he tried not to think too much about the battle or the photo and drawing. Then, a few years ago, at his wife's suggestion, he decided to try to give them back.

For the girl in the photo and her sister, they meant the world.

Hobbs, now 86, returned to Japan this week for the first time since the war and met with one of the daughters whose life he changed by returning the items. Chie Takekawa had drawn the picture of an air raid drill that Hobbs found on her father — a man she barely knew and whose remains have never been found.

"As a child, I had always wondered when my father would come home from the war," Takekawa, 74, said Thursday with a beaming Hobbs by her side. "I feel like he has actually come back after all these years. I am very grateful."

The story of the mementos very nearly ended on Hobbs' wall.

More, where that gem came from:


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some practical green ideas...

Exercise and earn free food...
Hotel offers free meal to guests who are willing to generate electricity:

The Crown Plaza Hotel in Copenhagen , Denmark , is offering a free meal to any guest who is able to produce electricity for the hotel on an exercise bike attached to a generator. Guests will have to produce at least 10 watt hours of electricity - roughly 15 minutes of cycling for someone of average fitness. They will then be given meal vouchers worth $36 (26 euros).

Exercise and charge your phone...
Designer creates an iPhone charger powered by a hand grip:

A green idea that gives you a great hand workout as well. Charge your iPhone by a hand grip! This concept is called You can work it out, designed by Mac Funamizu.

For those who spend too much time in the shower...
Designer creates a shower that forces you to leave when you've wasted too much water:

20% of our total domestic energy usage is from hot water for showering and bathing. That's over 6 times the energy usage of domestic lighting. So designer Tommaso Colia came up with his eco-friendly shower design that will force you to get out when you take too long and waste much water. The eco_drop shower features beautiful concentric circles that will rise to force you to stop showering when you take too long, and accordingly save water.

Taking it further, out of necessity and to instill good green habits among students...
University constructs a green roof as a gathering place:
Green design is an enormously popular trend in modern architecture, just take a look at this amazing green roof at the School of Art , Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore . This 5-story facility sweeps a wooded corner of the campus with an organic, vegetated form that blends landscape and structure, nature and high-tech and symbolizes the creativity it houses. The roofs serve as informal gathering spaces challenging linear ideas and stirring perception. The roofs create open space, insulate the building, cool the surrounding air and harvest rainwater for landscaping irrigation. Planted grasses mix with native greenery to colonize the building and bond it to the setting.

Learning English pronunciation by example...

A friend of mine, who is a teacher, once told me that in one of her Geography lessons, she had difficulties getting some of her students to pronounce the name of a city, OKLAHOMA !

A Malay student, read it as O.K. lah Omar
A Chinese student, read it as Okra Oma !
An Indian student read it as Wok Kla Wo Ma !
Don't laugh, but do you know how to pronounce correctly, the word....

"Oklahoma" ?

The Proper Way is:

OKLA... (with a pause) ... HOMA

(There's a gap between the 'a' and the 'h'.)

Don't agree, let me prove it...

Perhaps the native English teachers coming to Malaysia should use this form to encourage the students to remember what they have been taught. Some Iranians students I knew in the '70s said they learn English by reading Playboy magazines!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MBS Sentul OBA Golden Jubilee

On our way back from KL, we dropped by to see an ex-classmate of mine who was back earlier from Perth, sadly for his father's funeral. His trip was delayed because of red tape over his medical condition which required a doctor's certification before he could board the flight.

Besides being an old boy, he used to be a teacher in his alma mater and has quite a number of ex-students who still keep in touch with him. One of them informed him about the OBA Golden Jubilee Dinner on October 30 and asked if his name could be used as a Book Prize! I was surprised at the table prices: Rm800, Rm3,000 and Rm5,000! It seems his ex-students of year 1974 have booked 5 tables. His ex-students include Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum of Mah Sing group.

I am not sure if he was serious when he said he won't be attending! The timing was right for him to meet his former school mates, his former students as well as former colleagues.

I was told the forthcoming event was posted in Facebook and mentioned in the Malay Mail too:

MBS Sentul OBA is on Facebook

Malay Mail: Golden Jubilee of Sentul MBS' old boys

Just added to this post:

Old Boy, Tan Sri Azman Hashim's contribution:

In case there are those really uninformed, he is synonymous to Arab Malaysian Bank, a bank he founded and for a short while, sole owner until it was properly re-structured. Please correct me if I am wrong.

MBS OBA Website:

It would be nice to have names of all the school captains since 1948. At the moment, there are no details in the website. Unavailable from its own or school records? A list of Presidents of OBA and school principals would be appreciated too.

As in other associations, there is a tendency towards highlighting highly successful ex-students, which would infer or reflect unfavourably on the lesser known ones (though no less successful but could be publicity shy by choice, or successful in other ways if only based on different criteria). What comes to mind is when we compliment a lady among others, it would make them uncomfortable, wouldn't it?

