How should we judge a government?

"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

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

Why we should be against censorship: 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

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist?

MyCen News

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Competition among social networking sites

I cannot help feeling certain sites are trying very hard to increase their number of members. Lately, I have been receiving what I believe to be spams - notifications inviting me to join certain sites, ostensibly from friends in my contact list. What made me suspicious was friends who are not in regular contact. I also notice in Facebook, some whom I had 'added' as friends but did not respond earlier, 'accepted' me months later, without a single word! I believe it could be the work of someone in FB who decided to link such requests to clear those outstanding for some time. Just a wild guess.
Link

A dream job for DIY enthusiasts...

Satisfaction guaranteed!




Why we should not assume fixtures are safe

My father used to warn us about the dangers of certain things, like when following a truck carrying heavy poles which might slide towards our car, for example. Now it is my turn to warn others of certain dangers, like not sitting under an overhanging television or other heavy item in a coffee shop or restaurant. Once, I spotted a young mother and child taking refuge at a public phone stand and my thought of the danger of lightning strike made me threw an umbrella to them, when I was at my house in Setapak then. Anyway, reading the news about an Indian official, his parents-in-law and his son, who fell onto the rocky beach in Langkawi because the wooden balcony railing gave way, is a sad reminder of why we should not take for granted the safety of fixtures in public places.

Senior India official hurt, mum-in-law killed in Berjaya resort mishap
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=18482:senior-india-official-hurt-mum-in-law-killed-in-berjaya-resort-mishap&Itemid=4
Link

Selamat Hari Raya


Link

New tricks by snatch thieves

Most of us would probably expect the repeats being forwarded when we received such warnings, but there is no end to new tricks by snatchers...

A woman visited the toilet in O.G at Bugis and hung her handbag on the back of the toilet door. As she carried on about her business, a hand suddenly appeared over the top of the stall and grabbed her bag clean from the hook.

She immediately reported the incident to the head of security, who in turn informed the manager of the store.

A couple of days later she had a call from the head of security to say her bag had been found without her purse. So she arranged a convenient time to go and meet the manager to collect her things.

On arriving at the O. G. store at the agreed time, the manager was not expecting her and neither was the head of security. No one from the store had actually called her as the bag had still not been found.

When the lady got home, her house had been burgled with no sign of forced entry.

The Police believe the robbers had used her Driving License for the address and her keys to let themselves in.

Link

Monday, August 29, 2011

A test of your prejudice

Once upon a time there lived a king. The king had a beautiful daughter, The PRINCESS.

But there was a problem. Everything the princess touched would melt. No matter what; Metal, Wood, Stone, anything she touched would melt. Because of this, men were afraid of her. Nobody would dare marry her.

The king despaired. What could he do to help his daughter? He consulted his wizards and magicians. One wizard told the king, 'If your daughter touches one thing that does not melt in her hands, she will be cured.' The king was overjoyed and came up with a plan.

The next day, he held a competition. Any man that could bring his daughter an object that would not melt would marry her and inherit the king's wealth...

THREE YOUNG PRINCES TOOK UP THE CHALLENGE.

The first brought a sword of the finest steel. But alas, when the princess touched it, it melted. The prince went away sadly .

The second prince brought diamonds. He thought diamonds are the hardest substance in the world and would not melt. But alas, once the princess touched them, they melted. He too was sent away disappointed.

The third prince approached. He told the princess, 'Put your hand in my pocket and feel what is in there.'

The princess did as she was told, though she turned red. She felt something hard. She held it in her hand. And it did not melt!!!

The king was overjoyed. Everybody in the kingdom was overjoyed. And the third prince married the princess and they both lived happily ever after.

Question: What was in the prince's pants?

M&M's of course! They melt in your mouth, not in your hand.
What were you thinking??

If you were thinking what I thought you were thinking, might as well go along with your line of thoughts...

The saddest part of a Man's body is... his Balls: Because they are sentenced to 'Hang Till Death!'

Give an example of Total Business Failure due to Negligence: A Pregnant Prostitute.


Link

An open secret to happiness

A friend forwarded to me this message, which reminds me of a truism that secret is what you tell people one at a time! But this seems like one used in Christian preaching, so Muslims are advised against reading it lest I am guilty of proselytizing even though I am not a Christian!

The other thing which I am reminded of is that knowing the secret is one thing but life is such that people need to go through it to discover for themselves.

For example, for a failure like me, will anyone listen to me when I say we need no big house, big car nor other luxuries? Even my wife would not agree.

We still need a rich lady to say that she is so glad she had given up having maids because she has peace of mind now instead of worrying over what they were up to when she was not in the house! We still need her to tell us that mopping the floor is just us good as her membership with Fitness First or similar gym clubs. We still need someone who owns several luxury cars and yet uses his favourite small car when he goes out on his own to give us the message that what we need is just a basic car to get us from A to B. This reminds me of an ex-classmate's dad who owned a Rolls and several luxury cars and I was so surprised to see him driving a Mazda 1000 in Petaling Street! That was around 1970. Anyway here is the so-called Secret:

The Secret

One day, one friend asked another, 'How is it that you are always so happy? You have so much energy, and you never seem to get down.'

With her eyes smiling, she said, 'I know the Secret!'

'What secret is that?'

To which she replied, I'll tell you all about it, but you have to promise to share the Secret with others. The Secret is this:

I have learned there is little I can do in my life that will make me truly happy.
I must depend on God to make me happy and to meet my needs. When a need arises in my life, I have to trust God to supply according to HIS riches. I have learned most of the time I don ' t need half of what I think I do. He has never let me down. Since I learned that 'Secret', I am happy.'

The questioner's first thought was, 'That's too simple!' But upon reflecting over her own life she recalled how she thought a bigger house would make her happy, but it didn't! She thought a better paying job would make her happy, but it hadn't. When did she realize her greatest happiness? Sitting on the floor with her grandchildren, playing games, eating pizza or reading a story, A simple gift from God.

Now you know it too! We can't depend on people to make us happy. Only GOD in His infinite wisdom can do that. Trust HIM! And now I pass the Secret on to you! So once you get it, what will you do? YOU have to tell someone the Secret, too! That GOD in His wisdom will take care of YOU!

But it's not really a secret... We just have to believe it and do it. Really trust God! I just did and hope you will too.

God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close. Even if you do not need God to open some doors for you pass it on anyway.

From my personal experience, it amuses me to see younger men showing off their wealth in terms of properties (like putting their names on their so-called Wisma or Villa) and luxury cars and seem to sympathize me when seeing me walking around town, sometimes under the hot sun. Would they believe me if I were to tell them the Cantonese saying 'Mah sei lok tei hang' which literally means 'when your horse you are riding died, you need to walk' which goes back to ancient China. In my case, my legs probably need more exercise than my car (in terms of maintaining engine and battery life) and I do not have to worry about finding a parking space and more important, worry over whether I have taken too much time for what I have paid for parking. Similarly, washing the cars, doing the gardening and some DIY jobs myself provide me with free exercise and getting jobs done which give me satisfaction. I was told by my father many years ago that even WT Kiat, an ex-director of Maybank who used to live in a colonial house in Jalan Tun Razak (Jalan Pekeliling) opposite LUTH building, told him that sometimes, he washes his cars as a form of exercise. See the difference between a poor man and a rich man doing the same thing?

