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Thursday, July 28, 2005

This Blog Has Migrated to SIMONTALKS.COM

Dear readers,

As of today July 28, I've migrated this blog the NEW location at:

Please update your bookmarks, blogroll and links. Thanks a million!
(And tell all your friends!!)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tun Mahathir, Proton, Mahaleel and the AP Saga

I finally read the two articles on Tun Mahathir today during my lunch break. The first article was his press release regarding the AP and Datuk Seri Rafidah issue. The second was an interview by the tabloid with him on Tengku Mahaleel’s dismissal.

I won’t be giving you a political or economical commentary here, I think many other qualified people have done so (Like
Jeff Ooi, MackZul and Paul Tan).

What I’d like to say is my humble observations on Proton, our former Prime Minister, Tengku Mahaleel and the AP saga.

  • Tun Mahathir is an angry man. Any bystander can notice that. For those of us who have been observing him for more than 20 years, the way he speaks and answers reporter questions is typical, vintage Mahathir. Some find it dismissive, irrelevant and temperamental, others call him a PR genius.

  • Not only that, he is also annoyed with some of his ministers in his former cabinet, especially the UMNO ones. Of course he won’t say who, but he makes that reference a few times. On Rafidah, he neither defends or openly criticizes her, but you can guess they won’t be teeing off together this Sunday.

  • For an 80-year guy, he sure looks good. My tea-lady insists it’s because of… oh, never mind.

  • I don’t think Tengku Mahaleel’s is the end of the world for him. Hundreds of other companies, bumi or non-bumi will be knocking on his door to get him on their board of directors.

  • Perodua makes better quality cars than Proton. Those who have driven both models can attest to that.

  • About the AP list. For years everyone in the industry roughly knows who’s on the list. So why the fuss? Because I think the release of the list was a knee-jerk reaction to the pressure. Now that it’s out, what’s next?

  • With all this brouhaha, will someone tell me when are they going to reduce the excise tax for imported cars?

  • The Wira model is more than 10 years old. The Iswara is nearing 20. Kind of weird to be paying more than RM40k for ancient models, wouldn’t you say?

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    Top Twelve Important Reminders to Drivers from Simon

    Some pretty good advice I learnt along the way, for new drivers and old hands, road hoggers and F1-wannabes, for kancil cili padi's to Mugen/Nismo racer boys.

    Top Twelve Important Reminders to Drivers from Simon

    • When you hear a loud noise from your engine, turn your radio louder.

    • Pump petrol in the cooler parts of the day, like in the morning or in the evening. Anytime in between, it’s just too hot to get out of your car air-conditioning.

    • Remember, if you collide with a motorbike, it’ll hurt him physically. But it’ll hurt your wallet even more.

    • Always keep your car boot empty, or store your junk in boxes. Don’t dump everything in. When you ever need to change your tyre, taking all the stuff is a pain.

    • When you buy a new car, read the manual immediately. When your car gets older, you’ll never want to read it again.

    • When your car breaks down at the side of the road, put one of the reflective triangles behind your car. If you don’t have one, break off a tree branch and stick it out of your boot. If you drive a bus, use one of the detachable passenger seats.

    • Wash your car every week. If not, it will become temperamental and answer back.

    • When you see a stain of black oil on your porch after you reverse out, it’s a big deal. It’ll take about RM300 not to see it anymore.

    • Keep an umbrella in your car, even if you’re a man guy. You’ll need it the day you drop off your girlfriend for her important job interview. And the office building is 200 meters away across the pedestrian park - in the pouring rain.

    • Drive carefully. Remember, most other drivers are morons.

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    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    What Is It With Malaysians and Freebies?

    What is it with Malaysians and freebies?

    Every time the supermarket gives out samples of any new products for tasting, we swarm over it like ants to honey at a picnic.

    Even if the product is some disgusting herbal root juice extracted from the bakau mangrove fermented in tapai. If it’s FREE, we must get it.

    Each time I see one of these booths at the Tesco or Jusco, (usually manned by some poor promoter on the 2nd day of her job) I see these aunties and grannies grabbing 2 or 3 portions, apparently ‘for my children/grandchildren/nieces/pet Chihuahua.’

    Then they turn the aisle, drink one cup, discover that it tastes horrendous, then leave the two untouched cups on the aisle shelf displaying women’s undergarments.

    If I were the marketing company, I wouldn’t judge the popularity of the product tasting by the number of cups I give away, but the number of un-drunk cups I find in the aisle around the tasting booth.

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    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Send Your Kids To Squash Classes

    Remember when Malaysia won the Thomas Cup back in 1992?

    Every kid in my neighbourhood got their wooden / 2 kg steel rackets out of the closet and started playing badminton. In fact, in the evenings, the entire stretch of my 200 meter lane was lined with boys and girls and makciks playing the good old hit and pick. Never mind the wind blowing the shuttlecocks like a kite.

    The winners were awarded tracts of landed and spanking new Proton Sagas (they were new then), corporate prizes, bottles of isotonic drinks, etc.

    Now, forget about badminton.

    Send them to squash classes. Squash is the new badminton. Look at Nicol David. Ong Beng Hee. Well, that’s about it. We have other players, but the darling of the media at the moment is of course the Penang girl Nicol.

    (Not to be confused with Peter Nicol, the former men’s world champion).

    So, if you’ve got lots of spare money to burn, drag your kids from watching too much English football to squash classes with the country club while you’re teeing off at the green.

    Forget about tennis or hockey or bowling already.

    Oh, wait. Maybe in ten years time ping-pong will be the new squash.

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    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    Disturbing My Weekend Siesta

    Weekend afternoon. Sleeping at home. Only time in the week I can enjoy some peace and quite.

    (Well, not actually, those pesky kids next door are always raising hell, anyway.)

    But, OK, still relative peaceful siesta.

    Then this bloody annoying van horn comes round. (horn sound from a van, not some dutch guy)

    Teet-teet-teet. Teet-teet-teet. Teet-teet-teet.

    My God, it’s like getting a root canal. And worse still, it’s driving slowly and coming nearer.

    I hate getting jolted out of bed. Especially in the afternoon.

    I went to my window to see what the hell it was (my window, by the way, has an awesome view of the oxidation pond).

    I couldn’t see the van, it had turned the corner. If it isn’t those vans buying old newspaper (unlikely, there wasn’t using a loud-hailer), it was probably selling mattresses or gas cylinders.

    Anyway, I drop down back to bed.

    My God, it turned to corner and its back again!

    Teet-teet-teet. Teet-teet-teet. Teet-teet-teet.

    Why can’t they get some soothing music like the ice-cream truck?!


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    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    Another Face From the Past

    Finally, after 15 long years, I met Sivin again.

    He was at our Young Adults gathering last night, and it was great to see a familiar face after so long.

    I first met Sivin and May Chin at KJK and SFC back in the late 80's. I visited Christ Lutheran twice, but I don’t think he was there at that time. From then until now we didn’t meet again, but I often heard news about the dynamic young Sivin. May Chin, too, was in the same CLP class as my good friends El and Dave.

