Monday, 31 March 2008

Guan Eng: To let Penang fail is to let Malaysia fail

“Abdullah Badawi is my Prime Minister and I am his Chief Minister. Whilst there is no doubt that the relationship with the Federal Government will be different, we will take the PM at his word. The GLCs have been here to see me. We want to do business. Penang is too important to fail. To let Penang fail is to let Malaysia fail. Moreover we don’t want to give the impression that making money is dirty. We understand the concerns of the businessmen. We can speak their language. We need three ‘wins’: business must make money, the Government must generate revenue and the people must benefit.”

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Char Koay Teow

I had been meaning to blog about this Char Koay Teow stall along Jalan Muthu Palaniappan in Bukit Mertajam but simply haven't the opportunity. There are different ways to fry (or even spell) the koay teow but I suppose you must still learn how to start from somewhere. From an L school, maybe?

Penang exco line-up: Then and now

I thought it would be useful to compare the Who's Who in the present and previous Penang state governments.

2008 Government:
  • Lim Guan Eng - Industrial Development and International Trade, Land Affairs and Land Development Committee
  • Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin - Religious Affairs, Entrepreneurial and Co-operative Development and Information and Community Relations Committee
  • Dr Ramasamy - State Economic Planning, Education and Human Resources, and Science, Technology and Innovation Committee
  • Chow Kon Yeow - Local Government, Traffic Management and Environment Committee
  • Lim Hock Seng - Public Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee
  • Danny Law Heng Kiang - Tourism Development and Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee
  • Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim - Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee
  • Phee Boon Poh - Health and Welfare and Caring Society Committee
  • Wong Hon Wai - Town and Country Planning and Housing Committee
  • Law Choo Kiang - Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Flood Mitigation Committee
  • Lydia Ong Kok Fooi - Youth and Sports and Women, Family and Community Development Committee

2004 Government:

  • Dr Koh Tsu Koon - Industrial Development and International Trade, Town and Country Planning Committee
  • Abdul Rashid Abdullah - Religious Affairs, Land Affairs and Land Development, Entrepreneurial Development and Cooperatives Committee
  • Dr Teng Hock Nan - Local Government, Traffic Management, Information and Community Relations Committee
  • Koay Kar Huah - Public Works, Utilities (Energy, Water, Telecom), Transportation (Air, Sea and Rail) Committee
  • Azhar Ibrahim - Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rural Development, Flood Mitigation Committee
  • Dr Toh Kin Woon - State Economic Planning, Education and Human Resource, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee
  • Jahara Hamid - Youth and Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee
  • Lau Chiek Tuan - Domestic Trade, Consumer Affairs Committee
  • PK Subbaiyah - Health and Welfare, Caring Society Committee
  • Teng Chang Yeow - Tourism Development, Environment Committee
  • Syed Amerrudin Syed Ahmad - Housing, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee

UPDATE: This is a comparison of the various portfolios and responsibilities held by the Penang state executive councillors, then and now. Still very early days to make comparisons but I'm sure we'll be able to form our own opinions in four or five years' time when we judge the present Administration's performances against their predecessors:

Industrial Development and International Trade

  • 2008: Lim Guan Eng
  • 2004: Dr Koh Tsu Koon

Land Affairs and Land Development

  • 2008: Lim Guan Eng
  • 2004: Abdul Rashid Abdullah

Religious Affairs

  • 2008: Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin
  • 2004: Abdul Rashid Abdullah

Entrepreneurial and Co-operative Development

  • 2008: Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin
  • 2004: Abdul Rashid Abdullah

Information and Community Relations

  • 2008: Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin
  • 2004: Dr Teng Hock Nan

