Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve Dinner

As usual, my aunt will get a few free tickets for some New Year's Eve dinner at one of the hotels in Penang and this year was at Sunway Hotel (Georgetown).

It wasn't exactly a pleasant evening but it wasn't such a horrible evening either. It didn't start off well though. Firstly, there wasn't enough parking and the worst part is, they didn't stop cars from entering when there's no more parking space. I only discovered this when I went all the way up (at least six floors if not mistaken) to find every single parking spot taken. I had to drive all the way down again but fortunately, I was driving my SLK so I managed to squeeze into one tight spot at the lowest floor. ;)

After we were shown our seats, we were promptly informed by the manager that dinner was served and invited us to the buffet line. Now, this is the interesting part. We were one of the first few at the buffet line but the food was not piping hot. Instead, it was really cold. WTF? To make things even worse, the water they served was warm instead of iced cold water! They got it all mixed up! It should be the other way around! I mean warm water is good for the digestion and all but you should be serving warm food and cold drinks, no? I mean the buffet is not cheap at RM75 per pax, so it's not wrong if we expected something more, right? Of course it's one of the cheapest that you can find for a New Year's Eve dinner at a hotel but this is just plain silly.

The waiters were not very good either. They just didn't know how to wait on you. Even I could do a better job although I've not received the necessary training before. All you need actually is some plain common sense sometimes but it's obvious they are not equipped with the most basic of skills to accomplish the task at hand.

All of us just had one plate of food because it was quite filling but mainly due to the food being nothing special, not that tasty after all and it was served cold. I hardly had any dessert either. The music was not only loud but horrendous! The least they could do was get some good and qualified professional singers, no? Although the celebrations will last all the way to midnight, most of the times we will leave very much earlier like 9pm. It was no different this time as we waited for the first round of lucky draws before we left. As for the lucky draw, we were just off by one ticket. What luck! To compound all the misery, I had to pay RM3.50 for parking when I had to squeeze into some place which is not even a parking lot in the first place.

Well, it wasn't exactly such a memorable dinner but I suppose we can't complain much since it's free. I'm just hoping I don't get an upset tummy tomorrow morning but I guess nothing can be worse than the gut-churning lecture I received from an 'old-auntie-wannabe' for me sending such a 'gloomy' New Year's SMS greeting. Have a sense of humour, dear.... :P

Happy New Year to one and all! May 2006 be a kinder year to you than 2005.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Narnia So Very Boring

Just finished watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, thanks to a generous friend who loaned me the movie. I had quite high expectations of this movie since I heard so many rave reviews about it from my friends and the media. Unfortunately, I find it so very boring. It managed to put me to sleep not once, but TWICE!

OK, I've to admit that I was a little tired but if the movie was a little more interesting and entertaining, I wouldn't have fallen asleep the second time. It's been awhile since I've watched a movie, either at the cinemas or at home, so it would have to take a really good movie to get me interested. Yup, it would probably take a lot to stimulate the creative side of my brain now since it has remained dormant for so long. This was exactly what this movie didn't do. It wasn't up to my expectations at all. Sometimes I just find it plain stupid and childish. Of course the book is more suited to younger readers, as such the movie adaptation would cater to the same demographic group but I don't see how it lives up to all the rave reviews that this would be a movie to remember for generations! Remembered for generations as a boring and uninspiring movie perhaps?

You want a movie to remember for generations, look no further than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now that is a movie to remember for generations. Now, that is one inspiring, interesting and entertaining movie. I find that even the Harry Potter movies are better than this. The movie critics got it wrong again this time. They got it wrong for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, they got it wrong for Narnia too. Although I don't find it a total waste of my time, I would have rather used the time for my much needed sleep instead. All in all, don't believe all the hype about this movie. It's totally rubbish!

(picture from Empire Movies)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

MyKad Your Card

Have you changed your Malaysian identity card to the new MyKad yet? If not then you are in deep shit and I feel no pity for all.

I know it sounds very insensitive and all but really, you had a whole two years (or more if not mistaken) to change to the new MyKad, for FREE! It's not like the Government pounced the dateline on you at the last minute. The queue at the National Registration Deparments is understandably very long now considering the Malaysian attitude to wait till the very last minute to do anything. Maybe it's not just Malaysians but it's human nature to leave things to the very end. Sometimes I do that too like my assignments and all but I will have everything planned out first. I just work better under pressure and I just like the adrenaline rush. ;)

The reason for this entry is not meant to criticise the attitudes of those who are only applying for their MyKad's now (well, maybe a little la). I actually want to highlight my brother's situation where he is 17 this year. As you know, we have to change our identity cards by the time we reach 18 years of age. Since if we were to change his identity card to the MyKad this year, then he would have to change to a new card again next year. We contacted the NR department but received different answers each time. One said we have to change this year and change again next year. Another said we have to change this year and don't need to change next year. Yet another one said we don't have to change this year, just wait for next year.

Finally after all the confirmation they got from their superiors, they decided on changing it only next year without penalty or any cost involved. Actually, I don't feel that confident with their answer. I foresee that come December 2006 when my brother needs to change his identity card, he will be charged since they screwed-up with their answers this time. I guess we won't know until next year. I just hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Head So Pain

I'm having a freaking headache again. Can't seem to pinpoint the cause of it. Feels like my head is going to explode. I just want to scream but it will only make it worse.

