Tuesday, 30 June 2009

UNESCO decision any time now

Since 22 Jun, I've been waiting with bated breath about the decisions that the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee would take in Seville, Spain.

The Committee has been reviewing the state of conservation of properties already listed as well as examining nominations for new cultural and natural sites.

In all their deliberations so far, the case for George Town, if it has been discussed at all, has not been made public. As we know, there is controversy here about the four high-rise hotels that have been proposed within the heritage zone.

I hope George Town does not get onto the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger just because of the thoughtless and reckless decision of the previous Penang state government.


What on earth is he saying? On one hand he removes the 30% institutional bumiputra equity requirement for Malaysian companies seeking public listing but on the other hand he imposes a 50% requirement of public shareholding spread to bumiputra investors. Which is better? Which is worse? What's the implication? Can somebody analyse and tell me please??

Are you ready?

Don't say we don't say, ah, but we are ready to combat the feared A(H1N1) influenza virus at the office!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Michael Jackson hogs Amazon.com's most popular list

Four days after the death of the Gloved One, he makes Amazon.com's most popular list ... and it's not only for the top position. His albums make a clean sweep of the top 12 positions on the website. Incredible. Michael Jackson's music is even more popular when he's dead! Every one wants a memento to remember him by!

Judge, jury, executioner?

Here's a story about a judge who not only wants to bring the cane back into the courtroom but he also wants to implement justice himself. The big question is whether it is right for a person to play judge, jury and executioner at the same time.

In this rare court ruling, a sales promoter who admitted to armed robbery was ordered to be caned 10 times in the court premises. And the judge would want to do the caning himself.

According to The Star, Sessions Court judge Zainal Abidin Kamarudin ordered Muhammad Syafiq Abd Wahab, 20, to be caned by him (the judge) in the presence of his parents on July 15 using canes supplied by the court. He said 10 light canes were to be used to carry out the sentence as provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code for youthful offenders. He then turned to the parents and told the father, pensioner Abd Wahab Jonit, 64, that the offence was rarely passed by court but urged him to accept it. “I know it is not a nice feeling for a father to watch his son being caned but it has to be done by a judge,” he said.

All I can say to this robber bugger is "padan muka" (serves you right). I may not agree with the judge doing the executioner's part of the sentence but armed robbery is still a serious crime. A dose of public humiliation will do the bugger good.

In yesterday's newspaper, however, it was reported that the Chief Justice has asked a senior High Court judge to look into this matter. There were concerns over human rights and whether a judge could be the executioner of his sentence as well.

But it was also mentioned that a magistrate had imposed and carried out such a sentence some 20 years ago and that it had been done by magistrates sitting in juvenile courts a long time ago. "These days, it’s rarely imposed, but magistrates used to carry out such caning in their chambers in the presence of the two juvenile court advisers, the prosecuting officer and a parent," said a former member of the Judicial and Legal Services.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Cleaning my vinyl records

While waiting for the telco technician to arrive last Friday, I decided to bring out this one vinyl record that I had picked up at a second-hand bookstore quite a while ago. Used records are getting harder to find nowadays..... Sigh.

However, the problem was that this record was in a terrible condition. The surface was very moldy and the inside of the record's cardboard jacket was covered by a layer of black mold. So it wasn't just a matter of cleaning the record only. I had to clean the jacket too. Luckily, this second part wasn't too difficult. A wipe with a damp cloth was enough to remove all the dirt.

But back to the record. It took me quite a while of cleaning with my static brush, a generous dollop of cleaning fluid and some vigorous wipes with non-woven cotton swabs to get back the shine on this record. Here are the swabs I used. See how dirty and black they are? Yucks!

Anyway, it was a good job. I'm quite satisfied with my work, actually. Surprisingly, the record was still in good condition. There wasn't much pops and crackles. This album, Golden Memories Vol 3, contained wonderful gems like John Rowles' One Day and If I Only Had Time, The Grassroots' Let's Live For Today and Three Dog Night's An Old Fashion Love Song.

Chess archive: Pesta Pulau Pinang chess festival, 1-31 Dec 1976

In 1976, chess was included in the month-long Pesta Pulau Pinang programme. The Association held an exhibition of chess photographs by its president, Mr Fang Ewe Churh, at the Pesta grounds in Macallum Street Ghaut. Dr Max Wotulo, an International Master from Indonesia who was at that time lecturing at the Universiti Kebangsaan, was invited to give a lecture and a simultaneous display. A Pesta open tournament was also organised towards the end of the Pesta month. Here are reports from the New Straits Times and the National Echo.


PENANG, Thurs - Chess international master Dr Max Arie Wotulo of Indonesia said here today Malaysia should "catch 'em young" if the nation wants to produce internationally rated players and international masters.

"Through chess we can help build citizens with disciplined and analytical minds," he said at a Press conference.

"But it is important that young players, however promising they may be, must be properly guided sp that they will not neglect their studies while striving for greater honours in the game."

