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.)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ah Jib Kor as Choy Sun Yeah?

Sorry, this pic (from FB) is irrelevant, other than the Chinese costume.

Instead of Santa Claus (since Christmas is over), with the coming Chinese New Year and PM's generous handouts (BR1M 2 and so on), it would not be wrong to place him as Choy Sun Yeah to many Chinese and non-Chinese who are eligible.

It was obvious BR1M 1 was way too early for GE purposes (could have been meant for an earlier GE date which did not materialise), so BR1M 2 becomes necessary. As if this is not clear enough as unethical buying of votes, DPM had even confirmed that if BN wins again, it will be continued indefinitely!

The worst has yet to come as there were rumours of Rm5 million per opposition candidate (presumably winnable, especially with good track record) who is willing to cross over. Just imagine what money can buy, to ensure victory at a General Election. To think that only a small number is required to ensure simple majority, the price (though a big sum to an individual) is nothing to BN, with its big war chest.

Najib had proven he could pull it in Perak, he might be encouraged to do it again nationally. It is our duty to ensure such potential candidates are not tempted, as we have witnessed how those who did so were lambasted and vilified by the general public, and hope that was enough deterrent. But, as they say, everyone has a price and some are more open to persuasion. So the amount of inducement could make a difference. After all, to some, being a successful MP and Minister in a Pakatan federal government is not going to be a lucrative proposition, what with accountability and transparency as guiding principles.

Tommy Thomas's take on Citizenship issue

"The widespread publicity given to the recent statements made by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that:

1. Immigrants from the Philippines were given citizenship in Sabah in the 1990s during his administration;
2. they were lawfully done; and
3. former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman "had done worse" by giving citizenship to "one million unqualified people" in Peninsular Malaysia, lamenting that no one had made it an issue;
The above have to be rebutted and the record put straight.

The "sincerity" of his admissions, coming in the wake of evidence at the Royal Commission currently inquiring on the origins and consequences of immigration into Sabah, must be questioned.

Like disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, Mahathir only came clean after years of denial when he had absolutely no choice because of the overwhelming evidence being publicly uncovered.

When the truth finally emerged, Mahathir made his admissions. And like Armstrong, it was selective, self-serving and without any contrition. But worse than Armstrong, he blamed others.

To put it plainly, there is no parallel between these two episodes in the nation's history..."



Why Noah could not meet his deadline this time

In the year 2012, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in America and said:

"Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me."
"Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans."
He gave Noah the blueprints, saying:

"You have 6 months to build theArk before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights."

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard - but no Ark.

"Noah!," He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?"

"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah, "but things have changed."
"I needed a Building Permit."
"I've been arguing with the Boat Inspector about the need for a sprinkler system."
"My neighbors claim that I've violated the Neighborhood by-laws by building the Ark in my
back yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the local Planning Committee for a decision."
"Then the local Council and the Electricity Company demanded a shed load of money for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear none of it."
"Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the Greater Spotted Barn Owl."
"I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls - but no go!"
"When I started gathering the animals the ASPCA took me to court. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space."
"Then the Environmental Agency ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on Your proposed flood."
"I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew."
"The Immigration Dept. Is checking the visa status of most of the people who want to work."
"The trade unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only union workers with
ark-building experience."
"To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species."
"So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this ark."

"Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine and a rainbow stretched across the sky."

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world?"

"No," said the Lord.
"The Government beat me to it."


New signboard in Singapore greeting arrivals from Malaysia

For those who do not understand Malay language, it says:

"Burning of churches is prohibited here!"


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beyond freedom of expression - outright lies

Courtesy of Martin Jalleh

Sometimes, we read of Penang Chief Minister disallowing certain newspaper journalists from his official events, and our immediate reaction was his arrogance at being partial and unfair. But when they have a habit of being serial liars, by having them present would only lend credence to their spin.

Festive season: a reason for food waste?

With the coming Chinese New Year, I find the following article worth posting to remind ourselves how and why not to waste.

'The typical British household could save £50 a month by minimising its food waste.'

The figures are stark: up to 2bn tonnes of perfectly good food is wasted every year – between 30% and 50% of all the food produced around the world. In Britain alone we waste a quarter of all the food we buy. This includes 1.6bn apples and 2.6bn slices of bread. If you could somehow get all the food we waste in the UK into the bellies of the world's malnourished people, two-thirds of them would no longer go hungry.
Much of this waste is cultural. Your average Briton wastes 112kg of food a year: Germans, who are much more frugal about food than we are, fritter only 15kg. (Americans are even worse than us.) And that shows we could change some of this. Wasting food isn't merely bad for its own sake: as Tristram Stuart shows in his powerful book, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, it damages the environment, uses up dwindling resources, and contributes to the rising cost of food in the developing world. The more food you buy that you don't need to eat, the hungrier goes the global south. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) calculates that the typical British household could save £50 a month by minimising its food waste.

There are several easy steps many of us can take to reduce our own waste of food. One of the most important is to treat use-by dates with scepticism. Supermarkets are quite reasonably terrified of poisoning their customers – Stuart shows how they calculate those dates for people who leave their shopping in hot cars for hours on end, put it in poorly working fridges, and so on. Evolution has given you clear and powerful senses that can help to determine if meat or produce has gone bad. Bear use-by dates in mind, of course, but you know from the smell of the milk if you shouldn't be drinking it.

The most recent report partly blames "supermarkets that demand cosmetically perfect foodstuffs" for the scandalous waste of food in the western world. But while most people understand in principle that a small strawberry tastes as good or even better than a large one, many of us still reject bent carrots or misshapen pears. The disastrous global harvest last year meant that some British supermarkets began to stock "ugly" fruit and veg – they should be encouraged to continue this. It's a sad fact that many people will choose flavourless, clinically uniform, gas-ripened Dutch tomatoes over fat, knobbly, variegated, juicy homegrowns. Until, that is – and to borrow a slogan – they taste the difference. If you buy fruit and veg from your local grocer you may well be able to get them in smaller quantities. If you buy them from a farmer, they may well be fresher.

Some people think that if they buy ready meals they're wasting less food. They may be on an individual basis, but they certainly aren't on a wider one. The waste involved in ready meal production, through trimmings, rejected meat and vegetables, the almost eugenic quest for uniformity, far exceeds that of a few bananas you leave to go black. Where time allows for it, cooking your own meals means less waste. And leftovers make good lunches.

I live in a city, so can't really keep chickens or bees, and I lack the freezer space to store a whole pig or lamb. But I know people who've done it and who've said that being able eat the whole beast helped them to enjoy it more, and waste less. Wasting less food is not only good for the pocket and the planet, it can benefit the mind as well. So do share your best tips for cutting down on food wastage below the line.

(posted by Bhupendra Jesrani in amdavadis4ever)


Lament of a coffee-shop operator

This morning, the coffee-shop operator where we had our breakfast, joined our table to have his early lunch.

