Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Moved In

I just did some remaining packing at the other house this morning before going to work.

That house was my place of stay in Kuala Lumpur for the last 18 months.

I'll be retuning back to the first place that I've stayed when I first started work.

The rental rate is quite cheap and according to some colleagues and friends, they admit that it is unbeatable.

I spent almost an hour or so unpacking the last of the boxes that I've brought over. Unfortunately, the air-conditioner was leaking so I had to use it only at the next day.

Quite tired. But the pictures of the old house will be here.


The Kind of Crap That I Get From An Asshole

If you really want to voice your concerns regarding the welfare and the social status of the country, the first thing you would do would be to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, say The Star. Tell them your grievances and hope that the thing will be published the next day or so.

But then, when you read the newspapers the next day, not all of your words that you've written appeared on a column.

That's because the editors had to be careful of publishing your article on their newspaper. If a line or a word that deems an insult and incision to something, they could be sued by the government under the Printing and Publications Act.

If that is the case, where else you can voice your grievances except writing it in your own blogs?

Blogging has become an alternative channel for people to write and pass the word around to people if they simply cannot have their exact words produced exactly on paper. And blogging spreads faster than newspaper as most articles are printed the next day.

But instead, the Bolehland guys especially from UMNO are hitting us instead of acknowledging our efforts in making our country a better place.

I just don't know why, but most of these guys are pre-Internet minded. They don't even know what blogging is at all, except for our brave MP - Shahrir Ahmad and the opposition members.

We instead are branded as liars by these Bolehland guys. What is adding more to the insult is that there is indeed the proof that there are 25 cyber-troopers under Azalina that deliberately spreads the slanders across blogs via comments that shows the opposition against the government. Even the PM's website was not spared. Ronnie Liu, a guy that I've met over a discussion forum last Saturday had seen the proof black and white on the page and reported to the police, not like Mat Tyson Taib who scrambled for a proof.

You should thank us that we did put a check on you guys.

And then the Son-In-Law called us as monkeys, bound by the law of the jungle.

He's an asshole that deems the truth as a lie.

I'll take that as an insult to a man's credibility especially that monkey insult against bloggers.



Most of my friends that I've met are branded monkeys by that asshole. Do you think he is that smart to do so? He thinks that blogging sucks big time. Someday, he and the Bolehland guys will get a taste of their own medicine.

And then Uncle ZAM called on people to ignore us -gobloks - stupid people. The excuses that he gave that we are anti-Asian is the kind of bullshit excuse to sway people from listen to criticism.

One of Covey's 7 habits: Seek first to understand before being understood.

The problem is that these guys don't understand us: what is blogging about.

PREHISTORIC DINOSAURS IN THE MODERN WORLD.

The thing right now is that most youngsters now are aware of blogging and the incredible power of doing so, if used for good. They can use to tell stories, write criticisms for the good of the nation and so on. It goes as far as those villagers. Hey, even our Malay friends in the village, particularly the older generations started to read more and more thanks to its influence and the help of the current generation.

But I had some confidence over three avenues:

A post by A. Kadir Jasin:

But I don't think the majority of bloggers and blog visitors will fall for the trick. All that they need to do is to be mindful of seditious remarks and comments that give people like Muhd Taib the legitimacy to lodge official complain.

As the saying goes, there are many ways of skinning a cat, even a big fat one like Muhd Taib. I have been in journalism for nearly 40 years now and I've seen situation like this happening many times before. I've also seen countless pembesar like Muhd Taib came and gone.

Just a thought, a disturbing thought...is it not possible that some mainstream editors might have a hand in Muhd Taib’s police report?
The second one is my own personal conviction:

I have the facts and truths to back things up if I am to write a social issue. I have the purpose of telling people to wake up and help to make Malaysia a better place. If I don't tell, the other people don't even know what's happening about. The dream will go on.

If there's a friend trapped inside, you need to pass the message for help...isn't that similar here?

I always held the famous line by Kahlil Gibran about truth.

The third one is about Jeff Ooi going to DAP (main opposition party)

"I cannot remain as a fence-sitter if change is going to happen"

He's going for elections, he wants to tell the things in Parliament as to make the people wake up over the things that they did not know through the sleeping gas of things spread by the ruling coalition. The Coalition did not meet its 2004 manifesto of tackling corruption and instead the rate still remains high. Religious tensions, this matter, all has failed to meet the targets set.

It would be a good thing if PM Abdullah Badawi acknowledge our efforts in helping to make a better place instead of letting the UMNO people hammering at us for nothing. We don't mind having a dialogue between the government and bloggers. It instead will help to bridge the gap between the high institution and the lower echelon through cyberspace.

If Khairy and the idiots of the Bolehland are trying to play hero by fighting, just imagine what happens if they lose. A laughing stock, an embarrassment, and so on...hard to count.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Shahrir: Focus on Strenghtening the Ringgit

If you recall my previous article, Push The Ringgit Higher, you can see this somewhat similar thing spoken by Shahrir Ahmad today.

Last Saturday, there was an article by The Star entitled The Ringgit Debate

Among the notable details:

1. A weak ringgit is not good. The stronger value outnumbers the cons of a having a week ringgit. One main thing is that it boosts exports. Sooner, there will be a stiff competition and there is a need to compete, rather than relying on the monetary value.

2.Anticipation of a “still undervalued ringgit” has lead many to come in droves, both to capitalise on the appreciation of the stock market and the foreign currency exchange.

3. For starters, the wealth of its residents increases almost immediately. Just think of the many times when we Malaysians went holidaying overseas, and the foreign exchange itself gives us an inferiority complex. Just across the Causeway, the wealth of Malaysians is instantly halved by the superior Singapore dollar.

4. The yen and Swiss franc have appreciated because their economies are very competitive and they produce global companies. This in turn attracts inflows of foreign funds.

5. The big reason: A strong currency means that raw materials can be imported at cheaper prices and then converted into relatively expensive finished products. An observer adds that the biggest profits are made in finished goods, not in raw materials.

6. However, many are under the illusion that a weak currency leads to more foreign income. However, it is extremely inflationary and this is evident in the higher cost of living in countries with weak currencies. Simple everyday goods are extremely expensive. This means that a person earning RM2,000 in Malaysia would be worse off than an American earning US$2,000 and a Singaporean earning S$2,000 because the Malaysian has to pay a lot more ringgit to buy the same shirt sold in the other two countries.

This is clear indeed. Faster time needed to strengthen our monetary value!

We are losing against other nations. If we are to beat poverty, do so now. Strengthen to 3.06!

Photos From The Tournament

The photos from Saturday's company tournament.

That's me posing with some colleagues before starting.

That's me with one of the company directors winning the team event.

That's me with the winning team, Felicia, Raj, Emma and Mariah

Finally, me winning the individual event.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tiresome Weekend

Quite tired really.

I simply could not think of how to elaborate my weekend which is quite tiring.

1. Company has a bowling tournament at the Curve in the morning. Arrived 5 minutes late when my department's PA called me over the phone to check on me. Told them that I was in the parking lot.

2. So nervous but excited of playing bowling, I was expected to be paired with Fauzi and Zaidi, as mentioned in the previous team. But three days before the event, I was paired with Mariah, Felicia, Emma and Raj, the Audit head.

3. Everything went well except for time needed to re-calculate scores. I knew I am playing well, but I was slightly nervous at the first game though, managed to strike home to keep in touch with leader by 1 pin. In the end, I won both individual and team despite the trainee guy winning the last game by 19 pins.

4. The prize was a $150 voucher, which I will be using to buy a gift for a relative in mid-next month.

5. Spent the last two nights carrying things in and out of the car and then carrying it over to the new place. While writing this post, I still have a few more things left to carry - mainly clothes and some hardware, utensils and so on before leaving this house forever.

6. I took some time to attend a BAR Council talk about handling if there is case of a person being caught for the blogging phenomenon. It's an informal discussion and at least I get to have a rough idea of handling in case of trouble caused by idiots of the Bolehland. Will elaborate more in later posts.

