Thursday, March 31, 2005

Spirit Pager rattling, are you there?

After a few post regarding Cheng Ming, I am in the mood to talks about whatever related to spirits. Chinese follows a lot of tradition and the most confusing part is that we have Taoism and Buddhism. So all of the beliefs and traditions got mixed up, there are times I think it was all created to confuse us and some is created by business men to gain some financial rewards, like the burning of paper house, hell notes, paper car and etc. There are beliefs that the more smoke or fire it means the party that you are burning for will actually receive it. The belief is that the smoke will carry the essence of the “material” to the ancestors in the spirit world.

And who can forget the joss sticks, some believe the spirits smell in the smokes as a way to fill up their stomach like us human tugging and tearing away the skin off a KFC chicken. This is make worst with hundreds of ghost movies depicted it. Come to think of it what about the “Gwailo”, “Mat Salleh” or foreigner who has different type of beliefs. Does that means spirits of different origin behaves differently? Umm.. but in the human world we share the same loves for KFC, Mcdonalds, Tom Yam, Curries and all things with a lot of oils in it.

Does that mean when someone dies they went through a process to separate them into different hell and heaven? Whereby one part of the hell the spirit jumps around (like in most Chinese ghost movies) OR another part whereby they will turn to bats when they want to move around. The more I write the more I confuse I become. I guess there are similarity its just that we are exposed to a lot of movies and grapevine spread by human who allege that they have meet with one.

When my father passed away during one of the prayers session, I was asked to pray or call up to my father to come and accept the prayers and offerings. I was asked to start by saying my father name and then ask him to come to xxx place. I am not sure is this the way we human page for the spirit on the other side of the world. I guess it’s possible as now we have phone numbers, email address, blog site, umm it sounds logical, does it? I guess when someone dies, the first thing they got it’s a pager, a spirit pager.

When I went to the temple recently to perform the “Cheng Ming” prayers and the offering of vegetarian food to my father, I did the same thing; I say my fathers name and the address of the temple. I hope my father pager battery is fully powered and over the other side my father name is unique enough as someday I might just cooked some cod fish, bird nest and shark fin for him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Supermarket into business for the dead

As the world changes, the behavior of its inhabitant also changes. Those day woman is the housewife and the kitchen is her castle with pans, cooking knife, forks, spoons and spatulas as her armory. With this and the raw material from the wet market, she will cook up some fabulous dishes for the family. This gradually changes as society needs evolve slowly.

The kitchen now is equipped with slow cookers, microwave oven and freezer. The wet market has been replaced with the one stop center which they called supermarket. Now instead of walking around in a wet market and getting pieces of mud stuck at the back of the ankles, she enjoys the air-conditioned and clean environment of the supermarket. There are a lot of interesting things you could find in a supermarket but the least I expected is to find items such as shirts, shoes and hell money for the dead. Recently I was at Jusco and this is what I saw beside the fruit juice sections.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Major EarthQuake Hit Sumatra

A major earthquake measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale hits Sumatra just after midnight. Some residents in penang felt that its worse than the earth quake that cause the 26th Dec Tsunami. It created quite a panic among those who lives beside the sea. However it did not trigger any tsunami like the previous, scientists are puzzled. Refer to Star, BBC, New York Times for more news and facts.

I did not experience any tremor; it could be that the condominium that I live in has a very good foundation or that I was in deep sleep mode. I am glad that there is no tsunami. It was reported if there is one it should be within the first 3 hours.

Cheng Ming - Picnic with a difference

Chinese has an interested day in the calendar that they called Cheng Ming or Cheng Beng. Some called it the grave-sweeping or tomb-sweeping day. This is the day the Chinese will “Han San” or walk the mountain. When I was young I do not really goes to my ancestor grave to do such activities. My dad is the one that is doing it every year together with his brother and sister. I do hear of things that he, his brother and sister does.

Every one of them will contribute a bit of money to buy some food. It consists of boiled chicken, roast pork (Siu Yok), barbecue pork (Char Siew), fruits and desserts like cake or Kuih. My ancestor grave is still located in the surrounding area of KL and Selangor. Normally to avoid the crowd, my dad will wake up early, together with my uncles, aunties, some nephews and niece will hike for around half an hour carrying foods and some hardware like a small shovel and knife. This is used to cut the grass which has grown since their last visit. After cutting, cleaning and sweeping the grave off grass and dust, they will actually offer the food and some “hell money” or other stuff that is similar to our world like house or cars but it’s a smaller version and it’s made of paper.

After a while, (I am not sure how long, there should be a time limit if not they might not have eaten yet) the food that was offered will then be eaten. My Dad and the gang will just use the edge and the surrounding block of cements that is around the grave as “stools” to rest and enjoy the food. It’s like a picnic. There are normally some left over of “Siu York” or “Char Siew” that my dad will bring back. We will then cook it as a dish for our dinner with some soya sauces and vegetables.

I am not sure how this Han San tradition started but I guess it could have started with an objective in mind. That is to use it as a reason to gather all the family members from various corner and places around Malaysia, just like the reunion dinner during CNY eve which I have posted in my previous posting. Or is it "they" ideas to ensure that the grave will at least looks tidy and neat for a month or 2 before the grass with the help of the sunlight and rain covers its “occupant” again.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Volvo Used Car Fair



Yesteday my wife is not around, she is still in Thailand as there is a book fair at Queen Sirikit. I just heard from her that she has bought 30 books. I do notice that majority of thais love to read books. So this weekend I am a MBA (married but available). After eating my Soo Kee (Self cooked) Fried Mee Hon with Chicken and egg, I went to the Swedish Marques Sungai Besi Branch as there is a Volvo Used Car Fair, it is organize by Premier Auto House.



