A milestone of sorts.

August 2, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 8 Comments
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Cow cow

Cow cow

Well, I’ve reached a milestone of sorts, and didn’t notice it at all. What milestone would that be, you ask. Well, this blog has just gone past the 10,000 hits mark, whatever that means- I can’t tell the difference between hits, page views, and all that techno jargon, so what does it matter, really? Not much. But a milestone is a milestone, and who can blame me if I feel like celebrating? Continue Reading A milestone of sorts….

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It’s 2009, and I’m still waiting. Hurry up already!

January 1, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Thoughts | Leave a comment
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Well, well. I rarely bother reposting things I’ve seen on other news sites, but this was just too interesting/amusing to pass up: According to a post on sankakucomplex.com, a prominent ‘alternative’ Japanese news site (it’s often unsuitable for work, unlike dannychoo.com), Hirano Aya, seiyuu best known for providing the voice behind characters such as Suzumiya Haruhi and Izumi Konata was in Malaysia for a holiday, photoshoot or whatnot. Blast- my writing suddenly sounds way too newspaper-like. Better stop. I’m not going to provide any pictures or further information. Go and read the original article, complete with pictures of Aya in a tudung, here. Interesting response from Malaysian otaku as well:p

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my Christmas Eve photos. I’m also being tortured by the Genting trip- I might miss Monday’s lectures because of it. Matt has his cell group on Saturday- I made a major miscalculation when I told Jimmy (the organiser) that he wouldn’t mind missing one session. Blast. As for Jimmy, after I told him that although I’d prefer Saturday – Monday over Sunday – Tuesday I wouldn’t mind the latter timing, he went ahead and switched it to the former. Which caused some friction with Geoff, who now says he can’t make it, since he’s made plans for Saturday. I’m pretty sure there’s  a girl involved. And the fella is sulking and doesn’t want to go there a day later then the rest.

It’s a real headache having to deal with all these children. This trip better be worth it. Oh and in relation to the title of the post- Alvin might be coming, so this would be a good chance to strangle him for last time…

Update:

So now we’ll be leaving from Bukit Jalil at 5pm on Saturday. Matt will have to come on Sunday morning since the buses stop running at 7pm. Geoff is supposedly bringing a girl along- don’t know who, though. Won’t ask, either- keep it a surprise. Although, as Jimmy says, that plan might come to nothing… apparently is quite common with Geoff. As for me, I called Elizabeth. She seems quite interested, and I’ll have to wait for a reply. Hope it’s a yes. All guys and no girls equals bored people.

Constructive Bashing: Public Transportation. Or should it be ‘Putrid’?

October 20, 2008 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 7 Comments
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Ever heard of the phrase ‘constructive criticism’? It sounds pleasant, but not for whoever’s on the receiving end, unless you were hoping for it. It’s quite closely related to one of my many hobbies, ‘constructive bashing’, where I basically tear the object(s) of my ire to charming little pieces. I’m not very patriotic, unless you count in loving my own bedroom, Kinokuniya, and certain restaurants-so not even the country itself escapes my torment (If you’re listening, take it and whimper along to your own room), although I’ve never reached (nor ido I intend to) the level of whoever authored the Uncyclopedia entry on Malaysia (Which even led to the Internal Security Ministry issuing a warning to journalists not to trust the site). Go read it, it’s quite fun:)

I have to admit, however, that there are plenty of elements present in our everyday lives that don’t require a single ounce of constructive bashing. They’re not seraphic angels. The only reason that they are able to escape the ritual bash is because they do it to themselves every day. It’s sad, really, to see people (note: Just because I said people doesn’t mean it always has to be a person. It could be a monkey. Or a mudpie running for public office) ruin their reputations while doing whatever it is that compulsive idiots do.

I’m talking about Malaysian taxi drivers. Sure, they’re not all bad- it’s just that idiots have greater visibility compared to the good guys. I was waiting outside KLCC on a Friday evening, and as I walked back and forth I happened to overhear an interesting conversation between some tourists and one driver. I’m not sure exactly where the tourists had in mind, but he said something like, “Traffic jam, I go there I waste my petrol”. Yup. There was a massive jam going on. Still, aren’t they obliged to take people wherever they want to go as long as it’s within their prescribed area?

