September 2003 Archives

John Titor

This website is the ultimate in freakiness. A must read as it raises questions that are virtually impossible to answer, yet its possibilities plays on every child's (and many adults') dream: time travel.

bq. A person going by the name of John Titor and claiming to be a soldier on a mission from 2036 presented a considerable amount of information on the Web beginning around November 2000 about his mission and time travel machine, his perspective on our society, how our society is going wrong, and how society as we know it will end in a very short but massive intercontinental nuclear war in 2015.

I know it sounds corny. But give it a read; its worth a bit of your time, i assure you.

Winning Eleven 7, PS2

Back by popular demand, a Winning Eleven 7 (PS2) gaming session will be organized this weekend. Any and all WE7 fans and virtual footie enthusiast are welcome to participate and/or witness the event. It promises to be great fun.

Details of the gaming session will be as follows:

Date: 4th October 2003 (Saturday)
Time: 8 - 10.00 pm
Venue: The Private Room, Havana Club, Concorde Hotel, Jln Sultan Ismail

Its not about a Dick

Idaman was complaining the other day about how her male friends look down on her for not being able to play football (soccer). It seems that men generally have this very negative perception about a woman's ability on the ball (no pun intended), even after watching the perception-changing "Bend it like Beckham" and the fact that most teams currently playing in the Women's World Cup could slaughter Malaysia's men's national football team.

But the whole incident got me thinking.

When men look down on women for whatever reason, is it necessarily a gender thing or is it a power thing?

Cigar Meet, 3rd October

Anyone interested in some fine cigars, fine food and some fine company, check out the details of the 3rd Cigar Blog Meet to be held at Bon Ton, Kuala Lumpur, 3rd October, 8.30pm.

Airport

She said: I'm flying home tomorrow; i'll be arriving at four.
He said: Ok, i'll pick you up from KL Sentral when you arrive.
She: {silence}
He: What's wrong?
She: {silence}
He: Huh?
She: I'm not feeling well. Can't you pick me up from KLIA?
He: Oh alright - i'll drive to KLIA to pick you up.
She: No, don't bother. I don't want you to do something that i had to tell you to do.

Refer to the italics. How do i get myself into these messes?

Child prodigies

Over breakfast yesterday, i had the good fortune to speak to a friend who has a 10 year old son. Just like most ten year olds, he goes to school, plays with his friends, enjoys cartoons and reads comics. A bit naughty, he's a star student in school and everyone who knows hims finds him likeable. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary about him - except that he can beat adults 4 times his age who have played the game for more years than he has been alive at the sport of golf.

Even for a 10 year old, he can drive booming shots over 150 yards in a straight line, he knows what a "sandwhich" is, and can sink 30 yard putts without hardly breaking a sweat. This weekend, he's taking part in an all-adults (except for him of course) golf tournament, and he's expected to take more than his share of scalps.

A child prodigy in the making? A Malaysian Tiger Woods? Or just one in the long list of might-have-beens? Its the nature of the world of child sporting superstars that we only hear about the successes and hardly a whimper for the thousands who never make the final grade.

But at what cost do so many children try? Or is it even the children's ambitions that are being fulfilled or the ambitions of their parents? When websites like this exist, it tells us that the competition is hardly restricted to the children; parents of "prodigies" are hugely competitive people themselves. Whether or not this is to the detriment to the child, its debatable: children need guidance and encouragement to fulfill their talent and potential; who better to provide it than their parents?

My friend's son has been playing golf since he was 8. Spending hours each week whacking golf balls down the range, spending just as much time learning golf theory and etiquette in classrooms, and spending a small fortune of custom made golf gear to fit the small frame of a child. What is truly interesting is not that this child's life is like this, but that he's just one of many. Dozens of children are expending thousands of collective hours of their childhood trying to be the next Tiger. And this is just golf. What about those who aspire to be the next Misbun Sidek, or the next Mozart or the next John Nash? Children everywhere are being pushed to reach incredible limits; physical, emotional and psychological limits.

Are they sacrificing their childhood in search of their (and their parents') dreams? Or is this part of what being a child means - setting the base and foundation of your future. If you have a talent inclination for golf, why not pursue it and see how far you can go? If you wait until you're older to start, chances are it'll be too late.

