All About Good Parenting Part 2

Read first All About Good Parenting Part 1 here

For the past few days, if you had not noticed, the weather had not been that good – the day had been rather hazy and the nights has been warm and very sweaty. Can you imagine – I was sweating profusely eventhough I was pouring buckets of cold water onto myself. It was that bad. And as if that was not enough, I caught cold and started to cough and it got worse day by day.

One day I woke up, feeling like someone was sitting on my chest and I could not breathe properly. The chest felt heavy and I did not have a good appetite in the morning as well. I went to see the doctor and after registration, I was waiting for the nurse to call me in to see the doctor.

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When the Car Monkeyed Around In the Year of the Monkey

Frankly speaking, I had Part 2 in mind (had half way drafted the content) but over time, the passion for one subject fades away and another subject grabbed my attention.

Read these first:-

(One good way to damage the sidewalls but modern tires is designed to absorb such sudden shocks)

Last month – on the month of the CNY – had proved to be a rather very expensive month for me as an owner of a car.

Firstly I accidentally scrapped my left back tire against the kerb and caused a small portion of the tire sidewall to be sliced off. I know for fact that whilst you can abuse the main tread and still drive safely, the same cannot be said for the sidewall. And it was painful because the tire was still new – barely a year since I last changed it. I took it to 2 different tire shops – the first one looked at it and said it was nothing to worry.

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Nice But Short-Sighted?

It’s good to be back…but I catch cold once arrived, sigh

(My usual lunch when I was away – the portion was big and it was good but seriously the noodles back in Malaysia is still the best – plenty of “ajinamoto” and much cheaper too. Photos & videos captured on Nokia N8)

And immediately after my return to home, I have been busy with…eating. I lost about 4kg and somehow it seems like events that have been lined up after my return home may make it impossible to keep up with that 4kg lost.

My brother-in-law and his wife celebrated their newborn and the celebration food was heavy – with huge prawns and spicy mutton. Then the next day after a heavy lunch at Pizza Hut, I had to attend my nephew’s birthday in the evening– another round of chicken and mutton on the house. The next day after attending a close relative’s open house lunch which had huge spread, we went to a wedding in the evening. An Indian wedding that is and chicken and mutton would be one of the must have dishes.

Talking about the wedding, from the very start, we were a bit lazy to attend the wedding – and it had nothing to do with the bride or the brides groom. We were not that close but we knew the parents and grandparents rather closely. We were a bit lazy because of the weather – it was raining cats and dogs (you know how bad the rain has been in the last few days) and it was so niceeeee to sleep. But we knew we could not give the wedding a miss – we already done that for the engagement. So, we dragged ourselves to the wedding – it was still raining when we left the house but stopped by the time we reached the wedding hall.

Perhaps due to the rain (or the RM1 parking fees, I don’t know) the cars at the parking lot seemed sparse and I managed to get a good parking spot. I dropped my family off at the entrance before I went off to park the car. The air was cold and surprisingly fresh. I walked into the hall but what caught my eyes was not the crowd but the arch at the entrance litted full of burning lamps.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0Hrb8zlzc]

On the onset, it looks nice – it was not overwhelming as well but who ever had thought of having an arch full of litted lamps at the entrance probably did not think of this dreadful scenario – a large crowd barging in and someone’s clothes (sarees especially) falling on the litted lamp without them realizing it and catching fire. It is almost like walking through an arch of fire. And if you see in the video above, one lady almost get her saree on the fire and thankfully pulled in time.

At the very least, they should have stationed someone to keep an eye on the litted lamps as people walking in and out of the arch. Artistic values is one thing but whenever there is a big crowd, safety should always comes first. But thankfully nothing serious happened and the wedding continued without any other incidents.

Overall, it was a good day – with additional load of the delicious food from the dinner, of course.

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Quote of Week – Unsafe Cars

“The lack of demand among Malaysians for safety features is the main reason why many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards”

(Just how many of the locally made cars had even passed the basic crash test with flying colors? If you know the answer, then you will know that we been screwed with unsafe cars for a very long time now but question is whose’ fault is it? Image source: http://news.carlist.my)

At first, I thought of commenting on some politicians saying that warnings of violence against another community are now a Malaysian norm but I remembered – it is coming from a Malaysian politician. Ya, that is pretty norm these days to be hearing them to say warning of violence is a norm especially when they don’t seems to be doing anything to curtail it.

Then I read this:-

The lack of demand among Malaysians for safety features is the main reason why many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards, said Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah.

He said many Malaysians still did not bother wearing seat belts and helmets.

“There are also no regulations to ensure that vehicles sold in Malaysia must comply with international safety standards.

