This is a good business in India…

This will be my 183rd post for 2005 (last one for the year)…

Any aspiring businessman should look at this business – providing public transport service in India. For simple reason, it seems like there is not enough buses to go around (all pictures taken by my sister when she went to India for a tour)

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(Sardine packed “school bus” – schoolchildren going to school on an Auto. One more children in the Auto and I am sure it will do a wheelie)

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(There are plenty of rooms at the back and side of the bus – they designed the bus railings and bumpers for just that purpose)

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(Taking the bus on the outside is fashion here – just hope you don’t lose the footing there. If the back gets full, there is always plenty of room on the top of the bus)

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(Trucks not only can carry goods but it also can carry people, plenty of people but for fresh air, stand casually inches from the side of the door)
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P.s. There is no New Year Resolution from me but I share Din’s “very realistic New Year Resolution”. See you next year.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Other_Trips)
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Local Authority: Nothing is perfect but sometimes…

(I had to read it twice to believe it – an actual acknowledgement from local authority?)

In a time where the local authorities are being called various names like secret society, unfair and high-handed, I thought my complaint on the blocked drainage near my residential area to MPSJ would fall into deaf ears or be acted on after a long delay.

So, I thought of calling MPSJ, tell them about my problem and then blog about my experience with them. So, there I was at their website looking for the contact details when I noted something called “IResponz”. Apparently it has been there for sometime now but I must have missed it.

Then I thought of putting through my complaint online and then blog on ineffective the online complaint was. So I quickly clicked on the complaint page, clicked on drop down list of pre-defined category complaints, stated the area and a detailed description of my complaint and clicked “Simpan” to save the complaint. It was easy – it only took me less than 2 minutes. There was even a status page for me to keep track of the complaints made so far.

All this time, I kept thinking that although it was great to do things online, I had a strong feeling that no action will be taken based on my online complaint. I was so wrong

On the next day, I received a formal acknowledgement letter from MPSJ citing complaint reference number and details on my complaint for my records. A checking on the “IResponz” page indicate that they have checked on my complaint, provided details of their action taken and informed that the complaint is considered as closed. True enough, I checked on the area that I complained and the drainage was indeed cleaned.

The mechanism of responding to my complaint was fast and efficient, something I did not expect from our local authorities in view of the bad publicity that they have been getting. Nothing is perfect yet. My complaint on a bad road near my workplace to MPPJ on the other hand is yet to be act on despite appearing in Malay Mail Hotline twice and numerous calls to them.

It is high time that things go online and acted upon effectively & efficiently – MPSJ seems to have gotten it right at least for a simple complaint like blocked drainage. One thumbs up for MPSJ for now.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Governance)

Foot in the mouth – Malaysian recent examples

(Malaysia Boleh Juga!– Picture source: www.northcoastcafe.typepad.com)

I am back from my leave and the first thing that crossed my mind when I opened today’s papers is that Malaysian politicians surely know on how to make a fool of themselves

Let’s start with Datuk M. Kayveas

The PPP president is arguing that politicians were “playing safe” by not speaking up on corruption in these councils. He said “they know what’s going on, but they do not talk about it. They could be playing safe, or have an interest in a particular project.”

Yes, it is a good argument but then again, isn’t this the same guy who has been criticizing the local government without naming names? TheStar on Monday reported this: “Citing an example, Kayveas said there was a centre with badminton courts but the local authorities only allowed its staff and politicians to use the facility. Kayveas declined to name the local authorities involved in such practices”

Yes, you read it right – Kayveas declined to name the local authorities involved in such practices. So, is he playing safe too? Is he one of the politicians who are using the badminton court? It’s easy to make a general statement but when it comes to pinpointing someone or an actual cause, it seems like some “talk-cock” politicians can be real cowards.

Next, our very own Pak Lah (you are surprised? I was)

“Malaysians today are free to express their views and opinions,” Abdullah said in a recent interview with visiting foreign journalists. “We have a very strong majority of 90 per cent plus. I have allowed my backbenchers in Parliament to ask very tough questions.

I think Pak Lah is just talking about himself because the rest of MP does not share the privileges of able to express their views and opinions. Mind you that this statement was given by the PM in response to this question: “Is a Parliament loaded with Barisan Nasional MPs bad for Malaysia?”

So, am I calling the PM a fool for putting his foot in his mouth with that statement?

Let’s look at this incident that happened several days ago – the incident of the women senators being forced to vote for family law Bill.

