"Finally get the chance to actually do the soldiering I wanted to do from ever since I joined. [The Queen] told me I'm off to Afghanistan. You've got one job that you go out there for but when you actually get out there you are being pulled left right and centre helping out people. This is what it is all about, being here with the guys rather than being in a room with a bunch of officers. I'm in here with all the guys."
Friday, 29 February 2008
Never mind. Come, join me for brekkie. I'll pan cham half of this for you!
Since then, I hadn't seen Reese's on sale any where in the country. Until a fortnight ago. At the Giant Supermarkets in Penang. Then again yesterday at the Jaya Jusco supermarket at the Queensbay Mall, Penang. The original Reese's peanut butter milk chocolate cups and their NutRageous peanut butter caramel bar.
My happiness cannot be described. I'm in Seventh Heaven ; I'm on Cloud Nine. If you haven't tasted Reese's peanut butter chocolate products before, GO AND TRY THEM now. It's a real experience. Now, if only they'll bring in more Reese's products.
Thursday, 28 February 2008
Funny .... thus far, though I've seen the DAP buntings and banners all over the place, I've yet to come across a single poster of their candidate for the state seat. Sorry but I don't even know his name.
But I've seen the presence of the DAP in other ways. If you drive into Bukit Mertajam, you can hardly miss this rocket which was erected about a week ago. Amateurish but pretty impressive.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
That set me thinking. Useless animals? Yes, I do agree that for some of them, they don't seem to have any commercial value at all except to look cute and bring in the money. But dogs are needed to chase away cats, and cats are needed to chase away birds, and birds are needed to eliminate some insect pests. So dogs and cats are not entirely useless.
Pandas? Koalas? Now that's another different cup of tea. In fact, the mention of pandas brought me thinking about a story I read just the other day ago. Of course, it had to happen in China. Where else?
But there is one problem. Nobody is sure whether or not the mating tapes make any difference. "We don't know if it's useful for pandas or not," says Dr Hou. "Some pandas are interested. Others are not interested. They prefer to eat or rest - and not pay attention to the video." So, the reserve experimented by playing the video to the pandas. The story concludes:
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
He said that voters are smarter now. In the past, the government of the day would scare us by saying that if the opposition (implying the Parti Islam) won, they would impose Islamic law on everyone, irrespective of race or religion. That really scared people into voting back the Barisan Nasional.
Now, the voters have realised that the opposition can never take over the government. At their best, they will never win enough seats to form the next government.
So it doesn't really matter which way you vote. The Barisan Nasional will always be in power. The only real difference is whether they will have the two-thirds majority in Parliament or not.
Monday, 25 February 2008
Really? Seeing is believing! Note the key words: "...doesn't necessarily mean..." That means it is not totally discounted. But the way Bernama reported it, it is as if there really won't be any increase at all!
You really know the elections are around the corner when you see workers starting to resurface the roads such as this one that connects Jalan Sepakat to the Kampung Baru market. This could be a private road and it had been uneven for the past months. Nothing had been done until today (25 Feb 2008). Strange...I thought road resurfacing should be a year-round affair, not only during elections. But never mind. Now I know that my state assemblyman is hard at work on his campaign trail.
Here's a closer peek at what these men are up to. Elections are good, aren't they? We get our roads resurfaced, we get our drains unclogged. What else can we get accomplished during this period?
So I decided to spend the weekend back at my old haunts, namely the BM Hill at Cheruk Tok Kun. But I surprised myself by going up the BM Hill thrice on consecutive days. It wasn't meant to be this way.
On Friday, I spent 2.5 hours climbing alone to the transmission towers. This was after coming back from work. Then on Saturday, my wife and I trekked up until the Tea Hut at the 1,500-metre mark. Finally on Sunday, we made a last-minute decision to go up but we trekked only half the distance because we were rather short of time.
Reminded me of E.T.
Two things distressed me. The first was the graffiti.
And the second was the rubbish left by the Hash Hound Harriers recently. If only they'd be more responsible and clear the rubbish after their activities. They always leave evidence of their presence everywhere.
Sunday, 24 February 2008
In the first picture, you can see how Taylor had clumsily landed his boot on Eduardo's ankle. And in the next picture, taken a split second later, Eduardo's foot is horribly bent out of shape. There's no describing Eduardo's agony in the third picture.
For the first time, we're seeing a political blogger putting his money where his mouth is. Now, it's not going to be just talking for him, but time for him to walk his talk. It's also time for him to demonstrate on bloggers' behalf that we ARE responsible citizens, not to be runned down by incumbent politicians who don't know a bit from a byte. We can be equally vocal when we see the wrongs in society.
