Monday, October 31, 2005

Trick Or Treat

It's Halloween but it's not something that we celebrate here in Malaysia. You see, it's a western culture and it bears no significance whatsoever here. For a country that loves it's public holidays and festivities, it's surprising no one tried to adopt this idea and put it in our calenders. It's celebrated on the night of October 31st every year, usually by children dressed in costumes and going door-to-door collecting candy. Halloween's theme is spooky or scary things particularly involving death, magic, or mythical monsters. The jack-o'-lantern, a carved vegetable lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols, pumpkins being the preferred choice. In recent times, Hollywood has been releasing scary movies to coincide with this holiday. This year, looks like The Exorcism of Emily Rose is the chosen one and from the looks of it, it's a really good movie! I think it would be nice to see kids going around collecting candy dressed in their creative costumes. Like all festivities, it's a time for all to get together regardless where you are. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Actually, there are a few topics I wanted to blog about today but I've decided to blog about the fever I'm having right now. Yes, I'm having a fever while I'm blogging this although the temperature is dropping and I'm feeling much better. Looks like surfing the internet and blogging is very therapeutic for me. ;)

The fever just came suddenly and I was aching to the bones and so were my joints. Usually I know something's bad when my joints start to ache and it was no different this time. My initial reaction was to check for dengue symptoms but apparently, spots will not appear until much later. Dengue has once again put the nation on its toes as this acute disease has claimed a few lives and infected many others. I do hope I'm not one of them. Although I'm feeling better, I'm still quite worried.

Another disease that is getting the whole world worried at the moment is the Avian flu. It is threatening to be the biggest pandemic ever in history and many are avoiding serving chickens, ducks and other birds at their dinner tables. So my question to you is this, what worries you more? The dengue fever or avian flu?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Happy Birthday Mom!

It's my mom's birthday today! This year, I've decided to keep it small and simple (that's kind of like my theme nowadays... :P). Just some simple dining and no cake. I've realised that cake is not only expensive and excessive, it's something my family should avoid anyways since we have a strong history of diabetics in our family tree. Also, since my cash reserves are seriously dwindling to nothing, it's best to stay frugal. ;) I'm not going to state how old she is since she will definitely kill me if I did although since she always gets compliments that she doesn't look her age, she should be happy to let people know her actual age and receive more stunned faces but I'm going to err on the side of caution here. :P Anyway, Happy Birthday have really been an inspiration. May the good times continue to roll.... :)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happenings At A Service Centre

It's just amazing what you can experience at an EON service centre. Being stuck from 7.30am all the way through lunch (yes, I was forced to fast, even longer than my Muslim friends) and only leaving the place (finally) at 3.45pm, I managed to pick up some interesting things during my time there but I'm just going to highlight two of the juiciest.

First, there was this intelligent looking chap but after his actions today, I had to reevaluate my position on him. First of all, this 'smart' fella can't even read, understand and adhere to the sign that clearly requests all customers to stay put at the waiting area and not encroach on the working area. Secondly, he was so 'smart' to read some of the magazines on display but didn't even bother to put them back on the rack, leaving them on the sofa just like that. Thirdly, he created a fracas but kudos to the EON staff there that handled the situation patiently and professionally. If want to complain, just complain la. No need to let the whole world know. Ask nicely for the contact numbers you require and go outside to do your shouting....let us have our peace! He acts as if he knows Proton cars so well and that he's some sort of expert in automotive engineering although he was clearly more of an IT analyst than an automotive or mechanical engineer. Many of the times, people will be able to realise how intelligent a person is by listening to them speak. For someone who literally wants everyone in the waiting room to witness his 'intelligence' in making an 'intelligent' complaint, all of that just hit him right back on his face as everyone there realised what a dumbass he actually was. If you want to change the brake-pads, just replace it's not like they don't want to replace it for you! You're willing to pay for the new brake-pads also, so what's all the fuss about anyway? Later on, I realise how looney this guy was when he talked to himself, not just once but repetitively! Well, that explains a lot! Well, he returned later in the afternoon with some other complaints and kicked up more trouble. This guy really gives a bad name to those who genuinely makes valid complaints. Sad, sad, sad....

The other juicy thing I picked up was that there's a rumour making the rounds that petrol prices will be hiked up again as much as 20 to 30 sen per litre after the Hari Raya holidays!!! Now, I don't want to get into trouble or anything, so let me repeat myself that this is just a rumour I heard at the service centre that they apparently claim is very reliable. I'm not trying to spread rumours or anything...just highlighting one of the juicy stuff I gathered from my excruciating episode at the EON service centre today. Those who decide to believe this rumour or plan to spread it is doing so at their own risk and I shall not be held liable for any legal or civil action that may arise. ;)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Burning Money

I'm not trying to be rude or insensitive but what I'm going to write must be taken with an open mind,otherwise don't bother reading it. Today marks a week to the day of our beloved First Lady's passing. And still we can see condolences advertisements in the newspapers today. How much money is being spent on these advertisements? Wouldn't the money be better spent on development projects or to help the elderly, poor or needy? Better still to further the late First Lady's causes such as cancer research and awareness, and cultural recognition and preservation.

Why is crazy money spent just for these condolences advertisements? Just imagine how much money has been burnt just for them to 'show their concern'. It's just full of crap, I tell you. That's just money down the drain that could have been put to good use. It is even worse when state governments take up advertisement space just to say thank you or make a festive wish. Is public funds being used for that purpose? Are we paying to say Happy Merdeka to ourselves? Even if public funds were not used for the advertisements, a donation to an orphanage or hospital or old folk's home would have been a better option for those ever-so-eager-to-impress-politicians.

