About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last day of the year already!

It has been a busier than usual holidays for me this year.

I left Miri on 17 Dec evening after sending Al E off to the kennel hopefully for one last time before his great trip back to Kuala Lumpur hopefully by Chinese New Year.

The flight on 17 was duly delayed and by the time I got home, it was 18/12 2am.

The days from 18 to today have past by like seconds ticking on a clock or the chimes on the grandfather clock between the kitchen and my dad's room.

We have spent pre-Christmas with the family, we have gone here and gone there, we have spent Christmas eve with wifey's mom, Christmas day with them as well.

Spent some time eating jungle food and herbs with my native friend in Serendah area and with another friend eating vegetarian dim sum.

We have spent some time before Christmas with a friend that come from Netherlands and one other friend or another.

Missed some friends, met some friends, talked to some, wrote to some, remembered in my heart and reminisced about some others.

Most of all, hope, pray and wish that everyone had a good year if not a great one. And if they had a bad one, then hope, pray and wish that things only get better for my dear friends who did not have a great year.

Also celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary. In marriage, nothing is perfect, you thrive to be the best and hope that the flaws are accepted, compromised and forgiven. To last for 13 years and always wishing and praying and hoping that it will last forever.

On 30th, we had our small house party which as usual turned out quite well. Guests coming in time and last guests leaving at 2am. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, businessmen, director generals etc .... mainly humans ... friends.

How has this year been for me?

It has been turbulently wonderful.

January started with a 3.5 month trip to the Netherlands for work which ended in a nice holiday with me and wifey in Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany before coming back with heavily laden bags to Malaysia.

In my months there, I also visited Antwerp, Berlin, Vienna, Krakowia, London and pretty much every nook and corner of Netherlands that the trains would take me.

Made some wonderful friends and reconnected with some old friends.

After coming back, there was the break for Gawai just spent time reconnecting back with my boy Al E whom I had missed for 3.5 months.

Missed the Miri Jazz Festival but then there was the Rainforest Music Festival with friends.

Work wise, things have been busy and interesting especially since taking up another role or doubling up on the planning role as well.

Then of course the big transition, the changes in the work place. Applying for jobs, the tension of hoping to get a job that I'd like and the the rumours, the weekly changes and finally the announcements.

Now, the big plan to move back to KL from Miri, with dog in tow.

Some minor renovations in Bangsar house to make it dog friendly a little.

So, understandably, 2009 has been a turbulent year but great year. Some things did not start well and did not even seem to go well but surely ended well, on a positive note.

Next year I will be back in KL as everyone knows. I will miss Miri as everyone knows. I will miss the wonderful friends I have made, I will miss the wonderful sunsets that I get daily from the beach home I have been staying in, I will miss the walks on the beach, I will miss the Miri traffic (no jams), I will miss Nasi Lalapan which I have yet to find in KL.

But despite all the things I will miss, I am looking forward to a lot of things.

And I am looking forward to a wonderful 2010.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sie lor (die in Chinese) - Gomen Swindle Taxpayers

4% Good Services Tax.

4 means die in Chinese, so die lor all of us.

4% Good Services Tax.

What is the reduction in income tax? 0%

What is the reduction in car import tax? 0%

What is the reduction in goods import tax? 0%

What is the reduction in service charge that is charged? 0%

What is the increase in our GDP? 0%

And yet, we add on more tax, the good services tax, 4% proposed.

Can I refuse for bad services?
Can I refuse if the goods do not provide any services?
Can I refuse if my life is taxing enough?

The poor currently do not pay income tax.
But now, when they buy things, they have to pay Good Services Tax.

Ahhh, these are the benefits of capitalism.

Like my good friend Datuk said, GST is not Good Services Tax.

It is Gomen (Government) Swindle Taxpayers.

Exactly that, Gomen is trying to swindle us.

To fund nice vacations by the RM (1st lady), PM (Najis) and CM (cabinet ministers and chief ministers). They go for nice vacations, stay in wonderful yachts, spend millions of dollars.

Petronas money was not enough, income tax money was not enough, other import taxes was not enough, so now we have GST.

Gomen Swindle Taxpayers.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Making a list and checking it twice

Lately it seems I am making a lot of lists - mainly because I have been asked to.

You see, I do not like making extensive lists.

Handover of Job list, Move to KL list, End of year list, Things to Do list, etc etc etc.

All types of list.

Some more detailed than others.

But nevertheless all a list of things to do.

I only have 24 hours in a day of which about half are spent sleeping, shitting, shaving, showering and shoving food into the mouth.

And if I spent the rest making lists and lists of actions and things to do, when will I actually do these things?

Sometimes I feel we get bogged down in making a list of things to do and we never end up actually doing the things.

I have to blame all this 7 Habits crap and all this new books like 1000 places to visit before you die, 1000 types of food to eat before you die and so and so forth.

We have been shoved down with so many list that we get too overwhelmed to do the things and have time to smell the roses.

I now have 8 active lists, I think I need a list to write down things to do to eliminate the lists.

Until then, I will spend time writing lists, doing nothing else and spend the rest of the time doing 5S.

Not the Japanese workplace organization 5S which is Seiri(Sorting), Seiton (Sraighten or Set in Order), Seisō (Sweeping or Shining), Seiketsu (Standardizing) and Shitsuke (Sustaining the discipline).

But my version of 5S which is sleeping, shitting, shaving, showering and shoving food into the mouth.

Take care and be well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Spinning Wheel

Recently there was an article in the Internet that Americans no longer own the biggest houses. In US, it is quite common to have a bungalow, even a medium income family would be living in a bungalow with land all around it, especially so if not in the major cities.

I had a friend in Houston who lived in a house which he said was not visible from the road where he entered the driveway from.

Anyways, Australians have taken over the spot for biggest houses in the world.

It is nice to live in a big house with a big yard despite the higher maintenance of it all.

But the Aussie family in the story below has really taken it another notch up. What an idea, really interesting I think. As Blood, Sweat and Tears sang ...
Drop all your troubles, by the river side
Ride a painted pony
Let the spinning wheel fly


An Australian family is turning heads with a rotating house that can guarantee a different view every time they wake up.

The Everinghams have been in a spin since they moved into their dream home in the countryside north of Sydney three years ago. They can turn the house to follow the sun without having to leave the comfort of their armchairs.

"When you wake up you do wonder where you'll be facing," said Luke Everingham, a sound-engineer who came up with the idea with his wife, Deb, after chatting with neighbors.

The neighbors wished they had built their home 15 degrees further to the north to capture more sunlight.

The octagonal-shaped house sits on a turntable powered by a small electric motor and controlled by a computer, which allows it move on demand.


The house cost about A$700,000 ($641,000) to build and can complete a full rotation in about 30 minutes, according to the Everinghams' own Web site.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The thrilling potential of 'SixthSense'

A really interesting technology, and soon, it will be open source.



Pranav Mistry (1981, Palanpur, India) is the inventor of SixthSense.

He is a research assistant and a PhD candidate at MIT Media Lab.

SixthSense has recently attracted global attention.

Designer, Engineer and Inventor, Pranav Mistry is passionate about integrating the world of information with our real world interactions.

Among some of his previous work, Pranav has made intelligent sticky notes that can be searched, located and can send reminders and messages; a pen that can draw in 3D; and a public map that can act as Google of physical world. Pranav holds a Master in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and Master of Design from IIT Bombay besides his Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering. P

ranav’s research interests include Ubiquitous computing, Gestural and Tangible Interaction, AI, Augmented reality, Machine vision, Collective intelligence and Robotics.

Sixth Sense has been awarded 2009 Invention Award by Popular Science.

Pranav also won Young Innovator Award TR35 by Technology Review. He has been called "one of the two or three, best inventors in the world right now" by Chris Anderson.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

And yet another big leap towards 1Malaysia ... not!

This is how Malaysia is heading to 1Malaysia.

We can either go to the direction of being a developed country like we should ... by following the leading countries in our neighbourhood or we can go to in this direction.

Since 9/11, USA has also instituted draconian policies to mistreat different races.

And even so called Americans are turning against their own country. The recent capture of 5 Americans in Pakistan who were planning jihad against American army in Afghanistan just shows how American have changed.

But where are we leading as Malaysians? Where are our leaders leading us to?

To development or to draconian laws?

Saya anak Malaysia (I am a son of Malaysia), born and raised here. I am among the few "idiots" who went overseas and came back to contribute to the nation building, to contribute to the country unlike many who leave and never come back... even giving up Malaysian citizenship.

