Sunday, July 31, 2005

Raikkonen Breezes to Victory

Finally, Lady Luck was on his side and Kimi Raikkonen took it with both hands. With World Championship leader Fernando Alonso having to change his car's nose after a collision in an eventful first lap, Raikkonen had the best chance to take advantage. It was brilliant work by both the team and the driver as Raikkonen finished the race ahead of world champion Michael Schumacher with much ease, who couldn't capitalise on his first pole position of the season. It could probably had been a McLaren one-two if Juan Pablo Montoya's car didn't succumb to mechanical failure. The win resulted in a 10-point reduction in Alonso's lead over Raikkonen after the Spaniard failed to secure a single point over the weekend. The win also saw McLaren-Mercedes eat into Renault's lead in the constructors Championship. With only six races to go and 26 points to make up, time is running out for Raikkonen to produce such results and for Alonso to falter so dramatically again. Will Lady Luck continue to shine on the Flying Finn?

Up, up and away!!!

Once again, the Government has bestowed upon us Malaysians a 'gift' we all do not need, especially in such circumstances. In less than 100 days, the Government has increased petrol and diesel prices TWICE - 10 and 20 sen respectively in each occasion. However, the Government chose to announce their latest decision on the price hike late last night so news couldn't reach the masses in time for everyone to rush to the nearest petrol stations to fill up their tanks. It was also smart of them to choose a Saturday, so civil servants won't help in spreading the news and there won't be much coverage on the hike since the following day is a Sunday. By the time people go to work on Monday, the news would have sunk in and most (if not all) would have accepted the decision. A very smart and sly move by the Government indeed. I guess we should have seen it coming when the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department wrote an article about 'Oil Money is for Benefit of All' just two days before the announcement.

Let me set the record straight. I've always called for the increase of petrol prices since it is still one of the cheapest in the region. At least, it is good to know the Government refrained from using the stale old excuse of 'still among the cheapest in the region' after the latest price hike. In my opinion, the revenue generated (or saved whichever way you look at it) should be used to improve public transport. Higher petrol prices would also deter Malaysians from using private vehicles thus, promoting the use of public transport instead. So, why am I against the latest price hike? This move comes a week after the de-pegging of the ringgit to the US dollar. Analysts value the ringgit to about RM3.50 per USD as the acceptable exchange rate. However, it is still hovering at RM3.75 per USD due to the intervention by Bank Negara. If the ringgit is allowed to appreciate, the Government should be able to save a substantial amount importing the petroleum products and won't need to increase petrol prices twice in less than 100 days! Yes our country is a nett oil exporter but what has Petronas really done for us although being able to record increasing profits year after year? Are the royalties, dividends etc. really used efficiently for national development? A stronger ringgit might hurt exports but we must still remember that imports would be cheaper too and that should help balance things out. Let's not forget that inflation is rising and this announcement will not help keep inflation down! Also, we have no alternative to our dependance on private vehicles for our travels. Are we expected to use the inefficient, unreliable and utterly useless public transportation system? Unless the Government intends on the country's economy to come to a standstill with workers not being able to get to work on time (or at all), I suggest the Government actively work on improving the public transportation systems especially in critical areas such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru. Let's not even get started on how money accrued from APs (Approved Permits) should be used!

It is such circumstances that frustrate me even further. Yes, I still support subsidies to be reduced/removed but accelerate the reduction of budget deficit by letting the ringgit appreciate further and provide good and reliable public transportation first before such hikes. Give us a chance to survive.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Northward Bound Bus Ride

On this bus, they provided us with blankets which is always a good thing, especially after what we experienced on our trip down. They even provided us with a small box of food which contained a piece of cake, a packet of biscuits and some sweets. The number plate was PGK ****, a relatively new bus but it creaked so much and had trouble climbing up hills, it felt as if we were on board a really faulty bus! Fortunately, it turned out to be a smooth ride all the way.

At the Malaysian Customs Checkpoint across the SecondLink, I was so 'fortunate' to be selected randomly by the officer for checking. Since it wasn't a weekend or holiday season, they didn't use the x-ray screening to do the checking and resorted to random checks. I guess I was just 'the chosen one'. Hmmm....did I look like someone who would smuggle goods? Did I seriously look like a drug trafficker? Or did my bagpacks (one on my back and another in front like a pregnant woman) make me look like a suicide bomber? :P Well, of course I had nothing to declare and it was just formality.

We were soon on our way and the backup driver popped in a VCD. The bus had a very big TV but to my dismay, I've watched the movie, Ghost Ship before. I decided to continue my blogging on my PDA and listen to my collection of MP3s stashed in the memory card. Once the movie was over and my eyes grew tired, I went to sleep. The seats were slightly narrower compared to the other bus. As such, we didn't have that much leg-room and I had to bend them. It was quite uncomfortable at times but at least it was better than four-seater buses. At least I could sleep better than the other trip since the air-conditioning was just nice, not insanely cold like the trip down. I do realise that the bus driver likes to make a lot of stops. Despite the many stops, we still manage to reach Penang after a 10-hour bus ride. We reached around 7am, enough time for my mom to prepare and go to work, my brother to school and me to campus and run some errands. Good timing indeed.

If I still had any doubts that I'm no longer in Singapore and already back in Penang, the unruly motorists and the loads of rubbish I saw in the drain at the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal gave me all the assurances I that I was indeed home at last. Sigh, I guess there's still no place better than home. :)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Singapore: Day Three

Today will be our last day in Singapore. Destination: Orchard Road. Today, we will shop till we drop. Well, more like window shopping till our legs hurt like hell, anyway. :P

Our first stop was Ngee Ann City which boasts of quality tenants such as Takashimaya, one of the largest departmental store in the region and Kinokuniya, the famous bookstore. While my brothers went for a ride on a Bendy-Bus (a very long bus that is able to bend in the middle), my mom and I went to Kinokuniya to look at more books. The collection is really extensive and the atmosphere just perfect. There's also a dedicated section for kids where parents are able to read to them. I went from one section to another and browsed through the books that interested me. It was here that I finally found the illustrated version of The Da Vinci Code. It was nothing special except for the price tag! :P As usual, I would read some magazines whenever I'm in a bookstore. It has been awhile since I bought a magazine. Well, I used to buy when I was in Terengganu because it was kinda boring there and the magazines were relatively cheaper there although brand new!

After my brothers came back from their escapade of sorts on the bus, we went for searching for a place to have lunch. Man, it is really costly to have lunch in that building! After walking around looking for a suitable place and found none, we exited the building and decided to search somewhere else. We found this place where all the food stalls were put in one place, a basement where you have basically all types of cuisine. We chose to try some Thai food at the ThaiExpress. The food was really delicious and very spicy, exactly how it should be. Since we had a mini-feast, it probably cost us an arm and a leg...but it was definitely worthwhile. One thing I realise is I've never really seen a food outlet that is not packed with people. At any given time of the day, the shops will be at least half-full and this on a weekday!

