June 2004 Archives

Errors

Its a pathetic irony that its the people we love whom we hurt the most.

Individual errors can be forgiven; repeated series of mistakes, its understandable forgiveness comes much less slower.

I never claimed to be perfect in any way, perhaps even less so than the next guy. For every strength, it seems two flaws accompany it. But that's no excuse, and i know it: saying something is broken does nothing in the way of fixing it.

And "fix" myself where i'm weak, i will. Time, love and perseverance are the tools i pray God will grant us.

Cheated?

A letter written in to Jeff Ooi almost made me cry in frustration. People in Britain (and Australia, and US, and Singapore, and in many, many other countries too), work just as hard as we do here. In fact, i would say that the average Malaysians works even harder. But the way this country is set up to run, "enjoying the fruits" of our labour almost becomes an oxymoron. Work so hard? For what?? My Monday is ruined.

Statements

How's this for a multi-edged statement:

"When God created you, He was thinking of me."

Arrogant or Romantic?

Kelip-kelip

Does anyone know where the fireflies are located at Kuala Selangor? I heard they are a real spectacle to behold. Directions to them and any information about them would really be appreciated.

Update: Found this, this and this via Google. Interesting. Has anyone visited the kelip-kelip before? Please share your experience with us.

Update 2: Firefly Park Resort Bukit Belimbing

What can you see here is one of the world's most promoted fireflies colonies. These fireflies inhibit around the branches of the berembang trees that grows along the riverbank.

Every night there is a stream of electric driven motor boats that ferry sight-seeing visitors to listen to the spectacular symphonic harmony of the fireflies while viewing their luminous flashes of light that is truly a magnificent sight to the eyes of beholder.

By Car

Kuala Selangor is about an hour away from the Kuala Lumpur. Take the North-South expressway, exit at Sungai Buloh. Follow signs to Sungei Buloh. You should be on route 54. It takes you all the way to Kuala Selangor. For Kampung Kuantan, look out for route B77 or signs to "Kelip-Kelip".

Table for Two

Managed to catch my first episode of Pond's Table for Two over TV3 this evening. Its a terrific show -- the production quality is high, the characters totally believable (a rare case where relative acting inexperience from the two leads, Azizan and Melissa, actually works in their favour), and it has a purpose and moral. Qualities not many local shows have nowadays. Catch it while you can; it'll only be around for 13 episodes.

"Real" Sex

As Wired recently reported, it'll soon be very possible to experience the physical manisfestations of sex over the Internet. Gosh. I'm not sure whether to yell out, "Hell, ya! Its about time." or an "Oh no. Where is our society heading."

I'm reminded of a movie many years ago called the Lawnmower Man, where the hero was trapped in an addiction to virtual reality which included physical sex with a virtual character. Could the forecasted vision of that story soon become reality?

On a side note, i wonder what the imams would say about this. Cyber sex of this form is basically advanced masturbation, little more. While many would argue that Islam prohibits masturbation, its also equally arguable that this technology could reduce the occurrence of sexual crimes by providing a realistic outlet for otherwise would-be sex offenders.

Holes

Quote of the day, i found hilarious!

"There are two types of people: those whose assholes seize up tight during a crisis, and those who shit themselves! [sic]...they say (Winston) Churchill didn't shit even once during the Battle of Britain."

Hahahahahahaha!!!! How true!

Jews

I received the following comment via email, from a good friend, concerning an old posting on the VOI, "Persecution of the Jews". A long comment, but worth reading till the end.

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

Horses

Let me tell you a story, a true one.

In the late 1960s, i think it was the summer of 1967, a young Malaysian was in Melbourne. Under scholarship, he was supposed to be studying, but he was doing anything but. He spent whole days, weeks staring at horses. Nothing spectacular about that, just plain old horses as they ran in the field of his girlfriend's father's farm.

The details are sketchy at this point, but what did happen was he basically redirected money that was meant for his education (e.g. tuition fees, allowances, book money, etc.), pooled it together and bought a horse. One horse. The university had just about kicked him out at this point, not only for not paying his fees, but also because he just wasn't interested in studying -- he was never in class, and of course he missed all the exams to spend time looking at horses. And now, he actually owned one.