And yet, as time passes by, I feel like I am powerless against the power crazy government and opposition whose faces remain the same for the last 20 odd years. Faces like the ministers we have now have been around since I was in secondary school - Najib, Muhydin and the gang. Opposition's faces are also the same - Tok Guru, Anwar, Kit Siang and Karpal - all devoid of new ideas.

What is happening to the new blood, where are the new ideas? Maybe all overseas.





Take care and be well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Preparing KL Move for Al E

There are a hundred and one things to consider for my move to KL.

Amongst the more important things that needs to be done is to prepare the KL house for Al E.

You see, we never had a pet in KL and therefore the house needs to have some minor renovations to cater for Al E.

Among them include adding some doors so that Al E and especially his fur do not sneak into the kitchen area as well as our walk in closet upstairs.

Also, we need to have a few baskets for Al E to sleep, possibly 1 in the master bedroom, and one downstairs.

Maybe even a nice dog house sort of thing in the back yard or somewhere in the balcony.

Apart from that, we need to buy a crate to take him with us and check him in a luggage during the same flight as us and check him out and find a way to take him to the airport.

Arrangements will need to be made and flight expenses need to be paid.

All the paperwork and flight crate itself would cost about 2.5k.

The minor renovations and doors ... need to get an estimate.

Al E is also crate trained for his poopoo and peepee business.

So, to create a covered area for him in the backyard for his deposits during the day as well as an area in our existing toilet for him to do his deposits at night.

Of course wifey and I when discussing renovations seem to have some disagreements about the toilet although we both have the same idea.

And she keeps nagging me to do some Internet research for doggie toilets when I seem to already have a clear idea about it.

But as always, we should always please our wives. And through some Internet research, I came across the perfect design for a doggie toilet.

Now how do I incorporate this into the house?



Take care and be well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How To Handle Rejection

A friend, Add, sent this to me. Thanks for sharing Add.

On the way to reaching any worthwhile goal, chances are you will be faced with rejection. How you deal with this rejection is often the deciding factor that will determine whether or not you reach your goal.

Many people unfortunately take rejection very personally and view it as a reflection of their self worth. For example, when you apply for a job and are not successful, it is easy to start thinking things like, "I guess I’m just not good enough…"

In order to overcome the ‘rejection barrier’ and reach your most important goals, you must learn to dismiss these negative thoughts.

But of course that is easier said than done!

In this weeks edition of Dare To Dream I’d like to share with you a simple idea that can help you eliminate the negative feelings often associated with rejection.

Imagine for a moment that you are facing a very large wall. In front of you are a number of bright red doors.



Behind one of these doors lies your goal. This could be your perfect job, your ideal partner etc. Your job is simply to keep opening doors until you find the right one.

Now let me ask you a question…If you were single and you knew that your perfect partner was waiting for you behind one of these doors, how much sense would it make to open one door and then say, "I’m not good enough to find someone special so I’m not going to open any more doors…"

In this simple example it’s quite clear that the act of opening doors should have absolutely no bearing on your personal self image. It is simply something you have to go through in order to find what you are looking for.

If you can adopt a similar approach to dealing with rejection in the real world, you will become unstoppable!

Achieving your dreams is a numbers game. If you have the courage and determination to knock on enough doors, you willfind the right one.

Action Steps:
The next time you are faced with rejection, instead of taking it personally and criticizing yourself, think of the red doors and say out loud, "This was just a wrong door" and move on to try the next door.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"K-worker" in a "DS" environment?

Malaysia keeps talking this thing about K worker or Knowledge worker.

To be honest, this term of knowledge worker is very old but in Malaysia it is the new hip thing.

Peter Drucker coined the term knowledge worker and started writing about knowledge worker in 1959.

Yes, 50 years ago. 2 years after our countries independence.

But our country only starts talking about it now.

A knowledge worker in today's workforce is an individual that is valued for their ability to interpret information within a specific subject area. They will often advance the overall understanding of that subject through focused analysis, design and/or development.

They use research skills to define problems and to identify alternatives. Fueled by their expertise and insight, they work to solve those problems, in an effort to influence company decisions, priorities and strategies.

Knowledge workers may be found across a variety of information technology roles, but also among professionals like teachers, lawyers, architects, physicians, nurses, engineers and scientists.

As businesses increase their dependence on information technology, the number of fields in which knowledge workers must operate has expanded dramatically.

In Malaysia, Malaysians have long given up the hard labour roles. These roles were given up to the Indonesians and Bangladeshis to develop our nation. 100 years ago, the labour jobs were given away to Indians and Chinese (for rubber and tin respectively) and they have stayed here and become part of Malaysian society.

20 or 50 years from now, the Indonesians labourers who helped build the buildings will also become Malaysians.

You see, a lot of Malaysians have this DS mentality. DS meaning damn stingy, damn selfish, damn stupid.

Generally, a lot of Malaysians do not like sharing information completely.

They will keep some information with themselves. This is so that they remain always superior than the new person coming into the job.

So, every generation, instead of having proper information, we do not receive enough information.

Even with technology, where information is stored in databases, sometimes a person has to dig through thousands of data to find the correct information although the person next to you may already know where it is.

When we do not have the information, we cannot interpret the information, when we cannot interpret the information, we cannot be a knowledge worker.

We can only continue to be DS worker.

Also, why choose to be K economy now, 50 years later. Isn't there something more advance, something better, something more up to date?

I guess we'll have to leave that to the Einstein generation to tell us.

Take care and be well.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jumpstart

A "hero" trying to jumpstart his car in a mall parking lot cause this to happen.



Two very unfortunate souls died due to concrete debris hitting them, the debris came from the retaining wall which the jumpstarted car rammed through. My they rest in peace.

Please guys, no jumpstarting cars in a car park - push the car to an open road or something or make sure someone is on control.

The person who drove the car survived the drop.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reflections

Two years, this tree lies by the beach in front of the house.

Two years, the tree has not moved.

Two years, the beach has eroded.

Soon, the sea will take this tree away.

Soon, the skies will bring me west.



The sun rises east, sets west.

And trees fall and trees wash away.

Time flies by but the memories remain forever.

The memories and the friendships of the east,

Forever will remain, in my heart, in my mind,

Till the day the sun sets on me.



Take care and be well.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The journey of a thousand kilometers or so

I came here about two years ago.

That time, from the west to the east.

Now, the journey of a thousand kilometers or so starts from the east and takes me back to the west, where home is.

As the crow flies, it will be a journey of 1369 kilometers or 850 miles approximately.

People always say a journey starts with the first step, which I fully agree.

What is not said is the amount of preparation it takes before you can even take the first step.

There is the boxes to pack, the car to move, house to vacate, the accounts to close - banking, telephone, satellite etc, the people to move and among the most valuable thing to move from here apart from me and wifey is of course my boy, Al E.

So, in all honesty, the journey of a thousand kilometers or so, actually starts a few hundred kilometers before the actual journey itself.

So, my pre-journey starts now ....

And I will see you all soon back home.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's confirmed, I'm no longer lost in transition

Yeay, it has been confirmed, I got the job I wanted in the recent round of transition in the company.

A lot of changes expected, not just in my job but also in the whole IT organization.

Even my existing team seems to be left with only 1 incumbent and generally a lot of different faces in different roles.

Now that the anxiety of the wait is over, the slight stress of packing and moving starts.

Al E will follow us back and finally get to see where mummy and daddy disappear every time they enter the building called Miri Airport.

I will definitely miss all the friends I have made here, really really miss them.

But coincidentally, I start my new journey as I did my journey here. You see, the person that started the same day with me in the department will also be joining the new team.

Sometimes, there is happiness and there is sadness but such is life.

And notice to all my friends. I am expecting a farewell party ;)

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'll take a cup of kindness yet ....

It’s already the 1st of December.

334 days have passed and all that remains in 31 days.

Of these 334 days, 96 days have been Saturdays and Sundays where I have either lazed about or done one chore or another.

Leaving me with 238 days.

26 days of annual leave and 4 days of sick leave, leaving me with 208 days.

5 days in training, leaving me with 203 days.

17 days have been public holidays. Leaving me with 186 days.

I think I have spend an average of 6 days either on a plane or in an airport waiting for a plane. So, now it’s 180 days.

Of these 180 days, an average of 60 days spent sleeping (i.e. 8 hours a day, so 1/3 of the 180 days).