“They are free to debate and speak their mind, but when it comes to a vote, they have to follow,” Nazri told a hastily called press conference.

So, yes Malaysians today are free to express their views and opinions but if you are unable to exercise your views and opinions, it is as good as not being able to express the views and opinions. “Is a Parliament loaded with Barisan Nasional MPs bad for Malaysia? Yes, if you have everyone following the whims and fancy of a party instead of the voters.

What about the tough questions that the PM mentioned, you ask? Well, it depends how tough it can get before it gets you suspended from the Parliament. Other times, tough questions can take a whole new meaning.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Malaysian_Politics)

December – a very unproductive month

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(A pick-up truck is faster than a racing car? Sometimes it feels that way in December especially if you are the racing car. Cartoon source: www.lasvegassun.com – copyright by Mike Smith)

For me, the month of December is not a productive month.

Firstly, this is the time where everyone suddenly “discovers” how many leave they have and go for extended leave to avoid the balance of the leave from being forfeited. One of them is me. I thought I have finished all my leave for the year until my Admin Head comes and tell me that I still have 4 more days in December. 4 days? That should be easy to take, right? Wrong. Because all in my department also “discovers” that they have extra days and submit their leave applications at the same time. So, it is up to the boss to decide who can be on leave and who will be the relief. I took 2 days off and I don’t mind forfeiting the balance 2.

Secondly, this is the time for the customer to wrap up projects & budgets. So, it is almost impossible to be getting a new project in this month. All will be pushed to next year – reason: to be under next year budget. Existing projects also slows down because people involved in the project is either on leave or busy relieving their colleagues. Even payments are pushed to next year to avoid upsetting the GL for the year.

Thirdly, after being very energetic run for almost 11 months, our body and mind slows down and will be urging for a break (this is where your “balance leave” comes in handy). So, even though we are in the office facing the computer, doing complicated computation on screen, we become too weak to digest the output. Some of us are in “alam maya” (dream world) for most of the time in office. Going back at sharp 5.00 pm is getting more frequent.

So, I will be off from tomorrow to next week Wednesday – so, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Event)

The unexpected “Christmas Gift” from MAS to “MAS”

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(MAS in the good old days when we were proud call it as our national carrier – Picture source: www.Airline.net)
Christmas was early in MAS; at least it was in the MAS Chairman’s office with a gift of RM1.5 million worth paintings to adorn his office walls

At times when MAS is increasing it’s airfare due to escalating expenses and keep posting huge losses, the last thing that we would expected from them is a RM1.5 million expenditure for some paintings. “Good” excuses were given by the Deputy Transport Minister of course – “maintain the stature of the place” and “the money came under MAS’ current expenditure”. He must been an idiot to utter the said excuses and expect people to buy it (sorry to say idiot but there is no other logical explanation). We won’t buy it of course but I can bet that some clowns in Parliament would with their eyes closed and open arms.

I wonder what kind of “benefit” the painting will give if it is placed in the MAS chairman’s office? MAS chairman Datuk Dr Munir Majid who has been in the news for coming up with some “drastic measures” to cut down cost, seems to pleasure him with a little luxury, a luxury of RM1.5 million. Oh course, we forget on the other “lame” reason given that it is part of the current expenditure. I suppose that the other unnecessary expense that is bogging down MAS is also part of the current expenditure? Way to go, MAS. At this rate, you will bleed yourself (and the nation) to death faster.

I admit that in the end it is a corporate decision of course – they can spend on whatever they want to spend but when the rakyat’s money is pumped into the company indirectly to keep it afloat, this is certainly going to raise our eyebrows. It demands a full accountability. If MAS had given RM1.5 million worth of air-tickets like what Air Asia have done, it would have been a better publicity to the carrier than just 3 paintings hanging in the Chairman’s office. The rakyat at least could have enjoyed something in return and propelled to support the carrier further.

Lim Kit Siang in his blog informed that Munir and Idris Jala told the Parliament that MAS is considering selling the paintings. Note the word – “considering”. If the allegations in MGGPillai are true, the resale value of the paintings may not even fetch couple of thousands of ringgit, it may even just cost RM300. That is a shortfall of almost RM1.2 million, down the drain. Lim Kit Siang asks who is going to bear the cost on the shortfall. Munir? Very unlikely! The rakyat? You are right on there.