He took this horse he owned, and he sold it to someone back home in Malaysia who was looking to buy racehorses. History has forgotten the horse's name, but it went on to win many races in our local circuits and made its owner a bundle of money. So impressed, the owner told his friends about this young man who had sold him the horse, and soon everyone wanted to buy horses from him. In the meantime, he took the profits from the first horse, went back to Australia and bought 2 horses which he promptly sold. With the profits from 2 horses, he bought 4 new horses, and sold those too. And so on, and so forth.

A year or two later, by the time he was 21, he was a millionaire. And a million bucks in the 1960s was no small cucumbers.

Over the years, his horses went on the win some of the most prestigious races in the world, including the Melbourne Cup several times. He would really make a wonderful human interest story for us: "MALAYSIAN MAKES AN IMPACT ON THE WORLD OF HORSES".

But that's not really the point of the story. His bravery is; he risked it all on something he believed in (how many of us can say we would do the same even if we were ever presented with the chance). Of course, if he had failed, like so many others have, this story wouldn't have even been told. But, again, that's not the point -- its not about him not failing, its about him succeeding. There is a very subtle difference i think we should appreciate. Fear is the mind killer, but winners conquer it, control it and ultimately, harness it for their own good.

Food thus spank

I wash hanging the clothes out to dry this morning, when i heard my neighbour spanking her son for not finishing his food. It wasn't like a *splat, splat*, *whack, whack* type of beating, just a lot of screaming, and i think a not-so-gentle *spank* on his buttocks. Nothing so serious that would make me think about calling the cops.

But what's her problem? If her kid doesn't want to eat (he's full perhaps?), why force the poor kid. I think there is some value in teaching children not to waste, but, at that age (4 or 5 years old), its not like they can really understand the concept of wastage yet. Perhaps the solution is not in the screaming or the spanking -- all she should do is just cook less.

Less food, kid eats till he's full, therefore less wastage. And less bad temper.

She's back

She said she would be back, and true to her word, here she is! Hani's Honey: Practising Discretion. The Queen Blogger is with us again (did she ever really leave?!); the lady who got my blogging ball rolling. Welcome back - we've missed you!

Perspectives

Everything comes into perspective,
the bad the ugly the nasty
May all seem too much, too painful
When they happen.
The only constant is you, our love
From any perspective, any distance
Its greatness is never relative
It just is, as big as it always has been
And always will be.

For beautiful baizura, who's lying at home sick. Hope you feel better soon, baby.

Tak nak

No one can say yes all the time to everything, that includes you and me, Jane and Joe Public. And yet, that often slips our mind when we ask -- and everyone asks for something, somewhere, sometime, including you and me, Jane and Joe Public. Putting these two equations together is simple arithmatic = when we ask for something, we should be equally prepared for a "yes" or a "no". If the only answer you'll accept is "yes", then perhaps its a better option not to ask at all.

Super Size Me

This is very, very nasty. McDonalds will be the death of us.

During the journey, Spurlock also put his own body on the line, living on nothing but McDonald's for an entire month with three simple rules:

1) No options: he could only eat what was available over the counter (water included!)
2) No supersizing unless offered
3) No excuses: he had to eat every item on the menu at least once

It all adds up to a fat food bill, harrowing visits to the doctor, and compelling viewing for anyone who's ever wondered if man could live on fast food alone.

Property

Busy day today. So just a quick posting -- Jeff Ooi's expose on "Service Apartments" is a MUST READ for anyone even thinking about buying property. Malaysia's blogging bulldog strikes again!

Hijab once more

A friend from the US emailed me his response to my postings on the hijab. With his permission, i'm reprinting parts of it here. Well worth considering his thoughts:

...it might surprise you that many people in the US would agree with everything the author stated. The only difference would be that it would be pointing out that often the wearing of the Hijab is something that is done for the same societal and family pressures that she complains compel women to do things like shave their legs, put on make-up, etc.