Dr Wotulo, 44, an associate professor in mathematics at the Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia, said there was no lack of chess enthusiasts in the country.

"What they lack is training and opportunity to contest against better players. They must also be physically fit," he said.

Dr Wotulo, who became an international master in 1969, said he takes exercise, walking at least five miles a day, during tournaments.

On his advice to "catch 'em young", Dr Wotulo recalled that chess was made compulsory at the United States' West Point Academy and primary schools in Russia.

"President Marcos of the Philippines had also suggested in 1953 that chess be introduced in all schools in his country," he said.

Mr Fang Ewe Churh, vice-president of the Malaysian Chess Federation, said four or five international masters, including Dr Euwe, president of Fide, the world chess organisation, would be invited to a rating tournament to be held in Malaysia next year.

Dr Wotulo took on 22 opponents simultaneously in an exhibition at the Pesta Trade and Industrial Fair last night. He won 13 matches, drew five and lost four.

(New Straits Times, 3 Dec 1976)

PENANG, Thurs - The Penang Chess Association has selected four players, including two schoolboys, for the Third Malaysian Chess Championships at Ipoh from Dec 17 to 24.

"The two schoolboys are Eric Cheah, the Penang primary schools champion, and Heng Ooi Khiang, runner-up in the secondary schools section," Mr Fang Ewe Churh, president of the PCA said.

The other two players are the 1976 Penang Open Champion, Fong Foo Khun and Chuah Heng Meng.

Fong Foo Khun won the Penang open title recently, beating the 1974 state champion, Tan Bian Huat.

Mr Fang, who is also advisor on chess to the Malaysian Schools Sports Council, said the MSSM was thinking of organising training courses for teachers in order to promote chess in schools.

(New Straits Times, 3 Dec 1976)

PENANG: Twenty-three players are competing in the Pesta Pulau Pinang International Chess Open championship which commenced last night at the Industrial & Trade Fair grounds.

The tournament is organised by the Penang Chess Association for the Pesta Pulau Pinang Sports & Cultural Section.

The nightly playing sessions start at 7pm until Dec 15.

A spokesman of the Penang Chess Association has announced that the lucky winner of the first chess problem ending Dec 7, Lim Chee Hoe of 33 Dunlop Road, could claim his prize from the chess pavilion in the Pesta grounds.

The closing date for the second chess problem is Dec 14.

Meanwhile, the visiting chess team, Caissa Patzers, from Singapore left Penang for Ipoh yesterday morning to continue their tour of Peninsula Malaysia.

The visitors had earlier won two friendly matches against a Penang selection at the chess pavilion inside the Pesta grounds.

The Caissa Patzers, who include two internationals, are part of the Singapore national junior squad.

(The National Echo, 9 Dec 1976)

Chess Champion
PENANG: At the conclusion of the Pesta Pulau Pinang Open Chess Championship, a 13-year-old boy, Eric Cheah, emerged the winner. He beat 23 others to top the list with 6 1/2 points. Second was Chuah Heng Meng and third was Ooi Gim Ewe.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the chess pavilion at the Pesta grounds announced that the winner of the third chess problem is Chin Cheong Phoey.

(The National Echo, 22 Dec 1976)

Student wins chess tourney
IPOH: Goh Yoon Wah of Penang took top honours in the 3rd Malaysian Individual Chess Championship which ended at the Anderson School here yesterday.

Nineteen-year-old Goh, who is waiting for his HSC results, won the week-long tournament decided on a Swiss System with six points.

His closest rivals were Woo Beng Keong and R Subramaniam, both from Selangor.

(The National Echo, 25 Dec 1976)

Schoolboy wins chess competitions

THE president of the Penang Chess Association, Mr Fang Ewe Churh, said that the game of chess would help to solve the drug problem in this country, while speaking at the association's prize-giving ceremony at the chess pavilion of the Penang Pesta recently.

He added that chess was a healthy and educational game that helped to cultivate alertness, endurance and concentration of mental power in a person.

Last year was a very significant year for Penang since a 19-year-old schoolboy, Goh Yoon Wah, from the Technical Institute here won both the Malaysian schoolboys title in Seremban and the Malaysian championship title in Ipoh last month.

Picture shows Goh with the Malaysian championship trophy and the schoolboys trophy at the prize-giving ceremony. Both trophies were donated by Datuk Hussein Onn.

(The National Echo, 7 Jan 1977)

Saturday, 27 June 2009

A Jackson moment

This is the only vinyl record that I ever have of the Jackson brothers
I also own a compact disc version of the record.

It wasn't on the Motown label as they had left that stable to join Columbia. And because of legal issues, the brothers had to change the group's name from The Jackson 5 to simply The Jacksons. Michael Jackson was in the line-up but Jermaine chose to remain at Motown. To make up the fivesome, the youngest Randy Jackson was brought in.

Somehow, I found this album to be thoroughly appealing. Maybe it was because of the slick production by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and the lush sound by MFSB. In my opinion, the best songs on this album were Enjoy Yourself, Good Times and Show You The Way To Go.

