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.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Choosing a suitable companion

If you want someone who will eat whatever you put in front of him and never say it's not quite as good as his mother's;

If you want someone always willing to go out, at any hour, for as long and wherever you want;

If you want someone who will never touch the remote, doesn't care about football, and can sit next to you as you watch romantic movies;

If you want someone who is content to get on your bed just to warm your feet and whom you can push off if he snores;

If you want someone who never criticizes what you do, doesn't care if you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, young or old, who acts as if every word you say is especially worthy of listening to, and loves you unconditionally, perpetually;

by all means, adopt a dog.

BUT, on the other hand, if you want someone who will never come when you call, ignores you totally when you come home, leaves hair all over the place, walks all over you, runs around all night and only comes home to eat and sleep, and acts as if your entire existence is solely to ensure his happiness...

then you are better off, having a cat!

Rules to live by... suit the laidback and defeatist in me

We come to this world with nothing, we leave this world with nothing (Doesn't that remind you of the Malay word 'kosong' which means 'empty' or nothing!)

No point using limited life to chase unlimited money.

No point earning so much money you cannot live to spend it.

No point working so hard to provide for the people you have no time to spend with.

Money is not yours until you spend it. (No matter how much you have in the bank, if anything happens to you, someone else would inherit it.)

When you are young, you use your health to chase your wealth; when you are old, you use your wealth to buy back your health. Difference is that, it is too late. (Even if you abide by this rule, you are not guaranteed to be in good health. The only way to know is when you are in good health as a result of taking things easy.)

How happy a man is, is not how much he has but how little he needs. (A greedy person would wish to accumulate more and more, despite being rich. He is unhappy because his needs are unfulfilled.)


Monday, November 29, 2010

Between two grandmas

My son was about four years old when we came back from UK for good. My mother-in-law suggested that my wife assist her in her business and that was the start of my 12-year weekly travelling between BG and KL. In other words, until we had our own house in 1994, my son lived with my in-laws until he was 16! During those years, my elder daughter was born in 1983 and about two years later, my younger daughter.

My mother lived alone in Kuala Lumpur. I kept her company during working days from Monday to Saturday and it was an emotional tug-of-war for me between my mother and my own family. My mother used to ask, 'Why are you leaving for BG so early?', while my elder daughter would ask, 'When will you work in Ipoh instead?'

My mother was a housewife all her life. She brought up ten children, though the youngest daughter died of kidney failure at the age of four. I became the 'de facto' youngest in the family and was doted. She had 35 grandchildren and my youngest was her number 35. So, it is understandable when she said to me one day, 'Unlike some people, I won't fight for your children to be with me. It is good that your in-laws welcome them. I am unable to take care of them even if I want to.' I knew that though she had so many other grandchildren, it was said with sadness because I was away in UK for 8 years. Even when I was back in Malaysia, my son, and later my daughters, did not get to see her often, because it was easier for me to travel to see them than vice versa. When I came back in 1981, my father already suffered a stroke and could not communicate with me. He died few months later. It was a few years later that my son lived with my mother for a short period when he worked for a month in KL. My mother passed on in December 1993 and it was only a matter of time before I arranged to join my family in BG.

My parents-in-law had fewer grandchildren and she welcomed my son and later, my daughters, to live with them. Her other grandchildren lived in Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur. They had a day housekeeper and my eldest sister-in-law was around too. My elder daughter enjoyed watching Hong Kong serials on video tapes with grandma and her. The fact that my son lived with my in-laws for 12 years meant he is naturally closer to them. My father-in-law used to take him to school in Ipoh and back. He heard many of his stories and understood him more than others. The bonding was as natural as could be and their relationship good, if not excellent. He learned Hakka easily because his grandparents spoke only in that dialect. It is only natural that he has a soft spot for his maternal grandma as this recent picture shows:

Beng acting as 'interpreter' or 'loudspeaker' because grandma was hard of hearing

Batu Gajah and its novel parking system...

one that annoys people more than its worth. I wonder whose bright idea was it. There are so many workable systems to copy from, yet the designer of this crappy system thinks the town council could rake in Ringgit without complaints. The following is the feedback received:

1. Monthly pass for Rm30 where you get to have your car registration numbers painted on the ground, supposedly for your exclusive use. But already there were complaints that the passholder found to his or her dismay, someone else's car parked in its place. This could be simply because of ignorance as many did not realize the introduction of the parking system. When telephoned to complain, the response was 'you can park in another space'... which meant at the expense of someone else who invariably would complain because his or her space was taken up. Apparently when complaint was received, someone would come as soon as possible to issue a summon to the offender which would cost Rm30.
2. Monthly pass for Rm70 where you can park at any permitted parking space, which anyone who has read the problems associated with the Rm30 pass can imagine similar problems expected, and because of its higher cost, the person is likely to be more annoyed.
3. Parking meters are still in operation in certain location. The related problems include discrimination in issuing summons and the usual 'cat and mouse' between parker and attendant just to save a few shillings. At 60 sen an hour, the Rm30 pass seems a steal for those who work during office hours. For someone who park and conscientiously feed the parking meter, it would cost Rm96 per month (8 hours x 0.60 x 20days), as compared with Rm30... but only if the system works! Otherwise, the hassle of calling up to complain and the quarrel with the person whose car took your space will only raise your temperature and blood pressure!

Already someone asked why the council's parking lot (at the old market) has yet to be opened to the public. As far as I know, it was re-surfaced at least a few months ago, and it seems the delay in opening was simply because the council is waiting for some VIP to officially open it! This was the same space which was officially launched by the Sultan a few years ago, for a proposed multi-storey building which was shelved to this day! Why should there be an official launch for a simple car park, and why the delay when the motorists are faced with the chronic lack of parking lots? To be fair, the public were used to the lax control where anywhere can be parked without problem before. But the council have stepped up their enforcement on indiscriminate parking recently. Don't you think enforcement should go together with available parking space? In fact, I have told some who complained that they should consider themselves lucky as compared with the severe problems faced by motorists in KL or PJ. At least here, it is still walkable to park where it is still free. For example, I walk to town to do my errands! No worry over finding a parking lot and over the time (parking meter) I have parked the car.

Meanwhile, a supposedly simple parking problem in a small town is turning out to be a big headache for both the council and the motoring public. Again, I wish to know, who was the smart Alec who came up with this most silliest of systems?


And she thought he was her ex-classmate...

Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, 'Surely I can't look that old?' Well then, you might enjoy this!

My name is Alice Santer, and I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist.

I noticed his DDS Diploma, which bore his full name.

Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name that had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago.

Could he be the same guy?

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate.

But after he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.

'Yes, yes, I did. I'm a Mustang.' He gleamed with pride.

'When did you graduate?' I asked.

He answered, 'In 1959. Why do you ask?'

'You were in my class!' I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely. Then, that Ugly, Old, Bald, Wrinkled, Fat, Gray-haired, Decrepit %^&&##$&& asked me, 'What did you teach?'


The Not known Knots Prayer

The Knots Prayer

Dear God:

Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all, dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life, all the 'am nots' that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought that I am not good enough.



