Friday, September 30, 2005

Budget 2006

I was listening to the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister announcing the Budget 2006 just now. Frankly speaking, I nearly fell asleep with nothing much being announced that excited me. Probably the goodies have been dished out earlier. Even the sin tax that I've predicted didn't meet my expectations with only an increase of 9% and 13% for alcohol and cigarettes, respectively. I believe the group that benefited the most from Budget 2006 were the bumiputera contractors. I keep on hearing incentives for them throughout the Budget. What gives?!? All in all, I'm very disappointed with a non-event Budget 2006.

UPDATE: Details of Budget 2006 can be found here.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

In Debt

Just like that, we turned from totally debt-free to being very deep in debt. Today was the official launching of the housing project we were eyeing and we are very interested in a particular lot that we had tentatively booked earlier. So as not to lose the lot to another person (there's bound to be many eyeing that particular lot), I've placed a 1% booking fee, thus more than confirming our intention to buy the property. Well, usually people would be happy to have taken this big step towards owning a property but I've mixed feelings though.

Not only will we have to cough up lots and lots of money every month to service the loan, we would have to fit in so many people into the house (meaning more expenses involved). Apart from that, let's not forget that I do not have a disposable income of my own yet! So how are we going to do it? How are we to survive? I'm confident we can pull through but at times, I do worry too. Have we done the right thing? Only time will tell.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Looking For Conservative, Big-Hearted And Stylish Woman

Your dating personality profile:

Big-Hearted - You are a kind and caring person. Your warmth is inviting, and your heart is a wellspring of love.
Stylish - You do not lack for fashion sense. Style matters. You wouldn't want to be seen with someone who doesn't care about her appearance.
Liberal - Politics matters to you, and you aren't afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Your date match profile:

Conservative - Forget liberals, you need a conservative match. Political discussions interest you, and a conservative will offer the viewpoint you need.
Big-Hearted - You want someone compassionate, someone gentle and kind. A loving, nurturing person will fill that hole in your life.
Stylish - You cannot put up with someone who is lacking in style. You want an original, someone with flare, someone with good taste.
Your Top Ten Traits

1. Big-Hearted
2. Stylish
3. Liberal
4. Romantic
5. Adventurous
6. Shy
7. Wealthy/Ambitious
8. Funny
9. Intellectual
10. Sensual
Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Conservative
2. Big-Hearted
3. Stylish
4. Practical
5. Adventurous
6. Wealthy/Ambitious
7. Intellectual
8. Outgoing
9. Funny
10. Romantic

Take the Online Dating Profile Quiz at Dating Diversions
Hmmm....I'm a bit confused though. Anyway, those are my results. :D

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm An Attention Seeker?!?

Monday, September 26, 2005

I'm A Monkey!

You Are A: Monkey!

monkeyMonkeys are intelligent and agile, well-adapted for jungle life as they swing happily from tree to tree. As a monkey, you are a social animal who eats a wide range of food, is quick to learn new things and loves to climb. A monkey's tiny primate features are irresistable, as is his gregarious personality!

You were almost a: Parakeet or a Puppy
You are least like a: Duckling or a LambDiscover What Cute Animal You Are!

One thing I've realised is that not only does my results reflect that of my Chinese Zodiac, the same can be said for my friend! Hmmmm......

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Lately I've been experiencing excruciating headaches on a daily basis. I don't know exactly what is wrong but at least I know what is partially contributing to my headaches. Now I know how's it like buying a house. Not only is it not an easy task, it involves a lot of headaches! :(

How much can you afford? What property are you looking for? What is the built-up area like? What's the maintenance fee? Which loan to take up? Which loan tenure to choose from? What other fees and charges are involved? What's the time-frame like? How to fit in so many people? How to allocate the rooms? What kind of furnishings to get? What other renovations and fittings need to be done? Who... what... when... where... why... how... the questions just keep coming. :(

Although I don't consider myself too young (read: I AM OLD!), I still feel that it's a bit too early for my brain (still very much in its infancy) to ponder on such questions! That definitely must be the cause of my brain was just not prepared for such intense problem-solving! It's really a very tiring exercise, no doubt about it especially with so many decisions to make compounded with the flurry of loan officers trying to get you to choose their services. I am so afraid of them now, along with overzealous developers and worse of all, I've been dishing out my name cards and contact details to anyone of them as if I'm inviting them to invade on my privacy. :(

Anyhow, I'm currently listed on practically every developer at The Star Property Fair so I'm kinda screwed. It was quite disappointing looking at the properties available. Why?!? The price for properties on the island is just ridiculous and ever increasing every year. Also, more and more properties are becoming leasehold and the number of freehold properties are getting fewer and costlier. Also, the concept of community gated homes seems to be getting more reception nowadays with more developers dishing out new developments based on this concept. Will this concept be accepted by Penangites?

