Sunday, 31 May 2009

Japanese occupation currency note

A promise is a promise...
...but will the present Japanese government honour it?
Can I hold them to this promise?

Saturday, 30 May 2009

National Instruments secures land in Batu Maung for Penang operations


Last year, I chanced upon a press conference by US-based multi-national company National Instruments to announce their investment of USD80 million in Penang. So this year, it should be appropriate that I follow up on this matter.

Yesterday, National Instruments' vice-president of manufacturing Rob Poterfield (the one shaking hands, on the right) was in Penang to ink a land lease agreement with the Penang Development Corporation. The occasion was witnessed by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P Ramasamy.

At a press conference after the event, Poterfield said that about 1,500 jobs would be created when they begin recruiting workers for its planned research and development facility in Batu Maung. Those recruited would be sent for extensive on-the-job training at the National Instruments headquarters in Austin, Texas, for a year.

“We have secured 6.8ha of land in Batu Maung for the facility which cost us about RM36mil. We hope the site can be ready by next year. The company is developing the facility as part of our ongoing plan to expand our global operations."

"Malaysia offers an exceptionally skilled workforce that can help National Instruments provide engineers and scientists with the hardware and software they need to develop the innovative applications that are improving our world," said Robert Canik, vice-president of R&D for instrument and distributed control at National Instruments. "This talent-rich environment was a key factor in selecting Malaysia, and Penang in particular, as the site for our new R&D operations facility, and we are excited that the people of Penang will be an integral part of our companys success."

The company develops and manufactures software as well as hardware for engineers and scientists. Poterfield said the recruitment included posts in manufacturing, product development, R&D, shared services, information technology and finance. “In the next few years we plan to invest about RM280mil in Penang,” Poterfield said.

"National Instruments is bringing high-value jobs to Penang and we are confident that the people here have the training and aptitude necessary to deliver tremendous value to National Instruments," said Guan Eng. "Penang offers many resources that make it a competitive business environment, and we are pleased that National Instruments is making such a significant contribution here."

See you there?

My wife was a little suspicious when I told her about the Penang Flora Fair 2009. "Are you going there?" she said me. "Don't you think of buying back any more plants," she said. "There's hardly any more space for you to put them."

I know, I know, I told her. I'll just be going on a window shopping trip. I'll be going with my camera only, not my wallet. "Want to come along?" slyly, I suggested to her. Who knows, she may end up as the one buying the plants, not me! "Well....." she answered. So I wait.....

Anyway, the one-week Penang Flora Fair 2009 opens tomorrow at the Penang Botanical Gardens at the hilly end of Western Road, not the Dato Kramat end. The first day's the day that you'll find the flower competition going on.


Friday, 29 May 2009

Chess archive: First Asian team chess championship 1974 (Part 3)

The chess articles here are taken from the old homepage of the Penang Chess Association on Geocities. I wrote them about 10 years old, taken from old records and newspaper cuttings in my possession. In this item and the next, I shall continue with the first Asian team chess championship in Penang at the end of 1974. From the souvenir programme:

OPENING CEREMONY

Tuesday, 10th December 1974

5.00pm Arrival of His Excellency the Governor of Penang, Tun Datuk Syed Sheh Barakbah, SMN, SSM, DUPN, SPMK, PSB

State Anthem

5.05pm Welcoming speech by Chairman, Organising Committee, YB State Secretary, Encik Mohamed bin Yeop Abdul Raof, KMN
5.15pm Speech by President, FIDE Zone 10, Prof Dr Lim Kok Ann
5.25pm Speech by Hon Chief Minister of Penang, Dr Lim Chong Eu
5.35pm Speech by His Exellency the Governor of Penang and declaring open the competition
6.20pm Life Chess display
6.40pm State Anthem

Refreshment

His Excellency the Governor leaves for Residency

PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES


AUSTRALIA

Mr Max Fuller 2365
Mr Michael Woodhams
Mr Arthur Pope
Mr William Jordan
Mr Philip Viner (Captain)

