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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A bridge to far?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has urged the people to restore the bridge that connects Malaysians and tear down the walls that separate them.

Week before Merdeka:
- Cow head demo to protests the building of Hindu temple in Shah Alam.
- A Muslim women set to be whipped by a cane for 1st offence of drinking beer in a public place.
- MCA expels it's deputy who has been elected by people.
- Kampung Buah Pala set to be demolished.

Simple question, what happened to the bridge and who build the walls?

When growing up, there was always a bridge and there were no walls. Harmoniously we lived among different races and celebrated different religious festivals.

I grew up in Jalan Kelawai in Penang by houses built by a famous Muslim doctor for his daughters.

We lived in a semi detached house next to 2 of his daughters. The doctor has long since passed away.

A few rows down and across the street were some Buddhist friends of my dad. And the backyard of our house faced the famous Thai and Burmese Buddhist temples including the one with the sleeping Buddha - well reclining anyways.

We would always attend each others religious festivals more so just to collect the green or red packets filled with ringgit anywhere from 1-10, that was a lot of money those days.

My Muslim neighbours would go and pour water on the boy Buddha during Wesak Day and sit with us during Dewali prayers.

Although I grew up a vegetarian, I never criticised their ways although the first time seeing a whole roasted pig as well as seeing a cow being bled to death during Quarban seemed a little cruel to me - yet there was never any criticism.

We lived in harmony, we told jokes including racial jokes and laughed with each other and sometimes at each other. People were less sensitive, they could differentiate between a joke or an insult.

It was actually my Malay neighbour that taught me the first Malay bad/vulgar words as well as the infamous "Balik kampung, tanam jagung, buka seluar, tembak burung" line which only much later I was to realise to be a "bad" line that may have started the racial tensions in 1969.

I was 1 month and 7 days old when the racial riots on May 13, 1969 happened. When I was growing up, it was a distant memory.

Like I mentioned, there were bridges and there were no walls, we lived in harmony, we lived a life that was happy, fun and less stressful.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, before you ask us to restore the bridge and tear down the walls, can you please let me know who is it that destroyed the bridges and built the walls? I think we all know the answer to that.

Happy 52nd birthday to Malaysia, I am still proud to be a Malaysian.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pardon My Sarong

A friend of mine sent me the YouTube video below, and I realised where MJ got his fancy dance footwork from.

The video is based on a scene from Pardon My Sarong.

Pardon My Sarong is a 1942 comedy film starring Abbott and Costello. Produced during the duo's prime years, Pardon My Sarong is widely regarded as one of Abbott and Costello's best films.[citation needed]

Tommy Layton (Robert Paige), a weathly bachelor, rents a city bus and rides it from Chicago to Los Angeles. Once there he intends to participate in a yacht race to Hawaii. The drivers of the bus, Algy (Bud Abbott) and Wellington (Lou Costello), are then chased by a detective (William Demarest) who was hired by the bus company. They escape capture by driving the bus off a fishing pier. Layton, who is on his yacht already, rescues them and hires them as his crew for the race. A competitor of his in the race, Joan Marshall (Virginia Bruce) has fired his original crew without his knowledege. He enacts revenge by kidnapping her and taking her along on the race.

While on course to Hawaii, they encounter a hurricane and land on an uncharted island, which is also the home of Dr. Varnoff (Lionel Atwill), a mysterious scientist. The island natives mistake Wellington as a legendary hero and inform him that he must marry Princess Luana (Nan Wynn). Meanwhile, Varnoff's plan is to cause the volcano to erupt in order to trick the tribe into giving them their sacred jewel. The natives send Wellington (and the jewel) to the volcano to defeat the evil spirit of the volcano. Varnoff chases him to the volcano, where they are defeated by Wellington and Algy.

Pardon My Sarong was filmed at Mayfair Productions from March 2 through April 28, 1942. The film's original draft, dated July 19, 1941, was titled Road to Montezuma.

The Ink Spots performed in this movie with tenor Deek Watson playing trumpet on the song Shout Brother Shout. The famous dance group "Tip, Tap, and Toe" danced during the night club scene. However, Maria Montez's scenes were eventually cut from the film.

The film premiered in Costello's hometown of Paterson, New Jersey at a benefit for St. Anthony's Church.

Pardon My Sarong was re-released in 1948.

Four Ink Spots--Charles Fugua, Hoppy Jones Bill Kenny & Deek Watson

Enjoy and try to dance like the cook.

Take care and be well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mad cows, smart cows, aggressive cows, sacred cows

I am a vegetarian. I am a vegetarian not because of health. Nor is it really about the religion although I was born a vegetarian due to religion. Nor is it about loving animals or being kind to animals or stopping animal cruelty. I am a vegetarian because I hate plants!! :D

Like the story below, I fear one day, the plants will take revenge like the cows have done below.

Following Reuters story appeared on Yahoo news portal. I have to say, cows are getting either smart or learning to be aggressive by following all the human aggression.

London (Reuters): The deaths of no fewer than four people after being trampled by cows in the past two months has prompted Britain's main farming union to issue a warning about the dangers of provoking the normally docile animals.

