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, October 31, 2011

Behind every successful woman...


Some lesser known statements

Should we be arguing over this?

This seems to be stating the obvious...

Would you bargain with this shopkeeper?


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How some people cope with flood

Raise your tricycle level...

if necessary, raise your seat level...

Make use of empty mineral water bottles...

Latch on to a motorbike and you can jet-ski...

Just turn over your wooden table and attach an outboard motor... and you get a speedboat!


A disgrace to other civil servants

'PETALING JAYA: A retired civil servant who was supposed to receive a monthly RM214.33 pension – received a hundred times that amount instead.

This was revealed in the 2010 Auditor-General’s Report, which said that the error was due to a decimal point error by the Public Service Department (PSD) and the Post Service Division (BP), the departments in charge of pension funds for government staff.

The particular retiree, now deceased, had received RM21,433 for 16 months.

The report said the pensioner had died in 2007, but due to the error, the government had to recover the overpaid sum by deducting from the retiree’s pension since July 2007 and will continue until May 2044.

“It was found that because of one misplaced decimal point, it has caused an overpayment of pension amounting to RM133,051 since January 2006 to May 2007,” said the report.'

Rest of the article:

The right thing to do when one discovers an overpayment is to inform about the mistake, after all the money is not yours. On the face of it, the recipient had been dishonestly receiving more than Rm20,000 each month, and kept quiet about it until his death! To give him the benefit of the doubt, the money could have been credited to his bank account, without him realizing that he had been over-paid. If so, then the money should still be in his account and not having to claim from his heirs until 2044!

The other point is that it does not add up:

If according to the report, it was due to the misplacement of decimal point, then the difference should have been (21,433 - 214.33) Rm21,218.67, and for 16 months, the total overpayment should have been Rm339,498.72 and not only 133,051. I find it necessary to check figures given in reports and not accept them at face value. So which is correct?

The impression I get from such an unforgivable mistake is that one or all of the following: the civil servant involved, his immediate superior, his head of department, and ultimately, the Chief Secretary, is or are useless. There were no apparent internal controls, check and balances, reasonableness tests, or even common sense!

Honestly, I would not rule out collusion among the civil servants involved in approving payments.

Ahem, my long lost hemp hammock put to use

I hope I have got the material right because when I did a search on hemp, it is related to cannabis! Anyway, it is the same material as those big ropes used in tug-of-war.

I bought it from an old Teochew man at the Sunday market in Ipoh several years ago. My wife put it into our storeroom and it went so far in that I refused to seek it out, until recently when she did some clearing up. I wasn't sure how best to put it up, and worried over whether it is strong enough to take my weight. At Adeline's eco resort in Gopeng, I found several hammocks hung between rubber trees. Those were comparatively less robust, so I was reassured over mine. It was a 'trial and error' when putting it up. First it was too short a distance, then it was to find a suitable location. This picture was taken just an hour ago, having used it for half an hour. It was like paradise, never mind the low cost. During the half hour, I got disturbed by our cat but she kept her distance. Then there was a bee swirling around the plants which got me worried. During moments of silence, I could hear 'gnawing' sound among the plants! Who said nice things have to be expensively created by designers in artificial man-made places in land-hungry locations?


World economics at its best

Other than the US $, nothing is made in the USA anymore!

John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (made in JAPAN) for 6 am .

While his coffeepot (made in CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (made in HONG KONG).

He put on a dress shirt (made in SRI LANKA), designer jeans (made in SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (made in KOREA).

After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (made in INDIA), he sat down with his calculator (made in MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today.

After setting his watch (made in TAIWAN) to the radio (made in INDIA) he got in his car (made in GERMANY) filled it with GAS (from Saudi Arabia ) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer ( made in MALAYSIA ), John decided to relax for a while.

He put on his sandals (made in BRAZIL), poured himself a glass of wine (made in FRANCE ) and turned on his TV (made in INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA



Yin and Yang

A European tourist was visiting a temple in Singapore when he noticed a statue, with two faces, a man and a woman, back to back, by the altar.

He asked the monk what was the significance of the two.

The monk explained that in the Chinese belief of yin and yang, positives must always be balanced by negatives, and having the statue with two sides ensures that the universal balance is maintained.

"This statue of the woman is the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan-Yin."

"What about the other one?" asked the tourist.

"The one with the man’s face is the God of No Mercy, Kuan-Yew."


Literally 'living from hand to mouth'

This short film will make us feel how blessed we really are...
... and we should not complain about not having branded shoes when the man has no shoes!

When Cheng was in a Penang hostel recently, her friend asked the operator about laundry, his reply tickled her, 'It depends on the weather!'

Whenever there is a thunderstorm, Astro's reception will be affected, and to prevent any of my electrical items from being zapped by lightning, all will be unplugged. I recall Cheng's comment about how surprising it is, in this day and age, we are still dependent on the weather. But when we see how others are badly affected by floods, how could we feel disadvantaged?

Friday, October 28, 2011

How animals are affected by the floods in Thailand

Water buffalo needs to help its owner to move around...

So does the elephant, who has the advantage of height...

Young pigs can still manage to save themselves...

while their fat parents need to be helped, for all their worth in weight...

This little dog is well prepared by its rich owner for any eventuality...

These monitor lizards appear to say, 'Thank God you are safe!'

while this crocodile is looking for its missing young ones...


Beware of miscommunicating your wish

This reminds me of the 'tall, dark and handsome' wish of girls of my time.

Where I have and have not been

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I have also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I have been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!


Beware of superstition

A woman's husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months, yet she had stayed by his bedside every single day.

One day, when he came to, he motioned for her to come nearer.

As she sat by him, he whispered, eyes full of tears, 'You know what? 'You have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side.

When we lost the house, you stayed right here. When my health started failing, you were still by my side... You know what Martha?'

'What dear?' she gently asked, smiling as her heart began to fill with warmth.

'I'm beginning to think you're bad luck...'


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Making sense of figures with many zeroes

This morning, a retired teacher was complaining about one item mentioned in the AG report which cost 2800% more than market price. It may seem like many times more than the actual by using percentage, but when we use an example, then it is actually 28 times more. I believe he was referring to the binoculars which could be bought for less than Rm2000 but billed at Rm56,000! This illustration is not to downplay the seriousness of the offence (which we have never seen any offender found guilty anyway), but to put it in perspective.

What should be considered more serious were the huge sums in terms of billions of ringgit which were siphoned by those responsible in the Defence Ministry. We tend to get distracted by smaller amounts marked up many times, instead of Rm1 billion marked up 7 times. But the prevalence of corrupt practices which happened every year with no action taken or no offenders found guilty, seems to make a mockery of the AG Report and its usefulness.

