Monday, April 28, 2008

IZ and ZI.....boys I know

I've known Iz and Zi for almost 3 months. Both are 13. Today they got into a fight. Iz hit Zi on his chest and the latter retaliated immediately, so a 'buku lima' landed squarely on the face. A scuffle ensued. The fight ended soon enough because of intervention. Anyway, when I look at these 2 kids, I am really at a loss of words. Both look normal enough but I think that's where normalcy as I know ends.

Iz stays with his sister...he doesn't know why he is not staying with his mom. Doesn't know where dad is. He is actually quite a cute boy but there is this one thing about him that irritates almost everyone who knows him. If there're people around, he'll be annoying them. Also, he has this defiant behaviour. I think he does it to gain attention. Point is he's always in trouble. And his eyes...they never stay focussed, always darting everywhere. When I talk to him, I sometimes get this feeling that he's treating it like a surreal thing..... as though he's in a game or something to that extent.

Zi is big for his age. He has just gone back to school after a hospital hiatus. Got himself there after a bad accident. This not so little guy is a 'Mat Rempit'. He is involved in motorcycle races...the last one didn't go as planned. His tyre burst and he ended up with his face flat on the asphalt road, a stone piercing through his mouth area, a couple of broken bones and lacerations all over. He was warded into the ICU. You can see that he is still in pain. But if you ask him whether he will race again, his answer is, "I don't know". His brother died, slamming himself into a cement lorry some two years back and little brother is now using his bike.

How do you make sense of such kids? We talk to them, advise them...they've been burnt, one almost lost his life...you'd think they'd wise up.

Anyway....both apologised, seemingly no hard feelings....for now.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

27 hours in Langkawi

Went to Langkawi on Thursday for a meeting. Early morning...did my usual stuff. Sent elder kid to school and told my little one to wait for me. Came back before she left for school and she had this little cute note...done hurriedly. Tis so like her.. Been more than 10 years since my last visit there. The group was quite big. A friend was kind enough to buy our tickets. In our group alone, there were 25 of us. There were others, travelling in different groups. Anyway, the journey started okay enough. But half an hour into the journey....the sea started to turn choppy and by the time we got to Langkawi, it was like this.The ride certainly got to most of us but after a getting to the hotel and a quick meal, we were off to town. After all, what else can you do in Langkawi? ...and we are no beach bums.One of the must get things...batik. And, no lack of choices here, though there seemed to be a lack of customers. I noticed that Langkawi was kinda quiet. In fact, there there were many 'abandoned' businesses. I guess times are not so good now.

The other thing that seemed to be a must get - chocolates! So many types, many of which are not available on the mainland. Just had to buy some. Difficult to resist! And when you are in a group, the herd mentality kicks in. I bought a few here and there. Didn't realise that combined, they were actually quite heavy! Some bought liquor...another favourite since it was cheap. Going back, at the immigration, can see some bargaining with the officers here and there, since we didn't stay the minimum 48 hours. Some kena taxed! Some managed to get through...so you get to see gleeful and disappointed faces!

The trip back was smooth, no more choppy waves as the weather was clear. But I was struck by the amount of luggage that each passenger was carrying. Everyone had so many bags, quite the opposite of the journey to Langkawi the day before. And another thing...we felt like packed sardines as the space on the ferry was so cramped. The ferry operators should really consider making the seating arrangements more comfortable.

All in all it was an ok trip...mainly so because I was so familiar with many of the people who went, good room mate, food also boleh tahan....plus I met up with an ex-colleague who was there for another meeting. It's good to have variety in our lives, breaks the monotony of things and lifts the spirit up a bit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The bully that we sometimes become...

Why do people bully? Bullying comes in different forms....physical, verbal, emotional...whatever form it takes, the person wants to be in control. And they bully for various reasons - show of power and to get what they want.

So what causes a person to be a bully? For starters probably insecurity about ownself. The show of power is basically just that - to show that you are in control. They come screaming, kinda shock and awe thing....very often not giving room for you to say anything. Then, they are gone. And why? I think basically there is this fear and pride about admitting that they are wrong.

The lack of respect for others and maybe to an extent ownself is another reason. It is also difficult to talk to a bully cos they will not engage in a dialogue, which is just too bad cos when you cannot dialogue, then you miss out on so many things in life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Space programme grounded...

