The Rapid Penang show

Several months after threatening to bypass Komtar and retracting it, Rapid Penang has finally followed through with their threat to bypass Komtar.

Apparently, they have been receiving threats and were faced with parang-wielding tontos so they decided to just give Komtar a miss instead. The timing of their announcement seemed much too timely that it bordered on suspicious motives behind such a decision.

Don't forget, Rapid Penang is a federal funded project and so it is under the BN federal government. Are they just listening to instructions from higher up or is this really genuine?

What I don't understand is the deal with the bus lanes. As I remembered, each bus have their own lanes in the days of many bus companies working together to provide public transportation to all. Even at that time, the Transit Link, which used to be under the council, though slow and untimely, was running smoothly with the other companies, namely, Sri Negara, KGN Hin, Lim Seng Seng and Yellow Bus.

Nobody heard of lane hogging, parang-wielding tontos and threatening bus drivers. Perhaps times have changed. Now, bus operators especially government owned ones could hold the state government to ransom by refusing to stop at the Komtar bus terminals where all commuters have always waited for buses while some bus operators can go around acting like big samsengs shouting threats at competition, and hogging lanes like there is no law here.

Many passengers have been left on the lurch, most of them who wants to take the Rapid Penang buses will have to walk to the Ong Kongsi bus stop along Penang Road with no shelter or to the Gama bus stop. Both are open small bus stops which leave waiting passengers open to the elements, come rain or shine.

So, what is the state government going to do about this? Well, from what I heard, they met with the bus operators and had arrived at a stalemate. The bus operators and Rapid Penang are not giving in a single inch.

Rapid Penang still refused to go to Komtar 'for fear of their drivers' and passengers' safety' because of the parang incident. (Incidentally, they have already identified the parang wielder and the police duly informed)

The other bus operators insists on the government reshuffling the bus lanes. Seems like they want Lane 1 and 2 'because it is the lane with most passengers' and they need the business to survive. These are the lanes designated to Rapid Penang and the other bus operators have been hogging it over the last few months to try to 'steal' customers from Rapid Penang or so Rapid Penang claimed.

And what did the illustrious Chow Kon Yeow, the new exco who inherited this headache from Dr Teng, do? Well, he pulled a Dr Teng. He met with both parties. He was bullied by both parties and he finally pushed it all off on the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board. That is a typical, classic Dr Teng!

"The state government is just the facilitator. The CVLB has to enforce, the police has to enforce and the council has to enforce," he reportedly said.

He also said there were proposals for the lanes to be reshuffled or perhaps for the lanes to be distributed according to routes instead of bus companies but they will need the CVLB and the bus operators to give the nod to this...Hmmm, who's the boss here?

Then he went on to say that he had been pushing for the pajak system to be done away with when he was just an MP (and the Opposition in the last few terms) so the system is the root of all evil. And that is it. He blamed it on the pajak system but did not offer any valid solution except to try to get CVLB to do away with it. The pajak system, by the way, is where bus drivers lease the buses from the companies and whatever they earn is their salary. Thus the dirty tactics to get more passengers.

Now is that a concrete firm hand to ensure those idiots do what they are supposed to do? I am not too sure. Methinks, CKY is just as soft as his predecessor and that is not good. It does not bode well at all!

One could only hope that he is the way he is now because he is still new to the job. I hope that he will gather his wits together and use a firmer hand in future. After all, he and his fellow DAP & PKR colleagues only have about five years, and that is not a very long time, to prove themselves capable of running the state government.


A shadow of their former selves?

When I read the news, it made me want to laugh out loud and hysterically too! The mere silliness of it is enough to make me want to shake some sense into them or...... Please, just spare me from this senselessness and poke my eyes out with a red-hot fork now!

Looks like we will have a shadow exco. Read about it here:

Article from The Star online, April 30, 2008 (Sunday)

Penang gets its shadow exco

PENANG: State Barisan Nasional chief Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has announced his "shadow" executive councillors -- 11 Umno state assemblyman -- who will "monitor the performance" of the new state government.

Koh said each shadow executive councillor would head a committee with representatives from all component parties.

The committee members are former Barisan candidates who were experienced and interested in the various fields under their portfolios.

"They will meet regularly and frequently with related non-governmental organisations and the public to reflect the views and thoughts of all people," he told a press conference after chairing a Barisan Nasional meeting on Sunday.

He said opposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim would head the shadow executive council.

Azhar was recently criticised for participating in an illegal assembly on March 14 to protest statements made by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, and also for asking the Federal Government to scrap mega-projects in the state.

Dr Koh said Barisan wanted to be a strong coalition that does not only work together during the general election, but functions at all times.

"We want to continue to be an effective coalition that represents all the different races in the state.

"All the component party leaders and members had shown their commitment in continuing to serve and work for the people despite the downfall in the election," he said.

What I don't get are these few points:

1. What does he mean by shadow exco? Does he mean they are just back to what they do best? Hang around like real shadows and do nothing?

2. Why is the sore-loser the head of the shadows? Hmm..perhaps his shadow is bigger and he is the best one to have hanging around and doing nothing...well, except to organise street demonstrations and call for press conferences announcing his stupidity to the world while lacing his words with racial sentiments...

3. Huh? Regular meetings with NGOs and other committee members from all component parties? Are you sure? You mean, you are not still fighting with MCA? You mean Umno actually talk to you instead of giving you orders? And also, after all these years, you suddenly want to talk to the NGOs?

Hmm..I don't know la. This just seems so darn shadowy, it is hard to believe and swallow.

I mean, they had their chance when the were exco members. At that time, they were already like shadows, with no substance and hardly any accomplishments. So, what makes him so sure they won't remain as shadows even with this easy, simple task of monitoring the performance of the state government?

But then again, he is smart to call them shadows. After all, if they end up acting like real shadows, nobody can blame him. After all, he already warned us that they will only be shadows. No substance needed.

Have money will spend

Shissh...I should have stayed away from the Little Penang Street Market because I wasted about RM60 in a one-hour visit! Crap! Didn't expect to fall victim to the artsy / cutesy / pretty trinkets on display.

Anyway, it was a fun one hour browsing through the stalls selling mostly pretty baubles and sparkly trinkets...err...okay, there were more but these are the ones that caught my attention. Had a couple of unpleasant experiences when I was clicking away on my camera. Luckily I bump into my photographer friend (Adpix Studio) who didn't mind giving me some pictures to be put up here as long as I give the credit to him. So, the credit of the below pictures (most of it, anyway) goes to Adpix Studio.

When I was there, the Cosplay competition was going on with some young fellas dressed up in...err...weird / cute / funny / colourful costumes going up to the makeshift stage to parade. I didn't take any pictures of that because of the huge crowd standing around there and I wasn't in the mood to jostle with them.

To the lady who rudely told me 'No camera' after I had clicked a few of the beautiful colourful magnets on her stall: Well, excuse me! I'm not taking pictures of your ugly face so buzz off. Besides, I had the intention to buy some of the magnets but since you are so rude and totally unfriendly, TOO BAD I decided to buy magnets from other stalls instead!

