Monday, October 30, 2006

Workshop Blues

It started with just some minor vibrations...

I hate sending my car to the workshop. No matter how pristine you think the condition of your car is, the mechanics through their sheer genius, will somehow always manage to find 5 other things in your car which needs replacement lest it cause your car to blow-up in a gigantic fireball while chugging along the federal highway (killing many innocent civilians in the process and making you wish that you had spent the measly RM100 to get the faulty component fixed in the first place).

Over the past few weeks, my car began developing slight vibrations when traveling at above 140kmh. Thinking it was just a minor balancing problem, I sent my car to a nearby tyre shop to have the wheels balanced.

What, to me, was supposed to be a simple job costing less than RM100 bucks ballooned up into a RM1500 bill. Seeing my ashen face, the mechanic hurriedly offered to give me a small discount (I don't think their insurance covers customers fainting and dying in their premise as a result of bill shock).

In the end, I forked over RM1340 to fix a myriad of problems, from a balding tyre to a misaligned camber. There goes a portion of my savings for the month.



Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Roy's Birthday Gathering

It's Hari Raya and I'm too lazy to think of things to write. Here are some pics from last Saturday Night, when I met up with a few friends at SevenEightNine for drinks, in celebration of Roy's birthday. Enjoy!

One of my readers commented that I seem to post up a lot of pictures of guys kissing, tweasing each other's nipples etc. AND they always seem to involve the same few fellows.

I dont wan't to name names, but Alvin, Chern Yuan, Jon and Eugene seem to have this condition where they are compelled to express their pent-up feminine urges when in the presence of each other. I assure you that they are currently seeking professional help.

We still love them though.

Uncle Lim loves his tea, and thanks to him, I'm beginning to see the appeal of ordering tea as well. Its a real bargain! All you have to do is keep topping up your teabag with hot water and voila, you have a drink to last you through the whole night. Hmmm.....I wonder if the smart boffins at Boh can concoct up beer-flavoured tea. Now THAT would be awesome :)

Girls talk about the weirdest things.

Ever noticed how some people always have the urge to put on a ridiculous, konon-nya cute smile and stick up their fingers in a 'V' sign when faced with a camera? Well stop dissing them. It's cool, really....*ahem*. Below is our homage to all the kawaii girls around the world.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Random Anniversary

Random + Anniversary = Something very special

My girlfriend recently had this brilliant idea to randomly choose a date and celebrate it as our 'random anniversary'. Don't ask my why, the way a female mind works is plain strange.

I thought, "Wouldn't this diminish the significance and importance of our actual anniversay?"

Nope, she said. According to her female logic, it would actually 'enhance' the special-ness of our anniversary when it comes around. Ermm...right.

In selecting a location, we settled for attic KL seeing as how parking there is hardly ever a problem, and we were in the mood for somewhere nice and quiet. After downing a few cocktails, I began to see that there was something to this random celebration cum anniversary after all.

Life can sometimes reek of routine, and a little random celebration can definitely help to break up the monotony. Think about it, we have so many things to be thankful for, and which warrants a 'celebration' hor?

My initial scepticism swept aside, I was convinced. Therefore, I want to let all my friends know that I'll be celebrating my random birthday today...or anytime else I feel like it.

After all, it's supposed to be random :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Slap in the Face of Non-Bumis

Worrying state of politics in Malaysia

The headline of today's The Star caught my eye. In big, bold words, it stated 'Nothing to Hide' and it contained an interview with our PM on the recent ASLI debacle. Reading the article however, was like receiving an outright slap in the face.

It started with this question by the interviewer, with reference to the questions posed by Gerakan on the accuracy and methodology of the Government's figures on Bumi equity ownership.

"It is as if the non-Malays are disputing the rights of Malays when the Malays are not questioning non-Malay rights"

I never knew that putting forth perfectly valid questions was considered disputing the rights of the Malays. That in a nutshell, describes the problems our country is facing. So long as a certain segment of our sociaty see all the hand-outs they receive as a God given birth-right, and not as a crutch for them to get their act together, we will get nowhere.