7. I was invited by my schoolmate Patrick over for a party that lasted from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. in the morning in Bangsar. The house that he's sharing with some people is organizing a party themed "Arabian Nights". I tried to call my friend Daim over, but he didn't show up. He didn't drive to work and was quite tired after he came back. A response from him ,"See first" according to Patrick gives a hint that he's declining the invitation.

8. I was too tired and I bunked there until 9.15 p.m, where I woke up and left the place, while the others are sleeping.

9. There's an AV fair in Mariott and I just make a visit to see HD television, projectors and the HD-DVD players. I went there for a while before moving the second round of equipment to the new place. Also visited the church for friends as well as killing time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Galactic Empire Is Upon Us

It was astounding to see that over 5 million people visited Malaysia Today following the incidents that began with a report that Mat Tyson Taib filed against RPK. As of this time since 11 a.m, our good friend RPK has been in the police station to have his statement recorded by the CID.

I know that a lot of our fellow Malaysian bloggers including Jeff are standing in support with RPK. This is the second time in 10 days where a blogger is subjected and questioned by the police over articles of defamation.

As a hit back, RPK has written an article called: See You In Hell Muhammad, son of Muhammad. From what I've read, I believe that Mat Taib is English illiterate, meaning that he could be misinterpreting the earlier article written by RPK on July 11.

Seeing that these incidents including the warning from the de facto Law Minister Nazri Aziz over the blogging problem in Malaysia, Rocky has invited everyone to sign for the petition for the PM to investigate the claims by Mat Taib over the articles. Don't forget that Mat Taib was let go by the Australian High Court over his failure to declare currencies brought out from Australia in 1997.

As of 9.45 p.m, there are 755 signatures already.

UPDATE

RPK was released at 7 p.m earlier. According to him, the police were not after what he wrote on the blogs, but instead, the comments made by some of the visitors of the blog.

A shame that we were fingered while visitors are the ones to get away from it. More to come tomorrow.


As of 11 p.m. local time, there are 802 signatures there already.

But I am quite surprised that the Senate and the UMNO Youth never bothered to look through the whole account and instead flabbergasted bloggers for willing to write such things. There is a big difference in the definition of a posting of a blog and comment. Senators just keep blasting without understanding at once how blogging works.

Seeing what Nazri Aziz was saying about this matter is like listening to a Gestapo edict.

Prehistoric lifeforms.

There is a Malay saying calling for everyone in a boat to steady together or they will sink.

Why do some people or groups agree to everything a leader would say? A figurehead?

Now back to the notion that this may lead to policing the cyberspace, which is contradictory against the aims of the Abdullah administration - open, transparent and fair. They should look at the whole record before saying a word. Hooo haa hoo haa for what?

Such notion reminds us of the Galactic Empire intending to impose their model of governing over the people. But don't forget that governments are supposedly to fear the people and we should not be afraid of them? Remember what V said in V For Vendetta?

Recently, Prof. Michel Chossudovsky said that President Bush on July 17 has decreed an Executive Order that allows Criminalization of Anti-War Movement.

Quote:

In substance, under this executive order, opposing the war becomes an illegal act.

The Executive Order criminalizes the antiwar movement. It is intended to "blocking property" of US citizens and organizations actively involved in the peace movement. It allows the Department of Defense to interfere in financial affairs and instruct the Treasury to "block the property" and/or confiscate/ freeze the assets of "Certain Persons" involved in antiwar activities. It targets those "Certain Persons" in America, including civil society organizatioins, who oppose the Bush Administration's "peace and stability" program in Iraq, characterized, in plain English, by an illegal occupation and the continued killing of innocent civilians.

The Executive Order also targets those "Certain Persons" who are "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction", or who, again in plain English, are opposed to the confiscation and privatization of Iraq's oil resources, on behalf of the Anglo-American oil giants.

The order is also intended for anybody who opposes Bush's program of "political reform in Iraq", in other words, who questions the legitimacy of an Iraqi "government" installed by the occupation forces.
Are they trying to subvert those who oppose the war? They are indeed above the law.

This is what is called as Hegemony. Bush is Palpatine. Gonzales is Vader.

Back to the blogger problem, why can't the government go for the bigger fish and tackle crimes like robberies, murders and corruption rather than paying attention to this?

PLEASE PAY MORE ATTENTION TO OTHER THINGS THAN THIS.

THEY ARE MAKING IT WORSE FOR THEMSELVES.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Real Truth Is A Lie?

"Detention, Mr. Potter! That is a lie. I repeat that is a lie!"

-Dolores Umbridge, Order of The Phoenix
I don't know why some people would deliberately make noise or have much ado without nothing.

If you are doing something that is right, you have nothing to be afraid from those scavengers who lurk among the shadows waiting to strike at you.

But if you do something that is against what the people stand for and the common people know it, of course they would vent their fury against you.

This is happening now at Malaysia. I don't really know what to comment on the recent events that is happening now. I just a brief moment of pondering, supposedly within the next 5 years when up becomes down and black is white.

I wonder, will Malaysia eventually no longer becomes a secular state? The MCA - representing the Chinese community in Malaysia had reminded our other friends regardless of race and the UMNO that Malaysia has been declared by our forefathers that it is a secular state that everyone is entitled into. Free to practice religion, free to commit to something beneath the ceiling of the law and etc..

Hisham's opinion reflects the "shut up and listen" mentality that some inconsiderate but powerful people are trying to impose on us. Okay, but what if that there are much more truths that are not revealed that the people should know? Or is it that the fear is that people will not react accordingly should something hits out of the fan?

We bloggers are not telling lies or inciting hatred among the people. We are telling the truth - with facts. We are kept reminded by Dr. M's words about blogging - be truthful, accurate and know what you need to say. To be among the top countries in the world, Malaysia has to change and discard some of its mentality that is embedded into the life's cultures here. No more being complacent, everyone working to contribute to the country and no more making bullshit or corruption.

This is the creed that it is carried by every bloggers no matter where they are. That's the number one rule.

We are providing the alternative channel rather than having to being pushed into one big tunnel.

I know RPK's writings. He can be our very own Noam Chomsky of Malaysia. I already told you all many times of what we can we do were it not for blogs. Investigation to Joe's alleged corruption, blah blah blah.... If we do not say this at all, maybe some villains will walk free while innocents suffer.

Of course RPK's site is a member's only website, which means every comment is vet properly by the man himself before it shows out later. If he's able to moderate the thing, why, does our bullies want to make a ruckus out of this? Putting there is to make people think of some weird things that is happening recently and so on. It's not for inciting racial hatred. Perhaps some had misintepreted the content of the post that was said.

Is this part of hiding the truth that will stun people? By calling the truth as a lie?

Just today, UMNO information chief, former Selangor CM Mat Taib has filed a report to the police about the post dated yesterday written by RPK as part of the "Corridors of Power" series. Charged under various acts - Penal Code la, Seditions Act la, and the COMA act.

Some of the posts could not be accessed. When you try access a post, a could not find MYSQL database record error would be shown.

This indeed mirrors a spoof post by TV Smith:
Props to our bro, the former Mentri Besar, who came out swinging like Tyson. If only he has e-mail... we can send him the url of the offending blog. Also with KY on his way out, we don't need to use the Saliva Act anymore. His ministry can now hammer the bloggers with the Sedition Act. Yay!
Bloggers don't go and bullshit things online. If someone's shitting online, that fellow will have to be sent a nut house. This is critical thinking as what Tun Musa Hitam said last week - many mid-class people would meet out and discuss issues affecting Malaysia - politically and socially.

Don't Talk If You Don't Know How To Blog

Elsewhere at the National Assembly, a senator Dr. Puad Zakarshi has called on tough action on every blogger and branding us "bold and arrogant".

Questions:

1 . Are bloggers really the ones that will destroy the nation? It's hackers, not bloggers.
2. Will the non-social / political bloggers be spared from this kind of witch-hunt? I don't really think so, even those who posted their diaries of whatever they want to say - think it as the online story book will have theirs being read by the watch dogs.

