Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Clock Tower

There’s this smoldering story about this dingbat who wants to erect an exalted edifice adjoining a historical landmark near the city center. I would have thought that these days, we are supposed to be sensitive about the environment – natural or otherwise. But in Malaysia, we don't give a damn about a lot of things – although I always hope I am wrong! Anyway, this dunce is Rubin Balang and he’s the chairperson of the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (LPPB). This dork wanted to work with a property developer to build a 16-storey shopping mall and hotel complex. And the threatened monument is the 105-year old Atkinson Clock Tower in Kota Kinabalu.

What makes me and also members of Heritage Sabah hopping mad is that he is adamant about proceeding with this project and went so far as to describe that the clock tower had little historical value! Heritage Sabah spokesperson Richard Nelson Sokial said based on LPPB’s website, its main role is to improve the living conditions of Sabahans in rural and suburbs by constructing low-cost homes (The Star, November 29, 2010, p N24). Being endowed with very low IQ, he may have misinterpreted LPPB’s mission – and in his own dimwit way, he may be looking at improving the living conditions of his 400-strong staff, rather than the have-nots in the state. I am also assuming that he was badly misunderstood when he was quoted to have said, “We need an office to better facilitate our activities”. I am sure he already has an office – but what he is really looking for is an office that he can call “his own” – hence his intention to build the LPPB office using its own funds (ibid). And of course, that is baloney. Those funds belong to taxpayers, not to LPPB! Believe me when I say he’s not talking about any office but one that most likely represents his bloated ego! Just in case, you are fooled into believing that the historical value of the Clock Tower is over-stated – DON’T because it is managed by the Sabah Museum under its Antiquity and History section. So, it’s really historical! Moreover, this all-wood and no-nails Clock Tower has the distinction of being the oldest standing structure in the whole of Sabah that survived the destruction of Jesselton town – it has been re-named Kota Kinabalu – during World War II. And till today, it still serves to keep the city’s time.

So Sabahans should rally their objections and stop this project!

In the UK, whether it is in London, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol or elsewhere, students are still marching and demonstrating against tuition fee hikes and university budget cuts – but this time adopting cat-and-mouse tactics to circumvent police "kettling" tactics. Protestors appeared to be trying to avoid being caught in police lines, after thousands were held in a "kettle" last week. And don’t expect the protests to end anytime soon!

Leslie Nielsen, RIP

Leslie Nielsen, who traded in his dramatic persona for inspired bumbling in "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun" comedies, died Sunday. He was 84.
As Nielsen confessed to the New York Times in 1993: "I've always been a closet comedian".

Watch this tribute video of Airplane! and The Naked Gun, using mixed clips of the best scenes from both movies:

"In the 1980 movie 'Airplane!', he was the hapless doctor aboard a plane in which the pilots, and some of the passengers, become violently ill, Nielsen says they must get to a hospital right away.

"A hospital? What is it?" a flight attendant asks, inquiring about the illness.

"It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now," Nielsen deadpans.

When he asks a passenger if he can fly the plane, the man replies, "Surely you can't be serious."

Nielsen responds: "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."
I remembered watching this movie and I imploded in a laughing frenzy of hilarious howling because it was really, really funny! Suddenly, I have this delectable desire to watch the movie again!

"After the movie's success, Nielsen took on the role as Detective Drebin in a TV series, "Police Squad," which trashed the cliches of "Dragnet" and other cop shows. Despite good reviews, ABC quickly canceled it. Only six episodes were made.

"It didn't belong on TV," Nielsen later commented. "It had the kind of humor you had to pay attention to."

And so the series were converted into a feature film, "The Naked Gun," and it became another massive hit, which led to sequels "The Naked Gun 2 1/2" and "The Naked Gun 33 1/3."