While walking towards another shopping centre, I was attacked/harrassed by a promoter from Samsung, which was having a roadshow of sorts. He grabbed my arm and used his microphone to speak to me. Obviously it was quite embarassing considering this happened on Orchard Road during lunchtime! I was invited to listen to some music clips and identify the songs and if I guessed correctly, I would be given a gift. As I walked away and declined his offer, he tempted me with more prizes....TWO if I got two answers right....and he even offered himself if I got three answers right. WTF?!? As if I would go to that extent to try and get three answers right to bring him home!!! Yucks! :P

My mom was looking for a place selling cheap CDs, a place recommended by her boss. My brother brought her to HMV but turns out it wasn't the one cos the CDs weren't cheap! They have an extensive collection though, which they fill up in their four-storey outlet. I sampled some songs of popular albums and relaxed with the music. Hey, I just had a big lunch and I wasn't in the mood to walk, ok. Listening to some free quality music definitely beats walking.

Since prices are quite steep in Singapore, my brother took us to Urban Warehouse which is considerably cheaper than other outlets on Orchard Road. It is decorated in glaring orange but I didn't find much bargain there. My mom targeted Marks & Spencer next. We went through the English toffees, the chocolates, the cookies, candies and stuff to bring back as gifts. I managed to buy some chocolate nuts for my labmates. Robinsons was my mom's next destination. She was looking for some bedsheets and comforters, and maybe some towels (don't ask me why) there but the price was just insane although it was purportedly on sale. Go figure!

Walking across the street, walking towards the MRT station, we came along some bargains at John Little. I purchased two long-sleeve Alain Delon shirts for just $28! Now, I think that's a real bargain. I picked the blue and peach colours and that's part of my Chinese New Year shopping done. ;)

We boarded the MRT at the Somerset station and headed back to my uncle's home. One thing I noticed during my three days here was that practically everyone had their ears stuffed with some sort of headphones. They would always be listening to some MP3s or tune in to the local radio stations from their MP3 players or their mobile phones. In every MRT ride, there is bound to be a substantial amount of them. I guess I would do the same too if I were to take public transport.

We did our final packing and freshened up. For the first time, we met and talked to our aunt and cousins since our visit. Everyday, they would leave for work or school before we got up and they would already be in bed by the time we came back. We were treated Chinese food at a nearby restaurant by my uncle. It was something like an eight to ten course meal and it was an extremely sumptious meal! It must have cost a bomb but I guess my uncle is able to afford it with the pay he draws monthly. We were taken to the bus terminal of sorts at Beach Road to catch our bus. We said our goodbyes and boarded the bus. My brother wasn't following us back since he still needs to undergo some exams to get his shipping license or something like that. Soon they went back to my uncle's vehicle and the bus started to move. We were on our way home. Once again, Singapore didn't disappoint me.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Singapore: Day Two

Our journey began with a visit to my other cousins. They are still very young and my mom always takes the opportunity to visit them everytime we were in town. Since we didn't know (more like couldn't remember) where they lived, we depended on our uncle to show us the way.

After the visit, he took us all the way to Wheelock Place on Orchard Road, saving us the hassle of taking the MRT (although seriously, I can't imagine taking public transport in Singapore considered a hassle at all!) before going back to work. My brother became a member of n.y.d.c. Cafe & Restaurant and we were taking the opportunity to use the promotion vouchers he received and of course taste the delicious food.

We realised the restaurant wasn't opened yet so we went to Borders, a big bookshop located just below. I found some interesting books while browsing through their collection. I looked for Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. Turns out Chainfire is not out in this part of the region yet. Hmmm....would it spoil my reading experience if I read the ninth installment having not read the previous ones yet? I've not started yet and since it's such a big book to lug around, I think I'll put it aside first. I also looked for Dan Brown's books, especially the illustrated version of The Da Vinci Code. I read the prologue of each of his books and they really do interest me. Since there's just about four books to his name, I think I will try to read the remaining books by the end of the year. I was unable to find the illustrated version though. I was to realise later my mom and brother follow his books too and already have copies of them. Luckily I decided not to purchase any of them. ;)

After flipping through some magazines, we realised the restaurant should probably be opened by now. We walked in to a restaurant only to find out that it was the wrong one! The waitress was kind enough to point us in the right direction and turns out the right restaurant was just opposite theirs. Oh, embarassing! We ordered four different set lunches but we only need to pay for two (with the promotion voucher). We ordered the Yankee Stadium Pizza which had everything on top, The Meatball That Ate Manhattan Spaghetti, Parmesan Chicken Spaghetti and Spicy B.B. King Sandwich. The set lunch also comes with mushroom soup (or salad) and drinks. Since it was my brother's first dining since being a member, we were also entitled to TWO complimentary drinks dubbed Elephanccinos. We opted for the Iced Blueberry Elephanccino and Iced Coffee Elephanccino. To top it all up, we also tried their signature cheesecake, a slice of Goldmine Cheesecake. Yummy! We were filled to the brim and do you know how much all these delicous food cost? Only $51 with GST!!! What a bargain!

Next stop, the Singapore Science Centre. This was the second place which my brother wished to visit during this trip to Singapore. Again, he was too young to remember anything during his last visit twelve years ago. We took the MRT and bus there (which was such a breeze) and the entrance fee was $6 for an adult ticket. Wow, did they really put more stuff in here since my last visit! We were told we needed half a day to go through the whole exhibit. I think it should be revised to a full day visit! There is just so many things to see and do here. Since we were rushing for time, we didn't experience every exhibit as much as we liked. It's really a shame though. I guess, since it was a weekday, it was swarmed with group after group of students, obviously on their field trips. I guess the PETROSAINS in KLCC is not that bad when compared to this. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages.

It was fast approaching 4pm and we had to leave for my brother's convocation at the Singapore Polytechnic. My mom checked the invitation cards again and to our horror, the dress code was 'shirt and tie'. I was dressed in a white Reebok Polo-T while my youngest brother lacked a tie! We decided to try our luck at the convocation hall and if we were denied entry, I would take my youngest brother back to the Singapore Science Centre to kill time. So we stamped the back of our hands before exiting since the entrance fee entitles you to a daily pass.

My brother must have been a bit worried of sorts since he was not able to direct us on how best to reach the polytechnic on time. Should we take the bus? Should we take the MRT? Should we take the cab? Which station do we wait at? My mom was getting a bit agitated since we were just minutes away from being barred entry to the convocation hall. My mom decided to hail a taxi instead and it cost $5.50 which is quite reasonable.