The problem is that these people have lack the understanding of what blogging is like and the experience is about. Let's try asking them about blogs and give them one full day to try. Are they likely to try this out? Okay, if they try it out, and they say it's quite an immersion, do they call us as "corrupting?"

Why can't we follow the example of our Indonesian Ministers? They have blogs already. They talk to people, they clarify to people why this happens and so forth. How many of our government ministers have blogs? Only a few though. It's a shame. Because that shows how shallow the mentality of people running the show.

The Weekend

Finally, back after a good break. But I still had the kind of mild fever that made me a bit weaker than ever. I had a bad cold since Saturday, but I am getting a little better by the evening.

I already managed to get a place to stay from August onwards as there will be some people coming in to restore the state of the house back to where it was before we got in about two years ago. So, most probably I will be spending this weekend making the packing and the arrangements of moving back and forth to the new place. About the furniture, the new venue was fully furnished and I was told that I can pick stuff that I can take along to the new place. But at a price of course.

A good thing though is that the place is quite convenient for me to move in and out of the town. But the problem is of budgetary constraints. Don't forget that I still have about a quarter of credit needed to clear off due to the cost of the notebook. Hence, the next few days will be a bit packed, depending on the condition.

This was the first time in two months that I met my father. In the previous two occasions, I could not see him due to a schedule conflict, he traveled to Vietnam and Singapore recently for business.

I know that there has been a hot buzz over the worldwide release of the final book of Harry Potter, but I decided to take my time and I absolutely refused to dig more about that thing, as not to spoil the taste and my predictions which I mentioned in the previous post. I just think maybe to play time and get a copy whenever I feel that I am able to do so.

I didn't have a good sleep for the last two nights. I just simply couldn't go to bed early because of the bad cold. I couldn't understand why it happened or what. But I felt better today with Panadol Soluble.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fingers Cross: Deathly Hallows

This will be my last post before I go incommunicado in the next three days. I just want to spend a good weekend to relax and ease pressure.

If there's one thing that still keeps the tension on everyone in there is the release of the final Harry Potter book entitled The Deathly Hallows. Never before that when I read such news as this, the tension can be as intense as watching an European Cup final match.

At this time of writing, it is only 7 hours away before the books are officially released worldwide, 2400 GMT time. In the last few days, the tension and the hype surrounding the book is quite high since it is tightly guarded in boxes marked "Do not open until July 21 2007". As for in Malaysia, Kinokuniya Kuala Lumpur is giving 20 percent off on all the Potter stuff and 30 percent discount tomorrow for the new book.

Of course the tension is there since Joanne Rowling mentioned that there are at least two main characters that will be killed off at the end of the book. Most importantly, will Harry Potter die together fighting against his mortal enemy Voldemort? But the tension is spoiled when New York Times published a review that mentioned that it got a copy legitimately from a New York store.

Saying goodbye is difficult especially when the character originated from a ride from London to Manchester in 1990. After 17 years, everything comes to an end. Her famous line of appeal:

"I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry's last adventure for fans,"
Elsewhere in Malaysia, there is a price war between bookstores and hypermarkets when top chains like Tesco and Carrefour are selling the British Kids cover edition of the book at the price of mere $19.99 instead of the recommended retail price of $32.25 (or shall I say as RM 70 compared to RM 110) here.

Update 0115 GMT 21 July

In an unexpected move, the top four bookstores in Malaysia, MPH (Malaysia Publication House), Popular, Times and Harris had decided to withhold all sales of the books in protest against the indiscriminate price of the books sold at hypermarkets. Only those pre-ordered books can be obtained today.

In the perspective of hypermarkets, quote from Tesco:
“We are popular for selling products at a lower price and books are no exception. The other retailers have their own marketing strategies by providing freebies and other promotions ... this is our way of pleasing our customers,'
Comment Part 1

After watching Schindler's List with my friend yesterday, I felt that the music piece by John Williams with violinist Itzhak Perlman's strong tones resonate in my heart and mind. The kind of sadness portrayed for the Jews massacre mirrored to what fans will feel when we are seeing the end of the series.

Everyone's fear is what will happen to the boy.

Among the three covers shown, the US cover is the best of all three.

This was not the only thing yet to be mentioned. More at below.

What was mentioned and found:

I've done some digging around the Internet over the period of one month to understand the situation where our boy wizard got thrust into. So far, among the prominent questions and information pieces mentioned that I've got are:

  1. The sixth horcrux is either a founder's treasure or Harry himself.
  2. R.A.B - the initials seen in the fake locket - the third horcrux - is definitely Sirius Black's brother Regulus.
  3. Is Deathly Hallows a place or something else?
  4. The Lovegoods (Luna and her father) are featuring in a prominent role here.
  5. All Death Eaters - followers of Voldemort are either captured or killed.
  6. The Weasleys (red-head family) are in Mortal Peril - but I can't think beyond one person.
  7. Is Snape a double-agent?
  8. There is a 7-page epilogue after the last chapter. It's said that it tells of what happens to our characters 20 years after that.
  9. There's of course one chapter on Bill and Fleur's marriage and a visit at Harry's old house in Bristol.
The Bloomsbury kid's cover has a drawing of a 'horcrux tracker' which tracks Voldemort's soul pieces hidden around. Also the cover of our trio in Gringott's bank seems to provide a hint that they are looking for the sixth horcrux. So I ruled out that there is no living horcrux except for Voldemort's pet snake Nagini. The US cover provides a hint that Deathly Hallows is a place only for two to fight - horcrux perhaps?

Comment Part 2.

Judging the character progression of Harry, he is somewhat similar to the character progression of as mentioned in the legend of King Arthur. Parallels are, that he has the strong potential to become something great in years to come; he has an old wizard to guide him along the path to manhood. Of course he must face his biggest challenge. Finally, he will have the hand of Guinevere.

Interesting though that Ginevra Weasley (simply called as Ginny) is called Guinevere in Italian hence the parallel. With reference to the above, I don't think he will die at the end and he has Ginny at last. To kill him off especially if a boy loses everything from the beginning, suffers more than a normal person is to say that to treat a character like a rabid dog as if he is to be hated.

Just to say that John Irving and Stephen King both had the same opinion about that. No wonder they beg Rowling not to kill him off.

If there's an epilogue describing what happens after 20 years, it means that one event alters all. It doesn't show the dualism - the good and the bad, the light and the dark. Though it ties everything up neatly, I think it is best to leave the ending open, just to let people guess or make inferences to what happens next. I would say that it kills what was well structured from head to leg.

I refer to the epilogue comment in regarding the Future Coda ending of Terminator 2:

...A definitive, happy ending had a tone that was somewhat incongruous to the rest of the film; on a visual level, the sunny park in Washington and the futuristic buildings felt again out of place against the dark and gritty two hours preceding it; on a pseudo-narrative level, this ending effectively negated the storylines of both the first film and the first sequence in the second, raising to question the "grandfather paradox" of time-travel stories without the proper time to address it; and on a perceptual level of the characters, it was difficult to accept Sarah as a contented old observer after seeing her throughout the film as an intense, athletic heroine. (And then there was the small matter of how a juvenile delinquent like John, linked to a massive spree of destruction at age ten, could become a Senator...) The decision to maintain a sense of narrative ambiguity --to leave the future open-ended-- felt more in keeping with the tone of the film.


This is indeed paralleling what is in the novel.

Who Bites The Dust?

As I've mentioned that there are at least two characters that are to be killed off here.

My bets are on:

1. Ron - I actually re-watched the first movie - The Sorcerer's Stone particularly in the Minerva's Game setpiece which is largely a wizard chess. Remember that Ron sacrificed his knight in order for the king to checkmate the opponent and win the stunt. In this, I can guess that Ron gets killed by someone and saving Harry or Hermione in process. He is the shadow of Harry and this would be a good time to have a one last fling.