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Much ado over 'heong paeng'

First of all, I have checked and found out that I was correct in that 'heong paeng' or 'heong peah' is actually called, 'beh teh saw' in Hokien. 'Heong paeng' would be correct in Cantonese but 'heong peah' is incorrect because it has got Cantonese and Hokien respectively mixed. It is even objectionable because in Hokien it sounded more like 'dirty biscuit'!

Anyway, it all started with an email from Richard's brother in Singapore:

"... It is the best so far that I have tasted and reminds me about the old fashion taste. It is manufactured by Yat Pat Gao (189) Enterprise.
I am sure you can also get it in KL. Check it out and try it. I need to buy some of these when I visit KL next time."

Then his email to me:

"I'll be going to Ipoh this Sunday. Do you know where I can buy Yat Pat Gao (189) heong peah in Ipoh?"

My reply:

"Never heard of the name and offhand, not sure where to find it. SP suggested that it could be a shop address 189 used as business name as well, most probably former Hugh Low St. Isn't it easier asking the student where he or she got it before? Locally, at one time, favourite heong peah was those made in Gunung Rapat, which is near your sister's place in Ampang!"

Richard and girl friend came to visit us today on a day trip, with a list of 'to do' which were mainly on foods to try and to buy, which included 'kai si hor fun', 'ngah choi kai', 'char siew pau' (Foh San), salted chicken, Tambun pomelo, white coffee, Funny Mountain 'taufu fah', Tanjung Tualang prawns and so on.

After a quick chat, mainly on our collectibles which interested Jen because it was her first visit, we set off to Kong Hing for 'kai si hor fun' and 'po piah' and had their white coffee. The original white coffee was left for another time because of the short time we had. Richard's purpose was to visit his sister in Seri Ampang which we had to help find! Asked her about the heong paeng and she had no idea. Anyway she invited us to her daughter's coffee shop nearby where we had a long chat. His brother-in-law made a few calls to find out '189' and was told it was closed but could take us there for next time. The person must be really lucky to have us trying so hard to find his place. Anyway, called him to ask if he has any distributor in KL, and he replied he had no idea!

We showed them Sunway's Lost World before we look for our usual pomelo farm in Tambun. For the first time, we were told there was no stock. Went to a neighbouring farm and was directed to their shop on the main road leading to Tambun town. Bought a few and headed back to Ipoh town to look for Funny Mountain. Bought the 'taufu fah' to have it in the car while SP tried her luck to buy some 'kaya puff' for them to try. She gave up when someone told the shop assistant her order was for 16 boxes! This was the shop by the name of Sin Eng Heong where once we were asked if we had telephoned earlier, if not, then no need to ask!Then we headed towards Menglembu where SP bought one salted chicken for them to compare with the famous one. Much to her surprise, she found some 189 'heong paeng' which we had been trying to buy earlier in Ipoh! She also bought some 'char siew pau' (for them to compare), from the shop whose tenant is famous for his wantan noodles.

We reached home around 5 pm and headed towards Tg. Tualang for sea food dinner. They followed us in his car so that they could go back to KL via Malim Nawar instead of back tracking to BG. I should have taken a picture of the 600 gm. (or 1 kati) of prawns because I still believe the last time, Overseas Restaurant next to Armada Hotel in PJ might not have overcharged us by insisting their price was correct at Rm180 per kg. but they had definitely given us less than 600 gm. when they charged us for 1 kg.

It was a good job SP insisted that I show them the way out to Gopeng interchange to join NSE because I was not too sure after a lapse of almost two years since we last went on that route. On the way, I noticed a sign to Gopeng on the left and it was after that we realized there is now a new road which could take us to Kota Baru (not to be confused with Kelantan's) and to the interchange, via Lawan Kuda! Felt like a fool while driving from the Malim Nawar junction at the old trunk road and going northwards towards Gopeng for quite a distance before they could join the NSE. Lesson learned. But to our guests, I bet they did not know the difference... unless and until Richard read my post!

With History as compulsory subject in mind...

suggested questions (to examiners) or sample questions (to students) to look out for tricks to trap you :

Malaysian history

Dilarang senyum atau ketawa semasa menjawab, kalau tidak anda akan digagalkan. (You are not allowed to laugh while you answer, or you will be considered as failed).

1. Siapakah yang membuka Melaka?(Who founded Malacca?)
a. Param
b. Parameswari
c. Paramugari Terlampau
d. Parameswara
e. Parang Kontot

2. Pada tahun 1771, seorang penjelajah Inggeris telah tiba di sebuah kawasan yang dikenali sebagai New Hebrides, siapakah dia? (In the year 1771, one Englishman landed on New Hebrides, who was he?)
a. Kapten Hook
b. Kapten Crook
c. Kapten Cook
d. Kapten Cool
e. Kapten Boleh

3. Siapakah yang pernah menjadi pemerintah Sarawak?(Who had been Resident of Sarawak?)
a. Brooke Shields
b. James Beruk
c. James Bond
d. Sapok Biki
e. James Brooke

4. Siapakah yang membuka Pulau Pinang? (Who founded Penang Island?)
a. Torch Light
b. Traffic Light
c. Francisca Peters
d. Light and Easy
e. Francis Light

5. Salah seorang pahlawan melayu terbilang? (Select one Malay warrior of eminence)
a. Tuk Janggut
b. Tuk Misai
c. Tuk Sideburn
d. Tuk Misai A Galak
e. Tuk Bulu Hidung

6. Pahlawan Melayu di Pahang? (Malay Warrior in Pahang?)
a. Mat Kilau
b. Mat Silau
c. M Daud Kilau
d. Mat Sentul
e. Mat Rempit

7. Siapakah Residen Inggeris di Negeri Perak yang dibunuh oleh Datuk Maharajalela?
a. Jawa Jerongos. (Who was the British Resident in Perak killed by Datuk Maharajalela?)
b. J.W.W Birch
c. Jay Jay
d. J.W.Marriot
e. Jawa Rangers

8. Negara manakah yang menjajah Tanah Melayu selepas Portugis? (Which country colonized Malay Peninsula after Portuguese?)
a. Ayam Belanda
b. Bela Anda
c. Blender
d. Belanda
e. Blunder

9. Apakah antara hantaran yang diminta Puteri Gunung Ledang kepada Sultan Melaka? (What gift was requested by Princess Gunung Ledang from Sultan of Malacca?)
a. 7 dulang hati nyamuk
b. 7 dulang tongkeng ayam
c. 7 dulang tahi hidung
d. 7 dulang tahi lalat
e. 7 dulang gigi arnab

10. Siapakah puteri Pahang yang mencintai Hang Tuah? (Who was the Pahang Princess Hang Tuah fell in love with?)
a. Tun Mahathir
b. Tan Tin Tun
c. Tun Tak Tahu Eja
d. Tun Teja
e. Arnold Susahanakeja

11. Siapakah puteri Negeri China yang berkahwin dengan Sultan Melaka? (Which was the Princess from China who married Sultan of Malacca?)
a. Puteri Hang Li Po
b. Puteri Kepala Hotak Hang!
c. Puteri Opah Hang!
d. Puteri Hang Go Poh
e. Puteri Hang Cing

12. Ikan apakah yang melanggar Singapura? (Which fish collided with Singapore?)
a. Ikan Bilis
b. Ikan Masin
c. Ikan Kembung Masak Asam
d. Ikan kekek mak iloi-iloi
e. Ikan Todak

13. Siapakah Ketua Kominis Malaya? (Who was the Head of the Malayan Communists Party?)
a. CIMB Bank
b. Chin Peng
c. Soh Chin Aun
d. Chim Pan Zee
e. Chin Chau

(Sorry... you failed because you smiled while answering...)

