Friday, April 30, 2010

A Sojourn in Labuan (1)

After so many years of travelling within and outside the country on government service before, I now get to travel to accompany the wife. A while ago it was to Langkawi. Yesterday afternoon I found myself here in Labuan. Haven't been here for some years.

Yes a lot of changes and development. According to En Rahman our ground pilot, the development in Labuan would not have happened if the island had remained under the Sabah State Government and not become a Federal territory.

The terminal building had been extended (see pic).

All the way to the Grand Dorsett hotel, modern offices and shopping complexes had sprung up, interspersed by new housing estates. The International Sports Complex is huge and sprawling, located by the seaside, with a full view of the harbour.(pic to be added). The hotel where I stayed could match any 5 star hotel in KL. Look at the view from the balcony outside my room facing the sea (pic).

My wife was here for the Pesta Air 2010 and a group of Cuti-Cuti 1 Malaysia dancers came along with the Ministry of Tourism officials. After rehearsal that night, we had a hearty meal at the warung closed to the hotel. The chicken wings and sup tulang were fantastic . Several plates of chicken wings and nasi goreng were enthusiastically ravished until late into the night.(see pics)

But lunch, the next day, was even more sumptuous.We had scallop, fish, lobster and a variety of veges.(see pic)

In spite of my ghout I finished my share of the crustacean delicacy. My wife threw her diet to the wind and Cik Norsiah, the hostess, tackled four of the scrumptuous denizens of the deep all by herself, three of which represented a salvation from a possible waste by three colleagues.

Look at the satisfied faces of the ladies after the lunch. I'm too sleepy myself to write now after such a heavy lunch at the Fisherman Wharf. So, see you later. Zzzzzz...

When I woke up it was alredy time for the Pesta Air concert to begin. The International Sports Complex was really crowded by people waiting to see the show.
But since many big screens were provided in the area from which the show could be seen, there was no jam-packed overcrowding. More about that later.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ulu Bendul, Recreation and 'Sungai-Pool'...

Ulu Bendul, some 20km from Seremban going towards Kuala Pilah, then Pahang (North) or Johore Bharu (South), has become a popular recreational and bathing center with a 'sungai-pool'( swimming) facility. What's a 'sungai- pool'? A mountain-side rivulet
beautifully blocked and developed to create a huge swimming pool for the public to swim and splash in.(See pics).

The term was invented by my late father to attract the kids to go to the river which flows some yards away from our kampung home, for a good splash and swim. After that my kids always called a swimming pool a 'sunga'i- pool, getting very annoyed when someone tried to correct them.

Ulu Bendul used to be my secret meeting place with the boys in my and the surrounding villages. The river water was cold as ice and the surrounding jungle was full of flowers and birds. We had our picnic or party there and sometimes practiced our music produced by a five-piece band with an accordion, a guitar, a drum set, a clarinet and a violin. We played for our own entertainment and sometimes at weddings, specializing in songs written or sung by the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee. I remember playing at a wedding the night before taking my HSC examination. By some miracle I passed, spreading the belief that playing music can sharpen the mind.

Now Ulu Bendul has carved it's own identity as a recreational center close to Gunung Angsi,the highest peak in Negeri Sembilan. To go to Ulu Bendul before, one must go through the winding and narrow roads of Bukit Putus. Not now. A brand new 3-lane road ( 6 lanes both ways) enables ypu to get to Ulu Bendul in fifteen minutes from Seremban, the capital of Negeri Sembilan. A small food, drinks and shopping center has developed at the place where we once had our picnics and parites. See pics.

Want to know how many interesting places you can find at this recreational spot? Just look at the signpost with all the interesting places shown. (Must click on it to enlarge.)

All that I can say is that a day spent at the Ulu Bendul recreation and swmming center will never be forgotten and can provide an album of interesting photographs. My kampung home is just 2 km away but unfortunately I am seldom there to play host unless we can make by some prior arrangement.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Bus Stand

Time was when the bus stand was the key spot in any small towns. It was the place where everyone must alight on reaching the town or come to take a bus home. It used to be the most crowded area in the town beside the market place and some of the bigger shops since supermarkets were not yet in vogue. It was the one place where you come to see people from all over the state and even the country.