Among other things, my friend asked him, 'Why Chinese business people always charge more during Chinese New Year?' Anyway, he gave reasons why he rather close his shop during Chinese New Year, despite knowing that the few days are best for business.

First of all, he has to pay at least double the normal daily wages, and even then, he isn't sure if the workers are coming in. He said, 'Just imagine the extra number of cups of beverages I have to sell before I can cover the extra wages. The 'full-house' situation can be trying and tiring. Sometimes, even his parents or parents-in-law have to help out.

On top of all that, some government workers took advantage of the festive season, to ask for cigarettes, drinks, angpows and/or mandarin oranges.

Actually, this reminds me of how some Chinese prefer to spend Chinese New Year overseas, just to get away from the fuss, while politicians and businessmen have to entertain their supporters and customers with 'open houses'. These days, because of the scary security situation, most households rather not have open house. If robbers dare to come without invitation and when gates and doors were closed, what more when these are open? Now, even as customers of shops or guests of households, people are careful not to have too much valuables with them, in case of robbery.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

GE 13: are we going to be sitting ducks?

 'I hope the very best of the legal fraternity in Selangor can study it and throw more light into this suggestion and do what is necessary.'

"Starr: What sort of law is it that the electoral roll once gazetted, can't be challenged? This is especially so when there has been allegations of fraud in the 'citizenship for vote' scam.

The electoral roll is the 'gateway' of democracy. Without a clean electoral roll there can't be democracy in this country, never mind about being the 'best democracy in the world' as pronounced by PM Najib Razak.

Clearly, there has been clear evidence of fraud for a long time and the Election Commission has been instrumental in perpetuating the fraud to cheat and rob the people of Sabah of their legitimate government."

More from Malaysiakini's Voxpop:

Take up Mat Zain's call, challenge the rolls

In his own 'win-win' way, Tun Dr Mahathir had pre-empted any dissatisfaction as a result of electoral frauds when he said that the federal opposition would create unrest if they failed at taking over the government. So it is going to be BN victory by fraud and there is no way of showing it other than as Tun predicted: unrest created by Pakatan. He will win with victory or with his 'vision' or foresight, never mind it was his own creation of 'electoral roll once gazetted, can't be challenged'.

Update Jan 30:

"Starr: The whole IC (identity card) scam was aimed to change the demographic of Sabah, oust the then Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government and install a Muslim-dominated Umno-BN government through deceit.

As a matter of principle, how can PBS, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) - all locally headed parties - still remain in partnership with Umno-BN after knowing the existence of such a devious political scheme?

Their continuing presence in the Umno-BN government only serves to show that their greed for power, position and money. They must search for their conscience whether their representation in the BN coalition is still tenable."


Malaysiakini's Yoursay: Do we have an illegitimate govt in power?


Spoof of Japanese tradition - sushi

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ipoh Echo editorial: My wish for 2013


"It is not difficult to comprehend why Singapore is far ahead in almost every aspect. It has a world class public transport system, a corruption-free government and a judicial system considered the best in Asia. Little wonder it has been rated highly by the world business community; something which is alien in Malaysia. Unfortunately, learning from the Singaporeans is the last thing on our ruling elite’s minds.

"You need not go far to find why we have plenty of catching up to do. Just switch on the television. Singapore TV is filled with programmes that provide viewers with information on the world and knowledge on anything one cares to know. They tell Singaporeans that life is to be lived and enjoyed and not to be suffered. You don’t see politicians on the idiot box extolling the virtues of the ruling party, glorifying the rights of the “sons of the soil” and the ideals of a “transformed” Prime Minister.

The programmes, unlike ours, are designed not to insult viewers’ intelligence but to complement. In spite of having been an independent nation for over 55 years we are still being treated like children."

"Plenty of thoughts and planning have gone into making Singapore what it is today. I am certain that among the planners are bona fide Malaysians who, for want of a better future, have parked themselves permanently in Singapore. We have lost many good talents to our southern neighbour. Need we lose more?

So, having “survived” the Mayan doomsday prediction of December 21, 2012, I have every reason to be optimistic. With the 13th General Election looming in the horizon, my one wish for 2013 is for the country to take the path of recovery. We have been the laughing stock of the world far too long. Enough is enough."

Fathol  Zaman Bukhari



Spoof of Japanese tea ceremony

Just in case someone take this seriously...the meaning of spoof:
Imitate (something) while exaggerating its characteristic features for comic effect;
Hoax or trick (someone).


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Walk but not sure if this pedestrian bridge is a good idea

"Sometime last year, a new pedestrian bridge was unveiled in Lujiazui in the Pudong district of Shanghai. This large scale circular pedestrian overpass enables pedestrians to avoid traffic at the round-about terminus of Lujiazui Rd. The bridge provides access to the Oriental Pearl Tower connecting financiers to leisure areas such as shopping malls and cafes, a transit station and office buildings. The bridge sits almost 20 feet above the street, with numerous escalator stairway entrances and exits. The very contemporary design and long spans between columns provides a pleasant street level experience. Visitors enjoy the walkway for its privileged views of the city as well as its introduction of clean and easy foot transportation. At night the structure is illuminated to great dramatic effect.  The walkaway is 5.5 meter high and can fit 15 people walking side by side. Since it’s opening, it has become quite a tourist attraction."

Recently, Cheng was with us in Penang. She was looking for some souvenirs to buy for her friends when we were at Penang Road. Most souvenir shops here are out of touch with current trends. Anyway, she saw one across the busy 3-lane one-way road. We tried to jaywalk but it was too dangerous so we did it the right way ie. up the pedestrian bridge and down again, which seems a big roundabout way to get there. But looking at the picture above, this was small effort by comparison. By the way, there were some beggars up the bridge. To me, if they could get up there, they were not fit to be beggars!


Walk don't run... to live longer!

When you search for 'Walk don't run', you're likely to get the following Ventures' versions...

The Ventures in 1964:

A friend forwarded to me the following article. Well, I have been walking to town for many years now, making my own car redundant. Batu Gajah has just introduced parking coupons, replacing parking meters, which made it more likely not to use the car. Already, residents have complained about the minimum 60 sen for an hour, without those 30 sen for half an hour. When asked, Majlis employee coyly replied that they have yet to print them! Surely, they had no intention earlier, and had to come up with this lame excuse...

Walking - The Easiest Way To Live Longer!

Lets keep on Walking.....

Did you know that every minute you walk can extend your life by 1.5 to 2 minutes? In addition, many studies show that people who walk regularly live longer, weigh less, have lower blood pressure, and enjoy better overall health than non-walkers.
Ready to lace on your shoes? If you want to add to the amount of walking you do, just clip on a pedometer. That simple action actually increases your physical activity by over 2100 steps per day, a review that pooled data from 26 studies found.

Here's a look at ten benefits of walking:

Walking Increases Your Lifespan

Walking more than an hour a day improves life expectancy significantly, a 2011 study showed. The researchers looked at 27,738 participants between the ages of 40 and 79 over a 13-year period. Surprisingly, their lifetime medical costs did not increase—even though they lived longer.