I think it's a bit scary that I'm having so many headaches so frequently nowadays. There can be so many reasons why my head so pain (please excuse my English for this post...thinking is a luxury at this moment). I think it started back when I changed my glasses. Although the house issue contributes to the occurence of my headaches, they are usually ironed out quickly and does not pose too much of a problem. Ever since I changed to this pair of glasses, I'm experiencing headaches more frequently. I know it's normal to get some headaches during the initial phase of getting used to the new pair of glasses but this is just way too long.

Maybe it's also partly due to fatigue as I'm getting less sleep nowadays. I've been tutoring lately and also I've running quite a number of extra errands lately. Sleep is really a luxury nowadays. Rest is really a luxury nowadays. Every little shut-eye that I can get I will take with both hands. Also, I've been thinking more critically by analysing my results and cracking my head on my research which I think contributes a lot of headaches.

I don't really know what exactly is the cause of my headaches and I'm not planning to visit a doctor to find out anytime soon. I'm leaning towards my glasses for now but I do agree that the other reasons I've mentioned above are contributing factors too. Maybe it's the culmination of all these that makes my head so pain so often.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Just One Euro?

Proton announced they have divested it's stake in MV Augusta for a mere nominal fee of one euro in cash. Take into consideration that they paid 70 million euro for the 57.8% stake just over a year ago and you would understand why so many people are up in arms at the troubled national carmaker.

MV Augusta Now Belongs To Italian Company

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 (Bernama) -- Proton Holdings Bhd announced Tuesday that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Proton Capital Sdn Bhd, has entered into a share purchase and investment agreement with GEVI S.p.A concerning its stake in motorcycle maker MV Augusta Motor S.p.A (MVA).

The agreement involved Proton Capital selling its entire equity of 57.75 million Class A shares, representing a 57.75 percent stake in Augusta, to GEVI.

Proton said in a statement that GEVI, an Italian investment holding company, would buy the shares for a cash consideration of one euro only.

"The proposed disposal is consistent with Proton's direction of divesting non-core assets," the national car company said.

It added that GEVI would assume Augusta's restructured frozen debts amounting to 106.94 million euro and working capital requirements of 32.50 million euro.

Proton also said that the proposed disposal of the stake was arrived at on a willing buyer willing seller basis after taking into consideration Augusta's unaudited financial results for the six months ended Sept 30, 2005.

The original cost of investment in Augusta was 70 million euro.

According to Proton, the proposed disposal is not expected to have any effect on its earnings, net assets, share capital or shareholdings.

There are so many questions left unanswered but the major one is why did they invest so much money in an ailing company in the first place and now discarding it off like toilet paper for a mere nominal fee of one euro? We were constantly reminded that Proton was a cash-rich company which didn't need handouts and bailouts from the Government but that still does not mean they have the right to put their money in unsound investments. They must not forget that the money actually comes from the Malaysian people whom makes up the bulk of their customers. Not only that, Malaysians have been paying a premium price for their inferior cars for years now. That money would have been more useful if it was used for R&D to improve their cars and lower the prices of their cars which is insanely high if you compare with other marques before they have been slapped the various levies and taxes. Is it any wonder that it is in the limelight for the wrong reasons and its sibling, Perodua is experiencing brisk sales at the moment?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Remembering Tsunami 2004

A year has passed and still the devastating tsunami that hit Asia (Penang among those places affected) and the havoc that it brought across the region is still fresh in memory. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives and many more lost their homes and changed their lifes forever. I dedicate this entry to the memory of those who perished with the tsunami and everyone who were affected by this tragedy. Man might be great but God is much greater.

(picture from

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I Got Socks For Christmas

It's Christmas!!! So what presents did you get? I got socks for Christmas...seriously, no joke!

I can still remember very clearly the scene in the first episode of Desperate Housewives where the mother threatened his kids that she will call Santa to give them socks for Christmas if they did not behave themselves. I guess I've done some misbehaving to deserve a pair of socks for Christmas. :P

To be fair, it came with a nice pen (which I've not fully unwrapped yet) which I have too many already but I guess it will be useful when I join the workforce later on. I also received a belt from mom. Hmmm...I suppose she noticed how my pants fall nowadays? :P

Yup, these are the type of gifts I get for Christmas - pens, shirts, ties, socks, belts, EDT and occasionally some gadgets and stuff. Well, it's fun receiving gifts whatever they are nonetheless but if you must know, my wish list ranges from the 12" Apple iBook, the Apple iPod nano, the Sony PSP and the 02 Xda Atom among others. A bit on the pricey side but trust me, you won't go wrong buying those gifts. So, to all those generous folks out there, I would be eternally grateful if I get the above-mentioned items as gifts. I have enough socks for now. ;)

(picture from Ultimate Desperate Housewives)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly

I sometimes forget that this time of the year, you should be happy, laughing your ass off and enjoying quality time with your friends and family. I made a whole mess of destroying the festive mood by dishing out one of my infamous but now legendary hairdryer treatments. :P

Well, a few things irritated me today but mainly it was the events towards the evening that got me really mad. Looking back, I might have been right to give them a piece of my mind but was it truly worth it? I've been learning to control my temper all these years and have been successful on most occasions but every now and then, it rears its ugly head.

I guess it's not yet New Year and not yet the time to make resolutions for the new year but one of those resolutions would definitely be to continue working on keeping my temper under wraps. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly, no?