For a small boy living in Negeri Sembilan, the two most important bus stands were in Seremban, the state capital, and Kuala Pilah
from where one can go to Bahau and Pahang or Tampin and to the south of the Peninsula. Between Seremban and Kuala Pilah was the infamous Bukit Putus, Crossing the hilly and winding road was a good substitute for riding a roller coaster. If you don't sweat and vomit as a passenger in the backseat of a car or bus with an impesutous driver, you should have no fear in going up the roller coaster. Unless. of course, you're claustrophobic or have a great fear of being "railroaded". Now, fortunately or unfortunately, you have an alternative route through Bukit Putus which allows you to drive in comfort and with the mad rush that you are accustomed to.

The bus stand was where hawkers and stall keepers used to make their fortune. Karipap, wong lai, kacang putih and all sorts of fast food and snacks used to be sold to hungry people who just arrived or about to leave the town, sold both outside and inside the bus. Not now of course. Food and drinks are sold somewhere in the terminal building and you have to go to them instead of they coming to you. The shops and the stalls are away from the where the busses are parked.

Kuala Pilah bus stand used to be my favorite place when I attended school in the town, way back in the 60s. It's located at the
meeting point of four parallel main roads, between which lie the elongated shopping blocks that formed the major business centre of the town. There were some small shops and food stalls around the bus stand which used to be well-packed with people. But the most interesting place was a little tody shop placed at one corner. Even my computer underlined 'tody' in red, denoting that it's a spelling mistake. No it's not except that you must spell it with a double 'd' although in Bahasa it's just 'todi'.! Toddy is a cheap alcoholic drink tapped from coconut trees, then selling at 50 sen per mug. A mug is enough to make an average person croggy. Two mugs can knock a person out.

It was a lot of fun watching the 'toddiholic' rushing up for their mug of the bublies, sitting down, squatting or just standing up under the shade taking a pull at their mug of nectar, talking with their friends, the level of conversation rising higher and higher with every pull of the gooey liquid. And after a while you see some of them dancing or staggering about, enjoying the effect of the spirit. The crowd enjoyed watching them as much as they enjoyed imbibing the booze.

That scene is no more. What you see today as as shown in the pics.

The bas stand is clean and officious from the front. But another change has occurred since you don't see any bus after 5 pm. They are parked elsewhere as the bus stand is taken over by hawkers and food sellers who put up their stalls in every little space available as shown in the second pic.

I wonder what happens to the busses after five. I was made to understand that business goes on as usual but the bus stops elsewhere in the town. Business at the food stalls were brisk. The stall keepers and the District Council must be happy with the money they collect while the public seems happy with the food and drinks they could enjoy. But what happens to the late travelers by bus? Where are they left off and where do they get their transport home?
I'll have to check on that later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trash, trash everywhere...Where's the Trash can?

We hear complaints everyday about public waste and trash being dumped in the wrong places or not collected by Alam Flora or the local authority concerned. This happens not only in the towns and cities but also in the rural areas. We see pictures of uncollected and decomposing trash in the papers and on TV. We see the trash as we drive along the streets and even as we sit at a corner coffee-shop or a 'maplei to enjoy some food or a cuppa.

A Report probably based on Dr Nazri Yahya's Ph.D dissertation on Public Waste Management in Malaysia, mentioned that Malaysians produced some 17,000 tons of waste or rubbish/day in 2002. This is projected to become 30,000 tons/day in 2020. According to Alam Flora's report in the internet (no date) it collects 7,100 tons/day covering an area of 72.3 thousand sq km. Though Alam Flora is only responsible for waste management in the Central and Eastern Regions of Malaysia, Southern Waste handles the southern region and local authorities handle the rest, a collection of 7-17 thousand tons/day would certainly fall short of the amount generated today which must be around 22-23,000 tons/day or more, based on the above projection.

A internet report by the National Solid Waste Management Department under the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (undated) doesn't give any current projection, nor an analysis of the full capacity of public waste management services employed by the government and local authorities today, to deal with the problem. But judging from the complaints that we hear everyday and the sorry sights of rubbles, rubbish and trash that meet our eyes as we travel through the towns and cities, what more in the rural areas, we know that not enough is being done to ensure a high standard of sanitation in this country. The phenomena of smelly rubbish dumps anddrains clogged with putrid filth in both the cities and rural towns are only too familiar to all of us (see pics).