“An increase in walking time at the population level would bring about a tremendous change in people’s health and medical cost,” the study authors wrote.

Walking Wards Off Diabetes

Just thirty minutes of walking a day can prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes, a 2002 study looking at both overweight and average weight men and women in a population at high risk for the disease showed.

If you already have diabetes, walking is helpful for you, too. A mile or more daily cuts your risk of death from all causes in half, according to a 2007 study.

Walking Keeps Your Mind Sharp

Walking 72 blocks a week (around six to nine miles) helps increase grey matter, which in turn lowers the risk of suffering from cognitive impairment—or trouble with concentration, memory and thought, according to a study which looked at 299 seniors over a nine-year period.

Furthermore, walking five miles per week can provide some protection to the memory and learning areas of the brains of those already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, and lead to a slower decline in memory loss.

Walking Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Walking just 30 minutes a day, three to five days a week—even when the 30 minutes are broken into three ten-minute increments—has been found to significantly lower blood pressure.

Walking is Great for Bone Health

Putting one foot in front of the other for about a mile a day led to improved bone density in post-menopausal women, and slowed the rate of bone loss from the legs, according to a 1994 study. “It takes walkers four to seven years longer to reach the point of very low bone density, study leader Dr. Krall told the New York Times.

Walking Cuts the Risk of Stroke

Walking about 12.5 miles a week or more cut the risk of stroke in half, according to a study looking at over 11,000 Harvard University alumni with an average age of 58.

Walking Improves Your Mood

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, walking is a quick and easy solution. Just thirty minutes on a treadmill reduces feelings of tension and depression, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In fact, the study found that walking lifted moods more quickly than anti-depressants did (and with fewer side effects).

And the more people walk, the better their mood and energy, says California State University Long Beach professor Robert Thayer, based on a study looking at 37 study participants over a 20-day period.

Walking Torches Calories

Just 20 minutes of walking a day will burn 7 pounds a year. The effects are even more dramatic when you add in some dietary changes as well.

Walking Improves Insomnia

Having trouble sleeping at night? Try taking a brisk 45-minute walk in the morning five days a week, and your sleep may improve significantly, according to research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle , which looked at women from the age of 50-74. (Walking in the evening, however, sometimes has the opposite effect—so keep an eye on when you’re exercising and what your sleep patterns are.)

Walking is Good for the Heart

Women who took brisk walks for three or more hours per week reduced their risk of heart disease by 30-40 percent, according to an analysis of over 72,000 women aged 40-65, who were enrolled in the prospective Nurses’ Health Study. As I reported recently, heart attacks kill more US women than men annually. However, the benefits of walking aren’t limited to one gender. A different study showed that walking can cut the risk of coronary heart disease in half for men between the ages of 71 and 93.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Auspicious colours to wear in the year of the Snake

"We know that black is usually frowned upon when it’s Chinese New Year, but it may very well be the exception for you this year if you’re born in the year of the Dog or the year of the Rat.

That’s right, our auspicious colours change every year so it largely depends on your zodiac sign and how it is affected by the lunar year.

This year we’ve decided to help you out by charting the colours so that you know just what colours you should be shopping for and what shades you should be avoiding like the plague.

So go on, find your sign and colour your way to an auspicious 2013!"

Chart courtesy of Divaasia


I was brought up in an environment where superstitions reigned supreme. My mother never had education and her family used to believe in treatment of illnesses recommended by a temple medium who went into a trance to get divine help. So you can imagine the effects on me when it comes to discarding any superstition. Basically, it was usually a case of when in doubt, just believe it!

Some of the superstitions which I am still affected are: when planning a trip, make up your mind, and do not flip-flop because it would affect your travel adversely in terms of inconvenience or even accident; do not play with knives because there are spirits which could make you injure yourself or others; and so on.

In the 60s, while in secondary school, I can still remember how a classmate told us that his parents would never allow him to wear black under any circumstances! Nowadays, we can see people wearing black at all occasions, including birthdays, weddings and Chinese New Year. It has become fashionable to do so. But personally, I tend to think in terms of its effect on the hosts, for instance. What if they are still superstitious like before?

The first time I was aware of different colours for different people for a new Chinese year was when a relative painted his house gates green. When asked, he said it was auspicious for him in that year! Just imagine if this catches on, the paint companies and their dealers should be glad.

I am not really into Fengshui because it requires a strict regime to properly follow, and I am never good at nor like to be regimented. I used to watch Astro channel 305 (old Cantonese serials for free) and now and again, there is a Fengshui woman (used to be a man) from HK who would provide details down to the nearest hour! I just cannot imagine anyone following such instructions to start the day and checking every few hours. I am sure it affects anyone's self-confidence in making decisions.

I am also unimpressed with Lilian Thoo's recommendations of certain objects (available in her chain of shops) which could help something auspicious or prevent something inauspicious. It seems too easy and too commercial, if at all you believe in such advice.

Tricia Yeoh refutes BN's propaganda on 'water crisis'

If only she could get more mainstream media coverage to counter BN's lies to undermine Selangor state government.

There are many people who are not exposed to the internet, who believe what they read in the newspapers or watched on national television. Almost daily, I have to argue with some of my breakfast companions who asked for explanation on matters such as: Lim Guan Eng's control on the use of the word 'Penang', what about 'char koay teow'? (never mind the silliness of thinking LGE is trying to control such names); Kota Bharu municipality's prohibition on unisex salons (even though it was an isolated case); Selangor's water crisis; and so on. I hope by highlighting some relevant articles in my blog, I can help to disseminate some truth to counter blatant lies.

Excerpt of Tricia's article 'Don't muddy the water issue' in The Sun:

"The central issue here is whether or not the pumps have actually been well-maintained to operate consistently without breaking down. The responsibility to maintain these pumps falls under Syabas and not the Selangor government. According to standard operating procedure, "preventive periodic maintenance" is a basic requirement that should have been conducted by specific capable contractors. This was apparently conducted up to 2008, after which it was only done whenever a pump was damaged."

"...The water industry is regulated by SPAN (National Water Services Commission). Syabas has unfortunately demonstrated its inability to manage its equipment efficiently, when it should have investigated the root problem even before it became a problem by following SOPs and best practices."

"Added to this is a revelation in the Auditor-General's Audit Report for the operating period of 2009-2011, which showed among other things that the funds Syabas received for capital expenditure (capex) from the Selangor government were used for operating expenditure (opex). If such funds were necessary for the upgrading of water pumps, then they should not have been misallocated."

"Some have also raised the question of why the Selangor government lays the blame squarely on Syabas when it holds 30% of its shares. Although this means attending board meetings and access to documents, Selangor is still the minority shareholder, and has no role in dealing with day-to-day operations. In fact, the federal government through its Finance Ministry Incorporated holds the golden share of Syabas, which allows them to flex some muscles. Nowhere in the concession agreement (which, by the way, is also signed by the federal government) does it say that maintenance of pump stations falls under the jurisdiction of the state government."



