Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Uncommon Man


I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon if I can.

I seek opportunity - not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled,
by having the State look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk;
to dream and to build;
to fail or succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive to a dole.

I prefer the challenges of life
to the guaranteed existence;
the thrill of fulfillment to the calm state of Utopia.

I will not trade freedom for benefiance
nor my dignity for a handout.

I will never cower before any master
nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage
to stand erect, proud and unafraid;
to think and act for myself;
to enjoy the benefits of my creation,
and to face the world boldly and say -
This I have done!

- Anon


This piece is dedicated to all the common men and women who have been misled into believing that they are helplessly bound by the chains and crutches of handouts disguised as rights and privileges necessary to overcome a purported genetic defect to rise to the challenges and demands of the new millenium and new world order.

Hopefully, in the very near future, they will realise that the state's condescending attitude towards them is the ultimate reason for their undoing.

Hopefully too, they will realise that they need to urgently reclaim their right to be treated with dignity and respect that befits their intelligence and heritage, for their sake and that of future generations.

Then, and truly then, can they proudly claim to have achieved their agenda to be a respected race and in control of their destiny in the borderless world.


Friday, January 19, 2007

A weird (but safe) topic

Ah -- Mave tagged me because he must think I have weird stuff hidden under my cloak of anonymity. Truth is ... he is not all wrong, heheh ;P

Do I have 6 weird things about me which I want to share with all of you? I have a hard time coming up with 6. I mean, how do I whittle down more than 50 weird stuff about me down to JUST 6?? That's SOOOOO not fair!!

In a way, we are all weird (to others), aren't we? So, before I start on myself, I'd like to comment on one of Mave's weirdness here because I think I'm entitled to do this considering he made me do this.

Mave says he likes to sleep on the plane, giving all the delicious airline food a miss in favour of his beauty sleep. THAT'S WEIRD!!

How can one continue to sleep in bliss with all those smells of chicken, beef or fish wafting through your nose and the slurping and sipping going on left, right, front & back of you? I tried many times to sleep through mealtimes on a night flight but I have yet to discover the secret on how to turn off my nose. Maybe Mave can give me a few tips. Heck, I WANT THOSE TIPS! I'll have him to thank for an eyebagless face on arrival if I nail this one.

Now, about my own weirdness, I'll let you be the judge. Do you think it is weird to buy a favourite T-shirt in 5 different colours? Or 3 pairs of the same shoes and pants in different colours? If this qualifies, than it becomes my #1 item for weirdness. Yeah, I do that, quite often. In fact, I just bought a very comfortable pair of slacks in black and went back to the shop for 2 more pairs in brown and beige last week. Thank GOD men don't come in the same mould but different colours, or else, my husband will be in trouble(!).

#2, I don't watch television. Maybe once a month, or once every two months. Which is the most ideal arrangement for the little TV addicts at home. But I did get caught up in last year's run-up to the American Idol finals. That was an exception. Maybe I'll allow for another exception this year. It wasn't always this way, you know. I was a TV addict when I was in school. Somehow, watching TV is a good excuse not to do homework. Now that I don't have homework, the idiot box lost all appeal to me.

#3, I sincerely think the radio is the best medium for getting all kinds of music you like to hear for FREE. Okay, call me a cheapskate 'cos my girl J thinks I'm WEIRD whenever I give her this excuse for not indulging her taste for expensive CDs. She thinks I'm weirder still when I suggested that I'd trade the CD for a book of her choice for the same price.

#4 on my weirdo list is that I read anything and everything, including food labels. If I'm not driving, sleeping, talking or indulging in social activities which preclude reading, I am probably holding a newspaper or book in hand, or reading on-line. But the weird thing is, I'm not very good at retaining information. My memory bank is highly selective and sometimes, it fails me at the most inappropriate times. Which makes people think I am weird because I cannot remember their names or faces even though they DO look so familiar and I'm reduced to giving them a blank grin to hide my embarassment.

