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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Apa You Punya Ambition?

When I was in primary school (back in the dawn of time…) every year towards the end of the school term, after the final exams and report cards have been dealt with, the teachers had this form to fill where they asked each student their 'ambitions' – what they wanted to be when they grew up.

I don’t know what was the real purpose of the whole exercise, to be honest. Probably it was purely for the benefit of teachers and parents. Parent could forever hold it against their child, “See, last time you wanted to be a lawyer, how come you ended being an unemployed blogger?!” Or perhaps the teacher would say, “Gee, this dumb kid wants to be a politician, I better watch him carefully, who knows what dirt I can use against him if he really becomes a famous politician…

But at 7 or 8 years old, I can tell you most kids would put down jobs like Doctor, Lawyer or Policeman. None of us put down real-life jobs like Senior Training Consultant, Structural Design Engineer or Systems Analyst. You won’t see ambition like Victoria Secret Catalogue Photographer, Male Underwear Model or Pirated VCD Entrepreneur, either.

So why Doctor, Lawyer and Policeman? I dunno. But for my class, when we asked to give our ambition, we would go something like this:

Students: “Apa itu ambition, cikgu?”
Teacher (waiting for the class bell):Tak kisahlah, letak sajalah apa-apa. Doktor ke, Loyar ke, Polis ke…”

So all of us put down exactly what the teacher said.

(Side note : You know, when I read in the newspapers that primary school teachers are suppose to be career guidance counselors by identifying and nurturing specific talents in their students, it really cracks me up.)

There’s nothing wrong in aspiring to be a doctor, lawyer or a cop. I’m assuming my teacher thought of them as noble professions when she rattled them off, and in fact they ARE still good jobs. So did I end up working in one of the three hallowed profession?

Doctor? Heck, when you’re 8 years old, you would not realize the 7 years it needs to study medicine (not including 1 year of housemanship) This is not to mention the 5A’s required in STPM. And the fact that most families won’t be able to afford to send their kid to study medicine.

Lawyer? I’m assuming being a loyar buruk doesn’t count as one. I dunno, once I reached secondary school, law never interested me (despite watching the glamorous LA LAW), I was studying in science stream anyway.

Police? I don’t think I can tahan the rigours of cadet life. But on the plus side, had I applied for the job, I would have made front page news in one of those article that say, “Only one Chinese applicant for police force again this year…” (With a picture of a shirtless me struggling to do a push-up)

Being a blogger counts as a respectable profession, right?!

Simon’s Top 12 Songs to Listen to When Life Sucks…

Simon’s Top Twelve Songs to Listen to When Life Sucks…

  • May it Be by Enya
  • You’ll See by Madonna
  • Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
  • Fade to Black by Metallica
  • White Flag by Dido
  • Carrie by Europe
  • Forever Young by Alphaville
  • A Tout de la Monde by Megadeth
  • Feel by Robbie Williams
  • Through the Barricades by Spandau Ballet
  • Rent by Pet Shop Boys
  • Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

*Sigh*……I need an iPod…

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sempit II: Some More Love Story

(Due to mildly popular demand, I have written the sequel to my earlier Sempit: A Malaysian Love Story. If you haven’t read it, you can do so here.)

Vijaya: Here we are in my father’s very large living room. He’ll be coming down than grand staircase anytime now… Ray, are you sure you want to go ahead with this?

Raymond: As sure as the sun rises in the… in the… (mumbles to himself) “Dong…Nam…Sai…Pak”…east! As sure as the sun rises in the EAST I will confront your father about our love!

Vijaya: I’m just afraid he’ll do something to you. He is a very hard man, darling.

Raymond: What’s the worst that can happen? I’m going to tell him that we’re getting married, and he will see that we are in love, and he will give us his blessing. What can go wrong? He...

Father: WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE? (father comes down slowly and dramatically from grand staircase)

Vijaya: Father, no! This is Ray…

Raymond: Uncle! I have come to ask for you daughter’s hand in marriage. We are deeply in love, uncle. Please give us your blessing…

Father: GIVE YOU MY BLESSING?! How about I give you a kick in the…

Vijaya: No, Father, no….!!!

Father: You dare defile my daughter’s purity? We are a proud Brahmin race! WHERE’S MY PARANG?!

Raymond: Please be reasonable uncle… Not that bad maa, nowadays mixed marriages in our masyarakat majmuk is very common. Besides, our children will get exotic looks, can act in TV commercials or become Miss Malaysia….

Vijaya: Eh? Children? Miss Malaysia?

Father: Why you…. Bodyguards! Throw this infidel out!

Raymond: No, wait! I have this great business plan for Ah Long-chettiar venture! And Gong Xi-Diwali! MGR classics dubbed in Cantonese for Wah Lai Toi

(The two bodyguards grab Raymond and drag him screaming and struggling outside…)

Raymond: No, wait… Vijaya…! Uncle…! You haven't heard about my idea for Brickfields...!

Saravanan the Bodyguard: (whispering) I say, macha, don’t scratch-scratch my face, lah. Movie only lah. Tomorrow I got another audition for Gerak Khas

Raymond: (whispering) This bloody director-lah… how many times he want to shoot this scene…

(Read the sequel here.)

Next Malaysian Singer to Perform in London?

Excerpt from the Star yesterday:

Malaysia's pop princess aims for international stardom with London gig

LONDON: Besides reaching the pinnacle of her dreams, singing sensation Siti Nurhaliza will carry the hopes of Malaysia’s music industry when she makes history with her debut at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday.

I’m not a fan of Siti (not by a million light years…), our local ‘pop princess’ (I’ll scream if I hear that cliché again), but I have to admit, getting to perform at the Royal Albert Hall is some achievement for a Malaysian. Skeptics would say that the gomen would have lobbied and pushed for this event to promote Malaysia at the world stage as part of the globalization campaign, meaning Siti was virtually ‘at the right place at the right time’.

Reading the article made me wonder (and that would mean a blog entry…) What about other Malaysian music stars? Surely they deserve a chance to be given 100% support by our gomen. Here are some past and present stars, along with my opinion of their chances to appear in the London Royal Albert Hall. (Five stars means 'sure thing'; one star means 'cold day in hell')

The Alleycats – These seasoned pub performers from Penang are pros at performing live. I can imagine David Arumugam and Loga (with their huge Afros) going “Terima KaSIH!” in London. Plus they had a guitarist named Ah Hock. But on the downside, their kind of ‘neither here nor there’ music were suited just for, well, pubs and hotel lounges. (Chances = ***)

Sudirman Hj. Arshad – He would have been a sure thing, too bad he isn’t around anymore. (Chances = *****)

Reshmonu – Can’t stand this R&B celup wannabe, but he seems popular these days. But why would the gomen promote sub-par American R&B as Malaysian music? (Chances = ***)

The whole Akademi Fantasia gang – Look, I said real talent, not second-rate kenduri kahwin singers, OK? All twelve of them added up wouldn’t get half a star. (Chances = negative)

Amelina / Mas Idayu – Now this would be interesting. If the gomen were to promote dangdut to the world, these two 'puteri dangdut' would be top of the list. I would pay good money to see the expression on the faces of Londoners when they see Amelina shaking her grove thang, going “Mari kita, oh-ah-ah” or “cinta aku seratus-peratus halal…”(Chances = **)

Silent Death / Sil-Khannaz / Suffercation / Cromok reunion gig – Oh, yeah sure. The chances of these local guys appearing in London would be slightly better than Iron Maiden appearing in Putra Stadium. (Chances = 0)

A.A. Govindasamy and the Pasar Sentul Dalam Raaga Raaga Tabla Gang – Sure thing, man! (Chances = **********)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Kid Questions

To all those who affected by the earthquake tremors this morning, I hope that everything is back to normal in your lives by now and let us all continue to pray for and contribute to the victims in Sumatra. Many of you have commented and given personal accounts of the incident, so I won’t go into it. Instead let me cheer up your mood a little bit.

