How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

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

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

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

When there's too much dirt...

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

Prevent bullying now!

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Gmail glitches affecting thousands of accounts...

Gmail accidentally resetting accounts, years of correspondence vanish into the cloud? (update)
By Sean Hollister posted Feb 27th 2011 6:13PM

If you've got a working Gmail account, you might want to back it up every so often -- as many as 500,000 Gmail users lost access to their inboxes this morn, and some of them are reporting (via Twitter and support forums) that years worth of messages, attachments and Google Chat logs had vanished by the time they were finally able to log on. While we haven't experienced the issue personally, we're hearing that the bug effectively reset some accounts, treating their owners as new users complete with welcome messages. For its part, Google says that the issue "affects less than .29% of the Google Mail userbase," engineers are working to fix the issue right now, and that missing messages will be restored as soon as possible. We'll soon see if this is a momentary setback... or a lengthy wakeup call.

Update: No fix yet, but Google's revised its estimate as to how many users might have been affected by the issue -- "less than 0.08%" -- which means we're probably looking at closer to 150,000 individuals, rather than 500,000. We're assuming that the revised estimate means that the initial count wasn't precise, and not that customers are ditching Gmail in droves.

Update 2: Google's provided promising but terribly vague guidance on when the situation will be resolved: "Google Mail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change."


Tale of two PPE graduates of Oxford University

The two most well known young politicians in Malaysia, who are Oxford graduates, are Tony Pua and Khairy Jamaluddin. Anything in common ends there because of the different routes each took in politics.

Tony Pua headed a listed company in Singapore before he was head-hunted to join DAP. I am sure he knew what he was getting into, the expected trials and tribulations expected of an opposition politician. He was one among many rookies who were elected the first time they stood in the last general election. He made his mark as one of a select number in DAP's think tank contributing to the unexpected success in that election. Since then, he is best known as the spokesman spearheading Selangor government's attempt at undoing the excesses of the previous BN state administration, especially the lop-sided agreements involving water concessions; and nationally, in working out why the federal government should buy out Plus, the concessionaire for North-South Expressway which has been causing untold hardships: either to motorists in the form of increasing toll rates or to taxpayers in the form of compensations to Plus in lieu. What a mess our government got us into by way of their 'win-win' formula! Well, win-win to certain connected organizations and individuals but lose-lose to the people.

On the other hand, Khairy parachuted into Umno, well before he became a paratrooper, and was best known as the famous Son-in-law of the PM then, Pak Lah. He wasted no time in enriching himself, being in the thick of things in the well known Fourth Floor, the pulse of the sleepy PM. With influence, he managed the almost impossible – that of a small bank taking over a bigger bank. He was able to run up traffic summons running into thousands of ringgit before someone spilled the beans. Most people wondered whether he paid them himself or someone paid for him, or possibly even written off, such was the public's perception of his influence.

On the other hand, Tony Pua slogged through voluminous reports to work out schemes to benefit the people, to try and undo lop-sided contracts signed by BN politicians with vested interests. To my mind, Khairy did not have to work so hard in Umno, he just has to be a rabblerouser to get Umno youths to demonstrate with or without permits in their so-called defence of Ketuanan Melayu, without having to fear water canons or arrest.

On the other hand, Tony had been arrested a number of times in the company of demonstrators. He has to be extra careful in his criticisms and has to be sure of his facts because he is liable to be sued by those affected by his efforts. Being a DAP MP, he is not supposed to benefit himself in anything, unlike those in the ruling parties, yet he is constantly under threat of legal suits, and even death threats with live bullets.

The choice each made was a world apart. Who deserves more of our respect?


Sunday, February 27, 2011

I said Yes to YES...

even when there is no coverage yet in Batu Gajah!

(This picture has no connection with YES, just for laughs, ok?)

That was how convincing YTL's YES tagline, 'Fastest 4G Mobile Internet with Voice' to me.

I was in Gurney Plaza last Friday (in Penang again, because wife needed to sort out her travel details with Holiday Tours and Travel, don't ask me why in this day and age...) where there was an exhibition by House of Notebooks in connection with YES promotion. Coincidentally, I handed something to this woman just before we left for Penang, and her husband's work involves putting up YES's transmission towers. Yet, BG has yet to have coverage. I was convinced by its potential in making cheap overseas call and influenced by its speed when viewing Youtube without problems with buffering. But when I got back, I realized that it goes well only with a 'buzz 4G Cloud Phone' which is tagged as 'an all in one 4G mobile phone that is powered by the Internet'. It was a good job, I have yet to buy anything myself. Now I recall having heard about YES partnering with Samsung in their 4G network installation of transmission towers.

The whole concept is still new to most people, including myself, but I believe its potential is great in terms of pinching customers from existing 3G and other lesser providers, if their claims could be realized. I have yet to get a taste of it, probably when in PJ in a few days time. Probably when the dongle works, I will dangle it to tempt my son to have it!


Have you seen...

a Catholic driving too fast? Here's the proof...

or how an owl farts?

or when a cat witnesses something incredible?

7 days without God...

Did you know that....
When you carry the Bible, Satan has a headache.
When you open it, he collapses.
When he sees you reading it, he faints.
Let's read the Bible often so that he keeps on fainting. (maybe one day he'll have a stroke & never wake up).
And did you also know that when you are about to forward this email to others the devil will discourage you?
Forward it anyway :)


Saturday, February 26, 2011

The ugly bias of our television stations

I think it was two nights ago when I watched either the 8.00 pm English news on NTV7 or the midnight news on TV3, when MP Wee Choo Keong was shown giving his biased opinions about DAP pulling out of Teoh's Commission of Inquiry because he gathered from insiders that the party knew it was suicide and did not expect PM to set up the CI! Wow! National news based on hearsay, he being a lawyer, and everybody in politics knows he has an axe to grind with DAP leadership since many years ago.

The other person was Tan Tee Beng, who has just joined KITA, a renamed mini party now helmed by Zaid Ibrahim. His joining the party was given prominence on national television too!

Why would our MSM do that? Well, being controlled by the ruling party, any bad news or anything that could put the opposition coalition in bad light deserves highlighting. I for one would not be influenced by such biased reporting, but our media people are so used to pleasing the leaders.

Where nepotism is difficult to avoid?

The world's biggest family: The man with 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren

Ziona Chana lives with all of them in a 100-room mansion
His wives take it in turns to share his bed
It takes 30 whole chickens just to make dinner
He is head of the world's biggest family - and says he is 'blessed' to have his 39 wives.
Ziona Chana also has 94 children, 14-daughters-in-law and 33 grandchildren.
They live in a 100-room, four storey house set amidst the hills of Baktwang village in the Indian state of Mizoram, where the wives sleep in giant communal dormitories.

Read more:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Should we condemn Nepotism per se?

I am driven to write my two cents' worth, by AgreeToDisagree's list of nepotism within DAP and PKR in his comment in Malaysia Chronicle:

Nepotism, like favouritism and cronyism, has a negative connotation to it. There are certain people who, I believe, bear grudges and are dead against nepotism within opposition parties.

In my humble opinion, we should not condemn nepotism per se. According to my dated but trusty Oxford dictionary, Nepotism means 'Favouritism shown to relatives, especially in conferring offices'. If we include feelings, then the most basic form would be the favouritism shown by parents when dealing with their children in the company of others. To each, his or her own.

