Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Paul Scholes retires

"I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour. This was not a decision I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing. To have been part of the team that helped the Club reach that record 19th title is a great privilege."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Flyover opened, finally!

I happened to use Jalan Berjaya in Bukit Mertajam just about an hour ago and noticed something very different: no cars awaiting at the junction of this road with Jalan Maju. Ordinarily, there would a long queue here as vehicles wait for the traffic lights to turn green at the Jalan Maju-Jalan Song Ban Kheng junction. But no queue this afternoon!

Turned out that the flyover at the Jalan Maju-Jalan Song Ban Kheng junction is finally opened to traffic. Happiness was seeing vehicles travelling up and down the flyover as I passed by. Well, I shall be using it tonight!

Whoa, it's the end of the world!

Appropriately, to my readers who really believe all the crap about today, I'm dedicating this video to everyone of them who reads this blog.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Safeguarding your banana

Trust the Japanese to be inventive about anything: anything important as well as anything trivial. Well, to my mind, here's something trivial ... a banana keeper. It keeps your precious banana from getting bruised, especially if it's a big, long one, that's for sure!

So I saw these banana keepers hanging around at the Daiso outlet at the Queensbay Mall, Penang. In case anyone's still doubtful about the, erm, usefulness of this container, here's another picture of it:

Thursday, 5 May 2011


Do you know how I have been feeling in the past few days? Feeling rather light-headed. Not confused but only light-headed. Too many things happening around me. Strange thoughts moving in my head. Thinking, observing, thinking, looking, thinking..... So much so that I've to put my irreverent take on the world affairs down on paper.

First, about the royal wedding in London. As we know, the official invitations were sent from Buckingham Palace quite a while ago. While the invitations went out to countries that had a sitting monarchy, all other heads of state were ignored. And that included the heaviest head of all, the president of the United States. Barack Obama did not receive any invitation. So he stayed behind in Washington, presumably to sulk away the missed opportunity.

On the day of the wedding, a huge crowd of about 500,000 people - an equivalent number, if I may say, to the hippies that attended the original Woodstock festival in 1969 - surged through the streets and parks of London to have their peak at all the pomp and pageantry. All these cheering and whooping were brought into our living rooms courtesy of the live satellite broadcast. Nobody could have missed that, especially the Heavy Head in Washington.

How can, the Heavy Head might have said to himself. How can we be upstaged by this nation of shopkeepers? I can't be sitting here twiddling my thumbs all day long; I cannot be upstaged by the Pommies. I must find a way to show the world that we, the Amercan people, can celebrate just as wildly.

So he decided to take a chance. Since his spooks and intelligence people have more or less determined with some 60 to 80 percent probability that his favourite enemy was in town, why not send in a crack team of well-wishers to greet him? In an operation that lasted no longer than a typical TV episode without the commercials, Obama's Navy SEAL Team Six landed in a Pakistani town with an unlikely name of Abbottabad (named not after Abbott and Costello, but after an obscure James Abbott who was an army major in the 19th century) and took out Osama bin Laden. Nothing personal, of course, get it?

Naturally, the United States erupted with joy. They whooped with joy. They ran around with joy. They climbed flagpoles with joy. They climbed trees with joy. They waved their flags with joy. They marched to the White House with joy. In short, they enjoyed with joy. :-P

You think only the British pommies can enjoy, meh? Aiyah, the American people can also thump their chests with pride too, you know.

Amidst all the joy, glee and fun on both sides of the Atlantic, nobody knew who could shout better or louder. Practically a stalemate. Probably not good for this good humoured rivalry to continue indefinitely between Big Brother and Small Brother. Got other bigger fish to fry around the world actually. So how to resolve this issue of "my events are bigger than your events, my celebrations are wilder than your celebrations"? No problem, send in the troops! Uh, sorry, I mean an old soldier in the guise of Prince Charles. Hey, he did serve in the British Navy and Air Force, you know.

So Charles flew to Washington to have a friendly chit-chat with Obama. Something like soothing his feathers after the wedding snub. I think enough is enough, we've both had our fun, let's drop all this display of oneupmanship thingy, he proposed. And Obama, having already gotten in the Last Word, agreed. End of story and hence, the end of my irreverent contribution to world affairs too. See you!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Web design?

