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.)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Much ado about the Sound of Silence

In TVB's 1996 serial, Cold blood warm heart, Shuit (Jessica Hester Hsuan) went through much trouble finding a CD with the song Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel (theme song of The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft) as a gift to her boyfriend, Lap (Gallen Lo). In a music shop, it was out of stock and the assistant had to sell her own copy to Shuit. But Lap was more interested in a rich girl, Grace (Astrid Chan), so when Grace listened and liked the song, he casually lent it to her. Later, when Shuit was in Lap's car, the first thing was to look for it but could not find it. Lap explained that he had lent it to a friend. One day, Grace's car stalled and Lap and Shuit happened to pass by and stopped to help. As expected of a female with that extra sense, Shuit noticed the cover of the CD (the well known picture of Dustin Hoffman and an outstretched leg of Anne) in Grace's car, she kept quiet. The CD was accidentally damaged and Grace had great difficulty looking for a new one. She joked to Lap that she even thought of flying over to America to get it! Of course, when Shuit found the replacement CD in Lap's car, it has lost its original meaningfulness.

According to Wikipedia:
Anne Bancroft: "Her best-known role during this period was as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967), for which she received a third Academy Award nomination. In the film, she played an unhappily married woman who seduces the much-younger recent college graduate played by Dustin Hoffman. Bancroft was ambivalent about her appearance in The Graduate; she stated in several interviews that the role overshadowed all of her other work. Although her status as the "older woman" in the film is iconic, Bancroft was actually only 36 years old to Dustin Hoffman's 30 when the film was released."

The world is watching us...

because we are interesting? Or behaving oddly?

The Guardian, UK reported:

Malaysia arrests 14 for 'Bersih' protest T-shirts

Word means 'clean' and is used by group planning banned rally against electoral corruption...

If anything untoward happens on July 9...

blame it on PM and Home Minister.

For refusing to admit that our electoral system needs major reforms and refusing to allow Bersih a chance to march for two hours, our mainstream media were used to play up the antics of Perkasa and Umno Youth to show that there were others against it. Just imagine how different it would have been up till now, had the Home Minister issued a permit and announced that the police would ensure the marchers are given a chance to march unfettered and warned others that stern action would be taken if they were intent on causing trouble.

Normally Bersih would not get wide publicity and if there were none for the likes of Perkasa and Umno Youth, and if our PM, Home Minister and IGP were for instead of against the march (with daily television coverage intentionally), I am sure the matter would not have blown up to what it is now.

I think our PM and Home Minister are misjudging the situation and going to mess up. By taking tough actions against organizers and supporters of Bersih, it is going to create more resentment among them as well as among the general public who are already having a bad impression of our police. These days, even children do not take to being disciplined, employees too, and now they are dealing with thinking adults who are trying to correct an unfair electoral system.

The fear of a noble aim could only mean admission by the powers that be that the people are going to show up in force. What is going to be obvious to us is on one side, the initiative of those who will take the trouble and expense to be there, and with it being illegal, at the risk of being injured in scuffles with police, and being arrested, while on the other side are those who are paid to be there by BN just to prove there are others against it. If there is going to be open defiance by a huge crowd against the law, I would blame it on the way it has been handled. They could have just given the permit and bear with it for merely two hours. All the publicity about the businessmen and taxi drivers going to lose business on that day only showed their selfishness. The police would seem defeatist in admitting they are unable to control a march for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bersih chose the wrong colour?

Remember 'Yellow Yellow Dirty Fellow'? Bersih should have chosen white for its T-shirts and use some known washing powder or liquid which can wash it whiter than white.

Well, it has been confirmed that our Hishamuddin is paranoid with Bersih and its yellow Ts:

Home minister declares Bersih T-shirts illegal

How Australians Doug and Helen White were puzzled over Bersih T-shirts bought in Chow Kit Road, KL...

TVB's The Final Verdict as I see it...

based on a senior's poor memory, with errors and omissions (corrections are welcome), and not necessarily in chronological order. My earlier attempt vanished when my computer system crashed, that is why I am posting 'something better than nothing' this time...

This is a classic story about a man, Luk Kwuk Wing (Kenneth Tsang) who killed a family (accidentally from the start, but had to kill one after another, out of necessity to cover his crimes), because of being taunted daily (especially by his aunt, (Lee Heung Kam) and out of desperation because of being indebted to loan sharks (as a result of being tempted to win some money to get out of his misery).

It was also about another man, Tse Mun Mo (Adam Cheng), one of honour and honesty, who was made a scapegoat and jailed for 16 years. The story traces Mo's sufferings while in jail, going through a period of living hell when he was accused and convicted for a crime he did not commit. He was let down by former friends who did not want to get themselves involved and gave testimonies in support of the lies perpetrated by a corrupt police officer, bribed by the main criminal, Wing.

It also revealed the power of a police officer, Sum Bo (Kwok Fung), in being able to subvert justice again and again, given the right inducements by someone rich and powerful. As we watch the episodes, we will be taken on a journey of 'how crime pays' because the guilty ones were able to ride roughshod over innocent ones, again and again, until 'the final verdict'.

The evil Wing, having killed all the family members of his uncle, and made Mo a convenient scapegoat with the help of Sum Bo, inherited all their properties and cash which gave him a headstart to become very rich indeed, worth a few hundred HK$ millions. His favourite 'reason' (read excuse) to justify to his only son, Luk Ka Ming (Gallen Lo) who was only 8 at the time when he witnessed his father's killings, was 'he wanted to put me in jail so I had no choice'. His favourite warning to those who are out to convict him was, 'whoever goes against me will not die easy'. This evil and selfish man caused untold miseries to many others, just to avoid facing up to his crimes and going to jail. Not only did he made Mo a convenient scapegoat, but at every instance of Mo in trying to seek justice, he ruthlessly beat up or even kill when necessary. For his selfish motive of not willing to be jailed, his end justified whatever means necessary. There were moments when others advised Mo to give up his mission of seeking justice for himself because others were gravely affected as a result, viewers would be divided over whether it was worthwhile in the fight for justice. It was a case of a determined man in the face of opposition and discouragement, having to decide whether to continue: to get the criminal convicted while risking others in the process.

Sum Bo happened to be a former school mate of Mo's wife, Ma Yue Sin or Cindy (Rebecca Chan). He was openly dating her, taking her out in his sports car, with open approval of Cindy's mother who resented Mo for being poor. Besides bribes, putting Mo behind bars served Bo's ulterior motive of marrying Cindy, so he went out of his way to help Wing's plan to prove Mo guilty of all the killings. As the officer in charge, he was able to replace by force, Wing's fingerprints on the murder weapon with Mo's. All the important witnesses were warned, beaten up or bribed to fit in with the concocted version of what happened.

Mo's son, Tse Ping On (Roger Kwok), was ill-treated by his step-father, Sum Bo. When he was injured after a tight slap, even their servant told his mother that it was an accident. His tortuous life, which started with living with a cruel step-father when his father was in jail, then to live with his poor grandmother; took a toll on him, making him introverted, lacked self confidence and spoke with a stammer.