The path that should have been taken instead would be that of the family of the late Toh Kim Eng that requested for wellwishers not to send wreaths or take out condolence advertisements but to channel the money to an education fund to be named after Toh instead. In this case, at least the money is put to good use for years to come and will benefit those in need of the financial assistance and not just fill the coffers of those media corporations.

Talking about media corporations, what's with them tailing the Prime Minister and reporting his every emotion? He is just human and obviously going through a rollercoaster of emotions at the moment, so why depict him as this and that?!? Isn't it normal for him to show some emotions? He is afterall human, no? Now the media is even capitalising on the PM's loss?!? Unbelievable!!!

Other money burning issues that irks me are the horrible 'beautification' projects such as the obscene Jalan Udini roundabout, upgrading of Gurney Drive, Taman Tiram and others. The magic number for each of these projects? RM300,000!!! Arghh...why can't they just do simple, cheap and nice beautification projects like that found at the Jalan Macalister/Jalan Codrington/Lebuhraya Peel/Jalan Residensi junction? Beautifully landscaped islands with some water feature to cool your senses. Will those in the public service ever realise their folly? Will they ever snap from their denial and listen to the public for once? Forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm regarding this issue...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Going To Hell

Your Deadly Sins

Envy: 80%
Gluttony: 80%
Pride: 80%
Wrath: 80%
Greed: 60%
Lust: 40%
Sloth: 20%
Chance You'll Go to Hell: 63%
You will die in a duel.

How Sinful Are You?

Looks like I'm so going to hell. With the many battles that I always get myself entangled in, I guess the probability that I will die in a duel is very high. So will any of you be joining me? :P

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blogging About Blogging About Blogging

I found this in the comics section of The Star today and thought I should share it here. Click on the comic strip to see a bigger version. :)

Monday, October 24, 2005


Mail addressed to my university mailing address will eventually find it's way to the common alphabetical pigeonholes at my school office. I was expecting my friend's wedding invitation which he insisted on sending although I told him I didn't need one. For many days, I've checked through the K's and the L's but still couldn't find that particular mail. That was very strange indeed considering my friend was adamant that I receive a wedding invitation!

Finally, I decided to look through ALL the pigeonholes in case the office boy was temporarily blinded when sorting out the mail. Fortunately, my eye caught a glimpse of a pink envelope in the E pigeonhole which was just above the K's and the L's. Wait a minute, it's still too early for Chinese New Year cards! I took a closer look....lo and behold, written very large and clearly on the envelope was my name! Argghhhhh!!! Idiots, I tell you. How it ended up in the E pigeonhole I really do not understand. This is not the first time I've found mail placed in the wrong pigeonholes. While looking through the K's and the L's, I've found a few mails that were suppose to end up in the B, T and W pigeonholes. Is it that difficult to sort mails? Do they need to go back to nursery to learn their ABC's?

Another thing that really bugs me is going through the same old mail over and over again. Why do these people direct their mails to the university mailing address when they don't even bother to check the pigeonholes from time to time? There are some letters dating back to 2003! It's always the same culprits. I've chucked a few irritating mails (Makro newsletters) before because their mail just clogged up the whole pigeonhole that new mail was impossible to be placed inside anymore. You can imagine the important mails they direct to these pigeonholes but ignore them altogether (bank statements, mobile phone bills, periodicals etc). Seriously, if you don't intend on checking the pigeonholes, don't bother to direct your mail there in the first place! Sometimes I regret not requesting for my own private pigeonhole. Sigh...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Makan Roti

My mom suddenly had hunger pangs while we were passing through Island Plaza, driving towards Sunrise Tower. She suggested that we make a stopover at Subaidah, a mamak outlet that I don't really like, well partly due to their striking pink outfits but mostly due to their insanely sweet drinks. She was yearning for some roti canai!

I ordered my usual teh tarik and remembered my aunt likes the roti pisang served here, so I decided to order one for myself since it has been a really long time since I've tasted it. We also ordered garlic naan (I love naans), roti telur bawang, puri (I love this too!) and some roasted birds (takeaway for my grandparents we were visiting later).

I love the variety of naans they have nowadays but the ones I love the most is the garlic and cheese variants. Puri was something I first tried during my undergraduate days in Terengganu. It's eaten with potato which I will wrap using the puri and it will taste very much like karipap (curry puff). ~slurp~

When ordering drinks at mamak stalls, I usually request for 'kurang manis' (not so sweet/less sugar) since they are well known to be very generous with their sugar and/or condensed milk offerings, but since I forgot to mention it to the waiter, I feared for the worst when my shot of teh tarik arrived. Fortunately, it tasted just fine. In recent times, I've come to realise that usually when I do request for 'kurang manis', the drinks will be extra sweet but when I forget to make that request, the drinks will come just alright! Maybe they misunderstood the term 'kurang manis'. Hmmmm.....

Anyway, that was our Sunday afternoon tea, the economical and delectable Malaysian way.... :)

Saturday, October 22, 2005


If you have called this number before, you should be able to understand my frustrations. Not only is it virtually impossible to get through to someone who can attend to your call and assist you with your TMnet Streamyx problems, they will always put the blame on you, as the customer for any problems you are facing. As a technical know-how and tech-savvy person, it's even more frustrating to hear the ridiculous suggestions that they offer as remedy for your connection woes.

