How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

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

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

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

When there's too much dirt...

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

Prevent bullying now!

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Good people lose out in Malaysia

Being conscientious, you are likely to be a loser financially, in the hope that good karma will prevail later on.

In Malaysia today, we read of corrupt leaders in charge who are able to control all institutions, and continue to lead exceptionally luxurious lives. All accusations against them will not stick and they can continue doing so with elegant silence. But I am not going to touch on that because I am not privy to such information and at best, provide some publicity by highlighting some articles or posts in news portals and blogsites.

Being an ordinary citizen, I am bothered by discounts given to bad paymasters by government institutions in their course of debt collection. On several occasions, even Police offered substantial discounts to those who did not pay their summonses. Being conscientious, I for one, would pay promptly for any offence I have committed (thank God, I learned from such mistakes because I was affected by such personal financial losses). But we have come across people who showed their contempt by tearing any traffic offence ticket to impress people. Just imagine such people are likely to be given chances several times, and eventually had to pay only 50%! How would you feel, if you had paid 100% promptly each time? What lesson does this practice of condoning bad paymasters tell you? That it is better to wait for future discounts? I am not even touching on the possibility that key political leaders' cars could speed with impunity, accumulating summonses which were later cancelled by those with authority within the police hierarchy.

I have just read that PTPTN is offering 20% discount to certain debtors who meet their criteria. Again, I would feel for those responsible students who repaid according to what they had committed when signing up for the study loans, who would feel unfairly treated when compared with those who can now pay with a substantial discount. This is nothing when compared with those who were omitted from the system (was it deliberate?) each time they tried a new computer database system (lost in the process of migration of data!). How convenient indeed! There is even a possibility of phantom cases which benefited certain culprits before and were deleted during the process, thus left no incriminating evidence.

In the past, we have had local authorities that offered prizes to those settling their assessment arrears. A friend won a Kancil in a lottery for those who paid a full year's assessment instead of half year. Was this necessary? Then occasionally, we read about certain influential people's companies owing a few years of quit rent and assessments without any action taken against them.

I am not a fan of Ibrahim Ali, but what he said about Muslims losing out in business because they cannot be involved in sinful businesses like massage parlours and the like, is also true if you are a non-Muslim with strong principles.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

MH17 from Amsterdam arrived (more than an hour) too early!

According to the ETA given to me months ago, it was 7.25 am. It was either straight from Batu Gajah on the day, or like what we decided, we went a day earlier so that we could leave from PJ which normally takes an hour to KLIA. My younger daughter's car was parked outside the gate, blocking ours. I asked her if she could leave for work slightly earlier ie. before 7 am so that we could leave at the same time. But before we could leave while thinking there was ample time, we got a text from Cheng that she was waiting to collect her luggage and looking forward to seeing us! My wife even had to take along her mug of tea while I drove faster than usual. The little things helped: I had unlocked the front door and grille and I had my Touch n Go with enough credit. The fact that I was familiar with the route too. Cheng called and was told that 'we're on our way' which she later joked about my wife's usual lie giving the impression she is nearer than actual. I told her to text about where we were but she wouldn't, and I couldn't while driving, unlike some people younger. When we arrived at Arrival at KLIA, she was no where to be seen. But she was quick to come out from the air-conditioned area and told us that after half an hour of wait and feeling the heat, she decided to seek the coolness of the lounge instead, which was when she joked about how she realized we could be farther than she originally expected. She also told us that the plane touched down at 6.10am! The night before, I had actually called up Information and was told ETA 7 am (not 7.25 am) and I did not take it seriously, but 6.10am? Moreover, when we were late, she got her baggage fast too (number 10) and cleared Customs and Immigration at record time. Murphy's Law at work? I wonder. Anyway, a couple of pithy quotes which I had posted earlier came to mind:

If God had intended us to fly he would have made it easier to get to the airport.
            ~ Jonathan Winters

The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone.
            ~ George Roberts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Some pithy quotes

If God had intended us to fly he would have made it easier to get to the airport.
            ~ Jonathan Winters

The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone.
            ~ George Roberts

When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land.  They said 'Let us pray.'  We closed our eyes.  When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
            ~ Desmond Tutu

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day.  Give him religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.
            ~ Timothy Jones

Kill one man and you're a murderer, kill a million and you're a conqueror.
            ~ Jean Rostand.

If life were fair Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead.
            ~ Johnny Carson

I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.
            ~ Robert Benchley

Lawyers believe a man is innocent until proven broke.
            ~ Robin Hall

The only reason they say 'Women and children first' is to test the strength of the lifeboats.
            ~ Jean Kerr

As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.
            ~ John Glenn

Wood burns faster when you have to cut and chop it yourself.
            ~ Harrison Ford


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Counting the cost of accountability and transparency

I am back home, fresh from a dinner in honour of old folks of Pusing, which I had attended for the past few years. This year, the notable absence were some school children of local schools, who were to collect their token prizes for excelling in their studies.

We were late but were present when a committee member was on stage and he complained about certain people criticizing the organization for not being registered and not being transparent. He explained that to comply with registration and provide properly audited accounts require money which could better be served by providing free dinner to those deserving students. The necessity to have an office would incur overheads like rental, water and electricity.

As an observer, I am quite impressed with the simple Receipts and Payments Account provided at each table for attendees to peruse. Every year, the amount in deficit would be paid by someone among the diners (approached, after an announcement for aid). Though the accounts were not audited by a professional, the expenses totaled less than Rm30,000. The top donor for this year donated Rm1,400. For an annual event, I would give them the benefit of the doubt, especially when the purpose was so honourable as to honour all the old folks in town, and the oldest in particular. This year, the oldest is a woman of 104 years young!

The annual event is like a big dinner party organized by non-political social workers. The committee members are mainly average businessmen who feel good in what they do. The main supporters are local businessmen who need to give back what they made from the locals. Even the caterer charges reasonably and donated as well. Karaoke is a necessity for a small town, and as my wife commented, there are no shortage of talents in karaoke singing.

This year, there was no VIP table for local politicians. When I first attended in 2008, it was occupied by DAP representatives; then when BN took over state government, it was occupied by BN representatives.

I could sense the organizers' disappointment at being criticized for their alleged lack of transparency. The celebration was low key when compared with past years. I hope the committee members would continue with their good work and not be put off by those ungrateful critics.

In UK, public schools are private institutions

Typical of the British, like their English language, some things can be confusing. The other day, I was explaining to a friend that public schools in Britain are private, and he appeared unconvinced, because he thought 'public' means 'open to the public' and therefore easily accessible and not exclusive.

The difference between public schools and state schools has led to class divide between middle and upper classes and ordinary working class.

"public school, also called independent school,   in the United Kingdom, one of a relatively small group of institutions educating secondary-level students for a fee and independent of the state system as regards both endowment and administration. The term public school emerged in the 18th century when the reputation of certain grammar schools spread beyond their immediate environs. They began taking students whose parents could afford residential fees and thus became known as public, in contrast to local, schools. By the late 20th century the term independent school was increasingly preferred by the institutions themselves.