No money...no goin to space. From today's The Star,
The country’s space programme looks to be as good as grounded. There is no money for the programme.
...maybe we can blast off again if we buy some more Sukhoi fighters.

This is one project which shouldn't have blasted off. Anyway, what good has it done for us? None of us is better off, except for Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Sheikh Shukor who got his moment of fame. Anyway, back sometime ago, many questioned the way the selection was concluded. Cos we could have sent one up into space cheaper...just sign up at one of those mushrooming space tourism companies. Virgin Galactic has a package that cost USD200K...much cheaper than Dr Sheikh Muszaphar's ride up. After all the hoo-hah, what have we to show? All the big talk ....and the space programme now is dead...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Taking a day off (a sabbatical) from technology…can you do it?

Ever realized how pervasive technology has become in our lives? Well, you could be a tech geek or internet addict or mobile phone thumber or all three. Compare this to the technologies of the 20th century like tv and radio, the latter still had room for some human contacts. While the 21st century technology has allowed connectivity at levels unseen and unfelt, it has also caused many of us to disengage from the real world.

I'd probably fit into the bill of a tech geek and an internet addict to an extent. I am one of the many who feel very restless when I don’t get online even for just a day. But for the past week, with the line down at work, despite the twitchy withdrawal symptoms, I was actually able to focus on my task at hand better. I took more pains to ensure that end product was of better quality and when I learnt something new, I didn’t rush through like I usually would….cos I would be thinking where I could go next on the internet, you see.

I think it would be good if we could take time off from technology. Take time to engage with the real world. Instead of logging on to see the latest offering on You Tube and then be numbed by it…do something meaningful with people, in the real sense, not in the virtual world. Things are a bit more impersonal online......you are veiled by the anonymity of a web user. Same thing goes for the mobile phone thumbers. Instead of becoming a slave to every call and sms that come in, take time to stay focus on the people or task at hand.

I think many of us use technology without realizing that it sometimes brings about negative effects on our lives, relationships, health and jobs. With so many reasons to go online or thumb sms(es), we often suffer from memory blackouts because of the overwhelming influx or maybe overload of information. Maybe if we sometimes make ourselves go for a sabbatical from the realm of technology, it’ll open up more quality life. My two sen……

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Math and Science in English, MOE to decide...yet again!

This is from The Star, Fri 18th April 2008.
Decision on Maths, Science after UPSR results

PUTRAJAYA: The decision on whether Science and Mathematics will continue to be taught in English will be made after the UPSR results are released at the end of the year.
Reason given…
Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the pupils who would be sitting for the examination in September are the cohort who started studying the two subjects in English from Year One in 2003.
Cannot understand why they have to make the decision whether to continue teaching Maths and Science in English. English is important. Period. Even in countries like South Korea where they have proudly hung on to their Korean language, efforts to teach Math and Science in English have recently taken a new vigour. They started using English only in selected schools in Seoul early this year.

In 2003 English was used as the medium of instruction for Maths and Science in Std One. Exam papers for both subjects then became bilingual, meaning students who wanted to answer in English were allowed to. This year the papers are supposed to be in English only but they have since then backtracked - papers will remain bilingual still. 6 years down the road, our MOE is still coming out with statements like the above. Seems to me like every now and then they keep doing the same thing.

Face it! English is the language of science and technology. The inability of our younger generation to communicate well in English has already rendered us less competitive. While the rest of the world are pushing for English to be used more extensively, our politicians keep coming out with statements which seem to stoke their perceived importance about themselves. It's that sort of feudal mentality that still plagues many of our politicians. We should stop making such retrogressive statements and push forward. Our graduates are already at a disadvantage. The lack of English is already causing a whole generation to become ‘katak di bawah tempurung’ where knowledge is concerned. How can they keep up with the expansion and changes in the world today if they are made ‘cacat’ by their lack in the lingo of technology?