Our national debt was stated as Rm407 billion. If we assume our population as 28 million, then it is easy to work out mentally in the following manner:
Rm1 per head would add up to Rm28 million;
Rm10 per head would add up to Rm280 million;
Rm100 per head would add up to Rm2800 million or Rm2.8 billion;
Rm1000 per head would add up to Rm 28 billion;
Rm10000 per head would add up to Rm 280 billion;

In other words, at a rough guess, each of us is bearing more than Rm15000 of our national debt.

You can bet that the figure is going to go up every year unless BN gets booted out.

Before that happens, if you are still in the mood to laugh over a recurring bad situation, Patrick makes fun of it here...

Smile as a measure of happiness

This rich couple must have paid a bundle to be able to have this meal in the sea, served by a waiter. But they were not smiling.

These people must have been victims of circumstances as a result of flood (an act of God), yet they changed the adverse situation into an enjoyable setting for a hearty meal. Notice the smiles all round.

But I don't envy Yingluck in Thailand, having to deal with the worst flood in more than 50 years, just two months as prime minister. She shed tears while trying to cope with the enormous task of managing a nation in deep waters. Latest headline in The Star...
Panic in Bangkok:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Old age multi-tasking and learning a new culture

A Chinaman decides to retire and move to Australia after 50 years of living in Shanghai.

He bought a home on a small piece of land . A few days after moving in. The friendly Aussie neighbour decides to go across and welcome the new guy to the region. He goes next door but on his way up the drive-way he sees the Chinaman running around his frontyard chasing about 10 hens. Not wanting to interrupt these 'Chinese customs', he decides to put the welcome on hold for the day.

The next day, he decides to try again, but just as he is about to knock on the front door, he looks through the window and sees the Chinaman urinate into a glass and then drink it. Not wanting to interrupt another 'Chinese custom', he decides to put the welcome on hold for yet another day.

A day later he decides to give it one last go, but on his way next door, he sees the Chinaman leading a bull down the drive-way, ...pause...., and then put his left ear next to the bull's butt.

The Aussie bloke can't handle this, so he goes up to the Chinaman and says, 'Jeez Mate, what the hell is it with your Chinese customs? I come over to welcome you to the neighbourhood, and see you running around the yard after hens.The next day you are pissing in a glass and drinking it, and then today you have your head so close to that bull's butt, it could just about shit on you.'

The Chinaman is very taken back and says, 'Sorry sir, you no understand, these no ... Chinese customs I doing, these Australian Customs.'

'What do you mean mate' says the Aussie, 'Those aren't Australian customs.'

Yes they are, man at travel agent tell me' replied the Chinaman, 'He say to become true Australian, I must learn to ..... chase chicks, ..... get piss drunk, and .... listen to bull-shit.'

The way to be secure in a sinecure position

No wonder even his political adversary said he pitied him. The following is what I received in an email:

"I met this Chinese school junk when I was starting up Dynacraft, Penang in early 70s and he was just inquistive on what a Chink like me was doing starting up an American company.

I did not have a good impression of him then and even till now as he just will not give up after tasting power."


Tsu Koon backs Himpun’s right to rally
By Yow Hong Chieh
October 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon today defended this weekend’s mass rally to protest alleged Christian efforts to convert Muslims, saying Muslims too had the right to express their views.

steadyaku47 comment:

OK Tan Sri I agree with you. Now can you get your BN government to instruct PDRM to issue a permit for one million Christians to demonstrate against the pulling down of their churches, their inability to get permission to build churches in housing estate, and their inability to freely practise their faith blah blah blah….? Boleh tak?

And for one million Hindus to demonstrate against their temples being destroyed and against not being able to build their temple in housing estates where they live?

Camna? Can or not? You are a yellow livered coward that toes the line dictated to you by UMNO. Be a man. Be a man with some principles if you still aspire to be a leader.

Posted by Hussein abdul Hamid"

Najib, the transforming magician, managed to conjure a comparison between Himpun and Bersih stating that the latter should have had their demonstration in a stadium. That he purportedly offered without sincere and actual approval was already bad enough, but to put Bersih, which has a noble objective of clean electoral rules with that of Himpun, which has a narrow political agenda was really pushing his spin to the limit.

Elizabeth Wong is DAP assemblywoman?

A monumental mistake by John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel...

“This is something fairly new. Every month there is something, half of it manufactured, if not most,” said Elizabeth Wong, an opposition Democratic Action Party assemblywoman..."

in Sex, Lies and Malaysian Politics, as posted in Malaysia Today:

I need a tequila after this English lesson...

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor...

Is there another word for synonym?
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.
Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" she said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?" (concrete jungle?)
If a deaf child signs swear words, does his mother wash his hands with soap?

Is that why if we don't really think when we read, some writers could get away with cut and paste incoherence? (like what I have just done)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What if...

I was asked by a friend this morning, 'What if your wife got kidnapped when doing her rounds in the estate, and they asked for a ransom of Rm1 million?' It took me by surprise simply because for those who know, I don't have that kind of money even if they insisted that I have. Another friend answered it for me by saying, 'He (meaning I) would take the Rm1 million and get a new wife!' People might wonder what if the situation was reversed and I got kidnapped instead! Again, to me, it was a no-brainer because I know what to expect from her.

Anyway, this joke seems relevant to the topic...

Bill and his wife Blanche went to the state fair every year, and every year Bill would say, "Blanche, I'd like to ride in that helicopter "

Blanche always replied, "I know, Bill, but that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, and fifty bucks is fifty bucks!"

One year Bill and Blanche went to the fair, and Bill said, "Blanche, I'm 75 years old. If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance"

To this, Blanche replied, "Bill that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, and fifty bucks is fifty bucks"

The pilot overheard the couple and said, "Folks, I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and don't say a word I won't charge you a penny! But if you say one word its fifty dollars."

Bill and Blanche agreed and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy manoeuvres, but not a word was heard. He did his daredevil tricks, but still not a word...When they landed, the pilot turned to Bill and said, "By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed!"

Bill replied, "Well, to tell you the truth I almost said something when Blanche fell out, but you know, fifty bucks is fifty bucks!"


We are more Islamic than the Saudis when...

our suppliers can sell to Saudi Arabia but not in Malaysia!

"The Halal Hype that is going on in our country will force many SMIs involved in food production and distribution to close shop. JAKIM has muscled its way to make itself the Monopoly of the Halal certificate. In April 2011 the Halal Act will be passed by Parliament where only Jakim has the monopoly to issue the certificate.