I've been having some problems with the upload stream on my Streamyx connection for the past few weeks but refused to go through the hassle of reporting the matter and hoped the problem will be resolved in due time. Unfortunately, it has been really crippling my productivity online lately (even causing my blog to be corrupted due to a severed connection while I was halfway through updating it!) so I finally decided to make a report. While I was troubleshooting the computer at my grandparent's place, I decided to call up TMnet's Customer Interaction Centre to highlight my connectivity problems. It took more than 10 minutes for someone to take my call and the music (and message played at intervals) were excruciating annoying!

Finally when someone was able to take my call, he put the blame on my system settings for the slow connection. Firstly, he asked me to change from an auto-dialer to a manual dialer. Huh?!? What does that have anything to do with the slow connection? Next, he asked me to disable all my protective softwares such as firewalls, antivirus and antispyware. WHAT?!? Is he out of his mind? This is totally absurb! This has to be two of the worst ever ideas to rectify a slow upstream connection! What does the type of the dialer have anything to do with it and how is it that disabling my protective softwares would help or even be relevant when they have been find all these while, even on different computers I'm using elsewhere?!? If TMnet's solution is for everyone to let their guard down and get their systems infected by viruses and all the scum of the internet, wouldn't that cause a massive problem to their servers and systems instead? Silly, really!

I wasn't able to entertain him by following his 'procedures from the manual' since I was not at my home to test his methods out (which I clearly know makes no sense at all). I insisted on him to file my report/complaint and give me a report number but he insisted that I try out those methods first before he proceeds with issuing me a report number. I had no choice but to hang-up the call and rush back to my home in the rain to try those lame methods.

As I've predicted, those nonsensical methods didn't help one bit. I immediately called back and had to go through the tedious wait for my call to be attended, being 'entertained' by the music and a voice recording. Finally, J picked up my call. I related to him what has transpired earlier and told him I insisted that he file my complaint now and give me a report number. He went through a list of the methods that his colleague had earlier requested that I try out first and for every method, I told him it did not help. Then he asked me if I've configured the DNS for my dialer. Huh?!? Say what? I wasn't asked to try that method out by his colleague. He gave me two DNS addresses ( and but when I tried that on the manual dialer, it still didn't work. He claims that both the dialers were clashing and that is the cause of the manual dialer not being able to connect me to their servers.

When I switched back to the auto-dialer, my internet connection was totally screwed! I couldn't get online at all now! Worse still, he now claims that he cannot proceed with my earlier complaint of slow upstream connection and had to file a no connection complaint instead! Arghh!!! The frustration! I told him that he must not do that and that I will get the connection back myself. He should instead file my earlier complaint of a slow upstream connection so they will be able to rectify that problem! I told him that if he insisted on filing the no connection report, he must also include that I was experiencing slow upstream connections before that so they will look into both issues instead of just the no connectivity and still leave me with a slow upstream connection. After much haggling, he finally conceded to put both complaints in the report.

After he finally took my particulars and gave me my report number, I realised that I was on the phone for over an hour! That's truly good money for TM when in the first place, the problem was at their end, not mine. I also realised that and I still haven't taken my dinner and it was already close to 11pm. I have to commend J for being very patient and helpful as I can be really a pain-in-the-ass in such situations.

The next morning, I received a call from someone enquiring about my internet connection. I told him I've got it back up myself the previous night but the upstream is still a problem. He immediately told me not to worry as it is a server problem and it has nothing to do with me or my system and they will look into the matter and resolve it soon. Isn't it shocking to hear this after they kept on putting the blame on my system, kept me on the line for more than an hour and worse still, it turns out that what I've been trying to tell them all this while was something I've known all along? Shhhheeeessshhhh!!!

TMnet must rewrite their manuals so that it doesn't always put the blame on the customers when 9 out of 10 situations, the problem is with them and not the customers. TMnet have to rethink on their ridiculous methods that directs their customers to disable their protective softwares and switch to manual dialers instead of using auto-dialers. TMnet must also shorten the waiting time (or provide a FREE customer hotline instead) and increase the speed in handling any situation put forward to them. TMnet must ensure that their technical staff are technical enough to serve such requests. This is not the first time I've faces problems with them when I call this number. I do hope this is the very last time I have to do so.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Happy Birthday PFS

My alma mater celebrates its 189th anniversary today with more dark clouds gathering over the horizon as each year passes by. No flowers or visit to R.S. Hutching's grave this year for me. Happy Birthday, Penang Free School. I do hope we will be able to celebrate your bicentennial celebrations with the traditions, prestige and grandeur still very much intact come 2016. Fortis Atque Fidelis.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

First Lady Passes On

The Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood has passed away at 7.55am today at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya after losing her fight against breast cancer. My condolences to Pak Lah and his family for their loss. As a sign of respect, no more blogging for today. Malaysia has truly lost a great lady today.

(picture from The Star)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Doctor, Your Expert Analysis Please...

A couple went to a sex therapist's office at ABCHospital.
The doctor asked, "What can I do for you?"

The man said, "Will you watch us having sex, for your expert analysis?"

The doctor looked puzzled, but agreed.
When the couple finished, the doctor said, "There's nothing wrong with
the way you have intercourse," and charged them RM60. This happened several weeks in a row.

The couple would make an appointment, have intercourse with no problems, pay the doctor and then leave.

Finally the doctor asked, "Just exactly what are you trying to find out?"

The man said, "We're not trying to find out anything. She's married and we can't go to her house - I'm married and we can't go to my house.

Shangrila Putrajaya charges RM250, Mandarin Oriental charges RM280, Le Meridien charges RM230.

We do it here for RM60, and I get that back from "Medical Claims".......!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Isa Gone....FINALLY!!!

