October 2005 Archives

The IPTA and IIU's hijjab rule

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I was a student leader once, so i think i understand the politics at play here. The spokesman of the Student leaders of public institutions of higher learning (IPTA), Mohd Efendi Omar (who also happens to be UM's Student Council President), issued a statement "suggesting that the International Islamic University (IIU) review its ruling requiring non-Muslim students to wear the tudung."

“For Muslims there is no question about it, but there should be sensitivity when involving non-Muslims. If they (non-Muslims) feel comfortable wearing the tudung, then they should go ahead, but they should not be compelled to do so if they don't feel comfortable,� said Efendi, when contacted yesterday.

via The Star.

Now, i'm not sure when things changed in the IPTA (during my time, an official "suggestion" of this nature was unheard of), but its perhaps not a Pandora's Box the IPTA should be opening right now: criticising policies and rules of member universities. If the IIU student body, which was democratically elected, and the student administration has no problems with the rule requiring proper Islamic dress for all its students (male and female), then what right does any other student union/body have to tell them to change it? It smacks of high-handedness and interference in the internal matters of IIU.

How would the students of UM feel if the IIU Student Council President came out and took a holier-than-thou approach and "suggest" that all Muslim students of UM be dressed according to the Muslim dress code? The fact that he would do no such thing indicates a sensitivity that Mohd Efendi obviously lacks.

Kuih Raya Special

Pineapple jam tarts are perhaps my favourite kuih raya in all the world. Its especially special this year because i had them specially made. Yummy! Selamat Hari Raya everyone, be safe and happy wherever you are. The VOI may go offline for a few days, i'm off to see the Wizard of Oz tomorrow.

Pineapple Jam Tarts
A little bit of heaven

via Siti Aishah.

IIU and the hijjab

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Hodgepodge pointed me to the issue that arose in the media yesterday.

He was replying to Lim Kit Siang (DAP – Ipoh Timur), who read out an e-mail by a IIU undergraduate who said she was forced to wear the tudung to her convocation.

via The Star.

Perhaps Hodgepodge over-reacted a bit dramatically when he wrote this:

Lim Kit Siang produced and read a letter written to him by a graduate of the IIU who was forced to wear a tudung during her convocation. This is just plain sad. What should have been one of the most joyful days of her student life was instead turned into one of shame. Not because of the tudung mind you, but because the very rights given to us by our constitution was shattered.

Being an ex-IIU student, my understanding of the rules is that non-Muslims are required, as part of the "dress code" to cover their aurah. The rule to cover the aurah for male and female students is just like any other rule: when we went to school, the rule was that little boys wear short blue pants and girls wore that blue skirt and white blouse. In the office, the rule is men wear ties.

Rules exist for a reason and are meant to be followed, not broken or cried over. Dress code rules exist to create a sense of identity and belonging -- its very much a social rule, sometimes its institutionalized (like the case of schooles and colleges) and sometimes its not (like in the case of our office space). Even in the dot-com environment, where there tends to be a lack of any dress code, the lack of rules almost seems to be a rule in itself.

Different places have different rules. UM, UKM and MMU do not have similar rules governing the Islamic covering of the aurah. But IIU does, and any student who applies and joins IIU does so with the explicit knowledge of those rules. In fact, all new students, Muslim and non-Muslims are required to take an oath upon joining the University that they will uphold those rules. Perhaps the lady who wrote to Lim Kit Siang was absent the day the oath was taken.

Killer Hot Sauce!

I'm a sucker for a good chilli sauce (who isn't!) -- that wonderful prickly sensation on the tongue and lips, the sudden breakout of sweat beads on the forehead. Ahh. Delectable delights!

So naturally, when i saw Lee-Shawn Chin's posting on PPS, it was a click magnet for me. From it, i found an entry on Wikipedia and learned a thing or two about how "hot-ness" is measured:

The Scoville scale is a measure of the hotness of a chile pepper. These fruits of the Capsicum genus contain capsaicin, a chemical compound which stimulates heat-receptor nerve endings in the tongue, and the number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Many hot sauces use their Scoville rating in advertising as a selling point.

via Wikipedia.

