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!

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan
Was he referring to Malaysia? Seems so apt...

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Error prone EC seems well protected from scrutiny!

It seems incredible but true that the rules set are not meant for meaningful correction of errors, and for this error prone institution which is depended upon to elect our ruling politicians, how could we allow this to continue?

According to DAP's Lee Wee Tak:

'The 3 rules are designed to frustrate initiatives to detect and act against deliberate or mass manipulation of electoral roll. The people drafting and approving this piece of legislation clearly do not have idea what fairness and justice means, or worse, have certain agenda in mind and practice.'

'According to section 15 of AKTA PILIHAN RAYA 1958, PERATURAN-PERATURAN PILIHAN RAYA (PENDAFTARAN PEMILIH) 2002,

1. Objections to any addition to the voters’ roll must be made within 7 days from the date the supplementary electoral roll is open for inspection; (supposedly every quarter hence 4 times a year)

2. A person can only object against up to 10 registered names only; and

3. A fee of RM10 is to be charged for each name being submitted for protest.'

I am sure any rational person would find the above rules not only unfriendly to him, but positively discouraging. It is like telling would be complainant to forget it if you are not determined to do so! I wonder what EC staff are supposed to be doing if not to ensure accurate input of data and to amend their own mistakes. Can we be blamed for thinking they are in collusion with the ruling BN to ensure their unfair advantage in the elections?

More where that came from:
http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/from-around-the-blogs/43759-stupid-law-stupid-results-

Link

'Syabas' to SYABAS

I am not sure whether Syabas was informed about renovation as a matter of course, or their meter reader took note and changed the water rate from residential to industrial which obviously incurred higher charges. For example, water charges below a certain amount (Rm20?) in Selangor is free, whereas under industrial classification, the minimum is Rm36 (cannot be free) and the rates progressively higher than residential.

To get the classification changed upon completion of renovation works, the procedure is cumbersome which takes time and therefore to the advantage of Syabas. Some of the requirements I was told, include water bills, even electricity bill(!), photo of the house, and confirmation from the local council (?) that construction has been completed!

So, this is just a minor example of what we get for having water privatized to some cronies on extremely favourable terms to them, at the expense of the public.
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Test to deflate ego of some smart alecs

It would be interesting to see the results of those students who think they could 'tembak' (or shoot) at multiple choice answers given in objective tests...

1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats ?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

You need only 4 correct answers to pass.

Check your answers below...

ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
3) From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert
8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange (of course)

What do you mean, you failed? Me, too.
(And if you try to tell me you passed, you lie!)


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What TM giveth, TM taketh

When I got back from KL last Saturday, I could not connect through my Streamyx broadband. Normally, by switching off and wait for a few minutes, and then try again I would be successful, but not this time. I tried and tried without success. The obvious sign of problem was the internet light showing red on the modem.

I tried to reset by opening a browser and go to http://192.168.1.1, enter 'admin' as the Username and Password in the Log in Authentication page. Under Basic Menu, click Quick Start; Enter the Username and Password for my internet account and then click Connect. Still no luck.

I used my new modem and ended up not being able to go past the first stage because I appeared to have keyed in incorrect Username or Password! I hope it can be undone by someone who knows better. But I shall leave that for now.

I called up Telekom and one Azmi answered my call for help. I told him that previously, someone from TM was able to connect for me, step by step via the telephone. But this Azmi did not live up to his name of 'Ask Me' because he said that my Aztech modem is not on TM's list of modems and he did not have the manual to be able to help me! He gave me a complaint number and promised a technician will contact me within 40 hours!

On Sunday morning, I was thinking of going into an internet cafe to check my mail while on my way to get the papers. But I tried again before I went out (some would call it withdrawal symptom) and hey, I was connected! Without any call from a technician, I got my connection back. The question is 'What did I do right?' If I had done right, why didn't I get connected soon after re-setting? But I am comforted by the fact that my 'trial and error' at the setting part was usable. Hours later, I got the following message on my mobile phone:

Surprise text message (from a fixed line?):
60377299900

TM Helpdesk: Dear valued customer, we're pleased to inform that your connection is now restored. If your problem still persist, kindly contact 100/ 1300(...)

Doesn't that give me the impression TM can take back the connection at will?
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Some office funnies

Act busy... like everybody else!
Work only if you feel like it...

This reminds me of our weekly Cabinet Meetings when no one wants to take personal responsibility...
This reminds me of our MACC...


This reminds me of our Home Ministry and other similar ministries where the complainants get into trouble instead of the accused...


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A Digi's reply to a question on faded numbers on top-up coupon

Comments : I bought a reload coupon from a 7-11 store and kept in my wallet for a few days. I found the print faded, losing almost all the numbers necessary for keying-in. Is there any way I can get a refund? The store details and serial nos. are still visible.

Reply :

Dear K S Ong,

Thank you for your email.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience faced. Please be informed that you can certainly walk-in to the same 7-11 store to get the reload coupon replaced. Once replaced, you can reload the coupon at the earliest. However, if the issue persists, kindly revert to us so we can assist you further.

Should you have more queries, kindly visit www.digi.com.my or provide feedback using our Online Customer Service.

Thank you.

The above reply was most satisfactory but I must admit, I did not try getting a replacement.
But I find Digi's Helpline 016 2211800 unsatisfactory. After going through the first few steps, I was left in a loop and unable to get past the part asking for mobile numbers or fixed line numbers. Whichever one I keyed in, I was asked again!

Update:

Comments : I find your Digi Helpline most unhelpful. I cannot get past the 'let's get started' when asked for mobile or fixed line numbers. It goes back to the same question no matter which number was keyed in! It was like a loop which I cannot get out.

Reply :
Dear K S Ong,

Thank you for your email.

We regret to hear about the negative experience you had when calling our helpline recently.

Rest assured that all feedbacks from our valued customers are greatly appreciated. As such, we have highlighted the relevant departments of your feedback so it can be used in our future decision-making processes.

Please accept our sincerest apology for any inconvenience and confusion caused. We hope that you will continue to support DiGi while we strive to provide better services in the near future.

Should you have any other concerns or questions regarding DiGi products or services, you may contact us via email, our 24-hour Helpline 016-221 1800 or chat online at D?Chat in OCS.

Please include your DiGi account number and/or telephone number in your emails to us for recording purposes.
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Life's journey... in my order of things...

The most effective sleeping pill is Peace of Mind.

Traits we can do without:

The ugliest personality trait is Selfishness;
The greatest problem to overcome is Fear;
The most useless thing to do is Worry;
The most worthless emotion is Self-pity;
The most crippling failure disease is Excuses;
The most dangerous is Gossip.

Traits we should be having:

The most beautiful attire is a Smile;
The most prized possession is Integrity;
The greatest comfort is Self-respect;

The most basic need is Hope;
The two most power-filled words are 'I can';
The most contagious spirit is Enthusiasm;
The greatest 'short in the arm' is Encouragement;
The greatest joy is Giving;
The most satisfying work is Helping Others.

Last, but not least...

The most incredible computer is the Brain;
The most powerful force in life is Love;
The greatest asset is Faith;
The most powerful channel of communication is Prayer;
The most important thing in life is God.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Evolutions of Mankind and Women

It used to be safe when little kids were left with old folks. Then it wasn't necessarily safe to leave a girl with an uncle or a boy with an aunt; now not even a boy with an uncle!


Evolution of man in thoughts as he ages...


Evolution of women's idea of being beautiful...

Evolution of mankind... from two-legged to four-legged?


Evolution of Women's shyness?


Evolution of the battle of the sexes... and there is little doubt as to who is the winner!


Thanks to Rosmah for having proven beyond a shadow of doubt?
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DIY: When you can't expect proper service from professionals

The contractor promised everything we asked him to do but most things left to be done by ourselves since we could not wait. Certain things were favours, so we could not expect too much. But why then promised to do?

A new lock for the TNB meter cover which could be changed by myself but without the right spanner, was given to my wife on her trip to PJ. A month later, when asked, it was given to the contractor but not done. I could have done it but he is still having the lock! Two metal cabinets (eyesores) which were to be painted white (to make them less so) had to be painted by myself.

A plumber was asked to drill some holes and fix some fittings in the bathrooms. But even a professional broke two wall tiles while doing so. If it had been me, I would have been blamed for not being able to some simple DIY jobs without creating more problems. So I was lucky in that sense.

As I have mentioned before, it is not just having to pay more to professionals for certain tasks which could be done by ourselves, but the need to be present when they are working at them.