Lim Kit Siang became an MP in 1969 and was detained soon after the May 13 incident. His problems with the government and police were continual when he championed causes of others who were unable to fend for themselves when intimidated by high-handed authorities. Together with Karpal Singh, they were synonymous with DAP. When the seniors got into trouble, how would their wives and children feel? Naturally, they would be in support, even when totally unprepared at times. Similarly, when Anwar Ibrahim was held in police custody and assaulted by the then IGP, how would his wife and children feel? Wan Azizah and Nurul Izzah were literally forced into politics because of such an unfortunate incident. The fact that the juniors are able to emulate their fathers should be congratulated under such circumstances and not be subjected to envy and jealousy. First of all, it was clear to them that the future was arduous and not a bed of roses. If Lim Guan Eng achieved what his father could not in Penang, and became Chief Minister, it was proof that he was worthy of helming DAP and with the support of the people of Penang, worthy of being CM. I am sure Lim Kit Siang is happy to be the father of a Chief Minister, even though he could have taken the easy way and become Minister himself in BN Cabinet with probably a Tan Sri title to go with it. I would like to think of it as good karma at play. Why would anyone think that following father's footsteps within the opposition is the same as that of say, Najib following Razak's? The former is lined with periods within four walls while the latter is full of promise which include PM's position which comes with immense power to make or break any person; opulent office, and the chance to accumulate wealth beyond their wildest dreams.

When Lim Guan Eng was being charged for championing the Malay girl's case, I attended some of the forums before he was found guilty for sedition (and we all know how easy it was to fix anyone with such a charge under the Act). I can still remember my wife dropping me off in Jalan Alor, opposite Federal Hotel, KL. I could see two police patrol cars parked outside. When I entered the lobby, it was lined with uniformed policemen, they were everywhere. Later, in the small hall where the forum was to be held, a police officer announced, 'You have 8 minutes to disperse.' I asked Manjit Singh, 'Why the heavy police presence?' and he replied, 'As usual.' I am sure those who were present felt the high-handedness of the police and could empathize with Guan Eng's pessimism and helplessness then.

Similarly, when heavily armed men stormed into Anwar's house to arrest him, it must have angered many people who thought the high-handedness most unnecessary. Imagine how his family members felt then. I can understand the natural reaction of his family's total support later, in the form of enlisting those who could make a difference, to rally the people to express their dismay. In the process, it was only natural that they become politicians themselves in order to fight the unfair system. When opposition parties look for commitment from potential leaders, then those who were victimized as well as their immediate families were best candidates. Those who were capable and worthy as leaders found support in the party members. Thus, we have a few families of leaders within the Pakatan Rakyat who are firmly committed, in their quest for change which include getting rid of the present BN government.

To those who are strongly opposed to political dynasties in DAP and PKR, my suggestion is to direct your time and effort towards BN nepotism first because they are custodians of our nation's coffers. It will be more productive to check any possible corrupt practices involving billions than proving the existence of nepotism within coalition parties of Pakatan Rakyat which was a result of persecution, and who have yet to gain federal power. If you dislike them so much, why not dislodge them from their parties? At the moment, they have the support from most of the party members and it is up to you to convince the members to vote you instead of them in future.


Azmi Sharom's take on Teoh's Commission of Inquiry


"The family want this High Court case to either be settled first or dropped by the A-G before the CI continues.

This is a reasonable request for what happens if the CI comes up with one decision and the High Court another?

They are also unhappy that the conducting officers are from the A-G’s Chambers."

Commission must be neutral
Brave New World
By Azmi Sharom


To ensure that there is no conflict of interest, the conducting officers must be totally unbiased.

THE family of Teoh Beng Hock has decided that they do not want to take part in the Commission of Inquiry which was set up to investigate his death.

This act has been criticised by some quarters as being a political ploy designed to delay the proceedings. I beg to disagree.

The family has some very compelling reasons for doing what they did.

For more where that came from:

Oppositionists can learn from the porcupines

Fable of the porcupine.

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.

So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion, but the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Enlightened Royalty...

or brainwashed, as some narrow-minded bigots would claim, because of her western education?

Season of goodwill


DURING the days before Christmas last year, I wished my friends who were celebrating it “Merry Christmas” in much the same way they would wish me “Selamat Hari Raya” or “Happy Eid”.

I find it rather sad that such a simple greeting – one which I grew up with and which I have never regarded as something that would compromise or de-value my own faith – is now regarded as something so religiously incorrect for us Malaysian Muslims.

When I was at boarding school in England, I had to go to church every Sunday because it was part of the rules. My father advised me to consider it as part of my “education” and he had no doubt that the experience would strengthen rather than weaken my own faith.

Going to church did not make me less of a Muslim when I was a young girl, and neither does saying “Merry Christmas” make me less of a Muslim now. My faith has not been shaken just because I wished some friends a time of joy with their families. Neither will I suddenly suffer from amnesia and forget what my religion is.

What I do not wish to forget, however, is that there are good, kind people who are not of the same faith as me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Political awakening?

or Tun Dr. Mahathir or present Umno leaders might describe her as being ungrateful, if a government sponsored student...


And even if I did eventually go back, I realise it is surprisingly easy to not care and to get sucked into your own little material world with your own little problems. I came home for the summer with the full intention of getting into the thick of things and ended up spending most of my time drinking overpriced coffee in Bangsar, listening to my friends talk about internships in large law firms and financial powerhouses. Maybe I could get used to this life after all — it’s nice and cushy and there are yummy cocktails involved. What happened the last time I went for a demonstration of any kind in Malaysia? Oh policemen with riot shields chased me and the FRU trucks blocked my way home. I think I’ll take the cocktails, thanks.

In short, I had become the person I despised, without even realising it.

My wakeup call came in the form of the Aljazeera Youtube channel on 10 February. Watching Mubarak’s speech, and watching the energy in Tahrir Square, something in me snapped and I realised that maybe we could do it too. Sure, we had a few teething problems to address — like perhaps having a single united movement with the same aim in mind, but yeah, teething problems — but it wasn’t impossible. It could be in a few months, or a few years, or even a few decades, but there was hope at the end of the tunnel, and maybe at that time it’ll be our turn to scream and cheer in our very own Liberation Square as we finally realise that the country does, indeed, belong to the people. And I realised, it will kill me if I wasn’t a part of that.


This video clip (speeded) takes just over 2 minutes, but the actual building of this hotel in Changsha City, China took only 6 days!


Who is behind Sarawak Report has been revealed...

by David Cohen in The Evening Standard.

and this is Radio Sarawak!


"In a flat above a restaurant in Covent Garden, an investigative reporter called Clare and a tribesman from Borneo covered in tattoos prepare to transmit their daily revolutionary radio broadcast deep into the Borneo jungle.

They make for an unlikely double act - she is a white, middle-aged Englishwoman, and he the proud grandson of a Dayak headhunter who broadcasts under the pseudonym Papa Orang Utan. Their aim is no less outlandish: to expose the alleged corruption of Taib Mahmud, chief minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo 6,500 miles from London, and bring an end to his 30-year rule."

More where I got this from:

It looks like IT and its related technology is making it much easier and cheaper to counter mainstream media under government control. The people involved are likely to be disparate but with a common objective. So beware those who think might is right and ordinary folks can be easily controlled.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Best way to reduce traffic congestion to and from Penang Island

‘Best’ news for commuters
Thursday January 30, 2011
GEORGE TOWN: The free Bridge Express Shuttle Transit (Best) service to transport commuters from Seberang Jaya to factories in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone on the island will start on March 1.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the “park and ride” system was approved at the state executive council meeting yesterday.

Under the system, Lim said, the commuters need only pay for the parking of their vehicles in Seberang Jaya while the state would supply the buses to transport them for free.

He said that Best service was open to all, and would focus on the Bayan Lepas FIZ for a start.
“Anyone can ride but the destination is only the factories in Bayan Lepas, not anywhere else,” he told a press conference at his office in Komtar here.

Lim said that with this service, motorists could save up to RM250 a month on the Penang Bridge toll and petrol.

He said the state would hold awareness and publicity programmes for greater participation, adding that details of the system would be fine-tuned and announced by state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.