The typical great public school—such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Westminster, Rugby, Shrewsbury, or Charterhouse—evolved from an institution founded by a single benefactor during the late Middle Ages or Renaissance. Such charitable foundations, almost invariably for males only, had usually been intended to educate local boys from relatively humble backgrounds. From about the 17th century the upper classes took increasing advantage of the tuition afforded by these foundations. As pupils paying the market rate became more numerous, the schools were increasingly transformed into boarding establishments. (Some, however, such as St. Paul’s or Merchant Taylors’ in London, remained day schools; others took both day boys and boarders.) The public schools were seen as preparing students for the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge (though not all students proceeded then or proceed now to a university) and for public service—another origin of the appellation “public” school."


The latest unusual letter of rejection from a student applicant to Magdalen Oxford is an expression of the existing prejudice against such discrimination...

"...Should the university wish to "reapply", her letter continued, "while you may believe your decision to hold interviews in grand formal settings is inspiring, it allows public school applicants to flourish... and intimidates state school applicants, distorting the academic potential of both".

She also criticised Magdalen College's "traditions and rituals", and the gap between "minorities and white middle class students".

However, the university said in a statement: "Of the seven UK students who received offers for law and joint school courses at Magdalen, only one was from an independent school."


BBC News - Magdalen Oxford gets rejection letter from student


Our Santa

Merry Christmas!

By the way, I know of a retired teacher who missed BR1M 1 because he went to LHDN office to submit his form. He met an ex-student working there who told him, 'Teacher, you are not eligible' and he did not apply. He regretted later when some of his friends applied and were paid.

This time round, he went to an ex-ADUN's service centre and met him, also an ex-student. Again, he was told he should not apply because his form will be rejected. Now he is feeling really dejected.

I am sure there are many such cases where people of similar incomes but who were not similarly treated.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Mystery or myth about the Mistletoe

"...Washington Irving, in Christmas Eve, relates the typical festivities surrounding the Twelve Days of Christmas, including kissing under the mistletoe (Washington Irving, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent). Irving continues his Christmas passage with a footnote:

"The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases."

We moderns have conveniently forgotten the part about plucking the berries (which, incidentally, are poisonous), and then desisting from kissing under the mistletoe when the berries run out!"

Kissing under the mistletoe

According to Geek Trivia:

Which Common Christmas Decoration Is Actually A Parasite?

Answer: Mistletoe

Among all the Christmas-related decorations millions will string, stand, and otherwise arrange this holiday season, only one of them is capable of wiping out entire swathes of forest. Mistletoe, an evergreen plant commonly hung in North American and European homes around Christmas, is a a hemi-parasitic plant that survives by driving its root structure right into the bark of a host tree and siphoning nutrients off of it–a large enough infestation can easily take down a healthy tree.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

From STB to BTS... then DIBS

My previous experience in housing development took me through STB (Sell-then-build) which had a standard Sale & Purchase Agreement (used by lawyers to make tons of money if well connected to big-time developers), wherein house buyers were to pay progress payments according to progress of construction certified by the architect. It had its problems relating to abandoned projects which left buyers 'high and dry' and having to pay rental on their existing accomodation and to pay interest on portions of their housing loans disbursed.

Recently, BTS (Build-then-sell) was introduced to safeguard house buyers. Even before this was introduced, developers of Bandar Utama had decided on this because of the high appreciation in value of houses built, so that they could make more out of their development projects instead of benefiting buyers and speculators. Apparently, BTS will be made mandatory in 2015.

But in the meantime, some developers have come out with DIBS (Developers' Interest-bearing Scheme) to compromise on BTS. Effectively, instead of the developers bearing the risk during construction, buyers committed to their housing loans are doing so. Yet, some advertisements give the impression it is the same as BTS a la 10:90; 5:95 or even 0:100!

Chang Kim Loong's article House-buyers beware of DIBS in The Star explains...


"Some even have the audacity to equate the same with the 10:90 concept of built-then-sell (BTS). One even goes as far as to advertise the mode of payment as 5:95 model. The connotations in all these advertisements are that buyers do not make any progressive payments until the houses are completed and ready for vacant possession.

All these advertised "schemes" of payments are nothing more than loan packages. Although the advertisement states "no payment until vacant possession", in reality the buyers' loans are "locked-in" with panel banks/financial institutions and hence, buyers' housing loans are used to pay the developers as they construct the houses.

It is based exactly on the current sell-then-build (STB) or progressive payment formula. This formula has got so many house-buyers into trouble when the houses they buy are abandoned by the developers.

The only difference in the advertised system is that the interests towards the progressive payments are shouldered, absorbed and borne by the developers. Buyers still have to secure their end-financing housing loans as soon as they sign the SPA. Buyers are still responsible to the banks and financial institutions for the loans whether the houses are delivered or not..."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friendship of the unlikely kind...

I touched your toes! No, I touched yours!

My cat, Kitty would have taken this reptile for breakfast!

My sincere apologies. Due to technical error or copyright issues, I realize the above videos could not be shown.

My Maxis Home Wifi experience (update)

 I signed up for the basic Maxis Home Wireless Internet package at Rm59 pm, on 8 Dec. Maxis has a different way of controlling usage - in terms of GB memory space. This is so different from those based on usage in hours. Therefore, I had to try it out myself before I could tell whether the basic package suits my usage pattern.

Being new, I tried using the sim card provided as intended: in the wifi router. Then I tried it on a USB drive, and I even tried it on a handphone. All successful (not without problems though) and I was pleased with its versatility. However, I have also encountered problems with wifi connectivity for reasons unknown. It could be due to settings, if the sim card is not meant for use other than wifi via the Maxis router.

A few days ago, when I first used it for M2U online share trading, I was disconnected after only a few minutes. I attributed it to having used up the low quota which I have subscribed for. But then again, I was able to use it for other internet purposes - like my usual checking of emails, updating my blog, checking of updates by friends in Facebook, and so on. The disconnection was due to some other reasons, as I was to find out later.

This evening, on Dec 21 (13 days since signing up, but actually 11 days of use) I received notification that I had used up my quota for the month! Honestly, I do not know how it works. At first, I thought the 3 GB (but actually 1.5 GB for 18 popular hours and another 1.5 GB for 6 off-peak hours) refers to bandwidth, though there was no mention of that. I was expecting spurts of normal use until quota was up, then throttled to slow, in an on/off manner over the month. But with the latest notification, I know it refers to the cumulative memory space used (depending on the sites I visited) and that I have reached the limit based on my subscription package. I have a choice of ordering for more GB of space or opt for upgrading to the next level, which is Rm79 pm.