Mary Schneider's experience with asking somebody to re-charge her car battery seemed like more trouble having asked a so-called professional to do so. A word of caution with the seemingly simple task of disconnecting and re-connecting a car battery. Certain cars require specific steps to prevent disruption to the electronically controlled fuel system. A friend's Proton Waja had its battery changed by a professional, yet the car had to be sent to Proton to re-tune the engine!

Mary Schneider's Service with a snarl in The Star:
http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=butthenagain&file=/2011/9/26/columnists/butthenagain/9553729&sec=But%20Then%20Again
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Bad, The Ugly and The Foolish?

Ismail Dahlan describes them as The Evil, The Selfish and The Uninformed...

"There are three main kinds of people who support the BN today.

First there are The Evil, they are the ones who are in power and will do anything to stay in power.

Then there are The Selfish, who benefit in one form or the other from The Evil, and so want them to remain in power so that they can continue to benefit. The Selfish care nothing for Malaysia, only for themselves.

Then there is The Uninformed, who actually believe the gibberish that the BN feeds through their TV and their newspapers. The Uninformed do things like actually pay real money to buy the NST or Utusan. The Uninformed have no idea that these newspapers, like TV3, are works of vicious fiction.

There are others of course who support the BN, but they are smaller in numbers, like The Lunatics, The Incredibly Stupid and The Masochists. Some are small but growing quickly in numbers, like The Bangladeshis..."

More:
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=20011:pulp-fiction-and-the-types-of-bn-supporters&Itemid=2
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Friday, September 23, 2011

This is Malaysian democracy: Undilah video taken off mainstream media...

just because of publicity given to some opposition leaders and a lone voice in Umno's Tengku Razaleigh, who happens to be more objective and rational. This is further proof that BN had been relying on misinformation and selective information to maintain their grip on power. There has always been this fear of publicity, and especially now, which could be detrimental to BN's chances in the next General Election. There is a Chinese saying, 'Pure gold is unafraid of fire' and I think this applies to BN's lack of transparency and accountability in their administration.

The Malaysian Insider:
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/undilah-video-taken-off-air-over-ku-li-speech-opposition-figures/
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Taking reincarnation to a new level

Some Buddhists won't even kill a mosquito... now we know why...


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

How I got involved in proof reading Seeds of Zen

A casual chat at a wedding dinner and I got involved with proof reading some drafts of 'Seeds of Zen'. What I had in mind when I offered my voluntary service was to browse through and detect some mistakes which might be apparent to me. But instead, I was expected to do the final proof reading before Michelle sends to the publishers!

Michelle does not carry a mobile phone and shuns the computer because of possible side effects of radiation. My first assignment was to read texts forwarded by Arystle. The first problem I encountered was when her software was different from mine. Any correction was likely to be in different fonts, for example. So you can figure out others relating to word-processing. What had been corrected by me had to be sent to Michelle to be printed out for her to read. Then I was given some chapters handwritten by Michelle to be proof read and corrected. Having done that, I need to compare the texts of handwritten script with those shown on the computer, where the topics were the same. So I had to reread and compare, uncertain as to which was more recent which should supersede the earlier version. There was obvious duplication of work and it affected my tired eyes.

Personally, I am not a book reader and why I ended up proof reading scripts for a book was like being forced to read! Michelle knew my predicament which was why when the book was published she called to ask if I would like to have an autographed free copy, in case I might find it tortuous! Actually, I must admit that I joked to mutual friends that when Michelle gave me some more scripts and said she will be going for a 2-week retreat, I said I too would like to have a retreat or even to retreat! Which was why there were a few chapters which were proof read by others.

The foreword of Seeds of Zen was by Michelle's childhood friend and school mate since primary one, Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam. The book was published by Sukhi Hotu Sdn. Bhd.

The Star: Cancer no barrier for ex-teacher to pen book
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/15/metroperak/9494541&sec=metroperak
Link

Indian first to land on the moon?

Yes, according to Mooniandy Enterprise...

This might have something to do with how you focus your camera when taking pictures. Just like 'a little knowledge is dangerous', a small picture can be very misleading.




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Even without using ISA, action against Mat Sabu shows...

how existing laws can be implemented to persecute political opponents. So Nazri can never put us at ease with his explanation that the process of tabling the ISA replacement bill in Parliament and with the increased opposition representatives in it, would ensure a fairer law to take its place. It is the unfair implementation of existing laws which has made the people skeptical about BN. They have been losing credibility and people's confidence in them.

Excerpt from Free Malaysiakini:

'No repackaging

Opponents of the tough existing laws have expressed concern at Najib’s statement that preventive detention powers would be retained by police, albeit for shorter periods than before, which can only be extended by court order.

Court approval was not previously required.

But Nazri rejected concerns the new laws would merely be a repackaging of the old.

“Najib has taken a bold move in repealing the act so the opposition should wait and see what happens in parliament before making such baseless statements,” he said.'

http://www.freemalaysiakini.com/?p=10399
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ISA: some proverbs come to mind

Many people are skeptical about the proposed abolition of the infamous ISA or Internal Security Act, despite the apparent rejoice of some in the mainstream media to show Najib as a reformist. But someone pointed out that had he done so within days of taking over as Prime Minister, then it would have been more credible than now.

Kim Quek described ISA as abominable and the proposed replacement of ISA with something similar as 'old wine in new bottle' and warned that the new anti-terrorist law could provide for even worse implementation judging from how anti-communist ISA was implemented by Umno in the past.

To me, changing from one abominable and detestable ISA to something which could be just as likely to be deliberately mis-implemented to attack political opponents and their supporters, the proverb 'out of the frying pan into the fire' comes to mind.

As to Najib's public relation exercise to improve his image with this so-called 'historic' act, which his Information Minister hinted days before as a 'major announcement' or something to that effect, without the support of Najib's Deputy and his Home Minister (the Minister responsible for ISA and its substitute), the Malays would describe it as 'syiok sendiri'. The Hokiens would describe such act as 'Chui kong lanpar song'. Again, this is for Hokiens to know and others to find out the literal meaning!

Kim Quek's article in CPI:
http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2247:forget-isa-abolition-zero-in-on-electoral-reform&catid=178:yong-thye-chong&Itemid=193


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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tg. Tualang people 'tulan' or not?

I hear our PM will be visiting Tg. Tualang next Saturday.

Local MCA MP (Kampar) Lee Chee Leong, who is also Deputy Home Minister must have been very busy to ensure all the necessary preparations for the VVIP's visit are carried out meticulously. The local people must be wondering, 'Why Tg. Tualang was chosen for PM's visit?' Of all places! Ex-DAP state assemblyman for Malim Nawar, Keshvinder Singh, who jumped ship and become so-called independent assemblyman, is expected to be among the many people who will be on hand to greet Najib, the man who engineered the power grab in Perak. To be fair, Keshvinder was not one of the key persons who made it possible. He did it after, so the reward would have been much lower.

Local Umno chiefs and supporters will also ensure a crowd befitting a PM. They have to show their faces, more so now, in order to stand a chance to be selected as candidates for the next general election.

I hear shop operators were told unofficially to close for the day, presumably a small price to pay for the honour of PM's visit. But, to some of the more popular restaurants specializing in fresh water prawns, Saturday takings are expected to run into thousands of ringgit each. People come all the way from KL to have lunch there. In fact, there are tours to Ipoh which include Tg. Tualang lunch in the itinerary. There is even a concrete structure of a prawn to show visitors of its importance to the town, just like the groundnut is to Menglembu, also in Perak, or the cat is to Kuching in Sarawak.

I wonder if any of the restauraters are annoyed with such a 'request' which must be more of an insistence. Some must be feeling 'tulan' for being forced to close for the day. Will he be having the famous fresh water prawns which the town is famous for and made a tourist attraction? If so, either there is a lucky exception to the rule or fresh water prawns will be included in whatever will be offered at the main table.

Note: 'Tulan' is a term in Hokien which is normally used by some of them when frustrated and angry. It is very similar in use to 'Niamah' in Cantonese. As for the literal meaning of 'tulan', it is for me to know and you to find out!
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Abolished ISA? Why not Isa too?

I am known to be a pessimist and it is disconcerting to know that someone who was found guilty of money politics in his own party is now in charge of Felda. We should be suspicious too as to why PM is also Finance Minister (unnecessary and unwise to follow past practice if we wish to ensure better transparency and accountability), and is also very interested in Felda. But if people should question, 'You think it is your father's business?' Najib can rightly say, 'Yes, my father started the Felda scheme... I inherited it!'