(This isn’t a continuation of the
Sempit blog. That sequel is coming soon, I promise…)

Here are some questions you’ll probably hear from your children in the near future. If you’re not married or do not have children yet, just wait. One day when you have children, they’ll probably ask these questions.

Question 1

Kid: Dad, why is do you and mom always say “3 o’clock”, “12 o’clock” and “9 o’clock” when you drive to a roundabout? Its only not even 8am yet…

You: Ummm… Well if you imagine you’re looking at a clock, then 12 o’clock straight ahead… (you go into a detail explanation on the clock face theory)

Kid: But what’s a clock face? My watch only says “7:55”.

You: Well, that because you have a digital clock. You need to look at an analogue clock, the one with 2 hands.

Kid: What’s an analogue clock? 2 hands?

You: … (sigh) 3 more days til school starts again…

Question 2

Kid: Dad, why does my PC have an ‘A:’ drive and a ‘C:” drive but no ‘B:’ drive?

You: (Goes into long explanation of PC history)… Long time ago… PC… 5.25” floppy disk… hard drive… obsolete…I’m getting old…etc.

Kid: But why are floppy disk not floppy? They hard! And what is an inch?

You: Oh, look your mother’s here. Why don’t you go ask her?


Keep on praying against the natural disasters, everybody. Peace out.

Monday, March 28, 2005

SEMPIT : A Malaysian Love Story

Vijaya: Darling, we’ve got to stop meeting in the pantry like this. Kak Esah the cleaning lady is getting suspicious. One day she’s bound to find out about us.

Raymond: Trust me, darling. This is the only way. Meeting in the disabled toilet was so wrong, darling.

Vijaya: But there are no disabled people in our office… And this pantry is so narrow and uncomfortable.

Raymond: Let’s talk about us, darling. I don’t care if our colleagues find out about us, darling. I just want to be with you.

Vijaya: You don’t understand, Raymond. I’m manager level, you are just an executive… I get 25 days annual leave, you only have 14… I can claim medical check-up, you have to visit our panel doctor in Pandan Indah… I have a company car, you have to park on the roadside… Its not meant to be, darling... Its just not fated.

Raymond: No, don’t say that. Look into my eyes, my sweet vadir. I believe that if a boy and a girl love each other, nothing can stand their way.

Vijaya: Who’s this boy and girl you’re talking about?

Raymond: Us, Veej! I believe our love is strong! I don’t care what people say, let’s get married! Have you told your father about me?

Vijaya: I can’t, darling, he’ll never understand…

Raymond: You must tell him, I can’t go on like this.

Vijaya: No, no, you don’t know him like I do! I’m from University of Cumfuttingbria, Wales UK. You are from FIT, Cheras. He will never accept you.

Raymond: You have to try! He will see that our love is strong!

(Suddenly the door opens and Kak Esah the cleaning lady walks in…)

Kak Esah: Eh? You dua orang tengah buat apa ni?! Tangkap basah ke? Khalwat! Khalwat…! (runs off screaming)

Vijaya: My God! What are going to do?

Raymond: Nothing! The whole office will know in less than 5 minutes! And in 25 minutes, the whole area from Ampang to Cheras! We have to face your father now!

Vijaya: You don’t understand! He’ll be coming for you tonight with a parang!

(Read the sequel here. Any similarities to any existing movies or people is purely coincidental.)

Novelty Restaurants

Just read in the Star yesterday about this novelty restaurant in Melbourne called “The Dark Side”. The gimmick here is that everything in this eatery is pitch dark. The waiters are dressed in black and wear night vision goggles. Oh, yeah. Great idea. They could be serving you beef infested with maggots or the cockfight loser chicken and you wouldn’t even know any better. And the worse thing is that you’ll probably come out of the place with gravy stains and all over your shirt.

And how much would a place like charge you? Not at cost price, I can bet you. With all the savings they make on the electricity bills and the time in making the food look presentable (they probably serve your drinks in those free Colgate mugs), you’d think the place would be as cheap as McDonalds. At least in McDonalds, you can SEE if the meat is fresh, not some roadkill scraped off the PLUS highway.

OK, enough badmouthing the place, I haven’t even been to there before, let’s give the benefit of the doubt.

There’s another novelty restaurant, this one is the no-hands restaurant in Bangkok. Here’s the deal, you don’t have to use your hands to eat at this place, two girls will sit on each side of you, and serve you with chopsticks. You just have to tell them what you want, they’ll feed you with it.

This is all fine, at least if you can speak Thai. If you can’t, well, I can imagine what happens. “Oh, did you say ‘more red chillies’? OK, here goes, its burning hot, mind you!” “Hey, if you’re not going to tell me what you want to eat, I’m NOT FEEDING YOU!

Or if you happen to get two health freak naggers feeding you, too bad. “No more fried chicken for you! Eat some broccoli! And pig’s intestines. It’s good for you.” “You know, you must try this Atkins diet I’m on. No red or white meat. This cow died unnecessarily. Here, have more asparagus stew.”

Or if you didn’t tip your girls well the last time you were here, they would probably go like, “Oh silly me, did I just spill this cup of steaming hot coffee onto your crotch?” “Oh look! This sushi I’ve been feeding you isn’t really dead yet!”

Myself, I’ll stick to roadside mamak food and hawker stall wantan mee.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Overused American Idol Comments

American Idol is really hotting up here. But one thing that gets me is that the judges don't really know how to express themselves when commenting on the performances. Here are some of the comments they've used over and over again...

Randy "The Dawg" Jackson:
"It was just a-iight for me man."
"Listen, it was your BEST performance, so far."
"What's up, dawg?"
"How do you think you did?"
"You da bomb, girl/dude"
You're just like a young Aretha Franklin, girl!"
"What's going down, dawg?"
"Dude, it was a little pitchy, but it all came together in the end..."

Paula "Not Really An Idol" Abdul:

"You really owned the stage, well done."
"I'm a big fan of your voice"
"You're already a star"
"I'm so pround of you"
"I'll have to say not one of your best performance"
"You look awesome tonight"

Simon Cowell:
"Let me put this in perspective..."
"How shall I put this..."
"Walk into any second-rate hotel lounge/cabaret/karaoke bar..."
"Undeniably, the best performance we've heard so far, tonight"
"It was a complete and utter mess"
"It was all over the place."

And remember everyone, drink Coca-Cola just like the *cool* judges!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Work for Jobless Grads: Another Fictional Story

Except from The Star today:

Work for Jobless Grads

The Higher Education Ministry is considering to absorb jobless graduates into local education institutions to teach certain subjects. Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh said yesterday that these graduates could take up these jobs in schools. “We need to look at specific areas in the education sector which can be filled by these graduates.

Oh, yeah. I can imagine it now. Jonathan Chan the IT graduate from University of Nossex, United Kingdom is sent to Sekolah Rendah Kampung Ayak Tawak, Felda Kundang Ulu, in the interiors of the Johor virgin jungle. Jonathan, since he was from Lucky Garden International School and also studied in UK, he was required to teach Bahasa Inggeris Darjah Tiga (Primary 3 English) to 29 Felda settlement children.

(Because of his schooling, it is important to note that Jonathan speaks no Bahasa Malaysia, except important words like jamban, briyani, saudari and a few more unprintable ones)

Jonathan: Ok, yeah, guys, I’m going to be your new English teacher here, like, until I get a decent job in Accenture or Microsoft. I’m Jonathan from Lucky Garden…

Primary 3 boys: (together in sing-song voices) SE-LA-MAT PA-GI, CIK-GOOO.....

Jonathan: Whoa, like easy on singing, man. Ok, like I was saying, man, I went for like, a dozen interviews in KL & Singapore already, man. Hoping to like get a job offer anytime now, so like this teaching is just a temporary gig, just to keep the cash flow going there, know what I’m saying? (*grins*)

Primary 3 boys: (Silence as they gape at him)

Jonathan: OK, so, like you guys are not so much talkers, eh? Its OK if you don’t put out on the first date….Ah hahahahaha…. (wipes tears of laughter) I crack myself up sometimes.