Each certificate cost about RM1000 and with 2000 line items in my company I will have to foot out RM2,000,000 and that is if I am lucky to get all those approved. I might as well close down my business and retrench all the 60 staff with some 100 odd dependents.

The Government will be deprived of some RM 800,000 worth of taxes and duties. The Food standard will definitely decline as chefs will have fewer ingredients to work with. The Halal procedures will increase the food cost by 10%. JAKIM does not care for the economy of the country. All it cares for is its rice bowl to ensure that it is relevant and seen to be working hard.

Look at the way it closed down IKEA for two weeks. Look at the way it closed down Silverbird in Nilai. It does not care for the business environment in this country.

Even mineral water has halal logo. Eventually all vegetable, fish, grains, rice, etc will need halal logo. Eventually all Muslims will not touch all non Muslims if the Halal fever is allowed to spread.
Even Saudi Arabia is not as strict as Jakim. I have suppliers who could sell their products into Saudi Arabia but not in Malaysia .

80% of the food industry is run by Non Malays. One of the criteria to obtain the Halal Certificate for restaurants is to employ Malaysian Muslim. If you do not have any Malaysian Muslim in your restaurant you will not be issued with a Halal certificate."

This is probably what we need next:


Monday, October 24, 2011

Prevention is better than cure...

in order to avoid unnecessary tests and hefty medical bills. If in doubt, seek a second or third opinion...

Serious allegations about malpractices in medical circles in India. To some extent, it might be true here because of increasing privatization of public health treatment and prioritization of profits by private corporations. Health insurance seems to encourage unnecessary tests so that patients' bills could be padded for more revenue...

Do Not Get Sick In India

"Every doctor affiliated to a hospital in India must perform a certain number of surgeries and physicians must refer a certain number of patients for laboratory tests, x-rays and MRIs, endoscopies and ultrasound etc. If not they are removed from the hospital registries and premises. Treatment is given not according to the disease but according to the wealth of the patient.

Most of these observations are either completely or partially true. Corruption has many names, and one of civil society isn't innocent either. Professionals and businessmen of various sorts indulge in unscrupulous practices. I recently had a chat with some doctors, surgeons and owners of nursing homes about the tricks of their trade. Here is what they said:

1) 40-60% kickbacks for lab tests.
When a doctor (whether family doctor / general physician, consultant or surgeon) prescribes tests - pathology, radiology, X-rays, MRIs etc. - the laboratory conducting those tests gives commissions. In South and Central Mumbai -- 40%. In the suburbs north of Bandra -- a whopping 60 per cent! He probably earns a lot more in this way than the consulting fees that you pay.

2) 30-40% for referring to consultants, specialists & surgeons. When your friendly GP refers you to a specialist or surgeon, he gets 30-40%.

3) 30-40% of total hospital charges. If the GP or consultant recommends hospitalization, he will receive kickback from the private nursing home as a percentage of all charges including ICU, bed, nursing care, surgery.

4) Sink tests. Some tests prescribed by doctors are not needed. They are there to inflate bills and commissions. The pathology lab understands what is unnecessary. These are called "sink tests"; blood, urine, stool samples collected will be thrown.

5) Admitting the patient to "keep him under observation". People go to cardiologists feeling unwell and anxious. Most of them aren't really having a heart attack, and cardiologists and family doctors are well aware of this. They admit such safe patients, put them on a saline drip with mild sedation, and send them home after 3-4 days after charging them a fat amount for ICU, bed charges, visiting doctors fees.

6) ICU minus intensive care.
Nursing homes all over the suburbs are run by doctor couples or as one-man-shows. In such places, nurses and ward boys are 10th class drop-outs in ill-fitting uniforms and bare feet. These "nurses" sit at the reception counter, give injections and saline drips, perform ECGs, apply dressings and change bandages, and assist in the operation theatre. At night, they even sit outside the Intensive Care Units; there is no resident doctor. In case of a crisis, the doctor -- who usually lives in the same building -- will turn up after 20 minutes, after this nurse calls him. Such ICUs admit safe patients to fill up beds. Genuine patients who require emergency care are sent elsewhere to hospitals having a Resident Medical Officer (RMO) round-the-clock.

7) Unnecessary caesarian surgeries and hysterectomies. Many surgical procedures are done to keep the cash register ringing. Caesarian deliveries and hysterectomy (removal of uterus) are high on the list. While the woman with labour -pains is screaming and panicking, the obstetrician who gently suggests that caesarian is best seems like an angel sent by God! Menopausal women experience bodily changes that make them nervous and gullible. They can be frightened by words like"cysts" and "fibroids" that are in almost every normal woman's radiology reports. When a gynaecologist gently suggests womb removal "as a precaution", most women and their husbands agree without a second's thought.

8) Cosmetic surgery advertised through newspapers. Liposuction and plastic surgery are not minor procedures. Some are life-threateningly major. But advertisements make them appear as easy as facials and waxing. The Indian medical council has strict rules against such misrepresentation. But nobody is interested in taking action.

9) Indirect kickbacks from doctors to prestigious hospitals. To be on the panel of a prestigious hospital, there is give-and-take involved. The hospital expects the doctor to refer many patients for hospital admission. If he fails to send a certain number of patients, he is quietly dumped. And so he likes to admit patients even when there is no need.

10) "Emergency surgery" on dead body.
If a surgeon hurriedly wheels your patient from the Intensive Care Unit to the operation theatre, refuses to let you go inside and see him, and wants your signature on the consent form for "an emergency operation to save his life", it is likely that your patient is already dead. The "emergency operation" is for inflating the bill; if you agree for it, the surgeon will come out 15 minutes later and report that your patient died on the operation table. And then, when you take delivery of the dead body, you will pay OT charges, anaesthesiologist's charges, blah-blah-

Doctors are humans too. You can't trust them blindly. Please understand the difference.

Young surgeons and old ones.
The young ones who are setting up nursing home etc. have heavy loans to settle. To pay back the loan, they have to perform as many operations as possible. Also, to build a reputation, they have to perform a large number of operations and develop their skills. So, at first, every case seems fit for cutting. But with age, experience and prosperity, many surgeons lose their taste for cutting, and stop recommending operations.

Physicians and surgeons. To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Surgeons like to solve medical problems by cutting, just as physicians first seek solutions with drugs. So, if you take your medical problem to a surgeon first, the chances are that you will unnecessarily end up on the operation table. Instead, please go to an ordinary GP first."