Just thought this might be relevant to the topic:

A question was posed to the Dalai Lama: What thing about humanity surprises you the most?

His answer was as follows:

"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn't enjoy the present.
And as a result he doesn't live in the present or the future.
And he lives as if he's never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."

Link

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Being groomed to be our next PM?

Our second PM Tun Razak has his son, Najib as our sixth PM. Third PM Hussein Onn has Hishamuddin as Home Minister. Fourth PM, Tun Dr. Mahathir has Mukhriz as Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry. Fifth PM has son-in-law, Khairy, waiting to be discovered.

Kuli tried and failed; Anwar tried and failed because of Tun, and is trying again. Will he be able to break through this second barrier, courtesy of Tun's chosen successor?

With the encouragement of Daddy, his own Dadikasi, will Mukhriz be able to make it within the exclusively nepotistic club of Malaysian PMs?
Link

New Thai Premier is a breath of fresh air

Who would have thought Yingluck would become PM of Thailand? Which is why popularity in politics may not necessarily require the right credentials of the usual kind. You may not need the required experience as would normally be expected, just enough votes to see you through the elections. Being related to someone who is perceived to have been unfairly treated would certainly help in a big way.

New PM Yingluck Shinawatra receives Royal command


PM Yingluck pays respect


PM Yingluck greeted by husband Anusorn Amornchat and son Supasek
Link

Alibaba poses a threat to Android?

Alibaba, not to be mistaken with the one and his 40 thieves, is a Chinese Internet giant best known for its online superstore. My friend just emailed me this, for the information of others, as I have yet to own a smart phone, being either not smart enough or cannot afford one...

"China overtaking US soon as World's No. 1 economic power, is now endeavouring to be amongst the top in OSes.

Woh, able to run Android apps as well. Good for us Androidites... I'm acceptable to new interesting software. Always be versatile and learn anything new - Android, Meego, Aliyun, Windows 8, Linux, etc.

If AliBaba's devices are reasonably priced, and available here in M'sia, am game to try Aliyun out. Gotta upgrade my dataplan further, first."

http://www.androidmeup.com/articles/android-to-face-new-cloud-based-competition

Link

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to deal with Negative people

A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband.. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded:

" Rome ? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome . So, how are you getting there?"

"We're taking Continental," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"

"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser. " That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome ?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome 's Tiber River called Teste."

"Don't go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks its gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump."

"We're going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope."

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser. You and a million other people trying to see him. He'll look the size of an ant.

Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."

A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome .

"It was wonderful," explained the woman, "not only were we on time in one of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot..

And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, aSwiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me.

Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me.."

"Oh, really! What'd he say ?"

He said: "Oh my God! Who fucked up your hair?"
Link

Advertisements: creative and effective

except this one, which needs more description to attract (note the last claim)...



Thank God the zoom was invented...



Simple objective question: either or...


Subtle hint: what could happen to your car if you chose both options...


Link

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Curry is the cause and the composition of this song



Singapore Immigration Problems of the Curry Kind.

"If you think Australia has immigration problems, consider the atmosphere in Singapore right now, where local Chinese, Indian and Malay Singaporeans are all equally fed up with a large intake of foreigners in recent years, including some northern Indians considered insensitive to the largely southern Indian Tamils of Singapore, and Chinese from the People's Republic of China seen to be culturally very different from Singaporean Chinese, who often owe much more of their cultural makeup, and in many cases their ancestry too, to their Southeast Asian environment and history, than to the land of their forefathers, China.

Things really came to a head the past week or so, after a PRC Chinese immigrant family knocked on their Singapore-Indian neighbours' door in an apartment block and asked them to stop cooking curry because it was too smelly! The worst bit was that a government-backed community mediation group then actually advised the Singaporean family to cook only when the Chinese neighbours were out, a decision that has outraged Singaporeans.

Food is a religion in Singapore, and curry is a national obsession, across the races, so this incident has caused huge offence and generated extremely creative protests across the Internet (as well as deliberate public "Curry Cook-ins" in public spaces).

A well known satirical webmaster, Mr Brown, and team, have concocted a gentler attach, a whole new version of Don McLean's classic, Vincent, better known as "Starry Starry Night" song, now aka "Curry Curry Night"!"

Link

For those who did not make it rich...

we can find comfort in these...

Six Principles Of Life On Money

1. No point using limited life to chase after unlimited money.

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

3. Money is not yours until you spend it.

4. When you are young, you use your health to chase your wealth; when you are old, you use your wealth to buy back your health. The difference is that it is too late.

5. How happy a man is, is not how much he has but how little he needs.

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

However, these wise statements would have credibility only if you are already rich, otherwise others would likely describe you as 'sour grapes'.
Link

Putting cash in perspective

Someone used computer graphics to show us the actual cash which USA owes to others:

"Below is $15 trillion in cash ($15,000,000,000,000) – Unless the U.S. government fixes our budget, the national debt will surpass 15 trillion by Christmas of this year. That is 20% of the entire world's combined GDP and in 2011 the National Debt will exceed 100% of our GDP, and start going into the 100%+ debt-to-GDP ratio that has countries like Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Italy, and Spain (Euro PIIGS) are dealing with... bankrupcy. "
"What to expect for our future? Let's show you...
Below is 114.5 trillion dollars ($114,500,000,000,000): This is the U.S. unfunded liabilities. This is calculated on current tax and funding inputs, and future demographic shifts in the U.S. population. This is the amount of money the U.S. government knows it does not have to fully fund the Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Social Security, Military, and civil servant pensions. It is the money the United States of America knows it will not have to pay all its bills. (Our stacks of money are taller than what used to be two of the tallest towers in the world, theEmpire State Building and the World Trade Center Twin Towers.) "

If only USA has the cash instead of debts, they could literally build highrise with hard cash!


Link

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can we bypass the heart bypass?

Apparently, we might be able to do so... that is, for those whose condition can wait till the researchers are ready... according to this report forwarded by Bayi:

Bypass surgery might be history soon!

In a groundbreaking discovery that may eventually render bypass surgery history, researchers at Tel Aviv University have shown that an injected protein can regrow blood vessels in the human heart.

In heart disease, blood vessels are either clogged or die off, starving the heart of oxygen and leaving it highly susceptible to a cardiac attack.

Dr. Britta Hardy of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine and her team of researchers have developed a protein-based injection that when delivered straight to muscles in the body, sparks the regrowth of tiny blood vessels.

The new vessels in the heart could give millions of people around the world a new lease on life.