Times dictate that a change is required. We have already made that change…now time to move on and make sure that change benefits the country. 30 years of ‘politicking’ has already negated our English language advantage. Continue this and we’ll probably lose whatever we have left.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Good News For Civil Servants

  1. Retirement age extended to 60 (bet those who want to extend but just retired must be saying..."Aiseh") Anyway, it's good to continue working as research has shown that more people die within the first few years after retirement. Ever heard of the phrase 'die of boredom'?
  2. No more PTK (yay!!) for those not in the know, PTK is this exam and/or kursus which you have to attend and pass. IMHO it wastes lots of money and take the civil servants away from the more important task...be at work!
  3. Reinstatement of critical and housing allowances (lower rung civil servants actually only get a paltry sum!)
  4. Pension payment based on one's actual years of service. Those who upgraded themselves by studying and then be promoted into a higher scale must be really overjoyed. This means a substantial difference. Finally some justice for this group of people. Good for them!
Cuepecs did ask for an honorarium of 2K but was not given....it's ok-lah, considering the civil servants were given a hefty pay rise last year!

Guess this will also be on hold, huh?










Updates:
Seems the extended retirement age, tak jadi yet. Shortlived joy. 8(
Government still studying it...in a positive way. Kerajaan masih menimbangkan.....

From Planet Kambing....an old friend

Tis so sweet, this piece an old friend has written for our lil rainbow. Thanks....

Today is one of those days where one thing after another just keeps piling up...but there were good moments too, like dinner with the girls.

Just have to keep trusting God will see me through. Strikes me that people don't adapt to change so easily or how quick we react to things that don't go our way. Life is how we choose to live it. Things will pass eventually, just that when we are in the midst of it, we may feel that it will last forever. Bad times don't last, but tough people do....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Enjoy them before their growing pains get to you too!!

Other half was digging through our collection of tapings of our kids and came out with this which brings back a tremendous amount of fond memories. I've watched and 're-watched' it again and again. 8) Kids are always adorable and lovable when they are young...guess God made it this way so that they'll have every chance of survival.

Having one kid who has just scrapped past the mid-teens and a little one really shows the contrasting difference of the 2 different growth stages. And watching the little video clip just simply reminded us that our elder one used to be that adorable too...it's very difficult to remember that point these days since sunny and stormy days seem to be interspersing each other so regularly. Sometimes, when stormy days make their appearances too often, you tend to forget that there were; not too long ago; many happy and sunny days......no wonder, the growing pains label.

Parents with young kids....you should enjoy your young ones....and remember those moments...believe me, they will help tie you over those difficult moments...in the coming years! 8)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And now they say all must buckle up!!

Word has it that rear safety belts will be made mandatory soon...if I heard correctly, probably by June this year. I think it is a timely move cos it is a life-saving measure. Problem is I think we are not quite ready. At the behest of other half who made a very good observation a week ago, I started to observe the drivers on the road. Guess what! More than 50% of the front seat people in cars don't buckle up! As I was stuck at a roundabout, I decided to do a little random survey. Of the 21 cars which passed me (either direction), 17 of them DID NOT wear their safety belts. And this law has been there so long......

This was taken just the other day as I was coming back from town. Dad is 'helmeted'. Kid had no protection whatsoever. Malaysians generally still take issues related to safety on the road very lightly.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time stands still in KL, people frozen

From The Star (14th April 2008)
About 1,000 people converged at the shopping complex to take part in KL Freeze in Unison, the city’s first major "freeze" project, where participants were required to stop moving from 3.35pm to 3.39pm.


Apparently this was organized to show that Malaysians can get together and do something in unison. It's just one of those things that they promote through Facebook....just put it out and the people show up. It's just that simple. Doesn't take much to convince people to show up. Sounds like herd mentality at work...what is there to stop people gathering together to do something really stupid also? The things that people will do these days. Just amazes me.

Mee Suah...with friends

Yesterday night was a fun night...it's been a while since we did that, a few families get together to makan and just enjoy each other's company. Food with friends is always extra nice. Nice food with nice friends.....priceless! And memories are made of these.

We had mee suah...it's a dish traditionally taken during birthdays, births basically to symbolize long life and prosperity among the Fuchows. People eat mee suah in different ways... me, being a fuchow usually eat mee suah with the red ang-chiu. We gathered at a good friend's place who also is a great cook. Being invited to have a 'makan' at her place is always a treat and something we look forward to.