    A few months ago we’ve been contacting again via e-mail and yahoo groups, so it was almost inevitable we could meet again.

    Sivin hasn’t changed much, still the down to earth, funny guy. Too bad his family didn’t come along…

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    Friday, July 22, 2005

    Ringgit De-Peg: Get the Odds!

    The big news of the day is the ringgit un-peg. Or de-peg. Or no-peg. Read it here.

    So what’s the new exchange rate gonna be?

    It used to be this:

    USD$1 = RM3.80

    So what’s the new, ‘stable’ rate going to be like?

    The talk on the street is somewhere between RM3.20 to RM4.00.

    According to our central bank:

    Since Jan 1, the ringgit has appreciated by 11.3% against the euro, 7.29% against the yen, 9.82% versus the pound sterling, 6.35% against the baht and 1.5% compared with the Singapore dollar.

    So if we calculate using my RM9.90 Snoopy calculator I bought at the SS2 pasar malam:

    Based on the rise against the euro, the new value should be RM3.41;
    Based on the rise against the yen, the new value should be RM3.54;
    Based on the rise against the pound sterling, the new value should be RM3.57;
    Based on the rise against the euro, the new value should be RM3.74.

    (Feel free to make fun Simon’s understanding of the money market. He failed his SRP)

    So, feeling confused, Simon called his bookie, Ah Fatt. (Not to be confused with Ah Keong, his mechanic or Ah Long, his friendly loan-shark)

    According to Ah Fatt, there is already a betting odds are already out! The odds are as follows:

    (Based on exchange rate of USD$1 on September 1st, 2005)

    Below RM3.00 = 25 to 1
    RM3.00 to RM3.19 = 10 to 1
    RM3.20 to RM3.49 = 5 to 1
    RM3.50 to 3.79 = 2 to 1
    Maintain at RM3.80 = 7 to 1
    More than RM3.81 = 15 to 1

    Special buy :
    RM3.88 = 8 to 1

    (Minimum bet RM100, please check odds daily before booking. Money up front, Maybank2u)

    KL Taxi Driver Numbers

    I haven’t taken a Malaysian taxi for a long time. I think the last time I did, this dorky cab driver tried to con me of 30sen, for air-con. This was years ago. For 30sen, this guy risked losing his permit… real smart. And what was he thinking of, charging for ‘air-con’?

    Anyway, have you ever wondered about those numbers stuck at the front of the cab? Usually it’s found above the glove compartment on the passenger side.

    Its looks something like this:

    TS 8xx
    WC 67xxx
    HWB 49xx

    They’re usually black plastic letters on a white surface.

    One day my brother asked the cab driver about it.

    This is what he said: “Ini nombor hantu itu JPJ bagi punya lah!!!”
    (Translation: “This is the ‘magic’ number given by the Road Transport Department!”)

    Anyway, according to this really affable cabbie, here’s what they meant:

    TS = ‘Tire Size’
    WC = ‘Wilayah Cab’ meaning it operates mainly in the city area.
    The last line is the car registration number. As found on the number plate.

    By the way, the ‘H’ in all the taxi number plates stand for ‘Hire’.

    One day if I take another cab again, I’ll ask the driver why its red and white in colour.

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    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Simon Plugs Jolene's Blog

    For those who read this blog regularly (yes, all TWO of you) you’ll notice I don’t usually mention other bloggers and almost never talk about blogging.

    Well, today I just have to mention Jolene’s blog (You've gotta be patient. It loads like a turtle).

    Most regular bloggers would already know her, but I started reading her blog just before the PPS bash.

    She’s currently undergoing National Service and the posting via snail mail to her brother Luzzio who blogs on her behalf. And guess what? It's bloody good and I simply can’t wait to read more about her life there!

    So for those who are done reading about the latest PPS storm in the teacup or big issue or whatever, try going to Jolene’s blog…

    OK, that’s enough blog-plugging for me this week.

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    Top Ten Things You Didn't Know About Harry Potter

    Over the weekend, the new Harry Potter book was released. I stayed clear of all bookstores and shopping centres. If Malaysia celebrated Halloween, it would look darn close to this.

    For those who can’t get enough of Potter-mania, here are interesting facts you may or may not already know about the boy wizard and his billionaire writer:

    Top Ten Things You Didn't Know About Harry Potter by Simon

    • The J.K. in ‘J.K.Rowling’ stands for ‘Janji Kaya’. Or ‘Just Kopy’.

    • In Book 7, the Weasley family will trade in their Ford Anglia for a Proton Savvy.

    • Before the first movie was shot, Tom Cruise turned the role of Harry Potter. He was rumoured to have said the book was ‘utter crap, just like me’.

    • During the summer holidays, Hagrid puts on a mask and appears in the WWE as Kane’s brother Bongo the Insane Killer Giant.

    • Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series beats the crap out of Potter any day.

    • The Malay version of Potter books changed the name Hogwarts to Khinzir-warts.

    • Michael Jackson is rumoured to be a ‘huge fan’ of Harry Potter. Why are we not surprised?

    • Hermione bribed the Sorting Hat to put her in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw. She says 'Ravenclaw is for geeks and losers'.

    • ‘Rowling’ is pronounced ‘rolling’, not ‘rau-ling’. Rowling is French Canadian for “sell your soul to the devil for a billion bucks.’

    • Harry Potter is Malaysian. Hogwarts is in Malaysia. Don’t believe? Read this.

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    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    AP & Naza: What's That?

    What’s AP?

    • Approved Permit?
    • Associated Press?
    • Advanced Placement?
    • Apasal Pulak?
    • Audio Precision?
    • Alternative Press?
    • Asia Pacific?
    • Ah Pek?

    What’s NAZA?

    • Nasimuddin & Zaleha?
    • A new anti-HIV drug banned by the FDA?
    • No AP, Zero Automobiles?
    • Short form of NaZaK?

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    First, 'Winter Sonata', Now, 'Jewel in the Palace'

    My wife is following that Korean series ‘Jewel in the Palace’ which is dubbed into Cantonese on Channel 30 (Astro). I’m not a big fan of these slow moving dramas, but apparently there is a lot of hype going around it and other Korean dramas.

    I’ve no idea what the show is about, but I’m sure most Malaysian will remember another huge craze some years ago called ‘Winter Sonata’. Oh yeah, that one was so big even the malay ladies in my office were talking about it non-stop. Even my brother and sis-in-law went on one of those ‘Winter Sonata’ tours in South Korea for their honeymoon.

    According to them, the tour also consisted of some Malay middle aged couple bent on taking photo of every location the show ever visited.

    Again, I’ve never watched a minute of that show, but according to my Malay colleague, her 6 year old son can sing the theme song of the show in pitch perfect Korean. This coming from a kid who can’t speak a word of English, let alone any Korean.