Cows can become aggressive and charge, especially when calves are present and walkers are accompanied by dogs, said the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The union and the Ramblers' Association both advise that walkers release dogs from their leads when passing through a field of cows.

"The cattle are interested in the dog, not the walker," said Robert Sheasby, Rural Surveyor at the NFU.

"As the cattle try to get the dog, there's a high chance they will get the walker too."

Britain has 7.5 million cows but in the past eight years there have only been 18 deaths involving cattle, including bulls whose dangers are well-known.

The current spate of attacks by cows began on the Pennine Hills on June 21, when Liz Crowsley, a veterinary surgeon from Warrington, was crushed against a wall and then trampled underfoot while out walking with her two dogs.

On July 15, another attack took place in Derbyshire, when Barry Pilgrim, a 65-year old from the area, was trampled to death by a cow as his wife looked on.

Three days later, Anita Hinchey, a 63-year-old, was walking her dog near Cardiff when a cow attacked her and trampled her to death.

The fourth fatal attack claimed the life of Harold Lee, a 75-year-old farmer from Burtle in the West Country. He was killed by his own herd, which may have been made nervous by the siren of a passing ambulance.

The risk is especially high in the spring when many of the calves are only a month or two old and the mothers are therefore especially protective, the NFU said.

"It's to do with spring and autumn calving," said Sheasby.

"In the autumn, cattle will be coming into winter housing but in spring you want them out grazing the grass."

Cow-charging incidents received extended coverage when former Home Secretary David Blunkett was attacked by one in June as his guide dog led him across a field in England's Peak District.

Blunkett broke a rib and was heavily bruised but survived.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Need a haircut

I need to call my neighbour friend as I need a haircut. I hear that he gets really good haircuts. Maybe I can tumpang (ride on) his barber.

You see, my good friend next door, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah paid RM86,918 to have his hair trimmed.

The Sultan of Brunei, who is among the world’s richest men with an estimated wealth of RM69.5bil, was so concerned about his looks that he would get hairstylists from London to do his hair every three to four weeks.

Recently, he flew barber Ken Modesrou from London to give him a haircut.

The huge amount covered the fare to fly Modesrou to Brunei in a self-contained suite on a Singapore Airlines flight, three to four nights’ accommodation at a luxury hotel, food and tips. He only charged RM174 for a hairdo in London.

As my friend YAB said, it is all relative. Remember the theory of relativity.

and I remembered the theory of relativity......

If we only have RM 50 , then RM 1 is 1/50 is 2 %, so that's quite a big chunk.

But if we got RM69.5 billion like my neighbour, then RM 86,918 is 0.00000000... %. Furthermore RM69.5 Billion is generating more than RM 86,918 per hour.

So, I guess it is just a small amount for my friend next door. Irrespectively, I sure would like to tumpang for a hair cut, after all, the barber has already flown here and I am sure the sultan can spot me for RM174 for an additional haircut.

Truth be known, the bigger picture is always the Mat Salleh laughing all the way to the bank. The sultan cannot even train his own people to cut good hair, how stupid is that and how insulting is that?

In Malaysia also no difference, many times the Mat Salleh are always laughing all the way to the bank since the days of colonisation, and we let them do it.

So, I guess, we are not much different from my next door neighbour ... relatively.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Healthy savings: The art of frugal food shopping

These frugal food tips which I have copied from the Mayo Clinic in USA will help you achieve healthy savings on your grocery bill. Some of these do not apply to Malaysia but quite a number of them could be helpful.

Frugal is back. People are cutting costs by eating more meals at home. Of course, you can still spend big at the supermarket. But with frugal food shopping, you can cut your grocery bill — and still eat healthy.

Skeptical? Don't be. You can find plenty of resources to help you become a frugal food guru while still paying attention to nutrition. For instance, the Department of Agriculture has created a "thrifty plan" for feeding a family of four — two adults plus two children between the ages of 6 and 11 — that meets the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and costs only $135 a week.

You say you're not the frugal type? Try easing into it with a few of the frugal food tips below. You may discover that being frugal isn't so tough — and can even be tasty.

Before you leave home
Frugal food shopping starts before you hit the supermarket. Take some time at home to review your staples and make a game plan:

Check the pantry. Use up your supplies rather than letting them gather dust. Grab some canned beans and tomatoes to make chili, or whip up a fruit salad from a couple of cans of fruit.

Plan ahead. Make a menu plan for the week and then buy only the items you need. Having a list helps you avoid expensive impulse purchases, as well as the frustration of getting home with groceries, but with no plan for using them.

Change the focus. Meat needn't be the main event every night. Try one or two meatless dinners a week. Build the meal around vegetables, beans and grains — they're cheaper, lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat is. Stock up on legumes and whole-grain staples, such as beans, lentils, brown rice, bulgur and whole-wheat pastas. Use them to make filling soups, stews and casseroles.

Weigh time vs. money. Can you make time for some prep work in the kitchen? Investing a little time can mean big savings. Consider this example: Pre-cut broccoli florets are twice as expensive per pound as whole broccoli.