To give a chance to others who are not so successful in terms of material wealth, positions or fame, it would be nice to encourage ex-students to write about their memorable times in school; about any principal, teacher or schoolmate who made a deep impression on them; about their present career, business or just about anything.

Shopping for a washing machine

Unlike well heeled folks, we normally shop around to get the best bargain based on certain criteria like load size, rpm and so on.

The weekend before last, we were in KL and SP suggested to her sister that we go to Megamall since we have not been for sometime (phobia of parking problems and traffic jams around it). At Jusco, we found a Samsung washing machine (6.5kg load) going for Rm1,649. Then her sister mentioned about Jusco card which entitles member to 10% discount, but has to wait for Jusco day. I knew about the crowds on such days and warned SP about the problem of crowd, payment and delivery.

I chanced upon an advertisement in last Sunday's Star by Houz which offered one branded 5.5 kg load front loader for Rm999! To make sure the sale is still on, I called up their customer service number and was told it was, and available. Asked about delivery and I was told that it is free for purchases above Rm3,000, otherwise it costs an extra Rm65.

I checked our Navara (with canopy) and realized that the maximum opening is only 34" while a standard washer is 36" in height. SP informed her boss, ie. her nephew, that she is taking the Mazda Fighter (without canopy) for this purpose.

Yesterday, we came to KL solely for this purpose, and having son and daughter to join us for dinner was a bonus that comes with such a 'working trip'. Except for last weekend, the past previous weekends we were in KL for one occasion or the other.

According to the advertisement, Houz has two large outlets, one near 1 Utama and another new one in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Upon arrival in Jalan TAR, I realized it was built on the same site as the former Lee Wong Kee Restaurant, which brought back memories because a number of my relatives had their wedding dinners there many years ago. I used to go there for dinner with my former bosses after our company meetings. One of them, Datuk Othman, a former private secretary of Tun Razak, used to relate to us stories about his good old times at the restaurant. His favourite dish was the 'Kwongfu Chau, yeen yong' which is fried kwayteow in gravy with crispy meehoon on top, Cantonese style. As for me, the most lasting impression was the western cakes served at wedding tea parties. Maybe it was because of being deprived when young, the taste was nothing I could find again in modern cake shops. While on this subject, there was also an Indian Muslim restaurant, Kassim which used to be further down Jalan TAR towards Jalan Tun Perak (formerly Jalan Mountbatten), which curry I used to love and the taste of which I have yet to find in another similar restaurant again!

Anyway, the sales person in Houz was surprised when I mentioned about the sales item. I had to go back to the car to show him the advertisement. He called someone to confirm. Then he said that the sale was only for 3 days and that it was over. I told him there was no mention of it and even based on 3 days, it should be still valid. Then he mentioned the number I called was the other outlet. But he was most accommodating, knowing that we came all the way from BG, he being from Ipoh, he was willing to sell based on the advertised price. Now, that certainly gave us a very good impression. But as usual, SP had her priority when it comes to selection of household goods (she used to be a Home Economics teacher in UK). She reasoned that a bigger load would be more practical (less frequent wash, therefore saves on electricity in the long run) because of the same wattage and rpm found in both the 6.5 kg and 5.5 kg washer. We managed to reduce the price from Rm1,649 to Rm1,500 and took it home on a cash and carry basis! We were given Rm45 in vouchers, but on the condition that we use it the next day or within a month. The rationale seems to entice us to come back again.

Again, from experience, SP insisted that we buy a piece of wire mesh to prevent rats from going under the machine to set up nest. Some machines come with one, but most are without. At the moment, the machine is yet to be installed by ourselves because of this outstanding item. Sigh... how I wish I could just buy and have it delivered and installed without me lifting a finger!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

YES! Warisan Merdeka should be in Kg. Baru, KL...

so that it will showcase the achievements and pride of Malays in Malaysia.

Since PNB was set up to help the Malays, only they should decide on how they want to invest their funds. Others do not have the locus standi to complain, not until there is an actual need for more funds to bail out when the going gets tough. For crying out loud, we should have waited to 'cross the bridge when we come to it'.

As I have mentioned before, being 100% owned by Malays has its main disadvantage of a limited market and we can easily find agricultural lands, commercial and residential properties in Malay reserved locations priced less than half of those in open markets. Just imagine, the building can be sold only to a Malay or Malay owned corporation, unless the intention is to be owned in perpetuity by PNB, at all costs. Please do so, knowing full well how the market will react to it!

Anyway, it could do a reverse NEP in which 30% of space could be reserved for non-Bumiputeras (which seems like good PR) and they could be 'forced' or rather 'persuaded' to take up the reserved lots. The rentals could be priced with discrimination: higher for non-Malays and much lower for Malays (think bazaars and warongs) to showcase their start-up businesses. Government departments occupying spaces in the building would have to pay more, what with pressure from the top (to take up space and pay recommended rentals).

Many government departments can move their offices within KL to this specific building, at the expense of their existing landlords. There is no need to worry about how they fare anyway.