Then i went here -- and was introduced to the world's hottest food additive (its too hot to be used as a sauce!!), the Blair 16 Million Reserve.

Blair 16 Million Reserve
Only 999 bottles ever produced

On this page there was a link to a review of the Blair 16 Million Reserve on Hotsauceblog.com, which i found incredibly entertaining. Especially this comment:

He put that speck in his mouth and waited and said its not hot, but then all of a sudden his face turned red and he started cussin and goin crazy he was tryin to throw it up but he couldnt he was coughin uncontrollably me and all my friends started laughin onto the floor he started yellin its burnin my whole body i can feel it burnin in my ears this made us almost pass out from laughin. He drank a pop 3 waters and i lost count of the milks he drank he went to the locker room threw up and went home we made him swear he would tell the nurse he had an upset stomach it was worth all 50 dollars we paid him he came back the next day and said his mouth was still hot and he couldnt taste anything that had to be the fuckin funniest thing i have ever seen in my life.

Man, that was funny. I was laughing aloud imagining the agony!

PPS Mile High Club

PPS is running a simple survey: how many active Malaysian bloggers have more than 1,000 postings? Check it out.

RM50 million unpaid??

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I've written about this before, and now that its in the news, its worth mentioning again. Load dodgers owe the Government, duit rakyat, our money more than RM50 million?! That's a huge amount of money.

A staggering RM50 million. Some 50,000 people. And a frustrated Education Ministry trying to get loan defaulters to settle the amounts owing...Some owe as little as RM1,000 while others owe anything from RM20,000 to a whopping RM70,000...

via NST.

Generally speaking, i'm all for the Government handing out education loans. Upon graduation, these people, mostly Bumiputeras, go on to become contributing members of the society. For any nation, having a core base of educated, capable professionals is a must.

However, what's irritating about people like these is that they are so bloody selfish. Don't they realize that the money they owe could help pay for the next generation of students? The Government's money is not limitless and RM50 million repaid would go a long way in financing the educational futures of many, all of whom are just as deserving of help as those who have received before and are now too selfish to return the money into the system.

I am a believer in karma (i'm no Buddhist, i'm referring to the principle of it rather than its religious connotations), in the sense that God pays you in return for your actions. Do good and you will receive good. Do bad and you shall receive bad. Perhaps one day, when these defaulters have children of their own, the Government will deny them a loan because many years ago their parents didn't pay up.

That's actually a pretty good idea. The Government has a list of all defaulters and has wisely published them on their website. Keep the names on record, in 20 years when the next generation of students apply for loans, match the loan applications against this database of defaulters. If there is a hit i.e. the parent's name is found on the defaulter database then the loan application is automatically rejected. I know its punishing the children for the deeds of the parents, but why not? Loan defaulters are scum and they should be made to pay; if not their own loans, now they have to pay for the education of their own children because the Government will not.

Malaysian model for unity & peace?

United States Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Karen Hughes had something very interesting to say about our sunny nation recently:

"I do believe Malaysia can play an important role in our outreach programme. When I say ours, I mean civilised people outreach to confront terror because here in Malaysia you have an experience of having people of different faiths and different cultures living together in an atmosphere of tolerance and peace."

via the NST.

Its interesting to hear her say this, especially considering how Malaysia has managed to achieve this feat over the last 30 years.

We've had the ISA. Throw dissenters in jail without trial before they can stir up too much trouble. We've had the NEP. Make the majority richer at the expense of the minority -- affirmative action at its best. We've had corruption, APs and a ton of money politics. All in the name of stability, getting things done quickly (meaning, bypassing due process) and keeping the Barisan Nasional together.

Ah, the joys of the Malaysian success story. I'm sure we make perfect role models.

Nokia 3100

This is a cool phone, the Nokia 3100. Simple, straightforward, it does the job it was designed to do, and it does it well.

Nokia 3100
Nokia 3100

ZD Net review.

Cute, very small and light. An excellent phone for a lady, imo.

