January 2005 Archives

Two Mondays

The worst thing about having a holiday on a weekday is that it feels like there's TWO mondays in a week. :) Happy 1st Feb everyone.

Discrimination

Today, the Chinese staff of the organization received a red Chinese New Year card from the Management. I didn't get one. I was told that i would get a card during Hari Raya.

Obviously, i'm an exceptional case -- i genuinely deserve a red CNY card too! (and a green HR card when the time comes!) The organization should be more sensitive to my cultural needs! I protest, i've been discriminated against! :)

Half-breeds are people too.

Bye-bye Morality Police?

The Cabinet released a statement yesterday saying that Malaysia no longer needs its "morality police"; the question of personal behaviour and morality should be left to the family instead.

Context: Overzealous Muslims

I've always believed that religious morality is the responsibility of the individual. Religion is about choice, after all -- therefore, whether we choose to be religious or not should also be a choice left to the individual. As long as your decisions affect no one else but yourself, and/or other consenting adults, then the government has no place governing your behaviour.

One day we all will answer to God. If you believe in that, then that should be a powerful enough incentive to confine your behaviour to within the doctrine of your religion. If you don't believe in that, no one really has the right to force you to.

UPDATE: This is an interesting article, related to above about morality and Islam in Egypt: A furor in Egypt over sex in a conservative society

The bloodiest day

It was the bloodiest day for Americans serving in Iraq -- 35 soldiers lost. That brings the body count up to 1,400, and more than 10,000 injured.

Its turned out to be a costly war for the US. Not just in lives; more than US$400 billion in deficit.

Who was it who said democracies don't go to war? Democracies do what the people do. If the people say fight, the country fights. If the people wanted peace, John Kerry would have won.

Finally, summons paid

Its been a good day.

A. I got something to work in the office. Its comforting when things go according to plan.

and, B. I finally managed to log on to http://www.rilek.com.my (it was blazingly fast today) and also http://www.eservices.com.my (slower, but seems better organized), and pay my two outstanding speeding tickets. It was very convenient to -- just direct debit from my Maybank2u account. That's a load off my mind.

Ahh... what other joys will this welcome Wednesday bring?

Babu

We all have words in our conciousness that trigger off powerful emotions. A favourite word from our childhood, something our parents or grandparents might have used as a term of endearment, perhaps a word that we use over and over again to describe feelings of happiness, sadness or love. A word that can make us burst out in laughter, or sob tears uncontrollably; sometimes both, if we're lucky.

Its just a word, after all, that does this. How powerful it is language can be!

For me, for reasons to whom who knows, the word is not just a word, its a name, babu.

Overzealous Muslims

Its things like this that give Islam a truly bad reputation. A religion is judged on the acts of its followers, so Muslims acting poorly give Islam a bad name.

Sure, they were just doing their jobs. But, surely, it could have been done with more tact and politeness.

The recent Ops Warta IV proved that law enforcement officers can be quite polite in discharging their duties. Perhaps our brothers and sisters in JAWI missed that class on professional manners.

Semi-Vegetarian

Just had an early dinner: bought one of those RM6.99 fresh salads from Jusco today -- very convenient little thing -- the combination of different salads and veggies all mixed together, ready to eat (its even been washed). Just pop it into a bowl, pour on some low fat dressing of choice and voila!, dinner.

I added a few chunks of no-sauce tuna (from the can) to the salad, and munched away happily in front of the tv. A Cuban cigar to follow, and... ahh... as close to nirvana as a bachelor can get on a lazy Sunday evening.

Being a half-vegetarian ain't so bad, after all.

A case for guns

4 burglars tried to rob someone late last night, only 2 made it out with their lives, one of whom was shot in the ass, and later captured. Their target had fought back and used deadly force.

It makes me wonder. If more people had guns in their homes, will it make robbers think twice? Less crime, perhaps? Or will it just mean that robbers will find more ways to better arm themselves before they commit a crime?

Those two fellas got what they deserved, that's for sure. A man has a right to use whatever means necessary to protect his home and his family.

Internet telephony -- superb!

Its been a while since i've used Skype, but i reinstalled the latest version recently and i've been very, very pleased with it.

Of particular usefulness is SkypeOut -- the call rates are excellent. I spoke to my mom for 25 minutes over her mobile phone, and it only cost me about RM10. And the call quality was truly superb; much better than most calling cards i've used before. No lag, crystal clear connection, on both sides equally good.