The authorities always blame the public for not keeping their towns and cities clean. This may be true if one cares to observe how people throw all sorts of rubbish out of their cars as they drive along or uncaringly dump the paper wrappers, plastic bags, cigarette stumps etc, along the street as they walk by or sit in a coffee shop to enjoy a drink and some snacks. Even In restaurants and modern fast-food centres like Mc Donald and KFC, the habit of clearing up your own rubbish is not as yet the rule in this country.

Yes, the public need to share the blame if cleanliness is not kept to a respectable standard. But why do people throw away the rubbish and trash so uncaringly and not into the bins or trash cans provided?? That's the Malaysians habit? Ha ha, that's a very general accusation made by the authorities. Not all Malaysians are uncouth. Read this quote taken from the internet on Waste Management:

"Whether you are indoors or outdoors, a plastic trash can is an indispensable part of life. Remember last time when you didn’t find the can in its place at the garden? You felt awfully angry and betrayed because the waste was lying in your hands waiting to be disposed of.
Waste management is one of the most important parts of managing an office or a household. This is where plastic trash cans come into play. They have become a part of our lives. We use them in the morning, in the noon, in the evening and at night. Whatever you do, work, play or meal, you need a plastic trash can to dispose of the wastes you produce. May it be medicine foils, used ink bottles, use and throw objects, or sour milk you use a plastic trash can."

Are there always a trash can within easy walking distance to throw away the rubbish that suddenly appears in your hand after eating something well-wrapped up? More often than not you just can't see any trash can or dustbin anywhere along the shops corridor, the street or the parking lot. So, just throw it into the nearest drain or anywhere that has already collected some rubbish. That's how rubbish dumps grow at odd places in the cities and towns.

Yes, there certainly is not enough trash cans or rubbish bins provided either by the waste management authorities, the local authorities and the restaurant and shopkeepers, or even the stall owners themselves, to invite the public to throw their rubbish, without having to search around and walk some distance away. It is as if the public is expected to and must keep the wrappings, the unneeded plastic bags, and other disposables in their pockets then search around for a proper rubbish can or dumpster to throw them in. It is certainly the responsibility of the authorities, the shopkeepers and the coffee shop or stall operators to provide the facilities to throw the rubbish in at the places under their control. You can't blame them if they take the liberty to thrown away what is not needed anywhere at all if no facilities are provided at the place where the things they needed were acquired. Only at their homes can they be expected to acquire the facilities themselves.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

House Warming Dinner

Sat 17. I was dead tired from working the whole morning up to 3pm. clearing up the old house in Ulu Bendul (See bio -pic). Weeds and grass have started to sprout at all corners and even under the house itself. Worked like a hired coolie under the hot sun, in loving memory of my late parents. Reached home after six and the wife sprang a surprise, She had no friend ( all having their own weekend agenda) to attend a friend's house warming party atTaman Impian Putera at Bandar Seri Putera, Bangi , and she wanted me to come along.

Do I have a choice? Nahi. It was a third request from the office colleague, the last house she bought. No more open house and my wife had missed the previous two. Willy nilly I slipped into a batik and off we went, after she checked with the collegue whether it was all right to bring a husband. Interesting point here. If a husband is invited to a function, taking the wife along is to be expected. But if a wife is invited in a more or less official capacity? You're not necessarily expected to hang along, Bro!

She received the OK and I decided to hang along, throwing the first impulse to just send her there than scoot somewhere else. If the girls want to have a shindig to themselves then I'd clear away. But lo and behold. I saw a number of ketayap and jubah clad people enjoying themselves under the porch where food was served. They were from the local "surau group" and I felt very much at ease. What a wonderfully religious idea, marrying the modern house warming or open-house concept with the traditional kenduri and baca doa.