And honestly, is there a need to phrase this question in such a questionable way? Why is there a need to pit the bumis against the non-bumis? Of course the bumis aren't questioning the rights of the non-bumis, we never had any race-specific rights to begin with!


Friday, October 13, 2006

Meet My Friend

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Can Bumis Achieve 30%?

Ssshhhh....we're actually not all that clever

Dr Lim Teck Ghee, director of Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS), has resigned as a director of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli). This organisation, as you all may well know, was the one which recently released a report which showed that the Bumi ownership of equity in our country has reached around 45%.

This far exceeds the 30% target which is the basis of our NEP, which was set more than 30 years ago.

There has been a debate going on about this over the past few days, and to be honest, its pretty hilarious. One on hand, we have the non-Bumis who believe that after incurring the cost of tens of billions of ringgit, the Bumis have successfully managed to meet and exceed the 30% target of equity ownership.

The Bumis on the other hand deny this vehemently and claim that in spite of all the tens of billions of ringgit which have been poured into this initiative, they only control around 18% of our economy. A figure which has hardly moved over the past 10 years.

So funny hor.

I can just imagine this scene in parliament....

Non-bumi MP: We should revise the NEP because the Bumis are very hardworking and clever and have achieved equity ownership of 45%.

Bumi MPs: No, we are not hardworking and clever at all, and we still need the NEP to ensure that we can progress.

Non-bumi MP: Where got!! You all are very very clever already!!

Bumi MPs: NO!! We are not clever at all! Just ask anyone! We still need government help!

Non-bumi MP: Clever!!

Bumi MP: Not clever!!

Non-bumi MP: CLEVER!!!!


Non-Bumi MP: Clebber clebber dirty fellow!!

Bumi MP: Kanineh %$@#!!!

Smells like fish spirit

That's basically it isn't it? One group claims that the other is in fact, pretty competent and is able to meet the target which are set by their forefathers. The other group on the other hand, insists that they are still backwards and are doomed to a life of grief-stricken subsistence.

Which group is right? Well, who knows.

All I know is that the sudden reversal in ASLI's opinion seems mighty suspicious. One minute ASLI is defending the validty of their research and the methodologies used to come up with the figure of 45%, the next their president Mirzan Mahathir is back-tracking and saying that there were significant shortcomings in their calculations.

One can't help but wonder whether were there any strings pulled, or carrots waved to get ASLI to refute their very own research results.

Also, Dr Lim Teck Ghee was quoted in a press statement saying:

"Since I cannot agree with Mirzan's statement and because of the need to defend the position and integrity of independent and non-partisan scholarship, I regret to inform that I will be stepping down from my position as director at the end of the month"

I find the inclusion of 'the need to defend the position and integrity of independant and non-partisan scholarship' to be particularly interesting. I am sure we all know what Dr Lim is trying to imply with that statement.

I guess the million dollar question stil remains (or in this case, tens of billion ringgit question), "how many percent of our economy do the Bumis really own?"


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Khairy the Fear-Monger

This is the kind of leader we have?

A few days ago, I read an article which touched on the need to ensure that there are more bumis in the information communications technology industry. Of course, when it comes to highlighting the 'plight' of the bumis and their need for 'rescue' by the government, who else better to quote than Umno Youth Deputy Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin?

After all, he's made it part of his political platform to continually remind the bumis of how helpless they will be without Umno around.

Reading excerpts from his speech made me laugh out loud.

And I wasn't even in a very laughy mood that day.

Here's some of the good stuff from his speech.

1) "Bumiputras should be given priority in new sectors such as biotechnology and information communications technology (ICT), to ensure they are not left behind" - Khairy Jamaluddin

Apparently, Khairy doesn't seem to know that over the past few decades, technology has been one of the main driving force behind the flattening of the world. More people around the globe, irregardless of their education, background, and ethnicity have found that technology has allowed them to rise up above their circumstances and compete with the rest of the world on equal footing.

Technology has, and never will be a force which 'discriminates' based on the colour of our skin. Technology rewards ability, initiative and innovativeness - qualities which I do not perceive to be lacking in any way in our bumi brothers.

