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.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Downton Abbey: Maggie Moments

Dame Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess Violet Grantham...

Learn how the upper class British insult others!

Update on Sept 17: Another gem from Dame Maggie...
After a fight with Sir Richard Carlisle, Matthew apologised to Lady Violet: 'Sorry about the vase.'
She replied: 'Don't be... don't be. It's a wedding gift from a frightful aunt... I've hated it for half a century!'

Great lesson in life...

be nice to others... because Time will make a difference!

It takes all kinds of people to make up the world's population: the good, the bad and the ugly.
 If we look around us, there will be nice people who are selfless in helping others; the opportunists and bullies who would not hesitate to take advantage of others for their own benefit.
One should bear in mind that we grow from being vulnerable as a baby, to a toddler, teenager, and adulthood; thereafter, we start to grow old, slowly but surely.
Some people grow to be big and strong and think they are greater than others. We are strong only for a number of years, after which we start to feel our own shortcomings due to old age. If a younger person were to think he could bully you, it is only for a limited period, after which he himself would face the inevitability.
 Apart from the physical aspect, we can relate this to a person's wealth. Some people can get big-headed when they become rich, especially if they were poor before. Some can even boast that he or she will never sell a certain property much sought after by others. But we should never use the word 'never'. Even if a family continues to be very rich, the patriarch or matriarch will grow old. Sooner or later, what used to be held as family property, never to be sold to others, would be subject to sale upon the death of the family head and when the others in the family are uninterested to take it up. If fact, chances are that someone who had been slighted before would be keen to buy it up for his own satifaction!
'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you' is a common advice to encourage people to do good. When we see someone bullying others, we see someone who is physically bigger and stronger doing it. If he is a bachelor, then he has to defend himself only if his victim retaliates in future. What if he is a family man? Has he ever thought about his wife or kids being vulnerable to being victims of other bullies?
I find it comical when a houseowner sees it fit to issue 'summons' to cars which were parked outside his house compound along a public road. There were talks of cars which had their tyres punctured or deflated as a warning. Those who did not know of the 'ruling' happened to be students of a nearby school.
Soon it was time when his own children had to go out of town for further education. Has it occured to him that his children would be at the mercy of their landlords and other houseowners who could be as selfish, if not worse, than him?

As we grow older...

A group of 40 year old buddies discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed  that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant  because the waitresses there had low cut blouses and were very young.
Ten years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the  Ocean View restaurant because the food there was better than most places and  the wine selection was extensive.
Ten years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and  the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.
Ten years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at  the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair accessible and they even had an elevator.
Ten years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where  they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at  the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before!


When judges were bowled over...

they have set a precedent in law which has serious implications. It means any man who can afford Rm25,000 and has a 'bright' future and had consensual sex with a minor, he is likely to escape jail sentence when he commits statutory rape.

Just days after the judgment by the Court of Appeal judges involving national bowler who was deemed to have a bright future (never mind many people commented he is no longer fit to represent our country), an electrician was bound over at Rm25,000 (see the same amount?) after he was found guilty of statutory rape by a Sessions Court judge. She considered defence's reasons that 'he was young, a dropout and there was consensual sex'. Many people feel the recent judgments looked at the men's side favourably without due consideration for the under-aged girls. There must have been good reasons for statutory rape which provides for mandatory jail sentence. The judges role is to uphold the law and not be influenced by other considerations. If the law is deemed bad, then it is up to the lawmakers to change the provisions of this particular law.

I can imagine a rich young man fooling around with under-aged girls, and when caught with evidence of statutory rape, he can easily get away from being jailed based on the precedents set. Either he or his rich parents can easily afford Rm25,000 and his 'bright' future easily be verified if he is due to inherit his parent's successful business.

Just to show how controversial this matter is, the links in Malaysiakini alone on this particular subject today are as follows:
When a child is still a child
Twitterjaya: Statutory rape is no child's play
Father of 13-year-old: What if it's your daughter?
Statutory rape: 'Can a child consent to sex?'
Consensual? What then is statutory rape?
Consent can be factor in statutory rape, says lawyer
From the letters section (free):
We need to protect our children from rape
Statutory rapes: Film censorship board wiser
Statutory rape cases: Who is the law protecting?


So how many persons have you counted this time?