NB. This is a joke, in case some students take this seriously!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Noah will have problems building his Ark here

A far-fetched story, a parody, yet some of us would feel there is some truth in some aspects rather than all together. Have a good laugh...

In the year 2009, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Malaysia, and said,
"Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flash before me. Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans."
He gave Noah the blueprints, saying: "You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights".

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard but no Ark. "Noah!" he roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark ?"

"Forgive me, Lord", begged Noah, "but things have changed. First I needed to have a BUMIPUTRA PARTNER who is linked to UMNO.

Then I needed a building permit from DBKL and also have to pay under-counter money to get the permit. I'd been arguing with the BOMBA inspector about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbours complained to newspapers of the height of the ark I was going to build and the next day it was in the headlines claiming that I've violated the neighbourhood building by-laws.

"Then there was a stop work order even before I could start work. The MACC arrested me over some disbursements. I talked to a lawyer who looks like Amitabh Bachan, talks like him, acts like him but is not him ...said he knows the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister Apa nama ... and can clear my name."

"After clearing my name ...I had again to go to the DBKL Appeals Board for a decision to allow me to build the Ark. The government after approving the plans said I must use only SIRIM approved goods and must buy from their list of suppliers which are few times more expensive than the local chinaman hardware shop."

"Then the TNB and JPJ demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark 's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us but they would hear nothing of it. Getting the wood was another problem. SUKHAM and the JABATAN HUTAN NEGARA said there's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the orang utan. I tried to convince SUKHAM and JABATAN HUTAN NEGARA that I needed the wood to save the orang hutan – but they said no go. When I started gathering the animals, JAKIM and an Animal Rights group sued me. JAKIM said I cannot put the chickens and the pigs next to each other as it WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED HALAL and The Animal Rights group insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space."

"Then JABATAN KERJA RAYA and JABATAN KAJIAN dan GALIAN ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they had conducted An Environmental Impact study on your proposed flood. I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many bumiputra contractors I'm supposed to hire for my building crew. JABATAN IMMIGRASI and RELA are checking the status of most of the people who want to work. The trade unions say I can't use my sons - that's child labor ! They insist I have to hire only union workers with Ark-building experience."

"As I started to CLEAR THE AREA TO BUILD THE ARK, gangsters came and demanded protection money. When I complained to the POLIS... the next day, a policeman came in full uniform, but unfortunately he also demanded protection money.

"Every department I turned to is asking what they call “duit kopi". I calculated that if I had to pay all the so called “duit kopi” and give the donations, the cost to build the ARK will be 20 times higher…so I refused to give them the “duit kopi" as I am faithful to you Oh Lord !

"Suddenly, the Jabatan HASIL seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species. I have just been released from ISA. So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark."

Suddenly the skies above cleared, and the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world my Lord?"

"'No," said the Lord..."It is already done." The Malaysian Government beat me to it !"


A pendatang too brilliant to be ignored...

This is definitely not original, but an adaptation of one which went round some time ago, about an Indian in USA. But then again, it is good for a laugh...

It was the first day of a school in Kulai, Johor and a new Chinese student named Chong Shan entered Standard four.

The teacher said, "Let's begin by reviewing some Malaysian History. Who said 'Merdeka, Merdeka"

She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Chong Shan who had his hand up: 'Tunku Abdul Rahman, 31 August 1957' he said.

'Very good! Who said 'China’s authoritarian rule is more effective than the ‘democracy’ practiced in Malaysia?''

Again, no response except from Chong Shan. 'Tun Dr. Mahathir from Kerala, 2010' he said.

The teacher snapped at the class, 'Boys, you should be ashamed. Chong Shan, who is a pendatang to our country, knows more about our history than you do.'

She heard a loud whisper: '@#$% the Chinese.' 'Who said that?' she demanded.

Chong Shan put his hand up. 'Perkasa Chief, Ibrahim Ali.'

Now furious, another student yells, 'Yeah, I am Malay first, Malaysian second!'

Chong Shan jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher, 'Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, 2010'.

At that point, a student in the back said, 'Correct, correct, correct!'

The teacher glares around and asks 'All right! Now, who said that?'

Again, Chong Shan says, 'Lawyer VK Lingam, in a telephone conversation brokering the appointment of top judges with the former Chief Justice.'

Now with almost mob hysteria someone said, 'I am not ashamed to admit that I cannot compete with the Chinese and Indian students.'

Chong Shan frantically yells at the top of his voice, 'Tun Dr. Mahathir from Kerala, in Medical College.'

The teacher fainted. And as the class gathered around her on the floor, someone said, 'Oh shit, we're screwed!'

And Chong Shan, rather sheepish being correct all the time, said softly, 'I think it was Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 2008'.


Something on guitar making

A few years back, my good friend, Richard attended Jeffrey Yong's guitar making class to make his own electric guitar. Being a sawmiller then, as well as a timber grader, he chose his own wood for the guitar. Soon after, luthier Jeffrey Yong was featured in On Track (TV3) and he actually showed Richard's guitar as an example and even quoted that it is probably worth USD5,000!

It is quite surprising to read about David Chin's problem in trying to buy a suitable Sabah wood for making fellow Sabahan, Roger Wang's acoustic guitar! It was a setback for an original idea of a Sabahan luthier using Sabah wood to make a guitar for a Sabahan guitarist. Surely, certain of our relevant ministries are unaware of this problem. They could have capitalized on it!


“I met Roger Wang in April 2010,” said David. I was in KK and I wanted to meet him because he’s our Sabahan guitarist. So I came to RAM to buy some of his cds, and he happened to have a luthier there as well, his friend Yap. We all talked shop and I really enjoyed that first meeting.
“Just as I left, I said, ‘Roger, you should play a guitar made with Sabah woods, made by a Sabahan luthier. That has a lot of meaning!’ After I left the meeting I went and started looking for woods.”
David’s imagination was fired up! “Of course, it was a sentimental idea! We supply woods to the world, why can’t we make guitars out of Sabah woods? We have Ebony — here it is called Kayu Malam – they use it for furniture. One piece could make so many guitars!
“A guitar made of Sabah woods would have a different sound for sure. It would be unique!” David pointed to one of Roger’s guitars. “That Maton over there has a Bunya top, it’s Australian wood. The sound is very nice, different from something that comes out of America. It’s an Australian sound. I think we could have a Sabah sound! Nangka [Jackfruit] tree wood is used around Asia as a sound board wood. We could use that. Red Suriah sounds like mahogany, it’s very resonant. There’s a lot of potential to do things with Sabah woods!”
Sadly, the wood suppliers were not interested in David’s project. “My first problem was I couldn’t get the wood for making the guitar.” David said the suppliers in KK were not interested in selling him the small quantities he needed. “They wanted large volume exports. One big timber merchant had Ebony, but the sales girl said it was not for sale, even though I only needed a little bit and for such a worthy project.”