HONGKONG

Mr Kan Wai Shui 2360
Mr Sin Kuen
Mr Ko Chi (Captain)
Mr Fung Yee Wang
Mr Chan Yau Fan
Mr Pang Chun Kau

INDONESIA

Mr Arovah Bachtiar 2305 (Captain)
Mr Jerry S Sampouw 2280
Dr Max Wotulo
Mr M Simulingga
Mr Dipo

Manager: Rear Admiral F Sumanti

JAPAN

Mr I Haruyama
Mr Sato
Mr H Tenjinbayashi
Mr S Sugaya
Mr N Seki
Mr Y Matsumoto (Captain)

MALAYSIA

Mr Abdul Rahman Ahmad
Mr Chew Soon Keong
Mr Quah Seng Sun
Mr Tan Kai Ming
Mr Jerry Augustus
Mr Atan Ahmad (Captain/Manager)

NEW ZEALAND

Mr Andrew Day (Captain)
Mr Peter Goffin (Manager)
Mr D Flude
Mr Murray Chandler
Mr Robert Gibbons
Mr Peter Clarke

PHILIPPINES

Mr Rodolfo Tan Cardoso 2335 (Captain)
Mr Glenn Bordonada
Mr Roger Adella
Mr Cesar Caturla
Mr Rico Mascarinas
Mr Rafaeltis Maninang

SINGAPORE

Mr Giam Choo Kwee 2210 (Captain)
Mr Lim Seng Hoo
Mr Goh Cheng Hong
Mr Chan Peng Kong
Mr Terrence Wong
Mr Koh Sei Hian

Below are the photos from either The Star or The Straits Echo:

The Malaysian team - from right, Quah Seng Sun (from Penang), Jerry Augustus (from Johor), Tan Kai Ming (from Penang), Chew Soon Keong (from Selangor, originally from Penang) and Abdul Rahman Ahmad (from Kelantan). Seated to the right of the Malaysian team were the Indonesians and the Australians.

The Life Chess display during the opening ceremony of the championships. The performers were pupils from the Han Chiang Primary School.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

This artist's brilliant

This video clip is GOOD and well worth watching! Fully recommended...


Water from the tap

Courtesy of the Penang Water Authority (Pihak Berkuasa Air Pulau Pinang) last Sunday...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Battle of the giants


Tomorrow morning, 2.45am local time, the battle starts....


In the meantime, in an online poll running on the Internet, I saw 61 percent of respondents believing that Manchester United would win while the other 39 percent said that it would be Barcelona. There were more than 1800 people from around Malaysia and Singapore that took part in the poll during this past week.

Microsoft's Cibai

According to a Microsoft research paper, this piece (of software, I hope) is "an abstract interpretation-based static analyzer for modular analysis and verification of Java classes" ... whatever it means. All I know is that it has given rise (sic) to a plethora of jokes. on the Internet. The person who wrote the software was inspired enough to come up with this nice, warm name of ... Cibai.


Who, in this part of the world, doesn't know what it means? In case you are still as clueless as the researcher, the Cibai is that warm fuzzy software part of the woman's anatomy below her bikini line. Get it? You don't? Oh...you do! Finally!

Juicier yet, try keeping a straight face when reading what the researcher did with it: "...we compare Cibai with similar tools, showing how Cibai achieves a higher level of automation and precision while having comparable performances."

Double standards!

An embarrassment to Malaysia! Rais Yatim is fast turning out to be as ridiculous and shallow as the rest of his colleagues in government. (Well, if not all, then the majority of his colleagues in government anyway.)

Yesterday, he was quoted by Sun2Surf as saying that the "communists have no place in Malaysia because their sins for killing thousands of people in the then Malaya cannot be forgotten. The communists had abused this country and we had been shackled through killings and terrible actions committed by them. The thousands who had died at the hands of the communists should be sufficient for us to be remorseful so that we do not issue statements that can make us forget the atrocities committed by the regime then."