I am in the “look see” stage for a new or good quality used car. So when I was there I skipped the S40, V70, S70 and the 940 and headed straight to the S60 and S80 area. All the S80 looks a bit old; the interior is quite bad and most is around 5 years old. The S60 looks more new, its interior looks clean and presentable. The price is reasonable and it’s around 4 years old. The only thing that stops me from tying myself for the next 7 years with a car loan is the color, its gold.

Well I am not fan of Gold Finger, hence I just admire the next car beside it which is a one year old S60 T5. It fits the characteristic of a good quality used car but the price is not what I have budgeted for. So after a few extra glances at it I decided to just wait for tonight toto or lottery draw, who knows I might strike and become a millionaire instead of a million-hair man.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter day and Aniston & Brad is divorcing

Happy Easter Day, a day commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am a Buddhist hence I do not actually understand the importance of Easter day, Easter eggs, and bunnies but I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everybody Happy Easter Day. Have fun painting the eggs, kids.

I just flipped through the paper and I saw an article that has its header printed Aniston files divorce papers. They are the golden couple, one “Leng Chai” and one “Leng Niu”. For whatever reason now they might become the most available man and woman on earth. Who can forget the stylish hair of Aniston and of course other interesting parts of the body, hahaha. Of course for the girls, Brad, the well toned body. Well both of them will be legally on the “Singles market”, too bad I am married else…….

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Hazy Retreat and Highland Resort


Yesterday the haze has made a retreat. Let’s hope it stay hiding for at least some time. This picture was taken almost at the same time and location. You could see the Maybank building and KL tower is quite visible although it was drizzling at that point and my ever not so clear windscreen, hahaha. I thought of posting a follow up to the haze condition to ensure that if there are non-Malaysian that drop by at this blog they will at least know that the haze is a once in a while incident and not the norm in Malaysia.

It seems during the recent F1 at sepang the commentator was also talking about the Haze. Tourism is not the main income for Malaysia but we still need the additional flow of “leisure and pleasure money” from tourist. Malaysia do have a quite a number of interesting place to visit. I personally love Genting Highlands, I have been there a lot of times. It’s the only place in Malaysia that has a legal casino. It’s situated on top of the hill; it’s about 5,000 plus feet above sea level which made it quite a “cool” place to be in.

My family is not known to have spare money to travel to anywhere except within Malaysia. Malaysia is at the equator, so the weather is quite hot. Genting highland provides us the option to at least have the feeling of being in another country with the “cold” weather as attraction and of course the casino. We used to take the earliest bus up, its road was winding and quite dangerous during those days but the mist cough up by the trees that situated beside the road draws away our fear and provides us the perfect background for our 1.5 plus hours journey.

When we reached there, we will head straight to the lake and indulge ourselves on Malaysia best culinary discovery which is nasi lemak, bought from the market (near our house) by my mom. The Nasi Lemak is a bit spicy but with the temperature at somewhere 18-20 degrees Celsius, it’s a fusion of hot and cold. Umm, yummy!


I manage to find a photo of me and my sister posing beside the lake. Do you guys remember my posting called my cowboy suits. Those high boots that I was wearing is the same one that I was referring to in that post. Isn’t it retro?

Now after so many years it has the longest cable cars rides around South East Asia, if not Asia and its still one of the few highland resorts that has a theme park and casino. Click on to Genting Highlands.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Terri Schiavo – Rights to Live Or Die

There is a lot of coverage on the case of Terri Schiavo, she suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when a chemical imbalance caused her heart to stop beating for a few minutes. Since then she has been in a persistent vegetative state and staying alive with the help of a feeding tube. That tube was removed on 18th March 2005. Refer to CBC, BBC and MSN news. There is a website called Terrisfight created by a foundation which contains a lot of materials.

Terri Schiavo could not speak nor make any signs to make any decision. So who has the rights to determine and decide if she could continue to live or die? Spouse, parents, sister/brothers or courts? Some may argued, is lying on the bed for 15 years called living.

When I was in my early 20’s, my mom passed away due to Oral Cancer. During her last week as a “human”, her condition has worsened until she has difficulty in eating. We decided to admit her into the hospital as we felt it is more equipped to accommodate such situation. A few tubes were inserted into her, to feed and to help her breathe. She was very weak due to constant medical morphine that she has consumed to ease her pains.

I was at her side during her last few days; during that time she constantly tried to tear away the tubes that are keeping her alive. This resulted in her hand being tie to the bed railing by the nurse. Even then she still moves her hand weakly trying to break free. Although she could not actually speak but I could feel the pain she suffers through her eyes. I tried to calm her by touching her hands and legs, which I felt is the only way to make her forgot about the suffering.

Until the very last day, the doctor walks in and told us that medically there is nothing he can do anymore. She will be passing away soon. He said, “Now is the time that you all as a family to decide. Do you want us to take away the breathing tube now or wait until ‘later’?”. My mom was still trying to break loose as we speak. The feelings of letting her go hit us hard. Although my mom is hot temper but she is a kind person, who helps almost anyone who came to her. Is it possible to still have a miracle at this stage? By unplugging the tube will immediately cease that hope.

