Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reshaping The Future

Compare these two pictures:

In the Year of Darkness, 2003, the rulers of the Republican party devised the ultimate plan. They would reshape the future by changing the past election. The plan required a candidate who felt no pity. No pain. No fear. Something unstoppable. They created 'THE GOVERNATOR.'

This next pic:

If you are faced with two evils, which one do you think is the lesser of the two? Will you pick either of those men? For me, I'll pick the former. There are things that he does according to his own initiative without awaiting orders from the White House.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Whacking a Baddie Malaysian Style

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Visuals of Larger Than Life

T2 is one of the movies that I just really loved it. Maybe it's because of the unique set pieces that were introduced. Maybe it's just another James Cameron movie or so...

I write this because this is related to the previous post as these two share the same theme: Larger Than Life

But one of the reasons why this film is a enjoyable comic book movie is because of the low angles. Most low angles in the film shows larger-than-life characters. If you look at this clip, you can count a number of low angles to show the stature of the characters: imposing, and larger-than-life figure.
"If the T-800 is a human panzer tank, then the T-1000 is a Porsche" James Cameron (1992)

The Brazillian Connection

I really wanted to discuss a topic about a perfect larger-than-life model and I just happened to find out that former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is the real-world example of a demanding and impressive person (definition of larger than life).

First thing that comes into your mind is that Big Phil does look like Gene Hackman.

A little interesting note about these two men is that Scolari is also called "Popeye", also a reference to Gene Hackman's famous character, Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. He is from the district of Rio Grande.

In Brazil, he is ruthlessly known to have encourage players to foul the opposition, chastise the opponents and the referee, call the ball boys to throw balls into the field to disrupt play as to help them preserve their lead (if the score is 1-0) and do encourage his team to waste time as towards the final whistle. This was prominently seen in state or national championships as well as the Libertadores tournament. He famously turned down Romario's desire despite strong support of appeal by former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso to play for the 2002 World Cup, but still leads them to the fifth World Cup title.

Famously, he did called the referee who sent him off "I'll see you outside, mate!" That got him into some deep trouble.

A typical Scolari game has the hallmarks such as ruthless midfield marking, constant foul of the opposition and solid discipline and tactical movements. Almost every team who tries to get pass the Brazillian defense would not be able to beat them. According to midfielder, Emerson, when Scolari was in charge, team would commit almost 40 fouls per game. His attitude is like a drill-sergeant in charge. He would rant at players constantly like a tiger in a chained cage.

To him, a game is either a kill or be killed game, which this concept is drilled into every team that he coaches. But somehow, his larger-than-life persona towards the team - despite ending up with red cards, accusation of fouls by opponents, poor gamesmanship - would lead the team victorious over technical superior teams particularly during the penalty-shootouts.

This was evident during the roller coaster Libertadores campaign in 1999 when he was in charged of Palmeiras when they won the final and the quarter-final stages over penalty shootouts despite the opponents they faced are much more superior. The better evidence is Brazil and Portugal - which he was in charge - beat England thrice in penalty-shootouts and the 2-1 win in 2002 World Cup despite having Ronaldinho sent off.

How does he do that?

Big Phil is actually an ardent fan of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Days prior to the big game vs England in the World Cup Quarter-Finals, he reread the book a number of times. According to Sun-Tzu, all warfare is based on deception. His body language shows different meaning to his players but it sends the wrong message to the opposing team.

In Portugal's match against Holland, he criticized referee Valentin Ivanov - who sent off 4 players - for every yellow card his dished out at the players. It was a deliberate rant to deceive the opposition but admitted that one of his players deserved the red card. He criticized Mark Van Bommel on headbutting Luis Figo with the same message.

Cafu who skippered the 2002 Brazil team attributed the book to the team's success. Through the book, Scolari as taught the team to show a soft exterior but actually hard interior and vice versa. This too was practiced by Russia. I've read some things and they say Russia is soft after the Cold War. But the real thing is that they are hard in the interior so they are quite hard to take out. I think they can be prepared against the American Empire hegemony.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Big Hole of What's Left

I was back at home during the weekend. I had my time there but on Sunday, there was a blackout that happened in the afternoon (2.30 p.m) and another one at night (8.30). My brother thinks that there's something wrong but he kind of talk jokes and is a little cynic.

Throughout Sunday, he was frustrated that he could not connect to the Internet (we are using the Streamyx line) and I was convinced that there is definitely something wrong with the remote server node. I was pretty sure. But when I called the TM NET hotline about this problem, most of those people there think that it's got to do with my LAN card or the line thing. But surprisingly after power was restored yesterday night, I was able to connect to my computer and so does he too. Boo-hoo for him really. But he's got plenty of time since he's having a 2-week mid-year break. And today, he just went out with some friends to watch Pirates.

As for me, I noticed that at times when I look at the kitchen - the utensils there laying dormant for many months, I thought of granny. After she was gone, at times I felt that there is a big hole in the house - not physically - but emotionally. The atmosphere became different. I can no longer experience her home cook food like what I had the years leading to end of last year.

I could think that as if the seat that a person use to seat there got vacant or something. The first room became my brother's bedroom and he used it to sleep and play his Playstation games there. I always have mixed feelings of how things would go when she's gone. At times, it's dull, at times, I can feel freedom without restriction or nagging.

On Saturday, I went to the temple (her final resting place) and I lit a joss stick for her. Took me ten minutes to pray - telling her my problems - as if she is still alive...I just told her of my problems and frustrations when I am not at home. Most of the time I kept bubbling about lack of support to go on.

But I never feel much affected by those things. I keep telling myself to move on, not to stick on one point. Other relatives told me of the same thing, and so does my mum. What's the point of sticking at one point and never move like Chuck Austen?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Back With A Vengeance: Lone Wolf

When I was about 10 years, I was introduced to the Lone Wolf book series by my cousin. It is an adventure game whereby your actions are based on the current abilities and skills that you possess and also allows you to progress in your adventure. It is an independent adventure or it can be combined to create a brilliant fantasy epic.

The adventures are written by the only British and 1982 AD&D winner Joe Dever who eventually became a games consultant and writer for major RPG games for most European-produced games. The books were first published in 1984 with the first book - entitled Flight From The Dark released as a testing tube.

Eventually the series became popular and almost 8 million copies were sold. It won the Gamebook of The Year award in 1985 and 1991. Dever mentioned that the idea of the series was meant to provide a setting for his AD&D campaigns. It was formed as a game similar to Runequest. The UK versions are the complete versions released by Hutchinsons - later becoming Red Fox. The U.S versions of the series were not released. Berkeley - the U.S publisher only published and abridged books 13-20.

The following here taken from Kai Monastery gives the idea behind the wonderful solo campaign and incredible world of Magnamund.