For someone who doesn't watch TV at home, I go to the movies quite often. Does that count for weirdness #5? I LOVE going to the movies, from watching the action on big screen right down to the hotdogs and popcorn, the comfy seats, -- yeah, the whole experience of immersing oneself in a make-believe world in a darkened theatre, sharing the spills and thrills with a hundred other strangers.

And weirder still, if I like it enough, I even watch it repeatedly like what I did for the LOTR series. And bought the DVD box-set as well. Of course, I had read the book way before the movie was made. Yeah, sometimes, I do buy the book AFTER I've watched the movie, like I did for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But that's another story.

I'm coming to the last one. Aren't you glad? Because I too am getting tired of talking about myself.

Yeah, I'm one of the few weird ones who doesn't like to talk about myself. Unless I'm drunk*.

You guessed it right about this post. I've had a few drinks* before I started on this, just so I can get it over and done with, considering how busy I have been over the past few days. In fact, I should say how lousy it has been over the past few days. Thankfully, Mave tagged me to do this nonsensical post. Writing about such weird stuff somehow relaxed me and I'm now all ready for a good weekend. Plus I've updated this blog talking about something which is non-offensive to others thus not likely to invite trouble of the litigious kind. How weird ...

Well, I hope all of you have a good weekend too! Cheers :D

*To be taken shaken not stirred, with a pinch of salt.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Of flood concerns to some, and draught concerns to others

Right now, the country is facing a crisis of massive floodwaters creating hardship to thousands of residents, in particular those residing in the states of Johor and Sabah.

So today's news item about the Selangor MB warning of dry times ahead and taking steps to overcome the expected dry spell from February to August is rather peculiar, given the timing of his advice to residents of this developed state to "... start conserving water". (The Star, N10 today)

Maybe it's just me.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Lemons and Lavender

I like the smell of lemons and lavender. I know, it's very grannyish you'd say, but they do remind me of all things nice and luxurious. Or maybe I'm kinda old-fashioned ;-)

Of course, I don't mean to say I like to mix up the scent of both. How gross!

I prefer them at different times, depending on what kind of mood I'd like to be in. Lemons evoke bright & breezy days, of lemon pies, cheesecakes and iced lemon tea. Of the innocence of childhood, of laughter, happy surprises and contentment. Of holidays and celebrations, and all things nice and cheerful in my life.

Which brings to my mind this huge lemon tree laden with ripe fruits, some of them lying fresh, unpicked on the grass and the most delicious homemade lemon butter I ever tasted in an Australian farmhouse not too very long ago.

It's always childishly exciting for me to see trees laden with ripe fruits like apples, oranges, persimmons, lemons and grapes on the vine whenever the season is right while travelling abroad. Back home, I love it during the rambutan season and cruising along the road to Jelebu or Kuala Pilah, the journey invariably weaves through kampungs where it's an eye feast to see the trees bursting in red and green bunches of the fruit. But I digress.

Coming back to the zesty lemon butter, it was the first time I came across such a lovely concoction, slow-cooked by the lady of the house from the lemons fruiting abundantly in front of her humble abode. Spread across thick cuts of crusty warm country bread, the burst of tangy flavours got me hooked instantly! It was the best bread spread I've ever tasted.

When I shopped at Woolsworth before I headed for home, the one thing I made sure I bought was jars of Masterfood's Lemon Butter. And back home, when my supplies ran out quicker than I had anticipated, I was more than a little bit frustrated that I could not find any in our local supermarkets. What a shame! Malaysians have yet to discover the delights of lemon butter spread on their roti!

Okay - no problem, I'll just make my own. From the recipe I found on the Internet, it seems pretty easy.

All I need is 4 large eggs, 125gm butter, 110gm sugar, juice of 1 large lemon and grated peel of 1 lemon.

Beat the eggs lightly in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in all the rest of the ingredients and heat over very low fire.

Stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Continue stirring until you get the consistency you desire. (Remember, it will thicken further and set once the mixture is cooled, so don't cook it until it becomes too gooey.)

The first time I tried making it, I doubled the recipe and added in an extra lemon for more "oomph". I figured I stirred the mixture for more than 20 minutes, but do be careful not to let it boil. And do not stop stirring the mixture while it's cooking or else it might burn or turn clumpy.

When the mixture has thicken to the right consistency, pour them into clean/dry glass jars. My recipe yielded 4 jam jars as you can see. Leave to cool completely in the jars undisturbed, cap it and store them in the refrigerator.

Notwithstanding that it was my first attempt, it turned out amazingly well to rave reviews from my kids and their cousins. And last Christmas, I found the perfect homemade gift for them.

Ah -- what about the lavender, you might ask?

I'll tell you about them next time, okay?


Saturday, January 13, 2007

RM10 for a good cause

Do you have RM10 to help Encik Saeden bin Wateh? All that is needed is to do an online transfer or direct deposit into your nearest Maybank branch ATM machine. Raja Petra has the details.


Friday, January 12, 2007

An insult to the Malay mindset?

Million ringgit smile: THE smile on Abdul Razak Mat's face says it all. The 53-year-old carpenter from Kelantan became an instant millionaire thanks to TM. — KAMAL SELLEHUDDIN / The Star

Encik Abdul Razak Mat from Pasir Puteh, Kelantan was the RM1mil grand prize winner of Telekom Malaysia's customer reward programme held last year.

Of course common sense will tell us that life will never be the same as before for this carpenter. And why should it be?

But during the press conference, some people had the audacity to ask him whether he would marry again because presumably, he is now rich enough to afford one more, if not 3 more, wives.

Did he feel insulted? I don't know. Did his wife and six kids feel insulted? I don't know either.

But such questions does give rise to the perception that the Malay mindset is preoccupied with sex. More money means one can afford to have more wives, legally. And logically, what do you want more wives for, if not for more sexual excitement?

Well, at least that is how it seems to a non-Malay like me. I don't know how some people can be so publicly rude and insulting to Encik Abdul Razak Mat.


Beauties of Chiangmai

Some of us live in such a fast-paced world we forgot there exists a larger community out there who continue to live blissful lives unhampered by the demands of technological advances.

Travelling brings much focus back into the absurdity that sometimes govern our lives surrounded by concrete jungles and beeping phones.

Like the following beauties I encountered in northern Thailand, do they even care if the Internet connection stops dead in its tracks across the world? The smiles on their faces tell us they are blessed by the sort of innocence and richness often lost among city folks like us.

There is much to learn and discover about our world beyond the comfort of our kampung. It makes me appreciate all the more what I have and what I really do not need in my life.

Lovely girls of Chiangrai

Beautiful maidens of Chiangmai

A sweet Karen girl

Contented mom & babe at home


Thursday, January 11, 2007


I think about God.
Yet I talk of small matters.
Now isn't it odd
How my idle tongue chatters!
Of quarrelsome neighbors,
Fine weather and rain,
Indifferent labors,
Indifferent pain,
Some trivial style
Fashion shifts with a nod.

And yet all the while
I am thinking of God.

- Gamaliel Bradford


I came across this poem today. The simple words belie the meaningful truth behind our daily existence.

And then, for some unexplained reasons, I also thought of our Prime Minister. Maybe it is because we all know that he is a God-fearing man.

He also seems, for all intents and purposes, a man of good intentions. At least, that is what the mainstream press often makes him out to be.

Still, it cannot be denied his popularity is declining especially among those who have rallied around him during the last general election, buoyed by the lofty promises he made to create a better Malaysia for ALL of us. How many of them snort and snigger at his speeches these days?

For such a good man that he is made out to be, what went wrong?

Could he have confused intentions with actions? Truly, they are not the same nor equal.