I suppose by his own definition, he implies that the Japanese are not welcomed in our country too. Or has he forgotten the atrocities committed by the Japanese army during the dark Occupation days from 1941 to 1945? Didn't Malayans disappear by the thousands at the hands of the invaders? Don't they matter too? Why this selective memory from our Information, Communications and Culture Minister? I am rather pissed off by his double standards.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Of dragon boats and rice dumplings


In two days' time (28 May 2009), we Chinese will be celebrating the Dumpling Festival again. It's an annual celebration for us, falling on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month and marked by the dragon boat races and the making of glutinous rice dumplings.

According to popular belief, the Dragon Boat races and the Dumpling Festival honours scholar-poet Chu Yuan who took his life by jumping into a river. Chu Yuan was a loyal minister of the state of Chu and was a court favourite until his replacement by a rival through Court intrigues. He was banished. When General Pai Chi of the Tsin State launched the second attack on the capital of Chu in BC 278, Chu Yuan knew all hope to save the state was lost.

With sallow cheeks and dishevelled hair, he went to the shore of a river in Hunan, intending to end his life. A fisherman asked why he wanted to end his life: "Why do you seek a watery grave?" And Chu Yuan answered: "The whole country is corrupt except me. The people are inebriated except me. So it is better this way."

"But in that case wouldn't it be better for you to move with the trend and rise in power?" the fisherman ask. Chu Yuan replied that he preferred a death of honour and to be interred in the bellies of the fishes of the river. And with that, he clasped a large stone with both hands and jumped.

Traditionally, the story continues that as soon as he jumped into the water, the fishermen instantly rowed out in their boats to try and save him but in vain. Fearing that fish would eat Chu Yuan’s body, the fishermen's families made dumplings and threw them into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of the body.

Ooh aah Cantona

“I will guide probably the strongest team in the world. I don’t know in how many years’ time, but my name is already written on the Manchester United bench. I’m not saying Ferguson will go. I hope with all my heart that he has eternal life with the Reds. I truly hope so. But I assure that sooner or later you will see me at the helm in England because I’m part of the history of Manchester United and I’m number one.”

Monday, 25 May 2009

Waiting in Penanti

A day after nomination day, I drove briefly into the Penanti state constituency. Election fever? Looked very far from it. The only hive of human activity was in Kubang Semang but even then, it was busy only with everyday life. Apart from the few Parti Keadilan Rakyat flags and buntings along this road, I wouldn't have known that a by-election was in the air.


It's even worse in the rural parts of this state constituency. No life at all. At most, a few flags here and there to break the monotony of the drive. Such is the state of affairs in Penanti after the Barisan Nasional refused to participate in this by-election. Time will tell whether it was the correct strategy for the BN but without their presence, I don't see how the temperature in Penanti can be raised beyond one or two degrees. There's no curiosity in the air, no excitement.


What issues are there? There is no moving target without the Barisan Nasional and the independent candidates are only pesky little mosquitoes. Not enough to provide even a reasonable diversion, in my opinion. So it looks a foregone conclusion that the PKR will win. But I hope they will still go all out to convince the people to come out and vote for them on Sunday or otherwise, it'll be a hollow victory and BN will come out smirking.

Orchid repotting exercise


This was my orchid plant before I repotted it. As can be seen, it was in a rather pathetic stage. Half of it was alive and thriving but the other half had dried up and was quite shrivelled.


So I cut the plant into two and dumped it out of the pot. Carefully, I separated out the two halves and gave the good part a wash. I think it really needed that, to rid itself of the accumulated dirt. I also washed the stones and charcoal bits before I reused them.


Here's the rescued half of the plant. Looks almost as good as new. I'll be putting it aside for a few days to allow it to recover from the ordeal. And I hope it will rebloom and reward me with a nice batch of new fragrant flowers.


This is the old dried up portion of the plant. Quite a reluctance to throw it away but I know that it is dead. I've had some others like it before too.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Leaving or staying?

There's still a lot of speculation surrounding our modern-day slave. Some newspapers say that he is leaving, some others claim that he is staying. Leaving? Staying? Leaving? Staying? I guess nobody knows better than himself. I don't care; I only want to see the full team this mid-July when Manchester United visit Malaysia.