Left with 120 days.

An average of 60 days spent working (same as above). But in all honesty, I think I spent slightly more of the time above for working, so, I will make that roughly 80 days.

So, only 40 weekdays where I spent time with family, having meals, playing with the dog, watching television, driving, talking, listening, watching, walking.

And now I am left with 31 days in the year.

Of which 8 days are weekends and 2 days are public holidays, so left with 21 days.

8 days I am on annual leave.

13 days where I will work and sleep an average of 8 hours a day, so about 4 days of work, 4 days of sleep.

Sadly only 4 days of time doing everyday mundane things that matter the most in life.

But I will cherish these 4 days, or 96 hours – spending time with family including my furry little one, listening to music, watching television, eating, laughing, and merry making.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What matters most

In the end what matters most is
How well did you love;
How well did you live; and
How well did you learn to let go.

That is the wisdom of Zen Buddhism or I guess wisdom in general.

Interesting and a really good quote.

Yet sometimes what I find troubling about sayings from Gautama Sidhharta Buddha or even other prophets is they sometimes do not seem to practice what they preach.

While I am no prophet myself nor will I ever be one in my current lifetime, I do hope to be a better person in this life.

Let's assume that the quote above which is attributed to Buddha was actually spoken by him some 2500 or 3000 years ago.

Let's also assume all those esteemed scholars who write about Buddha's life have got some facts right.

So, Buddha was born as a prince, live in palaces, had a great rich life.

He got married at age 16 to his cousin Yashodhara and had a son Rahul.

He remained married for 13 years until age 29, his son Rahul was likely around 10-12 at that time.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace in order to meet his subjects.

Despite his father's effort to remove the sick, aged and suffering from the public view, Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man.

Disturbed by this, when told that all people would eventually grow old by his charioteer Channa, the prince went on further trips where he encountered, variously, a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic.

Deeply depressed by these sights, he sought to overcome old age, illness, and death by living the life of an ascetic.

Siddhartha escaped his palace, accompanied by Channa aboard his horse Kanthaka, leaving behind this royal life to become a mendicant.

So, he ran away from his young wife and young son and he preaches about love, living and letting go .....

Hmm, he was good at letting go for sure but I have some doubts about how he loved and how he lived.

But then again, it is quite likely that he is not the one who said the quote above.

Who am I to judge right? Well, after all, aren't we all created in God's image.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give some Elpiji and a side of Poles body

Everywhere I travelled around Bali, I keep noticing these signs - Elpiji or Poles Body.

It took me a while to really understand.

Elpiji = LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas)

Poles body = Body polish (for cars)

I wish the car was moving slow enough for me to grap a picture but the picture in my personal database will remain.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How does it feel to be 75?

My dad is 75 today.

I wonder how it feels?

Well, whatever or however he feels, this is the 1st time in 75 years that I believe someone has really celebrated his birthday.

You see, I took him to Bali for his birthday.

It was a matter of throwing a big bash and inviting a bunch of no-gooders or a bunch of "stragers" or taking him for a nice quiet holiday.

So, we went to Bali, just the 2 of us.

And he turned 75 on 24 November 2009.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lost in Transition

As I may have mentioned in my previous blog, we all had to reapply in IT for our positions again.

It was high stress and high anxiety situation during the MOR (Managed Open Resourcing) which a the online system used for us to apply for the jobs.

I agree for the need of the change and transition but have not seen a clear indication and reason for why it is done this way in IT where everyone has to reapply for their jobs or other jobs.

There is going to be a lot of changes.

The news of the top has already been made official, so, we already know 4 levels of the organisation.

The 5th level news is trickling in but nothing official.

I fall in the 6th or 7th level and some people in this level have also already been informed of their positions although nothing official has come out beyond the 4th level.

This raises a little bit of anxiety and stress again on people including myself and definitely quite a number of people I am engaging with.

While the official announcement are only expected next week, there have been many leaks and many people who have come outright to state what their jobs would be.

Currently, I have no news of my job as many others as well.

This has lead to a lot of coffee talk, corridor talk, rumours mixed with facts, speculation and educated judgement.

What is clear is that there is a big change at the top in the IT organisation here. Pretty much, not one manager currently will be doing his or her existing job.

100% change in IT management locally. Soem people have been notified about their new positon although it may not be cast in stone. But the fact remains that it is a 100% change in the management.

Now what is yet to be seen is how much changes in the levels below. The chances and rumours are that since a major change in management, like a minor change in the working area, so likely 80 to 90% remains the same.

This has created more anxiety mainly because the MOR gave people some hope or possibility of change.

But the possibility of change could easily be quashed for reasons of business continuity. Too many changes on top and too many changes at the worker levels would mean a huge learning curve and lower productivity.

So, to top managements have been granted their wishes, I still am holding out hope that I am granted my wish.

For me, I am hoping, praying and wishing to go back home to Kuala Lumpur and hope that God and the management would grant me that wish.

So here I am musing, a day before flying off to some tropical island to celebrate my dad's 75th birthday and feeling anxious of my future.

But whatever will be will be .... want to give, give lah.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And why shouldn't a cow bite a man?

For 3 days a row, the headlines have screamed about a cow in Terrengganu that bit a man.

I have never heard ever in history where a cow bit a human, even Google results seemed futile for any history of this ever happening before.

As per the stories, we have history in the making.

But is it any surprise? Why shouldn't a cow bite a man?

After all, we humans have been biting on cows for ages ... burgers, steaks etc etc.

I am all for this cow that bit the man ... time for some revenge.

But than again this is Malaysia, so, it looks like there is going to be another cow head demonstration.

Poor cow.

The story first appeared on Monday's Star as below.

Monday November 16, 2009
Village astir after cow bites man
By R.S.N. MURALI


KUALA TERENGGANU: It was a “holy cow, how could this have happened?” kind of incident.

Folks in Kampung Chalok Rahmat, Setiu, had initially found it difficult to believe when news spread about how a cow had viciously attacked a villager and almost bit off his left hand.

A shocked Jaafar Basok, 56, had also assumed he was attacked by a carnivorous predator when he felt sharp teeth sinking into his flesh in the come-from-behind ambush.

“I started screaming ‘Harimau! Harimau! (Tiger! Tiger!)’ to attract the attention of other villagers as I really believed I was being mauled by a ferocious animal,” Jaafar said when met at the Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah ward yesterday.

The father of four is recuperating from his injuries and shock from the 10am attack on Saturday.

Shocking experience: Jaafar showing his injured hand while relating the frightening moment at the hospital where he is recuperating in Setiu yesterday.

Jaafar said he was clearing an oil-palm plantation that day when he saw a herd of about six cattle grazing at the site. He said he was attacked just 10 minutes after he started clearing some bushes using a machete.

Relating the horrifying moment, the odd-job worker said he only realised the “ferocious animal” was a cow when he turned to fend off the attack using the machete.

Villagers who heard his frantic cries rushed to his aid and the cow, upon seeing the group of people, ran into a secondary jungle.

“I am confused as to why a herbivorous and domesticated animal behaved in such manner,” he said.

Jaafar was rushed to a nearby government clinic but transferred to the hospital intensive care unit when his condition worsened.

He was transferred out from the unit yesterday morning.

Villagers in Kampung Chalok started combing the area to locate the cow, but the animal had yet to return to its shed.

Jaafar said the herd belonged to one of the villagers and the owner was dumb-founded when told that one of his cows had attacked a man.



Then when I thought that would be the end of the story, on Tuesday's Star low and behold, the story below appeared.


Tuesday November 17, 2009
Vet officers puzzled by biting cow
By R. S. N. MURALI


KUALA TERENGGANU: The incident of a cow biting an odd-job labourer has baffled the Terengganu Veterinary Depart¬ment officers who described it as a rare phenomenon.

So bewildered are they that they are eager to examine the cause of such behaviour in a domesticated animal.

Department director Dr Azizol Mohd Sharun said such ferocious behaviour does not happen even if the cow was inflicted with the mad cow or anaplamosis diseases.

“We are talking about a herbivorous species here; its totally unlikely for an infuriating cow or bull to go to the extent of biting. Usually it would only gore its target.

“From our (veterinarian) point of view, this could probably be the first case in the world.

“We are interested to explore what caused the animal to behave in such manner,” he said here yesterday.

Dr Azizol said he will send a team of veterinarians to Kampung Chalok Rahmat in Setiu by today to sedate the cow and conduct a laboratory test to examine what provoked the animal to bite a person.

