January 2003 Archives

The Psycho Circus

An important friend of mine was in hospital. She was being treated for some problems she's having. She was in the psychiatric ward. She still takes a drug cocktail everyday to keep in control. I read her blog today.

I think all who is reading this should do two things right now:

  1. Visit her blog and read about her experiences in there. I promise you, it is well worth the click. She has educated us by showing us what we wouldn't otherwise see.

  2. Offer a prayer for her well being, present and future. Even if you don't know her, it can't hurt to wish a blessing for a fellow human being. More so than many, she deserves it.
For doing both, you have my most grateful appreciation.

Why i love Newcastle United FC

I've received a couple of emails lately questioning my choice of the "Last of the Greats" i.e. the indominable English center forward, Alan Shearer. People don't understand how i could hold in such regard a player who is 32 years old, and practically ancient history in footballing terms. Especially when there were many more exciting young forwards in the game today such as Henry, and van Nistelrooy. When i wrote my admiration for Shearer, Newcastle was still languishing in mid-table of the league. Look at the league table now: it justifies my claim that Captain Fantastic is one of the very best out there.

The United States of America

If war comes to the Middle East by way of the United States and Iraq, it will be a terrible sign of the times: a unipolar world where the might of the strong makes right.

John le Carre has written an essay on this perspective that provides a very interesting read. His dagger-words pierce the armor of BS the American PR men have served to the world. The following is an excerpt:

"If Saddam didn't have the oil, he could torture his citizens to his heart's
content, and Bush wouldn't care. Other leaders do it every day - think
Saudi Arabia, think Pakistan, think Turkey, think Syria, think Egypt."

Sleep

It took me a long time to realize how important a good night's rest means to the body and mind. My parents used to force me early each night into the bedroom as a little boy, even when i desperately wanted to continue playing or swirling the house cat by the tail around the room.

As i grew older, i managed to find ways to stay up late. In my teens, i conned my parents into letting me keep a computer in my room. Late night gaming sessions followed. I was an avid reader, literally breathing in books by the dozens. More late nights followed. Even when i was sleepy, i kept myself awake. I don't know why i did that, well not really. It just didn't seem right to sleep when there was so much to do.

Interminably busy

A very dear friend complained that i was "interminably busy" these days; referring to the lack of time i've had to do anything but work, eat, sleep, blog and pray that the juggling act will come to an end soon.

Surely, there must be some time in there for friends? The honest answer is that there is, but i've been negligent in ensuring the proper use of that time. How hard is it to switch on my Yahoo! Messenger at nights so that i can be reached for a quick chat? Not very hard at all. How hard can it be to send a short email saying that i'm ok, and asking about their health. Not hard either. How hard can it be to make a simple phone call, to talk, to stay in touch? Truly, its not as difficult as it feels it is.

That's the problem: things only ever feel difficult when we don't do them and know that we should. I'm sorry.

The only winner

Dear Malaysiakini,

Malaysiakini gets raided by the police under controversial circumstances. Uproar from the general public, opposition parties in Malaysia, local and international NGOs. Malaysiakini gets an eviction notice from PC Suria. Further uproar.

Malaysiakini's opponents will be smiling - the country's "only independent online daily" is under tremendous pressure. It lost a substantial chunk of its hardware, it went offline for hours, its senior staff were grilled by the police, its reporters and employees won't be blamed if they are beginning to feel a wee bit insecure knowing that they are being watched, knowing that they are one "seditious" article away from further investigation and possible jail time, fines or both. Now, if only Malaysiakini's eviction goes through and they find themselves on the street, forced to relocate...

Malaysiakini's advocates and supporters are deeply upset. This is the online paper that has broken from the shackles of government regulation. Taking advantage of the loophole that is Internet publishing, its voice can be relied upon to report and comment on issues that would never see the light of printed matter. And now, that freedom is under threat; all that has been worked for could abruptly grind to a halt. A true supporter will not sit idly by. Some have donated computers. Others have donated cash. Others still have donated their support through prayers and a brightly lit candle.