So, is the RM1.5 millions is just a tip of iceberg or more “Christmas Gifts” are on their way for Munir and his gang in MAS?

Read the allegations on how MAS is wasting rakyat’s money with Munir’s free for all expenditure and Chris Andrews appointment at MGGPillai at here and here. . Fact or fiction? Judge it for yourself and you are left to wonder whether the Deputy Transport Minister is telling the truth to the Parliament?

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Governance)

My Top 6 Steps for the Beauty Of Motorcycling

motorcycling

(Honda CBR600RR used to be my dream bike ever since I saw it for the 1st time in an UK motorcycling magazine. However the nearest Honda that I could ride on was the classic, low powered Honda Cub. Picture source: Wikipedia )

Aren’t you just amazed on how someone can balance themselves on 2 wheels at 90 km/h?

Ya, there is the law of physics and all that but really, try sitting on a bike and take the feet up. Unless you already know use the bicycle, the chances are you will be leaning to one side and fall.I used to love motorcycling – when I was riding on one. These days, I just hate them – the riders, not the machine. There have been few close calls between them and me.

My brother & my cousin is still riding a bike to work and I am praying for the day when they can finally sell off their bikes & drive a car. It is less adventurous but to some degree, safer.

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Christmas Meme with a twist

(I got this in my email this morning – not sure who is the cartoonist but there is truth in cartoon. Funny but real. It is early to say this but in case I forget – I often do – “Merry Christmas”)

Yvy said this about me on her blog: “BJ (Coz I’ve NEVER tagged him yet and I haven’t seen him do a meme before)”. The meme consist the following:-
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a. State who tagged you
b. List who you want your Santa Claus to be (the bearer of the gift)
c. State the gift you wish to get
d. Then invite a few friends to join the tag and inform them by dropping a comment in their blog
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Sound simple enough. Well, for Christmas sake and being a Monday, here it goes:-

If I am Balajoe (wait a minute, I am Balajoe!)

a. Yvy
b. It does not matter as long as I get my gift

c. 2005 Ford Focus 1.8 (full specs) and RM3,000 cash for petrol & speeding tickets
d. Done that – if you are my friend but did not see such comments in your blog, it will be there the next time (“scout’s promise”)

If I am a Proton Iswara SE

a. My Master (who else?)
b. My Master (do I need to explain again?)

c. Monroe Racing Suspension Kit, 4 new Bridgestone Turanza tires, a new CD player and…my master’s Christmas wish does not come true (*evil smile*)

If I am Lim Kit Siang

a. A “fed up with BN crap” Voter
b. Voters

c. Having a sizeable opposition party representation in the Parliament to do a proper check & balance on the Government

If I am the victim in the Squat gate incident

a. A policeman (I feel ashamed and angry)
b. God (Can’t trust anyone else these days)

c. The policeman to do the squat, naked, in front of the Royal Commission and then thrown off from the police force (I volunteer to give my MMS handphone to record it)

If I am a BN MP

a. A “blur-blur on real issues” Voter
b. Pak Lah (that man has the final say, as usual)

c. Another 5 years to clown or monkey (I am not sure which is more fun to do) around in Parliament

And finally…not forgetting

If I am Santa Claus (oh, I look like one from the stomach point of view)

a. A pretty Santarina…err, Mrs Claus. I said Mrs Claus
b. Santa Claus? I am tired of that name. Can’t we just use DHL?
c. I can get a good night sleep on Christmas Eve (can you imagine the traffic on a holiday eve?)

Merry “a very advance” Christmas

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Event)

Gambling – only at 4D shops?

(This is extreme case of gambling – cartoon source: www.cartoonstock.com)

I was at my neighbourhood 4D shop yesterday – I rather call it “investing”So there I was patiently waiting in line to purchase the numbers when I overhead 2 Indonesians talking to each other. It was an interesting conversation (translated into “Manglish” for convenience sake):-

Indon 1: Isn’t gambling forbidden in Islam?

Indon 2 : Everyday also we are “gambling” lah

Indon 1 : Where got lah – this is my time coming to the 4D shop, you know?

Indon 2 : What I mean was we gamble with our life to avoid being caught for coming to Malaysia illegally

Indon 1 : Ya, true also (while looking around)As I walked back from the 4D shop, I saw some cars were speeding on the highway and thought to myself, are the drivers gambling too – gambling with their life by driving recklessly? I wonder whether they will be classified as “gambling” under the eyes of religion

So, the question is does gambling is only confined to 4D shops and casinos?