Chow, who was present, said that for a start, 10 buses would be deployed to shuttle commuters from 6am to 9am and from 4pm to 7pm Monday to Friday, which is when most factory workers would be commuting.

“We have done a survey among the factories in Bayan Lepas where 1,100 workers have shown interest in joining this programme,” he said.

Chow said a bus shelter was being built at the Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Jaya which would be the initial pick-up and drop-off point, while 50 to 60 stops would be put up in front of various factories in Bayan Lepas.

“We will have two or three routes to serve all the factories,” he said, adding that the system should help to reduce the number of vehicles on Penang island and traffic congestion.
Lim said Best was aimed at helping to reduce the financial burden of lower income workers, especially in view of the announcement by the Federal Government to increase the price of RON97 by 10 sen to RM2.40

“This is our effort to reach out to help Malaysian workers fight the fuel price increase and subsidy reduction, which we feel is unfair as it is only borne by the poorer segments of society and not by the rich companies.

“The state government is concerned as this is the second time within a month that the price of petrol has gone up,” said Lim.


Pakatan's Shadow Cabinet is still hidden...

because Barisan refuses to recognize nor formalize a two-party system.

"A shadow Cabinet such as those practised in the advanced democracies like U.K. are formalized structures recognized by the ruling coalition,"

"When a certain Bill is due to be debated, the relevant shadow ministry is invited to give its views and expected to challenge or support the Bill in Parliament. In other words, a two-party system is recognized as a norm. Can Najib look Malaysians in the eye and say that he and BN recognise a two-party system here?”

More of that where it came from:

Truth be told...

Murphy showed up at Mass one Sunday and the priest almost fell down when he saw him. He'd never been to church in his life.

After Mass, the priest caught up with him and said, "Murphy, I am so glad ya decided to come to Mass. What made ya come?"

Murphy said, "I got to be honest with you Father, a while back, I misplaced me hat and I really, really love that hat. I know that McGlynn had a hat just like mine and I knew he came to church every Sunday. I also knew that he had to take off his hat during Mass and figured he would leave it in the back of church. So, I was going to leave after Communion and steal McGlynn's hat."

The priest said, "Well, Murphy, I notice that ya didn't steal McGlynn's hat. What changed your mind?" Murphy replied, "Well, after I heard your sermon on the 10 Commandments, I decided that I didn't need to steal McGlynn's hat after all."

With a tear in his eye the priest gave Murphy a big smile and said; "After I talked about 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' ya decided you would rather do without your hat than burn in Hell?"

Murphy slowly shook his head. "No, Father, after ya talked about 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery'

Then I remembered where I left me hat."


MSG: addictive and fattening?

From the internet:

'MSG (monosodium glutamate) hides behind 25 or more names, such as Natural Flavoring.' MSG is even in your favorite coffee from Tim Horton's and Starbucks coffee shops!

I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, and so did a friend of mine, John Erb. He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario,Canada, and spent years working for the government. He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called "The Slow Poisoning of America".

In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born.

The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: 'MSG-Treated Rats.'

When I heard this, I was shocked. I went into my kitchen and checked the cupboards and the refrigerator. MSG was in everything -- the Campbell's soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, and Kraft salad dressings, especially the 'healthy low-fat' ones. The items that didn't have MSG marked on the product label had something called 'Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein,' which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate.

It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everyday are filled with this stuff. MSG is hidden under many different names in order to fool those who read the ingredient list, so that they don't catch on. (Other names for MSG are 'Accent, 'Aginomoto, 'Natural Meat Tenderizer,' etc.) But it didn't stop there.

When our family went out to eat, we started asking at the restaurants what menu items contained MSG. Many employees, even the managers, swore they didn't use MSG. But when we ask for the ingredient list, which they grudgingly provided, sure enough, MSG and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein were everywhere.

Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, every restaurant -- even the sit-down eateries like TGIF, Chili's, Applebee's, and Denny's -- use MSG in abundance. Kentucky Fried Chicken seemed to be the WORST offender: MSG was in every chicken dish, salad dressing and gravy. No wonder I loved to eat that coating on the skin -- their secret spice was MSG!

So why is MSG in so many of the foods we eat? Is it a preservative, or a vitamin?

Not according to my friend John Erb. In his book "The Slow Poisoning ofAmerica", he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body.

Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more.

A study of the elderly showed that older people eat more of the foods that it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobbying group says eating more is a benefit to the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us?

'Betcha can't eat [just] one,' takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight!

MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products. It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn't added. Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substance.

Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago, MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the pre-packaged meals, soups, snacks, and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday.

The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food. They claim it's safe to eat in any amount. But how can they claim it's safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like these:

''The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity.'' Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT , Ribeiro IA. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002.

''Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats.'' Guimaraes RB, Telles MM, Coelho VB, Mori C, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro. Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug.

''Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: An animal model of multiple risk factors." Iwase M, Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar.

''Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity.'' Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao K Kusunoki. Exp Neurol. 1978 Oct.

(Hypothalamic dysfunction is a problem with the region of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps control the pituitary gland and regulate many body functions, particularly in response to stress. The pituitary, in turn, controls the:
*Adrenal glands,
*Thyroid gland)

No, the date of that last study was not a typo; it was published in 1978. Both the ''medical research community'' and ''food manufacturers'' have known about the side effects of MSG for decades.

Many more of the studies mentioned in John Erb's book link MSG to diabetes, migraines and headaches, autism, ADHD, and even Alzheimer's.

So what can we do to stop the food manufactures from dumping this fattening and addictive MSG into our food supply and causing the obesity epidemic we now see?

Several months ago, John Erb took his book and his concerns to one of the highest government health officials inCanada . While he was sitting in the government office, the official told him, 'Sure, I know how bad MSG is. I wouldn't touch the stuff.' But this top-level government official refuses to tell the public what he knows.

The big media doesn't want to tell the public either, fearing issues with their advertisers. It seems that the fallout on the fast food industry may hurt their profit margin. The food producers and restaurants have been addicting us to their products for years, and now we are paying the price for it. Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food additive.

But what can I do about it? I'm just one voice! What can I do to stop the poisoning of our children, while our governments are insuring financial protection for the industry that is poisoning us?

This message is going out to everyone I know in an attempt to tell you the truth that the corporate-owned politicians and media won't tell you.

The best way you can help to save yourself and your children from this drug-induced epidemic is to forward this article to everyone. With any luck, it will circle the globe before politicians can pass the legislation protecting those who are poisoning us.

The food industry learned a lot from the tobacco industry. Imagine if big tobacco had a bill like this in place before someone blew the whistle on nicotine?

If you are one of the few who can still believe that MSG is good for us and you don't believe what John Erb has to say, see for yourself. Go to the National Library of Medicine at Type in the words 'MSG Obese' and read a few of the 115 medical studies that appear.

We the public do not want to be rats in one giant experiment, and we do not approve of food that makes us into a nation of obese, lethargic, addicted sheep, feeding the food industry's bottom line while waiting for the heart transplant, the diabetic induced amputation, blindness, or other obesity-induced, life-threatening disorders.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Education hierarchy...

which finds its own levels in real life...

* Most 'First Class' students become Doctors and some Engineers;

* Those who get a 'Second Class', pass the MBA, become Administrators and control the 'First Class';

* The 'Third Class' passes, enter politics and become Ministers and control both above;

* Last, but not the least, The ‘Failures’ join the underworld and control all the above!


Unwelcome Mats

a reminder to police...

with a hint...

with a heavy hint...

outright rudeness, leaving nothing to imagination...

with a voyeuristic reminder...


Sunday, February 20, 2011

PISA: berpisah dan jumpa lagi

PISA or Penang International Sports Arena happens to be the venue for Star Education Fair 2011.