Who is the person I'm referring to?
Why, Jeff Ooi, of course! The man whose blog is one of the most widely read in Malaysia. Jeff is standing as a candidate for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) in the parliamentary constituency of Jelutong in Penang.
Before I end, let me just say two things:
1) It doesn't matter a bit what your political preference or affiliation may be but if you believe that this man can sincerely help Malaysia by opening his mouth in Parliament and voice the issues and concerns of the people, you should know what to do with your precious vote.
2) Campaigning can be pretty expensive. If you share the same believe that Jeff Ooi can make a difference to this country but you are unable to lend a physical hand to help his campaign, you may want to consider contributing to his campaign fund. How? Just click on this graphic here for more information about his campaign.
Saturday, 23 February 2008
Welcome to Penang Island !!
If you are driving to Penang Island , you will be
greeted by the straight and easy Jelutong Expressway
if you are heading towards George town . Soon you
will see E-Gate building and next to it is the first
Tesco store in Penang
Attached is a picture of Tesco store landmark taken
from the opposite direction from George town going
towards the Penang bridge.
Usually in the afternoon, you may also be greeted by
a traffic police roadblock after Tesco (if you have
not diverted towards Udini Underpass heading to
Greenlane or Batu Ferringhi) but heading straight
towards George town . The speed limit here is 80kmh
and hidden speed cameras is a norm but usually a full
scale road block is due to offences committed like
NOT Wearing Safety Belt and Using Handphone while
A close-up picture will reveal a traffic policeman
hiding behind a plant (when it is a hot sunny day)
or just standing behind the huge unipole (when the
weather is cloudy and cooler, where he has a better
vantage view inside passing vehicles). Sometimes he
is disguised as a gardener, plant itself, pissing
behind the plant or just some dumbass doing nothing
to avoid attraction.
Be always alert, anywhere, when I see someone
standing by or near a road looking mentally lost or
waiting for a bus that never comes.
So, we welcome alert drivers to Penang Island or be
prepared to spare extra money for your trip here.
Your Friendly Penangite
The pill, which has since been found to plunge blood sugar levels instead of boosting sex drive, has made at least one man critically ill and landed 39 more in various hospitals around Singapore.
One of those hospitalised was Lee, who said he bought the pills from vendors “in a lane between Rowell and Desker roads”. Ahh...Desker Road. That infamous blot in Singapore that continues to resist the government's attempts at ridding it of its reputation. In the late 1970s or early 1980s, my Singaporean chess friends - I won't mention names as some are moving in rather high circles today - brought me on a visual tour of the back streets of Desker. Rather eye-opening.
Anyway, this chap said that his friends had tried the pill months ago and it worked. So he decided to have a go at it. It worked so well for him that he took it a second time. Then a third time.
However, after his third dose, he started having side effects. Trembling hands, tiredness, sleepiness. Yet, around Chinese New Year, he took two pills before visiting a prostitute. “This time, I felt like I was constantly drunk. I wanted to go see a doctor but the waiting line was too long. I took two Panadols instead.”
All he remembered next was being in an ambulance on its way to a hospital where it was tested that his blood sugar level had plunged dangerously low.
Lee could consider himself lucky. Another man is critically ill in hospital diagnosed with a stroke after taking the drug. All of the cases known in Singapore were of men aged between 30 and 70, and they displayed symptoms of low blood-sugar level. A low blood sugar level, if not treated in time, can lead to unconsciousness, fits or even death.
I wouldn't know whether this same Power 1 Walnut drug is available in Malaysia but I wouldn't count against it. I'm sure it would've already made its way around the underground circles and a tragedy is only waiting to be unearthed here as well.
It's time the health authorities in Malaysia do something fast to uncover the extent of its presence and take the necessary action against unscrupulous persons hawking it. For once, be proactive instead of reactive.
From what I've read so far, it's made by China company Guangzhou Xinkuaili. The pill is supposed to contain herbal ingredients but it's been found to contain controlled drugs like glibenclamide (a prescription drug for diabetes) and sildenafil. Yes, sildenafil. Better known by its commercial name, Viagra.
Parents! I know it may be a hard decision to make but faced with a theoretical lose-lose position, would you prefer to trust your dear, beloved family member with:
Both were cads but there, the similarity ends. While one is still being feted for his conquest in Malaysia, the other is being vilified by society in Hongkong.
