Gong Xi Fa Chai!

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(Sometimes when we are looking forward for the festive season, there are some who faces a bleak future. Story and picture source: The Star)
I wish all my friends, colleagues and readers a very Chinese New Year. It does not matter these days whether the festive is for a particular race or not. We all celebrate the holidays one way or another. For me, CNY is a good day to recover from the bad flu that I am having, get more sleep, watching good Chinese movies on TV and playing plenty of computer games

So, what holds for me in the Year of the Dog? Well, it does not look good. I am an Oxen (ok, Water Ox to be precise) and anyone born in the Year of the Ox may not be having a good year in 2006 (I have checked in 3 different sources and the result is all the same). I got this from somewhere and let’s see that again:-

Ox’s luck in 2006

No mincing of words, take cover! You may be facing some of the most intensive enemies’ fires for the next two years.

So for those working, learn to be a bit more flexible and compromising (damn, now they tell me – but it seems like I have no choice but to force myself to stay cool. There goes my road rage attitude towards queue jumpers & road hoggers)

Some oxen have good lottery luck despite suffering at work. Can punt a bit but not excessive (Ok, at least I don’t need to cut down much on my “investment” activities)

Relative to your business and career indices, romance luck is definitely much better. You will get many suitors and you look extra wonderful at night (Sigh, don’t they know I am married already? Not sure about this “looking good at night” thing but heck, who cares)

If you are hurt at work or business, get healing and comfort from your loves ones at home (Good thing is that my wife makes this great cup of tea to calm down. Oh sorry, I mean she is a great person to be for comfort – if she doesn’t have the time, well there is always a mug of beer to wash away the sorrows & stress)

Anyway, it seems like my life will tough for the next 2 years (I may do a post-mortem of this in the CNY 2007 if things are not so bad). Until then, enjoy your very long holidays and don’t drink & drive (if you must, drive and then drink).

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

Pak Lah – the Commissioner

In the NST yesterday, Pak Lah announced the formation of an independent body to monitor and receive complaints of police misconduct.

You know what, I was thinking of writing on how I can help Pak Lah to extend the “Commission” coverage to other areas. I was thinking about coming up with new potential Commissions like the Independent Satan & Black Metal Music Link Commission or the Independent Religion Conversion Headache SOP Commission or Independent JAWI’s “Fuck the Cabinet’s Directive” Snoop Squad Procedure Commission (in case he is going to form a new Commission, he can pick one from the list here).

Halfway through the draft, I thought to myself why bother? Don’t you think creating an Independent Commission is to take the heat away from the Government? The way I see it, Independent Commissions are part of a vicious cycle:-

1. Tragedy happens
2. The public knows the cause and whose heads need to roll
3. The public and the Opposition questions the Government why action not taken
4. The Ministers points finger at each other and exclude themselves by saying it is not under their Ministry
5. The Ministers take the easy way out by saying that it will be discussed in the Cabinet (in other words push the problem to PM and DPM)
6. The PM gets frustrated and decides to rest the case – he takes the easy way out by creating an Independent Commission
7. Until the Commission comes out with the findings, all critics are silenced since there is no point talking about it until the findings are out
8. Commission comes out with the finding and subject to the prerogative of the Government; it takes days before the public gets the details of the findings
9. Due to financial or more often political constraints, the implementation is slowed down and some are swept under the carpet
10. The public forgets or thinks that the Government has taken the necessary steps
11. Another tragedy happens and the cycle starts all over again

You get my drift?

The findings of the Commission are nothing new, so bother to appoint one in the first place. Was it to have an independent party investigating the cause of the incident? Acceptable reason but the thing is, the recommendations in end are passed back to the Government to implement. You know the rate of that. As Pak Lah mentioned, it is about 25% as at yesterday.

I guess the act of appointing Independent Commission is good but to drag on its recommendations seems self defeating (another incident or tragedy can happen in the meantime and it did – remember Squatgate?).

By the way Pak Lah, will there be an Independent Commission on Overweight Cabinet? We are interested to know the Commission’s findings.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Malaysian Politics)

Down the Smoking Alley


It was late in the evening.

I was working at my desk, going through the list of month end delinquent corporate clients when I got a call from my division head. He wanted to have a short discussion with the unit heads and managers before he goes off for a last minute management meeting tomorrow morning.So, there we were, all 5 of us walking towards his office with thick files in our each hands. I did not expect a boring session because unlike other division head, my division head was a very friendly, jovial guy who often looks at others (irregardless of race or rank) as his peers.

We quickly sat around a round meeting table in his room as soon as we entered. The division head joined us a minute later. For the 1st hour, it was a lively and serious discussion. Then my friend who also another unit head popped up the question “Boss, can I have a smoke?” The problem was then everyone in the room was a heavy smoker except for me.

