Someone i know plans to use his father's credit card giftpoints to get his father a birthday gift. Man, is that cheap or what? :)
March 2005 Archives
When the earthquake hit us last night, i felt nothing -- i was awake, on my bed, but i didn't even feel anything shake. It was probably very mildly felt in my area, perhaps i should consider myself fortunate for that. But if it had been more serious, and things did fall around my ears, i think i would have died like a squashed kitten -- there was no early warning, and the 'quake came out in the middle of the night like a bat through hell.
When lightnight strikes twice at virtually the same spot, you can almost bet that it'll strike again one day, perhaps very soon. Its time to get my affairs in order, and put together some Disaster Recovery plans.
One of my all-time favourite foods, the humble pie, receives a great review in the International Herald Tribune. For the life of me, i've yet to find a place in KL that sells pie of any worthy or discernible quality. Any suggestions?
Gosh, it doesn't get better than this. Peace and quiet, and the most lovely home facial!
Finally, postpaid users (i.e. a mobile telco's most valuable customer segment), are getting a fair deal -- the throat cutting competition for pre-paid users is spilling over into the postpaid arena. Result: some really yummy deals to look forward to for customers like me.
My Maxis-to-Maxis rates are now very competitive: 15 sen per minute nationwide, 5 sen SMS, and RM0 monthly fees.
Prediction in 6-12 months: 10 sen per minute calls, 250 free SMS per month (5 sen each thereafter), and RM10 rebate per month for every year you've been a Maxis customer.
I've been in love with the Apple form factor for ages now, and i've found them to be quite user friendly during the time i worked with Macs at my first job. But its price has always been prohibitive and made it a "nice to have" rather than a necessity; has that changed with the Mac Mini? According to this hilarious review, looks like its not. I'm just going to have to keep on saving for that iBook, i suppose.
I rarely change my mind once its made up, and rarer still on a matter i've discussed on the VOI. But on this issue, i must admit my opinions have strongly swung the other way.
I've been observing events closely this week, and everything is not as straightforward as it initially seemed to me -- death by starvation and dehydration is perhaps one of the worst ways to die, right up there with death by drowning.
The point on whether or not a person in a vegetative state suffers through death of this kind is moot in my mind: denying the body fluids and nutrients causes a terrible wasting decay; the body is utterly completely destroyed as it cannibalizes itself to stay alive. It takes a long, long time to die this way and its a cruelty i wouldn't wish upon anyone.
I'm still in favour of merciful death in some cases; but while the final outcome (i.e. death) may be merciful in a case such as Terri Schiavo's, the method of death is certainly not, and i simply can't agree with that.
Things have gotten really bad in Germany -- unemployment is at its highest point since pre-WWII, and the cost to the society and nation is staggering. One particularly smart way to address this problem has been Jobdumping.de -- premise: bidders bid in a race to the bottom for jobs on offer.
This is such a stark contrast to what we're facing in Malaysia with unemployment among graduates.
Germany: No jobs, but people are willing to work for peanuts.
Malaysia: Lots of jobs, but graduates are being choosy (besides the fact that some are just simply "un-employable" due to a lack of soft skills).
The issue of moral policing is being healthily debated in the Dewan Rakyat -- its actually quite surprising to me to hear that some of our esteemed MPs have very open-minded and liberal views towards moral policing.
Debate is good. My tax dollars being put to good use on an issue that is important to me. Democracy at its best?
I must be losing my mind: i actually feel betrayed by a TV program, the recently concluded Outback Jack. After weeks and weeks of diligent viewing, turning away friends and work to ensure free time every Thursday night, you would have thought it will all pay off in the end with a satisfying conclusion. But, it didn't, and Jack chose Natalie. WHY?? OH WHY! I spent a good 15 minutes jumping around my condo, yelling, "Its a lie, its a lie! Betrayal, betrayal!" Jack must be bonkers. Aussies spend too much time in the sun, that's for sure. :)
On a brighter TV-induced-note, Lost (also on Thursday nights) is turning out to one hell of a spanking good mini-series.
The story of Terri Schiavo is particularly painful.
But i do know what i would wish for if i were in her place -- disconnect me from the feeding tube.
Practically speaking, i would already be dead without the life support, so considering how hopeless the situation is, there really is no point in prolonging the pain and suffering (not just of my own), but also of those who love me. Just let me go, let nature take its course.
When the quality of life disappears and there is no hope for it to be restored, as is often the case with extreme medical situations, then there really is no point living anymore.