Originally my idea was to turn Lone Wolf into a RPG system, something akin to RuneQuest. In 1983, I was working with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone at Games Workshop in London. By this time I'd already spent six years developing Magnamund and the saga of the Kai. Ian and Steve were very keen to have Games Workshop publish it, but the deal they proposed to me was so insultingly bad that I decided I would quit and go it alone at the first opportunity. In August 1983, they published the first of their Fighting Fantasy books and it was a huge success. Still seething from the derisory offer they'd made me for Lone Wolf, I decided to redesign my RPG system and turn it into a solo RPG campaign. I asked Gary Chalk (who was also working at Games Workshop at the time) to illustrate some of my manuscript for the first book, Flight From the Dark, and then I approached three London publishers with the first 50 sections or so. The response was fantastic. They all wanted it and they all started outbidding each other for the rights. Hutchinsons offered me the best deal which I duly accepted. I then quit Games Workshop and started work immediately on Fire on the Water. Gary resigned shortly after I did and we collaborated on the first eight Lone Wolf books between 1984 and 1986.
The books were selling well until 1998 where the last book #28: The Hunger of Sejanoz was published. When it was announced that the books were no longer published, this was Joe's explanation:

Red Fox have decided that they don't want to publish any more Lone Wolf gamebooks. As far as they're concerned the interactive gamebook genre is no longer popular enough to warrant publishing any more titles after Lone Wolf 28. I can't say I'm happy with their decision but I can understand the thinking behind it. Since 1994, all of the editorial staff who had worked for years on the Lone Wolf series either resigned or were sacked. Naturally, their replacements were keen to impress their bosses and thereby keep their jobs. I feel the newbies neglected Lone Wolf which they considered to be part of the old Red Fox regime. This neglect manifested itself in falling production standards (e.g. the loss of the colour maps in the U.K. editions from book 25 onwards, without any commensurate drop in cover price) and the allowing of certain titles (e.g. book 19 and book 22) to go out of print. I received dozens of letters from fans about book 22 at the time, and I passed on these inquiries to Red Fox with a request that they act. Unfortunately no reprint was forthcoming. I've demanded, as is my right, that Red Fox reprint the missing titles, but so far they've fobbed me off with vague excuses and have made no written commitment to reprint despite having received orders (in the hundreds) for those titles that are now out of print. Frankly, I've had enough of their procrastination and I've given them notice that I will be revoking their rights unless they reprint within the next three months. Legally, the rights to all of the books will revert to me on October 18th 1998. On that day I can legally offer the series, and any future Lone Wolf works that I care to produce, to another publisher. I have recently been in discussion with a publisher who is interested in picking up my entire backlist (over 50 books) when the rights revert to me in October so, fingers crossed, we may well see Lone Wolf get a new lease on life this year.

At this time, Joe has moved on to consultancy work whereas the books were given for online use for free at Project Aon. He is now currently working as a Lead Designer of a Lone Wolf RPG game due for release in 2008 by a Singapore games design company. Since the license of the books were reverted back to Joe since October 1998, he has the discretion over the rights.

However, the good news has arrived at last.

The rights of publishing were finally picked up by Mongoose Publishing. In a recent announcement, Mongoose will be re-releasing the books including the novels in a 6-8 week basis from September 2007 onwards and the publishing rights will indeed cover the final four unpublished books (29-32).

All the books will be revised extensively and new materials are added (quests, additional storylines) together with new artwork by Alberto Dal Lago, possibly in addition to the art drawn by Gary Chalk and Brian Williams. These are soft-cover titles. The Hardcover version of the books can only be ordered directly from Mongoose.

The biggest change in the series would be the release of the "redux director's version" of the first book Flight From The Dark. This time, the size of the book will be at approximately 450 pages with the major change (rewritten by Dever himself) focuses on the first act of the story.

In the first 1984 version, the reader will start the adventure from the forest after being knocked unconscious. But in the redux version, the player will band together with the other kinsmen, fighting enemies. The player will be fighting the way up to the Tower and ignite the signal of attack. Then you will be taken to the underground tunnel out to the forest where the original part of the adventure will begin.

Here is the new cover art for book 2: Fire On The Water by Alberto Dal Lago:

The Not So Friendly Neighborhood Man

First thing before this:

I met my relatives from Australia - coming over to Malaysia to visit us and my grandfather whom is whom is my great aunt's brother over a dinner on Tuesday. I was quite excited to meet them since we last met about two years ago. Unfortunately, I would not be able to join them in Penang as they would want to go for the durian feast there - just started and since I do not want to waste my leave for that, I would compensate that with dinner that I bought for them on Thursday night. I was insistent on meeting them as to make my point on that.

After dinner, I went back to my house but I tried driving through the SMART tunnel, which appears right at the new intersection between Jalan Imbi and Jalan Sultan Ismail (next to Times Square). It was a five km ride from here to the airfield base in Sungai Besi and I just thought -wow, no need to drive through the streets above and avoid the jam.


I just finished watching Spider-man 3 just now and I have to agree with Edmund's review of the movie. Despite being a lavish production and big money to make the kind of film, the film is more focusing on the set-pieces rather than the story itself, despite being the first well-hype movie of Summer 2007. I noticed that things are rushed and there's lack of characterization between our supporting characters such as Flint.

My first thing about the hype of the film is that it is going to be like The Two Thrones, the final chapter of Prince of Persia trilogy. The game was arguably the weakest of the trilogy and it seems that the film follows the same formula of plot like the game.

By I do know that in Sam Raimi's films, there is no such thing as villain exists in his definition.
As each character has its reason d'etre that forms the shell of the characters we see on screen.

After watching, I realized that the second one is the best of the three films so far. It has better characterization and it pays more attention of having one villain itself. Each of the characters are sufficiently explored unlike this one.

J. Jonah Jameson is my favorite character of the series given his rough talk. But this time, he was pushed back into sitting at a corner. Since things are rushed, there are too many loose ends to this film. What happens to Flint after the end? As in the comics I always know that Gwen Stacy is killed by the Green Goblin but her character is utilized one-half of the show and then blank.

The weakest link of all is Topher Grace. He doesn't do much in the movie and as the greater of the two baddies, he didn't have the kind of menace that great villains do. However, I came to notice one thing, in Peter David's novelization, he was killed on the pike but here it was changed into a bomb that things vanished without a trace. The script is constantly re-written even during the filming and at first I thought there's John Jameson coming down and bringing back the symbiote that is seen in the film.

The hero in the film is not Peter but Harry. I noticed that the connection of these three characters is somewhat similar to Harry, Ron, and Hermione as adults, each going for the girl, the two boys having the anonymity over each other and it ends with one of them sacrificing for the two with all forgiving each other. If you see how it ends, it is similar to the climatic part of The Sorcerer's Stone's wizard chess - Ron sacrificing his character in order for Harry to checkmate the opponent.

Perhaps the loose ends were deliberately placed in by the writers - the Raimi brothers as well as Alvin Sargent - producer Laura Ziskin's husband - as to say that there is more to come. But sincerely, three movies are enough already. Was there an intention to put one more as to carry those things over and tie up in the fourth film? But there are franchises that has the fourth movie coming out soon..Rambo IV, Jurassic Park IV, Indiana Jones IV, Die Hard 4.0 - name it. Maybe it is because that Hollywood has lack of original new movies to produce and maybe depend on the strength of a franchise to survive.

Friday, May 25, 2007

All Hail The King

May 24 is something special:

1. At World's End is out in Asia Pacific
2. It's my Aunt Helen's birthday.
3. Some other people's birthdays.
4. It's Monsieur Cantona's Day.

Yes. Monsieur Cantona was born on May 24 1966. And today, this post is specially dedicated to the greatness of the Man Utd Legend who is known as The King to people in Old Trafford.

A little history of Cantona:

  1. His first club as a professional is at Auxerre in France.
  2. He is no stranger to indiscipline:
  3. In January 1989, he threw away his shirt after being substituted in a friendly game vs Torpedo Moscow.
  4. At Montpellier, he threw his boots at fellow player Jean-Claude Lemoult's face. Many demanded him to be sacked but he was defended by Carlos Valderamma and Laurent Blanc.
  5. In 1991, at Nimes, he threw the ball at the referee having being angered by one of the decisions. He was summoned for a hearing at the FFF. When it was announced that he would be banned for a month, he walked up to each of the three hearing committee members and said "IDIOT" directly at them. His ban was extended to two months.
  6. He was ultimately persuaded by Michel Platini to play in England.