“This is why there are similar models of cars sold in Malaysia but their safety features are different from those in other countries like the United States,” he told a press conference after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s Research Institute of Highway here Thursday.

To prevent car manufacturers from practising such “double standards”, Dr Ahmad Farhan said the Government was constantly engaging in talks to convince them there was a growing demand for safer cars.

On why the Government did not take the initiative to make regulations that would ensure better safety features in vehicles, Dr Ahmad Farhan said: “It will take a long time before such a law can be approved in Parliament. We believe it will be more effective if we talk to manufacturers directly.

“These days, we are getting more positive response from car manufacturers,” he said.

(Source)

Revelation by the MIROS DG is nothing new – we know for a long time now that many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards, not at the price that we can afford, of course – but the sad part is his reasoning – that we Malaysians have made suckers for a long time with cheap, unsafe cars in this country because we don’t DEMAND for safer cars (what he expects us to do? Street protest on the weekends?).

Ya, I had expected something “more intelligent” from head of the agency which looks into the safety aspect of the road users in this country but his reasonings does not hold water as well.

Firstly, he says that Malaysians are blamed on poor quality of cars that is brought into this country. Why? Because they don’t bother wearing seat belts and helmets? If so, shouldn’t it be for the enforcement agencies in this country to enforce the law and hung them from the high pole? That should not be the sorry excuse for poor quality of cars in this country. Further, what about others who wear seat belts and helmets but had to content with unsafe cars because they cannot afford the more expensive but safer cars?

Secondly, he argues that it is “easier” to get the manufacturers to bring in safer cars, NOT by making strict laws that enforces minimum safety specifications of vehicles in this country but rather by “engaging in talks to convince them” that there was a growing demand for safer cars. Convince them? I could almost hear him saying that the Government is powerless against mighty & powerful car manufacturers and they have no choice but to wait and see if the car manufacturers will have change of heart to produce safer cars.

And even if the car manufacturers DO bring in safer cars, what would the cost be and how this is going to be translated to the car selling price. Already, we are paying big money unnecessarily for poor built cars in this country compared to others in the world. To add more safety features would surely means an increase of cost of research & development, manufacturing and production. Can we see cheaper but safer cars if the Government managed to convince car manufacturers that there is a demand for safer cars? You and I know that until we see the AP bullshit abolished in this country and perhaps a fairer treatment between locally made and imported cars, we are not going to see cheaper, safer cars.

And why “it will take a long time before such a law can be approved in Parliament”. Why when the issue at hand is safety and reduction of fatality of Malaysians on the road? Is it because we have too many mindless clowns roaming the Parliament, harping on wrong issues that is facing the country?

If there is lack of enforcement, then look on how the laws can be better enforced and if there is no relevant laws, then look at how the Parliament make the necessary laws. That should be the focus of MIROS in plugging the loopholes that causes Malaysians to continue to drive unsafe cars in this country (we yet to come to education, road conditions in this country, etc). Not by blaming Malaysians (who may not have a say on what kind of car they can afford with their salary range) and sucking up to car manufacturers (who bottom line dictates their business direction).

In the meantime, we probably should add “safe cars” into the list of things to be protested…

Home Alone?

I don’t know whether it is a case of recklessness or plain ignorance but I get very angry when I see parents not taking care of their kids in the right manner

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5JA5xLs-gM]
(The 2 kids focusing on the cabin light. If both parents have to go, take the kids with them – they are still awake and is able to walk or if have to leave them behind, one of the adults should stay back as well to take care of them but never, never leave them alone more so in a car with engine still running. P.s. the video looks dark due to this)

It was a day after 1st of April, so I knew it was not an April Fool’s joke.

It was on a Sunday night when we had to go for our weekly sundry shopping and we headed towards our usual place, Pasar Borong Selangor. My son decided to “hitch-hike” our car as we mentioned that we might stop-over at my Grandma’s house despite it is quite late at night (and he love the place).

Soon we had him at the back, complaining on the choice of song we were picking on the way to the place – he rather listen to loud new songs instead of sentimental old songs. When we reached the place, my son looked tired and sleepy – so my wife decided to do the shopping alone whilst I stayed in the car with our son who now fast asleep at the back (the alternative would be me carrying my “now too big & heavy to carry” son around). We did not plan to buy too many things that night, so my wife did not need me to be the “muscle” to carry the heavy load like how she often ask me to do.