What's all the fuss?

Okay, so I've been listening to 130 minutes of Michael Jackson and Jackson Five songs over Internet radio at morpher-radio.co.uk but I can't possibly understand all the grief over his death.

C'mon, folks, excitement's over. He WAS an excellent entertainer but this is not a personal loss to us. You want to remember him? Go buy his CD or DVD, and help his estate reduce his financial debts.

UPDATE: Anyway, I'd like to share a short text conversation with a friend just a short while ago. For obvious reasons, I'd like him to remain anonymous:
Him: Michael Jackson is god.

Me: God or devil? Black or white?

Him: He is human. He makes mistakes like everyone else. Nothing more, nothing less.

Me: Precisely, he was human. But now he's dead. Story ends here. Don't treat it like the end of the world. Don't treat him like god. He was just a good entertainer with good music.

Him: He is a proud african american. White or black is a representation of the kkk oppression.

Me: Proud african american? He was too shameful of his roots or otherwise, he wouldn't have changed his physical appearance beyond recognition.

Him: Who is? Continue to remember him. Just like the rest who left us.

Me: Yes, just appreciate his music for what it's worth. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm just being realistic, that's all.

Him: But he will get the recognition as man of the century. He is, to me.

Me: Good for him then. But it has to be of the last century, not this one. He didn't do anything significant.
Our conversation ended here. Maybe I should also add: life is transient. There is no permanence in this world. Everybody dies sooner or later. Seeing how he was beset with personal problems in the later part of his life, perhaps it was better that he should leave this way with his popularity still intact.

He may have left a hole in the entertainment industry but he also left a huge musical legacy that is impossible for almost anyone else (there will be exceptions, of course) to emulate, let alone overtake. This point, I have to agree with everybody. His musical legacy is rich and wide. Par excellence, in fact, and far richer than his lifestyle.

Let's remember him solely for his music and not anything else.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Back in business...

....so to speak.

This was all it took to rectify my Streamyx connection to the world: a brand new FREE modem from the Telco. The technical chap came at 5.15pm and we trouble-shot the problem together for about 15 minutes. The old one's verified as kaput because the instant we connected this new baby, the computers in the house sprang to life again. I don't have to steal bandwidth any more. So to my neighbour, whoever he is again, thank you for the sneak connectivity last night.

Wacko Jacko gone missin'

I think he's dead-o

CNN says he's dead,
BBC confirms it!

So do newspapers across the globe

(Updates: Google Search at 8.58am this morning reported 4,645 news items had appeared worldwide to report his death. At 8.30pm, I lost count of the number of news items in Google Search. Must be close to 20,000 or even more)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Modem is fried

Nothing's blogged here in the last few days because the broadband modem in the house has been fried, most probably by lightning. So as I'm waiting for the telco technician to come here tomorrow to check on the modem - and hopefully will replace it free of charge - I am reduced to blogging from outside the house right now by stealing a little bit of bandwidth from one of my neighbour's unsecured connection. I know it's ethically wrong but it's just for today, okay? Hopefully, normal service can resume by tomorrow evening. But I'd like to thank my neighbour, whoever he is, for keeping his broadband connection available. It's my connection to the world tonight!!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Chess archive: Alexander Kotov in Penang, 2-3 Apr 1975

One of the first grandmasters to visit Penang was Alexander Kotov of the Soviet Union. During his two-day visit, Kotov gave talks and a simultaneous exhibition to the public and members of the Association. Here are various reports and pictures from the newspapers:

PENANG, Wed - Soviet chess grandmaster Alexander Kotov took on 18 opponents simultaneously here last night and retired undefeated.

His opponents ranged from Tan Bian Huat, the current Penang champion, to five-year-old kindergarten pupil, Goh Han Lim (above).

After about 2 1/2 hours, he had beaten 15 opponents, and declared draws with Lim Teong Sit, 15, of the Methodist Boys' School, Chuah Heng Meng, 18, and Mr Chuah Soon Pheng, a Penang Free School mathematics teacher.

Mr Kotov praised the high standard of play among Malaysia's young chess enthusiasts.

"That is the right spirit. Start young and one day you may produce Malaysia's first chess grandmaster," he said.

Mr Kotov, 61, played with some schoolboys while in Kota Baru yesterday and was "very impressed" by their keenness and enthusiasm.

(New Straits Times, 3 Apr 1975)

A Malaysian grandmaster soon?

PENANG, Thurs - Soviet chess grandmaster, Alexander Kotov, predicted yesterday that Malaysia would have a grandmaster in the not too distant future.

"The standard here has improved and from personal experience, I would say that Malaysia would soon have a chess grandmaster," he told a large gathering of chess fans at the Methodist Boys' School hall this afternoon during a lecture on chess.

Mr Kotov especially suggested that the younger generation be given more training so that when they grow up, they would be very good at chess.

In the Soviet Union, chess is played everywhere by school children. Teachers provide lessons, during weekends to chess enthusiasts, he said.