Wing's only son, Ka Ming qualified as a doctor and he tried to overcome his guilty conscience of knowing about his father's secret by secretly visiting and providing free medical service to Mo's aged mother. The old woman had to collect empty tin cans to supplement Ping On's meagre income as an odd job worker. A chance meeting with retired lawyer, Cho Ju (Bowie Wu), gave her hope of applying for a re-trial.

As fate would have it, so the story goes, Ka Ming fell in love with Hoi Sum, daughter of Mo who grew up as step-daughter of Sum Bo. Just imagine: children of arch enemies getting married. He told his father after his wedding registration and warned him that he is willing to be disowned. Despite being very upset, Wing arranged for a grand wedding dinner for his son, befitting his current status, without inviting Mo and his son even though they were the bride's father and brother. Ping On went to the reception to hand over a gift to Hoi Sum but was prevented from getting in. Hoi Sum telephoned and appealed to her father to attend and Mo reluctantly went but was rudely told off by Wing and Sum Bo.

With Cho Ju's determination, helped by his ex-pupil Tang Tung Leung (Lee Kwok Lun) and another assistant, they managed to make some headway towards getting a re-trial. But, it was being sabotaged by the assistant who informed Wing about each development.

While in prison, Mo was bullied by a hardcore gangster, Ah Piew, who later became his bosom friend. His sister, Chan Yuk Ying (Lau Mei Kuen) fell in love with Mo because of his sincerity and good nature. He encouraged her to live away from her family because she was treated like a servant at home by her father and brothers. At a surprise birthday party for Mo, Ying's brother was alone and burned to death when Wing's henchmen came to set fire to the flat with the intention of killing Mo to rid him from succeeding in the re-trial.

Lawyer, Tung Leung fell in love with Ying but it was unrequited because she was in love with Mo. A friend (Cheung Lai Peng) also fell in love with Mo and her rivalry with Ying over Mo inadvertently caused Ying to be gang raped. The rape was another ruthless idea of Wing to teach Mo a lesson by hurting his friends. Ying's paged message for help to Mo was intercepted by (CLP) who intentionally did not pass it to Mo because she did not want him to be distracted from her planned night out with him.

For all that Sum Bo had done to save and help Wing, when he decided to give evidence against Wing, Sum Bo was blamed instead by his former police assistant who gave evidence that it was Sum Bo who murdered, not Mo nor Wing! While staging an escape under the pretext of seeking medical attention while under police custody, Sum Bo was shot instead by someone whom he thought was his man! It was poetic justice for someone who created all the evidence to convict an innocent man, who got himself betrayed by people whose loyalty is only to those who offered the best price.

One by one, those close to Mo were either injured or killed by Wing. His son could not take it any more and in front of him, took out a gun, pointed it to his own head and pulled the trigger. Wing was shocked with grief and angered by the loss of his son, again blamed it on Mo's insistence on seeking justice.

Towards the end, veteran lawyer Cho Jun found to his utter disappointment, that his godson and most trusted person could betray him by putting the most vital evidence into the shredder. Tung Leung started off as an able legal assistant who even risked his life when applying for a re-trial. But he was tricked by Wing's legal advisor into committing a serious act which disbarred him as a lawyer. Furthermore, he could not get over Ying's rejection of his love because she chose Mo (an ex-convict who walks with a limp and has no prospect) instead.

In his final submission in court, Cho Jun who was earlier seen fumbling (in the absence of his assistant who committed suicide because of his own betrayal of his mentor) and spoke with his usual stammer, gave a convincing speech instead, about the uselessness of the law when the guilty one could use his wealth to hire top lawyers (from Britain as well as in HK) to defend himself successfully while the innocent one was found guilty instead. He said that half an hour ago, someone (Hoi Sum) risked her life to hand over the most vital document (Ping On's birthday card which has Wing's blood stained finger print on it) to him. It was Tung Leung who informed Wing about the discovery and Hoi Sum was attacked by a group of men who snatched the envelope from her. But she took precaution earlier by hiding it somewhere else. When she brought the document to Cho Jun, Tung Leung snatched it and put it into the shredder.

This vital evidence had much earlier avoided attempts to destroy it when Wing received information about its discovery from Cho Jun's junior assistant. After a fruitless search in Ka Ming's room, Wing even had all his furniture removed and burned, assuming it was hidden somewhere within. But fortunately, Ka Ming was one step ahead at the time, decided to hide it behind his late mother's picture which happened to be the safest place then.

The final twist to the trial, much to everyone's surprise and especially Wing, was when his lead defence counsel, Yeung Ding Gai (Kwan Hoi San), turned against him by giving his reasons why he thought Wing was the real murderer. He tendered a document to prove that Wing's alibi, that he was at a snooker hall, could not be true because it was closed that night when he committed the murders. He said he was alerted when Wing's only son committed suicide. Had Ka Ming turned prosecution witness, Gai would have accused him of wanting to nail his own father so that he could inherit his vast estate. But his suicide disproved his earlier theory. Then Gai tried to figure out how Wing could within a short period of years, become a billionaire. Everything seems to fall in place when he figured out that Wing was the killer and he got filthy rich with the help of an outstanding lawyer who specialized in criminal activities. Later, when he met his former pupil, Cho Jun, he explained that knowing the truth made him decide to retire earlier than planned, because in future nobody would engage a defence counsel who would turn against his own client! He also explained how he knew about Wing's belief and engaged a fortune teller. But when the fortune teller said he knows Wing did not commit murder, Wing suddenly lost interest in him which was a clear sign that he lost confidence in the fortune teller because he did commit the murders.

Outside the Supreme Court building, when interviewed by reporters, Mo said that if given the choice he woud have wished the whole incident did not happen.

Wing was diagnosed with cancer and had only months to live. He asked for Mo and even when dying insisted that he was better off than Mo who had never tasted a luxurious life. Mo replied that at least he has a clear conscience.

Sometimes I wonder whether fiction copies from fact or the other way round. The ingredients of the story: assault, murder, cover-up, corruption, betrayal, scapegoat, and so on, could easily be found in our everyday life, except the part about the defence counsel turning against his client!


A Malaysian was envious of Singapore's Budget

Excerpt of his email:

I was in Spore when their 2011 budget was tabled. There were two items that impressed me most ... can't remember all:

Growth and share concept: Spore govt will give away cash amounting to SGD800.00 to individuals and between SGD2,000.00 - 5,000.00 per household. The estimated per household should average more than SGD3,000.00 or about RM10,000.00!!

How can they afford this? Simple - the Spore govt owns all public utilities eg Electricity, water, MRT and investment arms like Tumasek and sovereign funds. Profits from these organisations are distributed back to their citizens, with the rich getting minimal and the lower income group getting the larger share.

How does that compare with BN govt? Cronies get richer by the days and subsidies are cut. Yes, for political expediencies the PM gives away RM200 to selected constituents for their votes!

