August 2005 Archives

PPS has a new look!

ppsv2.jpg

Its been a VERY long time coming, but its finally here, the almost-total restructuring of Project Petaling Street. Thanks to everyone who has chipped in comments/suggestions and moral support. Hope you like it.

UPDATE: Lots of questions about the new PPS answered in the PPS WIKI.

OWEN! OWEN! OWEEEEEEEEENNNN!!!!

Owen! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN! OWEN!

*sigh*

Owen set to complete Magpies move
Reaction to Owen's move
Owen agrees Magpies move
A NEW ERA AT NEWCASTLE - MONCUR
Owen agrees to join Newcastle
Michael Owen agrees deal with Newcastle
Owen agrees four-year deal with Newcastle
'Guaranteed games lured Owen' - Thompson

A Shafting Tun

During a competitive debate, if you get "shafted", that's a really bad thing. As bad as it sounds: take a rod, preferably rusted, corrugated and very long, and shaft it up there where the sun doesn't shine.

I admired Tun M when he was prime minister -- didn't always agree with him but he had a certain Machiavellian flair, ideal for the bear pit of Malaysian politics. Now that he isn't PM anymore, he still seems as sharp as a tack, perhaps even more so now than ever before, unshackled as he is from the restraints of the office of Prime Minister.

Once again, the good old Tun has done more than earn his spurs as "The Shafting Tun":

Asked whether he returned the vehicles because he was unhappy with developments in Proton, he said: "I don't know what's going on in Proton. I have no communication with them." Pressed on the matter since he is Proton's adviser, the former Prime Minister said: "I can only advise if I know something is happening."

Now that's how its done.

Luque joins, and maybe Owen too

Prior to sexual orgasm there is a brief period, a very short few seconds, when the brain asks the body, "Are you ready? Are we a "GO" or "NO GO"?" If the body says no (which can happen for a variety of reasons, mind you), the brain then shuts the body down, pleasure quickly dissipates, and you're left wondering what happened (but at the same time, hoping that things can start up again).

This deal with Michael Owen is just like that.

Newcastle United got their foot in the door, Madrid was willing to deal, then Liverpuke stuck their noses in, and Michael plays coy and hard-to-get.

Then we get Alberto Luque, a brief return of pleasure, then suddenly disappointment because it probably means we won't achieve orgasm (i.e. Owen), but now, we have to endure the agony of waiting on him. That's like standing at the Gates of Heaven, and wondering whether we've come so close to be still so far.

More good Luque (pun: "luck"):

Luque completes Newcastle move
Luque gives Souness and Newcastle a lift
Souness gets Luque and now wants Kuyt

Ladies, if you're reading this, perhaps this is a reason why men generally enjoy football so much: its very much like sex. :)

The Economist echoes the VOI on racial Malaysia

An article appearing in The Economist on 25 August mirrors what the VOI wrote recently, but the mag adds a killer parting shot:

Towards the end of his [Mahathir's] tenure, he abolished the quota system for university places. The results were mixed: the proportion of Malay students rose somewhat overall, but it fell in the most competitive courses, including law and medicine. That drop, in turn, led many UMNO members to demand that quotas be reinstated, and prompted some wags to ask whether it was really the party itself that had become politically dependent on the system of racial preferences.

Oooh, a solid strike to the UMNO solar plexus.

Newcastle will have Owen!

I'm literally going crazy in anticipation and hope for this deal; i've not been able to sit still for a moment the whole day. Nearly every other thought in my mind has been: "OWEN, OWEN, OWEN" -- i'm a sad, sad case, i am. Obsessed, even.

Some news updates:

REDS IN NO RUSH TO RE-SIGN OWEN

Newcastle agree fee, but Owen wants Anfield move
Benitez left unmoved by Owen's plea to Liverpool
Newcastle fear Liverpool will hijack £16m Owen deal
Owen made to wait for return to Liverpool

My theories:

Fat Freddy intentionally jacked up the price to UK$16mil in the hopes that Liverpuke won't be able to match the bid, and that Real Madrid won't be willing to accept the max UK$8-10mil the Reds will be able to offer, especially since they know Newcastle has offered more.

Problem: Owen himself might hold out and refuse to go to Newcastle eventhough the Magpies offer more money.