Apart from visiting the property booths, we looked through some furnishings and fittings too which was part of the fair. Looks like there's much, much more money we have to put aside for that! I totally doubt RM50K (my initial budget) will be enough. Closer to double that amount probably. Anyway, visiting the fair did help ease some of my headaches but it also created some new ones. I guess I'll still have the nagging headaches for awhile more. :(

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Wedding Bliss

Tonight was my friend's wedding. It can be considered the first friend's wedding that I've attended and obviously the feeling is very different compared to those of families, neighbours, parent's friends and other types of weddings I've attended before.'s also an indication that I'm getting old. I've initially planned to give a larger amount of 'ang pow' but circumstances does not allow me to be so generous at this moment in time. My friend was dressed so elegantly, she looked so stunning! Well, the groom can also be considered my friend and he looked not too bad. Never had seen him attired so neatly and formally before. His tie really stood out though since it's bright red!

This wedding can also be considered as a reunion of sorts for some of us since we've not met after our graduation some years back. There were about 15 of us including 'spouses' but most were also from the same university except for one if my memory serves me right. We took up two tables and we were seated right in front next to the married couple and VIP table. Also, conveniently the large, loud and noisy sound system was just right in front of us blasting away horrible renditions of love songs sung by Malaysian Idol wannabes. It was only bearable since we totally ignored the singing and used the occasion to catch-up among ourselves.

Well, the food was quite tasty but we just couldn't finish the servings because there were just seven of us but we were expected to finish food meant for ten people. One thing different though is that Magnum was kinda like a sponsor that night. Well, I doubt they helped pay any part of the wedding but they gave us 'ang pows' containing RM1 vouchers. Also, the married couple drew a four-digit number which if the number does strike, 10% will be donated to a charity of the couple's choice while the remaining 90% will be distributed among the 250 or so people who attended the wedding. This is really something new to me. Well, the 'lucky' number is 5677 and the draw will be done on the 1st of October 2005 if not mistaken. Wish my luck....hahahahaha.

After the dinner reception, we decided to go somewhere to hang out since it has been so long since we've done that. We decided on the beach behind Naza Hotel at Tanjung Tokong. Well, we had a nice time during the wedding reception and also meeting up friends after such a long time. Very memorable indeed. May the happy married couple have years and years of memorable time together. All the best to them. :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita Texas Bound

Hurricane Rita, the third largest in history for the Atlantic Basin is heading towards Texas. The thing is, my brother is in Houston now waiting to board a tanker for work and the storm is heading towards him. Obviously, we are worried but I'm sure he'll be fine since he's been updating us on his situation and I've done some hurricane tracking myself. Everything points to this storm causing greater devastation compared to what Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans about three weeks ago and millions have fled from their homes to safer locations. I pray not only for the safety of my brother (and my friends studying in Texas) but all the residents in that locality.

UPDATE: The storm wasn't as bad as expected and was described as similar to the heavy rains and strong winds sometimes experienced in Malaysia. Immediately after the storm moved on to another area, there were clear skies and sunny days. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as predicted earlier.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Demerits Just Not Enough

After my recent episode with an unscrupulous parking attendant, I just have to comment on this newspaper article. Apparently, parking agents are given demerit points when their attendants misbehave or flout regulations. Agents would be given three demerit points if their attendants did not wear their identification cards and two points for not wearing the vest. Agents who have accumulated 45 demerit points will have their contracts terminated. My question is, IS THAT ALL?!? Demerit points are just not enough! How about taking criminal action against those who fleeced unsuspecting motorists and causing them distress when the Penang Municipal Council sends them fines for not settling their dues? The council must be serious in eradicating this menace and restoring the confidence of Penangites as this has gone on for too long and we have grown tired of empty promises. Take action now! These scumbags must be taught a lesson. They must face the full brunt of the law for their criminal acts!