Employers CPF contributions are increased to ensure workers can have more money when they retire.

What goodies do we have for our 2011 budget? Spend more on arms and patrol crafts that costs RM 1 Billion EACH! Computers procured at RM 40,000 EACH, Costs overrun on almost all govt projects.

… don’t worry if Pakatan can run this country because when the Egyptian went to the street to throw their President out they don’t even know what their future lies for them and whether if there is a leader to replace their current President. Their objective was to get rid of him and they stay focus… in Malaysia we have capable leaders in Pakatan to rule this country so there is nothing to be afraid of voting them into power...

Singapore Budget goodies unveiled By Angela Lim ? February 18th, 2011 Singaporeans will receive a total of S$6.6 billion of benefits in the 2011 Singapore Budget announced by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Friday.

$3.2 billion Grow and Share Package: The average Singaporean household will receive S$3,500 from this year’s Budget. This will come from the S$3.2 billion to be spent on the “Grow and Share Package” and S$3.4 billion in longer-term Social Investments for households this year.

All adult Singaporeans will also receive Growth Dividends to share the fruits of last year’s exceptional economic growth. The majority of Singaporeans ? 80% ? will get $600 to $800 each.

CPF rate revision: The Government will raise the employer contribution rate to CPF accounts by another 0.5 percentage points, from 15.5% to 16%, which will restore the total contribution, rate to 36%. The additional 0.5% will go into the Special Account.

The Government will also revise the CPF salary ceiling from $4,500 to $5,000 per month to keep pace with income growth in recent years. This will align the salary ceiling back to the 80th percentile income, and help middle-income Singaporeans.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Update on developments around KTMB Batu Gajah

Looking back at the development of the once new KTMB Batu Gajah station, there appears to be poor planning or political interference, more likely the latter in cahoots with vested interests.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, the location sucks and KTMB owes a duty to correct the inconvenience caused to local residents. They were more concerned about it being near their Railway Complex which includes a railway workshop (moved from Sentul, KL) and a new railway college.

There is no doubt about the convenience of travelling by rail (Europe is a good example) and it was a wonder why we did not emphasize on it earlier. But due to poor planning, the station was built a few years before actual use. There is a sign put up by Majuperak with proposed development for shops and offices. Just imagine, after about 10 years, shops have yet to be built. I went round to the back of the station where SSF started a project full of promise. What I saw was a real disappointment: the project has been renamed Desa Sentral but appears to lack interest because there were only a small number of extra bungalows built since the launch. So, like the 'chicken and egg' situation, either the bus and taxi services have yet to come in because of the lack of population or the people are waiting for better bus and taxi services before they decide to buy or rent properties and the developers are waiting for purchasers before they can build!

Meanwhile, there are major changes come July 1, coinciding with the move from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands, Singapore. The shuttle train services between KL-Ipoh and Ipoh-KL will be discontinued and the people forced to take the new Electric Train Service, faster but at higher fares, or the trains (more coaches) on a longer journey from Singapore to Butterworth (with more stops). The times of travel point towards lesser intervals ie. at the expense of convenience. I am expecting public complaints about this.

There was a bunting within the station which caught my attention: railway staff are being attended to by A Cut Above, the academy of hair stylists founded and made famous by Winnie Loo, our most well known Ipoh-born hair stylist rumoured to have been specially flown before to Brunei on His Majesty's service!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A moment in time caught in WWW...

shows 99% of those who polled in The Star were in favour of Bersih 2.0 rally...

Home Minister's dilemma with Bersih 2.0

The ball is on my feet, who do I do with it now?

Why can't Najib be more like a man?

It was reported in The Star:

Najib challenged the opposition to fight Barisan in a general election instead of holding street demonstrations which would only cause problems.

“If you have guts, then fight us during the election and not this way (by holding demonstrations). Only those with no guts will hold demonstrations,' he said.

But according to Wong Chin Huat, PM could have given Bersih two hours of unfettered march, beyond which the police could start taking action...

"The federal government is living in its own imagined nightmare. They suspect the Bersih 2.0 demonstration will turn out to be the Malaysian version of the Jasmine Revolution. Perhaps subconsciously they compare themselves with the illegitimate and corrupt rule of Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali or Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

However, as much as Bersih has criticised the flaws of the electoral process, it has committed itself to recognising the basic legitimacy of elected governments. Even for Sarawak, where the election was severely manipulated, Bersih has not called for the ousting of Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud via lasting demonstrations.

My advice to the government is to stop shooting at shadows. The more you react like Ben Ali or Mubarak, the more you become one.

Addressing the fear of chaos is simple. The authorities should sit down with Bersih to negotiate the entry and exit time. Bersih has asked for two hours. If the assembly takes much longer than that, then they can spray water cannons and tear gas, as they have done in the past. They would then have public support to do so. Bersih will lose credibility. Good deal, isn’t it?"

More where that came from:
Uncommon sense with Wong Chin Huat: Bersih 2.0 - Why walk?

More on why Bersih should march:
Academic consensus on unfair elections: Reinforcing the Case for BERSIH’s March
Written by Dr Lim Teck Ghee

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How we wish Malaysian leaders use public funds wisely

It is a well known fact that when Putrajaya was being developed, lakes were created (rumours had it that water used caused water shortages in certain parts of KL) so that beautiful bridges could be built over them! To justify the huge sums spent in creating our new national capital, foreign tourists were interviewed and their delight and compliments were shown on television. No publicity about poor Malaysians having to find their way at great expense to deal with government departments housed in this new capital. White elephants can be interesting to tourists too, after all they were built with our money. They enjoy our free food and drinks too, when there were open houses hosted by our ministers. Contrast this with the following engineering feat which is also useful...

Water Bridge in Germany. What a feat!

Six years, 500 million euros, 918 meters long... now this is engineering!

This is a channel-bridge over the River Elbe and joins the former East and West Germany, as part of the unification project. It is located in the city of Magdeburg, near Berlin.

The photo was taken on the day of inauguration...

To those who appreciate engineering projects, here's a puzzle for you armchair engineers and physicists.

Did that bridge have to be designed to withstand the additional weight of ship and barge traffic, or just the weight of the water?

It only needs to be designed to withstand the weight of the water!

Why? A ship always displaces an amount of water that weighs the same as the ship, regardless of how heavily a ship may be loaded.


Who is being selfish?

In the opinion of many Malaysians, PM Najib is the one who is selfish in using dishonourable ways to maintain his position. He and his men still maintain that the fact that opposition managed to win some states in the last general election meant the election was fair. With proof of unfair use of government machinery, development funds and buying votes with cash, many of us believe that Pakatan Rakyat would have won the last general election had it been fair and square.

The following is what we get to read in our mainstream newspapers:

The Prime Minister said it was irresponsible of certain quarters to create chaos just to gain power, adding that claims of irregularities in the election rules and electoral roll did not make sense when the opposition was currently ruling Kelantan, Penang, Kedah and Selangor.

“Barisan does not manipulate the election. If we do, why should we want to lose four states to the opposition.