Clip coupons. If you aren't using coupons for items you regularly buy, you're missing out on savings. Check the fliers that come in the mail or with your newspaper — and check online, too.

Sign up. Shopper cards, also called bonus cards, are the surest way to save at most grocery chains. Sign up at the supermarkets you frequent.

Join the club. Discount clubs can save you money on bulk items. If you can't use up the big quantities, consider splitting them — and the cost — with family or friends. This might not seem to be something we can do in Malaysia as I have not seen any discount clubs but I would then advice to shop in bigger hypermarkets and wet markets in Malaysia. Wet markets can be really cheap for fresh produce.

When you're pushing the cart
The good news in tough economic times is that you're sure to find deals at the grocery store. With these tips and tricks, you'll be a super saver when you hit the supermarket:

Steer clear of junk food. Empty calories from chips and sweets are no bargain. Use your food dollars to buy nutrient-rich food to fuel your body.

Pop over to the bakery. Check out your store's bakery counter. Store-made baked goods are often cheaper — and fresher — than are commercial brands. You can also save by buying day-old baked goods. When you get home pop the bread in the freezer — then you can use it as you need it and keep it from going bad.

Look beyond the big brands. Store brands are 25 percent cheaper on average than are comparable brand-name products. And in many cases, you won't be able to taste any difference.
Be smart about organics. Organic often means expensive. So opt only for organic produce that tends to harbor pesticides when grown traditionally, such as peaches, strawberries and peppers.

Can it or bag it. If fresh produce threatens to bust your budget, try canned or frozen alternatives. And when you find a sale, stock up. Another tip: Check out bagged produce, such as potatoes and onions, which are generally cheaper per pound than are their loose counterparts.

Location, location, location. Amazingly enough, the same product may be on display in different areas of the store at different prices. For example, you may find that a cheese featured at the deli counter is also available pre-sliced in the refrigerated case for less. Make sure you locate the lowest cost option. Also, less expensive — but equally healthy — items appear on lower or higher shelves instead of the premium eye-level shelf.

Check the tab. Don't leave the store until you review your receipt. Six percent of shoppers report being overcharged at the supermarket checkout.

Long-term savings
Following these tips can help you save on food bills while still eating a healthy diet. But did you know that eating healthfully can also help you avoid expensive medical care later?

A healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet — which is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and also limits red meat and emphasizes "good" fats — can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. It's hard to find a bigger bang for your buck than that.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Michami Dukadam / Kshamapana (Requesting for forgiveness)

If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.

Paryushana (or Paryusan)
This one of the two most important festivals for the Jains, the other being Diwali. Paryushana is staying of the monks in one place. In popular terminology, this stay is termed chaturmasa because the rainy season is regarded to be about four months. However, the minimum duration of Paryushana is regarded to be 70 days. For this minimum duration, Paryushana must be initiated by panchami (fifth day) of the shukla phase of the Bhadrapada month. In the scriptures it is described that Lord Mahavira used to start Paryushana on Bhadrapada Shukla panchami. After Mahavir, nearly 150 years Jain Samvatsari was shifted to Chaturthi (4th day of Bhadrapada of Shukla phase. Since 2200 years Jains follows Chaturthi.

It means turning back. It is a form of meditation, called Samayika where one reflects on his spiritual journey and renews his faith. For both Swetambaras and Digambaras, it takes the form of periodic meditation. The period can be twice daily (morning and evening), once every lunar phase, every four months, or every year. The annual Pratikramana in some form is the minimum for a Sravaka.

Dasha-Lakshana Vrata
This is a vrata that celebrates 10 components of the dharma: Noble kshama (forbearance), mardava (gentleness), arjava (uprightness), shaucha (purity), satya (truth), sanyam (restraint), tapa (austerity), tyaga (renunciation), akinchanya (lack of possession) and brahmcharya (chastity), as described by Umaswati.

Requesting Forgiveness
At the conclusion of the festival, the Sravakas request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year. This occurs on the Paryusha day for the Swetambara and on Pratipada (first) of Ashwin Krashna for the Digambara. Forgiveness is asked by telling "Micchami Dukkadam" to each other. It means "If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness".

Take care and be well.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Shave and shit
Wash clothes
Watch the television
Take Al E for a walk
Play with Al E
Work, work, and work some more
Pay bills
Pay more bills
Try to study for PMP exam
Take a drive
Clean the house
Wash dishes
Have a coke
Have a kit kat
Read the newspapers
Did I mention work already?
Write a blog

Take care and be well.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's not easy

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I'll never see

It may sound absurd:but don't be naive
Even Heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed:but won't you conceed
Even Heroes have the right to dream
It's not easy to be me

In memory of all the people we miss and will miss when they move on to another place, time, dimension, location.

In hope that we can cherish what we have while we live and have few regrets.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Adding fuel to the fire.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Influenza (A)H1N1 - Real stories and facts

Following are the facts about H1N1 which many of us may not have bothered about.

It seems Malaysians tend to have a lackadaisical attitude and sometimes just do not bother too much about things.