The problems I faced in trying to do so, leave me in no doubt that Maxis is just like any other company, and that is, it cannot live up to its own sales pitch. For example, I tried using the cordless phone to call 1800 82 1123/2000 but seems unable to. Then I use TM's fixed line to call and I managed to get through to Maxis call centre twice, but each time, when I was supposed to be put through to someone, it went silent! I was disappointed because I was expecting Maxis to be better. (Claim: 'You can have peace of mind with our dedicated 24/7 award winning customer support.')

Another Claim: 'You can continue using the service even after you have finished your monthly allocated quota. There will be no extra charges, but your speed will be throttled.'

Fact: I tried to sign up twice unsuccessfully because of 'Server down'. I cannot connect because there is a 'no internet access' shown under my User name. To put it simply, I am stuck! Instead of just being throttled to a very slow speed, I felt I was throttled to death instead!

Managed to get through to a human and was told to try browsing any site to see if I can do so. I could, despite the sign on my computer stating I have no internet access. This is supposed to be the state of being 'throttled' until I order for more memory capacity! I was given another telephone number 1800 82 4663 to order in case I cannot do so using their website.

To my pleasant surprise, I have just tried visiting a few sites like Facebook and Malaysiakini and was able to do so despite my 'throttled' state. I was even more surprised when I could get into M2U to check my bank balance, and even went into online trading mode (at 10.30 pm, ie. after trading hours) but unable to transfer fund from trading account because of time restriction (6.00 am to 9.00 pm from Mon to Sun).

Update on July 14:

Only after 7 months of use that I get to know the basic package is meant for only one user. I could be wrong, but recently, my wife's iPad could not connect with it. I checked the settings and when asked, keyed in the password, but without success. Even with my notebook off, I could not connect the iPad to the network. Then I realised my notebook plug was still electrically connected, though switched off. Perhaps, by switching it off, there is no further restriction and another gadget could use the wifi connection. What this means to me: that what Maxis giveth, it taketh, knowing that I refused to top up despite my quota for peak hours was used up! Incidentally, Astro (owned by the same boss, AK) has also cut off one particular channel which I watched occasionally - 735 - where I used to watch UK tv programmes for a bit of nostaligia. Was it only for me to try out for a few months (from the time I stumbled upon it)? I wonder.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to tidy up your Contact list in Android

This information is suitable for those techy enough and have smartphones with the necessary specs (both of which I am not and have not). Make sure you are confident enough before you attempt, otherwise, you might face the problems of data migration (missing names, as intended by some unscrupulous people) like that faced by our PTPTN!


Some of you may find that the People (Contacts List) in Android a bit constrainted, esp. in terms of duplicate or multiple copies of some of your contacts, and find it cumbersome to delete or remove them, well, here is a simple solution.

This is for Android v4.0 or higher ONLY, and preferably with Wifi ON :::

1.  You must have already sync-ed your contacts list with or into your Google GMail account for this to work.

A copy of all your contacts, once synced, can be viewed and edited (using your Desktop PC).

Tidy up this Contacts List in this GMail on the Desktop PC.  It's much easier to edit this contacts list on the PC.  Once you are satisfied with its contents and everything looks ok, now log out.

2.  Now go to your Android smartphone.  Check into your Contacts app, and you see all those multiple copies of your contacts.  Now is to clear the entire Contacts List and restart with a new one.

To clear all the Contacts on the Android mobile, do or goto your Settings:

    a.  Settings>Storage> (scroll down to) Apps>Contacts Storage>Clear Data

then return to the Home page, and

     b. click on People (Contacts) app.

                  - You will find this Contacts List all EMPTY now.

     c. press on the Menu within the Contacts app, and tick Auto-sync app data (with your default Gmail account)

     d.  select only to sync with Contacts (others like BookMarks, Calendar, etc. should not be ticked) ONLY

     e. let it go, and wait until the sync has completed.

Once done, you'll see the new Contacts List which is an EXACT copy of the one stored in the GMail Clouds.

Oh, yeah, just one more thing.  Switch off your SYNC once you are done, and no longer wants to sync with your Google GMail all the time.  If you wanna stay SYNC-ed, ignore this.  Staying SYNC-ed all the time can be taxing in terms of time and money, esp. if you are not on Wifi but dataplan.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

KTM KL Station (old) contrasts with BG old station

KTM old station is now known as KL Station (Stesen Kuala Lumpur) and I think this could be confusing to someone new to KL. How would anyone know KL Station is just another stop (coming from the North) to the final destination, KL Sentral, the new hub where trains (normal, ETS, ERL, LRT and Monorail) meet for the convenience of travellers. There are also taxis and buses too. What I am trying to say is that there must be some first-time travellers who got off at KL Station, thinking it is the final destination in KL or the right station to connect with other means of transport.

A friend has just found it convenient to get off at KL Station whenever he has an appointment with IJN (National Heart Institute in Jalan Tun Razak) because it is nearer and he saves on taxi fare. He can catch a train back from the same station because there is a KTM ticketing office. For those unfamiliar with KL Sentral (I had to find my way recently despite my past visits), KL Station is definitely more straightforward, being a dedicated rail station instead of a hub. In fact, near it there is a City carpark which looks uncomplicated and definitely cheaper in terms of fees, compared with the newer KL Sentral.

When travelling to or from KL Sentral, KL Station is just 2 minutes away. It is a scheduled stop whether you are travelling on the Gold or Silver ETS train or the normal KTM inter-city train. How I wish this facility can be extended to Batu Gajah old station! It has been abandoned and plans are for a railway museum in future! That is not what we wish for.

I have petitioned for a schedule stop at the old BG station for almost 3 years, with my plea falling on deaf ears. It may seem to be too demanding on my part to ask for this special favour, but truth be told, the residents of BG were robbed of their convenient old station and now have to contend with the new station, which is 2 km from the main road (Jalan Tg. Tualang). It is too far to walk and costs almost the train fare (KL-BG for senior citizens) to arrange for taxi service. If the train from the south were to stop at the old station, passengers can get off on the nearside, instead of having to climb up and down the steep overhead pedestrian crossing at the new station. Just spare a few minutes to facilitate this additional stop and I bet most local train travellers will be eternally grateful. There is no need to even do up the old station, just provide the stop is all that we ask for. Is that too much to ask? In case there is doubt as to whether the train travellers are for this suggestion, just give it a try and see the response. Given publicity, if the response is poor, then I shall rest my case and stop complaining.

Lying Lynas?

Dr. Jeyakumar has compiled relevant information from various sources to back his opposition against Lynas factory in Gebeng...

Graphic courtesy of Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini is kind enough to allow full article to be read by non-subscribers:

Is the anti-Lynas movement being unreasonable?

CEO of Lynas claimed our government welcome his company with open arms with offer of 12-year tax holiday. We all know how desperate our BN leaders are in terms of FDI and how they tend to agree to terms favourable to others at the expense of the people.

Ex-PM Tun Dr. Mahathir tried to defend the project by describing those who opposed Lynas as brainless. Wonder why during his watch, he had to scrap Asian Rare Earth and stored radioactive waste in a place near Lahat. Was it an unnecessary exercise then?