"That perhaps account for the great interest in chess.

"From chess-playing, the best are selected and sent to centres where they are given more advanced training by grandmasters to prepare them for international games.

"Malaysians with more training and experience, would go far in international games," he added.

Mr Kotov thrilled the large audience with his quick moves which he demonstrated.

(The Straits Echo, 4 Apr 1975)

Monday, 22 June 2009

Shoes for Alzheimer's

I know at least one person in Penang who is suffering from severe loss of memory in their old age. Decades ago, I would have just called it senility but now, I'm not too sure. Can it also be Alzheimer's? Difficult to say as a layman. This person I know - quite well too - has almost completely lost his short-term memory. He remembers events that happened a long time ago but in the midst of conversations, he will forget what was spoken just seconds ago. Yet, he still wants to go walking outdoors unaccompanied. It's a concern for the family, of course, but they cannot say no to his morning exercise.

So recently, I was very heartened to read this news item about shoes being outfitted with a GPS chip which may offer some peace of mind to Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers.

According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, more than 26 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer's, and the figure is set to exceed 106 million by 2050.

When Alzheimer's patients become confused or disoriented, it's common for them to wander from their home and not be able to find their way back. Thus, the embedded GPS tracking system will allow the wearer of the shoe to be located instantly online and for their whereabouts to be monitored in real time. The shoes are likely to be available in 2010.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 21 June 2009


I wonder what sort of caterpillar ia this. It must be from the moth family. I came across it on the Bukit Mertajam Hill trail a few days ago. It was large - about three inches long - and it had such a brilliantly red hue. It was wandering about openly and going quite fast too, but I doubt any animal would dare to eat it or even touch it. It would make for a great itch!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Graceful decline

Graceful decline, that was how Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew had described Penang during his visit here last weekend. He was talking about Penang's infrastructure. Though he had been in the state for only a day, it had not escaped him that the condition of the roads on the island were nothing to be proud of and in fact, it was even lagging behind Ipoh and Seremban.

We all know who is to blame for this "graceful decline". It couldn't have happened at a moment's notice; it couldn't have happened from a year's notice too. No, the decline started many, many years ago. There's no doubt about it. The decline started with Mahathir Mohamad assuming the prime ministership of the country. He wanted to promote his Kedah and Pulau Langkawi and it came at the expense of Penang. He couldn't influence Lim Chong Eu but he could get want he wanted from Koh Tsu Koon.

So if Lim Guan Eng wants to point his finger, he must point his finger a little further afield and look Mahathir straight in the eye. Mahathir got what he wanted: a Langkawi which got a duty-free status and all sorts of developments and incentives. Penang was to be cast into the nation's backwaters. Somehow, I am very thankful for the financial crisis of 1997 which prevented, possibly by the skin of the teeth, Mahathir from carrying out his grand plan to undermine Penang totally by building an international airport near Sungai Petani. And of course, Koh Tsu Koon must have been fully aware that if the Bayan Lepas international airport was reduced to the status of a cargo airport, Penang's tourism industry would be lost. Perhaps it would be the end of the state as a manufacturing hub as well.

Supporting facts for the graceful decline? Earlier this week, Lim Guan Eng was in Singapore to give some facts and figures to a group of people there: “The Ninth Malaysia Plan reveals that Penang family incomes increased the least among all the states, including Sabah and Sarawak, over the last 10 years. Between 1999 and 2004, Penang family incomes grew 2.5% annually while the average for the country was 6.6%. In 1999, our income was 85% of what Selangor residents were making but five years after that, in 2004, we are only 68% as rich as those in the Klang Valley.” What more can I say?

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Sleeping is hard work

I thought that I was still a superman but it's becoming more apparent that I'm not. I was under the weather yesterday and after coming back from the clinic, immediately went to bed. Had a long snooze and before I knew it, it was time for lunch. A late lunch. So I went to the InsaDunia food court near the house for a bowl of soup.

Mmm...met some old ex-colleagues there: Eugene, Wai Min, Angie, Liew and Seong Lye. They had just finished a meeting at the CIMB branch nearby and was having their lunch too. "It's nice to see," I commented to them, "that former Ban Hin Lee Bank friends are still sticking together after all these years, even in meetings." Yes, old friends and old colleagues have that certain loyalty to one another, don't they?

After my lunch, I again went home for a long snooze, woke up at about 4.30pm and decided that I couldn't be spending the whole day sleeping. I dragged myself off the bed and went for a leisurely climb up the hill. Refreshing. Cleared my head of the cobwebs. But the newly acquired state of the mind didn't last long. By 10pm, I decided it was time to hit the sack again. I didn't wake up until 7am today. Gosh, what a long day sleeping....

A monkey's tale

Between you and I, I've seen enough monkeys in the past 30 days to last me a life time. It started with my trip to the Botanic Gardens at the end of last month. I was making my rounds of the garden when I saw this monkey putting its head into a hole in the tree.