After discussing with my father and sister, we decided to free her of the tube and the cloth that was tying her hand. She did not struggle at all after that as though she agreed and happy with us on the decision that we have made. After few hours, she slowly and gently gasps her last breath.

I know it’s difficult to let go sometimes as we do always feel there is always a chance. As we have lived together and love her for so long but there are times we could not do anything but to let go. Let her go peacefully to some place whereby there is no suffering or pain. In situation like this we should not look at how we feel but we should look at how they feel. They might also be reluctantly to let go, to let go the company, the love, the warmth and other physical needs. There is no right or wrong, correct or incorrect decisions in this kind of situation. As either way is the love of one person that are in play.

I hope Terri Schiavo will find her peace finally no matter what happens next.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Haze is back again


The haze is back again in KL. I am also having a high fever as of yesterday. Its 38.0 cc, I am actually on Medical Leave today. I hope this time around the fever will not last long. I was caught in the rain on Monday. It could be the rain that is causing my fever or it could be the haze again. I took this photo using my nokia 6600 in my car yesterday at 6 pm. You could see that the maybank building and KL tower is barely visible.

According to STAR paper, it is caused by peat fires. This time around the visibility is worst then last time, hence I am not very sure if what is reported is totally the truth but if not where is the haze from? I am not sure why KL is always having this problem. If I did not enter any entries in my blog for the next few days, it means my fever is still running. In the mean time I will boiled some barley and get some vitamins and hopefully my fever will goes away, hahaha.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A great blog about everything Thai

I have been reading this blog that talks about thailand culture, life in thailand, beliefs and etc. I have been visting it quite frequently. I have decided to create a link in my blog roll for it. Its quite an interesting blog to visit. You can learn a lot of things that most of us "farang" will like to know. I think even local thais might learn a thing or two over there, it is called Thailand Blog and Photo Album.

Marvin's Corner

I have just added another colleague blog on my blog roll / photo link. It is called Marvin's corner. He has just posted a picture of some of my colleague including Lee Cheen Siong who is currently in Beijing.

Equinox is to blame

The weather is relatively very hot this few days. I thought it could be due to something called Equinox but it seems it might not be as reported by Star Paper. I have heard that there is a study done recently that has concluded that during hot season, a person tends to grow impatient faster. There are even suggestions that during hot season more murders are reported. The normal mundane conversation that you usually have will possibly cause a big argument.

I personally think ya it could cause some hair pulling, unnecessary tongue lashing, change the usually reasonable boss to a demanding one, bad mouthing, famous Austin 3:16 hand sign showing but to the extent of killing someone and blame the weather, well I guess that it’s too far fetched. This was actually brought up as there are a lot of publicities on road bullies recently. In most instances it resulted in death.

I believe the weather could actually change the mood of someone. Take a look at babies, if it’s hot, you could see that a baby tends to ask for more attention. Nowadays a lot of parents actually bring along their young baby to the shopping complex. I have seen baby that is barely few months old cuddling in the mother arms. I guess by walking in a cold environment, the baby will be calmer.

I am not sure what triggers the road bully to hit or kill another motorist but I personally do not think it’s the weather. The car has air-conditioned and it’s up to the driver to adjust it according to their likings. I personally think it’s the accumulation of what’s going on in their lives and mind at that moment. In the mean time I just blame it on the weather for my reluctance to do something about my boring working lives, hahaha.

Monday, March 21, 2005

UFO anyone?

I remember the old days when I am still an eagle eyed teenager there were always talk and reports of sightings of Unidentified Flying Object (UFO). What makes us attract to such stories, is it the mystery? The unexplained? The curiosity? I could still remember a newspaper report of one such incidence that happened around that time, somewhere in end 1970’s or early 1980’s. The image still resides at the back of my head until these days. It was on the front page of a local newspaper. It shows 3 flying objects near the vicinity of Dewan Bahasa.

My cousin’s house was just opposite the area. I used to be at my cousin house quite often as I was being tutored by my cousin then. I remember on that day, I was being punished for not doing my homework. As I was standing on a chair (hahaha), I remember I was looking out at the window and I still remember the sky was quite orangey, as it was at the point of time whereby the sun is quietly setting down on the horizon. The struggling and the outstretching of its lights against the invisible arm of the horizon that is trying to swallow it, has created the orangey effect. No, I did not see the UFO as it was reported to happen at around 10:00 Pm plus, hahaha. But I guess the sky was preparing itself for the arrival of this 3 UFO with the display of hues that was so beautiful.

After that there are repeated reports and sightings of UFO around KL and Malaysia. Even my school was not spared. There are reports of green creatures roaming around the woods near my school compound. I was told that this creature was slimy and it is 3 inches in height. I have tried to hunt for it, at almost every recess or break during that semester, however I am not successful, the only slimy green little things that I manage to see is the little toad that was jumping around after one early morning shower.

I have come across one interesting blog which has some pictures of UFO and also one interesting web site called UFO evidence. On the right hand side of this site, there is a column called UFO Photographs, click on it there are some amazing UFO photos that I have ever seen. So why wait just clicked on the underline words and off you go to hunt for some flying saucers and green little man.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Time to fullfill a dream - BMW with 7 year interest free offer.