State governments could be told to have representation in the iconic building too. Royalty of each state too could have a royal penthouse for the occasional 'top of the world' feel. With so many states within the Federation, they could fill up a sizable portion of the tower.

With a bit of arm-twisting by the government, crony-related companies could be told to rent spaces in the building. Naza could easily take up a few floors as showrooms for its exotic range of cars which appeal to successful Malays. Proton and Perodua too must do their national duties.

Government-linked corporations or GLCs must have an office too despite having their own flagship buildings cum head offices.

Fast-food chains like McDonald, Kenny Rogers, KFC, and so on could be persuaded to have at least one franchisee each in the building too. Then our successful homegrown francises like Kopitiam, Marrybrown, Paparich, Secret Recipe and so on, could be roped in as well. The list seems endless. However, embassies are difficult to convince, as shown by their failure to move to Putrajaya despite exhortation, but their out-sourced visa processing units could be housed there for the benefit of Malays who wish to travel abroad.

I started off negatively and with pessimism, but as I go along, I am beginning to be convinced that it could be a success! Thanks to the potential powers of the government in 'coercive persuasion'! But it is not going to be a bed of roses, as Proton had proven over the years, despite strong aid initiatives from the government in terms of high import and excise duties imposed on other makes, conditions attached to car loans of civil servants, insistence as official cars used by ministries and so on.

A lot of efforts (some dubious or questionable ones) have to be put in just to fill up the spaces, and the returns dependent on the rental rates. What comes to mind is the question: is it worth all the trouble just to be one up on others, especially the racial pride?

TM's Unifi comes with 'backdoor open'...

to allow Trojan horses to roll into your computer system or make it vulnerable to infection by viruses and worms! This is the impression I get, as a layman, reading the following report...

From Malaysia Today: 'Hacking ethics - unsecuring Unifi?' by Aizuddin Danian...


"Basically, when TM rolled out their fiber optic internet broadband service called Unifi, they:

(a) used hardware that had known firmware security holes AND forced every Unifi customer to use said hardware and
(b) installed a "backdoor" into each Unifi-distributed router on the pretext that the backdoor will be used by Unifi remote technicians should the customer need help. The problem is that this back door can be used by ANYONE, and not just Unifi staff."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Of elephants, infants and sycophants

From Zorro unmasked:
From Malaysian Chronicle:

Excerpt from Uppercaise: Net watchdog or party poodle?

A pirated Malaysiakini site which had seemingly gone down at the weekend was back up again this morning, but its content had not been updated since Wednesday. A check at the weekend found only a login screen showing.

Malaysiakini officials have previously said they had complained to the site owners and hosting provider about the infringements of Malaysiakini’s rights.

Clearly this is an instance where the Multimedia Commission, as Internet regulator, should take quick action to defend the legitimate interests of Malaysian site operators, as well as help to defend press freedom.

Yet the commisison seems more eager to take political action against press freedom, by pandering to their political masters and the baying hounds of Umno’s right wing...

China's quiet expansionism

China seems to be making up for lost time since its introverted years as the 'Middle Kingdom' with its delusion of being the centre of mankind. Instead of being in control, Westerners came to conquer and plunder and even set up an 'International Settlement' for themselves which was out of bounds to the local Chinese!

'No Dogs or Chinese Allowed' in Shanghai which angered Bruce Lee in one of his famous films, 'Fist of Fury', was the ultimate humiliation.

Since Deng Xiaoping, China has opened up its economy and made extraordinary strides in achieving incredible growth, to become the world's second largest economy, after USA.

I can still remember their 'Ping Pong' diplomacy when China re-established diplomatic relations with Malaysia. Since then, China seems to believe that the best public relations is to help where there is a need. A couple of cliches come to mind: 'A hungry man is an angry man', feed him, but better still, make him self-sufficient; 'A bankrupt needs money', lend him, but better still, make him self-reliant; and so on. Gratitude that follows seem certain with this kind of soft approach. There was not much room for suspicions since there was no coercion nor conditions attached.

These are my comments after reading the following article...

Excerpts and graphics from Syed Akhbar Ali's Outside the Box "China encircles the Globe":

"So here was Wen Jiabao, the Vicegerent of Mao Tse Tung’s Communist Victory in 1949, coming to save ‘Mother of Western Democracy’ Greece from bankruptcy. The Chinese have given an undertaking to buy up any amount of Bonds that the Greek Government may issue to save themselves."

"As Western investors head for the hills, it turns out that China is turning the Greece crisis into an opportunity for expansion," said someone.

The Chinese want a gateway into Europe," Theodoros Pangalos, Greece's deputy prime minister, said in an interview. "They are not like these Wall Street [expletive] pushing financial investments on paper. The Chinese deal in real things, in merchandise. And they will help the real economy in Greece."

