July 2004 Archives

Now, that's a SPEECH!

Bill Clinton's endorsement of John Kerry at the Democratic Convention 2004. As good a speech as i've EVER heard. A true-masterclass of public speaking.

A long way

Blogs have come a long way, haven't they? From a speck of nothing, geeks and nerds putting their thoughts down on electronic paper, often marginalised, to what it is today: a widely accepted form of alternative journalism. Its terribly bad form for a media giant such as the NY Times to look down on blogging still. In that sense, i'm proud to say that our own local media organizations seem to pay bloggers a bit more respect: The Star's InTech writes positively about blogging often, The Sun even has an online version which includes blogs as an integral section. (Aside: We have The Star and The Sun -- we really should have The Moon, just to keep the ball rolling, eh?)

The local blogging scene? If i were asked to describe it, i would say that its pretty vibrant. Most people who spend any time online (well, at least the ones i've spoken to) have done at least one of the following: started their own blog, reads someone's blog, or comments on blogs. If you think about it, that means blogs have a helluva influence on the online public, which if official stats are anything to go by, make up at least 10-15% of Malaysia's population. Wow.

Its not just that blogs touch so many people that's important: its also very important to note that blogs do so in an multi-directional fashion. There are blogs out there which are left-wing, right-wing, or even those which are basically wing-less, and that's a bloody good thing. Sick of the one dimensional, State-sanctioned dribble you get from traditional Malaysian media? Visit Project Petaling Street for a large collection of the Other Voice.

Blogging frees the individual voice; on their own, bloggers hardly make a whisper. But put many bloggers together, inject some maturity into their thoughts, and those whispers suddenly become too loud to ignore.

Static aje this phone

SHSHSSHSSKKSKSKSKSKSKSKSKGSGGSGS... Beep beep beep

"Hello, hello?? What did you say?? "Tajuk"?? - Tajuk apa??"

"Hello, hello??"

Beep, beep, beep. *Line dead*

No prostitutes here

"NO PROSTITUTES HERE" -- what a sign. In 4 different languages. Only in Malaysia, man. Only in Malaysia.

Man creating life

Some people say that mankind is still years away from creating life (we give life to our children, but its well accepted that God gives them life by giving them a soul). But its arguable that mankind has already been successful in creating life, though one of the most basic kind. Consider the following from Stephan Hawking:

"A living being usually has two elements: a set of instructions that tell the system how to sustain and reproduce itself, and a mechanism to carry out the instructions. In biology, these two parts are called genes and metabolism. But it is worth emphasising that there need be nothing biological about them. For example, a computer virus is a program that will make copies of itself in the memory of a computer, and will transfer itself to other computers. Thus it fits the definition of a living system, that I have given. Like a biological virus, it is a rather degenerate form, because it contains only instructions or genes, and doesn’t have any metabolism of its own. Instead, it reprograms the metabolism of the host computer, or cell. Some people have questioned whether viruses should count as life, because they are parasites, and can not exist independently of their hosts. But then most forms of life, ourselves included, are parasites, in that they feed off and depend for their survival on other forms of life. I think computer viruses should count as life. Maybe it says something about human nature, that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. Talk about creating life in our own image."

Quite Matrix-esque, huh? Look like we now know where the Matrix got some of its ideas from.

God does not play dice

Quoting Stephan Hawkings on the philosophy of Laplace on the ability of man to predict the future:

"...that if at one time, we knew the positions and speeds of all the particles in the universe, then we could calculate their behaviour at any other time, in the past or future. There is a probably apocryphal story, that when Laplace was asked by Napoleon, how God fitted into this system, he replied, 'Sire, I have not needed that hypothesis.' I don't think that Laplace was claiming that God didn't exist. It is just that He doesn't intervene, to break the laws of Science. That must be the position of every scientist. A scientific law, is not a scientific law, if it only holds when some supernatural being, decides to let things run, and not intervene."

Amin

Late one night, Father, still in his office clothes, came into Amin's room to switch off the lights and wish him good night.

Amin: Father, how much do you earn in an hour at the office?

Father, taken a back, was upset at the question. Why was it any of his business. Angrily, he replied, "RM20 an hour. Why?"

Amin: Can i borrow RM10?

This upset Father even more. "Why should i lend you RM10? You'll just spend it on toys or sweets. Don't waste my money!"