Ross tonight had to choose between his friends and his love. He chose his friends. I'm not sure i agree with that.
Actually, check that, i do.
True love shouldn't force you to make such choices. If it does, then perhaps its not love after all.
Its not everyday that a living Malaysian literary legend leaves a profound comment on your blog -- so when it does happen, you tend to sit up and pay attention. I was reading this man's book when i was a freshman in uni (and loved every page of it!). Its an inspiring experience that he now reads me.
"If I may be permitted more than my usual smart-ass one-liner, with apologies for this intrusion into a kafee-klatsch of friends hosted by Aiz, a far better and braver man than Iâ€¦
It seems to me we each have an idea of who we are, and each of us lives in the hope of finding someone who can see us the way we see ourselves.
To see through our words what we truly mean; to judge from our actions, our true intent. This is almost laughably difficult, but this, I think, is our yearning as human beings.
But why is it so difficult, so rare and precious, to have others see us as we see ourselves, and know us as we know ourselves? It has been said that â€œthe sins done to us we carry in a pouch around our neck; our own in a sack on our backsâ€�.
This is why, I have learned, everyone you meet can teach you part of what you need to know about yourself. No exceptions. You learn from them what you are to them. They can see the sack on our back. It can be a most humbling experience, but it is usually useful. It does not lighten the burden, but it can enlighten it...
Still, the â€œyouâ€� known to others â€“ even your closest friends and family, and sometimes I fear especially lovers â€“ is not the real you, and only you know it. Hence, alas, the remarkably durable marketing power of simple human loneliness.
Something this persistent and pervasive must be accepted, and dealt with. It is up to us as individuals to manifest in our daily behaviour and social interactions the persons we feel we truly are. (Kurt Vonnegut wrote: â€œWe are what we pretend to be. So be careful what you pretend to be.â€�)
Moral codes exist to guide us. (and the law of the land takes over from where they leave off) but ultimately, the precepts by which we abide are ours to choose; we are free to define ourselves.
It seems strange to me that anyone would choose not to be noble, and I suppose our prisons and asylums are filled with those who went astray for some reason or other. In sum, however, each of us is the sum total of our values, our principles, combining to form our â€œmoral compassâ€�.
Thatâ€™s you, and also your journey; your direction. When we seek life partners, weâ€™re actually looking for someone headed in the same direction; a travelling companion. Problems arise when the loneliness of the road becomes unbearable, and we detour in search of what we do not have.
Paul Theroux wrote that â€œadventure is three paces off the main roadâ€�, and I know heâ€™s right." -- Rehman Rashid
Sani, a fine friend, and the nicest non-metrosexual you will ever meet (sorry, buddy -- that's the truth, and you know it! :) ), posted a very relevant point on the topic of the "Value of a metrosexual":
"Just a bit off topic, with all this focus on metro sexual man what bout 'metro sexual' women? A women who can clean the toilet, fix any electrical and plumbing problems in the house, keep their car well maintained (that's more then just bringing it for regular checks at the workshop), and do basic carpentry? Not assuming here, if you can good for you (give urself a pat on the shoulder), if you cant do the above, then the next time you speak of the metro sexual man, think bout what I just posted. Equality works both ways."
Why are husbands expected to change their wives' flat tires? Because its the "manly" thing to do. Why is it that when there is a "noise" downstairs, its the husband who needs to wield the baseball bat and check it out? Because its the "manly" thing to do.
Logic goes to reason that if there is such a thing as the "manly" thing to do then there must be things which are "womanly". Its all about function and roles, specialization and efficiency.
A lot of wisdom flying around in my inbox today -- strange that some things only reveal their deeper meaning upon second reading.
> Its tough i know. You and i are more similar than perhaps we both
> thought. We live with our hearts and give it our all.
An email from a good friend late last night got me thinking: is it possible to commit yourself so fully into one person, that you have nothing left, not now, not anymore, not ever?
What happens if you've committed yourself to this person, given your heart and your soul and all your energies, and then it doesn't work out?
By giving yourself to someone, are you potentially (because there is always a chance things will fall apart one day) committing emotional suicide?
Matters of the heart are a frisky business. Unpredictable, a razor thin double edged weapon.
"I think God gave me a chance today, to touch once more, and then to say goodbye forever. Its over now, finally, done." -- Anonymous
I wonder how much (or how little) do women value domesticated men?
A man who can cook, clean the house, understands that you don't mix the colours and the whites, change a dirty diaper, and do the wet market shopping early Sunday mornings.