Here’s another one. I don’t know where this guy wanted to go, but the driver charged him RM100. The guy ran off. A driver stopped one guy, who asked him “Do you go by the metre?”, upon which the driver told him off: “You want metre? Go away lah!” My my. Let’s see… what else did they spill before me? They don’t bargain well, either. One girl was stopped by them, and she stated (shot it out, rather) her destination and price (RM5). When they all answered in the negative (and probably quoted some insane rate), she ignored them and moved on. That deserves some applause (OK I don’t really mean it, but she sure gave them the appropriate response). There’re multiple signs in front of the mall warning people not to encourage taxi touts. Wonder why the cops don’t do anything about them.

…noticed something interesting. Western tourists who realize that they’re being cheated will usually walk off. Arab tourists, on the other hand- just don’t seem to care, as long as they reach wherever they’re going to. I suppose they’re all loaded. Another thing- the only Arabs we ever hear of are the rich ones, and the poor ones. So just where is the middle-class Arab? Jakarta? Or KL, where they suddenly become rich people themselves?

Anyhow, I think the best scene I witnessed was the one where one driver stopped two big Westerners (here on business by the looks of it), and yet refused to accept them. Skinny China-man hooked some nasty fish. Most people (aforementioned travelers included) would have walked off, but no- those two stood their ground: “But you stopped me! You stopped me and asked me where I wanted to go!” After a short while- I’m not exactly sure as to what happened in between (perhaps the driver apologized)- the two walked off. And the drivers gathered around and had a good laugh. Not to mention a few coughs from all the cigarette smoke.

Now all that was quite entertaining (if a little depressing), but what really gets me is this: Do taxi drivers have the right to deny people their service, especially when the destination given is well within their ‘jurisdiction’? Whether they are obliged to use the metre is moot (note: I’m using the American definition here, so don’t get confused). Now’s your chance to shine, all you law lovers (Oi Contract-law lover Chrissy, you listening?). Go dig through all those law journals, or pester your lecturers for intel, to put my mind at ease. Meanwhile, I’ll be having a debate between my ears on whether I should join the MPH short fiction contest despite knowing that I’ll need to write something about Malaysia (not something I like to do) to even stand a chance of winning. I’m not taking admissions for the latter, in case you haven’t noticed the obviously obvious.

New Levels of National Idiocy

September 13, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Thoughts | Leave a comment
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I’ve never really cared for Malaysian politics, except for the occasional governmental foolishness that threatens to ruin my livelihood (eg. wastage of public funds hurt the economy, my favourite imports become more expensive; the unwarranted furore against manga and figurines, etc), choosing instead to watch them and laugh in delight. If laughter grants one good health, the ‘Malaysian Voice’ has been my best medicine. However, it’s also quite paradoxical that I find stupidity annoying- stupidity in fiction is fine, but here we have stupidity on a national level, and it’s taking place every day of our lives. I’m sorry that there is no graphical description of my annoyance.

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From the Star, 13th September 2008 (refer to page1,6)

Three publications have been issued with show-cause letters by the Home Ministry for breaching guidelines set by the Government……reasons given for the show-cause letters were:

>Sin Chew Daily – for reporting a racially sensitive controversial statement involving former Bukit Bendera UMNO chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail;

>The Sun – for alleged maniipulation and highlighting of many sensitive issues; and

>Suara Keadilan for a report alleging that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan had become paralysed after undergoing coronary bypass surgery.

Well well. First of all, these reasons all seem rather watery, don’t they? It’s like they couldn’t think of anything else. Let’s see:

Sin Chew Daily: Right. The PM and Najib have publicly apologised for Ahmad’s statements. Ahmad has been suspended for three years. Doesn’t that seem like acknowledgement that Ahmad was in the wrong? So why take action against the paper for publishing what actually happened? It might have been different if the Government issued a directive prohibiting publication of what happened directly after he said it, but that didn’t happen, did it?