Merry Christmas to you all...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Laptop Poser

If your mom's boss were to offer you his old laptop (as in Windows 98 old), would you take it? This was the question posed to me by my mom's boss through my mom earlier today. He has purchased a spanking new laptop and is thinking of disposing his somewhat old and dysfunctional laptop, and thought of giving the old 'junk' to me as a 'gift'. Don't ask me why but maybe he's in the holiday cheer mood. ;)

I've been wishing (and dreaming and hoping and praying and begging) to own a laptop for a very long time now but couldn't afford these really costly 'gadgets', hence I bought myself a Palm Tungsten E instead. Yeah, it has its advantages and all but when I need to perform some of the tasks that requires the use of a full-fledged computer system either at my lab or at home, I find myself stuck in a rut. At the lab, I tend to allow others to use the computer as I feel that they probably need it more than me since they are not from around here and are not as fortunate to have a broadband connection at home like me. Also, I feel that it's not nice having to intrude on my neighbouring lab and use their computers when they probably need to use the computers too. At home, although there are two computers around, they are always being utilised by someone all of the time. As such, I sometimes find it difficult to get work done or even do some leisure stuff on the internet, where I want it, when I want it. That explains why I've this yearning to have a laptop of my own, no?

For a long time now I've been eyeing the Apple iBook. It just looks so lovely and nice I could just eat it or sleep with it. I like the 12" one as it looks so cute and feels so light. Most importantly, it's the cheapest laptop model offered by Apple at RM3999 (which has dropped slightly recently). So why haven't I broke the bank and made this baby mine yet? Well, first of all, there's no bank for me to break as I am so broke that I need extensive repairs and probably an overhaul myself! Also, I'm waiting for the upgraded iBook which is rumoured to be launched in January 2006 during Macworld which will feature an Intel chip inside, the first ever Mac system running on Intel chips. ~drool~ But since I can't afford such an expensive 'surplus to requirements' thingamajig, I'm satisfied with the occasional daydreams I have of me happily owning one of them babies.

However, now I can live a part of that dream by owning a laptop (albeit being a cranky old system). It's no iBook but a laptop nonetheless. Of course I will have some work to do to bring that old geezer up to a level of acceptable performance or it might just end up like this from the constant banging of my head on it!

Well, I'm not exactly sure if I want to take up the offer but of course I'm leaning towards it. It's not exactly portable as it doesn't have a functional battery to start with but that can be easily settled. It's not like I'm commuting on public transport or have time to kill at locations where I cannot find a power source. It's going to be a really slow system but I think I can speed things up, at least a little. It might also have compatibility issues and all but I'm hoping that it's not going to be that major of a problem that I can't find a way around it. Of course, I can't complain at all since I'm getting it for free! This offer couldn't have come at a better time. Well, you tell me if I should take up the offer.

(pictures from Techtree, Palm, Free-Backup and ToastyTech)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

JPJ Roadblock

While I was going to campus this morning using my usual route through the Bukit Gambier way, I started seeing cars from the opposite side of the road flashing their headlights. That, if you don't know, is the universal language for a roadblock up ahead.

As expected, a major jam developed due to the roadblock. Every now and then, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) would be so kind to hold a roadblock at the top of the hill and cause a problem to all innocent road users. All those illegal road users that they have intended to catch would have taken note of the universal language service provided by those kind souls from the opposite side of the road and also the unexpected massive traffic jam, and made illegal u-turns before coming anywhere close to the roadblocks. What's the purpose of the roadblock then?

While in the jam, queueing up to be inspected by the JPJ officers, I noticed that the car in front of me had a faulty third brake light. I was expecting the car to be pulled over when it was its turn to be inspected. Surprisingly, the car was not pulled over! WTF?!? What's the purpose of the roadblock then?!? Sometimes I just don't understand these people. Are they doing it just to frustrate us innocent road users? What a waste of my time and petrol!!! Unbelievable.

Tang Yuan

Tang Yuan

It has been awhile since I've eaten 'tang yuan' to welcome the arrival of the winter solstice. These colourful balls of glutinous rice rolled skillfully with the palm is cooked with black sugar and ginger among other ways of serving this dessert.

The name of the traditional dessert carries much meaning for the Chinese as it sounds like tuan yuan (reunion). Yuan, which means 'round' or 'a circle', is also an auspicious word that suggests yuan man (perfection).

To some, Dong Zhi or the Winter Solstice Festival is regarded as the second most important festival in the Chinese calendar, and is considered the thanksgiving of the Chinese calendar. It's a time for the entire family to get together to celebrate the past good year.

The large white ball is the original colour of the tang yuan while the green is made using pandan leaves (naturally produced) and the red through colouring (I presume). Nevertheless, it tastes good whatever colour it is and in this time of age, there are many different variations of this dessert which features filling such as peanut butter even!

Well, wishing all a great Winter Solstice Festival. I'm glad to have this dessert to warm me up when it's unusually cold this time of the year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Head Shave

Head Shave

This is my handywork, you like? My mom asked me to purchase the shaver set which was on sale at TESCO the other day (I can't remember how much but I know it was damn cheap!). Today, I had the opportunity to use it for the first time. The guinea pig is none other than my cousin who is preparing himself for school with a new hairstyle enforced by his new school. ;)

The shaver had weak battery so my cousin had a few painful hair pulls now and then. Also, an amateur was holding the shaver, so he had an awful ordeal. :P In the end, we recharged the battery first before I continued shaving his head to produce this magnificient work. Anyone wants my service? I'm no longer an amateur but a semi-pro now. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tangkap Gambar

My university has implemented the smartcard system in many of its operations and has extended it to entering and leaving the campus recently. As such, I had to change my student card so as not to inconvenience myself when I travel to and fro campus.