If only he realises it.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wake up, Minister of Education!

It's the start of the school year and from the letters published today in just one of the local English dailies, it is obvious that our Minister of Education is stuffing his ears with cotton-wool, perhaps preferring to polish his weaponry in blissful silence instead.

Explore ways to lighten schoolbags

LAST week as school reopened, I was happy to see my daughter going to school. However I am also frustrated to see the heavy school bag that she has to carry.

Out of curiosity, I weighed her bag and found it weighed 6kg, which is almost 30% of her weight. She has to carry her schoolbag to her classroom located on the first floor. I find this unhealthy.

Researches around the world have proven that carrying heavy schoolbags leads to neck, shoulder and back pain and many other medical problems later in their life, if not now. So, why isn’t the Government doing anything about it despite the numerous complaints over the years?

We are living in the 21st century where everyone in the private or government sector is pushing towards e-learning and paperless documentation. Why can’t this be applied to our school system? Why can’t schools use computers to teach? If that does not work, can the school provide a second set of books to be kept in the school for the children to lighten their schoolbags?



I don't know about using computers to teach in schools because of the huge costs involved but the suggestion to leave textbooks in classroom lockers is actually workable.

The truth is, with all the workbooks that the kids are made to use, lugging all those textbooks to and from school each day is really pointless and burdensome. Personally, I hardly ever see my own kids using their textbooks to revise their lessons. So, why not just leave them at school? That will lighten their schoolbags by at least 3kg!

Hey - wake up all you folks at the Ministry of Education!

It is high time you take a serious look at taking the load off our kids' backs for good.


Help, we can’t get textbooks

I REFER to your report, “Parents find it hard to buy textbooks”.

The problem is even bigger for Form 5/SPM students.

There is an extreme shortage of textbooks for them in the market. We have gone to bookshops all over Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Subang but found no stock. And it is only the start of the year! I believe there is a major problem here. What happened to the book printers and distributors? We really need help.

Secondly, though the students are all prepared for school (minus the textbooks), some teachers are not around. It seems teachers are not very prepared these days, are they? Aren’t they informed of the classes they are supposed to teach before the school term starts?

How is it that as the years go by, our school system seems to take one step back?

Kuala Lumpur.


One step back or two, what's the difference? We have been churning out increasingly huge numbers of unemployable graduates so much so we can be forgiven to deduce that the people at the Ministry is now finding the problem too huge to handle.

So, the easy way out is to maintain an elegant silence. Behave like an ostrich and pray the problem will go away by itself. Or better still, sit on it and pass the buck to someone else when you retire.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A new hole in the ship

So the news is finally out.

Bahau state assemblyman Mr Lim Fui Min has finally thrown in his towel after more than 18 years of service to the Democratic Action Party.

Was it a surprise? But of course, some people are so good at feigning surprise.

While there's going to be a bit of damage-control PR work to be done by the opposition party, elsewhere someone is putting up a big WELCOME banner to entice the new independent. Talk about rubbing salt on a festering wound.


Apologetic Maths teacher

L, a Form 4 science stream student had a shocking confession from her schoolteacher yesterday morning.

This Malay lady teacher walked into her class and announced before the start of lessons that she was essentially a Science subject teacher but was made to teach the subject of Modern Maths to the Form 4 students for the first time this year.

Speaking gently in Bahasa Melayu, she apologised to the students for not having the experience in teaching mathematics and hope that they will bear with her shortcomings. She then proceeded to start the lesson, speaking mostly in Bahasa Melayu.

At the end of the lesson, most of the students were left none the wiser for they could hardly understand her and she in return had trouble communicating with the students who posed their questions in English, a language the subject of Modern Maths is supposed to be taught in.

Is this a comedy of errors? Both the teacher and the students are suffering from the mismatch. No wonder tuition centres are fluorishing around the country. It seems to me that mismatching of students and teachers is more common than we think and it is all part of our Education Ministry's inability to do a good job. And they still like to use the same ol' excuse of not having enough teachers.