Anyway, the council didn't get back to me on my complaint and The Star didn't bother to publish my email. I decided to forward the same email to The Sun and New Straits Time but in the end I didn't. However, since I've been fetching my mom from work for the past week or so, I've noticed that the unscrupulous parking attendant in question is no longer around. He could have been hauled up by the authorities (which I truly doubt it) or action has been taken against him. I do feel however that he has fled knowing that his scam has been uncovered. Anyhow, things are better now. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Google's Reply to Blog Search Concerns

Google responded a few days back concerning my queries on Google Blog Search (BETA). They did emphasise on the word 'BETA' so I better include that in. Of course they did point out to the fact that I could use the robot.txt files method and also the meta tags method which can be found on their FAQ. My concern however was more on the indexing of deleted blog entries. This they did offer me a solution. I could point out to them which of the deleted blog entries are being indexed by Blog Search and they will do the removing after reviewing the URL I sent. I've done that for a blog which I setup for my sea scouts. Entries used during the beta-testing period can be found indexed in Blog Search although they've been deleted. It will take some time to find those deleted entries on my own blog though, so that will come later. I hope they will help resolve this matter as efficiently as they've responded to me on this issue. Google has not let me down. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

So Long PU 8025

Pictured above is a (1976?) Mitsubishi Lancer that I bought in 2001 to travel around during my undergraduate days in Terengganu. It has been through the harshest of conditions; intense 'kemarau' heat, heavy monsoon rain, conquering the dizzying heights of Banjaran Titiwangsa, travelling from coast to coast, enduring the crawling traffic of Penang and much, much more. After being together through it all for over four years, we have finally parted ways. I've finally found a willing buyer a few days back and it is already now in Perlis. I didn't even have the chance to say goodbye or sit in it for one last time. I was not at home when the buyer came to collect the car. I've always received offers for the car during my time in Terengganu but I couldn't sell since I needed to use it then. The compliments I always receive about the car is it's strong and quiet engine, and powerful air-cond. I don't even need to tell anyone...they could see and feel it for themselves. Haiz....I will truly miss this car. At least I have this photo to look at on whenever I think of the car.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The 90/10 Principle

by Stephen Covey

Discover the 90/10 Principle. It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations). What is this principle?

10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does this mean?

We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%. How?

By your reaction. You cannot control a red light but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you...YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened. What happens next will be determined by how you react. You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows.

You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus. Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home, When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.


Because of how you reacted in the morning. Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is "D".

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "It's ok honey, you just need, to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.

Why? Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle.

If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic?

Do you lose your temper?
Pound on the steering wheel?
Do you curse?
Does your blood pressure skyrocket?
Do you try and bump them?

Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse. Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it.

The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle. The result? Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. There never seem to be a success in life.

Bad days follow bad days.

Terrible things seem to be constantly happening. There is constant stress, lack of joy, and broken relationships. Worry consumes time. Anger breaks friendships and life seems dreary and is not enjoyed to the fullest. Friends are lost. Life is a bore and often seems cruel. Does this describe you? If so, do not be discouraged.

You can be different!

Understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life....

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mid-Autumn Festival

On the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar, the moon is full and it is time for the Chinese people to mark their Moon Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival. The round shape symbolises family reunion. Therefore the day is a time for family members to get together and enjoy the full moon - an auspicious token of abundance, harmony and luck.

An integral part of this festival is the lighting of lanterns and eating of mooncakes. According to popular belief, the custom of eating mooncakes began in the late Yuan dynasty. As the story goes, the Han people of that time resented the Mongol rule of the Yuan Dynasty and revolutionaries, led by Chu Yuan-chang, plotted to usurp the throne. Chu needed to find a way of uniting the people to revolt on the same day without letting the Mongol rulers learn of the plan. Chu's close advisor, Liu Po-wen, finally came up with a brilliant idea. A rumor was spread that a plague was ravaging the land and that only by eating a special mooncake distributed by the revolutionaries could the disaster be prevented. The mooncakes were then distributed only to the Han people, who found, upon cutting the cakes open, the message 'Revolt on the fifteenth of the eighth moon'. Thus informed, the people rose together on the designated day to overthrow the Yuan, and since then mooncakes have become an integral part of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

We had lanterns lit and feasted on a variety of mooncakes and Chinese tea. This was suppose to be a time for reunion but after some 'reunioning', we had to send my brother to the airport. He's off to work on Tuesday for the next six months or so. Oh well, that's life.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Moving Day: Round 2

Another day of hard work, all in the hope that we would be starting our next phase of our feeding trials soon. This was the continuation from the other day. We've been idle for awhile now and admittedly getting rusty from the layoff. There isn't much left to transfer from the old fish house except for the freezers, oven, lots and lots of large fibreglass tanks, some racks and miscellaneous stuff. I was truly hoping that it would only take half-a-day.

We were suppose to start at 9am but as usual, that would mean 10am. My hopes of finishing early (I had something planned in the afternoon/evening) were supposedly dashed by their lack of punctuality. Fortunately, when the lorry finally arrived, I knew I still had hope. We managed to get hold of a large lorry which would lesson the time wasted on the extra trips transporting the large fibreglass tanks.