Our Minister of (Mis)information had counted exactly 22,270 took part in the last Bersih 3.0 rally. We should rate him an E for effort, D for being dumb, 'A' for accuracy... give or take 50,000? Cannot blame him for trying to be precise, and not knowing that it was impossible to be so, after all his doctorate was in law and not mathematics.

"UPDATED Thousands of Malaysians defied a police ban to attend a countdown to the nation's 55th Merdeka or Independence Day, proving once again that Prime Minister Najib Razak's BN government could no longer hope to rely on authoritarian and violent crackdowns to cling to power.
The Janji Demokrasi (Promised Democracy) event planned for Thursday had been banned at the 11th hour by the police. Organized by Gabungan Janji, a coalition of 47 NGOs, sister-countdowns were also held at various states and cities around the world, with overseas Malaysians keen to join in the celebrations. Malaysia celebrates its Independence Day anniversary on Friday, August 31.
"This is a real show of love for the country. If not for the drizzle, the crowd would have been even bigger, so who says Malaysians are not patriotic? They love the country and without wishing to politicize the event, I think it is clear they know BN is bad news and must be removed from power," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
"You can feel the sense of unity of purpose tonight. This is a people uprising Malaysian style. It is very peaceful but it is a revolt no less, BN has lost the hearts and minds of the Rakyat."

Show of defiance on Merdeka eve in Dataran

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Janji dicapati?

While the Home Ministry frets over huge crowd expected at Himpunan Janji Bersih at Dataran Merdeka...

This is how Himpunan Janji Ditepati at Stadium Bukit Jalil will be 'supported' by civil servants...

Update on Aug 31: An alternative Merdeka Anthem (found this in Magick River):


Usain Bolt: best and worst advertisements

Amazing pic of Bolt... near finish...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Art of Retort

  1. Say something in answer to a remark or accusation, typically in a sharp, angry, or wittily incisive manner.
  2. Heat in a retort in order to separate or purify.
  1. A sharp, angry, or wittily incisive reply to a remark.
  2. A container or furnace for carrying out a chemical process on a large or industrial scale.
verb.  reply - return - answer
noun.  rejoinder - answer - repartee

Often, we try our best to retort when we feel offended by what was said by someone. The ability to do so depends on one's command of the language used. For the retort to be effective, the intended listener should be of the same level to be able to get the message. For example, it would be useless if an aristocrat said it in his usual stiff upper-lipped way to a working class chap, who is more used to swearing at him.

I like to watch the serial, Downtown Abbey because it is useful if I wish to learn more about how the British aristocrats speak. It reminds me of 'Upstairs, downstairs' where the people living above and those below were in sharp contrast. We can learn  how the British of different social levels speak, without having to moralize. Even in normal interaction with the locals, it takes time for a foreigner with an 'A' in English to be able to understand and be understood.

In Downtown Abbey, there was an episode in which the matriarch of the family asked the local pastor to conduct a wedding ceremony. Sensing the latter's reluctance, she said something to the effect that the house he lives in and the garden he enjoys, and a few other things, belong to them. "...The young man saved my son's heir in the can take your scruples elsewhere!"

We have to be careful with retorts, because they can lead to physical fights. Once, two sisters and their husbands were strolling in a street in Petaling Jaya. One of the sisters asked a durian seller about the price and she complained about it being too expensive. The seller said that she probably could not afford it. This led to the lady lawyer insulting him about his having to sell durians at the roadside!

There was another incidence when a Malaysian lady visited Hong Kong. She is known to be very quick in going through clothes on the racks while selecting (her actions had to be quick as her brain, she later became a Professor). In the '80s, HK sales assistants were known to be rude to customers who browsed with no intention of buying anything. Her retort was really incisive in Cantonese: 'Yan chi uh, ng hou wat chan ke sau' or 'Be careful, don't sprain your hands.'

The following joke inspired me on the above subject:

Taxi drivers
A woman and her ten-year-old son were riding in a taxi on Seymour Street in Vancouver .
It was raining and all the prostitutes were standing under the awnings. 
"Mom," said the boy, "what are all those women doing?" 
"They're waiting for their husbands to get off work," she replied.
The taxi driver turns around and says, "Geez lady, why don't you tell him the truth? They're hookers, boy! They have sex with men for money."
The little boy's eyes get wide and he says, "Is that true, Mom?" His mother, glaring hard at the driver, answers in the affirmative. 
After a few minutes, the kid asks, "Mom, what happens to the babies those women have?"
"Most of them become taxi drivers," she said.