Malaysia is the 45th largest country in the world by population with a population estimated at 28 million.

However, when it comes to H1N1 deaths by population, we rank 8th.

We also rank 8th in total deaths from H1N1.

We are 10th on total cases. Our cases just jumped by 380+ in one day.

Following are more details, but definitely statistics we cannot ignore anymore. Statistics the government cannot ignore and doctors should not ignore.

Source is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic_timeline
This source is updated daily.

But just by listening to 2 of my friends, I am not entirely surprised by Malaysia ranking so high. Doctors should treat every symptom of H1N1 as a possible case and get their facts straight.

The stories, here they go, true stories from Miri.

Kupps, a good friend of mine was not well and decided to go to MCMC, a private hospital in Miri, fearing it could be H1N1.

He was informed by the professional doctor in a relatively expensive private doctor that there is no way he could have H1N1. The reason.....

"You have not travelled to USA or Mexico recently, so no way you could get infected with H1N1."

Another friend, Uncle C who sits next to me, has been coughing and not well for a while. So he went to the other private hospital in Miri, CAMC.

The doctor gave him a check and medicine and told him to come back if they cough and symptoms were still persistent.

A week later, he goes back because the cough is still there. This time he sees another doctor. This doctor from the records is aware that Uncle C has been to see a doctor a week ago.

So, this doctor ask Uncle C to cough so he can check. So, my friend shows the doctor how he has been coughing. And here's what the doctor told him ....

"Oh this cough, cannot be H1N1. Because H1N1 you don't cough like this."

Can you believe this?

As such, I am not surprised that we have a serious problem, don't take things lightly.

I think the main problem is that most ministers and especially our prime minister is not afraid of H1N1 but the are more afraid of B1N1 (for people who do not get the pun, B1N1 means bini which in English means wife).

Please take this flu pandemic seriously and go see a good doctor even if you have to go to Kuala Lumpur to do so.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Every day including weekends for the last 2 weeks I have been getting up at 5:33am for no apparent reason.

My phone alarm is set at 6:06am and my doggy alarm is usually set around 6:20am, but some alarm deep inside me jolts me up from my deep sleep at exactly 5:33am.

I do not know the significance of the time, I do not recall any significance of the time nor the month in August in general.

The numbers also do not add up to anything of significance. Vasthu Shastra nor Feng Shui really talks about 5:33 specifically.

When growing up, my mom always used to get up before sunrise to pray and for a while I used to get up early to meditate, but that was a long time ago, nearly in a different lifetime it seems.

I would like to get the extra 30-45 minutes of sleep but something keeps waking me up no matter how late or early I go to sleep.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Take care and be well.

Monday, August 17, 2009


A few doors down the road from me, among one of those single story houses, lives a family, likely Chinese. I can never be too sure in Sarawak, because some indigenous do look like Chinese as well, but I think they are Chinese.

This blog is not about race but more about animal cruelty. I refer to them as Chinese because I have only seen them and can only assume they are. Furthermore, all indigenous people I know have respect for animals.

Anyways, a few months ago, maybe close to a year eve, they had got a dog, a puppy, a nice cute little puppy mostly white with some spots.

Over the months I have seen the puppy grow up, to quite a big adult.

And I have seen the puppy, now a dog, being abandoned by the owners.

The dog roams the streets now, looking for scraps to eat. It has a problem with one of his legs and has got a limp. He has also developed a skin problem.

All this because some idiotic useless excuse of owners abandoned their dog.

They may have a million reasons for doing it, but it is inexcusable and pitiful.

Yesterday, while driving, I saw another puppy run out of this same house with a collar.

These owners have now got another puppy, a brown puppy which they do not seem to take care of it too well because he keeps running on the road.

I fear that this puppy will be abandoned by these assholes, just like they did the other one.

I apologies for my slightly vulgar posting today, but when people treat any living thing like this, they do not deserve my sympathy or my niceties.

Unfortunately, may such people exist, many people tend to abandon their dogs or not treat them well.

Please do not get a dog or a cat or a mouse or a rat or a snake or a lizard if all you are going to do is abandon it.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

H1N1 video - must watch

This is a must listen H1N1 video, it will sure assist to prevent the spread of H1N1.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday Night Mystery

I was working till late on Thursday night. Even on Wednesday night, I was up until 11pm on my work computer getting some work done.

On Thursday night, I had a global meeting to attend via conference call, from 8pm to 9:30pm.

The calls usually finish in time, and after the call, I had called wifey.

My loyal dog, Al E is always by my side, when I am in the call he will sleep by my feet.

When I go to the toilet, he will wait outside the door waiting for me.

Yesterday, when I went to the bathroom, I heard Al E get up.

So, I was expecting him outside the toilet door after I had done my business. But when I opened the door, he was not there.

As I had switched of the lights, without my glasses and Al E being black, I did not see him.

So, I went back to the sofa and he was not there.

I called out his name and whistled, an action which would normally bring him back to me, and he did not come.

I checked his toilet, because sometimes after I do my business, he likes to do his business, but he was not there either.