We were really fortunate in being allowed entry with our non-conformity to the dress code. I have to say the graduation ceremony was really very well done and it was much better than my own undergraduate convocation. It was so professional done and it even had a live orchestra outside! Man, they really know how to make it a memorable occasion. The only bad news was I couldn't get my camera to work on multiple shots thus, missing the shots when it most mattered - when my brother receiced his scroll. We had not expected him to go on stage so soon since he was right in the middle of his course. Turns out, his coursemates were already on board the ships and only a handful were present to receive their scrolls. Due to the short notice, I couldn't set my camera in time. Fortunately, he's able to purchase a better shot through the polytechnic and it only cost $5 (and best of all, it was optional). During my time, if I remember correctly, it cost at least RM40 and it was compulsory to at least choose one of the packages available. Of course, most (if not all) chose the cheapest option available.

After having a small meal during the tea reception made available my the polytechnic, we decided on how to spend the rest of the day. Since practically all the objectives have been met, except for my mom's which is to spend time at Orchard Road. Since my brother had allocated tomorrow for that particular objective, he decided on Bugis instead. I took this opportunity to meet up with my friend instead. I called up my friend through the public phone but no one answered. When I walked away, the phone rang. I thought, probably my friend called back so I picked up the phone and it really was my friend. We decided to meet at the Raffles City MRT which is the City Hall MRT station which I mistaken for the Raffles Place MRT station. Luckily I clarified it with my friend first.

I took the same train as my family since we were going in the same direction - their destination was just a station after mine. Little did I know that I was about to make the same mistake as them! Turns out my brother took us up the wrong platform and we boarded a train going in the wrong direction! We switched over at the next station but we had already wasted a considerable amount of time. Since we weren't in a hurry or anything, I guess it was OK...just that my friend was already waiting at the City Hall MRT station! :P

I met my friend at the MRT station about 30 minutes or so later and we went for Häagen-Dazs ice-cream. We called for the Ultimate which allowed us to choose four flavours and three toppings, and also a cappucino which was their 'blackest' coffee available, something my friend wanted to go along with the sweet ice-cream. This outlet had quite a limited selection but we still managed to come up with a nice combination. It all amounted to about $20 which is relatively cheap. We were expecting it to be much costlier. During the conversation, I found out that the Harry Potter series is actually a good read. I guess I've another set of books to add to my reading list.

After the chit-chat, my friend took me to the Esplanade to view the night skyline of Singapore. We walked through a maze of pathways, tunnels and the sorts to finally reach our desired destination. It was absolutely beautiful. It seems that it is quite a similar scene to that of Hong Kong's but of course Hong Kong's is suppose to be much nicer. Anyhow, we enjoyed the nice breeze there and continued with our catching up.

We didn't get carried away this time though because we adhered to a time-limit. Hehehe....we had to catch the public transport back so we decided to call it a day before 11.30pm. Again, we took the same dizzying maze back to where we came from and I took the MRT back to my uncle's place at Bedok while my friend took the cab. While waiting for the bus at the Bedok interchange, I witnessed the police make an arrest. I don't know what it was for but it seems that the four policemen had waited for him there. Well, it was definitely something you don't see everyday and since there is so many surveillance cameras around Singapore and everyone feels so safe walking around Singapore, it was quite strange to see the arrest. I reached home, freshened up and decided to go through the newspapers to keep abreast with what was happening in the world before going to bed. It has been a really fun day today. A less hectic day compared to yesterday which was very nice. Well, another day tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Singapore: Day One

It was rush hour at the Causeway by the time we reached. The crawl was quite bad but I took the time to feast my eyes on the wide array of car marques you can only see this side of the border. ~drool~ I was however surprised to see so many motorcycles entering Singapore! It must have been hundreds or in the low thousands, all queueing at the Woodlands Customs checkpoint.

I immediately knew I was in Singapore, almost everything is different from Malaysia, even the air is different! I love this city state so much. The Singapore Immigration officer attending to me had a phone call just as I was passing her my passport. She took out her handphone, a Motorola RAZR V3 and put her call on speakerphone. I was shocked to see her reach out for such a high-end phone! Well, I'm sure she's more than capable to pay for it considering she's a sergeant and Singaporean civil servants are one of the highest paid in the world, and electronical goods are relatively more advanced and cheaper here compared to Malaysia. I was to discover later that model happens to be one of the most popular models and my uncle was using one too.

Landscaping in Singapore is so well done. It's so pleasing to the eyes and blends so well with the surroundings! The bus dropped us at Beach Road where my brother joined us shortly followed closely by my uncle picking us up with his Toyota Estima. We were taken to his house in Bedok to freshen up and leave our baggage.

My uncle left for work and soon, we will embark on a day-long journey on Sentosa island, Singapore's island resort. Sentosa is one of two places my youngest brother plans to visit since the last time we visited was a dozen years ago and he was just five. We took the bus to the Tanah Merah MRT station. During our travels, we used the EZlink cards provided by my uncle and don't get me started on how efficient and wonderful Singapore's world reknown public transport is! We travelled along the East West Line to Outram Park where we switched over to the North East Line and travelled to Harbour Front. I would like to commend here the ease to switch between trains. Unlike the light rail systems in Kuala Lumpur, you don't need to check-out and check-in at the interchange which is so convenient! Of course, the MRT in Singapore is managed by a single company unlike in KL.

We had lunch at the Harbour Front Centre foodcourt. I had Char Siew Roasted Pork Rice which cost $4.50. Although it may sound a little pricey, the serving was actually quite large and the meat to rice ratio was very reasonable unlike what you get in Penang where the emphasis on Chicken Rice is more towards the rice.

After lunch, we took the free bus shuttle to Sentosa. We had already taken the cable car and ferry services on our previous visit. The entrance fee to Sentosa was $3 per adult. Our first destination: Underwater World. The $19.50 entrance fee includes access tot he Dolphin Lagoon. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself immensely. Aquatic life has always appealed to me. After our trip around Underwater World, we proceeded to the Dolphin Lagoon where we were entertained by three adorable and cute pink dolphins.

Where to next? VolcanoLand at $10 per adult. It would later turn out to be a horrible mistake. It has to be the worst ever attraction on Sentosa. No wonder hardly anyone was seen near this attraction. Even the ticketing booth was empty upon our arrival and we had to wait for awhile until someone attended to us. What a disappointment indeed! Even the show, something to do with going down to the centre of the earth was so lame! I do not intend to recall this terrible experience ever again. What a joke! And for $10?!?!? Can I get a refund?

While waiting for the Musical Fountain show at 7.40pm, we decided to grab something light to eat and we decided upon Sarpino's Pizzeria which was adjacent to the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, and the Sky Tower (no affiliations to Sky Kingdom). The pizza and lasagna we ordered were kinda overcooked but what the heck. The Butterfly Park seem a lot smaller than the one in Penang but charges hell a lot more! Guys, go to Penang Butterfly Farm instead. It will be more worthwhile.