Money politics is just an euphemism for corruption, whether it is practised within a party or without. It runs contrary to rules set to ensure fairness in the election of party leaders. If it is allowed, then those with sufficient money can win easily against those who are just popular but without the means to do the same or refuse to go against their own principles. It can even mean a foreign power can influence who should win, and in the case of Umno, decide who should be PM of Malaysia. Money politics depends on large sums of slush funds (or war chests) accumulated by those who were or are still in positions of power, commonly known as warlords. Therefore, can we trust someone if he is perceived to have been involved in slush funds and its inherent opaqueness and lack of accountability?

Our PM Najib had just commented that Felda is financially strong. But for how long? He mentioned only assets, but what about liabilities when Rm6 billions are borrowed from EPF? I presume the collaterals used are the landed properties which Felda has in abundance. Is it necessary to venture into the unknown when the existing businesses are proving to be highly profitable? If by any chance, Felda should fail because of its new ventures, will it not affect EPF, the largest fund in Malaysia which has employees as their main contributors? The deal with Naza's TTDI to have a first class office building near Petronas Twin Towers seemed lop-sided against Felda and involved unconventionally fast payments to them, again at Felda's expense!

We have seen how Sime Darby lost huge amounts after its merger with a few other large plantation companies to become the largest plantation company in the world. Before that, SD ventured into banking (Sime Bank) and got burnt, sold it and vowed never to go into banking. Since the merger, SD lost heavily in their engineering and construction sector, another unfamiliar business. I can still remember MBSB ventured out from providing housing loans to become a developer and lost heavily because of dubious land deals and poor housing development management. After all these 'trials and errors' can we still be optimistic of politicians' involvement in big businesses?
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Hotel safe: unsafe if default code set to 000000...

which saves management trouble of remembering, at the expense of security.

"...most hotel safes...support two user codes: a guest (user) passcode and an override code for use by hotel security. When a guest forgets her code, the safe may be opened by hotel security using the override code.

It is important to note that only the most negligent of hotel operators would leave the override code set to all 0's, a default code, some other easy to guess code. The override code can (and must for obvious reasons) be changed to something difficult to guess prior to putting the safe into operation."

Rest of article:
http://gizmodo.com/5837561/can-000000-secretly-open-your-hotel-safe

Link

Friday, September 16, 2011

DIY: looking for nuts

It is so easy to have a policy of throwing every old things away and buy new ones. There are screws and nuts which might come in handy, yet when you need them, you cannot find them. Being a son of a mechanic, it could be in my genes or it could be learning by example. I keep all kinds of parts for just in case which means we live among messy surroundings at most times.

There was this old shoe rack (3 levels) made of metal (with nuts missing), which was one of many items which my son discarded when he renovated his house. I went to a hardware shop and was told to look for them in a motor shop because what they have are of different grooves. I went to a vehicle spare parts shop and the boss said he does not stock those. Thinking those racks are being sold in furniture shops, I went to look up my friend who works in one. His shop does not sell those and he has no such nuts. Luckily, few doors away was a motorcycle repair shop and the boss has some which fit. It costs only 30 sen each, but I need 12 which work out to Rm3.60. It is still a small sum, but the same rack if found at the flea market might cost around that sum, nuts included! When I started out looking for the simple and common looking nuts, I did not expect having to go round a few shops before I could find them!

Renovation also meant creating new problems. It was not too long ago when we bought a new washing machine which we transported back ourselves and installed according to instructions. It had to be moved to another room till the renovation works were completed. Instruction to contractor to have an outlet was done. But when instruction for a raised platform for the machine was given, nobody thought about the position of the outlet hole. Now, we found to our dismay, it was on the wrong side of the platform which means the outlet hose provided is too short! Again, we need to improvise with another length of hose which I have just bought and yet to check if it fits.

In case anyone thinks DIY is not worth the trouble, I can tell that either he comes from a rich family with most things provided or he has yet to live on his own and experience the costs of repairs. It is not only the cost of a technician being asked to make a house call for just checking, tightening or adjusting some screws, but the trouble of having to wait for him to come and to stay with him till he finishes his work. The other thing I dislike is not knowing what type of person you will be meeting and having to be careful in case he takes something when you are not looking!
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Don't be cruel... unplugged


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Why Bill Gates skipped Punjab

Microsoft's Bill Gates decided not to invest further in Punjab after receiving a letter from Mr Banta Singh .

To : Bill Gates, Microsoft
From : Banta Singh of Punjab
Date : 1 April 2009
Subject: Problems with my new computer

Dear Mr. Bill Gates,

We bought a computer for our home and we have found some problems, which I want to bring to your notice.

1. There is a button 'start' but there is no 'stop' button. We request you to check this.

2. One doubt is whether any 're-scooter' is available in system? I find only 're-cycle', but I own a scooter at my home.

3. There is 'Find' button but it is not working. My wife lost the door key and we tried a lot to trace the key with this ' find' button, but was unable to trace. Please rectify this problem.

4. My child learned 'Microsoft word' now he wants to learn 'Microsoft sentence', so when you will provide that?

5. I bought computer, CPU, mouse and keyboard, but there is only one icon which shows 'My Computer' : when you will provide the remaining items?

6. It is surprising that windows says 'MY Pictures' but there is not even a single photo of mine. So when will you keep my photo in that.

7. There is 'MICROSOFT OFFICE' what about 'MICROSOFT HOME' since I use the PC at home only.

8. You provide 'My Recent Documents'. When you will provide 'My Past Documents'?

9. You provide 'My Network Places'. For God sake please do not provide 'My Secret Places'. I do not want to let my wife know where I go after my office hours.

Regards,

Banta

Last one Mr. Bill Gates

P.S: "Sir, how is it that your name is Gates but you are selling WINDOWS ?"
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is Felda really financially strong?

According to PM Najib, "Felda is financially strong and has about RM8bil in shares and funds, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib, who sat in on Felda's management meeting yesterday, said he was pleased with the performance of the company.

“Its finances are getting stronger. Its performance is encouraging and almost all its activities have brought in profits.

“The value of its shares and Amanah Raya funds is about RM8bil in total,” he said at the Felda Hari Raya do here."

More in The Star:
Felda is financially strong
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/14/nation/9496336&sec=nation

Not so long ago, there was news that Felda is going to borrow Rm6 billion from EPF! So, if Felda is truly financially strong, is there a need to borrow such huge sums? Managing own funds and try to earn a decent return on them and managing new businesses using borrowed funds are too different matters. The former is based on solid backing and in the case of Felda, land would form a big portion of assets which is likely to appreciate. So where all things failed, they can always fall back on selling the land to opt out or to recover from losses. But the latter would incur fixed rate of interest (depending on their agreement with EPF) and losses from investments using those funds are likely to snowball with unpaid interest. And they are into businesses new to management. To be honest, I am wary of initiatives by present political leaders because inevitably some cronies or nominees are in for the money and we are talking about billions of ringgit! Just a small percentage of commission on any deal resulting therefrom would make anyone rich.
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A word of caution on the good results of EPF

Like most things claimed by BN leaders, we cannot take it at face value. I am just using what was reported in The Star yesterday:

Rm6.75b added to EPF coffers
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/14/nation/9496396&sec=nation

"The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) posted RM6.75bil in investment income in the second quarter of this year, a year-on-year growth of 24.42% or RM1.32bil compared with the same quarter last year."

I would presume the investment income mentioned included those derived from additional investments, using money from additional funds from contributors during the past year. To have a proper year-on-year comparison, the growth of 24.42% or Rm1.32bil compared with the same quarter last year should not have included income from new funds, if it was meant to show the efficiency of their fund management.

To use a simple example, let's say 2010's income during the second quarter was 100 from a fund of 1000 invested, or a return of 10%. If during the same quarter in 2011, income of 120 was derived from 1200 invested, then the rate was only 10%, and the growth rate was actually 0%! This is over-simplistic but shows how the increase in income was due to the increased investments.

The other item which could mislead was the statement, 'Profit-taking from some investments also added to our performance'. Profit-taking is not something which we should assume to be a recurring income because the stock market is highly volatile. So how much of the increased income was due to profit-taking? What if the market was such that no gains could be realized and EPF had to provide for net diminution in value of the investments?

"As at June 30 this year, the EPF's total investment fund stood at Rm462.54bil." Wouldn't it be more meaningful to include the total investment fund as at June 30 last year? It is so easy to include, why was the comparative figures left out?
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Gua sulah lapat latuk! Maya olang pun lapat...