State Economic Planning

  • 2008: Dr Ramasamy
  • 2004: Dr Toh Kin Woon

Education and Human Resources

  • 2008: Dr Ramasamy
  • 2004: Dr Toh Kin Woon

Science, Technology and Innovation

  • 2008: Dr Ramasamy
  • 2004: Dr Toh Kin Woon

Local Government

  • 2008: Chow Kon Yeow
  • 2004: Dr Teng Hock Nan

Traffic Management

  • 2008: Chow Kon Yeow
  • 2004: Dr Teng Hock Nan


  • 2008: Chow Kon Yeow
  • 2004: Teng Chang Yeow

Public Works

  • 2008: Lim Hock Seng
  • 2004: Koay Kar Huah


  • 2008: Lim Hock Seng
  • 2004: Koay Kar Huah


  • 2008: Lim Hock Seng
  • 2004: Koay Kar Huah

Tourism Development

  • 2008: Danny Law Heng Kiang
  • 2004: Teng Chang Yeow

Culture, Arts and Heritage

  • 2008: Danny Law Heng Kiang
  • 2004: Syed Amerrudin Syed Ahmad

Domestic Trade

  • 2008: Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim
  • 2004: Lau Chiek Tuan

Consumer Affairs

  • 2008: Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim
  • 2004: Lau Chiek Tuan

Health and Welfare

  • 2008: Phee Boon Poh
  • 2004: PK Subbaiyah

Caring Society

  • 2008: Phee Boon Poh
  • 2004: PK Subbaiyah

Town and Country Planning

  • 2008: Wong Hon Wai
  • 2004: Dr Koh Tsu Koon


  • 2008: Wong Hon Wai
  • 2004: Syed Amerrudin Syed Ahmad

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

  • 2008: Law Choo Kiang
  • 2004: Azhar Ibrahim

Rural Development

  • 2008: Law Choo Kiang
  • 2004: Azhar Ibrahim

Flood Mitigation

  • 2008: Law Choo Kiang
  • 2004: Azhar Ibrahim

Youth and Sports

  • 2008: Lydia Ong Kok Fooi
  • 2004: Jahara Hamid

Women, Family and Community Development

  • 2008: Lydia Ong Kok Fooi
  • 2004: Jahara Hamid

Orchid: Bromheadia finlaysoniana

This was the only orchid flower that my wife and I came across when we hiked up to Tiger Hill recently. We were walking along the narrow path when we suddenly saw this strikingly white flower by the side. I took several photos but this one was by far the clearest and sharpest.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Did you take part in Earth Hour tonight?

Let me first put Earth Hour in an historical context first. For one hour on 31 Mar 2007, the Australian city of Sydney made a powerful statement about the greatest contributor to global warming -- coal-fired electricity -- by having about 2.2 million residents and 2,100 business establishments turned off their lights. Reportedly, there was a 10.2% energy reduction across the city. What began as a one-city stand against global warming has become a world-wide movement.

Today, some 24 cities around the world will be participating in Earth Hour at 8pm local time. Participation is purely voluntary, though. No compulsion is placed on anybody or any business. The simple steps that anyone can make include businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty and households turning off appliances instead of leaving them on standby. Simple changes that collectively makes a difference.

Though there was very little awareness in Penang, I knew about Earth Hour and my family decided that the most effect way to contribute was to go out and eat the mass-produced, pre-prepared economy rice at the food centre. This entailed no using of energy resources in the house - no gas to do any cooking, no water to do any washing up, no electricity to light up the home. We went out to eat and safe for an energy-saving bulb above the family altar, the whole of the house was in darkness.

That's our small contribution to Earth Hour. How about you?

Cheng Beng

Today's the day that we go round to my grandparents' graves in observance of the Chinese Spring festival of Cheng Beng. But this year, there are only four of us because my daughter is still in KL and won't be back. She would be happy not to wake up at 5am, I'm sure! The actual date for this year's Cheng Beng is 4 Apr 2008 (not 5 Apr 2008) but this weekend - Saturday and Sunday - is the most convenient time for most people.

If you want to revisit what I wrote about Cheng Beng a year ago, you can click here.

Anyway this year, we arrived at the Batu Lanchang cemetery at 6.45am. Still dark but the place was already filled with like-minded people on their Cheng Beng duties. We managed to catch a glorious display of the brightening sky.

Also, I saw a plant which I had almost forgotten exists - the mimosa. I remember being fascinated with the plant during my schooldays at Westlands Primary School. The only plant I know that has an instant reflex action.

We also dropped by the Wat Onn Pin Bang. I think that's the name of the Siamese temple along Green Lane. The monks live simple lives and they go about their daily chores in the morning. It is quite unfortunate that the graveyard in this temple is very badly maintained. It looks almost abandoned and in fact, an uprooted tree fell and damaged quite a number of graves and it took more than two years before it was removed.