Then I saw him, by the main door.

He looked worried and was looking out the door.

He was trying to tell me that there was something outside the door.

So, I turned on the balcony lights which I did not do earlier, and opened the door.

I did not see, nor did I feel anything weird except for a burnt piece of paper on the balcony.

So, I closed the door, took Al E by my side and went to review the CCTV recording to see if anyone was trying to be funny.

I did not see anything on the CCTV.

I then figured maybe someone – especially the new Shell station coming up across the road at the back – was burning some things as I have seen them burning stuff before.

So, I left it and went to sleep with Al E by my side.

Friday morning, when I went to work, I saw the piece of burnt paper on the front balcony.

I fully expected to see other pieces of burnt paper remnants on the ground floor, maybe even on the car, around the house, especially at the back of the house facing the upcoming station.

But there were none, just that 1 on the front balcony.

When I went back up to see, the burnt paper had blown away.

Some people say that dogs keep the angels away from entering the house because they are partially devil.

Maybe it is the other way around, dogs keep the devils away.

You may try to explain things scientifically as much as you’d like, but some things are just beyond explanation.

And no explanations are necessary.

Take care and be well.

Friday, August 14, 2009

One hit wonders

When was the last time you listened to the radio?

Nowadays most people listen to MP3 or CD's in their car. I notice that some people may have not listened to the radio in a long time.

I have a lot of CD's and more than 5000 songs on my MP3, but every time I drive, I actually like to listen to the radio.

I find the conversations by the DJ's to be fun, I wind the music mix interesting and in Miri, only English radio wave I get is the Malaysian government sponsored one which a friend of mine who goes by Greenman works.

In KL, I prefer Hitz fm but mainly because you do not get that in Miri.

Anyways, whenever you listen to the radio, you get to listen to music that you would not necessarily buy or even have in your collection but music you would enjoy or brings back some memories. You get to listen to one hit wonders like the ones below.

I heard these 2 songs played back to back, how interesting.

I Eat Cannibals

I Eat Cannibal, feed on animal
Your love is so edible to me, I eat cannibals
I eat cannibal, it's incredible
You bring out the animal in me, I eat cannibals

I like spice, tasty and nice
Looks trim, vitamin, forget the dieting
Mmm such a dish, I can't resist
Healthy recipe, what you got it's good for me

All I wanna do, is make a meal of you
We are what we eat, you're my kind of meat
Got a hunger for your love, it's what I'm speaking of
Give a dog a bone, I can take it home

New Age Girl

I've got a new age girl
(Tell us what she's like)
An environmentalist girl
(Does she ride a bike)
She has crystal necklace
(She spend a lot of cash)
Though her vibes are rather reckless
(She's heading for a crash)
Oh her flowing skirt is blowing in a transcendental wind
And she wonders without knowing where did she begin..

Mary Moon.. she's a vegetarian
(Mary Moon, Mary Moon, Mary Moon)
Mary Moon.. will outlive all the septuagenarians
(Mary Moon, Mary Moon, Mary Moon)
Oh, she loves me so
She hates to be alone
She don't eat meat
But she sure like the bone

Take care and be well.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I need a prayer rug

Why do I need a prayer rug? I'll let Dilbert comic strip answer that one.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So long....

Apparently news travels fast.

I was asked by at least 4 to 5 people where I am going to. They heard I was leaving.

Wow, seems like the news travels even faster than me. Cause even I was not aware that I was leaving.

Seems people saw a job posting for my team and they automatically assumed it was for my role.

Funny, how assumptions go.

If they had paid attention - they would have noticed the person will report to me - so how that be if it was for my position.

It is interesting also because it shows that people are really looking at this internal job posting site - presumably looking out for what opportunities are available.

Not surprising that people are looking, after all, the recent unclear changes have left quite a number of people uncertain and when people are uncertain of change, then fear creeps in.

For me, I am uncertain but not fearful. What changes will be will be, the futures not mine to see ;)

I am, however, for now, staying put and doing my work plus more to the best of my ability. It keeps me busy and focused.

Having been through many more drastic changes in the past leaves me a little less worried.

So, folks, I am not leaving right now .... eventually I would love to move on to something else somewhere else .... but not at this time. The time will come one day when opportunity will come knocking on my door, and my door is always open, although the window may be closed ;)

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No line on the horizon

On the way to work, happened to be listening to U2's latest album, aptly titled "No line on the horizon".

Seems like I was driving through smoke throughout my trip from Luak Bay to Lutong. The air pollution index must be over 200 but there are no official reports.

Somehow U2 seemed really nice to listen to, only managed to listen to 3 songs, the 3rd one being "At the moment of surrender".

Seems like we all have. Playing with the fire until the fire played with me.

At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I tied myself with wire
To let the horses roam free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

We set ourselves on fire
Oh God, do not deny her
It’s not if I believe in love
If love believes in me
Oh, believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by

And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of the dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me

At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

Take care and be well.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I started a bad habit - Smoking

Yes all, I am now a smoker.

When did I start smoking? Maybe about 1-2 weeks now.