My division head quickly ordered “teh-tariks” and “teh-os” for all us and brought in 2 ash-trays to the table. Soon, the air in the discussion area was filled up with cigarette smoke. The environment was unbearable for me because we were having the discussion in a closed air-conditioned room and I was having a bad flu. 10 minutes after they started smoking, my division head looked at me and apologized for the smoke. He told me that being a smoker, they can’t help it. They had to smoke when the need for serious thinking was required. The rest of them just smiled, acknowledging that what my division boss was saying was right.

Despite that, I was both distracted and disturbed by the heavy smoking in the room. My division boss in the end passed me a cigarette and asked me to starting smoking. It was joke but he had his point – why suffer as a secondary smoker (with 5 other guys puffing off the smoke on your face) when you can do the same as smoker. I of course turn his “offer” down – they stopped smoking for the rest of the session.

That was 4 years ago when I was still working in the bank…these days, I am working in “smoking–free” environment (thank God!) and it feels great. The only time I ever become a secondary smoker is when I go to a pub for a drink. So, for those who are trying to quit smoking, we understand your frustration (see the video below) but hang in there. It’s good for your health anyway.

By the way, I was “inspired” to write this after my lunch, after seeing a young girl (one of the college students) who took out a packet of cigarette and happily puffing away with her friends. Her lips were dark in color (No, I don’t think she had her dark maroon lipsticks on – it looked more like a stain) and whenever she smiled; her “very” yellowish teeth were very prominent to all. I lost my appetite after seeing that ugly toad.

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

20 Ringgit – enough for Dating?

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(Online dating is cheaper and less stressful too. Cartoon source: www.glasbergen.com)

For those who were listening to THR last Saturday, hosted by the witty DJ, Ram would know what I mean. Ram posed this scenario to the listeners and asked for their funny & creative replies:-

You have been very busy at work and have not gone out with your girlfriend for some time now. Your girlfriend calls you up suddenly in middle of the month and insists on going out on a date today. The problem is you only have RM20 in your wallet and the fuel meter in your car / motorbike shows “E” (that E for empty). What will you do?

It’s a mind boggling question, a situation that I myself have been in several times when I was starting on my work and dating my wife-to-be several years ago. Surprisingly there were several calls from the listeners with some “good” answers. Translated from Tamil into English, it sounds something like this:-

Listener 1 – Fuel up for RM10 (if using the car) or RM2 (is using motorbike) and the balance, buy plenty of junk food (chips, “asam-asam”, etc). Spend some quiet moment at some park or waterfall (Sounds real cheap but then again with RM20 in the pocket, who’s complaining?)

Listener 2 – Just say that you are sick and schedule the date to another day (preferably sometime after your pay day)

The best reply so far…

Listener 3 – Before meeting the girlfriend, give a miss-call to your buddies. When you meet your girl, first “lay” out impressive activities for the day – sightseeing to Genting, watching the latest movies, have lunch at fast food restaurant, etc. That to ensure you are serious about the date. At that time, your friend will return your call – act up as if there was an emergency and that you have no choice but to cancel the date. Reschedule to another day when you have the money (cover balik lah).

Listener 3’s idea was great but was a bit difficult to follow unless you are good actor and the return call from your friends comes in at the right moment (my friends normally don’t return miss-calls).

I would say that I was lucky to have a girlfriend (my future wife then) who understood my financial and time constraint (ok, most of the time). I would simply pick a day when I actually have the money to date. Ego plays a crucial part in managing expenses for dating – no way am I going to ask my girl to chip in. I know it is the new millennium and this things does not exist anymore right? Wrong – being a guy who want to impress the girl, what ever ideals there is, it is out of the window.

That was before marriage. Now, we just share our expenses most of the time – sometimes my wife would “belanja” me instead. It’s just that we have different priorities these days.

By the way, RM20 is not much these days. So think about the question again. How would you handle it with just RM20 in your pocket?

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Money)
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Banned XBOX 360 Ad?

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Once in a while, a great advertisement on gaming comes along and just blows us away. In reality, the hardcore computers gamers (like me) are at time living life as it is in the ad below. Enjoy it (from www. youtube.com)
(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Games)

How about this for a “good” resume?

This is part of an attachment that I got in my inbox today. Probably you have seen it before. It is funny whilst at the same time unbelievable. Someone had a great sense of humour!