I feel it is wrong for Chua Soi Lek to be treated like a hero. I also feel it is wrong for Edison Chen to be treated like a villian. Both have done wrong and both have confessed. One had his political career terminated. The other had decided to leave the industry he's in. What they did were private but unfortunately, they were found out and then subjected to public scrutiny. The public loves scandals but, in all the excitement, people forget that we are all humans. And humans have their trait of failing at the best of times. Who are we to judge them for their actions? Have we all never had some indiscretions of any type in our lives? So let us not judge them too harshly for their scandals. They have had their episodes of shame. Just leave them alone. Don't hero-worship them; don't condemn them. Leave them alone. Life moves on. And on. And on...
Friday, 22 February 2008
In Malaysia, we've just had our own sex scandal involving a senior politician; in Hongkong, they've just been shocked by their own version.
Edison Chen. Up-and-coming actor and singer. Destroyed by someone who stole more than 1,000 pictures from his notebook computer that had been sent for repair.
But the difference is that in Malaysia, the 61-year-old man who resigned from his ministerial job was hailed like a hero after he owned up to having two-timed his wife. Meanwhile in Hongkong, the 27-year-old chap who now wants to quit the entertainment industry was treated like a cad. "I failed as a role model," he admitted.
Why? Why should a young man's lust be so different from an old man's lust? Why the double standard? Both are womanisers. Full stop. Why are the people so forgiving with Chua Soi Lek and so unforgiving with Edison Chen when both have admitted to their indiscretions? Why, why? I'll leave it to you to find out the answers because I don't have them.
In the meantime, two lessons to learn. One...it doesn't pay to be careless with your computer. Two...celebacy has a better chance of not destroying careers.
Anyway, this composite picture shows the moon entering and emerging from the earth's shadow during the eclipse. The lucky devils of Titusville, Florida:
Two days ago, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Simeulue island at about 4.08pm (Malaysian time) off the western coast of Sumatra. Although it was more than 500 miles away from Penang, several areas here reported feeling it. "I feel the earth move under my feet" seemed to be the common refrain of many people I knew, including Jeffrey who texted me minutes after experiencing it at his office in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.
No, I told him, I certainly didn't feel it. Neither did any of my colleagues and we were all housed in the lower ground floor offices at the Equatorial Hotel. The hotel must be built on very solid ground.
Anyway, I've written about this so many times in the past but I've to mention this again: the association between an eclipse and a big earthquake. The alignment of the sun, moon and earth seems to put extra pressure on the tectonic plates around the world. Was it more than a coincidence that the last earthquake in Simeulue occurred just hours before this lunar eclipse? It's possible, right?
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Reason? It's the annual Chneah Hoay (flame watching) ceremony during which the intensity and height of flames from the deity's urn is supposed to predict the economy of Penang for the next one year.
As usual, from about 11.50pm last night, all lights in the temple were switched off so that the Chneah Hoay committee could watch out for the flames without distraction.
The newspapers are reporting the temple's president, Lim Chooi Beng, as saying that embers from the 60 burning joss sticks ignited after about nine minutes of the first fanning, signifying that the economy would be slow in taking off, the second fanning took about two minutes while the last was only a minute.
According to him, the deity predicted that the economy would be slow during the first four months of the lunar year (Feb 7 to June 3) but it would be improving from mid-year onwards.
Remember the bananas, yam and tubers that my family had bought just a week ago?
Here they are, cooked and waiting to be turned into the pungat: three types of steamed potatoes to give the pungat the deep purple, orange and yellow colours, steamed yam and boiled bananas. Note: All are natural colours. There's absolutely nothing artificial about the purple, orange and yellow.
They all went into the pot together with the pressed coconut milk and hey, presto! The pungat's ready!
PS. Pungat also tastes fabulous when kept in the refrigerator.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Those in the Barisan Nasional will have no problem raising this sort of money because they have the government machinery behind them. The ones that will have difficulty raising the money - which goes into printing, publicity and campaign expenses - will be the opposition parties. They do not have the same resources and usually make do with whatever they can raise from supporters and sympathisers.
But the hardest hit will be the independent candidates. How on earth are they going to make themselves known to the people if they can hardly campaign? It's an uphill task and yet....you'll still find people wanting to put themselves up as independent candidates. If you ask me, I'll tell you that most of them are c-r-a-z-y nuts who should be confined to the Tanjung Rambutan constituency.
I've long admired people like Billi PS Lim for their spunk and daring do. In my opinion, he is an interesting motivator and inspiration, though he may not be the perfect role model.