What it boils down to for most people here is freedom of choice. Societal pressures certainly influence that choice, and that cuts in both directions. If a woman doesn't shave her legs here, or wear makeup, it's really not all that uncommon, and their friends and family won't try to compel her to put on makeup or wear a certain kind of clothing. People here don't really care what people wear; if she enjoys wearing the Hijab, more power to her!

The issue really isn't whether wearing a Hijab is good or bad (I think it can be either, depending on the situation); it's whether women can choose to do one or the other. I dare say a woman choosing to wear a Hijab in Canada would probably fare better than a woman choosing to wear a tank top, skirt, makeup, etc. in Saudi Arabia.

I'll tell you this, one thing I've found the more I travel: people are more similar than they are different. The differences tend to get exaggerated in one way or another (generally due to ignorance). People are really pretty much the same the world over.

Techless

Left my phone at home today. What a nightmare! Friends and customers who want to call me now can't, and my wireless Internet ability is hampered (no phone = no GPRS = no mobile internet).

Technology is a great thing. Its made our lives so much easier, but i can't help but wonder whether we've become spoilt by it, dependent on it.

No phone?! YEEGADS!
No fax machine?! HOW LAH TO DO BUSINESS?!
No computer?! DEATH!!!!
No PDA?! LIFE JADI KELAM-KABUT!
Will there come a point when life itself will become impossible without technology?

Yes, i foresee that time -- perhaps in the age of our great-great-grandchilren where babies upon birth are implanted with a device that will keep them alive in a fully interconnected world. That device will give them an IPv6 address (we've just developed IPv4); without it, they simply don't exist.

Cannot buy food, cannot own land, cannot open a bank account, cannot even make a restaurant or movie reservation without it. The future, where every human on earth is identified via an IP address and every interaction requires it. Don't leave the womb without it.

"Dam funny"!

Just a little bit of a tickle and a laugh before the BIG DAY (12 June) -- football fans should read this for something "dam funny"!

Journeys

How ironic (and very misguided) it is to call a screwup "part of the journey".

Doctor to patient: "We accidentally removed your liver when we were supposed to be operating on your heart. Don't worry, its part of your JOURNEY to recovery."

Remiser to client: "(Due to my incompetence) Your stock portfolio has fallen through the floor. Don't worry, its part of your JOURNEY as a player in the stockmarket."

Employee to boss: "My dog ate my accounting sheet. Its part of my learning JOURNEY -- i'll keep my sheets safer next time."

VP to employees: "We are pleased to inform that we have now entered a new phase in our business transformation JOURNEY...[sic] As we move into this new business operational framework, we foresee some initial glitches (yeah, right) that may arise from the migration of our systems and processes."

If there's one thing i've learned after 5 years of working experience, its that language manipulation is a very adequate disguise for reality.

Alms

An old lady with a large plastic bag half-full of keropok tapped on my window late last night as i was parked by the side of the road. I was shocked out of my skin, at first, but then seeing how harmless she was, i casually rolled down my window.

"Ya, makcik?"
"Tolong lah, 'nak - tolong belikan keropok makcik ni," she pleads, whipping out with some dexterity a couple packets of keropok pisang and kacang.

My first reaction was to say no (fattening stuff, keropok), but i took another moment to think about it, and decided that it wasn't really about the keropok, nor how it would affect my already ample tum-tum. It was about how i could help her, and she did look like she needed help.

Wandering the streets in the middle of the night, peddling a few measly packets of crisps, my mind screamed: "WHAT WAS SHE DOING HERE? WHERE WAS HER FAMILY? WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING?"

It took another moment to agree to buy the keropok, for extortionate prices, but i figured, RM3.50 per packet to me is a pittance, but it could mean so much to her. As i pulled away from the old lady last night, i couldn't help but cry in sadness.

Elegant

I've written about the hijjab (Muslim ladies' head scarves) on numerous occasions in the past (here, here and here). Its a topic i've given a lot of thought to, mostly because its the most obvious difference between how Islam considers men and women. Today, on the LRT, i revisited such thoughts as i was surrounded by young ladies, all of whom were wearing the tudung.