Friday, 28 March 2008

He thinks his shit doesn't stink

....but it does, to high heaven. Here's a man who clearly thinks his shit doesn't stink. Selective memory at its worst!

Want to know what I mean? Read it here in The Star and Sun2Surf.

Wishful thinking....?

I despair every time I read such news. Already, we commuters are faced with so many obstacles whenever we use the Penang Bridge. Jams are so regular that on a good day, it already takes me an hour to travel from Bukit Mertajam to Bukit Jambul, or vice-versa. Now, it seems that the travel conditions will be getting worse, at least for a month.

It is utterly ridiculous for Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd to ask us to limit our travel across the bridge 7am-9am and 5pm-8pm. That's when we are travelling to and from work. As if our working hours are flexible. As if we are our own bosses.

Penang Bridge, you make such unreasonable requests. So, can I ask something from you in return? Can you waive the bridge toll for one whole month? After collecting the toll for the past 20 years, I think this is the least you can do. Can you forego one month's collection to make up for the hardship you are continuing to cause us? Can you? Please?

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Goodbye, Becks!

It looked like the last hurrah for him. When he left the field to the crowd's applause, I think he knew that the end has come to his playing career with the England team. Goldenball's 100th game for England, 26 Mar 2008
(it's time for him to move on...)

Match-making: Would you go for that?

About two or three weeks ago, there was this zany conversation on the Red FM's breakfast show. Shazmin, Audrey and Will were discussing match-made weddings and Audrey was mentioning in jest how the groom would be bubble-wrapped and his bride would unwrap him on the wedding day.

At the spur of the moment - I don't believe Shazmin had meant it that way - Shazmin asked Audrey: "Would you then have to blow him up to animate him?" There was a pregnant pause on air. I guess everyone in the studio was too shocked to say anything. Next, a stifled gurgle from Will. Cut to the next song. But, oops! A big clanger had been dropped on national radio.

I would've forgotten all about the episode but for this shoplot that I saw along Church Street in Penang yesterday. Even the name of the agency says a lot about their line of work. Here's how the dictionary defines Sweet Manna:
  1. Spiritual nourishment of divine origin;
  2. Something of value that a person receives unexpectedly.
Boy...seems like this agency has something good going for it. Match-making looks like a thriving business here in Malaysia!

UPDATE: I was telling my wife about this service on our way to work and our conversation turned to foreign wives. Why on earth, she wondered, would local men go all the way to bring in foreign wives? It's not as if the men went overseas for work or holiday and then were attracted to the foreign ladies whom they'd next marry and bring home. No, these men would actually go to an agency and choose their brides from there. Mail-order brides. In our opinion, this is actually nothing more than importing slaves to work in their homes.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Penang's symbols of sexuality

Holy viagra! It was a revelation that hit me when I was atop Penang Hill last Thursday. I looked down at the KOMTAR tower in the distance and then, I travelled down the funicular railway. Suddenly, it occurred to me that, omigosh, Penang may well claim to have the world's biggest pair of symbols of sexuality. Ermm...will Danny Law, the new state Exco Member for Tourism please stand up to confirm this? Thank you very much!

Monday, 24 March 2008

Man Utd: Five points clear

A most wonderful moment this morning to look at the league standings. Five points clear at the top. Great feeling, isn't it?

The season is ending soon and with only seven games left for these teams, it's going to be EXCITING. Here are the remaining fixtures:
  • For Manchester United, their opponents will be Aston Villa (29 Mar), Middlesbrough 6 Apr), Arsenal (13 Apr), Blackburn (19 Apr), Chelsea (26 Apr), West Ham (3 May) and Wigan (11 May).
  • For Chelsea, they will be facing Middlesbrough (30 Mar), Manchester City (5 Apr), Wigan (14 Apr), Everton (19 Apr), Manchester United (26 Apr), Newcastle (3 May) and Bolton (11 May)
  • For Arsenal, their games will be against Bolton (29 Mar), Liverpool (5 Apr), Manchester United (13 Apr), Reading (19 Apr), Derby (28 Apr), Everton (3 May) and Sunderland (11 May)
  • For Liverpool....well, who cares?

