Friday, April 27, 2007

Mahathir mocks BN supporters

A lot of people say that Tun Dr Mahathir has lost his credibility to speak up against the current administration due to his less than rosy record as the previous Prime Minister of Malaysia.

But I don't think so.

He remains one person who can speak vehemently against the government and the leaders, sometimes even resorting to personal attacks, without having to worry about the I.S.A. being used to shut him up.

That itself is enough reason to sit up and listen to some of the things he have to say. Yes, only some of it and listening does not mean that we have to agree with him either.

But I happen to agree with what he said in his interview with online news portal Malaysiakini, which is why I am putting an excerpt here for my future reference.

In the interview, which was released on Malaysiakini yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir said: 'Unless you send a signal to the government that, 'Look, if you don't behave yourself, you may not get my vote at the next election,' then the government will say, 'You see? The people are voting for us. We are doing well.''

He added: 'If you vote (for Barisan) because you get a lot of money or because you get a lot of projects, you may get a rotten government which uses money in order to buy your vote.'

He lamented that Barisan supporters would vote blindly for the ruling coalition.

'They don't care whether it is a good government or not. We are Barisan people. We vote Barisan. No assessment, no study. We vote (for Barisan) because we must. That's why I say a country deserves the government it gets.'

I know, this is nothing new.

Which is why we all look to Ijok to see how smug the Barisan government is going to feel about themselves, ahead of the next general election.

Looks like we are going to carry the monkeys behind our backs for a long long time to come, not that we have any right to complain because well, we put them there, didn't we?

Just like we put up with a lot of other things in Malaysia, Barisan Nasional has become somewhat like the old favourite pillow or blanket you can't bear to throw away even though it's getting stinky and mouldy.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

A grave security concern

Sometimes I wonder - do potential criminals actually believe that our police force are so ineffective that they can easily get away with their crimes in Malaysia?

Or worse, if caught, they can just as easily walk away with a light sentence due to the inefficiency of our justice system?

Think about it.

Crimes, petty and dangerous, have risen at an alarming rate all over Malaysia. Snatch thieves seem to be all over the place, maiming and killing their victims without batting an eyelid.

A robber who breaks into your home is not just interested in relieving you of your valuables, he is now more likely to rape the female members of your family or even kill you to protect his identity.

All these incidents and more which are making the people of Malaysia feeling less safe and secure is making a mockery of the progress we have achieved close to 50 years after Merdeka.

This latest incident of a college student alleging she was nearly raped and killed by a security guard hired by her college within the grounds of her campus is most shocking and alarming. (The SUN, 26 April 2007)

Now, every female college student has additional cause for concern when moving around within their campus grounds.

Is it SEMUA OK when public safety is no longer a top priority in achieving VISION 2020?


'Like being in the jaws of death'
TARC student recalls ordeal of rape attempt
Charles Ramendran

KUALA LUMPUR (April 25, 2007): The security firm that hired an 18-year-old guard who attempted to rape an accountancy student in Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC) last Saturday (April 21) should have its licence suspended.

KL Gerakan assistant secretary K. K. Supramaniam today urged the Internal Security Ministry to suspend the security firm's licence for hiring such an "underaged" and inexperienced guard.

Supramaniam made the call in a press confrence in the Gerakan headquarters in Ulu Pudu where the 18-year-old victim related her ordeal which she described as being "in the jaws of death".

"I was taking a sip from a cooler when I was hit in the head from behind. When I turned, he hit me again with the stone.

"He hit me repeatedly and dragged me back into the hall (where she had just completed her examination at 5.30pm). I was stripped and he started fondling my private parts. He then pulled down his pants and when he failed to make a penetration, he started to strangle me with a shirt.

"I thought I was dying as blood oozed from my head. He fled when the lights were switched on (by another guard on patrol). I picked myself up and ran but I bumped into a classmate (Ng Szeyi) who alerted the security," she said.

The assailant, who continued to patrol the campus as if nothing had happened, was then nabbed by his colleagues and handed over to the police an hour after the attack.

"It's such a painful and frightening experience. I am thankful to be (still) alive today but I do not know what kind of future I have. I am too terrified to return to campus," said the first year accountancy student.

The victim's father, a blacksmith from Jinjang, said: "I am very disappointed with TARC's officials who had not made any effort to enquire about my daughter's condition except for two telephone calls.

"It's a shocking incident to happen in campus grounds. Worse still, the crime was committed by a security guard it hired. TARC needs to give some explanation for its breach in security," he added.

TARC's student affairs department could not be reached for comments.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Racist Joke for Ijok

The heat is really getting intensely hot in Ijok.

I think it has fried the brains of even rational and educated men, turning them into a fine example of Bullshitting Nincompoops.

This joker demonstrated today how logic has flown out the door in his rhetoric for the political masters of the day:-

(The Star, page N8, 25 April 2007)

It's no joke in Ijok
Comment by Wong Chun Wai

(blah blah blah - You can read the full post in the link above)

I just want to highlight 2 things which baffles me in Mr Wong's commentary.