For (government scholars) like Joshua Hooi, 24, who graduated with an education degree, majoring in Maths and minoring in Chemistry last August from Universiti Sains Malaysia, the so-called shortage is a joke, but he isn't laughing.

Entering into a four-year bond with the government after completing his degree on a government scholarship, he is eager to serve, but has yet to receive news of his posting from the education department.

See? I told you it's not funny.


Of schoolbooks and history lessons

(From the STAR, page N20 today)

Makkal Osai
reported that parents of children not eligible for school textbook loans have found it difficult to purchase the books. They had approached many bookstores and found that the books were not available.

S. Gunalan, whose daughter is in Year 3 in a Tamil school in Seberang Prai, had been unable to purchase the required textbooks since November.

Similarly, my kids go to a local SJKC and I too encountered difficulty in getting all their workbooks this year. Some of the compulsory workbooks are not carried as stock by local bookstores and even the school admitted that supplies have fallen short this year. Could this situation have been aggravated by the recent floods as reported in Utusan Malaysia?

In that report, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar said that the shortage of schoolbooks in the Klang Valley arose following instructions from the Ministry to publishers to prioritise the supply of books to states affected by the recent floods.

I had no choice but to borrow the affected workbooks from my kids' classmates and made photostat copies of them to avoid trouble with their teachers for not submitting their homework. By the way, I really find it ridiculous that my son's Year 2 Bahasa Melayu subject required 4 compulsory workbooks on top of the usual 2-3 workbooks per core subject. The weight of the poor kid's schoolbag is more than half his body weight! This perennial problem has been a major source of distress for parents of primary schoolchildren and the Education Ministry seems impotent to do anything to resolve it.

And I thought the Education Minister announced sometime back that free textbooks on loan will be made available to ALL schoolchildren regardless of their parents' income level. Whatever happened to that proposal? Sudah lupa kah??


I browsed through the History textbook of a Form 4 science student recently and I am struck by the content of the syllabus. Out of 10 chapters, 5 are devoted to Islamic civilisation and the spread of Islam to South East Asia and subsequent Islamic influences on the economic, sosial and political structure of present day Malaysia.

Bab 1 Kemunculan Tamadun Awal Manusia
Bab 2 Peningkatan Tamadun
Bab 3 Tamadun Awal Asia Tenggara
Bab 4 Kemunculan Tamadun Islam dan perkembangannya di Makkah
Bab 5 Kerajaan Islam di Madinah
Bab 6 Pembentukan Kerajaan Islam dan sumbangannya
Bab 7 Islam di Asia Tenggara
Bab 8 Pembaharuan dan Pengaruh Islam di Malaysia sebelum kedatangan Barat
Bab 9 Perkembangan di Eropah
Bab 10 Dasar British dan kesannya terhadap ekonomi negara

I remember distinctly that my history books never devote so many chapters to the study of one single civilisation. But of course, that was many many years ago.

Times have changed. In this new millenium, I suppose our educators think that our kids need not learn too much about Western civilisations, even less so about other Eastern civilisations to the north of Malaysia.

And the strange thing is, history is now a compulsory subject for all Form 4 and 5 students whereas geography is made optional for science stream students.

But I would have thought learning geography would be more relevant to a science student than history as was the practice during my secondary schooldays. When did this change happen?


Monday, January 08, 2007

Bland kolo-mee in Kuching

Continuing my quest to sample the cuisine of Kuching, I absolutely must try their famous kolo-mee which I have heard is not the same as our local wanton mee in the Peninsular (although they look suspiciously the same.)

I ventured into the Padungan area again and located a rather large shop which was packed to the brim with their lunch crowd. I did not have to wait too long before a small table was cleared for us.

I ordered a plate of kolo-mee and when it arrived at my table, I had a sinking feeling that it's not going to be up to my expectations.