No, the Internal Security Act (ISA) has not been repealed (yet) but another kind of Isa has finally decided to leave after holding on stubbornly for months. Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Isa Samad has finally decided to resign after being found guilty of money politics back in June 2005 although his six-year suspension from UMNO was amusedly reduced to three years last week through appeal. The question still remains why he held on for so long as a minister when he was already found guilty of money politics and worse still, when the UMNO disciplinary council's verdict was upheld (albeit the suspension being reduced) last week, he still held on to settle 'unfinished business'! What unfinished business?!? Who cares anyway? Just leave! Let the new guy (in this case, a gal) come in and settle them. Maybe he/she will be able to dig up more dirt! What if his corrupted ways are not just confined to his dealings in UMNO but also in the public service?!? What if there's more skeletons in the closet and he was using that one-week excuse of settling unfinished business to clean up his tracks?!? Another pertinent issue is the inability/unwillingness of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to take action against him when he's already been proven guilty TWICE of money politics? Again I ask, isn't Money Politics = Corruption?!?

Monday, October 17, 2005

I'm A Democrat

You are a

Social Moderate
(56% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(28% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test

For those who had labelled (or still are labelling) me a tyrant/dictator/ your words! ;) HAH! This proves I'm not! :P

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

We finally signed the Sales and Purchase agreement for the house today. The documents were so thick and I just couldn't read every single word of it but I did take my time to glance through the documents to make sure all was in order. There were two sets of documents and four copies each! Each document consisted of about 30 pages of 'lawyer's talk'. We brought along my grandma and grandaunt to the showroom to let them experience and see the place for themselves. It's official now...we will be buying the property. We will not get a full refund from now on in event we do decide not to proceed with the buy. That 1% loss would be too much to bear unless something tragic and out of the ordinary happens that forces our hand. We have now passed one obstacle. Now the hard part of coughing up insane amounts of money every month follows. Sigh....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Messed Up My Mom's Car

I couldn't find the right word to express the condition of the car. It's nothing major but it's not minor enough that it's not noticeable. I wanted to comment on this article in The Star today but I chose to highlight this issue instead. I've never liked Prangin Mall but since my aunt wanted to go shop at the Parkson located there, I followed suit since I'm the designated driver nowadays. Also, I'm driving my mom's company car nowadays while my aunt drives my small, little Kancil. :P

OK, back to my story. The parking space at Prangin Mall is small, dark and dirty which is one of the many reasons why I don't like going to Prangin Mall. It's usually very hard to find a parking space especially when it is a weekend but I was so fortunate (unfortunate?) to find one just as I collected my parking ticket. As I put my car in reverse and let it move by itself, I looked through the mirrors and saw just plain white (blackish/greyish) walls and just waited for the reverse proximity sensor to alert me of any obstructions. While I was waiting to hear the first beep, I heard a thud instead! Ohmygawd...I've rammed into something! I took a closer look and saw a 'hidden' pillar! When I was able to finally park the car properly and come down to inspect the damage, I saw what I've done to my mom's company car. There was a vertical line indicating where the car made contact with the pillar. The bumper was scratched and the rear lights casing was cracked. When we took the car to the mechanic for assessment, we were told that the lights had to be replaced and some touch-up can be done to the bumper and it won't cost too much. He even checked the reverse proximity sensors since we informed him there were no indications we were backing into something. Turns out, some wiring must be wrong that have caused the proximity sensor not to work!!! Freaking Proton! This is why I do not want to get any car from Proton and would rather buy a Perodua car instead! Sigh...I've always been so careful while driving her car but I guess technology have made me lax. I was too reliant on the reverse proximity sensor and now that it failed, I received an expensive lesson in not being totally dependant on technology. :(

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tell Us Something New

The Star did an exclusive on the worsening traffic condition on Penang roads today with quotes from those that are either responsible in handling the issues or those who are related to it. After reading the articles, I can't find any new or interesting ideas or suggestions that will counter this crippling problem once and for all. The same old things are being said over and over again. One of the article lists the roads and the times when these infamous roads will experience the worst traffic jams. Come on, do you think Penangites need to know that information? Even my foreign friends (yes, this means they are not from Malaysia) studying at USM knows by heart the roads that will experience terrible traffic jams and when are the peak hours! A lecturer from USM suggested that the available facilities be optimised first before new roads are being used. This is actually a no-brainer, frankly speaking. It's just that our politicians and the people that are responsible for this task are either ignorant or plain stupid to have realised this in the first place.

The State Local Government, Traffic Management, Information and Community Relations Committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan and the Penang Municipal Council infrastructure and traffic committee member Khoo Kay Hean are becoming more and more like a broken record or a bloody parrot repeating the same things over and over again, sitting idly on their hands and coming up with dumb ideas or excuses which they will defend vehemently although it is so obvious that they are so wrong. Stop talking and start implementing the workable ideas. Ditch the lame ones and stop wasting public funds on such initiatives. We need action to be taken now and not later! If the personnel needs to be changed so that a change for the better can be initiated, so be it...however low or high that person may be. Penang needs more young, dynamic, capable and knowledgeable people at the helm and these two are the perfect example of what we don't need. Stop the rot NOW! Bring back the glory days of Penang and return the people-friendly and responsive government we used to enjoy! Start by telling us something new and useful!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Penny For Your Hair?