To the guy who loudly told his father that this photographer is taking pictures of only the products on sale and not the people behind the stalls: Go look in the mirror! You think you are the exact image of Tom Cruise izzit?

And finally to the few nice ladies whom I bought stuffs from, thanks for the friendly and warm service. Be sure that I will be back to waste...err...spend...more money on your stuffs.

A red Darth Vader? One of the displays for the Cosplay theme.

Metal stuffs

Stained glassware..pretty and handpainted too!

The uncle making these is very friendly so I bought a helicopter from him for RM6 which is total waste of money because my toddler immediately tore it apart the moment we got home.

An overview of the stalls

Colourful beaded accessories!

The few things I bought: 3 animal fridge magnets (3 for RM10) not from the rude lady, the helicopter and beaded dragonfly hairpins (RM5 each) from the Rumah Nur stall.

Fancy a portrait? Try this artist who will do it on the spot. And no, that's not me,
just some accidental model..heheheh

More shiny trinkets. These are coral-motif sterling silver jewellery.
Most of his designs are really nice but I can't afford any of it (hint, hint to hubs..).

These nice little packages contains soap / potpourri.
Makes really nice gifts (look below for a closer look)

Artsy stuff...glass artwork by Fuan and next to
this stall is the stall selling the coral-motif silver jewellery.

More artsy stuff...

Antiques for those keen on collecting ancient things

Finally, I also bought a pair of Swa-watucallit crystal earrings and a handphone strap with a star crystal from the 'Colourful gifts' stall. These two costs me RM36! Unfortunately, my picture of the stall & the stuff I bought didn't turn out properly so I'm not posting it. Anyway, the stall owner is a very nice and friendly person.

They even have an online store so check it out here if you have a hankering for Swa-watucallit costume jewellery and stuffs. Another reason I like this stall so much is because they put the earrings and handphone strap inside a nice pretty muslin pouch each instead of an ugly plastic jewellery box. Really perfect if it's meant as a gift!


Be prepared for more traffic jams on the bridge

A warning to those commuting between the island and the mainland for work and education purposes because it is not going be get any easier.

PPSB or Penang Port has decided to scrap the vehicular ferry service (the ferries that only takes vehicles) immediately after the completion of the expansion of the bridge. Their excuse? Not enough income to sustain the service, or so they claimed! Read this:

News taken from The Star:

Sunday March 30, 2008

Penang plans to scrap vehicular ferry service

BUTTERWORTH: The Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) will scrap the vehicular ferry service between Penang island and Seberang Prai once the expansion of the Penang Bridge is completed in September next year.

PPSB chief operating officer Mohd Niana Merican Abd Kadir Merican said the remaining four vehicular-cum-passenger ferries would continue to operate despite suffering operating losses.

He said the company also planned to operate a speedboat ferry service as it was cheaper and efficient.

“The speedboat idea was mooted three years ago. Travel time between the island and mainland on speedboats will only take eight to 10 minutes compared with 20 minutes using the ferry,” he told reporters at the launching of free tuition classes for 141 of the port’s staff members at Wisma Perkeso in Seberang Jaya yesterday.

PPSB, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Finance Ministry after its corporatisation on Jan 1, 1994, has been incurring an annual loss of RM12mil operating the ferries. It also manages the port.

Mohd Niana said the company was losing about RM200 on each ferry trip, adding that the operating cost was RM600 while revenue collected was RM400.

He said the bridge would have three lanes on each side and a special motorcycle lane when the expansion work was completed.

“It will be able to accommodate the huge traffic volume and as such, we will be able to scrap the vehicular ferry services and reduce our losses,” he added.

In November last year, PPSB held talks with the ministry to take over the maintenance of ferry services. PPSB chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar said then that it had requested for fuel subsidy and buying of catamarans to complement the ferry services.

Ahmad also said the Government should emulate Hong Kong where the municipality handled maintenance while the port management focused only on giving better services to port users.

He had also said that PPSB had to fulfil its social responsibility and could not simply increase the ferry fares to recoup losses.

Err...let me get this straight, they don't have money to run the ferry service for vehicles but they have RM80mil to pay some contractor to reclaim 63 acres of land? (To read about this, I posted about it a few days ago here)

Hmmm...it must be darn expensive to run the ferry service.

Seems that they are incurring losses of RM12mil annually so where the heck did they get the RM80 mil? The money dropped from the sky?

Also, the cars paying RM7.70 each is not enough? And I wonder how they calculate the operating cost of RM600 for each trip. Hmmm...another case of buying a set of screwdrivers at the inflated price of RM200? No, no, no...maybe they are paying their employees RM10,000 each per month so they have very high overhead costs....

I don't know...it just seem suspicious that they suddenly decided to do away with the vehicular ferry service.

As for the speedboat ferry service. Errr...hello? Haven't you been harping on the thing for years and years but it just never did materialise? I thought PPSB has scrapped this also because they said it costs millions to buy new speedboats and could not afford it???

Ohh...suddenly you can afford to buy a fleet of new speedboats costing whoknows how many millions but can't afford to keep the vehicular ferries going? Anyone smell a rat anywhere?

Methinks the ferries needed sea-faring cats to do some mousing here and get rid of the rats causing this spate of stinking news.

The little arts and crafts market

Have a little time to kill this lazy Sunday?

I don't know about you but I am thinking of dropping by at the monthly Little Penang Street Market at UPR (that's Upper Penang Road for those not from around here). The theme for this month is Cosplay, manga and anime. You know, Japanese animation and costume role-playing.
So, manga and anime fans should drop by to see what's there.

I have been to the arts and crafts bazaar several times since they started in July 2006. In the beginning, I was sceptical that it would last. After all, Penangites are known for their sin jamban attitude. You know, we just love the novelty of anything new but once it gets old, it is chucked aside and quickly forgotten.

Well, not surprisingly, the Little Penang Street Market survived! The organisers have done a superb job in keeping the little bazaar interesting every month. They have different themes each month, though most are based on our festivals. They also brought in great entertainment in the form of bands and performances to draw in the crowds.

Most importantly, the arts and crafts stalls are really arts and crafts stalls. Not some stall selling stuffs that are 'Made in China' or worse, 'Made in Thailand'. It is indeed a local arts and crafts place with many of the artists behind the masterpieces on sale doubling as stall keepers and sellers.

Handicrafts and masterpieces you can find includes handmade accessories like earring and bags, handmade clothes, artsy stuffs like vases and framed pictures made of beans. As for pricing, well, some are dirt cheap (at least for handicrafts) while some are so expensive most of us probably can't even afford to stare at it for too long.

There are also a few local food stalls so you can grab a bite as you browse. Alternatively, there's Beach Blanket Babylon and Segafredo there too. If you want some entertainment, they also schedule some sort of performances at certain times of the day.

The market / bazaar opens at 10am and closes by 6pm or so. So, go early if you want to spend some time browsing around. It is fun and entertaining, if you don't mind the heat. It is open air with canopies to block out the direct sunlight or possible rain but it doesn't help with the heat. Definitely no air cond there.

I will be posting pictures of my visit there this Sunday and report on its success.