There was a Lat's cartoon featuring a Chinese (Hokien) exclaiming excitedly, 'Gua sudah lapat latuk' which means 'I've got datuk (award)'. You see, Chinese characters (the words, not the persons) do not have certain syllables like 'd' as in datuk or 'j' as in 'Nah chee' for 'Najib'.

As for initials of some datukship awards, we used to joke about DPMP for Dulu Pandai Main Perempuan and SPMP for Sekarang Pandai Main Perempuan! Then we had the usual JP for Jaga Pintu and PJK for Pandai Jaga Kereta!

Kee Thuan Chye had a good laugh with his Send in the Datuks in Malaysian Digest:

Excerpt:

"I HAD a good cackle the other day – over a caption that appeared in an article of a mainstream newspaper. It was for photographs of four Malaysian singers who had appeared as the opening acts for George Benson when he performed in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 29.

The caption named them as “Datuk Sheila Majid, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Datuk David Arumugam and Datuk Khatijah Ibrahim”. Another one whose picture was not included but mentioned in the article is “Datuk Yusni Hamid”.

Five datuks performing as a prelude to Benson’s entrance. Wow! He might have been bowled over if he had known. But then again, it might not have mattered a mite to a citizen of the American republic that upholds egalitarianism.

To him, it might have seemed that datuks in Malaysia are a dime a dozen. And that only Malaysians seem to take such titles seriously. If Cliff Richard, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger performed on the same stage and their photographs appeared in a British newspaper the next day, the caption would not read: “Sir Cliff, Sir Elton, Sir Paul and Sir Mick.” You can bet they would be simply referred to as Richard, John, McCartney and Jagger. Or just by their first names."

More:
http://www.malaysiandigest.com/opinion/11320-send-in-the-datuks.html

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When a drunkard decides to give up drinking

I am giving up drinking... hic...I am honestly giving up drinking... hic... hic... I am definitely giving up giving up drinking... see? I have given up!

I had to stop drinking. I had 18 bottles of whiskey in my cellar and was told by my wife Lara to empty the contents of each and every one of them down the sink, or else.

I said that I would and I proceeded with the unpleasant task.

I withdrew the cork from the first bottle and poured the contents down the sink, with the exception of one glass which I drank.

I extracted the cork from the second bottle and did likewise, with the exception of one glass which I drank.

I then withdrew the cork from the third bottle and poured the bottle down the sink which I drank.

I pulled the cork from the fourth bottle down the sink and poured the bottle down the glass which I drank.

I pulled the bottle from the cork of the next and drank one sink out of it, and then threw the rest down the glass which I drank.

I pulled the sink out of the next glass and poured the cork down the bottle.

I then corked the sink with the glass, bottled the drink and drank the four.

When I had everything emptied, I steadied the house with one hand, opened the glasses, corks, bottles and sinks with the other which were 29, and as the house came by I counted them again, and finally I had the house in one bottle which I drank.

I am not under the affluence of incohol, as some tinkle peep I am, I am not half as thank as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is more drunker I stand here the longer I get '. OH MY HEADY BLOOD.

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Comparing remunerations

Speaking at a dinner event at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Kuala Lumpur, PM Najib commented that Malaysian executives are underpaid when compared with those of other nations. But his brother is not doing too badly according to a blogger's comment in his blog, Sakmongkol AK47:

"Meanwhile, we are happy to note that the banker who has once said that the NEP has been bastardized and the ladder by which he has reached the top should now be thrown away is a workaholic coming to his office on Sundays and sometimes, as the guards below will tell you, coming at 2 am in the morning. I told the guard-

I can do better- if I am paid RM 1.2 million a month, I will even sleep in the office."

More:
http://sakmongkol.blogspot.com/2011/09/mas-air-asia-deal-revisited.html

Meanwhile, another blogger has highlighted another blogger's unusual income of Rm80,000 per month, for allegedly being paid to write for a certain purpose, spreading false rumours.

More:
http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/from-around-the-blogs/43449-gerpar-rm80000-sebulan-untuk-parpukari-bagi-kerja-kerja-fitnah

I wonder: is there a market for stopping someone who regularly writes unfavourable things about BN and its leaders?
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making English a compulsory pass in SPM

I believe if the leaders do not take it seriously, so would the students. I believe once we make English a compulsory subject to pass before a student can get a full certificate, it will create a sense of urgency among the parents and their children, as well as set in motion the teachers in schools and private tuition centres in ensuring higher percentage of passes. Nothing can serve as a better incentive than having to pass a subject to get a full certificate.

Here, we are talking about English which is already well used internationally and easily available on television and films shown. Audio visual aids are also available and even Astro has programs teaching it too.

When my daughter was offered a chance to be an international exchange student in Japan, I bought an audio visual aid on learning Japanese. At the time, I knew some Japanese words and she knew next to nothing. But having to enroll in a Japanese high school where Japanese is the medium of instruction, she had no choice but to learn. When one was forced to speak, one had to practise more and naturally would pick up faster. I can still remember she was supposed to take Level 4 test first, but to make it more challenging, she wanted to go for Level 2, and the Japanese teacher discouraged her. That discouragement served as a challenge to her and she insisted on taking the more difficult test. She was lucky to have the assistance and support of her then host mother who encouraged her by saying that by doing the more advanced workbooks, even if she were to fail, she would have learned more than those who passed the easier test! She was home before the results and we were so glad she did it! Maybe she has a flair for languages. When she was in University of Essex, she got permission to skip the elementary level for Spanish by travelling in Mexico during summer!

The moral of my story is that the students should be made to be aware of the advantages of learning English and that a pass is also a means to gaining much more knowledge, especially via the internet. The standards set should be high enough so that those who passed are actually able to communicate well later on in institutions of higher learning and at work, in business or profession. By being half-hearted our leaders seem to mollycoddle the students until God knows when. All because of political expediency which means not upsetting the mass of Malay supporters. But I would be surprised if the Malays themselves are still unconvinced about the importance of English language.
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Can a 4-year old make someone pregnant?

Dave was staring sadly into his beer and sighed heavily.

“ What's up, Dave?” asked the bartender. “ It's not like you to be so down in the mouth ”

“ It's my four-year-old son…” the man replied.

“ Don't tell me, he's in trouble for fighting in school? – my lad's just the same – forget about it, it happens to boys that age ” said the bartender, sympathetically.

“ I only wish it were that ” continued the customer, “ but its far worse than that. The little bastard has got our gorgeous 18-year-old next-door neighbour pregnant.”

“Get away, that's impossible!” gasped the bartender.

“It's not ” said the man… “ the little b**tard stuck a pin in all my condoms.”

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The wonders of Women

Quote of the day:

'Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater...
If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.
If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.
So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.'


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Environment-friendly shopping bag

Don't leave home without it!

Now everyone can learn how to play drums



I could have been a much better drummer had I been exposed to such lessons through the internet when I was young. The kids and youths of today never had it so good.

When we had our first television set in 1965, it was black and white. The only pop show shown was Shindig! The only Beatles show was in cartoon form, just half an hour. There was no recording for later viewing.

Now, you can search for just about any song by any artiste using the internet. You can also buy the CD, VCD or DVD. There are players which can even slow down the song or tune for you to learn the lead or chords. There are much more gadgets than I could ever keep up to date with. Guitars can be tuned electronically instead of guessing.

At the recent DoReMi's 30th Anniversary celebration, what I should have done was to ask to have a go at their well amplified Sonor drums kit on the stage and have a picture taken. At the end of the show, the staff were having a group photo taken on stage. People were leaving the hall. How often do we have a chance like that? It was a cozy evening and we knew the boss too.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Lynas is a disaster waiting to happen?

Yes, according to Soo Jin Hou who is from the Kuantan Environmental Watch Group, in his letter to Malaysiakini: http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/175295

I try to simplify his letter as follows:

Ashton - Ashton Rare Earth Ltd (which was given the licence for the entire rare earth processing and waste disposal facilities in 1992, now under Lynas)
LAMP - Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Gebeng, Pahang
Ashton's waste is VLLW - Very Low Level Waste
LAMP's waste is LLW - Low Level Waste (ie. more hazardous than VLLW)

"If such meticulous waste disposal method is deemed necessary for VLLW in Australia, greater care should be undertaken for the more hazardous LLW."

"An examination of Ashton's proposal and the 41 commitments tied to the approval shows that very strict environmental control measures have been imposed in Australia. As a matter of fact, looking at the way they are allowed to carry out their operations here in Gebeng, it is inconceivable that Australia will allow the LAMP to be built in such a state. Of the many aspects of operation that can be, and should be juxtaposed, I shall only address the waste management of the radioactive residue in this report."