Friday, August 24, 2012

National song or song for BN (Bro. Najib) aka Ah Jib Kor?

Janji Ditepati (Kemerdekaan Malaysia Ke-55)

Macam malam ikut siang
Macam bulan ikut matahari
1Malaysia terus berjuang
Janji Kita ditepati

Kata Kita dikota
Janji Kita ditepati
Hidup Rakyat Dibela
Masa Depan Diberkati
Janji sudah ditepati
Kini masa balas budi

Janji siapa? Janji kita
Janji apa? Janji 1Malaysia
Janji siapa? Janji kita
Janji apa? Janji 1Malaysia

Ini janji kita BR1M 1Malaysia
Ini janji 1Malaysia
TR1M 1Malaysia
Kata kita dikota
Kini 1Malaysia
Janji kita ditepati
Kedai 1Malaysia

Read Kee Thuan Chye's critique...

"...Look at some of the lyrics:
Janji sudah ditepati,
Kini masa balas budi.
(Promises have been fulfilled,
Now it’s time to return the favor.)
This is crass; it’s really asking the people to vote for BN. This is outright “I’ve helped you, now you help me”.
But why should it be for the rakyat to balas budi? BN was voted in to serve the rakyat. Why must the rakyat be grateful for that? In fact, if anyone should balas budi, it should be BN.
The song, however, is not about the rakyat. And the chorus that follows proves it:
Janji siapa? Janji kita.
Janji apa? Janji Satu Malaysia.
(Whose promises? Our promises.
What promises? The promises of One Malaysia.)
The song is clearly about BN. The “kita” in it refers to BN. And the mention of “Satu Malaysia” obviously connotes the slogan of the BN Government.
The worst is yet to come, in the final verse:
Ini janji kita, BR1M Satu Malaysia.
Ini janji Satu Malaysia, terima Satu Malaysia.
Kata kita dikota, Klinik Satu Malaysia.
Janji kita ditepati, Kedai Satu Malaysia.
(This is our promise, BR1M One Malaysia.
This is the promise of One Malaysia, accept One Malaysia.
We have kept our word, Klinik Satu Malaysia.
We have fulfilled our promise, Kedai Satu Malaysia.)
The BR1M 500-ringgit handout to households earning less than RM3,000 a month is mentioned. The 1Malaysia clinics set up to offer cheap medical services are mentioned. The Kedai 1Malaysia set up to offer lower prices for basic necessities is mentioned. What is this if not BN trumpeting its populist attempts to win the electorate’s votes?
These are lyrics for a song? If not for the fact that they are so crude and cheap, we should be rolling on the floor roaring with laughter.
How can such shameless propaganda be the stuff of our National Day theme song? It is even totally without style and subtlety. Not to mention substance.
Real songwriters would wince at hearing such lyrics. These are not lyrics, these are slogans.
The song is not celebrating National Day. It’s celebrating Barisan Nasional Day!..."


A bit on financial prudence

My late mother used to say in Hokien, 'Bo lui kha ho peh bu kahsi' which means 'When one has no money, one will behave better than being disciplined by parents'. 

We wish for windfalls, the bigger the better, but many lucky ones were at a loss with their sudden wealth. In fact, being exceptionally rich in this way is likely to bring new problems like being sought after by relatives and friends with tales of need. It is also likely to create security problems when more people (including those with evil intentions) knew about it. There was even a case of death in an accident as a result of excessive alcoholic drinks while celebrating a lottery win.

I like the following graphic (except for the wrong spelling) on excellent quotes by Warren Buffet, the best known investor and among the richest in the world who leads a humble life...

especially the one on Spending.

We have seen how countries producing oil have squandered their easy money on wasteful projects. I was surprised to read of Petronas having to borrow money for their oil prospecting projects! Norway stands out as being the best in investing their oil revenues for their future generations. It has the largest pension funds in Europe, probably in the world.

To contrast Malaysia with Norway, I wish to point out the new capital Putrajaya was built from scratch with the creation of lakes so that beautiful bridges could be built. The capital of Norway, Oslo, has 40 islands within its city limits, and bridges were built out of necessity! Its history goes back many centuries ago...
"According to the Norse sagas, Oslo was founded around 1049 by King Harald Hardråde..."