Friday, January 25, 2013

Steve Jobs was a rotten Apple?

"Apple, Google and Intel are being sued for striking a secret agreement among themselves not to poach employees from each other. Which is, um, how should we put this? Not kosher? "Likely illegal," is how Ed Colligan, former CEO of Palm, described it when they asked him to join the devil's bargain. Because, yeah. Turns out it's frowned upon when companies collude to keep workers from making as much money as they can.

The pact now may come back to haunt these companies as employees are suing them over lost wages. The damages could run into the hundreds of millions.

But the best part, as always, is the treasure trove of documents coming out in discovery. The best ones are the ones that show Apple CEO Steve Jobs throwing temper tantrums and threatening lawsuits when competitors hire away his engineers.  (The Verge has a great rundown with lots of documents.)"...

"Keep in mind that the real victims of what Jobs was proposing are front-line engineers whose incomes would be constrained because their bosses had struck a deal not to poach from one another. This was rich guys making deals to screw their engineers and boost their own profits."

News Flash: Steve Jobs Bullied Rivals And Was Kind Of A Dick


Cable Industry Finally Admits That Data Caps Have Nothing To Do With Congestion

"For years, the key rationale given by broadband providers for implementing data caps was that it was the only way they could deal with "congestion." Of course, for years, independent researchers showed that this was bogus, and there was no data crunch coming. If you actually caught a technologist from a broadband provider, rather than a business person or lobbyist, they'd quietly admit that there was no congestion problem, and that basic upgrades and network maintenance could easily deal with the growth in usage. But, of course, that took away the broadband providers' chief reason for crying about how they "need" data caps. The reality, of course, is that data caps are all about increasing revenue for broadband providers -- in a market that is already quite profitable. But if they can hide behind the claims that they need to do this to deal with congestion, they can justify it to regulators and (they hope) the public..."


In Malaysia, I am now into my second month of testing Maxis' Home Wifi at Rm59 per month (1.5 GB). Even with restrained use (unacceptable by today's standard), for the first month, I had to top up twice at Rm18 for 1 GB each. For the second month, I topped up with Rm30 for 2 GB when my daughter, who was on holiday, wanted to use heavily for two days. Yet, last night (Jan 24 or just two weeks into the second month) I got a notice that I had exceeded my quota! Honestly, signing up for this Maxis deal was a big mistake and I have to go along for the next 10 months as contracted. On my own, I can easily discipline myself to use sparingly and to make use of their unearthly hours between 2am and 8am. But now and again, I have visitors who need to use the internet, only then will I top up when the need arises.

Bar Stool Economics

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

A professor of economics put this together to show how our current tax system works based on each segment of our population:
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.  But what about the other six men - the paying customers?  How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25%savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59  (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
'I only got a dollar out of the $20,' declared the sixth man.  He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'
 'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I did!'
'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two?  The wealthy get all the breaks!'
'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Steve Oh's review on Tricia Yeoh's Rights of the Dead


"Teoh Beng Hock was the man who died while in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Shah Alam.
We read about him, we saw his photo in the news, and we remember the emotive images of his sobbing sister.
We knew him as a political worker.
He was law-abiding and trusting of the MACC, a government anti-corruption agency - the good guys who go after the bad guys.
It was Teoh's fatal mistake in trusting them.
He had gone to their office to help in their investigation over a minor expense, RM 2,400 to be exact, incurred by his boss, a state assemblyman who is a member of the Selangor exco (state executive committee).
We know the rest of the story..."

Timely exploration by an insider

"Tricia Yeoh in her award-winning documentary on Teoh Beng Hock titled Rights of the Dead, released late last year, has brought him closer to us.
It is a timely work because like so many who died in mysterious circumstances Teoh can easily slip out of the public psyche into history.
"I really wanted to show how the family suffered through it…" said Yeoh at a Freedom Filmfest gathering.
Her first-hand knowledge as a staffer of the Selangor government had given her an intimate knowledge of the "unresolved case."
The short film provides a succinct account of events before and after Teoh's death and leaves the viewer still with the nagging proverbial question - "Who did it?"
After watching Yeoh's documentary that won the Justin Louis Award FFF2012, I realised that more than feeling chagrin at the government for his death, we owe Teoh Beng Hock the moral obligation to finish what he had set out to do.
He wanted his country to be a better place.
I got to know more about the man who the public still think was murdered despite an official inquest and a royal commission of inquiry into his death that resulted in an open verdict..."

"But Teoh did not die in police custody because he was a suspected criminal.
He died in the custody of the government's anti-corruption agents whom he had gone to help.
Teoh's death sounded the warning bells that something is drastically remiss with the MACC modus operandi.
" It can happen to anyone including me," said Yeoh in an interview..."

"If there was a crucial missing piece, it is 'Why?' the nagging question.
Why take away the life of someone who did not play any pivotal role in politics? Why did Teoh Beng Hock have to die?
Because we know he would not have killed himself when he had so much to live for –an imminent wedding and new role as a husband, and the thought of having a son would be enough reason for any man to want to live..."


The video:


Thought provoking

On need to communicate...
A lot of trouble would disappear,
If only people would learn to talk to one another,
Instead of talking about one another.

Life isn't always fair...
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person, is like expecting the lion not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.

Using modern technologies as analogies...
People nowadays are like Bluetooth,
If you stay close they stay connected,
If you go away they find new devices.

Human life would be perfect if:
Anger had a STOP button;
Mistakes had a REWIND button;
Hard Times had a FORWARD button;
And Good Times a PAUSE button !!

Why we need to cool it...
Reflection cannot be seen in boiling water;
In the same way, Truth cannot be seen in a state of anger!

On Selflessness...
The bird asked the Bumblebee:
"You work so hard to make the honey, and humans just take it away. Doesn't it make you feel bad?"
"No," said the Bee, "Because they will never take from me the art of making it."

Let's face it...
Q: Where can men over the age of 60 find younger, sexy women who are interested in them?
A: In a bookstore under "Fiction'
Q: How can you avoid that terrible curse of the elderly wrinkles?
A: Take off your glasses.
Q: Why should 60-plus year old people use valet parking?
A: Valets don't forget where they park your car.
Q: Is it common for 60-plus year old people to have problems with short term memory storage?
A: Storing memory is not a problem, Retrieving it is the problem.


Manufacturers lead to wastefulness...

In modern age of cheap mass production (especially with factories in China), manufacturers can sell their hardware cheaply, which makes their products cheaper to replace than to repair.

I was told by a dealer in computers that our early version of HP Pavilion was a product of their Chinese factory, and a victim of poor quality control simply because their production could not cope with the high demand. So it was, just two months after expiry of warranty, it could not switch on. Someone who could repair it warned that he could not guarantee it to last more than a few months!