Leslie Nielsen, RIP.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Scotland in Deep Freeze

More photos of Scotland blanketed in snow:

Photos credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11854316

Photos credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11857086

Again, another disappointing result from the Reds. They could have won but they didn’t take their chances well. And to make matters worse, Martin Skrtel – who had given Liverpool their first goal – scored an own goal to even the score before Aaron Lennon scored an injury-time winner to give Tottenham a dramatic 2-1 win against Liverpool.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Girl Next Door

These photos show your typical girl next door. She’s a New Yorker and her name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

Photo credit: http://catholicteacherman.blogspot.com/2010/04/who-is-stefani-germanotta.html

Photo credit: http://s1042.photobucket.com/albums/b425/Nullises/Gaga/?action=view&current=StefaniGermanotta.jpg&sort=ascending

Photo credit: http://www.squidoo.com/stefani-germanotta

Two of her early songs, ‘Captivated’ and ‘Electric Kiss’ that she composed and performed herself for Ultraviolet Live, NYU's annual talent show in 2005. I swear she sounds just like Norah Jones!

And another song from a live performance on January 20, 2006:

"Pretty funky": The girl next door describes her early look as "not quite so mad".

Photo credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1123702/Revealed-Pop-vamp-Lady-GaGa-just-girl-door.html

Then as she got older, her look and her act got 'more over-the-top. She now takes fashion inspiration from everyone from Paris Hilton – they went to the same Manhattan private school – to Donnatella Versace and she even designs some of her own zany outfits.

Along the way, she took her stage name from the Queen hit Radio Ga-Ga. And so, Stefani Germanotta has created an alter ego, Lady Gaga, and already today, she is a superstar! To me, she personifies excitement and escapism in the best traditions of glitz and glamor, and that is why I adore her!

And Just Dance released on April 08, 2008 was Lady Gaga's debut single – the song was written by her in ten minutes as "a happy record":

Lady Gaga reflected on this song by saying: "That record saved my life. I was in such a dark space in New York. I was so depressed, always in a bar. I got on a plane to LA to do my music and was given one shot to write the song that would change my life and I did. I never went back. I left behind my boyfriend, my apartment. I still haven't been back. My mother went in and cleared it for me (Webpage http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/sep/06/lady-gaga-popandrock, posted September 06, 2009).

No-KDN Selangor Times

Selangor Times, a free weekly newspaper with a focus on community news, went on the streets on Friday, in a test of media freedom and setting the scene for a possible contest of wills between the Selangor government and the federal Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) which licences the publication of newspapers. It is said that the newspaper is supported by the Selangor government but produced as a private initiative, with an experienced editorial team such as KL Chan (formerly of The Edge), Deborah Loh (Nut Graph), Neville Spykerman (Malaysiakini), and veterans James Ang (New Straits Times) and designer Jimmy Lim (formerly with the Star).

Blogger ‘uppercaise’ wrote: “Selangor Times is a free newspaper. But it is not yet a free press. As long as the press must depend on political patronage – just to exist, let alone prosper – it is just living in a different kennel”. Maybe so, but at least Selangor Times is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the putrid stench emanating from the BN-backed mainstream press. A thumbs-up to the people behind this venture!

And in the SPL match between Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, the former was leading 2-0 (Ki Sung-Yeung 38; Paddy McCourt, 65) but allowed the latter to net two goals (70, 83) to even the score. Sigh!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Racist Teacher No. 4

On Friday, Teluk Kemang MIC Youth chief A Achutan led a group of parents from SM Raja Jumaat to lodge a police report against a female teacher who allegedly made racist remarks in front of some 180 students at a school examination hall in Lukut, Negeri Sembilan. A parent, M Prabhakaran, had alleged that the teacher – who had been assigned to the school as chief invigilator for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination – had told some noisy students on Wednesday to “return to China and India”, and according to the Star report, she repeated the insults several times.(November 27, 2010, p N31). So, it couldn’t have been a slip of the tongue, could it? It’s scary to think that we have racist teachers in our midst educating young Malaysian minds!

The Gunners held off a spirited Aston Villa comeback to earn a 4-2 victory in today’s EPL match. Andrey Arshavin cut in from the left to fire in a shot (39) and Samir Nasri volleyed home (45) to put Arsenal 2-0 up at half-time. Ciaran Clark gave Villa hope with an 18-yard strike (52) but Marounae Chamakh's poked shot (56) quelled the home side's efforts. Still Clark scored his second of the game with a header (70) before Jack Wilshere headed in late on (90+3) to secure a win for the Gunners.