1. ... the people of Ijok should vote for Parthiban, not because he is an Indian or a Malay, but because he is a Malaysian.

2. Likewise, no one should be voting for Khalid because he is a Malay as it would be a seriously unhealthy political trend.

Now I have 2 questions to ask Mr Wong.

1. Are you saying that since Parthiban is a BN candidate, he now wears the "MALAYSIAN" label on his forehead and voters in Ijok should dismiss the fact that he is an Indian, unless they are racists?

2. Are you also saying that since Khalid is an opposition candidate, he should not be viewed as a "MALAYSIAN" and voters in Ijok are racists if they vote for him because he is a Malay?

Either way, this is all about RACE, isn't it?

If the above rhetoric by an editor of a mainstream newspaper in Malaysia is anything to go by, I am bracing myself for the worse when the next general election is announced.

The race card is well and truly alive in BN politics and it's not ever going to go away judging by what we are seeing today.

How sad.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Another brutal murder in JB

This chilling crime deeply disturbs my sister-in-law who lives in JB.

Woman robbed and stabbed

JOHOR BARU: A 21-year-old clerk was robbed and brutally stabbed to death as her father slept in another room.

Lim Hoon Hwa’s assailant came through the roof of her double-storey house in Taman Skudai Baru early yesterday morning, ransacked the living room and found a few handphones before making his way into her room through the bathroom.

Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Ruslan Hassan said Lim fought her assailant before being stabbed in the head, chest and abdomen.

Her father found her body at 8.30am. The maid was away.

“The victim’s father was sleeping in another room and he did not hear anything,” he said.

Police found a zinc cutter on top of the roof. ACP Ruslan said the body had been sent to Sultanah Aminah Hospital for post-mortem. He urged anyone with information to contact the police hotline at 07-2212 999 or the nearest police station.


Why does it seem to me that the criminals are getting bolder and more brutal in JB? Can't the police force step up efforts to make our streets and homes a lot more safer than it is these days?

I just don't understand how such terrible crimes could have been allowed to happen again and again, as if accepting that it is unavoidable, is part and parcel of the Malaysian way of life.

Is it really?


Bollywood comes to Ijok

It’s time to let bygones be bygones as MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu (left) and IPF president Datuk M.G. Pandithan end their estrangement of 20 years.

MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu (left) and IPF president Datuk M.G. Pandithan end their estrangement of 20 years.

After that little drama staged by P. Thirumoorthy and " let him get lost” Mr Vellu, today's Bollywood offering just adds on to the vibes of desperation emitted by the MIC camp.

What next?

Pak Lah kissing Dr M?


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Soup for my sniffles

I'm having the sniffles.

What's with the weather these days? One minute, it's hot and sunny and the next, it's pouring buckets. That's how I got caught in one unexpected downpour a few days ago.

I hate having a cold because all the sneezing and blowing always left me with a sore and red nose. And if things get nasty, I ended up with a sore throat that refuses to go away.

Now I'm craving for some nice hot soup. A lovely tangy, peppery apple celery soup like the one I had in a restaurant recently.

To me, home-made soups should be made from fresh chicken stock made on the stove so that you get more nutritional value out of your efforts. It's really easy - just throw in some chicken bones or half a chicken into a pot of boiling water, add in one or two large onions and let it boil away slowly for 2 hours. I normally sieve the stock before using it to get a clear broth. And you can freeze any unused soup for later.

Chop up one green apple and two stalks of celery. Put them into three bowls of clear chicken stock and simmer them in slow heat until they are soft. Add in coarsely ground black pepper and salt to taste.

By the time the soup is done, I got about 2 bowls of soup in the pot. I've made mine with a good dash of black pepper for that extra "kick". It's nice and warming. And hopefully, it'll ease my discomfort considerably.


Gimme rice burgers!

I very rarely dine in the local McDonald's (or any other fast food outlet for that matter), except when I am at the airport and it's about the cheapest place to get a meal or just plain coffee while waiting to check-in for my flight.

But for some quirky reason, I like to check out McD when I travel out of the country, just to see what they have on their menu that we don't. Closer to home, McDonald's in Singapore offers rice pattie burgers, which they call the "Fan-tastic" burgers, and I think that it is a good option for those who don't fancy "traditional" burgers made with buns.

Rice is such a staple food for us in Asian countries. And McD's local rival KFC has caught on to this fact. Their latest product, the Colonel Rice Combo has an interesting TV advert with the so familiar tagline, "Never eat rice ah?" Malaysians can definitely relate to this very short, simple and clever message delivered with an understated dose of humour.

The Edge Daily reported late last year that Golden Arches Restaurant Sdn Bhd, the licensee of McDonald's restaurants in Malaysia plans to open up to 10 new outlets each year to help it maintain a profit growth of 15% to 17%.