"The biotechnology behind our human-based protein therapy is very complicated, but the goal is simple and the solution is straightforward. We intend to inject our drug locally to heal any oxygen-starved tissue. So far in animal models, we''ve seen no side effects and no inflammation following our injection of the drug into the legs. The growth of new blood vessels happens within a few weeks, showing improved blood circulation," said Hardy.

The protein solution can also be added as a coating to a stent. Usually, the implantation of a stent is accompanied by a high risk for blood clots, which necessitates the use of blood thinners.

"We could coat a stent with our peptide, attracting endothelial stem cells to form a film on the surface of the stent. These endothelial cells on the stent would eliminate the need for taking the blood thinners that prevent blood clots from forming," said Hardy.

If investment goals are met, the researchers are hoping that toxicity studies and Phase I trials could be complete within two years.

The researchers began the study for preventing leg amputations, positing that proteins from the human body could be used to trigger the growth of new blood vessels.

Hardy started by studying a library of peptides and testing them in the laboratory and later confirmed initial results.

She then took some of the isolated and synthesized peptides and tested them in diabetic mice whose legs were in the process of dying.

Although diabetes is known to decrease blood circulation, Hardy found that her therapy reversed the decrease.

"Within a short time we saw the formation of capillaries and tiny blood vessels. After three weeks, they had grown and merged together with the rest of the circulatory system," she said.

In mice with limited blood circulation, she was able to completely restore blood vessels and save their legs.

It was then a short step to studying the applicability of the research to cardiac patients.

"It''s pretty obvious if there is regrowth or not. Our technology promises to regrow blood vessels like a net, and a heart that grows more blood vessels becomes stronger. It's now imaginable that, in the distant future, peptide injections may be able to replace bypass surgeries," concluded Hardy.

The study has been published in Biochemical Pharmacology.
Link

Aussie Poetry Competition: and the winner was...

The Australian Poetry Competition had come down to two finalists, a university graduate and an old aboriginal. They were given a word, then allowed two minutes to study the word and come up with a poem that contained the word.

The word they were given was TIMBUKTU.

First to recite his poem was the the university graduate. He stepped to the microphone and said:

Slowly across the desert sand,
Trekked a lonely caravan,
Men on camels two by two,
Destination Timbuktu.

The crowd went crazy! No way could the old aboriginal top that they thought.

The old aboriginal calmly made his way to the microphone and recited;

Me and Tim a huntin’ went,
Met three whores in a pop up tent,
They were three and we were two,
So I bucked one and Timbuktu.

The aboriginal won!
Link

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Swiss-Court JMB: stressful with incorrect statements

I have had bad experience dealing with closing of credit card accounts which has outstanding few cents, (despite paying ahead after checking with them) which incurred minimum Rm5 charges; and then the reluctance on the issuer to actually close it, with a stealthy charge for subscription after a lapse of a couple of years which incurred interest for non-payment (especially if you have moved and unaware of the bill), and so on.

But who would have thought owning an apartment would involve having to check previous payment record each time we receive bills and statement? I can understand the different billing dates of water, electricity, quit rent and insurance, but for Sinking Fund and Maintenance charges? The problem is further complicated by the company's administration having a local office but bills and statements sent from Head Office in KL. I have checked with the local office, then checked with the KL office, but certain items just cannot be deleted from their record. The person in charge of the accounts happens to be Chairman of the JMB, yet despite having clarified with her with details and receipt numbers, charges for a certain period for Sinking Fund continue to be included. It is like dealing with a wall instead. If they have any problem with their own accounts, the right thing to do after my clarification is to transfer the amount to their own suspense account to be sorted out or even written off. By leaving it in our account, I would even suspect this amount is being treated as amount owing by us in their accounts. Though small in amount, multiplied by the number of owners can be substantial.

Because of the distance, to simplify the process of payment, I have a standard letter of payment which is photocopied with the bank pay-in slip, providing details of payment, which is then faxed to their Damai Laut office.

How I wish the accounts are up to date and correct so that each time we can just pay the amount stated in their latest statement without having to check with old record to ensure we do not overpay. Perhaps they hope we would pay without checking, was that their intention?

Update: In the afternoon, got a call from management (thought that was quick), but asking if we had left the air-cond on by mistake. Again, I honestly could not be sure these days with our poor memory, but SP insisted that we did switch off on our last visit some weeks ago. Got another call to confirm that our unit had been broken into because our back doors were open, they were at the next unit investigating so the first call was to confirm our situation. Some professional squatters had been using our unit and meant to stay for a long while because they left behind rice, salt, sugar, minced pork, vegetables, packet drinks, instant noodles, and unpleasant odor of stale smoke. In their quick exit, there was also some cooked food in the pot.
Link

A new book on women...

or a directory of Malaysian Datuks? Or court documents relating to Anwar's trials?


Link

Monday, August 22, 2011

Somewhere in Pakistan...

where the lift comes as it likes...




and the days are longer than ours...








Once upon a time in China

This 1908 picture of tea couriers in Sichuan reminds me of what I had been told of my grandmother who used to be a tea picker in Fujian province, despite her feet being bound, unlike those in this picture.


A coal mine in China in 1909, the year my father was born in Malaya.

and what a river cruise was like in the same year...



Razaleigh.com has been hacked?

Kuli's latest post title, 'The secret stimulus package' must be sensitive to the Umno leaders and thus their cyber-troopers. If you click on the link, you are directed to Go Daddy. com with its front page full of advertisements, without the article you are looking for.

http://razaleigh.com/the-secret-stimulus-package

Link

Muslims are going to be socially exclusive

The following is an email highlighting the strict Muslim requirements which would effectively segregate Muslims from the Non-Muslims...

"YOU ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO INVITE MUSLIM FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS FOR YOUR FESTIVE CELEBRATIONS COS THE CHANCES ARE THAT YOU WILL DEFINITELY NOT MEET THE GUIDELINES

http://www.islam.gov.my/en/guidelines-muslims-celebrating-religious-festivals-non-muslims

Anything spontaneous is likely to be against the law.
Link

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jom Penang, for Assam Laksa

With a newspaper cutting from The Star by Helen Ong on Assam Laksa being mentioned on CNN's list, we set off on Saturday morning to Penang with SP's sister and my daughter. Actually the article was for reading only, not as a reference, as SP had already set her mind (like always) on Balik Pulau's 'assam laksa, but lemak'.

We do not normally ensure that the stall is open on a particular day of travel because each trip is meant to be for more than one purpose. For this one, we took along an old wooden deck chair and a seat for rebinding by Leong on Chulia Street; CY went along to order a pair of shoes to be custom made by Wong of Craft at Komtar; and so on.

I was to discover and confirm that SP has a problem with her memory. I distinctly heard her confirming that we will reach her sister's place at 10.30am. On the way, I joked to CY that our excuse was to be 'traffic jam' something uncommon in Ipoh, especially along the Ipoh-Lumut highway. SP insisted she told her 'leaving at 10.30am! When we arrived one hour late, her sister said that she knew we would be late like always and 11.30am is considered as expected! She confirmed what I heard correctly earlier. It was the next day that another sister, who is a doctor and her specialist husband, confirmed that the drug for lowering cholesterol could affect memory! I was glad I have been right most times, arguing over what had been said, otherwise it was also affecting me, wondering each time whether it was me or her.