Of course, the Penang Flora Fair was going on at the time. At one of the exhibitions, these two dusky-leaf monkeys were on display. Caged and frightened. Would you be scared too if you were put inside a small cage for curious people to gawk at you?

Yes, people of all ages were look at them, as if they haven't seen monkeys before. Or maybe they were thinking that looking at these caged monkeys would be an educational experience. How sad. How very sad. Anyway, I thought it was very ironical because the exhibitors were attempting to promote Penang's Nature Heritage. I say, you don't promote nature by showing off caged monkeys, okay?

Then, of course, I have already highlighted earlier this week the plight of this monkey - together with another one - that's left on permanent display at the Dewan Sri Pinang.

Those are the two sad monkey tales. Now for some happier ones. Recently, I was wandering up the Bukit Mertajam Hill again. Took a slow climb and enjoyed the drop in temperature. There were a lot of monkeys that day, the majority of which was the long-tailed macaque. Here's one of them relaxing near the tea hut at the half-way point up the hill. Ooo ... you should have seen its balls... On humans, the size would proportionately perhaps be like ... a rugby ball??

The dusky-leaf monkey is a minority at the hill but can still be seen. Being patient has its rewards. I saw a whole bunch of them there. Here's a curious one. It was peering out at me from the tree.

I've one more monkey picture but I'll leave it to another day.

Chess archive: Second national closed championship, 21-27 Dec 1975

When the Penang Chess Association was given the option to organise the Second National Closed Championship in 1975, it decided to hold the event at the end of the year to coincide with the Pesta Pulau Pinang. Here is the Press Statement which was issued prior to the start of the championship:

The above championship will be hosted by the Penang Chess Association at the Malayan Teachers College, Glugor, Penang, from 21st December until 27th December.

The tournament will be played based on a 6 round "Swiss System". Playing sessions start from 6.00pm to 11.00pm daily.

The following representatives will be participating in the championship:- Jerry Augustus, Hu Yu Kuang, Ee.Ley Hoon, Tang Kok Chiew (all Johore); Alias bin Omar, Yusoff bin Ismail, Hassan bin Yaakub, Abdul Rahman bin Ahmad. (all Kelantan); Chuah Heng Meng, Goh Yoon Wah, Wong Cheng Ghee, Tan Bian Huat (all Penang); Chan Swee Loon, Yaacob bin Buyong, Ahmad Daud, Alan Hor Yew Tuck (all Perak); Tay Chong.Thai, Surinder Singh, Tan Vooi Giap, Francis Chin Choy Wah (all Selangor); and Namli bin Seman (Pahang). Choo Min Wang, last year's national champion, will be defending his title.

The Closing and Prize-giving Ceremonies will be held at Rajah Lounge, Hotel Ambassador, Penang on 27th December at 1.00pm. The State Secretary, Yang Berhormat Datuk Mohamed bin Yeop Abdul Raof DMN, KMN, the Malaysian Chess Federation President Datuk Tan Chin Nam DPMS, the Penang Chess Association Patron Mr Low Hooi Siah JMN, JP, and the political secretary to the Chief Minister Yang Berhormat Encik Khor Gark Kim have kindly consented to give away the prizes.

Fang Ewe Churh PJM
Penang Chess Association
The Chief Arbiter of the championship was Fang Ewe Churh and the Tournament Director was Gong Wooi Mau. His deputies were Ng Moon Lean, Quah Seng Sun and Tan Kai Ming, while the assistants were Cheah Hooi Seng, Chin Cheong Phoey, Fong Foo Khun and Ooi Gim Eng.

Here is a report on the championship, reproduced from the Tournament Bulletin:
Report of the Second Malaysian Chess Individual Championship
The Second Malaysian Individual Championship was hosted by the Penang Chess Association and was held from December 21 to December 26,1975 at the Malayan Teachers College, Penang. There were 22 participants - four each from the states of Johore, Kelantan, Penang, Perak, and Selangor, one from Pahang and the defending champion Choo Min Wang from Selangor. The six-round Swiss tournament was played with a time Iimit of 2 1/2 hours for 40 moves. Each evening the tournament started at 6.00pm and the adjournments were played the next morning at 9.00am.

The tournament was keenly contested and the prize winners were only decided after the final round. Chan Swee Loon of Perak with 5 1/2 points emerged as the winner and was awarded the Datuk Hussein Onn Challenge Trophy and a 10-inch pewter tray. Choo Min Wang of Selangor, the defending champion, with 4 1/2 points was awarded the second prize, an eight-inch pewter tray. There was a three-way tie for third to fifth places between Tang Kok Chiew of Johore, Abdul Rahman of Kelantan and Yaacob Buyong of Perak, each having four points. However, the third prize was awarded to Tang Kok Chiew after considering the Sonnenborn-Berger points and the number of wins.

An eight-table luncheon for the participants was held at the Rajah Room, Hotel Ambassador. During this luncheon the trophy and prizes were given away. The pewter prizes were all given by the Penang Chess Association. Each of the participants received $5 per day for the duration of the tournament. In addition, each participant also received a souvenir Aica chess board.