If a poor, uneducated farmer in Sudan is able to use the Internet to obtain the latest pricing info for his crops, allowing him to sell at the best price and increasing his annual income four-fold, I don't see why the same can't be applied to bumis.

2) “We don't want to see the workforce and technologists favouring only certain races in Malaysia and not reflecting the real composition of the population” - Khairy Jamaluddin

Yes, reflecting the real composition of the population is something which is high on his list of priorities. I guess that is why we see such a clear depiction of our country's demographics in the government ministries, civil service, police force, etc.

Apparently, the composition of our workforce only applies one way, and not the other.

3) “We need to move forward and make it our priority to facilitate the creation of more bumiputras in the ICT sector.” - Khairy Jamaluddin

He has got it all wrong. The priority should not be on the creation of ICT bumis. The focus should be on ensuring that all bumis are properly educated, have degrees which are relevant, are able to communicate effectively in other languages, and last but not least - he should be focusing on instilling a sense of self-belief in the bumis by telling them that they can succeed even without government hand-outs, not the other way round.

Once bumis possess all of the above, they will naturally claim prominence in high tech industries such as biotechnology and ICT without Khairy having to lift a finger.

By focusing solely on creating more bumis in the ICT industry, I can see what the end result will be. We'll end up with a handful of 'ornamental' bumis who were hand-picked and placed by the government in the ICT industry in order to make Umno look good. How this will benefit the impoverished bumis, who are living in rural areas without access to basic amenities such as education, I have no idea.

4) “We do not want handouts but the opportunity to succeed on a much more level playing field,” - Khairy Jamaluddin

Call a spade a spade. A rose by any other name will still smell as sweet. Or in this case, a turd by any other name is still a turd.

Khairy can call it whatever he wants, the NEP, the ICA, whatever. He can wax all the political rhetoric he can think of. In the end, no fancy name or acronym will be able to disguise it from what all these initiatives really are - government hand-outs. The sooner he does a Mahathir and informs the bumis that they are subsisting on hand-outs, the better it will be for not only them, but for the country as a whole.

In the whole history of mankind, I dont think any problem was solved without first acknowledging that there is a problem. As long as leaders like Khairy continue to mislead the bumis into thinking that these hand-outs are a birthright, the bumi majority will never progress.

Khairy says that bumis currently dont have the opportunity to succeed and compete on a level playing field. I guess in Khairy's little bubble-world, all bumis must be born with severe handicaps or something.

I've met quite a few bumis during my career and guess what, they are no different from you or me. They possess a mind which, like everyone else, is unlimited in its ability to dream, imagine, create, conceive and reason. Their desires are our desires, and our desires theirs - the desire to provide a good life for our family, the desire to achieve, the desire to contribute to the economy, the desire to make a difference.

I do not in any way see them as 'sub-par', or as a people who are in desperate need of help from the government. They are able to compete with me on equal footing any day, as long as they stop electing silly leaders such as Khairy who continuously tell them that they can't.

Political mileage at the expense of majority

What Khairy is trying to do is obvious. In political circles, such tactics are known as fear-mongering. A politician who exploits this tactic will always try to imbue a sense of fear in his populace - a fear that the life they know is under attack; the fear that without him, they are all doomed to live a life of poverty; the fear that the other races are out to oppress them.

As other political leaders such as George Bush and Adolf Hitler have shown us, a populace which is gripped in fear is very easily manipulated. However, what we should be concerned about is this, such manipulation hardly ever ends well.

How long more will leaders like Khairy knowingly sacrifice the future of their race, just so that they can remain in power? How long more will we let him? I sincerely hope that Abdullah Badawi and Hishamuddin will do something about it, for we cannot afford to let firebrands such as Khairy continue to dominate our local political scene.

The future of our country depends on it.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Paintballing with MCA

Violence is good!

The MCA under-35 branch which I belong to organized a paintball event last week. The branch Chairman said that this event is aimed at encouraging more young adults under the age of 35 to get involved in politics via MCA. I suspect though that he and the rest of the committee were using that just as an excuse to send little balls of paint hurtling at each other's faces at over 300 feet per second.