Almost Bust

On Friday, I ventured on the canopy walk. And I timed myself. With two colleagues in tow, the walk to Sunway Pyramid took us 8 minutes. There, we were faced with a choice of at least 70 F&B outlets. We had a Chinese lunch before we returned to the college – that took us 13 minutes. These photos were taken on the canopy walk:

Ireland was hailed as the "Celtic Tiger" (I don’t understand why countries would want to be labeled a ‘tiger’ when this species is endangered) for the rapid growth of its economy not too long ago. But in the space of three years the Irish Republic has gone from boom to almost bust.

Much of its growth was built around the property market. But since 2008 this has suffered a dramatic collapse, with house values falling 50-60%. Then bad debts have almost wrecked the country's banks, forcing the government to bail them out. This of course opened a huge hole in the Irish government's finances – which will see them run a budget deficit equivalent to 32% of GDP this year. And to counter the specter of recession, the government started to spend. And before they knew it, the government's spending gap is a substantial (and unsustainable) 12% of GDP.

To help solve the country’s debt crisis, the Irish government has unveiled a range of tough austerity measures – among the spending cuts and tax rises are a reduction in the minimum wage, a new property tax and thousands of public sector job cuts. The four-year plan is designed to save the state 15 billion euros ($20 billion; £13 billion). Also the government is also negotiating a bail-out package with the EU and IMF, expected to be worth up to 90 billion euros.

Which country will be next, I wonder?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bird-brained Minister

Today’s The Sun provides ample fodder for those still needing proof that Malaysian ministers are really, really of the bird-brained variety! And I am feeling bad here because I am comparing politicians with birds! I do honestly think birds have at least a crumb of intelligence while politicians (particularly those in Malaysia) are mere empty vessels.

This time, in reply to a question from Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad, the Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister, Lajim Ukin showed how unhinged he is by telling the Dewan Rakyat that the country has the cheapest property prices in the region, with house prices having risen by just 3.3% in the past decade (p 4). He had earlier stated that the government was constantly monitoring the real estate market to avoid the property bubble phenomenon from occurring. The Malaysian public knows this is incorrect. I reckon that most types of properties will have seen almost a doubling-up of prices from what they were before.

At a press conference later, Dzulkefly had furnished statistics that clearly stated that a glut is emerging and prices of residential property have surged by as much as 35% in the past year, far above income growth and giving rise to concerns that the market is becoming unsustainable.

Anyway, coming back to this story of the oafish minister – in another reply to a ‘repeated’ question (same question as the above because Dzulkefly was unhappy with the answer given) – Lajim had pompously repeated the 3.3% claim and expanded on this gobbledygook by highlighting that “in Singapore (property prices have increased in the past decade) by 38.18%, Hong Kong 12.78% and Taiwan 8.57%... therefore, the property prices in our country are still the cheapest (as) the government aims to keep house prices low”! (ibid).

This only further enhanced his ineptitude because Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad had interjected, asserting that statistics given by the said minister were flawed. But like all deranged dimwits, the dumbass who appeared in the form of Lajim had stood his ground and maintained that the statistics were on the nose. “We are the government, our statistics are right, (it’s the) opposition that is wrong”. What kind of answer is that? It’s poppycock that has managed to reach the stars! Obviously, Lajim is so full of shit!

Of course, it’s not just Malaysian politicians who are good at portraying themselves as dumbbells! Haven’t you heard gaffe-prone Sarah Palin risking more political ridicule after suggesting that North Korea is an ally of America in an interview on Glenn Beck's radio show on November 24, 2010?

North Korean women soldiers marching

Brrr is the Word

According to the Met Office and reported by the Scottish Daily Express, Grampian, the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland, Angus, East Lothian and the Borders will be affected, with as much as seven inches of snow predicted to fall on higher ground. Descriptions such as “freezing blizzards”, “Arctic conditions” and “minus 6ºC” will be increasingly common at this time of the year. It makes me really miss Scotland! Wouldn’t it be nice if I can transport myself there now?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from PeTA

Today, being the fourth Thursday of November, it is Thanksgiving Day!