The ladies were huddled up inside the brand new, well-lit semi D housing unit. I didn't have time to take a shot and so here's a catalog shot to aid your imagination:

Had a nice discussion with them on the religious activities in the new residential area. No surau yet but a house owner graciously allowed his yet unoccupied unit to be used as a temporary surau. According to the teaching of Islam for as long as people use the house for prayers and other religious activities, the owner will reap the"pahala". The same if you plant a fruit tree and let people enjoy the fruits.

Che Norsiah Patah, the hostess for the house warming party, was so non-assuming, friendly and casual. The food was excellent and being tired and hungry, I didn't waste time to have my fill. If my tummy looks a little ' terbonjol' in the picture it's because I ate too much perhaps. Met many wonderful people at the party including Irwan and his charming wife. Again I forgot to take pictures and hope that some will be forthcoming from other shutterbugs present at the occasion.

Sorry, no picture of the food spread for there's too many of such pictures around. Or of people eating.

Thanks Che Norsiah for a wonderful get together.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Teenage Love and Nuclear Arms

In the NST editorial page ( April 14, p.16). we have two very interesting but very contrasting issues. One is about the teenage girl (only 15) who fled home to be with her lover in Langkawi as commented on by the Editor and the other about keeping away nuclear arms from the terrorists written by Louis Charbonneau. The contrast, one on sweet love the other on war and destruction, really caught my attention. About love and hate, the extremities of human emotions.

The teenage love affair ( don't want to drag her name in again), led her to leave home, skip parents and school to be with her beau a supervisor in a restaurant, and when the parent and relatives came to take her home threatened to throw herself into the sea. That's love, true and unadulterated, which unfortunately smote a girl of 15, and makes it illegal for her to get married without the consent of the Syariah Court. She had to be 18 to marry without her parent's consent. I knew about the latter but not the former legal requirement. So it is the Syariah Court which can decide on whether a girl is "psychologically mature enough for marriage".( And I thought Islam allows a girl to be married at 14!)

As it is the girl's beau is in trouble and is being detained by the police for investigation. For what, I wonder. For seducing and underage girl? For casting a spell on her or using black magic to dominate her mind and soul? If he can do that then I would say that he's quite a guy but a little stupid fpr selecting an underage girl to be his victim. Or did he employ a bomoh to 'steal' away the girl's roh or semangat? That's taking us back to the days of magic and mantras.

I'm pretty sure that this is just a case of a girl having a crush on someone and getting to know a boy for the first time, away from home and the very tight control of the mother. The fist taste of romance and love is certainly intoxicating and getting a severe reproach from the mother rather than a kind and loving advice would send a girl "ballistic". This is where I feel that a girl should be allowed to get to know the boys, under close supervision though, so that no single boy will try to play her out.
I don't belief that the Syariah Court and the legal system should be dragged into this as suggested by the NST editor.

It's the Nuclear Arms thing that should deserve more serious attention. Our PM had attented the Nuclear Security Summit assembly in Washington where the US president, Barack Obama, called on the leaders of 47 countries to draw up an action plan to secure their nuclear weapons material, to prevent it from passing into the hands of the terrorists.

"The summit - the biggest US -hosted assembly of world leaders in Washington in six decades - was a test of Obama's ability to rally global action on his( itlics mine) nuclear agenda." He was urging all nations to reduce or give up their nuclear stockpiles (or fissile materials for making nuclear weapon) and secure them against the terrorists. "Galucci and other nuclear security experts said that securing ...(the) stockpiles was agood place to start , but insufficient. They said it was time to agree to a ban on producing fissile material for nuclear weapons."

We all know by now who or which countries the US feel must be stripped of their nuclear stockpile immediately. While US and Russia had earlier agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals by 30% in ten years, China,Iran, North Korea, Israel, India, Pakistan (and God knows who else) had refused to undertake any such action. The Washington Summit set out to get all the 47 world leaders (only 46 attended the Summit for Israel refused to come) " to agree on an action plan secure all of their nuclear weapons material within four years so that it was no longer vulnerable to theft."