Primary 3 boys: (More silence a few jaws drop onto tables)

Jonathan: So what's hot around K-Town here, man? I don't know how long I can survive without a Big Mac and broadband, yeah? I've been up and down the main street here, kinda nice place you've got here, kinda like those old movies. Speaking of which, anyone of you seen the new French film, Le Flabbergastuer? I so into art house these days.

Primary 3 boys:(Drool starts flowing down the open mouths...)

Jonathan: OK, so like just to warm you guys up to me, I like blogging, Six Feet Under, Half-Life, Paris Hilton (hubba, hubba, hubba!) and I’m trying to get this web development biz off the ground, man. And on weekends I’m usually on two wheels through the jungles at Kiara, or out with my friends at Bangsar, you know just hanging loose… Man, its kinda hot here, innit? Yeah, can one of you munchkins there crank up the fan? "It getting hot in herre..." (sings like Nelly)

Kamil the Primary 3 Class Monitor: Eh, aku tak paham dia cakap apa. Budak darjah tiga mano paham cakap orang putih? Leman, engko paham, ke?

Leman: Aku ingat dia sikit tak betul, lah.

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.

Two thousand years ago, one of the greatest tragedies of human history was unfolding outside the city of Jerusalem. On a lonely hill called Calvary, they led the one called Jesus Christ out to be crucified on a wooden cross.

Hung between two thieves, the he was mocked and taunted by the crowd and Roman guards.

Betrayed by a friend, hung out to dry

Alone in the end, stretched across the sky
Eclipse the sun, they know not what they do
They say if God is love why would He be so cruel
“Scarecrow” by Bride

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:45, 46

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Luke 23:45-46

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Mark 15:39

I will always love you
Your memory will live in heart
I will always love you
We will be reunited on that glorious day
Face to face.
"Face to Face" by King James

Today, as our world creeps slowly towards self-destruction, I am reminded of the incidents that took place two millennia ago.

Keep the faith, my good friends.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

18 Things I Learned From Watching HK Cantonese TV Serials

18 Things I learned from watching HK Cantonese TV serials:

  1. When there is a big dinner on a round table, everybody always sit on one half of the table only, even if it means everyone squeezing together. Why nobody dares to sit on THIS side of the table is a great mystery.
  2. Every Hong Kong family’s grandparents (which the family visits once in awhile) strangely looks the same. It’s like every family in the whole HK shares only about 4 or 5 grandparents altogether.
  3. Most people in Hong Kong are pretty good-looking, with clear and fair skin. There are some who are not so good-looking, they mostly work as shop assistants or taxi drivers. Even the triad gangsters are pretty handsome.
  4. Speaking of triad gangsters – no matter how violent or crooked they are, they NEVER swear. Not even bahasa kesat. The worst they ever say is 'sei phok kai'.
  5. If you are sick or not feeling very well, your mother’s bird’s nest soup or chicken soup can cure everything.
  6. All emergency rooms in the hospital have a light above the door that automatically switches on during life-threatening surgeries. And when the surgery ends, it will automatically turn itself off when the surgeon exits the emergency room. The victim’s family will be anxiously looking at this light all the time.
  7. The aforementioned surgeon exiting the ER, he is always wearing a nice, clean labcoat (even if it was a messy gunshot wound) and is always extremely calm when delivering serious news to the awaiting family.
  8. All the women wear heavy make-up to bed every night. And their hair is perfectly set. They also wear nice, matching pajamas. Nobody wears sexy lingerie or go to bed naked. No siree, bob.
  9. Middle-aged women diligent brush their hair every night before bed, while talking to their husbands. Or they sit in bed and read.
  10. When someone wants to go to sleep at night and turns off the light, when the light goes out immediately a soft blue light shines across faces, but they never notice it.
  11. Whenever someone wants to commit suicide, they always go to this same rocky cliff somewhere in HK. Even if they stay halfway across the island.
  12. Apparently in HK, road side pushcart stalls selling fishball on a stick or smelly beancurd (chou toufu) are very popular.
  13. Every rich family has at least one elderly amah serving them. She usually wears a white samfoo is and calls the master “lou yeh”, and she is called "Ah Ying Cher".
  14. Back the 80’s, the chief of every police station or CID department is always a kwailou, wearing that ugly green uniform with shorts. And he always speaks impeccable Cantonese, albeit with that annoying accent.
  15. You address a policeman as “Ah-Ser”, or "Ma-Dam" if its a policewoman.
  16. Japanese men visiting HK on business trips are all dirty-minded men. They are always bald-shaven and have a Hitler-style mustache.
  17. Favourite pastime for middle aged women - its mahjong by far. For old men, it’s Chinese chess or bird-rearing.
  18. In the 70’s, series ended with everyone dying (‘ham kar sei sai’). In the 80’s series tended to end with an unresolved question ('will she wake up from the coma?'). In the 90’s til now, series have happy endings.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Classic Rock Songs Murdered in Local Ads

You know that DiGi ad on the radio that rips off Queen’s “We Will Rock You”? It goes something like “SMS at one sen, calls at 15 sen…We will, we will rock you…” I can imagine Freddie Mercury turning in his grave and Brian May squirming in his Bahamas summer home every time they play that sacrilege.

Suddenly, the other day I heard another ad by DiGi’s competitor - this time using Queen’s “I Want It All”. What the heck is going on?! What’s with the sudden obsession with using classic rock songs for local ads? I can see it now, all those highly paid ad execs and publicity managers suddenly looking through their dads’ old record collection for soundtracks to accompany their ad ideas.

Let me save them a few weeks of work. I’ve listed down some old rock songs (not necessarily by Queen) and some products or companies that can use them.

Song: Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpions
Use in Ad for: Listerine PocketPaks
Scenario: This guy is fishing on a small boat. He’s bored, so he slips a slice of Listerine PocketPak in his mouth. Suddenly, the sea around him turns into tidal waves and lightning flashes, while the music kicks in. Then the voiceover say “Listerine PocketPaks - Rock you Like a Hurricane…”

Song: Don’t Stand So Close To Me by the Police
Use in Ad for: Pizza Hut’s new durian flavoured pizza or Odorono

Song: We Are the Champions by Queen
Use in Promo for: The Malaysian Football Team, to be used as a promo highlighting their success in international tournaments. Oh wait, they can’t even beat Singapore…
Excerpt to Use: We are the champions, We are the champions, of the world…. NOT!

Song: Love Hurts by Nazareth
Use in Ad for: KY Jelly
Excerpt from Song to Use: "Take a lot of pain, love is like a cloud, holds a lot of rain. Love hurts, love hurts."
Ad Tagline: "Use KY Jelly for a smoother sensation… because sometimes Love Hurts."

Song: Desperado by Eagles
Use in Promo for: MCA Cupid Club recruitment drive.
Premise of Ad: Pics of single Chinese men & women flash by in the background with as Michael Chong serenades slowly, “…Desperado…”

Song: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepellin or Temple of the King by Rainbow
Use by: I dunno, I just this feeling that PAS should use these two songs for their coming election campaign.

Song: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Use in Ad for: Oh, never mind. This song will never get past the Malaysian censors.

Seriously, I understand not many of you will not *get* this blog, 'coz it really shows my age…

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

MJ's Defence Strategy

This conversation between MJ and his defense lawyer in his Neverland ranch was secretly taped and leaked out to the press recently. The conversation took place just after the allegations of molestation against MJ first surfaced…

MJ: You’re late! I’ve been calling you for the last 2 hours? Where have you been?!

Lawyer: I was lost in your stupid Neverland ranch! Why do keep installing those dangerous little-boy-traps? Somebody is going to get seriously hurt one day!

MJ: They are not little-boy-traps! They are for catching… er…. Squirrels.

Lawyer: Yeah, if the squirrel is 4’6” and weighs a hundred pounds…

MJ: They’re for squirrels!! And bears!

Lawyer: Yeah, whatever. What are you watching here? DVDs? What’s this?! (Looking at the DVD box covers) Little Boys from Bangkok”? “Spank Me If I’m Naughty”?!