Most of us will always dream of owning a nice and comfortable car. A car that can tell the world that you have “arrives”. Some dream of Mercedes Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar, volvo and etc. Now there is good reason for some of us to goes out and fulfills this dream. You do not need to dream anymore. Guys and gals wipe away the saliva and get ready, the day you have waited for has arrived. There is an offer of 7 years interest free on a brand new BMW 3 series by autobavaria. For those who can afford, this is a good time and opportunity to own “The ultimate driving machine”. I hope other car manufacturer or dealer will follow suit with more offers, then I might able to get my dream car.

However for those who likes newer model and can wait then hold on to your horses as a new 3 series is coming. I think the current E46 is on the way out. It will be replace by a new model, if I am not wrong it is E90. I think its look more update and refreshing as compare to the current one. I am not sure when it will reach Malaysia but it has been advertised on BMW USA website BMW USA. This website germancarfans shows some fantastic picture. In the mean time I will continue to dream and let my saliva drops until I strike lottery and own one of this beauties.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Interesting IPOD site and also Thai Fonts

As in my previous post I am a co-owner of an IPOD photo (40GB). However it cannot display songs in thai character, so for those who wants to do so click on to Pubble Blog and download a firmware. The site is in thai. I advise you guys to update the latest firmware or software onto your IPOD from the apple website first. If not you will need to redownload pubble firmware again once you updates it, so its better to have the latest updates from apple in your IPOD first.

There are also 2 interesting web site related to IPOD, IpodLounge and ExtremeIpod

Friday, March 18, 2005

F1 Race in Malaysia Sepang

The F1 Race is back again in Malaysia, the race will be on this coming Sunday. The practice session and qualifying is on today and tomorrow. I am not really keen in F1. I am not sure why but there are some colleague of mine who loves it, like Lee Cheen Siong and some others.

What is so fascinating about cars that are running in average speed of 230 + KM/H? Is it the sound of the engine roar or the F1 Girls? The guys always linked speed and cars with girls. Just look at the auto show, somehow or rather there are girls standing side by side with the cars. What is the common thing between them, Dangerous or Beautiful or the mystery?

Or some would said it’s the way a driver tackle the circuit and the way all crew members work together, for example to ensure a fast pit stop and engine properly tune. Even the diet of the driver will be carefully taken care of. All of this needs a very discipline and highly motivated team.

Last year race in Sepang was won by Michael Schumacher, 2004 was his year. Who will be the winner this time? Will it be Michael Schumacher again who crashes out in round one in the recent Australia circuit?

The next F1 race will be in Bahrain 3rd April.

Annsyc, who is this person?

Net has given us the capability to get in touch with friends, colleague and families. Blog, is a way to provides an opportunity to updates them on “What’s up or going on” in your life.

I know a colleague for more than 5 years; we have worked together before on a project for one of the local banks. Recently she passes me her yahoo photo web site. She is known as Annsyc, for those colleagues of mine who likes to find out, who is she?, click to do so. I have also added it in my link under “BlogRoll / Photo”.

I wish to create a list of links of all my friends, colleagues and families who has photos posted on the net, blogs, homepage and etc. on my blog. This allows me to view and find out “What’s up or going on” in their life. So drop me a comment or what I called brain fart if you have any.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Does Love know no boundaries?


The majority of us in one part of our life will meet up and encounter something which we so profoundly enjoy and despise which we called Love. Either we are the one being loved or we love another person. What is love? It is something that all of us “think” that we have felt it, we have hold and embrace it before. The feeling of walking on clouds when you are in love, the feeling of “Leave me alone” when you are out of love. If all of us have one way or another felt it and knows about it, so its there a simple explanation on the meaning of Love?

Our parents love us no matter how we look and behave. When we seek love, do we look at how tall, how big is their eye, and how proportionate is their body. Or do we feel it, the feeling of a deep tender feeling and the vibes that we have when you are together with your “potential”. The feeling of “she or he is the one” that you will spend the rest of your life with. If it is the way we feel but how come there is phrase called love at first sight and not love at first feel. Does our eye tell us that we are in love or our heart tells us that we are in love? Will our brain ever interfere?

Our brain will actually intercept all the feeling, the sights and will then conclude. Will our brain conclude based on our experience like our past love that causes us pain and joy, our history, our origin, our race, potential pitfalls and etc? Eventually which part of our body will win, heart, eyes or brain? There is a movie called Sepet (just click on it), it is a love story, an inter-racial love. Does Love really know no boundaries? Is there a lot of Ah Loong and Orked around?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Family potrait - A pictorial view of generations


My sister has put an old family photo in the cupboard which is situated outside her room. I was there the other day when my wife was printing her time sheets. I glance at the photo and some old memories came back. This photo was taken in a restaurant. We used to go there to celebrate my Grand Father birthday together with all my uncles, aunties and cousins. When we were young, there are not much worries, we do not need to worry about money, work, girls (umm I think no worries also) and etc. You could see the joyful, carefree look on my face.

As we grew older, the relationship in the families will definitely change. The small little toddler that our parents once hold has grown bigger and it’s ready to “Fly” off. Some said the son will become someone husband once they are married. And once that happens; the son will always listen to his wife instead of the parents. That is after the parents have nurtured them well to become a good man, all of this benefits the wife. The daughters that got married are like water thrown out from the door, it will never come back in.