Presently, there are 173 outlets with a domestic market share of about 42% in the quick service restaurant segment, which commands RM1.6billion of 10% of the eat-out market. It's CEO & country manager Robert J Beard said in terms of market share, McD is "neck and neck" with KFC which was reported in May 2006 to have a 35% market share with a total of 355 KFC outlets.

In line with McD's expansion plans, I wonder if they are going to spruce up their menu and come up with something new and fresh and healthy? Like, ... rice?

(Pictured below is what's on the menu of McD Singapore.)

Chicken Fàn-tastic™

Beef Fàn-tastic™


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Unbridled feel good factor could be our downfall

Today's Capital Talk by iCapital Bhd published in The Star (page B9, Starbiz,) is a good read.

It warns us that if the current "feel good" factor, fueled no less by our stock market rally, leads to complacency in restructuring our society to meet the challenges of remaining competitive, much grief will visit upon us when the bull runs out of steam, as it surely will in due course.

... With the KLCI now rallying, i Capital is deeply worried that our world-class complacency would become universe-class. As it rallies, the politicians and policymakers are patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

Such self-praise and complacency can be very infectious and soon Malaysians from all walks would fall into the same mental trap.

A few rounds of such crises, and Malaysia would sink into an economic quicksand. Then, the next crisis will hit us when we are totally unprepared.

I think one should read the article in full in order to appreciate the arguments put forth by the writer. As such, I am re-producing it below for those who are interested to read it further.


Market rally no excuse to be complacent

Since the lows set in June 2006, the KL Composite Index (KLCI) has risen rather impressively and the volume traded has not been that bad either.

It looks like the KLCI will be beating Bangkok for once, although we have lost to the Singapore or Jakarta markets.

But should we exploit the current market rally or should we be more circumspect?

Stock market rallies can be very ego boosting. A rally seems to tell the whole world that everything is fine with the economy and that the Government has adopted the right policies.

Generally speaking, this is true but the stock market rallies for all kinds of reasons and sometimes, it can be self-deluding.

Or worse, the rally creates complacency among the politicians and policymakers so much so that painful but necessary decisions are not made or postponed until it is too late. Then, the market crashes.

The Asian crisis in 1997/98 is a classic example of how stock market rallies can camouflage structural problems until the day of reckoning.

The way to manage a country or company is, in a sense, very simple. When things are fine, do not become over-confident; instead get ready for the storm ahead. So when the storm comes, which it eventually will, one will not be so devastated that one cannot even recover or that the recovery takes a long time.

Vice-versa, when the storm does come, do not panic and rush into making all kinds of silly short-term decisions that would harm the country or company. It will eventually pass and the whole cycle repeats itself. Take advantage of the storms and use them to ensure that the eventual bright sunny days are not so blinding.

i Capital has frequently criticised the Malaysian government for the measures it took in response to the 1997/98 Asian crisis.

The essence of its criticisms was that the Government’s very short-term measures greatly reduced or attempted to reduce the pain of the crisis, but in so doing, it ignored the adverse long-term implications of its actions and decisions.

In many respects, Malaysia has paid a heavy price for this and is still paying the price for ignoring long-term problems.

By shielding Malaysians from the harsh and painful realities of the market economy, we now have a Malaysian workforce that is hopelessly complacent and in the process, losing out to the many fast rising regional competitors.

With the KLCI now rallying, i Capital is deeply worried that our world-class complacency would become universe-class. As it rallies, the politicians and policymakers are patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

Such self-praise and complacency can be very infectious and soon Malaysians from all walks would fall into the same mental trap. Then, the next crisis will hit us when we are totally unprepared.

A few rounds of such crises, and Malaysia would sink into an economic quicksand.

The simple but wholesome message of this week’s analysis is directed at the politicians and policymakers and Malaysians from all walks of life.

Do not be seduced by the current market rally into thinking that we are on our way to developed status.

Do not postpone the major structural reforms needed. Malaysia has already lost so much time.

The unemployment rate in Hong Kong shot up when the Asian crisis struck.

In contrast, the unemployment situation in Malaysia, thanks to the drug addiction-like economic policies that had been implemented back then, was never as severe as Hong Kong’s or the other Asian countries’.

Except for a few debt-ridden and badly managed Malaysian companies, Malaysians generally never suffered any pain during the Asian crisis.

In 2002, we were pleasantly shocked at the totally changed attitude of the Hong Kong people. The infamously rude Hong Kong taxi drivers or the world-renowned rude waiters were offering their services at Ritz-Carlton-class quality.

The Hong Kong economy had been severely affected and its people shell-shocked at the severity of the crisis. Imagine buying Hong Kong properties and losing their pants.

At that time, we thought that the change in attitude would be short-lived. But lo and behold, four or five years later, the same polite and courteous service is maintained, although the economy has recovered and is performing better than Malaysia’s.