    Then I read somewhere that a local producer released a local series called ‘Cinta Sonata’. The storyline apparently, was almost similar to it’s more famous namesake. But according to this well-known local director, he thought of the name and love storyline even before ‘Winter Sonata’ was released. Yeah, sure. Malaysia Boleh.

    Well, coming back to this Jewel in the Palace. Kind of reminds me of the show ‘Koo Sin Lian’ back in the 80’s. Wow, that was a long series, I think it was 60 episodes long, it was showed on Sunday afternoon. There was even a Japanese version, called ‘Oshin’.

    For those who can’t remember it was one long, teary show about a hardworking farm girl who leaves home to work in a restaurant in the city. Every week there was at least one scene where the grandmother would wake up from a nightmare, run out of their wooden shack are cry, ‘Xiao Lian! Xiao Lian!”.

    Seems like these Mandarin/Korean/Japanese dramas haven’t changed much all these years…

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    My Dying Wish...

    I’m watching this show on TV right now. OK, it’s Desperate Housewives, I’ll just admit it here and now. It’s that part where the hunk of burning love Mike Delfino mentions to Teri Hatcher (whatever her screen name is...Susan?) that his wife’s dying wish was for him to take care of Bongo her dog, an Alsatian.

    That’s a tall order, taking care of a dog as somebody’s dying wish.

    (Let’s just talk about dying wishes on the make believe TV shows, here, OK?)

    But thankfully, for Mike Delfino, it could be a lot worse.

    Like, imagine she said this:

    • “Don’t ever forget me, darling. Promise me you’ll never marry again, or even lay eyes on another woman, or I’ll haunt you until you join me in hell…”

    • “Promise me you take good care of Bongo the dog, walk him twice a day, bathe him three time a week (but not on Sundays, he hates that) and feed him only Alpo.”

    • “Keep my side of the bed empty, Mike. I’ll come visit you every night.”

    • “Make me a promise. Never open that jewelry box in the living room, no matter what happens…”

    • “My dying wish… Mike… never forget these numbers… seven, three, eight, five…”

    • “Never forget. Viva Tottenham Hotspurs 4 Life.”

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    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    The Star Word Puzzle Is Back Again

    I noticed the Star is doing that Word Puzzle thing again. I think this is the third time they are doing this. The first two years were in a form of a Crossword puzzle, this time round they’ve simplified it to a linear puzzle. All to achieve the sole purpose of selling more newspapers (as if they have any REAL competitiors).

    I remember the last time they had this contest. Man, some people were really CRAZY about it. Some of my colleagues bought a bundle (yes, one BUNDLE) of the Star newspaper every morning. And they used like 5 different dictionaries and thesaurus (real and electronic) just to do one puzzle.

    Then in some areas of the city, there were literally traffic jams in front of the roadside newspaper stall. Yep, all those ah peks and Indian boys sure did brisk business during those months.

    The problem with the contest was that it was a set in such a way that every answer was a possibility between two or more choices. The clues given always vague and debatable. So the only way to have a better chance of winning would be – send in multiple entries. And to do that, you need… to… buy… more… newspapers.

    Anyway, like I said the clues were really vague and iffy. If you’re expecting clues like these:


    It’s the thorny, local king of the fruits

    D U R I A __

    Only a moron would answer DURIAK.


    Or if y
    ou were thinking something like this:

    Lassie and Fido are examples of this faithful animal. Also, in Malay it’s called an anjing.”

    D __ G

    I’ll give you a clue. It’s not “DAG”.


    What you’ll REALLY get is something like this:

    A strong emotion.

    __ __ __ E

    HATE? LOVE? DOTE? OGRE? MICE? PETE? Yeah, send 200 entries a week and you’ll cover all the possibilities.


    And they say these puzzles are to ‘reward’ the readers? Ingenious, aren’t these marketing people?

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    Malaysia Lifts the Thomas Cup: The Story of '92 (Part 2)

    (This is a continuation of yesterday’s post. Please read it first before proceeding, thanks)

    The scene was set. Malaysia had beaten the Mighty Indonesian House of Badminton in the two previous Thomas Cup semi-finals in the 80’s leading up to 1992, but each time, Malaysia could not match up to the might of the new force in world badminton – China.

    The Great Wall of China, year after year produced dozens of cookie cutter champions – all poker face, emotionless smashing machines like Yang Yang, Zhao Jianhua, Xiong Guobao, et al. And yeah, they also had the formidable Tian Bingyi and Li Yongbo, the arrogant crack doubles pair.

    But in 1992 Thomas Cup Finals in Stadium Negara Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia faced their arch nemesis Indonesia for a chance at glory. And so at 7pm, the battle started.

    The first singles was between our ‘jaguh kampong’ Rashid Sidek and the Indon No.1, Ardy Wiranata. Everyone hoped Rashid to win for Malaysia to stand a chance of winning, but no one really expected him to be able to pull it off. Rashid won the first set, but lost the second. So we went into the rubber. And suddenly everything started going Rashid’s way. His smashes started going in, Ardy, uncharacteristically started making mistakes. Rashid won, so 1-0 to Malaysia. The hopes of the millions of Malaysians glued to TV2 started to rise.

    Then it was Rashid’s elder brothers Razif and Jalani against their foes Bobby Ertanto/Gunawan. Malaysia’s tactic was to hope for a point from Rashid and the two doubles, Foo Kok Keong and especially Kwan Yoke Meng didn’t stand a chance against the Indon singles players. But on that warm night in KL, it nothing went right for the former All-England champions. They went down tamely in straight sets. It looked like the tactic had backfired.

    Everyone watching at home and at mamaks across the country were down in the dumps. Now it was almost lost, the ageing Foo had never beaten his opponent Olympic champion Allan Budi Kusuma. But the old warhorse didn’t read that script. He ran, jumped, dived, rolled and almost threw up on ran his way to a shocking straight set victory.

    It was late into the night already, and Stadium Negara was now shaking. The crowd, even the whole Malaysia, led by Dr. Siti Hasmah, Datuk Elyas Omar and Datuk Roland Fung were spurring our team on. On the court stepped the great white hope of the nation – Cheah Soon Kit and Soo Beng Kiang. On the other side, was Ricky Subagja/Rexy Mainaky. What followed was one of the most heart-stopping matches in the Thomas Cup history. The battle swung back and forth, with the viewers pushed from exhilaration to utter despair with drop of the shuttlecock.

    At almost nearing midnight, Cheah & Soo reached match point in the rubber. With Soo’s shaky hand he served, and with Hasbullah Awang annoying and ‘over-stating the obvious’ commentary, the nation watched with bated breathe.

    And then Malaysia won. The euphoria was unbelievable. We had finally won the most prestigious trophy in badminton. The players and officials stormed the court and cried uncontrollably. And the whole Malaysia celebrated as one nation; nothing could describe that feeling I felt that very moment.