In January 1995, he infamously assaulted racist Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons by "the kung fu kick". Subsequently he was banned for eight months on all competitions. The surprising thing that no reporter has heard before would be this comment. He made one line in a press conference and then left the table:

When the seagulls... follow the trawler... it's because they think... sardines will be thrown into the sea.
He famously chastised the current Man Utd squad for not having those maverick entertainers like himself or George Best. He calls the current squad assholes.

He has a larger-than-life figure and he goes around with his neck collar up.

His personality is what made him the best player in the EPL and Man Utd. After his retirement he went into acting - something which he trained during his suspension period in 1995. He made numerous Nike ads and appeared in some French movies, the best being The Overeater and appeared as Monsieur Du Fox in Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchett. It was Man Utd fans, actors Christopher Ecclestone and Angus Deaton who persuaded him to make his appearance in the film.

The KING. No whining, No Mercy, No Judgement calls.

Famous quotes about or by Cantona:

  1. I am GOD.
  2. France does not deserve Cantona. England deserves Cantona
  3. The Irish public should bow to the feet of Roy Keane, not slate him as he is the best player they will ever have to boast.
  4. Didier Deschamps is "the water-carrier". Deschamps only exists to pass the ball to more talented players.
  5. After his first training session in heaven, George Best, from his favourite right wing, turned the head of God who was filling in at left-back. I would love him to save me a place in his team - George Best that is, not God."
  6. Paul Ince about Cantona before he entered court: 'We stayed at the Croydon Park hotel. So we got up in the morning and I've got me suit on - the nuts, know what I mean? I knock on Eric's door and he's standing in jacket, white shirt, long collars like that [he gestures to describe long, pointed collars], unbuttoned so you can see his chest. "Eric, you can't go to court like that", I told him and he says, "I am Cantona, I can go as I want"'.
The Losers Go Home. BYE! (How Luis Figo and his gang got cheated)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

BUM 2007: Caught In The Act

I stumbled upon some pictures at some of other bloggers pages. There are tons of photos captured during that Saturday night event. I could even see myself appearing in some photos. That's cool.

Let me show you some of the photos that I appeared in:

As you can see most of the time I was seen talking to Pak Idrus who showed me a few things about blogging. I find that it is something addition to what I've learned from Uncle Maha.

BUM 2007 Coverage

Okay, this is it! I am writing the coverage of BUM 2007 which was held last Saturday. As said, the event is meaningful and it is full of buzz where bloggers in cyberspace get to know the other bloggers in the flesh. It was held at Lakeview Club in SS12 Subang Jaya. I was surprised to find out that the venue was graciously provided by none other than businessman John Soh who recently hit headlines as being the one convicted for abetment.

John Soh

The idea of having this BUM thing was the idea of blogger Howsy together with the top bloggers including Rocky and Jeff Ooi. The top bloggers feared that the recent accusations by the government against bloggers for spreading false information and news and such threats carried by them including our Uncle Zam prompted them to setup a club to protect the integrity of bloggers.

I get to meet some of the bloggers including "Uncle Maha" (mahaguru58) Zainol Abideen, Pak Idrus and Tengku Bustaman. I also then get to know more of those people there later on after meals. That's what the gathering is for! Forum and then dinner. I was told that there were additional guests that were invited but could not make it namely Wong Chun Wai, and JB MP, Shahrir Ahmad.

The complete list of panelists are as follows:

1. Jeff Ooi
2. Tony Pua
3. PKR's Tian Chua
4. Sonia Randhawa - CIJ Malaysia
5. RockyBru
6. Howsy - Moderator
7. Y.L Chong - Moderator
8. Raja Petra Kamaruddin - Malaysia Kini
9. R. Nadeswaran - Citizen Nades column
10. Marina Mahathir

The breakdown: Top (L-R): Elizabeth Wong, Lucia, Nathaniel Tan
Bottom (L-R): Jeff Ooi (Partly visible), Marina Mahathir, Tony Pua, Ahiruddin Atan, Howsy H, Y.L Chong, R. Nadeswaran, Tian Chua, Sonia Randhawa

I was astonished to find that there is another blogger younger than I do that creates his own website in PHP, MySQL and has the maturity level of an adult. He discusses various political social and economical issues that almost no one at his age can match him. His name is John Lee and his site is called Infernal Ramblings.

Among the notable things discussed by the panelists:

1. Jeff Ooi - Not much of a comment but a retrospective of his 4 years of blogging.
2. Tony Pua - Call for a change of laws and mindset of people.
3. Tian Chua - go to this video to find out.

4. Rocky - As to protect the rights of bloggers - the NAM is considering extending the membership to all bloggers and keep the blogging phenomenon blooming in Malaysia. A proposed membership fee of $20 is considered but membership anonymity's a major issue to be handled with. He also states that the body of bloggers are prepared to discuss this issues with the government.
5. Sonia - Most of the talking time belonged to her that night! It was noted that the bloggers credibility and their success - this will be affecting the media monopoly the audience attention. The fact is that no student (in a survey) reads NST for research pushes the media into a little difficult position. But Sonia does encourage people to know more of the freedom of expression that they are entitled to.

So after that there was dinner and I get to talk to the top bloggers. But the most important thing I learned that night was the words from Uncle Maha - if you just start blogging don't go that deep in political issues. I learned that those fellows there do have their names in the records.

But in the end, it's the social gathering and learning more things that's what I experienced.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Teachers Day Retrospective

The following text is a posting to commemorate the Teacher's Day celebration at St. Michael's this Friday morning. I came to understand that this retrospective might be added to this year's school magazine which I am not sure whether it will be featured or not.

Let's assume that the content will be edited for the purpose of length constraints. Here is the completed text which I just finished just now.

For every student at the age of 12 - the younger the better - living in Ipoh, going to St. Michael's Institution is a dream that they would definitely want to achieve and a privilege. Through positive word of mouth that covers achievements in various fields, you name it academics, sports and so on - that's how St. Michael reaches its reputation as one of the best schools in Malaysia.

Starting day one in St. Michael's is like walking into an unchartered territory with you being on your own. From then on, you start to make friends, acquaintances. You start to know more about the school, who are the teachers that are in the morning / afternoon, the teachers that teach the class that you belong. With that, you get to be familiar with the school environment, the school's culture. You get to say that I am happy to be in such school as St. Michael's. But the biggest effect that a student will feel would be, that he will have some sort of emotional attachment with the teachers that might be teaching them until they finish school.

The truth is that when you step into St. Michael's you will never walk alone. The very first person that will help you to get use to the environment is always your class teacher.

Looking back after finishing school 5 years ago prompted me to recollect my years in the school. Of course life in school is like a daily family drama. There are moments of happiness, sadness and anger that no student can escape from it. You may not learn to appreciate the efforts of some teachers whose personality you hate most but when you move into the working world as I do, you will have a change of perception of your former teachers. It is through them that I learned things such as we go on, we cannot always depend on others to hold hands with you all the time. It is through them that I learned that you either take their word or you don't hear them. It is through them that you learn to be treated as an adult. As nature's law, a man tends to go wiser as he grows older. I could see from the other perspective that teachers had more things to do than a student would do. He / she has to prepare lessons, mark your homework, has to tend to their family and more misc. jobs. Imagine the amount of work your are' just a portion of what they have now!

See how fortunate you students are? Shouldn't we say thank you to them once for a while?

Like I've said just now, St. Michael's is more than a school. It is a place where there are annual moments in school that will inspire you to reach your potential. Everyday when I went for the morning assembly, the teachers and the principal would be talking about things that will try to inspire you and perhaps motivate you to do something that will benefit and give a boost of reputation to the school.