There was a note attachment mentioning that it is from the Financial Post (Toronto) dated 23rd February 2001. You may want to enlarge it to see it clearer but this is what is says:-

Employment Wanted

Former Marijuana Smuggler

Having successfully completed a ten year sentence, incident-free, for importing 75 tons of marijuana into the United States, I am now seeking a legal and legitimate means to support myself and my family

Business Experience

Owned and operated a successful fishing business, multi-vessel, one airplane, one island and processing facility. Simultaneously owned and operated a fleet of tractor-trailer trucks conducting business in the western United States. During this time, I also co-owned and participated in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successful pot smuggling venture with revenues in excess of US$100 million annually. I took responsibility for own actions, and received a ten year sentence in the United States while others walked free for their cooperation

Attributes

I am an expert in all levels of security; I have extensive computer skills, am personable, outgoing, well-educated, reliable, clean and sober. I have spoken in schools to thousands of kid and parent groups over the past ten years on “the consequence of choice, and received public recognition from the RCMP for community service. I am well-traveled and speak English, French and Spanish. References available from friends, family, the U.S. District Attorney, etc

Looks familiar? Now comes the twist – read here to know the real story behind the above ad? Guess what, it is inspiring too.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Jokes)
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Other Perils of Basement Parking

When mention about the perils of basement parking, most of us would be thinking about Canny Ong who was abducted from a basement parking, raped and subsequently murdered.

Ever since the tragic incident, most of the operators of basement parking have improved the level of security (I said most). There are now frequent patrols by the security guard, CCTV that actually works and some sort of checking at the entrance. However, I still get request from some of lady colleagues to (ahem) “escort” them to the car because you will never know what is lurking behind some beat up Kancil (ya, my Iswara does not like Kancil either).

The other perils of basement parking that I am going to talk about has nothing to do with situation like Canny Ong. Nah, it is something that most of us don’t think much about it whenever we venture into the place called basement parking.

Stealth Driving

The good way to drive in a basement parking is to switch on the headlight, drive slow and stop at various junctions to ensure the traffic is clear. The idiotic way of driving is of course doing the reverse.

In basement parking where is the lights are dim and sight often obstructed by other parked cars & concrete beams, driving without a headlight makes it very difficult to distinguish between a stationary vehicle and a moving one. Further with 90% of the time, the drivers are too busy looking for an empty parking spot; it is unlikely that they will be watching out for the traffic (unless there are reserve parking lots waiting for them)

I have lost count of the times where near-miss happened when the other drivers cannot see a moving car (driven fast without the headlights switched on). On 1 – 2 occasions, I myself was almost run over by cars without their headlights on (I don’t think they were aiming for me but then again I won’t know)

Quality of Air

That right – the quality of air in basement parking. I am not sure about other buildings but at the place where I work at, the quality of air is just bad (despite the fact that building is still new). Dust, sand, exhaust fumes and get this – frequent dogs “waste” (ya, there are a group of dogs, from my last count – about 7, who often roam around in the basement parking in the late afternoons) had badly degraded the quality of air that we breathe from the moment we get down from out cars.

As the traffic in the parking lots is “heavy” in the morning and afternoon, I find the dust constantly being stirred up, forming an almost “misty looking” atmosphere. If I have parked near the exit, then all I have to do to hold my breath until I reach the exit. However, if I have parked far away, imagine the quality of air that I had to breathe while walking towards the exit. It is almost a Fear-Factor akin of desperation.

In my previous workplace, the building management actually cleans the parking lots with high pressure water every 6 months. In the current building, we hardly see any cleaners – after some complaints, the cleaners were back but they just do “touch-up” cleaning but the layer of sand is still there. Anyone who has parked their car for more than a day will find a good layer of dust on their car.

(Picture: It seems like the dogs “reserve” the parking lots to do their “business”. Our theory was that once it has dried up; it turns into fine dust, polluting the air in the basement parking, only to be taken in by us when we breathe. Ouch, what a disgusting thought!)Despite of the above perils, I still prefer basement parking. I do. It is safe (for my car of course – I don’t think people dare to “kacau” me because I myself look like a killer gangster after the morning rush) and keeps my car out of the sun & “acid” rain (ya, it is acid and it is actually my main reason – sun & rain on my car’s shining metallic paint? No way brother!)

Until then, I just have to watch out for the perils in the basement parking.
(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Miscellaneous – Motoring)

The “Review” of the Review of BJ Thoughts

(BJ Thoughts under “scrutiny” by the Blog Critic – giving the independant view of my blog)
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I always wanted an independent review of my blog (ok, not always but recently) and a recent review by the Blog Critic was just the answer.

A rating of 6 out 10 is a good start (ok, at least it was over and above the average) and it will great to work on getting a better rating in future (did I just wrote that? I hope it will not turn out to be one of the unfulfilled tasks for the year). There were couples of things highlighted in the review and it was an eye-opener for me. Some are as follows:-

1. Below that is a profile of the Blogger and even an FAQ about him – that’s pretty funny! Not the content but the fact that an FAQ even exists.