    And so after 25 years, we had reclaimed the Thomas Cup, won on dubious circumstances back in 1967. In the years after that, we took a nosedive, and never reached the dizzying heights of 1992 again. Maybe it is perpetuated by the curse of Malaysian badminton, perhaps it would be another 25 years again before Malaysia lay get their hands on that silver cup again…

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    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Malaysia Lifts the Thomas Cup: The Story of '92 (Part 1)

    Lee Chong Wei just won the Malaysian Open badminton last weekend. It seems that our local tournament is the only competition our local shuttlers can win, aside from one or two obscure European tournaments here and there.

    Thereby justifying the ‘jaguh kampung’ tag. Unless if we meet an Indonesian player in the final. Then ‘jaguh kampung’ also don’t have.

    Actually Lee Chong Wei is just the latest in the long line of local boys from our academies to play in the international scene. This line stretched back to the early 90’s, with players like the Saha brothers, Lo Ah Heng, Roslin & Hafiz Hashim, Wong Choon Hann. Sometimes the story sounds like a broken record, a bright talent wins one title (like the Singapore Open) but in the end never really reaching his full potential.

    But why the early 90’s, you ask? Because in 1992, Malaysia, after 25 long, tiring years in the wilderness, finally won the coveted Thomas Cup. I will tell that stirring story of Malaysian courage and unity tomorrow, and the 2 tournaments in 1986 and 1989 leading up to that momentous victory. Tomorrow, I promise the story of that victory over the mighty Indonesian House of Badminton.

    But today, let me tell of that brilliant team of ’92.

    (The format of play was simple, there were 5 matches: three singles alternated with 2 doubles. The first team to win 3 matches wins. So you either win 3-0, 3-1 or if it’s a close one, 3-2.)

    First singlesRashid Sidek. He was the most talented of the brothers, but yet somehow never eluded the ‘jaguh kampung’ tag. Rashid’s netplay was suspect, and his smash never possessed the killer instinct of the Indons, and his concentration was iffy at best. But as erratic as he was, on a good day, he could defeat anyone. And he was still by far, Malaysia’s best.

    First doubles Razif & Jalani Sidek. In the All-England champions, Malaysia had a solid defence team. Their understanding seemed almost telepathic, but for all their prowess, the brothers could not smash. Their strength was always in long defence rallies where the impatient opponents made mistakes, but how would they fare against the feared jumping smash batteries?

    Second singles - Foo Kok Keong. With the retirement of bad boy of badminton (eww…!) Misbun and Ong Beng Teong, the never-say-die Foo was promoted to second singles. He was never blessed with much talent, but he made up for it with an immense fighting spirit. Sometimes until the point of throwing up on court or suffering leg cramps. But Foo had a long career and in ’92, he was staring at his twilight years, but for one more shot at the silver cup…

    Second doublesCheah Soon Kit & Soo Beng Kiang. Malaysia’s secret weapon. The pair had everything, solid defence, sharp smashes and exhilarating netplay. But one problem. It was obvious to everyone watching the young boys could not really get along (in fact Soon Kit never got along with ANY of his partners!).

    Third singlesKwan Yoke Meng/Wong Tat Meng. Both were unspectacular players, but Malaysia hoped that the match could be settled by the doubles and Rashid, thereby not requiring the third singles to be played.

    And so how did our boys square off against the likes of Ardy Wiranata, Alan Budi Kusuma, Eddy Hartono and Gunawan?

    Tomorrow: That fateful night Malaysia finally lifted the Thomas Cup

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    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    We Trust You, Wenger, But...

    Yes, we trust you, Arsene, but I hope you know what you're doing. In all these years you have been at Highbury, we HAVE trusted you, and by and large, you have delivered. Not wildly unimaginable success, but more success than in the past 50 years.

    But I hope you know what you're doing. Patrick Vieira is our talismanic (as much as I dislike that cliche) captain. 9 years is an eternity in football, he stayed on despite the lure of bigger clubs and European glory, and he has matured into one of the best defensive midfielders in the world (yes, Roy Keane, that's right).

    Those who criticize Arsenal's lack of real success always forget that this team is the only major European club that puts out under-23 players week in week out due to lack of financial clout like Real or Chelsea. Like Flamini, Fabregas, van Persie, Toure, Clichy and Cole. And by that measure, they are punching far above their weight.

    And without Paddy, there is a huge gap in the middle of the park. Edu has left for the warmer Spain, Parlour is collecting his pension at Boro, Pires is updating his resume and Gilberto is still on back-pain medication.

    When Bergkamp retires at the end of the season, an entire generation of players will have passed, Dennis is the last remaining player from the pre-Wenger, Rioch/Graham era, the remaining are from the tutelage of Wenger and the dorms of Colney. And Paddy was the very first of that generation.

    And so, good luck Paddy in the catenachio of Italy. We wish you all the best, and thanks for the memories. Along with likes of Tony Adams, Liam Brady, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and David Seaman, you are one of our greats.

    And don't fail our trust, Wenger.

    Gunner 4 life.

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    Friday, July 15, 2005

    What to Get Your Girlfriend for Valentine/Birthday/Anniversary

    Most attached guys I know face this problem: What to get your wife or girlfriend for her birthday? Or Valentine’s Day? Or your anniversary? Oh, that’s easy, some of you might say. Get her some flowers and chocolates. Sure, that works fine the first few times, but after a few years of courtship (assuming your girlfriend stays with you that long) you start running out of ideas.

    There are those who never face this problem. That’s because they never buy their girlfriends anything. Why? I dunno. I suppose there’s a few reasons. Boyfriend is an ultra-cheapskate. Guy has a incredible ability to forget every important date (Most likely to get dumped). Girlfriend has an intense phobia against receiving gifts (OK, this one only exists in men’s dreams).Couple are hard-pressed for money and are saving for more important things together (OK, in this case, it be acceptable).

    But for the rest of us, we have to shop around for good gifts 3 to 4 times a year (including Christmas for some people). But first let me say that I’m the type that loves shopping for gifts for my wife, heck, I just love shopping. I find it a thrilling challenge to seek out a really hard-to-get or ingenious present that will absolutely delight her. It’s not always an expensive item, sometimes a small meaningful gift can mean far more than an expensive one.

    But for those prone to frantic, last minute shopping at the nearest petrol station mini-mart, here are some semi-precious tips, some I picked up myself, some I learnt from other masters:

    Don’t buy her gift vouchers – The first unwritten rule. I don’t really know why this is so, but I adhere by it. It’s probably because the recipient can immediately tell how much you spent on it (and whether she thinks you’re a spendthrift or a cheapskate). The other problem might be it doesn’t take any effort to shop for it. You just walk into the store and buy it. So unless you’re buying RM1000 worth of vouchers at Salvatore Ferragamo which is her all time FAVOURITE store, remember this rule.

    Listen to her – Right I know this might be like asking most guys to donate a liver, but believe it or not, most girls like to talk (yes, believe it or not). And while they talk about everything and anything under the sun, they will also talk about what they like, or suddenly let slip something they really wanted to have (you know, like a Freudian slip). To catch what she said, remember it, six months later presenting it to her (after scouring half the city) will score more marks with her than you will ever hope for. Remember that pearl pendant Ross bought for Rachel’s birthday in the first season of Friends? I have done it a few times, (opportunities like this don’t often come), but you’ll have to ask my wife about it.