Just imagine how KL would have been better developed with the money spent on Putrajaya!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A bit on IT

What used to be... a computer

IT novice...

an IT wish...

sometimes, an IT problem...

IT nightmare!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Some lies did not make sense

like Lim Kit Siang urinating on a flagpole in the compound of Selangor MB's residence (Jalan Raja Muda, next to Kg. Baru, Kuala Lumpur).

According to Ahmad Mustapha Hassan ( an executive member then of Umno Youth) as published in Malaysia Chronicle :

"Allow me to explain about the above controversy.
I was there on that fateful day as an executive member of Umno Youth. The gathering was organised by Selangor Umno Youth whose leader was Harun Idris and the secretary then was Ahmad Razali Ali.
The whole area was dominated by Umno Youth members and no non-Malay could ever enter the place. That being the case, it was impossible for Lim Kit Siang to be there and did what he was purportedly accused of. If he did, he would have been killed by the mob.
In fact the first killing that I witnessed was outside the gate, on the road. A young coffeeshop boy, about 13 or 14 in age, was slaughtered by the mob and his body kicked into the drain running by the road. He was an innocent boy trying to earn some pocket money.
I mentioned the May 13 incident in my book “The Unmaking of Malaysia”."

The other more ludicrous claim by some elsewhere was that Lim Guan Eng was involved! He was only 8 years old then!

I wish those bent on using lies to try and influence people would do a bit of homework first. If necessary, try it out on your friends to see their reactions and comments before trying out publicly. If your lies did not make sense you only make fools of yourselves, while trying to taking others for fools.

Dog vs Cat: Who is the boss?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hard to find condensed or evaporated milk

I can still remember Milkmaid (Nestle) sweetened condensed milk which I had as a child. More recently, it was MP Tony Pua who pointed out that it is difficult to find sweetened condensed milk because what we see in the supermarkets are mostly described as creamers, made from vegetable oil, instead of milk. Apparently, it had something to do with classification, pricing, supply and/or costs. Non-dairy products can keep longer than dairy, and if in powdered form, expiry dates can be further extended.

Just a few weeks ago, my daughter Cheng posted a picture of Dutch Lady sweetened condensed milk which she found to her delight for making 'teh tarik', thanks to some Asian stores in Maastricht. I mentioned (to her surprise) that she is lucky to have condensed milk there instead of creamers which we are likely to get here.

I used to assume Carnation as synonymous with evaporated milk, until closer scrutiny reveals it as 'evaporated creamer'! Now, Ideal milk is the one to go for if one is looking for a dairy-based one.

There is a continual debate on the advantages and disadvantages of milk and other products. Creamer has its strong critics on health grounds, like this article being forwarded to me:

Subject: Powdered coffee 'creamer' isn't food, it's processed chemicals
This is the reason You should avoid 3-in-1 coffee/tea, etc