My mom just realised that the Green Line bus shuttle happens to have an open top, so she decided she wants to give it a try. Since we still had time to kill and the Green Line would still take us to the Musical Fountain, we waited for the bus and boarded it when it finally arrived. The bus was quite shabby but I guess it's still road-worthy enough. While snapping some photos of water features before the show, my camera batteries suddenly went dead. Great! I didn't bring the spare. Had to run back to the Ferry Terminal to look for batteries at the gift shops. Fortunately, I found them at one of the shops which cost me $5 for four AA alkaline batteries. When I popped them in, my camera wouldn't start up. I started to panic. Was my camera damaged? After a short while, it started to work. Phew!

The crowd was growing and it was still about half an hour more to the show! Fortunately, we already had seats and just sat there patiently for the show to start. The place was so packed that many had to sit on the stairs! Just to put it in perspective, it was a weekday and Sentosa island was jam-packed with tourists!!! The show began and it was very much different from the last time I saw it but I actually preffered more water displays synchronised with the music and lights rather than just a laser presentation. While snapping some photos halfway through, the batteries went dead. Man, were they lousy! Note to self: Do not use GP alkaline batteries! Well, it was a good show nevertheless but I guess the show is more suited for the kids.

Once the show ended, everyone started to rush out from the arena. Instead of taking the bus shuttle, I suggested we walked to the Visitors Departure Centre instead. It turned out that we had to walk past the tour congregation area. There were easily 50 over buses at the area waiting for their tour passengers! We walked through the maze of buses and finally found the Visitors Departure Centre. We were one of the few first ones to reach the area, so we were in front of the queue. We took the bus shuttle back to Harbour Front Centre and headed to the same foodcourt as this afternoon to have our dinner. This time, I ordered Ee-Mian with Egg which cost $3.50. We took the MRT and the bus back to my uncle's place. After freshening up, we slept like logs. It has been a really tiring day. ZZzzzzZzzzz......

Southward Bound Bus Ride

It was indeed a gruelling ten hour ride but the ride did start off well. I suppose my somewhat failed plan to watch the Fantastic Four movie turned out to be a good thing. Just as the bus was pulling away, the co-driver popped in a VCD (pirated I assume) and to my pleasure, it was none other than that fateful movie I so 'unfortunately' missed! Although the audiovisual was quite poor, I'm not disappointed since I did understand what was happening and the most important thing is I don't have to spend a single sen watching it! The coach was really very cold. Even after closing the vents, there's still holes for the cold air to flow out! I didn't get much sleep. A loud and annoying man provided some unwanted melody through his snoring. Coupled with the insanely cold environment, I hardly slept throughout the journey. In all truthness, the journey wasn't totally bad but more shut-eye would have been most welcomed though. Oh, Singapore...I come to thee with panda eyes... :p

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lion City, Here I Come!

I'm off to Singapore for my brother's graduation! I'll be spending three days there and I can't wait to get my passport stamped! It will be a gruelling nine hour or so bus ride but Singapore has always been kind to me so I should be able to bear with the journey. Hey, I've been on much worse bus rides for three years while travelling during my undergraduate days. I believe that's good enough practice! ;)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Seven Times in the Head

More gruesome details have been revealed after an inquest into the death of an innocent man mistaken for a suicide bomber. Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, at Stockwell Tube station, south London, on Friday. Relatives and friends of the innocent man shot dead by UK police on the Tube on Friday have marched in his home town in Brazil demanding arrests be made and is even contemplating legal action over what they regard as police incompetence. On the bright side, much progress has been achieved in the investigations into the failed bomb attack. We can only hope that these man will have to pay for their crimes. Martyrs? Dream on!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Terrorists Objective Achieved

Although the second attempt didn't yield any immediate casualties, it sure did achieve its ultimate objective: to ingrain terror and fear in the daily lives of not only Londoners but everyone on Earth. Although the London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said his force deeply regret the death of a 27-year-old Brazilian man shot by officers in the search for terrorists behind four attempted bombings July 21, he could not make Londoners feel any easier about their safety after that unfortunate incident. He was of course right to defend the use of deadly force to stop a potential terrorist attack but the failed attack had a bigger effect compared to the first although that unfortunate man was the only 'casualty'. Everyone's more cautious now and living a different life compared to before. Although many would consider the 52 dead commuters as the successful terrorist attack, I believe the terrorists take the death of one innocent man as their crowning glory and proudly announces to the world: Objective Acheived.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Have You Seen Them?

Police investigating Thursday's attempted bombings on the London transit system have released images of four men caught on closed-circuit television at the incident sites around the time the attacks were attempted. The first CCTV image released by police Friday showed a young man in a dark top with 'New York' written on it apparently fleeing the Oval station in south London where a bomb was left on a train. The second image showed a middle-aged man with a moustache wearing a gray T-shirt with a palm tree on it standing on the top deck of the number 26 bus in Hackney, east London. The third image shows a man leaving Warren Street Underground station in central London at about 12:39 p.m. on Thursday. He was wearing dark clothes. The fourth image showed a man at Westbourne Park Underground at 12:21 p.m. He later traveled west on the Hammersmith and City line to Shepherds Bush underground where he ran off. He was wearing a dark shirt and trousers, and was later wearing a white vest. If you believe you have seen these men, or believe you know who or where they are, do not approach them but contact the Metropolitan Police instead.

Friday, July 22, 2005


My hopes of the ringgit appreciating considerably against the greenback on its first day of trading after the peg was removed did not materialise due to the intervention by Bank Negara. The ringgit only appreciated by a modest 0.7% to record a high of RM3.775 per USD for the day before settling at RM3.778 per USD while economists worldwide were expecting it to appreciate to as high as RM3.50 per USD (hey, I guess my prediction was right!!!). Bursa Malaysia chalked up a 1.93% gain to reach a five-year high of 939.69 today and the PM immediately jumped to say it was indication that investors were supportive of the un-peg. For me, the intervention was totally wrong and the PM was uninformed on the real reasons behind the stock market rise. If intervention was necessary to stabilise the economy or whatever, there should have been more flexibility anyway. The ringgit should have been allowed to appreciate more. In my opinion, the rise in the Bursa Malaysia today was more due to speculators coming in, knowing the ringgit will definitely appreciate further, buys equities when the ringgit is still weak and later cash-in after the ringgit has appreciated and is much stronger, making a handsome profit in the process. Did Bank Negara make the right move in intervening? We shall see...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

More Terror Attacks in London

Four explosions or attempts at explosions have hit three London Underground stations and a bus two weeks after the July 7 terror attacks which claimed 56 lives including the four bombers. The explosions today caused panic and confusion with four nearly simultaneous small explosions across the capital's transport system. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said the situation was absolutely under control. He told reporters there had been one confirmed casualty but no fatalities.