Solution: Then Real won't sell him. And Owen must play this season or risk his England spot. Therefore, he'll rather go to Newcastle than not play.

Dependencies: How much money extra does Rafa have in the Liverpudian transfer kitty? Will Rafa succumb to crowd pressure (especially since his strikers are firing blanks now)? Will Real be the capitalist i hope they are and refuse to sell to a lower bidder (thereby forcing Owen to accept Newcastle?)

Newcastle desperately needs a striker, and Owen is the guy. HE IS THE GUY WE NEED! OWWEEEEEEEEENNNNN!!!!!!

Owen fee agreed with the Toon!

OMG OMG OMG!!! A club record fee has been agreed with Real Madrid to bring Michael Owen to Newcastle. I'm stunned out of my mind. And Owen said, "If the transfer (with Liverpool) cannot be finalised in time I have agreed to go to Newcastle."

And Benitez who already has Cisse, Morientes and Crouch on the books has said that he has no plans to bring Owen back to Liverpool.

Wow! This is the transfer that'll rock the EPL this season, should it come to fruition. I'm praying real hard for this to go through, God only knows how much the Magpies need another quality striker. I'm still stunned. Speechless. Holding my breath.

Babies of cloned endangered cats

This is huge, HUGE news. I wonder why it didn't receive a larger coverage. Has world opinion begun to accept cloning technology as an acceptable practice?

A conservation institute in the United States has produced wildcat kittens by cross-breeding cloned adults. The Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species says this is the first time that clones of a wild species have bred.

Cats = mamals = complex organisms = clone-able
Humans = mamals = complex organisms = clone-able??

The day a human being is artificially cloned (they happen naturally everyday via the birth of identical twins) can't be too far off. That's a sobering thought, the stuff of science fiction and B-grade horror movies. I really wonder whether its be as bad as some people say?

Spermtastic

A few days ago, an episode of Friends introduced me to a new term: "spermtastic" -- referring to a really fit, good looking dude, who has great "sperm-donor" potential. Chandler's is suffering from a low sperm count, but he and Monica are desperate for a baby.

Its interesting that they as a couple are entertaining the idea of using another man's sperm to impregnate Monica. I don't think i would be able to accept such a scenario if i were Chandler. The thought of another man's sperm in my wife's womb, and the resulting child not being of my DNA, is a horrifying thought. Better than being childless? Nay, the mental torture of it all is not worth it, not for me anyways.

The situation Chandler and Monica are in is not unique, nor are the variety of options they have to consider. Lots of couples all over the world go through the same thing, and i'll bet Malaysia has its fair share, though this is problem that is rarely spoken of in "polite circles".

There is perhaps only one real way to avoid it: have pre-nuptial medical check ups. Check for AIDS, genetic disorders, check for low sperm counts or infertility. Only marry when both partners are certified "OK". It all sounds very sterile, i suppose. It definitely does complicate the relationship.

ME: "Before we get married, let's have a medical check up. I want to make sure i'm fertile and so are you."
HER: "..."

The obvious embarassment that precedes and follows this conversation is mind-numbing. But, necessary. Imagine the potential despair and sorrow and tension that can occur if checks are not done pre-nup, and post-nup, its discovered that problems do exist.

ME: "Honey, i've got AIDS. I've been HIV positive for 10 years. I just found out."
HER: "But we've been married 2 years..."

HER: "Honey, my family has a genetic heart disorder -- males in my family die before they reach 30."
ME: "But we've been married 2 years... and you're pregnant."

Of course, the above makes light of the possible scenarios that could happen, but i think they do make the question worth asking:

ME: "Honey, we're getting married soon. Shall we go see the doctor?"

The important question is not the above, but its the one if (when?) you find out something is wrong.

DOCTOR: "I'm afraid i have some bad news..."

What do you do then? You're in love, but... would you still want to get married?

Malaysia has not enough lawyers?

And i thought Malaysia had too many lawyers? Well, at least that's what some of my law buddies in Uni told me. Looks like we don't have enough after all.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail said some lawyers handled too many cases at one time. This, he said, affected clients’ confidence in the judiciary as cases could drag on for years. "It also creates a backlog of cases in court," he added.