“We do not want to win elections based on manipulation. We want to win because the rakyat supports and trusts us,” he said.

Najib challenged the opposition to fight Barisan in a general election instead of holding street demonstrations which would only cause problems.

“If you have guts, then fight us during the election and not this way (by holding demonstrations). Only those with no guts will hold demonstrations,' he said.

PM: July 9 rally organisers will be held responsible if chaos erupts (Updated)

Then, we have the usual selfish traders who are more concerned about their business loss for just one day of demonstration:

I am disappointed that our PM is unable to issue a permit and direct the police to maintain law and order during the short march to the Palace. By not issuing a police permit, he is denying the thousands who wish to demonstrate their displeasure over weaknesses in our electoral system which our Election Commission had refused to rectify. Minister in the PM department, Nazri had admitted that since the Election Commissioners are not from heaven, and they are appointed by BN, they are expected to be bias towards them! Just this alone should be good enough reason for the march.

Dutch love affair with real herring, not the red ones

I forgot to mention about the cockles which we had after the boat trip in Kuala Gula. The guide's family owns a cockle farm and there were some harvested which I asked to try. His wife used hot boiling water to blanch them. Like what we used to do in the old days, we ate them with chili sauce. Our Canadian guests declined for fear of hepatitis or other infections. My wife and I felt the explanation about it being farmed in a known clean local area reassuring enough. In fact, we are quite used to eating some when having our local curry laksa or Penang fried kwayteow. The cockles are rich in iron and being anaemic during my youth, I should know. It is a pity many of our food items are likely to be contaminated in one way or other.

Cheng is fascinated by how the Dutch love their herrings, eaten raw...
My son had a taste of the herring, eating it raw like the Dutch, when he was in Holland.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yet another trip to Kuala Gula

Deciding where to go on a day trip depends on SP's fancy, and Kuala Gula or Kuala Sepetang count among her favourites.

So it was Kuala Gula last Friday with her niece and her hubby and two kids. Whether I was to come along was decided just after filling up the tank, which was why Peter had to call asking whether I wanted to join them for breakfast when we were on our way.

It was typical of us to go on a trip without preparation and without contacting anyone at the place of destination about whether it was the best time, especially where K Gula is concerned, bird watching is high on the list of interests and being seasonal. To us, just the drive and lunch would be good enough even if nothing else.

We went past the entrance to the government run tourist place which was under renovation the last time we were there. We just turned into a lane leading to some village houses. SP got off and asked one of the villagers and we were told to wait for her husband who has a boat which he could take us for a ride. Mr. Tan Eng Chong came shortly on a motorbike and as it turned out in the course of our discussions during the boat trip, he is a qualified eco-tourism guide!

We were shown privately owned fish and cockle farms. Across certain sections of the river mouth were poles sticking out which we were told were used for catching prawns. The nets are placed according to the direction of the tides, reversing between low and high tides. While we were there he pointed out the largest bird in Malaysia which looked like a stork. There were some kites (smaller than eagles) and herons. We were told the best time to watch for migratory birds is during end of the year, not in June.

It seems for those who were lucky enough, at night when the water was still, one can see planktons glow in the sea, much like fire flies. Even fire flies could be different: green or orange light, some with steady glow, some blinking like signal lights!

As usual, SP did not check the time, just continue from one itinerary to another. I had to tell her that it was already 1.15pm and she had in mind, lunch in Kuala Sepetang! And we have yet to visit the belacan factory! So, with the agreement of our guests, we decided to have lunch in Kuala Gula, then the factory. The poor guide had to wait and chat with his friend while we had our lunch. We had 3 large 'lai liu har' (praying mantis prawns), a fish, two plates of deep-fried soft shelled crabs (second plate was a mistake due to miscommunication, what with a Hakka woman and a Hokien woman, supposed to be for a baked crab), two plates of fried sotong (second plate was because young Evie liked it so much, eating it for the first time) and kangkong fried with belacan sauce. Ray said it was the best meal since their arrival from Canada! That was certainly a real compliment to what we had ordered at the right place.

I googled 'tourist guide Tan Eng Chong Kuala Gula' and I managed to get this site which is informative for those interested in such visits:

Andy Rooney about women over 50

In case you missed it on 60 Minutes, this is what Andy Rooney thinks about women over 50...

As I grow in age, I value women over 50 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 50 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 50 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting.

Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 50.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest.. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 50 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 50, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?Here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!


CM of Penang pushing his luck?

This picture is one of several attached to an email forwarded to me, to show that the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Lim Guan Eng is humble enough to have a drink in a hawker centre. The arrow was meant to show where he was seating, but instead it highlighted to me that he was sitting directly, if not almost directly, under one of the overhanging television sets. I have highlighted before that we should not sit below such heavy objects held against gravity by different standards in workmanship. Why take unnecessary risk?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why we cannot believe everything in the internet...

The following was attributed to Shakespeare:

I always feel happy , You know why?
Because I don't expect anything from anyone ,
Expectations always hurt...
Life is short... So love your life... Be happy...
And Keep smiling.., Just Live for yourself and
Before you speak , Listen
Before you write , Think
Before you spend , Earn
Before you pray , Forgive
Before you hurt , Feel
Before you hate , Love
Before you quit , Try
Before you die , Live
That's Life... Feel it, Live it & Enjoy it.
(Do you believe that to be Shakespearean English? 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?' would be more like it.)

The following was attributed to Confucius:

Two things in life that are difficult to achieve:-

1. to plant your idea in someone's head; and
2. to plant someone's money in your own pocket.

o He who succeeds in planting his idea in someone's head - we call Lao Shi (teacher);

o He who succeeds planting someone's money in his own pocket - we call Lao Ban (boss);

o The one who succeeds in both - we call Lao Po (wife) or Lao Qian (trickster);

o The one who fails in both - we call Lao Gong (husband).

The sms below was attributed to this girl:

She sent the following message while waiting for her train:

"My love,
If you are sleeping, send me your dreams;
If you are smiling, send me your smile;
If you are crying, send me your tears;
I love you."

He replied:
"I'm in the toilet. What do I send?"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

E.Coli and MRSA

are often mentioned recently because of fatalities resulting from infections. What used to be minor infections are becoming deadly because of mutated strains. I can still remember when my son was in a British hospital creche (where his mother worked), being infected with E. Coli (result of our visit to a 'pick your own strawberries' farm where we ate as we picked) meant having to stay away for two weeks to prevent it spreading to other children. That was 30 years ago.

E. Coli is a bacillus (Escherichia coli) normally found in the human gastrointestinal tract and existing as numerous strains, some of which are responsible for diarrheal diseases. Other strains have been used experimentally in molecular biology.

According to Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:
Species of bacterium that normally inhabits the stomach and intestines. When E. coli is consumed in water, milk, or food or is transmitted through the bite of a fly or other insect, it can cause gastrointestinal illness. Mutations can lead to strains that cause diarrhea by giving off toxins, invading the intestinal lining, or sticking to the intestinal wall. Therapy for gastrointestinal illness consists largely of fluid replacement, though specific drugs are effective in some cases. The illness is usually self-limiting, with no evidence of long-lasting effects. However, one dangerous strain causes bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and death in extreme cases. Proper cooking of meat and washing of produce can prevent infection from contaminated food sources.