According to Sunday Star, 'Penang education fair a hit'

Yet upon arrival on Saturday morning, Beng already complained about PISA being old, rundown and disorganized!

Sunday morning, I was greeted with my wife's information that Beng asked if we could meet in Penang instead of Ipoh! 'Sup, sup, sueh lah' (in Cantonese means, no problem at all). We used to decide 'to go to Penang for laksa!' and off we went.

But she had to do a round of Lorong Kulit Sunday market first before lunch. As usual, I cringed at the thought of her usual tardiness. We arrived PISA at 2 pm, just outside Brothers accessories shop, called and waited for Beng to come out. As we were waiting, I saw this Honda Civic with a familiar number... Perak plate too! 'Is it Dr's car?' Then it clicked, education fair seemed likely since his son is seeking a career path. Called his mobile and sure enough they were in the exhibition hall. But then we had to go for lunch first.

After lunch, SP initially did not want to go in, but I said why not look at the booth which Beng is in charge, at least. As it turned out, she found Holiday Tours and Travel and even booked her flight to UK! When I called Dr again, they were already out of the hall and on their way somewhere. But who shall I meet but a recently graduated pilot who was on duty at HM Aerospace & LIC, from Batu Gajah! After introduction, we talked about retired teachers who we know and who were his former teachers at Yuk Kwan School.

I still cannot get over the details as I got the impression the group were from KL. As it turned out, only two came from KL and the others came by air - they piloted their planes from Langkawi! It seems, just based on fuel, it works out cheaper than by road!

Later, SP and I had dinner at Cherry Sweet, a Thai restaurant well hidden from the beaten tracks. It was introduced by GP Tan, who owns an antique shop in Chulia Street, when she gave us a treat. To get there, one has to go through Arratoon till the end of the road, join the right going traffic at the main road and turn next right again after a short distance. Go along the one-way road until you see an old bungalow on the right. We had three dishes: steamed fish (whole for Rm28 only), red chicken curry (Rm12) and mixed vegetables meant for two, and Chinese tea, and the bill was just over Rm50.

While on our way home, somewhere near YTL cement factory, SP got a call from Beng telling us that they are just behind our car! Again we split, we on our way back to BG while they overtook us on a longer journey back to KL.


Signs: think you have seen the best?

example of one which is better not put up...

Too late... but learn from history...

There are some who don't think this is obvious...

I can understand the sign... but how?...

When the season is extremely dry...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Even fairy cannot be taken for granted...

to grant as you wish...

A married couple in their early 60s was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic little restaurant.

Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table. She said, 'For being such an exemplary married couple and for being loving to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish.'

The wife answered, 'Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband.'

The fairy waved her magic wand and - poof! - two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands.

The husband thought for a moment: 'Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again. I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me.

The wife, and the fairy, were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish.

So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof!...the husband became 92 years old.

The moral of this story:

Men who are ungrateful should remember fairies are female...


In Thailand beauty cannot be taken for granted...

After experiencing the discomfort and embarrassment of a prostate test, a friend of mine decided to have his next test carried out in Thailand where the beautiful nurses are rather more gentle and accommodating.

As usual he was asked to strip off, he lay naked on his side on the bed and the nurse began the examination. "At this stage of the procedure it's quite normal to get an erection" said the nurse.

"I haven't got an erection" said the man.

"No, but I have" replied the nurse.

And the Most Pragmatic Father Award goes to...

The Star reported yesterday:

A MAN failed to turn up for his wedding in Sungai Siput, Perak, leaving the bride waiting in vain at the marriage dais.

Relatives and friends who were invited to the wedding at a temple last Sunday were saddened to see the dejected bride waiting for the man to appear, Tamil Nesan said.

However, all was not lost.

The parents of the bride, upon realising that the marriage of their eldest daughter was not going to proceed decided to do something.

So they conducted the marriage of their second daughter with her boyfriend who was present at the ceremony.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Most Dangerous Food

A doctor was addressing a large audience in Oxford ...

"The material we put into our stomachs should have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is full of steroids and dye.

Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining.

Chinese food is loaded with MSG.

High transfat diets can be disastrous and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water.

But, there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and most of us have, or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?"

After several seconds of quiet, a 70-year-old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, "Wedding Cake."


Wedding Anniversary?

Some people make a big deal out of it, some don't.

A couple got married on Valentine's Day many years ago. On the morning of February 14, years later, the husband walked down the steps and was greeted by his wife's, 'Don't make tea for me, I made mine earlier.'

Later in the evening, it was also wife's Line Dancing class and husband was expected to have his own dinner. But it was still early, wife decided to make egg and tomato sandwich for both. As it happened, the class was cancelled because of very poor attendance... could be due to it being Valentine's Day. Normally, a romantic couple would make an effort to celebrate, if not for Valentine, at least for the wedding anniversary. But 35 years had certainly taken its toll on romance.

A couple were celebrating 50 years together. Their three kids, all very successful, agreed to a Sunday dinner in their honor.

"Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad," gushed son number one ....... 'Sorry I'm running late. I had an emergency at the hospital with a patient, you know how it is, and I didn't have time to get you a gift."

"Not to worry," said the father. "The important thing is that we're all together today."

Son number two arrived and announced, "You and Mom look great, Dad. I just flew in from Los Angeles between depositions and didn't have time to shop for you."

"It's nothing," said the father. "We're glad you were able to come."

Just then the daughter arrived. "Hello and happy anniversary! I'm sorry, but my boss is sending me out of town and I was really busy packing so I didn't have time to get you anything."

After they had finished dessert, the father said, "There's something your mother and I have wanted to tell you for a long time. You see, we were very poor. Despite this, we were able to send each of you to college. Throughout the years your mother and I knew that we loved each other very much, but we just never found the time to get married."

The three children gasped and all said, "You mean we're bastards?"

"Yep," said the father. "And cheap ones too."


Advice from a Male Chauvinistic Pig...

It is important for men to remember that, as women grow older, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger. When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Never swear. Some are oversensitive, and there's nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

My name is Ron. Let me relate how I handled the situation with my wife, Carol Anne. When I retired a few years ago, it became necessary for Carol Anne to get a full-time job, along with her part-time job, both for extra income and for the health benefits that we needed. Shortly after she started working, I noticed she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from the golf club about the same time she gets home from work.

Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don't yell at her.. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table. I generally have lunch in the Men's Grill at the club, so eating out is not reasonable. I'm ready for some home-cooked grub when I hit that door. She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But now it's not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner.

I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening that they won't clean themselves. I know she really appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she does the laundry .

Another symptom of aging is complaining, I think. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay all the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But, Boys, we take 'em for better or worse, so I just smile and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two, or even three days. That way, she won't have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn't hurt her any (if you know what I mean). I like to think tact is one of my strong points.

When doing simple jobs, she seems to think she needs more rest periods. She had to take a break when she was only half-finished mowing the yard. I try not to make a scene. I'm a fair man. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. And, as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me, too.

I know that I probably look like a saint ,in the way I support Carol Anne. I'm not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible! Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women get as they get older. However, Guys, even if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was well worthwhile. After all, we are put on this earth to help each other.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Computer Operator Error Code

As we Silver Surfers know, sometimes we have trouble with our computers.

I had a problem yesterday, so I called Eric, the 11 year old next door, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control and asked him to come over.

Eric clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem. As he was walking away, I called after him, 'So, what was wrong?

He replied, 'It was an ID ten T error.'

I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired,'An, ID ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again.'

Eric grinned ... 'Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?

'No,' I replied.

'Write it down,' he said, 'and I think you'll figure it out.'

So I wrote down: ID10T

I used to like Eric, the little rascal...