Anyway, with my usual driving according to speed limits, we reached Balik Pulau at 2 pm. I was worried it was going to be a waste of travel time but the stall was still open for business. 3 of us ordered 'with lemak' while CY ordered without. Assam laksa is not my cup of tea but the trouble in getting there made me order one for myself and it was really good. Both sisters really enjoyed till the last drop of soup and ordered another bowl without lemak for a change, to be shared. They were supposed to try another stall but the one opposite seemed to lack customers, not an encouraging sign at all.

We took the Batu Ferringhi way to town. First stop was Leong's rattan shop at Chulia St. knowing full well the shoe shop closes later. Chulia St. also was the right place for money-changing as CY has to travel to Thailand and Europe. We parked at a place near Komtar and we put in coins for two hours, till 7.00 pm. By the time we were ready to leave, there was heavy downpour and we had a drink at a mamak shop nearby. Personally, I would have dinner there but SP had already set her mind (as usual) on the Thai restaurant at Clove Hall Rd.

Craft, the shoe shop, was recommended by someone who taught SP how to make beaded shoes, few years ago in Penang. Its unassuming display include some newspaper write-ups with pictures of senior Wong and the renown Datuk Jimmy Choo. I suppose little is known about senior Wong being Jimmy Choo's ex-sifu, before he made his name in Europe and worldwide, with some celebrities as his regular customers. So it was definitely a good deal to get good workmanship at normal prices at Craft!



Link

Saturday, August 20, 2011

EC Chairman's Errors only 0.0001%

Someone has rightly pointed out that 0.0001% of 12.4 million registered voters equals only 12.4 voters found to have errors. If I happened to be one (I was), then my case would constitute 8%! Let's not argue over the illogical 0.4 of a person which is common when dealing in statistics. But it is certainly unbecoming of the EC Chairman to quote a percentage without careful thought. The mistakes pointed out by various parties usually run into hundreds, if not thousands of each kind. Chances are those could be just the tip of the iceberg, especially where they involved possible manipulation. So what about those yet to be discovered?

Like in auditing, where a random sample is taken to test a system (which is what the opposition and other NGOs have been doing to prove to the EC), even a small number of a mistake found could prove to be a fundamental weakness in the system. For example, those ICs which have '00' as place of birth, have been confirmed to be non-existent. It would be ideal if the system could list out the rest of those with such a code. More important, how could such mistakes happen? Thousands of registered voters over 100 years of age should have been listed in exception reports by the EC and checked to see if they are still alive, instead of having to be pointed out by the opposition. From what we have witnessed so far, EC merely acted on reports of errors by others, which reflected badly on their efficiency and integrity. It is a clear case of management by crisis. As someone has pointed out, we do not need more laws but proper enforcement of existing laws. Can our EC do that please?

Link

Friday, August 19, 2011

Public Bank's Big Bash too lavish?

Khairy was one of those who thought so. Twitted that the North Korean President would be jealous.

One of the things I noticed was the use of an ordinary Isuzu pick-up truck which has a meaningful registration of PBB 3 which is the only item which could be considered extravagant at a presumed 5-figure tender sum. The outriders, whether real traffic policemen or just actors in police uniform, could be hired from Rm20 each for the real ones, according to funeral sources. Public bank is a highly successful bank with a record of excellent profits almost every year. For its 45th Anniversary celebration and thanks to the extraordinary stewardship of its Chairman and in view of his age, I think the costs involved should not be viewed as too lavish. It was truly a celebration of success for its chairman and is not likely to be an annual event. I do not think the bank's minority shareholders would mind. We should contrast this with the lavish, marked-up costs of events of our political leaders at public's expense.

The only thing which I think some people might complain about could be the idolatry treatment of the chairman by staff and performers.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/08/18/public-banks-lavish-party-sparks-ridicule/
Link

HP TouchPad: Gone before you can touch it!

We have Touch 'n' Go cards which make life easier at toll booths, train stations, and so on. But in the case of HP's TouchPad (have never seen one myself), before you could say 'Christopher Robinson', it is gone! Or at least, going to be, according to this report forwarded by a friend:

Aug 18, 2011 - 3:18 PM - by pbrauer

HP Officially Kills the TouchPad

Over before it even really started, Hewlett Packard announced today that they are killing the TouchPad line introduced last month, along with announcing plans to exit the home computer business. Executives at HP have been authorized to examine options such as spinning off or selling outright the PC operations, even though HP currently is the world's largest manufacturer of personal home and business computers.

Even though they have created a whole new operating system, WebOS and purchased Palm it looks as though they were just too late to the party and want to re-focus the overall company on profitability and not just market share. The end of the line includes all WebOS based handsets, phones and devices.

So long Touchpad, we hardly knew ya!

source - Reuters UK

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Amazing lack of security in hotels

It occurs to me that by showing this video clip, it not only help hotel guests to prevent possible illegal entry into their rooms, but also helps those with criminal intent to learn how to gain entry. But hopefully, with more exposure, more people would take precautions and more would-be thieves will be deterred from the publicity. Hotel security management should also beware of people walking around with such a simple tool.



This reminds me of the simple tools used in several thefts of mobile phones in our house in PJ. This thief just needed to carry a 3-ft pvc pipe, a wooden stick of about the same length which fits into the pipe, a small piece of rubber cut from a slipper, and strong glue to be used at time of operation. The glue helps to stick the phone or wallet which can be fished out easily from an open window. So air-conditioning helps in a way to prevent such thefts.

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Are Christmas carols going to be banned in public?

I was watching news on TV3 and there was an interview by its lady crew member with a parent and his son, about the latter's experience in a kindergarten in Jalan Kelang Lama, KL, where Christian hymns were taught and videos on Christianity were shown. It seems to be a big deal in terms of sensitivity because both father and son looked away from the camera with their faces digitally covered even when a bit was shown. I do not condone such activities, especially under present circumstances of high sensitivities, unlike less than 50 years ago, when even Malay students could choose to even attend chapels in schools without anyone raising their eyebrows. A close Malay friend of mine did that! I have read Marina Mahathir's experience in Convent Bukit Nanas and I am sure even our PM, would have no trouble with what went on in St. John's Institution. I have just read Patrick Teoh's latest post in his Niamah blog which shows a 1968 picture of a Malay couple in a Guinness advertisement!

If the purpose of the news on TV3 was to expose the possible proselytizing going on in that particular kindergarten, then it only shows how narrow our education is going to be. In our present highly sensitive Malay Muslim environment, Muslim students are not allowed to have anything to do with Jews, and now Christianity. If this is the case, then very soon, shopping complexes would be banned from having images of Christmas events and the playing of carols during the Christmas season. In fact, certain Elvis's songs are very Christian indeed, so Muslims should not listen or sing those songs too. We have had complaints about the overly excessive decorations for Christmas as compared with Muslim festivals.