Religious Darwinism

Its been a while since i've read something on religion that made me think as much as this:

...religiosity emerged as a "useful" genetic trait because it had the effect of making social groups more unified. The communal nature of religion certainly would have given groups of hunter-gatherers a stronger sense of togetherness. This produced a leaner, meaner survival machine, a group that was more likely to be able to defend a waterhole, or kill more antelope, or capture their opponents' daughters. The better the religion was at producing an organised and disciplined group, the more effective they would have been at staying alive, and hence at passing their genes on to the next generation.

via Guardian.

Our religion is in our genes? Whoa. Gotta take some time to digest this.

This is what a REAL problogger looks like

I've got an immense respect for this fellow, Jason Kottke. Since early this year, he decided to make blogging his profession, and he lives off what money his blogging can provide. He is a problogger, by definition.

Jason Kottke
from Kottke.org

But his art is very much unlike other self-professed probloggers. He doesn't serve a single ad on his blog. He doesn't blog about specific topics. His blog is absolutely free of any third-party influence whatsoever.

Like I said above, there's got to be a way to support media that doesn't involve advertising. But more than that, I don't want to disrupt the relationship dynamic we've got going here. There are currently two parties involved with kottke.org: me and the collective you. Advertising introduces a third party. In my experience, the third wheel of advertising often works to unbalance the relationship in favor of either the author or the readers (usually in favor of the author). If ads were involved, I might feel the need to change what or how I write to appease advertisers. I might write to increase pageviews and earn more revenue. I could fill pages with ads, earning more revenue but making the content more difficult to read or pushing some content off the page entirely. You could block advertising and deny me needed revenue.

I suspect he doesn't make the big bucks of what other probloggers have reaped from the various ad networks out there, but what he does retain is an un-questionable sense of integrity. His writing are snapshots of his mind (and it must be a pretty impressive mind to have loyal-25k-visitors-a-day), pure art, very much similar to the great artists and artisans of Europe who produced art for their patrons (who in turn provided for their livelihood).

I'm attempting to revisit the idea of arts patronage in the context of the internet. Patrons of the arts have typically been wealthy individuals, well-heeled foundations, or corporations. As we've seen in many contexts, the net allows individuals from geographically dispersed locations to aggregate themselves for any number of reasons.

via Kottke.org.

Its a brilliant idea and exhilaratingly brave. What he has done is perhaps unique, and unreplicable due to the nature of his audience and his talent. That makes it all the more special -- the pinnacle of problogging: being financially rewarded by the people who value your writing and not your ads.

Flock me!! Flock me!!

Just downloaded Flock and its uber-cool, dude!

Flock is a new browser, built on top of firefox. It is a functional browser with excellent features (including firefox features like tabbed browsing, etc.). What really makes is stand out are two additional features they’ve added to build social networking directly into the browsing experience: social bookmarking and a wysiwyg blog writing tool.

via TechCrunch.

Its got a built-in blogging interface that allows me to post entries directly to the Volume of Interactions without accessing the back-end Movabletype interface at all. That's convenient, easy, uncomplicated and just waaaaaay cool.

Flock has easy blogging tools built in to let you draft, format, and publish, right from your browser. Flock talks to your blog account and handles all your blogging from one window.

Its currently in Flock Developer Preview now, definitely worth checking out, especially if you're a blogger on MT, Wordpress, Blogger.

Google's cash cow = Adsense?

Google Inc.'s profitability in its latest quarter went through the roof, easily surpassing all industry expectations. Wow. An interesting little snippet here:

Google's revenue for the quarter totaled $1.58 billion, nearly doubling from $805.9 million last year. After subtracting the commissions that Google paid to other websites in its advertising network, the revenue stood at $1.05 billion, exceeding the Wall Street estimate of $944 million.

via Wired.com.

Google?
from Google.com.my

Simple math. More than US$500 million paid out to Adsense publishers? 1/3 of their revenue. What i'm interested to know is: from the total US$1.6 billion, how much of it is generated by the Adsense network? Google gets paid by the click, how many clicks did the Adsense network generate?

The breakdown of the revenue is very valuable info because it answers two fundamental questions:

1. How valuable are we (Adsense publishers) to Google?
2. How vulnerable is Google to competition in the network advertisement publishing business?