“We want to see whether there is new type of animal disease that has developed. This is something we are keen in researching,” he added.

On Saturday, odd-job labourer Jaafar Basok, 56, was attacked by a cow when he was clearing an oil-palm plantation in Kampung Chalok Rahmat in Setiu.



Wow, so they want to reasearch this cow now. But today, it appears again.


Wednesday November 18, 2009
It is the ‘udder’ cow and it is pregnant, says victim
By R.S.N. MURALI


KUALA TERENGGANU: The hunt for the cow that attacked Jaafar Basok is still on with some villagers claiming that they have found the animal responsible.

However, the 56-year-old odd-job labourer is insistent that it is not the same animal.

“I do not remember seeing any horns on the cow. The one which the villagers found at the open space has horns,” he said yesterday when told of the discovery.

“I am not sure if it is the same animal, but I know that the one which attacked me was fierce.”

Villagers at Kampung Chalok Rahmat claim that a cow found at the open space near a secondary jungle nearby could be the culprit.

Jaafar, who is still recovering from the attack at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, also expressed his disappointment that the cow’s owner had not visited him or apologised.

He added that he had been receiving a steady stream of visitors ever since his story was reported.

“Some came from as far as Johor and Malacca to visit me,” he said.

Jaafar said some doubted whether a domesticated animal could inflict such bites but he was adamant that it was a brownish-coloured cow.

“I even saw the belly of the animal. It was pregnant,” he said.
A veterinarian, who declined to be named, said cows could be aggressive if they were pregnant or had calves to protect.

State Health, Unity and Consumerism Committee deputy chairman Datuk Din Adam said he would discuss with the state communication and information department to document the “cow attack” episode.

“This is a rare occurrence and could be considered part of our history,” he added.




Take care and be well.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Humorous career ladder

Someone send me this. I think it is funny.

But what do you think?

Any truth to this?



Take care and be well.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jobs gone past - Job 4: Career Counselor

Ok, technically this was not a job as it was purely voluntary and part of a course assignment.

But nevertheless, for one year or so, I was a career counsellor ... sort of.

Basically, we had a computer based system that students would take. The computer program would then extrapolate possible career opportunities based on the students interests and academic abilities.

Based on the results, I would then go through with the students the results and see if this is within their interest or was there something missing.

We would advise them what courses and what areas of studies they should go into if they were interested in a particular area of work.

After all this discussion, we would ask them if they wanted to see an academic advisor or even a counsellor.

I did this for about 1 year, about 10-15 hours a week. Truly enjoyed it and made some really good friends.

In all honesty, I have not ended up in a career that the computer program predicted those many years ago.

Partially and mainly because those many years ago, my interests lied in becoming a practicing psychologists with a PhD but life sometimes leads you to different paths. Paths that I have not regretted although some which were not expected or even not really great.

But ces't la vie ... life is as such.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So common

This is so common in Malaysia especially in factory environment.

I am sure it is also very common in many Asian countries and now seems to be something common in US as well.

When working in a semiconductor factory those years ago, I would get people being absent from work for these very reasons.



Take care and be well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I could be the one

Lyrics from Donna Lewis song I could be the one below. Very nice song but ....

I could be your sea of sand
I could be your warmth of desire
I could be your prayer of hope
I could be your gift to everyday
I could be your tide of heaven
I could be a hint of what's to come
I could be ordinary
I could be the one

I could be your blue eyed angel
I could be the storm before the calm
I could be your secret pleasure
I could be your well wishing well
I could be your breath of life
I could be your Asian dream
I could be ordinary
I could be the one

Now I would lie here in the darkness
Now I would lie here for all time
Now I would lie here watching over you
Comfort you
Sing to you

I could be your worry partner
I could be your socialite
I could be your green eyed monster
I could be your force of light
I could be your temple garden
I could be your tender hearted child
I could be ordinary
I could be the one

I would lie here in the darkness
I would lie here for all time
I would lie here watching over you
Comfort you
Sing to you

Will I ever change the journey
Will the hushed tones disappear
Oh little one Let me hold you
Oh little one Let me love you
I could be your leafy island
I could be your thunder in the clouds
I could be your dark enclosure
I could be your romantic soul
I could be your small beginning
I could be your suit in universe
I could be ordinary
I could be the one

I could be ordinary
I could be the one

I could be ordinary
I could be the one


Now that I am the one, it is lonely up here. Would you, could you be my two with me? Or instead of I could be the one, maybe we could be the two, or three ;)

Or I could just be ordinary but then again we all have unique DNA's, so I am the one.

I know that I am definitely not ordinary. And I know you are not either.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Headache lah

Everyday also headache.

Starts as a pain at the back of my left eye, usually starts this stabbing sharp pain at the back of the left eye, then throbbing pain on the left side of the head.

Goes on for hours, then stops.

Has been on for a week or so, paracetamol (Panadol) has absolutely no effect.

Migraine or heat or stress headache ... but it sure is a pain in the head.

Taking something stronger will only make me too dependant on meds.

So, try to relax, meditate, take my mind off from one thing and concentrate on another but sometimes to no avail.

I sure hope that these headaches stop soon.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Communicate exCommunicate

The biggest failure in managing people or even projects is usually communications, usually lack of communications or misunderstood communications or one thing or another that has got to do with communications.

A friend recently send me this as the 9 Ways to sharpen your communication skills and I found it quite interesting.

1.Stop Talking and Start Listening
Many a times, people like the sound of their own voice especially project managers. Allow other people to talk, be aware of other people's personality and communication styles. Some people just require some time before they talk.

2.Always Think Before You Speak
This is going to be quite difficult for an extrovert, especially one like me, but when it comes to projects or budgets or presentation, I like to be prepared, I like to think things out before I speak.

3.Ask Questions Regularly
Asking questions is good but some people just ask stupid questions. I know they always say that there are no stupid questions but I disagree. Prepare yourself and ask relevant questions. If there is some pre-read before a meeting, read it before asking questions rather than just shooting.

4.Anticipate Distractions
Life is full of distractions, it may not be easy to anticipate them but you can anticipate distractions in projects, or in project communications to some extent. It is basically managing attention. Regardless of what comes your way, take it calmly and gratefully, never personally.

5.Be Mindful of Your Volume and Tone
Some people are too loud and some people are too soft, it may come across as too arrogant or too meek. Be prepared and be confident, be clear and be precise.

6.Handle Disagreements in Professional and Diplomatic Ways
Going back to No.4 above, regardless of what comes your way, take it calmly and gratefully, never personally.Seek equilibrium in your life, teach yourself to respond instinctively whenever you are out of balance.

7.Be Open to New Ideas and New Line of Thinking
People always keep repeating, "Think outside the box." Well, if you can;t, maybe others can, so be open to what people have to say, new ideas, different way of doing things, different perspective.

8.Only Take Notes whenever Necessary
Some people take no notes, and then forget what were the actions and what was discussed. Some people take too much notes and get too busy taking notes that they pay too much attention to the notes and words and not paying attention to the communication, the verbal and non-verbal.

9.Always Watch Out for Your Body Language
Body language or non-verbal communication is many a times as important or more important that the words that come out of one's mouth. Paying attention to people will give you a feeling of the non-verbal signs they are sending out. Understanding both verbal and non-verbal communication is vital to success of completely and comprehensively understanding communication.

Take care and be well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jobs gone past - Job 3: Dishwasher

Yes, I washed dishes.

In my last semester in UWSP, I still needed a job and had moved out of the residence halls. So, like many of us did at that time, I joined the food services.

While racism was not outright, they would not give me a role as a waiter or cashier or any outwardly facing jobs.

So, I was hidden in the hot steamy dishwashing area.

There was a conveyor belt from outside where people would put their trays on. I had to remove the trays, throw the junk away, spray the plates and utensils with steaming hot water and put it back on a conveyor after the huge sinks.

This conveyor than took the dishes through a steamy hot dishwasher, 1st soap, then rinse, then hot air dry and then out of the machine.

I would have to run to the other end, and collect the dishes and put them in their respective trolleys.

It was hot, sweaty and steamy working in a area where the temperatures were like being in a sauna all the time.

It was work that did not require my brain power but work that required a lot of effort, a lot of speed and a lot of patience.

Despite the money I needed, working in this place for 4-6 hours a day was all that I could take and all that I did.