The juggle

I saw a juggler on TV last night. He was amazing; juggling more than a dozen small balls at the same time, his hands just looked like a blur of movement. I think the way we lead our lives is a similar juggle - the more items we pull into our sphere of influence, the faster we have to move to cope. Work, studies, family, friends, work, studies, family, friends, enemies. Around and around they will go.

The Juggler for the Gods
Lynn Small, "El Malabarista Para Los Dioses" (The Juggler for the Gods), Cuernavaca 1974

But, there are limits. Even the best juggler will run out of time, will run out of ability or will simply run out of luck. Whether we're juggling small yellow balls, or juggling the items in our lives, this principle remains the same.

Going through a particularly rough patch right now - the balls are swirling out of control, the hands are being called on to move faster than they have in a long time. Of course, its just temporary; things like this always are. But its still an unpleasant experience, one that i wish could be avoided.

SQ Hell

The Volume of Interactions (AizuddinDanian.com) was inaccessible from Malaysia for more than 24 hours, beginning Friday (24/01/03) evening until the time of this posting. Non-Malaysian visitors may or may not have had difficulties.

The most likely cause of this outage is the Code Red-like virus that has infected more than 39,000 computers and servers world wide. The virus (dubbed SQ Hell) by some, uses a vulnerability in Microsoft SQL database servers to propagate. Due to its high penetration rate, bandwidth world-wide has been eaten up by the virus as it tries to find openings to spread over the Internet.

Read Yahoo!'s report on the problem.

Outrageous!

Under-pressure Malaysiakini.com, Malaysia's "only independent online news portal", is in the news again. They've been given an eviction notice by their landlord, PC Suria. Malaysiakini is now homeless. Gosh, nothing seems to be going right for them.

The effect of this eviction will be many times greater than the police raid which confiscated their computers last week. Almost certainly, operations will be severely disrupted while they look for a new place. That's assuming they can find someone who is willing to take them in...

Of course, observers of the debacle are calling this the latest move in a massive government conspiracy to put Malaysiakini out of business. Whether there is any truth in this, i can't say. Possibly, PC Suria, has been spooked by the negative publicity Malaysiakini has drawn over the last week simply wants to distance itself from a high-profile tenant.

Eviction notice
The eviction notice form PC Suria

The official reason given for the eviction is that Malaysiakini is "involved in activities that contravene the laws of the country". What law would that be? The online daily is under investigation for printing a possibly-seditious letter, but under investigation is not the same as guilty, is it?

Human cloning and Islam

Reproductive principles are a central concern of Islamic family law and jurispudence. A child is only considered legitimate (thus receiving the rights and privileges afforded to him or her) when born to a mother from the union of the mother's ovum and her legally wedded husband's sperm.

Extraction of nucleus from ovum
The extraction of the nucleus from the ovum. DNA from the "parent" will be used to replace the extracted material

Advances in reproductive technology have changed this equation very little. A husband and wife who has trouble conceiving can seek assistance leading to the artificial insemination of the wife with the husband's sperm. But a couple where the man is sterile will only have adoption as a final recourse for children. The artificial insemination of the wife's ovum by donor sperm is strictly prohibited.

But what about human cloning?

Optimism minus pessimism

Anyone who knows me knows that i'm an optimistic bloke who sees the brighter side to everything. I've always been of the opinion that everything happens for a reason. Since God is merciful + compassionate, that reason is ALWAYS a good one. Its up to us to find that good, and the only way to find it is to believe that it exists. This is optimism in thought and perception.

Similarly, i'm also of the opinion that anything, given enough effort and patience, can change, either for better or worse (which is which is a matter of relativity; it always depends on the angle you choose to see things). Hitler transformed a crippled German nation into the conquerors of Europe (sans Britain). Edison took a strip of twine and invented the electric lightbulb; initial failure did not deter him. Mahathir defied the critics and pulled Malaysia out of the 1997 financial crisis. None of these people would have been able to do what they did if they did not believe that it could be done. They were optimists in action.