If the answer to (1) = we are extremely valuable (i.e. a large chunk of Google's profits comes from clicks generated by the Adsense publishers), then its theoretically possible for Adsense publishers to form a union and demand a larger slice of the pie.

If the answer to (2) = very vulnerable, then Google has a very soft underbelly. If competitors like the Yahoo Publisher Network gets their act together (e.g. opening it for non-US publishers), begins offering good deals in return for exclusivity arrangements, then ad publishers will begin switching loyalties.

Balmer wants to "kill Google". Microsoft has undertaken loss leader strategies before (e.g. IE vs Netscape), if they were to do the same in the arena of online network ad publishing via MSN, then there is a good chance of really hurting Google.

Crabs!

Gawd, i so want to go here for dinner! I love crabs, especially sweet and sour with soft rolls to dip into the sauce.

kepongcrabmap.jpg
Damn, give better directions lah! :)

Can someone please give me better directions? Landmarks please!

via KY Speaks.

Datin Seri Endon Mahmood passes

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Al-Fatihah. The Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood passed away this morning 7.55am.

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 20 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Endon Mahmood passed away at 7.55 am Thursday at the Prime Minister's official residence Seri Perdana Putrajaya, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told Bernama.

via Bernama.

UPDATES: A little bird mentions "breast cancer". Another little bird mentions the positives: a death during Ramadhan.

A whole lot of little birds are paying tribute to the Lady in the Malaysian blogosphere. News is spreading at blog-speed.

via PPS Search.

Coffee porn

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I've become quite intrigued by coffee recently, and there is a ton of resources to be found online about it (143,000,000 references on Google!). One of the more interesting finds i've made is this Flikr album of coffee makro shots -- a virtual library of coffee porn! Oh gosh, yummy.

coffee.jpg
Copyright tonx

I've got a tiny espresso machine at home that does pretty well and produces some reasonably tasty coffee, but its no where as cool as this Big Boy.

I've noticed that local coffee produces very little crema when made through an espresso machine. I wonder why that is? My personal favourite for now is the Australian brand, Vittoria, specifically, the Oro range. It produces a remarkably tasty cup of coffee -- Starbucks or Coffee Bean don't stand a chance.

Cruelty to Animals = Cruelty to People?

Its with great interest that i read Yvonne Foong's email this morning, and also on the Project Petaling Street Blog.

...The current cruelty fine is RM200, which is an unfair price for the life of an animal. With laws like that, no wonder people aren't thinking twice before neglecting their pets and walk away with it...
...Increasing the cruelty fine from RM200 (since 1953) significantly higher to around RM 10,000.00 and increase jail time...

I love my cat, Jess, and i am very fond of animals in general, but it seems way overboard the punishment that is being proposed. Punishment should be proportionate to the crime, and a RM10k fine and jailtime for being cruel to an animal seems to be grossly disproportionate. It all seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the recent case of animal abuse in the newspapers.

Toasting a Champion: Nicol David

I've met this amazing lass once before, a several years ago when we were both invited to participate in a talk show for youths -- a nice lady, quick-witted and composed. Back then she was already famous for her achievement in the sport, after what she did yesterday, winning the British Open, her name and fame are now immortalized. An outstanding victory, she did it the hard way, playing against the best players of the world on her way to the Finals.

Nicole David in the Finals
Stroking her way to victory

May this be the first win in what will be known as the Dynasty of Nicol David. Congratulations and good luck!

Nicole David, the British Open 2005 Champion
Nicole David, the British Open 2005 Champion

No orange juice

Note to self: its a really bad idea to drink 2 cups of orange juice on an empty stomach (and not eat anything else with the juice) for sahur (food before dawn) during the fasting month. Lots of acid swirling around the tummy right now, its not a pleasant feeling.

Oranges

Breast enlargement

The things you hear in the office: "My husband wants me to have a breast enlargement."

Of course, its none of my business what she does with her breasts, or the reasons why she would do it, but i am curious.

  1. Do husbands have that much influence over their wives? To the extent they would seriously consider (and seek advice from friends about) undergoing such radical cosmetic surgery?
  2. Why are women concerned about the size of their breasts?
  3. Generally speaking, why are women more likely to be concerned about their appearances (skin complexion, weight, body hair, etc.) than men?