The Sun: Highlighting of sensitive issues? Isn’t that what papers are supposed to do? And why now- they’ve been doing it forever.

Suara Keadilian: i don’t read this paper, so I don’t know. But anyway, would such a report cause the whole country to go up in flames? Will street gangs and secret societies take control of MidValley and Jalan Ampang screaming “Yeah baby, the IGP is bedridden and can’t touch us- we’re freeee!” I don’t see that happening. So how can that qualify for sedition? I suppose the most they could be charged with would be something like, say, causing severe mental stress to the IGP and his family, or defamation or something.

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From the Star, 13th September 2008 (refer to page1,3,6,8,12)

Three people have been arrested under the Internal Security Act 1960. The three were Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok, and Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng.

Right. RPK, that one has been coming for some time. Whether he deserves it or not, that’s another matter- I’m not going to say anything because I’ve never bothered to read any of his articles. But the report also states that the team of police officers who detained him also took some 15 VCD’s on ‘ceramah’ held by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as well as 16 books. Right. Now why is that? He didn’t write those books or conduct those ceramahs, did he? Exactly how are they connected to his arrest? Our coppers certainly are smart at giving birth to more troublesome questions.

Next up, the reporter, Tan, who reported former Bukit Bendera UMNO chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s racist remarks while campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election. OK. Stop and think reasonable about this. Now, on the count of three… group laugh nationwide! How dumb could they get? She was just doing her job. Nothing seditious about it. Using the ISA on Ahmad would make more sense. By the way, Ahmad, although sacked from his posts, has made a comment that ‘if they are smart, they would create a new post for me… perhaps an advisorial post…’ (or something like that). Seriously. How much more transparent could the man be? It looks like he’s thinking, ‘if I can’t have outright power, then I’ll take control from the shadows’. He’s probably banking on the support of his little horde of Malaysian Huns to get that job.

And next up is Teresa Kok. Oops. Kinrara assemblyman. That’s where I live. Not that I care for her, of course, but the reason given for her arrest is stupid too: Kok, 43, is believed to have been picked up in connection with a residents petition in Puchong over a mosque. Former mentri besar Mohd Khir Toyo had allegedly accused Kok of being involved. The current coffeeshop talk over here is that she didn’t have anything to do with it… someone accused her of entering a mosque and bringing up some issue there. Whatever.

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From the Star, 13th September 2008 (refer to page4)

Meanwhile, this guy Muhyiddin Yassin has called on the PM to step down earlier, since his plan to hand over power by 2010 has ‘sunk away’. The PM was understandbly surprised, saying that the matter had already been agreed on by the Cabinet and UMNO. There are two problems with this. Firstly, although ‘Pak Lah’ is a boring person to have in charge, it really wouldn’t be right for him to withdraw a decision like that. And although word on the street is that the current Prime Ministership is nothing more than a lame duck office with Najib waiting to take over, it couldn’t hurt to let him finish his term, could it? Imagine the headlines:

“Malaysian PM annouces plan to quit ahead of time for the greater good”

What lovely publicity for the country. Here’s what the investment guru’s will see: Sudden shift=political uncertainty=danger=pull out. This may be a little simplistic, but there go my imports.

The second and larger problem is, who will replace him? Najib? I don’t have anything against him, but he just has the face of someone who can’t be trusted, even before the Altantuya incident. Now don’t sue me for this- you’d just end up looking dumb. Khairy? Too young. They oldies won’t let him in, and Mahathir will go crazy again. Anwar? Based on his history (not the allegations of sodomy, those are pointless), he doesn’t seem like a person who can be trusted. Then again, what are politicians but a lot of Machiavellians? It just hinges on whether they will keep their promises, or whether we make sure they do.

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And that pretty much sums it up. Nothing more to say on my part. Frankly, I would be less inclined to bash them if they’d carry out their typical political selfishness in a more intelligent way. Damnit, they’ve been in the business for years and are still total greenhorns at it! Sigh. If only we could have a Bill Clinton or a Koizumi in charge. Or even a democratic Fidel Castro, however impossible that sounds.

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