I also paid up my tuition fee for the coming semester today at the bursary. It's the first time I'm paying tuition fee for my graduate studies since my scholarship has just expired. I can already feel the pinch...OUCH! There were quite a number of people at the Graduate Studies Institute lounge, so my friend and I decided to replace our student cards first. We went to the room upstairs and entered the room designated for replacing our student cards where they had all the forms to fill and gadgets to get a headshot of you.

It took my friend just a few seconds to get his photo taken but I was sitting for a few minutes with my photo taken over and over again for reasons I could not comprehend! I had to smile over and over again till my cheeks were numb! Finally, after the third shot (actually, I lost count), he complimented my smile and asked me if the photo of me that he had just taken was acceptable. I was so tired from the smiling and waiting that I didn't care much how I looked in the long as I don't have to go through the whole process again! So, I just told the guy it was fine although I didn't really look at the photo properly and my head was slanted to one side.

As I got out from the room, another friend of mine arrived to get her student card replaced too. It only took her a few seconds to get her photo taken! It was as if she walked in, sat down and walked out instantaneously! Only then did I feel a bit weird that mine took so long. Then did I realise that the guy taking our photos didn't even ask my friend earlier if his photo was good enough. He didn't even comment whatsoever. He just clicked and that's it! Oh dear, I'm now worried and wondering what this guy was doing taking so many shots of me! Was he making a collection or something?!? Is my photo going to end up in some weirdo's album for their viewing pleasure?!? Argghhh!!! I might sound a bit paranoid but this has happened way too many times for my liking. Now, I don't exactly feel 'complimented' that he had said I had a lovely smile. Quick, someone grab me a pail!!! :P

Monday, December 19, 2005


Every now and then, I receive calls or messages on my phone from people I do not know. Again, I received a really weird one this afternoon.

Bateri nak kong, bekalan letrik tlh d putuskan.. Nak cas bat. x boleh dah, tlg msj apa yg patut.

(Battery nearly out, electricity have been disconnected.. Want to recharge battery, cannot already, please message what is necessary.)

HUH?!? I just don't get it at all. How is it that I receive such messages?!? Worse still, I have friends who receive calls from unknown people looking from me on their phones! The weird thing is, I don't even have the telephone number of that friend of mine!!! Creepy, really...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Campfire's Burning

My sea scout troop, 8th Georgetown (South) is organising their end-year camp, Combined Training Camp at Coronation Camp now. Brings back lots of memories.

I attended the Campfire Nite earlier today and was quite impressed with the turnout considering it was raining. There was a very low turnout from ex-scouts though compared to previous years. Only a handful of ex-scouts (excluding the scouts who just finished their high school education) came to the camp. The performances were quite alright but I just hate the dances nowadays as they are just so damn long!

The structures and model ships still impresses me everytime. Take a look for yourself here. Sometimes I just feel so proud to have been a part of this grand organisation.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Corporate Lessons

A few lessons that I find very true and interesting. :)

Corporate Lesson 1:
A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbour. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel."

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 dollars and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks,

"Who was that?"

"It was Bob the next door neighbour," she replies.

"Great!" the husband says, "did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Corporate Lesson 2:
A priest offered a lift to a Nun. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?" The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest apologized "Sorry sister but the flesh isweak."

Arriving at the convent, the nun went on her way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129.

It said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory."

Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Corporate Lesson 3:
A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin. clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone. "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Corporate Lesson 4:
A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day.

A rabbit asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. A fox jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up.

Corporate Lesson 5:
A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to Get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients."

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bulls%@t might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Potong Rambut

Now you see it, now you don't. I've finally decided to get a haircut. There goes my long hair. :(

I don't know if I'll be able to get used to having short hair again after going so many months with long hair. Well, actually it's not that long (not the longest I've had) but long enough to form a mini ponytail. Of course, I didn't tie it into a ponytail since I think it looks silly on me. :P

It has kept me warm on cold nights and days recently but I had no choice but to part with it. I would have wished to cut my hair much nearer to Chinese New Year but I have to change my student card to the new 'smart card' type, so I decided to finally get a haircut and avoid any problems while renewing my student card. Also, my hair was in the way at times while doing my work, so it's time for it to go.

I had initially wanted to take before and after pictures and also plug my hairstylist but he wanted his face to be inside so he can advertise himself as a single and available...erm, effeminate person looking for loads of love instead of advertising his business. As such, I decided not to do it in fear that my readers will stop reading my blog after vomiting blood after looking at him. :P

Anyway, nothing new actually. I'm paying RM28 for the same hairstyle over and over again. Maybe it might be time for me to find another place to get my hair cut at a cheaper price. It's not that my current hairstylist is not talented but I feel that it might just be too much of a luxury for me to get my hair cut for so much money! Maybe grabbing a shaver and doing it myself would be a better alternative. ;)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Shoe Mix-Up

I don't know what was up with me this morning but I did the silliest thing ever. I mixed up my shoes! :P

I didn't realise I had put on different shoes (light brown on the right and dark brown on the left) until a friend of mine pointed out to me that my shoes were different in colour. I didn't get what she meant until I looked down and to my horror, I had different shoes on each of my feet! How humiliating indeed and to think I've been walking around campus with those shoes!

Well, for more context on the shoe mix-up from my friend's point of view (POV), listen to this podcast episode which will contain many other nonsense. :P

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Da Vinci Code Trailer

The first full-length trailer for the much anticipated movie based on the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code has been released!

I've just watched the trailer and it's superb! Just can't wait for the real movie now. From the looks of it, the movie has followed the novel quite well, even down to the use of the smart car and the chastening performed by Silas.

There are some notable actors as part of the cast and that can only make this movie better. Are you as eager to watch this movie as me? :P

(picture from Apple)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

She's Malay...So What?!?