Ex-Judge N H Chan decides to vote against BN

While we get generous doses in the mainstream media of people leaving Pakatan parties in droves and that Pakatan will have to close shop, more and more retired people are becoming disenchanted with the antics of the present regime and have decided to draw a line in the sand to state their stand, to stand up and be counted, as well as to speak up when necessary about what they think is wrong in our present administration.

Former Court of Appeal Judge, N H Chan, has finally decided to 'change my mind from being apolitical to decide to vote for the underdogs because what the BN had done to Perak was wickedly unfair and unjustifiable'.

'I don’t have to tell you who they are - even in the BN some ‘animals’ are more equal than others. Look at their opulence.'

'It is a good thing if every member of the Cabinet and every member of the Exco are investigated as to their financial status and assets before they can assume office. And when they leave office they are to be investigated again. They are to be accountable if they are found to be richer than what they could have earned while in office when they leave.'

'One should be in politics to serve the people, not to get rich.'

"The BN has been with us for 53 years and on each succession of the BN government a new tyranny replaces the old. I say this because nothing has changed since the BN came to power. We have the same repressive laws. But there is now a new tyranny. The new evil is the hijacking of a legitimately elected state government in Perak and this, in my estimation, is the last straw for the people of Perak to tolerate. For the rest of the country, remember this, if it can happen in Perak it could happen again elsewhere in this country."

For more of that where it came from:

When there is no connection in a conversation...

it results in 'kong sum, tarp sei' (literally, Cantonese for 'talk three, answer four') where two persons are carrying on a conversation with each thinking of different subject matter.

A Husband and Wife were very happy over the twelve pound baby boy that was born to them.
Mr. Brown, who could not conceal his delight, called up the editor of a famous newspaper and reported that he had become the proud owner of a twelve pound nugget of gold.

The editor upon hearing the seemingly extraordinary news was rather hesitant to accept it at its face value. So he sent his star reporter to interview Mr. Brown.

When the reporter came, Mr. Brown was away and his wife was alone at home.

The following interesting conversation took place between the reporter and Mrs. Brown.

Reporter: Does Mr. Brown Live here?
Mrs. Brown: Oh! Yes.
Reporter: Is he in?
Mrs. Brown: Why no, he went somewhere.
Reporter: Is it true that he owns a twelve pound nugget of gold?
Mrs. Brown: (Seeing the joke) Yes, indeed.
Reporter: Can I see the place where he found it?
Mrs. Brown: I am afraid, not because Mr. Brown! ob-jects in as much as it is strictly private.
Reporter: Is the place far?
Mrs. Brown: No, it is quite near and convenient.
Reporter: How many years has Mr. Brown been digging the hole?
Mrs. Brown: Just for about ten months.
Reporter: Is the hole deep?
Mrs. Brown: Quite so...
Reporter: Has Mr.. Brown reached the bottom of it?
Mrs. Brown: Not yet, but he is coming near...
Reporter: At about what time does Mr. Brown starts digging?
Mrs. Brown: Oh, he does his digging mostly at night.
Reporter: Does he work hard on it?
Mrs. Brown: You bet...........and how he perspires.
Reporter: Is Mr. Brown the first to dig?
Mrs. Brown: He thought he was...
Reporter: How do you know there was someone ahead of him?
Mrs. Brown: I am in a good position to say so, because I own the place.
Reporter: Oh, I see, but you sold the place to Mr. Brown?
Mrs. Brown: No, but for the present, he has the legal title to the site, with my consent.
Reporter: Has Mr. Brown any helper when he works on the claim?
Mrs. Brown: Yes, I work under him...
Reporter: When do you think Mr. Brown will sell the place?
Mrs. Brown: I think not because he enjoys working on it.
Reporter: Can I see the twelve pound nugget of gold?
Mrs. Brown: Yes, certainly (and she showed him the twelve pound baby boy).

Is attachment a waste of time?

These days, the word 'attachment' brings to mind that which we attach to our email, either a verbose article, a spreadsheet, pictures or even a video clip.

But attachment could mean a short period in a legal firm to get a feel of the practical side of being a lawyer. Other places might call it 'internship', a term made popular by Monica Lewinsky in the White House.

At LoyakBurok, LLVL thinks most attachments are a waste of time:

I have given my views too, though not entirely relevant, in their comment section, which I wish to share :

"You have your points about attachment which presumably is similar to internship in other establishments. Though I cannot speak on attachment in legal firms, internship in other places has its merits.

We cannot escape the mundane aspect of juniors’, "punching, stapling, binding and photocopying”, and coffee-making and errand-running if I may add, when starting work in their new places of work.

From what I have seen and gathered, some of the important aspects of internship include getting to know the business or practical side of the firm. To someone without any working experience, it is revelation of sorts, dispelling any of his or her myth or misconception about the profession or business.

A young man (school leaver) who went to a relation’s accounting firm for a month, decided that being an accountant as a profession is definitely out for him. A young lady who was interned with an international consultancy firm gained invaluable insight (as part of the firm’s recruitment team) which helped her when applying for a job in an MNC.

We should not underestimate the chance of meeting the right persons, especially in a large organization, which might be helpful in the process of networking and for future prospects.

I feel to dismiss attachment as a waste of time which does not make any difference is being too simplistic and harsh. Having a few attachment experiences is like having worked in a few places but in shorter periods. Though it might be true in some cases that ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’, the varied experience would have at least widened the person’s perspective and enriched his or her writing, for instance, if nothing else!"

"I would agree with Noreen that one should take the opportunity to read materials available and ‘be alert on what’s going on around you’. An attachment, internship or the old articleship (when one even had to pay to be able to work in a firm!), is like being allowed into a private office and stay to listen and gather what is going on in the process of learning. To a keen learner, it is a godsend opportunity. To a busybody, it is also an opportunity to private gossips about the inner circles! Anyway, the main difference seems to be the individual, whether he or she makes good use of the opportunity.

Being ‘bullied’ is quite common. There was once an Indian Singaporean graduate who was articled to a firm of accountants in UK. He did his national service and his rank was Lieutenant before he joined. At the firm, the Audit Manager used to tell him to make him a cup of coffee with a ‘it’s nice to be served by a Lieutenant once a while!’


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ex-US Ambassador John R. Malott's response...


"This is why I can sue the NST, Utusan Malaysia for Libel – and some other people, too"

I don’t really know who Rachel Motte is, or why she suddenly has become an expert on Malaysia in the past year. But I do know that she wrote an article about me recently, saying that I am “a pet” of Anwar Ibrahim, who – according to her – has “direct connections to terrorist organizations” and a long history of being an anti-Semite.

I also know that – to her credit – when I contacted Rachel on February 12 and told her that I believed that her article was inaccurate and potentially libelous, she immediately took it down for review. It no longer is on her website, and I thank her for that.

But I also know that Utusan Malaysia has reported her article verbatim – and even went to the trouble of translating it into Malay. And thanks to Dato Din Merican, now I know that the NST has chosen to print it as well.

When I took a look at Rachel’s article, I had two major areas of concern. First, Rachel characterized my relationship with Anwar as being his “pet.” This is offensive to me, as I served my nation for over 30 years as an Ambassador, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Consul General under seven Presidents.

Second, there were many statements that to my mind are libelous:

(a) that I am defending “a man with direct ties to terrorist organizations, and a man whose anti-Semitic comments and conspiracy theories are too long to discuss;”

(b) that “rational thinking men and women are able to discern the difference between good and bad individuals, people you should support, versus those you should distance yourself from,” implying that I am not a rational thinking person; and

(c) that I am “blinded by [my] support of an anti-Semite with clear and undeniable ties to an organization that supports terrorism.”

Full details which should be read to get a full picture of his statement:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Year prayer answered in Korea

At the beginning of the new year, I received an email with the following prayer for 2011...