So, my wife left us in the car and I know that it will be sometime before my wife will be back (she is quite picky when it comes to sundry items for the house). I put on the music and was listening to it when a car pulled in on my right side. A man, his wife and two young kids was inside the car – the two kids looked a bit hyperactive. At first, it looked normal but then something happened. I was shocked when I noticed the parents got down and left the 2 kids inside the car with the engine STILL running. Without the parents to supervise them, the kids started to get really busy – they start playing with the buttons and switches in the car. One looked like trying something with the gear but distracted with his brother playing with the cabin light.

What if the kids were able to put the car on first or reverse gear and press on the accelerator, running someone to their death? Or with the kids inside a car with the engine left running, what would have happened if someone broke the window or managed to open the door and drive the car away with the kids still inside the car? Perhaps some parents like this have forgotten the tragic case of Nurin Jazlin who was reported missing after she had gone alone to a wet market located near her house and later was found dead, stuffed in a gym bag, with a cucumber and a brinjal was found stuffed inside her genitals.

I was pissed off with the parents to be taking things too lightly – is it another case of “quantity over quality”? That parents having kids without ensuring their safety and welfare and having them for the sake of having kids? Seeing such things is nothing new – how many times you have seen young kids walking or playing by the roadside near their houses all alone or left under care of equally young kids all alone in the house, leading to incidents like this:-

A six-year-old boy, who was left alone to take care of three other siblings, decided to put his three-month-old baby sister in a traveling bag before leaving her at the void deck of an apartment block in Larkin.

The baby girl was left alone for more than half an hour before one of the residents saw her trying to crawl out of the bag.

The man immediately contacted police and rescued the baby.

(Source)

When my wife came back, she passed by the car and she noticed the young 2 kids inside the car without the parents at sight. I told her what I saw and she looked in disbelief as how the parents can be so careless (or more importantly stupid). The kids barely looked older than 6 – 7 years old.

It was getting late and with the parents of the 2 kids nowhere to be seen – the idiots must be busy with their marketing, we decided that there is nothing much we can do – we left the place, still feeling angry, expecting horrible news the next day.

Screw some of the parents out there…

Mana Helmet, Bodoh?

They say a picture paints a thousand words….so does photographic evidence

(Lawless in Tenang or stupidity on the highest level? The fatso in the front seems very happy – I wonder how his parents will feel when this fatso is knocked down by a car and his unprotected head cracks open on the hard surface of the road, turning him into a living vegetable for rest of his life? Image source: NST, Rosdan Wahid – 29 Jan 2011)

Young but extremely stupid – on public roads without helmets and with pillion riders. Will the police take action on these morons or will they close one eyes since the morons are “flying” the BN flags? These idiots on the motorcycle are obviously students – so where did their common sense and education went once they sat on the motorcycle?

And what about their irresponsible parents? Still remember Aminulrasyid Amzah who sneaked from the house, stole his sister’s car, did a hit and run which caused the police to give chase and at the end, died in a hail of bullets? Most pointed their fingers at the police but what about the deceased and his parents?

I really wonder how these parents can allow their children to go off in a motorcycle without any helmets. They must be either stupid (they too don’t wear helmet), careless (don’t really care what happens to their kids) or simply ignorant (the usual “it is only nearby” excuse)

Still think increase of traffic summons unfair?

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Safest Airplane Seat

This may interest the frequent fliers…

(Chances of survival in case of a crash. Pick your seats wisely – it may even keep you alive in the unlikely situation. Note the irony of things – you pay more for Business Class but your chances of survival is even slimmer. Image source: Popular Mechanics)

From Popular Mechanics:-

A look at real-world crash stats, however, suggests that the farther back you sit, the better your odds of survival. Passengers near the tail of a plane are about 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those in the first few rows up front.

That’s the conclusion of an exclusive Popular Mechanics study that examined every commercial jet crash in the United States, since 1971, that had both fatalities and survivors.

The raw data from these 20 accidents has been languishing for decades in National Transportation Safety Board files, waiting to be analyzed by anyone curious enough to look and willing to do the statistical drudgework.

In the past, I did not really care much on where I am seating as long as I am in the right plane and heading to the right destination. Some of my friends like to seat in front for a couple of reasons – it is nearer to the lavatory (especially for those who have small storage “tank”), it is easier to disembark (since most of the time, you will disembark from the front) and there is a higher chance of getting the available meal (if they are serving fish and chicken – one of this would run out by the time the meal trolley reaches the back).

But over the years, I find that it is more comfortable seating at the back – there are more empty seats at the back. So, I can put my spare items on the empty seats. Further, with empty seats at the back, I don’t have to worry about reclining my seat and inconvenience the passenger at the back when they are having their meals (something that some passengers at the front don’t think when reclining their seats). Ya, by seating at the back, it takes a longer time for me to disembark but it does not make any big difference.