Mahathir's legacy

The Old Man (as he's affectionately known in my family) will be stepping down soon. Good, its time for him to take some well deserved rest and be with his family in the twilight years of his life. No one should begrudge him some peace and quiet.

I reckon he's done a good job in his years of service. Not perfect, perhaps not even fairly sometimes, but he's done the necessary, and generally, he's done it well. Let this be a testimony of his success.

Thanks to Jeff for the pointer.

Complicated

This debate, while never being an easy one to begin with, just got a lot more complicated.

Likeness

A special gift for a special day. Thank you.

Microsoft hoax?

Could this be another trojan horse? Someone claiming to be Microsoft Tech Support sent me this email with an attachment, asking me to install the attachment.


Click to enlarge

bq. Microsoft Customer

bq. this is the latest version of security update, the "September 2003, Cumulative Patch" update which fixes all known security vulnerabilities affecting MS Internet Explorer, MS Outlook and MS Outlook Express as well as three new vulnerabilities. Install now to help maintain the security of your computer from these vulnerabilities, the most serious of which could allow an malicious user to run executable on your computer. This update includes the functionality of all previously released patches.

The nearly perfect English grammar makes it hard to determine from language analysis alone whether this is a hoax. But its never been my experience that Microsoft sends out email request for patches to be done on their product; that would require too much effort on their part; they would prefer for people to come to their support site and manually update their Microsoft products.

If your receive this email, i strongly urge you not to open it. Delete it right away.

Survivor 7!!

Oh, yeah! My favourite reality series is BACK!! Survivor: Pearl Islands!

Its showing, Thursday night in the US - that means that it'll be shown here in Malaysia on Friday, if at all. I've been scanning the newspapers and various local TV websites but there doesn't seem to be any mention of its screening at all. Traditionally, Survivor is shown on NTV7, at 11pm, Friday nights. Anyone know when and on what channel will Survivor be shown here?

Check this out for spoilers and detailed previews + screenshots of the TV ads for Survivor 7 in the US.

eBusiness Workshop

Been working my ass off lately organizing an eBusiness workshop for PETRONAS employees. Lots of people in the organization are still in the dark about what eBiz is and how eBiz principles can be used to make sure that our company bonuses reach new heights next year (or 5 years down the road since it takes a while for real benefits to be realised from the implementation of these principles in the business).

Its a two-day workshop, held at the excellent ShangRi-La, Putrajaya. A brand new hotel, the pillows still smell strongly of fresh down. Wish me luck. Tomorrow i shall be speaking for the whole day.

Organizer = Speaker = MC = Facilitator = Me.

Cehck ihts uot

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Ufck, iths is so utre!!!

Tahnks, uraziba ofr hte otinper.

PETRONAS Orientation

All PETRONAS employees have to go through a 2 week orientation course when they begin their careers. The first week, participants are taken into the jungle to partake in "lasak" activities: flying fox, wall climbing, swimming through mud. Team building and bonding are the key objectives.

The second week, participants are taken through a series of classroom activities: etiquette class, business awarness classes, learning about the company, etc. They even get to be pump attendants for a day, just so they know how the business is run on-the-ground.

Two weeks of fun, meeting new people and learning; many highlights to be sure, one of which has to be the telematch on the second last day of the orientation. View the full pics of Baizura's telematch in Visuals.

Teaching languages

We sometimes do nasty things. One of the best of them nasty things is to teach a non-Malaysian the malay language, and completely pervert it. :)

This is what was taught to a Cambodian friend recently, on the use of 3 everyday Malay words and when they should be used.

* "Babi" => Appropriate use when van Nistelrooy scores against your team
* "Buaya" => Appropriate use when you see a guy surrounded by babes
* "Lembu" => Appropriate use when the driver in front (usually a woman, hence "lembu" and not "kerbau") drives at at unreasonably slow speed

Heheheh... :D

Bad day

I'm sleepy, tired and worn. The week has been long, and although this is the final day of the week, it still means i need to get through today before i can rest tomorrow.

I'm under pressure, i'm worried both professionally and privately. I really want today to end.