How many sons that is married stays with their parents? When they are married they will need to start a new chapter and build their own family. It’s quite difficult to stay together with the in-laws. They will be issues like clash of identities, characters and behavior which will increase the possibilities of having the son standing in between the parents and the wife. There are also instances the sister and brothers join in the equation, each of them cannot stand each other and will be at each other throat if the laws and time permits.

The daughter will normally and definitely move out and stay with the husband. There are rare instances that the daughter after married will stay back with her own families. This normally is considered a no no and a stigma in our Asia Societies. This means the husband has yet to reach certain financial stability to take care of its own family. In general circumstances the daughter will stay together alone with the husband and she will comes back once in a while on weekends for dinner. The visits frequency will changed from weekly to monthly to festive occasion or when the parents are sick.

All of this is a cycle, your parents take care of you when you are young and when you get married and have your own children, and you will live separately and take care of them. Some where in the middle, you will take care your parents when they are in their twilight years. So those who has family photo, could see the progression. It started with photo that shows your parents and you. The next one should be you and your children and then the following should be you, your children and your parents and it will continue from one cycle to another cycle. In most homes, normally this family portrait is seen hanging on the wall or on the shelves of some cabinets. It’s a pictorial view of generations.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Rotated Google

Another interesting sites which have some weird and funny stuff.

Here is one a Rotated Google (just click on it). You could also explore Other stuff there.

A blog by a cancer patient

An interesting site, the description from the site as below

“.. is the record of a journey. Brief or Extended, it begins with the discovery of cancer as an unrealized companion.”

It’s a blog by a cancer patient who was told that he has three-months to live.

Click on Donel McCLellan

Oh! Car Driver

Most of us commute around using cars. Occasionally I have seen drivers that puff while they are driving, drivers chit chatting with the passengers and oblivious to the surrounding, drivers honking unnecessary and a lot of funny behavior.

I think what irritates me most is driver that has his hand dangling on the side of the car. Some with the cigarettes in between their finger and some with nothing in their hand. This might be their way to show that they are a great driver, driving with one hand. The only problem is that most of the times, while doing so they will be actually right smack in the middle of a 2 lane road, causing cars to patiently follow at the back. Or they might be working on their tan on their arms and hand.

In my younger days when cars do not have aircon, I might be thinking that they need to do so to dry their perspiration in their underarms or to let it drip down their arms to the ground. Nowadays there is also a trend whereby accident might not kill the driver but angry drivers do kill you. So be careful if you accidentally knock someone car, you might survive the accident but you might not survive the outrage of the other driver.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Force Of Nature - Concert for Tsunami

A charity concert aim at raising funds for Tsunami-hit countries will be held on March 18 2005 at Putra Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, groups like Black Eyed Peas, Boyz II Men and singer Lauryn Hill will be performing at the concert. There are also local Malaysian artiste like Sheila Majid and others. It caught me by surprise to see black eyed peas performing. Malaysia is quite famous in banning foreign acts. I have not seen much interesting performer in Malaysia, occasionally there are but compare with Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia we are just scratching the surface and its peanut in numbers.

I personally have seen 2 concerts, one is the Osmonds and the other is Bryan Adams. I have listen to music, some lives music CD in the comfort of my own room (with the doors close and lights off) but nothing compares with the feeling someone feels in an actual “Live” show. It brings out the “Wild” side in you. Your leg will starts to shake like Elvis and your hand will wave around like you are asking for help if you are stranded in an island and saw a plane above you.

We are Malaysian and you know lah we are the shy type, even when we sang in the toilet we will make sure our neighbors could not hear it. If you are in a concert and you could see the people around you starts to sing or I should say shouting out the lyrics of the song, you will feel less inhibited and I can guarantee that you will then shout and out shout the guys beside you. You will wave your hand as though your life depends on it. If you have not been to one concert before, go for this one, going for the charity and for the “Feeling” of being “Wild”. After that you can return back home and become the shy Malaysian that most of us are. You will definitely not regret it. Click on http://www.forceofnature.org/

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Child sponsorship programme from World Vision


I have sponsor a child by the name of Songwut Saigaew via the world vision program of child sponsorship. He is a 12 year boy from Thailand. I just received a letter from him, Those who is interested in sponsoring a child do visit http://www.worldvision.com.my .

You can choose to sponsor children from country like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mymar, Cambodia and etc. It costs Rm50 per month which comes out to Rm 600 per year. This amount can be pay via credit card on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. World vision is found around the world. Look at the left hand corner of the Malaysian web site which linked to the international world vision site. In the meantime I will reply Saigaew letter in English and request my wife to translate. In normal circumstances World Vision will translate for the sponsor.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Gender Equality

Women day has just passed. Last week, the local radio station has been talking about the changed in our society view on women. There are a lot of discussions on roles that women play, mother to our child, lover, corporate leader, world leader, housewife and etc. In the past the belief is that women are always the weaker sex that belongs only in the kitchen. The person behind the successful man, who gives strength, supports and contributes ideas. That person has moved from the back to the front now and request to have same the treatment.

It’s the society ready for the changed? Frequently you heard comments like she must have slept with who and who hence she progress up the corporate ladder fast. She must be someone mistress, kept woman if not she will not be driving the latest Mercedes S series. You will be surprise that most of the times you heard comment such as this by a woman on another woman. Does a woman accept a man as a boyfriend or husband if he earns less, has lower academic qualification, less IQ and etc? What will be the society view if the husband is the one that stays back and look after the children, doing housework?