One can interpret the US' intention in any way one wants to. But one its obvious implications is that whatever body is created to ensure and enforce the implementation of the agreement will have the power to search and investigate all installations having to do with the development of nuclear energy for peaceful use or otherwise. Would Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea agree to that? Our PM had already explained to President Obama Malaysia's stand on the issue and that we do not support any plans by any country to develop nuclear weapons. The question is if the agreement as envisaged by the US is signed would if give the US the right to go into any country to see that no nuclear weapon is being developed? Would it also give US the right to wipe out any installation considered as likely to develop nuclear weapon and the country itself in the process? Iran is, of course, the immediate target for such a possibility while there does not seem to be any effort by US to bring Israel into the picture.

How's that set against the Issue of a 15 year old girl running away from home to be with and get married to the boy she loved?
I'd go for an Editorial on the nuclear issue any time.

(PS. The NST Editorial today April 15, focused on the issue and stressed on a country's right " to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes". But who will determine whether a nuclear plant is set up for peaceful purposes or otherwise? Who will come, inspect the plant and call for its demolition if alleged to be otherwise? Iraq was destroyed because of such allegation which had not been proven until today. Allowing US or an independent authority with US interest to come into an independent nation to investigate its power plant, would tantamount to compromising the country's sovereignty. Hence the Editorial suggested that Malaysia maintains a balance between sovereignty and cooperation. Can you when pushed to a corner like

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Awan....Where Are You?

Our dear tomcat Awan, whom we raised from small and who stayed in our bedroom like a member of the family until he's about a year old, has disappeared. He has often followed me very early in the morning to go to the Surau for Subuh prayer and will wait for me to walk home. Hiding under a bush or sometimes under a car ( he knows when to run away as soon as the engine starts), he will jump out to greet me as I come by along the road after the prayer. We would then walk home and have breakfast together.

But five or six mornings ago. he overslept and did not follow me to the Surau when I left the house at 5.40am. When I returned home he made a lot of noise as if he missed going out . When my wife opened all the doors and the gate to go out to work, Awan followed her. We have allowed him to go out several times already since he had grown up and a few "friends" had been waiting for him. He would come in again when I opened the door to go out and feed the fish. Since I work only at home after retirement, he will spend all day playing or sleeping in the room. I always leave the door open for him to come and go as he pleases.

When I came out of the house on the April 7, to go and feed the fish, Awan did not come to greet me. He always does so even when he comes into the room when I am reading or busy at the PC. He will rush towards me and extend a hand or even two sometimes to catch the hand that I extended to him. He will wait for us to return home from shopping and we even took him out sometimes. Every time we step out of the car he will rush at us and then roll over on the grass or even in the centre of the road itself, until we pick him up. He will sometime sleep at my feet while I'm reading or writing. And when the chair is vacated he he will waste no time to occupy it just sitting down and resting or sleeping. We sometimes quarrel over the chair since he won't vacate it once nicely settled down in it.

His real fun time is when my wife is sitting on the bed with her Notebook. Awan will sleep behind the opened cover and once in a while pop up his head and stretch out a hand to help her with the typing on the keyboard. When my wife shouts out to stop him from disturbing Awan will hide again behind the cover and pretend to be asleep, only to pop up again with his game of peek-a-boo.

The moment my wife lays a hand on him either to stroke him or wave him aside, Awan will grab her hand and start to pull or make mocking snaps with open jaws, making my with shriek with fear. He also does the same to me although it's often myself who will grab his head or hands and legs to avoid the mocking snaps that he makes.

Now he's gone, has not returned for 6 days and we missed him very much. I'm sure someone has caught and caged him for otherwise he will surely run back home. We've lost two other cats this way. The funny thing is that there are many stray cats moving round our place and no one seems to be interested in them. Why is it that some one always want to deprive us of our beloved pat? Does it make him, her or them happy to see us going all over the place calling for our cat? No, there's no sign of any cat being run over by a car. Our cat must have been held in captivity or otherwise sent somewhere else for whatever reason we don't know for Awan is not Persian or anything special. Just an ordinary tomcat but is most playful and childlike.

The pics are from our album and printed here to keep up our memory and our hope that:
AWAN will return, ALIVE.
Click here to see how Awan came to us.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Memory of Jean-Francois Pilatre Rozier...

In whose memory? Who is or was Jean-Francois Pilatre Rozies? There are many things that we use or enjoy today without knowing who introduced them to the world. Let alone know the scientific principle on which the darn things work. One of such contraptions is the hot air baloon.