A book sale, hurry!

Popular Bookstore has a book sale at One Stop Midlands Centre, Pulau Tikus for a whole month!

The sale is being held at the Popular's former shop at Level 5 and books are being sold really, really cheap! It started on Friday and is until April 28.

I went there on Friday and it was so crowded, I had to wait in line for almost an hour to pay for the books! Needless to say, I bought quite a lot of books. Most of it costs between RM10 to RM30 each, even for hardcover books and certain bestsellers.

The discounts are from 10% up to 90% so the prices are a real bargain.

The books on sale are on all subjects, fiction and non-fiction, school revision books and academic books. So, even if you are not much of a reader, it is a good time to get some school books for your kids / some recipe books / some how-to books or even some CDs / DVDs. Oh, I forgot to mention that the original CDs and DVDs are also on sale.

A warning though. Be prepared to be faced with jumbled up books being strewn practically on every surface haphazardly and the titles all mixed up. The same goes for the CDs and DVDs. Also, they have cleverly placed new bestsellers near the front portion where the rest of the 'No discount' items are.

So, be careful. Not all books in there are on sale. To be sure, you just need to check the price tags. The discounted items all have yellow tags to show the numbers 30 or 70 which indicated the percentage of discounts.

If it is a new bestseller and there are no other tags next to its price tag, then it most probably isn't on discount.

Go early in the day before the crowds on weekends, otherwise go during weekdays. You don't want to get stuck at the long snaking Qs at the cashiers!

Have fun shopping!


Clear and Bright Day

Clear Brightness Festival

Festival for Tending Graves

Grave Sweeping Day

Chinese Memorial Day

Tomb Sweeping Day

Spring Remembrance

All Souls Day (though it sounds like the Roman Catholic's All Souls Day, it's different)

These are the different terms (well, according to Wikipedia anyway) given to our annual Cheng Beng ritual or Qing Ming in Mandarin.

I remember all those years ago when I was dragged along for this annual ritual and I hated each and every time. With a vehemence. To me, even when I was just a kid, all this burning of candles, paper and offering of food seemed a waste of time and energy considering those are all offered to the dead. I mean, they are already dead. Why do they need to eat? It is well and alright to offer prayers for their poor souls and even to visit the graves as a sign of honour and respect. But to offer food and burn stuff, well, I find that a bit pointless.

Luckily, after my loud protestations for several years and my mysterious disappearance just minutes before the family set out to the cemeteries, I managed to escape the futility of such an unpleasant experience again. I escaped the Cheng Beng ritual for over ten years! Wooohooo! What fun! No more hiking up uneven, mosquito infested graveyards. No more suffocating inside a crowded and smoky columbarium. No more waking up at the crack of dawn to go to some grave of a relative I don't even know or have never met before.

Then I met my husband. Of all the crappy luck, his family is very into it and so, the suffering is back. Sigh. Will it never end? Thankfully, after much persuasion and brainwashing and more persuasion, the hubs finally agreed to drop the annual ritual. The fact that we are now fully Buddhists also kinda help matters along. What a relief!

So, last year, out of curiousity, I did some research and digging to find out the origin of the ritual/festival. Why is it called Cheng Beng/ Qing Ming? Why is it held on April 5 (or April 4 on leap years)?

Thanks to the wonderful world of the web (and Wikipedia), I discovered that it all started as the Clear and Bright Festival. It was not all about graves or cemeteries or dead people at all. Nope. It was a traditional festival to celebrate the wonderful Springtime as the day is the 104th day after the winter solstice or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox. In other words, it is a great day for an outing to enjoy the blooming flowers and greenery and blue skies and whatnots, thus the words 'Clear Bright' or Cheng Beng or Qing Ming.

Since it is such a clear and bright day, the Chinese obviously took advantage and made it a day to clean out their ancestors' and relatives' graves. From then on, the rest, shall we say, is history.

Due to commercialisation and modern advancements, naturally the basic gesture of cleaning and clearing the graves turned into a very complicated ritual of offering food and burning of paper replicas of modern things. One could only guess whether the departed ever do get to taste the food offered or receive any of the burnt stuffs.

I personally feel there is no need for so much fuss. Since I truly believe in reincarnation, I am sure our dearly departed ones would have been reborn at one point of time so they are not there anymore to enjoy the food and paper things.

My mom had left this world more than two years ago. To date, I had not burnt a single piece of paper money or things for her nor did I offer her any food. Well, it is kinda hard to do considering her ashes were scattered across the Pacific Ocean....but that is beside the point.

I firmly believe that she has moved on. I firmly believe that she is happy wherever she is now (either waiting in line to be reborn or already someone's baby somewhere...). I was only able to deal with my grief with this knowledge so I refused to burn or offer her food as if she is still here. I do not want her to be still here, stuck in limbo. To me, it hurts even more to think that she is still here and suffering a poor existence to be offered food and things only once a year. I'd rather believe that she had moved on along to the reincarnation process.

At least, I still have happy memories of the times I spent with her before her sudden death. At least, when I do think of her, it is not of her suffering in some spirit realm waiting for hell money and food and things to be burnt for her once a year. At least, when I think of her, it is of her blissfully going on to be reincarnated and being born into a good and loving family.

I had prayed for this for her during those difficult months of dealing with her passing. It helps much much more than visiting any grave at the crack of dawn!

Komtar oh Komtar!

The grand old white elephant of Penang!

Okay, the upper floors are all occupied by the government agencies so the whole building isn't exactly vacant but the five-level podium below the tower is practically lifeless.

Let's see. The two anchor tenants have long gone. Either tutup kedai or well, tutup kedai. The rest of the shops have moved out or also closed down. The remaining few are either struggling to make ends meet or just barely surviving.

The conditions does not left much to be desired. It is dark, dinghy and sorta creepy with its emptiness and lonely walkways. It echoes with the ghosts of its past glories in the times of the great 80s and forgiving early 90s. (No, no, no, not talking about real ghosts here la)

Even popular fast-food outlet McDonalds have fled from the place. The only 'lively' place within the complex is Level Three where the MPPP office and the lifts to the government agencies are. However, it is more like a cheap, pasar malam bazaar than a shopping mall.

To think I used to hang out at this place and it was once a very happening place to be.

Well, there is still hope for this grand old lady.

The Store has signed an agreement with PDC and planned to invest RM15mil to open its first supermarket in Penang island this July.

Will this supermarket chain bring back life to the dying grand dame?

I hope so. It is such a waste to see our main landmark disintegrating into such horridly bad conditions.

PDC has announced that it was upgrading and renovating parts of Komtar in a three-year plan for RM15mil. However, I do not see anything concrete materialise from that apart from the renovation of the lower ground lifts area now.

It is my fervent hope that the new state government crack the whip to make sure PDC does it efficiently and really do upgrade Komtar to bring back its former glory.

After all, our famous landmark deserves better.

63 acres for RM100

Yep, you read correctly. 63 acres of land for a mere RM100. Here. In Penang.


All you need to do is to spend another RM80mil to hire a contractor to turn it into live-able land.