The Penang Chess Association would like to thank the following donors for their generous contributions without which it would not have been possible to hold the tournament:
Low Hooi Siah JMN, JP $1,500
Datuk Tan Chin Nam (President of MCF) $1,000
Malaysian Aica Company $500
Juan Tara Consultant Berhad $100
Akitek Antara $100

In conclusion, the Penang Chess Association would like to thank all the participants for their high degree of sportsmanship both on and off the board and also for their bearing with us our shortcomings and our inexperience in organisation.

The final standings of the championship:

Chan Swee Loon (Perak) 5 1/2 points
Choo Min Wang (Selangor), Tang Kok Chiew (Johore), Abdul Rahman bin Ahmad (Kelantan), Yaacob Buyong (Perak) 4 points
Tan Bian Huat (Penang), Francis Chin Choy Wah (Selangor), Surander Singh (Selangor) 3 1/2 points
Goh Yoon Wah (Penang), Namli Seman (Pahang), Tan Vooi Giap (Selangor), Ee Ley Hoon (Johore), Alan Hor Yew Tuck(Perak), Ahmad Daud (Perak) 3 points
Chuah Heng Meng (Penang), Wong Cheng Ghee (Penang) 2 1/2 points
Tay Chong Thai (Selangor), Hu Yu Kuang (Johore), Jerry Augustus (Johore), Yussof Ismail (Kelantan) 2 points
Kuan Nam Sang (Kelantan) 1 1/2 points
Chia Ah Seng (Kelantan) 1 point

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wedding invitation through Facebook

Oh, wow! It's for real, no joke about this!

It's the first time that I've been invited to a wedding dinner through Facebook!

My congratulations to NT for getting wedded and also this innovative way to get her invitations across!

Bloody inefficient

Years ago, this fella threatened to form his own private army and he is still at it today. Now, isn't that a threat to national security?

And yet...the Federal Government hasn't even seen it fix to use the Internal Security Act (ISA) on him.

Maybe, he's not worth "protecting", unlike a harmless woman reporter last year.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A recession in Singapore?

You could have fooled me!

It just doesn't look like there's a recession in Singapore, that their people are out of work or they are pulling back on consumer spending. Just look at this image.

Over the weekend: "massive crowds lugging boxes of printers, software and other computer paraphernalia thronged the halls at Suntec Singapore on the final day of The PC Show 2009."

By 6pm on Sunday, "over 1.13 million had visited the four-day event - the largest consumer-electronics show here. Gadget fans of all ages parted with about $48 million, on top of the $58.5 million they spent just three months ago at The IT Show, another consumer-electronics fair."

Recession? What recession?

Monday, 15 June 2009

Would you go berserk too?

Hopefully, normal service will resume now onwards ... ha ha. For the past five days, I've been spending some time at the Dewan Sri Pinang, dropping in on the Penang heritage city international chess open tournament organised by the Penang Chess Association. As usual, many people got their facts wrong because George Town was listed as an Historical City by UNESCO and not a heritage city. Secondly, wrong spelling of the city again in their banners and other materials .... oh, WTF.

Anyway, it was not until Saturday that I took a real close look at the caged animals at the side entrance of the Dewan Sri Pinang. Basically, there are four cages in all with two meant for some exotic birds (peacocks and peahens) while the other two hold two monkeys.

I was taken aback that the Dewan authorities are keeping monkeys behind wire mesh enclosures. A sorry sight. In the first place, these don't look like local monkeys. Also, it's cruelty to the monkeys. Who proposed the cages? What was the objective? It's a cruel, insensitive joke to keep monkeys as exhibits here, in my opinion. Animals too need freedom but here at the Dewan Sri Pinang, these animals are imprisoned, deprived of their own animal rights. I'm sure people coming to the Dewan are not interested to look at fowls or monkeys. It's time that the project be reviewed, scrapped and the animals sent to a proper zoo. It's not doing more harm than good to Penang's reputation.

When I went on Saturday, the monkeys were caged separately. Both were docile initially, avoiding people and moving around in circles. I went up to one of them and took a photo. I was surprised by what happened next.

This monkey suddenly went berserk and started to tear out its hair. Then it tried to bite its foot off, as this photo showed. It went really wild. It was violent and it wasn't very nice for people to see.

And on Sunday, I saw that the monkeys had been moved together. But I could see that one was dominant and territorial. It always tried to attack the other. Once, the dominant creature caught up with the other and they started biting. I really believed the aggression came from being caged up too long.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Ain't misbehaving

Excuse me if you think that you are suffering from a surfeit of chess-related posts here on this blog. I really can't help it as the Penang heritage city international chess open tournament in Penang is still on-going. I'm not an arbiter in this event since I couldn't afford to spend time away from the office. I could only go to the Dewan Sri Pinang in the late afternoons so I've been missing all the morning rounds as well. And getting back home at 11pm daily did not help my schedule. I didn't have the time to do anything else, much less update this blog. But the good news is that today will be the final day of the tournament. BEAR WITH ME, please!