Couple of years back, I bought a 3-in-1 HP printer which came with the usual adaptor and a starter ink cartridge. Recently, just when my daughter needed to print her boarding pass, I found I could not switch on the printer. There was a click sound from the adaptor. Most people would think it is easy to find an adaptor which can be used. But adaptors are usually made to suit only a particular model. I found a shop in Amcorp Mall and a shop assistant took the trouble to look for a suitable adaptor. She found one but the output was slightly less than mine (meant for printing only while mine was meant for scanning and faxing as well). I asked how much would it cost had she found one, and she replied, "More than Rm100"! If my memory served me well, I bought the printer at Tesco in Ipoh for less than Rm200! The shop has one of the same model and it was priced at Rm365.

I have come across friends throwing their printers (bought cheaply) away (together with their adaptors). How I wish I had asked to keep their adaptors! Now, the most pragmatic thing to do is the usual wasteful ways of today: to buy a new one and throw away the old (despite the printer in good working condition). Or, to look for a cheap (hopefully) printer of the same model, just to be able to use its adaptor for both!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Telephone fixed line is still TM's monopoly

How useful is the traditional telephone fixed line? With today's telecommunication technology, I expect more and more people would give up their old fixed lines, since they are now well connected with mobile phone companies of their choice. Yet, my suggestion to give up our TM fixed line has met with reasons to retain it like: it is convenient; many relatives and friends have our old faithful numbers; I need it when filling in application forms (abroad) where they require something more permanent to show your place of residence; and so on.

Since we cancelled our TM's wifi package deal (Rm90 ++) which provided for free national calls to other TM fixed lines and 15 sen /min. to any other mobile numbers, our last bill gave me the impression that TM will squeeze us by charging comparatively more expensive rates. For eg. a call to someone's fixed line in KL during peak hours costs approx. Rm1 per minute! The rental is Rm24 per month, plus Rm1 for itemized billing. Besides, we were being charged Rm5.83 for 6 days for 'sewa talian telefon' or telephone line rental! Does it mean Rm30 for a full month's? I need to wait for the next bill to find out. If this is the case, it will cost me Rm55 just to continue having the fixed line! Just imagine, I used to have cable internet connection (unlimited use) for just Rm66! Now, I worry whenever my wife calls her relatives in KL using the house phone out of habit.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Year of the Snake... in one brush stroke!

Not safe even in locked and latched 4-star hotel room

What Nurulhuda Mansor posted in her Facebook page on January 16, which was forwarded to me by my friend:

"...Yesterday morning, I woke up at 6.00 am in my hotel room. Because I am obsessed with my phone, I will always grab it the moment I wake up to check messages etc. The phone was supposed to be next to my pillow, charging. I last spoke on the phone with my husband at 2.00 am. The phone was not there. I looked under the blanket and it was still not there. I grabbed my handbag, wanting to take my office blackberry to miscall my Samsung phone.

As soon as I opened my handbag, I saw that my purse was open. I noticed all my cash (except for RM1 notes) were missing. I looked for my blackberry and it was also not in my handbag. It immediately struck me that someone had stolen my phone (Samsung Note), my office phone (Blackberry), and all my cash (about RM250) in my locked hotel room (that could only be accessed with the hotel card) with the door latch ON while I was asleep!! Though I was really relieved to see my car keys still in my handbag. I got out of bed to the door and saw that the door latch was open. I knew immediately that someone had gone into my room because I was very very sure I had closed the door latch the night before. This has always been an intuitive habit in hotels, knowing I was sleeping alone...."


Friday, January 18, 2013

'Rm300 for Malaysian passport renewal is really worth it'

to those who travel to many different countries. Malaysian passport when compared to other countries' has the advantage of 'visa-free travel' to most countries. For instance, other nationals travelling to Indonesia require visa which costs US$25. For just 4 visits to the same or different similar countries, the Malaysian passport holder would have 'got his money back' in comparison!

For senior citizens, renewal fee for 5 years has been reduced to Rm150. This would further encourage more seniors to travel overseas. A young friend commented (based on his own parents travelling habits) that wives of senior citizens prefer to travel but not their husbands. This is debatable because the reasons could be varied depending on personal circumstances. From my own observation, often they could not stand each other already, so it could be due to the classic 'sigh of relief' when their wives decide to travel! Many people discover they could not stand certain habits of their friends when travelling. So discerning ones choose their travelling companions carefully, while some decide to opt out completely to avoid the hassles of travelling.

Recently, there was a class reunion which turned out to be a school reunion instead because many of the ex-classmates has gone to the other side. There was poor response despite an advertisement in a newspaper. Anyway, after the event, VCDs of it were passed round. One septuagenarian actually refused an offer to view it together because he did not want to see videos of old folks! This classic 'young at heart' would describe someone in her fifties as 'old lady' despite his own age.

By the way, if I am not mistaken, for those applying for passport renewal online, if your passport has more than a year before expiry, you cannot do so.

In the case of driving licence, you can renew so long as it is less than a year before expiry. This concerns mainly those who reside overseas.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A visit to Penang Institute (formerly known as SERI)

Penang Institute was formerly known as Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) and was established in 1997.  "Making ideas work" seems appropriate to the think tank of the present state government of Penang.

This morning, on our way to Penang, it occurred to me that Dr. Toh Kin Woon has something to do with Penang Institute. Cheng made an appointment with her former senior in Essex University, Dr. Wong Chin Huat, for 2 pm. Our initial plan to visit Lorong Kulit was shelved because Cheng woke up late. By the time we reached Penang bridge, it was almost 12.30pm. We decided to have Siamese laksa instead, in Pulau Tikus, but was disappointed to find the coffeeshop closed! We decided to have the second choice at the coffeeshop next to it.

We wondered if it was walkable to get to Jalan Brown from where we were. With an old Penang map in hand, I found Jalan Brown in B2 and Jalan Pasar in C2, which seems close enough, but we could not tell how far in walking distance unless we tried it. Just after lunch, we were game to try out, despite the hot midday sun. The shady trees on the way helped.

By the time we reached Penang Institute, it was only 1.30 pm. As we walked towards the old mansion, a car was driven into the compound. Imagine my surprise when I saw someone who looked like Dr. Toh! What a coincidence, I thought to myself. As he came near, I asked, "Dr. Toh?" He was surprised and greeted me with a handshake. I explained to him that we were looking for Chin Huat and pointed to my daughter seated inside, as his former junior in the university. Later Chin Huat appeared and said he was busy and we were given several issues of Penang Institute to read while waiting for him. I asked Dr. Toh why his name is not on the editorial list and he answered, "only when I write an article." Later, I found out from Chin Huat that it was Dr. Toh who set up SERI, presumably under the previous Gerakan state government!

I was impressed with the list of people on their editorial board as well as the list of columnists and contributors. Unpretentious seems best to describe the personalities and set-up, but from the quality articles, I can see them helping to shape the future of Penang... and hopefully, Malaysia.