When I was invited to take a ride in a hot air baloon yesterday (Sat. April10.), the palpitation I felt in my heart must have been the same as that experienced by Jean -Francois Piatre Rozier when he tried out his invention on 21st November 1783 in Paris.
At least he knew what he was up to while I didn't know anything except that the hot air baloon has no engine but only a burner which shoots up roaring flames into the open end of a baloon. And you take a ride beneath the roaring flames in a wicker basket.
Shoot a searing hot flame into a nylon baloon to make it rise? What a crazy idea.

But that has become a crazy sports item now and I was invited to try it out. least the airplane has an engine and a pair of wings! But hey, you can only fall downward not upward. The girls and my wife who arranged for the rendezvous with Jeans-Francois' contraption were very excited about it. Being a man I couldn't. of course, beg out and sheepishly agree to go along with them.

The baloons look wonderful and I started imagining a flight into the blue yonder. (See pics)

But look at the flame thrower that is supposed to shoot the roaring flames into the baloon, There was not one but two giant burners, enough to cook a live elephant. ( see pic)

Could the nylon balloon take the heat although the bottom part of the balloon is supposed to be made of heat resistent Nornex. There was some 100,000 cu ft of air in an average size baloon to be heated up so that it could carry from 3-5 persons.

Well, with a lot of trepidation, we were broken up into groups of 2 or 3 and helped into separate balloons ( with the pilot and an assistant in waiting). The evening was already getting dark in Pantai Chenang where we had the ride, and I couldn't note the expression on the face of my wife as we blasted up, stooping low to avoid the heat from the burner above our heads. Surprise. We went up only about the height of a tall coconut tree. There were thick ropes pegging us to the ground less we end up in Timbaktu. But that was enough to give us the scare since on landing a small whiff of wind could blow us up and away again.

Finally, here are some of the ladies who dared to take the ride in the air baloon.

They seemed to be very happy and enthusiatic about it. Lucky no on took a shot of me, cowering with fear and wounded pride
being unable to show a braver front than the ladies, hehehe.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How modern is Modern?

Everyone talks about being modern nowadays. Anything not modern is oldfashioned, out-of-date,antiquated. A new modern building is made of steel, glasses,and a lot of shiny and shimmering materials that dazzle the eyes. Yet, some modern homes use a lot of the old fashioned, ever-precious wood. Modern cooking uses electric stove, oven and cookers but the old-fashioned charcoal-broiled stake is still the yummiest of them all. Some old style dresses are coming back into fashion, the same with shoes, ties, handbags, eyeglasses, you name it.

Talking about food, we went to a modern, high-class restuarant at the Curve the other day to celebrate a birthday. Everything was modern and classy, down to the way of calling the waiter to take our orders. No whistling, waving or finger hooking. Just turn over and display a tin plate colored red with the restaurant's signature call written on it. The waiter or waitress came in a jiffy as if out of the blue. Someone turned and displayed the red plate many times just for the fun of it, making some small order each time, of course, so as not to disappoint the waiter.
The food was wonderful and everyone enjoyed himself or herself to the max. Suddenly I realized that some food was served in a "kuali" or the old fying pan that grandma used,bright and clean of course, not black and grimy. And the souce bottles were neatly kept in an old-fashioned "beladi", "timber" or pail. Again nice and clean but still a pail. Put those on the dinner table when serving your guests at home and you can imagine what kind of reaction you will get. Especially if the old folks are having lunch or dinner with you.

Don't believe? See pic.

Fast forward and I find myself at a water festival in Langkawi mounted by the Ministry of Tourism and the State authorities certainly. It is being held at Pantai Chenang ( we argued whether the word originated from "senang" or "tenang" and we (wife and me) stayed at a modern seaside resort. What do you know? The resort looks like anything in Hawaii or Bali with high-class restaurants and eateries together with all the other atractions that is expected of a seaside resort. The room we were give was fine soap, no cups saucer and spoon ( yes, an electric kettle is provided), no complementary bottled drink, coffee or tea satchels, sugar and coffee mate (yes, a small fridge is provided). I couldn't make myself a cup of coffee or tea since I didn't bring any cup of coffee or tea bags, I mean satchels.