Somehow, the police abuse MMS fiasco has veered out of control and have totally lost focus on the issue at hand. How is the nationality/ethnicity important in this case? She's a local Malay and not a Chinese national. So what?!?

News did get out awhile back that the woman in the infamous MMS doing ear-squats in the nude is not a Chinese national as earlier reported but a local Malay. It was mostly rumours then but the inquiry has confirmed that she's a local Malay on the second day of their investigations. How is it that it is less wrong if it is not a Chinese national? Even if she was Mongolian or Filipino or Indian or African or Russian or Japanese, does it make the unethical 'standard procedure' less or more wrong? No!

The issue at hand still remains that doing ear-squats in the nude is totally wrong and should be discontinued. The police shouldn't have resorted to such a demeaning act in the first place. Worse still, it's not a written law/directive/'s just a 'standard procedure' that they adhere to. WTF?!? This reader hit the target with his letter to the editor when he questioned the rationale of pulling ears during squats. The other problem is, how was someone able to access the room from a window or opening and record the video-clip? Who was it behind the camera/mobile phone? What was his/her intention? To expose this inhumane 'standard procedure' or just to satisfy someone's lust?

Also, now it seems that a police officer was showed the infamous MMS some months back! What?!? And nothing was done at all? There are so many other important questions left unanswered. How is it that the nationality/ethnicity is more important than those issues? It's only the second day of the inquiry. I hope they do better in the coming days.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Happy 17th Birthday

Someone's 17 today...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I seriously doubt my brother reads my blog or even bothers to find out about it but I'm going to wish him here anyway. :P No celebrations yet until next week because he decided to wait for our cousin to be back home to join in the celebrations.
Anyway, Happy 17th Birthday!!!

(picture from AcornStudios)

Prepaid War Rages On

A new development to the on-going prepaid war between the three telcos (more like two...). DiGi announces the latest price for their prepaid starter packs - now only RM8.50!

I doubt many would remember or even know of a time when prepaid starter packs were hundreds of ringgit. With such a big difference in the price of the prepaid starter packs then and now, it's not surprising if anyone would to question the sanity of those who purchased prepaid starter packs for hundreds of ringgit back then.

Many would be able to remember however that prepaid starter packs were RM20 in recent times while DiGi introduced theirs at RM18. Maxis then introduced a festive pack, reducing their Hotlink prepaid starter packs to RM10. DiGi was quick to react to slash their starter packs to RM9.90. Just awhile back, new Hotlink starter packs were reduced to RM8.80 only for DiGi to fight back today with a RM8.50 prepaid starter pack. All while this was going on, Celcom's Xpax starter packs remained at RM20. Is it any wonder that Maxis and Digi are raking in the lion's share of new subscribers and Celcom is not exactly expanding their subscriber base much?

Well, it's really a boon for consumers now who wants to get a mobile line. It's so damn cheap now! Looks like it's more of a two horse race between Maxis and DiGi for now. I wonder...when will they slash more of the postpaid rates? ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Penang Traffic Woes

Lately, the traffic problem in Penang has been in the news a lot more including the projects that will help ease the problems.

It probably started off from the formation of a coalition of citizens and NGOs that called on the State Government to improve the public transportation system in the state. Still there are people calling for the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project to be scrapped and use those funds to upgrade the public transportation system instead.

Also, there's also this news about a local firm that is willing to fully fund the construction of the proposed second bridge in Penang and that work on the PORR will commence very soon. Work to expand the current Penang Bridge is already underway. Looks like there's going to be a lot of development here in Penang for the next few years mostly concentrating on improving the traffic condition on the island. That's really good news indeed.

The State Government is looking to apply for a special fund from the Federal Government to help subsidise the public buses on the island. Also, senior officials including the Chief Minister of Penang has agreed publicly that the current traffic situation in Penang is just horrible and the alternative of public transport is even worse. The State Government is also implying that they are powerless in this matter as the public transportation system is under the perogative of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) and that funds for any of these projects must come from the Federal Government and approval from the Cabinet. All this time Penangites are bashing the State Government for inaction. Why only now do they choose to inform us of this 'problem'?

I think it is high time that the Federal Government does something to eleviate the traffic problem in Penang. We have been waiting for some major development in Penang for years and there is no better time than now to start the ball rolling. In my opinion, all the projects must go hand-in-hand. I know that will cause a great strain on the Treasury but working only on one project is not going to help the situation at all. Worse still, it might create more problems.

I think the PORR is not such a bad idea after all. Let's take Singapore for example. They have so many expressways (if not highways) on the island itself! It makes travelling around so much easier. They don't have toll plazas that will cause jams. They use the gantry system for the inner city to collect toll. Don't get me started with their public transportation system! It's just such a wonderful experience taking public transport in Singapore. Heck, I might even choose public transport over private transport in Singapore! The PORR can really help improve the roads in Penang. Have you been stuck in a crawl when a car breaks down or an accident occurs? The PORR will give us an alternative route and the RM1 is minimal amount for a fast and stress-free trip across the island. If the concessionaire plays it right, they don't have to increase the toll at all. Volume is good enough to generate enough revenue for them.

The bus routes must be totally revamped. Major routes must have buses plying them more frequently and buses must cover more parts of the island to make them more viable. The Penang Monorail must also kick-off. It can't wait for 2010. By the time it is completed, the traffic condition in Penang would have been so chronic, it might be just too late. Work must start now. We were suppose to be the first state to have a light rail transportation system back in the mid-1990s. Till now, we still hear only promises. This project is way overdue and there should not be any more postponement.