We immediately sprang into action and hauled as much as possible onto the lorry. We filled it to the brim so we could save the number of trips that have to be made to transport all our remaining 'junk'. Soon after, about two trips later, there was a break. WTF?!? Only two trips and we have a break? Nasi Lemak was the course of the day. We had Fried Bee Hoon the other day. The break was somewhat a blessing in disguise as it started to pour heavily while we were enjoying the refreshments.

Back to work and more stuff were being transported. It was already past 1pm and the staff were getting agitated. They probably wanted to go for lunch already and we had to bargain with them to do one last trip which would be enough to transport all the necessary stuff to the new facilities. It was just ONE last ever trip and we had to haggle with them for that 'favour'.

When we finished transporting the stuff, he hardly have the time to arrange them as we were evidently tired and hungry. I overheard the staff demanding En. Bahrim, my supervisor's lab assistant (or something like that) to be taken for a big Nasi Kandar threat (supposedly under my supervisor's tab?). My supervisor was kind enough to offer taking us to lunch. We were obviously esctatic since all we had was Fried Bee Hoon for the whole day the other time! Somehow Pizza Hut was chosen. I was in a rush to go somewhere but I still made a point to attend not just because of the free meal but also out of courtesy. :)

Well, I would say it was not as tiring as the previous round but still it took a toll on all of us (except the ladies....I mean lady, of course). My hands had marks resembling an abuse victim! Well, at least we are closer to getting back to work. *phew*

Friday, September 16, 2005

Happy Birthday, Malaysia!

Malaysia was formed on this day 42 years ago, a date Malaysians hardly remember or care about. How do I feel being a Malaysian citizen - born and bred in this country for the past 25 years? Undoubtedly, good. Why shouldn't I be? I live in a peaceful country experiencing robust economic growth, with bountiful employment, giving its rakyat total freedom to do as they choose, where you are treated as equals regardless of race, colour or creed, equal opportunity and rights to top-quality education with admission based solely on true meritocracy and knowing you are safe from a vast list of natural disasters. So if everything is so great, why do I have this sinking feeling inside of me? What gives?!?

We are always reminded of our nation being regarded as a model nation for many developing nations (and in recent times, some developed nations too) but how much of that is gloss applied over to cover the truth? Everytime we hear of promises and start to have that fell-good factor, things will start to sour after all the initial uphoria has dissipated. Why is this so? Have the nation come to a point where we have reached our full potential? Is this it?!? Is our progress being halted by an invisible glass ceiling? Are we going to dictate who, how, where and when we are being impeded or let the glass ceiling determine that for us? The vast majority of Malaysians might decide on the former but what can we do when a select few who wield the power decides on the latter?

Every now and then, we are being reminded we do not belong to this land although we are rightful citizens born and bred in this country since its formation. Of course this doesn't come from the closest of friends or people we know but still a particular group of ultras will always find the opportunity to remind us of our rightful place in history, of our position in society today and the occasional calls for us to return to our Motherland. THIS IS OUR MOTHERLAND!!! We would think that after four decades of living together, such ultras will cease to exist or not to be taken seriously but somehow, they are dictating Malaysian's path for the future. It's these type of people that make Malaysia unbearable for Malaysians.

So, Happy Birthday still have a long way to go. We will always be there to slog with you through the good times and the bad times...but for how much longer under such circumstances?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ophelia Hits North Carolina

It's Hurricane Season in the United States of America as Hurricane Ophelia threatens to cause havoc in North Carolina, just weeks after Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans crippled and hundreds dead. Ophelia has been an excruciatingly slow-moving system, looping around several times in the Atlantic Ocean and changing from tropical storm to hurricane and back again four times. The Department of Homeland Security, which was accused of not properly planning for Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath along the Gulf Coast, released Wednesday an unusually comprehensive plan for meeting the needs of residents who might be affected by Ophelia. Early indications show Ophelia will not be as destructive as Katrina but is that any good at all? Mother Nature is relentlessly unleashing her wrath on the human race. When will we start caring for her?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Launches Blog Search

Google has finally launched a tool allowing you to search through the contents of all the blogs published, which is currently experiencing exponential growth. Here's part of the blog entry concerning Blog Search on Google Blog:

Today we are launching Blog Search - the easiest way to search for blog content. Blog Search includes content from blogs all over the web (in other words, not just from our own service, Blogger). And we're continuously adding new content, very nearly in real time. That way you can find commentary on breaking news as it's being created by millions of individuals. Or get the latest take on the premiere of a new TV show.