2. Remus - the old werewolf is likely the only one who can take on Fenrir Greyback and save many innocent people from being 'contaminated'. But Fenrir's more savage than he is and I find that both will be killed in one shot. Also, I think that since the Marauders represents the past, it is time for the group to step aside and let the new generation of people that represents their principles take over.

3. Percy - The estranged Weasley son is most probably the weakest link in the family. Maybe this would be to give a bad sign to the wedding.

Okay...let's get our fingers crossed and see what happens after the next few days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Islamic State?

The Reid Commission in 1956 was found to draft the basic Constitution of Malaya.

One of the clauses mentioned in the commission would be the special privileges to safeguard the rights of the Malays.

The other one specifies:

“The religion of Malaya shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practising their own religion, and shall not imply that the State is not a secular State.” (Emphasis added)

Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as an official religion. But not as an Islamic state.

This statement was echoed by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman and ex-PM Tun Hussein Onn.

In The Star, January 1983:

"Don't make Malaysia an Islamic State"

Track this at Jeff's post.

Interestingly, on Bernama Tuesday, this was quoted by DPM Najib Tun Razak.

"Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic state. But as an Islamic state, it does not mean that we don't respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights (in this country)," he told reporters after officiating the "International Conference on the Role of Islamic States in a Globalised World" on behalf of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

This indeed has contradicted with what the forefathers had said.

Is this indeed what is expected in the next 5 -10 years?

The prophet said: "Submit"
Jesus said, "Decide"

Submit and decide are two different meanings. The former literally means to force a person. The other one is about making the choice. The western worlds always believe in making decisions for a person's good. Is Malaysia facing the "submit" problem and are we going for the "decide" thing? Likewise, the Americans, post 911 are going the other way round.


They Shouldn't Deserve That Kind of Fate


Seeing how no one survives the NURI helicopter crash in Genting Sempah, just right off the exit to Genting Highlands, shows how cruel can fate be against human kind.

If there is God, his love is worth a dollar and a cup of coffee.

But there's something I can't seem to understand or get the right answer:

How can a person who doesn't pray often to God gets a miracle at desperate times while a person who is a clear devotee to God doesn't get the miracle that he / she should deserve?

I'll be taking a few day s of blogging because of something important and this can be good as a mark of respect.

You Should Quit. You Can't Cling Forever.

Many of my friends totally disagreed with FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah (ruler of state of Pahang) over its decision to stay to perform a investigation over Malaysia's abysmal display of show in the Asian Cup.

A recap: out of the three matches played, Malaysia only scored one goal and conceded 12. They lost all games and ended bottom with no points.

The Sultan was in charge of the association since 1984 and the amount of sponsorship was very high. In one year, Dunhill sponsored $44 million a year until the year of 1998. Despite the sponsorship, Malaysia still rots, from #75 in 1993 to #149 in the FIFA world rankings.

Is it because of low money and lack of carrot stick that the players do not perform well?

Is it because of the thinking mentality (stay stable on the boat) that affects the game.

The fear to perform?

No, it is because that they have lack the discipline and they play like schoolboys.

The schoolboy mentality is what that kills them.

It is high time for him to quit. In paper, he quoted that he would leave to the FAM congress do decide on whether he should continue or leave. The latter would be my choice.

We should cite our ex-PM Mahathir Mohammad and Gerakan head Lim Keng Yaik as examples of stepping aside and let young leaders to take charge of an organization. They have served the organization well and it is sensible to pass the mantle to others.

You can't cling onto something forever.

But however, this example does not apply to MIC man Samy Vellu who still remains in power and still cannot decide on who would be his successor. He wants someone who could follow the model that he imposes onto the organization. One of the organization's deputy, Subramaniam could be a good man to lead, but to Samy, he is seen as unworthy to do so.

Nat's Account

Nathaniel Tan has released a complete first-person account of his four-day ordeal of remand.

It is released in dual-languages - English and Malay.

It seems now that police has now has the kind of the Gestapo behavior, pushing for answers and even make them answer for something that people did not do.

A very interesting passage from the text:

Throughout my detention, the police employed various questioning strategies in what struck me strongly as a concerted attempt to make me admit to things that I had not done.

The police also subjected me to various rounds of questioning between about 5.30pm and 9pm by different police officers who all kept asking me the same questions. I later learnt that questioning at such late hours was in fact illegal.

One of the officers questioning me that evening who refused to identify himself threatened to slap me and throw me across the room.

Not having access to legal counsel, I refused to answer in detail any questions the police posed in their extremely suspicious manner.

The situation worsened on Saturday, the 14th of July.

Despite my repeated appeals to the police officers accompanying me to court to be produced before the magistrate for the remand hearing, they absolutely refused to notify my family or, more importantly, my lawyers that I was to be produced in court.

This caused in me a great deal of undue stress because I feared that I would be forced to face the magistrate without any legal representation.

Entirely by a stroke of luck, a lawyer at the magistrate’s court was able to assist me in contacting my lawyer, R Sivarasa. Had said lawyer not been present, I may have not been given the opportunity to be represented by counsel during my hearing, and my remand order may have been for fourteen days instead of for four.

Even after my lawyer arrived, the police made every possible effort to block me from consulting with my lawyers, denying me extremely basic human rights connected to judicial due process. This even included repeatedly trying to spy and eavsdrop on the conversations I was attempting to have with my lawyers.

After the remand order was allowed, the police continued to pursue the same line of questioning.

Having being advised by my lawyer during my remand hearing not to answer any questions or sign any statements, I refused to answer the increasingly combative line of questioning by the police.

On Saturday itself, a senior officer employed physical means in an attempt to intimidate me into answering their questions. This included shoving me into a chair while I was standing handcuffed.

Although I had stated my intent to exercise my right to silence, and despite my lawyer’s argument that the police had all the evidence they required to investigate me, the police’s insistence on holding me for all four days proved a complete waste of my time and of police resources. I was also made to endure unhygenic and pitifully substandard accomdations in the lockup throughout this time.

There is a question from this though. In Kingdom of Heaven, King Baldwin IV stated to our main character Balian of Ibelin:

But remember that, even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say "but I was told by others to do thus" or that "virtue was not convinient at the time. This will not suffice.
I am very impressed that Nathaniel was able to stand up against the crooked cops that tried to strip him of his sanity. How he refused to be intimidated by cops and kept his head down throughout the four days. I agree that the cops are totally wasting their time. But under whose orders were the cops are answering too? CID head Christopher Wan? No, I don't believe so.

Is this how the police threat someone who is not proven a criminal or caught red-handed?

Does this show how rough the police are. Does this make the public shun the police because of their attitude? Please address this issue so that the public can have better confidence at them!

I'll let you viewers, local and worldwide be the judge. Tell us what do you think.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Moore's Law: CPU processors

Moore's Law (named after scientist Gordon Moore) predicts that there will be a paradigm shift in technology in every period of 18-24 months.

Right now, the PC market is now introduced to the quad-core processor. Basically for starters, it is four processors packed into one chip, using the 65nm technology.

As for Intel, their quad-core processors are called as Kentsfield processors.

Sooner we could be expecting a 45nm processors by the end of this year.

Intel has released the QX6700 early of the year, but now it releases a 3Ghz quad-core processor at the price of $1000. Or RM 3450 here now.

But one article that has attracted my interest about quad-core processor is that it could possibly be applied to gaming technology so that we would no longer use 3D graphic cards to power games.

A problem with most games is that they didn't take advantage of the multi-threading capabilities. But some are taking advantage of that and now Valve - the makers of Half-Life 2 declared that it is possible to discard the reliability of 3D cards in future and rely on quad-core processing.

Sadly in Malaysia, we don't really follow the Moore's Law concept owing to the fact that new items would tend to come late compared to Singapore and other developed countries like the U.S. Mostly it's because of decisions from HQs or maybe through inspection by Customs. I was told that the US has its own Customs office in Westport of Port Klang, not Northport.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nat Tan Released

After four days of remand under the OSA, Nathaniel Tan is released from custody.
No idea of what will happen next but all of top bloggers and supporters were waiting for his release. He was in good spirits.
He was released at 5.15 p.m.
I recently read an article by RPK entitled "The Walls Are Crumbling Down" and it seems that our friend Joe was speaking the truth at all. He was setup for the whole episode - a sacrificial lamb - by a splinter cell.
Maybe he was right. Maybe not.