The hijjab can be either of two things on different women:

(1) on some they look like dirty rags wrapped around their heads -- carelessly tossed over their shoulders in supposed nonchalance (and failing), with the front bit all collapsed over their foreheads. There is no elegance or propriety in this.

(2) on others, they are not only religiously functional, but they are able to aesthetically enhance beauty -- in my opinion, a hijjab worn properly is arguably one of the most elegant pieces of a woman's clothing.

As i disembarked this morning, i took a moment to smile and nod at my elegant sisters in Islam (no, i wasn't flirting -- a smile is sadaqah (alms) in Islam); whoever said that Islam restricts (or, conversely, should restrict) a woman's beauty through the hijjab is sorely mistaken.

A birthday

Project Petaling Street celebrates its 1st birthday today! Thanks to everyone who has supported it over this time.

A father's clothes

My dad was never much of a fashion guru. In fact, he was probably as close to a fashion dud i think i've ever met. A doctor, one of the youngest-ever full professors in this country's medical history, a leading expert in infectious diseases (yes, AIDS was his forte) -- and yet, he wore his office shirts till they started unravelling, pants till the colour drained, and socks and shoes till they had holes in them. And even when he was finally forced to buy something new, he would wait until the sales came, and even then he would buy the absolute cheapest things he could find.

It was not that he didn't have the money; no, he had lots of that. And, no, its not because he was stingy (though for many years i thought that was the reason).

Its simply because he was saving all his money for his family, not himself.

The family never had to want for food, or proper shelter. We, the children, nearly always got the things we needed -- good books, tuition, music classes, the spanking new Kangaroo BMX, the toys, the computers. Every once in a while, dad would take us away for a wonderful holiday, which was more for us, i suspect, than it was for him; dad believed that travel "opened our minds", and that's something he wanted for all his children. Mom always had some extra money to buy that something nice for herself every month -- a new brooch, a ring, or a pretty dress or a new pair of shoes. Or something new for the house -- a new sofa, a more comfortable bed, or a new stove, or microwave oven. And, yet, so little for himself.

Dad was a provider, and he did it to the best he could even when it meant he had to forgo those shoes he always wanted, or that wonderful shirt, or that beautiful tie. His sacrifice made very little sense to me when i was a child; i would laugh at him when his big toe stuck out of the hole in his sock, or tease him whenever he kept on wearing the same old shirt to work. Now, an adult i am, i think i know better.

Thanks, dad for this life you've given me. I want you to know i love you very much and i appreciate all you've sacrificed for us, the family, and me, your son. Happy Father's Day.

Why blog?

Because someone said: "Think of a blog as your own private therapist. Without the fancy fees."

How true! From International Weblogger's Day.

The trial continues, Day 18

The way things are going, chances are Hanif Basree will be declared innocent, not necessarily because he is innocent of any wrongdoing, but simply because it looks increasingly more difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt (the burden of capital cases) that he, and he alone, murdered Noritta Samsudin.

At the very most, the prosecution has proven that he was sleeping with her, and that he has access to both Noritta and her apartment. Opportunity was there, the cause of death clear, the motive present, though a bit hazy (was it sex gone wrong or was it from a fit of jealousy?), and he doesn't really have much of an alibi.

The main problem for the prosecution, the way i see it, is that they can't pin Hanif:

(1) to be the only person at the scene of the crime when the murder took place (so many seminal stains to sift through, so much unaccounted semen in her vagina, a snafu by the forensic team to only take small samples of the bedmattress rather than examine the whole mattress, no eyewitness, etc.) and

(2) whether or not he was actually there during the murder (yesterday's testimony by Nor Azora claiming that the person she saw running away from the apartment at the point of the murder was "tall and dark skinned" (not Hanif), and that, although she knew him quite well enough to "identify him anywhere" (seen him often and taken lifts from him in his car), she was "not sure" whether the man she saw running away that night was Hanif. Of course mitigating factors come into play like the darkness and that she only saw the man for "5-10 seconds" at a distance, so while her testimony wasn't exactly damning to the prosecution case, it caused some damage by posing quite a few new questions that the prosecution has to answer.

