Monday, February 27, 2012

No, PM, We Are Not Going To Tolong Lu!

The Himpunan Hijau 2.0 (Green Gathering) to protest against the Lynas Corp rare earth plant in Gebeng, Kuantan went off with a resounding start with thousands of  protesters turning out at the MPK4 field in Kuantan yesterday, including the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Star 27 February 2012

At a separate event in Sekinchan, Selangor, PM Najib tried to assure Malaysians that the plant was safe otherwise the government wouldn't have approved it. He went on to say that if some people objected to the plant for political reasons, then there was nothing the government could do about it. (Star 27 February 2012).

Come on PM, it is not about politics. It is about health and safety!

Najib contradicted himself when he was also quoted to have said that the authorities were looking for an uninhabited location to place the waste material from the Lynas plant although it was scientifically safe.

If the waste from the Lynas plant is indeed scientifically safe, why is there a need to look for an uninhabited place to store the waste? Just throw it behind your office in Putrajaya, Najib. This will help convince the people that what you were saying is true.

In fact, few Malaysians nowadays believe what you say. You have been flip-flopping around for too long and for too often. Nobody takes your words seriously anymore.

Malaysians are IN FACT asking why if the Lynas rare earth plant is so safe, the Australian government themselves were not in favour of having the plant in their own country even though Australia is a very much larger country - in fact, it is an entire continent in itself - and has so much more space to store the waste in? This is very telling.

You and your government can shout till kingdom come or the cows come home, but sorry, Malaysians are not going to heed your call of "lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu " (You scratch my back, I scratch yours).

No, thank you, Sir!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Are We Trying To Hide A Lost City?

Malaysia a.k.a Boleh Land or the land of gung ho can-do-anything spirit has so many sensitivities that it is not possible really to do just about anything you want, gung ho spirit or not.

For example we cannot talk freely of race, religion or the royalty or a thousand other things unless you want to run foul of a slew of laws including the Sedition Act, The Official Secrets Act and of course the dreaded ISA (Internal Security Act ) and spend time in the slammer enjoying insipid curry rice paid for by the rakyat.

Or unless you are a special specie of amphibian. Or you have the right connection.  Or you are the connection yourself.

Most countries would be very proud if they had a lost city to show case to the world and would do anything possible to uncover it for everyone's attention.

Apparently not so in Boleh Land. Here we may not want to draw attention to a lost city if it would be an inconvenient truth.

The lost city I am referring to is Kota Gelanggi.

Initially in 2008, there was a lot of interest and preparations were in earnest for the project of locating and uncovering Kota Gelanggi. But after the initial euphoria, everything went quiet.

Why? Did someone find something about the city that may be an inconvenient truth?

Because apparently Malaysian history only started with the Malacca Sultanante in 1400s?

The Malacca Sultanate is regarded as a Malay Sultanate but some people dispute this, claiming for example that the first ruler was Parasmeswara who was an Indian and a Hindu.  A later ruler did convert to Islam but some say that conversion does not a race make.

But stranger things do happen in Boleh Land and I am not wise to posit.

The inconvenient truth may be that Kota Gelanggi was the first capital of the ancient Indian Srivijaya Empire that preceded the Malacca Sultanate by several centuries?

If so, it would show that the Indians had been here much earlier.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

China International Adoption

Because of China's one child policy and the Chinese parents' preference for a male child, many Chinese baby girls are abandoned each year. This makes for a ready pool of children for international adoption.

It seems that America is the country that has adopted the most number of Chinese children. Some 60 over thousand children have been adopted by American families from 1991-2005 alone. Spain is the next country with the most number of children adopted from China. Check it out here.

Apparently Chinese orphanages and welfare homes have done a commendable job looking after the abandoned babies. And it is a good thing that China's international adoption rules are quite stringent.

For example, an American couple planning to adopt must not be less than 30 years old and both must not be older than 50 years, must be physically and mentally fit, have no criminal record, must have annual income of $10,000 per household member, must have family assets of at least $80,000, have no more than 5 children under 18 years of age and the youngest must be at least 1 year old among some other qualifications.  The process may take a few years and includes home study review by a social worker.

However, in the light of China's tightening regulations, the number of international adoptions has gone down.

The first time (often called gotcha day) the adoptive parents and child meet is often an emotional and teary affair. The child will usually cry and sometimes bawl. She will look away from the adoptive parent who holds her. Some, however, after some hesitation do bond well with her adoptive parents.

Click here for a gotcha day you tube video.

Click here to see a cute child bonding well with her adoptive mother.

Click here to see the rarer case of a male child adoption.

Click here for a follow up video where a 4 year old child talks about her adoption, her struggle against chronic hepatitis B and the treatment she had to undergo and her adoptive family.

As a Chinese myself, I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to the families who have adopted a Chinese child and given her a home, love and family.