On Friday’s, usually a slow day, I got a shift where dishes did not need to be washed as the restaurant was closed. And the manager was nice enough to let me flip burgers or work in the convenient store.

Apart from money which covered my studio apartment that I had rented, I also got a free meal – I could take or make anything I wanted and take a drink, a snack and a dessert from the convenient store.

I studied hard, and worked harder, many a times, just eating that one free meal a day and making it last until I graduated.

I learned that no matter how small a job it was, I always received some rewards for it.

I got a free meal.

I got to understand the way of grilling things.

I got to learn the mechanics of the dishwasher and the conveyor belt.

I got to be a humble blue collar worker, doing hard work for the first time in my life.

I learned to respect the person on the other end, the end that I was in when I was washing dishes, the person beyond any conveyor belt in any cafeteria in the world.

And I became what I am … my life continues.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jobs gone past - Job 2: Camp Counselor

In the summer of 1991, for 4 months, I went to this camp in New York state.

Camp Jened it was called and it was in the beautiful Catskill mountains in upper New York.

This camp was interesting and unlike the many summer camps we have seen on the television.

You see, this camp was for adults, special need adults, adult with a mental incapacity or with some mental and severe psychological problems.

Some of them lived in caged up housing center - pretty much like a prison - said for their own safety.

So, coming out in the mountains and forest for a nice camp was their only 2 weeks in the outside world.

Each group came in for 2 weeks, and then we would get a weekend off and another group will come in for 2 weeks.

Over the period, we had 10 groups but each counselor would work only with 9 groups and get some time off.

Dealing with special need adults was really challenging and also memorable at the same time.

Each one of us had 1 or 2 adults assigned to us and a list of activities that we would do with them. Activities included fishing, boating, swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, telematch games etc.

My first is the only person I can remember, his name was Robert Starling and he was 60 years old. He was a smooth talker and relatively easy to get along with. Overall a nice person.

I also met a very nice person whom became my "girlfriend" during the summer. Also met a lot of other counselors who become good friends but this was beyond the time of internet and we soon lost touch.

I do wish I was still in touch with some of them and can find them in cyberspace. I just got in touch with 2 old camp counselors through Facebook.

My summer did not end well but due to various reasons during that time, I had to make a decision that was difficult at that time.

Looking back now, I truly cannot fathom why the decision was so difficult. I made the right decisions then and should not have felt bad about it then.

Anyways, the camp was overall a wonderful experience. It was really an eye-opener to work with an interesting bunch of campers with different problems in their lives. But the Skankers (somehow that was what our team of counselors were called) survived, thrived and now I am here.

When the camp started, my initial plan was to take a train for the 1st time in my US life, but it ended up that I drove with another camp counselor that was going from Wisconsin. I have yet to get in touch with her but I sure hope I do. I took a plane back after camp.

I had a friend in New York City at that time and we did some trips to New York City, really enjoyed it.

That was also when I saw Paul Simon (from Simon and Garfunkel) perfrom live in Central Park.

I got my first tatoo in Woodstock, New York.

I ate lots of bagels with cream cheese.

I met the most number of Gejerati's I have ever seen in US.

I took the subway many times.

I went to the Bronx and Brooklyn.

I visited the lady Liberty.

I did white water rafting.

7 of us cramped ourselves in a small motel room.

I kissed an American girl for the 1st time.

I laughed, I cried, I jumped for joy, I slumped in sadness and now here I am.

Take care and be well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jobs gone past - Job 1: Resident Assistant

In 1989, I went to United States for my studies.

For the first semester, I stayed in a resident hall called Neale Hall, and soon became known as Nil from Neale Hall. I was so popular that I was offered a job in the hall next door as as a resident assistant.

So, I became a RA in Steiner Hall in University of Wisconsin - Steven's Point, a job that I held for 2 years.

You see, prior to going to US, my parents preferred that I do not work and rather concentrate on my studies which I was no that great at when I was 15-17 anyways.

The only work I would have done was free work helping a friends dad in his carpet stall during Pesta Pulau Pinang.

However, in US, everyone works, it is quite common. And being an RA was rather easy work.

For my efforts, I got free room and board and only required sponsorship for tuition fees.

The most memorable moments of my job as RA came in the 2nd year when I was put in charge of a more mature wing of the hall.

We had our own Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street during the famous New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Every Saturday at 9pm, the whole wing would get out to the hallway and sing Billy Joel's Piano Man at the top of our voices and we would be heard for 6 halls around. Of course we left our doors and windows open to ensure we were heard.

At the end of the year, when we were done with our exams and just before Christmas, we would go out in our underwear, freezing our butts off in below zero temperatures and sing Christmas carols for about half an hour.

The most difficult part of the job was to ensure that the residents did not get too unruly, especially when the came back drunk from some fraternity party. Also, many of them would throw up all over the place - another American thing and create a mess, which as an RA, I had to ensure that they clean up.

Apart from that, we also had to ensure the well being of the residents, be counselors to the new students. We also had various activities organized for the residents.

The RA's were always very close amongst each other, we had our own little room in the basement and we would do almost everything together.

I learned a lot from my job as an RA, unfortunately, this is amongst the jobs that no longer appears in my resume. I guess mainly because it was a part time job, and I was a full time student.

Nevertheless, I consider this as my 1st job, in the many jobs gone by.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No layoffs, ever!

The entire article below has been taken from Yahoo News with sources from Investopedia. Number 2 and number 6 on the list are oil and gas companies, just in case anyone who unfortunately become part of the 5,000 plus that receive the boot from the current company.

With unemployment reaching and expected to surpass 10%, job security is one of the top desires of employees today. Along with good pay and benefits, people want to find a company that's not going to give them a pink slip any time soon.

Here's a group of companies that earn high marks in that regard. Nine companies on Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2009 have never undergone layoffs - ever.

1. Nugget Market

This company has avoided layoffs because of careful job placement and shrewd labor management. Instead of laying off workers, the 81-year-old grocery store refrains from replacing employees who leave. Its stores are 15 miles from each other, making it easier to fill positions, and employees are trained to fit various roles. The Woodland, Calif.-based supermarket chain filled 173 jobs, for a 22% job growth in the year before the list was released in February.

Sandwiched between Goldman Sachs and Adobe Systems, the store ranked number 10 on the overall list. Store directors make an average of $116,440 in annual salary, and checkers, the most common hourly workers, earn $34,490. The store also offers 100% health care coverage.


2. Devon Energy

An oil and gas producer headquartered in Oklahoma City, this company takes a conservative approach to its finances, yet still treats its employees well. Ranked 13 on the overall list, it started a 401(k) retirement plan featuring company contributions of 11-22%.

Flexible and prudent management helps avoid layoffs. The company, which cut its operating budget before the recession, withholds raises in bad years but gives midyear pay increases in good times.

3. Aflac

Known for its quacking duck ads, this company sells supplement insurance. The company, based in Columbus, Ga., keeps its eyes on its budget and ears open to employees. Employee suggestions like telecommuting and flex schedules have saved it millions of dollars. Other company benefits include an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym membership and the largest onsite corporate child care center in Georgia.

4. QuickTrip

Because this 24-hour convenience store is privately held, it can send profits back to its stores and workers instead of shareholders. Smart financial management has helped it thrive in the downturn. It offered over new 1,400 jobs last year. Wages and benefits are so good that over 200 employees have stayed with the company more than 20 years.

5. The Container Store

The storage retailer, based in Coppell, Texas, froze salaries and watched spending to avoid layoffs. Still, it kept expanding last year, opening four stores and adding 70 employees. Extensive employee training makes the company stand out.

6. NuStar Energy

Considering layoffs harmful to company productivity, NuStar management avoids them like the plague. The San Antonio-based pipeline and refinery operator also offers bonuses that can exceed $10,000 and 100% 401(k) matches for up to 6% of pay.

7. Stew Leonard's

Known for flashy store displays, this privately-held grocery chain focuses on customer service and long-term sales rather than short-term earnings. CEO Stew Leonard Jr. says selling groceries is a stable business, which helps avoid layoffs. No matter how the economy is faring, people still have to eat.

8. Scottrade

This privately-held online discount brokerage has cut bonuses instead of cutting employees. A conservative growth strategy has also helped it avoid layoffs.

9. Publix Super Markets

A strong balance sheet with no debt helped this grocery chain acquire 49 stores and hire over 1,250 people last year. In its 79 years, it has never had layoffs. No wonder - it's entirely owned by employees.