Budget 2004 imminent

The Malaysian Budget 2004 is imminent. Ever since i started working, the national budget has been something that i've paid particular attention to. This year, i'll be paying special attention to any change the government makes to the taxes on tobacco and tobacco related products.

13 more perish

More people have been killed in the longest war of human history: the battle for control of the land today referred to as Israel and Palestine.

Its almost an expected news item on the TV, radio, newspapers or the Internet: more killed as [insert either Israeli army or Palestine suicide bomber] blows up [insert alleged terrorist hideout, cafe, bus stop or moving vehicle] today.

See: The History of the Conflict since 2000

Its getting so repetitive that the senses have almost been dulled to its constant approach. Its getting so senseless that i wonder whether anyone really knows what they are fighting and dying for anymore beyond some basic concept of self-determination, freedom and rights for their people. Young boys are blowing themselves up for a cause they did not create but have been recruited to fight, young soldiers are dying, killed by a people they would otherwise call their neighbour, and civilians are being caught in the middle of it all, forced to endure the loss that comes by being caught directly in the crossfire.

I feel for my Muslim brothers and sisters who are being denied the right to self-determination. I feel for the Jewish people of Israel who, through no fault of their own, innocent bystanders are the subject of repeated terror attacks.

Its an irony that the very same people the Muslim world so vilify, the Americans, are being touted as potential saviours or peace negotiators. The "American-backed peace plan", the "American-led peace negotiations" - why are they being trusted to protect Muslims when Muslim world condemned their invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan? Blatant hypocrisy; but what of the alternative? What if the US had nothing to do with the peace process in the Middle East? Almost unimaginable, but perhaps now its a time to consider unimaginable solutions.

Perhaps, its now time to forget about the niceties of peace and compromise. Perhaps, its better just to let these two opposing forces duke it out and let the winner stand as he might. Some would say this will mean the annihilation of the Palestinian people: they have no weapons besides sticks and stones against the military might of Israel. A massacre might very well ensue.

bq. Leaders of Hamas praised the attacks but stopped short of claiming responsibility. "This operation, whoever is behind it, is a natural reaction for the bloody aggression against our people," said Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who survived an Israeli attempt on his life in June.

But look at it this way. A massacre is already happening. If death was not enough, the death that people from both sides face now is uncertain death in a sphere of fear. Surely that is worse than facing your enemy in open battle, knowing that if you die, you would have died fighting and not suddenly as you sip coffee at a cafe only to be blown up by a man sitting next to you with a bomb strapped to his back.

And when its all over, with one of the parties, either the Jews or the Palestinians erased from the land, then, perhaps then, there will be lasting peace.

Baizura's birthday!

Someone just turned 23 years (old/young) lately! Guess who?

Happy birthday, dearest. Heres to many, many more!

Full pics of her birthday bash can be found in Visuals.

Paintball tourney details

A quick update on the upcoming paintball tournament to be held 27 September 2003.

It will be held here, most likely in the morning starting 8-9 am.

The tentative mechanics are:

# Depending on the numbder of participants, everyone will be divided into teams. Teams will face each other, and the last team standing wins. Wins what? A prize yet to be determined.
# I'm inviting teams from the various football supporters' clubs in Malaysia to participate. More the merrier, i reckon and gives us bloggers more targets to shoot at. Everyone gets a chance to meet more people and make more friends.
# Working hard to try and get this publicized through a few media channels. No promises but i think i might be able to get this activity a mention in a few mags or newspapers or perhaps radio.
# All participants will have to pay a participation fee - it won't be much, just to cover the costs of playing. For an idea about the costs, check this out. Should be around RM60 per person, but i'm trying to sort things out with the hosts to get a group discount.
# Anyone interested, please leave a comment either here or email me. I will add your email address to a mailing list to keep you updated.

Let's have some fun. Spread the word. More the merrier!

Islamic state

I've never really been forthcoming in any of my posts on whether or not Malaysia should be an Islamic state, as defined by the Quran and the Sunnah where Sharia supercedes all other laws. No doubt, i have an opinion, and it will be exercised come polling day. But just as the my vote on that day is a private matter that no one else needs to know, my opinion on the issue of the Islamic state will also remain private.