MJ: Hey, don’t touch that! They’re… educational videos! Listen, I didn’t call you all the way here for small talk. What are we going to do about these molest allegations? Have you come up with a defense plan like I asked you yesterday?

Lawyer: Yes, yes. My boys and I have and worked all night, and we have come up with a few good defense strategies. I think the our best chance is to go with Plan A. We call it Misunderstood Genius MJ. We’ll say that this boy is basically lying to get money, and make up out to be the misunderstood musical genius. Like Elvis and Little Richard...

MJ: Yes, yes, go on…. Musical genius…I like it….

Lawyer: As for Plan B, we call it Eccentric Hermit MJ
. We’ll try to say that this whole molestation thing never happened, and we play up the eccentric recluse story. We'll bring up the Elephant Man, Oxygen Tank, Face Whitening… we were thinking of bringing Bubbles the chimpanzee as a character witness.

MJ: No, I don’t like that one. Besides, Bubbles is still in drug rehab in Cuba. Let’s go with Plan A. Also, make out this cancer boy as a gold digging opportunistic little devil out to ruin my career…

Lawyer: Yes, but before that, as your lawyer, I need to ask you something very important. Did you or did you not molest this boy? Are the allegations true?

MJ: I refuse to answer that question without my lawyer present!!!

Lawyer: I AM your lawyer!!!

MJ: Get out, you’re fired!!! You piece of white trash!

Lawyer: Speak for yourself!!!

MJ: Objection, your honour!! You’re badgering the witness! I demand a retrial! Contempt for the court! Sidebar! I plead the first amendment…!

Lawyer: Weirdo.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A Life Almost Forgotten

Everybody naturally has 4 grandparents, two maternal and two paternal. Some people live into adulthood with all their grandparents still around, some never have the chance to meet anyone of them. Most people fall in between, knowing just one or two of them for awhile when they were young.

My maternal grandmother lived a hard life. She came down from China alone, and lived for most of her life in Malaya in poverty without any relatives. As I knew her, she was a bitter woman with a caustic tongue, a trait somewhat passed down to my mom and me. In her later years, she suffered near-total deafness, and spoke very little. In fact in the 18 years I knew and lived with her, she hardly spoke to me, although she brought me up in the early years. I guess the adage is true, “if you do not have anything good to say to someone…”

She was a chain smoker. And she only smoked one type of fag, Signal brand. I don’t think you can find that brand anymore. As a result, she perpetually suffered from horrible cough and other related ailments.

As I think back now, the only times I remember her smile and laugh is when she used to play cards with her best friend in Batu Gajah, Perak.

She watched silently as her husband fade away in old age and death at 91, and she herself passed on in silence and alone in our her room, nearly 80.

Because she never really talked to me much, she brought with her to the grave a treasure trove of memories, sights, distant faces, broken hope and dreams in her life.

I would have loved to hear about her childhood in China, her friends, her sojourn into a faraway land, her wonderful stories of bringing up 2 children.

In life we make our own choices and live by them, and sometimes these choices are predetermined and we just have to accept them.

But to die alone is one of the greatest travesties in life.

Friday, March 18, 2005

So I Went iPod Shopping

So I went iPod shopping today, kononnya lah…. Actually I was in KLCC on the way back from banana leaf rice in Lebuh Ampang with a friend (we took the LRT). I was walking to the escalator when the display window caught my eye… it was a white iPod!

I’ve never really seen one before, except in magazines where they are really hyping it up. Fortune ran this article on Apple’s Steve Jobs and showed this collage of photos of famous people with their iPods.

My friend gave me an iPAQ MP3 player before, but the download so slow I gave up using it… besides it was only 64MB.

So since I stopped at the shop display window for more than the minimum 0.4 split seconds, natural law dictates that the a salesperson will immediate pop up from nowhere and ask me, “Can I help you?” (with the customary sunny smile)

Actually, this tie wearing sales personnel was quite nice, probably I gave him my ‘I’m-really-serious-about-buying-and-can-afford-this-RM12000-gadget’ look. Or maybe it was just a slow day at the shop. I dunno.

So anyway, this guy gave me the lowdown on compatibility, features, power source, USB ports, capacity, etc. And he even added, “THIS AFTERNOON, we’re having this promotion of RMxxxx for this model…” Man, do I feel sorry for all those people who bought THIS MORNING! They would have missed out that this fantastic offer!!!

Anyway to cut the long story short, the 6GB iPod Mini is going for about RM1200, the 4GB one is retailing at about 1k. Offer is valid THIS AFTERNOON. The 20GB standard iPod is selling at about RM1500. There are a few higher priced models, with the usual extra cheat-your-money functions. They didn’t have the iPod shuffle, that would be around RM500.

So did I buy one? Heck, no. I may love the look and tech of it, but I still need to put 2 kids through kindergarten. And pay for my car… but one day, if my company gives me a good raise….hmm….

Thursday, March 17, 2005

10 Richest Billionaires in The World, Again

I blogged about Forbes’ Top 10 Billionaires List here, and since I’m still hoping to be a billionaire one day (HAHAHAHAHAAA…!), I can’t help blogging about it again. Today, let’s look at the 10 richest dudes. Julius Chan has strangely dropped out of the list.

So, like David Letterman, let’s count ‘em down:

Number 10: S. Robson Walton (US, RM69bil) – Chairman of Wal-Mart. It’s a bit like Tesco & Giant. But unlike Giant, this one actually knows how to make money. Actually, father Sam was the guy who made the money, this guy just won the genetic lottery to be born rich. Probably beat his brothers silly to be dad’s favourite. Which proves my theory: If you’re a guy, make sure you’re born into a rich family. If you’re a girl, marry into one.

Number 9: Larry Ellison (US, RM70bil) – CEO of Oracle. Oracle makes servers, I think. Either that or he’s the descendant of the Greek goddess on Mount Olympus.

Number 8
: Karl Albrecht (GER, RM70bil) – owns supermarkets and also motivational speaker. Probably made his money by conning people with buzzwords and catchphrases like “Believe in yourself and you will succeed!” or “The fear of failure is the failure of fear!!!”

Number 7: Paul Allen (US, RM80bil) – became rich by virtue of being Bill Gates' friend. So if you know someone who you think is going to be super-rich, be nice to him and be prepared to suck up big time…

Number 6: Ingvar Kamprad (SWE, RM87bil) – IKEA boss. Millions of kiasu and 'oi meen' Malaysians and Singaporeans have put this guy at No.6. Don’t believe me? Try to go to IKEA in Mutiara Damansara this weekend…

Number 5: Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud (SAU, RM90bil) – Oil money. Probably the president of OPEC or something like that. Don’t mess with with these people, or you’ll be riding bicycles to work.

Number 4: Carlos Slim Helu (MEX RM90bil) – No idea who he is. Probably owns half of Mexico.

Number 3: Lakshmi Mittal (IND, RM95bil) – richest Asian in the world. Never heard of him before last weekend. I reckon he made his money in an ingenious plan: He went round all of India asking RM92.50 from everybody. Since India has 1,027,015,247 people, that’s how he ended up with RM95 bil. I heard some guy in China is doing this same trick. Oh, Lakshmi Mittal also sells some steel products in his free time.

Nunber 2: Warren Buffet (US, RM167bil) – The TRUE richest billionaire in world. I taught him most of his investment techniques when I was his college roommate in Omaha back in ‘57. Has never thanked me for that, but I forgive him, he’s a busy man.

Number 1: Bill Gates (US, RM177bil) – Obtain his fortune by being the illegitimate offspring of Lucifer and a fallen angel. Leader of an underground tingkap-worshipping cult in the US, with its history going back to Leonardo Da Vinci and Abraham Lincoln. Has a horde of hidden Egyptian treasure under his master bedroom toilet.

Telco War Heats Up

I think it’s high time I put my 2 cents worth on the current telco war in Malaysia. If you have seen the ads on TV and newsprint lately, you can see the 3 players getting more and more desperate aggressive in their right to your money. At the moment, Celcom and Maxis are battling it out at the top, while DiGi is trailing a distant third. There is another service provider, the GLC-owned TMTouch, but it has since merged with Celcom.