Image credit: http://whitechocolatemess.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html

I have received feedback from Amelia Leong on my Course & Staff Evaluations for the two courses that I was teaching in my first semester at Sunway University College. A total of 24 respondents participated in each of the two surveys, and out of a total appraisal score of 10 points, I had obtained 8.3333 for BMB1204 Principles & Practice of Management and 9.0417 for BMB1209 Principles of Marketing. I suppose I did alright and as I comfortably ease into this Sunway "existence", I hope to see my score(s) improve. Amelia from School of Business Administration tells me those were good outcomes, and I am encouraged.

This evening, I was at the Sunway Toastmasters meeting. I didn’t take on any role but during the Table Topics session, my name was bounced about and so, I took the challenge to go upfront and launched my 2-minute impromptu speech. I also enjoyed Everlin's humor very much and which I thought was really cleverly comical! This time, their meeting was spirited, vibrant and zesty. At other times, their meetings labored under the weight of polite boredom.

Nationwide Protests

Yesterday, lines of police held back thousands of student protesters in central London, in a wave of protests against higher tuition fees and university budget cuts.

There were scuffles and barricades thrown as police tried to contain the demonstrators. A police van, marooned in the protest on Whitehall, was attacked (see photo).

Students staged occupations at universities including Royal Holloway, Plymouth, Birmingham, London South Bank, UCL, Essex, UWE Bristol as well as Oxford University's Bodleian Library.

Marches, walkouts and protest events also took place at other universities and colleges in Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Bristol, Southampton, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Even school pupils have walked out of lessons in Winchester, Cambridge, Leeds and London.
UK's The Guardian on November 11 had reported that Nick Clegg had admitted he "should have been more careful" when he signed a pre-election pledge to oppose a rise in tuition fees (Webpage

As Clegg maintained: "I hate in politics, as in life, to make promises that you then find you can't keep... We made a promise we can't deliver - we didn't win the election outright and there are compromises in coalition." So what this stupid man was saying is that because he didn’t win the elections – don’t blame him for the compromises he must now make in order that he can still hold onto his Deputy Prime Minister position.

A Korean Ballad

Listen to this beautiful Korean ballad – it gently puts you under a spell, then wakes you up by letting you fall with a painful thud before it picks you up and cuddles you in a loving embrace:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Leaky Parliament

Malaysia is well-known for our roofs, whether the collapsible or leaking type (kindly check out both my postings on September 24, 2010 and December 23, 2009 on Malaysian-made roofs). And so on Tuesday, it was the turn of the MPs’ lounge in Parliament to get flooded when rainwater escaped from the roof. According to the Star, this was the sixth time the roof had sprung a leak (p N4).

But what made it so damn funny was when Nazri Abdul Aziz, the minister in charge of Parliament – when pressed by reporters about the deluge – had described the rain as “an act of God”! Malaysians are so blessed because God gives us so much rain and so often too, in order that we can showcase our well-earned reputation of producing roofs that will either cave in or let rainwater trespass unchecked. Malaysia Boleh!

There’s also a positive turn to this mishap. At least, this time, the roof only leaks. If it had collapsed when Parliament is sitting – can you imagine what would happen? Malaysians would have to endure a string of by-elections! It may be a good thing. Or it may not!

Dignity Underwear

In the US, Transport Security Administration officers are administering anti-terrorism screening procedures that include full body scans and thorough pat-downs of the groin and buttocks. Officially, US authorities have insisted that the scans are safe and that the pat downs are necessary sacrifices to prevent terror attacks. "It's all about security," said Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary. "It's all about everybody recognizing their role" (The Telegraph, UK, November 24, 2010).

And Nevada-Rocky Flats Gear is seeing skyrocketing sales for their underwear that are strategically emblazoned with patches made of X-ray repelling fabric – just so that modest passengers can get through airport screeners with their dignity intact. Jeff Buske’s invention uses a powdered mix of tungsten and other metals that do not set off metal detectors and more importantly, it protects your private parts from unwanted radiation and government peeping at airports. The garments feature either a fig leaf or a clasped hands motif.

