Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just Change It!

Time for a renovation of this website... the current algae-green layout is too outdated and too common. Besides, the layout wastes space; on a fully maximized browser, there are empty columns on the left and right, and my writings often appear cramped.

So I hope you like this new makeover. Not quite minimalist, though...


======================

Another thing about personal blogs... ever notice that many of them tend to be lifestyle blogs run by women? Most of the postings will be about trivial stuff... like excitingly showing-off their dolled up new iPod, or what they had for dinner. Included are tons of photos of some exotic Mediterranean pasta and a glass of Chianti... taken from different angles at some highclass Italian restaurant.

And yes, the page normally takes hours to load thanks to all these high-definition snapshots of a plate of pasta at different angles...

Hm, someone should make a parody...



Saturday, April 19, 2008

Anyone Remembered Playing "Doom"?


Back in 1993, everyone in my Primary 6 class who had a computer at home were practically talking about this new shoot-em-up game called "DOOM". At that time, the most advanced desktop system was the 486DX. The Pentium was still in the final stages of research in Intel's arcane laboratories... and the "Internet" was some virtual reality world filled with fluorescent-green grid lines, giant cubes & other early-90s computer graphics, according to sci-fi movies at that time.




I remembered how my friends and I were scared by those demons that came charging towards us. The pixellated graphics and sounds of DOOM was something very advanced (and terrifying) to us 12-year old schoolkids... and many other grown-up gamers around the world. Some of us did get nightmares...

Well, that was 15 years ago...

And btw, Cyberdemon(s) vs. Imps:




Saturday, April 12, 2008

Travel Report: A Trip To An Island Paradise Near Langkawi (Pt.1)





Nearby the island of Langkawi, in Thai territory, is an island I can only call Paradise. If Belinda Carlisle sang "Heaven Is A Place On Earth", this phrase would aptly describe this place. Despite having no cars, no 5-star resorts, no fancy restaurants, no shopping arcades, and no gargantuan statues of eagles spreading their wings, this place beats Langkawi anytime. No, its not Pulau Payar.

Throughout this article, I will not refer to this paradise by its true name. Instead, this
island shall be referred to by the imaginary name of "Koh Krana". The island actually exists, just the name in this article is made-up, to protect it from an increasing horde of tourists like you and me. It is up to you to utilize the power of the Internets to find out what and where this island really is... (hint, its near Langkawi...). By the end of this article you might even have guessed its real name. Who knows?

Welcome to "Koh Krana"....


Fellow blogger 'Magpie' has been here before, where he stayed at the really nice "Castaway Resort". But for me, I'm only half his age, and unlike him... do not have any political connections with Najib Tun Razak, and hence, not as rich (although chalets at the Castaway are only RM250 per night). So I settled for less than luxurious dwellings on the north of the island.

The only way to Koh Krana from Malaysian soil is through Langkawi. And since both the ferry
and speedboat leaves early in the morning, you'll have to stay overnight in Langkawi. At least you'll get the chance to buy some cheap tax-free liquor to take with you to Thailand. Since you're gonna be in an island resort, I recommend Bacardi.

Those familiar with Southern Thailand can drive up all the way to Pak Bara and take the ferry from there. But your car may no longer be there when you get back...



=================

Day 1

Since I arrived from Penang late Thursday morning, I had no choice but to spend a night on Langkawi and catch my speedboat from the Telaga Harbor Marina the next day. Well, better make the most of it, so I booked a taxi to Pantai Cenang, where all the hotels by the beach were and where all the fun is at. My previous trip to Langkawi was 8 years ago... I wondered what had changed since then...

Cenang Beach at sunset...



Now this was during Muhammad's birthday, a long holiday weekend where Langkawi would be packed with weekend tourists. As I had not booked my accomodations on this island, I went from hotel to motel alongside Cenang Beach asking if they had vacancy, only to be told they were full-up. Those that had rooms were too expensive for my budget. My luck changed at the exoticly-sounding "Rasa Eksotika", which certainly lived up to its name. For RM70 per night, you get a room nicely decorated with Oriental & Indonesian curios hung from the walls, draped across the sofas, or spread out on the floor. Also included; air-conditioning, television, and a minibar. A very good deal indeed.

As I had only budgeted for Langkawi as a stopover, I didn't do much except hang around the
bars, drink RM2 beers and finish this excellent book, which I'll talk about later. Anyway, I've been told by the locals that many of the tourist attractions such as the hot springs on the island had been overdeveloped like what they did to Ulu Legong, and the coral reefs off Datai Beach had died out.