In the olden days you always heard that infidelity is a man game, now this honors is equally shared among both genders. As the weaker sex turns stronger and more powerful, instead of being the hunted, it has now become the hunter. They also drinks, smoke, love of speed, danger, the first one to declare their love, propose marriage, become prime minister, president, went to war and etc. The men have experience and enjoy all this and now it’s the women turn. After years on the top of the gender race, the men are relinquishing the post, slowing down and enjoy the view instead. After so many years I guess we have become more understanding, we have taste the sweetness and the bitterness of being on the top. I think of it as one long big scale from 1 to 100 percent, shares among the 2 genders. If one of the genders is not doing the housework, bringing up and caring the children, cooking and etc, the other will take over. It will be forever 100 and shared among both of the gender but the percentage will shift accordingly. There is a saying there is always someone doing the dirty job. It’s just a matter of who.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Firefox and thunderbird

I am have actually downloaded a copy of Fire Fox into my office PC. I am using it now. The reason I do so it’s that I came to understand that it is the next best thing after IE and there has been more than 25 millions copy downloaded by user world wide. I would like to experience it and see the difference between it and IE.

So far my assessment is that Firefox is a bit slow in loading the graphics onto the screen. There are also instances that it is different from what IE display. I guess it needs additional plug-in. The good things about it so far that I like it’s that there are themes that we can download. These themes change the outlook, layout, button in the browser. So if you are feeling a bit “off”, you can just change to something more energetic and funky. I am currently using a theme called Pinball.

Of course as it is open-source there are also numerous extensions that you can download and addon to Firefox. If you want to try it out, click here http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox . If you are one of the adventurous one, you can download the whole mozilla suite; it has the thunderbird email application as one of the components.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A big dinosaur destines to be extinct

Is big good? I used to be big in size but I cannot actually lift heavy weights or things. I am not that stiff but I am not very agile also. Does big corporation denote Good Corporation? Does a long established corporation denote Good Corporation? I used to open fixed deposit with one local finance company but it has merged some of its operation with its banking arm. The bank and finance belong to the same group and they have almost the same name except for the “bank” and “finance” word. The branch that I always go to has been closed down and all my accounts have been transferred to a branch that belongs to the banking arm. Luckily it is still within the vicinity of my house.

The bank is one of the biggest local banks and its ATM is found in almost every streets corner. It is one of the longest established corporations in Malaysia. I was at the branch near my house last week to put in some deposits and also update my fixed deposit accounts. I reached the branch at around 2 pm. It’s quite difficult to find a place to park as it’s situated at rows of shop lot. I parked at the back of the branch in one of those parking lots that requires coins feed to a parking meter. I put in enough coins to last for an hour which will be approximately 3 pm. So my wife and I leisurely walk towards the bank like a pair of young lovers out for an evening walk. We stop by at the 7/11 and bought a bottle of mineral water.

When I reach the branch, I was surprised as the interior was brightly lighted and on the right hand side which was partially enclosed contains around 6 ATMs’ and deposit machine. It has a number of customer queues at that point which is quite surprising. Right at the back of the reception contains a few tables and chairs which I guess looks like customer service and marketing department. “Apa nak, satu or lebih transaksi” a voice coming at the back of the reception, which means “What do you want, one or more transactions?”. To my surprise the voice belong to a woman who looks like a cleaner more than a bank staff. She wore a worn out head scarf and her sleeves is roll up to her arms. Anyway to me who cares, as long I got the queue number, so I told her one type of transactions and got a number that looks like the next number to be served.

As the branch operation is located upstairs, we quickly headed towards the staircase which is on the right. When we reach the first floor, our number has already been call, it is counter number 2. We headed straight to the counter. We hand over the FD slips for the update and we start to fill up the withdrawal form which is for our “New” FD. The teller while flipping the FD slips said that updating FD should be done at below and the number is different. So he is not going to perform the update transaction for us. So we told him the person below took the number for us and ask us to come up. So he went downstairs for almost 5 minutes and then he still repeat the same thing, “You got to go down and get a new number from button D”. So we ask why he could not perform the transaction as first reason is the number was given by the bank staff (cleaner or not cleaner, she was there) and second there is nobody at the back of us waiting. At that point I guess my blood pressure or whatever liquid starts to boil inside of me. My voice was crackling up and it was raised to a few extra decibels, in the end we give in and we went down and get a new number again.

There are a few things that were going through my mind at that point. How could a big and well established bank, has such a bad services towards its customer? How do they survive in such a customer oriented world? I was disappointed in Malaysia, a country moving forward as a third world country to a developed country still has such bad services and process in a big bank.

We went down and get a new number and we went straight to the back of the reception which we initially thought that it was some sort of customer service and marketing department. They do not look like a teller, after we went from counter to counter (or tables which is empty) for around a minutes, a lady wave us to goes upstairs. Well at this point in time, it looks like I am transferring from a mild manner human to a green beast. I walk up the stairs like a gun slinger ready to fire at anyone that blocks my way. Once I reached the upstairs, I bang the mineral bottle that I was holding into the table that was in the waiting area. The contact created a loud “Thud” sounds and the first word that comes out of my mouth was “Stupid Bank”. My wife starts to calm me down and after a few more “Stupid” from me, well its back to mild manner gentlemen.