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria. This organism is known for causing skin infections in addition to many other types of infections.

In 2009, research showed that many antibiotic-resistant genes and toxins are bundled and transferred together to other bacteria, which speed the development of toxic and resistant strains of MRSA. S. aureus is sometimes termed a "superbug" because of their ability to be resistant to several antibiotics.

There is a link between super strains of bacteria and modern farms:

"Right now, half of all antibiotics in the UK are used on farm animals and 60 per cent of those are given to pigs. The overuse of antibiotics in intensive farming means that these creatures provide a breeding ground for the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases such as MRSA, E.coli and salmonella, which pass from animals to humans.

An investigation by Rolling Stone magazine (hardly an agricultural periodical, but it contained this great piece of journalism) revealed that hundreds and sometimes thousands of Smithfield pigs co-exist (it is somehow galling to say 'live') in a single barn without natural light or fresh air.

Unsurprisingly, many are seriously ill. A pig can be slaughtered legally in the United States only if it can walk, and many of Smithfield's swine are only capable of meeting this meagre standard by virtue of quantities of antibiotics, vaccines and insecticides.


British clothing manufacturers making a comeback?


"As a fashion giant turns to suppliers in the Midlands, hopes rise that it could mean a new dawn for clothing manufacturers here...

Made in Britain may sound sadly historic, but a grassroots movement among High Street clothing retailers could be about to change all that. Battered by the global markets and rapidly rising production prices in the Far East, several major British firms are looking again at the possibility of bringing production home.

‘The questions I will be asking is, are these companies I can work with? Are there companies in Britain who can manufacture for me in small quantities and are capable of delivering fast, repeat orders. I can’t afford to be let down.’

Stores bosses believe domestic factories could help to meet surprise demand from rapid changes in fashion trends or fast-selling lines. However, they are also faced with rapidly rising production costs in China after the introduction of a new minimum wage last year.

But British retailers have also witnessed the success of Spain’s Inditex, owner of fashion chain Zara, which owns its 11 giant factories in Arteixo, in Northern Spain’s industrial heartland. Amancio Ortega Gaona, 75, founded Zara in 1975 with his then wife Rosalia. He is now the world’s seventh-richest man, worth about £20billion, and Inditex, Zara’s parent company, is the world’s biggest fashion retailer.

A spokeswoman for Inditex said the structure of the business allowed it to design, manufacture and deliver to anywhere in the world within three weeks. That compares with an average of three months for any retailer manufacturing in China.

‘Our production capacity provides a high level of flexibility, allowing us to quickly react to customers demands in the market for high-fashion and trendy items,’ she said.
When the manager of a London branch of Zara saw Kate Middleton buying a £49.99 blue summer dress at one of his branches, he quickly phoned head office to warn that demand was likely to soar.

So when the Duchess appeared in her Zara number on the day after the Royal Wedding, there were plenty in the stores. The total turnround from the manager’s call to the shop’s rails was just two weeks. The retailer makes 50 per cent of its clothes in Spain, Portugal and Morocco and a third in the Far East. Most British retailers make the majority of their clothes in China, Bangladesh and their neighbours.

However, Britain’s clothing industry remains a shell of its former self after the massive shift overseas in the past 20 years and retailers admit that a significant resurgence may need massive investment.

British retailers must weigh up the advantages of producing closer to home, price rises overseas and the relative certainty that comes from dealing with domestic suppliers. It would cost only £2 to make a T-shirt in China compared with £6 in the UK, even after Chinese labour cost increases are included.

More where that came from:
Daily Mail: Back in Britain?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

iPad going cheap...

If you are interested in getting an iPad I can get hold of them through a contact. These are straight, not “off the back of a lorry” – they are from a cancelled Hospital contract due to the Government cutbacks.

The numbers are limited - he has twenty iPads going for less than half price – so it’s first come first served.

He has already sold one (pic is attached below so you can see what you are getting).

Get back to me as quick as you can if you want one.



PJ leaseholders possibly entitled to freehold titles?

According to MBPJ Councillor, KW Mak (excerpt):

Freehold land

As I’ve stated previously, when the British authorities founded PJ in 1953, the land was privately owned by Petaling Estate. This land was presumably parceled out and sold to PJ’s pioneer residents. My view is that these residents should have received freehold titles. However, perhaps due to the transition period during Malaya’s independence, these titles were never issued.

Instead, in the 1960s and 1970s, many in Sections 1 through 4 PJ were issued leasehold titles by the then Selangor government.

To have issued those leases, the Selangor government would have had to buy the land from the pioneer residents before leasing it to new buyers. But my findings below confirm my contention that this does not seem to have happened.

It is clear from this letter that the government did not own all the land at the time PJ was founded. This supports my earlier contention that the Selangor government never owned the land which it later leased to PJ house owners.

Date of registry

Next, we examine the “date of registry”. This column reflects the date when the state government sold the piece of land to the buyer. This is also the official date from when the lease period is calculated.

Note that the date of registry is 9 June 1970 (bottom right corner) and the expiry date is 8 June 2069, making this a 99-year lease.

However, long-time residents living in the area would tell you that Section 4 PJ was built much earlier than the registry date. The land title itself seems to attest to this under the column “date of first alienation”, listing it as 3 December 1959.

If indeed the government sold the land to the buyer, the date of registry should not differ from the “date of first alienation”, yet here is a very clear example that the land was alienated long before it was registered."

For what could be an error in past land alienation, it is necessary to read the full article in The Nutgraph:

William and Kate in 'cash for access' Californian social event

'July 9', the date of Bersih's planned march for electoral reform which is causing our Malaysian government leaders to fret over whether it is going to start a rebellion, a grand social event involving Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will take place in California...

Excerpt from The Mail on Sunday:

It is a multi-million-pound Royal extravaganza being billed as California’s ‘social event of the decade’ – but a star-studded polo tournament could engulf Prince William and his new bride in a potentially embarrassing ‘cash for access’ controversy.

Questions have been raised about the society bash in the exclusive coastal resort of Santa Barbara, as wealthy tycoons have paid up to £60,000 to mingle with William and Kate.

The July 9 event will be attended by celebrities including David Beckham, Oprah Winfrey and Sylvester Stallone and will raise more than £3 million for a charity only recently set up in the Prince’s name.

A £60,000 donation buys a place on one of the three teams, while another 600 people will pay £2,500 just to lunch in the same room as the Royals. It even costs £250 to have a packed lunch and the chance to ‘glimpse William across a polo field’.

A source said: ‘I’m not sure why it was left so late but to maximise the takings they needed to be incorporated in the States. You can’t take a tax deduction for a charitable donation here unless it is to a group that is US-registered. The people coming to the polo are super-rich but, frankly, some of them won’t give a penny unless they get a tax break.’