Well, we're hoping you would contribute more than a penny though. I've wanted to highlight this very noble campaign last week but due to obvious reasons, I was unable to do so. Peter Tan has pledged to part with his long and beautiful ebony locks of forty-two months to raise RM5,000.00 for the Penang Hospice-At-Home-Programme. So far, three other bloggers have pledged to do the same. Having seen the wonders this programme does, I truly support this campaign referred to as 'Hair For Hospice' and was considering going bald myself (I've always wanted to try it out) but after seeing what my friend just did, I decided otherwise. :P

I've told myself that when I do get myself a job, I should contribute to charity and this would be one of the organisations. However, it seems that my employment days are still far away and I'm just too chicken to part with my hair, I've decided to help promote this campaign instead through my blog and whatever means possible. Instructions on how to make the donations can be found here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fishy Stories

Me and my friends have started a new blog entitled 'Something Smells Fishy...'. The contributors will consist of graduate students working on fish research in Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. It's just basically daily ramblings of the happenings around our labs and fish rearing facilities at the new Aquaculture Centre. I've mooted the idea of starting a graduates blog earlier but I think that would take up too much time and effort. So, I've decided to start with something smaller and controllable (am I kidding?). So hop on over and read the crazy stuff we write. I actually have some plans down the road but I'm not going to elaborate on them at the moment. ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Google Reader

Here's another service by Google that I'm currently using, which was launched recently. So what does this Google Reader do? Well, it acts as an online feed reader/news aggregator very much like Bloglines. If you like the looks and feels of Gmail, chances are you will also like this. It works with stars and labels just like Gmail and provides the same clean look of every Google product. Previously, I used an offline news aggregator to organise the blogs and news sites I read but whenever I'm at another computer, it's unable to update my reading list from one computer to another, so it actually defeats the purpose of keeping track of what I've read and what I've not. Google Reader however will keep your reading list synchronised always regardless of which computer you are using and enables you to star a particular article for further reading or apply multiple labels to it similar to that found in Gmail. One thing about Google Reader though, it's kinda slow when I use it at home but it's alright when I use it at my lab. Maybe it's due to my home Streamyx connection which has been a real pain-in-the-ass for the past few weeks! Anyway, I love using it so far and would recommend anyone to use this service. All you need is a Google Account to use it and if you are already a Gmail user or any of Google's services, you're ready to go. :)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Still A Mystery

Today was the funeral and frankly speaking, I'm still very surprised (and disappointed) that some of his closer friends did not take the effort to pay their last respects either during the wake (if they could not excuse themselves from work commitments) or attend the funeral.

Only two of his band friends were seen throughout the wake and funeral. For someone who had always regarded himself a band member first and a prefect second, it couldn't have been more ironic to see a delegation of the Board of Prefects consisting of outgoing prefects (Fifth Formers and Upper Sixes) who would hardly have known him personally and had to prepare for their upcoming SPM and STPM examinations, attend his funeral and even lead the procession! Even one of his band friends commended such a selfless and honorific act. You just can't imagine how the mere presence of the prefects decked in blazers and all, had impacted upon his family members, to see his years of service to the school honoured and remembered in such respect. To have come when not even asked to do so, I really am grateful, thankful and appreciative for what they have done. I wasn't able to meet them after the funeral procession to thank them personally but I do hope that by highlighting their memorable deed here, it could at least be counted as some sort of compensation.

I was met by my friend at the crematorium and what he told me after that shocked me even more. He missed our very own delegation to the wake the previous night but that seems to have been some sort of blessing in disguise as he was able to gather more information about the accident by speaking to our friend's uncle. He even showed him photos of the crash and like what they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. I don't want to go into details here but let's put it that the crash wasn't as simple as first thought and there are many questions left unanswered. Whatever it is, I hope the family and his girlfriend is coping well and will finally come to terms with this tragic death. At least, he is at a better place now.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Death Talk

I'm not going to touch on the wake I attended with a group of friends just now. It's just not pleasant and what I saw and heard about my friend was really disturbing. You won't see this post until a few days later as I will want to review it first when I've regained my composure and it's probably edited to not reflect my current mood.

Long ago, I've promised someone to blog about the topic 'Death' but couldn't find the right time to do it. I suppose now couldn't be a better time to fulfill my promise. Chinese are very fearful and superstitious about this topic but I don't mind discussing it at all. Why should we be fearful of death? It's something inevitable. Not discussing it does not make you an immortal. So why should we hide from something we have to face sooner or later?

I had this funny connection with death. Scary as it might sound, I could sense death. It's not exactly something to be proud of but I kind of predicted the death of a few of my loved ones even when I'm miles away and they are at the best of health. Eerie, no? However, I've fortunately (unfortunately?) found a way to overcome this 'gift' of mine and ever since then, I've no more such 'premonitions'.

Many times I've tried to convey my funeral wishes, meaning how I would like my funeral service to be when I do leave this place one day. As expected, my family and friends would try to change the topic and brush my talks of funeral arrangements as pure nonsense. I mean shouldn't I at least be given a few minutes to convey how I would like it to be organised? Too often have I seen families at a lost when confronted with organising a funeral. Too often have I seen funerals put together the way the families would like it to be, not how the dearly departed would have loved to have done it. So now, please listen to me.

It does not matter how or when or where I die, it's bound to be hard on my loved ones be it family or friends. As such, I do not want to bother them anymore than they are experiencing due to their loss. I mean, it's not enough that I've been a burden when I'm alive that my death has to be such a fuss to them too? So, I feel that my funeral should not be physically, emotionally or financially troublesome on anyone. It has to be as plain, simple and peaceful as possible. Let there be laughter! Shouldn't you be happy that I'm going to a better place? Unless of course you are envious of me! :P

So listen up, this is how I want it to be. No open casket, please. God forbid that you all have to suffer looking at my ugly dead face! But seriously, I would rather you all recall how I was through your memories than to have a glance at me for the last time when I'm lying in that coffin. I'm not an animal in the zoo, you know. Neither am I a museum exhibit! No joss-sticks or any of those burning essence stuff, please. I'm not really a fan of those stuff when I'm alive and I doubt I'll change my mind when I'm dead! What offerings to replace the joss-sticks? Well, think of flowers. Although it might not exactly be environmentally friendly but let's face it, it won't contribute to the haze the way joss-sticks will and it's clean and universally acceptable.