Why? I had no choice, this was one thing that was beyond my control.

What do I smoke? Oh, whatever I can get my hands on, no particular flavour or brand.

I am smoking, because the haze is at such a very unhealthy level, I am smoking.

Every time I open my balcony, or my door, I am smoking.

See, I do not have a choice.

I wear a mask, but it does little to protect me from smoking.

I stay indoors but still the smoke gets in my eyes, in my throat, in my nose, in my lungs.

Anyways, if I could, I would stay indoors, work from home, drink lots of fluid (which I already do).

The last time the haze was this bad, I was living in Bukit Antarabangsa and had to literally put wet towels at the bottom of the door to reduce the amount of smoke getting in.

Maybe it is time to start doing this again.

Also need an air purifier.

I remember the time when I would drink water out of the tap, no filtration necessary.

Now, nobody drinks water out of the tap. Most people have some for of filtration before drinking water. People just accepted it over the years. We are such a advanced country and yet we cannot provide clean drinking water. And people are generally apathetic, that we just accept this.

I see the same thing now happening with air. I never grew up with haze. But nowadays it is so common. I guess the air filter manufacturers are going to have a field day trying to sell all different types of air filters to the consumers. One day, every Malaysian household will have an air filter.

Water filters and air filters. What other filters should we get?

Take care and be well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Taxieing back

Ladies and Gentlemen, the flight to Miri will be heading back towards the gate as we are having some problems with one of our engines. Please remain seated in the plane. We may be required to change planes. Apologies for the delay and inconvenience.

Engines off, air condition off, heat on, stuffiness on.

No more announcements, waiting and waiting on the plane.

I illegally turn on my phone to send a message to inform some people that the flight is delayed due to engine problem.

Then the plane starts moving again.

Eventually takes off, about 40 minutes later than scheduled.

Later the pilot again apologises for the delays and informs the passengers that there was an problem with one of the sensors which indicated there could be a problem with engine one. Due to this, they did not risk turning the engine on at full throttle and decided to go back to the gate until the issue was resolved.

So, there was no problem with the engine but a sensor.

Lately, a lot of issues with sensors on planes.

Anyway, back to Miri to a quiet home. Wifey in Kay El and Al E in Ken El ;)

And interesting day but a tiring one.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

When the past comes over for a chat

I wanted to put when the past comes and haunts you as the title, but this is not the case, no bad past or no past haunting me, just sometimes the past comes over and decides to have a chat.

I have had many friends, acquaintances over the years. People that have helped me, hurt me or just been part of my life at some time or another.

I loose touch with many people over the years.

When you move from one job to another, you tend to loose touch with people.

Also, when you leave school after form 5 and especially when you do not do well in SPM, you loose touch with people.

When you go to a college for 2 years in KL and then a University in US for another 2 years, you tend to loose touch with people.

When you stick to a job between 2-5 years, you tend to loose touch with people.

My first job as a journalist in The Star newspaper, I am now in touch with nobody from there.

My second as a journalist in The Sun, same story.

My third major job was in Texas Instruments, I actively keep in touch with only 1 person and indirectly with 1 more.

Then in Com-Line, again, actively nobody.

Then DHL - actively nobody but thanks to Facebook, passively quite a number of people.

Anyways, I suddenly received an email from an old friend, who has helped us a lot in the past and has been in my mind.

And with Facebook, I have got in touch with a number of friends from the old school days, some friends that I have not seen in 20 odd years.

Sometimes, a rolling stone gathers no moss .... but a rolling stone rocks and rolls and touches different things in life.

Sometimes I wonder if I will stop being a rolling stone, but what will that be? A stagnant stone, gathering moss, being contented and not experiencing any change except the weather.

For now, I am a rolling stone, I will rock on, roll on and touch different lives and maybe just maybe, I will roll over the same path again and if our paths do come across, then it will be meant to be and it will be beautiful.

Take care an be well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Government Issue

Go watch it, it is fun, action packed and funny.

G.I. (Government Issue) Joe.

Not the 1945 movie The story of G.I. Joe but the 2009 movie G.I. Joe: The rise of the cobra.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Freezing cold cineplexes

Yesterday night, went to CapSquare for the 1st time as wifey said parking is free and there is a cinema there that is hardly crowded.

So we went to watch Harry Porter at 10:30pm in CapSquare.

Guess how many people were watching Harry Porter?

A grand big total of 5 people.

They have 6 cineplexes there showing different movies, but I think the grand total of people watching movies there could not have been more than 5 per cineplex, so 30 people watching movies in 6 brand new and extremely freezing cold cineplex.

After the movie, everything is dark on the movie cineplex floor - sort of leaves an eerie feeling. Luckily we did not come out from a horror or some serial killer sort of movie.

While CapSquare seems to be a nice place, it does not seem to be a happening place at night and despite the free parking attraction smack in the middle of KL City, it is not a place I would like to go again at night unless of course there are 5-10 of us friends going to watch a movie together. That would be like the best business they get.