Namewee's Art of Listening

This year opens with a bang by a lecture on Listen, by Sharifah Zohra Jabeen,  which could be heard by millions in Malaysia and elsewhere in the world. It caught on the imagination of Malaysians (almost a la Gangnam style) and became viral in cyberworld. Sharifah is now a household name. Inevitably, Namewee (of Negara kuku fame), latches on and gives it his version, and the least you can do is, listen when he speaks, ok?


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Azly Rahman advised students to speak up and don't just listen and follow

"Sadly, in many instances Malaysian university students are still treated like kindergarten kids when it comes to dialogue ... but then again, kindergarten kids might be better off .. they ask questions unreservedly a lot of times, not having the fear of their mouth being duck-taped ... or microphones being grabbed out of their right to speak up..."

"...take back the university ... bring back its true meaning ... it has been hijacked by those who do not know what education means ... what then must one do?


Judge for yourself:


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Future Cabinet line-up... as you have asked for...

though not necessarily all that you wished for?

This graphic was forwarded to me. Though it looks official, the introduction on top does not seem so. Briefly...

I see Anwar as PM and Wan Azizah in PM's Department... a certainty to invite criticisims from political opponents, though without merit other than accusation of nepotism. How Rosmah wished to be officially in the PM's Department! But many would think she is having the best of both worlds or 'have the cake and eat it at the same time', as de facto PM!

Nurul Izzah's position as FT Minister for being present Minister's likely opponent seems  too convenient a placement. Could she be better placed in another portfolio?

With Hadi Awang, Lim Guan Eng and Baru Bian as Deputy Prime Ministers, this list seems to have covered the importance of the three major component parties of Pakatan Rakyat (Anwar PKR, Hadi Awang PAS and Lim Guan Eng DAP) as well as satisfying at least one state from East Malaysia (kingmakers before and now).

As Batu Gajah voter, how could I miss the omission of 3-term MP, Fong Po Kuan?

Let's treat this as a tentative list at best, to even exceed the calls for a shadow cabinet on the eve of the next GE. Again, we can expect critics... perhaps this time, accusing Pakatan of being too arrogant to expect victory before the elections. In any case, each candidate on the list is subject to the approval of his or her boss - the voters. Don't take them for granted. There would be some who would sabotage a party or candidate if they did not like proposed list. But then again, this is another step towards a change which most people would wish and hope for.

There were recent attempts at discrediting DAP for instance, because of its CEC election fiasco; and at discrediting PKR in Penang, because of alleged attempt to bribe to hush up something (it could be lies twisted from facts by mainstream media like always).

We should remind ourselves that the opposition parties are not perfect. For any mistake or misdemeanour, we should look at how it was resolved. The important thing is the willingness to correct mistakes. If there are crooks and criminals within Pakatan, by all means seek them out, so that action could be taken towards kicking them out.

Brief update:
Total number of Ministers: 32 - PKR 14, PAS 10, and DAP 8;
Total number of Deputies: 43 - PKR 15, PAS 13, and DAP 11, plus 4 via Senate.
The last four are Ambiga (ex-Chairperson of Bersih 2.0, ex-Bar Council President); Dr. Kua Kia Soong (ex-Director of Suaram and ex-MP; Cynthia Gabriel (present Director of Suaram); and Maria Chin Abdullah (Women and Human Rights activist).

I don't know about others, but a quick glance makes me wonder why ex- MCA VP and former Minister, Chua Jui Meng, and ex-Umno ADUN of Pahang, Ariff Sabri, are not included.


A bit of news on 'Uprising' Rally

Pic courtesy of Sin Chew

Pic courtesy of Guang Ming

Pic courtesy of Mkini

How Utusan Online reported (posted by Elizabeth Wong in FB)...

How TV3 suku reported...
Just an example of why we should not be watching news on television.

I happened to watch news at 8 pm on NTV7 and Anwar was shown giving a speech (but no audio!) similar to this pic...

Pic courtesy of Mkini

As expected, more coverage was given to PM's speech giving credit for Indians' contribution in the past in Malaysia's road and rail development, at a gathering of IPF members. DPM's speech on why there is no need for a change in government: since the train is moving smoothly, why stop it? This analogy to me is so funny because the train happens to be BN's gravy train without the rest of the people in it! This is all the more why we should stop this particular train.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Malaysiakini's report on 'People's Uprising Rally"

shows how peaceful a big rally can be if only the authorities allow it.

The fact that the police took the initiative to be nice by allowing it (especially without the Riot Police) must have encouraged those who would have stayed away to be on the safe side. The people (multi-racial) went to take part at their own expense (unlike BN events) must be worrying to BN leaders.

This morning, a friend commented that the Higher Education Minister discouraged students of higher institutions of learning from taking part in this rally, but encouraged them if and when organized by BN, shows his partiality, which is typical of them. For the 'live' coverage by Malaysiakini...

100,000 throng Stadium Merdeka for 'Uprising' rally


Friday, January 11, 2013

Kim Quek on our law-enforcing institutions

I think everyone who is aware of what is happening in Malaysia would know that we have adequate laws but not the enforcement. The Cantonese has a saying: 'Chek sau cheh thin' or 'one hand can shield the sky' which is what PM Najib has been able to do thus far...

Excerpt from Kim Quek's letter to Malaysiakini:

"However, behind the Boustead manoeuver that resulted in this lightning-development are facts that are perhaps stranger than fiction - the goods that Boustead are chasing after are in truth, illusionary to its shareholders.

For Astacanggih is but an asset-less shell company that has never filed its accounts with the Companies Commission, and the 200 acre land, which was intended as Mindef's part payment to Awan Megah for undertaking in 2005 to complete the Mindef project, is still vested with the government, as the project was never constructed.

Furthermore, the 200 acre land is designated for building a military camp, and Awan Megah is prohibited from conveying it to any third party. In addition, the Selangor state government, which is the administrator of all lands in the state, has also declared that it will not approve any transfer of said land unless it is used to build the military camp. Hence, Boustead is effectively barred by law to acquire the land.

With this land transaction being a castle in the air, Boustead is, in truth, paying out RM160 million, from which it gains nothing."

"PM abused power to grant project

As a further blow to the image of PM Najib, he happened to be the defence minister who approved in 2005, the award of the project to Awan Megah, which is now found to be a company that has remained dormant since 2003. Certainly, without the wherewithal to design and construct the RM100 million Mindef facilities. This is clearly an act of abuse of power and corruption.

In any democratic country where the government is popularly elected, the prime minister would have stood up to face these serious and unyielding allegations by either denying or acting to reclaim his dignity; and the law-enforcing institutions would have also swung into action, one after another, to uphold the law.

But in Malaysia, we have only eerie silence, save the noises made by the opposition, mainly through the Internet, as the relative news are blacked out in the mainstream media.

Obviously, our institutions, including the mainstream media (all newspapers and TV channels), have either been neutered or reduced to serving as lapdogs of the political masters; and unless these institutions are thoroughly reformed, the plundering and breach of law by the ruling elite with impunity will only get worse - a path that will eventually lead to state bankruptcy and national catastrophe."