Music? I don't need those mantra or prayer music. All I ask for is a soothing rendition of Amazing Grace looped throughout my wake (like the one in the previous post). Please, please, please no band at my funeral! I will probably turn in my grave (coffin in this case?) if there was ever a band! The music just doesn't suit me. The soothing rendition of Amazing Grace is all I ask for...nothing more, nothing less! Oh yeah, if you feel it's totally wrong to hold only a one day wake, then make sure it's held for a maximum of three days...nothing more please or my corpse will start to rot and release a foul stench! You wouldn't want that happening, would you?

I wish to be cremated and my ashes to be scattered into the sea. The open seas off the beach of Pantai Kerachut would be really lovely. Forget about getting an urn or a memorial plaque or something like that. It will just collect dust, cost too much money and so troublesome to my next of kin to care for it. If I'm meant to be remembered, I will be. If not, then just let it's just not meant to be! No urn or memorial plaque can replace memories!

No need for obituaries. It's insanely expensive to announce your death. Let the wonders of technology do the informing instead. Acknowledgements and thank you's are a different matter. That is a must. If you are thinking of carrying my coffin, don't even think of it. I don't want you to break your back and curse me for the rest of your crippling life! It's better to let the pros handle it, no?

I guess, that about covers it. Rule of thumb: Keep it plain, simple and peaceful. If you are undecided on something I've not mentioned here, just think what I would have won't go wrong. There should be no problems with my estate since I hardly have any in the first place! By law, all will go to my mom anyway, so that settles it. She will know what to do with it.

So remember what I want for my funeral. No amount of 'God Bless You' and 'May You Rest In Peace' will be able to compensate the inability of not fulfilling my final wishes. Don't worry, I won't come back to haunt you...I'll leave your conscience to do that. I'm not asking too much, right?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

In Memory: Alex Phuah

I had a whole bunch of topics (four to be exact) lined-up for today but all that has to take a back seat for the time being. I've just received the devastating news that one of my dear friends passed away this morning in a car accident. Details are still very sketchy at the moment since we got the news from his brother who also doesn't know much and is on his way back to Penang as I blog this.

I've just finished contacting those that I know that would want to know of his untimely death. I'm still shaken from the news. We were prefects during our senior high school years and through our training in the Board of Prefects, we learnt to work closely together and became close friends. I have to admit we don't see eye-to-eye at times but we hold the highest regard for each other. I will always respect him for being very, very, very street-smart and he will try very hard to improve himself in the book-smart area. We had very memorable times during those years.

He was the first among us to join the workforce. He was a very sensible and practical person. If he were to be a manager or supervisor, those under him would have been very fortunate to have a boss like him. He was an understanding person that will always remember his roots and treat his subordinates as his equal. I remember this incident when I paid for our drinks with my credit card (I didn't carry enough cash). He, being a waiter before, called the boy over and tucked some ringgit notes as tips into his apron and commented that he knew how hard it was being a waiter especially at a pub, serving drunk and stubborn customers at ungodly hours. It's the tips that make them feel honoured and respected for their profession and that's what drives them on.

While I was messaging them all and entertaining calls/SMS, I received an SMS from his prefect trainee. He couldn't get through my phone since I was on the line with someone else. When I called him back, I reached an obviously distraughted friend of mine. I nearly broke down listening to him but I tried to maintain my composure. Only then did it really struck me that I've lost such a dear friend and how he was a part of our life. Maybe it's not so easy for me to break down since I've experienced a fair share of deaths in my short lifetime so far. I'm also known to have a strong character and usually the voice of reason. I guess that's the part I play during these occasions. Some might even misinterpret it as me being cold.

Actually, I would like to write more but I just don't feel up to it at the moment. He definitely left us too soon. He had more to offer this world. I might not have been as close to him (compared to some others) as I would liked to but Alex was truly a great friend. He was someone that could lift our moods without much effort. He was there when we needed him most. He lead the way when we felt lost. He will always remain someone we remember for who he was and what he stood for. The moments we shared together will forever be cherished. God bless, Alex...may you rest in peace.

Here are some photos of happier times to remember Alex by...

one of his many antics...

front row, first from the left

Board of Prefects, second row, third from the left

fooling around, far right

good old times, second from the left

preparing for dinner, far left

happy times, dressed in white, in front of the red shirt

...and I dedicate this rendition of Amazing Grace to thee. It has been a pleasure and an honour knowing you....

Friday, October 07, 2005

My Digicam Updates

I have some good news concerning my dead digital camera. I was recently informed by the customer service officer that the CCD sensor for my digicam was indeed damaged and needed repairs. I was asked to pay RM299 for the repairs. I was obviously angry since it was obviously a manufacturing defect and I had sent in my camera for exactly the same reason in November 2004! I demanded to speak to someone who could make an executive decision and she asked me to contact the technician instead. Fine, since apparently they do not have a customer support manager or something like that. For the following days after that call, I tried reaching the technician but was unsuccessful (meeting, lunch at weird times, etc.). Finally, I got through to him. I was ready for a battle of words since I was very insistent on not paying for the repairs and was quite sure they will put the blame on me. I was even prepared to lodge a report to the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP). To my surprise, he informed me that they will repair my digicam...FREE OF CHARGE!!! I didn't even need to quarrel or make a point! I just won like that! Of course I'm trilled but I'm thinking, shouldn't I insist for the exchange/upgrade programme instead since most likely I'll have to bring my digicam in for repairs again after a few months? Hmmm.....maybe I should just be thankful with what I have for now. That battle can wait for another day. :)

Another Call For Help

Another child urgently needs blood. Got this from a friend...