It is amazing how our political leaders are willing to risk our people's health for wealth. Since even Australia did not grab the opportunity to have the rare processing plant, it seems like a case of 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread'.

Lynas could be one of the major issues which might affect the next GE, like a referendum in the state of Pahang.

Meanwhile, this is one of the reports in Australia by Wendy Bacon...

The toxic waste that's not in our back yard

An experiment on perception


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

The following quotes come to mind:

“Perception is subjective.”
“People sometimes talk about the power of first impressions, and believe me, there is truth to it.”
“You can't change reality -- only its perception.” 


Monday, December 17, 2012

Even a dog needs a break

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard.I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head. He then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar:
'He lives in a home with non stopping chatting wife, 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep.  Can I come with him tomorrow?'


Who is Najib to criticize DAP on 'Middle Malaysia'?

I am of course referring to Najib's comment after DAP's CEC election results...

"DAP does not represent ‘Middle Malaysia’ or the spirit of unity of all races in Malaysia when all eight Malay DAP leaders did not garner enough votes to sit in the party’s central executive committee (CEC) during its congress yesterday..."


Najib: DAP doesn't represent 'Middle Malaysia'

I am particularly attracted by a comment by Changeagent in Mkini:

'Najib, why don't you open up Umno memberships to the non-Malays, get them to contest for positions in the supreme council, and then see how many of them win a seat before you comment on another party? By the way, speaking about family dynasty, have you heard of the PM whose father was the second PM, his uncle was the third PM, and his cousin is the Home Minister? His wife is also the Queen of Malaysia.'

Contrast this with an older democracy, a fellow former British colony...


When Pranab Mukherjee was sworn in as the President of India in July 2012 the world witnessed a Parsi Chief Justice Kapadia swear in a Brahmin President Mukherjee, with a Muslim Vice President Hamid Ansari, a Sikh Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an Italian-born Catholic chairman of the ruling party Sonia Gandhi, a Dalit Speaker of the Parliament Meira Kumar a Sikh Chief of the Indian Army, General Bikram Singh, an Anglo Indian from Allahabad - Chief of Air Force Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne - (whose son Omar is also a fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force) attending the ceremony . Wonder which other country on this globe has a similar record?


MYOB ... towards MMOB

Having been told to 'Mind your own business', the natural response is likely towards adopting a 'Mind my own business' attitude. But if everybody were to mind their own businesses, then there will be no politicians, journalists and nosey parkers. Can you imagine, when friends meet, and they were told to mind their own business in discussions? How boring will that be!

I have learnt on many occasions, the lesson of not telling others what some people told you in private. But then again, how do we tell what is supposed to be private? Each of us has different level of sensitivity. What is sensitive to one might not be to another. Sometimes, having to think first before saying anything makes one hesitant in speech and appear even incoherent.

Last night, I attended a small gathering at a friend's home. Several times, what I told a friend's wife about his husband's views (gathered at our regular breakfast meetings), I was told by him not to 'cheen pohu' or 'leak the pot' literally but which means 'leak secrets'. Just imagine how difficult it was to carry out conversation, having to first screen your thoughts mentally as to what should or should not be said. It wouldn't be spontaneous for sure, and I would say, even untruthful. But sometimes, the truth may hurt some people and it is better not to be too honest about certain information. Discretion is the better part of valour?

Former classmates in school would be surprised at my change over the years: from a shy and quiet student in class to a talkative busy body, making comments all over the internet. Of course, I sensed some of my comments were unwelcome and were unpublished in some websites. But at least I get them off my chest and the administrators would have read before discarding them.

But one thing for sure, we should not just mind our own business when it comes to voting who should be running our country.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

No Malay leaders elected into DAP CEC

"All eight Malay DAP leaders who contested for central executive committee (CEC) posts lost badly at 16th DAP Congress here.

The results show that the party, dominated by the Chinese, does not make room for Malay candidates including Zairil Khir Johari (picture) who served as political secretary to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Zairil only received 305 votes while his boss, Lim garnered 1,576 votes.

A total of 1,823 delegates voted to choose 20 DAP leaders for the 2012-2015 term..."

"There is no change. The results is a setback for Malay candidates. Perhaps the top leaders who contested want to take care of their own interests, not the party's interests."

All eight DAP Malay leaders lose badly in CEC polls

According to Malaysiakini's report:
"Despite a surge of new delegates, from 948 in 2008 to 1,846 this year, there was not much change in the voting pattern for the new Central Executive Committee (CEC) line-up..."

Kit Siang leads the pack again at DAP polls

"Perhaps the top leaders who contested want to take care of their own interests, not the party's interests."

I wish to comment on the above statement.

I believe the elected 20 CEC members will appoint some Malay leaders to make up the total of 30. I think the Malay leaders lost because of the lack of support due to the small number of Malay members. The election, being democratic, was beyond the control of DAP leaders. I am sure, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and Karpal Singh, were just as anxious about how the delegates would vote. Of course, it would be nice to have the most votes, which by itself was an indication of popular support. This would carry weight in hierarchy and in decision-making.

With the benefit of hindsight, the above statement seems to suggest that LKS or LGE should not have so many votes because it affected the popularity of the Malay leaders. If we cannot avoid the fact that in Malaysia, most things are race-based, then the best way to have more Malay leaders is to increase the number of Malay members. Just imagine DAP having majority Malay members and this problem of not having elected Malay CEC members would be solved.

I am wondering why Dato Ariff Sabri did not take part in the election. I wonder how he would have fared in it.

Update: Dato Ariff's take...

"A few friends called to ask, did you lose in the DAP elections? I said I did not lose nor did I win. I did not contest..."

"...the unsuccessful bid for places in DAP’s CEC is more a case for being relative unknowns. Malay DAP leaders if they wish to get into the CEC must catch the attention and imagination of DAP delegates. Which means the Malays in DAP must earn their keep and keep their peace. Don’t go doing a Tunku Aziz stunt. "
"...Applied to the present case of the absence of elected Malays DAP leaders- it means that you come into an organization with its own internal dynamics, expecting to be served, expecting to get ahead by way of cutting corners.  Recognition, respect and appreciation must now be earned instead of demanding into being accepted because of perceived stature.

All of us, not only Malays must now begin to think if we have not already done so, that we move on in life being assessed by (1) what we can do rather than who we are. That would depend on our abilities, resolve and single-mindedness. (2) We must believe that anyone and not just specific persons with specific surnames can do specific jobs. .."


Family dynasties still in control of DAP

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Malaysia is still left out in Google Maps Navigation

'What do you know !  Malaysia is NOT IN THE LIST.  No wonder we can never get the Street View of Malaysian cities on our Google Maps desktop version - Malaysia is perhaps, a smaller unknown state of Singapore !!!'



Friday, December 14, 2012

KTM at KL Sentral: ETS office moved since June 2012!

