April 2008 Archives

A dream liveaboard

A underwater photographer's wet dream of a trip, Komodo Photographic Workshop.The living arrangements are luxurious enough to justify the hefty price tag, but the real gem of the trip is the opportunity to learn from award-winning underwater photographer, Gerald Rambert and Kitty Jempson.

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She is perfect for those looking for that extra luxury, extravagance and comfort! This special charter for photographers whether new or experienced makes this an even more special. There will be plenty of dedicated camera only rinse tanks for your equipment, charging points and work tables. Of course each suite has an individual computer to allow downloads of the days photos and allows you to edit your work. A competition for the best photo taken on the trip will be held and will be judged at "Visions in the Sea 2008" in London. The prize will be very special and you will have a one in fourteen chance of winning!
Everything for UK$1500, or nearly RM10,000. Gulp. If only i was rich...


Pulau Tenggol, April 08

It was an interesting learning experience over the weekend as i completed the open water diving certification at Pulau Tenggol, Terengganu. A 2 hour boat ride from the Kuala Dungun jetty, the island is but a small little speck of land; a misleading representation of the splendours it hides underneath the waves in the area surrounding it.

Lots of great dive spots to be had, with some amazing photo ops, some of which i was lucky enough to capture on my Canon G9. Pictures say much more than i ever could, so feast your eyes on the pictorial below.

Pulau Tenggol 08

My first day with the Canon G9

Picked up the Canon G9 today, and was very pleased with the results of the first shots. Enjoy!

Teman

Always been a sucker for travel shows. I love to travel, dont really get a chance to do it as much as i would like, so travel shows are the next best thing -- i get to "visit" marvelous destinations around the world without having to leave the comfort of my couch. Less glamourous than actually being there, but beggars can't be choosers!

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The hosts of the show, Melissa Maureen (left) and Belinda Chee (right)

So when i heard on FlyFM this morning about a new travel show, "Teman" (well, not new, its in its 2nd season), i was immediately interested. Coupled with the astoundingly mellow voice of one of its hosts, Belinda Chee, and i was sold. I'll be tuning in tonight, 9.30pm, 8tv.

Incoming: Pulau Tenggol!

A few days away, and i'm getting extremely excited about my first true dive trip. Pulau Tenggol here i come!

http://www.pulautenggol.com/gallery/ 

Heeeee'ssssss Back!

Anwar Ibrahim, whom after serving so many years in political exile, has returned to electoral politics. Or, at least, he's eligible to stand for elections now -- it'll say a lot of the party whom will be asked to fall on his (her??) sword to make way for him

At a rally celebrating his return, he made a statement of unnecessary hubris:

"The police chief has asked us to stop so we are stopping, but remain peaceful, because soon we will be running this country," Anwar told the crowd, who jeered police as the event was stopped.
Perhaps it was in the heat of the moment, but its the sort of thing that doesn't sit too well with me. Very confrontational, very in-your-face type of statement. While the statement may have been true, i would have expected a man of his stature to choose his words more carefully.

Anwar's return is probably a good thing for Malaysian politics -- a vacuum of leadership emerged with Dr M's retirement. Malaysia has lacked a leader of true poise and charisma for many years since. To have one such person back in the hallowed halls of Parliament should provide for some very useful debates.

Anwar claims to have sufficient UMNO MPs ready to defect to the Opposition to topple the current government. While this may be in the best interest of his coalition party, it probably isn't in the best interest of Malaysia. Have patience, Anwar, do what you promised the people you would do -- make their lot better, improve their lives and prove to the nation that Pakatan Rakyat can work together and produce results.

Seizing power through a vote of no-confidence does nothing, except create chaos for the country. Asking BN MPs to defect is a betrayal of the trust of those who voted for them and their party. If Pakatan Rakyat delivers upon their promise, then the next election will be yours. Is 4+ years too long to wait? Or are you afraid that many promises made cannot be kept, and a seize for power is a "now or never" deal? Its a lot easier to ride on a crest of popularity and discontent against BN than it is to win the next election through a display of proven results, isn't it?

Age and maturity should have tempered your spirit, Datuk Seri. I'm sad to see that it has not.

An opportunity to walk the talk

I'm beginning to like this fellow. Brave chap.

Information Minister, Datuk Shabery Cheek, announced that 30-min LIVE shows of Parliamentary proceedings will be broadcast on RTM1 (a reason to actually tune in to this channel again!).

On feedback from MPs over the live telecast, he said many welcomed the move, saying that it was a new era for the democratic parliamentary system and the media.

"This is the real reform mentioned by the Prime Minister. Although it is a small step, we hope the people can start accepting it."

He said although some people were still asking for a live telecast for the full one-hour question time, the cost was too high.
The only problem is that the Information Minister is still thinking in 2-D, when talking about this problem. TV broadcast costs are high, but internet broadcasting costs are not. Why not make full use of web 2.0 technologies to make the impossible, possible?

IDEA: Create a website, a Youtube-clone, if you like. Upload, full, unedited, uncensored footage of each day's Parliamentary Q&A sessions. People can visit the website whenever they want to view the videos, and browse the Archives of past sessions. Extremely low-cost (relatively speaking), extremely convenient (for 9-5 office workers who cant watch RTM during the day), and extremely documentary (archives of previous sessions are worth their weight in gold).

BONUS IDEA: Build a community around the videos. Allow for, unedited, uncensored comments and discussion on each video. Build a forums around the website to allow ppl to debate, discuss and analyze the videos. You want democracy? Freedom of speech is the way to go.