I can't understand why information about some websites hosted by an Internet service provider located in Penang should be superimposed erroneously on a background map of Sarawak. Maybe, someone else can provide me with an answer!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bao Sheng's durian season 2011

Here's just a very short reminder to afficionados that the durian season is just about to take off at the Bao Sheng durian farm and villa. The expected dates for the various varieties on offer:
604 (minimum 3+ rating) 1-28 June 2011;
Lipan (centipede)
(minimum 4+ rating) 5 June - 4 July 2011;
Kunpoh angbak (red meat)
(minimum 4 rating) 8 June - 4 July 2011;
Little red
(minimum 3+ rating) 10 June - 6 July 2011;
Green skin angbak (red meat)
(minimum 3+ rating) 10 June - 6 July 2011;
(minimum 3+ rating) 10 June - 6 July 2011;
(minimum 4+ rating) 12 June - 10 July 2011;
(minimum 4 rating) 12 June - 10 July 2011;
(minimum 5 rating) 18 June - 22 July 2011; 

Red prawn (minimum 5 rating) 20 June - 25 July 2011;
Green skin D15
(minimum 4+ rating) 25 June - 30 July 2011;
(minimum 3+ rating) 25 June - 30 July 2011;
(minimum 3+ rating) 25 June - 30 July 2011.
Here's where you can learn more about the Bao Sheng Durian Farm and its owner, TS Chang, who can be contacted at +60124110600 or ts@e.net.my

Sunday, 1 May 2011

What brain drain? Use Google Translate to arrest this problem, lah!

A significant statement by the World Bank a few days ago said that more than a million Malaysians live abroad and that policies favouring Malays are holding back the economy, thus causing a brain drain that is limiting foreign investments into the country.

In a Bloomberg news service report, World Bank senior economist Philip Schellekens was also quoted as saying that foreign investment could be five times the current levels if the country had Singapore’s talent base. “Migration is very much an ethnic phenomenon in Malaysia, mostly Chinese but also Indian,” Schellekens told Bloomberg. Governance issues and lack of meritocracy are “fundamental constraints” to Malaysia’s expansion because “competition is what drives innovation.”

Schellekens painted a gloomy picture by saying that the Malaysian brain drain situation is likely to intensify and it would further erode the country’s already narrow skills base.The number of skilled Malaysians living abroad tripled in the last 20 years with two out of every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries or Singapore. “Brain drain from Malaysia," he said in a World Bank report titled “Malaysia Economic Monitor: Brain Drain”, "is likely to intensify in the absence of mitigating actions.” The report defined brain drain as the outflow of those with tertiary-level education.

Naturally, the prime minister made a swift denial. The brain drain did not lead to a fall in foreign investments, he said. Actually, he limply pointed out, capital inflows increased from RM1.4 billion in 2009 to RM9 billion in 2010. That's six-fold, he claimed. But he did acknowledge that the exodus of skilled Malaysians to Singapore and other advanced countries was a problem that “must be resolved.”

Of course, we then have the mother of all racists remarked that the World Bank was “useless” as it was politically motivated for wanting to put their good friend to become prime minister.” Yes, instead of giving facts and figures to counter the report, Mahathir Mohamad in his very predictable way chose to play up personal attacks. He's totally deviod of ideas!

(Pic by Goh Seng Chong, my former colleague at The Straits Echo in the 1970s)

But all these defensive statements made me think. If there's no really brain drain, then who was the numbskull that came up with this, I am told, superbly nonsensical translation?

I've been hearing derisive howls that the translation from Bahasa Malaysia into Mandarin came out directly from Google Translate as no one in the Prime Minister's Department bothered or was competent enough to check up on whether the Chinese translation was correct. It was an official visit by the Chinese prime minister and I sure he noticed it too, but I think he was too diplomatic to comment anything when he was here. Leave it to the locals to point this out. This stupid mistake would not have occurred if there had been no contributory brain drain, isn't it?

With this lack of competency, with this brain drain, is it any wonder that Teoh Beng Hock's little piece of scrap paper to his employer Ean Yong was mistranslated and gladly suggested as a suicide note? That's all the competency that the federal government needs, really!