I was inspired by their words. I was also inspired by my seniors. That's why I set out to achieve things personally and for the school before I finished my time here. I won some sports awards (Special Achievements), I led a team of members performing stage crew work for 'Desert Song', I appeared in the newspaper twice - recalling that, now I realized that it was the teachers that inspired me to do so. At that time, I could feel that my time in there would be running out.

I came to understand that to this day some teachers still cannot understand the rebellious behavior of some students. The reasons are: students now have the kind of maturity that is not seen compared to the students 20 years ago. There are teachers that still go by the book - the book of the 1980s or even to exert their 'shut up and listen' influence. If they are to stick to those, you can never win the respect and appreciation of students. We are now in the new millennium, not in the 1980's. Thus teachers will have come out with something innovative to attract their interest. I watched the movie "I Am Not Stupid Too" and I came to realize that teachers will have embrace new approaches prove their ability to inspire students.

Secondly, the school will need to learn a new principle: flexibility. We cannot always depend on precision. Sometimes there are things unavoidable where we may end up a little late or early like recess, lessons. I am still surprised to see that this was hardly practiced in school. We are not robots that must be precise in everything!. We are humans that make mistakes in our lives. It is part of the life's parcel. Why aren't we doing this?

Recalling my times sitting in classroom during lessons, I believed through observation and psychology analysis that the enjoyment of learning actually comes from a teacher's magnetic personality. If he / she has the charisma that draws the attention of students, maybe a good sense of humor and the most important of all, creates the proper atmosphere / motivation, then the teacher has already won the respect of students. Sadly the number of those teachers - those ICON teachers - that has that kind of personality - dwindle as every year passes by. Were it not for them, I would not be writing this mail.

There are ICONIC teachers who inspired me - who eventually made me aware and understand life better as I move on. Who are they? They are:

1. Mr. S. Saminathan - my Form 2 class teacher - has the wonderful sense of humor that I enjoyed it a lot.
2. Mr. Louis Rozario - the principal - were it not for his true Michaelian style of leadership and motivation, I would have a different understanding and appreciation of life.
3. Mr. Zahari Badri - my Form 3 Living Skills teacher - he has that kind of curiosity that and things that inspired me to do better - I remembered he asked me other things about my electric project and even things like my life that I never asked.
4. Mr. Mohd Darus Daud - my Form 4 and 5 teacher - I really loved his personality and style.
5. Mr. V. Paltoray - At first he was strict, but I started to appreciate him and enjoyed his lessons very much
6. Mrs. Adeline Tan - My friend's mother and teacher. Lovely, but when she retired, I admit that the quality of school plays are degrading.
7. Ms. Tan Mee Hoong - taught me a few things in life that I have to tolerate and understand about
8. Mr. Lee Kem Siang - One of the ICON teachers that has that caring personality and wonderful character that I would appreciate eventually.
9. Mr. Koi Siew Chay - A larger than life figure which I respected him and we would have a good talk in years after I left school.
10. Mrs. Oo Phaik Tin - my Living Skills teacher, the best of all the three years I learnt L.S
11. Mr. See Thian Seng - used to help me through some things. Wonderful man, before he came the state assemblyman for Port Weld.

I am delighted to be given the chance to offer my retrospective of my school times and at the same time wishing my teachers a Happy Teachers day.

Melvin Mah

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Shortest POST ever

It's simple...I am quite tired today. A simple POST.

Nuff Said.

Things I've heard today:

1. Stupid Test Case files don't work for the new 2007 version of the application. I think there's plenty of changes to the DB. Good thing I finished one half of the work already!

2. Edmund wrote about the weekend entry between me, him and Simon.

3. The relatives from Australia hit town today this morning. Got a call from them.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

New York Minute

This post was meant to make up for yesterday's post. I intended to cover the coverage of yesterday's concluded Bloggers United Malaysia forum which was held at a club near my place. However, I didn't have much time to do so since I was keeping in touch with the live score between Chelsea vs Man. United in the F.A Cup final - which the final score was 1-0 to Chelsea after extra-time.

This morning, I had some sort of sudden recall of my long-term memory. During one week in 2002, I used to listen to one of my dad's favorite songs, New York Minute which was performed by The Eagles during the group's Hell Freezes Over tour in 1994. I listened just on that song all day long on one week - except I don't hear it when I go for my university classes.

Note: Please do not associate this with the Olsen twins' movie with the same name. It has nothing to do with this and the movie has a different sub-text than this.

There was some sort of sub-text in the song which refers to the current U.S scenario. Two notable moments of the lyrics which was performed by lead vocalist Don Henley were:

1. Everything is going to change - literally anything can happen to New York. This happens when the 9/11 incident occurred. Perceptions changed, everything changed.

I had a social discussion with Edmund and Simon yesterday. We pointed out that the Western world's perception on Asians still remains quite shallow. I was surprised that they still believe that the oldest language in the world would be the Hebrew language, but in truth, the Sanskrit language remains the oldest in the world. And during the prehistoric times, the language that mankind speaks is in the form of drawing pictures.

2. The wolf is always at the door - The 9/11 has an affection on the U.S government. From that on, they started to become a paranoia thing. That preludes to the enforcement of the 2002 Patriot Act pushed by the Bush Administration. Thus, everyone, even the innocent people are subjected to eavesdropping and surveillance which was performed by the NSA, CIA and even the FBI. I remembered reading the fact from Chomsky that during the Ashcroft times, repeated words like "terrorism", "bombs" and anything that is associated to the 9/11 could land you in hot soup.

3. You better take a fool's advice, take them to your home. Because they are here, the next day they are gone - I came to understand that had the U.S take a critical look at reports pertaining to the possible 9/11 attack (that's way before 9/11) or reports that shows the impending disaster that became Hurricane Katrina that heats New Orleans. Ignorance breeds fear and darkness. Preliminary reports were immediately dismissed by the upper echelons of the government, thinking that the effect would be minimal. Imagine what happened next.

Here's the video of The Eagles - this was shot live during the Hell Freezes Tour in 1994.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Weekend Plans and California Cushion

Looks like I got some work to cut out for me this weekend:

1. I will be spending some time going through the series of test classes - I was told that some of the classes use wrong settings since my terminal's settings differed than the ones that my previous colleague used before she left the company. At this time of writing, I am too tired to go on as Simon will be coming to town tomorrow morning and I do not know what time we might be having breakfast. Let's just assume that it will be at 8 in the morning.

2. Since the reschedule of the plans by Edmund, looks like I can only send the phone charger to the shop where I bought that thing either Sunday or Monday. I also need to find a cobbler to repair one of the shoe's heels. But the good thing today is that I got a complimentary copy of Galaxie magazine given by my friend working in The Star - adjacent to my office building.

3. I will be attending the Bloggers United Malaysia forum tomorrow at SS 12 at around 6 p.m, which covers dinner as well. I can at least possibly know more of the blogging phenomenon in Malaysia as well - perhaps ideas to improve my blog's attention to the people.

To commemorate this event, I got a 'NIAMAH' ring tone from Patrick Teoh's blog himself. But I am not very sure what will be Sunday's plan - but definitely I need to watch Spider-man 3. It's already close to three weeks already and I didn't have time to watch. That's where in cinemas you can actually here the 5.1 Dolby track rather than watching the pirated videos. I never trusted their video quality. But some titles that you cannot get in the market - particularly the box titles are worth it. They are original copies.

5. On the other hand, it seems that California has taken various measures to cushion themselves for the coming American economy meltdown. The Governator himself had announced the May budget plans in which one point that intrigued me most is the decision to clear out all bonds in the space of 4 years. I was told the U.S is facing a 14-year period of economy slowdown coming 2009. It's because that the country's economy had reach the ceiling. It seems that Bush administration is breeding ignorance whereas California is aware of it and decides to do their own initiative without awaiting direct orders from Washington.