"Dear God,

My prayer for 2011 is for a fat bank account and a thin body.

Please don't mix these up like you did last year. AMEN"

Apparently, in Korea since 2008, you can have both! "The more calories a customer burns, the higher interest rate the bank gives." But let's be realistic about the interest making your account fat...

One person's problem is another's hope realized...

An engineer walked into a pharmacy and asked to talk to a male Pharmacist. The elderly woman he was talking to said that she was the only qualified person as her chemist husband had died so she and her widowed sister now owned the shop. There were no males employed there but she then asked whether she could help the gentleman.

The engineer said that it was something that he would be much more comfortable discussing with a male chemist.

She assured him that she was completely professional and whatever it was that he needed to discuss, he could be confident that she would treat him with the highest level of professionalism.
The engineer agreed and began by saying, "This is tough for me to discuss, but I have a permanent erection. It causes me a lot of problems and severe embarrassment, and I was wondering what you could give me for it."

The chemist said, "Just a minute, I 'll go talk to my sister."

When she returned, she said, "We've discussed it at length and the absolute best we can do is, 1/3 ownership in the shop, a company car, and £1,500 a month plus living expenses.

And they live happily ever after... with expansion too? ...

(This picture has no connection whatsoever with the fairy tale, in case someone finds it necessary to sue me for it!)

MDBG's pennywise policy?

Yesterday morning, I drove to the new building of our MDBG to get copy Assessment bills so that I could pay them. These bills used to be sent, sometimes even duplicated, but this year I was not the only one who did not receive them.

I was directed to the 'Penilaian' (Valuation) office at the 'hujung' (end). The design of the office building is such that to get to this office from the lobby, one has to walk left and turn sharp right to get to it. This reminds me of the usual 'mistake' of other places where even a designated walkway is not what the public would like, and you can see people walking across grass or flowerbed. Anyway, there were 5 people waiting and when I counted minutes later, there were 10 of us. It was not meant to accommodate crowd and there was no order in 'first come, first served' because of the unexpectedness. One of the two ladies felt the pressure and commented to the other that the staff at the other end conveniently directed them there. But I could see that this was the only place with printers ready to print bills, unless the enquiry counter has similar facility.

The problem of not receiving bills seems unlikely to be due to poor delivery by Post Office. I got the impression that Majlis tried to save postage (since the rate increased) or even preferred to collect additional revenue by way of penalties!

At the payment counter, my queue number put me 20 behind the current number. Initially, there was only 1 out of 4 counters manned. Slowly, the manned counters increased to 3 or 4. At the Penilaian office, I could read the first two of their Motto: Mudah (Convenient), Cepat (Fast) and another which I could not read. But there was no sense of urgency and I did not wish to press one of the buttons (from 1 to 5) to give my rating at the payment counter. It took me almost one hour to pay my assessment bills (because no bills received) which normally takes a few minutes depending on crowd. Bearing in mind it was 2 weeks before dateline, I can imagine the crowd getting bigger nearer the date. As far as I am concerned, Majlis failed to live up to the first two of their motto.


The illusory effect of beer...

every woman can attract men in a pub...


Where a reputation for reliability can be a hindrance...

so in seems, in this Toyota advertisement in Brazil...


Monday, February 14, 2011

It is better to go Faceless on Facebook...

and not to reveal too much about your coming activities. You will never know who else is watching you besides your friends, until it is too late. On security, sometimes it takes a thief to catch a thief, or at the least he knows what the potential thief is thinking...


Please spare a few minutes to read this...It’s an eye opener.

"The information people give out on Facebook, when linked up with other information freely available on the internet, is an absolute ­goldmine for criminals," the Daily Mail quoted Michael Fraser, a reformed burglar who presents the BBC's 'Beat The Burglar' programme, as saying.

"One year, you might have a party and give out your address. A while later, you might tell everyone that it is your 30th birthday.

"So, if you've accepted me as a friend of a friend, I know your name, your address and your birth date.

"From that, I can go to and on there I can find out what you do for a living, how much your home is worth - and whether you're likely to be worth burgling.

"I might have already made up my mind because you've posted party ­pictures on Facebook and I can see what kind of valuables you have in the house - and which rooms they're in. Then you go and tell your Facebook friends how much you're looking forward to going on holiday next Tuesday.

"I can go on to Google Street View and see actual photographs of your home. I can see if you have a burglar alarm, or whether there are any bushes in the garden to hide in. And I can see all the alleyways I can escape down. And, of course, I know you won't be at home.

"Once you accept a stranger into your Facebook account, they can begin what we call social ­engineering - ­delicately asking questions to build up information about you,' said Jason Hart, ­senior vice ­president of ­CRYPTOCard Network Security.

"And that can cause havoc. Let's say they got your email address, then they could go to your email account pretending to be you and saying you have ­forgotten your password.

"Once they have that secret ­information, the email account will let them in. And once they are in there, they can find lots of sensitive information, such as your Amazon and eBay account history.

"They can then go to those sites pretending to be you and saying you have lost your passwords, and guess what happens then?

"Those sites send the passwords to your email account - the one that they have already conned their way into.

"Crooks who do this usually use the credit card details you have stored there to buy online gift vouchers that can be traded on the internet. It is a form of instant ­currency.

"Even worse, if you have a PayPal account and have credit in it, your so-called friend could clean it out.

"Effectively, they have become an electronic version of you, they can change all your passwords and begin stealing from you.

"The world is a dangerous place not because of people who do evil, but because of good people who look on and do nothing about it." - Albert Einstein

First confession and first impression of a parish priest

Priest’s Retirement Dinner

A Priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician and member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and to give a little speech at the dinner.

However, since the politician was delayed, the Priest decided to say his own few words while they waited:

‘I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss's wife, taken illegal drugs and gave VD to his sister. I was appalled. But as the days went, on I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people’.

Just as the Priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk:

‘I’ll never forget the first day our parish Priest arrived, said the politician’. ‘In fact, I had the honor of being the first person to go to him for confession...’


Sunday, February 13, 2011

From Sell-Then-Build to Build-Then-Sell is the way to go

An excellent article, 'House buyers are customers not stakeholders' by Chang Kim Loong, Secretary-General of the National House Buyers’ Association, which was published in The Sun, in rebuttal to an earlier article by Rehda President, Datuk Michael Yam.


"We would like to reiterate that under the Sell-Then-Build (STB) progressive payment system, it is the banks that are financing the property industry through loans to buyers. Few buyers use their own funds. Thus, it is the banks that are supporting the property industry. The Build-Then-Sell (BTS) 10:90 system that we are proposing streamlines and makes more orderly the system of financing, ie banks finance the developers to build their projects with buyers locked in with the 10% deposit. When the houses are completed, then end-financing kicks in to pay for the balance of 90%."

"Under the STB, as soon as the developer starts to sell the houses within that project and when the buyers’ loans start to be drawn down, the fragmentation of the collateral (ie that parcel of land) starts. Each lot that is progressively sold will be released to the house buyers’ banks. Hence the project financing (bridging financier) bank’s security (the parcel of land) is progressively diminished. Worst of all is the situation where if the developer gets into trouble (like project abandonment), it is virtually impossible for the project financing bank to cash out on whatever collateral remaining, due to multiple parties’ interests. This is one of the perennial reasons why so many abandoned projects are facing difficulties being revived. Against such a backdrop, is it surprising that banks adopt an ultra cautious attitude?"

"Why should a more orderly and fairer system like the BTS 10:90 make sales and marketing more difficult? It would be easier to market products based on the BTS 10:90 because buyers will feel safer. He should ask the developers already practising the BTS 10:90 system (though few in number)."

"Although buyers may pay more for their houses due to the increase in the developers’ finance costs, this is well offset by not having to pay progressive interests while the developer is building the houses."