The pain and shock of the Asian crisis have left a deep scar among the Hong Kong people.

In contrast, the Malaysian taxi drivers, a representation of the typical Malaysian, are still offering the same lousy service at inflated prices.

Thanks to our brilliantly thought out economic policies, Malaysians do not have to deal with the harsh realities, yet they want to enjoy the fruit of hard work (especially if it is somebody else’s).

Malaysians have no ugly scars to remind them that when things are fine, is the time to take painful but necessary reforms. While others have had to “eat bitter fruit”, Malaysians had only been exposed to the sweet ones.

Adversities like the Asian crisis have a major role in shaping positive attitudes and mindsets.

Malaysian politicians and policymakers must allow such character forming events to play their roles.


(Note: This blogger is NOT associated to i Capital Bhd nor have any dealings, whether personal or professional, with any of its employees.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The architecture of Istana Ampang Tinggi, Seremban

This is after all Visit Malaysia Year, right?

So, to divert some attention from the current hotspot in Ijok, I want to talk a bit more about good ol' Seremban.

Desi likens it to Peyton Place but he probably did not notice that Christmas has come a good 8 months early over here. If you are travelling from KL and exit into Seremban town via Jalan Sg. Ujong, you will not miss the very festive lightings dangling from the trees lining the streets all the way to the Terminal One bus-station.

That's how I feel these days as I drive along this road whenever the lights are on. Our MB sure knows how to generate some "feel-good" mood to match those propaganda churned out daily by our news editors.

Anyway, I digress.

If you frequently bypass Seremban whenever you travel along the North-South highway, perhaps I might interest you to drop by my little hometown and have a cuppa before you journey on.

The state museum is located just 100m from the toll booth and the few buildings that make up the whole place have some pretty interesting Minangkabau architectural details. One that fascinates me is the Istana Ampang Tinggi.

This particular building has an ageless charm and beauty which is hard to describe in words but hopefully the pictures I am sharing with you here will impress you just as much.

Part of the Istana Ampang Tinggi viewed from the left hand corner. There is a full-view picture in my earlier post titled "Postcards from Seremban".

The official sign greeting visitors next to the main entrance to the Istana.

A front view of the wooden panels on the left hand side of the building.

A beautiful row of delicately carved floral motives found beneath the windows to the left of the main staircase.

Another view of carved floral motives, this time to the right hand side of the main staircase.

Even the handrails on the staircase is an impressive display of fine craftsmanship.

This thatched roof was not part of the original building but perhaps a close replica.

The narrow left-hand side interior of Istana Ampang Tinggi, viewed from the entrance.



The timber palace contains an unusual number of finely carbed panels and a pair of heavy sliding doors, which cannot now be found anywhere else in Peninsular Malaysia.

The palace was built by the fifth Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, named Yam Tuan Ulin', who ruled from 1861 to 1869, on a ridge overlooking a wide expanse of ricefields, and when it was completed the Yam Tuan gave it to his daughter, Tunku Chindai when she married Tengku Muda Chik, the son of the forth Yam Tuan, Yam Tuan Radin.

The palace stood about six miles from Sri Menanti. Tengku Muda Chik added some more carved panels and he and his wife lived there. The palace was later given to their daughter Tunku Halijah, who married Yam Tuan Muhammed, the seventh Yam Tuan, as his second wife. When Tunku Halijah died in 1921, it was occupied from time to time by other members of the family. But from about 1930 it ceased to be in regular use and fell in disrepair.

In 1953 the eighth Yam Tuan, Tunku Abdul Rahman, gave permission for the old building, which by then had no roof, to be dismantled and transported to Seremban. This could be done because no nail had been used when the palace was first constructed. The central portion of the building was re-erected on a site close to the State Secretariat and was converted into a Mini Museum containing weapons, and other historic artifacts made or used in Negeri Sembilan. The building has since been moved to a new site about three miles from the town centre of Seremban.

(Source: Information board displayed on the site of Istana Ampang Tinggi, Museum Negeri Sembilan.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Apo bondo ni, Dr Rais?

On page 8 of The SUN U! today (17 April 2007), writer Karen K. Arukesamy delves into the Malaysian rojak language phenomenon.

She reported that:-

Unfortunately, some authorities feel that this twang might impinge on our progress, and are trying to bar such rojak language.

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim even said that fines of up to RM1,000 should be imposed on signboards that display any wrong or mutated form of Malay words.

I am gobsmacked.

Dr. Rais hails from Negeri Sembilan and he was well aware of the controversy surrounding the now defunct "Hantu & Jin ...?" exhibition at the Muzium Negeri.

He must be similarly aware of the current exhibition of traditional games being staged at the Muzium Negeri because there is a HUGE signboard in front of the museum with the tagline, "APO BONDO NI, EH?"

What's with the big boo-boo in your own backyard, Dr. Rais?