Please help....

My friend 's only baby son has dengue. This baby is only 9 months old.

The father's name: Lim Soon Huat

The baby's name: Lim Jue Xin

Admitted to: Loh Guan Lye Specialist Centre

Level: 2 and room T3

Blood type: B negative and O negative only

The father's contact no: 016-4109815

This baby needs public help to donate blood since the baby is too young and the baby cannot use other types of blood other than B- and O-. I just feel so ashamed that I don't even know my own blood type. I plan to find out soon enough. Anyhow, for those who are interested in helping, please do contact the hospital to check and try not to harass the parents with enquiries and wishes of luck. Keep it to a minimum. They have better things to concentrate on. :)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Neighbouring Countries Moves In Right Direction

In recent times, we have fallen further behind our neighbours in coming up with the right policies in helping our nation rectify the problems caused by the increasing oil prices worldwide. We would expect the Singaporean government to always come up with better policies than their Malaysian counterparts but this time, Indonesia came out tops by risking the wrath of its populace and did the unthinkable.

Indonesia, like Malaysia, is a nation that produces and exports oil but also imports oil for the nation's own use. It can be said that Indonesia is one of the most subsidised nation in regards to petrol and diesel prices. However, that changed with the recent move by the Indonesian government to almost triple kerosene prices and double those of diesel while petrol prices were increased by 88%. That daring move was threatened with street demonstrations but none materialised. For a country well-known for demonstrations at every displeasure of a government policy, it was really surprising the controversial move to reduce oil subsidies so drastically did not receive the same fate as other less provoking policies. A week after the increase, Indonesia's fuel demands plunged as much as 70%. It is very much possible that people might have stocked up before the price increase but the Indonesian government is still expecting as much as a 15% decline in fuel demand due to the price increases. In just one move, the Indonesian government was successful in narrowing their budget deficit by reducing oil subsidies and cut wasteful use of oil products due to the unreal cheap oil prices caused by government subsidies, all this without crippling their economy and their citizens rioting. In retrospect, the Malaysian government postponed any price increase in oil prices to 2006, thus continuing to pamper the rakyat with the disillusionment of using unreasonably cheap petrol and diesel prices. Now then, can you tell me which country is suffering from subsidising dysfunction?

Recently, Singapore always being ahead of its neighbours, not only extended rebates for green cars to 2007, they also doubled the tax rebates to encourage the purchase of green cars! This initiative will not only reduce the reliance of petrol and diesel for vehicles, it will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is harmful to the environment. The tax rebates will bring the prices of green cars closer to normal petrodiesel cars and hopefully, green cars will finally get the kick-start it needed to attract buyers. Malaysia opted to promote the use of palm diesel instead, a type of biofuel that has been found to be an inefficient replacement for petrodiesel on numerous occasions. Malaysia's biofuel proposition is only a 5% replacement of diesel with palm oil. Tell me now, how is that suppose to help?

Last year, when I first proposed to a group of people about the introduction of tax rebates for environmentally-friendly cars in Malaysia, I was accused of encouraging the widening of the wealth gap among Malaysians. How is that so? This is exactly the wrong mentality that we have in our country that is holding us back. Ownership of private vehicles is used to measure someone's wealth in Malaysia. This is just so silly. Other countries are discouraging their citizens from buying cars and promoting the use of public transport instead but here in Malaysia, we are complaining of expensive cars and demanding for a chance to pollute the environment even further by owning private vehicles and shunning public transport altogether. True, our public transport is down-right atrocious but measuring someone's wealth through private vehicle ownership and demanding for cheaper cars in the process is totally wrong.

In fact, I was promoting the narrowing of the wealth gap when I proposed the tax rebates for green cars. It was not as if I was asking for green cars to be slapped with a levy to make it more expensive and unaffordable! I'm actually advocating for green cars to be made cheaper through the tax rebates so people will consider that instead of the normal petrodiesel cars. I don't see how is that encouraging the widening of the wealth gap! She's just plain ignorant and stupid (this became much clearer in recent weeks), if you asked me. Worse still, this is the kind of graduates that our public universities are producing. Sorry, POST-graduate student!!!

It is such ignorance that we must discard through the abolishment of oil subsidies. Malaysians must wake up to the reality that oil is not a renewable resource and production has reached its peak. There is no turning back now. Yes, ignorance is bliss but the longer we remain ignorant, the more painful it will be when we wake up and realise our folly. Our neighbouring countries have taken steps in the right direction to resolve this issue...when will we follow suit?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Selamat Berpuasa

It's the fasting month again for my Muslims friends. It's a time for self-control, a time for moderation, a time for reflection. I wish them all the best in healing their souls and efforts at collecting pahala during this holy month. I still remember my time as an undergraduate student in Terengganu, a Malay dominant state. During the puasa month, it's virtually impossible to find food during the daytime!!! We had to stock-up on instant noodles and biscuits to endure the fasting month there. Anyways, there's good news today as my labmate from Yemen became a father to a healthy baby girl. I wonder if there's any significance since the child is born on the first day of Ramadhan. Congrats to him and his wife! :)