The Chinese have pledged to spend US$700 million to construct a new pier and upgrade existing docks. The ultimate goal for China, for which these Greek investments are a stepping stone, is "to create a network of roads, pipelines, railroads and port facilities--sort of a modern Silk Road--to boost East-West trade.

China is investing heavily in food production throughout Africa. Most certainly much of that output will find its way back to China but the Chinese are increasing food availability and food security in Africa. A nation’s food security depends on the irrigation networks, water supply infrastructure and productive farmland in operation in the country. The Chinese are increasing all these and more in Africa.

The Chinese are also building deep water ports in a place called Gwadar in Baluchistan (Pakistan), Chittagong in Bangladesh, Hambantotta in Sri Lanka and also a place called Kyaukpyu in Myanmar.

All these port developments will have significant positive impact on the immediate economies in these regions and eventually on the world economy. The port at Kyaukpyu is interesting because it is a bypass to the Straits of Malacca. The huge port investments there by the Chinese will see oil and other goods being unloaded and then shipped off to the Chinese interior.

Logically ports like Singapore may be threatened. It is interesting to note that although the Chinese financed and built the new port at Gwadar in Pakistan, they have deferred for the Port of Singapore Authority to operate Gwadar for the next 40 years.

In Sri Lanka China has become a partner of choice for the big Hambantota port project. China’s Export-Import Bank is financing 85 percent of the US$1 billion project (RM3.1 Billion). China Harbour Engineering, a state-owned company, is building it. Similar arrangements have been struck for an international airport nearby.

This is the new Silk Road. It would be very, very shortsighted if we in Malaysia do not become an active player in these developments involving China. And we are smack in the middle of the entire region...


Sunday, October 24, 2010

I started a joke...

but I didn't see...
that the joke was on me...

A long haired fellow walked into the local Centrelink office to pick up his dole cheque. He marched straight up to the counter and said, 'Hi. You know, I just HATE getting the dole. I'd really rather have a job.'

The Centrelink girl behind the counter said, ' Your timing is excellent, Sir.' 'We have just received a job opening from a very wealthy old man who wants a chauffeur and bodyguard for his beautiful daughter. You'll have to drive around in his 2007 Mercedes-Benz CL, and he will supply all of your clothes.

Because of the long hours, meals will be provided. You'll also be expected to escort the daughter on her overseas holiday trips. This is rather awkward to say but you will also have as part of your job assignment to satisfy her s*xual urges as the daughter is in her mid-20's and has a rather strong s*x drive. A two-bedroom loft type apartment with plasma TV, stereo, bar, etc. located above the garage will be designated for your sole use and the salary is $200,000 a year.'

The kiwi wide-eyed, said, 'You're bullshi* in' me!'

The Centrelink worker replied, 'Yeah, well ... you started it ... '


PLUS earning MINUS points from the public...

There are 2 main things why I dislike PLUS's policies...

1.Whenever there is a major accident, there is no initiative by PLUS to warn other motorists about it as soon as practicable by diverting traffic from getting into the N-S Expressway. It is already bad enough having to pay high tolls, worse if one were to be caught like sheep for hours and still had to pay the same tolls.

2. Where silence is not golden - silent rebate for Touch N Go card...

A friend forwarded the following message:

Recently I was talking to a friend, who travels alot during the course of the business. He told me out of curiousity, he heard about the rebates toll users are entitled to. So he asked the person at the toll office (where you can top up your Touch N Go (like those in Sg Besi, Ayer Keroh, Sg Buloh, Bkt Raja and the one entering Shah Alam) about the rebate when he went there for a top up. She told him that the rebates you have accumulated need to be credited to your Touch N Go "within" 6 months. Otherwise, the rebates will be extinguish ( that is "kaput").if not credited to your Touch N Go within this period. To his surprise, he got a rebate of RM468.

My mate told me since I always travel down to Singapore regularly, I should go and check it out what rebates I have and do it fast. So, this morning, on my way to Melaka, I stopped at Ayer Keroh toll to check my rebates. To my surprise, I have got RM58 and this amount was transferred to top up my Touch N Go card. What a pleasant surprise. Imagine, if I had heard about it earlier, I could have checked it earlier last year when I had to drive down to Singapore once every fortnight

So, for those of you who use the Tagged or Touch N Go card, go and check it out. Imagine the millions of $$$ Touch N Go operators have saved from giving out the rebates to deserving customers. Remember,you can only claim the rebates at the Toll area where you can top up your card. You cant get the rebates done when you top up your Touch N Go card in other places like ATM Machine, Bank, online, 7 Eleven etc... MUST BE AT TOLL Centre.

Touch N Go did announced it in the newspapers very briefly but little info or brochures were given out for obvious reasons. Wouldnt you do the same if you were the operator huh?

Just these two examples show that PLUS seems fixated with maximizing earnings without real corporate social responsibility.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

What really causes heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity


Without inflammation, cholesterol won't accumulate in blood vessel walls and cause heart disease

Heart Surgeon Admits Huge Mistake!