It could be a really useful and interesting feature considering you will be able to easily sift through the entries of different bloggers on a particular topic in nearly real time. One thing though, how about those who do not want their blogs to be found? *ahem* ;) Don't worry, you will be able to stop the indexing by following the instructions on how to insert this meta tag. Unfortunately, old posts that have been indexed will remain. I realised though that deleted entries are also indexed. This is very much down to the fact that they are using site feeds (Atom/RSS) to power their Blog Search engine (if I understand their FAQ correctly). Although Blog Search will only show snippets of your blog entries (including deleted entries), it could be quite damaging! So how do we settle this, Google? Let's see their response to my query on these issues. Don't start disappointing me now!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Crawling Back To You

by Backstreet Boys

Everybody knows
That I was such a fool
To ever let go of you
But baby I was wrong
And yeah I know I said
We'd be better off alone
It was time that we moved on
I know I broke your heart
I didn't mean to break your heart

But baby, here I am
Banging on your front door
My pride's spilled on the floor
My hands and knees are bruised
And I'm crawling back to you
Begging for a second chance
Are you gonna let me in?
I was running from the truth
And now I'm crawling back to you

I know you're in there
And you can make me wait
But I'm not gonna wait
This is the least that I can do
Just to tell you face to face
I was lying to myself
Now I'm dying in this hell
Girl, I know you're mad
I can't blame you for being mad

But baby, here I am
Banging on your front door
My pride's spilled on the floor
My hands and knees are bruised
And now I'm crawling back to you
Begging for a second chance
Are you gonna let me in?
I was running from the truth
And now I'm crawling back to you

If you could see these tears I'm crying
Touch these hands that can't stop shaking
Hear my heart that's barely beating
You would see a different man

But baby, here I am
Banging on your front door
My pride's spilled on the floor
My hands and knees are bruised
And I'm crawling back to you
Begging for a second chance
Are you gonna let me in?
I was running from the truth
And now I'm crawling back to you

Banging on your front door
My pride's spilled on the floor
I was running from the truth
And now I'm crawling back to you
Now I'm crawling back to you (Crawling back to you)
Crawling back to you (Crawling back to you)

I just can't stop listening to this song. Here's a snippet for you.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mom Hooked On Hokkien Podcast

The title says it all. As usual, I'll listen to my usual podcasts on Mondays (since they usually release new episodes on Sundays in the US) and somehow my mom took notice of the Penang Hokkien Podcast this time around (must be John Ong's laughter that caught her attention....hehehehe). Since none of us own an iPod (I so love the iPod nano!!!) or any other portable MP3 player, I burned the episodes into a CD-RW so she can listen to them in the car during her commute to and from work. Since the first episode was quite large, I could only fit that one episode in the CD-RW. She must have liked it a lot since she listened to it TWICE - once on the way to work and another time on her way home! Looks like I'll have to change the episodes on the CD-RW for her everyday now and once every new episode comes out! :P

I will play it for my grandma to entertain her while she's cooking, so she's been a fan much earlier than my mom. My mom was so jealous when she found out my grandma had been listening to the show all along! I thought she knew about the show but wasn't interested since I do listen to the show while she's around but I guess the topics in the latest episode caught her attention. I usually blast it real loud and I'm sure my neighbours are listening to the show too whenever I play it since their houses will be very quiet during the show. :)

I'm really looking forward to their 'Nonya kuih' episode. :D

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Remembering 9/11

Four years on, we are still trying to put into words the horrors of that eventful day. Today, the world is still recovering from the devastating effects of the 9/11 tragedy. I can still remember clearly the very moment I heard the news on TV, just shortly after the second plane hit the tower. Let's take a moment to remember those innocents who perished on that dreadful day. Let's honour those courageous men and women in uniform who died in the line of duty. Let's pray for them....

(picture from

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Apple Rocks My World

If you've been wondering why I've been a tad busy lately, I'm reorganising the music files in my computer. It has been ages since I've done that since I felt it was such a hassle now that there's just so many MP3s scattered all around my system and filed differently from each other. But I've found salvation....sort of. :P

While going through the features of Apple's new toy, the iPod nano... ~drool~ ...which replaces the iPod mini. It uses flash memory instead of the bulkier hard disks found on the iPod and iPod mini. It also has a colour screen and lots of other features. I downloaded the latest Quicktime player which came packaged with iTunes. Usually, I would either search for the standalone player or uninstall iTunes after the whole installation process is complete since I don't use iTunes and don't play to do so. This time though, I decided to give it a try especially since I'm now listening to some podcasts and those podcasters (is that a word?) claim that subscribing through iTunes was one of the simplest ways to listen to their podcasts. Also, I'm planning to get an iPod nano....*dreamy eyes*

Man, did I realise what I've missed after trying iTunes out! It's such an intelligent digital jukebox and it makes organising my songs such a breeze! After a little poking around, I discovered the radio stations are not too bad at all! What I enjoy most is how it helps me organise my music files which I've neglected for far too long. Just editing the song details will also magically rename the files and rearrange them in the right folder automatically! Just wonderful...