What is the value of such men? Nil? Priceless? Just a simple query for a hectic Wednesday afternoon.
In this day of emails/word processers/typewriters/printers -- a fine art has been lost: penmanship. There is a certain distinction in writing a letter (not just a short note) by hand, the flow of ink, the cursive twirls of the "l"s and "r"s, the thought and time it takes to write each word, and the flourish of the signature at the end.
Emotions and power are contained in words written by the human hand on paper. Its something that i've long lost touch with, and i regret that. There are words i want to say that cannot be said in any other way. After so long, the pen feels strange in my hand. It is time to get the two accustomed once more.
Listening to the radio this morning, it was interesting to hear that most "dating manuals" advocate that the man pay for the first few dates, and continue to offer to pay thereafter, except during times when the woman insists to pay. Furthermore, the woman should allow the man to pay during those first few dates. Apparently, this gives the man a sense of self-worth, esteem and control (that's a good thing?).
It all got me wondering -- i've been on a couple dates too in my lifetime -- why is it that men are the default source of finance for a date? The first date, or otherwise, or even during marriage. In the modern world, women work just as hard as men, and in many cases, earn more than their partner.
A throwback to the customs of our cavemen ancestors? The cavemen provided (food and shelter), and the cavewomen consumed?
15 years since i last visited, HK still feels the same -- Sarah's excellent account and pics brought back some sweet memories.
I wanted to write about lacy lingerie today, but, i'm just not in the mood; its been a really bad day. Even sexy lace and see-through negligees can't inspire me.
In last night's episode of Friends:
Monica: No, you're really not going?
Rachel: Yeah. It's just gonna be too hard, you know? I mean, it's Ross. How can I watch him get married?
Ditto that, ditto.
Its not an easy thing to attend the wedding of the person you love; no matter how happy you are for him, happy that he has found a woman who loves him back and can give him the things you couldn't. To swallow all that emotion, to force a smile and laugh at his wedding, that's purely superhuman.
Ever wonder how much you actually know a person just by reading his/her blog? Let's do a quick experiment: to everyone who has been reading my blog before, doesn't matter if you've read 1 or 100 postings, leave a comment here with one word that you think describes me best.
Go ahead, try it.
I think the reason why i enjoy the show Everybody Loves Raymond is because Raymond and Debra represent my idea of what a perfect marriage is like. Last night's episode, just like every episode i've watched, was a funny learning experience i truly appreciated.
"Perfection" in marriage doesn't mean 100% harmony. What it means is that when disharmony occurs (and it will occur despite our best efforts), the couple are able to talk things through and compromise.
Raymond and Debra are incredibly different from each other -- but they are exactly what the other needs in a partner. Its often forgotten by many of us, that what we need is usually more important that what we want.
The cynics among us will argue that "love" is just another endorphin-inducing biochemical reaction. While, perhaps the biochemics of the matter may be true, it still doesn't answer the question: why do we fall in love, and how do we fall in love.
A quiet discussion i had with a friend recently led to the issue of marriage. Do we need love to marry somebody? In my mind, i think an element of love must exist for a marriage to last, but what about love at the point of marriage? Can love develop later, can you learn to love somebody (same question flipped: can you learn to un-love somebody)?
We marry for many reasons. Some for love, some for money, some for security, some out of respect for other's wishes. Sometimes, its a combination of many reasons. I don't think its correct to say that one reason is better than the other, although i'm sure we each have a notion of what the "right" reason should be.
"What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Its interesting how so much can change, and still stay the same.
A two-term President of the IIUM Debating Association, #1 ranked debater in Asia, #1 ranked Public Speaker in Asia, #7 ranked team in the World -- yup, you could say that debating is in my blood. Been there, done that. Loved every single moment of it.
A bit of self-tooting here; forgive me, just needed to re-live the glory days for a moment
But i don't think i've seen this before -- the most prestigious debating society in the world, the Oxford Union Debating Society, has invited a super-porn star, Ron Jeremy to address its members. Past speakers have included the Dalai Lama, a few Presidents of the United States, Malcolm X, and other prestigious names. At some point in the near future (the 2 March appointment has been postponed), the super-stud Ron will join that illustrious alumni.
Now, that's progress. An exercise of inclusiveness, rather than divisive exclusiveness.
I once advised a dear friend, "Do what's right, rather than what feels right."
I'm glad she has made the correct choice. Good luck, m'lady. My best wishes are with you, always.