The "maggi-mee" like noodle looks a tad dry and clumpy. When I lifted the noodles with my chopsticks, they stuck together like a tangled mass of rubber-bands. I know I shouldn't compare it with our local wanton mee but surely the test of a good plate of well-made noodles should be that every individual strand should separate and slide smoothly into your mouth?

Looks aside, it also tasted rather bland and if not for the generous amount of cut cili-padi condiment that I helped myself to spice it up, I guess I could not have finished that plate of kolo-mee in front of me.

Yes, it was disappointing. I consoled myself that I have not found the "right" kolo-mee shop. Maybe I'd have better luck next time. Maybe I should just ask Kenny for directions to the best kolo-mee stall in Kuching next time. I'm sure the famed dish so loved by Kuching folks must taste better than what I had.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hunting for Sarawak Laksa in Kuching

I love to eat. And I love to travel.

Which works out fine because I do most of my pigging out whenever I am on the road and all those walkabouts easily burn off the extra calories that I have tucked in, or so I convince myself to avoid the guilt trap. ;-)

I've heard so much about authentic Sarawak Laksa and I was given a little tip at the hotel to go look for a coffee shop in Padungan which serves the real McCoy.

I arrived rather late but luckily, the proprietor has enough at the bottom of the pot for two more bowls before calling it a day. She did apologise for the absence of prawns though because, she had simply ran out of prawns. But she made up for it by giving us extra helpings of chicken meat.

I was not disappointed.

It was the best Sarawak Laksa I have ever tasted! (Okaylah, not that I have tasted a whole lot of Sarawak Laksa in the Peninsular, though the ones I did taste was nothing quite like this.)

I heard too that there are many different versions of Sarawak Laksa but I have absolutely no complaints about this one. I was glad I made the effort to weave through the narrow streets and shops to get a taste of this local specialty.

According to the Wikipedia entry on Kuching here, Sarawak Laksa is a spicy coconut prawn paste-based soup served with rice vermicelli, eggs, prawns, chicken, deep fried tofu and occasionally clams.

And according to this entry by Kuching boy Paul Si in here, the Sarawak Laksa has gone global through a laksa paste developed and marketed by Tan Yong Him and his family ( under the iconic Swallow brand. The paste is a mixture of shallots, lemon grass, galingal, garlic, coriander seeds, dried chilli and about 20 other herbs and spices that are a secret jealously guarded by its makers.

I am a huge Laksa fan - be it curry laksa, Penang laksa, Kelantan laksa, Sarawak laksa and everything that remotely tastes like laksa, even Penang prawn curry mee. I can't ever imagine myself not craving for a hot bowl of Laksa after weeks away from the country.

Malaysians can disagree on a lot of things but when it comes to our food, we are all united by our tastebuds and love for typical Malaysian street cuisine, regardless of the ethnic origins of the food served.

Which says a lot about our people, irregardless of what some mischievous ones like to do to split us up.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Another hole in the ship?

Just heard it from a little bird.

Someone intends to exercise his democratic right to jump ship. Unless he's truly unaware of what's brewing (or worse still, had been seriously misled by his machais), the leader gotta seriously take a look at what's missing in his kit box.

But then again, it's not like it never happened before. You might not be so surprised to hear about it when it does get in the news, IF it does get in the news next week.

There's still time to plug the hole though before the weekend's over.


Congratulations Nicol!

What an honourable recognition for the achievements of Nicol David, our World No. 1 squash queen (NST online news today.)

Nicol David awarded lifetime membership with an international honour society
Melissa Darlyne Chow

GEORGE TOWN, SAT.: Reigning world women’s squash champion Nicol David became the first athlete in the country to receive lifetime honourary membership in the Golden Key International Honour Society (GKIHS), a non-profit global community of academic achievers.

She is only the second athlete in the world, after Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, to receive this honour.