Yes, i think men have more influence over their wives than they think they do. Very often, she may disagree with him initially, but later, go right about and try to find a way to accomodate his wishes (demands?). This in itself is probably not necessarily a bad thing, women, i've noticed, tend to place a lot of value on family harmony, and its conceivable she would go out of her way to ensure that the family (and her husband) are happy. Sometimes, the only way that happiness can be achieved is if one side gives in to what the other wants.

Breast implant
The breast on the left has been enlarged with a saline-implant.
Pic from Food & Drug Administration, Dr Walter Peters.

What is curious is the lengths they would go to do it: breast enlargement surgery is no small matter, and are linked to many self-esteem issues on the part of the woman, i.e. "My husband thinks my breasts are not large enough to please him? I'm inadequate, i must do something to correct it."

I wonder whether the plastic surgery industry strives on the insecurities and esteem issues of women. Do women who perform plastic surgery on themselves do it because they are unhappy with their appearances in some way?

My breasts are too small (or large). I've got this large piece of flab hanging under my arms. My face looks droopy, shall i get a facelift? The angle of my nose is not quite right, i should have it shaped.

Every part of the body can be adjusted, changed, modified and shaped to meet some expectation of beauty. It almost seems funny to me, and i would laugh if it wasn't so real and serious for so many.

Has society -- through the media, Kate Moss, magazines, Oscar red-carpets -- engineered our minds to accept a standard idea of "beauty"? If you're not like this, then you're not beautiful. And, we all want to be beautiful, don't we? Part of Maslow's pyramid of needs, i'm afraid; the dreaded need of self-actualization.

Let's challenge that thought by replacing it with another -- we are beautiful now! Sure, we should do our best to stay healthy. Exercise, right foods and enough sleep will keep the fats at bay. A proper diet and general observation of hygiene will take care of the complexion. The right clothes will make any man (or woman). Just because we won't succumb to the pressures of false beauty, it doesn't mean we should intentionally be messy or selekeh. Be presentable, and to be presentable, you don't need the pills, the injections, the plastic surgery. When you change yourself artificially, you're actually really changing much more than your body. You're giving in to an inherent weakness of the human mind: the herd.

Datuk Siti Nurhaliza

Having been on the business end of such rumours, i think i can say with some authority that if there is smoke, there is probably a fire. Let's assume for a moment that they do get married, does Siti assume the title, Datin Siti Nurhaliza? In my opinion that would be a travesty -- she deserves a Datuk-ship of her own.

Siti Nurhaliza

We've had a sailor conferred a datukship, we've had a fella who swam the English channel given a title, surely, for all the fame and glory Siti has brought to the nation, for all her songs and contribution to the arts and music industry of Malaysia, for so many years -- surely, she should be a Dato' in her own right by now. The fact that she isn't stinks to high Heaven and makes a mockery of the titles other Dato's have received.

Titles are great things, in theory. Maslow, who's one smart cookie, said (correctly) that a human being needs recognition in order to complete the Hierarchy of Needs. I'll go one step further -- the society we live in, needs to have heroes, recognized heroes. Heroes allow human beings to dream and hope and have role models to aspire -- heroes make it possible for every generation of the society to be better than the last; without hope and dreams, where would we be?

The flaw in our system of society is that its the kings, sultans and rajas that select our heroes, they and only they select the ones who are granted the titles, the pangkat. With such authority, its a shame they don't use it more wisely. Siti Nurhaliza is a hero of our generation, and should be officially recognized as one.

PPS accepting pings once more

After being unavailable for 10 days, Project Petaling Street is now available for service once more, ready to accept pings from the Malaysian blogging public. It suffered from some initial hiccups yesterday after it resumed service, but i think i've ironed out most of the kinks to make it reasonably stable for use.

Lots of things have changed with PPS to ensure that it is better equipped to protect herself from the ravages of spammers, and i'm quite pleased with how its turned out so far.

On the to-do list:

1. Clean-up stray bits of code and template design.
2. Standardize all PPS Services' look-and-feel -- PPS Blogs and PPS are in synch now, got to do the Directory and Wiki next.
3. Setup PPS to accept sponsored listings -- a plan is already in place for this much-requested feature, i'm in the process of fine tuning the details.
4. Monitor performance of PPS before i re-open membership to new users.