Anyway, another nice way of eating mee suah is just to eat it dry....just add garlic oil into it. No need to add anything else. The taste is great and goes down well with kids.

We also had it the typical Fuchow way, with red wine. And you can tell that it is nice when friends who were having it for the first time took second helpings. 8) But not to the kids-lah..since young taste buds these days are more sohisticated or maybe just plain 'westernized'.

Good food...great company....this is indeed one of life's blessings.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Projek Kereta Api Laju, Ladang Babi and Radio Airtime

Just to remind myself of the bigots, smooth and sweet talkers = politicians who change like chameleons but finally show their true colours. From Utusan Malaysia Online 13th April, 2008, the headline was Projek Keretapi Laju KL-Singapura dibantah, so got interested and read. No mention of any keretapi laju but lots of references to the MB of Selangor giving kata putus dua to FM Selangor about giving the State Government air time so they can inform the people programmes being carried out.

Anyway, some excerpts. It starts like this....from Utusan Malaysia Online.

BN Gahmen don't want to give airtime, so Selangor State Gahmen tells them off...
NILAI 12 April - Kementerian Penerangan mengarahkan Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) yang mengendalikan Radio Selangor FM supaya mengosongkan pejabatnya di Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (SSAAS), Shah Alam secepat mungkin, selepas diberi kata dua oleh kerajaan Selangor.
he (the Minister of Info) says it's not true
Menurutnya, dakwaan Abdul Khalid mengatakan Radio Selangor FM sengaja tidak mahu memberi ruang kepadanya adalah tidak benar kerana tiada syarat seumpamanya.
So after waiting, the MB gave ultimatum..

Semalam, Abdul Khalid dilaporkan memberi amaran kepada Selangor FM sama ada memenuhi permintaan kerajaan negeri untuk ke udara satu jam seminggu atau berpindah daripada pusat pentadbiran kerajaan negeri di bangunan itu.

Amaran itu diberikan selepas pengurusan Selangor FM gagal memberi jawapan terhadap permintaannya yang mahu slot satu jam setiap minggu untuk menerangkan program kerajaan negeri walaupun pertemuan sudah diadakan dua minggu lalu.

then very angry and 'beh-kam-buan' words..from Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek
"Macam hari ini apabila dia ada kuasa, dia menggunakan RM100 juta untuk babi, maka dia tunjukkan dengan menghalau keluar mana-mana agensi Kerajaan Persekutuan daripada bangunan itu, yang bukan dibina atas hasil usahanya," katanya.
The rant and rave continued to the end of the article...I thought the 'ladang babi' was approved under the previous gahmen. The way our politicians behave, it's as though we depend on their benevolence, like they are feudal lords.

Anyway, where did the 'kereta api laju' news go? It was so super fast that it disappeared before they could write about it? ....8(

Updates from Malaysiakini.....Anwar Ibrahim has this to say
"We didn't hear much about this (Malay rights) issue last month or before the elections. I believe their intentions are to divert the attention of everyone," said Anwar.

He said that instead of the ‘Ketuanan Melayu' concept, the more important cause is ‘Ketuanan Rakyat'.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Non Malays Should Not Seek Equality

Compare this prince to another prince...Raja Nazrin. Unity? How is it achievable with a stand like this? And also, who are we then to pass judgement or even comment on countries where abuses of rights abound? Own backyard also not cannot 'jaga' properly. This is still another form of apartheid. What is so wrong with equality? Doesn't mean that one will be discriminated. Is this another admission that the 'tongkat' is needed to prop the Malays? For once, I think we should stop drawing divisive lines among Malaysians and move on so that we can become a greater nation. Anyway, this post by SEAN-THE-MAN has some quite interesting facts about the social contract signed so many decades ago...the one which gave birth to our (my) country, Malaysia.