Simple situation of excessive demand and insufficient supply. Damn, i should have studied law. :)

Migrating to Australia

An interesting, often heated, debate is ongoing on the PPS Blog: "Want to migrate to Australia?" The issue: Malaysians migrating to foreign lands -- unpatriotic?

A topic close to my heart, considering my whole family is in Australia, and have asked me to join them soonest possible (i've said no, thus far). Now that they've received their permanence resident status, it would probably be easier for me get my PR too, perhaps my 5 years experience in project management will help too (i've been told that Australia needs people who have skills such as mine).

There can be no argument on my parents' patriotism: they both served the country unwaveringly for more than 20 years in the Government sector. Dad could have left at any time, make a name and a ton of money for himself and his family in the private medical sector. Same with Mom. But they didn't, and they went all the way to retirement. My sisters? Well, as minors, their place is with my parents, so there can be no argument about them either.

What about me? I love my family tremendously, so it would make sense for me to join them. Families shouldn't be separated, is my opinion; there is nothing more important than those people who stick with you through thick or thin.

Frankly, labels such as "unpatriotic" don't bother me much. Sticks and stones may break my bones, etc. So what if people call you this and that, they aren't living your life, so why should what they say have any bearing whatsoever on the decisions you make for yourself. I'm a Malaysian, will always identify myself as one. But to say the only way to contribute as a Malaysian to Malaysia is to be in Malaysia -- well, that's pretty shortsighted, at best.

I'm here in Malaysia now, i have a feeling there is some unfinished business that needs to be done and until i do it, a decision to join my family in Australia will be deferred. We all try to do the best that we can for ourselves and those that matter to us; life really is too short to be any more altruistic than that.

The haze: a problem with ASEAN

It was a terrible experience walking the 100M from the LRT station to the office this morning. I have no respiratory problems, and i'm generally a fit fella. But the air "tasted" heavy to me, breathing was laboured, there was a peculiar burnt smell in the air, and my eyes itched after a few minutes. Visibility was down to less than 200M, buildings in the distance, shrouded in a thick soupy grey. The sun was just a small, pathetic orange disc hanging in the sky, with none of the lustre or brilliance we've come to expect. It was almost like something out of a nightmare, but i knew better, this was real life, this was the haze.

Its all in the news, bloggers too are complaining about it (and the lack of perceived action to do something to fix it). I'm incredibly upset about the state of affairs. If something like this happened in a developed nation, the people would be crying bloody murder, a national emergency would be called, and the NGOs would be all over it most likely describing it as a "environmental disaster" (which it is, in my mind).

The Government wants Malaysia to be a developed nation in just a few short years, and yet, our response to this disaster has been absolutely THIRD WORLD. The fact that no one in any ASEAN government even wants to call a spade a spade (i.e. that this is an environmental nightmare), that's a damning verdict on our much vaunted "non-interference...flexible intervention" policies. The haze is an annual environmental catastrophe costing the collective ASEAN governments billions of dollars in lost productivity, lost human resources and lost quality of life. Can you imagine, lets say, if Germany had a similar "slash and burn" policy, thereby causing a similar haze in the EU year after year -- World War 3 would have broken out by now. A simple "sorry" would certainly not be enough to appease the English, the French, the Swiss, the Dutch.

Really, an industrious lawyer who wants to make a name for himself should take this case up: start a class action suit, take the Indonesian government to the ICJ. Get the world opinion behind this case, drag in the mega NGOs like Greenpeace and the WHO. If ASEAN will do nothing about the haze, then we, the citizens must, somehow, by enlisting the help of the rest of the world. Bloggers, we can do our bit too. Don't let this issue slide without blogging it.

What's wrong with the Malays?

Lots of things, really. That's not to say that only Malays have problems, i'm sure the Chinese, the Indians, and the infamous "Others" also have their equal share. But, for now, let's talk about the Malays.

I was reading Jonathan Kent's piece about Malaysia's Clash of Cultures, and he and i agree on one thing: a lot have changed amongst the Malays, and one of the most prominent (obvious?) changes is our perception towards religion. I think Kent may have said it best here:

Piety in public. Acts that lead to self-loathing behind closed doors.