What I am referring to is the land reclamation project by the Penang Port Sdn Bhd at the north channel. Apparently, they only paid RM100 for a permit to do reclamation works there a year or two ago. That's it.

No need to pay for the land.

No need to pay royalty.


It was as if that part of the land is given to them free of charge...well, at RM100 to be exact. They can do whatever they want with it. Reclaim it and build their own projects, whatever. It is theirs to use.

I definitely smell a rat here (not to be confused with the smelliness of the area near the Penang bridge toll).

Why is it that PPSB gets the land with no strings attached?

Oh, ya, I forgot to mention that they owed the state government RM6.6mil in royalties for that project. I also neglected to say that the RM6.6mil was overlooked and buried under tonnes of files.

According to my source, PPSB pretended it had forgotten about the RM6.6mil. To make matters worse, despite an outcry by affected fishermen over the project, they had categorically denied that they are reclaiming any land there. They insisted that they were just 'deepening the north channel by dredging it' and dumping the silt 'nearby' as it was costly to bring it to the designated silt-dumping area.

Err...if you are just deepening the channel, why use a high end dredger which process the silt it had dredged and when it dumps the 'silt' it is no longer silt but good quality sand used for reclamation works?

If you are just deepening the channel, why the heck does it take so long (it has been going on for almost two years, I think)?

If you are just deepening the channel, why are you paying the contractor a whopping RM80mil to do that?

No prizes for guessing who sits at the top management of PPSB. Yep, an Umno fella.

Luckily, the new state government is now unearthing the dirt of the past. We shall see how this drama unfold in the near future...

Happy happy times!

Happy - Happy Moments

....is when I met my baby for the first time after carrying the tiny being within me for a full nine months.

....is when my baby opened his eyes and looked at me

....is when my baby smiled at me for the first time and grabbed my finger in his tiny fists

....is when my baby laughed and gurgled and chortled with such joy at no apparent reason

....is when my baby called me 'Mommy' for the first time

....is when life seemed so dark and meaningless and suddenly, a friendly face, a loving hug, a caring look, a warm touch, a few sweet words from the people I love made it all seemed much so better.

....is when I wake up healthy and ready to face a fresh new day ahead of me, come what may.

....is when life deals me a hard blow and I am able to take it full on without falling over and giving up.

....is when I count the many blessings in my life of having a wonderful husband, a beautiful child, a job which helps pay the bills, caring friends and supportive wonderful relatives.

....is when I see a beautiful sunset or experience an awe-inspiring sunrise and realise the greatness of this universe we live in.

....is when there is a change in the state government, hopefully for the better.

....is when there is still hope and light no matter how dark and sad some incidents are.

....is when a total stranger hold out a hand to help me in one of my times of need.

....is when I met my husband and realised he is the one for me

....is when I finally have a home to call my own after living a nomad-like existence for many, many years.

....is when I took leave to spend one whole month traveling and enjoying the company of my mom before she passed away suddenly from a stroke.

....is when it is FRIDAY and I have the next two days off from work.

....is when it dawned on me that happiness is what we make of it and that it can be achieved even in the darkest moments of our lives!

I generally laugh a lot and curse/shout a lot too but I truly believe that life is much much more precious than to waste it brooding over dark, sad moments of our lives. Laughter is the best medicine for the soul, the body and the mind. Why not indulge in it at every opportunity we can? It is free, it doesn't hurt, it can't kill anyone and it burns calories too!

Have a good laugh today and be happy!


TM suck big time!

I am so very irritated and annoyed and darn hopping mad with TM that I have half a mind to cancel all my subscription of land line and Streamyx with the world's most inefficient telecommunications company there ever was!

It is their good fortune that I could not afford any other broadband internet provider (Maxis is slow & expensive or fast & extremely expensive. Celcom is under TM so it is not another internet provider, it's the same). My only other hope is PenangFon but they are not in my area so it is out of the question.

The problem. Well, it is a really simple problem actually. Something a visit from their technician could solve probably within minutes. You see, I am having problems connecting to the internet if I use a splitter. I know I know, it could be the splitter problem but it isn't. I would know because I changed the blardy splitter three times! I don't think I am so suey that every splitter I got is faulty! Besides, the splitter worked just find elsewhere!

Again, I know it could be the cable problem. Well, I changed the cables so many times I've lost count! I've called 100 so many times I've also lost count! So, the only way for me to go online now is to connect the line directly to the modem, bypassing the splitter.

This means, I can't use the phone if I am online. Absolutely ridiculous, if you ask me!
Some smart alec customer service fella whom I called through 100 even had the cheek to tell me that I should go look for a technician and pay him to look into the faulty line.

Now, why the heck should I do that? It is obviously a line problem and not my blardy fault. Why should I be the one to fork out $$ to rectify what is basically a TM problem?

Sigh. This is what we get when one single company gets to practically monopolise the whole sector! Poor customer service and horrendous responses to complaints.

This is not the first time I am having problems with TM. Previously it was some stupid phone line problem which took them months to rectify and now this. Seriously, those idiots just don't know how to do their jobs at all!

Well, I have sent a really nasty email to the customer care in TM and I'll see what happens.

If I still face the same problem, I will do some investigative checks and personally contact the GM or area manager here and send him/ her my letter / email of complaint. That should get their attention!

Hummppphhh! The moment PenangFon comes to my area, I will be first in line!


What are they teaching the young?

zwani.com myspace graphic comments

I would think that by now I will be so used to the crappy shenanigans of the sore-losers Barisan No-brain, and then something like (read the news excerpt below) this crop up. Makes me want to buy a machine gun and just blast those idiots into smithereens. But then again, it is not worth it to be jailed and hanged for those worthless bunch of brainless morons.

The Education Ministry has issued a verbal directive (see, they know it is wrong so they do it without any black and white) to all education departments in five states (no prizes for guessing which ones) to be neutral. By neutral, they meant not involving political leaders in any of their functions.

Okay, if they issued this directive two months ago, I would perfectly understand. In fact, I would applaud it. After all, a school is not the place for any political leader to campaign. But nooooooooo... they had to issue the directive now.

Previously, it is perfectly alright and even encouraged for schools to invite state executive councillors or assemblymen to their functions which range from some colouring competition to prize giving day to sports day. In fact, in the midst of the election campaigns, we can see politicians (mostly the ones in dark blue with the scales) handing out school bags, library books, launching this, officiating that at schools and even giving ceramahs when invited to speak.

Amongst the personalities who were seen in some school function or other includes cabinet ministers and even the prime minister himself. So, where was the directive to be neutral then? These politicians, on the pretext of showing care and concern for the education of our children, were throwing money here there and everywhere to the schools and even organised big ego-boosting (for the politicians, not the schools) cheque presentation ceremonies at the said schools.

One good example is the MCA head Ong Ka Ting and Gerakan acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon making a beeline to the new Phor Tay school site in Bukit Jambul to visit the construction site and also handover a cheque during the election campaign period. Now, where was the be neutral directive?