PROTIP IDEA: Get political analysts to be gratis contributors to the website, let them make the analysis of the videos, so that people (the common, lay Malaysian), can understand in plain English (or BM) what it means to the rakyat. In short: get the analysts to blog about the videos. You want an educated society? Help them understand what is going on.

Such a website should cost about less than RM50,000 to setup, and perhaps another RM200-300k a year to maintain (mostly bandwidth costs?). Less than the (probable) cost of a single 30-min LIVE episode on RTM1.

Shabery, you wanted to be forward thinking and progressive and practice the "principles of democracy"? I've just handed the idea to you on a platter.

I'll be forwarding this idea to the esteemed Minister. Lets see if he reads his emails.

Where numbers say more than enough

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I'm sure the leaders of BN already know all of this. Its just a matter of whether they're willing to do anything about it now.

Its now or never, chaps.

A rape victim's burden of proof

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By braving the damned, coming forward and telling the "truth", a woman succeeded in bringing her rapists to justice. The stuff worthy of a several inches of newspaper space, the sort of references you would use to show that a court of law does take the word of a woman in dispensing justice on the guilty.

But, is it possible that things can sometimes swing too far to the left? Where the burden of proof on a rape victim just becomes too low for justice to be served?

A woman who changes her story during testimony. Who is caught lying during cross examination. Who sleeps with her boyfriend immediately after the rape incident, instead of rushing to the authorities, or at the very least making a bee-line to the nearest hospital for medical care.

Such a woman, in this country at least, is able to convince a judge to convict and sentence 2 men to a combined total of 20 years in jail and 10 lashes of the cane.

Just doesn't seem right to me. A weak judiciary coupled with a feminist pendulum that has swung too far to the left, makes everything possible.

The first battle?

Look at all the freshies! 99 of 222 Members of Paliament are new faces. While this may have a drastic impact on how effective the Parliament is this first year or two as the Right Honorable fellows figure out whats what and hows hows, its usually a good idea to get new ideas and new bodies into a body that has long since been seen as a tool for Barisan National (while this may or may not be true, appearances seem to have made a huge difference during GE2008).

The first battle looms: appointment of the Speaker of the House. The last one,Ramli Ngah Talib, says that he doesnt mind staying on for another term. And why shouldn't he? He's young, experienced, and seems like an honorable chap (sic: appearances). But i have a feeling the Opposition will make a fuss over things, if for no other reason than to show that they can. A rattling of the sabres, so to speak.

In all honesty, they should. The tone of the next 4 years should be set in stone from Day 1. The Opposition should dig in, nominate their own candidate and slug it out. Of course they'll lose, simply because they don't have the votes necessary to carry an appointment. But, a strong show of defiance, will show both the BN and the People that they are there to do business, and will not be cowed or afraid to get it done.

As for me, a neutral observer, i'll be munching my pop-corn from the sidelines, silently cheering on the under-dog. The interesting thing about all of this is that its still not clear who that is.

Pakatan Rakyat

Almost universal praise to be found on the Interwebs for the formation of Pakatan Rakyat, a coalition of DAP, PKR and PAS. Its almost like throwing together water, oil, and vinegar and hoping that they'll mix. Quite a queer recipe, but, if GE2008 is any marker, the Malaysian people are ready for change.

While not quite yet, but just about, Anwar Ibrahim looks set to steer this coalition. It will take a man of his charisma and middle-ground approach to make it work, if it is to work at all.

Is this the beginning of a true shadow government? If it is, then bravo. A shadow government will force BN to double and triple check each move it makes, a shadow government will force the Pakatan Rakyat to actually think before it speaks (or makes promises).

Seal's Amazing!

I was watching Seal the whole time, honest!

Fitna, by Geert Wilders

I thought about the issue the whole day, and it took me a long time to decide whether to embed the video here (courtesy of YouTube). In the end, the VOI is an archive of my thoughts, and it would seem strange that i went out of my way to "hide" something so easily found, something that has given me pause to think for the better part of a day. While some may disagree with me, i believe talking about a problem is the only way to make it go away. Identifying the problem, is the first step to its solution. Hence the video below.


(the video has some very disturbing images, if you play it, you do so at your own risk)

Everything in the video is a lie, and taken out of context. Lets get that out of the way first. The majority of civil Muslims in the world today will tell you that Islam is a religion of peace, and we have no quarrel with anyone.

Issues such as Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, and even the rise of militant religious extremism, are facades hiding behind the cause of religion -- nationalistic pride, racism, territorial conflicts, economics and pure stupidity are the real reasons behind each conflict. Religion is often used to mask the insanity with a sane pretext, nothing more. Even the purpose behind Wilders' release of this video has more to do with Dutch-European political xenophobia rather than a "warning" against Islam (as a religion) that he claims.

It would seem convenient that Muslims would disclaim anything that is bad about the religion. And to many who don't understand, or choose not to understand, it may seem so. But it really isn't. Human beings, as noted above, do and want many things. While there are many ways to source for these wants, often times the easiest path to riches is through the leverage of human emotion. Few else in this world is stronger, more capable in arousing human emotion than the religious call.

Religion has man caught in a bind. Its very nature forces us to accept, because the Catch 22 is, should we not accept, therefore we do not believe, therefore we do not belong. No man is an island, how true. The problem is, men are sheep. Unable to think for themselves, they look to leaders to think for them. Its these leaders, the same men of gospel in the video whom are the real traitors of religion. Twisting the unreal into the real is easy for them, and making death seem like the sweet beginning of heavenly afterlife is their promise.

No video, no ideology, no religion even, can compete against that power. If Islam had a weakness, this would be it: susceptibility to perversion.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2008 is the previous archive.

May 2008 is the next archive.

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