According to the Schwarzenegger's website:

The May revision retains the January 2007 budget debt's payment proposal:

a) $1.6 billion of Economic Repayment Bonds prepayments, a total of $3.1 billion for the 2007 budget.
b) $88 million in other debt repayments.

"A" is interesting because it states that with that aggressive payment schedule, the bonds will be fully retired 14 years ahead of schedule. This means that they want to prepare at all costs before the thing might happen. Given the statistics, it is likely to happen in 2009 - if it goes at the predicted rate. In addition to that, the current reserves of California is standing at $2.2 billion now. California still remains the major state in the U.S to be aware of the possible disasters, economic and natural - hence beginning to implement strict measures to prevent.

Why can't other states follow California? Influence from Hadley and Bush?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shaken But Not Stirred

Not long after I finished posting yesterday's entry, I received an e-mail at marked at 8.30 p.m. by my manager. He reprimanded me for having too much check-ins into the SVN repository. Yes, I did it as I thought it would one of the ways of solving the compiling problem that I am still facing right now. I was shown that I had checked in about close to 10 times. He feared that if I keep doing this - it might damage the repository, rendering it perhaps irrecoverable. For this, I felt that I was a little over-smart. I wanted to try to solve my problems on my own first before asking my other peers as I want to prove that I am not a parasite that clings onto things.

But in the e-mail that I've read, the last half of the mail was set in kind of a very threatening / intimidating tone (as like if I am going to be shot on the spot). That got me very upset throughout the whole night. I had a restless night - I simply could not sleep as I felt very upset over it. My confidence was shaken until the next morning.

I know that I cannot keep holding this in my heart for very long and I resolve to get out of the brief period of upset. First thing was I wrote a letter of apology - with a very clear admission / reason and dump the mail that I got away. I just don't want to go back and read it again. In the morning, I just simply said, "Just go and tell him straightaway when you go into the office. The earlier you say it, you may feel better." But it was not today - he was not in the office. Seems like that I'll have to say it straight as soon as possible tomorrow morning.

Man, I just want to get over it and keep my enthusiasm on finishing my current assignment high! The enthusiasm is there but the thing that distraught me is that there are things that I can't seem to understand how it went wrong. I was convinced that everything was right!

Oh, God...please I just need more strength to go on. I just feel that I don't have enough...:(

The plan of meeting my friend Edmund was postponed to either tomorrow night or Sunday afternoon. It was raining heavily downtown, but not at P.J office. A lucky thing though, today is Thursday, there's not going to be a lot of jam but wait till you see tomorrow. My brother is free of exams for now, so he is treating himself to playing WOW. I just went to get a 60-day card for him to get him enjoy his break. He only has one more week before the mid-year break.

On the other hand:

Govt. Can't Go After Bloggers Unless They Break The Law.

That puts the end of the speculation that of all those blogger mumbo-jumbo thing that Shaziman the junior minister puts up. I hope from here, it is no longer more of those blogging ruckus that politicians might be coming up. If it happens again that might affect all and even non-serious bloggers, I think I am going to puke. I'll need to have a serious word with them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Compiling But JAR Missing

I spent the entire day compiling the JAVA archive for one of my office program libraries. I was convinced that everything went right - the essential drivers were there, I followed the building archive protocol and everything. But still the beta file that I am supposed to see did not show up in the "dist" folder of my workspace.

Because of this incident - I thought that I need to commit the files back to the Subversion repository program to do so. Instead, I was reminded and told that I only need to submit back to the repository once I am happy with everything - if nothing goes wrong. The main reason was to prevent corruption to the repository. Yesterday, the library folder repository was locked up. The Subversion program uses the Oracle Berkley embedded DB for storing the files. It was when I checked the FAQ of the error - through a memo sent late night by my manager - that I realized that it must be the abrupt stop command that I've punched in the afternoon. I think it is. My colleague Nadia told me that there's a need to restart one of the main servers since she has just upgraded software in that machine. I wondered if the restart happens while I was compiling it, so I decided to stop it and wait until it restarts completely.

My library archive building protocol uses Apache ANT and Cobertura - a code access calculator
that determines how many portions of the code have been tested. It was just suddenly that I came across the log file that I decided to take a look to see where have I gone wrong.

Turns out that I've set the database server sample configuration location in the wrong machine. I just remembered that it was moved to another server. So it's just another changing to the configuration file and it worked. But another set of problems just came out.

So here I am writing to tell you how stressful it is to go back and look through the whole thing to see where have I gone wrong. Come tomorrow, once this thing is over, I can look forward into working on the second half of the modification. This is indeed one-fifth of the list of modifications that are undertaken by our department to release the 2nd edition of one of our programs.

See...this program is used by majority of our Malaysian tertiary education institutions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Everything Increase - WHAT 4?

This seems to be a domino reaction. It began with manufacturers who had to bear more of the costs. As such, prices for F&B - food and beverage has been increased by approximately 20 cents everywhere. In the coffee shop in front of my house, the price for a cold Milo O has been increased to $1.90 compared to $1.70 previously.

Because of the facts above, retailers had to adjust the price of consumer items with of course justification. In a recent article, Dutch Lady Malaysia chief, Mr. Cees Ruygrok mentioned the following:

“The raw material prices have increased drastically. Unfortunately, we have not been able to increase prices by 15 per cent. We have increased our prices by 3 per cent,” managing director Cees HM Ruygrok told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday after a prize presentation ceremony of its “Dutch Lady Bersedia Untuk Menang Contest”.

“Dutch Lady has not been able to recoup the price increase. We have to grow our way out of it,” Ruygrok said, adding that the company’s collective agreement is up for renewal, which will also add to the increase in overhead costs.

Reason: raw materials including palm oil and petrol.

Source: click here

Items affected by the increase: sardines, Milo, Nescafe, condensed and evaporated milk, garlic, onion. Also, the price of standard flour - used for bread and our favorite Chinese Dim Sum has been increased by 15 cents - manufacturers wanted increase by 50 cents.

Expect our bakery items and even dough-base items to be increasing in the coming weeks.


Very Simple! Increase The Value of RINGGIT VS DOLLAR.

The current value of the ringgit has improved tremendously since last year. Following the removal of the ringgit peg against the dollar, the value has increased by 4.2 percent since last year. As of today it is at 3.73 percent.

Not good enough. The current value is at 3.40:1 as of today. It is best that if the ringgit reaches it's mid-line in order to achieve the equilibrium. As before the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the value of the ringgit is at 2.50:1. Since the peg value is at 3.80:1 before July 2005, therefore, the equilibrium rate is at 3.15:1. In the mid-term, having it at 3.15:1 could reduce the import costs for all items that Malaysia imports including raw materials, electronics and etc..which gives importers and exporters a win-win situation.

The fact that the ringgit's strength does not affect the government is good news but the question is that how soon can it reach the equilibrium. The sooner it achieves the rate, the better - and it affects everything. We don't have to pay that much to get something.

It is said that the momentum of the ringgit going higher against the Dollar is depending on the condition of the stock market and the amount of funds going in. Of course there is bank intervention and then technical corrections (profit takings) as a breather. But to encourage more, the government should cut the tax rate, either lowering the corporate tax to 22 percent or merging the government and service tax (15 percent) into a GST 5%. After all, we are trying to get more foreign investors coming aren't we?

Sack Wolfowitz!