Are our law-enforcing institutions paralyzed?

Height of Halal hypocrisy

"First we have these 2 guardians or bodies of Islam, the  Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) refusing to renew the license of The Crystal Crown Hotel in PJ because they have a Chinese restaurant in their premise that served pork, The management of the hotel came up with a signage on all 3 lifts from the basements with this sign board below..."

   A sign in Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya, Selangor ( pic courtesy of Shanghai Fish)



Shanghai Fish

Syed Mokhtar - Saint or Mercenary?

Our country's 7th richest man has been getting a lot of flak in the cyber world. For instance, the following graphic from Facebook, showing the extent of his business empire:

Below is just a small selection of many articles written about him:

Dec 30, 2012 Malaysia Chronicle
Is this the Malaysian way? Umno's most disgusting lapdog - Syed Mokhtar
by Victor Lim

Jan 11, 2013 Malaysia-Finance Blogspot
Privatisation – Cry Wolf

But he has been getting rave reviews too...

Nov 25, 2012 The New Straits Times
Book review by Ahmad A Talib
Get to know the man through his book

Dec 14, 2012 The Malay Mail
Book review by Habhajan Singh
The rise and rise of Syed Mokhtar Albukhary

Jan 5, 2013 The Star
Book review by Wong Chun Wai
The caring side of Syed Mokhtar

Somehow, I think being a Malay, he is being groomed by Umno to be the richest man in Malaysia. But he is also heavily in debt and seems to be taking steps to reduce his gearing through selective privatisations of public companies and selling of valuable assets to pay off loans. No matter how rich a man, what he owns should be able to generate enough incomes to pay interest on loans. Some critics are questioning whether certain banks are flouting rules on exposure of loans to him. Owing tens of billions, banks cannot bully him like ordinary debtors. If he goes down, they will be in big trouble too.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Let down by Maxis

Since Dec 8, 2012, I was trying out Maxis home wifi with the basic Rm59 pm package. I had to top-up 1 GB (Rm18) twice, each time my quota for peak hours (8am to 2 am) was used up (the 1.5 GB allocated to unearthly hours 2am to 8 am) was literally untouched. So you can imagine how I had to use sparingly, even changing the embedded Sukan 1 Malaysia in my blogsite to reduce the use of memory space.

It had to happen on January 7 (end of first month), the day before Metka left, when the Maxis modem showed flashing red light. This was a sign that my account was suspended (found out later when I return from KLIA) for not taking part in their verification process! Nobody told me about this and I actually told the girl who called up a few days earlier that I was suspicious over such calls for personal details. Earlier I was disappointed over their sales pitch that your internet would not be disconnected, just throttled to a slow speed. Now I was actually cut off! Imagine my embarrassment when Cheng and Metka could not use the internet. Since they were not in a hurry, I left it till later.

It appears as though I had jumped from the TM boiling pot right into the Maxis frying pan! Looking back, if not for my wife's iPad which requires wifi, I was happy with TM's cable internet with unlimited use. But alas, with their 'suka hati' and 'tak kisah' attitude, I had to try out something else. I wonder if YES could have been better, but I did not use it because at the time, I could not terminate TM yet, and my main complaint was the continual charging of Rm30 pm, which could be charged for period unused even if one were to stop subscription earlier and continue again. But one thing is for sure: for those who need to use internet continuously, the only way is to go for unlimited packages (preferably using fibre optic), subject to their area of coverage, reliability and service. For now, I need to go through the remainder of Maxis's required minimum 12-month subscription before I can consider alternatives. I can change my lifestyle by being awake and making use of their unearthly hours (2am to 8 am)!

DAP's election error: no end to it?

I see it as a mistake by someone in charge of tabulating party election results. What an impact it causes to the party for someone's carelessness! Political opponents were quick to grab this opportunity to question DAP's ability to administer the country for just one person's mistake! Are we to expect the top leaders to be supervising the tabulation of figures to ensure no mistake? Surely, such a task had to be delegated to someone and it was just unfortunate for the party that there were discrepancies due to computer glitches or whatever it was.

The latest suggestion came from a branch chairman who thinks a fresh election should be held to put an end to the controversies.

I wish there is a clear explanation of how the mistake came about. It can be in the form of step-by-step figures showing how it happened, or better still, using a video presentation. So far, explanation using description seems to create more confusion and doubt.

How Slovenian Metka spent her day with us

We were supposed to meet Metka and Cheng when they returned from Koh Lipe, Thailand. To get there, they took a flight from KL to Langkawi and then by ferry to Koh Lipe. On their return trip, they stayed a night in Langkawi, then by ferry to Kuala Kedah, by bus to Alor Setar, to take a coach to Ipoh. Cheng texted me that the bus leaves at 1.30 pm, arrives at 4 pm. We were surprised at the early arrival time given but we were there on time and found out that it should be 5 pm!

Before Cheng booked the coach ticket, I reminded her to find out which bus station in Ipoh, because there is now a brand new, grand one known as Terminal Aman Jaya in Meru, which to me, is another 'development at the expense of public convenience'. But I was informed the bus goes to Medan Gopeng, the old and dilapidated temporary bus station near Rapat Setia. Surprisingly, the car park was full, which was testimony to its continued relevance because of its convenient location when compared with the new one. I actually told Cheng that if the bus stops at TAJ as well, she should choose that one simply because we have yet to visit it!

Metka had been with Cheng for 5 years in Maastricht, yet we have not met before. When introduced, I said, 'finally we met.' Later, I joked about her upside down photo in FB which would require me to do a handstand to recognize her!

While deciding where to go, Cheng suggested taking her round Ipoh first and we ended up at Burps and Giggles, a bistro which is well known for its unusual interior decoration. Much of the old shops' original state was maintained, which is interesting...

We had a drink there, leaving dinner for later. They walked from there to Sinhalese Bar where we met the second generation owner. When I told him Patrick Teoh mentioned about his place, he didn't seem to know. From there they walked to Dataran Ipoh, past Ipoh Club, Court House, Railway Station and so on until I picked them in front of the police station and broke the law at the same time (double-line)!

As it was still bright, I suggested that we look for the Tibetan temple in Tambun, based on the directions I had posted earlier. I almost missed the junction in front of the police station, and again, had to break the rules when I jumped the queue to join vehicles turning right. It was fairly easy to find the narrow road leading to the temple. We passed through a small cattle farm and mainly pomelo orchards before we caught sight of the statue. The dogs in the area were surprisingly tame and the ladies walked and took pictures while I drove the car. The gate to the temple was closed. I must say the temple and statue were old and I could tell the construction was modest in terms of scale and costs. Then my wife remembered what her sister-in-law once described to her the place where she goes for meditation: 'you cannot find it easily'.

