September 2005 Archives

I'm never stopping to help

Its a macabre tale of good intentions gone horribly wrong. Call me what you want, but its unlikely i'll stop to help in an accident after reading this tragedy. I'll call for help, certainly, but i won't stop.

Bismillah

I watched the final episode of Rockstar INXS with some interest recently. During Mig's final performance, he sang Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody":

But I’m just a poor boy and nobody loves me- He’s just a poor boy from a poor family- Spare him his life from this monstrosity- Easy come easy go-,will you let me go- Bismillah! no-,we will not let you go-let him go- Bismillah! we will not let you go-let him go Bismillah! we will not let you go-let me go Will not let you go-let me go Will not let you go let me go No,no,no,no,no,no,no- Mama mia,mama mia,mama mia let me go- Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me,for me,for me-

The phrase, "bismillah" was bleeped out of the transmission, presumably by our local censors, presumably because of the reference of the word to how Muslims start any prayer, "Bismillahirahmanirahim", which roughly translates to, "in the name of Allah the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate".

Assuming my assumptions are true, and the censors did take their scissors to that part of the song, the whole affair stinks of a dash of overzealous-ness, and a pinch of ignorance.

While the phrase "bismillah" is used by Muslims, its by no means an exclusive usage of the language; Arabic does not necessarily symbolise Islam. Arabic is the language used by the people of the Middle Eastern region -- Muslims and non-Muslims share the language in equal numbers. While the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in Arabic (naturally, as that was the only language he understood), it is by no means the only holy book that's written in Arabic. In short, Islam does not have a monopoly over the language.

Therefore, when someone says "bismillah", he is in effect saying "In the Name of God" in Arabic -- you don't have to be a Muslim to say it, and if you're not a Muslim, no one has the right to stop you from saying it.

I'm reminded of an experience in university. A friend of mine, a Catholic, a very lovely lady from the Philippines was studying for her Masters in the International Islamic University Malaysia. For one reason or another, she picked up the habit of wishing her Muslim friends, "Assalamualaikum" (literally translated, "peace be upon you") when she meets them. Also, she answers with "Waalaikumussalam" (literally translated, "and peace to you too") when she is greeted or hears someone offering salam.

Many Malaysian Muslims may think otherwise, but there is nothing inherently Islamic (or un-Islamic) about offering salam or being polite enough to answer appropriately when someone says it to you. Again, its just a language, the Arabic language. Just because you're a Muslim, it doesn't mean you're expected to understand it (many Muslims, myself included, read the Quran, but we don't understand Arabic and need to rely on a third-party translation), similarly just because you're not a Muslim, it doesn't mean you're expected not to use it.

Movabletype 3.2

Wow, just installed Movabletype 3.2 for MyCigarBlog and its incredible. A massive, massive upgrade from previous versions of MT, i'm completely bowled over by its features. Installed the StyleCatcher plugin, and it rocks! Check out the super-cool MT-Style Generator! I've used Wordpress and MT during my time as a blogger -- and based on the evidence of MT3.2, there is some merit in the argument that pay-ware does motivate its creators to deliver a quality product.

A marriage gone sour

Its a high profile case, not because the circumstances are unique, but because it involves a prominent Tan Sri and his second wife (polygamy is an issue that has been hotly debated lately in the Dewan Rakyat).

The lesson: marriage is a big deal, decide carefully who you marry and why. Marriage isn't always about love, honky-dory feelings -- there are many reason why two people marry. Lust? Money? Dependencies? Old debts? Guilt? All reasons are equally valid, to each his own. But don't delude yourself when you marry, admit to yourself the reasons for your union. Upon an inspection of the facts, and only the facts, then decide and not before.

A lot of failed marriage could probably have been avoided if both parties were honest with each other about their expectations of the marriage. Managing a marriage is just like managing a project: the management of expectations, if done correctly, makes up a solid 50% of the whole deal.

A perfect day

This is what a perfect day looks like. Thanks to all who remembered and made it all the more special.

Around the Sun once more

The Earth has orbited the Sun full circle once more. Glad we made it. Special days, deserve special treats. For me, i gifted myself a poem from one of my favourite scribes, William Butler Yeats, "When You are Old".

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

- WB Yeats (1865-1939)

And the following shall be my reply:

When You are Young

When you are young and bright and swift with gay,
And singing full of joy, bear note this piece;
Quietly observe a moment of peace
That all you are now is a dawning day.

You wonder aloud where and which and why,
The light of youthful ignorance has passed.
Belief in the right, no wish to be last,
Time for difference, no sorrow, no cry

This day, you stand on high and bind full tall
Looking to me and the horizon falls;
Wonder, hope, truth, heart are your thoughts on call,
Beat abreast its your turn to give your all.