Monday, April 16, 2007

A pleasant museum makeover

Since my last picture post on Seremban more than a year ago, I was pleasantly surprised upon my recent re-visit to the local Muzium Negeri that some positive changes have taken place there.

From the outside, the museum grounds looks exactly the same. But the interior of Teratak Perpatih where the state museum is located has been given a refreshing makeover.

Gone were the musty smell emanating from the old and weary looking displays. The whole ground floor looks impressively modern with very good lighting and even some interactive LCD displays showing video clips on the background history of Negeri Sembilan. During my visit, there was an exhibition of traditional games of old as well as a philatelic display by Pos Malaysia.

And yes. I missed the controversial "Hantu & Jin ...?" exhibition.

The doors on the first floor of Teratak Perpatih where the exhibits were displayed were closed following an edict by the National Fatwa Council that it was haram. Prior to the council’s ruling on Wednesday, the exhibition on ghouls and the supernatural at the state museum had attracted both the crowds and criticism since it opened on March 10. Council chairman Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Hussin had said that the council considered such exhibitions detrimental to the Islamic faith. (NST, 14 April 2007)

I guess some controversy is good if it could generate publicity and attract more people to visit the state museum.

Coming from Seremban, I am rather proud of the local museum because it is really a beautiful place. But strangely, many Seremban folks barely noticed the existence of the museum, let alone drop by for a visit. I think it is a real shame.

I hope the Negri Sembilan Museum Board can come up with some exciting ideas to continually update the museum into a real crowd-puller, making it more than just a popular venue for wedding photographs.

Some of the displays during my recent visit to the refurbished Negri Sembilan State Museum in Seremban.

The philatelic display section on the ground floor of Teratak Perpatih.

I wonder what happened to the old exhibits such as the traditional costumes, pottery, weapons etc that used to occupy the main display area. Perhaps more space can be created to expand the exhibition area to follow through on the good work that has been carried out thus far, making the Muzium Negeri a real living museum and a showcase of the fine history of Negeri Sembilan.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

I want to travel the world

Did I ever mention to you that I have a passion for travelling? Near or far, it doesn't matter. Below is a weekend post of some of the places I have been to recently.

The ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

The guardians of Angkor Thom in Siem Reap, Cambodia

The old palace of Ubud in Bali

The majestic volcano in Kintamani, Bali

A traditional long house in the Sarawak Cultural Village, in Kuching, Sarawak

The trams along the narrow streets of Hong Kong

Bustling crowd doing their weekend shopping in Hong Kong

The ever-changing skyline of Macau

Saying "hi" to all you folks from the Guia Fortress in Macau!

*Note: This is not a paid post. Just a musing about what I would love to do on a regular basis if the funds are there.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

RM2.30 a day for a family of 7? That's sickening

From the NST, 13 April 2007:-

Better future for mum whose son committed suicide

PENAMPANG: Hina Joloni, whose 11-year-old son committed suicide last month due to poverty, and her five children can look forward to a better future.

The district office is building them a RM21,000 house at Kampung Kolopis here under the hardcore-poor housing scheme. District officer William Sampil said it had identified the site for the house.

"Construction is expected to begin soon and several individuals have agreed to sponsor the furniture and kitchen utensils," he said.

Hina’s son, Donny John Dion, a Year-Five pupil of SK Kinarut, hanged himself at their house at Kampung Suangon in Kinarut on March 20.

He took his life as he felt humiliated when his classmates likened the porridge he had brought to school to dog vomit. He was also upset when his request to buy an ice cream was denied by his mother, who gets RM70 monthly from the Welfare Department.

The department will increase the amount to RM150 this month.

Hina, whose husband is in prison for a drug offence, suffers from thalassaemia and a heart problem.

Meanwhile, a group of Kuala Lumpur-based Kadazandusun professionals and businessmen, led by Datuk Richard Bainon, gave RM20,000 to Hina.

The money will be disbursed monthly, with her receiving RM500 as living allowance.


RM70 a month from the Welfare Department for a sick mom with 6 kids to feed? Less than RM3 (USD0.85) a day! I feel so sick.

Some leaders from the Barisan Nasional should be ashamed of themselves, when millions of ringgit (RM17 million to be exact) can be allocated to sponsor a football competition.

How many other similar destitute families like Hina are presently trying to survive on the generous assistance of RM70 a month from the government?

And now, because of the tragedy, the Welfare Department decided to increase the monthly payment to RM150. That works out to be a generous RM5 a day for the family of 6 now.

A better future for Hina and her kids?


Machap - business as usual

Did any of you notice that today's Friday the 13th?

Probably not, eh? Well, if you did, jangan pandang belakang lah, okay?

So, after all the fanfare and expenses have been tabulated, I hope BN is happy with the results they received in Machap. Victory is, of course, a given. And guess what? PUNDAK received 166 votes without even turning up!

Let's compare the results.