‘We had to commit to raising a certain amount of money because you can’t have Prince William flying off and all the costs involved in that and not have the guarantee of a large payday for his charity. We guaranteed $750,000. Some was already secured from sponsors like Tiffany and I underwrote some from my own pocket.

He proudly added: ‘We have already raised a guaranteed $2 million (£1.5 million) for the Prince’s foundation. I am reluctant to put a final figure on it, but it’s going to be huge. People are clamouring to sponsor this event. We in America just love the Royal Family and William and Kate are superstars.’

Audi’s North American president Johan de Nysschen is expected to attend the match and the Bafta gala. Asked how much Audi is contributing to the Royal trip, a publicist hired by the firm said: ‘We were all made to sign confidentiality agreements. We will lose our jobs if we reveal how much Audi is paying.’


Kosher or Halal...

seems good news to pigs...

So it seems. But even in the Middle East, where pork is concerned, it isn't as ultra-sensitive as what we in Malaysia have become...

Abu Dhabi... A culture shock
Abu Dhabi within the UAE is an Islamic country, yes?

Abu Dhabi is at the seat of influence among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), yes?

I had a rude culture shock this morning when I turnedup for breakfast at the Beach Rotana hotel. The first food counter I walked past was labelled P O R K. It was situated alongside other food counters serving an array of international and regional guests.

A culture shock because, even back home, the most liberally progressive and the most modern of Kuala Lumpur hotels don't do what Abu Dhabi hotels are doing.

(My local friends told me Le Meridien Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is no different in handling pork station at its F&B outlets. Open and non-discriminatory, just prominent labelling.)

Suddenly, just like the zen experience of catharsis ( Κάθαρσις ) and satori, I realised how much I had been brain-washed all along by political Islam back home.


Picture problems with new Yahoo Mail?

Just this morning, on our way back from breakfast, a friend commented that the emails he sent to friends did not show pictures as they should. In fact, I mentioned to him about the problem two weeks ago but he did not take note. I have just received the following email from another friend with the same problem:

'Lately, since the lastest update or switch by Yahoo over to our new Yahoo Mail, all our embedded inline pictures do not show anymore.

Frens and I have been sending such inline pics email, but they don't show at our ends.

I've tried sending such emails from Yahoo mail to Google Mail, and when I checked my sent emails in my Google Mail, voiola, all inline pics missing.

Any of you guys experiencing the same thing esp. ONLY recently?

OK, to test again, I've copied online an article from Engadget about the NFC on Nokia N9. There should be 2 pictures in the article below. If none of them show, then it's Yahoo's problem....

Please let me know if any of you are experiencing this "missing pics problems".....'

Note: I can confirm the 2 pictures mentioned appeared as they should. Now I wonder what was the real problem!

Malaysian hardwood did not pass sustainable wood test in Holland?

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Junior environment minister Joop Atsma planned to ignore his own commission on sustainable wood and buy tropical hardwood for the government, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

Atsma had arranged to buy the wood from Malaysia but on Monday the court in The Hague ruled the purchase illegal. The case was brought by environmental and development organisations.

Wood can be classified as sustainable only if felling the trees does not damage the forest as a whole. The commission charged by the environment ministry with checking if wood is sustainable said at the end of 2010 the Malaysian wood did not qualify.

The minister ignored this advice and accepted his Malaysian counterpart's promise to improve management of the forest. He was also lobbied by the wood industry which gets a significant part of its hardwood from Malaysia.

By 2015, 50% of tropical hardwood must be sustainably produced.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Realities of finance

Just like the famous joke on 'who is the boss?' in relation to our body, I am sure many people will ask the same question about a company.

I am reminded of an English friend who qualified as a chartered accountant and joined a company for the first time. She was asked by her colleagues in the professional firm whether she was given a company car and she replied, 'No. The boss thinks the salesmen need cars more than a financial controller.' Given limited resources of the company, the decision was clear. Without sales, there won't be a company, sooner or later.

Who is the boss?

Nur Jazlan, as UDA Holdings Bhd chairman, should be commended for speaking out on the financial realities of the company. As usual, for being frank, he was unfairly criticized by some in Perkasa and Umno.

Nur Jazlan: Time to rethink bumi agenda


He said the cost of the bumiputera agenda is not sustainable in the long run and the government must realise this, adding that the government must find a new formula to define the agenda in the current situation.

He added that in its golden years, UDA was given an annual grant running into multi millions of ringgit and its main purpose was to develop and build. It was not profit-driven. The completed projects were then given to bumiputeras. However, those assets soon became rundown as there was no maintenance.

He said UDA is set to lose RM1 million a year from the newly refurbished Puduraya Terminal.

“UDA spent RM63 million [to renovate and refurbish] but will never recover [the cost]. We want to raise the rents or service charge just to cover the cost, but even then the tenants are shouting because they want to continue paying the old price. Without the rise in service charge, we are expected to lose RM1 million a year,” said Nur Jazlan.

“If the cost is going to be detrimental to the company, then you better think again about the bumiputera policy in its current state. Nobody wants to tell the truth, but the truth must be told now because the reckoning is near.

“I have to make sure UDA survives first. The first priority of UDA’s bumiputera agenda will be profit, then only can we think about what we can afford,” said the feisty politician.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Learn the Indian secret to a long marriage...

At The Swami Narayan Temple in Neasden London, they have weekly husbands marriage seminars.

At the session last week, the priest asked Popatbhai, who said he was approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same woman all these years.

Popatbhai replied to the assembled husbands, "Well, I've tried to treat her nice, spend money on her, but best of all is, I took her to Bombay for the 25th anniversary!"

The priest responded, "Popatbhai, you are an amazing inspiration to all the husbands here! Please tell us what you are planning for your wife for your 50th anniversary?"

Popatbhai proudly replied, "I'm going back to Bombay to pick her up."


Something Jewish

A man walked into the women's department of Macy's in New York City .

He found a saleslady, and told her, "I would like a *Jewish bra* for my wife, size 34B."

With a quizzical look the saleslady asked, "What kind of bra?"

He repeated "A *Jewish bra*. She said to tell you that she wanted a *Jewish bra*, and that you would know what she means."

"Ah, now I remember," said the saleslady. "We don't get as many requests for them as we used to. Most of our customers lately want the *Catholic bra*, or the *Salvation Army bra*, or the *Presbyterian bra."*

Confused, and a little flustered, the man asked "So, what are the differences?"

The saleslady responded: "It is all really quite simple. The *Catholic bra* *supports the masses*, the *Salvation Army bra* *lifts up the fallen*, and the *Presbyterian bra* *keeps them staunch and upright*."

He mused on that information for a minute, and asked "So, what does the *Jewish bra* do?"

The saleslady responded: "The *Jewish bra* *makes mountains out of molehills*."

Unrelated to the above, this cartoon seems to fit the caption, 'Jewish swimmer':

Sunday, June 19, 2011

ATM in India...

just a cartoon...
In Malaysia, he is likely to be a licensed moneylender charging illegally exorbitant rates (same figures but per month instead of year) and holding onto others' ATM cards to ensure collection from customers' bank accounts.