Reuters has reported that the BOD of World Bank is deliberating on the position of former Pentagon #2 Paul Wolfowitz as the president of the Bank. The reports are clear that Wolfowitz had broken the rules to secure the personal interests which involves raising the salary of a partner of his.

In this saga, the US has been begging the G7 to provide support to save Wolfowitz from the sack. But the fact that Wolfowitz was responsible together with Rumsfeld in instrumenting the Iraq invasion in 2003 means that it is definitely part of the hegemony plan -as Chomsky says - part of the US' quest for world domination. Imagine if the numbers of people on behalf of the US leading an international organization diminish, what will happen to them? PING!

Monday, May 14, 2007


Two things that I've read today....

1. The Maybank discriminatory is over and there are still some people wanting to have that ruling back. An article on the Utusan Malay newspaper revealed that there are seven - called "The Magnificent Seven" members of UMNO - the United Malays Organization - who wanted the bank to retain the pro-bumi policy.

As I have said yesterday, there will be a time where people can no longer depend on such privileges as this would become a crutch to them. According to the paper, among the seven people include Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam, ex-Malacca Chief Minister Rahim Tamby Chik, and ex-Selangor Chief Minister Muhammad Taib.

Like I have told you before, picture this in the share of a pie. 1/2 by Bumi and the rest to be split into numerous races? If there are 16 people eating half the cake, what is the size of the share that every person will get? It's like eating a thin wafer-slice size of the chunk.

And now, there are some Senators that support the pro-bumi policy? The main excuses are that to level the playing field for them.

Do I see that there's something wrong with the mentality?

There a plenty of reasons to have that thing scrapped. The Scribe (AK Jasin)'s blog has this post.

2. Shaziman is accusing us again! On Sunday, there was a blog post - which was not accurate which stated that the PM during his visit to Pangkor Island. In today's article in the National News Agency (BERNAMA), it was stated that the blogger responsible will be traced down and could be charge in seditions act.

However, such thing like that means to convict a person without proof.

Are we starting to be in the side of the U.S Patriot Act? Whereby suspects are held without trial or proof? Just get thrown into prison for nothing except suspicion?

This was TVSmith's quote:
As citizens, we have the right to know and be concerned of the PM's well-being. Instead of timely and factual news from the mainstream media, they waited until some blogs scooped them with some creative reporting. Who gets the blame? Mobile phones? Human beings? Goats?

No, the Internet again.

If this thing goes again, then it's the threat of censorship in blogging and those excuses for the new weapons against the media - laws...! those politicians out's no longer the time to be a dinosaur thing. It would be advisable to get a blog and then type out your posts here. Then you can get the clearer picture of what bloggers do and behave.

Big thanks to Jeff Ooi (Screenshots) for this note.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Chuck Austen Sucks. He's An Asshole.

I think this is the umpteenth time I am talking about Chuck Austen - so called comic book writer. Edmund and I at times will talk about this thing how his works badly affected the stories of characters in the Marvel and DC Universe.

His works on the Uncanny X-Men series was the worst of the lot. It never drives the story on and instead sticks to one static point. All the time, it was all about sex, and it shows the immature mind of Austen. Sometimes, things he would write is against logic or against the laws of nature. For instance, what is the occasion that Professor X would catch Wolverine coincidentally? Zero.

"Oh Chuck I love your bald head!"

His legacy in Marvel is that he introduces a parasite character, Nurse Annie. What is her purpose there? Help people or just go and fuck with our characters? Like I said his writings had damaged the franchise and poor Peter Milligan had to clear up the mess that was done by Austen.

Majority of comic-book lovers including your blogger hated Austen so much. It's just simply hate it but there are number of reasons that proofs that he's an asshole that's ought to be shot!

1. He thinks he's a damn good writer.
2. He limits his freedom of speech to nice bits.
3. He hits back at those readers who criticize him (giving points) - calling a reader "troll"
4. He has an assumption that if a fan doesn't like it, it's not his fault but the fans.
5. We are disappointed that the answer is there but yet there are some who think that Chuck Austen is a good writer and still supports him - the proof is just in front of our eyes.

If you want proof, you can take a look a one of the strip letters here. This is where he calls those fans "trolls" or assholes. Since the criticism, he made only one interview, he marred the X2 documentary, and he still keeps going with the same thing:

I really wanted to shoot / grill that asshole. He's unfit to write comics with his sick mentality. - The Suck Page

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Defying Authority?

I met my friend from Sabah with his sister who is starting her tertiary education in N.S. They were here today as to do some necessary shopping including purchasing a notebook for her and buying various hardware. Tomorrow they will be in town again as to purchase a hand phone and to get various stuff and other things that I will not know of now.

I really wanted to take them for some Japanese buffet food but unfortunately all places in K.L and the Golden Triangle area were fully booked from today until tomorrow. Hence I was forced to think of another place to take to eat and I thought of one in the form of TGI Fridays. It costs about half the cost of eating Japanese buffet but the servings are big and three dishes were sufficient to keep us full for the entire night.

Obey or Disobey Authority

Less than two months ago, I have read an article of a Japanese-Hawaiian military man who was court-martialed for his refusal to be deployed to Iraq. He cited that the current war in Iraq is indeed immoral and is not as to ensure peace in that region. To some it means defying authority.

Defying authority? Does this mean to you about this>?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Blank Ideas - Virtually Nothing

I finished my Cyber assignment today. Virtually, I just could not think of how to proceed on with doing my work. I just ran out of ideas. It's just to make sure that my new class is working find, I need to come out with a test case which shows the possible results and angles that can be conjured by the JUNIT testing engine to ensure that my new class works fine.

So literally, I think I need to think new ideas by hard at bed or literally refer to the sample test case classes as to get the possible idea of how to kick-start writing a test class.

The QuickTime plugin in my notebook went wrong after I upgraded the software to version 7.1.6. I have no idea how this could happen. I have augmented my Firefox 2 browser with the Grease-monkey plugin with a custom Javascript as to get me to download Apple videos, High Definition format via a special interface. Since the browser keeps crashing because of this, I had to get the file from my desktop machine, which was using the older version of the QuickTime video. QuickTime is my definite favorite in video playbacks. They have better video compression and the best of all is that it offers pre-caching - a method that allows the video streaming to be stored temporarily to ensure optimum playback.

My friend from Sabah and her sister - who will be studying in Inti Nilai will be meeting up with me tomorrow for dinner and the whole next day in K.L. So, I will be doing some spruce cleaning later on and perhaps tomorrow morning. I wanted to leave early - wanted to do some things but I need to get grass cut in front and behind the house.

The guys at JUnit group weren't helpful. None answered my call for help. FUCK.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tony Blair To Quit: June 27

You should be hearing about this already...

PM Tony Blair to leave office by June 27 after 10 years as PM.

He ended today's speech with: "Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right."

Famous accomplishment was the brokering of the Good Friday Agreement which ended the IRA civil war in Northern Ireland.

But his accomplishment was tainted when he decided to be in league with the other devil George W. Bush in leading an UN-unsanctioned invasion of Iraq in 2003. With him out, only one axle left. You can see that with this, it coincides with U.S Democrats producing another bill for troop withdrawal. Definitely expect heavy resistance for it is part of the White House' hegemony for global domination. They are not going to let go of Iraq!

In other news, the two people who actually leaked memos between Bush and Blair on the plan of Iraq invasion is convicted. These two men were also mentioned in Chomsky's book: Failed States

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Marina Takes A Swipe At Uncle Zam

Thankfully since I am working in Cyberjaya for this week, I am able to return back to home earlier than usual. Since I have things to do later on, I felt it is better to write this post together with doing some house chores before working on my stuff later on.