Granted, these schools need the funding so of course they welcomed the cheques with open arms even if it meant having to play up to the big egos of those politicians. I don't blame them (the schools, not the sleazebag politicians) a bit. Many Chinese and Tamil schools have been left in the dust while national type schools were continually pumped with money that their classrooms looked nicer than my office. So, of course, they will welcome anybody who wishes to give them funding, whatever their intentions. And some of these schools, as a show of courtesy and gratefulness, invariably invite the same politicians or their representatives to their functions. It is only natural. Tit for tat.

The education ministry does not seem to have any problem with this at all. In the past. Then suddenly, they realised it is not okay at all for politicians to be involved in school functions. What, they are suddenly worried about the negative influence of politicians on the young impressionable minds of our students? Isn't it too late after 50 years of politicians turning schools into their campaign grounds?

The excuse ...'we do not want to offend any party' by state acting education director Ibrahim Mohamad is far from lame. It is an insult to our intelligence. Please, spare us. Which party are you referring to anyway? Any guesses anyone? Oh, ya. Since the directive is only to five states, we all know which party they meant exactly.

Sigh. Those Brainless Nobodies or BN are just plain sore. They lost the states but still want control of one of their more lucrative campaign grounds so they concocted this brilliant directive. What are they teaching the students? That it is alright to be sore losers and perfectly fine to use underhanded tactics to regain control?

If they want to issue such a directive, why not to all schools in the whole of Malaysia? But I guess, as morons go, we should not expect much from them. After all they are the masters of double standards, the gurus of corruption, the kings of sore-losers, the heads of cronyism and the presidents of the stupidity associations.

As a fellow colleague always told me, 'Stupidity can't be cured'. This is a point in case to prove that!

The news on this verbal directive extracted from The Sun:

Schools in 5 states told to be neutral
Regina William

PENANG (March 26, 2008): Schools in the five states controlled by the opposition coalition have been verbally adviced to take a neutral stance in inviting executive councillors or state assemblyman for official functions.

And this is being interpreted to mean that the schools should refrain from inviting executive councillors or assemblymen from opposition parties, at least until further notice.

Following a statement by Deputy Penang Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy that there were rumours schools were issued verbal instructions not to invite state executive councillors for functions, theSun checked with the Penang education department and confirmed that there was such a move.

Acting state education director Ibrahim Mohamad said schools have been verbally told to take a neutral stand for the time being.

"For now, the ministry has adviced that schools should invite government officials and not anyone from any political parties as we do not want to offend any party," Ibrahim said in a telephone interview.

He said the directive was issued by the department after being advised by the Education Ministry to take a neutral stand.

Ibrahim said he understood that the same directive was issued to education departments in all five states governed by the opposition.

"For now, we have been asked to take this stand until further instructions from the ministry," he said.

Earlier, Ramasamy said State Secretary Datuk Jamaludin Hasan has been asked to investigate whether such a directive existed.

Ramasamy, who is also education committee chairman, said he had heard about verbal directives being issued to schools but there was no written instruction to that effect.

"I heard about this a few days ago when I went to visit a Tamil school which was in a poor condition. However, I did not go into the compound and stayed outside.

"I have not verified this and to be fair, it is not right for me to say anything since we do not know if this is just a rumour. I will give them the benefit of the doubt as it might not be true and we have to clarify this.

"We have asked Jamaludin to check on this and get back to us," Ramasamy said after a press conference chaired by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said so far, no official invitations had been extended to the state government by schools. "If they invite us, we are obliged to go and no one should stop schools from inviting us."

When contacted, a school in Petaling Jaya said they had enquired about this but were told to wait for a directive before doing anything.

A cool hang out place at New World Park

Picture courtesy of Adpix Studio

It's been awhile since I took a leisurely early dinner with plenty of time to walk around and browse so over the weekends we decided to have dinner at New World Park in Swatow Lane/ Hutton Lane/ Burmah Road.

I've heard that there's a Ladies Street sort of bazaar going on over the weekends there so I thought, maybe I could pick up some really nice stuff or browse around for birthday present ideas.
Pictures courtesy of Adpix Studio

So, what I found there was pretty disappointing although it was pleasant walking around the beautiful hang-out place. There's no other name to call it since it is so very conducive for friends to simply hang around there at any of its 'coffee' shops and chat for hours...

Picture courtesy of Adpix Studio

The Ladies Street is just an array of about 20 stalls selling pasar malam stuffs like handbags, earrings, dresses and knick-knacks. There are a few arts and crafts stalls, a charity stall and more stalls selling accessories. The things sold there are not in any way exceptionally different. Just plain normal accessories and clothes you can get at any pasar malam anytime, anywhere. Even the pricing aren't something to shout about, certain dresses for RM45 each, tops for RM25 each and RM10 for three pairs of colourful, plastic earrings.

Pictures courtesy of Adpix Studio

Incidentally, there are several similarly themed shops around the park, namely, a few knick-knacks / souvenirs type of shops and a few clothing and accessories shops. These are nothing to shout about either but if you have some time to waste, it is a good choice to have lunch or tea there.

Now, the good thing about New World Park is of course the variety of food there! It is a great place to search for any type of food you are hankering for. You want to dine in a restaurant? Sure, they have an Indian banana leaf restaurant, a nyonya restaurant, a Taiwanese restaurant, a Japanese restaurant and several western food restaurants like the Manhattan Fish Market.

Not to your taste? Well, head on over to the hawker side fronting Swatow Lane and Hutton Lane or at the back of the 'expensive' side which fronts Burmah Road. The hawker food is also relatively good with Cucur Udang, Mee Sultan, Curry Mee, Hokkien Mee, Dumplings, Chee Cheong Fun, Fish Ball Soup and many more. And to wash it all down, there's the famous New World Park ABC ice kacang!

As a hang-out place, the two popular tea time places there would be the western-style Starbucks or our local Old Town Cafe. Coincidentally (or carefully planned), these two outlets are opposite each other so you can stand there and make your decision between western or local!

Well, in conclusion, though it is not exactly a great shopping place, it is great for meeting up with friends, great place to spend a lazy weekend afternoon (did I mention free wifi internet thanks to Starbucks?) and most of all, it is pleasingly landscaped and decorated. Very comfy to window shop around what little shops there are and ultra comfy to spend hours chatting (online or real-life).

Do your part to stop global warming

It is getting warmer during dry days while the weather is becoming erratic and changing. This is mainly due to the ravages suffered by the environment thanks to our modern inventions and pollution as a result of these inventions.

So, in order to give back to the environment (no, you don't have to give money or do anything labour intensive), why not join in the Earth Hour efforts this Saturday?

Last year, 2.2mil people and 2100 businesses in Australia switched off their lights for one hour in observation of Earth Hour. Just imagine the greenhouse reduction as a result of this.

So, this year, they are organising this event again but on a larger scale. Malaysians could do their part to reduce greenhouse effects by switching off all their electrical and electronic items (yep, no lights, no computers, no fans and no air conds) for one hour this Saturday starting at exactly 8pm.

Come on. It is only for an hour. It won't kill you. Give it a try and maybe you will get a better night's sleep knowing you did something to help the environment.

To sign up, go here.