I do not know how this theater can continue to survive, then again, it is showing a lot of Hindi and Tamil movies and is nearby the KL City center where Masjid Jamek and Batu Road is, so likely they will get the usual crowds.

Just going into the city many times on weekends or public holidays, especially the Majed Jamek part of the city, feels like you have just left Malaysia and entered a different country, a foreign land. Seems like there should be a immigration stop at the High Court traffic lights to get our passports chopped.

Then again, that would be no different from going to Sabah or Sarawak, still require work permits and passports to be chopped. Oh well, this is 1Malaysia. And 1Malaysia will be a blog topic soon enough.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cops and Robbers a.k.a. Police and Thief

Who has not played this game when we were young.

Somehow, I always liked to play the thief, partially because it gave me the ability to wear my hankie as a mask like the spaghetti western movies.

If your nose and mouth was covered, you were the bad guy.

Nowadays, at 40, wearing a mask for entirely different reasons.

Haze for one.

I did not wear a mask when H1N1 became a pandemic.

But the haze is bad, the air smells bad, my throat feels bad and today feeling dizzy and nauseated because of the haze.

YAB who just returned from a trip was describing a scene which seems like one of those end of the world or end of civilization sort of movies.

He said there were a bunch of cards which had stopped and he stopped too.

Everyone came out of their cars and was gazing at the orange red horizon with smoke bellowing.

He said the whole horizon was burning - the trees, mostly palm and some grass - all on fire.

He even described the sound - like wind and heat wave blowing through a funnel.

Tree leaves swooshing and burning up.

The world is coming to an end sort of scene.

I guess at 40, we still play police and thief - but I notice nowadays, the good guys are wearing the masks.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stop blaming the child

"El Nino drying up Sarawak" - The Star, 4th August 2009.

El Nino - the child or the little boy, depending how you do your Spanish translation is apparently causing havoc to the Malaysian weather again.

But easily, El Nino then gets the blame for all the haze that we are having.

That is like spoiling the child, and then blaming the child for being spoilt.

The haze is caused by open burning.

Nothing else.

No special weather phenomena.

I am no scientist or weather expert myself, so like everyone else, I consult the trusted WWW on this. According to the wiki:

El Niño is a combination of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It is manifested in the atmosphere by changes in the pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin, Australia, and in the ocean by warming of surface waters of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The oscillation does not have a single well-defined period but instead occurs every three to eight years. The name is from the Spanish for "the little boy", refers to the Christ child, because the phenomenon is usually noticed around Christmas in the Pacific near South America.

A period of cooling in the tropical Pacific is the opposite extreme in the natural ENSO cycle and is called La Niña. The phenomenon often is abbreviated in scientific usage as ENSO and in popular usage is commonly called simply El Niño.

The mechanisms that sustain the El Niño - La Niña cycle remain a matter of research, but El Nino is associated with disruption of Pacific trade winds and a stronger than usual so-called Madden-Julian oscillation, which is the frequent and regularly occurring eastward progression of tropical rainfall over the Pacific.

El Niño is associated with floods, droughts and is linked to other weather disturbances in many locations around the world. El Niño's effects in the Atlantic Ocean lag behind those in the Pacific by 12 to 18 months. Developing countries dependent upon agricultural and fishing are especially affected.

El Niño's effects on weather vary with each event. Recent research suggests that treating ocean warming in the eastern tropical Pacific separately from that in the central tropical Pacific may help explain some of these variations.

So, I do not see a consistent story between what they say in Malaysia. In Malaysia, El Nino is a code word for haze and open burning. It does not occur every 3-5 years nor near Christmas time, it occurs when there is haze and open burning. The Malaysian El Nino is caused by a phenomena that is called match stick and dry leaves.

We continuously keep allowing people to burn openly, whether it is dry leaves on their lawns or dry dead trees in their farms or old dead palm trees in their plantations.

We continuously blame slash and burn activities but we do not teach people new methods of planting.

We continuously blame the palm oil industry but we also promote and continue to buy palm products.

Stop blaming the little kid, start taking some of the blame ourselves . . . then maybe, just maybe, we can improve.

Take care and be well.

Monday, August 3, 2009

How does one do 2.5 persons job effectively?

So, the question is: How does one do 2.5 persons job effectively?
Basically, the simple truthful answer is: You don't and you just can't do it effectively.

So, just doing the best, prioritzing, doing first things first ... this is when the 7 Habits training works most effectively.
But then, I am still on the first half, moving on to the second half is most difficult. So, still in between dependance, independance and trying to achieve interdependance.

Habit 1 - Principles of Personal Choice
Covey emphasizes the original sense of the term "proactive" as coined by Victor Frankl. You can either be proactive or reactive when it comes to how you respond to certain things. When you are reactive, you blame other people and circumstances for obstacles or problems. Being proactive means taking responsibility for every aspect of your life. Initiative and taking action will then follow. Covey also argues that man is different from other animals in that he has self-consciousness. He has the ability to detach himself and observe his own self; think about his thoughts. He goes on to say how this attribute enables him: It gives him the power not to be affected by his circumstances. Covey talks about stimulus and response. Between stimulus and response, we have the power of free will to choose our response.