News of the incidents first came at 12.38pm (9:38pm local time). At 12.45 pm, a call came in from Warren Street. All three stations affected were evacuated and checked for chemical agents, and four Tube lines (Hammersmith & City, Victoria, Northern and Bakerloo) were closed, according to London transport officials. Meanwhile in east London, a bus driver reported a 'bang' from the top of his double-decker in Hackney, according to the bus company's spokesman. The spokesman said the windows of the bus were blown out, although this was denied by a police officer at the scene.

What kick do these people get by bringing fear, suffering and death to the lives of innocent people? No faith would ever encourage or endorse such evil acts let alone Islam. What is this world coming to?!?

Ringgit Peg Removed

Bank Negara announced this evening that the ringgit peg will be replaced with a managed float effectively immediately. The ringgit exchange rate will now be determined by economic fundamentals and Bank Negara Malaysia will monitor the exchange rate against a currency basket to ensure that the exchange rate remains close to its fair value. Promoting stability of the exchange rate continues to be a primary objective of policy. The move by Malaysia follows China’s decision to re-peg the yuan to the US dollar from 8.28 to 8.11, and ends the ringgit's RM3.80 peg against the US dollar imposed since 1st September 1998. Although I'm hoping for a substantial increase in the ringgit's value, I think at best it could be just RM3.50 per USD.

I Think She's Dead

Dropping by at the ornamental fish shop to check on the status of my lab's fishing nets was actually a blessing in disguise. I guess I can count myself fortunate that the shop was open (everytime I passed the shop for the past two weeks, it was always closed) and I was able to stop my journey to campus for a couple of minutes. If I had not spent that two minutes or so at the shop, I might have been involved in an accident or probably witnessed it first hand.

I knew something was wrong when I heard motorbikes after motorbikes speeding along Yeap Chor Ee Road and there was a jam (where usually there wouldn't be one) just after the school and before going up the hill. They happen to be runners. The thing about these runners is they can be so helpful at helping call for assistance (police/ambulance/tow truck/etc.) and helping out in the situation (be it directing traffic, keeping by-standers at bay or helping the injured) but the problem is, they make a living off (read: profit from) people's distress. If you do not get involved in a traffic accident, they won't be able to make a living! Also, they ride their motorbikes so haphazardly just to reach the scene of the accident on time (before the arrival of rival runners), they could actually cause another (fatal) accident!

As I passed the scene of the accident, I could see that it involved a Naza Citra/Kia Carens, coming out from the housing estate, and a motorcyclist who was carrying a pillion rider. The first image I saw was the son drenched in blood but was conscious and able to sit-up, probably still in shock. As I moved on, I saw a motionless lady surrounded by a pool of blood. My first thought was she is most likely dead. As much as I don't want that to be true, I think it could turn out to be so. It did cross my mind to stop and offer my first aid knowledge but seeing that so many people were already around and a police car was just arriving, it would be best for me to not stand in their way. I believe the housing estate is Desa Mutiara II and the entrance/exit to the housing estate is a very dangerous area and I've seen a few traffic accidents at that spot before. I believe the pillion rider (I assume he is the son) was oblivious of the condition of her mother and truly, I fear the worst. The closest hospital is Lam Wah Ee but I think it might have been too late. Did I mention that everyone was driving significantly slower than they would normally, after passing-by the scene of the accident?

I also saw another accident on my way home at night but this time it involved two cars. Although the front end of one of the cars was severely damaged, I trust that no one was injured in this accident. Occasionally, we receive a few reminders from these incidents and two of the shock reminders I received today are 1) one of the reasons I drive a car instead of riding a motorcycle is because of the danger to motorcyclists on the roads nowadays especially when involved in traffic accidents, and 2) life is so fragile. I truly hope I was wrong about the woman and that she will have a full and speedy recovery. I pray for the boy and his family.


Cleaning up and preparing to move to the new aquaculture building is such a pain in the ass! It's so dusty and there's just so much to do! Why must it be so difficult? Can't we just move the things that we need? We had to dig up stuff that we've never used and never seen and never knew existed! My lungs were so filled up with dust and what-nots that I still have breathing difficulties! My good sense of smell has deserted me and I wasn't able to smell what others in my grandmother's hospital room smelt, even up close! It was suppose to be some menthol-like smell which can be very distinct and also I should be able to detect that very easily since I'm not too fond of the smell but I couldn't smell anything just now!!! My lungs must be black by now! Oh yeah, injured my hand too. :P

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dry Spell Continues

People would describe not getting laid after a long period of time as having a dry spell. High-rollers losing consecutive rounds and unable to get a winning hand would blame it on a dry spell. Football strikers failing to score goals match after match would say the are going through a dry spell. As for me, I'm going through a dry spell myself and efforts to break it was unsuccessful today. It has been ages since I went to the movies. It was back in December 2004, the movie - Alexander. I made plans to watch Fantastic Four with my friend tonight but he cancelled because first, he was worried he was going to fall asleep during the movie (this after he made online reservations at the cineplex already) after a tiring day at work and then he apparently had to work overtime or something since his co-worker was on medical leave today resulting in extra work for all. Actually, I wasn't putting much hope in it being a success tonight anyway. I somehow knew it wasn't going to happen. So my dry spell continues and doesn't seem to end anytime soon.

Come to think of it, I can't see how people can go to the movies week in, week out! Well, of course I was a culprit too when I was going out during my high school years. We went to watch a movie every week (or every other week...I can't remember)! The price of a ticket was RM8 for the seats on top (sort of like first class seats). A movie a week for two people would result to something like RM400 for 25 movies (if it was bi-weekly)! That does not even include snacks, transportation, etc. Now then, that seems to be a lot of 'investment' to me! Nowadays, it would be more expensive with premium parking rates, higher fuel prices, costlier movie tickets and loads more! Can you blame me for not wanting to go to the movies? It looks like I'm actually hoping for my dry spell to continue! :P

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Say Cheese!

Traffic offenders BEWARE! With the launch of PanduCermat, traffic will now be monitored by a new set of eyes - the public eye! The next time you see a traffic offence being committed, snap it on your handphone or camera and send it to the Hall of Shame section of the newly launched road safety website. The Transport Ministry is inviting the public to help enforcement officers keep an eye on traffic offenders so that action could be taken against them. Besides the Hall of Shame, there is also the Hall of Merit for the public to post pictures of exemplary road users to help improve road safety awareness. The Transport Minister also reminded road users not to send messages using cellular phones while driving as it was against the traffic rules and they could be fined for RM300. Hmmm...note to self: Do not send SMS while driving. :P

Monday, July 18, 2005

Rat Race

I was going through JobStreet today hoping to find maybe a part-time tutoring position (obviously it was the wrong place to search). While going through all the available positions (which was plenty!), I wondered myself which field would I be working in the future? Would it be research? Would it be education? Would it be in agriculture/aquaculture? Would it be sciences? What field would it be?!? That got me quite worried. Actually, I think I'm capable of doing anything but the problem is would I be happy doing it? Would I be given a substantial salary for that job? What are my career prospects?!? Well, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Actually, I'm not keen on joining the rat race. I rather be in-charge of my 'destiny', my career, my life. Starting my own business would be nice and it would certainly solve all that but hey, money don't grow on trees, you know. Calling all kind and generous benefactors out there....