How time flies... didn't know it was that long since my last train travel. With my poor memory and KTM's poor signage, I actually went up the escalator, down another escalator (not next to each other), up again, down again and so on. Reason? Well, went to the wrong level (based on old office location), then went to the 'right' location and found that it was closed with a notice of its move to KTM's office. In other words, my first 'wrong' location would have been right, if only there is a sign for ETS of its present location. But there was none.

When it was at its old location, opposite Air Asia and Genting offices, I found it odd then, but who was I to question such a silly idea? Instead of having KTM and ETS ticketing side by side (like in Batu Gajah station), it was one on each end. For someone wishing to know the timetables before deciding, you can imagine the trouble of having to run from one place to the other. So it was better late than never, with the present location, but please have signs where travellers at the escalator can see.

I am surprised KTM needed this 'trial and error' approach to find out the better location based on common sense. In fact, KTM station is the main reason for KL Sentral. The rest, like taxis, buses, ERL, and so on, are there so that there is a convenient interchange for other travellers.

The other minor point is that there is no clock where the train travellers are waiting to board. It is so easy to fix, yet overlooked apparently. I am also surprised my Digi had poor signals while in KL Sentral for some time and my old smart phone could not locate the wifi, if any. I presume there is, I could be wrong.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TM makes it difficult for cancellation

Just as I have expected, cancellation of service is usually made difficult so that any inconvenience because of having the subscriber himself or herself be present or any document required, works to their advantage because any delay means charges remain incurred. Below is a copy of their reply (with my highlights in bold) to my notice of canellation by email:

"Thank you for your feedback. Our automated feedback system has forwarded your request to us for our attention and reply. 

Referring to your feedback dated 10th December 2012 on termination query, we would like to inform that termination process can only be done at TMpoint. Therefore, kindly 'walk-in' to any nearest TMpoint at your area and bring along relevant documents such as follows in order to submit to our personnel for further action: 

1. Identity card. 
2. Letter of authorization with IC photocopy of account owner (if you assign someone on behalf). 
3. Letter from Commissioner of Oath (if you assign someone on behalf). 

You are able to search for the nearest TMpoint at our website as follows:

For your kind information, the minimum subscription period for the line is 12 months. If you terminate this service before the end of the subscription period, then you will be required to settle the subscription fees for the remaining months.

However, for Streamyx termination during the minimum subscription period, customer shall be liable to pay to TM all fees for the service outstanding to TM from the date of such suspension or termination until the end of the minimum subscription period. 

Upon conducting an internal investigation, our records show that your account D20615-973-0101 due to non-payment of your outstanding bill amounting to RM91.20. Kindly be advised to clear your outstanding balance if any, before request for termination to avoid your name being blacklisted in our system.

For further assistance or feedback, kindly e-mail us at . Alternatively, you can also contact TM at 100, choose language and select "Product and Services".

We hope we have addressed your concerns and look forward in serving you better."

Hello TM, please give us the benefit of the doubt when we want to cancel your poor service.

It would have been better if TM could confirm whether I have subscribed for at least 12 months instead of having me to check my record for it. Wouldn't it be better to state the fact since you will act based on this?

As for the oustanding bill, you make it appear as if I am a poor paymaster. I am sure it relates to the latest which I have yet to receive. What happens to the pro-rated amount of Rm36.00 which we had to pay because you wish to synchronize your billing? I can't wait to cancel straight away if not because the subscription is under my wife's name.

Update on Dec 13:
When my wife went to TM Point to cancel TMnet subscription, a salesgirl asked her why she wanted to do that. This is a typical response from sales staff because their job is to increase sales. Any termination of contract is perceived to be a bad reflection on them for whatever reasons. Anyway, she was told that a notice of 14 days is required for termination (hardly surprising), but it was not mentioned in their letter in response to my notice by email.

Well, I can tell them what was wrong: just imagine a technician telling you he knows what is wrong with either your modem or computer but refuses to adjust the settings because of company policy. For someone who knows how to, it is a matter of a few minutes to enable a customer's computer connect to Tmnet. This little gesture is worth more in customer satisfaction than millions spent on advertising.

A friend was so angry with TM's support service to get his telephone working that he quarreled with their staff. After a number of complaints and repairs which worked for a couple of days each time, he refused to call 100 and insisted on seeing the person in charge. He asked a staff member who wore a badge, 'Can I help you?' whether she knows what it means because he needed help yet she could not. A senior technician came out from his office and called their own technician (speaking in Tamil), as a last resort. Here again, the trend of outsourcing has its problems. There is a standard minimum charge for a contractor's staff to make a house call, and I am sure management would advise against using them unless necessary. So everything becomes impersonal and inefficient: every complaint is handled by a call centre which will decide on how best to handle it. Frequently, there was breakdown in communication as well as delay in attending to complaints. When a customer threatens to use a competitor's service, he is likely to get a 'Suka hati' (If it pleases you) or 'Saya tak kisah' (I'm not bothered) because the effect of one less customer is so immaterial to a big company. But if such an attitude persists among staff members, then slowly but surely, the effects will be felt.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Snatch robbery: rampant in Malaysia?

Snatch robbers are better known as snatch thieves in Malaysia. I always feel it is a misnomer because thieves steal in stealth whereas snatch robbers rob boldly, often in public, and sometimes causing serious injuries or death to victims. That we have signs warning the public and foreign and local tourists of such people is proof of its common occurrence.

The following is the latest I have received from a friend (there are so many incidents that most people consider such reports as boring) but still necessary to know of new methods being used...

Subject: Scary incident !!


Just to let you folks know I encountered a scary incident today at entrance to Paradygm Mall in Kelana Jaya ... so warning you to be alert.

I was driving with my friend to Paradygm Mall for lunch. As I was reaching the Mall and entering into the entrance I could see in my mirror a motorcycle with a rider and pillion-rider . It didn't strike me as anything as I thought they're just customers going into the Mall. I stopped my car at the parking meter machine and wind down the window to take the parking ticket. Suddenly a hand came in through the window and grabbed my chain !! My immediate reflex action was to hold on to my chain and wind back my car window... manual window !!! I could see the security guard running over to my car. The thief withdrew his hand from the window .. either 'cos he saw the guard, or he was afraid his hand might be jammed by me winding up the window. My chain was still in my hand but the contents on my chain were missing....  a Buddha pendant, my gold talisman, my Mum's wedding ring and two " R " and " B " gold pendants that the ex-Bell Canada colleagues gave me. I thought the thief got them but luckily the ring and " R " and " B " pendants fell on the floor of the car, and the Buddha pendant and gold talisman were stuck in my bra !! hahahaha.... so I didn't lose anything... just scary and it happened so fast !!!

The incident was caught on CCTV camera. I didn't know until I went over to the Concierge counter to relate to them so they could warn other customers and ask the security guards to be on the lookout !! The Security Manager told me then that they were looking out for me to check if  I lost anything .. and then showed me the incident on the CCTV camera. They tried to look for the criminals but the motorcycle doesn't have a number.
 Scary eh ?? Least expected - to be snatched at a parking entrance.!! Those guys probably saw us at traffic lights on the road or something... seeing me wearing a chain and followed my car !! Luckily my handbag was on the floor beside me .in  the car .. beyond reach... and I always locked my car doors.