However, i believe the following two links are required reading for anyone who cares about this debate: should Malaysia be an Islamic state? The articles, written by young professionals belonging to a minority (in numbers, only) race in Malaysia, are perfect specimens arguing why Malaysia shouldn't be an Islamic state. Presented in a rational, logical manner, each are worthy tools of debate and should serve as examples to others. If you want to argue for your point, do it like these guys.

Islamic State - Concerns of a non-Muslim by Suresh Gnasegarah

bq. The question then begs to be answered. Do Malaysian Muslims really see PAS as a salvation for this country? Do Malaysian Muslims really believe that their non-Muslim counterparts will be fairly treated under an Islamic State? When questioned, many of the PAS leaders say that the Islamic administrations in the Middle East are not the same as the version PAS is peddling. "They are corrupt. PAS is not. It will be different", a man once told me. My Iranian friend laughed his head off.

There cannot be plurality in Islamic state definition by Praba Ganesan

bq. That is why non-Muslims in Malaysia are petrified of Islamic laws in Malaysia, and increasingly worried as the Muslim ministers in cabinet try to beat each other in a cute "Who is holier than thou" competition for the rural votes and grassroots support. They do it unashamedly and the people lap it up as they are convinced that anything done under the guise of religion has to be eminently important.

Also, reading this may serve as an excellent primer over the issue:

The Quest for an “Islamic State” as a Response to the Secular State by Vivienne Wee

bq. The quest for an “Islamic state” developed historically as a political ideology aimed at reclaiming what is interpreted as having been “lost.” The roots of this history may be traced to the decline of the Ottoman empire in the face of industrialising Europe from the second half of the 16th century onwards. It was in this context that Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-92) emerged as a vocal critic of the Ottoman sultans, condemning them as apostates ruling over a fake shari’a state. In opposition to this supposedly inauthentic shari’a state, al-Wahhab sought to create an authentic “Islamic state” based on “the first Muslim community of the seventh century.” He achieved this through a strategic alliance with Muhammad ibn Sa’ud, which result in the Wahhabi state of Saudi Arabia.

Paint Ball is BACK ON!

Dear Everyone,

Its been a while since we last heard anything about the paintball tournament we were supposed to have a few months back.

Allow me to offer my services to organize the tournament for everyone. I'm targeting 27 September 2003. This date is a firm target. I think the problem we had last time was that we tried to accomodate everyone and this made the date keep on switching, so this time let's set it for 27th.

In the next few days i'm going to get the information necessary from the paintball venue to see what needs to be done to get things rolling, including how much each of us will have to pay and what will the format of the competition be.

In the meantime, please mark the date down. We'll do things in the morning, starting 8 or 9 am.

Also, please leave a comment if you're interested to participate so that i can add you to the mailing list for latest updates on the program.

Military funny!

This collection of comic cartoons is absolutely hlilarious!! A sample is found below, the full file can be found here (.png, 1.6MB).


Click to enlarge

Enjoying da' Kaz

Looks like someone had fun!

Thanks for coming, everyone. Really appreciate your participation that made the event an unqualified success.

Kesetiaan

Not to be undone by my recent efforts at music super-stardom, Baizura has replied with a beautifully rendered song, "Kesetiaan", originally made popular by Siti Sarah. She's got a tremendous voice, and she sounds even better in person. It is with her permission that i share with you a snippet of her recording:

"Kesetiaan" (streaming audio, 1.23MB, MP3) - best heard with Winamp

Sounds better than me?

What a BLAST!

Cigars and football DO mix! Last night's wonderful activity is proof positive of this fact.

About 15 people got together last night to witness and participate in the 1st PS2 Winning Eleven Tournament - there were some tremedous battles (Jeff vs Rizal being one of the more memorable 0-0 draws i've seen in a long time!), incredible defeats, and stunning victories (Zul taking out Sani in a dramatic penalty shoot-out that had us all on our feet!). The general consensus was clear: playing footie on the PS2 was far better than actually watching it in real life. Kaz, who was also in attendance, later said that he was going out to buy a PS2 so that he could practice and whip us the next time around.

Will there be a next time? Definitely!