By Dwight Lundell, MD

We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong.. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries,today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes,the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated -- it is quite simply your body's natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body? Well, smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Let me repeat that. The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works. When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.

Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential –they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them. One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.


Warisan Merdeka complements Twin Towers to form 1M?

Daniel's graphic sums up best how Warisan Merdeka tower would complement Petronas Twin Towers to form 1M or 1Malaysia, and our urge to splurge on mega projects. The bigger the better for 'commissions' to all those connected. Everybody seems to know something except our MACC. To those who do not know Hokien, 'Wa-oo-lui-than' means 'I have money to make'!

We are still paying for lop-sided contracts in favour of concessionaires and IPPs, approved by our national leaders before, yet those responsible could get away from being responsible.

Either you approve toll rate increase or you compensate. We buy all your power produced at favourable prices, regardless of demand. Win-win for the companies and political party and leaders while rakyat bears the burden for years to come.

Dr. Rafick, a critic most times, is in favour of PNB's proposal to build Warisan Merdeka because he has confidence in PNB's competence all these years and took pains to differentiate PNB is a company and not a government agency.

According to what I have gathered, PNB serves to take up shares allotted to Bumiputeras which have not been taken up, to help achieve government target on Bumiputera ownership. The perception seems to be that they have pre-emption rights (right of first refusal) to participate in mega projects or take up shares in companies listed on Bursa Saham. In other words, they have priority over others and can pick and choose whatever they want. So the ability to earn more than other funds is almost a given, unless someone cocked up on a mega merger like Sime Darby.

According to him, PNB bought the land meant for this proposed Warisan Merdeka from Danaharta in 2000 for Rm310 million, (by the way, Danaharta was the source of miseries for those unfortunate over-geared owners of properties who were at its mercy). Therefore, PNB has every right to build whatever they think fit, so long as they can continue with their ability to pay more than average dividends to their fund investors.

The way I look at it, PNB must have started with initial funds from the government, just like the latest 1MDB which started with Rm5 billion. Past successes does not guarantee future success and there is always a possibility of failure, especially where it involves a project bigger than any they have done before. Since PNB is a government funded corporation, it owes a duty to the people to be cautious in investments, and if at all possible, to consider the needs of the people. In this particular case, there is a very real scenario of parking problems and traffic gridlocks, besides the usual need to ensure there is going to be sufficient demand for such a huge supply of office, commercial and residential spaces. Dubai has already shown the financial problems related to an over-ambitious project. If PNB needs good investments to ensure high returns, why can't they think in terms of investments in sectors like education, health and public transport which would benefit the public as well? If there is political will to give priority to these sectors, government policies could be formulated to ensure success for the companies involved. Taking away the corrupt portions would help in a big way towards that end.

Facebook... might as well call it Faceless!

Many people in Facebook chose to go without his or her picture in their profile for obvious reasons. This seems to defeat the purpose of networking, especially in a situation when someone somewhere in another part of the world could be looking for us. It could be when we are looking for someone and there are many namesakes without pictures nor profiles which could be viewed unless already a friend. Frustrating indeed.

Perhaps, they should join another network called Faceless! Anyway, Bayi introduced me to Faceless, a cartoon strip with a difference...


Friday, October 22, 2010

The importance of Name and its link to Destiny

Since history began, the Chinese always believed in the significance of one's name. They have developed a very comprehensive system of naming one's children as it is believed that the name of a person strongly influences one's destiny and fate.

Astrologers, fortune tellers, academics and monks are consulted when choosing a name for the new born. The other cultures, however do not really believe in it and tend to brush it off as superstition. Whether you believe it or not, however, the other cultures are not spared of this correlation.

The Chinese surname LEE (or LI) is associated with power and success, with examples like: Lee Kuan Yew (former Singapore PM), Lee Teng Hui (former Taiwan President), Li Peng ( China 's former PM), Li Ka Shing (HK tycoon); and non-Chinese examples like: Lee Iacocca - once Chrysler's chief, and Lee Van Cliff, the actor.

(This is stretching it a bit too far)...
One very good example is Lee Iacocca, whose last name IACOCCA stands for:



Look at the following familiar examples:

MAHATHIR ( Malaysia's former PM):


SUHARTO (Ex President of Indonesia) :


BUSH (Ex President of USA) :




However, no one can beat this latest casualty in bad naming :



Bad naming? Who is complaining? Surely not Obama himself!

... But to stretch it even further... this one appears to be one slick racial slur...
New "Air Force One" Tail Number


In case it is not obvious to some, doesn't it spell something? N166ER!

When one is rich enough not to worry about returns

All of us know that buying cars must be the worst investment (if at all it can be described as such), because of the high depreciation and maintenance costs. But then if you are rich enough and do not need to know how to spend your billions, then it is a totally different story...

Everyone is familiar with the Sultan of Brunei and his love for cars.
The man is known to own a collection of 7,000 high performance cars valued at over "$5 billion".