- Aizuddin Danian (1976 - )

Sedition on Blogs

Trust good ol' Mack to clarify the issue and suggest a solution. Its an unfortunate truth that most users of the Internet (i intentionally avoided the use of the word "blog", i'll tell you why later) probably find it too troublesome to think before they write. Its always been that way, and there is too little evidence now to suggest this will change anytime soon.

A reporter of the NST called me today, perhaps looking for a soundbite on the issue for an article he was writing. Among other things, i think the most important thing i told him was:

1. A blog is property. A blogger is the owner. Ownership means responsibility. If something bad happens on your property, that makes you ultimately responsible.

2. What's happening now is nothing new. Before blogs, we saw this sort of thing happen on BBS, Usenet, chatrooms, etc. Blogs are simply another avenue of expression -- its not right for bloggers to bear the weight of a bad rep (i can imagine parents everywhere telling their kids not to "blog" because it can land them in jail); blogs or no, people have been using the Internet to say what they want to say since the early days of a 9kbps modem connections.

Bloggers have their bit to do in all of this -- we would prefer to be known as "those who make a difference", instead of those who "would rather be different". The former is a noble cause, the latter is pointless. Use the Internet wisely, take care of your property carefully, promote harmony not discord, restrain hatred wherever you may find it -- every little bit counts.

In a Sulawesi jail

I really don't mean to sound flippant, but 2 KPMG accountants, Malaysians, are in a Sulawesi jail with hardened criminals because they were caught working in Indonesia without a work permit -- the irony: they were doing due diligence investigations on an Indonesian mining company.

Its probably much ado about nothing, especially since:

"Malaysia abides by the Indonesian presidential decree dated 2003, which exempts citizens of certain countries, including Malaysia, from needing visas for the purpose of trade, among other activities."

The whole furor sounds very much like a school-yard tit-for-tat, with the Indonesians getting their own back at Malaysia for throwing out so many of them during the recent crackdown on illegal workers.

Go OWEN Go!!!

Did you see that strike?! Michael Owen, in the 68th minute of a tense match against the iron men of Blackburn, made a standing leap any salmon would have been proud of -- perfectly timed, he connected with the flighted left wing cross from N'Zogbia (who himself scored a cool around-the-keeper goal late on), and sent the ball crashing into the net. The goal was so sudden, so clinical that by the time the Blackburn keeper, Friedel, dived to his right to try and stop the shot, the ball had already passed him. Oh what a goal!

P2P Broadcasting: TV Station on your PC?

Ever since i discovered BitTorrent several weeks ago, its been an interesting experience: with the power to Peer-2-Peer (P2P), the Internet almost seems like one huge multi-media jukebox. The power in the hands of the consumer is tremendous, the revolution of P2P is reminiscent of the magnitude of the birth of the original Napster. No wonder media executives are scampering for protection from the Courts.

The latest movies, tv shows, music, games, patches -- God, its an incredible hypermarket of digital property. The Internet is a huge place, the number of users in the hundreds of millions, the proliferation of broadband is exploding, tools to digitize and distribute intellectual property readily available and easy to use -- a recipe for massive intellectual theft.

Browsing through the popular Pirate Bay, there is a countless number of video files available for download. Feel like watching the latest season of 24? There ya go, 8.2GB of video, 24 episodes, the complete season. How about the latest Russel Crowe movie, Cinderella Man? Sure, its a cinema rip so its probably pretty unclear, but its there. Looking for better quality video? How about DVD-quality Spiderman 2? Let's not forget music and the latest PC/PS2/Xbox games. You'll be able to find most of them there.

Eat your heart out Astro -- its almost impossible to beat the depth and breadth of available digital media entertainment available via P2P. The only thing remaining to complete the P2P circuit is the ability to broadcast. Imagine: P2P broadcasting (web streaming), impossible to shutdown, impossible to pin on any particular user, and virtually limitless in its programming. Imagine our TV sets with built-in P2P broadcasting and viewing capabilities! The stuff of media dreams - true media on demand! - will no longer be a fantasy.

In recent years, VOIP has demonstrated the potential to crush the chokehold telcos have on voice communication, P2P media broadcasting has the potential to make TV stations almost irrelevant. Give a means for P2P broadcasting to feature ad dollars, and you'll begin to see massive syphoning from traditional ad channels -- that will truly be the end of traditional AV media broadcasters.