In the 2004 General Election, MCA received 5,847 votes compared to DAP's 1,285 votes. This means, between both parties, MCA received 81.99% while DAP received 18.01%.

In this 2007 by-election, MCA received 5,533 votes compared to DAP's 1,452 votes. This means, between both parties, MCA received 79.22% while DAP received 20.78%.

The turnout this time was 74.35% of the 9,623 registered voters in Machap.

Despite spending so much money and laying so many bricks in Machap for the past few weeks, BN saw their majority REDUCED.

Despite so much purported dissatisfaction with BN and its CEO, despite so much MCA-bashing that we have seen and heard through the various media and blogosphere, DAP only managed a measly improvement in getting the non-Malays to vote for them.

So, what does this tells us about non-Malay sentiments?

A slightly clearer picture will emerge after the Ijok by-election results are out. Samy Vellu ought to get ready to lay some bricks. It really works.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Who will lay the bricks in Ijok?

After Machap, I'm wondering which celebrity politician will feature next in our local papers, laying bricks in Ijok?

Seems like it's the most fashionable thing to do in 2007.

One other thought hit me when I heard rumours of the amount of money spent "improving" the quality of life for Machap residents. Lucky folks.

Now it's Ijok's turn.

Hopefully this will be the last by-election before the next biggie. We don't want to bankrupt the country before the rest of the constituencies had their street lighting fixed and potholes filled.


Not the end of Sanjaya, yet

Haley Scarnato is going home this week. Finally.

And ... hooray, hooray! Sanjaya is (once again) NOT in the bottom three. HAHAHAHA!!!

I'm really enjoying this season's show purely because it is so much FUN seeing Sanjaya trying to pull off the biggest joke of all on the American Idol.

Yeah ... all those anti-Sanjaya viewers can continue to be nasty to that boy but boy oh boy - maybe by the end of this show, Sanjaya is the one having the last laugh.

And he don't even have to be the last one standing to do that.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007


This is one brand new party that has got my toes tingling. I love their battlecry. I love even more their logo. No weighing the pros and cons of corruption, racism and bigotry. No shooting for the moon and the stars. Even the name is catchy, like a song that plays on and on in your head. This is -


"Merdeka, Seterika, Kathrika"

Pazuzu for PM?

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Salad day

I'm making a salad lunch for the kids today, as a surprise.

I always enjoy seeing their faces brighten up when they come back from a tired day at school to find that their lunch is not the usual rice/noodles/porridge.

I've also got them each a slice of J's favourite chocolate walnut brownies from Secret Recipe for their dessert and there's Magnolia Tropical Sling Jolly ice lollies in the freezer. If they want more, I'll whip up a fresh strawberries lassi. It really doesn't take much to make my kids happy.

I'm making an apple-potato-egg salad today.

Boil the potatoes and eggs and let it cool. Chop up some parsley. You'll need some green apples, ground black pepper and mayonnaise.

Cut the potatoes, eggs and apples into small squares. I decided to add in some coarsely grated carrots for added nutrition as well as colour to the salad.

Put all the chopped ingredients (except eggs) into a mixing bowl. Add two big dollops of mayonnaise, shake in some black pepper and mix well.

Add the eggs and mix it all in carefully.
I decided to throw in a handful of raisins although J hates them. But her little brother likes raisins and I guess, being the picky eater that she is, J is bound to pick them all out. And maybe the bits of carrots as well if she's particularly fussy today. I hope not. :-)

There you go. Lovely, isn't it?

The kids should be back soon. There's some pretty ripe bananas sitting in the kitchen. Should I make them banana milkshakes or banana cake? Hmmm ...


Monday, April 09, 2007

Feeling the pain and sadness

A cyber friend's dad passed away and his poignant blog entry tugged at my heartstrings.

It is a common thread among my generation (& those before me, I guess) that we rarely, if indeed ever, expressed our love verbally to our parents. Perhaps it is the way we were brought up.

Although I had no problem hugging my dad whenever I wanted to let him know I loved him, or held his hands to comfort him, or rest my head on his shoulders whenever I wanted to feel "manja", I somehow never said the word "I love you" to him.

I felt it would embarrass him, and knowing him so well, it really would. He gave me the impression that there's no need for such mushiness. Actions always speak louder than words.

And how true.

I never doubted my dad's immense love and affection for me. And I knew deep in my heart that he knew I loved him just as fiercely. And the rest of the family knew that much too. Which was why they were so worried for me when dad passed away unexpectedly one Monday morning.

I have learned to accept that we will never be satisfied with the amount of time God allowed us to spend with our loved ones. It is always never enough. There will always be many words left unsaid and many feelings left unexpressed. That is life.

I did what I had to do in the end. I kissed my dad the first and last time while his body was still warm and I whispered into his ear that I loved him. And somehow, I felt that he understood.

That was many years ago. But the memory is as fresh as yesterday.