This wasn’t the case when I started using mobile phones. Back then (in the dawn of time…) there more players, differentiated by their access numbers: Celcom (010 analogue, 019 digital), TM ATUR 450 (011), Maxis Mobile (012), Emartel (013), Mutiara Telecom (016), Adam (017) and Mobikom (018).

Since then, Emartel has now become TM Touch, Mobikom closed shop, Mutiara has become DiGi, Adam has been gobbled up by Maxis. As for ATUR, it has disappeared under the sea of technological change.

Just a short history lessons for all of you newbies.

Let’s now look last three standing: Celcom, Maxis and DiGi. I have used each of them over the years, so I will speak from my experiences only. Maxis and Celcom are fighting it out in both the pre- and post-paid fields. While Maxis is slightly ahead in terms of subscriber base, market capitalization and revenue, Celcom boasts of nationwide coverage. Personally, I find Celcom’s connection clearer and more dependable, Maxis’ tends to drop and get crossed. Furthermore, Celcom has now the backing of Telekom, while Maxis is bogged down by that questionable purchase of Indonesia’s PT Natrindo.

Of the three, DiGi stands to lose out the most. They are saddled with a few fundamental problems that will continue to hinder them in the future. Because of their GSM 1800 system, they will soon be running out of bandwidth. Furthermore, being a foreign owned company, they do not have certain benefits of their competitors. And being the backmarker, they are spending millions in aggressive marketing, and slashing their call and SMS rates. This is severely hurting their profits and cashflow, but this is something they have to do in this climate. But the question is just how long they can afford to keep this up.

This industry price war kind of reminds me of the petrol war in Malaysia some years back. But selling petrol is much simpler, there are only two parameters to control: price of petrol and freebies/prizes to be won.

In the telco case, there are too many things to fidget with: call rates, SMS rates, access fees, call rebates, availability of top-up cards, customer loyalty programs, etc. In the short term, I can see Celcom closing the gap and even overtaking Ananda’s Maxis, while DiGi have to swallow the bitter pill.

And when are the telcos going to offer me a free phone? Cheap-cheap one also can lah!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What Your Car Says About You

Interesting what the car can say about the driver...:
(NOTE: No offense to any Malaysian car owners. If you are too sensitive about your car, please don't read any further. You've been warned.)

New Red or White Kancil – Lady driver, first job.

New Red or White Iswara Aeroback – Male driver, first job.

Red Honda CRV – Rich man’s wife. Especially with all those useless accessories like kangaroo bar, taillights protector, etc. Rich people must be higher than us, mah. Some more can block our sight of traffic.

Metallic Unser (new) – Housewife, driving children and neighbour’s children to school. (Maid in backseat)

Black or Silver Honda City or Civic VTEC - the ultimate Ah Beng dream car...

White, dirty Perodua Kembara – Putrajaya contractor company car. No trimmings, no stickers, usually slightly dented of taillights pecah already.

Dirty Pajero, Prado or Hilux – Big time contractor.

Dirty Jimny or Feroza – Small time contractor.

Black Kembara DVVT – with spare tire casing (some more got small padlock), sporty stickers, ugly halogen lights, catladder at back. Malay family man. One step up from Unser.

Silver Mercedes – I’m a rich businessman, please move aside for me.

Silver BMW / Volvo – I’m a rich businessman, but got poor taste in car.

Old Mercedes – My father’s a rich businessman, I’m driving his car.

Silver / black Perdana – I’m a moderately successful businessman, still not rich enough to buy a Mercedes.

Wira or Iswara (with black rims, huge spoilers, cheap body kits, tinted windows, big exhaust, black PVC seats and letterings on boot removed) – standard issue ‘mat racer’.

Kancil (with black rims, ugly body kits, tinted windows, huge exhaust, black PVC seats and letterings on boot removed) – lower standard ‘mat racer’. One step up from ‘mat rempit’ (or ‘mat motor’)

White Perdana / Waja / Kancil with blaring sirens – if you dunno this one ‘cham’ lor…

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

When Malai and Indo Fight It Out

Malai – What are you doing, defacing our websites? Have you no sense of decency?

Indo – We can do whatever we like. You guys deserve it. You treat us like animals, we fight back.

Malai – When did we treat you like animals? We offer you jobs, without us your country will sink down the tube and go bankrupt.

Indo – Don’t give us that holier-than-thou attitude. Your country was built on the back of our sons. Your twin towers, your F1 circuits and all your altars of greed and egomaniacal symbols, all by us.

Malai – We’re a progressive nation, unlike you. We work hard, and reap the fruits of our labour. That’s why we’re economically greater than you.

Indo – You can beat your chests, but we are the original sons of the earth, we are a superior race, you are just weaker cousins. We fought for our own independence with blood and guns, what did you do?

Malai – You live by the sword, you die by the sword. And we can watch how you kill each other in the name of religion and politics.

Indo – Stick your own noses elsewhere. You keep your own house in order. And don’t come taking what is ours.

Malai – We only claim what is ours. You can’t even handle what you already have, don’t let your greed consume you.

Indo – Practice what you preach. You have no respect, running to the white man for help to take our lands. The servant that lives in the house of the white man is reviled by the other servants.

Malai – It is only you that think of yourself as a servant. Do that, and you will always be a servant.

Singapore – Will you guys knock it off?! I’m trying to sleep here!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Don't Forget To Turn Out The Lights

Don’t forget to turn out the lights, Kenny;
Don’t stay out too late, the moon is dark tonight.
Don’t forget which key unlocks the gate,
I hope to see you again in the morning light.

Don’t mind me, I’m a little worried,
You look a bit pale these days;
Maybe its just the weather,
I don’t bother what the weatherman says.

Don’t forget to turn out the lights, Kenny;
I may not see you later,
If I’m not here when you return,
Help yourself to some dinner.

You were not here when I returned.
And I don’t think you’ll be coming back.
Take care, Kenny, and travel light,
And thanks for turning out the lights.

See you soon, Kenny.

Some Headlines I’d Love To See

These few weeks we’ve been bombarded with lots of bad news in the press. I say, let’s celebrate to good along with the bad. I know bad news with catchy blurbs sell lots of newspapers, but here are some headlines I would love to see on my RSS newsfeed (but would probably not happen any time soon):

“Pikachu Dam Overflows with Too Much Water, Johor Flooded”

“Robber Trip and Break Teeth During Heist, Considering Legal Action
Against Shoelace Manufacturer”

“Osama Really Gay”

“Study Shows
Burgers and Fries Reduce Heart Risk”

“Govt reduces Excise Duty on Import
Car Models”

“Astro Apologizes for Crappy Services, Reduces Monthly

“MIX FM DJ Finally Realises He Isn’t Funny At All”

“Football: Malaysia Finally Beat Brunei”

“Hillary: I Did not
Have Sex With That Pool Boy”

“New TV Spin-Off Coming : Kelantan Idol and
Survivor Berjaya Times Square”

“Abrahamovich Declared Bankrupt, Mourinho
Takes Over Wigan”

“Michael Jackson: Even I’m Sick of Me Already”

“Johor Boy Scores 14 F9’s for SPM, New National Record”

These would really perk me up in the morning!

First Malaysian on Forbes’ Billionaire List

A new entry has made it into the annual Forbes’ Billionaire List issued last Friday. While the top 5 spots remained unchanged with Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Lakshmi Mittal, Martha Stewart and Queen Elizabeth, an insidious tycoon has hit no.6 making him the first Malaysian to enter the annual Forbes listing.

However, unlike successful Asian businessmen like Stanley Ho and Robert Kuok, not much is widely known about Julius Chan Ah Long a.k.a. Brother Dragon (‘Long Kor’) and his business details although rumours and news from underground sources are aplenty. But it is a well known fact that Julius’ net worth stands in the excess of USD 20 billion.

Perhaps it because that it generally viewed that his business ventures are of questionable legality. He has never been seen in public, and does not grant interviews. He is said to be guarded by an army of body guards, defense lawyers and high profile accountants.