Unrelated to the above, but seems relevant to the title of my post, the following incident, is said to have happened in real life...

"My friend, who is a the head of Human Resources at a very large bank, says that the best excuse for absenteeism, that he had ever received in his career of almost 22 years, was from a female Indian employee, at their bank's head quarters at Mumbai, India, in July, 2010. He says when the lady, was questioned on why she remained absent the previous day, she simply replied:

" But sir, I had no option. My husband was on casual leave yesterday and was at home. By mistake he took pills from the wrong bottle in our medicine cabinet and ended up consuming an over-dose of Viagra ! Now how could I have left him, all alone at home, with the house-maid ? "

Open letter to Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort

I can't help thinking there are more categories of membership in Clearwater Sanctuary than just Golf and Leisure. Some inner circle members get to know certain events while others haven't a clue about them because they are not frequent visitors.

I happened to be at the Club House to redeem Rm50 vouchers which the Club offered to members to make up for the Government tax on credit card issued by UOB. I chanced upon a notice about a cocktail party on Sunday, October 23 which was stated to be free for members. I asked some of my breakfast companions who are members but they did not know about it. I even called up a member who is a regular tennis player there but he did not know too. I called up to enquire and was told it was too late, because I should have booked in advance!

A few years ago, I had complained about certain events not being notified to all members. Apparently, according to the then Liaison Committee President, Leong, it was impossible to accommodate every member! Since then, Dr. Chew has been President for many years. So because of this so-called 'impossible to accommodate every member', notification had to be selective? On what basis, may I ask? I feel it is the responsibility of the management to be fair to all members and it is up to the members to decide whether to attend an event. If at all there are too many interested, then they have to come up with a solution, even if it means higher charges to reduce the number. For the monthly subscriptions we pay, surely we are entitled to some postage necessarily incurred for this purpose of fair notification to all.

By the time we get to receive the newsletter, the events were over and it gave the impression so many activities have been organized and held. Every year I get a birthday greeting from Kenny Yap with a discount voucher, past the birth date, though valid for a few months. Thanks Kenny for being so thoughtful! Will I be getting one this year?

Satire a la Art Harun

"Ding dong … a very good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, we have safely landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Welcome to Malaysia...."

"A bit about Malaysia for you. Malaysia is truly Asia. We have the Talibans in some states and government agencies. Please do not ever ever bring with you a Bible in Bahasa Melayu, the national language.

Sorry, I have to be more specific. No Bible in Bahasa Melayu is allowed in Peninsula Malaysia. Eh, sorry, I have to be more particularly specific. No Bible is allowed in Bahasa Melayu in the Peninsula Malaysia other than the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, our capital and Putrajaya, our administrative capital. In the states of Sabah and Sarawak, Bible in Bahasa Melayu is kosher.

By the way, Bahasa Melayu is also known as Bahasa Malaysia or Bahasa Kebangsaan. As to why it has three names, let’s not get into that or otherwise you all would never disembark this plane.

By the same token, please do not use the word Allah if you are not Muslims unless you are in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya or the states of Sabah or Sarawak. So Ladies and Gentlemen, beware of the state boundaries while in Malaysia. For example, if you are in Kuala Lumpur going towards PJ Hilton, do stop at the Kuala Lumpur/PJ boundary to throw away your Bible in Bahasa Melayu, if any. And stop using the word Allah too. As a rule of thumb, you would know when to do that when you exit a toll plaza, if you use a highway, that is."

More where that came from:

So what can be done?

Translated into English:

Talk also don't want to listen;
Listen also don't understand;
Don't understand also don't want to ask;
Ask also don't want to do;
Do also do wrong;
Wrong also don't want to admit it;
Admit also don't want to correct it;
Corrected also not satisfied;
Not satisfied also don't want to say;
So what can be done?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wedding dinner at G Hotel, Penang

We left BG just after 4 pm for Penang to attend a wedding dinner at the Ballroom in G Hotel. But first, to deliver an old planter's chair for the rattan man's service and to collect one which has been restored with new rattan. All the way, it was raining and the traffic was heavy. Going from Chulia Street to Gurney Drive took an hour because of the traffic jam. SP's sister and husband were already at the hotel, having taken a flight direct from KL. Being early, they had hawker food and husband had an unexpected 'detoxing' effect!

The first time I heard of the G Hotel was when a British jazz singer took time off her contract at their G Spot, and sang at the Little Penang Street Market. Since then, a number of those who performed at G Spot also performed at LPSM. One day, while with my brother and sisters-in-law in Gurney Plaza, I popped over to see what it was like. That short visit served me well on this trip.

For once, I was more familiar with Penang than my wife, who had been navigator for so many years whenever I drove with her as passenger in UK, and back in Malaysia! I am not rejoicing over this little fact because I believe her memory could be affected by the drug she is taking now. But it was difficult on my part to overrule her suggestions as to which were the correct routes, after so many years of her having a much better sense of direction.

Angela is SP's cousin and when she attended Beng's wedding she took the opportunity to invite us for her son, Ryan's wedding dinner. Her husband, Alvin Pereira and his brothers were former students of Sultan Yussuf: brother George used to be SP's classmate while eldest brother Lawrence used to be her English teacher! Ryan's brother, Darren was Beng's classmate at International College in Penang. Alvin's sisters, Sheila and Mrs. William and husband from BG attended too. There were also Angela's relatives from Pusing. We were seated with her niece's family who we have never met before!

The Ballroom's acoustic helped in enhancing the performance of the bridegroom when he sang to his bride before they walked into the hall. It was something different and took us by surprise. On stage, we could see his brother, Adrian holding a lead guitar while a cousin holding a bass guitar. Then the MCs announced in English and then Mandarin to welcome the new couple. Suddenly, in walked Ryan singing, followed by Darren with a guitar, from an entrance near the stage. They walked towards the centre before proceeding towards the main entrance where bride, Elynne stood waiting! He serenaded to his bride as he walked towards her before coming in again to the main table! The three guitars were meant for this special song only. The rest of the evening we were entertained by a man on keyboard with three pretty vocalists singing a mixture of English, Chinese and Spanish songs.

I parked the car along Gurney Drive so it was easy to just drive for home. Wished we could stay longer to chat with my sister-in-law and husband who had booked to stay for the night. But we were still gung-ho with our usual drive back after dinner, be it KL or Penang. It was already past 11 pm when we left the ballroom, past 1.30 am when we reached home.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chinese would rather save face

An American, a Japanese and a Chinese went for a hike one day. It was very hot. They were sweating and exhausted. When they came upon a small lake, they took off all their clothes and jumped into the water, since it was fairly secluded. Feeling refreshed, the trio decided to pick a few berries while enjoying their "freedom".