Anyway, I want you to look at these two videos which feature Cristiano Ronaldo showing his incredible skill in an advertisement for Fuji Xerox. The first video is the ad itself:

It's so stupid that there are people - mindless people following the bullshit from animal rights activists - who are angry with this advertisement. As if the bull was hurt in this commercial. Truth is, it was all camera wizardry. Ronaldo was never in contact with the bull at any time, as this second "behind-the-scene" video shows how the ad was made:

Fungi, mushrooms or toadstools?

Makes no difference to me! As far as I'm concerned, these are all non-edible or poisonous. Saw all these on the trail up to Tiger Hill. The more colourful they are, the more dangerous they are bound to be!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Queen Victoria

I had never expected to snap this photograph of one of the world's newest and biggest cruise liners, the Queen Victoria, but it was shot from my vantage point at Penang Hill. This liner made three maiden stops in Malaysia and Penang was its last port of call. Earlier, it had berthed at Port Klang and Kota Kinabalu.

Queen Victoria is Cunard Line's second largest ship, after the Queen Mary 2. The ship is on her ‘Pathway to the Explorers’ maiden world cruise to 36 destinations in 23 countries and had set sail on 13 Jan 2008 from New York.

The 12-deck, 90,000-tonne liner has 990 staterooms, a 371-square metre shopping arcade, seven restaurants, 13 bars, three swimming pools, a 4,000-book library, a ballroom and a theatre that can seat 830 guests.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Prai industrial estate: annual 'bocor'

At about 3am Friday, the skies opened up above Province Wellesley. Despite being very tired after our hike up Tiger Hill, my wife and I were woken up from our sleep by the rain. It must have been very heavy because later in the day, my wife told me that Phases One and Two of the Prai Industrial Estate were flooded.

She described to me the scene at about 8.30am on Friday morning: "It was the manufacturers' worst nightmare. Most of the factories in Phase One were submerged in about 1.5 feet of water. Vehicles were parked on the higher ground and the factory workers were forced to assemble outside their factories as they were not able to work. Some of the production lines had stopped since the machines were unable to run. Substantial man-hours were lost, machineries damaged and deliveries to customers delayed. All these added to the losses by the manufacturers."

New Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr Ramasamy and other officials from the CM's Office came running early to join Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Northern Branch vice-chairman Muhammad Ismail and their Secretariat staff to survey the mess. Telephone calls were also made to the president of the Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai (MPSP) but I heard that he didn't turn up but sent the Director of the Engineering Department who arrived later. Much, much later.

There are two pump houses in the Prai Industrial Estate. Six big pumps and two small ones are installed at Pump House A. From what I heard, four had malfunctioned much earlier while of the remaining, only the two smaller ones were running on Friday because the two bigger ones had broken down during the night. And at Pump House B, only four of the six available pumps were working. The heavy rain, coupled with water flowing in from the Penang Bridge expansion project and the insufficient pumps, had caused the massive floods.

In this last photo, you can see the water flowing out to the sea. It's low tide which means that the flood water should subside on its own. But it's not. That means that the drainage in the whole of the Prai Industrial Estate is blocked and the place is dependable on the pumps to work.

The issue is this: floods occur frequently in the Prai Industrial Estate. You can take it to be an annual affair. Like clockwork, it never fails. But nobody looks forward to it. Every time it floods, everyone on the mainland is inconvenienced, not to mention the losses to the manufacturing sector. And every time it floods, the FMM NB will hold meetings with the MPSP to ask them resolve the problem. The MPSP always promises to do something but unfortunately, their solution is never on a long term. Although pumps have been installed, there is very little maintenance of the equipment. Or otherwise, why should the pumps always be breaking down? Repairs also take a long time. Sometimes, I wonder whether the MPSP is serious enough to manage Province Wellesley properly.

Such an attitude must change and I am looking forward to the new Penang state government to initiate the change as soon as possible. Please get rid of the redundant and incompetenet staff.

UPDATE 1 (2,30pm): I've just learnt that blogger Jeff Ooi, who is now the Penang Chief Minister's Chief Of Staff, has made his observations very clear here.

UPDATE 2 (7.30pm): Apparently, I've heard that Guan Eng is livid over the floods and will be calling for a meeting next week with the FMM NB and the MPSP. It's good to see that the state government wants to get to the bottom of this nonsense as quickly as possible.