 Every day, millions of Americans add powdered coffee "creamer" products to their morning cups of coffee because they falsely believe that these substances are somehow healthier than real cream. But little do they know that most coffee creamer products contain no actual cream, or food for that matter, as they are really nothing more than a crafty blend of toxic chemicals.When powdered coffee creamers first came onto the scene back in the 1950s, they actually contained real dehydrated cream and sugar, which made them a convenient, non-perishable source of cream for coffee. Over time, however, manufacturers began to phase out the cream, and replace it with things like processed vegetables oils, stabilizers, chemical sweeteners, and other additives that were less expensive and that more easily dissolved in coffee. Today, the average canister of so-called "creamer" substitute contains not a trace of actual food, at least not food in the technical sense of the word. Take the Coffee-Mate brand of coffee creamer, for instance. The original powder flavor contains corn syrup solids, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and a handful of stabilizing, emulsifying, and flavoring chemicals ( only is there no "cream" of any kind in Coffee-Mate's Original Powder, but there are also no natural food ingredients whatsoever. This is why some countries actually require that powdered coffee additives be called "whiteners" rather than "creamers," since they do not actually contain any real cream.Corn syrup solids and hydrogenated oils are highly-toxic 'non-foods'Though both are derived from real food, corn syrup solids and hydrogenated oils are not technically foods themselves. To produce corn syrup solids, corn kernels are first transformed into corn starch, which is then chemically treated with hydrochloric acid, a highly-corrosive, industrial chemical solution that is also used to make plastic materials. The resulting liquid goo is then processed again and dried to form dried crystals -- delicious, eh? And hydrogenated oils are produced using a similar chemical process that involves subjecting already heated, pressurized, and highly processed oils to various chemical catalysts and metals such as nickel and platinum that change its density and molecular structure. The final product is the definition of a trans-fat, which are linked to causing heart disease and death (, there are ingredients like sodium caseinate, a milk derivative; mono- and diglycerides; sodium aluminosilicate; and artificial flavor, all of which are non-foods as well. Sodium caseinate, for instance, is derived from a milk protein known as casein using a chemical extrusion process. The chemical alteration is so significant that the U.S.Food and Drug Administration(FDA) does not even consider the final product to be a dairy product.And sodium aluminosilicate is an anti-caking, flow agent chemical additive produced specifically for use in processed food items, laundry detergents, and other dry, powdered products.Like its name implies, sodium aluminosilicate contains toxic aluminum, which is linked to organ and tissue damage, bone disorders, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer's disease, cell damage, and other problems ( dairy is problematic for your dietary needs but you still want to add creamer to your coffee, it is important to always read ingredient labels and carefully avoid all powdered creamer products that contain artificial ingredients.Some great non-dairy alternatives to conventional creamer products include liquid coconut creamers like those made bySoDelicious(, for instance.Fresh coconut cream or milk ( and homemade almond milk (, are several other useful options as well.Sources for this article include: 


Monday, August 20, 2012

A story on eternal gratitude

"...It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when  the sun  resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the  blue ocean.

Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed  walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now. Everybody's gone, except for a few joggers on the beach.

Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts...and his bucket of shrimp. Before long, however, he is no longer alone.

Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging  their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.

Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him,  their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, 'Thank you. Thank you.' In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn't leave. He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting  there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like 'a funny old duck,' as my dad used to say. Or, 'a guy who's a sandwich shy of a picnic,' as my kids might say. To onlookers, he's just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding  the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.
To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant .... Maybe even a lot of nonsense. Old folks often do strange things, At least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters. Most of them would probably write Old Ed off,  down there in Florida . That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better.

His full name:  Eddie  Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero back in World War II.

On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his  seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft. Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific.

They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations  ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were. They needed a miracle.

That afternoon they had a  simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft...Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his  cap. It was a seagull!
Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He  tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal  – a very slight meal for eight men - of  it. Then they used the intestines for bait..
With  it, they caught fish, which gave them food and  more  bait......and the cycle continued. With that simple survival  technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea...).

 Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull. And he  never stopped saying, 'Thank you.'

That's why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and  a heart full of gratitude..."

(PS:  Eddie started Eastern Airlines.)

(Taken from Max Lucado's In the eye of the storm - pages 221, 225 and 226)


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Getting 'humsup' wrong with 'kiam siap'...

is not as harmful as using 'humsup' to mean 'larnsi'.

I would explain the Cantonese term 'humsup' as an adjective to describe a man (at least, that was the origin of it) who is fond of sexually harassing women, in words as well as in action. It is generally regarded as derogatory and men would feel offended if described as such. It was only recently that I heard someone actually felt 'honoured' to be described as such! But there is a big difference between acting in public and in the privacy of one's home.

I mentioned in my earlier post about my wife mistaking 'kiam siap' in Hokien for 'humsup' in Cantonese. Just imagine how harmless it could be: describing someone 'humsup' (amorous in an offending way) by using 'kiam siap' which means stingy!

But there were two separate instances: when a Malay civil servant used the term 'humsup' to describe a young man (known for being decent and shy in the company of women) who acted 'larnsi' (Cantonese for being 'actsy') in his office. It was by chance that I discovered that he could have mistaken as explained. I was proven right when a local retired 'chegu' used the term 'humsup' and in the course of conversation, I realised he was describing someone who acted bossy! I hope my message would reach out to those Malays who happen to think 'humsup' means 'larnsi' so that they would not unintentionally defame someone for the wrong reason.