Sunday, July 17, 2005

New Faces of Samsung

I received an email from Samsung concerning a 'modeling' contest. They are looking for the 10 new faces of Samsung and they are inviting interested parties to submit their best photos to be shortlisted. Shortlisted candidates will then be requested to attend the audition at Berjaya Times Square later this month. If chosen, you will appear in their future advertisements or marketing materials. Needless to say, this is a great first step to becoming a star. ;) What's more, you will also be rewarded with a brand new SGH-E530C mobile phone in the colour of your choice!

Actually, I'm more interested in the money they will offer for the contract since I'm kinda broke and the situation will be getting worse soon. :P Hmmm, should I just try submitting for the fun of it and see how (ahem) attractive and photogenic (*blush*) I am and risk being criticised at the same time? I'm still thinking over it. only concern would only be the comments they make when they receive my submission.
"Huh? This kind of face also dare to submit ah? tak tahu malu ah? Ptui! Not even qualified to use as toilet paper ah!" :P

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Terry Goodkind - Chainfire

My former tuition teacher bought me a book from the US by the bestselling author Terry Goodkind. Her advice is to always look out for bestselling authors when buying novels. You would never be disappointed. Since she is an avid reader, I think it is quite true. The book is entitled Chainfire and is the ninth installment from the Sword of Truth series. It is also the first volume in the Chainfire Trilogy that will conclude the Sword of Truth series. From what I gather, the Sword of Truth series is something like the Harry Potter series, full of mysteries, magic and imagination. It's a hardcover book that has over 600-pages. I think I would take sometime finishing this book.

(picture from Tom Doherty Associates)

Friday, July 15, 2005


My mom's friend and former colleague dropped-in unexpectedly this evening. She's back from US for a short holiday and they have not met for a long, long time. She also happens to be my former tuition teacher during my primary school years. I can't recall what were the subjects she taught me at that time but I know English is definitely one of them. I must give credit to these two wonderful ladies for my English proficiency.

I guess she is a gifted educator. She was a tutor to many people when she was residing in Penang, although she was holding a daytime job, and she managed to shape them for the future, not just academically but also their personality. When she migrated to the US and finally settled down, she became a teacher and later an administrator, while working at Wal-Mart. I guess she's used to filling up her spare time working.

It was raining outside and it was getting heavier and heavier. We decided to have dinner somewhere outside and my mum suggested Amandari along Kelawei Road. They serve Malay cuisine and we ordered prawns, gado-gado, kailan and squid (all spicy because she loved spicy food...apparently, she has been eating Asam Laksa everyday since her return to Penang). The food was good, the price was even better! :P Well, actually it wasn't really expensive considering the atmosphere and the quality of the food. Maybe just a slight premium at most.

After all that, my mum and I went to the hospital to check on my paternal grandmother who went for surgery at 5pm. When we reached the OT waiting area, she was still undergoing surgery and a group of relatives were keeping vigil there. Well, to cut a long story short, she came out from surgery at around 11pm. By then, most of the relatives had gone home and the few of us left took turns to see her in the ICU where she was recovering after the surgery. Her condition will be monitored and she will most likely be transferred to her ward tomorrow. Well, she's a strong woman so, there's nothing to worry. She even commented that she wasn't the slightest worried about the surgery. Well, one phase has now passed...bring on the next.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Prepare for the Fantastic

I've missed A LOT of movies recently (wait a minute, I meant to say ALL). However, I'm trying my best not to miss this one. This should be a cool movie (or should it be hot since there's the Human Torch!) and should be a good watch. Fantastic Four is the first family of comic superheroes comprising Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, who can elongate his body; Susan Storm/Invisible Woman, who not only can become invisible at will but can render other objects invisible; Johnny Storm/Human Torch, who can shoot fire from his finger tips and bend flame; and Ben Grimm/The Thing, a hideously misshapen monster with superhuman strength. Are you prepared for the fantastic? I sure am! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

24: Day Three

Season 3 of 24 takes off from where Season 2 finished. After the assasination attempt on President Palmer about three years back, he is returning to LA where the attack on his life occured, for a Presidential debate. Like the previous seasons of 24, a terrorist attack is about to take place in LA. My question now, why all the time LA? It's getting a bit silly. This time it's a biological attack and should be very interesting. In my opinion, it can be worse than a nuclear attack as it is more difficult to contain and can cause mass hysteria. The first six episodes were interesting as the time factor was always crucial. The next six however was just awful and was such a drag. After finding out the US is not under any immediate threat for the time-being, everything slowed down and the time factor disappeared. It was no longer important. During the second half of the series, it (fortunately) became much more interesting as the plot twists and time factor came into play.

Well, needless to say, the threat was ended in the frame of 24 hours after it was discovered. Hmmm, I know it's the show but why always these major threats are avoided in the 24th hour? Coincidence?!? It's just getting too predictable. Fortunately, they were not totally successful in averting the threat. At least there was some reality in having a successful attack this time around and from then onwards, it became more interesting. A few questions though, what happened to the drug addiction? Jack was so troubled by it in the first 12 episodes and suddenly, it all went away and he started to become the superhero again. Also, why the breakdown in the end? What's the idea with that? Thank god, they killed Nina Myers. It was becoming as if the 24 series was all about her with her playing a pivotal role every season. Also, the death of Sherry Palmer was such a relief. The President was so naive in always being used by her. I think he took the right step in not seeking reelection. With so many things happening to the characters and the storylines, I could have been mistaken that they wanted to stop production of 24, if I had not known there is already a Season 4 and Season 5 is coming along in January 2006. Comparatively, I enjoyed Season 2 more but there were some new interesting plots this season that made it interesting and not a total flop. I'm going to take a long break now before indulging myself further with Season 4. Till the next 24 marathon....

(picture from Fox)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

24: Day Two

Just finished with Season 2 of 24. After enjoying the pulsating Season 1 awhile back, I just couldn't wait to watch Season 2 which revolves around the threat of a nuclear bomb being detonated on American soil. If you thought Season 1 was good, Season 2 is so much better! From beginning to end, you are put at the edge of your seats and there are more twists in the plot than curly fries! What makes this show so good is that you can never predict what is going to happen. It's very well written. The series is somewhat a continuation from Season 1, something like a year later. Once again, miraculously interesting events happen close to the end of every episodes that will result in cliffhangers. After watching the power-plays happening in what seems to be the most powerful nation in the world at the moment, is very disturbing indeed. For the cabinet to undermine the integrity of the President and its administation is distasteful. How do we feel safe then living in a world that politics and personal ambition for power comes first? Well, I don't want to discuss too much about this series. I want to continue watching Season 3 because there seems to be a link somehow since the President just collapsed at the end of Season 2. I believe however that he will survive but at what expense? Season 3, here I come!!!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Work of Terrorists?!?