I dread to think how students in future would be so narrow-minded that they know only Muslim religion and culture, oblivious to what other races are doing. Malays should not study European history because it invariably touched on Christianity and its crusades. Touring Europe, all old buildings should be avoided because they are likely to have crucifixes and images of Jesus and or Mother Mary.

Personally, I was brought up in a very superstitious environment where my maternal relatives believed in treating illnesses with prayers to idols. I have been to many temples and been through all kinds of rites, yet I cannot claim to be religious. I have attended school chapels for 11 years, some church services and even played simple bass during a Christmas mass. Yet I am not a Christian. My daughter is very interested in European and other history and her visits to old buildings are likely to be very detailed, yet she is not a Christian. So the present fuss over some Malay Muslims found in Christian church or kindergarten is in my opinion, much ado over nothing. Even our King and Queen attended the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton which took place in Westminster Abbey, with full Christian wedding service by the Archbishop and the singing of Christian hymns.



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Koon Yew Yin: Vote wisely in support of change

A role model's advice to vote wisely... in support of change. In fact, we need more like Dr. Kumar who could take on the present arrogant ministers in the next general election. Each time they appear on television with their grin and spin, I wish for an early election so that the voters could spare us of having to put up with such nonsense. Excerpt of Mr. Koon's recent speech in Jelapang on August 13:

"To Dr Kumar, I would like to say that you are the people’s hero and the action of the authorities in detaining you has angered all fair minded people in the country. I would also like to point out that when the Barisan Nasional was riding high and its leaders appeared to be invincible, it was Dr. Kumar who stood up to challenge Dato Seri Samy Vellu.

At that time too, I provided a modest donation in support of his campaign to dethrone Samy and I am happy to note that the unthinkable did happen. The Sungei Siput voters saw the light and gave Samy the boot.

Today, I am here also because I want to remind you of the following concerns which are uppermost in my mind when I go to the polling booth. These concerns are not mine alone. I believe they are shared by the majority of Malaysians who love the country as much as I do.

1. I want the best people to govern us.

2. I want a good education system so that our children do not have to emigrate.

3. I want a good and fair civil service to manage our country well.

4. I want a good and fair police force.

5. I want a good and fair judiciary.

6. I want an effective MACC that does its job in going after the really big fish (such as the dentist who lives in a RM6 million house) without concern for the political position or affiliation of the suspects.

7. I want the new government to stop giving out large concessions and contracts without open tenders so that we can get cheaper rates for essential services such as water, electricity, highway tolls etc

8. I want the new government to investigate the purchase of the two Scorpene submarines that was made a joke of for allegedly failing to submerge, the RM500 million in commissions paid for the purchase, and the related murder of Altantuya, the Mongolian translator.

9. I want all Malaysians to vote wisely so that changes can take place in our government to ensure that all these concerns are taken care of..."

Rest of his article in CPI:
http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2231:vote-wisely-in-support-of-change&catid=211:koon-yew-yin&Itemid=193

The people's wishes are simple, yet our present electoral system does not ensure those wishes to come true. We need overwhelming support for change in order to counter built-in unfair practices. Perhaps, Samy lost because he was out of favour then and did not have the advantages. Postal votes were perceived to have been used to help key ministers maintain their mandate.

Incidentally, Hussein Hamid in his post, 'The arrogance of power' almost two years ago and just posted again today, had this to say at the end of his article:

"This is what I try to do. If by my writing I can turn one person against UMNO – just one – then we are one person ahead towards our ‘brand new beginning’. Do as I do. Go talk to one person and bring him or her into our fold – then one by one we will slowly but surely build up our strength and strike down UMNO and Barisan. Go do it now!"

Rest of his article:
http://steadyaku-steadyaku-husseinhamid.blogspot.com/2011/08/arrogance-of-power.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Steadyaku47+%28steadyaku47%29

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What if our Armed Forces Chief misplaces his loyalty?

"How can we be loyal to you if you're disloyal to us?"

Almost everyone who commented on his statement on national television seems to criticize his misplaced loyalty. How could he label those who admitted to voting for others on duty as being disloyal? How would he know if ever there were such cases of fraud before? Instead of checking first before commenting, his presumption of perfect voting procedures showed his bias towards the ruling party. To appear impartial, he should have said that those who have been ordered to vote illegally for others should come forward so that proper investigation can be carried out and steps would be taken to ensure no recurrence in future. To all fair-minded citizens, the Armed Forces is now another institution under the control of BN. Denial seems to be the easy solution to all complaints about the voting system.

Dr. Rafick's comments in his blog:
http://rights2write.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/loyalty-to-the-king-and-country/

Comments in Malaysiakini:
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/173464
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Malaysia welcomes... but only the right Khan

Imran? Is he the one who captained Pakistan's cricket team before? No? What? Commonwealth lawyer... representing Hindraf? But Hindraf is already history, as in outlawed! Deport him!

We are more interested in those from Bollywood, ok? We even bestowed Datukship to Shahrukh, maybe even to Salman, if he so wishes.

'Deportation' orders are becoming common, even within Malaysia. Recently, Malaysians, mind you, like Ambiga, Wong Chin Huat and Ong Beng Keong were not allowed into Sarawak.

From CPI: Shameful silence over deportation of Hindraf lawyer
http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2230:shameful-silence-over-deportation-of-hindraf-lawyer&catid=118:cpi-press-releases&Itemid=162

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A friend in need is a friend indeed...

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble.

At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.

'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

'Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'

The man gestured, and the gate began to open. 'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.

There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book....

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump,' said the man.

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.

'This is Heaven,' he answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said.

'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'

So now you see, sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding stuff to us without writing a word. Maybe this will explain it.

When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do? You forward emails.

When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.

When you have something to say, but don't know what, and don't know how....you forward stuff.

A 'forward' lets you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for.

So, next time if you get a 'forward', don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile.

You are welcome at my water bowl anytime !!

"Live without pretending... Love without depending... Listen without defending...Speak without offending."

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Test yourself at Tesco

One day, in line at the works cafeteria, Jack says to Mike behind him, 'My elbow hurts like hell. I suppose I'd better see a doctor!'

Listen mate; don't waste your time down at the surgery, Mike replies. There's a diagnostic computer at Tesco. Just give it a urine sample and the computer will tell you what's wrong, and what to do about it.

It takes ten seconds and only costs five quid....a lot quicker and better than a doctor and you get Clubcard points'.

So Jack collects a urine sample in a small jar and takes it to Tesco. He deposits five pounds and the computer lights up and asks for the urine sample. He pours the sample into the slot and waits.

Ten seconds later, the computer ejects a printout:
'You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water and avoid heavy activity. It will improve in two weeks'.

That evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was, Jack began wondering if the computer could be fooled.

He mixed some tap water, a stool sample from his dog, urine samples from his wife and daughter, and 'pleasured himself' into the mixture for good measure. Jack hurried back to Tesco, eager to check what would happen.