According to the Daily Mirror, as of June 30th 2010, he owns 604 Rolls Royces, 574 Mercedes-Benzes, 452 Ferraris, 382 Bentleys, 209 BMWs, 179 Jaguars, 134 Koenigseggs, 21 Lamborghinis, 11 Aston Martins, and 1 SSC.

Wondering just where his fleets of cars reside?

Well, the Sultan parks his collection in five (5) aircraft hangars near The Empire Hotel.

Just one of his many exoticars:

If he drives just one car daily, it will take him 20 years to drive each and every one of them; lucky for him no need to pay road tax.

As a comparison, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are known to be ready to give a substantial portion of their wealth to the people.

Among celebrities, there are those sensible and not so too, according to this Star report:

Major Chinese dailies reported that Mandopop star Leehom Wang would not spend his hard earned money on material things.

“Buying sports car ... I think it’s meaningless.

“There are many people who need our help. I work with World Vision and every year, I want to help the needy more.”

Although Wang, who is also an actor and film director, has made a fortune, he has spent his money wisely.

The artiste is currently driving a second-hand car, worth NT$60,000 (RM6,075). It was a present he gave to himself on his 33rd birthday last year.

Also, his house has only a bed, a computer and some music equipment.

To save the environment, Wang had not bought any new clothes for the last 15 years.

During the interview, he showed the pair of socks he was wearing and said it was a present from Jackie Chan.

Other superstars have a collection of cars in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Among them, Cantopop star Aaron Kwok has 13 luxury vehicles worth over RM100mil including five Ferraris, two Lamborghinis and a Mercedes Benz SL-class.

Jay Chou’s collection included a Mercedes Benz SLR722 (about RM3.8mil) and some antiques.

Proton... proto... potong jalan


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Live to work

We need to eat to live, yet some people would prefer to live to eat.

Most of us need to work to be able to afford a certain lifestyle, yet some people live to work only...

Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the open university.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be ablt to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day.

Tale of the unexpected...

Horror at Old Bentong KL road - Chilling Real story!!!

This happened about a month ago near Karak. A guy was driving from KL to Kuantan and decided not to take the Karak Highway as he wanted to see the scenery along the old road. The inevitable happens and when he reached the hills his car breaks down - he's stranded miles from nowhere. Having no choice he started walking on the side of the road, hoping to get a lift to the nearest town. It soon got dark and started to rain very heavily. And pretty soon he got wet and was shivering. The night rolled on and no car passed by.

Suddenly he saw a car coming towards him. It slowed and then stops next to him - without thinking the guy opened the door and jumps in, glad to be out of the wet and cold. Seated in the back, he leaned forward to thank the person who had saved him. He realizes there is nobody behind the wheel!!!

Even though there's no one in the front seat and no sound of any engine, the car starts moving slowly. The guy looks at the road ahead and sees a curve coming. Scared almost to death he starts to pray, begging the Lord for his life.

He was still in shock, when just before the car hits the curve, a hand appears through the window and turns the steering wheel! The car makes the curve safely and continues on the road to the next bend. The guy, now paralyzed in terror, watches how the hand appears every time they are before a curve and moves the steering wheel just enough to get the car around each bend.

Finally, the guy sees lights ahead. Gathering his courage he wrenches open the door of the silent, slowly moving car, scrambles out and runs as hard as he can towards the lights. It's a small town.

He stumbles into a kopi tiam, and asks for a drink, and breaks down. Then he starts talking about the horrible experience he's just been through.

There is dead silence in the kopi tiam when he finished relating his experience ..... . . . .
......and that's when Jaswant and Gurbit Singh walked in. Jaswant pointed and said 'Look Gurbit - that's the idiot who got into our car when we were pushing it.'


Benevolent dictatorship: why not Singapore?

Tun Dr. Mahathir could have used Singapore as an example instead of China. Was it too close for comfort that his style of authoritarianism failed to uplift the living standards of Malaysians as compared with Singapore under his arch-rival Lee Kuan Yew?

"Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad cited China as an alternative to democracy saying that dictatorship could very well be the model of success where democracy had failed. He said that the Beijing Consensus which was authoritarian was more effective as compared to the democratic model of Washington Consensus and it has brought China to the forefronts of the global economy. Dr Mahathir was speaking at the Umno organized event entitled ‘Creation of the Global Citizen: Media Liberisation and the New Political Realities’."

Many people have pointed out that China never hesitate to use their firing squads on citizens convicted of corruption.

Singapore used the law to bankrupt political opponents.

Talent Corporation - looking for horses after they have bolted

From a layman's point of view, our government seems unwilling to provide scholarships to excellent students based on meritocracy, regardless of race. Every year, we have stories of students with excellent results complaining they have not been selected for scholarships or places in our institutions of higher learning.