"Ashton originally proposed that the rare earth ore mined from Mt Welt be first semi-refined at the mining site. After that, the concentrate is to be transported by road to a secondary processing plant 880km away in Meenaar Industrial Park for final processing. Finally, the mildly radioactive waste was to be transported back to Mt Welt for burial."

"The nearest population centre to Mt Weld is Laverton, located 35 km away, which had a population of 1,500 at the time of the proposal, but has only 316 at present. Although the sparse population density of Mt Weld was not specifically mentioned as a factor in the selection of the disposal site, the selection of the secondary processing site at Meenaar was."

Dr Lee has correctly pointed out that the IAEA review of Lynas' operation ignored one of the critical general safety guides in the Radioactive Waste Classification. IAEA No. GSG-1. "It is recommended by the IAEA GSG, this waste requires robust isolation and containment for periods of up to a few hundred years and is suitable for disposal in engineered near surface facilities".

"Not only has Lynas not disclosed their permanent disposal and decommissioning plans, they have originally intended for the site in Gebeng to be the final resting place for the radioactive waste. In contrast with the 1,500 affected by Ashton's proposal, 700,000 people in the Greater Kuantan-Kemaman area falls within the 35 km radius from the Gebeng plant."

The only logical reason for Lynas to choose Malaysia as the final processing site is to circumvent Australian tight environmental regulations by exporting rare earth pollution here.

This is only the tip of the iceberg on the huge discrepancies between the Ashton proposal and the operation in Gebeng.

Regulatory requirements on other areas of operation, such as transportation, water management, and pollution monitoring are equally stringent. Therefore, one can surmise that Lynas' flaunting its Australian license is merely a stunt in public relations.

If the Ashton's proposal is a testament on how rare earth processing should have been done, the LAMP is a disaster waiting to happen if it is allowed to proceed.

Are our politicians so insensitive to the likely dangers to the people in and near Gebeng as outlined by various parties, that they are going along with the company's project? Japan has just suffered the effects of radioactive leaks from its nuclear plants and certain countries in Europe are considering alternative sources of fuel, yet we seem oblivious to the long term consequences of such processing plants. We had problems with Asian Rare Earth in Perak before, yet we do not seem to want to learn from our mistake. Is it because the immediate gains are too tempting and the political leaders won't be around when the consequences will be felt?
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Einstein and his Theory of Relativ...

Einstein was born March 14, 1879. He would be 132, on his next birthday, if he were alive today. Few people remember that the Nobel Prize winner married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, after his first marriage dissolved in 1919. At the time he stated that he was attracted to Elsa because she was so well endowed.

He postulated that if you are attracted to women with large breasts, the attraction is even stronger if there is a DNA connection.

This came to be known as ...

Einstein's Theory of "Relative Titty."

Oh, quit groaning! I don't write this shit, I received it from my warped friend. Anyway, it beats the political crap.
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What could have been had we practised meritocracy?

If Dr. Mahathir, with his seemingly dictatorial powers, could not do it during his 22-year reign, who else could and would take the political risks involved in changing our nation's mindset?

To put it simply, it is like in a family where there was discrimination before and the favoured child needs to be toughened up. It is going to be unpleasant to him at first, but necessary, would the parents go through it?

I am speaking from a position of weakness, not of strength, in that I personally do not like competition and prefer the simple life which was why I opted for peace of mind instead of in the rat race. My children have graduated based on 'ma ma' sponsorships, so any fair awarding of scholarships would not benefit us in any way now or in the near future.

Lee Kuan Yew had recently admitted that Singapore made it partly because he opted for English as the main language which helped in its progress. I think it is similar to India where English is still popularly used which helped it to be an important provider of outsourced computer work from Britain and USA. Malaysia lost out because of nationalism which preferred Malay as the national language. It could have retained the missionary schools but instead changed them beyond recognition from their previous forms. Together with religion, the emphasis to be more Malay is now too strong for any political leader to make any changes without affecting his political expediency. It is a case of going along and continue to lead, or do anything drastic and you lose your job!

Imagine Dr. M used his powers to benefit the people first instead of a small number of cronies. To me, it would have included doing away with the Twin Towers, Putrajaya and other icons which are more forms than substance. The North South Expressway could have been built without corruption which meant more cheaply and without the 'pay for the increase in toll rate as provided in the contract or compensate us', which effectively means either road users or taxpayers have to pay more.

KTMB and its double-tracking could have been developed earlier as well instead of now, with the savings from leakages, wastage and so on. Even now, KTMB is losing money yet able to almost give away prime pieces of land to favoured parties! I was at the BG station when a train pulling at least 50 YTL cement tankers passed me by. I remember having counted more than 70 carriages in such a long train carrying sugar before and it really impressed me the advantages of rail transportation of goods as compared with road. If you have travelled in Europe by rail, then you would appreciate the usefulness of an efficient train network.

In the case of education, any funds for the advancement of Bumiputeras would be based on merit. Show me your keenness and capability before we award you the scholarship. Non-Malays are used to be in such situation, and personal sacrifices included having to forgo a comfortable retirement, a luxury car or house, or even to borrow in order to give children a chance overseas. Only those who are expecting easy awards will be disappointed. Any funds unused because of lack of suitable candidates are rolled over for the future.

Similarly, grants and other incentives for business start-ups would only be given when the applicants could show their interest and willingness to take up the challenge, after careful vetting process similar to job interviews. What we have seen were funds provided and connected people just filled up the quotas which resulted in high failure rates. There were too many instances of fertilizers and weedkillers provided being sold instead resulting in the middlemen getting very rich indeed. Again, any funds unused should be rolled over and invested for the future. Remember we need trustees with integrity to keep those funds too.

Basically, to help the people, I think the process should be 'bottom up' instead of 'top down'. Whether it was for scholarship, business grants or infra-structures, a strict vetting process to weed out those who do not genuinely need them would make a lot of difference to control wastage. You need a scholarship? Show me the results or your letter of offer. You need capital to start a business? Show me your working papers or feasibility studies to convince me of its viability. You need funds for roads and drains? Show me the need for them. Again, we need officers with integrity to deal with such matters in order to prevent abuse and overcharging like what we used to read in the Auditor General's Reports. Because of the preference for bigger contracts to get more kickbacks, maintenance of facilities was at the bottom of the priorities so that new replacement contracts could be signed. Gone were the days when 'gotong royong' was a common feature because savings on maintenance meant no more new contracts!

As I go along, I can sense the need for leaders with a new mindset to take over from the current system of political patronage in order to overcome the weaknesses and mistakes of the past. Can we find such leaders? If so, can they have the support of the people? I think it is going to be a long and winding road before we can see any major changes.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Outstanding Student

In secondary school, we used to joke about 'outstanding student' to mean someone being sent out of the class to stand outside, for having misbehaved. The 'school runner' is one who runs away as in absent from school, not someone who takes part in running the 100-metre or 200-metre race.

Not everyone likes to attend school nor able to excel in studies. Some are intellectually ahead of their classmates and actually find the classroom environment very boring. Fortunately, there are more things in life than being good in studies. Some school, college or university dropouts have made such a success in their lives that they are actually role models for those who happen to have dropped out for one reason or other, and not necessarily because they could not pass the examinations. World renown dropout like Bill Gates comes to mind immediately because he was at one time, the richest person in the world and his name was synonymous with Microsoft and Windows, the most used operating system in computers!

Locally, the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong was known to be almost illiterate, yet made his billions from the one and only licensed casino in Genting. When Lat, the cartoonist drew a cartoon on someone who was awarded a 'datoship' with the exclamation, 'Gua sudah lapat latuk' at the time when people complained about the awarded persons' suitability in terms of at least knowledge of Bahasa Malaysia, I thought Lat had him in mind!

In terms of literacy in English, Raja Petra 'the fugitive' stands out as someone who has an excellent command of the language and he could put many of today's graduates and professionals to shame. He has an exceptionally sharp and perceptive mind in his analyses of our socio-political events and with his bold exposes of corrupt practices among top echelons of our political leaders and his frank opinions on ultra-sensitive issues on race and religion, he is like an unofficial 'spokesman' of the masses (especially non-Bumiputeras) on matters which they would not touch on. So it is amazing to know about his background: the fact that he was of royal blood and a Bumiputera; his grandfather was a Governor of Penang and so on, yet he did not really benefit from the so-called NEP which was specifically set out to help them. Perhaps, only those who are Umnoputras rather than Bumiputeras benefited.