Push The Ringgit Higher

I still believe that the ringgit is still undervalued.
After performing well in the first-half of the year, the ringgit drops back to the 3.45 range due to strong performance of the dollar and the NYSE.
However, I think that there should be more aggressive play rather than defensive for the ringgit.
Right now, the peso is leading as Asia's best currency performer, surpassing the Baht which is hitting the limit already. We are still lacking behind and the idea of "letting the market" determining the rate will not help, without a single intervention.
The equlibrium point of the ringgit is now at 3.06, which is the mid-point between the value as of 1994 and 3,8 pegging period of 1998-2005.
The assurance is there that the strengthening of the currency will not affect the export-oriented industries. However, the fact of reaching 3.0 by mid-term is not very good enough. It should be strengthening to 3.25 by year's end.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm Sorry For The Pathethic Display

Dutch: Are you the boss? Your subordinates are a real waste.
Alfred: I'm sorry for the pathetic display.

Black Lagoon : Moonlit Hunting Grounds

Out of two matches, they put in only one goal, but conceded 10.

These two matches that Malaysia played in the Asian Cup matches against China and Uzbekistan respectively shows how pathetic they are no matter where they play. Home or away.

The question now is who are the parties to be blamed for the kind of pathetic display. The players? The coach? The management?

Not one party but everyone.

The players: They kind of playing attitude and mentality even off the pitch is totally unacceptable. Maybe this is because of our way of living and the mentality that they adapt is carried altogether into the playing field. They couldn't even do a simple task of defending the area when the opposition is playing on a counter-attack. The motivation and the principal of winning at all costs is missing. I remembered part of the philosophy of "let God determine" it is putting too much fear into them. But amazingly, our Arab football players from the Gulf never carry that thing when playing. They clearly know the difference of playing in competitions and the living culture.

They could have push faster in the Cooper Test and watch their kinds of food they take. Wenger always motivate his players to go for low-fat and high-energy food for them to move all around the pitch for the full 90 minutes. But our guys here tend to have more nasi lemak, nasi kandar and all of those favorite Malaysian food against proper nutrition.

How pathetic of some people: the skipper, and defenders in particular.

The coach: Norizan Bakar should know better to determine who are the all-rounding players who are capable in doing all the essential tasks like passing accurately, defending well, man marking and all sorts of things. He could have done better against China by putting the good players in the starting 11.

I remembered that Wan Jamak Hassan did very well when he was coaching Malaysia in the 90's. Tiger Cup runners up, Sea Games runner up. He could do that. Shebby Singh was one of those players in the 80s that did very well in the international field. He was the host of the UPB team - he knows the minimum requirements that a player should have before you can touch the ball in competitions. Some who are playing in the field failed in some aspects.

Norizan misses out a few things: man management, judgment and most important of all the motivation needed to drive the players.

Throw him out and go for full-time footballers, not part-time footballers as most of them are now.

The management: There are some senior officials in the national football association or the state association that knows how to do the pencil-pushing but never understands football.

Coaches and players are picked mostly base on favoritism and creed but never on the capabilities, mentality and the mastery of other disciplines of football. And worst of all, there is corruption in the management that appears in every nook and cranny of all corners of Malaysia.

The rot will have to be stopped - at all costs.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nathaniel Tan Held

PKR's (People's Justice Party) information secretary, Nathaniel Tan, a guy that I've met in the BUM conference back in May was detained by three police officers yesterday.

nat.jpg
Graphic courtesy and thanks to Mob’s Crib


Yesterday, evening at my terminal, I heard a very loud police siren outside the office. The police had taken him out of Phileo Damansara I, as my office is at Phileo Damansara II.

The one most important question about the detention is that the police officers that approached Nathaniel were plain-clothes officers. But the did not use the standard rules of engagement for the right of detention: show their ID cards and issue a warrant of arrest or specifying the reasons of being arrested.

Earlier, the police had raided his house and confiscated his desktop computer. Information released to the public later revealed that the police charged him under the 1972 Official Secrets Act -an act that is commonly applied in the Malaysian Examination Syndicate.

Whereabouts of Nat was not revealed after 4.45 p.m, the time he was taken out of the office. The allegation is that he had written defamatory articles on the Internet. At 10 p.m., it was said that he was held in the Bukit Aman lockup, but later at 11.30, it was at Campbell Street police station.

Charges are contradictory. Cyber-crimes division reveals that he is charged under OSA, while Campbell Street station said he was charged under Penal Code 402. The identity of the officer in charge keeps contradicting. One moment was DSP Victor but another was ACP Mohd Kamaruddin.

At midnight, Foundation chairman Anwar Ibrahim - the one and only- made a statement against the arrest:

Quote:
Statement on the detention of
secretary to the President of the Foundation for the Future

July 13, 2007
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Today, Nathaniel Tan, who is my secretary as Chairman of the Foundation for the Future, was detained by three plain-clothes individuals. The officers did not identify themselves or their designation but merely mentioned that they were part of the Special Branch and requested Nathaniel to follow them and bring along his laptop.

I strongly condemn the detention of Nathaniel by the Malaysian police. Nathaniel, 27, a graduate of Harvard and resident of Kuala Lumpur, has been actively involved in humanitarian and volunteer efforts in Aceh, Indonesia and Sierra Leone as well as with human rights groups in Malaysia.

I want the Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to take this matter to his immediate attention and confirm where and on what grounds is Nathaniel being detained. I request that his lawyers and family members obtain immediate access to Nathaniel to ensure his well-being and safety.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
Chairman
Foundation for the Future

A few questions about the arrest:

  1. 1. Where is the proof that forms the grounds that he was arrested?
  2. 2. The police officers that were part of the raid /arrest did not follow the proper rules of engagement. According to the Bar Council's guide book, a police officer intending on arresting the person must declare his identity by showing the badge at the suspect, showing him the warrant of arrest. The detainee has the right to know who is the person in charge and so on, before proceeding.
  3. 3. Is this deliberately part of some cell of the government that is attempting to clamp down on the opposition alliance in part of its preparatory things for the upcoming snap elections?
  4. 4. The guy was held and things are kept under wraps -no comments released.
  5. 5. Are we likely to see another Rahim Noor vs Anwar Ibrahim (previously in 1998) punching match?
Quoting from Noam Chomsky, this antics demonstrates of actions by some right-wingers and part of the attempt to spread doubts, fear and mixed reactions not only that, it might be used to fuel religious tensions. Fueling fire with petrol

But who is indeed the mastermind behind this?

All of the international humanitarian groups were alerted to this arrest.

If you have no proof, just let the bloke go, no matter how hateful you might be against him or not. Submission and totalitarianism? I think so.

Update 1

Deputy IGP Mohd. Najib Aziz confirmed that Nat is remanded for four days under the Section 8 of the OSA act. The main reason behind the arrest is that he was under suspicion that he carries sensitive documents that links Joe Baharom to corruption. Allegations of Joe were dropped by the Anti-Corruption Agency at the orders of A.G Abdul Gani Patail after it was confirmed that they had no proof or links to say that Joe was connected to the underworld.

Update 2:

Joe: Trace Writers Spreading Lies on Websites.

The witch-hunt is on.

After Nat's arrest, Joe Baharom has ordered the CID and the Cyber-Crimes Division to initiate investigations against writers that could spread lies against the country and bring them to the book.

Top blogger Rocky reported this issue.

This clearly implies that non-active social / political bloggers could be under the witch-hunt as well. This also means that we bloggers had to do whatever we can to stand up against this potential problem that is going to hit us to the sink.