Chess archive: First Asian team chess championship 1974 (Part 2)

In the early 1970s, chess was just starting to be organised in Malaysia. The Penang Chess Association was founded in 1972, the Chess Association of Selangor and the Malaysian Chess Federation in 1974, and the other state chess associations followed suit. In 1974, the PCA assisted the MCF by organising the first Asian team chess championship at the Dewan Sri Pinang in George Town on 9-21 Dec 1974. This event was organised concurrently with the Golden Jubilee celebration of the World Chess Federation which held its Bureau Meeting here.

These were the committees at that time:



Saturday, 23 May 2009

Google maps Malaysia

Some time ago, I heard that Google had launched Google Maps Malaysia. I've been curious to see how Google Maps could show me how to get from Spot A to Spot B around Malaysia. I've been playing around with this tool and my impression is that some of the suggested routes could be improved. There were better alternatives in many cases. But by and large, good enough.

Here's one example. I asked Google Maps to plan a route from my housing area in Bukit Mertajam to one of the shopping malls in Province Wellesley, the Sunway Carnival Mall.


Cool. It showed the driving distance, 15.9km, and the estimated time to arrive at the destination, 28 minutes. My minor disagreement with the route is that Google Maps did not consider the route along Jalan Baru and the North-South Expressway. In my opinion, that would have been an easier route as it avoids the slow traffic along Jalan Permatang Pauh. Perhaps it just wanted to show the shortest distance between the two points with disregard to traffic conditions.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Bodhi Heart Sanctuary

Most statues and images of the Lord Gautama are either seated cross-legged on a lotus flower, standing or in a reclining position. These are the common poses. Thus, I was very surprised last Sunday to come across a statue of the Buddha seated on a lotus with folded palms and feet firmly on the ground.


Feet firmly on the ground. Such a pose is very rarely seen. This is the first time that I've come across one of the Buddha statues in this position either in Penang or elsewhere. Here's a photo of the statue taken from a most unusual angle: looking up from the base. I'm still mesmerised by it.


The Bodhi Heart Sanctuary is located off Mount Erskine Road in Tanjung Tokong, Penang. You'll need to use the entrance at the Cheah Kongsi private cemetery and go through a narrow winding road.

More museum madness

Aww ... I can't wait to see this show. If only I have the time, which I don't in the present circumstances!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

United Nations of swine flu countries

When will the Swine Flu pandemic end? That's the question millions of people worldwide are asking.

George Town's boutique hotel

Three photos to get the curious mind moving. It's a boutique hotel but where in George Town is this?



Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Cute? No, it's downright dangerous!


In The Sunday Star over the weekend, I had noticed that this picture won the RM50 prize in the newspaper's Thumbnail contest. Well, it's not exactly a contest but newspaper readers have been encouraged to submit photos snapped from everyday occurrences and a weekly prize is awarded to the most interesting picture for the week. This one by Thong Zhen Yang won last Sunday. It's shows a very spontaneous reaction by a small kid towards an approaching animal.

However, I must say that this is a most irresponsible and dangerous situation for a parent to put a child through. Parents should never allow children to get so close to wild animals even though the animals may look tame enough. It's even doubly dangerous when we think that it may be alright when an animal looks so much like a human being. We may think it can be trusted but in fact, it cannot and must not be trusted at all.

We can never know what's going on in an animal's mind especially one that's wild and hungry. That's when an animal is at its most aggressive. If anyone comes too close to it, the animal snarls at you to keep your distance. If it comes too close to you and you are about the same size, it feels bold enough to challenge you. Either way, you can be threatened by the animal.

I've seen it happen many times before ... at the Penang Botanical Gardens, at the Bukit Mertajam hill, practically everywhere that monkeys are seen roaming: the aggression when they are hungry, the aggression when they fight among themselves, the defensive aggression when they feel threatened. You never know when they'll turn and bite!