As they were crossing an open area, suddenly a group of ladies from town appeared. Unable to get to their clothes in time, the American and the Japanese quickly used their hands to cover their privates. But the Chinese covered his face and the trio ran for cover.

After the ladies had left and the men got their clothes back on, the American and the Japanese asked the Chinese why he covered his face rather than his private part.

The Chinese replied, "I don't know about you... but in my country, it's the face that people recognize."


Friday, October 21, 2011

'Wow' in a different context

Two weeks ago, our British guests related to us about an instance when they were in a taxi in Malaysia. The taximan asked where they were from and Stuart replied, 'UK.' and he exclaimed, 'Wow!' and said nothing after that. When they got off the taxi, Sarah exclaimed, 'Wow!' and presumably they had a hearty laugh over it. We enjoyed that joke.

But, last night's news over at BBC World News, the death of Libyan strongman for 42 years was highlighted repeatedly. One of the video clips was Hilary Clinton's response when shown on a cell phone, the pictures of the dead Gadafi... and her response? 'Wow!'

Wong Tai Sin, the Chinese God of Healing

Wong Tai Sin is about a heavenly being who came down to earth, and wherever he went, he would attempt to cure people of illnesses. I believe some Chinese still pray to such a god and some Chinese physicians adopt his name to attract patients.

Anyway, while watching this tv serial recently, there was a scene which caught my attention: Wong Tai Sin (Adam Cheng) was chosen as caretaker King, having got rid of an evil one. Having appointed some capable and trusted people to help him rule the country, he decided to give it up. He handed over the responsibilites as an advisor to a boy king, to his own brother. In this scene, his brother (without experience) who was entrusted with responsibilities, reluctantly accepted the position of Prime Minister or its equivalent, in ancient China. A young lady who had been keeping them company said that she too would like to follow WTS wherever he goes. His assistant too, was tempted by the idea of being footloose and fancy free and wanted to join them.

The scene was so unlike what we are used to, in our modern political scenario, where people jostled and cheated to become leaders of our country. But are we all like them or are there some of us who would prefer to let others run the country with the proviso that they be clean and capable? Raja Petra comes to my mind, followed by Hussein Hamid. I am sure both these gentlemen and many others, would prefer to lead a life without the heavy responsibilities and bloody-mindedness that come with mainstream politics. In the prelude to the next General Election, the ugly aspects of jostling to be election candidates, after which, the apple-polishing to catch the eyes of the PM who holds the key to ministerial positions will be evident. Let's hope, if and when Pakatan gets to rule, those eyeing the positions are genuinely interested in working for the nation rather than for self-interest.

Signposting in KL Sentral still leaves me wandering...

and wondering why the management does not make the signs big and bold enough to be informative.

I have been to KL Sentral many times, yet I cannot claim I am familiar with the ways to KTM Intercity, KTM Commuter, LRT, Monorail and so on.

The best way to improve on the signposting is to imagine someone new to the place. If he were to arrive by KTM Intercity, he would be looking for exit to a waiting car, a waiting taxi, or a waiting bus to KLIA or LCCT or the ERL to check in; or more likely to take the LRT or monorail to get to other parts of KL. Similarly, commuters would be getting off LRT, taxis or cars to take the intercity train or ERL. Can anyone who has been to KL Sentral for the first time, find his way to any of the above without asking for directions?

I was most surprised to find the new ETS or Electric Train Service ticketing counters at the other end, from the KTM Intercity ticketing counters. The office is in the company of Air Asia and Genting and equally, if not more plush than them. A bunting showing its association with 'A cut above' seems to suggest its quest to be really above the old and mundane train service. But to a train traveller who is deciding on whether to travel by the normal train or the more expensive but quicker electric train, he might have to walk to and fro more than once because of the need to know the schedules and availability of seat!

The distance from KL Sentral to the Monorail terminal had been criticized before for the lack of planning and coordination. But back then, it was comparatively shorter distance despite the need to cross the Jalan Sambanthan to get there. Yesterday, I found out that because of the ongoing construction, commuters have to walk round the huge construction site! Again, because of the lack of directions, while walking I was not really certain if I was on the right track! I noticed a couple of small notices with direction to Monorail, pasted on existing advertisements! If you are not one for looking at advertisements, you would have missed them.

I have not used KTM frequently, yet yesterday's 3 pm train to Batu Gajah (Singapore - Butterworth) was delayed by one and a half hour due to breakdown which required shunting and so on. But the train sped to catch up on lost time, cutting the delay by half an hour when we reached Batu Gajah. This was the second delay out of a few rides which had convinced me to take the new train next time. The reason 'what I have is time' used by retirees needs to be tampered with 'time is not on our side'!

Growing old

It is lonely at the top...

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: 'And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?' the reporter asked.
She simply replied, 'No peer pressure.'

I've sure gotten old!
I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes .
I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.
Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.
Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my driver's license.
Thanks to Kong Cho Ha, I can now remember when to renew it!

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising.

I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.
It was the idea that got me going.


Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Secret to not feeling old...

You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Khairy, Khairy, quite contrary

One would expect someone who graduated from a top university like Oxford would be intellectually ahead of us, but I just cannot find anything intellectual about Khairy since he joined Umno, and is currently their Youth chief. Just like those with doctorates like Dr. Rais and Dr. Zahid, their public statements were so predictable. It is like leaving their thinking caps outside as they enter the Umno party!

Being Umno youth chief, Khairy was in the news as a rabble-rouser, like those before him. It is like what is expected for someone holding the position. I would expect him to do better than that, or at least be a bit different.

Judge for yourself, whether his tweets reflect his Oxford credentials:

"Why one earth then did he decide to add fuel to fire with his two tweets, the first one yesterday where he said in response to another tweet by pro-Umno blogger “@PapaGomo” translated to “Maybe he destroyed Kampung Buah Pala because he wants to replace it with Kampung Buah Dada”, which can be construed as a direct attack on Lim Junior."

"Despite clarifications that the girl in question was not even in the same class as Lim Junior, Khairy was relentless. In his response to calls to apologise, he defended his comments tweeting “Bro, what BN leaders & their families get from the opposition is far worse."

More where that came from:

Tony Pua reveals the identity of girl whose picture was used in the spin, someone who has never studied in Penang and probably never been to Malaysia before!


A look at some evolution examples

This reminds me of the zero-sum theory... one thins at the expense of the other!