If i was a broadcaster reading this, i wouldn't be worried at the possibilities of P2P. The music industry only started moving when they began to see their revenue from sales evaporate. They only started acting when they realised the courts would not be able to offer total protection; if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Thus we have the success of the iTunes Store, and the like. Broadcasters require ad/subscription dollars to survive, "airtime" is their product on sale. There is a tremendous opportunity here for broadcasters with a bit of vision -- its right there, still a bit green, but definitely worth a punt. Totally legitimate P2P media broadcasting -- everyone gets a piece of the ad/subscription-dollars induced pie.

Ananda, my boy -- will you make your move?

What's wrong with me?

We've all been there, i think. Believing we can somehow change the world, make it a better place to live in for the rest of us. I've had delusions of such grandeur for many years, since dad threw me into the swimming pool at age 4, and told me, "Sink or swim, boy!". I swam that day, well dog-paddled more like it, i didn't drown, and since then its been all down hill: believing you can make a difference is much easier than actually doing it.

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that -- i can't really lay claim to any more. What happened to the majestic strokes, the grand illusions, the broad stamps i wanted to make to the world? What happened to that perfect life, that happy family, the together-ness and comfort of being i dreamed of having? It all seems so far away now, as i sit here, alone in a small, brightly lit room, unfortunately dubbed, the "Command Center", waiting to make a phone call at 5.30 pm to another person who will say either "Yes" or "No". It almost seems surreal.

It feels like i'm trapped in a plastic baggie, i'm punching the walls, and though i make dents, the expanding plastic seems almost effortless in containing me within its walls. Screaming doesn't help, as i said, i'm alone. There is no one outside this bag who will listen, and i don't blame them: most of them are trapped in bags of their own. The world has become a bothersome place, full of beings who are trying desperately to reach beyond some self-imposed limits and boundaries. Its almost sickening to watch, a wretching tug from the depths of my body, as lungs and intestines are pulled from this barely lifeless body, ripped apart in the frustration of anger, despair, sorrow and a wish.

The wish. The Wish that it needn't be so. The Hope of redemption, of a turn in the corner, of something that might make It all just a little bit more palatable.

I think that's the problem with me. I'm just too stupid to say enough, all the while bearing the unbearable, forcing the issue, and hanging on to the last shreds of dignity: pride.

Yes Dear

Women really don't understand how fascinated men are with sports. For some its basketball, for others its golf. For me its football.

On "Yes, dear", he wanted to go to watch a big basketball game, she wanted him to stay for her grandmother's birthday party. He decided to go, she made him feel guilty, and he changed his mind.

I can sympathize. Every woman i've been involved with wanted to remove ESPN from my Astro subscription! Leave us alone already, we love our balls!

A hen night

Why is a bachelor-ette party called a "hen night"? Are women chickens?? ;)

Wishing you were you?

Have you ever wished that you were you? Content, happy and full of grace that you are you and no one else but you? Seems like such a funny question, but one that is often overlooked by the best intentioned of us all.

I'm too fat. I'm too thin. I'm too tall, or too short. My hands are too small, my toes are too long. We all have something to complain about ourselves, myself included.

Yes, i wish i could be taller, a tad bit slimmer, and just a bit more Brad Pitt-alike. But i'm not. Am i happy to be me, do i sit up in the bed in the middle of the night suddenly wishing i was somebody else? Its a tough call, i think one of our chief motivators is to be what we're not. Taken positively, it can be converted into very healthy energy, very useful ambition. Without such drive, would we be even human?

First post from my T5

Using U*Blog to post this up. This is a great little PDA, it does everything except wash dishes!

A Minister hugs The Tun?

What's all of this about then?

Rafidah hugs Mahathir
Image from the NST

I smell a rat. Sandiwara berluasa...

Tungsten T5

Been looking around for a new PDA recently, and the Tungsten T5 has caught the eye. Do any of you have it? What are your experiences with it? Where is the best place to buy it? What was the best price you found it for?

Some quick reviews i found:

palmOne Tungsten T5
palmOne Tungsten T5 Review
Brighthand Reviews the palmOne Tungsten T5

I'm a sucker for PalmOS-powered handhelds (think WinOS is just too bloated for handhelds, and not enough free goodies to be found). Any help would be appreciated, pls leave a comment below. Thanks!

UPDATE: Oh damn, since i'm at it, might as well get a new mobile phone with Bluetooth, and preferably, 3G as well. Sony Ericsson has consistently provided the most feature packed and well priced phones in the market. My current Nokia is on its last legs.

ps. anyone want to buy a used Zire 71 -- i'll sell it on the cheap. RM100 with everything included. Still works fine.

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About this Archive

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

August 2005 is the previous archive.

October 2005 is the next archive.

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