I had quite a number of unnamed MP3s too which I totally can't remember the name of the artiste or even the song but with the wonders of Google search and Yahoo! Music's vast music database, I was able to identify the songs and file them accordingly with iTunes. Mind you, it's no easy task especially the rap songs and having to identify hundreds of those 'John/Jane Doe songs' but I managed to sort each and every one of them. :D has been long since I've added to my MP3 collection. At the moment, iTunes is telling me I have 1500+ songs, including a substantial amount of unidentifiable Chinese songs with those weird characters that are suppose to be Chinese characters, which should last me for around 4.3 days. Hahaha....I've been yearning for some really nice songs and maybe now that my collection is organised, I can start adding them to my collection. :)

Apple also launched the first iTunes-enabled phone - the Motorola ROKR. Doesn't interest me much...especially when there's the iPod nano! ~drool~ What is seriously putting me off is the price tag - RM969 for the 2GB version and RM1219 for the 4GB version. *sweat* I guess I will incorporate one of those wishlists on my blog for some Good Samaritan *ahem* to help a poor guy out. I'll be dreaming of my iPod nano tonight... ;)

(picture from Apple)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Tukar Nama

What's in a name? Well, not much I guess...but I decided to change the name of my blog anyway after just four months of existence. Why? Ermm....I felt that the previous name was quite corny (not like the new one is any different! :P) and wanted to try something else. I was thinking of just a minor change to "Making A Difference..." but I felt it was still too similar to the old name so I decided on "Just So You Know..." since I just so like to force my thoughts down my readers/listeners *ahem*. Tell me what you think. :)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Lessening Your Burden

The Government has announced that it will defer any increase in toll prices until 2007 and any further increase in the price of fuel to 2006. These are among the measures undertaken by the Government to ease the burden of the rakyat already experiencing the difficulties caused by increasing crude oil prices worldwide. Other measures include reducing road tax by as much as 80% depending on engine capacity and type of use and increasing aid distributed by the Social Welfare Department to senior citizens, disadvantaged children and the poor.

It's good that the Government is trying to help the rakyat ease our financial burden but this is only holding back the inevitable. Prices are bound to increase as the world's oil sources continue to dwindle. Instead of utilising funds to improve the public transportation system, it is being used for subsidies. The subsidies and reduction in road tax will give the wrong impression that the Government is promoting the ownership of private vehicles which will only cause more problems.

When will Malaysians wake up? When will Malaysians realise that this can't go on forever? One thing is for sure....smokers and drinkers beware! The Government is bound to increase taxes for cigarettes and alcoholic beverages to recover the lost revenue. This I do support although I can be considered a casual drinker, myself. Sin taxes should be increased to discourage drinking and smoking while generating income for development that will benefit all. Hmmm...wonder how many would figure this out and start stocking up their 'fix'? :P

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Naming Hurricanes

I've not blogged anything about the Hurricane Katrina tragedy at New Orleans, USA so far and I think it's a bit too late for me to do so since the situation is getting better now although there's still a lot of work to be done to restore order. So, I've decided to write about an issue that many have asked in the wake of the tragedy. Why is it called Hurricane Katrina? Did someone by the name of Katrina discover the hurricane? I've read about the naming of hurricanes/tropical storms when I was small and recently I've found an article that could really help you understand how hurricanes are named. You can also look at some satellite pictures of the affected areas using Google Maps. If that's not enough for you, you could use Google Earth instead.

The next tropical storm was suppose to be named Lee (*ahem*) but it wasn't strong enough to be classified as a hurricane. At the moment, it looks like tropical storm Ophelia will wreak havoc in Florida.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Digicam's Dead...AGAIN!!!

My heart must have stopped beating a few seconds when I realised my two and a half year digital camera had somewhat transformed into an expensive paperweight. It's CCD sensor died on me again after I've just spent RM300 replacing it in November 2004. I browsed through the internet to see if I can do anything about it since I truly do not have the cash to repair it. Turns out, this is a really common problem not only in Malaysia but also worldwide! The problem will only occur after a year for no apparent reason, without you dropping it or damaging it in any other way. I was totally furious! How is it that you expect me to pay RM300 every six months or so just to replace a manufacturing defect! Totally outrageous!

When I called up the state level customer service hotline, I was persuaded to hand-over the camera for checking although I knew perfectly well it was a CCD problem. Even they knew what was wrong after hearing my explaination. I insisted on knowing if I had to pay to replace the CCD even when I've done so just less than a year ago, especially when this was clearly a manufacturing defect but was still persuaded to have it checked first and wouldn't want to divulge any more information, including the pricing for the repairs. I had no choice but to send it in. When I told the customer service officer that this was not an isolated case but something that is seriously affecting the other owners of that very same model, she just smiled acknowledging the fact that what I've just said was true!!!