He dared to write a book called Dare To Fail. But he's correct. If you do not dare to fail, how can you succeed? He had stood as an independent candidate in Bukit Bintang in the past two general elections and very likely, he is going to stand again this time.
While he may be an inspiration to many people, he is also one of the crazy fellas. I mean, if he chooses on purpose to dress up like this (see picture above) and he dares to sport a hairstyle that is a throwback to a comic character, he must be crazy enough to do everything else. But at the back of people's mind, does he have any serious issue to stand for? Will voters ever take him seriously?
Maybe I will. If he can motivate me enough. If he can inspire me enough. If he can persuade me enough. If he can convince me enough. But it's just too bad that he's not contesting in Bukit Mertajam and I'm not staying in the Bukit Bintang area or otherwise, I'll definitely consider giving him my X. Oh...what the heck!
My wife's side of the family came visiting us last Sunday, so it was the perfect time to host them during this Chinese New Year. And later, Jeremy asked his friends to come around too. We had a great time....
Monday, 18 February 2008
- any complex organism of the group Lichenes, composed of a fungus in symbiotic union with an alga and having a greenish, gray, yellow, brown, or blackish thallus that grows in leaflike, crustlike, or branching forms on rocks, trees, etc.
- Pathology. any of various eruptive skin diseases.
- A fungus, usually of the class Ascomycetes, that grows symbiotically with algae, resulting in a composite organism that characteristically forms a crustlike or branching growth on rocks or tree trunks.
- Pathology Any of various skin diseases characterized by patchy eruptions of small, firm papules.
- any of several eruptive skin diseases characterized by hard thick lesions grouped together and resembling lichens growing on rocks
- any thallophytic plant of the division Lichenes; occur as crusty patches or bushy growths on tree trunks or rocks or bare ground etc.
Having read all these, would you still trust yourself to go to this beauty therapy centre along Jalan Sungai Nyior in Butterworth, Penang?
I wouldn't trust them for all the gold in the world!
Sunday, 17 February 2008
"A big hyped game between two big hyped teams... it's bound to be dreadful, isn't it. A horrible anti-climax. The most tedious fare served up since the last time Chelsea played Liverpool. A complete waste of their time, your time, my time, our time. A godawful nonsense, a shambles, an embarrassment, dreck. A pathetic excuse for sport, a risible effort at entertainment, a shameful, shameful, shameful shame. A shabby spectacle. So, so shabby. Lacklustre, flat, stodgy, unimaginative, insipid, drab, dull, drab, uninspired, drab, dull, drab, colourless, drab, dull, hellish, dull, dull, dull. There won't even be a fight. Best league in the world? Aye, right you are."
So at the present, it's still early days for the flag wars and the bunting wars. Nothing in earnest yet. But as early as last Friday, I had seen this old bus stop in Bukit Mertajam already claimed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters.
Closer to my home, I had noticed that the Parti Gerakan (Gerakan) had already decorated part of Jalan Kampung Baru with their party flags.
Not too far away from the bus stop, maybe a half kilometre away, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the Parti Islam (PAS) are sharing this particular spot along the road. Both their party flags were fluttering in the wind. But wait...do I see a BN flag in their midst?
While driving towards Butterworth, I saw the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) flags already lining one side of Jalan Baru outside Chai Leng Park.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) doesn't seem bothered yet with their campaign but it will only be a matter of time before you'll see the rocket flags and buntings. (UPDATE 8.15am): The first sign of a DAP stirring in Bukit Mertajam. Several strings of buntings around the Kampung Baru market. I'm sure they'll intensify in the days ahead.
In the meantime, PAS seems to have stolen a march on the other political parties with a strategically placed banner to woo Chinese voters a short distance away from the Kuan Yin temple along Pitt Street on the island. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
Saturday, 16 February 2008
This is also supported by the tracking services provided by Feedjit and Clustrmaps. So now I know that it is not only Malaysians that read my blog. There are people from around the world that take interest in what I write, although they can be of mundane stuff. I really thank them for their visits, whoever they are. Note: these trackers were added only very recently. Possibly not more than a week or two ago.
We are ready to make our signature dish for the Chinese New Year: the sweetly, delicious pungat. We've almost finished buying all the ingredients except the coconut milk which must be bought fresh. None of those packaged, processed santan stuff that you may find on the supermarket shelves.
So there you are ... nothing less than the King of bananas (pisang raja), yam and four types of tubers to impart variety and natural colour to the pungat. All these will be sliced into pieces and then go into the pot. Mmm...can't wait!