Many people think that chess players sit prim and proper at the chess boards. This is not exactly true. While all of them do sit still to concentrate on their games, the tension sometimes lend them to various contortions and peculiar poses:

Top: GM Gerhard Schebler and Loo Swee Leong,
bottom: Mohd Fadli Zakaria and Lim Chuin Hoong

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Chess archive: First annual general meeting, 30 Apr 1975

It took the Penang Chess Association about four months to settle down after the completion of its first major project, which was to organise the first Asian team chess championship on behalf of the Malaysian Chess Federation in December 1974. In April 1975, this Notice of Meeting was sent to all its members:

The minutes of the Inaugural Meeting were written by the Association's first honorary secretary, Ghulam Sarwar, who later resigned from this post. Here is the first Annual Report of the Association and its Statement of Accounts:



1974 has been a significant Year for Malaysian Chess in general and the involvement of the Penang Chess Association in organising the first Asian Chess Championship together with two international Meetings in Penang at the same time had been a noteworthy feature. To a large extent much of the time spent in 1974 had been in working out the finer details for the Asian Championship cum international Meetings.


Penang is reputed to have had a Chess Group which often met at the Boston Cafe in Penang Road, right up to 1947. Since then interest seemed to have lagged for an organised group for chess. Under the Auspices. of the Penang Library, a meeting was convened on 12th March, 1972 and a protem Committee was elected to form the Penang Chess Association. After some teething problems, the Association was formally registered in September,1974.

Patrons: The Association is privileged to have two patrons. They are Y.A.B. Dr Lim Chong Eu the Chief Minister of Penang and Encik Low Hooi Siah J.P. who are honorary patron and patron respectively.
Committee Members: The following members were elected to serve on the Committee for 1974:
President: Encik Fang Ewe Churh PJM
Vice-President: Encik Hashim b. Mydin PJK
Hon. Secretary: Encik J.M. Doss
Hon. Treasurer: Encik A. Thomas Samy
Committee Members: Encik Tan Yam San
Encik Tan Beng Theam
Encik Koo Hock Song
Encik Sarjeet Singh Pada
Encik Gong Wooi Mau.
During the period under review, a number of Committee Meetings were held and some of the major issues discussed include the following:-

a) First Penang Open Championship
b) Club House Activities
c) lst Asian Chess Championship in Penang.

First Penang Open Championship:

The Committee organised the above Championship for chess enthusiasts in Penang and N.W. Malaysia. The response from participants had been overwhelming and the joint Champions were Encik Tan Kai Meng and Encik Tan Bien Huat respectively. Encik Gong Wooi Mau was the third.

First Malaysian Open Championship:

The Penang Chess Association selected Messrs Tan Kai Meng, Tan Bien Huat, Quah Seng Sun and Fong Foo Khun to take part in the National Selection Trial in Kuala Lumpur. At this trial, Encik Quah Seng Sun and Encik Tan Kai Meng were selected to represent Malaysia in the 1st Asian Chess Championship tournament.

The President in Chess Olympiad, Nice France - June 1974:

Encik Fang led the Malaysian team as Team Manager cum Captain to participate in the Chess Olympiad in Nice, France.

Club House Activities:

Members of the Association continued to meet at the Chung Ling High School Old Boys Association to play Chess every Friday night. After June 1974, the Venue had been 'changed to Hooi Lay Association in Kimberly Street. The response from members had been encouraging particularly among the Junior members.

Asian Chess Championship in Penang, December, 1974:

This was hosted in Penang by the Malaysian Chess Federation. The Penang Chess Association was directly involved in the organisation of this Championship. Several Members of the Committee served in the sub Committees to attend to the details of the tournament.

Chess Seminar and FIDE Bureau Meetings:

While the Chess Championship was in progress, a Chess Seminar and FIDE Bureau Meeting were also held in Penang. The Penang Chess Association made the necessary arrangements for these too.

MSSPP Junior Chess Championship:

This was held in Penang in September 1974. Members of the Association rendered useful assistance in supervising the technical side of the Tournament.


In summary, the Association had been generally active this year and members had rare opportunity to witness some of the Chess giants play Chess in Penang and the Asian Championship.

Fang Ewe Churh PJM
Penang Chess Association.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Pandemic, unstoppable?

A pandemic is declared by the World Health Organisation, but is there really a need to be overly concerned with the virus? I think Swine Flu is being overhyped and people are only spooking themselves because information now travels faster around the globe than the speed of flight. Which new flu strain has not caused deaths among the initial infections and has this particular one been far deadlier than other earlier flu strains?

Penang heritage city international chess open tournament 2009 (Part 2)

How do you like the name of the tournament? There is a nice ring to it, taking advantage of the fact that George Town is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.