Nicol was delighted to receive the award which is given to individuals who contribute to society and, at the same time, deserve recognition in the academic field.

“It’s great to know I’m being recognised for my excellence,” Nicol said after receiving the award here today from Universiti Sains Malaysia’s deputy vice-chancellor of academic and international affairs, Prof Datuk Rosihan M. Ali.

Also present was GKHIS' Malaysia regional director, Jimmy Teo Hui Thian.

The world champion acknowledged the importance of having the support of family and friends while on the road to success.

“Don’t give up. Strive for the best. Make sure you have friends and family members around to support you,” she said.

As the newest honourary member, Nicol will also contribute to one of GKHIS USM chapter's future events.


Congratulations Nicol! You deserve all the recognition that has come your way and more. May you be inspired to win more accolades for Malaysia in the international sporting arena.


Kuching impressions

I must admit that the city of Kuching in Sarawak wasn't what I had envisioned in mind before I got the opportunity to visit it last November.

I arrived there in gloomy weather and the first impression I had from my window seat was that the city does not seem to have that many highrise buildings. I wonder why I expected to see a replica of the KL skyline in Kuching? Silly me.

The skies threatened to open up as I made my way into the city centre. As it was past lunch-hour, I had a quick bite at the Pizzahut before heading straight to my hotel. The town itself is surprisingly devoid of much traffic that late Friday afternoon, which added to my sense of being lost in the twilight zone ... (to be continued.)

Hey, where is everybody??

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Familiar tune greeting VMY 2007

Brand new year, same ol' tune.

From theSUN (page 2 today):-

Hop-on-hop-off snags will be ironed out: Lim

KUALA LUMPUR: Though embarrassed that a new tourism product suffered glitches on the first day of Visit Malaysia Year 2007, Deputy Tourism Minister, Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai remained confident that the shortcomings associated with the hop-on-hop-off tour bus service will be ironed out.

As with any new services, such problems are bound to arise during the trial period, he told theSUN yesterday.

He said the service was operated by a private company, Elang Wah Sdn Bhd, and not linked to any government tourism agencies.

However, Lim said that since the service was part of the nation's tourism industry, the ministry will step in to ensure that such shortcomings will not recur.

He was commenting on a news report that tourists were disappointed that there was no on-board commentary on tourist attractions along the route, and were instead shown tourism advertisements on monitors placed in the double-decker bus.

... The hop-on-hop-off service, which will be launched on Saturday, will allow tourists to tour the city from a semi-glass roof double-decker bus service. ...


It is interesting to note that the honourable minister took great pains to state the fact that the bus service that left tourists hopping mad is "not linked to any government tourism agencies."

What this is supposed to mean is left to the imagination of the readers.

But the standard refrain is such a familiar tune, a comforting reminder that things are almost back to the same ol' routine right at the start of the new year.

I'd expect that the launching ceremony on Saturday will be done in usual great fanfare after which we can all expect the service to go down the same route as all other great ideas conceived in Bolehland.

Am I being too cynical? Well ... yes. But I'd like to be proven wrong this time.

I'd wager a RM1000 donation to a charitable organisation of my readers' choice if this hop-on-hop-off service proved to be a huge success by the end of VMY2007 and remain a welcomed feature of KL beyond 2007.

Is that a fair bargain?


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The sheathed keris comes a-courting

From the STAR, page N24 (2 Jan 2007):-

Unique Aspect of Education
Hisham: Differences an advantage

The presence of different types of schools is a unique feature of the country, which gives it a comparative advantage, says Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein.

In making his point in an exclusive interview with Nanyang Siang Pau, he said the Government would continue to preserve and protect this aspect of the education system through the National Education Blueprint.

"People should not regard the various types of schools in the country as a hurdle to be cleared," he said. "After all, this is not a zero-sum game because multiculturalism is an added advantage and a strength for the country."

Hishamuddin also noted that the existing situation in the country reflected the freedom allowed for the development of vernacular schools as well as other types of schools.