May you all be blessed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Attending Kamini's Indian Wedding Dinner

The Invitation 
A neighbour's eldest daughter got married the other day and we were invited to attend her wedding dinner at the HGH Convention Centre, Sentul, Kuala Lumpur.

She is Chindian, a child of mixed marriage parents. Her father is  Indian, Mr V. Thamal Selvan and her mother, N. Jayainthy, is Chinese.

Elaborate Inai Patterns Drawn On Both Palms of  Bride As A Tradtion. Note The Name Of Bride's Husband "Saravanan"
We missed the turn to the convention centre where the wedding dinner was to be held. The trouble with Malaysian road signage (if any), is that by the time you see it, you are likely to have overshot your destination. So, we had to take a detour to come back.

The night started with the bride and groom making a grand entrance into the convention hall. Then cutting the wedding cake and some friends of the newly wed giving speeches. Just like in the case of a Chinese wedding dinner, there was a slide show presentation of the newly wed couple.

Lord Ganesh At Entrance To Hall
There were also some cultural dances and singing. We didn't get to have a good view of them because we sat way back from the stage.

The buffet dinner itself started only by 9.00. I didn't get to take pictures of the food because the lighting was very dim in the hall and I did not feel that the pictures would turn out well. But I liked the curry mutton. It was tender and just nicely spicy. It went well with the nasi briyani.

For dessert, we had watermelon and honeydew melon. To round off, we also had some Indian ice-cream which I was given to understand came from India. The ice-cream was coarser and less sweet than the usual type of ice-cream we are used to here. But nice nevertheless.

Red Carpet Steps Leading Into The Convention Hall

Guests Greeting Bride's Mother At The Entrance Into Hall. Her Husband Was Busy Attending To Other Guests That We Only Met Up With Him Later But The Picture I Took Of Him Was Too Blurry To Be Used Here

Beautiful Koolam Enlarged
A Simple Table Decoration
Decorative Archway Into Hall

Kristina Meeting Up With The Bride And Groom, K.Saravanan and T. Kamini

At The Decorative Wall Fountain Exiting The Convention Centre
Note: All pictures and the video by Ordinary Malaysian

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chicken Story At KFC

A customer was apparently assaulted in a KFC outlet the other day.

He was apparently not happy about having to wait for about an hour only to be finally told that the outlet had run out of chicken.

"Ayam sudah habis, apa you mahu lagi ("We have run out of chicken, what else do you want")," a staff allegedly told the customer.

One thing led to another and it appeared that a KFC staff at the outlet eventually assaulted the customer.

Well, I wasn't there. But beating a customer is not the way to do business, even if he is a handful.

There is the adage that the customer is always right. Well, maybe not always, but a businessman should treat his customers as if they are.

The bottom line is that KFC is a business. They should know better to train their staff in how to handle customers' grouses and dissatisfaction.

What was the outlet manager doing? Did he/she try to soothe the customer's anger? Even apologise, as he/she probably should in the first place? Did he/she try to hold back his/her charges? Did he/she take charge of the ugly situation? Or did he/she just chicken out?

What happened was ugly.

No customers want to feel that they may not be safe eating in a place which is supposed to be a family restaurant after all.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lu Tolong Gua, Gua Tolong Lu

PM Najib is fond of telling Malaysians "Lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu" ("You help me, I help you"). He allegedly said this again in his recent Thaipusam speech at Batu Caves.

Many see this as a pathetic plea for a mandate of his own from the rakyat. Najib became the prime minister of Malaysia by default when his predecessor Tun Abdullah Badawi was effectively forced out of office by an internal UMNO coup of sorts.

Najib is also fond of asking Malaysians to trust him and he will trust them in return ("Gua caya lu, lu caya gua")

But why should Malaysians trust him or help him? Since he became the PM more than three years ago, his administration has not shown any capability to help Malaysians in any meaningful way.

Najib is only fond of coming up with nice sounding slogans and beautiful plans with nice acronyms.

He started with the 1Malaysia slogan which was supposed to make Malaysians think of themselves as Malaysians first.

But as soon as his deputy Muhyddin came out to say that he was firstly a Malay and only secondly a Malaysian, thus giving the death kiss to the idea behind 1Malaysia, 1Malaysia gave up its ghost and only lives on as a side-show.

Since then, Najib has been flip-flopping from one idea to another, from one slogan to another. The next big plan came with NEM, the supposedly New Economic Model to make Malaysia a more competitive
country by making the playing field a more level one for everyone.

But again as soon as the right-wingers from his own party UMNO evinced a disinclination for the idea, Najib retreated and we no longer hear of NEM being spoken.

Then came the various ETPs (Economic Transformation Plans). But all that we Malaysian can see is "abuk pun tadak" - not even smoke to be seen! what more transformation of any kind for the better!