I only managed to arrive at the Dewan Sri Pinang late yesterday evening, so most of the games in the fourth round had already finished. I missed seeing Mas Hafizulhelmi and Mok Tze Meng battled out to a draw; I missed seeing Gerhard Schebler beat Mohd Fadli Zakaria, and I missed a great many games too, especially the monumental fight between Schebler and Lim Chuin Hoong in the morning's third round. But these photographs captured some of the activities:

I hear this boy's from Kulim. He played an interesting endgame against Syed Iskandar Shah, shoved his pawn all the way to the seventh round and tied his opponent down.

Two long, long games in one day. Luckily here, he won his game against Singapore's Johnharry Pereira.

Some of the boys on the bulletin team with some of the players

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Also on the verge...

It's quite possible that

Carlos Tevez will be next...

Going by all the speculation, it's likely that we'll be seeing the last of this hard-working Argentine footballer at Manchester United. Let's hope that he doesn't cross over to those blardy Reds...

But really, he would have preferred to stay but Manchester United had been dragging their feet and being ambivalent over his contract as the season drew to a close. I wouldn't blame Tevez for feeling peeved over the whole matter.

Going once, going twice...SOLD!

The breaking news this afternoon was this:

Cristiano Ronaldo SOLD for STG80 million...

Yes, this modern-day slave was getting tiresome and considered surplus to Alex Ferguson's plans. Am I glad to see him go? In a way, yes, because his self-centred behaviour left a lot to be desired. I respect him as a player - he's an excellent footballer - but he doesn't have my respect as a person. So let him be sold to Real Madrid. Let him be Real's problem from now on. There'll always be someone else to fill the Number Seven position at Manchester United.

Clueless clowns

Seriously, I think that these goons are representative of the characters running the country nowadays...

Penang heritage city international chess open tournament 2009 (Part 1)

I went down to the Dewan Sri Pinang yesterday evening to catch up with friends at the Penang heritage city international open chess tournament. Mas Hafizulhelmi was playing, Mok Tze Meng was playing, Lim Chuin Hoong was playing, Ismail Ahmad was playing and there was even a grandmaster from Germany in the field, Gerhard Schebler. And of course, Hamid Majid was there as the chief arbiter and Andrew Ooi was there to update all the action to his Gilachess blog.

Yeap Eng Chiam under pressure from IM Mas Hafizulhelmi. Towering over them in the background is GM Gerhard Schebler.

Ronnie Lim listening in as Ismail Ahmad reflects on his game with FM Mok Tze Meng.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Heritage zone hotel controversy: Reduce height of projects, says Guan Eng

From now on, buildings in George Town’s heritage enclave cannot be taller than 18 metres following a decision by the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) to limit the maximum height of these premises, reverting to a 1996 policy, in accordance with UNESCO guidelines.

Late last month, MPPP president Tan Cheng Chui warned that the council would take stern action against owners who fail to obtain building plans and planning approvals before starting renovations. “Land and building owners must adhere to the new regulations and ensure that proper procedures are followed when renovating or repairing their buildings in the enclave. We will make sure that all repair and restoration work is carried out according to the guidelines, especially in the heritage zone."

The MPPP had originally adopted the 18m maximum height policy in 1996 but the state planning committee amended the guidelines in early 2007 to facilitate the development and building of hotels.

In a follow-up, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the MPPP has instructed the developers of two of the controversial high-rise projects within the George Town Heritage site core zone to reduce the height of the projects to five storeys or 18m in order to comply with recommendations by UNESCO officers during their visit here recently.

"So far, one of the developers has responded favourably to this and agreed to conform while another has yet to respond," Guan Eng said. "The two other projects in the buffer zone have also agreed to the recommendations." In his strongest words yet on this controvery, Guan Eng said if the developer did not want to conform to reduce the height of the project to 18m, the council would not allow the project to go on.

"We are hopeful that these developers share the state government's vision to protect, preserve and promote George Town's heritage. They also practise corporate social responsibility and we hope they will abide and listen to us. While this may give rise to a possibility of a court case against the state government by the developer in question, George Town's UNESCO heritage status is more important," he said.

The four controversial projects involved are the Rice Miller boutique hotel and Boustead Royale Bintang Hotel (pictured), which are within the core zone, and the E & O Hotel extension project and a Low Yat Group Hotel situated in the buffer zone.

AirAsia X's Airbus A330 safe, says Tony

A week after the crash of the Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean, many questions still remain unresolved regarding the Airbus A330 used on this route. Of course, I've mentioned earlier that the suspicion of the investigators are now centred on the equipment that possibly gave flawed airspeed readings.

Locally, our AirAsia X uses the Airbus A330 on its long-haul budget routes. Today, I received this reassuring message from AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes to allay fears of people flying with them. Way to go, Tony (or should I say, way to fly, Tony)!
hi Quah, our A330s are well maintained and meet all the requirements of the various airworthiness authorities. the a330 is a very matured aircraft with hundreds flying daily throughout the world providing a safe and efficient service. we are confident and we have had no concerns expressed by passengers or our crew about the safety of our aircraft. i hope this helps allay your concerns too. feel free to ask any questions. tony.