I agree with Rocky's assessment. The manner in which Nat was taken - no proof, incorrect rules of engagement clearly implies that this would be the way that non-social political bloggers could be faced with this kind of impromptu engagement.

Here's the thing: The news might end up coming that late were it not for blogs. See my two part "Were It Not For Blogs" entries. There are clear occasions that media is indirectly indebted to the efforts of top bloggers who reported incidents with solid proof. Jeff has tons of evidence showing of the SMS spamming case. RPK has tons of evidences - solid proof - detailed in The Corridors of Power series.

If that is the case, bloggers will have hang on to each other for support if one gets accused.

What if they insisted that the actual truth is a lie? Are seeing another Umbridge thing?

Friday, July 13, 2007

How Will You Fight Bootlegging For This?

Maamor Osman, the head of the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia has called for the government to ban the movie Evan Almighty, the satire comedy of Noah's Ark - sequel to Bruce Almighty - from showing at our shores.

It is understood that the content of the movie has some moments that are deemed offending against the Malaysian Muslim community.

However, one main pro is against many contrasts:

  1. Black markers and scissors means censorship - and leads to more piracy.
  2. Some people want to watch but if that is banned, people will have to resort to bootlegging.
  3. We are still facing religious tensions from events such as the Lina Joy case and the raid of 4 banana leaf shops in and some groups are trying to make more of the ruckus from what we've recovered already. Add fuel to fire...
  4. It's just entertainment really. Why make the ruckus out of it?

Just shut up. Just put the notice "Not suitable for Muslim viewers" as how The Passion of Christ was shown. End of story...solve the problem...what more do they want?

Update: Rais: Review the movie first before calling the ban

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Dr. Rais Yatim has rapped the organization mentioned above for creating tension despite that the fact they have not seen the movie.

"If you have not seen the movie, I don't think you should create tension."

Punished For Ignorance

On Wednesday I went to watch movie Die Hard 4.0 with my friend, taking the advantage of every Wednesday low offer of $7 per ticket.

Interestingly while there are a plenty of jokes and running gags in the movie, the most amusing part is Kevin Smith's role in the movie - Star Wars geek, making lots of complaints, fuss and etc..you name it. I remembered that while Matt was held hostage by Mai, McClane crashes into the building driving a truck in a funny I'll Be Back gag as a nod to the Terminator movies.


But the main theme of why cyber-terror attacks that happened the movie is indeed is Bruce Willis' dig (his production company Cheyenne Enterprises) at the Bush administration. If you recall, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant - Mr. 47 in the upcoming Hitman movie) tried warning the high-ranking officials of the NSA of a potential terrorist strike post 9/11. Instead they ignored him and then stripped him of the dignity. The secrecy that the NSA practices infuriated Cyber Department FBI deputy director Bowman (Cliff Curtis)

This is indeed a wake up call that the Bush administration should take immediate action, but in the end it's the fat-pencil-pushing pigs in Washington that has the right to determine the fate of USA. When the fact that the U.S ignored the warnings and FEMA hit the fan and leaked out to the press, people got so angry that Bush's approval ratings hit low. And low it goes low and lower. This is the punishment for the ignorance. If we keep the kind of mindset, we will eventually be punished for our mistakes.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Parallels with The Potterverse

A posting at the Rules of Unreality Blog had something very interesting post of comparing Malaysia with the Potterverse (Harry Potter Mania.)

Interesting parallels:

Just consider the similarities...

In the Potterverse: People wave their magic wands and things levitate or disappear.

In our, er, Malaysiaverse: People wiggle their wands – which, so that we don’t forget them or leave them at home, are affixed to vehicle steering columns and called turn signals – and the cars in the next lane magically vanish.

We do the Potterverse one better: our magic wands have a twin on the other side of the steering column which when waggled furiously will cause vehicles in front of our own to disappear as well.

The usage of this secondary wand increases in direct proportion to the cost of the wielder’s vehicle, or his need to compensate for some other wand.

In the P-verse: Taking the wrong route can lead you to Knockturn Alley where strange and dangerous characters lurk, waiting for the opportunity to make sport of you.

In the M-verse: Taking the right route on your nocturnal travels can turn dangerous should the local Mat Rempit chapter decide that you look about right for an evening’s sport.

P-verse: The people are absolute fanatics about the game of Quidditch, yet at the World Cup they happily cheer on other nations’ teams, since their own lads don’t have a chance of making it.

M-verse: Ditto, only with football.

P-verse: They have banks run by goblins that keep their money safe.

M-verse: We have gobbling banks that keep our money. Next!

P-verse: JK Rowling is constantly worried about plot secrets leaking out to the public.

M-verse: JKR is constantly worried about public buildings springing a leak.

P-verse: The authorities employ shadowy figures called Dementors to enforce their will on those bearing the Dark Mark. The Dementor’s Kiss sucks all the joy out of living.

M-verse: The authorities employ unseen figures called the censors to enforce their will, bearing black markers and scissors. The censor’s touch sucks all the joy out of reading.

P-verse: Large buses squeeze through impossible spaces and zip along the streets at breakneck speeds with no regard for traffic regulations or other road users.

M-verse: This is really a bit of a no-brainer, isn’t it?

P-verse: Although the wizarding world is seemingly a nicely integrated place, there are numerous closet bigots (and some not so closeted) who place great emphasis on the difference in status among purebloods, half-breeds and mudbloods. Not to mention the “lowly” house-elves.

M-verse: Abre los ojos. That’s not a spell, it’s Spanish for “open your eyes”. Which was also the title of a movie; and one that, like its remake Vanilla Sky, contained themes of self-induced reality-warping mental delusions, among other things.

P-verse: In HP and the Order of the Phoenix, Ministry of Magic appointee Dolores Umbridge steadfastly refuses to teach Hogwarts’ students any practical lessons in Defence Against the Dark Arts. After all, the so-called return of You-Know-Who is just a fabrication of the media-hungry Harry to advance his reputation. Knowing the theory and conforming to the rules (her rules) are what school is all about, she insists.

M-verse: Schools could do a more thorough job of equipping students with the street smarts necessary to face the harsh realities of life ... but then, such “harsh realities” are just an invention of the hungry media to sell more papers or attract a bigger audience. At least that’s the theory held by some.

P-verse: In times of dire need, the Patronus charm is invoked, its incantation of “Expecto patronum” drawing forth a mystical shield against harm.

M-verse: In times of dire need, the Petronas charm is invoked, its incantation of “Extracto petroleum” drawing forth a fiscal shield against ruin.

Birthdays Galore



July 10.....

Happy Birthday to Dad, a friend of mine, and my Technical Director

Today.

Happy Birthday Auntie Pauline

Tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Mr. Francis...

That's Birthday galore.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sights and Sounds - St. John's

I went to visit another La Sallian school today - St. John's in K.L and I noticed that the architecture, despite being similar to what's in St. Michael's is totally different.

Few notices:

1) All buildings are interconnected to one another, especially the Brother's quarters.
2) Floor tiling is rather different. The main wing's floors are of ceramic instead of cement for our school's main wing.
3) The chapel is actively used unlike ours which is laid for a dormant time.

As I've said - ceramic floors on the main wing and the classroom.



If you look at the structures, it is quite close to each other and interestingly, a reserved forest is just ahead of the second picture.


There's a scout-built post at the rain-forest edge, but I didn't have time to take one.

Time For Vigilantism?

A South Korean hotel management student died today after 10 days in the hospital after being attacked by a road-bully in front of his house in Kelana Jaya.

The irony here is that one of Malaysians killed them with a golf-stick - the same weapon that the Sultan of Johor once allegedly did against a golf caddy - a big saga which led to the amendment of the Royal Immunity in 1993.

This killing is prompting foreigners to reconsider taking up the Malaysia program as the second home. It happened at Diaman Crimson Condos. And the killer is on the run.

Perhaps it is time for citizens to arm themselves with handguns as a tool of defense. Such thing as this is a life-threatening scenario and you need a gun as the last resort.