Tiger Hill, Penang

Tiger Hill. I never thought my group of friends would have ever made this trip to Tiger Hill on Penang island. We had wanted to climb this hill about three weeks ago but it rained so heavily the day before that we decided to postpone it. But we had finally set our sights on 20 Mar 2008, come what may.

This short post documents our 11-kilometre track from Ayer Itam town to Tiger Hill and from there, along the Summit Road to the Penang Hill upper railway station. It's also to help anyone wishing to explore this trail for the first time. If you want to see bigger pictures, just click on the images.

At 8am, we were at the start of Balik Pulau Road which went all the way up to the Ayer Itam Dam but we were not to take this road all the way. To set our bearings correct, opposite us was a row of stalls selling souvenirs and trinkets to people (mainly tourists) going up by the steps to the Kek Lok Si Temple.

The first landmark we came across was the Kwarn Inn Sahn Pow Yin Sian Tsi arch. We turned into the side road next to this arch. It was steep and it led us past several residential houses. Lots of dogs around and they followed us for a distance, but we just ignored them.

Soon, we reached the Tua Pek Kong Temple. Opposite was the landmark pink shed. We took the road to the left of the shed. Soon, this road became a track. We saw a small sign that pointed us to the Ayer Itam Dam.

The children's play ground came as a slight shock to see it for the first time. We though it was right in the middle of nowhere but actually, the playground looked over the Ayer Itam Dam. We walked down to the dam and took the road hugging the dam's perimeter. walking counter-clockwise.

Our next landmark was this marker which was sprayed behind a No Entry sign. It was a no-brainer decision to follow the arrow and go on up the well-maintained path. But there was one danger we had to be aware of: the motorcyclists that free wheelled silently down this path.

Eventually, we reached this major landmark: a five-way junction. We were now at a crossroad but the signboard was hopelessly useless. Looking around, we found a small laterite trail on the right that took us into the forest. Damp and dark as we walked in single file. Surprisingly, the trail was quite easy but we had to be careful not to slip on the damp cement at some stretches. I think it could be about three kilometres long but there were lots of interesting things to see along the way.

We emerged from the track and arrived at this small bamboo bridge. Beyond it was a vegetable farm. We had a choice of going through the farm or skirt around it by going into the forest again. The two paths would join up eventually. We decided to take a look at the farm.

Going through the farmland, we now reached another junction and we had no idea at all of where to go next. First, we took the left track and reached the small Tiger Hill Dam. So we knew that wasn't the way. So we doubled back and followed the right trail. It was poorly maintained in many parts. We passed by a pipeline on the right with steps going steeply up the slope. It was an alternative path but we decided to stick to the trail.

Abruptly, the trail ended and we found ourselves on Summit Road. Time was about 1pm. From here onwards, the road was tarred and it was easy all the way, although it took us another hour to arrive at the Penang Hill railway station.

All in, we covered about 11 kilometres on a trail that lasted slightly more than six hours. But we made it. Saw See, Jeremy, myself, two of Jeremy's friends, Yuen Chee, Long Kin and two of Long Kin's friends.

Friday, 21 March 2008


We survived our hike to Tiger Hill, Penang yesterday!
A gruelling 6.5-hour walk through 11 kilometres of road, trails and dirt track through Penang's hilly forests. We survived. More photos to follow later...

Runaway sheep

I read in Spiegel Online last week that a runaway sheep chased by police in northern Germany reached speeds of 45kph before jumping over the police car.

Police in Güster had their hands full when they were called to catch an escaped sheep. They gave chase in their vehicle but the pursuit didn't prove easy because the animal at times ran at speeds of up to 45kph (28mph) per hour.

They finally caught up with it when it briefly got its leg stuck in a fence. An officer carefully lifted the uninjured animal from the fence and placed in the field. But the sheep evidently didn't like its new home because it made a daring leap straight over the hood of the police car.

Police didn't catch up with the sheep until it had reached the next village where it was persuaded to move into a more comfortable field. They are now trying to locate the owner of the adventurous animal.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Hall & Oates: Out of touch

This is my copy of the best of Daryl Hall + John Oates: looking back. A wonderful album of great hits stretching as far back as the 1970s. One of my favourite songs on this album is Out Of Touch.