I guess I am one of the rare ones who do a FAQ for blogging – rare enough for Blog Critic to say that it is “pretty funny” – anyway I think everyone should have one especially if we are using Blogger.com for our blog. The Blogger profile in Blogger.com is simply not enough to elaborate our, sometimes weird, blogging habits.

2. The right column is way too long, extending beyond the posts themselves. In fact there seems to be only one post on the main page and that ends halfway down the page while the right column continues merrily along its way. Scroll, scroll, scroll till you get to the end and then you realise that you have to look under Past Thoughts to see the older posts, or Museum Stuff for the archives.

That I will agree – because depending on the content of my post, the right column can be longer or shorter than the post itself. I didn’t realise it at first but to think back, it is a long way to scroll especially if it is on a permalink page – the “Beckett” template that I am using and excellent Haloscan commenting does not go hand in hand (it was not meant to be in the first place anyway, so I don’t blame the designers).

3. The blog is easy to read in an 800×600 resolution, but switch to 1024×768 and the white font on black background becomes less clear and consequently, harder to read.

I may opt to change the template or tweak further the existing template but for now, I rather use the little time I have to write something. So, to avoid the above, I have placed a short note in my blog header, informing that my blog is best viewed in an 800 x 600 resolution – My hope now is people would see that note on the top.
4. Suggestion given: place more posts on the main page, perhaps change the template and check the quality of the photos that you put up – some are so dark that you really can’t make them out at all.
Well, this is a good suggestion – since I am unable to change the template, at least I change the number of post in the main page. I have changed the setting to show 3 posts on the main page – I think 3 should be more than enough for now.

As for the photos – well, any photos taken at night or early morning will definitely be dark. It is the limitation of my old camera, so there is nothing much I can do about it until and unless I bought a new & better camera

So, for those want to be assessed by the Blog Critic, head up to the site and sent the email with your blog URL to be reviewed.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Blogsphere)
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Bomb Disposal – Malaysian style

Have a good look at the above picture (picture source: NST) – the subtitle states “Bomb disposal squad officers inspecting the explosive device”. There are other pictures on the front page of the NST today.

Now compare that with the following picture (picture source: www.co.clackamas.or.us). Now, what is missing in the first picture? What? You don’t see the difference? Look again.

I am taking a “one eye closed wild guess” here but its looks like our Malaysian policeman is not wearing any protective suit (I “salute” them to be brave enough, not only for not wearing any protective suit but also for the fact that they can afford to look down facing the explosive device & take notes).

Based on the police exhibitions that I have been to, I know the bomb disposal unit has both the protective suits and a bomb disposal robot. I am wondering why they are not using them. What if the explosive explodes in their face? Would that been another classic case of “kita akan ambil langkah langkah berjaga di masa depan (we will take the necessary precautions in the future)”?

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

Unexpected Reporting

After couple of months of blogging, I realised that one of the essential items that a Blogger should have with him / her, all time, is a digital camera (I guess after the issue of the Squatgate, camera phone is also now acceptable) . It is because you will never know when you will be at the right place and at the right time to capture certain moments in camera.

One good example is TV Smith’s post titled “God is also a cartographer

A fire broke out at a shop near my house early in the morning yesterday (it was still dark then) and I was the only guy snapping up photos (looked silly at first) when the firemen arrived. Although I was at the right time and place to take the picture, I was however did not had a good camera to catch the moments – see the “artistic looking” picture below (if you can see what’s happening in the picture, I salute you).

There was a couple of people surrounded me when I was snapping the pictures (felt like a real reporter but with a “chekai” camera) and one of them told me that he has a camera on his handphone but he does not know how to use it (duh, did he heard about the Squategate?). The fire broke out at one of the shops selling lighting and chandeliers (light bulbs going off in a fire acts & sounds like a mini bomb going off)

The police was the first to be on the scene to control the situation, followed by the owner (I am guessing here – the guy arrived in Toyota Harrier and wanted to go near to the shop despite everyone shouting to him to stay away. Something exploded in his shop and he came running back to everyone’s amusement). The last to arrive was the Bomba, who by the way, missed the place and droved straight pass the fire & the big crowd (the police had to chase the fire-truck – can you imagine that?)

Anyway, by the time, Bomba came, the fire was still under control, so they just splashed some water to doze off the fire – they were fast & professional on this. As there were no major incidents (like someone fainting or people trapped in the blazing fire, sigh), I left for work (I was already late by 15 minutes – big difference if you are staying in the Klang Valley)

When I showed the photos to my wife, she finally understood why I carry my camera almost everywhere we go, most of the time. After all, you will never know when you will be at the right place and at the right time.

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

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