He deposits five pounds, pours in his concoction, and awaits the results with a grin. The computer prints the following:

1) Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener.

2) Your dog has ringworm. Bathe him with anti-fungal shampoo.

3) Your daughter has a cocaine habit. Get her into rehab.

4) Your wife is pregnant. Twins. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer.

5) And if you don't stop playing with yourself, your elbow will never get better....

Thank you for shopping at Tesco.
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No more spontaneity

In the old days, Malays, Chinese and Indians mixed freely for simple games, sometimes with made-up rules, and ate and drank freely. I can still remember as a kid, playing football at the back of a sawmill, on soft sawdust, next to a charcoal-making site, drinking from the tap. A Pakistani roti-seller was a welcome sight when we felt hungry after the games. I learned a bit of Hindi like 'kesah hei' and 'Achah hogiah' and 'ek, lo, din, chia, etc.' There were more than one 'Dins', short for Kamaruddin and Baharuddin and so on. The sawmill was next to our workshop land (we were between two sawmills) and incidentally, it was through me that the land was sold to Kah Motor Sdn Bhd in the early 90s!

Fast forward to just before the turn of the century, in Batu Gajah, Perak. My two daughters were then studying at SMK St. Bernadette Convent. Truth be told, studying in national schools made a big difference in the way they mix with their fellow students. But, I noticed the subtle or not so subtle differences in the removal of crucifixes and the introduction of more things Islamic in the school. Even Malay teachers and students felt the pressure of having to wear tudungs despite some having medical reasons not to do so. Food preparation was more particular as to the source of food and who prepared them. Even fresh fruits had to be cut in school and not in a Chinese non-Muslim house. It was alright if in an Indian house!

When Cheng celebrated her birthday one year, inviting school friends, she had to make sure satay, canned drinks and paper cups and saucers were available for Malay friends and only after they have left, were the non-Halal dishes brought out! I think she was put off after that.

Later, as I was more receptive to stories about these new religious requirements, I heard about Chinese families having problems when their son or daughter married a Muslim. Cutlery and crockery have to be separated, besides food. Some parents were put off and refused to be dictated. These days, people are not so accommodating, especially when they are busy themselves. Even children do not have time for their parents, so anything slightly bothersome and the attitude becomes, 'take it or leave it'. A more extreme example was one woman who said, 'My son or daughter can marry a Muslim, but he or she will not get anything from me. Why should I leave property to be decided under Syariah law?' There are evidently less visits between Muslims and non-Muslims. Now, with the ever vigilant JAIS and JAKIM and what have you, non-Muslims tend to feel, why bother if there are so many restrictions? Life is already complicated enough. These are views of ordinary folks, not that of politicians who have to be politically correct in public.

I personally feel race is not as important a factor in segregation, but religion is. Malaysian Muslims seem to be more particular about form rather than substance, sticking to details on the way they dress and so on, but condone corruption.

Latest from CPI:
http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2229:politics-of-religion-by-pas-umno-and-dap&catid=219:contributors&Itemid=189



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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amazing spider webs

At first glance, I thought they were snow on top of trees.

An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters.

Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. People in this part of Sindh have never seen this phenomenon before but they also report that there are now far fewer mosquitoes than they would expect, given the amount of stagnant, standing water that is around.

It is thought that the mosquitos are getting caught in the spiders web thus reducing the risk of malaria, which would be one blessing for the people of Sindh, facing so many other hardships after the floods.

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Peace of mind: fighting a losing battle

I am en route to becoming a hermit, hopefully with peace of mind.

A few years ago, I shelved my under-used 728i mainly to save on the road tax, and put at bay any repair costs which included its battery as a result of being under-used. Temporary peace of mind, just the space which takes up the other porch.

I de-registered my own company which put a stop to the need to prepare simple accounts and have it audited annually, while having to pay retainer for company secretary.

I did not seek re-election as branch chairman of a political party, and found relief in not having to attend any activities. One of the reasons had to do with my blogging which I would prefer to have the freedom of expression. Though I have not encountered any complaints, my own self-censorship makes it stifling in that at the back of my mind, there is this question, 'in terms of party hierarchy, who am I to make comments about national politics?' The fact that I was little known meant little publicity, so I could write as I wish within certain limits. But people like Jeff Ooi, who was a well known blogger who turned politician, has to be so careful with what he says. I bet he missed his previous freedom in writing or speaking. Now, he has to remind himself that he is an MP, Chief of Staff in Penang's Chief Minister's administration, and so on.

Anyway, while I cut down on commitments, my other half in her gung-ho mood, got more and more involved in business activities as if life for her began at 60! So I am now in a lose-lose situation of having to be on standby, without peace of mind because if anything happens to her, I will have to sort her things out. Believe me, she makes life complicated in whatever she does while I am an expert in finding simple solutions. For example, the smallholdings that she co-owns, her partners do not even know the exact location! While our son is too busy to even look after 400 sq. ft. of garden, how is he expected to look after smallholdings in obscure places?

On the other hand, if I go first, I go in peace leaving everybody with peace of mind, because living up to my acronym, I come with nothing and I go with nothing to bother others.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

When my notebook got zapped by lightning...

everything in it were gone: saved articles, drafts, photos and so on. Having experienced system crashes before, I did mean to save some of my recollections of 'Cold blood, warm heart' for future posting. For a change, I thought of saving them as drafts in my blog which would be safe and in sequence, to be posted when I have sorted them out for coherency. I knew saving as drafts in the notebook would be gone in a system crash. Yet, I did not expect the lightning to undo my work which was not saved as drafts in my blog.

One of the things I meant to comment about was the difference in character between two so-called brothers, Pong and Lap. Pong, being the eldest son of rich banker Yip Seng, was offered a position in the family bank as well as a place in their family home, but refused on a matter of principle: that his father was heartless to him and his mother for having abandoned them before when they needed him most. Lap, on the other hand, was eager to gain a foothold in Yip's family, by first getting to know Chris, and later, her sister, Grace, who married him.

His ambitions did not stop at being just a son-in-law with a high position in the bank. He wanted to become his own man, and got involved in drug dealings and money-laundering which got him in troubles which included one murder after another, out of necessity sometimes, to silence people who knew too much, including his father-in-law! He managed to control his uncle-in-law, Cheung, who was at his mercy because of his own ambition within the bank which depended on his good behaviour. Lap knew too much of his dirty deals.

Cheung, who had always been sidelined, was in charge of the bank after his brother was killed by Lap, thought he had an opportunity to shine by going international. Cheung was conned by Lap, who managed to use a nominee in an unknown company to secretly buy up the bank's shares in the market. It was Lap's greatest moment of glory to reveal himself at a board meeting as the new Chairman of the bank, which caused old Yip to have a heart attack.