Love can be painful when we refuse to let go. But sometimes, we want the pain to go on because we have unresolved regrets. Sometimes, maybe it's just plain refusal to grow up.

Well, that's just me speaking for myself.

I hope my friend finds a better way to deal with his pain and sadness. I wish him well.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

One proud egg in the basket

J managed to collect one red egg in her basket during this morning's Easter Egghunt Contest. Not bad for a novice.

And I had a good laugh at the sight of her little brother running around like a lost little chicken, basket in hand, looking everywhere for an egg BUT in the bushes and shrubs!

He has not idea at all that the eggs are supposed to be hidden and he had to look close, between and behind every nook and corner for them. Instead, he looked left and right at the other kids, running AFTER them as if it'll lead him to the treasure, looking totally bewildered.

What a funny sight for his mum and dad. And what fun when he finally spotted one behind a rock. It was all that he needed to feel like he has finally triumphed!

Well, I am very proud of my kids when at the end of the allotted time, they came back carrying that one egg each in their basket. They wore a huge smile on their sweaty faces and although they knew very well that they were not going to win anything, they were happy to have taken part in the game.

And the reason why I am so proud is because they found the eggs all by themselves - unlike some "kiasu" moms who shamelessly lurked behind their kids and slipped in their finds into their kids' baskets.

The girl who got the most eggs in her basket is clearly a case in point. Half of the 8 eggs in her basket definitely came from her mom because I saw her slipping them in, and I'm sure many others did too. She looks to be about 11 years old and certainly could do the job well on her own. Maybe her mom is taking the game a bit too seriously (and competitively!).

But I guess in the spirit of Easter, nobody wanted to spoil the fun and when the girl was eventually announced the winner of the contest, nobody said anything negative. Besides, this sort of scenario isn't exactly unfamiliar to parents who have taken part in countless contests involving moms and kids. Personally, I'm kind of used to it.

And my kids are also used to it because I always make it a point to tell them not to mind too much because different people have different value systems. I take the opportunity to teach them to play by the rules out of respect for other people and themselves and most of all to have fun. Sometimes, winning is fun and losing isn't but they learn that they cannot win all the time. And that should not spoil the fun they had when playing the game, right? Of course, sometimes, the kids may not agree with me.

But today, they really did have great fun. They left the place with big smiles on their faces, a couple of eggs in hand and a balloon from Willy the Clown.

And they chatter excitingly about it in the car all the way home.

Happy Easter!

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Getting real with American Idol

I am NOT at all surprised that Sanjaya Malakar is still in the running for the American Idol 2007 title.

Well, this is after all the American IDOL contest, right?

And the Americans have their own perception of what an entertainment idol should be like and in my opinion, heheh ... I have lots of THEM, don't I? And here is the cue to switch off if you don't want to hear about them :-)

Now, (in my opinion) in a show like American Idol, it is of utmost importance that the candidate must be likable enough for the general American public who watches the show to vote him/her in. Week after week. If he or she so happens to be blessed with great vocals, well, that is an ADDED bonus then, isn't it?

Why? Because this is not the American GREAT SINGING TALENT contest, geddit?

And that's what's keeping me glued to this show. See, I don't normally watch TV as you well know, but I thoroughly enjoyed the American Idol because it's pretty interesting to watch how the Americans define "idol". Last year's winner Taylor Hicks was a clear example. And this year, we have Sanjaya to show us again what works (and doesn't work!) for the viewers.

Again, looking at the judges this season, I get the feeling they are getting bored with the contest. Perhaps some of those who have managed to survive the voting process so far was a tad disappointing to them. Perhaps the judges have certain standards they'd like to promote as an "American Idol" and some of those who have survived so far gave them the creeps!

I don't see anything wrong with Sanjaya Malakar eventually making it into the top 5. Why, if the American viewers believe that he personifies all that deserves to be idolised as an American, what is wrong with that?

Sanjaya has the kind of boyish all-American charm reminiscent of decades gone by and coupled with the fact that his looks is so far-off from the standard poster-boy image of a blonde all-American boy makes it all the more real for a non-American viewer like me.

I think that's a great way of saying that the NEW all-American boy or girl can be represented by any American from whatever ethnic background. It defines the great American Dream.

So, in this sense, I think Simon has got the concept of American Idol wrong.

Oh, I forgot. He is after all a British, isn't he?

Thumbs down to American Idol because Americans don't think like the British?


Only in Bodohland

One of the best places to see for ourselves how utterly clueless some of our politicians can be is at the Dewan Rakyat.

This is the latest example:-

"BLOGGERS using locally hosted websites may be asked to register with the authorities, Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said. He said registration was one of the measures the Government was considering to prevent the spread of negative or malicious content on the Internet. Shaziman said this while winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address for his ministry." (The STAR, 5 April 2007)

Does utterances like this make Malaysians look ridiculous in the eyes of the world?

How about stupid?