    Get it while you can – Sometimes you see something you know she will love, get it immediately (if the price is right) even though her birthday is 5 months away. Keep it in a secret place (just don’t forget where) then you can be assured of an awesome gift when the time comes. I once had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy this great collector’s edition of a Barbie doll (retail price RM200, I paid less than 20% of that price). Since the source was rather clandestine, that opportunity will never come again.

    Decide first, then look – Make sure you know what you want to buy, or at least 2 or 3 possibilities, then go look for something that sells it. Don’t wander around Isetan trying to think of something, you’ll get more misses than hits. Then as time runs out, you’ll start getting panicky. Decide what to buy, then go and get it. If you can’t find it, have a backup. If not, then you can panic.

    Never tell her the price – the greatest golden rule. Hide your credit card statement. Better yet, pay cash (Remember folks, use Mastercard, not Visa). Keep receipt in safe place. Like, in a compartment in your car engine. Ahahaha. Never tell. Even if she asks, begs, cajoles, bullies. (actually if she bullies, you might consider your long term prospects with her…)

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    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    More RTM shows Simon Does Not Miss From the 80’s

    Further to my post last week, these might just jog some of your memories…:

    More RTM shows Simon Does Not Miss From the 80’s:

    • Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. (or its English version, This Day in History)

    • Those ‘informative’ short segments by Filem Negara Malaysia where they teach you how they make things, like wau (kite), statue of a parrot, gasing, etc.

    • Falcon Crest. (Seemed like it went on and on and on…)

    • Paint Along with Nancy. (Actually this one was quite good. She paints with a spatula!)

    • Sapphire & Steel (What on earth is going on?!)

    • Empat Sekawan (Don’t get me started on this one…)

    • TV Pendidikan English Language shows featuring Bing and Bong! (and later Brogg.)

    • Rasa Sayang. Comes on every festival holiday in the morning. You have Rasa Sayang Aidifitri, Rasa Sayang Tahun Baru Cina, Rasa Sayang Deepavali, etc. What’s it about? Never mind…

    • Any TV show featuring A.R. Badul, Jamali Shadat or Hamid Ghurka.

    • Peyton Place.

    Related posts by Simon:

    Top Ten Things Simon Does NOT Miss From The 80’s.

    Back to main page.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Simon Watches Desperate Housewives...

    I finally got to watch Desperate Housewives last night on Astro. My wife caught it last week on local TV, gave it good reviews, and some bloggers where just singing praises to it. Me? I spent enough time watching American TV to know you can’t judge a show on just a few episodes.

    But it was quite promising, and I can understand the hype it generated in the US when it first premiered. It cleverly uses a lot of tested clichés and plot devices to hook the viewers in and bring them back the following week.

    For those who didn’t catch it, it’s about 5 housewives who live in upper middle class surburbia America, with their everyday problems of screaming kids, affairs with the gardener, nosy neighbours, a bitchy temptress, cheating husbands, etc. One day one of the 5 kills herself, and opens an intriguing mystery which apparently involves an undercover cop (or hired killer, I dunno) and more deep dark secrets. You know, the usual.

    I can foresee a few spin-offs and copycat shows sprouting out soon, bringing back the good ol’ days of TV ‘dramedy’ (drama-comedy) of the 80’s and 90’s (remember Thirtysomething? Felicity? Ally McBeal?)

    Here are some I can think of, if I may suggest:

    Desperate Illegal VCD Sellers – Tale of 4 close buddies working the Pandan Indah illegal VCD business. They live together and share all their joys and tears in life. One day, one of them is arrested by DBKL (he tripped on the road kerb while evading enforcement officers). What’s worse, everything falls apart when another one of them confesses to a deep, dark secret – he has a normal day job as a bank clerk! The ultimate betrayal!

    Desperate Audit Accountants – a show about the steamy secret lives of audit accountants. Stealing office supplies for home use, serious muscle injury from lifting too many P.O. files, personal lives ruined due to spending too much time on datelines, scandal about travel claims and meal allowance fraud, geeky auditor guy falls for dorky girl client (‘forbidden love’…!). In short, the Most Boring Show on TV.

    Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya TerdesakKisah cinta terlarang antara Rumi dan Juli, dua mahasiswa menara gading terunggul negara. Satu dari keluarga berada, satu lagi anak penarik beca. Walau pun segalanya keluarga berada, satu lagi anak penarik beca. Walau pun segalanya kelihatan sulit dan malap bagi dua kekasih ini, cinta mekar di bawah sinar bulan mengambang di atas Bukit Gasing
    (translation: boy meets girl. Yadda yadda yadda)

    Desperate Cartoon Network – the sordid and sleazy untold tales of the Powerpuff Girls. Buttercups has been secretly having an affair with Johnny Bravo while boyfriend Johnny Quest is away on a mission. Bubbles comes out of the closet. Blossom one day unearths the horrifying truth that Professor X is actually the same guy as Samurai Jack! (Guest appearance by Batman and Ed, Edd and Eddy)

    Desperate Bloggers – Simon watches too much TV. Belacans is actually a crocodile(#69). Jason has to clean toilets. 5xmom’s sons always ponteng class. Din talks to his car (like Michael Knight). Violetwings finds the identity of the mysterious blogger at her table… Shan has a Darth Maul in her closet... Anjali dreams of being on CSI (mmm… Warrick Brown...)

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Top Ten Signs that Harry Potter & Hogwarts is in Malaysia

    Everyone knows Harry Potter is from England. But where Hogwarts is located is still a great mystery. Well, I think it’s somewhere in Malaysia. And Harry Potter is actually Malaysian. Here’s ten reasons why.

    Top Ten Signs that Harry Potter & Hogwarts is in Malaysia by Simon (who used to be an acolyte in the Dark Arts):

    • Only KTM can come out with something like Platform 9 ¾.

    • Tortured house elves. Abused foreign maids. See the connection?!

    • School kids spend more time eating junk food and pulling pranks rather than studying.

    • Schoolbooks and supplies are so expensive we need gold galleon to buy them. Same in Malaysia.

    • Hand phones have no signal there (as mentioned in Book 5).

    • Don’t the Hogwarts houses like Gryffindor & Slytherin remind you of your rumah sukan during your school sports day?

    • Headmaster is a near-senile old man that doesn’t do anything until the sh!t has hit the fan.

    • Nobody understands what the teachers are going on about during class.

    • The Minister of Magic… well, I think I should know better…

    • Expecto Petronas!’. Enough said.

    Back to main page.

    Terrorism in London: White Dove

    This post is for the London bombing victims. By and large, the average Malaysian has forgotten the incidents that took place a thousand miles away in a mat salleh country, putting it aside like yesterdays new (literally). But "while the sun goes down, the world goes by..."