What I find hard to believe in such stories is the portrayal of Lap as a successful billionaire one moment, and a fugitive who had nothing to cling to, soon after! How could he lose all his support within the bank, of his henchmen, and so on? Instead of a trial to get him convicted, Lap was killed by an assassin sent by a foreign drug kingpin because he could not repay his huge debts used in his successful auction bids against Pong over 3 pieces of land meant for his landmark project. An earthquake in Japan caused his project to fail. Lap had his field days in court when he was helped by a good criminal lawyer, time and again. Surely viewers would like to see him convicted in a trial and see his lawyer cringe for a change, instead of just being killed!

Pong stood to head the bank since he was the sole surviving son of Yip Seng. A case of not fighting for something, yet fated to have it on a platter. But being the reluctant corporate man, he opted out in favour of his step-nephew Hong.

I have actually written the final episode soon after viewing it on Astro, but alas it was gone with the lightning.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The story behind the Praying Hands

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.

Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation.

Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming.

After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition.

His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ..no ...no ..no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg.

It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ...for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works.

More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward.

He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - - ever makes it alone!
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Prejudice could have changed the course of history

While we await our next general election with much anticipation and hope for a drastic change, of government and its leaders, Pakatan Rakyat leaders are expected to select their candidates with a view to the possibility of taking over the federal government. People have questioned the lack of a shadow cabinet as a sign of unpreparedness. I believe there is no shortage of capable leaders. In fact, they are spoilt for choice and even have problems of intense rivalry among coalition partners and within parties. Pakatan government leaders are expected to be of a different breed, of higher moral standards and hopefully without skeletons in the closets which might be revealed or blackmailed later. We have seen how Perak was wrested from them because some were greedy or entrapped to do their bidding.

The irony of it is that periods under detention or in jail are counted positively as some sort of badges of honour because of the perceived injustice meted to them. If ever Anwar could be PM as a result of Pakatan victory, assuming he escaped jail sentence, he would be the first PM to have served a jail sentence before! We have already a Chief Minister of Penang who had a history of detention under ISA and a jail sentence. What a fine example he has shown in governing Penang!

The following are popular examples of how not to prejudge someone's character based on our prejudices:

Question 1:

If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?

Question 2:

It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three candidates.

Candidate A
Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day!;

Candidate B
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.

Which of these candidates would be your choice?

Answer to Question No. 1

If your answer to the abortion question: Is YES .. . . .. . . you have just killed Beethoven the GREAT musician because he was born as the 9th child with such family history.

Answer to Question No. 2

Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.

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How to ward off Dementia?

"More and more research is suggesting that lifestyle is very important to your brain's health," says Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "If you want to live a long, healthy life, then many of us need to start as early as we can."

So what can you do to beef up your brain - and possibly ward off dementia? Nussbaum, who recently gave a speech on the topic for the Winter Park ( Fla. ) Health Foundation, offers 20 tips that may help.

1. Join clubs or organizations that need volunteers. If you start volunteering now, you won't feel lost and unneeded after you retire.

2. Develop a hobby or two. Hobbies help you develop a robust brain because you're trying something new and complex.

3. Practise writing with your non-dominant hand several minutes everyday. This will exercise the opposite side of your brain and fire up those neurons.

4. Take dance lessons. In a study of nearly 500 people, dancing was the only regular physical activity associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The people who danced three or four times a week showed 76 percent less incidence of dementia than those who danced only once a week or not at all.

5. Need a hobby? Start gardening. Researchers in New Zealand found that, of 1,000 people, those who gardened regularly were less likely to suffer from dementia! Not only does gardening reduce stress, but gardeners use their brains to plan gardens; they use visual and spatial reasoning to lay out a garden.

6. Walking daily can reduce the risk of dementia because cardiovascular health is important to maintain blood flow to the brain. or...Buy a pedometer and walk 10,000 steps a day.

7. Read and write daily. Reading stimulates a wide variety of brain areas that process and store information. Likewise, writing (not copying) stimulates many areas of the brain as well.

8. Start knitting. Using both hands works both sides of your brain. And it's a stress reducer.

9. Learn a new language. Whether it's a foreign language or sign language,you are working your brain by making it go back and forth between one language and the other. A researcher in England found that being bilingual seemed to delay symptoms of Alzheimer's disease for four years. And some research suggests that the earlier a child learns sign language, the higher his IQ - and people with high IQs are less likely to have dementia. So start them early.

10. Play board games such as Scrabble and Monopoly. Not only are you taxing your brain, you're socializing too. Playing solo games, such as solitaire or online computer brain games can be helpful, but Nussbaum prefers games that encourage you to socialize too.

11. Take classes throughout your lifetime. Learning produces structural and chemical changes in the brain, and education appears to help people live longer. Brain researchers have found that people with advanced degrees live longer - and if they do have Alzheimer's, it often becomes apparent only in the very later stages of the disease.

12. Listen to classical music. A growing volume of research suggests that music may hard wire the brain, building links between the two hemispheres. Any kind of music may work, but there's some research that shows positive effects for classical music, though researchers don't understand why.

13. Learn a musical instrument. It may be harder than it was when you were a kid, but you'll be developing a dormant part of your brain.

14. Travel. When you travel (whether it's to a distant vacation spot or on a different route across town), you're forcing your brain to navigate a new and complex environment. A study of London taxi drivers found experienced drivers had larger brains because they have to store lots of information about locations and how to navigate there.

15. Pray. Daily prayer appears to help your immune system. And people who attend a formal worship service regularly live longer and report happier, healthier lives.

16. Learn to meditate. It's important for your brain that you learn to shut out the stresses of everyday life.

17. Get enough sleep. Studies have shown a link between interrupted sleep and dementia.

18. Eat more foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, sardines, tuna, ocean trout, mackerel or herring, plus walnuts (which are higher in omega 3s than salmon) and flaxseed. Flaxseed oil, cod liver oil and walnut oil are good sources too.

19. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables mop up some of the damage caused by free radicals, one of the leading killers of brain cells.

20. Eat at least one meal a day with family and friends. You'll slow down, socialize, and research shows you'll eat healthier food than if you ate alone or on the go.

(In case you did not realize...) doing all 20 things you will not find enough time in your life to fit in dementia.

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A Singaporean's National Prayer

Dear Lord,

Last year I prayed that you make the poor a little richer and the rich a little poorer. You obviously mixed that up and today the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

I also asked that you give our ruler a bit more heart and less brain. Again you mixed that up. You gave us a few more brains than necessary. A particular one comes in the form of CCS, whom we know has a lot of brain, being a scholar and all, but he has his heart set in complying with his boss, who promised him a high salary, and probably interim PM till LKY’s grandson is old enough. Worse of all, you gave us TPL, no brain, no heart, just mouth. I sure as hell didn’t pray for that but I wouldn’t complain if you at least give her some looks.

Lord, the result of your error is a crazy rampant over emphasis on growth, growth, and more growth. While in that pursuit a lot of us were left behind through no fault of ours. I think we are just victims of circumstances. We tried and tried but never seem to be able to catch up. Yet 60.1% thinks it is OK simply because they have a job, a house (I mean flat), kids get tuition, Straits Times to tell stories, and that’s all they care, thus losing their eyesight.