Did the terrorists launch an attack on Malaysia? Is this the work of extremists? Are we under attack?!? Try careless, human error.
Nine Bangladeshi construction workers were injured when eight girders of a flyover of the NKVE-Jalan Meru Link near Bukit Raja collapsed. The girders, forming a 10m stretch, collapsed at 1.40pm onto the NKVE (New Klang Valley Expressway) below, bringing down 17 workers who were working on it. The 'efficient and flawless' Works Minister responds by telling the relevant authorities to prepare a report. How predicatable of him. It seems that the chair he is sitting on is getting too comfortable now after having him sit on it for over two decades, leaving a horrible impression of his incompetency. Please leave so Malaysia can progress better without you holding it back all the time. Malaysians deserve a better Works Minister. Malaysians deserve a progressive and safe nation to live in that a competent Works Minister will provide instead of just lame excuses all the time. It's time to go....

(picture from The Star)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

McLaren and Renault Class Act

McLaren and Renault produced an immaculate performance at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. Juan Pablo Montoya won his first race for the season,in a race dominated by the two teams. With Fernando Alonso finishing second, ahead of third-place Kimi Raikkonen, the leader in the Drivers Championship extended his lead over the Finn to 26 points. In the constructors Championship, Renault leads with 102 points compared to McLaren-Mercedes' 87 points. With eight more races to go, the battle for both championships are heating up. Go McLaren-Mercedes! Go Kimi!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Expecting and Accepting

When you come to a certain age, there are things that you cannot run from. Things that you come to expect and learn to accept. When you have walked the earth for over half a century, or three-quarters of a century, or close to a whole century even, it would be foolish to think you are immune to some things and if you do not learn to accept them or even expect them before it happens, life becomes a farce. However, it is worse when the younger generation are the ones who cannot accept it or even tries to keep the 'bad news' from the 'golden trotters'. I believe they are smarter than that and if they can accept it and even laugh about it, why not their children? It is time to expect and accept.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Madagascar and Other Movies

Recently, I managed to watch a few movies through DVD and where else, my torrents! I watched Madagascar through DVD and surprisingly, it was in DVD quality so soon after the screening of the movie! I guess it's from Greece or somewhere like that and the only down point was that some of the titles such as New York Zoo or something like that was in Greek (or something). I've to agree with my friend that the show was such a let-down and they are actually promoting this movie as from the makers of Shrek? Shrek is so much better! Don't spoil Shrek with such association! Well, I did laugh maybe once or twice throughout the show without thinking that the jokes were just plain lame. Well, I have to give it credit for helping me kill time instead of watching paint dry or milk curdle. :P

One movie (or documentary) I watched was The End of Suburbia which sort of freaked me out. That documentary was recommended to me when the oil prices peaked to its highest ever level recently. For those who have questioned me recently for walking (or more of not using my car much), you can actually read up about the concept of Peak Oil.

Two movies I watched most recently (although they are pretty old) are Eurotrip and Roadtrip. Well, actually I've caught glimpses of them before but didn't manage to watch the whole movie so I decided to do that now. It's good laugh though.

Well, I'll have seasons 2 and 3 of 24 soon so hopefully that will help me get my mind of the horrible events that transpired in London yesterday.

(picture from theZreview)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Explosions Rock London

Four blasts ripped through London at rush hour early on Thursday, killing people, wounding 150 seriously and disrupting a meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Scotland in attacks Prime Minister Tony Blair called 'barbaric'. Witnesses saw the top ripped off a double-decker bus near Russell Square close to King's Cross train terminal, and packed subway trains were hit in three more apparently coordinated blasts. Financial markets tumbled as the scale of the attacks became clear and Blair told reporters he would return to London from the G8 summit to oversee the emergency. He planned to return to the talks in Gleneagles later in the day. Blair said it was 'also reasonably clear' that the attacks were timed to coincide with the opening of the summit. The attacks recalled the 2004 train bombings in Madrid blamed on al Qaeda and left the city's residents in shock. The Islamic Human Rights Commission warned London Muslims to stay at home to avoid any violence aimed at them. A group, the 'Secret Organization group of al Qaeda Organization in Europe', claimed responsibility in a website posting. The authenticity of the claim could not immediately be verified. I just don't understand these crazy people. What do they get from seeing people suffer like this?

(picture from BBC)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

London 2012

The right to host the 2012 Olympics have been given to London ahead of Paris, the front-runner throughout the campaign. After Moscow, New York and Madrid were eliminated in the first three rounds, London beat its cross-Channel opponent 54-50 on the fourth ballot of the International Olympic Committee vote - capping the most glamorous and hotly contested bid race in Olympic history. The race had been considered too close to call as an unprecedented collection of world leaders and sports celebrities converged on Singapore to lobby for the bids. London's victory handed Paris a third stinging Olympic defeat in 20 years, following failed bids for the 1992 and 2008 Olympics. Paris hasn't hosted the games since 1924. Paris had the perceived advantage of bidding for a third time, as the IOC tends to reward persistence. The French capital also had a ready-to-go Olympic stadium in the Stade de France and embraced the IOC's blueprint for controlling the size and cost of the games but not even a personal appearance in Singapore by French President Jacques Chirac could secure victory. London centers its bid on the massive urban renewal of a dilapidated area of East London. It's the fourth bid from Britain after failed attempts by Birmingham for the 1992 Olympics and Manchester for 1996 and 2000. I was quite surprised with the results when I was watching it live just now. I was quite sure Paris will be 'rewarded' after being 'snubbed' twice previously but I guess the delegates thought otherwise. The next Olympic games in 2008 will be held in Beijing, China.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Missed Call

A few days back, I left my phone at home while it was charging and usually when I charge my phone, I do not switch it on. The next morning, I received this SMS from Maxis:
04/07/05 01:17
You have 1 missed call
+6043****** (1)
since 19:16 03JUL05
I was like, huh?!? Since when do they provide missed call reports when you can't be reached? I presume the number in the parentheses is suppose to denote the number of missed calls from that phone number? Well, I definitely didn't know who called because I don't recognise the phone number so I didn't bother. Maybe I will do some investigating myself by calling my phone when it is switched off. Hmmm...will I be charged for that?!? :P

Monday, July 04, 2005

O Draconian Devil, Oh Lame Saint

A few days back, I finished reading the highly acclaimed novel by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, a novel I've wanted to read for a very long time but didn't manage to do so until recently but thanks to my friend (and her friend), my brains received the best antidote it needed. The book is marvellous, very well written, intriguing plot, just couldn't put it down! Well, I was also motivated to finish the novel as soon as possible so I can return it (I'm not used to borrowing stuff for too long) but solving the mystery was definitely the driving force that kept me up late at night. For those who have not read the book, you can preview the first few chapters here. If you have read it and enjoyed the book, you would probably enjoy the challenges they prepared online - Web Quest and Uncover The Code. Try them out, some are harder to figure out compared to the ones in the book. Well, I don't want to brag...but I did figure out the clues in the book before getting to the answers. :P Maybe it has to do with me liking codes a lot and I learned many codes when I was young. I'm a little rusty now, though. You might get stuck when you play the Web Quest (it was actually a real competition) because you would have to call a US telephone number. I've managed to overcome that obstable though, so I did complete them both.

