How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

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

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

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

When there's too much dirt...

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

Prevent bullying now!

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What a way for Cheng to celebrate her birthday!

Cheng and her mum took the slow train (poor man's Oriental Express) from Bangkok to Butterworth (a 24-hour journey) on the eve of her birthday, arriving on the day of her birthday! The day-long journey comprised 22 hours in Thailand and 2 hours in Malaysia.  I was informed when they boarded, and later, when they crossed the border at Padang Besar.

As it turned out, it was also the last day of her 3-month Thai visa which will be renewed when she flies back, to complete her internship with ILO.

I was originally told to fetch them from Butterworth KTM station (with rough directions given), instead of waiting for the coach from B'worth to Ipoh, to save time. I had been to MMC (formerly Datuk Keramat Tin Smelting) a few times before, when escorting tin consignments there, but as usual, after a number of years, only have vague memory of the routes.

I set off from Taman Perdana (after breakfast with my usual kakis) at 11 am and it took half an hour to reach the Plus NSE toll booth at Jelapang. Got a call just before but could not communicate because of poor reception at the other end, when they crossed the border. Travelling at my usual law-abiding speed, it took me another one and a half hours to reach Butterworth. As is typical with our road signs, I had to ask at a petrol station how to get to KTM station. After paying the local toll, I looked for signs to the railway station but there was none and ended up at a container terminal! Asked the policeman on duty and was given proper directions 'turn left, then left again', but again, there was no reassuring sign directing to the station. I parked at what looked like an abandoned site and found that the low building with a cafeteria (half of it flooded) is actually the temporary station while the new one is being built! There were excavators doing some earthworks nearby and it was only when I asked the money-changer cum newsagent that I knew about where to look for passengers arriving.

I was at least half an hour too early and started reading notices on the walls. There were Visit Malaysia ones from Tourism Ministry with maps which even a local like myself find it hard to follow. When I compared a Bahasa notice and an English one by KTM, I found 'Dear our valued customer...' a bit amusing.

Anyway, upon arrival, both of them wanted to use the toilet before continuing the journey with me. Even before that, I got a call asking me to look for any good Laksa, but I was more engrossed with looking for the way to the station. Anyway, we took a drive and found most shops closed because it was a public holiday in Penang. The first question was asking whether it is ok to go straight to Cameron Highlands because my son and family are staying the night there and it would be a pity if we just go back to BG and Cheng would miss meeting them on this short trip. Considering it was Cheng's birthday and SP had been away for 3 weeks, missing her grandson, we decided to do so. Poor me, having driven from BG to B'worth, then back to Simpang Pulai, Ipoh and take the Pos Slim route to Cameron Highlands and then back after dinner!

We met them at the playground at Strawberry Park Resort and then adjourned to Smokehouse for dinner (amid my usual protest) but if they insist, I shouldn't be a spoil sport. We did not have reservation but realised there was a guard making sure only patrons are allowed in. I can understand this because there are many visitors wanting to take pictures without patronising and security can be a problem, especially with the expensive foreign antiques on display.

Once inside, SP noticed a few Dutch items and the Captain of the restaurant gave descriptions of some of them. She told him Cheng lived in Holland for a number of years and that both of them are familiar with those. He had been most friendly, especially with our little one, teaching him 'hi 5' and a few other hand gestures. We tried to get Shane to sing happy birthday to his aunt and it was later when we finished our meal that we realised they had whipped up a meringue cake for us to celebrate! So thoughtful of them.

flambe bombe Alaska

Cheng lamented that for the past few years when she was in Holland, her birthdays were not properly celebrated because of summer holidays when most friends were away. So this last minute arrangement to meet up in Camerons plus the kind gesture from Smokehouse restaurant made it a nice family celebration (with the exception of CY who is now working in Dubai). It also brought back memories to Cheng of when she stayed there a night with her Japanese host family, the Fujiokas, when they were on a visit some ten years ago.

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