My advice to people like Thong: be more sensitive about your child's whereabouts. Children of this age know nothing about the dangers of getting close to wild animals. It may be too late for parents to react or regret once an unfortunate accident happen.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Chess archive: First Asian team chess championship 1974 (Part 1)

From the archives of the Penang Chess Association:

In the early 1970s, chess was just starting to be organised in Malaysia. The Penang Chess Association was founded in 1972, the Chess Association of Selangor and the Malaysian Chess Federation in 1974, and the other state chess associations followed suit. In 1974, the PCA assisted the MCF by organising the first Asian team chess championship at the Dewan Sri Pinang in George Town on 9-21 Dec 1974. This event was organised concurrently with the Golden Jubilee celebration of the World Chess Federation which held its Bureau Meeting here.


The cover of the souvenir programme.

Here are all the messages from the souvenir programme. The first message was from Abdul Razak Hussein who was, at the time, the Malaysian Prime Minister. As the Prime Minister, he had agreed to donate the challenge trophy for this regional competition.

Message from the Honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Haji Abdul Razak bin Hussein
Malaysia sungguh berbangga dengan perhormatan yang diberi kepadanya menjadi tuan rumah untuk Kejohanan Catur Asia yang Pertama ini. Sepanjang yang saya ingat, permainan catur hanya mendapat sambutan dan perhatian di kalangan negara-negara Barat sahaja tetapi pada masa akhir-akhir ini nampak minat yang semakin meluas di negara-negara sebelah sini, terutama dikalangan jenerasi muda yang mengikuti pertandingan juara-juara catur Amerika-Soviet tidak lama dulu.

Saya mengucapkan tahniah kepada Persekutuan Catur Malaysia atas inisiatifnya mengelolakan Kejohanan Catur Asian yang Pertama ini, yang mana akan disertai juga oleh pemain-pemain dari Australia dan New Zealand. Sudah tentu sekali dengan adanya perlawanan seperti ini minat terhadap permainan catur akan meningkat dan begitu juga mutu serta kehandalan pemain-pemain kita sendiri untuk menyalangi juara-juara antarabangsa.

Disamping mengalu-alukan peserta-peserta dari luar negeri yang akan menghadiri pertandingan kejohanan ini, saya ingin merakamkan tahniah penghargaan kepada FIDE sempena ulangtahun ke 50 Pertubuhan Catur Sedunia itu.

Selamat bertanding.


Message from the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Hussein Onn
Initiatif Persekutuan Catur Malaysia pada menganjurkan kejohanan Catur Asia yang pertama di Malaysia mulai 7hb hingga 21hb Disember, 1974 ini sudah pasti akan meletakkan negara kita pada tempat yang terkemuka dalam bidang permainan catur yang mempunyai nilai intelek itu. Saya mengucapkan tahniah kepada Persekutuan Catur Malaysia atas usahanya itu sambil mengucapkan terima kasih diatas kehormatan yang diberikan kepada saya menjadi Penaong Persekutuan ini.

Hasil dari kejohanan ini sudah pasti akan menggalakkan lagi rakyat Malaysia dari semua bangsa khasnya murid-murid sekolah meminati permainan ini. Dengan itu juga saya yakin mutu permainan kita akan bertambah tinggi setanding dengan taraf permainan dinegara-negara maju.

Saya mengucapkan selamat bersidang kepada Persekutuan Catur Sedunia (FIDE) yang mengadakan mesyuaratnya disini dan mengucapkan tahniah kerana merayakan jubli FIDE yang ke 50 disamping dan juga ahli terkemuka dalam bidang catur. Saya berharap persidangan ini akan berjaya pada mencapai tujuannya.

Sempena kejohanan ini, saya berharap peminat-peminat catur khususnya dari Malaysia akan mempelajari teknik-teknik permainan dari juara-juara Asia bagi menambah pengetahuan dan pengalaman mereka.

Selamat bertanding.


Message from the Honorable Chief Minister of Penang, Dr Lim Chong Eu
The holding of the first Asian Chess Championships in Penang is a very important step towards our promotion of Chess in Malaysia.