Optimism in thought and action does not exist in a vaccum. No matter how much we want something to happen, or no matter how good we believe the situation to be, we must allow ourselves to be tempered with a dose of realism. Significant changes in human civilization does not happen easily, nor does it happen without a revolution of thought and action. For example, Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution that discusses the Special Rights of the Malays protects itself from challenge or change. Does this mean that it is insulated from change? Yes it does. Does this mean that it will never be changed? For an optimist, there is no such thing as never.

Scent of a woman

I walked up to my female, married colleague this morning and said, "I smelled someone like you this morning."

She replied, "Oh really? She must be wearing the same perfume i do."

As i sat down at my desk, i gave my comment some more thought and realized that its a good thing she and i are good friends because someone else might have misunderstood my meaning. Some might even accuse me of sexual harrassment.

Being a man nowadays can be tough. We have to be careful of all that we do, and all that we say to women. Even completely innocent comments, gestures or acts can be misinterpreted, and lead to embarrassment or legal action. *sigh*

Malaysiakini.com

Malaysiakini.com was raided yesterday by the police. Its computers and servers essential to operations were seized. It is currently being investigated for publishing a letter that contained seditious remarks.

The trail of events + my personal comments can be found below.

That perfect job

I've got quite a few friends who are looking for jobs right now. Just graduated from university, most are looking for their first job, and with rare exceptions, nearly all are finding the going very tough.

This is something i don't understand. I open the newspapers everyday, look in the classifieds section and see hundreds of jobs on offer. I casually surf websites such as JobsDB and JobStreet and see thousands more. I drive around town, walk in shopping malls and see many more jobs being advertised from posters and banners hanging outside shops. Finding a job should not be difficult given an obvious adundance of opportunity.

The problem is that most are looking for that "perfect job" - that job which they've always wanted, that job that ties in nicely with what they studied in university. They want to do what they've been trained to do, they want to enjoy the comfort of doing what they know and nothing else. This approach to job seeking is wrong and will most likely lead to long periods of unemployment, despair and frustration. Why? Because everyone else is thinking the exact same thing.

Why do you think you understand?

Been receiving quite a few forwarded emails lately about the nature of men. A copy of such a mail can be found here. Reading them at first was fun, and a welcome break from the bustle of work, but then, they got tiresome, and then later, they got irritating.

1. Who starts these emails?
2. Why do they even bother?
3. Where do they get ideas for this nonsence?

Besides being bothersome junk, such mail can cause some real damage; some may take it too seriously, or find links from their own lives to validate these ridiculous "men are scum" claims.

Do everyone a favour: don't forward such email. Its a disease.

Definitions

We take words we think we know for granted. For example, do we really understand what the word "ambition" means? We shouldn't be looking for a dictionary definition, we should be looking for a practical meaning, something that makes sense and is relevant to the way that we lead our lives.

Had a long chat with a friend last night. She's half-way through university and, as is the norm with most people in that situation, she's not sure what to do after she graduates in 18 months time. She needed advice. I told her she needed ambition.

The moment i said it, i realized that i didn't know how to explain what i meant. I didn't really understand what ambition is. But we talked through it together and concluded that ambition is knowing what your next step is and laying the foundation to allow you to take it. So many people do one or the other, but many don't do both, leaving a gap between success and failure.

We discussed her options, we discussed what she needed to do to reach each individual option. In the end, i told her all she need now to do is choose. She's a smart lady - she's choose correctly. She has ambition.

Wedding Speech

I've been asked to give a speech at a dear friend's wedding in a couple week's time. She and i go way back, so i owe it to her to do my best. Below you'll find the first draft of my speech. Would appreciate any and all feedback you can give me to improve it. Thanks in advance.

-----------

To the bride and groom, parents from both families, guests and friends - Assalamualaikum and a very good evening. My name is Aizuddin Danian and i'm a friend of the family.

We're gathered here tonight to celebrate the creation of a new family. Its been a great event, the food excellent and the company even better. Dinner has been served, the couple are on proud display and its now my turn to say a few words about them both.