The Devil Inside And Out Part 2

This is a continuation from Sunday's entry and I intend to write on as long as it goes. Part 2 is literally the 'Out' part of the duology. At the end of part 1, called Inside, Matt Murdock, escaped prison with the help of an unlikely ally. The search for a one Alton Lennox, the lawyer of a convict, who ordered a shanking order on Franklin Nelson. It was discovered that Lennox left for Monaco and it is up to Matt to pick up the bread crumbs.

The actual story begins in #89, whereas #88 is the interlude of the story. #88 is called "The Secret Life of Foggy Nelson" which actually shows Foggy's side of the story near to the end of Inside. This was the thing I am referring to as the nod to You Only Live Twice. Foggy was a marked man by certain unknown people including the Mafia. He is under the WITSEC program - or the FBI's Witness Protection Program. Since he is unofficially dead to the entire world, he was not allowed to make contact with the outer world including Ben Urich or Dakota North.

In this case, this is the issue where Ed Brubaker makes his cameo as the FBI man. Artist Michael Lark modeled the FBI agent assigned to watch over Foggy after him - his trademark beard and glasses. The agent's plea of staying at close doors were true as he was about to be shot by the Mafia only to have ninjas saving his skin.

Back to Part 2, Brubaker called 'Out' as a swashbuckling show with Matt as the swashbuckler. He goes traveling around Europe searching for Lennox. However, Lennox was only part of the plan to lead Murdock to the very person that sets the entire game up in the beginning. Just find out by yourselves. There are numerous references - or shall I say that some plot elements clearly resemble - to Polanski's The Ninth Gate, with our protagonist being manipulated in the beginning and includes numerous locations including Paris and Sintra - a village near Lisbon.

After reading it, I find that the storyline clearly reminded me of the Dick Tracy story arc in 1978. The storyline in 1978 was literally creator Chester Gould's final run in the comics before handing over to other writers including Rick Fletcher and Max Allan Collins. According to the Wikipedia, in Chester's Final Run actually means the storyline of a villain taking the protagonist over the edge and causing mayhem because the villain is to die from a disease that eats him and considers the scheme as a parting gift before he goes to the grave. That was in 1978 and it was that year that Chester Gould decided to put that as Big Boy Caprice's last run.

By the end, Matt has to make a very choice that might affect the rest of his life.

The art drawn by Lark emulates the look of the 1970s.

Marina Takes A Swipe At Uncle Zam

Today's weekly column at The Star by Marina Mahathir - Blogging 101 For Politicians
- literally takes a swipe at politicians who criticize the blogging misuse. This was indeed a perfect response by Marina to Uncle Zam who proposed the classification of professional and non-professional bloggers like us. Does that mean that are going to be like William Thackeray or just a normal average Joe writing his diary post online?

In true there are no pro and non-pro bloggers in definition. It's just people who want to write diaries and do not mind to post it to the public to read. You don't even need to study hard to use this! It's not like taking a major examination! The idea of classifying bloggers according to her shows that politicians like Uncle Zam or Shaziman are literally pretty clueless about the world of blogging.

But look at Datuk Shahrir Ahmad or Opposition politicians that do have blogs. At least they do understand what blogging means. But we must always remember: be truthful and be sensible.
Nothing more, nothing less than that. What's the point of making more ruckus out of this blogging issue? To solve this problem, you must experience it yourself.

So, if you are a politician, start a blog and do some test posting to see how you feel about blogging. It's just like driving a car. If you are a frequent highway user, sometimes going at 140 makes a big difference than going at 110. The problem is that the current speed limit in the highway is absolutely absurd or obsolete. You authorities especially ministers will have to drive by yourselves to get the feel - not depending on the chauffeurs driving the big car!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Discrimination Is Still There?

I was dreaming yesterday night. I was back in the Ipoh house one morning. Outside the room
sitting at the round dining table was my dear granny. She didn't say anything at all and I just told her that there was a 50kg Garoupa fish caught at Port Klang and for a damn good dinner at one restaurant at Mid Valley. I really wanted to go for that. She was smiling at me but yet she didn't say anything.

And then I started to cry. This was the first time that I saw her in my dreams after her demise 5 months ago. That cry woke me up in the morning.

The article of the fish is here.


The next four days, I will be in Cyberjaya for a care-taking job. At least a staff in my department gets a chance to go there and spend the week there. It may sound a little illogical of why going there but in my opinion, it's just as to make use the facility there and perhaps make a little extra money here. Perhaps in the month where you will be assigned there, you can earn perhaps up to $200 and as bonus to your existing salary.

The floor which I belong too is a little claustrophobic. Some companies that are there are no longer operating, despite having the company logos there. So, it's just a little quiet there. Remember the scene in Brazil where Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) was taken to on his first day? That's what I felt like when I was there previously in January.


Maybank and another bank (being a government-linked banks) introduced a new ruling with effective from July 1 2007 that all lawyer firms that intend to do business with the two banks are required to have at least three partners with one of them being a Bumiputra and the person must hold 50 percent stake of the firm.

This practice is deemed a racial discrimination policy by the BAR council and this has brought attention to the Dewan Rakyat and the Central Bank. It is contrary to the meritocracy that is wanted by the PM. There are no Central Bank policies that matches the policy introduced by the two banks. This, as according to the BAR is deemed as an insult to the law profession.

Unfortunately, Maybank were a little less too late to clarify and comment on the issue. When word reached the Finance Ministry, the ministry clarified that there is a possible chance of intervention. The policy is the internal bank policy but what was spoken was contrary to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib that there would be no intervention.

On the side note from the Finance Ministry: the government has confirmed that there will be no off-shore trading of the Malaysian Ringgit as to curb repeat of currency speculation.

Discrimination Cut

Singapore's TAFEP - Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices on Monday issued a guide called the Fair Employment Practices which details the guides and tools for employers on hiring employees of all races and age. It is hope by the TAFEP that this will change the mindset of employers and perhaps increase the number of jobs by another 450,000.

The biggest recommendation in the guideline would be the outlaw of gender, age, race, and photograph fields in job application forms. Those fields will be deemed a taboo in Singapore sooner. This is to ensure that the priority of hiring people would be on the skills and the contributions a person can contribute to an organization.

This was following last year where a 180 cases of employment discrimination from the top three reasons:

1) Those jobseekers who are older of age are rejected.
2) Those who are discriminated because of race and looks.
3) Pregnant women are also victims as some employers are not willing to pay for their maternity benefits.

This is still evident in Malaysia and there has been a renewing urge to extend the maternity leave to 84 days or 12 weeks minimum than the current 60 days.

The complete article in regarding to employment practices is at this URL.

Malaysia Tax Cuts Please!

Currently, Malaysia's corporate tax is at 28 percent and the government tax of 5 percent is still there. But this does not include the services tax bundled together. This means that the government stands to earn at least 33% of an organization's turnover from these taxes.

When it comes to competing between their neighbors, big companies intend to ply their trade in South-East Asia would definitely set up shop in Singapore. Currently, the country's annual earnings is 25% from taxes. The corporate tax is to be lowered at 18 percent and to compensate that, the GST - Goods and Services Tax will be increased to 7% with effective from July 1.

The comparison intended here is that the GST that was meant to combine service and government tax together in Malaysia never came to fruition or any significant progress noted. This means that Malaysia will have to do more to get more FDI to come here. The IDR was a good thing, but it is not enough. To compete, you need to either - lower the corporate tax rate more or combine the 15% tax we pay to a 5% GST or we pay 3% of GST and make corporate tax to 22%.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Don't Look Back At Jose Now

Sunday's Premiership game between Arsenal and Chelsea ended with a 1-1 draw, thus giving Manchester United the first league title since 2003. The result means that United are ahead by seven points with two games remaining and cannot be caught by Chelsea.