Besides never laying off employees, at least as of early this year, companies on the list are also some of the best to work for. Treating employees well means good pay and benefits - two factors that are attracting all the right workers. (Preparation can help you land on your feet after getting the "old heave-ho."

Looks like there can be job security even in times when the economy is tough. I would be interested to know if there are any Malaysian companies on the list (and not including Malaysian government as an employer).

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jobs gone past ...

I have had many many many jobs over the 20 years plus that I have been working.

In the next few blogs over the next few months, I plan to write about these various jobs that I have done over the years.

I have done many many things over the years, so, I am only going to write about things that I have done which I have got some interesting satisfaction from or have been paid for in one way or another.

To give you a glimpse, many of you know I am in IT and an IT project manager. But I have been a coolie, a career counselor, a camp counselor, a lecturer, a journalist, a dish washer to name a few things I have done.

Recently, in the transition that my company is going through, all of us had to update our resumes and write our previous experiences. Obviously I did not put those that were done for a short period of time or deemed unimportant, I did but the main and major ones.

But it got me thinking of the interesting things I have done, the interesting bosses I have had, the interesting people I have met in my life and the interesting stories from those jobs.

I will start with my first job while I was a student, which was being a resident assistant in Steiner Hall in University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in United States.

That will be for the next post, until then ...

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fat with burgers

I read an article earlier in the year of how Malaysians are getting to be obese. At first, I thought it must have been due to the nasi lemak breakfasts, roti canai's etc. Considering that some of my friends were getting rather round especially YAB, Kupps etc.

But then again, the article also mentioned that kids in Malaysia were getting obese, and I could see this. Some of the blue short kids nowadays could probably fit in all my blue shorts for 6 years (fyi, blue short kids = primary school kids).

And blue short kids do not like nasi lemak and roti canai's. The are the fast food generation.

McD's; KFC etc.

And MCD's does dumping just like Japanese do with their cars. For example, a Toyota in US costs cheaper than in Japan, mainly because they are trying to capture a market and be very competitive there even if they loose money there initially.

As of February this year, the cheapest McD burgers are in Malaysia.

The most expensive burgers were in Norway (US$5.79), Switzerland (US$5.60), Denmark (US$5.07), Sweden (US$4.58) and Eurozone (US$4.38).

According to the index, Malaysia (US$1.70) actually ranks No 1 among the five most affordable Big Macs, ahead of Hong Kong (US$1.71), China (US$1.83), Thailand (US$1.86) and Sri Lanka (US$1.95).

I am sure a similar index would show Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Thailand in the lowest price for most of the other fast foods.

Is this fair? Well, of course it is ... McD wants to make money, and we allow them too.

Same reasons why cigarettes are prices at RM7 or so here but RM20-RM30 in many other countries. We even have low prices ciggies here.

But why does alcohol costs so much?

Well in Malaysia, the largest population are also the largest consumers of ciggies which is acceptable whereas these same poor buggers cannot drink as they would be caned if they did.

So, where does a non-smoking, alcohol drinking vegetarian like me go and have a nice juicy veggie burger?

Not many places to be honest.

Hard Rock Cafe serves the best veggie burger in the last 20 plus years but that is at least 10 times more expensive than a McD burger. And of course I would have to have a beer with my burger which will throw me back another dozen bucks or so.

Maybe it is time for me to become a non-veg, non-alcohol, no-pork and ciggie smoking majority.

Take care and be well.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Plan to be surprised and let love open the door

People always seem to question their life plans.

In interviews, we are asked where we see ourselves in 5 or 10 years time.

At work, we create work plans.

Many a times, we wish and we hope for a better and brighter future. And sometimes we achieve and sometimes we do not.

This boils down to believe. People sometimes do not believe enough in themselves and their abilities.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.

Who looks outside, dreams.

Who looks inside, awakens.

But life is also full of surprises.

And every now and then, in life, we must be ready and plan to be surprised.

Stop expecting things; practice anticipating.

Don’t try to control people; find ways to set them free.

Trust more; plan to be surprised.

Let love open the door.



Take care and be well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Art of War vs Science of Peace

There have been so many documentaries, books, information on Sun Tzu's Art of War.

There are so many followers of Sun Tzu's Art of War, including myself at one time.

Not really surprised or shocked by this considering humans fascination with war.

Before humans ruled the world, and when dinosaurs roamed, I was not around, but the many documentaries I saw on dinosaurs did not give me an impression that the dinosaurs had organized civil or world wars or nor did it give me the impression that dinosaurs had armies, weapons or nuclear bombs. Maybe they had them, but I do not know about it.

But we humans, we are just fascinated by wars. Apart from all the military wars, we also have war against drugs, war against racism, war against terror, war against AIDS etc - we like to fight.

a Chinese military treatise that was written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC, during the Spring and Autumn period. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it is said to be the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time, and still one of the basic texts.

The Art of War is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy. It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond.

Sun Tzu suggested the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive actors in that environment.

He thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations.

The book was translated into the French language in 1772 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, and into English by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905.

It likely influenced Napoleon,and leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap, Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini, and General Douglas MacArthur have claimed to have drawn inspiration from the work. The Art of War has also been applied to business and managerial strategies.

But why is it an art and not science of war?

And why are not people not interested in the Science of Peace or the Art of Peace? Does it even exist?

Basically people are not interested in peace, it is boring and no fun. But then again I am generalising.

A search for the Art of Peace led me to a music album with contributions from number of musicians from throughout the world, including Sting, Garbage, Rush, Suzanne Vega, Jonatha Brooke and Alanis Morissette.

The album is an initiative to support Tibet, the promotion of peace, basic fundamental human rights, including freedom of speech and religion and the current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.

The Science of Peace on the other hand is an organization of mainly Canadian scientists working together to promote peace worldwide. It was co-founded by mathematical psychologist Anatol Rapoport, and physicist Eric Fawcett, both former professors at the University of Toronto. It is based in Toronto, Ontario.

It is an interesting albeit not a very popular organization.

Basically, a lot of human conflicts over the years have been due to organized religion.

Mahabharata of Hindu is mainly about Kurukshetra War. There have been many Egyptian, Mayan, Roman, Persian, Crusades, Ottoman wars. In modern times, Civil wars, World War I and II, Mujaheddin wars, Soviet wars against Afghan, Georgia and Chechnya, India-Pakistan wars, Iraq and Afghan wars against terror, Cuban wars, etc etc etc that it would take too many words to describe.

Peace as we know it may be impossible to come by.

Except maybe Inner Peace and Satyagraha.

Inner peace (or peace of mind) refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress.

Being "at peace" is considered by many to be healthy homeostasis and the opposite of being stressed or anxious. Peace of mind is generally associated with bliss and happiness.

Peace of mind, serenity, and calmness are descriptions of a disposition free from the effects of stress.

In some cultures, inner peace is considered a state of consciousness or enlightenment that may be cultivated by various forms of training, such as prayer, meditation, T'ai Chi Ch'uan or yoga, for example.

Many spiritual practices refer to this peace as an experience of knowing oneself. Finding inner peace is often associated with traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.

Satyagraha, on the other hand, is a philosophy and practice of nonviolent resistance developed by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi taken mainly from jain religion believe in non-violence.

Gandhi deployed satyagraha in campaigns for Indian independence and also during his earlier struggles in South Africa. Satyagraha theory also influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. during the campaigns he led during the civil rights movement in the United States.

So, for anyone hoping for peace in this wonderful world of ours which is fascinated with wars, we got to look within and search for inner peace and practice Satyahraha.

I am certainly looking for some inner peace and I practice non-violence as much as possible - which is amongst the main reasons of me being a vegetarian.

I hope you can find some peace in your life too.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

5 days a week



I hope this article is clear enough to read.

A nice hard-working guy had been dead for 5 days and none of his co-workers noticed it.

The person who discovered it is the cleaner on Saturday.

The article summarizes, "Don't work too hard, nobody notices anyways."

This is what Nil's musings is ...

- Be nice to everyone, including the tea lady and the cleaner. They may be the only one that bother to ask if you are okay.

- Greet people in the morning. It does not take too much effort to say "Good morning."

- Check on your colleagues every now and then and be aware of signs of stress. Everyone gets stressed for one reason or another and some people strive under pressure, but don't ignore the situation.

- If you have your own room in the office, leave the door open every now and then and make people feel that you are approachable. You may be slumped dead on your chair looking out of the windows and door closed and people may think this is normal (because you always do this .... some bosses in my current office actually do).