    (I suppose the Scorps, while infamous for a lot other things, did one thing right with this song...)

    White Dove by the Scorpions

    A place without a name, under a burning sky
    There's no milk and honey here in the land of God
    Someone holds a sign, it says we are human, too
    And while the sun goes down, the world goes by

    White dove, fly with the wind
    Take our hope under your wings
    For the world to know, that hope will not die
    Where the children cry

    Waves, big like a house they're stranded on a piece of wood
    To leave it all behind, to start again
    But instead of a new life, all they find is a door that's closed
    And they keep looking for a place called home

    White dove, fly with the wind
    Take our hope under your wings
    For the world to know, that hope will not die
    Where the children cry

    Can anyone tell me why, the children of the world
    Have to pay the price, and now your telling me
    You've seen it all before I know that's right but still it breaks my heart
    Well, the golden lamb we sent, makes us feel better now
    But you know it's just a drop, in a sea of tears

    White dove, fly with the wind
    Take our hope under your wings
    For the world to know, that hope will not die
    Where the children cry

    Back to main page.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Top Ten Surprises You WON'T Find in the new Harry Potter Book (And other useless facts)

    Top Ten Surprises You WON'T Find in the new Harry Potter Book (And other useless facts) by Simon:

    • Harry Potter goes to National Service in Terengganu. And suffers from Quidditch withdrawal symptoms. And gets his ass kicked by Malaysian students.

    • J.K. Rowling seriously considered introducing a new sulking, Chewbacca-like villain in this new 6th book. The working title? “Harry Potter and the Hairy Pouter”.

    • Harry finally realizes Voldermort is just a cheap rip-off from other villains like Darth Vader, Sauron and the White Witch.

    • Harry starts smoking pot in Hogswarts toilet.

    • To boost sales of the overpriced and over hyped books, author is tying in with cheesy spin-off merchandising like board games, Happy Meal toys, card games, dolls playset, T-shirts, mugs, bedsheets, children’s underwear, lunch boxes, etc. No wait, that has already happened…

    • Harry finally realizes even HE is sick of himself. And Hagrid is a pathetic whiner with the mentality of a 7-year old.

    • Protests by students from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw demanding more air-time in books and movies. Their slogan is “Equality for Other Less Popular Houses”.

    • Cho Chang sells kiss-and-tell memoirs about the boy wizard to the Observer for 3 million pounds.

    • Ron Weasley finally comes out the closet and tells Harry & Hermione that he’s gay.

    • Hermione Granger finally comes out the closet and tells Harry & Ron that she had a sex-change op 6 years ago.

    Back to main page.

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    Something on Superhero Movies...

    Superhero movies seem to be big box office hits these days. Batman, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Spiderman, X-men, Elektra, MIB, Hellboy Super Sapiens, the list just goes on. There’ll be plenty more coming soon, if rumours are to be believed, including Ghost Rider.

    But back in the late 70’s to early 90's, this wasn’t the case. Most movies studios wouldn’t touch superhero flicks with a ten-foot pole. The only notable one from that era was none other than Krypton’s Kal-El, a.k.a Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman. For some strange reasons the first two movies did exceptionally well against the grain of the genre, at the same time catapulting Christopher Reeves into the big time.

    However when Superman III came out, it was utter crap. Part IV was even worse, I doubt any comic fans can ever watch the last two installments without cringing.

    Then sometime in 1989 Batman came out, broke all box-office records, and opened the floodgates for DC, Marvel, Image and the other comic houses to turn their paper heroes to films. Some scored big time, some sucked (Captain America? Spawn? Punisher? Shi? Catwoman?!).

    It seems like right now all the studio execs are scouring DC and Marvel’s back catalogue of old issues to find the next big summer hit. It will only be time when someone starts hawking a script for Teen Titans, Preacher, the Watchers or Aquaman.

    Anyway, just my thoughts and back story for my top ten list. Didn’t manage to get 10 though, so it’s more of 5 questions about comic superheroes.

    • How on earth do all those heroines fit into those super-tight body-hugging spandex costumes? Liposuction?

    • What is it with American boys’ and men’s fascination with Wonder Woman? Is it the costume? The lasso? Remember Robert Downey, Jr.?

    • What about Groo?! How come nobody wants to make that movie?! It’ll be damn funny!

    • How on earth do they select all those cool names for superhero team members? Like Cyborg, Gambit, Network, Starfire, White Witch? Do they use a dictionary? Or one of those Internet Name Generators?

    I can’t think of another one, so I’ll just have to stop here. See you tomorrow.

    Back to main page.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    Malay Name Trends (But You're Chinese...!)

    First off, I don’t have a Malay name. Neither do my relatives (I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m Chinese?) But I spent 16 years in Malay schools and university (17, if you include kindergarten...), I’ve befriended hundreds and hundreds of Malay friends and neighbours.

    And I’ve noticed trends come and go over the years when it comes to their names. But bear in mind this isn’t definitive, and dudes like MackZul can probably give a better account, but this is just my observation…


    Born BEFORE 1970’s:
    • What my friend calls ‘kampung’ names, with short form - Zabedah (Bedah), Latifah (Tipah), Fatimah (Timah), Maimunah (Maimun), Aminah (Minah), Sharifah (Rifah? Pah?).

    Born DURING the 1970’s:
    • The prefix Siti. Example – Siti Halijah, Siti Manisah, etc.
    • The prefix Nur or Noor. Example – Nurashikin, Siti Noor Farizah, etc.
    • Traditional names – Jamaliah, Rozilah, Mariam, etc.

    Born in the 80’s and 90’s:
    • English names – Sarah, Emilia, Lina, Mimi, Masha
    • Super long names – Siti Nurfarahin Dayangku Intan, Noor Elfina Putri Syafinaz.


    Born BEFORE 1970’s:
    • Ali
    • Abdullah
    • And those named after prophets.

    Born DURING the 1970’s:
    • Mostly ending with ‘din’. Example – Kamaruddin, Jamaluddin, Hairuddin.
    • Mostly ending with ‘man’. Example – Leman, Azman, Rahman, Lokman, Suparman (no, really!).

    Born in the 80’s and 90’s:
    • English names. Example – Alex, Jeffrey, MackZul (I say, joking only aa?)
    • Super long names – Mohd Dzicky Fyemmy Mohd Nor Azwan, Ahmad Iskandar Zulkarnain Al-Bukhari, etc.
    • Indonesian names – Putra Kurniawan, Ismaryanto and some more I can’t remember (not that many around, but there definitely was a trend going)

    Malaysian Chinese names? Don’t get me started. OK, I will, next week (*groan*...)

          Back to main page.

          Thursday, July 07, 2005

          A Thought on the London Blast... and Malaysia

          As I am blogging this, news of the London blast is slowing filtering in via cable TV, newsfeed, e-mails and blogs.

          Yesterday, London just won the right to host the 2012 Olympics. Then the G8 summit commenced.

          Today, London is shell-shocked and in mourning.