Now that's what i call an emerging technology. Highly recommended, especially since P2P calls are absolutely free. If i were a betting man, i would put big money on the company that first uses a combination of 3G and internet telephony to connect users via mobile phones.

The Malaysian Way

The Malaysian way of doing things can be quite baffling. The ongoing Ops Warta IV is a good example. Papimami and Shaolin Tiger have excellent accounts of how messed up it is.

After checking online (it took forever, it was so slow), i disovered i've got two outstanding PDRM summons for a little bit of speeding. Once in August 2003, and the other time in October 2004. God only knows, i don't remember anything about these two summons. I never received any notification, no letters, no ticket; i knew absolutely nothing about these two offenses until today.

I have no problems paying for my indiscretions; if i made a mistake, i expect to own up to it. But for goodness sake, there must be some common sense with the boys and girls over at PDRM -- if people don't even know they've been issued summons (and logically, surely, its the responsibility of the law enforcement agencies to inform the offender that he/she has broken the law), how fair is it to haul them off to court in operations like Ops Warta IV for unpaid summons?

Notes under our fingers

I heard this last night, as Jamie Foxx gave his acceptance speech after receiving his Golden Globe for his role as Ray Charles.

"The notes are right underneath your fingers. You just got to take the time to find them, young man." -- Ray Charles

Hearing this was truly inspirational. Things are beginning to look up. Its time to take control of my life and make things happen the way i want them to happen. Its my song, and i'm not going to let anyone else play it for me.

eBay in Malaysia!

This is a good thing: eBay has arrived in Malaysia. Just realized i've got a ton of stuff i wanna sell -- old comics (most are in mint condition, super-rare stuff), books, and even a few computers. I wonder what are the other very good (lots of users) auction sites here in Malaysia?

Why men marry "down"

This is a very interesting article, published in the International Herald Tribune.

"A second study by researchers at four British universities that was reported last week suggested that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals."

Hhhmmm...

"The study found that a high IQ hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in IQ; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise."

Article: Wanted: powerful male looking for maid to marry

Follies of youth

If there ever was a prime example of how youthful inexperience can make our young do stupid things, this would be it.

Prince Harry, lets just write this one off as a flash of madness.

UPDATE: Digged up some old VOI articles about the Jewish people. Re-reading them was an interesting experience: "Schindler's List" and "Jews".

Snatched

Its easy to be disappointed when something you've been eagerly looking forward to is suddenly snatched away at the last moment; i'm only human, after all.

The Muslim Mind-Box

During my days in IIUM, it was common practice to blame the West (i.e. the USA, Europe, Israel, etc, etc.) for everything that was wrong with the Muslim world. From published, award-winning professors all the way down to common students -- that was the story most often repeated.

Muslims are poor. Why? Its because the "West" steals our wealth. Muslims are divided and factious. Why? Because the "West" uses its wealth and influence to divide and conquer the Muslim states e.g. the billions of dollars of annual "aid" given to Egypt is a common example of such bribery.

The Muslim mind has been polluted by its own delusions. Its sad that even in one of our nation's pillars of Islam, a prestigious university of rank, the "blame the West" mentality is an easily accepted excuse. If the scholarly minds of the ivory towers accept this to be true, what hope is there for the impressionable mind of the common man?

Muslims are in trouble, by extension, so is Islam. We should be looking within for answers, not without. Its much easier to blame others for our problems than to blame ourselves. Maybe that's part of the reason why we've yet to actually solve them.

Context: When Muslims suffer, its the West that helps out

Our children

Its so refreshing to witness the exuberant innocence of our children. They say and do what they like, with an almost devil-may-care attitude. There are no inhibitions, there is almost nothing off-limits. Its almost as though they have yet to grasp the concept of the "lie".

"Mama, mama -- why is that man so smelly?"
"Her nose is too big for her face"

When did we lose this ability to be so direct, so honest? Adults rarely tell it the way it is, always mashing their words in adulterated diplo-speak. Even when we speak to people we are close to, we often don't say what really mean, often times we downright lie.

Sometimes, we lie to save their feelings; no one likes being told their ass looks bigger today than it did yesterday. Sometimes, we lie because the truth is just too difficult to tell. Sometimes, we lie because we want to.