The tournament doubled as our monthly Cigar Blog Meet (CBM) - we enjoyed some great cigars together, talked shop and generally socialized the way hard-working Malaysians deserve to relax after a long week's work. Fun, fun, fun!

Thanks to all for coming and making this event a success. Congrats to Zulhardy for walking away with the RM30 cash prize for leading Spain to overall victory. Hope to see all of you and others at our next meeting!

Full pics can be found in Visuals.

She said, he wished

"What's the matter? What's wrong?"

"If i have to tell you, then don't bother. Its pointless."

"....huh?"

Why won't you women just tell us??!!

Check out this comic strip for an illustration of how men are often made to feel. (Thanks to Danny Lim for the cartoon)


Click to enlarge

I am now thinking

This is a difficult website. Muslims, beware - sensitivities may be offended. I was struggling to keep things in perspective as i read it:

http://www.geocities.com/murtad_malaysia/

View a screenshot of the website here (62kb).

A lot of questions regarding my religion are swirling in my mind right now. Need to take some time to digest it. Suggest you do too.

NOTE: As of this morning, the website is down because it "has exceeded its allocated data transfer... Access to this site will be restored within an hour."

I will share my thoughts here once i've organized them.

Killing a killer who saved

A minister who murdered a doctor who willingly performed abortions has been put to death in the United States. A ethical conundrum here, i reckon: the State has punished a man who was technically saving the lives of unborn babies.

Quick poll:

Is abortion a murder of an unborn baby?

Islam as a brand

Let us imagine for a moment that all the major religions in the world were companies, businesses - and each name given to a religion, be it, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc, were all "brand names" in their own right.

I know that dumbing down the concepts of religions will be offensive to some, but the reason why i do this is to create as simple and easy to understand scenario. My objective is to create a scenario we can all relate to, that places our religions in perspective and why some Muslims choose to be apostate and leave the religion.

Alright - having assumed that all religions are businesses, the questions are:

# What do they sell?
# Who do they sell to?
# What is the currency of religion?
# Why do their customers buy?
# What brings back repeat purchases?
# What drives away customers?
# What are the values represented by their individual "brands"?

The answers, in my opinion, are as follows:

PS2 LAN Party

I'm organizing a PS2 LAN Party for Winning Eleven 7 lovers (or any of the Winning Eleven series will do). Details below:

Venue: Private Room, The Havana Club, Concorde Hotel
Date: 5 Sept 2003, Friday, 8.30 pm onwards
Game to be played: Winning Eleven 7 (or 6 if most prefer a slightly older version)
Prize: I'll stump up a prize. Winner gets RM30 from me. Cash.
Entrance fee: None. Just bring your body and your thumbs. Would help to have actually played some Winning Eleven games before, otherwise you're going to get your ass whipped. Also, it would be nice if everyone who came buy at least one drink from the establishment. After all, they will be allowing us to use their premises.

Format: Single player tournament - World Cup game; teams selected by ballot. Winner or highest ranked player wins.
Format 2: (If we can get a few PS2 machines linked) Doubles; teams selected by ballot. Pairs play against each other.

Everything is just an idea at this stage. Anyone interested, please email me or leave a comment. If we can get a minimum of 8 people together who will be willing participate, then we can launch this program.

UPDATE: 7 participants confirmed. 1 more slot available. Sign up quick by mailing me if you're interested.

Rules can be found below.

Games

Computer games, be it PC games, or console games tend to have a devilishly astonishing effect on those of us who play them.

We lose sight of time, we forget friends and important dates, we neglect to eat, drink or leave the house, we don't bathe or change or two-day old stinking underpants, we develop Dry Eye Syndrome from staring at the 10-feet away TV screen, and our thumbs become "detached" from the rest of our body is what can only be described as the closest thing possible to an out-of-body-experience.

My whole Merdeka weekend was dominated by one such evil device: Winning Eleven 7: Final Evolution by Konami. Followers of this game will know how brilliant the series is, now even better with slicker and more realistic control, and a real player license. Rooney for England!

Oh, gosh. I think i'm in trouble. :)

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About this Archive

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

August 2003 is the previous archive.

October 2003 is the next archive.

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