Hand over of a labour of love:

The next frontier in hard drive technology?

As a comparison in terms of size: this is a picture of an ant carrying a micro-chip:
(For the record, I find the picture funny when I read the Malay Mail headline in Mycen: 'Four held over Rm2.7 million chip heist'!)

This is what my friend forwarded, excerpts from a report by Matthew Humphries:

The quest to squeeze more and more data into ever smaller spaces continues, but current materials and techniques have their limits. One day in the not too distant future we will reach the limits of current hard drive technology.

So where do we look for the next storage breakthrough? If you ask researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong they’d say we need to look for a living solution, more specifically bacteria. In fact, they’ve already achieved it, managing to store 90GB of data in 1 gram of cells.

The team has developed a massively parallel bacterial storage system that also achieves data encryption through DNA shuffling. An encoding system takes the original data, turns it into a quaternary number, and then encodes it as a DNA sequence. Encryption is achieved through DNA sequence shuffling. That process also involves compressing the data to allow for more storage within the same sequence.

As an example of what can be achieved, the team managed to get the 8,074 character Declaration of Independence stored in 18 cells of bacteria. The 90GB claim comes from the fact that 1 gram of cells consists of 10 million cells showing you the potential for huge storage capabilities in hardly any space or weight.

Testing is ongoing, but the team has already proven they can convert data and store it as DNA and then get the data back out without any loss of information. They also believe any data can be stored using this method including text, images, music, and video.

The next step is to start inserting bar codes into synthetic organisms as a way of distinguishing synthetic and natural organisms from each other.

Matthew’s Opinion

Although the PDF presentation goes over the details of what is being done here, there’s little information on how reliable and long term a data store like this is. How quickly do the cells breakdown? What happens if there’s a mutation? In order for this to work as a storage solution such questions need to be answered and the cells controlled.

If living cells do become a viable storage method, then there are a number of clear advantages over current systems. The first is the potential for massive gains in storage in the equivalent space of today’s hard drives. If you can get 90GB in a gram, and this scales easily, we don’t need to worry about increasing storage in the future. It will become a matter of weight rather than how much data we can cram into the same space.

Other advantages include bacteria being more resilient to drops and bumps, as well as not being rigid meaning we could have storage devices of all different shapes and sizes.

This is an exciting development, but one that needs a lot more R&D time before anyone takes it seriously.

(One day, we might find the expression, 'One man's bacteria is another man's backup'!)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thou shall not gamble!

Our stock market was having some rallies recently and some fortunes had been made, especially by those with a keen eye for stock movements as well as others who are good at following tips which turned out rewarding, well beyond their expectations. The good times are back, as evidenced from the mega mergers in the pipeline.

Mergers are worth their while only in good times when investors are more receptive to them. These are the work of financial wizards who are able to shuffle some papers and make money for those major shareholders, which could be described by S Dali as one plus one equal three. Tun Dr. Mahathir gave his warnings about foreign funds coming in for a quick kill, which reminded him of 1997 downturn as a result of their quick exit.


Acronym 'SYABAS' seems self-congratulatory...

for self-enrichment!

It is a wonder how the previous Selangor State government could get itself (and by extension, the taxpayers) into a lose-lose situation in favour of a crony and all his hangers-on, as we would perceive there must be. The oft-quoted 'Win-win' formula is dependent on which side you are: decision maker and crony, or the taxpayers.

We have come across, much too often, cases of political leaders misusing their powers to sign agreements which put us, the taxpayers, at the mercy of concessionaires. We cannot abrogate the agreements for fear of losing investors' trust in our country. The North-South Expressway, PKFZ, the Selangor Water privatization, and so on, come to mind. That the Federal Government is ever so keen on its implementation seems to suggest its complicity in the whole mess. Peter Chin had been warning of impending water shortage too!

The following is what Nathaniel Tan make of it as simply as possible:

"Here’s how I would distill the decidedly murky waters surrounding the Selangor water scandal.

If I were the Selangor government, I would hammer these points and these points alone (or maybe even whittle it down even more). The facts are gleaned from a (slightly over wordy) brochure produced by the Selangor State Government.

To recap, the Selangor government is seeking to reacquire previously privatised water concessionaire companies. The Federal Government is offering to do the same, but at a much, much higher price, and under a different set of circumstances.

The long and short of it, if you believe us, is that BN is looking to spend hundreds of millions more of our money in a plan that will only further enrich cronies at the expense of the rakyat.

Here’s how:

1 . Under the federal plan: there will be a *31% INCREASE in water tariffs*, as opposed to a 25% decrease in tariffs under the Selangor plan.

- the Federal Government (ie, us) will take on *RM 6.4 billion of debt*,
currently owed by the water concessionaires.

- there will no longer be 20 cubic meters of free water every month.

2. Here’s what privatised water concessionaire companies like Syabas have been up to:

- Syabas CEO *Rozali Ismail’s salary is a whooping RM 5.1 million a year*(RM 425,000 a month).

- Pipe purchases worth *RM 600 million* were made from an Indonesian company, *also owned
by Rozali Ismail*.

- No open tenders for *RM 600 million worth of contracts* (over 72% of the total awarded).

- *RM 51.2 million* spent on renovations of the Syabas head office (JKAS,
the water regulatory body for Selangor approved expenditures of only RM 23.2 million)

- Between 2005 - 2007, Syabas exceeded its contract value limit by *RM 200 million*.

The brochure contains much, much more information and numbers, but I think
the above says enough.

Clearly, some enormously fat cat cronies are getting paid off like there was no tomorrow - all this at the expense of a rakyat that is suffering and having their backs broken by an economic crisis of epic proportions.

Again, I really think Selangor and Pakatan should focus on this information, put it in a common package, and reiterate it again, again and again via every single medium (including say, billboards) at its disposal.

I’ve likened it before to a number of submarine commission scandals happening right under our noses, only this time, we still have the chance to stop it, if only we work hard enough.


Think of your handbag as you would a pair of shoes!

Be careful with your handbags now!

I never gave it a thought. Who would have thought? Have you ever noticed gals who sit their handbags on public toilet floors then go directly to their dining tables and set it on the table? Happens a lot!

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

Read on...

Mom got so upset when guests came in the door and plopped their handbags down on the counter where she was cooking or setting up food. She always said that handbags are really dirty, because of where they have been. Smart Mom!!!

It's something just about every woman carries with them. While we may know what's inside our handbags, do you have any idea what's on the outside?

Women carry handbags everywhere; from the office to public toilets to the floor of the car. Most women won't be caught without their handbags, but did you ever stop to think about where your handbag goes during the day. 'I drive a school bus, so my handbag has been on the floor of the bus a lot, says one woman. 'On the floor of my car, and in toilets.' 'I put my hand bag in grocery
shopping carts, on the floor of the toilet,' says another woman and of course in my home which should be clean.'