Natural born Muslims

Its an interesting predicament: Muslim by birth take on the religion of their parents, and lead Muslim lives largely because of their genealogy. Religion by inheritance. They know how to read the Quran because they were sent to religious afternoon school at the mosques from a young age, or they were taught by their parents. They know how to pray, and also the basic and general rights and wrongs of Islam. Generally speaking, they lead good, Muslim lives, and they in turn ensure their children are brought up as good Muslims too.

Gaza Mosque

It seems terribly ideal, but there is something wrong in the picture. I wonder, at any point, do any of them take a moment, have a moment of self-awareness and ask themselves, or anyone else for that matter, "Why am i doing this? Why do i pray? Why do i fast? Why am i discouraged from pee-ing standing up?"

Positive thinking

A nice little nugget hit my mailbox this morning; made me smile. Good to share:

Positive thinking is like this....

A little bird flies up in the sky;
you look up and it shits in your eye...
But if you don't mind and you don't cry..... you thank God that elephants don't fly.....

thanks Kathy for reminding me not to look at "birds"

A posting about urinals

I noticed something interesting in the toilet today: Malaysian men prefer not to use urinals. Everywhere else in the world, urinals are the spot of first choice when a man is looking to pee, but in Malaysia -- men prefer to use the stalls. It was that way in school, it was that way in PETRONAS, and its that way here in my present employment as well. I wonder why? Personally, i love urinals -- there is something inherently pleasing (in a primal sorta way) to stand there before the urinal, take aim and release. Ahhhh.

Urinals

On a related note, i've seen some strange Top 10 lists before, but this must surely rank up there among the best: the world's Top Ten Urinals.

Movabletype is 4 years old

Happy Birthday Movabletype! What a ride its been -- i'm proud to say that i was there when it all began, using Movabletype v1.0, and now several thousand blog entries later, the Volume of Interactions (and my other digital properties, Project Petaling Street and My Cigar Blog) is using its latest version MTv3.2. Its been a privilege for me to see how this amazing tool has developed over time -- what it is today is quite amazing.

Its often been said that blogs have revolutionised the nano publishing industry (well, it can be argued that blogs created the industry!) and also revolutionsed the way we access and disseminate information. What's rarely said nowadays is how big a role blog tools like Movabletype played in this revolution.

Hats off to MT and the people at SixApart. May 8 October 2001 be remembered forever as a day that changed how people write on the Internet.

Sprucing up the VOI

Upgraded the Volume of Interactions to MovableType 3.2 this evening; was just so impressed with it when i upgraded My Cgar Blog recently, i had to have it for the VOI too. So welcome to the all-new VOI, the content won't change much, just the way it looks and feels. Welcome!

Overlegislating smoking

Senior Star columnist, VK Chin had some interesting vitriolic on offer:

All that the Government can do is to make it more expensive for smokers and to introduce legislation to stop them from smoking in designated areas. So far, both attempts have yet to be successful in discouraging people from smoking, and some really drastic action may be necessary for the Government to achieve its target.

Anti-smokers have had a large voice in society for many, many years, to the point where the rights of those who choose to smoke have been drowned out. Its come to the point where everyone, publicly at least, has become virulently anti-smoking, and even smokers themselves are generally apologetic for exercising their right of consumption. Its a sorry state of affairs, and just goes to show how a democracy can quickly descend into a tyranny of the majority.

Second Wife Sex Syndrome

A friend of mine is marrying a married man soon. Problem: she was promised by him that he wouldn't sleep with his first wife again until he slept with her first after the wedding. Recent events suggest that he won't keep that promise; he is going to have sex with his wife.

Its a tough spot: he made her a promise, but that promise goes against his responsibility to his first wife. She shouldn't be made to wait for sex by a promise he made to a woman who isn't his wife yet.

What do you think? Should he sleep with his wife, forsaking his promise to his new bride-to-be? Should he keep his promise? Should such a promise have been made in the first place?