"If Yam contends that the BTS 10:90 is a raw deal for developers, then the STB progressive payment mode is an even worse deal for buyers. Is he saying that it is OK for thousands of buyers to face the risk of project abandonment but not OK for developers to face the risk of buyers reneging on their purchase? The truth is that when a buyer reneges on his purchase, he immediately losses his 10% deposit. The developer can then sell the same unit to another buyer at a 10% discount and not lose anything. This is a far better scenario as compared to a situation whereby when a developer abandons his project, hundreds of buyers suffer the devastating effects."

"But there is no other industry where the failure of one player drags down with it so many unwary customers. These buyers are not stakeholders. They are purely customers and they have no reason to be financially devastated just because they unwarily bought into a project destined to fail."

"When a branded developer’s name is used, potential buyers’ placed their trust and confidence in it. In some cases, they realise too late that the failure and the liabilities of the subsidiary developer cannot be linked to the branded one. We believe this is cunning strategising. It is a case of benefiting the effects of the brand vis-à-vis insulating the branded parent company against any liability in the event of failure."

For more of that article:

I have one small point which I wish to add with reference to STB progressive payment system.

Many house buyers used to complain when they were charged interest by developers for late payment after the 14-day grace period. Other than the few days delay due to unavoidable circumstances like delay because of postal delivery, due to inefficiency by solicitor's staff, or even just delay in issuance of banker's cheque, what the purchaser need to pay to the developer as interest should be viewed against the interest which he would have had to pay had the payment been prompt. If my memory serves me right, the standard S&PA used to provide for 8% interest p.a. chargeable by the developer. If, for instance, the housing loan incurs interest at 10% p.a., the purchaser actually stood to gain from the small difference in rate for the short period of delay in progress payment. I think the present interest rates for housing loans are lower than 8% which would make my example invalid. But still, my argument is that the difference between the loan rate and that chargeable by developer for late payment is minimal and for only a short period, which did not warrant the usual indignation of some purchasers when complaining about being charged for late payment through no fault of theirs. The developers would prefer that all aspects of documentation are complete for prompt payment by the banks than charging for late payment.

But, this cannot be said for civil servants who applied for government housing loans which are at a significantly lower rate of interest. There is also the expected delay in documentation and release of progress payment cheques which made the civil servants vulnerable to being charged for late payment, and with a bigger difference in rate.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hi-tech car locking system can be a hindrance sometimes

A Malay businessman and his family dropped by a mobile phone shop in Batu Gajah and found themselves locked out of his BMW 5 series car with the engine still running! Apparently, his wife accidentally pressed the lock button when they were not ready to do so. He was also worried about the effect of the engine idling for a few hours (full tank) and the air-conditioning system switched off which he reckoned would not activate the additional fan.

My mind did a quick search and suggested that he try using handphone with his relative who has the duplicate key in KL, but he did not think it would work because of the sophisticated security system, and would not even try because he had a bad experience before. When there was an attempt by someone who tried to start his BMW big bike, he could not start it using his own original key!

It took almost two hours for his relative to get from Shah Alam to Ampang to get the key before he could make his journey to BG! So it was a long agonizing wait for the duplicate key and I left the shop before his help arrived, hopefully. I even thought of whether it was worth the trouble to have someone travelling from BG to meet the other halfway but it would only save the time and cut the journey of the other person, and not the waiting time of the owner here.

Is there any BMW owner or technician who has any bright idea to solve this particular problem? Would the method as suggested by someone in the internet using mobile phones work?

Just added:
I forgot to add that with my basic knowledge of older cars, I would be tempted to block the exhaust pipe to force the engine to stall. But because of the unknown possible adverse effect on the car's sophisticated electronic-controlled fuel system, I did not suggest as my earlier suggestion was turned down by him because of the fear that it might become a bigger problem with the locking system. I have yet to find out if any of the girls stayed back after shop closing time at 4.00 pm. I expect the waiting time to be around 5 hours and I dread to think of the effects on the idling engine in terms of overheating.

When it comes to crass, Leila Ben Ali takes the cake...

THE president's wife did not have an appointment, but nobody was going to stop Leila Ben Ali when she swept into the office of the governor of the central bank of Tunis and demanded 1 1/2 tonnes of the nation's gold.

...Angered by the suicide of a young man who set himself on fire out of despair at his poverty and lack of a future, Tunisians took to the streets, forcing the ruling family to flee and have now stormed their homes and businesses.

How did Leila, a twice-married hairdresser, one of 11 children of Saida and Mohamad Trabelsi, a fruit and nut seller, come to rival Imelda Marcos for greed? How did she isolate her husband, the president, and siphon off so much money from the country that the poor finally rebelled?

More where that came from:

It isn't always a shotgun marriage case...

if you think out of the box...

A southern farmer got in his pickup and drove several miles to a neighboring farm and knocked on the farmhouse door.

A young boy, about 12, opened the door.

"Is yer pa home?" he asked.

"No sir, he sure ain't," the boy replied. "He went to town."

"Well," said the farmer. "Is yer ma home?"

"No, she ain't here either. She went to town with pa."

"Well, then, how about yer brother, Joe, is he here?" "No sir, he went with pa and ma."

The farmer stood there for a few minutes, shifting from one foot to the other, and mumbling to himself.

"Is there anything I kin do fer ya'?" inquired the young boy politely. "I know where all the tools are, if you want to borry one; Or maybe I could take a message fer pa."

"Well," said the farmer uncomfortably, "I really wanted to talk to yer pa. It's about your brother Joe getting my daughter, Pearly Mae, pregnant."

The boy considered for a moment. "You would have to talk to pa about that," he finally conceded. "I know that pa charges $500 for the bull and $250 for the boar hog, but I really don't know how much he gets for Joe."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Some Malaysian Initials and Acronyms

Malaysians are now very fond of saying 'apanama' when pausing to think of the right word to say. Tun Dr. Mahathir is well known for saying 'apanama' and it is supposed to be endearing. The reason for having to pause could be due to the many names coined by political leaders to make their policies more trendy and catchy, as advised by image consultants and the like. To make them more easily remembered, the use of initials and acronyms have resulted in many of us knowing them but unable to recall the original words from which they were formed! It does not help that Umno is better known using English initials than its Malay equivalent.

The following are a sample (some in Malay, some in English; some initials, some acronyms) which I have compiled from my recent reading:

ADUN Ahli Dewan Undang Negeri
AG Attorney General
AG Auditor General
ANGKASA Angkatan Koperasi Malaysia
ATM Automated Teller Machine
BN Barisan Nasional
BNM Bank Negara Malaysia
BSKL Bursa Saham Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange)
BTS Build-Then-Sell
CCM Council of Churches Malaysia
DAP Democratic Action Party
DPM Deputy Prime Minister
EOC Equal Opportunities Commission
EPP Entry Point Projects
EQUINAS Equiti Nasional Bhd
ETP Economic Transformation Programme
FELDA Federal Land Development Authority
FIC Foreign Investments Committee
GDV Gross Development Value
GFI Global Financial Integrity
GTP Government Transformation Programme
IDEAS Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs
JAKIM Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Malaysian Islamic Development Department)
KHAZANAH Khazanah Nasional Berhad
KPI Key Performance Index
KWAP Kumpulan Wang Persaraan
KWSP Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (Employees Provident Fund)
MACC Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission
MARA Majlis Amanah Rakyat
MAS Malaysian Airline System Bhd
MCA Malaysian Chinese Association
MEPS Malaysian Electronic Payment System Sdn Bhd
MIC Malaysian Indian Congress
MIDA Malaysian Investment Development Authority
MP Member of Parliament
MTAB Majlis Tertinggi Ajenda Bumiputera (Bumiputera Agenda Supreme Council)
NEAC National Economic Action Council
NEM New Economic Model
NEP New Economic Policy
NGO Non-Government Organization
NKEA National Key Economic Area
OCM Olympic Council of Malaysia
OKU Orang Kurang Upaya (Disabled person)
OPR Overnight Policy Rate
PAS Parti Islam Semalaysia
PEMANDU Performance Management and Delivery Unit
PETRONAS Petroliam Nasional Berhad
PERKASA Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia
PKR Parti Keadilan Rakyat
PM Prime Minister
PNB Permodalan Nasional Bhd
PPPA Printing Presses and Publication Act
PR Pakatan Rakyat
RAM Rating Agency of Malaysia
REHDA Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association
RMN Royal Malaysian Navy
SG Solicitor General
SRR Statutory Reserve Requirement
SSM Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (Companies Commission of Malaysia)
TERAJU Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera?
TSR Topside Structural Maintenance
UMNO United Malay National Organization
UUCA Universities and University Colleges Act
YAB Yang Amat Berhormat
YB Yang Berhormat