No wonder there are people who live far far away from Malaysia who still think we live on treetops and walk around with feet wrapped in leaves.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Uniquely Malaysian?

This is one scene that must surely be uniquely Malaysian.

Says a lot about our society, especially in the eyes of visitors who come to see what we have to offer in VMY 2007.

Wanna sell your gold jewellery?

Or secretly in need of urgent cash?

You can even find someone to fix your Astro, air-conditioner or hire a lorry here!



Hot scones on a rainy afternoon

The heavy rain that poured down from the skies yesterday afternoon kept me at home. The kids are busy with their respective homeworks while I am feeling rather bored, well, restless actually.

After getting up and down for the umpteenth time wondering if I should or should not venture out and get that A.R. mail sent, I decided that I might as well stay put and warm indoors. I asked the kids if they would like some hot scones for tea and of course, the answer is always yes to mom's offer to whip up something from the oven.

I haven't cranked up the oven since the days leading up to Chinese New Year. And I still have warm memories of hot scones with fresh cream, butter and strawberry jam from a recent weekend up at Cameron Highlands.

Scone are pretty much easy to make but of course, whether the end result is one that tastes as good as it looks is another matter altogether.

The thing to remember though is to handle the scone mixture with great care and a very light hand. It should be mixed as quickly as possible into a soft dough and then use only a small amount of flour on the kneading board and knead lightly until just smooth.

Too much mixing and kneading will result in a tougher, drier dough and the scones will turn out very tough. The rule is, better to undermix if you're unsure!

Scones must be baked in a very hot oven of 220 deg.C for about 12 minutes until the top is nicely browned and the scones sound hollow when tapped.

If you brush the top of the scones with milk before you bake them, you'll get golden shiny tops. Some people like their scones crisp, which is what you'll get if you cool them on a wire rack after baking. But if like me you prefer your scones soft, wrap them instead under a clean tea-towel to keep them warm.

Scones are best eaten fresh from the oven while still warm. My kids love it best with slabs of butter melting on the warm pieces. I like them with fresh cream and strawberry preserve. And of course, a hot cup of tea!

Preheat oven to 220 deg.C.
Sift 2 cups of self-raising flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl. (If you like your scones sweet, you may omit the salt and add in a tsp of sugar instead.)
Cut 30gm of cold butter into the flour, and rub lightly with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Do this quickly.

Combine 1/2 cup milk with 1/4 cup water and slowly pour into the flour. Leave about 2 tbsp liquid for glazing.

Use a spatula to mix quickly to a soft dough.
Turn onto a lightly floured board (use self-raising flour) and knead gently (15-20 times is probably enough.) Press dough into thickness of 2cm and cut with a sharp round metal cutter or shape into small rolls like what I did here. Brush the top with milk.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the top is nicely browned.

Voila! Fresh hot scones ready to be served with your hot tea!

All in it took me about 30 minutes to get the scones onto the table. That's a pretty neat and quick way to make the kids happy on a wet wet afternoon.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Double jeopardy

Filial daughter that I am, I sent a parcel to my dear ol' dad as a gesture of love this Ching Ming. Of course, the shop assistant who packed the stuff for me duly filled up the columns in the yellow strip of paper with the name of the recipient and of course the sender, that's me, before sticking it with glue over the cover of the colourful gift box to seal it.

I didn't get to sign it though, otherwise, I could sing "signed, sealed and delivered" while the whole thing burned, eh?

Laugh lah! Such ceremonies don't have to be so solemn and cheerless. Everyone has got to go some day and the dearly departed has all the more reason to rejoice when their loved ones continue to remember them each year and make the effort to perform certain ceremonies in honour of them.

As I watched it all go up in flames after the prayers have been concluded, I merely looked on blankly. Doesn't matter what I believe or don't believe, the whole exercise just satisfies my desire to express my feelings to my dad on this day.

Anyway, this morning as I flipped open the NST and came across on page 11 an article on The dos and don'ts of Qing Ming, lo and behold Taoist Master Go Bai Lin said that "Offering a lot of dishes and paper gifts is a way of telling the ancestors that you are prosperous and want to lavish money on them. They would be happy to know their descendants are leading a blessed life ..."


And further down, he cautioned that "It is also unwise to fill one's name in the sender's column of the 'postal form' attached to the box of paper gifts and 'hell' notes."


Am I a "marked" person now ?

And even further down, Go also gave a grave reminder that, "Descendants should not visit and pray at the grave separately as it can bring disastrous consequences to those who come later. The first to pray will be blessed, but the others will suffer ill fortune for at least three years. In extreme cases, people have been plagued with problems for 15 years."

*Gulp* *Gulp*

This year, one of my brothers had to perform the ceremony earlier because he will be away from the country for the whole 10 days leading up to Qing Ming.

Am I now in "double jeopardy" according to the gospel of Go??


Incidentally, today's April the 1st, right?

adopt your own virtual pet!