I take this opportunity to wish all Muslims 'Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri'. There was a year when my daughter was born on this day, so it has special meaning to us too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What used to be signs of love... are now symptoms of illnesses

Remember when we were young?

Life was so much simpler...

Symptoms and Diagnosis:

1. Skippy heartbeat when you think of him/her.
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Ventricular fibrillation and Myocardial Infarction.

2. Restless trembling of hands, feet and other body parts.
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Parkinson's Disease

3. Constant smiling.
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Bell 's Palsy

4. Absent mindedness, inability to focus on tasks at work or at home.
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Early Onset of Alzheimer's Disease

5. Weakening of knees and bursts of energy when he/she calls or visits.
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Multiple Sclerosis

6. Inability to stop thinking about her/him
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

7. Bruising on neck and other tender areas.
Symptoms then: Love bites.
Diagnosis now: Leukaemia

8. Insomnia.
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

9. Feeling that you can smell, hear, feel him/her when not in his/her presence.
Symptoms then: Love
Diagnosis now: Schizophrenia life has changed!!!


Walking the talk on frugality

'Frugal' means 'sparing or economical with regard to money or food; simple and plain and costing little'. Many of my Chinese friends mistook 'selfish' (lacking consideration for others; concerned mainly with one's personal profit or pleasure) for 'stingy' (unwilling to give or spend). Hokiens use the word 'kiam siap' to describe someone who is stingy. My Hakka wife who is not well versed in Hokien even mistook 'kiam siap' as 'hum sup' which is Cantonese for someone who is known for sexual harassment.

In a video on Tony Pua's dinner speech, Tony joked about his own name 'Kiam Wee' to emphasize the word 'Kiam' for his being stingy. He added jokingly, 'If you think Lim Guan Eng is 'kiam siap', Khalid Ibrahim is even more so', to highlight the fact that both of them (Penang Chief Minister and Selangor Menteri Besar respectively) are good at saving costs for the states under their watch.

Frugality is a virtue, especially now in our materialistic society. It is difficult to find people who are frugal (some would say they are a dying breed) and it is a bonus to us if our leaders happen to be frugal in their administrations.

As usual, we can find exceptions in families who have everything they can wish for. A recent article in The Star by Lee Wei Ling (none other than daughter of former PM of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew; sister of present PM, Lee Hsien Loong) reveals her incredibly frugal life.
At Oxley Road, we value the frugal life

"We had to turn off water taps completely. If my parents found a dripping tap, we would get a ticking off. And when we left a room, we had to switch off lights and air-conditioners.
My father’s frugality extends beyond lights and air-conditioners. When he travelled abroad, he would wash his own underwear, or my mother did so when she was alive. He would complain that the cost of laundry at five-star hotels was so high he could buy new underwear for the price of the laundry service..."  In terms of frugality, they would have put us ordinary folks to shame.
Marina Mahathir (daughter of ex-PM of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir) is known for her objective and balanced views in her writings. In fact, some people suggested that if she were to stand for election, even as an Independent, she could win easily. It could pose a problem if she were to stand in a Kedah constituency! In fact, to think of her as MB is not a bad idea, though politically unlikely.
In an article 'You walk the talk first', in her column, Musings in The Star, in response to an advice by BN leaders to change our life styles after a fuel price hike, she had the following instances for them to follow:

1. Stop having meetings, especially out at resorts, far enough away to be able to claim transport allowances. Have online meetings instead or teleconferences. Use Skype or chat.

2. No need to order special pens, bags, T-shirts, notepads and other goodies for those same meetings.

3. No need to order kuih for mid-morning or teatime meetings in government offices, or nasi briyani lunches for those meetings that happen to end just at lunchtime.

4. Cancel all trips for government servants to conferences overseas unless they return with full reports of what they did there, who they met and what they learnt and how they mean to apply what they learnt at home. Ask them to do presentations to colleagues who did not get to go, on the most interesting and important papers that they read.

5. Scrutinise invoices for contracts to make sure they are truly reflective of what those projects or supplies cost.

6. Stop elaborate launches for government programmes. In particular, stop the buying of souvenirs, special batik shirts, corsages, bouquets and caps.

7. Make all civil servants and politicians travel economy class. That means really travelling at the back of the plane and not buying full fare economy class tickets that allow them to be upgraded to Business Class.