From Malaysiakini
Tengku Faris: Non-Malays should not seek equality

Andrew Ong | Apr 12, 08 2:10pm

Kelantan Crown Prince Tengku Faris Petra said today that Malays had been coerced into giving non-Malays citizenship and the latter should therefore not seek equality or special treatment.
He said this during his keynote speech at a forum titled “Malay unity is the core of national unity” organised by the newly formed Barisan Bertindak Perpaduan Melayu in Kuala Lumpur today.
Speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 people, Tengku Faris said the Malay rulers would be an umbrella to foster unity among all Malaysians, based on the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara.
“Therefore, the rakyat must unite and never raise issues regarding Malay rights and special privileges because it is a quid pro quo in gratitude for the giving in of citizenship (beri-paksa kerakyatan) to 2.7 million non-Malays into the Tanah Melayu federation.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Blogging ... Great Teaching Tool

Just realized that today is a month since I started blogging. Personally, the last 4 weeks of blogging has been quite fun and also an eye opening experience. People blog for various reasons but one of the things I have realised is the power of the blogs. It educates in direct and subtle ways. And it's a great way to learn cos we learn from other people's experiences.

There are those of us who blog for monetary gains....(there is nothing wrong with that), then there are also those who blog as an outlet of emotions...believe me, blogs are a great way to monologue 8), blog also enables us to reach out to others and share our experiences with others, avoid the same pitfalls....and blogs also create awareness in each and everyone of us on issues that matter to us.

I've always encouraged my kids to blog...I think writing is a great way of provoking ourselves to think. We live in an age where we are too busy to think. We stop caring when we stop thinking...I believe in that. The thing is when we write our thoughts on a piece of paper, it stops there. But when we blog, there are possibilities...things can get moving because there is an audience. It takes two to tango...'tepuk sebelah tangan tak berbunyi' and because of that action takes place. And another thing is when you blog, there are gratifications....they need not be just monetary gains, more often than never, just being acknowledged is also good enough. And today, I think that effect is felt by my son. After reading about Hannah Yeoh's piece on the Angsana Flats, I talked to him about what he could do for his class project since he had to do a comparison study. So this afternoon he wrote his piece, published it... when you do a search, his post was in the first list.

Photoshop Express...an online experience

Read about Photoshop Express a little while back but didn't really pay much attention to it since I figured that since I won't be doing much of photo editing online. But other half came back said yesterday night that he was quite impressed by it and asked me to try it, which I did early this morning.

The verdict: It's a great offering from Adobe. And the online version doesn't feel like a stripped or dumbed-down application cos basically it does what most of us want. Will the offline version be affected by this? Don't think so, cos basically that one is for the pros. If anything it might even help to reduce the sale of the pirated versions.

Anyway, the ease of use plus the speed at which a task can be completed is quite impressive. You can crop, do auto correction, touch up, do the red eye removal thing and there are even some effects or filters you can play with. Also they have the other stuff like Share Album, Slide Show...enough features for most users. I tried editing a photo...took at random a pic from my computer. At 2.6MB, uploading was quite fast...took less than a minute. The site took a slightly longer time to prepare the upload for editing though. The only thing is I can't seem to find the info on the size of the photo. But all in all, Photoshop Express is quite good.....but then again there is also Photobucket which is also very good.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fish Tank...aquascaping, anyone??

My 7-year-old gal just posted in her blog about her aquarium. Come next month it would a year old....and in the last (almost) one year, I have learnt quite a bit about this hobby. I have always been into rearing fish...when my brothers and I were kids, we had aquariums and fish tanks at home. We even dreamt of converting our little compound outside the house into a mini pond, to which my mom vehemently protested. Never 'jadi' of course. So, I thought I'd introduce it to my kids, since we enjoyed it so much.

When I got the tank last year, my frame of mind was still in the old mindset. Aquarium=fish + some deco. That's about it. Maklumlah...I have been living in a small 'city'....so not much exposure.

Did some surfing to look for ideas...and was pleasantly brought to stuff like aquascaping (this is an entry for 2007 AGA Aquascaping Contest which I like).... aquariums can be really beautiful with the real stuff, not the plastics. Was so enamoured with the idea that both daughter and mother would scout all the pet shops for plants.

The aquarium has gone through a few cycles...at one time, all the plants almost became extinct. Didn't know that water plants can be quite sensitive...they can actually melt. And when there is not enough CO2, they also die. Learnt that they have all these gadgets for serious buffs, stuffs like CO2 dispenser and all kinds of liquids that you can put inside to enhance your plants as well as your fish.