More on Raja Petra's background:
http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/no-holds-barred/43243-the-spin-by-the-unspinners

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Anyone for Urine Therapy?

Teh ori satu!


India's fourth PM (1977-79), Morarji Desai, was quoted in this excerpt from Urine Therapy - Omaha's Heartland Healing Center:

"In the ayurvedic tradition of yoga, drinking one's urine is called amaroli. Because extensive Vedic texts exist from at least 2000 B.C., this practice provides us with much of the most thorough guidance available. Yogic techniques tell us exactly how to go about drinking or applying amaroli. One of the most famous users of urine therapy was Prime Minister of India from 1977 to 1979, Morarji Desai. On the occasion of his ninety-ninth birthday in 1995, Desai attributed his longevity to drinking his morning urine on a daily basis.

Admittedly, there is very little Western science evidence to support the historical claims. After all, how would a researcher fare in submitting a grant proposal for such funding? "We are asking for five million dollars to investigate the health properties of pee cocktails." Or even more difficult, how would one find a test group to drink their own urine? And what would you give the control group? Apple juice?"

Source:
http://www.heartlandhealing.com/pages/archive/urine_therapy/index.html
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Why we cannot take history by anyone at face value

This is just an analogy, not an intellectual dissertation by some academicians who came out from their ivory towers after Mat Sabu made a boo-boob or was deliberately misquoted by our mainstream media and BN leaders and their hangers-on (depending on which side you're on).

I found a CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival) compilation which has 'Joy to the world' (or 'Jeremiah was a bullfrog' to most people) and presumably CCR recorded the song made famous by Three Dog Night. Yet, a nephew said something that it was not by CCR, or like a blogger asked in a forum, 'Did CCR play or record that song?' I am sure it is easy to confirm the fact, whichever way was true, but over a period of time, memory fails and details get blurred and distorted.

It is quite interesting to read some information on such an uneventful act (to most people) as recording a song. Here are some which I picked from Songfacts.com:

"The band hated this song when they first heard it, and wondered WTF Jeremiah was a bullfrog had to do with anything, according to the autobiography of Jimmy Greenspoon, TDN's keyboardist. The band buried the song in the middle of the second side and only released it after its management urged them to do so, according to Greenspoon's book. I love TDN and can live with this (overplayed and overrated) song. What's too bad is this was a great band and when you ask people to name their favorite TDN song, they typically say, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog," like they know what they're talking about."

"Though I see the quote from Hyot Axton that the "Jeremiah" line was a throw away line, I had heard on an interview that a "Bullfrog" is a New Orleans term for a drunk."

"Hoyt Axton wrote this for an animated TV special called The Happy Song that never materialized. Axton pitched it to the group while he opened for them on a tour. Three Dog Night also had a Top-10 hit with "Never Been to Spain," which was also written by Axton."

The Naturally album was released in November, 1970, and the first single to chart from the album was "One Man Band," which peaked at #19 US in December. "Joy To The World" was a lowly album cut, until Larry Bergman brought it to life in Seattle. Larry tells us: "I was the DJ who first played 'Joy To The World' on the radio that caused it to start its journey to #1. I was working at radio station KISW-FM at the time. It was the sister station to the number one radio station in Seattle, KJR-AM. That was when AMs were more popular than FMs. My job was to select odd cuts from albums by popular artists, not necessarily their hits, and record them on tape for on-air use. I remember I needed to find one more song to fill a tape I was producing and came across Joy To The World. It was on the second side, last cut on their Naturally album. I put it on the tape and played it on the air. Within the hour the KJR DJ (Gary Shannon) came running over from the AM side and asked where I got that song. "People were calling," he said. I told him and he had me record it on to another tape for him. He took it and played it on KJR and within a few weeks it went to #1 in Seattle. It wasn't long after that the song reached #1 on Billboard. The station got a gold record for it and Three Dog Night came to Seattle to launch their next album."

"On a television special, Hoyt Axton said he had come up with this song while he was recording some other songs. He had already written the melody and the chorus but didn't have any other lyrics. The bass player encouraged him to record the song anyway, so Axton simply made up some nonsense as place holder lyrics. The place holder lyrics stuck and the rest is Rock history. (thanks, Nick - tampa, FL)"

The above sample of opinions on just a song show that each of us will have an opinion on any event and there is no clear cut 'yes or no' or 'black or white' answers which we hope for.

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PM Najib vs Robert Kuok: who won?

Or rather, who lost? Apparently, according to someone's opinion, the people of Malaysia lost much more than what a few cronies benefited. The article was written in Chinese and translated by someone. So read and be mindful of possible errors or omissions in the translation. Anyway, it is just one person's opinion of events and not necessary true of Robert Kuok's personal intentions and views...

SUGAR AND FROZEN DURIAN

A good read. (not sure who the author is...By 忠政快讯

Some friends have requested translation for the 忠政快讯's piece on Sugar King Robert Kuok's history. Thanks to Google translate with some corrections.

Knowledge is empowering. Reading is knowledge.

Recently, the government offended Robert Kuok, as a result, the Malaysian economy suffered a great blow! After the official Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Malaysia , the Najib government now really understands Robert Kuok's influence on China !

In order to benefit their cronies, they arm twisted to swallow Robert Kuok’s sugar empire. The cronies get richer by 10’s of billions, but it caused a national loss of more than 200 billion!

Malaysia sugar king was forced to leave Malaysia , but became the world’s sugar king! He bought the world's largest sugar mills in Australia, invested USD10 billion, it is the world's largest sugar cane sugar refining industry, living up to the name of the world’s sugar king.

On the other hand, the Malaysia government benefited cronies at the expense of national interests. For those who have insider info, Kuok offered immense help to the Malaysian government in the past few decades, he has done everything possible; but what the government did was like what you will get when you turn over a pig stomach: faeces. In other words, Najib Government is UNGRATEFUL!

In the "Confidential" news, is about the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Malaysia recently, it hit a snag with Najib.

Prior to Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Malaysia , Najib and his cabinet on more than one occasion, hinted that he hoped China will double the amount of palm oil with Malaysia .
We all know that China is the largest consumer of palm oil from Malaysia . Rapid economic rise in the recent years, China became the largest palm oil market for Malaysia , but Malaysia has also strong competition from Indonesia , trying to sell palm oil at lower prices to China and India , diluting the Malaysian market share. This is most worrying for Najib.

Najib hoped to sign a new palm oil trading contracts with Premier Wen Jiabao to sign in order to more than double the average 10 million tonnes monthly export to China . But Wen Jiabao came to a Malaysia, told Najib, it is impossible. It was an utter disappointment.

Najib knows the Chinese market demand. Even to import one million tonnes of palm oil daily, is not a problem. So, where is the problem?

The problem is Sugar Kuok does not agree!

Why was Sugar Kuok able to influence China 's decision to buy Malaysian palm oil?

Who is the monopoly of Chinese national oil market? China national oil market leader is "Arowana" cooking oil, accounting for nearly 40%! The Arowana cooking oil boss, is Robert Kuok!

Think about it, Premier Wen Jiabao on behalf of the Chinese government to buy Malaysian palm oil. Who is going to refine it into cooking oil? Of course, it is the privatized enterprises! With 40% market share, if Arowana cooking oil company refuses the supply, how is the Chinese government going to utilize the supply?

Najib was insensible from the start, and did not know Kuok had such big influence in China . He had helped cronies, forced Robert Kuok to give up the Malaysian sugar king throne, and didn’t expect to have such quick retribution

Kuok was forced to leave Malaysia , his heart is of course very unhappy. People of Malaysia must know, during the early days of Malaysia , we did not have aviation professionals, the BN government requested Kuok's father to help set up Malayan Airways.

1970 Malaysian maritime shipping industry is also a vacuum, the Malaysian government sent representatives to Hong Kong to personally invite Kuok’s help. For national development, Kuok put aside the Group's business, came back to Malaysia to assist the Government to establish a national maritime shipping industry, this later transformed into MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING CORPORATION, referred to as MISC.

Robert Kuok was a big help when Malaysia repeatedly faced economic difficulties. Even in MCA Tan Koon Swan’s case, it was Robert Kuok who paid the bail! Malaysia ’s successive governments, from BN to the National Front, owed Robert Kuok a hell of a lot. But the Malaysian Government was ungrateful, using the hard arm twisting excuse to forcefully take over Kuok’s empire. This is not ungrateful?