Earlier today, when I saw this item on NST Online, I was thinking to myself: gee...did he really mean that? I Can't Go For That (No Can Do). Did Abdullah Ahmad Badawi really believe what he said, or was he simply Out Of Touch with reality? I guess only time will tell...

General Elections: Observations 11

Another sharing. I saw this article by Stephen Tan in MySinChew on 17 Mar 2008. It's darn interesting as it gaves some historical background to politics in Penang from the days the Gerakan snatched power from the Malaysian Chinese Association in 1969. Tan is a former journalist who now practises law in Penang:

Gerakan Floored On Last Question

The Opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) is now enjoying the electoral euphoria that the Gerakan experienced on May 10, 1969, but the latter was summarily consigned to political oblivion after a period of slightly less than 39 years.

A succinct difference between the respective Gerakan and DAP victories of 1969 and 2008 may be this: The Gerakan won on a positive vote while the DAP won on a negative vote. To elaborate, the vote for the Gerakan was a vote for the then Dr (now Tun) Lim Chong Eu to be the next Chief Minister. The vote for the DAP was a vote against Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon for what he himself termed as his "intangible" successes.

The 2008 decision was never a vote for the colourful Lim Guan Eng as the successor to the colourless Tsu Koon. Lim, an accountant trained in Australia's prestigious Monash University, showed his formidable character when he gamely took the fall, was imprisoned for 18 months on a legal technicality for championing the cause of a Malay girl who was allegedly raped by a senior politician in Malacca, and was consequently denied electoral participation for the next five years according to Malaysian law after being declared guilty.


General Elections: Observations 10

I just want to re-produce here an excerpt of a letter written by Neil Khor to Malaysiakini. In his letter, Khor said:

In the case of Penang, an intelligent person should head the economic portfolio. Gerakan, in 1969, engaged foreign experts. Lim Guan Eng can do the same today. Some very good Malaysians living overseas can also be called upon to help out. Call on people with the correct knowledge and real experience.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Will there really be change?

Remember this album by The Who? The definitive song on this album was the eight-minute long version of Won't Get Fooled Again. This is a real rocker of a song. You've got to listen to it with the volume high to hear how Pete Townshend, Roger Daltry, John Entwhistle and Keith Moon rocked.

In my opinion, the most memorable lines in this song were at its end when Daltry screamed out:
Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss

Let's see whether this refrain will describe the new Cabinet which Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is going to unveal later today. Although it is widely reported that he intends to trim down the Cabinet's size, the question is: by how much? Will there really be significant changes? Or will he retain many of the same old faces?

By all accounts, he will still likely surround himself with his Yes Men in UMNO. And I suspect he will still be holding the plum Ministries like Finance. He won't let them go, and he'll still place Najib in charge of Defence, Rafidah Aziz in International Trade and Kerismuddin in Education. If they are retained in his new Cabinet, it will be a big, big disappointment to everyone who had hoped he would take a cue from the General Election debacle.

If Abdullah still doesn't understand that the goal posts have shifted, it will be the end of him. Not even years but possibly in the months to come. Change, what change? Reinvent, what reinvent? Political will, what political will? I hope I'm wrong.

Classic cameras

I was so taken in when I walked into a camera shop in Chai Leng Park, Prai recently and saw a lot of old cameras on display. I asked the shop's proprietor whether I could photograph his camera collection and he readily agreed. In fact, he even asked me whether I would be interested to buy the cameras from him.

Me? These old cameras are worth a fortune and I don't think I can afford his asking price! So let me continue to admire his cameras from these photos.

The two cameras in the first picture are the Lubitel and the Rolleicord. Both are medium-format, twin lens reflex cameras. The two lenses on each camera are identical. The bottom one focuses on the film while the top one is reflected 90 degrees by a mirror and the image can be seen upside-down when you flip open the top. Interesting, eh?

Next, would you believe that this camera below, the Mamiya RB67, is a single-lens reflex? A medium-format SLR camera. It's similar to the Hasselblad which I almost bought a long time ago, because I was very crazy then about medium-format cameras. But I soon realised that I would be even crazier to buy one because it was very heavy. Not an equipment to carry around your neck or slung on your shoulder.