It assumes world-wide significance because the championships held coincide with the 50th Anniversary of F.I.D.E. This means that the participants from nine Asian countries representing the best chess players in Asia will be competing in the championships.

I congratulate the Malaysian Chess Federation for having been bold enough to undertake the organisation of these championships in the light of the significance of this occasion and I am sure that your enthusiasm and zeal as well as your capability in organising these championships will stimulate more Malaysians to take up chess as well as to put malaysia on the Chess World Map.

The holding of these championships has been made possible by the initiative of the Malaysian Chess Federation and the support given by the Federal and State Governments and I hope that more of our people in the State who have already shown some interest in chess will join the Malaysian Chess Federation and help to develop the game.

The first Asian Chess Championships held in Penang will give us an opportunity to meet the best chess players in the Asian countries and therefore provide us an opportunity to measure our own development in this game as well as to provide the participants with an occasion whereby through chess they will make new friends, renew friendships and therefore contribute towards the spirit of international sportsmanship.

I wish every one participating in these championships, either as competitors, organisers or supporters, every success and I hope that you will all have an enjoyable time in our State. I hope also that the organisers will give the participants some time off to relax and to visit some of the places of interest in Penang.


Message from Mr Tan Chin Nam, President of Malaysian Chess Federation
The Malaysian Chess Federation extends a very warm welcome to all participants to the various Chess events to be held in Penang between 9th and 21st December, 1974 to mark the end of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of F.I.D.E.

We are greatly honoured to have been entrusted with the responsibility of hosting this first ever Asian Chess Team Championship. In the very limited time available to us, the Organising Committee has done its utmost to ensure that all participants will find their stay here hospitable, enjoyable and memorable. However, should there be any shortcomings, kindly accommodate us.

With the introduction of the Asian Chess Team Championship yet another avenue is open to further strengthen the bonds of friendship existing among Austral Asian nations. I am confident it will also help to further promote the game of Chess in this region, the popularity of which I regret to say is well behind that in the Western countries. It is our hope that Malaysians particularly will use this opportunity to derive the maximum benefit and improve their standard of play.

In conclusion, I thank all participating Federations for their support and wish all competitors every success.


Message from Prof Lim Kok Ann, President of FIDE Zone 10
Although the game of chess is far more advanced in the western world than in Asia where the game originated, it is rapidly gaining in popularity in Asian countries.

It is therefore most appropriate that the World Chess Federation should inaugurate an Asian Team Tournament to commemorate its Golden Jubilee.

For the honour of holding this event we are indebted to the imaginative and vigorous initiative of my predecessor, Mr HM Hasan who had practically settled all issues before I took office in June, 1974. He is now a member of the FIDE Bureau which benefit from his creative insight.

Concurrently with the Team Tournament, the FIDE Bureau will be meeting to conduct its regular business as well as to perform the closing ceremony of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. There will also be a seminar on chess promotion for the benfit of officials of Asian chess federations.

On behalf of the participants, I thank the Malaysian Chess Federation for organising all these events as a chess festival, and the Malaysian Federal Government and Penang State Government for supporting it.

Our special thanks go to Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, who has donated a Challenge Cup for the Team Tournament as well as agreeing to be Patron of the festival.

I wish all participants success in their undertakings in the spirit of our motto, "Gens Una Sumus"


Message from Prof Dr M Euwe, President of Federation Internationale Des Echecs
FIDE is happy that the Malaysian Chess Federation hosts the closing ceremonies of the Golden Jubilee of our World Chess Federation.

We appreciate the initiative to institute the Asian Team Championship: a new leaf on the tree of Chess in Asia.

May Asia, the cradle of chess, remain a shining example for other chess centers.

GENS UNA SUMUS

Monday, 18 May 2009

Singing competition

I don't normally watch the Chinese channels on television but I sat down to Astro's channel 301 last night, having been alerted to it last week by an ex-colleague friend from the bank. Reason? Another ex-colleague of mine was appearing in a programme that was being telecast live: the golden classical melody singing competition.