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

Most women told us they didn't stop to think about what was on the bottom of their handbag. Most said at home they usually set their handbags on top of kitchen tables and counters where food is prepared.

Most of the ladies we talked to told us they wouldn't be surprised if their handbags were at least a little bit dirty. It turns out handbags are so surprisingly dirty, even the microbiologist who tested them was shocked.

Microbiologist Amy Karen of Nelson Labs says nearly all of the handbags tested were not only high in bacteria, but high in harmful kinds of bacteria. Psudomonas can cause eye infections, staphylococcus aurous can cause serious skin infections, and salmonella and e-coli found on the handbags could make people very sick.

In one sampling, four of five handbags tested positive for salmonella, and that's not the worst of it. 'There is fecal contamination on the handbags,' says Amy. Leather or vinyl handbags tended to be cleaner than cloth handbags and lifestyle seemed to play a role. People with kids tended to have dirtier handbags than those without, with one exception.

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

So the moral of this story - your handbag won't kill you, but it does have the potential to make you very sick if you keep it on places where you eat. Use hooks to hang your handbag at home and in toilets, and don't put it on your desk, a restaurant table, or on your kitchen countertop.

Experts say you should think of your handbag the same way you would a pair of shoes. 'If you think about putting a pair of shoes onto your countertops, that's the same thing you're doing when you put your handbag on the countertops' - your handbag has gone where individuals before you have sneezed, coughed, spat, urinated, emptied bowels, etc!

Do you really want to bring that home with you? The microbiologists at Nelson also said cleaning a handbag will help.

Wash cloth handbags and use leather cleaner to clean the bottom of leather handbags.

Below are just a couple of pictures of minute creepy crawlies which we don't normally see:

Bacteria on surface of human tongue...

Head louse holding on to a hair...

I see differently...

instead of a spy within, I see harmony in diversity if we take out the suspicions...

... what 1Malaysia should be using the animal kingdom as an example.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another 1Malaysia poser: tax allowance on donation to religious body

Apparently, there is a big difference between Non-Muslim and Muslim taxpayers:

Example on Taxable Income

When non-Muslims do their religious obligations-- that is NOT tax-deductable unless the Church or temple has applied and obtained the approval for tax exemption, which they are normally very stringent with and is seldom approved.

Even if approved, the donation is restriced to 7% of your aggregate income. (This has been revised to 10% from YA 2009 for company.)

Whereas zakat qualifies for 100% and is deducted from the tax liability.


Ah Chong pays RM10,000 to the temple.
Annual income is RM100,000-- Personal Relief of Rm23K
Chargable income RM70,000 (after deducting approved donation restricted to RM7000)
Tax payable RM7,125

Ahmad - same income and relief
Chargeable income (RM100K - 23K) RM77,000
Tax payable (Rm7125 + 1680) RM 8,805
Less zakat RM10,000
Tax refundable (RM 1,195)

Ah Chong has the same income paid the same amount for donation, needs to pay tax RM7,125
Yet, Ahmad - is entitled to a tax refund of RM1,195.


Talking about backaches

Just got a call from Sydney from my ex-classmate since Primary One. My mobile phone was left a few feet away and I had to get up in a bent posture to get it. I had the backache since lunchtime when I was checking our unused toilet cistern which my recent guest complained there was no water. The cover was not heavy, but it was the wrong posture when I carried it that caused the problem.

Anyway, after chatting about his planned trip back to Malaysia, Ken mentioned that he happened to be in a suburb of Sydney recently where Anwar Ibrahim gave a talk to some people. Much to his surprise, Anwar actually went over to his table meant for four and joined him and his friend! He had the opportunity of complimenting him about his fitness, though he could tell from his action it was because of his backache that he had to find a place to sit down after answering some questions. He had the opportunity to ask him about his family in politics and so on.

What seems hilarious to the British...

I would imagine these are jokes by stand-up comedians or what British joke about in pubs:


Police in London have found a bomb outside a mosque. They've told the public not to panic as they've managed to push it inside.
During last night's high winds an African family were killed by a falling tree. A spokesman for the Birmingham City council said "We didn't even know they were living up there".
Jamaican minorities in the UK have complained that there are not enough television shows with minorities in mind, so Crimewatch is being shown 5 times a week now.
I was reading in the paper today about this dwarf that got pick pocketed. How could anyone stoop so low?
I was walking down the road when I saw an Afghan bloke standing on a fifth floor balcony shaking a carpet.
I shouted up to him, "what's up Abdul, won't it start?"

Say 'CHEESE'...

you mean like this?

Do I stand here?

or here?
is this close enough for you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A ventriloquist is one who puts words in your mouth...

and you have no say at all!

Watch Paul Zerdin in action...


A strong message from a 13-year old: Tell me why?

The first time you hear this song, you will like it. The tune is catchy and the message in the lyrics is simple but strong... and it makes us wonder why adult leaders could not heed it...


How Bed Bugs bug international travellers

Forwarded information:

Coincidentally I saw a program on CNA, an interview with 2 exterminators.

They mentioned that quite a few frequent traveller brings these bed bugs home from places like New York and China. This is because the bed bugs get into their luggage and clothing when they placed their luggages on the floor or on th bed. Best you wash and sun your luggages when you return home. Bed bugs die at 54 degree celcius.


Bed Bug Epidemic

A bit of information that you might like to know about. We have friends here in our community and one of their sons is an entomologist (insect expert), and has been telling them that there is an epidemic of bed bugs now occurring in America. Recently I have heard on the news that several stores in NYC have had to close due to bed bug problems, as well as a complete mall in New Jersey!

He says that since much of our clothing, sheets, towels, etc. now comes from companies outside of America, (sad but true), even the most expensive stores sell foreign clothing from China, Indonesia, etc. The bed bugs are coming in on the clothing as these countries do not consider them a problem.

He recommends that if you buy any new clothing, even underwear and socks, sheets, towels, etc. that you bring them into the house and put them in your clothes dryer for at least 20 minutes.

The heat will kill them and their eggs. DO NOT PURCHASE CLOTHES AND HANG THEM IN THE CLOSET FIRST. It does not matter what the price range is of the clothing, or if the outfit comes from the most expensive store known in the U.S. They still get shipments from these countries and the bugs can come in a box of scarves
or anything else for that matter. That is the reason why so many stores, many of them clothing stores have had to shut down in NYC and other places. All you need is to bring one item into the house that has bugs or eggs and you will go to hell and back trying to get rid of them. He travels all over the country as an advisor to many of these stores, as prevention and after they have the problem.

Send this information on to those on your e-mail list so
that this good prevention information gets around quickly.

By the way, do wash your newly bought garments before wearing them...

Recently there was a news story regarding a flesh-eating bacteria found in new clothing shipments to Walmart & Sears stores in the USA . Our undergarments are made in different parts of the country, sit in boxes and go through many hands and exchanges before we purchase them for ourselves.

Honestly, I don't mind living in a garage...


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It all began with an iPhone...

March was when my son celebrated his 15th birthday, and I got him an iPhone. He just loved it. Who wouldn't?