The Biblical version on the birth and development of the Internet.

Well, you might have thought that you knew how the Internet started, but here's the TRUE story (as in gospel truth?)...

In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot.

And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of legs. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband: "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her - as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load - but simply said: "How, dear?"

And Dot replied: "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.

And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was called Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP)

But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete himself inside Abraham's drum and began to siphon off some of Abraham's business. But he was soon discovered, arrested and prosecuted - for insider trading.

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung.

They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land.

And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say: "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said: "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied: "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO", said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

And that is how it all began. So,... now you know.

(Thanks to the unknown author. Will be interesting to have an Islamic version too)

Happy Father's Day!


Anything else I can do, Sir?


Bad day? Could have been worse!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some interesting facts

Ancient Roman, Chinese and German societies often used urine as mouthwash.
This reminds me of a joke which my father used to tell us in Cantonese: 'Hei sun lah, oh liu long hau sai meen er' which means 'Wake up, urinate, rinse your mouth and wash your face'!

Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals... and

Google is actually the common name for a number with a million zeros.

Warner Communications paid $28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday.
Just imagine how many of us could have infringed this copyright if it is still valid.

Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down. Wonder what would happen if they march to 'Bridge of the River Kwai'.

Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.
This is some good news for those particular about their weight, especially some women. In a way, it depends a lot on how sensitive a person is to weight or height. For example, I remember when my sister-in-law was in UK as a student, she kept on measuring her height to prove to herself that she increased half an inch because of the western diet, especially dairy products.

And last but not least (I actually dislike this kind of pressure, similar to chain letters):

In 2011, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays. This apparently happens once every 823 years! This is called 'money bags'. So send this on to 5 and money will arrive in 5 days. Based on Chinese Feng Shui, the one who does not pass this on will have money troubles for the rest of the year.

I did not forward, but posted this instead. Now what?

Why I can't be an optimist

I thought I had more than enough time from KLIA (touchdown was half an hour earlier than scheduled 3.00 pm) to Section 14, then to KL Sentral to catch the 6.05 train back to BG. After all, the last time, I managed to take a cab from Saujana Hotel in Subang at 5.00pm to Kelana Jaya LRT station and managed to reach KL Sentral with just 15 minutes to buy ticket and board train. This time I was there at 5.00 pm, but for the first time, all tickets sold out! Only those for 10.00 pm available. I had to call my friend, Peter if it was ok for him to fetch me at 12.45 am before I bought the ticket.

Nee left immediately after dropping me off, so I had more than 4 hours to kill before boarding the train. After some calls, it was decided that she comes for me so that I could have dinner at sister-in-law's house, though I just had a quick nasi lemak with beef rendang. To avoid having ticket but missed the train, we left the house at 9.10 pm for KL Sentral. It was a breeze at that hour unlike earlier when it was just after work. As it turned out, the 10.00 pm train was delayed, initially by 15 minutes but when we left, it was 26 minutes behind schedule. The crowd was amazing as I could see almost the whole lot of people waiting were passengers instead of the usual some who were sending people off. I would say the delay was partly due to more passengers getting on and off, as it was a Butterworth bound (not sure from where) instead of the usual Ipoh destination from KL. It was a much longer train with extra coaches. When we reached BG, it was 1.34 am, a total delay of 49 minutes. I had to ask two persons to make sure it was BG because where I got off, it was dark and far from the lit station. As luck would have it, the train stopped at the far side which required going up the pedestrian crossing to get over to the station side. Incidentally, Peter told me of a recent trip when his wife was carrying a luggage bag up the bridge and nearly fell backwards. Luckily two other passengers helped her. His complaint to a newspaper was not published.

Friday, June 17, 2011

ART Harun himself got spooked?

For the past two days, each time I clicked on his post, 'When you spook yourself', I got the following message:

Page not found
Sorry, the page you were looking for in the blog ARTiculations does not exist.

But if I clicked on his blog name, it was ok.

Without knowing what he posted, my guess is it is uncomplimentary to the powers that be. I would blame it on Umno cybertroopers (paid, unlike unpaid bloggers acting as activists), rather than 'hacktivists' Anonymous with their pre-warned overt attack on government sites.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

One way to solve KTM BG's 2 km distance from town

... a bike which transforms into a rucksack!

But sad to say, even if this is available locally, KTM bans bicycles from their trains!

Anyway, last week, I received a surprise call from a school senior, octogenarian Ng Sek Kong who asked me if I could be a taxi driver for him and two friends when they decide to visit Ipoh on a day trip by train. Of course, I agreed. Never say no to an octogenarian.

But often, I myself need taxi service because of the inconvenient location of the new station. Like when I have to drive my daughter's car to PJ and come back by train. Honestly, if during the day, I would try walking the 3 km back, but at night? There are no street lamps lining half the route.


Problem with your prostate?

A man goes to his doctor for his physical and gets sent to the Urologist as a precaution. When he gets there, he discovers the Urologist is a very pretty female doctor.

The female doctor says, "I'm going to check your prostate today, but this new procedure is a little different from what you are probably used to.

I want you to lie on your right side, bend your knees while I check your prostate, take a deep breath and say, '99' ". The guy obeys and says,"99".

The doctor says, "Great!" "Now turn over on your left side and again, whilst I repeat the check, take a deep breath and say, ‘99’”.

Again, the guy says, ‘99’.”

The doctor said, Very good. Now then, I want you to lie on your back with your knees raised slightly. I’m going to check your prostate with this hand, and with the other hand I’m going to hold onto your penis to keep it out of the way. Now take a deep breath and say, ‘99’”.

The guy begins, "One... Two... Three... Four..."


Something on security

If we think about it, those in charge of security is in the best position to attack instead of defend.

Take the police for example. Their role is to protect us from criminals but if we were to let them know more about our daily routines, doesn't that make us more vulnerable in case the information is passed on to their partners in crime on the other side? The same situation exists with our so-called security within gated communities and condominiums; and the security guards escorting large amounts of cash; and also our precious loved ones being looked after by foreign maids who are total strangers!

In the case of anti-virus, anti-malware or anti-spam software programs, we are really vulnerable if any of them were to attack instead. By downloading the programs into our system, our computer is laid bare and open to manipulation. Introducing Trojan horse viruses will be a piece of cake.

To me, it is highly possible that free anti-virus and anti-what have you programs could also act as a way to make us subscribe to and pay for their more advanced programs. You can refuse at your own risk.

My observations above may not be relevant to the article below. These days, when trying to 'think out of the box', I find myself writing things out of context!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Born without discrimination

The little piglet reminds me of what my mother told me when I was a kid. It seems, my maternal grandparents used to rear a piglet like a dog running around in the house. The reason for the special treatment was because it was an extra, one too many for the number of teats its mother had!

Why I have a phobia of man-made things defying gravity

According to the email forwarded, this happened on the road from KLIA towards KL direction, on 26/5/2011.