The one on temper tantrums

If there is one thing I can't stand, it is a screaming kid in the midst of a tantrum just because he could not get what he wanted.

Before becoming a parent, I often wondered how parents could let their kids roll around on the floor in public places, screaming and kicking, just because their parents didn't buy the latest Ultraman toy or something.

Then, horrors of horrors, I find my toddler throwing his very first tantrum of screaming and refusing to budge, not in a very public place since it is in our carpark, but still, no less frustrating. I had to drag him all the way from the carpark to our home and since we stay in an apartment, that means going past fellow residents, staring strangers in the lobby and lift and more staring from neighbours.

If not for his cunning resemblance to me and my hubby, I'm certain those who saw us dragging this screaming, refusing-to-walk toddler must have thought that we had kidnapped someone's child.

So, what sparked this tantrum? Well, he wanted to go to Queensbay and we wanted to go home to change first but he was impatient. He wanted to go without any stopover. As toddlers go, any explanations that we will go to the mall later went unheard. We might as well be talking to a wall...a noisy, screaming wall at that. Any threats of violence didn't work either.

Thus, we had to drag him all the way home. Literally.

I was tempted to leave him screaming at the lift lobby but due to its vicinity to the carpark and the staircase, I decided against it. Besides, with so many sickos in this world, it is never safe to leave a small child unattended.

Of course, once we got home, he got the punishment he deserved. He gets to stand in the punishment corner until he stops screaming. And also a very sound scolding. Though we believe in using the rotan as a disciplinary tool, it is largely ineffective because our son is immune to it. It is amazing how time-outs at a corner in front of the altar works better than the rotan!

Anyway, that is the last time he ever tried throwing a tantrum. Perhaps it is a way for him to test our limits, to see if we will give in to his screaming. Now that he knows we will not give in to his screaming, he uses a better way...he begs politely and convincingly.

Now, how do you say 'No' to 'Mummy, please? Pleeeeaaaasssseeeeeeee? Pleeeaaaassssseeeeee? Pleeeeaaaaasssseeeeee?' combined with the saddest puppy dog expression ever?

Anyway, check out this future politician who knows how to make use of a temper tantrum!

And this is how you prevent a tantrum:

Freedom of speech? HAH, dream on!

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There has been much flak against the mainstream newspapers, especially the mouthpieces of political parties like MCA and Umno. We all know how one-sided the newspapers are. NST, Utusan and Berita Harian are pro-Umno while The Star is pro-MCA. In other words, these newspapers are all pro-BN.

I don't know how it is like with the Chinese vernacular newspapers since I'm literally illiterate when it comes to Chinese. It can be Greek for all I know. But it was my understanding that some are also pro-BN while there are also some that are daring in reporting mostly the truth. Much like the Chinese version of well-known online media, Malaysiakini. Don't ask me which ones, I don't know. If you can read Chinese, go ahead and do your own research.

Anyway, why is it that the Chinese newspapers are able to provide fair and sometimes overly supportive of the Opposition news while the other English / Malay newspapers can't? Except for The Sun which presents quite fair reports compared to its competitors, my guess, is that those other papers were just plain lily-livered. And protecting their rice bowls.

Lets take a look at The Star. I am sure many of the top management who were there for donkey years could still remember Operation Lalang and how they became jobless when the paper was shut down temporarily many years ago. Losing your income is no small joke. We all work for an income and I am sure all the people working there do it for the monthly salary too. So, with that experience still fresh in mind and with the MCA boss keeping them in check, it is no wonder they could not stray far from the pre-determined path set by the BN government.

As for the other papers, there is only one word for it. Their main purpose is to be the mouthpiece of the BN. Nothing else. Also, the people working there are there because they want an income. Nothing else.

Do note, however, that the people I am referring to are the small fries, they underdogs, the kulis, the workers who are just earning an income and not the top guns and the decision makers who are so filthy rich, they do not need a job but they are doing it for their own agenda.

Then, there is our national news agency, Bernama, which should actually be the BN news agency because they are so pro-BN, they are literally the BN newsletter. Understandably, they are paid by the government and the government is still the BN. But why the bias? Aren't they the national news agency? As a wire service, they should be fair and apolitical in their reportings but unfortunately, that is not so.

As for The Sun, this small free daily is making quite an impact with its exposes and hard-hitting news. It is too bad that it is quite thin and does not provide enough coverage for all the states. I can only hope that it will expand and provide more for its readers. Still, it is quite careful with its reportings. There are still some pro-BN stuff but not as many as the others.

So, why is it that our mainstream newspapers are so biased? Simple, it is all explained in a six letter word. The Printing Presses and Publications Act.

This stupid Act stipulates that printing / publishing license or permit must be renewed annually. And the Ministry in charge have the right to grant or deny any permit. They also have the right to restrict or ban outright publications 'that is likely to endanger national security interest or create social unrest'. Or so they said. More like they are worried the truth will have the people voting for the Opposition!

Although our constitution allow freedom of speech for the press, it is only merely for show. With this Act combined with the Internal Security Act, freedom of speech is limited and restricted. All for the sake of security or public order.

Hmm...it seems that reporting the truth and nothing but the truth is a threat to security and public order, huh? No, wonder, the newspapers are so cowed into compliances. They don't want to be responsible for any riots arising from their reports.

Although one wonders why it is okay for the newspapers to fan the anger of the Malays over the NEP issue just because it is perceived to be detrimental to the DAP state government while it is not okay to report positive things which puts the DAP in a good light? How does positive news create public unrest?

So, why aren't the Chinese newspapers so controlled by the Act? Easy, because they are only being read by a minority group of people (or so the BN government thought) so the rulings are quite lax when it comes to them.

It is no wonder that many have turned towards the online media in the likes of Malaysiakini where the truth are often reported (although, they too have their own agendas and truths are also skewed to their own agendas).

It is also no wonder people are boycotting the mainstream newspapers in frustration over the unfair news coverage. And it it no wonder that many bloggers are hitting out at these newspapers for their biasness.

Well, I for one have given up believing what I read in the newspapers nowadays unless I get it confirmed by reliable sources.

We do not have freedom of speech, no freedom of press and definitely no freedom and no full democracy under the BN administration. So, why are they still the federal government?


You get your summonses waived and you are crying foul?

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It is really strange that there are actually people who are dead against the Penang CM's decision to cancel all summonses related to illegal hawking and parking offences issued before March 11.

What's it to them anyway?

One of them is former councillor Dr Goh Ban Lee who seemed to think it is illegal and wrong and against good governance. Blah.Blah. Blah.

Err, hello?? Relieving the people's burden is wrong and illegal? Sure, it may not be such a huge sum for some but for the hawkers, it could mean saving a few hundred ringgits which they could put to good use, like getting new plates or more environmentally-friendly packaging or new school books for their kids or new school uniforms.

What is so wrong with that? Oh, ya, right.
There was no provision in the Local Government Act for the chief minister to waive local council summonses.
The former councillor, who seemed to think he is a law-abiding, upright, exemplary and perfect citizen, accused the CM and the Perak MB of misusing their powers to interfere in the workings of local councils.