So, just to alert you ... be careful when you're in a similar situation !!



Sunday, December 09, 2012

Hello! Hello! TM? Is it Goodbye then? (updated)

Last Thursday night I had no internet connection... so soon after my post, 'TM, service or disservice'? ...made me wonder. Anyway, called 100 to report fault and was promised a technician will look into it within 24 hours. Friday morning, just after 9.00 am, got a call from TM asking about the problem and promised to come but without fixing an appointment. Soon after, got three calls but each time, no voice but a monotone from a machine giving the impression there was problem with my telephone line and presumably TM. But I could actually make and receive calls. I did not join my friends for breakfast that morning. Waited in the house for the full day (did not want them to give an excuse that I wasn't in when someone came round) but nobody called nor turned up. Each time I complained, they reconfirmed my mobile number, yet nobody called my mobile. Friday night, called 100 to complain again, quoting my report number to save repeating questions and answers. The person tried to reset for me but realized he didn't know how because my modem was not supplied by TM.

Truth be told, each time I consider terminating my TM account, my wife would oppose for some reasons about easier and cheaper to make and receive international calls or that her iPad needs wifi. But the frequent connection problems and the bad service had affected me to the point of asking, 'Why must I put up with such nonsense? A compromise would be to retain the fixed line but cancel the internet service. I am also put off by TM's unilateral decision to a one-off pro-rated charge to synchronize their billings which costed me Rm36.00.

On Saturday, at 4 pm, I visited our local Maxis agent and collected a few brochures. The most relevant to me was the one on Wifi for home use which starts at Rm59 pm (3 GB, 7.2 Mbps). After listening to the explanation on the ease of use and the 7-day trial period, I decided to sign up. Of course, I do not know how my usage will be affected by the 3 GB limit until I have tried it for a month. It seems after the 3GB has been used up, the internet service remain but throttled to 64 kbps, which must be almost intolerable by today's standard!

By the time I visited Maxis outlet again and left with the items, it was almost their closing time at 6 pm. Because of the smooth sales talk (esp. on ease of use) I was lulled into thinking it was almost like a plug and play without the usual setting part. Though it was pre-set before I reached home, for the whole evening, I could not use, because when the modem was switched on, the initial green light turned to yellow. How was I to know that for notebook use, I still need to connect the broadband cable before the green light comes on? I am still baffled at this because I am using a Maxis sim card which should be the same as that meant for the mobile phone in terms of coverage. For this explanation, I need to wait till Monday. At the Maxis outlet, I did not take note whether the modem was just plugged for power and it was ok when I used the iPad.

If everything turns out well, for the initial 7-day trial and then for a month, then it is goodbye to my friend, TM... at least for the internet part. The fixed line thing is more because most relatives and friends have the number, but then again, they have our mobile numbers as well, haven't they?

Update on Dec 10:
Somehow, after a test done at Maxis outlet, I was able to get connection (modem showing green light) with just the modem and cordless phone base connected to each other and both plugged in for power.

For Rm59 pm, the 3 GB mentioned was actually a combination of 1.5 GB (8 a.m. - 2 a.m.) and 1.5 GB (2 a.m. - 8 a.m.). In case, this daily quota is sufficient, one can opt for the 8 GB (4 GB + 4 GB) at Rm79 pm. Alternative, one can add Rm8 (for 0.25 GB or 0.75 GB); Rm12 (for 0.5 GB or 1.5 GB); Rm 18 (for 1 GB or 3 GB); or Rm30 (for 2 GB or 6 GB), according to the times mentioned respectively. So there is flexibility for certain days when there is an unusual demand because of more users in the house.

This afternoon, at about 12.30 pm, I got a call from a TM technician asking for directions to my place. After some tests, I was shown that the internet connection was ok externally because he could use his smartphone and notebook via his TM modem. When asked to connect my notebook to his modem to prove that it was my modem which was the cause, he refused because according to company's procedure, he was not supposed to touch the settings of my modem nor notebook. In other words, TM is responsible only for supplying internet service to the house and it was up to me to fix my own connection. Again, it shows the inflexible attitude of employee because of company policy. He said he knows what's wrong with both my notebook and modem, but alas, he cannot do anything! So, to cut a long story short, it is goodbye to TM Wifi. I asked and was told that I have to go to their TM Point for the cancellation. I have tried by email and waiting for their response.

Update on Dec 11:
For TM's requirements for cancellation of service, please refer to my later post.

I wish to add a little info on Maxis home wifi. I tried using a USB driver (which I had used for Digi Prepaid Internet before), using the Maxis sim card meant for the modem. After initializing and installation of the device, I could use it! In other words, I can use the sim card for occasional use of my notebook when on the move. To sum up, with the Maxis home wifi package, I can use it at home; use the cordless to make calls to any local operator for free (monthly 100 minutes, 10 sen per minute thereafter); or use the sim card for my handphone when I am without credit and when I am not using wifi at home; and use it for my notebook in areas without wifi coverage.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Accident due to JPJ roadblocks?

I was in a friend's car coming back from Pusing after breakfast. Just before Taman Mewah/Jalan Pusing junction, we could see traffic congestion ahead. As we approached, we could see clearly the scene after an accident: a stationary Navara pickup truck across the road, blocking our side, in front of the junction. A person was lying on the other side of the road, and his or her motorcycle lying near the Navara, which has a damaged right front bumper and mudguard. There were several persons around, some making calls with their handphones.

Just after the accident scene, we came near a JPJ roadblock (on both directions of the road). I wound down the window and told one JPJ officer about what he already knew, that there was an accident. I find it disturbing that JPJ officers could continue their operation next to an accident scene where someone's life (if the victim was still alive) could depend on the correct way of handling the situation. I know it is difficult for anyone to do anything under such an emergency but to act nonchalantly seems uncaring. Because of the roadblock, both sides of the road were congested and any emergency vehicle would be caught in the JPJ-caused traffic jam. I can still remember the image of this person lying under the hot sun, with people waiting for the ambulance to arrive and nobody dared to move anything, not even an umbrella to provide shade to the person.

After the roadblock, I was discussing with my friend about the dos and don'ts in such a situation and sadly, we are not well educated to be able to decisively do anything. But then again, if even Western doctors pretend, to avoid having to provide expert medical attention in case they are being sued later for any untoward results, shows how much depend on who is around and how much he is prepared to risk it.

But when I think about the position of the Navara (appears to be making an illegal U-turn), I cannot help but think that the driver could be trying to avoid the roadblock and hit the motorcyclist while doing so.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

This story reminds me of Tun ...

because of carpentry and bridges... but the similarities end there, because the former happens to be only a hobby while the latter were built after artificial lakes were created.