Surely, if we are serious in overcoming this problem of brain drain, we should look at the root causes and try to solve the problems, instead of looking out for them and trying to entice them back. Many of those who left for overseas did so by choice (if they could afford it) or forced to find alternative ways to look for opportunities overseas since none was available to them. Under such circumstances, would they be willing to come back knowing full well how they will be discriminated against in employment, business or research in Malaysia? Unless and until our system is conducive to meritocracy and equal opportunities, initial incentives might look attractive but will not be good enough in the long run.

Singapore has been attracting Malaysian brains for years with their Asean and other scholarships with examinations conducted in Malaysia for those interested. After education, the graduates invariably work for Singapore, contributing to their brain gain at our expense. Why can't we offer similar scholarships on merit, followed by good employment opportunities? Is it so difficult to implement such a simple concept? I know, I know, we have to think of race and superiority.

Even at post-graduate level, there are opportunities to tap into students who need financial help to do Masters or Ph. D and it is a question of offering and publicising the scholarships available.

I am prompted by the following article which appeared in Kit Siang for Malaysia:

Ipoh born, Cambridge educated, Malaysia’s loss, Singapore’s gain
By Mariam Mokhtar

In fact, we do have facilities preparing students for Cambridge, Oxford and other universities, but what seems lacking is the availability of enough government scholarships to meet the demand of those who qualify:

Kolej Yayasan UEM:

Before we embark on prestigious projects like 100-storey Warisan Merdeka, a look at a typical young Malaysian worker's lifestyle and see if we should instead look after their interests as priority:

From Loyarburok: A Young Malaysian's Dilemma:

Najib's famous 'change your lifestyle' comes to mind. How could someone who has been travelling in a motorcade with police outriders for 30 years know how ordinary Malaysians live?

You are what you eat and more...

My friend forwarded to me this information which I feel I should share with others:

For non-Christians, you can ignore the Bible part but the rest of the article is invaluable. For those who have been hearing (and tired of) my constant 'advice' on health, you will now agree that this doctor is saying the same things, especially on sunlight ... Keep healthy!

At the age of 30, Chinese doctor Tom Wu was diagnosed with advanced stages of lung cancer, and was told he had only a few months to live.

However, Dr Wu, who recently spoke with Mylife, has already reached 70 years old, and to our surprise, he still looks like a young and healthy man in his 50s.

Not only has he survived, but the doctor has maintained a healthy life. The cancer is all gone, and he said he's never caught a cold or other illness for 40 years.

He has stopped going for blood tests.

"My body and feelings tell me I'm well, that I'm truly in good health," says Dr Wu.

His secret lies in the power of natural healing. Dr Wu always says that no wonder drug can cure diseases. But our own internal healing power, our immune system, can. And what can strengthen our immune system are simple foods from Mother Nature, and a healthy lifestyle.

In his view, diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can be overcome by changing the diet.

Dr Wu says people get sick because they eat the wrong foods. Fried food, for example, causes blockage in the arteries, bad circulation, cholesterol, and heart disease.

"Instead of taking a cholesterol lowering drug, I would urge them to stop eating greasy food. My suggestion is to eat clean food, which is high in phytochemicals," he says.

Phytochemicals are natural cleansing agents that will help rid plaque from your arteries. They come from natural foods such as vegetables, fruits with their seeds, and common garden herbs. Phytochemicals will nourish the body's cells so they can fight against any foreign substances that invade your body.

Dr Wu's outstanding contributions to the development of natural medicine earned him the "World Famous Doctor Award" from the UN in 2001, and the "Best Wellness Doctor of the World" award from India's World Wellness Open University in March.

The secrets of how he won the fight against lung cancer and maintains a healthy body are revealed in his first book, Dr Wu's Principle of Natural Cures, which has recently been translated from its original Chinese version into a Thai edition, Thammachart Chuay Chewit, published by
Nanmeebooks Publications.

It was launched in Thailand in March.

Dr Wu says what's written in the book is unique and easy to understand because "the author is both the doctor and the patient himself". All the ideas and guidelines suggested in the book come from his own experience as well as what he has learned from his patients.

Dr Wu turns to natural medicine.

Dr Wu had first studied Western medicine in France, and then furthered his education in alternative therapy, earning a doctorate degree.

The turning point arrived when he was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 30. Modern medicine gave him no hope; it was too late to remove the damaged parts of the lung. The cancer had already spread to other organs, and the doctor told him he had only a few months left.

In his despair, Dr Wu picked up the Bible and prayed to God. Then the Bible fell to the floor, and he read the page it opened to carefully. The chapter talked about the days God created the Earth and everything needed for human beings. Then he created Adam and Eve, and told both of them that plants, vegetables and seeded fruits growing on Earth have been provided for them to eat.

"I thought about what I had eaten in the past - meat, fish, fried and grilled food, sweet cake, but God simply wanted us to eat vegetables and sour fruits.

I was confused and doubted whether I would become weak if I ate too many vegetables and less meat," says Dr Wu.

Yet he decided to follow the Bible's guidance. He ate a lot of vegetables and fruits, drank clean water, and completely adjusted his lifestyle - his sleeping, breathing and exercise habits.