The evolution of the computer started from a stone tablet... to reach the desk top computer stage...
then as we all know, the computer reaches another Tablet stage (not in the picture)!

In modern offices, staff appeared to be busy working when they were actually playing games like Solitaire (before), now they are addicted, playing games on Facebook.


Clearing the cloud over Cloud issues

These days, in our daily rush in the rat race, anything convenient is deemed to be a godsend and accepted without much thought over the practical issues.

In IT, over a period of just 40 years of evolution, we have had mainframe computers the size of filing cabinets in air-conditioned rooms; desktop Apple II with only 64k memory; heavy laptops with limited memory and capabilities; notebooks; netbooks; iPads and Tablets; smart phones which could do some computing and so on.

The clutter of unsightly wires could be cleared with wireless technology in the form of WiFi internet connection, wireless keyboard and mouse, and so on.

With Cloud technology, we are now able to do away with physical possession of files, books, DVDs and so on, yet able to retrieve with ease from a well managed index... until something untoward happened... like when the cloud providers made mistakes like deleting your virtual files and records! Then there is the usual security issues over ownership and privacy. For any new technological breakthrough, the bad guys are having ideas on how to access to it. Often, we are lulled into 'ignorance is bliss' until it happened to us personally. Like our gated community with security guards which we assume takes care of the security aspect of our homes, until theft, robbery or rape takes place before we realise that security guards are also human.

The following article in Technology Review was featured in The Star yesterday...

"Our possessions define us. Yet today the definition of possession itself is shifting, thanks to cloud services that store some things we hold dear on distant Internet servers. When those belongings reside in Netflix's video service, Amazon's Kindle bookstore, or Apple's coming iCloud service, they become impossible to misplace, and easier to organize and access than before. They also gain new powers over us, and slip free of powers we once held over them—powers that have shaped our thinking and behavior for centuries. One consequence is to give the companies that provide cloud services tremendous amounts of unchecked control over these possessions. In some cases, that control has already been abused." ...

Rest of the article:
A Cloud over Ownership


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Najib's last frontier: auditing the Auditor General's Report?

For the first time in Malaysian history, the Auditor General's Report has been delayed, not due to non-completion, but alleged to have been hijacked!

According to Kim Quek:

"It has been the tradition for the AG’s report to reach parliamentarians in time for the annual budget debate, and this year’s long delay (10 days after the budget was presented on Oct 7) despite persisting battering by opposition MPs is most unusual. From utterances of Nazri and AG officials, there is little doubt that the current year’s report is ready but has been hijacked somewhere between the AG and parliament.

Tampering with the AG’s function is a serious breach of the constitution, as the AG is an independent institution enjoying the same degree of independence as the judiciary and the election commission.

Apart from being appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the AG’s remunerations and terms of service are determined by Parliament, and he may not be dismissed from service other than through a tribunal as that accorded to the judges (Article 105 of the federal constitution). The AG’s reports go directly to the Agong, who shall cause them to be laid before parliament (Article 107).

It is obvious that such meticulously devised provisions in the constitution to accord independence to the AG are to ensure that the he can operate freely as a neutral body to check on the financial management of the government without any interference from the Executive. Note the channel of communication has been designed to by-pass the Executive. It is from the AG to the Agong, and from the Agong to Parliament.

It is clear that the Executive has no role to play in the formulation of AG’s reports or its presentation to parliament.

So it is of great concern that we should be told that the report has to be deliberated by the cabinet and its release up to the ministry of finance."

More where that came from:


Is this for real?

Israel’s new ‘Cutting Edge’ Airport Security

TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners. It's an armored booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your person.

Israel sees this as a win-win situation for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It will also eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials.

You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter, an announcement: “Attention to all standby passengers, El Al is proud to announce a seat available on flight 670 to London. Shalom!”


Times are bad?

While the rest of the people in Malaysia are feeling the effects of an economic slowdown, there are some who have made big bucks (by middle income standard) from property speculation.

In the rural areas, smallholdings have increased in land prices from say Rm30,000 an acre to over Rm100,000, depending on location. For example, land owners in Sitiawan areas who sold their much appreciated land at over Rm200,000 per acre would find prices in Pusing cheap. The demand from the mainly Fook Chou buyers had caused the prices to increase, leaving local potential buyers lamenting that they could never afford to buy at such prices. Like any market in an uptrend, those who sold much earlier regretted while those who bought from them are sitting on potential gains.

The house prices in KL and its surrounding Klang valley areas have risen much despite depressed property markets in the West. While some are expecting the bubble to burst, others are still enjoying the gains from speculation. For example, a buyer in Putra Heights paid 10% downpayment for a Rm450,000 house has seen the price risen to over Rm700,000 nearing completion.. But this is like a 'catch 22' situation in which the owner cannot sell to realise the gain without having to pay a similar amount for a similar house in or near the locality! It would have been ideal for someone, especially a would be retiree, to sell in the process of downsizing or to move to a smaller town for retirement.

The rising property prices for the past few years had created an unhealthy demand from speculators. Having seen how some could easily make six-figure gains from a mere 10% down payment, many new entrants have joined the game. The Build Then Sell concept is actually helping to fuel speculation. Imagine not having to pay for progress payments like before, for 2 years, after which any appreciation in price is like a windfall should he cash out.

To prevent speculation, there is a proposal to increase RPGT from 5% to 10%, if sold within 2 years of purchase. This is not a deterrent when the gain is into six figures. The working class is now faced with house prices which are beyond their reach. The speculators are still laughing all the way to the bank, unless and until policy makers decide to put a credit or other squeeze on them.

I think our houses and apartments are considered too generous in size when compared to those in the developed countries in the West. One way to help first-time buyers is to build smaller apartments, like studios or one-room apartments in expensive KL, and slightly bigger ones, even houses, in the outskirts but near railway or LRT stations, for easy commuting to work. In fact, where land is cheap, planning for cheaper houses and public transport should be coordinated. As a retiree, my idea of a livable house is just one room, a kitchenette, a small sitting area, toilet and shower. I am sure first-time buyers can live in such conditions until they are able to upgrade.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reasons why USA is in trouble

USA used to have Steve Jobs, Johnny Cash & Bob Hope.

Now they are all gone... there is now



I am trying out the 90/10 Principle

The advice:

Discover the 90/10 Principle. It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations).
What is this principle?

The Theory:

10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.

What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic.

We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.

How? ……….By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction.
Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened.

What happens next will be determined by how you react.

You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.

Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home.

When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? …. Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is “D".

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "Its ok honey, you just need to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different. Why?

Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you!

React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them?

WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive?

Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job.

Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job.

The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take it out or pour frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on.

Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.

Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle.

The result?

Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life!!!

My practical problem which I am trying to relate to the principle and whether I can try it out:

Couple of years ago, on different days over a period of a few weeks when we were not around, my neighbour trimmed; cut down; and later carted away; a palm I planted outside our house. I did not react.

Over another period of time, he told his gardener to spray weedkiller on to my bourgainvilla outside our house, which was obvious after a few days when the leaves dried up. But it grew back. He did it a few times. Still I did not react.

He encroached on land facing our house instead of their own, to plant things useful to them but unsightly to be planted on their side. Still I did not react.

He put trimmed branches and palm leaves in front of our house instead of theirs. He even burnt the dried branches and leaves there instead of doing it in front of their own house. Still I did not react.

He believes feeding pigeons will bring wealth and good karma. But he instructs his maid to throw the grains on the road... in front of our house instead! Won't that bring blessings to us instead? But in the meantime, we have over a hundred pidgeons waiting on our roof top, on electric and telephone cables, during feeding time. Where we park our cars would depend on where they are likely to be ie. avoid parking under the wires. I dread the day when there is a health warning on bird flu.

A relative recently joked by way of song that my neighbour had been acting out, 'Everything I do... I do it for you...' I replied that he must have been thinking, 'You say it best... when you say nothing at all...'

In my own way, I had been using Taichi to avoid arguments, and to follow the 90/10 principle, maybe I should thank him each time for what he did to me!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Old equipment: are they worth restoring?

I stumbled upon a documentary on restoration in Astro, under History, channel 555.

A magician wanted his broken giant lamp post repaired. The restoration specialist was led to the site of his big compound and asked whether he could do it and how much would it cost. US$6,500 was quoted and to me, having shown the extent of the damage by strong winds, it seemed pointless and too costly. The stem was broken in several places and the metal strips holding the glass shades were in pieces, and the glass shades were shattered.

Just to get it in the right perspective (for those who did not watch it), the size of the lamp post is at least the size of those we see along the way to Putrajaya or KLIA. It has a cluster of 5 lamps, each held by thin metal strips holding the glass cover, and the bottom of the stem is bolted onto a concrete base. The lamp posts used to be in front of a casino in Las Vegas.

It took three workers in a pickup truck with a small trailer to gather every piece back to their workshop. The work involved piecing together the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle and welding them. The golden paint colour had to be matched as close to the original as possible.

It was finally done and the next task was to transport it back to the magician's compound. This time, it required a bigger truck and more careful handling. The re-installation involved the hire of a big crane so that the metal stand could be bolted on to the concrete base. Having seen the work involved in the restoration and re-installation, the cost seems reasonable.

The owner was obviously pleased with the amazing restoration work and said he could not tell the difference. The restorer said the broken parts were welded so well that the restored lamp post is stronger than the original ones! The owner then said that if another storm were to come his way, probably the rest, except the restored one, would be destroyed!

So the episode ended with one happy customer and a satisfied restorer.

Viewers were also shown another restoration from beginning to end. Here, the restorer's son was given the responsibility of quoting the charge for restoring an old air pump used in service stations in the 1930s. Then the price for petrol was only 16 cents to a gallon! The restorer secretly let known he would have quoted US$1,200 but his son quoted only US$800! He said he is leaving it to him so that he will learn from any mistake in his quotation. He dismantled the pump, cleaned and serviced it to working order, and sprayed it fire engine red to its original colour. The owner could not believe it when shown his air pump, thinking it was a brand new one!

It is heartening to know there are collectors as well as excellent restorers still keen in their chosen profession, wherever they are in the world.

Malaysiakini is to remain independent

Steven Gan explains...


"It is public knowledge that The Malay Mail will soon be relaunching as a paid morning daily as opposed to a free afternoon paper. And it has approached several online players, blogs and international news agencies for content, Malaysiakini included.

So it came as a rude shock to us that a simple content proposal - and a deal that is far from being concluded - has been spun by a couple of news sites into a content-for-share swap.

Let us make it clear - we have no intention of owning a single share of The Malay Mail or to surrender the ownership of Malaysiakini.

But content syndication - which provides funds for Malaysiakini to serve our subscribers better, as well as an avenue to reach even more readers - makes good business, and journalism, sense.

Moreover, selling our content does not affect our editorial stance. Those using our content have no say in it - they have a choice to either take it or leave it. They are not even allowed to alter the content.

We are surprised that our online competitors failed to understand this economic imperative. But then again, perhaps they don't need to worry about money, since they are getting it from somewhere."

M'kini selling out to Umno? Over our dead bodies

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ronnie Corbett's Blackberry is also not working

We enjoyed The Two Ronnies years ago. After the permanent goodbye from him (Ronnie Barker), The One Ronnie has caught up with new technology in his jokes...

Jokes aside, it is better not to put all your eggs in one basket. Imagine if your whole family has only one type of mobile phone, internet provider and so on, and it is not working! That's the extent of our dependence on IT these days.

Friday, October 14, 2011

If you can read this...

"7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5, 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5!

1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7
3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD!

0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15. F0RW4RD 1F U C4N R34D 7H15" have a strong mind.

But for seniors, do not use these for passwords, otherwise you are likely to forget them. If you write them down somewhere, you are likely to forget where you put the little book!

We must put a stop to the deception

We elect leaders to govern our nation but once elected, they won't listen to us, until just before the next election. The recent budget proposals are clearly meant to please the voters so that the present leaders are given the mandate to continue their rule.

For the past 54 years, we have had the same patronizing arrogance, treating us like fools who could be easily pleased with a few crumbs thrown to us while they continue their plunder and live luxuriously at our expense. 'Change your lifestyle' was meant for us but not them, which means 'Do what I tell you to, not what I do'.

One by one, our institutions went subservient to them. We report to the police and we are likely to be the target of interrogation. The Attorney General can decide who to prosecute or persecute. We take it to the courts and we face a biased judiciary. We try to change the government at the elections but the Election Commissioners are appointed by them and a minister confirmed they are not from heaven, so cannot expect to be independent.

If we do not read the newspapers and watch the television, we are uninformed. But when we do, we are misinformed.

Coming back to the Budget proposals. Our national debt will exceed Rm400 billion with the generous handouts to the people. Of course, the people will like the handouts but at what price? What Najib is doing is borrowing to do so, so that he will continue to be PM. Sometimes, it is not up to him to decide whether he wants to continue, but his cronies who depend on his big contracts, and more importantly, his First Lady who is used to the de facto power and not going to accept anything less.