The festival got on to a roaring start. But at the centre of everything was the old-fashioned stage where, as a boy in days gone by, I used to see the ronggeng being performed (see pic)

The singing and the dancing were of course new, the tune and the melody were all modern. But the cheering from the crowd, the wolf-calls and the endearing remarks belted out to the artists (and artistes) were a reflection of what old me and my friends used to do. The fun they had is the fun that we used to savour many many years ago.

So, how modern is modern eh?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Having the World to Yourself....

How often do we find ourself alone in the house or elsewhere, moping around with nothing to do? This makes some people feel very lonely. especially if age has caught up on you and all the kids have left the coop to set up their own homes. Even the young people are not entirely free from such bouts of loneliness and boredom. The TV or radio is perhaps the best company to reduce the loneliness or, for the younger generation, the handphone and the computer ( with the internet, fb, videogames etc.) would become the best of friends.

For the elderly even the TV, radio and Internet or FB might not help. Songs, dances and "the soap" ( TV dramas) might not be of interest anymore while you need many friends to make FB and the chat-boxes interesting. As one young and charming executivesaid about a fellow worker, while other members of a working lab took a rest to contact friends on FB, an elder member was preparing an organization chart. No FB friends to banter around with.What a pity.

But do we know that some people just like to be alone? As one author said, "I'm never less alone than when I'm alone." Probably, writers are the people who love to be alone with their imagination, dreaming up characters and plots for their novel or plays, or doing research for their non-fiction or academic work. Even if they love company ( the more so with sweet, young and vibrant characters to breathe life into their stories), their work must be done alone, often punching the keyboard late into the ghostly hours of the night. Hey, young bloggers and aspiring writers must have experienced that already. Deep thoughts don't come in a rowdy ( or even randy) discussion. Only witty, humorous or some crazy lines may crop up. Deep thinking is a lonesome job.

It is indeed when you're alone doing some deep thinking or admiring the wondrous beauty of nature or the enigmatic product of human ingenuity, that you feel the world belongs to you. It's all yours to admire and absorb, from earth to sky from the visible to the unseen. You may call for, conjure up and conjecture on anything and everything you want. Yes. But many people call that dreaming, daydreaming, musing away or just 'sit and stare'. What we seldom realize is that it is in those moments that we discover more about ourselves. what we are and what we are not. Sometimes we feel sad, sometimes we smile. But don't smile too long or somebody passing by who sees you will think that you're heading for the psycho-ward.

Of course you can't sit and mope around alone in the house all day. After a good breakfast a walk around in the vicinity of the residential area where you live, is good for health. Noting some of the early morning activities that housewives and the maids do is good for the soul. A good rest after that with the newspapers or magazines is a good post-career indulgence, with the radio dishing some soft and sweet music. If you fall asleep, well.. you might really be losing out on the clarion call of life. Otherwise, after the rest you're ready for work and fun on the computer. If you're a non-retiring businessmen (or women), there will of course be plenty to do, whether necessary or not. The least you can do is bother a lot of people, hehehe. If you're into blogging, facebooking, or video-gaming, there's no telling when you'll stop. You might even appear late for lunch.

Afternoon siesta? No, that's not good. It's time to do the little housework that you didn't execute in the morning. There's plenty to do around the house really that we never get to know when we are or were working eight-five. Tending to the garden (better in the morning and don't water the plants in the heat of noon or you'll kill them), feeding the fish or cleaning up the tank or pond, giving the car(s) a little wash for exercise's sake or just to deny the professional car-washers some of their income, and for the serious lovers of the green earth, gardening, is most appropriate. Hey, it's a good and refreshing work, as good as a workout in the gym. For the ladies, of course you've more than enough chores in the house itself.