I celebrated my birthday in July, and my wife made me very happy when she bought me an iPad
My daughter's birthday was in August so I got her an iPod Touch.

September came by so for her birthday I got my wife an iRon... and she was iRate!! Why? iWonder... I am beginning to feel like an iDiot.

At which point in time is victory?

A comparison between Hiroshima, after its destruction by an atomic bomb, and Detroit, an American city of the destroyer and victor...

Hiroshima, Japan in 1945

Hiroshima now...
Somewhere in Detroit, USA...

What has caused more long term destruction - the A-bomb, or U. S. Government's welfare programs created to buy the votes of those who want someone to take care of them?

Japan does not have a welfare system.

Why some people prefers to work alone...

I know of a friend who used to work alone within a department. Any work assigned to him would be done with as soon as possible, and if necessary, he would take the work home to finish it. Naturally, he would be given more work and that's how some people could get away from doing less or almost no work.

But I think it has to do with his personality that he prefers to do almost everything himself instead of delegating to others. Such people are likely to have this perception that by the time I teach him how to do it, I could have done it in half that time, the way it should be or more important, the way I want it.

On the other hand, there are others who are experts at delegating work to others. Such people should be able to work as a team with the doer. But in the long run, I don't think it is healthy for the doer to accept more and more work because of the hidden stress factor which could affect his health. I wonder which is worse: he taking on more work or if he were to delegate to someone else...


Rural China

Old Mai Tau Nau had a farm, E-I-E-I-O... with a 'oink, oink' here and a 'oink, oink' there...

A cut below...

Bladder full? You can have the whole field to choose where you want to do it...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken and Egg situation?

Aren't the police supposed to be exemplary in their conduct to expect trust and respect from the public? Are we expected to trust the police despite the many cases of 'shoot to kill', deaths in detention, corrupt acts which made the innocent parties guilty while the guilty go scotfree, and so on? Which should come first: good police conduct or public trust in police? The last I heard, many people said they had given up reading anything from Lee Lam Thye ...

From The Sunday Star:

Negative perception of police can be seen as new ‘crime’: Lam Thye

KUALA LUMPUR: The community’s negative perception of the police can be seen as a new “crime” which should be curbed immediately, said Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

He said this problem had been identified some time ago but efforts to curb it demanded time and collaboration from many quarters.

“When a crime takes place, there are victims who prefer not to report it to the police, thinking that the process will be dragged out.

“This does not help the police in curbing crime. In fact, a new problem emerges - the negative perception towards crime prevention, especially the police,” he said.

Lee was speaking to Bernama after a roundtable of the National Key Results Area (NKRA) on crime reduction at Wisma Bernama here recently.

More where that came from:

I have also read about the robbery in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, KL where the person who called the police was cut off from giving further information. As it turned out, the police arrived in two patrol cars but the robbers managed to escape, apparently through the opening (should have been bricked up according to strict building rules) between the ceilings and the roofs of the terrace houses.

I have personally experienced the loss of a car in Ipoh within 30 minutes. I wish the police could have taken down the make and description of the car and registration number and pass the information to those police on patrol at the time. But no, according to regulation, a police report has to be made first, and it took almost two hours which my diabetic wife nearly fainted because of low blood sugar level. Of course, any hope of recovering just vanished after the delay in making the report, and the impression the police gave that it was gone and unrecoverable by now. With the negative perception of other faults of the police, do you still expect us to inform the police when we are going away on holiday? Or make a police report when the police are even likely to tell you not to, so as not spoil the statistics?

Historical facts to attack our Defence Minister

Excerpts from:

"His sense of history and the contributions of the Chinese, Indians and our brothers from East Malaysia towards the sovereignty of Malaysia is being actively abrogated by him. That is a racist and bigoted view, pure and simple. Go here to look at the winners of valour awards, not including those who had laid down their lives, are maimed, not forgetting the Non Malay Police Officers.

... who was the first Malaysian to be awarded the "Pingat Gagah Berani"? He was a Chinese! Sergeant Chong Yong Chin PGB of the First Federation Regiment.

Did you not know who was the first recipient of the "Pingat Gagah Berani" in the Congo? ... that person too was a Chinese, Lt Lee Ah Pow PGB , read about how shoddily he was treated too! There was another young Chinese Officer, Lt David Fu Chee Meng, who too was awarded the PGB at the Battle of Tanah Hitam.

So those guys were not patriotic enough for you? Here is my favourite, someone I know personally, Sergeant Choo Woh Soon PGB, my wife's uncle.

The short guy in the centre is Sergeant Choo Woh Soon PGB. This guy, patriotic enough for you? How about this Indian Officer and Chinese soldier dying together to save ... from the Commies? Captain Shanmuganathan PGB and 207770 Ranger Mat Isa bin Hassan PGB, do not be deceived by the name Mat Isa, he was a Chinese.

How about this Indian Officer who laid down his life at the "ripe old age of 24"? Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan (200402) Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa. Not patriotic enough for you? How about this where a sorry excuse, for an officer, caused the death of 13 Italian airmen in the Congo, Malaysia's name had to be salvaged in this incident by 2Lt N.H. Siebel PGB and Captain Maurice Lam PGB, notice their names, they were Non Malays. How about the time in Bosnia where soldiers desecrated a Catholic Cross, again the situation was salvaged by the Non Malays. For posterity I have another link here. I will not even talk about the vandalising of the Hoba Meteorite in Namibia. Okay continuing some more, here is another Indian who got the PGB, 2Lt Panir Chellvum al Velaithan PGB. Still not patriotic enough for you?

Here is another Indian, who after serving a total of 29 years in both the Police Force and the Army is denied his pension. The reason being he did not attend the weapons course and tactics course. What weapons and tactics course, when he and his men wiped out the remnants of the enemy in Selangor, what would his unshaved instructors teach him? Read about him, Captain Courageous aka Mukhtiar Singh s/o Sodagar Singh. In any other Army in the world today, they would have cited him for courage and piled honours on him without any questions asked, unfortunately he is an Indian in Malaysia, get that Zahid?

Here is a picture of an all Chinese group of Kinta Valley Homeguards who fought the Malayan Communist Party.

The problem with people like Zahid Hamidi is he does not know about people like these Chinese and Indians who were willing to die for Malaysia unconditionally, they only wanted to be treated fairly. The current situation is like "some people are more equal than others". People like him are WIND BAGS, full of foul air and all empty talk. If you notice, the minorities were significant in numbers in the forces when Malaysia was in danger, from the Japanese occupation of Malaya, the Emergency, Confrontation and the subsequent Emergency until the cessation of hostilities by the MCP.

Remember the Communist Party of Malaya, did not surrender. It was a treaty for the cessation of hostilities. Freeing our Great Leader to push his agenda of Ketuanan Melayu, subsequently his achievements were these, he could not do it when the MCP was on the warpath as it would increase their numbers. Zahid being an ardent fan of this old goat, is still playing to the gallery.