Disembarkation is pretty fast in modern planes – sometimes they even open the door at the back to ensure passengers get off even faster. The real delay is often encountered at the immigration counters and luggage retrieval areas.

(The meal during my Chennai – KL trip in Malaysian Airlines. It was not so bad once you get used to eating “not really fresh” airline meals)

And with most of the crying babies and “hard to handle” kids sitting at the front, it is somehow “quieter” at the back – an added advantage in a 7 – 8 hours flight.

And when it comes to getting your food of choice, it is not really a big problem. These days, I simply log in to the airline website, pick my seat of my choice and can decide to have something different for my airline meals (such as meals cooked for Hindus or vegetarians). This way, you are pretty sure that there is one meal reserved for you no matter where you are sitting. I had special meals for Hindus in my recent flight and I was surprised on how good the meal looked and tasted compared to the usual airline meal which is usually predictable and bland (so much so my neighboring passenger wanted the same meal as mine).

And now with the statistics backing me up, the back seats looks so tempting and safe…

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African Menace in Puchong

(I spent more than 5 months in Africa – culturally it is very challenging but Africans in Malaysia need to adapt to the local culture and law too. When that does not happen, we have a problem. Image source: TheStar)

I don’t support racial profiling and negative profiling on any race is even worse but after recent “close” encounters with some of the Africans in Puchong over the weekend, I think it is high time that the growing number of Africans “students” need to be closely monitored. Are they really students or they are public menace (or criminals like here and here) in disguise?

This is what Malay Mail reported last year:-

The Cabinet has set up a task force to deal with the large number of Africans coming into the country and this has resulted in an increase in crime and social ills. According to the source, the task force was a result of complaints from many quarters over rising crime that included black money and drugs. Immigration figures made available to The Malay Mail show a rising trend in arrivals from the African continent.

From 51,383 arrivals in 2001, the figures jumped to 111,805 in 2008 and, as at Oct 31 this year, 99,769 arrivals from Africa were recorded. The figure includes both tourists and students. Africans found to be involved in criminal activities were mainly Nigerians, the source said. They are known throughout the world for dabbling in black money and using foreign women as mules to carry drugs in false baggage compartments.

Among the 153 Africans arrested for various crimes this year, 69 were Nigerians, while 25 were from Sudan, 16 from Botswana, 14 from Algeria and 10 from Zimbabwe. Seventy-five per cent of the offences were for overstaying, and, up to Oct 31, 38 Africans were prosecuted and 124 were deported. The source said because of lax monitoring, many African students used this privilege to stay in the country and carry out illegal activities.

Over the years, the growing presence of Africans in many urban areas has created panic and uneasiness among residents. The locals complain of fights, drunkenness and rowdiness among the Africans.

African communities have sprouted in apartments and condominiums in several areas, including Damansara Damai, Kota Damansara, Puchong, Cheras and Balakong. It is believed that the next target would be Indonesians, who form some 65 per cent of the 1.2 million foreign workforce and are largely blamed for house break-ins.

Not only are Africans a problem in neighbourhoods but local higher institutions also face problems with Africans but many choose to keep mum.

Let me tell upfront – not all Africans in the country are public menace – there are good ones like one in my cousin’s place (they are friendly, helpful and keep very profile) but there are ones who still think that they are in Africa and law & public order means nothing to them.

Last weekend I went over to pick up my aunty near Pusat Bandar Puchong and drove past Jalan Wawasan when I saw about 10 Africans gathered in front of the shops (those staying at this area would know this place – the Africans often regroup at the same place on daily basis). Seeing a large group of foreigners in front of the shops is nothing new – I have seen Indonesians and Bangladeshis doing the same on the weekends but my aunty who stayed nearby suddenly remarked that the group often drinks and then fight – this happened on a daily basis until to a point the neighbours could not take it and decided to call the police. The police came in one day and rounded the men up and for almost 2 weeks, there was peace. Now the group is back making the place dirty and rather dangerous with occasional fights and reckless throwing of empty beer bottles onto the road. She wished for regular police patrol to keep this group of men away.

After I picked her up, I decided to return home to get some items for the function. On the fast lane, there was this white Myvi driven rather slowly. Couple of cars high beamed them but nothing moved them. The white Myvi stuck on the fast lane and forced other faster cars to overtake them from the left. When I overtook the Myvi, I saw the problem – 2 Africans driving as if they own the road. I say “problem” is because this is not the first time I have seen Africans hogging the fast lane – every time I see an African on the highway, he is hogging on the fast lane or moving into the fast lane creating a crawl on the fast lane (seen different times and on different cars). Perhaps this is why we get accidents like this:-

The four students killed in the traffic accident on the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) just after midnight yesterday have been identified as Africans. The fifth student injured in the rented Toyota Vios was in stable condition at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre. According to police, the students were travelling from Kota Damansara to Bandar Sunway in the middle lane of the LDP.