UPDATE: Oops...just found out that she wasn't born on the first day of Ramadhan but a few days earlier.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Season Twos

There were some hoohah recently regarding the 'false advertising' of Lost Season 2 being scheduled to screen last night. I didn't bother since Chinese drama series on Astro Wah Lai Toi will dominate the TV in my house around that time. Also, I've already watched not only the first episode but also the second episode of Lost Season 2 and eagerly awaiting for the third episode this Thursday (Wednesday Central Time in the US). ;)

This morning, I watched the second episode of Desperate Housewives Season 2. I don't want to go into too much details (or some people out there will hunt me down, chop me into a million pieces and feed my remains to the dogs) but seriously, both are a good watch yet again. I actually like Lost this season better than the first season (so far). The next episode is not necessarily the events that occur after the previous episode but it complements the previous episode and fills in the gaps to make it a more complete and rich storyline. Also, you will not have all your questions from Season 1 answered in the first two episodes. The plot develops very slowly in the beginning. And finally, you will meet The Others. Well, actually I've already figured out who The Others are and what the numbers mean but it will be interesting if the show proves me wrong. :)

If you think Desperate Housewives have nothing else to offer after the first season, you are so wrong. It's as interesting as the first (if not more) and more secrets, twists and turns and surprises awaits you in Season 2. There's plenty of them already in the first two episodes. Hmmm....I wonder when Malaysian TV will start screening the Season 2 of these two very popular and successful series? Well, I don't need to bother, do I? ;)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Fly FM Hits The Airwaves

Fly FM, an initiative by former Morning Crew deejay Fly Guy, was officially launched today with the first ever Big Bang Breakfast Show (ala The Morning Crew of old) hosted by none other than Fly Guy himself and two other fellas. The radio station is stationed in KLIA and can be found at the frequencies listed on the right. It plays a wonderful selection of songs and (at the moment) does not have irritating and boring advertisements that just destroys your music listening pleasure. It reminds me a lot of the old Hitz FM when Lil' Kev and Fly Guy were the kings of the airwaves. Do check them out. I've started listening during their test transmission and have been hooked since. They even have a blog! ;)

(picture from Fly FM)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

They Are Vultures

The representative from the developer wanted to go through some details with my mom, so we decided to visit the showroom. To our surprise, it was jam-packed with people and it was raining very heavily! the response really that good? Even the founder and Executive Chairman, Dato' Dr. Khor Teng Tong was present to entertain guests!!! Now, that is really something! He was decked in jeans, mind you.

After going through the details with the representative, the bankers came at us one after the other trying to sell their products. It was not exactly a pleasant position to be in. While an officer from one bank was going through his/her products with us, there will be others circling around us like vultures, ready to strike the moment the banker serving us is done! Some really made me very uncomfortable that I just wanted to shoo them away! Don't they know it's very rude to easedrop on our conversation? What other animals do they want to be associated with besides being called vultures?!?

Anyway, some of the officers were really very poor in explaining and presenting their products to us. Having spoken to many other loan officers and reading up articles on the internet, it's not surprising that I was able to grill everyone of them to test if they truly know what they are doing and can really help us.

Unfortunately, we are all still comfortable with only one bank. Although the interest is higher compared to some banks, the loan officer was able to confidently answer all our queries and help explain to us all the different situations that we put forward to him. We only had to speak to him face-to-face once (for one hour at a different location) and he was able to attend to all our needs promptly, treating us like royalty and showed us he truly knows what he's doing. If I had any queries, all it takes is just a simple phone call and he will be able to answer them. If he's not sure, he'll confirm first and immediately get back to me, ready and welcoming another round of questions. It really does make a difference who you employ to sell your products. I was informed by a friend working at the same place that he's achieving top sales in that particular bank. I'm not surprised at all since I've experienced first-hand how he's able to handle his potential customers.

Anyway, I was very frustrated with the other bankers still trying to promote their products when we were evidently tired from the ordeal that I just ignored them and told them I had no more time. Indeed I don't have the luxury of time anymore and had other things to attend to. I've been receiving so many calls from these people that I decided to take their namecards and contact them instead of handing out my contact details and get swamped again. Learning from experience. :)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Metrojaya Island Plaza

My mom and I decided to drop-by at the newly opened Metrojaya at Island Plaza to see what it has to offer. My aunt decided to tag along too. When we arrived, we saw many cars parked illegally along the roads. First thought that came to mind was Metrojaya was packed with people. You see, Penangites just love flocking to new places. :P

We parked some distance away somewhere around Prima Tanjung and walked in the rain to Island Plaza. My mom and aunt shared an umbrella while I used a Giant catalogue (I think). I was not exactly dry so you would understand why I was shivering when I walked into Island Plaza.

I went straight to the Men's section to check out the selections they offered. The displays and arrangements were very much like how it was done during Super Tanjung's time there. There were less brands on offer compared to Super Tanjung and the prices were quite steep!

I did manage to find some really cheap buys anyways. I bought two Valentino slacks for only RM19 per pair! The catch? They don't have the sizes for all the colours and designs on display. What is on display is what they have left so you would have to rummage through to find one that fits you. Another catch? You would have to find your own tailor to adjust the length of the pants for you. They will only do it for you if you bought pants that costs RM100 and above per pair. Oh well, it's still a bargain though. :P

Anyway, my mom sums it up by saying this when we left...."Not So Great". Indeed, Metrojaya was not so great at all. If they wanted to make an impact in Penang, it was the wrong tactic and they have to employ a better marketing team to draw Penangites away from Gurney Plaza.