Arsenal's hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League are in jeopardy when they suffered a shock 0-2 defeat by Braga. The latter scored two late breakaway goals from Brazil striker Matheus to sink the Gunners.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FPL, not EPL

At this evening’s Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting, I presented my second CC speech # 7 Research Your Topic – this time, the title of my speech was “The Stench of Death” and it was about the Iraqi war debacle. This time, I did not win the Best Project Speaker ribbon – Karen Sze Tho did and she deserved it. In truth, all three speakers gave quality speeches. And Mike Cheang who was the last-minute General Evaluator gave us the thumbs-up because he claimed to have had so much fun at this meeting.

Have you heard the news? The EPL is going to be renamed the FPL. You didn’t know? And why not? Already, ten of the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs are foreign-owned. These clubs are Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Blackburn, Fulham and Sunderland, So now, you know! By the way, FPL stands for Foreign Premier League.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doctors' Notes

I was at Cititel Mid Valley to attend the MidValley Toastmasters meeting this evening. As I told the meeting, I shall take on the role of an active listener! In other words, I had intended to just sit back and enjoy the meeting. And I did! In fact, I was pleasantly rewarded by good speeches and good evaluations. A great evening altogether!

In this never-ending sodomy saga of Anwar Ibrahim, this time he was denied access to the medical notes of three Hospital Kuala Lumpur doctors, which his lawyers argue the prosecution must produce along with all evidence in his sodomy trial. In today’s decision, High Court judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled that the defense had failed to give reasons as to why the court should allow Anwar access to the medical notes. Is he stupid or what? What about by reason of natural justice? What did he think the defense team was going to do with the notes – blow their noses into them? He has proven that it is possible for a stupid person to become even stupider! Malaysia Boleh!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Heat Commercial

I don’t know about you but I just love Beyonce’s Heat fragrance! Well, let me be honest – actually I love her Heat commercial – it's scorching, sizzling, and sultry! In fact, even the British are finding it too sexy for UK daytime TV, at least, according to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on November 18. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the ad has been moved to only airing after 7:30 pm.

The clip shows Beyoncé lounging in a bathtub and slipping into a low-cut red dress. "We considered that Beyoncé's body movements and the camera's prolonged focus on shots of her dress slipping away to partially expose her breasts created a sexually provocative ad that was unsuitable to be seen by young children," the ASA explained.

What do you expect when Heat is billed as an "overtly sexy fragrance"!

BN's Direct Membership Ploy

Effective yesterday, Barisan Nasional (BN) can accept new members directly into its fold and the ruling BN is showing it can accommodate divergent political views, a move that pundits say will likely raise public support in its favor in the coming general election.

Merdeka Center’s Ibrahim Suffian said BN’s move to take in members directly instead of through its component parties points to a more focused and driven BN under the Najb administration.

“The upcoming elections will be a key test whether the BN can maintain its long-term hold on federal power,” the local research house director told The Malaysian Insider.

“The BN is looking more and more serious in moving to consolidate its base of support,” he added, noting the reason for the move was clearly to strengthen its overall support and overcome the weaknesses of the component parties.

Dr Faisal Hazis from Universiti Sarawak said BN’s direct membership was both cosmetic – in the sense it plays on the 1Malaysia slogan to make the BN look more united – and a “smart way to strategize for the coming elections”.

And what do I think? It’s a smart political initiative but it is still a gimmick. More importantly, PKR has to put their own house in order and quickly. Already internal political upheavals have wreaked mayhem within PKR, if we believe the mainstream press. And Keadilan members are supposedly abandoning the party almost daily! Still, politics are always illusory. It does everyone good to remember Lim Kit Siang’s caution to both his political partners and foes yesterday against overconfidence in thinking the results of the next general elections have been mapped out in their respective favor.

In the SPL game between Celtic and Dundee United, Gary Hooper gave the former a 23rd-minute lead after good work by Shaun Maloney. In fact, United seldom threatened but Celtic were made to pay for their profligacy when Sean Dillon snatched a point for United in the dying seconds (90+4, to be exact)!