Excuse me Dr Goh, what is your problem anyway? Are you just sore that the Opposition parties took over the Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kedah state governments? Aren't you just grasping at any fault you can find to make them look like incompetent, unlawful leaders?

Sure, there was no provision in the Act but that does not make it unlawful. This in itself is a big huge loophole for the Penang CM or Perak MB to waive summonses if they deem it fit. Besides, do bear in mind that he said it is only summonses issued before March 11. Not all summonses forever.

The Penang CM's intention was good and not meant to harm or victimise anyone. So, why this Goh fella insists on making seem as if the CM had killed his firstborn and he (Goh) is out for vengeance?

Hmm...perhaps he had just only settled all his summonses right before the CM made his announcement. That must have frustrated him no end to spur him to tell all and sundry (The Star, The Sun, NST) that it is an illegal move! ;-)

Whatever his and his few supporters' reasons (shocking it may seem, there are quite a few people who agreed with him), I am certain I can safely vouch for the general public in Penang that they have no complaints about the waiver at all.

Don't boycott nasi kandar!

Since last week, SMSes have been circulated asking Penangites to boycott nasi kandar claiming that nasi kandar operators were the ones involved in the street protest in Komtar about two weeks ago.

Well, if you have half a mind to do so. DON'T! This is ridiculous. EVERYONE knows the street demonstration was by the Umno sore losers. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the nasi kandar operators!

Just read this article in The Star which came out on March 22, pasted below here:

Don’t boycott nasi kandar, Hindraf tells Penangites

BUTTERWORTH: A Hindu Rights Action Force leader has called on people to stop boycotting nasi kandar shops here.

Hindraf coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran said the organisation was not behind any SMS calling for a boycott.

The boycott apparently began after an SMS alleging that nasi kandar operators were involved in last Friday’s street protest at Komtar began circulating. The SMS ended with the Hindraf slogan Makkal Sakthi (People’s Power).

“This is an act by some irresponsible parties,” Thanenthiran told a press conference here yesterday.

Thanenthiran said nasi kandar operators were busy with their business and would not have had the time to be involved in political protests or rallies.

“We appeal to the people of all races to support the nasi kandar operators as the cuisine is the pride of Penang,” Thanenthiran said.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Operators Association president K.K. Sihabutheen said some of his members complained about the drop in business since the SMS began circulating.

The Great Wall of Penang

Is it me or are the illustrious, hardworking, creative and ever so pro-development developers here building a wall around Penang island?

This is not a literal wall per se.

But a wall of skyscrapers and high rises along the coasts of Penang island stretching from Batu Ferringhi down to Tanjung Bungah down to Tanjung Tokong down to Gurney Drive. Then there is another wall being built along the other coast stretching from the reclaimed land of Macallum Street to Jelutong to the Bayan Lepas coastal highway.

Luckily, there are no more land in inner George Town (e.g. Weld Quay, Esplanade and the heritage enclave of Jetties) for them to build anymore buildings or else the wall would be complete!

Don't believe me? Easy. Just take a slow drive from Batu Ferringhi down to Tanjung Bungah down to Tanjung Tokong and down to Gurney Drive. How many high rises / skyscrapers did you count along the way? AHAH! You've lost count didn't you?

Which brings me to the matter of super luxurious condominiums or super condos. I am not against development or anything but this is too much! I mean how many super condos do we need in Penang? Or for that matter, how many Penangites can actually afford super condos? A unit costs around RM2mil and above so how many multi-millionaires are there here who could afford these eyesores?

Sure, sure, they always say it is for the MM2H (Malaysia My 2nd Home) scheme but hello...how many mat sallehs do they think will buy these super condos? Also at what expense? Is cutting down hills, chopping down trees, impacting the environment worth all this? Is adding to global warming worth this? What about sustainable development?

Do we really need more high rises here? Do we need more super luxurious condos when there are still poverty stricken people who could barely afford to rent a room? What about affordable housing for the Penang people first and foremost?

So, to the new state government, please do ensure that all development projects are scrutinised before it is approved.

Penang do not need more high rise buildings for the super rich.

Penang do not need developments which are detrimental to the environment and ultimately the living conditions of the people.

Penang do not need a literal wall (made of high rises) surrounding its coasts!


Do your bit for charity

Imagine you are at the top of your game with a career just taking off. Imagine you are happily married with wonderful children.

Then imagine your world splintering into tiny pieces and come crashing down on you when you found out you have cancer. Imagine undergoing chemotherapy and suffering from its side effects. Imagine losing your job and your only source of income while you still have to foot the hospital bills and support your family.

Finally, imagine losing all hope because you could not afford to undergo treatment anymore while your family are also suffering trying to make ends meet.

Be glad that you are not in this kind of scenario. Unfortunately, there are many others who are not so lucky. Cancer is no longer 'something' that happens to smokers or those living an unhealthy lifestyle. It is now more common than you think. So, think of all those needy cancer patients who deserve a chance for treatment without worrying about bills.

There is a Charity Food Fair at Mount Miriam Hospital coming up next month. You can either take up a stall to sell food or attend the fair to provide your support. After all, you don't need to fork out large sums of money. All you need to do is either to cook for charity or to buy food for charity. Details:

Venue: Mount Miriam Hospital

In aid of: Needy Cancer Patient Fund

When: April 27

Time: 10am - 3pm

Contact: 04-890 7044

Website: www.mountmiriam.com

Millions down the drain!

zwani.com myspace graphic comments

If what the new CM said about the purported land scams here are true (which I seriously believe is true), all I can say that it is a very good thing that we have a new government to unearth such big bad dirty secrets of the previous administration!

As we all know, land in Penang is very few and far in between. In fact, our lands are probably the most expensive in the whole country due to the limited...errr...land considering we are just a tiny li'l island with only the mainland Butterworth to make us seem like a bigger state.

So, why is it so easy for the previous government to hand out freehold titles like it is nothing but a bunch of cheap sweets?

Why is it that there are land 'improprieties' involving losses of tens of millions? (the report which came out in Star on Sunday say tens of thousands but Guan Eng said it was tens of millions on Sunday morning)

So, kudos to the new CM for unearthing and airing this particular dirty li'l tidbit for all to see and setting up a panel to investigate the whole matter. May the culprits sweat buckets while waiting for the new government to unearth more dirt. I am sure that once they find enough proof, these culprits (we all know who they are...) will definitely have to face the music. HAH! That shall be the day we all celebrate (again)!

It is interesting, though, that all the efforts to clean out offices and ensure documents go missing seemed not to work at all. Hmmm....don't they know dirt is never easy to hide no matter how you try to clean it up?

It is really heartening to hear that he has also banned all DAP assemblymen and MPs from purchasing state-owned lands. If that is not a clean and good attitude, I don't know what is!


Only in Malaysia...

It is only in Malaysia that...

1. Racism is condoned and legally practiced by the ruling government, purportedly to help the majority of the race, called bumiputras, in the country.

2. There is a policy where only bumiputras get to enter universities, become directors of public listed companies, get special discounts for housing, get preferential treatment from every government controlled agency freely without meeting any requirements regardless of whether they are filthy rich or dirt poor.