The book is so well written, it can be so easily adapted into a movie. The scripwriter wouldn't need to do much! Everything is already in the book! Anyway, plans are already underway to make it into a movie which will be premiering worldwide on the 19th of May 2006 staring Tom Hanks (as Robert Langdon, I presume). Malaysians can catch it on the 18th of May 2006, though. You can visit the official movie site here. Well, the reason I was so eager to get hold of the book is because I heard the news that it was going to be made into a movie and I didn't want to spoil the reading experience which everyone said 'is to die for' and I agree with that statement 100%! However, the producers of the movie claims that we will be blown away by the movie regardless of how many times we've read the novel and how we perceive the story to be like. Hmm...this I got to see. Anyway, if you've not read it, please do. You won't regret it!

(pictures from and Sony Pictures)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Myvi in the Flesh

Well, maybe metal is more appropriate compared to flesh! Finally, I went to a Perodua showroom to see the highly successful Myvi and I wasn't disappointed at all with what I saw. I was just so close to placing an order at that very moment! Oh wait...I forgot I don't have a disposable income yet. Guess I've to wait for awhile more before I can even come up with the downpayment! :p I was actually accompanying my aunt (along with her kids and my mom) who is considering buying the car to replace her old faulty car. Where do I start? The exterior is very classy and nice. Boot space not really very small, neither is it large...just acceptable. The seats are very, very roomy! Claims that the interior is larger than Proton Wira is actually very true. It's also very nicely designed, interior and exterior. Ahh...I love everything about the car!!! Well, almost everything. The large panel at the centre of the dashboard is kinda ugly but I can deal with it. It's not entirely ugly, just not pleasant to the eyes but my eyes can adapt. :) I'm dreaming of Myvi tonight!

MSN Messenger Sucks

Come to think of it, when hasn't it? For as long as I can remember, it has always been a disappointing IM, at least to me. I had no choice but to install MSN Messenger (which I've avoided like the plague, so far) because everyone else in the conference I'm part of tonight were already using it. The interface is so messy and the dysfunctional! I'm definitely going back to Yahoo! Messenger after this and uninstall MSN Messenger from my system, FOR GOOD!!!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

LIVE 8 - The Long Walk To Justice

LIVE 8 begins where Live Aid left off 20 years ago with a mission to eradicate poverty in Africa. Every single day 30,000 children die needlessly of extreme poverty. On July 6th, 8 world leaders are set to gather in Scotland for the G8 summit, where they will be presented with a workable plan to double aid, drop the debt and make the trade laws fair. If these 8 men agree, then we will become the generation that made poverty history. But they'll only do it if enough people tell them to. That's why the Live 8 concerts are being staged. 8 concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators, 2 billion listening via radio and televison, and 1 message - to get those 8 men, in that 1 room, to stop 30,000 children dying every single day of extreme poverty. This is our opportunity to stop that shameful statistic. LIVE 8 is part of a day of action across the world which kick-starts The Long Walk to Justice that calls on the leaders of the world's richest countries to act when they meet in Gleneagles on 6th July.

On July 2nd in London, Edinburgh, Washington, Berlin, Paris and Rome millions will come together to call for complete debt cancellation, more and better aid and trade justice for the world's poorest people. LIVE 8 is calling for people across the world to unite in one call – in 2005 it is your voice we are after, not your money.

Those in Malaysia can catch this event live on ASTRO Channel 88 from 9pm or Mix.FM from 10pm tonight. If you prefer to catch it online, hope over to AOL Music.

Don't forget to sign the LIVE 8 list and be part of history!

Technorati Live 8

(pictures from LIVE 8 and Technorati)

Friday, July 01, 2005

maxis3G - A New Vision

maxis, the largest mobile service provider in Malaysia launches its 3G services today, dubbed maxis3G. This will be the second 3G service in Malaysia after Celcom launched their own 3G services on World Telecommunications Day back in May. 3G is the next generation of mobile technology that lets you see life like never before on your mobile phone. Talk face-to-face with your loved ones via video calls and enjoy a wide variety of exciting 24x7 video services. At mobile broadband speed, 3G is six times faster than GPRS and three times faster than EDGE. Among the highlights of maxis3G are the ability to view your home surveillance from anywhere on your phone, the only 3G service available for prepaid users and free video packages for a month on all live TV and video streaming content from, CNN, CNBC, Astro news, Cartoon Network and more.

maxis has yet to announce their pricing for their services but details on some promotions have been released such as monthly airtime rebates when you get 3G mobile devices from certified maxis 3G dealers, and video calls will be offered at half-price up to 30th June 2006, which will only cost as much as your current voice call charges! That will kick Celcom to the curb!

As much as I'm interested to be wired wherever I go, the prices are still exorbitant for my liking. Until the prices of both the service charges and mobile devices drop, I'm not going anywhere near this technology yet. Unless of course I receive a financial windfall all of a sudden. Any benefactors? ;)

UPDATE: The reason I couldn't find the service charges is because there is none! You are only charged for the content you have accessed on per subscription or per download. There are no additional data usage (transmission) charges for this content. All you need to do to migrate to maxis3G is to purchase a 3G handset and upgrade your simcard for only RM25! The only problem is, coverage is only available in the Klang Valley at the moment. Coverage in Penang and Johor is expected to be available by the end of the year.

Five-Day Week Begins

Today marks the beginning of the 5-day week for civil servants. No more work on Saturdays, replaced with longer hours during the weekdays. Below is the new working hours for USM staff:
Monday - Thursday
08.10am - 01.00pm
01.00pm - 02.00pm Lunch Break
02.00pm - 05.10pm

08.10am - 12.15pm
12.15pm - 02.45pm Lunch Break
02.45pm - 05.10pm
Of course, that doesn't include the numerous coffee, tea, susu breaks they have each day! I wouldn't be surprised if the office is closed before 5pm. Five-day week - good move? If you are working in the civil service, that is. If you have to deal with them, it's a nightmare!