It's nice to just look at the fish and plants. Helps one to relax. And the best part is, me and my gal have something fun to do together! And that beats everything!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nature vs Nurture....parenting, the perennial headache

Some findings from a research with mice done at Uni of Wisconsin-Madison…..and its connection with the human world. One of the purposes is to gain insights on child neglect, its causes and effects.
Findings…
  1. Negligent parents seems to have genetic and non genetic influences.
  2. Good mice (those that nurture the kids) took care of their pups. Neglectful mice nursed for a day or two but then parental care ceases. This indicates that biological factor has a role.
  3. Then the researchers took the pups of 2 sets of parents; the good and neglectful parents and put them with another set of good mothers. Findings: The good mothers cared for foster pups from the other good mother but some became more neglectful of the foster pups from the neglectful parents….in some cases the good mothers would scatter those pups from the neglectful parents. This suggests a lack of positive response or a negative responsefrom those second set of pups. And that parenting is also affected by the response of the kids.
  4. Finally when the pups were all grown….some of the neglectful parents did successfully raise some of the pops born of nurturing mothers but lasting effects were seen such as low body weight and hyperactivity. And when they become parents themselves…they are more likely to become neglecting parents.

Back into the human world, it has been shown that parental care is also a motivated, reward-related behaviour. Parents become more motivated when children 'motivate' or 'reward' them in various ways. Sometimes child neglect in humans could be because of the lack of reward of their children to the parent.

We often hear of children gone astray and very often our first response would be the parents must be really bad. The point here is, sometimes it is not due to the parents that a child goes bad. Sometimes, it is actually the child him/herself who is the reason….negative cues and lack of positive cues are contributing factors. But when a child whose parents do care fail in life, it is a tragedy…because the world is laid before them…only that they fail to see it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Amazing....!!

"Diam diam ubi berisi"....it is a Malay saying which basically means don't judge a book by it's cover..err something like that! Anyway, I just saw this video clip on Oprah. It's a rather old clip taken last year during the Britain's got Talent show. It is just like American Idol and also had Simon Cowell as it's judge.

This clip features a middle-aged handphone salesman who thinks he has talent..watch it and I think you would also be amazed as I am.


What do you think? He has talent?

A day made brighter...




These came two evenings ago....a total surprise but a really pleasant one, from the girls (Sarah, Letchumi, Ummu, Rachel, Aimi...) who were in the debate. Thanks for your thoughtfulness and encouragement ....couldn't have been more apt of a time....It's moments like these which really can make one's day..... and yes!!! We enjoyed the cakes 8)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Math Prodigy okay with her life

Suffiah finally speaks. She likes her life now because she says she is in control. She has no regrets about doing what she does now and is adamant about continuing her current 'career'.

Guess when you try make sense of your life and the whole process becomes too much that you hit a wall, you finally come up with answers that somehow fit into your own bigger or is it smaller picture. I mean we enshrine freedom of rights these days...so who am I to say that what she espouses is not right, right?? Yet, I am appalled that a supposedly intelligent girl can come to this...a state whereby she sells her body and says that she feels good about it. I mean, to come to this stage of bartering flesh for goods?? True, being smart doesn't mean that you make smart decisions.

I was reading this post in thecicak and realise how similar the line of thoughts are in these two people. One thing I find disturbing though is what used to be wrong is now justified as 'right'....of how we try justify everything. The gray areas are becoming bigger and sometimes I wonder whether we will be overwhelmed by it...that the downfall of man is due to his own inability to discriminate between the right and wrong.....

One of the greatest empires of all time was the Roman Empire. At its height, all roads in Europe supposedly led to Rom. Yet the decline of this great empire was finally not so much the doing of others but their own doing...their decadent lifestyle. If an empire falls...it's usually due to it being conquered....in Rom's case...it just declined. Some historians placed the decadent lifestyle of the emperor and Roman citizens as one of the main causes of its decline...just my two sen

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Environmental Disaster...and my small world

These I gleaned from here and there:
  1. 21st century - 6.6 billion humans on this earth
  2. Mid 21st century - expected to reach 9 billion
  3. Kyoto Protocol - ratified but generally regarded as failed (America failed to play her part and they forgot to include China and India in it)
  4. In the meantime....the population is exploding and lifestyle everywhere has 'improved' (for the people) but not the environment.
  5. Earth's resources are being stretched to the limit. (what do you expect with its almost 7 billion earthlings clamouring to survive?)
  6. Bio fuels touted as environmental friendly are actually not that friendly after all...seems only biofuel from sugarcane counts. Swaths of jungles in the Amazon are cleared even as I type this. Gone are our carbon stores???
  7. Polar ice caps may be gone in my lifetime. (Dread to imagine the kind impact it would have)
Scary....