Deng Xiaoping made a comeback in the 70s, announced China's reform and needed most generous help of overseas Chinese entrepreneurs; Robert was first to take actions to help Deng. Among the other entrepreneurs of Chinese economic miracle are Henry Fok and Li Ka-shing Hong Kong. Malaysian entrepreneur Robert Kuok is the first to response to Deng Xiaoping in Beijing and built China 's first five-star hotels: Shangri-La!

With over 30 years of deep relationship with the Chinese government and leadership, Kuok has great influence. Najib failed to recognise that. This is why the quote at the start of this post : “For the interests of their cronies, they arm twisted to take over Kuok’s Sugar Empire, cronies get rich by the 10s of billions, but it caused a national loss of more than 200 billion!”

Kuok's sugar empire was eaten by the fat vampire's family abruptly. Imagine, a world renowned international trade business personality, what humiliation he received in return for his single-minded help all this while for his own country and government? And Najib would never think that the consequences of offending the Sugar King will be so so serious.

Right after Sugar King left Malaysia , he immediately announced the acquisition of Australia 's biggest sugar factory. This is the world supplier of raw material for sugar manufacturing. Of course, this includes supplying to the family of the fat vampire woman’s sugar factory in Perlis.

Early this year, Kuok announced plans to invest USD 10 billion in Indonesia for development of the world's largest sugar cane growing areas, as well as advanced refinery. The world economy was facing a downturn, the Malaysian government travelled around the world to solicit investment. How much was Malaysia ’s foreign investment? Kuok’s single investment in Indonesia is equivalent to as USD10 billion dollars!

At the moment, Kuok’s take towards China ’s palm oil contract with Malaysia was to remain with the agreed terms. There won’t be any increase. Indonesia has more palm oil than Malaysia . It is cheaper too. Now that Kuok had invested so much money in Indonesia , the Government of Indonesia would have treated him as their God of Wealth. Certainly, open to negotiate anything with him. Moreover, Indonesia has been eyeing to take over the China palm oil supply contract from Malaysia .

The CONSOLATION China gave in return for not increasing the purchase of palm oil was buying frozen durian. Do the Chinese people have the habit of eating durian it? How much time and effort is needed to market frozen durian from Malaysia ? Thai durian may not sell well in China, let alone Malaysia frozen durian?

Business is business, who would supply millions of dollars’ worth of frozen durian into a brand new market with no durian eating habits? Should the Chinese people become non-receptive of it, how do we deal with return goods? A total loss with capital. Is this how to do business?

Earlier this year, when the news hit the papers that Kuok made an announcement to invest USD 10 billion in Indonesia, many criticized Kuok for being unpatriotic, preferring to take so much money into Indonesia instead of Malaysian. What CRAP! You arm-twisted him to take over his empire, forcing the man to leave Malaysia in hurt and humiliation; now that the man ignores the Malaysian market, and you criticize him?

For him to bring his huge investment to Australia and Indonesia instead of Malaysia, who is to be blamed?

Incidentally, Kuok is not just Chinas’ hotelier, king of cooking oil, the world’s sugar King; he is also the patent owner of the Coca-cola soft drink brand in the Chinese market. Kuok is involved in a diversity of businesses in China . He created many job opportunities for China . The Chinese central government and leaders have great respect for him as an entrepreneur. When the man speaks, the weight it carries can be far-reaching.

So far, Kuok is the only man who never accepted any of the titles rolled out for outstanding Malaysians.

Many people address him as “Tan Sri Robert Kuok,” in actual fact, he does not have these titles, he doesn’t need them.

To put the record straight, he is neither “Tan Sri” nor “Dato”. (…is that true?)

Unrelated, a glimpse of the legend himself being interviewed by CNTV (in Mandarin):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAU8VeJQObs&feature=autoplay&list=PLDF1321A11C159A0C&lf=autoplay&playnext=3
Link

Is it better to get off at the old rail station instead of KL Sentral?

Last Friday was my first trip to KL on the ETS which took only 2 hours instead of 3 from Batu Gajah. Being a senior citizen, I paid only Rm26 instead of the normal fare of Rm34, almost 25% discount.

Just before reaching the last stop, an announcement 'next stop KL old station' made me decide to get off before reaching destination KL Sentral. I thought it was walkable to Masjid Jamek where I was to take the LRT to Sentul. I had to ask a staff before I knew I had to walk northwards to cross the pedestrian bridge to get to Central Market and then to Masjid Jamek. It was not pedestrian friendly and the signs not useful for any first-timer. Initially there was a sign to Jalan Sambanthan and who was to know that it would lead to CM? Being ex-KLite, I knew where I should be heading to get to Masjid Jamek station. But my first try getting into the station was a mistake as it led me to the Kelana Jaya Line instead of Star line to get to my intended destination, Sentul. I would say it was worth my while to try out for myself getting off at the old station and walk instead of taking the LRT from KL Sentral to Masjid Jamek, since I had time to kill before DoReMi's 30th Anniversary dinner and concert. I don't think anyone in a hurry and unfamiliar with the route should do it.

After getting off at Sentul, I looked towards the direction where my former school clock tower was visible. In the foreground next to the station is Wesley Methodist School, formerly known as Methodist High School. I had to walk round some old railway quarters before I could reach HGH Convention Centre which is in front of my old school, MBS Sentul. DoReMi's boss, Lim Cheng Wah is also an ex-student. My first purchase from DoReMi was a set of bongo drums, sold by my then niece-in-law who happened to be working for them at their first shop in Pertama Complex. They have grown since and celebrated their 30th anniversary with great fanfare. We normally deal with Lim's sister-in-law, Alice who always give us 15% discount! Because I did not expect much, I was pleasantly surprised when we were entertained by their own band known as Doremians comprising staff members. They have a group of percussionists known as By Heart Clan. But the highlight was the demo by Roland's V-drum specialist, Tony David on their TD-9KX2 and SPD-30. It was amazing how versatile the electronic drums could be compared with the conventional ones. Then there was a young Michael Jackson impersonator who is good enough to make a living with his skills. The band Rade was impressive and I particularly liked the drummer who had the advantage of playing a well amplified Sonor drums kit by DoReMi technicians. It seems the staff in charge of setting up the mass of music and sound equipment were at the hall since 10 am! Incidentally, the first prize for the lucky draws (for those who purchased Rm1,000 and above recently which we did not qualify) was a Sonor set worth Rm26,000! The second prize was a Carvin Legacy amplifier and the third was a Washburn electric guitar. There were many absentees when winners' names were called and the eventual winners for the top three prizes were really lucky because some did not turn up!

More about DoReMi:
http://www.doremi.com.my/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=106&Itemid=129
Link

Friday, September 09, 2011

Related parties make a mockery of Corporate Governance in Malaysia

S Dali recommends this blogsite on Corporate Governance in Malaysia:

http://www.cgmalaysia.blogspot.com/

If we had been following events happening in Malaysia, no matter what, our rules are already in place, but the main problem seems to be enforcement. Whether it is about elections, public security, road safety or corporate governance. Often, the people in charge failed in the process of upholding the law. The question is: who can check on the enforcers? Those knowledgeable can criticize, rant and rave, but if the political leaders are perceived to be in it by their inaction, life goes on. 'You scratch my back and I scratch yours' and 'you help me, I help you' seem to be the rule rather than the exception.

The current debate is on Sime Darby's purchase of 30% of E&O which seems like an ordinary corporate exercise. But when it involves public funded SD and the Chairman of E&O happens to be the husband of the head of Securities Commission (the enforcer of corporate governance), and he bought shares ahead of the proposed purchase, then it stinks a bit.

Dali's latest take on it:
http://malaysiafinance.blogspot.com/2011/09/more-on-sime-darby.html

S Dali and the blog also touched on MUI group. I am terribly disappointed with Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng on this. I can still remember having traded in PM Corp shares at around Rm8.00 and when the company sold its cement plant it had a big cash balance. Who would have thought that a big chunk would be lent to a related company which could not repay later? We cannot complain about the turn of events which nobody could foresee, but as Dali mentioned, to be repaid not even in shares but ICULS (at lower than expected rate) which are irredeemable meant basically 'no choice' to the minority shareholders of PM Corp. To add insult to injury, the independent advisers seem to go along with the proposal! As some Chinese used to joke, 'ku piu' or 'shares' in Cantonese is like what it sounds like, as in 'ku' to mean 'guessing' as to whether a particular counter is going up or down! No need to know about fundamentals, just treat the stock market like a casino and you are quite right about it!