South of the border, Liverpool’s first-half barrage snuffed out West Ham to give the former a convincing 3-0 win. It was former Hammer Glen Johnson who cracked a low shot past Hammer goalie Robert Green to give the Reds an 18th-minute lead. Dirk Kuyt then coolly slotted home a penalty (27) after lively Fernando Torres had caused Danny Gabbidon to handle. And the third goal came when former Hammer Paul Konchesky steered a cross straight back into the box – after Torres again forced a smart save from the feet of Green – and Maxi angled a simple header across the visiting goalkeeper. The second-half was inconsequential for both teams but what is really important is that the Reds had won.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tale of an Ass

Image credit: http://ustaz-amal.blogspot.com/2010/08/muhasabah-majlis-aktiviti-program-kita.html

This morning I was in Jalan Ampang to attend the MIMKL Toastmasters meeting, and in the early afternoon, I dashed across town to Bukit Kiara for the Speakers’ Dream Tall Tales Speech Contest. I was one of eleven participants from seven Toastmasters Clubs and I was the last speaker. My speech title was “I Am What I Am” and it was a story about an ass! Anyway, to make a long story short, I didn’t win. I was to deliver a three- to five-minute speech and again, I was “time”-disqualified! Still, it was good to know Emil Anthony won second place, although personally I believe his speech was better than the other two. Oh well, the judging is…?

When it matters, Arsenal fumbled. They were already leading 2-0 at half-time – their goals courtesy of Nasri and Chamakh (9, 27) – but the Gunners surrendered three goals in the second half to give the game to Tottenham. A most disappointing result from a very promising team.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Sociology of Fame

On September 10, I wrote about fascinating university courses being offered in very diverse subject areas that include Harry Potter, Star Wars and Robin Hood. I only just read that a course “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” is being added to the curriculum of the University of Southern Carolina for the spring 2011 semester. According to the New York Times, Mathieu Deflem, a sociology professor at the said university wants to explore what makes a person famous and what being famous means in today’s culture. Or, as the course description puts it: “The central objective is to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga” (October 29, 2010, p A13, New York edition). He believes it is the only such full-time college course in the country. And it already has the campus buzzing.

Wow, she can now add another brilliant feather to her many hats – a university course to her name. She may be only twenty-four but she has found fame many times over. She makes it so easy!

England football manager Fabio Capello ought to be thrown into the dungeon for causing Liverpool's Steve Gerrard (left) to limp off the field in the international friendly between traditional rivals England and France on Wednesday. In fact, Gerrard was kept on the pitch for a full 84 minutes. His hamstring injury could keep him out for weeks and Liverpool can ill-afford his absence. Capello is being totally irresponsible and reckless, and has zilch regard for his players, which means that he is showing increasing signs of desperation!

England fans should be baying for Capello’s blood because the English side lost 1-2 to France, the latter showing a clinical display of passing football that made the former looked amateurish. Capello is screwing England big-time!

Canopy Walk

Today, the canopy walk that links Sunway University College to Sunway Pyramid is open! I am told it is only a 9-minute scenic walk to more restaurants, bars and retail shops. Alternatively, one can also take a cab for just RM5 one-way.

Wednesday was Hari Raya Aidiladha (also known as Hari Raya Korban) – a Muslim observance and also a public holiday in Malaysia. Aidiladha commemorates the sacrifices made by the prophet Abraham (hence the word ‘korban’ which means sacrifice), who demonstrated immense faith when he was put to the test by God. The prophet was commanded to offer his only son Ishmael up for sacrifice, and though it grieved him greatly, he made ready to perform the task. However, as he was about to strike his son, God stopped him and revealed that it was a trial. Ishmael's life was spared, and a ram sacrificed in his place.

As such, during Aidiladha, the sacrifice of animals (e.g. lambs, goats, cows, bulls and camels) is performed. The animals are slain in accordance with the proper religious rites; the meat is then distributed. One third of the meat is given to the individual who willingly supplied the animal, while the rest is given to the poor and deserving friends and relatives. It is to be noted that this is not a compulsory religious duty, but an obligation for those who are able to afford it.