Let's forget about the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic camera in the background but the two cameras in the foreground are the Exakta Varex IIa camera on the left and the Voigtlander Prominent rangefinder camera with a Nokton lens. Incredibly, the Exakta is an SLR camera, and it comes with a Tessar lens!

Monday, 17 March 2008

New mainland landmark

There's a new shopping centre coming up in Bukit Mertajam. Actually, this place straddles Bukit Mertajam and Seberang Jaya but I believe it is closer to Bukit Mertajam.

A new shopping centre is always excitement. But in this case, there's bound to be a double excitement. If you look at this picture below, you'll see why. Now, if only the authorities will spruce up the bazaar building on the right. It's totally run down.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

DAP convention

Just a photo that happened to come my way. Apparently today, the DAP is celebrating its 42nd anniversary by holding their convention at the Red Rock Hotel in MacAlister Road, Penang, attended by all their bigwigs. The Big Four seated in the front row: Guan Eng, Karpal, Kit Siang and Chen Man Hin. Goodness...that man must be in his 80s by now!

Meeting the manufacturers

From what I've learnt this far, the new Penang state government has wasted little time in meeting investors and the manufacturers in the state. As I had mentioned earlier, it will be important for the government to reassure the business community that there is a future for them in the state. It should be a continuous process of assuring and reassuring.

For example, just before the UMNO sore losers took to the streets around KOMTAR last Friday afternoon, Guan Eng had met with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (Northern Branch) as well as many of their members. The auditorium at KOMTAR was packed as Guan Eng proceeded to address them.

Jeff Ooi, who stood on a DAP ticket and who is now the MP for Jelutong, was there as well to meet the manufacturers in the background. He will have to bear the brunt of the manufacturers' problems. I hear many of the manufacturers presented files and files of complaints to him. Sorting out all these issues will be an unenviable task for anybody!

Here's Guan Eng again. The FMMNB's chairman OK Lee is about to introduce him to one of the manufacturers. But I wish he'd not put his hands in his pocket. People in high positions should not be seen playing pocket billiards.

Too close for comfort

I woke up this morning to find Manchester United ahead of Arsenal on goal difference in the Premier League after yesterday's games. Yay! It's good to be at the head of the table but Man Utd will do best to look over their shoulders constantly because the top three leading teams are simply too close to call.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Malay wedding

My family had a most enjoyable time this afternoon at a Malay wedding. A taxi driver whom my wife knows had invited us to the wedding of his son in Machang Bubuk. Though about 90 percent of the guests were Malays from his kampung, there were still a few of us from the Chinese and Indian communities that visited him. Here are a few photographs:

This is the buffet line. Simple but the most important should be the good food. Well, I've got to give the cooks my two thumbs up. Scrumptiously nice.
What's this? A spade being used to scoop up the nasi minyak? The other pots were equally huge.
The secret that went into preparing the delicious achar. Two men mixing the ingredients with their bare hands. Lagi sedap, they told me. Yes, sedap, I had to agree.

A wedding function is a happy occasion, especially if you are kids.
That's me with the proud father of the groom. As you can see, there were gifts for us too!

General Election 2008: Horse's mouth

I saw this report in Bernama, arising from an interview that the Prime Minister gave on Bernama TV. Can't say it didn't come straight from the horse's mouth when it's so clear....

General Elections 2008 - Gentleman's riposte

Dr Koh is the perfect gentleman. You don't find many of them any more and much, much less in political circles. People respect him for a smooth transition of the Penang government. Now, even though he holds no public office and is a mere acting president for Gerakan, he still has the future of Penang very much on his mind. He has come out publicly with this statement:

General Elections 2008 - Guan Eng's reaction

Hallo, Guan Eng... I know those remarks by the UMNO sore losers needs a response from you. But can you talk more in simpler Engrish, ah? So that they will unnerstand, okie? Like, for example, when I want peeper to unnerstand what I write, I have to type more slowly... :-)

General Elections 2008 - Sore losers

How pathetic can these sore losers be. Don't they understand that this is the old world politics of rewarding losers and punishing winners? These jokers are badly out of sync with the times. They don't understand reality. Sorry...these are the people who even find difficulty understanding how the Internet works.