According to a reliable source, Julius started in 1988 as a foot soldier for the ‘Gang of 21’ in the Cheras area dealing in extortion rackets, 4D syndicates, money lending and imitation leather goods. However, the first made his name in the mid 90’s when he struck gold – pirated VCDs and DVDs. So successful was Julius that it was rumoured the controlled most the areas in the Klang Valley, including the most lucrative areas – SS2, Kepong, Damansara Utama and Puchong, but only after vicious and bloody battles with rival gangs.

With new found power and fortune (he took over control of the ‘Gang of 21’), he moved into riskier ventures like Indonesian labour trafficking, tow-trucks, imitation auto accessories and seedy massage parlours (his HQ was said to be at the New Kowloon Hotel in Jalan Alor).

Everything he touched turned to gold, and within 2 years, he expanded his operations to include casinos and hotels in Taiwan, Macao, Hong Kong, mainland China, Australia and football betting in numerous Eastern European and South American countries. At the moment, the word is that he is trying to break into the US pharmaceutical market and is in negotiations with Don Carbone of the Sicilian crime family.

It is rumoured that he has 2 sons and two daughters. The eldest son, nicknamed ‘Little Dragon’ is in charged of his Hong Kong and Macao operations, while the younger ‘Tiger of Kepong’ oversees Malaysian businesses. Elder daughter Lilian runs a chain of beauty saloons in the Bukit Bintang area while the youngest Candy, works as a system analyst with Microsoft. Candy is rumoured to be estranged from Julius since 1995.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Welcome, Visitors, To Malaysia

For all tourists visiting Malaysia, especially Westerners, I welcome you to our warm and beautiful country. While you leisurely take your time shopping and sight-seeing, I hope I can offer you a handy guide on some Malaysian customs and practices, which you may find very peculiar.

Saturday afternoon in the suburbs:
Now if you are in the suburbs with a high Chinese population, Saturday afternoons are not the best time to be near shoplot areas. There will be a huge concentration of cars, motorbikes, trishaws, mobile stall operators etc discriminately parking in the middle of the road to access a certain kind of shop. These shops are usually two side by side, they have names like 4D, Magnum, Da Ma Cai, Sports Toto (nothing to do with sports) etc. Again, explaining this phenomenon might take awhile, but suffice to say it has something to do striking it rich, lottery and dream books.

Under the coffeeshop tables:
If you ever have the golden opportunity to visit a traditional Chinese coffeeshop, you will notice the beautiful marble tables with carved legs. And under the table is a colourful metal container, usually adorned with dragon or flowery motifs. That my friends, is not a trashcan, it’s a spittoon. And if you ever get to see a local customer using it, all the better. But if you ever see a straw in the spittoon…

Saturday afternoon on TV:
On your visit to Malaysia, you happen to stay at a hotel that offers only local terrestrial channels (meaning no cable TV), you will notice that most of the channel on offer show Hindi/Tamil/Telegu/Malayalee/Urdu movies at this time slot. This is strangely true every week, someone once told me that it is has something to do with estates and factories closing down for a break on Saturday afternoons. None of my Indian friends can vouch for this theory, since most of them have never set foot in a rubber estate.

Public toilets in Malaysia:
Don’t go near them. I’m not joking. Go use the hotel or McDonald’s toilet.

So, to the tourists to our country, I wish you happy holidaying. Next week, I’ll enlighten you on following peculiarities: car parking techniques in shopping centers during weekends, proper etiquette on eating banana leaf rice and perhaps explain to you the Malaysian p!r@ted DVD system.

SPM A1 Record: A Fictional Story

Mom: Lilian ah, Lilian? Did you read yesterday’s headlines? This girl got 17 A1’s in her SPM! She broke the record!!

Lilian: Uh-uh….

Mom: Lilian! Are you even listening?! What are you doing? Are you watching MTV again? I thought I told you NO WATCHING TV during weekdays and weekends!!

Lilian: Awww, mom…! I never get to watch any TV! And this is my favourite show. And besides, the papers say students should watch more TV to improve our Eng-ger-rish, right, mom?

Mom: NO TV DURING WEEKDAYS AND WEEKENDS! And don’t try to be funny with me, OK?

(Lilian makes a face and dutifully turns off the TV)

Mom: Now look here, the national record has been broken and we need to revise your target if we’re going to go for gold…

Lilian: What record, the high jump?

Mom: SPM A1’s, you dungu! Pay attention! Now, our previous target of 16 A1’s is out of the window… This girl has reached 17, which at first I thought was not humanly possible…

Lilian: Are there even THAT many subjects in SPM?

Mom: Quiet!! Now I heard Mrs. Gan’s daughter is going for 20, that kiasu woman… and that nosy Mrs. Pasamanickam’s son is also gunning for 20. I have them eating humble pie. That means…

Lilian: Oh, oh, American Idol is starting soon! Ryan Seacrest is so cool!

Mom: … so you’re going for 21 A1’s. Yes, TWENTY-ONE!!!

Lilian: Uh, hello….?! Have you, like, lost it? Isn’t, like, 8 A1’s enough? I have no life now, Mom! Everyday its study, study, study! Then its you screaming and nagging and screaming! I need a life!

Mom: Yes, 21 should do it! I can see the front page now…! “Jinjang Girl Scores 21 A1’s, Mother Main Inspiration”… Lilian! Have you memorized your thank you speech for the press release and PM’s award? Never mind, we still have time for that…

Lilian: Please mom… I can’t take all this pressure…

Mom: Right, now we have to register you for 5 additional subjects. Now’s where’s the exam handbook? OK, you’re taking Usuluddin, Sejarah Mesopotamia Kurun 6, Archeology for Beginners, Brain Surgery 101, what else…oh! Zen and Zoroastrianism Comparative Religious Studies!

Lilian: Mo-om! I don’t want 21 subjects for SPM! Why can’t I just do 8 like everyone else?

Mom: Like everyone else?! Do you want to a Neurosurgeon OR NOT?!! I say you break the record!!! Do you hear me…!!!

(Author’s note: Fast forward to March 13, 2006. Lilian failed miserably in her SPM by scoring ONLY 8 A1’s, two A2’s, and five C3’s. She didn’t attend the last 6 papers due to a nervous breakdown. Her mother is now working on her younger brother’s Primary 2 exam preparations...)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sites for Malaysian Investors

For small time investors like me, I find that the Internet is a great place to find information and resources on all things financial – stock quotes, biz news, investment advice, property market indices, etc. There are thousands of sites on the Net about these topics, but very few are local-centric, and even fewer that are good. These are a few of the sites I find useful. If you know of any good ones, please feel free to suggest:

You may think that the
Bursa Malaysia homepage is a no-brainer, but it has the fastest stock quotes available – 15 minutes delay. For value investors like me, live quotes doesn’t matter much; but this site has tons of info – company profiles, published financial results, IPOs, BM announcements and a decent investor education section.

Bursa Malaysia is now imposing a surcharge on live stock prices, so most commercial sites that offer this service has upped their monthly fees. There are many such services (
OSK188, KLSEdaily etc) but the one I’m most familiar with is Investor Exchange. The interface is quite innovative, but slow to load up. I’m also a member of Zoom Finance, but I hardly use it.

Some sites are still free, like
Sharesmyway, so it’s a matter of preference.

The Edge Daily gives business news feed and an archive of selected articles featured in their weekly magazine. This is extremely useful when researching certain counters and companies, and for real estate monitoring.

the Star Online Portfolio is no slouch either considering its free, it gives pretty much the same info as real-time sites, with the additional info on financial results, share buyback, and archived comments on share performance.

I’m still looking for more Malaysian sites that give in-depth advice and analysis of equities and investment instruments. Most site just archive news feeds, not many dare stick their necks out and give personal opinion, like
Dr. Neoh Soon Kean.

Any suggestions, anyone?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Of Nuns and Elephants

Today I’m too busy to blog, I’ll tell a few lame jokes…

Question: What goes black-white-black-white- black-white-black…?
Answer: A nun rolling down a hill.