Soldiers who have served, the Non Malays know what it is to be discriminated against, because of their race and religion. Even the Bumiputras of Sabah and Sarawak are discriminated against, as most of them are Christians. While at this, being an ex- soldier and all, I have seen many East Malaysian Officers serving in combat units, why did not any one of them make it to General? Not good enough? Look at how brave, loyal and patriotic they are. Go to the archives. After seeing the results of the Sibu "buy elections", where the BN lost, I guess they saw the writing on the wall and recently promoted an Iban Officer to become the first Iban who made it to General, Stephen Mundaw, in September this year. Anyway that is peanuts, East Malaysians should demand and expect at least a 4 star General from amongst the Ibans, whose bodies have been littered across the battle fields in Malaysia. Their courage and ferocity in battle is unmatched.

After having served many years and plodding along, being bypassed by juniors and incompetents. There so many grievances, not enough space to write at one go, is it not heart wrenching? Even your children, who are brilliant are discriminated by virtue of race and religion, you expect patriotism to burn brightly in the hearts of the Non Malays? Treat everyone equally on a level playing field, you will not need to ask for the Non Malays to defend this country, the numbers would be so huge that you would have to send most of them back.

In the military the Non Malay is ridden like a horse, for the greater benefit of the majority. No rewards, when it comes to promotions and benefits, they forget you. You know that old race horse, it runs until it drops dead or put out to pasture. Most Non Malays make it to the rank of Major, I am sure you have heard this before, about the "infamous glass ceiling". That is the rank you have to be happy with. You are not promoted on merit, I know of guys who can barely speak English, but become Generals. During my time all the courses were in English. Ask the ex and serving Non Malays, not forgetting the subtle hints to convert. They do not even respect your faith by suggesting that, they look down on you. Relgious and racial discrimination go hand in hand together. I have also had the privilege of seeing a General's knees tremble, when he stepped out of my Infantry Fighting Vehicle, as I helped him down, this was after an exchange of fire. I was the escort commander and he was riding in my IFV in Somalia.

A hundred Non Malays would without hesitation and asking questions, charge a hill of 10,000 enemy, if you treated them and their offspring, as Malaysians and not as Dhimmis and second class citizens to defend their country, Malaysia.

I could continue shellacking Ahmad Zaid until the cows come home, it is us who are to be blamed. He is the MP for Bagan Datuk, those of us who continue supporting MCA and the MIC, are actually getting him elected year in, year out. Your votes have made him arrogant. If you notice his majority is actually shrinking. So the strongest message for that dimwit, would be to boot this racist UMNO supremacist out of Parliament in the next general elections. Never forget. Of course all of you out there can post your comments, feel free to use this post.

posted by Major (Rtd) D.Swam

Of rickety Sabah and Sarawak bridges

If my memory serves me right, PKR's candidate for the recent Batu Sapi by-election, Ansari Abdullah, fell into murky waters on two occasions because two wooden bridges could not take the extra load of campaigners. It was not a good omen and was proven right when he lost the by-election.

I have just read this Bernama report headlined, 'Hishamuddin's Special Officer Falls Into Marsh During Minister's Visit'...

A sum of Rm40,000 was allocated for repairs to four dilapidated houses and the broken bridge.

The moral of the story: such incidents should happen to BN folks for immediate attention.

Update: Headline from Malaysiakini:
"Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is scheduled to make a two-day visit beginning tomorrow to the Limbang and Lawas districts in northern Sarawak."

I can't help but be reminded of this joke:

The crumbling, old church building needed remodeling, so the preacher made an impassioned appeal, looking directly at the richest man in town. At the end of the message, the rich man stood up and announced, “Pastor, I will contribute $1,000.”

Just then, plaster fell from the ceiling and struck the rich man on the shoulder. He promptly stood again and shouted, “Pastor, I will increase my donation to $5,000.”

Before he could sit back down, plaster fell on him again, again he virtually screamed: “I will double my last pledge.”

He sat down, and a larger chunk of plaster fell hitting him on the head. He stood once more and hollered, “Pastor, I will give $20,000!”

This prompted a deacon to shout, “Hit him again, Lord! Hit him again!”

A most unusual excuse for speeding...

A man was driving home late one afternoon, and he was driving above the speed limit. He looks in his rear view mirror and notices a police car with its red lights. He thinks, "I can outrun this guy", so he floors it.

The cars are racing down the highway - 60, 70, 80, 90 miles an hour. Finally, as his speedometer passes 100, the guy realizes he can't outrun the cop so he gives up and pulls over to the curb.

The police officer gets out of his cruiser and approaches the car. He leans down and says "Listen mister, I've had a really lousy day, and I just want to go home. Give me a good excuse and I'll let you go."

The man thought for a moment and said, "Three weeks ago my wife ran off with a police officer. When I saw your cruiser in my rear view mirror I thought you were that officer and ... you were trying to give her back to me!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Patience (and praise) is the key to grandma's heart

Recently, my son discovered that he has a way with her 91-year old (a.k.a a nonogenarian) grandmother. Despite initial snub, Beng put his arm around her and said, “How can you be senile when you were able to make so much money?” The recognition of her past success certainly hit the right note and she smiled immediately and said, “those people think I am crazy.” Beng followed with stories of his childhood with grandpa who taught him how to repair a bicycle puncture and other stories which he knew would endear her.

Following that success at melting his grandma's heart, Beng suggested to his cousins to give her a dinner last night. Batu Gajah was chosen instead of the usual Ipoh where better restaurants are found, because it is her home town (near enough, she is actually from Pusing but moved to BG, which is just 2 km away). Somehow, Fon Hing (my friend's new restaurant) was chosen because it is co-owned by her cousin's son and arrangement could be made to have them present to chat with her, something old folks badly need but which most of us seem to ignore and neglect, and assume they are being difficult.

I had in mind, to bring my mixer and amplifier to play some VCD or DVD which I hope would be entertaining, but I had my doubts mainly because it is difficult to please everyone since my last experience with bringing in the drums kit. I had also thought about bringing my two acoustic guitars for the two nephews (Shaun and Fung) who seem to enjoy playing all kinds when they are together. But I gave up at the last minute because I had a wedding lunch to attend at Clearwater Sanctuary and I knew I would be required to entertain my guests as well as to co-ordinate my son and daughter, and their cousins who came from KL for the purpose. My daughter even had to collect our house key from me at CWS! Later, they even had to ask for directions to the restaurant which is right in the middle of town!

It was better than expected in terms of turnout because John and Teng and Fung came back recently from Sydney and Adelaide respectively. John's girlfriend Kim came on her first visit from Hong Kong. So, despite my wife's absence (every friend we met seems to ask me about her), we had 10 plus one maid. Actually, it was supposed to be grandchildren's treat and I was not in the original plan. I made the effort to get the restaurant owners to get involved by asking the distant relative to speak to my MiL to see if she could recognize him. Then his wife, followed by his parents and I could see her laugh for the first time! Then I asked Fon's mother who is from Pusing to chat with the old lady. Everything seemed to work out as planned, or so it seems.

Later, Beng's girlfriend told me that they took more than an hour to convince her to attend! Even having agreed (she was at the factory), she actually wanted to go back to Ipoh to have a shower and change of clothes before coming to BG! I knew about this because while waiting in the house, we felt relieved that she changed her mind and decided to come straight from the factory instead.