I've known [the bride] for a long time, since her very first days as a university student. When we first met, she infected me with a blessing that lasts till today: her youthful exuberance, her positive nature, her sinful laugh, her unending smile. She taught me that life is not much fun if we choose not to look at the sunny side of things. It is this attitude that will serve her well as she faces the future, it is this charm that will add the spark to the marriage.

To be honest, until tonight, i've never met [the groom]. But i think i already know him better than most people here.

One quiet evening years ago, [the bride] told me what she wanted in a husband. He should be patient - she can be such a pest, that he needs to be able to put up with her antics. He should be kind and loving. He should be able to treat her like the Queen she thinks she is [chuckle]. He should be able to respect and love her parents and family as though they were his own. And most of all, he should be wise and unselfish to guide and protect her.

She has chosen [the groom] to be her husband, therefore he must be all these things and more, no doubt.

To you both, [the bride] and [the groom], a request if i may. Love each other and be happy. Do good in this world, do good to each other. Have lots and lots of kids... and be sure to name one after me! [laugh]

It has been my honour and tremendous pleasure to speak here tonight. Thank you, wassalamualaikum.

Stephen Wright

Was reading Forbes and came across this quote. Its hilarious:

"It's a good thing there's gravity or else when the birds died, they'd stay where they were" - Stephen Wright

Don't know who this guy is, but it seems that a large number of incredibly insightful and funny quotes are accredited to him, the best of which can be found here.

Blog of the Month: Jan 2003

The chief criteria of the Blog of the Month Award is that "reading it (i.e. the selected blog) is an education". An education can come in many forms, but i think one of the most valuable types is when we learn about something that we normally wouldn't in the course of our lives.

Think about all the things that touch your life at this very moment. Every second of every day, as you are in contact with these things, you are learning something new. Now, think for a moment about how amazing it would be to learn something that doesn't touch your everyday life. It doesn't make the knowledge useless, it makes it unique.

With this in mind, i've found a blog that educates us about buses. Nothing but buses and how buses work, why they don't work, and the many issues surrounding the people who use and operate buses. Read it, if you have a moment, and be educated.

The Bus Stop

Old friends

Its always a strange feeling meeting old friends, especially people with whom you were once close to but haven't had contact with in a very long time. Today, i met two such people.

It wasn't exactly an awkward experience - amazingly enough, when we bumped into each other, saying hello and picking up a conversation seemed like the most natural thing to do. But as such chance meetings go, they don't usually last very long; just enough time to say hi, ask what each are doing now, exchange numbers and promise to meet up in some undetermined future date. Both encounters lasted less than a minute.

But as i turned and walked away, a flood of questions came into my mind. I couldn't help but wonder how their lives had been filled in the years that we haven't talked or met. I couldn't help but try to imagine whether they were the same person or has something fundamental changed? They looked the same, if anything, better than the last time i saw them. They talked the same, laughed the same, and smiled at me as though we had just met yesterday.

Its quite amazing if you think about it: being apart for years, and when chance brings you together again, its almost as though so little has changed. But we've all changed. Older, wiser, more mature. We can't possibly still be the same, can we? Then why does nothing feel different?

Death penalties

In my debating days, i used to argue that the death penalty existed because it acts as a deterrent against future crime. It would seem logical that a potential criminal would be deterred from committing a capital offense if there hung the threat of death as punishment if caught. Garnished with a bevy of cooked up statistics from obscure American states (which changed depending on what i thought the judges knew), i remember winning most of my capital punishment debates arguing along this line.

Even then, i knew this argument was wrong. Scratch under the surface of the argument and you will find that capital crimes are often irrational, illogical and, sometimes, downright evil. Murder is an irrational crime, and people do it for irrational reasons. The logic of deterrence does not apply to people who aren't thinking.

But that does not mean that the death penalty for murder is wrong. In fact, it is very right no matter what Governor George Ryan says.

Given that the accused is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the death penalty serves the rights of the kin of those who have died under the hands of the guilty. Certainly, this is an emotional argument that would probably not hold muster against rational thought. But think about it:

The people who "rationally" argue against the death penalty aren't the ones who have had their loved ones brutally slaughtered. Take any opponent of the death penalty, place him or her in the shoes of a person who can feel the pain of losing a husband, wife, child or mother to murder. I can almost guarantee a change of opinion.