Question: What goes black-white-“Ha-ha”?
Answer: The nun who kicked her down.

(No offence to nuns or monks intended)

Question: What do misers do when it’s cold?
Answer: They sit around a candle.

What do misers do when it’s VERY cold?
Answer: They light the candle.

(No offence to misers or tycoons intended)

Question: How do you shoot a white elephant?
Answer: With a white elephant gun.

How do you shoot a pink elephant?
Answer: First you paint the elephant white…

Question: How do you put an elephant into a matchbox?
Answer: First you take out the matches.

Question: How do make an elephant burger?
Answer: First you get a very large bun.

(No offence intended to elephants, people who think they are elephants, the Elephant Man & elephant trainers)

See you guys tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Common Job Interview Questions

My research and experience shows the following questions are the most common questions asked by job interviewers. And given below is how most people would REALLY want to answer them…

So why did you leave your last job?
I couldn’t work with my previous boss. He kept asking me to do work. On Monday mornings! And sometimes on Wednesdays, too. Slave driver. But if you call him up and check up on his story, he might mention that incident with the photocopy machine. Its all LIES, I tell you! LIES, you hear me?!

We have a performance-driven, high pressure and competitive working environment here. Are you sure you can handle it?
Wow, performance driven? High pressure?! This is an F1 team, izzit? Noo…! I can’t take this kind of pressure… Don’t want the job, don’t want the job… Give me back my padded resume…!

Can you work long hours?
Yes, of course. My previous job made me stay back until 5.30pm. On Fridays. But as a loyal worker, I never complained. Not once.

We cannot guarantee yearly, bonus and increment; it will all depend on the company’s performance…
Sure, I make up for it by stealing office stationery.

Your expected salary here is a bit on the high side. Don’t you think so?
No. You pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys.
What is important here is the expertise I bring to this company. If you value that, money is a secondary issue.
Why? Is it higher than yours?

I see here you have many years of experience in different areas of work. Can you elaborate on your job description and responsibilities for each one?
I dunno. Which version of my resume are you having? I made many different versions according to my mood… Anyway its all true, no lies there…

Do you have your own transport? This job may require you to travel extensively.
Only if you reimburse me RM2.50 per kilometer. And I want to be sent to Penang (mmm….nasi kandar…) and Genting only. But I may consider London and New York, too. Are you guys giving me an expense account?

If you were hired, when can you start?
Depends. I have another interview tomorrow.

How About Malaysian Bumper Stickers

Unlike in US and UK, bumper stickers aren’t very popular in Malaysia. It’s not hard too see why. Most Malaysians don’t like to stick anything on their expensive cars, lest they damage the beautiful paint work. And besides, Malaysians’ weird sense of humour doesn’t really sound funny anymore when it’s written down on a small sticker.

Some American stickers are popular here, like these seen in my office parking lot:

  • "This car is insured by the MAFIA"
  • "Clap! Clap! Clap! Thank you for not laughing at my car!"
  • "Do Not Wash! This car is undergoing a dirt test…"
  • "My Other car is a Porsche."

Then there are the rare local-humour stickers that are quite funny:

  • "KL City Pothole Survivor"

Well, actually I can only remember that one.

Which got me thinking, somebody should actually market Malaysian-made bumper stickers, no? Since bumper stickers generally convey what the driver wants to say (and boy, do Malaysian drivers say a lot), I thinking this is a gold mine waiting to be discovered. Here are some suggestions:

  • “Apa Tengok-Tengok?! Mau Cari Gaduh Aa?” (“What Are You Looking At? Wanna Fight Aa?”)
  • “Don’t Tailgate Me, Road Hogging Is My Right”
  • This Car Is Protected By The Nine Dragons Triads (this one wouldn’t be a joke…)
  • “PLUS Highway : Penang-JB in 4 Hours”
  • “Caution – Convicted Road Bully Inside”
  • “I Used To Be A KL Minibus Driver”

Any other suggestions?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Sometimes Life Isn't So Great

Just met up with an ex-colleague yesterday. He was getting some documents ready to send his daughter to UK for studies. We chatted awhile, and I found out that he had been out of a job since my previous company axed him 6 months ago, along with a dozen or so of my other ex-colleagues.

My previous job was at a construction project in our new federal administrative capital, spanning more than three years. In that lengthy tenure, the size of the project team started with about 20 and peaked at about 100 people. All in all we probably saw about 200 people join and leave. And I probably knew all 200 of them.

But a core group of masochists (that would include me) stuck through it from day one to the very bitter end or at least until the project was almost over. We went through harsh working conditions – 24 hour concreting jobs, going 30 days without rest days, burning our backs under the cruel sun, pushing through the mud, the rain, the sludge, the hunger, the dust other things unmentionable.

But after it all, it was all in vain for us, as the company refused to acknowledge the sacrifice. Our replacement leave was forfeited and every single contract staff terminated ruthlessly in the name of corporate downsizing. Even those at the top were not spared. The project manager was forced to resign, now facing an industrial court case. The senior project manager was demoted, and subsequently resigned.

My ex-colleagues and I keep in constant contact; we have dispersed all over the country seeking new pastures and different environment. But somehow or rather, I suppose everyone one of us still bear the battle-scars of that project.

I worry for my ex-colleague that I met yesterday. I didn’t dare to ask him how he was going to pay for his daughter’s UK education.

Aisayman, Long Time No See

If a friend or ex-colleague of yours, whom you haven’t seen or heard from for 5 or 6 years calls you up, makes small talk, asks about your family, then asks “Can I come and see you this weekend?”, what do you think he wants?

Well, I can think of a few possible answers. Let’s review them one by one, shall we?

Answer 1:

He wants to sell you insurance. Or some MLM crap he just joined. Happened to me a million times. You know, they join these companies and they teach you to find your ‘warm’ contacts first, blah blah blah. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against buying insurance or direct-selling. Just don’t call me after 5 years and pretend to care about my pet goldfish. Another one of my ex-classmate inadvertently insulted my family (in a lame attempt to make friendly chit-chat) and didn’t make it to the can-I-come-and-visit-you stage.

Answer 2:
He is getting married. And he needs to summon you with a red envelope. Usually, after the wedding, there is another 5-10 years of silence. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, considering some of the people I know.

Answer 3:

He is trying to recruit you to join the Heaven’s Gate and Earth’s Temple Cult of the Damned. He needs to fill his 144 member-get-member quota to achieve diamond-status before the mass suicide on 14th July. If I were you, just hang up the phone and disconnect the line.

Answer 4:
He actually and honestly wants to get re-acquainted with me and my pet goldfish. That’s quite scary, man. Even scarier than all the three other answers above combined.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Come Learn Some Useful Words

Here's a great way to improve your mangled Malaysian English. Actually, the list is in no way complete, just a few that fly around my office everyday. And every other office in Malaysia...

Cinapek – I suppose its short for ‘Cina Ah Pek’. More polite version would be ‘Chinaman’.
Example: ‘Don’t want to go to UE3, lah. That place so cinapek, one’

Cinabeng – Same as above, slightly cruder. Short for ‘Cina Ah Beng’. Mostly used by non-Chinese folks.
Example: ‘Cinabeng-la lu.

Cap Palang – So named from those TV ads from the 80’s testing products with ‘brand X’.
Example: ‘This car so cap palang one, throw away lah.’

Gostan – Move in reverse. One of the great mysteries of Malaysian English, it comes from ‘go astern’ (since nobody ever uses the original phrase).
Example: Gostan a bit more.’

Leng Lui – Pretty girl. Hokkien version would be 'swee char bor' or 'chio bu'.

Action – Arrogant.
Example: ‘Don’t want to talk to him, so action one.’

Kerek – Also means arrogant. Corruption of English word ‘character’. This is just my theory.
Example: ‘Alahai, kereknya Aminah tu…’

Sarbo – sabotage, see also ‘potong trip’.
Example: ‘You don’t sarbo me, I tell you first aah?’