The Carpenter

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I 'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, he's my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day -- measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all.

It was a bridge! A bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched.

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The hand that rocks the cradle is now rocking the world...

with their philosophies in life.

Actually, it is more like a psywar, with each side thinking he or she is superior. For the first time, a lady friend commented that modern man has a hard life (Hokien: 'phai meah'), having to look after baby and do the household chores, unlike in the old days when a man of the house (including his sons) was served by his wife or daughters.

But then again, there are things which bother women, like the reason behind this excuse for day off...

Best excuse by a female employee !

This incident, is supposed to have happened in real life.

My friend, who is a the head of Human Resources at a very large bank, says that the best excuse for absenteeism, that he had ever received in his career of almost 22 years, was from a female Indian employee, at their bank's headquarters at Mumbai, India, in July, 2010.

He says when the lady, was questioned on why she remained absent the previous day, she simply replied:

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


Monday, December 03, 2012

TM, service or disservice?

As a giant telecommunication company which used to be a monopoly, it is difficult for its staff to feel the need to be nice to customers because any loss of custom will not be felt unless and until the numbers could make a difference to its bottomline.

From my personal experience, in my humble opinion, I find TM tried to do its public relations bit, but not satisfactory.

There was a time when a change in CEO involved a change in logo as well as officers dressed in suits welcoming anyone going into their sales office. This was overkill and totally unnecessary because I actually felt awkward (dressed in shorts) being greeted like a VIP.

Once, I was asked to report for a baker friend that both his shop and home telephones were out of order. As TM was on my way home, I obliged. At the TM Point office, I was directed to use the phone installed on a wall. When asked for subscriber's name, I was stumped. I asked them if it was possible for them to report instead without this information. But obviously, it was impossible then. I told them of my disappointment that they have a full staff of people yet unable to help in reporting a faulty phone! What if a subscriber had hearing problem and/or unable to follow instructions according to the call centre? It used to be possible to report over the counter, but progress meant impersonal service bordering on ludicrousness.

More recently, a retired civil servant could not report about his faulty house phone because when asked to 'Enter your area code, telephone number, followed by the hash key', he read out the numbers (instead of keying them in) and wondered what was the hash key, and got a recorded reply: 'insufficient information'. His particular house phone was out of order a few times over two weeks. Frustrated, he went to the TM office and said that he is thinking of cancelling the service and use an alternative provider. The staff member replied nonchalantly, 'suka hati' or 'if it pleases you', which to me was as good as telling him, 'take it or leave it... it is up to you... it makes no difference to me'. Just imagine the harm to the company's image if this was done by TM staff all over the country!

For the past couple of days, I have received calls, purportedly from TM asking if we wish to upgrade to a faster package. Each time I declined. This afternoon, soon after one such call, I got another call which when asked, confirmed he was calling from TM. I told him that I am not interested in any upgrade and he actually got angry at my presumption. In an angry voice, he said that he called not to sell anything but just to ask about the service! Just imagine my disbelief at his claim because I did not complain about disruption of service at all recently, except about the unfair extra charges which TM found the need to synchronize the billing of their internet and telephone charges.

Recently, I received a call and when I answered, nobody spoke on the other end, and I was put on a recorded message informing me that my bill was still outstanding and told to dial 100 for details. I double-checked and confirmed that I had already paid using M2U on Nov 16. I dialled 100 to check and the surprising thing was that TM system gave details that my account was in credit to the amount of the last bill and payment was made on Nov 19 (this was useful because it confirmed my suspicion that Maybank took time to forward amount to payee). I cannot help but feel the caller actually used the recording indiscriminately because his real intention was on sales.


Another Malaysian joke: A priest's dying wish

In Kuala Lumpur a venerable old priest lay dying in hospital. He was 93, and for years he had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital.

He knew his end was near, and he motioned for his nurse to come closer.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see the Prime Minister Najib and the ex-PM Mahathir before I die," whispered the priest.

The hospital authorities sent the request to Parliament and waited for a response.

Soon word arrived: Prime Minister Najib and Mahathir would be delighted to visit the aged priest.

As they entered the hospital, followed by a media throng and cameras from all the TV networks, Najib commented to Mahathir, "I don't know why this old priest wants to see us, but going to see him for a few minutes won't hurt our image. It might even get me re-elected Prime Minister. After all, I'm IN IT TO WIN IT".

Mahathir agreed that it was a good thing, as he wanted to remain as "adviser" and play with our money like it was Monopoly or growing on a tree.

When they arrived at his room, the priest beamed and clasped Najib's hand in his right hand and Mahathir's hand in his left.

There was silence and a look of serenity spread over the old priest's wizened visage.

Finally PM Najib broke the silence.

"Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you want us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

"Of course", said Najib.

"Amen," said Mahathir.

"Jesus died between two lying thieves; I would like to do the same." said the priest.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Who is the MasterMind behind Deepak and Musa?

My post title leaves a clue... after reading Haris Ibrahim's credible analysis of recent events...

"Who was the mastermind behind these revelations?
One reliable way to unravel the mystery is by ascertaining who stands to benefit from it all.
And often in examining the evidence the obvious is not necessarilly right..."

"Najib in fact is one of Pakatan’s biggest assets for the election.
With him gone, Barisan Nasional’s chances would brighten.
A brilliant plan!"


Politics is very intriguing, where there are no permanent friends nor enemies. James Bond films introduced us to 'double agents' or even 'triple agents', with many twists until the very end. Police undercover agents are sworn to secrecy... who when it comes to the crunch, even relatives are not recognized (Cantonese: luk charn part yeng). 

The coming GE is going to be the most interesting, if not most dirty. Umno has already declared 'war' to 'defend Putrajaya at all costs'. But Haris is suggesting a serious infighting within Umno. There is always the notion that 'an enemy of my enemy is my friend' where self-interest is concerned. Whether one is an asset would depend on which side you are referring to. For example, Nazri claimed he is an asset to Umno, but with his arrogance, he is actually an asset to the opposition instead, thus making him a liability to Umno.

From previous incidents, Najib was known to have made decisions at the last minute when he was certain of who was going to be the victors. Now, he is in the position of having to rely on some others to maintain his position as President of Umno and by virtue of that, as Prime Minister of Malaysia. We have witnessed before that even the Great One was ousted by party leaders. So, beside commanding support in the party, Najib has to contend with the party's support in the next General Election which is due within months. 

The coming GE is interesting in so many ways. This is the first time when a credible coalition of parties has a fighting chance to win. It is also a time when a sitting PM will be testing his popularity for the first time at the end of his tenure. Moreover, it will test whether the Great Tun still has what it takes to decide who should be PM in a situation where someone he is most against, just might have the last laugh. Lim Guan Eng was rewarded with Chief Ministership of Penang in GE 12. Will Anwar Ibrahim be rewarded with Prime Ministership of Malaysia in GE13? For his manipulative and unforgiving past, I personally wish to see Tun witness the fall of BN, which would also prove that there are things beyond his control.