The mind of a suicide bomber

Several months ago, TIME published an article, "Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber"; i read it with much interest and it confirmed many of my assumptions about the type of person who blows himself up to kill.

For the deeply pious Marwan, his colleagues in Attawhid are now closer to his heart than his family or former friends. "The jihadis are more religious people," he says. "You ask them anything--anything--and they can instantly quote a relevant section from the Koran." Like them, Marwan works Koranic allusions into his speech. He has also embraced the jihadist worldview of one global Islamic state where there is, in Marwan's words, "no alcohol, no music and no Western influences." He concedes that he has not thought deeply about what life might be like in such a state; after all, he doesn't expect to live long enough to experience it. Besides, he says, he fights first for Islam, second to become a "martyr" and win acceptance into heaven, and only third for control of his country.

Make no mistake, suicide bombers are very religious -- they believe absolutely in their Faith, the believe absolutely that suicide is permissible in Islam (i.e. killing your enemy even if it means your own death). While some may argue entrance to Heaven is their main motivation, i think it goes deeper than that: their main motivation is the belief of their right to remove a wrong.

Project Petaling Street is DOWN

PPS is down -- yes, i know. I've received exactly 1,539 emails since the outage occurred. Some expressed "outrage" that such a public service was no longer available, others offered a sympathetic ear and help, while others dropped a note notifying me of the event. I've tried my best to respond to each mail, but its 1,500+ emails -- give me a break people. :)

A massive (and i mean MASSIVE) trackback and comment attack hit PPS on Monday 3 October and that completely crippled it, and also the entire webserver, i've been told. None of the comments and pings actually got posted due to the various system-side checks in place to filter out spam, but the attack acted very akin to a DOS attack; the repeated hits on the server drained resources to the point of shutdown.

Despite my best efforts to convince them, the SysAdmins have insisted that PPS be upgraded before they restore access to critical scripts that are required for PPS to accept pings and comments.

This is a severe outage, and i'm treating it with much seriousness. However, due to various commitments, this coming weekend is the earliest time i'll be able to perform the upgrade.

Thanks to all for your concern, i love PPS as much as you do, and i'll do everything i can to get her back on her feet soon. Bloody spammers. This isn't the first time it has happened, sadly, it probably won't be the last.

Got PC, need games now

Thanks to everyone for the advice on my new gaming rig. This is what i ended up with:

MSI K8N nForce4 Platinum mobo
AMD Athlon 3500+
Sapphire Radeon X800GT 256MB PCIe
1GB Kingston Hyper X RAM
Cooler Master casing
17" Viewsonic 8ms LCD

I set it up last night; the joy of building something with your own hands is certainly a primal emotion that is hard to beat. Didn't sleep at all, went all the way to sahur this morning. Just 2 hours of sleep. Was it worth it? Yup, definitely. :)

I've got the rig now, so what the latest and bestest games out there i should use to push this baby to its limits? Already got Doom 3, HL2 and Dungeon Siege II. What else would you recommend?

ps. as i mentioned earlier, this machine is meant to replace my aging Thinkpad for all other regular functions. But since i'm at it, no harm in having some fun, eh?

Ramadan Mubarak

Here's wishing everybody a Ramadan Mubarak. Selamat berpuasa dan berhati-hati di jalan raya.

Advice needed: How to build a gaming PC!

Ok, i need help. Please pass on this posting to your geek-inclined friends, if you know any. :) I'm a semi-geek myself (used to be a full-time geek), so i know one of the best geek-pleasures is giving out geek-advice. *LOL*

I'm planning to buy a new custom built gaming desktop system. Have been out of the industry for so long, i don't know what's the best and the brightest hardware anymore.

Have roughly RM2k to spend, don't need a monitor, or CD drive.

Based on current prices and available products in the market, what should i buy?

Key Questions:

1. What's the difference between AMD and Pentium, as far as gaming goes?

2. ATI or NVIDIA?

Comments and shopping lists are very much appreciated! Thanks.

Beauty with a sense of humour

Malaysia's most beautiful blogger delivers a gem-posting, perhaps one of the most humorous (in a brainy sorta way) posting to grace the Malaysian blogosphere in a very, very long time. ROTFLMAO!

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