My take on Umar Mukhtar's response to Malott's critique

Umar Mukhtar's letter in response to Malott's is an example of someone who does not understand the diversity among the Chinese, for instance.

He mentioned about 'Mandarin speakers only' requirement in job advertisements but he failed to realize that for those Chinese educated in national schools who understand only Bahasa Malaysia and English, such jobs are unsuitable to them. Besides, if analyzed further, the old Hokien, Hakka or Hainanese boss would prefer someone of the same dialect to avoid problems in future communication!

I could not believe it when I read about his 'In my lifetime, I have yet to hear of any Chinese leader asking that the Chinese to join in and contribute towards the betterment of national schools.' Can you imagine in situation where the national budget for education provides 98% to national schools and only 2% to national type schools, Umar expect the Chinese to contribute to national schools? It is like 'bringing coal to Newcastle'!

As to his 'I have yet to hear of one calling for Chinese businesses to assist or at least not to gang up against their fellow non-Chinese businesses or to not practice discrimination in their employment policies', I shall explain the myth about the 'success of Chinese businesses', while the latter part of the statement should be referred to my earlier comment on diversity.

Many non-Chinese have the impression that Chinese are all good at running businesses. This so untrue and to me, it is laughable. For example, speaking for myself, I was responsible for selling my father's company, liquidating my mother's company, and finally de-registering my own company simply because I realized my siblings and I could not cooperate in the first two instances, and I knew my wife would rather invest in her own name than incur extra expenses and hassle due to compliance under the Companies Act. There are Chinese like myself who prefers 'peace of mind' over material wealth.

If only Umar took the trouble to note the many start-ups and close-downs of small businesses like coffee shops and stalls run by Chinese, then he would not get the idea that Chinese are really great in business. Many Chinese start their businesses like everybody else, some with no business sense as to whether a business is viable (even to the eyes of a lay person), about what is gross profit and what is net profit (if any, after all the necessary expenses) in the way they tend to spend takings without providing for expenses, and so on.

As to cooperation among the Chinese, I can tell him that business rivalry is very much alive! Oh, by the way, even siblings could be their own worse enemies! Many people thought by dropping names of sibling could help in getting a job or contract but turned out to be otherwise!

As to other rivalry, I wish to give an example. Two very good friends (even call each other 'brother') were sharing premises in a restaurant business. One of them teamed up with another to open a bigger one. On the opening day, the original restaurateur did not attend. To confirm his displeasure, he did not set foot in the new restaurant since opening! I am sure there are countless examples where rivalry exists among a race, besides among different races.

Politically, there are ample examples like UMNO (Malays) and PAS with PKR; MCA (Chinese) and DAP (predominantly Chinese); MIC (Indians) and many offshoots competing with each other for their communal votes.

I have selected parts of Umar's letter to Malaysiakini, 'Malott painted only half the picture of racism' and a selection of comments to illustrate:
Umar Mukhtar
Feb 10,11

"Official and overt discriminatory policies can easily be criticised as institutionalised racism but covert racial discriminations by their very nature are harder to pinpoint. That does not mean they don't exist or any less invidious than the former."

"When a “Mandarin speakers only” requirement is stated in job advertisements, even for jobs which do not conceivably require much language skills, that surely is equivalent to saying “Chinese only”. But you will be hard put to find any Chinese who would admit that the practice is racially discriminatory."

"In my lifetime, I have yet to hear of any Chinese leader asking that the Chinese to join in and contribute towards the betterment of national schools."

"I have yet to hear of one calling for Chinese businesses to assist or at least not to gang up against their fellow non-Chinese businesses or to not practice discrimination in their employment policies."

"Hopefully, I have managed to redress that and allow a better understanding of why things are the way they are in Malaysia."

Some comments:

Myop101: I find it funny that many attributed their inability to set up business is because the chinese will slaughter them. Really? As a Malaysian of Chinese descent, I too have concerns on competition but without competition, how can users get competitive pricing on their goods? To say the chinese have such might to slaughter others is laughable. At least Malays can access to entities such as MARA to secure start-up funding and entrepreneuring skills training. Do you think the chinese are given such support? In fact, most of the time, the only training they get is on the spot training. I have seen many who had nothing and ventured out because they either succeed or die trying. Do you think fellow chinese owned competitor businesses will be kind to welcome extra competition even from their own kind as how some of the commentators here alleged?
(continued) The chinese are very practical people. Do you think they will not want to send their children to top schools if it is nationally funded? But the fact is, the best schools in this country are reserved for only bumiputras and these are the best funded with the most complete faciliy schools in the country. MARA, MCKK and such are offlimits to non-malays. Umar asked why don't the any chinese leader contribute towards making a good national school? He must have forgotten Yap Kwan Seng and Loke Yew's contribution towards building Victoria Institution, an English medium secondary public school. But where is SMK Victoria today in terms of standard and performance? I was from this school and I have seen how the best Malay students are skimmed and sent off to MARA.

BestPM_truly_Malaysian1st: Umar, it is not true that job advertisement with ""mandarin language " requirement are reserved only for Chinese. There are many Chinese who are english educated and do not write or speak mandarin as well.
Broken Foot: If the national schools are of a decent quality, I am certain all other races will send their children there. It is a known fact that the schools have deteriorated so badly that even the Malays are complaining. This, again is a product of the government politicising the education system. The Malays have been complaining about flip flop policies and the government is not listening and you expect they will listen to the non-malays. Its all about mind control and you don't even realise that. This is to pepetuate their grip of the Malay mind and to keep them in power. Education is about expanding the mind but that will cause them to loose control of the Malays as it is happening now. I say bring back English education.

Rick teo: I forgot to mention that up to 60,000 of malays are now registered in vernacular schools in Malaysia.In some schools many chinese and malay schools could not enrolled in the school of their choice because it was so popular that the schools were full to the brim. Infact some schools even gave preference for malay students over chinese students. If the chinese are racists would they have opened their doors to such a huge influx of malay students to their schools? This alone refutes what the writer said that the chinese opt to study in chinese schools in order to be racially segregated.

Rick Teo: During my time, vernacular schools were so unpopular among the chinese that most voluntarily closed for lack of srudents. Most chinese and indians were all in favour of National schools. The medium of instruction was english and bahasa was one of the main language. Many of us chinese grew without learning a word of mandarin. We proudly wanted to master english because it was the language of commerce and science. To have a bright future we knew we had to master english and not chinese or Bahasa malaysia. Then why the exodus of chinese to vernacular schools? It was not the learning of Bahasa or the desire to be racially segregated as espoused by the writer but because of the gradual introduction of religious practice which was absent before. In addition all the teachers were replaced with only one race and many of them were religious bigots. I suggest the writer examine what I have said and see if it is true. I rest my case.