The Penang Bridge has exceeded its limits long ago. The expansion it is receiving now will only make it sustainable for a while more. Building a bridge that massive takes a lot of time. Work has to start now. Why must we wait for the Penang Bridge to be choking again before work on the new bridge starts? By that stage, the Penang economy might even collapse!

All these projects must go hand-in-hand if the Federal and State Governments are serious in tackling this problem. Penang is the second largest city after Kuala Lumpur and this is no small feat considering we are only an island! Yes, there is the mainland but there is still time to develop the place. In fact, it is getting more attention and development projects at the moment compared to the island. It's about time Penang regains its shine.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Just Addictive!

I'm stuck playing The Sims 2 on the PS2 now. I was similarly hooked on The Sims when I played it on the PC a few years back.

I have a few grouses however. The game is quite limiting. There is this fire hazard limit thing that I can't find a way to get around. I've earned so much money but I just can't spend all that money due to the fire hazard limit thingy. The aspirations stuff can be quite interesting at first but it gets really irritating later on. It limits your buying also and sometimes it asks you to do something over and over again, even those things that you do not want to do...EVER! How uncool is that?

Making friends and keeping them friends is really a task for both The Sims and The Sims 2. They are so fickle-minded and it's as if you have to talk to each and everyone of them everyday! That is very tiring! Sometimes I feel like it's much better if you don't get a job and just stay at home. Painting can earn you much more than what you bring back from work everyday, much more!

The food option is great but why do they always cook the same stuff like roast? Even when you follow the recipe given, something else comes out. What gives? The stuff that you can buy is also quite limiting and dull. Of course you can get the expansion pack but shouldn't you at least give a little more variety? I mean colour in itself is just not enough. The designs should be distinctly different. But the main thing that is making this game less addictive is the fire hazard limit thingy. I guess it's a good thing anyway for me not to be addicted to this game. :)

UPDATE: My cousin found a way to go around that fire hazard limit thingy. He evicted himself and moved back in. Looks like it's a glitch or something. Hmmm...maybe I might be addicted to the game again... :P (updated 12/12/2005)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Testing Testing 1-2-3

I'm giving podcasting a try. Maybe not for this blog (as of now and the near future anyway), but for some of my other blogs.

Actually, I think I sound terrible in recordings (not sure how horrible I sound in real life!). I've done recordings for various purposes since young and never liked my voice one bit in those recordings. I guess I just don't have a voice for radio. :P

Nothing much I can do about my voice anyway so I guess I've no choice but to live with it and that goes for all of you too! Don't like it? Too bad. Unless you have a way to improve my voice, then speak up. If not, just live with it. :P

Anyway, check out this very amateurish attempt at podcasting. If you lose your hearing from listening to it, I will not be held responsible. ;)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Down And Out

I felt so miserable this morning when I woke up and checked the results for the Champions League football matches on TV. My team, Manchester United will no longer be playing any part in any of the European matches for the rest of this season.

Not only did they fail to reach the knockout stages for the first time in 10 years, they also lost out on a place in the UEFA Cup after they finished bottom of the group. It's really embarassing and their whole European campaign was horrible. Poor home form, lack of goals, lack of penetration, lack of creativity, lack of experience...all these contributed to a disastrous European campaign that will cause great ramifications to the club.

The midfield needs urgent beefing up if United is to have any chance of getting out of the doldrums. Already 10 points adrift leaders Chelsea before the midway point, it looks like United has a lot to do if they are to reclaim the title they last won in 2003. United's inability to score goals and play attractive attacking football like the way they used to overrun their opponents was evident quite some years back and it has only gone downhill since. Is this really the end of a glorious era under Sir Alex Ferguson? I believe that only good can come from this. This will really be a kick up their backsides and hopefully, they will wake up from their dreams and perform the way we know they can. That's all I'm asking.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Health Benefits of Peanuts

To those of you who loves peanuts and have no allergies to it, well enjoy yourself with a bonus of good health. Received this email from someone who can be considered knowledgable in this field.

With peanut allergies on the rise, more and more people are steering clear of these nuts altogether. There's no arguing that peanut allergies can be extremely serious, and if you are allergic, you should certainly stay away from them. But if you're not, you may want to take a second look at peanuts.

They're a great source of protein. And they're also extraordinarily high in polyphenols -- the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the antioxidant family. Yes, peanuts are high in fat. But now we know that, like avocados, they are high in the "good" kind -- monounsaturated fat. They also contain magnesium, folate, vitamin E, copper, arginine, and fiber -- all of which are known to lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another one of peanuts' virtues is that they contain high amounts of resveratrol. Studies have shown that resveratrol can inhibit the growth of colorectal tumor cells. Since the other primary source for this compound is red wine, it's a challenge for people who don't drink alcohol to get enough.

Roasting actually increases the antioxidant content in peanuts by up to 22 percent. Since most people prefer roasted nuts, this is a great discovery. Here are some tips for getting as much benefit as possible from peanuts:
  • Instead of eating peanuts doused with too much salt, combine the roasted, unsalted variety with dried fruits for a tasty snack that is also packed full of polyphenols and other antioxidants.
  • Make sure you buy natural peanut butter that doesn't contain added sugar.
  • Look for brands made from roasted, organic peanuts, since conventionally grown peanuts tend to have high pesticide content.
  • And if you'd like to indulge your inner child who still yearns for an occasional PB&J, try natural peanut butter with sliced banana and drizzled with some honey. Believe me, you won't miss the jelly (or the refined sugar it contains) one bit.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

RM1 Coin No More

Today is the final day that the RM1 coin will remain in legal tender. Have you guys got rid of them yet? If not then too bad! :P

Actually, I might have a few lying around somewhere I don't know but I don't really care. I've hated the RM1 coin since the very beginning! In fact, I hate all coins! Coins do have their use like in slot machines and erm....change, but I just hate carrying them around especially in my pants. They are heavy, they make an irritating sound, they fall out and make you poorer! Remember the ridiculous idea of putting RM1 coins inside 'angpows' (red packets) for Chinese New Year? Hate it! They were so heavy to carry and so hard to keep and count! It was totally not practical.