Correction, we do see the same modus operandi ala Mahathir in active service. The direct awarding of lucrative government contracts to favoured parties.

The latest is the award of a project, estimated to eventually cost some Rm7billion, to a company to build a highway from Banting, Selangor to Taiping, Perak on allegedly very lucrative terms including a 60 years toll collection concession period, probably the longest such concession in the world!

And this, while the controversies (which have come to be known as the ("cowgate") relating to the alleged mismanagement and corruption in the award of  the Rm250 million National Feedlot project to the family of Datuk Shahrizat Jalil, the Minister of Women, Family Affairs and Community Development, rage on without an end to their resolution.

There are many things that could be spoken, but suffice it to say that Najib does not deserve a helping hand from the rakyat to win a mandate to continue his bumbling ways.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Legend Behind Chap Goh Meh or The Chinese Valentine's Day

Yesterday was the last day of the Chinese New Year or what we call Chap Goh Meh which is Hokkien for the 15th day of the lunar new year. The festival is also called Lantern Festival in China.

Girls Throwing Kam Into The Sea At The Esplanade, Penang
The Star 7 February 2012

It was celebrated in a big way especially in Penang, where maidens threw kam or mandarin oranges into the sea in the hope of finding a soul-mate.

Chap Goh Meh or Lantern Festival in China is also known as the Chinese Valentine's day here and there are many legends behind it.

One of the more interesting legends has it that one day a beautiful crane flew down from the heavens to earth but was caught and slaughtered by some villagers.

That crane was the Jade Emperor's favourite and he was very angry about it. He vowed vengeance on the villagers on the 15th lunar day. But his daughter Zhi Nu took pity on the villagers and duly warned them of the impending woe.

The villagers were very upset and worried and did not know what to do avoid the calamity until a wise man came up with a plan.

Click here to find out what the wise man said and what happened.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oops! Not In Fujian (China) But Here In Malaysia!

One would have naturally thought that it is in Fujian, China, that the Hokkien culture and dialect are more vibrant and better preserved.

The Star 6 February 2012

But according to a French expert, anthropologist Fiorella Allio, it is here in Malaysia and not in Fujian that this is so.

(Click here to hear her giving a lecture on Taiwan)

Fiorella Allio is now in Malacca to research the Wangkang festival.

She was quoted to have said in the Star newspaper:

" There is not much distortion in the way the culture is preserved and the dialect spoken here is authentic. In China, the tradition is somewhat skewed due to various reasons, and this was brought to the pinnacle during the Communist era."

According to the newspaper, Fiorella Allio is not only a Mandarin linguist but also fluent in Hokkien.

She was quoted to have said that from a young age, she had been fascinated by the ancient cultures and that the Chinese culture preceded even the Egyptian culture. She was also quoted to have said she had been interested in Chinese culture and religion since the 1980s when she called China and Taiwan home.

Something else she was quoted to have said took me by surprise, even though I am Hokkien myself. She was reported to have added that she believed the Hokkien to be the most ancient of the various Chinese communities.

Today is the 15th or the last day of the Chinese New Year or what we call Chap Goh Meh  here in Malaysia and Lantern Festival in China.

In Penang, the festival will be celebrated in a big way. Many singles will be throwing kam or mandarin oranges into the sea in the belief that by doing so, they will "catch" their future partner.

I wish all my Chinese readers a Happy Chap Goh Meh!

Ouch! Another Record - The Longest Yee Sang!

We have another record to talk about - the longest yee sang! We achieved this Saturday last at the Mydin hypermarket in Malacca.

Sunday Star 5 February 2012 

At 880m long, it was the longest yee sang ever prepared in Malaysia. I don't know whether this is a world record.

 It might very well be.

Who would bother with wanting to have such a dubious honour as having the longest yee sang in the world?

Only Malaysia lah! We are after all, "Boleh Land" or "Can Do Land", in Manglish.

We also boast of having had the longest ketupat, the largest mooncake or whatever have you.

So much effort, time and money have been wasted trying to break one record after another. All so rubbishy ones.

And we are supposed to be proud of our gung ho spirit - the spirit of Malaysia Boleh that former PM TDMM hoisted on us unsuspecting plebeians.

Would that we spent more time, energy and effort in ensuring that Malaysia is the least corrupt country in the world, the richest and the safest place in the world to live in.

Ah, that would be a record to be proud of. Instead, all we care for is the frivolous and flippant and easily achievable that nobody else would bother about.

Ouch, no more records okay?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

UMNO Tidak Releven Lagi?

Datok Mohd Ariff Sabri dalam blog postingnya telah menyuarakan pendapat beliau bahawa UMNO adalah sebuah parti yang hanya mementingkan segelintir ahli-ahli, keluarga and kroni-kroni mereka sahaja dan adalah rasuah.

Tapi pandainya laung-laungkan slogan iaitu UMNO lah parti yang dapat mempertahankan bangsa Melayu, agama dan tanah air.