The observance of the korban is carried out after the congregational prayers, held early in the morning of Aidiladha. It is not unusual for the slaying to take place within the mosque compound. And so, it was at the USJ1 mosque that non-Muslim children presented a goat and 250 kg of rice to the community. According to The Malay Mail report yesterday, these donations were added to eleven heads of cattle to benefit 400 underprivileged families in the neighborhood. As Subang Jaya councilor, Roslan Shahir Mohd Shahir said this was the first time they had a korban ceremony with contributions from the non-Muslim community (p 1).

Photo credit: The Malay Mail, Malaysia, November 18, 2010, p 1
Certainly, news of this nature creates a feel-good factor in a multicultural and multi-religious society like Malaysia. The mainstream media should play up more of these stories, rather than focusing on news that spread discord and ill-will.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Deadpan Look

This kind of expression is familiar to those who know me – pensive, pondering and preoccupied. And even at a fun(!) event like Au Revoir, I am putting on this contemplative demeanor. And Andrew is wearing the same look too. I am contagious, aren’t I?

For once, Najib makes sense! The Prime Minister had said that there is no need to mark May 13 as a remembrance day for the racial bloodletting that took place in 1969. This announcement made front-page news in The Sun today. As he rightly put it: “We must take a lesson from the incident and do all we can to ensure it is not repeated”. And unsurprisingly, Najib’s Deputy, Muhyiddin was also reported to have a view that is contrary to Najib’s. I suppose stupidity is not easy to learn but trust Muhyiddin to master it well!

Grandma is Chinese Peranakan

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I was told on Tuesday evening, HICT is again delaying their move to KL’s Fraser Park. The new date is now April 2011! Hahaha, what a joke! I know local businesses in that part of Klang will be thrilled! Especially Rejab, Southern Curry House, Garden Kopitiam, Old Town White Coffee, and the others where HICT students normally flock to. I reckon Klang students will be happy too!

My November 08 posting talked about Malaysians’ multi-ethnic backgrounds. I was scanning yesterday’s Star newspaper just now and I came across this news report that the Sultan of Johor’s consort, Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah (picture) had described as “shameful” that some Malaysians were called immigrants and told to go back where they came from. Of course, she was referring to the Chinese and Indians, who else! But what was heartening to read was her honesty and candor. She had said “My ancestors are from Sumatra and my grandmother is Chinese Peranakan. Many of us are not really from one ethnic group” (p N12).

Raja Zarith shared this during her keynote address at the Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason Forum on Friday. And amongst those present were former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Hopefully, he was paying attention when she spoke! To me, she was also telling us all that we should be proud of who we are, that we need not blank out our past and deny our roots, that our diversity is indeed a source of strength! Mahathir, what say you?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Today is a public holiday – one of the very many that Malaysians enjoy in this country. And we wonder why work never gets done in this country! But my colleagues involved in the Australian University Program are at work which goes to show you that here at Sunway University College, lecturers and students are a dedicated lot! I feel a wee bit guilty that I am relaxing at home, but this regret evaporated quickly enough!

A retailer withdrew a toy pig from a children's farm set to avoid the risk of causing offence on religious grounds, it emerged yesterday. A mother who bought the Early Learning Centre's (ELC) HappyLand Goosefeather Farm for her daughter's first birthday contacted the store after finding that the pig was missing!

Nope – this did not happen in Malaysia, not yet anyway!. But the UK’s The Sun reported this story about the missing pig in a £25 set that contained a model of a cow, sheep, chicken, horse and dog but no pig, despite there being a sty and a button which generated an "oink".

A spokesperson tried to explain: "ELC is a truly global brand, which means we need to be aware of the full range of customer expectations and cultural differences. The decision to remove the pig from our Goosefeather Farm set was taken in reaction to customer feedback in some parts of the world”.

But Caroline (the said mother) protested: "This is political correctness gone loopy…This is as bad as no more 'baa baa black sheep' or other such things. Stuff like this is just insipid, it worms its way into every aspect of our lives and we just let it happen. Surely if someone has issue with a toy that they don't agree with, then don't buy it!"