Habit 2 - Principles of Personal Vision
This chapter is about setting long-term goals based on "true north" principles. Covey recommends formulating a "Personal Mission Statement" to document one's perception of one's own vision in life. He sees visualization as an important tool to develop this. He also deals with organizational mission statements, which he claims to be more effective if developed and supported by all members of an organization rather than prescribed.

Habit 3 - Principles of Integrity & Execution
Covey describes a framework for prioritizing work that is aimed at long-term goals, at the expense of tasks that appear to be urgent, but are in fact less important. Delegation is presented as an important part of time management. Successful delegation, according to Covey, focuses on results and benchmarks that are to be agreed in advance, rather than on prescribing detailed work plans. Habit three is greatly expanded on in the follow on book First Things First.

Habit 4 - Principles of Mutual Benefit
An attitude whereby mutually beneficial solutions are sought that satisfy the needs of oneself as well as others, or, in the case of a conflict, both parties involved.
Habit 5 - Principles of Mutual Understanding
Covey warns that giving out advice before having empathetically understood a person and their situation will likely result in that advice being rejected. Thoroughly listening to another person's concerns instead of reading out your own autobiography is purported to increase the chance of establishing a working communication.
Habit 6 - Principles of Creative Cooperation
A way of working in teams. Apply effective problem solving. Apply collaborative decision making. Value differences. Build on divergent strengths. Leverage creative collaboration. Embrace and leverage innovation. It is put forth that when synergy is pursued as a habit, the result of the teamwork will exceed the sum of what each of the members could have achieved on their own. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Habit 7 - Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
Focuses on balanced self-renewal: Regain what Covey calls "production capability" by engaging in carefully selected recreational activities. Covey also emphasizes the need to sharpen the mind.

Oh well, people strive and we set new goals everyday. We have hopes and we have dreams and fantasies, and hopefully somedays, some will come true.
Take care and be well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A lovely evening spoilt by an itch

Wifey and I went out for the evening, leaving Al E behind for a few hours.

First we decided to check out the so called furniture fair to see if we got get a decent cabinets for books or shoes or something but not much of a fair and not much of a bargain either, so, we decided to go get an early dinner at the lovely Miri Marriott Hotel.

Since the bombing in Jakarta, the Marriott here has become a little bit more security conscious - I guess no harm in that considering the amount of different types of people staying in the hotel - it is best to check them thoroughly.

I wonder if they have security machines to check people's personalities, they should have that at airports and turn away those that have a bad personality. I guess many Singaporeans, Hongkies and Dutch will not be able to go anywhere Muahahahahahaha :P

Anyway, it was a lovely evening, so we decided to sit at the pool side and enjoy the nice sunset and sip on some diluted mojitos served in a plastic glass and enjoy some fried spring rolls served in a basket without any plates.

Then we ordered our main course, for Sarah a sandwich and for me the classic Mac N Cheese. Makes me wonder if I should start calling Kupps cheese instead. Since there is Mack, but where is Mack's cheese - oh well, Kupps sticks better.

The standard of the food, the drinks and the service in the Marriott seems to have gone down a little since Chef Jeremy left. The prices of course never go down. Maybe they seriously need to look at getting a executive chef soon rather then spending the money on introducing fancily printed menu but serving mediocre food.

Anyways, after a while, it started with me as always, I felt something had bit me. It become rather uncomfortable and itchy in a few places - really really itchy.

I figured it could not be mosquitoes because they had repellents plus it was through my jeans. I doubted they were sand flies either. But something bit me and it itched like hell.

It also bit Sarah and she was starting to itch.

Imagine this - Two people, lovers, friends, having a nice dinner and then suddenly itching themselves on the legs, hands, back - a scene of a comedy movie for sure but in all honesty, totally unpleasant.

After coming home to the minor but usual Al E mess, the itch continued, and continued, till the morning.

Still itching but have put some medicine on it and trying to make it mind over matter, but boy is it still bloody itchy - but since my 4 fingers are doing the typing, they have not had time to do the itching.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cha cha cha

Not the dance but tea, Gujerati tea or Gujerati cha, in Hindi it would be Gujerati chai. Then again, chai is now excepted in English as tea as well. It is also same in Chinese, they call it cha as well.

But Saturday morning, having my Gujerati cha, made by wifey. A hired help finally ironing all of my clothes, all of my shirts.

Took Al E boy for a walk, down the road, up the beach, down the sandy plot of land and up the road.

Al E liked it, I feel refreshed, except for the hundreds of sand flies who have sucked my blood despite having put some cream earlier.

A lazy yet an active Saturday morning.

Need to start studying but I think I'll have to leave that for another day.

Need to start clearing my table - maybe later today.

Go for a nice late lunch or early dinner with wifey - check out the new chef in Marriott maybe.

Watch a movie on DVD - will leave the cinemas to KL.

Police sirens blasting, likely some VIP passing by, then again Datuk YAB (Yes Me Ash Burn) was going to Sibu with his family - maybe he has outriders :P

Take care and be well.