Now, sooner or later they are bound to contact me and confirm it is indeed a CCD problem. If truly it is that problem, am I suppose to pay to replace the part? If I choose not to repair, I still have to pay RM30 for their 'hardwork' in determineing something that I've known all along. Totally unfair! It's crazy money to spend on a digital camera that will fail again in another few months. When they do not have the available parts, they do offer an upgrade option at the same price. I feel that it is only fair that I'm given the choice to upgrade since it is a well-known manufacturing defect! I will be approaching the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) one of these days to clarify this matter. I demand justice!

P/S Yes, I'm in a complaining mood these bear with me! :P

Monday, September 05, 2005

Unscrupulous Parking Attendants

I parked my car at Pulau Tikus (in front of EON Bank) today and I went up to the parking attendant to pay my parking ticket an hour later. He started issuing me my receipt and handed me a yellow 'receipt'. Having paid so many parking tickets before, I knew immediately he was running a scam and the real official receipt should instead be red. I demanded he issue me the right receipt instead but he said he was out of the red one and the yellow one will do just fine. Unamused by his charade in 'trying' to prove he has no more red receipts by brandishing four receipt books that contains only the yellow portion and even bravely claiming I will not be issued a summons, I demanded my parking ticket back. To my horror, he added another one hour to my ticket as retaliation!!! I drove straight to the payment booth on Jalan Mesjid Negeri to settle my dues and fortunately the lady was understanding enough to charge me the right amount.

I think this has gone far enough. I believe there's more than one unscrupulous parking attendant out there that is running this type of scam. After confirming with the lady in the booth, my suspicions were correct. There's plenty of others involved in this scam. I've heard of many complaints of people who always paid their tickets on time only to be issued summonses for not paying their parking tickets later on. Action must be taken swiftly against these scumbags. Not only are they benefiting from this and creating problems for the honest and righteous citizens who pay their parking tickets dutifully, the Penang Municipal Council is losing much valuable revenue!

I've submitted a complaint to the council and also wrote an email to The Editor of The Star concerning this issue. I do hope they will seriously look into this matter urgently. As for all of you out there, please remember that the RED receipt is the official one. Please double-check each time you make your payments and let's not let these unscrupulous 'sampah masyarakat' get away with it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

First Trip to Tesco

No, I wasn't referring to myself. I've been to Tesco many times now. I was referring to my mom's inaugural visit to Tesco, Penang. least I'm more knowledgeable than her about Tesco (although seriously, I don't think that's anything to be proud about). :P

Well, there were plenty of shoppers around. My mom had a list of things she wanted to buy which were substantially cheaper than the usual prices found elsewhere. As expected, I had to be the guide since I've shopped at Tesco so many times. By right, I should know where the products are located but I had a hard time finding the powdered milk products! I walked up and down the food section but all I could find were condensed milk, UHT milk and so forth. No powdered milk. Finally, I found it with the help of one of the promoters. Guess where it's located - between the diapers and toilet rolls aisles which is so far away from the food section! Later, I realised the rationale of them placing the powdered milk products there. It's probably easier for parents to grab the baby formula after grabbing some diapers this way.

Anyway, throughout my time in Tesco, I was kept busy with responding to my friend's fiance through SMS. They are getting married end of this month if you've not read the previous blog entry. Well, it did keep me company while my family were shopping around (me as usual nothing to buy). Can you believe that we exchanged over 60 SMS in the space of 3-4 hours?!? I don't think I've ever been engaged in such a lengthy SMS 'conversation' before with anyone! At the tail-end of the conversation (which I tried to end numeral times...unsuccessfully), I was shocked to hear that they asked me to be the godfather to their unborn child! Wait a minute....the child has not even been conceived yet even!!! They are not even married yet! I was sweating and my hands were shaking. I guess I've just experienced what future expecting fathers feel when the story has sunk in that he will be a father soon. *faints*

I truly hope they are joking. Why would they want to mess their child up by letting me anywhere near their child? It's really flattering but I'm truly not qualified. I tried to persuade them to reconsider and convince them it would really be a terrible idea but still unsuccessful. I'm feeling very nervy now. Won't this feeling go away?!? HEELLLPPPP!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Friend's Wedding

I had a couple of missed calls from my friend's fiance (they are getting married at the end of the month) while I was having a nap this evening. Actually, I didn't realise that until just now when I checked my phone and was getting ready to sleep! :P

Well, maybe it was just a call to remind me about the wedding (I've set lots of reminders everywhere - my PDA, handphone etc. - just so I won't forget!). Anyway, lots of friends whom I've not seen (or kept in bad!) for a long while now will be attending the wedding so it will be like a mini-reunion thingy for us all. It will be good. I chatted with a few recently and we're all looking forward to the big day, maybe more towards seeing each other again than the main purpose of the occasion, anyway (sorry!).