8. Stop having the full complement of police escorts to cut down on petrol costs. If they need to be somewhere by a certain time, start earlier like the rest of us. Wouldn’t be a bad thing for them to also experience a traffic jam.

9. Once a week (or more), have ministers use public transport so they know what everyone else has to suffer. This might provide them with the incentive to improve them.

10. Once a week, let ministers go to a market to buy food for their families with instructions to not spend more than RM100.

11. Get ministers to carpool. They might get more work done just by being able to talk to each other to see what can be coordinated between their ministries. For instance, the Ministers of Health and Women could discuss what to do about women’s health issues in the car on the way to work. Maybe have a secretary to travel in the front seat to take down notes on what was discussed. By the time they get to their offices, things can get implemented.

12. Once a month, get civil servants to work with one disadvantaged group in order to be better able to appreciate their problems. It could be blind people one month, hearing disabled people the next, orang asli the following month and people living with HIV/AIDS after that...

13. Have PA systems that shout out the name of the officers who have to serve people at government offices so that people get the services they came for and don’t have to keep coming back just because the officer was out having coffee...

14. Government officers who lose people’s files should be fined and have their names publicised for being careless and causing inconvenience to the public. Instead of making the public travel to their offices several times to deal with their problems, they should travel to go see their client and deal with it right there and then...

15. And newspapers should save paper by reporting real news rather than non-news that they carry, particularly nonsensical utterances by politicians.

As they say, we need to do this all together in order to make a difference. So if the Government and politicians make these lifestyle changes, I will do my part and change mine."

You walk the talk first

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A bit on loyalty

There was a period of months when my late father-in-law used to watch one particular badminton match final between Zhao Jianhua and Morten Frost, every morning at around 5 am. It was during Zhao's reign as undisputed world champion in every major competition and he trounced Morten in this particular match. My father-in-law must have remembered every exciting moment by heart, yet he never got fed-up of it. What went through his mind? A Chinese from China mocking a Caucasian in a competition? His craze for Zhao went even further when he once asked a friend to video-tape a match, telling him to give it to him only if he won!

When Malaysian Lee Chong Wei faced-off with Lin Dan recently at the Olympics, I wonder which side he would root for if he was still with us. I wonder about others' loyalty too. But I am sure it is not as simple as loyalty for a country. It could be loyalty as a fan of a particular sportsperson.

When China was the undisputed badminton champion in the world, winning all the major tournaments like Thomas Cup and World Cup decisively, in a one-sided way, there was no fun in winning. China sent their top coaches (or they were poached) to Malaysia and Indonesia to uplift their standards. We can imagine the Chinese coaches being torn between loyalty to their country and their country of employment as well as their players.

We should be more concerned about sportsmanship in sports and not just about winning. It should not be a case of winning at all costs, and definitely not by cheating. Even a mistake by umpire could make a difference between winning and losing. Winning as a result of this is certainly not honourable and not as satisfying.

But we have come to a stage in games competition where success means huge financial rewards and could transform a sportsman's or sportswoman's lifestyle from humble humdrum to fame, fortune and celebrity status. Where there is such a pull, individuals would put their mind and soul into it and countries put in their resources to enable their nationals succeed.

A picture of success: Chinese Olympic swimmers with their Australian coach, Ken Wood

"Aussie swim coach Ken Wood's Redcliffe City High Performance Centre is one of the secrets behind China's success at the London Olympics.
China has sent so many of its swimmers to Wood's Olympic production line, paying big money for the privilege, that the 82-year-old has lost count.
"I couldn't tell you, but it's a lot," he said. "I had 20 on the Olympic team - 15 individual swimmers and five in relays.
"The money is obviously no object to them. The Chinese Government wants to put China back as the No.1 swimming nation in the world..."


But what Ken Wood could do for China's swimmers, he couldn't for Australia's.

..."says discipline and tough love is China's "X factor".
A dozen Chinese swimmers arrive at his centre at a time with their own doctor, physiotherapist, chef, masseuse and four coaches in a precision operation. They rent luxurious three-bedroom apartments on the Redcliffe foreshore, then dismantle the plush rooms, rearrange the furniture and put mattresses on the floor so each has their own sleeping space.
One owner says: "They are very quiet, very well-mannered and the perfect tenants."