For this purpose, handguns should be considered but with strict control to prevent its misuse. Injuring the attacker's kneecap or leg would be good measure to buy you sufficient time to get out of the mess.

A 1911 or a small revolver is sufficed. But potential license bearers should be required to go for a mandatory course on gun-usage and something else before being certified as sane bearer of arms.

I Need A Vacation - Not!!!!

The initial plan on Saturday hit a snag. My friend Edmund could not make it to the morning appointment as he had some last minute training to do.

My car had some acceleration and carbon problems so I decided to have a nice drive down to Seremban to smoothen the acceleration and remove its problems. Though it took me about less than 3 hours to drive back and forth.

I decided that was the best place to go rather than traveling further down to Alor Gajah or Melaka town as I need to be back home later on. So, on the way, I bought some baked pork buns (siew pau) and went for the famous Seremban fish ball noodles.

The cost of living in Seremban is quite as close to Ipoh, but the population is spread apart and not as well structured as Ipoh. Anyhow, it's worth for lunch and breakfast.

Here's a shot of the shop I went for the noodles.


After meal, I went for one more errand before going back. I was so tired that I decided to take a nap. I thought it would be a one hour nap or so but surprisingly, I woke up at 8 plus. I didn't go out. Just had some own dinner that I've prepared and back to bed again until in the morning.

If there's a time you need a very good sleep, it's definitely Saturday or Sunday, depends.


Robots In Disguise

On Friday, I wanted to watch Die Hard 4.0 with my schoolmate of mine. I was sure that I could get tickets for the show. I tried to call him many times to let him know that we can get tickets and ask him to come to town. Unfortunately, he was asleep and by the time I am at the counter, it was too late. The 8.30 tickets are selling out and rather than waiting for him, I decided to watch Transformers..something that he had already watched.


Of course I know that Michael Bay's films tend to be more of a crowd-pleaser, putting in tons of set-pieces into a thin-wafer plot. This too happens in his previous movie The Island. The two guys, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci - the guys who wrote Alias and M:I3 - has sacrificed the film's narrative (I mean lack of depth) for those impressive set pieces. The cliche is there...big war between to factions entwined with a kids story of Sam and Mikaela...and what?

Given that Bay did tons of action films, The Rock remains his best of the lot. He could have matched "Iron Jim" Cameron in terms of creating blockbusters, but he still lacks the capability of Iron Jim did. I remembered that Iron Jim was handling three fronts of a movie - writing, producing and directing his movies. He has total control over all aspects as Kubrick, Lucas and Coppola would do in their prime period. The auteur period. But since this movie has Steven Spielberg as the exec. producer, you got no problems getting the financial need to produce this heavy-effects laden movie. $150 million . But Iron Jim is different. He is the first guy to have his movies breaking the budget at that time. When True Lies hit out, it was the first film to break the $100 million budget -final was $120. When Titanic came out, it hit the $200 million budget and made 5 times back the amount.

T2 remains the best of Cameron's movies because of one reason, a sensible balance of narrative and set-pieces. Narrative should come first. If there's lack of narrative progression, how can you call that a good B+ or an A grade movie? Not many people love art-house movies. Before T2 came out, no one has ever heard or seen the infamous insane T-1000 suicide jump to the storm drain to chase a kid.

The idea of having Transformers on the big screen was the idea of Tom DeSanto - the walking "Marvel Encyclopedia". Okay, and weeks before the show is released, Mike Bay asked everyone from his website of one question: "Should I release it on the 3rd or the 4th?" Of course producers would agree of having it out on the 3rd because it generates more money on the 4th. People want to relax on the 4th, right? Uber producer Mario Kassar (Total Recall, Rambo, Basic Instinct) was also right. He was sure that T2 would be out on July 3 1991. He had the date locked in. So, there was a frantic scramble of completing T2 from May 1990 until its release date. He hit that right.


Of course fans are quite happy that the legendary Peter Cullen reprises his role as Optimus Prime in the movie. He's the only guy who can do that signature voice of Prime. The worst of the cast would be John Turturro "Mr. Barton Fink". I find it like an attempt to re-enact a modern General Curtis LeMay or another Buck Turgidson - he indeed behaves like Turgidson. Of course there's humor peppered along the way and Bernie Mac's cameo remains the most humorous of all the comic-relief scenes in the movie.

Pottermania?

Coming the next two weeks is Pottermania. Hitting back to the town after a 18 month hiatus, Order of The Phoenix is hitting out next Thursday. The interesting thing though is that the thickest book in the series becomes the shortest length feature of the series - just 138 minutes! But the initial reviews find that the narrative still lacks of depth but Ron and Neville - the supporting characters are beefed up tremendously in the film.

After that, 21st..midnight GMT - final book is out. A lot of people are asking what will happen to Harry at the end?...who are the two other main characters to be killed off? What are the last words of the book..blah..blah. But I find that the timing is a little bit off. Maybe it is best to put the book release date to say September and let the film finish playing in the cinemas. The tension is there.

A shame though that IMAX KL never plans to release films that has IMAX 3D feature in it. A lame move by the management. DIGI, especially Morten Lundal will need to take the initiative rather than losing this to Singapore. People will rant why Singapore has films with IMAX 3D feature but not in Malaysia. Digi IMAX has screwed Superman Returns and this feature. But it is beyond IMAX America control of determining what is to be shown or not. If you don't have this, what's the point of setting up IMAX in KL? In 2008, The Dark Knight - sequel to Batman Begins has 4 segments shot in the 15-perf IMAX camera. If this is never shown, too bad really.

The Proof of Hegemony on Earth Eco.

Ex-US vice president turned climate campaigner Al Gore called the U.S led global warming initiative as a sham - calling the initiative as the Potemkin Village initiative.

Quote:

The United States and Australia refused to ratify Kyoto, claiming the mandatory pollution cuts would threaten economic growth and that excluding large developing nations, such as China and India, from meeting targets did not make sense.

Instead, Washington and Canberra created the Asia Pacific Partnership with China, India, South Korea and Japan in 2005 with the aim of tackling climate change through cleaner energy technologies without sacrificing economic development.

These nations make up almost half the world's greenhouse gas emissions. South Korea and Japan have also ratified Kyoto.

Gore said the United States "has the greatest opportunity to provide leadership in the world and the strongest economy and have contributed the most to the problem thus far, even though China is going to probably surpass the United States."

"The way to get China involved is for the United States to join the rest of the world community," he said.

Chomsky was right. The U.S will never agree to certain clauses stated in the international protocol, particularly the current Kyoto. Only those in the corridor of powers would do that.

In the previous article that I've mentioned, The Show of Hegemony, the United States intends of being the undisputed superpower in the world. To do this it no longer relies on exertion of models, but through being a model, but being a model has its own bad rear.

Gore mentioned that in order to do so, the U.S must show its good head to the world, as a perfect model. A varsity athlete. However there are things that the U.S simply takes things for granted like refusing to agree to the Kyoto protocol and the leak case of ignoring certain clauses of a certain document.

The hegemony times beginning with the Wilson administration is firing back at those people in the corridors of power. People are no longer listening to the official facts from the government. Spector speaks the truth - the French are the kind of guys that can come out with plenty of conspiracy theories such as 9/11 was deliberately setup by the U.S themselves.

Maybe this is a sign that the crown of governments will start to tarnish.

"Yesterday we obeyed kings and bowed our necks to emperors. But today we kneel only to truth." - Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Manner Schnitten Wafers

If there's one thing that is my current desert, it's not cakes. It's just chocolate.

They say that dark chocolate is good for health, particularly your heart. But don't eat it often.

Currently, the chocolate that I'm taking would be the CAMIOR chocolate locally made by Beryls.

But the one I am looking forward is the Manner Schnitten Wafers.

History:

“Chocolate for everyone”
This was Josef Manner’s motto when he founded the confectionery dynasty in 1890. At the time, chocolate was a luxury item. One kilogram of chocolate cost the equivalent of two day’s work for the average labourer.
Interestingly it is also the favorite snack of 'Governator' Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you recall a scene in Terminator 3, he takes his favorite Manner Schnitten wafer into the shopping cart.