The problem with attending weddings is what do we get them? At this point in my life, I'm unable to share gifts with others since they are in relationships of their own and would want to give gifts as couples whereas I'm not working yet and not in any relationship! How if you get something that they don't like or they don't need? That would be bad, no? Can I even give a red packet (which would solve those problems) although I'm neither working nor in a relationship? What amount am I prepared to give then? I would at least wish to compensate them for the dinner (with a little extra so that I don't look that cheapskate) and at the same time, not having to tighten my financial belt a few notches more. If I'm employed, I would willingly give them a generous amount to help start them off but I'm just not in a position to do that now. I'm in such a mess and I have just a few weeks more to figure that out. Can anyone help me out here?!?

Friday, September 02, 2005

What's It For Anyway?

What is the use of having a room only for it not being used for that very purpose it was named after? I'm just sick and tired of office politics that is hindering my research work and it is even worse especially when students get involved. It's not enough that we have to deal with our supervisors not seeing eye-to-eye and going at each other's throat at every given opportunity but to have a treacherous student squealing to her supervisor and add fuel to the burning fire of hate between the two is utterly dispecable and totally unacceptable. I don't want to highlight her in this post anymore than I already have as it really disgusts me whenever I think of it. Isn't it bad enough that it's a monumental task to help mend the fences between them that someone just bulldoze it down just like that? I've seen my supervisor being more accomodative towards his 'arch-enemy' in recent times and I was happy to know at least some of my effort to help explain on each of their behalfs were at least worthwhile. My supervisor seems to have learned to be so accomodative that he just gave in to those demands/orders. I truly respect him (despite our differences at times) for taking the higher road this time.

Now that we are forced to move to the new facilities and having a substantially reduced working/storing space compared to our old facilities, we have to make do with whatever space we have including placing some metal cabinets by the corridors outside our designated room. Turns out, this is not allowed. For what reason, I still do not know but I assume it has something to do with reduced walking space or accessibility to their room. If that truly is the reason, I totally do not agree. Their room is accessible through FIVE doors (if not mistaken) of which two are big sliding doors while the rest are bigger doors compared to the other rooms. There are also so many corridors to get to the room that you can choose from, so what's to complain about? Even with the two measly metal cabinets out at the corridors, there's ample elbow room to maneuver around. Alright, we shall squeeze them into the tiny and congested room that we have and settle with less working area (as if it wasn't small enough already). Oh well, it's just more work for us moving the stuff around that's all. Nothing much, I guess...just lugging around some heavy stuff and using up our time which just isn't precious at all. I suppose we can live with that! Grrrrr!!!!

What irks me even more is that we are not suppose to keep our feed ingredients in the Feed Preparation Room! WTF?!? What is the purpose of installing two air-conditioning units in that room if we are not allowed to keep our feed ingredients in there? We definitely can't store them in the feeding trial room as prolong exposure to the heat and humidity will degrade our feed ingredients. Where are we suppose to keep our feed ingredients then? In our analytical lab? That's insane! Not only is that place sooooooo cramped now, it's so far away from the new facilities! Are we expected to carry the ingredients from the lab to the new fish house whenever we want to prepare our diets? If others are able to put their mixers and cupboards in the room, why are we not allowed to put our feed ingredients kept in containers in there? As far as I know, it's a common room, so why are we being disallowed from using that room for the very purpose it was constructed in the first place?!?

The new facilities, I naively believe were meant to make things easier for us, not more difficult than it already is. So far, it has only created more problems involving lots of money, time and energy wasted.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

1½ feet ≠ 1.5 feet

What's the difference between one and a half (1½) feet and one-point-five (1.5) feet? As far as I know - NONE! However, the person working at the hardware store where I purchased some metal chains from claims that both are totally different. How is that so? I was totally perplexed when he told me 1½ feet is not equal to 1.5 feet. Huh?!? If I had said I wanted 1 feet 5 inches (1' 5"), I would understand that it isn't equal to one and a half feet which would in actual fact be 1 feet 6 inches (1' 6"). Do you think I'm that dumb not to know that 1 feet is made up of 12 inches? Sorry dude, in my book one and a half feet is still the same as one-point-five feet. Check your facts before making a fool of yourself.