Another mother called Chouli was also reported to have responded: "Does it have a disclaimer on it, though? 'Pig sold seperately (sic)'? Perhaps they keep a stash of them in the back somewhere in brown paper bags?"

And another named Safiyyah said: "I'm Muslim and it doesn't bother me. It's just another animal.

"What are the store going to do next? Ban the Peppa Pig cartoon? Stop selling books with pigs in? This is a multi-cultural country."

The ELC later said it had decided to reinstate the pig because "we recognize that pigs are familiar farm animals, especially for our UK customers”. It’s nice to know that it’s not only in Malaysia where idiotic things happen!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Alike But Not the Same

Last evening, I attended the KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting where I took on the role of a Grammarian. But I had also decided to deliver my speech CC # 7: Research Your Topic, titled “Crash and Burn”. It was again an impromptu speech save for some research done about three hours earlier. My speech was about road accidents in dangerous Malaysia. And I was not exaggerating! Did you know that last year, 397,194 road accidents occurred here? And in case you cannot count, this works out to 1,088 accidents per day! The kind of drivers we have in Malaysia is simply amazing! Amazingly reckless. Amazingly negligent. Amazingly dangerous. Anyway, I shared honors with Rohijas in the Best Speaker Award. I must concede that Rohijas is a good speaker too!

And Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) chief executive officer Tetsuya Oda came out with a statement on Monday – he had declared in so many words that Inspira and Lancer are alike but not the same! Oda had explained that each brand catered to a different group of customer segments with a different set of driving desires and expectations. Really? Well, he is not totally wrong! Proton Inspira caters to people who want to pay less for a car of mediocre quality. And Mitsubishi Lancer is Japanese-branded – Oda had disclosed that it is fully manufactured by MMC in Japan and distributed by MMM, that it is a completely built-up (CBU) unit, in which all parts and assembly standards have met Mitsubishi Motors' stringent global quality standards. To reinforce his claims, he also highlighted that it is designed and produced to meet the highest European (high-speed driving performance and handling), American (safety) and Japanese (vehicle built) quality standards. And without missing a beat, Oda had said that the Inspira is assembled at Proton’s facility in Shah Alam.

So what does the above mean? That Mitsubishi is now confirming that they have cleverly short-changed Proton yet again with this average, or worse, a sub-standard car? Why is Mitsubishi quickly distancing themselves from Proton? After all, no matter how eloquent Oda is with words, the fact of the matter is that the Proton Inspira is a Mitsubishi Lancer, no two ways about it. Only the frontal and bum are different – alas, the body is the same, at least, I think so.

But you can be sure that Malaysians will still flock to buy the Inspira – we cannot resist a bargain!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pork and Chicken Sausages

Malaysian authorities are really a bunch of assholes! Remember the Sarawakian boy who was caned for bringing pork lunch to school? (Check out my posting dated November 07, 2010). Well, the case has now mutated into an issue of the boy’s father’s faith – they are now questioning whether the father is a Muslim or not! Actually, the proof is in the pork sausages, you dummies! No self-respecting Muslim would dare to even think about it! And so, therefore, it must be that he is not a Muslim. I am using simple logic, right? This leads to my second question. How did the teacher who meted out punishment know it was pork sausages?

See the photo above. It shows both pork and chicken sausages. Now which is which? Can you tell?

In a drab SPL game, Gary Hooper's injury-time strike (90+2) saw Celtic scramble to a 1-0 victory over a spirited St Mirren side. Lucky Celtic!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Smiling Victor

I am not one who readily smiles but once in a long, long while, I do! Anyway, Mathew sends me this photo taken at the Au Revoir Nite (Check out my posting dated November 04, 2010) that actually showed me smiling! Awesome!

In today’s EPL match, Arsenal overcame Everton by two goals to one. Bakari Sagna poked in Andrei Arshavin's cross (36) for Arsenal's opener and then midfielder Cesc Fabregas doubled the lead from Marouane Chamakh's pass (48). And Everton’s Tim Cahill pulled one back for the Toffees in the eighty-ninth minute.