Fire dancers on Cenang Beach, near the Babylon rasta bar...


If there's something to be said about Langkawi, is that there seems to be a lot of pseudo-Rastafarian Malays on this island. :p In fact, I spent the evening at one of the many many reggae bars alongside Pantai Cenang where I chatted the night away with two local Rastas, and several backpackers. Perhaps the Rastas' have a secret community hidden in the forested hills of the island... growing ganja and singing Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" by the fireside? They'll be throwing a Moonlight Party on one of the islands' off Pantai Cenang on Saturday, but I wouldn't be able to join them as I'd be in Koh Krana around then.



=================

Day 2

One of the many luxury yatches moored at Telaga...


Early next morning, I took the cab to Telaga Harbor, along Pantai Kok. This beach had budget hotels and chalets years ago... until the local tourism authority decided to kick them out and build several luxury resorts in their place. Also included in the construction was the Telaga Harbor Marina, now managed by the famous/infamous Dato' Azhar Mansor.

Azhar Mansor's sailboat, which he used to sail
round the world.
Now on permanent display...




In exchange for some bread for breakfast, I donated RM12 into Dr.Mahathir's war chest to fight Badawi:

I'm sure you know who owns this bakery...


Below where I sat, boats gently bobbed about in the morning sun. On the deck of a luxury yatch, was a hot Malay chick... up early, and yakking in a very Mat Salleh accent into her cellphone, as her servants scrubbed the deck around her.

Just before leaving to board my speedboat, I caught a glimpse of Azhar Mansor through an open office door. At his desk... tapping away at a laptop. Probably another business deal with some yachtsman from abroad...


And then, its off to Koh Krana...



(to be continued...)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rick Astley On A Friday Afternoon


There's something about driving down the Penang coastal expressway on a sunny Friday afternoon, and the DJ on Red.FM plays an 80s Rick Astley song...




In case the above YouTube embed gets killed... go here instead...

The 80s would have been a shitty decade with its terrible fashion, over-synthesized music, big curly hair, hair metal, and cars that looked like boxes. But that was the 1980s, so thats all forgiven now.

The Internet goons have a new Net meme called rickrolling, employing the 80s kitsch of Mr. Astley's song...


T.G.I.F.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

UMNO Logic: Teresa Kok = Geert Wilders

Its been a month since the election. The state governments have been sworn-in with their respective Governors, Chief Ministers, and Executive Councilors. The new Pakatan Rakyat governments in the Northern States are just beginning to find their feet. Meanwhile, all is not quiet on the National Front. They're still smarting from the humiliation of losing not just one, but FIVE states... a first in the history of Malaysia.

My website isn't supposed to be a political bitch-site but the past few postings have been slowly morphing it into one. So I'm going to take a break from politics both foreign and local and go on to other things for a change. But first...


If all you ever read is Utusan Malaysia, and you consider them a "keystone of truthful media", "paragon of fairness and accuracy" or some other clich├ęd phrase, then you would think the Member of Parliament for Seputeh, Teresa Kok... is like the equivalent of Geert Wilders. Yes, that Mr. Wilders who recently trolled the whole Muslim world with his new film 'Fitna'.

And the reason why Teresa Kok should be worthy of contempt equal to that heaped on Mr. Wilders, is because of a proposed new pig-farm that she supports. Never mind that Chief Minister/MB Mr. Khalid, and the conservative PAS have also endorsed the piggy-project. They're Malays, and what Utusan needs to do is to stoke up animosity between the Malays and the non's, the Muslims and the non's, so hopefully the Malay Muslims will be filled with narrow ethnic-supremacist sentiment and go back to their Lord & Saviour... UMNO.

Today's Letters section in the Utusan paper was entirely devoted to the pig-farm issue, and one particularly amusing entry written by a pissed-off reader, compared Teresa to Geert Wilders. I wonder what justifies her hyperbole to attack Teresa from a purely religious standpoint? She doesn't consume the meat of the swine anyways.