Link

Permanent speed traps?

I am not sure about the source of this information, but if it has the effect of slowing down drivers along the various expressways and saves lives, why not? The police is not in the business of keeping secret such devices in the hope that more motorists will be caught so that more fines could be collected to increase their revenues. Truth be told, I do not take note of the details as I normally drive within speed limits, because I cannot afford or do not find it worthwhile to pay fines just to reach my destination earlier by half an hour or so.

PLUS North Bound (ke Utara)
*Under a bridge at about 456km, Sg Buloh junction.
*Under a bridge at about 459km, Bukit Lanjan interchange.
*Under the overhead restaurant at Sg Buloh.
*Under the last bridge before Sg Besi toll at 309.2km.
*Under the bridge at 296.5km, Bangi junction.
*Under the newly constructed bridge at 289.0km, after Nilai North junction.
*Under the bridge at 286.5km, Nilai North junction.

PLUS South Bound (ke Selatan)
*Below signboard at about 454.6km and 455.2km, Sg Buloh layby.
*Under the bridge after Subang junction at 11.3km.
*Under the bridge at 22km, Bukit Lanjan junction.
*Under the bridge before Mint hotel, Sg Besi Toll. 80km/h only!
*Under the bridge at 302.8km, Kajang junction.
*About 1km south of Bangi junction, both south and north bound outer lanes
*At 296.5km and 297km, Bangi junction.
*Under the newly constructed bridge at 289.0km, before Nilai North junction.
*At 285.5km and 285.8km, Nilai North junction.
*On center divider at 251.8km and 253km after Senawang junction.
*After Alor Gajah junction at 213.9km, next to water theme park.
*Behind the right hand crash barrier at 198.4km.

Elite Central Link East/North Bound
*On left hand side at 4.8km after Batu Tiga/Shah Alam exit
*Under the overhead restaurant at USJ/Hicom junction about 8.5km. 90km/h zone!
*Below the bridge before USJ/Hicom junction at 10.5km.

Elite Central Link West/South Bound
*Under the overhead restaurant at USJ/Hicom junction about 8.5km. 90km/h zone!
*Below the bridge before USJ/Hicom junction at 10.5km.
*After exit from KLIA toll to the airport, below Jalan Pekeliling flyover.90km/h


NKVE East/North Bound
*300m before Jalan Duta toll, 60km/h!
*Behind crash barrier on the left when going towards Jalan Duta toll, at 24.9km, 80km/h!
*Below bridge at Damansara Junction, 17.5km


NKVE West/South Bound
*Behind crash barrier on the left when leaving Jalan Duta toll from KL, at 25.3km and 25.7km, 80km/h!
*From Jln Duta, below the bridge, 23km, 80km/h zone!
*From Jln Duta, at the underpass at Sg Buloh Y-junction, 22km.
*Behind crash barrier at Damansara Junction, 17.7km and 16.8km
*Below railway bridge at 11.2km
*Under the bridge at Shah Alam junction.

Kesas East Bound
*Under the bridge at 44.8km, downhill run after Puchong junction.

Kesas West Bound
*At Sg Besi side of East Bound Toll. Kuala LumpurCity
*Jalan Duta; below the flyover at the Damansara junction, 70km/h zone.

Klang
*Dual carriageway between Klang and Port Klang. Towards Klang direction, at about 13km mile stone. 70km/h only!

East Coast
*Road sign at Karak highway is inadequate especially at Y junction; if you are unfamilar, go slow.
*East bound, downhill run after Raub junction.
*Maran, 60km/h zone.
*Paya Bungor, 70km/h zone.

SPEED TRAPS IN JOHOR South Bound
*Tangkak junction.
*Under the bridge after Yong Peng

North junction
*at 97.3km.
*Ayer Hitam junction.
*Sedenak junction.

SPEED TRAPS IN PERLIS, KEDAH AND PENANG
North Bound
*Around Ayer Hitam in 60km/h zone.
*Before Perwaja Steel.
*Sg Petani junction.
*Between Seberang Jaya junction and Sg Dua Toll.
*PenangBridge at island end.Speed limit 80km/h.

South Bound
*PenangBridgeisland end. Speed limit 80km/h.
*About 2km before Juru Toll Speed limit 90km/h.

SPEED TRAPS IN PERAK
North Bound
*Under the bridge at 197.1km and 198.8km, afterKamunting Junction.
*Under the bridge at 204.3km, after KamuntingJunction.
*Under the bridge at 208km, before Kamunting Junction.
*Under the bridge at 214.8km, before Kamuntingjunction.
*Ipoh Vista Point at about 263km. Speed limit 80km/h.
*Under the bridge at 271km, Ipoh North Junction.
*Under the bridge at 274.4km, Ipoh South Junction.
*Under the bridge at 286.9km, Simpang Pulai Junction.
*Under the bridge at 296km, Gopeng Junction.
*Under the bridge at 352.6km, after Sungkai Junction.
*Under the bridge at 353km, Sungkai Junction.
*Under the bridge at 373km, Slim River Junction.

South Bound
*Under the bridge at 199km, before Kamunting junction.
*Under the bridge at 241.9km, at Kalau Kangsarjunction.
*Under the sign post at 296.1km, before GopengJunction.
*Under the bridge at 297km, at Gopeng Junction.
*Under the bridge at 300km, after Gopeng junction.
*Under the bridge at 308.6km, after Gopeng junction.
*Under the bridge at 372.6km, at SlimRiverjunction.

HAVE A SAFE JOURNEY!


Link

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Turd can be made a tad more tasteful in advertising



Location makes a whiff of a difference to wine...



Most suspicious PM of Malaysia

I don't know about others, but our PM's every move is treated with suspicion. I think it all started with his move on Perak when he became Umno's state chief and soon after abused his PM position to topple the Pakatan state government. Then, he became Selangor Umno's state chief, which many believed to be for the same purpose, though his mission has yet to be achieved. But so much trouble created in Selangor since he had openly stated his objective.

When he became PM, he was already carrying the baggage of Altantuya because of his aide, Razak Baginda's as well as other aides' involvement. His meeting with Saiful led to sodomy charges against his arch rival, Anwar Ibrahim. There are so many instances which involved Najib and his perceived ulterior motives. Even a meeting with the council of judges recently was treated with suspicion that he is going to influence them! Do we need such a foxy character for a PM? Only the next Umno election or the next General Election, whichever comes first, will tell.

Link

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Double Vision's Forget me not

First of all, I find Forget me not on NTV 7 interesting enough to catch up on the episodes whenever I am at home. Maybe, I am just a tv addict who would watch anything that comes along. But I had to know the storyline before I would continue watching. Otherwise, not watching tv is ok with me.

I think the person who did the casting did a bad job on a few counts. I tried to find out the name of the young actress who was Xue Ming when young, without success. She looks a sweet 16, and was with two sons aged some 7 and 5 at least, which made her too incredibly young to be their mother. The two sons, as adults were Yang Wei Yi (William San) and mentally challenged Yang Wei Hao (credibly acted by Coby Chong).

Xue Ming was acted by Remon Lim who I found not to be a good choice to be the adult face of the young actress. So when Wei Yi was shown recalling the semblance of his mother acted by Remon, there was not a bit of resemblance at all with the young actress who acted as the young mother!

The first wife of Li Xin De (Jordan Voon), Yong En (Angela Chan Mei Ngor), who was supposed to have been with him for the past 30 years looks prettier than his second wife Xue Ming (Remon Lim) who had been with him for the past 20 years. Of course, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and Xin De could have been attracted because of her business acumen. But surely the choice of actresses should take into account the general opinion of the audience too, and I am sure my judgment is not too far out. The jury is out there and any comment for or against my opinion is most welcome indeed.

For once, I like Jordan Voon's acting because of the principled character Xin De he portrayed.

For looks, I like Wayne (what a macho name for a girl) Chua or Cai Pei Xuan, who acted as Jane Lin Li Wen and Jojo Goh who acted as Annie Li Ruo Tong. Angela Chan looks great for her age. The sweet actress who acted as young Xue Ming too.

I have gone against my better judgment by offering my unsolicited opinions on the above. By saying someone is pretty is also implying someone else is not.

Others in the cast:
Adrian Tan as Li Jin Bao, Leslie Chai as Kent Li Guo Xiu, Seek Fook Yee as Mei Yi, William San as Yang Wei Yi.

Synopsis in The Star:
http://ecentral.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/8/3/tvnradio/9216694&sec=tvnradio
Link