Friday, November 30, 2012

“Bureaucratic ass-covering mode”...

"This is what Dr Theodore Postol, professor of Science, Technology and International Security calls “bureaucratic ass-covering mode”. Edano, and the lumbering bureaucratic safety monster in general, simply aren’t sure what the hell is going on in Tokyo’s water, rather than give one answer and be damned by history, it provides two, entirely contradictory answers. What better insurance policy than that! The water is safe and unsafe – avoid it and drink up!"

I found this analogy in the article 'There's no such thing as safe radiation' by Sam Biddle in Gizmodo.

This pic is irrelevant to the subject matter, for effects only.

"Since Fukushima failed, the Japanese government and power plant reps have obscured the danger of the Fukushima crisis-and it is a crisis. The word “safe” has been tossed about loosely. Unfortunately, when it comes to radiation, there’s no such thing.

Now, there is no cloud of lethal radioactive vapour headed toward your house right now. If you’re outside of Japan, as I write this, there’s no evidence that you’re in any imminent danger from what’s spewing out of Fukushima.

Nothing I’ll write here is meant to scare you, because we shouldn’t be scared.

But we shouldn’t be ignorant either. And, largely, we are. Japanese authority figures have taken steps, whether deliberately or out of pure ineptitude, to whitewash the danger of the Fukushima’s radiation. Speaking out of both sides of his mouth, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano said that Tokyo’s drinking water was both safe and unsafe. Levels of iodine 131, a radioactive isotope that clogs your thyroid gland and can have devastating effects children, was found to be 110 becquerels per liter above the safe level. The evacuation zone surrounding the plant was expanded by 11km – but only as a voluntary, not mandatory move. The government has advanced and retreated on the danger of irradiated food, with clear internal discord. The radiation limit deemed unsafe was suddenly erased and replaced with a new figure, on the fly. And just today, the TEPCO said it’ll start dumping thousands of tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean – an act they’re saying poses ”no major health risk”.

Nevermind that, before the Fukushima disaster, the average person outside of a physics classroom had zero idea in radioactive hell what a becquerel is. Nevermind that the entire concept of a safe level of radiation has been shown to be demonstrably elastic..."


Well, locally in Malaysia, our political leaders refused to learn from history (Asian Rare Earth in Ipoh, Perak during Dr. Mahathir's watch)
and gave approvals (despite strong objections and public demonstrations) to Lynas in Gebeng, Pahang (home state of present PM and Tun's protege, Najib Tun Razak).

Without going into details well documented elsewhere, it is clear that we are like the proverbial 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread', simply because we allow processing of rare earth to start despite not having sorted out what to do with its waste! Every sane person can see that Australia did not want such a plant, what made our decision-makers think that they will take back waste from it? To put it simply and bluntly, it is like letting someone shit before we have a proper toilet for him.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Koon's critique on Water management in Perak

If a very wealthy senior citizen's letters were ignored by the former and present BN MB of Perak, as well as the Perak Water Board or Lembaga Air Perak, and the BN-controlled mainstream media, PM Najib's slogan Rakyat tidak dipinggirkan rings hollow indeed. ...unless it is official policy not to respond to rich citizens, only poor ones!

But this rich citizen has proven time and again, he has the rakyat's interest at heart (being a generous philantropist), and has excellent credentials as founder of listed construction companies (Mudajaya and Gamuda), who knows how best to save costs in mega projects for the state of Perak in particular, and Malaysia in general. But good advice seems to fall on deaf ears time and again.

For ignoring Mr. Koon Yew Yin's well-meaning advice in several instances, I cannot help but draw a conclusion that BN never had intentions to save costs for the country... for reasons best known to themselves.

'I refer to Ipoh Echo front page article, 16-30 Nov 2012 ‘Perak Water Board, doing it right the first time’. I wish to point out that building the Sultan Azlan Shah dam across Sungai Ulu Kinta was not the right thing to do.

About eight years ago, I wrote to the former Perak Menteri Besar Tajol Rosli Ghazali to inform that since Mudajaya constructed the filtration system at Parit to extract water from Sungai Perak (the largest source of water to the greater Ipoh region), there was no need to build the dam across Sungai Kinta. As we all know Sungai Kinta is only a small stream in comparison with Sungai Perak.

He did not respond to my letter.

Subsequently I wrote him another letter that he should get a reputable independent engineering consultant to prove me wrong so that when he increased the water rate to recover the additional cost of more than one billion ringgit (this cost includes the dam construction, new filtration system, new reservoirs, distribution pipes, etc.) consumers would not feel cheated.

There was no response from the MB or his aides to this letter too.

In view of the heavy and unnecessary financial burden put on the Perak rakyat, I spoke to the press and pointed out that savings through other methods could possibly amount to half the money spent on the water expansion project in Kinta. The mainstream media predictably failed to publicize my complaint.

Although there is a new administration in Perak, the issue of the mismanagement of Perak’s water resources is as relevant today as it was eight years ago...'

More in CPI: Perak's water system: Doing it wrong


Anyone forgot about his white BMW 6 series WVV 5391?

This car has been left in the carpark below Boulevard Offices, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur for the past 3 weeks! Those who are aware of its existence are wondering aloud whether it was forgotten (case of Alzheimer?), deliberately left there while on an overseas trip; or had been used for dubious purposes...

The luxury car...

The exact location in the carpark...

The message from someone who forwarded this news to me:

Does anyone know of anybody looking for a missing BMW, number plate WVV 5391? I noticed that we have had this BMW parked under the Boulevard Offices, Mid Valley City at C56 P2 for at least the past 3 weeks since early November 2012.
So, our group of colleagues have started to make various assumptions:
Assumption #1: The owner of this car is very rich and has a variety of expensive cars but his/her house has ran out of space, so he/she’s parked the car in Mid Valley City only to almost entirely forget about his/her car.
Our recommendation: Please come and retrieve your car. I’m sure you can park it at an even more obscure location like Mont’ Kiara, I mean have you even seen the number of residents in each condo block there? I’ll bet its pretty easy to find an empty spot there.
Assumption #2: Being in Malaysia, there may be a slight possibility that this vehicle has been stolen and been used for some illegal activity. This is possibly after the heist/other illegal activity the criminals have left the car in Mid Valley City.
Our recommendation: Please come and retrieve your car! Make sure you make a police report as well to assist our police in getting more information on any illegal activities that have taken place using this vehicle.
Assumption #3: The owner came from a drunken session somewhere else, continued over in Mid Valley City and took a taxi back. He/she cannot remember where he/she put the car, so a report has been made, but no one knows where the car is.
Our recommendation: Your car is here! In Mid Valley City! Please come and retrieve your car… PDRM, if you are looking for the said car, please note that it is in Mid Valley City.
Assumption #4: The shopper has been lost for the past 3 weeks and is still looking for his/her car.
Our recommendation: Your car is here!