Hey, at least its for a worthy cause :)

I managed to invite around 10 of my friends to come for this event. It wasn't that difficult though. All I had to do was whisper in their ear "Psstt, you can get to shoot Alvin" and they were sold. Of course, for Alvin I had to whisper "You can get to shoot Cheng Jin" instead, but it had the same effect.

Datuks and their speeches

The event was officiated by our Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, and no, we were not allowed to shoot him (I am sure the thought did cross a lot of peoples minds..hyuk hyuk). As with all other Datuks, they have a fondness for giving long speeches. Thankfully, Datuk Liow was a very eloquent speaker and only around half of the people went to sleep during his speech.

Alright, I'm merely kidding. His speech was interesting enough and I am sure a lot of the young adults present were motivated to get more involved in voting and politics. He did mention a figure which was an eye opener. According to statistics, only around 27% of Chinese people below the age of 35 vote. That's a pretty dismal figure, especially considering that the Malays have close to 40%.

If this trend continues, soon there will be hardly any young Chinese voters and the whole country will end up under the control of PAS or something, and we definitely don't want that. If they came to power, all women will probably be required to wear burqas and walk 2 feet behind their husbands, and all men must grow moustaches and change their names to Ahmad or Ali or something.


For honour!!!

We were looking forward to the start of the matches. Any chance to cause pain and humiliation to our friends will be gladly welcomed. That's what you call brotherhood.

I mean c'monnn, how can you NOT want to cause grevious pain and injury to people who look like the above 3? Inviting eh...hahahahah.

In fact, one of us was so excited that he couldn't wait for the games to start to inflict his own brand of pain. Sensing an opportunity during a photo-session, he made his move and struck with such force and fury that it makes George Bush's Shock and Awe tactic seem like a stroll in a daisy covered park, with little lambs bleating in the distance.

Presenting the brave gladiators

For me, it was the first time attemting to do battle with itty-bitty balls. Normally, I do battle with my BIG balls but that's a different story. Me and my friends split into 2 teams of 5, called rather unimaginatively, GTRS and GTPJ. Those are actually the acronyms of our Church, Glad Tidings Petaling Jaya, and our Young Adult Service, Glad Tidings Revival Service. I know, those are funny names for a paintball team, but hey...there were other teams calling themselves 'Supra' (right Don?..heh heh) so I guess we are not the only unimaginative ones.

The place we played at, TT Sports Park in Subang, had some pretty cool gear. We were all provided with a brightly coloured overall, chest padding and a face mask. The overalls were pretty limited in terms of size though, and before long, the only sizes left were the small and extra-extra large ones. For the more oddly shaped amongst us, it was a problem.

Norman had to make do witha pair of overalls which looked more like paddle-pushers, plus he had to run around the playing field with half of the pants-bottom riding up his butt crack. It wasn't a very pleasing sight, especially for his teammates who started the game standing behind him.

Nai Paul on the other hand, underestimated his..ermm..girth..and tried to squeeze himself into an overall which was probably 2 sizes too small. As any guy can tell you, that's not being very kind to your family jewels.

In spite of all the fashion-related glithces, we were soon all suited up and ready to go. Before the games began, we came up with all sorts of fancy strategy and tactics which we will deploy in order to CRUSH OUR OPPONENTS! We had out flankers, shooters, and penetrators (it's not as gay as it sounds alright). It was so beautifully planned.

When the match actually began, it was a different story. Every bit of strategy which was discussed before hand evaporated and everybody began running around like headless chickens, shooting anything and everything that moves. Not very effective, but it was friggin a lot of fun =)

When the dust settles

After about 3 hours, with each team having played 3 separate matches, the points were tallied. Waddaya know, looks like we didn't suck that bad after all. Of course, I'm only speaking on behalf of my team, GTRS. GTPJ on the other hand sucked really bad. I dont need to say much, the picture above speaks for itself...muahahahah.

We ended the day extremely tired out, but in high spirits. Everyone had a great time, although Chen Jin did suffer an injury. It was quite bad actuall, but being the good friends that we were, we just stood around him laughing. Ah well, he'll live to fight another day.