- Be alert of your colleagues, just because someone comes in early and is last to leave does not mean that you ignore them.

- Take time to cherish and appreciate and be grateful everyday for what you have today, hope and believe in a better tomorrow.

- A lot more to muse but in a gist, don't work too hard, nobody may notice anyways.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Encyclopædia Britannica

Remember Encyclopædia Britannica?

Those days, many many years ago, when I was just a little boy, we actually had door to door salesmen for Encyclopædia Britannica.

These books were not cheap, and they sure took up a lot of space.

My dad a long long time ago, when I was just a little boy, still in blue short pants school uniform, got "persuaded" to buy these books.

The books even came with a free gift .... a nice wooden bookshelf to put the books on. It also came with additional books on how things work.

So, there we had it, 30 volumes of thick cloth stitch bound books, sitting in the study room waiting for me to read and become super smart.

I believe we had the earlier batch of the 15th edition and I checked recently, they are still on the 15th edition.

When I was just a little boy, we did not have Internet, nor computers, well not in Malaysia anyways. We also did not have DVD's or video tapes. In Malaysia, even the television was still black and white until the late 70's. I think we went color in 1980. I remember the PM at that time, Tun Hussein Onn, pressing an button and presto, the television was in color.

Anyway, with this day and age, the age of the information superhighway, the web, information at your finger tips and a culture that prefers to see and hear things rather than read things, I wonder how Encyclopædia Britannica is doing nowadays.

I would love to meet the last person that actually bought the cloth bound copies Encyclopædia Britannica in Malaysia .... know anyone who bought these books in 2008 or 2009?

I still enjoy reading but I cannot imagine reading the Encyclopædia print version. Nowadays, any information you need, you Wiki it. Wikepedia, the online encyclopædia may nto be accurate but then again, neither was the print versions.

As time goes by and as I am getting older, no longer the little boy, I am amazed at how far some technology has got to especially in terms of computers.

I am now waiting for such a leap in technology for space travel cause I would love to beam up to Planet X315-KVT or something like that and get "computer" to fix me a wonderful meal.

But until such a day, I will just keep on blogging, wishing, and hoping and ask my mother/father what will I be ... cause the future is not mine to see.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Save the Earth - sorry I can't



Earth started about 4.5 billion years ago.

That is 4,500,000,000 years ago - a long long long time ago.

Of this period, "first life" on earth started about 4 billion years ago - first life was some bacteria - not humans yet yah.

First vertebrate land animals existed for about 380 million years ago. SO essentially, more recently in earth's existence.

For example, if earth was 100 years old, vertebrates would be about 8.5 years old.

And then came dinosaurs, who have existed for only 230 million years. In the 100 years life, dinosaurs existed only the last 5 years and died off 1.5 years ago.

Humans, you and me, bloggers, readers, politicians, environmentalists etc. were around only for the last 2 million years.

In the 100 year Earth, humans would have existed only in the last 16 days or so.

2 million years we have existed in this Earth that is 4.5 billions years old.

And here we are, cocky as hell, thinking we can save the earth, save the environment for extinction, pollution etc. It may be a noble act to try to "Save the Earth" like WWF (world wildlife fund) or Greenpeace would like us to do, but unrealistic and somewhat cocky and aloof to think that humans, the babies in the life of earth, can make a difference.

It is good to be clean no matter what, but be realistic, Earth has existed a lot longer than humans have.

And it will continue to exists a lot longer - even after humans have disappeared.

So realistically, I cannot save the earth, and honestly, nor can you.

Just enjoy your life here, be good to others, be nice and just live.

Take care and be well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yuppie Emergency Calls

The following article was taken from an associated press report.

Apparently, people not well equipped are carrying a GPS device that can alert rescue teams in case of a emergency or evacuation required especially when in rough terrain.

These devices are now below USD100 to buy and a lot of "idiots" (based on my understanding of the article) buy these and press the emergency button to scramble helicopters and rescuers to their rescue.

Article summarised as follows:
Last month two men and their teenage sons tackled one of the world's most unforgiving summertime hikes: the Grand Canyon's parched and searing Royal Arch Loop. Along with bedrolls and freeze-dried food, the inexperienced backpackers carried a personal locator beacon — just in case.

In the span of three days, the group pushed the panic button three times, mobilizing helicopters for dangerous, lifesaving rescues inside the steep canyon walls.

What was that emergency? The water they had found to quench their thirst "tasted salty."

Technology has made calling for help instantaneous even in the most remote places. Because would-be adventurers can send GPS coordinates to rescuers with the touch of a button, some are exploring terrain they do not have the experience, knowledge or endurance to tackle.

While daring rescues are one result, very often the beacons go off unintentionally when the button is pushed in someones backpack, or they are activated unnecessarily, as in the case of a woman who was frightened by a thunderstorm.

"In the past, people who got in trouble self-rescued; they got on their hands and knees and crawled out," says John Amrhein, the county's emergency coordinator. "We saw the increase in non-emergencies with cell phones: people called saying 'I'm cold and damp. Come get me out.' These take it to another level."

Last year, the beacon for a hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail triggered accidentally in his backpack, sending helicopters scrambling. Recently, a couple from New Bruswick, British Columbia activated their beacon when they climbed a steep trail and could not get back down. A helicopter lowered them 200 feet to secure footing.

In September, a hiker from Placer County was panning for gold in New York Canyon when he became dehydrated and used his rescue beacon to call for help.

With darkness setting in on the same day, Mono County sheriff's deputies asked the National Guard for a high-altitude helicopter and a hoist for a treacherous rescue of two beacon-equipped hikers stranded at Convict Lake. The next day they hiked out on foot.

When eight climbers ran into trouble last winter during a summit attempt of Mt. Hood in Oregon, they called for help after becoming stranded on a glacier in a snowstorm.

"The question is, would they have decided to go on the trip knowing the weather was going bad if they had not been able to take the beacons," asks Rocky Henderson of Portland Mountain Rescue. "We are now entering the Twilight Zone of someone else's intentions."

The Grand Canyon's Royal Arch loop, the National Park Service warns, "has a million ways to get into serious trouble" for those lacking skill and good judgment. One evening the fathers-and-sons team activated their beacon when they ran out of water.

Rescuers, who did not know the nature of the call, could not launch the helicopter until morning. When the rescuers arrived, the group had found a stream and declined help.

That night, they activated the emergency beacon again. This time the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter, which has night vision capabilities, launched into emergency mode.

When rescuers found them, the hikers were worried they might become dehydrated because the water they found tasted salty. They declined an evacuation, and the crew left water.

The following morning the group called for help again. This time, according to a park service report, rescuers took them out and cited the leader for "creating a hazardous condition" for the rescue teams.


I think that these idiots should be charge for every rescue attempt to be made that is deemed not an emergency, and be charged a lot - enough that they will be paying for it for their lives and the children will have to continue paying it for their lives as well. Then that would ensure that idiots and wimps with these devices will not press the rescue button for some of the cases cited in the article.

Sheesh. Only in America. No wonder their economy is in such wonderful state. It's the American dream and all of them live in one.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Take Two

My 2 years in Miri have passed. I joined the company on Oct 1, 2007.

When I 1st arrived, I remember thinking that I will move from Miri in 2 or 3 years time.

Over the 2 years, I have developed many friendships, met many people, seen many things, open my eyes to different cultures and learned different things.

In these years I have enjoyed many beach walks, many wonderful sunsets and even got a wonderful dog in Al E.

Somehow, our wishes do come true if you really believe in them.

My wish was to go back to Kuala Lumpur or outside of Miri within 2-3 years.

This year, I had a chance to go to The Netherlands for work for 3 months which could have been longer if I wanted.

This year the company also is going through a transition which has allowed me to apply for positions outside of Miri.

So, I hope and pray and therefore I believe and feel that a change is coming. I will be hopefully be moving - likely back to KL.

Family is important, and mine is in KL, my dad is 75 this year and I hope to spend some more time with him. My wife has been a wonderful person by sacrificing herself to manage two households. Al E will surely get used to life in KL.

Life is as such. The say a rolling stone gathers no moss, but then would you rather have a diamond that is mossy and moldy or a bright and shinning diamond like me.

I say a rolling stone polishes itself to reveal the diamond within.

Over the years I have moved quite a bit and the moves have only polished me to become a better person, a bright and shining diamond.