Cheng described how expensive it was in Langkawi, to have seafood. So my wife suggested Public Restaurant (Pusing) in Horley Street. As it is a popular restaurant for hosting wedding dinners, she had to check it out before we parked the car. It so happened, the whole of the groundfloor was for walk-in customers and we could find a table. Who was at the next table, but 3-term ex-ADUN, Datuk Lee Kon Yin! We had a short chat while waiting for the food. I am sure the prices in this restaurant were unlikely to be cheaper than Langkawi, but we knew what to expect in terms of taste.

For dessert, we proceeded to 'Tong Sui Kai' where we bought packets of kueh, ais kacang and drinks for later. Among other things discussed, I asked about Slovenia. Briefly, it was one of six states carved out of the old Yugoslavia and has a population of just over 2 million. Its capital is Ljubljana. For more info:

Metka asked what time she should be up the next morning and my wife said, '7 am'. I knew not to take that seriously. Sure enough, we were ready past 9 am! First stop was Indian breakfast at Ganapathi, then the todi place in a coconut estate in Pusing. Metka even attempted to climb a coconut tree for a picture. She tried todi and we bought a small bottle. After that, we visited Papan.

Cheng then visited her uncle at the factory. Then we took a drive through Jalan Changkat, Batu Gajah where all the government premises are: GH, Prison, Court House, Police Station, DO Residence, and so on. She took some pictures in front of  what used to be a kindergarten (to be demolished to make way for a new building) at St. Joseph Church (Cheng's kindergarten days).

As usual, we tried to take in the tin dredge on the way to Tg. Tualang. We were lucky Steven was in. He could still remember her last visit during her HELP college days. We bought some large custard apples (Australian specie) grown next to the dredge. After that, we went to Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort. We past a sign with a picture of monitor lizard (but looks like a dinosaur)

and soon after, we saw a young one which appeared unperturbed when Cheng took pictures of it!

For lunch, we went back to Pusing for noodles.

It was back to the house to pack for the trip to KLIA later in the afternoon. Metka's flight was after 10 pm, but we had to allow for 2 hours check in time, 3 hours travelling time. As I mentioned to her, I didn't mind sending her to the airport because it was an opportunity to chat with Cheng during the journey. Cheng's 3 weeks in Malaysia includes few days in Thailand and another few days in Indonesia. She and her mum are now in Jogjakarta. Her former Masters students are hosts to their stay.


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

US National Debt in layman's terms and perspective

Lesson # 1:

* U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent: $38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts so far: $385

Got It?

Lesson # 2:

Here's another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:

Let's say, You come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.

What do you think you should do?
Raise the ceilings, or remove the shit?


Saturday, January 05, 2013

DAP CEC Election mistake gets the expected msm glare

Some people said the mistake was deliberately concocted so that at least one Malay got elected instead of merely appointed. I find this rather silly. Would DAP risk its reputation just for this sole reason?

The lack of Malays elected at the recent CEC Election was simply because of the lack of Malay members, and also because the Malay leaders in DAP have yet to make an impact on the majority Chinese delegates.

The appointment of Malay and East Malaysian leaders into the CEC appears to be political pragmatism: to include essential stakeholders in future decision-making, especially with the impending GE 13, and hopefully Pakatan victory at federal level.

Criticisms centred on the mistake (how could this happen in a major political party with political ambitions to run the country?) and political opponents in BN took full advantage of it. DAP Election Director, Pooi Weng Keong was responsible for the tabulation of election results and he took full responsibility by resigning from that position and as FT DAP committee member.

At a rare televised press conference (unusual for an opposition leader, unless it was bad news), party chairman, YB Karpal Singh admitted it was an embarrassing mistake but he hoped Pooi would change his mind on resignation. Despite criticisms, I find the admission of mistake by Pooi the day after the election results were announced (wonder if anyone else would have found out later had he kept quiet) was commendable, after all, 'to err is human'. How many of us can honestly say we had never made any mistake over the years? More important is the honesty in action after having made a mistake. Contrast this with BN leaders who are likely to deny or maintain elegant silence, and unwilling to resign, in the face of scandals involving public funds.

The DAP matter was also important enough to involve DPM Muhyiddin's comment being televised!

The Star (MCA-owned and controlled) covered this DAP mistake on its front page,with bold headline, 'It doesn't add up'. Then the whole of page 6 was devoted to criticisms from MCA leaders: President, Dr Chua Soi Lek, VP, Gan Ping Sieu, Penang's Tan Cheng Liang and H'ng Khoon Leng.

Others included: Kota Belud MP, Rahman Dahlan; PPP President, M Kayveas; Gerakan's Tan Keng Liang; ASLI Chairman Ramon Navaratnam; Prof. Dr. Mohd Mustafa Ishak; Former DAP VP, Tunku Aziz; and Penang Malay Congress President, Rahmad Isahak.

Of course, EC Deputy Chairman, Wan Ahmad, did not miss the opportunity to criticise, having been on the receiving end continually, from the opposition party leaders, Bersih and the like.

The Star columnist, Joceline Tan too, had a field day with her article headlined, Red faces over '1314' mistake. I would have expected something more substantial from her than the frivolous headline. I also take exception to her comment on Dr. Ong Kian Ming:

'Ong, who became famous for accusing the EC of incompetency and wrong-doing, ended up sorting out the muddle for the DAP. The next time Ong tries to teach the EC how to do its job, it will be able to tell Ong to start in his own backyard.'

Earlier in her article, Ong was described as 'latest recruit' who led an internal audit on the mistake. So how can he be held responsible for Pooi's mistake? Joceline's comment would have been fair if Ong was responsible for the election results. Being new, and tasked with the internal audit, Ong had in fact started in his own backyard. So what is the problem?

Again, the main thing that stood out was the biasness in our mainstream media. This is another example of how opposition parties and leaders can only have access to national publicity when they have problems. Isn't that a shame on those in charge of our msm?


Unknown Tibetan Temple in Ipoh

... no help from The Star's report on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

This morning, a breakfast friend showed me The Star's write-up on a Tibetan temple known as Jingang Jing She.
Having read through the article (with pictures), we were none the wiser as to how to get there!

                                          Picture courtesy of The Star

I did a search for this temple and found a blogsite with clear directions to the secluded place:

Off Jalan Ampang (Jalan Ampang Baru 6 in Google Maps)
Tambun, 31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

GPS : E101 8 41.4 N4 35 45.4

Directions : Coming from Jalan Tambun towards Tambun town and Sunway City, you will pass by Hospital Pantai Putri on your left at the crossroad. Go straight until you reach Tambun town; and turn RIGHT at the traffic lights where you can see the Tambun police station directly opposite of you. This road is Jalan Ampang Baru 6. Go straight but take note of signboards indicating PERSATUAN ENLIGHTENED HEART BUDDHIST, or TAMBUN TIBETAN TEMPLE, or PERSATUAN PENGANUT DEWA JINGANG JING SHE to your LEFT. Turn in, and about 1km into the small alley, you will see the temple.