Often, the only salve for such pain is revenge. A state is responsible for the physical AND emotional welfare of its people. Revenge sounds like a dirty word, but its principle is not necessarily wrong. Just as you expect others to do upon you as you would do upon them, you should expect to be done upon just as you have done upon others. That's justice.

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream

I've heard so much about it. Read so much about. Even seen others writhe in ecstasy as they put this brand of ice cream into their watering mouths. But i have never tasted it myself.

A few days ago, i finally gave in to the pressures of marketing and stumped up the RM24 ++ for a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, Pure Vanilla flavour. Yes, call me boring, but that's the only flavour of ice cream i really enjoy. And i reckon, since every brand sells vanilla, its a good standard for comparison. How does it stack up against the Baskin Robbins, against the Sara Lee's and Haagen Dasz?

Ben and Jerry's Best Vanilla Flavour
I had to restrain myself from finishing it in one sitting

It blows the competition out of the water. Its that good. Got RM24 lying around? There's little better than spending it on the gastronomical delight this ice cream will bring you. Its orgasmic!

Sick reaction

Parents are away. I'm in charge of the house. House driver? Me. Food provider for my sisters? Me. Critical decision maker? Me. Person to complain to when sick? Me also.

Sister walks in this evening and tells me that she's got a fever. I check. Confirmed. She is running a temperature. What to do?

Take her to the clinic? Naah... she's not sick enough for that. Prescribe two panadol and set her on her way. GPs at clinics have a tendency of over-prescribing antibiotics for the mildest illnesses. Don't want my sister to be drugged up.

Over-prescription is a real problem in the medical community (read more). My dad (and hence, his family) is of the belief that over-prescription is a direct reason why a number of previously harmless bugs are becoming increasingly dangerous. With drugs being used when they shouldn't be, these bugs are evolving natural resistances. So when you really need a drug to work, it doesn't.

Doctors, especially GPs who you could argue have financial incentives to over-prescribe, should be more trusting of the natural human immune system. Its served us well for thousands of years. It'll serve us well for thousands more.

Bumiputra only

It really upset me this evening to drive by a street advertisement for a new housing area to boldly claim that there were "ONLY BUMIPUTRA UNITS" for sale.

Bumiputra = "Son of the earth" = Indigenous malay race

What does this mean? What message is the developer trying to put across to people who see this ad?

Could it be:

1. If you're a Bumiputra, then this is a good deal for you because then you won't have to have to worry about having non-Bumiputra neighbours?

2. If you're a non-Bumiputra, don't bother applying for a house here because you're not wanted.

Racist housing
Only Bumiputras need apply

The fact is that the Government provides subsidies to developers who build low cost housing for Bumiputras to purchase. So it makes sense that developers would be encouraged to build houses which are "Bumiputra only" or "90% Bumiputra units". But my question is, where does that leave the non-Bumiputras i.e. the Chinese, the Indians, etc.?

That is the problem with a large number of critical policies (e.g. housing, education) in this country - they are laid according to racial lines. Policies discriminate according to race, rather than need. While years of colonial oppression has created a large group of under-privileged Bumiputras (by all means, they need all the help the Government can give them), it is often forgotten that there are large numbers of poor Chinese and Indians who also require aid.

Sadly, with low cost housing coming with tags such as "BUMIPUTRA UNITS ONLY", one wonders where they will live?

Customary money

I've never seen the point of either practice: the ang pow (money in quaint little red packets) and the duit raya (money in quaint little green packets). The former is given out by the married members of the family to their unmarried relatives (regardless of age) while the latter is given out by any member of the family who is working to the "young ones".

A red packet of money
The Chinese ang pow

I'm not married, so i have yet been expected to give out the ang pow. But some pressure was placed on me to give out duit raya this past Hari Raya. I resisted. I believe in charity, and i regularly empty my pockets of loose change whenever i walk past a person in need asking for help. But giving out money during celebrations? Who started this practice? Why do we, as a society, believe that its necessary? Do we do it because everyone else does? Its "just one of those things"?