Please pray and hope and believe with me.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Harmful Friendship

Over the years I have met many people and made many friends but some friendships developed during childhood as it reaches adulthood becomes harmful. And it is best to break all contact and relationship when a friendship becomes harmful.

And today, I use Wisdom from Thirukural specially dedicated to old harmful friends.

Verse 811
Though unscrupulous men will seem to consume you in friendship, their companionship grows more delightful as it declines.

Verse 812
What does it matter if one gains or loses the friendship of manipulators who gainfully befriend and otherwise forsake?

Verse 813
Prostitutes, thieves and those who make friends to make money are all alike.

Verse 814
Loneliness is far better than friendship with men who are like the untrained horse which throws its rider on the battlefield.

Verse 815
Far better to forfeit than to obtain the friendship of inferior men who stay away when they should stay and help.

Verse 816
The enmity of the wise is ten million times better than the intimate friendship of fools.

Verse 817
An enemy's enmity is 100 million times more worthwhile than the company of companions who always clown around.

Verse 818
If friends feign inability to perform possible tasks, remain silent and gradually give up their friendship.

Good riddance to harmful friendships and a warm bear hug welcome to helpful friends.

Take care and be well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eye Candy

Eye Candy is a person or thing that is visually pleasing or superficially attractive and lacking depth of intellect or meaning.

In Malaysia, the budget was presented today, it was eye candy. Yah, slight reduction in income tax rate, slight increase in personal deduction blah blah blah. No substance, eye candy.

1 Malaysia is eye candy, nice slogan and superficially attractive but lacking depth of meaning.

A lot of things are eye candy.

When am I going to get some real candy?

Wishing and hoping and ....

Take care and be well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why the silence

Have not posted any blog recently, not because there is nothing to write or I am having writers block.

Mainly because I have been busy. Busy with Dewali and my dad being here, spending as much time as I can with him, spending more time with wifey and doggie, more walks by the beach because I have a 6th sense that there will not be many walks left with Al E by my beach in Miri - the walks will just be in a different place.

I have obviously been busy with the biggest thing happening at work, the big Transition...

And with all these business and lack of sleep and various stresses in life, blogging somehow takes a lower priority.

But I am bursting to write about various things, things like how heartless gangsters tear down people hard worked farms and farm houses, how we need a foreign forensic expert to tell us someone was murdered when 80% of Malaysian already knew it (our CSI maybe needs Grissom), how I am looking forward to moving on in my work life etc etc.

SO, like in the movies, the above is just the thriller of the "coming soon / akan datang".

Take care and be well.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Inner Light

Dewali is a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Adherents of these religions celebrate Diwali as the Festival of Lights. They light diyas—cotton-like string wicks inserted in small clay pots filled with coconut oil—to signify victory of good over the evil within an individual.

So in essence, Dewali is a celebration of the inner light within oneself, the inner peace, the discovery of oneself and thus the discovery of life and meaning of life.

The five day festival of Divali occurs on the new moon between October 13 and November 14. On the Hindu calendar it is centered on the new moon day that ends the month of Ashwin and begins the month of Kartika. The main day of celebration varies regionally.

In Hinduism, across many parts of India and Nepal, it is the homecoming of Rama after a 14-year exile in the forest and his victory over the Ravana. In the legend, the people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (dĭpa), thus its name: dīpāwali.
Over time, this word transformed into Divali in Hindi and Dipawali in Nepali, but still retained its original form in South and East Indian Languages.

In Jainism, Divali marks the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira on 15 October, 527 BC. Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankaras, attained Nirvana or Moksha on this day at Pavapuri. Mahavira is responsible for establishing the Dharma followed by Jains even today. According to tradition, the chief disciple of Mahavira, Ganadhara Gautam Swami also attained complete knowledge (Kevalgyana) on this day, thus making Diwali one of the most important Jain festivals. Mahavira attained his nirvana at the dawn of the amavasya (new moon). According to the Kalpasutra by Acharya Bhadrabahu, 3rd century BC, many gods were present there, illuminating the darkness. The following night was pitch black without the light of the gods or the moon.

Divali has been significant in Sikhism since the illumination of the town of Amritsar commemorating the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji (1595-1644), the sixth Guru of Sikhism, who was imprisoned along with 56 other Hindu kings at Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir. After freeing the other prisoners, he went to the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in the holy city of Amritsar, where he was welcomed happily by the people who lit candles and divas to greet the Guru.

When will I trully celebrate Dewali, the celebration of my inner light? Soon, that is my hope and wish.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reasons

In every job application, you will be asked in the interview or asked to write down somewhere the reasons for wanting the job or reasons for the application.

The following are 7 truthful answers that will NOT get you the job no matter how truthful they are:

1. Want to give me job, give me lah.

2. I am the sole breadwinner for the family and desperately need to be employed.

3. Show me the money.

4. I've been twiddling my thumbs for six months, time I thought to get a job.

5. I have been performing 6D (datang duduk diam diam dapat duit).

6. I have been so overworked in my previous job that I am now looking for better work life balance (and be a bum).

7. Please please please please please (stop begging for a Scooby snack)

Then again, some of the above could work if you are a top athlete like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. But if you are Nil or YAB or Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane, etc ... do not use the reasons above.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Haircut

I wrote sometime back that I needed a haircut.

Furthermore, my neighbour, the Brunei Sultan paid RM86,918.

I got my haircut today - just slightly cheaper though. Cheaper by about RM86,910.

For those whose maths is horrible, I paid RM8 for a very decent and nice haircut.

I have not paid that little for a haircut in more than 10 years.

Even my dad who is mostly bald gets charged Rm10 to RM13 for his haircut at an Indian barber shop in Kuala Lumpur.

Of course the cut does not include a fancy hair wash, or blow or a lousy massage - but it is a professional haircut and by an experience hair stylist, not a student nor an Indian barber - I have not seen one in Miri.

The only other cheaper haircut I have seen but not dared to do is during Thaipusam in Batu Caves, RM2 or RM3 for a nice clean-shaven head.

This person is also walking distance from my house - not too far from the GK supermarket in Luak Bay. I think the name is Blossom House or Blossom Hair or something like that.

And if you have something to recycle, the small shop next to the saloon is a recycling area where you can send your papers, aluminium etc. I guess you could get enough money if you'd recycle and maybe the haircut will be from your old newspapers.

So, come Monday, go ahead and judge my cheap, but effective and rather good hair cut.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jom pakat (Let's collude)

pakat - to collude, to conspire

baris - line

rakyat - citizens

nasional - national

pakatan rakyat - A collusion or conspiracy of citizens

barisan nasional - a national line - straight line - no two ways about it

I have never like the word pakat. It is a childish word, something I had used when playing police and thief or cowboys and red indians.

"I pakat with you okay. And then we pakat and attack the other people. In the end we win."

I never liked rulers as well - all you could do is draw a straight line.

"Murid-murid dalam barisan sekarang!"
"Baik cikgu!"

So, a barisan gives me an impression of rigidity. Marching cadets, or forming a line to kow tow with someone more superior.

I like the word party or parti in the new Malay language because hey, who does not like a party.

"Come to my house for a party on Saturday night okay."

"Let's go party man, this Saturday night."

So, party is a nice word, I support all parties.

Except political parties - because they are no fun at all, they trick you. They ask you to join the party, but when you do, they are not having a party at all.

Also, these political parties end up being about race ... Indian lah, Chinese lah, Malay lah, Dayak, Iban etc etc etc. Some claim to be party for everyone, but in reality, they are not.

I am really beginning to respect our colonial masters more, those Brits really knew how to divide and rule. And many many years after independence, we are still following their rule method - divide and rule. Of course, the brits learned these from others.

We need a Malaysian Shǐ Huáng Dì. Hmmmmm, maybe a Shǐ RPK.

Qin Shi Huang (259 BCE – 210 BCE),[1][2] personal name Ying Zheng, was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BCE to 221 BCE during the Warring States Period.

He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BCE.He ruled until his death in 210 BCE at the age of 50.

After unifying China, he and his chief adviser Li Si passed a series of major economic and political reforms.

He undertook gigantic projects, including the first version of the Great Wall of China, the now famous city-sized mausoleum guarded by a life-sized Terracotta Army, and a massive national road system.

After conquering the independent Chinese states in 221 BCE, he ruled as king over all of established China. He created a new title, calling himself the First Sovereign Emperor or Shǐ Huáng Dì.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Striving . . . .

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Take care and be well.