Amin bowed his head sadly, and kept quiet.

Father stormed off angrily.

After his bath and prayers, Father calmed down. Perhaps Amin wants to buy school books with the money. That's ok, i suppose.

Going back to Amin's room: Amin, here is RM10. Its ok, i can lend you the money.

Amin took the money in his little hands, beamed a smile, flipped his pillow and pulled out another RM10.

Father: What?! You already have RM10! Why do you want more money? You just want to buy toys don't you!

Amin bowed his head once more, almost to tears at Father's loud admonishments.

Slowly, Amin reached out, pulled Father's hand and placed RM20 into it.

Amin: No, Father. I was happy because now i have RM20. I thought i could buy one hour of your time. Could you come home early tomorrow night, and have dinner with me and Mother?

Father: ...

Amin: Please?

Chim Chim Cher-ree

A song of significant personal value, from Robert Stevenson's Mary Poppins.

Chim Chim Cher-ree

Bert:

Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be
Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when I shakes 'ands with you
Or blow me a kiss and that's lucky too
Now, as the ladder of life 'as been strung
You might think a sweep's on the bottommost rung
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this 'ole wide world there's no 'appier bloke
Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey

Chim chim cher-ee!

A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be
Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when I shakes 'ands with you

All:

Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be
Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when I shakes 'ands with you

Bert:

I choose me bristles with pride, yes, I do
A broom for the shaft and a brush for the flute
Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
'Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When there's 'ardly no day nor 'ardly no night
There's things 'alf in shadow and 'alfway in light
On the rooftops of London coo, what a sight!
Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey

Chim chim cher-ee!

When you're with a sweep you're in glad company
Nowhere is there a more 'appier crew
Than them wot sings, 'Chim chim cher-ee, chim cher-oo!'

Politics

Over dinner with family tonight, Malaysian politics was the topic of the day. And over, and over, as stories and rumours were traded, the conclusion was the same: politics is a dirty business and only the fittest (and the toughest) will survive.

It got me thinking: does politics have to be dirty? Do you have to be scheming, backstabbing, thick-skinned, and nasty to rise to the upper echelons of Malaysian (or anywhere else for that matter) government and power? Even if the answer is an affirmative, why does it have to be so? Why can't politics and power be clean for once?

Happy Birthday Dila!!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Dila, happy birthday to you! :)) May you have many happy returns.

Baizura and Dila in NYC

We're all the same

I think many of us have always looked at the Other Fella and thought him different. They ate different foods, the watched different TV, educated in different schools, faithful in the Other Religion, a cultural history far afield from our own -- on the surface, the Other Fella couldn't be more different.

I thought this true as well, for the longest times. But less and less nowadays. Now, i'm beginning to believe that the more different the Other Fella is, the more the same we are in the ways that matter the most.

The next time you see the Other Fella, take a moment to pause and ask yourself what his motivations are. Motivation and Purpose is the One Thing that makes us less different and more the same, though our methods of achieving it may differ.

This is a lesson politicians, religious zealots and racists would do well to learn. Everyone else should take a moment to consider it too.

Doing it yourself

When you want something done right, its always best to do it yourself. Then, if things get done, you owe no one anything, and, even if something goes wrong, you only have yourself to blame.

Youth

Its interesting to note how the young are so much more different than i. And, it wasn't too long ago when i was young too, naive and giggly at heart. Not to say that i've become ancient history now, but i certainly consider things very differently than i used to. Its also most certainly become easier to understand what my parents used to always tell me about my sisters, "You're the elder one, you should be patient and give in."

Bengali

This is probably a decidedly racist joke, but i repeat it here because i think its one of the sharpest verbal ripostes i've heard in a long time.

Its a well known fact that Britain's lax immigration laws in the late 1970s/early 1980s resulted in an influx of many immigrants, a large number of whom were from India -- Bengalis, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, etc.

Present time, Immigration at Heathrow Airport, UK:

Visitor: Hello there, here's my passport.
Officer: Gooooood day, sir (said in the curious accent Indians have when they speak English)
Officer: Sooo... hooowww long were you planniiiing to staaay in Britain, sir?
Visitor: Obviously, not as long as you are.

Nasty, eh?

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About this Archive

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

June 2004 is the previous archive.

August 2004 is the next archive.

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