When it’s our turn, the teller at counter 5 seems to say the same thing “This should be done at below”. My shirt start to feel tighter, my finger starts to roll together to become a fist, I guess the green beast is going to burst out from my body. My wife intervenes and after some exchange between the teller and its supervisor, the teller starts to perform the update transactions. That also he divides the FD slip to the teller beside him. As we also request to withdrawal some money to open up a new FD, we were also asked to fill up a form and put our thumb print as it is a inter branch transaction. I used to do the same process in the finance (my account is with the bank which is cross institution) but all I need to do is just fill up a withdrawal form and just pass an existing FD as an example and viola it was done less than 10 minutes. We spend more than an hour doing the same thing as I need to feed additional coins to the parking meter.

I think most of us will have guessed it correctly, the bank is Maybank. They are one of the banks who wanted to start charging a certain amount of fees for usage of their internet banking facilities, which caused a lot of dissatisfaction (even petition) among its customer and finally caused the central bank to issue a statement on the type of valid charges and fees that should incur to a customer. I suggest to them, that they should put the generation of number in the same floor as the operation to avoid causing any inconvenience to the customer. They do not even have any banking slips on the same floor; the slip is at the ground floor. As the current trend is putting emphasis on customer service and comfort, I hope Maybank will change its way and do not act like a dinosaur destines to be extinct.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Duck and dead breathing corpse and the conclusion to my checkup

To me the medical world has progress from merely X-ray machine to the likes of MRI, CT scan, PET scan and etc. All this aid a doctor to have a better diagnosis of a patient condition which are suppose to lead to better mortality rate. I am now schedule to have a check up every 3 months for recurrence for the next 2 years. I personally do not really agree on X-Ray machine which has just been recently (early this year) classified as cancer causing agent.

As I was sick last weak and it was time for me to have my checkup, I was at the Gleneagles X-Ray department at 9:15 am, Tuesday 1st March 2005. Of course I was accompanied by my lovely wife. The X-ray department is located at the ground floor near Gloria Jeans Coffee Shop. I approached the reception and was greeted by an Indian lady. The first thing that struck me was she has a crew haircut; it reminds me of the singer Sinead O’connor, the only difference is that she has a darker complexion.

I was summoned to the X-ray machine first; I guess a lot of people do not like X-Ray or maybe taking X-Ray is fast. It’s a piece of squarish metal and at the back of it, is a slot meant for the film. If the machine was not used for a while, you will get an initial tingling feeling due to cold metal plate when your bare chest touches the surface. You will need to expand your chest by putting your hand at the back of your waist. They will give you some weight to hold onto. You could try it out in front of a mirror now; just flap your shoulder a bit, aah you are definitely a cute little duck, hahaha.

Next up is the MRI, the room is near the CT Scan room. You could see the difference between these 2 rooms. Outside of the CT scan rooms you could see the radiations danger sign which is in bright red. As for the MRI room is just some wording saying that if you are having pacemakers, metal object, penile implant, huh! I guess if you have one and went for MRI, it will be one very interesting process, hahaha just joking.

MRI machine is like a long table with a small little cover on top of it. Some said it’s like a coffin and if you are claustrophobia you are advice to avoid it as once its starts to scan, you will be looking at the cover in close range, it’s about half a foot away from your nose. It is also a bit noisy. As for me, I do not mind all those things except for the breathing part as I will lay on the long plank (that looks like a table) and act like a dead breathing corpse as the machine will scan according to you breathing. I have had MRI twice, and each time I was asked to breathe faster which I hate. This time I ended up with my whole body getting numb from the breathing and it tooks 1.5 hours and worst of all, there are scan angles that turn up blur. According to my urologist is still fine as the other scan angles is clear.

My X-Ray, scan and blood result is all negative except for my white blood cell counts which is slightly on the high side as I was having fever, so it means I could be having some infection somewhere. My urologist recommended me to see a gastrologist for my burning sensation which he suspects also could be the cause of infection somewhere in my digestive system. Now I feels better, so in the mean time I guess, I and my wife got to bear with my occasional burping and farting due to wind in my stomach, hahaha.

I will be going for another round of checkup somewhere in June 2005. I guess this will be a routine thing for me, which I treat it as a waiting game. Wait and see…..

Monday, March 07, 2005

Life is like a nonstop musical chair

We have bought an IPOD photo; it is the 40 GB model. What prompt us to buy? Well I guess it’s something that I have personally looked forward to. My wife and me loves music, I guess a lot of us loves music. IPOD represent the future of music, it’s a convergence of lifestyles and music. It behaves like a fashion accessory. Projecting forward, I foresee it will be a multimedia gadget, I guess it will progress to be able to screen movies, consists of FM tuner, act as remote, able to load photo directly via SD, MMC card slot and etc. We were crisscrossing our mind whether to buy the basic IPOD which has a gray colour screen as compare to an IPOD photo which has a colour screen. In the end colour screen is the deciding factor.

The IPOD that we bought come with a free CD of Jacky Cheung. I am currently listening to it now. When we listen to music that we are familiar, it will bring back a lot of memories, good or bad. Along the path to our adulthood, we will definitely experience our first love, first kiss, the first time holding hands with the opposite sex, our love one departure, all of this directly or indirectly is accompany by music. When we are sad, we listen to music with the hope that it will lift our spirit. Our life is like one big musical chair play going on and on, we are just players. There are times, we will sit down, there are times we will stand up and walk around happily or sad and of course each of us will be foul out, finally. Occasionally new players will join in. In the mean time I will continue to listen to the soothing sound from Jacky Cheung which is filling up the air waves now, it reminds me the first time I feel “Love and Freedom”.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

My visit to my urologist

It looks like my fever has begun to subside. I could not said that I am back to my normal self but at least one “thorn” is out of the way. I hope it stay that way for a while, at the very least enough time for me to get something done. I went for my 2nd checkup in 6 months for recurrence; this is partly due to the fact that I was having fever, unusual color phlegm and etc which could be a bad sign for us, cancer patient.