Now, lets not say any opposition to this project is unfounded. The problem is in Malaysia, animal husbandry and waste abatement technology is light-years behind. Without tech and lack of government enforcement and zoning, you'll get the problem of pig-farms vs. irate nearby residents.
Everyone has a NIMBY policy to any pig, goat, duck, chicken farm near their town... because they all fucking stink. I know, because the office/laboratory where I work now is right BEHIND a pig farm that doesn't have any waste treatment technologies. When the wind blows in our direction, you'll get a very awful feeling that not only attacks your nose with a godawful stench, but also your sense of feeling. Your body feels enveloped in a humid miasma, and you sweat. Sometimes you feel the sweat is actually pig-vapors condensing on your skin.

Although to Utusan, the solution seems to be to totally eliminate pig-farming in Malaysia, due to religious reasons. Forget about waste treatment technology and relocating farms to podunk places where nobody lives, no... all they seem to want is Total Elimination. Never mind that the industry serves the dietary needs of 30% to 40%-odd Malaysians, screw them! They can pay several times more to import pork... after all, all Chinese are rich and drive BMWs, right? Well, that sort of exclusivist thinking is one reason why BN/UMNO got their ass kicked in March 8.

Speaking of which, ever since BN's ass-beating in the election, all Utusan's Letter's section seem to be the same old rehashed moaning about how the Malays are gonna lose their birthrights to those sneaky Chinese and Indians, how the Malays will end up like the Singaporean Malays (richer perhaps?), or Palestinians (I'm still trying to picture the idea of DAP-Keadilan troops smashing down Malay houses with battle tanks and Caterpillar dozers). I'm starting to think that many of these letters are written by the editor himself, considering that the format & writing style of many of them are very similar...

After all, I don't call it "Utusan Meloya*" for no reason...



* Meloya means 'nauseating'

PS: I don't buy the Utusan papers, I just read off their webpage...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Move Over Annabel Chong! Here Comes Sufiah!


To generalize, Singaporeans have always been hungry for success and global recognition. That sort of thing happens when your country is a little red dot on the world map and only makes headlines for banning chewing gum, ass-whipping spoilt brats, and executing people for marijuana. The government headed by Lee Kuan Yew has always emphasized policies of success in education and career; hence the infamous uber-competitive "kiasu" attitude of many Singaporeans and their aim to achieve the
5C's:

Condo (luxury)
Car (luxury also)
Credit Card (Gold Card, minimum)
Career (lawyer, doctor, rich-ass corporate asshole, etc.)
and
Country-Club membership.

And Global Recognition.

In 1995, a Singaporean woman achieved worldwide fame and put the little nation on the map. Her success story? It wasn't becoming the Richest Person In The World or discovering the cure to cancer. The woman, named Grace Quek (aka Annabel Chong), had broken the dubious world record of having sex with the most men. In 10 hours, she had done over 250 sex acts with 70-odd men.

That's banging 7 guys per hour... ouch.


In a way, Annabel Chong is one example of the Singaporean Success Story... a mutated and twisted version of the Singapore Success Story.

Think of it... no matter how you look at it, its still the case of a Singaporean top scorer (CGPA of 3.70), performance artist and web designer... achieving fame and breaking world records. After all, Lee Kuan Yew wanted Singaporeans who would be successful, famous, and break records, and here she was...


==========

Now, its Malaysia's turn with a girl called Sufiah Yusof. In 1997, thanks to the efforts of her ambitious parents... she became the youngest person ever to enroll in Oxford University's mathematics programme. At only 13-years old. THIRTEEN.

Now you'll say... SUFIAH ISN'T MALAYSIAN, DAMMIT! True, only her mom is. But hey, we Malaysians... like our Kiasuland rivals... want global recognition too, and we're eager to hitch a ride on any global personality, no matter now tiny the connection to our country. Cmon, when David Beckham apparently had an affair with a "grew-up-in-Malaysia" woman by the name of Sarah Marbeck, the local press went crazy with this "achievement" for Malaysia. I remembered my sister bitching about this over the phone...

And eager for recognition, the Malaysian government claimed her as one of our own, and footed the bill for Sufiah's studies. The Malay papers, I remembered, were heralding the genesis of a Malay Supergenius, a young girl crafted into a prodigy by her parent's "Islamic methods". Sufiah would serve as an inspiration to the Malays demi bangsa, agama, dan negara (for race, religion, and nation).


Today, Sufiah Yusof is working as an escort:

"Hiii! Who wants Math's tuition?"


Think about it also... Like Grace Quek, in a way, Sufiah is an example of the Malaysian Success Story that has succeeded in achieving international fame... albeit a mutated and twisted version of the Malaysian Success Story. Also unlike Grace, Sufiah makes much much more money without having to bang over 70-plus men in 10 hours or "pioneer new moves like triple-penetration".