          Who is responsible and what their motives are is inconsequential at this juncture. What is more important is that an act of terrorism has taken place and human lives are lost.

          Terrorism today knows no religion, creed, race, political boundaries or anything tangible as that. In recent years, Muslim countries have been bombed, European targets have been attacked, non-aligned / peaceful / neutral Asian countries have also not been spared.

          I urge Malaysians to pray for the victims and their families of the blast. And pray also for the safety and peace in our very own country.

          For every good, law-abiding person in Malaysian, there is another extremist/fanatic elsewhere that will do anything to further the cause he or she will readily die for. When terrorism is concerned, is anything possible, nothing is too sacred. Even our beloved country.

          Pray for the safety of our nation, where ever your beliefs lie. Pray that our peaceful nation and cities do not become an 'incident' in a endemic war that we are not directly part or privy of.

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          Top Ten Most Unpopular Jobs in Malaysia by Simon

          Last I heard there are plenty of unemployed graduates out there. However, some jobs in Malaysia still stay unpopular for a variety of reasons, no matter what the economic situation the country is.

          (Disclaimer: Before I get spam from trade unions accusing me of deriding their profession, let me clarify that all I’m saying is that the jobs are UNPOPULAR, not BAD. Heck, I used to work in some of these jobs.)

          Top Ten Most Unpopular Jobs in Malaysia by Simon (who’s own job is only slightly less popular than these listed below…)

          • External window cleaner for Twin Towers, KLCC.

          • Male nurses.

          • Credit card sales personnel in shopping centres.

          • Portable toilet attendant (those used for carnivals, outdoor expos and construction sites)

          • Ma piu poh.

          • Opposition party worker.

          • Personal finance / home loan telemarketer (actually, ANY kind of telemarketer…)

          • QA/QC supervisor at Proton plant.

          • Subtitle translator for local TV stations.

          • Custodian at the Turf Club stables.

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          Wednesday, July 06, 2005

          Top Ten Things Simon Does NOT Miss From The 80’s

          Top Ten Things Simon Does NOT Miss From The 80’s (But he remembers a lot of other good things…):

          • Secondary school.

          • Koir RTM singing something about good behaviour everyday before the 8pm news.

          • Shoulder pads.

          • Cumi dan Ciki.

          • Death-defying minibuses ruling the roads in KL.

          • Janet Ambrose.

          • Crappy local TV stations.

          • Margaret Thatcher.

          • 6 hour journey from JB to KL on the trunk road.

          • Radio Pendidikan.

          Back to main page.

          No Chip Card Reader at Petrol Station

          It’s going to be a long & busy day, so a short post.

          It’s been 6 months now since the government implemented the chip credit card ruling. But until today, this huge, foreign petrol company has yet to install chip card readers at the pumps. Maybe they have, but all the stations across KlangValley that I have come across do not have them. So I have to line up behind the mat rempits (death bikers) who take 2 minutes deciding on which fag to buy.

          They have this guy in a mobile card reading machine going from pump to pump, but everytime I’m there, he’s either:

          • Not there.
          • Busy with someone else (12 pumps, one attendant, peak hour. Go figure.)
          • Reader machine not working.
          • Too busy chatting up the pretty girl manning the cash register (I hate to disrupt their thought provoking discussion on whether Felix or Mawi is more popular)
          • Having his all important rest/tea break (God forbid I should intrude on the 'sacred hour'...)

          Some of the other companies like Petronas and Projet has installed the readers, this company shouldn’t give the excuse that the overhead is too high. Besides, petrol prices are now comparable to black market uranium prices, and the government has given more than a year’s notice…

          I’m seriously considering changing petrol companies, Asha Gill or not.

          Back to main page.

          Tuesday, July 05, 2005

          Guyana (The Cult of the Damned)

          The news these days are talking about the 'Sky Kingdom' group in Terengganu. It seems ever so often another one springs up from nowhere.

          All these talk of cults and deviant teachings in the papers only serve to remind me of this old song by Manowar (who themselves were quite terpesong!)...

          I suppose it's a sign of the times...

          Guyana (The Cult of the Damned)

          Thank you for the kool-aid reverend Jim
          We're glad to leave behind their world of sin
          Our lifeless bodies fall on holy ground
          Rotting flesh a sacrificial mound
          Were you our God or a man in a play who took our applause and forced us to stay
          Now all together we lived as we dead on your command by your side

          Guyana in the cult of the damned
          Give us your sword for the grand final stand
          In the cult of the damned we all worked the land, too afraid to look up
          We all feared his hand
          Hurry my children
          There isn't much time
          But we'll meet again on the other side
          Be good to the children and old people
          First hand them a drink
          They're dying of thirst

          Guyana in the cult of the damned
          Give us your sword for the grand final stand

          Bigfoot, bigfoot thrown in a well
          Pulled under water
          Screaming like hell
          He told us life was just a hotel
          Time to check out when he rang the bell

          Guyana in the cult of the damned
          Give us your sword for the grand final stand
          Guyana in the cult of the damned
          Give us your sword for the grand final stand

          Mother, mother.

          (If you don't know, the song is about the mass muder and suicide of the cult People's Temple led by Reverend Jim Jones in Guyana back in 1978...)

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          My Trusty Road Warrior

          I love my car. It’s an 8-year old beat-up road warrior that has seen better days, and my friends who are familiar with it (and have the ignominy of riding in it) can attest to the fact. But I love it. It has served me extremely well, through the good times and especially the bad.

          Through the years I kept it running well, even with my limited knowledge of engine mechanism and tight, tight budget.

          It suffered a few minor accidents here and there, including one where I had to have an entire door knocked back into shape. But yet the old warhorse faithfully sputtered to life every morning to do its job.

          Then one day, I had to work deep in the city, because my then employer wanted to unload a few hundred staff, and I couldn’t find another job in a less congested area. So since then I had to subject my creaking ride to the unrelenting traffic jams under intense weather conditions and long distance traveling.

          Then one evening, during the fasting month, in a stop-and-go traffic, the car ahead of made an emergency stop. I slammed the brakes. Even though my tires were screeching and almost skidding, I knew I could stop in time before I hit the front car. I was right. My ride stopped a few inches short of the silver Waja.

          Unfortunately, the car behind didn’t have such luck. He slammed head long into my rear. In fact, in retrospect, I doubt he even attempt to brake at all, with my car absorbing the entire force of impact, hurtling my car the crash into the front silver Waja.

          It was a wreck, not a sight for weak of heart (the 2 cars, not the driver. However, I did consider suing for whiplash).

          It took two months plus to repair my car. Plus a few return trips to fix the niggling problems. The mechanics didn’t do a good job, (which insurance claims workshop does, anyway?) and to this day, more and more inherent problems are surfacing and refuse to go away.

          But I still love my ride. Since the accident, I may have slackened on taking care of it, but the engine still runs smoothly.

          Lately, I’ve tempted to look to changing cars. But of course, it’s just a pipe dream, with my payslip and bank balance laughing at my face.