I know other countries like Singapore have bigger coin denominations like $2 and $5 but at least they are widely accepted unlike the RM1 coin here in Malaysia. Also, in Singapore, cash either in paper or coin form is hardly being used anyway. They have different types of plastic to replace cash. Public transport? Transit Card. Shopping? Credit Card. Toilets are free. The parking uses the coupon system. Phone calls? Who doesn't own a mobile phone? I believe Singapore can easily convert to a cashless society.

Anyway, I think it was a wise decision to withdraw the RM1 coin from circulation. It caused more problems than solved them.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I'm so broke now, I've started giving tuition. Not my first attempt but it has been awhile since I last gave tuition. Today was my first day after a year of 'sabatical' or so. :P

For those who have heard me talk (suffer from having to sit through my tortorous yakking more like it!), you should know how I can't stop once I've started. Maybe that's why I like to teach. I can talk and talk and talk. :P Maybe I'm suited to teach after all (but I'm not considering to take up lecturing or a teaching post in school anytime soon!).

I've always liked to impart my knowledge and experience to whoever that is willing to listen and learn. I feel that it is important to share the knowledge and experience that you have gained through your lifetime and not keep them all to yourself. They are the most precious things that you can give to someone. Knowing how you have enriched someone else's life through those 'words of wisdom' (kononnya... :P) is totally priceless.

So people, don't take them all to the grave. Learn to share and you will feel the joy of empowering another soul. And if any of you knows of anyone who's looking for a tutor, let me know...I could use the extra cash! ;) I'm kinda in a financial crisis at the moment. :(

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Tong Hua (Fairy Tale)

by Guang Liang (Michael Kong) aka Michael Wong Kong Leong

"Tong Hua" music video with English subtitles

Chinese Lyrics

wang le you duo jiu
zai mei ting dao ni
dui wo shuo ni
zui ai de gu shi
wo xiang le hen jiu
wo kai shi huang le
shi bu shi wo you
zuo cuo le shen me

ni ku zhe dui wo shuo
tong hua li dou shi pian ren de
wo bu ke neng
shi ni de wang zi
ye xu ni bu hui dong
cong ni shuo ai wo yi hou
wo de tian kong
xing xing dou liang le

wo yuan bian cheng tong hua li
ni ai de na ge tian shi
zhang kai shuang shou bian cheng chi bang shou hu ni
ni yao xiang xin
xiang xin wo men hui xiang tong hua gu shi li
xing fu he kuai le shi jie ju

ni ku zhe dui wo shuo
tong hua li dou shi pian ren de
wo bu ke neng
shi ni de wang zi
ye xu ni bu hui dong
cong ni shuo ai wo yi hou
wo de tian kong
xing xing dou liang le

wo yuan bian cheng tong hua li
ni ai de na ge tian shi
zhang kai shuang shou bian cheng chi bang shou hu ni
ni yao xiang xin
xiang xin wo men hui xiang tong hua gu shi li
xing fu he kuai le shi jie ju

wo yao bian cheng tong hua li
ni ai de na ge tian shi
zhang kai shuang shou bian cheng chi bang shou hu ni
ni yao xiang xin
xiang xin wo men hui xiang tong hua gu shi li
xing fu he kuai le shi jie ju

wo hui bian cheng tong hua li
ni ai de na ge tian shi
zhang kai shuang shou bian cheng chi bang shou hu ni
ni yao xiang xin
xiang xin wo men hui xiang tong hua gu shi li
xing fu he kuai le shi jie ju

yi qi xie wo men de jie ju

English Translation

I've forgotten how long it's been
Since I last heard you
Tell me your favourite fairytale
I've thought for a very long time
I'm starting to get worried
Have I done something wrong again?

You told me with tears in your eyes
That fairytales are all lies
There's no way I can be your prince charming
Perhaps you don't understand
Since you said you loved me
The stars in my sky started to twinkle

I'm willing to be
The angel you love in the fairytale
I'll open my arms wide
And turn them into wings to protect you
You must believe
Believe that we will be like the fairytale
With happy ever after as the ending

Together we'll write our own ending

Tong Hua - a song that is being played over and over in my iTunes at the moment. Well, actually also in the car, in my head and everywhere else for that matter! :P Just can't stop listening to it. I get this sad feeling while listening to this song but fulfilling in a way. I get teary-eyed everytime I watch the music video. I'm trying to learn the lyrics by hard but it's not exactly something easy to do. You see, the lyrics are in Mandarin and I know nuts about Mandarin although I'm a Malaysian Chinese. :P The English translation is helping though. :) The lyrics are just so meaningful but although I'm still unable to remember it by hard, I'm enjoying the wonderfully composed music which is just heavenly.