Take that, Singapore!







Of course, this story is mostly useless without pictures... so here's the link to the news article of Sufiah, another link from a Malaysian paper, and more photos...


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Major Change For Malaysia Coming This Thursday?


Friends, I may be just a 25-year old engineer living on a rock called Penang, but I come from an illustrious Chinese Malaysian family that has played many a part in the history of Malaya and Malaysia. Many of my relatives have connections within the business and ruling elite, and from this intricate network, have received many a business deal. And Datoships and Tan Sri-ships too.

And for such a prestigious family where success is paramount, I happen to be the outcast. While my cousins became lawyers, doctors, and businessmen, I did engineering in college. While my cousins drive BMWs, Mercs, and one of them… a Ferrari (bought by his dad, of course)… I sometimes take the bus. While my relatives think Marks & Spencer is the minimum, I shop at the Salvation Army at Perak Rd. So, you can see why they look down on me.

Anyway, back to the topic…

One of my uncles himself is pretty close to Patrick Lim (one of the Prime Minister's closest business partners) and Badawi himself, and on Sunday afternoon, he made a stunning revelation to me during teatime at the E&O Hotel. Until the announcement on Thursday evening, you won’t hear about this on the news, not even on Malaysia Today or Malaysiakini. Heck, even Raja Petra knows zilch about it!

Only less than 10 people in this world knows what will happen this Thursday. Nine of them are in Malaysia, and the other fella is probably in Washington D.C. by now. Actually make that 12 persons; including me and my other cousin. I don’t know if the waiter overheard… if he did, that will be thirteen…

Usually, my Tan Sri’ uncle tends to be rather vague with us about his dealings within the corridors of power. But on that afternoon at the E&O, he had a little too many Johnnie Walkers. And alcohol lets out the truth…

You won’t believe this, but you better… especially if you stay/work in Putrajaya or Kuala Lumpur. Better you hear it on this Tuesday than Thursday.

Brace yourselves…







Badawi is going to move both the capital city & administrative center from Kuala Lumpur & Putrajaya... to Johor.


Yes, boys and girls. Our new capital will be in Johor. My uncle says it’ll be around Batu Pahat.


Now you would ask, “Why Batu Pahat?! Their fucking website doesn’t even work right now!” According to him, Johor Baharu looked like a more suitable choice, as it was more developed. However, its also within easy striking distance of Singapore, and therefore it was ruled out. You can’t really manage Malaysia when Kiasuland artillery rains down high-explosive shells on your newly-built 2.1-billion ringgit Parliament house.

Batu Pahat is in the middle, away from Singapore and the Negeri Sembilan-Selangor frontier. Malacca and Negeri Sembilan will act as buffer states.

The reason for moving house is obvious… Barisan Nasional did win the General Elections, but it was a pyrrhic victory. They lost five states, including Selangor and also got their ass kicked in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, Putrajaya is now besieged like the Nazis in Stalingrad. Badawi has to plan a strategic withdrawal where he can regroup what’s left of BN.

Of course, a new capital will mean new megaprojects coming up. Firstly, there’s a new Parliament house to be built… I think you know how much its gonna cost. That’s gonna be Patrick Lim’s job (and my uncle too!), no questions or tenders asked.

Included are new buildings, infrastructure, and facilities for all the government departments and ministries, these will be within a new administrative & economic corridor that includes Muar, Pagoh, and Simpang Renggam. That goes to Pat & my uncle, and a couple other Chinese tycoon bigshots and UMNOputra cronies. Khairy might get a little of a cut, but he’ll be mostly responsible for the new F1/motorcycle circuit that will replace Sepang.

As for Najib, he’s gonna be in charge of constructing Barisan Nasional’s 40-billion network of strongpoints and fortifications in Negeri Sembilan (facing north), Johor Baharu (facing south), and Pahang (facing north and west). As for Terengganu, they won’t bother, since by 2012 the oil will be finished, reverting the state back into a sleepy fishing village. Why all this money for defense when the Opposition parties doesn’t even own battle tanks? Don’t ask.

That’s all that I heard from my ol’ uncle. But expect this on Thursday, and a whole lot of development coming your way if you’re from Johor State.


I wonder if Najib will also build a defensive artillery battery on Mount Ledang?