The Indonesian has a point there – when we take “un-calculated chances” in any situation, we are gambling. Some times we just lose money, other times we lose our life.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Opinion)

Want to be first class sportsmen? Don’t train in Malaysia!

(Najib congratulating Nicol – to have the right sense not to train in Malaysia? And who is that in the middle? Picture source: The Star)

Najib should be our Sports Minister. No, I am serious. He should be since he made 2 valid points about sports excellence in Malaysia.

The first was in February when Najib said that Malaysia did Vijay Singh a big favor by not granting him permanent residence. The underlying message: Don’t be a Malaysian if want to excel at international level?Now, Najib made another remark, that the local professional athletes should emulate World No 1 woman squash player Nicol David by training overseas. The underlying message: Don’t train in Malaysia if want to excel at international level?

I say he has valid points because if you are a Malaysian and you are really good at sports, the chances are you will have difficulty in excelling in international level. Huh? Reasons are plenty and it does not take an expert to list it down. Oh what a heck, I will list down some of it out anyway:-

1. Officials are more important than sportsmen

Ya, you heard me right – only in Malaysia, being an official is better than being a sportsman – paid holiday & exclusion of any wrongdoing. Remember the issue of the ratio of participants to officials to the Sea Games in Manila which was at a ratio of 1:1.75? So, money that could have spent for sportsmen training, coaches and facilities was used for “sight-seeing expenses” for the officials. That matter has been swept under the carpet in light of Malaysia’s “good” performance in the Sea Games.

When the team fails to achieve (why I am thinking football here, hmmm), the players & often coaches are sacked immediately whilst the officials are retained to warm up the seat for another season (did you realise any “major changes” in FAM recently? No?)

2. Sports is not a big time business

I am not talking about Sports Toto here (it is big business alright). That’s not it. The issue is sponsorship and our rally champion, Karamjit Singh had learned it the hard way. I don’t blame the companies for not sponsoring our sportsmen – there is little exposure in some of the sports which means not much of publicity and some which has good exposure such as Formula 1 demands a very high sponsorship.

Lack of sponsorship from private companies means the Government need to fork out the cash for the training and facilities either directly or through GLCs like Petronas. A lack of support from the Government in turn means promising athletics to bid good-bye to sports forever.

Unless of course, if you are the local authority – you can hold “ransom” taxpayers for your little fun in games. Free money without any accountability?

3. World class facilities but not at where it is needed the most

We built great stadiums (originally for a main sporting event but later turned to held rock concert, carnivals and cheap sales for festive). Stadiums are built in faraway places where one needs to take at least 2 buses or the LRT or drive down through the traffic jam. It’s ok because we want the place exclusive, right?

But the neighborhood fields (where it matter most) are deemed too priceless to be allowed to remain as the “breeding ground” for potential sportsmen & future national sports hero. Development for new housing project or hawker is more important than a “wasteful” activity called sports.

4. Sports is not important career

Participating in sports is ok as long as you have a real job to fall back for your income – this is what most parents will say until they see the Govt gives Nicol David 200,000 cash and immediately they start packing their kids to start playing squash. I don’t blame them because I will say the same too. In Malaysia, there is no such thing as full time sportsmen or jobs related to the science of sports

Of course the Sports Minister can say fine words like “make sports a career” but how many companies are willing to take sportsmen on a full time basis. In my previous company, a friend of mine who represented Malaysia in sports was actually reprimanded for being away on an international assignment for the country (My friend still working for the company but stopped from being a sportsmen to focus on his real job)

5. Malaysian Sports are ran by “professionals”

Take a good look at our Sports Associations and tell me how many of it is headed by ex-sportsmen, coaches or people who are passionate about sports. Not many from the last time I counted. Now tell me how many is headed by politicians, public servants (some retired) and royalty. Some like the MHA (hockey) is well managed and has bravely maintained a good standard but others like FAM, people are still looking for an answer for degrading quality. The question is how professional sports in this country are being managed.

There are other factors too – but the fact is to say that it is good for you if you train outside Malaysia is acceptable because you may not have the right challenges or facilities here at home but to say that it is good for you if you are not Malaysian is an utter nonsense

Until then, we have to wait for more “wise statements” from Najib and by the way, Najib, who is going to bear the cost of overseas training? Will we get 1:1.75 participants to official ratio again? I wonder

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Governance)

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