Nine months later, he went for a check-up, and surprisingly no cancer cells were detected.

He advised people in his family and in the neighbourhood about his discovery, and studied
natural medicine until he received a doctorate degree in naturopathy and nutrition from the US.

Dr Wu has been a frequent speaker at worldwide forums, spreading his knowledge on natural cures and the use of organic food.

He advises people to use the most simple foods in the most natural way in order to fight illnesses and maintain good health.

Dr Wu's secrets to good health
Published: 7/05/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Mylife

The human body has the power to heal itself. The immune system has a self-defence mechanism to block and destroy bacteria or viruses that invade our bodies, while the self-healing mechanism will get us back on the road to recovery. When you have a cold and take medicine, the medication may kill the virus but your immune system will not fully function, and its efficiency will decrease. As a result, your body will be more vulnerable to germs.

Dr Wu's principle is to strengthen the immune system, and avoid medication as much as possible. In his book, he offers the following guidelines to good health:

1. Have at least three bowel movements a day.

Other health experts may advise one bowel movement a day, but Dr Wu says that's not enough. You need three to four bowel movements a day in order to excrete all the accumulated faeces from your intestine. Your liver will not be overburdened and it also helps reduce cholesterol in your body.

2. Drink at least three glasses of fruit or vegetable smoothies each day.

This is a way to ingest enough phytochemicals to strengthen the body's cells and immune system.

Use not only the flesh, but also the skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables to make smoothies, as they are rich in phytochemicals.

Most of the fruit seeds have small amounts of cyanide which kill bacteria and viruses without damaging the body.

Actually the recommended smoothie diet is six glasses a day, two in the morning, one before lunch, two more in the afternoon, and one more before dinner.

However, if that's too much, you may start with three glasses a day. Use a high powered blender (at least three horsepower) as it can release phytochemicals from the fibre. It's best to choose sour fruits like green or red apples, grapes, pineapples, kiwi and lime.

3. Sunbathe 30 minutes daily.

We often hear that the Sun's UV rays will damage our skin, and many people apply sunblock before going out.

But Dr Wu says the opposite. He says the UV rays will help convert cholesterol underneath the skin into vitamin A which helps moisten the skin and prevent skin cancer, and also vitamin D that helps prevent colds, osteoporosis, and certain kinds of cancer.

"Therefore, use the Sun. Expose yourself to sunlight about one-half hour a day, at noon or another appropriate time based on your local climate.

The Sun will make you healthier," says Dr Wu.

4. Exercise 30 minutes a day.

Don't exercise for more than 30 minutes. If you go beyond that, your body will be overworked.

"If you do it more than half an hour, that will become labour, not exercise. Your heart and your body will be working too hard," he says.

5. Shower with hot, then cold water.

Try an alternating cold and hot water shower: Three minutes of hot water followed by 30 seconds of cold water, then repeat twice more.

This process will bring a rush of blood and energy to your body. It helps increase your immune system, blood circulation, and metabolism.

6. Drink a lot of water, in the correct way.

How much water you need to drink each day depends on your specific situation. If your office is air-conditioned, drinking six glasses of water a day is enough.

If your work involves lots of walking, you have to drink 8-10 glasses a day. If you work under the hot sun, then 10-12 glasses of water are required.

The way you drink is also important. The correct way is to sip it little by little, to give your body cells time to absorb the water. If you drink the whole glass down at once, your cells can't absorb it all, and the water will be excreted as urine.

7. Eat according to your blood type.

Your blood type determines what you should eat. Eating the wrong foods will make you sick.

People with blood type O have to eat a certain amount of meat. If they eat only vegetables for a long time, their body won't absorb all the substances they need to strengthen their immune system. The recommended diet for this group is 75% vegetables, 10% fruits, 10% meat, seafood and goat's milk (avoid cow's milk), and 5% grains.

People with blood type A, however should avoid milk and meat, while increasing grains and fruits.

People with blood type B should also avoid meat, while those with blood type AB should avoid chicken and beef.

8. Eat according to your biological clock.

Every human being has a biological clock that tells us when to eat, sleep, and wake up. If you don't follow your biological clock, the organs will lose their balance.

Toxins and wastes won't be excreted from your body, and soon you'll get sick.

According to Dr Wu, the biological clock is divided into three phases.

From 4am to noon is the time for bowel movements, so in the morning you should eat foods with lots of fibre. Fruit and vegetable smoothies are recommended.

From noon to 8pm, your body will absorb food so lunch is the most important meal. A vegetable salad with grains is recommended. Fish or boiled eggs can be added to your lunch. Avoid meat at dinner as the amino acids in the meat will disturb your sleep. Try to finish dinner by 6pm.

From 8pm to 4am, the nutrients and energy from food will be distributed throughout your body organs. The golden time for your sleep is between 10pm and 2am, as your immune and self-healing system will function at its best.