Truth is paramount. Perhaps we should let our children rule the world.

An empty home

As i walked into the house last night, i was greeted by an engulfing darkness. My housemate wasn't home yet. Switching on all the lights didn't seem to help much; all it did was cast an eerie glow, lighting up dark corners, reinforcing the emptiness of it all. Its a big place, this house i live in -- big enough to echo my footsteps as i walked down the hall.

I tried to be organized. Clothes off, first, sarong on. Second, put perishable food i had bought into the fridge, took out food i was going to cook for dinner. Opened up a can of mushroom soup, put it to boil. Chucked in a couple of slices of buttered bread into the toaster oven. While everything cooked, i sliced up some fruit, blended it into a smoothie with some milk and yogurt.

I was in a microcosm of life, i realized, at that very moment. The silence around me was deafening. Where was the voice of my wife, telling me how her day had been, or complaining about how i never pick up the clothes after me. Where was the pitter patter of young feet, my children, running up to me, yelling, "Daddy, daddy!", screaming for that newest toy. There would be no dinner table conversation, not tonight as i sipped my soup in front of the insanely blaring television. There would be no bedtime stories for my son and daughter, no bedroom cuddle with a wife as we hold each other to sleep.

There was just me, silent, the whirring blades of the blender in the foreground, the pitiful stirring of the soup in the back.

Sage

Its interesting what wise men say when they are heartbroken.

Him: "The love of one guy versus the lust of many. Lust comes and goes."
Me: Whoa. Deep.

Tsunami donations

P. Bush donates US$10k from his own pocket -- a local blogger asks whether "its enough", implying that the millionaire President of the United States should have given more. Ol' Schumi put forward UK$5 million. Has he done enough? Sandra Bullock donated US$1 million -- quite a bit considering she isn't an A-list Hollywood actress making tens of millions per movie. Has she done enough?

Locally, PETRONAS, perhaps one of Malaysia's richest organizations, donated RM500k. Shell Malaysia donated RM1 million. Have they done enough?

What disturbs me is that the size of individual and organizational (corporate) donations in aid for the victims of the tsunami have become an issue. So-and-so has not done enough. So-and-so has done so much. My donation is bigger than yours. My donation is more worthy.

A moralistic whirlstorm of cynicism seems to have whipped up amongst the masses -- "You've got so much money, why not give more aid?", "If i had as much money as you, i would have given more."

That's just not right, and almost downright pathetic -- its not your money to give, so why do you question the giver? You are not him, so why presuppose what you would do if you were. Focus on what you can do to help (if you want to help at all); what other people do (or don't do) is none of your business.

New year, new job

I left PETRONAS in November last year; the whole month of December was one long holiday for me, and i used it to great effect spending some quality time with my family in Australia, just like i did last year.

But with the new year, comes a new job. I joined Maybank yesterday, and my new office is Menara Maybank, Jalan Pudu. Its a good position, something i didn't apply for but when i was approached, i took some time to think about it and decided that it would be a good thing to do at this stage of my career. So here, i am.

2 days into the job already, and it looks like i made the right decision to come here. I enjoy being stretched and pushed, and this job does that for me. It promises to be a challenging, enlightening road ahead.

Love someone

How do you know you really love someone?

Its a simple test, actually.

Regardless of what they say or do, regardless of how angry you get, if at the end of it all you still feel the person is important to you, then you are really in love.

Love in unconditional, uncompromising. That's the way it is.

Happy 2005, everybody

If you think about it, 31/12/04 and 1/1/05 are just two days that happen to have different dates on them. There is very little different about these two days than any other two days that happen to be next to each other.

How is today, 1/1/05 different from yesterday, 31/12/04? I'm alive today, just as i was alive yesterday, just as i will be alive tomorrow. Today i will eat, sleep and maybe read a book and watch tv. That's the same thing i did yesterday, and i won't doubt that'll be what i'll be doing tomorrow. So why is today special? So what, the New Year? So what?

Perhaps the answer to my own question is simple. A new year is a psychological point of time, a reference fulcrum for the human mind. Being such it gives us impetus to be positive, confidence that this day, the start of this new year, is an opportunity waiting to be taken for the better. And perhaps 2005 will be better -- be positive, be confident and brave, and who knows? 2005 will be better.

Happy 2005 to all. May you and yours be blessed.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2004 is the previous archive.

February 2005 is the next archive.

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