Reminded of the flood we went through back in 2005. No rain cos the actual rain was in Thailand but the water just came..up and up in went. Within a day, the water came up to the waist in some of the areas in the housing estate. Some of the kampung houses nearby were almost submerged because they were lower...


As the water receded...the mud that was left behind. The cleaning up began...

Flood with no real rain....


We went without power for almost a week cos the TNB sub-stations had to dry out first. On the second day of the flood...water supply went off cos the pump house had gone under the water...Ironic cos we had so much water around but none, clean!

And the biggest joke was while the rest of the town was dry...ours was one of those few flooded. They had all these huge storm drains built...those drains were quite empty cos when they built it they forgot to build a big enough exit pipe to drain all those water from our housing estate. So we sat like New Orleans...all the water in a bowl, but no where to go. It was only a year later that they dug out the whole thing to replace it with a bigger pipe. Cooling off period so that people don't remember???

Anyway, back on track, what kind of environmental challenges will we be up to? Solutions - I think it's no longer up to just one country. Has to be collective. The world I live in and the world of my parents are no longer the same. We are too interconnected...kinda depressing in a way!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

75 million SMSes per day for Celcom

Statistics:
Work it out:
Each customer is supposed to send out 10 SMS a day and/or spend RM1.30 per day on their phone.
Last year's amount for reloads per day stood in the region of RM4.5 million. There has been a two-fold jump in revenue for the telco.

I have a mobile but I don't send out 10 SMS...but I know SMS is a lifestyle for the young. I wonder whether anyone has done any research on social impact of mobile phones on the youngsters. I am sure the impact is quite big. These days when you see the young, you see them clutching their phone(s), quite often busy texting away...I am certain it does eat into their lives...one way or the other.

It seems Maxis has about 10 million subsribers while Digi has about 6.5 million subscribers. Is it safe to assume that the amount reloaded a day is close to RM25 million or that the number of SMS sent is over 200 million. Mind boggling, isn't it? .... Now if only they have statistics as to who the main users are.

Life is uncomplicated when you are 7...

My little girl started blogging today. She has been so caught up by the idea of blogging and we decided to encourage her. So, today, early morning...we took her to the market. She was armed with a camera...and snapped away she did. Came back, dad helped her set up the blog...ma helped with the spelling. For her it was something really fun. By afternoon when she found out that HL had put her on her list of favourite sites in her blog, it was sheer ecstasy. She was running up and down the stairs with such infectious glee. And she even requested that we put in that page with the pictures, etc, like the one her kor-kor has....(read that as Google Analytics)

At this age life is so uncomplicated. Simple things in life can bring such joy...In the afternoon, she decided to blog about her 2 favourite stuffed toys...more photo sessions and then she published it. By then she could manage her own account already. Photo editing still needed dad's help. And because of that, she has been feeling so happy the whole of today....and lil kids can love so unconditionally...she loves her toy dogs and they follow her to sleep every night.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Of Khalwat and the non-Muslim in Malaysia

The Appeal Judge of Syariah Court, Datuk Mohd Asri b Abdullah proposed that non-Muslims be charged in the civil court if they are caught for 'khalwat' with a non-Muslim. So since they cannot get every Muslim to toe the line, these bright sparks proposed to go after those who are deemed to be part of the problem. To throw part of the responsibility to those who are not bound by their laws, that doesn't sound right, does it? I thought there is no compulsion in Islam. Why must they force their beliefs on others? Very draconian, no compassion, authoritarian.....

Anyway, in everything, there're always people who will not adhere...mix of so many factors. Lack of religious knowledge, desires, temptations, peer pressures, media influence.... This time, I supposed they are trying to scare the 'temptors'?? Cannot change the source, go for the cause.