And just in case if you forget, here's the snippet where Manner Schnitten is seen. (after 21 secs)


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Were It Not For Blogs...Part 2

Continuing from yesterday's entry, Were It Not For Blogs...Part 1.

Scenario 2:

Screenshots blogger Jeff Ooi posted a 14-part series of the SMS Scam - and lambasted the MCMC - the Multimedia Commission for its failure to act against the repeated offenders, one company namely was a content provider company called Macrokiosk Limited.

On May 30, Screenshots posted a report that a woman under the herring of Jonathan Wong was spammed by Macrokiosk about 210 times in the period of 17 days. The NCCC was aware of the case as reported by Screenshots.

The chronology of the SMS scam is here:

However the newspapers only pick up the cue about two weeks later.

Under the pressure of complaints by consumers, Macrokiosk acted after receiving the complaint. On June 12, they started refunding to clients who were charged without consent.

Goh said customers – whether prepaid or post-paid users – were refunded after the short codes were suspended.

According to statistics given by Goh, 448 customers were affected and the refunds to them amounted to RM1,103.20.

“However, the total loss in potential revenue for us amounted to slightly over RM1mil due to the suspensions,” he added.

Goh said this proved that there was no reason why the company, which had interests in 10 countries, would want to scam customers.

He said the suspensions of three short codes 33380, 36116 and 36226 had already been lifted by MCMC while the fourth, 32400, would be lifted soon.

He also said that in all three instances, SMS continued to be sent to customers, although they had asked for it to stop, because of technical glitches.

Goh added that the company processed more than one million SMS a day and as with any industry, there were bound to be glitches or bugs.

The total amount they had to refund was about $1000. However, they were hit heard with a $1 million loss due to the suspension slapped by the MCMC

Monday, July 2, 2007

Were It Not For Blogs...Part 1

I asked myself over the last two days whether it is we bloggers are the ones that brought some of the interesting things that we speak online / blogs to the attention of the prime media and as well as some of the government people.

I don't have a good answer to explain this but the prime media and the government took cue from us to report the news to the other people who do not have computers at all.

Here's one or two examples:

Scenario 1:

Raja Petra Kamaruddin (Malaysia Today) posted a series of blogs which forms part of the series: "The Corridors of Power", in June. Part 1 of the story: All Roads Lead To Putrajaya, dated June 3 has some interesting revelations which was shared today.

Today's Star paper article: Top anti-vice cops moved out

An interesting extract from the article refers to RPK's article:

Sources said that one of the kingpins in the state is a self-proclaimed Tengku involved in gambling and prostitution.

They said the local police had been unable to shut down his operations as he was well connected and protected.

“His syndicate has also warned policemen that they will be removed if they tried to interfere in his operations,” sources said.

Sources said that Bukit Aman tried to shut down his operations during a major operation against his gambling network in March when they raided two houses in Taman Sentosa and Taman Puteri in Kulai.

“In the simultaneous raids, special teams from police headquarters arrested 17 people and recovered more than two dozen fax machines taking in bets amounting to millions of ringgit,” the source said, adding that despite this, the “Tengku” is back in business.

The self-proclaimed Tengku is known as the underworld kingpin of the southern state of Johor. Please read the first article - "All Roads..." for the better elaboration of RPK's commentary of that.

Part 2 of the series: The Roaches Are Scurrying and The Rats Are Hurrying dated June 9 actually points out of IGP Musa Hassan's allegation that he has establish connections with the Chinese underworld.

However the response of the article came in three weeks later in the wake of the increase rate of crime in the southern state of Johor. Yesterday, the article written by RPK reached the attention of the DPM Najib Razak.

Quote from The Star dated yesterday, July 1:

The Deputy Prime Minister’s office will find out more details on allegations that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan accepted bribes and of his alleged involvement with underworld figures.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he was not aware of the postings on a website involving the country’s top police officer.

“I don’t know about the allegations. Let me check,” he told reporters after attending the ground-breaking ceremony of the Universiti Malaysia Pahang’s permanent campus in Kuala Pahang, near here, yesterday.

On Saturday, Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom was quoted by a local Malay daily as having said that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) was free to investigate Musa over the allegations.

RPK's article in Part 2 writes that Deputy Internal Minister Johari Baharum was a sacrificial lamb or being blame boy of receiving $5.5 million in bribes in pressuring the release of three suspected underworld figures held under the Emergency Ordinance Act.

I asked myself a few times whether it is we that should deserve the credibility and acknowledgment for doing our part to report truthfully, tactfully and more importantly accurately about things that people should know. Maybe it is time for the government to recognize the importance of blogging. I still asked myself whether there will be that bullshit recurring again - referring to the blogger classification thing that Uncle ZAM said before.

Next: The SMS Spam

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Revy Two Hands Does A Terminator

One of the Black Lagoon episodes that my brother showed me - Moonlit Hunting Grounds has a very reference theme from the first Terminator film.

In the first film, the Terminator crashes into the police station killing people in search for Sarah Connor - a target for termination.

In here, Revy Two Hands was given a job to start a ruckus as part of the distraction to recover a painting from the hands of the Aryan Socialist Union party people who was having a party on board the ship.

Screenshots of the episode is available here.

The few things I find it amusing:

  1. Dutch's conversation with the old SS man about the painting.
  2. The killing of people aboard by Revy Two Hands.
  3. Fritz Stanford's bragging - he should have shoot Revy on the spot.
  4. Charles Whitman reference. Killing people whenever he goes.

Tiring But A Worth Weekend

Yesterday was my colleague's wedding day so the first thing in morning was to get my car fixed. Initially I thought having to paint together the front bumper but the cost together with the repairs would be at around $300 plus after special price. I nixed the idea due to budgetary constraints but I told them that I would have it done in a few months time.

The next thing was to settle the damage due to the other guy's car. He was working downtown but he was on medical leave because he fractured his left arm - not severe though - as his arm was placed inside the spacing of the steering wheel when the accident happened.

Once it was done, I went to the hotel to get some rest. Parking was a concern. I decided not to park at those legit lots because of the cost. $6 for the whole day until 7 a.m the next day. But then at around 6 I parked across the other side of the main road at those City Council-legit spaces as it is free of charge from 6 until end of today.

One thing frustrating though was that the traffic condition was quite bad at around late afternoon. That is why I ditched the idea of driving to the restaurant and instead took a railway to the bus station. From the Pudu bus station, I walked all the way to the restaurant - it was next to Swiss Garden Hotel.

About 20 people of our company came. Mostly management people excluding Muslims - since it is a non pork-free premise. I guess I was the first two besides William, the finance manager arriving at the place first. Then it's my other colleagues coming. As a courtesy, the boss and those department heads showed up.

The dinner was just routine. Mostly it will only start at around 8.30 p.m. If the invitation card says that it's 7 p.m, then it will start at that time. I know, since the wedding dinner of my distant relative too starts at the same time, except the card mentions it as 7.30.


That's my colleague on my left as the bride, and Samuel as the bridegroom.

I was with Ong, the new tester, talking a few things including wine. Shame though that there's no white wine. It would go well with fish and seafood. So I hitched a ride with him taking through K.L - he's not that familiar since he's mostly from Kajang, a town about 15 kilometers south of the city center.

Even the room has an air-conditioner, I didn't use it at all, the fan was quite powerful and it's provides the humidity of the room. The checkout time is slightly earlier, 10 a.m. So I went for breakfast and decided to see if there is a room at my first place that I rented when I first started work in Kuala Lumpur. Thankfully, they still have it and I decided to get that place. The old landlady - a sister of my dad's friend - wanted some company since her daughter moved out two months ago.

I thought of going back there since the rate is cheap and this room is next to the one I used to go. It has an air-conditioner and a detached bathroom as well. Then in the afternoon, I had a meal with my cousin, who was asking help to get some songs online and creating an audio CD.

Quite tired really in the end, but it's worth the weekend.

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