Let Us Pray

Please give our ruler a sense of moral value, to do good for the people whose lives depend on their decision.

Please guide our ruler towards equality for all and not just some. No one should be
above the law and special privileged arrangement to benefit someone is tantamount to corruption.

Please give the eyesight back to the 60.1%; give them the courage to vote without fear; give them the sensibility to know the truth from the myth. Please enlighten them that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Please teach our ruler the meaning of justice. It simply means fairness. Therefore the Chief justice must be independent, elected by the people if possible; the election department must not come under the PM’s office; Detention without trial must be abolished; and the list goes on but to avoid you mixing up again, I will save some for next year.

Lastly, please take LKY with you and have him guard the Garden of Eden. I think he will do a great job outwitting the serpent, although you might have to be extra careful not to let him take over your job.

Alternatively, you can send him downstairs as he will terrify the hell out of Satan.
Please be quick before the Chinese immigrants make him a deity – Kuan Yew, God of No Mercy.

He has outlived his usefulness on earth; you must have missed him during your last pick up.

Please, please, please, don’t miss him again.

Amen
Don Key, (an ordinary average not too highly educated person)

(a.k.a. Ass? I bet someone will come up with a Malaysian one soon)
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Frontmen: obvious links and when things go wrong

Tun Dr. Mahathir started the flourish of billionaires through mega privatizations of public resources controlled by cronies. It was such a cozy arrangement: political leaders decide who gets what, and political parties get funded by them. If politicians got super rich in the process, they too got a share each in the spoils. Win-win situations indeed, until recessions set back the arrangements, which depended much on loans, and their plans fell apart. Golden boys like Halim Saad, Tajuddin Ramli, Wan Azmi and the like, fell from their lofty positions one by one.

The problem with having nominees is that the real owners of shares is kept secret. Though there are pre-signed documents for any eventuality, the nominees get to enjoy the status of successful super rich businessmen. Never mind if the shares were for so and so, the banks are more than happy to advance huge loans to them. Unexpected problems arose because of untimely deaths when children expect their shares according to official figures; or upon divorce, the wife claimed for half of what he officially owned.

We have seen how some documents signed by Halim Saad were unenforceable, and now those by Tajuddin Ramli are going to meet the same fate too. Isn't it obvious certain political leaders (past and/or present) are just covering their own asses? Is it any wonder foreign businessmen would insist on international court of law for settlement of any possible future disputes?
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

What not to learn from Britain

When British left Malaya, we inherited a fine system of administration led by a fair Prime Minister. Our standard of English was excellent, envied by other countries, especially non-Commonwealth ones.

Over 54 years, our system of administration is now almost of single race with a distinct bias towards it, and we have had a succession of Prime Ministers who opted not for meritocracy but to ensure they remain in power. One of the most obvious outcome is the increasing number of unemployable graduates and youths who shun manual jobs or refuse to learn a skill to overcome it. Lack of proficiency in English has led to diminishing chances of advancement in their careers.

Perhaps, we can find comfort in reading about Britain facing similar problems relating to youths...

"No sensible employer in a service industry would choose a young Briton if he could have a young Pole; the young Pole is not only likely to have a good work ethic and refined manners, he is likely to be able to add up and -- most humiliating of all -- to speak better English than the Briton, at least if by that we mean the standard variety of the language. He may not be more fluent but his English will be more correct and his accent easier to understand.

This is not an exaggeration. After compulsory education (or perhaps I should say intermittent attendance at school) up to the age of 16 costing $80,000 a head, about one-quarter of British children cannot read with facility or do simple arithmetic. It makes you proud to be a British taxpayer."

More:
http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/special-reports/42726-british-rioters-the-spawn-of-a-bankrupt-ruling-elite


While on the subject of Britain, and the recent riots, Art Harun took pains to explain the difference between what happened there and what happened here (Bersih rally)...
ARTHarun: London riots
http://art-harun.blogspot.com/2011/08/london-riots.html
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MAS: Let bygones be bygones...

so where is the accountability? Ministers made decisions on mega deals, but when things went wrong, they do not have to be accountable. We all know mega bucks mean mega commissions or kickbacks, with ACA (morphed into MACC, not to be confused with the popular Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians) closing one eye and shut the other. We have AG who can be like God, who can decide who to prosecute or persecute; we have the judiciary making decisions favourable to BN (if not at Magistrate level, then High Court, then if necessary, the Federal Court); now we even have a Minister in the PM's department who has the mandate to tell government agencies to 'let bygones be bygones, we must move on'. Such simple solution to difficult matters... all these are possible, only in Bolehland!

The Malaysian Insider:
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-directs-glcs-danaharta-to-drop-all-claims-against-tajuddin-ramli/

Not so easy, according to ex-cop Mat Zain...

"A former senior cop has called for charges to be brought against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramlim saying the withdrawal of civil suits against the former Malaysian Airline (MAS) chairman does not indemnify him against criminal culpability..."

More:
http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2011/08/13/a-g-must-still-prosecute-tajuddin-says-mat-zain/

Raja Petra's comments with list of his earlier exposes:
http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/42766-ahah-did-we-not-say-so
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MAS-Air Asia Merger: AA saviour or being saved?

Depending on who gives the opinion, there is more than meets the eyes.

With such a mega merger, there are bound to be differences of opinions; praises or criticisms which come naturally when you stand to gain or you have been left out of the loop; from politicians, depending on which side you are on, as well as whether you are supposed to support because of loyalty to your leaders who are involved in the deal.

The first salvo was quick, coming from Sakmongkol AK47 in his latest post: Sting is in the air?
http://sakmongkol.blogspot.com/2011/08/sting-is-in-air.html

Excerpt:

"I know this is a BAD deal because Dr Mahathir said so. Dr Mahathir always say something when he actually mean the reverse.

Yeah baby, what can we learn from AA?

How about the home grown talent’s records then? Well, let’s see. As of the 1st Quarter of 2011, Air Asia (AA) debts amounted to 7.7 billion with cash balances amounting to 1.7billion. This part doesn’t require teaching for MAS. Its executives are renowned masters.

Let’s see further. Hmm, in August 2010. AA announced a deferment of their proposed aircraft purchases but sometime in June 2011 they reversed their decision and proceeded to place an order for an additional 200 new aircrafts at the Paris Air Show. No big deal, we can order as many as we want. Possibly the commissions earned from the purchases dwarf the one earned from the Scorpene submarines which are not submersible."

The above caught my eyes because only recently I discussed with a friend what Tony Fernandes used to complain: "What do I get for being a so-called crony?" Besides, being given a relatively free hand to run the airline (read without harassment from authorities, probably even favoured treatment upon certain requests), commissions should be a motivating factor too. Many people believe Tony is fronting for some VVIPs like Tun Dr. Mahathir, Tun Dr. Ling, Ananda Krishnan and so on. AK is being used as flight letters before the numbers which many presumed to be relating to Ananda Krishnan. AK47 of the blogger is just coincidence!

Meanwhile, let's see what the aviation specialists or financial analysts have to say.

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