This whole week I was practically around Gleneagles hospital for almost few days. I was at my primary doctor (urologist) on Monday 28th Feb. His clinic is actually one of those clinics that ooze with class. When you reach the door, you could sense that this is not your normal general physician that our mom took us to. The door is always electronically locked, you will need to ring a bell and if you look sick or pleasant looking or familiar, the nurse will let you in. If you look like some thugs that are ready to pounce on unsuspected nurse to buy your daily bread, then you might be standing out there for sometime or ended being screen by securities for illegal weapon or substance. As there is a Video Camera that records your every move and if the nurse is satisfy with your look you will be let in.

The waiting area although is shared with a gynecologist has quite a number of expensive dark brown leather seats. It’s quite spacious, and I dare say it might have been designed by an interior designer. Maureen the ever friendly nurse greets me, “Aiyah how come you did not come last week”, umm did my fever burn my brain cells as I did not recollect that I ever did booked any appointment, I replied, “There is no appointment, what..”. Out reach her friendly hand with a small little bottle, “As usual, half fill will do” she said. The bottle which is slightly 2 inches in height and one inches in diameter with its flamboyant yellow cover, is something which I have got accustom to when I am there.

I headed straight for the toilet, unbuckling my belt. After losing more than 35 pounds, my belt is the only resistance that is preventing my pants from falling down. Outgoes the water, which has been in my body for the past 2 hours into the bottle with the cute little yellow cover. According to my doctor, urine analysis should be in all the clinics as it’s a useful tool to determine sign of infection or blood in the urine. My results were all negative which is good.

As usual during my checkup, my doctor will also uses ultrasound to scan my bladder, right kidney, gall bladder and liver. Outgoes the blue gel into my body and there goes the scanner probing my pelvic and abdomen area. This time around he found that my gall bladder is a bit full. I am not sure what it meant but he said just wait for the MRI scan to confirm. He said this could probably cause the burning sensation on my back, right hand side. He also took a blood sample to check for my renal, liver function and also a full blood count. I spend almost 30 minutes in the doctor’s room. Next of course is the MRI and chest x-ray results.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Marathon Fever and bull & horse headed men

For a week plus I have been having fever, sore throat, running nose, dry eyes, gassy feelings and of course the now permanent “Illness in my body” the burning sensation on my right. The fever seems to be in a marathon, it’s not the type of fever that could fry an egg but it’s those that it’s enough to make you feel weak and fatigue. It is around the region of 37.3 to 37.5, and it’s on and off. It normally occurs in the afternoon and evenings.

What alarms a lot of my concern relatives (my cousin) is when I complain of having brownish phlegm in the morning, which possibly could be blood. After a night of “deep and unproductive” brain cells burning activities and some frantic phone calls from my cousin, I decided to go and visit my family doctor (last Wednesday). As this is the first time that after my kidney was removed that I felt sick, although there are occasional fever (which disappear after a day) and the early morning sneeze during this 6 months but this time is different as I felt tired. I do not feel like running to my primary cancer care (my urologist in this case) every time I feel sick as even a normal healthy person will have its “off” day.

So after spending the morning in the office, I drag my small butts to my family doctor which is near my house. The place looks a bit different after the last time I saw him, it was last August when I went and ask him for recommendation and referrer to specialist for my then possible Kidney Cancer. The normal brightly lit aquarium that fill with healthy fish on the right hand corner of the reception now only consists of one unhealthy belly facing the sky fish which still manage to occasionally swim around.

I was prescribed with cold & cough pill, cough syrup, panadol and water to gargle for my sore throat. The advice he gives me is to just follow up with my normal 3 monthly check up which was due already. Actually I have been having this type of recurrent marathon fever since when I am 19 years old. The first episode lasted almost a month plus, my weight drop for more than 20 pounds but the fever was in the range of above 38c.

My mother took me to a dozen of doctors with no result. My foot was swollen with all the antibiotics, panadols and the colorful pills that was force down my throat but the fever still remains in the high range. Of course there is the usual Chinese way of curing fever such as this. My mother friends actually uses flour and mix it up with something (I cannot remember) to become a dough. According to the belief if the dough was rubbed in my chest area and if there is hair stuck to it, it means I was suspected of having some kind of sickness. The more hair the better I will become but unfortunately nothing was stuck to the dough.

I am not sure how I was cured but I do remember that my mother told me that if I am still having fever I will be send to the hospital. On that night itself and after the pill popping session, I was drifting in and out of sleep when I heard some weird sounds. The sounds grew nearer and nearer until it becomes clear to me that it is actually the sound of chain being dragged across the floor. It suddenly stopped when the sound was as though it was just a foot away. The next day my fever subsided below the 38 c range and gradually my temperature becomes normal. Until this very day I am not sure if I am dreaming or is it the Bull and the horse “headed men” was at my bedside. As normally Chinese beliefs when someone is dying the bull and the horse “headed” men will actually chain the soul and takes them to hell.
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