Looking at how the defence has constructed their case (casting doubt on just about everything, and painting a very un-rosy picture of Noritta's nocturnal activities), if i were a betting man, i would say that the murder charge will probably not stick. There is just too much reasonable doubt at this point.

The prosecution still has time to cross-examine and perhaps recall witnesses to repair the damage done to their case. Let's see what happens.

Also, pls read Jeff Ooi's latest posting. Lots of people are upset about the Noritta trial being so public. My opinion: all the information is in the public domain, therefore its fair game for the press and the public. Its important for Malaysians to see justice at work for such a significant case, and the only way that's going to be done is that the facts are presented in the daily news. Also read Rehman Rashid's excellent take on the matter.

More: Read my take on Day 16 of the trial, "The trial continues..."

Jealousy is a type of madness

Anyone who has ever felt jealousy (that probably makes ALL of us) for whatever reason whatsoever, should read this.

Jealousy is is type of madness, i reckon. Thankfully, a cure isn't so difficult to affect.

The trial continues

The Noritta Samsudin trial continues -- its reported daily in The Sun (today's edition is on Page 4, "(Noritta's) Last partner unknown: Expert"). Gosh, some of this stuff is very racy, and should almost come with an 18SX tag. But this ain't the movies, a young woman is really dead, and another man's life (the accused, Hanif Basree) is on the line.

At this point, the defense for Hanif is trying to establish that Noritta had other sexual partners besides Hanif (and by the looks of the amount of multiple-source semen that was in her vagina when she died, she did); by doing so, they hope to bring doubt into the prosecution's case -- if Hanif wasn't the only one having sex with Noritta, then someone else who was could also be her murderer. Lots of CSI-like testimony being flung about; its certainly not as easy as it looks like in the shows.

This case is intriguing. Every daily report almost reads like an installment in a serial novel. Who said the Malaysian justice system is boring?

Barrel socks off!

Paintball is really, really fun. PETRONAS recently organized a paintball tournament for its staff, and it was a BLAST! Full pics in Visuals.

The Volume of Interactions is BACK!

After its recent troubles, the Volume of Interactions is fully functional again. Thanks to all for your support through this time. It felt pretty crap not to have my blog at 100%, and i'm thankful that its working properly again.

VOI is now running on Movabletype 3.0D -- and its a fantastic upgrade over my previous version of 2.3. Rebuilds are faster, the interface is smoother, and there is far more control over commenting systems than ever before. I would recommend it highly to anyone who's thinking about making the switch.

Durians

I love durians. Just my luck that this season seems to be a bumper season -- loads and loads of stuff!! Most places are selling it for RM1 per durian!! Durian-heaven, baby.

Its always funny to see out non-Malaysian friends experience durian. Check out this very, very TRUE story with pics of an American's encounter with our King of Fruits.

Anger

We all get angry -- anger is a fact of life, and sometimes its even a good thing to get angry: it helps you focus on what needs to be done. But the problem with anger is that it tends to cloud your judgement, it makes you do and say things that you don't mean, and it potentially ruins and destroys relationships and friendships, even those that mean very much to you.

Its a sure sign that anger has gotten the better of you when you realize that what you said or did while angry was actually very stupid.

The first step in anger management is recognizing when anger is about to seize control. It can be a feeling, or perhaps a cold sweat, or maybe an urge to hit something. Anger approaches each of us in a different way.

Once you've identified it, controlling it is actually quite simple: just clear the mind for a moment (that thing you do when you're trying to go to sleep), and HOLD IT THERE for a few seconds; "Counting to ten" would be an apt way to describe the method. Anger washes over you in waves; the trick is to let it come and go. If you don't act on anger when it comes, you'll find that the urge to do so only lasts a few seconds.

That's my trick. The pros have a more long-winded answer.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2004 is the previous archive.

July 2004 is the next archive.

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