Saya tidaklah arif dalam hal ini.

Datok Mohd Ariff adalah bekas seorang ahli parti UMNO dan juga pernah menjadi ketua penerangan cawangan UMNO Pekan dan bekas seorang ADUN Pahang.

Saya rasa beliau lebih arif dalam hal-hal parti UMNO.

Tapi, semakin ramai rakyat Malaysia menanggap UMNO sudah tidak releven dengan politik memecah-belahkan mereka.

English Version

Datok Mohd Ariff Sabri in his blog posting had expressed his view that UMNO is a party that only cares for a small group of its members, their families and cronies and is corrupt.

But is only good in singing that UMNO is the only party that can protect the Malay race, religion and the country.

I am not wise in this matter.

Datok Mohd Ariff was a former UMNO member and had been the Pekan UMNO information chief and a Pahang state assembly man.

He is more wise in the affairs of UMNO.

However, more and more Malaysians consider UMNO as no longer relevant with their divisive politics.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Malaysia's M-Girls

Giora who had commented in my blog, had mentioned M-Girls.

So, I thought to look up some videos of them performing.

They are a talented group of singers who started off, in 2001, as child singers of Chinese New Year songs.

They were originally a four member Malaysian girl group, but one of them left in 2005 to further her studies.

Click here to see them performing in 2008.

Here's another link.

There are many videos out there of the girls.

Just google M-Girls.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is BAM Giving Up On The Thomas Cup?

It seems that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has already given up on qualifying for this year's Thomas Cup competition in Wuhan, China.
Starsport 1 February 2012

Ng Chin Chai, a member of the body's High Performance Team (HPT), was quoted to have said in Starsports: "The Olympics is the ultimate in every sport and Malaysia has never won a gold medal before. So, it is certainly more important than the Thomas Cup...We understand that the public sentiment would certainly favour the Thomas Cup but, realistically speaking, we do not really have a team capable of winning"

This is a sad indictment of BAM who, despite being one of the if not the richest badminton
associations in the world, with all resources needed, has not only failed to bring up a team capable of winning the Thomas Cup but has also failed to bring up a team capable of even qualifying for it!

Starsports 1 February 2012
The Thomas Cup competition is the most prestigious team competition in the sport with a long and colourful history.  Malaysia itself was the pioneer winner of the Cup and has altogether won it five times.

For BAM to admit that they can't even raise a team to qualify for the competition is really telling a lot about its failure.

Isn't it time we kick out those officials running BAM?


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Kluang's Little Bangsar

Kluang's Little Bangsar
Click To Visit

Kamini's Indian Wedding - Click To Visit

Kamini's Indian Wedding - Click To Visit
I attended my neighbour's daughter's Indian wedding dinner at the Sentul HGH Convention Centre. Click for a peek

Yasmin Ahmad - Click To Visit

Yasmin Ahmad - Click To Visit
Yasmin Ahmad was arguably Malaysia's best story-teller, filmmaker and advertiser. She was well known for her Petronas commercials and had won numerous international awards including the Golden Lion award for the 'Tan Ming Hong In Love' commercial. Her feature film Sepet not only garnered her several international awards including for Best Asian Film but also drew multi-racial audiences that rarely happens for a local film.

Genting Highlands - Click To Visit

Genting Highlands - Click To Visit
Genting Highlands Is A Popular Retreat With A Casino

Batu Caves - Click To Visit

Batu Caves - Click To Visit
Malaysia's Famous Landmark. Note The Statue Of Lord Muruga And The 272 Steps To The Temple Cave In The Background

Petronas Twin Towers And KLCC Park - Click To Visit

Petronas Twin Towers And KLCC Park - Click To Visit
Petronas Twin Towers Are Still The World's Tallest Twin Towers

Some Early Morning Views Of KL City Skyline - Click To Visit

Some Early Morning Views Of KL City Skyline - Click To Visit
Some early morning views of the KL city sykline I took from the 3rd floor of the KL Court with a low-pixel hand-phone camera

Kluang Town - Click To Visit

Kluang Town - Click To Visit
Kluang was a sleepy hollow, but is fast becoming a bustling town. You can't miss the bust-shaped gunung Lambak lording over the place and the town is well known for its tv brand coffee powder

Kluang RailCoffee

Kluang RailCoffee
The Kluang railway station coffee shop, now re-branded Kluang RailCoffee, is well known for its cuppa of coffee and the charcaol grilled piping hot buns oozing with butter and kaya...It used to attract standing-room only crowds. It still does, but the last time I was there it wasn't a good experience for me. The famous coffee had somewhat lost its oomph and even the buns...The shop has a long and noted history being first opened for business in 1938 and the place is now run by the 3rd generation LIm family. I hope the next time I return, the coffee would regain its oomph. Click to read more...