What more, it's simply unConstitutional. Are they intending to change the Constitution again???.........for this??? After the record (how many times as it stands??) times that it has been amended or change.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

ACS Sitiawan....

How do you feel about something that you spend 13 years of your life in? I'm finding it difficult to get a word that sums it all up....ACS Sitiawan is unique in the sense that both Primary and Secondary schools are just next to each other. In fact, when we were schooling there, both schools shared the same field.

Those days, crossing the imaginary line behind the old hall meant we had joined the big league (translate that as secondary). And that would be the most major event of our short lives up till then! And the secondary side had 3 canteen operators - Chinese, Indian, Malay. How multi-cultural more you want to be? Food was good....(well it tasted good back then) Friends made last a lifetime. I still know of those classes before mine who still make it a point to meet for basketball or climb the Ungku Busu Hill during CNY. And mind you, these are not your regular young 'uns.....I think it was 2 New Years ago that these oldies played basketball with the youths at the WM Church. They were panting but still good enough to give the 17/18 year olds a run for their money....and I supposed in the process, touching base with a part of their childhood again. And they have also come together in times of needs as well. Such is the bond of friendship built over the years.

While in sec school, we could still pop in and visit our primary school teachers....news of both schools would filter either way. Being in the same compound placed in most of us a sense of stability.....I mean, how often do you find people who get to spend that much time of one's life in one compound? For those of us who did F6, it was a time of consolidation, time we assumed greater responsibilities which in many ways helped prepare us to face the future. 13 years seemed a lifetime in those days.

MYF was one of those activities considered part of the school co-curricular activities until it was taken out of the list in the 80s. We would meet every Friday afternoon in the Old Hall. Saturday afternoons would see us having Bible Study around the school compound, followed by a session of captain ball beside the palm trees. The trees are still standing there. Boy! If only they could talk....a few of us even crashed into it on our bikes...learner bike riders we were, awkward and clumsy behind the wheels.

The school is more than 100 years old today. Her sons and daughters have done well by most standards and 'have been flung' to all the 4 corners of the world. We had great teachers who were also our mentors. A friend of mine was telling me fondly about Mrs. MacGraw, one of the teachers in the early days, of her dedication and commitment to her work. And who can forget the formidable Moses Tay? Students would cringe at his sight. But it was also under his watch that ACS carved a name for herself as one of the top schools for HSC (the predecessor of STPM) in Malaysia. Not to mention those who were before and after him...Rev MacGraw, Tai Swee Kee, Ling Ong Sing and countless others....will continue..

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

For their labour of love.....
















These are from my 'kids'. They must have taken many hours....time to think, plan,make.....




For the hands that made these,
The hearts that accompanied them,
For the labour of love put in,
Thank you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lingro...yup it's a cool dictionary alright!

Check this out...Lingro. It's a dictionary for instant reference while surfing. Cool thing is all you need to do is just point the mouse and click at any word you don't know, you get the meaning instantly. No need to go to the online dictionary website itself...this one, the dictionary comes to you. Only thing is you have to get to the other sites via their site. But it's a minor inconvenience.Just to illustrate, a post from my blog...of course in English no such word as 'bek'. 8)..so for those who finds English 'susah'...this is a cool tool. Go try it out yourself...you'll like it. And it pronounces for you apart from translating into some other languages. 'Kacang putih' learning.

The Tale of A Math Prodigy..Sufiah Yusof

SMARTER people don't always make the best choices, and this is a tragic tale of how a child prodigy threw away her bright future. Much is left to be said...a lot of finger pointing to the system, pressures, etc...

But her former husband (they were married for about a year) had this to say though... "Despite the problems with her family she had many advantages which other people don't have." You can read more here. It gives you a view from someone who shared her life briefly.

Yup! Life may have been kinda harsh on her...the tough regime that her father put her and her siblings through. But, she just never outgrew her rebelliousness either, if you look at it. Still in the end, she still deserves some pity.

Updates:
Seems the Malaysian Government wants to help rehabilitate her...that's what the Minister from the Prime Minister's Dept said. What is this? She is not even Malaysian. Why should we be spending the taxpayer's money on this? Does this make sense? Somebody will have to fly to UK, meet her, etc, etc... On whose account will all these expenses be charged???