Ever heard of the Cantonese saying, "Kin yan kong yan wa, kin kuai kong kuai wa"? (Literally translated to: Speaking the language of man in front of man, and speaking the language of the devil in front of the devil.)

Methinks this is a clear sign that the wheels are being greased for the next general election.

And the courting and wooing of the Chinese community is given serious attention, starting with MCA declaring itself the voice of the Chinese. (The Star, page N4, 2 Jan 2007)

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said, " Whether the MCA is prepared for the election or not is not the main concern, it should be whether the MCA is at all times relevant, effective and trustworthy in the eyes of the general public and community. "

I agree.

I wonder following the events of 2006, how many voters now feel that MCA is but a shameful excuse of a party representing the Chinese community in Barisan Nasional?

That extremism (be it racial or religious) is tolerated by the party leadership speaks volumes about where the weight of political power rests in reality - making MCA, MIC and all the other parties representing minority interests a big joke, relevant, effective and trustworthy only during election year.

Haven't we heard it all before? Are we being conditioned to be cynical because well, our politicians have always adhered to the motto "Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin" right across the board?

2007 could well be the year when the keris is kept well-sheathed to avoid any untoward incidents which may result in self-inflicted fatal injuries.

And I for one will be glad. Frankly, the creepy sight of that misai-man with mouth gaping and keris in hand isn't exactly something I enjoyed looking at.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

New beginnings

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007 to all my good friends and readers!

Right now, I can hear the distant sound of fireworks being lit up from the comfort of my favourite seat beside my opened windows. I'm glad to be able to share a few words with you all at the very start of this new year. The recent Taiwan quake that messed up the internet connections almost made this impossible judging from the scare it gave to quite a number of bloggers (as reported in the press.)

On a personal level, 2006 was a great year for me and my family. I am humbled and thankful to the Almighty for all the blessings I received and I pray that I will continue to receive HIS blessings for each and every day of the new year.

But as a citizen of Malaysia, I am almost relieved that 2006 is over and done with.

I pray that in 2007, we will not be treated to a repeat of the "same ol' same ol'" that we witness year in and year out from our political leaders.

I was disappointed with the turn of events in Malaysia throughout 2006. I truly hope that we all take heed of the danger signs and not let things get from bad to worse and then to the point of no return.

I almost wanted to give up. I look at the future of this country and our people in despair. We have been blessed with a little piece of heaven on earth and yet, we fail to appreciate GOD's gift. The peace and tranquility that we enjoy now - how long can this last without an effort to preserve goodwill and brotherhood amongst us? Someday, greed and selfishness will destroy us all ... the winner will be left with nothing worth having in his hands.

Will 2007 be different? I hope so. I pray so.

Let us all forget about 2006. Let us pray that in 2007, our faith in our Prime Minister will be renewed. Let us pray too that wisdom and a sense of decency will prevail among our leaders throughout the year.

I'd like to share a poem by Berton Braley here with you. Hope you like it. HAPPY NEW YEAR and NEW BEGINNINGS to everyone!



Start where you stand
and never mind the past,
The past won't help you in beginning new,
If you have left it behind at last
Why, that's enough,
you're done with it,
you're through;
This is another chapter in the book,
This is another race that you have planned,
Don't give the vanished days a backward look,
Start where you stand.

The world won't care about your old defeats
If you can start anew
and win success,
The future is your time,
and time is fleet
And there is much of work and strain and stress;

Forget the buried woes and dead despairs,
Here is a brand new trial right at hand,
The future is for him who does and dares,
Start where you stand.

Old failures will not halt,
old triumphs aid,
To-day's the thing,
tomorrow soon will be;
Get in the fight and face it unafraid,
And leave the past to ancient history;
What has been, has been;
yesterday is dead
And by it you are neither blessed nor banned,
Take courage, man,
be brave and drive ahead,
Start where you stand.


God Bless


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