Comment: At one point during the Olympics, a proud Yorkshire friend pointed out that Yorkshire as a county of Great Britain obtained 5 golds when Australia had only 2! Was Ken Wood being unpatriotic for helping China instead of Australia? But the success had more to do with the Chinese's basic ability, discipline and strict routine, plus Ken Wood's finishing touches.

"While only the top echelon of China's elite get to work directly with Wood, back home the numbers are mind-blowing. There are 28 provinces that share a rivalry as fierce as State of Origin and each has more than 100 swimmers between the ages of seven and 12. There are five coaches to every 20 swimmers.
"Our job was to educate the coaches. They don't know anything about physiology, energy systems, biomechanics. They think threshold is a doorway," Wood says.
What the Chinese coaches do have, however, is discipline. The coaches might be lax with a stop-watch, or duck outside for a cigarette every 10 minutes, but they rule the pool with an iron fist."
In the modern world of sports, the lure of fame and fortune as a result of success must be one of the most compelling factors driving the participants.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Inherent design fault in our political system?

Would Bill Gates write to you personally?

"Consider this a public service announcement: Scammers can forge email addresses. Your email program may say a message is from a certain email address, but it may be from another address entirely.

Email protocols don’t verify addresses are legitimate — scammers, phishers, and other malicious individuals exploit this weakness in the system. You can examine a suspicious email’s headers to see if its address was forged.

How Email Works
Your email software displays who an email is from in the “From” field. However, no verification is actually performed – your email software has no way of knowing if an email is actually from who it says it’s from. Each email includes a “From” header, which can be forged – for example, any scammer could send you an email that appears to be from Your email client would tell you this is an email from Bill Gates, but it has no way of actually checking..."

On spammers:

"The IP addresses involved may also clue you in – if you receive a suspicious email from an American bank but the IP address it was received from resolves to Nigeria or Russia, that’s likely a forged email address.

In this case, the spammers have access to the address “”, where they want to receive replies to their spam, but they’re forging the “From:” field anyway. Why? Likely because they can’t send massive amounts of spam via Yahoo!’s servers – they’d get noticed and be shut down. Instead, they’re sending spam from their own servers and forging its address."


In fact, the first time I received an email informing me about my being chosen or selected for an incredibly big prize, a friend said the best test is to ask yourself whether you had taken part in any such contest. If you hadn't, how could you win? It is like having struck a lottery without having to buy a ticket first! Impossible, isn't it?


I can't imagine using 'BackRub' instead of Google...

when doing a search, can you? 
"In the 21st century, Google is a household name–even among the households that don’t use it. Back in the late 20th century, 1996 to be exact, Google was unheard of. The precursor to Google, the earliest collaboration between Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, was nicknamed–rather oddly–BackRub.
The “BackRub” moniker hung on through 1996 and into late 1997 when they registered In the fall of 1998 the ambitious pair incorporated Google, Inc. What started as a project between two friends on a college campus with a computer case cobbled together from plastic sheets and LEGO bricks grew into the world’s largest search provider over the next decade. How much of that growth can be attributed to ditching the awkward name BackRub, the world will never know."
Meanwhile, with the closing of the Olympics and the scheduled opening of Paralympics, many are unaware there is a Malwarelympics of 2012!


Jay Leno: TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!

First, we survived being born to mothers  Who smoked and/or drank while they were Pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, Tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps  not helmets on our heads.
As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
 Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm  day was always a special treat.
 We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends,  from one bottle and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon... We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight.
Because we were always outside playing...that's why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the
streetlights came on.  No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes  a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes.  There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable,  no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.  
And we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth  and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
 We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out  very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.  Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We  had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of them?
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives  for our own good .
While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know  how brave and lucky their parents were.


Friday, August 10, 2012

How the European bailout package works

It is a slow day in a little Greek Village. The rain is beating down
and the streets are deserted.  Times are tough, everybody is in
debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the
village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk,
telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in
order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked
upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay
his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his
debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads
off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the
Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at
the taverna.  The publican slips the money along to the local
prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times
and has had to offer him "services" on credit. The hooker then
rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with
the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so
the rich traveller will not suspect anything.   At that moment the
traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that
the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything.
No one earned anything.
However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the
future with a lot more optimism.

In other words, the economy just need a catalyst from outside to jump start it.