So i gave out nothing. My younger cousins gave me dagger stares.

Watching the human mind

Over the years, i've spent a lot of time thinking about what i'm thinking about. Sorta like an inner reflection, a check, an account of what my mind is processing at any given time. What's surprising is that i can rarely tell myself what i'm thinking besides the fact that i'm thinking about thinking. The ability of the human mind is poor in the area of such multi-tasking. We can probably compute a million bytes of information in a split second over a multitude of issues and purposes, but we can't tell ourselves what we are truly thinking. Or maybe its just me; everyone else can do it, and i'm simply a dumb loser.

Since i have had so little luck with my own thoughts, i've found that its much easier to observe the thoughts of others. I do this a lot: i'll buy a cup of coffee from San Fran, Coffee Bean or Starbucks, sit down, quietly sip away and watch people come and go.

That person who just walked by: he's having an affair with the woman he's walking with. He's got a ring and she doesn't, but the way they look at each other gives them away.

The lady with the large blue handbag: she's had a rich life; the wrinkles are beginning to show, maybe she's a grandmother. There is a true glint of contentment in her eyes. She's a happy person.

That kid at the next table: he resents his parents forcing him to be there. His pout, the folded arms across the chest tell me that he would much rather be at home... at his computer? No, its 5 pm - he's missing the latest anime on AXN.

I wonder what would people say, watching me watching them?

Diary of a Captive Cat

Ever wanted to know what goes on in the mind of an everyday house cat? Read the piece written by Raja Aldeena, the announcer for MIX Radio's "Love Songs and Dedications". Its hilarious to the Nth degree!

Trust and consideration

Dear {a friend},

I'm sorry to hear that your relationship hit a small bump. Its not an unusual thing, really. A loving relationship is about living with that person, good and bad. Realistically, this does take some adjustment - we have to change our perceptions, expectations and conclusions at times in order to accomodate for the uniqueness that is our partner. So what you're going through now... don't take it too badly. Remember, what makes a situation good or bad is not the situation itself but how we react to it.

As i see it from what you've told me, there are issues of trust and consideration at play here. You don't trust him as much as he would like, and he is not as considerate to you as you would like.

Beauty

Poets of time have beauty, written about
But none have touched you, i doubt
Fairer than the fair, i dare
This prose shall whisper of you, i share

I see, i saw, a glance of you
A breath was drawn, lost afew
Your smile, your grace, a beautiful face
Tender, and strong, the finest lace

A word, or two, i wished i should
To speak to you, i could so good
But no, i shan't for words have gone
Away from this mind, lost forlorn

No man could speak, if they were i
Your beauty leaves blanks, draws sighs
And yet, i hope against hope ablessed
We'll meet again, then, shall i confess.

Inspired by an angel

Its back

Once again, the issue of polygamy is back as a topic of heated discussion. Or maybe, more accurately, it never left; it was just waiting for another stupid male to open his mouth to re-ignite the issue.

If a Muslim man is financially, physically and emotionally able, it is his right (as compared to a privilege) to have more than one wife. Of course, the debate revolves what constitutes a "financially, physically and emotionally stable" man. How much money is enough? How do you accurately measure a man's ability to evenly divide time and love?

The Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. was not a rich man. At some point in his life, he had several wives. As Muslims are asked to emulate his actions i.e. the Sunnah, it is logical to assume that his actions can be emulated by the average person. So the argument by some that the privilege of polygamy should be the Prophet's alone because he was an exceptional man is flawed. If the Prophet, an "average" man, could divide his time and love equitably between his wives, it follows that today's average man can do the same, or at least strive to do the same (the Sunnah of the Prophet is an encouraged practice for Muslims).

Humble beginnings

Lately, I've been watching a lot of Star Trek Enterprise. Maybe too much, because i've begun to believe that T'Pol could very well be my idea of a perfect woman (just kidding). In the US, the series is half-way through its second season. I've watched every episode, and i've yet to come across one that was too bad to bear.

Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander T'Pol

Considering that the Star Trek franchise has been around for LOOONG time, its interesting to understand the roots of its longevity. For me, its been the sense of exploration, the belief it advocates that we are not alone in the universe.

After some fruitful digging, i found the original proposal (900kb) Gene Roddenberry wrote for the series as he was pitching it to the studios in 1964. A must read for any Trek fan.

A womyn's work

Read an interesting article written by a good friend about women and the work place. The following is my response. Please note that i am very much in favour of women's rights; all i note in my response are practical questions that any realistic analysis of the issue should consider.

-------------------------

I completely agree with you on many points. But consider the following.

Women are biologically different from men in many senses, but most notably in the child-bearing sense. Women can, men can't.

A career woman who chooses to have children is normally well protected under current labour laws. She is given leave to care for her child post-natal. In some cases, she is given A-class medical treatment on the company tab. These are all very good things.

But the fact remains that if a woman has a child once a year, she will be away from the office for up to 2 months each time. Even with the advent of technology that allows her to work away from the office, realistically, how much time can she spend away from her duties as a mother in those first few critical months of motherhood, not to mention the incredible physical strain she has to recover from.

The point is, how many companies can afford to have personnel in key positions i.e. manager-level and above away from the office 1/6 of the year (not including normal annual leave + non-natal medical leave)?

Is the alternative to put off motherhood? If it is, then is this something many women, no matter how "liberated" in their thinking, are prepared to accept?

Talking with questions

I was having dinner in KLCC last night and i couldn't help but overhear the conversation two young boys were having in the table behind me. It was obvious that they were talking about the LOTR: The Two Towers.

Boy: In the first movie? They was this big battle? Where the forces of the elves and humans defeated Sauron? And they cut off his hand and got the ring?

Its something i've noticed a lot lately: people tend to speak in questions, even when they are making statements. The intonation rises at the end of each phrase and sentence, as though a question is being asked.

For some reason, i find this incredibly annoying. My sisters have begun to do it too. And even my mom said something at the dinner table the other day that drew a stare. Its so strange! Its the Invasion of the Question Marks!

I graduated with a Degree in English Language and Literature. So i know that English has evolved steadily over the last couple of centuries. So much so, that just 700 years ago during the time of Chaucer, English didn't sound like English. Languages need to evolve to stay relevant and survive. But listening to the two boys last night, it sounded less like evolution and more like a mutation.

The Last of the Greats

There used to be a time, a time before Monsieur Bosman, when football players used to play for their clubs for years and years. Many played for only one club for the entirety of their careers. There was a sense of belonging, a sense of loyalty and a willingness to stick with their team come good or bad. And even when players did move between clubs, you could sense that there would be sincere regret and sadness in both the player who was moving and the club that was being left behind. No one really wanted to leave, and often it was the economics of the game that forced "poorer" clubs to sell their best players to "richer" clubs.

But all of that has changed. Some may argue that the Bosman ruling is the cause. Whatever the reason, football players began to move between clubs more often. They would ask to be transfered, usually in search of greener pastures. "Star" players would ask the premier clubs to make a bid for them, football prima donnas became as common as swallows on a bright spring day.

But you can't blame them really. A professional football player's career is usually very short; most players retire when they are in their 30s. So it makes sense for them to maximise their playing and earning potential.

Even as this is true, its refreshing to see a player who genuinely bucks current trends. Not a prima donna, not a money-chaser. A genuine nice bloke who captains and plays for his home-town club that he has supported all his life. With his talents, he could easily be playing for the glamour teams such as Manchester and Arsenal, Real Madrid or AC Milan. Any team in the world would be lucky to have his supreme leadership, charisma and goal-scoring touch. He plays for Newcastle United, a big team in its own right in the North-East of England. His name is Alan Shearer. And he is most definitely, the Last of the Greats.

Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer in a Newcastle shirt

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

May the year 2003 bring you joy, happiness and fortune to you and your family. Take care, God bless!

Happy New Year
Wishing everyone a Happy 2003!

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2002 is the previous archive.

February 2003 is the next archive.

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