3. Corruption is so normal that the ruling party of the government coalition, Umno, is the gold ticket for every Malay to become extremely rich.

4. NGOs and the general public of other races who conduct peaceful demonstrations to hand over memorandums were attacked with tear gas and water cannons and even arrested by the police for daring voice out their dissent while the Umno members could hold loud protests that could cause racial tensions in the centre of town without any police actions.

5. It is okay for a minister to brandish and wave a knife, otherwise known as keris, during his party's general assembly to prove a point as if threatening all the other races in the country to toe the line or else...

6. One of the ruling coalition party could not accept the fact of losing and asked for the federal government to withdraw all major infrastructure projects from a state just because the state is no longer under the rule of the coalition party.

7. It is okay for the
bumiputras to say demeaning things about other races but it is illegal the other way around.

8. Bodies of non-Muslims are snatched and buried as Muslims despite objections from families that the deceased did not convert to Islam prior to that while the deceased's properties are seized and kept because a Muslim's properties could not be handed over to non-Muslims.

9. It is almost impossible to convert out of Islam without being harassed and dragged through the religious courts for years.

10. It is possible to change your race when you convert into a Muslim provided if you look like the 'supreme' race of Malaysia.

11. There is a policy to protect the so-called 'supreme' race
(bumiputras) but ended up with most of them being marginalised by their own kind who are in power.

12. That some dimwit kampung uncle controlled by his son-in-law can become a Prime Minister

13. That billions are spent to send a
bumiputra to space while low cost housings are left in deplorable conditions, the poverty stricken were not given welfare assistance, basic infrastructure are still lacking in remote rural places, schools are left in bad conditions, roads are full of potholes, tolls are still being charged for highways and bridge built decades ago 'to cover the cost of building and maintaining the highway/bridge', poverty has not been wiped out and there is no 100% coverage of basic amenities of water and electricity.

14. The indigenous people who originated from this land and are the real
bumiputras were treated like third class citizens and most are still poverty stricken.

15. That it is very easy for people of the same skin colour of the
bumiputras are granted citizenship without any hassle while others will find years of red tape before being told to go back where they came from.

16. Permanent residents of any other races different from those of the
bumiputras may stay here till they die and still would not get a citizenship while those like the bumiputras gets their citizenship within months of staying here.

17. The media are gagged and bound from ever writing or publicising anything negative about the government and the coalition parties or else face their licenses being revoked and companies shut down. Or worse, the reporters and editors face being thrown into jail under the Internal Security Act.

18. There is an act which allowed the police the freedom to arrest anyone they like without giving the person a fair trial.

19. Human rights are not acknowledged at all.

20. Sexist remarks against female representatives while in parliament and state assembly are condoned.

Of course, there are much much more things about great old Malaysia and I am sure it will make a nice thick, 500 page book. But I think I will just stop here.


NGO reps in local councils

Our new exco for local government, traffic management and environment Chow Kon Yeow has confirmed that they will leave five councillor seats for NGO representatives for each council.

"We hope the representatives will be experts in their respective sectors so that they will be able to provide the service that is needed for their own sectors," he reportedly said.

I personally think this is a much better deal as compared to the previous system where all the councillors are appointed and to make it worse, most of them were just there for the ride. Many of them do not even bother turning up at council meetings and most certainly, most do not do their jobs as councillors at all.

However, a local council elections is still in the pipeline as Chow and the other excos try to find a way to bypass the ministry in order to hold a local council elections. It seemed that the state government would still need to get the green light from the ministry when it comes to changing something like this.

That aside, I still maintain my own personal view that Chow just could not cut it as the local government fella. I mean, he doesn't even know how many former councillors have resigned from the MPSP and he doesn't even know when the former MPPP councillors resigned.

I guess, instead of tying up on loose ends and replenishing their cupboards and drawers with documents, he really do need to visit some crummy stalls in front of the Goddess of Mercy Temple in his constituency. It is all about going down to the ground and less about policy making and formulating beneficial policies to improve the administration of both councils.

**Shrug** I don't know.

Unlimited ice cream!

Ice cream lovers, this is the time to enjoy as much Haagen Daaz as you can eat! The ice cream buffet is only until April 30 so make it fast.

Talking about fast, I better fast for the next few days so that I have the 'space' and appetite to indulge! ;-)

Of missing files and empty drawers

The situation in Kedah where the new excos find their offices immaculately clean and cleared of any files or documents is not actually unique.

Remember the PKR supporters keeping a vigil outside the MB office in Selangor for fear of the outgoing MB carting away and destroying official documents?

Well, it seems that the same can be said for Penang where the exco offices in Komtar were also similarly cleared out and so sparkly clean that not a single piece of paper could be found within any of the offices.

Based on this mysterious disappearance, one could only assume any of these scenarios:

1. The former excos suddenly decided they needed to do some spring cleaning of the offices in the early hours of March 9 right after the polling results are out. Who knows, perhaps it is therapeutic for them to indulge in some file dumping, paper shredding, document carting to forget the pain of losing.

2. There has been an alien invasion - the little green men have invaded Komtar and in order to plot their evil plan to take over Penang and later the whole world, they first start by kidnapping all the files and documents from the exco offices for ransom.

3. The files and documents are actually alive - yep, after years of having to endure boring droning of barely intelligent men and woman, they decided to call it quits and did a mass walk-out of the exco offices. They are now happily enjoying the wonderful weather in Hawaii after hitching a ride with national carrier, Malaysia Airlines.

4. Someone messed up with an Invisible spell - there is a wizard intent on pulling pranks on the new state government so he had placed an invisible spell on all the documents and files in the exco offices. He is now rubbing his hands with glee over the scrambling lot of new excos trying to recover the documents by other means.

5. There is a bigger conspiracy at work - it is a normal standing instruction for all BN leaders, especially those with government posts such as excos, who were unfortunate enough to have lost their seats in the polls to clear up all their mess including destruction / hiding / removal of all files and documents they had ever come across in their course of duty. The objective : To make sure the enemy do not have all the dirty details of their mess or even the clean details of their achievements.

6. It was done with good intentions - the former excos were just being considerate in clearing and cleaning up their offices to make way for the new excos. They just wanted to help by ensuring the new excos do not waste time clearing up their (the former exco's) mess while at the same time get to start with a clean slate. They also thought it is good training for the new excos to go on a treasure hunt for the missing documents.

7. It was a cover up of something more sinister - the missing files and documents are all proof of wrongdoings and major mess ups so the only way to keep it under wraps and hidden from public knowledge is to keep it hidden at all times.

8. The files / documents are self-destructible - the files and documents burst into flames, burn into ashes and disappear into thin air the moment the former excos were officially 'kicked' out of the exco on the night of March 8.

See, there are so many different possibilities in solving the mystery of the missing files and documents. It would take a better investigator than Sherlock Holmes to sniff out the real answer to the mystery.

Fortunately, the new excos aren't all that stupid and were not exactly left to flounder aimlessly. They have already started compiling and gathering copies of the missing documents using their own resources.