The loss of the title to Man. Utd literally means that amount of prize money from this season is cut substantially. Early of the year, Chelsea club owner Roman Abramovich had to surrender half of his assets to his now divorced wife as part of the divorce settlement. Therefore, it means that Chelsea will not have much money to spend on buying new players for the club. There is a possibility that some players that do not perform well might be sold to other clubs to recuperate the amount of losses.

In 2005/6, Irish comedian Mario Rosenstock, parodied Jose Mourinho in attempting to motivate the players to play as champions. In the spoof track, Rosenstock said:

"Last week, we beat Arsenal..." Don't Look Back At Wenger...

Now it's "Don't Look Back At Jose". Who's laughing now?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Cell Block D

I bought Noam Chomsky's Failed States (the sequel to Hegemony or Survival) and together with the two Ed Brubaker's Daredevil stuff. Brubaker managed to provide justice and spirit to the storyline which ended as a cliffhanger by previous writer Brian Bendis.

Premise: At the end of Murdock Papers, Matt Murdock was sent to Ryker's Island penitentiary without bail awaiting trial following accusations by the FBI and media that he is the costumed vigilante called Daredevil. This first part forms the first half of "The Devil Inside and Out" with the first half being the "Inside".

A word of warning: This 12 issues of the entire series literally ties up whatever started by Bendis and Alex Maleev in Out (32-40) and continues on to now, with exception of David Mack's Echo Quest (vol 8). Therefore, it is best to cover the entire run beginning with Out to Murdock Papers before continuing. On the other hand, I would recommend you to buy just the hardcover version (Vol 4) comprising of King of Hell's Kitchen and The Widow since the bonus issue #65 (the 40th anniversary special) is only available in HC.

Here we discover why Matt Murdock was sent to the penitentiary without bail. It was deliberately a part of the upper political administration machinations of making him crossing each other off with either the previous villains he captured as well as the Kingpin.

Taking a queue of key sequences from the Bond movie You Only Live Twice, Ray and the Prison Break TV series, Brubaker manages to put Matt Murdock over the edge and on the verge of a mental breakdown only to have someone with other ideas coming in for the bail and having someone covering his ass in the form of the prison warden. The prison warden is crossing swords with FBI director Leland Drummond (a nod to Leo Drummond from Grisham's The Rainmaker). At the same time, the people on the upside including the help of his Bugle reporter Ben Urich scrambling to find who impersonating him while Matt is incarcerated.

Plenty of double-crossing, twists and etc..Brubaker mentioned that Daredevil was always a noir story and he succeeded in creating a story that puts Matt in a different stage of life. In other words, he does justice to the story that was started by Bendis. But with one exception, Bendis' storyline is much more wordy so Brubaker managed to keep it simple and cohesive. There was always someone out to get him out in the form of his guess.

Failed States

Billed as the sequel to Hegemony or Survival, the book literally examines the things that the Bush Administration as part of its doctrine commits once President Bush was re-elected to office in November 2004. Chomsky is a fan of Bertrand Russell and literally points out what it appears to be a repeat of a possible accidental nuclear war in the future with the given current world scenario.

The thing is that I only covered a bit of the opening and as more parallel goes, I might be going back to this book posting here.

Uncle Zam's Blogger Classification Program

Yesterday on Bernama, Uncle Zam, (Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin) proposed the classification of professional and non-professional bloggers. Personally, the idea of having this kind of classification is hollow. It is just nothing more than having a registration exercise as his deputy Shaziman Mansor proposed laste month. In a recent survey of freedom of expression, Malaysia is ranked 141 of all the countries in the world in terms of freedom of expression. When sorted between Asian nations, the country ranked 28th of 140.

Suppose if Uncle Zam decides to start a blog like fellow man Datuk Shahrir Ahmad - and since he is the one who started out the blogging issue in the country - where will he belong? I think it's in the non-professional side. Where would I be? I blog almost everyday. But we have come across problems created from classification. For instance, there was complaint by some people that the examination entry slips whereby religion is classified by only "Muslim" and "Non-Muslim". They think that it is a surplus where you have the "race" field included in the slip!

Source article is here.


My fear here is regarding the mentality of certain people who are unwilling to be open to other ideas introduced in the other side of the world. Singapore MM, Mr Lee Kuan Yew based some of his methods and ideas of administering Singapore during his PM tenure (1965-1990) during his time in England - which brought great results. A perfect scenario referring to my statement above is that referring to the current mentality of the Censorship Board - LPFN - which absolutely bans any local films made that might contain incorrect political content fearing unrest. A local made film that examines what we are and gets banned - you can forget about having that thing competing in film festivals or even competing this for Best Documentary feature for Oscars! When we watch movies on the cable network ASTRO, scenes literally that has guy saying "$#!%" are automatically muted on the spot or perhaps a sudden cut.

We could be left behind and perhaps we might not achieve the 202o target should the mentality doesn't change. Yesterday, I went to KLCC, the notice whereby photography is allowed in the center foyer and not elsewhere? Why? What is the reason behind it? Is it because the management just do not like it? Is it because there are some displays sensitive to flash-lights? Is Suria starting to become like Louvre museum? If there is none, this reflects the wrong mentality of those pencil-pushers there. Just tear that damn notice down there!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Slowpacers

I went for a drive from home to town. I thought there was something unusual if there happens to be a jam in the middle of the road. But truth? There was nothing but slowpacers.

I know I shouldn't do this, but this was taken when I was on the Federal Highway. If you look at the picture above, there is a massive gap in the middle of two vehicles and the one behind is going very slow. But the driver was actually a female one.

Should the vehicle moves a little faster, a person driving on the road can save time of up to 10 minutes average in a distance of two destinations that is 20kms. If we look at the collective view of this, it will encourage more people to have more time to do sort on their priorities and perhaps do more to their work. However, the sad fact is that most drivers are ignorant and tend to procrastinate - even if on the road but somewhere else including last minute submission of returns of taxes to the Inland Revenue Board.

Perhaps a few more cars can fill in the spaces if those cars fill in the gaps in front by moving faster. A side note is that most of K.L and Selangor drivers that I've come across do not put signals if they are to turn to a corner or a junction. This can be very dangerous for vehicles following behind. I don't know whether if it is because they are lazy or not but they are ought to be SHOT.

Another reason is that traffic jams occurred is perhaps due to an accident. In most cases, cars would tend to slow down, surveying the jam and perhaps caused a lot of trouble to the other drivers behind. This kind of practice should be minimized. Busy-bodies.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Anand Krishnan Wants More Than It Is

This past few days featured the news that Malaysia billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan intends to privatize Maxis Communications Bhd, one of the main mobile operators by buying off the remaining 41 percent owned by minority shareholders at the price of $15.60 per share. With the offer made by Krishnan, minority shareholders stand to make 20 percent of additional profits from the present price of $13 per share when the share was suspended in the stock exchange on Monday.

If this move is successful, it will be the largest buyout of a company in Asia Pacific with the buyout amount valuing at $40 billion. What will happen to Maxis and the plans next will only be known later on. Currently, Krishnan, through his company Usaha Tegas Sdn. Bhd owns 59 percent of Maxis under the sub-company Binariang.

On the other hand, Astro, the cable-tv operator also owned largely by Anand Krishnan is increasing its present subscription fees by another 5-15 percent with effective from June 1 2007. But according to CEO, Rohana Rohzan, the increase was largely due to the increasing programming costs. However, the new cost will include the nine new channels introduced and the new price revisions covering the nine new channels would only be on effective September 1.

See the thing coming?


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