The glaring poor standard of construction work due to the lack of supervision by the construction company and relevant concessionaire or highway authority cannot be ignored. The construction company should be blacklisted and the person responsible for certifying the completion should be fired.

Family genetic research: 60 new mutations in each of us

Does it mean diseases linked genetically may not be true, like what we have been led to believe?

For the first time, researchers have been able to answer the questions: how many new mutations does a child have and did most of them come from mum or dad? The researchers measured directly the numbers of mutations in two families, using whole genome sequences from the 1000 Genomes Project. The results also reveal that human genomes, like all genomes, are changed by the forces of mutation: our DNA is altered by differences in its code from that of our parents. Mutations that occur in sperm or egg cells will be 'new' mutations not seen in our parents.

"We know now that, in some families, most mutations might arise from the mother, in others most will arise from the father. This is a surprise: many people expected that in all families most mutations would come from the father, due to the additional number of times that the genome needs to be copied to make a sperm, as opposed to an egg."

"Today, we have been able to test previous theories through new developments in experimental technologies and our analytical algorithms. This has allowed us to find these new mutations, which are like very small needles in a very large haystack."

...the number of mutations passed on from a parent to a child varied between parents by as much as tenfold. A person with a high natural mutation rate might be at greater risk of misdiagnosis of a genetic disease because the samples used for diagnosis might contain mutations that are not present in other cells in their body: most of their cells would be unaffected.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My near death experience or nightmare

I have had recurring nightmares of feeling being dead, yet when I woke up, I was able to wonder why I wasn't dead because I missed something vital to my life. It is difficult to explain because I could not remember what it was but similar to 'not supposed to look and if I do, I will die and yet I looked!'; or 'I had to alternate between two actions, again life threatening, and I missed it!' It was so real that I actually jumped out of bed to make sure I was still alive! Now, 'Dead Man Walking' seems to fit the bill. Could be something troubling my subconscious mind.

So it was, with a surreal state of mind, I had to remind myself that I have promised to go to KLIA on Thursday to fetch my daughter coming back from Norway. Yet, in her email, twice she mentioned Friday without me realizing. It was a good job I am still alert enough to check with her. Sure enough, she had changed the date to a day later and forgot about mentioning it to me. Well, I have had a bad experience before when I actually went to KLIA and waited in vain for Cheng coming back from Holland! She had informed me about having changed the date to a day later, but when I checked the details before I left home, I looked at the old schedule! Just imagine my disappointment and anxiety then.


Malaysia next on 'hacktivist' group, Anonymous?

The “hacktivist” group, Anonymous, posted a mission statement to Pastebin on June 12 describing the reasoning behind their planned and upcoming attack on official Malaysian government websites. Anonymous warned, “We fear that if you make further decisions to take away human freedom, we [will be] obligated to act fast and have no mercy.”

Anonymous claims that Malaysia is preventing the free distribution of information by censoring its internet, calling it “one of the world’s strictest governments,” similar to the reasoning behind their recent attacks on Turkish government websites, after which 32 people—who the Turkish government claimed were members of Anonymous—were arrested.



Electricity: useful to know what each item costs per hour

Fluorescent lights

1 sen

Wireless Router

1 sen

ASTRO decoder + dish

2 sen

Table Fan

2 sen

Incandescent lights

3 sen

Ceiling Fan

3 sen

Computer (laptop)

5 sen

CRT ( ‘ normal ’ ) TV (21 inch)

3 sen

LCD TV (32 inch)

7 sen

Computer (desktop)

9 sen

Plasma TV (42 inch)

10 sen

Washing Machine

15 sen

Vacuum Cleaner

17 sen

Electrical Clothes Iron

33 sen

Electric Hot Plate

46 sen

Air Conditioning

46 sen

Electric Water Kettle

50 sen


Monday, June 13, 2011

Death is certain but Divorce is not...

Marital problems seem common these days, judging from the many articles, statements and letters about the subject. Many married couples appear to be happily married but beneath the facade, there must be many who are unhappy over many issues, and divorce must have been contemplated now and again. Men and women are likely to have differing views simply because of being of different sex, brought up according to different social backgrounds having different customs, traditions, social norms and expectations.

What I can offer is some insight into a man's psyche on man-woman relationships. Just watching some Chinese period serials on television would give us an idea of how women used to be taken for granted, by grandparents, parents and brothers. Polygamy was expected and accepted, even by women. So we can imagine how a man could womanize without giving any thought to how his wife would feel. It was an open secret then that the so-called 'business entertainment' would involve female company and sex. For all the macho display of men in control of situations, how many of them could accept if their wives looked for sex with other men? To a man, the worst is being cuckolded, whether real or imagined. It does not matter whether it is true or not, but if others bitch about it, then the man will feel like the end of the world. If his wife continues to be seen in the company of other men (frequent enough to set tongues wagging) then divorce seems the only way out to avoid being a cuckold or 'wearing the green hat' in Chinese. On the other hand, again to do with 'face', a man might try his best to avoid divorce (as in failure in marriage) thinking that other people are waiting to start gossiping about his failed marriage and the reasons behind it, especially the juicy details (some created to make it more interesting).

Before anyone can consider divorce, he or she has to consider whether it is going to be straight forward or full of acrimony. Having children complicate matters. Many men or women would consider divorce if it is straight forward without having to deal with the past. But how could you avoid your children's weddings, for instance? Financial matters need to be untangled and properties sorted out. I can imagine the hassle of going through it would put off many wannabees. Recent views by women include the following writers:

Mary Schneider said (among other things):

Call me old-fashioned or conservative, but I wouldn’t be able to cope with an open marriage. For example, I couldn’t sit at home watching reruns on the TV while my husband has a dalliance with another woman...

What sort of relationship is that? Even if you’re okay with that sort of set up, you might as well be divorced.

Of course, some couples who have an open marriage still share the same bed. I’m not sure how I could cope with my husband lying next to me reeking of another woman’s duty free perfume, or how I would react to him touching my body with a hand that still holds the warmth of another woman’s body. Or maybe we will become more attracted to each other, simply because others now find us desirable. It’s the old “you don’t know what you’ve got until you’re in danger of losing it” syndrome.

Also, a fling could easily develop into something deep and potentially marriage-threatening. What if my husband were to fall for the cute flight attendant? I can imagine him snuggling up to me in bed one night and saying, “Guess what, darling? I’m in love. I think we need to get a divorce.”...

Mediocrity spells doom

Paula said :

Quite a number of my friends have gone through painful experiences because they chose to divorce.

A couple must have patience, perseverance, commitment, endurance, tolerance, LOVE and many more traits to be able to live together.

Thanks to Hollywood stars and movies, many may think that when love runs out, it is time to get a divorce. It does not work that way.

To make a marriage work, there has to be effort to sustain love, nurture each other, care etc - the works.

Also, one must not try to change the other to be who he/she wants them to be.

It is being the right partner and being happy, contented and matter what.

More (with flowchart!):
Think again