What's wrong with the Malay people? Highest divorce rates, highest crime rates, highest number of dadah users, highest number of criminals, highest number of rapists. And yet, i'll bet a pound against a brass penny, on a per household capita, Malay Muslims own more Qurans now than ever before. Mosques are packed to the brim on Friday afternoons, Malay men all diligently nodding their heads in agreement to everything the learned imam says. The tudung (headscarf) has become a literal overnight fashion wonder, dim glances are made in the direction of Malay Muslim women who refuse the attire. It all does not compute, it just doesn't.

Wave after wave of Islamization has rocked the very foundations of the Malay race and yet things get no better, was the thesis of Mr Kent. Well, let's flip that: wave after wave of Islamization, and that's why things have gotten no better. Could that be it? Don't look at me, i don't have the answer to that thorny question (some people might even point at me, and scream, "Murtad!", "Kafir!" for even thinking it).

A former dean of my faculty in university, a converted Muslim, a mat salleh who married a Malay Muslim once shared with me a bit of wisdom, in cock-neyed Liverpudian accent: "Its all just a show, m'boy. A song and dance of appearances and counter-appearances. Malay Muslims are more interested in the semblance of piety and religiousness, less so than the embrace of the deeper philosophical teachings of Islam."

Coming from a man who taught comparative religion, who chose Islam before he met his wife, those words carried a lot of weight. And it provided a reasonable explanation why things for now have, at best, plateued for the Malay race, and at worse, taken a dramatic swing for the worse. Its truly arguable whether the Malays are better off now than 30 years ago, before Islamization, before the NEP.

Yes, the material appearances have improved. What about the attitude of application, the responsibility, the understanding and acceptance of responsibility that must accompany any change? That is, after all, the question that must be asked.

A tale of an SMS

If i've received a more poetic SMS than this, i'm sure i can't remember when:

"Have i ever forgotten you in any dramatic or critical or happy moment in my life? You're like a lifetime journal for me, aiz."

These are the sort of things that make a day, that take your breath away.

A statesman passes

One of the 20th Century's greatest statesman has passed away, Robin Cook (1946-2005). A remarkable man, who, in my mind, will always, always be remembered for this truly, truly great speech against the war in Iraq. May he rest in peace.

Thanks to Sani for the pointer.

Dead man walking?

As they say, "shit happens".

A chicken in the Cabinet

It looks like we've got a chicken in the Cabinet who has flown the coop. Does she have a leg infection or has she taken a holiday?

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman confirmed that Rafidah was on medical leave.

"She’s having problems with her leg. There is an infection or something," he told the New Straits Times. -- NST

Meanwhile, Rafidah’s aides said she went home at noon and later left for the airport to catch a flight to Perth, adding that the minister would be away for one week. -- The Star

Must be a pretty damn serious "leg infection" that local hospitals can't do anything about it. I wonder who's footing her overseas medical bill then, oops, i'm sorry, it must be us, the Rakyat (yes, that's right with a capital "R"). But, hang on, if its something so serious that local hospitals can't handle, then why only 1 week? If its really so bad, shouldn't it take more than 1 week to fix/heal?

Maybe its a bad case of "chicken-itis"?

Sedih gila, the leatherback is gone?

The first memory i had of the leatherback turtle was when i was very young, and i remember watching a tv show on RTM2 about it, and how it would come to the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia to lay its eggs. Its a majestic animal, and i was very touched to see it "crying" as it laid its eggs in the sand. I remember getting very angry at another boy in school several days later who suggested that turtle eggs were good to eat.

Now, the turtles, after years in decline, may be gone forever. Very, very sad.

Despite conservation efforts, the Leatherbacks, which have witnessed the fall of the dinosaurs and the rise of humanity, have not returned to traditional nesting sites in the country.

The same appears to be happening to Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles.

For the first time in history, none of these species landed at the 34 traditional nesting sites in Terengganu in June and July.

Friends and their babies

Two dear friends, both of whom have had a significant impact on me over the years (but for different reasons), are pregnant after a few months of marriage. I'm very happy for them, yes, i am.

And, still, i've got a funny feeling in my heart because of it, a feeling i can't describe or explain.

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About this Archive

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

July 2005 is the previous archive.

September 2005 is the next archive.

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