          So tomorrow morning, I’ll fire up the engine again for another long trek into the city, coaxing my silver grey steed for one more day on the job. As we office lackeys always say, another day, another dollar…

          Back to main page.

          Monday, July 04, 2005

          Some Things I Should Be Able to Buy Online in Malaysia

          Online auction site aren’t very big in Malaysia. As far as I know, other than and eBay Malaysia, the others have died a slow death. But I suppose there aren’t many interesting stuff to be found on sale there, other than the usual second hand electronic items.

          But, hey, here are some items I’d LOVE to see put up on sale online here in Malaysia!

          A piece of roti canai miraculously bearing the image of Ayah Pin (Sky Kingdom) or Ustaz Ashaari Muhammad (of Al-Arqam fame). (Starting bid – RM 4.99)

          Complete collection of vintage multi-coloured Toong Foong bus tickets from 1985-1988 era (from 40sen to RM1.20) in pristine condition, each with 2 puncher holes. (Starting bid RM 488.88)

          Blurry 4-minute long video camera recording of alleged aliens landing in the backyard of Kampung Pandan house. Green, 3-foot tall aliens are seen to be stealing rambutans from tree in backyard and abducting house-owner’s pet dog into spaceship. Video verification still under investigation by MUFON. (Starting bid RM 574,0552)

          Handwriting on Mahmood’s Nasi Kandar restaurant napkin, saying “Eh, Lim, can pay this time round, aa? Forgot to bring wallet” (the rest is illegible) allegedly written by Kxxxxx Sxxxx, opposition MP for xxxxxxxx (according to seller of item, who wishes to remain anonymous). (Starting bid RM 1000)

          Undated photo of last minibus No.12 entering depot at Old Town, before official phasing out by government. Photo is unclear, but driver in picture said to be Maniam ‘Schumacher’ Pillai, the legendary bus minibus driver, 24 years on the job (said to be never once late). (Starting bid RM1.00)

          Two-headed cicak (common house lizard) preserved in jar of formaldehyde. Caught by Tompok, the owner’s cat in Felda Sg. Rimbunan, Pahang. (Starting bid RM 254.56)

          Hello Kitty’ alarm clock, runs on one AA battery, (bought from SS2 pasar malam) which chimes 13 times every hour. No scientific explanation available. Said to be possessed by a Malaysian poltergeist. Strangely, chiming stops after battery is removed. Owner claims the eyes on Hello Kitty moves at midnight, but observations proved inconclusive. (Starting bid RM 9.50)

          Alleged picture of XXXXXXX (famous Malaysian dangdut singer), without make-up, entering Michael & Guys Hair Styling Saloon, Jalan Imbi taken on camera phone. Singer’s publicist has refused to comment (Starting bid RM 100)

          Back to main page.

          Performing Circus Animals

          A few months ago I went to the circus which was in town. This was supposed to be a RoyalMat Salleh’ circus (but apparently owned by some Malaysian guy) and had an international cast of performers, from Iberian trapeze artists, Indian mahouts, Chinese acrobats, Eastern European cabaret girls etc.

          And the many animals on show. The one I watched they didn’t bring out the lions and tigers (we saw the big cats snoring in their cages outside the big top). But other that that they still had a large menagerie of performing animals on show, monkeys, ponies, one very small elephant, poodles and a bored looking house-cat.

          In fact, ALL the animals had this bored look on their faces, maybe it the monotony of performing the same thing everyday, or the fact that the owners don’t subscribe to Animal Planet on Astro for the animals.

          I could imagine the animals talking with another during the performances, to alleviate the boredom and pass the time:

          Monkey #1 (while performing on the ponies): Oh, look Tinkerbell, the big top is hardly even a quarter full tonight. The economy must be going to the dogs…

          Monkey #2: Yeah, I know. At these ticket prices, who wants to come to the circus anymore?

          Monkey #1: Say, does this tutu make my ass look fat?

          Monkey #2
          : Look, your ass looks fat in anything.

          Monkey #1: Shut up, you son of a monkey…


          Poodle #1 (while walking on hind legs): Another night, another performance… What’s the point of it all..?

          Poodle #2: Its showbiz pal, we just have to do what we have to do.

          Poodle #1: Oh look, we’re supposed to jump through the hoops now.

          Poodle #2: Don’t you just hate it when we do all the tricks and our moronic trainer gets all the applause?

          Poodle #1: Yeah I know. Let’s pull a prank on him tonight…

          Poodle #2: Are you thinking what I’m thinking, comrade?

          Poodle #1: I’m thinking doggie-doo on his favourite tuxedo when he’s flirting with that skinny showgirl…

          *Sigh*... I hate Mondays...

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          Saturday, July 02, 2005

          Petrol Price Increase Again?!

          I was only away for two days and so many things have happened… contest for MCA top post, Tengku Mahaleel, Live 8 concert, WMDs shockingly still not found yet…

          I just heard about a rumour circulating on Thursday, June 30th about a purported petrol price increase. It turned out to be a false alarm, but according to my friend that didn’t stop hundreds of nutjob motorists from lining up to pump petrol at night, jamming up major roads and highways.

          Here’s what my take on the whole petrol increase incident:

          The telcos and petrol companies benefit the most – Guess how many SMS and phone calls were made on that day itself? “Pump petrol tonight, tomorrow price increase by 20 sen!!!” As for the petrol companies, of course they stand to benefit immensely. Yeah, especially since it’s the last day of the month, June has been a low sales month (no public holiday, hence not many Malaysians traveling long distance) and suddenly, at night, ka-ching! Ka-ching!

          Rushing to pump ain’t gonna help – One full tank at the ‘old’ price ain’t gonna save you much, man. At most, it’s gonna save you four to seven ringgit, depending on your tank size. Compare that to how much you spend a week or a month on that black gold and you’ll see the why it isn’t going to make much of a difference. Anyway, you’ll burn whatever savings you’re making by queuing up like 10 minutes at the station (some more air-con full blast).

          Its going up, up, up – That’s the only direction the price of petrol is going to go (which would be the OPPOSITE direction of your housing developer’s share price). Why is that? Long story, it has something to do with rotting dinosaur carcasses from the Triassic Age and OPEC members wanting new Ferraris, but take my word for it.

          Lose some weight – The heavier you are, the more petrol it takes your car to ferry you from your house to the nasi kandar shop 200 meters away. Alternatively, I dunno, maybe like, walk there…?

          Go diesel – Diesel cars are not just taxis and old people anymore. Yes I know, diesel prices are also going up, going at least its still cheaper than petrol (heck, some diamonds are cheaper than petrol!)

          Sleep overnight in the office – Yep, then you don’t need to go home. Bring toiletries, overnight clothes, Jacob’s biscuits, etc to the office and live there. Plus your boss will think you’re SO hardworking, actually whole night you’ll be playing DotA on the office PC. On the other hand, don’t hang your washed underwear in the pantry. Some of your colleagues find that quite annoying.

          Related posts by Simon:

          When Petrol Prices Go Up

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