Now, if anyone from Ban Hin Lee Bank had heard Lee Soo Hock sing before, you'd want to support him in any way possible. So I plonked myself in front of the idiot box (television) and endured through the efforts of the other contestants before Lee Soo Wei (that's the stage name he had adopted way back in 1987) came on to hog the whole screen, which he did at about 8.45pm.


Soo Hock being Soo Hock, he has his legion of fans who turned up to watch him in person. It was a very good natured competition but the cheers for him was among the loudest. Apparently, a crowd favourite. Unfortunately, I could not watch until the end of the competition because my whole family - can't compete with three female members of the family who decided to gang up against me - wanted to watch the final of the Sudirman Cup that was being shown live too. They, having seen China's Lin Dan dispose of Lee Chong Wei on Saturday night, they wanted to watch him in action again against Korea's SH Park.

Therefore, sorry, I don't know how the singing competition turn out. Did Soo Hock win? No idea. I need others to tell me....

Straits Settlements coins

Almost forgot. These are among the dirty old coins in my collection. There are two things of great interest. First, the coins featured the heads of the British kings and queens of their time. So, it's possible to see here the side profiles of Elizabeth II, George VI, Edward VIII. George V and even Victoria.


Second, I believe not many people would have seen a half cent coin. The quarter cent coin is even rarer.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Straits Settlements currency notes

The other day, when I was writing briefly about the historical figures on some of the Asian currency notes, I remembered that I do have a small collection of old Straits Settlements and Malayan currency notes in various denominations. They were among my father's collection of currency notes and stamps, and they were pretty interesting.

A pack of 10 one cent currency notes issued during the time of George VI.
They were all peinted just as war clouds began to hover over the Malay peninsula.
But, as I understand it, they were only issued in Malayafter the end of the Second World War in 1945. They replaced the worthless Japanese banana notes.
But the interesting point was that these were 1-cent, 5-cent, 10-cent, 20-cent and 50-cent notes and not coins. And all of them were not serial numbered. These only came with the higher denomination notes.
Like this one ... a more familiar piece: a 1-dollar currency note
The oldest currency note in my possession: a one-dollar note dating back to 1930.
After George VI, it was now the face of Elizabeth II on the Malayan currency notes.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Three in the bag

Manchester United are champions again!
(Of course, those Merseyside fried livers are still in denial and insisting that they'll win this year)

Historical figures on Asian currencies


Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) was a Chinese revolutionary and political leader. He is often referred to as the Father of Modern China. Sun played an instrumental role in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty in 1911. He was the first provisional president when the Republic of China (ROC) was founded in 1912 and later co-founded the Kuomintang (KMT) where he served as its first leader. Sun was a uniting figure in post-Imperial China. He remains unique among 20th-century Chinese leaders for having a high reputation both in mainland China and in Taiwan. In Taiwan, he is seen as the Father of the Republic of China, and is known by the posthumous name Sun Zhongshan, the Father of the Nation.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was the pre-eminent Indian political and spiritual leader. He was the pioneer of satyagraha (resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence) which led Indian independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi and in India also as Bapu. He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation.


Ho Chí Minh (1890-1969) was a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary and statesman who was Prime Minister and President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). Uncle Ho is how I would have liked to call him. He led the Viet Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the communist-governed North Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu. He lost political power inside North Vietnam in the late 1950s, but remained as the highly visible figurehead president until his death. He was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Yi Hwang (1501-1570) was one of the two most prominent Korean Confucian scholars of the Joseon Dynasty. He is often referred to by his pen name Toegye ("Retreating Creek"). His courtesy name was Gyeongho. The Taekwondo pattern Toi-Gye was named in his honour.

Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina (1878-1944) was the first Filipino president of the Philippines when it was under U.S. occupation rule in the early 20th century. He is known as the "Father of the (Philippine) National Language".

Friday, 15 May 2009

A mad resemblance

The resemblances are so close that my mind boggles... the same toothy grin, the same vacant look, the same empty mind....