To the man in the street, national finance is something difficult to grasp, so it is very easy for political leaders to spend first while the effects will take a long time to appear. To put it simply, spending beyond our means nationally is no different from our borrowing to pay for our daily expenses. We need to repay. But instead of the parents, the children or the grandchildren will bear the costs!


Cantonese double entendre

'Lou poh tum cheh, yum koong' can be translated as 'When the wife holds the umbrella for husband, he is said to be in the shade'. But 'yum koong' can also mean 'pitiful'!

'Lou koong phoot sin, chai leong' can be translated as 'When the husband fans, his wife feels cool'. But 'chai leong' can also mean 'sorrowful'!

In other words, someone could describe another person's pitiful and sorrowful situation in a very subtle way by saying 'lou poh tum cheh, lou koong phoot sin'!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Steve Jobs left a huge legacy in his little 'dash'

The Dash

The Dash, the inspirational poem by Linda Ellis - captures not the date you were born, or the date you die—but the importance of The Dash between those years. It's what you do with your Dash to make a difference with your life. Linda’s beautiful poem, along with nine chapters that reinforce its verses are included in Simple Truths' book, The Dash, by Linda Ellis and Mac Anderson. The Dash has touched hearts and changed lives around the world, including the 30 million who have watched Simple Truth's inspirational movie. "What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash."

Simple Truths provides customers with inspirational and motivational gift books and movies. Our books and movies are comprised of short inspirational stories and motivational quotes that are certain to make a positive lasting impression. Simple Truths gift books and movies are great for friends & family, co-workers, teachers, students, corporations and businesses.

The Dash:

Jonathan Mak's simple yet classic graphic design caught the imagination and attention of the people the world over since the Apple founder's demise.

Did the world gaffe on Gaddafi?

Could the following report be true? If so, then we had been misled by western influenced media all the time. If not, then the report could have been the work of some fantastic PR spinners...

"The international media, influenced by the Americans, has successfully painted Gaddafi as a hard-core dictator, tyrant or whatever you want to call him. However, the media as usual has also failed to show the kind, giving Gaddafi we never heard of. Gaddafi unlike most dictators has managed to show his humane side, the very side we dream of seeing in other dictators. I consider Libyans lucky to a certain extent and one wonders with the new democratic rule they cry for will it improve or worsen life for them. Yes, Gaddafi has spent millions of Libya`s money on personal ventures but is the average Libyan poor? We know others who take a country and destroy it until you feel like there is no hope of restoring this country… looting some prefer to call it. Did Gaddafi loot Libya in any way?

Now let us get to the unknown facts about the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi:

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
3. Home considered a human right in Libya – Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.
4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.
6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick-start their farms – all for free.
7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US$2,300/mth accommodation and car allowance.
8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.
9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.
11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US$5,000
14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15
15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree
16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

Which other dictator has done so much good for his people?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who are we to judge others?


I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How did all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

'And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said,
'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'


Remember...Just going to church doesn't make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every saint has a PAST...
Every sinner has a FUTURE!

(Thanks to Bayi for forwarding to me this unusual poem.)

A visit to a bakau charcoal factory and a boat ride to watch fireflies

Last Friday, my wife actually suggested taking Stuart and Sarah to Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands. But I had to discourage her because of the highland drive and then further up to the highest point after Mossy Forest because I was feeling tired of the frequent long distance driving. So a compromise was made to go to Kuala Sepetang instead, but this time to visit a charcoal factory and Kg. Dew to watch the fireflies at night.

Just before reaching Kuala Sepetang town, we turned right into a mangrove swamp forest which was meant for visitors, with car park and walkways into it. We took some pictures with the oldest bakau tree which was stated as 64 years old! The major parts of the walkways were under reconstruction, so it was a quick visit.

Just opposite the entrance to the park, we found a big charcoal factory with a few kilns. We asked for permission to visit and was directed to look for a specific person. But we were lucky when a slim Malay man (who I mistook for an Indonesian) offered to take us round. Because we asked some relevant questions, we managed to extract informative answers which gave us a good idea of the processes in the making of bakau charcoal.

We were taken to different kilns which were at different stages of smoking. For instance, we were shown inside a half-filled kiln (shaped like an igloo) where we saw bakau logs with diameter of a foot and a height of 5 ft. placed standing upright. We were told some 15 tons of logs would probably get less than 5 tons of charcoal. After filling up the kiln, the opening would be made smaller for a fire to smoke the logs into charcoal. Here, the initial fire would be big, using rubber wood and discarded bakau logs. It would take a month before the process is completed. We were told that the temperature of the kiln has to reach 240 degrees F, but an experienced worker could tell just from the smoke and smell! The fire has to be watched and controlled, otherwise the logs would catch fire and instead of charcoal, they would turn to ashes. A constantly big fire at the small opening is necessary to prevent the logs from catching fire.

The charcoals are sold to exporters who will cut them to sizes according to buyers' requirements. Almost all the charcoals are exported to Japan! Uses of charcoal include filters, masks and pills to control diarrhoea.

Our next item on our itinerary of the day, after dinner, was to watch fireflies in Kg. Dew. Here, the right time should be around 8 pm. SP actually got the details from The Echo which is distributed free in Ipoh. She called the number provided and got directions on how to get there. At the jetty, we waited for lifejackets and the boatmen. There was a big poster with details of Exco member, Hamidah Osman's recent launching of the project. It seems Kg. Dew is getting popular because it is better for watching fireflies than Kuala Selangor which must have been affected by faster development in Selangor.

We hired the boat for the four of us at Rm120, and the journey to and fro along the river, took more than an hour. For those who have not been, it is worth a visit because seeing the fireflies on some specific trees is fascinating... just like small lights on Christmas trees! I cannot remember the local name of the tree but the boatman plucked an unripe fruit which looked like persimmon! It was dark as we moved along in the boat. The fireflies would shy away from torch lights shone on them. The other thing to note is that they will not come out when it is raining. So such a trip depends on fair weather to start with.

On our return boat trip, the boatman stopped next to a fisherman in another boat, who showed us his catch of the night - some 'udang galah' or fresh water prawns, which from our recent dinner in Tg. Tualang, costed Rm70 a kilogram! It was the same restaurant our PM recently went to, and which required new woks and other cooking utensils to cook his meal! Of course the fisherman's price would be much lower when sold to local restaurants. In fact, the lady boss of the restaurant in K. Sepetang actually told us that she bought mantis prawns ('lai liu har' in Cantonese) at Rm28 from the fishermen and charged us Rm32 per kg.