Well, if you begin the day with those little tips for whatever they are worth, no days will be dull or boring. Each day is a gift of God to savour and enjoy. The only thing is we have different ways of enjoying ourselves and different things that we enjoy. But those who love reading and writing will never find enough time to satisfy their desire to seek and share their thoughts and feelings with the world....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Malaysia International Shoe Festival

It's not often that I get the opportunity to see a display of beautiful ladies' feet...err...I mean the things they wear on their feet when they go out of the house. I know them as shoes, just shoes which are meant to protect our feet or rather the sole of our feet from being eroded by gravels or stones or even the sand and earth on which we walk. But when the shoes cost a few hundred thousand ringgit, for ladies that is, I don't feel like calling them shoes anymore. Maybe "pedagems", for they put a lot of gemstones on the cover for the feet.

Today (Sunday afternoon), I went to the 4th floor of PWTC to see such a display ie. Malaysia International Shoe Festival. Wow, the crowd was overwhelming and I never knew why a shoe display could be that attractive until I saw what lady's shoes can be ...or become. I can't begin to describe them and so I'll just show some of the pedagems(err.. shoes) that I caught on camera. In the excitement I forgot that my phonecam was in video mode and so I made a short film showing some of the extravagent footwear, some tagged at RM380,000. Can you call them just shoes? Stop the tape if you want to gloat at some of the displays and the pricetags.

So, eat your heart out, ladies.... (Sorry, the short movie I made putting all the clippings together cannot be transferred to this blog due to some problems and I was asked to contact "support" to report the matter. I just don't know how. So, I'll put the clippings separately, You;ve to click each one of them to see the collections.)
This is a creation of the young artist. Not in production yet. The shoes look like scorpion to me.

This is also a concept shoe. Looks very threatening. You can break a football or other balls with it.

This is simply fantastic. Jimmy Choo's treasure. Look at the pricetag.

I love the red pair, noo the biege one, noooo... both! Never mind. Add an 'r' after the 'oo' and you can have it.

This is also fit for a princess. Look at the lady admiring it. Can dreamlah oi...RM380,000 man!

That's enough to make you crazy. Those shown in this blog can cost more than RM 2M. Eat your heart out, ladies.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Week In Week Out

Week in week out, some people become weak some more stout, some shrink and some blow out, some are raking in while some others become down and out. That's life's mystery and vicissitude, call it destiny or the outcome of your own endeavor and attitude.

Many events and portends of things to come become unveiled as we enter the first quarter of 2010. At home the sodomy episode continues to stultify the air, the dusts of the MCA leadership crisis settle down, a new economic model for the country's future socioeconomic and political development is proclaimed, Parliamentarians begin a new bout to debate the welfare of the nation, a Muslim lady (Kartika) escapes lashing as a punishment for imbibing alcohol in the public and an experienced lawyer-cum-ex Polsec to the exPM (Matthias Ahang) goes to jail for contempt of court. Overseas, the US passed a Healthcare bill which gives every citizen a health insurance coverage (32 millions not covered now) at the expense of the employer, Israel continues to occupy more Palestinian territory, suicide bombers begin to terrorize Moscow which may 'return to its iron fist policy' and Thaksin's supporters or the red shirts in Thailand continue to intensify their protest movement.

That's a very swift reflection of human achievement in the search for peace. We just had the Earth Hour on Sunday to make peace with mother earth. I wonder if the whole world, at least the side having nightfall, went dark for an hour. I wonder if the thugs of the world took the opportunity to do their things under cover of darkness. If not, congratulations. They also respect the Earth Hour and that's an achievenment, compared to the efforts of the Police to reduce and control crimes.Today it appears that people, good and bad, do not fear threats of capital punishment, imprisonment and fines anymore. As long as they have lots of money they can always appeal against any judgement. Why you can even appeal to the International Court of Justice if you have the means to do so.

Well, weekend is approaching again and April Fool's Day had passed without any serous pranks being committed. Perak State Legislative Assembly continues to face trouble but then even Parliament is also facing regular walk-outs by opposition members. It has become routine and this is good. If Malaysians can begin to accept political wranggles, back-biting, charges and counter-charges, threats and counter- threats, as a routine thing in the political arena and not allow their blood pressure and emotions to run wild, this country will be all right. It's only when the political skirmishes and confrontations (not real battle or war) are taken to the streets and coffee-shops, into mosques, churches and temples, into shopping malls and even homes, that real trouble begins.

So, let's enjoy the weekend.