If you don't already know, Michael is a Malaysian singer who is now based in Taiwan and was formerly half of the Michael and Victor duet that churned out many beautiful ballads before they seperated to further their solo careers. I found a Flash music video of this beautiful song and also a comical version performed by The Dormitory Boys. Enjoy...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

PC Fair Buys

Visited the latest round of PIKOM PC Fair at PISA today. Went early (10am) to avoid paying for the parking. :P

A few objectives for this trip apart from the usual updating myself on the latest gadgets and pricing. I had to get a 512MB DDR RAM for my lab computer. My labmates are complaining how slow the computer is. I also had to get a mobile HDD for my aunt. Only now does she realise how useless a USB drive is when compared to a mobile HDD. As for myself, I was looking out for a cheap MP3 player/recorder. Actually I'm only interested in the recording part (if you've been reading my blog, you should know why I'm interested in the recording function). I listen to my MP3 collection on my PDA when I'm on the go, so I'm truly not that interested with the playback function on the player/recorder. Since I've missed out on the unbelievable bargain of only RM99.90 for a 256MB MP3 player/recorder at TESCO, I had no choice but to settle for something else.

I purchased a 128MB version for about the same price as the one at TESCO recently, so you should understand my frustrations. Got the RAM for slightly more than RM150 but didn't feel much difference when I installed it on the lab computer. Not sure how my labmates will react to that. The mobile HDD was close to RM400 for the 60GB version. Tried it at home and as expected, it couldn't get enough power for the disk to spin. I've seen many 60GB mobile HDD face this problem before but the lady boss assured me this case wouldn't give problems. I guess I've to confront her with this problem now. Either I get another case which is functional or I've to get a power adaptor to give it enough juice to spin-up.

What I can say about this PC Fair is that it was quite disappointing. It has always been that way ever since this event took the place of the ever popular and successful Microfair a few years back and instead of being a once-a-year event, it is now a three-times-a year thing. Can't blame the exhibitors for not giving rock-bottom bargains when they have to cough up so much money three times a year! Really miss those days when the exhibitors will slash their prices to compete with each other in real time...very much like at the floor of a stock exchange. Sigh, I do hope my investment will return dividends.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Police Abuse MMS: Panel Given 30 Days

A five-member independent panel has been given 30 days to submit its report regarding their investigations on the ear squat video incident that has been in the spotlight for the past week or so.

Five-member independent panel to probe ear squat video incident named

KUALA LUMPUR: The five-member independent panel to investigate the ear squat video incident has been named. It has 30 days after the members receive their appointment letters to submit its report to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

As reported in The Star yesterday, former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah was named commission chairman, and former MCA deputy president Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek a member.

The other members of the panel are former Bar Council chairman Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari and Wanita Umno legal bureau chief Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim.

The fifth member is Internal Security Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Hamzah Md Rus, as the commission secretary.

All of them were also members of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police. Hamzah was also the secretary then.

Dzaiddin's new panel is officially known as "The Commission of Inquiry into the Standard Operating Procedure, Approaches or Regulations in the Handling of Body Search in Connection with Arrest and Detention by the Police."

The list was announced in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Department late yesterday.

The commission set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1950, and took effect yesterday.

The statement stated the appointment of Dzaiddin and his team and that the four terms of reference had received the consent of the King.

The terms of reference were:

# DETERMINE whether the woman seen in the video clip doing ear squats in the nude was one of the five Chinese nationals who were arrested and held by police;

# INVESTIGATE the handling of the body search of the woman seen in the video clip doing ear squats in the nude;

# DETERMINE whether there was any impropriety in the handling of the aforementioned body search; and

# INVESTIGATE the standard operating procedure, approaches or regulations in the handling of body search in connection with the arrest and detention by the police, and to propose any changes if needed. [...]

I find the members of the panel to be acceptable, knowledgable and balanced enough to tackle this problem. As for now, we can only wait for the report in a month's time.

(picture from The Star)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

It's World AIDS Day today. The theme this year is "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise" which will also be used for every World AIDS Day until 2010. To this day, there is still no cure and the consequences is most of the time fatal. Let's take a moment to educate ourselves and those around us of this disease. Let's also take a moment to remember those who are suffering from this disease for no fault of their own. Let's take a moment to condemn those selfish people who knowingly spread this disease through rape, unprotected sex, tainted blood transfussion, sharing needles and so forth. Let's try to make the world more liveable for those who have contracted this disease. It's bad enough that they have to battle this disease. Let's not add the burden on them.


Police Abuse MMS: Noh Reprimanded

The Prime Minister was swift to put things back in order for the second time in the space of a week when he reprimanded the Deputy Minister of Internal Security Minister for his insensitive, inappropriate and brainless 'Go Home' comment.

Pak Lah: Noh statement totally against Government's policy on visitors

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has reprimanded Datuk Noh Omar for his remarks that foreigners and visitors should go home if they thought the Malaysian police were cruel.

Abdullah, who is also the Internal Security Minister, said the remarks by his deputy minister were "highly inappropriate".

"His statement is totally against the government's policy and stand on foreign visitors and tourists, where we welcome all of them whether to holiday, study, seek medical treatment or to do business here.

"Members of the Government should be more sensitive and careful when making any statement in connection with this issue.

"I have reprimanded Datuk Noh Omar on this matter," the Prime Minister told Bernama. [...]

Although the deputy minister did offer an apology if anyone was offended by his comments, I feel it's way too late. It was too late once he uttered those words. He should never had made those comments. The damage is already done and nothing can restore the situation to what it was before. You should have thought of it first before opening your pie-hole and creating more problems. Worse still, he even dare push the blame on the media for misintepreting him! Now, you listen to this clip and tell me he didn't say those comments and the media twisted his words. I do hope the media will go after his head for this! Once again, he proves himself to be such an idiot!