Potong trip – sabotage, see also ‘sarbo’.

Lu – You.

Gua – Me.

Lu olang - You people.

Gua cayalah! - Er... how to explain?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

My List of Useless Stuff

Petrol companies in Malaysia
BP, Shell, Esso, Mobil, Petronas, ProJet, Caltex

International fast-food franchises in Malaysia
McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Burger Kings, A&W, Shakey’s Pizza, Kenny Rogers.

Failed international fast-food franchises in Malaysia
Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr., White Castle, Grandy’s, MOS Burger, plenty more I can’t recall.

Remaining local banks in Malaysia
Maybank, Public Bank, Southern Bank, Alliance Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Affin Bank, EON Bank, Southern Bank, Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, AmBank

Proton car models (not including aerobacks)
Saga, Wira, Iswara, Putra, Juara (Malaysia’s ugliest car), Limo, Satria, Waja, Gen.2, Tiara, Knight, Perdana, Cares (I’m not counting that RM4000 Proton bicycle)

Hypermarkets in Malaysia
Tesco, Giant, Makro, Carrefour (Jusco doesn’t count)

Colours of the rainbow
Violet, Indigo, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Red

Korean/Japanese cars I considered buying
Ford Lynx, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Spectra, Chevrolet Optra, Toyota Vios, Honda City, Nissan Sentra.

Original members of the Thudercats
Lion-O, Tygra, Panthero, Cheetara, WilyKat, WilyKit, Snarf

Long-forgotten cinemas in my hometown

Rex, Cathay, Victory, Asiatic

TV Memories from the 80s

Astro re-running some old TV shows from the 80’s their channel 70. Most of us don’t get to watch them since they are usually shown during the day time, unless you work at home or are on leave. Some of the ones that are doing the rounds are Knight Rider, Magnum P.I., MacGyver, Family Ties and The Bold & the Beautiful.

Here are some more shows I’d like to see them re-run just for the camp value:

The Greatest American Hero – Man, this show was fun. Great song, Connie Selleca and that funny bumbling hero with the Chinese word on his chest. As I recall it used to run on Thursdays at 8.30pm…

Manimal – You shouldn’t take this show too seriously, its scores low on the credibility scale. Simon MacCorkindale plays this guy fighting crime, and he can change into animals. But most episodes he only changes into a hawk and panther. Then there is that weird transformation sequence with the bubbling skin on his hand…. Weird.

Sledge Hammer! – By far my favourite sit-com. It ran a great first season, in the 2nd one they totally lost the plot. Its about this trigger-happy cop who is in love with his gun, and who always clueless about what is going on around him. My favourite scene was when he was faced with a ticking time-bomb, and he coolly whips out this small booklet titled ‘How to Defuse a Time Bomb’.

A-Team – Corny, good old-fashion fun! Hannibal Smith, Faceman Peck, B.A. Barracus, and Howling Mad Murdock. After a while you can notice all the episodes tend to follow a certain pattern.

Fantasy Island – Tell me who didn’t watch this show back then?! “Welcome to Fantasy Island, I’m Mr. Roake, your host…”

I have so many more TV memories from the 80’s, I’ll continue this blog one day…

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I wonder where they are...

If you’ve been reading the headlines recently, the government is once again cracking down on illegal workers in our country, now that the amnesty period for voluntary repatriation has come to an end. And so the authorities will be making their checks in construction sites around the country, since it is widespread knowledge that the building industry hires the most illegal aliens.

In all the years of dirtying my hands and clothes in the mud of our construction industry, I have worked alongside many, many foreign workers and seen the human face behind what the public calls a menace and a social threat. What I have seen is nothing shocking, it is merely the hearts and minds of vagabonds who left their homeland and families to earn an honest wage in the hopes of a better life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Irene Fernandez, and I’m not glorifying the illegal influx, and granted many of the aliens are involved in crime and give their lot a bad name. But with the fanfare in the media these days, I sometimes wonder what has happened to some of these guys I knew:

Maung Maung a.k.a Gemuk, the eternally cheerful concreting supervisor, even after 24 hours of non-stop work. Gemuk had really bad teeth, and he loved fried chicken. The last I heard he was deported back to Myanmar after a raid, but as he used to say, “Lepas 24 jam boleh balik Malaysia, maa…”

Nur Alam, the Bangladeshi worker, with his trademark rusty sunglasses. He was a bit effeminate, and was always teased no end about working through the night with the boys.

Samuri the Indonesian plasterer, always with his white muslin cap. He was a good plasterer, and traveled from site to site in search of work with gang of friends. He once told me about his wife and 2 children back home in Jawa. I hope he is well…

And also the nice Thai general worker (name withheld), who, one day clearing rubbish on the second floor of an uncompleted slab, fell through a stairwell and died instantly. I can still remember the smashed face, the blood spurt on the ground, and the letter to his wife and young child telling the news…

Sometimes I feel like I need to change of industry.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Cringe Questions I Dislike Being Asked

Here are some questions that really annoy or get on my nerves. I call them cringe-question, because every time I hear them, it makes me squirm like hearing fingernails on the blackboard. Most of the time I refuse to answer, and the rare few times I answer, you’ll probably would not like my answer.

1. When are getting married / Still not married aah?
The ultimate cringe-question. I am already married, but I really cringe whenever I hear someone asked this one. Let’s get this straight, for those unclear of the concept: If someone does not have a boyfriend or girlfriend, they’re probably looking for one. If they have one already, they are probably not ready to get married or are saving money for it. If someone is over a certain age, they probably resigned not to married. NONE, I repeat, NONE of the people mentioned above like answering this question.

2. This year your company got bonus or not?
No comment. I just dislike this question.

3. Simple thing also you don’t know, aah?
The person asking is trying to show he’s smarter than you, or patronizing you like a small child. A much cruder version would be: “Why, your parents never teach you one aah?”

4. Wah, you can read Chinese aah?
Granted, my Mandarin and dialects are not that great, but I’ll survive in Taiwan/HK/mainland China anyday. Does my face scream out “English educated!” that make people ask me this question? Maybe they think everybody’s stereotypical, English-schooled guys are all banana-people and Chinese-educated guys cannot pronounce their R’s. And all Sarawakians are filthy rich Foochows. No, wait, that's true.

5. Why you so fat / thin / short / tall / dark / fair one aah? (or other physical attribute)
This is assuming the person asking the question has perfect physical attributes, looks like Kristin Kreuk’s twin sister. Or thinks he or she has. Heck, I bet even Kristin Kreuk doesn’t ask that question!!!

6. No need to work aah?
Picture this office scene. You’re overworked and stressed, you haven’t had a day off in 2months. It’s 8pm and your exhausted, so you take a 2 minute break to clear your mind. You mention a funny incident with your colleague as friends do. The bitchy, annoying boss’s PA walks past (with her nose pointed up) and snorts, “No need to work, aah?”

7. “When’s your third one coming?”
I get asked this all the time. I have 2 children, so naturally, they expect another one. If I’m really annoyed, I ask them back question one above.

Property Market Going Up, Up, Up

These few years must really be good years in property development. Everyday in the Metro pullouts of the local newspapers are filled with advertisements for housing launch parties and sales promotions. Come Saturday’s paper, the number doubles. Even the Edge has a special pullout for real estate. Everyday you here about Amanputra, Amansuria, Amanseri, Damaiputra, Damansara Damai, Kota Permai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai…

Is the economy really that good? Where are people getting all these money from? Deductively speaking, there is no supply without demand. And speaking from within the industry, I can say that most of these launches that are marketed well by experienced companies sell very well. Some sell up to 50% on the first weekend. Even without satay parties.

Well, here I am, having problems paying for my car loan and kid’s kindergarten fees (it’s a killer) every month and these people are putting down RM80,000 down payment in cash. Without even batting an eyelid.

Some people keep telling me the property market will peak in 2-3 years time and after that it going to crash one day soon. Some others say anything is a good time to buy property.

As for me, I’m still waiting for the Playstation2 market to crash, then I can buy it for RM400. With the original controllers.

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