At Km11.3, near the Kelana Jaya LRT station, they tried to move into the fast lane but knocked into the rear of a Proton Iswara already in the lane.

(Source: here)

What it is with the Africans and the fast lane?

Things then got really nasty. It was late at night when I was driving back from a wedding dinner function in Klang. There was less cars on LDP when reached Puchong. I reached an overhead bridge when I noticed the car next to me was the same white Myvi with an African driver. Not knowing what this idiot would do, I decided to slow down. At the corner of the overhead bridge, I counted my luck when I noticed this idiot cuts from his lane into mine and then back to his lane without any signal or indications. If I had kept my speed, the idiot would have bumped into me. I was angry but from what I heard on how Africans react to accidents caused by them, it was not worth chasing the idiot. I just drove away from this idiot.

I also noticed a growing number of Africans near my housing area but unlike the group at Jalan Wawasan, this group has been rather tame and so far kept to themselves. That was when they started to move in. But now they have started their ruckus but it is still at a manageable level. But one thing that we are getting rather annoyed these days is the way they cross the road. Despite seeing an approaching car, they would walk as if they are the kings of the road – often we have to slow down and wait for them to finish crossing. My wife had a shock of her life last week when an African man suddenly walked in front of her car, causing her to slam on the brake hard.

Last night, I was driving on the lane when I saw 2 Africans crossing the road. I did not slow down as I gather they would have crossed the road by the time I pass them. But it was not. The idiots walked very slowly even though I know they have seen my car. One guy managed to cross in time but unfortunately not the 2nd guy. I stopped my car just in time in front of him. He looked surprised and then started to shouting something at me. My wife was inside the car and she too was angry on how these idiots take their own sweet time to cross the road and in the process almost get themselves knocked down by on-going traffic. I decided not to confront the idiots since I have my wife in the car otherwise they would have learned a lesson that they will never forget.

I drove off feeling very angry. I know that it is not going to be the last time I confront these Africans.

There are some foreigners who have forgotten that they are in another country and do not act accordingly. They end up becoming public menace or danger to other road users. We don’t mind having foreigners as our neighbours but once they become a public menace (regardless they are foreigners or locals), we need the swift hand of the law to deal with them.

Chennai Trip – Part 5

Read:-

Prologue
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

(An almost normal situation in India – a priest on a fast bike. I have seen ladies with saree with fast bikes and no helmets as well. Higher resolution shot here)

This is one of the shots that I took in Chennai – a priest cutting in and out of traffic wearing no helmet. Just a simple dhoti covering his bare skin and for the feet, a rather worn out sandals – I wonder how serious his injuries is going to be if he falls down.

Riding without helmet is nothing new even in Malaysia but these risk takers usually can be found at some residential areas where they would be riding in the safety of their neighbourhood to ride bike without helmets. There is very little chance of finding the police on patrol on the neighbourhood and even if there is one, it is easy to escape. There were talks about enforcing the law on these riders without helmet but nothing was done in the end.

Brother Durai records down another accident that happened right in front of him when he was travelling in India – another normal situation – between a bus and a car.

In India, people without helmet can be found on major streets and there is a funnier rule deployed these days – the rider needs to wear a helmet but the pillion rider need not. So, at end of office hours, you will find riders with many types of helmets (blacked out full face helmet seems to be fashion these days) but their pillion rider, often their wife or girlfriends, just sit on the back without any helmet. Some of the ladies would be sitting with their legs on the side (because they are wearing sarees) and they will hold on their dear life by holding onto the bike’s rail or one hand holding the rider at the front.

At the traffic lights, when the light turn green, you will have a shock seeing how some of these riders speed off, sometimes with close call with other motorist without any care on the person at the back. Strange indeed because if case of any accident, the pillion rider stands to incur more serious injuries compared to the rider. But this fact is simply ignored in Chennai (and perhaps whole of India) by people who riding bikes and the Government who enforce the traffic laws.

I had my reservations where our Auto driver was speeding in and out of traffic but at least we had some protective cover (but certainly meant nothing if meet with an accident with a car or truck). When we decided to go out for lunch, I opted to take the car instead of taking my chance on the bike (but even so, I would have insisted on a proper helmet). I have seen a number of times where head injuries (even those incurred with minor injuries) have a long term effect.

To be continued…

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