On the way back to Ipoh, Beng took the short cut via MTD which goes through Pengkalen industrial estate and Jalan Pasir Puteh. It was dark through the kampung area and she could only recognize upon reaching Pasir Puteh. Then Beng realized that grandma likes to travel during the daytime so that she could see where she is going! Lessons learned.

When she got down from the car, she told Beng that on their next visit, she would like to treat them prawns at Tg. Tualang. Incidentally, we are going there for brunch soon (as in leaving the house in 10 minutes).


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A brief look at Marriage

The other day, I was watching BBC World News on Astro, and the hot topic was Prince William's engagement to Catherine Middleton, and of course the numerous interviews: with father Prince Charles who was 'absolutely delighted' of course; Prime Minister, David Cameron (outside No.10, his speech was brief but an excellent display of a public school background, old Etonian no less); Royal courtiers as to what to expect; both William's and Kate's colleagues and close friends, and so on.

It brought back memories of February 24, 1981 when Prince Charles was engaged to Princess Diana and later, the 'Wedding of the Century' on July 29 the same year. You can imagine the whole country engrossed with the event before, during and after, with commemorative this, that and other. Those items are now collectibles and should grow in value over time.

Back to the current Royal engagement. One of the topics invariably included the special ring (Diana's), which has a big oval blue Sapphire (worth USD300,000 on its own) and diamonds and gold, which together, is valued at USD500,000. I am sure current billionaires might even scoff at the cost, something which they could easily outshine, but its special value is priceless. Some Chinese might even think of something else because of Diana's tragic end.

It is interesting to note his brother's comment later: Prince Harry issued a statement, "...He said he is glad that my brother popped the question! and that he had always wanted a sister."

Now, when someone asks about when your son or daughter is getting married, the latest catch-phrace should be, 'either next spring or summer'!

I have no intention of writing about the Royal engagement, but really deviated from a brief comment. Would be tempted to include links and so on, but it is easily searched. My post this morning is to comment (in italics) on some quotations on Marriage, an institution which 'only fools rush in', yet people never seem to learn!

Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is husband!
(Well, at least you have got it half right to start with!)

Don't marry the person you want to live with, marry the one you cannot live without... but whatever you do, you'll regret it later.
(In other words, don't marry?)

You can't buy love... but you pay heavily for it.
(For a rich man or woman (cannot be presumptuous these days), cost will be the least of problems)

They call our language the mother tongue because the father seldom gets to speak.
(Language aside, instances include shooting down father's suggestion when she asked for, and even choosing all the dishes without reference to him!)

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
(But what about the other person? Never heard of unrequited love, before or during marriage?)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Alexander The Great's Last Words?

I can't help feeling cynical with public statements which had turned out to be untrue again and again; certain mainstream newspapers which put words into Pakatan leaders' mouths because they thought the adverse effects were worth the efforts, not realizing the long term loss of credibility; the ploy by certain websites like Fanbox which made use of people's e-address books to send messages as though sent by them; and other spams and scams which we are unable to keep track of.

When I read the following story, I cannot help thinking during the time of Alexander The Great, was it possible or plausible that someone could have noted his last words and passed on the legendary story to this day? As I have known, even if we were to say something to someone sitting separately (not within hearing distance) with 9 others, and asked to relate the story from one person to another, the last story could have been distorted until it seemed even funny. I am bothered by the details, given that the king was dying (just like what we used to see in films)...

" Ice melts when heated "
"Eyes melt when hated"

Alexander (Macedonia, Greece) after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring him in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no consequence.

He now longed to reach home to see his mother's face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit Him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last.

He called his generals and said, "I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry out them out without fail."

With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king's last wishes.

"My first desire is that", said Alexander, "My physicians alone must carry my coffin."

After a pause, he continued, "Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury".

The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute's rest and continued. "My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin".

The people who had gathered there wondered at the king's strange wishes. But no one dared bring the question to their lips.

Alexander's favorite general kissed his hands and pressed them to his heart. "O king, we assure you that your wishes will all be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?"

At this Alexander took a deep breath and said: "I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt.

Lessons to learn from last 3 wishes of King Alexander...

I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure any body. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.

The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell People that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.

And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty into this world and empty handed I go out of this world".

With these words, the king closed his eyes. Soon he let death conquer him and breathed his last. . . .

Remember, your good health is in your own hands, look after it.
Wealth is only meaningful if you can enjoy while you are still alive and kicking.
What you do for yourself dies with you but what you do for others, lives on.
It is called "Legacy."

(The 'Lessons to learn' appears to be a message from the person who compiled the story)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Leaving on a jetplane...

"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..."

Lately, we seem to hear of friends and relatives either planning, will be going or have just been to this country or other. Some have to travel because of work or business, while others have both the time and money to do what they love to do – seeing new places and meeting new people.

Some friends or relatives seem to feel that I am missing out on travel, but to be honest, I do not feel deprived at all. Having spent eight years in UK, I have travelled within the country, on day trips to Harrogate, Yorkshire Dales, York, Scarborough and so on, and overnight trips to slightly further places like Lake District, Scotland and Wales. I have been to Europe several times, to places like Benelux countries, Italy and France.

Being a pessimist did not help in travels because I worry over anything that could go wrong, especially where it involved air travel and the use of passport, and the need to get through Custom officers. I have heard of too many harrowing experience like being questioned for hours; being prevented from entering the country and sent home on the next available flight, being found with contraband and so on. Even before taking the flight, the procedures necessary for some countries which require visa would have put me off before I even book the air ticket. For example, the requirements to provide evidence of enough financial means and so on. What comes to mind is the question, 'Why must I go through all these?' If I am not welcome, there are many other places which would welcome me. I might as well go where I will be treated well and the exchange rates are favourable.

Recently, I was told about a relation who was pick-pocketed in Europe. Then a friend and his family too, which included loss of his daughter's passport which was really inconvenient for a couple of days to sort out. Then the stories about the Expo in China which required long queues if you were interested in popular ones. A sister-in-law came back from Cambodia and was hospitalized because of food poisoning, though her two sisters had the same foods were alright.

Very often, I hear of people saying, 'I'm so glad to be home' or even 'I can't wait to get home'! Duh! Were you forced to go away? Older folks, especially, are not as fit, yet they do not want to miss out, with reasons like 'I better travel when I can still walk'. Because of the tight schedules, most complained that they felt like they were on the run as in wartime. Sometimes, they had to stay in the bus while others trek to see the buildings or whatever were supposed to be attractions to tourists. A retired Malay teacher told me that he was offered to travel overseas by one of his children, but he said that instead of wasting money (I would be staying in the coach), why not give me the money to renovate the house! Which was what he did and he was so glad.

I do not envy those who had to travel overseas frequently because of business or work, simply because they had to. It might seem glamorous initially, but I am sure they suffer from jet lags too. I am sure there were days when they did not feel like going.

An Australian frequent jet-setter actually expressed his worry that statistically, it isn't safe for him anymore!

Last but not least, there are scientific proof that...

Jet Lag May Cause Stupidity!